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Pennsylvania Society In New York? Absolutely Yes!

When the second weekend in December rolls around, you can set your watch to two things:

1)  Politicians, business leaders and media executives from the Keystone State converge on the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan for three days of receptions and parties in an event known as The Pennsylvania Society Weekend.

2) The news media will, verbatim, recycle their tired old story, criticizing the event and asking why it isn’t held in Pennsylvania.

Good point, right?  Wrong.  It’s articles like that which make a newspaper’s biggest value being the backup when you run out of toilet paper.

Instead of actually reporting on some of the newsworthy stories that emerge from the weekend, or, God forbid, using the opportunity to generate leads for future stories, most reporters choose the easy — read: lazy — way out by publishing last year’s article after simply changing the date.

Water is wet, the sky is blue and the Pennsylvania Society gala will always be in New York — as it should be. So for all the misguided good-government types, self-described “reformers,” and the chip-on-their-shoulder folks who sport a nose-pressed-against-the- glass attitude, here’s a newsflash: your self-righteous criticism is not just wrong, but factually incorrect about the PA Society.  As a result, your comments are simply ignored as white noise.

Here is the truth rebutting many criticisms leveled at the year’s premier networking event and the “elite” who  attend:

1) Why isn’t it held in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh?  Uhhh, this is a no-brainer.  Because, literally, no one would go.  Period. Not only is there always an excitement in getting away for a weekend — which just isn’t the same when the destination is in your backyard — but there is the ultimate incentive to attend:  it’s Manhattan at Christmas time. No city in the world comes close to matching the electricity flowing through New York in December. There is nothing better. End of story.

2) Why is the Pennsylvania Society event held in New York?  In addition to the above, there’s a little thing called history. In an age when traditions are routinely scoffed, it is refreshing to see that some are still sacred. The weekend started a century ago when some of Pennsylvania’s successful businessmen living in New York (you know, the evil industrialists who had the gall to actually employ hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians and transform the state into one of the most dominant economic engines in the world) wanted to keep in touch with fellow Pennsylvanians. 

Wow. Maintaining friendships, cementing business relationships and furthering the economic interests of Pennsylvania.  What a crime.  Maybe they shouldn’t have started the tradition and instead let the state fall into stagnation, decay, and malaise — kind of like it is now.

3) It’s all backroom deals in smoke-filled rooms: Not true.  New York has one of those ridiculous, all-encompassing smoking bans, which is a shame.  I saw a bunch of CEO’s and pols trying to finish their deal-making after getting thrown out of a mahogany-paneled restaurant for lighting up their Cubans, only to get ticketed for smoking in Times Square.  Yep.  That’s illegal too. The nerve of New York to interfere with Pennsylvania’s elite!

Of course, it hasn’t dawned on the critics that “schmoozing, networking, fund-raising, backslapping, wining, dining, and deal-making” (as the Inquirer described it) can and does take place outside of New York.  It happens in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and everywhere in between.  As a matter of fact, these folks don’t even need back rooms anymore, as they can “make their deals” on cell phones, and, for those who prefer face-to-face conspiracies, Skype.  

The truth is that the last time a candidate was “anointed” at the Pennsylvania Society was Bill Scranton for Governor.  In 1962.  And a check of the records will show there was in fact an election that year, so Mr. Scranton was not installed via dictate by the power elite.

4) The money would be better spent in Pennsylvania, and what kind of message does it send in this economy to have politicians attending lavish parties in New York?

It’s probably a bad image, but damn it’s a fun time!

Of course, both these points boil down to one of America’s biggest problems — and a major factor why we are in this mess.  We are all about style and symbolism over substance.

Does it “look good” to spend money in-state?  Sure.  Would it make one bit of difference?  None.  Zero.  Maybe if a fraction of the energy spent advocating for symbolism was actually spent on getting Pennsylvanians back to work through meaningful growth policies, we’d all be a lot better off.  Ironically, many of the detractors are the same ones standing in the way of real progress, but that’s another column. 

5) It’s so aristocratic…all the power elite playing in their privileged world. 

Well, since this author attends, that theory is shot to hell. But beyond that, it’s simply not true.  Here’s the biggest non-secret that will get me barred from the few events to which I’m actually invited: most “By Invitation Only” events are nothing of the kind. Put on a suit or nice dress, and you’re in.  And once that happens, the preconceived notions disappear right before your eyes.

It’s not about backroom deals and the coronation of candidates.  It’s about people enjoying the company of folks whom they see only this once the whole year.  It’s about renewing long-lost friendships. It’s about swapping war stories, exchanging ideas, going shopping, seeing a Broadway play and taking in a show at Radio City.

But perhaps most remarkable is that, just this one time of year in New York, you can walk into a room with no gatekeepers and have a relaxed, in-depth conversation with some fascinating people who are otherwise insulated. Current and former Governors, U.S. Senators, Attorneys General, Cabinet Secretaries, Congressmen, titans of industry, media publishers, authors… the list goes on and on.  The overarching point of the weekend isn’t to lobby and politic (though clearly that takes place), but to have fun.

State Representative Mike Vereb said it best, “You can actually talk to someone for more than five minutes.”  Too bad we can’t do that more often in Harrisburg, but it’s a start.

And here’s the best part.  It’s civil. Democrats and Republicans actually talk to one another without hurling insults and fists.  About the only folks hitting the floor are the ones who enjoyed the festivities a tad too much.

The media would do itself a huge favor by reporting on the true aspects of the Pennsylvania Society Weekend and not regurgitating the same trite garbage that only serves to further undermine people’s faith in their leaders.

So I raise my glass to keeping the Pennsylvania Society Weekend exactly where it belongs — New York City. 

Cuban cigar, anyone?

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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December 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm Comment (1)

No Electoral Change Needed If GOP Does Its Job

After his victory in 1980, Ronald Reagan chose the best, the brightest — and make no mistake — the most politically powerful to fill his cabinet. In an acknowledgement to the Republican might of Pennsylvania (a state he won), he chose three cabinet officials from the same county! Drew Lewis (who fired the striking air traffic controllers), Alexander Haig, and Richard Schweiker all hailed from Montgomery County.

In 1994, Pennsylvania was the most Republican state in the nation in terms of elected officials.  The GOP controlled the two U.S. Senate seats, the Governorship, the state legislature, all statewide row offices, and a majority of the congressional delegation. 

And in 2010, five congressional seats flipped to the Republicans, Tom Corbett trounced his gubernatorial opponent, the State Senate remained in GOP hands, and Republicans seized control of the State House with a ten-set majority.

Yet the biggest prize of all has eluded the Party for a quarter-century: a win for their presidential candidate.  Not coincidentally, the southeastern counties, home to nearly half the state’s population, have trended Democratic in that timeframe, with the former-GOP strongholds of Delaware and Montgomery Counties abandoning Republican nominees since 1988.

So it’s no surprise that leading Republicans, including Governor Corbett and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, have come up with a plan to change how the state’s presidential electoral votes are awarded. Under their proposal, one electoral vote would be allocated for each congressional district a presidential candidate wins, as opposed to the current system, which is winner-take-all.

We’ll get to the real reason behind this naked political ploy, but first, let’s look at why the plan is a bad idea:

1) It politicizes the election process in an unprecedented way: Congressional districts would be gerrymandered like never before, drawn by the Party in power to suit its candidate’s needs in order to win the most districts.  This is NOT what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they designed the system, and most definitely puts the politicians ahead of the people.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

2) It sets the stage for the system to constantly change: Although labeled a plan offering “electoral fairness,” it is being pushed simply because the GOP now controls Harrisburg and wants to bolster the Republican nominee’s electoral total any way it can.  Remember, the Democrats need Pennsylvania to win the White House, whereas the Republicans do not.

And since this change would be enacted by simple legislation, where does it end?  If Pennsylvania Democrats regain control in 2014, and a Republican occupies the White House, would we then see the winner-take-all system come back into play?  The electoral system in constant flux would only breed resentment and confusion, which could not come at a worse time.

3) It’s a wash on the national level: If enacted nationally, this system would ultimately be a wash, or even negatively impact the GOP. For example, Republicans would no longer win all of Texas’ 38 votes, perhaps only taking 25. Taking it even further, it is possible that in 2004, despite George W. Bush winning 31 states, he might have lost the election, since he only won the Electoral College with 16 votes to spare.

4) The system works as it is: It is not easy to pigeonhole the American people’s voting preferences. For example, Montana and North Dakota, both Republican states in most presidential elections, have Democratic Senators, as did solidly Republican Georgia a short time ago.  Indiana, with a GOP governor and legislature, had voted for Democratic for president only once since 1940 — but that changed in 2008. Obama also won the normally-GOP states of North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Missouri.  Yet the Republicans are darn close to winning the traditionally progressive states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.  Bottom line: Voting patterns are not set in stone. The more competitive elections are, the more engaged the electorate.  The Electoral College works, so why mess with a good thing?

5) It all comes down to having good candidates who can articulate a message with charisma and passion. When Republicans instead coronate those whose “turn it is,” they get clobbered.  Bob Dole and John McCain are prime examples.  Neither had any business being the presidential nominee.  Not much has changed, as the GOP is in total disarray heading into what many Republicans call the most important election in history. The truth is, there are only two candidates capable of winning the nomination, both of whom carry tremendous baggage.  Yet McCain, the Party’s patriarch, just stated, ““We have the deepest bench in the Republican Party now that I have ever seen.” And that says it all.

On the state level, it’s much of the same, as Lynn Swann and Mike Fisher proved all too well. 

Which leads us to the The Pennsylvania story.

*****

The GOP’s demise in the Keystone State can be attributed to two things: the lack of quality candidates and the colossal failure of leadership.  Fix both, and they win the state — and the White House.  But the electoral system shouldn’t be changed just because the entrenched Business As Usual GOP hierarchy is the poster boy for incompetence.

The combination of running untenable candidates, valuing insider contracts and solicitorships over issues and choosing laziness over grunt work has caused it to lose huge chunks of the political landscape.

There has been little effort to groom candidates, and absolutely no initiative to stop the hemorrhaging from Philadelphia, where Republican statewide candidates routinely face half-million vote deficits.  As a result, the Party is in the strange position of sitting on massive gains from the tidal wave of 2010, but taking a pass on challenging vulnerable Democratic Senator Bob Casey. The GOP leadership doesn’t seem to realize that the big swings in 1994 and 2010 were not mandates for the Republicans per se, but a demand that real solutions be enacted to solve monumental problems. 

When Republicans talk about the issues, they win — and win big.  President Reagan innately understood that, which is why he won 44 and 49 states, respectively, with massive Electoral College victories.  Even George H.W. Bush learned that lesson, as he too galloped to victory with 40 states and 426 electoral votes.

*****

Thirty years ago, when someone moved into the Philadelphia suburbs, they were always greeted (usually within a week) by the local Republican committeeman. The conversation went something like this, “Oh, I see you moved here from the city. Well, we have safer streets, better schools, and lower taxes — because our municipality and county are run by Republicans.  Here is a voter registration card…I’ll be back in a few days to see how we can work together.”

That recruiting effort built the Party into a well-oiled machine, and the county organizations could be relied upon to deliver for national and statewide candidates.

But all that ended, and with it, the GOP’s dominance. Issues gave way to power trips and petty infighting, the Party lost its energy and brand. Now, door-knocking and personal visits are virtually non-existent. And the numbers illustrate that failure: in the largest Republican wave since 1946, neither Tom Corbett nor Pat Toomey won Delaware or Montgomery County. Given that the GOP isn’t making the necessary changes, it’s a good bet that trend will continue, with Obama and Casey again winning the state.

Republican woes aside, letting the genie out of the bottle by fundamentally altering the hallowed electoral system established by our Founding Fathers — one that has served us so well — for short-term political gain is anathema to everything uniquely American.

The folks pushing this change should look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are truly the leaders they purport to be.  If so, they should abandon this foolhardy plan and seize the day, winning the hearts and minds of the electorate the old-fashioned way — through hard work.

The Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about how government works best.  Honoring them by not punting a good thing is the least we should do.

 

An accredited member of the news media, 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.

Freind’s column, “Freindly Fire,” appears nationally in Newsmax and regionally in
Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post.  It is also published regularly in a number
of the state’s largest newspapers, including The Delaware County Daily Times, Chester
County Daily Local, Norristown Times Herald, Pottstown Mercury and Bucks County Courier
Post. Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries
and all fifty states.

His work has been referenced in numerous other publications including The Wall Street
Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ bestseller
“Catastrophe.”

 

 

 

 

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October 5, 2011 at 10:38 am Comments (2)

The REAL Pennsylvania Budget: Can Corbett Sell It?

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s “day of reckoning” budget, containing substantial cuts and rolling back spending to 2008 levels, may well pass the GOP-dominated legislature without major changes. 

But just because the state constitution requires a balanced budget doesn’t mean it always happens that way.

Take the budgets of the last two years, which former Governor Ed Rendell championed, and were passed by a Democratic House and Republican Senate.

In 2009, $400 million in revenue was budgeted from the tolling of Interstate 80.  Except that the tolling never happened.  Put that in the debit column.

And last year, the budget was passed on federal Medicaid dollars that hadn’t yet been appropriated (and ended up being $255 million less than budgeted) and a Rendell-promised Marcellus Shale gas tax that would generate hundreds of millions — but which never materialized.

And the forecasted general tax revenue was over a billion dollars short. 

But that’s not all.  The legislature and Rendell raided MCARE in 2009 — the fund to offset Pennsylvania doctors’ skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates — to the tune of $800 million.  A Commonwealth Court ordered the money repaid, but the Rendell Administration appealed.  Odds are the state Supreme Court will uphold that decision.  The hole deepens.

So despite some cuts last fall, we’re still looking at a $3 billion revenue gap which, by the way, is not factored into the acknowledged $4 billion deficit.   The fact that no one wants to talk about this is not surprising, since it’s not in the interest of the politicians, and most of the media doesn’t do its homework.

Let’s put this type of maneuvering into perspective.  What would happen if a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company, in an attempt to placate Wall Street, added billions to its books to reflect a medicine it hadn’t yet produced? 

People would go to jail.

But in Harrisburg, it’s called Business As Usual. Instead of solving the real problem, the state’s leaders have resorted to what they do best: bury their heads in the sand.

Just because you pretend a problem doesn’t exist, though, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  The can is being kicked, yet again, down the road.  But the road is quickly coming to an end.

*****

Overall, the budget rates a B-, assuming that you believe the numbers — and that’s a big assumption.

There is nothing particularly special about this budget, since spending cuts were imminent after the federal stimulus money dried up.  It gets the job done at a basic level, and Pennsylvania will continue to limp along. 

While there were clearly some elements in the Governor’s address that could help Pennsylvania re-invent itself into an economic and industrial powerhouse, the speech lacked the break-out vision that is essential in selling those ideas to the public.  No one expects Corbett to have the jazz of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but Pennsylvanians need to be inspired if their state is to forge ahead.

A prime example would have been explaining why the Marcellus Shale holds such so much promise for Pennsylvania’s future, from the thousands of sustainable jobs it creates (and the accompanying houses bought and income spent in-state), to untold millions in tax revenue, to the manufacturing boom it can foster by providing extremely cheap energy.  

Corbett could have showcased manufacturing companies that drill wells on-site and, as a result, now realize incredible cost savings for what is always the largest line item: energy.  This directly translates into business expansion, more hiring, and a way to finally compete with China.

Or he could have decreed that from this moment, all future state vehicles will run on natural gas, currently about one-eighth the cost of gasoline, with zero emissions. This would be a win-win by increasing demand for natural gas — and if that doesn’t happen soon, the industry will start packing up by next year — and saving taxpayer money.  And what a boom to the entire economy if we had an alternative to $4/gallon gasoline.

But that didn’t happen.  So all the public knows is what they see in the headlines: “We’re Getting Drilled,” “How Corbett Fracked Pennsylvania’s Middle Class,” and “Big Budget Cuts?  We Smell Gas,” along with editorials about how much the industry contributed to the Governor’s campaign.

Reality is now setting in; what a Republican candidate said on the campaign trail in October 2010 — a landslide election year for the GOP— was easy.  Now the rubber meets road.

The question isn’t if Tom Corbett can get this budget passed, but whether can he sell it to the people, and at what cost to his agenda and Party, particularly since 2012 will prove a better year for the Democrats. His deliberate strategy to remain silent for four months has resulted in lost opportunities to earn much-needed political capital needed to sell his budget cuts to the public.

To reverse that, he must now barnstorm across the state, a la Christie, attending everything from natural gas forums, explaining why an extraction tax will hurt the state, to school board meetings, where he can push his idea of teacher salary concessions.  Time will tell whether he will effectively be that messenger.

There were a number of common sense proposals that, based on the legislature’s make-up, should come to fruition: the reduced spending and no new taxes; legal reform targeting frivolous lawsuits (the Fair Share Act); school choice in which competition and accountability would be injected into the educational system; the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, the elimination of pork-barrel walking around money (WAMs); and calls for pay freezes and give-backs by public workers.

Likewise, there are a number of problem areas:

-Eliminating 1,500 jobs is a good start, but since reports state that 1,000 of them aren’t filled, the real number is only 500 jobs, which isn’t a huge budgetary factor. So why the gimmick?

-The assumption that revenue will grow by 4.7 percent, while not impossible, is hugely optimistic.  Inflated revenue has been a hallmark of past budgets to make the numbers work on paper. In reality, they came up short, adding to rolling deficits.  Without substantial growth in Pennsylvania, that rosy figure will prove unattainable.

-Calling for cuts to higher education by 50 percent, while increasing welfare spending substantially, will also be an extremely hard sell, for two reasons. First, many will frame the issue simply as education versus welfare, and which provides the better return on investment. Second, state-related schools, such as Temple, Penn State, Pitt and Lincoln, have immensely powerful lobbying operations, including parents and students, who will deluge their elected officials in opposition.  Look for that figure to drop substantially, to be made up somewhere else.

-One item that is noticeably absent from the budget is the privatization of liquor stores, which is curious since it was the one issue on which the majority of Pennsylvanians agree.  Instead, a blue-ribbon commission was formed to study privatization.  Here’s a newsflash.  Voters elect politicians to solve the problems, not authorize more meaningless commissions.  A major chip in the fight has been shelved, shifting the momentum to the unions which support the status quo.

-Other areas left out but still mandatory for a healthy business climate were the reduction of the corporate net income tax (2nd highest in nation) and the looming pension issues, which may be addressed as public sector union contracts are negotiated this spring.  The Governor has taken the elimination of collective bargaining off the table though, a concession that simply didn’t have to be made this early. They received nothing in return from that move. Another head-scratcher.

-There are also several inconsistencies that the Governor must address.  While he advocated salary freezes and reductions, he raised the salaries of all his executive staff, and the budget of the Lieutenant Governor’s office increased 30 percent. And despite de-funding the adultBasic program, which provided healthcare to working poor on the premise that there was no more money, he found a way to bail out the Philadelphia Shipyard to build ships with no buyers. 

Saying all the right things about fiscal discipline, free enterprise and removing government from where it doesn’t belong rings a bit hollow in light of some recent Corbett Administration decisions.

*****

The Governor used the analogy of reviving an apple tree to explain why the cuts are necessary, stating that if the tree isn’t tended, it will grow into a tangle of limbs and bear no fruit. The pruning (hard cutting) was needed so the tree could once again bear fruit.

In keeping with the theme, here’s a piece of advice: if you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree.

The Governor is right: we need to revive the tree.  But as of now, too much of this budget is coming from the same old barrel.

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

 Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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March 10, 2011 at 11:11 am Comments (0)

ACORN: Under the bus

Fox News Via Ace:

Full Quote from Brett, Courtesy of Jes’ TiVo:

“The census director has now sent a letter to the national headquarters of ACORN notifying them that the Census Bureau is severing all ties with ACORN for all the work having to do with the 2010 Census, either in preparation for or the execution of the 2010 Census. … A copy of this letter has been sent to Congress and relevant committees. … Major Garrett is working this story.”

This will be yet another story where those reading the MSM only find out about the escalating controversy after a big action has been taken.

The Past-Tense Media.

And Allah has this at Hot Air:

From a practical standpoint, this is no great shakes; ACORN didn’t have a huge role in the census plans. But from a political standpoint, the feds dumping the president’s favorite community organizers for simply being too filthy to associate with is devastating.

It may be “no great shakes” to Allah, but let us not forget that the Obama Administration’s great bi-partisan reach across the aisle to Judd Gregg in heading up Commerce fell a little short when the White House decided that they, and not Commerce, should have control of the census.

It’s clear that any role ACORN had in the census would be subject to suspicion. As Mark Steyn observes just before Census dropped the hammer on ACORN:

[W]hat is odd to me, if you look for example at the way Republicans are always being called on to distance themselves from their so-called lunatic fringe, the pattern here is that on the other side of the aisle, there is a lunatic mainstream. ACORN should not be a respectable group, and should not be anywhere near the United States Census. But as we saw with the Van Jones story, no matter how radical you are, on the left, it’s very easy for the most extreme radical to get right up close to the levers of power in the United States. That is where, unfortunately, that is where Obama’s lived most of his adult life, and that is where most of his associations are.

September 11, 2009 at 8:06 pm Comments (0)

Thoughts from an American Nobody

     “We are all Socialists Now” is the cheer coming from Newsweek on the cover of last weeks’ issue. I’m sure you can also hear them make this declaration with a joyous chant of “Yes We Can!” faintly screaming in the background. The poster boy for Socialism/Communism, President Obama, is only now missing a Hammer in one hand and a Sickle in the other.

     I’m waiting for the day when the revisionist teachers indoctrinated in the Marxist philosophy start telling my children that the Founding Fathers were actually not patriotic men trying to make a better country where all of their countrymen could seek their own futures as each person individually saw fit and we’re only limited by our own dreams, but were a bunch of rich white men just looking to protect their own personal monetary interests and the philosophy they followed of making the government derive its power from the people was a naïve concept from men that didn’t see past their own preconceptions of what good government can do for the people.

     Oh, wait. They already preach this nonsense to our kids. We do the deprogramming at home every day.

     I’m just a “nobody” here in America, just like the title says, but I’m not alone. This country was created by nobodies, nobodies from all corners of the world. These nobodies were looking for freedom, freedom to raise their children how they want, freedom to worship the God they want, freedom to seek happiness how they want, freedom to protect themselves when they needed, freedom to speak their minds honestly how they wanted about whom they wanted when they wanted and where they wanted without fear of retribution. They ran, swam, drove, sailed and flew toward a land where these freedoms were “Unalienable” and not provided by a benevolent government to the huddled masses, but declared to be born with them and afforded them by Almighty God, whatever that God may be that each of us believed in.

     Just like other “nobodies”, I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting the same fight over and over and over and over again, telling those that “Represent” us “No!” when they decide that really means “yes”.

     I was taught by my mother and father that as a man, when a woman says “no” she really means “no” and that’s the end of the conversation. To think she means anything else is wrong and is rape.

     So what does this mean everyone? We have said “no” and they did it anyway. Every last one of them that heard “yes” when we really said “no” with passion, with conviction, repeatedly through emails, letters, phone calls. I feel dirty, I feel used, and I feel betrayed. This can only mean one thing. It’s rape. We have all been raped. Yes I said it, Raped.

     What other word would you use when we have told them repeatedly to do as WE said, WE THE PEOPLE, and they decided that they were wiser, more intelligent, and more cosmopolitan to the ways of the real world and that we “Nobodies” didn’t understand the big picture?

This Stimulus Bill, the biggest Left-Wing special interest Pinko Commie power grab in American history has just finally done what no other piece of Garbage Drivel could have ever done except for the biggest lie to have dawned on the doorstep of human history, the Communist Manifesto, and that is this. They have just announced to the country and the world what their absolutely crystallized end game is in all of this, and that is to destroy the framework of this country, remove all vestiges of that which has made us the greatest power for truth and freedom in all of human civilization, and relegate us to their Penultimate Utopian Vision, the defunct and proven worthless Soviet Union.

     I have one word for them. NO! Not on my watch. My children will be raised in the sunshine of freedom, not doused in the darkness that is governmental tyranny. I served our nations’ military, not because I was hoping to oppress anyone, but because it was my chance to give something back to my country that so richly deserved everything I could give her. Whether this was “my life, my fortune or my sacred honor” as said in the Declaration of Independence, she deserves it and so much more, but if she continues down the path she’s being dragged, how can I teach my children to be willing to make this same sacrifice, especially being the father of a son who already says he wants to join the military and protect the country he loves. It almost breaks a man’s heart to see such love and devotion for our beloved country from my eldest son, and to have such a heavy weight on my heart for my country and her future.

     He is still young though. He still has time to enjoy the warm sunshine on his face and think a Childs’ thought, carefree and gentle. And it is still my charge to carry this burden, this weight and worry on my shoulders. It is not yet time to pass this on to our children and make this their Albatross. I will not falter, I will not fail, and will not pass the responsibility onto another until my job is done.

     Why?

     Because “I Am an American Nobody” surrounded by a land full of “American Nobodies”, my brothers and sisters all, and you and I will always protect our country from those who want to do her harm.

February 17, 2009 at 9:09 am Comments (0)

Re: Gregg

From Drudge:

Sen. Gregg stated, “I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.

It’s a small comfort that Gregg at least recognized the danger of giving the White House control over the census. Unfortunately, it looks like that wasn’t an area where the Obama Administration was willing to compromise, so whoever ends up at Commerce most likely will cede the census to the White House.

Take a step back and look at the big picture here. The “Stimulus” is supposed to fix the economy, but it’s really just a move towards centralized, socialist government. This business with the census is clearly disturbing, as John Fund explains in the WSJ:

President Obama said in his inaugural address that he planned to “restore science to its rightful place” in government. That’s a worthy goal. But statisticians at the Commerce Department didn’t think it would mean having the director of next year’s Census report directly to the White House rather than to the Commerce secretary, as is customary. “There’s only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement,” a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. “And it’s called politics, not science.”

The decision was made last week after California Rep. Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire slated to head Commerce, couldn’t be trusted to conduct a complete Census. The National Association of Latino Officials said it had “serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 Census produces the most accurate possible count.”

Anything that threatens the integrity of the Census has profound implications. Not only is it the basis for congressional redistricting, it provides the raw data by which government spending is allocated on everything from roads to schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also uses the Census to prepare the economic data that so much of business relies upon. “If the original numbers aren’t as hard as possible, the uses they’re put to get fuzzier and fuzzier,” says Bruce Chapman, who was director of the Census in the 1980s.

Massive power grab. Very disturbing.

February 13, 2009 at 7:33 am Comments (0)

2 More Obama Appointees Bite the Dust

Amid controversy that they owed substantial amounts of money to the IRS in back taxes, two more high-ranking Obama administration appointees, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, withdrew their names for consideration for their respective posts earlier today.

Daschle, the former Majority Leader of the US Senate, had been nominated to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, the agency that will lead the charge for universal healthcare. It was reported that he owed over $140,000 in back taxes to the IRS for a car and driver he received as a lobbying perk from a wealthy New York investor. He paid the debt on January 2nd.

Killefer, the President’s pick for White House Chief Performance Officer, a new position slated to oversee transparency within the federal government, had a tax lien placed on her home as a result of not paying the unemployment taxes on one of her household’s nannies three years ago.

Ethical concerns have dogged the Obama administration from the outset, despite the President’s claim that his would be the cleanest and most transparent government in this nation’s history. Obama’s first nominee for Commerce Secretary, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, withdrew last month after he became the target of a federal pay-to-play investigation. Then, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted for attempting to sell the President’s old Senate seat to the highest bidder. Among the many allegations, Blago said that he was in negotiations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel to name Obama confidant Valerie Jarret as the new Illinois senator in exchange for a cabinet appointment. Finally, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner  had a rocky confirmation for a while because of the fact that he owed $50,000 in back taxes to the IRS (Geithner was eventually confirmed).

For eight years conservatives had to bear the constant shreaking by liberals about cronyism and corruption on the part of the Bush administration. President Obama was supposed to be different. He was billed as the squeaky clean politician who would change the way politics was conducted in Washington. What have we gotten? Two federal pay-to-play investigations that resulted in the impeachment of the governor of the President’s home state and the withdrawal of the Commerce Secretary-designate, the sinking of three cabinet nominees for cheating on their taxes, violation of the President’s own ethics policy by appointing numerous lobbysists to sub-cabinet posts, and a pork-filled mega-appropriations bill masked as an economic stimulus package.

CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!

February 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm Comments (0)

Specter: Know when to walk away, know when to run

As in “run away from the previous stand you have taken against Eric Holder for AG and totally reverse yourself”. Kind of like a Scottish Law version of cabinet approvals.  Philly.com:

Eric Holder’s confirmation as the first African-American attorney general was assured Tuesday when Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will support confirmation.

“He will have significant Republican backing,” the Pennsylvania senator told a news conference.

Specter’s said he would not support any Republican filibuster to block the nomination.

No Republican has come out against Holder. However, several criticized him sharply for his role in some pardons by former President Bill Clinton, and the failure to recommend an independent counsel’s investigation of Democratic fundraising during the Clinton administration.

Most of that “sharp criticism” has come from the spineless Senator himself in recent weeks (see here, here and here.)Yet now, Holder’s biggest and most vocal critic is basically making like Emily Litella and saying “Nevermind”:

Specter said he was satisfied with Holder’s response that a case-by-case review was needed before any decisions were made on prosecuting intelligence agents who participated in harsh interrogation techniques.

Several Republicans said they were concerned the Obama administration would prosecute the agents.

Specter said President Barack Obama has taken the right approach by saying it was preferable to look forward rather than backward on the issue.

The senator said Holder made some bad decisions when previously in the Justice Department, including telling the White House he was neutral , leaning toward favorable , on the pardon of Marc Rich, a fugitive financier whose ex-wife was a major Democratic contributor.

I know Specter is one of our least reliable conservative votes in the Senate, but this sudden complete reversal just doesn’t smell right to me.  Anyone else getting a very baaaad feeling about this new administration?

January 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm Comments (0)

Shushing Mrs. Leghorn

It seems that Jill Biden may have just as big of a mouth as her husband Joe, bless both their hearts:

The wife of Vice President-elect Joe Biden let it slip that her husband had a pick of two jobs in the Obama administration.

Jill Biden said President-elect Barack Obama gave Biden the choice of being secretary of state or vice president.

Her comment came when the Bidens made a surprise appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show, recorded at the Kennedy Center.

The vice president-elect tried to hush his wife as soon as the words came out of her mouth, with a loud “shhh!”

Jill Biden said the job of vice president was better for the family, because as secretary of state he would travel too often.

Leaving aised the juiciness of the Bucket-mouth Bidens for a moment, one wonders who was asked about their preference for placement in the new administration first? Did the Biden’s decide first that it would be better for their family if Joe, God love ‘im, stayed close to home? Or did the Clintons decide first that it would be better (for Bill, at least) if Hillary spent most of her time on the road?

After all, we know it’s not experience that dictated the SecState appointment, unless you count that harrowing close call in Bosnia.

January 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm Comments (0)

Specter v. Holder, Round 2

No, I’m not signing up to work on Arlen Specter’s re-election campaign (the very thought—ugh!). However, I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit that I’m pleased to see he’s not backing off of his objections to Eric Holder at Justice. With Ed Meese, he’s authored a column in today’s WSJ:

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Eric Holder’s nomination for attorney general has failed to focus on the threat to constitutional rights posed by what is known as the “Holder Memorandum.” Near the end of the Clinton administration, this memo changed Justice Department policy regarding the formerly unquestioned right to counsel and to confidential communication with one’s counsel.

The Holder memo allowed federal prosecutors to demand waiver of these rights in exchange for characterizing a corporation as “cooperating in an investigation” so that it would not be charged with a crime itself. It thus handed prosecutors a powerful weapon in white-collar criminal investigations.

But the result has been a “culture of waiver” in which employees often must choose between their jobs or going to prison, and employers are increasingly reluctant to conduct internal investigations or seek candid legal advice from counsel, lest they be forced to turn over to the government a road map for prosecuting the company.

Much of the 1999 Holder Memorandum is an unobjectionable discussion of factors federal prosecutors should consider in making decisions whether to bring criminal charges. But several of the listed factors struck at the heart of the right to counsel and the attorney-client relationship, as well as the presumption of innocence.

The attorney-client privilege has been protected for centuries by courts and attorneys. Most corporate bylaws and state courts protect an employee’s access to adequate legal defense counsel when a criminal investigation relates to some action an individual took in his capacity as employee. But beginning with the Holder memo — and continuing in two subsequent memos issued in the next administration — employees not yet convicted (or even charged) were caught between prosecutors who used them as bargaining chips and the companies who employed them but wanted to be deemed “cooperative.”

This seems like firmer ground after the “yes man” argument floated last week, but I am wisely deferring to the ‘Cooler’s resident Constitutional scholar.

Any thoughts, Dale?

January 15, 2009 at 9:54 am Comments (0)

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