Some Responses to Sandy Hook

After the shooting at the Batman premiere in Colorado earlier this year, Brian Doherty, an expert on firearms policy, did a cool-headed analysis for Russia Today on the errors of clamors for gun control that inevitably follow such tragedies. I think it holds up well in light of what just happened in Connecticut.

 

Its important to remember that these bizarre attacks, and gun murders in general, are rare and getting rarer every year. This is despite the fact that all states have liberalized their gun laws in recent years, and many more Americans are carrying weapons. Four million Americans each year apply for gun licenses. Alarmist news headlines notwithstanding, gun violence has in fact plummeted by half over the last 20 years. Sure, we hear a lot about America having a higher rate of gun deaths than virtually any other place. What we don’t hear nearly as often is that many of these incidents on the official statistics are suicides, or committed by gangs unlikely to be affected even if the federal government were to institute a strict firearms ban tomorrow. Lets not forget the tens of thousands of serious crimes prevented every year by gun owners.

***

This raises another important policy point. Did the fact that this elementary school was declared a ‘gun-free zone’ make it any safer? What if one of the teachers or staff was armed? After Israel witnessed a number of Palestinian terrorist attacks against its schools in the 1970’s, fierce debate ensued about scrapping the harsh firearms regulations instituted under the British Mandate. Eventually, teachers were allowed to carry guns, along with parents and even grandparents who came to help out with security at school buildings and on school trips. The attacks stopped. The soft targets were now not so soft.

***

I know this alleged quote from Morgan Freeman may not be genuine. After all, who could possibly be better to add gravitas to crap you want to spread on the internet? However, I believe the argument has a lot of merit. Concerning the causes of school shootings and how to prevent them:

You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations  sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.

There is significant evidence that excessive talk and media coverage of suicide actually  increases the suicide rate. I would not be surprised if the same pattern appeared in relation to massive gun attacks.

 

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The President and the Pakistani: The Reality

The President and the Pakistani, currently running at the Waterloo East Theater claims to be based on:

The incredible chapter in the life of Barack Obama, when he lived in a crime-ridden and violent neighbourhood with an illegal Pakistani immigrant, this is a gripping play about a night when a hunt for the truth exposes the lies we want to believe in.

Barack Obama did indeed share a sixth floor walk-up in Harlem with a Pakistani by the name of Sohale Siddiqi in the early eighties. The play portrays the idealistic Obama struggling to pay the rent in a filthy apartment surrounded by criminals and bums. The setting of the play may be accurate, but the story is not.

First off, Barack is referred to as ‘Barry’, the given name Obama used for most of his life up to his undergraduate years at Occidental College in California. Obama later transferred to Columbia, always intending to move into nearby Harlem. Thus, he would likely have gone by ‘Barack’ during his time in New York. Going to Harlem with an illegal Pakistani immigrant was a politically-motivated gesture to demonstrate where his loyalties lay. Adopting the name ‘Barack’ was a similar gesture. As I have written before, Obama has had a life-long obsession with being ‘black enough’ to be the black leader he wanted to be.  Obama admits that he “ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself with whites”. Thus, he ended up manufacturing an identity and personal narrative. He insisted that people at Occidental call him ‘Barack’, as he recounts in a typical conversation on page 104 of Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:

“Barack’s my given name. My father’s name. He was a Kenyan”.

“Does it mean something?”

“It means ‘Blessed’. In Arabic. My grandfather was  a Muslim”.

This was all true, but Obama had been using the name ‘Barry’ up to this point. The change was for a reason:

[C]onfusion made me question my own racial credentials… To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets [page 100].

On page 105 he admits:

What I needed was a community, I realized, a community that cut deeper than the common despair that black friends and I shared when reading the latest crime statistics, or the high fives I might exchange on a basketball court. A place where I could put down stakes and test my commitments.

So he moves to Harlem. This was a carefully considered choice. ‘The President and the Pakistani’ doesn’t make that clear. Obama didn’t need to live in a dump with low-lives. He could afford better. He found the illegal immigrant Siddiqi through wealthy Pakistani colleagues at Occidental: Imad Hussein, Mohamed Hasan Chandoo, and Wahid Hamid. Obama would visit Pakistan himself, staying at the grand estate of Muhammad Mian Soomro, who in 2007 became Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister.

It wasn’t allegiance to Islam that led Obama to do all this. It was an expression of racial and Third World solidarity. Siddiqi was secular, as well as a heavy drinker and drug abuser.  Obama had expressed pride in his grandfather’s conversion to Islam, purely because he felt it was evidence he was anti-white. Obama had a long interest in Nation of Islam, and his links to them and other anti-white black nationalist movements are shockingly extensive. His image of Islam as anti-European skewed his perception of his grandfather. He notoriously claimed he took part in the Mau Mau uprising and was tortured by the British. In fact, his third wife, whom Obama calls Granny, would tell Obama that his grandfather very willingly served the British and admired their ways. Plus, he only converted to Islam because he found Christianity too soft and feminine.

‘The President and the Pakistani’ begins by portraying Obama and his new friend as a comic bromance getting up to all sorts of wacky antics. It ends with Obama making a commitment to straighten up and act serious after his Pakistani friend’s dog is stabbed by drug dealers. He complains about the cocaine all over the table after he’s invited some friends over for an anti-apartheid meeting. These particular details may or may not be true. We do know, however, that Obama did swear off drugs in this period. He also started jogging. He developed the habits typical of Reagan era yuppies trying to grow up, even briefly contemplating a career in the private sector. He admits in his own account that Siddiqi said he was “becoming a bore”.

‘The’President and the Pakistani’ has proved to be a hit. But don’t believe will give you the real Obama. If it did, no theater would have it.

Barack Obama and Sohale Siqqiqi in 1981

Cover-Up in Benghazi

Does Mitt Romney want to win the election in November? Sometimes, I doubt it. There are echoes in this race of John McCain’s blunders in 2008, when he refused to confront Obama on the matters of Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Obama’s bizarre past writings. One only need look at a golden opportunity he appears to have missed: an Obama administration cover-up that could and should bring down a Commander in Chief.

Pat Buchanan provides the devastating details.

In summary: We now know that the September 11th attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens was observed in near real time by the State Department’s Charlene Lamb. Lamb was in contact with the security section at the Benghazi compound. Scores of men with automatic weapons and RPGs launched a night assault. There never was any protest at or near the site—not against the anti-Muslim YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims or anything else.

The next day, September 12th, Fox News and Eli Lake of The Daily Beast reported that U.S. intelligence had concluded that what happened was a planned act of terrorism. Within 24 hours of the attack, U.S. intelligence had already identified some of the perpetrators as members of an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Maghreb.

Two weeks later, Obama was still blaming a video. Just like the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, had said on September 14th, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice said two days after that. We now know that these people all knew better.

Why did they lie?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure that they needed to cover-up the reality of a terrorist attack in a city they had rescued from Qaddafi’s vengeance eighteen months before.  Obama didn’t want the American public to know that Samantha Power, Susan Rice, as well the Wicked Witch of the White House herself, Hillary Clinton fouled up by promoting intervention in Libya and ended up handing a big prize to Islamists in North Africa. Chris Stevens payed a big price. There are others that need to pay up too.

Obama’s Huckstering

A 2007 speech by Barack Obama at Hampton University in Virginia has been going viral, and for good reason. The speech is yet another disturbing example of Obama or other figures in his administration stirring up racial tensions for political gain. Not only that, it shows Obama peddling an easily checkable and serious lie.

Obama delivers his address in his finest black ghetto style. From 21:45 on in the video below he starts talking about the federal government response to Hurricane Katrina. Like many others at the time, Obama accuses the government of being lackluster in response to the disaster, especially compared to its reaction in Florida after Hurricane Andrew and New York after 9/11.

It gets really interesting when he mentions the Stafford Act. This requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute as much as 10% of what the federal government does. Obama points out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the Bush administration clearly sees them as “part of the American family”.  When it comes to New Orleans, Obama tells his predominantly black audience, which includes Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “they don’t care about [it] as much”.

This speech was delivered on June 5th, 2007. The date is significant, because on May 24th, less than two weeks earlier, the  Senate had actually voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement in the case of New Orleans. Just like it had done for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent assisting New Orleans than was spent on both New York after 9/11 and Florida after Hurricane Andrew combined.

Believe me, this gets funnier.

The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007, shows that the then Senator Barack Obama was present that day. And would you believe it, he was there for that vote on the  Stafford Act requirement.

And he was among the fourteen that voted against the waiver.

RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare

As expected, Obama dropped the fact that his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is modeled  on Romney’s 2006 healthcare overhaul in Massachusetts during last night’s debate (see 56:45 onward). Traditionally, when challenged on this point by Republicans, Romney has responded with the single most most irritating phrase of this election cycle: “why didn’t he call me?”. Romney barely avoided those words this time around. He instead emphasized that his plan was passed with more bipartisan consensus, with only two members of the state legislature voting against it. Obama drove PPACA through without the support of a single Republican. He ignored the remarkable victory of Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, which Romney claims was largely a protest against Obamacare.

I’m no fan of ObamaCare. I believe the program is not sustainable will cause massive economic turmoil. When I say this, people often ask why this chaos hasn’t occurred in Massachusetts with RomneyCare. Well, I’m no fan of RomneyCare either. Firstly, its a model that cannot be replicated nationwide, and secondly, it hasn’t done any good in Massachusetts in the first place.

Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states in the Union, always ranking in the top five by median household income. Before RomneyCare was enacted, about 94% of the state’s population already possessed  health insurance. Massachusetts is also heavily Democratic: about 87% of the state legislature was such when Romney was Governor,  and both the legislature and general population were overwhelmingly in favor of expanding coverage. This is somewhat feasible in a state like Massachusetts. Its much less so in states like New Mexico or Texas, where the uninsured number over 25% of the population. That’s where the system will start to crack.

The uninsured population is a diverse one, including the poor, illegal immigrants, young working men and women who could afford insurance but feel they don’t need it for the moment, and even wealthy people who just choose not to get it. Federal and state laws ensure that all of the uninsured in America are able to receive emergency care when they require it. When some ignoramus like Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins claims the tens of millions of uninsured in America have no healthcare, he is the w*nker whipping up fear.

Romney says in his 2010 book No Apology that realizing these facts about the uninsured in his own state persuaded him that universal health insurance was possible. Under his plan, the poor were moved into the state’s Medicaid program, and everyone else was required to purchase insurance or pay a fine, with some receiving subsidies to do so. While its virtually the same as ObamaCare, Romney’s signature legislation stood at 70 pages. The PPACA is  around 2700 pages.

But have the results been good? About 98% of the Massachusetts population now has health insurance. Its not an impressive leap. 80% of the newly covered are receiving subsidies from the state. Yet Romney insists that he built a system based on personal responsibility. There has been no decrease in the amount of people receiving free hospital treatment under the already existing laws. In fact, the cost of that has shot up 15% in a single year.

Predictably with government programs, the cost of RomneyCare is projected to run over the prior official forecasts: $2 billion more over the course of ten years. Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute reports that over a five-year period:

  • State health care expenditure has risen by $414 million
  • The federal government has spent an additional $2.418 billion on Medicaid for Massachusetts
  • Private health insurance costs have risen by $4.311 billion

RomneyCare has failed. Gains in the number of insured have been absolutely minuscule  The costs have been enormous. Romney’s successor, Democrat Deval Patrick, is admitting that more taxes need to be introduced to cover the expenses. Experts say the survival of the program is in doubt. And this is in the most fertile ground for such a project.

America had been warned.

Obama, Romney, and Dependency

Only a few days ago, the Daily Caller obtained a complete audio recording of a speech in 1998 by then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. He was speaking at a Loyola College forum on community organizing and policy-making  Loyola refused all requests to release the full tape or transcript of the talk. Some good soul in Chicago who got permission to view the existing videotape recorded the full speech secretly.

The most disturbing aspect of Obama’s speech is his idea that welfare recipients and “the working poor” form a coalition -“a majority coalition”, he says – that can be mobilized to advance “progressive” policies and continually elect the Democrats.

Obama at Loyola, 1998.

The speech is an interesting accompaniment to the now notorious words of Romney in Boca Raton, Fla., where he said that the 47% of the population who are net gainers from the welfare state will vote for Obama “no matter what”.

The consensus in the media is that these words uttered at a private fundraiser amounted to a “gaffe”, and Romney has been apologetic about the whole thing. I for one believe that Romney has nothing to be sorry for (although his “47%” would include students and retirees, and that certainly needs to be clarified). Indeed, Obama hints that his dream coalition would be over 50% of the voting population.

The issue of massive dependence on state welfare should be what the 2012 election is all about, and I hope it now dominates its final stages. Its hugely important for libertarians to be involved in this debate, even those of us disenchanted with a race between two men who can both reasonably claim to have invented Obamacare. Obama and Romney are correct on one issue: people who appear to gain more from the welfare state are not likely to support the people who agitate for smaller government. Its fair to say that Obama and many Democrats are deliberately seeking to make the majority of the population dependent on handouts. This will ensure permanent victory for the “party of government”. That will make Americans poorer and less free as long as the charade can be propped up, and it all turns into Greece.

Can the Republic of Jefferson be prevented from becoming the Hellenic? Whats most worrying is that we are fairly close to this situation already: almost half of all U.S. wage-earners pay no income tax. 70% get more in dollars from the government than they pay in with taxes. That half and their dependents will receive a plethora of benefits: “free” education from K-12, Pell Grants, Medicaid, rent supplements, food stamps, unemployment checks and many, many more. Why should these people throw their lot in with conservatives and libertarians who will reduce taxes they don’t even pay, while cutting or abolishing their benefits? As George Bernard Shaw said, a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

John C. Calhoun, America’s scariest-looking Vice President but a towering intellectual, foresaw this situation centuries ago:

The necessary result … of the unequal fiscal action of the government is to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who … pay the taxes … and bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into taxpayers and tax consumers.

He added:

This would give rise to two parties and to violent conflicts and struggles between them, to obtain the control of the government.

We are there, Mr. Calhoun. We are already there.

Debunking Clinton on Economic Recovery

Bill Clinton notably defended Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention by saying that no president could have gotten the United States out of the recession in just one term. Yet he also claims Barack Obama might have been able to sort this mess out faster if it wasn’t for those darn Republicans and their obstructionist ways. Is this true?

The history of economic downturns and government reactions to them tells us otherwise. Thomas Sowell writes about this over at Townhall today. He notes that “for the first 150 years of this country’s existence, the federal government felt no great need to “do something” when the economy turned down”. Laissez-faire was the traditional rough guide in regards to economic crises before 1929. Lets compare recessions, then and now.

The first major financial crisis in America was the Panic of 1819. In his definitive work on the subject, Murray N. Rothbard writes that the federal government’s only action was to ease the terms of payment for its own land debtors. The Panic was history by 1923. That’s less than one full Presidential term, Mr. Clinton. Martin Van Buren, a highly underrated President, stayed the laissez-faire course during the Panic of 1837. That took five years to finally get over, but we wont quibble over a year or so, as Van Buren was a good fellow. Subsequent federal governments followed a similar approach, the occasional nasty exception being state governments which sometimes permitted insolvent banks to continue operating without paying their obligations.

The last of the real laissez-faire Presidents was Warren G. Harding. In the 1920–21 depression, unemployment hit 11.7 at its height. This is higher than its reached so far under Obama. Harding – the unsung hero of the day – did nothing, possibly because he was too busy boozing and fornicating. Wage rates were permitted to fall. Government spending and taxes were actually reduced significantly. This largely forgotten depression was over in one year. The Austrian School economist Dr. Benjamin M. Anderson called it “our last natural recovery to full employment.” Unemployment came to 2.4 percent in 1923.

Unfortunately, the laissez-faire tradition was abandoned after 1929 when progressive, Keynesian policies took hold of governments. This was true for both the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations. Some still perceive Hoover as a laissez-faire man, but let him tell the story in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in 1933:

[W]e might have done nothing. That would have been utter ruin. Instead we met the situation with proposals to private business and to Congress of the most gigantic program of economic defense and counterattack ever evolved in the history of the Republic. We put it into action. . . . No government in Washington has hitherto considered that it held so broad a responsibility for leadership in such times. . . . For the first time in the history of depression, dividends, profits, and the cost of living, have been reduced before wages have suffered. . . . They were maintained until the cost of living had decreased and the profits had practically vanished. They are now the highest real wages in the world.

Creating new jobs and giving to the whole system anew breath of life; nothing has ever been devised in our history which has done more for . . . “the common run of men and women.” Some of the reactionary economists urged that we should allow the liquidation to take its course until we had found bottom. . . . We determined that we would not follow the advice of the bitter end liquidationists and see the whole body of debtors of the United States brought to bankruptcy and the savings of our people brought to destruction.

Modern studies continue to prove that the interventionist policies of Hoover and Roosevelt only prolonged the Great Depression by several years. Well into Roosevelt’s second term unemployment stood at the terrible rate of 15 percent, indicating that the much-vaunted New Deal was an utter failure. Obama is making the same mistakes, prolonging a crisis that could have been over already if men like Van Buren and Harding were in Washington today. This was proven by Reagan. According to Sowell again:

Something similar [to 1920-21] happened under Ronald Reagan. Unemployment peaked at 9.7 percent early in the Reagan administration. Like Harding and earlier presidents, Reagan did nothing, despite outraged outcries in the media.

The economy once again revived on its own. Three years later, unemployment was down to 7.2 percent — and it kept on falling, as the country experienced twenty years of economic growth with low inflation and low unemployment…

Despite demands that Mitt Romney spell out his plan for reviving the economy, we can only hope that Governor Romney plans to stop the government from intervening in the economy and gumming up the works, so that the economy can recover on its own.

Amen to that.

Racist, Crack Abuser and Pro-Obama Delegate: Marion Barry at the DNC

When it came to the Republican National Convention, the media made sure to have a 24-hour watch seeking out ‘RACISM!’ in every corner.

My favorite accusation of ‘RACISM!’ came from the Yahoo! News chief, who claimed that Republicans were “happy to have a party when black people drown” (in reference to the timing of the RNC with Hurricane Isaac).

Yet not much attention has fallen upon the presence of Marion Barry at the DNC. For many Americans, Barry is a bad memory who embodies all the evils of the early 90’s recession and the state of Washinton DC at the time. Now he’s coming to affirm Obama’s nomination in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Marion Barry first came to infamy when he was filmed smoking crack and busted in a FBI sting-operation in 1990. This year, he was filmed making racist remarks about the ever-productive Asian community in the United States: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know.”

Here are some other notable statements from this great American wordsmith:

“The contagious people of Washington have stood firm against diversity during this long period of increment weather.”

“I promise you a police car on every sidewalk.”

“If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate.”

“First, it was not a strip bar, it was an erotic club. And second, what can I say? I’m a night owl.”

“Bitch set me up.”

“I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less”.

“The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist”.

“I am making this trip to Africa because Washington is an international city, just like Tokyo, Nigeria or Israel. As mayor, I am an international symbol. Can you deny that to Africa?”

“People have criticized me because my security detail is larger than the
president’s. But you must ask yourself: are there more people who want to kill me than who want to kill the president? I can assure you there are.”

“The brave men who died in Vietnam, more than 100% of which were black, were the ultimate sacrifice”.

“I read a funny story about how the Republicans freed the slaves. The Republicans are the ones who created slavery by law in the 1600′s. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was not a Republican”.

“What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary?”

“People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the water mains didn’t break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then? WOULD IT!?!”

“I am a great mayor; I am an upstanding Christian man; I am an intelligent man; I am a deeply educated man; I am a humble man”.

Unfortunately, Barry is a member of a Designated Victim Group, which in America means pretty much any member of a NAM (Non-Asian Minority). Thus, he can never be ‘RACIST!’ enough to be driven from an event like the DNC or an institution like the DC city council.

Forty Years On, and Watergate Still Doesn’t Make Sense.

Public Perception vs. The Truth

In all seriousness, what is the root of the American fixation on Watergate and Richard Nixon? The fortieth anniversary of the break-ins this year has led to mass media commemoration and yet more pats on the pack for the folks at the Washington Post.

Its not as if there haven’t been worse political scandals before or since: Chappaquiddick, JFK’s disgusting sex and drug habits, Iran-Contra and Bill Clinton’s entire political career come to mind. What we have been through in the last ten years alone is enough to sicken even the most seasoned of political observers. Compared to the American government’s lies about Pat Tillman, and Obama’s arming of violent Mexican gangs that went on to murder Americans under Fast and Furious, Watergate seems almost like a jolly college prank.

Ben Bradlee happens to agree. As the former executive editor at the Washington Post said to his friend Jeff Himmelman in Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee:

“Watergate … achieved a place in history … that it really doesn’t deserve. … The crime itself was really not a great deal. Had it not been for the Nixon resignation, it really would have been a blip in history.”

Not only that, Bradlee went on to express his doubts about much of Woodward and Bernstein’s account of the story:

“Did that potted palm thing ever happen? … And meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage. Fifty meetings in the garage … there’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight… I just find the flower in the window difficult to believe and the garage scenes…

If they could prove that Deep Throat never existed … that would be a devastating blow to Woodward and to the Post. … It would be devastating, devastating.”

Witnesses say that Bob Woodward became highly stressed when he heard what Bradley told Himmelman, and repeated the statement about “a residual fear… that that isn’t quite straight” countless times to himself. Woodward tried to get Bradlee to withdraw his statements. He even threatened legal action to prevent Himmelman from publishing them. It didn’t work. Far more people really should have heard the words of Bradlee.

There may indeed have been a Deep Throat in the form of Mark Felt. But we now know – thanks to Max Holland’s great work in Leak: How Mark Felt Became Deep Throat – that the man was no hero. Felt was not motivated by his conscience or a sense of justice. He simply wanted to get back at Nixon for not appointing him as J. Edgar Hoover’s successor. He also wanted to bring down the outsider and squeaky-clean L. Patrick Gray to protect the FBI’s ‘turf’.

It seems to me that the obsessive focus on the identity of Deep Throat distracted the public from the more important questions raised during Watergate. For the Washington Post and the Pulitzer Committee, there is the important matter of the unethical and flagrantly illegal methods used by Woodward and Bernstein in the course of their work. This was discovered years before Felt revealed himself.

However, the most important mystery concerns the real story behind the break-ins at the offices of the DNC – something still largely unknown by the American public.

The Break-Ins: What Really Happened

The clue to solving this mystery begins with a woman known as Maureen Elizabeth Kane Owen “Mo” Biner. “Mo” was the wife of the far more famous John Dean: one of those responsible for the espionage at the Democratic National Committee and mastermind of the subsequent cover-up. As the man who pleaded guilty to a single felony count in exchange for becoming a key witness for the prosecution, history has judged Dean favourably. This might not be justified, but we’ll get to that. Maureen was the author of Mo: A Woman’s View of Watergate. Its a real turd of a book, devoted mostly to her love for John and what the people at the centre of the Watergate scandal were wearing. For the discerning reader, there is one part of interest: a wedding photograph with a woman called “my very dear friend Heidi”. We don’t read much at all about this dear friend elsewhere in the book. That is because “Heidi” was in fact Erika “Heidi” Rikan, a.k.a. Cathy Dieter: a notorious DC stripper at Washington’s Blue Mirror Club, a madam, and mistress of the mafia boss Joe Nesline.

Rikan and Maureen Biner were roommates and long-time friends. In all likelihood, Biner was once a prostitute. Before dating John Dean, she was the girlfriend of the notorious deviant and sexual blackmailer Bobby Baker. He once tried to compromise John F. Kennedy by setting him up with the East German spy Ellen Rometsch.

The truth is that the break-ins at Watergate were entirely the result of a sex scandal involving a DC call-girl ring. Larry O’ Brien’s office was not even the main target.

In 1971, a call-girl operation was set up in the DNC’s Watergate offices and nearby Columbia Plaza by Phillip Mackin Bailey. Bailey was a Washington attorney known for representing prostitutes. With his amassed contacts, somewhere along the line he began pimping. Its a good business in Washington. Bailey set up the DNC operation at the request of Biner’s dear friend “Heidi” Rikan. Her lover, Nesline, was also linked to a sexual blackmail operation run out of the Georgetown Club involving the Korean intelligence agent Tongsun Park and the CIA agent Ed Wilson. Both appeared in Rikan’s address book.

Bailey arranged for a secure telephone line between the Watergate offices and Rikan’s operation, where the clientele could hear a description of all the girls available. For this they used the office phone of the frequently-absent Democratic Party employee R. Spencer Oliver. It was in the desk of his secretary, Ida Maxine Wells. A key to this desk was found in the possession of the Watergate burglar Eugenio Martinez when he was arrested on June 17th, 1972, only to be kept in the National Archives until this very day.

Bailey was arrested on account of his sleazy activities only days after the initial Watergate burglary. One of the Assistant US Attorneys who investigated Bailey’s ring, John Rudy, later testified in a different case that he had evidence tying R. Spencer Oliver to Bailey’s call-girl ring. He claims he was told by his superiors to suppress it because it was politically explosive.

Maureen “Mo” Dean, listening to her husband’s testimony at the Watergate Hearings

Rudy also uncovered an address book listing all of Bailey and Rikan’s girls and clientele. It included the name and contact details of a woman they dubbed “Clout”. This was a name used for Rikan’s dear friend Maureen Biner. Biner was by this time dating John Dean. Hence, she was political “clout”.

The first Watergate break-in was actually masterminded by the chief executive of the infamous White House Plumbers, G. Gordon Liddy, as well as John Dean, simply to get sexual dirt on the Democrats. Such operations had been planned and done before. In October 1971, John Dean ordered a White House security advisor, John Caulfield, to investigate a recently-busted call-girl ring in New York to see if any Democratic politicians happened to be clients. In January of the next year, Liddy proposed something called ‘Operation Gemstone’. ‘Gemstone’ aimed to spy on the Washington headquarters of Ed Muskie and George McGovern, as well as the site of the Democratic National Convention – the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. The Fontainebleau was also connected Meyer Lansky and the Syndicate, and prostitutes were expected to be at the convention. Operation Gemstone proposed recruiting prostitutes to help videotape convention attendees in compromising positions.

Nixon certainly did not order the break-in. The legendary lawyer James F. Neal, prosecutor of the Watergate Seven, did not believe this was the case. He cited Nixon’s surprised reaction to news of the burglary on June 23, 1972 when he asked his aide, Harry Haldeman: “who was the asshole that did it?”

Dean very quickly married Biner, asking Haldeman for some very brief time off to do so. A wife cannot be forced to testify against her husband, after all.

The second break-in was planned by John Dean, who needed to find out if a picture and contact information of “Mo” (his own nickname for her) was in the desk if Ida Maxine Wells.

Wiretaps transcripts exist of the conversations that took place over the phone in Oliver’s office, but they have been sealed by a federal judge. Philip Mackin Bailey spent the rest of his life in and out of mental institutions.

While the full truth will likely remain buried for a long time, its quite clear from available evidence that the typical picture the public has of Watergate is severely distorted.

They Were No Heroes

Not only does the John Dean get off easy and appear regularly on news shows, Woodward and Bernstein are still considered the princes of American journalism. This is despite the fact we now know from Jeff Himmelman that Carl Bernstein interviewed a Watergate grand juror. The intrepid duo showed contempt for one of the most sacred institutions of the justice system and lied about it for 40 years. And The Post knew about the whole thing.

Himmelman discovered this second gem from his work on Yours in Truth. He found seven pages of interview notes with what was clearly a Watergate grand juror in the Washington Post’s records. This is the source that Bernstein falsely described as a secretary for the Committee to Re-elect the President in ‘All the President’s Men’, whom he called ‘Z’.

What’s more shocking is that Bob and Carl had the audacity to attempt contacting several other Watergate grand jurors, the names of which Woodward had illegally obtained from the District Court clerk’s office. One juror complained to the prosecuting attorney, Earl Silbert in December of 1972. Silbert’s team informed Judge John Sirica. Sirica called Woodward and Bernstein into court two weeks later and warned against any further meddling. Edward Bennett Williams, chief legal counsel to the Washington Post, was dispatched to a private meeting with the judge. Sirica wanted the journalists to be jailed. Assured that their attempts to breach the secrecy of the grand jury were unsuccessful, he merely issued a warning to all reporters to avoid any grand juror contact.

Forty years on, the traditional account of Watergate given by John Dean and the Washington Post is becoming hard to defend indeed.

Thoughts On ObamaCare, or: Why We Are All Doomed

The nastiest aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are the individual mandate, guaranteed issue and the partial community rating. The individual mandate survives thanks to the Supreme Court deeming it a tax today, even though Obama said it wasn’t. It stipulates that all persons not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare, or other public insurance programs, purchase an approved private insurance policy or pay a penalty.

So the government forces poor people to buy insurance from large companies. Just like they encouraged poor people to become homeowners and patronize banks, fueling a housing bubble and economic disaster. Just like how they feel that the maximum number of people possible need to go to college, because if 20% of the population go to college and get good jobs, then if 50% of the population go then 50% of the population will have good jobs. Few realize this is just diluting the value of a degree two-and-a-half times over, making the parchment increasingly expensive, causing our horrific levels of graduate unemployment/underemployment and creating yet another bubble.

Remember when insurance was a way of protecting against the risk of some low-probability/high-cost misfortune befalling you? It feels rather silly to point this out, but coming of child-bearing age and choosing to use contraception is not an insurable event. The United States is attempting an insane experiment that completely changes the nature of insurance. Americans are actually an over-insured people. This has been going on since World War II, when the Roosevelt administration decreed that compensation for labor in the form of employment-based health insurance does not count as taxable income, creating some very perverse incentives. Americans rely too much on third-party payment, whether by governments or private companies. Obamacare exacerbates this problem. Paying a third party  to cover the costs of predictable, routine health costs leads to prices shooting upwards.

The guaranteed issue and the partial community rating compel insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to most pre-existing conditions. Obamacare will thus turn every large insurance corporation into the equivalent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, requiring permanent taxpayer bailouts to stay afloat. When they fail, the corporations will be nationalized and unfettered capitalism will be blamed. Which I have always believed is Obama’s end goal.

Remember all those mortgages banks gave to people without the ability to pay back in recent years? This is the same thing, with insurance. How much hand-wringing do I have to do here, dammit? Why do we never learn?

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By the way, I suspect many of us will be arguing with our colleagues at work or university on the role of the state in healthcare. I recommend reading these articles to start pumping you with a little intellectual ammunition:

What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us, by Yuri N. Maltsev

Medical Care Facts and Fables, by Thomas Sowell