Monday, September 30, 2013

Kerry On My Wayward Son


Bob Woodward's Muckraking on Obama's Lack of Leadership

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Bob Woodward, one of the reporters who broke the Watergate crisis which brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon,  has not been bashful in offering unflattering analyses of Presidents.  Woodward's latest opinions critique the lack of leadership that President Barack Obama is exhibiting regarding raising the national debt limit.  



But the Obama Administration's intransigence on Obamacare seems equally applicable. 

At the District of Calamity (sic), there is no illusion that Woodward favors liberal politics.  In fact, Woodward's comments endorsed President Obama standing firm on raising the debt ceiling.  However, Woodward's comments on MSNBC notes the lack of leadership coming from the White House and facilitating talks with Congress to get the process moving along.

It is refreshing is that Woodward has not succumb to just acting like one of All the President's Men (sic) in the lapdog Lamestream Media and advocates for honesty in governing, not hypocrisy. 

 In June, Woodward urged Mr. Obama to admit to "screw ups" regarding Benghazi, spying on journalists and the IRS playing politics.  Woodward observed that such a honest approach would mirror his transparency in admitting to the Daschle "screw up" in 2009. 

But instead, most of the the elite liberal media will continue to act as stenographers for a liberal White House with whom they generally agree. 

America is currently facing an alluvia of challenges.  There is a $17 trillion debt which continues to burgeon.  There is both resistance as well as significant difficulties implementing Obamacare, which assumes 1/6th of the American economy.  The Boston Bombing, Benghazi and the Kenyan Mall shooting shows a heightened terrorist threat.   It would be refreshing to not have an empty chair in the Oval Office, especially a seat which is vacant due to constant campaigning by the elected incumbent. 







Voltaire on Freedom

Voltaire

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

McCain Spares the Rod and Spoils the Staff With O’Bagy Hire

[L] Elizabeth O'Bagy [R] Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Ordinarily in political circles the  hiring a Legislative Assistant in the Senate does not make headlines.  But Senator McCain’s (R-AZ) retention of Elizabeth O’Bagy’s services as a L.A. in his Washington office manages to achieve that dubious distinction.  Foreign Policy "The Cable" website reports through its website that the Senior Senator has hired the 26 year old foreign policy researcher three weeks after she was released from the Institute for the Study of War, a neoconservative think tank.

O’Bagy wrote an op/ed titled “On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War” for the Wall Street Journal, which downplayed the reach of Jabhut al Nursa (an Al Qaeda affiliate) fighters  in the Syrian Free Army, and suggested that such  jihadists were concentrating in a couple of northern, rebel held areas of Syria.  Esssentially, O'Bagy was allaying fears that U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict would, in the words of former Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH 10th), be acting as Al Qaeda's air force.




In the rush to get Congressional blessing for President Obama’s aborted red line attack threat against  Bashar Assad’s government forces in Syria for chemical weapons use, O’Bagy’s analysis was spotlighted.  Both Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Senator John McCain referenced and relied upon O’Bagy’s opinion.



Yet within a week of having her research promoted by Obama’s Secretary of State and the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, O’Bagy was unceremoniously severed from her stint as the ‘Syria Analyst” at the Institute for the Study of War.  Officially, O’Bagy was fired because she falsely had purported to have a combined masters/Ph.D. from Georgetown University, when she had not even defended her thesis.  But O’Bagy’s prominence on the political stage also revealed that O’Bagy served as the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which was neither  disclosed in the WSJ op/ed nor mentioned by Kerry or McCain when confirming their bent for war in the Levant.

The mission of the Syrian Emergency Task Force has been characterized by critics as pushing weapons and other military support to the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist brigades in Syria.  The Syria Emergency task force derives its funding from a State Deparment funded Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

O’Bagy for her part claims that she was a contractor for the Syrian Emergency Task Force and not an employee.  Of course, that is a distinction without a difference when it comes to conflicts of interest in setting American foreign policy.  When asked about a conflict of interest, O’Bagy told the Daily Caller “I work for the Syrian people.”

 O’Bagy claims that she did not help the Syrian Emergency Task Force lobby. Yet O’Bagy admits to facilitating a meeting between Syrian rebel commanders  and Senator McCain in May. McCain maintains that he met with patriotic rebels and no terrorists.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) meeting with Syrian rebel commanders, May 2013


When questioned about hiring O'Bagy, Senator McCain endorsed the new L.A. by saying: "Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year. "I look forward to her joining my office."  So the conflict of interest by O'Bagy working for the Syrian people was no problem for the maverick Senator.

This is a serious lapse of judgment by Senator McCain.  As the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, McCain's viewpoints are influential in facilitating American Foreign Policy.  The senior Senator from Arizona should be receiving clear guidance, not having his opinions skewed by an aide who has declared herself allied with Syria, and has ties to groups that are aligned against broader United States interests.  By sparing the rod, McCain has spoiled his staff.


h/t: The Cable

Hugh Hewitt on Communication

Obama Cliches

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Outrageous Obama Incivility

President Obama with Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer


As the new fiscal year looms without a budget passed, and the debt ceiling debate on the horizon, the Obama Administration ought to be building ad hoc coaltions to prevent the United States going off the fiscal cliff.  Yet when President Obama's Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer went on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper", the White House pressed a bombastic bric-a-brac against Republicans.




Having an Obama  senior spokesman call Republican opponents "suicide bombers" is beyond the pale of civil political discourse coming  from the White House.  These verbal bomb throwing  through the auspices of the Oval Office neither builds Congressional coalitions vital for governing (as opposed to campaigning) and this infelicitous  and incindiary analogy shows a shocking lack of civility.  In the same day, Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dredged up birther barbs to mock Republicans for wanting to defund Obamacare.

After the near assassination of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ 8th) in January, 2011, President Obama made a grandiose speech at the Together We Thrive rally  in Tucson which memorialized the fallen in  the atrocity where President Obama proclaimed:

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.  

President Obama then rightfully noted that a "more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation."  So how do Dan Pfeiffer's inflamatory remarks against ideological opponents fit into this call for civility?

Perhaps President Obama gave himself a waiver on civility.  After all, President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign persisted on an unsubstantiated insuniation that Republican Presidential Nominee Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) was a felon for alleged misrepresentations when he was at Bain Capital.  Political campaigns ain't beanbag, so rough and tumble rhetoric is not out of the ordinary, particularly for a politician who can not win without smearing his opponent.  But governing is different than campaigning.

While Pfeiffer's smear of his opponents as suicide bombers is outrageous and unwise, it is not the only example of inflamatory accusations that have the imprimatur of Obama's Oval Office. Democrat Congressional leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 8th) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have been wont to refer to uncooperative Conservative Republican legislators as "Arsonists".  Senior Obama White House Advisor Dan Pfeiffer echoed this arsonist accusation and kidnappers comparison against Republicans.  Or progressive radio host Thom Hartman who compared Senator Ted Cruz's  (R-TX) filibuster to "Taliban-styled suicide bombings".   Kind of sounds like the Obama White House talking points were passed out.

These slanderous characterizations from the Obama White House give Democrats surrogates in the Lamestream Media license to copy scurrilous phrases.  This was quickly spread by  MSNBC's Chris Matthews did when the former Democrat staffer turned broadcaster asked  Representative Scott Perry (R-PA 4th) why the Republicans want to hold the country "hostage".

The Obama Administration seems intent to demonize and try to delegitimize their opponents, ala Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. But Pfeiffer, Pelosi and Reid are not alone in voicing vitrolic language against idelogical opponents.  Senator John McCain referred to Senator Cruz and Senator Rand Paul as "wacko birds", while Congressman Peter King  critiqued Senator Cruze as a crazy, fraudster and suicidal.  While these invectives abrogate Reagan's Eleventh Amendment, they are not as vial as a voice of the President of the United States in a time of real Islamist jihadi terrorism comparing Republicans to suicide bombers. 

It sounds like the White House communication staff need to take a crash course at the National Institute for Civil Discourse.   After all, the NICD launched a website "YourWordsCount.org" which reminds readers of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's word of wisdom: "Civility costs nothing and buys everything."   But that would also mean that they would be reminded of dear leader Obama's quote:

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.


So much for shaping the future in an uplifting way.


In the aftermath of the Tucson shooting, the elite Liberal media were quick to lambast Tea Party Conservatives, particularly former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, for  dangerous symbolism on  pamplets which "targeted" politcally vulnerable  Democrat districts like Giffords' with crosshairs.  Ironically, the Democrat Congressional Camapign Committee used bullseyes for their targeted districts.    But as Chris Plante would put it: "If it wasn't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all."

From a partisan political perspective, the Obama Administration's beyond the pale references to Republicans clearly demonstrates that the Obama White House does not want to deal and is pushing to peg Republicans with any blame for a government shutdown.  They may be calculating their strategy premised on the 1995-1996 government shutdowns which allegedly hurt Republicans (even though that was not demonstrated at the ballot box).   But according to the latest Pew Poll, both Democrats and Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown.

In the scheme of things, political blame is inconsequential compared to the quantum corsening of civil discourse that has been displayed by White House operatives Dan Pfeiffer and Press Spokesman Jay Carney. Such uncivil exchanges are unworthy of authority in this Constitutional Republic.



Republicans Behaving Badly-- Ignoring Reagan's 11th Commandment





The Eleventh Commandment was a phrase popularized by Ronald Reagan during his 1966 Gubernatorial run.  The Eleventh Commandment idea had itsgenesis from California Republican State Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson after the 1964 Presidential campaign, when conservative GOP nominee Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) was savaged by East Coast country club Republicans who did not like Goldwater's style or politics.

It is interesting to see how this political precept is held by present day politicians, particularly Congress critters  afflicted with Potomac Fever.

To win the Republican nomination for President in 2008, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the senior Senator from Arizona, ran proclaiming that he was a "foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution."  Yet consider how "the Maverick" Senator treats his "friends" in this session of Congress.   When Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) held a 13 hour filibuster of CIA John Brennen's nomination, Senator McCain chose to call several of his caucus confreres as "wacko birds."







To his credit, Senator McCain uttered televised regrets shortly afterwards for this infelicitous invective.  But McCain did not seem to mean it as aides indicate McCain's  disdain for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in what can only be described in raw terms.  Yet Senator McCain had the temerity to task Democrat  Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to ask for 15 minutes at the end of Cruz's filibuster.  It is a good thing that Cruz had the good sense to ignore this entreaty, as McCain used his time to denounce Cruz's efforts. 

This is not an isolated example of Senator McCain bad mouthing other members of his caucus with whom he disagrees.  As Republicans were positioned to score major victories in the 2010 Congressional elections, Senator McCain denounced the enthusiasm of Tea Party types as being hobbits.  

McCain's scorn for the Tea Party makes sense, as he governs as a progressive member of the Cocktail Party, even though he  runs as one conservative hombre.  Moreover, McCain used his floor time  after Cruz's filibuster to waive the whiteflag to Democrats and declare the elections matter and the Republicans lost the Obamacare fight.  While President Obama did win re-election in 2012, he did not premise his campaign on Obamacare.  In addition, federal elections do not have the ability to do referenda on legislation.  Furthermore, legislators are not bound to decisions made by their predecessors. 

Another "independent" Republican voice who unabashedly ignores the Eleventh Commandment is Congressman Peter King (R-NY 02).  As a northeastern Republican Representative, King's weltanschauung will be considerably more "squishy" than conservative colleagues to the south.  But this should not give him license to bash his GOP brethren, in most uncharitable and insulting ways. 

Congressman King denounced Senator Cruz as a “kamikaze pilot" and “medicine man selling goods he knows are phony goods.”  If that wasn't enough, King proclaimed “those I’ve spoken to think he’s [Cruz] crazy.” OK,  you've denounced your colleague as a fraud, crazy and suicidal--one wonders why.

Maybe it has something to do with Peter King's crazy idea that he should run forPresident.  Bad mouthing fellow Republicans works well to get John McCain more TV time on talking heads shows (and has also helped Senator McCain's scion Meghan McCain plenty of exposure in the media too).  One can not forget that Rep. King's district is in the New York City, which appealing to moneyed "independents" or those who wish to stifle conservatives can channel funds.  This seems  akin to former Utah Governor and Obama's Ambassador to China John Huntsman's (R-UT) quixotic strategy in running for the GOP nomination in 2012. 

Representative King ought to remember the fate of the last couple  Members of the House who ran for President.  In the 2012 cycle, former Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI 11th) launched an ill planned Presidential campaign for a couple of months in 2011, presumably to improve name recognition for later political contests. McCotter was so taken with Potomac Fever that he failed to get enoughvalid signatures to run for the primary for his Congressional seat in 2012, so he resigned.   Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN 6th) ran a more credible race for the Republican nomination.  But she barely won re-election in the 113th Congress in a tough district.  Bachmann has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2014.


But of course, McCotter and Bachmann are different cases because they do not make it a habit to bad mouth their fellow Republicans.  Surely, Representative Peter King's telegenic looks, his pleasant demeanor as well as his principled reputation will put him in good stead once he loses his position of power as House Homeland Security Chair and is no longer useful to the Lamestream Media.  

Reporting on Limitations on the Freedom of Speech



Last spring, eporters in Chicagoland have been informed by police that “You (sic) first amendment rights can be terminated if you create a scene…Your first amendment rights have limitations.”

The Media covering the fatal  shooting of a six year old at Mount Sinai Hospital on the west side of Chicago.  WGN-TV reporter Dan Ponce and photographer Donte Williams were taken in handcuffs when they refused to move further away from the hospital for their coverage. 

The reporters were standing on the median sidewalk  halfway across the street from  Mount Sinai Hospital as they were doing their reporting.  The officer yelled at them to move further away and the journalistics refused to comply as they did their jobs.  It should be noted that the area was not a crime scene.  The officer exclaimed:  “F*** news affairs, I don’t care about news affairs. Forget news affairs.”.

According to the police, the reporters tried to enter the hospital and were removed at the request of hospital security, but their guards declined to press charges and the individuals were released.  However, the police maintain that the reporters very presence around grieving family members created a scene.   The official police statement proclaimed: Our members were attempting to protect and respect both the grieving family members of the child, and the memory of the child herself during a very stressful time for all parties involved.



While it might be the case that the aforementioned journalists pressed the edge within the hospital in pursuit of the story (which they deny),  the offending officer's ejaculations paired with the official police statement reveal a rationale that the authorities think it is OK to limit the First Amendment when they want.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Recently, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) proposed an amendment to the Reporter Shield bill in the Senate Judiciary committee which limits coverage to journalists whom she describes as:  “real reporters.” Feinstein was worried that protections might apply to: “people who aren’t really reporters at all, who have no professional qualifications.” Feinstein's definition of a real reporter is “a salaried agent” of a media company such as a newspaper, broadcast news station, news website or another type of news service. Of course, powers authorizing "real reporter" licensure can sway coverage.

Curious that Congress thinks that it can regulate Free Speech, especially considering that the First Amendment starts with the phrase: "Congress shall make no law…"  But considering the age when Supreme Court majority opinions on Obamacare contort arguments to make it a tax to be constitutional, maybe a clarifyng amendment could be added to impose a tax for "real reporter" licenses presumably passing SCOTUS muster.

The First Amendment is the fundamental freedom which prohibits the federal governement from encroaching on natural right to the freedom of speech.  The Freedom of Speech clause prohibits thegovernment from  banning speech because it does not agree with its message.  In Federalist Paper no. 10, James Madison pointed to the Freedom of Speech as being a vital element of a healthy Republic. 

Considering the sentiment to censor in Chicagoland and the Feinstein's "real reporter" amendment, one may question if the United States is civically healthy, much less a Republic. 

Stephen Hawking on Knowledge

Steven Hawking Big Bang 

 Pearls of wisdom from "Dr. Sheldon Cooper's" (Jim Parson)   Fun with Words friend. 

  

 For all those feeling a bit sketchy about this brief history of time, let the Bare Naked Ladies fill things in ...

      

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some Reasons to Give Flying Flip About Filibusters



Senator Ted Cruz (R-FL) took to the Senate floor and stood  for 21 hours and 19 minutes  to speak against voting for the cloture motion on the House Continuing Resolution legislation (House Res. 59) . But detractors like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are quick to insist that it was not a filibuster.  It is said that the Freshman Senator from Florida could not have a filibuster as his effort was not intended to delay or prevent legislative action.    

A broader understanding of filibuster is an effort to prevent action by making a long speech.  The 21 hours and 19 minutes of floor time certainly qualifies as a long speech.  Consider the aim of Senator Cruz’s effort.  He was speaking against a cloture motion.  Cloture is the procedure that a 60 vote majority in the Senate cuts off debate.  

Those who deny that Senator Cruz’s control of the Senate Floor for nearly a full day was not a filibuster are less interested in abiding by proper political parlance.  They know that the public generally considers a filibuster a noble effort of a Senator to abide his conscience and speak what he understands as the truth until he can stand no more.   Filibusters evoke memory’s of the Frank Capra film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939).


Mr Cruz Goes to Washington
[L] Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)  [R] Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during filibuster 


But if Cruz just was giving a very long speech, then he can be framed as just wasting the Senate’s time, even though Majority Leader Reid was appraised and approved of the talkathon. 

All of this between-the-beltways trivialities about filibusters illustrates one of Senator Cruz’s concerns.  Early on in his filibuster, Senator Cruz alleged that most people don’t give a flying flip about a bunch of politicians in Washington, DC with cheap suits and haircuts. A filibuster may empty the Senate chamber, but it can generate considerable attention and audience via CSPAN as well as alternate media and the internet. 










But couching the Senate floor action as a non-filibuster against the cloture vote on the Continuing Resolution (House Res. 59) which it’s technically correct, it is smoke and mirrors to confuse the public of the real work. 

The Continuing Resolution is a budget matter.  The Senate had not passed a budget in four years, and so Continuing Resolutions which used prior spending levels as a metric for stop gap funding have been used.  For Fiscal Year 2014, the Senate had not passed any specific appropriation bills and the October 1st  fiscal new year loomed.  

So the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution for two months of funding of all federal programs, save the yet to be implemented Obamacare.  The White House and Senate Democrats under the direction of Senate Majority Leader Reid want to strip the defund Obamacare provision, which many ayes in the House were premised.

The cloture motion was meant to cut off debate.  If passed, Senate rules for budget bills then only allow for 30 hours of debate.  Senator Cruz and other tea party sympathetic conservatives were concerned that Senator Reid would present a clean bill, which stripped the defund Obamacare provision and not allow for any amendments.  

Cruz’s filibuster sought to educate the public of the Senatorial shenanigans.  Cruz alleged that some Republicans wanted to vote for cloture and then vote against final passage.  This DC two step allows what detractors call RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) to say that they voted against the bill, but their vote was a purely symbolic measure and the Democrat majority gets its way to continue to impose an overarching takeover of the health care system (aside from Congress and Federal workers, who were extra juridically exempted by President Obama over specific legislative provisions). 

[***]

In between renditions of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham for the Cruz childrens’ storytime, there was probably more substantive debate about Obamacare’s adverse effect on the health care delivery system and retarding economic growth during Cruz’ s filibuster than what occurred when the so called Affordable Care Act was passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve, 2009. 




The filibuster drew more ordinary people outside of the District of Calamity (sic) to pay attention to detailed arguments against than the sweet lies put forth by the  White House and the lapdog Lamestream Media.

While procedurally Senator Cruz's efforts might not amount to much, this is not the only battle to be found in defunding Obamacare.  Even if Senator Reid is successful in passing a Continuing Resolution which strips the defund Obamacare provisions through the Senate, the House must act.  Either the Republican majority in House must acquiesce to Senator Reid's jam down  with a "clean" C.R., the Chambers must  conference or the House can pass another legislative vehicle which the Senate may not approve prior to October 1st.  There are suggestions that revised House legislation might include a one year delay in Obamacare, revoking the Congressional Obamacare exemption,  or approving  XL pipeline, which would be a tough pill for Senate Democrats to swallow. 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington illustrated how people in the heartland became engaged in a filibuster by dumping an alluvia of telegrams on the Senate floor.  Senator Cruz is hoping that in the internet age, public opinion can be galvanized by social media.  C-SPAN allowed for internet 2.0 peer to peer engagement with Cruz reading Twitter messages on the Senate Floor.  Cruz is counting on alternate media and social media to work around the Lamestream Media and produce a groundswell of support which changes the static between the beltway certainty that an unpopular, flawed law like Obamare can be ramrodded into implementation. 

Senator Cruz's filibuster drew back the curtain on the complacency of the Cocktail Party in both parties between the beltways. The vitriolic reaction that senior Senator John McCain (R-AZ) unleashed against Cruz after stopped speaking reveals his true self. Freshman Senator John Boozman (R-AR) reportedly dressed Cruz down for all the out of state phone calls about Obamacare.   And Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to support the renegade rhetoric.  This internecine sniping prompted former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) to note:  "We already have three parties: the Liberal Democrats, the RINO Republicans and 'the good guys.' ". 


Cruz's marathon speech in the Senate also showed some unity amongst the Young Turks.  Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) was instrumental in dissecting the deficiencies and questionable jurisprudential propriety of Obamacare implementation. But what was really impressive was to see how prospective rivals for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, namely Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), worked together to get the message out about Obamacare and do something, rather than sit back and cast empty symbolic votes.

The nearly day long debate also had a couple of remarkable colloquies with "friends" on the other side of the aisle.

[***]

In trying to generate groundswell support in the grassroots, Senator Cruz's filibuster popularized the mantra "Make DC Listen".  This slogan may energize the Tea Party Caucus, possibly be the touchstone of a third party or a Presidential campaign.  Nevertheless, "Make DC Listen" taps into public discontent and shows social media savvy. 

So even though Senator Cruz was not successful in his immediate tactic to prevent cloture on the C.R., we ought to give a flying flip about his filibuster as it may be a harbinger for real change in the District of Calamity (sic). 

SEE MORE at DCBarroco.com 

Henry Ford on Education

Henry Ford

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Albert Camus on Autumn

Albert Camus Autumn

Dodger -ing McCain's Verbal Flak on Pool-gate


In anticipation of the Los Angeles Dodgers clinching the NL West Division title, the Arizona Diamondbacks requested that the division champions not celebrate on Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.    The visiting team did technically complied, but they expressed their elation  at winning the division title by jumping in the Dodge swimming pool in right field.


This celebration provoked the ire of the senior Senator from Arizona John McCain as was publicized through  his Twitter postings.


While McCain may echo other Arizona Diamondback fan sentiments, his social media sharing should be beneath his office.  This message was not the cute hometown bets between politicians during the playoffs.  Nor was this admiration for a sports team which he has been a long-time fan, like Yankees fans former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NYC) or former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) (sic).  


Maybe McCain was just pandering to his constituents (the voters, not the media but with the Maverick Senator that can be confusing).  But that's not his job.  Maybe for a Phoenix sportscaster, but not for a US Senator, particularly when the world is going to hell in a handbasket (and McCain makes friends with al Qaeda terrorists in the Free Syrian Army).

Then again, McCain has had difficulty doing his job of late.  McCain was so bored with a high level public hearing on the Syria Crisis, when President Obama was still threatening to strike the Levant, yet the senior Senator was caught playing video poker on the Senate floor.

If John McCain wants to engross himself in the minutia of baseball, it seems that Arizona is a fine place to RETIRE, and watch Cactus League baseball. 



Elbert Hubbard on Football

Elbert Hubbard Football

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Bit on Gauzy Gun Grab Gambits



After the Navy Yard shooting , many are troubled at another massacre in America.  This has inspired progressive politicos to renew efforts to “do something”. 

[L] Gabrielle Giffords [R] Mark Kelly testifying before Congress Feb. 2013
One such source for grabbing guns is the “Americans for Responsible Solutions”, the gun control pressure group created by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ 8th) and her husband Mark Kelly.  Giffords  who was critically shot in the head in an assassination attempt in Tuscon, Arizona in January 2011.  Since then the couple has sought to “support the Second Amendment” while “keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people like criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill.”.


We have disturbing problems - gun crime, mental illness, and the easy access that dangerous people have to guns. But our public officials seem more interested in political theater and special interest threats than in leadership. Congress, you must lead. Come together, take a sober look at the problem, and pass laws that protect our families and communities. Please act. 




How could anyone oppose that?

But as Oscar Wilde observed: “It is always with the best of intentions that the worst work is done.”  Digging deeper into to discern the policy prescriptions,  one discovers that the Americans for Responsible Solutions advocate:

universal background checks
limiting the sale on “assault” weapons
limiting high capacity magazines
stopping gun trafficking

Thus the bromides from Gabby and Mark’s open letter were translated into policies which are political non-starters that are also gauzy gun grabbing forays. 

[***]
But in my estimation, clamoring to do just “Do SOMETHING” is imprudent.  While dialoguing with an Americans for Responsible Solutions proponent,I noted that Remington 870 pump shotgun  which the Navy Yard shooter used was one that was exempted from Senator Feinstein’s "modest proposal" as it is a popular hunting rifle.  My interlocutor interjected “That proves my point–we need to do better”.  It seems that the Swiftian allusion was not well appreciated. But it seemed like no contrary opinions were acceptable for one so convicted.

If the government wanted to do something, then for starters this Administration (and future ones) could enforce the gun laws already on the books with due process not by showy tactical teams in low risk situations.  Alas, after that,  there are not easy answers.  So it is worth having real debate on causes and solutions.  However, Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN 9th) goes on MSNBC and slandered Second Amendment supporters as being "Murderers Row", this does not seem like respectful or introspective civic discourse.  And refusing to respond to point by point challenges on the root causes of mass shootings or the consequences of the “Do SOMETHING” impulse makes it seem like the issue is being cynically stoked to fire up bases for partisan wedge issue politics at the expense of innocents. 

Michael Reagan on Politics

Michael Reagan

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bob Dylan on Belief

Bob Dylan

Celebrating International Talk Like a Pirates Day

Black Sam Bellamy







Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  This parodic holiday was dreamt up in 1995 during a racquetball game between John Baur (a.k.a. Ol Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (a.k.a. Cap'n Slappy)


One of us might have been reaching for a low shot that, by pure chance, might have come off the wall at an unusually high rate of speed, and strained something best left unstrained. 'Aaarrr' 



[L] Cap'n Slappy (a.k.a. Mark Summers) and [R] Ol' Chumbucket (John Baur)



In 2002, the pair sent a "message in a bottle"  letter to syndicated columnist Dave Barry who championed and promoted the idea.  Part of the reason that Talk Like a Pirate Day has grown virally is because the faux holiday has not been trademarked, even though Baur and Summers have a website to garner some booty.  John Baur's "pirate" family  also participated in an episode of "Wife Swap" in 2006.





Michigan State Sen. Roger Kahn (R-32 Saginaw Twshp.)
Funny how a farcical pain cry became a parodic holiday.  But believe it or not, the state of Michigan officially recognized Talk Like a Pirate Day as a holiday, with Michigan State Senator Roger Kahn (R- MI 32nd Saginaw Township) introducing the resolution wearing an eyepatch.  Better to pass resolutions for farcical holidays than plundering the taxpayers' pocketbooks or truly taking away their liberty.

If you want to scrawl your own electronic missive to the Talk Like a Pirate Day holiday sponsor, you can contact SenRKahn@senate.michigan.gov.  In the spirit of the holiday, it is suggested to put it in pirate argot. To quickly translate, try using  Post Like a Pirate.




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Second Amendment Conundrum



It is ironic that American military bases can be considered effective "Gun Free Zones", based upon a Department of Army directive 190-14  in March, 1993.  

Progressive sources are quick to deny that this was an Executive Order by President Clinton.  Surely a Commander-in-Chief whose Presidency was partially premised on moderate gun control would have no sway over their troops./sarc

Delving deeper into the weeds, there is a Department of Defense Memo from February 1992 (during the President George H.W. Bush Administration)  on the issue.  And this general ban on sidearms for non security essential personnel has survived the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama Administrations. 

Unclassified Department of Defense Regulations do not incorporate legislative history to reveal the rationale for the rule.  But considering that the rule did not apply to personnel under combat or whom would be expected to have security duties, it does hint that extra arms were considered unnecessary.

While the motives for the Navy Yard killing of twelve innocent NAVSEA personnel is up in the air two days after the fact, there are other counterexamples to this DOD "Gun Free Zone" policy. 

Makeshift Ft. Hood massacre memorial, Nov. 2009

Even though the Obama Administration persisted in classifying the Fort Dix shooting in November, 2009 to be an instance of workplace violence, anyone with an ounce of common sense knows better.  When the former Army psychologist gunned down thirteen military members while shouting "Allahu Akbar", he is not just "going postal" but engaged in a jihad.  The euphemistically entitled "War on Terror" is an asymmetric example of warfare with non-state irregulars with a world-wide battlefield. 


Consider the Fort Dix Six in 2007 when radical jihadists wanted to kill as many soldiers as possible in New Jersey.   But their convictions were on conspiracy to commit murder, not terrorism.

Then there was attack on the Little Rock Arkansas military recruiter office in 2009 when Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (ne Carlos Leon Bledsoe) shot two privates killing one in his attempt to kill as many Army personnel as possible.  Oh, but he was convicted on state murder charges, not terrorism, so perhaps that doesn't count. 

The Obama Administration has been determined to deny the War on Terrorism.  Aside from the spurious classification of the Fort Hood massacre, they have bungled the Benghazi attack of September 11, 2012, maintaining that it was prompted by a spontaneous protest over an obscure anti-Mohammad You-Tube video, instead of a coordinated attack on a US compound by an Al Qaeda affiliate.  Then consider former Department of Home Security Head Janet Napolitano's linguistic jihad against using the term "War on Terror" in 2009, when the government was cajoled to refer to terrorist acts as "Man Made Disasters".   

Since military personnel who are certified to carry firearms and are well trained, it would be worth reconsidering why the ban on general military personnel carrying weapons on American military bases continues.  There may be some good reasons which a civilian might not readily consider. But in the cases of the Navy Yard shooting, the Fort Hood shooting and the Little Rock shooting would likely have been mitigated by military members long before security forces quelled the shooter. 

Perhaps the military base "gun free zones" are part of a liberal understanding of the Second Amendment clause "a well regulated militia".