The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘White House’

AN UNLIT CHRISTMAS

When I spent my first Christmas in my new home I thought to myself, “My goodness.  These people really rush to get those Christmas lights up and try to outdo one another with their display.”

This all started on the evening of Thanksgiving and by that following Sunday, I think that perhaps ninety percent of the houses were decorated.  It was as though there was an imperative written into the HOA document that required a homeowner to decorate with displays of Christmas lights.

Obviously, I needed to get with the program.  And since I had lived in an apartment all my life, I had none of the necessary equipment to comply.  But I found that there was an ample supply of material in the stores to allow me to fulfill my obligation as a new homeowner.

Some of the displays were extremely beautiful and tasteful.  Others struck me as being a bit garish.  I enjoyed the lights – but would not have chosen to fill my lawn with air inflated snow globes.  And the one house with the fornicating elephants was just a bit over the top for me.  (Or perhaps they were a part of a chorus line that was performing the Can Can).

You couldn’t help but notice the lights as the gate opened and you drove down the entrance to this little community.  The lights on the houses provided far more illumination than the street lamps.  White and colored lights lining the eaves and the bushes and wrapped around the palm trees.  But that was then.

It was 2001.  We had just a few months earlier suffered as a nation through the worst disaster in recent American history.  Yet despite the fact that we were all still numb at the fall of the Twin Towers and were listening to the threat level under which the nation existed, we had the spirit and the optimism to put up our Christmas lights.

We still had a symbol of the season on the White House lawn that was called a Christmas tree.  It would take a few more elections for us to put an ideologue in that residence and allow his ethnic cleansing to convert this into a mere “Holiday tree.”

But we did it.  And, as bleak as life was, we managed to do it again.

The comparison of Christmas 2001 and the one this year is so clear that I wonder if this little community of homeowners is an isolated example of the nadir to which our spirits have fallen or is merely a microcosm of the entire nation.  As I drove home from church early this morning, I was struck by the absence of lights.  Perhaps only twenty percent of the homeowners had bothered putting them up at all.

The street which allows entrance to this little community was so devoid of light that the few houses where homes were decorated, seemed more to emphasize the darkness than they did to provide illumination.  I was particularly struck by this as I had just returned from a celebration of the joyous Midnight Liturgy of Christmas.

Faith has been called, “The outward and visible sign of an inward invisible grace.”  If that statement is reflected in our Christmas lights, then surely our faith has been eroded.  And by that, I refer not only to our faith in God but our faith in ourselves as individuals and in our nation.  And could it be otherwise?

We have been brain washed into thinking that government has all the answers.  Yet if we look at the facts, those who are discerning will realize that government has created many if not most of the problems.  Like a parent in denial about the bad behavior of his child who refuses to admit that his offspring is behaving in a way that is societally unacceptable, he continues to reinforce that behavior by doing the exact same things which have caused his child’s condition in the first place.

That we have incidents like Newtown, CT is not an accident.  It is merely the manifestation of a society that has abandoned principle and decency and compassion, while cloaking itself under the self-styled mantle of a new and better principle and decency and compassion.

Newtown and the other incidents like it come about because we have become a society that passes laws which are unread by those we empower to craft those laws on our behalf and who specifically exempt themselves from following them.

What care do they have that a national grocery store chain has just informed their staff that beginning January 1st, all cashiers will have their hours cut to twenty per week, to avoid the implications brought about by an act of Congress and signed into law by the President?  That doesn’t affect them.  Nor will similar announcements that are undoubtedly forthcoming from other companies.

I cannot help but see the parallel between the decline of the Roman Republic into the centralized authority of the Roman Caesar – all with the willing participation of the Roman people who accepted the modest sops and benefits they were given as sufficient payment for their votes and allegiance.

And then one day, so enervated from their abandonment of the principles that had made them a great nation, they were too weak to resist the barbarians who arrived at their gates and slaughtered them.  Like the Christmas lights in my neighborhood, theirs too had been snuffed out.

But if there is one thing that Christmas means to me it is that there is hope – that evanescent precious treasure to which too few of us today cling.  We are taught both by Dante and government that we should, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”

And while the lights are now few and dim, I cling to the hope that next year, perhaps there will be one or two more houses that are lit during the Christmas season and that a few more people will remember the old values of real principle and decency and compassion.  Because that is the true message of Christmas.

IS IT REAL OR IS IT MEMOREX?

Today we had another poor Employment Report for the month of June.  While the 80,000 jobs which were created was a small improvement over May’s 69,000, these numbers are obviously far short of the 200,000 we need to create monthly just to keep even with the number of net new workers entering the job market.

The Administration, which is the architect of our stagnant employment situation and an unemployment rate of 8.2%, had it’s usual response that we should not be too concerned with any one month’s data.  I agree with that statement.  There are variations which can be due to any number of external factors in any given month (although I would exclude President Bush from the list).

At the bottom of this post I have listed the White House’s official response to 30 months of Employment Reports as can be found on its website.   I particularly enjoyed the post of July, 2010 which was as devoid of substance as one might expect from this Administration.

Perhaps, my readers will ask themselves the same question I did:

“Is it real or is it Memorex?”

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June 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/07/06/employment-situation-june)

May 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/01/employment-situation-may)

April 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/05/04/employment-situation-april)

March 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/04/06/employment-situation-march)

February 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/03/09/employment-situation-february)

January 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/02/03/employment-situation-january)

December 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/06/employment-situation-december)

November 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/02/employment-situation-november)

October 2011: “The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/11/04/employment-situation-october)

September 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/10/07/employment-situation-september)

August 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/09/02/employment-situation-august)

July 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/05/employment-situation-july)

June 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/08/employment-situation-june)

May 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/06/03/employment-situation-may)

April 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/05/06/employment-situation-april)

March 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/01/employment-situation-march)

February 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/04/employment-situation-february)

January 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/02/04/employment-situation-january)

December 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/01/07/employment-situation-december)

November 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/12/03/employment-situation-november)

October 2010: “Given the volatility in monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/11/05/employment-situation-october)

September 2010: “Given the volatility in the monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/08/employment-situation-september)

July 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/08/06/employment-situation-july)

August 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/09/03/employment-situation-august)

June 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/02/employment-situation-june)

May 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/06/04/employment-situation-may)

April 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/05/07/employment-situation-april)

March 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/04/02/employment-situation-march)

January 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/02/05/employment-situation-january)

November 2009: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/12/04/employment-situation-november)

HERE’S THE TICKET (PART II)

We are now down to the all important second portion of today’s battle to see who will become President of the United States.

The scene is the front lawn of the White House.  In the reviewing stands sit the nine members of the Supreme Court who will officiate.   Both contestants are brought into the arena and placed between two large metal pails, facing each other at a distance of five feet.

The pails on the combatants’ left side contain fifty balloons, filled with fecal matter obtained from the usual sources – our equine and bovine friends.  The smaller container on the right holds ten balloons filled with pure water.  The Marshall of the contest is a member of the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  He reads the rules to the contestants:

“Gentlemen, as you can see there are two sets of balloons available in your contest for the Presidency.  On my mark you will begin hurling the contents of the containers on your left containing fecal matter at each other.  The object of the contest is to get as much of these balloons’ contents to adhere to your opponent as possible.  When both parties have released their final balloon, you will be allowed to make statements about your accomplishments.

If the Supremes rule 5-4 in your favor (by this I mean the Justices and not the singing group), you will then be allowed to empty the contents of one water balloon on yourself, thus purging some of the material which previously clung to you.  If your claim is dis-allowed that balloon shall be taken out of play.

When the final water balloon has been played, a member of my staff will carefully scrape all the fecal matter remaining on each contestant and weigh it.  The person who has been most successful at soiling his opponent shall be declared the winner.  The loser shall be summarily taken around the back of the White House where a Marine Honor Guard shall execute him – sending him to a better world.

Gentlemen, Ready, Aim, Fire …

I can already anticipate a gasp from some of my readers.  They might feel that this proposal is too Draconian.  To that charge I have two responses.

First, we need patriots and heroes to lead this country back on the path toward success and accomplishment.  Knowing how severe the penalty is for failure might cause only those who believe they truly have merit to enter the fray in the future.

Second, one politician more or less is not going to make a difference.  But if the idea catches on there is no reason that we could not extend this to all political races.  Think of it, a few election cycles down the road we would have purged ourselves of a lot of riff raff who simply got where they are because of our apathy.  I doubt we would notice their absence.

In fact, we might all be the better off for it.

WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE …

If you found the recent post, “How To File Your Taxes” amusing, then you will want to turn your attention to this article from Yahoo News.  By the time I came to White House Spokeswoman Amy Brundage’s comments about “high standards,” I had to reach for a tissue to wipe my eyes.  I’m just not sure if those were tears of laughter or anger. 

But I guess if you think about it long and hard enough, it’s probably President Bush’s fault.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/thousands-federal-workers-owe-back-taxes-231332510.html

 

ON CONSISTENCY

We have all dealt with people who are happy as a clam one day and the next act like Ivan the Terrible. It’s hard to know how to approach a person when you don’t know if today is one of their “nice” days or if you’re walking into a massive frontal attack.

As the owner of a business, it was clear to me that the most important thing I could do for my employees was to be consistent. That’s how I tried to conduct myself – and I think I was generally pretty successful at achieving that goal.

This occurred to me this morning as I heard that this year’s three hour extravaganza that we call the Super Bowl now had its participants set. Those of you who will participate in watching the game (estimated to be about 115 million of us) or one third of the country, will be treated to a battle between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. But you probably already knew that.

As I am continuing my two-year-long boycott of watching football I had to rely on television and the internet to gather that information. As I watched television and listened to the discussion about whether either of these teams should be in the Super Bowl (based on the fact that neither had an exceptional record in terms of their statistics), a fifteen second commercial was aired. I had seen it before and will, no doubt, see it again.

The speaker in the ad was the Rev. Mr. Al Sharpton. He went on to descry the state of affairs in America today. (On that point I agree with this distinguished cleric, although I am sure that the causes and solutions we would propose are radically different).

He spoke of “them” up there and “the rest of us down here” and how totally unfair that was. It was the usual patent medicine that we hear come out of many in this country, OWS and the White House being first and foremost in the fray. It is the basis of the politics of division.

Remembering my lesson on “being consistent,” I wondered why we didn’t apply the same philosophy that Mr. Sharpton and OWS espouse to the subject of sports – specifically to the Super Bowl. I mean – isn’t it unfair that San Francisco and Baltimore are not being allowed to play – just because they lost the playoffs? It doesn’t seem right to me.

Why anyone in OWS or with Mr. Sharpton’s mind-set would watch any NFL game is a matter of some confusion to me. After all, even the least well-compensated player is probably a member of the one percent of Americans at the top (or at least they’re knocking at the door).

So it seems that to be consistent in their philosophy they should boycott these events – thus depriving these fat-cat players and the teams’ owners of revenue to add to their already too large stash of cash. Doing so would reduce the number of Super Bowl viewers from the estimate of 115 million to about 3 million. That would make a statement for sure – hitting them right where it hurts – in the pocketbook.

But there is one thing further that we could do in the interest of consistency. In addition to the Super Bowl we should have a “Loser’s Bowl,” and allow Baltimore and San Francisco to slug it out. And at the end of play, irrespective of the score, we’ll call the game a tie so everyone can go home happy.

 

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