Archive for November, 2008

OBITUARY FOR “A. J.”

November 23, 2008

 

 On November 4, 2008, American Journalism, or “A.J.” as he was affectionately known by friends, passed away after a relatively short illness.  A.J. was born in 1776, the only child of his proud father, Thomas Paine.  Thomas Paine named his child “Common Sense,” but over the years A.J. would become known by many different names.  A.J. lived a long and tumultuous life that spanned the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and two World Wars.  A.J. reported on the westward expansion of the country from 13 original colonies to the current 50 states.  He experienced the Great Depression that started in 1929, and witnessed the economic boom of the past six decades that resulted in the United States becoming the greatest economic and military power in all human history.

 

A.J. suffered a heart attack in 2003, when The New York Times admitted that one of its journalists, Jayson Blair, was guilty of committing “journalistic fraud” over a period of several years.  A.J.’s health continued to deteriorate steadily from this point on.  Millions of friends became very concerned when A.J. would slip in and out of consciousness and even display symptoms of delusions and dementia.  Near the end, A.J. would simply fail to show up for important news stories all together.  A.J. was completely absent from such historic events as the victory in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the near collapse of the U.S. economy that was a result of policies such as The Community Reinvestment Act going back as far as 1977, and the amazing story of the prevention of another single terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001.  Sadly, just months before passing away, A.J. experienced an acute split-personality disorder and became actively involved in a partisan political campaign that resulted in the final direct cause of death.  Seventy percent of all people recognized the seriousness of this illness for what it was, and it was well documented in a Pew Research Center study.  A.J. was simply too far gone at that point to be saved, or to even recognize that he was gravely ill.

 

There will be no viewing of the body, however, a public memorial, of sorts, will be held on January 20, 2009 on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.  In lieu of flowers, friends of A.J. ask that you simply pretend that he has not died and that you just continue on in the false belief that he is alive and well.

Double-Speak From Where You Least Expect It

November 19, 2008

Are you sick and tired of all the shallow, meaningless, hypocritical political double-talk?  No, I’m not referring to the endless rhetoric coming from Barack Obama about “hope and change,” or even the well orchestrated propaganda campaign mounted by the left-leaning main stream media.  I’m talking about comments from die-hard right wing commentators like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Karl Rove.  Apparently, they and many other conservative commentators, must have gotten the post-election memo that failed to reach the rest of us.  I haven’t read the memo myself, but it must have said something like: “After losing as badly as we did, it is essential that you put a ‘happy spin’ on the election.  Just keep talking about how much you want Obama to ‘succeed,’ and that will hopefully boost your own image.”  One would expect that from the left-leaning main stream news media.  Just today, in my hometown newspaper, The Arizona Republic, there was the headline: “We All Now Must Help Obama Succeed.”  I would expect that kind of “journalism” from this paper.  I’d call The Arizona Republic a real “rag,” but I would not want to insult the rag world.  The paper is actually good for nothing.  When I first moved to Arizona, it was good for something, I used it to line the bottom of my bird cage, but the paper is now so full of crap it’s not even good for that. 

I’ve never before heard this kind of self-serving hypocrisy come from otherwise straight-talking analysts.  Do they really want Obama to succeed, or do they want him to succeed only if he changes his stated agenda?  These conservative commentators are doing a grave injustice to the public, to themselves and even to pres-elect Obama.   Do they want Obama to succeed in ushering in an era of bigger government, higher taxes, and international withdrawal?  Do they want him to succeed in “spreading the wealth around” and establishing the most extreme liberal social agenda this country has ever seen?  I, for one, do NOT want pres-elect Obama to succeed.  What is wrong with saying that?  If I wanted Obama to succeed, I would have voted for him – DUH.  I would be delighted if Obama suddenly changed his political ideology and turned away from everything that he has built his political career, and his presidential campaign on, but is it reasonable or fair to expect him to do that?  He ran on a clear platform, and his constituents have every right to expect him to deliver on that platform.  Of course, I wish pres-elect Obama no personal harm.   In fact, I DO wish him many good things.  I wish him happiness, peace, fulfillment and good health.  I even wish that he finds a cute cuddly hypo-allergenic puppy for his two beautiful daughters.  I wish him the best… but I do NOT wish him success.

Building Sand Castles

November 15, 2008

It’s always amazed me how little people really learn from their mistakes.  In many instances, it seems like the bigger the mistake, the smaller the learning curve.  This week there were devastating wild fires in Santa Barbra, California.  It seemed like I was watching a news re-run from last year, and the year before that and on and on.  In California, earthquakes, fires and mudslides have occurred for thousands of years and will continue to occur for thousands of years, and yet in spite of their being many beautiful safer places to live in the Golden State, people have and will continue to re-build smack dab in the middle of these disaster zones.

New Orleans is a great city, but unfortunately much of it lies beneath sea level.  Apparently there are still many people who feel that living in a coastal city, below sea level, in an age of rising oceans, which is in an established hurricane corridor is still a great idea.  Doesn’t this just seem a bit odd to you?

 

If you’re like me, when you were a kid, you probably spent some time at the beach building sand castles.  If there were other kids involved it quickly became a competition about who could build the biggest, fanciest, strongest, most beautiful sand castle.  Some of them involved a lot of time and energy and the best were very impressive indeed.  That was, of course, until the tide or a big wave came in and knocked them all down.  Everyone would get discouraged, and even act surprised, but almost immediately start right in again building a new sand castle right where the demolished one stood just moments before.  No one gave any serious thought about building something different in a different place, like maybe back further from the water’s edge.

 

As adults, we are not that much different than kids at the beach building sand castles.  This weekend, as the fires burn in California, twenty world leaders from the most developed and rapidly developing countries in the world, known as the “G-20,” are meeting in Washington, DC trying to figure out how to fix the global economic mess.  If history is any measure, they will undoubtedly come up with some impressive sand castle designs, some of these sand castles may actually get built.  They are not the only ones in the sand castle building business.  Congress has a great sand castle design.  Did you see Obama’s YouTube address this weekend (God help us!).  He may prove to be the greatest sand castle builder of all time.  Like a true wizard, he outlined an extensive tax and spend plan that could build the OZ of all sand castles.  Whatever you do, do NOT look behind the curtain!  In the unbridled enthusiasm of the sand castle building frenzy that is going on I don’t hear anyone saying: “hey, why don’t we build something different in a different place?”  I don’t hear any one saying why don’t we just let the forces of free-market capitalism run its natural course and work as it is supposed to?  Whether we like it or not, fires will burn, mud will slide, earth will shake, oceans will rise, and, those who learn from their mistakes and adjust will survive and thrive.  Rather than spend the whole weekend hunkered down in the stuffy old White House, maybe the G-20 should join up with Congress and Barack Obama, pack a picnic lunch, and schlep off to the beach, they just might learn a very important lesson.

OOPS, MY COUNTRY JUST BROKE!

November 12, 2008

 

Yep, my country just broke.  It’s stopped working for everyone: rich and poor, middle-class too, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, white-collar and blue-collar.  It could and should have been fixed when the cracks first appeared, but nobody did anything.  Ironically, this is exactly what happened to my own windshield in my car.  About 5 years ago I got a “ding” from a small stone thrown up off the road.  I should have fixed it when I had the chance, but, I let it go and of course the cracks spread and I ignored them until finally the whole damn thing just broke.

 

The “ding” in our country started in 1977 when then Pres. Jimmy Carter signed the now infamous Community Reinvestment Act Program.  Euphemistically, to become known as C.R.A.P..  When C.R.A.P. first happened it didn’t seem so bad, but soon the C.R.A.P. began to spread.  In 1992 the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act (how’s that for a bureaucratic mouthful) required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored enterprises that purchased and securitized mortgages, to devote a percentage of their lending to support “affordable housing.”  Yikes, the cracks really spread when the government mandated that banks extend loans to under-qualified borrowers ushering in the age of sub-prime mortgages.  It did not take long for the C.R.A.P. to spread all through our economy.  When the real estate market went south, many mortgage holders could not pay, defaults flooded the system, the value of mortgage-backed securities became indeterminable and major financial services firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear-Sterns went belly-up.  In an attempt to stop the cascading effects of this crisis from infecting all other sectors of the economy, the Congress recently passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program or T.A.R.P..  Unfortunately, not even a $700 billion T.A.R.P. is big enough to cover the mess created by C.R.A.P..  So now, the government feels there is no other option but to throw even more money at the spreading crisis first created by this C.R.A.P..  Who knows how many more of our tax dollars are going to go to bail-out banks, under qualified borrowers, the auto industry, and God only knows what other industries.  Uncle Sugar has very deep pockets – OURS.  And that, my friends, is how our country broke.

 

If you are like me, you might ask why no one saw these cracks spreading and raised an alarm.  Well, some did, but nobody really noticed.  Like me, I was determined to keep looking THROUGH my own windshield and not AT it.  I just wanted to keep going forward and not have to stop to fix anything.  In the case of our national calamity, the primary responsibility to look AT the “windshield” should have been that of the media.  Of course, they were nowhere to be seen, probably because they’ve been too busy the past few years campaigning for Pres-elect Obama.  The media is the one entity whose sole responsibility should have been to identify and warn us of all the problems that this C.R.A.P. was going to cause. 

 

Circle The Wagons!

November 10, 2008

 

It looks like it will be a very rocky start for the incoming Obama Administration.  The bunker-mentality and battle lines are already starting to be drawn.  We do not yet know what the completed Obama-Biden Cabinet will look like, but what we do know, is that his first two appointees are very troublesome indeed.

 

Obama has appointed Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff.  You probably know that Emanuel has a long history as a Washington and Chicago political insider and served as a “Cintonista” in a number of different posts.  You probably also know that he has a reputation for being a rabid partisan and a vulgar, provocative, aggressive, ruthless individual.  He once sent a dead fish to a pollster who he did not like, and he is famously quoted as saying in a public forum that “Republicans can go F— themselves.”  What you may not know, is that he comes from an even more controversial background than that.  His father, Benjamin Emanuel, was born in Israel and was an avid member of the “Irgun.”  This was a very active para-military group, some would say terrorist group, active in the mid-1900’s.  Among its many violent acts, this group was responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946.  His militant influence apparently rubbed off on his son,  Rahm.  In 1991 Rahm Emanuel actually left the U.S. and effectively became a mercenary joining the Israel Defense Forces.

 

Not to be outdone by this brilliant choice, Obama appoints John Podesta, another Washington and Chicago political insider to be Co-Chairman of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.  Look for him to be slipped into the Cabinet somewhere.  Podesta served as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1998-2001.  Among his shameful acts, was overseeing the granting of some 140 pardons by Clinton at the end of his term, infamously known as “Pardongate.”  Among this slew of Clinton-crony pardons that Podesta helped secure, there are some real zingers, they include:

 

Commuting the sentences of 16 members of FLAN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that set off 120 bombs in the U.S., mostly in New York City and Chicago.  The pardon was issued on Aug. 11, 1999.

 

The pardon of Melvin J. Reynolds, a Democratic Congressman from Illinois (where else), who was convicted of bank fraud, 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and, solicitation of child pornography.

 

Don’t forget the pardon of Roger Clinton, the former president’s half-brother, convicted of drug charges.  He was later charged with drunk driving and disorderly conduct within a year of the presidential pardon.

 

With two appointees like this, one can hardly wait to see the rest of the insider gang that will usher in our new Utopian era of “hope and change.”

 

“No Country for Old Men…” The Sequel

November 9, 2008

A few days before the Nov. 4th election I was driving behind a car that had a home-made sign taped on the inside of the rear window that read: “No Country for Old Men – Vote for Obama.”  Besides being completely tasteless, that sign held some prophetic irony that I’m sure escaped the limited I.Q. of it’s owner.  The irony lies not in the title, but rather in the didactic plot of this haunting movie.  If you haven’t seen it, the movie has a simple yet profound message that nothing good can come out of taking something that isn’t yours even if you did not steal it yourself.  The movie starts with the protagonist, (Josh Brolin) happening across the scene of a drug deal gone bad while hunting out in the wilderness.  The scene is one of absolute horror with blood, gore and the bodies of those from both sides of the struggle strewn across an open field.  Kind of sounds like an American political campaign, right?  While inspecting the devastation, our protagonist discovers that both the stash of drugs and $2 million in drug money are there.  Brolin acts instinctively and takes the money.  He’s a very sympathetic character who is a poor Vietnam Vet living with his wife in a dilapidated trailer park.  Most viewers find themselves rooting for Brolin as he sets out on a new quest for “hope and change.”  Before long, a totally creepy psychopathic killer (Javier Bardem), sets out on Brolin’s heels to take the ill-gotten prize.  Bardem eventually tracks Brolin down killing anyone who gets in his way.  Suffice it to say that the story does not have a happy ending and that the wiely old sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) proves incapable of stopping the series to tragic event that un-fold once our protagonist takes what is not his. 

One can extrapolate whatever parallels they wish between the movie and the presidential election of ’08.  As for me, I see BOTH Obama and the American people as the victims.  The psyhcopahic villain is none other than our diabolical news media who created, packaged, and then sold Obama to the American people thus, in essence, forcing Obama to take what is not rightfully his.  If you still do not believe that there was extreme, even unprecedented, pro-Obama media bias in the past election, all I can do is refer you to the independent Pew Research Center article: Most Voters Say Media Wants Obama to Win   showing that a full 70% of all registered voters, Democrat & Republican believed that the news media was in the tank for Obma.  As events continue to un-fold we can, and should,  all hope and pray that the sequel does not end anything like the the movie!

The REAL Bush Legacy

November 8, 2008

The main-stream media have feverishly devoted themselves to maligning the Bush Administration and have succeeded in creating a radioactive zone around the President.  This has been part of a well orchestrated media strategy to both disparage the Bush Administration and to influence the ’08 presidential election, which, of course, it has succeeded in doing.  Fortunately, history will correct these deceptions, and prove once again the truth of the words of John Adams, one of America’s great founding fathers that: “Facts are stubborn things…”  The most significant facts of the Bush legacy are:

1.  After the attacks of Sept. 11, 01 we were successful in thwarting another single terrorist attack on American soil.

2.  We have fought two wars in the larger global War on Terror, liberating literally tens of millions of people from two of the most brutal dictatorships on earth, establishing freely elected democratic governments in both countries right in the heart of the  Middle East.  This incredible victory was accomplished with the combined U.S. casulaties from both wars among the lowest of any other single war in our nation’s history.

3.  The Bush Administration acted quickly to rescue both the U.S. and global economy from a twenty-year conspiracy between the banking and finance industry and liberal-entitlement government entities to perpetuate a sub-prime mortgage scandal that ripped-off the poor and threatened the very heart of our capitalist system.  The Community Reinvestment Act and the government envolvement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the heart of our current economic woes.  Of course, many in the main stream media do not like it, but these are the “stubborn facts” of the past eight years that will define the Bush legacy.

The News Media May Be America’s Greatest Threat

November 8, 2008

 

According to a Pew Research Center article published less than two weeks before the presidential election, an astonishing 70% of all registered voters – both Republican and Democrat – stated they believed the news media favored Obama over McCain.  The Pew Research article illustrated that in every presidential election going back to 1992, there was a large majority of registered voters who believed that the media favored Democrats over Republicans.  This year, however, the media bias gap jumped from a previous high of 59% to a very disturbing 70%.  With 70% of all registered voters claiming that the media is biased for one candidate over another our very democracy is in grave danger (Pew Research Center: Most Voters Say News Media Wants Obama to Win 10/22/08).