On winning

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Filed Under General on May 21 

It’s taken me longer than times past to recover my willingness to engage in political discourse after the 2012 Presidential Election Cycle. I was honestly hopeful reason would prevail upon the American electorate and the collective would realize the fact the current administration had become an abject, unmitigated failure in every sense of the word. It was patently obvious to anyone who cared to look past the thin veneer of Team Obama that the President and everyone associated with him simply wasn’t up to the job of leading – let alone managing – the nation.

Election Day came and went and I was proven wrong. Americans, by and large, get the government they deserve. I don’t know what America did to deserve Team Obama, but it must’ve been some gigantic karmic cluster.

But I digress.

There are many reasons why Mitt Romney does not today occupy the Big Chair. Running against The One was always going to be an uphill battle even under the best of circumstances. Mitt needed a lot of help, and indeed a lot of luck, to run the table and send Obama back to Chicago, Hawaii, or wherever his Presidential Library is going to be. It was going to be hard enough fighting the liberal, left leaning Democratic Party and its publicity machine commonly known as the Main Stream Media.

What Mitt didn’t need, but got far too much of, was friendly fire. It came from all corners. Principal among the culprits were those hard-line, hard-right “conservatives” who constantly sniped at Mitt for not leaning far enough right for their liking. Yeah, I’m talking to the Paul-pods (both Ron and Rand) out there. You’re not helping the nation by publicly fighting an intra-party civil war while the rest of us are trying to win an election.

Right there with the friendly-fire people are the Tea-Party fueled whack-jobs who insist on drawing attention to themselves with asinine comments that give the MSM ammunition with which to attack the party’s standard bearer. Yes, I’m talking to you, Todd Akin. You took what was an eminently winnable Missouri senate race and pried defeat from the jaws of victory by introducing the concept of “legitimate rape” into a presidential campaign. Ditto Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Now we’re stuck with two hard left Democrats for six years. Thanks a lot guys. Please find your way to the political wilderness and don’t come back.

Now I realize the Tea Party comes from all sorts of pissed off Republicans and Libertarians who feel betrayed by the “establishment”. I also realize the vast majority of Tea Party people are not insane. That said, I have to look at the Tea Party track record. Tea Party candidates are the main reason why Dusty Harry Reid still controls the US Senate. Had the Republican party put forth more palatable candidates than Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell, we’d be looking at a dramatically different political landscape in DC.

Those, Dear Reader, are facts. Facts are stubborn things.

My point, and I do have one, is this: I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of seeing an incompetent President auger this nation into the ground with the help of a willing Senate and lapdog media. What’s more – I’m tired of my party shooting itself in the foot before the race even starts by a vocal minority demanding intellectual and political “purity” from candidates that make them unpalatable in a general election.

The Republican party needs to put forth candidates with the ability to win elections. If we don’t win elections we can’t govern. If the Tea Party is content to snipe from the sidelines as yet another  generation of left leaning progressives take the reins of power than it should continue to put forth the same caliber of candidates that it did in 2010 and 2012.

I’m heartened by the results of this week’s primaries in Kentucky and Georgia. Michael Barone – who has forgotten more about ground level politics than I will ever learn, looked at the results and said:

I think these Republican voters concluded that voting for candidates who stand up on chairs and yell, “Hell no!” would produce election results in which Republicans would lack the votes to do anything other than stand up on chairs and yell, “Hell no!”

Republican primary voters are casting their ballots in a way that suggests they’re trying to produce policy outcomes — in particular, repeal of Obamacare — and not just choosing the candidate who most colorfully articulates their anger and frustration: candidates who will sit down in their chairs and vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Winning elections is where the rubber meets the road. I’m all about winning now – mostly because the view from the mezzanine is getting pretty old.

Here endeth the lesson.

Whither Virginia?

By

Filed Under Races Off-Year on Nov 6 

When asked if he would run again after his 1989 primary loss, the late New York Mayor Ed “Hizzoner” Koch issued the immortal political indictment: “The people have spoken…And they must be punished.” The aftermath of Terry McAuliffe’s victory in Virginia’s single term governor’s race may well test de Maistre’s proposition that every nation [or Commonwealth] has the government it deserves.

Well, Virginia, I guess you deserve Terry McAuliffe as your Governor.

I thought that in Year 5 of Team Obama we in the Commonwealth would have learned the danger of electing an untried and obviously unqualified person to the office of the Chief Executive. Like Obama, McAuliffe has never held a job for which he was ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the enterprise.

His singular claim to fame is that he was Bill Clinton’s bag man when Bill and Hillary ran the show at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As chairman of the DNC his job was to raise money for the Democratic party. And raise money he did. He raised money early and often – and from every possible source both legal, not so legal, and downright illegal.  But Terry didn’t care. Money is money.

For a party that publicly decries the abundance of corporate money in the political sphere, Terry McAuliffe’s DNC shoveled money in every single door of the White House. You can say what you want about the influence of money on politicians, but to say that it has none is simply naïve. Let me share with you one story of how the not-so-legal money Terry raised now has real-world impact.

Way back in the late 1990s, Loral Space and Communications hired the Chinese to launch a few of their satellites into orbit. China used their “Long March” boosters to deliver the payloads – and at the time they weren’t very good at it. It’s important to know that the same technology used to launch satellites is also used to guide Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) on their mission to deliver nuclear warheads to far flung targets.

Bear in mind that Terry was the DNC Chief at the time and the DNC was raising money hand over fist. A good chunk of this ill-gotten booty came through now convicted felon Johnny Chung. Chung served as a conduit for a large money “donation” from China’s People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chaoying. Yes, I do know the DNC “returned” the money years afterwards. That said, it was still money raised illegally from a foreign national. It was illegal then. It’s illegal now. This happened under prolific fundraiser Terry McAuliffe’s watch. Again, to Terry, money is  money. The source doesn’t matter.

So, if you’re still reading this I’m sure you’re wondering “What’s your point, Cordeiro? What’s the real world impact of Terry’s prolific Chinese fundraising?”

Why thank you for asking.

Last week, China’s state run media released detailed information on the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s new submarine fleet. Along with this propaganda they also printed a map of the United States showing potential targets and the short and long term effects of radiation released from submarine launched ICBMs.

Remember that before Bill Clinton gave China ballistic missile technology, their rockets had a bad habit of exploding. Now the Chinese are openly threatening most of the United States with nuclear holocaust.

Think on that for a minute. Then remember that without Terry McAuliffe’s illicit campaign war chest building, Bill Clinton would have been a one-term failed President living out his retirement days in Little Rock.

So, Virginia, Bill Clinton’s bag man is now your Governor. It’s the first real job of any consequence he’s ever held. You, the people, have spoken. I sincerely hope your punishment isn’t as severe as America’s has been under Team Obama.

Because, hey, this was all about keeping birth control legal. Uh, huh. Yeah. Let me know how that works out for you.

Here endeth the lesson.

102 Minutes

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Filed Under Open Thread on Sep 11 

I’ve spent the past few days trying to put together a fitting tribute on this anniversary of September 11th. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I could only write something from my perspective on that day as mine is the only perspective of which I have first hand knowledge. You’ll find this post below the fold.

In the mean time, if you do nothing else today, take a look at this video…and remember.

It was a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. For me the day began much like most days did – finding me waging the battle of the bulge on a Nordic Track in the garage of my Los Angeles home. At 0530, I began my workout on that dreaded torture device with Blogfather Hugh’s morning radio show murmurings in the background.

Shortly after 0546 I heard Blogfather Hugh deviate from his normal morning routine as he began to make mention of a “tragedy in New York City”. He mentioned something about the World Trade Center having been evidently struck by a plane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pay much attention – it was after all well before sunrise and I wasn’t really awake yet. I finished my workout and wandered into the living room and turned on MSNBC a few minutes before 0600.

My verbal reaction to the image on the screen (something having to do with sanctified natural fertilizer) woke the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro who then came in to find out what the ruckus was about.

She rounded the hallway corner into the living room just seconds after 0603 – the moment in which United Flight 175, piloted by Marwan al-Shehhi, tilted its wings and impacted between floors 77 and 85 of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

We sat there and watched in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity. 34 minutes later, as NBC’s Jim Miklashevski reported live at the Pentagon, his entire desk shook as the building absorbed American Airlines Flight 77 as it the westernmost wall.

In the midst of all this I managed to ready myself to head for my office near LAX. As I was heading for the door at just before 0700, the unthinkable happened. There was a loud rumble, audible even to the cameras in the distance, and the South Tower collapsed upon itself like a folding telescope. Lower Manhattan disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and pulverized debris.

America was in a state of shock. New York City was in a state of panic. Unbeknownst to all but a few, two minutes earlier the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had decided to take action. Their own plane had been hijacked by the same band of Islamofacist Murdering Thugs responsible for the other hijacked airplanes.

Thirty-seven passengers and five crew members were herded into the aft section of the Boeing 757-200. The intentions of their hijackers soon became clear. Some passengers had made phone calls to friends and loved ones who informed them about the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. They looked at each other. They took a vote. They decided to rush the cockpit and attempt to reclaim the aircraft.

It is said that America’s strength is neither in her military nor in her treasure. America’s strength is in her citizens. Forty-two Americans, most of whom had not known each other prior to that morning, banded together and started to push the drink cart down the aisle to do battle with their captors. The final words anyone heard from these brave souls were those of Todd Beamer:

Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!

Six minutes later, United Flight 93 crashed nose first at 563 miles per hour into a reclaimed coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s counterattack in the War on Terror.

Having stopped for breakfast on my way to the office, I saw the North WTC Tower collapse upon itself at 0728. Though nobody knew it, at that moment the attack was over. When all the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, some 2,996 men, women, and children perished on that Tuesday morning in September.

From the time the American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower to the time that same tower collapsed down upon itself, a total of 102 minutes elapsed. Those 102 minutes would forever change America. For weeks after that day, Los Angeles radio station KFI ran a haunting one sentence reminder at various intervals during the day. On either side of the voiceover was about five seconds of dead air – just enough to get your attention. Then a voice stated:

It could have just as easily happened here.

Los Angeles is a geographical continent and cultural world away from New York and DC. Distance and culture notwithstanding, LA ground to a halt just like most metro areas. Businesses and schools shut down and parents like me were left wondering just exactly how to explain the events of that morning to our children.

My son Corderinho, then a three-year-old bundle of curiosity, was very concerned. You see at that time I traveled often for business and he would accompany the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro when she either dropped me off or picked me up at LAX. When I told Corderinho that some “bad men” had crashed the planes into those big building, he looked at me with the quivering lip unique to three-year-olds and asked:

Daddy, are there bad men on your planes?

No three-year-old should have to ask that question.

A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero. As I stood looking out over the 20 acre hole in the ground, I was approached by a Boston PBS station reporter who put a microphone in my face and asked me how I “felt”. My answer surprised the reporter:

I am still angry.

There were no follow up questions and I’m sure the interview got tossed in the corner of the cutting room floor.

I leave you today with a performance by Billy Joel at the Concert for New York City – an event held a few weeks after September 11. He wrote this song some thirty years ago as a science fiction song, but the lyrics are very prescient.

Count me among the handful.

The recent news cycle is replete with celebrations of the SCOTUS rulings on same-sex marriage. Activists on both sides of this very personal and contentious issue are either joyous or despondent depending on which side of the issue they find themselves.

I myself am sorrowed – but not for the reasons you might think. I see the frothing activists and sign-waving chanting protestors screaming at each other on the steps of the Supreme Court and wonder what has happened to this country. We have abandoned the legislative process for social change and replaced it with an ad-hoc random judicial circus which places the most important legal, social, and cultural issues of our times in the hands of nine unelected jurists. Four of them lean conservative. Four of them lean liberal. One man – Anthony Kennedy  – decides for a nation of 300 million people.

Yeah. That’s a recipe for disaster right there.

If you listen to the MSM, you’ll learn that the Supremes handed down two major rulings on same sex marriage yesterday. On one hand, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress and signed by none other than President William Jefferson Clinton, was declared invalid on its face. Fine. That’s very cut and dried. I’ll skip the news of Clinton celebrating the judicial invalidation of a law he signed because I’m simply tired of hypocrisy today.

The second ruling had to do with the very contentious amendment to the Constitution of the State of California known as Proposition 8. This ballot initiative was passed on the same ballot that elected Barack Obama to the Big Chair in 2008. 52% of California’s voters followed the law as laid out in the State Constitution and defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Thus the State Constitution was legally and lawfully amended by the citizens of that state.

You may not like that process. You may find those people who voted for that proposition to be bigots and homophobes and you may resent the enshrinement of what you consider to be bigotry in the State Constitution. You may believe you have the overwhelming majority of public opinion behind you in your belief. Fine. The bottom line is, in America the only poll that matters in defining the law is the one take on Election Day and when the votes were legally and lawfully counted your opinion was outnumbered.

Them’s the breaks. If you don’t like that, it’s up to you to garner enough votes to change the law with which you disagree.

That’s the way America works. Spare me the lectures on fairness, equality, and justice. The whole “Equal Justice Under Law” concepts applies to everybody – including those who hold an opinion different than yours. Under the Rule of Law this is how it works.

Unless you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown in 2010. When the Anti-Prop 8 crowd brought the much anticipated lawsuit against the implementation of Prop 8, Arnold and Jerry made the decision that the State of California would not defend the legally and lawfully passed amendment to the State Constitution. In other words, they simply up and decided to abdicate their constitutional duty to defend their State Constitution because they personally disagreed with the voice of the people.

Lest you doubt my reasoning in accusing Arnold of violating his oath of office, here’s what he swore to do when he ascended to California’s Big Chair:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.” (Emphasis Added)

The Governor is the State’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer. It is his job to enforce all the laws of the state – even those with which he personally disagrees. This duty is what separates our society from the arbitrary-ness associated with two-bit dictatorships everywhere else in the world. Arnold’s duty was to defend the law regardless of his personal opinion. Even people accused of the most heinous of crimes are afforded a competent defense by counsel at their trial. By abdicating this duty, Arnold put the 52% of California voters beneath even the lowest of criminals.

Because Arnold abdicated his constitutional duty, citizens of the State of California banded together to defend the legally and lawfully passed ballot initiative. When SCOTUS ruled on Proposition 8 yesterday, it did not decide the constitutionality of the issue. SCOTUS simply ruled that the citizens group did not have “standing” to defend the case. That duty, they said, is the exclusive domain of the state government.

This sets in quickly drying concrete a dangerous precedent – and where SCOTUS is concerned, precedent is important. While you may applaud the ruling on its face value, the devil is always in the details. Now a chief executive can simply decide for him/herself what laws they will choose to enforce and defend. Imagine for a moment a right leaning governor of a fictional state who – after reading this decision – decides that he will no longer enforce the legislative under-pinnings  of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision simply because he finds it unconstitutional. You may scoff at such a possibility but I bring it up only to illustrate the unforeseen penalties related to the Law of Unintended Consequences.

For the time being, proponents of same sex marriage are going to take their victory lap. I’m sure many a wedding will be planned and tens of thousands of ugly dresses will be purchased with promises that they can be tailored to fit any shape and of course can be re-used as evening wear next summer. Horrifically overpriced flowers will adorn inedible cakes and the Wedding Industrial Complex will get its own version of a custom made economic stimulus package. Go forth. Be happy. Good luck with all that.

Just remember that, in the end, how you get what you want is oft times more important that getting it. The newly blazed trail can, and most likely will, be used by someone else whose goals and objectives are diametrically opposed to your own. The next time a governor or state attorney general decides – in an arbitrary or capricious manner – to ignore the law of the land based solely on his personal beliefs, that law may well be one that personally affects you. The shoe will then be on the other proverbial foot as will all the other proverbs associated with that metaphor.

In the mean-time, cheers to the happy couples. Enjoy your cake and finger sandwiches.

Here endeth the lesson.

Partisan bullies

By

Filed Under Obama News on Jun 14 

I humbly point you to George Will’s latest prose despite the fact it resides on the website of the Washington Post. He’s done some digging and found that past behavior can often be used to predict future results and this is true in the case of the now infamous IRS executive Lois Lerner. Will’s research and facts are undeniable and he comes to this conclusion:

Lerner, it is prudent to assume, is one among thousands like her who infest the regulatory state. She is not just a bureaucratic bully and a slithering partisan. Now she also is a national security problem because she is contributing to a comprehensive distrust of government. (Emphasis added)

Read the whole thing.

Here endeth the lesson.

 

For those of you who still have not heeded The One’s admonition to learn a language other than English, I will condescend from my multi-lingual enlightenment and translate the post title for you mono-lingual knuckle-draggers. The phrase comes from the medieval Latin and is roughly translated to “Who watches the Watchmen?”

Someplace in Hong Kong, there’s a 29 year old punk who has made international headlines with an allegedly revelatory scandal claiming that the United States Government has set up an enormous digital Hoover vacuum which is currently sucking up phone records for every man, woman, and child making calls in the United States. Some people are (rightly or wrongly) outraged that the government of the Land of the Free would engage in such activity.

You may be outraged at the enormous trove of electronic information absorbed by the guys and gals over at Fort Meade  – home of the National Security Agency. What you shouldn’t be is surprised.

Only the truly naïve can believe cyber-space is not a front in the Global War on Terror. Yes, Dear Reader, there is still a war going on and most of it takes place in the digital realm. This realm knows no geographical boundaries and there are few laws governing activity therein. Were the United States Government not using any and every available asset to fight this digital war, We the People would be justifiably irate with said government because government’s first role is to protect its people.

There are those who get their unmentionables in a Gordian knot when they think about this kind of thing. Some years ago I commented on Naomi Wolf’s “Hot Molten Crazy” Huff Po meltdown. I haven’t heard much from her since. I assume she’s coated  the inside of her apartment with tin foil to keep the government mind control rays at bay.

The bottom line here is the majority of Americans live very boring lives and the NSA doesn’t have the time, interest, or inclination to dig through your emails to your Aunt Ethel asking her for the secret family fruitcake recipe.

Perhaps I am in the minority, but I want my government to be good at spying. I echo the declaration of the great American philosopher Dennis Miller when he admonished then DHS Secretary Tom Ridge:

Look, Tommy, I don’t care if you’re gonna spy on me, but if you do, just do a good job. I don’t want to hear you breathing on the other end of the phone!

The problem we as a country face now is we no longer trust the watchers of the Watchmen. The Obama Administration has become over run with ideologically driven bureaucrats who feel duty bound to enact in policy what they hear their President declare from the Bully Pulpit. If you can find me a more palatable reason behind the IRS “conservative group” targeting scandal I’d really like to hear it. The same can be said for PFC Bradley Manning and Wikileaks and the Edward Snowden and the current NSA debacle.

Say what you want about the W Administration’s failings but I dare you to find an example where the full force of the United States Government was brought to bear on private citizens in a manner similar to that employed by the IRS and other executive branch agencies against organizations and people whose politics are opposed to the sitting President.

I believe President Obama’s lasting legacy will not be one of fundamental transformation. It will be something far less illustrious. Obama has taken a country whose distrust of government was already encoded in its DNA and exacerbated it to the point that few people with trust government to fulfill its fundamental mission to protect its citizenry.

There is an old adage that political process is much like that of making hot dogs. You never really want to see either process in its entirety. The same can be said for the process of gathering, analyzing, and exploiting intelligence data and information. You really don’t want to know how it’s gathered or where it came from. You only want to know those who engage in it have the best interests of the country at heart and will use that information to defend the country and kill bad guys. The Obama Administration, by its willingness to exploit private information for political gain has given Americans reason to distrust those charged with watching the Watchmen.

That, Dear Reader, is a consequence for which We the People will pay a hefty toll for a very long time.

Here endeth the lesson.

From the boys over at PowerLine. File this one under “Things that make you go ‘Hmmmmmmm’….”

There is an old joke about communism muses about what would happen if the desert ever became communist. The answer is, “nothing for a while, and then there would be a shortage of sand.”  Communism and Socialism have failed spectacularly every single place they’ve been implemented and yet there remains a school of thought that government can run economies better than markets can.

Today’s example of a failed government command economy is found in Venezuela. This Latin American country sits on vast reserves of one of the hottest commodities in the world right now – Oil. The world runs on oil. Demand for this commodity causes people to go literally to the ends of the earth in search of it. Find yourself a patch of oil to sell and there will be buyers lining up at your door with barrels.

So, one would think that a country sitting on such wealth would have enough cash to provide basic necessities for its population. I don’t know about you, but one thing I never buy off the discount rack or bottom shelf is toilet paper. It’s a basic necessity of life. TP is right up there with alcohol, cigarettes, and booze in the hierarchy of things to hoard in the coming Zombie Apocalypse.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, Venezuela. There’s a nationwide shortage of toilet paper. That’s right, Dear Reader. Toilet paper.

The laws of supply and demand are not subject to the whims of government price controls. I submit that the demand for toilet paper is about as elastic as a steel rod. People want what they need and they need toilet paper in Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro, successor to Hugo Chavez, is now getting a lesson in basic economics. He blames “anti-government forces, including the private sector” for causing the shortages in an effort to destabilize the country.

Sound familiar?

Holder behaving badly

By

Filed Under Congress on May 15 

Somedays I almost feel sorry for Attorney General Eric Holder. Then I remember that he’s Eric Holder and the feeling quickly goes away.

One of the myriad responsibilities of the head of an executive branch agency is that of going up to Capitol Hill and explaining your agencies conduct – or mis-conduct as the case may be – to the people who pay the bills. Those people are commonly referred to as the US Congress. I believe it was the late William Buckley who mused that he’d rather be governed by the first 535 names in the phone book than by the US Congress, but as that’s the system we have we get to live with the Congress we have.

One of the main complaints I hear emanating from the White House is that about the increasing coarseness of political discourse. As a student of history I dismiss this complaint as unfounded. That said, one would expect those representing the Executive Branch to set an example of class and good behavior when on the political stage.

Unless you’re Eric Holder.

Today Mr. Holder took his seat before Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). His job  there was to answer questions posed by the committee. Sometimes these exchanges can get quite heated and today was no exception. Issa took the opportunity to lambaste Holder for the Department of Justice’s penchant for ” purposely and repeatedly keeping information from Congress.” Bear in mind that this assertion is not in dispute. The DOJ’s cooperation in regards to the Fast and Furious scandal has been nothing short of reprehensible – and that’s just one example of many.

Now, instead of taking his licks like a man, Holder let loose with a personal attack the likes of which I cannot remember. Said the sitting Attorney General to Chairman Issa:

No, that’s what you typically do. That is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It’s unacceptable and it’s shameful. (Video Link)

Say what you want about Issa, the man took a shot at the head of an executive branch agency about the behavior of the agency. That’s a Congressman engaging in congressional oversight of the Executive Branch. That is his duty as a member of Congress. Holder’s job is to answer for the actions of his agency. Instead of doing that he attacked the committee chairman on a personal level.

Eric Holder is not charged with being the arbiter of what is “inappropriate”, “unacceptable”, or “shameful” with regards to the US Congress. He is charged with running the Department of Justice in an appropriate and acceptable manner – something he has yet to do.

It is an absolute failure of leadership that this man continues to hold the title of America’s chief law enforcement officer. Do I expect the President of the United States to hold the Attorney General responsible for his disrespectful actions on Capitol Hill? No. if past behavior is indicative future actions, Obama will find out about this next week on the evening news.

In the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s rock and roll hair band era, Guns ‘N Roses blazed a trail of musical genius and behavioral debauchery matched by few and survived by even less. The exploits of Axl Rose, Slash, and Company made for endless tabloid fodder at each and every destination on a series of world tours.

In November of 1991, it was announced that GnR guitarist Izzy Stradlin had “left the band”. While conflicting accounts exist as to the reasons behind this exodus, the event did cause noted American philosopher Dennis Miller to wonder what exactly a guy had to do to get kicked out of Guns ‘N Roses. (WARNING – the Miller standup routine is not safe for work, children, or those of the fragile eardrum persuasion.)

I was reminded of Izzy’s exodus when I read of the numerous accounts of Russian intelligence services (KGB, GRU, etc) repeatedly contacting their CIA and FBI counterparts to warn them of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s status as a potentially radicalized Islamic terrorist.

One of the most prevalent arguments about what was missed in the build-up to 9/11 was the stark realization that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of the United States government failed to “connect the dots” required to get a picture of a potential attack before it happened. Promises were made to close this gap. The Chinese wall between the CIA and FBI was allegedly torn down in order to facilitate information sharing amongst sister agencies. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, we have Russians telling us Tsarnaev is a bad dude worthy of watching. Here’s my question: how bad of a reputation does a guy have to earn in order for the Russian intelligence services to deem him worthy of passing on to the CIA/FBI? I’m not an expert in internal Russian conflicts, but I can hazard a guess that Tsarnaev was a problem child in Russia too.

It would be different if this was the first time the US had missed a warning about a specific individual who subsequently carried out a terrorist attack on American soil. Anyone remember Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab? Oh, yeah. His father dimed him out to the US Embassy in Abuja about one month before he lit his shorts on fire in an attempt to bring down a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Eve 2009.

To be ignorant of a threat because of a lack of knowledge is excusable. To be ignorant of that same threat despite a wealth of indications and warnings cannot be excused under any circumstances. To paraphrase an adage from the Revolutionary War, “Learn Or Die”.

This picture literally cries out for a caption contest.

The big news on Capitol Hill today is the Toomey-Manchin “deal” on background checks for gun purchases. Whether or not this “deal” will actually become law is anyone’s guess. Personally I believe the “deal” will follow the Shakespearian path in that it will be full of sound and fury but end up signifying a bit less than nothing at all.

You see, Dear Reader, the debate fueled by the Sandy Hook tragedy has very little to do with firearms or how many bullets can be jammed into a magazine. No legislation – pending or otherwise – will or can do anything to prevent similar violent acts from being visited upon similar people in similar places. The fact of the matter is the condition which drove Adam Lanza to commit 26 murders won’t show up on any background check contained in any gun-control legislation – pending or enacted.

Simply put,  Adam Lanza was crazy. James Holmes lives in Looneyville. So does Seung-Hui Cho. Ditto Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The type and scope of the various strains of mental illnesses which afflicted the aforementioned individuals can be argued. The fact they were insane is not in question.

We’ve come a long way as a society in the way we treat the mentally ill. Great strides have been in medical science which enables people previously remanded to institutions to live productive lives in society – as long as they take their medications and refill them as required. There is no mechanism in place to force these people to remain medicated. Advocates of mainstreaming would object to such a mechanism and they would be right to do so. Never the less, the fact is that mentally ill people with violent tendencies pose a danger to themselves and those around them. No amount of gun control or ammunition limits is going to change that.

I do not put myself out as one having an answer to these questions. That said, the current debate is focusing on the wrong issues. I’m tired of a President using recently buried children as a platform from which to launch an anti-firearm agenda which he and his party have been pursing for years. His shameless use of a tragedy for political gain borders on the obscene.

Above all else I wish my President would tackle the underlying cause of the Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Colorado shootings and show some actual leadership rather than falling back to his default setting. Gun-control is a safe issue for him to campaign on. Mental health issues? Not so much. Does anyone know if crazy is covered under Obamacare? I doubt it.

Here’s the bottom line: Obama and Company can pass all the gun control legislation they want. They can ban all the “assault weapons” on their list. They can limit ammunition to single shot magazines. All this won’t do a damn thing to prevent the next Lanza from shooting up a school full of kids. Unless and until the crazy is dealt with, dealing with guns won’t matter at all.

Can this man go anywhere without a TelePrompTer?

What’s your best caption for this photo?

The annals of governors who have left office under skeptical circumstances are replete with sordid tales of crime, corruption, and shall we say “dalliances”. It seems as though the Federal Government has designated a suite of cells in the federal prison system reserved specifically for use by the Governor of Illinois. No, I’m not kidding. Four of the last seven have left office and gone to the Big House.

Again, I digress.

There is a chapter dedicated to former Palmetto State Governor Mark Sanford. While he didn’t follow the Illinois tradition, his exit from South Carolina’s Big Chair was just as dramatic. He told his family and staff he was going to “hike the Appalachian trail”. Little did anyone know, but Sanford’s idea of a stroll through the hills consisted of hopping a flight to Buenos Aires and going off the grid for seven days.

I’m not going to criticize Sanford’s personal decisions. His choices are his own and he’s responsible for them. Having said that, one of the things a man gives up when he sits in the Big Chair is the personal freedom to drop everything and disappear for a week. When you’re the Governor, people have to know where you are – it’s just part of the job. Don’t like giving up that much of your personal privacy? Tough. Steer clear of high public office.

One would think that Sanford would have the good sense to know his time in the sun had ended. Perhaps he could go write a book. Maybe he could set up a half-way house for newly paroled Illinois governors. Ride herd on the cattle drives on the rolling pampas of Argentina. Surely he could find something to do with the rest of his life.

No, Dear Reader. He’s not capable of that. It seems that politics is all he knows and so now he’s gone and won the Republican primary  for  the first congressional district of South Carolina – a seat he held prior to his run for Governor. He’ll face Elizabeth Colbert Busch (yes, Stephen’s sister) in the upcoming special election to fill the seat vacated by Tim Scott’s appointment to the Senate.

Sigh.

 I’m sorry, Dear Reader, but I’m wondering what is wrong with the Republican party – specifically those in South Carolina who saw fit to rally to this guy’s banner. Is there no one else to be found in South Carolina’s first district other than a disgraced former governor who could run for this seat? Colbert-Busch promised:

I look forward to a vigorous campaign that focuses on creating jobs, balancing our country’s budget and choosing an independent-minded leader who shares the values of the great people of South Carolina.

With due respect to Stephen’s sister, I’ve been watching politics long enough to know this race will focus on Sanford’s disappearance and every little detail about it and his new fiancée rather than anything having to do with jobs, budget, or values.

This was a safe seat that could have been easily won by someone without Sanford’s steamer trunks full of lead baggage. Thanks a lot South Carolina.

I should probably preface this post by placing the blame for its inspiration squarely on the shoulders of one current and one former member of the White House Press Corps. The current Press Corps member is none other than CBS News’ Mark Knoller. He has a very interesting Twitter feed (@markknoller) and tweets out some interesting details about White House life not found anywhere else. If President Obama sneaks out to Five Guys for a bacon double-cheeseburger, Mark will know what he topped it with. He’ll also keep you posted on the guest list for most any state dinner. I suspect Mark to be a closet “foodie” but again I digress.

The second (and former) White House Press Corps member is CNN’s latest addition to its fledgling political staff and former ABC Newsman Jake Tapper. Jake’s contribution to this post is what I believe to be the single best book written about the Afghanistan war entitled The Outpost.

This is not a book to be read, but rather an intensely detailed experience to be endured. It does not have a happy ending and the story he relates about this American outpost beats the reader about the head and shoulders.

Tapper relates the story of several injured soldiers whose wounds required them to be medically evacuated to field hospitals. Often these soldiers were then flown to Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where the heroic medical staff works around the clock trying to save the lives of these American heroes.  Many lives are saved at this facility. Far too many are not as fortunate.

I’m sure I’ve confused you by now as to the point of this post. Rest assured, Dear Reader, I do have a point.

In the past six months President Obama has boarded Air Force One for trips overseas which offered him the opportunity of refueling the Boeing 747 at Germany’s Ramstein Air Force Base. On November 12, 2012, Mark Knoller reported:

Air Force One done refueling at Ramstein and now on final 10hr leg of trip to Thailand. Pres Obama stayed on the plane. (Emphasis added)

And, just this past Saturday Knoller again took to Twitter to report:

After 11hr 36min flight, Pres Obama back from his Mideast trip. Flight home from Amman was 5,935 miles. Refueling stop in Germany bypassed. (Emphasis added)

Here’s my point. The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. In my humble opinion, this job is far and away the most important role of that office. It brings with it a responsibility unique to the relationship between a commander and his (or her) troops. Ramstein Air Force Base is but five kilometers from the Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center. The very least the Commander in Chief could do would be to take time out from his golf game, state dinner, fundraiser, or campaign event schedule and pay a visit to those who have given so much in the service of their nation.

He is, after all, the President of the United States. Air Force One goes where he says, stops where he says, and takes off when he says. It’s not like the plane is going to leave without him.

Perhaps I’m being small and petty. If I am, blame Tapper, Knoller, and Twitter.

 

Well, Dear Reader, this coming Thursday marks the end of the world. Forget the phony Mayan Apocalypse. Sequestration is coming. Yeah, that’s a big word and nobody seems to actually know what it means. I’d say its unprecedented when truthfully it’s really inconceivable.

The One refers to the “sequestration” cuts as a “meat cleaver”   approach to trimming the budget. While this may be true, let’s also remember that this whole meat cleaver idea was hatched in The One’s brainpan. It was his dizzying intellect that came up with this idea. Had he not put his pen to paper on the bill that became law with his signature, his government would not be in this situation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this country has operated without an annual budget for the entire administration of Barack Obama. His government has run TRILLION dollar deficits every single day of its existence and projects to run those same deficits for as far as futurists care to predict. Here’s the biggest joke: even with the “sequestration” meat cleaver, the Federal Government will spend more money this year than it did last year. Don’t take my word for it, the big brained people over at George Mason University have run the numbers.

But, never mind the facts and figures. At midnight on Thursday the world will stop spinning on its axis and everything and everyone will be hurled into space. Mayan Apocalypse? Hell, ancient predictions of fire and brimstone ain’t got nothin’ on big bad Sequestration.  Here’s a preview of The One’s upcoming press conference:

The aftermath of a resounding political defeat is usually a time for introspection and recalibration on the part of the defeated. Now that the parade confetti and inaugural ball party streamers have made their way to beltway area landfills, what’s left of the Republican party has drawn their six-shooters and begun to engage in the traditional post-election circular firing squad.

The most recent entry into this circle exercise is none other than former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (hereafter referred to as Mr. Newt). His current target is none other than the Sith Lord Karl Rove and his Conservative Victory Project (CVC). Evidently Mr. Newt is upset at Rove’s attempt to “bounce” GOP candidates who don’t have a prayer of winning a general election.

Having said that, I feel the need to bring up the fact that Mr. Newt left electoral politics when he resigned the Speakership in 1998 and unceremoniously exited the House of Representatives in 1999. His performance in the 2012 Race for the Oval is memorable only for his discussion of Moon bases. Were it not for his billionaire bankroller, it’s doubtful he would have survived past his first primary defeat.

Love him or hate him, Sith Lord Rove has a pretty good track record when it comes to engineering electoral victory on a national stage. He is largely credited as “the architect” of W’s 2004 presidential victory over the current Secretary of State, John “Lurch” Kerry. 

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Calling Dusty Harry’s Bluff

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Filed Under POTUS on Aug 2 

Dusty Harry has taken it upon himself to carry 55 gallon drums of water for the current democratic party attack meme that Mitt Romney is hiding something deep within the dark recesses of his past tax returns. Rather than accept the fact that Mitt made more money before breakfast today than Dusty Harry will make in a lifetime, Dusty Harry has decided to start the rumor that Mitt is hiding the secret that he in fact paid no taxes at all over the past decade.

And the source for Dusty Harry’s accusation? Well, on Tuesday Dusty Harry cited a “Bain Capital Investor” who allegedly called Dusty Harry and told him Mitt “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years”. Today Dusty Harry went on the floor of the US Senate and doubled down. Said Harry:

The word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t. (Emphasis Added)

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Last year I had a few opportunities to navigate the highway maze that is Houston in the great state of Texas. Were it not for my trusty Garmin Nuvi I would still be trying to find my way out of that labyrinth. One day as I was driving along a Houston freeway I came across a billboard advertising legal help to anyone who had been the victim of “mistaken identity”. All anyone need do when faced with this problem is call the catchy phone number 713 WASNTME.
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