There are times when I'd like to share something with you but my Voice in the Garden site does not seem the appropriate place, thus, this blog.

There are experiences, thoughts, views... and for anyone lurking/waiting to pounce (as has occurred on several occasions), please do not attempt to turn what I post into a political statement. This is NOT a political site, but IS about occurrences, reality, and personal opinion concerning what I see in the world around me and my family. There are many excellent writers whose works "speak" to me, and I shall include some of them. At times it may be
something I think you would enjoy or simply whatever ails you (me).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ten Principles of a Free Society


1. Rights belong to individuals, not groups; they derive from our nature and can neither be granted nor taken away by government.
2. All peaceful, voluntary economic and social associations are permitted; consent is the basis of the social and economic order.
3. Justly acquired property is privately owned by individuals and voluntary groups, and this ownership cannot be arbitrarily voided by governments.
4. Government may not redistribute private wealth or grant special privileges to any individual or group.
5. Individuals are responsible for their own actions; government cannot and should not protect us from ourselves.
6. Government may not claim the monopoly over a people's money and governments must never engage in official counterfeiting, even in the name of macroeconomic stability.
7. Aggressive wars, even when called preventative, and even when they pertain only to trade relations, are forbidden.
8. Jury nullification, that is, the right of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts, is a right of the people and the courtroom norm.
9. All forms of involuntary servitude are prohibited, not only slavery but also conscription, forced association, and forced welfare distribution.
10. Government must obey the law that it expects other people to obey and thereby must never use force to mold behavior, manipulate social outcomes, manage the economy, or tell other countries how to behave.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Montanans Launch Recall of Senators

Montanans Launch Recall of Senators Who Approved NDAA Military Detention

On Christmas Day the US Senate voted 86 - 14 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 which allows for the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. Now, Montanans have announced the launch of recall campaigns against Senators Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester, who voted for the bill, reports

Montana is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, pursuant to Montana Code 2-16-603, on the grounds of physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of certain felony offenses, according to SNC.

Montana law requires grounds for recall to be stated which show conformity to the allowed grounds for recall. The draft language of the Montana petitions, "reason for recall" reads:
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all U.S citizens:

"a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed..."

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA 2011) permanently abolishes the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, "for the duration of hostilities" in the War on Terror, which was defined by President George W. Bush as "task which does not end" to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.

Those who voted Aye on December 15th, 2011, Bill of Rights Day, for NDAA 2011 have attempted to grant powers which cannot be granted, which violate both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The Montana Recall Act stipulates that officials including US senators can only be recalled for physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense. We the undersigned call for a recall election to be held for Senator Max S. Baucus [and Senator Jonathan Tester] and charge that he has violated his oath of office, to protect and defend the United States Constitution.
Montana residents William Crain and Stewart Rhodes are spearheading the drive, according to SNC. Mr. Crain is an artist. Mr. Rhodes is an attorney, Yale Law School graduate, and the national president of the organization Oath Keepers, who are military and law enforcement officers, both former and active duty, who vow to uphold their Oath to the US Constitution and to disobey illegal orders which constitute attacks on their fellow citizens. (emphasis, mine)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

29 Companies Paid Millions For Lobbyists, No Taxes

Thirty large U.S. corporations paid more money to Congressional lobbyists than they paid in taxes from 2008-2010, according to a new report from Public Campaign, a purportedly non-partisan corporate watchdog organization that seeks to reduce the influence of big companies in politics. The report names 30 profitable companies (only one of which paid federal corporate taxes during the period analyzed), with lobbying expenditures ranging from $710,000 to $84.4 million.

The worst offender, GE (General Electric), spent over $39 million on lobbyists in 2010 alone, avoided paying any U.S. taxes, and indeed received tax rebates totaling over $4.7 billion over the three years studied.

PG&E spent the second most on lobbying among the corporations named. In fact, it topped GE’s 2010 totals, spending nearly $45.5 million on lobbying last year. From 2008 through 2010, the company spent just under $79 million on lobbying...

All figures below in millions.
Company Profits Taxes Paid Lobbying
General Electric $10,460 -$4,737 $84.35
PG&E Corp $4,855 -$1,027 $78.99
Verizon Communications $32,518 -$951 $52.34
Wells Fargo $49,370 -$681 $11.04
American Electric Power $5,899 -$545 $28.85
Pepco Holdings $882 -$508 $3.76
Computer Sciences $1,666 -$305 $4.39
CenterPoint Energy $1,931 -$284 $2.65
NiSource $1,385 -$227 $17.47
Duke Energy $5,475 -$216 $17.47
Boeing $9,735 -$178 $52.29
NextEra Energy $6,403 -$139 $9.99
Consolidated Edison $4,263 -$127 $1.79
Paccar $365 -$112 $0.76
Integrys Energy Group $818 -$92 $2.45
Wisconsin Energy $1,725 -$85 $2.45
DuPont $2,124 -$72 $13.75
Baxter International $926 -$66 $10.45
Tenet Healthcare $415 -$48 $3.43
Ryder System $627 -$46 $0.96
El Paso $4,105 -$41 $2.94
Honeywell International $4,903 -$34 $18.30
CMS Energy $1,292 -$29 $3.48
ConLway $286 -$26 $2.29
Navistar International $896 -$18 $6.31
DTE Energy $2,551 -$17 $4.37
Interpublic Group $571 -$15 $1.30
Mattel $1,020 -$4 $2.81
Corning $1,977 -$4 $2.81
FedEx $4,247 $37 $50.81

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Even Congress’s Insider Trading Reform is a Scam

Another scam with a title, it appears....

Barry Ritholz writes:

Don’t be fooled by noise about reforming Insider Trading rules for Congress — its a scam, with lots of loopholes, says Yale law prof Jonathan Macey.

First, the background:

“Members of Congress already get better health insurance and retirement benefits than other Americans. They are about to get better insider trading laws as well.

Several academic studies show that the investment portfolios of congressmen and senators consistently outperform stock indices like the Dow and the S&P 500, as well as the portfolios of virtually all professional investors. Congressmen do better to an extent that is statistically significant, according to [a 2004] study . . . The trading is widespread.

These results are not due to luck or the financial acumen of elected officials. They can be explained only by insider trading based on the nonpublic information that politicians obtain in the course of their official duties.”

Now for the kicker:

“Congress’s rules would be clear and precise. And not too broad; in fact they are too narrow. For example, the proposed rules in the Stock bill are directed only at information related to pending legislation. It would appear that inside information obtained by a congressman during a regulatory briefing, or in another context unrelated to pending legislation, would not be covered . . .

If the law passes in its current form, insider trading by Congress will not become illegal. I predict such trading will increase because the rules of the game will be clearer. Most significantly, the rule proposed for Congress would not involve the same murky inquiry into whether a trader owed or breached a “fiduciary duty” to the source of the information that required that he refrain from trading.”

Is this what is meant by “Doing the people’s business?” No wonder why Congress’s approval ratings are at 9% — a record low.

Congress’s Phony Insider-Trading Reform
Jonathan Macey
WSJ, DECEMBER 13, 2011