Hey, Your Shoes Stink!

DressShoes

My favorite phrase lately has been: Don’t walk out into a pasture, step in cow poop, and then blame others because they say your shoes stink.

I know, you’re saying, “Huh?” Well, let me explain.

We were raised to learn that actions have consequences. In other words, if you did something wrong, you accepted responsibility for it and took whatever punishment was dealt to you. However, that has changed. The common practice now is to not accept responsibility and to make it someone else’s fault.

Recently, there was a local issue that resulted in a quite heated discussion. Emails apparently had been flying back and forth on the issue. One of those emails was email blasted by a local person in a position of authority and that email had nothing to do with their scope of authority. After responding to that message, this person shut down all communications through them and passed the buck to another authority group that had already made a decision on the issue. This person only chose to email blast on behalf of one position on the issue and did not afford the same courtesy to other viewpoints.

Well, I called this person out on it and told them two things:

  1. It was inappropriate for them to be using their position to email blast on behalf of any issue outside the business of their authority group.
  2. By shutting down all further communications, their attempt to promote that position would most likely backfire and hurt the cause.

Do you think I got an email back accepting responsibility and indicating that they shouldn’t have done that? Nope. I got a phone call … at home … late at night … saying, “You hurt me!” Ugh!

I guess I should have seen this coming, considering where I moved. I should have also seen it coming when the email was in ALL CAPS and sent from an @aol.com email address. Yep, I walked into a cow pasture and stepped in a pile of cow poop. I guess I’d better throw out these shoes before people start complaining about the smell.

Lend Me A Child

With the tragic events that have occurred recently, I think these words from a my mother say it better than I ever could:
    Watching the events of this past week unfold, w/the grieving parents of those killed in the Boston race and the Newtown parents who went to D.C. to lobby Senators I couldn’t help but think about those who’s children were killed in these tragedys.
    And, of my brother, who at age 10½ was killed just as unexpectedly, by a hit and run driver, while he was riding his bike on the shoulder of the road.
    The parents from Newtown, who took their cause to D.C. to try to make changes in legislation that would impact all of us appeared many times in public w/their sorrow.
    And I thought, their sorrow, and other parents’ sorrow from other incidents, is NO worse than the sorrow my mother felt when we found out about my brother.  And, the sorrow she carried for the rest of her life!    He left that morning for a bike ride.   Just as those Sandy Hook children left for school that fateful day . . . my mother expected my brother to come bounding in the door any minute at the end of the day, just as those parents did.
    These types of things happen every day, in many different ways.    It is selfish of them to expect everyone in the country to be forced to comply w/new laws that would not have prevented what happened to their kids, because of their sorrow.
    When my mother passed away many years later I found a poem she had kept from the newspaper years ago.   I will copy it below.   It stresses how our children are “lent to us for a time”.   They are NOT our possessions for life.   They are a blessing, for a “time”!   And, that is the lesson to take away from all these seemingly senseless child deaths.
 
To All Parents
 
“I’ll lend you, for a little while, a child of mine,” He said.
“For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead.
“It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
“But will you, ’till I call him back take care of him for me?
“He’ll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief,
“You’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
“I cannot promise he will stay, as all from earth return,
“But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
“I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true,
“And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.
“Now will you give him all your love — not think the labor vain,
“Nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again.”
“I fancied that I heard them say, ‘Dear Lord, thy will be done.’
“For all the joy this child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
“We’ll shower him with tenderness and love him while we may,
“And for the happiness we’ve known, forever grateful stay.
“And should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned,
“We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.”
 
                        …Author Unknown

How Long Is Shortly?

We’ve all heard those “Greatest Lies Ever Told.” (Apologies to Fulton Oursler!) You know, the ones like “The check’s in the mail” and “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Then there’s the lesser known ones like “But honey, I’m only going to buy a couple things” and “The tow truck will be there in 15 and 50 minutes.”

I propose that a new one be added to the list: “A representative will be with you shortly.” We’ve all been on hold at some point in our lives and heard the recording of the nice, usually female, voice that breaks in to the on-hold music and says: “Your call is important to us. Please hold and a representative will be with your shortly.” Although the exact wording may vary slightly, they all pretty much follow the same script. I call foul on them all!

Almost 15 years ago we moved into our new house. We had the house wired for security and shortly after moving in, we had ADT come and install a system for us. After a few years, we were sick of the high price and the lousy service and switched to Checkpoint Services. A few years after that, they were purchased by Brinks Security, who, after a few years, spun that division off into a wholly-owned subsidiary call Broadview Security. Well, when that happened we knew what was coming next and it happened, Broadview Security was sold to ADT.

Now, we’re back where we started again. Shortly after taking over, ADT couldn’t resist and increased the rates. With nowhere to go, we had no choice to put up with it. Recently, we accepted an offer on our house and the one thing I was the happiest about was getting rid of ADT. I called and arranged to have our service canceled. However, a few weeks later, the deal fell through.

So, here we were, having to call them back up and cancel our “cancellation.” You would expect that this would be a simple process, if I could get a hold of someone to talk to. Over the course of a day, I spent almost two hours on the phone, waiting for a chance to speak to “an associate.” This was over the course of three attempts. The first attempt I gave up after 45 minutes and the other two attempts I gave up after 30 minutes. On each of the calls, they played the same song (only one) and it was only interrupted by that friendly female voice every 90 seconds reminding me that “an associate will be with your shortly.”

After a day of frustrations, I finally took to the ADT web site and filled out the contact form. I selected “Moving” from the list of departments to contact and told them briefly (I was limited to 250 characters) of what I wanted. About 10 minutes after we activated the alarm that evening to go out to run some errands, ADT calls back. (My daughter believes they waited for this to happen before they called!) Was it a call to handle my cancellation issue? Nope, they were calling me to try to sell me a system.

So, not only does there not appear to be anyone working in the ADT “Moving Department,” they also don’t appear to have anyone that can read the contact request properly. I guess I shouldn’t expect anything more considering the state of our <sarcasm> wonderful </sarcasm> government educational systems.

Time to make a phone call again….and wait on hold. If I go crazy, you’ll know it’s because they’re still playing that same song…over…and over…and over…and over…

The Boortz Commencement Speech

I am honored by the invitation to address you on this august occasion. It’s about time. Be warned, however, that I am not here to impress you; you’ll have enough smoke blown your way today. And you can bet your tassels I’m not here to impress the faculty and administration.

You may not like much of what I have to say, and that’s fine. This isn’t the first time you’re not going to like what someone has to say … your bosses, for instance. Things change today. There will be a lot less pandering to your every whim, and a lot more demands for performance. You will remember what I had to say though. Especially after about 10 years out there in the real world. This, of course, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees … or as college professors.

You’ve heard the old saying that those who can – do. Those who can’t – teach. That sounds deliciously insensitive. But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion. Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach.

By the way, just because you are leaving this place with a diploma doesn’t mean the learning is over. When an FAA flight examiner handed me my private pilot’s license many years ago, he said, ‘Here, this is your ticket to learn.’ The same can be said for your diploma. Believe me, the learning has just begun.

OK .. it’s time for you to hear something – to learn something – that may, but should not, come as a complete surprise.

You are the victims of a terrible fraud. You have just completed your travels through an educational system that had no real intention of educating you … at least not too much.

You’re pretty hot at research right now, aren’t you? While those skills are still with you, perhaps you would like to put them to work studying the start of compulsory government education in the early part of the last century. Do you really think that the goal of our compulsory government education system has been to actually educate you?

Did you study H. L. Mencken? In 1924 he wrote an article for the American Mercury where he defined the true aim of our then-fledgling system of education. Listen carefully:

The aim of public education is not to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is the aim in the United States and that is its aim everywhere else.

Think about this. Who owns the schools? The government. Who mandates attendance? The government. Who staffs the schools? The government … with government workers. Who directs the work of the schools? The government. Can you see where it is in the best interests of government to suppress dissent and originality? Can you understand why government would want a standardized citizenry? Those who dissent; those who produce originality of thought; those who exceed the standards are a threat to what? The status quo, that’s what … and government likes the calming influence of the status quo.

There’s an amazing book that you need to put at the top of your reading list … now that you don’t have to focus on college texts any more. The book is by John Taylor Gatto, and it’s called “The Underground History of American Education.” Gatto was the teacher of the year in New York City. He wrote an extraordinary letter to the Wall Street Journal in 2001. Let me share the first part of that letter with you:

I’ve taught public school for 26 years but I just can’t do it anymore. For years I asked the local school board and superintendent to let me teach a curriculum that doesn’t hurt kids, but they had other fish to fry. So I’m going to quit, I think.

I’ve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: A curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in.

I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t train children to wait to be told what to do; I can’t train people to drop what they are doing when a bell sounds; I can’t persuade children to feel some justice in their class placement when there isn’t any, and I can’t persuade children to believe teachers have valuable secrets they can acquire by becoming our disciples. That isn’t true.

Just google “I quit, I think” and you can read the rest of Gatto’s letter to the Wall Street Journal. You’ve been had .. big time. Read the letter. You’ll see how —- and how bad.

Can you see why government would want to keep you dumbed down and placated? Gatto’s book explains it all. He talks about the effort to bring the Prussian style of education to the United States in the early 1900s. He describes his shock that Americans were to eager to adopt what he calls “one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture … an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens in order to render the populace “manageable.”

So … do you think you know enough to be a threat to the ruling class?

How many of you can name your two US Senators? How about the Vice President? Who is your congressman? How often is he elected? Can you give me the gist of the 10th Amendment?

Am I trying to insult you here? No, I’m trying to illustrate something.

What are the three branches of government? Who officially represents the government of this state – not the people, the government — in Washington?

How strong is your economic knowledge? Do you believe that the rich should pay their fair share? If so, can you tell me what percentage of total income the hated top 1% earns and what percentage of income taxes they pay? If you can’t, don’t worry too much. I’ve interviewed presidential candidates who can’t tell you.

Here’s a toughie …. What is the difference between a profit and a profit margin? Do corporations pay taxes? If so, where do they get the money?

A person who cannot answer virtually all of these questions is a person who is going to present absolutely no threat at all to current political thought. This is a person who will repeat government feel-good slogans and political mantras .. and then turn to a discussion of the last episode of “Lost.”

Feeling pretty good about your education now, aren’t you?

Now, I realize that most of you consider yourselves Liberals. In fact, you are probably very proud of your liberal views. You care so much. You feel so much. You want to help so much. After all, you’re a compassionate and caring person, aren’t you now? Well, isn’t that just so extraordinarily special. Now, at this age, is as good a time as any to be a Liberal; as good a time as any to know absolutely everything. You have plenty of time, starting tomorrow, for the truth to set in. Over the next few years, as you begin to feel the cold breath of reality down your neck, things are going to start changing pretty fast .. including your own assessment of just how much you really know.

So here are the first assignments for your initial class in post-graduate reality: Pay attention to the news, read newspapers – as long as we have newspapers — and listen to the words and phrases that proud Liberals use to promote their causes. Then compare the words of the left to the words and phrases you hear from those evil, heartless, greedy conservatives. From the Left you will hear “I feel.” From the Right you will hear “I think.” From the Liberals you will hear references to groups –The Blacks, The Poor, The Rich, The Disadvantaged, The Less Fortunate. From the
Right you will hear references to individuals. On the Left you hear talk of group rights; on the Right, individual rights.

That about sums it up, really: Liberals feel. Liberals care. They are pack animals whose identity is tied up in group dynamics and the principal of looting. Conservatives and Libertarians think — and, setting aside the theocracy crowd, their identity is centered on the individual – individual worth and achievement.

Liberals feel that their favored groups, have enforceable rights to the property and services of productive individuals. Conservatives (and Libertarians, myself among them I might add) think that individuals have the right to protect their lives and their property from the plunder of the masses.

In college you developed a group mentality, but if you look closely at your diplomas you will see that they have your individual names on them. Not the name of your school mascot, or of your fraternity or sorority, but your name. This group identity nonsense needs to go away … now. Your recognition and appreciation of your individual identity should begin immediately.

There’s a chance that, over the next eight to ten years, the lessons of life will not have brought you to the rational thinking processes of a libertarian or a conservative. If you find that to be your reality when you reach the age of 30 … 35 tops … then you need to rush right back here as quickly as you can and apply for a faculty position. These people will welcome you with open arms. They will welcome you, that is, so long as you haven’t developed an individual identity. Once again you will have to be willing to sign on to the group mentality you embraced during the past four years.

Something is going to happen soon that is going to really open your eyes. You’re going to actually get a full time job! You’re also going to find that you have a partner. This partner isn’t going to help you do your job. This partner is just going to sit back and wait for payday. This partner doesn’t want to share in your effort — just your earnings.

Your new lifelong partner is actually an agent; an agent representing a strange and diverse group of people. An agent for every single mother raising an illegitimate child. An agent for a research scientist who wanted to make some cash answering the age-old question of why monkeys grind their teeth. An agent for some poor aging hippie who considers herself to be a meaningful and talented artist … but who just can’t manage to sell any of her artwork on the open market.

Your new partner is an agent for every person with limited, if any, job skills; for every person who ignored all proffered educational opportunities, for every loser dreaming of nothing more than a job at City Hall. Your partner will be an agent for tin-horn dictators in fancy military uniforms grasping for American foreign aid. An agent for multi-million-dollar companies who want someone else to pay for their overseas advertising. An agent for everybody who wants to use the unimaginable power of this agent’s for their personal enrichment and benefit.

That agent is our wonderful, caring, compassionate, oppressive Imperial Federal Government. Believe me, you will be awed by the unimaginable power this agent has. Power that you do not have. A power that no individual has, will have or should have. This agent has the legal power to use force – deadly force – to accomplish its goals.

You have no choice here. Your new friend is just going to walk up to you, introduce itself rather gruffly, hand you a few forms to fill out, and move right on in. Say hello to your own personal one ton gorilla with a gun. It will sleep anywhere it wants to.

Now, let me tell you, this agent is not cheap. As you become successful it will seize about 40% of everything you earn. And no, I’m sorry, there just isn’t any way you can fire this agent of plunder, this looter, and you can’t decrease it’s share of your income. That power rests with him, not you.

Does it bother you that I’m not particularly fond of our government? Well, be clear on this: It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Oh yes, I know it’s a necessary evil, but it is dangerous nonetheless … somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.

Now – let’s address a few things that have been crammed into your minds at this university. There are some ideas you need to expunge as soon as possible. These ideas may work well in academic environment, but they fail miserably out there in the real world.

First – that favorite buzz word of the media, government and academia: Diversity!

You have been taught that the real value of any group of people – be it a social group, an employee group, a management group, whatever – is based on diversity. This is a favored liberal ideal because diversity is based not on an individual’s abilities or character, but on a person’s identity and status as a member of a group. Yes – it’s that liberal group identity thing again.

Within the great diversity movement group identification – be it racial, gender based, one of the fourteen different classifications of sexual proclivities, or some other minority status – means more than the individual’s integrity, character or other qualifications.

Brace yourself. You are about to move from this academic atmosphere where diversity rules, to a workplace and a culture where individual achievement and excellence actually count. No matter what your professors have taught you over the last four years, you are about to learn that diversity is absolutely no replacement for excellence, ability, and individual hard work. Unless, of course, you are working for the government or academia.

From this day on every single time you hear the word “diversity” you can rest assured that there is someone close by who is determined to rob you of every vestige of individuality you possess.

We also need to address this thing you seem to have about “rights.” We have witnessed an obscene explosion of so-called “rights” in the last few decades, usually emanating from college campuses.

You know the mantra: You have the right to a job. The right to a place to live. The right to a living wage. The right to health care. The right to an education. You probably even have your own pet right – the right to a Beemer, for instance, or the right to have someone else provide for that child you plan on downloading in a year or so.

Forget it. Forget those rights! I’ll tell you what your rights are! You have a right to live free, and you have a right to whatever wealth you are able to produce with your labor. You’ll be disappointed to learn that you have no right to any portion of the life or labor of another.

You may think, for instance, that you have a right to health care. After all, the president said so, didn’t he? But you cannot receive health care unless some doctor or health practitioner surrenders some of his time – his life – to you. He may be willing to do this for compensation, but that’s his choice. You have no “right” to his time or property. You have no right to any portion of his or any other person’s life.

You may also think you have some “right” to a job; a job with a living wage, whatever that is. Do you mean to tell me that you have a right to force your services on another person, and then the right to demand that this person compensate you with their money? What if he doesn’t need your services? I can’t wait for you to point that one out for me in our Constitution. I sure would like to be a fly on the wall when some urban outdoorsmen (that would be “homeless person” for those of you who don’t want to give these less fortunate people a romantic and adventurous title) came to you and demanded his job and your money.

And while I’m on the subject of jobs

Let’s Say I Break Into Your House

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration.

Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let’s say I break into your house.

Let’s say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave.

But I say, ‘No! I like it here. It’s better than my house. I’ve made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I’ve done all the things you don’t like to do. I’m hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters:

  • You are Required to let me stay in your house
  • You are Required to feed me
  • You are Required to add me to your family’s insurance plan
  • You are Required to Educate my kids
  • You are Required to Provide other benefits to me & to my family

My husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest. (except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.

It’s only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I’m just trying to better myself. I’m a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house

And what a deal it is for me!!!

I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, and I DEMAND that you learn MY LANGUAGE!!! so that you can communicate with me.

Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?!  America is populated and governed by idiots.

— Author Unknown

Does Obama’s Mouth Connect to His Brain? You Decide.

by Kyle-Anne Shiver • August 7, 2009

Our esteemed new President, graduate of Columbia and Harvard, took his little show on the road this week. Thursday, he took $39 million in taxpayer money to Elkhart, Indiana, where of course, he made a little speech about the Crimulus Stimulus, the multi-billion dollar boondoggle that was supposed to save us from the economic conditions, which now persist despite it.

My question, after reading his remarks, was a bit cynical. How is it that a man, hailed from every liberal enclave on the entire planet as brilliant-beyond-brilliant, has utterly failed to master fourth-grade arithmetic? Unless, of course, his mouth, that organ of masterful oratory, is not, in fact, connected to his brain at all.

If the dear folks at the crashed-and-burned RV factory in Elhart, Indiana bought this little spiel from President Big Mouth, then there might be another explanation for their failed business than the horrible economy. Read this, but don’t weep. Just pass it around to your friends and see if they still think this President is a really smart guy:

“And let me just talk about the so-called stimulus package, or the Recovery Act, because there’s been a lot of misinformation out there about the Recovery Act. Let me tell you what it is and what it’s not.”

“The plan was divided into three parts. One-third of the money has gone to tax relief for families and small businesses. One-third of the money is cutting people’s taxes. one-third of the money was tax cuts. Another third of the money in the Recovery Act has been for emergency relief that is helping folks who’ve borne the brunt of this recession. So that’s the second half. First half, tax relief. Second half, support for individuals, small businesses, and states that had fallen on hard times. The last third of the Recovery Act — and that’s what we’re going to talk about here today — is for investments…”

Granted, there were a few other garbled sentences that filled in between the fractions, so that one who was not listening carefully, might have missed the President’s confounded sums.

However, just ask yourself this: If President Bush had delivered such a pitifully flawed summation of an economic package, would it not have led every major network’s primetime newscast?

When the press covers for this President every day, 24/7, I must begin to ask myself whether they are exhibiting condescending racism, the kind that honestly does believe a black man cannot be held as accountable as a white man in the same position, simply because he is racially disadvantaged by lesser intelligence. I have known many racists like this in my life, as have you.

Condescending racists pretend, often even to themselves, that they are genuinely lovely people, who harbor only the kindest thoughts and beliefs about African-Americans. But every time they cover for someone, just because he is black, they exhibit their true beliefs. Every time they fail to use the same standard of judgement for an African-American as the one they use for a European-American, then they demonstrate plainly and simply that they are racists to the core. Racism is the internalized belief that one race is genetically and inherently superior to others. Only if one truly believes that whites are superior to blacks will he use a lower standard to judge the words and actions of black citizens.

Whenever a white commentator covers for the missteps of our African-American president, they display one of the most disgusting forms of racism there is, the kind that portrays themselves as “nice,” while hiding purely vile racial condescension.

Racism, whether dressed in a white hood and burning a cross, or dressed in a suit and tie, and wielding an elite microphone, is just as ugly, just as vile, just as un-Christian as a thing could possibly get.

When our news media finally starts — if they ever do — pointing out, with consistent regularity, the foibles of President #44, then you’ll know they’re trying to be colorblind in the true MLK tradition. Until then, they’re just a bunch of racists with their blinders turned inside out.

 

Firms With Obama Ties Profit From Health Push

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer Sharon Theimer, Associated Press Writer – Wed Aug 19, 6:08 pm ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s push for a national health care overhaul is providing a financial windfall in the election offseason to Democratic consulting firms that are closely connected to the president and two top advisers.

Coalitions of interest groups running at least $24 million in pro-overhaul ads hired GMMB, which worked for Obama’s 2008 campaign and whose partners include a top Obama campaign strategist. They also hired AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama’s campaign and now to the White House. AKPD did work for Obama’s campaign, and Axelrod’s son Michael and Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe work there.

The firms were hired by Americans for Stable Quality Care and its predecessor, Healthy Economy Now. Each was formed by a coalition of interests with big stakes in health care policy, including the drug maker lobby PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union and Families USA, which calls itself “The Voice for Health Care Consumers.”

Their ads press for changes in health care policy. Healthy Economy Now made one of the same arguments that Obama does: that health care costs are delaying the country’s economic recovery and that changes are needed if the economy is to rebound.

There is no evidence that Axelrod directly profited from the group’s ads. Axelrod took steps to separate himself from AKPD when he joined Obama’s White House. AKPD owes him $2 million from his stock sale and will make preset payments over four years, starting with $350,000 on Dec. 31, according to Axelrod’s personal financial disclosure report.

A larger issue is a network of relationships and overlapping interests that resembles some seen in past administrations and could prove a problem as Obama tries to win the public over on health care and fulfill his promise to change the way Washington works, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group.

“Even if these are obvious bedfellows and kind of standard PR maneuvers, it still stands to undercut Obama’s credibility,” Krumholz said. “The potential takeaway from the public is ‘friends in cahoots to engineer a grass roots result.'”

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said that Axelrod has had no communications with Healthy Economy Now or with Americans for Stable Quality Care, and his payments aren’t affected by the ad contracts. Axelrod’s son, a salaried AKPD employee, doesn’t work with either coalition “or stand to benefit from that work,” LaBolt said.

“David Axelrod has fully complied with the toughest-ever ethics rules for administration officials, including divesting from AKPD before the administration began,” LaBolt said.

Ken Johnson, a PhRMA senior vice president, said GMMB and AKPD were the only two firms working on the $24 million in ads. He declined to reveal how much each was paid beyond saying that each received a small percentage of the total. The coalition’s campaign team decided to hire the two firms, he said.

“In a perfect world, it’s a distraction we don’t need right now, but these are very gifted consultants who have done very good work,” Johnson said. “And it’s also important to remember that at the end of the day, the coalition partners determine the message.”

Healthy Economy Now spokesman Jeremy Van Ess said the two firms were hired because “they are the best at what they do. Period.” The coalition didn’t seek approval or direction on any of its activities from the White House, said Van Ess, a partner in a consulting firm that has worked on Democratic Senate election activities and a former speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

AKPD and GMMB both proudly proclaim their connections to Obama on their Web sites.

AKPD has a full page on Axelrod that includes pictures of Obama. In one photo, Obama hugs Plouffe on election night.

“We are deeply honored to have been part of Barack Obama’s historic campaign to change America and the world,” GMMB says on its Web site. GMMB’s partners include Jim Margolis, a senior strategist for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Both GMMB and AKPD also have worked for Democrats this year. The Democratic National Committee paid AKPD at least $106,000 for polling, media production, communication consulting and travel costs from February through April. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid GMMB roughly $75,000 from February through June for ads. And GMMB took in at least $9,000 this year from Senate leader Reid’s political action committee for communications consulting.

 

Obama To Raise 10-Year Deficit To $9 Trillion

Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:50pm EDT

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit projection to approximately $9 trillion from $7.108 trillion in a report next week, a senior administration official told Reuters on Friday.

The higher deficit figure, based on updated economic data, brings the White House budget office into line with outside estimates and gives further fuel to President Barack Obama’s opponents, who say his spending plans are too expensive in light of budget shortfalls.

The White House took heat for sticking with its $7.108 trillion forecast earlier this year after the Congressional Budget Office forecast that deficits between 2010 and 2019 would total $9.1 trillion.