Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Is Change?

Senator Obama has based his entire campaign on the premise that he is going to bring change to government. Not withstanding the fact that he has yet to define what this means, today he has further muddled his position with the selection of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate. Perhaps someone with a clearer mind than mine can explain what is new or change oriented about a candidate for vice president who has been in the U.S. Senate for over 30 years, who has made three unsuccessful primary runs for the Democrat party's presidential nomination and whose record is among the most liberal among Democrats. His record embodies what American voters have repeatedly rejected--tax, spend and more government. Obviously, Sen. Obama is hoping that he will gain, through some sort of osmosis, a hint of foreign affairs
knowledge/credibility based on Sen. Biden's years on foreign affairs committees. The only thing I can think of that would signal an equivalent status quo to government going forward would be if Sen. McCain selects Joe Lieberman as his running mate. Fortunately, no presidential election has ever been won or lost based on the vice presidential nominees and certainly is not likely to do so in this one either. Both will have to stand on their own records and, in Sen. Obama's case where he has none, on their promises and the American voters willingness to buy into such rhetorical crap.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Please, No More Apologies For America

Senator Obama(and his wife) and other left leaning politicians and media pundits seem possessed with the need to continuously apologize for America, insinuating that in some way we have wronged the world and need to change our ways. The most common attack seems to center on Pres. Bush's "lack of sensitivity" in foreign affairs. I don't know about you, but I for one have heard enough America bashing by self-serving politicians. No, I'm not opposed to criticizing our nation's government when warranted. Indeed, that is a bedrock of a democracy. I am opposed, however, to inferring that there is something inherently wrong with America and its moral compass.

While watching the Olympics this week, I have been struck by the fact that many of the athletes representing multiple countries around the world are actually living, going to college and training in the US. Indeed, many of the athletes representing the US were born in other countries. How could one not be moved by the accomplishments of our gold medal winner, Nastia Liukin, as the best individual gymnast in the world. She immigrated to the US from Russia at the age of 2 and one-half years of age, along with her father and coach, a former gold medal winner for Russia, and mother. Shawn Johnson, the silver medal winner from Des Moines, Iowa, is coached by an immigrant from China. So many of these folks from other nations chose to come to the US to pursue the American dream. On the other hand, I've seen no example of an American who has chosen to immigrate to another country to live and train.

The US is not perfect, but obviously a whole lot of people from around the world believe it is a damn site better than any other alternative. We all take our freedoms and opportunities as Americans far too much for granted. Based on what I see in the Olympics and the continuing backlog of immigrants awaiting citizenship, not to mention the thousands of illegals, there must be something right about our country.

Monday, August 11, 2008

America Faces DangerousTest by Old Nemesis

The invasion of Georgia by Russia should come as no surprise. Ever since the breakaway from the former Soviet Union by such "satellite" nations as Georgia, Mr. Putin has been waiting for an excuse to "bring the chicks" back into the Russian nest. Do not forget, Mr. Putin was a major player in the old Soviet Union's Secret Police, under whom numerous political atrocities were committed. I don't believe totalitarian leaders change their basic belief system, certainly not a life-long Communist like Putin. And, don't be mislead by his recent stepping down as President of Russia and his assumption of the Prime Minister's role. Nothing but show, folks--Putin is still the man" in Russia.

I believe the timing of the invasion of Georgia was carefully orchestrated by Putin to achieve several objectives. One, he was looking for cover in the court of world opinion (after all, he is no longer the President, and the Russians are merely "helping" a disputed part of Georgia return to "mother" Russia which it did not want to leave in the first place). Of course, the Russians have moved on through the disputed provence of South Ossetia and, at this time, are closing in on the capital of Georgia.

Aside from sending a message to other former members of the USSR, the timing of the invasion was chosen to meet what, I believe, are Mr. Putin's more important objectives and which pose one of the most dangerous threats to America and Western Europe since the days of the "Cold War." First, Mr. Bush is a "lame duck," laden with all the military problems he can say grace over in Iraq and Afganistan and, therefore, less likely to respond militarily. Second, and more important to our future, Putin is using this election year to test the resolve and commitment of the Presidential candidates to oppose aggression. I believe their reaction is likely to play the dominant role in determining whether Putin will continue similar invasions against former USSR members. Interestingly, his invasion also gives American voters an opportunity to make the same "read" of the candidates.

The world continues to be a very dangerous place, with the likes of terrorists, Iran and this resurrection of totalitarian Russia, which still controls thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at American and Western European targets. Sen. Obama has stated his belief that you deal with such threats through negotiations and has stated his objection to continuing to build a missile defense system for America. Sen. McCain, on the other hand, seems to understand (according to his comments about the Russian invasion of Georgia) the admonition of Pres. T. Roosevelt to "walk softly and carry a big stick."

President Reagan understood the necessity of maintaining a military superiority, including a missile defense system (Star Wars). Most historians now credit his approach to bringing down the old USSR by maintaining superior military strength and forcing the Soviets into virtual bankruptcy by trying to keep up with our Capitalist economy. President Reagan would talk to our enemies, but when the Russians wanted him to abandon "Star Wars," he told them to take a flying leap.

If anyone ever doubted the need for our next President to have experience in the areas of defense and foreign affairs, surely this latest incursion on a free people by the Russians should cause them to think twice.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Relief Awaits Us

As we wade into the "dog days of August" and the inevitable increase in political ads, relief awaits us in coverage of the Olympics, followed immediately by the beginning of football season. Fall has replaced Spring as the time when hope springs eternal in the hearts of sports fans. Baseball's spring training used to be the primary pool of optimism from which fans of perpetual losing teams drank for renewed resolve(Major league baseball cut its own throat, but that's a subject for another day). Today, football, whether high school, college or pro, reigns as king. Regardless of the sport, though, beginning of a new season brings prospects for success in the hearts of fans of every team. And, whether a sports fan or not, you've got to admit that the Olympics and football can go along way toward giving us a needed break from the August heat and babbling political pundits." Go Sooners, Cowboys, Panthers and Team USA!

Monday, August 4, 2008

And The Political Games Continue While American Await Action

Is there absolutely no conscience among politicians? In response to continued concerns about energy being expressed in polls by potential voters, today we hear Sen. Obama calling for offshore drilling (after being totally opposed just a couple of weeks ago) as well as more initiatives on all energy fronts, all of which have been put forth by Republicans and blocked by Demos for years. On the other side of the isle, Republicans today showed up on Capital Hill, despite being in recess, demanding that the Speaker of the House call the Congress back into session to continue working on energy solutiions. Republicans know full well that even if the President calls them back into session, the Speaker could and would immediately call for another recess. Both parties seem willing to do anything for a sound bite, including continuing to insult the voters' intelligence. At least there is some comfort in knowing that the politicians care enough about voters' opinions to try and pull the wool over our eyes. Wouldn't it be easier to just do what needs to be done for the greater good of the Nation?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Media Bias--Perhaps the Straw That Breaks The____________!

This morning I was greeted by a story from the McClatchy Newspaper chain with the following headline and subhead: "Broad Resume May Not Equal A Strong Leader" and "Some presidents with the most experience were the least effective. " The premise of the story was that American voters should not be concerned with Sen. Obama's lack of experience (to clarify, I have said Sen. Obama has about one and one-half years experience in the Senate. That's because while he has, in fact, been elected about 3.5 years, he has, in fact, missed almost half of the votes and has never chaired a major committee. Furthermore, he has never served in the military and has never run a business). On the other hand, Sen. McCain has 26 years in the Congress and has chaired multiple major committees in the House and Senate. Furthermore, he was a decorated naval aviator and graduate of the Naval Academy.

The basic premise of the story is that experience doesn't really count for much in choosing a president. This story is probably the most ludicrous insult ever perpetrated on the intelligence of Americans by our highly prejudiced media. It is an obvious response to the growing concern over Sen. Obama's lack of experience in recent poll results. What better way do you make a logical and considered judgement about how a person is likely to perform in the future those tasks for which they are being considered today, whether for an elected position or for a job you are trying to fill in your business. Duh--that's why we all have to submit resumes just to get the opportunity for a job interview. How else can you judge whether or not a candidate (for job or office) is even qualified, let alone someone you really want to hire or elect? Should we be dumb enough to base our decision solely on their rhetoric and ignore performance or lack thereof?

This is truly one of the most blatant attempts by a political candidate to spin a negative into a positive by using a lackey hack journalist to carry his water with the ridiculous notion that experience doesn't really matter--now that really burns my butt! I may not be the sharpest knife, but I sure as hell didn't ride into town on a watermelon wagon, nor did most of the American public.

Have a good rest of your Sunday.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Journalistic objectivity Is Sadly A Laugh

This may sound like one of those "I used to walk to school in the snow" stories. Or, an all too typical "old coot" telling how great it used to be. I hope not. I'll apologize upfront if I seem over zealous about this subject, but it's truly too important to ignore ( obviously, it's on my list of those things that really chap my butt).

Whatever happened to objective, unbiased journalism--the kind that was drilled into our heads by the faculty at The University of Oklahoma Journalism school back in the late 50's and early 60's? Part of the answer might lie in the name of the school--journalism, not today's genre of "mass communications" or "broadcast journalism," which in itself is too often a contradiction in terms. In my opinion, most broadcast news folks today are simply 'talking heads," or personalities, if you will. Most are not trained journalists and far too many couldn't write their own story if their life depended on it. The main requirement is for them to look pretty or handsome, have a pleasing personality, be able to read aloud and sound like they know what they're talking about when they don't have a clue. It's increasingly become a world of 60-second sound bites designed to entertain and garner higher ratings. Even if they are able to think for themselves, 30, 60 or even 120 seconds for a story is hardly time to develop enough facts with which a viewer or listener can come to an intelligent decision.

However, the problems brought about by lack of journalistic training and limited time in which to develop a story are only part of the issue. These faults are truly exaccerbated by a plethora of biased reporting and a propensity to use sources based on their interview abilities to shock and entertain rather than on their qualifications as being expert on the issue at hand. Unfortunately, such sins are equally shared by broadcast and print reporters alike.

Let's look at some examples, and there's no better time to do so than during the political season. Let's go back to the energy issue for a moment, whether we're talking about gasoline prices or oil company profits, we're treated by the media to such experts as Sen. Chuck Schulmer and his idiotic diatribes which I've previously discussed, Sen. Obama whose qualifications include a total of one-half of one year in the U.S. Senate following duty in the Illinois state legislature, a gaggle of movie stars and, if we're lucky, insight from Oprah who at least has some business experience to go along with her political bias. One thing you don't get are offsetting interviews with academic and industry energy experts--and God forbid they might even include folks from other countries to discuss this global issue.

This morning, I found a story on page 16 of the local McClatchy newspaper about alleged indiscretions by John Edwards, FORMERLY mentioned frequently by our media friends as a potential running mate for Sen. Obama. I couldn't help but wonder what page the story would have been on had it been about one of the Republican hopefuls. I saw a survey the other day from one of the media watchdog groups which track the amount of air time given the Presidential candidates. I'm sure you'll be shocked to hear that this group found Sen. Obama with a substantial lead in coverage, both broadcast and print. When asked about this, I couldn't believe the defense offered by one of the major networks--"the reason is because he is the first black nominated by a major party to run for president--that's very newsworthy." Well, I don't disagree that's newsworthy, but the last I checked, John McCain is the first former POW to be nominated by a major party as their presidential candidate and one of the oldest. The three major networks sure as hell didn't send their evening news anchors with him on his multiple trips to the war zone. Have you noticed that when Sen. McCain, a highly decorated veteran with strong military educational credentials and years of Senate exposure to defense issues says that the surge in Iraq is working, he is labeled by the media as a "Bush lackey." On the other hand, when Sen. Obama, with no military experience and a half a year's total experience in the Senate, refuses to concede that the surge has worked despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, his qualifications for such an opinion are never questioned.

I can give you more examples than you have time or the desire to read, so let me leave you with just one thought. Do yourself a favor and don't believe everything you hear on television or read in the newspapers, particularly when the "authorities" quoted are without qualifications. Seek multiple sources of information, not to mention applying some good old common sense to what you read and hear. Demand facts to back opinions and question the motives of those being touted as "experts."

Sorry for the length and rambling style of this pontification.