June 2008

Obama's Seal

Barak Obama is apparently a legend, and a president, in his own mind. This week, his campaign unveiled his new “seal” that will adorn his speaking podium. This seal, which bore remarkable resemblance to the actual presidential seal, also contained the motto “Vero Possumus”, roughly the Latin equivalent of “Together We Can.”

When I saw this, I was thunderstruck by the hubris and the apparent ego of the man who would allow this symbol to be displayed. I also found the seal hokey and juvenille, sort of like a short man resorting to shoe lifts to make him taller. But at the same time, I also found it disturbing that a serious presidential candidate would resort to this symbolism, an obvious exercise in vainglory. If he finds some sort of useful purpose in this seal, what can we expect from the man if he becomes the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Well, given the backlash from the public regarding this symbol and the many interpretations of its meaning, the Obama campaign has had second thoughts on the seal’s future. “It was a one-time seal for a one-time use,” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. With that, the Obama campaign has diffused another home-grown controversy.

So long “Vero Possumus”…we hardly knew ye…

I read a recent story in the June 17th edition of the Telegraph (UK) that quoted Obama insider and possible national security adviser Richard Danzig as saying that future US strategy on the war on terror should follow the lessons from the pages of Winnie the Pooh. The gist of his analogy is that if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

In fact, Mr. Danzig went on to say “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”


But wait, there’s more! Danzig emphasized the need for change in our foreign policy, particularly towards the Middle East, by reading a paragraph from chapter one of the children’s classic, which says: “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down stairs. But sometimes he thinks there really is another way if only he could stop bumping a minute and think about it.”

If only things were that easy. If only life presented problems to us individually and as a nation that were one dimensional. This is a typical “Surrendercrat” response to dealing with hard foreign policy issues. Essentially Danzig is saying, in a surrogacy for Obama, when the going gets tough, bury your head a little deeper in the sand! This technique might pay off in aces and spades when one is personally dealing with, say, a local bully. But it smacks ineffectual when we are dealing with insane ideologues who are bent on our eradication from the planet’s surface. Danzig may want us to “re-evaluate” our strategy…to disengage and regroup. But we are dealing with folks who will gladly follow us in our retreat. And furthermore, they will strive to lay waste to our homeland cities and our lifestyles.

I for one prefer my foreign policy to be based on reality, not on the adventures of a fictional bear. And I question the competency and sanity of the proto-administration that would even put voice to such an idea. I’m also amazed that the national media didn’t pick up and tease out Mr. Danzig’s comments, as we all know they would had this commentary been made by, say, a Republican candidate’s surrogate. To me this media inattention portends that the Obama campaign has free rein to make inane and outlandish statements and proposals. This adoring media treatment is just as dangerous to our republic as the idea of Winne the Pooh being considered the definitive work of foreign policy.

The Obama campaign may be content in taking a cue from A.A. Milne’s fairy tale to set our future foreign policy. But this statement by Mr. Danzig makes me nervous in a way that I almost can’t explain when I think about a successful Obama candidacy.

All I can think is: What’s next? Will Obama look to Alice in Wonderland for his future military strategy?

In life’s situations, you pay your way. You go to the movies, you pay your ten bucks. You go to a restaurant, you pay your bill depending upon what you’ve eaten. You buy a vehicle, you pay the list price or dicker with the dealer for a lower price. The only place where the pay your way, pay as you go situation is abandoned is when it comes to the government and your income. You see, the government is enamored with percentages and taxes indexed to a person’s income. The government is a firm believer in a one-to-one relationship between an individual and their vote. But when it comes to income, the government has no problem taxing your neighbor X and you 10X if you make more money than your neighbor.

Why is this fair? Just because you may have more initiative, drive and pluck, and as a result make more money, why should you be required to pay more than your neighbors, your peers? The government should not be in a position to levy taxes on one individual to re-distribute those tax proceeds to another. It is forced charity, and it is wrong and immoral.

But Americans have become inured to having somebody else pull their weight for them. Few of us pay a tax burden commensurate with the benefits which we derive from the government. Sadly, it has become accepted practice for Americans to use their vote as a self-enrichment tool. We see this in the current presidential election campaign where candidate Obama wants “wealthy” citizens to pay more in payroll taxes, above the present $102,200 level. He wants wage earners making more than $250,000 to pay payroll taxes on earnings above this amount. Obama is short on details and specifics, but the implication of such a tax is a tremendous increase in funds entering the Federal coffers. Why should the government even consider raising taxes when there is clearly fraud, waste and over-spending in Federal outlays? Why should one person be required to pay a dime more in tax levy than another? These aren’t easy answers, and the general answer is that we wouldn’t be able to survive as a country without the “rich” paying most of the way for the remainder of Americans. If you think that the rich don’t already pay most of the taxes, then consider that the taxes that you pay won’t pay for tires and gas for a military Humvee for six months. Where does the rest of the money come from? FROM THE RICH!

But it’s easy to pander to the masses, especially where money is concerned. Hey, we’re all human. Who doesn’t want more, more, more? Who also doesn’t want tho have to pay for it? Politicians know this like they know how to breathe. But everyone seems to forget the other side of the equation — trimming spending, cutting waste and doing without. Seriously though, what politician is going to garner any following by preaching fiscal responsibility and a decrease in government spending? It would be akin to political suicide!

Playing up class divisions and inflaming petty jealousies works much better, so expect to see more of this tried-and-true vote harvesting technique. Hey, it’s not the candidate’s money…so promises to exact government-sponsored tax revenge on those rich bastards are a dime a dozen.

In the end, people need to smarten up to this rhetoric and class warfare drivel. Because today , it’s the other guy who is rich in the eyes of the government and in the promises of candidate Obama. Tomorrow…it could all be different and you might suddenly find yourself rich. Remember, richness has noting to do with money, it has to do with the promises made by zealous, socialist candidates willing to use you and your hard earned money as a means to accompish their political ambitions.

And don’t ever forget it!

I read an interesting news article today by Fredric J. Frommer of the Associated Press entitled “Black Conservatives Conflicted On Obama Campaign.” In it, the author interviews several prominent black conservative personalities from the worlds of politics and media. They were asked their opinion of Sen. Obama and if they would, as conservatives, consider voting for him. After reading the article, and the comments made by four of the men interviewed, I’m skeptical if any were ever truly conservative — or only self-proclaimed conservatives.

For example, radio commentator Armstrong Williams said that “I don’t necessarily like his policies; I don’t like much that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts me to really seriously think about it. I can honestly say I have no idea who I’m going to pull that lever for in November. And to me, that’s incredible.” For his part, former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts said that he is thinking about voting for Obama. He said he’s still a Republican, but he criticizes his party for neglecting the black community. Black Republicans, he said, have to concede that while they might not agree with Democrats on issues, at least that party reaches out to them.

Those comments don’t sound very conservative to me! But wait, there’s more!!

Retired General Colin Powell said both candidates are qualified and that he will not necessarily vote for the Republican, “I will vote for the individual I think that brings the best set of tools to the problems of 21st-century America and the 21st-century world regardless of party, regardless of anything else other than the most qualified candidate.” John McWhorter, senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a New York Sun columnist, said Obama’s Democratic Party victory “proves that while there still is some racism in the United States, there is not enough to matter in any serious manner. This is a watershed moment.” “Obama is probably more to the left than I would prefer on a lot of issues,” he adds. “But this issue of getting past race for real is such a wedge issue for me. And he is so intelligent, and I think he would be a perfectly competent president, that I’m for him. I want him to get in because, in a way, it will put me out of a job.”

Another set of dyed-in-the-wool conservatives heard from!

But there is hope that some conservatives, who also by the way are also black, don’t see race as enough of issue to abandon their deep-held political ideology.

For example, James T. Harris, a Milwaukee radio talk show host and public speaker, said he opposes Obama “with love in my heart. We are of the same generation. He’s African American and I’m an American of African descent. We both have lovely wives and beautiful children,” Harris said. “Other than that, we’ve got nothing in common. I hope he loses every state.” And Michael Steele, the Republican former lieutenant governor of Maryland said he is proud of Obama as a black man, but that “come November, I will do everything in my power to defeat him.” Electing Obama, he said, would not automatically solve the woes of the black community. “I think people who try to put this sort of messianic mantle on Barack’s nomination are a little bit misguided,” he said.

You know, I find it a bit disingenuous that so-called conservative former office holders like Colin Powell and J.C. Watts would abandon their ideological principals in favor of voting for a boutique candidate. If it isn’t readily apparent, then I’ll spell it out for you — the only reason that these men are even thinking of pulling the lever for Obama come November is because he is black. Period. The only reason that he’s getting serious consideration in this election from these men, and so many other black voters, is because he is black. Not because of ideas or ideals.

Obama’s political views border on ultra-socialist, and about as polar opposite as they can possibly be from those of a self-proclaimed conservative. It leaves me with a question: How do these men feel that Obama’s “blackness” will be a worthy substitute for his ideology? To me, there can be only one answer. They are, when the chips are down, abandoning their ideology in favor of racial bias. Can there be any other reason why these “conservatives” will jump ship and support someone whose ideology is distasteful to them?

I think I understand the situation perfectly — where blacks are put in the position to vote for somebody, anybody for president, because he is black. It is a win at any cost philosophy: But rather than based on political party, it is based on race. But we don’t vote for a person because of their race, at least in theory. We vote according to their platform and agenda, like we have in past elections. In politics, a person is either “R” or “D”, not black or white or yellow or brown.

I think John McWhorter is absolutely correct when he said that this is a watershed election. The watershed is the fact that a considerable number of black men will abandon their ideologies in favor of a candidate’s race. This is something that they may have been fighting against their entire lives if the shoe were on the other foot (racially speaking)…and when it mattered most, they caved in to their own racial biases.

Several years ago, just before the 2000 elections, I would have eagerly voted for J.C. Watts for president if I had been afforded the opportunity. I heard him speak at a Republican party convention and I was impressed with the man and his demeanor. It never happened…he was not nominated, but I would have been happy to eschew supporting a white candidate in favor of Mr. Watts. To me, he was the right man at the right time. But hearing his words about supporting Obama makes me think that he is just another political poseur who will say or do anything to get and stay elected.

These are not the folks we need running for office and they certainly are not men worthy of our future consideration as conservative Republican voters. Nor are they men who should speak in positions of prominence for my Republican party. We need candidates and leaders who will stick with the courage of their convictions, even if it means rejecting racially motivated politics.

Otherwise, I would suggest that they switch their party affiliation to Democrat and stop wasting our time posing as something that they apparently are not now nor will be in the future. They are not conservative and , by supporting Obama, they are certainly NOT Republicans!

I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that I am sick and tired of the representation that we get in our government, particularly in the Congress. The business of government has become corrupt and contemptible and our representatives ignore the will of their electorate in favor of wealthy and vocal special interests. Nothing brings this fact to light greater than the close held ban on oil drilling in certain areas of the US by members of the Congress. This ban is particularly galling at a time when gasoline costs over $4 per gallon and over 50% of Americans polled want the drilling ban lifted. The only reason that this ban is being maintained is due to the unbelievably strong influence of environmentalists and conservationists on our Congress men and women. But this isn’t surprising, as this is the way of things in Washington, D.C. — where the will and welfare of the people are often abandoned in order to placate influential special interest groups.

It makes me wonder if representative Democracy is a concept that has run its course. In the early days of our Republic and through the latter part twentieth century, citizens needed representatives to give voice to their will and concerns. In short, having an elected representative was a necessity. But due to the corruption and obvious disenfranchisement of so many voters in recent years, something must be done. Enter technology to give us that something else! With the dawn of personal computers and the Internet, citizens may be more engaged in their government than ever. In fact, they may be as engaged as they choose to be.

We now live in time when a person, an individual voter, could vote on actual issues before the Congress and put voice to THEIR opinion. If this is the case, we don’t need to eliminate the middle man (our elected representative), but we can exploit this technology to be more than just a means to feed back our outrage or support regarding a particular issue. For example, having a means to vote on a particular issue would give direct, unambiguous instruction to our elected representatives. It makes it less likely that the will of the people can be capriciously ignored. There would be a tremendous difference between being a participant in an opinion poll, as happens today, and being a voter on an issue where the result was a mandate to our representative.

Certainly there a lot of issues to be considered, but we are at a nadir point in our governance. We the people need to take back control of things and make our government more responsive to our needs and, more importantly, our wants. Being represented by self-important and mostly aloof congressmen and senators is tiring for the citizenry and unproductive for our country.

Maybe some thinking outside the old, tired and corrupt ways of Washington, D.C. could bring welcome change for our country. And perhaps it just might engage our citizens in a way not seen since the days of the Revolution!

Komodo Dragon!

If and when I get the urge to scuba dive, stay the hell away from Rinca and Komodo islands. Very far away!

It seems that 5 European divers were swept away from their underwater fauna sightseeing by the strong and unpredictable currents in the waters surrounding Tatawa island in Indonesia. These currents are so strong that they were swept more than 20 miles from the area of their original dive. And adding insult to injury they were carried into shark-infested waters.

But once they struggled with all their strength for 12 hours in the sea to get to the only dry land available, Rinca island, they came face-to-face with another fearsome predator. You see Rinca island, a palm studded erstwhile paradise, is home to the world’s largest carnivorous lizard, the Komodo dragon.

Luckily, they were able to drive off the reptiles with sticks and rocks. And after 12 hours of what I am sure was high anxiety on Rinca, they were subsequently rescued and brought to a hospital on Flores islands where they were being treated for dehydration.

I think I’ll get the Slip-N-Slide ready, thank you!

I was sitting here thinking about the whole global warming brouhaha, profusely sweating as we here in New England enter day two of a predicted heat wave. I’m almost tempted to think that maybe the anthropogenic global warming whiners might be onto something!

However, even thought I’m hot and bothered, I still can’t succumb to the thinking of the thermal cult that has co-opted the once skeptical and analytical scientific community. See, we now have legion scientists and analysts who derive their living from flogging scientific data in such a way that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are going, planet-wise, to hell in a hand basket. Do you think that any highly educated scientific-type worth his spreadsheet would jeopardize the lucrative business of gloom and doom in order to propagate the truth about the actual global temperatures? Not on your carbon credits they wouldn’t! So, we now have a chorus of climatological science castrati doing the back up singing for Al Gore and his magical (and in some places computer-generated) global warming death and destruction scenario. These folks are literally trapped in their conclusions now — how idiotic would some look after their fervent advocacy of a wrong theory? The answer is not very idiotic! Science is a discipline whose progress is borne of mistakes, and whose breakthroughs are the result of capitalizing on the mistakes of others. Mistakes are not bad; they are how we humans learn. But not admitting a mistake or covering it up for selfish or self-serving reasons is loathsome and contemptible.

You see, quietly behind the scenes, there is great consternation for climate “scientists” in trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for the following facts:

  • The Earth cooled for 38 years (1940-1978)
  • It warmed for 22 years (1978-2000)
  • It neither warmed nor cooled for 7 years (2000-2007)

This data throws the most gigantic of monkey wrenches into the theory that we will see a catastrophic rise in temperature as the amount of human-generated CO2 increases. Well, according to usage statistics, the amount of CO2 has steadily increased since the turn of the last century, yet we are presented with this temperature “stagnation” conundrum. In fact NASA and the vaunted Dr. James Hanson had to eat a little crow last year when they quietly revised Earth temperature data that had been incorrectly calculated. Rather than show that the year 1998 was the hottest in the Earth’s history for which records have been kept, it seems that 1934 has now captured this title. In fact, four of the hottest years in the top ten were experienced in the 1930′s (1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939), while only three were experienced in the last ten years (1998, 2006, 1999).

So, even though I’m sweating bullets and running up a fairly high fuel-surcharged electricity bill trying to stay cool, I just can’t bring myself to think that these temperatures are nothing more than just random events indicative of a dynamic, unpredictable Earth.

The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act was defeated with parliamentary maneuvering by Republican senators opposed to the plan.

Thank God!

This piece of legislation shows how dangerous a well-meaning governing body can be: The bill, if successfully passed into law, would essentially a gigantic climate tax. And contrary to claims declaring otherwise, it would have a lasting, negative effect on our economy and way(s) of life.

Czech president Vaclav Klaus was correct when he stated that “Communism has been replaced by the threat of an ambitious environmentalism.” You see, Klaus lived though the totalitarianism of Communism as a citizen in the former Czechoslovakia. And he has also witnessed striking parallels between the activist environmentalist movement (which he rightly terms a religion) and the Communist party. Environmentalism, like Communism, leaves few decisions to the individual. Instead, it relies on the state, the government, to mandate behaviors and expectations. In the end, the nanny state knows what’s best for it’s citizens.

I know this fight isn’t over. This bill will be dusted off next year when its author, Sen. Liberman, and the Democratic Senate leadership feel that a presumed increase in Democratic senators and a more willing president will assure its passage.

That’s too bad. Inasmuch as I feel that it is the pinnacle of man’s hubris to imagine that he can have a hand in altering the Earth’s temperature, it is similarly a hubris-filled exercise to try and correct, limit or legislate man’s activity in an attempt to reverse the assumed damage. I fear we all will be saddled with an onerous set of regulations and associated fines (a tax by any other name…), and these rules will never be able to be satisfied because we just won’t have the technology available to reduce our carbon emissions by 70% in the year 2050. I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.

Hopefully more evidence that man is not the source of global warming (if any exists) becomes available — evidence exonerating man is coming to light slowly but surely. And hopefully, the cocksure senators who absolutely believe in anthropogenic global warming come to revise their position(s). Otherwise, the effort to clean up our atmosphere will result in an upending of our economy and a change of living circumstances for a huge number of American citizens caught in the “environment trap”.

We and our contemporaries may suffer, but it will our children (and their heirs) who will really pay for this folly.

A lot of odes and laudatory words were used by fawning network anchors and political analysts last night to describe Sen. Barak Obama’s “achievement.” Although, according to my reckoning and the Democratic party rules, he is about a month and a half away from any firm codification of his actually securing the Democratic nomination for president. This will be done at the end of August in Denver at the DNC convention when the super delegates finally get a chance to declare their allegiance to him and cast their delegate vote for him. Or, maybe not!

This is why I find it premature and suspicious for the Democratic party to be so eager to get Sen. Clinton out of the nominating mix. And I also find the gravitational attraction between Obama and the MSM to be shameless! At this point in time, Obama is the presumptive nominee for the Democrats. He didn’t secure a fixed position for himself because of the tenacity, and perhaps the message, of Sen. Clinton. I don’t know about you but the word presumptive adds a tinge of uncertainty to his “victory” last night. In my opinion, it taints the messenger and his message, no doubt about it! If I were in the Democratic political uber-hierarchy, I would be just beyond concerned that their presumptive nominee didn’t (or perhaps better stated, couldn’t) secure wins in the states that are key in winning the presidency like NY, CA, PA FL, MI and OH. Sure, he was able to fire up the folks in the smaller southern states and a few smaller population northern states (where the vote totals and electoral counts are small.) But he was lacking in bringing his “message” of change (God help me, whatever that means) to the majority of the masses in those states whose votes counted the most (at least historically for a Democrat presidential nominee.)

So, as of today we transition into the end-game of the presidential election. We have on one side, the undisputed Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, who was able to secure his party’s nomination without problem during the primary election process. And, I remind you, without the aid of super whiz-bang delegates and the attendant fuzzy math! And side on the other we have Sen. Barak Obama, who has secured nothing at this moment except an ersatz nomination declaration by his leagues of MSM minions and cheerleaders, and of course the hierarchy of the party faithful.

I don’t particularly care for Sen. Clinton and her policies, but I’m disturbed and concerned that a viable candidacy like hers has been cast aside in the name of party politics — and what appears even more odious, identity politics. Regardless of what has been said to the contrary, his race trumped her gender — you heard this fact loud and clear in the declarations that last night was an “historic moment” because for the first time a major political party nominated a black man for the presidency. But unlike Obama, she did secure wins in those key states, and she demonstrated a momentum and strong finish at the end of the primary campaign. Perhaps the ONLY reason she is not the undisputed Democratic presidential nominee is due to the punishment and fuzzy math associated with the placation of the Michigan and Florida delegations. Who knows, that’s for history to decide.

But I do know that if the network and cable news anchors and talking-head analysts go too ga-ga over Obama, and paint his “victory” with too much praise and hyperbole, they are only further revealing themselves as the partisan shills that they genuinely are.

So I ask all of you to be careful and discerning in your selection process and ultimate choice of president in November. You will have a lot of help making this decision…as the MSM is already geared up and is applying grease to the right places in order to secure an Obama victory. But in the end, it is we…you…who will vote, and I pray that it is done on a majority individual basis with careful deliberations and not as a result of craven media hype.