Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why Kitsap Needs To Remain In The PSRC

The value of Kitsap County’s membership in the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has been questioned at length over the past year or so — perhaps most vociferously by the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO) — and in this space as well. The main question has been whether Kitsap would be better off forming a similar alliance with Mason, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties for the purpose of regional transportation and growth management planning, as opposed to remaining partners with I-5-centric King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.

After sitting through a presentation at KRCC where the five transportation alternatives for PSRC’s Vision 2040 plan were outlined, I’m convinced we need to not only remain members of PSRC, but to get our people in leadership positions so we can not only slow down, but derail what is being envisioned for our future.

Among the plans PSRC outlined is a new, 25 to 40 cent per gallon gas tax — increasing our gas tax to nearly a dollar per gallon. Very little of that money is being designated for new roads, or congestion relief — except HOV and HOT lanes primarily utilizing existing roads. Included in one version, is a HOT lane from I-5 to Poulsbo that uses one of the existing lanes of SR-16. So we’ll get to pay to use the roads we’ve already bought and paid for, while the congestion in the remaining free lanes becomes intentionally worse.

Another part of the plan calls for a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax. How that will be implemented and monitored is still unclear. They also envision tolls on all major freeways — including I-5 — as well as state highways, and even city streets.

These folks are as serious as a heart attack about implementing their “vision” for us. They have zero compassion for non-city dwelling rural residents, or for automobile owners, and religiously believe the financial burden their plans mandate is a small price we are obligated — and should cheerfully be willing to pay — for our non-urban lifestyle. When I asked if they didn’t expect resistance from non-urban dwellers, the answer was a condescendingly smug, “So what?”

I’m not sure what planet PSRC imported these folks from, but they aren’t going away. In my view, they’re the best illustration of why we need to not only remain members, but become much more active than ever before.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Report Your Damage Now

On December 24, 2008, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire declared a State of Emergency for all Washington State based on the severe weather conditions we have experienced.

If you have damages from the recent winter weather, it is imperative that home and business owners file a report with the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management immediately. The number to call is 360-307-5870. In addition to reporting damages, call your insurance agent to check on your coverage.

Information to have on hand:

  • Name and address of the affected property.
  • A description of damage, even if it is insured.
  • A personal estimate of losses that will be uninsured.
  • An estimate of the fair market value of the damaged home or business.

Also to consider for families and individuals:

  • If you need housing, food and other basics, notify the American Red Cross chapter in your community (360-377-3761).
  • Keep records of all clean-up and repair costs and, if possible, document with photographs.

For Business Owner only: Small business owners have two kind of damage to consider; physical and economic. The State of Washington must certify that at least five small businesses in a disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury and need financial assistance not otherwise available.

For more information call the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management at 360-307-5870.

--Posted by Registered Voter

Information courtesy of Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Was Only a Matter of Time...

You had to know this was coming...

To play this game, don't forget the right shoes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More New Writers On The Way

Just a short note to say I've had a significant amount of interest from people interested in writing here. I've talked to several — but not all — and two are already posting here. I expect to have two or three more, but don't look for much to happen until after the First of the Year.

I will still post, but without the pressure of generating new material and posting for the sake of fresh content, and no other reason. That said, let me take this opportuity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas (none of that politically correct "Happy Holidays" around here) and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Shakeup for Kitsap Republicans

Following defeat in all contested county races and all but one legislative contest, the Kitsap County Republican Party held its reorganization meeting, electing new leadership for the 2009-2010 cycle.

Chairperson Jack Hamilton previously announced his retirement and was replaced by Hamilton ally Sandy LaCelle. LaCelle, who was soundly defeated in her race against County Commissioner Steve Bauer, received the unanimous support of the body. Nathan Randall sought the Vice Chairmanship without opposition following candidate David Rhine's withdrawal from the race. The young Ron Paul organizer has ruffled feathers among the old guard and a number of attendees were visibly shaken when Rhine withdrew from the race. Randall is a go-getter who will be one to observe as the party struggles with its future direction.

Juliana McMahan returns as Secretary and Anetta Butler will serve as the Finance Director/ Fundraising Chairperson.

Long-time State Committeewoman Shirley Brown, who announced her retirement, nominated Judy Mentor Eagleson as her successor. Eagleson was challenged by another Ron Paul organizer, but won the support of a majority of the precinct committee officers. Ed Mitchell, a Port Orchard accountant and current Treasurer of the state GOP, will serve as State Committeeman, replacing Trent England. England is working full-time for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, which limits his ability to attend party functions.

Following the countywide election, the delegation broke into commissioner districts to elect 12 of the 15 executive board positions. The results were mixed with establishment-backed candidates and Ron Paul recruits dividing the lot.

The local GOP has once again reached a fork in the road and must decide if the party will adjust its direction to win elections or continue down the same road of defeat that has become commonplace for the past decade.

-- Insider

Monday, December 08, 2008

Port CEO to Retire at Year's End

Did years of bickering, character assassination, citizen micro-management, and cynicism surrounding the SEED project finally drive away the Port's CEO? Perhaps a melodramatic assumption, and a question which may never enjoy an answer.

In either case, Ken Attebery took the time to graciously thank many colleagues, co-workers and friends before his decision to retire at the end of this month was made known to the public.

After serving the Port for 11 years as its executive leader, 25 years in total and 38 years of public service in Kitsap and at the federal level, Attebery characterised his tenure as a joy and seemed pleased with his many accomplishments.

A very young 61 and still eager to continue his work in the private sector, we haven't seen the last of his efforts towards improving Kitsap County's economic vitality.

-Registered Voter

To Pay or Not to Pay?

Recently, an article made its way into the media and blogosphere regarding Port Orchard City Council's consideration of a raise for its mayor. This would increase Lary Coppola's annual salary from approximately $19k for a part-time position, to a full time one commanding $62k plus benefits. The Council would only approve this for the first six months of 2009, extending payment once additional revenue from annexations occurred. The city's hotel-motel tax revenue would be used to fund a portion.

Coppola's rationale for the increase is 50-60 hours a week he spends on mayoral duties versus the 15 allocated for the position. He submitted
a statement including the pros and cons of his request, responding to each in some detail. Other information for consideration includes the salaries of other Kitsap mayors - Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, and Poulsbo. The latter pays Kathryn Quade $62k for a municipality roughly the same size as that of Port Orchard.

While we await the Council's vote on the budget this December 9, the overarching discussion is how Port Orchard envisions its future. Leaders and citizens alike should be thinking about what kind of city they desire, as well as the leadership to achieve objectives. In order to fully address these and related issues, dialogue will need to rise well above its existing level. Decisions made now will impact Port Orchard for decades to come. Short-sightedness and petty in-fighting are not options. An upgraded leadership position of this nature could retain candidates who might otherwise depart given business concerns which suffer under the weight of full time mayoral demands. It would also attract a pool of better qualified candidates going forward.

If Port Orchard wants a form of government where its mayor is strong, proactive, and increasingly involved in initiatives, projects, and meetings on its behalf, the position should be full time and paid accordingly. If it doesn't, a viable alternative must be conceptualised and formed immediately. The current expectation that an elected leader spend 50-60 hours whilst being paid for 15 is neither reasonable nor practical. It doesn't matter if "it's been done like this before".

-Registered Voter

Monday, December 01, 2008

Looking For a Few Good Writers

As we gear up for the start of new year, I have had to take a serious look at my time commitments, and my duties as Mayor of Port Orchard. With those in mind, I've made a decision to change a few things here at West Sound Politics.

Quite frankly, I do not have enough time to write and post here as much as I would like to. Also, it is honestly not in the best interests of the City for me to comment on some items, and there are others where I have inside knowledge — like the Housing Authority situation for example — that I can't act upon due to the restraints of that knowledge coming as a result of Executive Sessions. And there are still others where as Mayor, it is just plain inappropriate for me to express my thoughts and/or feelings.

So what to do? I've decided that rather than shut this down, I'd like some help with it. I'm looking for a small cadre of local people — 3 or 4 — to help me keep this blog going. You would have to be able to post a couple of hundred words about once a week. I'm looking for people who are thoughtful, informed, pragmatic, centrists, as opposed to partisan pinheads who can't think for themselves.

If this is you, drop me a note at, and lets chat about it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Obama Got Elected

(Editor's Note: This comes courtesy of "Mrs. S", who runs a couple of blogs called Common Sense Mason and Common Sense Kitsap. The video is interesting to watch, as it supports everything that has been posted below on the Mainstream Media's irresponsibility and blatant partisanship in this past presidential election...)

On November 4th, 2008 millions of Americans were shocked that a man of Barack Obama's limited experience, extreme liberal positions and radical political alliances could be elected President of the United States.

For many of these Americans, the explanation was rather simple... the news media, completely enamored with Obama, simply refused to do their job. On Election day twelve Obama voters were interviewed extensively right after they voted to learn how the news media impacted their knowledge of what occurred during the campaign. These voters were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience. This rather shocking video seeks to provide some insight into which information broke through the news media clutter and which did not.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Abusing The Legal System For Fun And Profit

For those of you who don't know Rick Gehring, owner of Buck's A&W, he is a good guy who has been caught up in the meat grinder of what amounts to a legal system run amuck.

Rick and his wife, Karen were sued in 2004 for sex discrimination by two former employees of their popular Mile Hill Drive eatery, Amanda L. Sandberg and Jennifer K. Johnson. The case involved a former manager of the restaurant, James D. Border, who earned a 20-month prison sentence for sexual misconduct. The sexual misconduct did not involve Rick or Karen directly, nor were they accused of any. However, the suit did claim the Gehring's "aided and abetted" Border's activities, and attorneys for the plaintiffs alleged a "pervasive" atmosphere of sexual harassment led to on-site sexual incidents in 2002.

While the jury in the 2007 trial did find for the plaintiffs and penalized the Gehring's for sex discrimination, awarding $75,000 to Sandberg and $35,000 to Johnson along with "reasonable" attorney's fees, it also absolved Rick and Karen of financial damages.

However, the lawyer representing the two women, Timothy Kosnoff, has now filed an order in U.S. Bankruptcy Court placing Buck's of Port Orchard Inc. into involuntary bankruptcy. The action calls for an independent party to determine the value of the corporation's assets, and alleges that the Gehrings misappropriated money from the corporation to avoid liability for more than $750,000 in attorneys fees.

This is a genuine tragedy. The Gehrings have done more for the kids of South Kitsap for longer, than just about anyone else I can think of. It's been a family tradition that began with Rick's father Buck, and one that Rick and Karen have continued throughout their entire working lives. They are outstanding individuals and corporate citizens who have supported the youth of our community at every opportunity.

Am I missing something here, or is there just something fundamentally wrong when an abusive legal system allows an attorney to collect more than seven times in fees than he won for his client — and bankrupt a business that has been a positive influence in South Kitsap for two generations in the process? Meanwhile, the actual perpetrator of the crime gets off with no financial accountability for his actions.

This is a sad day for all of us here in South Kitsap.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere "Thank You" to all the veterans who have served our great country.

Your service is sincerely appreciated and every American owes you a debt of gratitude.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Finally Over...

Everyone I've talked to is glad it's over...

While we may or may not agree with the results of the recent election, there are a number of good things to consider.

• No more vicious attack ads cluttering up the radio, TV and the Internet
• No more politically biased stories dominating the pages of the Kitsap Democrat
• No more uninformed morons offering what they believe is witty political repartee on the local blogs
• No more of what amounted to little more than political hate mail cluttering up our mailboxes on a daily basis
• No more of the constant, brain-numbing posturing by political candidates

A couple of comments though...

This election was perhaps one of the most stridently polarizing experiences of my lifetime. It seemed as if there was no civility, no common courtesy, and no middle ground where the political parties or the candidates were concerned — absolutely nothing was off-limits, and no personal attack was too sleazy.

The governor's race was especially nasty as blatant, outright lies were told to our faces. Locally, one legislative race was more like a catfight than an election. At the national level, the mainstream media was so blatantly biased towards Barack Obama that it never even bothered to attempt to to portray itself as neutral.

But it's over. Now it's time for us to come back together and begin healing what's wrong with America. And it begins right here at home.

I didn't vote for Barack Obama, but an overwhelming majority of Americans did, in what was truly a historic election. The people have spoken, and that's how our democracy works. Barack Obama is going to be our president, and as an American, I will respect both the man and the office.

He has a tough job ahead of him. And while he doesn't have the worldly experience of John McCain, hopefully he will surround himself with smart people who do, and he'll take their advice. He has promised a lot of things to a lot of people — many of them diametrically opposed and at cross purposes — so it's going to be tough for him to deliver on all of it. But let's give him a fair chance.

Our governor and legislators have huge problems to solve, and Christine Gregoire looked us in the eye during this election and promised us she won't raise our taxes to do it. I intend to hold her feet to the fire editorially on keeping that promise — and no excuses will be acceptable.

But I think the downright mean and negative tone this campaign has burned people out. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled sometime back that it was permissible to lie in a political campaign, because to prohibit it would violate the First Amendment. I understand that logic, and while I don't don't like it, I have to very reluctantly agree that it was the right call.

With that in mind, I'd like to see the legislature enact a "Truth in Campaigning" law, as was suggested by 35th District candidate Randy Neatherlin. After the way this election was conducted, I would think that would be a Tim Eyman intiative that even people who hate him could get behind.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Get The Facts Right KIm

A friend of mine sent me an email that came from the opening page of Kim Abel's election Web site. It talks about Jan Angel's final campaign mailer being full of "blatant lies." It states the following...

"Claim Three: Abel's term as 'Mayor of Port Orchard ended in failure.'
Fact: The source they site is a Letter to the Editor in the August 6 Gateway written by Mayor Coppola. Mayor Coppola has also written that he is a 'Radical Centrist' and that 'The liberal mainstream media (MSM) coupled with the Democratic Party (a branch of the MSM — or is it the other way areound?) has a field day vilifying McCain. Hardly a valid source. In fact, Coppola shares a vacation home with Angel in Arizona."

I stand by everything I've written — including the "Radical Centrist" commentary. I've included the link to it so you can see where I stand. However, the previous three postings here pretty much sum up how I feel about this election and the role of the Mainstream Media. Obviously, I'm not the only one.

But on to the true facts at hand...

Fact: That Letter to the Editor of the Peninsula Gateway — and a blog post here — were similar in content. They were in response to a story written by Paige Richmond that basically trashed Jan Angel with highly questionable, and in some cases, blatantly false, accusations.

That story quoted Commissioner Josh Brown and Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang among others, who are both highly partisan Democrats. Both are also financial contributors to Kim Abel's election campaign. At that point in time, according to PDC reports, Fred Chang was Kim Abel's single largest campaign donor.

The story was so biased in Abel's favor, in my professional opinion as a newspaper editor, it belonged on the OP/ED page, not the front page, and I had a series of email exchanges with Richmond's editor about that. Shortly thereafter, I met Richmond at a non-political event, and we talked about it. She claimed her editor had a hand in the final content and it reflected his bias. Go figure...

All that said, I believe, as the person having to clean up the mess Kim Abel left in Port Orchard, I have a unique perspective on this situation, and have stated facts that are all completely documentable. Personally, I like Kim Abel as an individual, and think she's highly intelligent. But frankly, her term as Mayor proved her administrative and people skills leave a lot to be desired.

Fact: When Kim Abel left office, the City's Comprehensive Plan was YEARS out of compliance with the GMA. That's an undeniable truth. It has cost the City the ability to compete for literally millions of dollars in grant money. One of the requirements to apply for grants from DOE, Fish & Wildlife and other state agencies, is for your Comp Plan to be valid. As an environmental lawyer and an elected official, Kim Abel knows this as well as anyone. Still, she didn't take action to bring it into compliance. Why not?

Also, it makes me wonder why all those Democratic environmental groups that support Abel haven't questioned this. If the situation was reversed, they would be shouting it from the rooftops. Is it just me, or does hypocrisy abound here?

Fact: The Bay Street repaving almost didn't happen because paperwork due to the state during Kim Abel's time in office wasn't returned to WSDOT. If it hadn't been for the personal intervention of Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) with WSDOT, it might not have happened at all.

Fact: Port Orchard had officially lost $3.3 million in PSRC funding for the Tremont Gateway project for the same reason. It was only because of the good nature of the other KRCC members, and personal lobbying to PSRC, that it was reinstated as a priority project. Otherwise, that money would have been long gone. As it is, the delay this caused has ballooned the cost of the project from around $9 million, to almost $15 million.

Fact: The City's reserves were depleted significantly due to a basic lack of oversight of how a lot of City money was spent.

Fact: Employee morale was at an all time low when Kim Abel left office, with key employees leaving the City due to what they termed "intolerable" and "hostile" working conditions. I've read the exit interviews, so I know what they say.

If Kim Abel calls leaving office under these conditions a "success," our definitions of that word are extremely different.

Finally, as for the Arizona condo mentioned on the Web site and in her mailer...

This is especially sleazy. This is basically a private time-share situation, involving 5 friends and longtime business associates. Several of the owners spend significantly more time there than Jan Angel and her husband Lynn Williams. Obviously, I haven't had the time to use my share this year either.

But this just goes to show how desperate Kim Abel is to get elected. Nothing is out of the bounds of decency.

But if she had done the wonderful job as Mayor she claims, why is it — at least according to her Web site — that only one current City Council member — Fred Chang — and none of the council members in office during her term as Mayor, have endorsed her? Just a question...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Eloquent Words From an ABC News Journalist

Apparently, I'm not the only one who believes this to be true...

The Media's Presidential Bias and Decline

ABC News columnist Michael Malone looks at slanted election coverage and the reasons why

By Michael S. Malone
October 24, 2008

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I'm cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).

My hard-living -- and when I knew her, scary -- grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I've spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I'm deeply ashamed right now to be called a "journalist," you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Now, of course, there's always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word "said" -- muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. -- to influence the way a reader will comprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.

But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.

That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can't achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty -- especially in ourselves.

Reporting Bias

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.

Sure, being a child of the '60s I saw a lot of subjective "New" Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from "real" reporting, and, at least in mainstream media, usually was. The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.

I'd spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else's work -- not out of any native honesty, but out of fear: I'd always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense & indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.

And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes -- and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who'd managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.

Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation's leading newspapers, many of whom I'd written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.

But what really shattered my faith -- and I know the day and place where it happened -- was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I'd already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.

I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.

The Presidential Campaign

But nothing, nothing I've seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather -- not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake -- but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far -- such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain's daughter's MySpace friends -- can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

Joe the Plumber

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.

Middle America, even when they didn't agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a matter that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it's because we don't understand what their motives really are. It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide -- especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50/50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes & and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain's. That's what reporters do. I was proud to have been one, and I'm still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren't those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you don't see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn't; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

Bad Editors

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you've spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power & only to discover that you're presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn't have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you'll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -- and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway -- all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself -- an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country.

This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

(Editor's Note: Michael S. Malone is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Death of REAL Journalism

(Editor's Note: This was sent to me by a close friend of mine named Frank Johnson who lives on the Gold Coast of Australia. Frank is a retired physician who is still quite active in a number of issues and causes. The fact this was published and came to me from that far away is very telling in itself. But the content is a direct hit on the hypocrisy that passes for newspaper journalism in America today — LFC)

About The Author: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism. Born in Richland, Washington, Card grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil for two years as missionary for the Church. He received degrees from Brigham Young University (1975) and the University of Utah (1981). He currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. He and his wife, Kristine, are the parents of five children: Geoffrey, Emily, Charles, Zina Margaret, and Erin Louisa (named for Chaucer, Bronte and Dickinson, Dickens, Mitchell, and Alcott, respectively).

An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

From Orson Scott Card

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?", "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Franklin Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign — because that campaign had sought his advice — you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension — so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means . That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.

This article first appeared in The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thoughts on the Election...

The one thing that has struck me like a 2x4 to the side of the head about this election has been the decided mean spiritedness, as well as the blatantly naked partisanship shown by the news media. The notion the news media is anything even close to neutral, and reports in a fair and unbiased manner so voters can make informed choices based on facts, and not political prejudices, is the biggest lie ever perpetrated on American voters.

To say John McCain — and especially Sarah Palin — received anything even close to neutral coverage from the TV networks is absolutely laughable. The national media clearly supported Barrak Obama and endured John McCain. Since the media couldn’t make any mud stick to Palin, it criticized her for absurd things — her wardrobe, and for getting a makeover. Judging from past photos and news footage, it’s obvious Hillary Clinton has had some serious cosmetic surgery. Did we hear anything from the media about that? Of course not. That wasn’t “relevant.” But that kind of thing sure was when it came to Palin.

Frankly, I admire Palin for enduring all the vicious personal attacks with a patience and graciousness I’m not sure Hillary would have been able to pull off.

Another example: Joe Biden predicts within six months one of America’s adversaries is going to “test the mettle” of Obama. But when Sen. Joe Lieberman said essentially the same thing in July, he was vilified by both Obama supporters and the media.

What I found most appalling was the lack of media coverage of Biden’s statement. I believe that’s because it came so close to election day, it had the potential to scare presumed Obama supporters into voting for McCain. Had Sarah Palin made that statement, it would have been front page news. Yet Biden gets a free pass. Go figure.

And then there was that whole Saturday Night Live parody of Palin that ran ad nauseum on the news shows and late night talk shows. Perhaps the Republicans should have demanded equal time.

You just have to wonder about the outcome had the coverage been absolutely unbiased and facts reported unfiltered by personal opinion.

Locally, there wasn’t even the pretense of neutrality. In fact, someone on one of the Kitsap Sun’s blogs suggested the paper rename itself the Kitsap Democrat in order to reflect its obvious political bias.

Another poster went as far as to offer the paper’s blog readers a bet — that the Sun would endorse every Democrat from Obama, and Christine Gregoire to Charlotte Garrido. I found it especially telling that not a single reader challenged that possibility. In the end, except for a lukewarm, token endorsement of Republican Jan Angel over Kim Abel — but stating clearly it wouldn’t discourage voters from supporting Abel — the Sun endorsed every local Democrat. Why bother even trying to hide bias behind tokenism?

Finally, our governor’s race was the dirtiest, nastiest, most vile political campaign I’ve ever had the personal displeasure to cover. Christine Gregoire couldn’t run on her record of massive taxation and creating the largest deficit in state history, so she and her supporters unleashed a relentlessly coordinated series of ruthless attack ads assaulting Dino Rossi’s character, and outright lying about the budget deficit, his voting record as member of the legislature and his positions on stem cell research, the minimum wage, insurance deregulation, congestion relief, and a host of other things.

Gregoire lied to our faces in a TV commercial about supporting an income tax. She lied about those 1,300 missing sex offenders as well as her law enforcement endorsements — even enlisting Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hague to do a commercial perpetuating that lie. The truth is, almost every police officers union in the state endorsed Dino Rossi.

Gregoire said during the campaign she has never supported a state income tax. Yet there’s video taken during her April 24, 2007 interview with the Spokesman Review in Spokane clearly proving her to be a liar. It shows her stating we need a partial conversion over to a state income tax and that. "it’s a good idea."

The day after, the paper quoted her as saying this during that interview about an income tax: “…it’s just not the right time to push for it, because the public hasn’t sufficiently been educated on the merits.”

She clearly supports an income tax, and her own words have once again trapped her in yet another blatant lie.

Gregoire supporters funded attack ads centered on Rossi’s relationship with the BIAW, drawing heavy media coverage of two PDC complaints and two lawsuits filed based on those complaints, in an obvious attempt to discredit BIAW and forcibly sever its relationship with Rossi. Yet the media failed to report the outcomes — both PDC complaints were dismissed, and both lawsuits were thrown out of court.

Meanwhile, most of the local media neglected to even report on a PDC complaint filed against Gregoire’s campaign over out-of-state PAC money she accepted that was deemed illegal, or the $1+million in illegal money from Evergreen Progress that had to be returned, or even follow up the the tribal gaming issue and that $140 million giveaway, plus the $650,000 in tribal contributions funneled to Gregoire's campaign by the state party. There’s clearly a double standard at work here.

A lawsuit filed by two former state Supreme Court justices and Gregoire supporters — Faith Ireland and Robert Utter — by attorneys Robert Withey and Knoll Lowney, who have a history of filing frivilous, politically-motivated lawsuits, indicate Gregoire may challenge the election in court if Rossi wins. The lawyers say their on-going efforts to find BIAW and Rossi guilty of something, could serve as the foundation for a legal challenge should he win. How lame.

Using the court system as a last ditch attempt to stay in office, shows the absolute depth of Christine Gregoire’s desperation — even after months of failed attempts to scam the courts into defunding and silencing BIAW’s opposition. Personally, I think she should just accept the will of the voters.

But I have to wonder if the media’s blatantly irresponsible bias in this election hasn’t polarized us as a nation to the point of no return. As a member of the Fourth Estate, I’m ashamed to admit, I’m afraid so.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Guest Editorial - Angel vs. Abel

This is a "Guest Editorial" by my friend Rick Flaherty, who is the head honcho at Leader International Corp., which also happens to be Port Orchard's largest private sector employer.

“It’s NOT the economy, stupid”… it’s all about Leadership

By Rick Flaherty, President & CEO
Leader International Corporation

In just a short time we will go to the polls to elect some old blood and — possibly the most dramatic change in decades — with new blood; not only in Washington, DC but in Washington State as well.

I am compelled to write this article to help those who either don’t have the time to become educated about the candidates or who are wearing those rose colored glasses because one candidate or the other took the time to ring your door bell or shake your hand. BUNK!

Let’s get serious about electing individuals to represent us and insure we have vetted these candidates leadership capabilities; because when it’s all said and done and the final ballot is cast we are stuck with whomever we put in their new or continued seat of power.

We can no longer afford to be “indifferent” and just elect someone because we might “like them”… no, no, please not any more. We have to elect those who have proven leadership acumen and not because they are a “nice person”.

Forget the nice woman or man who took the time to ring your doorbell and tell you how they are one of you and that they understand your plight. Forget the niceties, the pat on yours or your spouse’s back and nice firm and warm handshake. And before you let go of that nice warm hand — and because you’re so enamored with the smile, don’t forget to ask this individual what makes them think they can lead and what leadership posts they have held. Most important, ask them what successes they have had in their stated leadership posts and what they accomplished.

And then let’s make sure to ask the other hard questions all too often overlooked until it’s too late.

• “Would your direct reports, administrators who were under you, your staff and other employees you dealt with give you a solid report card of at least an A or better?

• “Would the public you dealt with give you kudos for your leadership in office and indicate what a great public official you were?

• “Would you rate yourself as having good business acumen, an excellent understanding of government finance, the ability to listen well and understand the needs of the communities you represent — and, oh by the way, do you understand that you will be facing some of the toughest economic challenges since the Great Depression?”

Now it’s my turn to ask these same hard questions for the benefit of those who have been so enamored with at least two candidates running for our State House of Representatives. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to work with both extensively… for the past four years with one individual (former Mayor of Port Orchard, Kim Abel) and for more than seven years with the other individual (current Kitsap Commissioner, Jan Angel).

I will give Kim Abel a D- on my leadership report card and Jan Angel deserves at a minimum a solid A. Why? Jan has the foresight to see what’s coming before it hits — she saw that the County would be in trouble financially by 2010 and tried in vane to bring a high-value economic engine in NASCAR to Kitsap County.

What did Kim Abel do? She showed up in Olympia at hearings to talk against this once-ever opportunity that would have lifted the entire State to a new level of recognition and added substantial tax revenues to the City of Port Orchard and other surrounding communities. And she did so without the authority of her City Council and yet indicated she represented and spoke for the City of Port Orchard (the fact is she testified for future personal gain).

Now, before I go any further, I personally like Kim Abel. She’s personable, polite and always smiling. But she definitely lacks leadership. She hired incompetent staff to lead one of the most important aspects of any city in its department of building, planning and public works. She allowed personal “fiefdoms” run by incredibly incompetent individuals to proliferate even when many of her constituents complained and even provided written proof of misdeeds and malfeasance — and in several cases outright illegal undertakings.

Jan Angel on the other hand worked tirelessly against a tyrannical and liberal north end commissioner to bring civility and leadership to Kitsap County. Contrary to what Kim Abel has claimed, Jan Angel worked with and not against the wishes of her constituency — the citizens she represented. Jan Angel worked diligently to help small business; I can tell you first-hand that she was almost singlehandedly responsible for our success in obtaining rezoning and site specific amendment approval to help us grow our business to Port Orchard’s largest private manufacturing employer.

And Jan Angel never “rubber-stamped” sprawl development. I know because she asked me to serve on the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) to insure that the UGA boundaries were preserved for proper growth for Port Orchard’s future. She never once pressed anyone in our group to move lines or push the envelope to the advantage of uncontrolled sprawl that would benefit developers. She only wanted responsible and sensible urban boundaries that would meet with the guidelines outlined by Washington’s Growth Management Act.

So let’s be sure we make the right decision for our communities and put a responsible leader — one who truly has proven and documented leadership skills in the State House’s 26th District. There is only one choice and that is Jan Angel.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Wall Street Journal's Take On Our Governor's Race

I was originally going to write a piece to post here on Christine Gregoire's pathetic attempts to subvert the legal system to muzzle her pit bull detractors at the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW).

But in researching the facts, I came across the editorial posted below that ran in this morning's Wall Street Journal. It profiles our Governor's race and the blatant abuse of our legal system by Gregoire and her minions as they attempt to use the courts as a way to eliminate free speech in opposition to her re-election bid. This is the second time the WSJ has weighed in on this issue, so it goes without saying at this point, that the actions taken on behalf of Gregoire by her supporters, have become a national embarrassment. Yet she has refused to move to bring it to a halt.

There is seemingly nothing too demeaning for her and her supporters when it comes to making sure she stays in office, because if Dino Rossi is elected, things as the Olympia establishment knows them — and has known them for the past quarter century — will change.

As Rossi has repeated in all his campaign speeches, "This election isn't about Christine Gregoire. It isn't about me. It isn't about 2004. It's about changing the culture in Olympia — for a generation." And that's exactly what scares the crap out of the Democratic Party establishment.

I thought this particular editorial was provocative, and right on point. You can find the original here:

Scoundrel Country II

Further Evidence Campaign-Finance "Reformers'" Muzzles Free Speech

If you're wondering why business groups tend to stay neutral in elections these days, take a look at the Building Industry Association of Washington. That trade group's liberal opponents continue to harass it with lawsuits because it won't stay mute.

The BIAW recently won a court battle over whether it could continue to use profits from its workers' compensation program to support Republican Dino Rossi for Washington state Governor. Attorneys allied with Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire filed a class action suit that was nakedly aimed at robbing the BIAW of its free-speech rights. State Judge Christine Pomeroy refused to bar the BIAW from spending.

The same lawyers are now back for another go, and this time they aren't even hiding behind the workers' comp fig leaf. The activists have filed suit on behalf of two former state Supreme Court justices who support Mrs. Gregoire and who claim the BIAW illegally coordinated with the Rossi campaign in developing a multimillion-dollar spending effort. What makes the suit more outrageous is that only recently the state's Public Disclosure Commission dismissed these accusations, claiming the evidence was "vague" and that there was no "smoking gun."

The lawyers' aim is, once again, to shut down BIAW political spending in the final weeks of the election. At the very least they hope to turn this suit into a media circus, forcing Mr. Rossi to submit to a deposition and suggesting malfeasance in the heat of a close election. The losers are voters, who are stuck reading about frivolous lawsuits, and, should the Gregoire activists succeed, will lack the information that the BIAW's ads provide. Mark it down as further evidence that the goal of campaign-finance "reformers" is to muzzle political speech.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Assessing The VP Debate

After the media circus leading up to the Vice presidential debate, the two bottom line questions are, what actually happened, and who won? In my view, it was basically a tie in terms of who scored the most points on the issues. There was no knockout blow delivered by either side. However, we did get to know Sarah Palin better and, personally, her performance just reinforced my opinion of her. The media pundits seem to all agree as well, that in spite of the misstep with the Katie Couric interviews, she proved she can hold her own.

But on to assessing the "performances" of the VP candidates...

Palin: After all the hype and the SNL parody of her disasterious Katie Couric interview, (you have to admit, Tina Fey has Palin down cold) America's favorite Hockey Mom proved she's fearless, and what a quick study she truly is. She did a much better job of connecting with the viewers than Biden. She looked straight into the camera — something Biden didn't do with any regularity — and basically had a conversation directly with the American people. Obviously, she was nervous in the beginning, but settled down quickly and answered Biden's criticism's of McCain with spirited relish.

When in her comfort zone — energy, taxes, and reform — Palin excels, broadcasting an authenticity, warmth, and appeal rare on the national scene. Meanwhile Joe Biden came across much the same way McCain does when side by side with Obama — like an old white guy. Palin's repeated critique that Biden was "looking backwards" is something to listen for on the campaign trail between now and November 4.

Palin was also in stronger command of her facts than either Democratic strategists or the Mainstream Media (MSM) anticipated. She stayed on message very well and didn't distort Obama and Biden's records nearly to the extent Biden did McCain's. She also aggressively came back to her talking points several times when Biden had gotten the last word in on a question and distorted one or more of them.

Overall, Palin handled herself significantly better than the MSM predicted she would, and I can't see where she did the McCain campaign any harm. What will be interesting to see, is if the McCain/Palin poll numbers pick up, because that's going to tell the tale about how well she really did.

Even if you don't like her politics, it's hard to deny that Sarah Palin is the real deal. She has that same ability to connect directly with voters that Ronald Reagan had, and that has to be scary for the Democrats — both now and in the future.

Biden: Biden was smart to attack McCain, and not Palin. That would have been disasterious, making him appear to be a bully, and creating sympathy for Palin. He stayed on Obama's message relentlessly, and although he was basically gaffe-free, and seemed to be in command of the facts, the truth is, a large number of his statements on McCain's record (and perhaps Obama's) seemed to be screaming for a fact check, because he confidently distorted McCain's record without hesitation.

I was extremely disappointed to see Biden trot out the Democrat's tired old standby, Class Warfare — "the wealthy" vs. the rest of us, and the forced redistribution of earned wealth through tax policy. My question has always been, what constitutes "wealthy?"

I was genuinely surprised at how Biden made it extremely clear just how staunchly anti-business he, Obama, and the Democrats truly are. While he pontificated about helping small business, if you really listened, you could hear him talking out of both sides of his mouth, because every single proposal he discussed will hurt small business. And while he made no secret of hating big business, he failed to address the fact multinational corporations will move more and more jobs offshore if proposals like employer-paid universal health care the Democrats want so badly, are implemented.

Finally, you have to admit, the man has a good grasp on Foreign Policy — much more so than his inexperienced running mate..

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is Voice On Anti-Palin Ad the Same as on Official Obama Ad?

This was sent to me by Special Guests, which is a somewhat right-of-center news source. Interesting piece though if you take the time to follow it all the way through...

The infamous ‘independent’ anti-Palin ad falsely claiming Sarah Palin was a member of a political party calling for Alaska to secede from the Union, may have used the same female narrator’s voice as the one in official Obama campaign ads. Ad producer Ethan Winner vehemently denies they are the same voice.

So, what’s the big deal if it is the same voice? If it is determined that the voices are the same, Obama campaign manager David Axelrod could be on the legal hot seat since it is illegal for an ‘independent’ 527 group to coordinate efforts with the official campaigns they are attempting to advance.

Investigative reporter Ben Barrack is conducting a national talk show, encouraging all parties involved with both ads to provide the identity of their female voice-over talent and for Ethan Winner and others associated with the outright lies in the ad to issue a formal apology to Sarah Palin.

The smear ad went viral on the Internet before it was pulled from YouTube but a blog site known as the Jawa Report recorded it and both ads are featured together on Ben Barrack’s home page where anyone can compare the female voices to come to their own conclusions as to whether or not they are the same person. Listen to it now here.

“What’s important here,” says Barrack, “is that Ethan Winner was caught posting this video on the Internet and when caught, had to finally admit he produced it as well. When you compare his public assertion that the voice in the ad belongs to someone who has never been heard on any official Obama campaign ad, my antennae went up. Based on what’s been presented to me, this matter warrants a closer look.”

Barrack says a trusted source put together a two minute audio montage that consists of excerpts from an official Obama ad, the fallacious anti-Sarah Palin ad, and a demo of a person who seems to have a voice identical to the voices in both, and passed it onto him. “Ethan Winner’s firm is in Los Angeles and the voice in the ad appears to be that of a talent in Chicago that may have done voice-over work for official Obama campaign ads. When you put these things together, questions should be asked and answered relative to FEC laws,” Barrack said.

Barrack wants to be very clear that he is not levying allegations at anyone. He simply wants the issue brought to light, debated, and investigated if necessary. “I’m not a voice expert. Nor am I an FEC law attorney. I’m just raising questions based on some extremely intriguing facts and possible realities,” he said.

You can read Ethan Winner’s statement in response to the Jawa Report’s probing about the ad below (part about the voice in the ad is underlined) and can compare voices in the ads on Barrack’s site.

“If the voice-over artist is the same in both videos, the mainstream media needs to look into whether David Axelrod’s fingerprints are attached to it,” Barrack said.

Statement from Ethan Winner to the Jawa Report...

The following is in response to questions I have received regarding the post on the Jawa Report website.

I produced and posted on the Internet the video entitled "Sarah Palin: A Heartbeat Away."

The idea for the video was mine. No one paid me to produce it. The only out-of-pocket cost will be the fee for the voice-over narrator, which I will pay personally when I receive an invoice. Contrary to the allegation in the Jawa Report, the voice-over artist has never done any work for the Obama campaign. I retained her through a talent agency based solely on the quality of her voice.

Neither the Obama campaign nor any independent political action committee has had a connection with the making and/or posting of this video. Just like the thousands of Americans who have posted videos on the Internet regarding the current Presidential campaign, I produced this video as an expression of my right to free speech, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

I believe the American people have a right and a need to know information about candidates for political office and their views. I made this video because I think it is important for the public to be aware of the association between Sarah and Todd Palin and the Alaskan Independence Party. The New York Times has reported that the Alaskan Independence Party website describes the party as seeking, in the words of the party, "a range of solutions to the conflicts between federal and local authority," including "advocacy for state's rights, through a return to territorial status, all the way to complete independence and nationhood status for Alaska."

While a number of media outlets have said that reports that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party may have been erroneous, her attendance at the party's 1994 convention, her video speech to the 2008 convention and her husband's membership in the Alaskan Independence Party have not been called into question.

Some people have asked why I have pulled the video from the Internet. The reason is simple. Following the posting of personal information about me by the Jawa Report, my family began to receive threatening and abusive phone calls and emails.

About Ban Barrack...

Ben Barrack is an Investigative Radio Host who broadcasts on 1400 KTEM from Temple, TX, honing his investigative skills there for nearly three years.

On more than one occasion he has cultivated sources with important political information and insight generally not reported in the mainstream media. He provides listeners with accurate, timely, and shocking news not heard anywhere else.

Barrack is a strong critic of the mainstream media who supports patriotic and reliable bloggers who do much of the mainstream media’s work at no charge, with little recognition, while earning their living via other means. Ben maintains a website at

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How Obama Applies Alinsky's Rules

A number of people have passed this Investor's Business Daily editorial on to me. I believe it's worth sharing. Find the entire text and a lot more online here:

How Obama Applies Alinsky's Rules

Election '08: Barack Obama's mocking of John McCain, while urging his followers to "get in their face," are tactics right out of his radical hero Saul Alinsky's playbook: ridicule and agitation.

At a recent Las Vegas rally, Obama poked fun at Sen. McCain for what he described as bragging about "how as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he had oversight of every part of the economy."

"Well, all I can say to Sen. McCain is, 'Nice job. Nice job,' " Obama said in a sarcastic tone. "Where is he getting these lines? It's like a 'Saturday Night Live' routine."

Then he belittled the 72-year-old McCain for vowing to take on the old boys network. "In the McCain campaign, that's called a staff meeting," he sneered.

The late Alinsky, a trench-warfare socialist who despised American capitalism, advised community organizers like Obama to "laugh at the enemy" to provoke "irrational anger."

"Ridicule," he said, "is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."

At another rally in Nevada, Obama called on the crowd of about 1,500 to join him in sharpening their elbows against McCain and his supporters. "I want you argue with them and get in their face," he said, in a naked attempt to "fan hostilities" in the tightening race, something Alinsky also advised from his bag of agitation tricks.

Obama doesn't look or talk like an angry radical. He speaks in measured tones and is rarely seen out of business attire. That, too, is borrowed from Alinsky's playbook. "Don't scare" the middle class, he guides urban revolutionaries in his 1970s manual, "Rules for Radicals" (which he dedicated to mankind's "first radical, Lucifer").

Instead, look like them, talk like them, act like them.

And work for radical change from the inside — "like a spy behind enemy lines," as Obama said in his first memoir. He wrote it before entering politics, while still working with hard-left Alinsky groups and training street agitators known as "community organizers."

As he wrote, he became a community organizer in 1983 because of "The need for change. Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds."

That's when he set out to "organize black folks" for social revolution, first in Harlem, then the South Side of Chicago. Now he wants to do it on a "large scale." Though most average voters wouldn't know it, he's applying Alinsky's radical rules to achieve his goal.

Alinksy stressed that his rules be translated into real-life tactics responsive to the situation at hand — which right now happens to be something he never could have dreamed of: a disciple who would find himself in a viable battle for the most powerful job in the world.

Obama has already translated several of Alinsky's rules into battle tactics, including:

• Rule: "Rub raw the resentments of the people; search out controversy and issues." In the mortgage meltdown, for instance, Obama vows to prosecute "predatory lenders" for "abusing" minority borrowers. He's also stoking class resentment by painting Wall Street and other executives as villains.

• Rule: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." In an ad to woo Hispanic voters, Obama demonized Rush Limbaugh by falsely claiming he made racist statements against immigrants.

• Rule: "A mass impression can be lasting and intimidating." This explains why Obama moved his acceptance speech to a football stadium and bussed in 85,000 supporters. Alinsky's son was so impressed, he praised Obama for learning his father's "lesson well."

• Rule: "Multiple issues mean constant action and life" for the cause. This is why Obama never harps on one issue, as Hillary did with health care. His platform is packed with grievances from "economic justice" to "reproductive justice" to "environmental justice."

Obama is following almost to the letter the blueprint for socialist revolution drafted by the father of community organizing.

While Alinsky may help him behind the scenes, however, he becomes a liability when brought out of the shadows. Sarah Palin proved this in St. Paul when she ridiculed his community organizing. Within hours, Obama surrogates whined about how just bringing up the phrase was racist code for "black."

No, it's code for communist. And McCain should make that point instead of legitimizing such radicalism, as he did recently when he said, "I respect community organizers; and Sen. Obama's record there is outstanding" — which contradicted his running mate.

There's nothing to respect about such anti-American radicals, even if they have traded their tie-dye for business ties.

RULES FOR RADICALS has become the guidebook for left-wing organizations such as the ACLU, NEA and other labor unions, environmentalist groups and the Democrat Party. Here is his list of the 13 "power tactics" necessary to manipulate the public to adopt a radical's goal, whatever it may be:
(1) Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
(2) Never go outside the experience of your people.
(3) Whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.
(4) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
(5) Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
(6) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
(7) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
(8) Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purposes.
(9) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
(10) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
(11) If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside.
(12) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
(13) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

For excerpts from Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals and more, click here:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Some Thoughts On Sarah Palin

Although I'm a registered Democrat, I view myself as a "Radical Centrist" and proudly vote as an independent. I make no apologies for supporting the best and most qualified candidates for any particular office. That's why I strongly support Dino Rossi for governor. Considering the complete and total mess Christine Gregoire has made of our state — including blowing a $2.5 billion surplus and turning it into a $2.7 billion deficit — not to mention letting the unions and tribes run amok, how any thinking person could support her just totally escapes me. As the person cleaning up the mess Kim Abel left in Port Orchard, I support Jan Angel for the 26th District House, for the very same reason.

The bottom line for me is not about partisan politics. It's about competence.

Which brings us to why, although I originally was an early supporter of Barack Obama, I'll be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin. The liberal mainstream media (MSM), coupled with the Democratic Party (a branch of the MSM — or is it the other way around?), had a field day vilifying McCain for choosing Palin, carping about his "lack of judgment" for selecting someone so "inexperienced." Yet they continually fail to mention that Barack Obama has exactly 143 days of Senate experience — and absolutely none balancing a budget or running any kind of government organization. They also conveniently neglect to mention Obama has zero foreign policy experience, and that his VP is suspect at best in that realm as well.

Considering how Palin has successfully run both a city and a state government, she actually has MORE "experience" in dealing with the actual nuts and bolts of government than either Obama or Joe Biden. Meanwhile, the Democrats whine about her hairstyle, the fact she wore a skirt when she gave that killer speech at the convention, her pregnant, unmarried daughter, and what a bad decision she made to have a Down Syndrome baby rather than abort it.

When that didn't work, things took a more vicious turn, as rumors began circulating that she had an affair, that she cut funding for special needs kids, that she insisted books be banned from Alaska libraries, and worse. And then there's that whole red herring "Bridge to Nowhere" issue. None of that has worked either. Go figure.

But my question is this: Could Sarah Palin actually be the next Ronald Reagan? I think that possibility scares the crap out of the Democrats more than any other single thing about her. Palin immediately connected with voters in much the same way Reagan did. She is an everyday Mom and voters identify with her — perhaps the same way they identified with a certain "Mom in tennis shoes." She believes in Reagan's ideals, and she has the courage of her convictions. Palin has the charisma of both Reagan and Bill Clinton, combined with the toughness of Harry Truman and/or Dick Cheney, and is much more likable — not to mention feminine — than Hillary. In the South where I grew up, she's what we call a "Steel Magnolia."

This should have been the Democrats' year. But in my view they've made two critical mistakes.

• NOT nominating Hillary for President.

• NOT nominating Hillary for Vice President.

The Democrats could be kicking themselves for the next decade or longer, after the possibility of at least one McCain-Palin term, and possibly two, followed by two Palin-Jindall or Palin-Pawlenty terms.

Obama was a MSM-driven juggernaut until his insecurities began surfacing when he chose marginally effective Washington insider Joe Biden as his VP, instead of boldly stepping up to select Hillary. That, coupled with his treatment of Palin in the days since her selection, has clearly demonstrated a major weakness in Obama's confidence — a weakness that hasn't escaped American voters. And Americans have no patience for weakness in their leaders — as witnessed by Obama's declining poll numbers.

Conversely, McCain chose Palin not to steal Obama's thunder by the timing of the announcement (which it clearly did) but because he believes
she can lead.

Palin has already demonstrated courage, strength, and grace under pressure. One example the MSM won't report because it illustrates just how strong, smart, and quick on her feet she is, is that during her kick-ass speech at the convention, the teleprompter went blank less than halfway through it. Palin didn't even blink, much less stumble. She winged it — with stunning results.

What I find extremely ironic about all this, is that by becoming the first woman vice president in America's history, Sarah Palin will be the one to shatter the glass ceiling. It almost makes you feel sorry for Hillary. Almost...