Monday, November 25, 2013

Among the Sons of Togarmah, Part 6

In Part 1, we had a general overview of the Caucasus, including considering the methods Moscow has historically used to pacify the region. In Part 2 we considered how Islamic terrorists were targeting the region of Kabardino-Balkaria, a region near Sochi; significant, because Sochi is an important Russian resort city and will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in February, and Russia was hoping the influx of tourism to the region would help the economies not just of Sochi but of surrounding areas as well.

In Part 3 we took a long look at how Putin was pacifying Chechnya, mainly by supporting the clan of Razman Kadyrov. With Moscow's backing, Kadyrov's clan has provided a degree of stability and pacification of Chechnya, but at a cost: corruption which leads all the way to Moscow. Moscow funds, supplies and supports Kadyrov, and, in return, Kadyrov keeps Moscow from having to send troops to Chechnya for a third war (there have been two since the Soviet Union collapsed). However, the cost runs deeper: with government essentially an extension of Kadyrov who, in turn, delivers nearly unanimous support for Putin in federal elections, the people have nowhere to turn with grievances, except to Islamic extremists. There are Chechens who support Russia against the extremists, but who would rather not support the corruption of Kadyrov (or of Putin, for that matter). Meanwhile, Moscow has cultivated other clans in Chechnya which could replace Kadyrov - a sign of Putin hedging his bet.

In Part 4 we saw how the Islamic insurgency in the entire region basically cooperates with an eye to establishing a regional caliphate. The center of the regional insurgency seemed to be Dagestan. Then, in Part 5, we considered allegations that Putin and Kadyrov were involved in trafficking narcotics - something other regional actors also do, including the Islamic terrorists, who find heroin money useful to fund their jihad.

With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics nearly upon us, it is perhaps time to update this series.

One issue that has been on the burner for years is economic development of the region. When I use the term "the region", I am referring to the Northern Caucasus, which is that part of the Caucasus in the Russian Federation. In fact, apart from the geographical Northern Caucasus, there is also the North Caucasus Economic Region, a geographical entity which includes fertile agricultural areas around the Kuban River, as well as the resort city of Sochi.

This region is distinct from the sovereign nations of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are sovereign nations that used to be republics in the former USSR. However, it is worth considering what is going on across the international borders from the Russian Federation's North Caucasus in these latter nations.


Regarding economic development of the North Caucasus, Russia has worked to improve the tourist industry in the area, as mentioned earlier in this series, especially with an eye to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia's tourist resort town of Sochi. However, as far back as 2011, plans were being devised to make the North Caucasus into a Russian version of Silicon Valley. From Silicon Valley planned for Russia's North Caucasus, August 25, 2011:

Plans have been put forward to create a Caucasian Silicon Valley, at a cost of 32 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) as part of on-going efforts to generate opportunities in the troubled Russian region.

[snip]

Silicon dreams

While the US Silicon Valley is a world leader in computing and IT advances, the Russian version will focus on making the raw materials.

In Stavropol Region factories will produce polycrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon is planned in Kabardino-Balkaria, multicrystalline silicon will come from Karachay-Cherkessia while North Ossetia will manufacture photovoltaic cells and Dagestan will work on solar modules, RIA Novosti reported.

The idea seems to come closer to Ramzan Kadyrov's stated commitment to make Chechnya financially independent by developing a manufacturing base.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Russia pays a price for peace in Chechnya, and Russians are tired of paying it. However, should the Caucasus become financially independent, then that dramatically diminishes the need for ties that local rulers such as Kadyrov have with Moscow.

Later that year, as Putin campaigned for the presidency in the March, 2012, election, he promised no cuts to the funding for economic development in the Caucasus - amid cries of "Stop Feeding the Caucasus", a slogan that was gaining popularity with Russians. From Putin says no cuts in North Caucasus funding, December 20, 2011:

A "Stop Feeding Caucasus" slogan is gaining popularity among Russians, stunned with images of new mosques and shiny buildings in the Chechen capital Grozny, destroyed in heavy fighting between the separatists and the Russian army in the 1990s.

The slogan was also picked up by some nationalist-minded opposition leaders like lawyer Alexei Navalny who is serving a 15-day jail sentence for disrupting public order during mass protests in Moscow after the Dec. 4 election.

Putin said that a reduction in investment would bring more migrants from North Caucasus into the large Russian cities "along with all the problems it causes" in a clear reference to last year's nationalist riots next to the Kremlin.

"What will we do then? Kick them all out? But where will they go? They will join the insurgency," Putin said, according to a transcript of the meeting posted on the government's website. "And the fratricidal war will carry on."

Skipping down:

Critics argue that money flowing into North Caucasus is stolen by corrupt officials. In his blog in March 2011 Navalny attacked an official from Dagestan who ordered a car worth $265,000 using public money, questioning why a minister of a poor region drive such an expensive vehicle.

[snip]

Official results showed Putin's United Russia party had received 99.5 percent of the vote in Chechnya, run by Putin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov - a result which made the opposition cry foul. Other republics also backed United Russia.

Kadyrov, who hosted a glitzy opening ceremony for a skyscraper complex that was attended by Hollywood stars and coincided with his 35th birthday, said he was receiving money from Allah.

Promise economic development, then let the local pro-Moscow (pro-Putin) strongmen spend it to consolidate power?

An interesting and readable summary/overview is provided by Ariel Cohen, Ph. D., in an article entitled A Threat to the West: The Rise of Islamist Insurgency in the Northern Caucasus and Russia's Inadequate Response, from March 26, 2012:

Russia's Northern Caucasus is turning into one of the most volatile, lawless regions in the world and a hotbed for international terrorist activity in spite of decades of Russian military operations and repeated assurances from the Russian government that peace has been achieved. As Russia continues to lose control of the region, it is becoming a significant base for Islamist terrorist organizations and organized crime and may ignite an even greater terrorist campaign inside Russia and beyond.

[snip]

To alleviate the hostilities, the Russian government has implemented many economic and developmental programs and provided billions of dollars in aid to the North Caucasus in the past few years. Russian officials have invested to curb the appeal of radical Islam among the youth, but the area's overall economic and social prospects remain grim due to the ongoing security crisis caused by heavy-handed security policy and the pervasive corruption and mismanagement of the Russian government.

Thus, Russia's entire counterinsurgency strategy is in question. Its primary goal is "to make the local population less afraid of the law enforcement than the insurgents,"[2] but the overly violent Russian approach has often produced the polar opposite. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the North Caucasus has experienced two major wars and numerous skirmishes, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties and internally displaced persons, while the fear of terrorism has spread throughout Russia.

Spreading ungovernability in the Northern Caucasus facilitates the emergence of Islamist safe havens, complete with terrorist training facilities, religious indoctrination centers, and hubs of organized crime. This should be a cause for concern for the United States.

[snip]

U.S. policymakers should be concerned that the North Caucasus may devolve into an anarchic haven for Islamist terrorism and criminality. Security of America's friends and allies, prevention of a terrorist safe haven in the ungovernable North Caucasus, and ensuring the free flow of energy resources are high priorities for the U.S. in this volatile region. Such a threat should not be allowed to develop.

The interests of the United States and its allies could suffer from Russia's failure to respond appropriately to Islamist extremism. Washington needs to develop a strategy to respond to potential "spillover" from Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus. The U.S. and its allies need to monitor the region for early signs of danger in order to respond appropriately. A modest investment in intelligence, diplomacy, and capacity-building with U.S. friends and allies could help to mitigate the rising Islamist threat and the effects of misguided Russian policies.

As explained in the article, spillover threatens important US allies, as well as important trade routes, especially energy trade routes, that skirt Russia's southern border through Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Well, fast-forward to 2013. The investment in the North Caucasus as a possible rival to Silicon Valley has begun. From New energy opportunities in Russia thanks to photovoltaics, May 23, 2013 (see original for links that I did not reproduce):

According to Tomasz Slusarz (CEO of Solar PV Consulting), Russia will consolidate its dominant position in the global energy market, above all, thanks to photovoltaic power.

Russia is one of the leading oil and gas producers and exporters in the world, but this has not stopped the government’s ambitions in the search for clean energy supplies. For this reason, and for some time, they have begun investing in alternative energy sources, including photovoltaics.

[snip]

The sun is certainly not lacking in Russia where there is a potential of about 1,870 TWh of radiation and an economic potential of 101 GWh per year. The sunniest regions are those in the south, particularly the Northern Caucasus...

[snip]

In fact, investments have been made by multi-billion dollar giants such as Renova and Lukoil both for the accomplishment of photovoltaic parks in order to encourage the creation of a national industrial sector.

A few weeks ago, they set the bases for the birth of a "Silicon Valley" in the Northern Caucasus, a joint venture between the local government and private companies to promote a project with the goal of producing polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules.

Similarly, in Dagestan, a California-based company called Plug & Play has begun operations in the capital, helping develop businesses in the republic. From Plug & Play Tech Center opens in Dagestan, October 22, 2013:

Plug & Play, a Silicon Valley-based global business incubator, has opened a new affiliate center in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan – a praiseworthy initiative in a region in Russia’s Northern Caucasus more often in the news for political conflicts and religious extremism than for IT innovations.

As East-West Digital News, the international resource on Russian digital industries, reported earlier this month, the Plug & Play Dagestan Center is located on the Dagestan State Technological University’s campus and plans to support 10-15 startups simultaneously. These projects receive a working space, mentors, legal advice, help with the search for funding, and the opportunity to present their projects to investors after six months.

[snip]

Plug & Play, which presents itself as “Silicon Valley in a Box”, claims that its incubated startups it has have raised more than $1 billion since 2006.

The question that comes to mind, though, is how much foreign investment and foreign tourism can the region expect, given the now-deteriorating security situation? From Failed North Caucasus Policy , July 22, 2013:

Events of the last few months have created the strong impression that something serious is brewing in the North Caucasus. Fighting in Chechnya has intensified, as has the conflict over its border with Ingushetia. Meanwhile, militants continue to kill policemen in Dagestan, and Chechen warlord Doku Umarov has threatened to detonate a bomb during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The problem is not that the Kremlin has recently committed a fatal mistake of some sort. Rather, we are witnessing the cumulative effect of a series of many small past mistakes resulting from the lack of a coherent strategy. Now, the authorities must deal with the consequences.

[snip]

Russia's withdrawal from the North Caucasus is effectively already underway in the form of a large-scale ­departure from the region of ethnic Russians. Meanwhile, several republics in the region no longer subject themselves to Russian legal or political norms, although formally they remain under Moscow's authority.

In Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan, Moscow rejected its usual approach of buying loyalty from the ethnic clan elites, attempting instead to achieve stability through the use of ­siloviki. But by relying on siloviki brought in from outside the region, Moscow's presence begins to resemble more of an occupying force. That model of rule is inherently unstable, and it is unclear just what price Moscow will end up paying for it in the near future. For example, it is clear that the dismantling of strongman and former Makhachkala mayor Said Amirov in Dagestan will sharply increase the risk of serious instability there.

Meanwhile, across the international borders, Armenia is working to become the Silicon Valley of the Caucasus. From Armenia can become Silicon Valley of the Caucasus, December 20, 2012:

On December 8, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan met with the President of the California Institute of Technology Jean Lou Chameau, the Aysor.am reported.

According to the press service of the government, the Prime Minister presented the ongoing in the country education reform, as well as the process of international accreditation of Armenian universities. They discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation and the development of information technology in Armenia.

The U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff, who attended the meeting, said that Armenia had the potential to become the Silicon Valley of the Caucasus.

(See also Armenia could become Silicon Valley of the Caucasus – Adam Schiff.)

Why indeed would foreign workers - whose expertise would be needed for anything more than just production of raw materials - and foreign capital be sent to Russia's North Caucasus, when across the international border (indeed, with a country in between) is the potential for greater development of true high-tech industry in a country that is safe from Islamic terrorism and free of the Moscow-backed corruption?


It will be interesting to see how the Winter Olympics go in Sochi, and what happens in other places, such as Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bogey Dope, Part 4

In Part 1, we had an overview of the special election in 2012 to fill the Congressional seat that Congresswoman Giffords vacated due to her injury, including a glimpse of the candidates. The focus of this series has been on situation facing Martha McSally, a former Air Force fighter pilot, the first woman fighter pilot in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron.

In Part 2 we looked at what McSally was up against - not her opponents in the election... the corruption in Washington and beyond that was resulting in the problems her district faces and which she would have to deal with in Washington, should she win a seat in Congress.

In Part 3 we looked at the in-fighting among the Democrats, and saw how the Democrat powerbrokers are not really "pro-choice" when it comes to a democratic election; in fact, the strategy of the Democrat powerbrokers was to eliminate all competition (even the Greens) in the district and polarize support on the left, while hoping that competition would weaken the Republican side.

Ultimately, McSally lost in the special election primary to Jesse Kelly. Kelly then lost to Democrat Ron Barber.

However, this was not the end of the fight for McSally. From the beginning, it was apparent McSally was in this for the long haul, and was ready to face some set-backs. She went into the special election determined to become the Congressional representative for that part of Arizona. Thus, win or lose in the special election, she was determined to run again in the redistricted Congressional District 2, which represents the same part of the state.


So, in the November, 2012, election McSally prevailed as the Republican candidate, but then lost to Congressman Barber who sought to retain a seat he had won in the special election.


This is interesting, because Barber's entry into the special election suggests that he did so at the last minute and perhaps only intending to hold the CD8 seat while someone else could line up for the regular redistricted CD2 election – in sharp contrast to McSally, who from the beginning had the seat targeted.

So, what is happening was actually predictable and predicted.


After Jesse Kelly lost, once in 2010 to Giffords, then again to Barber in the 2012 special election, the Republican mantel passed to McSally – see NY Times 2012 House Race Ratings - who, despite her loss in the 2012 general election, is trying for the seat again.

And, again, McSally is going to face a primary fight. First, on September 28, Ed Martin announced his candidacy, then, on November 5, Shelley Kais announced hers.

It will definitely be an uphill battle for Martin and Kais. McSally already had a campaign apparatus in place, she has a following, and she is raising money. Significantly, though the pundits suggest McSally is going to be getting backing from Republicans on a national level, as I look over the campaign finance reports filed on her behalf with the Federal Election Commission, I notice that nearly all of the money that has come in for her is from individual contributions. McSally seems to have popular support. It does not look like Martin or Kais have done significant fund-raising.

The incumbent, Democrat Ron Barber, has some money and some support.

Analysts correctly identify Barber as vulnerable, since his district is a swing-split ticket district and is contestable. On the Democrat side, big names are rallying behind someone they consider to be vulnerable; specifically, Nancy Pelosi's leadership PAC, PAC to the Future, has already given Barber $10,000 this year – thus a tie-in to another series I started today.


It looks again like the Democrats will not permit any dissidence, while the Republicans can expect a fight in the primary.

Stay tuned as this series continues.

Half-Truths, Part 1

The worst lies are the ones that bear close resemblance to the truth, because people believe them.

Indeed, it may be said that half-truths are the devil's backbone.

__________

As I research Nancy Pelosi, the impression I get is of someone who is not stupid, but who does say things that appeal to people stupid enough to support her. The particular method in which Pelosi deceives people who do not do their research is by telling them things which are not totally accurate, but which are somewhat close to the truth. In fact, according to Politifact.com, almost half of what Pelosi says on the issues is half-true; notice also that her statements are skewed toward lies and outrageous lies, and away from the truth.


Thus, many of the people who support her are either unable to check the veracity of her statements, perhaps because of how the American education system has left them, or unwilling – and it is those who are unwilling to check on her (and other politicians) that I categorize as "stupid"; these are the very same kind of people who, in the Republican Party, bring us candidates like John McCain, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie.

Other people support Nancy Pelosi, not because they are stupid, but because she can deliver political power, political favors, and money. These are the corrupt, the power-hungry, those with no moral compass... the crooks, who have always been with humanity and, again, who infest not just the Democrat Party, but the GOP as well.

People who are reasonably educated on politics – regardless of where they are on the political continuum – do not support her, because they see that, at best, she has sold them out to the system.

In fact, when advertising a protest against Pelosi, the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center had a very long list of grievances against her, calling her a "1%er", pointing out that she is one of the wealthiest 1% in America, and then detailing how so much of what she does supports the "haves" instead of the "have-nots" that the Democrats purport to represent.


Thus, as I research Pelosi, the overwhelming impression I get is of money, power, and special interests; Nancy Pelosi is a lifelong politician and a Washington insider.


__________

Nancy Pelosi has been involved in politics her whole life. Born into a family of Democrats, her father was a Congressman from Maryland, and her brother served as mayor of Baltimore.

When she moved to San Francisco with her husband, she began to work her way up in Democrat politics. She has served as a Democratic National Committee (DNC) member, and party chair for the California Democratic Party. She was also Finance Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Congresswoman Pelosi is important to Democrat cash flow, as evidenced from some of the jobs she has done for the Democrats. Not only is she rated as one of the richest members of the US Congress, but, since her district ensures she has a secure Congressional seat, she can devote her efforts to fundraising for her Democrat colleagues.

Nancy Pelosi is thus a powerful Democrat, but not because she is the minority leader and former Speaker of the House. Indeed, it seems she is the minority leader and was Speaker because she is powerful – and political power means money and connections, both of which Pelosi has.

This series will examine Nancy Pelosi, her power, and her role in contemporary Democrat politics.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Waging Politics, Part 7


Politics is an interesting business. It is how civilized - though not necessarily honest – people conduct business.

The stakes are high. Political leaders make rules about what is right and what is wrong. They decide who enforces those rules, and how. They decide what is the cost of compliance, and what is the cost of non-compliance.

Politics means government. And, as George Washington said,

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."

Politics decides who is in charge of government, and what the rulers are going to do. Politics generally has a façade of respectability given to it by elections. For this respectability to be more than a façade, the vote count must be honest.

But, with the stakes so high, who would be foolish enough to leave such an important matter as who makes and enforces the rules to the whims of a volatile electorate?

As Josef Stalin said,

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.

Cheating in an election means nothing, unless the cheaters can get away with it.

One way to get away with it is to intimidate the people into going along with fraudulent results. Intimidation is easier if the people who rig the elections also control the security apparatus, and if the people are unarmed and bombarded by propaganda. A feeling that there is nothing they can do, coupled with an atmosphere of propaganda, can lead to a feeling of hopelessness and apathy, and those in power stay in power.

So much for my comments on gun control and the media.

Another way to get away with it is if no one detects the fraud.

That will be the topic of this post.

Rather than discuss ways of having a fair election, let's discuss ways of cheating in the early 21st century.

How does one accomplish election fraud that is undetectable?

Well, with the literally hundreds of millions of dollars spent on elections to federal offices, coupled with the obvious slant of the media, and the inability of so many Americans to do their own research, it's thankfully simple.

First, you need to get electronic voting machines in use in as many places as possible. It is not necessary to have them in use in all places. However, certain states vote Republican, and certain states vote Democrat. These states can be left alone.

But, some states vote split-ticket (voting for different parties in different races in the same election) and swing (supporting one party in one election, then the other party in another election).

These are the states to target.

Neither is it necessary to target the entire state. There are counties and even precincts that are Republican or Democrat. These can be left alone.

However, the split-ticket and swing counties are important, and voting machines that are used in the split-ticket and swing precincts are the ones that will actually win the election.

So, you make sure the media tells everyone how so many people are supporting your candidate. It doesn't matter that this is not true. People will look around their neighborhood, and assume the idiots are somewhere else. The important thing is that the people have this idea that the race is actually close.

Next, you program the voting machines in the key precinct to throw a small percentage of the votes to your candidate.

Don't be obvious. If a precinct has 1000 voters, you do not want 1000 votes cast, and certainly not 1000 cast for your candidate.

Consider Harry Reid's last election.


Reid had a little more than 50% of the vote; his Republican challenger had a little less than 45% of the vote.

In other words, Reid had 10 votes to every 9 that his opponent had.

If you know that Reid really only has support from about 45% of the voters, and his opponent has support from 50% of the voters, then you program the voting machines to throw one out of every ten votes for the Republican to the Democrat. This flips the percentages, putting Reid out front.

You may not be able to tamper with some counties. But, in Nevada, if you could tamper with Clark County (where Las Vegas is located), that should be enough. Since you can only work in one county, you may have to program the machines to throw one vote in five, instead of one in ten, in the areas where you can do this.

However, this is hard to detect.

In the old days, people could see ballot boxes full of ballots. They could count the ballots, and see how a given precinct with 1000 voters cast 1200 votes for one candidate, and only 100 for the opponent. This might raise a few questions.

But, who can look at a voting machine, and know that the electronics on the inside are functioning as one would hope?

Even if we could see inside the voting machine, who would recognize the algorithm that throws one vote in five or ten from one candidate to the opponent?

Coupled with the media telling you how great that other guy really is, and how everyone is supporting him (except for racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, Bible-clinging gun-nuts like you), you might just walk away thinking the other guy actually had more votes, shaking your head as you looked for a local bar where you could drown your post-election sorrows and maybe play some video poker.

But, in the same way those video power machines have their payouts set, and considering that people in Las Vegas know how to set them, do you really think a few guys can't be found in Sin City to rig the voting machines?

And, do you really think those guys can't travel to other key locations in other key states, to make sure Obama wins (again), and that the Democrats retain control of the Senate?

If caught (an unlikely situation), judicious use of money and political power can end the investigation after the words "computer malfunction" or something like that.

For real fraud to occur, you need to make sure that you are using technology the average citizen does not thoroughly understand. So, complaining about wasting trees and about time spent counting by hand when a machine can tally everything electronically, paper ballots have to be replaced with voting machines. And, as a back-up, the people need to know that those in power have them outgunned.

Couple this with reasonable control of the media (which, after all, is staffed with true believers who are convinced that, even if you are doing something wrong, it is for a greater common good), and you need not worry about any election, no matter how lousy your candidate is.

__________


Important notice: This post was intended as a theoretical discussion of how voter fraud could work under the right circumstances, and using a real election as an example of when and where there would be opportunities for fraud. This post is not intended to suggest that such fraud has actually occurred anywhere, much less in places specifically mentioned in the post.

Waging Politics, Part 6

Political Action Committees...

__________

John. L. Lewis was born in 1880 in Cleveland, Iowa. Cleveland was established when the Whitebreast Coal and Mining Company began working a shaft of coal to the east of Lucas, Iowa, and decided to establish a company town there. Lewis went to work in the coal mine, but also tried his luck in business, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Lucas in 1907. By this time, Lewis was involved with the United Mine Workers (UMW), and in 1911 Samuel Gompers, the head of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), hired Lewis as a full-time union organizer.

By the 1920's, Lewis had worked his way up to being president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). However, by this time, the unions were leaning socialist, and communist operatives were busy trying to subvert them. Lewis played hard politics, appointing to the union bureaucracy men loyal to himself, and using tactics such as armed force and ballot-box stuffing to retain control of the union and to fight off communist-backed political attacks.

Lewis framed a plan for a contract between the UMWA and coal operators that so impressed President Coolidge and then-Commerce Secretary Hoover that Lewis, a Republican, was offered a position in Coolidge's cabinet, which Lewis declined.

Years of union-building and organizing during the Great Depression led to Lewis' attempt to organize steel workers, and bring them into the AFL. There was in-fighting, and when the dust settled, Lewis' organization was expelled from the AFL, and Lewis was elected president of the newly-formed Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

World War Two started, bringing the US out of the Great Depression. However, by 1943, wartime inflation was having an impact on the wages of workers in America. In response, 400,000 coal miners - led by Lewis, and not affiliated with either the AFL or the CIO - violated a wartime no-strike pledge, and went on strike: their demands were 1) retention of the existing 5-day, 35-hour work week; 2) inclusion of travel time between mine pit entrance and underground jobsite as part of the hours worked; and 3) a raise of $2 per day. Union leaders cited a tremendous increase in mining accidents that resulted from the wartime increase in coal production: in 1941, 64,000 workers were killed or injured, and in 1942, the number was up to 75,000.

President Roosevelt had to intervene to break the strike, though not without the striking miners gaining significant concessions.


Interestingly, it was a Republican union leader who challenged the government on behalf of workers, and a Democrat who used federal power against the unions.

In response to these events, in 1943, the Smith-Connally Act was passed – over Roosevelt's veto – allowing the federal government to seize and operate industries critical to the war effort which were threatened with strikes. A provision of this act was that unions could not make contributions in federal elections.

In 1944, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), since 1940 led by Philip Murray, established a political action committee – a PAC – to get around the provisions of the Smith-Connally Act. Money was given to the PAC; the PAC would then give money to pro-union candidates for elected office.

In response, businesses began to create PACs to counter the influence of pro-union PACs.

PACs have been limited as to how much money they can give per candidate per election. Also, there have been limits on how much money an individual contributor can give to a PAC.

However, PACs can be created, and PACs can donate money to each other.

Thus, PACs are now a key means of getting around inconvenient campaign finance laws.

Also, because money can be shuffled from PAC to PAC, PACs are a key means of laundering campaign money.

For example, a corporation can give a $100,000 bonus to each of ten executives. Each executive can give $5,000 to each of twenty PACs. The twenty PACs can each give $5,000 to a given candidate. Thus, $1,000,000 of corporate money can be laundered into the campaigns of ten different candidates using twenty different PACs.

Additionally, the corporation can give another $50,000 bonus to each executive who, in turn, can give $5,000 directly to each of the ten different candidates.

Instead of a corporation, a drug cartel can give money to each of ten operatives; the rest of the process is the same.

Increase the number of PACs, and you can increase the flow of money, and complicate the task of tracing it.

Thus, legal and illicit money can be mixed together; money from decent, honest Americans and illicit money from foreign entities can be mixed together. Only the politician need know where the money is really coming from, in order to repay donors with expected favors.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand how a politician can be so stupid as to do something that is clearly against America and clearly against the constituents that politician is supposed to represent.

But, if you can follow the money flow, you can see how money buys influence.

It is interesting to note that Arizona Senator John McCain has been a champion of campaign finance reform. Yet, money has been laundered to him from Albanian organized crime groups, which are tied to Islamic terrorists, via people and PACs in the United States. McCain takes the money, talks about campaign finance reform, and furthers US policy that helps Islamic terrorists.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Waging Politics, Part 5

In previous posts in this series, we looked broadly at how government in the United States is supposed to work, and then we looked at political strategies that could remove Democrats from power, even where they are strongly entrenched. Next we looked at how to turn up the heat on elected officials, though the main focus has been legislators.

Now we consider a totally different class of political target: judges.

Why is this important?

Well, stupid rulings by liberal judges have long left decent Americans wondering what is going on.

But, it's getting worse.

Islamic law, known as sharia, either places severe limits on the exercise of other religions, making Christians and Jews into dhimmis, or it outlaws other religions altogether. More extreme interpretations of Islamic law simply require non-Muslims to convert to Islam or be killed. In contrast, the First Amendment to the Constitution of our Republic guarantees Americans the free exercise of religion, which includes a freedom from religion.

Islamic law devalues women. In an Islamic court, for example, the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. In another example, under Islamic law a woman has not been raped unless four men witness the act and agree it was rape; otherwise, in the absence of four male witnesses, a rape accusation by a woman is paramount to a confession of fornication or adultery: fornication is punishable by lashes, adultery by death. In contrast, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees Americans equal protection under the law, the Fifth Amendment provides protection against self-incrimination, and the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.

Islamic law allows for slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits slavery.

Article IV, Section 4, of the Constitution says that the United States shall guarantee to every state in the Union a Republican form of government. This has been widely understood to mean that Americans cannot Constitutionally have their rights denied. In the Reconstruction South, when former slaves were denied their full rights by local governments, the US Congress reasoned that these states were denying a Republican form of government to their people, and refused to seat Senators and Representatives from the south. Consequently, any effort to systematically infringe on or deny the rights of people would violate this section of the Constitution.

Furthermore, to look to international precedents – which should not be considered binding on America, since our supreme law is and should be the U.S. Constitution – Turkey outlawed one political party in 1998 because its goal was to implement sharia, and, on appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, it was found that sharia was fundamentally incompatible with democracy.

So, it is not just crazy, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, intolerant, racist white folks who find sharia offensive; the government of a largely Islamic country, Turkey, found it offensive, as well, in 1998, and so did the Europeans who, despite their horrendous crime of being white, have been recognized by the Left in this country as being very "progressive" ( = "communist").

In short, Islamic law is un-American, and America is un-Islamic. With due respect to decent Americans who try to be good Muslims, and to decent Muslims who try to be good Americans, the reality is Islam and America are incompatible.

I refuse to sit by and allow America to be made into an Islamic state (which is the stated goal of influential Muslim organizations here). Any Muslim who leads a life compatible with the US Constitution is, by definition of more "devout" Muslims (the "extremists" who make up so much of the Islamic world), an apostate, under penalty of death.

Let me put it another way: there exists an organization called the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR. Why is there a need for an organization to deal with relations between America and Islam, unless America is un-Islamic and Islam is un-American? That a Muslim organization calls itself by that name is prima facie proof that the Muslims affiliated with that organization understand that America and Islam are antithetical.

Yet, despite this, there are judges who are ruling that Islamic law – sharia – can be considered in US courts.

This is no longer a series of stupid rulings that leave Americans wondering; this is now an attack from the judiciary on the very foundations of this Republic.

What is at risk is our Constitutional Republic. This must be stopped. I prefer and advocate peaceful means of stopping this, and I feel that peaceful means are far from exhausted. However, make no mistake about it: this must be stopped by any moral means necessary, most definitely including armed rebellion and civil war.

Since we are not at that point yet – despite efforts by various Islamic groups, their anti-America leftist allies, and the administration of our Terrorist-Loving-Pretender-in-Chief in the White House – we need to consider peaceful means of addressing these grievances, even as we refuse to surrender our guns, but rather arm ourselves further and prepare for what we hope will not come.

So, to the point: What do we do about a judiciary that is spiraling out of control?

Federal judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate; the same is true of cabinet members.

Federal judges can be removed by impeachment: articles of impeachment are issued and voted upon in the House and, if passed, the trial is held in the Senate. By the way: the same is true of cabinet members.

With the Democrats in control of the Senate, it is questionable whether some of these federal officers could currently be successfully removed from office. However, why does the Republican-controlled House not at least try? Perhaps they should start not with a judge, but with our Attorney General, Eric Holder. So what if they fail... let's send a message.

Other judges serve at the state and local level.

Some state judges are nominated by the state governor, and confirmed by the state legislature, in a process parallel to that of the federal government. And, in a process parallel to that of the federal government, these judges can be removed from office through impeachment. Articles of impeachment are issued in the state assembly or state house, and the trial is held in the state senate. We should be able to win a few of these battles. ;)

Other state and local judges are elected. They can be recalled for rulings which are blatantly repugnant to the Constitution. The recall failing, judicial elections do not garner the financial contributions that legislative and executive elections garner. It would not take much money from good Americans around the country to influence a judicial election somewhere. We should be able to win a few of these battles, too. ;)

When you hear about a ruling that leaves you shaking your head, research it. Confirm the story, find out the details, and get information on the judge in question.

Then, if the judge is appointed, contact your Congressional Representative if the judge is federal, and an appropriate state assemblyman or state representative if the judge is a state judge. Ask them to issue articles of impeachment. Contact your local government, and ask that they issue a resolution calling for the impeachment of the judge by the appropriate legislative officials. Stir up trouble, and let these elected officials know that if they don't impeach this judge, you will seek to recall them (remember - state recall initiatives do not apply to US Congressional Representatives or US Senators) or to replace them at the next election.

If the judge is elected, move directly to recall the judge or replace the judge at the next election. Stir up trouble; contact friends all around the country, and get the matter the notoriety it deserves. If a million bikers can show up in DC to make a point (big hat tip to the bikers!), then we can easily find a few hundred people to contact elected officials and perhaps donate some money to a recall campaign or to the challenger in a judicial election, especially considering those few hundred people need not own a bike! :)

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Americans... it's time to rumble!

More to follow...

Waging Politics, Part 4

In Part 2 we looked at how to remove a deeply-entrenched Democrat from a Congressional district that will in no way support a Republican. In Part 3 we considered how to remove a deeply-entrenched Democrat from a state that can go either Democrat or Republican. These are two of the most common situations we deal with when considering Democrats that are destroying our country.

The same methods can be used in similar circumstances elsewhere. For example, if one needs to remove a state legislator, or a county commissioner, or a city councilman, from a heavy Democrat area, the same basic strategy as suggested for Nancy Pelosi may work. (In fact, Pelosi's entire district is basically a big Democrat-controlled city ward.) If one needs to remove an entrenched Democrat from a state legislative district, county commission district, or city council district that votes swing or split-ticket, the strategy suggested for Harry Reid may work.

But, what can we do to pressure these guys in between elections? And, how can we get RINOs to toe the line?

For state and local elected officials, recalls are interesting.

Colorado gave us a nice lesson in how to recall elected legislators; a comprehensible review of the recent recall there can be found at No excuses: What was really behind the Colorado recalls. The analysis is interesting; it provides hope in the fight against politicians who are moving too far left, even for their Democrat bases.

There was also a recall attempt against Wisconsin's governor in 2012. In that election, Republican governor Walker prevailed, as did the Republican lieutenant governor.

Both of these recall elections – the one this year in Colorado, and the one last year in Wisconsin – went the way we would want, and this offers us hope. But another lesson to be learned is that recalls do not always work, and conventional wisdom about who is more organized, who has more money, and so on, does not always explain the outcome.

What can you do you short of a recall? This is an important question, since courts have upheld that US Senators and US Congressional Representatives are federal officers, and as such are not subject to state recall initiatives.

You can lobby your state legislature to pass a resolution instructing the state's delegation (Senators and Congressmen) to Washington, DC, to vote for or against a certain bill, to support or obstruct a certain policy, etc. Such a resolution is not binding; however, if the state legislature passes it, then that sends a powerful message regarding what the people back home want.

Your county commission, city council, town hall, or other local government body can also pass a resolution sending instructions to your Senators and Congressmen.

Keep in mind the relative impact these actions will have.

A resolution by a local school board from a rural area will have less impact than a resolution passed by a state legislature. A Senator may feel this school board's resolution does not represent a threat to re-election, while a resolution passed by the entire state legislature could mean a real fight for re-election, should the Senator not do as instructed.

The same school board resolution sent to a Congressional Representative from a rural district could have a significant impact, as that school board resolution may be considered indicative of the mood of the voters district-wide.

And don't let anyone tell you that passing such a resolution is not the purview of a local governmental body. Members of that governmental body can pass a non-binding resolution on whatever they want. Elected officials can weigh for themselves the merits of disregarding it, and the elected members of the body passing the resolution will answer to their voters for doing their job or not doing their job in the next election, or in a recall election if the situation warrants it.

This pattern of passing resolutions can be iterated, and used to bring leveraged pressure on higher-ups.

For example, the Hometown city council can pass a resolution calling on its Congressional Representative to issue articles of impeachment against President Obama. The same city council can instruct its representatives in the state senate and the state assembly to introduce a resolution calling for all federal officers from the state to support such a proceeding in Washington. If other city councils, county commissions and local governing bodies (and even non-governmental entities) do the same, pretty soon there is a bandwagon effect: RINOs are placed on notice, and Democrats have to decide between party loyalty to a President, who would sacrifice them at the drop of a hat, and complying with the instructions of the people of their state, who are ready to rumble. (And here's a hint on how that will go: when it comes right down to it, Democrat politicians generally lean whichever way the wind blows.)

With these thoughts in mind, it becomes fairly easy to stir up trouble for elected officials, even those from other states.

If a Democrat or RINO is supporting our nation's enemies from Washington, then Republicans in that official's state or district can have local officials introduce measures in local governmental bodies such as city councils and county commissions calling for that Democrat or RINO to do what's right, and later calling for that official's resignation, if necessary.

State legislators and local officials who fail to act to rein in their US Senators or Congressmen can find themselves targeted by a well-organized local electorate with support from all over.

Democrats can be opposed in local elections by Republicans with contributions from out-of-district and even out-of-state.

Democrats can also find themselves being removed from office in a primary election by a Democrat who is even farther left-wing than they are, but who is being supported by conservative dollars. Again, the goal is to remove an entrenched enemy and replace him with a new guy whom, it can be expected, we can then remove from office in the next election by supporting yet another challenger. In this way, Republicans can keep hard-core anti-American politicians off-balance, rather than letting them become powerful and entrenched, as has happened in the cases of Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein...

Districts that show themselves to be too unappreciative of America need to find themselves defunded of federal dollars for local programs. You can let your Congressman and your Senators know that they need to watch what kind of deals they make with Congressmen and Senators from districts or states that are hostile to traditional American values.

Thus, you are not powerless. You can intervene in local elections across the country, and leverage power into Washington, and you can intervene in Washington with your Congressional Representative and Senators, and leverage power into local areas across the country.

Knowing that you are not powerless, if you are aware of out-of-control government at any level anywhere in America, contact the officials involved and let them know you will exercise your rights as an American to hold them accountable for their conduct. Then learn about who is opposing these officials, and see if there is any way you can help this opposition, even if you have to hold your nose while you're doing so.

Remember: the Left has been doing this and much worse for decades. In Wisconsin's recall election, for example, lots of people were coming up from Chicago to protest and even vote. We, on the other hand, are not advocating bussing in professional malcontents, thugs and homeless people, nor are we advocating for voting rights for dead people and non-citizens. But, we do have a legal right to make our voices heard and to make legitimate campaign contributions to any race in the country, as allowed by law.

The enemy of America's enemies is your friend, even if this "friend" you are dealing with is a snake of the same species as your enemy – one who will eventually try to bite you.

Encourage these snakes to fight it out, then stomp the winner.

__________


Some final thoughts...

I knew what kind of a guy McCain was when he ran for President in 2008. I was aware of his connections with ethnic Albanian organized crime which, in turn, was connected to Islamic terrorists. I knew heroin money, money from trafficking in human body parts, money from trafficking in weapons and women for forced prostitution... it was all finding its way into McCain's campaign and, in return, McCain was using his position in Washington to help the enemies not just of America, but of humanity.

I refused to vote for McCain in 2008.

Obviously, there was no way I was going to vote for Obama, so what could I do?

Later, people called me a fool for not supporting McCain – as if it were my fault Obama got elected.

But, with McCain's waffling on the bank bailout scheme from 2008, with his support of Obama since then, my analysis from back then turned out to be correct: Had McCain won, things would not be substantially different, though perhaps we would not be going downhill so fast; however, the Republicans would be getting the blame for what was happening, when the blame really belongs to the anti-American element of the Democrat Party (which is huge) and to RINOs.

McCain was the lesser of two evils.

And, the devil keeps doing this to us.

He offers us two choices: Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Then, like that Far Side cartoon, he stands behind us with his pitch fork, prodding us to choose between the lesser of two evils, and we agree with the devil on one of the two evils.


Why don't we turn the tables on him?

Why don't we create a situation where the bad guys have to choose between the lesser of two goods?

In God We Trust... but, do we really?

Because with His help, we can do this.

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, Whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."

1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV


More to follow...