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Quote of the Day: Fracking Berlin Wall

Daily Caller:

“The Pennsylvania-New York border is the ‘Berlin Wall,’” Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Pennsylvania is West Berlin, and New York is East Berlin.”

“What’s happening in New York is just a continued decline in the economy of the Southern Tier. Those are the counties right along the border with Pennsylvania,” said Moreau. “Literally, people can stand there on the New York side and look just across the political border and see all this prosperity.”

 

Kinda glad I didn’t stay in NY after college, not that PA doesn’t have its problems.

February 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm Comments (0)

Corbett: Raising Gas Taxes

It’s been trendy of late to pile on Governor Corbett, for a variety of reasons, mostly not being able to get things done, what with Republican majorities in the House & Senate. I’ve been reluctant.

But damn dude. This is brain damaged.

Two people who learned details of the plan told The Associated Press Wednesday that the governor will announce the fine points of the long-awaited initiative next week.

They both spoke on condition of anonymity because Corbett has not publicly disclosed the plan.

A message seeking comment that was left with Corbett’s press office wasn’t immediately returned.

The proposal would remove a statutory cap on the oil company franchise tax.

The per-gallon tax is applied up to an average wholesale price of $1.25, and the administration says lifting the cap could produce $1.9 billion a year.

I understand that the governor is denying the reports, and I appreciate that. But the idea is so stupid, it could only come from Harrisburg.

Literally, there is no tax that is paid that IS NOT paid by the consumer. Call it what you want, but that $1.9 billion is gonna come down the food chain to you and me. No way to avoid that.

So by all means, tax the oil companies, tax the gas companies, tax the refiners, tax the pipeline companies, tax the frackers. But they’re just going to send it on to us.

January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm Comments (0)

National Review sizes up PA Senate race

As of this writing, the Real Clear Politics averages have Casey up by 6 and Obama up by 4.7.  And you know some of those polls are BS. This thing is close.

As at least some of us said could happen, the Senate race has tightened along with the Presidential race. Consider the gap effectively closed.  The Smithies deserve major credit with putting a floor under the GOP ticket in Pennsylvania. Significant credit for PA’s competitiveness also goes to AFP, which has done quite a bit of phone banking and has run some excellent TV ads.

People are starting to notice. The NRSC is kicking in a cool half-million.  Ex-Gov Ed is at least paying lip service to the idea of a Romney upset if Democratic turnout collapses.

Now National Review is out with an editorial exposing some hard-hitting facts about Casey (emphasis added):

More recently, Senator Casey has turned his back on the Keystone State’s energy sector, which hovers precariously between resurgence and retreat.

In June, Casey voted against a bill to block a bundle of EPA rules known as Utility MACT, which stands for Maximum Achievable Control Technology, a fitting name for progressive job-killing regulations if ever there was one. Nationwide, MACT is expected to cost $9.2 billion, destroy 39,000 jobs, and result in 700,000 new hours of paperwork each year. In Pennsylvania, it has already caused five coal power plants to shutter, costing the Keystone State over 3,000 megawatts of electricity and hundreds of jobs while raising energy prices for Pennsylvanians. And its impact is only just starting to be felt; more than 20 other plants in the state could fall idle before all is said and done.

Casey’s [FRAC Act] bill would turn over regulation of drilling in the region’s Marcellus shale formation to the federal government at the worst possible time, endangering as many as 240,000 jobs and sending a message to his state’s own regulators that they aren’t up to the task of balancing environmental concerns against economic exigencies.

 

 

October 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm Comments (0)

Why Do We Allow Iran And Libya To Dominate Our Debates?

 

Part 1 of 2 dealing with Middle East – once and for all

 

Pop Quiz 1: Which of the following is true:

 

A) It took Iran 25 years to build one subway line in its only major city, and 26 years to open a new airport.

 

B) Iran is once again garnering incredible attention in the presidential election. As a result, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ego has gone through the roof of the mosque.

 

C) Iran fell in line when the U.S. had a strong leader with a decisive policy on terrorism — on the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, the American hostages were released.

 

Answer: all of the above. 

 

How is that possible?  How can such a backwards country — despite its very educated and prodigious people — continually dominate headlines and so significantly affect American foreign policy?

 

Easy. Bi-partisan ineptitude and cowardice in dealing with the Middle East, especially Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

 

Oh sure, we’re told by the “experts” that the Iranian situation is far too complex for the average American — a global chess game played by diplomatic masters.

 

Translation:  Neither Party knows what the hell they’re doing.

 

*****

 

Pop Quiz Two, again looking for true statements:

 

A) For years, Libya was a rogue nation that openly engaged in terrorism, harbored the training camp for the Achille Lauro cruise ship high-jackers, bombed the Rome and Vienna airports as well as the Berlin nightclub that killed a U.S. serviceman, and incinerated Pan Am Flight 103.

 

B) Libya fell in line when the U.S. had a strong leader with a decisive policy on terrorism (Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush).

 

C) Despite this, the U.S. chose to oust Muammar Gaddafi and help install a new regime comprised of Libyans who had traveled to Iraq to fight Americans.

 

D) That regime showed its appreciation by, at best, sitting idly by while the U.S. embassy in Benghazi was attacked and the American ambassador murdered.

 

Again, all of the above.

 

Sure, there are questions about why extra security requests at the embassy were denied, as well as why it took the Administration so long to acknowledge that an anti-Mohammed movie was not the reason behind the attack.

 

But the larger questions were totally missed: 1) why did we invade a friendly Libya in the first place; 2) why are Iran’s nuclear ambitions proceeding unimpeded; and 3) why is America’s overall policy in the region failing? Until these issues are addressed, the fuse on the Middle East powder keg will inch closer to detonation.

 

*****

 

To solve the problem, we need to ensure that past mistakes of both Parties are not repeated.  And their biggest one has been kicking the Middle East can down the road to future Administrations.

 

The first President Bush built a respectable worldwide coalition when he waged the Gulf War in 1991, but contrary to his generals’ advice, he stopped short of finishing off Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard.  Bush also reneged on his promise to assist the Kurds in their attempt to overthrow Hussein.  Because of this, they were slaughtered, and Hussein remained in power.  Bush left the Iraq problem to future Presidents, including, ironically, his son.

 

Likewise, President Clinton had Osama bin Laden literally in his sights, and could have eliminated the September 11 mastermind, but failed to act.  Instead, Bin Laden plotted away, and the rest is history. Clinton, like the first Bush, left the problem to the next President.

 

George W. Bush originally acted as if understood the concept of decisive action. He invaded Afghanistan, took down the Taliban, and eliminated terrorist training bases. The bad guys were on the run, and the noose should have been tightened until they were crushed.  Instead, the “need” to invade Iraq shifted American priorities, allowing many terrorists to escape and fight another day.  Not coincidentally, there has been a huge resurgence of terrorist activity throughout Afghanistan, to the point where Americans cannot trust the very Afghanis they have trained.

 

And now we have an Obama Administration that betrayed Gaddafi, a reliable ally who did everything the U.S. asked of him.  While no angel, and clearly acting out of self-preservation, Gaddafi nonetheless “played ball,” helping to root out terrorists and stopping his WMD programs.  Despite Gaddafi being taken off the State-Sponsored Terrorism List and being praised by George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, Libya was invaded with the sole purpose of regime change. The resulting message was that America could no longer be trusted.

 

*****

 

Each of those Administrations has something else in common: none worked to achieve energy independence. If they had, Libya and Iran wouldn’t matter all that much. Bush I signed the offshore drilling moratorium, and neither Clinton, Bush, Jr. nor Obama made any genuine effort to lift it.

 

In addition to energy independence resurrecting America’s manufacturing base and fostering unprecedented growth, it would also give America and the world economic breathing room if and when military action becomes necessary to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Sure, oil and gasoline prices would spike after an attack. But energy independence would make the blow exponentially less, since utilizing our vast domestic resources would alleviate America’s paralyzing dependency on Middle Eastern oil. In effect, energy independence, or at least tangible action toward achieving that goal, would de-sensitize world financial markets to a strike on Iran.

 

Is Iran months, or even minutes, away, as some would have us believe, from getting the bomb? Well, if their quarter-century long infrastructure progress is any indication, then the answer would seem to be “No.”  But since Ahmadinejad obviously cares more about nukes than airport, it’s a good bet that the unthinkable is looming, requiring action sooner than later.

 

The only problem is that we continue to be bent over the Iranian oil barrel.

 

If we do nothing, Iran becomes a nuclear-weaponed state — one which will most likely provide those weapons to terrorists who wish to make New York uninhabitable for one hundred years. But since the United States is anything but energy independent, a strike will see oil spike over $200/barrel overnight, leading to gas prices of $10/gallon.

 

So what do we do?

 

For starters, deal with rogue nations in the only language they understand: steel resolve, an iron fist and the mettle to act, not just talk.

 As published in Philadelphia Magazine:

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/10/23/attack-iran/

Part Two will offer an analysis into dealing with rogue nations, including Iran.

 

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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October 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm Comments (0)

Pre-Obama Gas Prices in Lower Merion

As political stunts go, this one is pretty cool, especially given that it strikes at the heart of deep blue Lower Merion:

Drivers are backed up four to six blocks on Montgomery Avenue, trying to take advantage of an incredible deal on gas.

It’s all part of an event, organized by local conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, at the Wark’s Liberty Gas Station on the 300 block of Montgomery Avenue in Merion Station. The group is offering gas at $1.84 a gallon between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to the first 150 customers.

The Americans for Prosperity say the event is part of a political statement. They claim the last time gas was only $1.84 per gallon was back in 2009 before President Obama took office.

“When gas prices are nearing four dollars you are changing my life,” said Jennifer Stefano of the Americans for Prosperity. “You are forcing women like me to make decisions between food or gas. That’s not a good place for families to be in America.”

NBC10 spoke with another woman who claimed the whole event was a “Republican ploy.” Yet with the amazingly cheap deal, there’s no doubt that people of all political backgrounds are trying to take advantage.

My favorite sign: “Gas prices are a Womens Issue!!!”

Nicely Done, Jennifer Stefano!

October 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm Comments (0)

Tip The Scales Against Obesity? Try Shame

                                                        Part 2 of 2 on obesity, bullying, and the lack of shame in America

Several years ago, one of the best-loved theme parks in the world shut down a classic ride so it could make some “large” adjustments.  Why the need? It was something very “deep-seated” — people had become so obese that the boats in which they rode were scraping the bottom.

 

How would obese patrons feel if, in front of hundreds, they were required to stand in a different queue — one simply marked “Obese Riders Here.” And that instead of meeting just the height requirement, they were also forced to meet a “width” criteria.

 

Or when boarding an airplane, fat people would be called separately so they could sit in extra-wide seats, for which they pay double?

 

And what if stadiums had a section of reinforced double-wide seats where obese folks were required to sit?

 

Unfortunately, our country doesn’t binge on such options, which is truly a shame.

 

Literally.

 

And that’s precisely the problem.  There is no shame.

 

In genuflecting to political correctness, America shuns shame. It has become a nation so afraid to offend that it turns a blind to its biggest problems, such as obesity.   And that problem is burgeoning. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and a staggering percentage of our children — our future — are growing up (and out) with little regard for how this epidemic will impact them. In this regard, some medical experts have predicted that our children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. For many, they are the product of their environment, where parents (many obese themselves) and society as a whole have sent the message that being fat is no “big” deal.  The stigma once rightly associated with obesity is disappearing as quickly as fat is accumulating.

 

So how do we get to the bottom of this problem?  For starters, shame.  Because no matter what else is attempted, if shame is not the cornerstone of the solution, the situation will never improve.

 

*****

 

Two fantastic and courageous examples of how shame is being effectively utilized are occurring in Georgia and Minnesota.  In Atlanta, an extensive advertising campaign “Stop Sugarcoating It,” sponsored by Children’s Healthcare, targets childhood obesity.  Taglines under obese children include “Warning…It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not”; “Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid”; and “Big Bones Didn’t Make Me This Way…Big Meals Did.” There was also a YouTube ad with a sad girl saying, “I don’t like going to school, because all the other kids pick on me. It hurts my feelings.”

 

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota has launched a similar campaign, targeting overweight parents whose behavior is often mimicked by their children. One ad shows two chubby boys arguing about whose dad can eat more — a discussion overheard by a father as he approaches their table with a heaping tray of fast food.  Another shows an obese woman filling her shopping cart with junk food, only to notice that her obese daughter is doing the exact same thing with a smaller cart.

 

Both campaigns use shame correctly. Without being mean-spirited or over-the-top, they prod people to acknowledge, and change, their unhealthy behavior. Not surprisingly, though, both have something else in common: significant criticism from the waistline-challenged community.  Their biggest beef? It’s not education, but shaming, which, of course is “bullying.”

 

They simply don’t get it.

 

Shaming isn’t the total panacea, but it must be an integral part of the solution. And there is no better example than how it changed the perception of smoking, once considered cool but now viewed with utter disdain.  Sure, cigarettes are expensive, but that’s not why smoking is down.  It’s because society made a conscious effort to shame smokers.  Try lighting up in a bar with co-workers, and you receive dagger-like stares. Do it outside, and people immediately move away, because smoking is regarded as disgusting, and therefore, the smoker must be, too.

 

Smoking kills, and we have no problem pointing out that as a deterrent.  But so does obesity, yet we hesitate to mention it.  Just as non-smokers are picking up the tab for the massive medical costs related to smoking, non-overweight people are subsidizing the obese since it is “discriminatory” to charge differently for health care (though a section of the Affordable Care Act would change that).

 

But unlike the “good old days,” shaming is now taboo. No one is ever at fault or accountable for his actions. Consider:

 

-It used to be, when a student received a detention, they weren’t just shamed in front of their classmates.  They knew they had to tell their parents, which would invariably trigger another punishment.

 

Contrast that to the reaction this week of a New Jersey principal’s letter to parents about pictures of their underage children on Facebook holding alcohol bottles. Instead of thanking the principal for bringing that situation to their attention, a number of parents ripped him.

 

-Airlines have attempted to charge double for obese passengers whose girth extends beyond the armrests. While this is clearly commonsense, since not doing so penalizes paying passengers of normal weight, such policies are met with scorn and even lawsuits by those lobbying for obesity-without-consequence.

 

-And since it would be considered “discriminatory” to have an obese-only section in stadiums, seats are being made wider to accommodate overly plump posteriors.  And when seats are wider, there are fewer of them.  Who pays?  You do.  The same way that the non-obese eat the cost of new toilets that must be installed with ground supports, as the standard wall-mounted commodes can no longer bear the weight of America’s fat brigade.

 

We have coddled ourselves so much that we have shamed using shame.  As a result, people have become clueless to their appearance.  Sure, what’s under the skin matters, and no one should feel that obese people are bad, but what’s on the outside counts, too. Or at least it should.  But go to any beach, and count how many linebacker-sized women are showcasing themselves in bikinis.  Ditto for men whose guts reach the next block.  Since they all have mirrors, one can only assume that shame is simply not a part of their lives.

 

Should we have scarlet letters for the obese? Of course not, since there is no problem identifying them. But we should employ shame to shed light on an issue that affects us all, in the same way that some judges order drunk drivers to place “Convicted DUI” bumper stickers on their cars.

 

And speaking of cars, how shameful is it that overweight people are not just guzzling food, but fuel?  A recent report calculated that 1 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted every year (one percent of the nation’s total) just to haul Americans’ extra pounds. And given that the average American weighs 24 more pounds than in 1960, airlines are using roughly 175 million more gallons of jet fuel per year just to accommodate the overweight.  That’s downright shameful.

 

And if not shame, then what? Do we tax fast food? Soda? Candy?  Do we regulate portion size? No to all. Not only are such ideas preposterous and unenforceable, but they are tactics, not strategy.  It’s time to tip the scales against obesity and solve the problem.

 

Otherwise, we will soon find out that the “elephant in the room” isn’t a pachyderm at all.

 

It’s an average American.

 

                                                                                     *****

As published in Delaware County Daily Times:

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/10/16/opinion/doc507c724224c08947340181.txt

Part 1, as published in Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

 http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/10/10/america-open-honest-conversation-fat-people/

 

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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October 16, 2012 at 9:47 am Comments (0)

Obese News Anchor Sinks Over A Weighty Issue

Part 1 of 2 on obesity, bullying and the lack of shame in America

 

Think just because there’s a presidential election there aren’t other “big” issues? Believe that, and pigs can fly.

 

In fact, there is a large — huge, even — discussion eating at many Americans, the girth of which we are still trying to get our arms around.

 

What is this weighty issue that once again has been feasted upon by both sides?

 

The massive rate of obesity in America, and whether publicly calling attention to it, as well as obese individuals themselves, should be on the table.

 

The obesity issue got cooking again after overweight news anchor Jennifer Livingston of WKBT in La Crosse, Wisconsin, received a private email from a viewer.  Kenneth Krause called her weight into question, asking whether she considered herself “a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular,” and adding, “Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.” He ended by hoping that she would, “reconsider (her) responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

 

Since Livingston’s skin was surprisingly thin for someone in the public eye, she responded with a four-minute on-air editorial rebuking Krause.

 

But rather than giving viewers food for thought regarding her perspective on obesity, she left everyone wondering “Where’s the beef?” by barely weighing in on the issue at all. Instead she had a cow, ranting incessantly about bullying.  Yes— bullying. To the point where she even blubbered about how those struggling with sexual preference, skin color and even acne needed to stand up to bullying.

 

Bravo!  And since anchors often sink, that classic bait-and-switch tactic ensures Ms. Livingston a long political career should her day job not pan out.

 

However…

 

While many other media outlets are fawning over Livingston’s diatribe, Freindly Fire won’t serve up Grade A compliments so freely.  This is far too much at steak — stake, sorry — to allow her to duck the meat of the issue.

 

*****

 

First item on the menu are the facts:

 

1) Livingston received a private email, and chose to go public with it. Krause didn’t “bully” her, but offered his opinion to a public figure —which Livingston certainly is. She could have responded privately or simply ignored it. Getting nasty emails is part of the job.  Hell, Yours Truly gets pummeled so often — including occasional death threats — that a “bullying” email like Krause’s would be a dream. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the…kitchen.

 

And would someone please explain how a non-vulgar, non-threatening email can be even remotely considered bullying?

 

2) Every single aspect of the obesity epidemic needs to be discussed in an open, straightforward and respectful manner, regardless of whether feelings are hurt. That’s not bullying. It’s constructive dialogue, something quickly disappearing from the American scene.

 

3) The vast, vast majority of obesity cases — which includes nearly 40 percent of the

American adult population — are due to lifestyle choices, namely, immense overeating and a lack of physical activity. Only an extremely small percentage is related to medical conditions.

 

4) Let’s put a fork in the myth — perpetuated by so many obese people — that thyroid conditions are more prevalent than the common cold. Not only are they rare, but there are numerous medications which treat that condition, combating weight gain. Interestingly, Livingston never mentioned during her editorial that she had a thyroid condition. That morsel only came out after the story — and Livingston herself — became an international headline.

 

*****

 

 

In fairness to Livingston, it would seem that Krause formulated his opinion not knowing if she had a medical condition that contributed to her obesity.  While the odds were certainly in his favor that she did not, it would have been prudent to have addressed that question in his correspondence.

 

That said, as big as Livingston has become, given her appearances on national television shows, she is not the issue. Nor is Krause.

 

But before we get to the skinny on obesity, it is equally important to understand what this issue isn’t about — namely bullying.  Does it exist? Of course. Always has and always will. And reasonable efforts should be made to fight it. But “bullying” has become the catch-all phrase we use whenever someone feels jilted, offended, or bad about themselves.  The truly tragic part is that combating real bullying has taken a backseat to an all-appeasing political correctness running rampant throughout America.

 

From social media to the schoolyard, we’ve reached the point where children are no longer permitted to fight their own battles, instead seeing the authorities swoop in at the first sign of conflict.  Sounds nice, and sometimes intervention is necessary, but for the most part, that paternalism leaves children woefully unprepared for that pesky thing called The Real World.  And now we are seeing the results of crib-to-college coddling: our businesses are sanitized risk-averse petri-dish experiments for social engineering, wars are fought so as to not offend the enemy, and scoreboards are often turned off in youth sports so a team down by 5 goals doesn’t cry and quit.  But no worries! Everyone gets a trophy so all can feel good about themselves.

 

Maybe if America prioritized growing up and not out, we’d be a whole lot better off.

 

The real issue is how to gnaw away at the exploding obesity rate, an epidemic that is all-consuming.  Obesity-related medical costs are soaring (over twenty percent of all health care spending) as cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke meteorically rise.  Health insurance premiums for everyone increase in order to subsidize the obese. Worker productivity is down. Even energy costs are up.

 

But perhaps most alarming, America’s young people are being de-sensitized to obesity and all its negative effects.  In what is fast becoming a “do-whatever-makes-you-feel-good” society, that makes for an extremely dangerous recipe.

 

And the best way — maybe the only way — to change that fatitude is shame, a value in thin supply.  Part Two will chew that fat on how shame, correctly utilized, can lighten the load on America’s youth.

 

As published in Delaware County Daily Times:

 

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/10/11/opinion/doc5076b94a3667d182779799.txt

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

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October 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm Comments (0)

Muslim Uprisings Matter Only Because Of America’s Oil Dependence

 

You don’t have to be a “prophet” to know the future will be worse

 

It’s bad enough British comedian Russell Brand is painfully unfunny and a horrendous actor. But he crossed the line when he caused emotional distress to American pop music goddess Katy Perry during their ill-fated marriage.

 

Therefore, in the spirit of nationalism, we should declare jihad against all things British, scale their embassy walls, rip down the Union Jack and replace it with a giant Katy Perry sign.

 

That’ll teach those limeys!

 

Don’t laugh. That mentality is exactly what our self-imposed Masters — the radical Islamists — do every time they are offended, declaring fatwas and engaging in jihad at the drop of a hat. And since rationality and civility are not in their vocabulary, their never-ending bitch-sessions are always accompanied by violence of the deadliest kind.

 

It’s no secret that Americans, more than anyone, are their favorite targets. For recent proof, just ask the American Ambassador to Libya. (Unfortunately, you can’t. They executed him.)

 

These Muslim fundamentalists are such wackjobs that American embassy personnel throughout the Middle East are now being forced to evacuate their diplomatic missions. And U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan are pulling back from the front lines not because they are losing to the Taliban, but because they are being routinely attacked — often with deadly consequences — by the very people they had worked with and trained. And do we need to mention how we are viewed in Iraq after “liberating” that nation?

 

So armed with that knowledge, what does America do to mitigate this ever-growing threat? Absolutely everything except the only thing that will free us from our bondage — become energy independent.

 

*****

 

 

Has it dawned on anyone —from either Party — that this latest episode of Middle Eastern Terror Theatre has been brought to us by the very people whom we have sworn allegiance to by prostrating ourselves at the altar of Islamic Crude Oil?

 

Let’s say it another way. Petroleum and natural gas are undoubtedly the most valuable substances on Earth, and the lack of either would send our teetering economy into complete collapse. Yet despite having the world’s largest reserves of both, America continues to ignore that Godsend, instead making the conscious choice to rely on — and pay top dollar to — the very same people who are rioting the world over because some low-budget spoof film doesn’t depict Mohammed in the best light.  A film, by the way, that 99 percent of them most certainly have never seen.

 

Ironically, these fundamentalists are funded by the United States, through both foreign aid and trillions of American petro dollars — the greatest transfer of wealth in all of human history.

 

About the only thing more infuriating is the total lack of awareness among our elected officials, both Presidential candidates, and the media’s clueless talking heads. Instead of solutions, 30-second sound bites rule the day, with Republicans blaming Obama, Democrats trying to save face, and media commentators missing the point entirely. What else is new?

 

More Americans will die trying to extinguish these fanatic-fanned flames —a temporary fix since they will ignite again — and the real issue will not be addressed, let alone solved. Here’s what can be done to avoid this conflagration in the future:

 

1) Can we all please just admit what is absolute fact? We are only involved in these firestorms because of our dependence on Middle Eastern oil barons to keep the crude spigots open. And since that flow of petroleum must be unimpeded, we are forced to maintain large diplomatic and military presences in that region, making us viewed as occupiers and swelling Islamic resentment toward America.

 

Here’s a novel idea.

 

If we drilled our own oil — are you ready for this — we wouldn’t be bent over the Middle East oil barrel, and therefore, wouldn’t be over there. Sure, we would still maintain embassies and feign concern about their humanitarian issues, but the truth (which no one wants to publicly admit) is that we wouldn’t give a damn about those countries or their people if we didn’t need their oil. Evidence? Where was America when millions were massacred in the 1994 Rwandan genocide? Not in Rwanda, because Rwanda has no oil. Ditto for most conflicts around the globe. End of story.

 

2) America has engaged in armed conflict in no less than 10 Muslim countries in the last fifteen years.  Until America’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil is eliminated, more Americans will die in foreign lands “protecting” oil interests, albeit under the false monikers of “freedom” and “democracy.” Those deaths are solely because America refuses to drill, and that is inexcusable.

 

3) You can bet your derriere that if the U.S. and its gutless Euro-allies had not deposed Muammar Gaddafi, the Ambassador would still be alive. Gaddafi was no angel, but out of self-preservation, he did everything America asked of him, so much so that he was praised by the Bush Administration. But the U.S. fought the European’s oil war and took out Muammar, bombing his country and arming the Eastern Libyans — who, we seem to forget, were the largest foreign fighting force in Iraq fighting…Americans.  Now they run Libya, and not even a year later, look what happens. And regarding those 20,000 surface-to-air missiles that Gaddafi had always secured, well, they are still missing. Any guesses as to who now possesses them?

 

4) Stop trying to “democratize” the Islamic world. It will not happen. Not now, and probably not ever. That’s ok. Not all people need to be “Americanized” and “democratized.” We have a tough enough time making democracy work here. Pushing that mentality so fervently, and thinking it can happen quickly, is not just insanity, but dangerous. How much more American blood and treasure have to be expended before this is realized?

 

*****

When the film The Last Temptation Of Christ was released, many Christians, and especially Catholics, were offended. While those critics would have been better off keeping quiet and not drawing additional publicity to the film, the protests were nonetheless peaceful and respectful.  Contrast that with the Muslim hordes who go bananas over a film that virtually no one will see, and which doesn’t even disrespect Allah, just the prophet. Is the film in bad taste? Sure. But is it worth indiscriminately killing any American in sight?

 

To the civilized, that question needs no answer. But the follow-up absolutely does. Why does America continue to endanger its citizens by dealing with lunatics when such action is wholly avoidable?

 

The answer is anything but partisan politics. It was Bush I who signed the moratorium on offshore drilling, and it took George W. Bush seven years to call for domestic drilling (way too late). So this is by no means just a Democratic problem. Both are equally complicit in jeopardizing America’s economic and national security.

 

Think about that the next time you fill up at $4/gallon, knowing your money is directly benefitting the very folks who, literally, have you in their crosshairs.

 

With energy independence nowhere in sight, you don’t have to be a prophet to see that America’s future is anything but a gas.

 

 Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 21, 2012 at 9:17 am Comments (0)

Smith can win in November

It’s possible.  It shouldn’t be vastly more difficult than a Romney win in PA.

Granted, if you believe the polls, a Romney victory assumes an optimistic scenario.  But given that 2008 and 2010 were both outlier years, there is a degree of uncertainty in the turnout models used by pollsters.  I’m also a fan of playing everywhere.  If you don’t plan to win in PA, you’re planning to lose it.  Obama won a couple of extra states in 2008 because he was organized in every state.  [Begrudging hat-tip to Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” at the DNC.]  And if we lose PA at the Presidential level once again, we’ll see the Keystone state being written off for the indefinite future.

Obama is the worst President within anybody’s living memory.  Economic policy, foreign policy, social policy… pretty much disasters all around. (At least LBJ and Nixon could tell our allies from our enemies.)  What will it say if we can’t beat Obama in 2012?  That’s not a scenario I care to contemplate.

So for the purposes of talking about the Senate race, I assume that it’s at least conceivable that Romney wins in PA.

As of this writing, the Real Clear Politics spread for the Presidential race in PA is Obama+8.  The spread on the Senate race is Casey+15.2.  Step-one is to close the spread.  Casey has a truly atrocious, liberal voting record.  Given that Casey and Obama are about 98% the same person, and if you think about it, Tom Smith is in a lot of ways a more likeable guy than Mitt Romney, closing the gap should be somewhat easier than people think.

It seems some folks still haven’t gotten the memo that Casey really isn’t a moderate.  Whether you believe the conservative organizations (ACU = 5.65, Heritage Action = 3, NTU = F, Club for Growth = 2) or the liberal ones (ACLU = 73, Americans for Democratic Action = 100, League of Conservation Voters = 100, NAACP = 100, SEIU = 91), Bob Casey Jr. has an extremely liberal voting record.  Our supposedly “pro-life” Senator even scores 65% from NARAL.

Those are the aggregate numbers. Behind those abstract figures lie real liberal votes.  He voted for ObamaCare, destroyer of jobs and religious freedoms. He voted for the abominable stimulus/”Recovery Act” that sunk us deeper into debt to China for no discernible economic benefit.  He voted for EPA regulations that will hurt Pennsylvania both in the form of lost coal industry jobs and in the form of skyrocketing higher electricity costs.  He voted to continue taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, provider of approximately three hundred thousand abortions per year. He voted to continue funding for ACORN even after multiple video stings revealed a systemic propensity to help pimps of underage children evade law enforcement, to say nothing of ACORN’s sordid history with voter registration fraud.  (Hey, didn’t we just go through some kind of big scandal with child sex abuse? Think that issue might have any resonance?)  He supports EFCA/”Card Check”, giving free hand to employee intimidation by union organizers.  He supports taxpayer bailouts of private pension programs.  He voted against several international free trade agreements that would have helped the US economy, including the Colombia FTA, which was a no-brainer for approval from a US jobs perspective, and the rejection of which was a gross geopolitical error (in favor of Hugo Chavez and against a cooperative Colombian government).  He voted against common-sense labor reforms like allowing union workers to earn raises.  He voted for higher taxes on domestic oil production.  He voted for higher taxpayer mortgage guarantees for rich people.  And he voted against Senator Toomey’s amendment that would eliminate legislative earmarks, currency of shady vote-trading in Congress and source of much abuse.

That Casey continues to skate by as a “moderate” with such an abysmal voting record is astonishing.

Expose Casey as being objectively something other than what the voters were led to believe he was, and that Presidential/Senate vote gap should close up pretty nicely.  Assume that the national environment will continue to favor Republicans, and hope that the Romney campaign has some mojo.

So yes, I think it’s possible that Smith wins in November, assuming a few stars align correctly.  They did for Pat Toomey, another guy who “couldn’t win”, and who we now refer to as “Senator”.

July 9, 2012 at 5:40 am Comments (0)

Spain And Italy Bailouts? Earth To Europe: Have We Met?

Pop Quiz:

 

Are the Euro-technocrats (and their America backers) who orchestrated the bailouts of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain (and soon Italy):

 

A) Hell-bent on world domination by propping up the Euro to create a one-world currency (to complement a one-world government, of course);

 

B) Closely connected to the banks and governments receiving the billions being doled out so cavalierly — and who are undoubtedly being “taken care of” for their services;

 

C) Good-hearted souls who truly believe that there is no such thing as perfect men, just perfect intentions — leaders who hold that the “more-debt-solves-everything” economic philosophy, while not perfect, is the only salvation for a continent near collapse;

 

D) Cowards who know damn well what they’re doing won’t work, but are kicking the can down the road (again) so that the implosion won’t happen on their watch; or

 

E) Just plain morons. And that’s not meant as a mean-spirited personal attack, but merely a point-of-fact description.

 

Answer:

 

All of the above.

 

The brain trust across the pond is trying to prop up the Euro or, more accurately, save it from extinction. But let’s be honest: since they can’t identify what their problems are, let alone how to solve them, anything beyond keeping their heads above water is wishful thinking.

 

Will people financially benefit from the bailouts? Absolutely. Any time incomprehensibly large amounts of money change hands, insiders make out like bandits (because often times they are). Some of that corruption is illegal (but difficult to prosecute since those at the top are often in on the deal), but there is also widespread institutional corruption, where many of these financial transactions are immoral, unethical, and “criminal,” just not illegal.

 

So while the corporate hacks and pols “get theirs,” the people get shafted. Why would anyone expect change, since there is no incentive to rock the boat? Those who stand up are often kicked out of the “club,” and the European march towards oblivion continues.

 

Are there some European leaders who believe that one bailout after another is the best policy to right the ship? Absolutely.  They live in a bubble of naiveté borne from never holding private sector jobs. To them, free enterprise is a hindrance, not a solution, so they cannot relate to the obstacles businesses must navigate to survive. And thus can’t understand why so many companies are shutting down.

 

They never had to meet a payroll, never dreaded issuing a pink slip, never worried about how to pay skyrocketing health insurance. They never had to compete while handicapped with needlessly high energy costs, and never cursed up a storm because of crushing taxes and ridiculous, job-killing regulations.  More important, they never experienced competition and all that striving to be the best brings out in people.

 

Bureaucrats thrive in a spread-the-wealth environment where mediocrity is the norm, and aspiring to greatness is ridiculed.  Sadly, they have never been imbued with the vision that complacency is the enemy, and that the constant drive to develop better products and services, and how to most innovatively bring them to market, is the only tide capable of lifting all boats.

 

Instead, they believe government solutions are the only answer.

 

The problem with bailouts is that there is no such thing as “government” money. In a democracy, it is always the people’s money, sent to the government with the reasonable expectation that it will be spent with restraint and wisdom. In Europe’s case, as in America, that train has jumped the tracks.

 

Instead, spending has increased so exponentially that entire nations are effectively bankrupt. “Government” money has been made so easily available to all people for all things that the sense of entitlement has wiped out any incentive to work harder and be more productive. Europe has become a continent of sloths, content to siesta and a take a lavish pension at 45.  That’s a whole lot easier than putting in the work necessary to make one’s life, and his children’s future, better.

 

Now it’s time to pay the piper. We no longer live in a world where problems will just work themselves out. Instead, they will be with us until people face the truth. But unless that hard look in the mirror occurs, Europe’s deterioration will only accelerate.

 

Nothing the Europeans are proposing will solve the problem, since they are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. Spain is paralyzed by debt whose unemployment rate is 25 percent. Yet the “solution” is to take on even more debt! That’s like buying a $40,000 Ford with zero in the bank and claiming a “savings” of $60,000 because you didn’t get the $100,000 Mercedes. Earth to Europe: Have we met?

 

Like Greece, the bailout will change nothing in Spain.  The Spanish will riot rather than tolerate cuts in pensions and services. Leaders may discuss austerity measures, but will cave. And why not? They just suckered Europe (mostly Germany) and the United States into giving them $125 billion to do as they please. Instead of implementing reforms, it will be Business As Usual with Other People’s Money. Layoffs will continue, defaults will increase, and more companies will close because nothing will change.

 

But the good news for Spain is that soon it will be a distant memory as Italy, whose financial crisis is even larger, teeters on collapse.  All the money in the European Central Bank won’t be enough to save it, so the printing presses will keep cranking out worthless Euros.  And the madness continues.

 

Will the last one to leave Europe please turn out the lights?

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

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June 13, 2012 at 9:31 am Comments (0)

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