Monday, September 29, 2008

A Rude Awakening ...

Like much of the nation, I woke up this morning to hear the President of the United States on the radio. When you have a problem so serious that the President is addressing the nation at 6:30 A.M. something is very wrong.

Bush's face was ashen. The strain of the weekend was apparent. His words were equally sobering. He made no promises that the bailout proposal worked out over the weekend would cure the nation's economic ills. As a matter of fact he said just the opposite. The President said in no uncertain terms that even if the bailout bill is passed the United States and by implication much of the world face perilous economic times ahead.

Bush confirmed the worst projections that had been circulating last week, that is that the credit market had completely exhausted its liquidity and that many businesses would not be able to meet this week's payroll. Dow future's were down 150 at the time that this blog entry was being written and Lord only knows what the market will do when it opens given the tone of Bush's speech.

These are the facts. Over the past four or five decades, America changed from a production based national economy to a consumer based global economy. When we were being sold the bill of goods called the global market we were told that only junk jobs held by unskilled workers would be exported. Think about that the next time you drive down the street in your Mexican assembled Japanese branded car or take a flight on a Brazilian or European manufactured mid-range airliner. The American auto and aerospace workers who could have made those products for you are now frying hamburgers or driving trucks shipping foreign products around the country. Those skills and jobs are lost forever. We traded good paying blue and grey collar highly skilled manufacturing jobs for minimum wage service sector jobs. The Chinese and the Asians who protected their own workers and manufacturing base are now laughing at us all the way to the bank ... and that bank has a sign out front that says, "Americans Not Welcome."

Since we don't build anything anymore, we are not creating wealth. We have sustained the economy of the past several decades by literally spending the accumulation of national wealth earned since the founding of the nation and when that was exhausted by borrowing the money to keep up appearances from foreign powers who do make things (like China) and who also save instead of borrow. Last week, the Chinese government instructed its banks to issue no more loans to American banks. So, our massive trade deficit with China is now a one way street and there is no way for us access the trillions of dollars we have invested in their manufacturing economy instead of our own.

Make no mistake. This is 1929 all over and it remains to be seen if we will be able to weather the coming storm with the same strength and courage of our forefathers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Three Colorable Claims Concerning Barack Hussein Obama

The so-called "Obama Truth Squads" now operating in states like Missouri, South Carolina and Pennsylvania as well as the internet are composed in part of Democratic elected officials such as law enforcement officials and officers of the court. They are a frightening example of the lengths that Obama's supporters will go to to enforce their will upon the people of the United States. The sole purpose of these so-called "truth squads" is to intimidate their political opposition under color of law and quash debate concerning their chosen candidate for president.

The word "colorable" is a legal term of art which has been defined in some courts as, "a claim that, if taken as true, in the light most favorable to the petitioner would entitle the petitioner to relief." In plain English, a colorable claim is one that presents enough evidence on its face that further investigation and inquiry is warranted. Three such colorable claims are presented concerning the qualification and fitness of Barack Hussein Obama to serve as President of the United States:

1. The first is that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a natural born citizen of the United States. Obama claims to have been born in Hawaii. There is very disturbing evidence however that he was born in Kenya and was later "registered" in the United States. If that is the case he is not a natural born citizen of the United States and is not qualified to serve as President under Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Obama could also claim Kenyan citizenship and allegations have been made that he may also be a Canadian citizen and that a Canadian birth certificate was issued. A DEMOCRATIC operative has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania demanding that the court issue a declaratory judgment stating that Obama is not qualified to run or serve as President of the United States and enjoining Obama from further campaign activity. A copy of that sworn complaint can be read HERE.

2. The second is that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim. The United States Constitution provides that there shall be no religious test for any public office or trust of the United States. However, lying about his religion calls Obama's fitness for public office into question and that IS, in my opinion at least, a perfectly constitutional question. The first colorable piece of evidence that Obama is a Muslim is his name, Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Hussein is perhaps the most common middle name in the Shia faith. Hussein was a direct descendant of Mohammed and one of his favorite wives Fatima. He was martyred in the tenth century. Shia muslims celebrate the date of his martyrdom. The second colorable piece of evidence is the registration of one Barry Soeto in the Francis Assisi Catholic school in Jakarta, Indonesia. Barry Soeto is one of the several psuedonyms and aka's by which Barack Hussein Obama has been known around the world. (He was sued under five or six of these names in the Pennsylvania complaint.) This school registration form, obtained by a respected journalist in that part of the world and verified by ABC news clearly lists Obama's religion as "Muslim" like his fathers. A photograph of that enrollment form can be viewed HERE. Obama claims to have never practiced Islam but that claim is brought into question by first hand accounts recorded by World Net Daily (full story HERE) :

The Indonesian media have been flooded with accounts of Obama's childhood Islamic studies, some describing him as a religious Muslim .Speaking to the country's Kaltim Post, Tine Hahiyary, who was principal of Obama's school while he was enrolled there, said she recalls he studied the Quran in Arabic.

"At that time, I was not Barry's teacher but he is still in my memory" claimed Tine, who is 80 years old. The Kaltim Post says Obama's teacher, named Hendri, died.

"I remember that he studied 'mengaji (recitation of the Quran)," Tine said, according to an English translation by Loatze.

Mengaji, or the act of reading the Quran with its correct Arabic punctuation, is usually taught to more religious pupils and is not known as a secular study. Also, Loatze documented the Indonesian daily Banjarmasin Post caught up with Rony Amir, an Obama classmate and Muslim, who describe Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam." (Please note that this link to a legitimate foreign newspaper is now blocked for some reason.)

"We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house. If he was wearing a sarong (waist fabric worn for religious or casual occasions) he looked funny," Amir said.

The Los Angeles Times, which sent a reporter to Jakarta, quoted Zulfin Adi, who identified himself as among Obama's closest childhood friends, stating the presidential candidate prayed in a mosque, something Obama's campaign claimed he never did.

"We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played," said Adi.

Obama's official campaign site has a page titled "Obama has never been a Muslim, and is a committed Christian." The page states, "Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ."

Obama claims to be "committed" Christian but did not bother to change his religiously charged Muslim middle name. Based upon that alone, he would be recognized as a Shia Muslim by most of the Islamic world. He claims to have never studied or practiced Islam despite numerous eyewitness accounts to the contrary and the fact that his father registered him as Muslim in a country which required compulsory religious training in all schools negates the claim that he never practiced the faith. (Catholic schools in Indonesia at that time would take children of all faiths and release them for religious training in their particular faith.) So, the question of whether or not Barack HUSSEIN Obama is Muslim is certainly colorable at minimum.

3. Given the above, if Barack Hussein Obama were not the Democratic Presidential candidate could he qualify for a security clearance to view top secret and above military and diplomatic documents. The short answer here is not only no but HELL NO. With: (a) mulitple pseudonyms and identities, (b) questions about his birth country and citizenship including the likelihood of mulitple birth certificates in foreign countries, and (c) the likelihood of ties to a religion with terrorist ties, he would never qualify for any sensitive government or military job if he were anyone other than the Anointed One of the American left.

The American people deserve truthful answers to these more than colorable questions not "Truth Squads" trying to intimidate them into silence under color of law.


The following biographical facts leading to reasonable inference that Obama is or was a Muslim are taken from a copyrighted story in the Jerusalem Post which can be read in its entirety HERE:

• Obama's Kenyan birth father: In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936-1982) was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.

• Obama's Indonesian family: His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was also a Muslim. In fact, as Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng explained to Jodi Kantor of The New York Times: "My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim." An Indonesian publication, The Banjarmasin Post, reports a former classmate, Rony Amir, recalling that "All the relatives of Barry's father were very devout Muslims."

• Obama's Catholic school in Jakarta: Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press reports that "documents showed he enrolled as a Muslim" while at a Catholic school during first through third grades. Kim Barker of The Chicago Tribune confirms that Obama was "listed as a Muslim on the registration form for the Catholic school."

• The public school: Paul Watson of The Los Angeles Times learned from Indonesians familiar with Obama when he lived in Jakarta that he "was registered by his family as a Muslim at both schools he attended." Haroon Siddiqui of The Toronto Star visited the Jakarta public school Obama attended and found that "Three of his teachers have said he was enrolled as a Muslim." Although Siddiqui cautions that "With the school records missing, eaten by bugs, one has to rely on people's shifting memories," he cites only one retired teacher, Tine Hahiyari, retracting her earlier certainty about Obama's being registered as a Muslim.

• Barack Obama's public school in Jakarta, Koran class: In his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, Obama relates how he got into trouble for making faces during Koran studies. Indeed, Obama still retains knowledge from that class: Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times reports that Obama "recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them [to Kristof] with a first-rate accent."

• Mosque attendance: Obama's half-sister recalled that the family attended the mosque "for big communal events." Watson learned from childhood friends that "Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque." Barker found that "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers." One Indonesia friend, Zulfin Adi, states that Obama "was Muslim. He went to the mosque. I remember him wearing a sarong" (a garment associated with Muslims).

• Piety: Obama himself says that while living in Indonesia, a Muslim country, he "didn't practice [Islam]." Indonesians differ in their memories of him. One, Rony Amir, describes Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam."

OBAMA'S HAVING been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit, a fundamental misrepresentation about himself that has profound implications about his character and his suitability as president.

The writer is director of the Middle East Forum and is the Taube/Diller distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama Orders Police State Tactics in Missouri

The Drudge Report is carrying a statement by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt which accuses Barrack Obama of trying to employ Democratic law enforcement officials to silence critics:
“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights.

The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election."
We know a lot about that kind of stuff already here in Oklahoma where a recall petition or an initiative petition unfriendly to entrenched Democratic interests never seems to pass some legal test and people who question the process or complain about it too loudly wind up behind bars.

A few years ago, a Christian writer posed the question, "How do you know when you are living in a police state? He proposed that America was a police state then even before the draconian encroachments on our First and Fourth Amendment freedoms we now endure. But, if there was any doubt, this should prove it to all.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bailout or Not, It's Gonna Be A Blue Christmas

An ashen faced George Bush warned the nation last night that if his so called economic bail out plan is not passed the nation is facing a painful recession. The words "painful recession" may the euphemism of the decade if not the century. In a copyrighted story on Reuters, former GE President Jack Welch observed, "I now believe we are in for one hell of a deep downturn." Welch told the World Business Forum in New York on Wednesday that the first quarter of 2009 will likely be "brutal."

Many thoughtful commentators are now comparing the events of the past few days to those of October, 1929 which kicked off the Great Depression. These same commentators see the so-called "Bush Bailout" not as a cure for the problem but rather as a parachute to ease the shock of the virtually inevitable crash of the American economy.

There is plenty of blame to go around. The mortgage industry bears its share for making obscene profits on nearly worthless paper. The housing industry bears its share for continuing to build homes that everyone realized weren't likely to be sold at anywhere near their asking price or even their projected cost. Government bears huge responsibility for social experimentation in the mortgage industry which forced lenders to write mortgages to people who simply could not and never would be able to afford the homes they bought and for an overall monetary policy that artificially inflated everything in the financial sector. And most of all, the American people bear responsibility for a multi decade credit and spending binge that has transferred nearly all of the nation's hard assets to foreign investors in return for cheap consumer goods and ever more expensive energy. Separately or combined, it was and is an unsustainable economic model.

If last week was a 1929 style crash, and I believe it was, then it will take about ninety days for the effects to be felt. Credit will tighten and as it does the marginal households who have been living on credit will begin defaulting on everything from credit card payments to car payments to mortgages to utility bills. That in turn will deny income to wiser citizens who had been living within their means but have little if any cushion for an emergency of this type. As credit dries up, businesses will slow down or fail altogether, layoffs will begin and, unthinkable as it is, the whole great machine we call the American economy will grind to a halt just as it did in the grim early months of 1930.

But, there are great differences between the America of 1930 and the America of 2008. 1930 America was still based upon a primarily rural, agricultural economy. While there was great suffering by many, many families could still grow their own food, butcher their own meat and maintain a sustenance level existence. There was enough, for lack of a better term, structure to maintain a semblance of normality and governance. Modern Americans lack both the skills and the moral fiber of our Dust Bowl ancestors and our society lacks the local, small scale structure to take care of its own. I shudder to think about the social chaos that could result from a 1930's style Depression given our modern, hedonistic, consumption obsessed population. Perhaps the closest historical comparison would be the Weimar Republic and we all know how well that ended.

Over the years, I have advised a lot of people in personal financial crises. Given the recent changes to bankruptcy law and the virtual inability to charge off most credit card debt, I usually tell the ones who come to me early that they have from sixty to ninety days to get their houses in order, preserve a few hard assets if they are lucky and make plans to feed, clothe and house their families through a long hard spell. Given what I am hearing and reading about the economy this week, that might be good advice for a lot of us today. In short, don't buy that big screen for Christmas just yet, you may need the money for the light bill.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Afflicted Heart of the Legal Profession

I participate in an international online discussion group of Christian lawyers. The talk on this list is often terse and to the point. A lot of it has to do with sharing resources, strategies and making referrals. But sometimes the discussion is profound. Last night, the topic was the morality of California lawyers resigning from their various state legal organizations that oppose California Proposition 8. Proposition 8 is a ballot initiative which, if successful, would result in a state constitutional amendment banning so called gay marriage. I read the following post from a D.C. area attorney comparing the current moral crisis for Christian attorneys to the decision many Christian attorneys made over a decade ago to leave the ABA over their support for abortion rights, etc. With that attorney's permission, I am repeating his post here for public consumption:

I too resigned from the ABA over the abortion issue in 1998. Like others on this string, I got a form-letter reply to my note of explanation regarding why I, in good conscience could no longer remain part of that organization. In the years after my resignation, I received form-letter invitations to rejoin the ABA. I ignored them.
I have thought a lot about why abortion proponents are so resistant to any kind of morally based logic as to why abortion is an affront to the concept of justice, that is defending the innocent from predators and a grave moral evil. I have concluded that the heart is the portal to the human mind. It is from the heart of man that great wickedness in the world emerges.
In Romans 1, Paul warns us that, when a person turns his face from God, his thinking becomes "futile" (NIV) and his "foolish heart" is "darkened." Romans 1:21. So, when a person rejects God, he becomes, in essence, an "afflicted person." He loses the capacity to evaluate data and draw moral inferences from it, even in his own self-interest. This affliction walls off the mind from any idea that the heart has rejected a priori. Because the portal to the mind is closed to facts and reason, no argument, no matter how compelling, can be honestly evaluated. It is this "heart affliction" that has turned the light of reason off in the minds of so many of the most gifted intellects in our remarkable, yet deeply troubled, civilization. The collective "afflicted heart" of our profession has brought us to the place where the Rule of Law lies on its deathbed, barely capable of drawing a breath.
C.S. Lewis observed that the human heart is like a citadel, a mighty fortress that nurtures the great lie of the hegemony of Self implanted in the soul at the Fall of Man. Lewis proclaimed that the only thing that serves to breach the great wall of moral rejection endemic to the human soul is enduring pain which takes it down to the bare metal of despair. "Pain," Lewis observed, "plants the flag of truth in the fortress of the rebel soul." It is through this pain that heart of man is opened, giving him "ears to hear" and " eyes to see." Prayer and winsome civility during these times of pain are just about the only things that stand a chance of cracking open the hardened heart.
Well said, Counselor.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Un-Representative Government At Its Worst

To no one's surprise in particular, two Tulsa City Councilors who failed to even notify their neighborhoods that a huge homeless shelter was going to built there, much less help them fight it, have been temporarily reprieved. City officials declared that the recall petition directed against them by angry citizens did not state a sufficient cause of action to allow the initiative to continue to a vote because the councilors had no legal duty to communicate with their constituents or represent their interests!

The sheer arrogance of this statement is simply mind boggling. Councilor David Patrick does a great job of communicating with some of the citizens of Tulsa. He was recently cleared (again to no one in particular's surprise) in an ethics investigation which alleged that Mayor Kathy Taylor inappropriately sent a private jet to Colorado to fetch him for a key vote. If that weren't bad enough, it now appears that a Tulsa powerbroker with an interest in that vote just happened to be on the airplane at the same time. Given subsequent events, Patrick certainly had no problems with that message.

So, the pattern is becoming clear. If you and your friends can't kick in ten or twenty grand each to hire a team of lawyers to take on city hall, you can pretty well forget about your rights in municipal government. And, if you can't afford a Lear Jet to host the meeting and an "expert" to put on the Lear Jet to state your case for you, you might as well forget about even hearing from your city councilor on key issues, much less influencing him.

Councilors Gomez and Patrick apparently don't have a hearing problem. They can meet with and even skillfully represent the interests of the people they are willing to listen to. The problem is, the people they are willing to listen to are not their constituents. The most commonly used definition of American representative government comes from Lincoln's Gettsyburg Address, "government of the people, by the people and for the people." But, given the Gomez and Patrick decision, it is obvious that the City of Tulsa has adopted a new definition, "government of the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful and for the rich and powerful."

The Gomez and Patrick decision may have been legally correct. I don't know and the folks who wrote the petition language won't know either since they probably can't afford an appeal to find out, a fact that was lost on no one, especially City officials. But, the fact that an act can be declared legal says nothing about its justice. The residents of White City and the surrounding neighborhoods may not be able to pass the hat at Southern Hills and subscribe enough money to hire a silk stocking law firm. And, they may not be able put a councilor on a Lear Jet or invite him to The Summit Club for lunch to have a little chat about their concerns. But, the neighborhood residents can vote and unless the folks these councilors are actually representing can figure out a way to literally buy the next election for them over the objection of several thousand furious neighborhood residents, their careers in Tulsa City government are over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Poisoning the Well ...

Long ago and far away, I was a reporter for a small daily newspaper. I worked the police, crime and courts beat as well as covering local politics and other "hard news." I wrote so much of page one and page two every day that the editor made me quit using my byline because it was embarrassing him. My stuff was regularly "picked up" (reprinted with credit but no pay) by the other papers in the region. And, I would even make the AP every once in a while. From my vantage point as a professional observer, I developed a unique ability to sense the attitude of the community. I like to think that I have not lost that sense.

The current situation with the proposed homeless shelter in the White City neighborhood of Tulsa reminds me greatly of something that happened in that far away little city long ago. One of the wealthier local families decided to make a profit on a piece of their ranch land by selling it to out of state interests for use as a massive toxic waste dump. The land seemed ideally suited for the purpose since it was in a small and more easily handled county that bordered on a larger metropolitan area with a significant need for toxic waste disposal. Local government welcomed the proposal as did the local financial community ... at least at first. But, there were other other considerations as well. The proposed site also bordered on some of the finest farms and ranches in the region. It even bordered on some far out suburban neighborhoods of the larger metropolitan area. And, it could have affected the water table for some of the finest agricultural land in the state.

Despite a massive PR campaign by the landowner, the proposed new owners, local government and the local financial community, opposition to the project just would not go away. There was all of the usual hoopla. Television reporters were everywhere for a while, there were mass rallies and a lot of threats were apparently made by both sides. But then, some of the neighboring ranchers got serious. I talked to some of these folks at the time and I have never seen a madder bunch of cowboys and cowgirls in my life. I don't know if this actually happened, but I heard it from enough separate sources to believe it even if I couldn't print it at the time. I was told that some of the larger bordering ranch owners walked in to the office of the president of a local bank that was supporting the project, threw their house keys on his desk and told him, "If this goes through you can have the whole place, mortgage, stock, equipment, loans and all. We're driving away and not looking back. You can have it." If this had happened, it would have been a disaster for the bank.

Whatever actually happened, the opposition to the project worked and the toxic waste dump was not placed in that county. But, another kind of toxic waste was left. The attempt by previously trusted community leaders to ruin the property values and livelihood of hundreds or even thousands of their neighbors literally poisoned the community well both politically and commercially. Lifelong friendships and commercial associations changed. The preference for dealing with some local institutions disappeared. And, in my estimation, a promising local political career or two ended.

In my opinion, the well has already been poisoned here in Tulsa. The people who attempted to ramrod the proposed White City homeless shelter down the throats of that neighborhood will never regain the complete trust or respect of the White City neighborhood residents. But, if my blog visitor tracking software is accurate, other people in other neighborhoods and even other cities and states are looking on as well. The mistrust and lack of respect may be spreading. The best thing the people supporting this project can do at this point is to kill it and start over somewhere else while they only have one neighborhood in revolt. If they don't, the revolt could spread to the whole city and beyond.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The View From White City

I am a lawyer. I am in the business of helping people get through conflict. One of the greatest hindrances I have found in this task is people's inability to see a situation from the other side's viewpoint. I live in one of the neighborhoods adjoining White City. I don't think the folks trying to force a homeless shelter down the throats of the White City neighborhoods have really considered the view from the other side.

To put our position in context, you have to know something about the neighborhood. White City and the neighborhoods surrounding it are some of the few left in Tulsa where working people can actually own a home that they can afford. For decades now, realtors and the banking industry have encouraged average people to buy more home than they need and certainly more than they can afford. Americans have so overspent on their housing that the whole economy is threatened. The older, usually well built and well maintained homes in White City are one of the few places in Tulsa where blue collar, gray collar, white collar and professionals can live in an economically diverse neighborhood and all still stay within the economic goal of paying no more than a third of their total household income for housing including maintenance, utilities, necessary upgrades, etc. It is an old fashioned mixed class, mixed income neighborhood that should be the model for future developments instead of the dumping ground for city problems.

It is a neighborhood with challenges. Prostitution on Eleventh Street has always been a problem on and off. Rent speculators, pimping government subsidized Section 8 benefits, have created mini-slums on some blocks. The streets are in desperate need of attention and TPD is paying less and less attention to neighborhood crime, especially neighbor on neighbor problems that often occur when you mix people working for the roof over their heads with folks who have that roof provided for them by the government.

At its most basic, the proposed Admiral and Yale homeless shelter appears to be a giant rip off to the average White City resident. Joe Sixpack, Susan Secretary and Ernie Engineer see nothing more than an attempt to handle a downtown problem by exporting it to their neighborhood. Combine that with the fact that the proposed downtown "baseball" trust is aggressively trying to control the property values and development around THEIR investment and the whole deal appears profoundly hypocritical. The downtown elites are using all of their political and legal power to prevent the very type of development risk that THEY THEMSELVES are forcing down the throats of the White City residents. Taken at its most basic they are saying that their for-profit investment in a ball park deserves the city's protection while the White City residents investment in their homes does not.

The pairing of the Driller's Stadium issue with the homeless shelter fiasco creates a whole new line of inquiry. Joe Sixpack can't see why the folks downtown are so hell bent upon moving the Drillers in the first place. They have a relatively new, well maintained ball park already with plenty of parking and easy accessibility from all over town. Why cram it into a hole downtown where even more expensive solutions like light rail are necessary to cure the parking and accessibility problems?

When Joe, Susan and Ernie all sit down together in someone's living room and try to figure out a way to save their neighborhood, it is almost impossible to present any motivation for their city government's actions other than profit. A lot of already wealthy individuals are going to make a whole lot more money on this deal over the next several years and a lot of people in White City are going to lose their homes or at least be stuck with a home that is unsellable. Obviously, some of that money being made downtown is going to come out of Joe, Susan and Ernie's investment in their home.

So called "mainstreaming" sounds wonderfully compassionate so long as you don't have to be personally involved. In this case, a Tulsa neighborhood is going to pay dearly for someone else's "compassion" and so are the people they are trying to help. Placing a homeless shelter at the intersection of a busy street and an interstate highway doesn't seem like a very good idea unless you want to reduce the number of homeless through traffic fatalities. Taking the homeless from a place where they were within walking distance of all their needed services and placing them in another where they are miles away on an infrequently served bus route doesn't make much sense at all. As a matter of fact, to Joe and Susan and Ernie it seems like a formula for having a lot of people walking through their neighborhoods and hanging around the neighborhood bus stops and parks.

My neighborhood has experience with a so-called "mainstreaming" experiment. After several years, the "mainstreamed" neighbor is still there. But, the previously occupied homes on both sides of his are boarded up as is the previously occupied home one house down on one side. The home next to the boarded up home on the other side sold at one point on a contract for deed but the buyer cancelled after a few weeks because of the problems with the "mainstreamed" neighbor. It became a Section 8 rental unit. One of the houses across the street went vacant after the young couple who lived there couldn't take it anymore. They tried for months to sell their home with no luck. It is now a rental unit. That's five homes whose values have been severely degraded due to one property. The character of the whole neighborhood changed. And, it's not as though the homeowners were passive. Far from it. Over the years, there were at least fifty calls to the police. Many of them went unanswered. There were petitions to the police department and DA which resulted in no determinative action. The fire department answered dozens of calls about trash fires and made arrests for illegal burning more than once.

Nobody trying force this deal down Joe, Susan and Ernie's throats will ever have to look out their front door and see a homeless person urinating or defecating on their front yard. Nobody on the ball park trust will be afraid to let their children play outdoors or be forced to tell their children they can't play in their neighborhood park because it is full of strange people drinking from brown paper bags. Nobody on the Mental Health Association board of directors will have to lie awake all night while a "neighbor" off his meds beats on a trash can, cursing and yelling for his neighbors to wake up. Nobody who is making a profit on this series of deals will have to sit for an hour or more behind a locked door waiting for TPD to respond to a "low priority" neighborhood dispute ... if they respond at all. And, nobody in the alphabet soup organizations pushing this plan will have to talk a normally peaceful neighbor out of harming the person who has made his family live in constant fear and made his own life a living hell.

Taken at its most basic, Joe reasons, "They are taking the Ball Park downtown and giving us their homeless. There's nothing in this deal for me for me but trouble. As a matter of fact, they are crapping all over me and my neighborhood. So, there's nothing left to do but fight." And, try as I might, I can't see a single argument to refute Joe's logic.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

All The Wrong Reasons

I find it hard to get up much enthusiasm for presidential elections anymore. What should be a serious discourse leading up to the selection of two of America's best and brightest to lead us has turned into a media frenzy with opposing "brands" being hawked to an ever more addle brained electorate like soda pop or feminine hygiene products.

Anyone who thinks that Barrack Obama and Joe Biden are the best and brightest of the Democratic party is simply deluded. Obama has almost no assets which recommend him to become the leader of the free world. Were it not for his race and almost hypnotic personal charisma, Obama would and should be the under qualified junior senator from Illinois, struggling to learn his job. As a matter of fact, Obama is so unqualified and in a word scary that the GOP base is now willing to enthusiastically support a candidate that has thumbed his nose at them for his entire career.

Which brings us to the GOP. Only the deeply frightening possibility of a Barrack Obama presidency could make John McCain a viable GOP candidate. And even then, he had to spring Sarah Palin on the party to get his foundering campaign off dead center. Sarah Palin is actually polling more favorably than either McCain or Obama. That says something profound about the process that gave us both presidential candidates.

The Palin phenomenon is a perfect illustration of the problem. Almost everything I learn about her is impressive. She is smart, decent and tough. But, she has a short resume in public life and unproven leadership skills on the scale that may be required of her. If she is elected, she will be a heartbeat away from the presidency because she is a woman, can make a great speech, is cute as the dickens and has managed to fire up a base that McCain has studiously insulted for his entire career. None of these are good enough reasons for her to be that close to being president of the United States and certainly not good enough reasons to elect McCain.

What should be a sober public exercise in due diligence for all concerned has become a combination of American Idol for the Democrats and a pep rally, complete with a drop dead gorgeous cheerleader, for the GOP. You have to ask yourself, is this really the best we can do? The margins in this election may be razor thin. One very astute commentator observed this week that shamefully, if Obama is elected it will be because of his race and if McCain is elected it will probably be because of the sex and religion of his VP choice. Standing alone, these are not good enough reasons to elect a president.

Though I hate to admit it, John McCain is the only marginally qualified presidential candidate in the race though, based upon his previous positions on many key issues, he should be running as a Democrat. Obama is years away from being qualified to be president and needs to be seriously vetted concerning his family history and past associations. Joe Biden is marginally qualified to run for VP but he should be running as a socialist. And Sarah Palin, impressive as she is, is still an unproven quantity. So, what we actually have is a defacto Democrat, McCain, who first triangulated against his own base and then bought their votes late in the game with his VP choice running against a completely inexperienced near Marxist with a family history and series of political associations that would probably prevent him from getting a security clearance if he were an enlisted man in the military instead of a candidate for commander in chief.

There are dozens of better qualified people on both sides of the aisle. What is the matter with the system that is keeping them from rising to the top? Which of course begs the question, what is the matter with us, the electorate, that we tolerate this American Idol, pep rally, Coke commercial system of selecting a president?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's Predicament

The long knives have already been drawn against Sarah Palin in the GOP establishment and she hasn't even been elected yet. Palin is not and never will be a member of that class and they will never forget it or let her. The old school country club wing of the GOP is already circling her like a pack of wolves ready to devour her as soon as she has served her purpose as Christian bait in the November elections. Peggy Noonan's snarky remarks caught on tape by MSNBC are simply an echo of the pervasive attitude among the GOP elite that will eventually spell the demise of the party and perhaps the country. The NeoCons are already sniping and the chattering class is reporting that Palin has been placed in charge of NeoCon handlers .... likely to keep her under observation and control.

The McCain/Palin ticked can be compared to the marriage of a strong, pretty evangelical girl to an old womanizer. She wants love, respect and a fair partnership and he wants something else entirely. Chuck Baldwin explores this unlikely political marriage in a recent column (link HERE ):

Herein lies the problem for Sarah Palin. How can a principled conservative support the policies and actions of an unprincipled globalist such as John McCain? As Vice President, Palin will be required to promote and defend McCain's big-government, liberal, and globalist plans. For example, what will she do when John McCain proposes amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, which he is certain to do? What will she do when McCain proposes to close gun shows, or at least the private sale of firearms at gun shows? What will she do when he proposes to increase federal spending for abortion providers (which he has done numerous times as senator)? What will she do when he promotes federal spending for embryonic stem cell research? What will she do when John McCain proliferates Bush's police state machinations by expanding the Patriot Act and similar legislation? What will Palin do when McCain decides to nuke Iran (and who knows what else), not only without a Declaration of War by Congress, but also without provocation or justification? What will she do as John McCain expands the Security and Prosperity Partnership with Canada and Mexico? What will she do as McCain opens the door of the NAFTA superhighway and the North American Union? What will she do as John McCain allows the United Nations to dictate and manipulate America's foreign policy? Again, can two walk together except they be agreed?

Let's face it: John McCain is using Sarah Palin as inducement to trick conservatives into accepting his liberal, big-government, globalist candidacy. And, sadly, it is working.

As I have said before, today's national Christian leaders are among the most gullible people on the planet. They are so desperate to be invited to sit at the king's table that they will compromise practically any principle. But accepting John McCain was a not only a bitter pill, it was a BIG pill, one they could not get down without a major dose of syrup. And that is exactly what Governor Palin brings to the table: sweet syrup to help conservatives swallow John McCain.

Unfortunately, the things that make Palin so attractive (her conservative principles) are the things that she will be forced to surrender in order to be John McCain's running mate. The best thing that can happen to Sarah Palin is for John McCain to lose the November election. This would allow her to go into the 2012 elections as perhaps the Republican Presidential frontrunner. If McCain wins in November, and Palin is forced to serve at the pleasure of this globalist insider for four years, she will be forever ruined as a genuine constitutional conservative. Remember, "No man can serve two masters." One cannot be faithful to the Constitution and a constitutional apostate such as John McCain at the same time. That is an absolute impossibility.

What our conservative friends need to wake up to is the depth of duplicity and wickedness that permeates Washington politics (in both major parties) today. There is nothing that these globalist insiders at the Council on Foreign Relations (of which John McCain is a longtime member) will not do to fulfill their power-mad plans. There is nothing too evil, too sinister, or too iniquitous, including using, abusing, chewing up and then spitting out good people such as Sarah Palin. Even more unfortunate and sad is the fact that the James Dobsons of this world are too blind to see it.

I don't agree with everything Baldwin says and I don't agree with a few of the policy positions of the Constitution party. But, it is always a mistake not to listen to valid criticism and Baldwin makes several valid points.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Palin - The Premature Pick

Timing is everything in politics. The more I hear about Sarah Palin the more I like her. She is obviously a smart, powerful, remarkably decent woman who has what it takes to be a real player in American politics. But, that does not mean that she was the best choice for McCain's VP this election cycle.

The biggest mistake conservatives, especially evangelical conservatives, make is failure to listen to the opposition. Facts are facts regardless of who presents them. When your opposition makes a valid point, you had better make note of it because you are likely to hear it again under less pleasant circumstances. Over the weekend, I repeatedly heard talking heads making valid points about the Palin choice. She does lack national and international experience and McCain forfeited a great deal of the experience argument against O'Bama by selecting her.

Further, there can be no doubt that a great deal of plain old pandering was involved in her selection. Pandering to women, pandering to evangelicals, pandering to the general conservative base that greatly mistrusts McCain. And, it is working. Her choice has energized the GOP base and made such a splash that it literally sucked the air out of the room for O'Bama. But, that does not change the fact that there were dozens of better qualified men and several better qualified women to choose from. The fact that Palin is so bright, so decent and has such a brilliant future in American politics if she is not prematurely savaged by the process only makes it all the more difficult to swallow. Palin is the perfect lightning rod media candidate that draws attention away from McCain's shortcoming in key constituencies.

I would sincerely hope that Palin is not being offered up as a political sacrificial virgin to save the presidential aspirations of an aging, wealthy, marginally GOP at best, contrarian that was headed for disaster with his base until he made his VP choice. The left wing blogs are already savaging Palin and her family and in so doing diverting attention from McCain while gaining mostly favorable headlines for the combined ticket.

I have nothing but respect for Sarah Palin and her family and I hope that her political future survives whatever happens next. John McCain has observed in the past that the only two functions of the Vice President are to, "inquire about the President's health every morning and attend state funerals." That is typical McCain and Sarah Palin, McCain's politically premature pick deserves better .... and so do the people who will vote for McCain because of her.