Friday, December 30, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm sure it's no surprise to any of you checking in that this week has been fairly sparse with regard to newsbites.

That's to be expected. It is the Christmas season after all!

Enjoy being with your loved ones, my friends; there'll be time enough for politics come the New Year 2012 - hopefully the last full year of the Age of Obama.

As always, though, folks, I warn you... beware the media!

Over the past few weeks no doubt you've all been exposed to the anti-Newt drums of the Republican Establishment, their noise echoed by a media who know instinctively that Newt Gingrich can beat Barak Hussein Obama and beat Liberalism as well.

Did you know that Newt still leads the national polls?

I bet many of you don't!

Why? Because I know most people operate off of "what they've heard" or a headline they've read; most folks don't check the actual polling data! (Which by the way shows Gingrich up + 1.8 over Romney according to the latest averaging of national polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics.)

You folks know that "caucus states" offer less than meet the eye - as do "open primary states" - when it comes to giving a clear picture of where the registered Republican likely voter is... right?

There are just so many sleazy tactics being employed by the GOP Establishment and the media when it comes to how they're attempting to manipulate the outcome of this presidential nomination process before the first ballot is even cast as to defy even my ability to lay it out in simple terms.


Suffice it to say, folks... the "insiders" are doing their best to "play" us "outsiders."

Remember folks... the GOP Establishment hated Reagan...

Remember folks... the GOP Establishment loves... the GOP Establishment...


You know my views. I'm backing Gingrich. I'm backing the man who gave us the Republican Revolution of '94.

Do I respect Ron Paul supporters? Damn right! While I don't believe Paul can win... if I did think he could win I'd be backing him myself!

To reiterate:

Gingrich can win and effect real change as president... Ron Paul can't win; Rick Santorum can't win; Michele Bachmann can't win.

Could Perry beat Obama? Yes. But he could also lose. Frankly, I just can't bring myself to trust that Rick Perry could beat Barak Hussein Obama one-on-one.

Can Romney win the presidency? Yes. I believe he could. I believe he probably would... but the odds are better for Gingrich vs. Obama than they are regarding Romney vs. Obama.

(Gingrich would destroy Obama in debates; Obama would fight Romney to a draw... perhaps even lose.)

Huntsman? He's a non-entity as far as this discussion is concerned. He's (literally!) more likely to be on the presidential ballot as Obama's running mate in 2012 than he is to be on the Republican ticket!

Cain? There is no longer a Herman Cain in the race. Period.

My point? It's Gingrich vs. Romney with perhaps Perry as a dark horse.

Don't let the media nor the Republican Establishment "force" you to feel that you "must" vote for Romney. (Remember, folks... the MSM wants Obama re-elected; they're backing Romney because they're well aware of what I'm well aware of - namely, that Romney would be the weaker GOP candidate vs. the Obama Machine.

(Just imagine if Romney does dump Biden in favor of putting Hillary on the ballot as his number two! This would further weaken Romney's chances while on the other hand it would energize a Gingrich-led ticket!)

Finally, folks, let me point out one last truth...

There's a reason Romney won't debate Gingrich one-on-one. That reason... Romney knows that in a direct contest - without the filter and support of the media - Gingrich would lay out the differences between himself and Romney in such a way as to put paid to Romney's portrayal of the inevitable nominee.

Remember the story of the Emperor with no clothing, my friends? That's Romney.

Don't let the media and the Republican Establishment blind you to the truth.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heed the Words of J.R. Dunn, Consulting Editor of American Thinker

Crony capitalism is the most serious current danger to the American community, a threat not simply to government or the economy, but to our very way of life.

Cronyism is one of the major forces behind the establishment of the corrupt pseudo-aristocracy that has been taking shape in this country over the past two decades, a synthetic privileged class made up in large part of politicians, hustlers, and hangers-on who have become expert in exploiting the rest of us.
The legacy media, for some obscure reason, tends to bury discussions about this group. While the reportage on discrete incidents is there - see the parade of stories on Solyndra, Goldman Sachs, and MF Global for examples - we find little effort to pull it all together.

Academics, with the single exception of Angelo Codevilla, who sounded the alarm two years ago in The Ruling Class, appear oblivious, as if they had no idea what's going on, which may well be the case.

The customary watchdogs having remained asleep, we need to rely on independents. Chief among these in Peter Schweizer, whose latest book "Throw Them All Out" gives us the clearest picture we've yet had of the activities of the new crony class.

Schweizer examines the new cronyism through the lens of the old - specifically, the political philosophy of George Washington Plunkett, 19th century Tammany stalwart who seen his opportunities and took 'em. Plunkett's modus operandi was based on "honest graft" - rather than fish for bribes or payoffs, Plunkett would discover what contractor was putting up the new schoolhouse and then mosey over to drop a few hints about his cousin's brick company. It worked every time, and was completely legal. Plunkett was never brought to book on it. The basic axiom of cronyism reads: why break the law when there are plenty of loopholes to use?

(Though Schweizer makes an honest attempt to remain bipartisan, the book is dominated by members of a certain political party the name of which I will not mention but which is run by politicians named Kerry, Durbin, and Pelosi among others.)

John Kerry specializes in using advance information on upcoming bills to make investments, which Schweizer correctly characterizes as a form of insider trading.

During the ObamaCare debate of 2009 Kerry invested $200,000 in the healthcare company ResMed, the value of which shot up over 70%, a tidy little windfall even to a man married into one of the richest families in the United States. At the same time, ObamaCare cut Medicare reimbursements, so Kerry dumped all his shares in United Health, a medical insurance company deeply dependent on Medicare.

Kerry, it seems, didn't have to pass the bill to know what was in it.

(John Boehner also played this little game, though not a shiftily as Kerry, actually waiting until the debate was over to purchase, in December 2009, stock in several large health-related companies.)

Dick Durbin attended the now-famous September 2008 meetings in which Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke warned members of Congress of imminent and universal financial collapse. He immediately unloaded large chunks of his stock holdings. A natural reaction; he was a little panicky at the time. You'd do it too.

"We despise professional athletes who bet on their own games." Schweizer tells us. "Why don't we feel the same way about politicians who bet on the outcome of legislation?"

Another tool of corruption is the IPO (which, according to Schweizer, means "Invest in Politicians Often"). Companies about to go public invite certain strategically-placed politicians to make the first purchases in the offering, before the stockbrokers or anyone else. You can't really call it a payoff.

Nancy Pelosi is a particularly avid IPO fan. She and her husband made an incredibly large purchase of the Visa IPO amounting to 10% of their stock portfolio, raking off nearly a 50% profit on the original purchase in only two days. (Nancy Pelosi also had a station built on a light rail line in San Francisco near one of her office buildings. Real estate manipulation is yet another tool of the privileged class.)

Schweizer also offers a complete rundown - the first one I've seen - of the actual extent of Barack Obama's "stimulus" program, which he characterizes as the biggest political payoff since the heyday of Boss Tweed. (Reading this will make your blood boil. It should be a major topic of discussion in next year's campaign.)

The level of corruption revealed here is breathtaking, even to me, and I take a back seat to no one in political realism. This is worse than Plunkett's day. In his time, there were limits on behavior put in place by accepted custom and traditional morality. Both of those factors have been relentlessly undermined in the past century. What is left is only a kind of kindergarten positivism - if it's not explicitly forbidden, then it's allowed.

We have not merely returned to the epoch of Tammany and Boss Tweed, we have surpassed it. Congress, both houses, along with the bureaucracies, and the little layers of government all the way down to Yourtown, are populated by relentless loophole miners.

(Is there anybody left with clean hands? Well yes; Schweizer identifies James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who, though he owned large amounts of health care-related stocks, made not one sale before or after the health-care debate. It's a sad thing to have to praise a man for doing what anybody ought to have done, but that's our situation.)

How do we overcome this? Peter Schweizer's suggestions include an immediate ban on insider trading, defined as any form of trading involving bills that are or may come before Congress. A prohibition on any business deals involving conflict of interest. A ban on land deals involving political contributors. Full and honest transparency in any financial dealings involving a politician. (Schweizer reveals that those so-called "blind trusts" are actually no such thing.)

All this is well and good, and some of it is actually in the works. But as long as we have laws, we will have loopholes, and as long as there are loopholes, they will be mined. What we truly require is a return to ethics on the mass scale. How this is to be done I have no more idea than anyone else.

But the first step is knowledge - read this book and pass it on.

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Distortions at best.

People. Understand. You can trust me because... well... I'm too prideful to lie.

Seriously... think about it! I hate being proven wrong! I take great pride in being usually right! I'd never knowingly give you false information because I wouldn't want to be connected to false information.

Obviously the politicians will lie.

Obviously the media will lie.

But, me... nope... I'll shoot straight with you and let the chips fall as they may.

The gloves are off, folks. The media - including Fox, including "conservative" publications - can't be trusted.

Certainly no politician can be trusted.

All I can tell you is that I'm here... and you can trust me.

From now till election day next November, please... please follow this blog and don't buy anything you hear coming out of the media until and unless it's verified to your satisfaction.

I can't carry everything. I can't be all things to all people. But I can and will do all I can to provide you with news you can use in order to cast a truly educated ballot come your state primary and come the general election.

If you have questions... ask me! I'm here!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, December 26, 2011

'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through Bill's House
All three Barkers were stirring, on my wife I did bounce

(Hey... it rhymes, dammit!)

The goodies were piled, on the floor as each year
We delay putting 'way all the booze and the beer


And so on and so forth, I'm no poet, I sigh
Pre Happy New Year to all, from my liver... and I!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Special Newsbite for Mary S., Carl V., and John H.

'Gingrich would arrest judges," scream the headlines. You'd think he'd proposed some crazy, unconstitutional crackdown on federal judges. Instead, Newt Gingrich's position paper, "Bringing the Courts Back Under the Constitution," has a set of controversial but thoughtful proposals for reining in judicial activism.


These include calling judges before Congress to explain their decisions, impeaching judges or eliminating courts that consistently get the Constitution wrong, and limiting the applicability of Supreme Court decisions that distort the Constitution.


All are constitutional if carefully implemented and constrained to the appropriate circumstances. For example, Congress routinely asks executive branch officials outside the White House to testify about their decisions. It occasionally subpoenas them to compel attendance, and arrest would be a last resort.


(Subpoenaing Justices of the Supreme Court, the only court created by the Constitution, is a possible exception.)



The Constitution gives Congress the authority to "ordain and establish" lower courts. That includes the power to eliminate courts and judgeships, as Congress has occasionally done.



Nonetheless, Mr. Gingrich concedes that "Other constitutional options, including impeachment, are better suited in most circumstances to check and balance the judiciary." Stubborn disregard for the Constitution falls short of the "good behavior" required of judges and may justify impeachment.


Another controversial proposal: limiting the applicability of Supreme Court decisions. Mr. Gingrich proposes what Abraham Lincoln outlined in his First Inaugural Address, that "in certain circumstances, the holdings of Supreme Court decisions should be limited to the litigants in a case, and not be held to apply as a general controlling standard." Accordingly, Lincoln refused to treat the high court's Dred Scott decision - now recognized as outrageous judicial activism - as binding on the executive branch. If Lincoln's position seems extreme today, it only reinforces Mr. Gingrich's point that the balance of power has shifted too much toward the judiciary.



Mr. Gingrich understands that "judicial supremacy only survives due to the passivity of the executive and legislative branches."


"The power of the American judiciary has increased exponentially at the expense of elected representatives" such that "the Supreme Court has become a permanent constitutional convention," [notes Gingrich.] He acknowledges the importance of an independent judiciary but points out that "judicial independence does not mean . . . judges can never be held accountable for their judgments . . . however extreme and unfounded."


Mr. Gingrich argues that the other two branches have the power and the obligation to push back. "The President and each member of Congress takes an oath to defend the Constitution," he notes; "if they believe that the judicial branch is acting contrary to the Constitution, then they have an obligation . . . to check and balance the judicial branch."


Mr. Gingrich doesn't pretend to have all the answers. Instead he offers several possible ways to push back while acknowledging that the best remedy for judicial activism is a president and Senate that will nominate and confirm constitutionalist judges.


Barker's Newsbites: Friday, December 23, 2011

I weep...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So You Say You Want a Revolution? Well... You Know...

From the non-partisan budget watchdog organization Taxpayers For Common Sense:

The year began with hoary promises that Congress would be different - spending bills would be passed one at a time with ample time for review and debate.

But instead...

In the waning days of 2011, taxpayers watched the same old story unfold. Nine spending bills worth nearly $1 trillion jammed together, lawmakers voting on legislation that even the Valedictorian of an Evelyn Wood speed reading school couldn’t have gotten through: Promises made, promises busted.

Thank you Speaker Boehner! Thank you Representative Nan Hayworth (R-NY-19)!

At 12:38 AM Wednesday, December 14th, the fiscal year 2012 spending bill was released by the House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers. Of course that was just the legalese, legislative language. The 1,092 page long joint explanatory statement which provides more details about where the money is going didn’t come out until Friday morning - the day of the vote.


Passing the bills separately and with plenty of time for review isn’t just an academic exercise. It affords taxpayers an opportunity to review and comment on legislation. It also serves as a disincentive to those lawmakers who would like to pull a fast one on taxpayers.

As it is nobody knew everything that was in the bill.

We’re going to be finding baubles and trinkets well after Christmas trees are out on the curbs and menorahs are put away.

Already some gems are surfacing: Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Chair Diane Feinstein took the opportunity to slip in a sop for the Westlands water district in California. The provisions would change the rules to allow Westlands and other water districts to buy up more federally subsidized irrigation water than they are currently allowed.

In the same Energy and Water section, the House and Senate airdropped in a provision that was not in the earlier House and Senate versions: [It] would stop the White House from updating the nearly 30-year old rules that govern Corps of Engineers project analysis - something Congress told them to start doing in 2007!

In the Defense portion, there were several instances where millions of dollars were added back in because of “unjustified reductions.” (We don’t know whether they were justified or not, because there is no amplifying information about the differences.)

We have also found several semi-generic accounts that could end up as magnets for lettermarks (where lawmakers write federal officials about where to spend the cash) or phonemarks (where they pick up the phone and tell those same officials where to spend it).

The only good thing about this year’s appropriations process was that it actually yielded bills. The first quarter of the fiscal year may be just about over, but at least agencies know what their budgets are for the rest of the year. Last year, every federal agency except the Defense Department had to operate under a year-long continuing resolution that extended funding levels from 2010. That’s no way to run a government.

With a Presidential election looming, precious little is likely to get through Congress. Lawmakers often boast about how the Constitution gave Congress the power of the purse. We need less talk and more action. Budgets are about more than numbers, they’re about priorities and the public needs to know where their elected officials are putting their priorities.

[P]assing a last minute, unread spending bill that’s the size of the Webster’s Dictionary isn’t just about breaking a promise. It’s about denying the public an opportunity to participate in our Democracy.

I foresee violence. This simply can't continue. Violence may not be the answer, but... everything we've tried so far has failed.

You tell me, folks... tell me I'm wrong.

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, December 22, 2011

Laughing is better than crying...

Nan Hayworth's (R-NY-19) Lastest Talking Point

Folks... it make me cringe when I receive garbage like this from my congresswoman:

In the midst of a terrible economy, our hardworking families should not face increased taxes next year. My colleagues and I are determined to continue our work in Washington until we come to an agreement that lifts burdens for taxpayers while protecting the Social Security Trust Fund; continues help to our unemployed while assuring sound long-term reforms; and ensures seniors’ access to their doctors under Medicare.

In other words...

Hayworth is determined to continue denying Social Security the revenues required to meet the obligations foisted upon it by past congresses, past presidents, and now this congress and this president.

Folks... it's a matter of math - not ideology. I explained all this yesterday in a stand-alone post and nothing has changed in the past 24 hours.

Toward this goal, I was recently chosen by my colleagues to serve as one of eight negotiators on a Conference Committee to be made up of House and Senate members working to resolve our differences.

A whole eight of you, huh? Wow... that's some institutional sacrifice on the part of the House and Senate Republican Caucuses! Very, very impressive! This means that only a mere 281 Republican members of the House and Senate are enjoying their Christmas "break" while pretty much everyone I know (who is lucky enough to have a job) is... er... at work or will be going to work later in the day.


Outstanding, Nan! Way to lift our moral!

We call upon the Senate to join us in working toward a solution that offers long-term relief to struggling families and job creators.

Actually, Nan, what you're calling for is a continuation of a situation where instead of staunching the flow of red ink reflected in the current Social Security deficit numbers... you seek bipartisan agreement to double down on this insanity!

As part of this process, I'd appreciate hearing your own personal stories about how extending these programs for only two months, rather than for a full year, affects you and your family.

Hmm... ok... here's my personal story:

I'm an American. My government is out of control. New debt is being piled on old debt at an unconscionable rate - with Republicans such as yourself abetting the process. This debt is being foisted not just upon me (against my will)... not just upon my wife (against her will)... but it's also being foisted upon my daughter (against her will) and no doubt it'll be foisted upon the backs of generations yet to be born.

Here's my personal story, Nan:

I supported you throughout the 2007-2008 Republican primary and then voted for you in the general election of 2008. So far you've been a major disappointment to me. You're a Boehner Republican and that makes you part of the problem... not part of the solution.

How does only $167 in tax savings, for two months' extension of payroll tax relief, help less than the $1,000 for a full year?

Nan... the question is: How does adding another $167 - let alone another $1,000 - to our nation's existing deficit spending and existing debt serve to strengthen America or help Americans in the long term?

Oh... I know... your reply would be "Under our plan we raise revenue elsewhere so that this tax 'holiday' extension becomes revenue neutral."

OK. First of all... you're counting your chickens before they're hatched. You're making assumptions - not guaranteeing revenue neutrality.

But second of all... and here's the killer... even if one were to believe you... "revenue neutral" isn't what's called for in a situation where you and your colleagues are spending the nation into bankruptcy with trillion dollar plus deficits and ever expanding government!

Nan... we want actual cuts in federal spending, not phoney "cuts" in spending increases!

(Seriously... do you think we're stupid? Or is it that you don't "get" the math yourself? Or... is it that you've decided your career goals trump what's best for the country? Hey... Nan... if you feel the ever-expanding welfare state is what's best for the country then somehow you've joined the wrong party!)

If you're relying on Medicare, how do you plan your health care when you do not know whether your doctor will be able to see you after two months?

You're a doctor, Nan; how much pro bono care have you given since you've joined the august ranks of the House of Representatives?

Perhaps instead of flying off to Israel on a lobbyist's dime so as to "fact find" and "show your solidarity with the Israeli People" you might better spend your personal time providing free medical care to the poor of your own congressional district. Just a thought.

(Hey... you're the one who claims to be so worried about those in need of medical care here; and you're the one who's a doctor!)

The time to do our work for the American people is now.

Nan... remind me... how much have federal expenditures gone up since you've taken office?

The time to guarantee certainty for hardworking taxpayers and job creators is now.

And by "certainty" you mean the certainty of continuing to deficit spend.

(Nan. Reading your talking points literally sickens me.)

The House stands ready to find common ground and solve the problem.

No... in fact all Republican members of the House and Senate except for you eight "Caucus Committee" members are already on vacation while most of your constituents will be working through Friday and a fair number working part of the day on Saturday and even Christmas Day itself.

I'm continuing to do my best for the constituents I serve, and to do so in positive and constructive way.

What terrifies me is that one part of me actually believes that you believe that!

Nan. I've watched you in action for the past year. You're simply not up to the job. If you're sincere about doing what's best for your constituents and the "national good" as a whole, search for someone - a real conservatives - willing and able to pick up the reins from you and run in your place next year as our Republican candidate for New York's 19th Congressional District.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Al Frigg'n Franken Defends the Constitutional Protections Which John McCain and the Neo-Cons Spit Upon

No, no... it's not just that a--hole, McCain.

Nope. Not just Lindsey "I Walk Around With My Head Up My Ass" Graham either.

As noted in my previous post on the Vast Right-Left-Center Conspiracy, expediency and immediate perceived self-interest usually trump patriotism and even simple ethics when it comes to the instincts and behavior of our politicians and our media.

In the following instance it appears that Bill Barker, Rand Paul, and... er... Al Franken are all on the side of the Angels... or at least the Constitution.

Allow offer Al Franken a "thanks" by republishing an op-ed which he wrote for the December 17th edition of "RSN" - Reader Supported News:

Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that includes provisions on detention that I found simply unacceptable. These provisions are inconsistent with the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the system our Founders established. And while I did in fact vote for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. That didn't happen, and so I could not support the final bill.

The bill that passed on Thursday included several problematic provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they're captured in the U.S.

At their core, these provisions will radically alter how we investigate, arrest, and detain individuals suspected of terrorism. What's more, they could undermine the safety of our troops stationed abroad, and they introduce new and unnecessary uncertainty into our counter-terrorism efforts.

But before I get into the details of why I opposed these detainee provisions, I think it is important to recognize that September 11th irrevocably and unalterably changed our lives. I was in Minnesota that terrible day. A number of Minnesotans died - in the towers, in the air, and at the Pentagon. In New York in the months following the attacks, I attended the funerals of brave firefighters and law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives to help rescue Americans from the towers. I can't shake those images from my mind, and I am guessing like many of you, I won't ever be able to erase the horrors of September 11th from my head.

But it is exactly in these difficult moments, in these periods of war, when our country is under attack, that we must be doubly vigilant about protecting what makes us Americans.

The Founders who crafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights were careful to draft a Constitution of limited powers - one that would protect Americans' liberty at all times - both in war, and in peace.

As we reflect on what this bill will do, I think it is important to pause and remember some of the mistakes this country has made when we have been fearful of enemy attack.

Most notably, we made a grave, indefensible mistake during World War II, when President Roosevelt ordered the incarceration of more than 110,000 people of Japanese origin, as well as approximately 11,000 German-Americans and 3,000 Italian-Americans.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Non-Detention Act to make sure the U.S. government would never again subject any Americans to the unnecessary and unjustifiable imprisonment that so many Japanese-Americans, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans had to endure. It wasn't until 1988, 46 years after the internment, when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, that the government formally acknowledged and apologized for the grave injustice that was done to citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry.

These were dark, dark periods in American history. And it is easy today to think that is all behind us.

But I fear the detention provisions in the bill forget the lessons we learned from the mistakes we made when we interned thousands of innocent Japanese, Germans, and Italians.

With this defense authorization act, Congress will, for the first time in 60 years, authorize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial, according to its advocates. This would be the first time that Congress has deviated from President Nixon's Non-Detention Act. And what we are talking about here is that Americans could be subjected to life imprisonment without ever being charged, tried, or convicted of a crime, without ever having an opportunity to prove their innocence to a judge or a jury of their peers. And without the government ever having to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

I think that denigrates the very foundations of this country. It denigrates the Bill of Rights. It denigrates what our Founders intended when they created a civilian, non-military justice system for trying and punishing people for crimes committed on U.S. soil. Our Founders were fearful of the military-and they purposely created a system of checks and balances to ensure we did not become a country under military rule. This bill undermines that core principle, which is why I could not support it.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and this wasn't the way to mark its birthday.

Franken is right, my friends.

Again, my friends... we are losing our country.

I weep for what we've allowed to happen in our names.

The Vast Right-Left-Center Conspiracy on the Payroll Tax "Holiday" Extension

I'm home. As such I'm able to listen to and occasionally catch glimpses of how Fox News is covering the "crisis" in Washington revolving around the proposal to extend last year's Payroll Tax "Holiday" into this year.

Folks... those of you who have also been watching... listening... reading... let me ask you a question:

Have you heard from the people opposed to an extension....?

Have you seen the media seek out and interview any of the House members and Senators who last year voted against the original Payroll Tax "Holiday" - even if only to ask why they've changed their minds now... assuming they've changed their minds?

Folks... this is a "conspiracy" to manipulate you - and it's being done in broad daylight!

Folks... Social Security is supposed to be separate from the general revenues and expenditures.

In reality this is only an accounting fiction, however... it's this accounting fiction upon which is based the whole concept of people paying into their Social Security and thus being owed an eventual payback.

Now of course this whole concept is itself a fraud... legally you own nothing... legally the government can take Social Security benefits away from anyone... anytime... at their sole discretion in accord with proper legislation being drafted, approved, and then either signed into law with the president's signature or put into law over his veto.

(Regular readers of Usually Right know all this... regular readers of Usually Right are familiar with Flemming v. Nestor as well as Helvering v. Davis.)

In any case, folks... back to the present day debate over this Payroll Tax "Holiday" business...

Social Security went upside down last year - 2010. By this I mean that the program took in less money from "contributions" than it sent out in checks to beneficiaries.

Last year's Payroll Tax "Holiday" doubled down on the 2010 Social Security program operating deficit via widening this year's Social Security program operating deficit.

Folks... in other words... once again the politicians robbed Social Security - only instead of robbing a surplus, spending this surplus elsewhere, and putting an I.O.U. in the "trust fund," these scummy bastards doubled down on the deficit! These bastards stole from Social Security, put an I.O.U. in the "trust fund," and gave you your own money which YOU and your children and grandchildren will have to make good on in the future! (Plus accrued interest...!!!)

Are you hearing the politicians admit this?


This is to be expected, however; why would the politicians admit to scamming you...?!?!

But what of the media...???

Notice, folks... the media are pretty much fully on board with the scheme... with the scam.

How is the media portraying this? They're almost universally portraying the "crisis" in Washington as a "crisis" concerning not whether or not the original Payroll Tax "Holiday" should have been passed in the first place - let alone dealing with the question of whether the scam should be renewed - but, rather, they're portraying further delay as bad for the American People and bad for the economy and then going on to debate who the political "winners" and "losers" will be when all is said and done!

Folks... we're the losers!

Folks... the future economy is the loser!

What these bastards in Washington are doing is attempting to bribe us - to pander to us - paying us off with our own money that we're borrowing from ourselves (and our children and grandchildren) at interest!

But this isn't how the media is playing it. In fact, they're not even going through the motions of giving this "opposing view" equal time.

Folks... I know you're busy... but I hope you've been reading "Newsbites."

You're being robbed and abused and your country... our country... is being sold down the river.

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Amazing... pushing 80 when she sang this live... no lip-synching!

(Here's the original to compare and contrast to!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If only this applied to government...

(Remember, kids... the real Santa doesn't borrow 43-cents of ever dollar spent on ordinary operating expenses from the Chinese!)

For newcomers: The actual "newsbites" are in the comments section of each newsbite post!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, December 19, 2011

God bless Aunt Ruth!

Ninety-two years young and ready to go out on the town at a moment's notice!

Yesterday was our annual "Little Italy With Aunt Ruth" day and boy, oh, boy... another fine trip to THE City!

Now, folks... we're all getting older... I'm almost ashamed to report... we were all sober upon leaving for The City!

(Hell... I'd only had two bloody mary's at brunch!)

Anyway, we picked up Aunt Ruth at around 2:00 p.m., and off we went! No traffic... we were in Midtown by 3:00 p.m. and within a half hour after that we were safely street parked on 47th Street between 6th and 5th Avenues! (Not bad, huh!?)

From there, off to see THE Tree...

(BTW: The Windows at Sachs sucked this year! Bastards! No traditional Christmas theme! Can you frigg'n believe it...?!?! Unacceptable...!!!)

After wandering Rockefeller Center, snapping plenty of pictures of The Tree, gazing upon the ice skaters down "in the pit" below, our yearly pilgrimage continued and brought us to St. Pat's, where I restrained myself (just barely) from making a break for "The Big Chair" and conducting a Mass.


(Hey... pushing 50... I'm still me!)

Back to the car... head Downtown... next stop... Little Italy!

(Got street parking on Baxter!)

After our usual stroll up and down Mulberry we settled on Benito's (The Original) for dinner.

Outstanding! As always!

A little vino... (jeezus... we are getting old... we only down a single bottle!)... some stuffed artichoke... veal dishes for me and Aunt Ruth - eggplant parmigiana for Mary The Poop... veggies... mushroom risotto... (oh... my stomach... just remembering...)... it was off for our next stop - dessert!

Where else but Cafe Roma!?

Hey... there are flashier dessert joints... but this place has been making cannolis since 1891. Let's just say they've got it down.

No problem getting out of The City. We had Aunt Ruth home by 9:30 p.m. and we were home ourselves by 10:00 p.m.

I've gotta admit, as I've gotten older and (even) less patient I've tended to avoid The City.

Frankly... it's a hassle. The toll, the traffic, the parking...


Still... once I'm there... once I'm parked...

Folks... there's only one THE City.

Especially at Christmas...!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas... AMERICA IS DYING...!

First the article...

Van Dyke Public Schools in Warren [Detroit, Michigan] were closed Friday because of bus vandalism.

A recording from the Superintendent’s office said: “Today is Friday, December 16 and due to a transportation problem, the district will be closed today.”

WWJ’s Mike Campbell was live at the scene, where the district’s 20 buses are kept in a bus yard at 9 Mile and Hoover.

Van Dyke Superintendent Joseph Pius said thieves broke into the bus yard by cutting a hole in the fence. He said the crooks stole three batteries each from 15 buses, leaving only five in operation.

Pius said the district does not have security cameras at the facility and so far, no suspects.

Police say an investigation is ongoing.

Nice, huh?

How many of these type stories have you seen or heard of during the past couple years?

Plenty of copper thieves out there; now it's batteries.

Am I claiming that America had no crime prior to the Age of Obama?

Certainly not!

Frankly, all things being equal I ordinarily wouldn't even bother making this story a "newsbite," let alone highlight it as a stand-alone post.

Ah... but last night Mary and I were out Christmas shopping "upstate" in Middletown, NY, and as we were leaving one half-empty, half-abandoned shopping center we both commented that America was falling apart... literally collapsing.

Reading the "bus vandalism" story just reminded me of last night's conversation.

Folks... I grew up in Westwood, NJ... New City, NY... and Pearl River, NY.

I grew up in the affluent suburbs.

Even now, living up in Harriman, NY, my area is considered an affluent NYC bedroom community and in most ways it is.

Well... it is unless you look too closely at the actual retail infrastructure... the multitude of Mexican restaurants and Mexican "quick marts"... the empty retail spaces... the abandoned or "re-purposed" shells of what used to be thriving auto dealerships...

At the risk of being tagged "racist" or "anti-Hispanic" let me also point out the poor Mexicans - men, women, children - seen walking the main roads at all hours of the day and night.

I point this out for one reason: Nowadays many American communities are starting to look more like Norman Rockwell's nightmares than Norman Rockwell's America.

I'm not "blaming" illegal immigrants - or even legal immigrants! I've traveled Mexico... I've traveled the Caribbean... except for (at times!) the weather, I understand it's far preferable to be poor in America than poor in Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa, or indeed most of the world.

My buddy the bigshot midtown Manhattan M&A attorney who commutes by train from his... er... "estate" in Katonah, NY... he doesn't see what I see. Katonah is the kind of "Rockwell's America" town where people go to on a nice weekend day to shop. The only reason a store would close in Katonah is to renovate for the current owner or to prepare for a new owner to enter the picture.

Folks... look around you! Much of America is literally falling apart! It's happening right in front of our eyes!

I know... I know... it's Christmas... who wants to think of such things?

Well, folks, the reason why I focus on such things isn't because I'm focused on America 2011.


The reason I focus on such things is because just like a certain fictional character we all know, I'm convinced that unless things change... America 2020... 2030... 2040... 2050... isn't going to be the country any of us would hope for it to be.

God bless America... and Merry Christmas.

Weekend Newsbites: Sat. & Sun., December 17 & 18, 2011

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a newsbites theme song along the lines of "Die, RINO Republicans, Die," but this should do...

(Enter the Comments Section of this post... check out the first comment... and you'll understand my lack of Christmas cheer.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, December 16, 2011

Folks... I apologize in advance.

I've been searching YouTube for the past hour searching for the perfect rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High" - and apparently there is none.

The closest I could come up with is this guy...


Hey... he's not me... but I guess he's ok.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is This Really the Woman You Hate?

By Sarah Palin...

Thanks to the solid new research and recent revelations in Peter Schweizer's book Throw Them All Out and the subsequent coverage on 60 Minutes, we have concrete proof to explain how members of Congress accumulate wealth at a rate astonishingly faster than the rest of Americans and have stock portfolios that outperform even the best hedge-fund managers'.

(Full disclosure: Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign policy adviser.)

From sweetheart land deals to initial public offering (IPO) stock gifts to insider trading with non-public government information, the methods of unethical wealth accumulation for our permanent political class are endless. The reaction from the Beltway establishment to the revelations concerning insider trading among members of Congress was predictable. First they denied it, then they dismissed the problem as much ado about nothing. Some said there was no need for new laws or action because the Securities and Exchange Commission could prosecute members of Congress under existing laws against insider trading.

But under current law, there is no way the SEC will ever go after a powerful congressman or senator. The SEC never has, even though insider trading prohibitions have existed since the 1930s. Here's why: Congress sets the SEC's budget, and senators approve the head of the SEC. Congress uses its power of the purse strings to threaten federal agencies that get in their way.

For example, in 2006 the FBI got a search warrant from a federal judge to comb former congressman William Jefferson's office. The FBI already had evidence that Jefferson was taking bribes. Congress was furious that the FBI would dare search a fellow member's office. Members claimed the search was unconstitutional. They even threatened to cut the Justice Department's budget in retaliation. All this despite the fact that 86% of Americans supported the FBI raid.

Does anyone really think the SEC under current law will have the courage to investigate the insider trading in Congress? Remember that this corruption (and failure to deal with it) encompasses both sides of the aisle. We fool ourselves thinking we can trust an agency dependent on Congress for its budget to investigate Congress.

I hate the idea of more laws, but because our politicians have shown a failure of ethical leadership, we must reassert the rule of law through strong new legislation that holds Congress accountable and prevents retaliation against whistle-blowers and regulatory agencies investigating corruption. Legislation has been put forward, but there are serious concerns that these bills contain major loopholes in stopping congressional insider trading and the gifting of IPO stocks from companies seeking to influence policy. In fact, Robert Khuzami, the SEC's director of enforcement, testified that the bills as written only make stock transactions related to pending or prospective legislation illegal, not any other insider information trading; and they only cover stock transactions, not options trades, exchange traded funds or mutual funds.

The bills by Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are particularly weak. Members of Congress should disclose all trading activities immediately, not after 90 days as their bills propose. More immediate disclosure deadlines (similar to the strict deadlines corporate executives adhere to when trading certain amounts of stock) are imperative for real transparency.

Members of Congress must be required to put their assets into blind and "deaf" trusts. Deaf because we must make it illegal both to trade on non-public government information and to pass on such information. It does no good to set up a blind trust run by a friend, family member, or acquaintance and then casually pass on information to that person. Technically, members of Congress can claim they weren't actually making the trade or ordering another person to make the trade; they were simply "having a conversation" concerning information any competent trader would know what to do with.

The House bill by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is a step in the right direction because it calls for every member of Congress to either establish a blind trust or abide by a three-day disclosure deadline for all trades.

(Personally, I'd like to see even stricter deadlines like the ones for corporate executives.)

We should insist on tougher provisions to close all insider trading loopholes and IPO stock gifts, and to protect whistle-blowers and regulators against congressional retaliation.

Also, remember that insider trading isn't the only corruption problem in Congress. Crony capitalism has run rampant for too long and is bankrupting our country. We need conflict of interest provisions on earmarks and other legislation to stop sweetheart land and construction deals.

Our permanent political class relies on an apathetic and uninformed public to get away with this stuff. But if there is one issue that unites Americans across the political spectrum, it's absolute disgust with the corruption of our elected leaders. Congress and the White House need to earn the American people's trust again. We The People are not going to give up until we get the sudden and relentless reform we deserve or, as the book says, "we throw them all out" in 2012.

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Well, kids... it can't be all Christmas music!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Featured Newsbite (Edward Luce writing in Sunday's FT)

America used to be exceptional.

Postwar, it maintained lower unemployment than the Europeans and a higher rate of jobs turnover, enabling it to get away with more meager benefits; “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay” was within the grasp of most. That gave America a booming middle class that until recently was the [single] most important engine of global demand.

No longer.

Today, somewhat remarkably, U.S. joblessness is higher than in much of Europe.


According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11%.

* AGAIN...

According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11%.


According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11%.


And the US consumer is mired in high personal debt.

Nothing Mr Obama has been able to accomplish since 2009...appears to have resolved that underlying structural challenge.


Indeed, the signs are that the problem is intensifying.


In the words of David Autor, a leading labor economist at Harvard University, the labor force is suffering from a growing “missing middle.” In short, the middle-skilled jobs that once formed the ballast of the world’s wealthiest middle class are disappearing.

(*SIGH*) (*NOD*)

Most people know that median U.S. income has declined sharply since the late 1990s. Fewer are aware that real incomes also fell sharply in the same period for those with [college] degrees.

Only those with postgraduate qualifications, particularly PhDs, saw net gains (for some spectacular).


The jobs crisis has many worrying manifestations, of which three are worth highlighting. Perhaps the most troublesome is the waning dynamism of the market.

People used to describe the U.S. labor market as Schumpeterian, after the Austrian neoclassical economist who depicted the cycle of “creative destruction.” Jobs might be lost rapidly in a downturn but were swiftly reallocated to more productive sectors when economic growth resumed.

That is not now the case.

According to McKinsey, the consultancy, it took six months for the U.S. economy to recover its pre-recession jobs level after the 1982 downturn.

Following the 1991 recession, that had risen to 15 months.

After 2001, it took 39 months - meaning that the economy required almost the full business cycle to regain the jobs total bequeathed by the previous one.

Following the Great Recession of 2008, McKinsey forecast that the economy would take 60 months to reach the pre-downturn jobs level.


In December 2007, the US economy employed 146 million people. Four years later, it languishes at 140 million [employed].


At the current rate of job creation it will take another two and a half years to regain 2007 levels [and even] that understates the problem, since in that time the population will have risen by more than 10 million!


America is employing a decreasing proportion of its people. At the start of the recession, the employment-to-population rate was 62.7%. The rate is now 58.5%.


Last month, unemployment [technically] fell from 9% to 8.6%.


On the surface, this looked like a welcome leap in job creation. In reality, more than half of the fall was accounted for by a decrease in the numbers “actively seeking” work.


The 315,000 who dropped out of the labor market far exceeded the 120,000 new jobs!



According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11%.


Some have moved from claiming unemployment benefits to disability benefits, and have thus permanently dropped out of the labor force.

Others have fallen back on the charity of relatives.

Others still have ended up in prison.

(In 1982 there were just over 500,000 in jail; today there are 2.5 million - more than the combined population of Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Kansas City, according to the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Center, a Washington-based think-tank.)

[A] growing share of whatever jobs the economy is still managing to create is in the least productive areas. Of the five occupations forecast by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be the fastest growing between now and 2018, none requires a degree. These are registered nurses, “home health aides,” customer service representatives, food preparation workers and “personal home care aides.” [S]uch jobs cannot replace the pay and conditions once typical of [the manufacturing] sector. “The food preparation industry cannot sustain a middle class,” says Dan DiMicco, chief executive of Nucor, one of America’s two remaining big steel companies, whose company motto is “a nation that builds and makes things.”


According to a study this year by Michael Spence, a Nobel Prize-winning economist from Stanford University, and Sandile Hlatshwayo, all net job creation since 1990 has been in the “non-tradable sector.”


Between 1990 and 2008, the US added 27.3 million jobs, of which almost every one was in services.

Almost half [of these jobs] were in healthcare or the public sector - both areas in which productivity growth is virtually zero.

(Conversely, manufacturing’s impressive productivity growth has tracked its shrinking headcount.)

If there is an explanation as to why middle-class incomes have stagnated in the past generation, this is it: whatever jobs the U.S. is able to create are in the least efficient sectors - the types that neither computers nor China have yet found a way of eliminating.

* AND NOW... (READ ON...)

That trend is starting to lap at the feet of more highly educated American workers. And, as the shift continues, higher-paying jobs are also increasingly at risk, argue Prof Spence and Ms. Hlatshwayo.



Barker's Newsbites: Monday, December 12, 2011

Ya just can't have too much Andy Williams during the Christmas season!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sat., Dec. 10, 2011 Iowa GOP Candidates' Forum

Ron Paul was great. No doubt about it.

And notice folks... the other candidates have learned not to go after him...

That said, I don't have the courage - the faith in the American People - necessary to back Ron Paul over Newt Gingrich.

I fear that even if by some miracle Paul were able to get the GOP nomination, the mainstream media (with the cooperation and support of strange bedfellows from the neo-con Right on the one hand and the anti-libertarian Left on the other hand) would ensure that Ron Paul was defeated just as soundly as another great American was, a man whose views were ahead of his time was - Barry Goldwater - by the vile Lydon Baines Johnson.

Folks... it's not about what I wish were true... it's about what I fear is true.

Bachmann? Santorum? Perry?


While I thank them and respect them for being the three responsible Republicans up on that stage last night who came out against an extension of the payroll tax cut, none of them is going to win the nomination and I fear that of the three, only Perry would have a real chance of beating Obama in a general election.

In a nutshell, while both Bachmann and Santorum are right on many, many issues, they're also wrong on many, many issues.

(Yes, yes... I know... this applies to ALL candidates! Just bear with me... hear me out...)

Bachmann comes across as a bit unhinged, over-eager, hyper, and frankly... none too bright.

(Example: At one point she starts off by noting she's 55 years old and then goes off on a tangent about how she's been fighting for the people for 50 years... YOU DO THE MATH!)

As for Santorum... he comes across as a bit of a weasel...

(Example: Look at the way he went after Newt on the Palestinian issue.)

And Perry...? He's damaged goods.

Though I could see Perry as Newt's VP choice!

In any case... continuing... I see three people as coming out of last night's debates as clear losers:

1) Geoge Stephanopoulos

2) Diane Sawyer

3) Mitt Romney

Stephanopoulos played the same old gotchya games, trying to incite personal fireworks amongst the candidates as opposed to trying to sort through their actual policy differences.

Folks... I can't stress strongly enough how deceitful, destructive, and downright dumb the liberal media are going to be over the next 11 months. They know that substantial numbers of ordinary Americans are on to their game, but they also know that if they can just get Obama over the finish line one more time...

In other words, folks... don't believe a thing you hear, see, or read via the media absent doing your own contextual fact checking.

As for Romney...

He can across as defensive, panicked, slimy... and certainly not up to the task of out-debating - let alone out-thinking - Newt Gingrich.

Folks... it's true: This year it's ABO - "Anyone But Obama."

But as far as the GOP primaries go... I believe it should be - must be - ABR... "Anyone But Romney!"

(Notice I'm not even including Huntsman in the equation; he's basically a non-entity.)

Romney is a slime. The fact that he's "won" the endorsements of people like Senator Lisa Murkowski and my own Congresswoman, Westchester County's own Nan Hayworth, should tell you all you need to know about who Romney truly is.

Newt's not perfect - not by a long-shot. But the only Republican presidential nomination candidate I like more than Gingrich is Ron Paul... and unfortunately... I don't believe Ron Paul could win a general election.

Rick Perry could beat Obama... but he could get beaten by Obama just as easily.

Michele Bachmann? I can't see her winning against Obama. She's just not polished enough. The Establishment (including the Republican Establishment) would do to her what they did to Sarah Palin.

Think about it...

Santorum...? He might be able to beat Obama. If elected, though, of all the candidates - including Obama - I fear Rick Santorum would be the potential president and commander-in-chief most likely to get us involved in yet another shooting war... a major war.

If you missed last night's debate - which I'm guessing most of you did... I certainly did... I was out Christmas shopping - watch it here.

Have questions about Newt? Start here.

I'm not asking anyone to take everything - or for that matter, anything - Newt says at face value. Nor am I asking you to take what's on Newt Gingrich's website as gospel. All I'm saying is that his website is a good starting point.

Folks... one thing I know and that you can take as gospel... our country can't take another four years of the Obama administration.

May God Bless America...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, December 9, 2011

While I deeply respect and admire Mr. Keith, allow me to suggest a small, teensie-weensie change...

Hand Blown Pint Glass...

Just a few tweeks of the lyrics here and there...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, December 8, 2011

They're on, baby!

225/45-18 Bridgestone Blizzaks... $164 per tire... $45 for shipping... no tax... no tire disposal fee... arrived in two days!

Mounted, balanced, and swapped onto Sammie for $49 by my good friends at Walmart!

Seriously, folks... if you live where it snows and you don't swap your "all-season" tires for snows for the winter... you're a moron!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beware the Mainstream CONSERVATIVE Media!

Folks... the GOP Establishment is clearly on the Romney bandwagon.

As you know... I'm not.

Neither for that matter are most registered Republicans, let alone most conservatives.

Two of my "go to" daily newsbite sources are of course the Wall Street Journal and National Review Online. Understand, folks, both these publications are more or less "Establishment" GOP outlets.

I could go on and on, but bottom line... the Fix is In.

Or... so they think!

Folks... each and every one of you who is a registered Republican or who resides in a state with open primaries will make your own choice come your Republican primary day.

Some of you will vote for Ron Paul. Others will vote for Gingrich. Some of you will vote for Cain - even now that he's effectively ended his active campaign. Then of course there are the other Republicans candidates.

Whomever you vote for - even if it's Romney - I respect your choice.

The point I want to make here is simply this: To reiterate... the Fix is In!

Only... it's not!!!

What I mean is that you can tell the Republican Establishment to stuff it!

You can tell the Romneybots at Fox News, at the Wall Street Journal, at National Review Online and elsewhere that your vote is your vote and that the Republican Party is your Republican Party - not the "Establishment's" Party!

Personally, if I could snap my fingers and "appoint" Ron Paul President I would.

I can't.

Short of me being able to "appoint" Ron Paul President it is my sad but honest analysis that Ron Paul will never be President of the United States.

I'm supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination.

Is Newt perfect? Hardly.

Do I have my problems with Newt? Yep.

Do I fully trust Newt Gingrich? No. But then again is there any other candidate (besides Ron Paul) with whom I agree more often and trust more....? No!

Do I distrust Mitt Romney more than any other candidate? Damn straight...!!!

Will I vote for a Republican presidential ticket with Mitt Romney at its head?


Yes. Yes I will. If need be... yes I will.

Do I truly believe that Newt Gingrich has the best chance of beating Obama - better than Romney's chances? Yes! I honestly do!

Newt Gingrich will verbally tear President Obama apart limb by limb during debates which I have no doubt will been watched - live - by the largest American (and foreign) audience in history!

Newt Gingrich will explain conservatism to non-Leftists in such a way as to attract as much - and frankly I believe more - support from so-called "independents" as would go to a candidate Romney and certainly more support from them than Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Santorum would receive.

Folks... you're certainly free to disagree with my analysis. But here's what I'm asking: Don't disagree based upon what you hear from "our" conservative media. Make sure that your final judgment is indeed your final judgment.

Thank You Senator Rand Paul

By the Very, Very Honorable Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY)

I, like most Americans, want to ensure that we punish and prevent terrorism.

However, we must do so in a way that protects the rights of American citizens.

In his recent column, Andrew C. McCarthy simply has his facts wrong when he claims that last week’s Senate debate on the 2012 defense-authorization bill was not about American citizens.

It was.

In fact, the protection of American citizens is largely what my energies last week were directed toward.

The amendments I championed - both Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-CO) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) - were specifically offered in order to protect American citizens from the indefinite detention allowed in the underlying bill.

All of these amendments failed, but I was able to defeat an amendment that would have allowed American citizens to be held indefinitely even after they had been tried and found not guilty.

At no time did I argue that aliens should be given the same rights as American citizens. That was not the basis of the debate of any amendment last week. Yet Mr. McCarthy uses this strawman throughout his article.

When the facts are presented clearly to Americans - that their own rights and liberties are threatened under this sort of unchecked, unconstitutional executive authority - I believe they will side with keeping their liberty.

Supporters of indefinite detention believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld supports their view. But while the Court in Hamdi held that U.S. citizens captured in combat in Afghanistan may be detained, it also held that they must, at a minimum, be granted many of the traditional aspects of constitutional due process - including a “meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for the detention before a neutral decisionmaker,” notice of the asserted charges, an opportunity to rebut the assertions, and, most important, the right to counsel.

Also, the Court’s holding pertained only to U.S. citizens captured in combat in Afghanistan. Hamdi does not address non-combatants captured in the United States.

The argument in Congress this week was about whether we should expand the possibility of indefinite detention to include U.S. citizens accused of association with terrorism. This could conceivably apply to non-combatants. This could also conceivably include U.S. citizens falsely accused of association with terrorism. If you allow the government the unlimited power to detain citizens without a jury trial, you are exposing yourself to the whim of those in power. That is a dangerous game.

The FBI publishes characteristics of people you should report as possible terrorists. The list includes the possession of “Meals Ready to Eat,” weatherproofed ammunition, and high-capacity magazines; missing fingers; brightly colored stains on clothing; paying for products in cash; and changes in hair color. I fear that such suspicions might one day be used to imprison a U.S. citizen indefinitely without trial.

Just this year, the Vice President referred to the Tea Party as a bunch of terrorists. So, I think we should be cautious in granting the power to detain without trial.

Nevertheless, Mr. McCarthy avers that presidents are “highly unlikely to abuse this particular power.”

I am more of the Madison persuasion than Mr. McCarthy; I am worried that since governments are not constituted of angels, we must take care to restrain government with specific rules of conduct.

I am very conscious of the fact that the battlefield is not a place to read Miranda rights. In my recent opposition to detaining U.S. citizens, I specifically emphasized that my statement referred to citizens apprehended in the U.S., and not on the battlefield.

In the 1942 case Ex parte Quirin, the Court cited, and did not criticize, the government’s assertion that the one detained German alleged to be a naturalized U.S. citizen may have given up his citizenship by taking up arms against the United States. I tend to agree that taking up arms indicates a renunciation of citizenship. I have informed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that I support legislation that would clarify when a citizen’s actions may cause him or her to lose citizenship, and I will work to give this debate more clarity.

It is important to remember that civil liberties need defenders. The Bush administration in Hamdi argued for indefinite detention of a U.S. citizen without even the minimum requirements of due process. Bush lost. The Court held that the executive branch does not have unlimited power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens, and that citizens must be afforded basic due-process protections.

This debate is an important one, but it must begin with facts, not inaccurate accusations.

Contrary to McCarthy’s assertions, I do not argue for giving alien enemies constitutional protections. I do, however, argue for preserving U.S. citizens’ constitutional rights.

Some conservatives may choose to trust the government to always do the right thing, but I fear the day when leaders come to power who would abuse that power. Therefore, I will continue to fight for limitations on it.

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Remember the days before computer generated special effects...?

Man... those car chases were exciting!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Damn You All...

...for destroying America.

Yes... to paraphrase Lenin... we've let the communists, the fascists, the foreigners, sell us the rope we're using to hang ourselves.

They're even "kind" enough to let us buy the rope on credit!

Oh... my audience here...? The best of the best! You folks understand what I'm saying and hopefully you even act upon the ideas we hold in common.

No... this rant goes out to the ignorant... to the stupid... to the self-destructive masses who will never read my blog and who in any case read very, very little.

How much "Made in China" crap are you gonna buy this December?

How much "Made Anywhere But Here" garbage are you gonna purchase as Christmas gifts?

Hundreds of dollars worth? Surely! Thousands of dollar worth? No doubt many of you will.

Right now there are literally tens of millions of Americans out in the malls and the stores and online buying crap they can't afford for friends and loved ones who don't need it.

God only knows what percentage of my my fellow Americans (the "Idiot Class" I call them) carry monthly balances over on their credit cards and end up paying not just for the unnecessary purchases they make, but added to this outflow are hefty interest charges!

Yes... if you carry balances on your credit cards...

Hey, this sort of stupidity... this level of irresponsibility... would be bad enough in and of itself, but to make it worse, we're sending the money overseas!

We're building factories abroad - not here!

We're "stimulating" hiring overseas - not here!

Oh... sure... some jobs are created here, but by and large not the sort of jobs one can support an American middle class lifestyle on!

You idiots... you fools... with every "Made Anywhere But Here" purchase you're hammering another nail into our children's and grandchildren's American Dream.

Don't you see that...???
Are you truly so ignorant and uncaring...???

I know that most of you reading this rant agree with me... understand what I'm saying... but what does our united choir mean in reality? I'll tell you what it means - it means nothing!

As I sit typing... as you sit reading... millions of Americans are out their chipping away at the foundation of our nation's economy.

Did you read my "featured newsbite" of Friday commenting upon the "decline" in unemployment? Understand, folks... even if YOU folks "get it"... chances are few of your friends, family members, colleagues, or those upon whom you depend "get it."

Nope. The average American will read the headline "Unemployment Declines to 8.6%" and not even bother to read the article. Worse... if he or she were to read the article... chances are that the little "caveats" I pointed out in my blog posting would go right over the reader's head.

Merry frigg'n Christmas, folks... Ho, ho, frigg'n ho...

Now I know that there's no way to totally avoid foreign products, but I'm begging you... take this rant to heart. At least TRY not spend hundreds of dollars on foreign "slave labor" produced trinkets this... er... "Holiday Season."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Featured - Highlighted - Newsbite of the Day for 12/2/11

Unemployment in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in November to a two-year low...


...while employers added fewer workers than projected...


...and earnings eased...

* UH-HUH...

...indicating the labor market is making limited progress.


The labor participation rate declined to 64% from 64.2%.



The decrease in the jobless rate reflected a 278,000 gain in employment at the same time 315,000 Americans left the labor force.


Private hiring, which excludes government agencies, rose 140,000 after a revised gain of 117,000. It was projected to rise by 150,000, the survey showed.



Average hourly earnings fell 0.1% to $23.18, today’s report showed.


The so-called underemployment rate - which includes part-time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking - decreased to 15.6% from 16.2%.


The report also showed an increase in long-term unemployed Americans. The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more increased as a percentage of all jobless, to 43% from 42.4%.



Barker's Newsbites: Friday, December 2, 2011

Does anyone watch "Last Man Standing"?

It's a cute show!

Pie rack, anyone...???

Catchy, huh...?!?!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

Just received an email from my buddy Mike D.

Mike asks me to post the following link here at Usually Right.

No problemo, ol' buddy, ol' pal! My pleasure...!!!

Gotta be honest, though... neither the song itself nor the singing resonated with me... but the message surely does.

(Frankly, folks... I urge you to view the video twice; the first time just watch the video with the sound off and then watch again with the sound on. Feel free to tell me - and Mike - what you think!)

The video is of a 7-year-old girl named Rhema Marvanne who "loves her father and her dog, Mojo," singing a song called "Note to God."

The message? Broadly, I suppose the song is about praying for peace, but specifically the video revolves around our troops and their children.

It's pretty moving. Sadness... and joy. It'll make you think. It'll make you reflect upon the sacrifices a relatively small group of our fellow Americans are making daily on behalf of the nation's will as expressed by our politicians who send our troops into harm's way.

Anyway... God Bless Our Troops and Their Families.

Stephen Preston, Jeh Johnson, Barak Obama, and the Complete and Utter Trashing of the Constitution of the United States

Top national security lawyers in the Obama administration say U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida.

The lawyers were asked at a national security conference Thursday about the CIA killing of Anwar al-Alwaki, a U.S. citizen and leading al-Qaida figure. He died in a Sept. 30 U.S. drone strike in the mountains of Yemen.

The government lawyers - CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson - did not directly address the al-Alwaki case. But they said U.S. citizens don't have immunity when they're at war with the United States.

Johnson said only the executive branch, not the courts, are equipped to make decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.

Now, folks... instead of directly demolishing the argument of Preston and Johnson, allow me to simply attach to this post a few excerpts from the Constitution of the United States and our Bill of Rights:

From Article 1, Section 8; The Constitution of the United States of America:

The Congress shall have power to...provide for the common defense...provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States...define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the Law of Nations...declare war, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water...suppress insurrections and repel invasions...

From Article 1, Section 9; The Constitution of the United States of America:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

From Article 3, Section 2; The Constitution of the United States of America:

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

From Article 3, Section 2; The Constitution of the United States of America:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

From Article 4, Section 2; The Constitution of the United States of America:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

The 5th Amendment of the Bill of Rights attached to The Constitution of the United States:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The 6th Amendment of the Bill of Rights attached to The Constitution of the United States:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Now, folks, while I cheerfully admit that my knowledge of Western political philosophy - particularly the theoretical
underpinnings of our specific Anglo-Saxon English Common Law influenced political system - coupled with my broad historical knowledge and thus contextual understanding of the Constitution gives me a leg up over the average American...

(Add to this my inherent intellectual honesty, consistency, and ethical integrity and I also cheerfully claim greater credibility than the average law school graduate and member of the bar!)

...but that said - indeed, when all is said and done - I submit to you that by simply reading the actual words our Founders gave us as the Law of the Land, most of you will immediately pick up on why I say that Preston, Johnson, Obama, and all who believe as these three do care nothing for our Constitution... care nothing for our Bill of Rights... and care nothing for morality or ethics.

Did you read Tuesday's newsbites, folks? Again... I'm begging you... if you haven't, then please, by all means, read the last two newsbites I posted within the comments section of Tuesday's newsbites.

We're losing our country, folks.

Federal power unchecked by the Constitution... unrestrained by the Rule of Law... is a danger to everything we love about America.

Please... I'm begging you... pay attention!