Category Archives: Values

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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Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Culture, Life, State of the Nation, State of The World, Stupidity, The American Dream, Time, Truth, Values

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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Obama Vacations; The Commander-in-Chief to Fight Terrorism? Nope.

$4000/NightI think that I should start this out by saying that I am hard on our current President. Right or wrong, the criticism is for two reasons:

  1. I don’t think that he is qualified, nor does he deserve, the highest office in the nation, let alone the responsibility that comes with a leadership position in foreign affairs. Especially those of a military nature. (He is just the 14th President without such experience, Bill Clinton being our last non-military President, at number 13. The men that walked before, some historically notable, include: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.)
  2. He doesn’t have the political track record to warrant being the President. He reminds me of the end of that Eddie Murphy movie, “The Distinguished Gentleman,” where, after all sorts of political hi jinx in Congress, the end of the movie shows the Freshman Congressman (Murphy) losing his office. His final words about being kicked out of Congress? “I’m going to run for President!”

So, bitch away about how Obama did this, or did that…just remember the following quote by Albert Einstein:


“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

I am certainly glad Barack Obama’s on vacation! Especially since there is nothing going on… Yes, dear voters, our beloved American chieftain, although in office but a year, has vehemently protected his family vacation, refusing to be disturbed. Well, that’s not true; he’s been disturbed, but not enough to return to Washington. Actually, since the taxpayers are fronting the money for his $4000/night villa (along with the two adjacent homes), I certainly want him, and the fam, to get their money’s worth our money’s worth. Luckily, we aren’t in an economic crisis or anything since the nightly rental (totaling $44K) is more than many a family’s income for a year.

Sasha, Malia, Michelle, please enjoy. Like as not, you won’t be back until Barack is out of office. Have fun for the last couple of days…go to Lucy’s Bar and Grill. Live it up. Don’t let your consciences get in the way…the foiled terrorist attack on US soil and a suicide bombing (highly successful) in your absence. Sleep well.

Nobody may have liked either Bush President, but at least they’d return to the White House from vacation when there were International issues that needed attending. Yes, they’d go back when there was mischief afoot. Why? Because their role was man in-charge, the title, simply: PRESIDENT. Sole responsibility? America, and all affairs American.

Obviously I didn’t vote for the current man on vacation, but I do expect him to drop his vacation when a CIA station is bombed. I expect the man-in-charge to be at the helm, steering the ship; I don’t expect him to call-in from vacation and offer condolences; we’re paying him to lead the country, not degrade those who put their lives on the line by calling in his condolences.
I also expect quick, and extremely brutal retaliation, and a concerted effort to take the fight to Afghanistan. The Taliban is turning the people against that US by increasing the murder of civilians, and while innocents are sacrificed in the name of Allah, they will eventually turn against the West. We lose. Unless we take the fight to the Taliban and actively seek Osama, we lose. Unless we proactively strike targets and disrupt the entire way of life for Afghani/Pakistani Islamic radicals, we lose. Of course, if we do nothing, we lose as well; that just gives the jihad more time to plan and grow. It’s been a long time since any terrorist attacks on US property…nearly a decade.
The only time the radical Jihadis have attacked? When the pressure was abated..the US, stagnant.

Obama is not the man for the job, although I wish he were at least half a GW. Our only hope, honestly, lies in another tragedy.

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Filed under Ethics, Life, Misguided, Morality, Morals, State of the Nation, State of The World, Stupidity, terrorism, Time, Truth, Values

Downtrodden Take Heart: Freedom Does Not Cost You At All

Chain BrokenThere is an amount of pride that comes with being an American citizen; the only way that you’ll be able to appreciate, though, is by losing it. Or, like many, begin without it. I’m proud to be an American. I was born here, not brought here. I did not flee here from somewhere else due to an unfair government, persecution, or crime. I didn’t sneak over in search of a better life,  better living conditions, or a better opportunity. I did not arrive as a war criminal a prisoner, or a prisoner of war. I’ve been able to marry since birth, was afforded the right to vote, and had the privilege of serving my country with little more than a background check. I haven’t been aligned with any group of U.S., or non-U.S. persons that have been racially or religiously profiled due to their affiliation, whether innocent or guilty, with radical groups that commit heinous crimes in the United States or against her citizens and properties in foreign countries.

Living under the auspices and freedoms of the United States of America, I was not born in the wrong city, the wrong body, in the wrong era, near the wrong neighborhood, living in the wrong house, to the wrong parents who wrongly treated me. I did not I was not sent to the wrong school, never got shot at by the wrong crowd, and never killed the wrong person while aiming for someone else. No, I went to a school where I was given the choice to get an education, or not. I applied to jobs where I chose to work, or not. I was approached by the wrong people, and I had a chance to take the easier road, or not. When I made the grades to get into a college, I had a choice to attend classes, or not.

I did not attend classes…a choice that led me to fail college within the first four months. Which caused me to get put on academic probation. I lost my housing, my funding, and my shot at college. Thus, the military.

The military doesn’t provide many choices, so my chances for success immediately improved. I received a Security Clearance, a duty station and a job. My duty station was at a Law Enforcement (LE) and Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit These privileges came with responsibility; I learned to fight, became a marksman and a sharpshooter, and had to show up at my post on-time. I also had to pay taxes and vote.

About a year and a half later, I attended “A” School for telecom installation and maintenance in California.

I spent 9 years in the military, and decided to leave when former President Clinton decided to downsize the armed forces because it meant that I would not get promoted. I was third in line to move up, and the powers that be decided that I would not make it that year, and possibly the next.  So I bailed and went back to college, graduated, and here I am today.

I suppose that in a small way, I should be understanding of all of the downtrodden groups of Americans who cry out that their rights have been violated because the American way of life that they’ve been enjoying for most, if not all, of their lives are somehow now not meeting their freedom-based, perceived needs.

Wasting our time, our money, and our attention on various propositions that, if not voted upon in the desired manner, take to the streets and cry “FOUL.” Their attitude, of course, that when Democracy does not go “their way” then it’s not fair; their God-given rights have been violated, although they do not believe for the most part in God. Well, the truth of the matter is that you really don’t have any rights unless they are given to you. Just because you live in America does not mean that America must bend to your needs, and as an American that has actually given his will to his country, maybe it would be better for all involved if you just got out…you’ve got nothing to lose, after all. America isn’t fair? Move. Leave. Go.

We have become a country that puts the needs of your tiny, meddling, superficial groups to the forefront because our leaders are afraid of being called biased. We spend a lot of time on you…and you know exactly who you are…hearing out your court cases and legal summaries as to why things should be this way, or that way, to be truly fair. Instead of seeking a new haven as so many millions have sought America, you instead use fear and hate to spread your doctrine.

It’s a doctrine that is destroying our country and our way of life. Congratulations. While you wage another protest, or sit-in, or attack, the real danger awaits outside our borders. While watching you, we’re forced to take our eye off the true danger. Move to Mexico, Canada, or the Middle East and establish your lives there…I don’t care where you go just as long as it is not here. Goodbye. Good Luck. Get Out. You say that you want freedom and equality, yet you hold the country hostage. I’ve but one more thing left to say: The World Does Not Revolve Around You.

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Filed under Misguided, Morality, Morals, Self-Regulation, State of the Nation, State of The World, terrorism, The American Dream, Time, Truth, Values

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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