Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Don't Make Promises... (I Can't Break)

“I Don’t Make Promises… (I Can’t Break)” is the title of a song by artist Shannon Curfman. I chose this song as the opening for my Blog Talk Radio program‘Conservative Republican Forum’ (which airs Saturdays at 6PM Eastern) because it seems that politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are incapable of telling the truth to their constituents. It seemed very appropriate for a show about politics in America today.

Republicans lost their majorities in the House and Senate, as well as, the White House because they didn’t keep their promises and acted like Democrats, abandoning fiscal responsibility and expanding government in both size and reach. They deserved to lose and opened the door for Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama to breeze into power.

When Barack Obama ran for President he promised the nation change we could “believe in” and many, though not this correspondent, believed him. Candidate Obama promised the most transparent White House in history. He promised that negotiations and deliberations would be on C-Span for the public to see. Obama also promised that there would be no earmarks in any bill he signed into law, “none”. We were told by this president that if his “stimulus” weren’t signed into law that the unemployment rate would soar over 10% and that if it was signed into law that the unemployment rate wouldn’t go above 8%. He said that all bills would be posted on the Internet for a week, so that the public would have the chance to read and comment on them before they were signed into law.

Almost a year into his first (and hopefully only) term it seems that President Obama doesn’t make promises that he can’t break. The only change he’s brought to Washington is an increase in deficit spending and a tremendous expansion in the size of the federal government. The White House wouldn’t even release a list of visitors to the People’s House until a Freedom of Information Act request forced them to so and the President’s transparency taskforce met behind closed doors with no media allowed. The healthcare bills in both the House and Senate have been written, in secret, with no Republicans being allowed to participate. The no earmarks promise has been broken repeatedly, as has the promise to post all legislation on the Internet before being signed into law. The “stimulus” was passed without even the members of Congress reading it and yet the unemployment rate is over 10% nationally and much higher in many states.

It seems that the only promises that are being kept are the ones that Obama and company have made to their cronies, like SEIU and GE. Those are promises that most of us would prefer he break. SEIU was allowed to write the “stimulus” bill which is why union employees, especially those working for the federal government, are getting raises while people all over the country continue to lose their jobs. General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, whose NBC and MSNBC “news” divisions have been in the tank for Obama from day one, is on the president’s Economic Council and was appointed to the board of the New York Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, when he was in China Obama negotiated a deal for GE to manufacture wind turbines to be sold to China.

So I suggest that from now on, instead of playing “Hail to the Chief” when President Obama enters a room, the band should instead play “I Don’t Make Promises… (I Can’t Break)”.

Monday, December 14, 2009

TEA Party: Movement or Political Party?

The TEA Party movement is an amazing grassroots phenomenon that has energized Americans in every state of the Union. Ordinary citizens, Republican, Independent, Conservative and even Democrat have been inspired and provoked into standing up, speaking out and demanding that their elected officials actually represent them, instead of ignoring and even denigrating them.

However, due to frustration, anger and the misguided idea that a third party is necessary to elect fiscally responsible candidates, the TEA Party has morphed, from a grassroots movement, into a political party in it’s own right. It is now an officially recognized and registered party here in Florida where it will be one of 32 minor political parties.

It’s easy to understand the irritation and dissatisfaction with the GOP that has led some to want another party that represents fiscally conservative principles. I share much of that frustration. But the “solution” may have unintended, though very predictable, consequences. The result of this new party, if it catches on, will be to split the conservative and Republican votes and hand seats to the very liberal candidates that the TEA Partiers seek to remove.

There is a group within the movement that believes that Republicans, across the board, are just as bad as their Democrat counterparts. There is no doubt that the Republican Party as a whole has behaved more like “tax and spend” Democrats, than fiscally responsible Republicans in recent years. The GOP has paid for this behavior with huge losses in both the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. The nation has paid for their behavior with huge spending and deficits that make the Bush administration look almost responsible.

Beyond the out of control spending of the Obama Administration and the Reid/Pelosi ruled Congress, the legislation we’ve seen coming from the Progressives in charge has been all about growing government and increasing it’s impact on the day-to-day lives of every American. Cap and Tax, so-called healthcare reform, “Cash for Clunkers”, the trillion dollar stimulus and other legislation being pushed by those currently in the majority are all about power and keeping power for the Democrats and their union allies at the expense of future generations.

Many conservatives want to “clean house” in 2010, literally replacing every member of Congress. This is an unattainable, and in this author’s opinion, irresponsible goal. We know that some members of Congress, like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, are in districts that are so liberal and/or progressive that it would be virtually impossible to unseat them. In addition, there are some GOP members of Congress, like Michele Bachmann, Mike Pence and Jim DeMint that have remembered their conservative principles and more importantly that the law of our republic is still the Constitution.

Some who favor the TEA Party becoming a political party point to the recent election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District as an example of what a third party can accomplish. What these well meaning people ignore is the fact that even with a Republican candidate as liberal as Dede Scozzafava was, chosen in a backroom by Party bosses and who ultimately dropped out of the race and endorsed the Democrat candidate, the Conservative still candidate lost.

While the frustration that inspired this new political party is understandable and justified, it has led to an ill-conceived and ill-advised transformation of the TEA Party movement into a political party in Florida, that instead of electing more fiscally responsible candidates, may split conservative votes and save or create dozens of liberal/progressive election victories.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

History ignored, distorted and rewritten


This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-NV went to the floor of the United States Senate and made a mockery of himself by ignoring, distorting and rewriting history to suit his narrative that, opponents of the current healthcare “reform” bill are akin to those that fought abolishing slavery or opposed women’s suffrage.

Of course Senator Reid’s interpretation of history has little to do with reality. Reid ignores the fact that it was a Republican, Abraham Lincoln, that freed the slaves. He ignores the fact that it was Democrats that fought to maintain Jim Crow laws and against the Civil Rights Act. In fact the only current member of Congress that was once a member of the KKK, is Democrat Senator Robert Byrd.

So when Reid says, “You think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it’s too early. Let’s wait. Things aren’t bad enough…” He’s talking about his party.

They used to say that “history is written by the victors”, nowadays it seems that history is rewritten by the Progressives. Whether it’s former-President Carter trying to make people believe that he was a great president, or Barney Frank trying to convince people he had nothing to do with the demise of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the mortgage crisis, the theme is the same. These progressive politicians spout historical misinformation to support their positions and the liberal media, rather than fact checking and correcting, reports the falsehoods as fact.

One of my favorite examples came from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year. While crying crocodile tears and expressing as much emotion as her Botox paralyzed face will permit, Pelosi talked about how concerned she was “… about some of the language that is being used because I saw this myself in the late ’70s in San Francisco, this kind of rhetoric. … It created a climate in which violence took place. … I wish we would all curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements and understand that some of the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statements may assume. … You have to take responsibility for any incitement that may cause.” Now first of all the language the Speaker was referring to was simply people peacefully expressing their opposition to excessive taxes and spending from Washington, DC. Beyond that Nancy ignores the fact that she and her fellow Democrats were calling people that attended Tea Parties and town halls “un-American” for exercising their 1st Amendment rights and that the only actual violence that has occurred was by those on the left. SEIU thugs beating a black man in Missouri for selling “Don’t Tread On Me” patches, a pro-healthcare protestor biting the finger off an anti-Obamacare protestor and numerous incidences of those on the left spitting on their rivals on the right. In addition the violence in the late ‘70s she was referring to was the murders of Democrats George Moscone and Harvey Milk by the deranged Dan White, another Democrat!

Our own president, an Ivy League graduate, in talking about why he’s uncomfortable using the word “victory” with regard to Afghanistan, “because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur,” distorted history. For those that may be victims of the progressive education system, the Instrument of Surrender in WWII between the Allies and the Japanese was signed onboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay, by several Japanese government and military officials, not Emperor Hirohito.

History does not smile on the progressive movement or its follower’s attempts to “fundamentally change America”, which may explain why they have such distain for it. It also explains why a progressive version of history and civics is being taught to American children in public schools and in our colleges and universities. The next generation won’t be able to tell you why December 7th, 1941 was a pivotal day in our history, much less why September 11th, 2001 was. The teachers and the textbooks they employ teach our children a history lesson that most of us wouldn’t even recognize. This is dangerous and shameful and it won’t end until we insist that facts be taught as history. Until then they’ll continue to ignore, distort and rewrite history to suit their needs.

Friday, December 4, 2009

OBAMA’S AFGHAN SPEECH FAILED TO APPEASE OR PLEASE


After more than three months of meetings and deliberations with top political, diplomatic and military leaders President Barack Obama delivered to the American People his strategy for Afghanistan. At least that’s what the White House would like us to have come away from the speech thinking.

After watching Mr. Obama deliver yet another unremarkable televised address to the nation intended to lay out his reasoning and strategy for defeating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, this correspondent was left feeling that the president’s “strategy” for Afghanistan was to appease everyone, please no one and set the stage for a full retreat from what he has called “the war of necessity”.

The speech was unremarkable, in part, because though the administration chose the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as the setting, they failed to get the desired response and impact from the venue. The cadets in attendance, having been made to sit in their seats for four hours before the president’s remarks, looked like they were sitting through a boring lecture, not live remarks by their Commander-in-Chief. Their response to President Obama appeared to be more polite than enthusiastic.

In addition, Obama now looks so rehearsed when he delivers a speech that he lacks any genuine emotion or passion for what he’s discussing. He turns from one side of the audience to the other on cue, to read from the Teleprompters, he taps the podium at a regular interval and doesn’t inspire confidence in his sincerity or his competence.

The most remarkable thing about President Obama’s speech in my view was how in one sentence he talked about sending 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan and in the very next sentence talked about pulling them out after 18 months. The “Community Organizer-in-Chief” displayed his continuing naivety, inexperience and weakness in those two sentences. He is sending 10,000 fewer troops than his handpicked commander, General McChrystal, has said are necessary to avoid “defeat” and he’s setting a timetable for withdrawal (or retreat), as though the Taliban or Al-Qaeda can be convinced to adhere to his schedule.

In fact, the Taliban issued a statement shortly after the speech, saying they will only fight harder when more American soldiers arrive in Afghanistan.

It will take 6 months to deploy the 30,000 additional troops the president has authorized, giving them only 12 months at full strength to achieve their goals. After 18 months, it is unlikely the Afghan Army and Police will be fully trained to takeover from U.S. personnel. It is very likely that Taliban and Al-Qaeda attacks against U.S. and Afghan troops will be up, as will the casualty rates. Could it be that this delay and strategy are designed to turn the public against the war and allow Obama to withdraw all our troops?

The Obama Administration has been using negative rhetoric to portray our Afghan allies, as corrupt and weak. They’ve been laying the ground work to blame the Afghan political leadership and military if we fail.

Obama really didn’t articulate a new strategy and he failed to satisfy either his base on the left, or his opponents on the right. Those on the left want all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan immediately. They aren’t happy that Obama is sending additional troops and politically this could hurt Democrats in the 2010 mid-term elections.

Those on the right will point to the president “dithering” on his decision and how our troops currently in the field are the ultimately paying the price for the president’s indecision. Conservatives will also correctly point to the fact that the rules of engagement that our military is still restricted by will not allow for victory, a word the administration is loathe to use with regard to Afghanistan.

Ultimately Obama’s Afghan speech was meant to appease everyone, please no one and set the stage for a retreat from that nation, without victory. It won’t improve the morale of servicemen and women, it won’t silence critics on either side of the aisle, it won’t make us safer at home, it won’t make our troops or the Afghan people anymore secure on the ground and it won’t lead to victory in Afghanistan over the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crist reschedules April special election

In a very smart and politically savvy move Wednesday, Governor Charlie Crist issued an executive order rescheduling the April special election for Congressional District 19 to April 13th, 2010. Originally the Governor had set the date for April 6th, which is the last day of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Shalom International and radio host Joyce Kaufman joined U.S. House candidate Edward Lynch (R) in urging the governor to change the date so that observant Jews would not be disenfranchised in this special election.

Monday evening, before the Broward Republican Executive Committee meeting, Lynch met with the Governor and a handful of others to discuss the issue. Lynch urged Crist to change the date of the special election to avoid disenfranchising any voters and to increase voter turnout. Meanwhile Lynch's primary opponents were downstairs, badmouthing Lynch and spreading foolish and disingenuous rumors about him. While they apparently had plenty to say about Mr. Lynch personally, candidates Curt Price and Joe Budd were noticeably silent on the issue of their potential future constituents being unable to vote on April 6th.

Shortly after hearing about Crist's announcement, candidate Lynch issued the following statement, "It is official, I applaud Governor Crist for changing the date of our special election to April 13, 2010. 3 days after I met with the Governor he made sure that all people will have the opportunity to vote. While our opponents were working the room slamming me, I was sitting with the Governor, taking care of the people's business... I want to also give credit where it is due and I would like to say thank you to Shalom International and, of course Joyce Kaufman for working so hard on the election date issue as well."

While this writer has his differences with Governor Crist on many issues, I give him credit for doing the right thing in this situation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Conservatives converge on Palm Beach


This weekend, at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, a veritable who's who of conservative power-players and heavy-hitters converged to discuss, debate, relax and honor three their own. From Thursday, 11/19 to Sunday, 11/22 the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 'Restoration Weekend' drew together conservative politicians, pundits, authors, analysts and icons from around the nation.

Some of the speakers and guests that attended this gala event were: the host David Horowitz, former-Speaker of the House-Newt Gingrich, author-Ann Coulter, former-presidential candidate and US Senator-Fred Thompson, Phyllis Schlafly, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, State Representative Adam Hasner, Pamela Geller-of Atlas Shrugs, House Minority Leader-John Boehner, Democratic Strategist-Pat Caddell, Scott Wheeler, Andrew Klavan, George Gilder, Jonah Goldberg, Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney, Steve Moore-of the Wall Street Journal, Andrew McCarthy, Bruce Bawer, Congressmen Ed Royce and Thaddeus McCotter, Major General Paul Vallely, Liz Cheney, Michael Ledeen, Dave Bossie and US Senator Jim DeMint.

There was a great award ceremony where former-presidential candidate, Senator Fred Thompson was the keynote speaker. His speech though well received and insightful, wasn't very stirring. Ann Coulter, not known for gushing over anyone, gushed over recipient of the Annie Taylor Award, Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly is a conservative icon. In addition to being a brilliant strategic thinker, she also almost single-handedly defeated the E.R.A.. Ms. Coulter spoke highly of her hero for about 10 minutes in a very heartfelt introduction. It was an excellent introduction and fascinating for showing Ann Coulter in a different light. Also honored were the filmmakers that exposed ACORN, Sean O'Keefe and Hannah Giles.

Newt Gingrich gave a speech about how the Republican Party can take back control of Congress. The former speaker had some interesting tactical ideas. However, the Speaker's "moderate" streak was on full display, as he suggested that if a district was so heavily Democrat that "a Republican could never win", then rather than running a Republican we ought to support a "moderate" Democrat. His suggestion that Republicans should challenge Democrats from dogcatcher to the Senate seemed contradictory, but the crowd gave him a standing ovation for it.

The best and most well received speech was given by the fantastic Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. She made no secret of the fact she believes Al Franken stole the US Senate election from Norm Coleman. She spoke of being the left's number one target (maybe number 2 after Sarah Palin), speaking not as a victim, but pointing to the fact that the left knows it's ideas are failing and that their arguments fall short, so they attack the messenger. Bachmann got 3 standing ovations from a receptive audience that obviously would like to see her lead the conservatives back into the leadership of the House GOP. After her rousing speech Rep. Bachmann was inundated by the crowd, looking for photo-ops and the chance to shake her hand and thank her for her efforts.

Also in attendance was candidate for the US House of Representatives in Florida's 19th Congressional District, Edward Lynch. Mr. Lynch met with Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Thaddeus McCotter, Fred Thompson, Major General Paul Vallely and others to discuss issues including: defense policy, healthcare, illegal immigration and how to mount a successful GOP sweep in 2010, starting with District Nineteen's special election on April 6th.

Lynch looked every bit like our next congressman as he discussed the serious issues that confront our nation, with seasoned legislators, military experts, veterans (including 3 Congressional Medal of Honor winners) and authors. Major General Vallely was extremely impressed with Lynch's grasp of the issues and his positions. This may explain, in part, why the general recently gave Edward his endorsement.

The panel discussions and lectures included "Obama's Radical Transformation of America", "Culture Panel: Is Hollywood Changing?" and "How to Win in 2010". There was a moving tribute video celebrating the late Ron Silver and then there was the great Citizens United Film Festival, which included 'Perfect Valor' and 'Ronald Reagan Rendezvous with Destiny'. The Freedom Center's 'Restoration Weekend' was a fantastic gathering of some of the best conservative minds in America. It was a pleasure having this group of exceptional Americans in our backyard.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Political Correctness Run Amok

I want to talk about political correctness run amok and the danger it poses to us all. It used to be as harmless as referring to people and groups in the way that they preferred, like calling someone black, or African-American instead of Negro. But then they started changing what term was PC it seemed, from week-to-week. That was annoying, but not dangerous. Now we’ve entered a period in history when political correctness is endangering and costing people their lives. Case in point: It has come to light that Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s US Army colleagues reported some of his radical behavior which included proselytizing his patients about Islam and giving a presentation in which he spoke about Muslims in the military having an obligation to wage Jihad against the US. It has also been reported that while he was posted at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Hasan worshipped at the same Mosque, with the same radical Yemeni born imam as two of the 9/11 hijackers and that he attempted contact Al-Qaeda on as many as 20 occasions. The warning signs were there, but nothing was done. This terrorist attack on soldiers at the largest US military post in the world, and make no mistake about it that’s what it was, could have been prevented. But due to political correctness and the fear of reprisal from their superiors, many officers felt that they couldn’t report him for fear that they would be the ones that would be disciplined for religious intolerance. That same PC, bullshit is what has prompted the Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey to be more concerned with possible “backlash” against Muslims and “diversity” in the military than they are about making sure that this never happens again. Our community organizer-in-chief, Barack Hussein Obama, has said that we don’t have all the facts and shouldn’t rush to judgement about the motivations of Hasan. This is the same man that a few months back didn’t have all the facts but rushed to say that the Cambridge Police Dept. “acted stupidly” in arresting his Harvard professor friend.

The “lamestream” media, as Bernie Goldberg calls them, have fallen all over themselves to avoid calling Hasan a terrorist. They prefer to explain away his behavior as the act of a lone lunatic, or a man that was driven to his rampage by anti-Muslim taunting or most ludicrous of all, that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he apparently caught while counseling soldiers, not that had returned from combat, but that were preparing to deploy. This is the kind of politically correct insanity that has allowed a radical Islamic-Jihadist to continue to not only be in the United States Army counseling our brave soldiers, but to be promoted, transferred and set to deploy overseas to counsel soldiers that have been in combat as well.

Now, in what is perhaps the ultimate politically correct move this administration has made to date, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that Kalid Sheikh Mohammed and 4 other 9/11 terrorist-conspirators will be tried not in military tribunals, but in federal civilian courts in New York City. I was looking for the words to express just how dangerous this decision is, but Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan’s 11th Congressional District said it better than I ever could, “The War for Freedom against terrorism is a martial matter, not a criminal matter. It is wrong for this administration to care more about the A.C.L.U.'S radical ideology than about Americans' national security." I couldn’t agree more. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001 were acts of war and those that planned and conspired to carry out those attacks are war criminals that should be dealt with in military tribunals, not in civilian courts.

How high does the body count have to go before the American People, the United States Military and our alleged political leaders wake up and say “enough”? We are in a war with radical Muslim extremists who have made no secret about their intentions to kill us because in their eyes we are infidels and must either convert or be eradicated. They can’t be counseled to stop. They can’t be convinced to stop. And in addition, we don’t do the moderate Muslims that don’t mean us harm any favors when we try to rationalize the actions of the extremists.
Those in the military, the media, the Congress and the White House that refuse to acknowledge evil, endanger us all and must be called out. More than eight years after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, DC if we haven’t realized who and what the enemy is and that they are evil, I fear for the future of our great nation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hunting Pheasant in the "Hawkeye" State

I traveled to Iowa last weekend to go pheasant hunting with Steve Rathje, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Also slated to join us were retired Generals Tom McInerney, Paul Vallely, Jimmy Cash and Robert Sentman. Unfortunately, Fox News called General McInerney on assignment and General Vallely came down with the flu, so they weren’t able to join us. But the trip was well worth the hours of flying and waiting in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport and the flu I came down with while I was there. Iowa has received record amounts of rain this October and there has been extensive flooding. This has led to the corn and bean crops not being harvested, which made the hunting difficult at best. In fact only Steve's daughter and son-in-law bagged one pheasant each, all day and I never fired a shot.

There were three highlights to my trip that I want to mention. The first was finally meeting Steve Rathje, who is a gracious host and great man. He’s the kind of self-made businessman and conservative that we need in Congress in these troubled times to push back against the liberal agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Steve, his wife Mary, Jill Petrzelka, her husband Tom and everyone else involved made me feel very welcome and I thank them for their hospitality.

The second highlight was attending an event that Steve organized, to honor WWII veterans with plaques that recognize their service to our nation. Generals Cash and Sentman presented the plaques to the vets or their family members and I felt honored to be present at this heartwarming ceremony. The recipients don’t consider themselves to be heroes and certainly didn’t go to war to receive accolades. But that’s what makes someone a hero, putting aside fear and personal safety to serve and protect freedom, whatever the personal sacrifice. Steve Rathje intends to continue to find every WWII veteran in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and honor him or her in the same way, until he’s recognized them all. I salute him and General Sentman for continuing this truly worthy endeavor.

The third highlight of my excursion was getting to meet and talk with retired U.S.A.F. Brigadier General Jimmy Cash. It was a great and unique opportunity to speak about politics and the military with a man who has flown fighters from Vietnam up until the 1980’s. We talked about his time as the commander of an F-15 wing during the Carter Administration and how due to military spending cuts of that time, his wing had to cannibalize parts from some planes in order to keep the rest of the wing flying. He believes, as do I, that our military is about to face the same challenges today under the Obama Administration, only on a larger and much more dangerous scale, since today we’re fighting two foreign wars and we're being challenged by Iran and North Korea. We also had a great discussion about the F-22 fighter and Congress’ decision to cut the Air Force’s order down at a time when the Russians are selling their new S-300 surface to air missile system to our adversaries in Venezuela and Iran. The only fighter in the world that can defeat this new and very sophisticated missile system is the F-22, with it’s stealth capabilities. It is the upcoming deployment of this system in Iran that will determine the timetable for Israel’s anticipated strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, since Israel doesn’t possess stealth aircraft. I should also mention that my discussion with General Cash has led to his endorsement of Edward Lynch for Congress in Florida’s 19th Congressional District and his agreeing to be our guest here on Conservative Republican Forum early next year.

I want to say that everyone I met on my trip to the “Hawkeye State” was great. I’ve made a whole host of new conservative friends and I hope to visit with Steve Rathje and company again soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conservatives are taking back the Republican Party

They may not have realized it yet, but many of the so-called "leaders" of the Republican Party have rendered themselves irrelevant. Whether it's RNC chair Michael Steele, National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. John Cornyn or one of the many state and county Party leaders that think they know better than the rank-and-file who should represent them, these alleged leaders have yet to get the message. Republicans want their party to get back to it's core principles and want candidates that represent those principles. But a harsh wake up call is coming for them and the Democrats in Washington, DC too.

When Florida's RINO governor Charlie Crist announced he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez, it took no time for the NRSC to endorse him. That was followed by Florida's Party chairman, Jim Greer (handpicked by Crist) attempting to stifle any potential primary opponents by invoking RNC Rule 11, which would have allowed the RPOF to endorse Crist in the primary and use RPOF resources to win the primary. This would have resulted in the rank-and-file members of the Party having no input on our nominee. It would have resulted in conservatives being bypassed and yet another "moderate" Republican joining the ranks of Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham in the U.S. Senate. Fortunately this atrocity was prevented by one woman: Florida State Committeewoman and RNC Secretary, Sharon Day. Her efforts have allowed Marco Rubio to run against Crist and promote the conservative principles that GOP voters so desperately want.

Conservatives nationwide are taking back the Republican Party one district at a time. Grassroots campaigns are bringing ordinary people into politics for the first time and propelling them to do the extraordinary, to defeat incumbents from both sides of the aisle and defy the party machine that many feel has betrayed them. I see it everyday when I read the posts of my friends on Facebook and the headlines in the news. The most visible example of this phenomenon is the race in NY CD-23 where conservative candidate Doug Hoffman is overtaking his GOP opponent and has garnered the endorsements of prominent Republicans like Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Fred Thompson. But there are also independent candidates running all over the nation for everything from school board to the US Senate. In Connecticut for example Vincent Forras is running for the Senate as an independent-conservative candidate against Chris Dodd.

The next major test for conservatives and the GOP will be in February or March of 2010, here in South Florida's 19th Congressional District where Republican candidate Edward Lynch will be running in a special election. With the resignation of the Democrat incumbent, who has essentially picked his successor, this race should draw national attention.

Many observers think that this is an easy win for the Democrats, after all it is a heavily Democrat district, but they're missing the big picture. While the Democrat, Deutsch, is technically not an incumbent, he is a current state senator and a supporter of the same unpopular policies as his predecessor and President Obama. In addition the incumbent, Robert Wexler, resigned under a cloud of ethical and criminal allegations which may stain Deutsch as well.

The Democrats will pull out all the stops to keep District 19 from falling to the GOP. There are already rumors that Obama will come to campaign for this seat. But as we've seen in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races Obama can stump for a candidate 3 or 4 times and still not turn the tide.

This is still a center-right country and even in a blue district, voters don't necessarily vote for tax and spend liberals that are weak on national defense and illegal-immigration. The ground swell of support for the conservative-Republican, Edward Lynch is amazing and bodes well for the future not just of this race, but of all the races in the 2010 election cycle. Lynch is a businessman who has never held political office. He is the kind of candidate that will flourish at this time in history.

Many voters are more conservative than they realize. This is evidenced by the fact that when our local GOP congressional candidates speak to the public, without mentioning their party affiliation, people agree with what they're saying, but have to ask what party they belong to.

Conservatives are taking back the Republican Party, across the nation, one district and one election at a time. If Michael Steele and the other "leaders" of the GOP don't get that message, they'll be left behind.


Young Republicans have huge stake in healthcare debate

As the debate over the Reid/Pelosi/Obama government-run healthcare program has raged all summer and into the fall, the demographic group that has been most engaged and targeted has been the elderly. Medicare recipients have been rightly concerned about how the Democrat's plan would affect them. We all know that Obama has promised to cut $500 billion in "fraud and waste" from Medicare to pay for his plan. Of course this is ridiculous on it's face. If there is in fact that much fraud and waste in Medicare, then logically that money should be used to prevent the program from going bankrupt. If the government is actually capable of doing away with all this fraud and waste, then why haven't they done it yet? The truth is the $500 billion will be cut by reducing reimbursements to doctors and other providers. The result of this will be less doctors and facilities that are willing to accept Medicare and in turn rationing of care.

What has been largely missing from the discussion has been what the impact of this legislation will be on young people. As the Democrat's plans currently read, everyone will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. In addition, a mere catastrophic coverage plan won't be adequate to meet the government mandate. The result of this requirement will be that the young and presumably healthy will be required to pay for the care of those of us that are between the ages of 35 and 55.

Young Republicans and independents have a huge stake in the healthcare debate, but have been ignored completely. We're talking about people just starting out in their adult lives. These are young people working at what may be their first, entry level jobs. Many may be saddled with student loans and be on tight budgets. Shouldn't they have the freedom to choose not to purchase health insurance, that they likely won't make much use of, so that they can balance their household budgets? What about the young Democrats? Rumor has it that they want their "free" healthcare and they want it now. So grandma and grandpa, kiss your Medicare goodbye. Shortsighted? You betcha! So it falls to young GOP and independent voters to take a stand. They need to ask their senators and representatives, "Where in the Constitution does it grant the Federal Government the power to mandate that citizens purchase healthcare insurance?" This mandate may require young Americans to pay up to $1000 a year if they choose not to purchase insurance. Does that sound like a "tax" on people earning less than $250,000 a year to you?

We have conservative candidates here in South Florida that will oppose the mutual agenda of Reid, Pelosi and Obama. Marco Rubio, Allen West, Robert Lowry and Edward Lynch, to name just a few, are all conservative candidates that know there are better ways to fix our healthcare insurance problems, without destroying the best healthcare system in the world. Young Republicans need to get engaged and support these candidates. The stakes for young adults are at least as great as for the elderly, probably even greater.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Broward and Palm Beach RECs back conservative candidates in 2010.









Last night I attended my first meeting of the Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC). As a member of the Palm Beach REC I was interested to see the way another county ran their meetings. In addition I attended the meeting as a member of the Lynch for Congress campaign and because former Speaker of the Florida House and current U.S. Senate candidate, Marco Rubio was scheduled to speak to the group in advance of their straw poll.

The meeting started on time and there were approximately 400 people in attendance. Based on what people that attend BREC meetings regularly said, I'd estimate that about half the crowd was present specifically to hear Marco speak. Rubio spoke for about 10-12 minutes, talking about the conservative principles that the GOP needs to get back to if we're going to be successful in taking back the U.S. House and Senate in 2010. He was very well received and got several standing ovations. I was disappointed that he didn't speak longer or take any questions from the group. I learned later that Marco had been asked to limit his remarks and not take questions due to the long list of agenda items on the BREC schedule.

After Marco Rubio finished speaking he slipped out a side door and took time to speak with supporters, shake hands, take pictures and speak to the media. He was very generous with his time and patiently listened to and answered every question in his usual common sense way. Having interviewed Marco on my BlogTalkRadio.com Internet radio show; Conservative Republican Forum and spoken to him on the phone, I was pleased to finally get to meet him in person and shake his hand.

The next speaker at the BREC meeting was candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida CD-19, Edward Lynch. Ed is a true conservative, a businessman and a tireless fighter. He is the GOP frontrunner for the nomination and ran against Robert Wexler in the 2008 election. Ed gave one of his usual fiery speeches and showed why he's the man to beat in this race. The crowd responded very favorably to his remarks.

Edward Lynch and his campaign team have been working and fighting to defeat Robert Wexler for two years. Their efforts achieved what we all wanted, Wexler has resigned. Now we have a special election (probably in February or March) against Florida State Senator Ted Deutsch and we have GOP latecomers to the race trying, not just to follow the trail that the Lynch Campaign has blazed, but trying to take credit for Wexler's resignation.

One thing that both the Palm Beach and Broward RECs have in common is that our members recognize we're in an uphill battle in District 19, two-thirds of which is in Palm Beach County with the remaining third in Broward County. The Democrats are smart enough to avoid a contentious special primary. The Democrats outnumber the GOP in Florida Congressional District 19, a contentious special primary will not lead us to victory.

It's time for the Republican Party to come together behind Edward Lynch in the special election. If Joe Budd and Curt Price want to run against Lynch in the November general election, they should do that. But to waste money and resources in a special election primary would be folly. Ed Lynch is the GOP frontrunner because he's earned that position. Ed may have opponents, but he has no rivals!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Palm Beach County Straw Poll Was Never In Doubt










The winner of the Palm Beach County REC straw poll was never in doubt. The vote took place on Wed. Oct. 14 but you could see what the results were going to be 2 months ago.

The results: Marco Rubio 90, Crist 17, Bob Smith 11, Marion Thorpe 4.

At the August meeting of the PBC REC Crist narrowly avoided censure, by just one vote. Even those that argued against censure were not fans of Governor Crist. I myself argued that while I was unhappy with Crist's performance as Florida's Governor and as the "leader" of the State Party, censure was an inappropriate solution to a political disagreement. I thought that the straw poll was the place to express my displeasure with our small "r" republican governor. RPOF Chairman Greer and Crist are seeing the one-sided results of the 9 straw polls that have now been held. But for some reason, like many establishment politicians, they aren't getting the message that the base of the Party is sending. Maybe when Charlie loses straw polls in Broward and Pinellas he'll see the light. What he ought to do is withdraw from the Senate race and go back to finishing his term as governor and then run for reelection. He needs to support actively and wholeheartedly our congressional nominees in all districts. He also needs to back the Party's nominee for US Senate. As the man whose face graces the RPOF membership card, I'd say Governor Crist sees himself as the leader of the State GOP. If that's the case, he needs to act the part. Only then can Crist run for higher office with grassroots support.

This could be a rare case of a situation where the person running for higher office will be dependent on the results of local races for their future success. The Governor could find that his fortunes could hinge on the success or failure of a handful of Florida's US House candidates. People like Robert Lowry, Allen West and Edward Lynch may hold Charlie Crist's political fate in their hands.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wexler to Resign.

Congressman Robert Wexler (D) FL-19 will hold a news conference tomorrow to announce he is stepping down from the House seat he's held for 17 years. His top opponent, Republican candidate Edward Lynch will hold a news conference immediately after Wexler's. Wexler is expect to say he's resigning to take a job with the United States Agency for International Development. It's more likely that he's resigning due to a federal investigation into his campaign finances and questions regarding Wexler's residency, or lack thereof, in Florida. Governor Charlie Crist will have to call for a special election to fill the seat here in Palm Beach County.

Stay tuned for more as it develops!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

If Obama Was Noble He'd Have Declined The Nobel.

Yesterday much of the world was shocked and astounded when the Nobel Foundation awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the sitting President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. The Foundation gave the award to Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". It should be noted that President Obama was nominated for this award only 12 days after he took office in January of this year. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that people on both sides of the political spectrum were shocked that he had won. Even liberals had to admit that Obama had won the award for not being George W. Bush. As author and columnist S.E. Cupp Tweeted yesterday, “I've literally done JUST as much for world peace as Barack Obama. Which is nothing. But I ain't got no stinking Nobel Peace Prize.” Just what exactly had President Obama done 12 days into his presidency to deserve this nomination? For that matter, what has he done to date to deserve it?

To be sure our president has given many speeches talking about peace. For instance, he’s talked about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which apparently will be achieved by the Israelis surrendering land to the Palestinians that would literally cut their nation in half to give the Palestinians a contiguous state and by the Israelis ceasing the building of settlements, all while they continue to absorb rocket attacks from land in Gaza that they already surrendered in the name of peace. President Obama also gave a long and apologetic speech in Cairo where he equated the plight of the Palestinians that have been displaced to the Holocaust of 6 million Jews during WWII and attempted to rewrite world history. He apologized for every wrong the United States has committed, real or imagined, for the last 60 years. He then proceeded to absolve Arabs and Muslims of any wrong doing, even against their own people, especially against women and Christians. The president most recently spoke at the United Nations, both at the General Assembly and the Security Council, where in the most pompous and na├»ve terms, he expounded on world peace, nuclear disarmament, adherence to International Law and how his election as President of the United States was somehow supposed to bring all this about.

Meanwhile, North Korea continues to test short and medium range ballistic missiles, ignoring international law and sanctions. Iran continues to test it’s ballistic missiles and build it’s nuclear program as well, even getting caught with a second covert nuclear facility. The Taliban is resurgent and Obama waffles on just what his strategy and tactics will be in Afghanistan. His handpicked general, General Stanley McChrystal had to mention on 60 Minutes that he’d only spoken to the Commander-in-Chief once in the past 70 days and leak his assessment and request for 40,000 additional troops in order to get 25 whole minutes of face time with Obama. This only occurred because the president was on route to Copenhagen to shill for the 2016 Olympics to be in Chicago, an effort that was a failure and diminished the office of the President of the United States. This 25-minute meeting, by most accounts, wasn’t even a discussion of General McChrystal’s assessment and troop request. Instead, it was Obama dressing down his field commander for embarrassing him the media. It wasn’t until Obama returned from his Olympic defeat that he finally began to address the Afghan situation. And what came out of a week of discussions with his War Council that included VP Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates, National Security Advisor Jones, CIA Chief Panetta, General Petreaus and General McChrystal? No decision on troops, tactics or strategy, but we did get a statement that the President was willing to accept limited Taliban participation in the Afghan Government. So I guess the women of Afghanistan won’t be expecting much peace. If the Taliban is allowed to run portions of Afghanistan and reinstate Sharia Law, women will be banned from going to school and will be subjected to stoning for myriad offenses. Doesn’t that seem like an award winning policy to you?

In doing some research into the past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, I came to the conclusion that it is often times an award given for good intentions, or to make political statements. To be sure there have been extremely worthy recipients. Most notably: President Theodore Roosevelt for negotiating the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty, the Committee of the International Red Cross, Albert Schweitzer, George Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Weisel, Mother Teresa, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin.

But the award has also been bestowed on such dubious winners as: Woodrow Wilson who created the worthless League of Nations and helped negotiate the Treaty of Versailles. The League failed to prevent Japanese Expansion or atrocities in China and the Treaty of Versailles with it’s punitive penalties against Germany is widely credited with helping to facilitate the rise of Adolf Hitler to power. In more recent years, the award was given to such people as Yassar Arafat, who was a terrorist responsible for the murders of untold numbers of Israelis and Americans and was likely responsible for the assassination of Anwar Saddat. It was also awarded to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who presided during the Oil for Food scandal and the continuing genocide in Darfur. It was also awarded to former-President Jimmy Carter, one of our worst presidents and an anti-Semite and of course to former-Vice President Al Gore for making a propaganda film about man-made Global Warming that was so fraught with inaccuracies and factual omissions that a British court ruled it couldn’t be shown to school children without factual corrections and counter arguments being included.

President Obama said he was surprised and deeply humbled by the award. But apparently he believes he should accept the award, as he will be making yet another international trip at taxpayer expense, to Olso on December 10th to accept the Prize and the $1.4 million dollars, which he says will be donated to charity. I guess the best we can hope for is that he doesn’t donate it to ACORN.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"O" Can Blame it on Rio.

On Thursday the triple O’threat of Oprah, Michelle Obama and the “One” Barack Obama jetted to Copenhagen, Denmark to try to charm the International Olympic Committee into giving the 2016 Games to the O’Trio’s home town of Chicago, Illinois. Oprah and Michelle wined and dined the committee members and later the President arrived to make his pitch. Michelle made a heartfelt speech in which she said, "Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad's lap, cheering on Olga and Nadia, Carl Lewis and others for their brilliance and perfection…” Of course when Carl Lewis participated in the Olympics the First Lady was in her 20’s, but we’ll let that pass. Maybe her dad's lap was bigger than we think. But most of her speech, like that of her husband’s, which followed hers, was about her. She said “I” this, "me" that and “my” that over and over, making the proposed Chicago Olympics not about the City of Chicago, or it’s people, but about the Obamas. Whether this obsessive self-centered diatribe was intentional or just a natural inclination of the Obamas I can’t say for certain, but it was ironically correct. Had the Windy City received the nod from the IOC it wouldn’t have been the taxpayers of Chicago that would have profited. No, from the beginning, the winners of Chicago 2016 would have been the Obamas and their cronies. The Obamas would have had a moral and political victory while Mayor Daley, Valerie Jarrett, their real estate developer friends and scores of others in the Chicago Democrat machine would have been the ones to make big money, while the taxpayers of Chicago got soaked for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Historically, most cities that host the Olympic games lose money. Sydney, Australia and Atlanta, Georgia are just two recent cities that lost millions all for the “prestige” of hosting the vaunted international competitions. Calgary, Canada where the 2010 Winter Games are to be held, is already deep in the financial hole and has used up 98% of it’s reserve fund with months yet to go before the games begin.

Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley originally said that taxpayers wouldn’t have to foot the bill for the Games. Then he amended that a bit and said that Chicago’s taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for them. That was an interesting change in phrasing since, according to reporting by Michelle Malkin, Valerie Jarrett (also known as Obama’s other brain) who was the unofficial White House Olympic Czar, had already arranged a meeting for herself and Chicago 2016 committee member Lori Healey with the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to arrange HUD loans for the construction of the Olympic Village. So it seems that, in fact, the American Taxpayers (including those in Chicago) would have been stuck paying for at least a portion of the Chicago Olympics, had they come to pass. Also of note is that Valerie Jarrett may not have completely divested herself of her shares in Habitat Company, a development company that was bidding to build the Olympic Village.

In the end, the International Olympic Committee dropped Chicago in the first round of the final four, much to the shock and dismay of the O’Trio and their followers. In the aftermath of the defeat President Obama, his ego bruised, congratulated the winning city of Rio DeJaneiro and tried to get back to pushing his healthcare agenda on the nation. He and his fringe media allies, completely ignored the fact that he had spent millions of US Taxpayer dollars to fly to Copenhagen to lobby the IOC, something no American President had done before. He and they dismissed the fact that at a time when we’re fighting two wars, unemployment is nearing 10% nationally, the economy is in trouble and his healthcare plan is on life support, he dropped everything to shill for his adopted hometown and his political cronies. But others like US Senator Rowland Burris (D) IL, appointed by disgraced ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill Obama’s vacated seat, rather than criticize Obama for wasting time and diminishing the prestige of the presidency, blamed former President George W. Bush for Chicago’s defeat. He indicated that Bush had hurt the image of the United States in the international community and that that ultimately was what caused the IOC to vote against Chicago.

I look at it a bit differently. I tend to agree with Rush Limbaugh, who remarked that perhaps it was President Obama’s “apology tour” that hurt Chicago’s chances. After all, Obama spent the past 9 months telling the world what a terrible and arrogant nation we are. Why would the IOC want to grant what they consider to be an honor on such an "unworthy" country? They probably decided that if they were going to let a city that's riddled with crime and corruption host the Games, they might as well give to Rio DeJaneiro, a city in South America where the Olympics have never been held. To quote the title of a mediocre Michael Caine movie, “Blame it on Rio”.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who Believes in the Obama?


Who still believes in Barack Obama as a leader? That's really the key question 10 months into the presidency of this community organizer, who's never held a real job or run a business. From what I can tell those that still believe in Obama are the elite media, Democrats (those that hate G.W. Bush and those that are so far left they think Hugo Chavez is a moderate) and the Kool-Aid drinkers that just don't know any better.

With his healthcare "reform" on life support and his "cap and tax" bill on the back burner, the president turned his attention to an elite media blitz. He spent Sunday Morning doing interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and UniVision. The interviews were mostly unremarkable, in that the hosts (I dare not call them journalists, lest I insult true journalists) asked the Community Organizer-in-Chief softball questions. Even when George Stephanopoulos did ask Obama about the ACORN scandal, he let the president off the hook after Obama claimed not to know about all the money ACORN was receiving from the American Taxpayers. This Sunday Morning liberal lovefest was followed on Monday by an appearance on 'Late Night with David Letterman'. Once again Obama yucked it up, playing the rockstar and abandoning all semblance of being presidential. All of this face time was intended to convince the American people of how wrong we are about Obama's healthcare agenda and the rest of his misguided ideas and how wonderful he's supposed to be. The polls would indicate that he failed miserably on both counts, again. The elite media may believe in Obama, but rather than helping him change our minds about the Prez, they've only reduced their own relevance.

The Democrats, and I should specify that I mean Democrat politicians, still believe in Obama either because they share his left-wing agenda or because they have little choice. Their political futures are irrevocably tied to his now and his to theirs. Except for the rare animal known as "Blue Dog" Democrats, the Dems in Congress are hell bent on achieving their agenda while they still control both the Senate and House of Representatives. They know that the majority of the voters don't want what they're peddling, but they intend to force it through, even if it means they lose effective control in the 2010 mid-term elections. They've abandoned the moderates in their party who spent August having HR 3200 quoted to them by angry voters that have made it clear that any member of Congress foolish enough to vote with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will be unseated next year. Already Harry Reid and Chris Dodd are down in the polls and many expect them to lose their senate seats. Other true believers like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank are in safe districts and feel invincible. They don't care that independents, moderate Democrats, conservatives and Republicans, even those that are their constituents, consider them out of the mainstream. They're going to take advantage of having a naive, young president that shares their liberal agenda. This is the opportunity that they've been waiting for, and they're not going to let it pass.

The Kool-Aid drinkers fall into two categories, those that drink it by choice and those that don't even know they're drinking it. The first, are the Bush haters, the America haters and the self-hating liberals that are guilty that they're successful, while others are not. These people are beyond reason and won't realize that Obama isn't the "One" until the nation collapses into bankruptcy or is attacked 9/11 style, and probably not even then.
Those that don't even know they're drinking the Kool-Aid are the people that watch the aforementioned elite media and believe what they're told to believe. They're told the economy is improving, so they believe it. They're told that Obama's "stimulus" improved the economy, so they believe it. They won't believe that Obama is a failed president until the elite media tell them he has.

So who believes in Obama's leadership 10 months into a presidency marked by failure and denial? The lying enablers in the elite media, the lying enablers in the Congress and the guilty and oblivious in the general public. All of them, for one reason or another, need to believe in him. To stop believing in Obama would somehow mean admitting that everything they believe in is wrong. Of course, that isn't true. Obama is after all, just a community organizer, an average politician and an average orator. It's not Obama they believe in, it's the idea of Obama they believe in. He is a creation of people like David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama. He's been packaged and marketed, like any product that people buy. The trick is to convince them to stop buying.


Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th, 2001: Eight Years Later, What Have We Learned?






The morning of September 11th, 2001 was a bright, sunny, crystal clear one. I was living in Fresh Meadows, NY about 17 miles from the World Trade Center in the Borough of Queens. I was working from home at the time, I got up and went to my desk, turned on the TV to Fox News with the sound off as I usually did and started to check my email. Not long after I sat down, I noticed that on the television was the World Trade Center with smoke billowing from the North Tower. The caption said something to the affect of “small plane hits WTC”. I turned the sound up and the anchor repeated that early reports were that a small plane had struck the tower. My initial reaction was that the damage to the building was too severe, and the amount of smoke and fire too great, for it to be just a Cessna or other small plane. At the same time, I wondered how any plane could have accidentally hit the WTC on such a clear day. Soon the news indicated that a commercial jet had struck the tower. This only made me wonder more how this could have occurred. After all, a commercial plane has two pilots and collision avoidance systems. As I and the TV anchor were pondering the same question, our answer came in the form of a silver jetliner which appeared from the right of the screen, disappeared behind the towers, then reappeared to the left, turning and crashing headlong into the South Tower bursting into a fireball, leaving the building scarred and burning. At that moment it became apparent that this was a terrorist attack.

Part of me was waiting for the anchor to say that what were watching wasn’t real, that it was part of some simulation or a scene out of some apocalyptic Hollywood movie. Even sitting there watching it unfold it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that someone would use commercial planes, loaded with passengers, as guided missiles and crash them into buildings filled with even more innocent people.

Soon my thoughts turned to my brother-in-law, Eric, who worked at the World Trade Center. I knew he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, but I wasn’t sure which tower or what floor. I called my sister to see if she was watching and if she’d heard from Eric. She told me she was watching but hadn’t heard from him and that she wanted to leave the line clear, in case he called. I told her I loved her and hung up, hoping she’d soon be calling to tell me that Eric was okay. Unfortunately, that was a call that never came.

As I turned my attention back to the news the next thought that occurred to me was, were there more planes? I didn’t have to wait long for my answer. Soon I was learning of the attack on the Pentagon and of a plane going down in a little town called Schnecksville, PA. Only later did we all learn of the heroics of the passengers of United Flight 93 and how they’d stormed the cockpit, forcing the plane down in an empty field, rather than allow it to be used as a weapon.

I continued to watch the unbelievable and horrific sights unfold before my eyes. People jumping from the towers, making the decision that it was better to make a leap of faith than to burn or suffocate in the heat and choking smoke of the uncontrolled fires that burned in both the North and South Towers. Those are images that will be with me always. As will the first of two sounds I’ll never forget. One intrepid cameraman had made his way to the courtyard between the two towers. As he moved along, I could periodically hear what could only be described as sickening thuds. These were the sounds of the people that had jumped impacting the ground at terminal velocity.

I began to wonder as I looked at the fire and the physical damage to the buildings, how long could the damaged areas of the towers support the weight of the floors above them? Again my unspoken question was answered with the unimaginable. The South Tower, which had been struck second, collapsed in a shower of steel and concrete, creating a cloud of dust and debris that seemed to chase the people in the streets forever. When the dust finally cleared and some of the reporters nearest the scene came back on the air with pictures of crushed vehicles and people covered in grey dust, looking like stunned zombies, the second sound I’ll never forget could be heard. It was a chorus of electronic chirping sounds. The sounds of hundreds of FDNY distress beacons chirping in unison. After that, it seemed inevitable that the North Tower would soon collapse too. And yet, when it did, I was still taken by surprise. Once again the same scene that had played out with the previous tower did so again, there was a loud rumble, a shower of debris, a dust cloud, then the silence and the chirping.

I can remember all these things vividly even today 8 years later. I can remember the anguish, the numbness, the helplessness, the anger and the disbelief. All these feelings stayed with all of us for the days and weeks that followed. Even as we held a memorial service for my brother-in-law, whose body was recovered only a few days later, all these feelings, especially the anguish, numbness and anger seemed to be all I could feel. There was no humor, no laughter, it seemed that we would never smile or laugh again. It wasn’t just the loss of Eric and the nearly 3,000 others; it was the pain for my sister, who had lost her husband and my nephew, who wasn’t even 2 years old yet, who had lost a father he’d never know. It was for all the families whose fathers; mothers, sisters and brothers would never be coming home.

It’s been eight short years since that day that changed everything. My sister and nephew moved to Florida shortly after to be close to my parents. My wife and I followed a year later and we’ve all done our best to move on with our lives. But the truth is, 9/11 is with my family and me everyday. We don’t dwell on it or weep everyday. We don’t watch the towers fall on video endlessly. But there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remember it. My sister and my nephew live with the consequences of it everyday. My politics and attitudes about many things have been shaped by the events of 9/11. I find that I’m much more patriotic and more politically active than I was before we were attacked. I’ve found a new respect for firefighters, police officers, our military and the members of our intelligence community. All these people put their lives on the line everyday to try to ensure our safety. They run towards danger when ordinary citizens are running away.
The thing that angers me now isn’t that we haven’t captured or killed Osama Bin Laden, though I wish we had. No, what gets me angry nowadays is the fact that so many in the public and the government have become apathetic again so soon. Many that didn’t lose someone on 9/11 seem to think the War on Terrorism isn’t that important and worry more about Enhanced Interrogation Techniques causing Kalid Sheikh Mohammed some discomfort, than the safety of the CIA agents that used those techniques to prevent another terrorist attack on our nation. Many in the government seem more interested in prosecuting our soldiers and intelligence officers than in keeping the American People safe. There is this notion that we need to use gentler methods, so that our enemies won’t hate us, or so that our soldiers will be treated properly if they’re captured, as though Al-Qaeda won’t behead an American soldier if we follow the Army Field Manual. I don’t understand that mentality. It seems to defy logic. In just the last few days a picture of a very healthy looking Kalid Sheikh Mohammed, taken by the Red Cross, has found it’s way onto Al-Qaeda websites, where it’s being used for recruitment purposes. He doesn’t look like he’s been tortured or mistreated. He looks ready to kill again. At the same time a group calling itself the John Adams Project has been taking pictures of CIA agents and showing them to terrorist detainees, endangering the lives of the agents that are trying to protect us. I keep waiting for our president to denounce these actions, but he remains silent. I’m afraid that our leaders haven’t learned a thing and I’m afraid we’re doomed to be taught the lesson of September 11th, 2001 all over again.