Archive for the Conflicts of Interest Category

The People’s Amendment: The “Contract With America” (April 29, 2013)

Posted in Awards / Incentives, Balanced Budget Amendment, Coffee Party USA, Conflicts of Interest, Congress, Constitution, Immanentizing The Eschaton, Political Parties, Tea Party, Term Limits on April 29, 2013 by e-ssay.org

. . .

X          “What do Republicans and Democrats agree on?”

Y          “Nothing.”

X          “What do Republicans and Democrats disagree on?”

Y          “Everything.”

. . .

X          “There you go.  The People’s Amendment:  ‘If a law applies to the people, it applies to Congress; if an exception or exemption applies to Congress, it excepts and exempts the people.’  One simple commutative rule enshrined in a constitutional amendment.  Genius is always obvious and simple.”

Y          “And the provision applies equally to Republicans and Democrats.”

X          “Indubitably.  Courts could easily interpret it without all the arrogant activism and ideological warfare that characterizes the courts today.  Every tax payer has standing to enforce the People’s Amendment in court.  Individual Congresspersons and Senators who vote for legislation that violates the PA are held personally liable for the attorney’s fees of the tax payer who succeeds in enforcing the PA and a small percentage of the public damages.  Each representative’s self-interest is enlisted to provide for and protect the public interest.”

. . .

Y          “While you are at it, add a simple term limits provision.  Six two-year terms in the House and two six-year terms in the Senate are balanced and fair.  The provision applies equally to Republicans and Democrats.”    

. . .

X / Y  “However, a balanced budget amendment is hollow and shallow.  Congress can balance the budget without a balanced budget amendment if Congress wants to balance the budget.  Congress can circumvent a balanced budget amendment if Congress wants to circumvent a balanced budget amendment.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssays” titled The “Contract with America”; The Congressional Reform Act of 2010 (March 29, 2010), Term Limits (May 14, 2007) and Bringing Balance To The Balanced Budget Amendment Debate (July 18, 2011).]

[For an argument that John McCain and Lindsey Graham should not be considered “enemy combatants,” see the “e-ssay” titled Republicans are Enemy Combatants? (May 10, 2010).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

A Democrat for The People’s Amendment

A Republican for The People’s Amendment

An Independent for The People’s Amendment

A Libertarian for The People’s Amendment

A Green for The People’s Amendment

A Tea Partier for The People’s Amendment

A Coffee Partier for The People’s Amendment

A Partier for The People’s Amendment

My honor student supports The People’s Amendment

My average student supports The People’s Amendment

My below average student opposes The People’s Amendment

My dog supports The People’s Amendment

A sniper for The People’s Amendment

An LBGT for The People’s Amendment

A mom for The People’s Amendment

A dad for The People’s Amendment

A viscountess for The People’s Amendment

A Fan of Fred (Hayek) for The People’s Amendment

A visiting adjunct professor at the Barack Hussein O’Bama II School of Government at the University of Chicago for The People’s Amendment

Rating The Rating Agencies And The Courts That Should Berate Them: FFF (May 3, 2010)

Posted in Bailout/Bribe, Conflicts of Interest, Courts, Crime/Punishment, Perjury, Perjury/Dishonesty, Rating Agencies on May 3, 2010 by e-ssay.org

. . .

NNN          “The ratings agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch knew or should have known that third parties would and did reasonably rely on their ratings.”

OOO          “Exactly.  They intended for third parties to rely on their ratings.”

NNN          “Didn’t some court reach the preposterous conclusion that the ratings agencies are protected by the First Amendment?”

OOO          “The free speech rights of the rating agencies are protected against government interference.  The government did not interfere with their right to free speech.  That ends the First Amendment inquiry.  The ratings agencies are not immune from civil and criminal prosecution.”

NNN          “But the court used the First Amendment to provide complete immunity for the rating agencies.”

OOO          “Keep in mind that there are thousands and thousands of incompetent and marginally competent judges in America.  And thousands of dishonest ones.  The judge may have seen his stock portfolio decline and decided to take action.  In the end, if the decision is patently incorrect, do not follow it.  Disregard the decision as a perverse anomaly.  Law books are littered with dishonest decisions.”

NNN          “The ratings were patently false and fraudulent.  The rating agencies intended for others to rely on the ratings.  Ordinary citizens reasonably relied on the ratings.  Ordinary citizens were damaged by the fraudulent ratings.  So the only issues for an honest judge in a civil action are the amount of damages and the amount of punitive damages.”

OOO          “Exactly.  And the heads of the ratings agencies lied under oath before Congress.  They were advised by their attorneys not to ‘tell the whole truth’ to Congress and they did not ‘tell the whole truth’ to Congress.  That is perjury.  Except in the land of perjury.  Their attorneys suborned perjury.  Combine perjury and obstruction of justice and conspiracy and RICO charges.  The sentence for four felonies is much stiffer.  A summer law clerk could handle the prosecution.”

NNN          “The biggest question is also easily answered.  There are no prosecutions because the ratings agencies and their friends on Wall Street own the government and the prosecutors.”

OOO          “Talk about systemic failure.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” dated Jan. 14, 2008 titled “The ‘R’ Word, The ‘D’ Word or the ‘S’ Word?” on the rating agencies and the “e-ssay” dated May 2, 2005 titled “Ohio – Not Forgettin’ Ohio; The Battleground State Battles On.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Better to know the judge and the prosecutor than to know the law.

Spill, baby, spill.

The “Contract with America”; The Congressional Reform Act of 2010 (March 29, 2010)

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Congress, Health Care, Pensions, Term Limits on March 29, 2010 by e-ssay.org

. . .

“They need to be treated like us; we need to be treated like them.  It’s that simple and that difficult.  The only mechanism to deal with the conflict of interest between elected officials and ordinary citizens is to put them in the same bed and on the same boat.  That is the real ‘Contract with America.’”

. . .

Bumper sticker of the week:

1.         Term Limits.  12 years total pursuant to one of the three options below:

A.              Two six-year Senate terms.

B.              Six two-year House terms.

C.              One six-year Senate term and three two-year House terms.

2.         No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressperson collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when he or she is out of office.

3.         Congresspersons, past, present and future, participate in Social Security.  All funds in the Congressional retirement fund transfer to and all future funds are deposited with the Social Security system immediately.  Congress participates with the American people.

4.         Congresspersons can fund their own retirement plan just as all Americans do.

5.         Congresspersons will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6.         Congresspersons lose their current health care system and participate in the same health care system as the American people.

7.         Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people without exception.

8.         All contracts with past and present Congresspersons are void effective 1/1/11 absent some compelling reason.  The American people did not make these contracts with Congresspersons.  Congresspersons concocted these contracts for themselves.

(For some variations on these big bumper ideas, see the “e-ssays” dated March 5, 2007 titled “Congress Should Increase Congressional and Judicial Pay; Shareholders Should Reduce CEO/CFO/COO Pay,” dated May 14, 2007 titled “Term Limits,” and dated February 25, 2008 titled “’American Medicine’ Not ‘Socialized Medicine.’”)

Corporations United (Feb. 15, 2010)

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, First Amendment, Perjury/Dishonesty, Politics, Supreme Court on February 15, 2010 by e-ssay.org

“In Citizens United, five of our good friends at the Supreme Court decreed that a corporation is a legal person entitled to the First Amendment safeguards amended to the Constitution.  A legal ‘person’ is defined differently in different situations.  The typical ‘person’ is a living, breathing and sentient citizen not a corporation.”

“As I recall, a nautical vessel is also a legal ‘person,’ yet it cannot bring or maintain a lawsuit for instance.”

“Exactly.  A corporation is also a legal person, yet not one that is entitled to the full panoply of constitutional safeguards.  The decision in effect subordinates the First Amendment rights of living, breathing and sentient citizens to the financial interests of corporations.  The case reveals all the sins and crimes of the Court.  Alito recused himself in an earlier case involving a claim for punitive damages in the Exxon Valdez case because of his ownership of substantial Exxon stock.  All of the justices also have substantial stock in the very corporations they now have vested with extraordinary power.”

“There is no way to avoid the conclusion that they sought to influence the political debate and protect their corporate benefactors.  And those who decry ‘judicial activism’ are not decrying this blatantly activist and tendentious decision.”

“Roberts testified before the Senate that he would be an umpire.  He is changing the scores before reporting them and making decisions to benefit his bank account.  He rejected the very precedents he promised to uphold.  As I recall, his testimony was under oath.  You can check on that.”

“I think it is perjury to lie under oath to the Senate.  Or it was in the past.”

“The House could bring articles of impeachment for misconduct.  At a minimum, the Senate could require him to testify and explain his earlier testimony.  The proper separation of powers is jeopardized when an individual is allowed to lie to the Senate about what he will do after he is confirmed by the Senate.”

“There was a Senator Exon decades ago and there will be a dozen Senator Exxons in coming days.”

“Law in America today is a groundless and amoral ideological game.”

(Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010).)

[See the “e-ssay” dated October 20, 2008 titled “Contemporary American Political Parties 101“ noting that the Republicans “10.  Win” and the Democrats “10.  Lose.”  See also the “e-ssay” dated February 20, 2006 titled “Perjury, The American Way.”]

(“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”  Howard Zinn 1922 – 2010)

Bumper stickers of the week:

The best democracy money can buy.

We the corporations . . .

Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 1 (April 14, 2008)

Posted in Bankruptcy, Conflicts of Interest, Law, Pensions, Social Security on April 14, 2008 by e-ssay.org

Today’s adults have “discounted” and now disregard the Bush Wars.  After all, the wars are being fought by the children of the underclass and will be paid for by the children of all classes in the future.  Everything is very tidy and antiseptic, except that this belief is a delusion.  Today’s adults likely will pay for some of the cost of the Crusades.

As a general proposition, the Constitution protects “life,” “liberty,” and “property.”  The United States Supreme Court has often recognized: “[p]roperty interests are not created by the Constitution, ‘they are created and their dimensions are defined by existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law . . . .’”  Cleveland Bd. Of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 538 (1985).  There are many adults who believe they have been promised payments in the future for their efforts today.  The funds to make the future payments are not being provided today, so there is no binding social contract.  The Older Generation offers to provide a pension; the Older Generation accepts the offer; however, if the Older Generation does not fund the promise, there is no legal “consideration” for the contract.  The Younger Generation can note simply that they were not a party to the contract and did not make any promises or representations to the Older Generation.  The pensions and other obligations are nudum pactum, a naked contract.

These issues wander into the courts.  That is where things get curious.  An individual takes a judgeship for a variety of reasons—a steady pay check, prestige, power, the possibility of doing good and making a difference, they look good in black, and, of course, the promise of the almighty pension.  For that reason, courts have an inherent conflict of interest whenever they are presented with any challenge involving pensions of any kind.  Courts often make very public displays of some usually minor or irrelevant conflict of interest, yet on the fundamental economic issues they address cases and protect their economic interests.  Most of the courts today have protected pensions in cases before them to protect their own pensions without even obliquely noting in a passing footnote a clear and blatant conflict of interest.  They contend that the pension is a binding contract and/or a property right.  It is neither.

In Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960), the United States Supreme Court upheld a provision in the Social Security Act of 1935 in which Congress reserved to itself the power to amend and revise the schedule of benefits.  The Court held that a social security recipient does not have a property interest in a social security payment.  “We must conclude that a person covered by the Act has not such a right in benefit payments as would make every defeasance of ’accrued’ interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”  Id. at 611.  Justice Hugo Black in dissent observes that the decision represent an anti-communist bias by the members of the Court.  Id. at 628-28.  In addition and of more insight, the Justices were not entitled to participate in Social Security, so the decision is not surprising.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Social Security?

The “R” Word; The “D” Word or The “S” Word? (January 14, 2008)

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Depression, Economics, Perjury, Rating Agencies, Recession on January 14, 2008 by e-ssay.org

“A recession occurs when your neighbor loses his job; a depression occurs when you lose your job.“  A recession is technically defined as two successive quarters of a downturn in the economy.  The traditional definition of a recession is backward looking.  Would you value being told that you were pregnant fifteen months ago?  Policy planning requires a more forward-looking perspective.  If you lose your job, is it a depression?  If you have less earning capacity despite working overtime and pay more for goods and services, is it stagflation?  (See the e-ssay dated August 7, 2006 entitled “The Fed: Deal With ‘Stag’; Deal With ‘Flation’?”).

The credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch suffered from the same grade inflation their employees suffered from in college.  Everyone in college gets As; their parents are spending too much to bestow anything less.  In the real world, the grade inflation is trebled.  The credit rating agencies gave the insurers of bonds the “AAA” ratings.  The insurers of bonds such as Ambac Financial Group and MBIA also suffered from grade inflation.  The insurers of bonds then gave everyone the “AAA” ratings.

The downturns in foreign markets today are a more accurate verdict on the state of and prospects for the American Economy.  In America, risk is not tied to reward whereas foreign investment professionals are more accountable for their performance.  And while the foreign kids were in college, they did not get As just for showing up.

[The recent incident in the Strait of Hormuz:  Gulf of Tonkin II or the USS Cole II?  The statements in English (not translated from a foreign language) from someone expressed a clear present intent to do harm.  The Navy responded in a professional and disciplined way and maintained their course and speed.  Someone can be provocative without provoking a response that is not in the nation’s interest.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

The Mortgage Meltdown continues.

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