Tuesday, May 27, 2008

J. Danforth Obama

Update: There's more. Apparently Obama's uncle was in the Red Army because he helped to liberate Auschwitz. See this and keep scrolling.


Now I know that Democrats are smart, telegenic, witty, urbane and have exquisite taste in clothing and that Republicans are slack-jawed morons. I've heard this for my entire adult lifetime so it must be true. I also know what Emerson said - a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. So it's quite possible that maybe some of this is escaping me and that I'm being foolish and small-minded in thinking this, but I'll say it anyway.

Do you suppose that if Barack Obama were a Republican, he would get by with some of the dumb stuff he's said in recent days?

In recent days we've seen the Savior of the Nation make a few pretty amusing stumbles. Earlier in the month he seemed to get confused about the number of states in the Union. A little later, he repeatedly greeted the citizens of Sunrise, Florida by referring to their community as "Sunshine." Then yesterday, he seemed to get confused on a number of levels about what holiday it was, as this quote would indicate:



On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen
heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of
patriotism is particularly strong.



I'm curious how precisely Barack Obama saw the fallen heroes in the audience. Memorial Day is meant to honor the dead. Perhaps he's channeling Haley Joel Osment. The surviving heroes in any Memorial Day gathering are there to honor their fallen comrades, of course, as is everyone else. Although Memorial Day is a fine day to thank veterans for their service - every day is, truth be told - we specifically honor living veterans in November. When certain evil Republican operatives, including John McCain himself, pointed this out, Obama spokesman Bill Burton set people right about things:

“Memorial Day is a day to honor our nation’s veterans, not a day for political posturing.”

And of course Obama completely rejects the idea of political posturing on Memorial Day, which is why he lit into President Bush yesterday:


Obama said President Bush is asking the troops to do too much with too
little, such as interacting with civilians without the necessary translators and
handling nation-building tasks that could be done by the State Department and
other agencies.

"We're asking them to be teachers, social workers, engineers,
diplomats. That's not what they're trained to do," the Illinois senator said
during a town hall-style meeting at the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las
Cruces.

Heavy use of private contractors, such as Blackwater, also hurts
troops, Obama said. Contractors are paid many times what U.S. personnel make,
but they aren't subject to the same rules and their misconduct inflames
anti-American sentiment, he said. And when troops return home, the Bush
administration doesn't do enough to help those suffering from combat stress or
to help them get civilian jobs, Obama said.



So the question becomes this -- is Senator Obama, dumb, dishonest, tired or intellectually lazy? I know, this is a harsh and typically mean-spirited Republican way of looking at things. I remember well how gentle and understanding that our portside friends have been with the malaprops of Mr. Quayle and Mr. Bush. Since they are Republicans, J. Danforth Trustfund and Chimpy McHitlerburton deserve the gimlet eye; it's just wrong for me to dwell on such things in the case of the man who is here to bring needed change to America.

Somewhere Dan Quayle sits quietly, waiting for an apology that will never arrive.

23 comments:

Right Hook said...

Great post! Obama is obviously an intellectual lightweight. I vote for "all of the preceding" given the choices you present to explain his gaffe-athon.

As Rush pointed out today, maybe he does see dead people - after all he is from Chicago where the dead are known to be one of the Democrat's largest voting bloc.

Mark Levin also brought up a good point on his radio program today via an open-ended/rhetorical question: How did Obama, who by his own admission in his book was a "B" student in high school up to his junior year (at which time he started messing with drugs), get into Columbia and subsequently into Harvard Law School?

A Republican, even one with a much more substantive resume than Obama, would have been ridiculed out of the race by the mainstream media long ago had he or she made these kind of gaffes.

Anonymous said...

He supports change, and he's such a good orator, he's cute, and multi-racial. Also he's not George Bush. So what if he's not schooled on the white man's history.

Right Hook said...

He's also a self-aggrandizer, a liar, a political opportunist, a poverty pimp, and, dare I say, a racist.

Sounds like just the kind of guy we need in the most powerful office in the world.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
the Memorial Day slip is pretty dumb, and Obama deserves to be taken to the wood shed on that one. It is a substantive and truly dumb mistake. But confusing Buchenwald and Auschwitz, and saying Sunshine vs. Sunrise? That's supposed to be a big deal? Wow, you really don't have much else to go on. Do you?
I know you don't read NRO, but you really should. You'll find a place where lots of people can agree with you.
Regards,
Rich

Gino said...

obama is and ivy league success, and there fore a product of his environment.

now, tell me agains just why we need more ivey leaguers on the scotis?

Mark Heuring said...

Well Rich, none of the gaffes is that important in and of itself. Do you see a pattern developing? That might matter.

All I know is that Dan Quayle got taken the woodshed repeatedly for the same sort of thing, as has W. And it is irritating.

And I know lots of places I can go on the internet where people agree with me. It's a big ol' place, good sir.

Best,
Mark

Mark Heuring said...

Something else on the Buchenwald/Auschwitz thing, Rich. Here's why it matters. Let's stipulate that what Obama is saying is true, even though it's hardly clear that it is true. Details matter. The best face I can put on it is that he heard the story about his uncle/great uncle/unidentified male relative and was so bored with the details that he didn't bother to pay much attention to the point of the story. But Obama has now dredged up a half-remembered tale simply because it is useful to him now. But he didn't bother to verify the facts of the story, which tells me that the facts of the story are still unimportant to him.

Bottom line - it shows sloppy thinking and intellectual laziness. And stupidity, too, because he ought to know that there are a bajillion bloggers out there fact-checking everything he says. And considering the fuss that has been raised for the past 8 years about the supposedly sloppy thinking, intellectual laziness and stupidity of the current president, I would hope that supporters of a candidate to replace the current president wouldn't be so, well, blithe about it. Right?

Anonymous said...

Mark,
Quite simply, no, Obama’s trivial confusion of Auschwitz and Buchenwald is not a big deal. Do you really think it mattered to the people who were liberated?
You want a Big Deal, explain this one to me: In a speech on Tuesday, McCain said something really puzzling:

“Many believe all we need to do to end the nuclear programs of hostile governments is have our president talk with leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran, as if we haven't tried talking to these governments repeatedly over the past two decades.”
My emphasis added.
Isn’t this exactly what the Right has been rabidly denouncing Obama for over the last two weeks? In a totally prepared speech, McCain states that Presidential Administrations have been negotiating with the Iranians for two decades? WTF? Hasn’t the formal policy of the U.S. government since Jimmy Carter’s last year in office been to not talk to the Iranians? And yet, here is the candidate for the Republican Party saying that we have been negotiating with Iran over their nuclear weapons program for over 20 years. I was unaware of this. Successive administrations have been negotiating with Iran. Not once or twice, mind you, but "repeatedly over the past two decades."
Call me crazy, but isn’t being wrong about official policy towards Iran just a little more important than being wrong about which concentration camp a relative helped liberate at the close of WWII? But strangely enough, I don’t see the Right wing blogosphere getting its panties in a bunch about this. I’m shocked. You all must be too busy worrying about Rachel Ray’s (Rea?) scarf. But if Obama had said this, I can only imagine the outcry from the Right.
Here’s what happened: Obama made an inaccurate statement that, for anyone who knows the detailed history of the last days of WWII, was known to be false. The Right thought they had caught Obama in a HRC/Tarmac moment, but all he had done was make a minor gaffe. You all piled on, and when the story didn’t get legs with the Vox Populi, you just couldn’t let it go. It’s actually fairly amusing.
Rich

Mark Heuring said...

Rich,

You know quite well that governments talk at lower levels all the time. It may not be formal; it might be a quick conversation between UN ambassadors, or perhaps through intermediaries. It happens. And that's what McCain was talking about. And you know that, of course, because you're a smart guy and capable of understanding distinctions. Liberal arts background and all.

The difference is simple - Obama has talked about summitry, direct meetings with the heads of governments like Iran. American presidents haven't done that, except for Bill Clinton's unhappy experience with Arafat. And we all know how well that went.

And you know what - I didn't rag on Clinton about it at the time. Some people on my side of the aisle did, of course, but I've always believed that a president should have pretty wide latitude in conducting foreign policy. And if Obama gets elected and pursues summitry with Ahmedinejad, I'll simply have to accept it, then work to clean up the mess afterwards.

I have no idea what you're talking about regarding Rachael Ray. All I know about her is that she seems to publish a cookbook every 20 minutes and has her mug on pretty much every box of Nabisco crackers that are sold. Couldn't care less about her otherwise.

And regarding the identity of the liberators of the concenetration camps - I suspect it did matter to at least some of the survivors of Auschwitz, who simply went from living under one tyranny to another.

You are apparently willing to abide many things that Sen. Obama does. That's your right and I won't try to talk you out of it. To your credit, you have come to recongize Jimmy Carter as a menace; perhaps some day you'll see Sen. Obama the same way.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
what's really remarkable is how close our views on Presidents and foreign affairs really are. I have been defending W's right to engage the rest of the world in the manner that he has for seven years. I knew he was wrong much of the time, and I readily pointed out how far he drifted from his 2000 campaign promise to NOT make the US Armed Forces the policemen of the world. I watched with deep misgivings as he wholeheartedly embraced the neo-con philosophy and world view, and looked on in disbelief as he squandered his presidency in Iraq. I have always been a realist when it comes to foreign policy. The focus of my grad studies was on the pitfalls of attempting to export democracy to Latin America, but those lessons are pretty much universal.
And now I find myself in the position of needing to help clean up the absolute bollix Bush has made of our foreign affairs by trying to get a member of the reality-based community elected president.
Lastly, it is my fervent hope that some time soon, many other Conservatives will follow the lead of men like Bob Barr, George Will, Francis Fukiyama and Ron Paul, and come to recognize what a disaster Bush 43 really has been. I understand, too, that many think it shouldn't be done while we are still at war. That's a fair position that I can understand. But I suspect that in a few years, many of you will be able to admit what a disaster this guy has truly been. Especially on foreign policy.
Regards,
Rich

Mark Heuring said...

Rich,

If you are interested in getting some from the "reality-based community" elected president, you should be supporting McCain instead of Obama. Reality-based people actually know things that Obama doesn't. For just one example, Obama claimed that the Iraq theater hurt the cause in Afghanistan because it meant that the military had to move translators away from Afghanistan. I don't know if Obama thinks that Arabic is spoken in Afghanistan (it isn't) or that Pashto is spoken in Iraq (it isn't), but if that's a sample of what an Obama "reality-based" presidency will bring, we'll be looking at some pretty grim reality going forward.

Anonymous said...

Rich must somehow be tied to the Democratic Party or to one of it's major constituents. I'm guessing Government working of some level, a firm that is deeply tied to government spending, Union based labor, Attorney, or lobbyist. He seems to smart to be a skull of mush liberal, so he must be bought off.

Mark Heuring said...

Anonymous,

Rich is very smart and he's an old college pal of mine. I doubt seriously that he's "bought off"; rather, he's a product of his background – South Side Chicago Catholic. He's quite up front about that. Had my parents not moved from Chicago when I was a baby, I might have grown up with the same influences on my worldview and come to the same conclusions that Rich has.

That's part of what makes Rich's comments here interesting (and welcome) – he and I do agree about many things and we have had a number of similar experiences. But we ultimately reach different conclusions about the things we've seen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
Just for the record, I work for myself. I run a one man consulting firm that designs, installs, configures and maintains Business Intel systems, mostly for Fortune 500 companies. Outside of a six week contract at the State of Mass IRS last year, I have never worked for any government agency. I have never received government aid of any form, outside of Federal payements while I was a student, of the interest on my GSLs, and I have never collected unemployment. Also, I send my kids to Catholic schools, but I don't take my states tax credit because I believe pretty strongly in the separation of Church and State. And I don't avoid payroll taxes by paying myself a ridiculously low salary. I believe in the social safety net. I believe in government regulation. I believe that businesses, NGOs and governemnt agencies need policing because every time regulations get watered down, Enron, Mortgage crisis, S&L collapse, etc. happens. I think Al Gore is a bigger doofus than Dubya, and I believe they are both doofuses. I believe Bill Clinton should have been impeached because he perjured himself, and that Bush winning in 2000 was Karmic justice on the Democrats for not throwing Clinton out of office. I also believe Bush 43 has badly damaged the Republican brand, and that you all should be insanely POd at the guy. Lastly, I KNOW that waterboarding, inducing hypothermia, starvation, sleep deprivation and forced pressure positions are torture. I know it from the moral upbringing I received form my family, church and school, and had it re-affirmed when I read the Gulag Archipelago. A book that Conservatives used to revere.

Mark,
I was unaware of Obama's comments regarding Afghanistan and the need for Arabic translators. Last time I checked, there were six or seven different major languages spoken there, and none were Arabic, so that is a little troubling. To be fair, at the time of the Iraqi invasion there may have still been a steady stream of Arab speaking non-Afghanis fighting the Coalition forces in Afghanistan, and hence the need, but I don't know that.
Also, I agree with your statement about McCain being a member of the Reality based community up until the last few years, but he seems to have jumped the shark as of late. His speech about Iraq being stable and self-governing by 2013 doesn't seem too grounded in reality, and his blithe attitude about Iran (I didn't find his spoof of the Beach Boys Barabara Ann very funny) greatly concerns me. I've been a pretty big fan of his over the years. I would have voted for him over Gore in 2000, and I bought and read his book, and gave one to my Dad a few years ago. But his overly-optimistic assessments of Iraq and glib attitudes toward Iran scare me. What is the end-game? Do we stay and sacrifice in Iraq until it's nice enough to stay? Or is our exit strategy through Iran? Say wht you want about Obama, but he was right about Iraq. It was a bad idea that anyone with a modicum of historical grounding in the Middle East should have been able to see. And McCain's only answer seems to be to double down. I hope his posturing is just part of his campaign, but right now, he is making me a little nervous.

Regards,
Rich

Anonymous said...

Don't we all think it's time that we stopped arguing about which dufus is more qualified for president: Ideologies aside, this is the best that we have? Our political system is a two party piece of disgusting corruption on both sides. Both parties use different approaches to hornswaggle their various constinuencies while in reality they spend the whole time lining their own pockets.

If this system doesn't see some serious change (take your pick of options, development of a true third or multiple political parties) we're in for major trouble.

It's seriously gotten to the point where I can't help but wonder if a total anti-incumbency movement (Vote against the incumbent regardless of the party) wouldn't make us better off than we are now.

Our current system is a stinky toilet that needs a serious flushing!

Mark Heuring said...

Anonymous poster 15,

I only have a minute here, but let me ask you this - do you really think we can put ideologies aside? None of the above isn't on the ballot.

Off to an all-day baseball extravaganza - more on this later.

Best,
Mark

Anonymous said...

The point is that the policians profess ideologies as a means of lining their pockets at the people's expense. They go about their business and use ideologies, government pork payments, and any other available tool in their aresonal to maintain power. In the end nothing ideology wise really changes, and the problems don't really get solved.

The clock is ticking from a demographic perspective and what are the current policitians on both sides of the party lines doing about it? Absolutely nothing. In typical baby boomer fashion, they rattle their sabres, pose for holy pictures, and ultimately hand the problems and the debt on to the next generation.

Mark Heuring said...

The clock is ticking from a demographic perspective and what are the current policitians on both sides of the party lines doing about it? Absolutely nothing. In typical baby boomer fashion, they rattle their sabres, pose for holy pictures, and ultimately hand the problems and the debt on to the next generation.

Not true. George W. Bush proposed modest, voluntary changes to Social Security in 2005 and got his ass handed to him. I heard many Democrats tell me that there was no problem with social security; I remember in particular having that discussion numerous times with my friend Strolling Amok at the time. His side won the desultory debate. And here we are.

As for the demographics - yeah, I would agree. So what's your solution? Are you willing to father (or mother, since I have no idea who you are) more children than the replacement rate? Are you willing to support more immigration, including maybe more from places like Mexico and Central America? Or are you simply going to post whining anonymous columns on a blog with a modest readership?

Sheesh.

Right Hook said...

The two party system works just fine as long as the difference between the two is differing ideas on how to bring about the best interest of the nation. Nations with large numbers of political parties are generally a disaster as the government routinely ends up being dissolved on a populous whim and restarted from square one. This is the classic metaphor of building a house on a shaky foundation where great effort is put into just keeping the structure from collapsing while the other maintenance gets ignored. The more often a government starts over the greater the chance is of a tyranny getting into power that will the break the cycle and set up shop for the long haul through force.

Since the New Deal people of this country has become disturbingly more and more reliant on the government to solve every problem they may have, to eliminate any pain or ailment, to be the on-high arbiter of "fairness", and to provide far beyond the basic function of government. We as a nation are infected with an entitlement mentality: Have a kid out of wedlock - get a check, lose your job - get a check, don't take responsibility to save for your retirement - get a check, get addicted to drugs - get a check (as well as free treatment), etc.

And where do the funds behind the checks come from? Through a massive transfer of wealth from those who produce to those who don't, with the politicians taking their bows at photo-ops for their compassion. Eventually those who produce can't or won't and the door to tyranny has been opened.

No government can come close to being the sugar daddy of the people without ultimately becoming a tyranny where it dictates what your needs are and provides them in exchange for your liberty. Unfortunately we have embarked down this road and a lot of politicians are advocating further travel along this route. We are still the most free people in the world, but our freedoms are slowly being eroded. This trend cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely as even the tiniest hole in our bucket of liberty will eventually cause it to empty.

I share Anonymous's frustration at the sorry slate of candidates we have to choose from and the way the major political parties have evolved to promote their own growth and dominance rather than to champion ideas to make the country better and stronger. I don't believe it's intentional treason or a intent to bring down the country, but more of a passive taking for granted that the country is what it is and will continue along just fine as long as they are in power to nudge it in the right direction on occasion.

With regard to Mark's challenge, I don't have the solution other than to recognize there is a drastic need to elect office holders who understand what made this country great and what is, whether intentional or not, threatening to undermine it. We need to do all we can to get such people elected and hope they have the courage and conviction to govern the way the country was constitutionally designed by the founders regardless of the blowback from the mainstream media and those who resent their power and influence being threatened.

Bottom line for me is that Obama doesn't "get it" at all and has not shown the intellectual acumen to get it anytime soon, if ever. This makes the prospect of his presidency dangerous. McCain at least gets it on some levels (and vacillates on some), but has demonstrated competency on some of the critical concepts where Obama fails miserably.

Wow! This has turned into a Rich-like rant...thanks for the space, Mark!

Mark Heuring said...

No problem, RH. You are always welcome here.

I'm frustrated, too. I am hardly enamored of having to pull the lever for John McCain, but he's clearly the best alternative on offer. I tried being a Big L Libertarian in my youth but there's no future in that party, and the other people skulking around thinking about a run (like Michael Bloomberg) are not preferable to McCain by any means.

And there's a difference between you and the anonymous poster, RH. I know that you put yourself out there on the line. You are active in the party. You blog intelligently and effectively. Your commitment to the cause of conservatism is beyond question.

The problem conservatives have isn't one of ideology as much as it's one of game theory. If we withhold our support of 70% conservatives like John McCain, we get Obama. And we potentially get Franken. The Left never goes away and that means we have to keep fighting them every day, even if that means supporting wobbly politicians like John McCain. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it sucks. So be it.

Rich said something interesting in one of his earlier comments, talking about the Republican "brand" and the damage that the last 8 years have caused. There's another post in there, I think.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
While it is true that George W. Bush proposed modest changes to Social Security in 2005 and got his ass handed to him, I think his failures there were due to several factors. One was undoubtedly the consistent demagoguery of many Democrats on the issue of any changes to Soc Sec. But more importantly, Bush had seriously misjudged the mood of the electorate, and treated his narrow 2004 victory as a mandate. Remember the "I've got a big credit card full of political capital" speech the day after the election? It was like Mission Accomplished Redux.
He proceeded with his SS plans(partial privatization of 401K) in much the same way the Clinton team had with health care. He didn't engage the Republican leadership in Congress (let alone any Dems) and proceeded with a plan very much like the one that had failed in the UK in the 90's. The UK reforms failed because the Tories hadn't put many checks on the way investment firms could manage the privatized accounts. No surprise on my side of the aisle at what ensued: People made uneducated investment decisions. Investment firms created 'special' privatization investment accounts with exorbitant load charges. Large amounts of money that should have gone toward investment were eaten up by conversion and transfer fees, etc. 5 years into the experiment, most people had far less money than they had invested in what had been a relatively strong period for the market. But the investment firms had made a killing.
So a few years later, hot off a massive unfunded expansion of Medicare (yes Mark, Republicans pander too), Bush attempts to push the failed British plan through a GOP lead Congress that got almost no input into the program. Dems pounced, using their usual Senior Scare tactics, and rightfully pointing out the potential pitfalls vis-a-vis the British model. They painted the whole thing as a sop to Big Bus (which was a reasonable political tactic, in my view) and the feckless GOP Congress treated the plan like a red-headed step-child. It was text book mismanagement of a very charged political issue.

Regarding Social Security, that is a conversation I would love to have. I can't imagine that anyone could look at that demographic bubble and not see a problem. My only point on that for now is to note that there is no pending Social Security funding problem, there is only a General Fund problem. If we can agree on that, then let's have that conversation .

Regards,
Rich

Anonymous said...

Right Hook,
I couldn't help but notice that in your 'Rich-like' rant, you ran through a litany of issues that you view as problematic, and that they were all related to the social safety net programs that have been created in our country for individuals since the New Deal. I find this strange because the approximately $150 billion for corporate subsidies and tax benefits that we shell out annually is more than the $145 billion paid out annually for the core programs of the social welfare state including Aid to Families with Dependent Children, student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance (excluding Social Security and medical care).
Can you explain why Exxon Mobile and Archer Daniels Midland (disclosure: I am a shareholder of both) still need corporate welfare as they both generate record profits, while an autoworker downsized in a plant closing in central Michigan doesn't deserve unemployment compensation? You did site "lose your job - get a check" as something that is wrong with America, right? I would like to understand how you can be so callous toward individuals hurt by economic downturns outside of their control.
Rich

Right Hook said...

Rich -

We are actually in agreement in some areas, but differ in others.

Corporate welfare does need to be cut off. My idea of a welfare program is to let corporations and people keep much more of what they earn. Responsible people would then put money aside for retirement, periods of unemployment, etc. Some politicians use corporate welfare to buy votes the same way others do with social programs. The only difference is the demographic the money comes from.

A whole lot of the New Deal, Great Society, etc. goes well beyond a safety net. A safety net is there to catch people when they fall and they are expected to get off and re-climb the ladder. The programs may have been well intentioned, but as radio commenter Jim Quinn has repeatedly stated, liberal policies most often bring about the exact opposite of what was intended. And when it happens the "fix" is more liberal policy that keeps the vicious cycle running. As Ronald Reagan said, the situation ends up with far too many people using the safety net for a hammock.

These programs have destroyed the black family in our inner cities, replacing a father with a check. Though well intentioned, the system invites fraud and abuse on many levels. As with most things it comes down to economics: when you subsidize something you get more of it (unemployment and out of wedlock birth in this case). When you tax something (productivity) you get less of it. I could turn around and try to understand how you can be so cavalier about condemning large numbers of Americans to dependency on government for their daily survival.

If one picks the wrong industry to work in (e.g. typewriter repair) it is not the government's responsibility to bail out the people who lose their job due to lack of demand. If/when this happens one needs to take the personal responsibility to re-train or re-tool and find an occupation where there is demand for their skills. In some industries (e.g. auto building) the unions and government regulations, as well as poor management and an entitlement mentality by many workers, contributed to the loss of many jobs. Again, the ultimate responsibility belongs to those let go to find employment.

I am not callous toward laid off workers. I have been laid off 3 times myself as I am in an industry (computer technology) that is constantly changing. My job has gone away due to bad management decisions that caused the company to fold, a hostile take-over, and a re-org designed as a last-gasp effort (that ultimately failed) to counter a bad management decisions. There was nothing personal involved (my boss in each case was also let go). One has to vent their anger (yes, it does suck losing a job through no fault of your own) and then consider the situation as your former employer's loss, not yours, and go find another job. I had to tap the ol' retirement fund while looking and, admittedly would have taken unemployment if it became necessary to support the family (it's there, we pay for it). I still believe the system needs to be dismantled.

Finally, I meant no disrespect with the "Rich-like rant" statement (the "rant" part came from another commenter regarding a lengthly rebuttal you made). I find it admirable that you can coherently discuss a complex issue with such a volume of supporting detail right off the top of your head. I know this isn't easy. I generally disagree with your premises and conclusions, but truly respect your intelligence and ability to make your case.