Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 Days Out From the Election

...and I'm feeling like I can't wait.  I live with an Obama supporter, and it has been difficult, at times.

I do understand that supporter's feelings - it all started with such optimistic hope - that America would begin to relate to each other, not with automatic suspicion based on race, but on a basis of commonality.  We share so many values; the ideals that separate us are fewer than those separating us from other country's cultures.

The hope was that we could all work together to forge an improved America - inclusive, tolerant, and working for the best in America.

That didn't happen.

Very soon after Obama took office, he met with Congressional leaders of both parties.  When the Republicans questioned the amount of spending in his proposals, he replied,

"I won."

His meaning, that, because of the election, he had total say in any spending or managing of the government, without input from the other side, clearly signaled his approach - his way, or the highway.

Later, he was caught on video explaining his thinking further.  He wanted no criticism from Republicans, or of his plans (video at link):
"But I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

So, no, Republicans did not "work with him" - they had no reason to think that they would be listened to, and it was clear that open disrespect and churlishness was the norm for the Obama administration.  That signal came from the top.

Still, in that time period, approximately 65% of the population supported his domestic and foreign initiatives.

So, what happened?

Well,  there were some reality checks.  Obama's bow to the Saudi king was NOT well received - Americans do NOT bow to any foreign king, by long tradition.  The criticism stung Obama, I think.  He made a point of bowing to leaders of even minor countries in the months following that gaffe.  I think he did so, trying to convey the idea that there was nothing special about that bow.

But, there was.  President Adams, in his first visit to King George as the American representative (I believe Sec of State), did, in fact, give courtesy bows to the king.  That was as much an attempt to smooth over relations after the Revolutionary War as setting precedent.  Future representatives did NOT bow.

Obama, and the Mrs., were, in fact, quite rude to the Queen and her ambassadors. Giving them cheap DVDs that wouldn't play on British players, gifts for the princes from the WH gift shop, and an Ipod for the Queen - filled with speeches from Obama - and - in the case of Michelle - touching the Queen - putting her arm around her for pictures.  That's a BIG no-no, and against established protocol.  The Queen took it calmly, creating no fuss.  But, surely, the Protocol office must have emphasized that breach to her - why do it?

In country after country, Obama experienced belligerent rants against America - and did not respond, except to say that he was glad that he, personally, hadn't been disrespected.  No defense of America.  In fact, often, Obama apologized for her actions.

More recently, he failed to respond to Iranian protestors, while encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya, and multiple other Islamic countries.  If he had wanted a takeover of the Middle East by Muslim extremists, he couldn't have acted more obligingly.

By the mid-point of his term, Obama's approval ratings had plunged.  It was a natural result of his own actions, the ridiculously high cost of his programs, and the total failure of them to improve the economy.  People were also quite critical of his foreign policy.

So, his party lost in the elections - big time.  He finally had a Congress and Senate in the hands of the opposing party.

Can you say "we won"?

He did manage to pass legislation.  However, he also took some defeats.  He encountered more criticism and opposition.

The man doesn't take criticism well - he is notoriously thin-skinned.  It brings out the mean and petty in him, and he showed it, on many occasions.

Again, popularity down.

All of this is NOT racism.  It is the norm in American politics.  When you assume that you are above criticism, the American public will remind you - No, you're not.

In the last year, civility has dropped like the sky diver from space.  Both parties have been more mean.  The tone has often been over-the-top nasty.  Even though Obama has many times called for toning it down, his campaign has not hesitated to make the low blow.

  • Claiming that Romney was responsible for killing a woman

  • Claiming that Romney was a felon who did not pay any taxes

  • Claiming that Romney's Bain killed American companies, rather than the truth - they took FAILING companies, and gave them money and a chance to succeed

  • Critiquing Ann Romney's wardrobe - which she paid for herself - as too expensive.  Ignoring the fact that Michelle's clothes were comparably priced, and often donated/sold below cost - a little-known perk for First Ladies.

  • Making anti-Mormon illusions to Romney's faith.  WHAT a coincidence that major newspapers, national news magazines, and a Broadway musical JUST HAPPENED to hit the headlines with Mormon themes at this time.

  • Oh, but religion - OBAMA'S religion - is off-limits.

These are just some random issues that quickly occurred to me.  Other reasons for Obama's fall from grace are:

  • Fast & Furious - as in Watergate, it isn't so much the crime, it's the cover-up

  • Solyndra and other "Green" firms and the connection with Obama donors

  • Foreign donations/violations of election laws in the Obama campaign

  • The rising unrest in the world

  • The growing debt - AND the extent to which we are indebted to China

  • The growing dependency on the government - welfare, food stamps, and other "entitlements" are skyrocketing

  • The widely held perception that Obama is "phoning it in" - just going through the motions

I haven't even brought up the Benghazi attack.  The fallout from that may wind up with some less-than-honest Administration officials facing Federal charges after the election.  Unless Obama wins, in which case, it will all be swept under the rug.

NOW, do you understand why Obama's team treats it as CRUCIAL to win?  Their very freedom may be on the line.

Prepare for VERY dirty attacks in the next 10 days.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Just How Effective is the EC (After Rape) Treatment?

According to the Kids Health site:
About 1 or 2 in every 100 women who use ECPs will become pregnant despite taking ECPs within the recommended amount of time.

Statistically, about 5% - that's 5 out of 100 women - having totally unprotected sex - will conceive in a single act of intercourse.

Other studies have shown that the effective rate of EC is less (that site is using AMA stats):
EC is up to 89 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, depending on how quickly a woman begins the pills, the type of pills taken, and when the sex occurred during the woman’s menstrual cycle.

The state of Illinois has, also, some stats that would seem to back up the AMA stats:
Combined EC pills are about 75 percent effective. Progestin-only EC pills are 89 percent effective if used within 72 hours and 95 percent effective if used within 24 hours.

Why is this such a big deal?  The common perception is that EC pills are a magic treatment that WILL prevent the pregnancy from starting.  There is no easy way to undo the effects of a violent sex assault.  A certain percentage of women will, in fact, become pregnant - about 5%, same as any other single act of unprotected sex.  The way I've seen the statistics on effectiveness thrown around makes me quite suspicious of them - too many people will confuse the numbers, say that if 95% of rape victims don't get pregnant, then the treatment was 95% effective.

In fact, in such a case, the treatment had NO effect - about 5% would have become pregnant in any case.

Another concern is - what about the 95% who WOULDN'T have become pregnant?  They are being given some very powerful hormones that may have long-term side effects.  And, they are being pressured to take that treatment at a VERY vulnerable point in their lives, while they are quite traumatized from the attack.

That isn't exactly what I'd call informed consent.

No More "I'm Sorry IF..."

...YOU were offended".

That phrasing has become the de facto standard for public apologies.  Eva Longoria recently went on record with a similar "apology".  What does it say?

  • I'm NOT sorry if you weren't offended.  In other words, everyone who agrees with me can take comfort that I STILL feel the same way, just can't openly express what I truly feel, for fear of career meltdown or public disapproval.  It's all the fault of those darn Fascists, who won't shut up and accept their lesser place in this New World.

  • The problem is YOU, who chose to take offense.  I'm not to blame, you are, with your prickly sensitivity to a perfectly normal political opinion.  That is, it's normal in MY circles, which, of course, means that ALL rational people will agree with it.

  • I still, arrogantly, feel that I was correct to say it, but also want to avoid the public criticism that accompanies having deliberately, and publicly,  spoken harshly and offensively.  So I carefully crafted the statement, and delivered it knowing that MY people would understand that I didn't mean ANY of this bilge for an instant.  See?  My fingers are crossed behind my back.

What would an Honest-to-God apology sound like?
Recently I was expressing my opinion on a controversial issue.  In the process, I became caught up in the topic, and said some things that were over-the-top.

That's usually what causes the "whoops" moment - people get caught up in the moment, and it just spills out.
Some people heard what I said, and confronted me about it.  They were offended, and said so.

No IF they were offended - they were - they said so.
It wasn't my intent to be offensive.  But I did say it, and, upon reflection, have to agree.  It was an uncalled-for statement.  It was (pick one or more - bigoted, cruel, dismissive, crude, horrible, unfairly partisan, etc.) _______________.

No IF it was, it was - own it.
I am sorry for my action, which was beneath a citizen-activist.  In that role, I should have spoken civilly, not taken the low road.

This part would be truly refreshing - the complete acceptance of guilt for what that person had done.
I can only ask for your forgiveness.

NOT a demand, a request.  And, let's face it - this is America, which has been fairly called "the land of second chances".  We love to be magnanimous, and say, "sure, that's OK, don't give it any more thought".

We are a forgiving people.  Just ask, and most of the time, you WILL be forgiven for your mistakes.  Heck, even in cases of murder, I'm amazed by the people who tell their family member's killer "I forgive you".  I don't believe that I could do it, but I sure do admire those that do.

Other cultures don't understand this - they take our ready acceptance of man's imperfections to be weakness.  In too many of those cultures, they are still fighting a centuries-old war.

So, let's take advantage of our culture's readiness to forgive, and make REAL apologies in the future.

We'll forgive you - that's what we Americans do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Pledge

I've been following this campaign season for the entire time, and have noticed a deterioration of civility - of SOME people on BOTH sides (for now, I'm ignoring the Ron Paulians - but, I WILL be back if they don't reform).  The recent VP debate brought my disgust to the surface.

I don't care who started the disrespect.  I DO care that we all take the first step, without waiting for the other.

Failure to do so puts us in jeopardy of splitting this country in a New Civil War (which is caused, in part, due to not-so-civil behavior).

I propose that all of us who take our politics seriously take a pledge:

I urge everyone to take the Pledge.  I urge you to accept your personal responsibility to change the way politics in this country has gotten to be such a gutter sport.

No saying, "Well, I will AFTER they do it."

In this, we need to set the example.

We can disagree.  But, we MUST be civil.

That civility may allow us to point out that a behavior is a violation of The Pledge, for example, bringing into the campaign personal scandals, not connected to government performance.  Those violations include spreading unproven rumors, something MOST of us have been guilty of, at times.  It would not, however, be a violation to call for a Congressional investigation of a public official's PUBLIC behavior.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fast & Furious Update - And I'm FURIOUS!

The Congressional probe into the scandal is over, Eric Holder has been largely left non-responsible, and things are back to normal.

Guess who has just returned from abroad?

Kevin O’Reilly, the link between the White House and Operation Fast and Furious.

Read the whole thing, and ask your Congressional Representative to re-open the investigation - FIRST issuing a supoena for Kevin O'Reilly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Jobs? What Jobs?

The Obama Re-election Team (ORT) is dancing with delight at the new jobs report.  It states that the unemployment number have FINALLY gone under 8%.

The real question is:  have the numbers been "tweaked" to improve the final score?

Sweetie, I don't want to say that the numbers have been massaged, but they just asked for coffee and a cigarette.