Monday, January 25, 2010


In the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s stunning victory in the recent Massachusetts Senate race, many are wondering (and pontificating) on what President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats will do to adjust their message to the American people as they prepare for the midterm Congressional elections looming on the horizon in November, 2010. Will they abandon their efforts to impose a socialistic national health care system upon us and “move to the center”, as President Bill Clinton did in the 1990s? Will Obama and the Democrats back up, change their game plan, and attempt to achieve their goals in stages, a little at a time, or will they try to give us more of the same thing we have been getting during the first year of the Obama administration – massive spending, higher taxes, more government intrusion in our daily lives, and dramatically increased regulation of private businesses, big and small? My best guess: MORE OF THE SAME, although cleverly packaged with a populist message designed to appeal to the great public anger, reflected in Scott Brown’s victory, against corrupt government run amuck and those public and private officials who irresponsibly created high job losses and the tremendous upheaval in the nation’s financial system. Note that in the days following Scott Brown’s victory, the President has been saying that he is ready to “fight” for the American people and now wishes to place new regulations and taxes on the “big banks”.

In the January 23, 2010, issue of POLITICO, Obama’s former campaign manager and senior White House advisor, David Axelrod, is quoted as saying . . . “that there will be ‘no reinventing’ of the President”; and “[t]here is no need to.” He added . . . “we got elected – to push back on the special interests . . . and to build an economy that works for everyone and not just a fortunate few.”

I believe, however, that there is a bigger and darker reason why President Obama and his associates will not change course in their efforts to impose a government controlled economy on the American people. They recognize that if they can hold on to their huge majorities in the Congress and re-elect the President to a second term, they can permanently change the economic landscape in this country and that there will be no turning back. If they lose this unique opportunity during a period of great unrest to impose a European-style economic system on the country, a similar opportunity may not present itself for another generation.

A recent article (“A Most Uncomfortable Parallel”) by Andrew Stuttaford, a contributing online editor for NATIONAL REVIEW, in that magazine’s January 25, 2010 print edition, makes my case. Stuttaford, rather than comparing Obama to FDR, the Messiah, the Anti-Christ, or “harsher still”, to Jimmy Carter, instead compares the President to CLEMENT ATTLEE, the “Labour leader who humiliated Winston Churchill in Britain’s 1945 election. . . .” The author states the 1945 victory by Attlee and the Labour Party, in the aftermath of World War II in which Great Britain and its economy were devastated, was “one of the most sweeping in British history” and permanently changed the landscape of the British economy.

Although Attlee was shy and dull (“as the jibe went, an empty taxi drew up and out stepped Attlee”) the new Prime Minister, like Obama, although “unthreatening”, was “cool and calculating” and the two also “have in common their pasts as ‘community organizers’” in depressed areas. In addition, Attlee, like Obama, recognized the unique opportunity in Britain for “the closest regimentation of the whole nation” and as such “the opportunity for fundamental change of the economic system.” In Britain at the time, “there was an irresistible demand for ‘change’” and it was believed that Britons “could finally turn the page on the bad old days and build the fairer more egalitarian society they felt they deserved.”

Attlee was not concerned over the costs of the proposed new National Health Service and national compulsory insurance for everyone from the cradle to the grave. “The creation of the welfare state was his overwhelming moral and political priority.”

The nationalization of a “key slice” of British industry (“including the railways, some road transport, gas, coal, iron and steel, the Bank of England . . .”) and the “crippling taxes he promoted” eventually proved disastrous and resulted in Britain’s “inevitable” decline to “lesser-power status.” It remains so today.

The author finally states that although the costs of the new National Health Service and his other “reforms instantly spiraled beyond what had been anticipated, Attlee won the day because he had “irrevocably committed Britain to the welfare state he believed to be an ethical imperative . . . .” Although Margaret Thatcher turned back the socialist model in Britain to some extent a generation later, Attlee’s legacy lives on.

What will Obama’s legacy be at the end of the day? We shall see.

Monday, January 18, 2010


As stated recently by Mark Z. Barabak in the January 1, 2010, edition of the LOS ANGELES TIMES, Republicans are “poised” for a “strong comeback” in the 2010 midterm elections, with a good chance for significant gains in the Congress; and to increase their numbers in the statehouses across the country as well. All 435 House seats, 36seats in the Senate, and the governorships of 37 states are on the ballot in November; and the Democrat and Republican candidates are locked in a tight race on January 19 in a special election to replace the late Senator Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts.

Some of the Democrats’ most prominent figures, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, appear to be in serious danger in their reelection bids, while longtime Democrat stalwarts, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut (trailing badly in the polls) and Senator Dorgan of North Dakota, have both announced that they will not seek reelection this year. Currently, Democrats hold a 256-178 advantage in the House of Representatives, with one vacancy; and Republicans need to win 40 new House seats to gain a majority. In the Senate, Democrats currently hold a 58-40 advantage, with two independents. Republicans would need to pick up 11 seats in the Senate to retake control of the upper body.

Recent polls on the issues of the day confirm that Republicans are poised for a comeback; and it is a fact that since World War II, the political party of a new President has lost an average of 16 House seats in the midterm elections, a handful of governorships, and more that 200 legislative seats. Historically, the parties have come out close to even in Senate races.

Karl Rove and the Ipsos/McClatchey polling company tell us that 1) Democrats have lost their advantage on important issues (down from 39% in 2008 to 4% in 2009 on health care; down from 30% in 2008 to 1% in 2009 on the economy; and down from 17% in 2008 to a plus 2% for Republicans in 2009 on taxes). Furthermore, they tell us that “voters are increasingly wary of activist government” (fewer voters believe government should spend more to help needy people [down from 54% to 48% since 2007] and more Americans believe government can be trusted only “some of the time” [up from 66% to 72% over the past year]).

Finally, Rove tells us that “the intensity gap has closed”, citing the BATTLEGROUND POLL that found that the number of Republicans and independents who are “extremely likely” to vote in the next election rose, respectively, from “6 to 9 points over the past year”; while Democrats “extremely likely to vote” in the next election slipped from 66% to 64% during that same period. Likewise, a PEW POLL found that 39%of Republicans would be angry if current reform proposals are enacted, while only 22% of Democrats would be “very happy” if they succeeded.

Despite all of this good news for Republicans, I note that GOP Chairman Michael Steele stated recently that “Republicans won’t win back the House in the fall elections and might not be ready to lead even if they do.” (Assoc. Press, Jan.6, 2010). These remarks predictably did not sit well with the GOP National Congressional Committee, which is charged with recruiting and raising money for Republican Congressional candidates. The NRCC immediately issued a statement that “we are playing to win”, and complaints were made to Chairman Steele’s office by congressional staffers and consultants. By contrast, Steele’s remarks delighted Congressional Democrats, who issued their own statement: “If the NRCC hasn’t convinced the Republican National Committee Chairman they can win, it’s no wonder that Tea Party activists, Republican small donors, and Republican House members are not confident and have failed to invest in the NRCC.” Incredibly, Mr. Steele responded: “I’m the chairman. Deal with it”(WASHINGTON POST, Jan.9, 2010) adding …”if you don’t want me for the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way”.(Ben Smith, THE POLITICO, Jan.7, 2010).

I have stated several times that serious divisions in the party leadership, Democrat or Republican, lead to lost elections. It is certainly in the best interests of Congressional Republicans to support and cooperate with the leadership of the Republican National Committee; but it is an absolute must for the Chairman of the Republican National Committee not only to marshall all available RNC resources in support of Republican Congressional candidates, but he must APPEAR to fully support the Republican Congressional leadership as well. This is especially true with Congressional elections on the horizon, where Republicans are poised to make historic gains that could derail the Obama juggernaut. To do otherwise suggests that someone has lost sight of what is in the best interests of the Republican Party and the nation. This problem needs to be fixed – and fast.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Little did I know when I attended church services yesterday that the minister of my Evangelical Presbyterian Church would speak out in support of Brit Hume, the longtime news anchor of the FOX NEWS NETWORK, who retired several months ago but remains as a network contributor and pundit. As many are aware, Brit was asked to comment on the dilemma facing Tiger Woods, who now rivals Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer to ever play the game; but who recently suffered humiliating international exposure as a serial adulterer, which resulted in serious damage to his marriage and career. In response to the questioner, Brit stunned many when he first spoke of his admiration for Tiger Woods over the years, and then stated: “[h]e’s said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn your faith – turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

It should be noted that, according to my sources, Tiger Woods’ mother was a Buddhist, but it is unclear whether he is a practicing Buddhist. It should also be noted that Brit Hume’s son, a twenty-eight-year-old journalist, committed suicide a few years ago, and that Brit has spoken publically concerning his faith and the outpouring of love and affection he received after that tragic event.

The response of the media intelligentsia to Hume’s public advice to Tiger Woods was immediate and brutal. Although heretofore widely respected as a thoughtful and highly professional journalist, Brit was suddenly branded as a religious fanatic. Tom Shales of the WASHINGTON POST blasted Hume’s remarks as utterly inappropriate for a news show and suggested that his “dissing” of Buddhism calls for a public apology. Buddhist journalist Barbara Hoetsu O’Brien, a former Christian, admitted in her recent blog dated January 4, 2010, entitled “Let’s Forgive Brit Hume”, that Brit was in fact correct when he stated that Buddhism does not offer forgiveness and redemption the way Christianity does. She goes on to say that….”Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense are meaningless in Buddhism.” However, she further states that Buddhists do believe strongly in the concept of loving kindness, which should be extended to all that have wronged us. She also added that Christians should not give advice on how to deal with adultery or sexual improprieties, given their poor track record on the subject.

According to conservative columnist Ken Conner, “Buddhism is a non-theistic religion that might be better described as a school of philosophy; it does not speculate on the existence of God and certainly does not embrace the idea that man is connected to the Creator of the Universe through the person of Jesus Christ.”

Some have written that since religion is such a deeply personal issue, it was wrong for Brit Hume to publicly discuss or suggest what Tiger Woods should believe, or how he should deal with his problems from a religious standpoint. Still, given the enormous amount of publicity (world-wide) the Tiger Woods scandal has generated, it was not out of line for someone such as Brit Hume, in the editorial portion of a news program and who had experienced the power of Christ in his own life, to publicly suggest, upon being questioned on the subject, that a troubled young man facing the loss of his family and career might do the same.

While, as stated by Conner, the kind of “theological certainty” displayed by Brit Hume on national television in this era of “post-modern religious relativism” may have made some uncomfortable, he is “one of the few willing to offer the beleaguered athlete an authentic path to restoration” while “everyone else is speculating on how Tiger might strategize his way back into the nation’s good graces.”

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Kings Of Tort" - Part II

The “sordid tale of judicial bribery and political intrigue” as related to us in “Kings of Tort” proves once again that fact is stranger than fiction and more gripping than any John Grisham novel. Throughout this notable book are many notable quotes which are worth remembering, for example:

1. “[W]hat I call the ‘magic jurisdiction…[is] where the judiciary is elected with verdict money….It’s almost impossible to get a fair trial if you’re a defendant in some of these places. The plaintiff lawyer walks in there and writes a number on the blackboard, and the first juror meets the last one coming out the door with that amount of money….The cases are not won in the courtroom. They’re won on the backroads long before the case goes to trial.”

- Excerpt from speech by Dickie Scruggs entitled “Asbestos for Lunch” – 2002.

Note: Federal Prosecutor Tom Dawson commented that this could be the first time in American Criminal Jurisprudence that a defendant confessed to his crime five years before he committed it.

2. “Mr. Minor has the money, and judges have to run for election.”

- Statement by Mississippi Gulf Coast Chancery Judge J. M. Randall after his resignation from the bench, upon being asked why he did not take appropriate action against Attorney Paul Minor’s heated ex parte communications with him (while a case were pending where Mr. Minor was attorney for one side and outside the presence of the opposing lawyers).

3. “You could file briefs on a napkin right now and get it granted.”

- E-Mail from Zach Scruggs on May 29, 2006, in regard to the Wilson v. Scruggs litigation after Ed Peters had been hired to influence Judge DeLaughter.

4. “Boys, don’t mind the mule, just load the wagon.”

- Judge Henry Lackey – 2007 (after prosecutors became concerned what toll would be taken on the older man when he became an undercover witness during the efforts of Tim Balducci to corruptly influence him).

5. “If you cooperate, you may get to see your children graduate from high school as a free man.”

- Prosecutor Tom Dawson to Tim Balducci – 2007

6. “When you know Dickie and how successful he has been, you could not believe he would be involved in such a boneheaded bribery scam that is not in the least bit sophisticated. I don’t believe it. I hope it’s all proven wrong.

- John Grisham

7. “Zach is innocent of the charges pressed against him, and we look forward to his exoneration.”

- Former Attorney General Mike Moore in a statement to the press just days before his client, Zach Scruggs, pleaded guilty to a felony.

8. “…as one person who wrote a letter said, he thought sending you to prison would be a waste of the taxpayer’s money. To alleviate any concerns for that person, the taxpayers won’t have to pay for your incarceration; you’ll pay for it yourself.”

- Judge Neal Biggers to Dickie Scruggs at sentencing – June 27, 2008

9. “Money is like seawater…the more you drink the thirstier you become.”

- Roman proverb

10. “DeLaughter was ruined not by greed, but by ambition and the inability to say no to Ed Peters, his mentor, another professional infected with the Scruggs evil.”

- The authors of “Kings of Tort”

11. “Every society gets the criminals it deserves.”

French criminologist Alexander Lacassagne

One of the most obvious questions in regard to the events described in “Kings of Tort” is why persons worth millions of dollars would take the risks as described in this book? I will leave it to the authors to have the final word about Dickie Scruggs:

“Regardless of his motivation, the damage he and his cohorts caused to the judicial system, their profession, and the rule of law is palpable. While scholars debate which founding concept of our country is the most important – individual freedom, free market capitalism, private property rights, or the ability to make contracts and engage in commerce – the glue that holds all of these principles together is the rule of law. What the system guarantees is not justice, but a chance at justice. When the citizenry loses confidence that the legal system will provide a venue for a fair and even-handed airing of their grievances, cynicism abounds and ordered society is in peril.”


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