Saturday, October 26, 2013

"This Could Give Sarah's Visits To Shake Hands At Construction Sites A Whole New Spin...."

She serves a purpose.

But not the purpose she purports.

 (CNN) -- The Republican establishment can't stand her. The media mocks her. But Sarah Palin isn't going anywhere.
Far from it.
After laying low for much of this year, Palin is gingerly stepping back into the public arena with a national book tour, a trip to the always-important political state of Iowa, and an eye on making yet another series of splashy endorsements in a variety of competitive Republican primaries.
Five years after rocketing from Alaska obscurity to worldwide fame, Palin wants to be a political player in 2014.
Which raises the question: Does she still matter?
"She is the most important endorsement in Republican politics today, by far," said Sal Russo, a Republican consultant who co-founded the Tea Party Express, a group that has booked Palin to speak at numerous public events dating back to the 2010 midterm cycle. "She can move the needle in a primary more than anyone else can."
Her detractors see things differently.
After flirting with a presidential bid and stirring up a tidal wave of media attention in the run-up to the 2012 Iowa caucuses, with a slew of punchy speeches and a madcap bus tour of historical sites along the East Coast, Palin eventually decided to pass on a shot at the White House.
When her presidential potential evaporated, a number of Republicans said, so did her relevance.
"I don't think that she has the juice that she had four years ago, I really don't," said Katon Dawson, a GOP fundraiser in South Carolina who runs a Super PAC backing Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the Senate's batch of endangered old guard Republicans up for re-election in 2014. "She does have a following and when she speaks, people listen. I just don't know if that voice is as loud or as important as it used to be."
Dawson said he gives Palin "credit for monetizing her run for vice president," a backhanded compliment that appropriately sums up the feelings of eye-rolling GOP professionals everywhere, who wish she would disappear back into the frigid wilderness of the Last Frontier.
Palin's standing as a serious political figure, already tenuous, has seemingly been in decline ever since she decided not to run for president and saw conservatives sidelined as Mitt Romney captured the Republican nomination, only to lose to President Barack Obama.
In reporting her upcoming speech to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition on November 9, The Des Moines Register this month described her on first reference as "conservative pundit Sarah Palin," rather than the honorifics usually bestowed on her, "former vice presidential candidate" and "former Alaska governor."
Contributions to her political action committee, Sarah PAC, tapered off after she passed on a presidential bid. Earlier this year, she publicly parted ways with Fox News, where she had been employed as a paid analyst since 2010 (she re-joined the network five months later).
Palin hasn't been completely absent from politics in 2013. She issued a range of political pronouncements on her Facebook page, attacking President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, taking particular umbrage at their efforts to scale back gun rights. And in March, she delivered one of the more well-received speeches at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
But she has devoted much of her energies this year to a Christmas-themed book, "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas," that will release in November and launch her on a multicity book tour through states like Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona (the promotional tour also offers her a loophole to appear on other television networks).
It was the 16-day partial government shutdown, a fight sparked by Republican-led efforts to dismantle Obama's Affordable Care Act, that energized Palin once again, those around her say.
She has been impressed, one Palin aide said, by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, two tea party stalwarts who helped orchestrate the defund-Obamacare movement that led to the shutdown and set off a new round of establishment-versus-grassroots warfare inside the Republican Party.
"There is a need to step up now," said one Palin aide who declined to go on the record like most people around her usually do. "She steps up when she sees there is a need. She sees the fire that Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have started."
Palin opened the door last week to helping unseat Graham in South Carolina and a number of other incumbent Republicans, including Sen. Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Lamar Alexander in Tennessee. 
"We're going to shake things up in 2014," Palin wrote on Facebook, still her preferred public megaphone. "Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let's start with Kentucky -- which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi -- from sea to shining sea we will not give up. We've only just begun to fight."
The post, which was "liked" by more than 31,000 of her followers, was rapidly picked up by a range of conservative websites. Palin's small circle of advisers received an uptick in their usual flood of speaking requests, one adviser said, including from some of the insurgent conservative candidates running for Senate.
One of those who reached out was Chris McDaniel, a state senator from Mississippi gunning to take out six-term Sen. Thad Cochran, a low-key but powerful member of the upper chamber who has served in Washington for more than three decades. McDaniel has already been endorsed by three conservative outfits, the Club For Growth, the Madison Project and the Senate Conservatives Fund, hungry to unseat Cochran.
McDaniel said Palin's endorsement, if it comes, would be an unquestionable boon, especially in a deep red state like Mississippi, where GOP primaries are dominated by a small-but-motivated base electorate. Even during the high-profile Republican presidential primary of 2012, only about 300,000 people cast ballots. That's in a state with nearly 2 million registered voters.
"Sarah Palin understands that there is a movement out there of good conservatives and just regular people," McDaniel told CNN. "She taps into that. We would absolutely welcome her."
Palin's ability to propel tea party-aligned candidates into office was a well-documented phenomenon in 2010, when she endorsed over 60 Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates, the majority of whom won. Her midterm travels even inspired The Washington Post to launch a "Palin Endorsements Tracker," complete with clickable audio of a growling grizzly bear, an homage to her self-styled "Mama Grizzly" image.
Though Palin's political action committee, Sarah PAC, doled out contributions to her favored candidates, her endorsements bring more than just hard dollars.
When Palin showed up in South Carolina to endorse Nikki Haley during her 2010 gubernatorial primary, a race Haley went on to win, a Republican working for a rival campaign calculated that the event generated "over a million dollars" in television and radio coverage.
"There was absolutely no way when that endorsement came down to break through the news cycle," the Republican said of Palin. "It was an earned media blowtorch."
Palin's star was burning much hotter in 2010 than it is today, but she demonstrated similar clout last year in Nebraska's three-way Republican Senate primary -- and she did so without even traveling to corn country.
In that race, establishment figures had lined up behind attorney general Jon Bruning, while outside conservative groups like FreedomWorks and the Club For Growth backed state treasurer Don Stenberg, who also had the backing of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
But Palin jumped in the race late and got behind Deb Fischer, a little-known state legislator, pushing her over the finish line and stunning the political class in Washington. Fischer coasted to a win in November and is now a United States senator.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call described the Palin endorsement as "an adrenaline shot six days before the GOP primary." Fischer's campaign manager, Aaron Trost, said Palin helped them "dictate the tempo of the last week of the campaign." All Palin did was post a statement of support online.
"Before she endorsed we were down four points, within the margin of error and coming up slightly, and then all of a sudden the narrative changed and we dominated the news cycle," Trost said. "People who underestimate the power of her endorsement are going to be really sorry. People that write her off don't understand Republican primaries."
Given the tea party's toxic national brand -- only 31% of Americans had a favorable view of the conservative movement in a recent CNN poll -- Palin's sway is almost certainly limited to Republican primaries.
Earlier this month, Palin campaigned on behalf of New Jersey Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who ultimately fell to Democrat Cory Booker in last week's special election.
Like few Republicans can, she attracted thousands of fired-up, flag-waving conservatives to an out-of-the-way motor speedway in the middle of the state, but Democrats were equally pumped to welcome the polarizing Palin to the Garden State. "Sarah Palin's endorsing Lonegan thrills both parties," read one headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Still, Palin continues to wield great influence among grassroots conservatives, Trost argued, especially in Republican primaries in right-leaning states like Nebraska, where winning a primary all-but-guarantees a general election victory over token Democratic opposition. About 200,000 people participated in last year's Nebraska Senate primary, and Fischer essentially won a Senate seat with barely 80,000 votes.
"People forget about this sometimes, but because Sarah Palin has a child with Down syndrome, a lot of people in the pro-life community view her as not just talking the talk about pro-life but walking the walk," Trost said. "Social issues play a big factor in a low turnout Republican primary."
Despite Palin's veiled threat to campaign against veteran senators like McConnell, Cochran, Alexander and Graham, her endorsement history reveals a preference for dabbling in open primaries, rather than endorsing challengers over incumbents.
There's also the fact that each of those senators has a long-standing relationship with her former ticket-mate and political patron from 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom she continues to hold in high esteem, people close to her say. As for Graham, one of McCain's closest pals, Palin donated $1,000 to his 2014 re-election campaign through her PAC back in 2009.
At the same time, Palin is now aligning herself with members of the tea party's uncompromising new guard, especially Cruz, who has made plain his distaste for old bull Senate leadership.
Palin's relationship with Cruz dates to last year, when she endorsed him during his underdog Republican primary bid in 2012. It was Cruz who introduced Palin when she spoke at CPAC in March.
During the shutdown, Palin and her husband Todd traveled to Washington to appear with Cruz and Lee at a rally to re-open the temporarily shuttered World War II memorial.
The conservative quartet later joined up with Cruz's wife for lunch at Hill Country Barbecue, a casual downtown Washington restaurant known for its brisket.
Chip Roy, Cruz's chief-of-staff, said Palin and the senator were often in communication during the shutdown, he said he expects their back-and-forth to continue into the midterm cycle.
"There is enormous respect between the two, and there is increasing communication between the offices," Roy told CNN. "As the year has progressed, I think Palin has been pretty simpatico with what Sen. Cruz and Sen. Lee have been trying to accomplish over the last year, fighting these debates, talking to the American people and challenging the status quo."
Page after page could be written debating the virtue/vice nature of Palin's political presence.
Around here, we enjoy getting to the chase cutting part of things.
If credit must be given at all, then let it be that Palin's participation ,at worst, serves the purpose of giving us a clear cut vision of what to avoid when making the serious choice in 2016 and, at best, keeps the discussion and debate fires burning.
In much the same way as, for example, Miley Cyrus's antics keep the discussion about boundaries in entertainment alive and kicking.
Ironically, South Carolina's Katon Dawson's comments might arguably be applied to either or both the stumper and the singer.
"She does have a following and when she speaks, people listen. I just don't know if that voice is as loud or as important as it used to be."
Put into a different perspective, it goes like this.
At this writing, Sarah Palin can claim just shy of four million people who have indicated that they "like" what they see on Mama Grizzly's Facebook page.
While over thirty two million people have indicated the same "like" for Miley Cyrus.
And though they are separated by a twenty eight million Facebook friend margin and walk, technically, two different professional paths, there is one quality they share equally, as expressed by the proverbial conventional wisdom.
They're a joke.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"...Oh, Look, Honey...The Republicans Have Put Their Candidate Back Out On The Street Again..."

Attention Shirley Ellis.

Opportunity knocks.

The talented soulstress who gave us 1965' top 5 hit, "The Name Game" would probably rocket back to the top of the charts were she to record a little updated version of her classic, adjusted for what's going on inside the Beltway these here days.

"The Blame Game..........

....let's do Obama........Obama, bama, bo bama, banana fana fo fama, fee fi mo mama, Obama......a little bit with Boehner....Boehner, ainer, bo boehner, banana fana fo fainer, fee fi mo mainer, Boehner...."

and so on.

Pick the applicable recipient of your individual wrath and Shirley away.

The various partisan panel news shows seem to have all settled into a comfortable, and consistent, groove.

The Democrats support Obama and disagree, even dispute, what the Republicans are all about.

The Republicans hate Obama and disdain anyone who doesn't share their hatred.

Liberals would like to see Obama cut a little more slack.

Conservatives would like to see Obama impeached.

Or worse.

Here's a thing, though.

While I do, sincerely, understand, intellectually, the frustration of the Republican party at their inability to make good on their public stated vow to spend the years 2009 through 2016 laser focused on the single goal of thwarting anything and everything that Barack Obama stands for, I have come to realize, through long hours of listening to the Fox News pontificators and thoughtful reflection upon said pontificating, a basic, inevitable truth.

The Republican Party has ,in absolute fairness, no one to blame for all of this but themselves.

And here's a little why to go with the who dun it.

The 2012 presidential election brought to a close the first term of Barack Obama. The country as a whole and Republicans in particular had just spent four years gauging, assessing and judging the good, bad and/or ugly of what Obama had, or had not, accomplished in those four years.

And, reasonable truth be told, it wasn't, to the lion's share of everyday Americans, regardless of party stripe, a whole lotta.

So, as is our national custom, the four year mark rolled around again and the Republican Party had a constitutionally guaranteed opportunity to end their unhappiness and replace Barack Obama with a President who would cure what ailed them and, in their belief system, the country.

And who did the Republican Party offer up as an alternative to the incumbent?

Yet another upper crust, older, white rich guy turned Governor turned presidential candidate who not only spouted the same, old tired upper crust, older, white rich guy manifesto but failed to sell anyone but the hardcore right wing dreamers the same, old tired, upper crust, older, white rich guy manifesto.

Put more sound byte-ishly...

If Barack Obama was the problem, it was clear almost from the outset that Mitt Romney was not the solution.

Now, a year or so into Barack Obama's second term, the right wingers are even more frustrated, even more angry, even more hateful, even more vitriolic, even more, even more, even more than they were before.

And it's their own damn fault.

Because they had a chance, a very good chance, of offering up an honest change.

Not a change from Obama.

A change from the same old, tired, upper crust, older white rich guys they've been offering up for what now seems like a couple of generations.

Memo to the right:

If you really want this country to get behind your candidate, then give us a candidate we can get excited about.

Give us a candidate who speaks to all age groups, all income levels, all ethnicities.

People who don't believe that everything that flows out of Hannity or Limbaugh's mouth is gospel but don't always agree with Matthews or Maddow, either.

People who have both Fox News and MSNBC on their remote favorite buttons and go back and forth to hear, and consider, any and all points of view, looking for any little nugget that shines in the direction of what might be good for their family and their jobs and their lives.

People who don't give a damn about what party a candidate belongs to and just want, desperately want, to have somebody ask for their votes who makes us believe, for the first time in a long, long, long time that they have a fucking clue about what it really means to be a leader, a statesman, a president of all of the people, all of the time.

People like me.

And a lot of people I know.

Bottom line, GOP.

And, while we're at it, this is good for the Democratic gander, too.

Do you want us to swallow what you're offering?

Then, for the love of God, stop trying to feed us the same, stale white bread. the name of the game.

Let's do different.

"different, ifferent, bo bifferent, banana fanna..."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"On Behalf Of Them, They Would Like For Us To Agree That They Are To Blame Here, Not Them...."

It took me a while.

But I finally figured out why the Capitol Building of the United States is topped with a dome.

It's symbolic in a way we don't ever consider.

Dan Bongino is a former Secret Service agent, former candidate for the Maryland Senate and, now, a candidate for Congress.

He is also a Republican.

I've written about him before, mentioning that I met him last year when recording some of his voice spots for campaign commercials in my, then, gig at a local radio station. I got to chat with him briefly after and was left both pleased to meet him and impressed with his presentation.

I liked the guy.

Still do.

Today, he posted the following on Facebook.

The President continues to talk about our government's failures as if he is not its Chief Executive.

We have reached a new low in leadership where our government has disturbingly locked our veterans out of their memorials while allowing an immigration rally on the National Mall which fits their agenda.

Even worse, in conjunction with their Senate allies, they have refused to pay death benefits for our fallen soldiers while still collecting salaries themselves and passionately fighting to hold on to their #Obamacare exemption.

I am eternally grateful for having been born here, in this country and at this time. Our prosperity is not an accident, but it will be a memory if we don't change course in this next election. It's our country, let's take it back.

Just as when you meet someone that your heart tells you that you will love no matter what, I know from having met and talked with Dan that, assuming he has no deep, dark Anthony Weiner schematics hidden in a trunk under his bed, I'll always like and respect the guy.

But a thought was triggered in my head by a thought in his post that I would love to have the opportunity to share with and/or even discuss with him.

The thought expressed in his last sentence.

A "rallying cry" that strikes me as an exercise in futility when it comes to approaching problem solving from that direction.

"It's our country...let's take it back."

What, exactly, does that mean?


And please don't respond knee jerkingly by countering symbolic, but inane, rhetoric with symbolic, but inane, catch phrases.

Think about it a little.

Dan starts off by chastising, rightly so, "our government's failures".

From there, though, the elusive, mysterious and ever interchangeable "they" take over.

"They locked our veterans out of their own memorial..."

"They allow an immigration rally which fits their agenda..."

"They refused to pay death benefits to our soldiers while they keep paying themselves their salaries..."

Even an elementary school student would be inclined to wonder...

"Who are they?"

Following the path of logic Dan starts us out on in his first sentence, the infamous they is "our government".


The government is (not counting the agencies, bureaus, departments, etc that could, and in fact do, fill an entire city)  made up of 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, 6 Delegates, a Vice President and a President.

So, if we're doling out the diss evenly and fairly, that puts the blame square on 543 sets of shoulders.

And if that's the case, then the solution to the problem seems, even to that elementary school student, a simple one.

Replace all of them.

The aforementioned symbolic, but inane, catch phrase commonly invoked here would be "throw the bums out."

Much like the pages of the New York Giants playbook, though, the concept looks good on paper, but just don't seem to work in the real world.

Because, as a rule, the result of replacing the "bum" is, to paraphrase The Who, "meet the new bum, same as the old bum."

Meanwhile, back to "they".

To those who hate Barack Obama, they is he.

To those who hate John Boehner, they is he.

To those who hate Democrats, they is them.

To those who hate Republicans, they is them.

To those who just hate, they is anybody who isn't them.

And to those on the outside who still believe that our best days are ahead of us, people like Dan Bongino, they is apparently anyone and everyone standing in the way of them who want they to stop what they are doing.

To them.

Or us.

Or....uh, where were we?

There are still good people who want to do good work and put their country ahead of their own personal interests.

I think Dan Bongino is one of them.

But basic problem solving requires something critical be determined before any progress can be made in solving said problem.

Correctly identifying the problem.

The politics and, in large measure, the politicians of America don't do that anymore.

They simply blame they.

Or them.

Which brings me back to the symbolism of the Capitol Dome.


As in "...and round".

The solution to any problem requires something else.

Working, in some way, to some extent, together to find a solution.

The politics and, in large measure, the politicians of America don't do that anymore, either.

They waste precious time and solution finding energy figuring out ways to assign blame for the problem.

They can hardly be expected to find the time to make things right.

When they spend so much time vilifying those who made things wrong.

And, whoever they are, they do a disservice to them.

Them is us.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"...If Only C.W. McCall Were In Charge...We'd Crash The Gate Doin' 98 Cause We Ain't A Gonna Pay No Tolls..."

Are you against America attacking Syria?

If so, you fall into the clear majority.

Do you know why you're against it?

If so, good for you.

Cause chances are you're in the clear minority.

Meanwhile, there's a very specific reason that no one has properly explained this thing to you.


(US News and World Report) Support for U.S. military strikes in Syria is lower than any other intervention in the last 20 years, according to a new poll.

Just 36 percent of Americans support President Barack Obama's call for air strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad, who the U.S. claims used chemical weapons to kill about 1,400 Syrians, including more than 400 children, according to a Gallup survey released Friday. Obama said he would seek congressional approval before moving ahead with the intervention, but faces stiff opposition from members, the public and the international community.

"Failing to respond to this breach of this international norm would send a signal to rogue nations, authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations that they can develop and use weapons of mass destruction and not pay a consequence," Obama said Friday during a news conference at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. "And that's not the world that we want to live in."

The negative public opinion underscores why the president said he would address the public Tuesday to lay out his case for the intervention.

Here's a prediction.

Within moments of the "thank you, God bless you and God bless America" finish of the President's address, those pesky little insta-polls will show that the needle of approval hasn't appreciably budged.

In fact, it may not have even moved within that wacky little "margin of error of plus or minus three points" that secretly makes us all wonder whether those polls are a cask of crap in the first place.

Here's why the address won't change minds.

Because Barack Obama, whatever his other virtues and/or failings might be, has shown his ability to articulate specifics to be an epic fail.

He got elected, twice, because he, obviously, has mastered the "campaign in poetry" portion of the old two pronged political bromide.

It's the "govern in prose" part that he's not jiggy wit'.

Lofty goals, idealistic ideas, visions of those infamous better days for our country that are always "still ahead" and revival tent like rallying cries are all well and good.

But without precisely drawn roadmaps showing the how we get from here to there, they are, in the end absolutely nothing more than lofty goals, idealistic ideas, visions of those infamous better days for our country that are always "still ahead" and revival tent like rallying cries.

Imagine the architect standing before you, waving his hands grandly and in a rich, captivating baritone voice, giving you his best "how cool is THIS gonna look?" spiel.

And then offering you nothing in the way of blueprint to show you what the specific how is to accomplish the aforementioned "how cool".

You're not inclined to turn this project over to that guy, are you?

Politicians, by their nature, not to mention a critical pre-requisite of their chosen vocation, are not big on showing you schematics.

Because their "job" might be to represent you and your interests but their goal is to piss off as few people as possible.

Elections, too often anymore, are not about bringing the most people to the fold.

They're about keeping the fewest number from abandoning it.

And the quickest, easiest, most devastatingly efficient way to piss people off is to be specific.

For example:

"We have worked hard to develop new avenues of acquiring the funding that will be vitally necessary to insure that you and your family will enjoy only the safest journey as you travel across the historic example of local engineering pride that is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge."


Worked hard.

New avenues.

Vitally necessary.


Safest journey.

Local pride.

Where do we sign up?

Meanwhile, the specific version.

"Effective July 1, the toll to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will increase by anywhere from two to six dollars per axle, depending on the number of axles on your vehicle."


Thus far, the case being publicly made for American involvement in Syria is long on avenues, necessities, families and safety.

Yet, 74% of people polled are already against the idea.

Here's why.

There ain't a single mention been made of axles.

And most of us have learned that, sooner or later, somebody is gonna start talking about axles.

Unfortunately, though, it's almost always after we've already committed to the six mile long line of cars trying to squeeze through the four out of twelve tollbooths that are open.

And, by then, there's no turning back.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

" Why.....So.....Syria-ussss?..."

Here's what I've managed to glean, thus far, from the congressional hearings regarding a possible attack on  Syria.

Blah, blah, yada, yada, blather, blather, chemical weapons, blah, blah, Rand Paul postures,blah, blah, Kerry winces and parrys, blah, blah, blah, McCain wants answers, blather, blather, chemical weapons, yada, yada, yada.

Now, here, courtesy of Eric Bolling, are the two conditions under which I, as an American citizen, would be prepared to stand and be counted should we be asked to approve such an attack.

Americans at direct risk.

Loyal and staunch American allies at direct risk.

Everything else is additional blah, blah, yada, yada, blather, blather.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"...TMI Isn't As New An Expression As You Think...."

Old saying.
Let our voices be heard.
That oldie but goodie dates back a ways, at least as far back as the middle 1700's when Penelope Baker used it to protest unfair taxation by the British.
These days, it resides comfortably in that folder of slogans, mottos and/or catch phrases that get utilized and/dragged out as needed, most often, of course, as an underscore to whatever point is being advocated, more often than not, political.
Here's a thing, though.
I'm satisfied that the original good intention of that particular rallying cry has been mutated in a fashion that makes Joan Rivers' Botox adventures look like a little make up touch up.
That mutation occurred fifty years ago tomorrow, Sept 2.
And there are, by my reconnoitering, two people to blame for that mutation.
Fred W. Friendly.
Walter Cronkite.
Case that requires making to be made momentarily.
Dan Bongino is a Maryland resident, former Secret Service agent and a candidate for Congress, having been defeated in a run last year for a Senate seat.
I met Dan late last year when he came into the radio station I was morning showing to voice some paid political spots. We had a brief chat after and he left me with the impression of a guy who not only merited watching, in terms of potential, but who deserved it, as well.
I liked the guy.
Still do.
Take that, my right wing friends/adversaries.
Dan posted the following opine on his Facebook page today.
The fight against media bias; the most dangerous battle in America right now?

Let me tell you my story in the interest of maintaining some modicum of integrity in this slanted process. During my 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate I saw the worst of the worst. Combined with my years inside the DC "Bubble" and witnessing the activities of some in the media, I refuse to play along. Although the examples are numerous, I will give you one shining example of what some in the media call "fairness".

During the 2012 campaign, a rep from a major newspaper's editorial board insisted on lecturing me with patently false talking points. When I confronted him with the actual data he accused me of being "confrontational". In short, he stated that the 2003 tax cuts led to a loss in federal tax receipts. When I told him that 2003 tax cuts actually led to the largest four-year INCREASE in tax receipts in American history ($785 billion in additional receipts from ...
2004 to 2007), he ignored it.

I write of this now because we had another in a long line of incidents this weekend. After receiving volumes of calls and emails on the article in question I had a salutary moment. I realized that the media outlets that play it straight and gave us a fair shot were the ones flourishing and the outlets that continue to play games are struggling to stay afloat. In the end, the truth wins out and content is still king.

You may ask, "Why choose this fight?" Because unlike many in the political arena I do not choose consultant class, focus-group-tested issues. When I see something wrong I am going to call it out. I feel that I owe those who follow me on this forum an unfettered view into my life and problems I am driven to fix. You have committed to me and I owe you more than cheap talking points.

I call this "the most dangerous battle in America" because you are being lied to. Some in the media have decided that you are too stupid to make a decision for yourself so they are going to make it for you. By ignoring stories that threaten their meme, by carefully coding language using the alphabet of the left and by reporting on the "intentions" of liberal politics, yet ignoring the disastrous results, they are playing a movie for you that is allegedly "Based on a true story", only to find out later that the movie was complete fiction.

I want to close by thanking those in the media who, despite their internal political compass, continue to play it straight. I promise they do exist. I had one such individual at one of our events this past Friday and when a guest asked me about "his politics", I paid him the ultimate compliment for a reporter, I responded, " I don't know".
First, a mini lecture.
Not to Dan.
To those who heard themselves saying "he's right" somewhere along the way reading what Dan offers.
Don't say that.
It's a fine, admittedly even nitpicky, point but an oft expressed personal pet peeve.
Right and wrong are subjective judgments, implying a conclusion most people are unqualified to make.
If you think Dan is right, then, the correct expression to use is the one I use.
And used here.
I agree.
End of mini lecture.
There was a time, in the not too distant past, when "media", defined for this essay as newspaper, radio and/or television news, still pretty faithfully adhered to the basic tenets of fundamental journalism.
Put in a less Roget's way, reporters limited their reporting to the who, what, when, where and why of a particular occurrence.
And "why", in that context, meant factual circumstances, as in "the accused shot the victim because he was high on meth at the time of the shooting".
"Why" did not mean expressing personal opinions as to the underlying political, theological, spiritual, sexual, moral, et al philosophies at the heart of the action.
Any opinions that could be interpreted as personal were restricted to the editorial columns, pages and/or segments of print and broadcast media.
Then, in 1963, along came Fred W. Friendly and Walter Cronkite.
Friendly was the president of CBS News and executive producer of the CBS Evening News with...
Walter Cronkite.
And on Sept 2,1963, a seemingly simple, even progressive, innovation occurred on national television that tipped the first domino of a chain reaction that has found us, today, mired in the muck of too many voices, too much personal opinion, too many mouths operating full bore and far too many ears, and brains, functioning much of the time, if at all.
On Sept 2, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite became the first nationally televised news program to broadcast thirty minutes each weekday evening.
Until that day, daily television news casts had been, believe it or not, a mere fifteen minutes.
And in that single blooming of a new plant, grew the massive, gnarly mess of vines that make up television news.
Growing even more gnarly and massive when cable showed up a few years later.
An electronic monster that required feeding twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Evening news begat cable news which begat news talk which begat political news talk which begat commentary talk which begat the ancestors of today's town criers, Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Martin Bashir, the list, like the beat goes on.
And on.
And on.
And, added to that stellar assembly.....
Too often, reporters who come of age in a time when the basic tenets of journalism are almost supplementary to the quest for breaking news, exclusive headlines and shrewd, personal observation.
And the "why" in who, what, when, where and why is now assumed to mean expressing personal opinions as to the underlying political, theological, spiritual, sexual, moral, et al philosophies at the heart of the action.
Used to be that Jackie DeShannon musically summed our lives up for us.
"...what the world needs now / is love sweet love"
Today, Elvis has once again grabbed the top of the charts with his ode to what the world needs.
"...a little less conversation "
Fred Friendly and Walter Cronkite were pros in the classic traditions of broadcasting and journalism and, I suspect, they would both be agog and aghast at the chaotic cacophony that modern day broadcast journalism has become.
And while it's obvious they deserve no real blame for where we are because of when they started taking us, given that only hindsight is twenty/twenty, there's a reasonable case to be made that the virus was first injected, however well intentioned, into the cultural mainstream on that September day fifty years ago.
Fifty years from "that's the way it is" to finding ourselves in, as Dan Bongino puts it, the "most dangerous battle in America".
I'm one of those people I mentioned who are unqualified to make judgment about Bongino's assertion
But he's right.
And that's the way it is.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

"...There's Un In Every Crowd..."

Along with all its other allures, pop music has a wonderful way of being available to writers who, from time to time, like to use well known songs to illustrate contemporary circumstances.

I'm a big fan, and user, of that application.

In that spirit, Joni Mitchell fans, please stand by.

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea's threatening rhetoric has reached a fever pitch, but the Pentagon and the South Korean government have said it's nothing new.

"We have no indications at this point that it's anything more than warmongering rhetoric," a senior Washington Defense official said late Friday.
The official was not authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be named.
The National Security Council, which advises the U.S. president on matters of war, struck a similar cord. Washington finds North Korea's statements "unconstructive," and it does take the threats seriously.
"But, we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats, and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the security council.
The United States will continue to update its capabilities against any military threat from the North, which includes plans to deploy missile defense systems.
Pyongyang's propaganda machine flung new insults at the United States on Saturday.
It compared the U.S. mainland with a "boiled pumpkin," unable to endure an attack from a foreign foe, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.
North Korea, on the other hand, could sustain an offensive from the outside, the report said. It claimed the government had built shelters around the country "against any enemy nuclear and chemical weapons attack."
The rhetoric and military show of force by the North have heated up in the face of annual joint military exercise between South Korean and U.S. forces called Foal Eagle.
The routine maneuvers are carried out in accordance with the armistice that put an end to armed hostilities in 1953. There was no peace treaty to officially end the war.
The North Korean government declared the armistice invalid on March 11, 10 days after Foal Eagle began. It is something Pyongyang has done before during heightened tensions.
In an added slap, North Korea has declared that it had entered a "state of war" with neighboring South Korea, according to a report Saturday from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
"The condition, which was neither war nor peace, has ended," North Korea's government said in a special statement carried by KCNA.
Saturday's reports also asserted any conflict "will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war."
The statements made the prospect of war contingent upon "a military provocation ... against the DPRK" in sensitive areas on the border between North and South.
I freely admit that I have neither the education nor experience to consider myself credentialed when it comes to assessing a global, sociologial, geopolitical situation.
That said, I think, given what we all pretty much know about the situation, that it's not unreasonable for even a layman like me to be able to offer the following observations:
North Korea is now, has always been and, it's safe to assume, will always be an Asian continental equivalent of the neighborhood bully.
For those of you less versed in world politics than in, say, "A Christmas Story", simply substitute the name " Scut Farkus" whenever and wherever you read the name "Kim Jong Un" and you'll get the primary drift here.
Bullies, by their nature, are predisposed to bluster, bravado, bluff and/or bullshit, not necessarily in that order.
And what gives North Korea a unique advantage in the bully business is that, under ordinary circumstances, a bully would, at one point or another, sooner or later, have to make good on their bluster, bravado, et al or be exposed, to those all around him, as a fraud, fake, phony paper tiger.
Or punch the livin' bejesus out of him, ala Ralphie finally going pre-holiday postal on Scut.
But I got five bucks in my pocket against the five in yours that nobody in North Korea is going to ever step up and cry fraud, let alone start wailin' on Un while one of his generals runs to get momma to break up the bashing.
And the family Un really doesn't much care about what anybody else thinks.
So, the wheel on the bully bus can go round and round / round and round / round and round / for years to come/ years to come/ years to come.
At the same time, though, I think it's, at best, naive and, at worst, foolhearty, to assume that Koocoo Kim won't decide to take a plutonium pot shot at someone or someones before all of this arrives at the end credits.
Because Kim Jong Un seems to have one personality trait that Scut Farkus lacked.
Bat shit craziness.
And, as our most very good friend Forrest, Forrest Gump might offer these days....
"...crazy is as crazy does."
So, notwithstanding full of patriotic pride, bona fide U.S. of A. confidence and/or arrogance, manifesting in the form of tsk, tsk, scoff, scoffing at this leechie nut bag with the bad Leroy Jethro Gibbs haircut, I appreciate that, to all appearances, those in our government who are tasked with taking this kind of silliness seriously are, in fact, taking this silliness seriously.
And keeping their fingers close to whatever button might become necessary should the Un and only let his finger get a little too close to the button he calls his own.
Again, I can't possibly know the who, what, when, where or how that would result from the pushing of either button nor what the ultimate damage and/or loss of life would be.
But, arrogance and tsk, tsking aside, I feel pretty sure that, given the respective stats that North Korea and the United States of America bring to the playing field, there are, at least, a few discussions being held behind closed doors in their locker room on the subject of insuring that rattling is all that Junior is allowed to do with the saber Daddy bequeathed him.
Because should push come to button push, it's a pretty fair bet that Kim Jong Farkus would be shown that he was better off barking, given that biting resulted in his acqusition of far more than he could chew.
And while it's equally naive not to think that someday, somewhere, someone is going to push that button and there will be a mushroom cloud themed fracas, it's also likely that, should it be, oh, say, Un and his posse who draw first, they're going to find themselves, for good or Un, waist deep in the middle of a fun rewrite of a classic Joni Mitchell song.
We took North Korea / turned it into a parking lot.
Ideally, cool and calm trumps crazy even in Korea.
And one can't help but hope that somewhere there in Pyongyang, Un's more lucid peeps are trying to get him to take a break and chillax a little.
Maybe with a viewing of that perennial holiday classic, "A Christmas Story."

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Van Halen, Van Morrison, Meet Vanguard...."

Old rockers never die.
Or, apparently, take a moment's rest from zealousy watching the wall for us.
That's one way to mark Black History Month: When Ted Nugent hits the road this year, he's calling his tour "Ted Nugent Black Power 2013," he writes on the conservative website World Net Daily.
In a column that describes "dirty Democrat politicians" as the enemies of black Americans, the right-wing rocker reels off a string of statistics he says demonstrate how ineffective Democratic policies, including Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, have been at helping African-Americans overcome poverty, crime and a lack of education.

"The truth is that the Democratic Party has been the engineer of the destruction of black Americans, and everyone knows it except the very people who need to know it the most – black Americans," he writes.

Nugent, on the other hand, says he celebrates Black History Month "every day," because his "fire-breathing musical career was literally launched by black musical thundergods" including Bo Diddley, Little Richard, James Brown, Wilson Pickett and more.

"There is no doubt that my 2013 tour will be the best of my life," he writes. "With world-class virtuosos paying tribute to our black heroes nightly, it is only fitting that this year's tour is aptly titled, 'Ted Nugent Black Power 2013.' Say it loud: my music is black and I'm proud!"

Nugent hasn't been subtle about his dislike of Democrats, particularly President Obama. The rocker credited the president's re-election last year to "pimps, whores and welfare brats," and met with the Secret Service last year after describing his opposition to the president in violent terms. Nugent attended Obama's State of the Union speech earlier this month without incident.

Ted Nugent, to all appearances, prides himself on passionately availing himself of his Constitutional right to self expression.
Fair enough.
In a reciprocal spirit, may I respectfully offer my opinion back to Mr. Land of the Free?
Any moron can stand outside a tent and piss into it.
And any fool can burn down a village.
So, yo, Tedster...if you want to percieved by anyone with an IQ greater than six as something other than the aforementioned moron and/or fool, then here's a thought.
Run for something.
Get elected to something.
And show those gnarly liberals what real change looks like.
Put more acronymically, clean up D.C with the power of R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.