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A Lack of Nuance

Having recently railed against the “establishment”, it’s time for a crack at the base.

As I have previously asserted, the base is allergic to compromise.  While this idea is widely taken as a given among the establishment and the Left, few take the time to analyze the behavior.  The problem is actually a somewhat broader aversion to nuance.  Outrage fuels donations, and donations pay the bills, so there’s somewhat of a negative incentive for base-oriented groups to promote nuance.  But a lack of nuance can often inhibit constructive conservative policy movement.

A thought experiment: What if Democrats credibly and convincingly offered to cut Federal spending to such a degree that the budget would come into immediate balance, and also could somehow fix the Federal entitlement problem.  In exchange, Republicans would agree to a one percent increase in the personal income tax.  Do we take the deal?

True, the parameters of the thought experiment are absurd on their face, but for the sake of argument, take it for what it is.  We’d be fools not to take this deal, right?

Whoa, now!  Once you start to entertain this deal, you’re “for” raising income taxes.

Well, no, you weren’t really “for” it.  You were willing to make a concession in order to get a number of other things that you wanted and thought were more significant.

Take a more realistic issue, immigration.  The moment a Republican starts having any sort of conversation about immigration reform,  he is blasted as being “for” amnesty.  (The opponents of immigration reform use the term “amnesty” rather promiscuously, but for the sake of argument, I’ll use it here and not bother about details of what does or does not constitute “amnesty”.)

Understand that, to the Left, some form of amnesty is a sine qua non for any concessions on significant border security improvements, employment e-Verify, or – heaven forbid – voter ID.  You don’t even begin to have negotiations about how to deal with millions of illegal immigrants until you lay your amnesty bargaining chip down on the table.

But by reacting violently to this potential offer of amnesty as something we could consider giving up in order to get a better outcome, the base makes this a question of amnesty vs non-amnesty, not a question of what we could possibly get in exchange for amnesty.  When we put the focus on what we get in exchange for amnesty, we put the Democrats on the defensive.  When we focus on whether to offer amnesty at all, we make ourselves irrelevant, and the status quo reigns.

To be fair, Republican politicians have a history of being cheap dates.  I dare say though, it wouldn’t kill us to “show a little leg” on this issue.  I’m not “for” amnesty, I’m for using the offer of amnesty as a means of getting more significant concessions from the other side and for (hopefully) putting the issue behind us.  If we get a bad offer in return, we walk away and blame the Democrats for not being serious and for keeping people in the shadows unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, nuance requires trust, which is in short supply.

March 2, 2014 at 5:44 pm Comments (2)

Why Mitt Romney Will Lose To Obama

 

Being in the media, I have no friends, as it should be.  If I did, however, 3 of 10 Republicans would surely take offense to this column, since it points out what is increasingly obvious to everyone but Mitt Romney’s 30 percent base of support: Mitt won’t beat Barack Obama.

 

Should Romney become the GOP nominee — likely, but not certain — he will have a difficult time unseating the President.  Can he win? Given the stagnant economy, high unemployment, and skyrocketing gas prices, yes.  But will he? No.

 

Since many Republicans are calling this election the most important in history, it’s worth a look at why Romney will fall short:

 

1) He cannot relate. Nominating Romney would be par for the course for a GOP that likes to elevate stiff, out-of-touch pols who can’t relate to most Americans.  John McCain, Bob Dole, and George Bush I (after he acted like he had better things to do than campaign for reelection) are prime examples.

 

Of course, it is rare for an incumbent president to lose, which occurred only four times in the 20th century.  But in those instances, sitting presidents lost to charismatic leaders articulating bold visions. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton achieved success over Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, because, more than anything, they were extremely effective communicators, speaking from the heart rather than a script. There was a widespread perception among Americans that these candidates were talking directly to them — that they were leaders who innately understood what the problems were, and how to solve them.

 

On a scale of one to ten, Romney’s ability in this regard is zero. Not only is he unable to relate, but when he tries, things gets worse. He either becomes a laughingstock (an aloof Northeastern moderate patronizing unamused Southern conservatives by saying “y’all” and “grits” as many times as possible) or a human gaffe machine (“$10,000 bet,” “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” telling unemployed people that he too is “unemployed,” he knows what it’s like to worry about getting a pink slip, and “I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners,” among countless other beauties).

 

Romney doesn’t understand that trying to be someone you aren’t is death to a candidate. Nowhere was that more apparent that in 1988, when another Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, was photographed riding in an army tank. Given his liberal positions on national defense, Dukakis was ridiculed to such an extent that his candidacy never recovered, with that iconic photo symbolizing his ill-fated campaign.

 

Apparently not a student of history, Romney is doing his best to upstage his Massachusetts colleague.

 

2) Romney is regressing. After spending hundreds of millions over the last six years, Romney is still routinely losing 7 of 10 Republicans. And that is with a weak field. Ron Paul is running to keep the others honest, Newt Gingrich has won just two states, and Rick Santorum, who two months ago was polling at two percent, is surging only because he is the last “anti-Romney” candidate standing.

 

Comparing apples to apples, Romney is faring considerably worse than in 2008. That negative trend is bad enough, but even more startling is that four years ago, Romney faced a number of credible candidates, including John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. In other words, he is doing worse now despite competing against a rag-tag cadre of opponents who have virtually no money or organizations and who mathematically can’t win the nomination.

 

The proof is in the pudding: of Romney’s 15 wins (out of 27 contests), he has barely broken fifty percent in just four — heavily Mormon Nevada and Idaho, his home state (Massachusetts) and Virginia, where Gingrich and Santorum weren’t even on the ballot. In fact, Romney couldn’t even attain 60 percent against “quirky” Ron Paul — known for his non-interventionist foreign policy and reduced military spending platform — in Virginia, despite it being one of the biggest military and defense industry states in the country. 

 

Four years ago in Minnesota, Romney garnered 41 percent, yet this time (as the “frontrunner”) he won less than 17 percent of the vote—yes, 17!  In his true home state of Michigan, where he grew up while his father was governor, he hung on just enough to defeat Santorum — and that was after a dismal debate performance by Rick.  In Ohio, despite vastly outspending his opponents, he eked out a one point win. And most recently, not only didn’t he win Alabama or Mississippi, but came in third in both states.

 

A successful candidate needs to win states in every region, an achievement that has thus far eluded Romney. A number of Mitt’s wins have been in states that will go Democratic in the general election (Vermont, Massachusetts, Washington and Hawaii), and he is struggling mightily in must-win battleground states (Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan). Not exactly a roadmap to success.

 

3) Flip-Flops.  Conventional wisdom keeps predicting that the Republican base, weary of the drawn-out primary season, desperately wants to coronate Romney so the focus can be on Obama. Yet every time another primary rolls around, Convention Wisdom is turned upside down. Why can’t Mitt seal the deal?  Because to many, he simply isn’t trustworthy.

 

Sure, Romneycare makes him wildly unpopular to many Republicans (whose main objection to Obama is Obamacare). But much more unsettling are his flip-flops, too numerous to list in their entirety, but which include abortion, gay rights, guns, government mandates , indexing the minimum wage, the auto and TARP bailouts, and even whether he is a Ronald Reagan fan.

 

But Romney’s inconsistencies go beyond the policy arena and extend into his personal life, such as the issue of illegal immigrants working at his home.  When questioned about that situation, Mitt responded that he fired the landscaping company that employed the immigrants, not because illegals working in the U.S. is wrong, against the law and hurts American citizens, but because, “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake….I can’t have illegals.” Political expediency at its worst.
 

*****

 

Mitt Romney embodies an articulate politician without a soul, one who will say whatever it takes to get elected.   So prevalent is his flip-flopping that he couldn’t even decide whether to campaign in Iowa.

 

He’s so out of touch that he doesn’t understand the peoples’ yearning for a leader who stands for something and sticks to his guns.  Instead, Romney’s “be all things to all people” approach has him foundering, and should make him easy pickings for Obama in November.  

 

There are those who will say the media is deciding this election, because columns like this are killing Romney’s chances to win before the general election campaign even begins.

 

While it will be a bitter pill to swallow, those on the Right would be wise to realize two things. The “Anyone But Obama” approach is a losing strategy, since negative premises always produce inferior candidates.  And Republicans looking to cast blame for Mitt Romney’s troubles should stop looking for a scapegoat and see the real reason he will flop: Mitt Romney himself.

 

 

 

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  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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March 19, 2012 at 8:37 am Comment (1)

Freindly Fire’s Biggest Winners Of 2011

It’s that time of year when Freindly Fire heaps praise upon those most deserving.

So in the spirit of consistency, the Biggest Winner of 2011, just like every year, is illegal immigrants. They are granted driver’s licenses, free education – in some cases all the way to college – and free first-rate health care. Not only do they pose a national security threat, but a personal one, as many are criminals released back onto the streets because the government refuses to deport them. Their presence has forced the closure of hospitals, ripped jobs away from American workers, depressed wages and caused taxes to increase sharply.

And let’s not forget that many illegals are voting in our elections. How’s that for irony: foreigners deciding American elections. Maybe that’s why both Parties pander to illegals, including leading GOP candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

 And every time the illegals win, the American people lose.

Iran

For a country so incompetent that it took a quarter-century just to build a simple subway in its capital, and equally as long to construct the Tehran airport, Iran sure knows how to gain international attention. Year after year, Iran successfully extorts the West, and the U.S. continues to play the Iranians’ game. Now, Iran is threatening to cut off the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which one-sixth of the world’s oil supply passes.

And what does America do?  Prepare for yet another armed conflict — with yet another Muslim country.  That would make Iran the eighth — yes, eighth! — Muslim nation the U.S. has attacked since the Clinton Administration — truly a bipartisan debacle. Despite the insanity of this possibility, in which oil could spike to $200 per barrel and decimate whatever is left of the world economy, some talking heads continue advocating such military intervention. Going to war with random Middle Eastern oil nations isn’t sound foreign policy. It’s lunacy.

Here’s an idea. Maybe if we got off our duff and stopped kowtowing to radical environmentalists who offer no solutions, we could pursue energy independence with the virtually unlimited resources literally at our feet.  And guess what happens when we start producing $2 gasoline and diesel? We wouldn’t give a damn about Iran.  Or Iraq.  Or Libya. Or….

 

Rick Perry

Who’d have thought another Texas Governor could be so entertaining?  From taking 12 hours to come up with a response to Mitt Romney’s $10,000 bet, to shrinking the size of the government (apparently, we have only eight Supreme Court Justices and no Department of Energy), Perry has been in a class by himself.

Of course, not knowing the date of the election nor the correct voting age, while priceless, won’t help Perry stay in the race. But his significant campaign cash just might, which would undoubtedly provide more “Oops, I Did It Again” moments. So hats off to the only politician who could make George W. Bush look like Daniel Webster.   

 

Barack Obama

See “Rick Perry” above.  This election is the GOP’s to lose — and they are well on their way to doing so.

 

 

Occupy Movement

Give credit where it’s due.  The Occupy Movement was able to dupe the media (admittedly, not a very hard thing to do) into providing nonstop coverage of…pictures of tents and filth. How newsworthy.

It was bad enough that Occupy had no organization, no spokesman, and absolutely no message.  But for the media to cover, night after night, lazy hippies who thought it cool to camp out, not work and get free things from idiots who thought it politically correct to patronize hobos was nauseating.

So incompetent was the Orgy — I mean Occupy — Movement that it took the media to inject its own rationale for why the “protests” were occurring — income inequity. Well, here’s a newsflash: there is, and should be, income inequality. As in, the person waking up every day at 6AM to work a 12 hour day, should makes more money than a sloth looking for a handout. 

In the immortal words of The Big Lebowski: “Your revolution is over… Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did — get a job, sir! The bums will always lose!”

 

Andy Reid

Despite commanding an uber-hyped team whose spectacular failure was surpassed only by the Phillies, the best three-quarter coach in football — and the one who game after game commits bush league mistakes that an eighth-grade coach would never make — will absolutely, put-it-in-the-bank-guaranteed be back leading the Philadelphia Eagles next season. Where he leads them is equally predictable: not to a Super Bowl Championship.  Reid has simply been in Philadelphia too long, and has settled into a comfort level where winning The Big One, while nice, isn’t an imperative. He seems content with the moniker of being the winningest coach in franchise history along with all the other superlatives that don’t mean a bloody thing in a town that bleeds Eagle Green.

Reid has proven his value at turning around a franchise, but that is where his usefulness ends. The Eagles should, but won’t, bring in a closer to seal the deal and get the job done — like Jon Gruden did with Tampa Bay. 

So Reid will win another season where his mediocrity will be on full display, and, this being Philly, will undoubtedly be making this list again next year for all the wrong reasons.

 

Archbishop Wood Football

Their season was full of confidence and hope, a fourth straight Catholic League title and a state championship in their sights. Yet Archbishop Wood stumbled in their opener, losing that crucial first game. Many teams would have folded, finding excuses as to why the season was slipping away (READ: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles). But Wood rebounded, and dedicated their efforts to the memory of former legendary coach Skip Duffy, who lost his battle with cancer in September.

And the rest is history. Wood rolled out fourteen straight wins, racking up average margins of 38 points in the regular season and 41 points in the playoffs, culminating in the total evisceration of perennial powerhouse Bishop McDevitt, 52-0 to win the State Championship.  In doing so, Wood has earned a place as arguably the best Class AAA football team ever.

Perhaps Andy Reid and Company should be taking notes from Wood — not plays and calls, but the intangibles that always, always win Championships. Dick Vermeil’s character in the Vince Papale movie Invincible said it best. ”The team with character will find a way to beat a team with talent…great teams weren’t just playing for themselves. They played for a city. The people of Philadelphia have suffered…You are what gives them hope.”

And in times like these, hope is needed more than ever.  Congrats, Archbishop Wood for demonstrating what so many professionals have long ago forgotten — that character still means something.

 

Freindly Fire’s Biggest Losers Of 2011 will appear tomorrow.

 

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 29, 2011 at 9:33 am Comments (0)

Ten Years After 9/11, Ground Zero Shows America’s Weakness

Do we really think that if the attacks had hit China, they wouldn’t have erected bigger and better buildings — in a year?

“We Remember.” “Never Forget.”

These phrases have been bantered about endlessly in the weeks leading up to the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

If only they held the true meaning that so many ascribe to them.

But to quote a line recently overheard: There’s what people want to hear; there’s what people want to believe; there’s everything else; then there’s the truth.

It’s time to cut through the emotion and get to the heart of where America really stands a decade later. Be warned: it’s not a pretty picture.  And through it all, no leader has appeared who can steer the nation back on track and take the bull by the horns to avoid another major attack — and, God forbid, if there is one, lead the nation through it.

*****

The Economy

After spending hundreds of billions on homeland security, and over a trillion more on two wars, is America in a stronger position than it was in 2001? Not even close.  In fact, despite the blood and treasure expended, this nation is in perhaps its most precarious state ever.

Manufacturing jobs have been hemorrhaging at an unprecedented rate, the economy is in shambles with absolutely no recovery in sight, the real rate of inflation is significantly higher than the government admits, and the incomprehensibly large debt has America on the brink of insolvency.  

And most of this can be attributed to one thing: the lack of an energy policy.  Or, more accurately, the abject refusal to institute an energy policy that utilizes America’s vast resources.

The result is complete reliance on foreign oil, especially from hostile Middle Eastern oil nations whose regard for America’s interests resides somewhere between zero and nonexistent. 

Mammoth spikes in gasoline, diesel and jet fuel prices continue to drive up costs, which puts companies out of business, citizens on the unemployment rolls, and keeps bank foreclosure executives very, very busy.

Perhaps most tragic of all, American’s immutable sense of pride and nationalism has taken a hit. 

Once, we possessed a “can-do” pioneering spirit that pervaded all aspects of American life, where “impossible” was not in the American lexicon.  That resolve is what vanquished the Axis Powers in World War II.  It’s what opened up the western United States, ultimately making California alone one of the largest economies in the world.  It’s how we put a man on the moon a mere 66 years after the Wright brothers’ famous 120-foot, 12-second flight. And yes, it’s how, under the leadership of Ronald Wilson Reagan, America won the Cold War — and provided freedom for millions.

Failure to achieve success was the exception.  Now it’s become the norm.

The best example of our malaise of mediocrity? Ground Zero.

The most startling aspect of that hallowed ground isn’t that the Twin Towers, once the sentinels of American free enterprise, are gone, but that NOTHING stands there. Sure, there are reflecting pools and trees, and a shell of a building.  But that’s it.

It’s been ten years!

How is that possible? How can a decade have passed with no real progress? How could we have let the enemy win that important part of the battle?

As a comparison, if the Empire State Building had been attacked during World War II, it would have been rebuilt immediately.  No questions asked, and no moral victories for the enemy.

And to those who naysayers who would argue “it’s a different time,” think again. If the September 11 attacks had felled China’s buildings instead of ours, you can bet the ranch that they would have been resurrected — bigger, better, and bolder — in less than a year. Guaranteed.

Why? Because the Chinese took a chapter out of America’s playbook, and are mastering it to perfection. You know — the same playbook that we seem to have relegated to the dustbin.

Are We Safer?

Given the hundreds of billions allocated for our security, are we really safer?

Despite some advances in communications, intelligence and specific security measures, the ultimate answer is no, for there are two gaping holes in our defenses: the borders are wide open and we refuse to profile.  Both are easily rectifiable, but because political correctness wins the day, Americans are living with a false sense of security.

Borders: What good does securing airports do if al Queda can simply walk across the border from Mexico — with a suitcase nuclear weapon? Incompetent as that organization has proven to be, especially now that bin Laden is dead, they’re not dumb.  If they haven’t already smuggled weapons and terrorist cell members into America via our porous borders (fat chance of that, as intelligence experts concede cells are in place), they soon will.

Despite ample funds to build a wall — a clear deterrent to both illegal invaders and terrorists — neither Party chooses to do so for purely political reasons.  So much for real Homeland Security.

Profiling: Grandmothers continue to receive prisoner-like exams at our nation’s airports, while olive-complexioned individuals from the Middle East stroll by, unquestioned, with smirks on their faces.  Why the free pass? Precisely because they look like Arabs.

America’s lawmakers have caved in to a small element that shouts “racist” anytime profiling is employed, especially in, God forbid, airports. Such practice, they claim, singles out individuals just because they appear “Muslim” or “Arab” and, as a result, these flyers feel offended.  

Get over it.

Profiling is simply a tool for law enforcement to determine who and what may be a threat, based on an ever-increasing array of data. Certain packages may be the hallmark container for a bomb – and they should be checked. A specific type of shoe may be the favored choice of shoe-bombers – so that footwear, and the owner, should be closely examined.

And yes, certain Arab and/or Muslim individuals, based on historical events, and along with appearance characteristics, mannerisms, suspect financial transactions and other patterns of behavior, should be singled out for closer inspection.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with profiling in security sensitive areas. Yes, it’s a form of discrimination. So what? All nineteen highjackers on September 11 were Muslim Arabs. And so was the twentieth, Zacharias Moussaoui. The 1993 World Trade Center bombings were also carried out by people of this ethnic group.  As was the trans-Atlantic shoe bomber, the bombers of the U.S.S. Cole, the Madrid train bombers, and the London subway attackers.

What are we missing? Why are we so scared to profile? What will it take for America to demand policies that actually protect, not appease?

Sadly, probably only another terrorist attack.

This is because our elected leaders are, for the most part, too scared to tackle the issue, even though the majority of Americans support such measures. They are counseled to stay away from “hot-button” topics, instead focusing on 30-second soundbites on irrelevant issues.

To be clear, I am not advocating that random people on the street be detained and interrogated, with no probable cause, just because they “look Arab.” This kind of harassment is contrary to the freedoms our country provides.

But it’s time we stop worrying about people’s feelings and reintroduce some common sense into our security measures.

One thing is for sure: al Queda will not stop. And if we continue to give them openings, they will gladly take them. While it’s not possible to guarantee another attack won’t occur, it will be unconscionable if it does — and if it was preventable.

If we truly want to honor the memory of the 3,000 soul who perished on 9/11, we need to jettison political correctness, enter the real world, and combat threats in a meaningful way.

God help us if we don’t.

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend 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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September 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm Comment (1)

A Bill Coddling Illegal Aliens Is… Illegal!

State Rep. Tony Payton Wants Illegals To Have College Preference Over Citizens — An Illegal Act

“College is becoming a pipe dream for too many children, not because they aren’t talented or willing to work hard, but because they can’t afford it.”

That’s a true statement, as tuition costs have far outpaced inflation. So the elected official who said this must have a clue, right? Not a chance.

In an act that simply defies comprehension, State Representative Tony Payton of Philadelphia has just unveiled a bill that “would allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education school, community college or state-related university.” (This is similar to the proposed federal law known as the DREAM Act).

Hey Tony, nice to stick it to all the law-abiding Pennsylvania residents who want to attend college.  And who says good constituent service is hard to find? 

Why the handout to those who least deserve it?  Because, as Tony explains, “undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, (so) college is often extremely expensive and simply out of reach for many of these students.”

Oh, the tragedy. 

Of course, there is something that apparently hasn’t occurred to Tony as to why federal financial aid — political codespeak for American taxpayer dollars — is not available to these folks. They’re ILLEGAL.  As in, they have broken the law to get here, and are breaking the law being here.  Every single thing they do hurts American citizens and throws our nation deeper into the red. 

Yet not only are we supposed to feel guilty, but if Tony has his way, we should compensate them for their plight by sacrificing our children — so that theirs can have an education courtesy of the taxpayers.

Let’s set the record straight with facts — not rhetoric.  Illegal immigrants depress wages and take American jobs (and please, spare us the tired argument that “they only take the jobs Americans don’t want” — completely false). They cost taxpayers hundreds of billions (thousands directly out of each American family’s pocket) through healthcare costs, education expenditures (in Pennsylvania, every illegal in our public schools costs $15,000 per year, and that’s not including the extra money needed for additional teachers and classrooms), prison expenses, and yes, government services.

In the case of higher education, as addressed in Payton’s bill, it’s important to remember that just because we are talking about state universities, space is not unlimited. So one of two things is true: with illegals in attendance, the college will either 1) close its doors to new applicants after a given class is filled, thereby denying the RIGHT of a legitimate Pennsylvania resident to attend that school, or 2) once a classroom hits capacity, the need to hire additional professors and expand school facilities is triggered — both expensive propositions borne by the forgotten taxpayer.

The only saving grace is that, with Republicans in control of Harrisburg, Payton’s bill should have no shot at passage. But that’s not the point.  The real question is how such a bill could even be considered in the first place, and how 11 other states already passed similar legislation.

And quite frankly, this author doesn’t know what’s worse: the fact that a bill was introduced that empowers people to break the law, or the almost complete silence of Payton’s colleagues and the media on such a feat.

*****

When you cut right down to it, Tony Payton’s bill advocates the commission of a crime, and there isn’t any way to spin that to the contrary. (Federal law explicitly states that aiding an illegal immigrant is a crime). Among other things, it would aid and abet known lawbreakers. Period.  The fact that the feds do this on a regular basis, along with states (such as issuing driver’s licenses to known illegals) and municipalities just rubs salt in the wound.  The Government should not be above the law.

But if this debate is to advance, it is important to focus on the core issue.  And that is not whether a wall should be built (or if it is a racist barrier), or whether amnesty is a godsend (or a sell-out deal to the pro-illegal immigration forces). 

While these are important side discussions, the only relevant point is that when individuals attempt to circumvent a law because they don’t like it, the entire American system of justice — the very rule of law that keeps us civilized — breaks down. Once elected officials start picking and choosing what laws they will follow (setting the example for their followers to do the same), we all take a hit.

There’s no getting around the fact that Payton’s legislation overtly mocks the law. Under his bill, eligible students would have to attend a public or nonpublic secondary school in Pennsylvania for at least three years (an admission that we the people have already forked over at least $50,000 in education costs), pay state income taxes for at least three years prior to enrollment in college (how can you pay income taxes if you are here illegally, and how can the state abdicate its responsibility to apprehends these known lawbreakers), and provide an affidavit to the institution of higher education that the student will file an application to a become a permanent resident (giving a sworn legal document to a state entity that attests that one is here illegally, without fear of repercussion, is just insane).

Since the illegal immigration debate lends itself to easily getting off track, here’s the bottom line: For those who believe illegals should have rights, change the law to accommodate them — don’t break it.  Lobby for amnesty and fight to change the definition of “illegal immigrant,” but do not cavalierly pick and choose what laws you want to follow because you happen to disagree with some.

That’s what they do in places like Iraq.  It is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

On behalf of Rep. Payton’s real constituents, shame on you, Tony. 

Chris Friend 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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June 24, 2011 at 10:17 am Comment (1)

No ID, No Vote…. Comprende?

Voter ID Bill Would End PA’s Banana Republic Election System

I am not wealthy, but have recently acquired twenty two domiciles throughout Philadelphia.  My real estate prowess has afforded me a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our citizens.

I can vote twenty two times.

You see, I have staked out prime locations, from a cardboard box under the Walt Whitman Bridge to a culvert on Cobbs Creek Parkway to a burnt out shell at 7th and Diamond.   Yes, technically, habitating at these locations makes me “homeless,” but I much prefer the term “voter-enfranchised.”  When you have such a love of democracy, how can anyone have a problem with people who want to vote multiple times, especially the homeless?  (Although, in fairness, dead people should only be able to vote once). 

Incredible as it seems, folks in Pennsylvania don’t have to show any voter identification whatsoever at the polls, with the exception of the first time, in which a non-photo ID, such as a utility bill, is all that is needed. And even that’s a stretch since some politicians ignore the law and permit people, who have never produced identification, to vote.  So in Philadelphia, among other places, voters whose “address” is a park bench or condemned house are regularly pulling the lever.

This system has made multiple-voting quite easy, and affords a vote not only to those who aren’t registered, but those not legally permitted to cast a ballot — the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants, since we aren’t checking citizenship status, either.

 *****

Because former Governor Ed Rendell vetoed legislation requiring voters to show proper identification, election fraud remains rampant.  By definition, allowing people to vote who are not properly registered is disenfranchising those who play by the rules and cast a ballot the right way.  Bottom line: every illegal vote nullifies one made by a law-abiding citizen.

And make no mistake. It has gotten so out-of-hand that illegal immigrants are voting in large numbers throughout the country.  Think about that — citizens from other countries are quite possibly deciding the outcomes of American elections

One only has to look to Florida in 2000 to see a real-world example.  President Bush won by a mere 537 votes out of 5.8 million cast.  As Governor of Texas, the Spanish-speaking Bush had always been popular with Hispanics, particularly Florida’s Cubans.  Given that Florida has a large illegal immigration population, it is not unrealistic to think that at least 537 illegals voted for Bush over Al Gore—the difference in determining the Presidency of the United States.  But since we have so many “sanctuary cities”—places where it is prohibited to ask one’s immigration/citizenship status— there is no way to determine who is an American citizen, let alone who is validly registered.

Rendell’s rationale for vetoing the bill was that it would have created voting problems for the homeless, the poor, displaced victims of natural disasters, and those without access to valid ID.  And now that another Voter ID bill is working its way through the legislature — this time with a solid shot at becoming law given Gov. Tom Corbett’s support— we are hearing the same old arguments.

Here’s a question.  How many natural disasters hit the Keystone State?  And even if one does, how does that obviate the need for an ID?

As far as access to an ID, it is really so excruciatingly difficult to produce a passport, driver’s license, or employee, government or student photo identification? Getting past the rhetoric, it has yet to be shown how a voter identification requirement negatively affects students, the disabled, and, as the ACLU puts it, “disproportionately impacts the elderly, the working poor, and racial minorities.”

Since identification requirements would apparently discourage people from voting, thereby “disenfranchising” them, here’s a solution: let’s have no rules at all.  That way, at least no one will be offended….well, except law-abiding Americans.  But hey, what do they matter, since they’re the only major constituency with no rights.

*****

Buzzwords like “voter disenfranchisement” aside, the Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act, sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, is long overdue legislation with which an overwhelming number of voters agree. What could be easier and more common sense that simply documenting who you claim to be when participating in the most fundamental American right?

The true motivations of those opposed are painfully obvious: the vast majority of non-registered voters have Democratic leanings.  They have become an integral part of the Democratic base, and as such, their voting process must be obstacle-free if the Party is to grow.

Translation: when you can’t legitimately win at the ballot box, go to Plan B — steal the election.

Welcome to the Banana Republic of Pennsylvania.

*****

It’s a shame there hasn’t been a meaningful debate on this. But rather than discuss the Voter ID bill on its merits, the Left has chosen to throw out inflammatory accusations of “voter disenfranchisement.” 

At one point in our history, Americans were subjected to discriminatory treatment which truly disenfranchised them, such as being required to pay poll taxes and take literacy tests.  Thankfully, such practices have been rescinded, and comparing an ID bill to what our ancestors experienced is a downright insult to those who fought for the right to vote.

And as long as we’re on the subject of voting reforms, maybe an amendment to the Voter ID bill could be offered that would eliminate the option of single-lever voting. Pulling just one lever is far too easy, and takes the thinking out of voting — which is, obviously, never a good thing.

Americans have become far too complacent when it comes to voting and, as a result, we are reaping the consequences of our corrupted system.  Good policy should never come down to just a “Democrat” or “Republican” one-second pull of a lever.  Instead, making citizens vote for individual over Party may yet inspire them to take a more avid interest in who will be their representatives.

The American voting system isn’t perfect, and Voter ID laws (which have been ruled constitutional) will go a long way to restoring the integrity so crucial in the power to choose one’s own destiny.

Having no voter identification requirement is a disgraceful blow to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that Americans could enjoy free and fair elections. 

In a society where one must show ID to enter office buildings, airplanes, trains or even buy antihistamine at the pharmacy, it is time to give the same level of importance to voting.  The current practice — a truly disenfranchising one — must end in order to preserve our hard-earned freedom.

Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigativereporter 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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June 21, 2011 at 6:42 am Comments (0)

SCOTUS: Try Hazelton’s Case Again

Congressman Barletta is no doubt pleased.

Two weeks after issuing a major ruling affirming a state’s right to pass legislation cracking down on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, the Supreme Court has voided a lower court ruling blocking a city ordinance that does the same and also targets landlords who willfully house illegals.

Monday’s decision will undoubtedly please those who’ve been critical of the federal government’s enforcement efforts.

The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stopped city leaders in Hazleton, Pa. from enforcing local laws prohibiting employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens. The city also sought to prevent landlords from harboring illegals through apartment rentals. It was the city’s attempt to stop a population explosion attributed to an influx of illegal workers who do not pay local income taxes.

The case will now be sent back to the Third Circuit with instructions to review the matter given the court’s ruling in a nearly identical case that a closely divided court resolved in May. That decision said Arizona could pass laws revoking the business licenses of employers who willfully hired illegals.

June 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm Comments (0)

Bin Laden’s Death And Waterboarding: Hand In Hand

 To say the killing of Osama bin Laden created a patriotic euphoria in the United States  would be a gross understatement, as the sense that justice had been served was downright palpable.  Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the nation, and the image of thousands chanting “U-S-A” from Ground Zero was simply awe-inspiring.  It was a great day for America.

Having said that, it is clear that U.S. still is not wholly committed to winning the War on Terror. The very fact that we are still debating whether waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” should be used on terrorists hell-bent on destroying us projects weakness.

There are now conflicting reports as to whether the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided information about an al-Queda courier, who ultimately led the U.S. to bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout.

One question: who cares?  Common sense tells us that waterboarding works, and has no doubt saved lives by obtaining intelligence that would have otherwise not been uncovered.  Whether that method was responsible for extracting the courier information will probably never be known, but debating that point misses the big picture entirely.

We are at war.  And when at war, you pull out all stops until victory is achieved — Vietnam was supposed to teach us that. When you fight not to lose, the enemy becomes emboldened. 

Where we are right now is a perfect example of the adage “we have met the enemy, and it is us.” We have allowed our security to be unnecessarily compromised, and, despite bin Laden’s death, the threat against the Western world remains high.

And it’s all done in the name of political correctness.

The blame cannot be directed just at President Obama, who officially discontinued waterboarding in 2009.  Under the Bush Administration, both the CIA and the military had effectively ended the practice years earlier.  And it was Republican John McCain who offered an Amendment prohibiting the U.S. from engaging in humiliating or degrading treatment of captured terrorists.

By way of explanation, waterboarding is when water is poured over the face of an enemy combatant, simulating the feeling of drowning.  If you’re waiting for the rest of the description, you’ll be sorely disappointed, because that’s it.  Don’t misunderstand—it’s very effective, but derives its success due to psychological stress rather than physical harm.  No one gets hurt, and no one dies. 

But somehow that’s degrading, so much of a no-no that we stopped it outright. So maybe if we just politely ask our detainees for sensitive information, like their financial network, comrades’ whereabouts, and the battle-plans to kill Americans, they will just tell us.

If the goal is to ensure that terrorists feel comfortable, then we were right to ban waterboarding.  However, if we want to be seriously engaged in a global war against those who aggressively advocate our destruction, maybe we should reconsider how we handle detainees, since Al-Queda prisoners are also afforded fantastic medical care, food reflective of their ethnicity, and prayer time.

Maybe we should ask the survivors and victims’ families of the 9/11 massacre, the Madrid train attacks, the London subway bombings, and a host of other atrocities if they care whether a prisoner, with possible knowledge of an impending attack (potentially nuclear, chemical or biological), has some water poured on his face, or feels humiliated.

Cutting through the PC, does the average American, or European for that matter, really believe such interrogation methods should be banned, putting the prisoner’s well-being ahead of their own?  Are they really willing to jeopardize their children’s future because a combatant’s “dignity” is affected?

When Americans are captured, the enemy doesn’t feel compelled to reciprocate that dignity. Need a quick refresher?  Just look at the videos of Americans — civilians and military — being decapitated, dragged through the streets, burned, dismembered and hung from bridges.

Because we coddle prisoners, refuse to profile, won’t construct a border wall and tie our troops’ hands behind their backs because of PC politics, we have become a paper tiger.  And the sigh of despair you hear?  That’s the silent majority of Europeans who live on the front lines, too scared to publicly support anti-PC measures because their cultures have become the embodiment of appeasement.  They used to nod in admiration that at least one country still had the guts to take it to the enemy. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

The President should use every means necessary to extract information that could save lives, and waterboarding is clearly one of them.  Just as Americans call for domestic drilling only after gas hits $4 per gallon, there will undoubtedly be loud calls to bring back enhanced interrogation techniques — after the next attack.

But by then, it will be too late.

 

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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May 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm Comment (1)

Freindly Fire’s Biggest Losers Of 2010

The nature of New Year’s is to look at things in a positive way, but truth be told, it’s a lot more fun to tee off on those most deserving of our wrath, ridicule and pity.

So now, Freindly Fire’s most deserving Losers of the Last Year:

Dick Clark

How do you criticize a man whose stroke of good fortune made him the real American Idol for several generations of Americans?  Not easily.   But Freindly Fire has never stroked egos to make nice; the sad truth is that Dick Clark’s time has come and gone.  His continued presence on ABC’s New Year’s Eve program is an embarrassment to the network, and, whether he knows it or not, a humiliation to Clark. 

His incoherence is a morbid fascination for millions, to the point where viewing Clark’s gaffes has itself become a New Year’s Eve tradition.  He was fantastic in his prime, and his courageous comeback was admirable. But let’s face it.  One last go-round would have been more than enough inspiration for people with debilitating conditions.  The prolonging of Clark’s once-proud career has made him the butt of tasteless jokes, unfortunately validated by his woeful countdown to the stroke of midnight.

Even talentless host Ryan Seacrest looks uncomfortable trying to understand, let alone converse, with Clark.  Like an aging athlete whose time to hang it up is obvious to all but himself, Clark is trying to maintain a relevance that is simply impossible to achieve.

To salvage whatever’s left of his dignity, please, ABC, pull the plug on Dick Clark.

Teachers Unions, Trial Lawyers, Taxers and Tea Party critics

Throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide, all four spent millions this campaign season — and all got shellacked.

For the first time, more candidates than not took a hard-line stance against unchecked lawyer greed, fat union contracts, organized labor’s outrageous demands, and increased taxes.  And the fiery Tea Party made sure those issues remained at the forefront of the election cycle.

The result?  Hard to say.  Despite their vanquishing, none of the losers is going away anytime soon.

Facing a brand new phenomenon called accountability, teachers unions will use their unlimited campaign war chest (obtained through forced dues) to dig in hard against pension reform, school choice and public education funding cuts.  Trial lawyers will continue to write big checks, since tort reform threatens their very survival (and the number of Mercedes in the driveway). Taxers will again try to handcuff the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry by imposing job-killing extraction taxes and fees, and Tea Party opponents are looking to prove their nemesis to be a One-Hit Wonder.

However, special mention in this category goes to State Representative and House Democratic Campaign Chairman Mike Gerber of Montgomery County, who, just one month before the election, arrogantly boasted, “We will hold and maybe even expand our majority.” In fact, under Gerber’s watch, the Republicans gained 13 seats (and the Majority) despite being outspent by $1.3 million.  With that kind of predictive accuracy, maybe he should be a weatherman.

Tucker Carlson

Filling in as host for Sean Hannity on FOX, Carlson said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed for killing dogs in his dogfighting operation. 

What a buffoon.  

Does he really believe that? Common sense would say “No,” but he appeared deadly serious. 

Look. What Vick did was heinous and inexcusable.  But he served his time, and appears to be penitent.  How he behaves moving forward will tell a lot about whether he is truly sorry.

But Vick isn’t the issue.  Carlson’s cheap shot to gain a brief bit of fame is. 

Equally as pathetic was Carlson….

Read the rest and post a comment at Philly Mag’s Philly Post:

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2011/01/04/freindly-fire%e2%80%99s-biggest-losers-of-2010/

 

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 nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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January 4, 2011 at 10:56 am Comments (0)

Freindly Fire’s Biggest Winners Of 2010

It’s that time of year again when Freindly Fire heaps praise upon those most deserving. You probably aren’t going to find these winners on the lists of typical media outlets, most of which bow at the altar of political correctness.

The Biggest Winner of 2010, as is the case every year, goes to none other than illegal invaders, all 20 million of them. Year after year, they continue to win everything. They are handed driver’s licenses, free education – in some cases all the way to college – and free first-rate health care. Most appallingly, their freedom exists because of our government’s non-existent efforts to deport them. Their presence has forced the closure of hospitals, taken jobs from American workers, depressed wages and caused taxes to sharply increase. And let’s not forget that many illegals are voting in our elections. How’s that for irony: foreigners deciding American elections. And every time the illegals win, there is an even bigger loser. Us.

Michael Vick and the Canine Community

As quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick has played spectacularly well, good enough to hide the team’s considerable shortcomings and earn the Birds the Division crown.  He is often mentioned as a leading MVP candidate, and many experts predict he will lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Which is all an unexpected pleasure, given that Vick was in jail not that long ago for executing losing canines in his dog-fighting operation. Given a reprieve by the League, he was the Eagle’s third-string QB last season, and he started this one as the backup.  He got his shot though, and, made the most of it.  Perhaps most noteworthy, he never used his numerous injuries as a crutch when the team lost, and has demonstrated more leadership in one season than former-quarterback Donovan McNabb showed in his entire, lackluster career.

Is Vick truly remorseful about the dog killing, or sorry only that he got caught? Tough to say, but second chances are what America is all about, and, for the most part, he has kept himself out of trouble.  With dogs everywhere breathing easier (actually, breathing at all), and Vick on the right track, he is definitely the most unexpected winner this year.

Governor Ed Rendell

Ok, not really.  Rendell’s eight-year tax-and-spend agenda, combined with widespread conflicts of interest throughout his Administration (some say pay-to-play) has driven Pennsylvania off the financial cliff, leaving a $5 billion deficit debacle for incoming Governor Tom Corbett to fix. And it’s been three years and counting since his promised interview with “Freindly Fire” — making that the only media entity with which he refuses to speak.  I wonder why.

But fair is fair, and Rendell could not have been more correct when he hammered the NFL for canceling the Sunday night football game in Philadelphia because of a snowstorm.  Not a two-foot storm of the century, mind you, but an 8 inch “weather event” that would have made an outdoor football game one to remember. The roads were drivable, subway trains were operational, and the fans would have shown up in force — loving every minute of it.  They do it in other places just fine — Green Bay, Chicago and New England, to name a few.  But now, Philadelphians are officially considered pansies.

The reality is that the League saw an opportunity to test market Tuesday Night Football.  As with most things, the decision was rooted in money.  But it was done so at the expense of the last real sport in America, where players gut it out with broken bones instead of running to the disabled list because of a hangnail.  In many ways, the game’s cancellation reflects what America has become: soft and wimpy, offended by everything and decisive in nothing. It’s how we run business, operate government, wage war, and yes, play football. The pioneering, tough-as-nails spirit that made us unique is all but gone.

Rendell labeled the NFL’s action the “wussification” of America.  Wrong first letter, Guv.

Congressman Joe Sestak

True, Sestak lost his bid for United States Senate, but he was unique among politicians. Here’s a guy who gave up the job security of a 100 per cent safe congressional seat to take on 30-year incumbent and Goliath of the Senate, Arlen Specter, in a long-shot bid. The entire Democratic Party power structure was against him, from Rendell to President Obama, thus ensuring very limited campaign money.  Yet he persisted in his mission, even turning down a reported job offer from the White House. And a funny thing happened along the way: he won the primary election.

But the more admirable trait of Sestak was that he never backed down from his core convictions.  Whether or not one agreed with him, he should be respected for standing his ground and not playing both sides or “moving to the middle” to appease the pundits. 

For any pol…

Read the rest at FreindlyFireZone.com and post a comment!

http://www.freindlyfirezone.com/index.php/national-news/item/121-freindly-fire’s-biggest-winners-of-2010

 

Look for Freindly Fire’s “Biggest Losers of 2010″ column next week

 

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 nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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December 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm Comments (0)

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