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Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton & uhs . . .

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

This evening I am privileged to introduce the president of the United States, Barack Obama and our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. However, before I introduce them, this gentleman and this lady that loom larger than life in national and international politics, I would like to point out serious flaws in both the president and his Secretary of State.

Both have multiple flaws, just as everyone else has, but their major flaws lie in their public speaking expertise, or lack therof. The president is continuously described as the most powerful man in the world, and he also is lauded by many to be the most powerful speaker on earth—our esteemed Secretary of State runs him a close second, both in position responsibilities and in public speaking expertise.

I imagine most of you are familiar with the Toastmaster’s Clubs that exist across our nation. Those clubs are dedicated to improving people’s performances in public speaking, particularly in extemporaneous presentations, speeches made off-the-cuff as opposed to reading a speech or utilizing a teleprompter.

Many years ago, while I was still gainfully employed as a military service member, my immediate supervisor was an Air Force major who was a member of a local Toastmaster’s Club. The members met each week for five weeks and each member presented to the others an extemporaneous speech.

Each speaker was graded by the positive and negative comments of the other members, and each week the person that voiced the most uhs in speaking was given a large pink plastic piggybank. That person was required to keep the pink pig on his work desk in the coming week and return it to the next meeting to be awarded to the next speaker that uttered the most uhs. The uhs were viewed as piggy oinks.

That pig sat on the major’s desk for five consecutive weeks. Each week he lugged it to the meeting and returned an hour later and put it back on his desk. At a later date he joined the Club for another five weeks, and the pink piggybank sat on his desk for that five weeks also. I transferred out soon after that, and I have no knowledge of his activities since then. Uh, however, I can, uh, assure you that he, uh, is still lugging that, uh, that pink, uh, pig back and forth, uh, each week.

If you, the reader, have not guessed my reason for this posting, please allow me to explain. My point is this: If Uhbama and Hilluhry joined a Toastmaster’s Club, the club would need two pink piggybanks, one of which each week would sit on Hillary Clinton’s desk at the Department of State, and the other on the president’s desk in the Oval Office. Incidentally, that desk was dubbed the Offal Office during Bill Clinton’s presidency—okay, maybe not—maybe I was the only one that gave it that title, but it should have been given that label—he earned it.

But I digress. Has anyone counted, or even noticed, the frequency with which Hilluhry and Barack Uhbama say uh when they have no teleprompter? And how many times Uhbama stretches the word and to a count of five seconds and then adds the word so stretched out for another three of four seconds. He is desperately trying to formulate his next words and uses the uh, and, so trio to give him time to think. He also frequently uses the three words in sequence and sometimes adds and then, also stretched out to gain more time.

In virtually all his public speeches, beginning with the speech at the national democratic convention in 2008 and continuing in his speeches during the presidential campaign he used a teleprompter—without it he would not be the president of the United States today.

One can sum it up by saying that the president has never met a teleprompter he didn’t like.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: I learned while watching Fox News today that the White House has created an office that has been tasked to screen various media including books, newspapers, television shows and talk radio stations for criticisms of the present administration, and then develop and apply tactics to counteract such criticisms. Yep, that’s our tax dollars at work.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Brownsville Customs assignment . . .

Before I begin this dissertation, please allow me to digress with an explanation of supervisory titles in the US Custom Service. A first level supervisor is equivalent to a captain in the military, equal in pay and responsibilities, and wears the twin silver bars of a captain in the military. A second level supervisor is equivalent to a major in the military and wears gold oak leaves on the uniform. Chief inspectors and port directors are usually the equivalent of a lieutenant colonel in the military and wear silver maple leaves when in uniform. Many Customs port directors have higher grades and have the option of wearing uniforms or civilian garb—most opt for civilian dress.

Program officers at Headquarters also have the pay and similar responsibilities of lieutenant colonels in the military, and unless involved in some field action requiring the uniform, normally wear civilian garb. The pay and responsibilities of program managers at headquarters are also similar to the duties and responsibilities of a full colonel in the military. The comparisons to military personnel continue up to the pay and responsibilities equal to the grade of a four-star general.

During my 26-year career in federal law enforcement I had the misfortune—oops, I meant the good fortune—of serving US Customs for several years at the Brownsville, Texas port of entry located at the tip of Texas, opposite the city of Matamoros, Mexico. I began my career at the port of Progreso and I was promoted to a first level supervisory position at the port of Roma. After two and one-half years there I was again promoted and transferred to the port of Brownsville, Texas some 125 miles down river from Roma. Click here for a posting on Progreso.

My position at Brownsville was that of a second level supervisor, one of two such officers responsible for supervising a staff of three administrative persons, six first level supervisors and a staff of sixty senior, journeyman and trainee inspectors. I performed my duties under the watchful eyes of the chief inspector and a racially and professionally biased port director, and I was the favorite target for any person that lodged a complaint against management, regardless of the source.  Those activities were dictated and urged on by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). Near the end of my tour at Brownsville, the Chief Inspector left my side and joined in the target practice.

A friendly journeyman told me that NTEU had directed the local Union Steward to have every grievance addressed to me, regardless of the supervisor involved—I was one of nine supervisors, yet all complaints came to me to be investigated and the results forwarded to upper levels including national headquarters, whether resolved or unresolved. The same friendly inspector said that every meeting of the Union members, whether locally or at District or Regional Headquarters, began with a request for input on me and on my actions.

Just as an aside, the Port Director and the Chief Inspector have since been arbitrarily transferred to that shining Port of Entry in the sky—a headquarters directed assignment, so to speak—and one may be reasonably certain that a significant number of the journeyman inspectors have joined them—some were quite advanced in age, and I left Brownsville 27 years ago. I can truthfully say that at this stage of life I hold no rancor for any of them—well, okay, perhaps a trace of rancor for the Port Director!

In spite of the onslaught of arrows (employee complaints) fired at me, none struck a vital organ. To paraphrase William Faulkner in his acceptance speech in 1950 for the Nobel Prize in literature, I did not merely endure—I prevailed. My actions and my decisions were upheld by mid-level and top-level management in every instance. The grievances filed numbered in the hundreds—none was resolved in favor of the complainant, neither by me nor by someone in the upper echelons. Most of the grievances stemmed from my efforts to reduce inspector overtime in accordance with instructions from upper level management given to me prior to assuming my duties there. Misuse of overtime was rife at that location, and my success was in inverse proportion to the number of grievances—as overtime declined, grievances increased.

The pay was good and there was no heavy lifting, so I stalwartly bided my time. I successfully withstood the onslaught for three and one-half years, from April of 1980 to October of 1983, and once again was promoted and transferred to US Customs Headquarters in Washington, DC as a program officer. Halfway through my three year tour in Washington I was assigned the title and assumed the duties of Program Manager for Customs’ National Canine Enforcement Program, and therein lies some tales to be told. Click here for an example of my duties, a tour of canine operations in California. This is just a teaser with more stories to follow, so stay tuned.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2010 in bridge, law enforcement, Military

 

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Listen up, Dumbo, if you want to win in November . . .

Listen up, Dumbo, if you want to win in November!

A special note to all Republicans seeking to retain or attain a seat in the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming November elections:

When you start your campaigns, whether for election or reelection in November of 2010, begin by submitting a deposition duly sworn before a properly licensed notary, a deposition in which you swear that you will govern by the will of the people, that will as determined by current polls conducted by reputable pollsters, a deposition in which you swear that should you fail to acknowledge and conform to the people’s voices you will resign your seat immediately following your failure to conform to the will of the people, and finally in that deposition you will swear that you will forfeit the sum of $50,000, that sum having been deposited in escrow in a secure location, said sum to be immediately applied to the national debt. If you’re a bit short on the cash, the nation’s capital has lots of lenders.

Listen up, Dumbo! You certainly have the ears for listening—you need only use them to listen to the voice of the people instead of flapping those ears as Disney’s creation, the flying elephant Dumbo did, flying to the upper branches of a tall tree and just sitting there, doing nothing other than maintaining that smug complacency that has characterized the Republican party for the past ten years, beginning with the elections of 2008 but especially noticeable over the past 18 months.

Former president George W. Bush proudly and emphatically told the people that he did not govern by polls. That remark reminds me of an afternoon many years ago when I was being babysitter to my young granddaughter after kindergarten. In a grandfatherly attempt to engage her in conversation I asked her what she did in school that day. She was eating cereal, and she chewed thoughtfully for a long moment before answering and then said, I don’t have to tell you that.

As one might expect I saw red, and I replied forcefully, Okay, smart-ass, I didn’t want to know anyway. And also as one might expect I froze, terrified, fearing that should her mother—my daughter—learn what I had said I would never again be trusted to serve as her babysitter—actually that really would not have been such a bad thing, unless my response was judged predatory in nature.

The little girl took another spoonful of cereal, chewed thoughtfully again for another moment, and after what felt like an eternity to me she said, Then why did you ask me?

My point, Dumbo, is that if you aren’t going to act on the poll results, then why do you ask us the questions? What do you do with those results? Substitute them for Charmin?

I’ll bet you would be quite pleased had our current president governed on the poll results of health reform, financial reform and other items forced through both houses of Congress, items that the masses strongly opposed according to all the polls—none would have passed, not one, and the nation would be far better off than it is now.

Our current president promised change and he definitely gave us change. He has saddled the nation with a projected deficit of some 14 trillion dollars—that’s 14 followed by 12 zeros—projected to come about in the near future. He has definitely changed the character and the landscape of the United States and has jeopardized our nation’s future, but his promise of transparency in government has never materialized.

We are no longer looked up to by the nations of the world—they instead look down on us. We have bowed in obsequiousness to the leaders of several nations, including some that would destroy us. Our country is riddled with terrorists, both foreign and home-grown, and our national debt is in the stratosphere. We are descending into a second-rate nation and a second-rate power, and nothing can stop our descent except a major change in our government.

Listen up, Dumbo—you can do it. You can reverse our downward slide by listening to the people. All you need do is to follow the bouncing ball indicated by the polls and it can happen, and it must be soon. On a day much too close in the future, we will have reached the point of no return. Act now, before that point is reached.

Plagiarize Obama’s campaign slogan if necessary—just say YES, WE CAN! and YES, WE WILL! It worked for him and it can work for you. The voters, particularly the independents, believed him, but now they are disillusioned and they want change—they want to change back to the country we had before Obama changed it. They will believe you only if you offer something that will hold your feet to the fire if you renege on your campaign promises, namely the deposition I have outlined for you.

With it, you can do it—without it the people won’t believe you. Obama suckered them this time, but they won’t allow you to do it now—perhaps some years in the future, but not now—their wounds are too fresh.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

 
 

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