Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Long Time No Post

It's been a very strange winter for me. I have been politically apathetic of late. Not sure that's a good thing. I may come back soon and write about the day I was interviewed by Jay Carney, Obama's new press secretary.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Joe Cool in Afghanistan

I happen to live a mile from the bridge that crosses into "Coast Guard City USA," Grand Haven, Michigan. Around here, we take the Coast Guard very seriously.
I could be wrong, but in this clip when Obama forgets to mention the Coast Guard, I see a moment in his eyes where he actually doesn't know if the person is serious. Then I see an awkward glimmer where it looks like he is going to make a joke to cover his error.

Looks like he held off a quip to say something like, "You guys know you don't really count. No, I'm just kidding. You're the first people we call if somebody's drowning in the gulf. Ha Ha. No I'm just kidding. You know I love you, man." And the voice in the crowd says, "I'm a woman, sir!" And Obama say, "Oh, that's even worse. Maybe we won't call you if someone is drowning. Ha Ha. No seriously, you know I'm kidding. We're glad you're here to. But seriously, folks, I didn't fly 7,000 miles just to joke with some girl in the Coast Guard...I came for a photo op so the folks back home will see how credible their Commander and Chief is..."

Thank heavens none of that happened. But the tone of the entire speech is so glib, so unpresidential, so "Joe Cool," so un-Reaganesque, that it is not hard to imagine him getting side tracked like that if his teleprompter had not kept him on track. Bet the guy who wrote his teleprompter notes and left out the Coast Guard got chewed out.

If the screen below does not work, you can watch the clip here:


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Common Sense from Teddy Roosevelt

Exactly 100 years ago, in 1910, former president Teddy Roosevelt a year after leaving his eight years in the White House, gave a speech on citizenship in a republic. The speech is sometimes called "The Man in the Arena." As a college freshman, I memorized the most-quoted paragraph for a speech class. It reads as follows, but it is important to remember that these words were a SPEECH and not an editorial or written document. To fully understand the power of his words, it may help to listen to his voice on the brief video clip below.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Here are some unbelievably prophetic extended quotes from that 1910 "Citizenship in Democracy" speech:

On National Defense:
"There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is it right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be "Yes," whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong."

On Definition of Marriage and Sanctity of Life:
The first essential in any civilization is that the man and women shall be father and mother of healthy children, so that the race shall increase and not decrease. If that is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to the deliberate and willful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other. If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves from the thraldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the willfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done. No refinement of life, no delicacy of taste, no material progress, no sordid heaping up riches, no sensuous development of art and literature, can in any way compensate for the loss of the great fundamental virtues; and of these great fundamental virtues the greatest is the race's power to perpetuate the race.

On Not Being Swayed by Gifted Teleprompted Orators:
It is highly desirable that a leader of opinion in democracy should be able to state his views clearly and convincingly. But all that the oratory can do of value to the community is enable the man thus to explain himself; if it enables the orator to put false values on things, it merely makes him power for mischief. Some excellent public servants have not that gift at all, and must merely rely on their deeds to speak for them; and unless oratory does represent genuine conviction based on good common sense and able to be translated into efficient performance, then the better the oratory the greater the damage to the public it deceives. Indeed, it is a sign of marked political weakness in any commonwealth if the people tend to be carried away by mere oratory, if they tend to value words in and for themselves, as divorced from the deeds for which they are supposed to stand. The phrase-maker, the phrase-monger, the ready talker, however great his power, whose speech does not make for courage, sobriety, and right understanding, is simply a noxious element in the body politic, and it speaks ill for the public if he has influence over them. To admire the gift of oratory without regard to the moral quality behind the gift is to do wrong to the republic. [Wow! 2008]

On Individuals Doing Their Part for a Greater Good:
In short, the good citizen in a republic must realize that they ought to possess two sets of qualities, and that neither avails without the other. He must have those qualities which make for efficiency; and that he also must have those qualities which direct the efficiency into channels for the public good. He is useless if he is inefficient. There is nothing to be done with that type of citizen of whom all that can be said is that he is harmless. Virtue which is dependent upon a sluggish circulation is not impressive. There is little place in active life for the timid good man. The man who is saved by weakness from robust wickedness is likewise rendered immune from [more robust] virtues. The good citizen in a republic must first of all be able to hold his own. He is no good citizen unless he has the ability which will make him work hard and which at need will make him fight hard. The good citizen is not a good citizen unless he is an efficient citizen.

On Equality as an Ideal Not a Socialized Outcome:
Abraham Lincoln, a man of the plain people, blood of their blood, and bone of their bone, who all his life toiled and wrought and suffered for them, at the end died for them, who always strove to represent them, who would never tell an untruth to or for them, spoke of the doctrine of equality with his usual mixture of idealism and sound common sense. He said (I omit what was of merely local significance):
"I think the authors of the Declaration of Independence intended to include all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all men were equal in color, size, intellect, moral development or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men created equal--equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This they said, and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were actually enjoying that equality, or yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all -- constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and, even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, everywhere." [Abraham Lincoln]
To say that the thriftless, the lazy, the vicious, the incapable, ought to have reward given to those who are far-sighted, capable, and upright, is to say what is not true and cannot be true. Let us try to level up, but let us beware of the evil of leveling down. If a man stumbles, it is a good thing to help him to his feet. Every one of us needs a helping hand now and then. But if a man lies down, it is a waste of time to try and carry him; and it is a very bad thing for every one if we make men feel that the same reward will come to those who shirk their work and those who do it. Let us, then, take into account the actual facts of life...."

On "One World" Government and Global Thinking:
I am no advocate of a foolish cosmopolitanism. I believe that a man must be a good patriot before he can be, and as the only possible way of being, a good citizen of the world. Experience teaches us that the average man who protests that his international feeling swamps his national feeling, that he does not care for his country because he cares so much for mankind, in actual practice proves himself the foe of mankind; that the man who says that he does not care to be a citizen of any one country, because he is the citizen of the world, is in fact usually and exceedingly undesirable citizen of whatever corner of the world he happens at the moment to be in. ... if a man can view his own country and all others countries from the same level with tepid indifference, it is wise to distrust him, just as it is wise to distrust the man who can take the same dispassionate view of his wife and mother. ...Now, this does not mean in the least that a man should not wish to good outside of his native land. On the contrary, just as I think that the man who loves his family is more apt to be a good neighbor than the man who does not, so I think that the most useful member of the family of nations is normally a strongly patriotic nation.

One hundred years later... we could use some of the common sense of Teddy Roosevelt!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Only "Shovel-Ready" Job in America!

Read full Story at CBS News. com.

At groundbreaking ceremony in Dallas for the George W. Bush Presidential Center today, former Vice President Dick Cheney said "history is beginning to come around" to a more positive view of former President George W. Bush.

Cheney said that Mr. Bush, whose approval rating upon leaving office was just 22 percent, always understood that "judgments are a little more measured" with the passage of time. He added that Americans "can tell a decent, goodhearted stand up guy when they see him."

Cheney lauded Mr. Bush as a president who refused "to put on airs," stating that he was thrilled to find that the most powerful person he knew was "among the least pretentious." He said Mr. Bush was someone who could "walk with kings, yet keep the common touch," added that "there were no affectations about him at all - he treats everyone as an equal."

He spoke admiringly of Mr. Bush's actions in the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks, telling the former president that "because you were determined to throw back the enemy, we did not suffer another 9/11 or something even worse."

Cheney, who (unlike Mr. Bush) has been a vocal critic of President Obama, also took a shot at the current administration. Speaking of his expectation that construction would move quickly on the presidential center following the groundbreaking, Cheney quipped that "this may be the only shovel ready project in America." The reference was to the Obama-supported stimulus package that Republicans have criticized as ineffective.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bush eclipses Barack Obama

The Decider returns to haunt Mr Nuance

Read the full article here.

The 43rd and 44th American presidents are a study in contrasts, but the link between them is symbiotic, argues Toby Harnden. There could have been no Obama without Bush, and only Obama's stumbles could have made Bush look good again so quickly.

Say what you like about former President George W. Bush, but his sense of timing is impeccable. Just after his successor Barack Obama took a self-described "shellacking" at the polls, Dubya was back, mocking the current occupant of the White House by his very presence.

For the 43rd President, the return must have been sweet....

During the 2008 election campaign, Obama slammed Bush at every turn. Since then, the 44th President has almost ceaselessly blamed his predecessor for everything, even stooping to lambast Karl Rove, Bush's long-time aide, by name during the recent mid-terms campaign.

But the anti-Bush shtick soon wore thin. Two years after Obama was anointed, the halo around his head seemed distinctly tarnished. In his post-defeat interview with 60 Minutes, Obama was at his most listless and meandering, projecting all the certainty of a Hamlet on the Potomac.

Right on cue, Bush entered, stage Right, clutching a copy of his 497-page memoir Decision Points, a tome full of breezy certainty.

Did he order the waterboarding of terrorist suspects? "Damn right."... Boring of Mr Nuance, Americans lapped it up.

Bush must know, however, that his steadfast refusal to make any comment at all about Obama's presidency stands in stark contrast to the derision he has received from his successor. He is self-aware enough to realize that his pithy, confident interview answers are sharply different from Obama's wordy circumlocutions. [End of abridged article]

Amen! This book is on my Christmas list!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

He is Still Running for President of the World

Sunday Update: Here are confirming photos from day-one of his trip.

I've said it here before, but it bears repeating. Obama is not focused on making our country great again; he has his sights set on becoming some sort of new "global" president.

Tuesday's election results and Wednesday's press conference remove all doubt that OMBMA DOESN'T GET IT! It would be tempting to say his trip to India three days after his agenda was flushed down the toilet by the American people is further proof of his detachment, but it is actually confirmation of his attachment to "higher office" beyond our shores.

Read this article about Obama sending 34 war ships to India for his visit [later denied by the Pentagon]. What could possibly justify the 200 million dollars PER DAY that this weekend visit is costing U.S. taxpayers? I'm hoping that figure includes the cost of a mile-long bomb-proof tunnel the U.S. is constructing so Obama can drive safely to a museum. Why should we foot the bill as Obama continues to run for President of the World? Here is part of what that last link says:

A top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit has reckoned that a whopping $ 200 million...per day would be spent by various teams coming from the US in connection with Obama's two-day stay in the city.

"A huge amount of around $ 200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," the official said in Mumbai.

About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already in Mumbai for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.

Unprecedented security has been put in place both in Mumbai and New delhi.
"We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the president before. And I think this is an example the massive overspending that we've seen - not only just in the last 2 years, really in the last four," Bachmann said.
Asked for comment about Bachmann's criticism of the trip, the White House said in a written statement that the figures cited by the Republican lawmaker "have no basis in reality."

Considering the 34 warships and the largest entourage in presidential history, I would say the 200 million per day is accurate. Since when does the Obama Administration know the true cost of spending other people's money?

Compare this obscene show of power and excessive spending to the Prime Minister of England's trip to the U.S. last July.

David Cameron, returning last night from his first trip to the U.S. as British prime minister, took a business-class seat on board a scheduled British Airways flight.

Cameron, trying to cut Britain’s deficit, its largest since World War II, is scaling back on the chartered jets his predecessors used for overseas travel and told his staff to book him on regular flights. Yesterday he traveled to New York from Washington on Amtrak’s Acela train.

“We have got a lot of money to save,” the prime minister told ABC News July 20. “We’ve got a very big budget deficit, so we can’t go spending money on executive planes, sadly.”

While Cameron’s office estimates it is saving several hundred thousand pounds by forgoing chartered jets, that isn’t the only consideration. His party fought the May 6 general election arguing “We’re all in this together.”

Do you remember how harshly the Democrat Senators mocked the Detroit auto executives for flying private jets to the "bail-out" hearings in the senate? They rebuked the bonus-earning millionaires for "not getting it." They were right. I'm all for "security" for the POTUS, but the more we learn about this trip, the more absurd it becomes... until you remember that he is running for President of the World.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pelosi Loses Gavel: The Best News of the Night!

At least the best news as of 9:30 PM.

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tonight rejected numerous polls predicting a Republican landslide among House candidates and defiantly predicted that Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives."

"The early returns and overwhelming number of Democrats who are coming out – we're on pace to maintain a majority in the House of Representatives," Pelosi told reporters during a photo op in Washington."

She was wrong--but there's nothing new about that.

Another bit of good news is that Joe Manchin, the Democrat who had to ran against Obama and literally shot Obama's "Cap and Tax" bill, won a seat in the Senate. His victory speech sounded more like a small government Republican speech, and that does not bode well for Obama. That may be a Democrat win but it is not good news for the Obama agenda.

Marco Rubio in Florida has risen from nowhere to become an eloquent Reagan-like leader and speaker who, now hearing his victory speech, will have the Democrats running scared for years to come. This guy is presidential material. Maybe not in 2012, but watch this young leader. He exudes humble confidence and is a natural influencer and TRUST builder.

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