Category Archives: American History

The Cult Of Disappointment

oops
Not the Decider But The Vacationer

SHOSE AMERICANS WHO VOTED FOR POTUS Obama have not walked away from him. Those who voted against him were never in the room. Those who voted against George Bush and Hank Paulson and the cranky, weary, predictably puckish John McCain are newly persuaded that there was no credible choice in 2008. The rookie or the train-wreck?

Fourteen months later, it is more clear that the Obamanation crowd chose their idea of the UnBush, and instead what they got was an UnAware. POTUS does not register how much polling trouble his party is in.

Those voters have now turned not into a big-hearted pumpkin awaiting their shining prince to carry them off into the Brave New World where no adults are allowed but into a steady drift of dead-eyed wanderers, perfectly ripened pickings for the ever so embracing cult of disappointment.

The red ink in the 2011 fiscal budget has ended all the dreams for Obamanation as well as the last-ditch McCainiacs. What remains is receivership, or something like it, reorganized Federal spending and paying off the debts without taking on new ones. The debts are the end of disappointment. Time to clean out the two-car garage called Congress.

Read it all.

Palin Addresses Gridiron Club

Palin 96
Sarah Palin Making The Grade
IN A SERIOUS NOD to the intense interest in last year's Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, the Gridiron Club’s board dropped a 100 year old rule—often violate—that comments made at the dinner were off the record and could not be reported. Instead, twittering was allowed, although not during speeches or songs. Palin tweets herself and noted in her dinner remarks that she had “the Twitter thing going.”

Palin was surrounded by reporters at the pre-dinner reception held on an evening when Washington was in the midst of an early snow storm. The former Alaska governor was dressed in a stylish black dress and carried what she told Chicago Sun Times correspondent Lynn Sweet was a purse made from an otter.

[The Gridiron Club, founded in 1865, is the oldest and most prestigious journalist organization in Washington DC. The annual Gridiron Dinner is attended by the media elite, at which the president is traditionally the speaker. This year, President Barack Obama was the first president to refuse to address The Gridiron Dinner since Grover Cleveland.

[Last night, Saturday December 5th, the black tie dinner at the ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel had double the attendance of recent years—for instead of Obama, the speaker was Sarah Palin. The tradition of the dinner is that the speaker pokes fun at himself and the attendees. Sarah was such a hit there were dozens of the most liberal elite journalists in America laughing their heads off, many wiping tears of laughter from their eyes. Here's her speech. It is as clever as it is funny.]

Good evening. It's great to be in Washington. I am loving the weather [it was snowing]. I braved the elements and went out for a jog! Or, as Newsweek calls it, a cover-shoot. I feel so at home here in DC. I can see the Russian Embassy from my hotel room!

It's a privilege to be here tonight at the Washington DC Barnes & Noble. Tonight, I'll be reading excerpts from my new book. Perhaps you've heard of it? "Going Rogue."

Yukon wasn't sure if I'd go with that title and somebody suggested I follow the East Coast self-help trend and go with, "How To Look Like A Million Bucks...For Only 150 Grand."

Todd liked, "The Audacity of North Slope." [She nods to him as he's at the head table]

Hey, I considered not having a title at all. I've said it before, but you Beltway types just don't seem to get it. You don't need a title to make an impact. But anyway, let's get started.

I'll begin my first reading on Page 209.

It was pitch black when we touched down in Arizona late on August 27, 2008. The next morning we drove to John McCain's ranch in Sedona. John was waiting on the porch. Before he can say a word, I tell him, I'm quoting now,

"I know why I'm here, and I'm ready. But, I'm worried. The cost of credit protection for the largest U.S. banks is rising precipitously. Have you given any thought to the run on the entities in the parallel banking system? Do you realize the vulnerability created when these institutions borrow short term in liquid markets to invest long term in illiquid assets?"

John said, "you betcha!" I thought, "you betcha?" Who talks that way?

Well, sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. When you don't, you end up in places like this. Who would have guessed that I'd be palling around with this group? At least now I can put a face to all the newspapers I do read.

It is good to be here and in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals. Or, as I call it, a death panel.

To be honest, I had some serious reservations about coming to visit your cozy little club. The Gridiron still hasn't offered membership to anyone from my hometown paper in Wasilla, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Frontiersman. And my dad thought it was just a plain bad idea to leave the book tour for some football game.

He might have a point! [She waves to her parents at a table at the back of the room] Hi, Dad! Hi, Mom! They crashed the party, you know.

I've been touring this great, great land of ours over the last few weeks. I have to say, the view is much better from inside the bus, than under it!

But really, I am thrilled to be with you. And I'd like to thank the Gridiron for the invitation and Dick Cooper for his introduction.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, this has to be the most extraordinary collection of people who have gathered to viciously attack me since the last corporate gathering at CBS.

Despite what you have read, or more likely, despite what you have written, I do feel a real bond with all of you. I studied journalism, earned a communications degree and for a time only wanted to be a journalist. I was even a television sportscaster back home.

I'm guessing some of you probably got your start the exact same way... once there was television.

Let me get back to the book.

I know that many of you are still upset because I wouldn't play that silly Washington game. You know, the one where all of you read a book in its entirety, from the first page of the index to the last.

But think about it, because you actually had to read the whole book in the vain hope of finding your name, you now know all about Denali, mom, dad, ungulate eyeballs, slaying salmon on the Nushagak and Ugashik near Alegnigak, where we make agootak and moose chili!

You're welcome.

Still, I want to do something very special for this audience of Washington elite. So, I'll read from the index--which I chose not to include in the hardback. Would you believe me if I said I didn't include it because we wanted to save trees?

Under A we have...

Alaska, media not understanding. Pages 1-432.

Under B...

Biased media. Pages 1-432

And under C...

Conservative media. See acknowledgments.

I'll stop there.

I know this can be a long night, and as I understand it, we're going to break with a Gridiron tradition. Normally, the Democrat speaker would deliver a speech after me. But instead, John McCain's campaign staff asked if they could use that time for a rebuttal.

A lot has been made of a few campaign relationships. The closeness. The warm fuzzy feelings. John and I both agree all those staffers should just move past it. It's history.

Let's just say, if I ever need a bald campaign manager, it appears all I'm left with is James Carville.

Young Governor
Palin holds the patriot camp n her palm...
I don't want to say that I've burned a bridge, but I know all about canceling a bridge to nowhere.

That Democrat speaker I referred to is, of course, the one-and-only Barney Frank. And I'm the controversial one?

Barney, the nation owes you and the government a debt. A huge, historic, unbelievable debt.

But, it's good to be here with you, Mr. Chairman. Because by Chairman, I don't just mean the House Financial Services Committee. As far as I can tell, Barney's also the Chair of AIG, CITI, and the Bank of America.

I don't want to say that the U.S. Government is taking over the role of the private sector, but I have to admit, on the flight here, thumbing through a magazine and looking at a photo of President Obama with the President of China, the person next to me pointed at it and said, "Hu's a communist."

I thought they were asking a question.

Still, when I see this administration in action, I can't help think of what might have been. I could be the Vice President overseeing the signing of bailout checks. And Joe Biden would be on the road, selling his new book, "Going Rogaine."

Speaking of books.... Did I mention mine? "Going Rogue" Makes a great stocking stuffer. Available now at a bookstore near you. Hey, I have to pay for my campaign vetting bill somehow.

Really, the response has been great. So I'll close by reading a final passage. Page 403:

...I've been asked a lot lately, "Where are you going next?'

Good question! Wherever I go I know that, as with anyone in the public eye, I'll continue to have my share of disagreements with those in the media. Maybe even more than my share. It will come as no surprise that I don't think I was always treated fairly, or equally.

But despite that, I respect the media very much. It's important. A free press allows for vigorous debate! And that debate is absolutely vital for our democracy. So as hard as it can sometimes be, we must all look past personal grievances.

We must move beyond petty politics. And we must allow these incredibly talented and hard-working women and men to ask the hard questions and hold us, and our government, accountable. Because their mission is as true as the sun rising over the Talkeetna and Susitna Mountains...

Okay—so none of that is actually in the book. Not a word.

But I do believe it! And I believe we live in a beautiful country blessed with so many different people who want the best for their children, families and for our great nation. I'm so proud to be an American.

And that is what I'll be talking about when I travel to where I'm headed. No better place than here to announce where I'm going. I'm going to Iowa! I'll be there tomorrow from noon to 3:00 pm at the Barnes & Noble on Sergeant Road in Sioux City. Come early. Long lines are expected.

Thank you everyone. God Bless the U.S.A!

New Trains, Planes, And Automobiles

All Americans, right or left, Dems, or Republicans, should deftly ponder this letter I received from Sean Brodrick who has described precisely what I would like to see happen to all that disappearing BIG money that the Obama administration, AKA the Obamanation, is trying to shovel to its ACORN cronies after already flushing the toilets of that host of bankers, thieves, and swindlers who continue to live lifestyles of the rich and famous while pillaging the American landscape of every industry and value American was once famous for...

Brodrick's suggestions just make sense in this time of rising joblessness and economical collapse. President Barack Hussein Obama (it's okay to admit, honor, apotheosize that now, right?) promised this great nation an American way out but is delivering chaos and continued crisis instead. Did I mention the slippery slope towards Marxist and Islamic values? No, but I should have.

Solution? Muster those thousands upon thousands of hyperactive ACORN shock troops into the business of real work instead of repeatedly putting them into situations where it is too easy to succumb to temptation and face being hauled into jail for voter registration fraud and other illegal activities, so we can energize this country with righteous industry, and get moving again. Just maybe these folks would feel good enough about themselves after an honest day's work to quit hating America. The psychological warfare going on within the Democratic Party is sad, sad how the party perpetuates the same dysfunctional thinking generation after generation upon its own constituents. Corruption is its own reward. By their fruits ye shall know them.

But rebuilding this country as a first priority is a deserving and capital idea on so many fronts. I applauded these ideas when I first heard Lyndon Larouche suggest them in a long detailed speech I heard off the television from the next room unaware of who I was hearing, about five years ago, but I was cheering nevertheless, and I applaud them now when I read them in an email from a Wall Street market analyst.

By the way, all you guttersnipes lurking in the tall tender grass of assimilation waiting to target my references and arguments with smear jelly, let you be reminded that La Rouche was bulls-eye dead-on in predicting this crisis, complete with critical numbers and important names. He knew about the economical doom headed our way years, even decades before we crashed, not unlike the Soviet splat two decades earlier, so why didn't our entrenched leadership class take heed and siphon off some intelligence in the matter instead of piling on with greed and redirection?

It is important to note that Congressman Ron Paul was also warning us years ahead of time, the lone harbinger of economic truth in Washington it appears, but did we listen, did our bankers listen, did our government listen? For all their conspiratorial and isolationist faults, both of these marginalized men of great knowledge and critical powers were right on the mark in this money game, and several other things, too, but let's stay on track, and keep to the topic at hand—trains, planes, and automobiles, oh, and infrastructure, too!

ne-map
Will America ever readjust to the train...

WE'RE ALWAYS HEARING THAT TRAINS can't survive in this country without public subsidy. That may be true. But you can say the same thing about the big banks, can't you?

Personally, I'm wondering how much of a public transportation system we could buy if we took the money we're spending bailing out Wall Street banks—$70 billion on AIG, $52.5 billion for Bank of America, and $50 billion for Citigroup, just to name three—and spent it on passenger rails.

Still, $8 billion isn't much when we're spending $50 billion propping up a single bank. And that's small potatoes compared to the $79 billon spent on highways and bridges in 2008 and the $80.2 billion spent on highways in 2009, not including spending from the stimulus package.

And sure, we drive a lot more than we ride trains, so more should be spent on highways. But public policy has pushed us away from trains and into cars for the past 60 years. If we start funding trains more, people will start riding more trains.

Now for the really bad news: If Amtrak spends that money on new railcars, it's going to have to go shopping outside our borders. Amtrak only has about 630 usable rail cars. Some are more than 30 years old. Dozens more are worn out or damaged but could be reconditioned and put into service.

But there aren't any U.S. companies that build passenger rail cars. While there are some subway car makers and trolley car makers in the United States, for passenger rail cars you have to buy from Canada's Bombadier, Germany's Siemens or France's Alstom.

Do you think maybe GM could retool and start building passenger trains? Sure, GM knows nothing about building railcars. Well, it didn't know anything about building tanks in World War II, either, and GM learned that pretty quickly. It could always partner with foreign firms—Uncle Sam didn't have a problem forcing Chrysler into a marriage with the Italians.

It's also true that GM's assembly lines are set up to put out cars at a high volume. Well, I'm sure the quarries on Easter Island were designed to turn out Giant Stone Heads as fast as possible—but sometimes, you have to change with the world before the world comes crashing down on you.

Cars Should Be Only Part of GM's Future...

It's not like I want GM to stop making cars. I just think GM should probably make a lot fewer automobiles, but much better ones. Anyone who wants to pay the giant stone head tax can still drive a gas-sucking SUV.

But GM can also make small cars, with a focus on quality, good mileage, and multiple power sources. The Japanese, Europeans, Koreans and Chinese will be making these cars, too, so GM will have its work cut out for it.

In fact, I have news for President Obama and GM: Detroit has already lost the battle over who is going to build cars. Check out this chart from Clusterstock, showing the sources of auto production in the United States:

The "transplants" are Toyota, Honda, and Nissan factories here in the United States. They may be called transplants, but they employ American workers, pay U.S. taxes and have plenty of American shareholders.

In 2002, the Detroit Big 3 produced 80 percent of 12 million cars, or 9.6 million vehicles. In 2009, they will build just over 50 percent of a total production of 5 million cars, or roughly 2.6 million vehicles. That is a plunge of about 73 percent in 7 years.

So yes, I think maybe GM should find something else to make besides automobiles.

Start Building the Transportation System of the Future...

Do you notice how oil and gasoline prices are going back up again? The recent plunge in oil was short-lived, and we're probably heading for another oil crisis by 2012 at the latest — and maybe by as early as next year.

The United States consumes around 20 million barrels of oil a day and imports roughly 65 percent of it. The amount of oil our country consumes is equal to the output of the world's two largest oil producing nations (Saudi Arabia and Russia) combined. It is absurd for a country that has less than 3 percent of the world's oil reserves to consume 25 percent of the world's produced oil—buying much of it from people who hate us!

At some point, we're going to have to move beyond oil. Maybe electric cars or alternative fuels will be the answer for some people. But trains are a cheap solution for most people.

Yeah, GM's Volt and other electric cars will be rolling off the production line in 2010 (so we're told). In the meantime, how many of Detroit's new muscle cars — the new Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang — will also be rolling off the production line? The Challenger gets 13 mpg in the city, 19 on the highway. That sucks ... gas!

I'm not trying to dictate what kind of cars people should drive. I just think gas guzzlers should pay a tax — let's call it the "giant stone head" tax, because when it comes to the energy problem this country faces, gas guzzlers are part of the problem, not the solution.

So for our $60 billion, I'd like to see GM start to build things we really need—passenger rail, as well as electrified streetcars and hybrid streetcars/buses.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs...

It's also true that a factory that makes trains won't employ as many people as a factory that makes cars. Canada's Bombardier employs 34,000 people to make trains.

On the other hand, trains don't run themselves. France's national rail company employs about 200,000 people, and France has only one-fifth the population of the United States in an area the size of Texas. Amtrak has only 18,000 employees. So a push into rail would potentially create a lot of good, middle-class jobs.

Rebuild Infrastructure...

Meanwhile, the railroad tracks themselves are a mess. Again, highways are publically funded, railroads aren't. This makes it cost far more to ship things reliably in the United States, since you have to use air or trucks, both of which are very inefficient compared to rail. I think it's time to change that.

A problem with rail is that sharing the tracks with current passenger trains is iffy at best, and virtually impossible with high-speed trains. We need to build new railroads. Building new rail would keep America's steel makers busy.

The railroads and local trolley services will need to be electrified, of course, so we can tell OPEC where they can stick their oily thumbs. Electrification is work that can be done by U.S. companies and U.S. workers.

And there's something else we need to do that will help ALL U.S. manufacturers, including GM...

VA Congressman Frank Wolf Busy On The Job

Congressman Frank Wolf, VA 10th District
Congressman Frank Wolf, VA 10th District

SEVEN ATTEMPTS BY U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) to have the U.S. State Department initiate an investigation into controversial textbooks used at two Islamic schools in Northern Virginia have gone unanswered. In his seventh letter in less than a year to the department, Wolf calls continued inaction on the part of the department "inexcusable."

The Islamic Saudi Academy, or ISA, has close ties with the government of Saudi Arabia, which Wolf says charges the State Department with overseeing any investigation of it, under the Foreign Missions Act of 1982.

"The Saudi ambassador is the head of the school," said Wolf.

ISA has two campuses. One in Alexandria on Richmond Highway, and another in Fairfax on Pope's Head Road. Material in some textbooks used at both campuses has been called "intolerant" and "shocking" by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and by Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the The Institute for Gulf Affairs, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., think tank.

According to Al-Ahmed, one example is a 10th-grade work that "indulges in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories." Wolf said, "Textbooks used in Saudi Arabia are very anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and pretty hate-filled." While some textbook material has reportedly been changed due to pressure from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Wolf says an independent investigation of the textbooks and their overarching use at the academy has yet to be initiated.

"We're just asking that there be an independent evaluation by someone that's not paid by the Saudi Academy," Wolf said.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on March 12, Wolf wrote: "According to AP, 'while the Islamic Saudi Academy deleted some of the most contentious passages from the texts, copies provided to the Associated Press show that enough sensitive material remains to fuel critics who claim the books show intolerance toward those who do not follow strict interpretations of Islam.'"

Read it all.

10th District
VA 10th District
The 10th District, stretching from McLean to Winchester, is home to some of the world’s leading Internet and high-tech companies, thousands of federal employees and other professionals.

Agriculture and manufacturing also are an important part of the 10th District’s economy. Clarke and Frederick counties in the western end of the District produce about half of Virginia’s apples and peaches; Henkel-Harris furniture and Rubbermaid have large manufacturing plants in the District.

Tourism is important, too. Civil War battlefields, including Manassas National Battlefield Park, dot the 10th District. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District includes Fisher's Hill/Cedar Creek; Cross Keys/Port Republic; Second Winchester; Third Winchester/Opequon, and New Market. One of the nation’s newest national parks is also in the 10th District. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Park, established in 2002, will serve as a model for future parks because private landowners and organizations will continue to live, work and operate within the park's borders. Other major tourism draws are Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah River, and the Appalachian Trail.

Mark Warner On Gun Control

Mark Warner
Senator Mark Warner, (D-VA)
It only took a couple of weeks to receive my first reply to an action letter I wrote to several members of the US Congress concerning what appears to be a stealth assault on the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution by the Obama regime...

Dear Mr. Thy,

Thank you for contacting me to share your views on gun control. I appreciate your thoughts on this important issue.

I realize that there are very strong opinions on both sides of the debate around Second Amendment rights. I support public policies that ensure the responsible and appropriate use of guns, as well as efforts to reduce gun-related crimes through increased enforcement and background checks. I do not, however, support laws or regulations that infringe on the Second Amendment Constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

In the United States Senate, legislation on gun control generally falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am not a member. Please be assured that I value the thoughts that you have shared with me on this important issue. I will keep your views in mind should any legislation on this matter come before the full Senate in the future.

Again, thank you for writing. As we move forward in the 111th Congress, please continue to contact me with your opinions and concerns.

Sincerely,
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator

The most interesting piece of information conveyed by this reply was how Senator Mark Warner signed off this letter, as a United States Senator with no mention of the State of Virginia he was elected to represent, at all. I suspect, should any of Senator Warner’s esteemed colleagues indeed reply to my original note, and they happen to mention their respective state constituency they will probably also include their party affiliation, again diluting the original power and prestige each of the States once maintained as partners in this Great Union, a union now tragically scarred and blemished by an unwarranted and unwieldy Federal encroachment of those powers and liberty.

To set things back on firm ground, a spirited patriotic citizen or two might find themselves approving of and supporting a movement to repeal the 17th Amendment, not the second. On principle of course, not because one Senator Warner forgot to mention his constituency in a form letter to me. I do thank the senator for his reply.

Counting Votes Properly Matters To Women

FOURTEEN THOUSAND DEMOCRATIC volunteers are turning against Obama. This woman is correct. Voter fraud is a major concern for ALL Americans. Counting votes properly matters to women of both parties. We seem to be swept up in another rather frightening tide in our nation's brief history. Let's welcome, and study diligently our candidates so that we can vote appropriately.

DC Students Gets First Checks

I thought it was the parents who were supposed to reward their own kids for bringing home the A+ on the report card. My how things do change. For all this talk about life's lessons, let me assure you, these kids are already quite aware of the relationship of a dollar to what they think they want at the store. Making them earn a dollar outside of school the old-fashioned way might just be a better way to teach these values to at-risk children. How long will it be before the bullies start pulling stick-ups to rob other kids of their newly minted smart-checks?

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA'S experimental program to pay 3,300 middle school students for good grades and behavior is filled with valuable life lessons about hard work, thrift and showing up on time, its supporters say.

And on yesterday's first payday under the "Capital Gains" plan, kids at the 15 eligible schools cashed in. They earned a total of $137,813 from the initiative, a joint venture of the District and Harvard University. Students can earn a maximum of $100 every two weeks. The average award yesterday was $43. Unfortunately, students at Shaw at Garnet-Patterson got a lesson officials hadn't planned on: Your check might not be as hefty as you expected.

Although students received credit for reaching achievement targets in reading, math and science, a computer error shorted them on attendance and behavior. Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, said the problem appeared to be unique to Shaw, but at least one other school, Whittier, also reported problems. Iverson said the students will get the money they are due in their next check.

Shaw Principal Brian Betts did his best to make it a teachable moment.

"Mr. Betts once had a job where he didn't get paid for four weeks," he told teacher Brian Diamond's sixth-grade homeroom as he distributed the checks.

Reactions varied widely, with some students bounding down the school steps on 10th Street NW near U Street, waving checks at each other and shrieking: "What d'you get? What d'you get?"

Others sat quietly and studied the pale green checks with "Harvard University" in boldface across the top. Sixth-grader Kevin Sparrow-Bey, who took in $20, said he was annoyed by the assumption that he and his classmates have to be paid to take school seriously.

"I can do the work," said Kevin, 11, who said he gets B's and C's. "It don't change nothing."

Shaw teachers and administrators said the program has had a limited impact so far: A downward spike in tardiness is the most noticeable change, but what it does to grades will take longer to determine. They also said that until yesterday, the program was pretty much an abstraction to many students. As awareness of the system spreads, officials expect the payouts to grow. By next month, the money will be electronically deposited in individual bank accounts, they said.

Read it all.