Archive for March, 2008

Celebrity Apprentice–Donald Trump still gets it

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Several days ago the Celebrity Apprentice was chosen. After six seasons of contestants scrambling to win the right to work for Donald Trump, the seventh season of the Apprentice contained only celebrities, playing for charity.

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/04/donald-trump-the-apprentice-america-at-our-best/

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/04/my-apprentice-prediction-time-to-eat-crow/

One of the reasons I have always liked Donald Trump is because I like his reasoning. He likes top talent, and merit does matter. He likes people with advanced degrees. He likes people that are driven to succeed. In determining who to keep and who to fire, his rationale is usually brilliant. I have become a stronger employee because when I am in the boardroom, I will argue tooth and nail for what I believe in, and give not a single inch when I am right.

Most importantly, while I am a decent human being, I am not interested at work in being liked. I am interested in getting the job done. As I said to a receptionist once, “I am not warm and fuzzy. I am effective.”

The last four celebrities standing from the original group were boxing champ Lennox Lewis, supermodel Carol Alt, country music star Trace Adkins, and British entertainment mogul Piers Morgan.

The four were then asked to interview with a couple of celebrities that Trump trusts. They both felt that Lennox Lewis did not show enough passion. Lennox was then fired, reducing the group to the remaining three.

Both of Trump’s advisers thought that Piers was abrasive. They did not like him. They conceded that he raised the most money. They both recommended that Trump fire him.

Think about this. They conceded he did the best job, but did not like him. Well so what? He was not there to be liked. He was there to do a job, and he did it.

What was more surprising was that both of Trump’s advisers loved Carol Alt. They raved over her. Yes, she is a goddess of beauty that makes Aphrodite look homely. However, she also has a brilliant business mind. Her brains are as stunning as the rest of her.

To be fair, the surprise was not how much that they loved Carol, but that Trump ignored their advice. What makes Trump so smart is that he has talented advisers, and he heeds their advice. This one time, I disagreed with Trump’s reasoning.

Trump noticed that Piers and Trace did not like each other. He therefore decided that seeing them battle would be great from a conflict standpoint. Since both of the men liked Carol, she was fired.

It made no sense. Carol did everything right, and her only reason for being fired was for not being controversial enough. As I said, Trump missed this one.

However, all three of them were fabulous. Firing any of them would have been tough. Piers had offended most of the people on the show, but he had raised the most money, which was the purpose of the contest.

As for Trace, he might be the most likable guy on Earth. He rarely spoke, but when he did, his words were heeded. His ideas were smart, and they worked.

So the match was set up as the good guy from Tennessee against the evil Brit.

The Backstreet Boys were putting on a concert. Trace had to take care of the band, and Piers and Trace both had to raise money through ticket sales and celebrity auctions.

Piers had a celebrity rolodex that ran deep, and he arranged for his fellow Brits Simon Cowell and Duchess Sarah Ferguson to donate.

Piers was in a state of culture shock dealing with the Backstreet Boys. “They want wheat grass juice. Wheat grass juice.”

The ultimate indignity was when the band needed black nail polish. Trace had had enough. “The most heterosexual cowboy on the planet…and the three time boxing champion (Lennox Lewis)…had to go get black nail polish…not for women…not for our wives…for a man.”

Yet when all is said and done, while both men did their jobs, Piers did his better.

Trace Adkins might be one of the most likable guys on Earth. I was unfamiliar with his music, but after reading three pages of his book, I had to buy it. He is definitely my kind of guy, but I doubt I am his. After all, I am from New York, and he is from Tennessee. As he explained, back in Tennessee, people are normal. He just phrased it more politely than that.

This is why the decision Trump made mattered. Trace was better liked by every one of the defeated contestants except for Carol. In terms of popularity, it was a blowout. Yet in terms of effectiveness, Piers had raised more money than the other contestants combined.

Some may see this entire escapade as an insignificant reality show. No, it is much more than that. It is about business and corporate America being ground to a halt because labor lawyers and other liberals want everybody to be warm and fuzzy. The quality of work diminishes because feelings supersede results. The “new management” is nicer.

“Old management” consists of yellers and screamers like Bobby Knight and Bill Parcells. Neither of them are warm and fuzzy. Between them, they have five championships. Their assistant coaches have multiple championships as well. They are the very best at their profession. Does it matter that they may be rough around the edges?

Sure, only if pleasant mediocrity matters more than winning.

I am tired of secretaries that cry on cue because their work is criticized. The best job I ever had was all men. We had freedom of speech. We did not walk around in fear that every word was a potential lawsuit. Also, we could use rough language with each other.

One old boss of mine used to say, “God d@mn it Eric, just f*cking get it done, and get it done right.” He was a monster at times, but I learned skills from him. I made it to management because I was smarter than my peers, and he gave me those smarts.

The military works because there is no coddling. Business should be the same way. We don’t need diversity, multiculturalism, or feelings therapy session. We need people who can shut the hell up and get the d@mn work done, and get it done right.

Piers Morgan was abrasive, offensive, combative, and disliked by several of the participants. He was also the very best at doing the job.

Donald Trump is not always likable. He is effective. He rightly praised Trace Adkins for being fabulous, because Trace Adkins is fabulous.

He also rightly chose Piers Morgan as the Celebrity Apprentice, because Piers was the best.

For one brief evening, in a world where emotions trump (small t) quality, Donald Trump reminded us that merit matters.

Meritocracy. That is worth celebrating.

eric

The Republican Zionist Crusader Alliance

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Today’s column will be complete fluff, which may be indistinguishable from anything else I write for those that simply refuse to see my column as a combination of William F. Buckley, Masterpiece Theatre, the LA Philharmonic, and a splash of Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo.

Yesterday I had a secret meeting of the Republican Zionist Crusader Alliance.

I can’t talk about it, because then it would not be a secret.

Some people would describe it merely as a dinner party, with the Chicago Cannonball being as phenomenal in the kitchen as I was disruptive. Yet friends of mine for the last 18 years came. Three of us are Jewish republicans, and while the conversations are normally about sports and politics, having so many Neocons in a room might be too much alpha male testosterone power for our significantly better halves.

Regardless of what happened at this meeting described as a dinner party, I want to give what the kids call “props” to some old and new blogger friends. They are not all Jewish republicans, but nobody is perfect. Nevertheless, they are beyond warped. Please make some new blogger friends, since they will be carrying the mantle of greatness if I ever decide to lose my temper and treat my keyboard like it was a set of golf clubs. For the sake of full disclosure, I do not play golf. It requires temperament.

Anyway, Howard Stern has his Wack Pack. Here are some hilarious individuals.

http://yourjewishmaster.blogspot.com/

http://pissedofftreerat.wordpress.com/

Politics, football, and other “guy stuff.”

In an attempt to find more people that would be entertaining, I did what any smart individual would do…I raided their blogrolls. Not shockingly, more hilariously warped brilliance helped me expand my horizons from a hilariously warped point of view.

http://greatsatansgirlfriend.blogspot.com/

http://smalldeadanimals.com/

http://hillbillywhitetrash.blogspot.com/

Even the names of their blogs crack me up. Don’t be fooled. The content is also solid.

Also, they are cooler than me. I know this because I am listening to Vanilla Ice right now. They win by default.

Another fella connected from the Jewish Master–Tree Rat Tree would be an animal that has his own place to roam and graze.

http://goatsbarnyard.blogspot.com/

For fun political cartoons, our friend below has the answers, or at least the comics.

 

http://mcringtail.wordpress.com/

The fellow below is a follically challenged fellow, and I confess to having a mildly unhealthy fascination with his absolutely gleaming cue ball. More disturbing is everything he says and does.

http://www.pointless-drivel.com/

Lastly, a fellow that has been beyond gracious towards me. So like him or else.

http://theautopsy.wordpress.com/

Well all, the Republican Zionist Crusader Alliance would elaborate, but it is a beautiful sunny day outside. Our membership has some plotting to do.

eric

 

I doth protest too much

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

The Chicago Cannonball is spending a few days in Los Angeles, and I have decided to give her a soft sell presentation on this city that is as gentle as a time share presentation. She will love this city, d@ngit. Yet no matter where one goes in life, some things are unavoidable. I used to think it was death and taxes, but a good CPA can help with the latter. Yet next to death, there is still one completely unavoidable societal threat that is storming across America, leaving destruction in its wake.

That threat is protesters.

I have never come as close to advocating the end of democracy as I have lately. I have come to the realization that I want freedom for me and nobody else. Actually, if I like you, which is slim but theoretically possible, I can let you be free as well.

I am just tired of people protesting. I even remember the movie “Politically Correct University (PCU). Everybody had an ax to grind. The “normal” students were not political. They were just passionately apolitical. The best scene in the movie is when they are hanging out in the top floor of one of the buildings on campus. The feminists and the vegans are having a joint protest session, so these young men do what anybody who has had enough would do in that situation. They throw meatballs at them. As balls of beef covered in what appeared to be marinara sauce pelted the crowd, society was improved. The protesters dispersed.

I cannot express how many police officers, still stung by ridiculous claims of actually enforcing laws against thugs, are afraid to use tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters.

This has been gnawing at me because the problem is getting worse, and even bright people like the Chicago Cannonball cannot see it. What she sees as democracy, I see as a threat to good, decent people who want everybody else to sit down and shut up. I personally think April 14th should be “Shut the hell up and go to work day,” because that is what April 15th really is anyway.

I don’t mind people having opinions. I just wish they would keep them quiet and not ever express them.

A couple protests in recent days left me worried about the future survival of civilization. As I said, the Chicago Cannonball saw things differently, but as I have explained to her, just because she is hot, that does not automatically make her right. Actually, normally it does, but I am the evoking the “I am eric, therefore I am right” doctrine.

The first violent situation occurred in Chicago. Chicago is a city built on violence, from Al Capone to God, invented (or created for believers) snow. The Chicago Cannonball and I went outside to catch a taxicab. It was at this moment that I saw what appeared to be the angriest lynch mob in the history of lynch mobs on that day on that block.

The Chicago Cannonball insisted that the protesters actually seemed quite peaceful, and that there no appearance of any violence. She is so naive. I tried to explain to her that there were two large poles with fire attached to them. At any moment Molotov Cocktails were going to be thrown through brick house windows, and terror would reign in whatever part of Chicago we were in. I also saw a giant cross, and wondered which unfortunate victim would be pinned to it and left to die. These animals had to be stopped.

A police officer was standing by, and for some reason was not dispersing the crowd with a rubber hose. Yes, they were assembling peacably, but at any moment a riot was going to break out. I asked the officer what deadly event was taking place, and his response chilled me to the bone. He was so cool and calm as he replied, “It’s Palm Sunday.”

Apparently Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. As far as the true risk of this event, the danger to the protesters seemed to be in front of hypothermia. Chicago does have indoor churches, but these people decided to worship outdoors in the bitter Chicago cold. I am not a theologian, and my knowledge of Christianity is limited, but based on what I saw, Jesus froze to death. I know I nearly did.

Nevertheless, the riots that had plagued Chicago in the past were averted as the crowd merely wished each other and passerbys the well wishes of Happy Easter. I still maintain that the police presence saved the City of Chicago from the mob.

Yet the dangers of Chicago paled in comparison to the terror that took over the streets of Los Angeles. The weather of Los Angeles is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that the conditions are ideal for me to live. The curse is that undesirables make their way here, and then have the gall to protest on the streets.

I have often said that people that come to America and then complain about everything and demand new services should just be shipped back to whatever  hostile nation they came from, be it Iran, the Sudan, or Canada. If you cannot be hopeful in America, then you need to be drug tested. If you cannot find happiness in Los Angeles, then the drug test is not even necessary. You are on drugs, and should just be shipped somewhere cold like Siberia or Detroit.

Yet some people cannot be happy anywhere, even where the weather is warm and sunny year round. The Chicago Cannonball escaped a snowstorm to be out here having fun in that warm California sun. Yet when she met me for what was supposed to be a peaceful lunch with her turned into potential danger when all hell broke loose on the streets of Los Angeles. The Chicago Cannonball herself crystallized what all protests are about.

“What do we want?”

“Stuff!”

“How angry are we?”

“Very!”

So as the people demanding that homosexual vegans be pulled out of Iraq immediately had their say, the only question would be which representatives of nonsense would block traffic today. It is not about politics. It is about me trying, to quote Jim Carrey in Liar Liar, “to get from the sidewalk to the office without being confronted by the decay of Western society.”

I saw the police, and they would simply again not use their guns or batons. One of the officers remarked that the people were protesting for the right to do less and get more.

I saw the signs that said “J 4 J.” I realized Los Angeles was under attack by a dangerous cult. The Jews for Jesus are defective Christians, nothing more or less. Their goal is to take all Jews and convert them using various subversive methods such as mind control. It amazes me that Guantanamo Bay is under assault, yet the Jews for Jesus roam free. Most Christians do not recognize these individuals as anything other than oddballs.

As I prepared to pick up my ineffective cellphone and pray that the Jewish conspiracy that antisemites rail on about exists, I was ready to leverage that to call every Jewish person from Alan Greenspan to Bibi Netanyahu to help me save the streets of Los Angeles.

As the holy war prepared to engulf the city in flames just like in 1992, I pictured what new products I could obtain when the dust settled. The first LA Riots allowed me to get a new VCR (no, not really).

Just before I prepared to do my Sylvester Stallone Rambo impersonation, allowing me to show the Chicago Cannonball how much of an alpha male I am, she noticed something about the signs.

The J 4 J signs were not from the Jews for Jesus. They were from an organization wanting “Justice for Janitors.”

I have to confess even I found the issue noncontroversial, and for the first time in my life, did not have a strong opinion. I like janitors. Without them, million dollar salespeople would be helpless. Try taking a client to a meeting and then losing a deal because they are uncomfortable with the washroom.

I asked the police to hold their fire, and they cooperated. The Justice for Janitors had their say, and then there was calm when they were done.

On the way home, more protesters were fired up, this time about Tibet. Other than a “Separated at Birth,” column showing the Dali Llama resembling Jiminy Cricket, I did not know much about that either.

I could run them over with my car, but I giess they have a right to exist.

Perhaps I doth protest too much myself.

eric

Who Regulates the Regulators?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

WHO REGULATES THE REGULATORS? 

America is Litigation Nation  

One of the most insulting movies ever made was Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street.” In this movie, a young stockbroker played by Charlie Sheen cuts corners to achieve success. He becomes crooked. He is rightfully punished, and near the end of the movie lets his father know that he is about to begin a jail sentence. So far so good. Yet the father, played by the ever pious Martin Sheen, says something to his son that every financial professional should find deeply offensive. Rather than criticize the specific behavior of his son, he instead remarks that when his son gets out of jail, he should, “get a real job instead of living off of the buying and selling of others.”

Yes, in one fell swoop, an entire profession gets indicted, at least verbally.

In this warped view of the world, financial professionals are all thieves, crooks, and liars, while those that regulate them are pure white knights in shining armor. Yet the regulators are often more dangerous than the financial professionals. The financial professionals have to answer to the regulators.

Who regulates the regulators?

Financial firms are under attack from three different sources of regulation. The first source consists of fly by night operations in the form of “lawsuit firms” that operate outside the legal system. The second source consists of self regulatory agencies and government agencies. The third source consists of self aggrandizing politicians. All three of these entities have abused their public trust.

There was a time when the financial services industry needed to be cleaned up. Regulators came in, did their jobs effectively, and helped put crooked firms out of business. Yet at some point regulators became a victim of their own success. The firms that survived realized that they had to play by the rules to stay in business. So playing by the rules is exactly what most of them did. They hired Compliance Departments. They taught ethics. They helped combat money laundering. They fired their own bad apples to protect their reputations.

Most people would see this as positive. To regulators, this is a disaster. Regulators exist to get rid of the bad seeds. When too many of those bad seeds are removed, regulators then lack things to actually do. They become less necessary. Therefore, rather than fire themselves, they need to create problems that they can then solve.

Problems such as insider trading, churning, and unauthorized trading are simply less common among firms because they know that those infractions are potential death knells. Yet ask any Wall Street firm that is being harassed because one customer order might have three timestamps instead of four, or that a form is filled out with a fine point blue pen instead of a medium point black pen, and they will concede that the regulatory system is out of control.

The first group of unchecked regulators that are causing problems are firms specifically set up to sue financial services firms. A firm that my company regularly does business with has come under attack from the stockbrokerage equivalent of ambulance chasers.

I personally spoke to one of the employees of this “stockbrokerage recovery” firm. I asked him if he was an actual attorney. He said that did not matter. I asked him if he had a Series 7 stockbroker’s license. He said that was also immaterial, and became irritated with such probing questions. He made it clear that he wants to settle every single case. He has no desire to ever go to trial. He knows that big companies roll over (he used stronger language), and he freely admits targeting companies that have a history of paying.

This fellow criticizes organizations that engage in “cold-calling” to find clients. Yet the business model of this stockbrokerage recovery firm is cold-calling people. They buy leads, call people up, and actively try to solicit them into suing their stockbroker. The firm takes the case on contingency, and one client confessed to me that the firm receives 50% of any judgment. This is significantly higher than what most attorneys receive.

In speaking to this same employee, I pointed out that the statute of limitations on his case had already passed. I also pointed out that the firm he was suing had virtually nothing to do with the client, and that he was suing the wrong firm. I additionally pointed out that the client never purchased stocks in the account in question. He purchased options on commodities, which is a completely different financial product outside the jurisdiction of FINRA (formerly NASD). Therefore, he was trying to sue in the wrong court.

The employee seemed uninterested and uneducated as to how commodities worked, and made it clear that going after the stockbrokerage firm with deeper pockets in the hope of a settlement made more sense than going after the commodity brokerage firm that held the actual account. When I pointed out these facts to the client, their response was, “I am not paying any money for this service, so I don’t care.”

Lastly, this supposedly successful firm is located slightly away from Wall Street, in a place known as Coney Island. Now Coney Island is great if one wants to ride the Cyclone, walk on the Boardwalk, or eat a hot dog from the original Nathans. It is not a business district. The “office” of this stockbrokerage recovery firm was the equivalent of a shack. It had a paper sign on the door, which was partially obscured by the much larger sign of another company that apparently sells kitchenware.

Yet what is most troublesome about this firm is that they do not appear to answer to any professional organization. Attorneys and stockbrokers answer to the ABA and FINRA, respectively. Yet various stockbrokerage recovery firms such as this seem to have unchecked power.

The best way for firms to handle these firms is to refuse to negotiate with them. Once the person representing the firm filing the claim declines to state that they are an attorney, all conversation by the stockbrokerage firm being sued should cease.

If unlicensed stockbrokerage recovery firms are ants, then regulatory organizations are elephants. I have dealt with many regulatory agencies over the years, and they have truly become victims of their own success. Several examples of claims or suggestions that regulators have made are below.  

1)      My firm was told to have procedures in place for selling a specific type of financial product. Our firm explained that we do not transact in the type of financial product in question. We were told that this was still a “deficiency,” and that we had to have procedures in place so that we can regulate a financial product that we had never sold, and most likely would never sell. Imagine the reaction from the medical community if heart surgeons were told to have plastered on their office walls the solutions to all medical issues concerning podiatrists.

2)      My firm was told that they overheard a broker discuss a goal of doubling the client’s money. The regulator then explained that they specifically heard the phrase “50%.” We explained that doubling is 100%, not 50%. As sheepish as the regulator was at this point, they included the error in their final report.

3)      One branch office of my firm was told that we were in violation because we did not have a manager or supervisor on site. Employees must be monitored. We explained that the manager was in the bathroom. The regulators acknowledged this, and yet included it in their report as another deficiency.

4)      One regulator asked loaded questions of our employees in an attempt to deliberately trick them into incriminating themselves and the firm. English was not the first language of the employee, and they were quite scared at being taken into a conference room with no windows. The broker was asked if they had ever been “disciplined,” meaning had they ever been found guilty of a regulatory violation. The broker answered in the affirmative. The regulators then tried to go onto the next question, but I intervened in the conversation. I explained to the broker that only compliance and regulatory issues mattered, not human resources sanctions. The broker then explained that they had been disciplined by the firm for tardiness, which is not a regulatory or compliance violation of any kind.

5)      One client wrote a check to our firm that bounced. This caused the broker’s commissions to be taken away. The stereotype of wealthy stockbrokers with golf clubs and putting greens in their office taking advantage of poor elderly people on Social Security is not always the true picture. Often it is multimillion dollar clients on their own private golf courses trying to cheat rookie stockbrokers who are trying to survive on less than $24,000 per year. The particular wealthy aforementioned client kept promising to pay, and kept reneging. My firm sued in small claims court, and won a judgment. Only after this fact did the client then retaliate by going to regulators and claiming malfeasance by the firm. The regulators were aware of the facts in front of them, yet the case was allowed to proceed. Facts did not matter.

6)      Some clients in the financial services industry have been actively solicited by regulators to file complaints. On more than one occasion, a client has informed me that they only filed a complaint because a regulator called them, and told them that they should. As an inducement, the client was given information regarding the company that was false. A thirty second trip to the internet would have verified this. As for why regulators do this, complaints require both sides to pay filing fees. These fees go in the pockets of the regulatory agencies. The regulatory agencies have a direct financial incentive to have more complaints. Lastly, the client was given information by the regulators regarding other clients, which is at best irregular, and possibly illegal. Firms know never to discuss a client account with another client without written permission. Regulators especially should respect this privacy issue.

I could write hundreds of pages alone on the examples listed above. When my firm needs help from the regulators, such as reviewing a one page document to make sure that it is in compliance, this can take several weeks. When the regulators have a document request from us, they demand an answer in 72 hours. This can be crippling to a financial institution from a productivity standpoint.

People who work on Wall Street should be trembling in fear at this. It is the equivalent of a slow bleed strategy, death by a thousand cuts. Some would say that FINRA (not the agency I am referring to, I am using them as an example) is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but this oversight is minimal. The SEC does answer to Congress, but firms will not bring a claim before Congress out of fear. Regulators are the good guys, corporations are the evil bad guys, and if the claim against the regulatory agency is unsuccessful, then the regulators will come back even more determined. This is analogous to trying to “kill the king.” If you only wound the king, he will come back after you with his entire regulatory army.

  

Yet if regulatory agencies are elephants, then crusading politicians are the equivalent of Godzilla. One example of this would be the former Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer.

Mr. Spitzer wreaked havoc on Wall Street when he was the Attorney General of New York. He rode in on his stallion and built his career around the evil enemy of Wall Street. Yes, there was some corruption. Yes, Wall Street like any other organization had bad apples, as previously mentioned. However, those regulating and enforcing laws must stay within the confines of those very laws themselves.

Mr. Spitzer was alleged to have threatened Wall Street executives over the telephone. Either they “played ball,” or he would sue them. Finally, one CEO of a large insurance company had had enough of Mr. Spitzer’s bullying. He went public to the newspapers regarding Mr. Spitzer’s heavy handed tactics. His company stayed intact.

Yet how many companies roll over because they are scared to death of a Governor who is using his crucifixion of them to become President of the United States? The fact that Mr. Spitzer was brought down by a financial scandal (it was not about sex, it was about possible money laundering) does not change the fact that for too long he was unregulated, unchecked, and unrestrained. On a Federal level, the United States Government harassed IBM and Microsoft, and both companies caved. Only when Intel fought back hard did Attorney General Janet Reno back down. 

Wall Street must start fighting back. The regulatory climate in the financial services industry has gotten out of control. I am not arguing that we stop regulating the industry. Regulation is necessary. I am advocating that more oversight be given to those providing the initial oversight.

The regulators must be more regulated themselves.

After all, financial services firms actually produce goods and provide services. They are the economic engine that drives America.

Stockbrokerage recovery firms, regulatory agencies, and Government officials do not produce anything. They exist solely because corporate America exists. They play an important role in society, but without corporations, there are no regulators. Destroying corporate America would destroy America itself. Productive people understand this. In tough economic times, corporations have to lay off employees. It is unfortunate, but a necessary evil of the business cycle. Regulators should be required to do the same. They should not be allowed to have bloated budgets pursuing frivolous and open ended investigations about non-matters just to stay employed.

In short, to paraphrase Oliver Stone, many of these regulatory employees need to get real jobs in the private sector learning how business benefits society, instead of living off of the buying and selling of others.

Guilty firms can and should be punished. No innocent person should ever be put in prison, and no falsely accused corporation should ever be put out of business. Firms that are innocent of accusations trumped up against them should fight back tooth and nail.

Otherwise, firms can roll over and continue to end up black and blue because they filled out a form in blue when it should have been filled out in black.     

eric 

The Next Dick Cheney

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

There will never be another Dick Cheney.

For liberals, this is a cause for celebration. For conservatives, let the mourning begin. For those who care about nothing but 1960s pop culture, he does slightly resemble Oswald Cobblepot, also known as “the Penguin” in the original Batman series.

Nevertheless, liberals and conservatives can agree that Dick Cheney has been influential. Nobody will argue about his relevance to world history.

It is for this reason that the Vice Presidency is more relevant than ever before.

America has come a long way since Daniel Webster, a brilliant and respected man who badly wanted to be President, rejected overtures to be Vice President by stating, “I do not wish to be buried until I am dead.” It is no longer the job that the republican party offered to Teddy Roosevelt to get him out of the way and silence him.

While John McCain often jokes that the job of the Vice President is to check on the health of the President on a daily basis, the true job of the second in command is to take the political version of the Hippocratic Oath: Do no harm.

A Vice Presidential choice will normally not win an election, but it can lose elections. Rarely does a Vice Presidential choice bring any significant gains that swing elections. The exception might be JFK choosing LBJ in 1960. That ranks among the best selections. Bill Clinton choosing Al Gore in 1992 was a good selection. They complemented each other well, and at the time, Gore was seen as an ethical counterbalance to Clinton’s checkered past. He would provide integrity to the campaign. The worst choice in recent times might be Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Other choices are more complex. 1988 is a prime example of this. Most people would argue that Lloyd Bentsen was a much better choice than Dan Quayle. Bentsen easily won their debate. Yet George HW Bush decisively defeated Michael Dukakis, which prevents Quayle from being considered among the worst. Bentsen was not among the best because he did not help in Texas, the one state where he was supposed to contribute.

So what are the qualities that a Vice President must possess?

First and foremost, they have to be able to take over the top job at a moment’s notice. They have to be immediately ready. They have to have “gravitas.”

Next, they have to be loyal to the boss. Sharp disagreements can take place in private, and they should take place. However, in public, the Vice President should get neck strain from nodding their head up and down in agreement.

Additionally, they should be similar in views to the President. The idea of trying to trick the voters by “balancing” the ticket is insulting. The top dog makes the decisions, and providing a lieutenant to mollify voters wears thin since lieutenants stay just that. Similar views should also include a personal bond of shared values. AGain, JFK and LBJ were the exception. Normally, the top two people should like and trust each other, or failure can abound. John Kerry and John Edwards could not hide their disdan for each other.
Lastly, the Vice Presidential choice should be an asset from a strategic point of view. Strategic does not have to mean geographic. It just has to be a net electoral plus.

So with all of that said, who are the potential Vice Presidents? I will cover the best, worst, and most likely choices, and then regret this column when I am inevitably “mistaken,” to use a Hillary Clinton phrase. After all, you may not believe this, but I am human.

John McCain has several choices.

Among the best would be Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. He is young, which counterbalances McCain’s age. He is a highly popular and respected governor from a state that leans to the left, but has elected hard right candidates and independent former professional wrestlers. He was magnificent during the Minnesota bridge crisis. Additionally, he is tall, and yes, handsome. He resembles John Cusack, and the elderly Jewish women I observed kept trying to introduce him to their daughters and granddaughters. He kept insisting that he was happily married and not Jewish, but the ladies did not care. They adored him. In Pawlenty’s favor is that he endorsed McCain early on, and stayed with him through the rough patches when the campaign almost died. Loyalty is assured.

Rudy Giuliani and McCain have deep respect and admiration for each other. They both see the other one as a hero and a great leader. They are both right. Rudy puts New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in play, and he has gravitas. Also, the Vice President is an attack dog, and Rudy is a brutally effective campaigner. He would not be afraid of a bare knuckle brawl that allows McCain to stay above the fray. This would almost be a co-presidency. The social conservatives would howl at first, but Rudy has been very respectful of them. Rudy enjoys making millions in the private sector. Being Attorney General or head of Homeland Security might not be enough, but being Vice President would, especially since the republican hierarchy always picks the next man in line to be President.

Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin are all rising stars. They are not tokens. They are also not very well known, and none of them provide any geographic help. Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is beloved by conservatives, but as important as Ohio is, the Ohio republican party is politically toxic due to a corruption scandal. This is not Blackwell’s fault, but again, life is not fair.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is fabulous on so many levels, but she has repeatedly stated that she has no interest in elective office. A President McCain would keep her in any position she wanted if she wants to stay.

Many are talking about Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who I have also met personally. He is likable, and has very high popularity, yet one wonders if he is coasting on Jeb Bush’s legacy the same way George HW Bush ran as a third Reagan term in 1988. Jeb Bush has a million positives that are weighed down by one negative, that being his last name. Americans do not want dynasties. This is a shame because many conservatives look at Jeb and say that among his family, he is the best of the bunch. His popularity in Florida was sky high, but his brother and father have filled the family quota.

Fred Thompson made many conservatives swoon before he ran for President. He underwhelmed many people, including some of his supporters. His conservative credentials are solid, but the main question is whether he wants the job. Also, Thompson served only one Senate term that was not incredibly distinguished. McCain needs someone with executive experience. Fred could be the Attorney General if Rudy Giuliani is not chosen.

Mitt Romney should not be considered because he and McCain simply do not like each other. Romney has executive experience from governing Massachusetts, and would be a great Treasury Secretary. While Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush did put aside their differences to form a winning team, John Kerry and John Edwards did not. Coming in second does not mean one gets the second spot on the ticket, nor should it.

Mike Huckabee is an absolute nonstarter. The economic conservatives would go insane based on Huckabee’s reputation as a tax raiser while Governor of Arkansas. Also, and with all due respect to the social conservatives, Americans will not elect somebody seen as a “bible thumper.” While this is religious bigotry, life is not fair.

Duncan Hunter is a very respected military man, and his selection would please the border conservatives worried about illegal immigration. However, Hunter is against free trade, which would be unacceptable to the Wall Street Journal Conservatives.  He could be Secretary of Defense.

My heart badly wants Rudy Giuliani, but I suspect the choice will be Tim Pawlenty, who I would be very pleased with.

As for the democrats, I will analyze what would win for them, regardless of my disdain for many of them. They should choose Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller. Just kidding.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will not pick each other.  The animosity is too deep. Obama could force his way onto Hillary’s ticket, but Obama would never accept Hillary as the Vice President. She would undermine him the whole time, and pretend to be upset as she quietly sabotaged him so that a republican could win, giving her one more shot in 2012. She is about her, and her alone. Just ask Kerry.

Either one must pick somebody that would play down South. One man who would beg, borrow and steal for the job is John Edwards. He has avoided endorsing anybody because he badly wants the job, and would accept it from either candidate. Edwards would be a tough candidate as the top of the ticket, but he simply does not want to play second fiddle. He forced himself onto the 2004 ticket, and spent more time promoting himself then John Kerry. He is not the guy.

Bill Richardson would be a solid choice, but he seems to have burned his last bridge with the Clintons. If they could put aside their rage, he would bring considerable heft, but these are the Clintons. They can’t. He provides Latino support, and has executive experience.  He immediately puts New Mexico and other Western states in play, not counting Arizona.

Joe Biden is an adult. He has foreign policy experience, and knows how to get judges confirmed. He does sometimes put his foot in his mouth, but he is not a raving lunatic. He would not frighten anybody. His downside is that he is a Senator, and one from a small state at that. Again, it did not work for Kerry and Edwards, although they did come close against a wartime President.

Some are touting General Wesley Clark, but there are better choices.

Even though an all Senator ticket is not desirable, former Senator Bob Kerrey is well liked and respected by both sides of the aisle. He did commit a gaffe against Barack Obama, but Obama is not thin skinned. He also went after Bill Clinton hard when he ran against him in 1992, and Bill Clinton is that thin skinned. Yet he is a war hero, and unlike John Kerry, does not have a long history of antiwar protesting and baseless accusations against soldiers. He has one wooden leg from combat injuries. He is a moderate to conservative person from Nebraska, although his ability to swing some Midwestern states might be blunted by the perceived liberalism of the top of the ticket.

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia is too new and too abrasive. However, his Bush hatred might be less of a problem among the left wing base than his being a former Reagan administration official.

The democrats have one choice that would be bold, exciting, and unprecedented. No, not New York Governor David Paterson. He has only been on the job about a week, and he has already confessed to illicit sex and drug activities. Then again, I would rather have a physically blind individual that took clear sighted stands on issues than a liberal with 20/20 vision that could not see any issues clearly.

The democrats have a war hero with solid antiwar credentials in their midst. He is a Southerner, and has served in the Senate. He has never been a Governor, but neither was John McCain. He gave the keynote speech for John Kerry, and unlike Kerry, he does not have a reputation for flip flopping on the war. Yes, there are criticisms that his war injury was inadvertently self inflicted, but no sane republican wants to go near that political land mine. He served America, and has a compelling story.

That man is former Georgia Senator Max Cleland. Being in a wheelchair did not stop him from being a Senator, and the politically correct crowd would swoon over the chance to have a “handicapable” leader.

Yes, the sympathy factor would be overwhelming, and yes it would make some conservatives ill for that reason alone. Nevertheless, Max Cleland absolutely has gravitas.

My heart does not pick anybody for the democrats, because none of them appeal to me. Yet Cleland would be a very bold choice. The only downside to Cleland is that he is a white male. Even the wheelchair cannot obscure this fact.

If Obama is forced to take a woman, then Senator Dianne Feinstein is a possibility. She is respected, and seen as a hard worker. If Obama wants to really shock the world, he can cross party lines and go with former republican Governor Christy Todd Whitman.  She is liberal on social issues such as abortion, and she likes trees.

If Hillary needs somebody black, and somehow decides to risk the wrath of Obamamania by passing him up, she can make another bold choice, also in Georgia. Congressman John Lewis is an American hero, and his civil rights credentials are unimpeachable. He marched with Dr. King, was beaten by the police, and refused to resort to violence. He is the American dream.  John McCain’s book “Courage” even spent several pages praising John Lewis.

I look forward to Vice President Pawlenty, but still hold out hope that President McCain and Vice President Rudy Giuliani take the reins in 2008. They are two people that would aggressively prosecute the War on Terror that President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney are currently waging.

They will both be out of office in less than a year, with the consolation prize being a place in the ring of honor of great world of leaders that forever changed world history for the better.

eric

The Dream Team

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Before analyzing the demagoguic race for President, I would like to issue an apology to my fellow Americans.

Regarding my one experience in Detroit, I misspoke when I mentioned that I had to duck and cover when entering the war zone. As for the fact that I faced enemy fire en route to Wisconsin, and that the experience was “seared into my memory,” like John Kerry’s trip to Cambodia, I got some of the facts wrong.

As for the fact that I was in danger the entire time, I can only say that I am human, and once I hire press people, they will spend the bulk of their time apologizing for me and explaining my many mistakes.

The truth is that I was scared for my life in Detroit, but at no time did I leave the airport. Detroit is one of the hubs for Northworst Airlines, and the airport is monstrously large. My running at top speed was not to avoid enemy fire, but to avoid missing my flight because Northwest was too cavalier when scheduling the connecting flights. The hub and spoke system is an affront to civilized people everywhere.

I did not exactly get burned alive by an Arab terrorist on my trip. I burnt my tongue eating a hot dog at one of the airport food stations. While I maintain that the person selling me the food had a Middle Eastern complexion, he seemed less interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict or Jihad than in helping me find the mustard (it was near the straws). It was not poison mustard gas, just good old fashioned dijon mustard. As for the cold weather, near death, sub zero freezing conditions inside the airport, I can only say that the air that they circulate on airplanes is bad, and Northworst needs to provide pillows and blankets.

As for mentioning that the Detroit Lions are terrible, I have never seen them play live, but I do have 50 years of statistics to back up that claim. I am sticking to my guns on that one.

So before I regale everybody one day with my tales of visiting Bosnia, just remember that nobody is perfect. If I ever say anything that turns out to be a mistake, just blame Hillary Clinton. I learned from her.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/dan_kennedy/2008/03/clinton_under_fire.html

Now that my soul is cleansed, I want to address the notion that the democrats want the “Dream Team” to be elected.

While the democrats would consider their dream team to be Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, perhaps the democrats need a better dream team if they are going to take on John McCain.

So who is the real Dream Team? Who can inspire the American people?

Well one Dream Team that got the job done was the 1992 Men’s Olympic basketball team. They did win the gold medal. In the spirit of balancing ebony and ivory in ways that would make Obama and Hillary proud, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson put their differences aside for America. Larry was a Boston Celtic. Magic was a Los Angeles Laker. They had this nation torn apart among East and West Coast lines, but when they finally came together, the United States team was truly United.

For those who believe in healing America, forget Obama. Nobody heals like a doctor, and this Dream Team had Dr. Julius Erving, also known as Dr. J. The man not only inspired me and other young children with his anti-drug rap song, “one dumb move (can blow your groove),” but he also had an amazing reverse tomahawk jam dunk.

One problem with this Dream Team for the democrats is that the Most Valuable Player of the team was Charles Barkley. Yes, Sir Charles is black, but minority voters in the democratic party would be disappointed when they find out he is a staunch republican.

The team did have Michael Jordan, but he has made it clear that the only democrat he will endorse is Bill Bradley. Basketball bonds among champions are tough to break.

The Portland Trailblazers actually had a slogan for their team one year that read, “One team, one dream.” That team was an underachieving nightmare, so they will not be considered.

Since most athletes are republicans, perhaps a different dream team is in order. Who could appeal to the many black voters that have flocked to Obama? The answer would be the legal Dream Team that defended O.J. Simpson.

Johnny Cochran, Robert Shapiro, and F. Lee Bailey have to be given some consideration.

Johnny Cochran is dead, and we romanticize dead people as infallible. It is called JFK syndrome. Also, Johnny Cochran had better rhymes and slogans than Jesse Jackson. Had he been the defense attorney for Bill Clinton, he would have insisted that the dress did not fit, so we must acquit.

F. Lee Bailey might be problematic because democrats do not like people with first initials. They have been harsh in the past regarding G. Gordon Liddy, I. Lewis Libby, and J. Danforth Quayle. Rumor has it they are also violently against E Pluribus Unum.

Also, if the split between Hillary and Obama voters is wide now, the gap would only increase with the promotion of anyone defending O.J. Simpson. Apparently there is very little overlap between those who are against domestic violence, and those who play football, which is a form of domestic violence (except for the few preseason games played overseas).

Robert Shapiro is the Hillary character. He was the lead attorney, and then out of nowhere a charismatic man with a higher melanin content and better vocabulary stole his thunder.

Yet while women voters might be upset, O.J. is that rare man that can unite black and white men. After all, he did play football, and was quite good.

Sadly enough, as previously stated, democrats are just not known for sports. This means that there is only one group of individuals that would be worthy of their votes.

I have said that many liberals are nuts. Therefore, the Dream Team should be the escaped mental patients from the movie containing Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd. The scene where the four mental patients jump in the air to high five each other…and miss…is a classic.

Democrats desperately need the religious vote, and Christopher Lloyd did play Reverend Jim on Taxi. Also, his character did plenty of drugs, which will unite the hippie vote. Mr. Lloyd also starred in the movie trilogy “Back to the Future,” which according to Al Gore, was inspired by Bill Clinton’s bridge to the 21st century, even though the movie came out over a decade earlier. Hillary’s comments on the matter were redacted.

Also, Michael J. Fox was in those movies, and he has Parkinson’s disease. Voting for Christopher Lloyd is a vote for stem cell research. The only scandal is that Michael J. Fox used to go by the alias of Alex P. Keaton, who was also a staunch republican and supporter of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Michael Keaton would do well with the youth vote. While his temper in the movie was more volatile than Howard Dean, he inspired the youth everywhere when he breathed in the night air and announced, “It’s great to be young and insane.”

Also, with health care being such an important issue, this movie had an actual doctor. It was not Dr. J, but some actor I cannot recall who played the capable and competent Dr. Weitzman. Although one of the patients had a messianic complex that involved him stripping naked in churches, the democratic party would most likely be less scared of his sermons than those of the current pastors in the news.

Therefore, the Dream Team for the democrats should be Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd. Keaton will the hotheaded President, with Lloyd as the quiet Vice President.

As for those who wonder how I am able to come up with such brilliant political analysis, all I can say is this…

I am glad to be old enough to vote for McCain…

Yet it’s great to be young and insane.

eric

 

Having the heart to soldier on

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

This past weekend, I became aware of a story that should literally be described as heartwarming. An honorable man died an untimely death. He had spent his life benefiting others, and even in death, he saved one more life. Another good man had a family history of untimely deaths due to health issues. He now has a better chance at the extended life that eluded his parent and grandparent.

For more on the story on fallen soldier and organ donor Ricky Martinez, and heart transplant recipient Brian Troy, the blog “Patriotic Mom” tells the story brilliantly.

http://www.patrioticmom.us/2008/03/22/even-in-death-marine-continues-to-give/

Yet for all the feel good aspects of this story, and there are many, there is a dark sinister aspect to this situation that is being glossed over. I would call it an inconvenient truth, except that phrase has been used for nonsense. This story matters, and until it is dealt with, nothing will be learned from the noble life and tragic death of Soldier Martinez.

Ricky Martinez survived two tours in Iraq. Yet this tough soldier was unprepared for the quagmire that did him in. He was unprepared for the war zone that took his life. He was not ready for a place where riots in the streets and shooting deaths were a way of life.

He was ready for Iraq. He was not ready for Chicago.

Yes, Soldier Ricky Martinez, a survivor of both Iraqi tours, was shot to death outside a Cubs game. It was a case of mistaken identity, but that does not make him any less dead. This is what happens in war zones. People kill each other indiscriminately.

Should we pull out of Chicago? Is it a lost cause? Should we simply tell the police department to quit their jobs and move someplace where they could actually make a difference, such as Iraq?

The same people that refuse to let us win in Iraq are the ones that will not let us win in the cities in America. We should crack down on crime, but no ethnic profiling is allowed. We should work on prevention and dialogue, rather than actually building more prisons and locking criminals up. As for the death penalty for violent felons, heaven forbid we actually prevent recidivism.

One Congressman was accused of racism for daring to say that Fallujah was safer than Detroit. The only thing to condemn about this Congressman is that he apologized. He could not take the heat. Something about running for office causes people to lose their gumption.

I have no such constraints, so I will provide the pair of testicles that most people are lacking. Iraq is improving. Detroit, Chicago and Washington, DC, are getting worse.

It is not about black versus white. It is about liberalism vs conservatism.

Iraq is about conservatism. General David Petraeus was not interested in dialogue with murderous fanatics. He was interested in slowly but surely taking Iraq back, block by block. On a massive scale, he has succeeded.

Detroit, Chicago, and Washington, DC, are about liberalism. That is why crime runs rampant. It is why the death statistics for young males are staggering. Throw in New Orleans, and another example of liberal failures runs rampant. This is before even getting to the complete and total ban on guns in Washington, DC, that has allowed criminals to roam free shooting unarmed private citizens. Shockingly enough, criminals by definition alone do not obey laws, even if asked nicely.

Something about liberalism believes that good can be found in everybody, and if we wait long enough, the light will shine through and everything will be fine.

David Dinkins had run New York City into the ground. Rudy Giuliani saved the city, and was magnificent on 9/11.

When Katrina hit, Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, took charge. His counterpart in Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, threw up her hands and said “I’m so overwhelmed.” As for Ray Nagin, the best thing we can say about him is that he is not crack smoking Marion Barry.

The reason why conservatives can get things done is because they are not worried about offending people. Liberals are so caught up in political correctness that they cannot take actions without offending some constituency of beggars and criers.

Tim Pawlenty was magnificent during the Minnesota bridge crisis. The rebuilding is happening, without endless time spent on blame.

In 1994, the Northridge Earthquake rocked California. Pete Wilson hired a contractor to rebuild who made two promises to him. The job would be done on time, and within the allotted budget. The left was threatening bloody murder unless minority contractors were hired. They were concerned with appearances. Pete Wilson went with his gut. Yes, the guy was a white male, but more importantly, he had a track record of successful work. The job was completed early, and under budget.

This was typical Pete Wilson. A man who was told he was leading a state that was ungovernable rolled up his sleeves and governed. The fact that he was a former marine is no surprise. Military men are disciplined, and Wilson’s discipline was enough to get California through floods, fires, Earthquakes, riots, and a monstrous budget deficit that was a surplus when he left.

Contrast this with Detroit today. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is mired in scandal. Some will say that since this is a sexual scandal, it should be ignored. The scandal is not the sex itself. The real scandal, that most will not mention, is that this man has been allowed to neglect his city for so long. Also, for those wanting to play the race card, the prosecutor coming after the Mayor is a black woman. Kym Worthy is not interested in bringing down a black man. She is trying to bring down an incompetent and corrupt politician that happens to be black.

All of this matters because the left in this country badly wants the troops to come home immediately. They love and support the troops, and want them to get out of a failed and corrupt plutocracy. They want them to come home to the safe confines of America.

Some safe confines. They can blame George W. Bush all they want, but some cities in America have been broken long before he was in politics.

The bottom line is that the few temporary respites in American cities have been due to conservative governance. Welfare reform saved Wisconsin and other states that were given block grants. Midwestern republican governors may be nondescript, but government is not sexy. Jim Edgar, George Voinovich, John Engler and Tommy Thompson may or may not all be the same person, but they got the job done.

Fiscal conservatives such as Rudy Giuliani and Richard Riordan turned around New York and Los Angeles. Brett Schundler was a godsend to Jersey City.

Feelings are irrelevant. Results are what matter. The troops have performed magnificently in Iraq and Afghanistan. They fight over there so that we do not have to fight terrorists here at home. The least we can do is give them a decent quality of life when they get back home.

Ricky Martinez had the heart to fight for America. He even gave his heart to a dying man, giving a complete stranger a new lease on life.

This does not excuse the fact that Ricky Martinez was taken from us far too early. He was a casualty of a senseless war going on under a city where an incompetent and corrupt administration could not protect him from danger. His right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was violated. He could have walked down the streets of Baghdad. Given how few casualties we have had in this war overall (each one of them tragic), he most likely would have survived.

If only the streets of liberal Chicago were as safe. He might be alive today.

I pray that the police be allowed to go into the worst cities in America and take any and all measures necessary to restore order. Tear gas and rubber bullets can be a start, but the political correctness must stop. We must take our cities back, block by block.

These cities are war zones. The goal of a war is to win. We took back Fallujah. By allowing the same tactics that turned around Iraq, slowly but surely, Detroit can be rescued.

I pray that the Martinez family has the heart to soldier on. Ricky Martinez was a hero in life and in death, but that does not excuse the fact that he was taken from the world far too early because the nation that he swore to protect and defend consisted of a city that refused to do the same for him.

eric

My Interview With Andrew Whitehead

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Several days ago, I attended a lecture by Reed Rubinstein that was sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The topic was the terrorist organization CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Various individuals, including columnist Mark Steyn, have been the victim of Jihads waged against them.

http://www.marksteyn.com/

Yet one man who deserves special attention is Andrew Whitehead. Mr. Whitehead served his country in the U.S. Navy, and was called out of retirement in a different way after 9/11. His website anti-CAIR led to him being sued by CAIR.

http://www.anti-cair-net.org/

With pro bono help from Mr. Rubinstein, Mr. Whitehead gave CAIR a judicial smackdown.

CAIR unfortunately still exists, but they will be defeated as long as brave men like Andrew Whitehead continue to speak up. With that, below is my interview with Andrew Whitehead, along with his pre-interview note of caution.

“Keep in mind that these are, unless otherwise noted, my personal opinions.”

1) What was your Navy service like, and how did it shape you into the person you are today? What were your best and worst experiences serving in the military?

My best experience was meeting the people who shared my commitment to defending the country. You really have to experience working with volunteers in defense of what makes this country great to fully understand what I mean.

My worst experience was when I was stationed on recruiting duty in New York in the late 80’s. A lot of illegal recruiting and dirty tactics were employed by the district and covered up by senior enlisted and officers alike…it soured my outlook on Chief Petty Officers to the point where I refused to take another advancement exam for the next eight years. I spent 15 years as a First Class Petty Officer…I was never promoted again after my 5th year of service. (I was an early promotion to First Class Petty Officer based on my evaluations and test scores.) Up to then, I had been promoted five times in five years.

2) Where were you on 9/11, what was your life like on that day?

I was in Virgina Beach, retired for about six years when I turned on the TV about four minutes before the second plane hit the tower. I had just called out to my wife and asked her how could a plane hit a tower in unrestricted visibility…we were guessing maybe a heart attack or stroke by one of the pilots and the remaining pilot being confused…when the second plane hit. I then told her, “We’re at war”.

3) How did 9/11 lead to your setting up your anti-CAIR website?

When I was stationed in Iceland for my final tour, a fellow First Class Petty Officer asked me to his home for Thanksgiving. I knew him to be a God-fearing, good person. I couldn’t go because I had already accepted another invitation. He was a quiet person…he later made Chief Petty Officer and was assigned to the Pentagon. I knew that Top Hand had been hit in the Pentagon. For two years or so I purposely did not look at the casualty list because I knew Top Hand was staffed by communicators and I was a communicator and didn’t want to know if any of my friends had been killed. Another service friend from Iceland told me…my heart sank…it was the sailor who invited me to Thanksgiving. He had been pinned and burned to death.

I had known about CAIR; I started Anti-CAIR the next day.

4) What should Americans know about CAIR?

That CAIR is focused on destroying our country’s form of government.

Yes, you can quote me on that.

Details can be found on our web site and also those of Steven Emerson, Joe Kaufman, Daniel Pipes…and many others.

5) How did CAIR try to hurt you personally?

I’m not sure that they tried to hurt me personally, I believe they go after anyone who tells the truth about them. I’m actually surprised that the worse thing they called me was “xenophobic”. I had to look that word up…it wasn’t used much until 9-11.

6) What are some moderate Muslim organizations that Americans should know about? Are they an effective counter to CAIR?

I am cautiously optimistic about the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, run by Dr. Z. Jasser. The more I look, the more I like; but I am reserving unqualified support at this time.

7) What are your opinions of the 2008 Presidential race?

We have no “political opinions” in the race; we call on all candidates to remember that the oath of office requires them to defend the Constitution. We are hopeful that the battle against Islamist terror will continue.

8.) Is the flap over Barack Obama’s pastor a legitimate story, or much ado about nothing? Do they have ties to CAIR or other radical Muslim groups, or is this a non-story?

We don’t comment on political questions like this one; we have readers of all political persuasions and we do not want to alienate any of them.

9) Is Hillary’s service on the Armed Services Committee sufficient preparation to be Commander in Chief?

Political question. However, I will say that President Lincoln did pretty well, didn’t he? President Washington? Just remember to look at the whole apple before you take a bite…that goes for all candidates.

10) Does John McCain’s personal story matter from an electoral standpoint? Should it?

Loaded question; remember, I’m retired Navy, so I do have a prejudice. I’ll pass.

11) Who are your 3 heroes, be they political, military, or other?

My personal choices:

Jesus Christ, Winston Churchill, and Ronald Reagan.

12) Did you support the Iraq War in the beginning? Why or why not?

Yes.

We are opposed to any political system that excludes any group of citizens from participating in the full benefits of citizenship based on non-merit factors.

 

 
13) How do you feel about the Iraq War now? Why?

The UN security council called sanctions on Iraq for over a decade…then did nothing until the United States chose to enforce sanctions unilaterally. If the US did nothing in light of the UN sanctions, we risked looking like a paper tiger (even a blind man could see that the security council was deliberately “tweaking” the US). The UN security council deliberately painted the US into a corner on the Iraq question and then left us out to hang when we invaded.

The US did two things in invading Iraq:

1. Called the UN bluff, showed the UN security council for what it is; a debating society with no moral right to speak for anyone. (Why is China, a dictatorship, on the UN security council?)

2, Enforced the will of the UN which the UN is unwilling to enforce itself.

14) What do you think will be the legacy of the Bush Presidency? If you had 5 minutes to interview Bush and Cheney, what would you say to them or ask them?

As to legacy, I don’t know.

I would ask them why they sold out Israel to appease the Saudis.

15) What other political views are you passionate about, and are you pleased or concerned with how those issues are being handled?

This question might make people angry at Anti-CAIR no matter how I answer it. I’ll pass.

16) What can ordinary citizens do to help win the War on Terror?

 

Keep their eyes and ears open. If your neighbor has 400 pounds of fertilizer in his shed and lives in an apartment, it might be cause for alarm? When traveling, listen to what your fellow passengers are doing and saying…just be alert and share your concerns with law enforcement.

We don’t have to become a nation of Gestapo agents; just good citizens keeping an eye out for each other. (Like mothers who watch over all children at the playground.)

17) How would you like to be remembered? What should people say about Andrew Whitehead 100 years from now?

Wow. If I am remembered at all; “He feared God, loved his family and country”

I would like to thank Andrew Whitehead for his graciousness towards me, as well as his vigilance. It is a dangerous world we live in, and men like Andrew Whitehead contribute to reducing the danger and increasing the quality of life for civilized people everywhere.

eric

 

 

 

Mr. Obama, apologize to Dr. Rice

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Dr. Condoleeza Rice called Barack Obama and apologized to him for an incident that was not her fault. Mr. Obama might wish to show the same class and courtesy towards her and offer an apology of his own.

For those who spend way too much time focusing on political nonsense (this column), rogue members of the State Department (redundant, I know) took a peek at the confidential files of Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama.

While there is no evidence at this time that anything other than curiosity by low level people was involved, already the conspiracy mongers want to blame President Bush. These people would be willing to hold impeachment hearings after he has already left office. Perhaps they can camp on his Crawford Ranch and try to evict him from his living quarters.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice is the Secretary of State, and the buck did stop with her. While the CEO of IBM or Coca Cola most likely had nothing to do with some mid-level manager they never met harassing a subordinate they never met, the top dog is responsible for the behavior of all the young puppies. So Dr. Rice had the employees that looked at the files fired. She called Obama to personally apologize.

While Obama did actually concede that he appreciated the call (how gracious of him), he wanted a full scale investigation. The investigation already happened. The bad people were caught and fired. The system worked.

Again, some would argue that Dr. Rice was not responsible for what her subordinates or associates did, but that argument usually falls short, justifiably so.

It is for that reason that Barack Obama should call up Dr. Rice and apologize to her for completely different reasons.

Pastor Jeremiah Wright is about as useful to society as colon cancer. This is well established. However, his overall comments about entire swaths of people are still less stinging then his attack on specific individual, that being Dr. Rice. In one of his rambling, incoherent diatribes, he referred to her as “Condoskeeza.”

For those who do not have “street cred (cred being short for credibility for the ultra white readers of this blog),” a “skeeza,” or “skeezer,” is another way of calling a woman a “skank,” a “ho,” a “slut,” and other names that are every third word in Snoop Doggy Dogg albums.

One can have reasonable disagreements about the Iraq War without finding such language disgusting. I have defended Snoop Doggy Dogg in the past because he does not attack all women. He is only attacking social climbers that use men for their money. The women he attacks are that way, and he is right not to back down.

Yet Condoleeza Rice is a classy, dignified woman. She is a classical pianist. She is proper and formal, dressing tastefully, and exuding class, grace, and dignity. She is the former Provost of Stanford University. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on Russia. Also, she might be one of the most eligible bachelorettes in America, if for no other reason than she is obsessed with the National Football League. She has openly stated that being NFL Commissioner would be her dream job. If President Bush truly was a dictator, he would ensured she got the job, rather than saying “it is not in my power to give.”

I want to make it clear that I am not blaming Barack Obama for Pastor Wright’s comments. They are separate individuals. I do not even blame Barack Obama for his wife Michelle’s outrageous comments, unless their is evidence that he is orchestrating the comments behind the scenes. This evidence does not exist. Unlike the Clintons, who coordinate every below the belt remar, Obama seems to be the innocent victim of loose cannons. His issue is one of reining in those that are doing him harm, not one of deliberately coordinated malice.

Yet the fact remains that a prominent Obama supporter made disgusting remarks towards a genteel, refined woman that went beyond all bounds of civility and decency.

The media glossed over these remarks, instead focusing on Pastor Wright’s diatribes towards America at large.

Yet a good comparison to Pastor Wright would be Don Imus. Imus was not fired because he used a phrase that can be seen as derogatory to black people. He was fired because he used a phrase at specific individuals that were private citizens. These women were dignified, and the “joke,” was seen as a personal attack against innocent people that did not warrant being treated that way.

Pastor Wright basically called Condoleeza Rice a “nappy headed ho,” just not in as many words. I am not an expert on skeezer statistics, but I assume their hair is on the nappier side of life.

Also, Barack Obama has held himself out to be a paragon of virtue. This means we expect more of him. Hillary Clinton taking vicious cheap shots at people is seen as her typica lbehavior. Water is wet, the Sun rises in the East, and the Clintons are the politics of personal destruction.

Based on what I have seen, and the narrative that is being told, Obama is better than that. He should prove his image as a uniter and offer a phone call to Dr. Rice apologizing for the remarks of Pastor Wright.

Otherwise, if Ann Coulter or Bill Cunningham refer to Michelle Obama as a skeezer, rather than the successful, accomplished woman she is, I am not sure I will take the time to care.

To quote President Bush, “Dr. Condoleeze Rice is a fabulous person. Period!”

Now it is time to go listen to the black women of America do their imitation of crickets chirping.

Oprah…your sister was attacked. Well?

eric

Leave my FBI file alone!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

The State Department had better leave my FBI file alone.

People who try to dig up dirt on me are going to incur my wrath. For those wondering why I am concerned about those wishing to derail my future political career, I shall start out with a syllogism I learned in school.

Premise: All cats chase mice.

Premise: Tony has a cat.

Conclusion: Tony is a mouse.

Hey, I went to public school.

Fast forward from my painful experiences in those maximum security prisons known as public schools to the world today.

Premise: On January 9th, 2008, members of the State Department investigated Barack Obama’s FBI file.

Premise: January 9th in my birthday.

Conclusion: Barack Obama ordered people to look at my file.

I would blame Hillary Clinton, given the expertise that she and her husband have with FBI files, and illegal behavior in general. Yet in this case I cannot do so. I have come to the conclusion that Hillary and I are practically the same. After all, we are just “typical white people.”

I wonder if I can get a discount at Walmart for macaroni and cheese.

There are other reasons that I am convinced that Obama tried to investigate my files.

How often does a Jewish holiday (Purim), a Catholic holiday (St. Patricks Day) and a Christian holiday (Good Friday, Easter) occur during the same week (quite often actually)?

Barack Obama has had controversies lately involving more than one religion. It all ties together.

Also, there are 7 days in the week. There are 7 letters in the word Judaism. There are 7 letters in the word slavery. This proves, according to Louis Farrakhan, that Jews have enslaved blacks since the beginning of time, all the time. Pastor Jeremiah Wright has praised Farrakhan, and Obama has in the past praised Wright.

There are also 7 letters in the word Federal, which is the first word in the FBI.

There are also 7 letters in the word “Tygrrrr” as well as the word “Express.” Aha!

This sinister conspiracy against me must stop.

Now for those who are wondering why I am trivializing a serious matter, there are two reasons. First of all, because that is what I do.

Second of all, the reaction has been idiotic. For those who think this is another Bush Administration conspiracy by the State Department, please remove your heads from your hides.

The State Department hates President Bush. Everybody below Condi Rice should be sent to Guantanamo Bay. The State Department is basically enemy combatants, except less effective and more bureaucratic. If the State Department was any more worthless, it would be the United Nations.

So an organization whose sole purpose of existence is to undermine President Bush would investigate files of people he could care less about at his orders.

To quote George Jetson, “Jane, get me off of this crazy thing.”

Is this breach serious? Yes. The people responsible for the breach were fired, and full disclosure was made. The system worked. If ever there was a non-scandal, this would be it. The real scandal is how such clowns got hired in the first place. Then again, that brings us back to the point about the State Department being worthless.

I can share with you what was in the files of all three candidates.

Obama: He is 50% black and 50% white. After careful analysis, it was determined that he came to be this way because his parents were of different races. He did drugs as a youth, has funny looking ears, speaks well, and has never offended anybody in his existence. He thinks all white people are the same, but then again, we are.

McCain: He was a prisoner of war, is old, occasionally grumpy, believes in suppressing free speech when hanging out with Russell Feingold, and promises to take Osama and steer rope him rodeo style with his own beard.

Hillary: (redacted)

Wow, I wish I could get my file to be as clean as Hillary’s. I should ask Sandy Berger for help. My favorite foods are sandwiches and burgers. These coincidences are frightening.

I am entitled to my private life.

It is nobody else’s business that I would paddle Hillary’s hide given the chance. Besides, how do I know she never tried to paddle mine, or that of any of my friends? Her file is redacted, corrupt woman that she is.

The fact that I believe we could cure two world problems by feeding the homeless to the hungry should not be used against me in a future debate when I am wagging my finger and talking about compassion.

Christian America does not need to know that I think Santa Claus is an anti-semite. You have that fat red b@st@rd skip your home for years on end and think the system is not rigged. I suspect Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan don’t care that Santa hates Jewish kids.

I would cook Rudolph and eat him, but the last thing I need is more grief from animal rights activists.

The fact that I have a “Larry the Cable Guy” pinup calendar is nobody else’s d@mn business.

Maybe if I just ignore the problem, it will go away. Yeah right. That did not work with Al Gore, Al Sharpton, Al Queda, or Al Green (I have no idea why I included him. I liked his duet with Annie Lennox).

So yes, Barack Obama was behind the viewing of my FBI files. He would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those d@mn kids. I hope it did not hurt when they pulled the rubber mask off of him.

Ok, off to go in my backyard and dig up Jimmy Hoffa and move him again. Actually, I do not have a backyard. Yet if I did, and he was buried there, I would move him if I thought he would be in danger of being discovered.

Enough with the scandal surrounding Obama. He did not even march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some would say he was only a boy, but I am tired of excuses. Next thing you know he will try to blame somebody else for the death of Strom Thurmond.

Premise: Strom Thurmond is related to Al Sharpton.

Premise: Barack Obama and Al Sharpton have a bond with skin color.

Conclusion: Barack Obama’s daughter is the reincarnation of Strom Thurmond.

Yes, if I were him I would want his file sealed as well.

As for my file, both I and the world would be better if mine stayed wrapped up tighter than an ex girlfriend who claimed she had a headache, when she was really just sick of me.

eric