Thursday, October 28, 2010

Right-winger admits: He'd rather be in Iran

Oh, boy.  Another racial hate piece from my Dad.  Here we go:








These things are possible in totalitarian regimes.  The rulers get to decide what they want to do.  Or what not to do.  So, is our poster suggesting that we become a totalitarian regime?  Personally, I say if he wants to live in one, he's welcome to move.  If he brings enough money, most of these regimes will accept him as a citizen, and give him the "special treatment" he feels like he deserves.

Interestingly?  For "Cuba", the original picture on the post was of Ataturk (Turkey's patriarch), with the flag of Turkey.  But, I suppose that one foreign country is the same as any other to our viral email author...


Yes, there are employers who will break the law.  Once they're caught,  they're out of a job of course.  And, of course, because an employer isn't hiring someone legally, they're not entitled to any workplace protections.  Unless their workplace is shut down and the illegal immigrant is deported.

Not legally, in any state.  At least any that are acceptable forms of identification.

Can you check with the Department of Social Security, and tell us how they would do this?  Without breaking the law?
According to FAIR (no friend of immigration benefits in general), "Illegal immigrants are barred from the following federal public benefits: grants, contracts, loans, licenses, retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, post secondary education, food assistance, and unemployment benefits."

No federal law needed.  It's bad business to issue loans to folks with unstable and undocumented incomes.

Again, not from the government, according to FAIR.  As for private organizations?  Pretty stupid to give these things to people who aren't here legally.

Is there anyone who isn't allowed to lobby?  Seems like a law against that would run into problems.  You know, that whole pesky "freedom of speech" thing...

That seems like a "made up" number.  And, of course, isn't designed to benefit legal immigrants.  At all.


Darn, that right to free speech!  We should end that!  Just like they do in North Korea, Iran...

Not without government-issued identification.  And they still haven't explained how they could obtain it legally.
News flash:  You don't.  Sure, some of these things can be obtained illegally.  When they do, punish 'em and deport 'em, I say.  But there are no government giveaways here.

And, like I said: If that isn't enough for you?  Feel free to move to North Korea, Iran, China, or whatever country you think is doing it "right".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A constitutional convention? Really?

My father's sent me a whole bunch of variants on this stuff.  I may as well address it now:

The Time Has Indeed Come!
Governors of 35 states have already filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them.  It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.
A constitutional convention?  Yeah!  We need one of those!  We're tired of all those pesky things that get in the way of our agenda!  Like separation of Church and State.  Or giving voting rights to people who disagree with us.  Or giving free speech rights and due process to folks who don't help our agenda!

This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on. 
Counting.  30 seconds to go...
An idea whose time has come!

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress.
Spoken by someone who won't get their fat butt off of the couch to do anything more than watch Fox News and forward viral emails.  Hint: Why not try going to a library to learn about American History?
Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term
I didn't.  Because it's not true.
, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws.
Also not true.
The latest was to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform ... in all of its forms.
Still not true.
Somehow, that doesn't seem logical.
Most conclusions based on 100% false premises are.
We do not have an elite that is above the law.
I agree.  Oh, wait, that's not what they meant to say.

I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.
Because it's not like, oh, say, a majority of their constituents could go to the ballot box, and vote them out of office.  Right?  Oh, majority rule only works when the majority agrees with you.  Gotcha.

A Constitutional Convention - this is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.  And, with the advent of modern communication, the process can be moved along with incredible speed.
Because, when it takes over a year to negotiate a health-care law that can pass congress, and can still be changed with a new law, you're not giving anyone enough time for anyone to consider the ramifications.  But if you're writing a constitutional ammendment that can't be changed with a simple law?  We need to hurry up, and get it done now!
There is talk out there that the "government" doesn't care what the people think.  That is irrelevant.  It is incumbent on the population to address elected officials to the wrongs afflicted against the and me. 
You mean -  they can't be voted out of office anymore?  My G-d, they have changed the laws!
Think about this...

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why?  Simple!  The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
Wait - I thought you said that the government wasn't responsive to the people.  Doesn't that prove the opposite point?

I'm asking each addressee to forward this Email to a minimum of twenty people on their Address list
... Because it's time for you to publicly admit your ignorance.
; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that  really should be passed around.
Believe me.  It has been.  I've seen it a million times.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ."

Laws like... oh, yeah.  They couldn't name any.
You are one of my 20+. 
Keep it going.
I want my (well over) 30 seconds back.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tribute to a fallen hero

My father sent me a nice article today.

I enjoyed it.  It's too bad that, according to, Ed Freeman passed away in August, 2008.  Long before some viral emailer tacked on health care reform and Tiger Woods as recent events.

Still, a good man.  Whose accomplishments are forever preserved in viral email format.

He deserves better - but this isn't too awful.

You're a 19 year old kid.
You're critically wounded and dying in
the  jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands  of Viet Nam .

It's  November 11, 1967.  
LZ (landing zone) X-ray.
Your unit is  outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so  intense, from 100 yards away, that  your CO (commanding officer) has  ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming  in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns  and you know you're not getting out.
Your family is half way around the world, 12,000  miles away, and you'll never see them again.
As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
You look  up to see a Huey coming in. But ... It doesn't  seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it.
Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you.

He's not MedEvac so it's not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.

Even after the MedEvacs were ordered
not to come. He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board.
Then he  flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety.

And, he kept coming back!! 13 more  times!!
Until all  the wounded were out. No one knew until the  mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in the legs and left arm.

He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.

Medal  of Honor Recipient, Captain  Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise, Idaho ..

May God Bless and Rest His Soul.

I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing,  but we've sure seen a whole bunch about Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods and the bickering of congress over Health Reform.

Medal of  Honor Winner Captain Ed Freeman

Shame on the American media !!!

Now ... YOU pass this along to YOUR
mailing list.  Honor this real American. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Frequently Assumed Falsehoods: Barney Frank Caused the Financial Meltdown

You know, a lot of these email messages keep saying that Barney Frank caused the recent financial crisis.
They say a lot of things that aren't true, don't they?

Well, yeah.  But they say it a lot.
I hear you.  Doesn't mean it's true.

Well, did he actually do anything that might make people say this?
There are a few things.  But it's almost impossible to say that these things caused the financial crisis.

They keep on mentioning Barney Frank's opposition to regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the cause of the meltdown.
They can say that.  But it seems pretty darned unlikely to anyone who looks at facts, rather than just bulk-forwarding emails that support whatever beliefs they already had.

Probably.  You know these emails.  But why would Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be involved in such a scheme?
Well, they did create and securitize mortgage-backed securities.  And, as you know, mortgage-backed securities provided a central role in the financial crisis.

Aha!  So, if there were better regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-backed securities would not have failed, and the economic crisis wouldn't have happened, right?  And Barney Frank opposed this regulation?
We'll get to the second part of that question later.  But for the fist part?  Uh... No.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were far from the only companies producing mortgage-backed securities.  Little companies like Countrywide, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and many others also created these securities.  And sold them aggressively.

Okay, so Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn't create all of these toxic assets.  But they made some pretty risky loans in low-income neighborhoods, didn't they?
Depends what you mean by "pretty risky".  If you mean the floating rate, low down payment, interest only (or negative amortizating), or no-documentation types of loans made to folks with low credit scores?  They took less risk than the private market did.

Private market?  You mean that the Government was producing these toxic assets?
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were started by the government, under FDR's administration.  But, until the meltdown occurred, they were private companies.  Many investors, however, thought they were safer than private companies, under the assumption that the government might bail them out if they got into trouble.

But - the government DID bail them out.  So that assumption turned out to be correct!
True.  But they also bailed out AIG, which was threatening to go bankrupt in it's attempt to securitize mortgage based securities that were not issued by Fannie and Freddie.   I don't think anyone had reason to believe AIG had government support...

Okay, so Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were only part of the problem.  So, what did Barney Frank do to cause so much trouble?
He's made some awkard statements, and done some awkward things.  And he did hold a role on the congressional committee that these regulations would have come from.

Okay... What regulation did he block?
As far as I can tell?  None.

Okay, maybe I asked the wrong question.  What regulation is he accused of blocking?
Well, in 2003, the Bush administration suggested moving supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from congress to a division of the Treasury department.

And Barney Frank objected, right?
He initially expressed objections.

Well, why?
Well, the Bush Administration implied that Fannie Mae needed more capital reserves, in case it's underlying investments went bad.  He expressed concern that tightened capital reserves = less money to loan = less of a support mechanism for home sales in poorer areas.  As he said, ''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Wait - Fannie and Freddie needed government bailouts.  So there was a financial crisis.
Yeah, with 20/20 hindsight, that's a pretty regrettable quote to make.  But if so many people didn't believe in the safety of mortgage-backed securities, the financial crisis wouldn't have happened.  He was as wrong as most people were back then.

Is there any other reason that Barney Frank might have been against this?
I can't read minds.  I can only read what he's written, and make some assumptions based on what he did.

Well, I heard that his boyfriend was a Fannie Mae executive.
Yes.  He had a 11-year domestic partnership with Frank Moses.  The conservative blogosphere has varied statements regarding what role he had in the organization - some saying that he was Vice Chairman of New Product development, others saying he was a vice president.  They all cite the National Mortgage News as the source of this information.  Unfortunately, I'm unable to find any articles from them mentioning his name.  (You can try searching yourself at this website.)  Nor has the reference been linked to by any articles that normally cross-reference their sources.  (An example here.)

Isn't this a conflict of interest?
I think it might be worthy of further investigation.  But, considering we don't even know what Frank Moses' role was, it's hard to figure out what legislation Barney Frank may have proposed or voted on upon the advice of his domestic partner at the time.  And no one in the conservative blogosphere has made any specific links between Frank Moses' specific interests and specific actions of Barney Frank.  Other than vague insinuations that such a thing might have happened, based on the fact that they were an open homosexual couple.

Personally, I think the easier explanation of Barney Frank's actions is that he had a consistent record of advocacy for affordable housing measures.  Even when these measures were financially problematic.

That's it?
Well, when there are relationships, people consider them.  For example, when George W. Bush was a governor, no one criticized him for his educational policy initiatives because his wife was an educator.  They may have considered this connection when evaluating his statements and policies.  And they would be correct in doing so.

But no one claimed that a sitting governor's statements were corrupted by his relationship, or insinuated that he should remain silent on educational policy because of his "conflict of interest".

But... it's unseemly.
Well, maybe.  But their relationship was open and public.  Any statements Barney Frank would make could be considered in this light.  No one did - until the financial crisis hit.

And he accepted a lot of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.  Isn't that kind of unseemly?
Yes, he did accept campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.  He's on the Financial Services committee - if anyone's going to get a contribution, it would be the members of that committee.

Now, as to whether such things should be allowed?  That's a legitimate area of debate, in my humble opinion.

Wait -- my paranoid brain is thinking --
Uh, oh...

Fannie Mae makes a ton of money at the height of the mortgage craze, and donates tons of money to politicians that let it go underregulated.  Fannie Mae goes under, and gets government bailouts.  So the Democrats created a giant campaign slush fund (the campaign donations) at the people's expense (the bailout), right?
Uhhm... that's an interesting conspiracy theory.  It's got a couple of fatal flaws though.

Oh, yeah?  What?
Well, for one, they spent a lot of money on Republicans too.  The Democrats got 7% more, yes.  That's $336,000 more (by my calculation) for the entire Democratic party than the Republican party.  It's more - but in competitive congressional races, spread out for the entire party?  It doesn't add up to much.

But it's still buying influence!
Apparently not enough.  Read the article again: Fannie Mae lobbied in favor of the Bush Administration proposal.  If Barney Frank were influenced by Fannie Mae's contributions, or by his boyfriend, wouldn't he have been more inclined to speak in favor of the proposal that their company favored?

Well, okay.  But he still blocked regulatory reform!
I don't see how he could.

Of course, he could block regulatory reform!  He's a powerful senator in the Financial Services committee!
At the time this legislation was proposed, he was the ranking minority member.  Giving him the awesome power of casting one vote.

But he could block the legislation, right?
No.  House subcommittee votes, even on procedural matters such as tabling a bill, are on majority vote.  And Barney Frank held one minority vote.  He didn't have the power to kill anything.

But - he worked with other people to block the bill in subcommittee, right?
No.  He takes credit for creating a compromise - increasing funds for other affordable housing initiatives, while providing Fannie Mae with oversight from the executive (rather than legislative) branch of government.  He voted for the compromise legislation in subcommittee.

So, he blocked it in the House, right?
Well, he voted against it on the floor.  According to him, a Republican amendment stripped out funding for affordable housing, and the compromise was essentially shot.  At least according to Barney Frank's tastes.

However, he didn't block it.  The legislation passed the house.  Over his "no" vote.

So - he worked with his buddies in the Senate to block the bill, right?
I can't find any evidence that he did.  The bill was tabled in the Senate - ostensibly because Bush threatened to veto the bill.  Apparently, the compromise legislation was still too generous for the sitting president.

So let me get this straight.  He made some statements skeptical of the need for Fannie and Freddie to be reformed.  But he voted a reform bill out of subcommittee, and it passed the house over his objections.  However, the Senate tabled the bill because the president threatened to veto it.   So, how did he block legislation that would have regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?
Beats me.  And it doesn't even answer the question of whether this oversight may have actually prevented their collapse - all it did was change the office that regulated their business.  And this argument doesn't address whether Fannie Mae's collapse was necessary for the current financial mess to occur.  After all, Fannie Mae wasn't the only producer of the "toxic" mortgage-backed securities.  There was a lot of market demand for them, after all.

Oh.  Well, thank you, Scott Grey, for your insightful analysis.
Thank you.  Feel free to email it to your right-wing friends (under the terms of the Creative Commons license, of course!).  Not that they'll listen.  But it might buy you a few seconds of quiet.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Frequently Assumed Falsehoods: An Introduction

In partisan politics, I've noticed one not-so-subtle tool of influence.

It starts when an unproven, but catchy idea starts to emerge.

The idea is either promoted through the media machine ("John Kerry's medals are illegitimate"), or become viral ("Barack Obama is not an American Citizen").

They're fully discredited by investigators.  But, proponents still stick to their story.  And just by the fact that they continue to repeat the same crap, folks start to believe it.

And, as time goes on, they write more stuff.  Stuff that assumes that their already fully discredited ideas are correct.  Such as yesterday's blog post that assumes the legend that Barney Frank single-handedly created our current economic crisis.

Obviously, I can't continue to include rebuttals to frequently assumed falsehoods in every viral email that asserts them.  So, I'll start these rebuttals as a feature.

That way, when they return (as they usually do), I can just refer back to my Frequently Assumed Falsehood post.

My first frequently assumed falsehood?  Coming soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don Rickles, you're not.

And, now, another right-wing rant piece.

Only, this time it's different.  Because it's supposed to be funny.

As virally spread, it credits Don Rickles.  This authorship has been thoroughly discredited.

Of course, you don't need Snopes to figure that out.  Don Rickles is clever and original in his use of the English language.  About the only thing this author has cleverly done is stolen a few lines from Rodney Dangerfield.

Without further ado:

Hello, dummies!  Oh my God, look at you.  Anyone else hurt in the accident?

Seriously, Senator Reid has a face of a Saint - A Saint Bernard. Now I know why they call you the arithmetic man.  You add partisanship, subtract pleasure, divide attention, and multiply ignorance. Reid is so physically unimposing, he makes Pee Wee Herman look like Mr. T.  And Reid's so dumb, he makes Speaker Pelosi look like an intellectual.     Nevada is soooo screwed!  If I were less polite, I'd say Reid makes Kevin Federline look successful.

Speaking of the Speaker ... Nancy Pelosi, hubba, hubba!  Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity.  Seriously, the Speaker may look like an idiot and talks like an idiot but don't let that fool you.  She really is an idiot.

Charlie Rangel ... still alive and still robbing the taxpayers blind.  What does that make, six decades of theft?  Rangel's the only man with a rent-controlled mansion. He's the guy who writes our tax laws but forgot to pay taxes on $75 grand in rental income! So why isn't he the Treasury Secretary? Rangel runs more scams than a Nigerian Banker.

Barney Frank ... he's a better actor than Fred Flintstone.  Consider that he and Dodd caused the whole financial meltdown, and they're not only not serving time with Bubba and Rodney, they're still heading up the financial system!  Let's all admit it ...  Barney Frank slobbers more than a sheepdog on Novocain.. How did this guy get elected?  Oh, that's right ...  he's from Massachusetts. That's the state that elects Mr. Charisma, John Kerry -- man of the people!

You know, if Senator Dodd were any more crooked, you could open wine bottles with him.  Here's a news flash, Dodd: when your local newspaper calls you a "lying weasel," it may be time to retire.  Dodd's involved in more shady deals than the Clintons. Even Rangel looks up to him!

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, I really respect you ...  especially given your upbringing ~ All you've overcome.  I heard your birth certificate is an apology from the condom factory.  I don't know what makes you so dumb, but it really works for you.  Personally, I don't think you're a fool, but what's my opinion compared to that of thousands of others?

As for President Obama, what can I say?  They say President Obama's arrogant and aloof, but I don't agree.  Now it's true when you enter the room, you have to kiss his ring.  I don't mind, but he has it in his back pocket.  His mind is open to new ideas -- so open that ideas simply pass through it.  Obama lies so much, I was actually surprised to find out his first name really was Barack.  Just don't ask about his middle name!  But Obama was able to set a record ...  he actually lied more in 60 days than Bill Clinton.
Hardy, har har.  (Rolls eyes.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

US, Chinese, Israeli, and Turkish Relations Made Way Too Simple.

Here's another "interesting" article from my father:

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Chinese warplanes make Mid East debut in Turkey and Iran

Dear Friends,

As predicted, right after Obama's Cairo speech, Chinese military involvement with Turkey and Iran, is yet another outcome given Obama's reckless foreign policy, putting emphasis on ideological commitments to his mentors rather than real-politics, as in the case of wishing to shatter Israel's security foundations by establishing a non-viable Palestinian state, in addition to the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan, neglecting the fact America is losing its deterrence, because predators sensed there is no president in the White House.

Foreign affairs conduct, is just a copycat of Obama's reckless conduct vis-à-vis internal affairs, as in the case of 'health insurance'. Would Obama have waited until US economy stabilizes and only then go for such ideological commitment, following his mother's death at an early age, there could have been an objective discussion about the necessity and feasibility of such major reform.

Putting the carriage in front of the horses though, brought about the dire condition US economy faces presently, suffering from disproportional government expenditures, which could have been postponed to better times.

The problem with Obama seems to be his perception of himself as a one term president, ensuing harsh and sometimes reckless decision-making procedures, which brought about an unprecedented friction between US rival parties, on the one hand and breaking all codes of presidential conducts, on the other hand, or as the saying goes: "Haste makes waste". 


Chinese warplanes make Mid East debut in Turkey and Iran
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 12, 2010, 3:33 PM (GMT+02:00)
The arrival of a new Middle East player startled Washington and Jerusalem: debkafile's military sources disclose that when Turkish Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan met Syrian president Bashar Assad in Damascus Monday, Oct. 11, they talked less about the Kurdish question and more about the role China is willing to play in the military-intelligence alliance binding Syria, Iran and Turkey.
Erdogan took the credit for China's unfolding involvement in the alliance in the role of big-power backer. Two recent events illustrate Beijing's intent:
1.  From Sept. 20 to Oct. 6, the Turkish Air Force conducted its regular annual Anatolian Eagle exercise, this time without US and Israeli participation. Israel was not invited and America opted out. However, their place was taken by Chinese Sukhoi Su-27 and Mig-29 warplanes making their first appearance in Turkish skies.
Our military sources report that the Chinese warplanes began touching down at the big Konya air base in central Turkey in mid-September for their debut performance in the Middle East and Europe.
Konya has served NATO and the United States for decades as one of their most important air bases.
2. Our sources add that the Chinese planes refueled only once on their journey to Turkey in… Iran. When they touched down at the Gayem al-Mohammad air base in central Iran, their crews were made welcome by the Iranian air force commander Gen. Ahmad Migani.
It was the first time Chinese fighter-bombers are known to have visited the Islamic Republic.
The Gayem al-Mohammed facility, located near the town of Birjand in South Khorasan, is situated directly opposite the big American base of East Afghanistan near the Afghan-Iranian border town of Herat. 
The Turkish prime minister painted the military alliance binding Tehran, Ankara and Damascus in rosy colors for Assad's benefit as more central to the region and more powerful than Israel's armed forces after overcoming the IDF's military edge.

So, a key United States ally has heard Obama's speech at Cairo.  They're now seeing the US as weak.  As a result, they're turning to China and Iran as domestic "partners" in their security.

Too bad they've got their sense of events and timing completely wrong.

Even the Israeli press isn't supporting this version of events.  They've reported on the Anatolian Eagle eagle exercises here.

It turns out - last year, the Anatolian Eagle exercises were cancelled.  Turkey refused to allow the Israelis to participate.  In retaliation, the United States and many NATO partners refused to participate as well.

So, now Turkey sees itself without Western partners.  And now we're supposed to be surprised when they're tightening their defense relationships with the East.

Turkish relationships with both East and West are historically complex.  Any student of the rise of Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, Ataturk's reforms (tepidly embraced by much of the Turkish population), popular resentment of the corruption of the Military (which had been embraced by the West), and endless dithering regarding Turkey's status in the European Union are all factors leading to some resentment within the Turkish population, and (unfortunately) it's democratically elected government.  I can't cover all of these in one blog article.

But, we can be certain that two things are not factors in Turkey's growing embrace of the East.  Our "tepid" support of Israel, or Obama's overtures to Eastern governments willing to work with us.  And, considering that Turkey has nationalized health care, I doubt that they've even considered the new healthcare bill as an economic burden.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't read this if you don't want to get sick.

This is one of my father's messages that just makes me say, "Wow."

Yes, Dad. All "new" immigrants are the same. And they aren't like the ones in the "old days". Right.

I just can't comment. I'll let this racial hate piece speak for itself.

It makes me sick. I only repost it here to show others how racists think.

But, sorry. I just can't make this funny.

New Immigrants
Maybe we should turn to our history books and
point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today's
American is not willing to accept this new kind of
immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there
was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the
United States, people had to get off a ship and
stand in a long line in New York and be documented.
Some would even get down on their hands and
knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge
to uphold the laws and support their new country
in good and bad times. They made learning English
a primary rule in their new American households
and some even changed their names to blend in with
their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to
give their children a new life and did everything
in their power to help their children assimilate into
one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free
lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them.
All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they
had brought with them to trade for a future of
Most of their children came of age when World War
II broke out. My father fought along side men whose
parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy,
France and Japan. None of these 1st generation
Americans ever gave any thought about what country
their parents had come from. They were Americans
fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan.
They were defending the United States of America as
one people.
When we liberated France, no one in those villages
were looking for the French American, the German
American or the Irish American. The people of France
saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that
represented one country. Not one of those immigrant
sons would have thought about picking up another
country's flag and waving it to represent who they
were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents
who had sacrificed so much to be here. These
immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American.
They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who
wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want
to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules,
one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee
of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's
not what being an American is all about. I believe that
the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early
1900's deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work
and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land
that has become a beacon for those legally searching for
a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are
being used as an example by those waving foreign country

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of
Liberty, it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are
voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn't start talking about
dismantling the United States just yet.

Rosemary LaBonte


I sincerely hope this letter gets read by millions of people
all across the nation!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yes, folks. Cabinet members HAVE had real jobs.

Let's get started with this email:

A chart that showed past presidents and the percentage of each president's
cabinet appointees who had previously worked in the private sector - you know, a
real life business,.. not a government job? Remember what that is?

private business?
*Roosevelt - 38%*
*Taft - 40%*
*Wilson - 52%*
*Harding - 49%*
*Coolidge - 48%*
*Hoover - 42%*
*FDR - 50%*
*Truman - 50%*
*Eisenhower - 57%*
*Kennedy - 30%*
*LBJ - 47%*
*Nixon - 53%*
*Ford - 42%*
*Carter - 32%*
*Reagan - 56%*
*GHWB - 51%*
*Clinton - 39%*
*GWB - 55%*
*And the Chicken Dinner
Winner is.........................*

*Obama - 8%* ----

This is
the guy who wants to tell YOU how to run YOUR life!

in the Obama Cabinet, HAS EVER HAD A JOB.

And these are the guys holding a "job summit," going to tell us how to
run our businesses, make our decisions for us?
Do you want to trust them
with every aspect of your life?

"When the people fear the Government,
that is tyranny. When the Government fears the people, that is Liberty."
Thomas Jefferson

Wow. That sounds bad.

But, wait. Only one cabinet member in the Obama administration has ever held a private sector job? In order to do that, it seems like he'd have to try to select a cabinet that's never held a job outside of the government. Do you really think the President would deliberately apply such a litmus test to his nominees? That just doesn't sound right.

Let's look a little deeper.

First, let's take a trip to the White House website, and see who's sitting in the President's cabinet.

Wait a minute. I'm counting 15 secretaries. State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veteran's Affairs, and Homeland Security.

But, according to our anonymous source, "ONLY ONE IN TWELVE" (caps copied from the original) has held a job.

So, it seems that our anonymous email writer is criticising government officials on their qualifications - while he can't even pass 1st grade math.

Okay, let's see how bad this author's math is.

Let's start from the top:

Hillary Clinton: From 1977-1993, worked at the Rose Law Firm. A very large corporate law firm. At one point becoming the first female senior partner. One article critical of the work she did can be found here. Now, corporate law at a private firm... that's clearly not government work. She must be the one, right?

Timothy Geithner: Let's give the writer a break, and say that work at the federal reserve is public-sector. (A subject worthy of debate.) So, let's disqualify that. Before his work for the Fed, he was employed at the Kissinger Institute - a private group offering advice on public policy. Okay, all of his work has been in public policy - either in think tanks, or at the Fed. Arguably, one could make a case that he hasn't had work outside of government policy. It's a stretch, but it's a stretch that one can make. Especially if you're motivated to smear the Obama administration.

Robert Gates: Recruited into the CIA when he started graduate school, and started by serving as second lieutenant in the Air Force preparing intelligence briefings. Far from a cushy political position. Rose to CIA director, after leaving, served in academia and on corporate boards. Personally, I'm happy to have a defense secretary who's spent most of his life in the military. (And so did George W. Bush, who originally placed him in his position.) But, if you really want to stretch it, you could say that undignified and apolitical gruntwork in the Air Force and CIA are still government positions, and corporate board memberships are "vanity" titles. So, you could argue against his having a "real job". If you're narrow-minded enough to define "real" as outside government.

Eric Holder: So, close, Mr. Anonymous writer. Eric Holder has spent almost his entire career after law school in the Department of Justice, primarily in the public integrity division. Charged with persuing official corruption. Under several presedential administrations, both Republican and Democrat. But, he has been a "Litigation Partner" at Covington and Burling - a private law firm. Granted, our writer might spin some fantastic story about how this might be a political favor - but I think the burden falls on our writer here to prove such a wild theory. Looks like s/he missed this one. We're running 2/4 so far.

Kenneth Salazar: Total miss. Worked as an attorney in the private sector for several years before joining the Governor's Cabinet. And he owns a working farm. Making him a business owner. Sorry, Mr. Email writer - I don't think you were paying attention with this one.

Thomas Vilsack: Worked at his father-in-law's private legal firm for twelve years before his first government job - mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. I'll admit - my research here is a pretty half-assed effort, this took me awhile to find. Maybe it was a little more effort than our original writer cared to make. (If s/he made one at all.) But a private sector job it is.

Gary Locke: Once again, our anonymous blogger forgot to include the fact that he was a partner at the private law firm of Davis, Wright, and Tremaine... this is getting to be a bad habit!

Hilda Solis: Her background seems pretty well documented by Wikipedia. (Not that this is 100% accurate, but, like I said, I'm half-assing my research, and this article looks pretty detailed.) An interesting story, but no clear record of private sector employment. They got one right. I suppose that broken clocks do give the correct time twice a day...

Kathleen Sebelius: First job out of college was as director and lobbyist for the Kansas Trial Lawyers' Association. After that, she served elected positions in government. Okay, technically, the trial lawyers' association is a real (private) business - but let's give our anonymous writer a break and call this "debateable." Even if it really isn't.

Shaun Donovan: His biography on the HUD website states that he's worked in the private sector as an architect. My half-assed research can't find many details on this employment, but it's verified by U.S. News and World Report.

Ray LaHood: According to the Department of Transportation biography, before holding elected office, he worked as a high school teacher. Technically, government work. Got one right, as far as I can tell.

Steven Chu: A nobel-prizewinning scientist. Did you think that he's spent all of his life in university studies? I thought so. I was wrong. He's been an employee at Bell Laboratories.

Arne Duncan: Played professional basketball in Australia from 1987-1991. That's about as far from government work as you get.

Eric Shinseki: A career military man, including combat tours in Vietnam. After his retirement, he's served on corporate boards, which critics might call "not real work", I suppose. Okay, he's lost half of one foot while serving for our country, and has had a distinguished military career. But not much outside of the public sector. For all it matters.

Janet Napolitano: Damn! They missed her work for the private law firm Lewis and Roca. Again!

So, our anonymous writer says that only 8% of the cabinet has "previously worked in the private sector". Let's count 'em up...

Documented, almost inarguable private sector work: Clinton, Holder, Salazar, Vilsack, Locke, Donovan, Chu, Duncan, Napolitano = 9

Arguable - worked in quasi-governmental organizations, independent public policy advisors, or on corporate boards (where they may have been "vanity" employees) - Geithner, Gates, Sebelius, Shinseki = 4

No private sector work found in my half-assed google searches: Solis, LaHood. = 2

Giving the writer every unreasonable doubt? I calculate that 60% of Obama's Cabinet has worked in the private sector. A far cry from 8%. And above every other president listed. Not that I trust this author's research on the other presidents' cabinets. But it's still a point to be made.

A friend of mine once said, "63% of all statistics are made up on the spot."

I suspect that nearly 100% of all viral email statistics are as well. Including this anonymous writers'.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Introduction

For years, my father has sent me "viral" email messages from the political "right wing" fringe.

I never asked for them. I've asked him to stop.

I've tried to educate him. Asked him to look on before forwarding messages that have already been investigated and found to be untrue.

I've tried humiliation - refuting his messages to his private mail-forwarding list.

And found that just makes him angry.

I can't stop them. But I can bring these messages into the light.

So, when the media asks, "How can 24% of Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim?"

Because the extremists of the right wing don't believe the news. They believe "the internet."

What is my political agenda?

Readers may ask: What is my political agenda?

I consider myself a political moderate. In the last few presidential elections, I've never loved any of the candidates. I've always picked "the less worst alternative." But to look at my voting record?

2008: McCain (Hoping that, after election, he'd become a moderate again.)
2004: Bush (and hated it. But thought Kerry would have been worse. )
2000: Gore (Again, hoping he'd turn back into slightly-left of center.)
1996: Clinton (Referred to, by my liberal friends, as "the best Republican president ever.")
1992: Clinton

That's right. In the last two presidential elections, I voted with the Republican candidate. So, clearly, I'm no fan of the left-wing political establishment either. I believe that political debate needs to be based upon the civil discussion of facts.

Granted, both parties may disagree on what the facts mean, but, without facts, no civil discussion is possible.

Here's the mail. Let's find the truth.

Why I don't publish comments

1) It's my blog. I can do what I want.

2) I don't think we need ninety-million counter-comments decrying how my sources are biased, how wrong I am for re-posting hate-filled emails, or how viral article authors are justified in trying to prevent America from becoming a "socialist" state. These discussions run counter to my purpose - to expose these beliefs to the light for rational discussion.

3) If someone writes a well-thought out comment that isn't an example of #2, I'll probably respond in a future posting. And if I'm proven wrong, I'll say so.

4) If we disagree on how well-thought-out your comment is? See rule #1.

Ready, folks? Here we go....