Monday, March 17, 2008


I was born on June 24th. At least I thought I was born on June 24th. My Birth Certificate said I was born on June 24th. So did my Drivers License. All my life I told people I was born on June 24th, filled out applications, legal documents, and had even sworn under oath. Wrong! Under today’s standers I was a Liar. Even worse a perjurer who should face the legal consequences, and I didn’t even know it.

Liar, Liar, pants on fire

I had known I was adopted and sometime in my mid 40s I found a second Birth Certificate that said I was born under a different name on June 17th. It was not June 24th but June 17th. I had lied about my birthday, or had I? This is the situation facing President Bush and weapons of mass destruction. Did he lie, or was he just wrong?

"The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently — like the effect of a fog or moonshine — gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance. Carl von Clausewitz

American Intelligence said Saddam had WMD. British, Russian, U.N., and every spook of note believed it existed. This was the consensus; Iraq had chemical and perhaps biological weapons. The Egyptian President warned The United States if the invaded Iraq, Hussein would surly use chemical weapons. They were wrong. The Dictator is running a bluff.

Saddam Hussein stood like a Colossus before his people. Bigger than life, able to reward or kill at his whim, the Baathist President looked solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. In reality was Jell-O quivering in fear. Fear of his Shiite majority, fear of the Iranians, and mostly fear of the Americans. Out of this fear came a desperate plan. A Bluff worthy of Poker ledgend Amarillo Slim.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!"
Sir Walter Scott

You can’t say Husain’s solution wasn’t audacious. Although he had lost his chemical weapons during the Gulf War, he pretended he still had them. He bragged about them, jerked the Inspectors chain by denying them access to empty buildings, and faked convoys. He did just about everything he could do to convince the World he was armed to the teeth with Chemical Weapons. It worked. The world’s intelligence community was convinced until the Bush Administration called the bluff by invading Iraq.

Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity
Carl von Clausewitz

Although there were many arguments, some good, some bad, to invade Iraq, President Bush placed WMD at the forefront of his argument for the war. We invaded and exposed the ruse. Now the question is, was the President lying or was he just wrong?

Friday, March 14, 2008

THE GOVERNOR, THE HOOKER & THE FEDS. Big Brother would be proud.

“What a Business. You got it. You Sell it. You still got it.” Unknown Madam

Ok! The State of New York had a Governor who could afford to pay too much for a Hooker. Big deal! He is a Politician and Politicians always spend too much for everything. if you don’t believe that look at the Federal budget. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once noted ‘Power is the greatest aphrodisiac’. The Spitzer debacle places him in the company of bounders ranging from actor Hugh Grant to Senator Larry Craig.

Q: Why do men name their penis?
A: They don’t like having their decisions made by a stranger.
Spitzer is one of a long line of luminaries who have become victim to “Viagra Syndrome” first noticed when patients taking heart medicine experienced cardiac problems. The syndrome occurs when a males has an erection. Blood and all capability of thought rush from the Head and Brain to the third leg rendering the victim incapable of making a rational decision. Fortunately this malady is short-lived and disappears rapidly after a time. The former Governor need not be prosecuted. Surly he will be persecuted for the rest of his life, not by the Feds but by his wife.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

What is more worrisome than a Horney Governor is the way he was caught. It was the I.R.S. monitoring financial transactions. The law says you have to report cash transactions of more than ten thousand dollars. Spitzer’s short term lease cost less than Five Grand. If the Revenuers track chump change that closely we all have to worry. If I send my sister Five Grand how do I know some Fed isn’t keeping track. Until the so called “War on Drugs” you could walk into a bank and deposit a suitcase full of cash. It was none of Washington’s business then and it should be none of the Governments business now.

Companies are developing microscopic radio frequency identification chips that can be embedded in paper currency. When this technology matures every piece of paper currency in the nation can be tracked by the Government. That makes George Orwell’s “Big Brother” look like an uninformed ignoramus.

If your Mommy is a Commie you got to turn her in” The John Birch Society
Chad Mitchell Trio

Since the start of the “Cold War” Washington has used the fear of the unknown to con Americans into giving up their freedom. Give your bank your social security number so Uncle Sam can track your finances. Burn the ten thousand dollar bank note and print nothing larger than one hundred dollars, require the reporting of all cash transaction of over ten thousand dollars. Government has to know. It’s in the “National Interest” to know where you are spending your money. At least that’s their story and they are sticking to it. The problem is the public is buying this chimera.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

You never know when to expect the Spanish Inquisition!

You never know when to expect the Spanish Inquisition! The first immigrants came to America fleeing religious persecution. Our founding fathers knew the dangers of entanglement of church and state. They insured it would never happen here in the adoption of the first amendment of the Constitution.

A state religion requires all citizens to become members or lose their citizenship. With over three-thousand religious dominations in America that isn't feasible, and if it was, how would you pick which will become the official one.

"Render onto Ceaser's that which is Ceaser's and unto God that which is Gods." A Christian is thus admonished, the Bible requires separation of Church and State. There can be no other interpretation of this warning. It also shows the fallacy of the idea America is a Christian nation. Heaven, sitting at the hand of God, is the real Christian nation, not some land on earth.

The Protestant reformation and the chaos of the break up of the Catholic monopoly show the danger of combining church and state. Millions died in the ensuing wars until the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 ended the conflict and established the doctrine "cuius regio, eius religio" the religion of the ruler will be the religion of his citizens. The treaty only applied to Catholics and Lutherans. Other Protestant sects such as the Anabaptists and Calvinists were expressly excluded.

The combination of church and a state still caused problems especially among the Calvinists. That resulted in the Second Defenestration of Prague and the thirty years war, ending with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. All this death and destruction shows the danger when opponents each believe, they have God on their side.

This is the problem with the combination of church and state. Religion forces the state into actions that do not always benefit the state but are necessary because they are demanded by God, or at least God's representatives. No temporal leader can refuse to obey God's orders passed through his representatives in the Church, after all you never ask questions when God's on your side.

Considering the problems caused with the joining of church and state involving only Christians nearly five hundred years ago, imagine the problems it would cause in the modern world with thousands of religions and their offshoots. It would be chaos, with each Church/State Theocracy seeking dominance over all the others. Instead of the millions killed during the Reformation, with today's weaponry the toll would run into the Billions.

You miss Imus, I don't miss Imus, Long live Imus

To some Don Imus is the fount of all wisdom, to the rest of us, he is rude, crude and socially unacceptable. That's why he has been on the air, and paid big bucks for decades. He was hired because he was controversial and now he has been fired for the same thing. That's wrong.

"Nappy headed ho's" is nowhere near the most egregious thing Imus has said in forty decades on the air. It just provided a reason for race hucksters like Al Sharpton to show their power. Faced with what was especially blackmail, Imus's sponsors folded like cheep umbrellas and threatened to pull their advertising. Imus was a dead duck.

This is not a free speech issue as guaranteed by the first amendment to the constitution. The constitution only applies to government, not private companies. They are free to censor their employees any way they wish. The Federal Communications Commission was not involved in the controversy. They didn't have jurisdiction because Imus's remarks did not violate decency provisions that apply to broadcasters. Imus was busted by the Political Correctness Police, not the F.C.C.

In the past half century, the concept of "Political Correctness" has attempted to stifle speech that may offend the "Protected Classes," now defined as anybody except white males. This is a greater danger than any governmental intrusion.

Free speech is not just for that which you agree with. If you truly believe in "Free Speech" than you have an obligation to defend the rights of others to write, say or broadcast speech you find abhorrent. Fail and someday you may find the shoe on the other foot and your speech is the one banned as unacceptable to the community.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Politics. You get what you deserve.

Americans have been getting the political leadership they deserve since the beginning of this nation. During times when the electorate has paid attention, we have received the greatness we needed. Our first president could have been King.

George Washington was advised to run for a third term and establish a dynasty. His refusal to run for a third term assured the nation would remain a democratic republic. We were in the growth and expansion of the American Empire. The public cared, paid attention to the fledgling democracy, and got what it deserved, a leader who put the national interest above his own.

As our new nation grew, most of our leadership was dedicated to America. When the question was "Is it good for the country or is it good for me and my party" and it really counted, America came first. As in every political system there were petty squabbles, attempts a power grabs, and gaming the Constitution. Men are men. We were led by humans with human weaknesses. You have to expect that, however when it really counted, greatness emerged.

The prospect of being hanged sharpens men's minds. The widening split between the North and South, which led to the Civil War, was foremost in the minds of the populace. They were engaged in politics. They deserved greatness, and received it with the election of Abraham Lincoln. He was one of the few with the intestinal fortitude to deal with the country's greatest crisis.

After the war, the public attention diverted to fulfilling it's ‘Manifest Destiny.' Again we got what we deserved, a string of mediocre presidents. It was not until the nation stretched from the Atlantic to the pacific that Americans began once again to pay attention to politics. We got what we deserved, Theodore Roosevelt, another one of the ‘greats.'

America was ambivalent if not hostile to the country's involvement in the "Great War." Again we got what we deserved Woodrow Wilson, an idealist who was unfit to lead the nation through the crisis. The ‘Jimmy Carter' of his time, he talked a good game, but when the chips were down, he was a failure.

The "Roaring twenties" diverted Americans from the nation to the pursuit of pleasure. No one cared about Washington until Black Monday when the stock market crashed, the great depression, unemployment and food lines brought attention back to politics. FDR emerged as the man of the hour, began the restoration of confidence, prepared and led us through the Second World War.

The ‘cold war' kept American eyes focused on Washington, resulting in string of good presidents until Vietnam and Watergate soured the public on politics. We never recovered. The American Empire had reached its zenith. It was the start of our slide down the razor blade of decline.

For a short time, the disaster of the Carter presidency, attracted the public attention. That brought another and perhaps the last of the ‘greats' Ronald Reagan. During the ‘Reagan revolution' the public attention turned inward, the Zeitgeist changed to "What's in it for me" where it remains to this day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The American Civil War. A Clash of cultures.

The Civil War was at its roots a clash of cultures. The North was an industrialized sophisticated society while the South was an agrarian nearly feudal society. Psychologically they were completely at odds with each other.

Politically the war was fought over the issue of "States Rights." Since the signing of the Constitution the question of state versus federal power was at issue. States considered themselves sovereign, united into a federal government. They believed states had the power to nullify federal laws and supported a weak federal government. Reluctant to cede power to the states, the Federal Government rejected this argument, a power keg sat waiting for a spark to set off an explosion.

The election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860 was the spark that ignited the explosion that was to be the Civil War. The newly formed Republican party opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories. That would have driven a stake through the power of the South. It received a disproportionate power in Congress because the Constitution counted slaves as 3/5th of a free man. Although slaves couldn't vote, they counted in the apportionment of the House of Representatives. Without the ability to expand slavery westward, Southern politicians realized they would lose power as the country expanded. They couldn't abide that. Rather than lose power they chose secession and formed their own nation. Lincoln waited until the South made the first move. Their attack on Fort Sumter started a war the South couldn't win.

Emancipation of slaves was secondary to the preservation of the union; however, the continuation of Southern slavery was the issue behind the South's refusal to compromise. Lincoln and the Republican Party would have allowed the South to keep the institution where it existed, but refused to allow more slave states. The war and The Emancipation Proclamation were the death knells of slavery.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House effectively ended the conflict and settled the issue of states right of secession.

During the war, the Republican Party was split over what to do after the South was forced back into the Union. Lincoln was the leader of the moderates. His Assassination April 14, 1865 gave the Radical Republicans the power to impose some harsh conditions on the crushed South. Federal troops occupied the defeated states and a harsh period of reconstruction brought more than a century of Southern hatred for "those damn Yankees." A political deal gave the election of 1876 to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and ended reconstruction. It assured control of the South by the Democratic Party until Brown vs. Board of Education desegregated Southern schools, Leading to the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960's.

The Civil War ended two issues that had bedeviled the country since the adoption of the Constitution. It affirmed the primacy of the Federal Government and ended the debate over slavery.

Ending Affernitive Action in higher education

Race should not be a factor in deciding admission policy for higher education. The days of racial discrimination are long over. It's time to stop what is essentially reverse discrimination.

"Minority students are systematically mismatched with institutions" due to racial preferences, where they underperform relative to the student body." Thomas Sowell. He goes on to note, "After group preferences and quotas were banned in California's state universities, the number of black students in the University of California system has risen."

Minorities who are admitted to a University because of racial preferences always have a question in the back of their mind. "Did I really earn my degree, or did I get it because of my race?" That though extends to others. They wonder, "Did he get where he is because of his ability or his race?" If racial preferences actually harm minority students, what good are they?

Affernitive Action was developed in a time when race was an essential factor affecting minorities in virtually every facet of life, from where you could eat to where you could receive your education. In the 1960's, the Johnson administration and congress passed laws forbidding the use of race as a factor. It has been nearly a half-century and most of the country has adopted racial neutrality. Why should Higher Education still act as if it was still the days of discrimination? They are almost gone and the last vestiges of discrimination are fast fading.

The problem with the establishment of "Protected groups," is everyone wants to be a member. Racial minorities, women and the disabled are covered, now everyone else are clamoring to be included in what has become a category of the preferred. At the rate new groups are being added to the list of the protected, soon the only ones without protection will be Anglo males. They can be discriminated against, because they were the ones who were doing the discriminating in years past. It's just a case of tit for tat.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Suffered a ‘Bad Beat’ playing Poker? Don’t Tilt.

Many a bankroll has been destroyed by a bad beat. It’s not that you loose the ranch on that hand, it’s what happens after its over. Bad beats are about as much fun as hitting your thumb with a hammer, so you had better learn to deal with them if your playing poker.

Poker maven Lee Jones has developed Poker’s Prime Directive, “Play happy, or don’t play at all.” It’s hard to be happy when your full house loses to a miracle draw. Steam comes out of your ears. The Poker God hates you, and you feel as if the “Law of averages” has been repealed. Get over it or go home.

First realize bad beats only happen to good players. It is rare for a good player to put a bad beat on another player. Good players calculate how to play the hand correctly, so they don’t go for long shots without the proper odds. It’s the ‘fish’ that suck out. When that happens, the good player acts like a pinball machine when shoved too far. They go on ‘Tilt”, play like a maniac and usually lose their bankroll.

If your tilting, but the game is good and you think you can make a profit, you have to cool down. Take a break. Walk around the casino. Ogle the cocktail waitresses or hunks, depending on your preference. Do anything to relax, forget the pain you are feeling, and get back into the proper frame of mind to be a winning player.

To combat the bad beat syndrome there is a universal fact you have to realize if you are a poker player. Short-term results are irrelevant. What counts is how you do during your poker life. Think of it as a book and each session a page in that book. If you are writing a best seller, you have to make the proper decisions when faced with a choice of words to use. It’s the same in poker. In the long run, good decisions make money, bad decisions lose money. If you have the best of the situation, over time you will show a profit.

Here is an example. We make a bet flipping a coin. Every time it lands heads, I will give you one dollar. Every time it lands tails, you will give me two dollars. Over the long run, say a million hands, heads will come up about half the time, and tails will hit half the time. After a million hands heads comes up 500-thousand times and I give you a dollar, for a total of 500-thousand dollars. Tails also will come up 500-thousand times and each time you will give me a dollar for a total of a million dollars. This bet gives me an expected profit of fifty-cents every time we toss the coin. There will be times when tails comes up eight out of ten times. That makes you feel good, you are on a streak. That doesn’t matter. At the end of the million hands each, heads and tails will come up half the time, and since you are laying me two to one odds, I win a half a million dollars. When an outcome's up more than its mathematical expectation it’s called bunching. That is what causes loosing sessions. Over the long run the ‘Law of averages’ is still enforced. In limit poker you will be a winner as long as the odds are in your favor. Playing the ‘law of averages.’ is your profit machine.

Remember two things. In the long run good decisions win money and bad decisions lose money, so make good decisions. The second is the Prime Directive, “Play happy or don’t play at all.” You will win in the long run as long as you follow these too rules. Relax, have fun, make good decisions, and you will be a winning player. Just remember to turn the ‘Tilt’ control to ‘off’.

The problems with Democracy

In a pure Democracy, all citizens vote on every decision made by the society. This was the system adopted by ancient Athens. Even then it was necessary to have someone to make the day-to-day decisions. Democracy is realistic only in small homogenous societies.

What we have in The United States and most of the Western world are Republics. While mimicking democracy, in republics, the populace elects people to represent their interests in governing the political unit. This is a practical evolution of pure democracy.

Aside from its impracticability in all but the smallest social units, democracy has many flaws. The prime problem is ‘rule by the mob’. The majority has absolute control of the society. Minorities have no power; it’s concentrated in the majority. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton. This is the major problem with democracies. When the majority has all the power they ‘lord’ over the minorities. Without power, the minorities are subject to the will of the mob. They have no rights, they can be enslaved, and their property seized, and even killed if that is the will of the majority. The first French republic is the perfect example of ‘rule by the mob’; first the Royalty was carted to the guillotine, then the petit bourgeois and eventually those who first seized power, Robespiere and his cronies. It took Napoleon and an eventual dictatorship to stop the “terrors.”

Republican democracies are by design slow to act. They have checks and balances to prevent hasty action in the heat of the moment. It takes debate to build a consensus among the representatives before action may be taken. While this is a slow process it has an advantage over totalitarian states. A Dictator may make a decision on the spur of the moment, and that decision may be disastrous for the state.

While technically we live in a Republic, most people think of America as a Democracy. As Winston Churchill so eloquently said it “Democracy is the worst form of government, save all others.”

Government paid, Free Healthcare, You get what you pay for.

Money doesn’t come to Washington like manna from heaven. It comes from taxpayers. If government is to pay for all medical care, the money has to come from somewhere, and that’s you.

Government is like a baby’s alimentary canal. Money goes in one end and poop comes out the other. That will happen if government takes over paying for health care. An efficient government program is an oxymoron. During the height of the welfare system for every dollar that went to welfare 27-cents got to the welfare recipients. The rest was absorbed by overhead, a hoard of employees, enough paperwork to fell a forest, and rules that were not understandable by the Supreme Court.

Governmental health care would be no different. Health care costs would soar. That would leave Washington with two choices. Raise taxes or ration healthcare for citizens. The most likely outcome would be both, so get ready, bend over and grab your ankles. Prepare for a congressional Colonoscopy.

If government controlled healthcare would result in efficiency, the uninsured could be covered. Even if we assume governmental efficiency, human nature would through a monkey wrench into the system. When people get things free, they will take all they can get. It’s human nature. We have a gold plated health care system now with the public paying for it. Imagine the results, if everything was free, or at least illusionary free. Platinum wouldn’t begin to describe it. The country couldn’t afford it.

If government does become the single payer, as many wish, expect to see a system that looks like the one in Canada or Europe. Patients would get basic emergency care, but that’s just about it. Elective procedures would involve waiting lines. In England, today, coronary bypass surgery requires a six month long wait. The bottom line is, if government paid health case was a panacea, why are Canadians, Europeans, and every foreigner who can pay for it, traveling to the United States? It’s a simple answer. They get the best and don’t have to wait for it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Immigration and the American Dream

The Pilgrims are coming! The Pilgrims are coming! Americans faced their first immigration crisis. The year was 1601. You can blame it all on Pocahontas. She placed her pretty little head between John Smith and the war hammer that was about to crush his head like an egg hit with a Plymouth Rock. With tears in her eyes, she cried out, "Daddy don't kill this man." Like all fathers, with a teen-aged daughter, Chief Wahusunacock, couldn't turn down her plea. He granted amnesty and allowed the small group of illegal immigrants to stay.

The small group of immigrants soon began bringing their relatives, friends and neighbors to America. The small stream turned into a torrent. The newcomers demanded they're right to live as they did in their native land. Multi-culturalism became their motto. They refused to assimilate with the Americans. Most refused to learn the native language, preferring their own. They took the American's jobs, stole their property, and brought disease to the land. The Americans dropped like flies, communities were devastated, many Americans sickened and died.

The white-eyed,forked-tongued, devils were not content to stay in their ghettos. They spread westward displacing the Americans by force, fire and brimstone.

Split into competing political factions, Americans could not agree on how to deal with these interlopers. It was gridlock, and the immigrants took advantage of the political turmoil, demanding citizenship. Finally a compromise was made and those already in this beautiful land were allowed to stay. "No more" said the Americans, but the white tide continued. Eventually the real Americans were outnumbered and the aliens controlled America.

As soon as they gained control, the immigrants proclaimed they were the real Americans, and killed, or drove the original Americans into concentration camps. Thus, ended Americans first immigration crisis. For them, the American dream came to a sad and bitter end. They became strangers in a strange land.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Online Poker. Choosing the best Site. Choosing the best Game

There are no hard and fast rules for where to play on line, but with a little exploration you can find a room or two that fit your style of play. The first question is what games do you want to play and what forms do you won't to play it.

Hold-em is the most popular game on the net and in casinos so lets concentrate on that. Are you a ring game player, or do you prefer tournaments? Different sites are best for the different forms.

Look at a number of sites and judge which are best for your preferred game. In general you want a site with a lot of people playing the same game you play. If you like tournaments, look for a site that features a lot or them. Today Poker Stars is the premiere site for tourneys, but the competition there can be tough, so you might look for a site with fewer tourneys but softer competition. Use the same criteria if you are a ring game player. The more people playing your game, the more bad players you will run into, and if your goal is to make money, you want to play against bad players.

For ring game players, once you have found your site, the next decision is what game to play in. Usually there will be a number of tables featuring the limits you are interested in. Online rooms have a valuable feature you won't find in casinos. They show how many players are in each hand, how aggressive the table is and the average pot. Usually the most profitable limit games are loose passive so look for tables where a number of players pay to look at the flop, but few players raise. Once in a game keep track of the statistics for that game and also the other games at your limit. Players come and go, so what once was a profitable table may change into one that is not as good and a bad table may morph. into one more profitable than the one you are playing at. Online Poker requires constant vigilance. The successful player adjusts, moving to the best spots he can find. That's much easier online when you can just get up from a bad table and move to one that is more profitable. You can't do that easily in Casino card rooms.

Playing Poker in a Casino. Playing on the Internet. Different Games, different styles

While the mechanics of the game are the same, there are vast differences between casino and Online Poker. Those differences change how you play. If you don't understand then you should not play in both.

The first difference is obvious. When you play in a casino you are able to see your opponents. That gives you the opportunity to study their play and watch for indications of the strength of their hands. This is known as picking up on ‘tells', a valuable way to increase profits. Online you can't see your opponents and have to rely on betting patterns. In both, betting patterns are more valuable than physical tells, especially when playing with good players. In face to face play a tricky opponent can set you up by exhibiting a tell when holding a weak hand. You catch him at it and assume that tell means he has a weak hand. Later he will exhibit the same tell, but when you call, expecting he is weak, he shows you a monster hand. This is called a reverse tell.

Online poker runs at a far faster pace. In a casino, a fast game may have 40 hands an hour. Online you will be playing far more hands an hour, perhaps double the rate as in a casino. In a casino, you can play at only one table. Online sites allow you to play as many as four to six tables at the same time. A good player can maximize his hourly win rate by playing more than one game at a time.

The rake, how much the house takes from the pot to pay for hosting the game, is lower online than in casinos. Casinos have to pay dealers, floor men, cocktail waitresses, as well as for tables, chips and cards. Online a server can host many games at the same time, making online overhead much lower. Most online sites charge a 5 percent rake, with a two or three-dollar maximum. Casinos usually charge 10 percent with a maximum of up to five dollars. In addition in live games the winner is expected to toke (Tip) the dealer. Say you win a one hundred-dollar pot. Online the site takes three dollars. In a casino the rake could be five dollars and the toke a dollar. Your online profit is 97-dollars, while in the casino it is 94-dollars. That three-dollar difference adds up over the many hands you play. In a hundred wins the difference is 300-dollars. That's not chump change.

Online you can use a "chat box" to communicate with your opponents, but this is cumbersome and limited to short messages such as "Good hand"in the casino you can chat up a storm, socializing with the other players. This gives you an opportunity to use conversation to affect how you opponents play

To play in a casino, you have to dress up and drive to the casino. If you smoke, most casinos have no smoking card rooms. If you are having a nicotine fit, you have to leave the game for a while to go to a place where smoking is allowed. You can play or you can smoke, but you can't do both at the same time. On line you can sit in your easy chair naked, chain smoking and no one will know or care. You also don't have to dress and drive to the casino. Online play is much more convenient.

Both card rooms and the Internet have their advantages and disadvantages. If you live near a casino you can go out to play when you feel like playing with humans, you can socialize with. You can play online if you have only a limited time to play, or just want to avoid the inconvenience associated with a casino. If you don't live within driving distance and want to play, you have only one option, the net.

Daniel Negreanu,One of Poker's best of the best

Poker players like golfers can be divided into three catagorize, duffers, good players, and the very best like Tiger Woods and the top players on the PGA circuit. In poker, Daniel Negreanu is one of the best of the best.

Negreanu was born in Toronto Canada July 26, 1974, and began playing poker in High School. He dropped out to play in the numerous illegal games in Toronto until he turned 21, when he moved to Las Vegas. After losing his bank roll he returned to Canada, rebuilt his stake and moved back to Las Vegas.

How good a player is Negreanu? As of the start of 2007, Negreanu has racked up nearly ten-million dollars in live tournament wins. In 1998 he won his first bracelet at the World Series of Poker, playing in the $2000 pot limit tournament. That win made him the youngest player to win a bracelet in WSOP history, an honor he held until 2004. That year he won the "Best Player" award at the World Series. Since then he has won two more WSOP bracelets. Three may not seem impressive until you realize, the best poker player in the world, Doyle Brunson has won only ten, and he was playing in the Series since before Negreanu was born. On The World Poker Tour he ranks third in the list of poker player of the year awards.

Daniel, known as "The Kid" plays in the highest limit games in Las Vegas and is a regular winner. His greatest strength is his ability to read his opponents hands. He regularity correctly predicts his opponent's cards before they are shown.

He has played in a number of televised poker events including "High States Poker" which featured a 100-thousand dollar minimum buy in. Negreanu bought in for a million dollars, lost nearly half of it during a run of bad luck, then won it back.

Unlike some of poker's other high limit players Negreanu is really a nice guy. In 2006 Card Player magazine named him "Favorite Poker player." He writes poker advice articles, He tutors other players and writes an advice column for Full Tilt Poker, an online poker site.

So how go of a player is Negreanu? You would have to play against him to find out, but most consider him one of the top ten players in the world.

New to Casino Poker? The rules of Poker etiquette

Playing poker in a casino you have to act courteously, remember you are not alone at the table. The best rule is "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you."

Before playing in a new cardroom, read the house rules. Most casinos have the same general rules, but some vary them. Make sure you know the rules of the game before you sit down.

Poker is a game of information. It is important that you don't give information that would help others. The first rule is, wait until it is your turn to act. If you act out of turn, say through away your cards before it's your turn, you are giving valuable information to players who have yet to act. To prevent prematurely giving away what you are going to do, wait until it's your turn to act before looking at your cards. This also helps you by preventing you from giving away the strength of your hand while others who will act before you have decided what to do.

All casinos have a rule, "One person to a hand." Never discuss a hand while it is in progress or give advice to an active player. The later will earn a rebuke from the dealer or a formal warning from the floor man. If you persist in advising active players, you will be banned from the card room.

If you are going to raise, say "raise" when it's your turn before doing anything. The rule is you have to say either raise or place all the chips in the pot in one motion. Saying "I call your bet" placing the bet into the pot, the "and raise you" then placing more chips in the pot is called a string bet. This is not allowed. A cheat could say "I call" look at his opponent's reaction then decide if he wants to raise. Cheats are known as "Cross roaders" and the action is called a "Move." Casino's don't want cheating because it drives honest players to the competition.

Try and keep the game fun and lively, especially at low limits. Most players are there to have fun. Helping keeps the game fun keep's recreational players, who usually are bad players, in the game increases your chance to show a profit. Never, never, never, berate a bad player. There will be occasions when you are a huge favorite to win the hand, but a bad player calls your bet, catches a miracle card and beats you. You have suffered a 'bad beat' and you will be tempted to tell you opponent how bad a player he is, insult his mother, and launch into a tirade of invective. You see this happen often. Don't do it. Not only is it rude, it is bad for your chances of making a profit. Poker is a zero sum game. If you win, someone has to loose. Losers are usually the bad players who are playing for fun. You want these ‘fish' to stay and play as long as possible. Remember P.T Barnum's motto, "Never give a sucker an even break, and never wise up a chump." If you anger a bad player, he is likely to pick up his chips and go home. Veterans have a saying "Never tap on the aquarium." You may feel friendly and try and give advice to a bad player. Curb your ego. Bad players don't want advice and resent someone pointing out how badly they play. Remember never wise up a chump, that bad player is where you will find your profit. If you do succeed in improving his game, you are diminishing your winnings. If you have to say something, complement the player. Tell him what a good play he just made, or say you never would have the courage to do what he did. Pump up his ego, he will stay and pump up your winnings.

To sum it up. Follow the rules. Be a friendly courteous player. And "Don't tap the aquarium."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

America, many religions, but no National Religion

America does not have an ‘official' national religion, which is prohibited by the Constitution, but some 85 percent of our citizens profess to be Christians. That makes Christianity America's unofficial religion. That's important. Look at the problems being suffered by Mitt Romney as he runs for President. He is a Mormon and many mainstream Christians consider The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a heretical offshoot of Christianity.

"The rhetoric between evangelicals and Mormons has been almost abusive," said Richard Mouw, president of the Fuller Theological Seminary in California.

Christians are not a monolithic group. There are more than nine-hundred Christian denominations in America, ranging in the political spectrum from liberal to evangelical conservatives. This diversity places some limits on the power Christians have to influence political policy. Collations have been built around single issues such as abortion, especially in the evangelical community, however there is not a general consensus among American Christians.

In America of the 21st century religions influence has diminished from the days of fire and brimstone preachers of the 19th century, or even the Scopes "Monkey trial" of 1925.

Now the problem is the nation-state, "in circumstance of accelerating global integration, the nation-state has become too small for the big problems and too big for the small problems of life" Anthony Giddens, University of Cambridge.

Religion is probably a best mechanism to fill this dichotomy, however with more than three-thousand religious groups in America, there is too much diversity to ever form a national religion.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The difficulties of being an Illegal Alien

When someone decides to cross illegally into the United States, they have to make what is essentially a cost benefit analysis. The benefit is obvious,they can make more money here than in their home country. The costs are much greater.

The first problem is getting across the border. That means paying a smuggler. It can cost a thousand dollars or more. Then if they are coming from Mexico, they have to evade Border Patrol agents while crossing the hot Sonoran Desert. Many die in the attempt. In addition they face robbery, rape and death at the hands of the Coyote who is leading them.

If they make it safely to their destination, they face hard work at low pay, often getting cheated by their unscrupulous employers. As a stranger in a strange land they have few social contacts, usually in their own ethnic community. Living arrangements are usually poor. Farm laborers often live in hovels not fit for a dog. Those in cities fair no better, cramming four or five people in a one or two bedroom apartment.

Being here illegally they have to be on guard, looking for immigration agents who will send them back home if they are caught. Restricted to an ethnic ghetto, being illegal, they have few opportunities for enjoyment. Aliens live in constant fear of getting deported, robbed or worse. It's a miserable existence.

For most humans, family and loved ones are important, but those here are far from home. Loneliness takes its toll. Depression, alcoholism or substance abuse is common. Sometime suicide seems the only way out.

Some adapt, bring their family here, and live a relative normal life, underground. Many are caught, sent home and face the dangers of returning. All and all, it's a life not fit for man nor beast.

Hold-em Poker, the best starting hands.

Like everything in Poker, the best starting hand depends. What type game are you playing? Limit, No Limit or a Tournament. What are the stakes? What is the texture of the game? How well do you play? Most important, what is your position?

Obviously American Airlines (AA) is the best possible starting hand, but how good it is depends upon how many opponents you are facing. Against one opponent a pair of Aces will win about 85 percent of the time. Against five opponents it will win only about 18 percent of the time.

If you are playing limit Poker and the stakes are less than $10-20, play, ABC, book poker. David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth have written excellent books that rank hands into five categories. They also have good basic playing strategies.

If you are playing limit, $10-20 and higher, no limit or Tournaments things are more complicated.

What is the texture of the game? Is it loose passive, where players rarely raise before the flop and four or five players are in to see the flop? Is it tight aggressive, where the first player to enter the pot raises and gets only one, two or no callers? Or is the table full of maniacs who raise often and several players will put in four bets to see the flop? Each of these games requires different starting hands, but in general Hold-em favors big cards over small ones.

How well do you play? If you are an excellent player, who can control the game, read your opponents, and use a number of strategies you can play more hands than an inferior player.

In Hold-em position is probably the most important consideration. There are three categories of position. If you are under the gun, one of the first three players to act, you need really good hands. If you are in middle position and no one has voluntarily entered the pot you can loosen up your requirements. In late position, if no one has entered the pot, you can play just about any two cards, raise and hope to steal the blinds. If you get called, especially by one of the blinds, you can still steal the pot. Most of the time when there are two players, the flop misses both of them. When that happens and your opponent checks, bet, he will probably fold. In a higher limit, no limit, or tournaments, stealing the blinds is important.

The best way to determine the value of your hand is through experience. Read some books to learn the basics, then play a lot of low limits to hone your skills. As you improve your play, advance to higher limits, and no limit. In learning no limit, tournaments are a good way to get experience. You only risk the buy in, a dollar to ten grand, and if you are good and/or lucky the payoff can be large.

To play good poker is like that old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Yes! Money can buy you happiness.

‘Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you the misery you enjoy most.' It's an old joke, but studies show money can buy happiness, and it's obvious money can rent you love.

As the madam says "What a business. You got it. You sell it. You still got it."

In his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" Abraham Maslow presented a Hierarchy of Needs that affect humans. The first two, psychological and safety, require a modicum of financial resources. Without money you can't afford a place to live, or food to eat. The second step, safety, includes, Physical security, safety from violence, delinquency, aggressions' Security of employment Security of revenues and resources, Moral and physiological security, Family Security, Security of health, Security of personal property against crime. Most of that requires money. Maslow's last three steps, love/belonging, esteem and the ultimate goal, Self-actualization, are not affected by money, only mental growth.

Researchers in England have shown that money can buy you happiness. "We found a strong link between financial windfalls and being happy and having much better psychological health" Professor Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick.

In a study of nine thousand families during the 90's researchers found more money is better than less.Oswald continues, "Overall the more you get, we find, the cheerier you'll become. Large sums are better than small sums." That doesn't mean a small increase is not valuable. "A small amount of money is not going to solve a major health problem or solve a major psychological problem. But it's true, we can detect even quite small windfalls . . . begin to show up in our statistics on our psychological well being."

Money may be ‘the root of all evil' but it is also helps you to achieve happiness. Happy people are more likely to find love, it's hard to love a grump.

It takes Parents to raise a child

It doesn't take a ‘village' to raise a child, but it takes parents. If they do a good job, society benefits from their efforts. Babies don't come into the world with a sense of morality, they are a blank slate and it's their parents that will fill in the void.

The first thing a child needs to learn is obedience. They have to be taught the authority adults have over them. Without obedience children will run wild, ignoring their parents and society's rules. They won't last long violating their parent's rules. Ignoring the rule "Don't cross the street" can result in the kid becoming road kill.

Once the child grasps the concept of obedience, it time to teach moral responsibility. That's the hard part. If the parents are immoral, they have no basis to pass on the concept to their offspring. Fortunately most parents have a sense of morality. The best way to pass it on is by example. If a child sees their parents acting morally, they will emulate them and develop a sense of moral responsibility. Parents are not alone in this job. They have help from their Church, relatives and friends.

Religion may be "The opiate of the masses," but it is a great teacher of morals. It doesn't matter which religion, all subscribe to the same basic moral principals. The Christian concepts of "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you" is ubiquitous to virtually all religions. In Judaism, the Torah can be summed up as "Don't do to your neighbor what you would not do to yourself."

It is when the parents fail that society steps in. It has the responsibility to keep order, and obedience and morality are essential to that goal. If caught early, the child will have some chance to become a productive citizen, but society as represented by the state is an inefficient teacher. It usually fails, then both the child and society are the losers.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Attack Iran? Not a chance.

Iran may be one of the "The Axis of Evil" but there is no chance the U.S. will attack that country. The only ones predicting we will attack that country are those who oppose the Bush administration. They are setting up a "Straw Man" for political advantage.

Some believe we can neutralize Iran's nuclear program through surgical air strikes. That is a chimaera, bombing only brings resolve to the enemy's citizens. Dropping bombs, even nuclear ones on Iran's nuclear facilities would be futile. It might set their program back for a little time, but the Political consequence for the United States would be catastrophic

An attack against Iran is not feasible given America's present military situation. We don't have the forces to carry it off. The only way to attack Iran would be through a full mobilization of America's, Military, Industry and Populace. Given today's political climate that is impossible.

The reality is although Iran will remain a thorn in the side of America's Mideast policy, there is little we can to as long as the current regime remains in power. That is really a bright light. The majority of Iran's citizens are less than thirty years old. Eventually the mullahs of the old guard will die to be replaced by younger leaders who have a more modern view of the world. That will bring modernity, and Iran into the 21st century.

Do High Taxes hurt the economy? Is the Pope a Catholic?

Asking if high taxes undermine the economy is akin to asking if I hit you with a baseball bat will it hurt. The answer is obviously yes, only the reasoning is different.

Love may make the world go round, but money greases the wheel and when the government grabs the grease the world grinds to a halt. It's the same with the economy.

For most of the twentieth century economic theory was based on the work of British economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynesian economic theory advocated an activist role for government in the economy. During hard times, Keynes advocated government pump money into the economy. During good times government would tighten up on the money supply. This led to swings in the economy as government always lagged behind the curve, over correcting after the situation had changed. One feature of Keynesian economics was high taxes. The government needs the money to control economic conditions. That caused two problems. Government timing was always wrong and the removal of capital from the economy caused it to operate inefficiently.

By the time of the Reagan Presidency, Keynesian economics had been superceded by the theories of Friedrich von Hayek and the Chicago school of economics. They produced the controversial "Laffer curve" that showed lowering taxes would actually provide more money for the government.

Reagan drastically cut the marginal tax rates and during his eight years in office federal revenue rose from 550-Billion dollars a year too nearly a Trillion dollars. Fulled by lower taxes the economy boomed and Washington received more taxes. Unfortunately, as they always do, Congress spent money faster than it came in so the national debt kept rising. Reagan's enemies blamed the debt increase on the tax cuts, but the figures proved them wrong.

Reagan was not the first president to learn lower taxes generated more revenue for Washington. When he took office in 1960, John F, Kennedy lowered the marginal tax rate from 90 percent and had the same experience as Reagan. Kennedy said it was the best thing he had done as President.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana.

The Democratic party is still stuck in the Keynesian mode and so they are once again clamoring for higher taxes. That would be a disaster for an economy that is providing full employment and growing at a sustainable rate.

The Advantages of a Democratic Republic

"Democracy is the worst form of government, save all others" Winston Churchill.

Of course here in the United States we don't live in a democracy. We live in a republic. In a pure democracy all the citizens vote on every issue. That may have served ancient Athens well, but for larger societies it is too cumbersome to work.
A representative republic, where the citizens choose those who run the government, is the only way modern societies can function. It's worked reasonably well here since 1787, better than any other form of government on this planet.

In judging forms of government the central question is what is the role, if any, of the average citizen? For millennia all over the world the citizens were considered the property of the ruling class, be it a Monarch, Dictator, or Oligarchy. In these societies the Zeitgeist is "A People of the Government, for the Government and by the Government" many modern countries have adopted one of these forms and while decisions can be made rapidly, all are on the path to ruin.

A single leader, no matter how wise or benevolent, will eventually fall victim to Lord Acton's axiom "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

In a democratic republic the government is controlled by the people through their representatives leading to The United States motto "A Government of the people, by the people, and for the people" In other words the government is owned and run by the populace. This has two disadvantages. Political decisions take longer to be adopted than in totalitarian states, but usually are more practical. When Dictators make a mistake, it's usually a big one. Republics because of the compromise needed to accomplish anything rarely make fatal decisions. The weakness of democratic republics is they can only last until the populace realizes they can vote themselves bread and circuses. This is the problem Europe is facing today.

Iraq, Time is not on our side

"The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. All influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent's strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision." - Carl von Clausewitz

This is the situation we face today in Iraq. A small minority is wrecking havoc on U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians. This has disheartened the American public and provided a theme for Democrats to attack the Bush administration. Essentially we are on the defensive against the Jihadists.
"The only advantage the attacker possesses is that he is free to strike at any point and in full force." Che Guevera.

We began this war with two disadvantages. A military leadership poorly equipped to fight a guerilla war and an administration who promised an easy victory.
"War makes the victor stupid and the vanquished vengeful." Nietzsche.

The Generals that planned the invasion were trained to fight large conventual wars. They did a fine job in the rush to Baghdad, a conventual military exercise, but when the situation deteriorated into guerilla warfare they were unable to adapt. In selling the war, President Bush painted a picture of American troops being greeted by cheering crowds happy to be liberated. At first this was the case, but lack of planning for the aftermath of victory soured the population. As time passed and the Iraqi's experienced chaos, looting and lack of essential services, they turned to their age-old sectarian hatred, Sunni's against Shiite, clan against clan, and everybody against the "occupiers."

Now the "big battalion" Generals have been replaced with officers skilled in counter insurgency. Guereva points out "the defender, on the other hand, is able to surprise his opponent constantly throughout the engagement by the strength and direction of his counterattacks." This is what the ‘surge' in Baghdad is trying to accomplish.

Now it's a question of time. Will the American public support a decade of involvement in Iraq or will the Democrats force a premature end of the war? If we have the intestinal fortitude to tough it out, the Iraqi's will have a chance for freedom. If not, Mesopotamia will erupt in violence with grave consequences for an energy dependant west.

The Successful Poker Player

To be successful playing poker, you don't need what is commonly referred to as a "Poker face," in fact that kind of demeanor can cut into your profits, while still giving away "tells"

While tells have their place at the poker table, they are far down the list of skills you have to master. The most important is to play the game was as few ‘leaks' in your game as possible. Even if you are a stoic as Mr. Spock and have the countenance of a face engraved on Mount Rushmore, if you play poorly, reading your opponents will not make you a winner. At best it will limit your losses.

After you have learned to play well, use proper card selection and the tools of the trade, such as the semi-bluff, then you can expand your repertoire to watching your opponents for tells.

The most important question is what limits are you playing? Tells are most valuable in no limit or high limit games. If you are playing at limits lower than 10-20 most of your opponents are playing for fun. They are concentrating on their own cards and rarely if ever thinking about what you may be holding. You can use this to pick up tells on your opponents while not having to worry much about your own give a ways.

At these limits you will win more by engaging with your opponents, making the game fun for all. While everybody else, along with you, are laughing it up, they are not paying attention to the game and are apt to make more mistakes. Not you, because you can walk and chew gum at the same time. While you are laughing on the outside, your mind is focused on the game. That allows you to play better than your opposition as well as taking advantage of there tells. Tells they probably don't even know they have. This loose passive game is probably the most profitable for the good player. While the others are playing to have fun, you are playing to win money, and you will.

If you put on your "Mt. Rushmore" face and look like you are taking the gamer seriously, your opponents will notice and start paying attention to their game. You don't want that. You want their money so lighten up and let everybody have fun while giving you their money. Conversely, if you see a table with all the players looking grim and serious, run, don't walk away as fast as you can. There is no profit there.

The key too not giving anything away about your hand is to play every hand the same physically. When you bet, raise or fold always use the same motion. It's a good idea, when it's your turn to act, count to three before doing anything. They keep the observant player from picking up betting or physical patterns he can use against you later.

When the cards are dealt, never look at your own cards until its time for you to act. That keeps you from accidently giving away information about your hands. Instead watch the other players, especially those who will act after you. Many players will immediately look at their cards and indicate what they are going to do, Say you are in middle position in a Hold-em game and notice the players behind you look disgusted with their hands indicating they are going to fold. No one or just one player has entered the pot when it comes your turn and you have a mediocre hand, say a pair of sevens or QJs. Knowing those behind you are not interested in the hand you can raise, driving them out and either winning the pot immediately or isolate one opponent with position on him. Since most of the time both of your will miss the flop and you can steal it with a bet.

As you climb the latter to higher limits, tells become more important. At low level you need to know what you have and a good idea what your opponent has. At higher limits you thinking has be become more sophisticated. In addition to knowing your cards and having a good read on your opponent, you have to fathom what your opponent thinks you have, how he will react to your moves as well as how he may counter them. Like in Chess you have to look as far into the future as possible. This is when tells become really valuable, harder to find, and less likely to be accurate. A good player can play a hand while giving a subtle tell. You pick up on it and call his bluff winning the pot this time. Later in a big confrontation that player may exhibit the same tell, you think he is bluffing and call only to find he has the nuts. You have become a victim of a reverse tell. This is when experience playing with the same players come in handy. If you know your opponent is tricky, you may avoid his trap. In no-limit this will save you a lot of money.

While there is no way to learn about tells without a lot of playing experience, you can get a head start by studying a good book or video that shows common tells. Mike Caro's "Book of Tells" is a good starting point.

Bush Displacement Syndrome

"George W. Bush is akin to a malignant tumor that needs to be removed sooner rather than later, and impeachment is still an option. Unfortunately, like any cancer, the very real fear is that it may already be too late. The cancer that is the Bush administration may have already destroyed the host The United States of America" B. Thomas Cooper

This is a good example of a new psychiatric illness that has swept through America's political left since the turn of the century, Bush Displacement Syndrome.(BDS) It was first diagnosed by an American psychiatrist and political commentator.

"the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush". Charles Krauthammer

"What makes Bush Hatred completely insane however, is the almost delusional degree of unremitting certitude of Bush's evil; while simultaneously believing that the TRUE perpetrators of evil in the world are somehow good and decent human beings with the world's interest at heart." Psychiatrist Pat Santy

Bush Displacement Syndrome is a form of displacement affecting Democrats who are still furious over the results of the 2000 election. People use displacement as a coping mechanism to deal with their anger by directing it at a less threatening target than the real cause. You can tell if someone is using displacement when their reaction is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation. A good example is the call for the impeachment of President Bush by Representative Dennis Kucinich.

BDS is not always aimed at the President. It has been used against Administration officials from vice President Dick Cheney to chief of Staff Karl Rove.

Karl Rove is the ghost of Hitler.Think about it. He's undeniably evil. He can't have anyone touching him because he's obviously an apparition with clothes hanging off him. If you touch him, you'll feel the ghostly cavity within. So, he doesn't want people touching him. Andy the Intern

According to doctor Santy "It isn't even a stretch of the imagination for some to blame 9/11 on Bush. This is the insane "logic" of most psychological defense mechanisms. They temporarily spare you from the painful reality around you and give you the illusion that you are still in control."

You can take your guns to town Son

"GUNS ARE EVIL AND SHOULD BE ELIMINATED. DON'T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS, MY MIND'S MADE UP." That's the position taken by the anti gun lobby, despite evidence that gun ownership actually reduces crime.

We need the second amendment, not to protect us from government, but to protect us from zealots that want the populace helpless. Guns don't kill people, people kill people, and most of those killers are criminals. A ban on guns only affects law-abiding citizens. They will obey and give up their firearms. Criminals by definition don't care about the law, if anything they love gun control laws. If you are going to break into someone's home it's nice to know you won't get shot by an armed homeowner. That makes your job, burglary, a lot safer and easier.

During the past decade a number of jurisdictions have allowed honest citizens to obtain a concealed carry permit to carry a gun. To obtain the permit you must pass a strict background check and take a firearm safety course. Academic studies of these places comparing crime rates before and after the adoption of permits show in every case crime goes down. Criminals may be dumb, but they aren't stupid. If their victims can fight back, they will go somewhere safer, places that don't allow citizens to be armed.

The anti gun forces rely on the wording of the second amendment that says "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" In the 1939 case United States V. Miller the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the phrase, "A well-regulated militia" confined the amendment to members of an organized militia. This flies in the face of the historical meaning of the term "Militia." When the Bill of Rights was adopted, every able-bodied adult male was required to be a member of the State Militia.

During debate concerning the right to bear arms the publication "Political Disquisitions" James Burgh wrote "The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave."

In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt called for a reform of the militia system telling Congress "our militia law is obsolete and worthless." In response in 1903 Congress passed the "Militia Reform Act" which effectively did away with the traditional militia system that had been in place since the revolution.

Since the attack on 9/11 courts have been moving toward the individual's right to own guns. The U.S. Court of appeals in U.S. vs. Emerson "The Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to privately keep and bear their own firearms that are suitable as individual, personal weapons regardless of whether the particular individual is then actually a member of a militia."

The tide is turning toward the right of the individual to own firearms. In March the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled The District of Columbia's 30-year-old ban on private ownership of firearms is unconstitutional.

One of those supporting the overturn of the District's gun ban was Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, once one of the biggest supporters of firearms restrictions.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Marxist to the Left, Fascists to the Right. What’s a country to do?

“Gridlock and partisanship. Lobbying corruption and money influence. Paralysis and Extremism. The familiar words for our political landscape, at the sound of which our minds go into a kind of protective crouch,” Sam Waterston

The American Political system has become polarized with each party beholding to their radical elements. Democrats can’t win their nomination without kowtowing to the extreme left and Republicans have the same problem with their extreme right. Civility has disappeared in a fratricidal fight for power leaving the public confused and disgusted with the political process.

A poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates shows 73 percent of Americans would like to see more choices in the 2008 election and 63 percent would be interested in a ticked containing both a republican and Democrat.

Today’s political parties are under the influence of their extremes, a new organization is out to change that. Doug Bailey, former Republican political consultant and founder of The Hotline, and Hamilton Jordan, former White House Chief of Staff in the Carter Administration have formed Unity08, a nonpartisan internet based political movement with the goal of electing a Unity ticket in the 2008 Election.

“Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the ability of their elected officials to get things done because in recent elections, candidates have focused on the turnout of their parties’ vocal single-issue interests.” they claim.

In order to change the political dynamic from confrontation to cooperation they have formed Unity08, a one time, Internet based, movement designed to bring political power back to the center,

“We are not in this to be spoilers or to hurt either party. We are in this too win, give the White House a Unity Team that can provide leadership, and along the way jolt each party back toward the voters in the center. 2008 is an historic moment of truth for the parties, the people and the nation,” said Bailey and Jordan.

The movement is registering delegates at its website they expect to hold the first on-line convention in early 2008 and gain access to the ballot in all fifty States.

Candidates wishing to run for the White house must team up with a partner from another political party, and anyone eligible for the office may run for the nomination.

Independents and third parties have been the proving grounds for new ideas, but with the exception of the Republican party, none have proved competitive in American politics. They are viewed as ‘spoilers’ and traditionally have had a hard time getting on the ballot. It will be interesting to see if the Internet can change that dynamic.

Baily and Jordan say they are not forming a third party. This is supposed to be a one time effort to jolt the major parties back to reality. Will it work? Stranger things have happened in American politics.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It’s Time to Make Up Your Mind

"I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything,” Harry Reid (D-NV)

The Senate Majority Leader seems ready to surrender. Since they gained control of Congress the Democratic party has been acting as though they are a second American Government. The seem to be more interested in sliming Bush and the Republicans, than doing what is best for the country. Harry Reid joins Nancy Pelosi in the running for the Neville Chamberlain Peace Prize.

At some point you have to ‘Fish’ or 'cut bait'. That time has come for the Democratic Party. They control Congress, they should decide to end the war, or shut up and give it full support. Every day they pussyfoot around the issue, people die and our adversaries gain hope. Take an Up or Down Vote. Fight or Get out. Then do what the vote indicated. No Politics, no if, ands or buts. Do it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pelosi’s Democracy. One Nation, Two Governments, Two State Departments

"We were very pleased with the reassurances we received from the
president that he was ready to resume the peace process,"
Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Party, not content with winning control of Congress has now set up it’s own State Department. One of it’s first moves is the delegation of Democratic members of Congress lead by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi trip to Syria.

Pelosi met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at his hilltop Palace. Apparently Syrian Israeli peace talks were at the top of the agenda. "Syria tries to read the American tea leaves very closely, and this type of signal is read as very significant in Damascus," said Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Apologists for the trip clam the Pelosi Delegation has done nothing different that other Congressional visits. The official Syrian Newspaper disagrees.

"The presence of the American speaker of the House in Damascus carries
more than one meaning, the most important of which is convincing American
officials of the importance of dialogue with Syria and its key role in the
region. It is also a blunt recognition of the failure of the Bush
administration's policy."
Al-Thawra editorial

Since taking control of Congress, Democrats have attacked the War in Iraq by introducing resolutions designed to undercut the Bush Administration prosecution of the war.

“We're Going to Pick up Senate Seats as a Result of This War” Democratic Senate Majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid.

Imagine, using a war for political gain. That’s going over the line. During the Mexican War, Abraham Lincoln opposed the war, but waited until the fighting was all but over before voicing that opposition. Lincoln faced criticism for not speaking out earlier.

"The distinction between the cause of the President in beginning the war, and the cause of the country after it was begun, is a distinction which you [Democrats] cannot perceive." Abraham Lincoln

Unlike opponents of the Iraq war, Lincoln consistently voted support for the troops and prosecution of the war against Mexico.

In an attack on the Iraqi Parliament a suicide bomber killed one member and wounded dozens. The next day, Friday an Islamic day of prayer, a special session of the Parliament was held. The speaker said it was, "a clear message to all the terrorists and all those who dare try to stop this [political] process that we will sacrifice in order for it to continue."

The same day Senator Harry Reid held a press conference bragging how the war would help the Democratic Party extend it’s control of Congress. This is a good contrast between Democratic controlled U.S. Congress and the Iraqi Parliament