Politics Your Way A Place to Voice Your Political View http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way <![CDATA[ This Book Reads Like an Expanded "Talking Points"]]> I have read several of Bill's books.  While this is one of the weakest of his that I have read, it is still a very good and extremely fast read.  In this one Bill postulates on things like responsiblities to be a good parent, the dangers of addictions, the failures of the news media and the importance of religion in one's life.  Though I don't always agree with Bill, I always enjoy how he presents things.  He makes some very compelling arguments as to why the word "Christmas" should not be forceably omitted from retail ads and in other areas where people no longer use the word.

He lays out good strategies for parents teaching good morals to their children.  In one case he seems to be bothered that in one Univerisity program a "watered" down version of the Koran is required reading.  He then gives a "watered" down version of the interview he had with the 'offending" professor from the school.  I would like to see the full interview to see if certain cogent arguments were omitted.

I easily finished this book in one sitting, wiishing it was longer.

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http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Keep_It_Pithy_Useful_Observations_In_A_Tough_World-538-1888202-241818-This_Book_Reads_Like_an_Expanded_Talking_Points_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Keep_It_Pithy_Useful_Observations_In_A_Tough_World-538-1888202-241818-This_Book_Reads_Like_an_Expanded_Talking_Points_.html Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:36:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Why economic liberty and religious liberty are inexorably linked.]]>
I suspect there are millions of us out here. I am talking about upstanding, hard-working, God-fearing Catholics who know in their gut that our nation has been headed in exactly the wrong direction for the past several decades. Furthermore, we are very distressed when we observe significant numbers of clergy and religious, including many in positions of higher authority, advocating for economic policies we deem to be destructive while supporting candidates that appear to dismiss many of our church's most basic teachings. We are Tea Party Catholics and we often struggle to articulate why we feel the way we do and what changes we believe need to be made. Samuel Gregg is an Australian writer who shares many of our concerns. He has written a marvelous new book called "Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, A Free Economy, and Human Flourishing". This is a book that speaks to us! Here at last is the information conservative Catholics need to refute the tired old arguments that Catholic progressives have been making since the 1960's. I found Mr. Gregg's arguments to be consistent, coherent and deeply-steeped in Catholic tradition. Clearly, Catholic teaching has an awful lot to offer in this ongoing debate. There is abundant food for thought in this volume.

As you might expect Samuel Gregg has precious little use for the "liberation theology" that was embraced by the progressive wing of the Catholic Church back in the 1960's. "Liberation theology" is a radical movement that believes the Church should act to bring about social change. Although Gregg believes that many who embrace this philosophy are extremely well-intentioned he finds a number of critical flaws in this approach. Throughout the pages of "Tea Party Catholic" Gregg does a workmanlike job of refuting the major tenets of this philosophy in a very convincing way. History has shown that this is a philosophy closely associated with socialism and in the long run can be very destructive to the human spirit. Furthermore, Gregg insists that such utopian thinking not only denies the reality of human sinfulness but also suffocates human freedom in the name of justice. It would be nearly two decades before conservative Catholic thinkers finally began to the tenets of "liberation theology". We learn that the conservative American theologian Michael Novak staunchly defended American capitalism in his landmark 1982 book "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism". This book caused quite a stir back in the day and was roundly criticized by New Deal Catholics, progressive religious orders and even the United States Conference of Bishops. Over the years Novak and others would write several more books on this subject. Gregg draws from these works as well as the writings of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Thomas Aquinas to help substantiate his points.

What I found most exciting about "Tea Party Catholic" was Gregg's vigorous defense of capitalism, free markets and property rights. It all makes perfect sense to me. Gregg makes it crystal clear that a society cannot expect to enjoy religious liberty if it does not at the same time embrace economic liberty. The author discusses at considerable length the very Catholic idea of "human flourishing" whereby the end is the excellence that every person is capable of realizing through the reasonable use of their freedom. The many facets of "human flourishing" include life and health, friendship, traditional marriage (open to children), knowledge, integrity, beauty, work, religion and the exercise of "creative reason". It is this line of thinking that encourages each and every one of us to engage in works of charity. This means lifting people out of poverty—not just material poverty, but moral and spiritual poverty as well. Meanwhile, Samuel Gregg also offers some thoughtful insights on the very divisive immigration issues that are now confronting our nation.

I firmly believe that "Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, A Free Economy, and Human Flourishing" should be read by all Catholics regardless of their political leanings. For those of the liberal persuasion it will help you to understand precisely where Tea Party Catholics are coming from. Meanwhile, for those of us who embrace more conservative values reading "Tea Party Catholic" will arm us with the critical information we need to intelligently argue for our beliefs. Another government program is usually not the answer. Samuel Gregg makes his case brilliantly in this meticulously researched and extremely well-written book. Very highly recommended!]]>
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<![CDATA[ Precious memories and shattered dreams.]]> "John Kennedy helped us believe in ourselves, that we, as Americans could do big things.  He lifted our spirits and made us proud of ourselves.  His youth, his attractiveness, his elegance of phrase.  And of course, Jackie.  He was Mr. Cool.  His self-effacing humor, as demonstrated by this comment when he visited France, `I am the man who escorted Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I enjoyed it.'" -- Roger Wilkins

For those of us in the Baby Boom generation it was the seminal event of our lives.  The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy would alter the course of history in ways that we still cannot fully comprehend.  Now, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of our beloved young President author Dean R. Owen has cobbled together the thoughts and reflections of more than 100 notable men and women who were in one way or another connected to that dreadful day in Dallas.  For those over the age of 60, his new book "November 22, 1963:  Reflections on the Life, Assassination and Legacy of John F. Kennedy" is sure to bring back a flood of memories about a very dynamic and optimistic time in American history.  You will discover that there exists among those interviewed a wide cross-section of opinion about the actual accomplishments and the ultimate legacy of the Kennedy administration.  At the same time, it becomes abundantly clear that just about everyone had an enormous amount of love and respect for this man.  As former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach remembers it "He was personable, well-mannered. He was intelligent and he was articulate.  He got along well with people". A great many others offered similar recollections of the fallen President.

So what do these people recall about Kennedy's brief tenure as President?  A number of individuals cited his extremely adept handling of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis as his greatest achievement.  Many believe to this day that his firm and courageous actions in the heated confrontation with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev helped to avert World War III.  A few mentioned his memorable "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in West Berlin on June 26, 1963. Still others recall his commitment to exploring outer space. I found the reflections of civil-rights leader Julian Bond to be quite revealing.  Bond had not been all that impressed with JFK and believes that at the outset of his Presidency he was simply not all that interested in civil rights.  After all, he had not had much opportunity to interact with black folk in his lifetime. But once the President witnessed the violence going down in Birmingham, AL in September 1963 his thinking began to evolve and he soon began advocating for civil rights.  Very interesting indeed!  Meanwhile, Casey Murrow, son of the legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, remembers John Kennedy's clarion call to public service and how many young people opted to go in that direction. Josiah Bunting III, who met and was inspired by the President while a student at Virginia Military Institute(VMI)recalls "We wanted to be in the Peace Corps. Or in he Marine Corps. Or we wanted to be priests. Or get PhDs. This American fixation on running a hedge fund--we didn't care about that. I'm not sure we'll ever recapture that time or that feeling." JFK convinced the American people that politics and public service were truly honorable professions.

As you might expect some of the most poignant memories presented in "November 22, 1963" are about the assassination and its aftermath.  I was very moved by the experience of Nelson C. Pierce who worked as an usher at the White House.  In the early morning hours of November 23, 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy returned to the White House after their long ordeal.  Mr. Pierce was on duty and as he recalls "I wondered what I would say to the first lady.  As she came around the corner, and of course she was still in her pink suit with bloodstains and I knew immediately.  Our eyes met.  And we had a rapport and I knew that I didn't need to say a thing.  She realized how I felt.  We were all silent."  Those words nearly brought tears to my eyes.  And of course as we all know the national nightmare was not yet over.  Lee Harvey Oswald would be shot to death on national television just 30 or so hours later.  In the weeks and months that followed a stunned and downcast nation would go into a sort of funk.  It was a very human reaction to an unspeakable series of events.  As broadcast journalist Sid Davis recalls "You could understand the sadness of the Kennedy people.  They had just lost their hero. They campaigned with him. They took him to the presidency.  And they had such an exciting future to look forward to in running the country. But it all went away.  It was destroyed by one guy with a $14.95 rifle".

There is an awful lot to like about "November 22, 1963:  Reflections on the Life, Assassination and Legacy of John F. Kennedy".  Dean R. Owen has given us a very nice addition to the historical record.  I particularly enjoyed reading about the experiences of the broadcast journalists who covered these historic events all those decades ago. Perhaps the most surprising story of them all appears near the  end of the book. A young woman by the name of Priscilla Johnson McMillan knew both John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald.  Simply amazing!  "November 22, 1963" is enhanced with a Forward by the celebrated White House correspondent Helen Thomas along with 16 pages of memorable photographs. This is a pretty easy read so "November 22, 1963" would be a marvelous way for young people to get up to speed on the events that helped to shape the lives of their parents and grandparents.  A terrific idea nicely executed.  Highly recommended!

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<![CDATA[ The evidence speaks for itself.]]> Wouldn't it be nice if we had a President who was actually on our side?  The evidence is clear and overwhelming that since January 20, 2009 this has not been the case in the United States of America.  The situation is unprecedented in American history. The man who promised to "fundamentally transform America" has been relentlessly and systematically using every means at his disposal to undermine our laws, our institutions and America's free market economy while simultaneously chipping away at freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms and the religious liberty that so many Americans have fought and died for.  It is quite apparent that Barack Hussein Obama and his "progressive" supporting cast in Washington D.C. have precious little regard for the rule of law, due process or the United States Constitution.  Although a great deal of this information is out there the vast majority of the mainstream media has simply refused to report it.  High crimes and misdemeanors are everywhere to be found.  Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliot believe they have the goods on the 44th President of the United States and they present their devastating case in the new book "Impeachable Offenses:  The Case For Removing Barack Obama from Office."  For those who pay attention lots of this information is neither new nor surprising.  However, the sheer volume of lies, abuses of power and misappropriation of funds presented in this book is staggering.  For any fair-minded individual reading and digesting what Klein and Elliot have to say the conclusion is really inescapable...the time has come for President Obama to be impeached!

In the opening chapter of  "Impeachable Offenses" Klein and Elliott explain what "high crimes and misdemeanors" really are.  Trust me, you will recognize the behavior in this administration.  From there the authors enumerate chapter and verse dozens of situations where this President has clearly abused his powers, overstepped his authority and aided and abetted the enemies of the United States.  In my view his most egregious offense continues to be his handling of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The authors have uncovered some startling new information that is sure to make your blood boil.  If we had some courageous members of Congress and an honest and engaged press there is little doubt in my mind that Mr. Obama could be removed from office just for went down in Benghazi.  Meanwhile, the press continues to ignore the outrageous conduct of Eric Holder and the Department of Justice in Operation "Fast & Furious".  The authors get us all up to speed with the latest available information.  Then there is the outrage of the Fort Hood massacre where 13 people were killed and 30 injured by an avowed Islamist Major Nidal Mallik Hasan.  Recall the President pleading with the American people "not to jump to conclusions" about what was clearly a terrorist attack by a Muslim extremist.  And the list goes on and on...

Time and space limitations allow me to list just a fraction of the reasons why this President deserves to be removed from office.  There are lies too numerous to mention, incestuous relationships, the unconstitutional passage of Obamacare and this administration's steadfast refusal to safeguard our nation's borders. You will be quite interested to discover the background of a young woman named Huma Abedin and the incredibly sensitive position she held in Hillary Clinton's State Department.  If that were not enough, the authors discuss the growing power of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).  Does the fact that DHS continues to stockpile hundreds of millions of rounds of high-powered ammunition concern you?  Do you worry how the government leviathon intends to use the reams of personal information being collected in the $1.2 billion "data farm" in the Utah desert?  What kind of country are we becoming?  Then of course there is the President's support of and connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Klein and Elliot present incontrovertible evidence that the President and a frightening number of individuals within his administration have ties to this Islamist terrorist organization.

There comes a time when the American people must set aside their political differences and demand an honest and accountable federal government.  We have a bad actor in the White House. In "Impeachable Offenses:  The Case For Removing Barack Obama from Office" Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott have presented overwhelming evidence that this President has violated the public trust by spending billions of taxpayer dollars on extremely risky "green" ventures (BrightSourceEnergy, Solyndra and GridPoint Inc. etc.), willfully ignored our immigration laws, helped to instigate revolutions against our allies in both the Middle East and North Africa, is deliberately undermining our national security and has boldly lied to the American people about what really went down on that violent night in Libya a year ago.  Meanwhile, Mr. Obama continues to use the power of the federal government to reward his allies and punish his political enemies.  I found "Impeachable Offenses" to be a painstakingly documented and extremely well written book.  Given what is at stake here "Impeachable Offenses" is well worth your time and attention.  Read it and pass it on. Highly recommended!

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<![CDATA[ Maginnis dismantles the argument for placing women in direct fire, close ground combat situations.]]>
In these days of bread and circuses, military matters are just about the last thing on the minds of most Americans. And that is just fine and dandy with those on the Left. On January 24, 2013, the retiring Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the Pentagon was lifting its ban on women serving in combat. There were no hearings, no debate and virtually no input from the American people. The decision was hailed by top administration officials and their mouthpieces in the media as a victory for women's rights. Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis believes this decision to be both irrational and cowardly. He has meticulously enumerated his objections in his compelling new book "Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat". No matter where you think you may stand on this incredibly important issue I urge you to read this book. If you are in favor of the idea I suspect that after you are exposed to the facts you just might be inclined to change your mind about sending our mothers, daughters and sisters into hand-to-hand combat.

As far as Robert Maginnis is concerned placing women into these kinds of perilous situations is the worst kind of social engineering. The author presents a mountain of physiological and psychological evidence that supports the notion that the vast majority of women are simply not cut out for this kind of activity. For example, studies have shown that women in the military suffer three times the number of ACL injuries as their male counterparts. Furthermore, contrary to what you might have heard in the media surveys have shown that most women serving in the military are not exactly clamoring to fill these kinds of positions. And think about this: taken to its logical conclusion the Obama administration's decision to lift all combat exclusions for women virtually guarantees that the Supreme Court will one day declare a male-only draft to be unconstitutional. That is a very scary thought indeed! Maginnis also believes that placing women in direct fire, close ground combat positions will have a very detrimental effect on morale and compromise this nation's ability to fight in a conventional ground war. It will damage the warrior spirit, compromise standards, increase the number of sexual assaults and ultimately result in a reduction in retention rates. He fears for the women who become POW's. Chances are that the enemy is not going to share our "enlightened" point of view. The bottom line is that this is an ill-advised and very costly policy decision.

My guess is that after reading "Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women into Combat" you will come to the same conclusion that I did: it is simply unconscionable to send young women into situations that the vast majority are totally ill-equipped to handle. What is even more infuriating about the policies being espoused by radical feminists, the Obama administration and so many members of Congress is that these extremely dubious policies are being formulated behind closed doors by people who have never even served in the military. As the author points out, the House of Representatives has not conducted full public hearings on the issue of women in combat for more than three decades, while the U.S. Senate has not done so since 1991. Maginnis offers up a series of probing questions that should be asked of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military experts during such hearings. He finds it shocking that no senior military officials have yet resigned to protest this policy and that so many conservatives in Congress have remained silent. Meanwhile, he is extremely critical of the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey for acquiescing to these policies. For those who have never served in the military or taken the time to ponder this issue "Deadly Consequences" should prove to be a real eye-opener. Robert Maginnis states his case in a very passionate, logical and most convincing way. The American people need to come to their senses and demand that this policy be reversed forthwith. Very highly recommended!]]>
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<![CDATA[ WARNING: Reading this book just might cause your blood to boil!]]>
As I began reading Jerome R. Corsi's extraordinary new book "Bad Samaritans: The ACLU's Relentless Campaign to Erase Faith from the Public Square" I experienced a noticeable rise in my blood pressure. I have always considered the ACLU to be an onerous and anti-American organization but my opinion was based more on gut instinct than actual facts. Although I had read about many of the insidious lawsuits filed by the ACLU in newspapers and magazines over the years I was blissfully unaware of much of the long and sordid history of this organization. In "Bad Samaritans" Jerome Corsi has given us a comprehensive overview of this unseemly organization. You will be introduced to Roger Nash Baldwin, the man who founded the organization and discover the prominent "progressive" radicals who fund the ACLU today. In addition Corsi documents the radical left-wing agenda that the ACLU has been relentlessly pursuing for the past 90 years. There is just no two ways about it...."Bad Samaritans" proves to be a real eye-opener.

In "Bad Samaritans" you will be introduced to the role played by the ACLU in a number of the most significant legal cases of the 20th century including the Scopes Monkey Trial and the landmark 1947 Supreme Court case Everson vs. Board of Education. You will also discover that this organization came down squarely on the side of eugenicists like Margaret Sanger back in the 1920's and 1930's. In case you did not know Sanger launched something called "The Negro Project" back in 1939 which was essentially a network of birth control clinics in black areas across the country. The ultimate goal of her project was to reduce African-American birthrates in both the rural South and in the major urban areas of the North. And, as Corsi points out Sanger was also opposed to the idea of charities helping the poor because such charitable aid would "increase the longevity of their offspring". The radical agenda of Margaret Sanger and the goal of the eugenics movement was the promotion of higher reproduction among more desired people and traits and reduced reproduction of less desired people and traits. One has to wonder why so many African-Americans continue to embrace the "progressive" agenda today.

But at the end of the day what is bound to command your attention in "Bad Samaritans" is the agenda that the ACLU is pursuing here and now in 2013. Decent, hard-working Americans should be appalled. It seems to me that the ACLU is almost always on the wrong side of issues. For example, they support the agenda of NAMBRA (North American Man-Boy Association) while actively litigating against the Boy Scouts of America. The ACLU is also vehemently opposed to allowing the idea of Intelligent Design to be presented alongside the theory of Evolution in our nation's classrooms. And not surprisingly, the ACLU remains the leading advocate of abortion in any and all circumstances including the gruesome procedure known as "partial birth abortion". The ACLU also believes that everyone, children included, has the right to view pornography while fully supporting and promoting the radical LGBT agenda as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement. Like I said, reading "Bad Samaritans" just might make your blood boil! Meanwhile, it goes without saying that the ACLU continues pursue cases that will ensure that all symbols of the Judeo-Christian ethic are removed from the public square while siding with Muslims who want to build a mosque new Ground Zero. Outrageous and unacceptable! Jerome Corsi also spends a bit of time profiling a group called the Alliance Defense Fund, a group formed back in 1994 specifically to oppose the ACLU's godless and radical agenda. I want to learn more about this organization!

If you are concerned about the influence being wielded by the ACLU then I would urge you to pick up a copy of "Bad Samaritans: The ACLU's Relentless Campaign to Erase Faith from the Public Square". I can assure you that this is a well-written and meticulously documented book. I must tell you that this just might be the most important book I have read thus far in 2013. Very highly recommended!]]>
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<![CDATA[ So Everything Labelled "Conservative" Is Really "Liberal"?]]>
The book is more a "thesis" than it is actual book and the reader gets the gist of it after the first couple of chapters. That is the only thing that prevented me from giving it a full five stars.]]>
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<![CDATA[ A great way to engage that "progressive" young person you really care about.]]>
In "Letters to a Young Progressive" Mike Adams leaves no stone unturned in challenging the full gamut of progressive thinking. In his letters, Adams addresses issues ranging from institutional racism, speech codes on college campuses, feminism, redistribution of wealth, same-sex marriage, cultural relativism, abortion rights, gun control and progressives' theories on crime and delinquency to name but a few. In each case Adams wastes little time in pointing out the flaws in the progressive argument and offers up what he considers to be common sense alternatives. In my view it proves to be a very effective technique. He makes his case in a powerful yet easy-to-comprehend way. Sadly, it would appear that all too many of his students have either never been exposed to many of these ideas or have turned their back on them as a result of the indoctrination that they have received at school. I have witnessed this personally on a number of occasions and it is a very sad thing to see. Life is too short to spend years harboring irrational anger about things and ideas you really don't understand in the first place. One has to wonder what parents are really paying for when they pack their kids off to college these days.

In these turbulent times that find Obamacare, so-called immigration reform and gun control being shoved down our collective throats, the lessons learned in "Letters to a Young Progressive" could go a long way towards changing the perspective of that young person that you care so much about. There is so much at stake here. As Mike Adams points out in his book "Thinking about these issues will actually help you navigate the current political climate. Our politicians are increasingly asking us to trust the government with ever-greater involvement in our affairs. However badly government messes things up, the solution is always more government." Amen! And so if you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or friend of one of these young whippersnappers I would urge you to consider sending them a copy of Professor Adams' book. Your thoughtful gift just might help to turn that student around and spare him/her a whole lot of grief. Life is too short. We need to encourage these young people to think for themselves and not just accept at face value all of the nonsense that they are being taught. An ambitious idea well executed. Highly recommended!]]>
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<![CDATA[ Thomas Sowell's treatise on the state of race relations in America is simply brilliant.]]>
It is a book that is long overdue. Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and the author of more than three-dozen books. Sowell is an African-American who takes great umbrage at the views being espoused by the chattering class of American intellectuals who continue to advance the notion that society-at-large is to blame for the social and economic disparities that exist in our nation. According to the intelligentsia, deep-seated racism continues to be present in the minds of most white Americans. In his superb new book "Intellectuals and Race" Dr. Sowell thoroughly and systematically dismantles the liberal argument about race. In this meticulously researched offering Sowell takes a look at societies around the world to back up his assertions. Time and again he demonstrates that more often than not it is internal factors within a race or group of people that account for many of these disparities. He compares the problems plaguing the white lower class in Britain with those of African-Americans here in America. You may be quite surprised to discover that the problems facing both groups are virtually identical and have continued to escalate over the past fifty years. The solutions offered by progressives and liberals have clearly not worked. Thomas Sowell believes he has key to solving many of these persistent problems.

In "Intellectuals and Race" Thomas Sowell gets us all up to speed with the history of intellectual thought about race over the past 100 years. There are some fascinating twists and turns along the way. In the early part of the century progressive intellectuals clearly sided with people like Margaret Sanger and author Madison Grant who favored the sterilization of males in what were considered to be "undesirable" populations including Negroes, southern whites, and immigrants from southern Europe. You will discover that the Progressive view of the world began to shift significantly in the 1930s. The intelligentsia had at long last come to the conclusion that there were really no substantive differences in mental ability between the races. But during World War II the Progressives, who now had re-branded themselves as "liberals", began to attribute socioeconomic disparities between races to racism. Liberals steadfastly refused to assign any of the blame to the internal cultural environment of the minorities themselves. Rather, the genesis of the entire problem was said to be in the minds of evil white people. By cleverly positioning themselves in this way the intellectuals could claim the moral high ground by being against the so-called "oppressors" and on the side of the downtrodden. Some 70 years later this continues to be the case and Thomas Sowell points out why this set of circumstances has caused incalculable harm to the African-American community and to other minorities as well.

You may recall that the initial thrust of the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King was simply to extend the same rights to all citizens regardless of race. But according to Sowell, the tumultuous events of the late 1960's encouraged radical elements within the black community to call for a dramatic new approach. Thus, the era of multiculturalism was born. It fit perfectly into the Progressive narrative. Less fortunate groups were not to be blamed for disparities in income, education, crime rates or family disintegration, lest observers be guilty of "blaming the victim" instead of indicting society. Sowell discusses the ramifications of this controversial philosophy and also devotes a section of the final chapter to what he calls "The Race Industry". As you might expect he finds just about all of this stuff to be extremely counterproductive.

The sad fact of the matter is that liberal politicians and commentators have been successfully playing this game for more than half a century now. Unfortunately, it is going to be extremely difficult to repair the damage that has already been done. We need to begin to change hearts and minds about race in this nation. Bill Cosby has attempted to lead the way on a couple of occasions and has been roundly criticized for his efforts. Nevertheless, I truly believe that Thomas Sowell is onto something quite profound here and he presents his case in a very logical, thoughtful and courageous way. I found "Intellectuals and Race" to be an particularly well written book and at a mere 140 pages it can be read in just a couple of sittings. Trust me when I tell you that there is an abundance of common sense in this volume. Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Intellectuals_and_Race-538-1858685-234484-Thomas_Sowell_s_treatise_on_the_state_of_race.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Intellectuals_and_Race-538-1858685-234484-Thomas_Sowell_s_treatise_on_the_state_of_race.html Mon, 18 Mar 2013 08:27:36 +0000
<![CDATA[Robert S. McNamara, Marshall McLuhan, the Vietnam War--and Me Quick Tip by RonPrice]]> INDIVIDUAL CONSCIENCE
----Not a simple subject----
Section 1:
Tonight I watched a 2009 doco entitled: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.1 On the spectrum from heroic patriot to craven traitor, Daniel Ellsberg is portrayed in this doco as firmly on the side of the heroic. In this detailed, clearly told and persuasive film, directed by two nationally known documentary filmmakers, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith. Viewers are shown what many have probably now forgotten. Given the changes and chances of this complex world, an event 40+ years ago is an eternity.  The official Ellsberg story I’m sure has been forgotten by most people, except modern history scholars and teachers.
I found, as I often find with docos, that I am reminded of things I have forgotten in this changeful life with all its highways and byways.  In our world of image and print-glut, we all drown in information. I’ve been drowning in information since the autumn of 1963 when I entered university.  In some ways a doco like this is, for me at least, a rest for my brain from the complexities of contemporary reality in 2013 and a chance to enjoy some alpha-waves while returning, visually, to events long ago when I was young. There is a rich nostalgia there; sometimes it is not so rich, just a bit tedious. A good director, though, can bring it all alive again, some event in my young adulthood, my 20s in this case.
Section 2:
In 1969, US military analyst Daniel Ellsberg2 read a top-secret report commissioned by former secretary of defence Robert McNamara on America's involvement in Vietnam. While writing this piece I chanced upon another doco entitled: The Fog of War: Robert S. McNamara. This latter doco was on ABC2TV, 9:30-11:15 p.m. 3/3/’13.
TheDaniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers docodetailed a history of lies in relation to the war in Vietnam by every president from Harry Truman, who financed the French to retake its former colony, to Eisenhower, who called for the cancelling of national elections there, through to Kennedy and Johnson. The latter claimed he sought no wider war while at the same time whipping-up the Gulf of Tonkin incident which happened in August 1964 just as I was about to start my honours history and philosophy course at a university in the lunch-pail city of Hamilton Ontario.  I was at the time finishing my summer-job as an electrician’s assistant for Stelco of Canada, now US Steel Canada and living alone above a restaurant in Dundas at the centre of Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe. My father had died 3 months before and it was my first months of living alone. I was 20 years old.
The report commissioned by McNamara convinced Ellsberg that the war had been a crime from the start; he felt that he had to do something to stop it. In 1971, he leaked a series of classified documents, soon to be known as The Pentagon Papers, to The New York Times. I was just getting ready to come to Australia from Canada at the time. The Pentagon Papers, their aftermath leading up to Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon, were historical events immersed in the complexities and burgeoning issues of my own life in Australia from 1971 to 1974, my years from primary school teacher to university tutor and from marriage number one to marriage number two.
Section 3:
Utterly gripping, this intimately rendered and, at times, sinister documentary goes inside Ellsberg's head, recounting how he arrived at what he felt was his act of honourable sedition. It was a journey, he believed, that stretched back to his boyhood when his father fell asleep while driving, killing his mother and sister. "It left an impression on me that someone you loved and respected, an authority, could fall asleep at the wheel, not because they were bad but because they were inattentive to the risks."-Ron Price with thanks to 1 The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, ABC2, 8:30-10:15 p.m., first shown onABC1, January 2011; and 2For a summary of the life of Daniel Ellsberg go to Wikipedia.
A problem, of course, or perhaps
the problemis that, if you exalt…
individual conscience to the
position at the top of moral
trees around the planet, then
you exalt the individual over
the group and that can be, &
often is, dangerous delusion!(1)

(1) We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity in one of its many modern dresses, among other historical sources, especially Protestantism’s and democracy’s complex and tortured history, that our individual conscience is supreme. In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions, at least some of them, if we are to participate, that is, in some formal group. Most people I have known in my 70 years are basically uncommitted except to family, job and self-interest, with the occasional flick at whales or women’s rights. The elevation of the private conscience in the West has been supreme all my life, especially in North America and Australia where I have lived and had my being.
Section 4:
The belief that individual conscience is supreme is fine to a point, but if people are to function as a group within an institutional form to give formal expression to that group then, in the end, individual conscience must be subsumed within the collective conscience, so to speak, of the group. Most people, again, in my experience, never find any group with which to affiliate and thus commit themselves to a larger cause, except, as I often say: sport, gardening, having fun, perhaps whales for a day or a series of quixotic quests.
With reference to the absolute pacifists, or conscientious objectors of war, for example, their attitude, judged from this collective consciousness/group standpoint, is quite anti-social. Due to its exaltation of the individual conscience it leads inevitably to disorder and chaos in society. Extreme pacifists are thus very close to the anarchists, in the sense that both of these groups lay an undue emphasis on the rights and merits of the individual. The other main objection to the conscientious objectors is that their method of establishing peace is too negative. Non-co-operation is too passive a philosophy to become an effective way for social reconstruction. Their refusal to bear arms can never establish peace. There should first be a spiritual revitalization and how that will come about is the 64 thousand dollar question which only history and the future will reveal.
Section 5:
The conception of social life I am advocating here is essentially based on the subordination of the individual will to that of society. It neither suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society. As in everything, what I am recommending follows what you might call ‘the golden mean'. The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority.

For an extended discussion of this concept, a difficult one for individuals in modern society, a society which in many ways exalts the individual over the group, go to this link(1) http://info.bahai.org/article-1-9-1-3.html
(1)Wendy M. Heller explores the religious origins of the organizing principles of civil society, tracks their secularization in the modern era, and examines the prospect of an inclusive global moral order based on the enduring concept of covenant. This article appeared in the 1995-96 edition of The Bahá'í World, pp. 185-222.
Ron Price
21/11/’11 to 5/3/’13.
I have added below a piece on Robert McNamara, viewed through the insights of communication theorist Marshall McLuhan(1911-1980) who died just as I got a job in a tin mine on the wet-west coast of Tasmania and six months after I finally was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder after a near 20 year hiatus. I wrote the following piece after watching The Fog of War: Robert S. McNamara, ABC2TV, 9:30 to 11:15 p.m., 3/3/’13. The above and what is below makes a total of nearly 7000 words, far too much for the average reader at internet sites.
McNAMARA: A CONTEXT
Part 1:
I want to thank David Skinner, who was an associate editor of the Weekly Standard, an American neoconservative opinion magazine published 48 times per year for much of the following. Skinner wrote this piece, from which I am quoting liberally, in an essay published in 2000 in a journal entitled The Public Interest. The Public Interest(1965-2005) was a quarterly public policy journalfounded by the New York intellectuals Daniel Bell and Irving Kristol in 1965. I had been a Daniel Bell enthusiast as far back as the mid-1960s when I was studying history, philosophy and sociology at my hometown university. Skinner’s essay appeared during the first year that I was retired from FT work after a 50 year student-working life. Skinner is now editor of Humanities, a magazine published by the National Endowment for the Humanities.1  Much of what follows is from Skinner which I had the pleasure of reading after I had also retired from PT and most casual-volunteer work in 2006.1  
I have just added a few personal notes and comments to provide for me, and for those readers who have come into my life in cyberspace, some context for Skinner’s excellent overview of the famous communication theorist Marshall McLuhan. I have appended this piece to my comment on that TV doco on Robert S. McNamara which I watched the day before yesterday.3  These 7000 words provide, I hope, a context of relevance in relation to both McLuhan and Robert McNamara for those readers with the time and the inclination.  For those without the time and with little inclination, I encourage you to skim and scan what follows.  If the worst comes to the worst or, to put the idea a little differently, if you do not have much interest in the topics under review here, just stop reading now and get on with what turns you on and stimulates your sensory and intellectual emporium.
Part 2:
“A new non-literary culture exists today”, writes Skinner quoting Susan Sontag, “of whose existence, not to mention significance, most literary intellectuals are entirely unaware."  These words of Sontag’s are found in her ground-breaking 1965 essay, "One Culture and the New Sensibility."
Many who come to this now lengthy essay, this essay which places the life and views of Robert McNamara on the Vietnam war as viewed through a McLuhan lens, will know nothing of Sontag. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I will encourage those who would like to have some background on Sontag, another famous writer who came into the lives of many readers and thinkers from the 1960s onward, to do a little googling.
I was just starting my third year of university in an honours sociology program in Ontario Canada when Sontag and McLuhan were making their first big-literary-hay. “This new sensibility”, Sontag argued, “collapsed the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow. It embraced popular culture and celebrated modernist music as well as painting. The masses had little taste for much that was the literary culture.  This new sensibility advanced a new understanding of the senses.”
 In a milieu that took as its dictate to "modify consciousness" and to "organize new modes of sensibility," Marshall McLuhan played the role of leading commentator, explaining this new world to the rest of us. At least this idea, this role of McLuhan’s, had some significance back in the 1960s when I was at university, dealing with the rigors of an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, working an endless stream of summer-jobs, and starting out in my teaching career, my first marriage and my relationship to a new organization, a new religion which I had been, by then, associated with for more than a decade.2
Part 3:
McLuhan was born in 1911 in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, Canada. His interest in literature and a well-earned scholarship brought him to Cambridge for his graduate work where he met F.R. Leavis.  He studied under I.A. Richards, and became consumed with G.K. Chesterton. After Cambridge, and during the first Baha’i teaching Plan, 1937 to 1944, he taught at the University of Wisconsin and St. Louis University where, in 1943, he completed his Ph.D. thesis on Thomas Nashe, the seventeenth-century satirist and thinker.  I mention this Baha’i program because I have been associated with its extension for 60 years.
In many ways, McLuhan’s life was and is a story of contradictions. A Catholic with six children, he was famous among an increasingly anti-religious cultural elite that was suspicious of family life. He became a scholar interested in all the obscurities that had ever flowed from the pen of James Joyce; he first made a reputation outside the academy for intensely cerebral commentary on the nature of everyday language, and that of newspapers and advertisements. A compulsive letter writer, and as bookish as any professor of history or English, he made a career of declaring the demise of print. I found McLuhan a stimulating writer in my tumultuous days at university, 1963 to 1967, and into the early 1970s.
His many books include The Mechanical Bride in 1951, a deconstruction of advertising as both art and propaganda, and The Gutenberg Galaxy in 1962, an often impenetrable whirlwind of a book described by the historian E.H. Carr as "a unique and unforgettable experience." But it was McLuhan’s 1964 Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, at one point the best-selling nonfiction book at Harvard University, that made him a truly famous serious person.  I was just starting my honours history and philosophy program in 1964 and read everything that McLuhan wrote.
His 10 or so books, many of them co-written, and dozens of articles and essays comprise a formidable pile of literature. But the most difficult task in writing about McLuhan is explaining, aside from his off-the-cuff opinions, what he actually thought. Quoting him at any length can have the unfortunate effect of mystifying the reader. Many a McLuhan sentence will work like a koan which is a paradox to be meditated upon and is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason as well as to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment. A koan, once explained, loses its purpose along with its edge. At the high point of his fame, McLuhan’s often impenetrable style seemed to offer proof of his importance as a thinker.
Around the time of Sontag’s essay, McLuhan was becoming a genuine celebrity whose name would later come up in all sorts of places. Woody Allen gave him a hilarious cameo in Annie Hall, in which McLuhan explained to a pretentious communications professor who had the gall to invoke the author’s name in public that he, in fact, knew nothing of McLuhan’s work. His name was regularly mentioned on television and in newspapers and magazines. He was a famous author and a very successful lecturer who confounded corporate seminars with riffs from his cultural dialectic.
He was paid very well to do so. McLuhan was a forerunner of today’s celebrity intellectual who can become famous, if not rich, for his scholarship. Tom Wolfe wondered if McLuhan was the "most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Pavlov." In the sixties, and for a good part of the seventies, McLuhan enjoyed the life of a prophet with honour. He was certainly a seminal influence on both my thinking and my writing, as well as the direction of my commitments in religion and philosophy.
Part 4:
Rather fittingly, one of the best examples of McLuhan’s thought comes straight from the realm of the senses, Playboy magazine. In a 25-page interview in the March 1969 issue, McLuhan’s ideas emerge straightforward and well explained, in large part due to the interviewer’s willingness to risk looking dumb for asking obvious questions. It turned out that many of McLuhan’s opinions, despite his reputation for being some kind of super-scholar and untimely thinker, were standard radical chic, while others were radical even by the heady standards of 1969. I did not read that article in Playboy in 1969 working at the time with the white goods manufacturer Bad Boy P/L in Toronto Canada, and recuperating from six months in two mental hospitals and two psychiatric wards from June to December 1968.
McLuhan explained: Black Americans are more in touch with the ancient rhythm of tribal memory; the black power movement was good; hippies dropped out because they just couldn’t relate to the rat race; TV had precipitated a showdown between the young and their print-oriented elders; the artist is a social prophet; "LSD ... gives the potential of instant and total involvement with one’s environment, both all-at-once-ness and all-at-oneness"; there’s no point in making marijuana or other drugs illegal; like the "Negro," the American Indian is "under tremendous social and economic pressure to ... detribalize and this generates great psychic pain"; the United States is balkanized by a war of identities and will eventually wither away; "political democracy as we know it is finished."
"If he is right," Tom Wolfe wrote, "it matters." Right about what, though, is not always clear. Wolfe nicely summarized McLuhan’s thinking and put it in a readable context that is missing from McLuhan’s own writing. Quoting McLuhan, Wolfe starts, "‘Print gave tribal man an eye for an ear.’" Children, Wolfe explicated, were growing up in a new sensorial environment, one dominated by television, and had distinctly different sensorial habits, which alienated them from their print-oriented elders. The schools were falling apart? Well, that’s because teachers were print-oriented. Young people were dropping out? Well, that’s because the hustle and bustle of cities, with their lateral buildings and grid formations, just didn’t seem important to the new generation.
Of course, by now the schools that are falling apart have teachers who were raised on television and the sixties drop-outs now have careers and families to protect, so what they once dismissed, the rat race and all that, is now quite important to them. Even the decidedly print-generation presidential candidate Richard Nixon, whose loss to John F. Kennedy in a televised debate is often used to explain the demise of such politicians, went on to be elected to the White House twice.
The predicted print versus TV generation showdown never came to pass. Not that this has stopped contemporary commentators, many of whom look to McLuhan for inspiration, from making the same predictions about computers and the Internet. And yet, McLuhan, in spite of his singular talent for bombastic overstatement, was onto something: Modern media has changed life irrevocably. Since the 1950s, it has often been said that today’s children are raised on television. For many years now, that idea could be taken literally. A popular cable sitcom of the early 1990s used as its main gag TV and movie clips from the 1950s to illustrate a middle-aged character’s inner life. The permanently boyish character’s entire frame of reference seemed to be comprised of old westerns and screwball comedies. Returning the compliment, people who realize the role TV played in their lives have granted old shows - their theme songs, regular characters, and standby plot devices - a semi-serious mythical status. And this is just the lighter side of modern media.
Part 5:
Specific habits and resulting social types have been changed by television. Reading seems to have become a mere life-style choice, and the "bookworm" seems to be a thing of the past, a type that lives only in old movies: the ugly, four-eyed sister with no social skills. Describing what McLuhan discovered about the society that produced such people, Wolfe wrote, “The visual or print man is an individualist; he is ‘cooler,’ with built-in safeguards. He always has the feeling that no matter what anybody says, he can go check it out. The necessary information is filed away somewhere, categorized. He can look it up.”
What was happening to people under the influence of television, McLuhan pointed out, couldn’t be discovered at the library or in public records. The Dewey decimal system held few clues to the mysteries of post-print life. One had to look to oral culture for answers: The medium that Orson Welles used to scare the bejabbers out of housewives in New York and New Jersey with his reading of The War of the Worlds had more to teach us than all the texts in the New York Public Library.
McLuhan opened up a world of inquiry to thoughtful people. The medium may not have literally been the message, but it was a message. New media create new environments, he told everyone. He overstated the extent to which new media determine new environments, but he was pretty much right that life was being reshaped by these media.
Vietnam in many ways is an excellent example of the new environment that TV helped create. The sheer number of Baby Boomers coming of age and filling the ranks of the student movement gave antiwar protests social heft, but it was television that transmitted these same images to living rooms across the country. Similarly, the faces of American soldiers and their enemies came home via television. A Vietnam veteran once told me that the one thing he’ll always remember about the war was the TV cameras. For much of the time, it was like being on a movie set, he said, with news reporters and their equipment following him and his fellow soldiers all over the country. Thus did the narrative of the war gain flesh and motion, turning it into something to react to.
 Part 6:
Vietnam was also the drama of print man struggling in this new environment. Robert McNamara, the man who brought quantitative analysis and corporate leadership to the job of secretary of defence, was viewed as quite modern in his thinking. But the war abroad and the conflicts at home showed otherwise; this was a new kind of war because it was in a new kind of environment. Indeed, as McLuhan described life then, it was tribal. The American creed meant little to the draft dodgers, the drop-outs, the various splinters of the new Left. The doco, The Fog of War: Robert S. McNamara3 shows the dilemma that McNamara faced in a war whose context was so-complex that, on reflection many years later, McNamara preferred not to think about it.
McLuhan should be credited with teaching us to deconstruct these communications phenomena and their social aspects. While the world was changing McLuhan the literary critic, who had already taught  readers of serious journals and magazines how to think about media, became enough of a celebrity to be able to tell everyone that television and other technologies were changing their lives.
Describing McLuhan’s opus has left many commentators in a bind. Some writers resorted to making lists to describe what might be called McLuhan’s main ideas: "ratio of senses," "the medium is the message," "global village," "media as extensions of man." Unfortunately, the more specific one gets with McLuhan’s ideas, the worse he comes off. Despite this, he is and was a significant figure, though hardly a first-rate thinker.
It was McLuhan’s contention that man’s nature is divisible. Like many thinkers who have wrestled with the exact parts of human nature - e.g., Plato with his division of the soul into three parts (reason, appetite, and passion) - McLuhan argued that the key to understanding human phenomena was isolating the dominant part. According to him, in the post-Gutenberg world, man’s sense of sight was dominant as a result of the new importance of literacy and the declining importance of oral media.
Part 7:
The obvious contrast here is with tribal cultures, wherein one’s sense of self and community is established through hearing. Visually these communities make for a small world, but hearing, or rather listening, connects the present with the past and each member of the tribe with the whole tribe. Though it may seem trivial, McLuhan contended that the big loser in the sensorial shift that resulted from the printing press was the sense of smell. Oral tribal societies place less emphasis on the importance of not smelling bad, because the scent of a person is one way his presence becomes known; his scent connected him to the tribe. One of the problems, McLuhan surmised, with the twentieth century is that people disguise their natural scent. The new global village, he ruefully reported, didn’t smell like a village. All this may be true, but from here McLuhan got really carried away: He came up with an idea for a new underwear line that would actually harness body odour to bring individuals closer to each other.
Probably McLuhan’s most famous coinage after "global village," was “the medium is the message.” This one sentence did more to articulate the most original part of his thought than any other. McLuhan used a famous T.S. Eliot quotation to explain his argument. The purpose of a poem’s content, Eliot wrote, is "to satisfy one habit of the reader, to keep his mind diverted and quiet, while the poem does its work upon him: much as the imaginary burglar is always provided with a nice bit of meat for the house-dog." As a description of Eliot’s own poetic method, it’s a useful reminder of the formalist ambitions of modernist poetry; it is not an explanation of any other kind of poetry. Yet it works for McLuhan, who took a great interest in modernist poetry, painting, and music. Like a lot of other half-radicals, he believed that artists make up a class of intellectual vanguards who see the future before the rest of us. If modern art has divided and dissolved form, it is because reality itself is no longer unified enough to give us the portraits and landscapes of earlier periods.
Somehow the artist’s senses and sensibility are ready to greet the future while the rest of us have to wait for the formal announcement. Eliot’s announcement about the key to modernist poetry is, for McLuhan, an announcement about the key to all media. Rather than concentrate on the rivalry between form and content, McLuhan was mainly concerned with more common categories of media: newspapers, magazines, movies, radio, television. What these media share is that none of them is crucial to survival, yet we consume their products as if they were food, clothing, and shelter.
The content of newspapers is news, or as McLuhan put it, bad news. Newspapers as a general matter don’t carry much else, except for advertisements. This distinction gave McLuhan one of his best quips ever: Advertisements were the good news in newspapers. It matters not that the makers of advertisements have something else in mind. When ads appear in newspapers, they become an antistrophe to the bad news reporters bring in. The same holds true for the news part of the newspapers: Their content is predetermined by the medium. They reflect and confirm the societies from which they spring. They can bring to their readership only what is already within the readership’s experience. Thus the content of a newspaper is already decided. The medium dominates, or even is, the message.
And as a matter of experience, newspapers reduce events to visual matter that are measured in inches and column size. Newspapers hierarchize events by the placement of stories: local versus national, human interest versus business, front-page versus miscellaneous two-inch slug. The very environment of a newspaper suggests relationships between events that are imaginary. Or as McLuhan said, "A man does not read a newspaper so much as bathe in it." Newspaper reading is a ritual comfort.
This makes for the kind of discussion that usually starts with a statement like, "If a Martian were to come down and look at us humans right now, doing what we’re doing, this is what he might conclude." The fictional Martian might conclude that the talking heads on the evening news have no legs and live inside the television set, or might reach any number of conclusions that have no bearing on what the great percentage of humans actually understand about what other humans and their institutions do. Only a Martian would mistake a newspaper for that which it purports to represent.
Nevertheless, the Martian conceit gives us a weirdly revealing perspective. We say someone is "in the know" because every morning he sits down with dozens of long broad sheets of paper, scans through nationwide events of the last 24 hours or so, learns the names of scores of people who are historically insignificant, and has nothing but dirty newsprint on his hands to show for it. Obviously, it is something of a ritual, a custom as opposed to a really important activity.
Part 8:
Global village Modern communications technology: from the telegraph and the newspaper, to the telephone and to radio and television---has connected people. Technology connects individuals and societies. One no longer need wait for traders to pass through town to learn what’s going on in other parts of the world. Information can be transmitted instantaneously. Like a village in which little that is important remains private, the lives of individuals and societies are made known to other nations by way of modern communications. Modern man and the modern nation-state are connected to other men and other nation-states like the residents of a small town. McLuhan is on to something here but then, typically, takes it too far.
At one point, for example, McLuhan proposed staging a musical about the Cold War, which he believed would generate such mutual understanding between the Soviet Union and the United States that the Cold War itself would be defused. Nor is it surprising to find out that when McLuhan was rated A-1 draft status by the U.S. government during World War II, he quickly started looking for another academic post in his native Canada. McLuhan was unconvinced that the Cold War was the result of any kind of substantive, life-or-death disagreement. However, he was capable of some interesting observations about the respective natures of capitalism and communism. For example, in Understanding Media, he wrote that it was possible for capitalism to simply out-perform communism in delivering material goods and thereby undermine communism’s appeal. Yet even this is more a measure of his faith in technology than an indication that he understood or appreciated the economics and politics of the Cold War or the differences between communism and capitalism.
McLuhan made the idea that the media were extensions of man the subtitle of Understanding Media. It is easy to overlook how radical McLuhan’s thesis was, partly out of our not-unjustified habit of accepting metaphors as metaphors. McLuhan believed that metaphors, similes, puns, and other literary tricks have the power to reveal the true nature of things, rather than just expedite the writer’s task of getting points and information across. One of his favourites, "ABCD-minded," by which he meant absent-minded, came from James Joyce. McLuhan used it to pinpoint the obliviousness of literate print-oriented man to other media; literate man literally forgets his other senses.
The relationship of media to man’s senses isn’t just a matter of emphasis but of mental response and resulting social consequences. Any changes in the hierarchy of man’s senses changes man himself. Industrial or visual man, who, by way of economics, is divided into rational parts, is the ultimate individualist because of the divisions he has learned from the alphabet and the printing press. Tribal or audio-tactile man is the ultimate communitarian because of the sense of oneness he has with his immediate surroundings - the result of his reliance on his hearing and sense of touch. The primary media of these different cases, print and speech respectively, literally extend the senses to which they correspond, eyes and ears, and the world is recreated in their image.
Technology makes the man. And if print gave tribal man an eye for an ear, electricity returned man to sensorial balance. Tribal man, in no way an individualist, enjoyed a feeling of connectedness to the rest of his world. Living in a village, physically unremoved, within shouting distance, enveloped by the scent of his people, his self was inseparable from the tribe. His senses had the capacity to contain the entirety of his social life. Whereas print, McLuhan argued, turned man into an individualist with new abstract commitments, electricity brought man back to the tribe.
Part 9:
Man’s return to tribal, sensorial balance started with the telegraph and was completed with television - which McLuhan considered audio-tactile, and not primarily a visual technology. Movie stars, he pointed out, who took television work found that fans no longer kept their distance but suddenly treated them with great familiarity. Their voices, their bodies, their appearances, were suddenly domesticated by their presence in the TV viewers’ living rooms and by the cool, low-definition technology of television itself. Television, he argued, closed the gap that print had opened up between man and the tribe. "It is the total involvement in all-inclusive now-ness that occurs in young lives via TV’s mosaic image." The child of TV "wants a deep commitment from society."
McLuhan’s argument about the changes in man’s sensorial life is literary in nature, and it is an argument only a literary critic would make. McLuhan saw life as a kind of text, or rather something outside of man to which man’s mind responds and then connects with. This connection ends up altering that which man is connected to, and it changes man himself. Reality is merely perceived. There is no underlying truth, outside of those revelatory moments when man’s technological inventions effect a change in perception - McLuhan believed he was living in such a moment - after which political and social change rush in. Outside of the five senses, there is nothing that really concerns McLuhan, making him the ultimate hedonist. For McLuhan, everything (and I mean everything) is but a by-product of the meeting of technology and the senses.
And not only are media extensions of man, but man is an extension of media. On the second to last page of Understanding Media McLuhan wrote, "As the machine and the motorcar released the horse and projected it onto the plain of entertainment, so does automation with men." Released from the labour of pulling carriages and ploughs, the horse went into the circus, professional racing, and the kiddy-ride business. Automation and cybernation (or computerization), McLuhan contended, will similarly turn man into an unnecessary organism, one without any essential purpose, a circus animal the world keeps around for laughs.
Possibly the most troubling aspect of McLuhan’s ideas is how they apply to historically significant events. The following paragraph from Understanding Media expresses a most peculiar understanding of celebrity and demagoguery:
Part 10:
It was no accident that Senator McCarthy lasted such a very short time when he switched [from radio] to TV. Soon the press decided "He isn’t news anymore." Neither McCarthy nor the press knew what had happened. TV is a cool medium. It rejects hot figures and hot issues and hot people from the hot press media. Fred Allen was a casualty of TV. Was Marilyn Monroe? Had TV occurred on a large scale during Hitler’s reign he would have vanished quickly. Had TV come first there would have been no Hitler at all.
One could dismiss this passage, and countless others like it, on the basis that it is no more than an early attempt to gauge the consequences of television. The only problem is that the passage actually means what it says: Television levels the important, the historical, and the merely entertaining, forcing them all to win and lose and live and die by the same rules - ratings, newsworthiness, the success and endurance of "image." Because Hitler was no Jack Parr, McLuhan’s favorite TV personality, he would never have made it, not just in the TV business but in the world remade by television.
What exactly about television McLuhan believed would neutralize Hitler, with all other things being equal, is never clear. What is clear is that McLuhan believed only an already re-tribalizing people that hadn’t yet reached sensorial balance could accept a hot, high-definition leader like Hitler. According to McLuhan, the Weimar Republic never had a chance; the policy of appeasement carried out by England and other nations was irrelevant; statesmanship, laws, the study of politics and history are all powerless against the ebb and flow of sensorial balance.
While political philosophers may believe education in ideas is important, McLuhan believed an education in media was necessary. He thought an understanding of media was key to any defence against its machinations. His argument may be understood as a bid for power: An education in media, obviously, would place authority in the hands of mediologists.
McLuhan, always the showman, established, through his book Understanding Media and other books, a reputation as the single person who could justify the ways of technology to man. His account of man’s lost tribalism not only credits technology with the role of supreme and sole cause of historical change but also credits it with eventually making man superfluous. McLuhan’s vague understanding of economics and naive faith in machines led him to conclude that ultimately automation and computers will do all of man’s work for him. In turn, he completely undervalued humanity’s resilience. For McLuhan, man is but the object of technology’s mysterious powers.
McLuhan’s writings and prognostications have been taken up by a new generation of writers and thinkers looking to explain the social consequences of the newest technologies. In the September 1998 issue of Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress, guest editor Jarod Lanier, a pioneer in virtual technology and a contributing editor to Wired magazine, wrote, "In these days of the endgame of humanism, we see technophobic militancy  against new abortion methods, MTV and other identity-transforming technologies. There is more militancy there than militant activism against economic or political injustice." There is, in this view, nothing that can be done about partial-birth abortion, drugs, and music videos because man operates at the behest of his technologies, not the other way around.
Part 11:
While some have adopted McLuhan’s more apocalyptic rhetoric, current trends are accomplishing a correction of sorts. In a recent issue of Wired magazine, "the voice of the digital revolution," one writer had the terrific idea that perhaps the good capitalist Peter Drucker had more to teach them than their "patron saint" Marshall McLuhan. Drucker was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, and he invented the concept known as management by objectives.
All the same, the McLuhanish point that people who do not understand technology should be afraid, very afraid, gets a lot of mileage. The words McLuhan spoke resonate for many young professionals in the computer industry and their cheerleaders in the computer-industry press. Take the following snippet from McLuhan’s Playboy interview.
“Through radio, TV, and the computer, we are already entering a global theatre in which the entire world is a Happening. Our whole cultural habitat, which we once viewed as a mere container of people, is being transformed by these media and by space satellites into a living organism, itself contained within a new macrocosm or a connubium of a supra-terrestrial nature. The day of the individualist, of privacy, of fragmented or "applied" knowledge, of "points of view" and specialist goals is being replaced by the over-all awareness of a mosaic world in which space and time are overcome by television, jets and computers - a simultaneous "all-at-once" world in which everything resonates with everything else as in a total electronic field, a world in which energy is generated and perceived not by the traditional connections that create linear, causative thought processes, but by the intervals, or gaps.”
This is a vision of change in which the only people who play any role in their own fates are programmers, designers, and producers, where the computer- and media-illiterate are but pebbles on the side of the road to a new world. It’s a self-serving vision - one that gratified McLuhan’s disciples but should be resisted by the rest of us.-Ron Price with thanks to 1David Skinner, McLuhan’s World and Ours, The Public Interest,Vol. 138, Winter 2000, pp. 52-64; 2By 1965 I had been involved with the Baha’i Faith for a dozen years; and 3The Fog of War: Robert S. McNamara, ABC2TV, 9:30-11:15 p.m. 3/3/’13.
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 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/usersronprice/reviews/d/UserReview-Robert_S_McNamara_Marshall_McLuhan_the_Vietnam_War_and_Me-309-1856466-234122.html http://www.lunch.com/usersronprice/reviews/d/UserReview-Robert_S_McNamara_Marshall_McLuhan_the_Vietnam_War_and_Me-309-1856466-234122.html Tue, 5 Mar 2013 12:30:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Essentially the play-by-play of the Left's vicious and relentless attacks on those who dare disagree]]>
Just in case you hadn't noticed, the overwhelming majority of the vitriol on display in the public square originates from those on the Left. Honest, hardworking, law-abiding conservatives like myself have been putting up with it for years and it has only gotten worse since Barack Obama became President. Most of us are bound and determined not to stoop to the same tactics employed by our ideological adversaries. Progressives will deny they engage in such tactics but author Ben Shapiro has done his homework and has assembled a comprehensive anthology of some of the left's "greatest hits" in his compelling new book "Bullies: How The Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans". Shapiro leaves very little doubt how the left has managed to get its way over the past quarter century and makes it abundantly clear that conservatives need to figure out some way to counter these tactics. Given all of the obstacles in our way it is not going to be an easy task.

Pick the cause. Be it climate change, gay marriage, gun control, abortion rights, religious liberty, illegal immigration or Obamacare--if you dare to disagree with the radical positions espoused by those on the Left than you are going to be instantly and brutally attacked by government officials, the mainstream media, Hollywood and the union thugs who stand to gain from these policies. Unlike conservatives, those on the Left including the President of the United States have absolutely no problem playing the race card, the class card and the sexism card to get their way and really don't care who gets hurt in the process. Ben Shapiro shines the spotlight on incident after incident where these tactics are employed and concedes that "the strategy is working and will continue to work as long as American's remain silent." And that is what the left is counting on.

I could enumerate chapter and verse some of the most heinous and downright ridiculous examples cited by Ben Shapiro in "Bullies". For example, in Denair, California a 13 year boy was forced to remove an American flag from the back of his bicycle because according to school officials the flag "raised racial tensions". Absolutely ridiculous! Then there is the left's passionate and irrational hatred of conservative Republican women like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and Michelle Malkin who have the audacity to espouse traditional American values. The attacks on these ladies have been vulgar and vicious by such leading liberal luminaries as Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, David Letterman and Al Sharpton. Or how about what happened when the President of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain Dan Cathy dared to support the notion of traditional marriage in a televised interview. The leftist bullies immediately sprung into action. Gay and lesbian activists decided to hold a "Kiss In" at selected Chick-Fil-A outlets while Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago and Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston sought to ban the chain from their respective cities. This in spite of the fact that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that Chick-Fil-A discriminates against gays. So much for tolerance! And so far as Obama's Department of Homeland Security is concerned it is conservatives and not terrorists that are the real threat to America. Progressives clearly and consistently seek to stifle any opposition to their agenda and have absolutely no problem destroying lives and ruining careers in the process. It's just what they do. For those of us who read and pay attention to current events little of what Ben Shapiro has presented in "Bullies" comes as a surprise. However, it is shocking when you see all of it assembled in one place and come to realize just how far the progressive tentacles extend in America in 2013.

Ben Shapiro believes that these left-wing bullies are the most despicable people in America. I would concur. These folks have absolutely no interest in due process, the rule of law, civil discourse or for that matter the United States Constitution. These are all viewed as impediments to implementing their radical socialist agenda. Shapiro closes with some words of wisdom and encouragement from his friend and colleague the late Andrew Breitbart. They are words that conservatives need to take to heart. Clearly the time has come to fight back! For those Americans who only casually pay attention to what is going on out there "Bullies: How The Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans" should prove to be a real eye-opener. This is a meticulously researched (40 pages of helpful footnotes) and very well written book. Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Bullies_How_The_Left_s_Culture_of_Fear_and_Intimidation_Silences_America-538-1849323-231834-Essentially_the_play_by_play_of_the_Left_s_vicious.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Bullies_How_The_Left_s_Culture_of_Fear_and_Intimidation_Silences_America-538-1849323-231834-Essentially_the_play_by_play_of_the_Left_s_vicious.html Sun, 13 Jan 2013 15:47:13 +0000
<![CDATA[Rush Limbaugh Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
If I want to listen to a media personality with a conservative slant, I'll go listen to Nick DiPaolo's stand-up material or his appearances on various radio shows (mainly Opie & Anthony).  Nick DiPaolo is hilarious and loaded with razor-sharp wit, Rush Limbaugh is neither.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/d/UserReview-Rush_Limbaugh-232-1396025-229810.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/d/UserReview-Rush_Limbaugh-232-1396025-229810.html Sun, 11 Nov 2012 04:07:03 +0000
<![CDATA[Paris Hilton Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/actor/UserReview-Paris_Hilton-232-1009080-229133.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/actor/UserReview-Paris_Hilton-232-1009080-229133.html Sun, 14 Oct 2012 16:53:05 +0000 <![CDATA[ "The Summer of His Years"]]>
Some things stay with you forever. To me it's the song, the title of which is the title of this review, that I heard that week on television on the show "That Was The Week That Was". Even after all of these years I can still recall all of the words, and can sing (quite badly) the melody.

Bill O'Reilly and his co-author have given us a worthy sequel to their best-selling "Killing Lincoln", and related the events around another horrid presidential assassination. It's more relevant because it is so much nearer to many of us than something that happened more than a century before.

As with the first book, the authors go into the backgrounds of both the killer and his victim. While I'm sure that there are a plethora of books that relate many of these facts, this book seems to have gotten together many of them in one place, and tell us, or at least tell me, many things about which I was unaware. Of course, the events are seared in the memory, but there are things that most of us probably did not know.

Kennedy's life is laid out in some detail, both the good and the bad, in what I thought was an evenhanded approach. Lately it seems that his reputation as a philanderer has stained his memory, but this book recounts all of the brave and honest things he did in his life, and in how he really tried to make the country a better place for all. Oswald's life is recounted also, and we see his miserable existence, and are given what the authors, at least, believe is his reason for his action.

There are no conspiracy theories scattered about in this book. The conclusion appears to be that Oswald acted alone. Whether that is correct I don't know, and none of us will probably ever know. I've been to Dealey Plaza and seen the "grassy knoll" of legend, and can't imagine how anyone could have fired from that spot without being seen by a multitude of spectators. The Plaza is a shrine to Kennedy, and the sixth floor window on the Texas Book Depository building is kept open, a chilling sight.

Those who are interested in history being delivered in a very readable way will like this book. Those who don't like the author for whatever reason will pan it, I'm sure, without even reading it. They should realize that Kennedy is presented in a very good light, and it just shows what this country lost when he died.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Voter fraud continues to be a threat to the future of our republic.]]>
As I prepare this review Democrats are gathering in Charlotte, NC for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. And lo and behold delegates are required to present a photo ID to gain admission to the Time Warner Cable Arena. Given their position on Voter ID the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party is simply stunning. To those who have studied this issue and to the vast majority of the American people the evidence is overwhelming--Voter ID should be instituted in all 50 states. John Fund, National Affairs columnist for National Review has been on this story for years. His 2004 book "Stealing Elections" is considered to the seminal work on the subject. Hans von Spakovsky also knows voter fraud issues intimately. He spent four years at the Department of Justice working in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division. He was appalled at what he saw. Fund and von Spakovsky have collaborated on an eye-opening new book "Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk". It is a stunning expose of how elections are routinely stolen and who is responsible. Until major reforms are undertaken you will never look at our electoral process in the same way again.

The authors trace the origins of the problem back to the passage of the National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Voter Law" back in 1993. This dubious legislation requires state governments to allow for registration when a person applies for or renews their driver's license or applies for welfare. No identification is required. God forbid that someone would have to take an hour to appear at their local Board of Canvassers to register. Progressives characterize that as a "hardship". Meanwhile, liberals around the country have been busy ramming through legislation such as "no fault" absentee voting whereby people are allowed to vote by mail for virtually any reason. Once again no ID is required. The evidence compiled by Fund and von Spakovsky makes it abundantly clear that the opportunity for voter fraud increases exponentially with the use of absentee ballots. And that is just fine and dandy with some unscrupulous candidates and political organizations. The authors have dubbed chapter 6 of their book "Absentee Ballots--The `Tool of Choice' of Vote Thieves" and cite specific examples of voter fraud that occurred in Greene County, Alabama back in 1994. A federal investigation uncovered the following: 1) 60 ballots sent to one P.O. Box, 2) absentee ballots stolen from voters mailboxes, 3) voters threatened with loss of public assistance and 4) votes were cast in the name of voters who were dead or who no longer resided in the county.

Sticking to the Voter ID issue Fund and von Spakovsky go on to cite an interesting case from my home state of Rhode Island where Voter ID was passed just last year. One of the chief proponents of Voter ID was Harold Metts, a 69 year old African-American state senator and a lifelong Democrat. Metts revealed that he had been fielding complaints for years from his mostly black and Latino constituents in the inner city of Providence. What is truly instructive is the event that convinced him that Voter ID was needed. His own state representative Anastasia Williams, an outspoken liberal herself, revealed that she and her daughter had their votes stolen in 2006 by people voting in their name. Metts joined forces with the Democratic Secretary of State Ralph Mollis to campaign for passage of a Voter ID law in the Ocean State. Much to my surprise the law was passed by our mostly Democratic legislature and signed into law by our "lefty" independent governor Lincoln Chafee. It was a reform that was long overdue!

Throughout the book von Spakovsky recalls his stormy four year tenure at the Department of Justice. While there he discovered that the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division was packed with liberal lawyers. Conservatives need not apply. To me the most disturbing observation made by the author is that there are nearly 80 lawyers assigned to enforce voting rights laws while there are just two to investigate voter fraud. It is abundantly clear where the priorities of the department lie. And it has only gotten worse under Attorney General Eric Holder who simply refuses to investigate alleged voter fraud. Meanwhile, what I found equally disturbing in "Who's Counting?" are the persistent calls by those on the left to abolish the Electoral College. The latest was made by former Vice President Al Gore in just the past couple of days. The authors argue passionately and convincingly the National Popular Vote (NPV) would be a very bad idea. They also reveal that there is an extremely sinister plan afoot by those on the left to circumvent the constitutional amendment route to achieve this goal. Very disturbing indeed!

When I was growing up my father warned me about people who would "do anything to win". That was great advice but unfortunately there are growing numbers among us who fit that description. "Who's Counting: How Fraud and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk" presents us with a comprehensive and rather chilling overview of the challenges we face in conducting honest elections in this nation. In the final chapter of the book entitled "What Is To Be Done" the authors offer up a number of common sense solutions to correct many of these problems and abuses. While the need for Voter ID may be the centerpiece of their presentation, John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky cover a number of other problems and abuses that compromise our electoral process in great detail. The next time someone tries to tell you that voter fraud is grossly exaggerated or virtually non-existent don't you believe it! Rather, refer that individual to "Who's Counting?" Tell them that this is an extremely well written and meticulously researched book with more than 30 pages of endnotes. Then challenge them to come up with some credible evidence to the contrary. Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Who_s_Counting_How_Fraudsters_and_Bureaucrats_Put_Your_Vote_At_Risk-538-1836165-228188-Voter_fraud_continues_to_be_a_threat_to_the_future.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Who_s_Counting_How_Fraudsters_and_Bureaucrats_Put_Your_Vote_At_Risk-538-1836165-228188-Voter_fraud_continues_to_be_a_threat_to_the_future.html Tue, 11 Sep 2012 09:00:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Wouldn't it be better to connect the dots, imagine the unimaginable, and take necessary precautions]]>
Let's not mince words here. Much of what you learn in "Cowards" is bound to frighten you. It should. Take Kevin Freeman, an economic analyst commissioned by the Pentagon to evaluate the fallout from the 2008 economic crisis. What Freeman has to say about it is chilling. Mr. Freeman concluded that terrorist organizations could indeed wreak havoc on our economy in myriad ways. You sure won't hear about this from Rachel Maddow or Wolf Blitzer. Their complete lack of intellectual curiosity is astonishing! Yet, when a Washington Times reporter asked a high-ranking government official about these threats he simply dismissed it by saying "Nobody wants to go there." Meanwhile Kevin Freeman was told in no uncertain terms that there would be retribution if he ever publicly discussed his findings. Now if you listen to our esteemed U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano you would think that all is just hunky-dory along the Mexican border. Nothing could be further from the truth. Did you know that more than 100 tunnels have been discovered between Mexico and the United States. You will find a compelling full-page photo of one of them on page 105. And were you aware of just how violent the Mexican drug cartels really are? What I learned in this book sent chills up my spine.

Speaking of frightening you will learn in "Cowards" who George Soros really is. His organization Open Society Institute (OSI) supports a cornucopia of far-left organizations and foundations. His goal is the fundamental transformation of American society. Sound familiar? Soros counts among his allies the public employee unions and a whole host of radical organizations. The more you read about this guy the more scary he becomes. You only need to read about his "Secretary of State Project" to know just what I am talking about. Incredibly, Soros has come out of the shadows and is now pursuing his radical agenda right out in the open. This only serves to prove the stranglehold this man has on the media and so many of America's leading institutions.

In subsequent chapters of "Cowards: What Politicians, Radicals and the Media Refuse to Say" goes on to discuss several more of the most pressing this nation is facing including our pathetic educational system, the threat posed by radical Islam and the relentless attack on free speech and religious liberty that we see all around us. "Cowards" is punctuated by impressive photographs and memorable quotations. I found the format of this book to be a bit dizzying at first but once I got used to it I realized that it is extremely effective. It reads and looks like a textbook which I believe is exactly what Glenn Beck had in mind. After you read "Cowards" be sure to pass it on to a relative, friend or neighbor. I would characterize this volume as a "handbook for patriots". The American people really do need to know what is going on out there. And they are certainly not going to learn the truth in the mainstream media. Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Cowards_What_Politicians_Radicals_and_the_Media_Refuse_To_Say-538-1828595-224784-_Wouldn_t_it_be_better_to_connect_the_dots_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Cowards_What_Politicians_Radicals_and_the_Media_Refuse_To_Say-538-1828595-224784-_Wouldn_t_it_be_better_to_connect_the_dots_.html Fri, 15 Jun 2012 08:18:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barack Obama lacks the temperament, management skills and vision to tackle the job.]]> David Scheiner, MD has been Barack Obama's personal physician for the past 22 years. And he is none too happy with the health care program that was championed by his most famous patient. "I look at his healthcare plan and I can't see how it can work. He has no cost control. When Barack Obama planned this health program, he didn't include anyone who actually practiced medicine in the trenches the way I do. My main objection to Barack Obama is that he is a great speaker and a lousy communicator. He's got academic University of Chicago-type people around him who don't care."  These candid remarks found on page 16 of Edward Klein's best-selling new book "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House" really do help to set the stage for the authors' stinging 258 page indictment of the man who would be king Barack Obama. Culled from nearly 200 interviews with the people who know Obama best "The Amateur" paints a portrait of an aloof, divisive, stubborn, arrogant, ungrateful and rather thin-skinned President who believes that he alone possesses all of the answers to our nations ills. For those of us who have followed the Obama presidency closely much of what is disclosed in "The Amateur" really comes as no great surprise.  Still, to find all of these incidents and stories enumerated in a single place can simply be mind-blowing.  For a good many Americans what Edward Klein has to say in this book should prove to be a real eye-opener.

Politically, as the 44th President of the United States prepares to launch his re-election bid, he is confronted by a whole host of problems, quite a few of his own making.  Mr. Obama has managed to alienate a good many of the people who supported his candidacy four years ago including the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and the "First Day People"--African-American leaders in Chicago who helped to pave the way for his political ascent. I was amazed to discover that Rev. Wright agreed to be interviewed for this book. Wright recalled the first time he met Barack Obama in 1985:  "what I remember is that he came to talk to me as a community organizer, not in search of Christ".  I found that remark to be very telling indeed. Of course we all know the rest of the Reverend Wright story and how in spite of their deep-rooted relationship Barack Obama abruptly disowned him when he became a political liabililty back in 2007. Then there is the American media mogul and talk show host Oprah Winfrey who went out on a limb to support Barack in the 2008 Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton.  Oprah's support cost her a significant share of her audience and yet despite her determined efforts to help  elect the first black President of the United States it appears that she has been largely been ignored by the Obama's since the election.  Hmmm....there seems to be a pattern developing here.  Trust me, there are plenty of other examples of this sort of thing chronicled in "The Amateur".

Barack Obama has now been President for nearly 3 and 1/2 years.  According to many observers quoted in the book his adminstration is still rather amateurish. Some go so far as to say that it is in total disarray. Why?  Many attribute it to the cadre of idealogues Obama has surrounded himself with, most notably his senior advisor and most trusted aide Valerie Jarrett.  According to Klein "the White House official responsible for "public engagement" has conspicuously failed to engage." Klein goes on to say "I heard this complaint about Jarrett from practically everyone I interviewed for the book--Republicans and Democrats, African-Americans and Jews.  They all blamed Jarrett for keeping the President isolated from those whose good opinions he needed the most."  It is no wonder that Obama does not have a close relationship with any member of Congress.  The truth is that the President is a loner who seems to prefer his own company to that of others.  One has to wonder if Mr. Obama possesses the suitable psychological make-up to be President.

Prior to reading "The Amateur:  Barack Obama in the White House" I read a new book by Bill Lane called "Losing It:  Behaviors and Mindsets that Ruin Careers".  Lane was the head speechwriter for Jack Welch when he was the CEO of General Electric.  In the book Lane points out a host of character flaws and mindsets that if left unchecked can torpedo promising careers.  Frankly, I could not help but think that many of these personality flaws--arrogance, a lack of preparation, wishful thinking, incuriosity and landing a big job for which you may not be qualified are latent in our current President. For many Americans it is frightening to contemplate that such an unqualified individual could ever become our President and commander-in-chief. For conservatives like myself Edward Klein is merely preaching to the choir. But if you are an independent voter I urge you to do your homework and read a few books about the candidates and the important issues facing our nation before the upcoming election. By all means, one of those books should be "The Amateur:  Barack Obama in the White House". You will discover lots of pertinent information you just won't find in the mainstream media.  This is an engaging and well-written book that those in the White House sincerely hope you will not read.  Very highly recommended!

]]>
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<![CDATA[ A prophetic commentary from 47 years ago.]]>

I heard this 1965 essay from the legendary ABC radio commentator Paul Harvey for the first time just a few weeks ago. It is shocking! Sounds just like the society we are living in today. It sure makes me realize just how far this country has fallen in the past half century.  Be you liberal or conservative I urge you to give it a listen.  It is less than three minutes long.  Let me know what you think.  As far as I am concerned Mr. Harvey was right on target.   Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-If_I_Were_The_Devil-538-1810462-222668-A_prophetic_commentary_from_47_years_ago_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-If_I_Were_The_Devil-538-1810462-222668-A_prophetic_commentary_from_47_years_ago_.html Sun, 15 Apr 2012 12:50:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ The intense ideological battle for the heart and soul of America is really nothing new...]]>
I think that it is fair to say that most Americans have only a passing knowledge of the writings of philosophers such as Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Toqueville. Some would attribute this to the "dumbing down of America" that has been inexorably taking place in our schools over the past half-century or so. But the truth is that all of these individuals as well as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have exerted a great deal of influence over American political thought in the 235 years of our nation's existence. Plato, More, Hobbes and of course Karl Max all come down on the side of "collectivist" or "utopian" states whereby individuals must necessarily become subservient to the interests of the state. In such an environment individuals "must be managed and suppressed by masterminds for the greater good." There is no tolerance for individual self-interest or even self-preservation. A person's labor and property belong to the state or are controlled by the state. Citing lengthy excerpts from the extensive writings of each of these individuals, Levin points out the obvious flaws in this line of thinking. Mr. Levin succeeds in arming his readers with the ammunition they will need to refute the arguments offered by the leftists and statists in this country on a wide variety of issues like universal health care, the progressive income tax and an ever-expanding and intrusive federal government. To paraphrase an old boxing expression "in this corner" we have the Barack Obama's, Nancy Pelosi's, Lincoln Chafee's and Chuck Schumer's of the world.

Part Two of "Ameritopia" hones in on the writings of John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and Alexis de Toqueville who all champion a much smaller, less intrusive government. John Locke in particular had an enormous influence on our Founding Fathers as they went about the rough and tumble business of fashioning the Constitution. It is an indisputable fact that for most of the history of the world mankind has been ruled by despots and repressive governments. The Founding Fathers wanted something much different. John Locke wrote that "laws made by men and governments without the consent of the government are illegitimate and no man is bound to them." Regarding personal property rights Locke explained that there is always going to be an unequal distribution of property resulting from the manner in which a man applies his labor. This is just plain common sense. "As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by his labor does, as it were, enclose it from the common. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational; not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious." Amen! Meanwhile, another major influence on the thinking of the Founding Fathers was the French philosopher Charles de Montesquieu. Montesquieu warned of "the dangers of a republican government attempting to transform a civil society--including superceding the effects of religion, family, commerce, traditions, customs, mores etc. through legal coercion." Sounds like a page from the Saul Alinsky handbook does it not? Finally, Montesquieu goes on to observe that "There are two sorts of tyranny: a real one, which consists of the violence of the government, and one of opinion, which is felt when those who govern establish things that run counter to a nation's way of thinking." Many of us would argue that this is precisely what has been going on for the past three years.

In the final section of "Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America" Mark Levin explains how the statists have advanced their agenda over the past eight decades and why the 2012 elections stand as a watershed in American history. The choices we face have never been more clear. If you are one of those people still sitting on the fence I urge you to read "Ameritopia". Meanwhile, if you are someone who is largely in agreement with the principles espoused by our Founding Fathers I would wholeheartedly encourage you to pick up a copy of "Ameritopia" as well. Mark Levin's compelling book will help to crystallize the arguments in your mind as your attempt to educate your friends, relatives and neighbors in the coming months leading up to the election. Kudos to Mark Levin for an extremely well thought-out and well-executed project. Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Ameritopia_The_Unmaking_of_America-538-1788678-222510-The_intense_ideological_battle_for_the_heart_and.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Ameritopia_The_Unmaking_of_America-538-1788678-222510-The_intense_ideological_battle_for_the_heart_and.html Mon, 9 Apr 2012 08:28:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Learn the Historical Roots of the Tea Party Movement]]> COVENANT OF LIBERTY, Michael Patrick Leahy takes the reader on a journey through history looking at the movement. As he writes in the introduction, "If we remain faithful to our inheritance and carry forward the core values of the Tea Party movement with authentic grassroots intensity over the next generation, the future of our country is bright indeed. Based on my personal experiences over the last three years, I have no reason to doubt that we will succeed in this effort, and that our posterity will be able to say of us, They restored the covenant of liberty."(Page 5)

The information in this book is well documented and the writing is solid. If you want to know where the Tea Party came from, then you need this book.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Covenant_of_Liberty_The_Ideological_Origins_of_the_Tea_Party_Movement-538-1804643-222095-Learn_the_Historical_Roots_of_the_Tea_Party.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Covenant_of_Liberty_The_Ideological_Origins_of_the_Tea_Party_Movement-538-1804643-222095-Learn_the_Historical_Roots_of_the_Tea_Party.html Tue, 20 Mar 2012 15:13:19 +0000
<![CDATA[ "... talented people actually like to be asked to do something very, very difficult" (Mitt Romney)]]>  

From early 1999- March 2002 Willard Mitt Romney (born 1947 in Michigan) was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the 2002 Winter Olympics. In the fall of 2008 SLOC was in big trouble. Federal indictments might come down at any minute against both two former officials and against the ongoing Comittee itself for dubious actions to persuade overseas Olympics officials to vote for Salt Lake City to host the games. A friend of Mitt's asked Mitt's wife Ann to help talk him into stepping in to save Salt Lake City's bacon. 

 

Ann, married in 1969, mother of their five sons and suffering severely from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), knew her man. Mitt came around to turnaround. As Ann Romney later  told the Boston GLOBE, her husband tackled only big messes: "He loves emergencies and catastrophes" (TURNAROUND Ch. 3 "Strategic Audit"). Or as Mitt himself said: " "... talented people actually like to be asked to do something very, very difficult" (TURNAROUND Ch. 5).

By 1998 Mitt Romney had made himself fairly well known inside the Massachusetts where he had studied at Harvard, lived and worked for three decades -- not as arcane financial turnaround wizard, but as Republican candidate for the US Senate in 1994, soundly squashed by incumbent Ted Kennedy. He knew that he would lose, but expected to make citizens think about alternative principles of governing. He confessed that he failed, for Ted Kennedy's campaign brilliantly put him on the defensive as Mormon, money-maker and more. No time for big issues debating.

 

A half-hearted Mormon through high school, Mitt Romney grew passionately convinced as missionary for two years in France and later bishop-equivalent for Boston). In 1998 Mitt Romney was not a household word even in Mormon-dominated Salt Lake City that ancestors of his had pioneered. He had fortuitously, just built a nearby ski lodge for his family and lived there during the run-up to the Olympics.

But Salt Lake City was to launch Mitt Romney as a figure of US national prominence and also as a man known worldwide to sports lovers and to the leaders of the international Olympic Games movement. It is striking that "the turnaround kid" flew three days after the Winter Games closed back to Boston to mount his successful run for Governor of Massachusetts. Four years later, February 2007, he launched his first run for President, losing the Republican Party nomination to Senator John McCain. 

 

Throughout his 1994 Senatorial campaign against Kennedy, during his turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics, his governorship and in his first run for President, Mitt Romney applied (or against Kennedy and McCain failed to apply, to his detriment) again and again the methodology for success that he had first learned earning law and business degrees at Harvard. The five hundred data-driven "cases" that Romney studied at Harvard Business School fitted right in with a new international consulting firm Bain & Company, founded by dynamic young BIll Bain.

In 1977, aged 30, Romney joined Bain & Company. Romney internalized "the Bain Way" of immersing a team of consultants inside a company both during and after "Strategic Auditing" of problems. Some of the team would then stay on after reports had been written to assure a successful turnaround. 

 

All this and more appears in TURNAROUND: CRISIS, LEADERSHIP, AND THE OLYMPIC GAMES by Mitt Romney with Timothy Robinson. The dustcover of the original 2004 edition describes Romney, accurately, as the sitting Governor of Massachusetts. Reissued in 2007, to coincide with his run for President, TURNAROUND's author was no longer Governor of Massachusetts. But he remained the Turnaround Kid. He was the man who could convert red ink into black ink -- losses into profits.

 

Mitt Romney without doubt turned around the 2002 Winter Olympics. From an anticipated deficit the SLOC ended with a $56 million surplus. He had applied the ideas and practices of mentor Bill Bain:

 

-- (1) Form a team of very bright people;

 

-- (2) Give that team the vision of where they are going ("serving people" in the Olympics, for instance);

 

-- (3) Use the Vision to make the team co-operative, united, not backbiting and self-seeking;

 

-- (4) Do a Strategic Audit of the organization spewing red ink;

-- (5) Focus on important things, not trivia -- don't, for example, waste time trying to improve a strong team member's weaknesses, find someone else strong where he/she is weak;

 

-- (5) Turn the client organization around into profitablilty.

 

As a certified "Bainiac," Romney had proven himself in his two decades in business as risk-averse, reality-rooted and determined to succeed. As CEO of SLOC and a co-author of the 2002 Olympics, Mitt Romney demonstrated skills that arguably qualified him to be first a State Governor, then a National President, especially of a nation spewing red ink.

 

-OOO-


 

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http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Mitt_Romney_TURNAROUND_CRISIS_LEADERSHIP_AND_THE_OLYMPIC_GAMES-538-1804650-222064-_talented_people_actually_like_to_be_asked_to.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Mitt_Romney_TURNAROUND_CRISIS_LEADERSHIP_AND_THE_OLYMPIC_GAMES-538-1804650-222064-_talented_people_actually_like_to_be_asked_to.html Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:59:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Kony 2012 Quick Tip by devora]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/d/UserReview-Kony_2012-13-1804647-222043.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/d/UserReview-Kony_2012-13-1804647-222043.html Sat, 17 Mar 2012 22:26:24 +0000 <![CDATA[ "Smart -- or dumb -- is forever"]]> I am curious to know when and why lawyer, radio talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt decided to write A MORMON IN THE WHITE HOUSE? 10 THINGS EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MITT ROMNEY (2007).

 

Hewitt's base is California. Romney's for three decades had been Massachusetts.  On February 13, 2007 Romney officially announced his run for U.S. President as a candidate within the Republican party. He had stopped being Governor of that state for only two months when Hewitt's book was published in March 2007.

 

Hewitt clearly believed in early 2007 that Willard Mitt Romney was far better qualified to win the Republican nomination than GIuliani or McCain. Hewitt would not have expected Romney to drop out of the race -- as he did on February 7, 2008 --  and declare for McCain. Being a Mormon was, according to Hewitt, Romney's biggest handicap and it should not have been.

 

For under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution a religious test for Federal office is impermissible. And thoroughly unorthodox Presidents have included Freemason George Washington, agnostic Thomas Jefferson and never baptized Abraham Lincoln. One by one Hewitt strikes down objections to "a Mormon in the White House."

 

What qualified Romney to become President in January 2009, according to Hugh Hewitt, was a combination of generations of Mormon family grit, love of challenges and determination, a morally blameless personal and family life (ailing wife, five telegenic sons), personal drive and the "case study" education behind his Harvard joint doctorate in law and business. Added to that were Romney's apprentice and managerial years at metro Boston's global management firm Bain and Company and later his founding and ownership of related Bain Capital, which not only turned ailing companies around but bought into them and later sold at huge profits for Romney personally and for his colleagues.

 

Romney explicitly used "the Bain way" when he salvaged the 2002 winter olympic games in Salt Lake City. By then he and his wife were determined that there was more to life than piling up money. Mitt would follow his father, governor of Michigan and Presidential candidate, into a life of at least a few years of public service. The "Bain way" had as elements sending a team of bright, rising "Bainiacs" to spend months at a company, feeling for its problems, gathering data, making recommendations and hanging around to make sure suggestions were implemented.

The Bain Way was in evidence when Romney was governor of the Bay State. Romney is the Bain Way and, in the eyes of author Hugh Hewitt, there is no better way for an American President to be President.

 

Hewitt rightly flags Mitt Romney's book, TURNAROUND, as a case study in Romney's own words as to how he and a dedicated "gold medal" team saved the 2002 winter Olympic games after initial mismanagement corruption by others and in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C. and Manhattan. As Romney wrote in TURNAROUND:

 

Bain and Company consultants ... "begin by hiring the right people."

 

"'I like smart people. Bill Bain, my old boss, used to joke that most things can be fixed but smart -- or dumb  -- is forever." (Ch. 2)

 

In TURNAROUND Romney wonders how it is that one great leader can turn around ailing companies with 10,000 or more employees. Romney did not become President on his first run in 2007-2008. Should he triumph in 2012, readers can expect to see a White House redecorated in "the Bain Way."

 

-OOO-

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-A_Mormon_in_the_White_House_10_Things_Every_American_Should_Know_about_Mitt_Romney-538-1583445-221935-_Smart_or_dumb_is_forever_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-A_Mormon_in_the_White_House_10_Things_Every_American_Should_Know_about_Mitt_Romney-538-1583445-221935-_Smart_or_dumb_is_forever_.html Tue, 13 Mar 2012 10:51:53 +0000
<![CDATA[James Carville and Paul Begala vs. Ari Fleischer on understanding the Republican Party Quick Tip by MichaelN]]> http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/person/UserReview-James_Carville_and_Paul_Begala_vs_Ari_Fleischer_on_understanding_the_Republican_Party-538-1796595-219562.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/person/UserReview-James_Carville_and_Paul_Begala_vs_Ari_Fleischer_on_understanding_the_Republican_Party-538-1796595-219562.html Wed, 25 Jan 2012 12:53:27 +0000 <![CDATA[Barack Obama Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/politician/UserReview-Barack_Obama-77-1010013-219365.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/politician/UserReview-Barack_Obama-77-1010013-219365.html Fri, 13 Jan 2012 01:56:39 +0000 <![CDATA[Rick Perry Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/d/UserReview-Rick_Perry-232-1490151-219364.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/d/UserReview-Rick_Perry-232-1490151-219364.html Fri, 13 Jan 2012 01:49:36 +0000 <![CDATA[ Bill is the New George Carlin!]]>
Bill is very strong on saying that anyone not believing in climate change is living a fantasy, that the conservative Republican pundits have repeated certain untrue messages over and over that they are now accepted as being true (especially with things invovlving universal healthcare).

Though Bill is a comedian, he seems to be one of the few "liberal" voices that backs up what he says with cogent arguments (unlike the zannies at MSNBC). Nobody is immune to his ironic barbs including Democrats, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Though the bulk of his complaints are against the most conservative Republicans and pundits like Hannity and Limbaugh.

Bill has a funny preface which he even attacks the reader for being silly for reading the book's preface. In it he also states that this book is the second of a trilogy so another one will be coming in a few years (he needs time to build up more material).

If you can put all political predjudices aside and just read the book you will find it hilarious. I know I have seen several of the most Conservative of guests (Ann Coulter, Dan Issa ) laughing out loud at his New Rules segment on his HBO Real Time show.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-The_New_New_Rules_A_Funny_Look_at_How_Everybody_But_Me_Has_Their_Head_Up_Their_Ass-538-1789941-216536-Bill_is_the_New_George_Carlin_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-The_New_New_Rules_A_Funny_Look_at_How_Everybody_But_Me_Has_Their_Head_Up_Their_Ass-538-1789941-216536-Bill_is_the_New_George_Carlin_.html Wed, 21 Dec 2011 21:44:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Marijuana Legalization Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
If it does get legalized, I hope the restrictions and guidelines don't get as annoying as with cigarettes. SF had gotten very silly with some ordinances, that smokers have begun to lose some of  their civil liberties.

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http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/d/UserReview-Marijuana_Legalization-232-1452234-216259.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/d/UserReview-Marijuana_Legalization-232-1452234-216259.html Sun, 11 Dec 2011 22:12:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ why can't people learn how to drive when they are on the road.]]> angry.so when you are out on the road just remember to go about you're buisness and ignore all those people who are also going about their buisness.]]> http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/activity/UserReview-Driving-538-1461650-215465-why_can_t_people_learn_how_to_drive_when_they_are.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/activity/UserReview-Driving-538-1461650-215465-why_can_t_people_learn_how_to_drive_when_they_are.html Fri, 18 Nov 2011 18:19:09 +0000 <![CDATA[ The Best History Book I Have Read In About Five Years!]]>
I could barely believe how Lee's soldiers could have fought so fiercely with no food or sleep for days, while marching over a great distance. Some of the fights included men fighting like wild animals, using teeth and anything else.

The grandeur of Lee's actual surrender is utterly amazing. Now for the conspiracy. It is told in such a way that all the way up until Booth fires the fatal shot, you are hoping that he will change his mind. The level of detail about that April 14th is so amazing that the authors had to sift through an incredible amount of research and then sort it chronolgically. Amazing!

For real history buffs there are reprints of the Harper's Bazaar articles about the assasination and the hunt for Booth and the others.

Had I had a book like this in College, I probably would have taken a lot more history. The people that write those droll history textbooks should take a lesson from this book!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Killing_Lincoln_The_Shocking_Assassination_that_Changed_America_Forever-538-1769710-214744-The_Best_History_Book_I_Have_Read_In_About_Five.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Killing_Lincoln_The_Shocking_Assassination_that_Changed_America_Forever-538-1769710-214744-The_Best_History_Book_I_Have_Read_In_About_Five.html Sat, 29 Oct 2011 12:33:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ A principled conservative leader reflects on the past two tumultuous years.]]> Jim DeMint of South Carolina was elected to the United States Senate in 2004 he hardly expected to become a household name.  After all, DeMint had represented South Carolina's 4th Congressional District for three terms and most Americans had never heard of him to that point.  But Jim DeMint was a committed conservative who was extremely unhappy with the direction the country was heading in. To him it didn't seem to matter whether it was Democrats or Republicans in charge.  The federal government continued to grow at an alarming rate.  While in the House of Representatives DeMint had opposed two of President George W. Bush's major first-term initiatives which were the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in 2003.  Furthermore,  he was unhappy with the way President Bush was handling the war in Iraq and was steadfastly opposed to the whole notion of earmarks.  He decided he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and was determined to fight for fiscal sanity in Washington if elected.   When Senator Jim DeMint took his oath of office in January 2005 he had no idea that one day soon he would become the spokesman for a cause and one of the leaders of a movement.  "The Great American Awakening:  Two Years That Changed America, Washington, and Me" chronicles the raucous first two years of the Obama administration when it became crystal clear to Jim DeMint and millions of average Americans that radical changes were needed to alter the way Washington was doing business.  

If Jim DeMint was unhappy with the direction that George W. Bush had been taking this country he was positively outraged by the approach taken by President Barack Obama and the Democrats in early 2009.  Mr. Obama was spending money like a drunken sailor, bypassing Congress with both a series of executive orders and  the appointment of so-called "czars" who were not subject to Congressional oversight.  This was not the "change" most Americans had been looking for.  Jim DeMint assumed that the Republicans in the Senate would fight the President tooth and nail on many of these important issues.  He would be sadly mistaken and discovered that far too many of his colleagues were much more inclined to "go along to get along" than to stand up for conservative principles.  And so he decided to take matters into his own hands and formed the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), a political action committee that is "dedicated to electing strong conservatives to the United States Senate" in the spring of 2009.  The first candidate endorsed by SCF was Pat Toomey who was challenging the incumbant Republican Senator Arlen Spector in Pennsylvania.   

It was at about this time that a new grassroots conservative movement known as the Tea Party was beginning to emerge all across America.  Members of the Tea Party were hardly the wild-eyed radicals they were being portrayed as in the mainstream media.  Rather, they were the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker who owned and operated small businesses.  They were also hard-working Americans who went to work each and every day, paid taxes and obeyed the law.  These folks were genuinely frightened by the direction President Obama and the leaders in Congress were headed in.  The Tea Party stood for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.  They also want existing immigration laws enforced and strongly opposed Obamacare.  Despite the public outcry the Obama administration pressed ahead with its radical agenda.  During the summer of 2009 Tea Party members would make their displeasure known at town hall meetings in cities and towns from Maine to California and from Florida to Alaska.  The Tea Party was not going away and Senator Jim DeMint counted himself among its most ardent supporters.  He was asked to speak at several of their rallies and was all too happy to accept.
 
The rise of the Tea Party dovetailed quite nicely with Jim Demint's Senate Conservative's Fund.  Enthusiasm for the cause was building and several more articulate and highly-qualified conservative candidates would come forward to compete for seats in the United States Senate.  Jim DeMint would put principle ahead of party and lend a hand to all of them.  He was viewed by leadership as something of a pariah and his determination to support true conservatives would place a strain on his relationship with several of his Republican colleagues.  No matter.  Jim DeMint firmly believed he was doing the right thing and the election results in 2010 would seem to bear that out.  "The Great American Awakening: Two Years That Changed America, Washington, and Me" is a great way to look back at these two turbulent years in American politics. Jim DeMint offers interesting perspectives on what has gone down so far and what is likely to take place in 2012. It sure isn't boring.  Highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Great_American_Awakening_Two_Years_That_Changed_America_Washington_and_Me-538-1772137-214462-A_principled_conservative_leader_reflects_on_the.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Great_American_Awakening_Two_Years_That_Changed_America_Washington_and_Me-538-1772137-214462-A_principled_conservative_leader_reflects_on_the.html Fri, 21 Oct 2011 21:57:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Return of The Order of The Phoenix]]> Trust is what built relationships and relationship is what established corporations. When trust is being manipulated or misplaced by one party of the equation, the whole foundation collapses. That's what the global banking system and governments are "enforcing" on the majority of the world population now. Herein lies the uprising of the worldwide Occupy Wall Street movement.

 
I was there as an observer (albeit bystander) on Saturday, October 15. In the Chinese saying, the bystander sees clearly (旁观者清). When one is able to remove one's interest (in more way than one) from the equation, one sees enlightenment and solutions.
 
To change a "corrupted" out of equilibrium world, there are 2 major considerations and components:
1) Affect - Who?
2) Effect - What?
 
How to bring about the desired outcome without toppling the entire human population and how to generate the sum greater than the whole of all its individual parts?

Most want a banking system to do what it was intended to do. The spirit of banking was good. What had changed over the last 2 decades or so (especially the last one) is the workings and reinforcement of the system. Financial engineering (mastering, according to the insiders) and leveraging by a few selected priveleged individuals have brought PAIN to the society at large, savers and investors alike.
 
The governments have "consequently" been pulled into the "Ponzi" scheme involuntarily (in some cases, claiming ignorance does not and should not leave them unpunished)! By hook or by crook, they are still in charge and to a larger extent, in daze. Trick or treat? You decide!
 
In the grand scheme of things, collective enlightenment only comes when the majority wakes up from this slumber. And, I'm glad to see some have! Not nearly enough though but is still comforting to see I'm not the only one in the world!

 
No, we do not want the banking system to fail. We want a new order, the Order of the Phoenix! Proctect HP (Harry Potter, Human Population at large) and eliminate the wicked Voldemort! There are clearly parasites in the tree of life and if they are not totally removed, it will destroy the entire eco system. Death will be imminent. 
 
That my friend is my take on Occupy Wall Street 101. What is yours?!

Related Articles:
Original Sin
The World is GREEDY!
Banking 101 - Systematic Failure
The financial coup d'etat


(A Lunch Featured Review)
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<![CDATA[ The Lincoln Factor]]>
This is a book that is quite easy to read, told more in the manner of a novel than a work of nonfiction. That is one of its great strengths, for it gets the reader involved very quickly and keeps him interested in what is happening, even though he knows the ultimate result of everything that has gone before.

I don't know whether Mr. O'Reilly himself did the research, or perhaps it was done by his co-author and he was responsible for getting the book into shape. However it was done, the result is a book that is well worth reading by everyone.

I haven't read any of the other reviews (I never do before writing my own so they won't have any influence, even subconsciously over me), but looking at the difference in stars between the high and the low, I wonder if perhaps a portion of those who gave the book low marks even read it. As we all know, books by conservative authors, or those who are believed to be conservative, tend to get a lot of low ratings by non-readers. The name of the author is enough to get them writing with poison pen. I hope this is not the case here. Reasonable reviewers can disagree about the content, accuracy and value of a book without projecting into their reviews their own political prejudices.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Killing_Lincoln_The_Shocking_Assassination_that_Changed_America_Forever-538-1769710-213950-The_Lincoln_Factor.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Killing_Lincoln_The_Shocking_Assassination_that_Changed_America_Forever-538-1769710-213950-The_Lincoln_Factor.html Mon, 3 Oct 2011 15:36:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ A failure as mayor, he learned nothing from the first bombings of the World Trade Center]]> http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Rudy_Giuliani-538-1010856-212881-A_failure_as_mayor_he_learned_nothing_from_the.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Rudy_Giuliani-538-1010856-212881-A_failure_as_mayor_he_learned_nothing_from_the.html Fri, 2 Sep 2011 01:51:33 +0000 <![CDATA[ Learn why The Tea Party movement is a growing force in American politics.]]> "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." ---Thomas Jefferson

Truer words were never spoken. Tea Party members and their supporters know this instinctively.  We are seeing it happen right now before our very eyes.  Members of the Tea Party are not wild-eyed radicals as they as being portrayed in the mainstream media.  Rather, they are the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker who own and operate small businesses all across America.  They are also the hard-working individuals who go to work each and every day, pay taxes and obey the law.  These people are frightened by the direction President Obama and our leaders in Congress have been taking this country. They have found their voice in the Tea PartySenator Rand Paul of the great state of Kentucky is a newcomer to politics. When he announced his candidacy he was given little chance of being elected.  Senator Paul subscribes to much of what the Tea Party stands for. He firmly believes in a balanced budget and that across-the-board spending cuts are in order.  For Rand Paul there are absolutely no sacred cows. Senator Paul makes an impassioned case for a return to fiscal sanity in his new book "The Tea Party Goes To Washington". You will find an abundance of common sense in this volume.

In the pages of "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" Senator Paul reiterates time and again that he does not consider himself to be a leader of the Tea Party movement.  While he espouses many of the positions championed by Tea Party members Paul points out that the Tea Party is largely a grass roots movement that has sprung up spontaneously in cities and towns all over the country.  There is an old expression that says that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."  Depending on where you are Tea Parties have been formed in reaction to issues like bank bailouts, auto bailouts, mortgage bailouts, stimulus, cap and trade, new business regulations and Obamacare.  Some Tea Party groups choose to focus more on state and local issues.  Paul points out that there is precious little communication between most of these groups and that by design the movement lacks strong and identifiable leaders.  He believes that this is the way that it should be and is confident that the Tea Party will never be co-opted by the existing political establishment.

Throughout his primary and general election campaigns in 2010 Rand Paul was portrayed by his opponents, the political establishment and the mainstream media as some sort of kook who was totally out of touch with average Americans.  The voters in his state did not buy it and were ready to move in a new and different direction.  In "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" Paul offers up his thinking on how to resolve the current budget mess we are confronting in this country.  He is willing to take an ax not only to the social programs that are the darlings of those on the left but also to the bloated military budget that is the sacred cow of those on the right.  Currently, military spending by the United States accounts for 45% of the defense spending in the entire world. This is clearly unsustainable!  Rand Paul is also opposed to the whole notion of nation-building which he believes has caused the tremendous spike in defense spending over the past decade.  Being a practicing physician Rand Paul sees the sheer folly of Obamacare and has a lot to say about it in the book. Clearly he would like to see this ill-advised debacle repealed by the Congress.

Time and again in "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" Rand Paul harkens back to the Founding Fathers for wisdom and guidance.  He seems to be particularly fond of Thomas Jefferson.  Senator Paul believes that we can extricate ourselves from this mess but that the average citizen has to become more informed and involved in the process.  Despite all of the obstacles that they face he believes that the Tea Party will ultimately be successful in their quest to take back this country. These are not just conservative Republicans.  The Tea Party includes lots of disaffected Democrats and independents as well who love their country and want to put an end to the abuses that have been heaped upon them from above.  They are tired of being labeled as racists, homophobes and mean-spirited.   It is becoming increasing clear that the Tea Party movement is gathering steam as we head towards the 2012 elections and that the political establishment in both of the major political parties are scared to death of them.  In my view reading "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" would be a great way to get up to speed on all of these substantive issues.  If you have high school or college student in your family give them a copy.  Likewise if you own a copy pass it on to a neighbor or relative. Spread the word!  Unlike a number of other books I have read by politicians "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" is a thoughtful and extremely well written book.   Very highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Tea_Party_Goes_To_Washington-538-1756462-211420-Learn_why_The_Tea_Party_movement_is_a_growing.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Tea_Party_Goes_To_Washington-538-1756462-211420-Learn_why_The_Tea_Party_movement_is_a_growing.html Fri, 12 Aug 2011 22:35:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ All for "nothing"!]]> ItIt makes me wonder, is this a show of hands or is it simply a camouflage to the world? This tussle about the debt ceiling looks to me (possibly just me since I don't hear anyone talk about this "idea") like a signal to the world that should United States one day has to answer to its many debtors, it's a case of "we had tried our best to resolve the issue" rather than having to swallow the bitter pill wIt makes me wonder, is this a show of hands or is it simply a camouflage to the world? This tussle about the debt ceiling looks to me (possibly just me since I don't hear anyone talk about this "idea") like a signal to the world that should United States one day has to answer to its many debtors, it's a case of "we had tried our best to resolve the issue" rather than having to swallow the bitter pill when the day comes.I 
I wrote the following review before the announcement of the credit rating cut by S&P. As it turns out, more tremors would probably be felt in the markets in the next week/s.



As we all know it, when a country has to ask for a loan via the IMF or as did Greece ask its neighbors for support, the country has to come up with some tough measures. In the event that the U.S. will have to default on its loans one fine day, it can just say to the world it did try measures within itself even before it comes to that stage in life!
 
Majority of Lunch readers are American. So, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The day of reckoning will come, just as all of us who consumed and borrowed too much. Everyone alive will have to face that dreadful day. No country or individual will be exempted, it's simply a matter of time. Naturally, human tendencies are to drag things until one can't and at times when luck is shining upon us, we scrapped through. Will the U.S. still be favored? Is it not too late now you say? Personally, I think it's already too late. As we all know, in business, when things are not salvagable, the only measures is to write it off! Yes, all of it! To write off one's debt? Not as bad as it sounds. For a couple of years or at times decades, it's a loss of reputation and whatever privilege one has been accorded with. With time though, things are forgotten and the involved party can start to rebuild that reputation and "empire" again. So, it won't be a bad thing should the U.S. simply swallow its pride and work hard again, right from the bottom.

It's a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, that the U.S. will have to devalue its dollars, if not already. How much more? Perhaps another 20% conservatively. The tough part is not in devaluing but in the decade thereafter. The next 10 years or even 20 years will be the toughest in America's recent history. It's nothing new though, Britain had faced it, Spain had, Argentina had and many Asian countries have had too. So, this is the bad news for America, unfortunately. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of a world that we are all well acquainted with. We will see major upheavals in the finance and business world very soon. The worst has yet to come and we are probably going to see dark clouds with major thunderstorms anytime in the next 24 months. Nothing an individual can do about, just be well prepared and know what to do when the typhoons or tsunamis hit our shore! 



According to CNNMoney, "The move is unprecedented -- and the effects unclear."

 
It's a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, that the U.S. will have to devalue its dollars, if not already. How much more? Perhaps another 20% conservatively. The tough part is not in devaluing but in the decade thereafter. The next 10 years or even 20 years will be the toughest in America's recent history. It's nothing new though, Britain had faced it, Spain had, Argentina had and many Asian countries have had too. So, this is the bad news for America, unfortunately. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of a world that we are all well acquainted with. We will see major upheavels in the finance and business world very soon. The worst has yet to come and we are probably going to see dark clouds with major thunderstorms anytime in the next 24 months. Nothing an individual can do about, just be well prepared and know what to do when the typhoons or tsunamis hit our shore!is it simply a camouflage to the world? This tussle about the debt ceiling looks to me (possibly just me since I don't hear anyone talk about this "idea") like a signal to the world that should United States one day has to answer to its many debtors, it's a case of "we had tried our best to resolve the issue" rather than having to swallow the bitter pill when the day comes.
 
As we all know it, when a country has to ask for a loan via the IMF or as did Greece ask its neighbors for support, the country has to come up with some tough measures. In the event that the U.S. will have to default on its loans one fine day, it can just say to the world it did try measures within itself even before it comes to that stage in life!
 
Majority of Lunch readers are American. So, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The day of reckoning will come, just as all of us who consumed and borrowed too much. Everyone alive will have to face taht dreadful day. No country or individual will be exempted, it's simply a matter of time. Naturally, human tendencies are to drag things until one can't and at times when luck is shining upon us, we scrapped through. Will the U.S. still be favored? Is it not too late now you say? Personally, I think it's already too late. As we all know, in business, when things are not salvagable, the only measures is to write it off! Yes, all of it! To write off one's debt? Not as bad as it sounds. For a couple of years, it's a loss of reputation and whatever privilege one has been accorded with. With time though, things are forgotten and the involved party can start to rebuild that reputation and "empire" again. So, it won't be a bad thing should the U.S. simply swallow its pride and work hard again, right from the bottom.
 
It's a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, that the U.S. will have to devalue its dollars, if not already. How much more? Perhaps another 20% conservatively. The tough part is not in devaluing but in the decade thereafter. The next 10 years or even 20 years will be the toughest in America's recent history. It's nothing new though, Britain had faced it, Spain had, Argentina had and many Asian countries have had too. So, this is the bad news for America, unfortunately. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of a world that we are all well acquainted with. We will see major upheavels in the finance and business world very soon. The worst has yet to come and we are probably going to see dark clouds with major thunderstorms anytime in the next 24 months. Nothing an individual can do about, just be well prepared and know what to do when the typhoons or tsunamis hit our shore!
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Obama_s_Announcement_of_Debt_Deal_to_End_U_S_Debt_Crisis-538-1753486-211181-All_for_nothing_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Obama_s_Announcement_of_Debt_Deal_to_End_U_S_Debt_Crisis-538-1753486-211181-All_for_nothing_.html Sat, 6 Aug 2011 16:26:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Obama's Announcement of Debt Deal to End U.S. Debt Crisis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> review for more details!

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-Obama_s_Announcement_of_Debt_Deal_to_End_U_S_Debt_Crisis-132-1753486-211180.html http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-Obama_s_Announcement_of_Debt_Deal_to_End_U_S_Debt_Crisis-132-1753486-211180.html Sat, 6 Aug 2011 15:34:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Obama's Announcement of Debt Deal to End U.S. Debt Crisis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
I'm sorry to say this, folks. As with some economists, I agree with them on the note that "we ain't see the worst" yet! Run for cover! The BIG question is, where to?!?!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-Obama_s_Announcement_of_Debt_Deal_to_End_U_S_Debt_Crisis-132-1753486-211130.html http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-Obama_s_Announcement_of_Debt_Deal_to_End_U_S_Debt_Crisis-132-1753486-211130.html Fri, 5 Aug 2011 04:16:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Trying to shift the America's workers dissatisfaction by pointing fingers at your trade partner is not going to get you anywhere even if you're lucky enough to be elected!!!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/public_figure/UserReview-Donald_Trump-132-1047662-206574.html http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/public_figure/UserReview-Donald_Trump-132-1047662-206574.html Fri, 29 Apr 2011 04:59:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ President Trump? Please tell me this is just a publicity stunt.]]>
Though I respect the guy and look up to the way he's achieved his successes (with a few bumps on the road) as well as have been highly amused by his antics, his behavior and public persona are not becoming to that of a potential president of the United States.  How can a man with his reputation possibly think that he could hold executive power over an entire country?  The U.S. would just be a laughing stock.

Here are a few aspects of The Donald's life that disturbs me about his potential presidential candidacy:

Public Image
The Trump brand is synonymous with extravagance, luxury, and excess.  Though Donald Trump didn't start off in showbiz, his flashy lifestyle, his outspokenness, and the fact that he never minces words, have made him a celebrity.  Other things that Trump is known for: publicly calling Rosie O'Donnell "a loser", "a bully", and "a despicable person", and of course, the infamous "you're fired" line on his show Celebrity Apprentice. 

Furthermore, with our country in a recession, how is a guy who flaunts his money around on unnecessary things and brags about it going to effectively help us out?  Instead of focusing the efforts in his free time to charity and the like, he runs the Miss USA pageant.  If a more humble and charitable celebrity (among other qualities) were running for presidency, I may be able to get behind that.

Oh, and the hair -- the infamous double comb over.

http://www.celebrific.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/donald-trump-quote-1-10-07.jpg


Personal Life
On top of gossip rags being all over his public antics, his personal life has also been tabloid fodder.  From his cheating on Ivana Trump with Marla Maples, to his extravagant multi-million dollar wedding to Melania Knauss, a model who does Aflac commercials.  He's also been on Howard Stern, where he's given TMI in regards to his family.

http://donaldtrumppictures.com/images/donaldtrump.jpg

Business Dealings
The guy has filed for bankruptcy several times.  What's more?  One of those filings was a recent a just a couple of years ago.  Yes, he's had a lot of successes, but he's also had a few really bad failures to go along with that.  He's a risk taker, which I respect.  He can do whatever he thinks will give his capital the highest ROI.  When you're running a country though, you just can't take that risk.  Though his fortunes and assets are vast, that doesn't compare to those of an entire country, especially a country that's going through a recession right now and is heavily in debt.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/donald%20trump%20you%27re%20fired.jpg

Political Experience
He has none.  He's not a lawyer or a politician, and he has never held public office, or even campaigned to.  Not on a city, county or state level, so what will compel voters to trust the country in his hands?  Furthermore, what's up with this "birther" rampage that he's been on?  This pettiness will not only lose him votes from a few parties, but also speaks volumes of his ability to rationalize and prioritize.  The Onion said it best with its satirical headline Trump Unable To Produce Certificate Proving He's Not A Festering Pile Of S*** (hint: rhymes with "hit").

http://static4.businessinsider.com/image/4d2c8c934bd7c8e219100000/donald-trump-president.jpg

There's actually not necessarily anything wrong with any of the above.  I typically am not one to scrutinize people on their personalize lives, usually taking up the mindset of "whatever floats his boat" or "to each his own".  However, when you're running for the President of the United States, you're held to a much higher set of standards.

Donald, please just stick to what you're amazing at -- real estate and business.  Not to mention creating amusing headlines.  Please leave politics to someone else more experienced with a better public image.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Donald_Trump_s_2012_Presidential_Candidacy-538-1730356-206566-President_Trump_Please_tell_me_this_is_just_a.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Donald_Trump_s_2012_Presidential_Candidacy-538-1730356-206566-President_Trump_Please_tell_me_this_is_just_a.html Fri, 29 Apr 2011 00:57:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ Stop firing!!!]]>
Donald Trump may be a rich investor, entrepreneur and even upcoming "politician". He's however more of an actor than anything else. No, he doesn't act on movies although he has his own reality show. Showmanship is his middle name, I believe. And the way I see it, he's in it for himself!!! Donald simply lives for himself and no one else! Is that the President Americans want to hold high regards for? We'll see in 2012, won't we?


Keith Boykin writes (on Huffington Post) Trump plays the Race Card as Obama plays His Trump Card. It is a highly interesting read on the matter and I highly encouraged you to read the article. It gives one a clear insight into the political arena and the situation America is in right now.

Having said this, it is hence my personal view that Donald Trump will not likely make a good and wise President. Clearly, I'm neither for the Republican nor the Democrat. Yet, it is simple. If someone is in the habit of firing his executives, do you think he'd make a good president? Be it of the company or the country? C'mon, why didn't he choose the right people to begin with? It's like a CEO who's constantly fire-fighting! In the first place, if the safety measures are taken, then fire shouldn't be the word being uttered all the time, is it not?! ;-)


I know, even writing this review is a silly decision as far as I'm concerned. But since I begin it, let's just say I'd end it with this. The year 2003 began with the Wood Element in the Chinese geomancy. And since I'm highly interested in the workings of Geomany now, I can't help but notice the Fire Element which ruled the world from 1983 to 2002 is over with. Hence, saying "FIRE" all the time is a sign of the past era! Growth (remember, it's wood element that rules now) is what is going to take precedence for the next president. No, Donald, fire is NOT the word for this era. HIRE it is! Henceforth, the President to be is the one who'd utter "HIRE, HIRE, HIRE!!!" 

P.S. I'd suggest he hires a master in Geomancy should he really wants to become the President! Again, hire, hire hire ;-)
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Donald_Trump_s_2012_Presidential_Candidacy-538-1730356-206548-Stop_firing_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Donald_Trump_s_2012_Presidential_Candidacy-538-1730356-206548-Stop_firing_.html Thu, 28 Apr 2011 14:03:12 +0000
<![CDATA[Moammar Gadhafi Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/ppwatch/reviews/d/UserReview-Moammar_Gadhafi-737-1711913-204711.html http://www.lunch.com/ppwatch/reviews/d/UserReview-Moammar_Gadhafi-737-1711913-204711.html Sun, 27 Mar 2011 15:40:15 +0000 <![CDATA[ Power Play]]>
It is probably not coincidental waking up with some subject matters for review on Lunch. Interesting, before I began this review, I had thought of writing one on MEN in general. What men most wanted had been floating in my mind just as I woke up this Sunday morning, the first morning in my bed since my vacation began elsewhere 2 weeks ago. And most interestingly, the first thing that came to my fuzzy mind as I was waking up was POWER! Call it instinctive, call it courtesy of experience or call it simple observation, I had the desire for power as #1 most wanted thing for men. Naturally, generalizations as such are dangerous. I do have a penchant for dangerous stuff though, so indulge me a bit, ok? After all, Lunch.com is a place where we are allowed to voice our opinions and neuroses (possibly even phobias!).

Power beckons and power seduces. Writing about what men want under this review is not going to reach a wide audience. Most people in America (or at least readers on Lunch.com) are neither interested in Japan nor Libya. I think I get a wider audience with a review on Movies or other forms of entertainments. Still, it is in this subject matter that what men want most that reinforce or make sense of why my earlier inability coming to grips with reality. Other things men want on the said list would be CONTROL, COMPETITION and $ (or financial gains). Interestingly, PEACE is NOT on the list. Butt off, for those who disagree, it is MY list. If you disagree, you can have your own very list ;P


So, as perplexed as I had been, when one begins to see men with regards to what they want out of life, things at least begin to make sense. Whether that's a reflection of reality is not quite as important as not coming to grips with reality. After all, reality is quite subjective and only makes sense to the individuals concerned. The U.S. and the allied forces are again engaging in military strikes. For whatever reasons, well, that's not for me or you to decide or debate on. Alright, time to get onto that list or a review of men in general, that'd be a lot more entertaining than what's going on in the Middle East & North Africa! Right? ;-)
Politics is not my forte nor interest. Although, I have no clear idea why so few people who are more well verse in this area decide not to write a review of this matter on Lunch! So, here's my unconventional political review :D 

Enjoy...]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Libyan_No_Fly_Zone-538-1719697-204237-Power_Play.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Libyan_No_Fly_Zone-538-1719697-204237-Power_Play.html Sun, 20 Mar 2011 05:47:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ Excellent Job Bill! I think You Rate as a Patriot!]]>
Bill uses both current figures (political and otherwise) as well as famous people in history and lets us know what they did for heartfelt reasons (patriot) and for selfish or stupid reasons (pinhead). He gives us a lot of insights and several presidents including copies of historical documents and letters. There is an interesting letter from President Eisenhower practically calling Robert Kennedy a "pinhead." Bill can't fathom why and goes on to defend why Kennedy was a "patriot." Bill distinguishes personal life issues(like Tiger Woods) from what people actually did for the public and humanity in coming up with his definition.

Other interesting letters include one from Teddy Roosevelt being very critical of Woodrow Wilson. I highly enjoyed this book and my only criticisms are that it was too short and also, Bill includes the text of his Obama interviews which I had already seen and could probably have gotten copies of elsewhere.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Pinheads_and_Patriots_Where_You_Stand_in_the_Age_of_Obama-538-1629620-202197-Excellent_Job_Bill_I_think_You_Rate_as_a_Patriot_.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/book/UserReview-Pinheads_and_Patriots_Where_You_Stand_in_the_Age_of_Obama-538-1629620-202197-Excellent_Job_Bill_I_think_You_Rate_as_a_Patriot_.html Thu, 24 Feb 2011 12:28:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ "One person can make a difference. I will make a difference."]]> Chris Christie in his inaugural address on January 13, 2010 Chris Christie is a Republican attempting to affect meaningful change in the bluest of blue states.  At the time of his inauguration New Jersey residents were saddled with the highest property taxes in the nation and a $10.9 billion budget deficit. Governor Christie urged legislative leaders to "either work together to move our state forward, or to get out of the way of those who will."  Thus far Chris Christie has largely lived up to his advance billing.  During his first year in office he has tirelessly and courageously fought to get his state's fiscal house in order. This is a daunting task given the enormous opposition he faces from the state and municipal employee unions, the teacher unions and the entrenched Democratic establishment in New Jersey.  But come hell or high water, Christie seems bound and determined to proceed with the reforms he believes are vital to the future of his state.

Governor Christie makes no bones about the draconian measures that he believes are required to straighten out the fiscal mess that he has inherited. The centerpiece of the governor's proposal is the so-called Cap 2.5, a constitutional amendment designed to cap property tax increases at 2.5% per year. Why is this necessary?  Over the past ten years property taxes in New Jersey have risen by an astounding 70%!  The fact of the matter is that the average taxpayer's ability to deal with such exorbitant tax hikes has simply been exhausted!  Enough is enough!  Furthermore, many middle and upper class families have decided that the time has come to vote with their feet and are leaving the state.  In the meantime Christie is being fought tooth and nail by the teachers and other government employee unions who have had their way in this state for decades.  The unions refuse to concede the severity of the crisis at hand and appear to be unwilling to participate in any meaningful way in solving the problem. But this time the unions may have met their match.  Christie refuses to back down and is pressing on with his agenda to right the ship. The Governor would like to end teacher tenure, expand the number of charter schools in the state and require union members to contribute a nominal amount of their salaries (1.5%) to help pay for the generous medical benefits that they receive.  Christie would also like to initiate substantial Civil Service reforms that would make it easier for department heads to get rid of incompetent or unneeded employees.  It sure is nice to see a public official fighting for the taxpayers for a change!

What makes Democrats and the public employee unions exceedingly nervous is the thought that Chris Christie might actually succeed in reforming state and local government in the State of New Jersey.  It would appear that he is the right man at the right time and average citizens all across America are rooting for him to show us all how it should be done.  It will certainly not be easy but Chris Christie appears to have the courage, the know-how and the temperament to make it happen.  In recent weeks the name Chris Christie has begun to be floated as a possible contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012.  Given the rather lackluster GOP field I can see why some would like him to consider the idea.  But the Governor insists that he will not be a candidate and prefers instead to focus on the gargantuan task ahead of him.  Chris Christie is living proof that it is possible to elect a politician who not only understands the fiscal crisis we are in, but is willing to take the heat required to do something about it.  I wish him nothing but the best.   Highly recommended!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/person/UserReview-Chris_Christie-538-1701346-201662-_One_person_can_make_a_difference_I_will_make_a.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/person/UserReview-Chris_Christie-538-1701346-201662-_One_person_can_make_a_difference_I_will_make_a.html Thu, 17 Feb 2011 22:50:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Hosni Mubarak Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/ppwatch/reviews/d/UserReview-Hosni_Mubarak-737-1695709-201114.html http://www.lunch.com/ppwatch/reviews/d/UserReview-Hosni_Mubarak-737-1695709-201114.html Sat, 12 Feb 2011 07:40:08 +0000 <![CDATA[ She is demonstrably ignorant and quit halfway through her term]]>  Her political star will fall quickly as the Republican Party prepares to select a presidential candidate for the 2012 election.  The established political machinery that knows the party must appeal to independents will gently and then more forcefully marginalize her and hit her down when she makes yet another absurd statement.  The Republicans learned their lesson in the 2010 midterms with the ignorant female senate candidates in Delware and Nevada. Those were two seats that the Republicans would have won if they had picked more established and intelligent candidates and they know it.  
 Commentators on the left and right have all said that her only hope to be a political star again was to take time off, study the issues and history so that she can engage in an intelligent conversation. She has not done that, her negatives remain high and a strong majority believes that she is not qualified to be president. My only regret about the 2008 election was that Hillary Clinton was not named the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic side. She would have de-whatevered Palin had there been a debate between them.
 Finally, Sarah Palin is an insult to all of the professional women that have worked their way upward by studying and thinking hard. That demographic will never accept her.  ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Sarah_Palin-538-1130911-201031-She_is_demonstrably_ignorant_and_quit_halfway.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Sarah_Palin-538-1130911-201031-She_is_demonstrably_ignorant_and_quit_halfway.html Wed, 9 Feb 2011 21:20:28 +0000
<![CDATA[2011 Egyptian Protests Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Stay clear!!!

Banks and stock markets are closed too. If you're stuck in Egypt, go immediately to your consulate or embassy! Yes, it is also prudent to find out where your country's embassy is before you leave for your trip!!!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/alacarte/reviews/d/UserReview-2011_Egyptian_Protests-742-1694519-200446.html http://www.lunch.com/alacarte/reviews/d/UserReview-2011_Egyptian_Protests-742-1694519-200446.html Sun, 30 Jan 2011 06:16:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ She gives conservatives a bad name]]>
The bad news is that while she is involved in American politics, she will exert a very ugly influence over it. When she speaks half the time she gets basic facts wrong ("We've gotta stand with our North Korean allies") or her rhetoric is horribly mismatched (blood libel?) to the point where one thinks that her only appeal is her incompetence.

Now, some may point to her and say "well, it worked for George W Bush" but Bush's slip-ups were closely choreographed in order to insert double meanings into his speeches. After all, who wouldn't be opposed to "moolahs" in Iran trying to obtain "new killer" weapons? Bush's speechwriters were brilliant, scoring propaganda points while appearing to portray the President as something other than intellectually elite. Palin lacks these skills or the awareness to seek them out and utilize them. Yet Bush will likely be no more remembered for his ideas than Lyndon Johnson is for his.

Let's hope that Palin finds her calling soon, and that this moves her away from national politics.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Sarah_Palin-538-1130911-199552-She_gives_conservatives_a_bad_name.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Sarah_Palin-538-1130911-199552-She_gives_conservatives_a_bad_name.html Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:34:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ So many national problems epitomized in one character]]> Urban Dictionary to describe her. Maybe to go "Palin" as a verb would be better:

Boss: "I went Palin on my staff and now none of them trust each other."
Supervisor: "Divide and conquer - those years of Latin must be paid off."
Boss: "Someone just set fire to the copier machine."

The Problem With Palin© is that I'm not convinced she's as stupid as people are led to believe, and is actually smart enough to fully exploit:
  • The sigh-inducing lack of education and A.D.D that boils everything down to good and evil, friends and enemies, and winners and losers.
  • The shocking effectiveness of confrontational sound-bites.
The devastating one-two punch of this approach enables Palin to inject herself in any major story in the most cynical manner ("blood libel" - are you kidding me?), while cementing an increasingly polarized base of supporters and detractors. Meanwhile, while many are claiming that a village in Alaska is missing an idiot, she's quite happily coining it in and taking advantage of the entire situation.

I would honestly like to see an end to this kind of politician but I fear it's only going to get worse. As a nation, we deserve much more given our uniquely open style of government which is fundamentally insulted by the moronic level of dialog increasingly filling the media. Problems with our debt, the corruptive alliance between Wall Street and DC, the massive and unending unemployment situation, and failing health and education infrastructure aren't going to be addressed with ridiculous sound-bites about momma grisly bears.

It's actually scary how close Palin came to becoming Number Two, and no doubt she'll give it her best shot again in 2012. I just hope Republicans start to coalesce around strong leaders and principles, and leave people like Palin behind to report nonsense on breakfast news shows. While they're at it, ditching their corporate masters might actually do a service to this country too.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Sarah_Palin-538-1130911-199259-So_many_national_problems_epitomized_in_one.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/politician/UserReview-Sarah_Palin-538-1130911-199259-So_many_national_problems_epitomized_in_one.html Thu, 13 Jan 2011 23:06:41 +0000