Another Write-wing Conspirator

Commentary, observations, musing, and ranting from the middle of the road (or just to the right of center. Usually.) featuring The Curmudgeon

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 42 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Top Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

  • Twitter

  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

    Anything else you wanna know—just ask.

  • Blog Stats

    • 12,696 hits

Archive for the ‘national defense’ Category

Veterans Day

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 11, 2011

A note to my brothers-in-arms…

Note: This started as a simple email to friends and fellow veterans. Owing to the response I received, I decided to spruce it up a little and include it here. —Jim

To my fellow veterans:

Perhaps it’s because of the times we live in, with troops in harm’s way. Or it might be the still-fresh memory of the massacre at Ft. Hood. Or it could be owing to recent communications with former brothers- (and sisters-) in-arms. Whatever the source, I’m feeling particularly sentimental about Veterans Day—our day—this time around. It always happens, but…for some reason, it’s a stronger feeling today.

Some of you I served with. Some, I didn’t. No matter. I’ve always felt that—regardless of our respective histories—we share something very special. I suspect many of you feel the same.

Some time ago, I was seated at a blackjack table in Tunica, MS. I’d been engaged in sporadic conversation with the young man seated alongside me, and learned that he’d recently returned from his second tour in Iraq. I asked the usual questions (we all know them—right?) : Where are you from? What’s your MOS? How long’ve you been in?

This, of course, revealed to him (we all recognize the signs and subtle signals) that I’d spent time in the military, as well—and in fact we had Army service in common (like I said: We all recognize the telltale signs of a brother-in-arms).

He then surprised me by extending his hand and saying: “Thanks for your service.”

This simple gesture has become common in recent years—and I kinda like it. However, no one had ever said it to me before; frankly, it caught me a little off-guard. Yes, I’d served. My military career was, however, decidedly unremarkable. No hero. Just did my job—like most of us. To be honest, I felt a tinge of humility hearing a “Thank-you” from someone so recently returned from the jaws of Hell.

Almost sheepishly, I grasped the proffered hand and shook it firmly. “No,” I said. “Thank-you. My time was long ago and a helluva lot easier.”

And then he said it.

“You served,” he said evenly, still gripping my hand. “That’s all that matters.”

And the steady, certain look in his eyes confirmed that he’d meant what he’d said.

He was right.

It doesn’t matter whether we were cooks, grunts, supply clerks, swabbies, wrench-turners, jarheads, or cannon-cockers.

We served—and that is all that matters. Many…most…didn’t. We did.

I’m reminded of a Marine Corps recruiting billboard from a few years ago showing a split-view of a young man’s face. One-half was the boyish look he’d borne before he enlisted; the other half was the steel-jawed look that Uncle Sam put on him. The caption was simple: “The change is forever.”

And it is. It changed us. All of us. And we’ll always be different for it. Regardless of which branch each of us served in or what we did.

How many times have you sat around swapping lies with other vets when you suddenly became aware of the rapt attention being paid by one of them, those who never took our oath?

We share a common bond—one that will never be broken. It’s a special fraternity. It’s something that they will never have, nor even completely understand.

I pity them.

They’ll never know what it feels like.

They don’t know our friendships spawned amid shared adversity, our camaraderie forged by experiences they can’t even imagine. They’ll never know those memories that we won’t—or can’t—speak of except amongst ourselves, our brothers. They don’t understand the particular annoyance we feel when the entertainment superstar of the moment butchers the national anthem at a football game, or why we feel compelled to throttle those in the stands who fail to remove their hats or place their hands over their hearts or at least shut the hell up while it’s being played. They puzzle over why we rail against a giveaway to someone who’s earned nothing, but we’ll give anything—anything—to one of our brothers in need. They’ll never know that bittersweet tug on our heart-strings whenever we hear the mournful strains of Taps being played.

They can’t imagine a wintertime patrol of the DMZ in Korea when you’ve given-up on the idea of ever actually being warm again, settling instead for merely being able to once again feel your toes. They can’t picture an exhausted airman trying desperately to avoid dripping sweat on sensitive avionics components while struggling in desert heat to repair an aircraft for a ground-support mission. They’ll never know the lonely vigil of a sailor standing watch at night, peering into the inky blackness of the North Atlantic. They can’t begin to know fear so deep that you’re no longer certain of having control of your breathing or your bladder as you suddenly realize that there are a lot of people trying to kill you. They can’t imagine your feverish attempts to apply a field dressing, or holding a wounded buddy as his life slips away. They’ll never be able to laugh, years later, as friends reminisce about an over-exuberant celebration in an exotic port after months at sea—that might’ve resulted in a night or two spent in the local jail. They don’t grasp the significance to us of George Orwell’s familiar observation about people being able to sleep soundly in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf—nor do they have any idea that we now and then silently remind ourselves with pride: I was one of those rough men.

Whether you did a two-year stint courtesy of your draft board…or had nothing better to do for a few years after surviving high school…or felt a call to duty…or made a twenty- or thirty-year career out of it…

You served. We served. And whether we like it or not, we retain feelings that get stirred-up from time to time.

We know what it feels like, and sometimes have to choke down some pretty strong emotions. They haven’t a clue as to what that’s all about.

Some might recall that I’ve been waging a years-long battle to try to get people—them—to grasp the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. It sends me into a slow boil every Memorial Day when I see television and newspaper ads proclaiming: “Thanks to all our veterans!”

I appreciate the sentiment, but…that’s not our day; that day is set aside for those who didn’t return—and blurring the line between the two occasions cheapens their sacrifice.

I’ve probably aggravated a lot of people in attempting to correct that misconception.

This is our day. This is the one we earned when we raised our hands and swore our oaths—when we entered that special fraternity…when we underwent that change that we’ll all take to our graves…when we were bound to one another forever.

Thank-you all for your service. Enjoy your day; you earned it. Go grab the free chow at Applebee’s and Golden Corral and Chili’s, and be appreciative that some, at least, acknowledge your service and sacrifice. Muster-up a dash of humility if a kid comes up to you today and says “Thanks” because a parent or teacher instilled that sense of values. Choke back your tears when the bugler plays Taps during the ceremony at The Tomb (or let them flow; you earned that right, too). Call an old Army buddy (or Navy; you get the idea). Shake hands with fellow vets you know; they’re your brothers-in-arms—and it’s their day, too.

Having now gotten all maudlin, I’ll leave you with one final thought expressed by Rudyard Kipling:

I’ve eaten your bread and salt,
I’ve drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I watched beside,
and the lives ye led were mine.

 

Jim

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”author unknown

Note: This is a re-posting of an entry from two years ago. I first posted it in my old blog; however, when I transferred everything to this site, some of the formatting was corrupted. In addition, I received several requests from friends asking that it be re-posted for Veterans Day last year. So, I spruced it up again and made a few changes. Apparently, a lot of people liked it; I received several requests to re-post it again this year. —Jim

__________

Posted in military, national defense, national security, patriotism, veteran, veterans day | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Veterans Day

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 11, 2010

A note to my brothers-in-arms…

 Note: This started as a simple email to friends and fellow veterans. Owing to the response I received, I decided to spruce it up a little and include it here. —Jim

To my fellow veterans:

Perhaps it’s because of the times we live in, with troops in harm’s way. Or it might be the still-fresh memory of the massacre at Ft. Hood. Or it could be owing to recent communications with former brothers- (and sisters-) in-arms. Whatever the source, I’m feeling particularly sentimental about Veterans Day—our day—this time around. It always happens, but…for some reason, it’s a stronger feeling today.

Some of you I served with. Some, I didn’t. No matter. I’ve always felt that—regardless of our respective histories—we share something very special. I suspect many of you feel the same.

Some time ago, I was seated at a blackjack table in Tunica, MS. I’d been engaged in sporadic conversation with the young man seated alongside me, and learned that he’d recently returned from his second tour in Iraq. I asked the usual questions (we all know them—right?) : Where are you from? What’s your MOS? How long’ve you been in?

This, of course, revealed to him (we all recognize the signs and subtle signals) that I’d spent time in the military, as well—and in fact we had Army service in common (like I said: We all recognize the telltale signs of a brother-in-arms).

He then surprised me by extending his hand and saying: “Thanks for your service.”

This simple gesture has become common in recent years—and I kinda like it. However, no one had ever said it to me before; frankly, it caught me a little off-guard. Yes, I’d served. My military career was, however, decidedly unremarkable. No hero. Just did my job—like most of us. To be honest, I felt a tinge of humility hearing a “Thank-you” from someone so recently returned from the jaws of Hell.

Almost sheepishly, I grasped the proffered hand and shook it firmly. “No,” I said. “Thank-you. My time was long ago and a helluva lot easier.”

And then he said it.

“You served,” he said evenly, still gripping my hand. “That’s all that matters.”

And the steady, certain look in his eyes confirmed that he’d meant what he’d said.

He was right.

 It doesn’t matter whether we were cooks, grunts, supply clerks, swabbies, wrench-turners, jarheads, or cannon-cockers.

 We served—and that is all that matters. Many…most…didn’t. We did.

 I’m reminded of a Marine Corps recruiting billboard from a few years ago showing a split-view of a young man’s face. One-half was the boyish look he’d borne before he enlisted; the other half was the steel-jawed look that Uncle Sam put on him. The caption was simple: “The change is forever.”

 And it is. It changed us. All of us. And we’ll always be different for it. Regardless of which branch each of us served in or what we did.

 How many times have you sat around swapping lies with other vets when you suddenly became aware of the rapt attention being paid by one of them, those who never took our oath?

 We share a common bond—one that will never be broken. It’s a special fraternity. It’s something that they will never have, nor even completely understand.

 I pity them.

They’ll never know what it feels like.

They don’t know our friendships spawned amid shared adversity, our camaraderie forged by experiences they can’t even imagine. They’ll never know those memories that we won’t—or can’t—speak of except amongst ourselves, our brothers. They don’t understand the particular annoyance we feel when the entertainment superstar of the moment butchers the national anthem at a football game, or why we feel compelled to throttle those in the stands who fail to remove their hats or place their hands over their hearts or at least shut the hell up while it’s being played. They puzzle over why we rail against a giveaway to someone who’s earned nothing, but we’ll give anything—anything—to one of our brothers in need. They’ll never know that bittersweet tug on our heart-strings whenever we hear the mournful strains of Taps being played.

They can’t imagine a wintertime patrol of the DMZ in Korea when you’ve given-up on the idea of ever actually being warm again, settling instead for merely being able to once again feel your toes. They can’t picture an exhausted airman trying desperately to avoid dripping sweat on sensitive avionics components while struggling in desert heat to repair an aircraft for a ground-support mission. They’ll never know the lonely vigil of a sailor standing watch at night, peering into the inky blackness of the North Atlantic. They can’t begin to know fear so deep that you’re no longer certain of having control of your breathing or your bladder as you suddenly realize that there are a lot of people trying to kill you. They can’t imagine your feverish attempts to apply a field dressing, or holding a wounded buddy as his life slips away. They’ll never be able to laugh, years later, as friends reminisce about an over-exuberant celebration in an exotic port after months at sea—that might’ve resulted in a night or two spent in the local jail. They don’t grasp the significance to us of George Orwell’s familiar observation about people being able to sleep soundly in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf—nor do they have any idea that we now and then silently remind ourselves with pride: I was one of those rough men.

Whether you did a two-year stint courtesy of your draft board…or had nothing better to do for a few years after surviving high school…or felt a call to duty…or made a twenty- or thirty-year career out of it…

You served. We served. And whether we like it or not, we retain feelings that get stirred-up from time to time.

We know what it feels like, and sometimes have to choke down some pretty strong emotions. They haven’t a clue as to what that’s all about.

Some might recall that I’ve been waging a years-long battle to try to get people—them—to grasp the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. It sends me into a slow boil every Memorial Day when I see television and newspaper ads proclaiming: “Thanks to all our veterans!”

I appreciate the sentiment, but…that’s not our day; that day is set aside for those who didn’t return—and blurring the line between the two occasions cheapens their sacrifice.

I’ve probably aggravated a lot of people in attempting to correct that misconception.

This is our day. This is the one we earned when we raised our hands and swore our oaths—when we entered that special fraternity…when we underwent that change that we’ll all take to our graves…when we were bound to one another forever.

Thank-you all for your service. Enjoy your day; you earned it. Go grab the free chow at Applebee’s and Golden Corral and Chili’s, and be appreciative that some, at least, acknowledge your service and sacrifice. Muster-up a dash of humility if a kid comes up to you today and says “Thanks” because a parent or teacher instilled that sense of values. Choke back your tears when the bugler plays Taps during the ceremony at The Tomb (or let them flow; you earned that right, too). Call an old Army buddy (or Navy; you get the idea). Shake hands with fellow vets you know; they’re your brothers-in-arms—and it’s their day, too.

Having now gotten all maudlin, I’ll leave you with one final thought expressed by Rudyard Kipling:

I’ve eaten your bread and salt,
I’ve drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I watched beside,
and the lives ye led were mine.

  

  

 

Jim 

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”author unknown 

Note: This is a re-posting of an entry from a year ago. I first posted it in my old blog; however, when I transferred everything to this site, some of the formatting was corrupted. In addition, I received several requests from friends asking that it be re-posted for Veterans Day this year. So, I spruced it up again and made a few changes. I hope you all liked it. —Jim 

__________

 

Posted in national defense, national security, patriotism, veteran, veterans day, war | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Crushed by a Rolling Stone?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on June 29, 2010

Was McChrystal thrown under the bus—or did he leap in front of it?

By now, the initial waves have settled in the departure of General Stanley McChrystal. He’s out, General David Petraeus is a virtual lock to be confirmed as his successor, and life goes on. Some are still sorting-out the particulars surrounding the affair and the events leading up to it, but it’s largely moot.

But, I’m gonna throw-in a few extra cents, anyway.

First of all, there’s still no clear picture of exactly what happened. Were McChrystal and his minions blind-sided by a far-left zealot of a reporter who duplicitously included details understood to be “off the record” — or did they believe their comments would be deemed acceptable? Rolling Stone has released the “factcheck” sheet supposedly approved by McChrystal’s people prior to publication of Michael Hastings’ piece (variously described as an “interview” and a “profile, with details provided over a period of weeks). On its surface, it appears pretty much in order with the lone apparent exception being the inclusion of McChrystal’s voting record. Beyond that, McChrystal (or one of his subordinates) seems to have been in agreement with Hastings’ account.

Now, I’d like to digress just a little and pose one question: What idiot would give any reporter (and especially one from such a liberal publication) unfettered access to follow him around recording and taking notes on everything that was heard and observed? Speaking from experience, soldiers with information worth imparting quickly identify whether a journalist is friend or foe—and know enough to keep their mouths shut when faced with the prospect of being second-guessed later. If it’s a “feel good” story, they’ll play along and wave and say “Hi” to Aunt Edna and Mom and Uncle Dewey and smile and reassure everyone they’re all just fine; otherwise, they clam-up and hold the interloper at arm’s length. (Wisely so.)

One would think that a four-star general and his staff would be at least that discreet.

Here’s another news flash: Soldiers gripe. They piss and moan. They complain. They bitch. And they cuss. And they say very unsavory things about senior leaders and politicians. This holds true from the lowliest buck private to the guys with stars; the difference is that the further one progresses up the chain of command, the more discreet one becomes. (Again, wisely so.)

Another news flash: The Army knows they’re all out there bitching and pissing and moaning and complaining. The Army tolerates this. Wanna know why? The answer is in some sage advice I was offered as a junior enlisted man: “A complaining soldier is a happy soldier. Soldiers believe they have a God-given right to bitch—as long as they’re also getting the job done. A soldier’s not happy unless he does have something to gripe about. Don’t worry about the complaints. You only worry if they stop; that would indicate that they’ve given up and no longer care—and then you have a real problem.”

Now, back to our recalcitrant general.

When this “profile” (or whatever it was) was published, many immediately jumped to the conclusion that Hastings had deliberately set out to write a “hit piece”…a hatchet job; truth be told, I wondered, myself. Then I read it.

I hate to disappoint my right-leaning friends, but…unless there were inclusions that had been expressly marked for omission, or comments taken out of context, Hastings doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong. There don’t appear to be any outright fabrications, and no one seems to be disputing that what was written accurately records what was said and done.

Again, we have to wonder: what the hell was McChrystal thinking? Did he approve this journalistic effort? Was he pressured to allow it? And why was Hastings allowed such broad access? It’s unthinkable that such a group of experienced, carefully selected senior military officials would be so loose-lipped in the presence of an outsider representing a faction generally seen as less than friendly—if not downright hostile.

I’ve not seen the question posed elsewhere, but…I gotta wonder: Did McChrystal deliberately provoke this confrontation with his boss? If so—to what end?

Let’s go back to McChrystal’s White House meeting with Barrack Hussein Obama. While many mainstream pundits lauded Obama’s decisiveness and criticized McChrystal for having left him (in their view) no viable alternative, they seemed to overlook the obvious: Every news report I saw stated clearly that McChrystal immediately tendered his resignation upon arrival for the meeting—and Obama accepted.

That’s not quite like being fired.

Now, consider that only two days ago Obama seemed to be distancing himself from his own pre-set withdrawal scheme for bringing troops home from Afghanistan, citing “a lot of obsession” about holding him to his announced withdrawal date and emphasizing that his focus is on making sure the mission there is successful. “I think that right now the debate surrounding Afghanistan is presented as either we get up and leave immediately because there’s no chance at a positive outcome, or we stay basically indefinitely and do quote unquote whatever it takes for as long as it takes.” He added that the planned July 2011 date to begin withdrawing troops does not mean the U.S. will “suddenly turn off the lights and let the door close behind us,” and posited that U.S. assistance to Afghanistan would continue “for a long time to come.” (Remember also that before the planned withdrawal begins, U.S. troop strength will first increase to 98,000.)

Interesting.

Recall that Obama hand-picked McChrystal for the job, and specifically asked him what he needed to take care of business. McChrystal gave his response—and Obama “dithered” (remember that term?) for an inordinately long time before issuing his reply. Ultimately, he agreed to give McChrystal about 75% of the requested troop strength.

Now, suppose you’re McChrystal, sitting in Afghanistan with only 75% of the force strength you’ve calculated necessary to get the job done—and a planned withdrawal date looming. Next, ask yourself: What’s my next assignment going to be? One of the realities of having those stars on your shoulders is that as time passes, there are fewer places to put you; there are strict limits placed on the number of slots available—fewer than there are personnel in which to put them. As each assignment draws to a close, then, somebody moves up—or is forced out. Given your length of service and past assignments, there would seem pretty slim pickings awaiting you at the end of the current tunnel. Moreover, you’re prosecuting a war under the still-controversial doctrine of counterinsurgency (COIN), and your own experience shows you that your commander-in-chief seems somewhat “disengaged” (according to the Hastings profile). Are the prospects for success good?

Okay…now revisit the damning comments appearing in the Hastings piece. Were they really so terrible? Unacceptable, to be sure—but not likely to taint someone for life. There’d be a few handsome scars. Nothing more.

Now speculate just a little on what McChrystal’s likely to do next. He’s already indicated to the Army that he’ll retire in the near future—a matter of a few months. Most likely, he’ll be a hot property on the lecture circuit for a time—and there’ll be no Army constraints placed on his comments, then. Further into the future, it’s conceivable that he might find himself sitting on a board of directors or two, probably a book deal, and the usual trappings that come to those of his background.

…all of which becomes less of a certainty if you botched your last assignment prior to retiring. On the other hand, if you bowed-out gracefully after chafing against restrictive policies, your reputation and integrity remain relatively intact—perhaps even enhanced.

Just food for thought.

__________

Posted in Afghanistan, McChrystal, Michael Hastings, national defense, national security, Petraeus, Rolling Stone, Senate confirmation, surge, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Observations from the Middle of the Road

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 26, 2009

A meandering mini-manifesto from the mythical Middle Majority

Somewhere in the ether between the extreme-left-wing ultra-liberal socialist pinko left and the extreme-right-wing ultra-conservative Neo-Fascist right lies the legitimate majority of the population, that elusive 51% that most accurately reflects the prevailing opinions and sentiments of the nation; pinpointing this group, however, is often difficult. Party affiliation severely blurs the picture (yes, there really are pro-choice Republicans who play golf and buy beer on Sundays…just as there are pro-life Democrats who attend church three times per week without fail). The plethora of polls intended to locate this “Joe Six-pack” center–I think of it as the mythical Middle Majority–often serve only to muddy the waters (I figure that since college football was for years allowed a “mythical national championship,” I’m entitled to a myth or two of my own).

The way I figure it, both extremes collectively account for a relatively small percentage of the populace—but their inclusion can skew the middle, making it difficult to define what is “middle of the road” on political issues. I’d suggest that most…say, about 50%-60%…fall somewhere between center-left, center, and center-right on most issues—party affiliation not withstanding (don’t bore me with lectures about bell-shaped curves, statistical analysis, standard deviations and the like, by the way; this is my bailiwick–and my opinion–so, yes, you may wish to comment, but…it’s nearly impossible to reasonably assess a mere opinion as either right or wrong). Moreover, our views on specific “hot button” issues don’t always allow categorization along philosophical or party lines, either, and sometimes move otherwise middle-of-the-road or even straight-ticket voters to adopt more extreme stances—even to the point of rendering them one-issue voters who make a vote/no vote decision about a candidate based exclusively on that candidate’s position regarding a single issue of particular concern. And they cross party lines to do so.

Based on entirely un-scientific methods (unless one wishes to so classify my own gut feeling), I’ll toss out a few thoughts which I believe closely approximate the views of the Middle Majority:

We don’t like Congress. We see that band of ne’er-do-wells as a necessary evil. Period. We resent their “I’m-above-the-law” and “I-know-what’s-best-for-you” attitudes. They spend actually working only a fraction of the time the ordinary citizen does. They travel unnecessarily and expensively—and stick us with the bill for it. They’re currently trying to force-feed to the populace a mammoth piece of health-care legislation from which they expressly exempt themselves (as they do with any other law they choose to ignore). They’re crooked. Though there may not be a direct exchange of cash from one had to another, they buy and sell their votes in the form of support or obstruction based on—well, that seems to not have a lot of rules, either. We’re tired of congressional figures cheating on the very taxes they levy on us, too.

Huge volumes could be written regarding our dislike of Congress; the above offers only a few examples.

We want legislation we can understand. It should be clear, simple, in understandable English (not legalese)—and brief. The time-honored standard for marathon reading is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It took him years to complete. It is 1,225 pages long (1,475 pages, paperback). It takes the average reader…well, a long time to read. Congress is attempting to force passage of a bill that dwarfs Tolstoy’s masterwork at more than 2,000 pages—and it was assembled over a period of mere weeks. It would likely be months (if not years) before the ramifications of its passage–to say nothing of the hidden surprises–would be completely revealed. Coupled with the intense politicking on both sides…well, frankly, it scares Hell out of us.

What happened to “one issue, one bill, one simple vote”? Part of our dislike for–and mistrust of–Congress stems from its propensity for hidden agenda. What on earth has “hate-crimes” legislation to do with defense authorizations? Unable to ram-through that unwanted law any other way, however, they somehow attached it to funding for national defense—which few dared oppose. Politicians see this sort of thing as being business as usual and part of the political process; we, on the other hand, despise it as yet another means of forcing something on us that doesn’t belong.

We’re ready for term limits—and we’re really ready for congressional term limits. There’s a reason that House terms are set at two years. The Founders never intended for this to become job security. From the moment these people manage to achieve “incumbent” status, though, their first order of business is to work on their re-election…over and over again. For as long as the law will let them.

Yes, we hate taxes. But we know they’re necessary, so we pay them. What we hate more than taxes is a tax code so convoluted that no one understands it. If the tax code was worth a damn, all those tax-return preparation agencies wouldn’t exist; we’d be able to do it ourselves. Oh, and we don’t like cabinet members who are revealed to be tax cheats—and we really don’t like members of Congress who cheat on their taxes (especially the crook who chairs the committee that writes the tax code that bedevils the rest of us).

We’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of William Shakespeare—especially that bit about killing all the lawyers.

To be sure…when we need a lawyer, we want a vicious, ruthless, blood-sucking, cutthroat bastard par excellence advocating on our behalf; when the dirty work is done, however, we expect him to quietly crawl back under his rock where he belongs—not to change careers and run for Congress. (We’ve noted that the political process has been pretty well defiled at a rate that tracks well with the rising ratio of lawyers in Congress—which probably also explains that crap they try to pass off as legislation…which we can’t read because it’s all legalistic gobbledygook interlaced with hidden agenda items.)

We as a people champion the underdog. On the other hand…while we don’t feel quite right having to side with mega-corporations beset by nuisance lawsuits, we can’t bear to have our sense of fair play insulted, either. If you’ve genuinely been treated unfairly or wronged in any way, we want you to get justice—but we don’t like seeing the legal system subverted through your (more correctly: your lawyer’s) ridiculous demands that your stupidity be indemnified by the courts…no matter how hot your coffee was. We also cringe if your “just compensation” exceeds what we see as a reasonable amount; for you to be awarded twenty bazillion dollars in damages for having stubbed your toe while entering Megabuck, Inc.’s world headquarters seriously offends our sensibilities—and again forces us into the uncomfortable position of siding against “the little guy” (and his blood-sucking lawyer, of course).

Here’s an idea: after every civil suit, have the case immediately reviewed by a panel (preferably including at least one member who isn’t a lawyer) to determine whether the case should have been brought to court in the first place. If this panel concludes that it was a “frivolous” or “nuisance” suit (often little more than shakedown attempts) that should never have seen the light of day, the plaintiff’s lawyer then has to reimburse both the court and the defendant for all costs associated with the trial. Think that might cut down on the caseload? (Count this as an endorsement for tort reform.)

Apollo 11 went to the moon and back in 1969. The electrical power needs of the craft were met by a hydrogen fuel cell…one that even produced fresh water as a by-product—and one based on technology that had already been around for decades. Only a few years later came the Arab oil embargo—when we realized that our dependence on foreign oil jeopardized our national security. At about the same time, we also concluded that the massive amounts of pollutants being discharged into the atmosphere when we drove our cars were having a range of effects that we still haven’t entirely tallied-up.

…so, why–forty years later–are we still importing and burning that oil? Why haven’t we moved on to a better power source? (Yes, some fuel cells have finally become available—but relatively few, and much later than they should have been on the market. And there are other alternate sources to consider, as well.) If the Federal government–which clearly enjoys sticking its tentacles pretty much everywhere–really wants to do some major good, this would seem a logical area.

By the way…we’re not entirely in love with nuclear power plants, either—but we’d rather deal with those than kiss the backsides of a bunch of sheiks. Just don’t build any more of the damned things on known fault lines.

Saying “Merry Christmas” is a seasonal greeting. Christmas is, itself, observed in the United States as a traditional holiday—not a religious holiday. That some also link it to the birth of Jesus should be of no real consequence (and they’re probably a few months off, anyway), as it’s been suggested that the designation of December 25th to commemorate Jesus’ birth was deliberately intended to coincide with the winter solstice and the Roman festival known as “Saturnalia”. People should be no more offended by hearing “Merry Christmas” than they would be if someone handed them candy and hard-boiled eggs and said “Happy Easter.” And that thing’s called a “Christmas tree”—not a “holiday tree.” Raising a fuss about that just smacks of political correctness taken entirely too far (a rapidly growing –finally!– issue in many areas of concern, by the way.) Does the expression “Yuletide Greetings” offend you? It’s no less “religious” than “Merry Christmas”, inasmuch as “Yule” initially referred to a pagan festival—another of many traditional winter festivals of various names observed in cultures around the world for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

Speaking of political correctness…we’re sick of it. We’ve quietly tolerated (foolishly) its gradual insinuation into our lives. We have at various junctures over the years laughed at its manifestations, ridiculed it, and shaken our heads in disgust; unfortunately, we also allowed it. Perhaps the recent massacre at Ft. Hood finally snapped us out of our complacency with the many references to the role political correctness may have played in enabling a terrorist to murder thirteen people. Whatever the case, voices are now being raised as never before–whether borne of outrage, fear, disgust, or exasperation–and the groundswell seems to be gaining momentum. Finally. We’ve grown weary of being dismissed as “racist” even for something as fundamental as criticizing the guy in the White House, we now cringe at the overuse of terms like “insensitive” and “inappropriate,” and we bristle at being labeled “homophobic” for having the audacity to oppose the promotion of “gay pride” rallies and parades—and become downright hostile at what we see as the brain-washing of the young via classroom indoctrination designed to compel acceptance of same-sex activities. (“Homophobe” is incorrect, anyway; there’s no fear–”phobia”–at issue. We’re fed-up…and that’s all there is to it.)

On a closely related matter…we don’t like the idea of having same-sex marriages sanctified by law. Of course, the days are long since gone when homosexual activity would likely lead to a jail cell; we have become much more accepting of what consenting adults do behind closed doors. There’s a reason, though, why initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage are batting zero on state ballots: adopting an accepting, laissez-faire attitude toward personal relationships is one thing—granting such activity an officially-sanctioned status (particularly with its concomitant implications for matters such as family health insurance coverage) is quite another matter. Furthermore, we don’t like the feeling of being compelled to embrace activities we view as lifestyle choices; we consider ourselves reasonable, fair people with a basic “live-and-let-live” philosophy—and force-feeding us anything invites resistance.

Back to those incessant claims of racism: give it a rest, already. The current climate makes us yearn for the relatively good old days (which we also detested, at the time) of “playing the race card” as a last desperate measure. We saw through it then, too. Now, the dreaded label of “racist” has become the first resort. We particularly object to such charges being leveled by those whose own actions reveal their racism (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan come immediately to mind). Political candidates running on this theme do so in a clear attempt to polarize, pandering to the minority vote. Time for them all to move on to another teat; this one’s been milked dry. No one outside the liberal media and those mental giants in Hollywood is buying it, anymore—while resistance within the populace is rapidly strengthening (again, long overdue).

We learned all about John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and judicial review back in about the sixth grade. We accept that as an established part of the system. We also know there’s supposed to be some reasonable limit to a judge’s authority—and we know judicial activism when we see it. We grow livid when some among us go through the trouble of having an initiative placed on a ballot, voted on, passed by a wide margin—then shot down in flames by an activist judge anxious to make his or her mark by discovering yet another Constitutional “right” neither conferred nor intended by the Founding Fathers.

…and we noticed that Sonia Sotomayor pretty much has all the bases covered: blatantly activist, racist, and sexist. And they say justice is blind.

Yes, we’re utterly convinced that the so-called “mainstream media” (which doesn’t represent mainstream thinking, at all) has a left-wing bias; hell, even they know it—and many of them seem mighty proud of it. We in increasing numbers have largely given up on the three so-called “major” network news bureaus and most of the print media in favor of Fox News and the multitudes of web news sources. Do we really believe that Fox is as “fair and balanced” as it claims? Hard to say. Some probably do. Without question, though, Fox does at least serve to balance-out some of the obviously slanted barrage of their leftist counterparts, anyway—and frequently brings to light stories that would no doubt have died quiet deaths in its absence.

We are especially galled by what Bernard Goldberg calls the “slobbering love affair” that ensued when media met Obama. The media’s traditional role has been one of probing and “vetting” potential candidates, to the point of knowing even how Jimmy Carter cleaned his teeth and how frequently Ronald Reagan’s wife consulted astrologers. Though there’s long been a generally more-favorable presentation of liberals than of conservative candidates, at least there was until recently a semblance of an effort to appear even-handed, anyway. No more. It’s astonishing how readily the media hopped aboard the Obama train—even going so far as to devour their own when there appeared among them a rare dissenting voice. The result? The ascension to the White House of a man whose obsession with secrecy surpasses even Richard Nixon’s—and about whom we still know precious little…and he sure as hell isn’t volunteering anything, either. Even more puzzling is the newsies’ tolerance for the obvious condescension served-up by the Obama regime on a regular basis when dealing with even prominent media figures.

The war(s) in Afghanistan and Iraq are causing the Middle Majority some pretty major angst. On the one hand, we see a need for military action in one or both; on the other hand, we’re concerned about the cost in lives, money, and political capital versus what’s been gained for our expenditure. The one uniting issue is our support for the troops—and we’re wary of seeing them largely abandoned to an uncertain goal.

Islam stands as one of the most troubling issues of our time. We absolutely and jealously guard our religious freedom, and are quick on the trigger when this fundamental right is threatened. We’ve also noted, though, how many acts of terrorism at home and abroad have been committed in the name of Islam—and the lack of condemnation within the Muslim population(s) of such acts (to the contrary, there are frequently indications of broad approval). Yet, we feel a need to tread carefully when mentioning Islam and terrorism at the same time. Or even on the same day. Contrast this treatment with, say, the Federal government’s handling of the Branch Davidians at Waco, who were dismissed as pretty much a fringe cult—and summarily crushed. The prevailing view is that speaking against Muslims in any way risks allegations of “hate speech”—and “hate crimes.”

Cries of “hate speech” and “hate crime” are not hollow complaints; they can subject the accused to fines and imprisonment for something as trivial as referring to a homosexual as a “homo” (while the shortened version of “heterosexual” is acceptable. Gee.). The steady designation of various groups as somehow endangered and in need of special consideration (as opposed to the legal standard of “equal protection under the law”) has pervaded society and the legal system. The Middle Majority’s view of such goings-on is mixed and complex; we believe in protecting those who are threatened and in short-circuiting routes that may lead to something akin to the Holocaust—but we’re not so sure about this practice of essentially conferring “endangered species” status on seemingly endless groups for reasons that aren’t at all clear. We regard the practice as unnecessary—and what exactly is a “love crime,” anyway?

We got very bent out-of-shape when Homeland Security announced which groups warrant close observation for signs of “home-grown terrorism” leanings—and which ones don’t. (The first two I thought of were the Internal Revenue Service and the National Education Association—but, that’s just me.) Apparently, a gaggle of senior citizens waving tea bags at protest rallies constitutes a greater threat than guys wearing turbans and shrieking “Allah u akhbar!” Who knew? The Middle Majority suspects this is related to the widely-held belief that dissent is only acceptable when it’s done by liberals and Democrats—who are clearly more experienced in such pursuits (“Don’t try this at home, kids. Remember: we’re professionals.”). And then there are all those returning veterans—who (presumably) somehow became radicalized while fighting those Islamic terrorists who (presumably) aren’t out to destroy us. Except the ones who hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Or who blow-up buildings. While shrieking “Allah u akhbar!”

Abortion. Frankly, after more than four decades of hearing about this one, I wish it’d just go away. I’ll come out of the closet as pro-choice (much to the annoyance of many family members)—but I admittedly speak only for myself on this one. I do not agree with “late-term” abortions, however, except when the mother’s physical health is at risk—and only upon the advice of her physician; “partial-birth” abortions are simply murder. Note that this is not an invitation to debate the issue; I don’t even want to hear about it—let alone discuss it. It’s pointless, as virtually everyone is already firmly entrenched in his/her opinion and unlikely to be swayed. As for the how the rest of the Middle Majority feels about it…you figure it out. I’m tired.

Illegal immigration and border security are major issues for the MM crowd. They’re not “undocumented workers”; they’re illegal aliens. They entered the country illegally. And they’re aliens. What’s difficult to understand about that? We consider the term “open border” an oxymoron—emphasis on the “moron” part. We don’t think the economy will self-destruct from the reduction in cheap labor. We are very concerned about who else is sneaking across our porous borders along with the poor folks looking for work. We’re sick of a Congress that simply isn’t getting the message. We’re thoroughly disgusted with a government that refuses to discharge its most basic responsibility: securing and protecting the nation. Get it? Oh, and…amnesty? Don’t even think about it. Path to citizenship? Here’s one: go back to square one–that’d be where they came from–and start over again. And this time…do it legally.

The deficit. Hel-loooo-oooo? Twelve trillion. Depending on how it’s all computed, maybe eighteen trillion. And counting. It looks like this: $12,000,000,000,000 . What more needs to be said but: “Please, don’t tell Obama what comes after ‘trillion,'” and “Stop spending money you don’t have!” The rest of us have to balance our checkbooks; why doesn’t the government?

Health care reform. We don’t trust our health care to the Federal government—and certainly not to Congress (you know; those guys who’ve been busily cutting deals behind closed doors). Oh, and, by the way…whatever gave rise to this notion that anyone loves insurance companies? We’ve all spent more time swearing at them than Pelosi, Reid, and Obama combined. Get real. We see the current “reform” attempt for what it really is: a power-and-money-grabbing scheme that has nothing to do with reforming health care. We don’t want “socialized” anything. We don’t trust a Congress that compels us to accept a system from which it exempts itself. And don’t think we’re fooled by all those re-writes, either; they’re nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to conceal items we’ve already rejected, sneaking them in via an esoteric Trojan horse that’s carefully crafted to be incomprehensible.

Gun control. We have it, already. It’s called the Second Amendment. Great reading. Somebody show it to Schumer.

Need more? Just ask. Have opinion—will write.

 

Posted in deficit, hate crimes, hate speech, national defense, political correctness, terrorism | 2 Comments »