Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What Is Being Left - The Friend of My Enemy...


UPDATE: 30.05.07:06:54

Bill Maher, is most certainly what is being Left! To reiterate my original point, as more and more 'good' citizens evaporate from Liberalism and the Democrat party, all that will be left is the filth... that which is untreatable, not compatible, will go nowhere else..... and stinks unbearably of rot and decomposition. What is being Left is a toxic poison that is attempting to feed itself to humanity... by force. I give you, modern Liberalism as personified by a superconcentrated paste of human septic waste in a cheap suit with a bad haircut a scat-eating grin and a personal stench to match his moral degeneracy.


The brutal assasination attempt missed its intended target, but nevertheless ended the lives of 23 people in Bagram, Afghanistan yesterday. It did however succeed in stirring the fetid core of what is being Left.

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) — In what the Taliban claimed was an assassination attempt, a suicide bomber attacked the main gate of a U.S. military base Tuesday within earshot of Vice President Dick Cheney. The explosion killed 23 people, including two Americans, and delivered a propaganda blow that undercut the U.S. military and the weak Afghan government it supports.

The bomber struck about 10 a.m., and U.S. military officials declared a "red alert'' at the sprawling Bagram Air Base while Cheney was rushed to a bomb shelter. Cheney, who had been stranded at the base overnight by a snowstorm, met with President Hamid Karzai in the capital before heading back to the United States via the Gulf
state of Oman.

"I heard a loud boom,'' Cheney told reporters aboard Air Force Two en route to Oman.

"The Secret Service came in and told me there had been an attack on the main gate.''
Many of the victims were said to be Afghan truck drivers waiting to get inside the base. A dozen men — many of them sobbing heavily — left the base holding a stretcher bearing their loved ones wrapped in black body bags. Tears streamed down the face of one man sitting in the passenger seat of an SUV that carried another victim away.

No sooner had the Afghan Taliban laid proud claim to the carnage, when the American Left both applauded the brutal attempt, and lamented its failure. Similar to the scenes of Palestinian celebrations in Gaza on the afternoon of September 11th, the Left, acting out in virtual microcosm, considered for a moment the primordial source of their true motivation and exposed it briefly for the world to behold yesterday at the popular Democrat Blog, Huffington Post. Try as they might afterward to flush the memory hole of any record, WorldNetDaily took notice of some 12 pages of vitriolic comments from the post before the thread was locked and purged. It included such morcels of wisdom as these...

Better luck next time! (TDB)

Dr Evil escapes again ... damn. (truthtopower01)

So Cheney is personally responsible for the deaths of 14 innocent people ... and then he waddles off to lunch!! What a piece of sh--! (fantanfanny)

Jesus Christ and General Jackson too, can't the Taliban do anything right? They must know we would be so gratefull (sic) to them for such a remarkable achievement. (hankster2)

Hey, Thalia, lighten up. I, for one, don't wish Cheny (sic) had been killed. I wish he had been horribly maimed and had to spend the rest of his life hooked to a respirator. Feel better now? (raisarooney)

Let's see ... they're killing him over there so we don't have to kill him over here? (ncjohn)

And they missed!? Oh, Hell. Like Mamma used to say, I guess it's the thought that counts ... (Anachro1)

You can never find a competent suicide bomber when you need one. (Mark701)

To be fair, WND further noted,

... that one contributor to the string of comments, "MNCurler," echoed many others, writing: "The posts advocating for Cheney's demise really show the class of the people who post here. No wonder you can't get a civil debate on this site- we are dealing with lunatic idiots."

Nevertheless the dominant sentiments of the core of what is being Left were cleary expressed by those "lunatic idiots", despite saner protestations. Were that this was an isolated incident of pathological malevolence, one might write it off as the verbal defecations of a marginal radical fringe of ignorant miscreants. But, as I have recorded over the years (see links below) this is an ongoing and quite characteristic of what is being Left.

Note that in their expression of emotion, the self-righteous champions of humanism all but ignored the victims of this latest terrorist assault. Predictably, the Left remains silent about the collateral body count of innocents when the terrorists attack... especially when their target is the American Vice President.

recent post at FreeRepublic, purportedly on behalf of Moderate Muslims, begged restraint and cooperation,

We the moderate Muslims are doing our best to build Bridges and spread the Peace with "People of the Book" (Jews, Christians, Muslims), and others who are also our brethrens in humanity. But we can’t do it alone and we need your help.

We can tell you that most people around us, are loving, and supportive of us. This is a great Country, as we are free to practice Islam, and contribute to our society.

Regardless of their geniuine sincerity, I was forced to consider their point As unpopular a sentiment as this might seem in many circles, it nevertheless occurred to me as I pondered the asassination attempt on Cheney weighed against the glee on the Left and their disappointment at its lack of success, that something here in our thinking is askew. Was it Sun Tzu who pointed out that the enemy of my enemy is my friend? The Left and the Islamofascists clearly share similar immediate goals and their fundamental sentiments bare profound similarity... Western Civilization is depraved and must be erradicated. In fact, what is being Left has more in common through their collective insanity with radical Muslims than they the West. Similarly, We have far more in common with moderate Muslims than we do our radical Leftists brethren. This War, it occurred to me is being framed along the wrong lines of friend and foe. And perhaps it will be won when we are willing to acknowledge the right friendships and build an alliance of respect and trust among the Men of virtue... be they Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Budhist, Mormon, Muslim or agnostic apostles of Reason. When those Men unite, victory will be delivered. If , however we remain traditionally united by rusted chains of categorical unity, and yet functionally divided in spirit, we will all be cut down by an enemy unified in its hatred of Mankind. Because what is being Left has become every bit as morally degenerate as the Taliban and Al Quaeda, if but merely lacking the courage to act on their immense hate with anything more than those anonymous verbal defecations.

Of that, I guess we can at least be thankful. For now. But, the friend of my enemy claims solidarity, while openly advocating my demise. And that is afterall, what is being Left.

See Also...
What Is Being Left v.18.0
What Is Being Left v.17.0
What Is Being Left v.16.0
What Is Being Left v.15.0
What Is Being Left v.14.0
What Is Being Left v.13.0
What Is Being Left v.12.0
What Is Being Left v.11.0
What Is Being Left v.10.0
What Is Being Left v.9.0
What Is Being Left v.8.0
What Is Being Left v.7.0
What Is Being Left v.6.0
What Is Being Left v.5.0
What Is Being Left v.4.0
What Is Being Left v.3.0
What Is Being Left v.2.0
What Is Being Left v.1.0

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Infiltrating Christian Thought

Major Mike

Is attending Sunday services with the express purpose of critiquing the sermon a sin? Is it a sin to go to church for the express purpose of rallying a radical base against the very churchgoers who let you attend services in the first place? Is deception and cynicism a sin, or just journalistically unethical?

The Oregonian, failing to consider any of those questions, gladly published today’s Steve Duin column, where Steve trashes the conservative message of the sermon delivered by Mat Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, at the Rolling Hills Community Church this past weekend.

Does his disingenuous attendance of this service serve local journalism well? Probably, because it cements his place as the squeaky clarinet of the disjointed Portland left.

Duin certainly knew what the message would be…a call to conservative Christian values…morality, biblical obedience, and a call to support conservative causes such as a strong defense, pro-marriage legislation, and social obedience. Duin admits he attended so the he could assess the Restore America campaign that encourages Christians to “vote their values.”

Duin thought maybe he’d hear something like a rebuttal of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?

He feigns disbelief that compassionate souls could make generous offerings to a gas station attendant, yet not embrace the stilted and intertwined aspects of pedophilia, pornography, and same-sex marriage. And throws in a swipe at our founding fathers for good measure…

Duin writes “… We were a Christian nation, balanced on the pillars of morality and religion. We were securely tied to the principles of our God-fearing founding fathers, the ones who considered blacks fit for slavery, women unfit to vote.”

It is not incongruous, nor inconceivable that Christians have limits to their tolerances…limits outlined to them by the Bible, and limits which they embrace to some degree as individuals. Limits that may not include Duin’s vision of a liberal-utopia, where sexual promiscuity, unbridled illegal immigration, and national pacifism exist in abundance and are encouraged to excess by the venerated ACLU.

He is not astute enough in his critique of our founding fathers to measure their quantum leap from previous forms of government to our current form, imperfections not withstanding. He does not acknowledge the limitations they faced in their historical context. In short, Duin has written another of his specialties… a heavily biased, and overly pandering hit piece for the left.

And while he derides the seeming hypocrisy of the attendees and their beliefs, he attacks them as persecutors of Christians have done for over two thousand years…his has struck at them through their own piety, generosity, and hospitality.

I am sure that after the Romans and the lions, Duin is not much of a threat…he is just a bigger hypocrite.

© Michael McBride 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Air America Steers for the Iceberg

Major Mike
(re-printed with permission from

I am not one to explain all things…I remember thinking my brain was probably full when I was learning the aircraft electrical systems of the F/A 18 Hornet. Having previously learned the T-2 (Fighter) Buckeye, The T-39 Saberliner, the TA-4J Skyhawk…The F-4 and the RF-4B…I felt it was getting a little cramped upstairs. Throw in intercept geometry at 900 knots, dogfight tactics, air-to air and air-to-ground weaponry, fusing and delivery options, and there just didn’t seem to be much capacity left. I am sure that many that know me would likely agree.

But some things I get. While reading the Thom Hartmann filling the vacuum (literally) left by Al Franken at Air America, I thought that it is no surprise that successful talk radio is mostly conservative.

The new star of the Portland and the left leaning airwaves is toasted as a do-aller of enormous proportions. He is bragged about as the author of many books, a successful businessman (who has abandoned several “successful” businesses), and is hailed as a liberal iconoclast bolstered by three decades of “personal and professional meanderings.”

The Oregonian glibly glosses over his intentional flunking out of Air Force Basic Training…likely a badge of honor amongst liberal “leadership.” They additionally glide past the incongruity that this college drop out has published several book on such subjects as AD/HD, and the powers of walking for as a cure for an enumerative list of chronic ailments, as if an expert; and they laud his JKF assassination conspiracy book. I suppose expertise doesn’t actually come into play on these subjects…feel good liberal concepts fix or explain it all. Wikipedia calls him a “lay scholar.” I guess that means a scholar without a degree.

So this is the Al Franken replacement?

The Oregonian is hyped up on his granola feel, his “precocious” (I guess, yet incomplete) college career at the academically un-prestigious Michigan State University, and his vegetarianism…a local leftie necessity. At least Franken was a Harvard grad.

For all you Rush haters, I know that he is also a college drop-out. No need to send hate mail on that. But Rush developed and refined the milieu, all others are, as Hartmann says in the Oregonian article, students of the master…or for the lesser skilled, imitators. The feeling I get is that Hartmann is an empty imitator.

Bill Bennett is an accomplished author who happened to forgo writing about his feelings on AD/HD, and chose instead to write about things that he is qualified to comment on. He has a long history of government service, and has a doctorate in Philosophy and a law degree from Harvard. I guess he chose to pass his tests and complete his precocious education.

Hugh Hewitt is a Harvard grad, Michigan Law School graduate…law professor, and writer (on subjects which he happens to actually know about).

Michael Medved is a Yale graduate with a Yale law degree. He is also an accomplished writer and movie critic.

So, as the Titanic known as Air America continues to take on water, and the highly paid captain has chosen to abandon the ship, Air America looks to a relative lightweight to try to save the ship. Academically deficient Janeane Garofolo didn’t posses that capability. I am not sure why AA thinks Hartmann possesses it.

The successful, conservative talk show hosts listed above, are successful, in large measure due to their credibility, derived directly from their bona fides. Their breadth of governmental, academic, and legal expertise, serves them well in putting a superior product on the air very day. They can capably wade through myriad of topics, because they are qualified to do so.

At the same time, Air America has called the neighborhood yacht club regatta winner to try to steer the Titanic to safety. Sorry, but a “lay scholar” isn’t likely to navigate that sinking ship through the choppy waters of talk radio. Deftness is not enough to overcome and inexpert knowledge in a business that is dependent on at least a modicum of credibility.

Air America is doomed…in part because there is no market for the superficial nature of liberal arguments. There is no market for a continuous stream of vulgarities, and shallow analysis. There is no developed market for negativism and defeatism. There is no interest in the vitriolic exchange of ideas that is a constant in the left side of the blogosphere. And there is no market for the re-treading of lies that the Michael Moores, the Bill Mahers, and the Al Frankens spew, day in and day out.

And they are doomed in part because they have picked a darling of the left, who is not capable of swimming in the big pond. Air America is going down. Though they may have picked an able seaman, they certainly have picked no Captain.

If Hartmann is to save the ship…make for the lifeboats…if Franken hasn’t taken them all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Minority Rules

Major Mike
(re-printed with permission from

Democracy is pretty straight forward...majority rules.

Our country has gone to great lengths to ensure that everyone is franchised into our democracy. It has been an imperfect struggle, but we are finally at a point where all are equally represented, and their vote is now equal in measure to all other votes cast. As it should be.

Democracy also finds it way into other areas of our lives...neighborhood associations, clubs, social organizations, and unions, all use the "majority rules" concept. We're comfortable with that. It fits. It is right.

But one of the angular attacks on our democracy has been the over-empowerment of the minority. The minority is entitled to its say in nearly every aspect of our state, local, and national governments. They influence, but don’t govern. They share ideas, but there is no guarantee that their ideas will carry the day. They are full participants, but they are not the majority, and since the majority rules, they have a limited say in the outcomes of these deliberative bodies. Power ebbs and flows between the major parties in Congress, as it ebbs and flows in every other aspect of democratic life.

Except I guess for union organizing.

HB1696 is on the fast track to make it through the House of Representatives, and likely, with the Democrats in control of Congress, on its way to law. Yawn…this happens all the time.

HB1696 proposes some nuanced changes to the National Labor Relations Act, and the key provision, under “Streamlining Union Certification” is the apparently innocuous…

“(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a). (my emphasis)

I work in a successful American industry. We have dozens of manufacturing plants across the country, and we provide live-able wage jobs for our employees, with significant benefits…and we have been the target of union organizing several times over the last decade…let me interpret the above paragraph for those unfamiliar with the union organizing process.

Currently, unions are free to solicit employees concerning their interest in joining a union. Typically this is done through some informational briefings where the union organizers explain the benefits of union representation to those interested in the possibility of being represented by that union. These sessions typically culminate with employees being urged to sign Union Authorization Cards.

Under current law, if a union can present to management a number of cards, equal to or greater than 50% of the employee population, the union can solicit for immediate representation, BUT the employer is not obligated to grant this immediate representation, but may defer instead to hold a secret ballot election.

Oh, and incidentally, there is no standard to which the Union Authorization Cards must be filled out, nor the obligation for the organizers to clearly explain the power of these cards. Often employees feel that they are just showing an interest by signing a card, not understanding how much they are empowering a union that does not yet represent them. In a previous drive at this company over 600 employees demanded their signed cards back because of such misleading tactics, the union refused, and counted those 600 cards towards their potential “membership.” To an unprepared employer, and unwitting employees…simply being presented with a stack of UACs that is equal to fifty percent of the workforce, could mean union representation without a secret ballot, democratic style vote.

A prepared employer would demand a secret ballot vote. Secret ballot voting is a hallmark of democracy in that it removes fear and intimidation from the polling place. It allows people to vote with their conscience, without outside influence. It is a standard pursued by international elections monitoring groups, and indeed it is the only way to truly guarantee that the will of the people is correctly heard.

So why would the Democrats, backed heavily by the AFL-CIO, seek to eliminate this very democratic step in the unionization process?

What the proposed law change means in real terms, is that instead of requiring a democratic style vote to in selecting for or against union representation in the workplace, the simple submission of a majority of UACs would be enough, without a vote, to force workers to be represented by the petitioning union. Without a standard for card submission, or employee ownership of their signed cards, there are no guarantees that a majority of employees would actually be determining the direction for all employees. Without requiring a vote, this law sows the seed for fraud at the worst and malfeasance at the best.

Why would Democrats so precipitously sell out one of our basic democratic principles? Campaign contributions? And why would they be so eager to feed the agenda of one of the most corrupt unions of all times?

Election maneuvering has become a hallmark of the liberal game plan, but disenfranchising employees where they make their living is not liberal, it is criminal.

The union model has broken the US airline industry (sans Southwest), and the US automotive industry. A capricious approach to over-empowering the unions of this country should be carefully considered. Unions have mostly helped themselves over the past forty years, now it appears the Democrats are going to aid and abet in that process…walking on our basic democratic principles along the way.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Avoiding Taxes the Celebrity Way

Major Mike

I am shocked that Steve Duin of the Oregonian missed this gem..."Celebrity royalties flow into Dutch tax shelters". If you remember, Steve is all for higher taxes, and especially sticking it to Nike and other corporations.

He is interestingly silent when it comes to rockers like the Rolling Stones, and uber-celeb-de-cause Bono, denying their governments tax dollars by sheltering them in Holland. Remember, at about a 40% tax rate in Great Britian, the Rolling Stones have paid only about $7M in taxes over the last twenty years on generated incomes of over $450M...good for them, BUT these liberal do-gooders and neo-con bashers are at the same time denying their socialist style governments significant amounts of other OK for them to espouse the benefits of universal health care, massive social programs, and government welfare, and its OK for you to pay 40% of your income to support that; but they will deny the very systems they tout the actual monies it takes to finance their liberal agenda...they leave that to you and I.

And Steve Duin remains silent.

I am all for paying lower taxes, what I dislike intensly is liberal media's negative protrayals of companies that generate commerce for their States, and are viewed only as golden geese by MSM pratlers and neo-socialists...while liberal celebrities avoid the same scrutiny.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Supporting the Troops" Means... Supporting the Troops

Major Mike

As the House begins its unnecessary, yet self-induced political gyrations on what will prove to be a number of gutless, spineless, and ineffectual resolutions regarding their visions of what should happen in Iraq, complete with the full compliment of 2008 influenced amendments, whereas’, and what-ifs; it would be prudent to take a moment to develop a list of actions that would actually “support” the men and women who are actively engaged in combat operations for this country…from their point of view…not from some slanted, poll blown perspective that is replete with re-election myopia, and covered with party driven slime.

From and insider’s point of view, THIS is supporting the troops.

1. Vote your conscience the first time; then stick to your vote.

Congressional maneuverings among the professional politikal class every two years, in their effort to cling to their prestigious and influential posts, often have the same Senators and Congressmen/women backtracking over their votes in order to preserve their political hides. When this occurs, those in the Armed Forces are disgusted by these self-serving politicos, and they expect their efforts in the field to be fully politicized in short order.

“Supporting” the troops means honoring their sacrifices by seeing through on the mission. Poll sniffing pols do not support the troops; they endeavor only to support themselves. Vascillting self-servitude, is not considered "support" in most circles, and certainly not among the rank and fiile in the military.

2. A Congressional commitment to a strong military in times of peace.

After Desert Storm Congressional budget cuts dictated force reductions for all services. Maintenance and operations budgets were slashed; weapons buying programs were metered monies that barely kept them on life support. Operational capabilities were correspondingly unable to progress from their established 1991 levels, and in many cases, capabilities were reduced due to insufficient training opportunities and declining equipment readiness rates…all budget driven.

Established capabilities require constant training, routine refinement, and equipment/weapons systems upgrading in order for our forces to sustain a sharp operational edge over our opponents. Cyclic financing and wandering (and Congressionally influenced) spending on military programs, strip our operational readiness and place our expeditionary forces at a higher risk. Formal recognition of basic operational requirements, coupled with steady funding to meet these operational baselines, is required to demonstrate a commitment to our combat forces.

3. Keep up on current events.

Know who we’re fighting. Hugh Hewitt has several times caught Congressional leaders on not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shi’a, or which is more closely aligned with us, or what the root causes are for their violent differences. It is hard to imagine that a Senator or Congressman, who is abjectly ignorant or intentionally indifferent on the issues, is sincere with his/her claims of “supporting” the troops.

Re-treading tired issues in the MSM for sound bite generation is also not “supporting” the troops…it is ignorant and self-serving. Upgraded body armor and up-armored Hummers are dead issues…so much so, that many infantry types are complaining about limited mobility on the battlefield due to too much personal armor. Troops have long ago moved on from this issue…it is time for Congressional sound bite generators to move on to something else, and quit manipulating these types of “issues” for “the sake of the troops”…the troops don’t need nor desire that kind of self-serving “help.”

Show an interest by keeping up with the flow of the situation, and act and comment on relevant issues...not those that have been dead for two years.

4. Listen to the troops, not the MSM.

There are dozens of milbloggers who are getting a starkly different message out than what the MSM hash-slingers are printing and airing…listen to the new media. These “new media” reporters, columnists, and editorialists, are directly engaged with our military everyday, and in dozens and dozens of ways. The MSM reporting of the blast-de-jour, and the US service-member body count, from the confines of NYC or some “Green Zone” safe house, is distorting the facts on the ground, and is passé in its methodology. MSM reporters, for the most part, are content with raising their glasses to one another after their “hard day” of reporting.

That some reporters have suffered injuries, or have been killed, has only driven most of them further indoors and away from significant, continuous action. It is dangerous…all the more reason that Congress understands why, and that they should get relevant information from those that have been continuously engaged…not those tagging along on Congressional junkets or three-day excursions to “boost” their credibility.

Also, invite some Lance Corporals, some Sergeants, some Captains and Lieutenants to testify in front of Congress, and instead of asking self-answering, self-serving questions, let them talk freely about their feelings…recorded…on C-SPAN. Don’t speak authoritatively, referencing some ambiguous encounter with some semi-anonymous troops, about a topic that prepoorts to speak for a majority of the troops, when the “information” was gained through some five minute grip-and-grin session at the local Guard base as you were boarding your plane back to Washington. Let the troops speak publicly themselves, and then believe them.

5. Assume some personal risk.

Corollary to above. Congressmen/women should embed themselves with the troops for a minimum of thirty days. This, first-hand experience would go a long way to bridging the divide between espousing “support for the troops” and actually understanding the needs of our troops in the field. Hopefully there will be no casualities, but is it not fair for the poltical windsocks who claim to represent the troops, to share in some of the dangers that their politically driven votes have created?

Most Congressmen/women have not spent enough time engaged with the troops to understand in detail what they need, and what they think. A few weeks of sharing their hardships will get them to cement their votes, and speak defintiviely on a way or the other. A well-cast vote, is support enough.

6. Acknowledge the threat.

The minimization of the intensity and ferocity of the threat worldwide, the complete rejection of the good that we have done in denying another training ground for Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the over-emphasizing of the mission in Afghanistan, in making the case against our involvement in Iraq; collectively diminish the operational efforts and the collective sacrifices that have been made by our troops in Iraq. Diminishment of one’s accomplishments as compared to the gravity and lethality of the threat is not generally considered “supportive.”

7. Quit running the Ho Chi Minh playbook.

By setting timetables, publicly voicing your opposition to the efforts of our troops engaged with the enemy, threatening to counter the President’s efforts for victory, you encourage the enemy, and subsequently enhance the enemy’s efforts in the field…directly increasing the number of US casualties.

Support the troops by working behind the scenes with the President to get your views across. Talk in terms of victory, not disengagement and withdraw…we know these phrases to be euphemisms for “defeat.” Reject any talk of timetables and re-deployments. Send a continuous stream of messages that give our enemies the idea that there is zero chance for their victory, and that our resolve and focus is on a horizon that includes our ultimate success.

8. Say “victory.”

Try it…it is not that hard. The ultimate reward here is the triumph of good over evil, and victory is the measurement. For those serving, the knowledge that they were victorious would be worth a thousand Congressional resolutions commending their effort after a precipitous withdrawal and an Iraq left in chaos.

The "support" required for our troops invloves the belief in their capabilities and the profound belief in the just-ness of the mission. Anything less than that, as Congress' equivocation has aptly demonstrated, is hardly support. Believe in our military's ability to prevail over the multitude of "bad actors" who are intent on stiffling democrracy in the Middle East. Believe in the capabilities and training of our troops, and support them by believing in their ability to achieve an outcome that is synonymous with the generally accepted definitions of victory.

Supporting the troops requires a bit more effort than the assemblage of several disjointed sentences, combined with obviously incongrueous actions, and bundled together with inchoherent Congressional business-speak. It demands attention to the issues, a recognition of the sacrifices made in the defense of our nation, and a deeply sowed commitment to those who preserve our freedoms through sacrifice and sleflessness.

Support is exceedingly more than the orderly collection of five consonents and two vowels, it is derived from a sense that the greater community is engaged with your effort, believes in your abilities, and sincerely desires your success. Anything less is Congressional rhetoric.

© Michael McBride 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

M&Ms Meet Big Brother

Major Mike
(Re-printed with permission of

Does anyone else miss the light brown M&Ms? Me too.

I knew a few years back when the parent company, Masterfoods announced a contest to re-color M&Ms that my little tan friends were in trouble. Their paltry population was remarkably small when compared to the robust quantities of greens and yellows. I knew immediately that a re-design of the overall color scheme was not the objective, but that this marketing campaign was a direct attack on the rare, khaki jewels that gave M&Ms their earthiness. I could sense the trend toward primary colors would edge out the under represented tannies, and that some "new" "hot" color would replace the staid, and understated anchor in a pallet dominated with the brilliance of primaries.

And I was right. The little gems were soon replaced by the over-used primary blue...I yawned, but lamented the loss of the light brown morsels that had graced the packaging for many years.

But Masterfoods, in the business sense, was right. This was Marketing 101…re-define your product, generate a buzz, re-invigorate the market. So the light brown M&Ms gave it up for the team.

In fact an examination of the marketing of M&Ms over the past twenty years or so would make a case study in any business school. Aside from the marketing scheme outlined above, they have added product…almond M&Ms, white chocolate M&Ms, and mint M&Ms. They have developed product for, and marketed with, The Pirates of the Caribbean movie. They have developed seasonal color combinations that have turned this simple candy into a necessary home accessory for any holiday. They have had a car, adorned with M&Ms caricatures, in the Nextel Cup races for years.

This company works for its sales through innovation, product development and marketing.

A perfect storm of successes that simply invite regulatory interference…and so it comes.

The EU’s authority on such matters, DG Sanco, previously sent Masterfoods an inquiry questioning their marketing practices towards those twelve and younger. My initial response is …”duh…its candy.” Followed closely by…”What’s the next target?”

In light of NYC’s ban on trans fats, the all out assault on smoking anywhere on the planet, and the ever increasing intrusions by government into our lives…can the US be far behind in demanding that our twelve-and-younger crowd be shielded from the temptations of chocolate covered candies that melt in your mouth, but not in your hand?

Two main points…first what did DG Sanco fail to target? Only the entire genre of sugar laden breakfast cereals that ONLY target the twelve and younger crowd. They missed every other candy product on the market. They missed chips. They missed ice cream bars. They missed Toostie Roll Pops, Lifesavers, Pez, Milk Duds, Sweet Tarts, and all of the other products that are marketed directly at that age group.

But M&Ms get singled out? How many four year-olds are getting geared up for the Daytona 500 or accessorizing their room with white, pink and red M&Ms for Valentine’s Day? What is striking here is that most of M&Ms’ marketing falls way outside the twelve-year-old range, but they, and their perfectly legal product get targeted for some social engineering experiment by the EU. Nothing attracts attention like success.

And that lands us squarely into the second issue here…the growing trend of unwanted government intrusions into the myriad of personal choices we make each day.

I am the first person to get annoyed with the lamely capable parent who cannot get past the snack aisle in the grocery store without having their 3 year-old go off on a 150 decibel, eardrum shattering tantrum that causes all of us to snicker and comment about the pitiful lack of parenting skills; BUT unless the government is willing to intervene in the home, they should butt out of dictating to businesses on how to sell their legal products.

The issue here is choice. And last I looked we were all still fully endowed with our unalienable right to choose M&Ms for ourselves and for our children, should we desire. Governmental legislation is no substitution for parenting, and it is certainly less capable of parenting than even the most recalcitrant parent that has ever wandered the candy aisle at Safeway. And with an ever increasing number of these governmentally dictated “good/healthy” choices, our rights are being eroded away by a government that thinks it is capable of legislating parents into doing the right thing. Watch the average checkout counter for an hour on a Saturday morning, and that bag of M&Ms will be dwarfed by the caloric content of tubs of ice cream, bags of chips and cookies, cakes, and other candies, to the extent that the singling out M&Ms is ludicrous in the extreme.

The problem is the gross lack of parental skill. And while liberal intentions may be good, I am not willing to give up any more of my rights…and I don’t expect Masterfoods to give up any of theirs…for a vain imposition of liberal societal engineering, via an angular attack on the marketing practices of an innovative company.

Do I exaggerate? Today’s Oregonian offers evidence of local, but surely not isolated, choice interference within the Portland School District and their vending choices. The story is rich in background, financial data, and potential tort action, but nowhere does the district make the case that the removal of sugared drinks has made any quantitative improvements in any health factors of its students. So, we have denied access of legal products to the marketplace…with typical liberal do-gooder intentions, yet we offer no proof of benefit for such a drastic measure. Even the most compelling evidence, if any exists, would have to be weighed against the grievous loss of individual rights and freedoms. We need to stop acquiescing to these small attacks on our freedoms and the unproven benefits they promise to deliver.

Make the product illegal…good luck with that.

Or charge parents of obese children with child abuse…good luck with that.

But leave profitable and innovative companies out of your social engineering schemes. These oblique attacks are low-voltage attacks on our freedoms and run directly counter to the basic premises of our Constitution…those of freedom of speech and expression, individual choice, and the freedom from unwelcome governmental intrusions into our lives.

Leave M&Ms alone…unless you are going to put the light brown ones back in the bag.