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.