Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

CPT Ben Wiener Urges Participation in Precinct Caucuses

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Another letter from CPT Ben Wiener has been added to the “Letters from a Soldier” page. Click on the link, if you dare to be challenged to attend precinct caucuses and township elections!

Things Heard at “Simply Right” Thursday Night

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

First let me say that the “tea party” movement has done some good things over the past year. Most significantly, the movement has captured the frustration of conservatives and libertarian-minded people and put that frustration into action, especially at demonstrations and town hall meetings across the nation. This action has been successful in pointing out that the “hope and change” promised to the American people during the 2008 presidential campaign was not the “hope and change” people expected. The overreach and lurch to the left led by Barack H. Obama and Congressional Democrats is unacceptable to the majority of Americans, and the tea party movement has done a good job of shining the light of truth on this fact.

Locally, a group called “Simply Right” has been meeting regularly. I’m not sure whether this group is officially related to the tea party movement, but many of the same people are involved in organizing and attending both events. Simply right is billed as a  group open to Republicans, Democrats and Independents. One of the promoters of Simply Right wrote in a letter to the editor in August that “[t]his is a gathering where everyone can speak their views and no one is shouted down.”

I attended a “Simply Right” meeting for the first time Thursday night in Hinckley. There were very good presentations by gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, State Auditor Candidate Pat Anderson, and State Senator Chris Gerlach (R – Apple Valley). However, as much as I like the purpose of the tea party movement, I’m afraid some of the locals involved with the tea party movement and Simply Right get fast and loose with the facts their exuberance. And since this is the East Central Truth Detector, here are some observations that should be pointed out and corrected.

  • “Oberstar gives his money to Tim Faust and Tony Lourey.”  The Truth Detector grades this one “probably bull”. This was spoken by a local Simply Right organizer, and intended to be a slam against one or two unnamed local Republicans who allegedly have contributed to the campaign of Congressmand Jim Oberstar in the past. I hope the person who said this has proof, because co-mingling federal campaign money with campaign money for state offices is illegal. If the proof is there, a complaint should be filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, and I would be more than happy to help with that process. However, if one can’t prove that Oberstar gives money directly to the Faust and Lourey Campaigns, then it’s probably best to avoid making up stuff like that in a desparate attempt to disparage other individuals.
  • “Life experience. I’m 48 and my [main Republican] opponent is 37.” – Spoken by gubernaotrial candidate Rep. Tom Emmer. He said this shortly after a 21-year-old candidate for State Representative downplayed the importance of expsrience. The Truth Detector will go with Rep. Emmer on this one.
  • “I wouldn’t give money to a political party if my life depended on it.” Spoken by the First Vice Chair of the Pine County Republican Party.  With this in mind, the Truth Detector can’t wait for the campaign finance reports to be released the end of this month. And the person who said it probably shouldn’t be an officer of any political party.
  • “Let’s limit this to questions, not comments, and no more than twenty seconds.” Spoken by the moderator of the Simply Right meeting after trying to ignore, then finally calling on an audience member who the moderator apparently perceived as antagonistic. The Truth Detector grades this as hypocritical, based on the previously stated principal of Simply Right being a “gathering where everyone can speak their views and no one is shouted down.” By the way, the audience member simply wanted to ask about precinct caucus locations, since the subject had been neglected in a previous discussion about caucuses.

The local tea party movement and “Simply Right” has an opportunity to do some good things. But if the leaders of these movements are willing to be hypocritical and deceptive in their rush to belittle others and put them down, it will diminish the significance of their group in a hurry.

Letter from CPT Ben Wiener Added

Monday, January 4th, 2010

A New Year Greeting from CPT Ben Wiener was added to the “Letters from a Soldier” link. Please visit the link to find out his thoughts as he nears the end of his deployment.

Something is rotten in Denmark – It’s Lack of Fidel-ity

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I thought I was hearing things when I heard on ABC radio news yesterday that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro called the climate change proceedings in Copenhagen undemocratic. So I did a quick search and lo and behold an article in the Latin American Herald Tribune confirmed what I heard on the radio. Castro said the summit ended with “an anti-democratic and virtually clandestine initiative.” Now, it seems to me that Castro calling this meeting full of hypocrites in Denmark anti-democratic is a little like Tiger Woods lecturing John Edwards on fidelity.

Come to think of it, maybe the U. S. should have sent Tiger to Copenhagen as a delegate. Along with the 1,200 limousines provided by local companies for the delegates that came in on some 140 private jets, the local sex workers’ union offered free “services” to anyone producing a delegates’ pass. This according to the London Telegraph. Just think, had Tiger been occupied in Copenhagen, it might have saved him a three iron to the forehead and spared us all of the continuing saga of mistresses coming out of the Wood-work. And until recently, his skills at covering up the truth, much like the glo-bull warming “scientists”, who also recently got caught with their pants down, were very successful.

Anyway, Castro went on to say, “Obama gave a deceptive and demagogic speech, full of ambiguities, that did not involve any binding commitment . . .” Like a broken clock that’s right twice a day, Castro nailed it. This could be said about every speech Obama gives. Where in the world was Castro during the 2008 presidential campaign when the U. S. mainstream media dropped the ball on this assessment?

What kind of shape are we in as a country when we have to rely on an 83-year-old ailing dictator to tell it like it is?

Franken Starting Off on the Wrong Foot

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

When the long episode known as the 2008 U. S. Senate election in Minnesota was finally decided by a few state Supreme Court judges, and Senator Norm Coleman conceding the race, Al Franken told us he was going to represent all Minnesotans, not just the ones who voted for him. He also said he was going to take his job seriously.

On both counts, Franken hasn’t gotten off to a very good start.

Franken’s Votes

While Franken showed some independence from his party’s leader, Barack H. Obama, on his very first vote in the Senate, it turns out that Franken actually positioned himself as a bigger spender than Obama, if you can imagine that’s possible.  Not exactly the kind of independence the vast majority of Minnesotans expect.

Franken had another chance this week to show that he wants to represent Minnesotans rather than his party’s liberal base when South Dakota Senator John Thune offered his amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. Thune’s amendment would allow holders of conceal-carry permits to carry guns in other states, as long as they abide by the laws of the state they’re in. Most Minnesotans support gun rights and would agree that the Thune amendment is a good idea.  But not Franken. He and Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined 35 other Democrats and two Republicans in voting against the Thune amendment. (Although 58 Senators – 38 Republicans and 20 Democrats – voted for the Thune amendment, it fell short of the required 60 votes for the amendment to be adopted. Go to this page on the U. S. Senate website for a full breakdown.)

Franken’s conundrum – who is he going to be?

Al Franken was a comedian (although I say that loosely – I’ve personally never found him to be funny). When he became a candidate for U. S. Senate he was no longer a comedian, but a satirist. And now he’s neither a comedian nor a satirist. We’re supposed to take him seriously as a Senator.

This poses a problem for Franken. Because a Senate term is six years – well, in this case five and a half –  and over that amount of time a person’s true colors come out. If Franken wants the media and the public to take him seriously, he has a long way to go. According to this account, he evoked titters from the press gallery during the Sotomayor hearings, even when asking the bone-driest of questions. And of course, we all know about Franken asking Sotomayor the challenging Perry Mason questions, and joking around with other members of the committee, including an impersonation of the chairman during a break in the action.

Franken’s conundrum is that he needs to decide whether he is going to be a serious policy w0nk, or a comedian. Don’t get me wrong. There have certainly been funny people in the Senate during our nation’s history. But Franken’s mocking, Saturday Night Live, slap-stick, gutter-style (caution: R-rated content at this link) humor is the kind that just seems out of place in the United States Senate.

You see, former U. S. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas is funny. Unfortunately, most of the public wasn’t aware of this fact when he ran for president in 1996. That is, until after the election when he did commercials for Pepsi and Pfizer (for that little blue pill). Anyway my point is, if politicians let people get to know their real selves, it goes a long way in personal approval ratings. Unfortunately, Bob Dole’s handler’s didn’t let Bob Dole be Bob Dole, and we ended up with a second term of Bill Clinton. Two examples of politicians on opposite ends of the political spectrum who were successful because people of all political persuasions respected that they were genuine and sincere are Ronald Reagan and Paul Wellstone. (Personally I think Wellstone was a snake in the grass, but I’m in a tiny minority with this opinion – he somehow had people convinced that he was genuine and sincere.)

So back to Franken and his conundrum. If he wants to be taken seriously, he has to turn away from his clownish ways and act seriously. In which case he won’t be sincere and genuine. If he acts like the natural Al Franken, people may recognize that he is being real, but they will still have trouble taking him seriously as a Senator.

Time will tell. Maybe he’ll find his niche and his groove as a Senator. But so far, he is just an embarrassment to Minnesota.

July 4th Message From CPT Ben Wiener

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Go to the East Central Truth Detector’s “Letters From a Soldier” link to read an Independence Day message about patriotism from CPT Ben Wiener.

Another Letter from CPT Ben Wiener

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The “Letters from a Soldier” page has new content. Go to the link to read about Ben’s perspective on Memorial Day.

Letters from a Soldier Added

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

The East Central Truth Detector is proud to publish letters from CPT Ben Wiener, a Pine County resident on his fourth deployment overseas. Click on the Letters from a Soldier link to go to the page. Ben’s letters are can also be found at East Central Minnesota 411.

Conservatives vs. Liberals: Who Cares (and Gives) More?

Monday, April 27th, 2009

This information has been around a while, but since it hasn’t received a great deal of publicity, and since it fits in with what this blog is about, I thought it would be good fodder for one of my first posts.

Most people think of liberals as people who care more about the less fortunate, and as more giving people in general. However, this New York Times op-ed column is about a gentleman who made the same assumptions until his own research proved otherwise. Nicholas D. Kristof, in his column points out some of the findings of Arthur Brooks, author of the book, “Who Really Cares”.

Mr. Brooks found that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. Some of his other findings from a number of sources include:

  • Average annual contributions to charity reported by conservatives are nearly double the amount reported by liberals.
  • People in “red states” are more likely to give to non-profits, while people in the northeastern “blue states” are least likely to do so.
  • Internationally, Europeans provide a safety net for the poor and give to foreign humanitarian efforts (via government), but as individuals, they are far less charitable than Americans.
  • If all donations to religious causes are excluded, liberals give slightly more than conservatives. However, as a percentage of income, conservatives are more generous, even to secular causes.
  • Conservatives are also more generous in non-financial ways, such as volunteering time and giving blood.

So if you haven’t arrived at the message, one that I’ve known for a long time, here it is. The liberal’s definition of charity and generosity and compassion is when government does it with someone else’s money. Conservatives quietly give of their own money (and time, and yes even blood), without seeking recognition. Yet conservatives are the ones who get labeled as uncompassionate because they believe charity begins at home and government by its nature cannot really care about people.

So think about that the next time you hear a liberal who is “happy to pay more for a better Minnesota.” If he hasn’t opened up his own checkbook yet, it’s not his own money he’s after.