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Adding Sound and Color To Your Writing – Still A Viable Concept

Over a year ago I wrote about adding sound and color to your writing. It still makes sense today. For those of you who missed that blog, here is what I wrote:

Clear writing requires a writer to have command of words and use of proper syntax. Both are essential to become an accomplished writer. Syntax is defined as the orderly, logical sequence of words to have maximum effect on the reader.

To me however, syntax is indistinguishable from sound and color. I cannot conceive of a situation where a writer can have good syntax and not have sound and color. For this reason sound and color have no such ready definition as syntax does. These elements of writing depend on the writer developing a feel, an ear, for his writing. For most writers, this only comes with time and experience. So, how do you know when you have it?

The ability to develop sound and color in your writing really depends on how well you apply yourself to the task of writing. I have consistently stressed my belief that clear writing is an art form, which can be attained with constant regular practice. It is only through the pursuit of this undertaking that you will come to recognize your voice as a writer.

It is hard to add sound and color to your writing unless you know what it is. The rhythm of your writing will reflect its sound and color. Listen to your writing as you write, then revise it to achieve effective rhythm. This means choosing words that fit in well with surrounding words. Jerky or monotonous sentences lack sound and color.

For example, the following sentence is repetitious and somewhat monotonous:

He was an exceedingly orderly company commander. When promoted, he became an efficient regimental commander.

Improved version:

As a company commander, he did things by the book; as a regimental commander, his efficiency was unsurpassed.

In the following example, sentence fluency has been hampered by excessive modification:

The man in the car opened the
door quickly and went hurriedly
into the restaurant.

Improved version:

The driver quickly abandoned the
car and vanished into the restaurant.

There are two ways to know when your writing has sound and color. First, you will feel it in your writing; the second, a bit more objective, a reader will remain fixed on what you have written and then compliment you on it.

The late William Manchester was a superb writer; the pages of his writing full of sound and color. His biography, “Winston Spencer Churchill, The Last Lion – Visions of Glory: 1874-1952”, Dell Publishing, 1983, speaks for itself. The following passage, (p. 7), is illustrative:

“Men who think of themselves as indispensable are almost always wrong,
but Winston Churchill was surely that then. He was like the lion in Revelation, ‘the first beast,’ with ‘six wings about him’ and ‘full of eyes within.’ In an uncharacteristically modest moment on his eightieth birthday he said: ‘It was the nation and the race dwelling all around the globe that had the lion’s heart; I had the luck to be called upon to give the lion’s roar.’ It wasn’t that simple. The spirit, if indeed within them, lay dormant until he became prime minister and they, kindled by his soaring prose, came to see themselves as he saw them and emerged a people transformed, the admiration of free men everywhere.”

Adding sound and color to your writing doesn’t apply to every writing project. It may not fit at all into, say, a simple job application. But the experience of trying to add sound and color to your writing will help you acquire an ear for your writing, that sense of knowing the power of your words. It will help you to write more efficiently and more clearly.

As has been oft-mentioned in my book “The Art of Clear Writing,” (available on amazon.com through kindle books and in print), clear writing is not easy. But the point bears emphasis. It takes work, lots of work. That’s the surest way, however, to improve the clarity of your writing. I’m reminded of books I’ve read about trying to hit a golf ball or a tennis ball. There’s only so much reading you can do before you actually go out and swing a gold club or a tennis racket. So it is with writing. Mastery of the guidelines and techniques explained in my book will go a long way to improve the clarity of your writing, but you still have to write to achieve maximum effect.

Copyright © 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved

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Free Enterprise – The Key To Reducing Unemployment

I am in the business of network marketing, a business which can be very rewarding depending on one’s dedication. The other day a speaker at one of our regular weekly meetings, a marvelous speaker by the way and one who has been eminently successful in the business, talked about slavery. The speaker, an Afro-American, likened people who are stuck in present day economic ruts to those who were once bound in involuntary servitude. It was a profound message. Those who put their minds to it were able to escape slavery. Those who have the right mindset can escape unpleasant present day circumstances.

The key is mindset, which can be the answer to the economic doldrums of many Americans today. To put it another way, financial freedom can be had by those who are willing and determined to get it. I am a strong believer in capitalism, bolstered by free trade. It may not be a perfect system but it has resulted in unparallelled economic growth for the United States. To be a successful entrepreneur is to know and enjoy the life most people only dream about.

Today’s economy is struggling, beset by overly big government and an administration in Washington that simply doesn’t understand business, to put it mildly. It is an administration which believes that government can solve all, or at least most, problems. It is the wrong approach. The emphasis should be on reducing the role of government in everyday life and encouraging individualism. Successful entrepreneurs should not be punished by excessive regulation and confiscatory taxes. In California for example, a new corporation must pay a minimum of $800 in franchise taxes, whether successful or not. This is one of the reasons California has become known for an unfriendly business climate.

But despite the struggling economy, there are still rewards to be had, opportunities to be pursued. This was the point of the speaker I referred to above. Many people simply accept present day circumstances without really trying to find a way out. They are “slaves” to a situation they don’t enjoy. Obstacles can be overcome, and there are obstacles in every walk of life. But there are also results which reward those who persevere many times over. As part of my business, I read about success stories every month in the magazine I get as part of my business, stories that come from all over the world. People overcome incredible hardships once they put their minds to it.

I believe network marketing provides an opportunity to take yourself out of the ranks of the unemployed or underemployed, if that’s where you are, and to “promote” yourself to a position to secure your financial future. Don’t let the lack of money stop your mission in life. I got into the business to help a family member improve his circumstances. I was well past normal retirement age when I signed up, but I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “better late than never.” So its not too late, or too early for that matter, to get started.

At a business convention I attended recently, Donald Trump was one of the featured speakers. Among other things, he said that he wants to see America great again. Amen to that! But also, importantly, he emphasized that mindset is important, vital, to success. Do not quit. Be tenacious. Make up your mind you’re going to succeed. Every person living in this great country and enjoying its many freedoms has an obligation to make it better, to give something back. You can do your part by helping yourself, and others, to a happier life.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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A Centennial Salute To The Babe

Lost amid all of the swirling problems arising from the Middle East and the Ukraine, among others, and the many scandals engulfing Barack Obummer, er, Obama, is the fact that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s breaking into major league baseball. Babe Ruth is one of the great athletes produced by this country. His feats deserve some recognition in this centennial year.

It was 100 years ago, 1914, that The Babe, as a 19 year old, jumped from reform school into the major leagues. Enrolled at St. Mary’s School for Boys, Baltimore, Maryland, since he was about 6 years old, in and out since then but mostly in, he was signed to his first professional contract with the then minor league Baltimore Orioles. Later that year he was sold to the Boston Red Sox.

Hidden among his many batting feats is the fact that Ruth was a premier American League pitcher for many years. He won 89 games for the Red Sox from 1914 to 1919, including 23 wins one year and 24 another. He also pitched 29 consecutive scoreless World Series innings during that stretch, a record that lasted for many years.

In 1919, after recognizing Ruth’s value as a hitter, Ruth became an every day player, playing as a full time outfielder for Boston. It was a momentous year for Ruth as he hit 29 home runs, setting a new major league record. No one had ever hit that many home runs in a single season before. But the best was yet to come.

Following the 1919 season, Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. Harry Frazee, who owned the Red Sox, was also a Broadway producer and he needed money for a new show, “No No Nanette.” The sale of his biggest star helped to ease his financial strain.

In 1920, his first year as a Yankee, Ruth hit 54 home runs, an astounding feat, and another single season home run record. Ruth thus virtually single handedly helped the world of baseball awake from its lethargy following the Black Sox scandal of 1919, as fans clamored to get a glimpse of this budding new star. And then in 1921, as if to prove the previous year was no fluke, he hit 59 home runs, yet another single season record, the third year in a row for new home run records, a feat never since duplicated, as he led the Yankees to their first American League pennant. It was the first of many to come.

The 1920s was to see Ruth continue to hammer out home runs, including 60 in 1927, a record that stood for many years. In 1925, he was joined in the Yankee lineup by first baseman Lou Gehrig, who batted fourth, right behind the Babe. Together they became an integral part of the famous “murderers row” as the lineup was to become known, a lineup that was to give headaches to many pitchers in the coming years.

Ruth retired in 1935, finishing with 714 career home runs, a record that stood until finally eclipsed by Henry Aaron many years later. He was one of the charter members of baseball’s Hall of Fame, being one of the first five players elected in 1936.

Babe Ruth was truly a giant among baseball players. No one else in the annals of baseball has been both an outstanding pitcher as well as a great hitter. Ruth did a lot for the game of baseball. His accomplishments should be remembered as long as the game is played.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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The Jane Fonda Saga Continues – Is Her Apology Acceptable?

When is an apology acceptable? When someone betrays her country and then apologizes for the misdeed, is the apology acceptable? Now that UCLA has invited Jane Fonda to speak at commencement, according to Fox News today (June 3), the whole issue of her alleged lack of patriotism comes into focus – again.

For those of you who do not remember, Jane, who was opposed to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, went to Hanoi during the war, giving aid and comfort to the Viet Cong, and was seen having her photograph taken while manning a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. She earned the sobriquet “Hanoi Jane” for her anti-American behavior and betrayal of American interests, a name to which she is still linked in many quarters, perhaps permanently.

But many years later Jane apologized for her anti-American behavior during the war. Does this apology wash away her traitorous conduct? Apparently some are willing to forgive and forget, others not so willing.

On a different issue, I am quite unsure of what her accomplishments are in life are that justifies her role as a commencement speaker. Certainly making a movie or two is not what I would call justification. In the same vein, the University of Pennsylvania once had Jodie Foster as a commencement speaker. On the other hand, Condoleeza Rice, who withdrew her name from consideration as commencement speaker at Rutgers University in the face of opposition to her from a small group of misguided students and professors, would have much more to offer. Recall that she is on the faculty at Stanford University as well as having been Secretary of State and National Security Adviser under President George W. Bush.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Random Thoughts On Current Topics

I’m disappointed that Condoleeza Rice recently withdrew her name from giving the commencement speech at Rutgers University. There was a very small but vocal crowd of professors and students who objected to her, even going so far as to label her a “war criminal.” This is disgraceful and unjustified behavior. “Condi” Rice deserves respect and admiration for what she has done with her life. Had I been the Rutgers president I would have doubled her fee to $70,000 and encouraged her to come ahead. As for the small but vocal minority, they have every right to voice their disapproval in a free country such as ours, but the university president should have stood up to them and told them she was coming ahead anyway and not to try to disrupt her speech. Advising those that objected to her that they were free not to attend the commencement would also have been appropriate.

The VA scandal must be added to the growing list of scandals plaguing this administration. As I have pointed out in previous blogs, President Obama was and is inexperienced, unqualified, incompetent, a liar, and corrupt. He should never have been elected in the first place. Now the country is paying the price for this mistake, a mistake which, hopefully, will not be repeated. Electing someone with no prior experience at running anything, no demonstrating of leadership abilities, no showing of experience in solving problems, is simply appalling. The VA scandal is only the latest example of this incompetence. Obama had notice of this issue years ago and failed to address it while it continued to fester. Now it has reached the critical stage with reports of veterans dying because of lack of treatment. This is an outrageous way to treat our veterans.

Appointing Representative Trey Gowdy (Rep. S.C.) to chair the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack which took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens was a huge step in the right direction. As a former prosecutor, he will know how to get answers. Getting to the bottom of this tragedy where four Americans died is long overdue. Although Obama promised transparency in his presidency many times, it has not been forthcoming here. The public has a right to know why this happened, who is to be held responsible, and why none of the attackers have been brought to justice. The anticipated testimony of Hillary Clinton should be very enlightening. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s appointment of five Democrats to this committee, long overdue, gives it additional credibility although I have my doubts as to how helpful they will be.

Appointing a special prosecutor into the IRS scandal is also long overdue. But waiting for the very partisan Attorney General Eric Holder to do it means it will be a long wait. Obama has denied that there is even a “smidgen” of corruption here. Yet it is extremely doubtful that the IRS undertook this on its own. I wonder where the instructions originated? Hmmm.

The bottom line in all of this is that there has been a total and complete lack of accountability by this president in everything he has touched including but not limited to the Obamacare roll out. There is yet some two and one half years to go for this administration. Hopefully additional damage to the credibility of the country will be kept to a minimum. But the mistakes of this president must not be repeated. In 2016, we need to elect a president who has demonstrated an ability to govern and making the tough decisions, one who can restore America to its greatness in the world.

One last thought. Under the parliamentary system of government, a no confidence vote can lead to the formation of a new government. That system doesn’t exist in this country but it’s an interesting thought.

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Toyota Leaves California For Texas – No Thanks To Jerry Brown.

I have lived in California for many years having moved here from the Washington D.C. area to get away from both D.C. and the accounting profession. That was way back in the early 1960s, when California seemed to be much more attractive and vibrant than now. Having Ronald Reagan elected governor didn’t hurt the image either. But to say that the gloss is off of the Golden State is an understatement.

It is an inescapable fact that California is hostile to business. The democratic controlled legisalature seem not to realize that healthy businesses create jobs. A healthy job market is good for everyone, especially the middle class. I recall when practicing law that it cost a small business trying to incorporate $800.00 in minimum franchise tax fees, a tax that had to be paid whether the business was successful or not. I thought that minimum fee was unconscionable then and still do. But that’s just one example. There are many others.

Nissan moved to Nashville many years ago, Occidental Petroleum announced it is leaving Los Angeles at the end of the year, and now Toyota is leaving Torrance, California and moving its U.S. base to Plano, Texas, taking some 3,000 jobs along with it. It may be tough to single out any one person to blame for this but I think much of the fault lies with Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. As pointed out in a recent media piece, not only is Brown’s claim that California is back “fraudulent,” the fact remains that the state is on a course to financial ruin. This will undoubtedly hurt the middle class the most. Brown is a lackluster career politician with little imagination and initiative. He should have seen the Toyota move happening some time ago and taken steps to try to prevent it. Perhaps if he spent more time trying to improve California’s business climate instead of pursuing his $68 billion “boondoogle” bullet train project Toyota might still be here.

Admittedly this is an oversimplified view of what has transpired. But it seems to me that more could have been done to avoid this disappointing situation. Moreover, I have not read of any attempts to find creative solutions to this state’s hostile business environment. Maybe the democratic controlled legislature in Sacramento just doesn’t care.

California had the opportunity to elect a younger, more vibrant governor, Meg Whitman, in the last election but chose the hidebound Brown. Now the state is paying the price for that shortsightedness. What the state needs is dynamic leadership and more resourcefulness, qualities that are clearly lacking now in the Governor’s office. As you may have guessed, I’m not a Jerry Brown fan. I still can’t get over his appointing Rose Bird as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. That was admittedly during his first term as governor back in the 70s. But she had had no prior experience as a judge, none, and I felt then, as I do now, that it was probably the most irresponsible act of any politician I had ever seen.

In all fairness it should be noted that Brown’s current budget seeks to repay some $11 billion in state debt. This does reflect some degree of fiscal responsibility in Sacramento. Nevertheless much more fiscal innovation is needed. The state is approaching $1 trillion in unfunded debt with no plan for paying it off. Losing Toyota does not help.

I am beginning to believe that California is simply too big to be managed by the likes of Jerry Brown. Splitting the state up into more than one state may be the best answer. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Copyright©2014 Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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To Develop Confidence In Your Writing, You Must Overcome Self doubt.

With the ongoing explosion in global communications in this age of high technology, writing has become more important than ever before. In January, 2012, in one of my first blogs, I addressed the problem of overcoming self doubt in writing. This is such a an important topic that it deserves a repeat look.

Many people don’t write well because they don’t believe they can. They have no confidence in their writing. “I’m not a good writer!” is an all too often heard personal lament. For those of you who believe they fit into that category, i.e., those who don’t believe they are good writers but want to be, my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” (available on amazon.com and in print), can help. It provides an organized guide to clear writing fundamentals and sets forth down-to-earth, well-established writing guidelines and techniques that have worked well for others, not hard and fast rules that must be committed to memory and followed at all costs.

As mentioned in the introduction, the underlying proposition of this book is that clear writing is an art form – it can be learned. Anybody can write well – but you need the desire and dedication to do it. If you’re willing to put in the time and learn the skills, the satisfaction and rewards will come. These guidelines and techniques are capable of being learned through application and practice, and should result in a marked improvement in your writing. Even if writing is not your strong suit, you can still improve your writing dramatically by following the guidelines and techniques explained in my book.

Also bear in mind that writing, any writing, is a form of salesmanship, i.e., you are selling yourself. It is a basic sales truism that people will buy from you if they trust you. That truism applies to writing as well. Whatever your purpose in writing may be, whether you’re applying for a job, selling a product or service, writing personal or business letters, writing a company manual, or even preparing something as basic as an interoffice memo, the reader must trust you for your writing to be successful. Achieving this trust will depend on the respect and credibility emanating from your writing. If the reader believes you to be a credible writer and trusts you, you’ve gone a long way toward accomplishing your primary writing goal of selling the reader on whatever you’re writing about. Attracting that trust can be achieved only if you dedicate yourself to improving your writing skills.

Where do you start? Begin with a positive attitude toward what you’re doing, whether writing or speaking. John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers and a prominent lawyer by trade, successfully argued to the jury during the Boston Massacre trial of 1770 that “facts are stubborn things” and cannot be changed no matter how strong are your passions. Adams strongly believed in the rule of law and that the British soldiers he defended (successfully, it should be added), who were accused of murder when they fired their muskets into an angry mob, were innocent.

Thoughts are also things according to Napoleon Hill, author of the influential and best selling personal achievement book, “Think and Grow Rich.” Hill postulated that thoughts can be very powerful things when mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for success.

I’m also reminded of Tim Gallwey’s best seller, “The Inner Game of Tennis”, which is largely about developing the ability to focus your attention on the task at hand. It is more about solving life’s problems by learning the art of relaxed focus and attention to achieve peak mental performance, i.e., getting into a “zone”, than playing tennis.

Clear writing thus depends to a large extent on the power of belief, belief that comes from having confidence in your writing. When you have that confidence, it will show – the reader can see it. To obtain confidence you must master what can best be described as the “inner game” of writing, overcoming mental blocks to clear writing. As with other challenges in life, you must develop the right mental attitude. In other words, you can’t write clearly if you are nagged by anxiety and self doubt about your writing. Persistence and determination to write well are omnipotent.

Following the guidelines and techniques set forth in this book is a good start to improving your writing. But it’s also definitely helpful to read self-help books on salesmanship and self esteem in conjunction with your writing development. Good salesmanship depends in large part on having confidence in yourself. Acclaimed lecturer and author Jeffrey Gitomer writes in his “Little Red Book of Selling,” (p.193), that the theme of your success is to believe that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. His book is an excellent place to start. And keep one of his favorite axioms in mind, “hard work makes luck,” (p.36).

Here’s the bottom line. Whether playing tennis or writing, you must develop confidence in your ability. The best way to gain confidence in your writing ability is by working at it. Practice your writing continuously. Refine it as you go. Study the style and technique of other writers. The more you read and write, the more your writing will improve, which should increase your confidence.

Copyright © Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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I Just Don’t Get It! Why Is “Golden Boy” Bill Clinton So Popular?

Recently I came across a copy of “The Starr Report,” the report to Congress by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr on the investigation of President Bill Clinton’s misdeeds while in office arising out of his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and his subsequent efforts to cover it up. The Report reads like a lurid Hollywood “B” movie. You cannot read the descriptions of Clinton’s sexual encounters (which occurred in or near the Oval Office!) without seeing Clinton in a different light. Clinton was impeached as a result of his criminal conduct arising during the investigation, justifiably so, but the amazing thing is how well he is received today despite that conduct. Here is an impeached president who disgraced himself, his family, his country and the White House, but nevertheless seems to be enjoying a charmed life as if his impeachment, and the conduct which led to it, never happened.

Is that the way it should be? As gangster Bugsy Siegel put it (according to the movie “Bugsy”), “Everyone deserves a fresh start.” Apparently it’s a matter of how the press treats the subject. Or maybe it’s a question of politics. Or maybe both. But I don’t remember Richard Nixon enjoying this kind of popularity at anytime after Watergate, although his public approval rating did later recover somewhat. Certainly George W. Bush doesn’t enjoy Clinton’s level of popularity either.

While the seriousness of Clinton’s misconduct is eyeopening, it has been largely buried and forgotten due to his public persona today. In fact, there were eleven separate criminal acts by President Clinton, as found by the Report, “which may constitute grounds for impeachment.” These included lying under oath five times, trying to obstruct justice four times, conspiring, in essence, with Monica Lewinsky to obstruct justice, and acts inconsistent with the President’s constitutional obligation to faithfully execute his duties while in office. Forget the fact that Clinton was never put on trial after impeachment in the House – the stigma of this conduct should be inescapable.

To digress for a moment, ultimately President Clinton asked then Attorney General Janet Reno, in early 1994, to appoint a special prosecutor to look into allegations that real crimes were committed by President Clinton and Hillary Clinton arising out of the Whitewater affair, an affair whose echoes continue to linger today despite serious efforts by the Clintons to sweep them under the rug, with some success. Starr’s investigation of Whitewater ultimately led him to the relationship between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. On a comparative note, the question could be asked as to why President Obama hasn’t done the same, i.e., appoint independent counsel, with regard to the IRS scandal. I think President Obama is still obsessed with his own importance, an obsession which separates him from reality. Or he is simply afraid that the real facts will come out.

Despite all of his baggage, the fact remains that Bill Clinton is a likeable guy. And that’s probably where his popularity comes from, at least some of it. He is also a master politician and he gets immense help from the liberal media, no matter what he does, as well as from his own party.

Clinton’s popularity isn’t confined to his own persona either. Much of the glow has radiated onto wife Hillary. Recall that she parachuted into New York some time ago and, riding on the back of hubby Bill, was elected to the U.S. Senate largely, in my opinion, as a result of Bill’s reputation and popularity. Her own accomplishments at that time, as well as now, were practically nil. (It will be interesting to see what Hillary’s forthcoming personal memoir dealing with her tenure as secretary of state has to say about Benghazi).

And, speaking of Hillary, the curtain has not yet dropped on Bill’s continuing opus. Regardless of where he’s been and what he’s done, his glowing persona will continue to shine on his wife. Assuming Hillary runs for president, again, an assumption more likely to come true than not, watch for hubby Bill to be at her side. His presence will not diminish her chances of being elected in any way but will guarantee that the continuing glow from his radiance will in turn help to light up Hillary’s presence and shore her up wherever she goes and whatever she says. I find this state of affairs to be absolutely amazing but it is what it is. Needless to add, there will not be any mention, not by the liberal media anyway, of Bill’s shady past.

Finally, as pointed out above but bears emphasis, the Starr Report found “substantial and credible information” that Clinton lied under oath no less than five times. This crime has particular significance today. As previously written on this blog site but it deserves repeating, there is a jury instruction available to trial lawyers, at least in California, entitled “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.” This instruction, if given by the trial judge, allows the jury to find that a party or witness who was found to be lying in one particular can be disbelieved about everything else he/she says. The court of public opinion should continue to keep this in mind in evaluating everything Bill Clinton says on any subject, past, present, or future.

Incidentally, the same thought can be applied to Hillary, who was found to be a “congenital liar” by syndicated columnist and Pulitzer prize winner, the late Bill Safire, in his 1996 New York Times essay entitled, “A Blizzard of Lies.” This thought should be kept in mind when reading Hillary’s forthcoming memoir as well as during her anticipated presidential run. During her last presidential run, it should be remembered, she lied about landing on the tarmac in Bosnia under sniper fire, a lie which she later recanted and confessed to be a “mistake.”

The danger with both Bill and Hillary is they are each established world class liars, and will say anything, anywhere, at anytime, true or not, if it will help to get them to where they want to go. Be forewarned, America!.

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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The IRS Scandal – “Not A Smidgen of Corruption” – Another Obama Lie

When Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly posed the question to President Obama on this past Super bowl Sunday about the existence of corruption at the IRS and Obama replied, “There’s not even a smidgen of corruption,” the president has once again lied, the existence of corruption being very clear if not overwhelming. The ongoing congressional investigation into the IRS scandal has, among other things, established that conservative groups and organizations were indeed targeted by the IRS for unwarranted and unnecessary delays, investigation, and intrusion. Key IRS official Lois Lerner has repeatedly invoked the 5th Amendment when called before Congress to answer questions. Congress claims she has waived her constitutional privilege and has moved to hold her in contempt. She is entitled to her day in court, but why invoke the 5th if, as she said in her original appearance, she did nothing wrong.

Emails have now surfaced during the investigation showing that Lerner had a big part in the targeting, that she was even the driving force behind it. That this is clear evidence of IRS bias and, consequently, corruption, in the administration has now become undeniable and clearer with each passing day. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the so-called impartiality of the IRS has been compromised, does not exist in this administration, and that the agency has been and is being used to seek out and punish all those who oppose the president’s political philosophy.

The latest uncovered emails reveal that there were communications between Lois Lerner and the Department of Justice about going after conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. Thus the circle of taint seems to be widening and the issue of whether the targeting was politically motivated or not appears to be getting clearer.

To date there has been no accountability. When this is considered in conjunction with the issues confronting Attorney General Eric Holder (as previously covered on this blog) and the issues arising from Benghazi, there can be no doubt that there is a purposeful failure to act by this president. That this has happened and is happening is not just outrageous but clearly labels this President as unfit for office. It is more than a mere lack of the transparency he promised when campaigning but evidence he has actually been dishonest with the American people. I am reminded of the words of Chief Justice John Marshall when he wrote in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison (1803), that, impeachment aside, the President’s principal responsibility, seems to be simply his accountability “to his country in his political character, and to his own conscience.” We can’t say whether Obama’s conscience bothers him (apparently not because he continues to lie), but his political character, what there is left of it, is in shambles.

This entire episode is no laughing matter but democratic reaction to congressional efforts to get at the truth borders on the ludicrous. Politics is politics but when evidence strongly suggests that a president is using his power and influence to cause a key government agency to target opposing political groups, something should be done. Importantly, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has sent a letter to the Justice Department recommending a criminal probe of Lois Lerner. We’ll see whether Obama’s long-time crony, Attorney General Eric Holder, responds positively to this letter or at all. But don’t hold your breath. In any event, recommending a criminal probe of Lois Lerner should be just a beginning because it is just the tip of the iceberg. In other words, the country has a right to know if any direction to the IRS came from the White House and if so who gave it. It is highly doubtful that Lerner acted on her own volition unless there was some, implicit if not explicit, support from the White House. In any event Lois Lerner’s involvement in this scandal is unmistakeable and at a bare minimum she should forfeit her pension, paid for by taxpayer dollars.

It’s high time to get some answers and some accountability from this administration. This is not a police state. Transparency although promised by Obama is completely lacking. The country is not run by the White House, although the White House may think so. A full revelation of this entire issue must be forthcoming.

Copyright © Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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It’s Baseball Season Again. Welcome Back!

As a lifelong baseball fan, the advent of opening day and the return of baseball to the national scene has prompted me to pass on a few random thoughts about our national pastime.

Not too long ago I was visiting family in Denver, Colorado. We were having lunch in a Red Robin restaurant, the walls of which were adorned with sports memorabilia. During bites from my hamburger, I happened to glance at the wall nearest me. I was startled to see an autographed baseball containing signatures of two ballplayers I hadn’t heard about for years – Gil Coan and Al Kozar. These two played for the old Washington Senators, a team I followed when I was a kid growing up in Washington, D.C.
That team is best remembered for its futility and is memorialized by the old addage coined by an unrecalled congressman, “Washington, first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.”

The late Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Fame hitter, came up with the Senators in 1954. He was dubbed a “bonus baby” by the press because he was paid what was then an enormous sum to sign, $25,000.00. When the Senators finally assembled enough talent to be truly competitive, including pitcher Bob Porterfield, center fielder Bob Allison, and catcher Earl Battey, the franchise was moved to Minnesota where it became the Minnesota Twins. Later, a new team was organized and located in Washington D.C. It was also called the Washington Senators and was briefly managed by another Hall of Famer, the legendary Boston Red Sox slugger, Ted Williams. That franchise ultimately moved to Texas where it became known as the Texas Rangers. After 2004, Major League Baseball moved the Montreal Expos, a National League franchise, to Washington D.C. and renamed it the Washington Nationals.

On another subject, I read in a local newspaper the other day that Julia Ruth Stevens. an adopted daughter of Babe Ruth, turned 97. She is legally blind and gets around in a wheelchair. One of the great disappointments of the Babe’s life was that he never got a chance to manage a major league club after he retired in 1935. His daughter claimed in this article that it was because major league owners feared he would bring in black players, more than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. According to the article, Ruth would often frequent New York City’s Cotton Club and befriended black athletes and celebrities.

Babe Ruth was definitely a great athlete, being a premier American League pitcher before becoming one of the great hitters, some say the greatest, of all time. Between 1914, his rookie year, and 1919, he won 89 games for the Boston Red Sox, one year winning 24 games, 23 in another, and 18 in another. He pitched 29 consecutive shutout world series innings, a record which stood for many years. In 1919, his first full year as an outfielder, he hit 29 home runs, which set a new major league record. Then in 1920, after being sold to the New York Yankees in the off season, he hit 54 home runs, yet another record, restoring much needed credibility to the world of baseball after the shock of the 1919 Black Sox scandal when members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of trying to throw the world series to the Cincinnati Reds. Finally, in 1921, as if to prove that 1920 was not a fluke, he hit 59 home runs, which was then still another home run record, the third in a row, never before and never since accomplished. In 1927, as a key part of the Yankees famed “murderers row,” he eclipsed his 1921 mark by hitting 60 home runs, a record which stood until 1961.

One final news item about the Babe. A recent story spotlighted his beginnings in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was born in 1895. He was incorrigible as a kid and was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, an orphanage/boarding school/reformatory, when he was six or seven, where he remained, in and out but mostly in, until he was 19. That year, 1914, he was signed to a professional baseball contract by Jack Dunn, owner of the then minor league Baltimore Orioles, and later that year sold to the Boston Red Sox. So, Ruth jumped from reform school to the major leagues in one year, quite a feat!

Baseball’s Hall of Fame began in 1936. There were five players elected that charter year, three hitters, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner, and two pitchers, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. Cy Young, who won the most games in baseball history, 511, was not elected until 1937. Players usually have to wait five years after retirement before becoming eligible for Hall of Fame consideration. There are three exceptions: Babe Ruth, who retired in 1935 and was elected in 1936, Lou Gehrig, who voluntarily retired in 1939 because of the onset of a fatal illness and was elected that same year, and Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash in 1972, still an active player, and was elected in 1973.

The foregoing reflects but a few of my thoughts garnered over a lifetime of reading about the game of baseball. I’ve always been interested in baseball history as well as watching the game itself. For those of you who, like me, enjoy baseball history, there is a marvelous book which came out in 1966 entitled “The Glory of Their Times,” by Lawrence Ritter. It is about the sixty to seventy years of baseball before the so-called modern era and contains stories told by the men who played the game itself. Red Barber has called it “The single best baseball book of all time.”

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement