Monday, June 30, 2008

Week of 06/30/2008

Second Amendment Restored
– by David Matthews 2

It was a question that gun control activists DID NOT want answered.

“Does the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms cover the individual or a militia?”

Here’s the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution as ratified in 1791:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It sounds a little vague, doesn’t it? It’s not like the direct wording of the Fourth Amendment, or the Third Amendment, or even of the First Amendment, although to be honest that one is violated more times than a drunk girl at a frat house.

For the longest time, gun control activists and those in the government have been operating under the delusion that the vague terminology of the Second Amendment pertained to the presence of a “militia”, and not for individuals to arm themselves. They believed that a “militia” meant a police department, since there was no such concept in America for a few more decades, and that as long as you had a police department, then the people had no need to arm themselves for self-defense.

Indeed, gun control groups and those in government have continued to argue that as long as there are police officers, then you really don’t need to do ANYTHING to protect yourself from a criminal… unless your life was in immediate danger, and even then you would be hard-pressed to justify taking action. They believed that police officers on patrol would somehow know when bad things were going to happen and they would be able to step in and save the day.

Yeah, and politicians are ethical, Bill Clinton never “inhaled”, and George W. Bush never lied. If you really believe any of those things then I have some land in the Arctic Circle to sell you.

In truth, police departments really DO NOT “protect and serve”. If anything, their role is to “report and avenge”, because they show up AFTER the deed has been done. So if Zippy the Thug has a gun to your face and he tells you “gimme your money, your car, and your wife, or I’ll shoot you in the head”, the chances that Officer Friendly will show up in the nick of time to save your sorry ass is about as remote as Zippy getting struck by lightning before he pulls the trigger. Officer Friendly will only show up afterwards to write up the report, and if he’s REALLY lucky he might find Zippy the Thug and make an arrest… but again, that’s still AFTER the crime has been done!

Is that what we would expect of a militia in any sense of the word? No it isn’t. Can you imagine what the Minutemen of Colonial America would be like if they behaved like the police departments behave today? They certainly wouldn’t be called “Minutemen”, that’s for certain! History would have probably called them “The Procrastinators” if they behaved like the police of today.

And we’re supposed to rely on them to “protect” us! Criminals prey on us and we’re supposed to rely on the police instead of defending ourselves! THAT is what our government and the anti-gun crowd tells us that we have to do! And if the cops can’t do it, then the anti-gun crowd says that we just need more police.

Great! Just what we need: more bureaucrats to take reports about what happened to us after the fact and to write speeding tickets.

Oh but don’t worry, our government and the anti-gun crowd have some ways that you can defend yourself from crime. You can take self-defense courses, which take years of mastery and practice. You can invest in heavy security hardware and a 24-hour security service… which will go off every night if you own a dog or a cat. You can always carry around a can of pepper spray or some other kind of chemical warfare device… and hope that it doesn’t go off in your pocket or purse. There’s always a tazer… if you know how to use it, and again if it doesn’t go off in your pocket.

However all of those things are more or less moot if your attacker has a gun. Even the police will tell you that if your attacker has a gun, your attacker is in control. The only chance you have against an attacker with a gun... is if you have a gun as well.

Frustrating, isn’t it? Any kind of precaution you make is rendered moot a long as Zippy the Thug has a gun, and he can get a gun either legally or illegally.

A gun is the great equalizer in society. It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you can pick the gun up, point it, and pull the trigger, then you can use it. You don’t even HAVE to use the gun to know its power over others. Zippy the Thug will not approach you if he knows you have a gun and are ready to use it. Zippy the Thug will find someone else to victimize… preferably someone without a gun. Ditto for predatory stalker ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands. They can ignore a judicial restraining order. They can’t ignore Smith and Wesson, especially when it’s pointed right at them.

Unfortunately, because anyone can use a gun, the media has been full of people who have abused that power and gone on killing sprees or accidentally shot a friend or family member. Mommy and Daddy were reckless with storing their gun, so little two-year old Timmy shot his older sister. Seventeen-year old Johnny came home late and Daddy shot him because he thought his son was a burglar. Eight-one-year old grandmother is shot by police because she thought they were gang members breaking into her home… never mind that the police were executing an illegal drug raid on the wrong house. You would think from listening to all those news accounts that we were living in some anarchist nightmare where people get shot at just for breathing wrong.

And that brings us back to those anti-gun people and the power-mad members of the government that think that the only good citizen is a disarmed one. And it also brings us right back to that question that neither group wanted answered, because they knew that they wouldn’t like what that response would be.

Does the rather vague wording of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution pertain to an INDIVIDUAL’S right to bear arms, or does it pertain to a “militia”?

In a 5-4 decision this past week, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gave that answer by saying that the right to bear arms is an INDIVIDUAL’S right. In doing so, they shot down a Washington DC anti-gun law that had been on the books for a few decades but really did nothing to help cut down on crime in that area.

Obviously the law-and-order-at-all-costs group is VERY upset by that decision, as well as all of the anti-gun groups, because this takes away a key argument for their operations. As long as they could claim that the Second Amendment pertains to a MILITIA and not for INDIVIDUALS, then that justified any kind of gun-control or anti-gun legislation they wished. They could ban all gun use outright and it would be perfectly legal, because there would still be a well-armed “militia” in the form of police departments and the National Guard. Now they can’t do that.

And let’s get brutally honest here… as much as the anti-gun folks would say otherwise, this decision by the Supreme Court is actually constitutionally SOUND.

For starters, declaring that the right of INDIVIDUALS to keep and bear arms fits right on in with the rest of the rights specified in those first ten Amendments that we call the Bill of Rights. Each one of those rights are limitations on THE GOVERNMENT, telling them that they CANNOT impose laws or rules that infringe on those matters. Doesn’t it sound even remotely odd that the authors of those Amendments would have NINE of those ten pertain to limitations on THE GOVERNMENT (and back then it was just the federal government, not the states) and then one that actually AUTHORIZES it?

Second, if the purpose of the Second Amendment was to create a militia to defend the country, then wouldn’t that be a moot point since it was spelled out in Articles 1 and 2 of the U.S. Constitution that the Executive Branch would command the armed forces and that the Legislative Branch would fund it and authorize its use in war? It’s somewhat redundant to say that you’re going to create, fund, and command armed forces and then require a Constitutional Amendment to actually ARM them! And if you think for a moment that our modern-day militia is not under the authority of the federal government, then you need to ask yourself where the bulk of our National Guard forces are right now. (Here’s a hint: IRAQ!)

Of course this decision doesn’t mean that the anti-gun people are completely out of options. True to the hidden purpose of the Supreme Court to preserve the will of government at all costs, the justices still left open the means to CONTROL the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms through government regulation.

The government cannot outright OUTLAW all guns, but they can limit and control what KIND of guns that law-abiding citizens can be ALLOWED to have and use. You can’t carry around an automatic machine gun. You can’t have cop-killer bullets. The government CAN limit you to the kind of firearm you are ALLOWED to have and require you to go through extensive training and documentation.

There is a hidden purpose to the Second Amendment; one that necessitated its existence and has a historical precedence. That purpose is spelled out in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Does it make sense now? Without actually coming out and saying it, America’s founding fathers wanted to make sure that should that day come when their new government was just like they one they were divorcing themselves from, they would, regrettably, be able to abolish it and fix things again.

Indeed, the reason why this was an issue was that under British rule, the people were prohibited from arming themselves. That was one of those “abuses and usurpations” that Thomas Jefferson mentioned. In fact pretty much every Amendment in the Bill of Rights has some basis in those past “abuses and usurpations”. Think about that the next time you start to question why we even have the Bill of Rights in the first place.

The truth of the matter is this: the only kind of defense to crime is SELF-DEFENSE. And if protecting yourself from harm against a thug means arming yourself, then you have an obligation to do just that. It is good to know, then, that this is officially recognized in this country as a RIGHT and not as a LUXURY.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Week of 06/23/2008

“Pregnancy Pact” Proves Parental Elitism
– by David Matthews 2

The headlines were shocking.

A single community in Massachusetts started reporting a flood of teenage pregnancies. Where normally underage teenage pregnancies averaged four per year, the small town in Gloucester suddenly had seventeen pregnant girls, all under 16, and most if not all of them in their sophomore year in high school.

Even more disturbing were the reported behaviors of these girls when told that they were pregnant. They weren’t shocked or horrified. They seemed EAGER to get pregnant. They would high-five each other and plan out the baby showers. In fact, they would be depressed if they were told that they WEREN’T pregnant!

Remember, we’re talking about underage teenage girls! Girls that should be worried about pimples and making the cheering squad, not buying strollers and planning for baby showers.

But then came the big headline: the new flood of underage pregnancies was part of a so-called “pregnancy pact”. These girls were INTENTIONALLY getting pregnant!


Predictably, the liberals and conservatives started chiming in with their prefabricated scripts. The liberals claimed that the desire for pregnancies was caused by the lack of proper sex education and the lack of contraceptives. Conservatives countered that this was all part of our “over-sexed” society and that the presence of sex in the media and on the Internet and the lack of so-called “family values” was behind it all.

And of course both groups are WRONG.

First of all, this is not from a lack of sex education, and certainly not from the absence of contraceptives. These underage girls weren’t looking for sex; they were looking to get PREGNANT. That presupposes they at least already know how it works. The sex was simply the means to the end, and they certainly wouldn’t use the contraceptives even IF they had access to them.

Second, contrary to the beliefs of the conservatives, you’re dealing with a blue-collar fishing community with STRONG CONSERVATIVE Roman Catholic beliefs. We’re not talking about some experimental liberal commune in California. These folks have “family values” in spades!

So… why?

It’s not about playing house. In at least one instance the supposed father was a homeless man. Playing house usually involves marrying the baby’s daddy and living with them. These girls were supposedly planning on all raising their babies together. Not exactly smart, and not exactly what you would call “playing house”.

The so-called “experts” are saying that these girls are in desperate need of “love”, and that they believe that having a baby will fix that need. Well so would getting a puppy or a kitten, but I seriously don’t think that’s the real reason either.

No, there’s still something missing from this equation… something that the media doesn’t want to talk about and the liberals and the conservatives really don’t want to dwell on.

The very concept of being a teenager in society is a series of Catch-22 situations. You’re not a child, but you’re also not yet an adult. You’re still growing physically, mentally, and emotionally, and not everyone grows at the same time and at the same rate. You’re treated differently than you were as a child, but yet you’re not given the benefits of being an adult.

I have also heard the argument be made that having sex and getting pregnant can be seen for teenagers as the fast-track to being treated as an adult. After all, if you can prove you’re just the same in this aspect as an adult, then maybe people would treat you like one in other aspects.

In truth, though, it doesn’t work like that. Promiscuous teens aren’t seen as being on the “fast track” to being adults. They’re seen as just being young and stupid. Besides, teens don’t need to go all the way to passing Biology 101 to pretend to be adults. Usually it’s getting a fake ID, dressing up like an adult, and showing up at the local nightclub that does the trick. Either that or passing out drunk every weekend at the local keg party.

But it’s not really adulthood that these young girls seem to be shooting for. They want to be MOMS. In other words, they want to be PARENTS.

Now why is that? Why go the extra step?

The media hints at it. They point out that we glorify pregnancy through celebrity “baby bumps”. They point to a surge of celebrity mothers like Jamie Lynn Spears, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, and Jessica Alba. They point to the movie “Juno”, whose star Ellen Paige was nominated for an Oscar award for playing a pregnant teen.

But they don’t really come out and say it. They hop around the issue, just like the liberal and conservative activists do, but they don’t come out and say what needs to be said.


Let’s get brutally honest here… being a parent is the preferred social class in America.

We REWARD parents. We give them tax breaks and extra money for having children. Remember the last economic stimulus payment? $600 per person and $300 for each child. And back in 2002 there was a so-called “stimulus package” that was just for parents! Single adults need not inquire!

And that’s not the only time that extra money is given to parents. Child support, welfare services, charity organizations, they all bend over backwards to help parents. If you’re just a poor schlep, then you’re pretty much on your own. But if you’re a parent, suddenly you become special.

Sure the argument can be made that they need that money for children, but how many parents really spend the money ON the children? And the young girls in Gloucester probably don’t see money being spent on them. They just see mommy (and/or daddy) getting an extra check from the government.

Being a parent actually trumps being an adult in society. Being a parent in society is like being an instant expert on any subject you talk about. All you have to do is start off your argument with “I’m a parent of…” and instantly your words carry more weight than saying that you’re an adult or you’re a taxpayer or even that you’re an American.

Researcher be damned! Scientist be damned! A PhD means nothing compared to someone who is an MoM or a DaD!

Politicians care more about the words of a parent than just the words of a taxpayer. That parent doesn’t even have to VOTE and they will get preferred treatment from those in government!

Here’s a certain infamous saying that I’m sure the Gloucester girls heard a lot… “Well when you grow up and you become a parent yourself, THEN you can make the rules.” Getting pregnant sort of completes both of those quantifiers doesn’t it? It’s not only the fast track to being an adult, but it’s a fast track to getting the preferred status in American society.

The ultimate goal of parents has not been to raise children to become adults, but rather to raise them to become PARENTS. Never mind having the kids worry about what they want to be when they grow up… they know what the kids are going to be when they grow up, they’re going to become mommies and daddies.

This is the real reason why gossip columns and celebrity magazines spend countless millions on getting the wedding and baby pictures of celebrities. Weddings and baby pictures are the reaffirmation of that preferred status in society, because you’re considered to be NOTHING until you become a parent!

Now I know what you’re thinking… what about the fathers? Don’t babies need daddies? Sure they do… for the baby-making process. But there is this social trend called a “starter marriage”. That’s when you marry young… VERY young… sometimes in or right after high school. You pop out a couple of children, and then not long afterwards, the marriage breaks up. You get divorced and you become a single parent for a couple of years, worried about the alimony and child support payments and raising the child on your own. A few years down the line you find someone new and you marry that person, and that marriage seems to last and that child has a “new” daddy.

We GLORIFY being a mother. We have a special day on the calendar just for them. Daddys? Well, daddy is just a support payment… and that’s only IF daddy keeps up with them. Daddy’s have a special day on the calendar too, but not too much emphasis is placed on that particular day.

And remember, you’re dealing with a heavily Roman Catholic community over there in Gloucester. Who are the two biggest figures of the Roman Catholic Church? Jesus and his mother! And Joseph? Mary’s husband? He was just some poor schlep that was there to give Mary a ride and to pay the taxes. Motherhood is glorified and sanctified in the Catholic community. Fathers are just there to make the payments.

Suddenly it all makes sense, doesn’t it? A bunch of teenaged girls in a fishing community that is suffering from entropy; possibly coming from a low economic class to begin with. They’re eager for their adult lives to start, or at the very least to get away from the mess that they’re in now. They all agree to become mothers, because being mothers gives them so much more prestige and recognition in society. And the physical and emotional burdens of pregnancy? The hassles of being a mother? Well if Jamie Lynn Spears can go through it, then so could they, right? And they’ve probably seen “Juno” a few times so there are no big surprises for them. Besides, they’re all friends, and if they stick together they can raise their little bastards without having to worry about the ickiness of getting married. And then later on they can find their true loves and that marriage will last and they can all live happily ever after. It’s the New American Dream for teens and tweens.

The point of the matter is this… the “pregnancy pact” in Gloucester exposes the hidden truths about parenting in society. We have placed WAY too much emphasis on being a parent and on raising children, and almost NO emphasis on being an individual first and foremost. Through our actions and through our words both passive and overt, WE, collectively, as a society, fostered the notion in those girls’ minds that motherhood was the end-all-be-all purpose of their whole lives. They got the idea through the examples handed to them that they were destined to be baby-makers, and nothing more. They simply decided to skip a few of the steps.

Surprised? Shocked? No, we should be neither. We should be ashamed, because this is the fruit of our overall dysfunction.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Week of 06/16/2008

Hillary’s Convenient Excuse
– by David Matthews 2

According to supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton, the presidential race was doomed from the onset. The game was rigged, and there was no way they could win it… even though everyone, including the media, had declared her nomination to be a done deal. No, it just wasn’t meant to be… and it was all because of SEXISM!

That’s right, you heard me… SEXISM!

That’s the official pronouncement from the pundits as they try to politely mourn the end of the carpetbagging senator’s campaign, and quite possibly her dreams of being the first woman President. They pat the Senator on the back and they say “You know; we were with you all the time. It’s not your fault, Hillary. You put up a good effort, but it was just that THE PARTY didn’t want you to get the nomination! It’s SEXISM! That’s what it is! They didn’t want you in there because YOU’RE A WOMAN! They would rather back a black man than a white woman! It’s the OLD BOY network at work! It’s bros over hos!”

And I find that sort of sentiment to be not only quite patronizing, but also insulting.

First of all, Hillary’s run for the White House was not “historic” like the apologists are claiming it was, because she wasn’t the first female candidate for president! The Libertarian Party gets that particular honor. She wasn’t even the first dominant-party female candidate for president! That particular title goes to Elizabeth Dole for her failed GOP run in 2000. You CAN say that she is the first former First Lady to actively run for President, but that’s really the extent of her “historic” status.

And second, it’s too damned easy to write off her failure to secure the nomination as just being a matter of “sexism”, especially since there were plenty of other factors behind it.

Problem #1: Hillary Clinton WAS the front-runner from the get-go. Prior to the primaries and caucuses, Hillary was seen as THE nominee. Not the front-runner. Not the one to beat. THE nominee. Already appointed, just needs to be anointed. The polls said as much, the media said as much, pretty much everyone said as much. This wasn’t Hillary’s to win or lose… it was just Hillary’s, period.

She even had conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter just tripping over themselves to see her be the nominee because they believed that she could beat out John McCain! You couldn’t PAY for that kind of endorsement!

Now, if there was sexism in the system, do you REALLY think that she would have been considered the person to beat prior to the ballots being cast? Do you really think that the members of the air-fluffed ego-driven media would have been pushing her “all-but-assured” nomination if political affairs directors like the late Tim Russert were being told from party officials that she wasn’t going to get it?

And how about all of those supporters in Washington? All of those super-delegates? If the fix was truly in, do you really think she would have been told that she could count on them?

If anything, if there really was sexism involved, she would have been treated like Elizabeth Dole was treated in 2000; a flash-in-the-pan novelty act that was easily forgotten after Iowa. But instead, it was Barack Obama that was considered the novelty act before the elections, with people likening him to DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s failed 2004 run. It was only until the big Super Tuesday elections that Obama was even thought of as having a chance.

Problem #2: Hillary was NOT a true agent of change. The general sentiment is that the whole lot over in Washington – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and everyone else – have FAILED the American people miserably. The economy sucks. The price of gasoline sucks. The quality of the products that we buy is getting worse and worse. Our food is getting poisoned. We’re still sending men and women to fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re being driven into bankruptcy and foreclosures. And the career politicians are doing very little to help us out!

Given all of that, it’s NOT a good time for a politician to talk about experience and how long he or she has been in Washington. And yet Hillary did just that. She bragged about her experience in the White House as First Lady, thinking that it put her on the same level as John McCain’s decades of experience as an ACTUAL legislator. AND THEN she turned around and claimed that she was the BEST candidate “for change”.

Here’s a little tip: if you’re going to claim to be an agent for change, your claim has a little more weight if you don’t try to sell yourself as being “experienced” in the system, unless you have a record of going against the status quo. Ron Paul can get away with it because he has a solid RECORD of opposing the status quo. Hillary has a record of voting FOR the status quo.

Plus, of course, she played on the nostalgia of the liberals, letting them think that things could go back to where they were when her husband was in charge. Well that too was part of the status quo in Washington.

The only real “change” that Hillary seemed to support was the change of people, not an actual CHANGE in the way things worked in Washington. Barack Obama’s relative inexperience gave him the edge here, because he could be seen as being not AS corrupted by the system as Hillary and McCain have been.

Problem #3: Florida and Michigan. Those two states broke the rules. I don’t care how many often the Clintonistas try to lie and spin the situation, the FACTS of the situation was that the legislatures in Florida and Michigan intentionally, deliberately, and systematically defied the rules set down by the national party leaders and had their primary and caucus in January.

And yet, who still campaigned in those states? Hillary did. Who told those two states to go ahead and vote anyway? Hillary did. Who personally promised that their delegates would be seated, in complete defiance of the DNC rules? Hillary did. Who waged all-out campaigns to try to get the full delegates at the convention in defiance of the DNC? Hillary did.

If Hillary was truly a victim of sexism, then it doesn’t help her case that she was encouraging outright political insurrection and then demanding that the rules be changed after-the-fact in her favor. That’s called CHEATING.

And the DNC bent over backwards to try to find a resolution to this problem… not once, but TWICE! That was two times more than they should have been given, and if there really was sexism involved, they wouldn’t have even bothered to try.

Plus, since Hillary was seen as the instigator of this insurrection, and that she unquestionably had the most to gain from it, doesn’t that seem to be a negative for voters in those later primaries and caucuses? Why should they vote for her if she’s going to push for insurrection and cheating?

Problem #4: Hillary’s Fibs. She claimed that there was some kind of “commander-in-chief threshold” for the job. Her people claimed that there was some kind of “qualification process” for not only the presidency but also a lower one for being Vice-President. She claimed that eight years as First Lady was the same as spending eight years in Congress. She claimed that she was shot at in Bosnia and that she had to “run for cover” as soon as she got off the plane. She claimed that she was “just a down-home girl”.

All fibs, exaggerations, or outright lies.

And the media caught up with them and exposed them for what they are. The same media that declared her nomination to essentially be a sure-thing!

Don’t you think that this would be something that the voters would be turned off of? Isn’t it even possible that with every fib, every exaggeration, and every out-and-out boldface adultery-quality LIE that she made that got uncovered that she lost voters?

Problem #5: Geraldine Ferraro. The seeds to the whole “sexism” excuse were sewn when her “friend” Geraldine Ferraro invoked the sexism card in addition to playing the race card in comparing Hillary’s challenges to those of Barack Obama. And it wasn’t the first time that Ms. Ferraro played it, having made the same comments about Jesse Jackson’s failed presidential run in the 1980’s. Ferraro’s comments were considered reprehensible from the very liberal base that Hillary needed to retain, including from her “friends” in the media like MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.

And rather than rebuking and dismissing Ferraro from her campaign camp, she allowed the former congresswoman to step down on her own terms, disgustingly playing the martyr card in the process. At the same time, liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes – who had no connection to either Clinton or Obama – calls both Ferraro and Clinton some choice explicatives over the matter and she is suspended and forced to leave Air America Radio.

You don’t think that the voters would figure this stuff out? You don’t think they would see the double-standard being played in front of the whole world and judge her campaign accordingly? Even worse, you don’t think that they would see the seeds of the “sexism” claim being sewn here and NOT come to the conclusion that people are ready to cry wolf?

Problem #6: Invoking Robert Kennedy’s Assassination. “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.” Those were Hillary Clinton’s words, and they were said in the same matter-of-fact tone that you would normally see in shows like “The Sopranos”, where Tony Soprano would tell an unwilling business associate that “bad things can happen” and then by the end of the show they do.

Again, this kind of comment invoked the wrath of the very liberal base, including her friends in the media; some of whom made it somewhat clear that they were no longer putting up with her antics.

Again, don’t you think that the voters would see this as a negative for her?

And finally of course there is the BIG problem with Hillary’s campaign…

Problem #7: It was ALL ABOUT HER! Bill Clinton was not the only one with a narcissistic problem. From day one of the whole ordeal, when she first announced her intentions, Hillary set down the whole tone of the campaign in that this was ALL ABOUT HER.

Even the rhetoric she used in her speeches was mostly in the first person. It was all “I”, “Me”, and “My”. Very rarely did she use the group tone. It wasn’t “WE need better health care”, it’s “When *I* am president, *I* will give you better heath care through *MY* program!” It wasn’t about YOU as the voter. You were there for the ride. YOU were just a means to HER end.

This was blatantly apparent at the very end of the whole campaign run. “*I* am the most qualified. *I* am the one with the experience. *I* am the one that can beat the Republicans. *I* have the popular vote.” It wasn’t about the voters or the delegates or even the party at that point. It was ALL ABOUT HILLARY!

Obama, on the other hand, used the group tone more often. It was about “WE” and “YOU”. His favorite speech, the one that became a popular music video from, was called “Yes WE Can!” The operative word here is “WE”, not “I”.

And if you think that was a fluke, then go back to the 1992 Presidential Campaign and listen to the rhetoric of Reform Party candidate H. Ross Perot. He also used the collective tone in his speeches. “You’re the boss, I’m just Ross.” “This is YOUR government, I’m just showing it to you.” The emphasis for him was for the second-person, always on YOU.

And when did he start to lose it? When he started talking in the first person again. “The Cubans are trying to silence *ME* like they did with Kennedy!” As soon as he started making things seem first-person or done for ego-gratification, he lost his support.

Is any of this sinking in?

Let’s get brutally honest here… the talking heads and the Clintonistas that are claiming that Hillary lost because of “sexism” are either lying, living in denial, or are simply ignorant of the true scope of the faults that were present in her campaign. She didn’t fail to secure the nomination because she was a woman. She failed to secure the nomination because she believed that she was THE woman. She made this campaign to be all about HERSELF, and everything else, including getting the support of the voters, was just a means to that end.

Of course saying that she lost because of “sexism” allows her and her supporters to play the helpless victims of “the system”… the same system that she herself used to put herself in the US Senate in 2000. It gives her the illusion that she ran an otherwise “flawless” campaign; that the fault was not with anything that SHE said or anything that her people did. They would rather like to believe that the fault was really with outside forces, either from the media, or from the infamous “vast right-wing conspiracy”, or simply from “the system” itself.

Hopefully in time sanity will return to the Clinton supporters and they will be able to properly assess what went wrong. Until then, it does nobody any good to continue to pander to their delusions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Week of 06/09/2008

The Twilight of the SUV?
– by David Matthews 2

Sport Utility Vehicles.


Urban Assault Vehicles.

Mormon Assault Vehicles.

Big Ugly Gas Chuggers.


Whatever you want to call them, they are the ugly cross between a pickup truck, a mini-van, and a jeep, and for the longest time they were the symbols of affluence, influence, excess, and arrogance in America.

SUVs replaced the mini-van as the preferred vehicle for American families. Moms loved it for the illusion of “safety”. Dads loved it because it gave them the POWER and the storage capacity of a TRUCK. Kids loved it because they had big seats and they could watch DVDs or play video games or listen to music instead of trying to invent stupid road-trip games and constantly asking “are we there yet”. Rap stars would talk about drinking Cristal in their Escalade, glamorizing these ugly motor monstrosities. They would be featured in TV shows and movies as the favored vehicle. SUVs replaced sports cars and even many luxury cars as the symbol of success.

Where once the limousine was the clear sign of wealth, the new trend is to ride in a custom-built SUV limo.

Unfortunately SUVs also are guilty of encouraging arrogance and promoting a misguided feeling of invulnerability. Because of their steel-reinforced frame, which is needed to hold the truck engine, the SUV is considered safer in an accident. That and all of the conveniences and safety features gave the drivers the false illusion that they could do whatever they wanted to behind the wheel and still be “safe”. So they can put on makeup, talk on the cellphone, tap in some text messages, read the newspaper, all while doing 80mph in a busy and congested highway and it would all be okay because if they ever get into an accident, they would be PROTECTED. Sure the other vehicle may not fare so well, especially if it’s a smaller vehicle, but that’s really not their concern! That was the attitude, and they went with it all the way.

That’s why the SUV EARNED the nickname of it being an “Urban Assault Vehicle”, because it really was an assault on society to drive one of those tanks.

But having that truck frame with a truck engine gave it one serious problem… it has super-poor gas mileage! These things chug gasoline like a frat boy with a keg of beer! They have to, because these urban assault vehicles have a much heavier frame, which means more power is needed for the engine to get it to move.

That’s okay though, because the big automakers know how to get around THAT kind of problem… they put in large gas tanks, add a backup gas tank, and then lobby Congress to give them exemptions from fuel-efficiency regulations. Oh, and to give tax breaks for people who buy these dickmobiles. Problem SOLVED!

That’s how it’s been for two decades now. The automakers have gotten filthy rich over these things and the masses would eagerly drive themselves into bankruptcy as long as they were doing it behind the wheel of these things.

There’s just one little problem…

The whole marketability of these overhyped, over-priced, overly-arrogant monstrosities was based on the premise of gasoline being affordable. That’s why these things were so popular in the 1990’s, because our government brokered deals with foreign nations so that prices would stay super-low and people could afford to spend a little more for a heavier vehicle.

Well guess what? Those days are pretty much deader than Nixon.

Gasoline is no longer super-low. Thanks in no small part to the hysteria of market speculators, some REALLY poor decisions by our government in crafting a failed energy policy, a little corporate greed, a little international greed, a few terrorists, the newfound wealth of a few second-world nations, and a vindictive Mother Nature, the price of oil has shot up exponentially to obscene levels. Even a year ago, nobody would have EVER believed that oil would be over $125 per barrel, much less have talk about it hitting $150.

With that obscene rise in oil, gasoline has been surging up on an annual basis for several years now. The price has gotten so high that old-fashioned gas pumps are not physically equipped to handle the change. They simply cannot register the price of gas above $3.99! Sign makers that were pressed to print up more “3” digits are now being pressed to produce more “4” and “5” digits as the price of gas breaks the $4 and even the $5 mark.

So that $40 fuel-up that was considered “worth” the hassle back in 1998 now costs those drivers twice or even three-times that much!

The SUV is no longer “affordable”!

SUVs are sitting on the car lots. Dealers can’t sell them. They’re almost on the verge of giving them away. They certainly don’t want to accept any SUV trade-ins.

And now the big US automakers are shutting down factories and laying of thousands of hard-working employees that used to make those expensive gas-chuggers. General Motors may even sell off its once-vaunted Hummer brand as they can’t sell the vehicles that originally got their moment of glory during the Gulf War.

And this commentator is OVERJOYED by the news! Seriously, this is something that is long overdue. I have spent years having to play high-speed freeway dodgeball with these urban assault vehicles and their mind-numbed arrogant drivers, and it is about time that life dealt them their comeuppance!

But of course there are plenty of other folks who got suckered into buying these tanks, and they’re hurting because of it. Not to mention the thousands of hard-working Americans who are looking for new jobs because of the plant closings. The plant closings are further hurting an economy that is already mortally wounded by the obscene price of oil and gasoline.

So should we blame big oil for this? Blame OPEC and Venezuela and the terrorists? Blame Mother Nature for this? Should we blame the government?

No, in truth, there are only two groups that are to blame for the demise of the SUV.

First, the automakers are to blame, because the continued rise in oil and gasoline prices is something that has been going on for about ten years now! They have had ample opportunity to come up with a way to get around the gas-chugging problem. They refused, and instead they came up with even LARGER urban assault vehicles with even MORE powerful engines which required even MORE gasoline. Plus they spent oodles of cash to lobbyist groups to make sure that the federal government kept fuel-efficiency levels obscenely low and to give tax breaks for SUV owners. This was money that SHOULD have been invested into more hybrid technology, or alternative fuel engines. They could have kept the SUV in business if they simply invested more time and money in ways to get around the gas-chugging problem and less time and money on Madison Avenue hype.

GM actually HAD an electric car out called the EV1, which got rave reviews on its effectiveness, but executives killed the program in 2003, claiming that it wouldn’t be “profitable” for them to mass-produce a $33,000 vehicle and instead continued churning out Hummers at $50,000 a pop. I would hope that many of those executives are now regretting that decision, since the Hummer is about to die and the demand for an all-electric vehicle is at an all-time high.

But let’s get brutally honest here… the bulk of the blame rests with the consumers. YOU! The people who actually made the decision to buy these overhyped and overpriced 4-wheeled money pits. Madison Avenue and the slick mechanics of the car dealers may have herded the masses towards the SUV, but it is YOUR name on the dotted line and YOUR name on the auto loans.

The consumers were the ones that bought into the hype that gas mileage didn’t matter anymore! YOU did that! Not Madison Avenue. Not the oil speculators. Not the government. It’s not like there was a shortage of alternatives. The automakers didn’t just pull every single other vehicle off the lot and put a gun to your head and said that YOU NEEDED to buy that gas-chugger! There were still plenty of fuel-efficient minivans on the market with all of the bells and whistles of the SUV. YOU simply put hype over gas mileage.

And it wasn’t the first time that happened either! Anyone who was born in America before 1970 can remember quite well the gas problems of 1973 and 1979 and what it did to America’s economy. Gas mileage MATTERED back then! In fact the American automakers were pushed to the brink of collapse because their bulky gas-chugging cars were not selling and people were buying the smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles from Japan and Europe. That was Detroit’s comeuppance back then.

What was it that our simple-minded simpleton of a president George W. Bush can’t really say? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Well this falls into the second “fool me” category.

Let me make this clear for those of you who still don’t get it: GAS MILEAGE MATTERS!

In fact, if people are looking for something to do about this, they can start by taking those three words and posting them on every gas pump in this country. Stick it in every gas station window and put it on a bumper sticker and start a viral campaign on the Internet. Get the message out there loud and clear that GAS MILEAGE MATTERS! Get that out there and counter the Madison Avenue spin that sold us down the failed path of the SUV.

Next… we need to do more than just say that gas mileage matters… we need to actually put it to practice! This was something that should have been done no later than 2005, after we found out that the energy policy that the Bush Imperium was hawking us was a fraud. We should have found ways to trade in those pickup trucks and those SUVs into minivans and other fuel-efficient vehicles at that point. That would have sent a clear message to both the automakers and the White House that we were serious about the energy problem. Instead, we let the White House spin machine work its magic and put on the dog-and-pony shows to make us THINK that they were doing something when really they weren’t. It wouldn’t have eliminated the current energy crunch, but it would have lessened the impact on us. It certainly would have encouraged a greater emphasis on alternative fuels earlier.

We also need to give up on this idea that this is all some kind of “phase” or some kind of “price bubble” and that at some point the market will correct itself and prices will just sink back down to whatever people would think was “normal”. It’s been ten years now, so it’s really safe to say that this isn’t a “phase”. The so-called “housing bubble” lasted only a couple of years, and even then the “correction” was a cut-off of sales, not a drop in prices. Even if we shut down Wall Street tomorrow and frog-marched every futures speculator to jail for price-fixing, the price of oil wouldn’t drop back down to $60 or $80 or even $100 a barrel. OPEC and the others would simply manipulate the market so that prices would stay obscenely high. They’re used to the power and the money that their situation has given them, and they’re not going to give it up without a fight.

The SUV isn’t going to go away anytime soon, though. Too many struggling Americans have been suckered into driving them. But its day as the “premiere” vehicle for America is certainly coming to an end, and that’s good. It’s time that consumers remembered what is important, namely gas mileage.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Week of 06/02/2008

Hillary’s Rules
– by David Matthews 2

There are all sorts of rules that we have to deal with in life. Everything that is structured and organized has to have some kind of rules in place to make sure that everything works the way they are supposed to.

Perhaps what is the most annoying, then, is when those rules are changed on you.

Sometimes the rules need to be changed because of some outside influence. For instance, the debut and use of performance-enhancing drugs caused some changes in athletic competition. People were getting larger, stronger, faster, at a rate that simply was not natural, and with some very dangerous risks attached to them. To adapt to that change and to make things more level (not to mention safer), professional sports had to change the rules to prohibit the use of those drugs.

But sometimes the rules aren’t changed to make things more “level”, but simply to thoroughly screw over other people.

Banks have been doing this for years now. They issue credit cards to people, encourage widespread use, increase their credit limits, and even give them checks so they can take cash out on those credit cards. Then they change the rules on you.

They add penalties for being late in making your minimum payments, even if you do it once. Your 9% interest rate goes to 30% or even 35%. Then they change the payment schedule so that you almost certainly will be late at least once if you don’t make a payment immediately upon getting your monthly statement. They will also change the interest rate if you’re late on any OTHER credit cards you may have, not necessarily that particular one with the bank. They’ll change the formula used to assess the interest charge. They’ll even change the interest rates on the KINDS of transactions you have with that card. Using those “convenient” checks that they love to dish out will cost you far more than if you simply put the cost directly on the card.

Have an issue with them on these rule changes? Well they’ll change the rules on that as well, so that you’ll have to take your matter up in arbitration, through a group of THEIR choosing, and under THEIR rules, so that your chances of winning will be next to nothing.

Don’t like it? Well you’re free to find another bank… as long as you don’t have any outstanding balance on that card. Oh, and good luck finding another lender that isn’t playing by those rules. And good luck getting them to close your account as well. It almost takes an act of God to get them to close out your account.

Women are notorious for changing the rules, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships. This is something that I know a little bit about, because I am of the firm belief that all of the women I have known will change the rules so that I specifically will not be seen as attractive to women. They want their ideal man to be tall, but not as tall as me. They want a man to be strong when I’m being sensitive, and sensitive when I’m being strong. They insist that a man open up with their feelings, but they really don’t want to know what my feelings really are. They want to be complimented, and then, when they are, they accuse me of either lying to them or being condescending. They say that looks aren’t important, but they’ll shoot me down for not being good-looking. They say that money doesn’t really matter for them, but they’ll shoot me down if I’m not rich. First they say that their boyfriends should be their best friends, and then they say that they don’t want to ruin their “friendship” with me. I have YET to find a female friend who would be willing to upgrade my “friendship” to “friends with benefits”. All too often my “friendship” is one of THEIR convenience only.

In other words, women are guilty of changing the rules to maintain power and control over others, just like the banks do. And if it means that someone like yours truly can never EVER get a break in life, well then that’s too bad, isn’t it?

And that brings us directly to Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton, the presidential wannabe and former First Lady from the state of New York by way of Washington DC. If there is anyone who knows more about rules and rule changes, it is her.

In her mad quest for the White House, Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly demonstrated that the rules are subject to interpretation and re-interpretation, especially when those rules stand in the way of what she believes is hers.

Here are some of the favorite rules that she’s either pushed for or her surrogates and representatives have pushed for during the 2008 campaign…

Count ALL of the votes! Remember this one? Hillary wants ALL of the votes counted! Especially the votes in Florida and Michigan… which, of course she campaigned heavily in and won, even though those states KNEW going into their respective party elections that they were violating the DNC’s rules about having their elections in January and could very well lose their delegates. It didn’t matter. Hillary PROMISED those states that they would have their delegates matter, so she’s is DEMANDING that all of the votes count!

“Count ALL the votes!” That’s her mantra!

UNLESS you’re talking about certain caucuses. The ones that happen to vote for Barack Obama. Those don’t count.

Oh, and UNLESS you’re talking about those states that voted for Barack Obama too. Those don’t count either.

But all the other primaries… the ones that voted FOR her… those MUST count! And they must count at all costs! To HELL with the DNC rules! TO HELL WITH THEM! Those votes MUST count!

You have to QUALIFY to become president! Apparently Hillary and her surrogates have appointed themselves as the Democrats’ version of the Department of Motor Vehicles, because they have declared that Barack Obama has failed to meet some kind of qualification threshold for President of the United States that goes above and beyond the qualifications outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

“I will bring a lifetime of experience to the White House, John McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the White House, and Barack will bring a speech he gave in 2002.” she said.

Wow! That’s harsh, Hillary! You mean to say that the eight years you spent in the White House picking out china patterns and going on fluff tours with your daughter somehow counts as a “lifetime of experience” but Obama’s years as state senator and U.S. Senator don’t? Or are you saying that your years as First Lady was a cover for some kind of clandestine Karl Rove-style puppetmaster position that gave you all of the power of running the country without the burdens of responsibility?

Oh, but don’t worry… while Obama apparently fails the “Clinton Standard” to be president, he could STILL be her running mate, IF he can meet a different set of undetermined standards. No doubt that key amongst those standards would be that he abandons his campaign bid and kisses her pants-suited butt.

Hands OFF the family! Chelsea Clinton, the former First Daughter, is no longer a child. She’s a grown adult and she’s actively campaigning for her mother. BUT the two of them still expect the same protectionist rules to apply to the young adult. That means that the media can’t interview her. Oh, and she refuses to answer any questions about her father’s infidelity from ten years ago.

In fact, members of the media are specifically PROHIBITED from speaking despairingly of Chelsea’s participation in the campaign. On MSNBC reporter dared to ask what any normal citizen of the United States would ask, if the Senator was essentially “pimping out” her daughter this way. He ended up being suspended from his job at the specific insistence of the Senator.

HOWEVER… personal attacks on Michelle Obama, Barack’s wife, are perfectly fine and dandy. In fact, anything she says can and WILL be used against her husband. And they have. Often. And that’s fine according to Hillary. In fact EVERYONE that Obama knows or has known or has ever been in contact with is fair game to Hillary. Just don’t try to judge HER by the company that SHE keeps.

EVERY state needs a debate! Hillary is of this belief that every state contest DEMANDS a televised debate against Obama. No big surprise here since she can use the debate rules and her influence with those who serve as the moderators of these debates to her advantage.

Never mind, of course, if nobody else wants a debate, or if the voting public are simply so TURNED OFF by these stupid things that they would rather get a prostrate exam than even HEAR about one more debate! No, EVERY state needs a debate so Hillary can attack Barack Obama personally over and over and over again in person instead of whining about it to the media and looking like a spoiled bitch in the process.

Mainstream Media HATES Hillary! According to “She who will NOT be ignored”, the dreaded MSM HATES Hillary! They really HATE her! They’re bigoted and biased and they will NEVER give her a break because she’s a WOMAN! They’re all in Barack Obama’s back pocket. THEY want him to win, NOT the American voters! Or at least NOT the voters that she consider worthy of counting.

Never mind that CNN’s Lou Dobbs, the so-called “independent champion”, always has Hillary’s supporters on his show. NEVER MIND that one of his so-called “BEST” panel members, and one that he favors the most, is a confirmed super-delegate sworn to Hillary! NEVER MIND that ABC news has a former member of the Clinton staff on their payroll who was instrumental in the political lynching of Obama in the last televised debate.

NEVER MIND any of that! If the mainstream media is not kissing her pants-suited ass then they are firmly AGAINST her and they are guilty of conspiring AGAINST her!

And then of course there is my favorite of “Hillary’s Rules”…

If you can’t say anything nice about Hillary, then you can’t say anything AT ALL! An MSNBC reporter is suspended and thrown under the bus by his colleagues for asking a legitimate question about Hillary using her daughter as a protected campaign tool.

An Obama advisor named Samantha Power calls Hillary a “monster” off the record to a European newspaper, and she is unceremoniously shown the door THE NEXT DAY.

Randi Rhodes says something personal and legitimate about Hillary and her surrogate, Geraldine Ferraro, and using language that would not be safe for television, and she is forced out of her job at Air America Radio.

Obama’s former minister, a firebrand orator, has his scathing words of condemnation of America broadcast over and over again for the world to see, and he’s forced into obscurity. A visiting minister by the name of Michael Pfleger shows up at that same church and he says something honest about his view of Hillary, albeit in a mocking tone, and HE is forced to apologize, and Obama is forced to leave his church.

Meanwhile, Ferraro makes a despairing comment about Obama and race, and even though the calls go out from Hillary’s own supporters – even tacit ones like Keith Olbermann – for her to dismiss and condemn Ferraro’s comments, she instead allows the former Vice-Presidential nominee to step down on her own accord and act like she was the helpless martyr to the mainstream media’s nasty barbs.

Am I the only one who can’t help but see a rank pattern of hypocrisy going on here? Is this commentator, a political cynic and independent voter, with allegiance to NEITHER the Democrats or the Republicans, the only person in this whole world who can see the double-standard that has been set up? Why is Obama forced to shoulder the burden of every single comment made against Hillary by his supporters (and even some that aren’t his supporters) when the same cannot be said when the roles are reversed? In fact one disgruntled Clinton supporter went so far as to publicly condemn both Obama and the Democratic Party in front of the media, and does Hillary decry the sheer hatred like she DEMANDS that Obama do day in and day out? NO!

Let’s get brutally honest here… it seems like the only rule that exists in this 2008 Presidential campaign season is that Hillary is the only one that can make the rules! AND that they only apply to other people, NEVER for her or her supporters!

I can understand if Barack Obama wants to carry on this idea that his campaign should be on a higher level than the nasty political games and dirty tricks that the Clintons and the Republicans are notorious for. But if Hillary is supposed to be the “better candidate”, wouldn’t it require her to be held to the SAME standards as she imposes on others? Wouldn’t it require her to be held responsible and accountable for the statements made by her people and her supporters? Wouldn’t it require her to apologize profusely for Terry McAuliffe’s comments about some mythical “qualification level”? Wouldn’t it require her to apologize for belittling his legitimate legislative experience while exaggerating her own fluff experience?

Of course it would. And that’s the problem. She doesn’t believe that she is the “better candidate”. She believes that she is THE candidate. Period.

Maybe we can’t shut Hillary up, but we have two options open. We can bitterly oppose her self-appointed rules and get in her face with them and decry the media for selling out to her and her acolytes. Or we can do to her what the Democrats did to another candidate by the name of Mike Gravel. We can shut her out completely. Make her persona non grata. That won’t be hard to do when Obama secures enough delegates and super-delegates to get the nomination. Sure it really won’t matter until the convention in August, but at least it would be the justification needed to shut out the Clintonistas and relegate them to the basement. Then she can make up all the rules in the world, and it won’t matter, because she won’t matter. For someone who is essentially the Alex Forrest of the Democrats, that would certainly be a fitting fate.