Sunday, October 23, 2011

FOX News Sunday Panel Admits - The Fix is in for Romney-Perry

I bet you thought that given Herman Cain's rise in the polls and his ability to connect with the American public and Republican straw poll delegates alike he would be a factor in the upcoming primary votes.

Well forget it. Cain is out. The Panel on Fox News Sunday today not only thinks so, they said they're working to make sure it happens. They want a continuing matchup between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. I guess in their world Newt Gingrich can go to hell too.

The panel was hosted by Chris Wallace and this week included Brit Hume; David Drucker from Roll Call; Kimberley Strassel from the Wall Street Journal; and Juan Williams.

Wallace said today that a "dirty little secret" of the news business is that they want other political candidates - except Cain - to stay in the race so they aren't just reporting on a Mitt Romney/Barack Obama matchup. But it seems far more likely that political insiders, including the media, don't want Cain shaking things up either.

Also, Cain has risen to the top on a shoe string, and doesn't have the money to make big advertising buys the way Romney and Perry do. Ad money; it's what makes the news world go round. Romney and Perry have it, and will spend it. Cain doesn't, at least yet, so he is out of here.

It has been clear from the time that Cain started his ascent that America's news organizations didn't want to take him seriously. His lack of insider political experience - which Americans love - was and is touted as a bad thing, and if he makes the slightest misstep it becomes an overnight sensation. Even now they refuse to give any credence to his message or his plans.

First, apparently because media personalities don't understand math or refuse to read what is plainly written on Cain's website and elsewhere on the Internet, it is commonplace to see them mischaracterize his 9-9-9 tax reform plan that is based on and leading to a national Fair Tax. Like a tree full of magpies they screech endlessly "It won't work, it can't pass, your taxes will increase."

It can work, it can get passed, and our taxes will go down. But let's not let the truth get in the way of a good mantra.

Yet, when the racist Texas Governor Rick Perry - remember his hunting camp named Ni**erhead? - comes out with a Flat Tax plan that is essentially the same as Cain's plan except Perry will bring along a massive bureaucracy that Cain wants to eliminate, the pundits gush over it. It will lead, they predict, to Perry's meteoric return from the ashes of a campaign that never got off the ground except in their minds.

I bet they think the Democrats will forget all about Ni**erhead and Perry falsely accusing Romney of hiring illegal aliens. Believe me, the Democrats won't forget.

Today's panel attacked Cain because of alleged conflicting statements on negotiating with terrorists and his stand on abortion.

Last week, when Israel traded 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier who had been held for five years, Cain was asked if as president he would consider releasing terrorists from the Guantanamo facility to get back an American prisoner.

Cain responded that he understood why the Israeli prime minister did what he did, and if faced with a similar situation would have to put all possibilities on the table. That immediately was seized upon as proof that Cain would negotiate with terrorists and thus weaken our oh-so-strong position on the world stage.

Let's look at this from the perspective of a parent whose son or daughter is being held by those pedophiles, rapists and religious fanatics. If it was your child, would you want to know that your president was doing everything in his or her power to bring that service member back home?

Even if the final answer was that the risk to the many outweighed the risk to the few, or the one, at least we would know that every possible avenue was explored.

Have these people forgotten what was done to journalist Daniel Pearl? When the Islamo-fascists were cutting his head off in slow motion on camera, did our leaders know that every possible method to secure his release had been explored? Did his family?

I think Cain accurately described the intricacies of the world today, and that an honest chief executive will have to at least consider all options.

On the abortion issue Cain was trying to thread the eye of a needle on his personal feelings versus the rights of women to determine their own destiny. Cain said he was against abortion, but that it still is the right of the family, especially the woman involved, to determine their own course action even if it is against the law, which the last time I looked, it was not.

Hume said Cain can not "walk back" his comments on abortion.

Here is where the Republican Party has been hurting itself for some time now. First, I oppose abortion when used as a form of birth control.

But I live in a state where the GOP at best can be described as moderate, and like the rest of the nation, females are an emerging force in our party. When I talk issues with many of the Republican women I know, I keep hearing the phrase "fiscal conservative," which appears to be code for "I don't necessarily agree with the party's stance on abortion."

A bit more discussion usually reveals that many Republican women also don't agree with using abortion as birth control, but they do believe a woman should have the right to make her own choice when rape or incest is involved.

I believe many men, such as Vice President Joe Biden, toss around the word "rape" because it doesn't make them as uncomfortable as actually describing what really happens to women who are raped. As a 20-year journalist I saw far too many rape reports that explain why that one word is insufficient to describe the actual crime.

Many reports, that my editors universally believed should not be in the papers to save the woman from reliving it, described vicious attacks where a man exacted a level of violence against a woman that can only be described as heinous. Smashing heads against concrete walls, or cinder blocks, or sidewalks, or granite curbing repeatedly until she was nearly unconscious from the pain and blood loss.

Punching her face so many times that her nose was broken, teeth knocked out, eyes swollen shut, even facial bones broken. Punches and kicks to the midsection that broke ribs, and damaged internal organs, obscene acts on her female organs that were followed by sexual assault.

Then, she not only finds out that the bastard who did this to her impregnated her, but some man she doesn't know, espousing beliefs with which she doesn't agree, tells her that if she doesn't carry the baby to term she is a murderer? Add incest to this, except it may not be that physically violent, and I think it is reasonable to ask why we are even having this discussion.

I don't know when a one-viewpoint-fits all position on abortion became a litmus test in the Republican Party, but I don't believe it is universally accepted, either by Independent voters, or even many in the GOP. And frankly, with the state of the economy, and the overwhelming need to get it back on track, I don't think it will be the defining issue in next year's election.

Cain may need to refine his message, or he may just have to stop trying to thread the needle. Either way he may find that more people agree with him than he had imagined.

I might have just shrugged my shoulders at today's FNS discussion if it weren't for a comment by Drucker after Juan Williams noted that Mitt Romney is running ads attacking Perry, who is way down in the polls, while ignoring Cain, who is leading the field.

Drucker said Romney doesn't need to attack Cain because Cain will trip himself up, and "people like us have been looking at his (Cain's) plan and writing all sorts of things, and it has taken care of the problem." The problem being that Romney has no idea how to combat Cain's popularity.

So he has the media doing it for him. Drucker added that as a result of people like those on the panel writing things about Cain "If there is any threat (to Romney's campaign) it is from Perry."

But wait, there's more. Wallace then added that "there is going to be an effort on his (Perry's) part, or our part, to resuscitate Rick Perry." Deeply disappointed in these people, I am.

I couldn't believe they said those things and I didn't hear anyone disagreeing with the possible exception of Williams who did stick up for Cain - a bit. In fact Strassel also chimed in noting "we're not the only ones that don't want a Romney-Obama campaign," and further explained that the White House would like to keep mixing things up too.

That's what the political arm of the administration is supposed to do. But if the national media is going be siding with the White House to keep Herman Cain out of the race, and Rick Perry in it, I think it would be nice if they just came out and said so, rather than attempting to package their agenda as news and commentary.

Journalistic ethics seem to be non-existent in that format. Credibility appears to be in short supply there too.

Wallace ended the panel discussion by saying that regardless of how things looked last week, "we'll see how the polls turn after this week."

Premonition? I think not.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GOP Las Vegas Debate an Embarassment; CNN Finally Makes Fools of Candidates

In the first CNN sponsored debate between Republican presidential hopefuls in early September, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich had the good sense to sidestep moderator Wolf Blitzer's attempt to draw him into bashing the other candidates.

Most of those in the debate that night caught on to his strategy, and stuck to the job of unseating Barack Obama before he totally destroys the US. But as of last night's debate in Las Vegas, with CNN's Anderson Cooper moderating, it was apparent that most of the GOP candidates have an extremely short attention span.

What should have been an embarrassment of riches turned into an especially ugly, crass, classless embarrassment of embarrassments.

The debate started with some of the most uninformed comments imaginable regarding Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform plan, but ended up in a slug fest primarily between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. By the time they were done, and a couple others had joined the fray, at least half of the field looked decidedly unpresidential, and frankly, out of control. This included Romney, Perry, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul.

In fact, at the end of the night, only Cain and Gingrich stayed above the backbiting and bitterness, although I was pretty disappointed with one part of Gingrich's comments. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who also was Barack Obama's ambassador to China, and is so far back in the polls it is difficult to understand why he claims he is a candidate, did not appear, which turned out to be good for him.

(However, Huntsman did appear on the FOX News channel's America's Newsroom Wednesday morning and went on a verbal assault against the other candidates, which frankly came across as cowardly since he didn't do it in a forum where they were able to defend themselves.)

Cooper, who unlike Blitzer, did all the moderating and questioning himself, presided over a loosely organized debate structure that obviously was intended to facilitate intense disagreements between the candidates. Failing to heed Gingrich's admonition from the September CNN sponsored debate, Romney and Perry fell upon each other, talking over each other and insulting each other, with Santorum and occasionally Bachmann willingly joining in.

At one point Romney reached out and put his hand on Perry's shoulder and for a second I expected to see Perry slap it away and nail Romney with a left hook. Seriously, it was that intense.

It was as disappointing a display of political roughhousing as I have ever seen, and Cooper just stood off to the side, obviously relishing his role in providing the Democratic Party with hours of soundbites to help out Obama next year. Frankly, if it wasn't for Cain and Gingrich I'd be saying that the overall performance last night made me ashamed to be a Republican.

Cain took shot after shot over his tax reform plan that calls for reducing the current tax on corporate earnings from 35 percent to 9 percent, the personal income tax that ranges from 15 percent to 35 percent, not counting Medicare and Social Security deductions, to 9 percent, and creating a 9 percent national sales tax. He parried them all, labelling the inaccuracies for what they are - knee jerk reactions and comparing apples to oranges - and called on Americans to review his program on his website and do their own calculations.

I share at least on thing with Cain - we both were math majors in college - but it is obvious that the rest of the GOP field has a brain drain in areas that stray from obfuscation and rhetoric.

One of the foundations of the opposition to Cain's plan is the claim that he is putting a federal sales tax on top of the state sales taxes. That is true on its surface, but usually left unsaid is that states that impose a sales tax do not reduce or eliminate other taxes that it is intended to replace.

Cain's plan will not only reduce existing federal taxes, but in the second phase will eliminate them altogether.

Also, we constantly hear the claim that half of American wage earners pay no income taxes, and thus would see an increase in their taxes under Cain's plan.

That isn't true. Under the present structure, all wage earners who receive a paycheck from an employer pay taxes; they are deducted before wage earners see even a dime for their efforts. But those on the low end of the income scale who have sufficient deductions, get refunds on April 15 of the next year, that often meet or exceed the amount of taxes they paid.

This doesn't mean they don't pay taxes. It means they make an interest free loan to the US government with every paycheck, and the government pays it back the next year. But the taxes are still deducted first. And the government uses that money without fee for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than a year.

Under Cain's plan that will cease. The tax rate on personal income will first drop to 9 percent then be abolished. But everyone will pay the federal sales tax which will expand the tax base nearly exponentially. The US workforce stands at 139 million and even if all of them paid a flat rate income tax it would still only account for less than one-half the population.

But if the total population - more than 300 million - pays a manageable sales tax on new purchases of goods and services, the tax paying base is more than doubled - not even counting tourists and others in the US who also would be paying sales tax on their purchases.

Do these candidates realize that when all the taxes and fees are counted in we currently pay about 60 cents on every dollar we earn and only 40 cents is left for us - at best? Or are they so married to the current system, like Bachmann, the tax lawyer, that they fear any change would cost them money?

Cain's detractors also are saying that prices won't drop when the myriad taxes and fees on business are eliminated. Ahh, crystal ball gazers. The way I see it, if any businesses in direct competition with others that offer their product - Coke and Pepsi, Ford and Chevy, Bud and Miller, UPS and FedEx for instance - are given the opportunity to undercut their competitors' prices, they are going to do it.

If you were number two on the list of competitors and could grab a bigger market share by offering the same product at a lower price wouldn't you? And if all these businesses were given the opportunity to sell the product for less, and none of them did, wouldn't they be opening themselves up for charges of collusion and unfair business practices?

The other inaccurate hit on Cain's plan is that it is a Value Added Tax, VAT, which is used in Europe to artificially inflate the price of goods and tax the public even more to subsidize their failed socialist policies. In that system, a product, take a loaf of bread for instance, is taxed when the wheat seed is sold to the farmer, again when the harvested wheat is sold to the miller, again when the refined flour is sold to the baker, and finally once again when the finished loaf is sold to the consumer.

However, as Cain has repeatedly noted, the Fair Tax on which his tax reform plan is based, is a single-rate, federal retail sales tax collected only once, at the final point of purchase of new goods and services for personal consumption. Used items are not taxed. Business-to-business purchases for the production of goods and services are not taxed.

So calling the 9-9-9 tax reform plan a VAT is either deliberately misleading or monumentally stupid, neither of which are valued characteristics in a person who wants to be President of the United States, although we have that in the White House now.

As far as the issue with state sales taxes is concerned, Cain should make the point in his next debate that he is running for President of the United States not governor. If a state like Perry's Texas, which has an 8.25 percent sales tax, applied the same effort to reducing expenditures as it does to fleecing its citizens, maybe it could repeal its other taxes on goods and services and give its residents a break.

I found it very interesting that on the immigration issue Texas has seen a 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants while Florida and California have seen no increase at all.

And the cheap shot of the night also goes to Perry for falsely accusing Romney of hiring illegal aliens, not once but twice. As it turns out, Romney had a lawn mowing service that hired two illegal aliens; when Romney found out the owner of the business fired them, but then hired two more who had false work documents.

They were fired too. Cheap shot. Really cheap shot. More like a drunken sucker punch in a barroom brawl.

All in all the night was OK for Cain and Gingrich, but pretty bad for the rest of the candidates. The remainder of the field neither looked nor acted presidential, they have no plans of their own, and they have to lie or at least fabricate irrelevancies to find fault with Cain's tax reform plan.

If you watched you may haven noticed that the biggest applause of the night went to Cain when he told Cooper he wouldn't back down on his border fence positon to stem the flow of illegal aliens and other criminals, and when he refused to recant his criticism of the Occupy Wall Street sweaty, smelly hippies.

It is obvious that Republican voters want people who are strong leaders and don't change their minds as often as the wind changes direction. Judging from Tuesday night's performance, the number of people calling themselves GOP Presidential candidates who meet that criteria is dwindling fast.
Friday, October 14, 2011

Keep Religion Out of GOP Debates; Tell Michelle Bachmann to Shut Up!

It's bad enough that some religious extremists are trying to divide Republican voters who are seeking a presidential candidate – with a minister for one Protestant denomination, who claims to be spreading the word of Jesus Christ in support of Rick Perry, calling Mormonism a cult.

But it was just as bad to hear what Michelle Bachmann had to say about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform plan at the GOP debate in Dartmouth College this week.

Bachmann, apparently trying – unsuccessfully – to be glib said of the 9-9-9 plan, that when "turned upside down" meaning 6-6-6, "The devil is in the details." Oh, 666, the sign of the devil, I get it! Wow! What an unspeakably stupid comment!

I guess it was intended to turn Christian evangelists against Cain by making him appear to be doing the work of the devil. Does she think her fellow evangelists are that stupid? That was as big an insult to evangelist Christians as it was to Cain.

Bachmann's comment only proved to me that she be as small, mean and un-Christian as any other politician out there.

While Bachmann is showing that she only understands the current tax system and is unwilling to change it to make it fair to all Americans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry's wife Anita is running around the campaign trail inaccurately bashing Cain's plan while telling voters that Perry is being bashed for his faith.

What? It was his pastor who said Mormonism is a cult, and Perry won't repudiate that statement. These people are not good missionaries to spread the word of the Republican Party. And the ultimate GOP nominee will NOT get votes from independents or cross-over Democrats if this is where the debate is headed.

Bachmann's gaffe also was remarkable in that it came after she gave a really good response to a leftist question about American banks and corporations. But it was exactly in line with an equally obnoxious remark from former Utah governor and Obama Administration ambassador to China Jon Huntsman that he thought 9-9-9 stood for "the price of a pizza."

Which considering that the 9-9-9 plan is a precursor to the flat tax which Huntsman has bragged he used to bring Utah's finances under control makes him appear about as clueless as Bachmann. Both of these candidates tried to appear "cute," but neither pulled it off and considering the dire financial straits we are experiencing, their cavalier commentary is appallingly insensitive to the voters.

I don’t want a president who is glib, I want an president with a clear vision for the future of this country, and a plan showing how to get there. Bachmann, Huntsman and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum don't have one, but that didn’t stop them from trying to tear down the one workable, understandable plan that is being offered by a GOP candidate.

It also didn't escape my attention that when Cain directly confronted Mitt Romney, asking him to explain his 59-point recovery plan, Romney took the typical politician's road and said a whole bunch of words, none of which qualified as an answer.

Candidates and the media alike continually refer to Cain only as the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, or The Pizza Man, obviously attempting to minimize his qualifications and his expertise. Few commentators mention that he is a degreed mathematician who worked for the US Navy, a former executive for Pillsbury who bought Godfather's from that firm and made it profitable, or that he has a history of turning around unsuccessful businesses.

The latest rap on Cain is that he is just one of many candidates who have surged, and that the others, Bachmann and Perry for instance, have then dropped back. But there is a major point being overlooked – Bachmann, Perry and Romney all had national name recognition that initially gave them a boost, but when their candidacies were examined closely people changed their minds.

Cain was not known nationally and has had to work hard just to get name recognition. But as more people look closely at Cain, his numbers are going up. What does that tell you?

The comments from Huntsman and Bachmann were obviously meant to be condescending and demeaning, not just to Cain's tax reform proposal but to him personally. But I think both candidates hurt themselves far more than they hurt Cain, and frankly, considering that both are going nowhere but down in the polls it would be nice to see them both drop out and let us concentrate on people without baggage who can beat Barack Obama.

One candidate seeing steady improvement in the polls - to a lot of pundits' surprise - is Newt Gingrich who repeatedly demonstrates his knowledge of the Constitution and federal law in GOP debates. The media determined early in this race that Gingrich is ineligible to be president but again the voters are showing that they have their own minds.

Considering how the Democrats have treated the White House, both the physical building and the office of the presidency, going all the way back to John F. Kennedy, I don't think Gingrich's three marriages should necessarily disqualify him, especially since he is showing a commanding grasp of the issues and potential solutions. He gets along well with Cain too and has refrained from the character assassination the other candidates employ.

It is also remarkable that so many people are criticizing 9-9-9 but either have conflicts of interest or don't understand Cain's proposal.

For instance, the current tax code is more than 70,000 pages long, would stretch over 12 miles if the pages were laid down end to end, and it changes every year. Guess who profits from that system?

Michelle Bachmann and her husband, both of whom are federal tax lawyers as she repeatedly points out during her campaign speeches and debates, that's who. So I have to take her comments with a grain of salt.

Oh, and Rick Santorum. Did you see his reasoning as to why the 9-9-9 plan won't work? Well, he says it will never pass Congress. Really, that's it.

That kind of negative, wimpy approach to solving our nation's problems is exactly why voters across the political spectrum are looking for a real leader. Real leaders don’t tell us what we can't do, a leader sees possibilities, not insurmountable obstacles.

And lest we forget, Santorum, Bachmann, and Ron Paul all are or were part of the system that got us to this point in the first place. So continuing with their negativity and lack of creative solutions doesn't bode well for the future of our country.

Santorum even turned to the New Hampshire audience and asked for a show of hands on who would support a national sales tax, without adding that virtually all other taxes and fees would be abolished. Not surprisingly, people didn't go for it.

So, let's see. Using that methodology, how many people who are watching me write this column would vote for Rick Santorum?

No one! Sorry, Ricky, you're out too. Pack your bags and join Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry in the taxi.
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Romney, Huntsman and Soros: The Devil's Triangle?

I received an email from a veteran friend yesterday passing along a story that has been making the rounds on the Internet for some time now – at least a year - warning of a possible takeover of the American arms and ammunition industry by leftist billionaire George Soros, who supposedly would then shut it down.

I started researching the information in the email, found some of it to be factual – although I can't say whether its conclusions are accurate. But of far more importance was that my research led me to an apparent connection between Soros and GOP presidential contender and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney!

This as the Romney camp is doing everything it can to downplay reports that Romney staffers have had numerous contacts with the Barack Obama White House.

The email said that the Freedom Group, a company that has been in the firearms business since the early 1800s recently bought out ammunition manufacturer Barnes Bullets. Freedom Group is owned by Cerberus Capital Management L. P. which many people say is "controlled" by billionaire leftist George Soros.

That really is the big question here. Is Cerberus Capital Management "George Soros Controlled" as is claimed in many Internet posts? Soros does not appear on the board of directors or any list of corporate officers, yet he is repeatedly held up as controlling the firm.

I have not found anything that says Soros controls or has any other connection to Cerberus, but some notable Republicans do, including former Vice President Dan Quayle.

The email listed numerous firearms businesses that are owned by Freedom Group Inc., which again, is owned by Cerberus, and opined that Soros may be attempting to circumvent Americans' 2nd Amendment rights by controlling the market on American firearms and ammo. By ending all sales of civilian arms and ammunition he could the put a stranglehold on one of America's most basic rights - according to the email.

I’ll say up front that the Internet has a spotted record regarding sending out conspiracy theory emails so I always take them with a grain of salt until I do my own research. Often someone responds with a counter email that warns readers to check out the alleged implications with Snopes or Fact Check; except that both of those outlets turned out to be less than balanced themselves.

So I do my own work. What I found on this issue went far beyond what was in the original email. I learned that Freedom Group has indeed purchased Barnes Bullets and does own a significant portion of the American arms industry – which in itself raises the issue of whether a monopoly is being formed regardless of who owns or "controls" it.

On its website Freedom Group describes itself thus: About Freedom Group, Inc. Freedom Group is the world’s leading innovator, designer, manufacturer, and marketer of firearms, ammunition, and related products for the hunting, shooting sports, law enforcement, and military markets. As one of the largest manufacturers in the world of firearms and ammunition, we have some of the most globally recognized brands including Remington, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, Harrington & Richardson, Dakota Arms, L.C. Smith, Parker, EOTAC, and INTC.

But there is much more.

At the bottom of Freedom Group's website I found a drop-down menu that led to various company documents including one that said former Board of Directors member W. Grant Gregory resigned earlier this year in a streamlining process. Wondering who W. Grant Gregory is, I did a search for him and he popped up on the Notable Names Database as a member of Mitt Romney's team in his run for the presidency!

Here's the link.

I couldn't help but wonder why a guy who is on the board of directors of any group that is tied in any way to George Soros also is listed as a big-time supporter of a top-tier candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge the guy whose presidency many people believe was purchased by George Soros. IF being the operative word, regarding whether Soros actually has any control over Cerberus.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek profiled Gregory saying: Mr. W. Grant Gregory has been the Chairman of Gregory & Hoenemeyer, Inc. (merchant banking) since 1988. Mr. Gregory spent 24 years at Touche Ross & Co., a corporate processor of the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu international accounting firm, serving from 1982 to 1986 as its Chairman. While at Touche Ross, Mr. Gregory became an internationally- acclaimed authority on Tax Policy and Economic Development and participated in a number of M&A transactions and restructurings. He ... has been Vice Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. since 2005. In the mid-1980's, he served as a member of the U.S. Trade Representative's advisory committee on international trade in services. Mr. Gregory has been a Director of Verizon Business since August 2003. Mr. Gregory has been a Director of Doubleclick Inc. since its inception in January 1996 and Fuel-Tech, Inc. since August 2011. Mr. Gregory has been a Director of Ambac Financial Group Inc. since 1991 and Lead Independent Director since 2004. He serves as a Director of Junior Achievement, Inc. Mr. Gregory served as a Director of InaCom Corp. Mr. Gregory served as a Director of MCI Group since August 29, 2003. Mr. Gregory served as a Director of Worldcom Group (formerly WorldCom Inc.). Mr. Gregory graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska in 1964, where he was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, as well as the Builder Award, the University's highest non-academic recognition. Mr. Gregory completed Advanced Management studies at New York University and Harvard University's Graduate School of Business and attended the Air Force War College.

Vice Chair of Cerberus Group! The firm that George Soros allegedly "controls?" And a supporter of Mitt Romney too!

Did you see today that the White House came out criticizing Romney for being a flip-flopper? Which is incredibly suspicious since it was just revealed that Romney staffers have been having regular meetings at the Obama White House apparently to discuss national health care!

What's up with that? Sounds like damage control for Romney seeing as how people don't like his ties to Obama.

Considering what resulted from a fairly cursory Internet search on Freedom Group I also wondered who else is on the list of Romney supporters, which contains dozens of big money people – two of the most common descriptions on the list are "CEO" and "Billionaire" – so I spent some time going over the entire alphabetized list.

When I got to the "H" section I found none other than Jon Huntsman – former Obama Administration Ambassador to China and GOP presidential contender who is still in the race against Romney! What the hell is going on under the covers out there?

Now, I'll be the first to admit that these connections are tenuous at best. Maybe the "Soros-controlled" Cerberus organization is actually a bunch of conservative businessman and Soros really doesn't have any control over it. But maybe they still should be investigated for trying to create a monopoly.

And maybe Huntsman was a Romney supporter before he launched his own campaign and will go back to being a Romney supporter when he runs out of campaign money and still hasn't gotten out of the single digits in the polls. Also, it could very well be that Romney doesn’t know where his money is coming from, although that certainly would lead to questions about his control of his own campaign and of course his competence.

I am not claiming to have any answers to these questions, but the existence of a person who some say is a George Soros associate on a list of Mitt Romney's inner circle is troubling at best and the voters deserve an explanation. Maybe someone can explain what the connection supposedly is between Soros and Cerberus.

That at least would be a great place to start.
Monday, October 10, 2011

Global Warming, Plague, Union Brothers and Smelly Hippies Occupying Wall Street!

Now that is one heck of a headline, but I promise to get all these things into this column and relate one to the other.

First on global warming, today, October 10, 2011 promises to be a beautiful fall day in the Northeast, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s – just as it was 64 years ago. How do I know that?

Because I was born 64 years ago on this day and I have heard the story from my mother at least 60 times since then that it was a beautiful fall day with temperatures in the 80s. My grandmother was outside of their farmhouse planting her fall bulbs in the mid-afternoon and my mother was relaxing in the sun talking with her when the first labor pain came.

She called my father who was working at the Army Arsenal in Watervliet, New York. He hurried home, they went to the hospital and at 5:30 p.m., voila, I arrived. So let's not spoil my day with a bunch of nonsense about how temperatures have escalated in a bunch of urban locations around the world, when they are just returning to where they were a generation ago as part of normal weather cycles.

Actually, the weather is helping the people who have spent the last three weeks milling around smartly in lower Manhattan attempting to "occupy" Wall Street. They should be happy as hell that the weather conditions this year have returned to where they were in the 1940s. First, they won't freeze overnight, and second if it isn’t raining they won't have to take showers by proxy.

I heard news reports over the weekend that New York City authorities are beginning to have a public health problem with these latter-day hippies involved in the protest to destroy capitalism (to replace it with anarchy?) since many of them don't believe in personal hygiene.

Their refusal to take showers or baths apparently is rooted in a combination of counter-culture claptrap – somehow they believe cleanliness is an unholy aspect of humanity - and a more recent claim that they are saving the Earth by not using water. The more immediate impact of this behavior is a completely unacceptable stench.

Several of my friends and I ran into this four years ago when we travelled to Washington, D.C. to show our support for Gen. David Petraeus and the troops who then were fighting in Iraq. We also were there to thwart threats to deface the Vietnam War Memorial and other monuments on the National Mall.

When the anti-military protesters marched from the White House to the Capitol where they staged a "die-in" we manned the barricades along their route of march to show that other Americans disagreed with them. The stench as thousands of unwashed bodies walked by was overwhelming – so bad that at first many people thought they had stepped in something on the sidewalk – until a DC police officer told us the real source.

But allow me to offer another view about bathing. Several hundred years ago people in Europe didn't believe in personal hygiene or public hygiene either. They rarely bathed, their sewage ran openly in the streets of their cities, and their garbage piled up high alongside their houses – which occasionally happens today when the sanitation workers go on strike.

As a result of their personal and public filth rats were a constant nuisance and rats carried vermin including fleas that themselves carried the germ that caused the Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death that killed tens of millions of people. Fleas not only infested the rats, they infested the people, bit them, infected them, and millions died.

Remember that line from the song, Broadway play and movie Hair? "Give a home to the fleas in my hair. A home for the fleas, a hive for the buzzing bees."

Nice rhyme scheme, but a really stupid idea if you don't want to host and spread myriad diseases.

Eventually the plague came under control – although there still are several deaths a year from plague in the US – and humanity realized that filth supports disease.

The Europeans began to clean up the sewage and garbage in their cities and took up personal hygiene. But not immediately, especially if you have read accounts from Native Americans whose first encounters with Europeans often included references to their stench and general uncleanliness.

Even though the connection between filth and disease was made, it was a long time before the direct connection between rats, fleas and the plague was proved scientifically. But now we have a sub-culture that wants to return to the good old days when millions of people died in agony as a direct result of being dirty.

To achieve this end they are blocking traffic and bridges in an unsuccessful effort to gain public sympathy for their goal of halting billions of daily financial transactions that take place electronically by people who can perform their jobs from any location with an Internet connection. And in the process they also are tearing up the traditional relationship between labor unions.

Just over a week ago the New York Police Department arrested more than 700 protesters who ignored the warnings to stop blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. They were transported to booking facilities in trucks; and now we hear that unions including the Transportation Workers and the Teamsters Union are supporting the protesters. Some reports say that unionized truck drivers have been ordered not to drive any trucks being used to transport protesters who have been arrested.

Can someone tell me why? I thought that when one union was involved in a labor action, the other unions, through their concept of brotherhood, were supposed to support them. Well, the anti-capitalist protesters aren't unionized; in fact if they had their way the Teamsters would quickly become extinct.

But the New York Police Department is unionized, so how do the union bosses justify defying their union brothers and sisters in the Police Department to support non-union layabouts, some of whom have told news reporters that they either quit their jobs to join the protest, or wouldn’t take a job if they were offered one?

It seems as if the behavior of union bosses in this charade is as contradictory as the actions and claims of the so-called protesters, most of whom can't even articulate why they are there or what they hope to accomplish.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a news conference a few days ago in which he was critical of the behavior of the protesters and decried their attempted occupation. Well, if he really wants to rid his city of this potential scourge he should listen to his public health authorities.

If you have hundreds or possibly thousands of people camping out on public property, wallowing in filth and debris, smelling up the area and creating a public health hazard, you have all the reason in the world to put an end to their nonsense. You don't want an outbreak of Bubonic or pneumonic plague in lower Manhattan do you? How about cholera or just the flu?

I'll tell you one thing: Rudy Giuliani would have put up with this for just about a heartbeat, and then he would have cleaned out lower Manhattan the same as he did when he forced the hookers out of Times Square.

I'll tell you another thing. People who think that being dirty is a social statement, and that smelling like an outhouse is attractive and a sign of intelligence very well could have a screw loose. Probably several.

Maybe the New York Health Department can work with the New York MENTAL health department on the next big round up and take a few hundred of the smelliest of the protesters on a three-day cruise to Bellevue. Is there such as thing as a stink-o-meter to determine who smells the worst?

One last thing: How about this for an anti-Occupy Wall Street theme song? Caution, offensive language.
Monday, October 03, 2011

Perry Can't Overcome Racial Slur; Christie, Take Heed, Stay Home

Texas Gov. Rick Perry who only weeks ago was portrayed as the second coming of Ronald Reagan, if not Jesus Christ himself, has stepped into a deep pit of racial resentment that has the potential to derail his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Washington Post revealed in its Sunday edition that the name of the Perry family's hunting camp in a remote area of Texas is called N*****rhead, and has been for decades. The word was (is) written on a three foot by five foot rock in large block letters that were visible to anyone entering the camp - which over the years, according to the Post, included many members of the Texas political and financial establishment.

While the GOP establishment is attempting to close ranks behind Perry - in itself an unfortunate action - they also are pushing even harder for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race for the GOP nomination. Christie's backers apparently are acknowledging on one hand that they need another Messiah - or lackey, take your pick - even as they are attempting damage control for Perry.

I hope for our country, our party and Christie's health he stays home in New Jersey and gets some experience as governor.

The only dispute the Perry campaign has for the Post story thus far is the claim that the Perry family painted over the racial slur decades ago, while the Post says the word was visible as recently as last summer - and certainly for many of the years that Perry has been Governor and before that the Agriculture Commissioner.

Many in the GOP establishment are dismissive of the issue, including or perhaps especially Rush Limbaugh who reported Monday that the rock was painted and turned over literally as soon as the Perry family began using the camp in the 1970s - not the 1980s or 1990s as the Post reported. Limbaugh said the Post story is an insult to voters' intelligence.

But the Post reported that the stone was laid flat, not turned over, and that didn't happen until years after the Perry family began using the camp. The word was thus face up, still very visible and unpainted for years, the Post said, and even recent attempts to paint over it appeared half-hearted and the letters still were visible.

Frankly I don't give a damn about the Post version versus the Perry version versus the Limbaugh version. Even if the Post did use unnamed sources which is not uncommon for investigative stories, they all said the same thing. (When I was an investigative reporter and editor I was required to have at least three sources who could independently attest to the same information, and they had to be known to me and available to my editor if we were challenged.)

The Perry family's camp was named N*****head, as is the area where it is located and no real effort was made to hide that fact until Perry began to rise in political prominence. My issue here is why was the stone just laid down and/or painted over?

Why wasn't it broken up and trucked out of the area decades ago? Why is it still there? As a reminder of .... what?

Perry can talk himself blue in the face over this but he has a bad public relations problem and the longer it goes on the worse it gets. Yes I know that the entire liberal establishment allowed Barack Hussein Obama to get away with racial and religious slurs throughout his campaign, and that his former minister is a rabid anti-white, anti-Christian firebrand who enriched himself over his racial hatred.

But the liberal establishment has been getting away with this for decades and everyone knows it, even the liberals. Limbaugh also jumped on the bash-Herman-Cain- bandwagon Monday - Cain being the black GOP businessman who overtook Perry and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the recent straw poll of Florida GOP delegates and leaped upward in national polls to the top three candidates.

Cain was asked about the Perry family slur on FOX News Sunday and responded that it was insensitive. Limbaugh had himself in a fit over that Monday but frankly, what was Cain supposed to say? Do you think for an instant that if Perry or Romney or any of the other GOP presidential aspirants had information that Cain had used a racist slur that they wouldn't use it to derail his campaign?

Seriously, if you think this is about Cain, you may be right but for the wrong reasons. Cain's response to the Perry debacle was measured and reasonable, regardless of what Limbaugh thinks.

Voters have a right to know as much as possible about the people who want to lead - or in Obama's case, dictate to - this country. If it is revealed that a formerly pretty candidate turns out to have had a major makeover that didn't take, well it's a lot better to find out now than after he is elected.

Limbaugh's attack on Cain, aside from being a blatant diversion for Perry, was just one of many that have erupted since voters started realizing in growing numbers that they like Cain and they like his 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan.

(On FOX News this morning an economist said that Cain's 9 percent national sales tax proposal will hurt the poor! Seriously, this came out on Fox. Where was this guy when the government was deducting 25 dollars for every $100 I made for years not counting all the other taxes I pay?)

Cain also wants to reduce corporate taxes from 35 percent to 9 percent, and the federal income tax from its current minimum of 15 percent to a flat 9 percent. He says his tax plan levels the playing field for everyone, but I also think he should push the fact that his plan provides for discretionary spending at the individual level.

The economist I referred to above said that if a rich guy buys a $1 donut and pays 9 cents in tax, it impacts him less than a poor guy who buys a $1 donut and pays the same 9 cents.

Really? How?

If a poor guy doesn't have a buck to buy a lousy donut then don't buy the lousy donut. Work an extra 15 minutes at your minimum wage job, and then you can afford two donuts.

I have a different explanation of this. How about if a rich guy buys a new $100,000 car and pays $9,000 in taxes, while under Cain's plan a poor guy buys a $3,000 used car and pays nothing in sales taxes? They are taxed the same rate for new goods that they either need or can afford and I don't see a damn thing wrong with that; but used goods aren't taxed.

This is a consumption tax and it gives each of us the same right to buy or not to buy at our own discretion. There are reasons why some people shop at Bloomingdale's and others at WalMart and the first of those reasons is price. As long as the poor have access to affordable food, clothing, warmth and housing I don't see how Cain's plan hurts them more than the rich.

Actually, Cain's plan really does ensure that everyone pays their "fair share!" If you want more expensive stuff, get educated, work your way up in your chosen profession, be prudent, save and buy when you can afford it.

Regarding Gov. Christie, I have been listening to Limbaugh go on for several days now that Christie is not a real conservative. So why put him out there as another GOP loser to be bashed to smithereens by the media - who actually might wait until next year to do it if he gets the nomination? Then they can destroy him when he is running against Obama.

If Christie is less conservative than James Carville, how is that going to make the GOP field of potential nominees better? Right. It won't. So let's put that to rest before it gets started and the vicious liberal media exposes our embarrassing kowtowing to GOP power brokers in DC and Manhattan who want to maintain the status quo.

Frankly, I think the GOP establishment is scared to death of Cain because he has a plan and the expertise to employ it. Even if Michael Barone thinks he is a token candidate - a position he espoused on FOX Business last week and repeated in his Newsmax column today. (I'll be unsubscribing from Newsmax as soon as I post this.)

Yeah, Cain has some people shaking in their boots. Imagine that; A black Republican who knows what to do, a history of success in the business world, how to get this country back on track, and as a former president of a regional branch of the Federal Bank, probably knows where the skeletons are buried.

I think that really has some people worried. And that's a good thing.


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