Category Archives: Culture

Democrats, Coffee Parties, and Health Care, Oh My!


Distress Signal

Now that we’ve been force fed a health care policy that 70% of the population did not want, but 100% of the Democrats in Congress did want, it’s time to take an assessment of things. I just read that CNN’s ratings were plunging – so far, in fact – that some of their biggest host’s (Anderson Cooper, Larry King) ratings show half their audiences have fled. Clearly, CNN is flummoxed as well because they can’t blame it on Republicans as they did last year.

You may, or may not, remember this: In June 2009, CNN’s co-founder Reese Schonfeldwrote the network’s poor ratings were due to Republicans and “Obama detesters.”

“Why is this happening when the country still seems about 58-42 in favor of Obama?” Schonfeld asked. “My best guess is the passion of those who detest Democrats, liberals, and in particular, Barack Obama.”

CNN had one of its worst quarters to date, while Fox News experienced its best quarter ever, topping all other cable news programs. Once dominant, CNN can’t seem to figure out the mix of personalities and programming that will push them back to prominence.

Health Care reform is a mess, and the nation is still in the midst of its worst economic period in the past 70 years. Unemployment is above 10% in most areas, but evens out nationally around 9.9%. Our President, God love him, is trying to do what he thinks is best for the nation, but the nation doesn’t agree with him. According to the latest (today’s) Rasmussen Poll, 31% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -10.
Negative 10? That sucks.

The Coffee Party, in case you don’t know, was formed as the antithesis of the Tea Party. It’s a pro-government (Democratic) organization whose mission statement reads:

The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

Which doesn’t make sense because – clearly – the nation doesn’t agree (see health care reform and Presidential approval rating, above). So, basically, the Coffee Party is weak coffee, sans caffeine.

After the health care act was made into law, some of those who voted for it stated that they were receiving death threats. What did they think was going to happen, a “thank you” from every American? Funny that these drastic death threats only continued for a week.

So, as an overall synopsis, we’re still in a tailspin with no signs of the parachute deploying. In fact, it may not be a parachute strapped to our backs at all; it might be lead weights.

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Can TSA Secure the Nation’s Airports? Not Anytime Soon.

It seems to me that the TSA agents aren’t the well-trained “security specialists” that we need for our nation’s security. To be a screener, the requirements are:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • High school diploma, GED or equivalent; OR
  • At least one year of full-time work experience in security work or aviation screener work; or with x-ray technician work

Flying Jet

So, if you have one year work experience in the field, you don’t have to be a U.S. Citizen? Better yet, you can be a  non-citizen who dropped out of high school, as long as you’ve got that year in the field. The sarcasm is intended. (I do realize that this is most likely a typo, with the first and one of the second being requirements.)

It’s doesn’t seem that hard a position, looking at luggage all day for bombs, weapons, etc. In most cases, the employees are able to sit as bags are scanned.  As the line of defense between a bomb and an airplane, they don’t seem very stressed or vigilant, mostly talking nonsense with one another while travelers are held hostage in lines that wind through temporary barriers like a snake that’s lost the smell of its prey.

Not all agents are hooked into their own world; some are vigilant, seemingly in-charge of the mass chaos caused by the Crotch Bomber and the Shoe Bomber.  The training program must be intense as half the agents I’ve spoken with are uneducated urbanites that can’t string sentences together. Mostly, they’re worried about the stewards or stewardesses moving through the throng. There is training, and yes, they receive it. Transportation security screener candidates must successfully complete training, including:

  • 40 hours of classroom training
  • 60 hours of on-the-job training
  • A certification examination

Whoa. Hopefully this includes some sort of hand-to-hand combat or  weapons training (baton, asp, mace, etc)? How about crowd control? A course in screening what a terrorist would look like?  While I don’t expect the TSA to be paramilitary, I do expect at least some ability to respond & react. Is the TSA capable? What if a riot, or an attack takes place at an airport?  If not the TSA, then who? The city police force?

Airport Lines

No disrespect to the police, but they don’t seem qualified unless they’re in a major metropolitan area and have worked with, or in, a JTTF unit. When I think of the police force fighting terrorism, I’m sucked back to the footage of the two Los Angeles bank robbers, armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, wrapped in Aramid armor, walking down the center of a North Hollywood street. Their automatic weapons spitting mayhem, the rounds passing through squad cars the street with weapons spitting out rounds that went through squad car engine blocks. The LAPD,  overwhelmed by the firepower, had to commandeer weapons from a local gun shop with enough power to cut the gunmen down. Still, it was 44-minutes of terror on the streets as North Hollywood turned into a war zone.

While the bank heist was 12-years ago, the police weren’t able to call for any back-up, and they needed it as the shooters were armed with military ordinance. The National Guard, the Army, or any other military entity would be the obvious choice, yet none were contacted and none responded; after all, how would the on-scene police commander call in the coordinates for an AH-64 Apache strike? The two forces, the police and the military, can’t even communicate with one another; their radios are purposely set on different frequencies.

The TSA has fallen under scrutiny in the past months for acts committed by employees:.

  1. Five employees were suspended in December (prior to the Crotch Bomber’s escapade) for allowing the TSA’s procedure manual to somehow be posted online. The document was the procedure manual for TSA’s security screening personnel, outlining those exempt for screening, those to be screened closely, what to look for on certain individuals, what security credentials look like for various Federal Law Enforcement officers, high-risk targets that will always get screened, the spacing between bag screenings, etc. Every single page was stamped with:  “WARNING: This record contains sensitive security information … No part of this record may be disclosed to persons without a ‘need to know.”
  2. A security breach at Boston’s  Logan International, a couple is going to court for selling the identities of 16 TSA workers. The IDs were stolen by the woman’s niece, a contract worker in Human Relations for the agency. The Boston man and woman then sold the names, DOB, SS, and etc for $40 each to another person that set up accounts under their names for cable, gas, and cell phones.
  3. A man walked the wrong way through a TSA security checkpoint in Newark, NJ, shutting down the entire terminal and highlighting that airport security measures are inadequate. Reviewing the camera footage proved useless; the camera’s didn’t pick up the breach.
  4. A TSA employee was nabbed illegally selling counterfeit parking passes to the TSA parking lot at LAX,  and further investigation turned up a video tape showed partying TSA screeners at the man’s residence. The tape showed the agents drinking and using narcotics. No arrests were made as the TSA quietly dismissed the employees. Not even LA’s Mayor was made aware of the breach, finding out about the incident after a speech he gave touting the airport’s security. The employee selling the parking passes was set free when no one came forward with proof he’d sold the passes.

While it’s clear that security is still a huge issue at the nation’s airports, what’s not clear is what, if anything, is being done to keep the TSA in-check. Millions rely on the agency to screen and capture terrorists but the TSA seems unable to keep the skies friendly.

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United States, United Kingdom to Close Yemen Embassies

Al Qaida in Yemen

Al Qaida in Yemen

Shortly after learning that CIA Forward Operating Base Chapman had been rocked by a terrorist attack, killing agents and contractors alike, and the Yemeni connection to a foiled terrorist attack on an airliner in Detroit, both the United States and the United Kingdom have decided to close their embassies in Yemen. The French, as if they really matter much, have done the same.  The reasons behind the closures also include several attacks on UN workers living in, or near, United Nations’ compounds in the Middle East.

The US and Britain are keeping the embassies closed for a second day due to threats from a local branch of the al-Qaida terrorist network. There’s no news as to when the embassies will reopen. Both al-Qaida, and the Taliban have stepped up their terroristic attacks against their own people, targeting those that haven’t supported, or have shown defiance, toward the terrorist regimes.

The U.S. President, still on vacation, sent his top counter-terrorism man, John Brennan, to handle the press. Brennan, according to a CNN news report, stated that the embassy had closed due to evidence that that al-Qaida is is planning an attack in Sana’a against a diplomatic “target.”

Langley

CIA in Langley

This is the second time the U.S. Embassy in Yemen has been a target for al-Qaida; in 2008, two car bombs rocked the front gates. Gunmen then attacked, leaving 16 dead between the attackers and Yemeni soldiers.

The Yemeni government has their hands full, fighting a two-enemy front on their own soil; on one extreme, al-Qaida, the terrorist organization allegedly run by Osama bin Laden (allegedly only due to the fact that many of the attacks seem to be carried out without his knowledge) and Shi’ite Muslim fighters who are attacking along the Yemeni border with Saudi Arabia.

While there’s not been any retaliation of any sort from the United States, it should be said that since Obama’s on vacation, it’s quite possible won’t happen until he returns at the end of the day, today.

Hopefully the terrorists won’t realize that we don’t take any action while our current  Pres. is on vacation…

We can only hope that the CIA goes rogue and begins to retaliate against their enemies without approval. After all, there’s really nothing to lose since the armed forces surge has yet to start and there doesn’t seem to be much of a plan. The CIA has typically committed its best work “off the books” and it seems high-time we get back to cold-war tactics to fight a war that is just beginning to heat up.

While I may not be the only forecaster among bloggers nationwide, but I predict that we’re going to take some heavy loses in 2010 unless we put both al-Qaida, and the Taliban, on the run.

By the way, we should probably get that New York terrorist trial underway and execute the men responsible…by taking off their heads and sending them back to their families. Mob rules, American-style. It’s better than waiting to be attacked, sitting on our hands.

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Taliban Threatens United States

Don’t you love terrorists? Punks that come to the United States and live it up away from their Jihad-loving brethren that, when they’ve failed in the US, return home and join “the movement.” They’ll fly an airplane into a building, yet are afraid to show their faces. Reminds me of the good old gang-bangers in Anytown, USA. Speaking of which, why are we sending the military to Afghanistan? Why don’t we start rounding up the gangsters and give them some new territory to protect? Wanna talk terror? The only way this war will be won is by fighting fire with fire. Let the true brutal Americans, unbound by the rule of law, fight the Islamic fanatics that believe they’ll see Paradise soon. They will go to see Mohammed much sooner than they thought…I’d bet on our local urban warriors anytime.

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One Nation, Divisible


HouseDivided

A House Divided: America’s Inside Battle

There is one reason that should keep you, my fellow American, from sleeping at night:  Our once great Nation, The United States of America, is on longer the industrial, military, or financial leader on the world stage. No, although we might be the only country capable of claiming “Super Power”  is no longer an industrial leader, a military leader, or a financial leader on the world stage. We might be the only Superpower left on the planet…but if  this is true, why do we feel so unsettled and exposed?

America is a House Divided. Although I don’t agree with certain things “Pat Buchanan,” he has his moments; in my opinion, he nailed it when he wrote:

While America was consumed this summer with quarrels over town-hall radicals, “death panels”, the “public option” and racism’s role in the plunging polls of Barack, what happens to health care is not going to change the history of the world.

What happens in Afghanistan might. [Emphasis-Mine]

Gen. Stanley McChrystal has done his duty. He has bluntly told his commander in chief what he must have in added combat troops and warned that if he does not get them, America faces “mission failure.”

Was the commander in chief listening? Probably not, but who knows? The only time that he seems to pay attention is when there’s a sound byte or photo op attached. Maybe he did listen. My respect for him went out the window the first time that I saw him not salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance. He is the final military authority in the Nation, and maybe the world, and he won’t pay homage to the Nation that allowed his family to enter the country, set up their lives, and take a shot at the American dream? He fucking fulfilled it, but he won’t respect it?  Of course, when 18 US Soldiers killed in Afghanistan were returned to US soil two weeks ago, Obama made a surprise trip to pay his respects. At first I was impressed, which is rare when it comes to Barack Obama; then, I realized it was all PR as we were one week away from Veteran’s Day.

Mohammad, Mastermind of 9/11

Yes, our house is in chaos; yet, we spend our precious resources  on Olympic bids, Harvard professors, and ensuring we’re in the history books, while the nation suffers. Meanwhile, our soldiers fight a war against radical Islamists on two separate fronts. To Obama’s credit, he did salute the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where it’s written: HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Obama for everything, just the things in his control. His approval rating just dropped below 50%, and despite the obvious photo shoot set-ups, his PR machine is faltering. Government transparency, his gospel political promise, has been pretty much forgotten, although that may be a result of his internet accounts being hacked twice since he’s been in office.

No Pledge

No Pledge President

I do blame senor Obama for the Khaleed Sheik Mohammad (KSM) debacle. What kind of President decides to put KSM, a terrorist mastermind, and other 9/11 terrorists on trial in the Federal Court system? How does Eric Holder, the Attorney General, guarantee a guilty verdict and the death penalty? It’s almost like this man has never practiced law in his life, because he just offered up grounds for a mistrial, a trial that’s  going to be a mockery, or the fact that this is all part of the Obama show. It’s too bad that GW didn’t kill those bastards when he had the chance. Watching Eric Holder get grilled in front of the Senate was my favorite moment of this year. Obviously coached on what to do, what to say, and how to answer questions, Holder was crushed under the obvious stupidity of his actions. The OJ Simpson trial went off the rails; what makes Holder think that he can guarantee anything, let alone a verdict at what is supposed to be a fair trial.
At least, under Bush, I never worried that he wouldn’t take the moral high-ground, all public opinion aside, he would take the correct action. (We, all of us, loved Bush and Giuliani following 9/11…Left-wing Senators and Reps. voted to attack both Iraq and Afghanistan in case you don’t remember…If you;re bitching that I’m referring to an execution  as morally correct, you might as well stop reading here…you aren’t prepared for truth). Yes, killing those that killed thousands, to most of America, is usually considered a just punishment. Although most of America doesn’t read, or even  understand the Bible, capital punishment is approved.

The signs are all there that the nation is coming unglued. Although the murder rate changes year-to-year, one thing is certain; murders are more brutal than ever, and are often committed without serious thought to motive. People are murdered for looking at someone funny. An Islamic Psychiatrist, MajorNidal Malik Hasan decides to conduct his own cleansing by killing 14 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. Although shot several times and paralyzed, he lives, ostensibly, to be put to death. At least Military Justice is swift and sure. Yet, our highly trained intelligence services, and the Army, weren’t able to put things together until after the murders. Like the problems encountered prior to 9/11, none of our clandestine groups collaborated; the CIA has some information, the Army had some information, and the FBI had some information. Yet, due to pride or stupidity, they don’t speak…leaving the door open for hijacked airplanes and

Zawahiri Recent Photo

Meanwhile, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Bet you didn’t know that…but they do. And, in Peshawar, Pakistan over the last week the government’s decreed attacks on the Taliban strongholds. Although the government’s decision was supported by the populace, it’s the people who are paying the price. The Pakistani government is now in a tenuous situation as non-combatants have become the prime targets for suicide bombers. Since these, non-Koran supported and spineless attacks began:

More than 240 people have been killed and 665 injured in the wave of attacks on Peshawar, which have included a car bombing at the provincial headquarters of the ISI intelligence agency and an attack on a popular market which killed more than 100 people last month.

The city has borne the brunt of a Taliban onslaught in retaliation for the Pakistani army’s offensive in South Waziristan, where jihadi leaders have created a safe haven for al-Qaeda militants.

All have been killed in the name of  Allah. As with the aholes in the US that commit murder-suicide, it’s simply a disillusioned coward’s way out of claiming responsibility. Funny, but none of the higher-ranking Talibs seem to be that eager to meet Allah…it’s always those that are disenfranchised and disillusioned. I guess the Talib leaders don’t want paradise.

Zawahiri the Idealist

Prior to the late 1980s, there were no really no suicide bombers. For Sunnis, it was against the will of Allah. For some, “Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has called martyrdom operations:

“the greatest of all sorts of Jihad in the Cause of Allah. A martyr operation is carried out by a person who sacrifices himself, deeming his life less value than striving in the Cause of Allah, in the cause of restoring the land and preserving the dignity. “

Yet, even in most Islamic sects, suicide is morally reprehensible and separates the Muslim from God. Radical Islamists, dealing with either fanatics or impoverished converts, have taken the Koran and corrupted it for their own purposes. Unbelievably, it was the justification of one man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, founder of al-Jihad, that pulled it off. An extremely bright surgeon trained in Cairo , Zawahiri, also known as The Teacher is the unseen force behind Jihad.

“In 1998 al-Zawahiri formally merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda. According to reports by a former al-Qaeda member, he has worked in the al-Qaeda organization since its inception and was a senior member of the group’s shura council. He is often described as a “lieutenant” to Osama bin Laden, though bin Laden’s chosen biographer has referred to him as the “real brains” of al-Qaeda. Zawahiri provided radical Muslims the ultimate jihadist’s goal: Dying for Allah. Suicide and murder, especially of innocents, are forbidden in the Koran; yet under Zawahiri’s corrupt preaching anything that goes against Muslim, or Jihad, automatically is less than Islam and Allah. Thus, voting is seen as being against Islam, and therefore Democratic nations are automatic enemies. Zawahiri, the founder of Al Jihad and Bin Laden’s founder of Al Qaeda don’t really have much in common, personally or politically.

Desperate fanatics are drawn to one another, and in this case, each man had something the other wanted: Bin Laden stole his entire “belief system” and Zawahiri basically needed the money, which, at the time their paths crossed, Bin Laden possessed. Al Jihad became a part of Al Qaeda three years prior to 9/11. The terrorist organization now had a brain with a purpose. Soon, America would feel the effects of fanatic martyrs and launch two wars that would last from 2001 to present day.

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Was Heene Crazy, or Did Reality TV Drive Him There?

Heene Family

Heene Family

Children seldom misquote. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said. ~Author Unknown

C’mon…you’ve got to be kidding me. Another story of a family where children are used  by off-kilter parental figures working an angle to snag their 15 minutes. This family was already on Wife Swap, so didn’t anyone tell them that theirs was up?

Guess not.

Must be a slow news day, because Balloon Boy is all over the place, and now, Richard Heene, the so-called Patriarch of the Heene clan, along with his wife, Mayumi, may now be facing felony charges. Depending on the charges, this faux drama may cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, their freedom, and their children.

That’s a lot to risk to be on a TV show. That’s a lot to risk, period. I feel like shaking Mr. Heene and repeating after my father: What in the world were you thinking? Don’t you ever think about the consequences? I didn’t, but I was still a kid. Mr. Heene, and his wife, are supposedly capable adults, although they seem to be bent on some wilder pursuits, like extreme experiments and of storm chasing…

The whole story is troubling, especially with Jon & Kate literally coming apart on national TV, a spectacle played-out in front of the entire cable-viewing world. I’ve long believed that TV, and especially reality TV, is risky for those that seek the spotlight because it destroys the truth and fabricates a pseudo-life, tossing the “stars” into the spinning blades of fame and celebrity long before they’re even close to being prepared, or equipped, to handle the pressure of life on camera, 24/7.

Of course, there’s the cost of lying, which seems to be affecting the six year-old boy more than anyone:

The story, as it broke, in a chronological sequence:

  1. Falcon Heene, age 6, is reported to be in a mylar balloon that has been untethered by his family. After Richard realizes that Falcon is gone, he runs after the balloon. It is all caught on videotape, presumably by Mayumi Heene.
  2. Heene makes calls. First is to the media. Second is to the police.
  3. Search and rescue efforts are launched…helicopters, police cars, etc.
  4. The balloon lands, no Falcon.
  5. Falcon mysteriously appears at home, supposedly in the garage the whole time because his dad yelled at him.
  6. Later, child innocence comes into play when he is asked why he had hidden in the garage, “You said it was for the show.”

…and a little child shall lead them (ISA 11:7)

Which is when everyone, including the police, were let in on the scam, albeit accidentally. Unfortunately for the Heene’s, this leaves the family exposed and in jeopardy financially and criminally, and may split the family apart.

Again, the shaking, the words, “What were you…?”

Criminally, Heene and co. are facing up to $500K in Felony criminal fines and 6 years in prison in addition to the bill for the Search and Rescue operation. However, according to reports, there’s not much money to cover the S&R tab, let alone the criminal fines.

A Reality TV Conspiracy?

As of early this morning, reports have surfaced that the hoax was months in the planning, purportedly to gain exposure for a reality TV deal that had been sketched-out, but wasn’t final, as of late last week. This morning, Heene’s friends are slated to go on national morning shows to answer questions regarding information that he had a theme song, and a name for his show, Psyience Detective, already laid-out.

The Larimer County Sheriff, Jim Alderden, who is leading the investigation is quoted:

“There’s a pretty clear indication from what we’ve seen so far that there are others who had planned a publicity stunt involving a spaceship,” Alderden said.

The sheriff speculated that some members of the entertainment media could have been involved. At least one show, he said, had already paid the Heenes since the balloon launch. He refused to identify it.

Ah, the joys of reality TV. Pulling in the ratings without airing a single episode.

To see Heene prior to his stunt, check out some of his YouTube vids. Yes, the Heene’s had a YouTube series.

The really cracked part of all of this is that he’ll probably end up with a show…

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Man in Moon Reports Shots Fired

NASA

There’s a classic tune by Bruce Cockburn called “If I had a Rocket Launcher,” and, as the title implies, the tune covers the things that Cockburn would destroy if only he had a launcher! Each line at the end of the verses, states;

  1. I’d make somebody pay.
  2. I would retaliate.
  3. I would not hesitate.

Hmm. Although a political song to help raise awareness, it doubles as a fun terroristic personal mantra…just insert the things that YOU would destroy and the song becomes an anthem. I can think of some targets, but for fear of ending up on some list for writing about what I would destroy, I should probably generalize:

…PETA, Nazis, white trash, thugs, certain politicians, Osama Bitch Laden, Mississippi, Keating, Madhoff, assholes, etc…

However, it seems that if there are not enough rockets going off in the world these days, what, with a war on two-fronts and promising wars in far off places. I know that in Chicago, we are tired of gun fire and kids being beaten to death. So tired, in fact, that there are rampant bumper stickers and billboards showing pictures of children that say “DON’T SHOOT. I want to grow up.”
don'tShoot2

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we, as Americans, tend to shoot at things that we don’t understand (UFO’s, animals, one-another) or if we shoot at things that we are tired of seeing (mailboxes, street signs, one-another), but it’s seems a bit ridiculous to shoot the moon to “see if there’s water.”

The cost to shoot the moon? A mere $79 million…chump change. The chump part, of course, fulfilled by American Taxpayers because we’re paying for it.

Although I’m sure that there are great minds behind the mission, the only other thing that I’m sure of is that sometimes things don’t go as planned, a fact proven by the fact that we had to adjust the shot because we were going to miss?

After the correction, the The Age reports a Northrup Grumman employee stating;

”The spacecraft is looking great. I don’t think we could miss the moon now if we tried…”

We can target military weapons with such precision that we hit what we’re shooting at from miles away, but we have problems hitting the Moon from Earth?

Maybe we shouldn’t be shooting at it.

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