Bruce Tague, Olivia (Portman), Bruce and David (Donnelly), Meredith (Brown), the US ambassador to China, John Kasich (k-sick) and an assortment of others
obstacles blocking the roadway
It was a grueling fortnight of courses for those of us preparing to be what we were to become. And, from the very first day, at least once a day, one of the instructors or another would make reference to a driving course that was scheduled for the end of the second week. We were reminded that the material for the driving course, which would consist of both theory and practicum, was in our study packs and we were encouraged to familiarize ourselves with that material, as there would not be time in any of the other classes to review the driving course material.
After that message had been repeated by a number of the instructors over the first and second day, several of us decided that we meet and have a screenplay-like first read through of the driving course material. Each of the four or five theory questions required a written answer of no less than 200 and no more than three hundred words, consisting of a statement of one's chosen course of action and an explanation of the rational for it. All the theoretical questions were replete with location, terrain, time of day, road and weather conditions as well as the nature of the warning and signaling equipment stored in the vehicle.
One of the theoretical questions in particular was intriguing:
The vehicle you are diving clearly identifies who and what you represent. A vehicle in front of you suddenly swerves to the right with such force as to propel the vehicle onto the side of the road and into an uncontrolled skid for a distance before the driver regains control. You then notice that the cause for the abrupt change in direction was to avoid a rather large object blocking the roadway.
What actions do you take, and why?
At the very end of the driving course material was an ominously worded statement that only ten candidates would be admitted to the course. This was rather perplexing since the number of candidates exceeded two dozen. Those who did not pass the course on the first sitting were to remain at the training facility for the weekend and repeat the course the following week. This fact had enormous consequences, since we were due to depart the facility on the second day of the driving course, Friday afternoon, for our assignments and with our assigned partners.
As a result of that first read through, we scheduled two additional study sessions, and decided to post a notice to the other participants that it was our considered opinion that a minimum of several hours preparation would be necessary to answer the four or five theoretical questions within the one hour time limit.
When we arrived on Thursday morning of the second week in the driving course classroom, we were greeted by an instructor who requested that we place all our possessions, other than the driving course folders on tables near the entrance and proceed to our seats.
We were asked to remove the sealed envelope marked - do not open until requested to do so - from the back pocket of our folders, read the instructions, and we had one hour to complete the theoretical portion of the test.
The hour passed quickly.
At the end of the hour the instructor asked everyone to stop writing, and on an honor basis, while the instructor laid out the acceptable range of answers, we were to grade our own exam papers.
In order to pass, one had to have attempted to answer at least four questions, three of them correctly, and one of the correct answers had to have been to question three, which concerned the obstacle blocking the road.
The correct answer to question number three, involved securing the vehicle in a safe position, deploying the flares to warn the next and subsequent vehicles of the danger, and then when safe to do so, remove the obstacle from the road.
The rationale was in two parts, one general and the other specific. In general, one ought to deal with the problem in front of them; and specifically, one should not leave an obstacle in the way for the next person to come along to deal with it, without first warning them of the danger, and without your having done all you could do to remove the obstacle.
Then there were ten.
And that is rationale for what follows.
I had gone to the Republican Party headquarters in Columbus to meet with the second in command of that organization, a woman who can be described a one of the finest politicians that the State of Ohio or any state has to offer. While waiting in the ground floor conference room for my appointment, Bruce Tague entered the room and began to speak. A conversion ensued when he suggested that my international career had begun at much late date than was factually correct. I informed him that, in fact, my international career had begun in the 1960s in the Middle East, in Israel at the time of the Six-Days War.
I knew Bruce Tague was a nasty piece of work, but not even that knowledge was adequate to prepare me for his next comment, 'how do we know that you were ever in Israel'?
My first thought upon hearing that comment was to remember that driving course and the rationale behind it. To do whatever was necessary to remove the obstacle, after first warning the next person who might find themselves on the same path.
Then my thoughts turned to the more germane issue, here is an individual who without recourse to any discernible notion of ethics or morality, actively participates in a whisper campaign. Something his then boss, John Kasich (k-sick) had learned all to well during his brief tenure as a representative in Washington.
Education is designed to produce people of virtue, not to remove virtue from their public activities.
Besides the insult to my parents, siblings, family and community, Tague has no idea what it was for my parents, who already had three of their sons an daughters in university, to undertake the monumental effort to support a fourth who wanted to study abroad. A community that does not register within the limited scope of his vision and distorted view as to who contributes to society.
In his vile shameful statement, Tague referred to 'we', and at that time Tague was an agent of Kasich, who was in the midst of a scorched earth, scandalous, vicious, devour-one's-own campaign to achieve iron-clad control of the Ohio Republican Party. The unceremonious removal of DeWine as party chair, the ruthless efficiency with which Kasich removed county chairs, altered county and state central committee rules to alienate any of those who opposed him. Even to the point of rule making which barred anyone from membership on any central committee who had voted for Obama over an unelectable McCain.
Many of the people Kasich and his minions went after are my friends, and those I did not and do not know are still worthy of the respect that each and every citizen in this great Republic of ours is granted inalienably.
Perhaps, one of my siblings said it best, when the suggestion was made that I cannot let Tague get away with insulting our parents. I responded, okay, I will honor our parents memory, but you must realize that will put me in the crosshairs of one of the most vicious governors that this state has ever had. To which they responded, what's new, as far as our community and those who have been our allies are concerned, they have all been unscrupulous and vicious.
John Kasich will not be remembered for his sense of fair-play.
There are all together too many practitioners of the politics of division on the American national political stage and in the national political arena, and the last thing America needs is John Kasich parading illiberality as patriotism.
Senator Portman's son and staff member Olivia and the Chairman of the Clinton County Republican Party
In the parlance of the young, Senator Portman's staff member Olivia is a real card. Those not familiar with the phrase can substitute the words, arrogant prat, to full effect.
I arrived at a rather contentious meeting of the Brown County Republican Party, and as I entered Olivia, sitting in the fifth and last row of folding chairs, telephoned someone to inform them that I was there. She spoke so loudly as to interfere with the proceedings of the meeting. She ignored a host of glances in her direction to call attention to her nuisance behavior, which she duly ignored and continued her obtrusive telephone conversation for several minutes.
Several months ago I called Senator Portman's Washington office to seek his assistance with an immigration matter, the wife and daughter of a US citizen had been denied a visa to visit the US to be with her husband's family for the Christmas and New Years holidays. When I asked to speak with the Senator directly, Olivia hung up the phone.
In the world of self delusion the staffers of US senators are powerful people. During the last presidential election, one of Olivia's pet themes was the drain on tax payers and the US economy resulting from those on welfare, and welfare recipients should be drug tested to make sure they are fit to work before they can draw their benefit.
Olivia is also on the public dole, her snout is in the same trough as those she heaps criticism upon. And, there should be one rule, if you are paid from public funds, you must be drug tested to make sure that you are fit for work. Every employee of a company the gets federal funds, operates in the medical equipment field, and many others are routinely and randomly drug tested. And the same should be true for all those who draw on the public purse, including congressional staffers.
This suggestion will increase bottled water consumption in our nation's capitol, as those who know that they will fail the drug screening, attempt to flush the illegal substances. The multiplier effect due to increased expenditure in barber shops and saloons will be quantifiable, since the drug testing envisioned by this author is more revealing than a simple saliva or even a urine analysis.
The following, concerning Senator Portman's son, is a standard piece of a lecture this author gives on college campuses.
This author was in the midst of an interview with Tagg Romney, after his speech on the ground's of the Washington Court House, Court House. Portman's son grabbed a local young female reporter by the arm and dragged her between Tagg and myself. He then turned to me and said that interviews had been scheduled, which was a lie. And stated that anything I wanted to know I could ask him. The photographs of the shocked expression on Tagg Romney's face speak volumes, and the grainy cell phone video, well... its a future YouTube sensation.
Journalists are the only constitutionally protected profession, and to interfere with that process is unconstitutional, un-American, and not the behavior one would expect from the son of a US Senator. Well, an ethical son of a senator.
The father of a former US president is said to have kept a little black book, and whenever someone committed the kind of contemptible act as Portman's son, he would write their name in that book and never speak it again.
I told the students that that did presented a slight difficulty, because Portman has more than one son. A student replied that the cherry tree had been felled, and if Portman's son can brazenly violate the constitutionally protected freedom of the press and wants to play George Washington, then this is his moment. And, as to the possibility of his brother being wrongly implicated, we will also know if he is his brother's keeper. I just don't see a downside, she added.
Her comments are beyond my ability to add or to detract.
Naturally, I discussed the incident with those who had made the drive from Wilmington to Washington Court House with me, and was flooded with cellphone and other photos and a video clip of the incident.
The insanity involved here is that Portman's son assumed that Tagg was going along with his unconstitutional and insulting behavior, which is blatantly absurd. That incident is half the reason his father was not chosen for the vice-presidency. The other relates to an after dinner conversation between Portman and the who's who of Franklin County and Ohio Republican Party politics.
One would think that in this day and age when everyone has a cell phone that records, those who aspire to the second highest office in the United States would meter, at least in public, their debasing pronouncements. Those who sat around that table were not the noble heirs to the Party of Lincoln, but more resembled the rabble of the American Party of the 1850s.
Well, Tagg did not buy into it, and neither did his father.
This is the meaning, in that driving course, of the statement that ... the vehicle you are diving clearly identifies who and what you represent. The who is The People of United States of America, and the what is the Republic, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Out of nearly 30 candidates, 10 understood that the first time around.
Not to long after the Washington Court House incident the chairman of the Clinton County Republican Party invited Portman's son to speak at the annual dinner. The previous year's annual dinner had been a well attended affair, this one was not.
In the years that I had been in that community, the Clinton County Chairman had never extended the podium to me at any of the scores of opportunities to do so. I have had this conversation with many members of the local county party and the best anyone could answer is that they -- just did not understand it.
Shortly thereafter, the Chairman of the Clinton County Republican Party stood for re-election as Clinton County treasurer. He ran a lackluster and rather inexplicably mean-spirited campaign. The word was that he had Kasich's blessing, and that was all that he needed to triumph.
There were two problems with that strategy, having Portman's son speak at the annual dinner after the Tagg Romney incident in Washington Court House had left a bitter taste on the pallet of too many voters, and just as important -- there is no such thing as a John Kasich blessing.
In fact, the opposite is much more likely.
The Clinton County Chairman was defeated resoundingly.
The US ambassador to China must either resign or be declared persona non grata
Obama and Kerry could spare the American people the image of having Americans removed from a foreign country, but neither of them has the moral wherewithal to do so. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are mired in the Sunni vs Shia conundrum in the Middle East.
On the one hand, the US is waging an outwardly relentless and highly publicized war against the Islamic State in Iraq. Ostensibly to reduce the extent of the territory the Islamic State controls in Iraq. But, at the same time, the US at the behest of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf States allies is backing a coalition of Sunni-majority states in a fight against their historic rivals the Shia in Yemen.
The problem is that Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies have turned to the Islamic State and al Qaida in Yemen to carryout the boots-on-the-ground war against the Yemeni Shia, which has included a series of horrific suicide bomb attacks against the Shia and their mosques. While the Gulf States coalition confines its activities to an aerial bombardment campaign.
Therefore, incomprehensibly the US is helping the Islamic State to control more territory in the Arabian Peninsula and is backing al Qaida in Yemen, who are allies of the Islamic State in Yemen in their fight against the Yemeni Shia.
If it were not for the fact that this situation makes a complete mockery of US policy, one might conclude that Obama would turn to the devil himself to overcome the humiliation of having the US backed Sunni leader Hadi being deposed by the minority Shia in Yemen. And he has turned to devil to do so. (http://www.theoxfordscientist.com/saudi-arabia-vs-iran.html)