State Department Contributing to US Job Losses

April 16, 2010

No, silly, they’re not firing their own employees. They’re just ignoring American workers who are being laid off, in favor of outsourcing jobs to Sweden.

Last month the State Department awarded a multi-million dollar contract to an upscale Georgetown interior design firm, which in turn, promptly outsourced the job to Swedish giant Orrefors. The contract is to make fine crystal stemware for 400 American embassies. Each glass will be engraved with the seal of the United States. The NY Post reports:

The contract was given to a tiny Washington, DC, interior designer, which in turn subcontracted the crystal work to a Swedish firm — snubbing such US companies as the famous manufacturer in Clinton’s own back yard, Steuben Crystal of upstate Corning.

The firm didn’t even get a chance to bid on the contract, which will outfit embassies and ambassadors’ residences with fancy crystal for ritzy functions…

The firm that got the contract, Systems Design Inc., is a small interior-design firm in tony Georgetown. The company, which is eligible for minority small-business contracts, does not appear to have done any similar work…

While there is no doubt that Orrefors creates outstanding glassware, our embassies stand as representatives of the United States around the world. Should they not be provided with the very best that America has to offer, as a way to promote the sterling quality of U.S. products, rather than shoveling the job off to a European firm?

Of course they should. And that’s where Steuben Glass comes in. Steuben has been in business in New York since 1903 and makes “the finest glass the world has ever seen.” Sadly, they are also currently in the process of laying off workers, due to the recession. When the State Department has the chance to salvage American fine craft jobs, what do they do? They reach out to their liberal European pals, ignoring the not just the quality of American artistry and craftsmanship, but also ignoring the fact that American work should adorn American embassies.

Since all this has come to light, the State Department has backed off a bit, much to the surprise of Orrefors:

“We haven’t heard anything from the U.S. State Department, so this comes as a surprise to us,” said Eva-Marie Hagstrom, an Orrefors spokesperson, in The Local. “We have a contract with the U.S. State Department. We’ve already begun production and are ready to start delivering later this spring.”

… The State Department initially explained that Steuben Glass was not considered because it did not produce lead-free crystal, which Orrefors could. Steuben disputed that, and the State Dept. has acknowledged its mistake.

The original contract is a multi-year agreement, but it has provisions to review the arrangement each year, and apparently that is what is going to happen.

Time and time again, the Obama administration has shown itself to be both tone deaf and clueless to America and Americans. And in its attempts to pander to the gods of political correctness, the State Department just reinforced that stereotype once again.


Lambs to the Slaughter

April 16, 2010

The mid-term elections are barely six months away, and the President continues to denigrate those whose votes his party desperately needs, driving moderate Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents further away. The AP reports that yesterday, while at a fundraiser in Miami, the President scoffed at the Tea Party demonstrations taking place across the country:

President Barack Obama said Thursday he’s amused by the anti-tax tea party protests that have been taking place around Tax Day.

Obama told a fundraiser in Miami that he’s cut taxes, contrary to the claims of protesters.

“You would think they’d be saying thank you,” he said.

While remarks like this are perfectly in keeping with President Obama’s outlook on anyone who disagrees with him (See Alinsky Rule #5), they aren’t gaining him or his party any street cred with his increasingly disillusioned constituents. In Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell’s latest column, they look at the fact that Americans are polarizing more toward the Tea Party outlook and away from Obama:

Last week, a Rasmussen Reports survey showed that overall more Americans say that they agree with the Tea Party movement on major issues than with the president of the United States — 48 percent with the Tea Party and 44 percent with Obama. Among independents, 50 percent said that they’re closer to the Tea Party, while only 38 percent are with Obama.

Moreover, the most recent Gallup poll shows that the Tea Party movement is at least as popular as the Democratic Party. And the Tea Party movement stands for fiscal discipline, limited government and balancing the budget — an agenda that has broad public support extending well beyond the movement. Polling conducted by one of us (Schoen) found that 55 percent of respondents endorse that agenda. More important, a solid majority of swing voters endorse it.

Having wasted nearly 12 months on forcing a wildly unpopular health care bill on the American people, and ignoring the ominous Burma Shave signs of Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, Obama and Congress are facing potential disaster in November’s elections.

These voters are outraged by the seeming indifference of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, who they believe wasted a year on health-care reform. These voters will not tolerate more diversion from their pressing economic concerns. They view the Obama administration as working systematically to protect the interests of public-sector employees and organized labor — by offering specific benefits such as pension protection and tax reductions at the expense of all taxpayers.

Democrats must understand that voters will not accept seeing their tax dollars used to pay for higher wages and better benefits for public-sector employees when they themselves are getting higher taxes and lower wages…

Democrats can avoid the electoral bloodbath we predicted before passage of the health-care bill, but in one way: through a bold commitment to fiscal discipline and targeted fiscal stimulus of the private sector and entrepreneurship.

Even if they had the gumption to follow that advice, I believe they lack the imagination to understand that November could actually see Democrats losing both the House and the Senate.

Like lambs to the slaughter, Congress will follow Obama’s lead, ignoring the wishes of their constituents, and get voted out in droves later this year. President Obama had a difficult enough time getting his health care bill passed with solid majorities in both houses. How on earth will he salvage his entire presidency once the lambs are silenced?

UPDATE: Moe Lane suspects that Schoen and Caddell had been drinking heavily when they wrote their column… he opines that there’s no other explanation for such a flight of fantasy. And Malkin says, “Keep laughing, chump.”


Boston Tea Party Extravaganza

April 15, 2010

After discarding over an hour of crap that I shot at the tea party yesterday, I came up with about four minutes’ worth of decent video. Make no mistake: it’s not the Flip Mino’s fault, it’s entirely mine. I’m an awful videographer. That said, here is my humble offering on the 2010 Boston Tea Party.

After yesterday, I don’t fear quite so much for America as I used to. There are still plenty of us around to get the job done.


Nobody Said Party Crashers Have To Be Smart

April 15, 2010

Most of these folks seem to be interested simply in garnering attention for themselves, and disrupting proceedings generally, rather than genuinely protesting against Palin, Tea Parties, or whatever.

Notice the older gentleman standing quietly with his “DNC Infiltrators” sign next to the “Pea Party” morons.

Disclaimer: I’m a crappy videographer, you don’t need to mention it in the comments, thank you.


More Racist Rednecks in Boston

April 14, 2010

A few more photos from today’s racist red-necks

This guy can even spell!

Aw, poor kid. No toys for you!

Angry white male

Er, angry white females?

Oh great liberal women!


More racists

Saving the best for last: Party crasher sign FAIL

Only these bozos know what this actually means

What a great day, and what an amazing crowd!


White-Only Racist Rednecks Gather In Boston

April 14, 2010


Oh wait…

Never mind.

Actually, there was an amazingly diverse crowd here on the Boston Common today: old, young, men, women, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, business, casual. But there was one thing unifying the whole crowd: they were all smiling; they were all glad to be there; they were all having fun!

And it was a great day for a tea party. I met up with Boston-area blogger extraordinaire Sissy Willis of Sisu, who was working the crowd and having a great time with husband Tuck in tow. I was wearing my Tea Party 2010 tee shirt and presented one to Sissy as well. Sissy, maybe we should make it a habit of doing this every year!

Here’s just a few photos to tide you over until I can sit down and and do some proper editing.

New Tea Party attendee John brought his own version of Yankee ingenuity in his two-sided telescoping sign, and was having a blast!

While there were clearly some “false flag” operations (I got photos of signs and faces, and will post them later), the vast majority of people were there to hear Sarah Palin, exercise their First Amendment rights, and enjoy a beautiful Boston spring day.

More to come!

UPDATE: Instalanche! Many thanks, Professor Reynolds. Instapundit readers, welcome! Put up your feet and make yourselves at home.


The Abject Failure of the Obama Presidency – Part 6

April 14, 2010

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy; it’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”   Winston Churchill 

To understand the above quote from Sir Winston Churchill is to understand how Barack Obama rose to power without actually having accomplished anything of substance beyond the spoken word. It also explains why his Presidency is doomed to failure. Indeed, his very political philosophy (and, to a similar extent, the entire philosophy of far left-wing democrats) is the antithesis of tenet #6 in the series of tenets by William J. H. Boetcker, defining democracy and how to perpetuate it:    

#6. “You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.”  

No small man’s lot in life has ever been improved by tearing down someone of greater success without serious cost to both. All that has ever been accomplished by doing so is to serve the envy of the lesser man at the cost of punishing that man who has worked hard to accomplish his success. It also destroys the incentive of both men. 

Envy is a powerful political narcotic, one that has been used throughout history by political opportunists like Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung, Karl Marx … and Barack Hussein Obama. Any society that has a lower class is ripe for socialist attempts to “level the playing field” through the application of Karl Marx’s “Critique of the Gotha Program” where he espouses, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is the vision of Barack Obama, exposed when he told Joe the Plumber how “spreading the wealth around is a good thing.” 

Indeed, it often appears that Obama gets his marching orders from that “Critique.” He’s used the “Spread the wealth around” promise in his campaign as a lure to attract votes among the poorer communities. His message, however, only spotlights the part where the riches should be taken away from the “haves” and redistributed amongst the “have nots.” 

In the two years of campaigning for the Presidency, and now going on a year and a half as President, I have neither seen, read, nor heard of one speech or any action taken by Barack Obama stressing the responsibility of the have-nots who are capable of doing so to lift themselves by their bootstraps (as many of their neighbors have done). There has been no focus on becoming contributors to the common pool of wealth to be distributed, merely promises to take from the “haves” — obfuscation and pandering to the masses, especially those who have made entitlements their way of life.  

Bill Gates

What has always set America apart from other nations has been that form of government which gives opportunity to anyone willing to put in the effort. Not happy with what your lot in life? Your only limitation in America is your willingness to roll up your sleeves.

How else does a college drop out like Bill Gates go on to become one of the richest people in America, founding a company (Microsoft) that changed the way the entire world thinks about (and utilizes) computers?  How does someone from the poor neighborhoods of Philadelphia go from his humble beginnings to become one of the nation’s most beloved entertainers? Ask Bill Cosby and he’ll tell you: A good, solid work ethic and commitment to your dream.

 But that’s only part of what the two Bills have accomplished.  While they both enjoy lives of luxury and privilege, both are philanthropists who give back to the community that gave them opportunity to achieve. Not because it was legislated, not because they had to; but because that’s what Americans do. And there are countless thousands whose lives are better now, having benefitted from the generosity of those two who have shared their success so that others might achieve through their own efforts.

Unlike entitlement programs, the kinds of assistance provided by philanthropists like Gates and Cosby usually requires a measure of effort on the part of the beneficiary. The same cannot be said for the Obama message of simply spreading the wealth of others around. It’s as simple as the age-old metaphor from Lao Tzu, (the founder of taoism): “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day;  teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Obama, doesn’t wish to teach anyone  how to fish. He merely wants to punish the successful fisherman by giving away his catch.

Entitlements may calm the hunger of the belly, but it’s that hunger for more in life that drives the incentive to succeed. Take away that hunger by entitlement without responsibility and you end up with an ever-growing segment of the population with an entitlement mind-set, demanding their share in return for simply existing. In the end, socialism yields to that demand, but it strips away incentive from both ends of the social spectrum.

Ultimately, under Obama’s vision, there would be no incentive to strive for excellence if you know the government will seize the fruits of your labor.  Eventually, there will be fewer and fewer to take from which means less to give to those demanding. Or, as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, so eloquently,

“The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

  Gerry Ashley

An Individual Soldier in the Battle of Ideas

April 13, 2010

Today, I’ll be fulfilling my civic responsibility by participating in jury duty. While it is an inconvenience, I’m glad to do it. It’s part of being a citizen of this country, and not just something to be shrugged off.

So while I am off being a responsible citizen, I hope you will watch this video by one of my favorites, Bill Whittle. He speaks about another way to be a responsible citizen, and an individual soldier in the battle of ideas.

And if I don’t get chosen for a trial today, I’ll be an individual soldier at Boston’s Tax Day Tea Party tomorrow. In fact, with any luck, I’ll be bringing back photos and videos of the crowds, the speakers, the signs, the ideas. And maybe even a shot of Sarah Palin.

Will I see you there? Hope so!


The Abject Failure Of The Obama Presidency – Part 5

April 12, 2010


“If you want to test a man’s character, give him adversity. If you want to test his integrity, give him power.” Gerry Ashley

 Tenet #5: You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.  

 I know it might seem presumptuous to quote myself at the top of this piece, but that has been a long-standing tenet of my own and one I feel fits perfectly here. I coined that expression in 1978, after having spent some time in what was then the Soviet Union. I had been teaching computer technology classes to Russian scientists at The Institute for High Energy Physics  (outside of Moscow). Ironically, it was a quote from an interview I gave (upon my return) in praise of the Russian people I had met during my time spent there… and as an indictment of their political leaders.

I’m dumbfounded to find its level of applicability in America some 32 years later.

For those too young to remember, let me clarify that “Soviet Union” actually referred to a combination of countries known collectively as the “United Soviet Socialist Republic” (USSR). Please note the third word in that title. Although communist in nature, the countries operated under a socialist structure. The socialist structure stripped away any incentive for the individual to strive for excellence.   

Case in point: I had dinner with an architect while there. He explained to me that he had made the exact same salary for 20 years, regardless of the quality of his work. Not long before our meeting, a young man who had just graduated from university and gone to work with my friend, sitting at the next desk. He had a starting salary which was the same as that of my friend with 20 years’ experience.

Imagine the feeling my friend had, knowing that this young man straight from University was starting at the same level he was at after 20 years of service. Now imagine how much initiative the young man might have, sitting next to my friend and knowing that, no matter how good a job he does, in 20 years, he would be making no more money than he’s already making.  

That’s how it goes in a socialist state: The government defines the value of the position, no matter the level of experience… or the quality of the job performed.  By the way: The quality of their goods reflected the lack of incentive to strive for excellence. The only time the Soviet government strove for (and demanded) excellence was when the product was one which would be viewed by the West and would bring shame upon the Soviet system if it were substandard. Hence the amount of effort that went in to export products like vodka and caviar; hence the intense attention to (and support of) athletes who would be competing against other countries (such as the Olympic Games).

Get ready for that, America. That’s what Barack Obama’s vision is for us: The same level of quality of life the Soviets had 30 years go. And back then, the Soviet standard was about 40 years behind America’s. Do the math and it’s easy to see that the standard of living Obama wants to take America to is where we were 70 years ago.  Is that a goal we should have for our children? Our grandchildren? Ourselves

One wonders if Obama will place a similar level of importance on the quality of workmanship applied to our exports and international athletes. Perhaps the answer will be based on whether or not he feels he’s apologized enough for America’s past greatness.

One thing is certain: If what I refer to as Obamunism takes hold in America, he won’t have to worry about apologizing for America’s greatness any longer.  

Sadder still, that may be his goal.

Gerry Ashley

The Abject Failure Of The Obama Presidency – Part 4

April 9, 2010

  “Classism and greed are making insignificant all the other kinds of isms.” Ruby Dee, Actress

Continuing in our series of 10 tenets defining democracy and how to perpetuate it (by William J. H. Boetcker), today we take a look at number 4:

Tenet #4: You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

Before continuing, however, a word about the above quote. I intentionally chose the quote by Ruby Dee.  For those of you not familiar with her, a little background on her from Wikipedia:

Dee and [Ossie] Davis were well-known civil rights activists. Among others, Dee is a member of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dee and Davis were personal friends of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, with Davis giving the eulogy at Malcom’s funeral in 1965.

On numerous occasions, I have stated that I am not a Republican, I am a conservative who is registered as an Independent. This, in all probability, will put me on the outs with the likes of Sean  Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin. If so, then so be it.  I still respect their visions and have great respect for the work they have done, just as I do with Glenn Beck. But here and now is where I prove my  stand in life and establish my credibility. And it isn’t done by following any ism. But it is also where I will establish that barking moonbats like Bill Mahr and Janeane Garafalo don’t have a clue as to who the people are that oppose President Obama.  Regarding Obama, ironically, it is not the color of his skin, but the content of his character that I challenge… just as Martin Luther King espoused we should ALL do. And he was 100% right.

While I agree with most of Ms. Dee’s quote (above), I wish to expand on it. Because one “ism” that is still playing a large role in today’s society is racism or, more to the point, implied racism. And that continues to separate people more than classism, although both are prevalent. Let me explain. 

I applaud the efforts of Ms. Dee in her early years and working – struggling – to establish equity and opportunity for people of color.  As a society, we needed to hear the perspective of people like her and other civil rights leaders like Reverend King. And as a young liberal white boy back then, I’ve carried that message of equality in my heart ever since. And that is why, today. I am able to see people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jerimiah Wright–and Barack Obama–for the racial oppotunists they are.  I can focus on the others at another time. Today’s focus is on how Barack Obama uses both classism and racism to “divide and conquer,” rather than to serve America.

From the very inception of his presidential run, Barack Obama made sure race was an issue. Although only half black, he decided early on to cling to his minority status as his trump card. And he has played that card with fervor.  Early on in the campaign he lit the powderkeg when he projected racism into the Republican camp with his comment in Jacksonville, Florida (and then repeated numerous times throughout the campaign:

“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.  They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

He  also said he expected Republicans to say “he’s got a feisty wife,” attacking wife Michelle.

“We know the strategy because they’ve already shown their cards. Ultimately I think the American people recognize that old stuff hasn’t moved us forward. That old stuff just divides us.”

Yes, and notice that it was Obama who used that very tactic to divide us further while dumping the blame on the Republicans who hadn’t uttered word ONE about race.

Having used projected racism (to coin a term) in order to help win the election, since becoming President Obama’s policies have done nothing–nothing–to avoid the distinct creation of class hatred. Make no mistake: there is a distinct disdain between haves and have-nots in any society. And let’s not confuse hatred for envy.  But Obama quickly established his position that America is a land of rich and poor.  And he hammered home how the rich use loopholes to get out of paying taxes while that burden is unqually dumped to the poor and middle class. He has played class against class to build his power base with the poor and middle-income workers and to push his pro-union agenda.

But the truth is that America has always been a place where those who want to achieve can do so by applying effort, focus, dedication, and concentration.

All one has to do is look at the achievements of people in all walks of life from technology to sports, from medicine to the entertainment world, from classical music to rap. Those who have excelled are those who applied themselves and sacrificed, where necessary, to achieve.

Bill Cosby

Consider comedian Dr. Bill Cosby who grew up in a poor family in Philadelphia, and went from a high-school drop-out to one of the most beloved entertainers in the country… and one of the most successful. Returning to complete his education, he eventually earned his doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts. 

Other examples of rags-to-riches stories abound. What they all have in common is an indominatable spirit of “Yes I Can” that took these individuals to the top of their profession from the depths of poverty in a way seldom done in other societies. Since we’re a nation that responds to celebrity so deeply, let me provide a few examples of those who have managed to rise from poverty to wealth – regardless of their race or gender:

  • Oprah Winfrey – Producer, talk show host, media mogul and philanthopist. Born into abject poverty in rural Mississippi, Winfrey went from being a young girl clothed in potato sacks  to become the richest and most powerful female media mogul in the world. Net worth as of 2009: $2.9 billion.
  • David Geffin – Producer, art collector and philanthropist. Geffen signed Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan and Nirvana, started Geffen Records and was a founding member of Dreamworks studio. Today, Geffen is worth an estimated $4.6 billion, a far cry from the 1 bedroom apartment he grew up in with his family in Brooklyn, having to sleep on the couch.
  • Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter – Rap artist to businessman/entrepreneur.  Carter grew up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Housing Projects, raised by his mother. He began as a rapper, expanding into  everything from nightclubs and clothing to being a part owner of the New Jersey Nets. Net worth as of 2009: over $150 million according to Forbes.

In the socialist world Obama sees, this kind of accomplishment will likely not occur. Why? See tenet #5, which I will cover in my next installment.

Gerry Ashley