The Ramparts Manifesto

There are historical inflection points that determine the flow of man’s progress or decline.  Sometimes the moment is clear at its apex to the participants.  The crowning of Octavian as the Emperor Augustus creating the end of republican concepts and creating the idea of a universal citizen linked by shared principles across cultural differences.  The declaration of independence of colonies from the greatest power on earth in 1776.  The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.  Sometimes the moment is seen only in retrospect as to its lasting and profound significance.  The death of a religious prophet in Judea by crucifixion in 32 A.D.  The victory of the Norman, William the Conqueror,  over Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.  The exile of the radical Lenin to Switzerland by the Czar Nicholas in 1907.  History binds us to its outcomes in that the moment of inflection allows only one response to its inflection point, the way forward.

For many of us, the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States was such an inflection point. November, 2008 saw the elevation of a man of color to the most powerful executive position on earth by an electorate of a country  that once espoused the right of bondage and servitude by one person of another, on the basis of  color.  Regarding the final maturation of the ideals put forth by the founding architects of the American manifesto of guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is indeed a hugely important inflection point.  We are, however, coming to an even more critical inflection, as to whether those guarantees codified in our founding documents hold less value to our modern society, to the extent that we as a society are unwilling to defend them under the assault of the very individual who is sworn to uphold them.  We must now perform a value judgement on November 6th, 2012, as to whether the inflection point of celebrating universal access to the position of ultimate executive power in a democracy overwhelms the studied evaluation and judgement of the performance of that individual who finally achieved that access.  Can we as a nation base our perception of our leaders not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character, and in doing so preserve the best outcomes of both inflection points?  President Barack Obama has been a formative President over the last four years.  Ramparts looks to review and assess those four years for their content and recommend the way forward, for this country needs to preserve the capacity of every person to succeed as intended by nation’s founders, in the ultimate historical teaching moment, and inflection point, of November 6th, 2012.

Leadership

A great leader has characteristics that reflect not only in their words, but their impulses, character, and actions.  It is not enough to describe vision as an end, but to articulate the means and difficult road of getting there.  This usually requires an understanding of context, where a people have been, what their capacities and talents are, what they hope to be.  Lao Tsu, the Tao Chinese philosopher, described this leadership skill as follows:

Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. The best of leaders, when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.

Great nations have significant a significant historical thread and purpose that define their greatness. Great nations require their leaders to have a conviction of belief in the nation’s greatness, a recognition of the elements that keep it great.  In times of ease, the leader’s intensity of faith in those base convictions may not require constant trumpeting, but in times of crisis, the trumpet calls must be certain and clear. He or she must show the character of conviction, leading with clarity and personal integrity, forming the people’s confidence in the perilous journey, the unshakable will to search for a way out, and ultimately succeed.  The people should feel their leader understands the extent of the sacrifice that is asked for, the price that is being paid, the worthiness of the ultimate outcome that is desired.  St. Francis of Assisi put it succinctly:

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

In the test of leadership, President Obama has too often shown his ignorance of the facts of history,  the superficiality of vision, the lack of clarity of how his path to the future would solve the future’ s problems, to get the people he leads to confidently follow. He has often struggled greatly with the truth.   His own administration coined the phrase, “Leading from behind”.  It is a epitaph of a leadership style that subverts a nation’s present and future greatness.

Performance

The focus of any election with an incumbent is ultimately a judgement of performance, between the performance of the incumbent weighed against the expected performance of the challenger who seeks to unseat him. Predicting future performance is much more ethereal than grading past performance, and thus  the true test of the upcoming judgement is after all our current President’s performance, the assessment of Barack Obama’s record in leading a great nation at a time of challenge.

Domestic record:

President Obama admittedly came into his job with great challenges domestically.  Collapse of the housing bubble and a dramatic banking crisis plunged the nation in a deep recession.  The response of the President was the great Stimulus package of 2009, a 787 billion dollar government infusion of money into the economy that represented easily the largest injection of government influence on the economy in history.  Together with the TARP government guarantee to failing and in jeopardy banks and actions such as the Automobile industry bailout, it represented well over a trillion dollars in the nation’s resources.  It was sold like Franklin Roosevelt’s  Work Project Administration, a huge tsunami of “shovel-ready jobs” that would propel the economy out of its doldrums. Right out of the starting gate, though, the stimulus package showed all the tenets of President Obama’s leadership style.  He deferred the details of the huge expenditure to others, showing very little interest in where the money actually went or accomplished.  Thus a trillion dollars found its way instead into expansion of government processes, with a whole cadre of “czars” functioning independently of both cabinet departments and the legislative process.  The result was predictable.  No identifiable investment in crumbling infrastructure beyond roads. Rejection of access to easily available resources like  leasing American oil drilling or positioning for completion of the Canadian Keystone pipeline project.   Capitalist cronyism at its worst in green industry companies like Solyndra.  Faux-brilliant programs with no identifiable purpose other than popularity such as “Cash for Clunkers”, and billions upon billions to underwrite inevitably unsustainable union perks and pensions.  Where all the money went, and to whom, will never be known and likely represents one of the great heists in history.

The huge debacle of the 2009 stimulus was followed by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or as better known, Obamacare.  The administration determined to address the crisis in burgeoning healthcare expenditure by devising a plan of eventual government takeover of healthcare, establishing a new entitlement, extending healthcare to a supposed thirty million “uninsured” Americans at a Medicaid entry level, forcing the mandatory nature of health insurance, and “paying” for it with huge penalties on the currently insured, including draconian shifts from current Medicare subsidies.  The result was a calamitous bill that was forced through a reluctant congress using questionably legal out of budget reconciliation joint resolutions, that few congressmen understood or investigated.  As the bill was bludgeoned through the system, the then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously declared, “We have to pass the health care bill, so you can find out what is in it.”  Democracy died a thousand deaths that day.  The bill’s future fundamental re-working of the American healthcare system is outdone by its visible break on current economic activity as those with functional insurance through their employer are only now realizing the reality of the loss of their insurance security, and companies are recognizing the enormous bill and suppressing hiring and expansion.  The President’s response to the coming calamity, again classic Obama, deferments for union and political supporters, and good luck to all the rest.

The third strike blow to the nation domestically was that the stimulus was only the initial harbinger of a government willing to annually overspend at the level of the supposed one time stimulus investment , resulting in annual deficits of over a trillion dollars.  In four short years, the country’s debt ballooned 5.6 Trillion dollars, making the President’s administration the most profligate debtor in history,  increasing by half what it took the previous 235 years of government  to accumulate.  The pathetic result was the United States experiencing the first loss of its triple AAA bond rating in history.  It resulted in the need for three rounds of Federal Reserve Bank’s “quantitative easing“, printing money at accelerated rates to purchase the burgeoning debt, and thereby severely threatening the value of the dollar and ultimately, people’s purchasing power and future savings. It resulted in the American government borrowing 42 cents on every dollar it spent, with no end in sight and no plan to deal with coming crisis in debt.  The incredibly prescient examples of socialist Europe’s current financial calamities were ignored by this administration as if they were whistling past their own grave.

Three strikes and you’re out in baseball parlance.  Domestically the Obama Administration proved to be on of the most ineffectual, and damaging administrations in history.

Foreign Policy Record:

The Obama Doctrine of “Lead from behind” truly found its muse in foreign policy.  A basic philosophical Obama underpinning of previous American history was at work.  Where others saw standing up for American self interest, Obama saw imperialism.  Where history saw American leadership, Obama saw arrogance.  Where others saw totalitarian suppression of freedoms, Obama saw self determination.  From the beginning, the President set on an “apology” tour,  meeting with some of America’s most nefarious enemies, such as Chavez of Venezuela, and proclaiming understanding with such stalwarts such as Castro of Cuba and Ahmadinejad of Iran.  He immediately re-set the Israeli- Palestinian access, declaring an “equality” of right, snubbing the elected leader of their erstwhile ally Israel at every turn, and encouraging the recalcitrance of the Palestinians to meet on any level with the Israelis to solve their issues.

The President re-oriented the fight against terrorism, implying the United States harbored an unhealthy understanding of Islam, that needed to be cleansed.  The war in Iraq, having been essentially won by the American surge of 2007-08, was undermined by a callous disregard of residual security needs, resulting in the abrogation of the Status of Forces agreement with Iraqis, the pre-mature removal of all US forces, and the inevitable crumbling of the hard won Iraq democratic process that had barely begun to take hold.  He announced in Cairo the wrongs committed to the Arab nation by American cultural ignorance, resulting in significantly increased confidence by fundamental Islamic elements that the President would do nothing to impede their long desired goal of taking over nationalist Arab governments.  The once in a lifetime Green Revolution by millions of brave internal dissenters in totalitarian Iran was brutally snuffed out by the regime, when they realized Obama would do nothing, and a relentless progression in the development of a fundamentalist and nihilist nuclear capacity..  The stability of a Libya led by a neutered Qaddafi was destroyed by an American led rebel force, in an undeclared American war.  It continues to have devastating ramifications with the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the recent murder of an American Ambassador on American sovereign ground, enabled by a President who saw the Al Qaeda attack on his consulate as a larger threat to the myth he had woven of defanging Al Qaeda and contributing to a new moderate Libya then to his representatives on the ground, resulting in their disastrous sacrifice.

The presidential record on the the self declared”good war” in Afghanistan was no better, with a surge of American forces initiated at the same time as the declaration of their eventual withdrawal, resulting in a meaningless sacrifice of American lives in a country with an impressive history of simply waiting out its foreign invaders.  The result, a predictable strengthening of the Taliban, reversing the brief modernity of schools, roads, and reduced foothold of sharia that allowed a middle way to briefly flower.

The President’s solitary success in the war in terror proved not to be his re-definition of “Terrorism”, but in the utilization of all the previous administration’s tools of interrogation, drone patrols, and special forces development, culminating in the discovery and dispatching of the murderer Osama Bin Laden, as well as other high ranking terrorists.  The supposed sin of previous terror definitions to be reversed, such as the goal of closure of Guantanamo and the ludicrous plan to try international terrorists in domestic courts as criminals, has long since been abandoned.  This  was replaced with a disturbing attraction to a “kill list” as a indirect means of control of terrorism, resulting in a perverse rationalization that the United States had the right to assassinate on the basis of implied guilt on foreign soil, while demanding a criminal court and redefinition of the dastardly murder as “workplace violence”, as when a terrorist such as Major Husan, self declared as a “soldier for Allah”, murdered Americans on American soil at Fort Hood.

The progression of an Arab Spring dominated by the uncontrolled emergence of Islamic fundamentalism to national positions of power, the belligerence of Russia in defying the supposed American Re-set in policy, despite the sacrifice of relations with American allies such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Georgia to appease Russia, the instability of an enfeebled Europe that has linked itself into a bond of progressive economic insolvency, a return of terrorist capacity now under the cloak of fundamentalist regimes, the progressive collapse of any Israeli-Palestinian momentum, and the ominous advance of Iran toward nuclear capacity fully indicates the Obama Doctrine of “Leading from Behind” is  guaranteed to lead to more, not less American vulnerability and potential future conflict involvement.

Verdict

Leadership. Attention to history. Understanding of the foundations of American greatness.  Stewardship of our national resources.  Positioning our country to succeed beyond the previous generation. Defending our national sovereignty, both economically and militarily. Providing and following through on the vision and promise of a national consensus.  These are the duties we place upon the individual who assumes the chief executive position in our land.  It is concisely and summarily stated in the oath of office all Presidents swear to:

I do solemnly swear, that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The record of this President, Barack Obama, as a matter of philosophy, integrity, leadership abrogation, and performance, has consistently defied the fundamental requirement of this oath.  Ramparts does not believe the carefully tendered fundamentals, checks and balances – defended, fought, and sacrificed over for 236 years – can survive in a recognizable form under such leadership.  History has inflection points.  The nation election of 2012 is just such an inflection point.  On November 6th, 2012, the future freedom and  prosperity of history’s most successful creation of a nation of human fulfillment and actualization is at stake.  The President, Barack Obama needs to be defeated, and Mitt Romney elected, as the next President of the United States.  The time for hope and change is past.  What we need now, is plain old change.  If the American public deliberates correctly and opts for change from  its current disastrous regime, it will elect Mitt Romney as President of the United States.  With such change, real hope may yet once more spring eternal, and the country remove itself from self applied shackles, to rise again, like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes.

 

 

 

 

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Follow Up to the Benghazi Debacle – The Story Takes A Darker Shape

The story of the terrorist assault on the U.S.  Benghazi Consulate on September 11th,2012,  continues to take shape, and shake the confidence we hold in our leaders to tell us the truth regarding the perils and threats to the nation.  Bret Baier of Fox News has put together a must see summary of the conditions and events leading up to the assault, the response of the precipitants, and the progressive stonewalling of our nation’s leaders in bringing forth the truth of the awful day.  I am sure the entire scope of what is to be revealed is not even been scratched, but what has come out thus far is tragic, disturbing, and ominous.  Please watch the entire report, and recognize how important next week’s election will be in determining if we will ever learn the right lessons from this building tragedy.

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The Benghazi Debacle Grows From Bad to Scandalous

On September 11th, 2012, something truly awful happened to America at the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At first glance, it might be said it was the deaths of four brave American representatives serving their country in a battle to defend American territory in a godforsaken backwater of a country in the throws of post revolution Libya.  Four dedicated and impossibly brave people who were in Libya to try to bring some coordinated help and sanity to a country torn asunder by years of barbarous dictatorship and subsequent war projected by foreign powers, supported by the armed might of the United States. Four irreplaceable U.S. citizens to their country, their families, and their devotion to their duty.  Such loss this country has had to bear once again, in the shadows of so many others of equally irreplaceable value lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Such loss is by any measure, awful.  Yet,  what is proving to be even more devastatingly awful to America, is the realization that the governmental leaders that sent these brave men to Libya to serve this nation’s interests, may have consciously permitted these men to be sacrificed to save their agenda, then lied about it to save their own political skin.   What level of dishonor has been perpetrated upon these men they were elected to lead, to the public they were elected to represent, to the constitution they were elected to uphold?  The awful truth is progressively brought to bear.

With each passing day the nest of deceit surrounding the tragedy in Benghazi is coming to light. The first pathetic cover story was a supposed anti-Islamic video unseen by all that somehow incited a protest to become a murderous mob. The nonsense of this cover story was promoted serially for weeks, first by the American Ambassador to the U.N., then Secretary of State, and ultimately ginned up by the President himself in television interviews and in front of the United Nations General Assembly.  This blatant disregard for the true events of the murderous day – not a spontaneous protest gone awry, but a planned, coordinated military assault on the Consulate –  turns out to be a set of facts known to all in real time during the attack, as revealed by drone videos and cellphone transmissions.  The problem was, Libya was not supposed to be a hotbed of radical Islamic terrorist hordes spiraling out of control. No, it was to be an example of the President’s effective leadership role in the Arab Spring and an example of the fruits of the final defeat of the Al Qaeda influence in the Islamic world.  The disastrous events of September 11th, 2012 did not fit the narrative, and thus a narrative had to be built to somehow package the tragedy in acceptable terms.  A willing press allowed for weeks this nonsensical story to hold the veneer of serious reflection.

The narrative was bad enough, but what is becoming clear is that the very highest leadership positions of the United States, a willful premeditated deceit was undertaken to “own the truth” at least until safely through re-election.  The Vice President of the United States in his debate, the President of the United States on multiple occasions, stated unequivocally that they had no intelligence information that suggested that a security risk was present to the consulate and ambassador, no evidence that the “mob” was a coordinated military attack, and that they did all they could to discern what was happening and work to secure the safety of the consulate individuals.  The Secretary of State Clinton herself stated that  “protesters” “carried Chris to the hospital”, not dragged through the streets as a trophy display.  Today we find out that all was deceit. Transmissions to the State Department described a seven hour attack on the consulate, and identified at least three urgent requests for help for military backup from Tyrone Woods, who with fellow former SEAL Glen Doherty, returned to defend the consulate from off site when they heard it under attack, and died defending American soil and their fellow Consulate staff and Ambassador.  Three requests reserved real time, over time, to a White House that insists it “had no intelligence” – three requests that were serially denied.  We now know that there were gunships with laser guided armament fixed on the enemy combatants, that were denied the permission to shoot and defend.  We now know there were special forces positioned to re-enforce, within an hour of travel time in a seven hour attack, that were denied the opportunity to re-enforce the defense perimeter so desperately  held by the two SEALS.

We now know, that President Obama received this real time information, and proceeded to a fund raiser in Las Vegas, in the window of time where Tyrone Woods died at his machine gun, defending the consulate to the last measure of his capacity, waiting for help that would never be allowed to come.

Whoever decided to ignore the pleas for help and allow the massacre of Americans to occur does not deserve to continue as a leader of anybody.  Any person with a shred of self dignity, who allowed such actions to occur on their watch, and did nothing,  would resign.

If it proves out that it was the President of the United States , in the face of direct assault counseled inaction, to the pleas of help directed passivity, and in the face of knowledge to the contrary, knowingly lied to the American people, he should resign immediately.  If he was, after all, the actual ringleader of this tragic circus, and he doesn’t have the dignity to resign, he needs to be summarily fired on November 6th, and with him the entire corrupt team of  enablers that serve under this deceit.

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Re-Acquainting with our National Treasures – the Museums


The national capital of the United States is not only the citadel of governance for the world’s most powerful democracy, it is also the repository for an incredible diversity of treasures of art, science, culture, and history.  The city itself was designed as a jewel of urban expression by the famed architect Pierre L’Enfant, presented in 1792 as an ideal of a world class city laid out on a marshy elevation north and east of the Potomac River, at a time when most of the country’s population was hundreds of miles away from the District of Columbia’s wilderness.  French born, L’Enfant was every bit a revolutionary American, who had served as an engineer under Washington, was wounded in the war, suffered with him and the troops at Valley Forge, and later was present for the general’s ultimate victory over Cornwallis.  He saw the fledgling nation as a eventual world power and saw no fantasy in designing a world power’s capital stage, with massive boulevards, epic public buildings, and beautiful gardens and squares.  The capital he left us is every bit the work of art, and on its grounds contains treasures of incalculable value and diversity.

Prominent on the National Mall are its magnificent art museums, among so many  I would humbly  like to highlight two great art repositories, the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran Gallery.  The Corcoran Gallery sits at the west end of the mall juxtaposed to the White House grounds and contains a spectacular display of great American artists of the country’s expansive beginnings.  The great portrait artist of the revolutionary period, Gilbert Stuart, is best known for capturing the strength and humanity of our nation’s fathers, no more prominently displayed then in the wonderful Washington portrait of the president seen above.  Excellent representations of the American wilderness glorifying American exceptionalism with religious overtones, as a chosen land, abound the walls in great works by Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church.  Bierstadt’s Corcoran Peak reminded Americans that the Rockies were every bit as epic as the Alps.  Church’s Niagara captured  the epic scope of the great falls and reflected the pristine beauty and power of the American wilderness as representative of the country’s power and inexorable drive.  The ultimate in scale, imagery, and symbolism of America’s special connection with its  pristine,  savage wilderness is Bierstadt’s Last of the Buffalo,  an homage to a disappearing innocence when the horizon, and the bounty was limitless.The Corcoran collection extends into other great examples of American painting genius such as Singer Sargent,  Mary Cassatt, and Whistler, but does not neglect European masters such as Gainsborough and Rembrandt. It would be the premier display of artistic greatness were it not for the overwhelming spectacle of the collection on the opposite end of the Mall, the National Gallery of Art.

The National Gallery of Art defies a proper adjective for its bounty in fantastic art. Thousands of absolute masterpieces line the walls from the brilliance of American Winslow Homer to three exquisite Vermeers.  The very majesty of the collection may be in the Mellon family’s greatest gift to the nation, Leonardo DaVinci’s Ginevra de Benci , a painting in my mind every bit as special and beautiful as the Mona Lisa herself.  The National Gallery had in 1995 maybe the most spectacularly popular art exhibition in history in providing in one place the entire collected works of Johannes Vermeer, and the representations present currently of this enigmatic Dutch master are worth an hour alone of contemplation.  The play of light in its complexity on the every day female subject exemplified in Vermeer’s classic, A Woman Holding a Balance, knows no equal in art.  The Americans are also spectacularly represented with the early portraitists such as Copley and Stuart, the chroniclers of American life like Caleb Bingham and James Whistler, and bookended by the brilliant 19th and early 20th century work of Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.  Homer’s Breezing Up displays common American courage and fortitude in the everyday lives of  Americans against the violent environment of the sea.  Homer framed America in quiet dignity overwhelmingly influenced by his absorption of the selfless examples of everyday Americans caught up in the brutality of the Civil War yet able to rise above it, and it showed in every subsequent painting.  Singer Sargent was a modern painter caught in a 19th century traditionalism that eventually exploded out of his portrait work into emotionally tense works such as Street in Venice where a young woman catches the not so innocent stares of  young men with a latent sexuality more appropriate for the 20th century than the Victorian principles ruling the nineteenth.  Singer Sargent dissolves the puritan impulse forever in the languid Repose,  the subject  cascading over the boudoir couch in satin finery,  her mind distant to the presence of the artist studying her.

The bounty that is the National Gallery continues over six centuries of European and American art,  from  Giotto to Gauguin , Raphael to Rembrandt.  Though absorbed for hours over each visage like a boy in the candy shop unable to choose, I still managed to focus on a few artists I have been anxious to see in person.  One in particular that brought particular pleasure was J.M.W. Turner, the well known 19th century English painter with extraordinary gifts. An artist who grew out of the romantic stylings  of Byron and Beethoven to presage the luminescence and abstraction of Impressionism, Turner imparts a special emotional longing from the viewer.  In Keelmen Heaving In Coals By Moonlight, an intense impressionistic lightshow is brought to bear with the furious red glow of the coals juxtaposed on the pewter metallic moonlight, and ghostly ships appearing and disappearing out of the mist. Fantastic.     The art alone would take a lifetime to see and absorb it all, but the Smithsonian collection along the Mall is of equal import and diversity in treasure.  From Natural History to American History, the Museum of the American Indian, Arts and Industries, and the Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian spans the American experience.  The visual highlight for me on this trip is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  The entry alone, contains three epic giants in the history of flight – the Wright Brothers Flyer, the Spirit of St Louis, and Apollo 11 – from the first controlled flight to man’s conquering of the ocean by air, forever shrinking the planet, to escaping earth to land on another celestial globe.  All in the same room and all within 66 years. For whatever reason, I feel the most connectiveness with  the little monoplane that carried Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic in 1927.  This was no decade long monumental commitment of a nation to achieve a goal.  This was a 24 year old postal service pilot, who rigged a design out of a small American entrepreneurial aircraft company, had them build the craft over a few months, flight tested it by flying it cross country to break the record at that time for solo transcontinental flight, and on the same mission hopped over the Atlantic in 33 consecutive solo flight hours with no backup, no escape plan, and no previous indication of success for such an undertaking.  This spectacular little plane would go on to achieve thousands of hours of flight, but the first one is seared in our memory, and our national mythology.The museum has superb examples of passenger service flight, from the original passenger carrier the Ford Tri-motor to the workhorse of the mid-century the DC-3 to the modern Boeing 747.  It shows in close up fashion the story of combat craft from the Sopwith Camel of World War I to the German Messerschmidts, Japanese Zeroes and American P-51 Mustangs of the Second.  The history of rocketry is noted with Minuteman missiles and V-2 rockets, as well as the critical contribution of Russian aerospace from Sputnik to Soyuz.  The journey is endless from Tomahawk cruise missiles to Saturn V engines,  LEM lunar landers to Space Ship One, the first private service  passenger ship to space. Its a visual feast for the air afffectionato and the perfect bookend to the museum extravaganza on the National Mall.

This brief survey does not scratch remotely  all that there is to explore in the national repositories celebrating our civilization’s watershed achievements.  each venue offers days of study and a lifetime of reading.  Consider the story of the electric light bulb or the electric guitar, the harvesting of hydroelectric power, the prayers of the Navajo, the invention and outgrowth of the gasoline engine, the crafts of the native Americans and those who suffered in servitude, the portraits of all the nation’s chief executives, the dresses of the First Ladies. On and on and on in magnificent promotion of what it means to struggle, to seek, to conquer, to create, and ultimately to triumph in the never ending celebration of life well lived.

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Re-Acquainting With Our National Treasures – The Monuments

I had the occasion this past week to plum with some depth the national treasure that is our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.  I had visited it some eighteen years before, but viewed the incredible wealth of venues as a quick aside to a business trip.  I was determined this time, to absorb with more gravity, all I could physically reach on foot in three days, and despite only scratching the surface of what is available, was thrilled with what I saw, and frankly, emotionally moved by our nation’s story.   Washington D.C. is not only the source of much of our history, it is the keeper of our historical flame, and no where is that more profoundly put in perspective than on the monuments that frame the National Mall.

The epic story of the mall is framed by its immense bookends, the obelisk of the Washington Monument and the temple of the Lincoln Monument.  There is no more dramatic tale to tell than that of the revolutionary leadership of Washington, who risked all to secure the improbable birth of a nation against the resources and will of the most powerful nation on earth, a man who could have been King but refused, a man who recognized that he as a leader was the one indispensable component to securing a revolution, but as a man representing  a true republic ruled by its people, critically and ultimately dispensable.  The soaring obelisk reaches for the sky and approaches the heavens as fitting for nation’s father figure whose calm and steady demeanor in the face of incredible stresses and odds was  Olympian in its majesty.  At the other end of the reflecting pool, the massive temple to our national martyr Lincoln, seated solemnly contemplating the incredible sacrifice required to preserve the union and cleanse it of its greatest scourge, slavery.  The two men, so different – the greatest landowner and wealthiest man in America, Washington, and the commoner Lincoln, borne of the most primitive circumstances and abject poverty in the Kentucky wilderness, arose to shared immortality as our nation’s greatest servants, bound by the foundation of an ideal that in this place called America all men could pursue  their destiny with equal birthright and opportunity.  Unique among monuments is the pronounced stillness of the crowds within the Lincoln Memorial, a quiet not of worship but of reverence, for the man and his profound understanding of his nation and the weight of the task he took upon himself to accomplish in order to preserve it.

Centered now between the homage to the two great leaders of the nation is a memorial to the greatest shared challenge of the nation’s  people, the World War II Monument. It balances beautifully the two great structures bracketing the reflecting pool, to celebrate a nation’s shared heroic will and sacrifice, rather than the individual warriors of the conflict.  Each state and territory holds a place in the circle of honor for the commitment of lives and fortunes to the national engine of victory.  The individual battles provide only background context for the scope of the nation’s shared focus and contribution.  Before I personally saw this monument I was somewhat doubtful as to how it would project such a complex and profound story in a place more occasioned to illuminate individual heroes.  In person, it does so beautifully and in context with the surroundings and the streams of people visiting it speak to its success as a monument in a place of epic monuments.

Just off the reflecting pool are other reverent displays of our nation’s battles. The Vietnam Memorial has become legendary for its starkness and its solemn focus on the individual sacrifice, as evidenced by the mirrored listing of each dead soldier sacrificed in what was, until Afghanistan, our nation’s longest war.  Lesser known, but equally moving is the Korean War Memorial, that takes a slightly different approach to the individual American sacrifice, in a war of shorter length but perhaps more brutal and intense fighting.  A platoon of soldiers wordlessly exits out of a stand of trees, warily searching the horizon and each contemplating the potential dangers, yet marching onward nevertheless.  To the side, a polished granite wall has  thousands of ghostlike etchings of the faces of the conflict that touch so many lives, yet is lost in historical perspective between the immensity of the war that preceded it and the controversy of the war that succeeded it.  On this particular day, a wreath of flowers from the Republic of South Korea showed the mists of time have not diminished this nation’s recognition of what role America played in preserving their independence and ongoing prosperity.

As one leaves the Mall for the Tidal Basin, the Mall’s symbolic reflection of national struggles are now left behind to return to the epic adoration of individuals on a massive canvas. The newest is the Martin Luther King Memorial at the crest of the Tidal Basin.  One walks between the cleft of a marble mountain to confront a  man emerging out of stone, with a look of resoluteness and determination convinced of the righteousness of his cause. Despite the structure’s  almost “soviet” overtones, there is a real sense of this man’s capacity to confront and overcome human inequities with the power of his intellect and logic that speaks to Mr. King’s critical place in the American story and the overwhelming propriety to place his presence among America’s pantheon of heroes. A mild complaint is the selection of a relatively political nature of his quotations, rather than the multiple magnificent quotations that spoke to his universality – I guess this should come as no surprise in today’s more politically correct world.  From the King Memorial, one travels the Basin to the monumental Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, huge in scope and story, highlighting the President’s leadership framing his most famous statements against the pain of the Great Depression and the challenge of the colossal World War.  The most significant statue is that of a war weary President comforted by his dog Fala, as he gazes back on the huge events that bookended his three terms and four elections as America’s longest serving President.  The most poignant is a line of hungry, desperate men leading to a door that suggests an unemployment or perhaps food line that underscores the devastating effects on the nation in the torment of financial and personal collapse.  We could certainly take some heed as we approach our own generation’s approaching fiscal crisis with a currently casual nature that it was not so long ago that an equally confident America succumbed to a financial calamity.

The Tidal Basin than completes its beautiful circularity, populated by beautiful cherry trees,  with the appropriately cool and isolated Thomas Jefferson Memorial  and the tiny and unfortunately neglected George Mason Memorial.  These colossal intellects of the American Revolution, Jefferson, the supreme poet of the Declaration of Independence and Mason, the Father of the Bill of Rights and intellectual framer of the Constitution have surprisingly unequal treatments.  Thomas Jefferson peers across the Basin detached from his heroic compatriots on the Mall, his elevated words providing the cool logic and intellectual force of the Revolution, rather than participating the calamity directly as a military man as did so many of his fellow Virginians.  The memorial  building so beautifully reflective of Jerfferson’s own Monticello stands in stark contrast to the little garden trellis that hovers over George Mason, seated at a bench like a country gentleman rather than the intellectual force he was.  It is one of the peculiarities of history that unfolding of the story is not always weighted by the profoundness of the contribution but rather the perspective of the story teller – thus the relative neglect of the great contributors to the nation’s birth, John Adams and George Mason.

The return to the National Mall from the Tidal Basin completes the circle of history as memorialized in stone and sculpture.  On a beautiful day like the one I appreciated above, the memorials exult in a special magnificence of scale and profundity.  We are reminded that our heroes have reached national veneration not so much through their circumstances as much as their selfless actions. They are immortalized for the eternal validity of their ideas and clarity of purpose by which they made such lofty ideas actionable.  In this nation of common birth, the most uncommon brilliance has sprung forth.

 

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Debates – 2012 Style – A Tragic Comedy

     In 1858, the Illinois senatorial contest between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A Douglas was occasioned by the most spectacular debates between the two men, that to this day resonate with passion and intellect and remain a focus of intense study.  The arguments were carefully constructed, the rebuttals pointed and clarifying, the respect for each other’s opinion profound.  The very discussion centered not on winning or losing the election, but entirely on winning or losing the argument, for each man knew that nation was listening, and contemplating, the immense import of the topics on the nation’s future, and which set of guiding principles should reign supreme.  It was brilliant, vitally important theater.

The 2012 Vice Presidential debate between Mr. Biden and Mr. Ryan  – not so much.

Its not as if the topics were of any less significant to the survival of the nation.  The continuing foment of radical Islamic terrorism despite 2 wars, thousands of lives lost, and a trillion spent in national treasure to attempt to defeat this fundamental threat to our civilization.  The burgeoning debt of the primary economic stabilizer and guarantor of freedom of the world, the United States, as the debt spirals past 100% of GDP, increases at the rate of a trillion dollars a year, and is progressively beholden to foreign powers.  The rise of the threat of thermonuclear war in the Middle East.  The fundamental argument of whose version of interpretation will prevail as to the founding principles of this nation.

The issues were indeed profound, but television allowed the hostage taking of the event by one of the participants into the theater of the absurd.  Instead of the solemnity and probity expected of such daunting issues, the Vice President of the United States, Mr. Biden, determined  we were to be treated to a national version of the typical discourse we see on the Judge Judy show.  As if he were the jilted girlfriend of a wayward relationship, we were treated to a hyper emotional, bordering on hysterical, cacophony of forced laughter, guffaws, cat ate the bird grins, feigned outrage, and dismissive smirks that Judge Judy producers would be hard pressed to achieve from their hyperbolic participants.  In between the clownish behavior the Vice President managed to treat facts and fabrications like long lost brothers invited as equals in Mr. Biden’s version of the world.  He proclaimed the administration had no knowledge of the reduced security presence in Benghazi, Libya that led to the most successful terrorist raid on an American dominion since 9/11/2001 and the murder of the American ambassador, despite his own state department stating the exact contrary the day before in Congressional hearings.  He declared the tax policy of the administration to represent tax increases on millionaires and reductions for everyone else, in the face of the repeated demarcation line at 250,000 and up in every campaign declaration.  He insisted the difference between the restraint required in Syria and the active intervention undertaken by his administration in Libya is the need to understand that Syria is five times as big and population half as large as Libya, when the exact opposite is the reality.  He dismissed any concern for the administration’s policy in achieving a brake on Iran’s intentions to become a thermonuclear power, as saying it is not about how much fissile material for making bombs Iran accumulates, its about preventing the bomb casing – a change in decades of nuclear proliferation policy that is bound to have the mullahs of Tehran doing handsprings. Too many distortions, too many outright fabrications to go on contemplating to any sensical end.

In the face of such nonsense, the opponent in a debate has two choices.  He or she can attempt to aggressively respond to each fabrication, leading to what appears to be argumentative violence and noise rather than debate, or simply sit back and watch the prevaricator to be hoisted upon their own petard.   Mr.Ryan accepted the second course, and as the days unfold from the event, this may prove to be the better course.  Each Biden petard is showing a slow fuse to progressive damage as the light of the facts stray into the nonsensical framework of Mr. Biden’s so called arguments.  Mr. Ryan, who has spent his professional life framing the discussion of difficult topics into extended logical reconstructions, was out of his league in trying to convert the debate into a battle of bombastic flame throwing, and was smart enough to recognize it.

So Mr. Biden was clownish, bombastic, and time and again prevaricating – so what? The dismal reality of such debating behavior and personality display is that this individual is Vice President of the United States, one tragic moment from being the most powerful executive in the world.  The issues to be adjudicated are of fundamental import to the future of the United States, not whose most at fault for the lack of garbage pick up in the 8th city ward in Chicago.  It has been said by President Roosevelt’s Vice President  John Nance Gardner that the role of the Vice Presidency is “not worth a bucket of warm p**s.” For that, in Mr. Biden’s case, we can be thankful.

Unfortunately, it is the damage to the tradition of careful choice of words, crafting of arguments, and recognition that what you say has great import on the national and world stage, when you are representing your country at its highest offices.  Lincoln and Douglas knew that. Webster and Calhoun knew that.  Kennedy and Nixon knew that.  It appears from Thursday’s debate, that only Mr. Ryan knew that.  We are diminished as a nation and a culture when the tools of democracy are used by a leader to promote a theater of the absurd, and attempt to appeal to our most base instincts, instead of our most fervent aspirations.

 

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The World Waits For No Campaign

The U.S. presidential campaign rumbles on after the debate regarding domestic issues with an intensified focus.  The predominant issue of the American economy and what should be the guiding philosophy behind its management dominated the debate and most of the past year’s political discourse.  In a few weeks the candidates will turn their debate attention to foreign affairs, and might just have a lot to talk about.  The world continues to spin in an unstable orbit that would benefit from clear leadership from the world’s foremost power, and is not about to wait for a campaign schedule to determine a course. Ramparts highlights a few of the many places where the drought in American attention may not be able to be sustained much longer:

  • Turkey – Syria :      The Syrian internal conflict has been worsening for over a year, and is now a fully fledged civil war with thousands dead.   The United States initially supported President Assad as a stabilizing force in the Middle East,  infamously referred to as a “reformer” by Secretary of State Clinton, only to find itself completely out of influence as events degenerated into all out conflict. As reformer Assad propped up his regime with one massacre after another, the opposition has radicalized, and outside forces are being drawn in which has significant potential to create a world wide crisis.  This past week Syria made several incursions across the Turkish border, resulting in the deaths of Turkish border patrols, and the country that sees itself as the traditional leader of the Islamic world through its Ottoman past and possessing the the largest and most modern military, is not about to take the incursions lying down. The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has declared Turkey “is not far from war”. The obvious complicating feature is that Turkey is a NATO member and the NATO charter says an attack on one member is seen as an attack on all.  Does NATO stand by and refuse to supply or help defend its partner showing the NATO pact to essentially be a modern farce, or does it enter in support of Turkey which has declared significant designs on dominance of the region and risk pulling Syria staunch defender Russia further into direct support for Assad?  What expansion of the conflict between the regional powers Turkey and Syria would not also draw Israel and Iran directly into the mess?  Now that’s a series of events that a “leading from behind” policy will likely result in an America finding itself drawn into a cataclysm with little idea of what the outcome would be.  I would think this would be an excellent subject for our incumbent and presumptive president to explain their grasp of events, before events grasp them.

 

  • Venezuela  :  Today is Venezuela’s Presidential election between military strongman and proto-socialist Hugo Chavez and state governor Henrique Capriles.  Chavez is unique dictator in that he has been willing to put his form of redistribution in front of the people for elections, although most in Venezuela would suggest that controlling the military, security forces, and media as well as the constant spigot of petro dollars to “support” voters in making their decision, has made Chavez nearly unbeatable.  This year may prove differently, as a candidate with special allure has put the old dictator on the defense.  Henrique Capriles is a young governor with enormous appeal to the young, and disaffected middle class in Venezuela, and for the first time Chavez’s old tricks are not having an impact in dividing the opposition’s organization or intensity among the population.  Chavez, struggling with metastatic cancer, is looking old and feeble, a dangerous visual for the macho Latin persona he has always put forward, and the young handsome and highly capable governor Capriles has been fearless in campaigning in poor neighborhoods felt to be locked up by the Chavez machine.  If Venezuela surprises the world and defeats Chavez, a man who has used Venezuela’s huge oil reserves as a bank account to prop up banana socialist fantasy dictators such as Castro of Cuba and Evo Morales of Bolivia, the United States will need to be ready to help nurture the return to free enterprise and personal freedom.  Both U.S. candidates should be able to express themselves in depth on this issue, and President Obama should  explain why Hugo Chavez states Obama is the candidate he supports and feels comfortable with.

 

  • China – Japan :    Two old foes are heating up their rivalry in the East China Sea and the United States could find itself in the middle of instability that will have direct inflections on the world’s economy, security, and stability. Although the current issue seems to be regarding some innocuous uninhabited rocks in the middle of the ocean, the deeper considerations are deadly serious.  Two oil poor countries with massive economies in continuous need for energy supplies are looking to deep sea deposits of oil that lie beneath the waves and the  presumptive ownership of these little islands allow each to claim sovereignty over the oil.  China, the largest country and progressively larger economy sees itself as holding the rightful hegemony over its regional sphere, and Japan, neutralized by pacifist influences since its disastrous military oligarchy led it to complete destruction in World War Two, has been late to the game but is starting  to actively defend what it sees as its national interests.  The United States under President Obama has declared a Pacific centric foreign policy, with a  pre-meditated reduction of influence in Europe and Middle East. It would be an excellent topic to here the two candidates explain how they would respond to an escalation of hostile acts by the two hugely important  Asian countries.  Even a cold war between two of the world’s largest economies, and reawakening of martial instincts in the quiescent Japanese personality would not be a healthy direction for the world’s economy or stability.

 

  • The continuing Euro crisis:   The Prime Minister of Europe’s largest economy, Germany’s Angela Merkel, is heading into a hornet’s nest this week when she visits Athens to interact with the Greek government and discuss the means by which Greece can stay in the Euro zone.  The symbolism of a German leader dictating to Greek politicians the actions they must take to be a partner in an alliance has nasty overtones to a similar more subservient position for the Greeks 70 years ago.  The memories of the Nazi overlords remains fresh, and despite Greece having obviously playing the predominant role in getting themselves into this economic mess, they are none to anxious to have a German Chancellor dictate their way out of it.  The changes in Greek society required to support an economic union with the rest of Europe are proving extremely difficult to stomach, and the elements of economic collapse remain just over the horizon.  Merkel is in the unenviable position of convincing hostile Greeks to accept the draconian terms of receiving crucial German financial support, then having to turn around and explain to frugal German voters if despite all the investment, the Euro collapses anyway.  Now that’s a nasty situation that both U.S. candidates better show a deep understanding of, when it comes to a continent that has seen nothing but internecine wars for the past thousand years.  A coming return to deep recession is potentially the tinderbox that could set all of the superficial modernity and passiveness into turmoil.

The U.S. electorate would like to presume that foreign instabilities are faraway secondary affairs to the average American life, but reality and 110 years of America being drawn into foreign conflicts would suggest otherwise.  Ramparts holds the opinion that “leading from behind” is the wrong end of the donkey and will lead to smelly and dirty conflict more than prevent it.  The debate regarding the United States position in the world will hopefully show both candidates have a grasp of the stakes.

 

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The Emperor Has No Clothes

     The great Danish author of morality tales, Hans Christen Andersen, tells the story of a vain emperor who is sold a special “invisible cloth” by two conniving tailors who entice the emperor to purchase the fantasy cloth by proclaiming the cloth invisible only to those undeserving or too incompetent  for their public posts.  The emperor, “wearing” the special invisible garment, sees himself standing naked in the mirror, but is too vain and embarrassed to admit that he might not be smart or deserving enough as emperor to see the cloth and declares it beautiful.  He proceeds to parade among his people in the cloth quite naked and in denial,  until one little boy too honest and unaware of the “secret” declares, “the Emperor has no clothes!”

And so it was with our “Emperor” last night in front of a national television audience watching the presidential debate between challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama.  The President, treated to almost four years of complete deference to his wobbly logic, cockamamie schemes, and self directed platitudes by an enthralled, unquestioning media, had his record and his performance laid out nakedly in the klieg lights by Mitt Romney and the exposure was every bit as startling to Obama as to Andersen’s fictional emperor.

The two pillars of ‘invisible cloth” of this President – an unquestioned superior “grasp” of complex governmental issues by a totally unprepared, inexperienced college professor on the basis of his supposed superior intellect,  and and the glossing over of an abysmal record of performance unmatched since James Buchanan came crashing down under the persistent attack of  the smarter man in the room, Governor Romney.

The President seemed almost stunned by the lack of deference to previously accepted paper thin logic used to underpin a multi-trillion dollar binge on the economic stability of the United States.  The challenger Romney struck with blow after blow of report card  assessments on the President’s performance in his four years in office – “23 million unemployed”, “half of college graduates leaving school with no hope of employment”, “32 million on food stamps when you started, 46 million Americans currently”, “one sixth of America living in poverty” , and “projected greater accumulation of national debt than all the other American Presidents combined.”  The feeble recitation of a so called plan to apparently cut the budget deficit deficit while raising taxes and adding more stimulus spending for “100,000 teachers” left one aghast at the numerical logic.  Even this one small retort was crushed under a devastating Romney rebuttal.  To paraphrase the governor:

 Mr. President, you talk of spending even more stimulus money for teachers while helping to pay for it by eliminating “subsidies for Exxon Mobil”, yet the 2.8 billion in current oil subsidies pales in comparison to the 90 Billion for so called green subsidies to friends of Obama. You want to pick winners and losers in this economy, but you seem to have a knack for picking losers only, such as Solyndra.  A hundred thousand teachers? Had you truly considered education your number one priority, the  90 billion wasted on losing green industries could have paid for 2 Million teachers!

The need to defend the indefensible proved an impossible task for the President, and this time there was no media to spin the vacuousness into stature.  This time, an opponent with principles rock-rooted in the fabric of American exceptionalism, was ready to debate the liberal daydreaming of what ifs, if onlys, and how it should bes, with the cold hard logic of how to get our game back.  It was a beautiful thing to watch, and the exposure of the mythical emperor as ,after all, only a man, and an  average one at that, can never be again  foisted upon the discerning voter.

On this particular night the professor was schooled on what should really be our nation’s curriculum, and the effect on the rest of this election preamble will be fascinating to watch.  This President may be committed to his losing argument, but it is a two fisted death grip on a loser, and now we all can see it for what it is.

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The Decline and Fall of the First Amendment

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The election of the President of the United States lumbers onward past the 40 day mark to election day with seeds of the future demise of this great concept, America, being progressively planted and nurtured.   The nurturing force? Money. Gobs and reams of it. Hundreds of millions of it. Two candidates face each other in a titanic battle of never ending spending to attempt to control the message, not the truth of American politics.  And what was once the arbiter of separating fact from truth, the so-called fourth estate, the press, has becoming a willing participant in picking sides and fashioning the message Americans will use to make their decision.  Freedom of the Press, specifically mentioned in the initial article of the Bill of Rights, secured to assure the capacity of the people to control their government and protect its excesses, has now become a vehicle for the government to squash the redressing of grievances, and the correcting of electoral mistakes.

The collusion of the press and the abandonment of their first amendment role has been made ever so clear in a two week period of scandalous government performance and purposeful neglect of that performance by the media.  The story so carefully tendered of a brilliant, competent President performing his difficult tasks with dexterity and foresight has proven to be Potemkin facade glaringly exposed in the debacle in Libya of an assassinated ambassador and the pathetic administration performance in the aftermath.  It would be a story on the level of the failed Carter rescue mission of 1979, the Bay of Pigs catastrophe and aftermath of 1961,or even the infamous George Bush ‘flyover’ of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 if a free, investigative press was still functioning – but only silence and more silence.  The main stream media has bought into this President and allowed him to buy into them.   With this incestuous relationship, the primary freedoms declared in the nation’s founding act are crumbling, an with it the relationship of its government to its people.

In the past two weeks, an American administration frankly lied for days after about what it knew regarding a  devastating failure of foreign policy.  An American ambassador to Libya and three other American citizens were murdered in a calculated, planned military style operation of the sworn enemy of the United States, Al Qaeda.  The inability to predict and secure against such a revenge operation in one of the world’s most volatile places on the anniversary of 9/11 borders on stupidity,  but the administration’s response and cover-up of events borders on criminal.  Within hours of the attack the Libyan President himself stated on American television that this was no spontaneous outburst of  anger towards an unseen video but a coordinated  attack of enemies of the state.  The government of the United States was clearly aware of the realities on the ground.  The response, a cover story – agitated Libyan citizens grew out of control protesting a video they had never seen,  and had in their anger at our insensitivity to their culture, murdered Americans.  The nonsensical story was stuck to, with the President allowing the Ambassador to the UN to go on five Sunday morning news shows and proclaim no evidence of an organized terrorist attack, but conclusively claim the bogus video incitement as the cause of the catastrophe.   The “director” of the said video is rounded up by police after the event to intimidate American expressions of free speech and apologies for the essential American right of free expression guaranteed in the First Amendment are slathered over Arab media.  The press response to such willful cover-up of failed policies? Silence.

The President, the admitted designer of the “lead from behind” foreign policy tenets that led to the complete lack of coherent response to islamic extremist takeovers of the Arab Spring  revolts, the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt, the chaos in Libya, the genocide in Syria, the flagrant rebuff of the Green Revolution in Iran – continued the charade of cover-up in action after action.  The press response? Silence.  The President during the height of the explosion in the middle East against multiple embassies manages the crisis from an Obama fundraiser in Nevada.  The President interviewed on national television describes the deaths of U.S. representatives by a resurgent Al Qaeda as mere “bumps in the road” to his overall Arab Spring policies (see above cartoon),  The president days after acknowledgement of the obvious falsehood of his attempted scenario for the Libyan massacre goes before the United Nations and declares again the role of an unseen video and American cultural ignorance in propagating Arab responses.  He purposefully states he is too busy and refuses to meet with the leader of his only ally in the Middle East, Israel at one of the most unstable, dangerous times in recent history in which the words “world war” are being evoked by both sides, and instead appears on the fawning morning television show the View to present himself as “eye candy”.  On and On and On.  The press response to such blatant casualness about the primary threat to American sovereignty over the past twenty years? Silence.

The Silence is more than a national embarrassment, more than a potential negative to be explored on the way to the President’s attempt at re-election.  Its a threat to our way of life to have elected leaders so unaccountable to explain and be responsible for their actions.  Its a threat to the principles of America, the securing of an open government, the right to dissent, the press’s independent role to investigate,  the need to vet our candidates to represent us and who we are.  40 days before the election of the next American President, we are in the midst of a calamity with the current one, and the press acts like its role is to make sure no one finds out.

The former Democrat pollster Pat Caddell believes the foundations of America are being corrupted beyond repair by the joining of a willful dictacrat in the White House and a lap dog media.  Though he is a liberal, he makes it very clear he is not an idiot and can see the trappings of the loss of American freedom written all over this unholy marriage.  Democrat or Republican, collectivist or free thinker, no American can look at whats happening and not demand a “coming to Jesus” moment of the 2012 electorate.

 

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Who Really Had The Bad Week?

The Presidential 2012 Election is under 50 days away and if we were to believe “trends” as reported by media sources, the actual vote is anti-climatic. This was apparently a “good” week for the President,  who is to the media sycophants urging him on, incapable of “bad” weeks.   The national polls “suggest” a broadening of President Obama’s lead of Mr. Romney, and the key battleground states show slippage of Romney traction across the board.  It must be over, because everyone says it is.

The notorious need to prematurely “call” elections for their candidate has left the media with a candidate graveyard of never were Presidents such as the re-elected  President Carter, President Dukakis, President Gore, and President Kerry.  In each case, there was an omnipresent need by the media to try to inform public that the outcome was assured and inevitable, hopefully dampening the hopes of those who would support the alternative candidate and thereby suppressing their vote.  The polls, with oversampling of enthusiasms more appropriate for the 2008 campaign,  say the lead for President Obama is widening, and it is a bad week for Mr. Romney.  Just accept it, lay back and take it, and you won’t feel so crushed when Obama prevails on November 6th.

Really? Just who was it that had the bad week?  In the past week we note the following:

  • 26 states reported worsening unemployment rates in August – the economic flop that was the stimulus, the President’s one trick pony understanding of the economy, continues to reveal its self in the ongoing flat tire of private economic job growth.  The usual source of recession employment recovery, small business growth, is non-existent, and given  the President’s disdain for this vital tool for economic restoration, is a vise that the unemployed can expect to be confined by.  What’s the chance that unemployed voters will see this President as their way out?
  • The calamity in Afghanistan– One week, two blows.  The President declared that President Bush had wasted his time and our nation’s resources in Iraq.  President Obama was going to fight and win the “good” war in Afghanistan defeating the Taliban.  This past week has seen the utter failure of the President’s Afghanistan surge strategy as the at the very moment the U.S. has pulled out of the final soldiers involved in the 40,000 soldier surge over the last two years on a predeclared Presidential timetable, the Taliban determined to show the U.S. just how little was accomplished, punctuated by a brazen coordinated attack on Camp Bastion, resulting in the deaths of two marines, and the greatest loss of fighter jets since Vietnam.
  • The White House got “everything wrong” in their cover-up of what happened in the murder of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens –  This week the press is coming to grips with what every American knew instantly, and what the clueless White House vehemently deneied,  was the reality of the September 11th attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This was a pre-meditated coordinated Al Qaeda attack on a United States institution to mark the anniversary of 9/11, and not some over emotional response to a video that no one has seen.  The President accused challenger Romney of “shooting from the hip before the facts are in”, yet sent his UN Ambassador Rice to vehemently deny any connection to terrorism regarding the murderous assault.  He continues to apologize for the mythical video no one has seen, buying airtime in Pakistan for ongoing apologies, and intimidating the video’s creator with midnight interrogation on trumped up charges in one of the most blatant attacks on the freedom of speech clause in the U.S. Bill of Rights, in years.  The administration’s pathetic explanation and attempted cover-up of the Libyan massacre of four Americans is progressively unraveling, and may prove to be a real debacle for this President and his superficial veneer of competence.
  • The Univision Interview – President Obama while managing to avoid formal press conferences has looked to media outlets of his choosing to provide the fawning softball interviews that allow him to control the message.   Thus the lollypop questions of that incisive political investigator David Letterman, or the “what is Your Favorite Color” t-ball pitches of those intrepid reporters at the New Mexico radio station.  There was no reason for Obama to expect any different from what he assumes is a captured constituent, the Hispanic community.  Taking a seat on stage on Univision the Spanish language television station, his desire to educate Hispanics on his favorite mole sauce was ruined when the interviewer determined to call him on his immigration policy, or lack thereof.  The usual Obama banter of Bush, I didn’t have time, Bush, my heart cries out to the poor illegal immigrants I deport, Bush, Republican congress obstruction, Bush, I’ll get it done later did not sit well with the audience that was looking for at least a considered thought from the President.   How this will sit with the Hispanic voter who already has qualms about this President will be interesting but a continuing reliance on “You like me better, remember?” will inevitably lose traction with a population that is every bit about economic opportunity and family.
  • Moody’s issues “fiscal cliff” warning – The investor service Moody’s acknowledged that with the recent passing of U.S. debt beyond 16 trillion dollars, and the fourth deficit in a row over a trillion dollars, that the United States faces a significant credit reduction from AAA to Aa1. The Federal Reserve, seeing the ineptness of the federal government to fashion an economic recovery determined to initiate “Quantitative Easing III”, the pouring of billions of dollars of month into the economy for the third time, but this time “open-ended”, thereby sitting the stage for greatest tax ever to hit the lower and middle classes, inflation, and its profound effect on nest egg savings.  The President’s  response to such dire indications of the nation’s economic future, pronounced to David Letterman and his American  television audience, “We don’t have to worry about the debt short term” and pretended to not know exactly how big the debt was when he took office.  Well after all, his Noble Prize is for Peace, not Economics.  The ones who lend money to keep President Obama’s debt train running do know, however, and the current low lending rates that allow the present administration to spend at the rate of 42 borrowed cents on every dollar spent, will not be as unaware when interest rates inevitably rise and the estimated 11.3 trillion d0llar debt currently held by the public will begin to spiral out of control and with it, the capacity to pay.  The President has participated in increasing the accrued debt of the United States in one presidential  term by 34.2% in less than 2% of the time since the nation’s formation.  At that rate, another four years of these kind of economics, and even David Letterman will be able to figure out what’s catastrophically wrong about this President’s understanding of the country he leads.

The presidential race defies the normal considerations of an informed voter.  The country appears detached from the impending national crisis, consumed with celebrity over performance, and unwilling to grade objectively  the current White House occupant’s job performance.  A few more weeks like the last one, however, and the recognition of the worst presidential job performance since James Buchanan will be hard to hide from even a disinterested voter who gets his or her news from TMZ.

A bad polling week for Mitt Romney is an inch deep, but the growing chasm in the President’s performance and the progressive realization of it is a mile wide. Its not even remotely – game over.

 

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