Jun
15

White or Black, Girls Go Wild Without Fathers

By Katie Kieffer
Girls Gone Wild

Image credit: “HEAD OVER HEELS” by FUNKYAH on Flickr via Creative Commons.

White girls like Rachel Dolezal and black girls like Dajerria Becton go wild without the presence of strong father figures. No one knows why Rachel Dolezal—a 37-year-old adult Caucasian woman—pretended to be black for the past 20 years. No one understands this woman’s full motivation for falsifying her heritage, donning wigs and feigning her adopted African American brother is her biological son. Likewise, no one knows—given conflicting eyewitness accounts—exactly what happened at the McKinney, Texas pool party on June 5 where 15-year-old black girl Dajerria Becton tussled with a white police officer. In Dolezal’s case, cynics would blame her greed and narcissism. Cynics would say Dolezal’s disguise made it easier for her to become the president of Spokane, Washington’s N.A.A.C.P.; chair a police watchdog committee; and earn her living as a professor in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University. I blame her father, Larry Dolezal. I blame him in order to make a bold point: we must stop blaming the police, sexism, racism or even our own children every time our children go wild. Instead, we need to develop, hold accountable and appreciate great fathers. Research shows that a girl’s father—more than her mother and certainly more than the local police department—shapes how confident and mentally secure she becomes later in life. Here are the facts: Rachel Dolezal’s father gave her custody of his 16-year-old adopted black son about five years ago and then lost touch with both his son and his daughter. Today, Rachel is in a mentally unstable place. She cashed in on her false African American identity for lofty leadership roles (Spokane N.A.A.C.P. president and police oversight commission chair), a paid Africana professorship and has made thousands of dollars selling her “authentic” civil rights artwork. Why did Larry wait until Rachel was a grown, 37-year-old woman to hold her accountable—in a very public and embarrassing way—for deceiving her employer, her students and her community? Why did he allow her to grow so psychologically confused that she now calls an imaginary man her father? Back to Dajerria Becton. We know (by her own admission) that this 15-year-old, bikini-clad partier was not an innocent bystander. “I’m guessing he thought we were saying rude stuff to him,” Becton told KDFW news in explaining why she thought Cpl. David Eric Casebolt lost his cool with her. If you watch the online video of Casebolt and Becton’s interaction, it certainly looks as though Casebolt overreacted to Becton’s sassy comments. It is also clear that she verbally accosted him while he was being swarmed from all sides by a throng of volatile adults and teens. A more realistic explanation for his behavior (than racism) was the combination of bad timing and high stress. Fathers like Jahi Adisa Bakari, whose 13-year-old daughter claims an officer punched her at the party—stood before dozens of national media cameras and microphones and moaned how he was “disappointed the [McKinney] Police Department did not send any female or black officers up there [to the party].” Seriously? Does Bakari want to teach his daughter to regress to the era of segregated buses? Does he expect you and me to applaud his backwoods mentality? Forget it. Bakari either has no understanding or zero empathy for the stress cops face on the daily beat. The Australian Institute of Criminology has found “Police suffer stress through constant exposure to danger, traumatic events, prisoner threats, conflicting task demands, short-staffed stations, court appearances…” and that “[s]tress risks may be increased for female officers…” University of Buffalo research published in Science Daily also finds that “23 percent of male and 25 percent of female officers reported more suicidal thoughts than the general population (13.5 percent).” So, police face enormous trauma—especially the female cops that Bakari was whining were not at the pool party. Officers handcuffed Caucasian teen Grace Stone for a full 30 minutes after she merely approached them. All the officers—not just Casebolt—were under high stress and were doing whatever they could do to get the party under control. Unlike Becton, Stone did not make disparaging comments toward the police officers yet she was still slapped with handcuffs. From Larry Dolezal to Jahi Bakari, can all fatherswhite and black—please step up to the plate and stop blaming your daughters; your local police officers; racism or sexism when your girls go wild? Can you take responsibility for the compound influence of years of poor parenting? Can you become mature father figures so that your daughters can flourish socially and emotionally? I’m blessed to have a good father. Without his powerful and consistent influence, I too would be a girl gone wild. I’d be pretending—much like Elizabeth Warren—that I’m Pocahontas’ sister, Katiehontas. So, it moves me to speak up when I see other young girls whose fathers are selling them short. Last week, some folks on Twitter decided to tell me how police are “a-holes” and “psychopaths” who “don’t deserve their jobs, respect or safety.” Police are not always perfect but they are not crazy and we should not expect them to referee our grown children after we fail as parents. A 2014 MTV study found that nearly 90% of Millennials oppose affirmative action. Plus, a 2015 Fusion study found that 70% of Millennials think the police are the “good guys.” If only Millennials’ fathers would grow up and stop perpetuating petulance. Everywoman wants a strong father figure in her life. This Father’s Day, especially if you are a woman, show your father how much you appreciate him. Tell him “thank you” for being there for you—and for sometimes showing you tough love. If you’re looking for a way to express this, consider giving him a copy of “Let Me Be Clear,” which includes a chapter called “Why Fathers Matter.” You’ll learn why all women—including lesbian women—desire strong father figures. You’ll also learn why Trayvon Martin deserved better than a father like Barack Obama, who once called Martin “my son.” Thank you, fathers. Without you, gals like me would go wild.

May
04

Hillary Tells Women: Be Puppets

By Katie Kieffer
Miss Piggy

Image credit: “Miss Piggy, passed out” by sharyn morrow on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Hi yah! Hillary Clinton throat punches her female voting base. You see, Ms. Clinton is a proud supporter of the Brooklyn Museum. She admires its high level of “service to the community,” like showcasing a painting of an African American Virgin Mary collaged with female derrières lifted from pornographic magazines and real elephant dung. “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” by Cristina Biaggi is yet another masterpiece in the Brooklyn Museum’s collection. The work features Clinton wearing a black mantle that she uses to enfold a group of women who she has purportedly empowered—much like the Virgin Mary is often depicted in sacred art. From Clinton’s perspective, these artistic displays must not seem racist, sexist or hateful. She has said: “It is not appropriate to penalize and punish an institution such as the Brooklyn Museum that has served this community with distinction over many years.” Most recently, Clinton stood mute as the Brooklyn Museum announced that Miss Piggy would receive its prestigious Sackler Center First Award. The Brooklyn Museum’s website declares: “The 2015 Sackler Center First Awards honors performer, actor, writer, and icon Miss Piggy, for more than forty years of blazing feminist trails with determination and humor, and for her groundbreaking role inspiring generations the world over.” Miss Piggy is a puppet, unlike past recipients of the award who have been humans. She is a stuffed toy hog bereft of brain and heart. In her forty-plus years of existence as a puppet, Piggy has been primarily played and voiced by men. In other words, Piggy is literally a puppet who depends on men for her life and voice. Which does not sound very empowering or independent. There are thousands of real American women who deserve recognition for their courage, philanthropy or innovation. Instead, caricatures like Miss Piggy and Julia (Obama’s cartoon woman who magically gave birth to and raised a son without any form of father) are held up as role models by our political leaders. It’s a bit ironic that the same women who idolize Michelle Obama’s muscular arms are honoring Miss Piggy—a gal who revels in unhealthy eating and fitness habits. Piggy is famous for her “Snackercise” plan—which prescribes working out by raiding the refrigerator. Isn’t it interesting that Clinton’s beloved museum is honoring a female puppet with a quick temper and thin skin? When four Americans died in Benghazi and some members of Congress questioned Clinton’s competence as Secretary of State, she famously screeched, “What difference does it make? Likewise, Piggy is famous for screaming “Hi yah!” while throwing a violent karate chop. I thought feminism was about motivating women to make their own way—without relying on men. Apparently, I thought wrong. “Who should ask whom out? As long as he’s paying, who cares?” is an example of Piggy’s classic parasitic lines. Rather than empowering women to speak their minds and be proud of who they are, Piggy encourages deceit. For example: “Love … trust … honesty. If you love each other, then he’ll trust you, even when you can’t be totally honest with him” and “If you place an ad in the “Personals,” Moi has only one word of advice: lie.” Overall, Piggy’s puppet character is very superficial (“There is only one gift you should accept on your first date: DIAMONDS”) and entitled (“If at first you don’t succeed, complain loudly until they give it to you”)—rather than sincere, competent and confident. I’m calling out Hillary Clinton here and now. If you truly want to help women advance, then show them what it means to support themselves on their own without deceit; without becoming a puppet for a man (i.e. standing by Slick Willie and using him to advance your own political career); and without making everything about you. Otherwise, Miss Hillie, you don’t care about women. You only care about buying their votes. Like Miss Piggy, you put “moi” first. You fight dirty—throwing metaphorical karate chops in the air when things don’t go your way. Well, now you are exposed. Hi yah! To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your next event or to book her for media interviews, please contact us here.

Apr
06

Finding Nemo at SeaWorld

By Katie Kieffer
Katie Kieffer at Discovery Cove Orlando. Photography by Ivan To for Discovery Cove.

Katie Kieffer at Discovery Cove Orlando. Photography by Ivan To for Discovery Cove.

In Finding Nemo, a whale helps a clownfish find his son; at SeaWorld, killer whales helped me dismantle PETA’s lies. Last week, I had the opportunity to tour SeaWorld Orlando behind-the-scenes. I observed how the theme park’s animals are trained and treated. I also learned that SeaWorld has rescued over 25,000 animals. On my first day, I had the pleasure of meeting four-month-old “Tenacious,” a petite Gentoo penguin, who let me pet her silky head. I also met “Jasper,” a four-year-old female penguin who is so friendly that she has a following of super-fans who regularly seek her out at SeaWorld. I can see why. Without prompting, she waddled over to me, tilted her head up and squawked. “She’s greeting you!” her trainer exclaimed. PETA has authored 110 press releases to depict SeaWorld as a place where whales go to die. A Beluga whale named Nanuq did recently die at SeaWorld. He was 32 years old, which is roughly the life expectancy of Belugas in the wild. With the exception of whales that it has rescued, SeaWorld has not removed a whale from the ocean in 35 years. I met 38-year-old “Katina,” a healthy killer whale who is one of the few who were removed from Icelandic waters many years ago. Killer whales were hunted and harvested in Icelandic waters at the time she was removed and that practice has continued to some degree today. Contrary to what PETA may say, removing Katina from the wild arguably lengthened her lifespan. All of her calves have been born at SeaWorld through natural insemination. Six dolphins leaping in tandem was my favorite part of SeaWorld’s dolphin show. I captured the moment on my camera along with a toddler in the front row—reaching his tiny arm toward the dolphins as if to say: “I want to jump too!” Zoos serve educational and therapeutic purposes for humans, and SeaWorld assumes these roles in a free market manner.
Dolphin jumping at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Katie Kieffer at Discovery Cove Orlando.

After the show, I went back stage and met Kelly Flaherty-Clark, SeaWorld’s Curator of Animal Training and SeaWorld veterinarian Dr. Chris Dold. I observed as four pilot whales—once stranded on a Florida beach and dying from severe dehydration and illness—now twisted and bobbed in their pool, squealing as they played with each other and their water toys. Flaherty-Clark has spent 28 years with SeaWorld. Her face glows with authentic passion when she tells the story of rescuing the pilot whales when they were washed ashore in two separate strandings in 2011 and 2012. The U.S. government requested SeaWorld Orlando to keep and care for the whales because they were deemed unfit for survival in the ocean. The scientific community knows very little about pilot whales. SeaWorld is one of the only organizations in the world to care for pilot whales in a zoological setting. Along with their non-profit research partner, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, SeaWorld will utilize their research to help better understand future mass strandings of pilot whales. Americans should applaud SeaWorld—a for-profit organization—for raising funds for animal rescue and research independently. Last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) created a “Top 5” list of wasteful scientists and he included an $856,000 taxpayer-funded study to train mountain lions to walk on treadmills. Silly as this study may sound, its goal was to develop collars for tracking wild carnivores and deter them from humans. Every ticket purchased at SeaWorld raises money for work that would go undone or be picked up—and in a less efficient manner—by the government. Activists insist that zoo animals would enjoy better lives in the wild. Which makes you wonder how much time PETA’s disciples actually spend in the ocean. You know, that idyllic body of water where plastic refuse strangles turtles; boat motors grind manatees up like hamburger meat; a plethora of pathogens attack killer whales; and mother dolphins are forced to abandon disabled calves. You also wonder if PETA’s followers have a penchant for napping through major world events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Because, post-tsunami, humans trained elephants to help clean up the massive wreckage in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Wild animals are willing partners in improving the world, but they need us to help train and enrich them instead of ignoring them. At SeaWorld, many of the “tricks” that whales and dolphins perform are extensions of actions they perform in the wild—like jumping and spy hopping. Several of the learned techniques, including providing voluntary blood and urine samples, allow trainers to provide the whales and dolphins with a higher level of healthcare than they would find in the wild. Blood samples also allow Dr. Dold’s team to gain incredible insights, such as whether a female whale is sick—or simply pregnant. On my last day, I visited SeaWorld’s resort, Discovery Cove. I swam with a dolphin named Hutch, a strong and gregarious animal who willingly whisked me through the water as if I were as light as cotton candy. Before I left, Hutch’s trainer popped over to ask me if I had enjoyed the day. I had. I asked her how she had become a trainer. It’s “competitive,” she said. “I drove four hours every Saturday to volunteer at Georgia Aquarium [the world’s largest aquarium]. I think that helped SeaWorld see how passionate I was about the animals.”
Katie Kieffer swims with dolphin at Discovery Cove Orlando. Photography by Ivan To for Discovery Cove.

Katie Kieffer swims with dolphin at Discovery Cove Orlando. Photography by Ivan To for Discovery Cove.

Like all of SeaWorld’s trainers, she then underwent a rigorous and structured apprenticeship. You see, before they ever touch the animals, rookies spend several years learning and proving their passion: scrubbing tanks, working the 4:30 a.m. fish bucket shift; and mastering animal signals. When I asked the trainer if she had a response for people who were concerned that the animals’ habitats are too small at SeaWorld she said, “The government has standards for caring for animals and ours are way higher. Everything our dolphins do is voluntary. If the dolphins didn’t enjoy this, I know they wouldn’t willfully come out here [to perform tricks and let people swim with them]. They get as much enrichment out of it as we do. Sometimes, a dolphin will decide [mid-show] that he wants to swim off, and that’s fine. I’ll let him go and call on another dolphin. We only use positive reinforcement. It’s all about the animals.” She smiled as she looked out over the glistening blue waters where the dolphins dipped and dived: “They have a pretty good life here.” When PETA gets you down, “just keep swimming,” as they say in Finding Nemo. Eventually, you’ll end up at SeaWorld: petting penguins; swimming with dolphins; and supporting one of the world’s most successful animal rescue and rehabilitation teams.

Feb
02

Common Sense Dictates Millennials’ Driving Habits

By Katie Kieffer
Car driving in Chicago along East Wacker Drive.

Image credit: “Another View of East Wacker Drive” by Jonathan on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Common sense is making a comeback among Millennials, who would rather cruise the open road in a gas-propelled hot rod than text, hug a tree, or drive a Tesla. Democrats and Republicans alike make the mistake of believing that Millennial drivers eschew common sense. For example, Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) thinks he will increase his popularity by pushing a massive gas tax that would add at least 16 cents to the price of every gallon. Meanwhile, in his own pathetic attempt to become one of the cool kids, Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-MN) was recently photographed standing beside his shiny new Tesla electric sports car. Like every good elite who tries to maintain his “public servant” image while driving a flashy sports sedan, Garofalo told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Tesla’s line of electric vehicles are beneficial to both humans and the environment. (Garofalo failed to note Tesla’s heavy reliance on government subsidies or Tesla’s rocky track record in proving the technological, environmental or economic superiority of its vehicles.) Many Republican strategists incorrectly believe that Millennials like myself are bleeding heart environmentalists. As we head into the 2016 elections, it’s important to understand that Millennials are actually common sense conservationists. My generation of 95 million Americans has the power to determine future elections—and it is in the interest of independents and conservatives to understand what we really think. MTV recently conducted a study finding that Millennials are more passionate about driving than texting—and that, given a choice, 72% of Millennials would rather abstain from texting for a week than forgo the freedom to drive for seven days. According to the MTV study, 75% of Millennials enjoy the freedom of cruising the open road and most of them are skeptics of so-called “green,” electric and fuel-efficient cars. Millennials told MTV pollsters that they do not believe fuel-efficient or electric technology is a practical long-term solution for American drivers. Millennials may be young, but we aren’t dumb. We know that many of the fuel-efficient car companies (i.e. Fisker and A123) have succumbed to bankruptcy and technology glitches—even after ample help from taxpayers. We know that Tesla turned out to be an example of how President Obama took money out of the economy to gamble on helping the already-rich get richer, particularly men who backed his 2008 presidential bid, like Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Lastly, we know that a group of respected scientists recently published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that ethanol- and electric-powered cars can be dirtier than those propelled by gasoline. Even green energy that is unrelated to motor vehicles has been shown to be harmful to the environment. For example, windmills are responsible for killing over 573,000 birds annually. It’s no wonder that Millennials hesitate to entrust their own bodies to the same technology that kills their feathered friends. At the Detroit auto show last month, muscle cars made a big comeback with new hot rods and high-performance sports cars like the Acura NSX, the Ford GT and Fiat Chrysler’s 700-horsepower “Hellcat.” Much like their Baby Boomer parents, Millennials will be a generation that falls in love with the All-American muscle car. Millennials are also becoming oil entrepreneurs, as I’ve written about in the past. Given that 14.4% of Millennials are unemployed—and 70% aspire to become entrepreneurs, Millennials tend to be economically vigilant individuals who place a high value on personal freedom. This is a generation that seeks to care for themselves and the planet via meaningful careers—without giving up the joy that comes from driving safe, fast and efficient gas-propelled cars. To further illustrate my point, I’ll employ the help of Kim Kardashian—whom you may know as the attractive Millennial woman who is famous for being famous. Kardashian is often spotted pumping her own gas—and it isn’t merely a publicity stunt to showcase her derrière. Like most Millennials, Kardashian loves the freedom of cruising the open road. Despite the fact that many of her fans are Millennials, you have yet to see a trend where Kardashian repeatedly poses for the Paparazzi while riding public transportation, Instagrams herself while standing in a field of windmills, or Tweets herself while filling the tank of a tiny electric coupe. You may have seen an episode of the reality TV shows Kourtney and Kim Take Miami and Kourtney and Kim Take New York. But you will never see Kourtney and Kim Take The Bus—because that’s not a commercially viable concept. Millennials don’t want to “go green” if it means “going naive.” In other words, they aren’t going to fall for so-called energy efficient technology if they know it is harmful to the economy (requires massive taxpayer subsidies); is technologically unproven; and is detrimental to the environment. For Millennials, common sense is ruling the road.

Jan
19

Why Orthodox Jewish Women are Happy

By Katie Kieffer
Orthodox Jewish Community

Image credit: “Mea Shearim” by Javier on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Orthodox Jewish women and conservative Muslim women both follow modesty rules, but Orthodox Jewish women are devout without abandoning their individuality and civil liberties. 26-year-old Hayat Boumedienneis the suspected accomplice in last week’s 3-day terror attack in Paris, France. Her common law husband, Amedy Coulibaly, murdered four Jews and a policewoman in a kosher Paris market. Boumedienne is now the poster girl for young, insecure Western women who abandon Western mores for radical Islam. Boumedienne’s close friend described her to France24 News as an emotional basket case “who often cries and has little confidence in herself.” After discarding her string bikini for a niquab and a crossbow, she became violent instead of loving and merciful. In other words, her radical religious zeal seemed to make her more dark and vengeful than serene and peaceful. Orthodox Jewish women in France now feel unsafe practicing their faith in public. Jewish women are emigrating from France to Israel in historically high numbers even as scores of young French women are being recruited by ISIS. It is crucial for you and me to ask whether political correctness is misleading women. Orthodox Jewish women who meticulously follow the Torah abide by “tznius” or modesty laws that direct them to wear stockings, skirts or dresses that fall below the knees as well as blouses that cover their elbows and collarbone. But the Orthodox Jewish woman’s face is always unmasked: her mouth is unrestricted, showing that her religious community values her voice and opinion; she is a unique individual; she is equal to men. A woman who is free to speak her mind would not feel compelled to cover her mouth with a black cloth. Orthodox Judaism recognizes that allwomen have a natural right to free speech, and therefore does not ask women to hide their mouths. Orthodox Jewish women who cover their hair with a wig after marriage are saving some parts of their beauty for their marriage—while retaining their freedom and distinct personalities. Even after marriage, Orthodox Jewish women retain their individuality and their femininity: waistlines, the shape of the lower legs, the slenderness of the ankle and other curves remain visible. Extremely religious men who respect women as their equals do not say: “I’m not killing you because you are a woman and we don’t kill women but you have to convert to Islam, read the Qu’ran and wear a veil,” as a shooter told Charlie Hebdo reporter Sigolène Vinson. Hundreds of teenage girls are fleeing their families in the United States and France to become the wives of jihadist fighters in Syria. Emotionally insecure and underage women are being tantalized with poetic promises of love, acceptance and a chance to fight alongside men. They are being whisked from their homes only to find that they have been duped into accepting a one-way ticket to a life of cooking, cleaning and sewing for violent extremists. These young women do not realize that they are choosing a life of servitude under the guise of piety. No one has the courage to tell these women that extremely strict Muslims do not have a track record of respecting and uplifting females. Instead, politically correct politicians like French President Francois Hollande mislead women into thinking that radical Islam is just as liberating as Orthodox Judaism. TIME Magazine’s Paris reporter Vivienne Walt told NPR: “these are not women who have grown up in heavily religious families,” they are “girls who have been radicalized at a fairly young age and rapidly” and they are “married off to fighters” for whom they are expected to keep house. Walt paints a portrait of their lifestyle as more restrictive than liberating: “these very much sound like women from the 1950s.” Certainly there are many Muslims of integrity such as Lassana Bathily, a store employee at the kosher supermarket in Paris who courageously helped police gain control over the violence on January 9. When Bathily escaped from the supermarket to give the police a key to the store, the officers initially assumed he was Coulibaly. The police pushed Bathily to the ground and handcuffed him before realizing he was there to help. But we also don’t hear repeated stories of Jewish, Christian or atheist men attacking their wives with acid; stoning alleged adulteresses without due process; or refusing to let women drive. As individuals, we must reject political correctness in our elected representatives and ourselves. Instead of trying to please everyone, let us strive to live our lives as we see fit while allowing our neighbors to do the same. This means being tolerant of others’ words, actions and faith—as long as they do not use their faith to justify violence, coercion or sexism. Religious freedom, not radical relativism, is the key to happiness.

Dec
15

Selling Sex (Allegations)

By Katie Kieffer
Lena Dunham

Image credit: “Fortune Most Powerful Women 2012″ by Fortune Live Media on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Lena Dunham and the federal government ain’t volunteering to advocate for rape victims; they would like compensation—in millions, please. Faceless and nameless men and women volunteer every day, all across the country, to counsel, shelter and heal sexual assault victims. Hollywood darling Lena Dunham is advocating for women too. But Dunham is neither offering women practical tools to deter rape nor taking a six-month sabbatical to volunteer at a woman’s shelter. She is offering a book, that women may purchase, containing her tale of rape. So, after contributing to Dunham’s coffer, a rape victim may read Dunham’s story in commiseration while crouching in the fetal position. Dunham’s latest memoir rushed to the top of bestseller lists, largely on the coattails of its most controversial section: the story of her rape by a Republican named Barry. There is nothing wrong with sharing factual stories with the goal of empowering women. But if you slander men in the process of drawing attention to females victimized by sexual assault, then you are aggravating the problem by fanning flames of animosity between men and women. “I don’t believe I am to blame,” Dunham said after all the facts indicated that the individual who she describes in her book as “Barry” is not a rapist in real life. More on that momentarily. The federal government is granting over half a million dollars to groups like the Magee Women’s Research Institute to study why “Obese girls consistently report having fewer dating and sexual experiences, but more sexual risk behaviors once they are sexually active.” Svelte girls go on more dates and have higher levels of sexual activity than obese girls because women who appear healthy are naturally more sexually attractive than women who appear unhealthy. Obama administration consultants like Jonathan Gruber think women are too stupid to decide for themselves whether to increase their dating pool by losing weight. Gruber’s groupies also know there’s a pile of taxpayer money to be stolen (er, I mean, raised) by pretending to care about women’s sexual health. Then there’s CA Gov. Jerry Brown, who keeps himself employed by birthing new legislation like “Yes Means Yes,” which makes it easier for women to accuse men of rape—while denying women the most modern and effective tool to deter rape, a firearm. Back to Dunham. In her memoir, she narrates her own date rape by using the rapist’s real first name as well as several other identifiers. Or at least she leads her readers to believe that the rapist’s real name is “Barry” because she does not inform them that she’s using a pseudonym like she specifically does when describing an ex-boyfriend. Dunham says she was aware of her attacker’s aggressive sexual tendencies and had already experienced a very invasive advance from him that, ironically, part of her “didn’t want to [stop]” before she asked him to spend the night at her apartment. When the ensuing sexual intercourse was “terribly aggressive” and he removed his condom, she felt duped. Dunham irresponsibly describes her attacker as a prominent Republican named Barry—despite the fact that school records indicate there was only one man named Barry attending her small liberal arts college in Ohio, and he happened to also be an active Republican. Dunham received so much pressure to correct the record that her publisher recently agreed to help cover real-life Barry’s legal bills and alter future editions of Dunham’s memoir to note that “Barry” is actually a pseudonym. If you care about protecting women from rape on campus, then you should support a woman’s right to carry concealed firearms on campus. Slandering men through careless reporting; writing empty legislation that makes it easier for women to slander men; and funding silly sex studies will not end the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. The million-dollar question is whether Dunham’s book would have done so well without a titillating story of rape tied to a verifiable individual who also happened to be a Republican. Sex sells in Hollywood. But allegations sell more—true or not.

Discover the clarity you need this Christmas…

"Let Me Be Clear"

“Let Me Be Clear” is available through Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.

Meet Katie, and pick up your own (signed) copy of Let Me Be Clear:

Saturday, December 20, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. American Legion Post 65 in Rosemount, MN Sunday, December 21, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Cheer on the Vikings!) American Legion Post 1776 in Apple Valley, MN Monday, December 22, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. O’Gara’s Irish Pub in St. Paul, MN (O’Gara’s was one of the late & prolific Vince Flynn’s favorite pubs.) ogarasbarandgrill Best Irish Pubs In Minnesota Tuesday, December 23, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. American Legion Post 47, Hastings, MN *Books will be available for purchase at the signings if you do not already have a copy.
Author Katie Kieffer signs copies of "Let Me Be Clear" in Dallas, TX.

Katie Kieffer signing books in Dallas, TX. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Oct
27

5 Political Halloween Costumes

By Katie Kieffer
Halloween Pumpkin Mt. Rushmore

Image credit: “Mt Rushmore” by PumpkinWayne on Flickr via Creative Rushmore.

Halloween is four days before the midterms. Get out the vote with a costume that expresses your inner politico. Here are five fun political costume ideas that will spark a debate at your Halloween party—and remind your friends to vote for freedom.

1.) Naughty Czar

The CDC’s lack of transparency and competency in managing Ebola makes the classic “naughty nurse” costume off-limits. It seems thoughtless to dramatize the health care professions while an American nurse and doctor exert every effort to heal from Ebola. It is far more tactful—and provocative—to be a naughty czar. Czars are unconstitutional. Alexander Hamilton explains in “The Federalist No. 78” that the legislative branch controls the purse strings and makes laws, the executive branch enforces the laws and the judiciary branch “may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment.” So, the executive (president) is supposed to enforce the laws—not bypass Congress and work exclusively with an army of minions called “czars” who carry out his or her whims. For this costume, you’ll need a crown, scepter and a royal-looking jacket embellished with fur, tassels and medals. Add a name tag that says “Hi, I’m the Naughty Ebola Czar” and you’re all set! If you’re going as a couple, have your better half dress up as the notorious Susan Rice—Klain’s “naughty boss.”

2.) No Toilets Allowed” Billboard

Second Amendment supporters: use your First Amendment right to free expression to defend your right to self-defense with this costume. It’s also the easiest of the five costumes. If you’re short on time, cash, or both—this is your go-to political costume. Write with a fabric pen on both sides of a plain T-shirt (or a cardboard sandwich board sign). The front should read: No Toilets Allowed. The back should read: 40,000 people/year are injured by toilets. Time to reevaluate toilet policy? #GunControl #PuerileLogic

3.) CinderHilla

To make this costume, wear a Hillary mask and Cinderella’s brown maid dress and white apron. Hold a broomstick and tape a sign to the stick that reads: Dead Broke. Cinderella started out as a pauper, but she worked hard—with a cheerful spirit—and eventually was rewarded for her hard work. Hillary Clinton did not begin her career like Cinderella—sweeping soot with a broken broom while wearing a smile on her face. Yet, to hear Clinton’s recent interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, you would almost think that she thinks she’s Cinderella. “…we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education, you know, it was not easy. Bill has worked really hard and it’s been amazing to me.” –Hillary Clinton to Diane Sawyer In the winter of 2001, as Hillary trudged out of the mansion that the taxpayers had lent her for eight years (i.e. the White House)—she clutched in her hand an $8 million advance to write a memoir for Simon & Schuster. Meanwhile, Bill managed to haul in $9.2 million in speaking fees that year. Clinton feigns to be a former pauper. Yet, she has lived a life of opulence while she and her husband’s actions and policies caused our country to go broke.

4.) Alfalfa (Law-)Suit

In case you missed the case of Starks v. Jimmy John’s LLC et. al., a woman is suing the sandwich maker for (no, I’m not making this up!) forgetting to add alfalfa sprouts to her sandwich on more than one occasion. For throwing a tantrum better than a two-year-old, the plaintiff will be awarded $5,000 and her attorneys will receive $370,000. Meanwhile other customers who feel similarly victimized may complete a form and receive a voucher for a complimentary side of chips, a cookie, a pickle or a soft drink. Protest the inanity of America’s hyper-legalized culture and wear a suit covered with alfalfa sprouts. Hold a sign that says something like: “I stand against stupid lawsuits. Don’t be a victim by suing business owners like Jimmy Johns for forgetting to add sprouts to your sandwich.”

5.) BO Cool

Forget Joe Cool. 2014’s hottest Halloween costume is BO Cool. Dress up like President Barack Obama, which is easily done by purchasing a presidential mask at a party store and accessorizing with dress pants, a blue tie and a white button-down shirt (be sure to roll up your sleeves!). Last week, former Daily Beast publisher Tina Brown told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that she feels Obama is leaving female voters “feeling unsafe” because: “they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody.” [emphasis added] For extra creative points, carry a small stuffed dog wearing a collar that says “BO.” Because cool men accessorize with eponymous balls of barking fluff. Have a fun and safe Halloween, everyone! Minnesotans: Meet Katie on November 1 as she signs copies of her new book, “Let Me Be Clear,” at Dunn Bros Coffee, 919 Vermillion St., Hastings, MN from 1 – 3 p.m.

Sep
08

Laugh On 9/11 With Joan Rivers

By Katie Kieffer
Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers. Image credit: “RIP” by Fatima on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Joan Rivers crushed 9/11 terrorists by laughing. So should you. If the doyenne of dark comedy were still alive, the Republican Party would win the 2016 presidential election by nominating Joan Rivers. First, because the GOP would be running an octogenarian grandmother against a slightly younger grandmother (Hillary Clinton) and Democrats could not accuse Republicans of attacking Clinton’s age, sex or grandmotherhood. Second, because Rivers had a self-depreciating sense of humor whereas Hillary has a mean streak (think Clinton’s dismissal of cookie-baking housewives or her “What difference does is make?!” screech). Third, Rivers would have been more adept at handling the fusillade of terrorism threatening America. Sadly, Rivers passed away last week at the feisty and energetic age of 81. However, as we approach the anniversary of the 9/11/01 and 9/11/12 (Benghazi) attacks, let’s take a cue from Rivers’ healthy but unconventional approach to tragedy. Rivers’ mechanism for coping with casualty was laughter. And Rivers was no stranger to misfortune. She was fired (more than once). Her husband and manager committed suicide. When Rivers was in her sixties, she discovered that her 70-something fiancé Orin Lehman was cheating on her. As a Jewish-American woman from New York, she was panged by 9/11 and the Holocaust yet she remembered and honored the victims of both calamities with humor. She used jest to fight back; she defeated pain by inciting laughter. Even her darkest humor was never an attempt to trivialize catastrophe. She had a serious side as well. Rivers had “6M” tattooed on her inner arm to honor the 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. Rivers once explained her motivation for encouraging Americans to find humor in 9/11 to her friend Kit Hesketh-Harvey: “I’ve got to do it. Because unless somebody does, America will go mad. Unless we laugh, they’ve won!” Rivers was right. Fear is debilitating. Fear compels Americans to accept futile government regulations (think pat-downs from TSA Snooper Troopers even as a terrorist manages to board a plane with a bomb in his underpants). On the other hand, humor is empowering and keeps us grounded. For example, a president with a sense of humor would be too grounded to blurt out ‘red line’ ultimatums that he would have to retract five seconds later. Humor is a particularly powerful tool for fighting modern strains of terror. Psychological warfare is the primary weapon of ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). ISIL thugs are employing videos depicting the beheadings of American journalists like James Foley and Steven Sotloff to paralyze Americans with fear. President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is not grounded. Narcissism rather than humility (which is bred from a sense of humor) seems to drive his decision-making. Photo ops take precedence over the U.S. Constitution when it comes to foreign policy (think his decision to bypass Congress and release five high profile detainees from Guantanamo Bay). We now have a proud president who bypassed Congress to authorize military intervention in Libya and ouster Moammar Gadhafi. Result? Libya is no longer safe for American diplomats, and we have pulled Americans out of the country entirely. Meanwhile, members of the Islamist-linked group Libyan Dawn just released a video showing their militants hooting with laughter as they party in the former U.S. Embassy in Libya. Unless we elect a new president with a healthy sense of humor, America will continue to lose her place as a world leader. You and I must find a way to honor and remember the Americans who died on 9/11. One way we can do this is by sharing the true story of Benghazi with our Millennials in a language that will resonate with them so they do not vote for Hillary Clinton. The 95-million-strong Millennial generation will determine the results of 2016 presidential election, and we must educate them now. The second thing we each can do is to develop a Joan Riversesque sense of humor. If Americans view terrorism through Rivers’ lens, we will be less likely to be taken advantage of by U.S. politicians who exploit our fear to push new regulations upon us at home—or by ISIL psychological warfare abroad. “I love when they say I’ve crossed a line,” Rivers once told Times of London journalist Tim Teeman. “On the scale of 1 to Osama bin Laden, I didn’t blow up buildings. I made a joke about Sharon Stone.”

Aug
04

Jesse “The Baby” Ventura

By Katie Kieffer
Baby crying

Image credit: “Not that happy then” by Christopher_Hawkins on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Jesse “The Body”? Who’s that? I’m a Minnesota girl and I only know Jesse “The Baby.” In September of 2012, I listened to my home state’s former governor speak at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. I felt embarrassed for my state. Ventura showed up in jeans, a tie-dyed T-shirt and long, straggly gray hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed or washed in days. No, he wasn’t going for “California casual” with jeans in a blazer. On top of his multi-colored t-shirt he donned, not a classy sport coat, but a 90’s-style color-block windbreaker. He was trying and failing to look young, cool and hipster as he spoke to college students. Nearly two years later, Ventura has cut and washed his hair and polished his wardrobe. He’s swapped his rummage sale rags for a classy black suit and blue tie. His wardrobe may have changed but Ventura is still embarrassing me. He persists in making Minnesotans look like babies who drool when they draw out their vowels. Last Friday, Ventura won a lawsuit against the widow of late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Jejune Jesse complained that Kyle defamed him and permanently ruined his reputation. The question is whether Ventura had a reputation worth defending to begin with. Ventura has said: “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.” On his 50th birthday, Jesse Ventura showed up in with a crown of flowers on his head and a pink hula skirt swishing at his hips. When he was a pro wrestler, he wore a feather boa and apparently never outgrew the accessory. Dan Creed, who once managed the governor’s mansion, attested that Ventura would leave a pink boa strewn across his bed. Ventura is tough. He’s manly. He’s Teflon. Can’t you tell? In his book, Kyle describes a 2006 fight in a California bar after the death of Navy SEAL Mike Monsoor. Kyle referred to Ventura only as a “celebrity” in his book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” Yet, during his book tour, Kyle revealed that the “celebrity” who he punched in the bar for saying that the U.S. Navy SEALs “deserved to lose a few” was indeed Ventura. Oops. Life Lesson #999: Critique a pubescent man and be prepared to hear him bawl. And can Jesse bawl. Ventura sued Kyle for defamation shortly after the release of “American Sniper.” About a year later, Kyle tragically died when he and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot in broad daylight at a shooting range in Texas. Their murderer was a young Marine veteran named Eddie Ray Routh who Kyle and Littlefield were trying to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. After Kyle’s death, Ventura persisted with his lawsuit by suing the executor of Kyle’s estate, his wife Taya Kyle. Who sues a SEAL’s widow after her husband tragically dies? Moreover, who says “There are no winners in this trial” after winning $1.8 million as Ventura did last Friday? No one in America was thinking about Ventura until he sued the Kyles. Ventura’s reputation and earning potential were hardly tarnished for perpetuity; Ventura had already tarnished his own name for perpetuity. By 2012, the year he sued, Ventura and his wife reported $190,000 in gross income—down from the $3 million they reported in 2003. Ventura’s career was at a standstill and now he has gained cash and the limelight while Kyle’s wife will never get her husband back. Ever. If Ventura weren’t so greedy perhaps he could see himself as a winner. Kyle’s wife and children will get the last laugh. Her husband’s book is currently a number one bestseller on Amazon. Meanwhile Clint Eastwood is directing a movie (out in 2015) about Kyle’s life. If the movie does well, expect Ventura to go crying to his mommy. World Net Daily calls “Let Me Be Clear” one of 2014′s Top Books. Here’s the full story. “Let Me Be Clear” is available on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble or iBooks.

Jul
13

Socialism Punk’d Millennials

By Katie Kieffer
Millennial woman.

Image credit: ‘”Mirror of the soul” #11: Stacy’ by AP Photographie  on Flickr via Creative Commons.

“Here’s your drink, darling,” the bartender said with a smile. He seemed upbeat as he made drinks and greeted customers. “Do you like your job?” I asked him. “I hate it,” he confessed. “Honestly, I hate my job.” I keep running into young people who put on a show of being happy with their lives but, when probed a bit, quickly concede that their smiles mask trials. A few days ago, I met a young woman who told me she works as a hairdresser at two different salons while seeking work in her desired field. The next day, I met a young man who volunteers and bartends while searching for full-time work that utilizes his college degree. Millennials are the most highly educated generation in American history. We have more diplomas and more student loan debt than our parents and grandparents did at our age. Over a third of Millennials (a 40-year-high) are living at home with their parents as they struggle to find jobs and pay off their student loan debt. It’s crucial that Millennials hear the truth about socialism so they can dig themselves out of this mess and move on with their lives. Educating Millennials on Socialism vs. Capitalism Reason-Rupe released the results of a survey last week showing that 64 percent of Millennials favor “a free market over a government-managed economy.” Sounds like great news, right? Not so fast. Millennials need more education. When you dig deeper into the Reason-Rupe survey it becomes crystal clear that Millennials are still very confused about the benefits of a free market system and struggle to differentiate between capitalism and socialism. Despite the 64 percent figure, only 52 percent of Millennials told pollsters that they favor capitalism whereas 42 percent favored socialism. As you can see, despite saying they embrace free markets, many Millennials don’t understand that socialistic policies are responsible for the Great Recession and millions of young people conflate socialism with freedom. This is why, according to a 2014 Harvard poll, a slim majority of the Millennials who do plan to vote in the 2016 presidential election say they will vote for Hillary Clinton. On the one hand we have millions of young voters telling pollsters that they feel duped by the current administration and they support the free markets. On the other hand, Millennials don’t realize that Hillary’s socialistic policies would dig them into deeper economic depression. A Window of Opportunity Independents and conservatives have a major window of opportunity before the midterms and 2016 presidential elections to educate Millennials. In 1964, author and philosopher Ayn Rand was interviewed by Playboy Magazine and she defined socialism as a “doctrine which proposes the sacrifice of the individual to the collective.” Defined thus, socialism would repel Millennials—70 percent of whom say they aspire to become entrepreneurs according to the 2014 Millennial Survey by Deloitte. Conservatives and independents would be wise to inform Millennials how Bill and Hillary Clinton pushed many redistributive ideas, such as government-controlled healthcare, long before Obama did. Millennials need to know that Hillary Clinton would be Barack Obama 2.0. Young people will be shocked when they see that we can trace the entire economic crash to the socialistic housing policies of Carter, Clinton, (to some degree both Bushes) and Obama—but particularly, Clinton and Obama. Millennials are too young to realize this, so I tell the little-known story—and offer alternatives—using my own background in real estate. Please join me in helping Millennials realize the difference between socialism and capitalism—and why the former political system is responsible for the current economic downturn. Once Millennials realize this and get involved in public policy, they will move closer to moving out of their parents’ basements and finding jobs that they love. In a free market system, the only hairdressers and bartenders will be those who aspire to work in these roles—which will mean better looking haircuts and better tasting cocktails for the rest of us. Minnesotans! TONIGHT: Hope you can attend my MN Book Signing Event this evening, Monday, July 14, at Starbucks Coffee at 3450 Pilot Knob Road in Eagan, MN from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Bring your copy of “Let Me Be Clear” – available at your local Barnes&Noble store – and I’ll happily sign.