Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops; comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam

I have added a discussion of the proper troop level for Afghanistan at the bottom half of this article.

On 10/3/09, Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan Province on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was almost overrun by the Taliban. Eight American soldiers were killed and 24 were wounded. I posted this aricle before that battle. The battle, and others, prove what my point that U.S. forces are spread too thin in Afghanistan.

I am a Vietnam veteran. The Afghanistan war now feels to me very much like Vietnam only much harder. Here are a few facts to give readers perspective.

Category Afghanistan South Vietnam
size of country
250,000 square miles
67,108 square miles
population of country
number of U.S. troops in country
enemy receiving support and sanctuary from neighboring countries?
altitude of country (helicopters have trouble operating at high altitudes)
average 4,000 feet; max 20,000; central plateau 6,000
generally sea level
ocean ports (allow rapid resupply)
none, landlocked
about half the country borders the ocean
U.S. troops per square mile

I have recently attended a number of speeches given by recent U.S. veterans from Afghanistan military service. I have also been following the war in the media and through books. At present, I am reading The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney, whom I heard speak at the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco. Mullaney is West Point class of 2000. I am West Point class of 1968. Mullaney is also a Rhodes Scholar and was an infantry platoon leader in Afghanistan. I was never in any danger of a Rhodes Scholarship but I was a communications platoon leader of a mixed heavy artillery battalion in Vietnam. I also read In a Time of War which is about the West Point Class of 2002 including Afghanistan service by some members of that class.

Outnumbered and far from help

As I read and listened to accounts of U.S. military service in Afghanistan, I was stunned at how exposed and unprotected our troops were. Small groups of troops were stationed in tiny bases. One base mentioned by MSNBC reporter Richard Engel only had four U.S. troops. He refused to say where it was because the four are toast if the enemy finds out. But civilians in the area will figure it out soon enough without Engel’s help.

U.S. military in Afghanistan also spent a lot of time wandering around in humvees or walking in the middle of nowhere. If they needed help, it was far away and a long time coming if at all.

Time and again, Afghanistan veterans described harrowing situations, being attacked, and being unable to get immediate help from artillery or air support.

We had 8.24 ÷ .27 = 30.5 times as many troops per square mile in Vietnam as in Afghanistan—and 58,000 of our troops were killed in ten years.

Help almost always nearby

It would be an exaggeration to say that help was always nearby in Vietnam. But I flew over the country lots of times in helicopters because of my specialty, which was radio communications. In radio communications in a war zone, you have groups of three guys everywhere. I spent a lot of time in helicopters visiting the various bases where I had troops. My general impression was that every American military base or patrol was within range of U.S. regular or heavy artillery. There were also a zillion armed jet planes and helicopter gunships and a zillion medevac choppers everywhere. You did not always get immediate help in the form of artillery or air support, but almost.

My artillery battalion commander in Vietnam once spoke of turning some of our artillery lieutenants into “salesmen” to visit infantry and armor units in our area of operations to sell them on calling us for artillery support. We were grossly underutilized and bored and the battalion commander was afraid our not being used was going to adversely affect his career. My impression of the war in Afghanistan is the exact opposite—U.S. forces spread extremely thin. Afghanistan is almost four times the geographic area of South Vietnam. Because of its generally high altitude, normal helicopters have trouble getting to some of the higher altitude areas.

Afghanistan has about 50% more people than South Vietnam but we had 8 times as many troops in South Vietnam as we have in Afghanistan.

It is a wonder to me that we have not had a hundred Battles of the Little Big Horn in Afghanistan. I expect we soon will. Our troops are grossly outnumbered in Afghanistan. Their fire support is spread very thin. In Vietnam, I think our guys were almost within the maximum range circle drawn around each 105mm firebase and/or the bigger maximum range circles around heavy 155mm and 8-inch and 175mm howitzer bases that could fire much farther. I do not know what the fixed-wing and chopper populations are in Afghanistan and were in South Vietnam, but my impression is that we had far more aircraft of all types in Vietnam: Puff the Magic Dragon, Hueys, Chinooks, Cobra gunships, propeller ground support fighter bombers, B-52s, Phantom fighters. You can see a complete list at

We name Forward Operating Bases after KIAs. Since our politicians are forcing our troops to employ the Little Big Horn strategy in Afghanistan (splitting us up into tiny units and spreading them over a wide geographic area in the face of more numerous enemies), we should name the firebases after people and places involved in those approaches to warfare in the past. Here is a list of suggested base names for Afghanistan “going forward” as the politicians like to say:

Forward Operating Base Custer
Forward Operating Base Reno
Forward Operating Base Benteen
Forward Operating Base Alamo
Forward Operating Base Mogadishu
Forward Operating Base Wake Island
Forward Operating Base Corregidor
Forward Operating Base Dutch Harbor
Forward Operating Base Beirut

If we want to honor our British NATO ally’s use of the Custer strategy, we could have

Forward Operating Base Gallipoli
Forward Operating Base Dunkirk
Forward Operating Base Balaclava

Newer technology

True, today’s troops have some technology we did not have like GPS, drones, more accurate fire-support weapons, better night vision equipment, better communications equipment, computers. But the war is basically mechanized infantry shooting assault rifles, mortars, and handheld rockets. That’s World War II stuff. And with World War II stuff, you need to have enough troops in the vicinity of an ambush or ground attack to reinforce outnumbered American units and/or to deliver artillery and/or aerial fire on concentrations of enemy fighters or assets.

In other words, today’s better technology is largely irrelevant due to the nature of the war or the nature of the way we are fighting it. I actually think we are idiots to let the enemy force us to fight in ways that do not let us use our strong suits—technology and fire power. But accepting our stupidity in that regard for the moment as a given, you cannot spread 68,000 troops all over a quarter of a million square mile rugged country and expect the casualty rate to stay as low as the Vietnam casualty rate where we had 8 times as many troops in a country with one quarter the area. (The Vietnam casualty rate was no slouch—about ten times the daily casualty rate in Iraq and Afghanistan—58,000 dead total.)

It is a wonder our Afghanistan casualties have been as low as they have thus far and no surprise that they are climbing rapidly. Our troops there are outnumbered and scattered like Custer’s 7th Cavalry (broken into several units of 200 to 300 each) facing Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. That needs to be fixed one way or the other immediately. Maybe our commander in chief should spend a few nights in a forward operating base in Afghanistan—or go on a patrol out of one of them. No fanfare or entourage. Just issue him a GI uniform and a gun and don’t give the visit and patrol any publicity until afterwards. I predict he would experience an attitude adjustment to his current mode of treating the danger to the U.S. troops there as a back-burner issue.

McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops

In the fall of 2009, Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal made headlines by requesting an additional 40,000 U.S. troops. That would bring the total there to 108,000. This is controversial because Obama’s base is simply against all wars and against anything George W. Bush ever did, like leaving troops in Afghanistan or the surge in Iraq.

Some pundits said Obama resisted the addition of 40,000 because of “sticker shock.” Yes, he said Afghanistan was the right war during the campaign and since inauguration, but he never really meant it. It was just a way to avoid looking “soft on terror” and losing those votes. He might send 10,000 or 20,000 troops, to keep up appearances, but not 40,000.

What’s the right number?

Probably at least 2 million.

“What!?” you say. “That’s preposterous!”

Actually, it’s arithmetic. During Vietnam, we had 8.24 troops per square mile. Applying that same ratio to Afghanistan, we get 8.24 x 250,000 = 2,060,000. There are already 68,000 U.S. troops there. So we need 2 million more.

Why do I say “probably?” Because we LOST the Vietnam war. Apparently 8.24 troops per square mile was not enough. Actually, it was more than enough, but U.S. strategy in Vietnam was too timid. We should have invaded North Vietnam and their sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia. We did invade the sanctuaries—while I was there actually—but it was too little too late and only temporary.

Soviet troop strength

During their occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviet Union had around 100,000 troops. They LOST.

Shinseki estimate of number of troops needed to occupy Iraq

Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki was asked by Congress how many troops it would take to occupy Iraq. He said “several hundred thousand.” That was the end of him because the Bush Administration and the American people did not want to hear such a high number.

Iraq has 168,753 square miles. 300,000 ÷ 168,753 = 1.8 troops per square mile. And remember that the Kurdish region of Iraq was not hostile to U.S. troops. Applying the Shinseki ratio to Afghanistan gives 1.8 x 250,000 = 450,000 troops.

Army Field Manual says 675,000

I was watching Fox News at 3:07 PM on Monday, 10/12/09 when a man said the Army Field Manual on counterinsurgency said the proper number of troops for a country like Afghanistan is 675,000. General Petraeus was co-author of that field manual. That figure approximately matches up with the Shinseki figure if you remove the Kurdish area of Iraq from the number of square miles his “several hundred thousand” troops would have controlled.

Like I said.

Where did McChrystal get the 40,000 figure?

I suspect that McChrystal’s 40,000 figure is pure politics and unrelated to military considerations. If so, his vaunted counterterrorism expertise is irrelevant. I think what his military expertise tells him is what I just said above: he needs 450,000 to 2,000,000 additional troops, if not more.

40,000 is simply the highest number he thinks he can get out of Obama. McChrystal says we will lose if he does not get them. It appears to me that we will lose even if he does get them—not only the war, but also a lot more lives of the troops in question. That is immoral! Hell, just the financial cost is immoral in light of the nation’s current financial situation!

McChrystal appears to be placing his personal career ahead of the accomplishment of his mission and the welfare of his troops. He and I are West Point graduates. The motto of West Point is “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Duty requires him to say he needs not only 2,000,000 additional troops but also less restrictive rules of engagement.

Honor requires him to say the same thing.

So does Country.

Only career, keeping his current dream job of being commander of our main current war for as long as possible, explains his requesting enough troops to match the failed Soviet level.

The president and Congress are not the only ones who will decide whether to give McChrystal what he wants. The other decision-making body that has to approve this is our current and prospective all-volunteer military. They, too, will reject the Soviet level because it will cause more of them to return again and again to Afghanistan with already-seen devastating effects on their lives and families.

A nation of draft dodgers

We have become a nation of draft dodgers. See my article on the need for a draft. A nation of draft dodgers cannot maintain a troop level of 100,000 in a deadly place like Afghanistan even if its leaders want to. The total number of active duty U.S. Army troops in the whole world is 539,675. I do not know how many of those are infantry, the main type needed in Afghanistan. I would guess less than 100,000. There are also 203,000 Marines with about 40,000 infantry.

Ending the draft put our most insecure-about-their-manhood or unable-to-find-a-civilian-job teenage boys ultimately in charge of when and where America fights and for how long.

None of this is viable. We have to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan because the American people do not want to be there either as a matter of policy or in terms of enough young men and women volunteering to go there.

Tip of the Spear documentary

On 10/11/09, MSNBC ran an excellent documentary about a remote Army outpost (Korengal Valley, Firebase Restrepo) in Afghanistan. If the above numbers don’t convince you, watch that documentary. It shows vividly what it means to be a small unit isolated far from your fellow Americans and surrounded by the enemy.

That unit managed to come home with relatively few killed, but I don’t know how. The documentary shows them wandering around in steep, rocky terrain in groups as small as 12 guys. The base only has 20 guys total. The area in question is controlled by the Taliban. They were able to get air support and medevac choppers, but it seems like it would be relatively easy for the Taliban to grossly outnumber the small base staff—especially when some are away from the base on patrol.

The unit had its own mortars, which they somehow used to blow up the one house in the village that had their own men in it while shooting at a mountain some distance away from the village. They killed one of their own sergeants and wounded others of their own men. They appeared to have no artillery support which was rare in Vietnam as far as I knew when I was there. On the other hand, the terrain in Afghanistan is so steep and rocky that I suspect artillery would be less useful there than it was in Vietnam. Steep terrain requires higher trajectories and therefore reduces the range of the artillery. Indeed, I saw some video footage on MSNBC where the U.S. artillery was firing at a very steep, mortar-like trajectory.

They looked like they needed more snipers and armed drones. They tried to mount offensive operations, which is generally correct doctrine, but had virtually no success, which makes sense when you are in an inhabited area controlled by the enemy. Whenever the Americans move, the enemy immediately knows it because of hundreds of snitches living all around. The time and place of all fights are determined totally by the Taliban. That’s no way to fight a war.

The American presence and their patrolling seemed utterly pointless. Showing the flag and talking to local villagers to try to win them over. But the villages seemed all but totally uninterested in ever cooperating with the Americans—because they do not trust them to stay. I agree with the villagers. The U.S. government betrayed the South Vietnamese who helped us there and it got them killed or jailed when we lost that war. The patrols are also having no effect whatsoever on the Taliban. They either hide their weapons as the Americans walk by and pretend to be innocent civilians or they ambush the Americans as they wish.

It looks to me like men are dying in Afghanistan not for any reason that makes sense in Afghanistan, but solely to prevent Obama from looking “soft on terror” back in the U.S. If truth-in-advertising laws were applied to tombstones of KIAs, they would say something like, “U.S. Army Sergeant Died 10-8-09 Afghanistan for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.” And the American people would promptly end the war.

Fire hoses

I was surprised by the way the U.S. soldiers used their machines guts—like fire hoses. I had heard that you could tell which side was firing in Afghanistan by the number of shots per burst. Taliban used machine gus like fire hoses. Disciplined U.S. troops knew better and only fired six-shot bursts as we were trained. Shooting more generally wastes ammunition plus it causes the gun to overheat and jam.

Machine guns have a rapid rate of fire, which is the number of shots per minute if you keep the trigger depressed, and a sustained rate of fire, which is the maximum total number of bullets you can fire in a minute—interspersing pauses of no firing—before the gun overheats and jams. The U.S. soldiers appeared to me to be exceeding their sustained rate of fire in the documentary. Maybe they were showing off for the cameras. Indeed, their guns were jamming in the documentary. Given the tactical situation, those Army guys need that burst-of-six discipline more than U.S. units normally have in the past because they are surrounded and extremely difficult to reinforce or resupply.

They seemed to indicate mechanical problems caused the jamming. Perhaps. If so, heads need to roll in the Pentagon. The last thing U.S. troops who are surrounded in some Little Big Horn base in the middle of nowhere need is machine guns that do not work.

The Taliban has unlimited ammunition because they control the whole region. They can also just hide their guns and walk away saying “nobody here but us innocent civilians.” The Taliban cannot be overrun, essentially. The U.S. troops can be. In October, 2009, a U.S. post was overrun in Afghanistan and eight U.S. troops were killed. The U.S. only has the ammo they fly in and the helicopters can be shot down or kept out by weather.

82nd Airborne experience in Khost 2007 to 3/08

An Op-Ed article by David Adams and Ann Marlowe in the 10/28/09 Wall Street Journal says 250 82nd Airborne troops were able to secure the Khost, Afghanistan area in 2007 and the first three months of 2008 by working closely with local tribes, Afghan National Security Forces, and local government. Navy Commander Adams commanded the Khost Provincial Reconstruction Team from 3/07 to 3/08. Marlowe is a journalist who was embedded with U.S. military units in the Khost area during that period.

Britain had the biggest empire ever in the 1800s and first half of the 20th century. But they are a small country with a small population. How’d they manage that? By working with local people. One of their military units to this day is made up of Gurkhas. They are natives of Nepal and Northern India who originally worked with Britain in those areas but have since been deployed wherever.

Our Special Forces (Green Berets) operate like the British. Indeed, we won victory in Afghanistan in weeks in 2001 by Special Forces teaming up with and assisting the Northern Alliance. Similarly, our “Surge” in Iraq was more working with Iraqis than adding more troops. If we intend to win in Afghanistan, the 82nd Airborne/Green Berets approach seems infinitely more likely to work than just brute American force.

I was a communications platoon leader in an infantry battalion in the 82nd in the summer of 1969. Generally, the troops in the 82nd seemed to be dumber than those in non-airborne units. But the unit was a plum assignment for higher ranking officers and may have attracted a better class of colonels and generals than non-airborne units as a result.

Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq; and Germany and Korea while you’re at it

We need to leave Iraq and Afghanistan completely yesterday.


  • The American people do not want to be in either place.
  • The American people do not want to suffer the casualties that we will suffer if we stay.
  • The American people do not want to spend the amount of money it would take to win.
  • The American people cannot afford to spend the money it would take to win in those countries. We used to be a rich country. But a generation of national politicians have bankrupted us.
  • The government of Afghanistan, like the government of South Vietnam during that war, is a thoroughly corrupt one with little or no public support by the citizens of the country.

All the other issues like the “war on terror,” fighting them there rather than here, stopping Iran influence in the area, and being close to victory (which I doubt) in Iraq are all irrelevant. No support by the American people, no wars.

I graduated from West Point in 1968 and arrived in Vietnam Thanksgiving weekend, 1969. I had a couple of miscellaneous assistant jobs and I was a communications platoon leader in a mixed heavy artillery battalion—all in the III Corps area (Saigon, Parrots Beak, etc.). I left Vietnam on September 6, 1970. Mainly, during my tour in Vietnam, we were supposed to be doing what the Pentagon and White House called Vietnamization.

Vietnamization did not work. When we left, the South Vietnamese lost the war very rapidly—in spite of us training them for more than 15 years and giving them zillions of dollars worth of ammo, equipment, and uniforms.

Americans died for Vietnamization, which was nothing but a political cover for the Nixon Administration trying to put a good face on admitting defeat. They hoped the South Vietnamese would last long enough that the Americans would evade responsibility for the loss. That did not happen. It was a dishonest purpose anyway.

No one should die for Vietnamization or Iraqization or Afghanistanization.

We have to sell the war better

Many pro-war Americans say the problem is the administration has to sell the war better to the American people.


The U.S. government has been selling wars to the American people since the mid-1960s. Time and again, the American people fell for it. Time and again—EVERY time—the American people got taken. 58,000 of us died in Vietnam for nothing. 247 in Lebanon for nothing. 18 in Mogadishu for nothing. Some 6,000 so far in Iraq and Afghanistan—almost certainly for nothing.

The American people no longer trust their government or military on the subject of whether a war is a good idea or how long it will take to win or whether we will win. We have had 45 years of the U.S. government selling wars that cost too much and took too long to the American people.

The U.S. government and military had their chances to win the public trust and to win wars and they have done neither. The U.S. military now needs to regain its Korean war era and prior credibility. Because of 45 years of lies and overly optimistic forecasts, it will take the U.S. government and military a very long time to regain that credibility. They need to get started and the first step is to come home and start cleaning up their acts.

If necessary, we can go back to these countries—preferably at 50,000 feet or via unmanned missiles and drones. The American people will agree to that and support it if and when the reasons become clear and credible.

The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were reasonably wise given 9/11. But the occupations were not. We can invade again and again if necessary and keep running the Taliban and al Qaeda out of town. But trying to be the non-Pashto-speaking local police force for a huge nation on the other side of the world is an obvious, very expensive, exercise in futility.

FDR was accused of deliberately letting Pearl Harbor happen to build support for American entry into World War II. I don’t believe that. I read a lot of books about our code breaking and such during that period. I am not a conspiracy theorist. But although he did not do that, a very strong argument could be made for a president to wait until that sort of popular support event occurs. Unfortunately, in the nuclear age, that may be too late. But the stupidity and shortsightedness of the American people are facts, whether they ought to be or not. So is the futility and immorality of asking men to die to avoid the politician in the White House—Bush or Obama—looking bad or giving his political enemies ammunition to use against him.

No more wars unless we are willing to kill enough enemies fast enough to win them in three years or less. Every country that has gone to war against us since the Korean war is glad they did. Germany and Japan are not glad they declared war on us. The next country that goes to war with us—after Iraq and Afghanistan—needs to regret it profoundly, so that the country after that will decide not to even go down that road to begin with.

War is an all or nothing deal. At present, as in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, we were neither all in nor all out. That state of affairs gives new meaning to the phrase “no man’s land.” No man should be put in that situation.

Americans seem to love the idea of war in the abstract. But once the concrete version gets going, they recoil at the inevitable scandals and the innocent civilian deaths and the collateral damage. Do not support the abstract version if you are not going to also support those engaged in the concrete, messy reality of it.

General Douglas MacArthur said,

There is no substitute for victory.

His words need to be supplemented:

There is no substitute for total victory within three years.

If you look at the history of U.S. wars, the only ones that worked ended in about three years or less. The Afghanistan war is now eight years old; Iraq, six years.

The racist accusation doesn’t work anymore

I thought the election of Obama would end affirmative action for reasons I stated in my affirmative action article.

That has not yet happened, but I still think it will.

However, another thing along those lines has happened. For decades, blacks and white liberals have been intimidating critics of blacks by accusing them of being motivated by racial bias. In the 1960s, probably a small percentage of the accused were guilty of that. But racial bias against blacks by whites has faded about as far as it’s ever going to fade since then. Blacks hold every category of position in American life. Black-white marriages are commonplace. Through black TV stars like Bill Cosby, Oprah, Bryant Gumbel, and so on, white Americans have gotten to know many blacks very well and now see them as individuals rather than racial stereotypes.

Obama’s administration has caused an explosion of racial accusations against white critics of Obama thereby destroying its intimidation power

Blacks and their white liberal allies got used to using the “You’re a racist” accusation against Republicans and conservatives when leftist blacks held relatively low-level positions of authority. But when a leftist black achieved the presidency, they failed to apply the brakes on that game. As a consequence, we began to hear that virtually all Americans were racist because virtually all Americans disagreed with one Obama policy or another, disagreements which triggered the accusation willy nilly.

Obama needed an “Accuse white critics of racism” Czar to receive applications for such accusations. He or she would have approved them sparingly to ensure that overuse of the tactic would not reveal the accusations to be nothing but knee-jerk, cheap shots and intellectually-dishonest attempts to change the subject.

But he did not do that. Now it’s too late. The fact that those accusations were pro forma and insincere is now out of the bag.

The source of difficult black-white race relations in 2009

I am 63. Most Americans today are about half that age or younger. One thing that Americans my age know, that younger Americans don’t, is that black-white race relations changed dramatically for the worse in the late 1960s and early 1970s. My sense is that younger Americans think that black-white race relations today are entirely caused by America’s legacy of legal slavery and segregation going back to the 1700s.

Wrong. Slavery ended in 1865. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, various Supreme Court decisions, and White House actions more or less eliminated the remaining anti-black laws like segregation in the 1960s. That should have been the end of significant problems between black and whites stemming from segregation and discrimination against blacks under law or color of law.

Why wasn’t it?

The Black Power movement

In the late 1960s, new black leaders emerged to replace the prior generations of black leaders. The prior leaders were Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated in 1968, and others who approached improving the situation of blacks in America, with regard to laws, in the same way as King. King’s approach, copied from Ghandi, was non-violent civil disobedience.

The Black Power Movement essentially dismissed King et al as a bunch of old fogies who were moving too slow, too peacefully, and too timidly.

The Black Panther Party was a big part of it. It cannot be precisely defined, but in general, the black power agitators were about guns, violence, riots, e.g., Newark, NJ riots, looting, burning, threatening posturing, threatening symbols, etc.

Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam was part of it. They were vocally anti-white. But X changed his mind about that sort of thing and was assassinated in 1965 by rival blacks.

Two American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won medals in the Mexico Olympics in 1968 put black leather gloves on one hand and raised that hand as a fist when they were listening to the U.S. National Anthem being played right after they received their medals. Smith and Carlos were reportedly nice guys, but the gesture gratuitously denounced and threatened white Americans for unspecified grievances. In general, black grievances in the post Civil Rights Act era are either ancient or imagined. Reverend Wright’s 2008 talk about slavery, Tuskegee, and AIDS are excellent examples of that nonsense.

The lines turn down in the late 1960s

Today, everyone knows that blacks have higher unemployment than whites, higher out-of-wedlock birth rates, higher incarceration rates, live in higher crime rate neighborhoods, and so on. The young assume it’s always been that way.


When I was a kid in the 1950s and early 1960s, none of that was true. The unemployment rate among blacks was lower than that among whites. Ditto for the out-of-wedlock birth rate, percentage of black convicts compared to their proportion of the population, and crime rates. If you graph the positive versions of those stats, e.g., employment rate, percent of two-parent families, etc., the lines turn sharply negative around 1970. I have not done any research today for this claim. I am basing it on my recollections of various media stories and books I have read. If anyone knows of Web sites that have the details on these stats, please tell me about them and I will link to them.

There were virtually no blacks in the town where I went to 1st through 5th grade. It was not a rich town. It just happened not to have blacks for whatever reason. I was about 6 the first time I saw a black person. It was in a hardware store. I thought he was a white guy covered in grease and commented out loud, “Look daddy! That man’s really dirty.”

My father was extremely embarrassed. The black man laughed out loud.

The next town I lived in had a black neighborhood. No one, black or white, feared walking through that neighborhood day or night.

The image of blacks then was that they were almost always poorer than we were, but that they were good people who worked hard and took care of their families and who lived in a tight-knit community. Some whites in that town called the black neighborhood “Quiet Village.” Actually, blacks had a different name then which is probably part of the problem. They were called negroes or colored people. The name “black” was introduced by the black power movement as deliberately in your face. No more Mr. Nice Colored Guy.

My college yearbook, Class of 1968, has photographic reproductions of New York Times headlines of the era including, “2,000 troops enter Los Angeles on third day of negro rioting; 4 die as fires and looting grow.” The Times and other mainstream media at first refused to use the name “black” in place of “negro” or “colored.”

Trash-talking, dancing clowns

Once when I was around 12, a couple of dozen of us kids, both white and black, were playing together at a local park. One of the black kids was a natural comedian and clown and enjoyed entertaining us as much as we enjoyed his talents. But another of the black kids kept telling him quietly, “Stop drawing attention to colored people.”

Five years later, when I entered West Point in 1964, we were urged to remain anonymous as plebes (freshmen) to avoid getting into trouble with the upperclassmen, who greatly outnumbered us and who had tremendous power over us. I did that successfully. I surmise the motivation of the black kid who was trying to quiet his black friend was similar and learned from his parents. Something like, “We are negroes living in a white country. We need to avoid anything that might upset or bother the whites because they greatly outnumber us.”

That was not a healthy black-white relationship. However, I can now see that it was a rapidly changing situation in the 1960s. For the reasons stated above—greater communication technology like TV, the Civil Rights Act, Martin Luther King, and so on—that era was rapidly ending as a result of the nonviolent civil disobedience and a simple wising up by white people.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali bears some of the responsibility for the change. Believe it or not, before him, boxing champs were rather dignified and well-behaved. Almost all pro athletes were.

Ali, to his discredit, invented trash talking. He said his reason was he was near the bottom of a long line of guys who wanted to box the then champ Sonny Liston, who was also black. Ali, or Cassius Clay as he was then named, used trash talking and calling Liston out to jump to the head of the line. It worked. Ali said he got the idea from Gorgeous George, a white pro wrestler of the day.

Clay then adopted much of the black-power shtick, changing his name to an African-sounding one, joining the Nation of Islam, and, after deliberately flunking the IQ test for the Army, refusing to be drafted during the Vietnam war.

Nowadays, it is common in TV football games to see a black player engage in celebratory dances after scoring a touchdown or making a tackle. Some whites imitate that behavior to a lesser extent. I have coached 15 football teams and like almost all coaches, black or white, I have no use for that nonsense. It is unsportsmanlike, totally violates the team concept, is amazingly immature, and has cost teams games on occasion—like the guy who blocked the game-winning field goal attempt of his opponent in a college game. The kick blocker then turned to face his stands and flex his muscles in a look-at-me manner. Meanwhile, the holder picked up the ball and ran it in for the game-winning touchdown. That actual case history is in the celebrations chapter of my book Football Clock Management.

I am not interested in arguing whether players are entitled to such “fun.” They are not, but I am well aware that the majority think they are. My point here is that blacks generally comported themselves in a dignified manner before the 1960s. Martin Luther King was a prime example. Many, like Jerry Rice, the greatest NFL receiver of all time, and Michael Jordan, still do. But part of the disconnect between blacks and whites today stems from the taunting, clowning, “I am the greatest” anti-social behavior of many prominent black athletes and that is not the fault of whites, nor was it an inevitable product of the American legacy of slavery and segregation. The current crop of taunting black clowns were not even born until decades after segregation ended.

The black power movement was unnecessary and extremely destructive to blacks. It snatched defeat from the jaws of victory over legal segregation and discrimination.

Looking for special treatment and handouts

In addition to the black power movement, black leaders changed from seeking integration to seek undeserved, unearned reparations in the form of affirmative action, minority set asides, welfare programs that benefit blacks disproportionately more than whites, and dubious academic editing and courses and majors that are affirmative action history and political rather than valid academic education. Again, the lines on the graphs of positive measurements of black community turn sharply downward when blacks started getting reparations.

Today, the black community as a group is a mess. Crime. Drugs. Single moms. Gangs. Unemployment. Disproportionate representation in prison populations. Discouraging young blacks from “acting white,” e.g., studying hard.

A number of prominent blacks like Cosby, Thomas Sowell, and others have correctly put the blame for the 1970ish sharp downward turn in black pathologies and resulting deterioration in black-white relations where it belongs—on those who encouraged that sort of behavior and the reparation types of laws out of some sort of warped notion of black pride and entitlement.

The predicament of many blacks in America today is not the product of 300 years of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. It is the product of 40 years of anti-social behavior by many blacks, behavior that was, and is, instigated and encouraged by many bad black leaders. It is a self-inflicted wound and whites are no longer buying the accusation that it’s all their fault. Black history is a big deal these days. How’s about studying the change between the pre-1964 and post 1964 eras and the real reasons for it? You cannot solve a problem until you first admit it exists and acknowledge its true causes.

People no longer trust Barack Obama

He lies. Hollywood mogul David Geffen said during the 2008 campaign,

Everybody in politics lies. But the[Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.

Geffen, who previously supported Bill Clinton, switched allegiance to Barack. Barack is a far more brazen liar than either of the Clintons.

It’s not a tax

On Sunday, 9/20/09, Obama went on five TV talk shows to push his vaguely defined health care plan. ABC’s George Stephanopolous pointed out the contradiction between Obama’s promising that no one who earned than than $250,000 would pay one dime more in taxes and the tax/fines on people who do not buy health insurance in the various Democrat health care proposals. See the video here.

Obama said to Stephanopolous that the requirement to pay $3,800 if you do not buy health insurance was “absolutely” not a tax increase. The various Democrat health bills all call it a “tax.” Stephanopolous read the Merriam-Webster dictionary of a tax which clearly matched the Democrat proposed law.

Here are some other fact checkers that say it’s a tax.

Obama lies then fact checkers promptly produce the evidence that he’s a liar

Indeed, this has now become a standard pattern. Obama tells yet another brazen lie. Within hours, a zillion fact checkers including major media, blogs, and YouTube teenagers present the hard evidence that he lied. (The teenager I just linked to complains about the total lack of logic in Obama’s argument with Stephanopolous. See my article on intellectually-dishonest debate tactics for details on that sort of analysis.)

Yet Obama continues to lie. His supporters say he’s “brilliant.” No, he’s not. From observing him on TV, I estimate his SAT scores were about 80th percentile on math and about 65th percentile on verbal. He’s welcome to release them to prove me wrong. The fact that he refuses sure as heck means he did not score 99th percentile. I did on the GRE and the LSAT and I believe on the ATGSB (now GMAT). And I’m not brilliant.

What his continued lying in spite of the fact that he knows he will be shown to be a liar within hours means is that Obama thinks he’s brilliant. More importantly, it means he thinks he a whole lot smarter than the rest of us. These obvious lies insult our intelligence.

He’s nuts.

Now, knowing that Obama will lie, his interviewers are starting to marshal the evidence—like Stephanopolous’ dictionary—in advance. I predict that the elapsed time between future Obama lies and the evidence that he lied will be reduced to seconds. Indeed, the interviewers themselves may hit him with the evidence instantly now that everyone knows what a predictable, ridiculous liar he is.

Henceforth, whenever Obama is scheduled to speak. bloggers and other media who did not get the interview will have their fingers poised over their keyboards with Google on the screen waiting to pounce on the lies that inevitably come out of Obama’s mouth.

Profoundly immoral dishonest man

Apparently, Barack Obama believes the ends justifies the means. In other words, he is a profoundly immoral, dishonest man. His attitude is “my professed good intentions trump the facts.” Actually, it’s more like that actual President Richard Nixon line from the Frost-Nixon interview.

When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.

Or in Obama’s case,

When Obama says it, that means it’s true, regardless of any facts that prove it’s not.

A lousy liar

Politicians are generally extremely skilled liars. That’s what they do. It’s how they get elected. The presidency is a Most Brazen Liar Contest. But there are limits.

During the 2008 campaign, Hillary said she landed in some Eastern European country with Chelsea under sniper fire. When that was proven to be a lie, she corrected the record and made jokes about it, in one case, that she was late to an interview because she was “pinned down by sniper fire.”

Dose Obama do that when he’s caught? Hell, no! His approach is like that of the three-year old who’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar and swears he was putting the cookie back in the jar.

He’s a sociopath

I think the guy’s got a loose screw. No doubt his political advisors are ever so gently telling him he has to cut back on the lying. But in spite of his brilliance, he is unable to comprehend that he is self-destructing—even when his most trusted advisors tell him.

Here are the first five indicators from the Web site Profile of a Sociopath:

Glibness and Superficial Charm

Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

• Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

• Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

Here is another set of identifying indicators from that same Profile of a Sociopath Web site, this time of the Malignant Personality by Caroline Konrad:

(1) They are habitual liars. They seem incapable of either knowing or telling the truth about anything.

(2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace.

(3) They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else’s fault.

(4) They are remorselessly vindictive when thwarted or exposed.

Konrad says people with malignant personality are “mentally ill and extremely dangerous!

No bully pulpit for this guy

President Theodore Roosevelt said the White House was a “bully pulpit.” Back then, the word “bully” meant really great. With his gift for reading teleprompters, you would think that the White House would be an even more bully pulpit for this president. But he has thrown that all away with his inability tell the truth or admit that he did not.

I said he was doomed to failure during the election (e.g., see my article here) in part because he was promising more than anyone could deliver. Now, the reasons for his failure are more clear. He is incapable of speaking the truth and therefore will become the butt of nationwide and international ridicule—yet we and the world are stuck with him until 2012. If we survive until then, that is he does not start World War III or destroy the economy completely, I expect the Democrats will then be running away from him as hard as they can—unsuccessfully.

Yelling out ‘lie’ at the Joint Session of Congress speech on health care

For the first time in my memory, the word “lie” was yelled out in a Joint Session of Congress Presidential speech.

How uncivil!

‘But he apologized’

“But he immediately apologized,” you say.

Apologized?! Oh, you’re talking about South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson who yelled “You Lie!” when Obama falsely said illegal aliens would not be covered by his health plan.

I’m talking about the other guy who yelled the word “lie,” as well as the equivalent words “bogus,” “false,” “misinformation,” “scare tactics,” “wild claims,” “demagoguery,” “distortion,” “scary stories,” “tall tales,” and “misrepresent” during the speech. He did not apologize. He never apologizes. His name is Barack Obama.

Obama swore on a stack of Lincoln Bibles

In 1988, George H.W. Bush—Bush “Senior”—said,

Read my lips. No new taxes.

Later, he reneged on that promise and lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton because of it.

Obama frequently does the same. He swears on a stack of Lincoln Bibles that he will take only federal money for his presidential campaign. He and McCain both put that promise in writing. Then Obama realized he would be able to raise more money than that and reneged.

Obama solemnly condemned earmarks and said there would be no more earmarks if he were elected. Then, he got elected and signed a $400 billion bill that was 100% earmarks.

He swore he would withdraw from Iraq and close Guantanamo as soon as he was inaugurated. He did neither.

Once, when called on one of his broken promises, he said it was “just a campaign promise.” In other words, he is the boy who cried wolf when it comes to making promises or claiming there is a crisis. No one can trust him, not even his hardest core supporters.

In his 9/9/09 speech to Congress on health care, he again swore on a stack of Lincoln Bibles that

• no one will be forced to change doctors or health plans
• the plan would not increase the deficit
• no one will withhold care from seniors
• no illegal aliens will benefit from the plan
• government will not take over health care
• government will not force private health care providers out of business
• Medicare and Medicaid benefits will not be cut
• etc.

Each of these solemn promises is a barefaced lie. Some are simply mathematically impossible. Some are brazen lies that contradict the plain words of the various plans or Obama’s own videotaped past statements about his intentions.

You can see fact-check articles revealing Obama’s lies in the 9/9/09 speech at:

With regard to illegals, Senator Boehner said such coverage is not explicitly banned in both house and Senate versions and two amendments that would have explicitly banned it were voted down by Democrats in committee. Furthermore, illegals deliberately come to the U.S. when they are pregnant to have their child and he or she is automatically a U.S. citizen if they are born here even if the parents were illegals who acted in bad faith. If U.S. citizens are all covered, the born-in-the-U.S. children of illegals would be covered


Obama used perhaps the most uncivil, tongue-lashing, mean joint session of Congress address to complain about the lack of civility of his critics. He is the meanest, most trash-talking president since at least Nixon. Nixon had two unpleasant assistants named Haldeman and Erlichman, but they are not in the same league as Obama assistant Rahm Emmanuel. No mailing of dead fish, for example.

Obama has an odd definition of “civility.” Civility is when he angrily calls you every name in the book in a loud angry voice. Incivility is when you represent your point of view zealously in the various debates over current federal policy questions.


It’s like his definition of a dialog on race. Blacks complain and whites take notes.

Rent control

New York City had rent control since World War II. At one point, landlords there were abandoning 30,000 apartment units a year. Why?

The city limited rents to less than fair market value. Over time, the disparity between fair market value and the rent controlled rent grew bigger and bigger. It never stopped getting bigger. Wealthy celebrities like Alistair Cooke were caught living in lavish, super cheap, rent-controlled Manhattan apartments.

But what about the expenses of operating the buildings: insurance, property taxes, utilities, employees, repairs, replacing roofs and such? The city did not control those. Those expenses marched onward and upward year after year. Inevitably, there came a point where the operating expenses—not even counting the mortgage payments—exceeded the total controlled-by-the-City rental income. In order for the landlord to continue to operate the building, he would have to subsidize the tenants from his personal savings or another job.That’s when they walked away. They had no choice.

It took decades for rent control’s bite to get that bad in New York City.

Obama’s plan on health care costs is the same, only he’s going to create the 30,000 abandonments a year situation overnight.

He is going to sign a federal law that dramatically cuts the health industry’s income while also forcing them to do far more than they have been previously. Here are actual quotes from the bill on what the federal government will force on the industry:

• against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition
• against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most
• no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime
• limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses
• required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies
• As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage
• all insurance companies that want access to this new marketplace will have to abide by the consumer protections I already mentioned
• for those Americans who can’t get insurance today because they have pre-existing medical conditions, we will immediately offer low-cost coverage
• businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers
• keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public [federal government owned] option available in the insurance exchange

Obama does not believe in capitalism

Here is a paragraph from his speech where he reveals he does not understand the most basic tenet of capitalism or believe that capitalism is better than government run businesses.

I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers.

He fails to see that profit and salaries are incentives that cause people to work hard and be efficient and cause investors to invest in the businesses thereby provide needed capital for expansion and improvement. He thinks profit and high salaries are simply an extra cost that can easily be outlawed and the quality of the resulting government produced products and service will be the same or better as when they were provided by free enterprise and cost less!

Has this man ever heard of the post office? Or Amtrak? Or the Soviet Union? Or Cuba? Those last two places sure as hell cut out the profit and the high executive salaries.

He says the government will pay for his Santa Claus list of what he wants be cutting out waste, fraud, and abuse.

Many have asked the obvious question? If you can do that, why have you not done it already? What does this yet another new health bill have to do with efficiency?

When in the history of the universe has any government ever cut out waste, fraud, and abuse. Waste, fraud, and abuse are synonymous with government. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” is an old punch line to the question, what’s the biggest lie ever told.

How many people work for the government? About half of them. [we wish]

President Ford said in 1975, “If government made a six pack of beer, it would cost $80.” Adjusted for inflation, that’s $320. Furthermore, government beer would take eight months to get and would taste like crap.

If government did abortions, they would have a ten-month waiting list.

Why did Wilson apologize?

Obama lied during his speech. Wilson “called him out on it.” What’s wrong with that? Indeed, during that very speech, Obama himself said,

If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.

That is precisely, exactly, 100% what Joe Wilson did. What’s good for the goose…

Obama can dish it out, but he can’t take it. Obama starts fights, but he can’t finish them.

When he calls you a liar, you’re supposed to sit there and take it. When you call him a liar, you’re being uncivil, or racist, or paid to do so by the insurance companies.

NO health care

The bottom line of Obama’s health care if anything like what he says he will insist on becomes law is that we will have no health care. Within a year or so, insurance companies will go out of business, doctors will retire early, others will change careers, applications to medical school will drop. Increasing numbers of current medical school students will drop out and switch to law or MBA programs. HMOs will go out of business. Drug companies will stop making drugs for humans. Medical equipment companies will switch to nonmedical products.

Basically, Obama and his supporters think no one should make a profit on health care. And if they get their way, no one will. He will say,

See. We told you those health care providers and insurers were no damned good. Good riddance. Don’t worry. We’re the government and we’re here to treat you? Get in line.

And that will be the ultimate medical malpractice tort reform, because you can’t sue the federal government for malpractice.

Is Barack Obama really a great speaker?

Even Obama’s critics acknowledge he is an excellent reader of teleprompters.

Johnny One-Note

We need to revisit that. The most experienced readers of teleprompters are the talking heads, including reporters and correspondents, on TV. Is Obama better than they are?


Why not? They have a range of emotions, humor, different approaches for different types of stories. They have to. If they were some sort of monotone, Johnny One-Note, one-emotion type of teleprompter reader, they would lose their jobs.

Barack is that monotone kind of teleprompter reader.

In her 9/5/09 Wall Street Journal column, Peggy Noonan called Obama “Faux Eloquent Boring.” She said he “always has the same sound, approach, logic, tone, modulation…stance, [lack of] humor and [lack of] humility.” Speaking of his appearance at Ted Kennedy’s funeral, Noonan said Obama was,

…dignified and contained, he was utterly appropriate, and he was cold.

He is cold, like someone who is contained not because he is disciplined and successfully restrains his emotions, but because there is not that much to restrain. This is the dark side of cool.

Well put. He always talks as if he just got back from talking to God on Mount Sinai and we need to listen up to the next installment of the Ten Commandments.

Always scolding

He’s always scolding us or people in other countries. To mute domestic criticism of his foreign apology tours, he has one scold against the foreign country in question for every apology about what a rotten nation the U.S. was before Barack was president. Barack never apologizes for anything Barack ever did. The apologies are always for what we not-up-to-snuff citizens did, or allowed, before we came to our senses and put Barack in charge.

Pissed off

Barack is also always pissed off when he lectures us. Been hanging around Michelle too much. Whatever happened to her anyway?

For those who were adults in the late seventies, he reminds us of Jimmy Carter, a disaster of a president who was always admonishing us for not being good enough. He ran for president after eight years of unpopular Republican administrations and campaigned as an anti-Washington outsider. But once he got into the oval office, the most famous word used to describe Jimmy Carter’s presidential oratory was “malaise.” In the summer of 1979, he told us a sort of malaise had descended on our country. He said the “energy crisis” was the “moral equivalent of war,” then promptly lost that “war” if that’s what it was. He told us, “We must face the fact that the energy shortage is permanent.” That was dead wrong.

Carter was replaced by sunny, optimistic, free-market Reagan who on inauguration day, ended Carter’s “energy crisis” with a stroke of a pen when he signed an executive order ending price controls on fossil fuels. Carter denounced the end of price controls as “immoral and obscene.” By the end of the Reagan administration in 1988, the price of oil had fallen to half what it was in Carter’s last year in office, 1980. There was an oil glut and that is even what the media called it at the time.

Carter promised fiscal responsibility, but the deficit set new records when he was president. He had no ideology or other guiding principles and consequently vacillated and launched multiple, contradictory economic programs, each designed to placate the complaint of the moment.

Carter presided over the worst inflation since World War I, but blamed it on a moral affliction affecting American society. He said we had “lost our capacity to sacrifice for the common good” and that it was a “myth that government can stop inflation.” I wrote a book called How to Protect Your Life Savings from Hyperinflation and Depression. Inflation is, by definition, caused only by government, which has a constitutional monopoly on setting the value of money, and inflation can therefore only be stopped by government. Carter’s successor, Reagan, made ending inflation a top priority and did end it.

Carter was a doomsday prophet who believed the world was headed for disaster. His Global 2000 Report, written in the last year of his administration in 1980 said,

By the year 2000 the world will be more crowded, more polluted, and less stable ecologically and the world’s people will be poorer in many ways than today.

Sound familiar? Those are not the same words Obama uses, but the basic message is the same. He sees crisis as a way to get political support for his agenda, so he constantly tells us we are in a crisis. A leader is mainly supposed to build confidence in him and in ourselves.

Post-Brown-Victory in Massachusetts speech

On 1/22/10, Obama made his angriest speech yet, doubling down once again on determination, putting a sharper edge on his voice, yelling even louder that, “We’re gonna get this done!” As if he has the power to force us to accept every single one of his programs or else.

As in Copenhagen, where he was supposed to be talking about why the IOC should award the Olympics to Chicago, it was all about him. His Copenhagen sales pitch was all about him. And his 1/22/10 speech after the Brown victory in MA was also all about him. I, I, I, I. From his perspective, everything is all about him, including health care, cap & trade, financial regulation, you name it. To the rest of America, it’s about jobs, health of the citizens, and so on. To Obama, everything is about him, everything is personal. To him, resistance to “his” health care program, which really has never existed in a final version, is a personal attack on him and his opponents have no other motivation but to hurt him.

Attacking straw men

The only other word he used again and again—14 times—was “fight.” Fight whom? He shouted that he will not stop fighting for jobs. Against whom? Who is trying to prevent jobs? No one.

This is another of Obama’s cheap rhetorical tricks: trashing nonexistent straw men whom he implies are advocating some awful policy—like preventing job creation. No one is doing that in any of his straw man speeches, but listeners who are not too bright come away inspired by his heroic efforts against those imaginary straw men.

This man is truly dangerous.

Someone once asked President Reagan, a former successful Hollywood actor, how an actor could do the job of being president. He laughed and said he could not understand how anyone could do the job if they were NOT an actor.

He had a point. The presidency is a TV show to 99% of our citizens. The president is to star in that show and lead the nation through his performance as much as through his policy decisions and policy implementation.

No actor

Barack Obama is no actor. He is more akin to one-dimensional, famous popular culture figures like:

• the guy who used to talk real fast on Federal Express commercials
• former CBS newscaster Dan Rather who has a permanent pompous, somber way of talking

The presidency requires more range than guys like that.

Three cheap tricks

I had a bunch of training as a public speaker at West Point and in the famous Dale Carnegie course on public speaking. We had to do a lot of public speaking at Harvard Business School (in our amphitheater style classrooms) and when I was an Army officer commanding from 30 to 400 men—5,000 once in an Armed Forces Day parade where I was the adjutant. The adjutant runs the whole parade until near the end. You can see video of me making several unpaid, informal speeches at YouTube. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a member of the National Speakers Association and the International Platform Association and made my living in part as a professional speaker.

As an erstwhile professional speaker, who has often been at conventions where I was one of many speakers and I listened to them as well, I know many of the tricks of the speaking trade. Obama’s reputation as a great speaker actually stems mainly from his use of several cheap speaker tricks.

Random pauses

He frequently pauses randomly and for no reason other than mesmerizing the audience. This has the effect of drawing the audience up onto the front edge of their chairs as they instinctively strain to hear what the person is saying. Obama’s fellow Chicagoan, the late Paul Harvey, was the master of the theatrical pause. In Paul Harvey’s hands, the pause was the tool of a mastercraftsman, strategically placed when used, not random, not a cheap trick. I would not be surprised if Obama did not get his pause trick from Harvey.

I heard a female professor on Charlie Rose in the summer of 2009 use a similar trick for the same reason. She deliberately lowered her voice more and more as the program went on until Charlie and the TV audience were straining on the edge of their seats to hear what she was saying. Apparently she had discovered and perfected this trick in college lectures as a professor.

Rose let her get away with it. If I had been him, I would have whispered to her, “If you do not stop whispering your answers to my questions, I will cut off the sound and replace your voice with subtitles when we broadcast the show. Capeche?

Command-of-execution head nod

In the military, the way you give a command is to loudly enunciate what is called a preparatory command. Then you let the command of execution explode sharply out of your mouth typically with body language that includes decisively nodding your head forcefully for visual emphasis. You also raise your voice on the last syllable.

For example, to get a group of soldiers to start marching the preparatory command is “Forward,” which is enunciated and somewhat drawn out—“Fooor WARD.” Then, after an Obama-like pause to let everyone get mentally prepared, you give the command of execution, in this case: “March!” The word “march” explodes out of your mouth like a the gunshot out of a starter‘s pistol signaling the start of a 100-meter dash.

In football, quarterbacks often use a head bob and pauses to try to draw the defense into jumping offside. The head bob in that context is actually illegal and draws a penalty flag. There are no referees in Obama speeches.

In addition to his pauses, Obama likes to end almost all paragraphs or sentences with a quick “And that’s FINAL!” nod of his head and a raised-voice-for-emphasis last syllable. That is the military officer or NCO’s command-of-execution trick. A typical Obama cadence might go like this:

Well, as I’ve




SAID (that’s FINAL nod)


Iraq is


the wrong WAR (that’s FINAL nod)




the wrong PLACE (that’s FINAL nod)


and the wrong


TIME. (that’s FINAL nod)

You can easily strip Obama’s speeches of their magic by simply counting the unnecessary pauses and nod-accompanied commands of executions. A college classmate and I once amused ourselves at a Chamber of Commerce dinner by counting the number of times the various speakers said the phrase “and his lovely wife.” My wife said one of her colleagues used to count the number of times their boss used the word “grapple” in his talks.

O’Reilly has a body language specialist on a lot of his shows. Hannity runs a “liberal translation” over various leftist politician statements. Either of them could run an Obama “great speech” with a pause counter in the lower left corner and a nodding command of execution counter in the lower right corner and thereby reveal what Obama’s great rhetorical ability really is. You could also run one of his speeches with the sound turned off and see the pauses and head bobs more easily.

Limbaugh’s speeding-up trick

Rush Limbaugh, the greatest radio entertainer of all time (hard to argue with an $800 million contract), is no slouch on understanding the use of a voice. He apparently sensed the same thing I did with Obama, that his voice tricks the audience into thinking he’s saying great things when he’s not. But Limbaugh’s way of nullifying the effect of Obama’s voice was to speed up the tape so Obama sounds like one of the Chipmunks.

I agree with Limbaugh that Obama’s voice tricks need to be nullified, but I think the Chipmunks technique is unfair and makes Obama sound childlike and silly in ways that he is not. Better Limbaugh should electronically remove the pauses and the “that’s FINAL” voice raising to reveal the emptiness of Obama’s rhetoric—and tell the audience he has done that.

Some might argue that changing Obama’s speeches into a total monotone is not fair. Well, he talks in a monotone almost all the time for starters. And I would allow him some voice inflection, but not the excessive, metronomical way he uses voice inflection. (go to and click the “on” button)

Wrapping oneself in the flag

A cheap speakers’ trick that disgusted me at the National Speakers Association convention in New Orleans in the early 1980s was wrapping oneself in the American flag figuratively speaking to draw approval for one’s speech. One speaker there ended all speeches by asking the audience to stand up and sing God Bless America which had nothing to do with his speech, although he did go to the effort of segueing into it. Since the audience was already on its feet and feeling uplifted by the song, “he” got a standing ovation. Creepy.

Obama’s verbal version of that is his almost invariable use of the entire phrase “United States of America,” in a rising, final-words-of-a-hymn lilt, rather than the more common “America” or “U.S.” or “this country.” It triggers patriotic impulses which are then used to make it seem like the audience loved Obama when it was mainly the reference to their country that they were responding to.

The wit of Obama

A number of other great orators have had books published that just include collections of their humorous statements including Lincoln, Churchill, Kennedy, and Reagan.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the book The Wit of Obama. The closest he comes to humor is lame jokes like his saying after his first ride on Air Force One: “Pretty nice. ” He got a big laugh, but not because it was funny but rather it came out of the mouth of THE PRESIDENT. Some judge got national press coverage for using the phrase “This Bud’s for you” in a court opinion where beer was the subject of the case. It wasn’t that funny. What made it so notable was just that a judge made a joke in a court opinion.

Memorable statements

JFK, FDR, Lincoln, and Reagan are highly regarded as great orators. They said many memorable things. Even with the best available speech writers and now five years as a U.S. Senator and President, Obama has said nothing memorable.

Here are some memorable quotes from JFK, FDR, Lincoln, and Reagan:


Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!"

I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.


Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.

The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little.


Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

..that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Ronald Reagan:

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

a shining city on a hill

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

I hope you’re all Republicans. (said to the surgeons around the operating table immediately after his being shot by a would-be assassin)

I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience. (Said in TV debate with Walter Mondale during the 1984 campaign)

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them — this morning, as they prepared for their journey, and waved good-bye, and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God." (comments after the Challenger disaster)

Barack Obama:





One of the rules of show business is to always leave the audience wanting more. Celebrities, including politicians, are also usually concerned about getting overexposed. Many top celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen rarely made or make public appearances.

Not Obama. He and his staff seem to have decided that he is a one-trick pony—that is, a great teleprompter reader. But that he is such a great teleprompter reader, that he, unlike mere mortals, cannot be overexposed no matter how much the public sees of him. In that same vein, they seem to have concluded that the solution to any problem the White House has is to simply have Barack read yet another speech on TV. The guy has made a zillion speeches yet seems intent on continuing to make as many more as he can.

I think he is very near overexposed already and his 9/9/09 speech to a joint session of Congress about his health care plans seems doomed to failure because he has nothing new or persuasive to say. Apparently, the speech will be simply Obama style yet they expect it to somehow snatch victory on the health care legislation from the jaws of defeat. Doing the same failed thing over and over yet expecting a different result is one of the manifestations of insanity, not leadership.

Promising more than you deliver

In an early article about Obama I said he was doomed to failure because herepeatedly made the very stupid mistake of promising more than he can deliver. When you think about it, there is only one way to do a good job yet have people unhappy with the job you did. That is to promise more than you deliver. One Obama example: When urging the nation to approve his “stimulus” bill, he said unemployment would go above 8% if we did not immediately pass it. Congress passed it, notoriously without reading it, and unemployment promptly went above 8% anyway—a fact which is contrasted with his promise dozens of times daily now on TV.

By choosing a joint session of Congress, which is the sort of big deal used by President Roosevelt to declare war on Japan the day after Pearl Harbor, Obama promises a huge deal. I predict he will not deliver anything other than more of the same things he has been saying for months. If so, he has turned himself into the boy who cried “wolf!” That is an extremely shoot-yourself-in-the-foot thing for a president of the “United States of America” to do.

It’s WHAT you say, not how you say it

Ultimately, to be considered a truly great orator, which is almost a requirement of a great president, you need to say memorable things that inspire people to respond to the “better angels of our nature.” Obama has never done that, in spite of having many opportunities to do so. After his much-ballyhooed speech on race, his supporters in the press said it would henceforth be taught in schools alongside the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence. No. it won’t. Hardly anyone remembers a word of it even though it happened in 2008. The only phrase I remember is his calling for a “dialogue on race,” by which I said he meant blacks bitching and whites taking notes and promising to change everyhing blacks want changed to the way blacks want it.

Obama says nothing, but he says it with grand faux eloquence. A comment I made about Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki also applies to Obama:

In this, Kiyosaki also reminds me of Robert Blake, the movie and TV actor best known for starring in the late-70’s TV series Baretta. Blake’s TV-talk-show appearances were invariably interrupted by audience applause. Why? Like Kiyosaki, he was given to spouting platitudes so grandly and self-confidently that the audience assumed he must have had said something great. He didn’t.

I am not sure that the American people will ever figure out that Obama says little and achieves his hypnotic effect with cheap speaker tricks, but I think they could if someone would explain and point out to them the tricks being used and the fundamental clichéd, all-slogans-all-the-time emptiness of his speeches.

Here is an excellent email I got from David Cooperman adding similar observations he has made.

Mr. Reed:

I’m a big fan of your work, and enjoy reading the articles and books. I’m a real estate guy and stand-up comedian, so I followed the various cheap tricks with interest. The part about draping yourself in the flag definitely rang a few bells for me. When 9/11 occurred there was never ending sequences from comics "let’s hear it folks for those firefighters, and police – the real heroes"…There are all sorts of gratuitous things comics say so they’ll be liked – "you ladies are really so much smarter than us". I worked with a guy who would end his show with the song "Walking in Memphis". He had a good voice, but I sat there thinking "he’s singing the entire song straight?" No jokes thrown in, no parody, just a song? Bizarre. He wasn’t a strong enough comic to get standing O’s – but he’d always get applause. To me, I think he was just filling time to do his required minutes – and when you’re singing, you’re not getting laughs, but you’re not pausing either so the audience can’t really tell if other audience members are NOT enjoying themselves. So, it’s a bomb-avoidance technique. I know, I know, I’m digressing. But – politicians and comedians share the same disease – generally, they need to be liked (there are exceptions in the comedy arena, but generally the rule stands).

In terms of your critique, the thing I think you’re leaving out is that no, Obama isn’t a great orator – but he has a good voice. So, when people gush about his speaking abilities, I think they’re just mistaking good pipes for good oration. Kind of like the Richard Burton-syndrome – or James Earl Jones (in my opinion) – great voices, not great actors. I believe Burton actually fessed up to this. Compared to Bush though, Obama is Paul Harvey or Reagan…since all the Bush’s were just horrendous public speakers. McCain also wasn’t particularly gripping as a public speaker (in fact, I think he’s terrible, although I like him on the whole more than you do), and I think Palin was/is pretty rough on the ears. So, Obama doesn’t have to compare necessarily to the greats. It’s like winning an Oscar – the Best Picture doesn’t have to go up against Citizen Kane – it just has to beat the field that’s there. As a speaker, Obama beats the field. Plus, like a big name comic who has to perform new material – Obama has writers. I don’t think great speeches have been made (the ‘unclench your fist’ line was memorable, albeit wrong). So, I don’t give his writers the poor grades you do. He said some funny things at the White House press dinner.

He’ll be remembered – no matter what – because he’s a black guy. Leftist teachers will bludgeon that into the brains of every kid of future generations, no matter what. He may be the next Jimmy Carter but he’s the black Jimmy Carter, and that’s that. In a way, he’s the anti-Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, etc. They had to be great to break through. Although in sports – it’s easier to be objective about greatness. Presidents are a little different. When presidents speak – you don’t get to see the stat lines on the bottom of the screen. There aren’t Bill James-types for politics.

Thanks for your time,

Dave Cooperman

Reed note: I would argue that my son Dan (his web site is and I are trying to be Bill James types for politics.

The Barack behind the curtain exposed

During the campaign, Obama’s critics, including yours truly, told you that he was too radical, unqualified, totally inexperienced, untrained for leadership or management, narcissistic, and so on. You can see what I said back then farther down my headline news articles page.

69 million people did not believe us and voted for him on election day.

Now, week by week, those who supported him are turning against him. And those who were already against him are turning more against him than they were in November, 2008.

Not just health care

Why? Not because of health care as the pundits seem to be saying. True, the turn coincides with the health care debate, but it’s more about Obama than about health care. This in spite of his saying, “It’s not about me.”

In fact, with Obama, everything is about Obama. Like most presidential candidate finalists, he is a sociopath. (I strongly urge you to read that Web site definition of sociopath. Now that we know Obama much better, it is chilling to read.) Sociopath-ness is roughly speaking extreme egomania combined with difficulty recognizing that there is more than one person on earth, that the rest of the human race are not merely useful farm animals.


I talk in my book Succeeding about the short-lived effect of mystique when others get to know the person who supposedly has it. Mystique is “an air or attitude of mystery and reverence developing around something or someone.”

Obama is not the only person with mystique. Navy SEALs have it. Service academy graduates. Ex P.O.W.s. Ivy Leaguers. FBI agents. And so on.

I have experienced the mystique effect as a result of graduating from West Point, Harvard Business School, Army ranger school, and being a Vietnam veteran and a book author. When a person with some sort of mystique arrives at a new job, he is “The West Point guy” or the “Harvard MBA.” But after I was there for a couple of weeks, I became just Jack, a unique individual with strengths and weaknesses like everyone else.

The Great Black Hope

When he was elected and inaugurated, Barack was “The Great Black Hope.” But, inevitably, in the fish bowl of the White House, he was unable to prevent the public from finally seeing who he really is. He tried, like the Wizard of Oz ranting and raving from behind the curtain. But the microscopic press scrutiny did what Dorothy’s dog Toto did in the Wizard of Oz movie. It pulled back the curtain and revealed Barack Obama for what he really is: a 48-year-old guy with no experience or training in leadership or management. A petulant guy who gets extremely irritated when things don’t go his way. An astonishingly overconfident guy who thinks he can charm the pants off foreign crowds (yes in France and Germany; no in Russia), foreign leaders (name one), Cambridge cops, the American public (falling polls), Congressional Republicans (none voted for a couple of his main bills), and the press (even they are turning against him one by one).

Brazen liar

Obama lied. He lied during the campaign and it didn’t hurt him. As he likes to say, “I won.”

He lied more after the inauguration, and combined it with a bum’s rush telling us we had to enact his laws immediately or the world would come to an end. And he got away with that for a while—about three months.

Apparently, he figured his success at lying meant he could keep on lying and bum’s rushing us for two full terms in the Oval Office. Then he learned what another tall, skinny, Illinois, legislator-lawyer turned president once said.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Abraham Lincoln

With his hyperdangerous, extreme overconfidence, Obama figures the rules that apply to ordinary mortals do not apply to him, including that one.

Actually, the rules apply to him, too, including that one.

Now they see the real Barack

The public, including tens of millions of his former supporters, now see him as a dishonest radical who really does not know what he is doing and who is trying to bluff his way through the most difficult job on earth. They now recognize the bum’s rushes for what they were and are now saying “Slow down!”—literally shouting that phrase at some town hall meetings.

They see that the allegations that the stimulus money would hardly get out the door in 2009 as accurate. They are not buying Obama’s claims that his “stimulus” turned the economy around (only $70 billion has been spent, a drop in the bucket considering total U.S. consumer spending is about $9 trillion a year). Americans are horrified by the monstrous current and projected deficits. They recognize that he overpromised when he said the stimulus package would keep unemployment from exceeding 8%. They see his foreign policy as making speeches but accomplishing next to nothing and a more dangerous world than on Inauguration Day with more dying in Afghanistan, renewed violence in Iraq, allies reducing troop strength in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran openly suppressing its people, North Korea detonating nukes and test firing long-range missiles, an administration at war with our CIA.

It is dawning on the American people, that this man who never crossed the Rio Grande until recently, never served in the military or diplomatic corps, never worked in government except as a state senator and U.S. Senator who was always campaigning for president, and rarely traveled other than to live in Indonesia as a 6- to 10-year old, is not prepared to oversee foreign or defense policy.

It took him 17 meetings and phone calls to approve shooting the Somali pirates. I am not ready to be president, but I did serve in the military and in various managerial positions. When the military requested the second meeting with me on the pirates matter, I would have chewed them out. “Figure it out for chrissake! Haven’t we spent enough training you and paying you?” See my article on the subject.

Lashing out irrationally at opponents

Obama’s reaction to his declining poll numbers and flagging health care support has been to accuse opponents of being Nazis, being a rent-a mob paid by insurance companies. He says the criticisms of his health care plan are lies in spite of video clips of his saying the opposite being played over and over on radio and TV shows. He sometimes contradicts himself in the same speech. He often says stuff that is the opposite of what he said on prior audio or video tapes. He never admits his lies or mistakes.

In contrast, while governor of California, Ronald Reagan once said his “feet were set in concrete” on a particular issue. Later, he recognized he was not going to win and joked, “The sound you hear is the concrete around my feet breaking.”

Obama is utterly incapable of such honesty or character.

Tangled web

Another rule Obama thinks does not apply to him was articulated by Sir Walter Scott,

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive

Actually, that rule applies to him, too.

Who is angrier at him?

It is a toss up who is angrier at him: the liberals to whom he lied, or the conservatives. He figured he was so charming he could get away with the most brazen lies no matter whether they were directed at his supporters or his opponents. Air America, a leftist radio net work recently called him a “charming liar.” Leftists also called him Cheney, a fascist, a sell-out to the drug companies, They play clips of him over and over promising, during the campaign, not to do precisely that which he subsequently did. His promises of transparency, bills being posted for at least five days on his Web site, not taking non-federal campaign contributions, no earmarks, etc., etc. All promises broken without the slightest apology or explanation.

The anti-war crowd gave him a key Iowa primary victory early in his campaign. Now he is surging in Afghanistan. All he has given them on the wars is changing the terminology and a promised future shut down of Guantanamo (with no plan as to where to put the detainees). They thought they were voting for a pull-out guy. Instead, they re-elected a total Bush clone with regard to war policy.

Ann Dunham’s weasely boy Barry

The American people welcomed Barack the “historic” black president for change. Now they are starting to recognize they got scammed. He may have a black father, but he is not a symbol. He is just a man, a brazenly dishonest man, a “charming liar” who is not charming enough to get away with his lies, a suicidally overconfident con man, a man whose instincts when he encounters opposition are self-destructive, a radical leftist, and an incompetent. His half black DNA, it turns out, is irrevelant. The salient fact is that he is an inept liar and every bit as dangerous to the nation as if he were 100% white.

How long will it take for blacks to start worrying whether they chose the wrong guy for first black president and that this guy will ultimately set their cause back by his incompetence and dishonesty? Blacks helped put a black sociopath in the Oval Office. About the only racial advance that represents is informing non-blacks that there are black sociopaths, too.

The great savior Barack Obama has been inevitably revealed to be just Ann Dunham’s weasely boy Barry—the bullshit artist whose picture is now in the dictionary next to the definition of a “legend in his own mind.”

‘Content of his character’

In his famous “I have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. said he dreamed of “a day when his four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

On election day, 2008 and Inauguration Day 2009, Barack Oama was judged by the color of his skin. Now, not the inauguration, is the real realization of King’s dream. Barack Obama is finally, in the late summer of 2009, being judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. It turns out the color of his skin was concealing the fact that he has no character.

Death panels

Everyone dies

You will eventually die. Health care and life-style improvements can prolong life in most cases. That’s all.

Many people will suffer an injury or illness for which expensive medical therapies (e.g., medicine, surgery) may prolong life and/or improve the quality of the patient’s life.

If you can afford the therapy in question, perhaps through your insurance, the decision on whether to have the therapy done is yours alone.

If you cannot afford the therapy by yourself, either you must forego it or find someone else to pay for it. If you have to find someone else to pay for it, one or more persons who have that money will decide whether to pay for it.

If there is more than one decision maker, and the therapy in question relates to prolonging your life, the group of decision makers is fairly called a “death panel.”

In other situations, it could be called a “pain panel” or a “quality of life panel.”

Your family

The person or group of people who decide whether you get the therapy in question when you cannot afford it by yourself may be your family. How that works out is between you and them.


The only alternative outside your family is charity including government charity. So if you and and/or your family cannot afford the therapy in question, you must go hat in hand to a charity or the government to ask them to please pay for your therapy.


Politicians, especially Democrats, have encouraged voters to believe health care is an entitlement. That is a childlike fairy tale. Health care is expensive. It is only an entitlement if you purchase insurance from a reputable adequately financially strong company that agrees in the policy terms to pay for the therapy in question and you pay the premiums necessary for that company to afford the therapy for you and other members of the insured group of people.

If the government simply decrees that you are entitled to a health care blank check, and you support such a government, you are accomplishing nothing but sending your country down the road to bankruptcy.

There is no free lunch. Someone has to pay for your health care. Simply voting for politicians who promise to make someone other than you pay for it is childish. I saw a quote in the media that total confiscation of 100% of the profits of all the corporations in America would not be enough to pay for even one year of universal health care. Furthermore, anything remotely resembling that would cause all of those corporations to go out of business for lack of incentive to continue.

In other words, you’re going to die. How soon depends on your luck and/or how well you take care of yourself. Many Americans will die sooner or suffer poorer quality of life because of lack of enough money to pay for every therapy for everybody that might prolong life, mitigate pain, or improve quality of life.

The only choice we have is whether the decision will be made by you, a family “panel,” and insurance-company panel, or a government panel. Clearly, you are better off if the decision is made by you or your family. Beyond that, a private insurance company is better than a government panel because government is political and politicians make decisions based on politics. Government death panels will favor politicians, important supporters, and key voting blocs. Under Obama, expect government death panels to be contain mainly ACORN members, union members, trial lawyers, government employees, academics, Democrat party officials, and so on. They will place teir own political power before your interests. They always have throughout the history of mankind.

The correct health care policy is for citizens who want it to buy major medical insurance (possibly in the form of Blue Cross or HMO membership) to cover the most expensive procedures. All government health care programs should be ended including Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Congress, and so on. Why? The government does not have enough money to pay for Medicare and Medicaid. They have enough money to pay for the VA and Congress, but those are unfair to the taxpayers. The VA should only pay for line-of-duty veteran injuries or illnesses, not all veteran medical care. The government is even more inefficient—far more inefficient—than insurance companies and private hospitals.

People should pay for procedures other than major ones out of their own pocket. That is how we handle other necessities like food, clothing, cars, pets, farm animals, and shelter. It will result in the lowest costs because when people pay out of their own pocket, they shop around for the best prices thereby triggering downward competitive pressures on prices. The current high cost problem stems from costs being paid by people other than the patients. The system I am advocating is approximately the way Americans got health care in the 1950s, early 1960s, and before. It was not the intolerable disaster advocates of Obama care claim. I was there. So were you or your ancestors unless you emigrated here since then.

The Cash-for-Clunkers ‘Success’

Democrats are touting the great ‘success’ that is Obama’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program

That program gives away free money. How is anyone surprised that giving away free money is popular? How is giving money away for free and having people say, “Yes, I’ll take some” a success?

They are giving away free money by purchasing used cars worth $500 to $1,000 for $4,500.

By the way, the money Obama is giving away is your tax money. Who benefits?

  • the former owner of the clunker
  • the car dealer (Is he more deserving of taxpayer charity than you? He probably lives in a much bigger house than you.)
  • the United Auto Workers union, they who were already rewarded for their political support of Obama with the GM and Chrysler taxpayer bailouts

Trashing the clunkers

The clunkers are worth $500 to $1,000 each. But they are being totally junked. Why?

They should be sold or dismantled for the parts. If the Democrats were the compasionate Mother Theresa’s they would have us believe they are, they would have donated these cars to the homeless or Mexico so some such. Instead, the cars are ordered to be destroyed in spite of their value.

Why? Apparently Democrat hatred of SUVs, pickup trucks, and the sort of red-neck, red state people who drive them. These valuable cars are being smashed because they are a symbols of Republicans.

Repair shops complaining

The 8/6/09 Wall Street Journal has a story titled “Clunkers Plan Deflates Mechanics.” Less affluent people have wisely and frugally been trying to make their old cars last as long as possible. But suddenly, because of the Cash for Clunkers program, they are telling their auto mechanic never mind. The repair shops are losing business. Serves them right for not contributing to the Obama campain I guess.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer likens the Cash fo Clunkers program to the ultimate Keynesian economics program which pays half the citizens in a country to dig holes and the oter half to fill them back up.

This is childish and a waste of taxpayer money.

How many more “successes” like this can U.S. taxpayers afford?

The Cambridge cop, Professor Gates, and Obama

What happened

Cambridge, MA police received a 911 call reporting a possible break in at a home in that city. It was a break-in. Harvard professor Louis Gates forgot his keys and had to break into his own home. The 911 caller made no mention of the two persons breaking in being black. She said one (Gates’ driver) might be Hispanic and that she did not see the other.

Several Cambridge police responded to the call. The first on the scene accosted the men who entered the home. When one said it was his home, the cop asked for ID and proof that it was his home (e.g., a drivers license with that street address). The fear was that the real home occupants were being held at gun point or bleeding to death, etc. Gates then launched into a tirade that accused the cop of racial profiling.

After confirming that no crime was being, or had been committed, the cop told Gates that he, the cop, was leaving. Gates followed the cop outside continuing his tongue lashing. The cop repeatedly warned Gates to quiet down and threatened him with arrest if he did not. Gates continued the tongue-lashing and was arrested and booked. Charges were later dropped.


1. Gates did nothing illegal per se. His tirade was unseemly, childish (references to the cop’s “mama”), gratuitous, and slanderous. He owes Officer Crowley an apology, not to mention gratitude for the response to the 911 call and the possible danger the police were risking to respond. Had they been actual burglars or worse, Gates would certainly owe a huge debt of gratitude to the police for their quick response and investigation. It is possible that Gates himself may someday have occasion to call Cambridge 911. In that event, he will want them to do precisely what they did in this case prior to the following-the-cop-outside tirade.

Gates refuses to apologize—to his discredit. Since he represents Harvard, the University ought to apologize to the police. There is a difference between freedom of speech and being an obnoxious jerk. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Harvard to apologize. If it had been a white professor giving a black cop a hard time about racism, Harvard would probably have a whole different perspective. (My wife and I are Harvard graduates.)


2. The cop was perfectly professional until he arrested Gates. As far as he knew, he might have been risking his life when he confronted the men. The arrest strikes me as actually being for “contempt of cop,” not the disorderly conduct charge the cop claimed. Contempt of cop is not a crime. Police are somewhat spoiled by the vast majority of people being deferential toward them. On the rare occasion when a citizen is disrespectful, they sometimes react as if the disrespect is illegal behavior by invoking a broadly-defined part of the criminal code like disorderly conduct.

In crowd-control situations, cops typically put up with all sorts of verbal abuse and use admirable professional restraint. In one-or-one or small group situations, they sometimes fail to resist the temptation to make a contempt-of-cop arrest or worse. The various incidents of cops beating high-speed chase perpetrators like Rodney King have been studied and found to result from a combination of elevated adrenaline from the chase and reaction to the contempt-of-cop behavior inherent in leading police on a high-speed chase. In such car chases, the greater danger is innocent bystanders being injured by the perp or the police. Follow-up studies were done to learn how both the beatings and the dangerous car chases can be eliminated.

Whether the rest of us would be able to behave differently than the cops in those situations is impossible to say. The vast majority of us have never faced such a situation in our lives. Cops face them routinely. The restraint they are supposed to exercise requires an extreme, perhaps superhuman, switching of mental gears when risking their lives one minute and, n the next, interacting in Marquis-of-Queensbury fashion with surrendering criminals who just endangered their lives.

Arresting a loudmouth jerk for contempt of cop, while inappropriate, is not racist. Neither was the cops responding to the 911 call and demanding ID. In view of Gates’ way-out-of-line tirade, I have trouble seeing how Crowley owes him an apology.

Gates probably could not win a lawsuit for false arrest or violation of his civil rights. The line between disorderly conduct and legal conduct is somewhat blurred. I wasn’t there. Few people were.


3. Obama was wrong to comment on the incident at all. For one thing, it was way below his pay grade. For another, it had none of the connection to race relations in America that he suggested. But to chip-on-their-shoulder blacks, everything is about race in America.

He subsequently should have said “I was wrong” in a straight-forward manner. Instead, he made a convoluted, half-assed hint that perhaps, maybe he was mistaken. The Cambridge cops behaved professionally. The Harvard professor and the Harvard Law School graduate did not. The Cops knew the facts. The Harvard know-it-alls did not bother to obtain them.

The contempt-of-cop arrest was not stupid, as Obama characterized it. Rather, it was a dubious overeaction that was understandable to most because of the extreme provocation by Gates. Gates seemed to be doing his utmost to get arrested so he would have something to bitch about. Obama owes the Cambridge police an apology—a real one—not that mealy-mouthed I may have possibly used words that enabled some idiots to misinterpret my true meaning or however he worded it. He said the police “acted stupidly.” Not a lot of nuance possible there. Indeed, he said we can all agree on that. Speak for yourself nouveau noir guy. And apologize clearly now that you know there was no racial bias or stupidity on the part of the police.

I do not know what to make of Professor Louis Gates. His Wikipedia bio is full of awards, academic positions, and accolades, but I wonder how many he would have received for identical work on white culture if he had been white. The burden of proof is on all blacks who succeed in fields where affirmative action is standard policy—college and university admissions, academia, government—to prove that they objectively earned their accomplishments. Gates strikes me as a darker-skinned Ward Churchill, that is, a professional ranter-and-raver race hustler who achieved his station in life by using his minority ancestors (perhaps imaginary in Chuchill’s case) for all it was worth.


To Gates’ discredit, his 1968 application to be an undergraduate at Yale included the paragraph,

As always, whitey now sits in judgment of me, preparing to cast my fate. It is your decision either to let me blow with the wind as a nonentity or to encourage the development of self. Allow me to prove myself.

To Yale’s discredit, they accepted him into both Yale college and Yale Law School and hired him to teach there anyway, or perhaps to prove their non-racist bona fides. A cheap trick by Gates that worked. Ultimately, though, Yale’s slow learners were not totally devoid of intelligence. They denied him tenure and he went to Cornell, Duke, then Harvard.

His main shtick seems to be that black literature is insufficiently studied and celebrated because of a white bias against it in spite of its merit. My impression is that black literature and historical figures have been elevated beyond their actual true accomplishments or impatvia an affirmative-action program for literature and historical figures. I read that kids no longer study Thomas Edison in many public schools. He has been removed to make way for obscure black historical figures.

When one of my sons was in middle school and mentioned some black African tribal leader he was studying, I said, “I never heard of him. What did he do?” I was prepared to learn that the man in question had been unfairly left out of history books because of racism, but the answer to the “what did he do question”—which I looked at my son’s text to answer, was “not much.” Basically, he was a relative big shot in his African region in his time but he had little effect beyond that—about the equivalent of some sixth century white European warlord we also never heard of. It appeared to me that the word had gone out to put more blacks in the text books and they simply found the highest ranking black historical figures, regardless of objective standards, and elevated them over more important whites to fill politically-correct history and literary text book racial quotas.

I do not think Obama hates whites

Some have said Obama’s unwarranted and hair trigger leap to a racism conclusion, like Gates’ hair trigger racist tirade at the Cambridge cop, indicates that Obama hates white people.

Obama is white. His DNA is 50.000% white; precisely the same percentage that it is Kenyan. He was raised 100% white by 100% white people. He called himself Barry until he was an adult. I read somewhere that he and a white girlfriend lived together in New York City during and/or after his graduation from Columbia College. I am not aware of any evidence from his “white” period—still more than half of his life—that he ever hated whites. Since he knew so many of them so intimately, I suspect he knows they are not worthy of hate as a group. But then that’s not the mind set that sells on the South Side of Chicago.

He doesn’t hate whites, but he wants to be popular with those who do, like his wife, “Skip” Gates, and adopted father Jeremiah Wright.

His father got his mother, then a single college girl, pregnant when she was 18 in November of 1960. They got married 2/2/61. The African wife he never divorced was not invited to the wedding. President Obama was born on 8/4/09. Obama senior graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in June 1962 and left to study for a masters degree at Harvard. Apparently, Obama, Sr. did not see Obama, Jr. or Obama, Jr.’s mother during the rest of the marriage which ended in divorce in January, 1964. Apparently Obama, Jr.’s only in-person contact with his father after infancy was a brief visit when Obama, Jr. was 10.

It appears that Obama was severely psychiatrically scarred by his father’s near total lack of interest in, and abandonment of, him, not to mention his mother’s not much greater interest in him. She moved to Indonesia as a twice-divorced single mother with Obama’s half sister when Obama was ten.

At same point within the several years after his graduation from Columbia in 1983 when he lived in New York City, he decided to become a black guy. He moved to the blackest Congressional district in the nation—IL 1st District on the South Side of Chicago—and worked thereafter in various black political organizations. When he decided to become black, he had been a white guy for 26 years and he was way behind his black peers in knowing how blacks act, talk, think, and the details of black culture and experiences. He had grown up in Honolulu, perhaps the most racially mixed and racially tolerant place on earth.

Like the convert to Catholicism who is more Catholic than the Pope, Barack had a lot of catching up and proving himself to do. Joining Jeremiah Wright’s church, marrying Michelle, going to Louis Farrakhan’s (South Side of Chicago Muslim leader) Million Man March, writing about using cocaine in a book, etc. seem to have been the main ways Obama sought South Side of Chicago street cred.

Now, after 22 years of straining to prove to himself and his fellow blacks that he is one of them, he has difficulty turning it off. His hair trigger leap to accuse the Cambridge Police (off all police departments to accuse of such a thing—Cambidge, MA is often called the “People’s Republic of Cambridge”) of racial profiling is apparently his 22-years of “See, I really am black” protestations escaping in an uncharacteristically unguarded moment.

He is a mirror image of Michael Jackson—rejecting his “original” race and obsessively, manically trying to prove his bonafides in the new one.

‘Harry, I have a gift’

His beer summit was a manifestation of his approach to life that is essentially, “Harry, I have a gift of smooth talk that charms even the most savage beasts.” I expected the beer summit would be held in a private room in the White House. No. They did it on the lawn in front of cameras like the Yalta Conference—where momentous events actually took place and should have been preserved and reported on for posterity. They clinked beer mugs. Joe grabbed a handful of peanuts. Barack grabbed a handful of peanuts. They all looked awkward and ill at ease. Barack pretended to be comfortable. Must-see TV.

In fact, Obama’s misplaced confidence that he can smooth talk everyone on earth into liking him and agreeing with him—including Gates and Officer Crowley, not to mention Ahmadinejad, Putin, and Kim Jong-Il, may yet get us into World War III.

Showcase of his overconfidence

As far as anyone can tell, the beer summit accomplished absolutely nothing except to enable two guys to get themselves a free beer and their families private tours of the White House. It was supposed to be a showcase of Obama’s awesome, mediating, bring-us-together skills. Instead, it was a showcase of his overconfidence and rookie lack of leadership instincts. Never have so many watched so few accomplish so little.

Obama supposedly has a date not yet set to have a beer with Sean Hannity. I suspect that’s now off.

Treatment of the 911 caller

The 911 caller was treated abominably. She did absolutely nothing wrong. She was a private person who had the right to be left alone. Indeed, as you would expect of a Cambridge resident, she spent half the 911 phone call and half her subsequent press conference protesting her perfect political correctness. I think it will be a long time before she makes another 911 call no matter what she sees or hears.

It is now a staple of TV and radio to make fun of some 911 callers. How many people are going to die or suffer serious injury in the future when a citizen sees something suspicious and decides not to call 911 out of fear of ridicule or persecution for doing so?

It ought to be a violation of public policy to release 911 call recordings unless absolutely necessary. Furthermore even when released, any portions unnecessary as evidence in court that might subject the caller to regret should not be released. People should not be discouraged from calling 911 when injury might result from lack of the call. Even the 911 calls about McDonalds running out of chicken nuggets should not be released because a person dumb enough to do that is also smart enough to save a life with another 911 call.

Indeed, blacks are more likely to be injured by this discouragement of 911 calls because most potential callers are white (by population of the country) and the calls they will henceforth be most reluctant to make will be those where the suspect is black. Since most black crime victims are victimized by other blacks, discouraging whites from reporting possible crime by black people is not a great idea.