Now it wouldn't be Memorial Day Weekend in DC without Rolling Thunder. It started out as way to keep MIA/POW from Vietnam in mind, but it has since morphed into a tribute to all that served and gave all.
There is a group that I wanted to pay tribute to this weekend as well. The fallen of 9/11. Virtually none of them thought they were going off to war that day, but they did, and not all made it home.
I knew someone killed that day, we only knew each other socially, but I still think of her and saw her name today.
Libertycentral.org is the organization that was started by Ginni Thomas; wife of Justice Thomas. You will find some great resources, such as, how contact your representatives, times and locations of town hall meetings, videos on limited government and more.
Friday night I attended a get together, called Politics and Pizza. We get together once a month and discuss aspects of the constitution and different topics that are top of the news. The head of the group has been inspired to do this by Ginni Thomas. And they have Herman Cain making the introduction, what can be better than that?
We need to continue not only educate ourselves on the constitution, but we need to get others engaged as well. Take a look at the website, I think you find the resources very helpful.
Congresswoman Bachmann put in a bill to freeze the automatic pay raise for the government employees, as this is what is voted on for last week's You Cut program. Of course the vote failed. Listen to Bachmann's response.
Hillary really needs to take a look at the actual numbers.
I have an idea, she and Slick Willy have made a small fortune since he has left office, so why don't they not use any of the write offs that lower their taxable income. That way, she can pay her fair share. Oh, while they are at it, maybe they can help out their neice that is on public assistance. That will save some tax payer dollars as well.
Protecting our borders is the job of the federal government, it is about time that they start doing it. Stop playing political games and fix this problem before we have another 9/11. People will be much more apt to accept a worker's program if we know that our borders are secure.
As part of his budget, President Obama proposed providing federal civilian employees with a 1.4% pay raise next year. This year Federal employees received a 2% raise and since the year 2000 have received raises averaging 3.6% a year. USA Today recently reported that the typical federal worker is paid 20% more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation (median salary). This doesn’t include the value of benefits like health care and retirement. This proposal would expand upon the just enacted legislation to prevent Members of Congress from receiving a pay raise. This proposal would not impact the scheduled 1.4% pay raise for those in the military.
Refocus National Archives Activities On Preserving Federal Records
$10 million in Savings in the First Year
($100 Million Over Ten Years)
The National Archives and Records Administration and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission are charged with managing Federal records. However, they also spend approximately $10 million a year on grants for state and local governments, universities and other institutions to preserve and publish non-Federal records. While a worthwhile goal, the federal government also spends $167.5 million a year on the National Endowment for the Humanities and $282 million for the Institute for Museum and Library Services which can and sometimes do fund projects towards similar ends. Refocusing the National Archives on its core mission of preserving Federal records would save taxpayers $10 million next year and $100 million over ten years.
Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Savings estimated at $30 billion.
Since taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored mortgage-backing companies, taxpayers have injected over $145 billion into the two companies. Yet Congress still has not considered proposals to reform these companies and recoup taxpayer funds. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that absent reform, costs to taxpayer will continue to grow. Taking action to reform these companies now (as opposed to delaying action as some have proposed) by ending their government conservatorship, shrinking their portfolios, establishing minimum capital standards, and bringing transparency to taxpayer exposure could generate savings of up to an estimated $30 billion.
Terminate Broadcasting Facility Grant Programs that Have Completed their Mission
$25 million in Savings in the First Year
($250 million Over Ten Years)
In his most recent budget, President Obama proposed terminating the Public Broadcasting Grants at the Department of Agriculture and the Public Telecommunications Facilities Grants Program at the Department of Commerce. The president's budget justified terminating these programs, noting that: "Since 2004, the USDA Public Broadcasting Grants program has provided grants to support rural public television stations’ conversion to digital broadcasting. Digital conversion efforts mandated by the Federal Communications Commission are now largely complete, and there is no further need for this program." ...additionally: "Since 2000, most PTFP awards have supported public television stations' conversion to digital broadcasting. The digital television transition was completed in 2009, and there is no further need for DOC’s program."
Reduce Spending on Non-Essential and Questionable Research
$3.8 Million in Savings in the First Year
Since passage of the stimulus bill in February of 2009, watchdogs and media outlets have identified countless examples of wasteful, unnecessarily duplicative, and outrageous expenditures. Unfortunately, most of these expenditures only come to light after the money has been spent. This is particularly true in the area of research grants. Examples of grants made with stimulus funds about which questions have been raised after the grant was awarded include: a study on why young adults use malt liquor and marijuana in combination ($389,357); the impact of alcohol on the “hookup” behavior of female college coeds ($219,000); studying whether mice become disoriented when they consume alcohol ($8,408); developing a program for "machine-generated humor" ($712,883); studying methamphetamines and the female rat sex drive ($28,900); studying the tension between privacy and features in online social networks like Facebook ($498,000); testing how to control private home appliances in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts from an off-site computer ($787,250); developing the next generation of football gloves ($150,000); examining the division of labor in ant colonies ($950,000); and studying the Icelandic Arctic environment in the Viking Age ($94,902). While we cannot recapture money that has already been spent, this proposal would reduce funding dollar-for-dollar at each agency that approved the grants described above.
Consolidate and Reduce Funding for Federal Advisory Committees
$34 million in Savings in the First Year
($170 Million Over Five Years)
In 2008, the Federal government spent $342 million on 917 active Federal Advisory Committees. These committees had nearly 64,000 total members. Many of these committees are duplicative. For example, the National Endowment for the Arts spent $1.3 million on two separate advisory panels, both of which makes recommendations to the NEA chairman. At the U.S. Geological Survey, the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee actually recommended the creation of the National Earthquake Prediction Council. Now taxpayers fund both committees at a cost of nearly $200,000 a year. These earthquake committees are in addition to a third committee run by the Department of Commerce that costs taxpayers another $43,000. In 2005, the Department of Interior even created an advisory committee to advise it on dog management at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Three years later, this committee cost taxpayers $41,000. Consolidating existing advisory committees and with a goal of reducing overall funding by 10% would save taxpayers $34 million next year and $170 million over five years.
GLENN: We have our first announcement on 8/28, Restoring Honor. I want to tell you the beginnings now of what I have planned in August and you need to start making plans today to attend. In 1780 George Washington developed a badge of merit. It is what our Purple Heart is modeled after. He only awarded, for the records that we have found, he only awarded three of these damages of merit. At the time the world only gave medals and badges and everything else to officers, but he was looking to create in his words an honorable and Christian army. He was looking to build people of integrity, people who understood merit and honor. He said the road to glory in a free country is open to all. It was the first time that anybody had ever done that, looking at the farmer and saying you don't have to be an officer and do something honorable. It was not about the Purple Heart, surprisingly. The Purple Heart was modeled after the badge of merit after they were found in 1933. And that's when we started awarding purple hearts. But it was not for honor. It was just for being wounded. That's not what the badge of merit was under George Washington. He used to keep the names in a book called the book of merit. He talked about it in his writings in 1782. The book has never been found. But the badges have been. We're going to restore honor by restoring the road to glory that in a free country is open to all. We are going to begin awarding badges of merit. We're designing them now and they are — I haven't decided if we're going to make them into actual medals that you would pin on a chest or wear like the medal of honor or if it's just a badge, exactly the way George Washington intended. That's how I'm leaning at this point. But we are collecting some people that you will, you will not believe and I want to introduce them to you and I want to I want you to see the people that are living life today that deserve a badge of merit that are living their life in accordance with just universal principles. Principles and values. So that is going to be the overview of what we're doing there and it will be a chance for your children, if we want to restore the country, if we want to restore honor, then we have to restore faith and principles and find a new George Washington. Maybe it is your child. In the first 15 minutes of Restoring Honor, you will see these people on stage. Jo Dee Messina is going to be playing a miniconcert prior to. She won the CMA Horizon award, she's done, you know, her songs "I'm All Right, Bring on the Rain." She's a great lady, great performer. She's going to be opening up so as people are coming in to the Lincoln Memorial area, she will be performing. In the first 15 minutes of the program Gary Sinise will be joining, Marcus Luttrell will be on stage. We hope to have the largest collection of medal of honor winners that have ever been assembled. Ted Nugent will be there. Let's see. There is somebody else. David Barton there be will be there in the first 15 minutes and to bring on the medal of honor winners along with Gary Sinise will be somebody that I selected that I, not for political reasons at all but because I think she understands duty and honor, I think she understands what it's like the first people that we have to point out before we go into the badge of merit are the people that have done remarkable things in wartime. She has a son who is serving currently. Sarah Palin will also be joining and she's on the phone with us. Hi, Sarah, how are you?
SARAH PALIN: Good morning, Glenn. How are you?
GLENN: Very good. Are you in Alaska?
SARAH PALIN: I am.
GLENN: What is it, like 1:00 a.m. in Alaska? Is it still last night in Alaska?
SARAH PALIN: It feels like it. No, it's about 6:00 a.m. and I just finished up a class with some of my girlfriends and I told them I was on the air with you this morning and these gals were lifting weights and working hard, a couple of them said, you've been sassy lately, and they love it and keep it up.
GLENN: I've been Sassy?
SARAH PALIN: That's what they say.
GLENN: That's what my daughter calls me, she calls me Sassy pants, don't be a Sassy pants, Dad. Sarah, I want to thank you for volunteering to be a part of the and know that we haven't — we've spent some time talking about it but we're going to be doing some more planning here and you are going to be part of the program that is really focused on the troops and how amazing they are. But I just wanted to thank you for being a part of that.
SARAH PALIN: Well, I thank you. I think it's going to be the most inspiring and for me personally the most humbling experience, could be of my lifetime, and I hope we have a million people there to honor our troops. I'm just so absolutely thrilled that you invited me and I wouldn't miss it for the world.
GLENN: Good. Sarah, I want to change the subject here a bit because you wrote me a disturbing e mail a couple of nights ago and it has been really bothering me. I read it to my wife. We were in bed and I said, honey, my gosh, look at this. You had a guy move in next door and I mean, I think I saw — I don't know if it was on the front page of the Drudge Report that I saw. Was that a picture of you or a picture of the deck that he has just rented from your perspective?
SARAH PALIN: It was a picture of the deck about 15 feet away from my kitchen window with him standing overlooking, yeah.
GLENN: Okay. So here's this guy and he's not just some, you know, "Hey, I want to go take a vacation in Alaska." This is a guy who has been hounding you and I mean I think stalking you and writing a book about you.
SARAH PALIN: He's, he's an odd character, yeah. If you look at his history and the things that he's written and the things he's been engaged in but, you know, as they say, fences make for good neighbors and Todd and his buddies started the fence yesterday and it's looking good. It's about 14 feet high and that's what we're going to have to do this summer, I guess.
GLENN: You can't even — you know what? You are lucky you live in Alaska. Zoning laws where I live, I can't even build a fence. You can't build a fence. Because I thought of that, why would I do if somebody, if somebody did that? Did your neighbor know? How did your neighbor who's renting the house rent it to this guy?
SARAH PALIN: We don't know. Todd had been trying to get a hold of her all winter long because the house was vacant, and we were going to rent it or even ask if we could purchase it for fear of something like this happening and couldn't get a hold of the neighbor. And next thing you know, yeah, there were new tenants in it, a new tenant.
GLENN: How long is he going to be there?
SARAH PALIN: He says until at least October. That will — he says he needs that much time to write the book that he's writing about us.
GLENN: That's just, I mean, may I ask you? I mean, I don't know if you heard what I said yesterday on the air, but shame on Random House. And I know a lot of authors at Random House that write great books and just, I'm not going to mention. I won't mention those books anymore because it's just, it's wrong. It's just wrong what they're doing. Do you feel as a woman, do you feel violated?
SARAH PALIN: I feel more protective than ever in terms of my kids, you know. Any mom would just wanting to bring your family even closer and wrap your arms around them and not let the infringement upon their rights and privacy be so overwhelming as to make us not enjoy our life up here. But, you know, people have said already, oh, the guy, he has his freedoms, too, and, of course, he can live wherever he lives and, well, of course he can. And he can do what he wants to do. However, I think any mom in my position, if they put themselves in my shoes, they would feel the same way and that is —
GLENN: Of course they would.
SARAH PALIN: That is, do your thing.
GLENN: Of course they would.
SARAH PALIN: Stay your distance and you better leave my kids alone.
SARAH PALIN: But, you know, Glenn, in the grand scheme of things and as you are tackling things that are of utmost importance in this world, what Todd and I remind ourselves all the time, when we get these little kind of political shots thrown our way, we have to remember that everybody has trials and tribulations. Everybody has a battle that they are fighting, too, and we may want to tire, we may want to give up, we may want to retreat. And instead like my dad says, don't retreat, reload instead. But we have to keep focused on what it is that we are doing, believing that we are doing what is right and can contribute to good in this country and in this world, and the goal needs to be we will finish this race strong, however that may be. We have got to keep plodding ahead, going forward.
GLENN: I have to tell you, though, Sarah, that I mean, here's a guy doing a book on your family that is now able to look into Piper's bedroom. You know he's — the only reason, I mean, he's a voyeur. The only reason why he moved there is to be either a peeping Tom and watch your family over the fence or be, watch the comings and goings of your family. I mean, I have to tell you, there is a difference between fighting a battle and saying, you know, look, I disagree with you and we'll be on the battlefield of ideas. This is harassment. This is stalking and harassment. There's a difference. Leave my family, leave people's families alone.
SARAH PALIN: Well —
GLENN: I mean, I don't think I've ever — I made this when it was, when it was Bill Clinton. You don't go after Chelsea Clinton.
SARAH PALIN: Right.
GLENN: You don't talk about the Bush kids. Now, the minute they get into politics, that's a different story. You leave the families alone. We've never done anything but protect the families and question why the White House would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families alone.
SARAH PALIN: Right. Yeah, a very classless thing that Random House is doing. And if I — you know, if I find out that Random House is the one actually renting this place for their author to be able to sit here over our shoulder for the next five or six months, that will be pretty disturbing, too, but a classless thing that they are doing because let me tell you something practical that happens in Alaska. We don't have air conditioning. None of our houses have ever had air conditioning and so you leave your windows open all summer long. It's the only way to keep cool in the midnight sun because the sun essentially doesn't set for many of the days in the summer, leaving the windows wide open. Well, now, things like that, that's got to change because the guy's sitting right there. We're not going to let them overhear children's conversations or anything else. So practically speaking, yeah, a real pain in the butt and a real, a real inconvenient and disturbing thing. But again —
PAT: And another, and another thing to make you spend money. How much is the fence costing you?
SARAH PALIN: I know. We'll have to barter that with some of the guys, we'll take them moose hunting or something. Todd will take them on snow machine tours for labor.
GLENN: I've got to tell you, and I mean this sincerely. I don't wish anybody harm and, you know, I — you know, that's just not the way you solve things. But I have to tell you I think, you know, the president is saying we should give medals to the soldiers that, you know, show restraint and not shoot people? Let me tell you something. I think, I think Todd deserves that first medal on why he doesn't go over there and punch that guy in the face. I mean, that is not the way to handle things but as a man and you are screwing with my wife and my children, it would take everything in me not to do that.
SARAH PALIN: Well, amen, yeah. I mean, Todd, he's got to bite his tongue and he's got to be restrained because that's —
GLENN: You tell Todd to keep his hands in his pockets, man.
SARAH PALIN: Yeah, because they often — that's what he wants. He so wants a reaction like that from Todd so he can jot it down or he can call the cops and jot that down as a chapter in his book. So, you know, it's — Todd does have the patience of Job through some of the crap that some folks want to put us through, and Todd, too, though, he knows like you do, Glenn, at the end of the line it's got to be worth it. We've got to stay committed and do what we have to do to help right some wrongs and it's got to be worth it.
GLENN: They only, they only weaken themselves. Every step of the way. It makes it harder, but they only weaken themselves.
Sarah, thank you so much and we'll talk to you again soon and stay safe.
SARAH PALIN: Hey, thanks. And Glenn, I wrote you that e mail knowing that you've been through all this before, too. You know exactly what I was talking about and how we were feeling. So thanks for betting me bend your ear.
GLENN: Oh, yeah, no. Not a problem. God bless you. We'll keep you in our prayers.
SARAH PALIN: Right on. Thank you, sir.
GLENN: You bet. Bye bye. She's going to again be at 8/28, in the first 15 minutes she will be joined on stage with all the other people and she will be talking about some of the great, great heroes of military that your children should see. 8/28, make your plans to attend now. And if you would like to donate, please go to GlennBeck.com/828. And we'll give you more details here in just a second.
Marie Stopes International is Charity in the UK that gives advice and medical treatment for woman. They are the British version of Planned Parenthood. They ran a first of it's kind ad on British TV that aired yesterday and it is causing quite a stir. The charity denies that this ad is geared towards offering women abortion, but since they perform about 65,000 per year, that is a little hard for pro-life advocates to believe. The ad never uses the word abortion, but I personally think that the message is pretty clear. Especially when you read these statistics:
Termination in numbers
1/3 of British women have had an abortion
195,296 officially recorded abortions in 2008 There were 198,499 in 2007
19-20 peak age for having an abortion
91% of abortions are NHS- funded. Just over half are in independent clinics such as Marie Stopes
A very tragic story of a little girl who was shot and killed by the Detroit Police Department as her home was being raided while they were looking to arrest a murder suspect. The police had a high risk search warrant for the 34 year-old who allegedly killed a 17 year old high school student. The murder suspect is now in custody along with the car and moped that were at the scene of the murder.
These are the facts that everyone agrees on. The disagreements on what happened during the police entering the home and where the suspect was arrested are very much in dispute.
For some reason, Al Sharpton was giving one of the many eulogies for this poor child who was shoot in the neck and died at the hospital. Normally I find almost no agreement with Sharpton at all, but in this case I will give him his due.
Urban areas have many problems; drugs, poverty, gang violence, prostitution, and few educational opportunities. Detroit has more than it's fair share. But in this case, Al Sharpton, rightly asked the community to look at themselves for some of the answers of why this tragedy happened. The reality is that there is only so much the government can do for you, much of what needs to be done to improve your life has to be done by the individual as well as the community. People within the community need to step up and start giving these children safe places to spend their time so they can get an education to lift themselves and their families out the poverty that causes many of these problems. Give these a children another option besides the gangs and the drug dealers.
In this case a television crew was with the police during this raid, so we can hope the truth will come out at how this precious little girl lost her life way too early.
Jimmy Carter won the White House in 1976 by riding the wave of anger and disillusionment that followed Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon. Carter tapped into that anger with the slogan "I will never lie to you." An angry electorate, disgusted with Nixon, decided that was reason enough to give Carter the presidency. He won, in large part, because he made it clear that he wasn't Richard Nixon.
Pundits called Carter a political genius.
Four years later, however, he was a political pariah. Voters embraced Ronald Reagan because he wasn't Jimmy Carter, proving that good slogans do not necessarily produce good government.
Unlike Carter, Reagan had more than slogans. He came to Washington with a clear plan to revive the economy and overhaul the tax code, revitalize the military, and, most important, boost the national spirit. He saw the Republican Party as a "big tent," and he successfully did what is considered political suicide today: He worked across party lines and tried to find compromise.
With Carter, Democrats had the White House for one term; with Reagan and the first George Bush, the Republicans held it for three. That has happened only once since World War II.
There's a profound lesson in this for the Tea Party movement.
Like those who voted for Carter because they were fed up with Nixon, the Tea Party is made up of people who are fed up with Washington profligacy. The combination of the Obama stimulus package, a bloated budget, stubbornly high unemployment and an expensive new health-care entitlement program has fueled their anger, convincing them that the federal government is out of touch and not listening. To a large extent, they're right.
Their two strongest slogans are "Send a message to Washington" and "Take back America." I know both very well because they were the main tools used to defeat me in Utah's Republican convention two weeks ago. They also worked in Kentucky on Tuesday. They are more powerful than most pundits inside the Beltway realize.
Yet when the new members of Congress whom these slogans elect in November take office, the question becomes: Will they be Carter or Reagan?
Will they stand firmly on partisan sidelines continuing to shout slogans? Or will they reach across the aisle in the interest of the country? Will they offer constructive proposals to help solve our problems?
As president, Carter was downright depressing. His famous "malaise" speech warned us that America's best days were behind us and suggested that we are a country in irreversible decline. Too many Tea Party speeches sound the same note, even as they invoke Ronald Reagan's name. They are wrong to do so, in my view, because Reagan never lost his optimism and his hope for the future. He was elected because he was good at slogans, but he succeeded as president because he focused on solutions.
I urge all of the Tea Partyers to follow Reagan, not Carter. If they want their movement to be more than a wave that crashes on the beach and then recedes back into the ocean, leaving nothing behind but empty sand, they should stop the "gloom talk." These are not the worst times we have ever faced, nor is the Constitution under serious threat.
Our economy is still the strongest and most resilient in the world. Our government is still capable of responding to the leadership of men and women who believe our problems can be solved. We must not follow the siren song of those who are in a frenzy of despair.
A day after beating incumbent Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary contest, Rep. Joe Sestak announced that he would make "enforcement of the pay-as-you-go budget rules" a priority if he wins in November. Good luck to him.
Pay-as-you-go, or paygo, rules require that new entitlement spending and new tax cuts must be paid for dollar-for-dollar with entitlement spending cuts or tax increases. As Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee has noted, the Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi "have violated pay-as-you-go rules by nearly $1 trillion" over the past three years.
And they're not done. In the coming weeks, say Congressional Republicans, we should expect some $300 billion of expenditures that Democrats will declare "emergency spending" and thus do not have to be offset by other spending cuts. The list includes $60 billion for a military supplemental spending bill; $23 billion for education; and $170 billion for jobless and other welfare benefits. All said, the deficit could climb to $1.7 trillion from the current record high $1.4 trillion. "I really can't think of the last time the Democrats paid for anything they want to spend money on," Mr. Ryan grumbles.
The reality is that paygo is designed to stop tax cuts rather than check spending, which is why Democrats will soon return to singing its praises. Before the end of the year, look for Republicans to push for a continuation of the Bush tax cuts. And look for Democrats to insist they must be paid for.
Connecticut had it's nominating conventions last night. Even after the truth has come out that Richard Blumenthallied misspoke about serving in Vietnam, he will be the democratic nominee for the senate seat that opened up after the retirement of Chris Dodd. This man has degraded the service of the people who not only served in Vietnam, but the thousands who died there.
Having grown up in Connecticut, this really comes as no surprise. For those who think that this means that a republican will be able to take this seat, don't be a bit surprised if he wins. Connecticut is typical New England state, they will lob off body parts before voting for a republican.
When we even just contemplate electing a man who has no honor, we deserve what we get.
The Obama administration seems to be taking the discussion on the illegal immigration law in Arizona to a whole new level. Today, John Morton, an offical at ICE, told a reporter in Chicago that ICE may not neccessarily process illegal aliens turned over to them from officials in Arizona.
"I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,"
Now, does an ICE official have the right to decide which laws they get to follow? I would like to think that they can't. John Morton may personally feel that the law is wrong, but should that mean he doesn't have to follow it.
The federal government has every right to take this to court. While I am not one that normally favors lawsuits, but in this case I believe that this needs to be fast tracked to SCOTUS and let them decide.
What I would like to know what he feels the solution is? While many on the right say deport them all, the reality is it isn't practical. But part of the solution must be to secure the border. The American people will much more likely to accept some sort of worker program if we know that the feds will actually do the job and not keep allowing people to slip through our borders illegally. We went through this amensty thing already. We allowed the illegals that were currently in the country to establish legal status, and we now have approximately 20 million more illegals. That is what the American people don't have an appetite for. Especially when you add terrorism into the mix. How do we know these people who are coming in from our southern border are not coming to kill Americans in mass numbers?
Even if you ignore the terrorism angle, you can't ignore the costs to states. A new report released for the state of Arizona is as follows:
$1.6 billion from Arizona's education system, $694.8 million from health care services, $339.7 million in law enforcement and court costs, $85.5 million in welfare costs and $155.4 million in other general costs.
But it is very telling that this administration's answer is just to ignore the law.
SEIU describes this as peaceful and lawful. They don't understand why the neighbors were upset nor why the 14 year old boy that was inside this house alone was scared. See SEIU's description of this letter here.
A Republican, in a wheelchair, entered a restaurant one afternoon and asked the waitress for a cup of coffee. The Republican looked across the restaurant and asked, "Is that Jesus sitting over there?"
The waitress nodded "yes," so the Republican requested that she give Jesus a cup of coffee, on him.
The next patron to come in was a Libertarian... See More, with a hunched back. He shuffled over to a booth, painfully sat down, and asked the waitress for a cup of hot tea. He also glanced across the restaurant and asked, "Is that Jesus, over there?"
The waitress nodded, so the Libertarian asked her to give Jesus a cup of hot tea, "My treat."
The third patron to come into the restaurant was a Democrat on crutches. He hobbled over to a booth, sat down and hollered, "Hey there honey! How's about gettin' me a cold mug of Miller Light?" He too looked across the restaurant and asked, "Isn't that God's boy over there?
The waitress nodded, so the Democrat directed her to give Jesus a cold beer. "On my bill," he said loudly.
As Jesus got up to leave, he passed by the Republican, touched him and said, "For your kindness, you are healed." The Republican felt the strength come back into his legs, got up, and danced a jig out the door.
Jesus passed by the Libertarian, touched him and said, "For your kindness, you are healed." The Libertarian felt his back straightening up and he raised his hands, praised the Lord, and did a series of back flips out the door.
When, Jesus walked towards the Democrat, just smiling.
The Democrat jumped up and yelled, "Don't touch me ... I'm collecting disability."
On Sunday, when hundreds of taxpayers went to Bank of America lobbyist Greg Baer's home to ask him to stop foreclosing on their neighborhoods, we received a mixed welcome. Some folks actually came out and applauded us, giving us thumbs up as we went past. Most people just stood and watched. Baer himself tried to blend in with the crowd until a neighbor pointed him out and he stormed away.
But there was one woman that everyone remembers. She came running outside while Mark Freeman was preparing to tell how Bank of America is trying to kick him and his family out of their home. The bank jacked his payments up until he could no longer afford them - then foreclosed on him. As he was getting ready to talk, a woman came storming across her lawn, screaming at us to shut up and go away - telling us we had no business being there.
That woman was Nina Easton, Washington editor of Fortune magazine. The next day, she got on the phone with Stephen Lerner, head of SEIU's banking reform project, and ranted some more. And, today, she's continuing her rant in an article for Fortune magazine and CNN Money.
Ms. Easton paints a terrifying picture of a "mob" with pitchforks and torches outside her window. The problem is, her story doesn't quite mesh with the facts. More on that in a minute.
The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?
Nina Easton's husband's firm has Business Roundtable as a client, a special interest group that counts giant banks like Bank of America as members.
One Google search clears it up pretty quickly. Her husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband's client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.
Ms. Easton's husband used to be a corporate lobbyist himself, before he started his own consulting firm for Republican politicians and corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce. Now, according to his website, he helps garner positive media for "a wide range of corporate clients including Fortune 500 companies and national associations."
And with his wife's Bank of America apologist piece today, he can chalk up another victory for his clients.
So, it's becoming clearer why Nina Easton decided to use her position as editor to write a personal rant. Her family profits off Bank of America's success. The next question is, why would any self-respecting news outlet choose to run it?
That's what we're trying to figure out now. We have a call in with her managing editor but, so far, have gotten no response. See update above.
Even if you ignore the obvious personal bias, the article is rife with hyperbole and distortion.
Ms. Easton uses her article to criticize the police for their "belated" response time and says they were too scared to arrest us. The truth is, the police actually followed us to the event to help keep the peace. They were on the scene when we were. The reason they didn't make any arrests is because nobody did anything illegal. In fact, the police went on record as saying it was a "very peaceful" event.
She also seems to suggest that we shouldn't have tried to talk to Baer because he is a "lifelong Democrat." This is ridiculous. The foreclosure crisis has nothing to do with political party and everything to do with banks and their lobbyists using their influence ($$$) with politicians of all stripes to keep things the way they are.
That's why we were there and why people will continue to stand up to the banks and their lobbyists, who continue to do everything they can to keep Wall Street profiting at Main Street's expense.
If Nina Easton really wants to see "personal intimidation," she should head outside her posh neighborhood and follow along next time Bank of America forecloses on a family. Unlike us, they won't be there just to talk to them. They'll be there to take away their home.
This picture is from their website - doesn't this look like trespassing to you?
Nina Easton was not some reporter who was invited to cover the protest. She was minding her business, in her own home, putting her young child down for a nap. She lives across the street from the house that was surrounded by these thugs. 14 buses of people showed up at a private home to do nothing more than to intimidate this man. Instead, a 14 year old boy was home alone, he became so terrified that he locked himself in the bathroom. He didn't know if these people were going to break into his home and hurt him. People say that what is happening in Greece can't happen here, oh yes it can. This is beginning. This is not activism, this is purely intimidation. Sadly, the police decided that they couldn't do anything about because it may incite them. We are all to quickly becoming a nation that willfully ignores the law.
Power Play by Nina Easton
What's really behind SEIU's Bank of America protests?
By Nina Easton May 19, 2010: 6:15 AM ET
(FORTUNE) -- Every journalist loves a peaceful protest-whether it makes news, shakes up a political season, or holds out the possibility of altering history. Then there are the ones that show up on your curb--literally.
Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that -- in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action -- makes his family fair game.
Waving signs denouncing bank "greed," hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer's steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer's teenage son Jack -- alone in the house -- locked himself in the bathroom. "When are they going to leave?" Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.
Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly "outed" him, and slipped through his front door.
"Excuse me," Baer told his accusers, "I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened."
When is a protest not a protest?
Now this event would accurately be called a "protest" if it were taking place at, say, a bank or the U.S. Capitol. But when hundreds of loud and angry strangers are descending on your family, your children, and your home, a more apt description of this assemblage would be "mob." Intimidation was the whole point of this exercise, and it worked-even on the police. A trio of officers who belatedly answered our calls confessed a fear that arrests might "incite" these trespassers.
What's interesting is that SEIU, the nation's second largest union, craves respectability. Just-retired president Andy Stern is an Obama friend and regular White House visitor. He sits on the President's Fiscal Responsibility Commission. He hobnobs with those greedy Wall Street CEOs -- executives much higher-ranking than my neighbor Baer -- at Davos. His union spent $70 million getting Democrats elected in 2008.
In the business community, though, SEIU has a reputation for strong-arm tactics against management, prompting some companies to file suit.
Now those strong-arm tactics, stirred by supposedly free-floating (as opposed to organized) populist rage, have come to the neighborhood curb. Last year it was AIG executives -- with protestors met by security guard outside. Now it's any executive -- and they're on the front stoop. After Baer's house, the 14 buses left to descend on the nearby residence of Peter Scher, a government relations executive at JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500).
Targeting homes and families seems to put SEIU in the ranks of (now jailed) radical animal-rights activists and the Kansas anti-gay fundamentalists harassing the grieving parents of a dead 20-year-old soldier at his funeral (the Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the latter). But that's not a conversation that SEIU officials want to have.
When I asked Stephen Lerner, SEIU's point-person on Wall Street reform, about these tactics, he accused me of getting "emotional." Lerner was more comfortable sticking to his talking points: "Millions of people are losing their homes, and they have gone to the banks, which are turning a deaf ear."
Okay, fine, then why not continue SEIU protests at bank offices and shareholder meetings-as the union has been doing for more than a year? Lerner insists, "People in powerful corporations seem to think they can insulate themselves from the damage they are doing."
Other reasons why SEIU might protest
Bank of America officials dispute Lerner's assertion about the "damage they are doing," citing the success of workout programs to help distressed homeowners, praise received from community groups, the bank's support of financial reform legislation, and the little-noticed fact that Bank of America exited the subprime lending business in 2001.
SEIU has said it wants to organize bank tellers and call centers -- and its critics point out that a great way to worsen employee morale, thereby making workers more susceptible to union calls, is to batter a bank's image through protest. (SEIU officials say their anti-Wall Street campaign has nothing to do with their organizing efforts.) Complicating this picture is the fact that BofA is the union's lender of choice -- and SEIU, suffering financially, owes the bank nearly $4 million in interest and fees. Bank of America declined comment on the loans.
But SEIU's intentions, and BofA's lender record, are ripe subjects to debate in Congress, on air, at shareholder hearings. Not in Greg Baer's front yard.
Why the media wasn't invited
Sunday's onslaught wasn't designed for mainstream media consumption. There were no reporters from organizations like the Washington Post, no local camera crews who might have aired criticism of this private-home invasion. With the media covering the conservative Tea Party protesters, the behavior of individual activists has drawn withering scrutiny.
Instead, a friendly Huffington Post blogger showed up, narrowcasting coverage to the union's leftist base. The rest of the message these protesters brought was personal-aimed at frightening Baer and his family, not influencing a broader public.
Of course, HuffPost readers responding to the coverage assumed that Baer was an evil former Bush official. He's not. A lifelong Democrat, Baer worked for the Clinton Treasury Department, and his wife, Shirley Sagawa, author of the book The American Way to Change and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, is a prominent national service advocate.
In the 1990s, the Baers' former bosses, Bill and Hillary Clinton, denounced the "politics of personal destruction." Today politicians and their voters of all stripes grieve the ugly bitterness that permeates our policy debates. Now, with populist rage providing a useful cover, it appears we've crossed into a new era: The politics of personal intimidation.
A belief in the written constitution. The belief that we are responsible for ourselves and for our families. The belief that we are allowed to fail. The belief in a strong national defense are a few of the things that make me just a conservative girl.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
"I say this not to the teachers, but to their unions: If education were a war, you would be losing it. If it were a business, you would be driving it into bankruptcy. If it were a patient, it would be dying." Bob Dole
Yes, House Republicans have been in power for 5 hours and they have not passed their entire agenda. The New York Times things they should be canned and Democrats put back in charge. Don Surber
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"So I say huzzah to the 112th congress for reading the Constitution, for acting like it matters. It does. The Constitution may not be sacred, but the sacred has no better friend than the Constitution." Pat Archibold
"53% of Democrats have a postive view of socialism. 100% of republicans think those 53% are morons." Mark Levin
"Corrupt the young. Get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial; destroy their ruggedness." First plank of the communist strategy for revolution - confiscated in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1919
"If you believe this isn't going to cost the government anything, you are likely to see leprechauns riding on unicorns with pots of gold circling the capitol" Rep. Devin Nunes, CA-21 on healthcare "reform".
"Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views". William F. Buckley, Jr.
"The Republicans were laughing and waving the American flag, and I thought that was ourtrageous behavior" Maxine Waters
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I freed thousands of slaves, and could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves. Harriet Tubman
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