A View From the Cheap Seats

May 19, 2010

Radical What?

Filed under: National,Politics — trzupek @ 3:26 pm


By Rich Trzupek

Last week’s exchange between Attorney General Eric Holder and Congressman Lamar Smith during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee sums up the Obama administration’s struggles with today’s foreign policy realities pretty darn well:

“In the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam,” Congressman Smith said. “Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?”

“Because of… ?” Holder replied.

“Radical Islam,” Smith repeated.

“There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions,” Holder said. “I think you have to look at each individual case.”

Smith tried again: “Yes, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?”



April 15, 2010

Socialism? You Bet

Filed under: National,Politics — trzupek @ 9:12 am


By Rich Trzupek

I love letters to the editor. This week we got a great one, in which the author quite sincerely, if dubiously, decries the fact that so many Republicans and conservatives want to hang the “socialist” tag on Barack Obama, his administration and his allies in a Congress controlled by fellow Democrats. That charge, our correspondent says, is wholly unfounded, mean-spirited and inflammatory. The president is simply investing in America. This is, of course, the kind of argument that a great many of the president’s supporters make all of the time.

Obama has spent money and increased national indebtedness to a degree that knows no parallel in American history outside of the monumental effort that was World War II. That’s deeply troubling, especially when we consider what it means for our children’s futures, but government spending in and of itself does not create socialism. Socialism is a matter of institutions; who controls those facets of a society that allow it to function: private individuals and enterprises or government? If the answer is predominantly the former, then you have a nation based on individual liberty and capitalism. If the answer is mostly the latter, you’re part of a socialist system, whether you’re willing to admit it or not.

After America and the Allies won World War II, the country was left with a massive debt, but it was a debt burden that Americans willingly shouldered because the investment was dedicated toward a specific, one-time only purpose and because it did not create any permanent institutions that would hinder or control free enterprise in the long run. In 1941, there is no way that Americans would have invested in the war, or would have approved of taking on massive debt to fight the war, if they believed that doing so would have created more dependence on government. The independent, “frontier” spirit still ran strongly through the veins of the average American back then.


April 7, 2010

Amnesty – The Game Changer

Filed under: National,Politics — trzupek @ 9:48 am


By Rich Trzupek

President Obama has done what many believed was impossible: he rammed a health control bill down the throats of the American people despite their objections, in seemingly complete disregard for the consequences, which would seem to include massive Republican gains in the House and Senate come November. Obama is a political animal, groomed for office in that most partisan of political zoos, the state of Illinois. How can this move possibly make any sense for the president or his party?

It may, but in only one circumstance: if Democrats obtain access to a heretofore unknown and uncounted voting bloc that can tip the balance of the electorate in their favor, no matter conventional wisdom circa 2010. There are, by best estimates, about eleven million illegal aliens residing in the United States today. By and large, those illegal aliens are poor and relatively uneducated. They desperately want to be citizens of the United States, so as to reap the undeniable benefits of citizenship in this great nation. As citizens, they would fall under the protection of the government, which – as we all know – won’t do a single thing that might let a single citizen fall through the safety net that we are obliged to provide.

Democrats understand this. Eleven million new voters dependent on the tender mercies of government are Democratic voters, by definition. The Dems will use charges of racism and claims of equity to push their immigration agenda forward, but the stakes here should be clear. If the Democrats get those voters, they will establish a dominant presence that will take decades to undo, if it can be undone at all.


April 2, 2010

Redistributing The Wealth

Filed under: National,Politics — trzupek @ 10:43 am


By Rich Trzupek

It’s nice to hear a Democrat congressman speak to the truth, even unwittingly. Talking about the healthcare bill last week, Montana Senator Max Baucus got straight to the point: “Too often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind. Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

Time to redistribute the wealth, in other words. “Mal-distribution,” if it’s a word, is an interesting choice of words. “Mal” has Latin roots. It means “evil.” Assuming that Baucus actually understood what he was saying – and that’s admittedly a stretch when it comes to Democrats – Baucus believes that the accumulation of money and other assets, the capitalist system in other words, is inherently evil and needs to be reformed. Wouldn’t it have been nice if Baucus had made this position clear before he cast a vote in favor of Obmacare?

When conservatives described the health care bill in terms identical to those Baucus used, they were vilified in the mainstream media. How dare anyone accuse the president and his party of socialism! The bill would make the health care system better, not redistribute wealth through government fiat. The truth, which should have been blindingly obvious to anyone this side of Nancy Pelosi, was that conservatives were spot on. The American people knew it and, it would seem, so did an empty Democratic suit like Max Baucus.


March 16, 2010

“O” My


By Rich Trzupek

You know what you don’t see around so much anymore? The Seal of the President of the United States. Oh, we’re not quite ready to put the Great Seal on the endangered species list or anything, at least not yet, but it’s use has been somewhat diminished over the past thirteen months.

Use of the Seal dates back to the 1850s and the Millard Fillmore administration, with the current design (absent a few later modifications) having been adopted during the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes in the 1870s. It has been a symbol of the power of the Chief Executive and the democratic foundations of the office for decades. Presidents come and go, but the Seal endures as an emblem of the highest elected office in the land.

Then, soon after Barack Obama took office, a very odd, most unprecedented event took place. The White House began substituting the Seal with another, powerful symbol: the ubiquitous red, white and blue stylized “O” that was the trademark of the Obama campaign.

“Branding” is the term of art and Obama’s strategists did a first-rate job of branding their candidate in 2008. The O was everywhere, a new, hip symbol of a new, hip candidate – a bright sun rising on a stylized field of red and white rows that replaced “amber waves of grain.”

Every candidate tries to create a powerful symbol during a campaign. George W. Bush’s “W” was an easy way to distinguish father from son, for example, in order to establish George W. Bush as his own man, rather than a prince in a political dynasty.


Healthcare Reset


By Rich Trzupek

The President appears to have surrendered on health care, finally acknowledging what everyone else has figured out: that Congress simply doesn’t have the votes to pass a health care bill in anything like its current form. During his State of the Union address, Obama somewhat petulantly complained that he hadn’t done a good enough job of explaining the two thousand plus pages of legislation, as if that would have made all the difference.

Aside from those who hang out on the far left, Americans instinctively distrust big government and a giant, unexplainable health care bill is about as scary a prospect as one could imagine. Poll after poll showed that Americans didn’t want anything close to what the Democrats were proposing.

Looking deep into their two-page playbook, liberals immediately blamed their failure to pass a health care bill on Republicans. “They’re the party of no,” they cried, a description that, while not altogether accurate, does have some relevance.

The GOP has never said “no” to health care reform, they’ve just said “no” to what would effectively be government control of our health care system. In this case the Republican party undoubtedly reflects the will of the majority of the American people, who have been yelling “no” louder and louder since this debate began.


Wrong Trial, Wrong Place


By Rich Trzupek

The decision to try 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court in New York City was ill-considered to begin with. Now that everyone from Congress to the Mayor of New York is piling on to criticize, it’s time for the Obama administration to make some tough decisions.

There are all kind of problems with holding the trial in New York and just about everyone, with the prominent exception of the administration, seems to understand that. Start with the estimated cost, $200 million, which prompted Senator Evan Bayh (D – Indiana) to observe: “If there’s somewhere we can try them without spending that money, why spend the money? We’ve got a lot of other fiscal problems.”

Happily there is such a place: Gitmo. But, the President seems bound by his promise to close Gitmo – er, eventually – so that sensible location would appear to be out of the question.

But hey, what’s $200 million in this age of multi-trillion dollar government spending? $200 million is background noise. The security nightmare that would surround this trial were it held in New York should be obvious to everyone. It would be a circus in New York, with the star performer being the guy who planned the World Trade Center attacks. Think that might draw the attention of other terrorists? You might as well draw a bulls-eye on New York and send engraved invitations to Al-Queda.


December 2, 2009

An Open Letter Regarding the CRU Scandal

Filed under: Environment,Global Warming,National,Politics,Religion,Science,World — trzupek @ 3:19 pm


Dear Senators Burris and Durbin, and Representatives Bean, Foster, Kirk and Roskam:

My name is Rich Trzupek. I am a columnist for Examiner Publications, which is published in several northwest Chicago suburbs. More importantly, in terms of this letter, I am also a chemist who has been practicing environmental science for over twenty five years, with a focus on air quality issues. Among other accomplishments in the field, I have helped develop USEPA air test methods and I am the author of McGraw-Hill’s “Air Quality Compliance and Permitting Manual”. This open letter is being published in all December 2 editions of The Examiner.

The recent release of files from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) are disturbing and you, our elected representatives, should take action to determine the extent of the fraud that has been perpetrated on the public.

I have personally reviewed the CRU files, as have many of my colleagues in the scientific community. These files have been characterized by some as e-mail records. While the CRU files do include copies of many e-mails, there is much more in the record than that. The data files, in particular, show that the leading scientists researching so-called “climate change” have substituted fanciful, unsubstantiated data in order to create the impression that planetary temperatures have been increasing alarmingly for the last fifty years, when in fact this has not been the case.


Lies and Damned Lies

Filed under: Environment,Global Warming,National,Religion,World — trzupek @ 3:13 pm


There were amazing happenings in the bizarre world of “climate change” last week, although the mainstream media – Fox and the New York Times excepted – did their best to ignore it. Over 4,000 electronic files were published on the internet, files that the global warming alarmists really, really didn’t want anyone to see, files that exposed the alarmists as the frauds, bullies and hucksters that they are.

If this story involved another subject, one more popular with the MSM, the scandal would have been splashed across the front page of every newspaper in the country. But, since it didn’t involve the price of Sarah Palin’s shoes, or something equally vital to the national interest, the mainstream media dutifully dumped it in the circular file labeled “right wing nut jobs”.

We start with the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, which we will now abbreviate “CRU”. The CRU has long been a repository for a great deal of raw data and correspondence that is used by global warming alarmists to make their dubious case. There is a very good reason that CRU plays this role: since it’s located in the UK, all of these files have been out of reach of the United States’ Freedom of Information Act.

Unfortunately (for the alarmists) the UK recently enacted its own version of FOIA and leading skeptics like Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts began the tedious process of getting the data that the alarmists have steadfastly refused to produce. You know – those “the science is settled” alarmists who have nothing to hide, but who ignore requests to examine their data at every opportunity.


November 18, 2009

No Problems Here

Filed under: Media,National,Politics,Random Poop — trzupek @ 3:31 pm


By Rich Trzupek

Assuming that we are all aware of the current threat level and that we will remain vigilant in the fight against terror, we may be able to discuss other topics this week. And by “the fight against terror” I am of course referring to the ever-present danger that the actions of a few so-called “jihadists” might yet result in a backlash directed against Muslims in America.

As the United States Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey so eloquently said, when speaking about the Fort Hood massacre: “…as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” Well, duh! As if thirteen lives – fourteen if you count the unborn child that one of the murdered women was carrying (but of course the unborn do not count as “lives” in modern America) – could possibly be as important as maintaining diversity!

While there have been no actual, recorded instances of American Muslims being killed or injured in fits of “angry white male backlash”, the danger of that happening is worse than ever. The actions of Major Hasan – an ethnic Palestinian who donned Pakistani jihadist garb and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” repeatedly while gunning down his unarmed comrades, all of this following the Major’s extensive correspondence with Al Queda – led some Americans to react in a knee-jerk fashion that is so typical of right-wing nut jobs.


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