Saturday, December 13, 2014

Affordable Care Excise Tax, Part I

What the Individual Mandate means for you and your family

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Under the Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2014, State governments, insurers, employers, and selected individuals are supposed to share in the responsibility of providing health insurance coverage.

The Act’s shared responsibility provision, also known as the individual mandate, requires you and each member of your family to either:

  • Have minimum essential coverage; or
  • An exemption from the responsibility to have minimum essential coverage; or
  • Pay an Excise Tax.

You will report minimum essential coverage, claim an exemption therefrom, or make an excise tax payment when you file your 2014 federal income tax return in 2015.

Now let’s stop and think about what this means. What it means for me, since I chose not to purchase health insurance this year, instead choosing to pay my own health care expenses out-of-pocket, is that on top of what I have already paid this year (which incidentally comes to less than 10% of my income so none of it will be tax deductible), I am also being punished by way of an excise tax. An excise tax for what exactly? For not purchasing a service which I deem to be worth less than its cost, due to high deductibles coupled with premiums?

'State of Being' Tax

In the United States, an Excise tax is an indirect tax on listed items. In constitutional law sense, an excise tax is usually an event tax (as opposed to a state of being tax). A recent exception to this "state of being" principle is the "minimum essential coverage" tax under Internal Revenue Code section 5000A as enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148), whereby an indirect tax is imposed on the condition of not having health insurance coverage.

In case you didn’t catch that, excise taxes are usually assessed on events, such as the purchase of a quantity of a particular item like gasoline, diesel fuel, liquor, wine, cigarettes, airline tickets, tires, trucks, etc. Such a tax is usually included in the price of the item—not listed separately like sales taxes. To minimize tax accounting complications, excise taxes are generally imposed on quantities like gallons of fuel, gallons of wine or liquor, packets of cigarettes, etc. and are usually paid by the manufacturer or retailer.

Other examples of excise taxes imposed in the U.S. relate to such things as luxury passenger automobiles, heavy trucks and trailers, "gas guzzler" vehicles, tires, petroleum products, coal, vaccines, medical devices, recreational equipment, firearms (see National Firearms Act), communications services (see Telephone federal excise tax), air transportation, policies issued by foreign insurance companies, wagering, water transportation, removal of hard mineral resources from deep seabeds, chemicals, certain imported substances, non-deductible contributions to certain employer plans, and many other subjects.

Excise taxes are normally passed on to the consumer who eventually consumes the product. The price for which the item is eventually sold is usually not considered in calculating the amount of the excise tax. Income taxes, value added taxes (VATs), sales taxes, and transfer taxes are examples of other excise taxes but are typically not called such (in the United States) because of the different ways they are imposed. In the U.S. the only taxes called excise taxes are essentially taxes on quantities of enumerated items (whiskey, wine, tobacco, gasoline, tires, etc.). Other taxes on certain events may technically be considered excise taxes, but may or may not be collected under the name "excise tax."

Virtually every excise tax levied since the founding of this nation (perhaps since the dawn of time) has been levied for actively participating in some event. If you buy gasoline, you pay an excise tax on each gallon purchased, but if you don’t own a vehicle and don’t purchase gasoline, the tax is not levied. If you use a land-based or mobile telephone service, you pay an excise tax, but if you don’t have a phone, you don’t get charged. If you legally purchase tobacco, you pay an excise tax, but if you don’t smoke, you are spared. And I might add, if you are caught bootlegging a couple of loose cigarettes (loosies) on a street corner, you’re liable to get choked by a corybantic cop, and left to die on a New York sidewalk.

Anyway, will someone please explain to me why a person choosing not to engage in an event should be taxed? In effect, I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. If I pay the premiums for the least expensive health insurance policy that the government insists I can afford (without so much as bothering to check my balance sheet), won’t I still have to pay the first $6,300, or more, in medical expenses to meet its annual deductible? Yes. And, if my out-of-pocket expenses turn out to be less than the deductible, barring some major catastrophe, won’t I have needlessly wasted my money? Yes. So what’s the point?

If it was up to me, and by the way it should be, I would purchase a low-cost catastrophic health care plan, just in case something happens down the road. The only thing standing in my way is the federal government. That’s because under the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, catastrophic plans are only allowed to persons either under the age of 30, or to those over 30 who wish to go through the torture of completing an eleven, or more, page hardship exemption application, which must then be approved by a nameless, faceless government bureaucrat.

Catastrophe in the Making

My first problem with having to complete a hardship application is that I shouldn’t have to. If I want to buy a catastrophic plan, I should have the freedom to do so. Secondly, after looking over the application and all the information my government wants from me, my initial thoughts are as follows: Why don’t they know most of this already? Followed by, it’s none of your damned business. Here are just a few examples from the requisite exemption application.

  1. Tell us about yourself (name, address, county, phone numbers, and email address). – [Okay.]

  2. Tell us about members of your household (your spouse and dependents). – [Okay.]

  3. Provide everyone in your household’s name, date of birth, sex, social security number. – [Incidentally, just beneath the space where your SSN is entered, it says in bold type: You are not required to have an SSN to get this exemption. Really, but if I don’t have a social security number, why would I need an exemption? Duh!]

  4. Are you pregnant? – [Not that I’m aware of.]

  5. Were you in foster care at age 18 or older? – [Uh, what does this have to do with anything?]

  6. Have you used tobacco in the last 6 months? – [If I did will my request be denied?]

  7. Are you a U.S. Citizen or U.S. national? – [Shouldn’t you wizards know this by my name, date of birth, and social security number entered at the top? Don’t tell me you didn’t bother to add citizenship status to your Master-File database.]

  8. Are you a naturalized or derived citizen? – [Uh, what perchance is a derived citizen? And again, if you don’t know this by the information entered above, then you have serious yet solvable problems.]

  9. Optional: What is your race? – [Do I have a better shot if I’m a person of color?]

  10. Are you enrolled in health care coverage? – [If I was enrolled in health care coverage, then I wouldn’t be wasting my time?]

  11. Are you offered health coverage from a job? – [I’m self-employed, and haven’t offered myself coverage.]

  12. What company do you work for? – [Does it really matter?]

  13. How much money do you make and how often are you paid? – [Ah, now we’re getting down to brass tacks.]

  14. How many hours do you work each week? – [Too many, but since I’m not paid by the hour, does it really matter?]

  15. When did you start this job, and when will it end? – [When will it end? Perhaps sooner than it should, due to this lousy law.]

  16. What months do you expect to have income from this job this year and next? – [Who knows? Hopefully all of them.]

  17. Are you self-employed? If so, what type of work do you do, and how much is your net income? – [Yes. Why does it matter what I do? And I’m not sure what my net income is yet, because you guys are still working out the final details of the 2014 tax law. However, I’m pretty sure I’m not making much headway burning valuable time and energy reading all of your rules and regulations, and filling out this application.]

  18. When did you start this self-employment and when will it end? – [When will it end? Why don’t you tell me, since you’re mucking up the works, and have predetermined that I can afford your prescribed coverage?]

  19. What month’s do you expect income from self-employment over the next two years? – [Two years? I’m not sure, but at this pace my prospects are dimming.]

  20. Tell us about your other income (unemployment, retirement, pension, farming/fishing, rental/royalty, alimony, social security, etc…) – [Gross, or after expenses, principal debt repayments and taxes?]

  21. Now tell us about deductions you claim on your tax return (alimony paid, IRA deduction, student loan interest, and other…) – [What about my out-of-pocket medical expenses, mortgage interest, property taxes, state income taxes, employee business expenses and other itemized deductions? I guess these don’t count.]

  22. Now do the same for your spouse and any dependents you claim on your tax return. – [Damn it. Oh, I almost forgot; good thing I’m still technically single.]

  23. Proof of yearly income: Submit proof of each type of income listed for each person on this application (copy of your most recent tax return, original W-2 and 1099 Forms, one or more pay stubs, financial statements, Schedule C, Form 1120S, lease agreements, court documents for alimony, etc.) – [Are you kidding me? Anything else before we get to the long-awaited catastrophic health plan?]

  24. Just one more question before you sign. Is anyone listed on this application incarcerated? – [WTH? Not yet anyway.]

  25. Now just sign, date and wait. – [Well alrighty then, but since this statement is not sworn under penalties of perjury, does that mean it can be a complete fabrication without consequence? And since this is a pseudo-government agency, how long before I get an answer — months or years?]

After assessing the prospect of completing and submitting the requisite hardship application along with supporting documents, and awaiting approval or denial from a faceless, faraway bureaucrat; solely to obtain permission to purchase a catastrophic health care plan, which is all I really want and need; I’m seriously leaning towards just forking over the 1% excise tax next year, another 2% in 2016, and 2.5% in 2017. What a catastrophe! So not only am I paying my actual out-of-pocket health care expenses, some of which already include excise taxes, but on top of that I’m being unfairly taxed (based on a percentage of gross income above the filing threshold) for the privilege of doing so. This is a travesty of justice.

The bottom line: An “event tax” should not be imposed on anyone who chooses not to participate in the event. The Affordable Care Excise Tax, being levied against Americans for not purchasing health insurance, is thus immoral. No American should be subject to an excise tax for choosing to take personal responsibility for his or her own health care expenses, without insurance. And, no American, desiring to do so, should be denied, or forced to jump through hoops for the right to purchase a catastrophic health care policy. You may proceed with this unjust confiscation of my money (if you will), and then go blank yourselves, or you can do what only true Americans would do. Open the damned “marketplace” so that health insurance plans available to selected Americans are available to all Americans.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lessons from the Ferguson Fiasco

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." - James 3:17 (NIV)

- By: Larry Walker II -

It was back in the late 90's when a good friend of mine, an old Air Force veteran named Dan, relayed to me that he had recently killed a young Black male at a bus stop. When I first heard this I was shocked and in disbelief. Old Dan must have been close to 70 years old at the time, his body riddled with cancer, brain tumors, and other serious ailments, worn-down by years of battling with the disease of alcoholism. To me, he didn't appear capable of killing anyone. I had talked with him every day since the incident, but he didn't bother to mention a word about it for more than a week.

Dan was a Russian immigrant, a tough old bird, and a proud veteran. Yet his physical ailments eventually got the best of him. He passed away just a few months after the incident; God rest his soul. He spent the last day of his life sober, and doing the same as he had on the day he took that young man’s life, helping young folks recover from their struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. Here's the story he told me.

He had just gotten off of work and walked to the bus stop to make his way home. It was raining that day, so he was carrying an umbrella. As he sat there, smoking a cigarette while waiting on the bus, a car full of young Black males crept by slowly on the opposite side of the street, its occupants staring him down. Suddenly, one guy shouted out, "What you looking at cracker?" Dan tried to ignore them, but his heart began to race due to the threatening tone.

Then the predictable happened, his worst nightmare. The car made a U-turn, and slowly pulled up, parking just a few yards away. Suddenly, a young man darted out of the vehicle and began walking directly towards him, one hand concealed under his coat. Again he shouted out, "I said, what the eff you looking at cracker?" Dan replied, "I'm not looking at anything, just waiting on the bus." The young man looked around, and then sped up his approach, his hand yet concealed.

When he got within a couple of feet, that's when my friend reacted. He took the only weapon at his disposal, his trusty umbrella, and lunged at the perpetrator, thrusting it straightway through his abdomen, a fatal blow, killing him instantly. The car sped off. The police arrived within minutes, and determined that the deceased indeed had a concealed firearm under his coat and had intended to do my friend harm. The cops believed Dan's story and he wasn't charged with any crime. It was clearly a case of self-defense. There was no public outcry. Not even a story on the evening news. It was just one of those senseless deaths that occur nearly every day across this nation.

Dan-o didn't want to mention it to me, because he thought I would be upset over a White man taking the life of a Black youth, but I reassured my friend that he had done right. I couldn't care less whether the perpetrator was Black, White, Brown, Red or Yellow; he had no right to threaten my friend’s life. I was more than happy that Dan had survived. Now let's turn to Ferguson, Missouri.

Lessons from Ferguson

I don't know any of the parties involved in the Ferguson Fiasco. I've been to St. Louis, where I recall being warned not to venture into certain parts of town alone, but I’ve never been to Ferguson, and don't think I'll ever visit. The point of this post is not to pass judgment, but to glean whatever lessons we may from the tragic events surrounding the death of Michael Brown. My hope is to aid in preventing the next senseless death of perhaps one young man or woman, no matter their race.

I stand firmly against police brutality, having been a victim in the past, and I’m not afraid to call them out on it. My stomach turns every time I hear about an unjust killing, whether committed by police officers, the military or anyone else. However, at the same time, I am keenly aware that not a day passes in America without some young thug robbing, beating, kidnapping, or taking the life of an innocent victim. Sometimes they get away with it for a space, but eventually, thanks to the police, they get caught. Other times they pick on the wrong person, like old Dan, and wind up severely injured or dead.

In no way am I implying that the police are always right. Far too often they use unnecessary force, and too often they unjustly injure or take the life of an innocent victim, who is merely attempting to comply. However, there is a reason we have police officers, and there is a reason they carry firearms. With this in mind, what lessons can we learn from the Ferguson Fiasco?

Mike Brown, the young man killed by a police officer in Ferguson, committed a crime when he shoplifted a box of cigars from a local merchant, and then strong-armed one of its employees on his way out the door. The incident was caught on tape, so there’s no way it can be disputed. Now here's a newsflash for the rabble-rousers: Stealing is wrong. That's the Eighth Commandment for you simpletons. "Thou shalt not steal." It’s also a Class A Misdemeanor in Missouri, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Assaulting a store clerk, or anyone else, is also a crime, punishable by anywhere from 15 days in jail and a $500 fine, up to 15 years in prison.

If you’re not aware that theft and assault are wrong, then you haven't been brought up right. If Mike Brown wasn't aware, then we can blame only one of two parties. His ignorance was either due to bad parenting, or his failure to obey the Fifth Commandment, which teaches us to honor our mother and father. Either Mike Brown's parents failed to teach him right from wrong, or he disobeyed their instruction. But so far, I haven't heard a word of edification, from any of the so-called community leaders or rabble-rousers, instructing our youth that theft and assault are wrong. These are the first lessons of the Ferguson Fiasco.

Mike Brown's third, fourth and fifth mistakes occurred when he disobeyed the instructions of a police officer, disrespected him and ultimately struck him in the face. The truth is had Mr. Brown risen his hands from the get go, at the moment the police officer commanded him to stop; he would still be alive today. The time to put your hands up is at the moment you’re confronted by a police officer, not after insulting him or her, punching them in the face, and struggling for control of their weapon. For you simpletons, that means get your hands out of your pockets, out of your waistband, from up under your coat, drop anything you’re holding and raise both hands in the air. This is the final lesson of the Ferguson Fiasco.

Since when did it become acceptable behavior for a young man to strike a cop? If you think this is acceptable, and you choose to practice it in your own affairs, then your days will likely be short and miserable. If you are a Christian, the book of Romans, Chapter 13, versus 2-5 teaches us that police officers are appointed by God, and when we resist them, we will incur God's judgment. It further advises that we have no reason to fear a police officer so long as we are obeying the law. However, it also warns us that if we are up to no good, we should be afraid, because they don't carry a sidearm in vain.

"Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience."

If you’re not a Christian, then why not apply some good old common sense? The surest way to get roughed-up, injured or shot by the police is to resist them, disobey their orders, get smart with them, or even more stupidly, to walk up and strike one of them in the face. Thus far, I haven't heard any useful lessons from so-called community leaders and rabble-rousers regarding this. Instead, they seem to be justifying Mike Brown's behavior, while leaping to judgment against one appointed to deal with such miscreants. So here’s what I will ask them.

Is punching a police officer right or wrong? And when they seek to evade the question, I will answer it for them. It was wrong yesterday, it's wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow. If you errantly choose to strike a gun-packing police officer, know that you will likely wind up in a hospital bed, or worst yet in the county morgue. Don't do it. If a police officer orders you to put your hands in the air, on a wall or to get on the ground, if you value your own life, you best shut your mouth and do exactly what he or she says. Worry about what comes next later.

If you don't believe any of the above, then open your ears and hear wisdom. I speak from experience. When a police officer asks you a question, answer it, and then shut your mouth. If he or she orders you to do something, do it. The same applies to judges. Click here to see what happens when you get smart with a judge. The point is when dealing with local authorities; you need to show them the utmost respect. If you don't respect your own parents, or anyone else's, respect the police. If you don't respect yourself or anyone else, you had best respect a judge.

The bottom line:

We can’t bring Mike Brown back, but we can learn from the circumstances surrounding his death, and pass it on in hopes of saving the next life. If you don't want to be a statistic, don't commit strong-armed robbery, then punch a cop in the face and try to snatch his or her gun. Guilty or innocent, the first thing you do when confronted by the police is put your hands up. Stealing, looting and shoplifting are wrong. Threatening to cause, and/or causing bodily injury are wrong. Arson and destruction of property are wrong. Strong-armed robbery is wrong. Disobeying authorities is wrong. And, striking a police officer is a potentially fatal action. The Golden Rule should be applied in all matters. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

References:

Trayvon’s Fatal Mistake

Hope and Change on Ice

Paranoid LA Cops: Shoot first, use brain never.

Image via: Live Your Life - The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: Day 4

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Political Racism

Ending Identity Politics

Eradicating Identity Politics

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Those who say that Republican’s don’t like President Obama’s policies, solely because of the color of his skin, tend to forget that he’s also a member of the Democratic Party. In the United States, we basically have a two-party system comprised of Republicans (25%) and Democrats (31%). Even though the majority of us are independents (42%), who may at times be persuaded either way, we essentially have a two-party system with each side on opposite poles on just about every issue, foreign and domestic.

Generally, Republican voters stand for lower taxes, limited government, and a strong national defense; while Democratic voters slant towards higher taxes, an immense government, and a feeble defense. Both parties generally lean towards the preservation of individual liberties, except when it comes to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act and an assortment of overbearing government regulations, but overall one would be correct in concluding that Republican voters disapprove of the Democratic Party’s policies period.

When it comes to President Obama, and the majority of Republicans feelings toward him, once this forgotten variable (the fact that he’s a Democrat) is added to the mix, one would be correct in stating that Republican voters don’t like President Obama because he adheres to Democratic Party policies. Say this and you’ve got it right. Say anything else and you’re a moron. When we are honest, and free of the poison of identity politics, we know this is the truth, but conflating differences in political ideology with racism is so far from reality that it borders on absurdity.

Political Racism

In short, racism is the belief that one race is superior to another. Formally defined, racism is, “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” But is there such a thing as political racism? If so, let us clearly describe what it would look like.

First of all, each major political party is comprised of members of each and every race. So is it possible for White Republicans to believe their race superior to that of Black Democrats? No, but isn’t that what the hucksters are saying? If this were true, then wouldn’t White Republicans also have to believe themselves superior to Black Republicans, as well as to White Democrats? Assuming all of this was true, it would follow that Black Republicans must believe their race is superior to that of Black Democrats. Wait, isn’t this all just foolishness? Here’s a newsflash for you: White Republicans are not a race, neither are White Democrats, Black Republicans nor Black Democrats.

To have any validity whatsoever, such political racism would have to arise between members of the same political party. For example, if there were a Black male Democrat who believed in essentially the same things as, let’s say, a White female Democrat, and one chose to pull the race card in order to discredit and belittle the other, perhaps then you could make a case for racism. But to be viable, you must begin with members of the same political party, who agree 100% on everything, par for par, apples to apples, where the only difference between them is race. But even then, their disagreements may not be due to racism.

It may just be that only one member can hold the office up for grabs, and there are essentially no differences between them, other than race. Who do you vote for when this arises? Will it be that every time a Black candidate faces off against a White candidate, we must all goose step to the drumbeat of the Black candidate, regardless of his or her moral character, political affiliation or beliefs? Must the Black candidate win 100% to 0%, in order to dispel any allegation of racism? Following such an election, must the public then agree 100% with whatever policies the Black officeholder dictates, without question? Is this how we are to correct the racial injustices of centuries past?

Identity Politics

It turns out that what 21st century Democrats are slobbering about isn’t racism at all, but rather a form of identity politics. Through identity politics, social pressure is applied in an attempt to influence the majority to accept the beliefs or behavior of a minority. But, we should never confuse beliefs and behavior with race. I am a Black Conservative, and entitled to my own opinions. Thank you! If I don’t like your brand of politics, and your policies have negatively influenced my life, why in the world would you expect me to convert to your position?

What did you think would happen when the first Black President was spawned from the Democratic Party? Did you expect Republicans to change their ideology? Did you think a light would dawn in the minds of Republicans, wherein they would realize they had been wrong about low taxes, limited government, and a strong national defense, altogether? Did you expect the entire party to repent, and join ranks with the Democratic Party? Is that how you thought it was supposed to work?

Did all Democratic Party members suddenly drop their party allegiance and join ranks with Republicans when George W. Bush was elected to the presidency? No, they didn’t. Rather, they screamed, hollered, whined and protested constantly about almost everything the man did or said. So now that the shoe is on the other foot, the same bunch is crying racism. Those that didn’t bother to vote in the 2014 mid-term elections did us all a favor. They know better. Here’s another newsflash: Abstention is a vote.

Repealing Obamacare

It would not matter whether President Obama was White, Hispanic, Asian, straight, gay, male or female; Republicans would disagree with his, and the Democratic Party’s policies period. My personal feelings about Mr. Obama are thus: I despise the man and everything he stands for. I have nothing against his wife and children, and if he wasn’t the President, I wouldn’t have an opinion either way. In fact, before he ran for President, I kind of enjoyed hearing what he and his fellow left-wingers had to say. But my personal animosity towards him began on the day he started campaigning for the office. For me it’s not personal, it’s all about his brand and style of politics.

Here’s the crux: I don’t like anyone telling me I have to do something, or if I refuse I’m going to be punished. Here’s a prime example: “You have to join our religion, or else we’re going to cut your head off.” Well, come on and take your best shot. You see, it’s one thing to make improvements to our national health care system, which actually improve our health and lower costs, but entirely another when it boils down to the government commanding me to buy one of its prescribed insurance plans, or else I will be forced to pay a tax. Pardon my French, but eff that!

The fact is if Mr. Obama’s health insurance plans were so great, and so affordable, then no one would have to force me to buy one, I would happily do so. However, as things stand today, in my opinion, his plans suck, and I can’t afford either available combination of premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. But what sucks even more is this notion that the federal government will impose an additional tax on me, for not complying with Mr. Obama’s individual mandate. The employer mandate is equally bad for America. Both should be repealed.

Whether you got a better deal through the Affordable Care Act, or nothing changed, you should realize that thousands upon thousands of your fellow Americans got screwed. My life was already tough enough without the government threatening to take more out of my pocket than it already takes, under the guise of this misnamed piece of legislation. They should rename it the “Either You Will Buy One of the Health Insurance Plans We Prescribe, or Else Hand Over a Percentage of Your Income to the Government Act”. The concept of play or pay doesn’t mesh with the ideal of liberty in my book. I should have enough freedom to say, “No thank you”.

The bottom line: Those of us who have adopted Conservative-Republican ideals will likely never join ranks with Democrats, no matter the identity of the Democratic Party leader du jour. Democrats can nominate anyone of their choosing next time, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, mixed, feminist, gay or lesbian, Christian or Muslim, but it won’t alter Conservative-Republican political beliefs one iota. Masking unpopular and unjust political policies behind the aura of anyone’s personal identity is akin to identity theft. President Obama’s policies aren’t Black or White; they belong to the Democratic Party, and are thus mostly defective outside the realm of a classroom. It’s time we end this errant notion of identity politics, and resume arguing our ideological differences at face value.

Image Via: The Pittsfield Police Department

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Georgia's Laconic U.S. Senate Race

It's Perdue vs. Reid

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

On October 2nd, President Barack Obama correctly uttered, “I am not on the ballot this fall... But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” True, Obama is 'Not' on the ballot this fall, but he neglected to mention that his left-hand henchman, the one responsible for ramming through Obamacare without any Republican support, for killing more legislation passed by the people's house than any other Senate majority leader in U.S. history, and the second most divisive and hated man in American politics today, Harry Reid is.

Just yesterday, a client lamented to me that she and her husband's health insurance is going up by $1,000 a month next year, from around $526 per month to $1,526, and that they were in process of exploring other options. During the same conversation, she happened to mention that she wasn't sure who to vote for this fall, Michelle Nunn or David Perdue. She heard some things about Perdue that she's “not comfortable with”. I exclaimed, “You don't know who to vote for?” I'm going to share with you what I told her and how I really feel.

Basically, you've got David Perdue, a successful businessman, against Harry Reid. Reid may be cloaked under the guise of the daughter of retired politician Sam Nunn, but make no mistake about it, a vote for Michelle Nunn is a vote for Harry Reid, no more and no less. In fact, when asked whether she would vote to keep Mr. Reid in charge of the U.S. Senate, Michelle Nunn merely quoted a so-called joke she says a farmer told her: “If David Perdue wants to run against Harry Reid so much, why doesn’t he just move to Nevada?”

I didn't get the joke. The truth is that if I thought it would do any good, and if I could go back in time, I would move to Nevada myself, for the sole purpose of voting Harry Reid out of office. When Harry Reid ran for re-election in 2010, I felt powerless and utterly disgusted as I watched Nevadan's vote against their own, and America's interests. Whether Reid runs for re-election in 2016 is up in the air. Questions about the 74-year-old’s health, among other things, lead some knowledgeable insiders to speculate that he will retire rather than face a challenge in 2016.

Fortunately for us, Harry Reid is on the ballot this year. There are 36 U.S. Senate seats up for election in 2014, and Harry Reid's fate is on the line in each and every race. This is our chance. This is our moment. We finally have a shot at decapitating the second most hated SOB in American politics today, and we don't even have to leave home. It boils down to this. If you want to keep Harry Reid in power, then go ahead and cast your vote for Michelle Nunn (or the Harry Reid clone in your state).

But, if like me, you're sick and tired of partisan politics, and want to send a direct message of your disgust to Washington D.C., by delivering a pink slip directly to Harry Reid's desk, then it's real simple. Vote against the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate this fall, and vote for the Republican candidate. A vote for Michelle Nunn is a vote for Harry Reid, and a vote for David Perdue is a vote against Harry Reid. This year I'm voting against Harry Reid, and therefore in favor of David Perdue.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Georgia's 4th Congressional District - November 2014

Useless Idiot

- By: Larry Walker II -

President Barack Obama has endorsed Congressman Hank Johnson for re-election in the Fourth Congressional District of Georgia.

“Congressman Johnson has done an outstanding job,” said President Obama. “Together, we are fighting to restore middle class security and expand opportunity for all Americans. I’ve worked with Congressman Johnson as we’ve extended the security of health care to millions and pulled our economy back from the brink of collapse while protecting consumers and passing historic Wall Street reform. I am proud to stand with Hank and support his re-election.”

Congressman Johnson is famous for his on the record comment in March of 2010, where he reasoned that if 8,000 Marines were stationed on the Island of Guam, he feared the island could tip over and capsize due to overpopulation (see clip below).

And let's not forget his 30 minute rant, Giants Need Midgets, in December of 2012 (see clip below). Despite these and many more idiotic comments, Johnson has not only been endorsed by Barack Obama, but he's been re-elected 4 times, and runs virtually unopposed this year.

Unfortunately, there is no Republican candidate opposing Johnson in next month's election. One has to wonder why. It seems that no one in the district is willing or able to oppose this moron. However there is one, and only one, alternative. Raymond L. Davis stands as the sole Certified Non-Partisan Write-In Candidate opposing Johnson this year. He may be our last hope.

Raymond L. Davis has lived in the Atlanta area for 33 years. The 50 year old is a licensed and ordained Minister at the Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church, "House of Hope" in Decatur. He's also the Founder, President/CEO of Genesis Network International, Inc., a 501c(3) non-profit organization that he has run for more than twenty years. Davis sits on many boards and is well known as an international and national advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

If you're sick and tired of President Obama's policies, and his useless idiots like Hank Johnson, then don't just skip over the District 4 U.S. Congressional section on this year's ballot. It's time to give someone else a shot. It's time to send a clear message. This year, remember to write in Raymond L. Davis for United States House of Representatives, District 4.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Georgia’s Proposed Constitutional Amendments – November 2014

Photo by: Larry Walker II
Savannah City Hall

A Yes-No Proposition

- By: Larry Walker II -

There are two Proposed Constitutional Amendments on Georgia’s ballot this November 4th. They are as follows:

A. To prohibit an increase in the state income tax rate in effect January 1, 2015 (Senate Resolution 415). "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?"

B. Adding reckless driving penalties or fees to the brain and spinal injury trust fund (House Resolution 1183). "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional reckless driving penalties or fees to be added to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative services for Georgia citizens who have survived neurotrauma with head or spinal cord injuries?"

Yes on Proposal A

Well, Proposal A is pretty much a no-brainer. Do you want to increase the State’s income tax rate, and thus reduce its, and thereby your, competitiveness? I think not. A Yes vote on Proposal A prevents the General Assembly from calling a special session to raise taxes before the next official session begins on January 1, 2015. Therefore, I’m voting Yes on Proposal A.

No on Proposal B

I will be voting No on Proposal B, although the reasons are a bit more complicated. Increasing fines on those convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or reckless driving, in order to allocate such additional funds to a Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund sounds like a noble idea, however, I believe this concept is best suited for a public Charity. We don’t really need the current Commission to provide such grants. A public charity will do just fine. Ironically, the Commission already accepts public donations. Who knew?

In exploring this proposal intelligently, two important questions arise. First, what is the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund? And second, why does it need more money?

The Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund was created through a constitutional amendment passed by Georgia voters in November 1998. Who knows what we were thinking back then? It is funded solely through a surcharge on DUI (and reckless driving) fines, to assist Georgians with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injuries, by awarding grants to help alleviate a portion of the often insurmountable costs of procuring necessary equipment and services to help rebuild lives after a traumatic injury.

Why does the Commission need more money? The Trust Fund has never been lower than it is today, with collections having fallen from a peak of $2,069,640 in FY-2008, to just $1,579,626 in FY-2013. The commission only awarded 242 grants in FY-2013, with a total value of $1,343,136. This amounted to an average of just $5,550 per grantee. The reason Trust Fund collections have dwindled is because the number of DUI convictions is down. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out (Fewer DUI’s = Less Revenue).

Wait a minute! Wasn’t the Trust Fund created to penalize, and thus discourage the number of DUI’s? If so, then it’s working. However, if its real purpose was to establish a government-backed slush fund, then perhaps fines should be increased, and rather dramatically, since any increase would have to be proportional to the declining number of DUI convictions. What this would mean is if the number of DUI’s dropped to 10 on an annual basis, then this lucky 10 would have to pay fines of around $206,964 apiece, in order to reboot the Trust Fund. Did you get that? If not, here are a few more reasons to vote No on Proposal B.

In its FY-2013 Annual Report, the Brain & Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission stated that the estimated lifetime costs of care for a person with a traumatic brain and spinal injury could reach upwards of $4,000,000. Yet, according to the same report, the maximum lifetime cap on awards through the Commission is just $15,000 per applicant, hardly a drop in the bucket.

Further, because the Trust Fund is a payer of last resort, an applicant must have exhausted all other fund sources, such as Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, Private Insurance, Disability Insurance, VA, Victims Compensation Fund, etc…, in order to be eligible. In other words, only a handful of applicants will ever even qualify for this penury.

And then there’s this. Eligibility depends on the cause of injury, which must be one of the following: accidental fall, accidentally struck by or against an object/person, assault, self-inflicted injury, sports/recreation injury, and last but not least – a transportation/motor vehicle accident. So let me get this straight, we are collecting fees from those convicted of DUI and reckless driving (traffic) violations, and giving it to persons injured in non-traffic related accidents. What’s wrong with this picture?

Finally, according to its FY-2013 Annual Report, there were a total of 73,770 statewide traumatic brain and spinal injuries in 2013, yet the Commission was only able to grant awards to 242 persons, averaging $5,550 each. This leads me to conclude that the Trust Fund isn’t of much use to anyone at this point in time.

If you all want to punish those convicted of DUI and reckless driving, by all means, do it. But if you want to use this as an excuse for maintaining a government slush fund, then forget about it. I’m voting No on Proposal B, and if I could, I would vote to completely disband the Brain & Spinal Injury Trust Fund and its Commission. Its mission, although a noble one, can more effectively be carried out by, and should be transferred over to, a public charity. You got that?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Worthless Deeds of ISIS

Destroyed in Korah’s Rebellion ::

Indeed, those who disbelieved and averted [people] from the path of Allah and opposed the Messenger after guidance had become clear to them - never will they harm Allah at all, and He will render worthless their deeds. Quran 47:33 (Sahih International)

Muhammad died in 632 A.D. as a result of poison he ingested after his attack upon and conquest of the Jewish settlement of Khaibar. He led his army and attacked the settlement while the Jews were on their way to work, beheaded most of its leaders, and enslaved many of its women and children.  Muhammad even took the most beautiful woman for himself and married her (Safiyah).

Immediately following the conquest of Khaibar, a Jewish woman prepared dinner for Muhammad and some of his men. Unknown to the Muslims, she had poisoned the lamb (some say goat) that was served. Muhammad tasted of the poisoned lamb, realized it was poisoned and spat it out; nevertheless he died as a result three years later. During his illness he used to say, "I did not cease to find the effect of the (poisoned) morsel I took at Khaibar, and I suffered several times (from its effect) but now I feel the hour has come of the cutting of my jugular vein." Ibn Sa'd pages 251, 252

When asked by Muhammad why she did it, the Jewish woman said something to the effect, "You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncle and my husband. If you were a liar we would be rid of you, but if you were a prophet then the poison would not harm you."

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here's a newsflash -- the poison worked -- it indeed killed him. Thus, in my opinion, Muhammad was not a prophet of God, most high, but rather a false prophet, not to mention a murderous thug, who received the recompense of his reward nearly 1,400 years ago. "Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him; for what his hands have done shall be done unto him." Isaiah 3:11

Yet to this day, Muhammad is revered by many, namely by those who refuse to accept God's true Messenger, His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus. They are free to believe as they choose. Free that is until they begin, under the threat of murder, to force their poison off on the rest of us.

Although Christians have lived in northern Iraq and Syria for nearly two-thousand years, and at least six hundred years before Islam, today they face extinction across the region, according to Catholic Online. A month ago, Christians were warned to either leave the city of Mosul and other areas under Islamic State control, or they would have to pay a tax or be put to death. Estimates hold that 200,000 Christians live in the region, however only a fraction of these have been accounted for. Where are all the missing Christians? Have they already been put to the sword?

Today, bloodthirsty, demon-possessed followers of a false prophet, under the banner of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are filling trenches with the corpses of thousands upon thousands of innocent victims murdered in mass executions; beheading Muslim and Christian men, women and children; hanging and torturing the poor and downtrodden; raping women and young girls; and to top it off posing with their victims, making videos, and even tweeting crude jokes about their carnage. They glorify and revel in their killing and believe with all sincerity that they are doing the work of Allah.

Fate of ISIS

As for the fate of ISIS, what can be said of false prophets and their followers other than what has been said long ago? We defer to the Books, Numbers and Jude.

Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.” Numbers 16:28-30

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. ~ Numbers 16:31-33

And from the Book of Jude:

Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Woe unto ISIS! May your deeds be rendered worthless! May the judgment of God convict you of all the ungodly acts you have committed in your ungodliness, and of all the defiant words you ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. Woe unto ISIS! May you meet the fate of Korah! May the earth open up and swallow your ungodly leaders, their households and all their possessions. May fire fall from heaven and consume your false Imams. May the plague eliminate your remaining unholy congregation! Woe unto ISIS!

References:

The Death Of Muhammad

Qur'an 47

Book of Numbers, Chapter 16 - Korah's Rebellion

Book of Jude 1

Image: Cloud-Fire via - My Treasure Box

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Immigration Hype

A Never-Ending Scheme

:: By: Larry Walker, II ::

According to the New York Times, “Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.”

And, “If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first American refugee effort in a nation reachable by land to the United States, the White House said, putting the violence in Honduras on the level of humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam, where such programs have been conducted in the past amid war and major crises...”

What’s so wrong with this plan? It sounds a lot better than the utter chaos we have today. The pilot program proposed for Honduras would allegedly cost up to $47 million over two years, under the assumption that 5,000 refugees would apply, and about 1,750 would be accepted. What’s so bad about that?

The only flaw I can find is that because 16,500 unaccompanied children have arrived from Honduras, just since October 1st (over the last 9 months), actually up to 44,000 could apply for refugee status over a 24-month period ((16,500 / 9) * 24). That means this pilot program could actually wind up costing upwards of $413.6 million (($47 million / 5,000) * 44,000). Oops!

Furthermore, since the population of Honduras (under the age of 15) is around 2.8 million, assuming they all want to exit, the program could last for upwards of 127 years, with a total cost of around $26.3 billion ($413.6 million * 63.5 two-year periods). With an acceptance rate of 35%, we could wind up with around 981,584 Honduran refugees over the next 127 years. But that’s not the end of this proposal.

Since the program would then be adopted in Guatemala and El Salvador, which have populations (under the age of 15) of 6.0 million, and 2.0 million, respectively, again assuming all want to join us, the program could last for upwards of 270 years (concurrently), with a total cost of around $101.0 billion, assuming similar costs in all three countries.

All in all, we could wind up taking in 3.8 million refugees, at a cost of around $101 billion, over the next 270 years. But keep in mind; this only includes the cost of processing and transporting them to the United States. It does not include the cost of feeding, educating, housing, etc… And then where does it end? How many other countries could declare worse crises?

Does this still sound like a great plan? Not so much.

The Hype

The hype involves all the stupid comments I’ve been reading from so-called Conservatives, across the web, such as the following:

“Obama is not stupid; he is a very smart man that has the backing of his money people. He wants to overpower the voting system to get as many people into the USA so that the Democrats can stay in office for years to come. Therefore they can have full control of everything in this country.”

“One thing it means is that an immigrant will be automatically registered as a demoRAT with full voting privileges. You and I have to actually fill out a form, the immigrants, being illiterate (no-speaky Inglés), get a pass.”

Really? Do you all really think these kids are thinking about which political party devised the plan to let them in? As far as I can tell, all they see right now is America the Beautiful. But anyway, why are Conservatives worrying about some election ten or twenty years from now, instead of focusing on this year and 2016? Do I need to spell out why the above is nothing but hype? Alright then, because of the following:

  1. Children cannot vote.

  2. Even Permanent (aka. Legal) U.S. Residents are not citizens and thus cannot vote.

  3. One must be over the age of 18, and have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for 5 years before he or she can apply for citizenship.

  4. Once citizenship is applied for, and one passes the test and pays the $700 fee, then, and only then, is he or she eligible to vote.

  5. Assuming citizenship is attained, how such a person chooses to vote is a matter of personal preference, influenced by individual life experiences.

Perhaps it’s time Conservatives forget about some fantasy election decades away, and focus on things that really matter, like the potentially ridiculous overall cost of this never-ending scheme.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Pen, a Phone and GDP Contracts by 2.9%

:: By: Larry Walker, Jr. ::

Back on January 14, 2014, POTUS 44 announced, “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Well, great!

Then on June 25, 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), in its third and final release, announced that real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter (that is, from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014). In the fourth quarter of 2013, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

Well, so much for going it alone. Please stop with the help already, it’s not working. Did anyone seriously believe this guy was some kind of economic prodigy, capable of single-handedly leading the U.S. economy to the Promised Land? Oh, please! My first impression was “What a moron.” Isn’t this the same guy who hired a 35-year-old fiction writer as his Deputy National Security Advisor? And, isn’t this the same guy that (ad infinitum)… believe me, it's not worth it.

After the first release estimate, Zerohedge.com reported, and I’m paraphrasing, “...if it wasn't for the (government-mandated) spending surge resulting from Obamacare, which resulted in the biggest jump in Healthcare Services spending in U.S. history, GDP growth would be negative.” Well, it so happens that, according to the BEA's third and final estimate, GDP growth actually was negative.

It seems that if all the cash sucked out of discretionary consumer spending during the first quarter, by way of artificially high (government-subsidized) health insurance premiums, and neatly tucked away into insurance company reserve funds (savings accounts), had instead been unleashed into the economy, GDP surely would have been positive.

Where I come from, a contraction in GDP of 2.9% should indicate that someone or something’s about to get the ax. Let’s just pray it’s this ridiculous pen and phone strategy. And, while we’re at it, how about losing that idiot fiction writer. Whose bright idea was that anyway?

Revised and updated on June 25, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Benghazi Mastermind

Adventures with Inspector Lestrade

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

US officials announced Tuesday that a joint Special Forces and FBI operation successfully nabbed Libyan national Ahmed Abu Khattala, the man suspected as the ringleader for the 2012 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.” The piece I read was titled, “9/11 Benghazi Attack 'Mastermind' Who Hid in Plain Sight for Years Captured By US Forces.” That's all well and good, however, I believe a conviction in this case is about as likely as one against John McFarlane in the case of the Norwood Builder.

Back on October 18, 2012, a month after the attack, a New York Times (NYT) article stated that, witnesses and authorities had named Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Times went on to say that as Khattala sat on the patio of a luxury hotel, in Benghazi, a month after the attack, sipping a strawberry frappe, he accused the United States of “playing with the emotions of the American people” and “using the consulate attack just to gather votes for their elections.”

I somehow find Khattala’s reasoning more plausible than what the mainstream media carelessly tossed into the public trough. It’s good to know, at least according to the NYT, that there were witnesses to the attack, but it’s too bad none have come forward publicly with any credible evidence. I guess we’re supposed to just take the NYT’s word that, (1) there actually were witnesses, and (2) that verifiable, although nameless and faceless, authorities actually believed Mr. Khattala was one of the ringleaders.

The NYT article continued, “Although Mr. Abu Khattala’s exact role remains unclear, witnesses have said they saw him directing other fighters that night. Libyan officials have singled him out, and officials in Washington say they are examining his role.” Sounds like the NYT had this case sealed from the get go. But what was Mr. Khattala’s account?

“But Mr. Abu Khattala insisted that he had not been part of the aggression at the American compound. He said he had arrived just as the gunfire was beginning to crackle and had sought to break up a traffic jam around the demonstration. After fleeing for a time, he said, he entered the compound at the end of the battle because he was asked to help try to rescue four Libyan guards working for the Americans who were trapped inside. Although the attackers had set fire to the main building, Mr. Abu Khattala said he had not noticed anything burning.” Sorry, but where’s the evidence that Khattala actually planned the attack? Maybe Fox News has something.

Also in October 2012, Fox News’ Greg Palkot spoke to Khattala in an off camera interview. Here are the facts gleaned from his account.

  1. Khattala was easy to contact and did not appear to be in hiding.

  2. He admitted to being at the scene of the consulate attack, but claimed that he did not plan it.

  3. He said he went to the consulate to look after militia members who had been guarding the complex and were possibly injured.

  4. He maintained that he was no longer a member of Ansar al-Sharia, although he was previously a key member of the militia group.

  5. He said he was directing traffic outside of the consulate on the night of the attack.

So far, I haven’t seen or heard anything that could be considered prima facie evidence against Mr. Khattala with regard to planning, coordinating, or for that matter even participating in the attack. But perhaps the New York Post can expound.

According to a New York Post article written earlier this year, ‘when The New Yorker magazine came to interview Khattala at his home in Leithi, a neighborhood in Benghazi, in April, he looked and behaved more like a suburban homeowner than a terror mastermind.’

‘Abu Khattala was relaxed and greeted passing neighbors, before sitting down in a green leatherette chair to tell the magazine he had no fear of US forces coming after him.’ “I am living a normal life here. I am not afraid of anything, because I trust in God,” he told the magazine. “This is fate. If God determines you will be here today and gone tomorrow, there is no escape.”

‘Abu Khattala proclaimed his innocence in connection with the September 2012 attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. He admitted to being at the scene, but said he did nothing more than help direct traffic outside. He challenged US prosecutors to make a case against him.’

“There is no case against me,” Abu Khattala said. “But I am not the one who needs to prove my innocence. The Americans must prove their accusation.”

What a providential thing that the very mastermind of the attack was found hiding in plain sight, that he welcomed interviews with the news media and from US officials, and didn’t even put up a fight while being kidnapped by US forces. Well then, that is final. Case closed. Let’s just hang him quickly and put this matter to rest, right?

The Norwood Builder

Not so fast. This case reminds me of one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories, The Norwood Builder, in which Inspector Lestrade thought he had solved a murder after the discovery of a bloody thumbprint in the middle of the wall down a dark hallway. “Step right this way, if you please, gentlemen, and I think I can convince you once for all that it was John McFarlane who did this crime,” he said.

“This is where young McFarlane must have come out to get his hat after the crime was done. Now look at this.” With dramatic suddenness he struck a match, and by its light exposed a stain of blood upon the whitewashed wall. As he held the match nearer I saw that it was more than a stain. It was the well-marked print of a thumb.

Lestrade continued, “You are aware that no two thumb-marks are alike?”

“I have heard something of the kind,” said Holmes.

“That is final,” said Lestrade.

“That is final,” said Holmes... Then, making desperate efforts to restrain a convulsive attack of laughter, he finally said, “Dear me! Dear me! Well, now, who would have thought it? And how deceptive appearances may be, to be sure! Such a nice young man to look at! It is a lesson to us not to trust our own judgment - is it not, Lestrade?”

Knowing full well that the thumbprint was not there on the day prior, because he had thoroughly examined the crime scene, Holmes continued, “What a providential thing that this young man should press his right thumb against the wall in taking his hat from the peg! Such a very natural action, too, if you come to think of it. By the way Lestrade, who made this remarkable discovery?”

Well, as you can probably imagine, John McFarlane had nothing to do with the murder. In fact, in this case, it turned out that the victim was still alive, and had himself planted the thumbprint in the middle of the night. But even more significant, the housekeeper, who discovered the thumbprint, was an accomplice to the crime.

Framing a Mastermind

As for Ahmed Abu Khattala having anything at all to do with the 9/11/2012 Terrorist Attack at Benghazi, who might I ask made this remarkable discovery? Was it not the mainstream media that first discovered this man, interviewed him, and then held him out as a possible suspect? And is not the same mainstream media now holding him out as the “mastermind” behind the attack? Does the mainstream media have any proof of Khattala’s guilt, beyond the questions put to him, and the answers he provided? Because, if that's all there is, the evidence appears to lead nowhere.

Is Mr. Khattala the mastermind because he was at the scene on the night of the attack, or because he’s the only one who was there that the news media could find at the time? From the videos most of us have been allowed to view, it appears there were lots of people rummaging around the Consulate that night. In fact, at one point a group of individuals found the US Ambassador within the burning building, dragged him out and carried him to the hospital.

Is Mr. Khattala the mastermind because he opined that he didn't think America should be meddling in Libyan affairs? If that's the reason, then virtually all of Libya, not to mention most of the world, is rife with suspects.

Aside from a dearth of evidence, what criminal mastermind ever gets his hands dirty at the scene of the crime, and then lounges around in plain sight, granting interviews to the news media straightway after pulling off the crime of the century? To know, I guess we'll have to wait for this fella to receive his “fair” trial, which I remind you, will be conducted by the same justice system that found O.J. Simpson innocent, and just freed five top-level Taliban commanders after being held for 10 years without so much as a trial.

The most damning statement for or against Khattala being the “mastermind” comes from his interview with CNN’s Arwa Damon in May 2013, when he responded, “I didn't know where the place was. When I heard, we went to examine the situation. When we withdrew and there was shooting with medium guns, and there were RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) in the air and people panicked, we tried to control traffic.” From this we learned that Mr. Khattala didn’t know where the consulate was located. And, why would he know? Who told him where the consulate was located? I would contend that the person behind the attack, or if you will the mastermind, would be someone with precise knowledge of not only where the consulate was, but of Ambassador Stevens presence on that awful night.

I have no idea whether Mr. Khattala is completely innocent, or whether he is indeed the Mastermind behind the Benghazi attack, however, based upon the heretofore presented flimsy reed of circumstantial evidence, handed down by none other than the mainstream news media, my guess would be the former. Yet upon this one point I offer my opinion. If this guy turns out to be completely innocent, I hope to God that everyone responsible for framing him is sued for everything they have, charged as accomplices to the crime, and does time in a federal penitentiary.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mass Shootings Hoopla

Iraqi Citizens Executed by ISIL Terrorists (06/2014)

There's No Place Else Like This

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Reminiscent of Secretary of State Kerry's now infamous speech in Mexico, in which he erroneously declared that temperatures in Europe and in Vietnam were at “unprecedented” levels, and had broken "every record that's ever been seen", last week, referring to the latest school shooting in Oregon, Potus 44 proclaimed, "We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this."

Really? Are we the only developed country on Earth where school and mass shootings occur? Well, I guess that depends on ones definition of the word "developed", as well as upon which Earth one happens to reside (i.e. apparently there is more than one). Granted the term "developed" would exclude the entire Middle-East, where mass killings are interwoven with religious dogma and thus a way of life, whenever I hear code words like "every", or "only", they generally precede a gross exaggeration, mass deception or an outright lie.

Ironically, in this case, at nearly the very moment Potus attempted to twist our emotions, over what seemed like a rash of public-school kids losing their minds (at the hand of the US Department of Education), the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) resumed its deadly drone attacks in Pakistan, perhaps encouraging the next mass killer. US drone strikes hit houses in Dande Darpa Khel village in Pakistan’s North Waziristan on Wednesday and early Thursday, leaving at least 16 people dead. But I guess that's okay, because after all we're at war with Pakistan, right? And, war always involves covertly firing missiles into the personal residences of one’s enemy, regardless of whether school-aged children are present.

Coincidentally, earlier this month, a Wall Street Journal report said that during secret negotiations over the release of Bowe Bergdahl, the Taliban warned Washington that its drone attacks had come close to killing him on several occasions. Thus, the CIA halted attacks for around 6 months, resuming immediately after his release. Well what do you know; maybe the poor fella's life really was in danger. Now here's the Catch-22.

US drone strikes have killed hundreds of civilians in several Muslim countries including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. And, according to Ben Emmerson, a UN human rights investigator, the death toll of civilians in US drone strikes in Afghanistan and Yemen continues to rise. So although I feel Potus 44's concern over 12-year-olds flipping out in government-run schools, rather than his preoccupation with upending US laws, currently protecting more people than they harm, perhaps he should focus on his own murderous policies.

Granted that none of the above are considered "developed" countries, as implied by Potus 44, and thus really don't matter all that much, it's pretty far from okay when the very dude responsible for mass killings around the globe tries to convince the rest of us that we are the problem.

Potus 44 continued, “The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people.” Well, you got that right. “And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else." Wait! We kill each other? Hmmm, well that's kind of a tough sale. And we do so at rates exponentially higher than any place else? Where’s the backup?

Following is a non-exhaustive list of school and mass shootings in developed and semi-developed countries beyond the borders of Potus 44's America. It excludes places like Syria, where the death toll in its three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000 (averaging 146 a day), and Iraq, where 603 civilians were killed just last month, and hundreds more continue to be slaughtered daily.

March 13, 1996 - Dunblane, Scotland - 16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others wounded in attack.

March 1997 - Sanaa, Yemen - Eight people (six students and two others) at two schools killed by Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri.

April 28, 1999 - Taber, Alberta, Canada - One student killed, one wounded at W. R. Myers High School in first fatal high school shooting in Canada in 20 years. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, had dropped out of school after he was severely ostracized by his classmates.

Dec. 7, 1999 - Veghel, Netherlands - One teacher and three students wounded by a 17-year-old student.

March 2000 - Branneburg, Germany - One teacher killed by a 15-year-old student, who then shot himself. The shooter has been in a coma ever since.

Jan. 18, 2001 - Jan, Sweden - One student killed by two boys, ages 17 and 19.

Feb. 19, 2002 - Freising, Germany - Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired; he then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.

April 26, 2002 - Erfurt, Germany - 13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.

April 29, 2002 - Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina - One teacher killed, one wounded by Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, who then killed himself.

Sept. 28, 2004 - Carmen de Patagones, Argentina - Three students killed and 6 wounded by a 15-year-old Argentinian student in a town 620 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Sept. 13, 2006 - Montreal, Canada - Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon at Dawson College. Anastasia De Sousa, 18, died and more than a dozen students and faculty were wounded before Gill killed himself.

Nov. 7, 2007 - Tuusula, Finland - An 18-year-old student in southern Finland shot and killed five boys, two girls, and the female principal at Jokela High School. At least 10 others were injured. The gunman shot himself and died from his wounds in the hospital.

March 11, 2009 - Winnenden, Germany - Fifteen people were shot and killed at Albertville Technical High School in southwestern Germany by a 17-year-old boy who attended the same school.

April 30, 2009 - Azerbaijan, Baku - A Georgian citizen of Azerbaijani descent killed 12 students and staff at Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. Several others were wounded.

April 7, 2011 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - A 23-year-old former student returned to his public elementary school in Rio de Janeiro and began firing, killing 12 children and seriously wounding more than a dozen others, before shooting himself in the head. While Brazil has seen gang-related violence in urban areas, this was the worst school shooting the country has ever seen.

July 22, 2011 - Tyrifjorden, Buskerud, Norway - A gunman disguised as a policeman opened fire at a camp for young political activists on the island of Utoya. The gunman kills 68 campers, including personal friends of Prime Minister Stoltenberg. Police arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian who had been linked to an anti-Islamic group.

March 19, 2012 - Toulouse, France - Mohammed Merah, a French man of Algerian descent, shot and killed a rabbi, two of his children, and another child at a Jewish school. Police believe he had earlier shot and killed three paratroopers. Merah said he was a member of Al Qaeda and that he was seeking revenge for the killing of Palestinian children.

September 21, 2013 - Nairobi, Kenya - Shabab militants, who are based in Somalia, attacked an upscale mall, killing nearly 70 people and wounding about 175. The siege lasted for three days, with persistent fighting between government troops and militants. The attack was meticulously planned, and the militants proved to be challenging for the government to dislodge from the Westgate mall.

There's no place else like this?

Reference: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wait! Who Surrendered?

White House Claims ‘Ending War in Iraq’ As Major Accomplishment

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Borrowing from the Lonely Conservative, this week terrorists have taken over the cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq. They had already taken control of Fallujah and the entire region is spiraling out of control. But, that didn’t stop White House spokesman Josh Earnest from proclaiming that ending the Iraq war is one of the administration’s major accomplishments.

The only problem with this unsound proclamation is that a war isn’t over until someone surrenders. Where’s the peace treaty? Have Al-Qaeda and its affiliates surrendered? Has the Taliban laid down arms? Well, then who in the hell surrendered? Oh, I see. It seems we did.

Hmmm, let’s think of it this way. If a band of terrorists parachuted onto the White House grounds, summarily executed Potus, then declared that the war was over and returned to their milk and honey farms, I suppose we could just accept this and go back to our busy lives, and perhaps some of us would want to, but I suspect most of us would be ready for war. For us, this would be more like the beginning, or a new beginning, rather than the end. But perhaps I stand alone.

Apparently we’ve forgotten about Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who continued fighting World War II a full 29 years after Japan surrendered. He continued to fight because he didn’t know the war was over. Despite numerous attempts to inform him and a few remaining cells of soldiers, by dropping leaflets with orders to surrender from General Yamashita, followed by more leaflets with newspapers from Japan, photographs, and letters from the soldier’s families, and despite sending delegates from Japan begging over loudspeakers to give themselves up, Onoda refused to believe the war was over. Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 and signed the instrument of surrender aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, officially ending the war. Hiroo Onoda didn’t surrender until March 10, 1975.

His orders from his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, were simple:

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that’s the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.

It’s too bad we can’t just solve problems by declaring them fixed, and hoping and wishing the rest of the world conforms. No, it doesn’t work like that. Were it that simple, we could declare our Southern border secure, our immigration problem solved, and it would be so.

If the war in Iraq is over, I hope to God the enemy knows. Please tell me we at least dropped a C-130 full of leaflets indicating such before we left. If the war on terror is over, please tell me it was Al-Qaeda and its affiliates who surrendered. And as for those top level Taliban Commanders we just released from Guantanamo Bay, somebody please, please tell me they signed a peace treaty before we dropped them in Qatar.

“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” ~ Exodus 33:3 (NIV)

Reference: A Japanese Soldier Who Continued Fighting WWII 29 Years after the Japanese Surrendered, Because He Didn’t Know