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« November 2007 | Main | January 2008 »

Will a president fix our problems?

By Special Guest Columnist Craig Cantoni

Pundits, political elites and common folk are now claiming the problems facing the country are obvious and easy to fix, if only we had the sense to elect someone who wants to fix them. Broadcasting star Glenn Beck said that very thing yesterday on his show.

A growing feeling of economic insecurity, widespread disgust with Congress, and disillusionment with George Bush have led many Americans to embrace the platitudes of Barack Obama, the sophistry of Hillary, the religiosity of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, the populism of John Edwards, the bully-bully of John "Teddy Roosevelt" McCain, the vacuity of Fred Thompson, the...

I have to stop before I get sick to my stomach.

Yes, indeed. If only we would elect an alpha male or beta female who cares about each and every one of us, partisan bickering would end, pork barrel spending would end, global competition would end, foreign interventionism would end, global warming would end, increases in the price of gas and healthcare would end, the invasion of brown people would end, radical Islam would end, and in-grown toenails would end.

But what about farm subsidies? Are they going to end? Well, no, not if someone wants to be elected president.

Then if a president is powerless to stop something as uncomplicated as farm subsidies, why would someone think that a candidate would be able to stop, well, anything putting Americans in a funk and feeling the nation is in decline?

Beats me. But I do know that the nation has been transformed into a kleptocracy under majority rule, or mob rule, if you will. Over half of Americans are now either mooching off the minority through the tax code, or working for the government, or working in private-sector jobs that owe their existence and good pay to government regulations.

They might complain about the other guy's rice bowl, but they will do anything to protect their own rice bowl. The result, of course, is the status quo, and the farm bill. The status quo is a kleptocracy and ever-growing government.

These people all depend on force for their jobs, subsidies, entitlements and handouts.

For example, if it weren't for farmers banding together to compel the government to give them taxpayers' money, non-farmers would never hand their money to them.

Unfortunately, government force doesn't work well in the other direction. As political science and economic principles explain, it is nearly impossible for citizens to band together, legally speaking, and get government to stop farmers (or any other organized special-interest group) from using force against them. If they can't stop 2.1 million farmers, they certainly can't stop 3 million unionized teachers, 35 million AARP members, or 48 million Social Security recipients.

Well, that's not completely true. They can stop them, but it would require something that I don't advocate: the use of extra-legal force. It would take only about 100,000 men and women marching on the Capitol with torches, pitchforks, feathers and hot tar to convince members of Congress that it is in their best interest to stop taking people's silverware and giving it farmers, teacher unions, wealthy geezers, and other special interests. If it came to a choice between losing an election and being tarred and feathered, they'd pick losing.

Enough fantasy. Back to reality.

The reality is that the nation isn't going to be brought together by Barack, Hillary, Mitt, Rudy, Mike, John, Fred, or anyone else. When government degenerates into a political spoils system as ours has, it is impossible for citizens to trust each other or their government.

It is astonishing and troubling that someone as smart as Glenn Beck doesn't understand this.

An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at ccan2@aol.com.

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Thieves Steal Roofing

The lamestream media told you:

Increasing prices for lead have led thieves to begin stealing roofs from medieval churches in England, reports Mary Jordan in the Washington Post. "Lead has jumped from $450 a ton five years ago to $3,200 this year, according to police and insurance-industry officials," she says.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

Even a completely green novice knows you get metal prices from people in the metal markets, or record books or databases, not from police and insurance agents. Using inadequate sources, a routine practice at the Washington Post and similar lamestream outlets, even if you get two of them as Ms. Jordan did, leads to he-said-she-said stories, instead of reported facts. Whether the police and insurance agents got their facts straight was not covered by the reporteress.

A quick online check of lead prices, which can vary dramatically even on a daily basis, shows an approximate price of $2,200/ton now and $400/ton five years ago, so the Post report was only off by a lot.

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Bad Vaccine Safe

The lamestream media told you:

"More than a million doses of a common vaccine given to babies as young as 2 months were being recalled because of contamination risks, but the top U.S. health officials said it was not a health threat," according to a story circulated by the Associated Press.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

Why a million doses of vaccine would be recalled if it was not a health threat was unexplained, and reporters failed to ask the top U.S. health official.

The AP did report that because of the "inconvenience," the Merck production line will be shut down for nine months. "It's likely that there's going to be a shortage of this product," a Merck spokeslady said. Shortages typically trigger price increases.

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Tigers Need Cash

The lamestream media told you:

Reporting from New Delhi, Ashok Sharma of the AP says a conservation group says that saving the world's tigers will cost $500 million per year, but that funding is only $5 million annually. The 12 countries where tigers live are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

How tigers survived before international demands for gigantic annual funding was not revealed in the AP report. The countries listed are among the most mismanaged, impoverished, underdeveloped or totalitarian on the face of the Earth. No linkage between these conditions and the presence of tigers is known. No guarantee that funding would reach the tigers was made. Tigers have no union representatives. Natives, from the tigers' perspective, are food.

The report does indicate that poaching, "has savaged their populations," but fails to connect $500 million in sought-after annual funding with the arrests and detention of poachers. If distributed equally, $500 million annually could buy every poacher in the area a small yacht, two cars, a mansion and a lifetime supply of food.

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822 Energy Pages

The lamestream media told you:

The new energy bill passed by Congress and signed by President Bush will eliminate inefficient incandescent light bulbs, create corn-made bio-fuel mixtures for 35 MPG cars, show greenhouse-gas emissions labels on vehicles, make expensive-to-buy but cheap-to-operate energy-efficient appliances, and add geothermal and other alternative energy sources in the next decade or two. The world will be a more efficient, greener and better place with the wonderful new government guidance.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

With a single headline and less than half a page of news, the national media "reported" on the new congressional energy bill. The bill contains 822 pages of new federal law, and was totally supported by the high spending and so-called low spending parties.

The effect of everything but the few items summarized above was omitted. Tax-funded spending increases are sprinkled liberally throughout the entire package but only purchasable product and service changes were mentioned. Lawyers and federal compliance professionals were ecstatic over the new job-security measures, added costs and cash handouts the bill mandates.

Since the 822 pages of nearly indecipherable legalese are available on line, there was no need to report on them, according to standard media policy. The 3-digit number of the bill, HR 6, which would make finding it easy, is a mere technicality and was not included. The 600 lines in the bill's table of contents includes more than 200 new grants, loans, programs, agencies, fees, departments, studies, preferences and other expansions of government in the name of efficiency, also not reported. The cost for the thousands of new federal requirements is unknown.

Democrats' unsubstantiated bragging about eliminating "the famously inefficient incandescent light bulb," was unquestioningly carried by every "news" outlet. This somehow overlooked the stunning work done by a dead white guy to invent the bulb, which until now was considered a miracle.

The electric lightbulb brought the entire human race out of abject darkness and the dangerous truly inefficient "filthy burnt-stuff lighting" humans had suffered with since the dawn of civilization. Prior to the easily swallowed Democrat revision of history, the Edison light bulb had received unmitigated praise in classrooms and societies globally.

Enforcement of the thousands of new requirements, if necessary, will be handled in the usual manner -- by heavily armed federal agents.

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Unlimited Government Power

The lamestream media told you:

The Senate backed a new plan to require automobile manufacturers to produce cars that get an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, an increase of 10 MPG over current averages, according to the AP in an unbylined story.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

Experts poring over the U.S. Constitution today were unable to find any delegated authority that allows Congress to regulate an entire industry's product line, despite the Senate's decision recently to do so.

"If they can do this to the gigantic and powerful car makers, just imagine what it means for the little guy," said one scholar, who refused to be named for fear of reprisals. "Congress didn't use a specific excuse this time, but if they can do this to save the planet, change the atmosphere, centrally manage production or control private enterprise, is there anything they can't do?"

According to another highly placed source, also speaking on condition of anonymity, "The Constitution no longer constrains Congress," implying that the golden era of "government of limited powers," is dead. Experts differed on whether this matters.

Semiautomatics Confuse Brady

The lamestream media told you:

Referring to the Colorado Springs, Colo., ban on semiautomatic handguns for private security guards, Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence (formerly the National Council to Ban Handguns), said, "We allow ordinary citizens to carry these things around. Why we do that, I don't know." Helmke was interviewed by DeeDee Correll of the L.A. Times, following the death of a mass murderer shot by civilian volunteer Jeanne Assam, during a felony assault in a church.

Official security guards in the city, under "an attached policy" not part of the ordinance, are limited to revolvers in .38 and .357 calibers. Assam, a private CCW-permit holder, used an unspecified 9mm sidearm in the successful defense of the hundreds of congregants at the church.

Despite being named a security guard by lamestream outlets, she was not charged with carrying the wrong kind of gun, probably because, well, she's not a security guard. No correction has been issued.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

In a startling admission to one of the nation's largest lamestream papers, Paul Helmke, the man in charge of highly funded coordinated efforts to end the civil right to arms and disarm innocent Americans, admitted he didn't know what normal semiautomatic sidearms are for.

To clarify, the reason American citizens "carry these things around," is for personal safety, to protect the sanctity of life, to deter criminals, to defend against criminals, to assist others attacked by criminals as Jeanne Assam heroically did, plus for all the reasons we give firearms to the police and other authorities, and because as a natural, historic and constitutionally guaranteed right of free people, there are no legitimate grounds to forbid such private property to the public.

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McCain Wasn't "Mistreated"

The lamestream media told you:

In a story unrelated to the House vote on waterboarding, Jim Davenport writing for the AP reports that presidential candidate John McCain "suffered mistreatment" as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

John McCain was sadistically tortured during his 5-1/2 years as a Vietnamese prisoner. His own published account reveals brutal day-long beatings, being kicked, scratched and bounced around in a concrete room, drugging, broken limbs and ribs, rifle butting, bayoneting in his foot, two years of solitary confinement and more.

The AP stands by its "mistreatment" characterization, and that waterboarding is torture and un-American. No one has been charged in the news media's mistreatment of the language or deception of the public. Yet.

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Waterboarding Isn't Torture

The lamestream media told you:

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to declare the interrogation technique known as "waterboarding" as torture, in a move designed to outlaw its use by the CIA and other federal operatives fighting terrorism. The new U.S. Attorney General evaded the question repeatedly during his confirmation hearings, but was confirmed nonetheless.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

Waterboarding, which the Uninvited Ombudsman observed in a televised re-creation exercise, is not torture in any normal sense of that word. It is however a stern, persuasive interrogation technique, reportedly effective against Islamic extremists intent on murdering civilians.

In torture, subjects come out physically harmed with burns, abrasions, cuts, smashed or missing parts and sub-dermal hematomas, known as black-and-blue marks. In waterboarding, the subject comes out wet above the waste. Any interrogation, even a voluntary job interview, can leave a person with invisible psychological scars for life.

Torture involves physical beatings, truncheons, amputations, stabbing, fire, heat or open flame, electrical shock, acid, poison, drugs, tools like pliers, hammers, surgical instruments, motorized gear like drills and pulley systems, and beheading comrades for its persuasive value. People have volunteered to see what waterboarding is like. No one volunteers for torture, which is like what James Bond goes through sometimes.

In waterboarding, the gagged subject has clean water poured on the face and upper body, giving an uncomfortable but completely safe sense of drowning (under torture subjects often die). By openly advertising the technique, the House may have reduced its effectiveness by emphasizing that, unlike real torture, it causes no harm.

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Liberals actually love guns

By Special guest Columnist Craig Cantoni

The conventional wisdom says that liberals hate guns. Actually, the opposite is true. Hillary Clinton proves the point. She advocates nationalized healthcare.
Huh? What does that have to do with guns?

Everything.

Nationalized healthcare would not be voluntary, which means that it would be required and depend on government force for compliance. This means it would be backed up by government agents with guns. For enforcement.

Under nationalized healthcare, if a physician were to refuse to participate in the system and set up his own practice, he'd be fined and receive cease and desist orders. Eventually, if he continued to treat patients outside of the socialized system, he'd be arrested by agents with guns. Liberals support this pro-gun approach.

The same with patients. They would be arrested by agents with guns if they were to have the audacity to act like free people and pay private physicians for medical treatment out of their own pockets.

If you think this is just hype, I respectfully suggest you read Medicare's regulations.

Every government program near and dear to liberals (and millions of ersatz conservatives) depends on putting guns to people's heads -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, public education, minimum wages, and PBS, to name several out of hundreds.

The nation was founded on the libertarian (classical liberal) belief that the only legitimate use of government force is to protect life, liberty and property. By extension, that means government has legitimate authority to prosecute murderers, thieves and con artists.

But now, the government uses force to take property (money) from respectable citizens and then spends the loot on fraudulent Ponzi schemes such as Social Security and Medicare. (If you don't believe that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, then please show me the Social Security Trust Fund.) Ironically, the government that is supposed to prosecute con artists has become the biggest con artist of the land.

Without a gun pointed at my head, I would not let the government take 15 percent of my income for the schemes. I wouldn't pay protection money to a Mafioso unless a gun was pointed at my head either. Most intelligent, freedom-loving people wouldn't.

Unfortunately, most intelligent, freedom-loving people now engage in policy-wonk debates with the likes of Clinton about nationalized healthcare and other programs -- that depend on guns. They debate the efficiency of socialism versus free markets, putting people to sleep with statistics and economic theories. What they should do instead is say, "A healthcare system that depends on government coercion for its existence is by definition unconstitutional, un-American, and likely to make things worse."

If government-run health care will be so good, why is the Veteran's Administration health care system so bad?

The Founders wanted citizens to own guns to protect themselves against a government that used guns for other than protecting citizens. That's why liberals love government guns but hate the Second Amendment.

An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at ccan2@aol.com.

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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