pawatercooler.com

Toying with us

In a sane and rational world, and in light of the illegal delays and waivers issued by the administration, insisting that the individual mandate be delayed for a year was not a particularly radical demand.

Despondency surged as I realized Obama was toying with us, much like a predator might play with its prey before delivering the death-blow. The administration took extraordinary care to make sure the shutdown was as inconvenient as possible, shutting down things that it is not ordinarily possible to shut down, such as open-air monuments, private businesses and homes,… and the ocean.

At first I thought Obama’s strategy might backfire. Surely he had overplayed his hand! Then I watched the 6:30 news for a few evenings. And what finally convinced me that the administration would get away with it was the concern-trolling by the media about the Obamacare rollout failures.

–Oh, if only the Republicans’ antics weren’t sucking up so much oxygen, we might be able to report more about these glitches in Obamacare!–

Really? What have I experienced in the last five years would lead me to believe that the media was eager to report on a story reflecting negatively on Obama? Would that be the failure of the stimulus? Or Fast and Furious? Or Benghazi? Or the IRS?

No, they were pretty openly mocking conservatives. They knew what an empty promise they were suggesting.

Brian Williams’ snarky asides during the evening newscasts would have made Dan “fake but accurate” Rather blush.

Speaking of Benghazi, the modus operandi was pretty similar. Put out some bogus story for the weekend/Sunday show cycle, allow the media to go with it, and let the story die within a week, because heaven knows neither the media nor the American public has an attention span longer than a week. With Benghazi it was that ridiculous story about the YouTube video. With Obamacare, it was the fairy tale about overwhelming demand for the product.

Though nobody was exactly covered in glory in the public’s eye, polls showed Republicans faring worse than Democrats on the subject of the “negotiations” long before any actual negotiations took place, and in spite of the fact that it was the publicly stated position of both Harry and Barry that they would not be negotiating at all. The mind boggles.

And to top it off, you’ve got the likes of John McCain, who should be ejected from the party for serial violations of the eleventh commandment. If anybody invents a time machine, they need to loan McCain the Delorean so he can go back and retire 15 years ago.

This is not an environment in which any serious policy debates can be had, let alone won.

Oh, and the next time somebody says we’ll have more leverage on the debt ceiling rather than the continuing resolution, just go ahead and slap that person in the face for me.

October 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm Comments (0)

Deroy Murdock: How to Defund Obamacare

I’ve tried to make the case that Obamacare should be defunded, and Deroy Murdock shows us how to defund Obamacare at National Review.

Some highlights:

Republican lawmakers should stop quivering in fear of a president with a 44 percent Gallup job-approval rating. With a little courage and creativity, Republicans could fight the defunding battle effectively — if not to immediate victory, then to this dreadful program’s ultimate detriment. Here’s how:

[...]

Second, Republicans should adopt the Left’s practice of giving bills delicious titles. How can they counter liberal claims that they want to padlock Washington? Call their Obamacare-defunding vehicle the Keep Government Open Act of 2013.

[...]

Fourth, with news cameras present, every House Republican should march this physical bill through the U.S. Capitol and over to the doors of the Senate chamber. “The Republican House has voted to fund federal services,” Speaker John Boehner should declare. “We hereby deliver this bill to the Democratic Senate to complete the people’s work and keep America’s government open.”

September 2, 2013 at 9:32 am Comments (0)

Gosnell’s Abortuary and the Limits of Media Shaming

I see at least a passing resemblance between the media’s treatment of the 2012 Benghazi quasi-coverup scandal and their lack of interest in Kermit Gosnell’s Abortuary*.

(* – Indications are that Chris Lilik coined this term.  I submit that it should be part of the PAWatercooler Official Style Guide.)

Gosnell_empty

After a prolonged period of virtual media blackout and attempts to shame the media into covering what is obviously a significant story, we are starting to see trickles of interest from major media outlets.

Of course, as with Benghazi, they’re covering the story mostly on their own terms, which in this case is a lack of government oversight.  Nothing to do with the horrors inherent in the practice of late term abortion itself.  In the Benghazi case, media reports ignored the politically motivated misdirection from the Obama administration and focused narrowly on procedural issues.  They covered it, but they really didn’t cover it.  (“What does it matter!?”)

This is the limit that shaming the major media will produce – the possibility of half-coverage, and on the wrong terms.  Scream bloody murder all you want (-literally), news outlets will not listen.

My metric for whether a major story has been covered in any meaningful sense is whether it appears on the 6:30 national news.  I watch a network news broadcast almost always five nights a week, rarely less than four nights, (-usually CBS, and always against my will), and I have yet to see the Gosnell story mentioned.

I use the “nightly news” metric in an attempt to separate completely disconnected low-information voters (and non-voters) from those folks who are low-information by no tremendous fault of their own.  It ought to be the case that a person could read a national paper and watch the evening news every day and have some sense of what’s going on in the world.  Sadly, this has not been the case for quite some time.

Conservatives will continue to have a difficult time at the ballot box until this information gap is addressed.

 

April 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm Comments (0)

Ravens’ Cheerleader Has No Right To Super Bowl

 

Baltimore Has Every Right Not To Send A Plump Cheerleader To Big Game

“Originally I would have loved to go to the Super Bowl, but at this point it looks like it’s not going to happen…. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, but at the same time, they owe that to me.”

So pontificates Courtney Lenz, a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader whom the team did not send to the Super Bowl.

Talk about carrying the massive chip of entitlement on her plump shoulder.

But fear not! A movement is underway by misguided souls (aka idiots) using social media to mount a campaign aimed at changing the team’s mind. One of the organizers even threatened to boycott the game, stating that because of this unconscionable incident, people want to burn their jerseys and no longer support the Ravens.

Great! Do it! Burn everything with a Ravens logo and stay home from New Orleans! One empty seat at the world’s biggest sporting event will most definitely teach those mean-spirited Ravens!

And, naturally, the national media has picked up Lenz’ cause, fawning over the “beauty’s” plight and unashamedly biasing their stories to reflect negatively on Baltimore — without, of course, looking at its side of the story.

Thank God we don’t have any problems in this country other than rallying around a cheerleader who admitted being somewhat overweight and who announced her intention that she was quitting at the end of the season.

So before we see a politically-correct decision by the NFL to pressure Baltimore to reverse itself, let’s set the record straight in this case:

1) The Baltimore Ravens employ 60 cheerleaders. The NFL allows only 32 from each team to attend the Super Bowl. Given America’s educational ineptitude, let’s say it another way: 28 cheerleaders, by definition, cannot go to the big game.  This isn’t a new rule, and every cheerleader in the NFL should explicitly know that.  That’s the job — take it or leave it.

2) Understanding the aforementioned rule, no one is entitled or “owed” anything. Get over it, Ms. Lenz.

3) The Baltimore Ravens, like every NFL team, has set forth criteria that must be met in order to be considered for Super Bowl duty.  In its opinion, Lenz came up short in some capacity. Is Lenz the only one with more than three years of service that isn’t going to New Orleans (according to her)? Yes.  Does that stink for her?  Yes. Does she deserve to go on that basis alone? No.

Thankfully, the Ravens don’t employ a tenure system whereby one is guaranteed benefits regardless of his or her performance — kind of like how our public education system and public unions are operated. And look at how well both of them are doing.

4) If Lenz’ weight was the deciding factor in the Ravens’ decision, so be it. Cheerleaders, like dancers and other entertainment professionals, must meet stringent physical standards. Not only is fitness critical to optimally performing the cheerleaders’ demanding routines, but no one wants to look at an overweight woman shaking her assets.  Call that ignorant, sexist, and chauvinistic.  Fine. But make sure you call it something else: reality. We may be a fat country, but we don’t want to look at corpulent cheerleaders. And that’s a fact.

It’s like portly pop singer Adele recently slamming Madonna and Lady Gaga for using skimpy, sexy outfits to sell their music. Maybe they do, but they also have fantastic voices and dynamic entertainment abilities. Adele also has great pipes, but she is an anomaly, as most singers are highly fit and often (but not always) wear provocative outfits. Adele can lament all she wants of the sensual nature of top female vocalists, but that is what the vast majority of fans — both male and female — not just gravitate to, but demand. Maybe if Adele cut down on her caloric intake and worked out just a bit more, she wouldn’t be so envious.

5) The Ravens’ decision on Lenz is discriminatory —and that is a good thing, exactly how it should be.  Discrimination has become a dirty word, yet it is an everyday part of life. We discriminate — another word for making a choice — all the time, from what clothes we wear to what kind of latte we order.  No one held a gun to her head ordering her to be a cheerleader, and the Ravens have every right to make personnel decisions as they see fit — no explanation warranted or necessary.

They may have chosen not to send her to the Super Bowl because she weighed more than they preferred. Or because she was ending her career as a cheerleader and they wanted an up-and-comer who would be continuing her service with the Ravens. Or because they didn’t like her attitude. Or because they thought she smelled.  Who cares? Lenz apparently wasn’t denied the Super Bowl because of color, creed or religion — and certainly not gender — so no one has the “right” to feel that that “entitlement” was wrongfully revoked. Not Lenz. Not her Facebook friends. And not the news media.

*****

If there is one underlying factor at the root of America’s demise, it is widespread sense of entitlement. It is a cancer that has become pervasive throughout all levels of society — not limited to just the “welfare dregs” that some so wrongly label as the biggest offenders. It is millionaire CEO’s looking for a government handout. It is billionaire sports team owners demanding their stadiums be built with taxpayer money. It is college graduates believing they are entitled to a six-figure salary right out of school. It is retirees thinking no reform in benefits is ever warranted. It is public sector unions rejecting generous 401k’s, instead demanding unaffordable defined-benefit plans. It is politicians and parties— Democrat and Republican, liberals and Tea Partiers — thinking they are entitled to the offices they hold, offended by anyone with the gall to challenge them.

And yes, it is cheerleaders who think they are “owed” a trip to the Super Bowl.

Go Baltimore!

Newsmax Link:

http://www.newsmax.com/Freind/Ravens-Cheerleader-Super-Bowl/2013/02/01/id/488462

 

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 FFZMedia@Gmail.com

 

 

 

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February 1, 2013 at 11:33 am Comments (0)

Obese News Anchor Sinks Over A Weighty Issue

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

However…

 

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

 

*****

 

First item on the menu are the facts:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

*****

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

As published in Delaware County Daily Times:

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Timid Presidential Debate Format Needs To Be Rebutted

Even France Does It Better With Their Debates

 

 

Any time we look to France for anything, we’re in trouble.

 

But that’s exactly what we should do for our Presidential debates.  In France, candidates immediately take off the gloves, aggressively sparring with each other from start to finish. Their sharp exchanges clearly illustrate differences, giving voters a true insight into their prospective leaders.  Unlike our completely scripted affairs in which candidates simply regurgitate tired talking points, a free-ranging debate provides an in-depth look into personalities, style, knowledge of issues, and, most important, how candidates perform under intense pressure. There is little wiggle room because each participant has the ability to directly question — indeed, cross-examine — his opponent, putting him on the spot, live, in front of millions.

 

Whether or not the French like their candidates, they absolutely know where they stand.  We don’t.

 

The modern-era debates in America are restrictive, timid affairs with a ridiculously short time allotment for answers (usually sixty seconds), and even less time for “rebuttals” (thirty seconds) —barely enough time to take a breath let alone discuss solutions for the most pressing issues in the world.  Each candidate directs his answer to the moderator — not the opponent who made a charge or accusation.  And if, God forbid, two participants do engage each other, discussion is usually cut off immediately.

 

Part of the problem is that too many moderators think of themselves as celebrities, wanting to stamp their imprimatur on the event and placing themselves on the same level as the politicians.  They’re forgetting that their purpose is to report the news — not make it, and that people tune in to see their leaders, not those asking questions.  This is akin to a referee who feels it necessary to become such an integral part of the game that he affects its outcome.

 

We all remember certain moments of recent debates: George H.W. Bush’s looking at his watch as if he had someplace better to be; Al Gore invading George W. Bush’s personal space and deeply sighing during Bush’s answers; and Ross Perot just being Ross Perot.  But these things would have barely mattered had the candidates been able to directly engage each other.

 

When fireworks do erupt, the result is always positive. Take a 2008 Republican primary debate in New Hampshire. The only meaningful exchange came between Congressman Ron Paul and Governor Mike Huckabee, with each unleashing a passionate discourse on the Iraq war strategy and whether to bring the troops home. FOX News did the right thing by allowing the two candidates to question and rebut each other, even after time expired, and both men’s responses were met with loud applause.  For the first time in that debate series, both sides of this contentious issue were truly represented, and any viewer who couldn’t discern the candidates’ positions should have been subject to a literacy test at the polls.

 

Yet that productive and respectful discussion was completely lost on both networks and sponsors, with formats not changing to encourage such clashes. Also lost is what virtually every focus group says after every debate: “We were disappointed in all the candidates because they were short on specifics and skirted around the tough questions…we don’t really know where they stand.”

 

Maybe that’s because we’re asking candidates seeking the most important job in the world to solve vexing problems in one minute, while contending with more colors than the Department of Homeland Security’s Threat Level (with moderators usually flashing green, yellow and red to show the remaining time, followed by a bell).

 

And it you’re expecting a moderator to expose a candidate’s political two-step, keep dreaming.  Most simply aren’t that capable.

 

In truth, the candidates and their Parties are most guilty for the lack of spirited debates for one simple reason: they don’t want them.  Why? Fear. Fear that their candidate will make a mistake when talking off-the-cuff.  Afraid to deviate from a decades-old playbook that, in reality, never worked very well. And sadly, scared to take the risks necessary for a candidate to become a great leader.

 

The biggest irony is that Americans are desperately seeking a candidate of core and conviction to step forward and boldly challenge the status quo, one not afraid to flub a line or actually have the guts to say, “I don’t know” to a question. Voters will forgive a gaffe or an awkward moment so long as they believe the candidate was genuine in his answer. Speaking from the heart, while imperfect, trumps a calculated, memorized answer every single time. Guaranteed. After all, if a candidate is too scared to talk directly to his own people, how can he effectively face world leaders in time of crisis?

 

The next President will preside over one of the most tumultuous and dangerous periods in all of human history. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to demand that these candidates really debate each other?

 

To that question, there should be no rebuttal.

 

Philadelphia Magazine Philly Post link:

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/10/03/presidential-candidates-debate-french-model/

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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October 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm Comments (0)

State of the Race Roundup / Brain Dump

I feel at least somewhat vindicated by recent polling for my admittedly optimistic assertion that the proverbial fat lady hadn’t quite sung for Tom Smith’s bid for Senate. I don’t know if I fully believe Jim Lee’s poll showing Romney neck and neck with Obama, but I do buy into the idea that a lot of the so-called mainstream polls are probably off, and perhaps by a lot. After all, the party registration figures are trending away from the Democrats in key states, and for some reason a lot of polls seem to think 2012 will look a lot like 2008 in terms of turnout. I’m thinking not. And as a recovering social scientist, I also find Ace-of-Spades resurrection of the “preference cascade” theory to be intriguing.

That said, it seems like Republicans are fighting with a huge handicap – the media.

It’s long – over 26 minutes – but please watch former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell excoriate the media.

Here’s a substantially shorter clip featuring Charles Krauthammer:

 

Aren’t we always fighting the media? Yes, but with this Libya nonsense about a stupid video being responsible for the chaos, the major media has crossed the Rubicon. It was a lie, it was an obvious lie, and after a sufficient amount of time had passed, the media allowed the administration to back out of it without much fuss.

I am absolutely flabbergasted that we had an ambassador murdered, the Muslim world is in violent uproar, the administration lied about it, probably inflamed the situation by drawing attention to the video, and acted like two-bit thugs suppressing free speech with midnight knocks on the door and an arrest for “probation violation”, all while running an apology media campaign in the Muslim world.

Mitt Romney, damn him, had the audacity to point out the obvious, and therefore had the worst week in campaign history EVAR!

It boggles the mind.

Don’t get me wrong – Team Mitt is making mistakes. For instance, the Lyme Disease mailer is so idiotic that even Matt Dowd rightfully flagged it in his appearance on ABC’s “This Week”. Obviously somebody in the Romney campaign knows just enough about micro-targeting to be dangerous without really understanding the underlying principles that make it an effective tool. But I digress.

Conventional wisdom is that campaigns are not the time for voter education. Conventional wisdom is mostly right in this. That was my concern when Romney picked Paul Ryan for veep, even though Ryan is at or near the top of the list of individuals who could excel in that role. But after an initial push, Team Romney seems to have backed off of Medicare, ensuring most of Ryan’s negatives will stick without really getting benefit of the positives, namely arithmetic.

But it’s not that voters don’t need education – they absolutely do. A voter’s political registration is strongly correlated with how they perceive the economy. Of course, there are such things as economic facts, and I’m looking at pretty bad ones. I mean, the Federal Reserve didn’t launch QE3 because they thought things were totally awesome. Rather, they saw “softening data” over the summer.

S.E. Cupp suggests Romney’s problems are all John McCain’s fault from his 2008 race. I’ll add something that Ms. Cupp neglected, which is how the issues that we left unexamined and unchallenged have come back to haunt us. Specifically, Obama’s mantra about the Republicans is that we want to (–paraphrasing from memory) “go back to the same old trickle down policies and deregulation that got us in trouble in the first place”. Never mind that the Dodd-Frank regulations almost completely missed the target and will not prevent a recurrence of our past problems. If you need any evidence of this, recall the MF Global collapse (and the fact that Jon Corzine somehow walks the streets a free man), and the JP Morgan billion dollar+ loss a few months ago.  All I’m asking is that somebody explain to me how tax cuts (–whatever you think about the wisdom of the policy–) CAUSED a financial meltdown.  That would be some entertaining reading.

No, we never really addressed the underlying causes of the financial collapse, and never challenged the Democratic narrative. And somehow Republicans seem to be losing the debate on TAXES, of all issues! Educating the electorate on such a complicated issue in about a month is a virtually impossible task.

We’ve so far missed but perhaps could still capitalize on the Fast & Furious scandal if we focus on its influence on Hispanic voters. Perhaps voters of Mexican heritage might care about the program where a key design assumption is that there would be a bunch of dead Mexicans. Not a “botched” part of the plan, mind you, but an integral part of the plan. In retrospect that’s an obvious play, but hindsight is often 20/20.

In summation, Mitt Romney can still win this thing, perhaps even Pennsylvania, but I’m nervous as heck about it. Lots of folks seem to have big, macro-level advice for Romney right now, but I don’t. The time for macro-level strategy is mostly over. The cake is almost baked.

I’d love to say it was as simple as pointing out the facts, but team Obama will just deny them with “facts” of their own. The supposed tie-breakers, the fact-checkers, are asleep at the switch (at best — playing for the other team at worst), and we have to fact-check the fact-check-checkers to an almost Inception-like level of depth and complexity.

And Romney just isn’t going to be the guy you want to have a beer with. Heck, the stormin’ Mormon doesn’t drink. (Maybe we could use a designated driver?)

So the hard approach and the soft approach both seem to have their problems.

This is why I’m nervous.

October 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm Comments (0)

Romney: Barely 47 Percent Of A Good Candidate


So Mitt Romney is having big problems. What a newsflash, ranking right up there with the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor.

 

That Romney is a severely-challenged candidate is no great revelation. What should be a surprise, but isn’t, is that the Republican hierarchy pushed such a flawed candidate in the first place, one who had to be dragged across the nomination finish line.

 

And now, the seeds of that ill-fated decision are bearing fruit. Problem is, it’s rotting on the vine, and the harvest is still seven weeks away.

 

*****

 

At the risk of sounding like so many on the “Ronald Reagan Is God” bandwagon, it is nonetheless true that the Gipper was the last quality Republican candidate.  For those in the GOP who struggle with math, that’s over three decades ago. How is that possible? Because as Freindly Fire has pointed out on so many occasions, the Republican Establishment prefers coronations over elections, strong-arming nominations for those with big wallets and whose “turn it is.”

 

How have they fared since Reagan and his 49-state near-sweep in 1984?  Bob Dole and John McCain were pathetic. George Bush I was elected only because of A) Reagan’s legacy, and B) the Democrats put up an even weaker candidate (Dukakis).  And George W. Bush was an unmitigated disaster, paving the way for Barack Obama.

 

Given the President’s dismal performance the last four years, this election should be a slam dunk for Republicans. It is the GOP’s to lose, and more than likely, that’s exactly what they will do.

 

Enter Romney.

 

*****

 

Romney’s immense wealth and access to big donors made Party leaders come down with amnesia, totally forgetting Mitt’s debacle four years ago when he lost to McCain, whose campaign was literally bankrupt.

 

By pushing Mitt in the primaries, the Establishment showed that it had forgotten something else: listening to the rank-and-file. And that mistake became an embarrassment. The grassroots were so distrustful of Romney that seven out of ten were routinely voting “No” on Romney in the primaries, even after he had all but locked up the nomination.  It was so bad that Romney received only 16 percent of the caucus vote in Minnesota, placing third, down from his 41 percent, first- place finish in 2008 against a much stronger field.

 

Such abysmal results, after campaigning for six years and spending over $100 million, should have been a clue.

 

It’s bad enough that Romney is viewed warily because of his wealth and Mormon religion (a huge concern for many), but he has done nothing to improve his standing among his base, let alone the Independents, centrist Democrats and undecideds who always sway presidential elections. Consider:

 

-Romney is arguably the biggest flip-flopper, on any political level, of all time. And not just on the hot button issues of guns, gays, and abortion, but on virtually everything.  Hell, he couldn’t even decide whether to release his tax returns during one of the primary debates. It is simply unfathomable that he hadn’t made up his mind on that issue since A) he ran before and had to address it, B) his father pioneered the concept, and C) he knew it would come up again. Which it did— all summer long.  Indecisiveness is not a compelling trait to voters.

 

Note to Ann Romney: Your response to Mitt’s Republican critics of “Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” is woefully misguided. Just because campaigning is difficult, and others don’t have your husband’s $300 million net worth allowing them to get into “the ring,” doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Neither of your reasons justify Mitt’s lack of core and inept campaign.

 

– Many refuse to support someone perceived to lack core convictions. By contrast, the President’s convictions are, and always have been, on full display. He promised nationalized healthcare, increased spending, a larger, more regulatory government, higher taxes on the rich, and a pullout in Iraq. Well, mission accomplished. Conversely, Romney is all over the map on most issues, offers no specifics, and is now perceived as abandoning “47 percent of the electorate” as he states in the now infamous video.

 

-Has it dawned on Mitt that instead of writing off half the country, he might take a page from the Reagan playbook and try to win hearts and minds with ideas that benefit everybody? Just a thought.

 

-Give Romney the benefit of the doubt that he would be an effective President.  His problem in getting there.  Obama may be an unpopular chief executive, but he is a stellar campaigner.  And since we are in a campaign, that’s all that matters.

 

-No one “likes” Mitt Romney. That isn’t a cheap shot, but a fact reflected in every likability poll. And make no mistake. Many will go for the person with whom they feel most comfortable. Obama has always been light years ahead of Romney in this regard, and that gap will only widen as the one-third of the electorate who didn’t have an opinion of Romney get to know him.  The latest videos don’t help.

 

– Closely linked is “relate-ability” — does this candidate understand our issues, from college affordability to job security to housing foreclosures? Well, installing an elevator for your cars in your beach mansion somewhat kills the “I can relate to you” line. The double whammy is that Romney’s judgment will be questioned yet again, with many asking why he couldn’t have just waited until after November to install the lift.

 

Not surprisingly, a recent Esquire/Yahoo! News poll found that a whopping 75 percent of Americans feel little or nothing in common with Romney.

 

 

*****

 

Can Romney “win?” No. Obama can lose. There’s a difference.  Thus far, Romney has demonstrated an inability to articulate a bold vision for America. If that doesn’t change quickly, look for a concession speech by yet another coronated, crestfallen and clueless Republican candidate.

 

Column is published in numerous entities, including Delaware County Daily Times and Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/09/24/opinion/doc50602917de09a893416731.txt

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/09/24/mitt-romney-win-election-2012/

 

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

 

 

 

 

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September 24, 2012 at 11:50 am Comments (0)

Muslim Uprisings Matter Only Because Of America’s Oil Dependence

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’ll teach those limeys!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

*****

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here’s a novel idea.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

*****

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Gov. Corbett Still Refuses To Answer Sandusky Questions!

 

In a speech before the world’s press, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said, “We must keep in mind that when it comes to the safety of children, there can be no margin for error, no hesitation to act.” It was the same authoritative tone he took when chastising Joe Paterno for not doing more to stop Jerry Sandusky.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

It is Tom Corbett himself who is most guilty of hesitating. Hesitating to appropriately staff the Sandusky investigation, and hesitating for years to make an arrest — both of which jeopardized the safety of children. That hesitation, and the stonewalling that Corbett has now employed, has created an intense firestorm around the Governor.

 

Given the unprecedented nature of the Penn State scandal, this issue is not going away. In fact, if Corbett doesn’t come forward with answers, it promises to be the Number One issue in his 2014 re-election campaign.

 

*****

 

Last week, the Governor responded to Freindly Fire’s Open Letter, which had requested specifics on key issues.  But rather than answering any questions, the Corbett response raised even more red flags.

 

The Corbett response stated, “Grand juries take time. Evidence in decades old molestations must be reassembled. A moral certainty of conviction must be reached… Where does Mr. Freind think that decade’s worth of evidence came from? It had to be gathered, reluctant witness-by-reluctant witness, with accompanying corroborating evidence.”

 

Absolutely correct — and precisely Freindly Fire’s point. Corbett is admitting that this high-profile case required a tremendous amount of work. So why were so few investigating it?

 

Here’s the bottom line.  The Sandusky investigation took three years, was reportedly staffed by a single investigator at the outset, and later spearheaded by two narcotics agents, neither of whom had any experience in child molestation cases. Compare to this to the army of investigators Corbett used in the Bonusgate political corruption probe, including, sources say, agents from child predator units.

 

Given those facts, it seems logical that there can be only one of two explanations:

 

1) Politics

It doesn’t take a genius to know that sullying the reputation of the state’s largest university and taking down its legendary football coach would be a monumental challenge to any candidate running for governor. This would have been particularly true in Corbett’s case, given that his opponent, Dan Onorato, was a Penn State alumnus.

And the might of Penn State’s massive alumni network was just illustrated, where 76,000 alumni donated much of the $208 million the university raised this year.

So was the understaffed investigation dragged out in such a fashion that the arrests were not made until after the 2010 gubernatorial election?

 

2) Priorities

 

Or was the Sandusky case mishandled because Tom Corbett did not prioritize catching child predators?

 

If politics played no role, then Tom Corbett clearly prioritized corrupt politicians, who we will always have, over taking a serial child rapist off the street.  One can only wonder how many more victims Sandusky molested while he was under investigation.

 

There are a number of quotes, some by Corbett himself, that are quite telling.

 

Randy Feathers, the head of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Office in State College who eventually headed the investigation, stated, “During the Bonusgate investigation, we had a shortage of investigators in Harrisburg.” (Altoona Mirror, June 24, 2012)

 

Corbett was obviously proud of the fact that he pulled no one from Bonusgate, stating, “We used a completely different unit from Bonusgate… (the agents working the Sandusky case) were pure narcotic investigators from up in that region.” (Corbett press conferences, July 12, 2012, and July 14, 2012).

And Corbett admitted worrying that Sandusky could still be victimizing boys during the lengthy investigation, stating, “It was a calculated risk.” (CBS Philadelphia/KYW New Radio, June 26, 2012)

So Corbett knew of the risk, and yet decided that investigating a child-victimizing monster was worthy of only two investigators.

 

What’s even more telling is the fact that, upon Corbett becoming governor, he immediately ordered state police resources to the case.  Why wasn’t that done before?  So again, the question has to be asked whether Corbett, as Attorney General, ever requested additional assistance from then-Governor Ed Rendell, himself a highly respected former prosecutor. It’s not a trick question, and only requires a Yes or No answer.

 

And did Corbett ask the Feds for assistance, especially if additional state police resources were denied by Rendell and no one could be pulled from Bonusgate?

 

If the answers are in the negative, as they appear to be, what were Corbett’s motives in choosing to stay with such a bare-boned investigative staff?

 

*****

No one has suggested that Sandusky should have been arrested before evidence was gathered. Common sense dictated that at least two or three solid cases be assembled before an arrest was made, and numerous prosecutors with no ax to grind have stated that strategy would have been a viable one.

But, as has been stated in the media, Corbett waited to have at least 10 cases before making an arrest, which just boggles the mind.

Once several victims were identified and an arrest was made, with the spotlight on Sandusky, more witnesses would come forward. More importantly, Sandusky would have been closely watched and children would have been safe. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, a predator was given three more years to victimize his prey.

No wonder the Governor doesn’t want to answer questions.

So the stonewalling continues.  There are still no answers as to why Bonusgate investigators were not ordered to work the Sandusky case, and why, sources say, Attorney General agents, including those in child predator units, were pulled from other cases to assist with that corruption probe.

*****

Governor Corbett also failed to answer the Open Letter’s other questions, including why he did not consider it a conflict of interest to serve on the Penn State Board of Trustees while simultaneously investigating it, and why he approved the $3 million taxpayer grant to Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, when he could have simply done nothing or vetoed it without raising one eyebrow.

The latter is particularly compelling since $640,000 in campaign contributions were made from Second Mile board members and affiliates to Corbett’s Attorney General and gubernatorial races.

*****

The Open Letter received an astounding response from across the political spectrum. It was Facebooked and Tweeted thousands of times, published in media outlets and websites across the nation, and was the hottest topic on talk radio, with Freindly Fire discussing it from coast to coast. Most telling is that 99.9 percent of that dialogue had one common theme: why was there so much hesitation to act by Attorney General Corbett?

 

Rather than invoking “space aliens,” as he did in his response, Governor Corbett would be better served by coming clean with the only thing that matters: the truth.

 

There is no such thing as “fair and balanced.” There is only truth and accuracy.  It is time for Tom Corbett to tell the whole truth — accurately — regarding the very troubling Jerry Sandusky investigation.

 

The best place to start? Answer the questions. And the truth shall set you free.

 

Read the column in the Delaware County Daily Times:

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/07/25/opinion/doc500ee47ae1559699997615.txt

Gov. Corbett Response to Freind

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/07/18/opinion/doc5006905ca4fe6470627721.txt

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

 

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July 25, 2012 at 7:56 am Comment (1)

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