Archive for May, 2014

“Tuesday is Choose Day!”

May 23, 2014


If time went any faster, tomorrow morning would be Christmas — followed by Easter at Noon.

But it’s been a full three months since Campaign 2014 officially kicked off locally with the Oakhurst Democratic Club’s “D.A. Debate” at the Community Center on February 28th and here we are with the June Primary only five days away.

The Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce presented subsequent well-attended debates among all the candidates April 17th and May 1st, even as various “Meet and Greet” fundraisers and similar gatherings were staged throughout Eastern Madera County by those running for public office and their supporters.

Having attended all three formal debates and quite a few other associated events during this election cycle with November still comparatively a long way off, I feel we are blessed with an unusually strong lineup of choices this time around with a group of gifted candidates who present themselves well — offering confident conviction and impressive credentials.

I’m particularly pleased with the extraordinary civility and courtesy displayed by all in public forum, unlike the outrageously contentious Fresno catfight currently being waged between District Attorney, Elizabeth Egan, and her opponent, Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp. Meow! How ‘bout determining the winner Election Night with a bare knuckle fist fight on live Pay TV with all proceeds going to “Stop the Violence?”

Ironically, the highest office being contested in the upcoming Primary offers the lowest examples of political sleaziness at its worst. This race involves our Fourth District Congressional Representative, Tom McClintock, attempting to undermine his Republican opponent, Art Moore, with tasteless tactics reminiscent of the “Big Lie” propaganda machine which catapulted Joseph Stalin to absolute power in Soviet Russia during the 1930’s. According to psychologists, the bigger the lie and the louder it’s repeated, the more it becomes universally believed.

In McClintock’s case, his first volley at Art Moore was fabricating an alleged character deficiency based on Moore’s absence from voting while serving his many years in the military, as has become Constitutionally customary throughout our nation’s history in the established tradition of George Patton, George C. Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower and David Petraeus.

When the blowback on this absurd notion was instantaneous from the general public, particularly veteran’s groups and affiliated organizations, McClintock quickly shifted his attack on Moore with a classic “red herring” move, meaning to create something which distracts from the most relevant, important issue. In this instance, Art Moore’s candidacy is the bothersome issue as McClintock attempts to erase the existence of Bronze Star Medalist Moore by pretending his only opponent is actually a LIBERAL named Jeffrey Gerlach.

I’ve spoken a number of times with Mr. Gerlach and found him to be highly articulate and well intended. Although quite pleased at his unanticipated and unaccustomed notoriety thanks to McClintock’s pronounced fear of Moore, Gerlach states that he is a LIBERTARIAN, not a LIBERAL, and McClintock’s summary of his various positions are seriously misleading in several areas, although cleverly so. Gerlach also suggests that he is really more a “Rationalist” than anything else and does emphatically support increasing the federal minimum wage and gay marriage.

What’s missing from McClintock’s most recent “The Choice is Clear” flyer is any mention at all of West Point graduate Art Moore, who has now been endorsed by former Congressman George Radanovich, numerous Placer County, El Dorado County and Mariposa County Supervisors, and Nate Beason, Chairman of the Rural County Representatives of California. Mr. Moore has also received a ringing endorsement from The Fresno Bee, which states that “McClintock has been an elected official for nearly three decades — all the while portraying government as the enemy of the people. Moreover, he is totally ineffective. The sooner he exits Congress, the better for 4th District residents.”

As our Congressional campaign has now come under national focus thanks to the New York Times and Time Magazine, voting with meaningful issue awareness and honestly thoughtful reflection next Tuesday is all the more important.

For our neighbors and our nation, may the best men and women win.

So we can all get better.

“Ozzy Benghazi”

May 9, 2014


“Crazy, but that’s how it goes.
Millions of people living like foes.”

Ozzy Osbourne — “Crazy Train” from “Blizzard of Ozz” (1980)

For a gentleman who bit the head off a bat only days earlier in live performance, Ozzy Osbourne was quite sober and subdued as we had a few drinks together at a Fort Lauderdale Radio Conference in late January of 1982. I found him to be both articulate and intelligent reflecting on his ascension into the hierarchy of Rock & Roll, albeit admitting continuing personal challenges from chronic use of “recreational drugs”, a phrase in which he intentionally and emphatically stressed the first syllable.

But Ozzy sure comes to mind as we witness John Boehner, Speaker of that Crazy Train called the House of Representatives forming a “Select Committee” headed by Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on an incident which took place over two and a half years ago and has already been the subject of 13 public hearings and 50 full Congressional briefings containing 25,000 pages of reviewed documentation. So far, nothing remotely sinister has turned up other than mounting frustration on the part of right wing radicals whose search for a smoking gun hasn’t produced anything other than ever growing madness in every sense of the word.

In a bulletin I received moments ago, a major GOP headline boldly screams, “If we were to measure big events in the last 40 years, this ranks above the Nixon Watergate scandal!” Included in the release is a brief video clip of Chief Investigator Gowdy in which he challenges the media and brings them to “stunned silence” with such questions as, “Do you know the origin of this mythology that it (the attack) was spawned as a spontaneous reaction to a video? Do you know when that started? Do you know how we got from no evidence of that to that being the official position of the Administration?”

What? Even my cat is aware that heavy rioting the day before in Cairo, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world causing hundreds of injuries and over fifty deaths was fueled by YouTube clips from “The Innocence of Muslims,” a production perceived as denigrating the Prophet Muhammad. Mitt Romney, himself, commented on the video and its impact six hours PRIOR to the Benghazi attack.

But 225 Republicans on the Crazy Train voted for HR 567, providing for the “Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.” Naturally, that included our own Fourth District caboose, Tom McClintock.

Trust Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to sum it all up in her own succinct, clear, no nonsense manner:

“House Republicans are doing whatever they can to distract the American people from what’s really going on in Washington – a rigged system that works great for those who have armies of lobbyists and lawyers but that leaves everyone else behind. It’s wrong, and it’s shameful.”

Speaking of Representative McClintock, while appreciative of his tardy response in last week’s Sierra Star to questions I raised several weeks ago, particularly his reluctant admission that, when all is said and done, our Yosemite Park closure was about killing “ObamaCare”, I find myself stunned and embarrassed by a glossy, full color flyer which arrived in today’s mail from his “McClintock for Congress” campaign.

This expensive and well-circulated piece does nothing but excoriate McClintock’s young Republican opponent, Art Moore, for never voting. That’s it.

Ironically, McClintock displays the outrageous audacity to observe, “The right to vote in America is sacred. It’s enshrined in the Constitution. We’ve fought wars to protect that right.

Well, Tom, Art Moore certainly HAS fought to protect that right in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, while you, a career politician, have never spent a single, solitary second in military service.

Major Moore, a West Point graduate and Bronze Star recipient, has already more than satisfactorily addressed the “voting issue” – noting that he observed self-imposed discipline during his many years of active service honoring a belief that military officers should not participate in politics as a matter of faithful adherence to well-defined Constitutional guidelines.

Perhaps it’s the minimal turn-out McClintock has been experiencing at recent local events or the fact that his former Chief of Staff, Igor Birman, is polling horribly in the adjacent Seventh District primary race, but McClintock does seem more than a bit rattled of late.

I probably shouldn’t add to his discomfort by noting McClintock didn’t even vote for himself last time around.

He doesn’t live in the Fourth District.