Friday, November 30, 2012

And So It Begins

I warned of upcoming efforts to limit our freedom and end our constitutional republic.  Well, now Hank Johnson, a Congressman from Georgia, is calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution to allow for governmental control of free speech.

At this point, he is only looking for governmental control over free speech rights of corporations.  He was quoted as saying, "We need a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to control the so-called free speech rights of corporations."

I know many who are anti-corporation will think this is great news.  I counter by quoting a famous movie character, "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny".

Once we take the first step of limiting rights under the first amendment to one group, what stops the inevitable next step?  The Constitution is there to protect the rights of freedom.  Let us not start down the path of eliminating those rights.

Once we eliminate the right of free speech to corporations, why not have governmental control of a church's right of free speech.  Then maybe we can eliminate a political party's right to free speech.  Where does it end?  I think liberals or "progressives" are absolutely full of it on many issues.  Yet, I would fight to the death for their right to express their thoughts and theories.  Is that not what America is all about?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Ongoing Debate

Right after the election, I posted a brief article wherein I expressed my concern over the demise of the American Republic.

I was contacted by Mr. Champ-Doran of ( first by a response and then by a phone call.  He asked my permission to post the article and our responses on his blog to start a debate back and forth between our blogs.

I gave my permission and we agreed as gentlemen to offer an insightful, intelligent, and respectful debate.  Our topic is the potential demise of the American Republic and, as an internal and secondary topic, the constitutionality of socialism or redistribution of wealth.

Thus far, the debate has been excellent and I have enjoyed it.  I urge you to look at the comments and the updates in the RIP article below.  You can also look at Mr. Champ-Doran's web site listed above.

I urge you to join our debate with comments on the RIP thread, on this thread, or on Mr. Champ-Doran's blog.  All I ask is that your comments be respectful, on point, and intellectually stimulating.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"The Tip of the Iceberg"?

A very interesting article appeared recently in the Daily Freeman.  It deals with a significant dispute between the current Gallo administration and the former Sottile administration.

By way of background, the Director of the City Community Development Office, Jen Fuentes, and the Corporation Counsel, Andrew Zweben, reported to the Common Council Finance Committee that $30,000 needed to be transferred to the Development Office.  This money will go to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will eventually be returned to the city.

It seems that HUD has made a determination that two projects completed with federal community block grant money during the Sottile regime were not eligible under the program.

Alderman Hoffay, the Finance Chair, suggested that Ms. Fuentes and Mr. Zweben were lying and demanded a written letter or order from HUD before he would allow a vote on the subject.  This is not unexpected as Alderman Hoffay has gone out of his way to undermine the Gallo administration.  His motives rest upon his refusal to properly accept and deal with the fact that the candidate he supported in the 2011 Democrat primary for Mayor was defeated by Shayne Gallo.

Nevertheless, the response from Jen Fuentes was really shocking.  She said that if the Council refused to appropriate the money, it could result in HUD doing a full audit of the use of federal money during the Sottile administration.  She said that HUD already determined 2 improper uses of federal money by the Sottile administration and that they would be "the tip of the iceberg".

Alderman Hoffay accused her of "smearing" Sottile, and the former Mayor of course offered his own comments saying that he had done nothing wrong and that HUD was wrong.  (How many times I have I heard Sottile over the years denying wrongdoing?  I wish I had a nickel for each time).

The question occurring to me is what did Ms. Fuentes mean about the "tip of the iceberg"?  Are there other instances of misuse of federal funds?  Would a formal audit reveal malfeasance of some kind by the prior administration?  

Sottile said he "welcomes" an audit.  Perhaps he should be careful what he wishes for.  He might just get it.

Friday, November 9, 2012


The constitutional republic known as the United States of America

July 4, 1776 to November 6, 2012


My response to the recent comments of Mr. Champ-Doran require a more lengthy response than permitted in the comment section.  I am therefore placing it here in the original article

Mr. Champ-Doran,

Allow me to correct your errors on the Constitution and constitutional law.

First, under Article IV, section 4, the United States guarantees a republican form of government.  Thus, any attempt to take one clause of the Constitution out of context to justify a socialist form of government is in direct violation of said article.

The power of Congress to lay and collect taxes and provide for the "general welfare" does not give constitutional authority to fundamentally change our basic form of government.

By its very nature, the federal government is a limited government.  In fact, this point was so strong in the minds of the founding fathers that they drafted the 10th Amendment making it crystal clear that any power not expressly given to the federal government is expressly reserved to the States or the people.

Second, where do you see the power to redistribute wealth in the Constitution?  By definition, redistribution of wealth is taking from the wealthy so as to redistribute it to whomever you wish, usually the poor.

Under the very same section you site, it is stated that all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform.

Additionally, the power to levy an income tax is not in the original Constitution.  That power comes from Amendment XVI which was ratified on 2/3/1913.

Third, there is no reference to a "social contract" in the Constitution.  The Constitution was the joining of the States into a limited federal government.  Not one single member of the men who debated and wrote this Constitution ever envisioned the federal government running private industry or becoming cradle to grave financial security.

Now, let's discuss your non-constitutional points.  First, class warfare.  You argue against my point of class warfare with a blatant class warfare argument.

Nevertheless, looking at your discussion of a wealthy man (you say white man, though race and gender are not relevant because there are wealthy men and women of all races in this country), you fail to mention something important.  The man in question EARNED his money.  Income taxes were paid on his money at the top level long before he invested said money into various companies.  Now, his money was taxed for the second time as capital gains.

That is not enough.  Now, you want that money taxed a third time at the maximum income tax level even though it was already taxed.

I take further note that you seem to express contempt for someone who inherited money from their father or parent.  What is wrong with that?

A man works his entire life, pays taxes, and succeeds.  He then passes his legacy to his children.  The children have to pay inheritance taxes on that money even though it was already subject to income taxes.  Your comment regarding Mr. Trump suggests that somehow his inheritance is not justified.  I see nothing wrong with a man or woman passing on their financial legacy to his or her sons or daughters.

The big part of class warfare is this irrational hatred of successful people and the idea that somehow that they do not deserve to be wealthy despite their personal or familial success.  Success is to be encouraged not mocked.

Then, to justify this irrational hatred, the wealthy are attacked for resenting those who live off the public dole even when they have the ability to work.

The various public assistance programs exist to help those who cannot help themselves.  Unfortunately, these well intended programs have been inundated with claims from people fully capable of working but who would rather live off the dole than go out and earn a living.

This is unfair to those who actually require the assistance and unfair to those who are working and have to continually pay higher taxes to support those truly undeserving of public support.

Finally, your comment that feeding the poor and educating people should not be our responsibility is pure straw man.

Of course we have a moral obligation to care for the poor and down trodden.  However, if you read the Constitution carefully, it is not the federal government that bears that burden.  It is the burden of each of the States or the people per the Tenth Amendment.

The bottom line is that you are taking clauses of the Constitution out of context to justify socialism as some form of contractual or moral obligation.

Is it not ironic that people such as myself who are pro-life are told we cannot force our morality upon people?  Yet, you seem to be arguing that your sense of morality is actually written in the federal Constitution albeit in invisible ink.


Mr. Champ-Doran,

While I disagree with your constitutional points, I am enjoying our debate.  I am going to extend an invitation to some people I know through Facebook who are knowledgeable on the Constitution and ask them to join by posting comments.  To be clear, the people I speak have varying interpretations.  Some are conservative, some liberal, and some are libertarian.  Libertarians' interpretation of the Constitution are often the subject of fascinating debate.  (I mean that in a positive way).  I am not seeking to stack the deck, but rather extend this thoughtful and respectful debate.

To your comments ...

I admit that my initial article is hyperbole to a point.  The country is not dead, though I believe we are heading full speed toward being a socialist democracy.   One of the methods being used to further this unworthy goal is redistribution of wealth. 

The basic definition of "redistribution of wealth" is the transfer of money, wealth, or property from one of means to one of limited or no means in order to right a perceived social wrong.  In theory, there can be the reverse which is sometimes referred to as "regressive redistribution".  I suppose one might actually refer to my definition above as "progressive redistribution".

You argue that redistribution is constitutional because it can be accomplished via taxes or social welfare programs that the Supreme Court has upheld.  I respectfully submit that the means may be constitutional, but the ultimate goal is contrary to the United States Constitution.

We can both agree that the term "redistribution of wealth" does not appear in the Constitution; however, I think it apparent that the intent of the framers of the Constitution makes clear that redistribution was never intended or desired.  Allow me to provide some examples.  I know Thomas Jefferson was not part of the constitutional convention, but he is largely regarded as a "founding father".  I have therefore included some of his quotes and writings.

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that is the end of the republic." -- Benjamin Franklin

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” -- Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” --Thomas Jefferson

With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”  -- James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, in a letter to James Robertson

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” -- James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792

 On another point, you stated that you selected Donald Trump because he has suggested a revolution.  I can understand your concern over his use of the word revolution.  However, I close by quoting James Madison from his speech to the ratifying convention of Virginia on June 16, 1788.  He said, "There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

I believe the last four years and the re-election of Barack Obama, as well as the push for redistribution of wealth, constitutes "gradual and silent encroachments" of the freedom of the people of the United States of America.

I await your reply, sir.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No More Live Public Access

As people are now aware, pre-taped shows of a very limited nature are being broadcast on channel 23 out of Esopus.  There are 2 things; however, that most do not know.

First, any tapes submitted are being reviewed for content.  Anything controversial will not be aired.  Basically, if your opinions are considered out of the mainstream, they will not be aired.

Second, all of the equipment for live broadcasting is gone.  The Public Access Commission never paid its bill at the storage company.  They left all of the live studio equipment in the storage unit and it was auctioned off in October.  I have been unable to learn who bought it other than that the person was a dealer who promptly sold off all of the equipment.

Thus, there is little chance of ever seeing live shows again unless money magically appears to buy  new equipment.  Given the terrible economy, it seems unlikely.  One must wonder why the commission could not have found a closet somewhere to store the equipment.  There is storage space in the upper levels of City Hall where the stuff could have been stored.  Why did the Commission do nothing?  I suspect they wanted to eliminate live programming.

A valuable community resource has been lost.  Whether it was lost through incompetence or by design may never be known.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Race for the White House -- Prediction

The race for the White House has 2 required predictions: the national vote and the Electoral College.  A week ago, the race looked over, but President Obama has had a minor surge likely due to the Hurricane and his appearances in New Jersey.

The polls have been all over the place.  The problem is the turnout model.  Many polls are using a D+7 or D+9 model.  In other words, the polls assume a greater Democratic turnout than Republican by either 7 or 9 points.  In 2008, the turnout was D+8.  I do not believe that the President will have the same turnout and enthusiasm as 2008.  I think it more likely that turnout will be even or perhaps R+1 or 2.  If the turnout is D+3 or better, President Obama likely is reelected.  Based on my presumption concerning turnout, I make the following predictions.

I believe Romney wins the national or popular vote.  I think that difference will be clear.  Romney gets 53% and Obama gets 47%, ironic in light of Romney's infamous 47% comment.

As for the Electoral College, let's look at the battleground states.

1.   Colorado goes Romney +2

2.   Florida goes Romney +5

3.   Iowa goes Romney +1  (will be called late at night)

4.   Michigan goes Obama +3  ( I know polls show this close, but I just do not buy it)

5.   Nevada goes Obama +2

6.   New Hampshire goes Romney +4

7.   North Carolina goes Romney in a blow out (+10 or +11)

8.   Ohio goes Romney +2  ( I know the polls tend to lean Obama, but based on enthusiam and recent turnout to rallies {30,000 for Romney, 2,500 for Obama), I think Romney wins the State.

9.   Pennsylvania goes Obama +1 or +2.  Polls show this State is tight.  If turnout in Philadelphia is weak, Romney could win the State.  I think Pennsylvania will disappoint Republicans yet again.

10. Virginia will be called at Romney +2, but when the military votes are counted, it will increase to +3

11. Wisconsin goes to Romney +1 or +2

12. Minnesota goes Obama +2

Based on these predictions, the Electoral College goes 295 Romney to 243 Obama.  Based on these projections, Governor Romney could lose Ohio and still get 277 and the win.

I predict the Governor Romney wins the White House with a clear and easy win in the popular vote, but a relatively close win in the Electoral College.

Predictions on the Local Races

Here are my predictions on the local races to be decided on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate -- Although I like Wendy Long, she is not going to win.  Gillibrand wins with 62% of the vote.

Congress -- Chris Gibson wins with 57% of the vote.

N.Y. Senate -- George Amedore wins a nail biter with almost 51% of the vote.

Assembly -- Kevin is unopposed.  Obviously, he wins.

Supreme Court -- Richard Mott comes in first, Bud Malone second, Mike Kavanagh an extremely close 3rd with Albany County being his achilles' heel, Schick fourth, and WFP candidate Weissman a distant fifth.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Empty Suit

The Daily Star, a left leaning newspaper from Oneonta, endorsed Congressman Gibson today.  What is striking, however, are the comments by the newspaper about Julian Schreibman.  The paper wrote:

"This year, the 19th District leans a bit more Democratic. However, any opportunity the Democrats might have had to defeat Gibson has been severely hampered by the quality of their candidate.

We have listened to the arguments of Julian Schreibman and have come away with the impression that he is — to put it bluntly — an empty suit.
Rather than come up with any specific proposals for what he would do as a member of Congress to help our area and the nation, Schreibman’s campaign has consisted almost entirely of ad hominem attacks against Gibson.
In debates and his television advertisements, Schreibman seems content to tell voters what he thinks they want to hear rather than offer a vision for the future. It’s not enough to tell people you are for gun rights and against fracking. It’s not enough to tell folks that your opponent is a bum.
While we are far more comfortable with Schreibman’s positions on social issues, the political adage of “you can’t beat somebody with nobody” applies in this election."  
{emphasis added by me}