Sunday, January 31, 2010

Americans Detained for Haitian Orphan Grab

It is being reported that ten Americans have been held in Port-Au-Prince since earlier Sunday for attempting to take 33 children on a bus into the Dominican Republic. These are Baptists from America who feel the need to "gather" orphans and take them to Cabarete, where a temporary shelter is being arranged. Then they were to be taken to the Dominican town of Magante to a more permanent orphanage, according to an article online at today.

This is a horror story I predicted in an earlier post, on January 19, 2010 -

While I didn't predict exactly that it would be ten Baptists from Idaho and that the destination would be the Dominican Republic, it was predictable that those with good intentions and compassion would get carried away and not clearly think a plan through. The group originally planned to take 100 children to a 45 room hotel, according to the article. The caper was called "Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission" and these 33 children were ages 2 months to 12 years. And, yes, this was a caper, in my mind.

The "gatherers" didn't have the proper papers for the transport of these children and certainly not to take them out of their native country. They had no idea if the children were truly orphans, either. The plan was for that determination to be made from the Dominican Republic by staff at an orphanage run by SOS Children's Villages, an Austrian-based organization. The spokesman there said one child expressed the thought that she was going to a vacation camp in the Dominican Republic.

So, what is going on here? The children have a right to be with living family. The children have a right to be protected from adults intent on exploiting them or abusing them. While these 33 adults may not have had illegal intentions, what made them think they had the right to go to Haiti and re-locate children?

The Haitian government has suspended adoption processing work. This is a very delicate situation. Truly orphaned Haitian children are vulnerable to bad things - especially child trafficking. Already there was a problem with fake adoptions in Haiti for money. The International Organization for Migration reported this in 2007, and that the fees could go to $10,000 for "processing" these bogus adoptions.

Maybe these folks from Idaho had good intentions. Maybe they were just naive or simply stupid. Either way, Haitian authorities have to get to the bottom of it. The Baptists are from Meridian, Idaho and Twin Falls, Idaho. Some members of the group are said to be from Kansas and Texas. They have a website asking for contributions - tax deductible!- to help them "gather" the children.

This has to stop. Let UNICEF, other agencies and relief workers do their work.

Those Americans being detained will go before a judge Monday.

Friday, January 29, 2010

RNC Votes on Purity Test

Thank you, RNC members, for showing that you have not lost your collective minds. Thank you for solidly voting down the insanity that was the resolution to introduce a purity test for GOP candidates.

James Bopp, Jr, an Indiana lawyer and RNC member, was pushing a litmus test for candidates in order to garner support and monies from the RNC. While most of the actual purity markers are standard beliefs held by Republicans, it was simply silly to write an actual list and expect candidates to check each demand off. This was insulting and a measure that would further shrink the party.

I don't know what it will take before the people holding themselves out as 'purists' to realize that this train of thought is outdated and harmful to the party they proclaim to protect.

The meeting must have gone along just fine, especially given that this wrap up was written:

We know that should this 'purity test' have come into play, the usual suspects would have been licking their chops with delight in reporting on it. Which, of course, supports the premise: don't give the enemy any ammo. We know that the media folks are deeply depressed that the candidate of their lifetimes has failed so badly to hold support from the majority of the electorate. Slapping around Republicans is no longer as viable of an option as it was immediately after the 2008 election - you know, the one that made them all proclaim in bold print that the GOP was officially dead and destined to be a minority party forever and ever amen. They were all just a bit too quick with the proclamations.

It is worth noting that the RNC is having their winter meeting in Hawaii - in Honolulu, and Hawaii's First Congressional District located in urban Honolulu. The very district in which President Obama calls his home district, growing up there. Nice touch.

Particularly with the election of Scott Brown from Massachusetts, it is necessary for the upper level of the party leadership to recognize that unity is essential for the party to be successful. And, to grow the party is the only way to win. Republicans have a golden opportunity to bring in like-minded Democrats and Libertarians and Independents to vote Republican. This is the way Ronald Reagan was successful in the 1980's - in direct contradiction to the purity test Mr. Bopp called "Reagan's Unity Principle". If Bopp was looking for personal recognition or to proclaim himself the savior of Reagan policies, he failed as far as a Reagan-like approach goes.

In our large and diverse country, it is ridiculous to expect a one size fits all candidate. Each region of the country fields different kinds of Republicans, as they do for Democrats. While the party bemoans the candidacy of the likes of Dede Scozzafava in New York, that candidacy was due to a fault in the local party system, not the national operations.

National Chairman Steele has pledged to find candidates for all Congressional districts across the country. That is a huge step in the right direction. Without grooming candidates, beginning at the local levels, it is impossible to grow a bench of solid candidates for national offices, further up the line. Steele may irritate some of the 'purists' with his style of chairmanship but the man is enthusiastic and puts the energy out there. For that alone, we are served well. In the past, most Americans didn't even know the name of the party chairman, much less knew where he stood on issues. Steele is out there and spreading the word. He is welcoming everyone, as he should. We can't win election with less votes, we win with more.

The majority of Americans now call themselves Independents, not a member of an organized party. It is time for those making the rules to wake up and open their arms in welcoming gestures to everyone garnering our basic principles and ideals.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union Address, Obama Style

Tonight President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address to the country. The speech was one week and one day after the tide turning Massachusetts special election - the one that stopped the Democrats' 60 seat Senate majority. It was reported that the rewrites of the speech continued until 7:00 PM and that made the release of it to reporters delayed by one half of an hour. HUD Secretary, Sean Donovan, was the Cabinet member chosen to not attend. Hillary Clinton was not in attendance as she is overseas.

Though the newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts was not there - he has not been seated yet - his election was referenced in the speech. Obama felt the need to remind Democrats that they still have the second largest majority in recent history.

Vice President Joe Biden played the part of head-nodder-in-chief. It was distracting. He didn't, however, rise to applaud the President as often as Speaker of the House Pelosi did. Both of them had strange looking frozen smiles as they listened to the speech.

Michelle Obama was wearing long sleeves, for a change. She did not rise when acknowledged by her husband, which is customary. That was odd, given her rising from her seat to applaud her own initiative with Jill Biden on behalf of supporting military families and other spots in the speech. It seems as though grace does not come easily for her.

The speech was not bold and it held a lecturing tone to it. The president - responding to the voters of recent elections - stated that jobs must be the number one focus in 2010. He called for a new jobs bill. It was evident he still holds the belief that government creates jobs when in fact the truth is that government can create the climate for job creation, not create private sector jobs. It is true enough that this administration has exploded the number of government jobs.

Obama justified the path of deficit spending by stating, "How long should America put its future on hold?", in reference to the infrastructure jobs he claims were created by the stimulus bill. "I do not accept second place for the United States of America", he said, as he touted concentration on education initiative spending. He bragged about supporting education initiatives for girls in places like Afghanistan, too, though no acknowledgement that it was former First Lady Laura Bush who put the programs into place.

Obama claimed he is not interested in punishing the nation's banks though he put into place a new layer of bank taxes, penalties, just last week. Perhaps he was trying to strike a balance as a populist there. With him, though, it does not ring true.

He tossed a bone to Republicans during the energy section of the speech. While stating new found enthusiasm for offshore drilling expansion for oil and natural gas; for building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants; biofuel and green technologies, he also called on the Senate to pass a cap and trade bill as the House did. Obama still just doesn't get it.

Obama stated a goal of doubling exports over the next five years. He called for a national export initiative to seek new markets aggressively.

As every President does, he stated the obvious - the best anti-poverty program is a world class education. He urged the Senate to pass a bill to support community colleges and to increase Pell Grants along with tax credits to families for four years.

Obama touted the middle class task force headed by Biden. This brought to mind the old adage that when all else fails, call together a commission or a task force. Seems too nebulous.

Many of Obama's lines didn't pass the laugh test. The most blatant: "I didn't choose this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt", as he spoke of the health care/insurance reform fiasco. Never mind he made it perfectly clear to staff and Congress that he wanted to do a victory lap on this very subject during his first State of the Union speech. Didn't happen so now it was never the plan. He holds to the excuse that if only he had explained his plan more, the people would support it. Please. The man is on television daily and has made more than 400 speeches and statements to the press about his agenda during the past year.

On the deficit, he blamed George W. Bush again. John McCain could be seen remarking to a fellow senator, "Blaming it on Bush", if you read his lips. He again promised to go "line by line" and veto unnecessary spending. He pledged to issue an Executive Order to put into place a bi-partisan commission on the deficit - sponsored by Senators Gregg and Conrad - after the Senate failed to pass the bill to create the commission yesterday. He also pledged to put pay as you go standards into effect, as it was supposedly under President Clinton. He said his newly announced budget freeze doesn't go into effect until next year, which got quite a laugh from the Republican side of the House. Obama said, "that's how budgets work". Funny. That presumes Obama is responsible about budgets.

Obama said that politicians in Washington face a "deficit of trust". He pledged, again, to "do our work openly", which is the very promise broken by him and this Democrat controlled Congress that has the voters most angry. He claims his administration will publish online any earmarks before votes. We have heard the 'no earmarks' claims before from him.

A disturbing mention of his displeasure of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the scale back of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform law - as the members of the Supreme Court sat directly before him in the audience - was seen as an intimidation tactic. Rightly so. He is from Chicago, you know. It was amusing to notice that Justice Alito was not bowing to the intimidation, though. Reading his lips, he said, "that's wrong" as Obama stated his opinion of the Court's ruling.

Hypocrisy reigned as Obama chastised the rancor in Washington among politicians. He said they must "reform how we work with one another". He lied when he said he didn't think that his election alone would bring about a new age of peace and harmony when, in fact, that is exactly what he was selling as he campaigned on the whole hopenchange nonsense. He said politicians can't be in perpetual campaign mode, though that is exactly how he governs. Or, doesn't govern. And, for good measure, he tsk-tsked Republicans by telling them that "just saying no is not leadership". That might hold water if Republicans had held a seat at the table as Obama's big agenda ideas moved forward. Maybe Obama should just go online - being so tech savvy and all - and read up on Republican ideas from the websites of Republican politicians. He pledged to meet with Democrats and Republican alike on a monthly basis. Who believes that one?

In summary, this State of the Union address was a whole lot of nothing. Nothing but posturing. Nothing but trying to give Democrats something to campaign on in this election year. The President who is supposed to be the best ever in delivering a speech from a teleprompter was sounding flat and uninspired, at time simply defiant, until the very end when he went into full campaign speech mode. He has squandered his first year in office and there is no getting it back with a speech filled with hypocritical musings and defiantly holding on to an agenda that has been soundly rejected by the voters.

President Obama is a man in complete denial.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ACORN Busters Face Federal Charges

From Michelle Malkin:

"Alleging a plot to tamper with phones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans, the FBI arrested four people Monday, including James O’Keefe, 25, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group’s credibility.

Also arrested were Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, all 24. Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, who is the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. All four men were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

So, what exactly went down in Louisiana:

According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street on Monday about 11 a.m., dressed as telephone company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu’s 10th-floor office, O’Keefe was already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive.

When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffer they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffer, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affidavit, observed O’Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O’Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event.

After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and said the main line wasn’t working. Flanagan did the same.

They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and Flanagan and Basel went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials. They said they left them in their vehicle.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service apprehended all four men shortly thereafter."

This is not just disgraceful, it is criminal. These young men have taken a strange turn in the world of investigative reporting, to understate the case. It's one thing to go into ACORN offices and record bad behavior on the part of office workers there. It's quite another thing to go to the federal office of a U.S. Senator and try to wiretap the phones. What were they thinking?

Does the word "Watergate" ring a bell?

I am pleased by the reactions of conservative commentators. I have not read anyone trying to justify the actions of these four. Unlike when the ACORN workers were exposed and the left made excuse after excuse, this stunt deserves to be harshly shunned by serious people. Shame on these guys. Think of how their parents must feel tonight. One of them is the son of a U.S. Attorney. Good grief.

Righteous activism is laudable. Stupidity is not the next leap. And, now they will no longer hold any credentials in their field of endeavor.

Let's hope they have learned a lesson - albeit the hard way. Stop with the youthful overreach. Time to grow up. And, stop with the stupid looking costumes already.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Does Perry Campaign Use ACORN Playbook?

Texas Governor Rick Perry held a Bloggers Summit over the weekend. One can assume this was to spotlight what the Governor considers to be his astute social networking skills. Also on the agenda was an outing billed as Shootin' with the Governor (Perry) by nationally known writer and columnist, Roger L. Simon. Simon regales a swell tale of fun on the shooting range - Red's Indoor Range South - in Austin with Governor Perry. Simon goes on to speak of Perry's re-election efforts and his appeal to the Tea Party crowd. Interesting, as this Governor is no more part of the Tea Party movement than his strongest challenger, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Mr. Simon also writes he was a part of "a smaller group" who were invited to dine with Governor Perry. Andrew Breitbart, new media star with his websites Big and Big, etc, was also there and equally impressed with Perry's new media suaveness. Why, the Governor whipped out his Mac right there at the dinner table and went online! Wouldn't most people, certainly those of the South, consider such a egocentric gesture just plain bad manners?

Something didn't sound right when this Bloggers Summit was first announced. It was all just a bit too cozy, this gathering of new media folk and the top Texas politician, running in a primary re-election bid against two challengers. Aren't these folks the same who denounce the tight relationship between traditional media and politicians, particularly President Obama and his administration? Just noticing a bit of a parallel.

Maybe out of state folks don't realize that Perry is not a grass roots candidate. Not in the Tea Party mode, certainly. Perry is beholdin' to just as many lobbyists as others running for office. Maybe these folks don't know Perry wanted a mandate that all young girls - by grade 6- be vaccinated with a new drug that was to prevent cervical cancer, conveniently connecting with his pharma lobbyist donors, as an example of his ties. Bowing to lobbyists and nanny state government all with one swoop.

The Dallas Morning News published a report that claims the Perry campaign has paid convicted felons as part of their "Perry Home Headquarters" program. This program also raised red flags with me at its inception. The program pays supporters to sign up friends and acquaintances as Perry supporters who pledge to vote for Perry. Paying supporters to vote? Isn't this a bit too similar to claims by those criticizing ACORN get out the vote efforts? With large efforts like this, the infusion of less than above board characters will surface. Apparently this has happened within the Perry program, too. A point brought up in the Dallas Morning News article is that convicted felons are not eligible to vote in Texas.

So far, the expenditure for 'grass roots' support by the campaign is at $360,000, according to Gromer Jeffers, Jr. - the reporter for the Dallas Morning News. It is reported that though the campaign urges these compensated part time 'volunteers' to recruit registered voters, many of the names given to the effort have been of people not registered to vote or from outside Texas.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Psalm for Obama Policies

A little light hearted commentary on the President and his policies:

PSALM 2009

Obama is the shepherd I did not want.
He leadeth me beside the still factories.
He restoreth my faith in the Republican party.
He guideth me in the path of unemployment for his party's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the bread line,
I shall fear no hunger, for his bailouts are with me.
He has anointed my income with taxes,
My expenses runneth over.
Surely, poverty and hard living will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will live in a mortgaged home forever.
I am glad I am American,
I am glad that I am free.
But I wish I was a dog .....
And Obama was a tree.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Year After Executive Order To Close GITMO

Today marks the date that President Obama, in his first big sweep of the Presidential signing pen, declared that GITMO would be closed.

Executive Order 13492 ¶ 3, January 22, 2009: “The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order.”

“Today I call on the President, with the benefit of one year’s worth of hindsight, to reconsider his ill-conceived campaign pledge to close GITMO. This will restore a needed sense of seriousness to our nation’s counterterrorism efforts and send a powerful message to al Qaeda and its allies that the safety of the American people is more important than world opinion and left-wing handwringing.” - Senator John Cornyn, R-TX.

We see the reversal of boldly, aggressively fighting the war on terror. We see an administration hell bent on burying its head in the sand and naively hoping if they change the name, it will all just go away. The bad guys will love us. Let's just act like each attack and attempted attack is an 'isolated incident' and that there are no dots to connect.

President Obama decreed that GITMO be closed for political points, the ever campaigning pol that he is. He was determined to be the un-Bush. But, he had no plan for the terrorists or alleged terrorists being held at GITMO. He didn't want to dwell on the part about President Bush stating that he, too, wanted to close GITMO but had no way of doing so yet. And John McCain was on board with that, too. Closing GITMO is a goal, not a reality.

By rushing back to the past, the Obama administration heads back to the Clinton model of treating terrorists as criminals, not enemy combatants. This makes sense, given that old Obama pal Eric Holder is the Attorney General. Holder is an old fan of such a mode of operation and learned at the feet of the likes of Janet Reno and Jamie Gorelick. Gorelick was the one responsible for the policy of the wall of silence and noncooperation between intelligence agencies. We can connect those dots all the way to 9/11/01. But, why do that?

This week brought about a Senate hearing on the decision to treat the underwear bomber of Christmas Day as a common criminal. Turns out, the administration also has no plan in place to handle a terrorist caught in the act within the boundaries of our country. According to Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, this act of handing Abdulmutallab into the civilian system "the government all but slammed the door on its ability to interrogate him thoroughly." That quote from The Wall Street Journal.

Blair referenced a unit created called the High-Value Interrogation Group (HIG) that was to "make a decision on whether a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means." "We did not invoke the HIG in this case; we should have," Mr. Blair said. "Frankly, we were thinking more of overseas people and, duh, you know, we didn't put {in action} here."

This is the last paragraph of The Wall Street Journal article: "Mr. Blair's testimony was almost instantly disputed by an anonymous Administration official, and he later issued a statement saying his comments had been "misconstrued." We think we heard Mr. Blair right the first time, and his departure from script reveals the dangerous folly of the Administration's policy of treating terrorists like common criminals."

Some members of the Senate have been trying to get to the bottom of exactly who issued the order to give Abdulmutallab over to the FBI. Yesterday Press Secretary Gibbs said he thought it was Eric Holder himself.

This is the statement released by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, a member of the Senate Judicial Committee. He, along with others Republicans on the committee, has signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in pursuit of the name of the person in Holder's office who made the decision to treat Abdulmutallab as a common criminal and not as an 'unlawful enemy belligerent'.

“We believe the Department’s hasty decision to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Abdulmutallab deprived our intelligence agencies of a critical opportunity to interrogate an al Qaeda-trained terrorist who was fresh from training in Yemen,” Sen. Cornyn said.

“Had Mr. Abdulmutallab been transferred to military custody as an unlawful enemy belligerent, our government would have had more time to gain an understanding of the terrorist training and recruiting network on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the activities of al Qaeda in Nigeria,” he added.

And today from a joint statement to President Obama issued by Senators Cornyn and Hutchison:

“Nevertheless, there is still time for you to override this reckless decision. Abdulmutallab must be placed in military custody and systematically interrogated. Doing so would leverage this rare opportunity to gain significant knowledge of modern-day al Qaeda’s current tactics, techniques, and procedures. Protecting the American people from further attack at the hands of al Qaeda must remain the highest priority here,” Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison also wrote.

This administration loves nothing more than pointing fingers at other people, at the previous administration, for political expediency. They do not look serious and far more incompetent than those who governed before them. For them to claim otherwise, well, they have to earn that right.

This afternoon there is word that the U.K. has raised their terror threat level alert to "Severe". None of this is going away in our lifetimes. Time to rise to the occasion. The first responsibility of the oath of office taken by this President, as with all the others before him, is to protect the American people. He should take it to heart before it is too late.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Barack Obama is No Populist

President Obama would like you to believe he is a darling of the populist wave because he was elected by those showing frustration and anger towards the deep recession our nation went into at the end of the Bush administration. He doesn't, however, mention that John McCain was ahead in the polls a bit over him just before the big crash. The real problem with Barack Obama is that he has no clue as to who he really is, even as he struggles to perform his tasks as President of the United States. He now claims that the election of the first Republican senator from Massachusetts in decades is the same reaction that took him to the White House, too. Because, you know, everything is all about him.

In Obama's head, it is ok to now be on the side of populists in order to save any hopes of his legacy - health care/insurance reform. Last summer, well, that was then and this is now. Last summer all those populists at those Tea Party rallies were just a bunch of uneducated, racist, fascist, bible thumping, hateful neanderthals. Now he's just one of them.

He's a professor - telling what is best for you and your family. He is cool and aloof as he goes about his work. He doesn't let us see him sweat unless it's a well orchestrated photo op on a basketball court.

He is no populist.

He makes fun and criticizes those who rally at Tea Party venues. He makes fun of a pick up truck in a political ad. He shows thin skin and no use for a cable network channel that doesn't fawn and cheer lead for him. He goes to swanky gatherings on the left coast and calls those not inclined to vote for him as those who would cling to their guns and their religion for comfort - as though that is a bad thing.

He is no populist.

He is the product the most expensive prep school in Honolulu and of Occidental College in California and then the Ivy League on the east coast. He is a Harvard Law School grad, even Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He has no record of publishing articles or legal briefs. All of his school records are sealed.

He is no populist.

He worked in community organizing in Chicago, thanks to connections from his wife which were directly to the political machine there, which propelled him into politics. He chose to vote 'present' more than any other in the Illinois State Senate as a way of ducking votes. Using these connections, he was a spotlighted speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 and rode his favorable reviews into the U.S. Senate.

He wrote - with help though without acknowledging to what extent - and published two autobiographies before the age of 45. Two. He is quite taken with himself and his image.

He is no populist.

He is a master at political expediency, but he is no populist.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scott Brown Rides Populist Wave in Massachusetts

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

That quote is apropos in light of the victory last night for Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown. A wild populist wave descended upon the Bay State and Brown rode it to become the first Republican elected to federal office from that state since the 1970's. Ding, dong, dead Ted is indeed that. The Democrats are reeling from the shock of the election returns today. Rightly so.

Here's the thing - the election result that rocked the country came on the eve of President Obama's one year anniversary in office. Obama even went to Boston Sunday to try to inject some enthusiasm into the Coakley campaign and Martha Coakley campaigned with Vicki Kennedy last weekend but alas, the voters didn't fall for that old Obama charm. Finally. The Emperor has no clothes.

True to form, Obama gave an interview today to a national network news anchor and predictably turned the result into all about Barack. He claims the populist wave that ushered Brown into the U.S. Senate is the same one that took him to the White House. What Obama hasn't learned yet is that this populist wave was in direct response to his policies and how he is leading our country. He took the exact opposite lesson from Brown's win and sent out the flunkies to insist he intends to double down on health care and anything else that strikes his fancy. Problem is, the rest of his party in Washington didn't quite get the same message.

The rest of the elected Democrats in Washington are nervous. Many are publicly saying today that health care reform legislation must be slowed and pursued in a bi-partisan way. Surprise! The American people don't appreciate being told badly written legislation laden with pay-offs to unions, lobbyists and corrupt politicians will be rammed down their throats thanks to one party rule. The election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate seat from the bluest state in the union, a seat dominated by the selfish ego of Ted Kennedy for over 40 years even as he was too ill to represent the people of his state to do his job, is the beginning. The beginning of the correction the American voters will bring to a corrupt Democratic party gone off the cliff with power grabs while dominating as the sole ruling party began last night.

From Blue Dog Democrat Senator Evan Bayh (IN):

There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Bayh told ABC News, but “if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.”…
“The only way we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates,” Bayh said. “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country — that’s not going to work too well.”

From Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): "This historic win sends a clear message to President Obama and the Democrats in Congress. The American people, no matter whether they come from Teas or Massachusetts, are angry with the Democrats' proposal for a government takeover of our health care system and the out of control spending we've seen in the last year. I look forward to working with Senator - elect Brown to put an end to the Democrats' push toward socialized medicine."

Scott Brown said, "I'm of the Big Tent philosophy" in reference to the kind of Republican he is and will work as in Washington. This is a solid start - he is stating clearly that he is not one who will fall victim to such nonsense as purity tests that shrink the party. He also gave a shout-out to John McCain in his victory speech because he said McCain was the first from Washington to encourage him to run for the seat. That must have been a heartburn inducing moment for all the McCain bashers out there in Republican land, especially the talk radio crowd.

The President continues to lose political capital with his willingness to jump into political races. He campaigned for the losers in the state governorships of Virginia and New Jersey. He went to Boston last weekend as a hail Mary move for the Democrats as they realized entirely too late that Coakley was likely to lose the race. Obama even taped a robocall for Coakley. And, Obama has suffered ego blows on the international stage as a last minute savior - in Copenhagen and in his bid for the Olympics to be held in Chicago. The politician with the golden touch is now 0-5.

The tide has turned, exactly at the one year mark into this presidency. Now Obama has two options - does he move back to the center of the political spectrum as Clinton did or does he push on with no regard to the response of his countrymen and become Jimmy Carter? It is his decision now. The people of Massachusetts have spoken.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saving Haitian Orphans

A quote from Pat Robertson, as reported in the NY Daily News:

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," the controversial televangelist said during an interview Wednesday on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"They were under the heel of the French...and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.'"

Robertson continued: "True story. And so the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' They kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got themselves free. Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."

Religious folks sometimes do more harm than good. I guess Robertson believes in a different God than the one I was taught to love as a child. I was taught he was a force for love and goodness, not vengeance.

Then, there is a different kind of response.

An orphanage in Port-au-Prince is owned by a Haitian, as is the law, but sponsored by Answered Prayers, out of Canada. The orphanage is called BRESMA.

Two sisters from the Pittsburgh area worked in this orphanage in Haiti and were able to fly out 53 orphans today, thanks in large part to social media. To get the message out that they had group homes available to care for the children until they are adopted, they enlisted the help of PA Governor Ed Rendell and the networks of Twitter and Facebook. Quite savvy, really, but it does play into the criticisms. Was all of the necessary paperwork completed for these orphans? In most of these corrupt third world countries, finishing paperwork involves paying off the officials. Was simply throwing money at the rescue the key to the evacuation?

Emergency Visas were issued for those flown to Pittsburgh with elected officials, including the Governor of Pennsylvania who flew down on the rescue plane dispatched for the children.

I'm not saying these children shouldn't be brought to a better life here in America. I'm asking, is this how we do it now in crisis situations? What about the other children and the fresh wave of orphans this earthquake will create? What about the couple from Greece, New York who were on FOX yesterday tugging at our heartstrings because the two little ones they were adopting were put on camera by a reporter? The viewer was led to believe that the State Department was not moving swiftly enough, that red tape was risking the lives of these children not able to simply board a plane and leave the country. Turns out, the parents were still in New York and not in Haiti. The parents admitted the paperwork process was only about 75% completed.

What about the remainder of the 150 children living in this particular orphanage?

According to an article at Pittsburgh Magazine online, January 2009,
the McMurtrie sisters of Ben Avon, have been at the orphanage since 2006 (Jamie) and 2008 (Alison). No one would fault them for doing what they feel is their calling in life, saving the Haitian orphans from desperate circumstances. This orphanage is known for the "fastest adoption process of any Haitian orphanage", according to the article. Still, the process can take up to 18 months.

Typically, when Americans adopt children from overseas, the prospective parents are in country and doing paperwork while the process is completed. In a natural disaster emergency this is complicated. It does raise the question of who will receive special treatment under dire straits. Does the end justify the means? Not all of these children, newly arrived in America, have clearance for adoption and the State Department has issued a statement that much care must be given that children are not adopted when Haitian family members are willing to take them in. So, why were those not given final clearance allowed to leave?

International adoption can be a corrupted process, under the best of circumstances. Money talks. Americans must tread cautiously to avoid a trap of good intentions versus human dignity for all involved.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Barack Does Boston

A political junkie is not often treated to the cliffhanging goodness witnessed in this Massachusetts Senate seat race to fill the seat vacated by the death of Teddy Kennedy. Who would have ever thought that the bottom would fall out of the presumed heiress' campaign - the winner of the Democratic primary, the Attorney General of the state, Martha Coakley.

Fortunately for her opponent, State Senator Scott Brown, Coakley is a smug woman feeling entirely entitled to the seat. She has performed as a dreadful candidate and only attended one third of the political gatherings as Brown. She took a vacation immediately after the primary, which left the stage entirely to Brown for many days. She even took a night off the campaign trail and went down to D.C. for a fundraiser with the high rolling lobbyists from the drug and medical industries. All the while she bashes lobbyists and their money. Wink, wink. Nod, nod.

Cambridge Police Patrol Officers endorse Scott Brown. Coakley's husband is a retired police officer. I guess that unfortunate wording from the President of the United States that the Cambridge police acted 'stupidly' as they questioned his old pal Professor Gates still stings a bit.

"I think we overestimated the state's Democraticness and underestimated the national mood," one senior Democratic strategist said Friday. "We thought that the state's deep blue voting pattern would help us withstand national trends." That from a piece by "The Fix", Chris Cillizza and Karl Vick in the Washington Post.

Up until late Friday afternoon, the White House insisted that President Obama would not be going to Boston to campaign for Coakley. Then, as the poll numbers became less and less friendly to Coakley, suddenly Obama announces he'll go to Boston for Martha Sunday. After a rare church service appearance in Washington, where he was the featured speaker, of course, he went on up to help out Martha Coakley. Reports on the ground mentioned the empty seats at the Northeastern University venue while Scott Brown's competing event used two overflow spots for his appearance to accommodate crowds. Obama was thrown off his game by hecklers and faltered with his speech. It was not his best day.

The odd theme of Obama's attacks on Brown was the truck used in Brown's ads. It is Brown's own truck with over 100,000 miles on it yet Obama showed his snobby elitism. You'd think a President that bailed out GM would be more sensitive to a GMC truck, wouldn't you?

Obama said, "Anyone can buy a truck". Really? How about showing a bit of caution with elitist cracks like this when millions are feeling the pain of unemployment and the recession on family budgets. Obama said you might not want to ride in the truck with Scott Brown. Hmm. What other Massachusetts politician does this remark conjure up as far as driving with the person goes? I seem to remember a really bad part of dead Ted's past that involves a car with him behind the wheel...

All polls now show Scott Brown up over Martha Coakley. This is exciting stuff. This is a 'shot heard around the world' kind of stuff.

C'mon, Massachusetts voters. You can do it. Yes, you can. Fired up, ready to go.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UNICEF in Haiti

Now, you could be Charlie Rose all you want, but nobody's watching Charlie Rose." That is a quote from Glenn Beck during a recent interview. I, however, was watching Charlie Rose the other day as a panel discussed the relief efforts in Haiti. I was interested in what Ann Veneman had to say on the work of UNICEF. UNICEF reports that children make up 50% of that country's population.

Here is the latest press release from their website:

NEW YORK, 16 January 2010 – Another plane loaded with UNICEF emergency relief supplies arrived in Port-au-Prince this morning, carrying urgently needed water and sanitation supplies. This is the second load of UNICEF water and sanitation materials to arrive in Haiti in the past 24 hours. The shipment contained additional oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets and jerry cans. Two experts in water and sanitation were also on the flight.

Providing access to clean water and sanitation is essential in the immediate aftermath of disasters, to avoid a second wave of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Children are particularly susceptible to diarrheal diseases.

Two more UNICEF planeloads, loaded with some 70 metric tons of tents, tarpaulin, and medicines, are currently awaiting clearance to fly to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Ann Veneman, the current Executive Director of UNICEF, accepted the position in 2005. Before that, she was Secretary of Agriculture for President George W. Bush. She presents a calm, intelligent and compassionate voice for the children in need. She is particularly vigilant in her commitment to protect children vulnerable to the threats of trafficking and abuse. The UNICEF buildings in Port-au-Prince were damaged and there is no communication from there.

Unfortunately, the U.N. - from which UNICEF is separated - does not have a particularly good record of late in disaster relief. The U.S. military will be the leader in this mission. Many U.N. staffers in Haiti were killed or injured in the earthquake. We recall during the last natural disaster that captured the attention of the world - the tsunami in Malaysia - the then UN humanitarian coordinator, Jan Egeland, felt the need to go to the microphones and declare Americans 'stingy' in the financial response in the early days of the rescue efforts. He was hugely wrong, of course, and our generosity shined as it always does. We are still the world's 911 and the nation most capable of showing international generosity despite the hateful criticisms of elite, career diplomats and talking heads. The UN is rife with corruption and abuse. The UN has come under attack for lack of transparency by investigative reports, as pointed out by stellar reporter Claudia Rossett and others.

Let's hope the children see aid and comfort in a timely and transparent manner.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti's Earthquake Through Political Legacy Lens

Haiti is a Third World country. To understand the description "third world country" a good definition can be found at "The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
Many poorer nations adopted the term to describe themselves."

The country is also the poorest in our hemisphere. Under the thumb of notoriously corrupt political leadership for decades, Haiti has now been the victim of a catasthropic earthquake. Haiti is in desperate straits.

Former President Clinton was named Special Envoy to Haiti by President Obama in 2009. Clinton has worked on the issues confronting Haiti for more than thirty years, by his own admissions. He is now teaming up with former President George W. Bush, at the request of President Obama, to coordinate recovery efforts.

An interesting aspect of the tragedy is the political posturing of it all. Clinton himself is using the event as a boost to his own political legacy. He was even referencing what he called progress within the political structure of Haiti in recent years; that he hopes the devastated country can continue on with moving away from blatant corruption. This, to contrast naive liberal platitudes, is from a blog entry from the Baker Institute (bakerblog): "Since the overthrow of dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier in 1986 (whose despotic rule, combined with that of his father, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, spanned the period 1957-1986), Haiti has experienced a series of weak, corrupt and disorganized authorian and quasi-democratic governments that have disregarded the basic social welfare and development needs of its people. The past few years have been emblematic of Haiti's status as a failed state, with the country's political class focused on short-term posturing, infighting and personal enrichment, essentially neglecting the medium and long-term public policies necessary to improve the living standards of the Haitian people. It is, for instance, no surprise that Haiti in 2009 was ranked by Transparency International as one of the 13 most corrupt countries in the world, and the most corrupt country in the Western Hemisphere." This is progress?

Rather than set into place public policy that would benefit the people of Haiti - building codes, emergency personnel and procedures, security forces, etc., the ruling elite continued to line their own pockets and live the good life as the people lived in flimsy structures and starved. On a good day, the hospitals didn't have adequate drug provisions. Nor was there an electrical grid to produce electricity with regularity for the whole country.

The generosity of the American people is spotlighted again. Our country, so heavily criticized by despots around the world, is the world's 911. Here's hoping supplies and human help can be brought in and distributed without much more delay.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

GOP Candidates for Texas Governor Debate

The first televised debate of the three GOP candidates for Governor of Texas was shown tonight. The three candidates, Gov Rick Perry, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Debra Medina were all present and ready for the event. Governor Perry, however, seemed off his game.

Governor Perry did the predictable - touting the successes of the State of Texas while downplaying recent negatives of job losses and rising taxes. Yay Texas! Senator Hutchison was strong in her assertions of working for Texas in Washington. And, Debra Medina was a voice of the outsider not beholden to anyone.

Governor Perry looked tired and irritated. Senator Hutchison remained calm and collected, while smiling, as she responded to Perry's attacks. Hutchison used a debate style move of posing a question to Medina that was a direct swipe at Perry. Medina made mention several times that the other two would respond as typical politicians to questions.

The audience laughed several times as Hutchison struggled with the standard abortion questioning. Would she say, yes or no, if she would support the repeal of Roe v Wade? She responded by stating her concern that if the decision went back to a states rights issue then the most abhorrent of practices - partial birth abortions- may increase. She has a strong pro-life record in politics but it is never enough for the most strident of the far right of the GOP- those who consider the social issues as the most important of political issues. It is unfortunate that the state party has a pledge to work for the demise of Roe v Wade as a party platform.

No one made any real news. It was fairly boilerplate stuff. While Hutchison was grilled on her abortion stance, Medina was not asked about her decision to home school her children and only teach creationism to them while ignoring evolution. She believes the age of earth is not settled and that it must only be about 4,000 years old, as biblical teachings direct her. She was asked about her practice of carrying a gun without a conceal carry license, which is legal in Texas. You may be interested in knowing she does not take it into the grocery store.

Medina will not be a part of the next debate at the end of the month. That is a shame - the people deserve to hear from them all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coakley Staffer Attacks Journalist - Coakley Shrugs

As the battle over the Senate seat in Massachusetts heats to fiery levels, a bit of nasty physical confrontation is reported today. Seems the Attorney General running with the blessing of the Democrats in Massachusetts turned a blind eye as her staffer - walking beside her - shoved a reporter to the ground in Washington, D.C. last night.

Or, was it just an ok thing to do since the reporter is employed for the conservative publication, The Weekly Standard? Coakley is prone to refer to those not inclined to vote for her as "radical right" and "far right" and other exaggerated descriptions. She has decided to go negative in her panic of the results of the latest polling and has the help of a flyer mailed out after the debate Monday night by the SEIU that drags former President George W. Bush into the fray. Massachusetts State Senator, Scott Brown, the Republican "scaring" Coakley - her word - has no connection to the former President but that is not what is important. It is important to note that Coakley is now so desperate to rally supporters that she is dredging up the default position of all liberal Democrats when they are losing a political battle - toss in the 'fear' that the days of George W. Bush will return if the other candidate is voted into office. Oh, the horror.

Last night in Washington, D.C., a fundraiser was held for Martha Coakley and she was in attendance. This alone is odd - candidates are at a last day push at this point of in an election and are not out of town with lobbyists, raising money for themselves. Coakley, running on a promise to vote into law the Obamacare legislation pending in Congress, filled the place with health care lobbyists. Lots of big insurance folks and drug industry leaders turned out to write a check for Coakley. Coakley claims this event was in the works for weeks. To some, it is an act of last minute desperation to raise some badly needed money for the campaign coffers. Her opponent, Brown, raised $1.3 million dollars in one day - online- this week thanks to a national effort of conservative activists. Coakley is reported to have been caught off guard by this action.

The most striking observance I have come away with from this special election campaign is the blatant arrogance of Martha Coakley and the Democrats in Massachusetts. In control for decades in their choice of Senate representation, the Democrats simply assume that the seat will remain in the Democrat column and the candidate didn't really need to make too much of an effort to win. The best line in the debate Monday night came from Brown as moderator David Gergen, employed by the Kennedy School of Government, carried the water for Coakley as he asked this of Brown:

"Host David Gergen [of the Kennedy School of Government!] asks if Brown really wants to sit in the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's Senate seat and block health care reform, knowing it probably won't happen for quite a while if it doesn't happen now; Brown respectfully corrects him on whose seat it is.
"Are you willing, under those circumstances, to say I'm gonna be the person, I'm gonna sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat, and I'm gonna be the person that's gonna block it for another 15 years," Gergen asks.
Brown responds: "Well, with all due respect, it's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat . . ."
" That from The Wall Street Journal online.

By heralding the election as a continuance of dead Ted's legacy may have been the wrong tactic by the Democrats. The health care legislation is deeply unpopular in this country, even in blue state Massachusetts. Massachusetts has universal health care in place as a state - thanks to former Republican Governor Mitt Romney and voted into place by Republican Scott Brown - and many voters are waking up to the fact that national health care will mean higher costs to the state. These costs, of course, will be passed on to the people. Surprise!

The pending health care legislation will not go into effect for several years. It is all conveniently written to take control with regard to the presidential election cycle. Barack Obama and the Democrats are using this push for deeply unpopular legislation as a vehicle, they think, for a permanent Democratic majority. Surprise! Were the 'poor' and 'the children' a topic of conversation as Coakley raked in the big bucks at the tony venue last night in Washington?

This sums it up, from the Washington Examiner by Byron York:

"The bottom line: In a state where support for the Democratic national health care plan should be strongest, the current bills making their way through Congress cannot muster majority support. If Coakley is elected, she will cast the 60th and decisive vote in the Senate to pass a plan that not even half the people in her home state support."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is Scott Brown a Pro-Choice Candidate?

Is Scott Brown, candidate du jour for those seeking a conservative in the Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy, a pro-choice guy? Here is the paragraph from his web site:

While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America. I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

Don't get me wrong - I completely agree with the opinion offered on the subject. Nowhere, however, is the litmus test phrase written. The one about the sanctity of life. The one that purists insist must be uttered to gain support from the pro-life community. It is a nicely nuanced paragraph of common sense. It is refreshing.

My curiousity was peaked yesterday as I read Kathleen Parker's column in the Sunday newspaper on Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown. He is running unexpectedly strong in the race against current Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Coakley has not led a particularly aggressive race, according to reports, until recent polls slapped the Democrats awake. Massachusetts, typically the most blue of states, is just presumed to remain in the Democratic column. For the seat of the "lion of the Senate" - which means he milked the job all his career as an adult - to be even a maybe change up is a true barometer of the times.

Scott Brown sounds like my kind of Republican, on paper anyway. Not being a resident of the State of Massachusetts, I have no real knowledge of the man. I am interested because 1) I would love to see an upset in that seat and 2) the grassroots Republicans have embraced Brown with real vigor. So, to learn he is pro-choice from Parker's column was a bit of a surprise. Typically, the grassrooters are relatively new to the world of politics and are those also must likely to succumb to the nonsense of purity tests. They have not yet learned that to win elections, one must grow a political party and not shrink it.

Brown sounds like a sound Republican. He is a fiscal conservative - favors tax cuts in the mode of JFK. He opposes government expansion. He is a no vote on a second stimulus bill. He is more hawkish than pacifist when it comes to finishing the work in Afghanistan. He believes we must be on the offense not defense in the war on terror. So, the only agenda item resembling Coakley's is the issue of choice. And, with a more practical view, Brown is in step with regular American voters. Most importantly, Brown is favored by Independent voters three to one. They make up the majority of registered voters in Massachusetts.

Do I really think a Republican will beat out another typical liberal in Massachusetts? No. I do, however, like what I see. The Coakley campaign has called on Bill Clinton to campaign for a candidate who presumed herself the entitled winner from the beginning. She needs the boost from Bubba now and that is sweet music to Republicans. Who would have imagined that the Obama wave would have come to such a quick crashing crescendo only one year into his administration, even in the State of Massachusetts?

The gloves are off in this contest. The Democrats are desperate to pass some sort of Obamacare before the 2010 election season and can only do so by saving every last vote Reid has purchased so far. The Democrats in Massachusetts are worried - the story that they will delay Brown's swearing in if he wins is testamont to that. Paul Kirk, the current placeholder, was sworn in with record speed.

2010 is going to be good, my fellow Republicans. Whether we win in Massachusetts or not.

Supporting Michael Yon, War Correspondent

I have followed the fine work of Michael Yon for some time now. As a war correspondent, he is far superior to most. Here's his web site:
When you click onto the site, you will see a photo taken of Michael Yon and a small child caught in battle. It received worldwide recognition and is used as the cover of Yon's book, "Moment of Truth in Iraq". I can wholeheartedly recommend the book.

Recently Yon was in the headlines due to an unfortunate incident upon his return to America, at Seattle-Tacoma international Airport. Upon moving through the screening process by TSA personnel, Yon was asked about the contents of his bag at a routine security checkpoint. Yon replied that it contained the standard stuff - clothes, toothbrushes, etc. He was completely fine with the question. Next he was taken to a screening area and the bag was examined. The next question was odd - the TSA agent asked Yon how much money he made. Yon objected to this question and then the TSA agent asked for whom Yon worked. Yon refused to answer this line of questioning. So, Yon was handcuffed and detained, though not arrested. Port Authority stepped in and released him.

Yon praised the Port Authority police as "completely professional". The TSA officials? Not so much. When did it become a part of standard questioning of returning Americans to ask a person's salary? For that matter, when did it become a part of standard questioning to ask for whom a person works? Yon is an American, a resident of Florida, and he has an American passport.

Yon cooperated and was in complete agreement that the contents of his bag should be questioned. He cooperated when he was taken for closer scrutiny. The personal questions on his salary was out of line. He reacted as I venture to guess most of us would respond. The questioning was inappropriate and unprofessional. From an interview with Big, Yon said, "If I am the guy on that passport and I don't have any contraband in my luggage, it is a matter for the FBI, not the TSA." He also tells of a friend being coerced by Homeland Security to give up her e-mail password so that "he could read private email correspondences between her and Yon", in an article titled "Border Bullies"

As Yon prepares to return to the battlefield, he leaves these entries on his Facebook page:

Michael Yon: "No journalist in this war can write more than a tiny fraction -- say 1/30th -- of what they see. It's incredibly dangerous out there and the situations are constantly intense. Far safer to go unembedded. If you go embedded you WILL be in combat and there is a high chance it won't turn out well. Just be ready. If you are ready, please go. We need more journalists there."

Michael Yon: "Journalists contact me nearly constantly about embedding with US or British forces. I cannot convey emphatically enough how dangerous this is. It's far safer to go alone than with combat forces. You definitely will be in combat; we are there to win. And that means it's ugly. Your chances of being maimed or killed are... HIGH. If you are ready to fight, please go. If not, please stay."

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Buh Bye To Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

The senior Senator from the great state of Nevada is a doofus. Frequently this opinion is reinforced as a new verbal gaffe surfaces. The latest comes from a newly released book, "Game Change". The book, written by two journalists covering the 2008 presidential campaign, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, provides behind the scenes accounts and commentary.

This is where Reid's latest embarrassing gaffe enters. Remember, as Senate Majority Leader, Reid claimed he was neutral during the battle for the Democratic nomination between two sitting U.S. Senators - Obama and Clinton. Turns out, in private comments, he was talking up the plus side of candidate Obama as a black candidate. He said Obama would receive greater support because he was a "light-skinned" African American and that he spoke with "no negro dialect".

Racist, much?

At, Martin Kay lists some of the bon mots offered up by Senate Majority Leader Reid. It is important to remember the man's title - he is the leader of the Senate and therefore a certain higher standard is expected from his speech. The reader is reminded of: Reid proclaiming the war in Iraq "is lost" in April 2007; that Alan Greenspan is "one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington" in March 2005; "You know, Joe, I can't stand John McCain" in August 2008; and, well, you get the idea. If anyone would know a "political hack" it would certainly be him.

In today's difficult atmosphere for incumbents in Washington, D.C., Reid is certainly facing a very difficult re-election bid. The good people of Nevada are not so impressed with the performance of Senator Reid. Reid polls lower than all three Republican challengers in this year's primary. This is good news for Americans. Reid has continued to carry water for the unpopular Obama agenda and berate the opposition, including the average person attending Tea Party rallies. Reid represents all that is wrong with Washington - he's been there far too long to remember what an ordinary life is all about. He is part of the crowd that feels entitled and superior. That is not how the Senate Majority Leader should behave.

Words have meaning and consequences, Harry Reid. Good riddance. Don't let the door hit ya...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We Don't Need The Test Of A Third Attack

Listening to the statement President Obama issued late this afternoon on the reports given to him from the various agencies involved in the Christmas Day bomb attempt in the jet flying to Detroit, the question is: What was to be shocked about? In the lead up to the statement, Counter terror adviser John Brennan stated that the American people would no doubt be shocked by what they would hear.

Listeners learned very little news. Almost all of the president's statement contained previously mentioned facts from twenty-four hour cable news.

Turns out, the shock was President Obama accepting some blame for the failure to detect the attempted attack and that no one will be fired, at least not at this time. Business as usual in an administration not willing to assign blame. How does this deter the next lapse in judgement?

Another point that may have unintentionally shocked listeners: "We are at war with al-Qaeda." The president,hell-bent to be the un-Bush,uttered a rarely mentioned recognition of the time in which we live. You'll remember he signed an Executive Order to close GITMO without a plan for those held there as his first official big act. If GITMO is the cause of resentment of our lifestyle in the West by Islamic fanatics, what was the reason for 9/11/01? There was no GITMO then. It is a basic difference in those who prosecute terrorists as criminals versus those who use military tribunals.

Or, maybe we should voice shock at the fact that Counter terror Adviser John Brennan was surprised to learn of the link between al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Afghanistan. This is the man who hit the Sunday morning talk shows and boasted of being a veteran of the last five presidential administrations. If he's the expert put out for relaying this administration's talking points, why is he not able to connect the dots?

From National Review Online:
"Obama assigned a measure of blame to himself. “Ultimately, the buck stops with me,” he said. “When the system fails, it is my responsibility.” He then outlined four initiatives to improve counter terror intelligence-gathering, including:

1) The assignment of responsibility to specific intelligence officers for following up on high-profile threats

2) Quicker and wider distribution of intelligence communiques among agencies.

3) Unspecified changes to strengthen the analytical process, to be determined by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and the president's intelligence advisory board.

4) Strengthened criteria for adding potential terrorists to the no-fly list.

The president also addressed improvements to airport security measures. He said that the Department of Homeland Security will work to strengthen partnerships with airports around the world, promulgate the best current screening technologies, and spur research and development of new screening technologies."

So, we'll buy more stuff - more machines for screening boarding passengers at airports, etc. But the true need is to continue to adapt an offensive position rather than defensive, after the fact. This is an enemy that has figured out the success in recruiting young men with no prior terror record and gullible enough to agree to attempt an attack. The enemy is nimble and fluid.

An excerpt from the press release sent from the office of Senator John Cornyn reads:
“I appreciate the President’s admission that mistakes were made here, but this is the same conclusion the Administration reached in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Fort Hood,” Sen. Cornyn also said. “Our National Security Advisor said that the President ‘certainly doesn't want that third strike.’ In light of this, I am hopeful the Administration will use this third chance to address the failures that allowed the Christmas Day attempt, as well as the Fort Hood attack, to occur - the safety of the American people depends on it.”

President Obama has presided over two attacks now within our own country - one at Fort Hood, which left 13 dead and twenty plus people injured, and the unsuccessful attack on the jetliner on Christmas Day. Red flags were everywhere for both. Dots were not connected.

We do not need the test of a third attack. We do not need political appointees in positions for which they are not qualified. These top positions are in need of professional experts to execute strong leadership. Messages are being sent from this administration that they are not particularly serious on keeping the homeland safe, whether that is a fair conclusion or not. Just because the current Director of Homeland Security felt the need to 're-name' the war on terror doesn't mean it went away. Kinder and gentler is not a winning strategy.

We do not need the test of a third attack.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Motherhood Is A Political Act

Sometimes as I read another's writing I will come across a sentence or a statement that hangs on, that lingers as if to acknowledge the bare truth of it. This happened as I read the latest blog post from Dana Loesch at her blog Mamalogues. See it here:

A little background first. Dana Loesch is a radio talk show host in St. Louis. Her show, The Dana Show, can be found at: She offers a quick moving, lively and informative show.

I became familiar with Dana while writing as a contributor for a website, The Mother of all Conservatives , last year. She was a founding member of the site. Dana has been seen on FOX News channel on shows like Greta Van Sustern's and is a leader in the tea party movement. Dana is a conservative but does not consider herself a member of either political party.

As happens when a person opens up publicly with personal political opinions, the critics get a little crazy with the vitriol. Sometimes a remark from a dissenting reader can turn personal, ugly and hateful. It goes with the territory if one is a political blogger. We've all read accounts of nationally known personalities coping with death threats.

We are taught as young people to avoid the subjects of politics and religion in social settings. It is not polite conversation, toes may be stepped on. I say, "c'est la vie". There comes a point in a person's life where personal opinions and convictions rise up and overtake a hesitance to be spoken out loud.

"Motherhood is a political act", is the line from Dana's blog post that produced a head nodding moment for me. By becoming a parent, a mother, we produce the next generation that will lead our country. We educate and shape the opinions of the next generation. It is essential we step up and embrace the challenge of that responsibility. Do not be meek. Be bold and be active.

The Tea Party movement has enraged the far left ideologues in our country. Ordinary citizens have come together to give voice to opposition of the current leadership in Washington, D.C. and the direction they are taking our country. The groundswell of discontent came to a head as the President and the Democratic majority in Congress made health care insurance reform the top priority. The legislation has been written behind closed doors and Republican input has been limited, at best. The Democrats see this as the fruition of forty years of demanding a national health care program. The problems developed as regular folks across the country - more than 85% according to polls - said, hey, wait a minute. I like my health insurance program.

Regular folks are rightfully concerned about the overreach the current administration has shown in taking over industries - whether it is the auto industry, financial institutions, or the attempt to overhaul the energy sector - and have stood up. Enough is enough. Our federal deficit has tripled in one year from the deficit bemoaned by then candidate Barack Obama as he pledged to lead as a fiscally responsible president. No one imagined his idea of 'change' would be to triple our debt to all time historic levels. Our nation cannot sustain such policies.

Both sides of the political aisle must continue to be bold. Speak up and let elected officials know what is expected of them. They work for us. The founding fathers would embrace tea party activists. They, after all, were the originals.

The political effects of decisions made by lawmakers are felt in every aspect of our lives. It is incomprehensible to me that so many Americans have no inclination to read or learn about the political process and policy making. It is well past time for everyone to do his or her civic duty.

Mothers are at the core of the family. What better teacher, our children's first teachers. I say to moms everywhere, do not be hesitant to share your politics with friends and neighbors. Most likely, you will find that those in your own inner circle share a lot of the same views.

Lead by example. There is work enough for all.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A New Year - An Old Media Slant

I watched at least part of most of the Sunday morning talking heads shows yesterday, as is my routine. I drink coffee, glance at the Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle - hard copy, since I'm old school like that - and noticed the same pattern continuing into this brand new year: All of the panels with multiple guests for multiple opinions on any given topic consist of only one conservative or Republican. The majority of all the panels, with the exception of Fox New Sunday, were heavily tilted to liberal or Democratic talking heads. Fox News consistently does the best at offering a true balance and that is probably why they consistently blow the competition out of the water with the highest ratings.

This morning in my e-mail inbox appeared Rich Galen's cyber column. I have read and greatly enjoyed Galen's cyber column for several years now and he was a guest on a panel on the CNN show yesterday morning. This is an excerpt from his column this morning. It can be read at and it sums the appearance up nicely.

"I was on CNN yesterday with a reporter from the New Yorker magazine, a reporter from the Washington Post, and a Democratic strategist meaning it was three against one."

The topic of the TSA debacle and the foiled terrorist plot to take down a jetliner as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day was discussed. The other panelists where, predictably carrying water for the Obama administration's handling of the whole thing. They also brought up the popular meme of a Democratic talking point - if that Republican senator, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, would just release his hold on the President's nominee to head up the TSA, well, this whole event could have been avoided. It's the Republican's fault, you see. Here's a point conveniently not mentioned by the Democrats on the panel about said nominee, Erroll Southers and brought up by Galen:

"More on Erroll Southers. It turns out he was less than truthful to at least one, and perhaps both Senate Committees about the circumstances surrounding his misuse of a law enforcement computer to spy on his ex-wife's boyfriend.

Southers had told the committee that, while an FBI Agent, he had contacted a friend in law enforcement in California and asked if he would run a background check on the guy.

He got caught and was censured by the Bureau. But, that wasn't the way it happened. What actually happened was Southers ran the background check on his own. The business about asking a friend to do it was, how do I put this … a lie."

You see, Senate Majority Leader Reid wants Southers to be confirmed on a voice vote in the Senate. Just move him on through like all the others who are not of any particular consequence. This nominee, the head of the TSA, is not just any Washington bureaucrat. And, he is said to favor the Democrats idea that the TSA workers - baggage handlers and passenger screeners - should unionize with the privilege of collective bargaining. That is a really bad idea to Republicans and it is a good idea to Democrats - a nice little (huge) payback to the union money that elects Democrats to office in the first place. They paid really big bucks to put Senator Barack Obama into the White House.

I was happy with Rich Galen's appearance. We are starting off a new year the same as all the others - not much changes in the media. The members of the press - on camera and in print - have a huge stake in the success of this President. They were his biggest cheerleaders as he ran for the presidency. They were openly cheering each night on their opinion shows and also by those who pose as serious journalists.

Maybe the upcoming generation of budding journalists will produce a more balanced field of reporting. Maybe they will remember the very basic premise that a journalist is without personal opinion in a story, that they are simply the vehicle to provide the facts to a reader or viewer.

That would be refreshing.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Good Riddance to 2009

Good riddance to year 2009. The year was the final one of the first decade of the new millennium. To say times have been tough is an understatement.

The decade began with the contested 2000 presidential election and the tortuous recount after recount of votes in Florida as the losing candidate refused to accept defeat. The incoming administration's transition time was gravely abbreviated. Then, despite such stunts as one caucus in Congress refusing to acknowledge the election of the new president, everyone came together after the attacks of 9/11/01. For a brief time, anyway. Then the nastiness of political expediency took over and the conspiracy theorists enjoyed a good run.

The Republican brand first soared as President George W. Bush lead the response to the worst terror attack on our homeland into Afghanistan, then plunged as he continued on into Iraq. President Bush succumbed to massive federal spending with the help of Congress and soon Republicans were not very distinguishable from Democrats to the general voting public.

The economy recovered after the destruction of the 9/11/01 attacks but Republicans were given little credit for pursuing the policies that brought about the recovery. Bush suffered from a slow and mostly ineffective communication department. Hurricane Katrina and then the economic collapse in the autumn of 2008 fairly guaranteed a Democrat would occupy the White House in January, 2009.

Barack Obama benefited by the turmoil and unrest felt by the voter. He also benefited by a talent for reading a teleprompter and tapping into the pool of black voters dreaming of a candidate that looked like them. Unfortunately, the smooth and cool candidate Obama was a man with no executive experience and a very short time in politics at the federal level. He ran as the opposite of President Bush and made naive and overreaching promises to make his case.

Once installed into office, our first bi-racial president - a distinction all Americans have pride in - is proving to be the incompetent leader his opposition feared. He has given outlines of his agenda and left the actual heavy lifting to Congress. His lack of executive experience does not serve him or our country well.

As Obama makes much of reaching out to foreign regimes not previously friendly to us, they continue to flaunt resistance to reason. Whether it is Iran, China, or North Korea, all of these totalitarians have lectured our president publicly and remained belligerent in pursuing paths that will not bring about peace. Obama has racked up a track record of looking the other way when oppressed people cry out for freedom, risking their lives as they protest in streets of Iran and defend their independence in Georgia. Obama has squandered a year of diplomacy by allowing his 'I'm not Bush' riff to continue around the globe, apologizing to whomever will listen. The ridiculous spectacle of Secretary of State Clinton presenting her counterpart in Russia with a 'reset' button - using the wrong word in Russian - started off the year and we have ended the year with Iran declaring it will not cooperate with us on anything until we destroy all of our nuclear weapons.

The president of France has lectured Obama on not taking terrorism seriously. Obama continues to refer to domestic terrorism as 'isolated incidents' and turn a blind eye in connecting the dots of the global threats.

The president told us who he was - especially with his personal associations and his brief time in the Senate yet voters fell for the inane mantra of 'hope and change'. Such a vacuous slogan has delivered a weak and failing president. He chose to make health insurance reform as his shining agenda success before the end of the year, as he knows the longer it languishes in Congress, the more opposed the public is to it. Under bogus deadlines, Speaker Pelosi was only too happy to twist arms and push the agenda. Leader Reid followed suit and now it appears President Obama will speak of his success as the highlight of his first State of the Union address later this month.

The Obama presidency is presently saddled with poor polling numbers. The rise of the Tea Party movement - average citizens taking to the streets to protest the runaway spending and corruption in Washington, D.C. - has slowed the overreach of this administration. The signs of an administration with roots in Chicago politics are unmistakable and the average American doesn't like it. Obama tries to play both sides of a policy debate and neither side comes away satisfied. This president came into office with approval ratings of above 70% and has rapidly fallen to high 40%approval numbers. Even Democrats are surprised at the quick fall to earth by the candidate that promised to part the seas and open the skies. The supremely narcissistic president is tone deaf to reality.

The massive federal spending bills have failed to produce jobs for the unemployed. "Government" doesn't create jobs, except government jobs, which now outnumber private job creation numbers. How's that for change?

The midterm elections of 2010 will be a boon for Republicans. This president has united Independents back to voting Republican and fractured Democrats. The far left ideologues are angry with Obama for continuing on with so much of the Bush agenda, despite his insistence he was the anti-Bush as he ran for office. The naive promises of closing Gitmo and items like climate change legislation have proven to clash with reality. Surprise! Governing is hard. Campaigning is not real life.

So, good riddance to 2009. Republicans will continue to work hard and produce a comeback to power in 2010.