Sunday, November 29, 2009


Two events captured global attention over the past few days.

The first was about that couple who seem to have successfully crashed that big White House party the President threw for the Prime Minister of India, and even got to shake hands with the President. An investigation is underway as to whether there was a major breach of security and how that could have happened.

The party and the story were not important. Had the couple committed a terrorist act inside the White House, it would have rattled our nation to its core and been extremely important. What is most interesting to me about this event is that the President and his staff have apparently given priority to drink, eat and be merry with a coterie of celebrities and "big shots" while thousands of our troops are risking their lives, undermanned, in a war...a war nobody in Washington seems to want to think about, or, for that matter, officially declare a war. The President has said he will announce his decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan next week. Why next week? Why not today? Yesterday? Why leave our forces in greater danger than they need to be? Should not the winning of that war be the President's first priority? Welcoming the Prime Minister could and shoould have been done quietly and privately. What was the real reason for this unimportant party and the outrageous disrespect shown toward the lives of our soldiers?

Driving in a car yesterday, my 19 year old son and I saw a license plate frame that said "Veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, 1944-5". "Wow", said my son, "I learned about the Battle of the Bulge in school. He fought against Germany and protected our freedom 65 years ago. That's great!" We saluted the car as we drove past. Are you listening, Mr. President?

At about 2:30 in the morning the other day, Tiger Woods had a one-car accident just outside his home, driving his car into a tree and sustaining some facial injuries. In the two days since, he has not made himself available to police, who are investigating the accident. His wife is reported to have given somewhat different stories about what happened, and global gossip is rife with speculation about where Woods was going, did he have a mistress, were the wounds to his face inflicted by his wife, etc.

Who cares? Where he was going, whether he has a mistress, and whether his wife caused his injuries is Mr. and Mrs. Woods' private business...and unimportant to the rest of us.

Where are we as a society when we have greater interest in being voyeurs than in being comrades in arms?

I had occasion yesterday to have breakfast with, and renew friendship with, someone I hadn't seen in 35 years. Now that was important. Very.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


America was founded on 3 ideas: Liberty, Justice, Equality. Those words capture the heart and soul of our country. We commit ourselves to those ideas when we Pledge Allegiance to our nation, "with liberty and justice for all". The "for all" is Equality.

What did Equality mean? Equality of what? A cursory study of our history reveals that it was Equality of treatment by the Government, equality under the law, that our Founders set as one of the cornerstones of our country. For perhaps the first time in the history of the world, a nation was formed on principles, and not preferences, privileges or position. Aristocracy, royalty and classes were shunned. All were to be treated the the only thing the Founders were creating, the only thing they could limit...a nation acting through its representative Government.

The Founders recognized that man is the unique species of choice and that our individual minds give each of us the power to make our own individual choices. They enshrined that reality in the Constitution referring to our "right to life"...our right to live our lives as we choose....with the only logical limitation being that we are not free to choose to restrain or to limit the co-equal right of choice of others.

Must I, individually, treat all the same? No. May I choose to befriend only people of certain races, religions, political beliefs? Of course. Invite only them to my home? Of course. Give gifts only to them? Yes. Hire only them? I should be. It is only in our treatment by Government that it can be said that we are equal...for in every other way, we are clearly not equal.

Some of us are are stronger than others, healthier, better looking, smarter, richer, more artistic, more talented in various ways, more creative. We are individuals. We are not equals. We are not peas in a pod, we are not indistinguishable duplicates of each other, we were not made by a cookie cutter. We are each one of a kind, and how much more vibrant, more exciting, more fascinating, are our lives because of it!

The Obama Administration seeks to recast the historical and proper meaning of Equality, bantering around terms like Equality of Opportunity, Equality of Quality of Life, Equality of Entitlements, and more. It is in the name of their erroneous sense of Equality, that Obama wants to take the wealth earned and owned by some and redistribute it to others, to guarantee everyone the same health care, education, housing, to welcome the good and the evil alike to be our partners in life.

A proposal I heard yesterday was to impose a war tax on the "upper class" to pay for the war in Afghanistan (isn't it about time that war was declared?). Is that Equality of treatment by the Government? Is that a classless society? Is Obama creating a privileged class of the poor, the indigent, the disadvantaged?

The problem with every one of the President's programs, no matter how humane you may think them to be, is that it requires forcibly taking money, goods or services away from some to give to others. It is a gross violation of liberty in the name of Equality. And if there is one thing that is and ought be equal about us, it is in our Liberty.

America's greatness rests, or falls, on the equality of our three founding principles, not in the imagined equality of our people.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


"We come from the planet Atari in the TriLunia Galaxy. We have studied your world with great interest and in much depth. We have read all of your profound writings and listened to your esteemed wise men. We admire your intellectual and esthetic achievements. We come because there is a word you use here on Earth that is causing great damage on our planet, as it has caused on yours. It is a word that we abandoned centuries ago as an anathema to our species.

"Many of our children have innocently accepted this word as representing an honorable, even noble, principle, when in fact it represents a concept that is a vile and menacing enemy to our existence. In the name of celestial affinity and harmony, we have come to ask you banish this word forever from your use and memory. It is the word 'must'.

"The beings on our planet are called essentia, as yours are called humans. The essentia mind is as the human mind, and unlike anything else in the Universe. It is a choosing instrument, with the unique power to select, to prefer, to decide. Our capacity to choose our actions is at the core of essentia and human genius, and it is what makes us...we and you...the most evolved and astounding beings that we are.

"Freedom of choice is incompatible with what the word 'must' represents...unchosen duties and obligations to other members of society. It is understandable to us that young essentia are captivated by the notion that others 'must' do things for them. It brings to them an endless bounty. Under the banner of what must be done for them rather than chosen to be done for them, they would have other essentia labor to gift them with shelter, clothing, toys, education, health maintenance, and more. They are too young to realize that the word 'must' is incompatible with their nature, and that one day that word, in ever growing scope, will be directed at them. They will be mandated to live their lives in ways they don't wish because others decree they do so. The elder beings on our neighboring planet, Dioxus, adopted 'must' as the cornerstone of their socio-political structure, as many of your elders have done here on Earth...and never saw its terminal dangers even as their planet imploded.

"To remove choice from the mind is deadlier than ingesting fatal poisons into the body...for if the mind is given freedom to choose, it can choose steps to remove or neutralize the poisons. Without choice, essentia and humans become as sand, to be blown about by the winds and drowned by the tides.

"We ask you to remember that choosing to surrender choice is a prelude to extinction.

"Essentia bestow upon you a lavishness of the Six Pillars of Life: purity, love, courage, beauty, serenity and simplicity."


On his television show yesterday, Bill O'Reilly had this exchange, in essence, with Sarah Palin:

O'R: What would you do if she were President about Iran,who is this close(he emphasized, by puttubg two fingers a 1/4" apart) to having nuclear weapons?

P: Impose economic sanctions in concert with other friendly nations.

O'R: Including a blockade? Russia won't go along with that.

Pailin didn't directly respond. Had she persisted in the imposition of a blockade, O'Reilly's next question, increduloisly asked, would surely have been, "And risk nuclear war?"

What would Sarah Palin have answered to that?

John F. Kennedy answered that question "Yes" when he imposed an arms blockade of Cuba and was confronted by a Russian ship heading to that country, presumably with weapoms, and bent it seemed on breaking the blockade. "Stop," said JFK, "or we will stop you". Nuclear war hung in the balance..The Russian ship turned back.

Ronald Reagan answered "Yes" to O'Reilly's unasked question when, pointing to the degradation that was the Berlin Wall, he fearlessly exhorted the Soviet Union to "Tear down that wall"...the implication being, "or we will". The wall was taken down, the Cold War ended.

Presidents Kennedy and Reagan knew what children around the world know...that bullies are afraid of only one thing: force. Bullies, whether individuals or nations, use force to gain their ends and cower when faced with the threat of greater force. Few in Washington today seem to know this.

If civilization is to endure around the globe, it will be only if America and other nations stand steadfastly and resolutely against tyrants and terrorists, with the willingness and courage to risk all for the sake of victory.

Winston Churchill also knew the answer to Bill O'Reilly's unasked question:

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival"

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A few years ago, I became aware that many religious people perceive Eternal Life in Heaven as the prime reward for their beliefs and lifestyle. Although not religious, I set out to design a painting to illustrate the many blessings offered by a spiritual life that are enjoyed here on Earth, including Benevolence, Compassion, Courage, Optimism, Grace, Honor, Serenity, Renewal and Exaltation. Blessings are illustrated with contemporary figures in the beautiful painting by Delton Gerdes titled Blessings of a Spiritual Life, and each blessing is referenced to an inspiring quotation from the Bible, as follows:

ETERNAL LIFE: "In Christ, all shall be made alive" 1 Corinthians 15

BENEVOLENCE: "God saw all that He had made and behold it was very good" Genesis 1

COMPASSION: "Forgive and you will be forgiven, for the measure you give will be the measure you get back" Luke 6

COURAGE: "Put on the whole Armour of God" Ephesians 6

OPTIMISM: "Abound in hope for that we see not" Romans 8, 15

GRACE: "The path of the just is as a shining light" Proverbs 4

HONOR: He that endureth temptation shall receive the crown of life" James 1

SERENITY: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven" Matthew 6

RENEWAL: "And Jesus touched them and their eyes were opened" Matthew 9

EXALTATION: "Praise the name of God with a song, magnify Him with thanksgiving" Psalms 69

During my work on the painting, I came to realize a simple truth: the blessings portrayed in the painting are not restricted to those who are believers, but can be experienced in full and in their own way by all those who live a loving, moral, spiritual life.

Color poster copies measuring 17-1/2" x 25", suitable for framing, are available at $% each (for shipments in the U.S.; add actual shipping cost outside the U.S.).


"Divine" is defined in the dictionary as:

"sacred, godlike, characteristic of a deity, heavenly, celestial, extremely good, unusually lovely, of superhuman or surpassing excellence, the qualities regarded as godly"

I came across a young boy on a farm who was playing with a gift he had received from his parents. It was an inordinately sophisticated, futuristic, robot-like technological apparatus, no batteries, that could do amazing things. The pure joy the boy had in playing with it and discovering its powers was manifest on his smiling face.

The mechanism had the capacity to:

be excited
be thankful

The boy's parents told me that once their son realized the unique capabilities of their gift, he would play with it from morning to night...alone, sometimes with friends. He seemed always to find new things it could do, new things he could do with it. No other toy he had ever had could generate the pleasure and excitement and awe that this gift did. Every day, he marvelled at it ever more. He never wanted to be without it. It had become and would surely remain his forever friend and companion.

It was his divine mind.


From the beginning, there have been two fundamental, and divergent, ways of seeing man:

1. One way is to see each man as an independent individual who is sovereign over his his life, with no unchosen obligations to anyone. A person with such a view favors freedom and equality, believes it is moral to act in his own rational self-interest, and would tend to politically support capitalism.

2. One way is to see man as a link in a social chain, a member of a group, with sovereignty resting with the group. A person with such a view favors altruism, the moral code that denounces acting in one's own self-interest rather than in the perceived common good and tends to favor some form of political socialism (fascism, communism) with government ultimately in control of man's life.

The first view was the prevailing view of the Founding Fathers, hence their emphasis on the unalienable rights of individuals, and the limitation of the powers of Government to those expressly granted to it by the people.

They extended this view of man's independence and sovereignty to man's political agency, the United Colonies. Hear the deep meaning of their words:

In the name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, we declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states...and alll political connections to Great Britain (their enemy) be dissolved.

President Obama manifests the other view of man and of his Government. He befriends, and supports agreements and alliances with, terrorists and known enemies of America. He favors lessening our defense capabilities, placing us in greater danger of those who would welcome our destruction. He sees America as but an indistinguishable link in a chain of united nations, no better, no worse, than any of the others, and with obligations to all. He believes America must redistribute its wealth and resources around the world. He has moved the Government toward socialism, taking over sectors of industry and financial institutions, seeking to influence what we eat, how much we drive, how we heat our homes, what health insurance we must have, etc. He is repeatedly apologetic for our country and its freest, most productive, most charitable, people on the planeT.

Maybe not for long.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Commentators on radio and television who label themselves Conservatives generally support their political arguments with undefined talk of "limited government" and their "Biblical roots"...both being open to many interpretations. Their rantings opposing the Obama Administration give me a sense of what they are against, but not precisely what they are for...and more importantly, what exactly are their guiding principles and what proof, if any, do they offer that their positions on the issues are correct.

If Conservative Republicans are to become a serious alternative to both liberal Democrats and liberal Republicans, and for them to obtain the support of thoughtful voters, they will need to answer the following questions with specificity:

1. Which particular federal programs should be eliminated in their entirety? Why?

2. Which particular federal programs should be reduced in size? To what size? And why?

3. What new federal programs should be implemented? Why? At what cost? How will it be paid for?

4. Should the federal deficit be eliminated, and if so, how? Should all new federal programs that would generate a deficit be rejected?

5. Should an abortion be legal if the pregnancy was the result of incest? Rape? If it endangers the life of the mother? If the mother-to-be is under age? What age?

6. Should homosexual unions be legally recognized as fully as are heterosexual marriages, and would the parties to such unions enjoy the same rights as marriage partners? If not, in what ways? And why?

7. What specifically should be the principles guiding our country's relationships with other countries? To what extent, if any, should we have diplomatic relationships with countries whose priniples and actions are antagonistic to American ideals of freedom and equality?

8. What should our missions be in Iraq, Afghanistan and of total victory over the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorists, or one of containment?

9. Once those missions are set, should their military implementation be determined by the President or by the military?

10. Should nuclear weapons be used against our enemies? If so, under what conditions?

11. Should our income tax system have each adult pay the same dollar amount of tax on the theory they each receive the same government services and protection?

12. Should a military draft be declared unconstitutional, as violating a pperson's freedom and right to life?

13. Should the use of hard drugs by an adult be decriminalized on the theory that the only restraint there ought be in a free country is the initiation of force against others?

14. Should adult prostitution be legalized since it does not entail the use of force against others?

15. Should the Bible or other religious writings continue to be used as the ultimate authority of what is moral or immoral> Or should that be determined by know, rather than merely believe on faith: the reality of man's nature and the nature of the world he lives in? Do you recognize that your belief in God is no stronger than the terrorists' belief in their God?

16. Is it the Conservative view of man that he is a link in a social chain, a member of a group obliged to act in the interest of the group? Or is each man an independent sovereign being?

Answers to the above questions, and others, will determine whether Conservatism will become a central political force in our country, or remain on the vociferous fringe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The Obama Administration's decision to try the Gitmo detainees in American civilian criminal courts raises anew the spectre of the exclusionary rule...only this time its foreboding shadow threatens to impale civilization's ability to defend itself.

The exclusionary rule blocks the introduction into a trial of any evidence that was obtained by authorities in violation of Constititionally-protected rights...including the right to counsel, the right against unlawful searches and seizures, the right against cruel and inhuman treatment, the right to a speedy trial. the right to be Mirandized and advised of your rights. All of which were apparently violated with regard to the detainees, and that fact will no doubt be raised by the detainees' counsel in motions to exclude confessions and damaging evidence and to have the confessed ringleader of the 9-11 attack, and his cohorts, be set free in the name of...justice!

And so a court may feel reluctantly compelled to the endangerment of our country, our people, our way of life, our future.

The principal argument in favor of the exclusionary rule in civilian criminal matters is that it, hopefully, will dissuade the authorities from violating our Constitutional rights. The wisdom of that reasoning is questionable. If the authorities have evidence, no matter how obtained, that will help them obtain a conviction and remove a danger from our streets, why should those facts of reality be ignored? Could it possibly be in our interest to do so? Policemen and others who obtain evidence via unlawful searches or seizures, or otherwise, ought be severely punished, even discharged...but facts are facts and ignoring reality is a fool's path.

Here are some additional facts:

1. The Gitmo detainees are not American citizens.

2. Our Constitutional rights do not apply to them.

3. They are not criminals, but warriors engaged in wardare.

4. Civilized nations established the Geneva Convention to regulate waefare. Neither the Gitmo detainees nor their leaders signed to be bound by the Convention...nor are they entitled to its protections.

5. The right venue for warmongers is the military court and the right time is after the war has as not to to remove personnel from their war duties, so as not to have to reveal our secret operations and sources, so as not to divert our attention from the war at hand.

The argument that our not giving the detainees our Constitutional rights "lowers us to their level", is untrue and absurd. They INITIATED warfare against us, we are DEFENDING against that warfare, for our survival...and the difference between the two is the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, life and death.

The message we ought send the world is this: Attack us, terrorize us, seek to destroy us, and we will fight you not on your level but at levels you cannot imagine...not with one hand tied behind our backs, not with protocols or restraints, but by unleashing the full unrestrained might at our command. You do not set the terms of our battle, our survival does!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Two seemingly totally unrelated matters over the past couple of days came up parallel on my intellectual radar...President Obama's visit to China, and the movie "Law Abiding Citizen".

First, the movie. It is the story of an educated family man , wonderfully played by Gerard Butler, who in the first scene sees his wife and young daughter raped and murdered by two armed intruders into his home. The killers are identified by Butler and captured. The prosecutor, Jamie Foxx, enters into a plea agreement with the one who actually committed the murders, ostensibly for the purpose of maintaining a high conviction rate, under which the killer received a nominal 3-year sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice...who is found guilty, put on death row, and executed.

Butler is horrified at the injustice of the plea bargain and the failure of the criminal justice system, and implements his own personal scheme of justice by systematically killing every one who had anything to do with the plea bargain. Foxx is last on his list. How Butler manages to continue his rampage though he is being held in solitary confinement in prison, is an intriguing part of the movie, but not the focus of this post...which are the rampant injustices and dangers of our prevailing plea bargaining system under which criminals are prematurely set free and their victims unremembered and dishonored.

My views on plea bargaining are set forth in an earlier post about the Michael Vick case, "Justice Vick-timized".

President Obama, this past weekend, sought fit to enter into his own plea bargaining agreement with Red China. Unspoken to be sure, but a plea agreement nonetheless. His deal was as follows: in exchange for the Red Chinese strengthening commercial exchanges and continuing to lend us money, he would ignore China's oppression of its people, its restraints on freedom of speech, assembly, religion, reproduction and emigration, its jailing of anti-Government protesters, he would abstains from visiting the Dalai Lama because Red China objected to his making the trip. And to seal the deal, the President wore a Chinese style shirt to help him project a spirit of camaraderie and friendship and the "we are all the same and I am one of you" attitude he carries to the dungeons of the world and their ruthless rulers.

Justice is the cornerstone of civilization. Failure to treat others for precisely who and what they are, in the manner they deserve by their chosen actions, not only fails to punish evil, but narrows the distinction between good and evil...and tears apart the very fabric of civilization. In the movie, Butler threatens to tear down everything that supports the unjust criminal justice system. "It's gonna be Biblical", he warns. The President ought see the movie...and soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Any reader of whodunits will tell you that it is easier to find the culprit if you can find a motive. Perhaps because that is true, many Americans have jumped to the conclusion that virtually regardless of the crime they perceive being perpetrated, it is the businessmen who are guilty because "they all have a motive...the profit motive".

What are business profits? They are the excess of income over expenses. They represent tangibly the excess of the market value of what is produced, or the service provided, over the cost of producing or providing it...a cost, I might add, invested by the businessman at the risk of losing it it all.

In other words, what the businessman is guilty of is adding values to our lives. Who would think such a person evil, immoral? Only someone who thinks values are inately evil. Who would think that in light of the obvious evidence that values make our lives safer, healthier, richer, more enjoyable. Your home was likely built by a company with a profit motive, as was the car you drive, the food you eat, the medicines you take, the phone you use, the clothes you wear.

Who would think such values are not of value? Only someone who has a negative view of life, who does not, in the deep recesses of his soul, think man ought to be safe, well fed, entertained, happy...a person who has an inverted view of values and who has reversed good and evil.

Perhaps, some might say, it is moral to produce values but not moral to desire or to selfishly keep the immoral profits that result from such production. If you hold that view, you believe in human sacrifices...desiring, demanding with the force of government authority, that the businessman spend his effort, his effort, his time, his ideas, not for his own benefit but for the benefit of others. To label such a sacrificial code of behavior as moral is an inversion, and perversion, of the worst order.

In fact, quite the contrary is true. It is the profit motive that is inherently moral...for it represents the desire to enrich life on Earth, it recognizes the justice of the producer enjoying the fruits of his production, and it respects the law of cause and effect: the effects you cause, good or bad, are yours to enjoy or to bear the consequences of.

Beware of those who demean and denigrate and denounce the profit motive and those who have it. They have a motive of their own: to make your life value-less.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


If you think we need a Constitutional Amendment to permit prayers in school, you haven't stood in school hallways lately during final exams.

Have you noticed that those who practice diplomacy have never received a diploma to practice it?

Of all living things, only man is aware...occasionally.

Aristotle discovered that A is A, things are what they are...and the world has been trying to disprove it ever since.

Most political speeches are good examples of free speech...and you know what you get for free.

Anti-trust laws are aptly named...those who support them do not trust freedom.

The world is like an extravagant buffet party...with no waiters.

Isn't it ironic that there could be no government handouts if the government kept its hands out of our pockets.

To believe things on faith is to believe in mind over matter.

What you do to others may be a crime...what you do to yourself never is.

Teach a child how to think and you've opened his world...teach a child what to think and you've closed it.

If your education stops when you finish school, you didn't learn much.

Man's will is free for him to use...but can cost him his life if he doesn't.

Your senses tell you what is...your emotions tell you how you feel about what is ... your mind coordinates the two and tells you what you can do about what is.

The reason many people believe in a sixth sense is because they can't make sense out of what they learn from the first five.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I was wondering the other day why, as I get older, I more enjoy the game of baseball. It is a slow game, basketball and hockey players would say...the pitcher straightening out the dirt on the pitching mound, staring in for the catcher's signals, the batter finding just the right stance at the plate, and then stepping out to slow down the pitcher even further. And I realized I like slow. Well, not very slow, but a bit slower than the turned up, speeded up, frenetic pace that inflicts so much of what we do these days.

I enjoy the walk a bit more when it's a bit slower...I can sense more of the beauty of the earth and the sky and all that is in it. I enjoy whatever I am working on when I am not hurried and have time to think deeper about the things that interest me. I enjoy a book or a movie that unfolds a bit slowly, giving me the pleasure of savoring the unfolding of the characters in the story, giving me a chance to identify the plot and its implications, to identify with the hero's plight and how I would respond to it.

I love the subtle touches which Arthur Conan Doyle gives you about Sherlock Holmes' place at 221B Baker Street...the crusty old books, the smell of that rare Swedish tobacco, the feel of the easy chair...which adds so much to the flavor and the intrigue and the mystery of that ribboned envelope being slid under the door with three orange seeds in it and the one word note "Finally".

I like conversations with each point of conversation explored slowly and thoughtfully, with quiet spaces for cerebral time. I like more detailed and probing interviews on radio and television, more time to examine the depths of an issue (I shut my mind off when the interviewer says, "I only have 45 seconds, how would you deal with the unfolding nuclear crisis in the Mideast?") Takes me longer than that to brush my teeth, and there's not much to think about when I brush my teeth.

Now, I don't like everything when the bank teller who counts your money over fourteen times, or when the express lane on the thruway is used for sightseeing, or when the waiter in that fine restaurant seems to have developed amnesia. I don't like dawdling, lackadaisical, lethargic, supine, lymphatic, sluggish, dopey, drugges, leaden, lumpish, stultefied, inert, stagnant, languid, listless, vegetative, dormant, numb, moribund, dead.

But I do like slower than hurried, rushed, pushed, pressed, crowded, hustled, bustled, scuttled, scampered, stampeded.

Know what I mean?

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The 6th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees to every accused the right to a speedy and public criminal trial. Such a trial, conducted under objective rules of law and evidence, is man's practical bulwark against government oppression. Without the security offered by a fair public trial, an accused would stand helpless at the mercy of an accusing government. It is imperative, therefore, that nothing be done to upset the intricate system of justice developed over centuries.

Television may be doing just that. More and more television stations are seeking to poke their cameras into juicy criminal, and civil, doubt to boost ratings. And they do so under the banner of making the trial even more public.

But the right to a public trial is the right of an accused for the protection of the accused, and he or she ought be free to waive the public nature of the trial if he or she so chooses. Television lights blinking on and off, cameras catching and magnifying every nervous twitch, every expression, every private detail of an accused or witness' life, and distributing it all not just to the country but to the world, can be nerve-wracking and intimidating to all involved, may lessen the willingness and availability of some critical witnesses to testify, and may in fact undercut the very purpose of the Constitutional guaranty of a public trial.

There is much too much media coverage of criminal trials. Radio, television and newspaper outlets flash names and pictures of the accused before they have been found guilty. Families and friends of the accused are pressured for interviews. Media commentators often pronounce judgment and sentence without having heard one word of courtroom testimony, perhaps thereby denying the accused a fair trial by improperly influencing the views of prospective jurors.

Let's protect the right of the "innocent until proven guilty" to a fair trial by keeping television cameras out of the courtroom...unless the accused agrees. "Lights, camera, action" are three very intimidating and daunting words.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


"He acts like an animal."

You've heard it before, you may have thought or said it yourself. It is said derogatorily, often when someone is acting brusquely, arrogantly, crazily. The implication is that the someone being equated with animals is not properly using his human capacity to think. Animals cannot conceptualize.

But animals do many things we can admire and which would be in our interest to learn. Animals function solely on the sensory and perceptual levels of consciousness. And because of this, they rely to a greater extent than we do on their senses. Humans frequently question the validity of their senses, thereby undercutting the validity of human knowledge. Which is why we will sometimes hear someone (often menmbers of the academia) ask, "Since nothing can be known for certain, how do I know you are really here?" as they gaze into someone's eyes. Animals have no such problem. They "know" you are there because they see you and smell you. They are sure of it and act accordingly.

Animals have no choice but to act in their least to the extent their incredible instincts program them to act. We humans, on the other hand, have the blessing of free will and choice...a two-edged sword that can result in our acting contrary to what is in our best interest. We are even capable of accepting the notion that it is immoral and improper to act in our own self- interest, and that it is ideal to sacrifice ourselves to others. (See any of the collectivist philosophies prevalent in our society today.) An animal is not capable of such anti-life thoughts or actions.

Animals are judgmental, as survival requires. Man has been warned to "judge not lest ye be judged" and often finds his trust betrayed, his love misplaced. Animals are generally persevering in their struggle to survive, they are generally benevolent to those who care for them. You know about humans.

Animals sleep better than we do, they get sick less often, they have fewer nervous breakdowns, their marriages are more enduring. They almost never attack their own species. We have much to learn from them.

And how do we treat those animals we profess to love? We put the birds in cages so that they cannot spread their wings and fly...we put man's best friend on a leash so that he cannot romp and play...we neuter them so that they cannot reproduce...we behead them for ornamentation...and we eat them.

The next time someone says "you're an animal",. smile and take it as quite complimentary.

Friday, November 6, 2009


President Obama's philosophy is based on a fundamental redefinition of the America's guarantee of equality to all.
Unique in its historical meaning, equality meant equality under the law...all were to be treated the same and no one was to be favored with special privileges or rights or benefits by reason of family heritage, wealth, or any other consideration. In effect, no royalty of any character.

The President seeks to recast equality as equality of entitlements, equality of character. Hence, the President overtly seeks to redistribute the wealth of this country by taking it from the wealthy and giving it to the poor, thus obliterating the idea of equality under the law. He argues that all are entitled to health care, to higher education and to whatever else crosses his mind today, and ignores the undeniable reality that those things do not grow on trees, and ignores the question: At who's expense and at whose forced labor? The President believes in a universal equality of character among all people's of the world notwithstanding their virtues or vices, and hence his constant apologies for America's actions and his failure to acknowledge America's role in saving civilization from annihilation, his willingness to shake hands and bow down and smile at and negotiate with known terrorists and ruthless dictators, to release Guantanamo assasins, to shut down some of our missile defenses, and to delay the sending of recommended support troops to aid our forces in Afghanistan, presumably under the belief that "we're no better, they're no worse".

That is President's idea of the Constitutional right to equality guaranteed to all of us. It is the underlying premise to his desire and drive to take over American industry, for he knows that that is the only way for him to implement his definition of equality.

What is next? Will the FBI to meet with heads of the underworld to negotiate certain limitations on FBI surveillance and weaponry? Will homeowners be required to allow indigents to set up tents on their lawns so that they, too, can enjoy living on their own piece of land? Will the Pledge of Allegiance be replaced by The Plea of Apology? Will only those ignorant of the glory of America's ideals hold high public office? (Actually, we already have that.)

The Founding Fathers' definition of equality is rooted in freedom. President Obama's definition of equality is dependent on slavery and ignorance. In the end, reality will determine which definition of equality better serves man's interests.