Tag Archives: www.VictoriaTaft.com

St. Clair: Washington, D.C. insiders and ‘House of Cards’

Into the looking glass

Kevin Spacey as "Francis"
Kevin Spacey as “Francis”

Lawmakers who are giddy about the Netflix political drama ‘House of Cards’ and want to sidle up to it in order to bask in its glory have no idea how stupid they are. They aren’t watching TV – they’re looking into a mirror.

Those of us among the great unwashed who watch the show — we binge-watched Season 2 in less than three days — are reminded by it of how much we loathe the slithering, venomous creatures who inhabit Washington, D.C., and we take away from it the strong sense that we haven’t seen the half of what really goes on. 

HofC characters up and down the line are venal, corrupt, petty, lustful, patently immoral, power-hungry and without regard for anything or anyone but themselves. And those are the successful ones! The others are weak, whiny, vapid, shallow and vice-ridden. In other words, a dead-on portrayal of what passes for our national leadership. 

Heads will roll.
Heads will roll.portrayal of what passes for our national leadership.

What’s bizarre? They don’t get it – they don’t get that they are what they see, and they don’t get that what we see of them we hate and want gone.

Peggy Noonan hit this nail on the head in a recent Wall Street Journal column where she asked what becomes of a country where these people are the elites, and what becomes of the elites themselves? My answer is to look to France of the late 18th Century. Review the years leading up to 1789 and the years afterward. Where do you think we got the term “heads will roll”?


There’s also a book out called ‘This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital,‘ by Mark Leibovich that adds plenty of fuel to the fire. It recounts in excruciatingly sleazy detail the inner workings and relationships of those in our this townmodern national government and the hangers-on and sycophants who cover it. Who hates who and why – if you cross the Clintons, you’re dead, figuratively and, in the case of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, literally.

 One reviewer said that those who hate Washington, D.C. and its insiders now will hate them even more after reading ‘This Town,’ a fact to which I can personally attest. It’s as if being there for more than a couple of weeks infects you with a disease that turns you into a lizard of the oiliest sort, no matter if you’re in office, on staff, oozing about the halls of Congress as an influencer or a journalist covering it all.

Where once I thought the nation’s capitol was the place to be, I’ve now gone 180 seeing it as the place from which to flee before it’s razed to the ground. One of my children contemplating an advanced degree has been accepted to a school in the District — apparently, one never calls it D.C. unless one is gauche — and I’ve advised that young scholar, who will set the world on fire some day, to avoid the place as if it were the worst of today’s Kiev, Caracas or Tehran. 

Should God want to mulligan the whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing and destroy a wicked city, I wouldn’t want to be within 100 miles of Washington, D.C. fire

So, the idiots in Congress who think it’s cute and clever to invite their constituents and the American people in general to think of them within the construct of HofC, be reminded (SPOILER ALERT) that you too have a Raymond Tusk in your background laundering campaign funds, and it’s wise that you avoid subways and wooded areas in Maryland altogether because you ain’t that tough.

Scott St. Clair is a journalist, rhetorical pugilist, agent provocateur, aider and abbetor of Liberty Lovers and a former competitive Highland piper. He says what he thinks, means what he says and doesn’t suffer fools. He’s also a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce. His opinions are entirely his own, and you shouldn’t expect them to mirror yours.

Santelli’s rant launches Tea Party five years ago today

“The government is promoting bad behavior.”

Tea Party Feb 27, 2009 Stimulus Package
Photo by Victoria Taft

Five years ago CNBC reporter Rick Santelli gave voice to the frustration felt by millions of Americans when President Obama announced plans to help stimulate the economy by, in part, redistributing billions of dollars to people who signed for a mortgage on a house they couldn’t afford. Santelli called them “the losers.” 
http://youtu.be/9jhXMB3bXMk

tea party feb 27 geoff and jeff
Photo by Victoria Taft

Santelli wasn’t done. Gesturing back at the traders, Santelli declared, “This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? Raise their hand.” Boos came from the floor. Santelli looked at the camera and plaintively asked, “President Obama, are you listening?” One trader chimed in, “How about we all stop paying our mortgage, it’s a moral hazard!”

Two weeks later Geoff Ludt and dozens more like him across the nation held the first Tea Parties. 

tea party feb 27 2009 b w
Photo by Victoria Taft

At first critics ignored, then dismissed, then laughed at, then disdained the Tea Party. When they couldn’t kill it they went nuclear and called it a ‘racist’ organization. What else could it be, right? It couldn’t possibly been about redistributionist, wasteful, and currency inflating programs which would bankrupt our nation and send the bills to our kids–and their kids. Nope, as if by magic, whites, blacks, Hispanics, gays, atheists and Christians had become “racists.” 

*Video*Oregon governor’s security detail: Operation intimidation

One of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s crazy eyed security officers keeps watch over peaceful citizen at public hearing

kitzhaber crazy eyes security

A governor’s security detail should protect him from bullets, not questions. They should keep him safe from harm, not embarrassment. But Governor John Kitzhaber’s security team appears to believe that questions are weapons and have taken great pains to keep Citizen Journalists from asking any–especially questions about the tens of millions of tax dollars spent on the failed Cover Oregon ObamaCare program. See the list of examples here.  Now this intolerance to questioning authority appears to have extended to average folks. 

When Michael Bloomberg’s anti gun dollars paid for activist Mark Kelly to testify at a recent anti gun hearing, Kitzhaber’s security detail swung into action by silencing a man who stood to object to an out of towner to tell Oregon what to do. Kitzhaber sat next to Kelly. Watch the video from Citizen Journalist Laughing at Liberals,

Casey Runyan didn’t yell, threaten or show anger.  But based on Kitzhaber’s security detail’s response, you would have thought someone’s life, not their vanity, had been threatened.  

Ironically, after testifying against guns on behalf of billionaire Bloomberg, Kelly was hosted by the Portland Police Bureau to squeeze off a few rounds with the cops.

gun mark kelly shooting at PPB

Upshot: A citizen who speaks out against an out of towner trying to change laws he doesn’t have to abide by is more threatening to the Governor than Mark Kelly who actually uses guns he is paid to speak against. 

 

 

Giusto: Rx for San Diego’s scandal plagued police department

sdpdThe San Diego Police Department has been riven with scandal. Cops trading tickets for sex, an on-duty rape of a prostitute,  groping ‘pat downs’ of suspects, soft-core porn sex posters at the desk of a sex crimes unit investigator and apparent nepotism have corroded the morale and morality of America’s Finest City’s cop shop. 

And then there are the lawsuits. Plenty of lawsuits. Lawsuits from female victims of the cops. Lawsuits from fellow female detectives. Millions of dollars in lawsuits. 

But San Diego’s Police Department is apparently losing something even more valuable: Public trust. One female activist told the Union Tribune, “Who is going to stop for a police officer?” asked Lei-Chala Wilson, a retired deputy public defender and president of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “I’m not stopping.”

San Diegans have shown they have no appetite for this kind of behavior. They just booted the city’s top groper, erstwhile Mayor Bob Filner. They threw Filner out and hired a squeaky clean new mayor. Now Kevin Faulconer needs to clean house.

Chief Bill Lansdowne has called for an “audit” of his department. When under fire, take cover. That’s what this is. Before the city spends one penny on that audit,  however, these things should happen right now:

1) An immediate stop placed on all hiring of police officers pending an expedited review of the Police Officer Hiring process;

2) There needs to be a targeted and unbending review of the Psychological profile which has been developed for the hiring of police officers. There is something wrong with that profile. It is likely incomplete or inaccurately focused;

3) There must be a special emphasis placed on developing a hiring profile that dramatically tightens the screen on sorting out individuals who are identified as have notable potential for acting outside of socio-acceptable norms and especially for acting those out in positions of authority or otherwise. In my last years at Gresham and the Sheriff’s Office, Dr David Corey and I talked about such a screen and at the time he was working that issue through. He believed it was the next great public confidence cesspool for law enforcement;

4) He needs a similar profile developed for the supervisory promotion process with a slightly different emphasis. This is critical at the first line supervisor levels ( promotion to Corporal Rank if any and at the rank of Sergeant). The emphasis here should be about assessing the sensitivity;

5) The probation evaluation process apparently need a total do-over. When the rank and file tell you there is a problem with who gets passed into the regular cop club at the end of probation be assured there is a problem. It needs a do-over.

6) If the hiring process is not operated by the police department but is primarily in the hands of a city civil service process it must be returned singularly to SDPD with special oversight by the Mayor’s Office and the City Council.

7) The Chief needs to seek union support for a strong “Fitness For Duty” management right. This is important in creating a “reasonable suspicion” standard that allows deviant or unreasonable behavior outside of police norms will subject individual veteran police officers to a Fitness for Duty examination with a strong emphasis on confidentiality regardless of the eventual outcome and of course subject to California’s Public Records law and finally;

8) All of those need to be conducted outside the Chief’ Office direct or indirect control. The Chief should immediately enlist a panel of three active Police Chiefs and or Sheriffs with stellar personnel background experience and results to guide the above processes. It is fine to have the two other organizations do a longer term look at the department/community relations overall but there is an urgency that frantically needs an “outside real cop” expertise.

If the city goes forward with the audit–an underwhelming approach–it should be run out of the Mayor’s Office and/or by an independent Chief of police. The command structure of SDPD should remain totally on the sidelines and not inform the investigation at all except as they are interviewed. The auditing organization would report only to that specially administrative oversight and the final report would be released by the Mayor and without any hands editing on by SDPD Chief’s administrative structure. Having said all that…FAT CHANCE best describes even the remotest possibility that will happen.

As for the Chief himself, he owes the public a careful look to see if he is actually capable of stopping this very serious problem. Or is it just another academic exercise that will feel to the public like another good old fashion public policy rope-a-dope?

Bernie Giusto is the retired Multnomah County Sheriff, former Gresham Police Chief, former Gresham City Council Member and is a member of the www.VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce.

*Video* PDX teachers expect parents to feed them during strike

teacher strike if you cared you'd crossIn the strategy session for the possible Portland teachers strike set for February 20th (see another post here), Citizen Journalist Daylight Disinfectant discovered teachers expect parents to feed them after the same teachers walk out on their children.

And do you know what? Some parents are dumb enough to bring food to the very people who would abandon their kids. Some parents are dumb enough to believe this possible strike isn’t about money. Some parents are dumb enough to believe this possible strike is about teacher toshanker student ratio. That’s baloney. We know it’s baloney because at the first sniff at funding reductions teachers will throw under the bus any new teachers they claim they need now, ‘for the children.’ They want more union members. That’s it. 

Who sits at the bargaining table? Teachers and former teachers. Who bargains for the kids? No one.