Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DHS Newspeak and National Security--Help Big Sis' Out?

Mini-home malquoted doubleplusungood. Dayorder rectify goodthink for prolefeed bellyfull before Two Minute Hate.

There are times that it just seems apropos to use Newspeak from George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 to cover the security issues in America, particularly regarding the Department of Homeland Security (Mini-home).  In the early days of the Obama Administration, Pentagon officials were warned not to refer to the Long War or the Global War on Terror but instead to bluster bureacratese “Overseas Contingency Operations”.   Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to avoid refering to 9/11 or terrorism but preferred such euphemisms as “Man made disasters.” The Obama Administration considered what  Major Nidal Hasan in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, where 13 people were killed and 29 injured was not homegrown terrorism or domestic jihad (despite the shooter screaming “Allahu Akbar”) but was a workplace violence incident.

Alas, this “nuanced” approach is not limited to Newspeak.  Just before the tax day protests which launched the Tea Party, HomeSec Secretary Napolitano sent out a nine page warning to Law Enforcement Officials on Rightwing Extremism, which including a sweeping threat assessment:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

So Tea Party types, an older skewing demographic which gather in public places to extol elected officials to “Read the bill!” or “Follow the Constitution” are slimed as extremists with the power of the Federal Government.  Yet DHS took a more subdued approach to the Occupy Wall Street movement, despite evidence in a heavily redacted report that there was coordination amongst the anarchists and serious border crimes like human and drug smuggling.

Americans were encouraged by the Obama Administration to follow the successful New York City campaign “If you see something, say something.”   This pro-active approach from citizens thwarted the attempted Times Square bomber, uh I mean man-made disaster, of May 2010. But Obama’s Department of Justice under Eric Holder, is aggressively suing states for enforcing Federal Law on Immigration (ala Arizona) and trying to ensure voter integrity in the election process.  Moreover, President Obama’s ukase to temporarily suspend deporting illegal aliens who may qualify for the proposed DREAM act legislation has the practical consequence that Border Agents will not try to protect the border or engage in deportation cases.  This is especially true considering the DOJ hotline for deportation detainees to rat on their jailors for supposed civil rights violations.

Securing the nation’s borders and defending the nation’s security are two important enumerated responsibilities of the Executive Branch. DHS Secretary Napolitano testified before Congress last week and blithely admitted that terrorists may cross the borders from time to time.

Napolitano claims that the southern borders are heavily staffed., despite the Obama Administration’s new rules of ICE engagement, the toll-free tattle tale line and closing six ICE offices in Texas in Arizona in conjunction with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s 1070 law.

So to translate the Newspeak slug which lead this piece into Obama era oldspeak “It is really not good that the Department of Homeland Security is quoted on something that is no longer operative. The order of the day is to rectify this by issuing alternative rhetoric which Joe-Six packs will whole-heartedly accept as part of their infotainment before the daily ad hominem attacks against our opponents.

Discerning Civic Values--Chicago Style

After Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy dared to publically express support for the traditional definition of marriage of being one man and one woman, there has been a cacophonic chorus of progressive politicians condemning the chicken restaurant chain.  It is inconsequential that Cathy expressed his personal views on a public policy that is not settled law.  Moreover there is no evidence that Chick-fil-A violates the law and discriminates in their restaurants, liberal leaders are quick to fillet Chick-fil-As.

In fact, Chicago Mayor (and former Obama Administration Chief-of-Staff) Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) went so far as to say: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.” It is disturbing for an elected official like Emanuel to use his public office to rail against a private business. But he also seems to be applying a civic values test to conduct business in Chicagoland.

Francis Cardinal George, a native Chicagoan who just happens to be Archbishop of Chicago had some thoughts on this Chicago values test purported by Mr. Emanuel.

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.” …

 People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free. Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.
Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice. The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens. 

Mayor Emanuel seems to have selective indignation and criteria for doing business in Chicago.  Earlier in the month, when Mayor Emanuel was asked about the epidemic of gang violence in the Second City, “Rahm-bo” retorted:
We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them. And it is about values. As I said then, Scott [Pelley of 60 Minutes], who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them.

OK, it seems that Emanuel will tolerate the illegal activities of gang bangers (robberies, burglaries, drug dealing), so long as they stay away from the kids.  If Chicago values mean just means to whole heartedly embracing homosexual marriage, then what about President Barack Obama who, up until his supposed evolution in May, had opposed Gay Marriage while supporting their civil rights?

Catholics just celebrated the “Fortnight for Freedom” which was a coordinated nationwide effort of prayer, fasting and instructions to educate Americans on the importance of preserving the sanctity of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution–namely, the right to freedom of speech, assembly and the unfettered exercise of religious beliefs. As this Chick-fil-A attacts show, unbridled government officials (Mayors, Cabinet Secretaries like HHS Chief Sebilius and even Presidents) need to be reminded of this First Freedom.

As Americans discern whether to preserve the traditional understanding of the covenant of marriage, we ought to affirm our tolerance and diversity for individuals of integrity who do not bend to the imposition of values of men rather than divine truths.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Unboxing Popular Culture

Nerds can be willing to spend enormous amounts on kitschy tchotchke which seems to relive their fantasy obsessions from childhood. Think of the gaggle of geeks from the television sit-com “Big Bang Theory” where Shelton wanted to get his vintage Apple II signed by the great Woz. Or the prized mint-in-box Wesley Crusher Star Trek action figure from Will Wheaton. Or Shelton being tempted to play with the mint-in-box Star Trek Transformer Device by a hallucinated voice of Leonard Nimoy.  The value to collectors revolves around signatures and being pristine. Ironically, the obsession to be mint-in-box usually negates the pleasure of enjoying the item.

This phenomenon is not just a Hollywood exaggeration. Fan boys are fulminating over the auction of a rare Star Wars promotional poster.  The 1978 poster seems kind of silly, with the ‘Droids bedecked with philharmonic instruments to promote the Star Wars Symphonic Suite.  Even though the item is considered somewhat uncool because of the symphonic campiness, it is a rare piece of memorabilia AND it is signed by Star Wars creator George Lucas.  Therefore this geek grotesquerie will probably sell at auction for between $5,000 and $8,000.

Rather than ridicule the Star Wars Symphonic Suite as an unopened package for being cute yet conventional marketing, I suggest enjoying the symphonic suite composed by John Williams.  It is a contemporary classical piece that resonates in the popular culture.

It is certainly has more class than "Nick Winters, the Lounge Lizard" (a.k.a. Billy Murray) and his Lounge Medley from Saturday Night Live.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is Obamanomics More Like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Evel Knievel?

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a children’s fantasy story written by Ian Fleming later made into a 1968 movie about a junked race car which was transformed by an eccentric inventor into a magical automobile which could sprout wings when it hurled off a cliff.

Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel was a Montana born daredevil who gained national attention from the mid  1960s through the  1970s for his attempts to jump over objects like the fountain at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 1967, 13 buses at Wembley Stadium and the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.  While Kneival did have some successes in his stunt entertainment career, he also managed to break 433 bones during his career. 

Despite the near rocket power engine of the Skycycle X-2, the drouge parachute deployed early and the prevailing winds dragged it back south into the canyon short of the goal.  Having enough horsepower to make the leap  is not the only factor of success, as Knievel nearly managed to make the 1966 Caesar’s Palace jump and the 1975 Wembley jump but did landed hard and crashed. The problem with being a daredevil is once one engages in risky showmanship then that individual becomes practically uninsurable. 

Unfortunately, Obamanomics and petty partisan showmanship is threatening to thrown the American economy off the financial cliff.  President Obama has fully invested in class warfare by demanding that the rich pay their fair share and demands that Bush era tax rates expire for those making $250,000 or more a year.  The problem is that windfall from such a demogogic economic policy would only raise $40 Billion per annum, which would only fund the Federal government for eight days. Yet the Taxmaggedon  hikes would shrink the economy by 1.3% and cost 710,000.  This is foreseeable as small businesses would be walloped by these proposals.  It sounds compelling to stick it to millionaires (or those who make $250,000 per year), but many of those are S-Corporations, which are small businesses that combine personal and business income for tax reporting purposes.  Small businesses are the job generators in America.

Congressional Democrats has gotten into the high flying daredevil act on the economy.  To gain political leverage for Obama’s class envy policy of raising the rich’s taxes, Senate Democrats are willing to raise everyone’s taxes unless there is a tax hike for the rich.  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) the prospective Chair of the Senate Banking committee in the 113th Congress, has declared that she will filibuster any lame duck session fix unless Democrats get their way.  This would mean that the Bush Tax rates would expire for everyone and taxes would go up across the board.

Of course, taxes for Obamacare will commence.  The .9% payroll tax on upper income tax payers and the 3.8% tax on “unearned income” will further erode any steam in America’s economic engine.

Super-Committee Protestors on Capitol Hill
Another impediment to economic growth from the District of Calamity is sequestration.  In order for President Obama to be given authority to raise the debt limit by $2.1 Trillion  in August 2011, Obama agreed to the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011. 

 Congress agreed to a $900 Billion spending cut and commissioned a Super-Committee to find another $1.5 Trillion in cuts.  Since the Super-Committee was stymied in reaching legislative agreements, a triggering mechanism will activate a series of automatic across the boards cuts split evenly between military and civilian spending.  A Chmura Economics and Analysis report indicates that a staggering 2.1 million jobs will be lost due to willy nilly sequestration. The reality of these cuts on the military side will mean that personnel rather than weapons in development will be slashed.  Lest this report be dismissed because the  Aerospaces Instustries Association sponsored report is looking after its own, the Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 notes that 48,059 jobs in healthcare, 98,953 in construction, 473,250 in manufacturing and 617,449 federal jobs are at risk. That will affect the well-to-do economy of federal workers between the beltways, but the prospective layoff notices may not be issued until after election day in November.  How convenient.

Considering that the $837 Billion of Porkulus stimulus spending of 2011 has done nothing to increase jobs vis-a-vis doing nothing, the combination of prevailing winds should further ground prospective economic growth.  We may not have to wait until New Years Eve 2013 to discover that our economy will not soar to Vulgaria like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But without a parachute  and without significant economic propulsion, the American economy will likely crash after being pushed off the fiscal cliffs just like Evel Knievel on an unlucky jump.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Atheists' Umbrage at Obama’s Movie Massacre Prayer

Just hours after to the Midnight Movie Massacre in Aurora, Colorado, President Barack Obama recast his re-election campaign rally into a more somber public appearance. Mr. Obama encourage Americans to put aside politics as he called for a day of prayer and reflection.

 President Obama concluded his remarks in Fort Myers, Florida with a brief prayer: “May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in hard days to come.” These temperate remarks to the grieving American public trying to process the 12 people murdered along with 71 others shot seemed quite Presidential.

Unfortunately, atheists expressed at Mr. Obama’s attempts to offer spiritual succor to the nation. The Center for Secular Humanism Tom Flynn opined that Obama bent the rules against the establishment of religion with his remarks. To wit, Obama’s oration excluded Americans who do not worship the “Lord” or those are atheists.

It is no surprise that gun grabbers, like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-R-I) to quickly jump on this Dark Knight Rises shooting as an excuse to further restrict Second Amendment rights. It took less than six hours for the Lamestream Media to seek to link the tragedy to targets of their ideological agenda. Brian Ross, the supposed chief investigator of ABC News, broke into Good Morning America to report the suspicion that the shooter had links to the Tea Party (which were absolutely off base but where does a wrongly identified person get his reputation back?).

Atheists have been striving to impose their secular creed which imposes freedom from religion in the public square. While it seems that such secularists have a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment establishment clause, it is more unseemly that purveyors of the atheist agenda did not have the decency to wait a day to hang their hook on such a sad news story.