Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

My new column is up over at TheNorthlandPost.com. They have added a way to comment on their website, feel free to join the discussion there.

I am often frustrated by the complete lack of understanding of American politics by the average American. So, I thought with this week’s column, I would delve into an examination of the American political spectrum.

Read the rest (and see my really cool graphic I created, too) by clicking here.

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The following is written by my good friend, Bryan Stalder. Bryan lives down in historic Northeast Kansas City where we grew up together and is on a one man mission to try and stop the proposed Kansas City Streetcar that will eventually run through his neighborhood. His testimony of what he saw in the meeting would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sadly indicative of many Americans and their complete lack of critical thought. It also demonstrates the continual problems of corruption and cronyism we see at every level of politics in America. What Bryan doesn’t realize is that him, and other residents of Northeast were submitted to what is called the “Delphi Technique.” This is a method developed by none-other than the radical community organizer, Saul Alinsky. The purpose of the technique is to achieve oneness of opinion of a group. Good for Bryan and his willingness to ask tough questions. I especially love his conclusion, but with one caveat, I don’t believe many of these people that support this nonsense are “otherwise intelligent.” Intelligence is the ability to apply knowledge and skills to a situation, true intelligence is demonstrated in all areas of a person’s life, not just part of it. 

I attended the Next Rail KC meeting at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center this evening, and from the looks of the parking lot, I’m confident that no one in that room took public transit to get to the meeting even though the 24 runs within two blocks of the health center. There were at least seventy-five people in attendance from just about every neighborhood in Northeast, and I was probably the only opponent of streetcar in the room. There is plenty of opposition to the streetcar, but most of those people have school aged children or are seniors, so they have a hard time attending these types of events on weeknights. By the way, these are the same people that streetcar supporters drive to the polls when Democrats are relying on Medicaid and public education to get them re-elected.

Anyway, the meeting started out with a brief presentation from Vincent, an employee of HNTB who stands to make MILLIONS from this government funded project. He told us all of the great things that streetcar could and would do for Northeast, and even buttered us up by asking us to congratulate ourselves for having “one of the largest turnouts,” so far. Y’know, all of the stuff you’d expect from a “Two free meal tickets if you listen to our timehare spiel,” meeting.
A few things in that introduction that I found interesting.

-He spent a lot of time telling us the great things about streetcar, and just a few seconds breezing past a few obstacles facing streetcar. His presentation included just three obstacles, but promised that they could work around all of them.

-He promised us that Independence Avenue was one of the strongest corridors, because many of the other ones being considered had “dead zones” but Independence Avenue is already a strong corridor for businesses.

-He pointed out that the 24 and the 30 had some of the highest ridership of all the buses in the city.
-He mentioned that while other parts of the city are struggling to keep residents, Northeast regenerates our population.
So I had to ask myself, if streetcar is supposed to increase economic development, transit ridership, and residents, but we’re already doing that WITHOUT streetcar, then we don’t really need to spend over $300 million for the thing, do we?
After the presentation, we separated into groups to discuss our “dreams” for streetcar. Seriously. I allowed the discussion to go on without my input for 15-20 minutes, because I knew that once I started asking questions, the rest of the time would be spent debating, which wouldn’t be entirely fair to the people who I was sitting with.

When I joined in the discussion, my first question was “How will this be funded?” and I was told that there isn’t enough money in Northeast or along The Avenue to build this project, so most of the money would come from federal grants or donations. I pressed further and the representative from HNTB assured me that if any city monies were spent, that a city wide vote would have to occur. I know better, but I was just getting started, so I chose instead to make him re-establish that no city funds would be spent without a city-wide vote, and he did. What does he have to lose? He doesn’t work for city hall, so he can’t be held accountable for that (and probably has no idea, anyway.)

I continued by asking which services that the bus currently offered would be enhanced by the streetcar, and the general consensus at the table was that streetcars have a larger capacity, so I pointed out that we could make buses bigger, or run them more frequently. They claimed that the streetcar routes are simpler, so I asked why we couldn’t make the bus routes the same as the simpler streetcar routes. We could even include the simple maps and paint a stripe in the street to trick all of the people who can’t figure out a bus schedule into thinking they’re actually on a streetcar. They told me that a streetcar has better lighting, and I assured them that a few more streetlights or LEDs inside the bus could solve that problem. They said a streetcar shows a commitment to a corridor, so I reminded them that I’ve lived in Northeast since 1982, and my dad used to take the 24 to work when I was still in diapers, (forgot to point out that KC has already established their willingness to RIP OUT rails.) Their final point was that they get people to jobs, which I laughed at, because currently, I’d wager that 90% of the people on the Northeast buses are going to work and I’ll bet there’s not a single one who tells themselves, “If they don’t build a streetcar on Independence Avenue, I’m going to quit riding the bus to work,”

Everyone at the table also admitted that they either don’t ride the bus, or rarely ride the bus, and suggested that it was because of the people that are on the bus. I pointed out that those same people will also be on the streetcar and resented the suggestion that certain people are too good for the bus. Before I could ask if they were “too white for the bus,” there was a general consensus that women aren’t comfortable on the bus, and I left it at that, because I wasn’t really looking to start debating race or calling my friends and neighbors racists.

One resident in our group suggested that all of the other corridors being strongly considered served “rich, white people,” and that they NEED to put one in Northeast so they can brag about how they’re also helping the poor minorities. I thanked her for pointing out that streetcar is for “rich, white people,” who want to ride public transit for fun.

After I out-debated about ten of my neighbors and a couple of HNTB reps, the tables were supposed to present their ideas to everyone. This was perhaps my favorite part of the evening. One presenter was adamant that the streetcar needed to go all the way to the old ARMCO building, because that was the only viable location for a COSTCO and she didn’t want to see any of the existing businesses on Independence Avenue get demolished. I literally giggled out loud because Councilman Jim “I brought Costco to Mid-Town,” Glover was standing in the room at the time. This is also funny because the stated goal of streetcar is economic development, and this neighbor wanted streetcar to run THE MAXIMUM distance (read: $$$$), but then she wanted to dictate what structures could and couldn’t be removed. And finally, and this is the most obvious question: WHO THE FUCK is going to go to Costco on the streetcar?

Another presenter suggested that big box stores like Target would consider transportation in a particular area when they start expanding into urban settings. This is hilarious to me because again, not only are people NOT going to ride streetcar to Target, but Target is the type of retailer that the “celebrate diversity. eat organic. go green. buy local. ride streetcar.” crowd DOES NOT want in Northeast. I could screenshot you pages and pages of neighborhood Facebook group debates to evidence this.

The presenter from our table said, “If we were getting a $10B blank check from the federal government, I think we’d all agree that streetcar is the last thing we’d spend it on, but the fact is that if we don’t use the money for transit, we don’t get it,” and I consider that a win that I got a supporter to actually admit in so many words, “We all agree streetcar is at the bottom on Northeast’s priorities,”

At the end of the evening, Vincent from HNTB, said he enjoyed listening to the discussion at our table, and a few other people who know my position on the streetcar admitted that the groups they were in were basically just a big circle jerk.
Bottom line, HNTB recognized that I’d done my homework, but realized that I don’t stand much of a threat on my own, and their money was safe. The overwhelming consensus in the room at the end of the night was that residents were all concerned that it was inevitable that the money was going to be spent, and so they wanted it to be spent in our neighborhood. Coincidentally, in the wake of a federal government shut down, furloughed non-essential employees, and a debt ceiling, we’re in a meeting making plans based largely on receiving federal money, to make public transit more comfortable for white people… er, women.
In 2008, people elected Barack Obama on a concept. They were frustrated, and whatever they wanted him to be, that’s what he was. No one really knew or cared what he would do, they just assumed that whatever they wanted, that’s what he stood for. That’s how it felt in this room tonight. Everyone has ideas for Northeast and Independence Avenue, and many of those ideas are conflicting. They assume that whatever they want, streetcar will make it possible. It’s disappointing that people who I believe are otherwise intelligent are so naive. They preach corporation hate and corrupt government out of one corner of their mouth, and then they endorse it when it comes rolling into their neighborhood.

This is a guest post by John Sanderford

The pro-Islamic, befuddled, unfocused and now wanting NOT to be embarrassed Barack Hussein Obama’s actions in Syria are the picture of a failed foreign policy.  Our Commander-In-Chief proclaims a “red-line”, to at first ignore his red-line and then when it is crossed a second time to says he will attack militarily, to then only days later say he will seek Congressional approval (which he says he does not need) for a “limited and focused strike” that could be larger, all on a “red-line” that now according to Obama was really “international” and Congressional in nature in the first place.  In the end it was really everybody’s “red-line” but his, and the military action is still undefined in scope and objective.  A clown with an Obama face is as close to the reality of our current foreign policy as one can get.  In fact, I would suggest the actual rodeo clown probably has a better idea of what to do Syria than the current President of the United Sates.

Clarity, respect, consistency…the missing pillars of the Obamanation’s foreign policy!  As Obama’s foreign policy, if there ever really was one, begins to crumble, the only question is how many Republicans will jump on board the sinking ship.  To be fair American foreign policy in the Mideast has been flawed for decades.  The flaws are much more than…
We just can’t build nations with the blood and limbs of our young men and women…and a few hundred billion dollars. Both the Iraq and Afghanistan  experiments have been very costly failures.   Until the people of the Arab world are themselves able to reject both secular and Islamic authoritarianism then we don’t have a side to support because the current struggles are most often between an authoritarian government and Islamic radicals seeking to become the authoritarian government.  In a part of the world where democracy has never been practiced, we can’t impose it. There are no viable coalitions of freedom fighters for democracy to support.
We can’t empower people with liberty when we send billions of dollars to corrupt authoritarian governments.  Too often we support bad guys under the delusion that this is the best of two bad choices.  As a result of that misguided concept we too often don’t have any side we can support.  When we say we side with the “people” it is too often because we just switched sides.  That pretense might work with the American media if the President is a Democrat, but it rarely fools the “people” in the Mid-east.   Syria is a great example.  We (Pelosi, Clinton, Kerry, etc.) sought favor and influence with Assad, and now to oppose him the likely result is a radical Islamic regime that hates us even more than Assad did.  Even the freedom fighters in Syria that are not of the Jihadists ilk have never had a reason to believe in America.
 
We buy over priced weapons designed for wars we will likely never need to fight in Africa, Europe, the Mideast, South America, or North America…unless we start them.  The clamor and general consensus for a strong national defense can result in a counterproductive application of military weaponry in an offensive posture to support the folly of nation building or the unwise meddling in civil wars.  Each cruise missile is a “million dollar baby” sitting at the factory.  What of the real cost to actually fire one at a target? Guns are vital to the defense of freedom, but they can’t impose it.
If “eye-for-an-eye” was a functional foreign policy in the Mideast, then where are the results?  Radical Islam is like a cancer.  The status quo cures of “let’s shoot-up the joint” are NOT working.  Our missiles and drones create martyrs for Allah, and the Jihadists recruit more martyrs to send against us.  Thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars have not altered this scenario from New York to Bagdad to Boston.
Heal  thyself, and others can be healed.  We need to get our affairs in order…limited government, fiscal and monetary responsibility, not just “jobs” but opportunity, a real commitment to liberty, and less regulation of the individual.  America is moving rapidly to an authoritarian government by bureaucratic fiat.  Radical Islam can be turned back by power of truth and liberty….unfortunately Washington is currently a cesspool of failed policies, narcissism and deceit.
Thus we are told by our own despots that America, home of the brave, land of the free, is somehow left with only one option…to fire our missiles at some Syrian targets, and then proclaim we are in the right and have done our duty to protect the world from Assad.   The US Senate too often reminds one of the Roman Senate in its later years of a failing empire, but hopefully the House of Representatives will acknowledged that our policies in Syria are a disaster and we don’t have a workable “solution”.  No missile, not one or even one-thousand, can change these facts!
In any case, don’t let the proclaimed Syrian “crisis” make you take your eye off the real issues…Obamacare…the CR…the debt ceiling…Could it be our brave leaders in Washington are so worried about the political reality of domestic issues that an apparent world crisis sounds like a good alternative for the “leadership” to move forward in lock-step?  Heck no…surely I’m too jaded…they no doubt want what is best for American…not themselves.
Obama may have spoke on Tuesday night, but the reality of the situation will be unchanged.  Some 20th Century hawks may call for blood (because they think in a box), but the reality of the situation will be unchanged.  Why do we call someone an “expert” when their primary proficiency in a field, like foreign policy, is failure?
Part 2.  Senator F(rank)einstein goes to Hollywood.  Sen. Feinstein proclaimed that all we need for Congress and members of the public to gain a higher wisdom on why we must attack Syria is to simply produce a DVD of people dying from chemical weapons.  I’m not sure the 100,00 killed thus far in Syria by bleeding out from multiple gunshot wounds, or that where ripped apart by explosions, or that were crushed to death in the rubble of bombed-out buildings will be all that impressed by the DVD.  Nor will those killed by the missiles she wants to fire.  Remember, this is standard Democrat tactic.  The sad truth is that Democrats love starving or dead babies. In the eyes of the leftist even the most counterproductive and reprehensible policies can be justified by the suffering of children!   Is the only remaining rationale to save the President from “embarrassment” based in the emotion to be elicited from a horror DVD?