Monday, April 27, 2009

WP: Obama Supporters Going From 'Fired Up' to Tired Out

Read good article in the Washington Post this weekend, A Hundred Anxious Days

About a local councilwoman and her exhaustion in trying to help people going through tough times in a down-and-out town in South Carolina. Daily, her voicemail is loaded with calls seeing her assistance with everything from avoiding foreclosure to paying the light bill. But the saddest thing about this story is the number of calls of people seeing help, but not for the obvious reason.

Surely, no one should take pleasure from hearing their pleas for help. No, but what IS sad about the article is that -- in this day and age, when an African American man can become president of the US -- there's not more people like him. I don't agree with the Prez on a lot, but I do acknowledge him for what he did. He came up from nowhere, product of a broken home (mom was a fruit-loop flower child and original Dad was an absentee), uprooted & moved all around the world, raised by grandparents, teased & ridiculed & called names because of bi-racial heritage and his funny sounding name, etc. Say what you will, he fought though that and got the best education he could and took advantage of "help-ups" not "hand-outs."

The real problem behind this story is that those callers to Mrs. Childs' phone DON'T HAVE A CLUE about what to do to help themselves; so they call her. After 45+ years of institutionalized "help" from the Government, the people behind those 17 blinking messages really DON'T know how to get THEMSELVES out of troubles. Worse yet, they ignored the process of how they got into troubled positions in the first place, and even if she can help them, they wont' take action so as not to call back.

For three or four generations they've been told, "you can't do it alone" and "your disadvantaged" or "you need help from some program to make it" or "somebody else is holding you back so just vote for us and we'll make them stop." But that lie hasn't come from the people or the party it's normally attributed. Who has been telling these people all this time that THEY can't do it? Who's been telling them: you must have these programs because you just can't get it done with your own two feet or two hands or the wits in your head?

Talk about using outdated thinking and worn-out policies to overcome the problems of the modern world!! The President and his Party need to bag the tired old ploy of pitting the have-not's against the haves.

It isn't that these folks are being held down by the same sinister oppressors (as may have been the case in the past). The new oppressor does indeed come from Washington, but not with scowl or an elephant on his lapel, but with a smile and a program and claims they're "here to help."

The sad thing with the blinking lights on Mrs. Childs' message machine isn't that there are people calling asking for help; the core problem is that for far too long in far too many ways and for far too many people there has always BEEN something or some program there to help them out. And people got comfortable with that; some would argue not only comfortable but "entitled" to them.

Being "uncomfortable" or "underprivileged" or plain old "poor" should be the greatest motivator to individuals to: a) work to get out of that condition, and b) change their ways so as not to revert back. The problem with America in the last half of the 20th Century is that to overcome our guilt (collectively as one people) and make up for the unfairness of past sins, we committed a far greater sin by making those conditions palatable. And these people waited & waited in four year increments for the Messiah to come. Well, now he's here.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Childs' phone will keep on ringing; and sooner or later, her bank account is going to be empty. Much like our US Treasury and the 50% of the people who pay income taxes for themselves and the other 50% who don't. Presently, everyone is focused on what is happening to "the poor." They ought to be focused on who's paying the bills, because without them, nobody can be served or saved.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Not only did we not intend to offend Christians, why, we even HAVE some Christians in our Administration, including the VP himself!"

(Note: Headline a homage to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's response to the bone-headed Right-Wing Extremists" memo.)

Gentle readers:

Do you recall back when John Ashcroft was US Attorney General, and spoke in the DOJ lobby that had a "topless" stature of Lady Justice?

News photographers and videographers took great delight in framing Mr. Ashcroft (a devout Christian) with the statue's knockers in the shot ("they're sculpted, and they're spectacular!").

Knowing it was going to be a repeated distraction, he directed that draping be placed over the statue’s “naughty bits” to avoid further mockery. Unfortunately, he was lampooned all the more by late-night hosts, comics and of course, Hollywood.

But that was OK because it was the Republicans and as we know they were fair game to ridicule. Today, why we’re just trying to get “a nice, plain backdrop.” Except of course for those killer stained glass windows -- man, did THEY look good.

The Prez selected the place for the speech for a reason (Georgetown, founded as a Catholic institution) to benefit from the venue. Most probably to help the idiot chancellor at Notre Dame with his upcoming commencement address. Darn, for a country that's not a Christian (or Judea-Christian) country, it's inconvenient to keep running into all these places with connections to those pesky faiths.

If the setting (potentially) embarrasses the Prez so much -- or he doesn’t want to offend the Muslim world and lose some of the points he scored with the Princely hand-kiss last week, then take the speech out of the venue completely, and don’t attempt to benefit from the place at all.

You can’t have it both ways. Can someone in the media call PLEASE grow a pair (not of those, but below, you know in the "tea bag") and them on this?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thought for the Day: UN stands for "UNtouchable"

Report: U.N. spent U.S. funds on shoddy projects
--USAToday, April 14, 2009

"The U.N. delivered shoddy work, diverted money to other countries and then stonewalled U.S. efforts to figure out what happened, according to a report by USAID's inspector general.... Federal prosecutors in New York City were forced to drop criminal and civil cases because the U.N. officials have immunity, according to the report."(Emphasis added by C&A)

Question: Where are US citizens going to turn when we're even more personally and materially harmed by onerous "global warming" restrictions on freedoms and suffer "carbon taxes" levied on only on Americans?

Monday, April 13, 2009

This is your luck day, Mr. 4th Pirate

This guy is the luckiest man on the Indian Ocean. (OK, maybe not this particular guy, but someone just like him.)
(thanks Drudge)

Remember during the first Gulf War (the one we didn't screw up), and the guy affectionately nick-named, "the Luckiest Man in Iraq?" That fellow became infamous during a televised military briefing featuring cockpit videotape from the US bomber jet using its laser guided bomb to take out a bridge in just seconds AFTER an Iraqi military vehicle drove over it. The explosion imagined seen in his rear view mirror probably didn't come near the wreckage found later in his Fruit-of-the-Looms when he realized what happened. (As Bill Cosby once said: "First you say it; then you do it.")

Well, something like that has just befallen the as-of-now unidentified "4th Somali Pirate." This guy is the last pirate standing from the successfully (thank Goodness) completed Navy SEAL sniper recruiting campaign on Easter Sunday. Conflicting reports had him either on board a Navy ship negotiating for his comrades, OR injured, voluntarily surrendered and in custody.

Whichever is correct, the guy didn't meet the fate of his three now deceased buddies who apparently never pirated Cinemax signals to watch any of those average Tom Berrenger movies. (I imagine he needed new underwear too.)

But that's not what makes him lucky. This is why he's so fortunate.

"The (Eric Holder's) Justice Department could bring charges against
a Somali pirate captured in a hostage standoff in the high seas...."

Lucky No. 4 will soon be winging his way back to a nice, safe jail cell in the US mainland. He'll have the best medical care (and probably the only dental care) he's experienced in his life, eating three-squares of his favorite ethnically/religiously sensitive foods, sleeping above the floor on lice- and bedbug-free beds. But best of all, he'll have the pick of the litter from this country's criminal defense lawyers, most likely assisted by the ACLU, to help him beat this rap.

I can hear it now:

"Honest judge, I was minding my own business, walking down the street, when these pirates came along, made me to get into their car and forced me join them on this boat-raiding mission. I'm innocent."

He'll probably sue for wrongful prosecution and emotional duress, and get a nice judgement by a jury for mistaken identity and the inevitable mishandling by military captors and penal system employees.

In other words, he doesn't know how good he now has it. Getting picked up by the US military was the best thing to happen to this guy in his entire, pathetic lifetime.

Sniping on Pirates

  • There the USA goes again, unilaterally brandishing its sword at the drop of a hat! We should have just been patient and taken this to the UN, and let the world body work things out.
  • This policy of shooting hostage-taking pirates is simply not working. We need a new course, a new vision; we need a president who doesn’t resort to military answer to everything. Only then can we regain our international stature.
  • Oh, just great! Now our mariners will be even MORE at risk of piracy because of this success. Those people are going to be much “less safe” because of this successful policy, not more safe.
  • Why didn't we allow time for diplomacy to work its course? OR to impose sanctions to show our displeasure?
  • Why must violence be the answer? Are we saying that one American life is more valuable than these three Somalis?
  • Why don't we get to know the plight of these poor, destitute pirates whose terrible living conditions drive them to do such things? Did we consider that this might be their only recourse to survive?
  • Who are we to say that their actions or right or wrong? Maybe this is just their culture, their worldview; after all, they haven’t actually killed anybody before. All they wanted was money to feed their poor countrymen.
  • This is ALL about oil, plain and simple. Can't have the shipping lanes in danger so the US can get it's precious oil out for its gas-guzzling SUVs and climate-changing electrical power plants.
  • And I'll bet Haliburton is involved in here somewhere.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"And that's the way it is...."

Next week, (April 15) “Perky” Katie Couric (homage to Rush) will receive the Walter Cronkite award for her torpedoing of Sarah Palin during the campaign. (Note: Get this, the “award” is presented by “the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California…” Anything pretending to be unbiased or objective with the name Normal Lear attached to it is LAUGHABLE)

A press post on Couric’s site proclaims:

“Evening News anchor Katie Couric was honored for her
"extraordinary, persistent and detailed multi-part interviews with Republican
vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin" which judges called a "defining moment
in the 2008 presidential campaign." She was given the award for Special
Achievement for National Impact on the 2008 Campaign.

Today, John Ziegler a blogger on “Big Hollywood” is spot-on with his observation that there exists a double standard when it comes to this award:

“And is there any doubt whatsoever that had Couric asked the exact same questions and Palin had been perceived as having performed well (or if one of her softball interviews with Barack Obama had brought down his candidacy) that there would be no awards for her from USC or anyone else of note?”

Editor’s Note: Ziegler is working on a documentary about the shenanigans perpetrated by our friends in the Fourth Estate. You can hear clips of Sarah’s version of the Katie interview and judge for yourself. Check it out.

Now, I too shudder at the mere mention of Perky Katie (in general) and double shiver thinking about Walter’s Award going to Katie. I do realize Sarah was set-up for a fall, and that the media would have treated (and did) Democratic candidates differently. How Obama avoids getting questioned about his pick for VP running mate, the same guy who casually dismissed him as a serious Democrat presidential contender with “… the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy…” is beyond me.

Having said all that, I'm sorry, but sometimes we have to own up and accept a problem. Thus it’s right around here where I depart from the Party Line.

I'm in the communications business and can plainly tell you that SOMEbody in that campaign should have known better about a LOT of things dealing with that interview—either Sarah or her PR staff. If the staff failed, then shame on them and Sarah should either say so (better yet, not say anything.) If the staff DID prep her sufficiently, then this was a case of “operator error” and Sarah needs to accept blame.

Since this debacle, I've wondered about the extent of the media training she had received either before the nomination or during the campaign. (For those who consider "Media Training" a dirty word taken to mean prepped to be evasive, not candid or untruthful, then think "experience being interviewed").

I've trained clients before. There were steps The McCain Campaign could have taken to avoid this possibility or mitigate the aftermath, but I don't know if they were pursued.

First – Media Training (or at least, practice). Some clients take to training like ducks to water; others don't do so well. One would assume that as an elected state governor, she's done an interview or two. But even so, with all due respects, that's Alaska TV; Perky Katie (like it or not) was the Big Leagues. Sarah looked like AA-rookie.

Second—The media’s not your friend. Perhaps Sarah’s natural personality is to be trusting. Best Case: Maybe Katie’s non-recorded, pre-interview cooing and fawning “girl-talk” in the Green Room beguiled Sarah into lowering her defenses. Worst case: Sarah is close to what she appeared to be – unprepared and uninformed. Whatever was the case, SOMEbody has to remind the interviewee – especially Republicans – that the news media is NOT your friend, never let your guard down and be ready!

Third—Pre-interview intelligence. Somebody has GOT to know something about the line of questioning; those ground rules are negotiated as part of the interview booking process. You certainly can’t ask for questions in advance, and you shouldn’t expect the reporter to stick to an agreement EVEN IF they agreed. But much like anyone who is caught on a “Borat” film – you HAVE to know what you’re getting into; if you don't, you get no sympathy from me.

Fourth—At least know the background on positions YOUR campaign is putting out. One of Katie’s questions followed up a campaign message that John McCain had been way out in front of the Subprime and Fanny Mae/Freddy Mac mess screaming “danger, danger” to the deaf eared news media and a disinterested public. Sarah didn’t have a “two-deep” message (or understanding) for a comeback, and it showed.

Fifth—You shouldn’t have to prep or train or practice giving honest, straightforward answers to relevant questions. This wasn’t as bad as the “Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan?" question George Bush was sandbagged with by a BBC reporter during the primaries before the 2000 campaign. THAT is a gotcha question.

“What do you read?” isn’t hard to answer if you DO read; it is if you don’t.

Sixth—The campaign should have taken a page out of Herbalife’s 20/20 experience. Stipulated to all interviews that the Campaign would also be permitted to tape the interview concurrently and have the rights to use (and streamed it on YouTube) after the spot aired on CBS. If it was “gotcha-edited” you could have let the public see for themselves -- and shamed the Eye Network at the same time.

I’m sorry, Sarah or her team has got to own this one.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tobacco Tax Increase will help poor children get healthcare: April Fools!

[Full disclosure: I don’t smoke cigarettes; never have and don’t intend to start. But someone in my family does smoke a few a day.]

But that’s not why I don’t take joy of the fact that the cost of smoking just took a big jump last week. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, isn’t that what they say? (Whoops, sorry, unfortunate turn 'a phrase there. Smoking is STILL legal, at least right now.)

The reason I’m not overjoyed that those (“dirty, stinking, nasty, redneck, etc.") smokers are finally “getting it stuck to ‘em” is because those new taxes 1) are NOT going to ease my personal, non-smoking tax burden (or yours), and 2) in fact, will most likely increase my tax burden (and yours) in years to come.

So why shouldn’t I be happy about somebody else being taxed for their “sins”? Oh -- because poor kids are going to get healthcare coverage? Yeah, sure -- April Fools! (The irony of the tax's implementation date wasn’t lost on me.)

Taken to its logical end—when there are no more smokers (when they become voluntarily or involuntarily extinct) – who will be around to pay the taxes for the uninsured children's healthcare?

First of all, smokers HAVE been paying taxes over & above what we non-smokers have been paying for years, via the taxes paid on their habits that pre-dated these new taxes. Did my non-smoking taxes (or yours) ever come down because they paid? Did my non-smoking share of healthcare costs (or yours) go down because of the revenue smokers paid into the system but who died as of the results of their habits before the system incurred any costs for their care? (Shouldn’t that have been a “rebate” to us non-smokers, or at least stay in the kitty to cover the cost of another, longer-living smoker’s long, tortuous, painful and costly death?)

Next, my bet is the big new Federal Tobacco Tax (and various other state add-on Cig Taxes) won’t accomplish what advocates say (i.e. healthcare coverage for uninsured children). Then what noble goal will the taxes serve? Answer: to buy votes and curry slavish affection of an ignorant electorate who actually believe they’re “getting something” (i.e. healthcare coverage for uninsured children).

Much like the much-ballyhooed “Tobacco Settlement” of the 1990s, my bet is the monies raised from these new tobacco taxes won’t actually be going toward mitigating tobacco-related healthcare costs currently shouldered by smokers and non-smokers, as it is argued. More likely: new revenues will go to replace declining general revenues in government budgets.
Yet if, by some miracle, the new taxes DO go toward helping the poor little children – the taxes will inaugurate new outlays on YET ANOTHER new category of recipients forever depending on the government (as if there weren’t enough already).

The NEXT reason I’m not celebrating my non-smoking “found money” in my pocket is because I realize that the biggest hypocrite in the entire mix are those who advocated, proposed and voted for the tax. Think otherwise? Then explain the logic of counting on a revenue stream generated by a tax source that everybody agrees, hopes, and wants to shrink – smokers!

Taken to its logical end—when there are no more smokers (when they become voluntarily or involuntarily extinct) – who will be around to pay the taxes for the uninsured children (for certainly we’ll not run out of them, will we)?

Adding injury to this insult is the fact that government at all levels – along with non-governmental and healthcare agencies -- actively spends tax money at the same time trying to DISCOURAGE the very activity that it depends upon to raise money to fund the new benefits in the first place.

Talk about strange bedfellows.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Russia's Medvedev hails 'comrade' Obama

From out of the AP's mouth to God's ear.

This requires no additional comment.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Something Smells Rotten in the State of Denmark

Good gracious, my blood runs cold.

Today I read the scariest article I've ever seen on the pages of the Wall St. Journal. To understand today's rant, you simply must read it for yourselves. I urge readers to pick up a copy of today's WSJ or go online. And be afraid, be very afraid.

"The Socialist Solution to the Crisis." (WSJ Opinion, April 2,
2009) By Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the president of the Party of European Socialists
and a former prime minister of Denmark (1993-2001)

Where does one begin to refute such distortions and wrong-headedness?

Among the chief points, he claims:

"... the simplistic dictum of more markets and less government -- championed by
Reagan, Thatcher and their ideological heirs -- has failed on a momentous

Editor's Note: You KNOW something truly sticks in the craw of a Lib when they go back to Ronaldus Maximus, conveniently skipping over three presidents hence.

As El Rushbo is prone to point out, Conservatism doesn't fail--it succeeds every time its tried. Maggie, Ronny, even JFK.

What's a demonstrated failure is Communism, and Socialism ain't all that and a bag of chips, either, which we're seeing played out on the streets of London's financial district. When was the last time you saw throngs of raging masked capitalists breaking windows and destroying Social Security buildings, Food Stamp and WIC offices, or ACORN community organizing facilities?

The problem with Reaganism and Thatcherism isn't that it failed; it's that it wasn't faithfully followed through by their political heirs nor was it adopted widely enough in the wake of its most shining victory – the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the US, the first President Bush bungled a 90 percent approval rating bowing to a playboy Arkansas charlatan who lulled the world to sleep during his watch.

The 1994 Republican Revolutionaries abandoned the principles that swept them into office – and rightly shown the door 14 years later. Working under the misapprehension of “Compassionate Conservatism” (as if Conservatism needed a qualifier) that they could actually receive “credit” for granting government largess to those accustomed to suckling at the teat of public treasury.

Next, if, as Mr. Rasmussen suggests, the global tough times are causing global consumers to cut back and demands for everything produced in the both the advanced and developing worlds, why then would sweatshops be pulling children be pulled out of school? Wouldn’t the adult labor force be just loitering, standing around underutilized? I thought sweatshops were only employed during greedy, heady times of go-go economic expansion?

Finally, for all the bluster we Americans are accused of having, Mr. Rasmussen takes a back seat to no one with his, “Look at us, see how the truly enlightened do things” swagger. I, for one, am tired of an elephant in the room no one speaks of, so I’ll say it here: if there is a global tax that needs to be assessed, it should be paid not BY the United States but TO the USA for the safety and security provided to those “Western economies” by American taxpayers and American lives.

I’m offended at being lectured by a politician from a country that has the LUXURY of using funds for socialistic policies because they don’t have to invest in military protection provided by Uncle Sam. In the movie, A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s flawed but candid character, Marine Col. Jessep, utters the best rendering of this sentiment. The eventual (and unfortunate) downfall of the Colonel does not make his words any less salient and especially poignant to me, for I live in a heavily military populated area.

“I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself
to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.”