And my Tea Party was hateful?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Founder's Ink

Uncommon Acumen will be offline for a few weeks while we begin work on Founder's Ink. Founder's Ink is a local political action group dedicated to watching the actions of the state legislature and executive branch. Commentary will be suspended until the main content for the Founder's Ink website is complete. Anyone interested in participating in the Baton Rouge based group are encouraged to email patrioticprogeny@gmail.com. The mission of Founder's Ink is to compare and contrast current government agendas with those outlined by the founders.

Thank you for your support.
-Patriotic Progeny

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Predatory Lending…

Evil banks gave poor unassuming homeowners loans with adjustable rates and other slick schemes to place these individuals in a home. Congress is enraged despite the role Congress played in mandating these loans. The media is harping about the evil greed on Wall Street, but no one is talking about the most predatory leader of all, the IRS. The IRS is the dirtiest three letter word in the American English vocabulary. Every year, I fill out my application with the IRS and hope I have not violated the terms of our contract. I never signed any paperwork to enter this contract and there is no way to terminate before mentioned contract.

The terms of my contract change annual and I can not understand the terms of the several thousand page tax code aka my contract. If I failed to hand over enough of my paycheck each week, I will owe the IRS. Unlike the Government, I can not simply print more green backs. I have to work for it. If I can not produce the money by a non-negotiable date I will be charged penalties and interest which far exceed that of any traditional or predatory loan. If my paper work arrives to the IRS late, I owe 5% plus the federal interest rate every month up to a total of 25%. In addition I am charged 0.5% per month in late filling fees to a total of 25%. Standard penalties are then added to my debt based on the amount owed and the amount earned that fiscal year.

Next time you hear a Congressmen talking about predatory lenders and how they have tricked the American public. Think about the penalties the IRS can impose. No special committee will meet in Congress to bail out your tax debt. No Senator will pressure the IRS to renegotiate the “loan”. Failure to pay the IRS could result in jail time, despite a few references in the Constitution about not imprisoning individuals for unpaid debt. I gain no property or other fringe benefit from writing that check to the IRS each year. To make matters even worse, the IRS never loaned me money. The IRS is a predatory borrower, except they never return the cash. That would make them a predatory thief? Either way, it is far less honest than anything the mortgage companies ever tried.
But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's called a job...

Obama new tax cuts come with a catch, community service. Families putting a child through college, will only get the $4,000 dollar tax if the child completes 100 hours of community service. My people call that a job. However students will not be allowed to work on thier community service on the Obama National Holiday. Now working families will have to do more work to reclaim the money they earned and the government ran off with it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Still Bitter...

I am still bitter about the election and will be for a while. However the battle is not over. Obama will be our next President (cringe), but we can not stop fighting. It is time to watch our Congressional leaders with the same zeal we watch the final seconds of the Tiger football (last season). Every bad idea Obama has must go through both Houses of Congress to become law. Watch you political leaders! I am revising the uncommon acumen home page to include a bad idea section. We were able to shut down the amnesty bill and we will stop agenda items such as card check, wealth redistribution, gun bans, the fairness doctrine etc.. I hope you will help us stand strong for the principles (see October’s blog a Matter of Principle). Use the voter links on the right to contacat your congressmen. I save the numbers to all my elected officals in my cell phone. If I am riding home from work and hear a bad idea, I pick up the phone and tell them what I think. I encourage all of you to do the same. Let them know we are not going to take it!

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Short Story

My High School Literature teacher constantly assigned readings from dead guys who had no impact on the life I lived (or I mistakenly thought at 16). I considered the class a waste of time until one assignment came across my desk. I was to write a report on a short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. The piece is only a few short pages, but those pages changed how I viewed the world from thence forth. Vonnegut envisioned a future where equality was mandated and enforced by the government. No person was more intelligent or beautiful than the other. We were all the same. No fine artists, musicians or great scientists could exist. We were all to be as average as the next man. While the piece is a stretch of the imagination, it illustrates the point the equity cannot be enforced by law without grave consequences to the society as a whole.

Our Founding Fathers were quick to note that “all men were created equal”, but never guaranteed that all men would remain equal. How will the Handicapper General insure all Americans have adequate housing, health care and retirement without destroying the ability of the people to dream of a better life? Are we as a nation willing to sacrifice our own desires in the name of equity? Does freedom even imply equity or merely the chance to create our own way? The Framers struggled with these issues and we still struggle with the same issues today.

The desire for no person to suffer can often cloud the vision of our leaders. No one wants a Grandmother to retire late or a child to live in a bad neighborhood. Everyone wants life to be fair, but it is simply not possible. The government can not and should not serve as the Handicapper General, because we are plenty capable of handicapping ourselves. As Vonnegut dreamed of the physical limitations on those of superior strength, Congress and the Obama campaign seek to place handicaps on those of above average success. Will we allow the government to saddle our businesses with bags of bird shot? Or will we admit to our handicaps and try to overcome them?

But no one listens to me

-Patriotic Progeny

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Matter of Principle

Every few years the American electorate converges on their local polling precinct to pull the now metaphorical lever for the candidate of his or her choice. Obama has a lead over McCain; however, the degree of the lead subject to debate. Prior elections focused on single issues including abortion, guns rights, gay marriage, and national security (among others). The 2008 Presidential election has become a battle of ideology and the voting population has to choose to select one candidate or the another.

The Obama campaign threatens the core of what I have come to love about my country and that for which it stands. The positive-rights philosophy Obama supports is contrary to the intentions of the founding fathers. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”. Most Americans interpret the First Amendment as, simply, "the freedom of speech".

In reality, the founding fathers labored to prevent the government from restricting what you can say. They did this because they knew that insuring the speech of all Americans to be equally free would be impossible. Politicians and media personalities are able to broadcast their message to millions. I type feverously in a home office for a hand-full of delightful readers. My message will not travel the distance that Senator Obama’s World Series infomercial will. Does this mean that my speech less free? Is the federal government required to balance the inequities between our statements?

No, the Founding Fathers were aware that life is not fair. Regardless of the rules imposed upon us by the government, some individuals will have more. In a free society, as outlined by the authors of the Constitution, each individual has the right to “pursue happiness” with the aid of their talents and work ethic. The responsibility of government was not to intrude on this pursuit. The concept of positive rights, which Obama ascribes (see Obama and Redistribution video below), would require the government to ensure our rights through some sort of action. When governments determine how a right is to be executed, the individual is no longer the guarantor of that right. A right guaranteed by the government is not a right because a right is “inalienable’. What the government gives; it can take away. Thus, that right is not “inalienable”.

Extending the concept of positive rights to the issues of housing, health care, employment and education compounds the issue of fairness and undermines the principles of our Constitution. Obama and his constituency believe the government needs to ensure more of our necessities. Government cannot and should not try to level the playing field.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are uninsured, homeless or poorly educated. Millions of other Americans have been these uninsured, homeless or poorly educated and decided to change. If the government were to insure all of these desires, would the desire be filled in a manner to adequate to your satisfaction? Who is the government to decide what type of housing is adequate? What type of job is appropriate? What medicines and procedures are to be covered by insurance?

As the government takes hold of these “positive-rights”, these decisions are no longer ours to make. Some will decide how resources will be allocated to meet the needs of the whole. Since the government creates no wealth or product, the resources to promote the aforementioned programs must come from somewhere else. When I imagine a free society, a few people determining my destiny does not come to mind. I do not believe the Founding Fathers did either.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sacrificing Liberty for Security

When the FISA bill and domestic wire tapping were hot button issues, the left wing of our country was quick to remind everyone of a quote from our founding father, “Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.”. The same axiom must be held to all aspects of government and domestic policy. The markets are dicey and people have lost a large amount of their retirement savings. Allowing the government to take a greater part in one’s retirement ventures in the name of security will only deny the American people the freedom to invest their retirement money as they see fit. Government run healthcare may promise a secure way to have health coverage, but in the end we will loose our choice of coverage. I will always take the side of freedom, despite the uncertainty the future may hold. As a free person, I know I am the master of my destiny and can change the course of my history through hard work and perseverance. I will create my own security with the powers granted to me by my freedom.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joe the Plumber

Joe the Plumber has become the latest election cultural icon. Dozens of stories have been written about his background and conversation with Barack Obama. Obama's response ran chills down my spine. Obama informed Joe the Plumber that he wanted "to spread the wealth". I am a tried and true capitalist in a middle class family in a rural Parish in South Louisiana. I live in a neighborhood full of Joe the Plumbers, Joe the Plant Worker, Joe the Cane Farmer, Joe the Mill Worker, Joe the Carpenter and Joe the General Laborer. We are not wealthy, but we are not starving either. Intellectual elites are confused as to why the Joe the Plumbers of the country would not support Obama's tax plan. Why would a middle class American not support taxing the wealthy? Some Americans want to earn their income. Imagine you and your spouse go out to eat with another couple. One couple tries to pick up the check and the bickering begins over who will pay the bill. That simple pride is something the Joe the Plumbers hold dear. The satisfaction that comes from knowing you worked for everything you have. It is yours and no one can take it away.

Unfortunately, Joe the Plumber's questions was not on the list of approved questions provided by the Obama campaign and he has been dissected in the media for simply asking. Joe's tax records were made public. The media claims that he is a fraud and not a plumber as Joe claims. If you can unclog my toilet, you are a plumber in my book. They even questioned his name. If you are address by your middle name, you are obviously guilty of identity theft. Stories ran all over the media about how Obama's tax plan would be good for Joe the Plumber. Worse, Government computers were used to find dirt on Joe. The Joe the Plumbers of the world only want to take home what they rightfully earn, not what the government gives them. We may not have a mansion on hill, but what little we have is a sense of pride.

No examination was made of Obama's "spread the wealth" comment. The concept of taking from those based on their means and distributing it to other based on their needs is a line from the socialist agenda. Describing the Obama tax plan as socialist has been described as racist. What?! Discussing the similarities of Obama's plan to European Socialism is not racism. It is called journalism. A term I suggest the media look up in Webster's dictionary. An interview by WFTV asked Joe Biden some tough questions about ACORN and about Obama's Marxist agenda. When the interview turned to questions that the Obama campaign did not want to answer, they cancelled all interviews with WFTV.

Reviewing the lessons of Joe the Plumber, never ask a candidate a question unless you are the perfect model citizen. In addition, do not expect the media to provide any news unless it has been compared to the new regimes' talking points first. Finally, if you are a member of the media and you wish to ask question that is unbecoming of a candidate, be prepared to never get another interview. The people can not ask questions. The media can not ask questions and the Obama campaign is not even in power yet. If we do not have the right to ask questions of our elected officials without fear of prosecution, what type of country have we become? If the news is controlled by the state, what have we done to our constitution? I may be old fashioned and not onboard with the change train, but I am still an American. Last time I checked, my opinions are still valid and so are yours.

But no one listens to me

-Patriotic Progeny

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hands off my 401k

The House Democrats can not seam to keep their grubby hands out of my wallet. The latest and greatest scheme requires that an additional 5% of my income go to the failing social security system and the removal of all tax breaks on 401k investment. The best way encourage investment is to tax it more (eyes rolling). My meager retirement savings have lost value over the past year, but it is still a better investment then social security. I did some math. Brace yourself.

I did the math on this one. I pay $100 per check in social security. My employer matches that and I get 26 paychecks a year. I will work until the age of 68, when I am eligible to collect my social security. I will have spent 45 years in the work force. My life expectancy is 82 (with my blood pressure, diet and habits that is really optimistic, but lets use it anyway).

$100 My money
+$100 My boss’s money
$200
X 26 Number of Paychecks per year
$5,200
X 45 Number of Years in work force
$234,000 Total contributions to Social Security

$648 Monthly anticipated Social Security Payout
X 12 Number of Months in a year
$7,776 Annual Social Security Payout
X 14 Years in retirement (82-68=14)
$108,864 Total Social Security Payout

$234,000 Total contributions to Social Security
-$108,864 Total Social Security Payout
$125,136 Lost money

That is a 53% loss. Despite the market chaos, my 401k only lost 12%. Which is a better investment. The House Democrats are using this opportunity to cease more of my hard earned money. Where did the $125,136 go? Now they want 5% more of my income! This is the change we deserve? Argghh!

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Multiculturalism?

The leftist elites constantly preach the notion of multiculturalism and urge their Ivy League buddies to have a deeper understanding of people from around the world, their faith and their culture. Accepting cultures different from one’s own is an important part of our expanding global community. My home town has a very simple culture which revolves around football season, hunting season and the local churches. Our culture is Mardi Gras, tailgating, crawfish boils, turkey fries and Jazz. Our colloquialisms have a gentle southern drawl and phrases like “happier than a pig in slop”. My culture is similar to most of America or at least those stretches of rural quiet between our major cities.

My culture is often ridiculed by liberals and mocked on television. Obama referred to people like myself as bitter and “clinging to their guns and religion” because our leaders had failed us. The elitists will not try to understand or respect the predominantly Christian Faith in my community, but will spend enormous effort trying to understand the Muslim Faith of those who wish our nation harm. President Bush and Sarah Palin are mocked for their accent, but it would be politically incorrect to mock the diction of an Indian or Asian American. Southerners often do not respect the faith and culture of others as perhaps we should. No one is in a big hurry to understand and respect our culture. The challenge for the elitists in this nation is treat the members of rural America with the same multicultural understanding that is extended to other nations. I am proud to be a Louisiana girl.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today's Great Idea

Recently, Barack Obama has proposed "spreading of the wealth" to all Americans for a chance at success. I am proposing campaign finance reform in the Obama spirit. In order to give all candidates a chance at victory, all fundraising for a particular race should be placed in one account. That money will then be distributed to each candidate based on need. I have a strange feeling, the Obama camp will not support my proposed legislation.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Friday, October 10, 2008

I support John McCain

American culture and government are woefully deficient in honor and commitment. Liberals in congress protect government sponsored enterprises from regulation, while the CEO’s fudge the earnings statements to increase bonus payments. The cronyism stretching from Wall Street to Washington is nauseating and getting worse. Graduates from prestigious universities dominate our political and business class, leaving the general population unrepresented. Honorable men and women would put the priorities of the American people above personal monetary gain. A committed citizenry would have never allowed the corruption to become so prevalent. Honor and commitment are two principles every American strives to have in their house and the White House.

John McCain is honor personified. He has served and sacrificed for our nation in both peace time and in war. Military service is still an attribute in my book. My ideology differs from John McCain’s platform on some issues, but I know honorable men will make honorable decisions. In the Senate, John McCain stood firmly for what he believed and worked with members of both parties to achieve his goals. The maverick also listened to the people who disagreed with his immigration policies and revised his policy on the people’s recommendations.

The American dream can be summarized as Sarah Palin. Her commitment to her children and her community has promoted Palin to a national stage. She joined the PTA in her hometown and was running the organization in no time. She was elected mayor of that same sleepy little town in Stewards ice box. She was Chairmen of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and protested the corrupt good old boy’s network. Her crusade to fight cronyism landed her in the Governor’s mansion and then on the Republican Presidential ticket. Sarah Palin is the type of women I want to be when I grow up.

I do not have a PHD in macroeconomics or understand the complex negotiations of the State Department. I do however know honor and commitment when I see it. America is not perfect but I am still proud to be an America. It may be corny or old fashion, but it is who I am. If your are interested in learning more about what is right with or country, visit John McCain’s website.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who caused the Financial Crisis?

Over the past few weeks I have been asked one question time and time again, “How did home mortgages crash the economy and why is the Federal Government bailing out Wall Street?”. Honestly, I did not know. With little background in economics, I did not understand how this pyramid scheme could have existed under federal financial regulations. Every news story discussed the greed of Wall Street and blamed the free market for the stress on Main Street. I continued my research and became more acutely aware that the problem was federally mandated and protected by members of congress who were receiving contributions from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. How could I see the pattern of government interference when the media could not? Finally I found my answer.

Barack Obama has a long history as a community organizer and worked closely with groups like ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, http://www.acorn.org/) and received contributions from both Fannie and Freddie. If this story hits the mainstream, Obama’s bid for Presidency would be over. When I began looking into the history of Fannie and Freddie, I did not expect to find a direct connection to Barrack Obama. I did expect that the Democrat Congressional Caucus was deeply involved. How was the greatest economy in the world decimated by the home mortgage? Why is the Federal government throwing more good money after bad?

In the late 1970’s America was attempting to purge racism from every aspect of American life. Segregation was becoming a distant memory, but lending practices and income levels still favored Caucasian Americans. Home ownership was believed to be the key to establishing individual wealth. If minorities were able to receive home loans, these families would be on their way to financial stability required to achieve the American dream.

Under the Carter Administration, congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA). In summary, the CRA required lending institutions to meet “the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods”. The CRA provided a rating system to gauge how well lending agencies met the newly established guidelines. Institutions that did not have high CRA ratings were prevented from executing merges or other financial transactions. The individuals targeted by the CRA were not traditionally credit-worthy and the banks had to become creative when extending loans to low income families (who could not afford traditional mortgages).

Enter the “toxic” sub prime loan (hum scary music here). Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) with very low “teaser” interest rates facilitated “affordable housing” for low-income individuals. Over the decades, one home loan at a time, the CRA has slowly undermined the U.S. economy. The CRA empowered community groups that were designed to confront large banks who failed to issue a sufficient number of loans to minorities in impoverished neighborhoods.
Then, in the wake of the savings and loan crisis, Congress under George H.W. Bush passed the Federal Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) of 1989. The primary cause of the savings and loan crisis was unwise real estate investment (sound familiar). FIRREA made CRA ratings public knowledge which allowed the community organizations that promoted affordable housing to use the CRA rating as a weapon.

Enter ACORN (hum scary music again). FIRREA gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more responsibility for promoting loans to low income families. Fannie and Freddie began to securitize billions of dollars in mortgage backed securities with lending institutions that needed to increase their CRA rating. Armed with public CRA ratings, community organizations such as ACORN hired young, ambitious attorneys like Barrack Obama to levy lawsuits against the banks. In 1995, Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance (see Plaintiff’s attorneys) was brought before a Chicago court by a relatively unknown attorney, Barack Obama. This lawsuit forced Citibank to make high risk loans in the intercity of Chicago to individuals who were less-than-credit worthy. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank served as the legal precedent which required that the lending institutions had to issue bad loans under duress. This lawsuit represents one of several cases where Barack Obama fought on the behalf of the “middle class” while working on the Developing Communities Project (DCP). DCP provided a small paycheck for the up-and-coming politician and provided him with exposure within the community. During this time, Obama taught community leadership programs for ACORN.
To avoid litigation which could prevent the banks from engaging in major financial transactions, the lending institutions began making large donations to groups such as ACORN.

Groups like ACORN, armed with large contributions from both the lending institutions and Federal tax dollars, began their own low-income housing programs. Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac et al began making campaign contributions (pay careful attention to the Congressmen listed in the prior hyperlink) to various Congressional members in order to ensure that federal dollars continued to flow into the program. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are engaging in an Enron-style book-cooking scandal to overstate earnings (note the name of the CEOs) and trigger bonus payments for the CEO’s. Congress passed Sarbanes-Oxley to combat future Enron-style accounting.

Bundled securities were sold from one bank to another with little outcry from the market place. Americans enjoyed easy access to credit. Home prices continued to rise. Profits on Wall Street rose. Joe Q. Public saw increases in his 401k. Congressmen received sweetheart deals from lenders. Fannie, Freddie and other GSE’s were not bound by Sarbanes-Oxley and continued to operate in an under-regulated manner. A decrease in housing prices was the final ingredient required to initiate a major financial crisis. These are listed below.

1. Community Organizations such as ACORN pressure Congress to require that banks issue bad loans and provide federal funding for community groups.
2. Fannie and Freddie cook-the-books while paying Congressmen to look the other way.
3. Fannie and Freddie sell mortgage backed securities to large financial institutions so that they can achieve the federally mandated CRA rating and avoid the ire of community organizations such as ACORN.

This cycle continued until the music stopped. Then, a few of the lending institutions were caught holding the hot-toxic-mortgage potato.

How will this affect your vote this November? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regard Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus as family. Obama personally brought to trial, one of the earliest legal precedents that forced the lending institutions to issue bad loans. Jim Johnson, former CEO of Fannie Mae, served on Obama’s Vice-Presidential Selection Committee while Franklin Raines, former CEO of Fannie Mae (who forcibly resigned due to the accounting scandal) served as an advisor on the housing industry (Why is the wolf guarding the hen house?). ACORN, who has been represented in court by Obama, is under federal investigation, in numerous states, for allegations of voter fraud. George W. Bush tried to reform Fannie and Freddie in 2004, but was stopped by the Democrats in Congress (I know it is amazing that W had a good idea). McCain attempted reform as well. When I began trying to understand the financial crisis, I did not believe it would have any direct connection to the Presidential election. Why are the FBI investigations of Fannie and Freddie on page 7d of your local news paper and not on the cover above the fold? Why haven’t the major new agencies reported Obama’s connection to ACORN and Fannie Mae? Why hasn’t anyone reported on his connection to high risk mortgages? Why do polls think Obama is the man to solve this crisis, when he helped cause it?

Providing low-income households with debt they can not afford will not allow these individuals to achieve the American dream. It will create undue stress on borrower. Without reforming the CRA, our credit markets are vulnerable to repeat this crisis. Wall Street needs to make lending decisions based on financial data, not quotas. If we want to help minorities achieve home ownership, we need to improve the schools in inter-cities and promote economic activities in these areas. Congressional oversight of the housing industry has provided us with bankrupt financial institutions and large campaign contributions. People who can not afford their mortgage unfortunately must be foreclosed upon. Until people who can afford the mortgage are placed into those homes, the markets will not improve. It does not matter if the Federal Government or a private bank owns the debt, if the home owners can not pay the obligation.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama and Special Interests

I can not get over Barrack Obama’s claim that he does not take money from PACs. I have read his napkin sketch (aka Obama’s Blueprint for America) over a dozen times. My disagreement with his policies are continually over shadowed by the primary claim of the document, “Unlike other candidates Obama’s campaign refuses to accept contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.”. This single statement is not a political exaggeration but a whopper of a lie walking the finest line of campaign finance laws. Lobbyists and Political Action Committees are not at fault for the state of our union. Our politicians are. Since the founding of our Democracy, individuals and groups have tried to sway the opinion or lobby elected leaders. In my daily life, I have lobbied my boss for a raise, lobbied my boss to be given a certain assignment, lobbied my boss to receive additional staffing resources on a project and lobbied my boss to take action on a small issue between staffers prior to it becoming a major issue. My boss, the leader of our capitalistic clan, used his judgment and decided which of my ideas were valid. Asking my boss to do something is not evil, wrong or illegal. If my boss were to show preference to my requests over what is appropriate for the firm as a whole would be wrong. Our elected officials are responsible for not being leaders and separating the needs of special interests from what is best for the nation.
Barrack Obama does more than take money from PACs, he is the chairman the HOPE fund. The homepage to the HOPE fund has been redirected to the Obama campaign website, but the body of the website remains accessible. In the 2008 election cycle to HOPE fund spent total of $624,652 ($291,000 of which was spent on congressional elections). Official FEC documents on the HOPE fund can be accessed at the FEC website. The FEC does not require the board members of the PAC to be part of the public record. Obama is now using his trust to funnel campaign funds into swing states. Joseph Biden is using his Unite Our States PAC to transfer funds to key states and skirt campaign finance laws. In contrast to the Democratic ticket, McCain’s Straight Talk PAC has stayed out of the congressional races and transferred less than $10,000 to other PACs. I have been unable to locate any Pac associated with Sarah Palin. During her gubernatorial campaign, Palin took contribution from powerful groups such as Dentists of Alaska, The Alaska Corrections Officers Association and the Alaska Laborers Local 341. These influence peddling organizations will undoubtedly hold sway over Plain when she goes to Washington (sarcasm implied). Palin’s finances can be reviewed at the Alaska Public Commission Website.
Moveon.org is one of the most widely know PACs in the country. Move on has developed new strategies to assist the Obama campaign including organizing phone banks and selling t-shirts (see the following emails from Moveon.org "Host Obama Party", "Attend an Obama Party" and "Obama T-Shirt"). With all of these campaign actions on behave of Obama, how can he claim he does not benefit from PACs? Pro-Obama literature and anti-McCain literature is all over Move On’s homepage. The "Host an Obama Party" email has a link to donate the the Obama's Presidential run. The Obama Campaign shows that Move On has contributed $347,463. Move On’s expenditure report shows more than $1.5 million being given to the Obama Campaign. Move on is using it’s website to solicit donations and then earmarks the donations to the Obama Campaign. The earmark contributions are treated as individual contributions, which allow Move On to contribute far more than the $5,000 limit per candidate per election cycle. While this is a clever tactic, it insults the intentions of campaign finance laws. Any organization that contributes more than a million dollars to a candidate will expect a seat at the Obama table. Will Obama have the leadership to veto Move On’s suggestions when the countries’ best interests are not represented?
Act Blue allows any average Joe with a computer to become a campaign fundraiser. Act Blue’s website claims to have contributed over $700,000 to Obama for America. When examining the expenditures of Act Blue, only a little over $450,000 dollars is claimed in the expenditure detail. The Obama for America committee does not have to claim the money from Act Blue, because once again the majority of the donations are earmark contributions.
The independant expenditures on behalf of Barrack Obama and against John McCain are will into the seven digits. Many pundits have focused on the amount of these expenditures and claim these expenditures prove a connection between Obama and special interests groups. Making this connection is a very dangerous road to walk, which puts free speech and freedom of the press at risk. Despite the impropriety of the expenditures, an individual or group has the right to purchase air time to discuss issues that are important to their institution. While I find the actions dishonest, these actions are protected by the constitution. Despite the appearance of impropriety focusing on one group's desire to interject themselves into the Presidential election is the right of all citizens n a democracy.
The Obama campaign has reaped the fiscal rewards of various special interests groups hovering on the sidelines of the campaign. Groups and individual have and will always attempt to affect the outcome of an election. The onus of responsibility falls with the candidate not the individual trying to assert influence. If the Obama campaign is unwilling to admit their association with these groups, how can we expect Obama to stand up against these groups? If Obama does not have the testicular fortitude to acknowledge these groups are supporting him financially, how can we expect him to stand up for our interests as President?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Campaign Ploys from the McCain?

The Democrat pundits claim the McCain is suspending his campaign On Wednesday to garner publicity and the financial crisis is a convenient scapegoat. The McCain campaign is trying to reschedule Friday’s debate, so the Senator may return to work in Congress. Obama refused to cancel the debate because a President needs to know how to multitask. Thursday both candidates returned to Washington to meet with President Bush about Wall Street’s rescue plan. McCain recognizes his responsibility to the American people as United States Senator and does not want to neglect those obligations while pursuing the Presidency.

The Republican Party has chastised McCain for years because McCain reached over the aisle so much; It was unclear on which side of the aisle he sat. A Senior Senator with a record of bi-partisanship is a valuable player in congressional actions. A first term Junior Senator has little responsibility in the Congressional hierarchy and could easily prepare for the debate while voting present. While Obama studies, McCain will use his long relationships and experience in the Senate usher compromise between the parties. Ceasing a campaign to attend to the duties which you were elected to do is not a political ploy. It is responsibility, good old fashioned responsibility.

On November 4th, one man will be elected the President of the Untied States and another man will remain a Senator. Until inauguration day, both men are Senators and have sworn an oath to serve the people. Pageantry and slogans convince the public to try a political ideology or consumer product. Reputation and results can not be manufactured in a studio. McCain understands the important role every Senator plays and is not willing to abandon he post. Real leaders know how to prioritize, when to sacrifice and when to self promote.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Conservative vs. Radical

Joe Klein’s article in the September issue of Time Magazine entitled “Conservative vs. Radical” exemplifies why the print media’s monopoly is slowly turning into a chapter 11. Obama has taught us that words matter, so the commentary will focus on the words. The full text of the article can be read at Time’s website. Please read the full text prior to commenting on my synopsis of the piece so the reader my properly judge the context of the below excerpts.

Klein (yes the guy who wants everyone to turn off their air conditioner) makes a single accurate point in the article, McCain is the radical an in this race and Obama is the cold calculating showmen (conservative in Joe Klein speak). McCain has been one to buckle to the established order of party politics to promote the people’s desires in the Senate. Obama in stark contrast has destroyed his political opposition and rarely reaches across the aisle (Obama’s carpet bombing political strategies do not leave others across the aisle to reach to).

Klein’s piece pretends to examine what the Vice Presidential pick reveals about the candidates. Klein declined the opportunity to compare and contrast the records and history of the four names on this year’s Presidential ticket. Instead, Klein used the piece as another opportunity to promote the Democrat agenda. Joe Biden is described in the article as:

“he added experience to the ticket, a reliable loyalist and gleeful attack dog, a working-class Roman Catholic with a terrific personal story”.

Klein used a single sentence to describe Joe Biden’s political career. Klein provided no criticism of Biden prior work or personal life. Biden’s family was not discussed nor was their political ideology questioned. Instead of criticizing the any of Obama’s politics, Klein provides constructive criticism to Obama campaign:

“It would be nice if he, say, challenged the teachers' unions, which didn't support him anyway and whose work rules choke out any chance of creative experimentation in the public-school system. Or if he stood against the atrocious Farm Bill, which spreads unnecessary fiscal fertilizer upon an already profitable industry. Or if he didn't feel the need to promise a tax cut to 95% of American families.”

The terms “it would be nice” or “he didn’t feel” sound more like character building criticism from your therapist than critical analysis of the next Commander and Chief. The words used to describe the Republican ticket are far more inflammatory. Palin is described as a “blatant porker” (Biden and Obama are not?) and having “a lack of interest in foreign policy” (Because I want the Governor of my state trying to solve the problems of foreign countries and ignoring the needs of my state). The actual number of words used to praise the Obama campaign is far less than the total used to undermine the Republican ticket:

“Palin was a blatant porker when she was mayor of Wasilla, hiring a lobbying firm to rake in the projects; she was close to the corrupt megaporker Senator Ted Stevens, a frequent McCain adversary and champion of the mythic bridge. Rather than putting "country first," her husband had been a member of a local secessionist fringe group called the Alaskan Independence Party, whose slogan is "Alaska first," and Palin apparently attended or spoke at several of the group's meetings. Her lack of interest in foreign policy and national security was the opposite of McCain's obsession with such issues. She called the Iraq war a "task that is from God."
Indeed, it seemed Palin and McCain held common ground on only two high-profile issues — an admirable rebelliousness when it came to their party's hierarchy and their opposition to abortion rights. Given the fact that McCain's top two choices for Vice President, Lieberman and Ridge, favored abortion rights, it would not be unfair to conclude that McCain's devotion to this issue was more political than personal."


Klein continues to criticize McCain for not selecting his mirror twin to be his running mate. Klein contends that this is a sign of McCain’s failure to properly vet Palin. McCain and Palin have a difference of opinion on many issues. This proves that McCain is not looking to fill his cabinet with yes men. Biden on the other hand will spout any party line in front of any audience regardless of the outcome (Stand up Chuck!). Klein’s failure to examine Biden’s record is another example of the failure of our media to provide honest exploration into the candidate’s record.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Jindal Demonstrates Leadership

As hurricane Gustav bears down on Louisiana, the general populous recalls Katrina. The media is in a tizzy; Lined up across the Gulf Coast, they point their cameras offshore to document the storm rolling ashore. There is one stark difference between Gustav and Katrina. The difference is leadership. Our Governor has been on every local and national news network over the past 72 hours, briefing the public on the status of evacuations and preparations. Jindal stood behind the podium and line by line reviewed the process with the public.
He outlined the evacuation of the critically ill. He gave the people directions to the trains, planes and automobiles designated to whisk them to safety. He outlined how the contra flow worked and when the interstates would change direction. Point by point he ran through the list. Bobby Jindal has mobilized the state of Louisiana. Emergency vehicles have been traveling by caravan all day into the southern parts of the state via highway 1. He made agreements with other states to help with patient care. We have medi-vac in place, for those injured in the storm. He knew how many of nursing homes we evacuated. He knew how many critically ill died in travel. He knew where the nation guard was and where they were going. He spouted off statistic after statistic. I can not even recall everything he said we had done.
One can never be prepared for the amazing power of a hurricane, but I feel prepared. I have confidence that my state is prepared. It is a foreign feeling. One I have never experienced before. I hope my fellow citizens behave so this feeling may continue. I am certain that when the clouds clear, the clean up will begin. For once, my state has a plan. Weather (pun) or not he plan is sound; we will determine over the next few days. Prior to the Bobby Jindal’s election, I jested that I would follow Bobby Jindal off a cliff. Prior to making the leap, Bobby would inform you how far down the water is, what direction and speed the wind is traveling, when to jump to time the waves properly and what angle to hit the water to reduce the impact. Today, the whole state is following Bobby off of that proverbial cliff. I hope he is right.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I see your black man and raise you a women

My first reaction to McCain’s Vice-presidential pick was not resoundingly positive. Sarah Palin will have more appeal in Middle America than either party realizes. As a politically active female, I am extremely skeptical any time the women’s vote is discussed. In far too many elections, the story line reads “a historic day for women across America”. The end result is often disgraceful, as an unqualified woman is elected to her post by my voting sisters for no other reason than the candidate has internal plumbing. Please take a moment to recall Kathleen Blanco, former Governor of Louisiana.
The Democrats must be joking. I hope this drum beat continues. The more Palin’s experience is discussed, the more Obama’s experience will come into question. Palin has served as Governor of the State of Alaska for two years. Obama has served in the United States Senate for two years. Unlike the Members of the United States Congress the Governor of Alaska goes to work everyday. The Governor has to run an education system, a national guard and is responsible for the day to day Executive decisions required to run a municipality. Governor Palin has more executive experience than all three of the men on this year’s Presidential Ballot combined and multiplied by ten. With any luck, the Democratic Party will continue the constant drum beat of experience and McCain keep running his campaign on the high road.
Washington needs change from outside the beltway and Governor Palin can offer that change. Obama, Biden and McCain have been drinking the water in D.C. (I am convinced in is tainted in some way) for far too long. Governor Palin, former Miss Wasilla, represents real grassroots change emerging from real Middle America. Palin did not attend an exclusive private high school or an Ivy League university. She attended the local public high school, Wasilla High School, as a child and received her Bachelors degree in Journalism-Communication with a Minor in Political Science from the University of Idaho.
Sarah Palin married her high school sweetheart and began a family in her hometown of Wasilla Alaska. In 1992 she was elected to the Wasilla city council and was elected Mayor of Wasilla. Wasilla is small town and Palin’s opponents will try to use this against her. How does running a small town qualify you to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? I think I would feel more comfortable in Wasilla Alaska than in Washington DC. As a mother of 5, Palin helps her husband run the family commercial fishing business. As Mayor she reduced property taxes and her own salary. Her husband is a registered Democrat and a union member and her son, who is about to deploy to Iraq, is a registered independent.
She served as Commissioner of the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Committee from 2003 to 2004. She resigned to protest the corruption after her complaints about illegalities where ignored. After her resignation Palin continued to challenge the Republican establishment, despite party backlash. She is still fighting the allegation of those whose corruption she exposed.
In 2006 Palin ran for Governor of Alaska on a reform policy and followed through with her promises. Governor Palin is on the ground floor of the energy debate. Alaskans rely on the energy industry and their natural tourism to boast their economy. Balancing the environment and our need to expand energy production are concerns which Governor Palin is affected by daily in her hometown. Plain brought a law suit against the federal government over falsely placing the polar bear on the endangered species list. As Governor, she has reached across the aisle to bring change to the state of Alaska. Palin is one of Alaska's most popular Governors.
Sarah Palin is a real American, in touch with working people. She is not a Washington insider. She is a working mother of 5, giving birth to her fifth child while serving as Governor of Alaska. Personally, I would love to see a normal person in the White House. Some one who did not go to law school? I would like to see a candidate who has held a real job and raised a normal family. She is a life long hunter and member of the NRA. Her husband is a semiprofessional snowmobiler; seriously, the First Gentlemen of the State of Alaska is a semiprofessional snowmobiler. She is brilliant, witty and beautiful. Sarah Palin is the kind of women young girls can look up to. She has changed my vote against Obama to a vote for Sarah Palin. Prior to McCain's selection of Sarah Palin, I was not excited about the McCain Presidency. The Republican ticket truely excites me now. I believe McCain and Palin will continue to challenge the "business as usual crowd". The combination of an expirenced maveric and an ambitious women may be just what Washington needs.
But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Higher Standard?

“Unlike other candidates Obama’s campaign refuses to accept contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.”
-Barack Obama’s “Blueprint for America”

Political action committees are an unfortunate side effect of the political process. If Obama actually was turning down money from special interests groups, I would take the time to commend practice. When ever you hear a politician say they will take money out of politics, think about how much money they spent to tell you. Political action committees flood the election cycle with fuel, hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions, independent expenditures and lavish parties.

Obama for America does not receive direct contributions from PACs. Instead the Obama campaign has numerous PACs and 527’s soliciting donations and earmarking the money for a candidate of the committee’s choosing. I was unable to find many reference to the term earmark contribution, expect for a publication on the Federal Election Committee’s website. Commercial websites are permitted to solicit donations from individuals and transfer these donations to a candidate based on the candidate’s position on an issue.

Act Blue, a Democratic PAC, has contributed under a thousand dollars to federal candidates in the 2008 election cycle. When the expenditures of Act Blue are examined more closely, campaign records reveal $411,607 of earmark contributions to the Obama for America PAC. The earmark contributions range in value from one dollar to two hundred fifty dollars. Moveon.org has given $1.6 million in earmark contributions to the Obama campaign in thousands of small earmark contributions.

Having political action committees solicit donations on your behave has numerous benefits. A large volume of small donations reduces the average donation and increases the percentage of “small donor funding” in the campaign. The campaign can use these numbers to proof the grassroots movement is genuine. The campaign can consider the earmark contributions an individual contribution and reduce the percentage of the campaign financing provided by special interests.

A politician needs to acquire funding to run a campaign. It is a necessary evil. Illuminated neo classical monuments to self-deification and stadiums are pricey. The Obama campaign is pledging to remove themselves from the influence of special interests, but continually receiving contributions solicited by special interests. The influence is still present, but concealed.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama and Ethics

University scholars devote their lives to the study of ethics. Politicians devote each election cycle to the discussion of it. The passionate nature of politics combined with the monetary impacts of ethics, spawns hours of campaign promises, federal investigtions and special sessions of congress.
Obama proposes a centralized database of lobbyist and political action spending so the public can monitor where the money has been spent. The Federal Election Commission allows anyone to search the quarterly and annual reports of politicians, PACs and their close relatives. Internet watch dog groups, like http://www.opensecrets.org/ provide more users friendly formats. In 2008, people can access ample information about the political process, but they rarely try. When the President creates an independent agency, it is by definition not independent of the government.

Obama promises a new type of political movement where money is removed from politics. Conventions, bumper stickers, phone calls, polls, ad space, air time, consulting fees, editing time, photo sessions, mailers and yard signs cost money.

“Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.”
-Barack Obama’s Blueprint for America

Obama’s “Blueprint for America” proposes raising the level of government involvement in the electoral process. If candidates were provided with public funds to purchase or access radio waves at the expenses of the operator, the public would lose additional influence of the direction in the electoral process. Elections should focus on what the people want, not what the law allows. Either Obama is proposing the tax payer purchase campaign air time or media providers will “donate” air time to a federal agency to divide the coverage equally among the candidates. Once again, more government is the solution to achieving the goal of the citizenry. Obama declined to use federal campaign funds in the Presidential election (freeing him from campaign spending limits). The fair playing field Obama is promoting is too fair for him to participate. Having the same spending limits as his opponent would put him at a disadvantage.

Obama promotes the sponsoring of Feingold’s ethics bill. I was only able to locate one major piece of ethics legislation by Senator Feingold was McCain-Feingold. Obama is taking credit for the bipartisan effort of the Republican candidate? McCain-Feingold was radical legal reform, whose purpose and benefit I will not defend.

The nation does not need Obama to solve our political dilemmas that is our job. Despite the “transparency of government”, no progress will be made if no one is observing the process. Increased government involvement in any situation leads to more paper work and frustration. The more regulation we enforce, the larger the burden to the tax payer. When the paper work and bloated budgets are too frustrating to handle, the people elect to create new regulations enforced by new agencies to solve the same old problem. This is not a change in how things are done in Washington.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why I am not voting for Barack Obama

The production, choreography, documentation, analysis and media hype of the 2008 election rivals super bowl Sunday and the price tag associated is ridiculous. Satirist, Pundits and strategists, from both sides of the aisle, are obsessing over a game of grade school gotcha. Journalists and talk show hosts focus on sensational stories of congressmen in airport restrooms and the socio-economic positions of candidate’s high school friends. Little discussion of the issues manages to slip through the airways. I disagree with Barack Obama’s platform in numerous areas and I will describe the points in further detail over the next few days. I do not believe the rhetoric in Obama’s speeches. While riveting, inspiring and well written, speeches and action are two very different things. Being a smooth talker will get a person far in life, if that person can continue to deliver upon those words. It is far easier to convince someone that you can solve his or her problems, but it is far more difficult to deliver on that promise.
Barack Obama has published “The Blueprint for Change” to describe his plan for America in better detail. The Blueprint is broken into sixteen sections with an introductory letter. The sections are as follows: ethics, healthcare, economy, seniors, education, energy, fiscal, rural, women, immigration, poverty, service, civil rights, foreign policy and finally veterans. The discussion will be limited to Barack’s vision for America. His childhood, family, faith (which did not make the list) and colleagues are not the focus, sidebar or tangent to this conversation. Anyone desiring to acquire tabloid style smears against the Democratic Nominee may wish find another opinion piece to read. Policy must be driven by ideas and rational arguments from the left, right and all those undecided. I opt to present a rational and thorough argument to explain why I am not voting for Barack Obama. John McCain does not parallel my political beliefs on many issues, but my reasons for voting against Barack Obama preclude me from not voting or voting third party.
The opening letter of Barack Obama’s “Blueprint for Change” begins by thanking the reader for learning more about the campaign and encourages dialogue on the issues. I am attempting to develop more dialogue on the above-mentioned matters; however, I do not believe it the sort of dialog his campaign is looking for. The introduction also encourages input from the reader. The President of United States is an Executive not a Representative. The job descriptions and requirements of the two posts are vastly different. I elect my Representatives and Senators to voice my opinion in the houses of congress and respond to their constituency in a timely manner instead of going to instead of going to recess with the campaign issue de-jour sitting on the table (it saved hundreds of thousands on polling). I expect my President to make the proper reaction behind the doors of the oval office when some things are too sensitive to discuss with 535 elected officials and their most loyal pages, interns, assistants and other entourage members. The President does not have the time or liberty to consult the American people on ever issue once in office. We must trust the President despite his political affiliation.
Obama states on the first page of the Blueprint “I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over”. The statement specifically separates corporate lobbyists from all other lobbying groups. Environmental groups, religious groups and agricultural groups all have lobbies and spend billions on influencing legislation. The money these groups have to offer candidates can just as easily create a conflict of interests as can money from corporate donors. Obama’s largest campaign contributor is Goldman Sachs. My limited understanding of economics allows me to classify Goldman Sachs as a corporation, a global corporation. Once Goldman Sachs gave $653,000 to Barack Obama’s campaign for President or, dare I say, lobbied Barack Obama; Goldman Sachs became a corporate lobbyist. There is nothing inherently wrong with corporations. I draw a paycheck from one regularly for an incorporated business and plan to continue the trend. Your paycheck came from a corporation too or a government (which I find far more appalling). Accepting campaign contribution from corporate lobbyists is a rather indirect route to preventing the evil corporate lobbyists from “calling the shots”.
The first section of the print covers ethics. The Blueprint is 56 pages in length, but has large margins and oversized quotes. Each section occupies two or three printed pages, but contains a few dozen sentences. Creating meaningful dialog with little source material is difficult. I will begin arguing the counterpoints to Baracks’ ethic plan tomorrow evening. I hope this piece will assist you in making an informed choice this November and allow you to more comfortably discuss you support for John McCain in the midst of Obama mania. If you would like to read along with me, you can download Obama’s napkin sketch here.

But No one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is Pennsylvania the key?

Every election cycle seems to come down to one magical state in the electoral math. Who will be the Queen of the 2008 Presidential Prom.? Pennsylvania is could be the next Florida. If McCain found a true conservative executive from the Plantation State, the Democrats would have four years to explain how the Republicans stole the election again. Despite narrow margins of error, the below map show the current poll status.
Current Polling Data
Obama 273 McCain 265

McCain needs to steal a single state away from Obama to be our next president. Which blue state is prime for the picking? When viewing the below electoral map depicting toss up states and the strength of each candidates lead, the Appalachian states are a large cluster of undecided or weakly committed states. A conservative running mate, who can easily connect with the lunch pail voters in the region, would ensure McCain’s election.
Current Polling Data with Toss up States
Obama 228 McCain 174 Toss Up 136

McCain must focus campaign resources in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana to keep the traditional Republican states from becoming blue states. Recent polls in Pennsylvania have Obama leading by a 5.8% margin. In 2004, The Democrats took Pennsylvania by a 2.5% margin. Mark Steven Schweiker, former Pennsylvania Governor, is the perfect Vice Presidential running mate for McCain. One of Schweiker’s most notable achievements as Governor was overseeing the 77-hour mine rescue of nine trapped coal miner during the Quecreek mine disaster. His record on mine safety is unparallel in politics, making him very popular in the mining states of Appalachia. The final electoral map will show the undecided states leaning in the direction the current polls are indicating. The only state whose electoral outcome was changed from the first map is Pennsylvania.

Proposed Electoral Map
Obama 252 McCain 286

The media has been preaching that the 2008 elections are going to be energy. The campaign commercials are following the same theory as well. As the candidates argue about the price of gas and the use of clean coal technology, no one suspected that the coal miner would be the next elusive demographic. While not as cute as the soccer mom or as wide spread as the NASCAR Dad, the lunch pail crowd will be key to this election. If I were McCain, Mark Schweiker would be my Vice Presidential nominee.
But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fair and Balanced?

The Denver Convention begins tomorrow and many of protests protesters are preparing to exercise their rights to of assemble assembly and their right to free speech. 200 yards from the Convention, this exercise is being restricted to fenced-in areas loving lovingly referred to as “Freedom Cages”. The restriction of protest to specialized, non-offensive loci contradicts the principles outlined, quite unambiguously, in our constitution and its Bill of Rights.
Human nature dictates that the convention organizers need balance constitutional rights with the security of the delegates. This balance is admittedly difficult to truly reach, but are the organizers trying to balance these issues or are they trying to hide the protesters from the camera’s watchful eye? My personal political beliefs may be diametrically opposed to the majority of the protesters’ ideology, but I firmly believe in the Constitution that grants them the right to assemble and speak their minds.
Intrigued by the sheer number of idealistically passionate individuals marching on Denver, I began searching the internet in order to learn more about this group and, more importantly, why it was protesting the Denver Democratic Convention (I thought they would hold out for the RNC). My search began with CNN’s website. I used the key words “protest Denver convention” hoping to learn more about the controversy surrounding the event.
When I sorted my search by relevance, the first story, entitled “8,000 protest NRA convention in Denver”, was from 1999 and chronicled the NRA convention in the mile-high city (the story was published on May 1, 1999). CNN has a vast internet database, so I sorted the results by date. The top story for “protests Denver convention” detailed the Republican-led protest over off shore drilling that exploded after Congress convened for a recess without addressing the energy crisis (the story was published on August 7, 2008 and titled “GOP leaders continue to protest drilling”). The second title was “Thousands of Demonstrators expected at GOP Convention” (published August 3, 2008). Is CNN glossing over the protest at the Democratic National Convention? I encourage my readers to review my search results by clicking here.
I continued my search on MSNBC’s website and had similar results. MSNBC does not have the option to sort by date or relevance, so my search was restricted to the search criteria built into the MSNBC website. The first story in the search dated back to April 4, 2007 and was entitled “Democrats’ Denver choice rankles unions”. I am typically behind anything that “rankles the union”, but the search results seemed out of date and irrelevant to my search. The second story was a clip from the news & updates banner about protests in India. Again, it seems that the 2008 march on the Democratic Convention is being swept under the rug. Please feel free to review my search results by clicking here.
Finally, I searched the Fox News website. The first four stories were about the protests at the Denver Convention. The first story, “ACLU ends its legal challenge to DNC restriction” was published August 07, 2008. Surprisingly, the ACLU and I agree on the issues involving the limitation of this right to assembly and free speech. The second story, “Judge: No Change to DNC security plan” was published on August 06, 2008. Fox News did not provide the information I was searching for, but at least they acknowledged the existence of the protesters and the controversy surrounding their rights. Again, please review my search results by clicking here.
Obama announced his selection of Senator Joe Biden as his running mate yesterday and the majority of the news cycle has been devoted to Biden’s life story. Many municipalities put restrictions on protests in the form of a permitting processes, location of protests or to the hours within which a protest can occur. A chill runs down my spine whenever we apply “reasonable restrictions’ to the rights outlined in our Constitution. It pains me greatly to come to the defense of Ward Churchill and Cindy Sheehan, but they are Americans and reserve the right to assemble peacefully. I do not condemn the Democrat Convention for placing the restriction on the protesters any more than I condemn the Republicans for the restrictions they will place on their protesters.
Both parties are treating this situation inappropriately. I do hold the media responsible for not reporting the grievances of the protesters.
My cable provider offers a lovely service which allows me to view the video feed from six cable news stations and hear the audio from any of these stations my simply moving my cursor from right to left. Five stations were playing old interviews or reporting live from the nearly empty Denver Convention center.
Fox News was on the street asking protestors what their message was, so I flipped the audio to Fox News. The message, both visual and verbal, included only “The Finger” and an unoriginal, but vulgar chant, “F**k Fox News” (See the video bar on the right). If I were participating in a protest (I have participated in a few in my time), I would not squander the opportunity to voice my opinion to any news agency (how many people ever get such a chance?). The majority of the networks ignored their efforts to inform the public of their political beliefs. Rather than taking advantage of a live, unedited television broadcast opportunity to sway the hearts and minds of America, the protestors decided to demonstrate pride in their limited vocabulary.
Next Sunday, I will compare a similar search on all three major news network website using the key words “St. Paul convention protests”. Until next Sunday, I will give both CNN and MSNBC the benefit of the doubt. The agencies may have a policy of not covering protests, but I am sure that I have watched several anti-immigration reform and anti-war protests on both of the aforementioned stations. If such a policy is in place, and this is not a partisan act, then why are the networks denying American Citizens fair treatment?
Perhaps, if the protestors conducted themselves in a self respecting manner, the other networks would give them a platform. It makes it very difficult to defend a person’s right of free speech when it used to hurl insults and profanity. Why would you insult the only news agency willing to spread your message to the voting public?

But no one listens to me-
Patriotic Progeny

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