Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff

Top Ten

As the nation hurtles toward the automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff,” Congress and the White House seek alternative cost cutting and revenue enhancing measures:

#10 Take tax revenue to Vegas, bet everything on red.

#9 Cut Michelle Obama’s travel budget. On her next trip, she can only bring 20 of her closest friends.

#8 McDonald’s Extra Value meals at state dinners.

#7 Put off buying new fighter jets until Black Friday sale.

#6 Ask Romney for a loan.

#5 Sell the original Constitution to a collector; Obama wasn’t using it anyway.

#4 Have Massachusetts Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren open a casino (Get it?).

#3 Botox tax. The CBO estimates this would raise a billion dollars, just from Pelosi.

#2 Charge Biden a quarter every time he says “malarkey.”

And finally,
#1 Let Sandra Fluke pay for her own damn birth control.

Thankful for Capitalism Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns.

Check it out on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News from the Asylum: Presidential Crucifixion Edition

NASA announced yesterday that astronaut Mark Kelly will launch into space in 2015 to begin a one-year stint at the International Space Station. The mission will be the longest in history for an American. The space agency explained that it would take that long to beg another nation to give Kelly a ride home.

Time Magazine released its nominees for the 2012 Person of the Year. The list includes Aung San Suu Kyi, who assumed her seat in the Burmese House of Representatives this year after enduring 15 years of house arrest for her opposition to the military dictatorship in that country. Also nominated was Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived a bullet to the head from Taliban insurgents angered by her advocacy of education for girls. Ms Suu Kyi and Ms. Yousafzai face stiff competition, however: nominee Sandra Fluke had to contend with being called names by Rush Limbaugh because of her advocacy of forcing someone else to pay for her birth control pills.

UN Ambassador and potential Secretary of State nominee Susan Rice met with Senators this morning to answer questions about her role in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. When asked why it took so long to schedule this meeting, Ms. Rice said she was waiting for the White House to furnish her talking points.

Following the meeting, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham said, “I am more disturbed now than before,” to which a White House spokesperson responded, “You certainly are.”

The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose in November to its most optimistic level since February 2008. In an unrelated story, a recently published SEC Study Regarding Financial Literacy concluded that Americans “do not understand the most elementary financial concepts.”

Angus T. Jones, the actor who plays the “half” in Two and a Half Men, said on a video produced by the Forerunner Christian Church that the show is “filth” and that viewers should stop watching. Jones first suspected the show was not entirely wholesome when, during the most recent episode, double entendres about vagina sizes, penises, the clitoris, and cunnilingus occurred – all in the first 50 seconds.

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi issued a decree last week, expanding his powers by declaring his actions immune from judicial review. “This edict is absolutely essential to ensure the courts don’t interfere with administration policy,” Morsi explained. “Unlike President Obama, I can’t count on John Roberts.”

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, resulting in violent clashes. I didn’t know they had Black Friday in Egypt.

The Truth by Michael D’Antuono

Bunker Hill Community College, a public institution in Charlestown, MA, displayed a painting depicting President Obama as a crucified Jesus Christ. The exhibit is groundbreaking because, for the first time on record, liberals approved of a religious display on government property.

The White House released a statement yesterday, timed to coincide with cyber-Monday, threatening that failure by Congress to act on President Obama’s tax proposal could ruin the Christmas shopping season – or, as the White House called it, the non-denominational, multiethnic, gender-neutral, environmentally-friendly pre-winter solstice capitalist exploitation season.

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Pilgrims were communists, man

Brownie McCoy Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday, both for the celebration with family and friends, and for the little-known back story. In this excerpt from my novel Full Asylum, everyone’s favorite hippie-for-the-Right, Brownie McCoy, tells what really happened at Plymouth Plantation:

      The McCoys’ dining room table was set with rough terra cotta plates. Bottles of homemade turnip wine communed with bowls of cornbread stuffing and cranberry relish. The spicy smoke of incense blended with the aroma of roast turkey. On the walls, framed posters of moons, sunbeams, and kaleidoscope patterns duplicated an acid trip in sunset colors. A reproduction of Peter Max’s Liberty Head watched sternly as Brownie carved the bird…
      Brownie had let his hair down and replaced the dingy shirts and doublewide ties that he wore around the Test Nest with a t-shirt and jeans. The t-shirt said Thankful…for capitalism on the front and “for it made all hands industrious” on the back.
      When Gimbel asked about it, Brownie explained, “Thanksgiving is all about capitalism.” He slid another slice of turkey onto the serving platter. “The Pilgrims were communists, man. When they started Plymouth colony they agreed to joint ownership of land, tools, and stuff. Whatever crops grew they would split equally. Trouble was, when it was time to work, the Pilgrims split. They starved, man.”
      Mrs. McCoy had heard this speech every year…“Are you ever going to pass that turkey?” she said. Brownie handed the platter to Gimbel. As Gimbel loaded his plate with white meat, Brownie continued. “So then they tried something different. They divided up the lands and the tools, and they told everyone they could keep whatever they grew on their own land. Now everyone was working for himself. Suddenly it was like Foodstock. They had more than they could eat. That’s why they invited the Indians over.”
      Brownie offered the gravy boat to Gimbel. Several mushrooms floated in the thick brown sauce; Gimbel eyed them suspiciously. “Anything you want to tell me?” he asked.
      “I think you already know. The Pilgrims and the Indians gave thanks to God and everybody stuffed themselves.”
      “No, I meant about the gravy.”
      “It’s cool, man. They’re normal ‘shrooms, not tripping ‘shrooms.”
      “I didn’t know the story about the Pilgrims,” said Gimbel. “At least, not the way you told it.”
      “They don’t teach it in school.”
      “But it was four hundred years ago. How does anybody know it?”
      “They wrote it down, man. Governor Bradford kept a journal. He wrote that the change ‘made all hands industrious’ and that ‘much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’”
Thankful for Capitalism Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, hospital gowns, and being thankful.

Get a Brownie McCoy “Thankful for Capitalism” t-shirt of your own at Zazzle.com.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Movie Review: Lincoln

Not-so Honest Abe and the political cost of freedom

I wish Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, had come out three months ago. If the Republican Party had had the opportunity to take the movie’s lessons to heart, the outcome of the 2012 election might have been different.

As with all good biopics, Lincoln focused on a particular episode, rather than attempting to cover the subject’s entire life in 2½ hours. In this case, the episode was the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery. The action takes place almost entirely in January of 1865. By that time it was clear the Union would win the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was looking ahead to what would come next. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been in effect for two years, Lincoln was skeptical that he ever had the authority to issue it in the first place: he had justified it as a wartime expedient and was fearful that the courts would overturn it in peacetime. A measure to ensure that the liberty of the black people would be permanent was still needed.

Alas, he didn’t have the votes.

In 1865, the party of freedom was the Republican Party; the Democrats stubbornly fought to keep Americans in chains. Some things never change. But even if every Republican in the House of Representatives voted for the 13th Amendment, which was uncertain, they would still be shy of the two-thirds majority required to amend the Constitution. Lincoln had to somehow persuade 20 Democrats to break party ranks.

And so the wheeling and dealing began; it reminded me of another movie about wheeling and dealing for freedom, 1776. In that earlier film, Benjamin Franklin remarked, “New nations come into the world like bastard children – half improvised and half compromised.” As with the Declaration of Independence, the improvisations and compromises that brought the 13th Amendment into the world were many. Lincoln roundly abused his authority to fill patronage jobs. He issued deliberately misleading, or in one Democrat’s words, “lawyerly,” statements when necessary. One congressman was even promised that a disputed election would be settled in his favor in exchange for his vote. And in a key moment, the whole debate hinged on whether the radical abolitionist, Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania (Tommy Lee Jones), could keep his mouth shut.

The parallels to 2012 are clear. As in 1865, there was a battle between freedom and slavery. But politics is the art of the possible; to win, one seldom gets to be pure. The purists who didn’t step up to the plate this year because they thought Romney was too conservative, or not conservative enough, or too vague on this or that issue, should see this movie. As should a certain two Midwesterners (we all know who they are) who would be on their way to the Senate today if only they had not felt the need to say everything that was on their minds.

Abraham Lincoln is a tough role for any actor. Most who attempted it were a little bit off, making them unconvincing. I’m happy to say that was not the case with Daniel Day Lewis. He reportedly spent a year researching the role, and his hard work paid off. Some critics fault him for the high and rather soft voice he used for Lincoln, going so far as to compare it to that of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. But historians say that this was more accurate, and in any case, it worked. By refusing to give us a stereotypical Great Man with a resonant, Gregory Peck voice, Mr. Day-Lewis added realism. His performance, combined with attention to detail in costumes and sets, made me feel like I was a witness to history, actually watching Abraham Lincoln.

The sixteenth president was famous for his stories and jokes, and I was glad that some were included in the script – more glad anyway than Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton (Bruce McGill). In one comic scene, seeing what was coming, Stanton shouted in frustration, “He’s going to tell a story,” and stormed off. Lincoln told the story anyway and it was the best one in the film.

The main criticism I had was that the portrayal of the political situation was too involved. In particular, Preston Blair (Hal Holbrook) led a faction of “conservative Republicans,” whose agenda and motives were, at times, unclear to me. Also a subplot involving Lincoln’s son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who wanted to join the army over his parents’ objections, didn’t add anything.

But these were minor considerations. If you want to see history come alive, and at the same time learn some lessons about how things really work in Washington, go see Lincoln.

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and the disappearance of the Lincoln Memorial. Check it out on Amazon.com.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Top 10 Signs You’re Watching a Bad James Bond Movie

Top Ten

#10 Martini is stirred, not shaken.

#9 007 goes back to hotel room, finds Chris Christie in his bed.

#8 M has to resign after affair with Paula Broadwell.

#7 Chase scene is on Segways.

#6 Thanks to QE3, Miss Moneypenny now worth only half a penny.

#5 Villain named Ernst Stavro Boo Boo.

#4 UN Small Arms Treaty requires Bond to use a gun that just fires a flag with “Bang!” written on it.

#3 Q’s workshop staffed entirely by Oompa Loompas.

#2 Villain has evil scheme to sell health insurance that doesn’t cover contraception.

And finally…
#1 Bond says to girl, “Let’s just cuddle.”

Michael Isenberg is the author of the James Bond parody Full Asylum. Check it out on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top 10 Obama Plans for 2nd Term

Top Ten

#10 Learn how to pronounce “corpsman.”

#9 Grab ankles; ask Putin if that’s flexible enough.

#8 Travel to 38 countries, none of them Israel.

#7 Ship uncounted Romney ballots to that Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse.

#6 Give Paula Broadwell a debriefing, if you get my drift (oops – that’s Bill Clinton’s plan for Obama’s 2nd term).

#5 Drunk dial House of Representatives, ask to speak to Speaker “Boner.”

#4 Visit Freedom Tower, tell architect, “You didn’t build that.”

#3 Find out what this economy thing is that Romney kept talking about.

#2 Change name to Obama Boo Boo

#1 Blame everything on the first Obama term.

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Learn more at www.FullAsylum.com.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall

I haven’t been a huge fan of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. In fact, I was just telling my sister yesterday, “They’re entertaining and I enjoy them, but they just don’t feel like James Bond.” Having cut my teeth on Dr. No and Diamonds Are Forever, it didn’t feel right that Bond was blond, that he seemed to have a series of personal problems, that M’s office looked like an airport control tower, and that we haven’t seen Q or Miss Moneypenny since 2002’s Die Another Day. In fact, one of the reasons I wrote my novel Full Asylum was to recapture in a book the spirit of the early Bond movies that I could no longer find on the silver screen.

Skyfall begins promisingly enough in Istanbul. The opening scenes include views of the St. Sophia Mosque, where Bond met with Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love, and a motorcycle chase through the covered market (and on top of the covered market) where MI-6's genial Man in Istanbul, Kerim Bey, had his headquarters in that 1963 classic.

Alas, the mission goes wrong, an enemy agent escapes with a hard drive containing the identity of every allied mole planted in the world’s terror networks, and a wounded and left-for-dead Bond sulks on a beach for three months. Then an attack on MI-6 and the destruction of M’s office in an explosion (she wasn’t in it) shakes 007 out of his lethargy. He returns to London—out-of-shape, dressed like a slob, and in need of a shave. Not my childhood James Bond.

M certifies him fit for duty anyway. We’re reintroduced to Q, played as a computer nerd by Ben Whishaw (I want him cast as Gimbel O’Hare, if they ever make a movie of Full Asylum!). Q-branch is still rebuilding after the explosion, and Bond must go after the hard drive armed only with his trademark Walther PPK and a homing beacon. “A gun and a radio,” he says, disappointed. “Not exactly Christmas, is it?”

“Were you expecting an exploding pen?” Q replies.

As the story unfolds, one moment stands out for me as a turning point. M and Bond are escaping from the villain, Mr. Silva, and Bond stops the car at an old garage in order to swap vehicles. He removes the padlock, opens the door and inside is a silver Aston Martin DB5 – the car from Goldfinger — complete with front-end machine guns and ejector seat. “We’re going back in time,” Bond explains (metaphorically). They speed off, accompanied by the original Monty Norman James Bond theme music. Bond is back. For real this time.

The cinematic craftsmanship in Skyfall is first rate. The visuals are striking, especially a fight in silhouette in front of an LCD screen with an enormous blue jellyfish. I kept saying to myself, “This is f-ing brilliant,” a compliment I usually reserve for the works of Quentin Tarantino. Director Sam Mendes is a master of the dramatic pause and I laughed at the one-liners. My favorite was when Bond jumped onto a speeding subway train and a commuter waiting in the station says, “He’s keen to get home.”

There are a few flaws: some minor plot holes – at one point Q does something stupid that no one in his position would ever do – and the story drags in a couple places, mainly during rants by the half-deranged Silva. The final confrontation between Bond and Silva is a little disappointing – conventional shootouts and explosions with nothing particularly clever.

After the fires are out and the bodies are buried, however, there is one last scene. I won't give away what it is, but if you are a long time Bond fan like myself, I guarantee you will leave the theater absolutely delighted.

Michael Isenberg is the author of the James Bond parody Full Asylum. Check it out on Amazon.com.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top Ten GOP Comeback Strategies

Top Ten

#10 Next time, campaign in all 57 states.

#9 Honey Newt Newt

#8 New Obama nickname: Ol’ Doodyhead

#7 Chris Christie sumo wrestling

#6 Fox News – now 20% foxier.

#5 Zombie Ronald Reagan – Gangnam Style

#4 Complementary Election Day shuttle for billionaires

#3 Elisabeth Hasselbeck Playboy spread (Be honest: you’ve thought about it).

#2 Dick Cheney’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve

And the #1 GOP Comeback Strategy: GET MORE DAMN VOTES!

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In Defeat: Defiance

This is the entry I posted the day after Obamacare passed the House. Unfortunately, it is still appropriate today, in the wake of Mitt Romney's loss in the presidential election:

In 1938, Neville Chamberlain, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, betrayed the Czechs to Hitler at Munich, and thereby passed up the best opportunity of stopping the Nazi war machine without a war. When the news reached England, an aging and washed up politician named Winston Churchill talked about getting a group of friends together and throwing a brick through the Prime Minister’s window.

Churchill has been much on my mind since the House of Representatives passed the Health Insurance Takeover last night, and not just because I have an urge to chuck construction materials at certain D.C. residences.

There’s no point in sugar coating. Last night was a disaster. It was the worst defeat for freedom in three decades. But we can draw inspiration from the example of Mr. Churchill when facing a disaster and a threat to freedom that was far worse.

As a result of Chamberlain’s appeasement at Munich, most of Europe lost its freedom during the next two years. On May 10, 1940, the German armies poured into the Netherlands, the collapse of France was imminent, and the Nazis were weeks away from driving British forces off the continent. In Churchill’s words, “The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.” Under those horrific circumstances, compared to which Obamacare is, like a dripping faucet, merely a minor annoyance, Neville Chamberlain resigned and King George asked Winston Churchill to become his new Prime Minister.

And then Churchill rallied his country. In the next several weeks, he gave two of the most famous speeches in the English language.

On June 4 he told the House of Commons, “I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

"Even though large parts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

And then, on June 18, “Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.’”

Churchill’s oratory was remarkably effective. In the following months, under sometimes nightly bombings, there are stories of the British singing “Roll out the Barrel” and “White Cliffs of Dover” in their air raid shelters. Hitler did not break them in their island, and he lost the war.

Without losing sight of the gravity of the situation and the cost in lives, Churchill not only led his people during dark times, but he had fun doing it. If you go to London today, you can visit Churchill’s own air raid shelter, the underground war rooms built to protect the Cabinet during the Blitz. But it turns out he was rarely there. More likely he was up on the roof, watching the bombs fall. On a visit to America, he recited poetry to Franklin Roosevelt and told jokes to a joint session of Congress ("If my father had been American and my mother British, instead of the other way 'round, I might have got here on my own.")

So yes, last night was disaster. But if we harness the power of oratory and if we never surrender, we will have our finest hour. And let’s have fun doing it. Because you know, those angry people, who never mix humor and politics, tend to be on the other side.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Obama: Injuries and Usurpations


Image Source: The Daily Caller

One of my left-of-center friends recently posted on Facebook that she “just doesn’t get” the intensity of conservative opposition to President Obama. By way of response, I thought I would assemble a list of the actions taken by the administration that conservatives find objectionable. As I jotted down ideas, it occurred to me that Thomas Jefferson once put together a similar list (As Mr. Limbaugh would say, "I'm referring to the Declaration of Independence, for those of you in Rio Linda."). Anyway, it seemed appropriate to plagiarize shamelessly Mr. Jefferson's style and phrasing, which, after all, are far superior to mine. So here goes…

The history of the current President of the United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:

He has expended recklessly our public funds without benefit to our people ($800 billion “stimulus”, 28% increase in annual outlays in the first three years), thereby burdening our children with colossal debts and damaged credit ratings (National Debt up 5.6 Trillion, or 53%, in the first three years).

He has imposed burdensome regulations that hinder our trade, sap our industries, and destroy the livelihoods of our people (It’s about jobs, folks! Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, 231,250 pages of regulations published in the Federal Register in the first three years).

He has obstructed enterprises most wholesome and necessary for the public good, including the distribution of essential fuels, the assembly of jet aircraft, and the manufacture of Rock and Roll guitars (Keystone pipeline, Boeing 787, Gibson Guitar).

He has distorted the operation of the free market by the transfer of funds from the Public Treasury to politically connected enterprises for the production of products in excess of consumer demand (Solyndra, A123, Chrysler, General Motors).

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of new officers to harass our people and eat our their substance (I didn’t have to change Jefferson’s words at all on this one! Financial Stability Oversight Council; Office of Financial Research; Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research; task forces on Preventive Services and Community Preventive Services; National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council; Independent Payment Advisory Board; Administration for Community Living).

He has put at risk the health of our people by giving his assent to legislation that will raise medical costs and reduce treatment options, apparently while suffering from the delusion that increasing the demand for a product lowers its costs (Obamacare).

He has appointed officers of the United States who are hostile to our constitutions, inimical to our traditions, and astoundingly ignorant of their own professions (Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, Elena Kagan, Samantha Power, Alan Kreuger, Ben Bernanke).

He has enabled the murder of law enforcement officials and diplomats of the United States by neglecting measures for their safety and supplying armaments to criminals (Benghazi, Fast and Furious).

He has risked the safety of United States military personnel by delaying strategic decisions, and then, when he made them, providing insufficient resources to carry them out (Afghanistan).

He has damaged the interests of the United States abroad:

  • by denigrating, during speeches in foreign nations, the moral sense and national vision of the United States of America (“Apology Tour”),
  • by supporting anti-government demonstrators in a country friendly to the United States (Egypt),
  • by failing to support anti-government demonstrators in a country hostile to the United States (Iran),
  • by proposing diplomatic initiatives which, if enacted, would pose an existential threat to an allied nation (the Prime Minister of Israel has said the effect of Obama’s Mideast proposal would be “wiping out Israel’s future as a Jewish state”).

    He has undermined the integrity of our electoral system by refusing to prosecute individuals who have intimidated our voters (New Black Panthers case) and by blocking one of the several states from implementing legislation for the purpose of ensuring that only voters may cast votes (South Carolina Voter ID law).

    He has encouraged our fellow citizens to report to the Government those of their countrymen who disagree with his policies, a practice closely paralleled in the most barbarous age of Soviet communism (Attention snitches: you may report me by sending e-mail to flag@whitehouse.gov).

    He has excited class warfare among us (Osawatomie Speech, tax proposals, attacks on executive compensation), and has endeavored to bring into our public spaces the clueless Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose known rule of protest is an undistinguished destruction of all property, hygiene, and logic.

    He has violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States:

  • by assenting to laws that assume powers for the Federal Government not enumerated in our Constitution (Obamacare),
  • by threatening to enact, by his will alone, other laws, without the consent of our legislature (Cap and Trade, Dream Act),
  • by circumventing, in the appointment of officers, the advice and consent of the Senate, by means of recess appointments at a time when the Senate was not technically in recess (Richard Cordray, Richard Griffin, Sharon Block, Terence Flynn)
  • by acting in contempt of the Judicial Branch in defying a court order to suspend a policy found by the court to be arbitrary and capricious (Gulf drilling moratorium [Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar]),
  • by acting in contempt of Congress in permitting one of his officials to withhold documents in a lawful investigation (Fast and Furious),
  • by usurping, in violation of our laws, the Constitutional authority of the legislature to declare war (the military intervention in Libya without Congressional approval violated the War Powers Act),
  • by trampling, in violation of the First Amendment, the right of citizens not to pay for products to which they object on religious grounds (Obamacare contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient mandate).

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated insult ("Bitter Clingers," "Enemies," "Revenge," "Racists," "War on Women"). A President whose administration is thus marked by every act which may define an incompetent twit is unfit to govern a free people. Therefore, we the people of the United States do solemnly publish and declare, that Barack Hussein Obama shall be, and ought to be, totally shellacked at the ballot box. And for the support of this declaration, we mutually pledge to each other our time, our campaign donations, and our sacred honor.

    P.S. I regret I couldn’t find fault with Obama’s small number of vetoes. That’s too bad, because I really, really wanted to use the phrase “He has prostituted his negative”.

    Originally Posted 1/18/12 Revised 11/6/12

    Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.

  • The time is now near at hand...

    We built it!
    Photo source: Harry E. Walker via Mother Jones
    Last in my series of election commentary from the characters of Full Asylum. Tina Lee is the founder and CEO of Byte Yourself Software:

    Yesterday, my competitor Isaac Ross threw in his one-fiftieth of a dollar’s worth about the election. He told us that Mitt Romney just doesn’t understand that most people aren’t enlightened enough to make their own decisions. They need the government to make them for them.

    I used to work for Isaac. Back then I had an idea for the first operating system designed specifically for the networked home. I put together some slides and pitched the idea. He rewarded me with a lecture on how I was thinking like a programmer instead of a businesswoman. “You’re going to have to offer more enticing bait than that if you expect me to bite, missy,” he said.

    “Bite yourself, Isaac Ross!” I replied angrily. I walked out of his conference room—and out of his company. Two weeks later, I incorporated Byte Yourself Software. I lured the best engineers with technical challenges and stock grants. Inspired by dreams of wealth, we dove into our task. We begged forgiveness from family members for missed Little League games, forgotten birthdays, and in the case of one programmer, late arrival at her own wedding. After eleven intense months, we surfaced with Byte Yourself IROSS—the Intranet Ready Operating System Software—Version 1.0. Within five years, IROSS became the world’s most popular operating system. We built it.

    The core issue in this election is the same as it was in 1964. That was the year Ronald Reagan asked us “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” Isaac Ross and Barack Obama definitely have their money – excuse me, our money – on the little intellectual elite. During the past four years the elite has been in overdrive, planning us into poverty.

    It told us what health insurance we had to buy. It told us how much we had to pay our employees. It told us how much we had to spend on charity. It told us what industries to invest in. It told us what the gas mileage had to be in the cars we manufacture. It told us what banking practices are too risky. It even told us what we may order when we go out for a bite to eat. Byte yourself, Mr. President.

    What Obama doesn’t understand, and the reason economic performance has been so lackluster during his administration, is that prosperity requires excellence and excellence requires freedom.

    Unlike the president, Gov. Romney has actually built a business or two. He gets it. He understands that you can’t excel by doing the same thing as everybody else. You have to have the freedom to do something different. You have to have the freedom to take the risk that something that hasn’t been tried before will work. Sometimes you have to have the freedom to be the fool that rushes in where angels fear to tread. Excellence isn’t just risky, though. It’s also time-consuming. You better have the freedom to put in long hours developing your product instead of filling out compliance paperwork for a bureaucrat.

    I’d like to leave you with this thought – it’s something George Washington said to the troops during the summer of 1776: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves.”

    It really is.

    Tina Lee is a character in Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of author Michael Isenberg. Check out Full Asylum on Amazon.com.

    Daily Reminder: Jobs

    Last one.

    Obama's Record: Unemployment
    Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Jan 2009, Oct 2012

    Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    High Energy Rally with Senator Scott Brown

    With two days until Election 2012, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown rallies supporters at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall: "Do not go to bed Tuesday night saying, darn, we should have done more."

    Did you see him nod to me at 7:38?

    Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.

    Obama Knows Best

    Full Asylum character Isaac Ross
    Photo source: Human Events
    Continuing my series of election commentary from the characters of my novel Full Asylum. Today we hear from one of the villains, Isaac Ross, CEO of Consolidated Industries.

    Isaac is a crony capitalist who spends his spare time writing second rate philosophy books. Any resemblance to George Soros is purely coincidental.

    Since the time of the ancient Greeks, philosophers have identified two types of social structure: the cooperative society and the competitive society. Through most of history, the competitive society has predominated. But a competitive society is like a sick body. A body would not survive if the lungs and the heart competed with each other to pump blood or provide oxygen. Similarly, a society would not survive if those best suited to drive trucks competed with programmers to write software, or those best suited to write software competed with philosophers to make decisions. We saw the end game, the final illness of the competitive society, in the excesses that led to Bush’s 2008 Financial Meltdown. The poverty, homelessness, and psychological stress that we now see all around us are the inevitable result when society is run by those who put profit and gain above enlightenment and compassion.

    If a competitive society is a sick body, then a cooperative society is a healthy one. Although a true cooperative society has never existed, we know from Plato’s Republic what it would look like. Each member of the cooperative society knows his or her place and has a role to play that is suited to his or her natural abilities. In a healthy body, all the parts work in harmony. Similarly, in a healthy society, all citizens work in harmony. In a healthy body, all operations are coordinated under the control of the brain. Similarly, in a healthy society, all operations are coordinated under the control of the government. The enlightened and compassionate people who staff the various departments are able to make the decisions that are beyond the ability of the lesser citizens. Mitt Romney might think, for example, that a truck driver has the enlightenment to decide the best health care plan. Fortunately, Barack Obama knows better and passed the Affordable Care Act so HHS could tell the truck driver what to buy. Mitt Romney might think that private businessmen are enlightened enough to know what technologies in which to invest. Fortunately, Barack Obama knows better and put $90 billion for green energy in the stimulus bill. Mitt Romney might think that a software engineer has the compassion to help the poor through private charity. Fortunately, Barack Obama knows better and increased welfare spending 32%.

    The president has been under some criticism lately. His critics say that he has not been entirely honest about his agenda. They say that his justice department hasn’t done enough to combat voter fraud. They say the he tried to cover up his own incompetence by arresting Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker whose Islamophobic video enraged the demonstrators that attacked the US consulate at Benghazi. What the critics would realize if they were more educated is that, since the government makes the rules for society, the existence of rules presupposes the existence of government. It is therefore illogical for the president and other government officials to be constrained by the rules set down for lesser people. Illogical, and also unnecessary. Regardless of the rules, Barack Obama is an enlightened and compassionate leader, and will always act in the best interests of the cooperative society. If those interests require him to arrest an innocent man, rig an election, or conceal his true intentions behind a mask of falsehood, then it is not only permitted for him to do so, it is a moral imperative.

    Isaac Ross is a character in Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. His views are satirical and most definitely do not reflect those of author Michael Isenberg. Check out Full Asylum on Amazon.com.

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Stuck in the Middle Ages

    Progress
    Photo sources: Wikipedia, The Atlantic, zmescience.com, fiftiesweb.com

    P.S. An observant viewer will notice an anachronism in one of the pictures.

    Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Who the hell wants to be the 99 percent?

    Full Asylum heroine Cheri Tarte
    Continuing my series of election commentary from the characters of my novel Full Asylum. Today's installment: lady wrestler Cheri Tarte does some trash talking.
    HEY, OCCUPY WALL STREET: YOU SAY YOU’RE THE 99 PERCENT…WELL I SAY IT'S NOTHING TO BRAG ABOUT! DON’T YOU WANT TO BE SOMEONE SUCCESSFUL?!

    I’m Cheri Tarte: rising star of the Universal Wrestling League’s Women’s Division and PROUD 1 PERCENTER. Before I tried out for the UWL, I worked in the administrator’s office at a government hospital. The hospital was overrunning its budget and we were supposed to contain costs. We did a lot of unnecessary testing—MRIs that were unlikely to find anything and so on. At the same time, we had patients dying while they waited for operations they really needed, like coronary bypasses. I went to my boss with some ideas to improve things, but he said, “Don’t worry about it. You get paid either way.” I realized that I would never be allowed to excel working in a bureaucracy. The whole structure rewarded mediocrity, and that’s not what I’m about.

    It sure is what Obama’s about, though. Do you know the mark of mediocrity? Excuses instead of results. The economy limps along at less than 2% growth and Obama says, “It’s Bush’s fault.” “Worst economy since the Great Depression.” “The Republicans in Congress were mean to me.”

    Obama keeps telling us this election is a choice between two fundamental visions for America. SO, B.O.: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BE HONEST ABOUT YOURS? The closest he ever came was when he told Joe the Plumber he wanted to “spread the wealth around.” That’s the polite way of saying he wants to rob the successful to pay for handouts for the mediocre. But when you punish success and reward mediocrity, mediocrity is what you get.

    No wonder the losers flock to him. Like the Obamaphone Lady. Or Sandra Fluke, who’s the poster child for Obama’s America: thirty years old, still in school, and looking for a handout. Did you hear her convention speech? Six minutes of whining about what a victim she is. She even complained that Mitt Romney didn’t stand up for her when Rush Limbaugh called her a slut. Ignoring for the moment that Mitt did stand up for her, WHY DON’T YOU STAND UP FOR YOURSELF INSTEAD OF BEGGING A MAN TO DO IT? THAT’S WHY YOU’RE A VICTIM! AND BY THE WAY, YOU OUGHT TO SEND RUSH A PRESENT. IF HE HADN'T CALLED YOU A SLUT, NO ONE EVER WOULD HAVE HEARD OF YOU!

    The trouble with Sandra isn’t that she’s a slut, of course; the trouble is that she’s a freeloader. She wants someone else to pay for her birth control. She calls that “access.” AND TAKE A BIOLOGY CLASS, BITCH. YOU CAN’T GET PREGNANT FROM OTHER WOMEN!

    The Democrat narrative as to why Romney doesn’t stand up for the Flukes of the world is that he’s out of touch because he’s rich. WELL, I SAY IF TO BE RICH IS TO BE OUT OF TOUCH, THEN WE NEED MORE OUT OF TOUCH PEOPLE! Romney got to be rich because he worked hard and excelled at what he did. He competed in an open market and made the tough choices to build Staples and a bunch of other companies. He deserves every penny he got, and we’re all better off for it.

    Obama is right about one thing. This election is about two fundamentally different visions of America. Obama’s America, where second-rate morons fight over handouts carved from an ever-shrinking pie. Or Romney’s America, where those who would compete and excel and succeed are free to do so. The only thing I can’t figure out is why the polls are so close. I know there's not that much mediocrity in America.

    Cheri Tarte is the heroine of Full Asylum, a novel about mediocrity, excellence, and professional wrestling. Her views are satirical and do not necessarily reflect those of author Michael Isenberg. Check out Full Asylum on Amazon.com.

    Daily Reminder: Long Term Unemployment

    While the total number of unemployed is close to what it was when Obama assumed office, long-term unemployment is a growing problem.

    Obama's Record: Unemployment
    Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Jan 2009, Sep 2012

    Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com.