Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Romney Rout

It’s not going to be close next Tuesday.

After four years, most Americans are sick of listening to President Obama make speeches while jerking his head from side to side as he reads from his precious teleprompter and tries to act sincere. He’s going to get trounced.

At this writing, the MainStream Media are still insisting it’s a dead heat, but I don’t believe it. Few presidents ever took office with such high expectations as Obama did. Fewer still would ever have been able to fulfill them - but least of all him. Skill with a teleprompter is fine for campaigning, but not much help when governing. For that he would need experience, judgement, knowledge of history and economics - and willingness to compromise. None of these does he have. He had the good will of the American people and his party had control of both houses of Congress, but his outdated Keynesian stimulus and socialist Obamacare programs have strangled our economy and produced nothing but enormous debt.
How was he able to maintain the facade of competence as long as he did? Because just as they created him in the first place, the Mainstream Media protected him throughout his term, ignoring or playing down bad news and creating or amplifying good news on nearly every front - especially in the past six weeks since September 11th. But that’s all coming apart before our eyes
 Nearly every day something comes out that makes it more and more obvious that the Obama Administration has been lying from the beginning about the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. It’s bad on four different fronts:
First are repeated requests for increased security by Ambassador Stevens which were ignored or refused by both Hillary Clinton at the State Department and Barack Obama in the White House.
Second, are repeated requests for military intervention during the attack which were refused. Who refused them? Real-time video of the attack played in the White House situation room while Obama was in the building, but the president didn’t authorize that help be sent when there was ample time to do it and save the lives of at least the two Navy Seals who were under attack by 120-plus jihadists! Three times they were denied.
  Third is the deliberate lie about the attack being the result of a demonstration against an obscure You-tube video nobody ever heard of - a lie repeated for nearly two weeks by the president, the secretary of state, and our UN ambassador - then amplified by the MainStream Media.
Yeah, right
 Fourth are the continuing lies coming from administration officials as they’re being cornered with questions about the whole disgusting affair - in spite of doing everything they can to avoid them until after the election on November 6th.

The MSM is doing everything they can too, but they won’t be able to keep the lid on. The more they try, the worse it gets. A few still have remnants of a journalistic conscience and they know that continued silence on this story is unconscionable. One intrepid reporter named Kyle Clark at KUSA, an NBC affiliate in Denver, put it right on Obama’s head last week: “Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?” he asked.

Obama wiggled out of answering, but Clark followed up: “Were they denied requests for help during the attack?” he asked again.

A clearly shaken Obama proceeded to rattle off a long, embarrassing soliloquy on every other subject but what he was asked, running down the clock until the interview was over - but not before making one slip: Near the beginning, Obama said: “. . . I can tell you, as I've said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to . . .”
That statement prompted former assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West to say last Saturday: “In my judgement the audio track will show the White House knew that there was an attack going on. The real critical issue is the president says that he immediately ordered all available assets to help. The military would have put out an order from the president. There’s no question about that… What I’m asking is, ‘Show us the order!’ Mr. President if you said use everything available and our military immediately sent out the order, simply show us the order. I have great reservations that there is no such order.” (Emphasis in original)
I have the same reservations, and most other Americans who pay attention have them too. They know our president is lying.
The MSM’s Sunday morning news shows barely kept the lid on Benghazi this week, but I doubt they’ll be able to accomplish that next Sunday - with the election two days hence. Pressure is building fast and won’t be contained. Soon will come an explosion of indignation. Think of how much attention the MSM gave to Cindy Sheehan.
Cindy Sheehan

Then notice how they’re ignoring Charles Woods’ heart-wrenching statements about his dead son, Tyrone.
Charles Woods, grieving father of slain Seal, Tyrone Woods

Millions of Americans are hearing their silence.

No. It won’t be close. I predict a landslide for Romney.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Progressive Agenda

Deconstructionist culture warriors of the left continue their relentless assault on western civilization. It’s impossible to cover it all in a weekly, 800-word column, so here are just a few tidbits.
A new California law outlawed therapy to help people overcome same-sex attraction. Signing the bill, Governor “Moonbeam” Brown declared: “These practices have no basis in science or medicine.” Reparative therapy, as it’s sometimes called by conservative therapists, starts with the premise that homosexuality is, as Catholic Church puts it: “intrinsically disordered.” It’s not normal. This directly contradicts the left’s propaganda that homosexuality is either genetically or biologically determined, and therefore perfectly natural. There’s no basis in science or medicine for that contention, but the left swears to it anyway because, for them, feelings trump everything. For decades, the left has been deconstructing reality and refashioning it in the image of political correctness. The law banning reparative therapy will be challenged in court by several conservative legal organizations.

Liberals believe homosexuality is natural, but sex roles are artificial. Apart from the physical, there’s no difference between males and females, they insist. Students in public schools are being taught that you can feel like you’re a boy one day but you might feel like a girl the next and that’s perfectly normal too. One of my last lessons before retiring in June, 2011 concerned this trend and I wrote about it here (scroll down). It’s not about genitalia or chromosomes with liberals. It’s all about feelings. Children may want to dress as a boy one day or as a girl the next and they should be allowed to use the boys’ room or the girls’ room according to how they feel at the time. If I boy thinks he’s a girl, all the rest of the students and the staff in the school have to pretend he’s a girl too. If they should think that ridiculous, they would be told the problem was theirs, not the confused student’s - and they would be required to undergo brainwashing sensitivity training. That’s where public schools are going these days all across the United States and Canada.

Don’t believe it? Ask around. You’ll find out.


In Canada’s Province of Ontario, even Catholic schools are required to sponsor “Gay/Straight Alliances.” These GSAs are in public schools to affirm homosexuality as normal, but the Catholic Church teaches that it’s intrinsically disordered as I mentioned above. Religious freedom? What’s that? There’s no First Amendment in Canada, remember. Some of the wussy Canadian bishops up there decided to go along though, claiming that, after all, it’s wrong to bully homosexuals and that’s what the law - “Bill 13” - purports to stop.

Wrong move wusses.

Last week Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten barred Catholic schools from teaching that abortion is wrong too. Bill 13 prohibits misogyny also, she claimed. “Taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be considered one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take,” she declared. What do you think now, bishops?
Catholic Bishops in the USA have sued President Obama because he would force them to buy contraception and abortion-inducing drugs under Obamacare, both of which the church considers sinful. Bishops here used to be wusses too, but they’ve learned the hard way that when they lay down before the leftist agenda, they get footprints on their backs.
Over in France, they elected a Socialist president a few months ago and now that country is stripping the words “mother” and “father” from that country’s entire civil code, just to accommodate their new homosexual “marriage” law. As in the case of the confused boy who thinks he’s a girl and the entire school has to adjust to his confusion, entire countries are now expected to adjust their world-view so the sexually addled and bewildered can think themselves normal.
Spain had done similar revamping to its code shortly after electing their socialist prime minister. The terms “husband” and “wife” were scrapped in favor of “Spouse A” and “Spouse B” Socialist economic policies were just as bizarre and accelerated Spain’s march to bankruptcy with the result that they were soundly defeated at the polls in May.
The leftist juggernaut, however rolls on. Where it stops, nobody knows. We conservatives may defeat Barack Obama next month, but the judges and other officials he appointed will remain for decades. So it has been in Canada, Spain, and elsewhere in the western world as the bricks and mortar of western civilization continue to crumble.

The left has controlled colleges in universities across the continent for more than a generation now and have been brainwashing educating young minds with progressive dogma for decades. Though homosexual “marriage” has been defeated in more than thirty states wherever it’s gone to referendum, it may be approved for the first time in Maine. The “progressives” have outspent conservatives more than seven to one here this year.
What’s next on the left’s agenda? I have to ask because I know they won’t stop here. Group “marriage”? Repeal age of consent laws? Didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness what’s around me now, and at this point there’s little that would surprise me about so-called progressives.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama: One and Done

Spinning is one thing. Lying is another, and the Obama Administration is telling whoppers. They knew right away it wasn’t a film protest that killed Ambassador Stevens but they said over and over that it was. Forced to admit the truth two weeks later, they lied about what they knew and when they knew it. They’re still lying as I write this. The president is lying. His press secretary is lying. The vice president is lying. The secretary of state is lying. Our UN Ambassador is lying. I knew the second day what the truth was and so did thousands of other Americans who pay attention to what’s going on in the Middle East. We don’t have security clearances, but we’re not stupid. I wrote about it here and here.


Both the Obama campaign and the Mainstream Media know people like me see through their lies, and that we’ll speak out loudly against them. But they know their media reach, though diminishing steadily, is still much broader than ours and they count on that.

So why do they lie? Why not just tell the American people that it was a terrorist assault from the beginning? The same reason most people lie: to avoid consequences. What consequences? Voter perception, seven weeks before the election, that Obama’s foreign policy is a complete failure - that al Qaeda is growing even if Bin Laden is dead. They need someone else to blame, as usual, so they blamed and arrested a third-rate filmmaker no one ever heard of and violated his First Amendment rights. It was a way to avoid investigating Obama’s scandal/coverup while maintaining their pretense of objectivity.

But it’s unraveling, so now they’re hiding behind “the FBI investigation.”

The Obama campaign - which is indistinguishable from the Obama Administration - intends to ride out the three weeks until the election pleading ignorance until they get “facts” from “The FBI Investigation.” When that’s complete, they’ll find out what “really happened.”

But we already know what happened, don’t we? What else would they want to find out? Do they want to learn the identities of the terrorists who murdered Stevens, the two SEALs and the other guy? We knew this within 24 hours of the attack. Are they trying to find out how the Obama campaign/administration screwed up? That’s a ha-ha. The FBI is under the command of Eric Holder, Obama’s racist, right-hand man whose cover-up abilities have been sharpened by burying the Fast and Furious debacle - that other scandal the MSM assiduously ignores. “The FBI investigation” is nothing but a delaying tactic - but it might not work.

It gets tougher every day for the MSM because of sworn testimony by intelligence officials and State Department officials, and military officials who insist that they warned their higher-ups - repeatedly and for months - prior to the attack, but were ignored. The MSM desperately wants to keep Obama in the White House for another term, but it’s much harder to keep him there than it was to put him there four years ago. He has a record now and long speeches with lofty platitudes aren’t cutting it anymore. Voters saw how incompetent he is in the first debate. They saw that the Hope and Change guy the media created doesn’t exist - and never has.
No. He didn't.

The second MSM debate moderator - Candy Crowley of CNN - ran interference for Obama just as Romney was skewering him on Benghazi. Lying again, Obama said he called the attack an act of terror immediately - and Romney was calling him on it when Crowley leapt in to cut Romney off. What Romney could have said then and didn’t, was: “Why then, Mr. President, did you send out your surrogates to repeatedly lie to the American people for you and insist that it was a film protest?”
Pretense of Objectivity

This will all come up in the third debate next week which will focus on foreign policy.

Use whatever analogy you want: “the emperor has no clothes”; “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”; or whatever. Voters saw. Polls shifted. Obama is in trouble. If and when the Benghazi cover-up falls apart, Obama is toast. Not only that, but Hillary - that other allegedly brilliant Democrat constructed and protected by the media - will be toast also. Her 2016 dreams will be over.

Even if Obama wins reelection, the House of Representatives will likely remain Republican with subpoena power to force testimony under oath - and the power to impeach both the president and the secretary of state. She is likely to resign after the election, but her reputation will be forever tarnished by exposure of her lies.
The Obama campaign and their Mainstream Media ancillaries obviously think voters are too stupid to understand all this. Are they right? We’ll know before midnight on Tuesday, November 6th, less than three weeks from now.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spare the Rod?

When properly applied, corporal punishment is effective. If my mother said: “Wait ‘til your father gets home,” I knew what was coming. She could dish it out herself but it didn’t hurt much. My grandmother could too. If she said “I’ll biff you one,” she would. If I did something serious though, they’d leave it to my father. Corporal punishment works very well to control behavior problems at home and at school. Last week, however, Delaware outlawed spanking by parents while Marion County, Florida considered bringing it back to schools there.
 Once corporal punishment has been applied, just the threat is effective because it’s credible. Kids size up parents and teachers, and they know when an adult means what he/she says. If you bluff, you lose credibility and power. The table turns, and you’re responding to the child who controls the dynamic. Once lost, it’s very difficult to get that control back.
I can’t remember the first time my parents physically disciplined me, but I observed my older siblings getting it first. Third grade was the first time a teacher put her hands on me. Mrs. Gallagher, a confused older woman, wasn’t a very good teacher and I was usually bored. I don’t remember what I did, but she took ahold of my shoulders and shook me. I’d seen her do that to others and observed that she was inconsistent. The shaking didn’t hurt either. It became comical when students pretended to be dazed - crossing their eyes and sticking out their tongues when Mrs. Gallagher grabbed their shoulders and shook.
 
As I progressed up through the grades in Catholic schools, discipline got painful and my public school friends told me it was used there too. In seventh grade I remember snow just before recess - the kind perfect for making snowballs. Over the loudspeaker Mother Superior warned us that there would be no snowball-throwing but we couldn’t resist. We had a roaring good fight for the entire fifteen minutes while she observed with binoculars from an upper window and wrote down names. Back in our classrooms, she came over the loudspeaker again, saying: “The following students must report to the cafeteria immediately: Thomas McLaughlin, Albert Brackett, Daniel Sheehan  . . .” and about ten others. Still dripping with melted snow, we filed down the stairwells to the basement cafeteria. There she was with her black outfit and stern look as we lined up against the wall. “I warned you,” she said, and walked up to Al Brackett who was first in line. She lifted his chin with two fingers of one hand and then slapped him with the other. The next boy got the same thing, and so on down the line. Finished, she said: “Return to your classrooms,” which we did, looking at each other with suppressed laughter as we climbed up the stairs.
 
In high school we were taught by Xaverian Brothers, some of them very tough guys. They hit hard, and there was very little laughing after getting smacked by one of them. The best teachers didn’t need to use corporal punishment though, because they were interesting. We respected them and wanted to stay in their good graces.

Marion County, Florida school board member Carol Ely is a former principal who supports paddling. She administered it for fourteen years and claims it’s very effective for chronic misbehavior. “The return rate of children for corporal punishment has been almost zero,” she said, and much more effective than suspension.

My first teaching job was with juvenile delinquents ages 14-18 in Lowell, Massachusetts where there were plenty. They’d been re-classified “emotionally disturbed” or “ED” as special education laws were implemented in 1975. Reform schools had just been closed down and former inmates came to our small, private school. The reclassification didn’t change their behavior however. When they became disruptive and would refuse to go to the headmaster’s office, I’d have to physically drag them down there with whatever force necessary. If I hadn’t been able to do that, I don’t see how I could ever have taught them effectively. Those kids were tough.


Trending in the other direction, Delaware state senator Patricia M. Blevins sponsored the legislation that outlawed spanking by parents. It “redefines the term ‘physical injury’ in the child abuse and neglect laws,” she explained, “to broadly include any act that causes ‘pain.’” If I were raising my family in today’s Delaware, I’d be an outlaw. When my daughters were fighting in the back seat during a long car ride and ignored me when I told them to stop, I’d cause them pain by reaching back and squeezing just above their knees. It worked very well, but I’d be a criminal in Delaware.

There’s more to write about where this liberalizing trend is going, so I’ll return to the subject in another column after the election.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Romney Needs A Booster

Mitt Romney needs a shot of testosterone. Those of you reading this column in the newspapers on Thursday will have seen the Wednesday evening debates and will know if he’s gotten one. Up to now Romney has been passive - allowing the Obama campaign and it’s Mainstream Media Minions to define him. I observed him up close at least six times and interviewed him once during the 2008 election cycle, and my impression has been that Romney is a smart guy, but that’s not enough. He’s a good administrator, manager and he’s well informed, but that’s not enough either. He’s a nice guy as well, but one thing always nagged at me when I’ve been the room with him and that is: He lacks chutzpah. He knows what the country needs, but I don’t get the impression that he feels it in his gut. I haven’t sensed fire in his belly.

I wonder if he’s ever been in a physical fight and I sense that he hasn’t. When you’re punching it out with someone, rolling around in the dirt trying to hit the other guy, you know how he’s feeling. You know how much fight is in him and you know if it’s greater than or less than how much you feel in yourself. I want Romney to win, but I know he has to man up if he’s going to thrash his opponent.

He should have known the Mainstream Media would be protecting Obama and would be gunning for him - but rather than fight them, he has allowed the media to control him and his message. He’s reacted to them rather than emphasize his own vision. For example: when Radical Muslim Arabs attacked the US Embassy in Cairo, burned the American flag and raised the al Qaeda flag, our staff there kissed up and apologized for an obscure film trailer on Youtube that had only 300 hits worldwide. Mitt Romney rightly criticized the Obama State Department for groveling, but when Obama’s media lapdogs jumped on Romney, he should have responded to them saying: “Hey. Why are you all following me around? Enemy flags are flying over our embassies! Go ask the president why his Middle East policy is disintegrating! Do your job! When I get into the White House, I’ll fix it but until January you have to ask Obama what’s going on instead of kissing his butt. He’s supposed to be in charge here!”
"Hey! Do your job!" he said. I wish.

Can you picture Romney doing that? I can’t. I could picture Newt Gingrich doing it, but not the Romney I’ve known so far.

When Obama’s media minions asked Romney about his 47% remarks, he should have said something like: “Well, when half the country doesn’t pay federal income tax, they don’t have any skin in the game. They can vote for a congress and president who would tax money out of other people’s pockets and into theirs. That’s the Democrat Party’s base. We need to close down the IRS and institute a flat tax so everybody pays the same percentage. The rich still pay the most, but if you vote in people who raise taxes yours will go up too.”

He could follow up by pointing out that less than 2% of Americans do the fighting for all the rest of us. During WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, all males were subject to the draft and would have to fight when our nation went to war. That made our involvement in any war much more vital. If we still had a draft, would people tolerate half-assed wars like we’re fighting in Afghanistan? Would they put up with it when our wussy commander-in-chief gives a pull-out deadline whether we’ve won or not? He defines ‘victory’ as training the Afghans to fight for their own country, but the people we’re training are killing our own soldiers! Romney should say, “Either we smoke out and kill the Taliban, or let’s just get out of their right now!”

And, while he’s at it, Romney could bring up the $450 million we’re sending to an Egypt ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

He could tell the Mainstream Media to go ask their hero why gas prices more than doubled during his presidency, or why the national debt has gone up by 50% in the past four years, or why unemployment stays above 8% for more than three years after spending nearly a trillion dollars to prevent it from even reaching 8%! Or how about asking him why he has no plan to address looming bankruptcies in Medicare and Social Security?

During the debates, Romney could point out that liberal biographer David Maraniss found 38 fabrications in Obama’s memoir “Dreams From My Father.” As Investor’s Business Daily recommends, Romney could ask Obama: “If readers can't trust you to be honest in your autobiography, why should voters trust you with another term?”

 If Romney can do all that, he’ll win in November.

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