Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Reasons The Obama Presidency Has Failed

On January 20, 2009, the people of the United States of America handed over the keys to the kingdom to their new leader, Barack Hussein Obama. For so many, there was a vibrant feeling of optimism in the air. Obama promised Hope and Change, a fundamental transformation of politics as usual, and a strong recovery from the flailing economy. Yet almost four years later, a large number of Americans are feeling hopeless, the change that was promised is far from what they envisioned, the country is far more divided, the politics of Washington is dirtier than ever, and the economy is without a doubt in far worse shape than when our country started down the road of Obamanism.  How could this happen? We were told that Obama was the smartest, most eloquent, and most capable man to lead our country in a new direction full of hope and prosperity. Despite the arguably good intentions of this administration, I believe there are at least 5 basic principles that have been ignored, or bungled, by this president that have brought about the demise of his once lofty ambitions.

1. Honesty -  From Day 1, this administration promised to be the most transparent ever seen in modern times. We were told the healthcare debates would be televised for all to see. There were promises of a reasonable time of review for all legislation. Guantanamo Bay would be closed and our federal debt would be cut in half in just three years. Needless to say, none of these things, or the many other promises made, has ever come to pass. In fact, the Obama administration has done just the opposite. No matter what the subject, the president and his minions and czars have done just about everything possible to obfuscate the truth or just outright lie to the American people. From Healthcare to Immigration or the Economy to the latest revelations about the Islamist attacks on our consulate in Benghazi, Obama has used every tactic imaginable to try and make the people believe that his actions were right and just. Even his own past is shrouded in a legally protected cloud of mystery. He has hidden behind a wall of lawyers to protect the full truth of his personal history from being discovered. From birth certificates to school records to his own social security number, Obama has ducked and dodged every attempt to get at the truth. While he has been quite open about his past as a frequent illegal drug user, he has kept hidden his past activities as a socialist and his ties to radical communists. The American people are far beyond expecting perfection in their national leaders, but they do expect all the cards to be laid out on the table. Obama's lack of honesty in his actions as a president and about his past have soiled his reputation with the people.

2. Likeability - Just recently, former Obama aide,Neera Tanden, told the press that "he really doesn't like people." For anyone who has watched the President over the past four years, this is not any great surprise. Barack Obama cannot be said to be someone who plays well with others. It is clear the man has an ego problem. When he talks to others he comes across more as if he is lecturing than holding a discussion. Obama is a person who is easily offended when others disagree with him and he expects everything he says to be considered truthful and correct. We witnessed his inability to work with others in his hot-tempered fiasco with John Boehner over economic policy. He is quick to walk out on an uncomfortable situation and does not like to answer questions about his actions. Let's face it, for an incumbent president to be in a dead heat or even behind in the polls to Mitt Romney at this point in the election process shows a serious problem with the likeability factor. Romney is no Care Bear of a person. Even many Republicans do not like Mitt that much. Obama's charm of 2008 has proved to be a superficial mask that is more for political show than reality.

3. Strength - At the time Obama took office in 2009, the world economy was spiralling downward and America was heavily engaged in two wars. What our country, and the world, needed was an American president who could display qualities of strength that would lead our allies to believe we would soon be returning to prosperity. More importantly, we needed a leader who would let our enemies know we were unyielding in our commitment to fight them and that we had every expectation of solidly defeating them. What we got was a failure in both areas. Obama's economic policies have worsened the American and world economies and he has shown that he clearly has no plan for turning the ship around anytime soon. His foreign policy has been one designed to "understand" and appease our enemies. There are very few in the Obama administration who have any military experience, and it shows. He does not understand how wars are fought or won. Worse yet, he has ignored the advice of his military leaders and put many of our courageous servicemen and women in great danger on the battlefield. For a wartime president, his greatest achievements have been to allow gay soldiers to come out of the closet and to take personal credit for making the no-brainer call to take out Osama bin Laden. He squandered every strategical advantage handed to him by the Bush surges and is now responsible for basically the loss of both wars. He tried to show his muscle by following the French into supporting Al Quaeda-backed rebels in the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. We have seen how well this has worked out, with the death of Ambassador Stevens and several others and the unabashed attacks on our embassies throughout the Middle East. He has invited the terrorist leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House while adeptly avoiding the leader of our greatest ally in the region, Israel. His kowtowing to Islamic leaders and his attempts to appease the savage sensibilities of our enemies has lead to our country being viewed as weak and ineffective. Many people have said that George W. Bush ruined our reputation with the other nations of the world. According to most international polls, under Obama we are now viewed in an even more unfavorable light than ever before. Barack Obama's strength appears to be mere bravado that folds quickly under the pressure of real-world confrontations.

4. Values - Let's face the facts. President Obama does not and probably never has shared the traditional American values that most citizens hold to be the foundations of our society. He is the product of two Muslim fathers, Barack Obama, Sr. and Lolo Soetoro. He spent a good part of his youth being schooled in a Muslim madrassah in the Philippines. His mother and grandparents were ardent communists. He was mentored through his youth and young adulthood by people like Frank Marshall Davis, a communist activist and pornographer, and William Ayres, a convicted domestic terrorist who, to this day, is unrepentant of his crimes. His only real connection with Christianity was his attendance and mentoring at the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright's brand of Chistianity at Trinity United Church of Christ is one of Black Liberation Theology that has been clearly displayed as anti-semitic and racist. These are all parts of his past that Obama attempts to sweep under the rug. The fact is that Barack Obama's values are mostly a mystery to the American people. His attempts to use oratorial eloquence to blend in with whatever crowd he is speaking with denote a man who is a chameleon, ever changing to display whatever values are needed to garner the influence he wishes to exert. What little background information we do have about Obama show a man who has contempt for the Constitution, capitalism, and the traditional Judeo-Christian values that our country was founded on. Barack Obama's values are far from those of most mainstream Americans.

5. Leadership - Perhaps one of the greatest qualities needed in an effective president is that of leadership. Great leadership involves the ability to bring people together to work together towards a common vision. As expressed above, Obama's value system, if truthfully told, does not put forth the kind of vision most Americans would want for our future. Regardless, Barack Obama has not been effective at all in laying out a clear goal or vision for the future of this country. His administration has been one of haphazardly moving from one issue to the next without regard for the rule of law or the desires of the American public. It is my suspicion that if his true vision for this country were known he would swiftly be run out of town on a rail. Instead of uniting this country behind a common goal, his tactics and policies have been to play differering segements of society against each other; rich against poor, black against white, and liberal against conservative. In this way he hopes to weaken any large united front against his administration and play to each group individually to win votes. He will again be the chameleon, becoming whatever it is each group wants him to be. Obama does not lead, he manipulates.

It is my belief that Barack Obama is a man who lacks a moral compass to guide him. His agenda and values are kept hidden from the public. He holds none of the requisite qualities needed to be an effective and upstanding leader. Considering that a man like this currently holds the most powerful position in the world is extremely frightening. What is even more frightening is the thought of what he might try to do with four more years of virtually unbridled power.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Own Lance Armstrong Confession

NOTE: This blog is obviously a work of fiction. However, with the farce of an investigation that has recently been brought against Lance Armstrong, I couldn't resist a little farce of my own. If you have no interest in cycling, this probably won't mean anything to you and you should probably skip it.

Now that the USADA case against Lance Armstrong has come to a close, and everybody from George Hincapie to Dave "Buy My Junk" Zabriskie is coming forward with their own confessions of doping, I figure it is about time I came clean about my own involvement with Lance Armstrong and the USPS organization. It is a sordid tale I'm not proud of. In retrospect, I should have known better.

My involvement with USPS started innocently enough. I was a regular purchaser of postage stamps sold by USPS that, in part, went to fund the activities of Lance Armstrong and the USPS cycling team. Living in a rural area as I do, I had a regular habit of buying my stamps directly from my mail carrier instead of driving into town to get them. Every month, exactly on the 15th, when I got paid I would meet my letter carrier at the mailbox to buy myself a roll of stamps. It was on October 15th of 1999 that my life changed forever. It was that day that I willingly joined the "dark side" of the competitive cycling world.

On that day, instead of being met at my mailbox by my regular letter carrier, there was a dark-haired stranger behind the wheel of the USPS mail truck. When I greeted him and he responded, I noticed he had an odd accent. I asked him where he was from. He replied cryptically, "I come from the land of the Stroopwafel." Before I could question him further, he began to congratulate me on my regular and generous contributions to the USPS cycling team and asked me if I would like to help them out in a more substantial way. Having just months before watched Lance Armstrong win his first Tour de France victory in Paris, I was awestruck and felt honored to be invited to play even a small part in such a prestigious organization. I didn't realize then how deeply I would be getting involved.

The stranger explained to me that twice a month, a box addressed to Juan Pelota would be delivered to my house...along with my regular order of postage stamps which, thanks to my participation, would now be free of charge. I was to deliver this box personally to Lance in Texas. It was explained to me that the contents of this box would greatly help Lance win more races, but that he was not exactly supposed to have it while cycling, which was why discretion was most important. I was instructed that if I should ever be stopped by the authorities, the origin or destination of the parcel must never be revealed. I was immediately suspicious but, in the end, the temptation of receiving free postage won out over my better judgement.

So, all during the off-seasons of 1999-2004, I would make two runs a month to deliver the boxes to Lance. The boxes, when shaken, made the sound of glass containers clinking together. As the boxes were heavily sealed with packing tape, I never dared to open them and take a look inside. That is, except only once, in 2003 when my curiosity got the better of me and I made a small cut with a box knife and removed one small glass vial. I kept the container safely hidden away and nothing was ever said about its absence from the box. My meetings with Lance followed a set routine. I would meet him exactly at noon in the parking lot of the X-rated video store just across the Oklahoma-Texas border. He always arrived on a Trek racing bike with an odd cargo rack over the back wheel to which he secured the box I would give him. He was never very talkative and always seemed in a hurry. I asked him once why he was in such a rush. He replied that it was important for him to make it back to Austin before the contents of the box got too warm or else they would be no good. I took advantage of this opening to ask him about what was in the box. He paused for a long moment and then smiled. He told me that the "magical oil" that was in those boxes allowed him to race and win without ever having to train. He laughed as he told me that just a little of that stuff would give him more than enough energy to leave Ullrich, Basso, and Pantani "in the dust." Seeing that perhaps he had said too much, our conversation was quickly over and he proceeded to do as always. He opened the box, took out one vial and "used" it, attached the box to his bike and sped off south, quickly disappearing into the distance.

Despite the oddity of my arrangement with Lance and the USPS, I never worried much about the legality of what I was doing. The free postage kept rolling in and I figured, with all the members on the team, certainly I wasn't the only one doing this. There must be others making such deliveries. and if this what it took to see the boys in blue on the podium in Paris, I would do my little part. It wasn't until I received a subpoena to testify in an investigation of Lance Armstrong and the USPS team for defrauding the federal government. Oh good Lord! I was frightened beyond all belief. I was being implicated in participating in an organized doping ring! I was threatened with major jail time and even worse, a lifetime suspension from free postage!

It is to my shame that I did not stay loyal to Lance and the team. Yet, I knew, what I had been doing was wrong. And I had my family and career to think about. I told the feds everything. About the boxes, the deliveries, and...about the one vial of "magic oil" I had hidden away at home. I've never seen people so happy. The investigators jumped and danced and hugged each other! There were high-fives being given all around. They explained that once they tested the contents of that vial, they would have a slam dunk case against Lance and the whole USPS cycling organization. They escorted me home to retrieve the evidence and held me in custody at the lab as they tested the mysterious substance.

The time spent sitting in the lab offices seemed to stretch on for hours. I pondered my own personal fate and cursed myself for my own greed. Yet the investigators laughed and joked and seemed very festive about the whole affair. After what seemed like an eternity, a lab technician stepped into the room. He was holding a single computer printout sheet which he handed to the lead investigator. This investigator who just moments ago was so bubbly and jubilant suddenly turned pale as he stared at the printout for a long moment. He turned slowly to his coworkers and said softly, "Case closed. Charges Dropped." He then approached me angrily and shoved the printout into my hands. "This never happened and I never want to see you again." I slowly scanned the piece of paper he had handed me. It said across the top, 'Lab Testing of Unknown Substance.' Below followed a list of indecipherable numbers and abbreviations. But at the bottom of the sheet was a single line of text. It said very simply, 'Identification of Unknown Substance - SHINER BOCK BEER.'