Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Enemy At The Gates

On Feb 10, 1970, three terrorists attacked a bus at the Munich Airport armed with guns and grenades. One passenger was killed and 11 were injured. The Action Organization for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack. If one is so inclined, a cursory search of the State Department's website lists a seemingly endless array of terrorist attacks committed by radical Jihadists going back close to 40 years.

In February of 1993, radical Islam reared it's ugly head on American soil with the first bombing of the World Trade Center, leaving 6 dead and over 1000 injured. The Federal Government lists over 25 separate and active Islamic terrorist organizations operating around the world, yet despite the best efforts of law enforcement and vigilant prosecutions, bombings, kidnappings and high-jackings persist. Prior to Sept 11th 2001, many warned that a sort of global tunnel vision had emerged, which viewed terrorism, wherever it occurred, as just another manifestation of crime, to be dealt with by the auspices of the civil justice system as various countries saw fit.

The temptation to view terrorism as a matter of domestic law enforcement is a direct result of the quick and easy prosecutions that are obtained through civilian trials. The proponents of this worldview are fond of using past convictions as a shining example of how the criminal justice system provides swift and exacting results. It is indeed tempting, but also extremely misleading. If we are to measure success in terms of incarceration, then many a Federal prosecutor can rightly claim that terrorism is best left to civilian jurisprudence.

The most glaring examples are the chest puffing by Attorney General Eric Holder over the current trials of the 9/11 conspirators in New York, and the Clinton administration's prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. But what is the goal of national security? As Andrew McCarthy asked on NRO's The Corner, "...does litigation success equals national security success"? If Friday's foiled attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on it's descent into Detroit is any indication , it's clear a return to the previous strategy is not working.

Following calls for her resignation after boasting that the administration's Clinton style anti-terrorism strategy prevented the attempted bombing, HHS Secretary Janet Napolitano finally conceded that the country's security structure had "failed completely". Even Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs has resurrected the administration's once forbidden phrase "war on terror". In fact, the administration not only bungled the lead-up, they are horribly bungling the aftermath with mixed signals, conflicting statements, and ever-morphing euphemisms.

For close to eight years, under the vigilant policies of the Bush administration, America remained safe. We were at war, and the foot soldiers hell bent on destroying us were treated as enemy combatants. But as the years passed, images of the two majestic towers collapsing to the ground in a plume of fire and smoke became a distant memory, and the public grew apathetic. Liberals were hell bent on allowing captured terrorists to be treated as common criminals at the dock, with the full rights and privileges of the American justice system, and a young Senator from Illinois with eyes on the Oval Office was willing to oblige. This return to a failed 40 year old policy led to a day that almost cost the lives of close to 260 Americans. President Obama believes that because Abdulmutallab's improvised exploding underpants malfunctioned, this is a no harm no foul situation. Nothing could be further from the truth. The administration seems to be in a national defense free-fall, and - as McCarthy laments - sorely missing the point:

"Here, no thanks to the government, the plane was not destroyed, and we won't get to the bottom of the larger conspiracy (enabling the likes of Napolitano to say there's no indication of a larger plot — much less one launched by an international jihadist enterprise) because the guy got to lawyer up rather than be treated like a combatant and subjected to lengthy interrogation. But the terrorist will be convicted at trial (this "case" tees up like a slam-dunk), so the administration will put it in the books as a success . It is a dangerously absurd viewpoint, but it was clear during the campaign that it was Obama's viewpoint. The American people — only seven years after 9/11 — elected him anyway. As we learn more painfully everyday, elections matter."

Umar bragged to law enforcement officials shortly after his capture that more attacks were planned and on the way, but he has now, as McCarthy points out, "lawyered up", and Homeland Security is desperately trying to resurrect the policies of the Bush administration that had managed to keep Americans safe for the better part of a decade. But have we really gotten the message, and for that matter, what is the message? I think Daniel Pipes put it best when he sagely warned;

"Diplomacy in general does not resolve conflicts, ... Wars end not due to peace processes, but due to one side giving up. Ultimately, there is no compromise. Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not.”



Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas - Blogging by Numbers Edition

Happy non-denominational, pan-ethnic, globally inclusive late December!!!! But seriously folks, Merry Christmas to all, and that means a special Christmas blogging by numbers!!!

1- It's refreshing that, this year, there seems to be less of the usual sand-poundingly stupid attacks on our treasured Christmas symbols. For the first time in years, I've been seeing all the cherished cartoons I loved as a child showed nightly on TV. In the various cities to which I travel, there are Nativity scenes proudly displayed in front of City Halls and other civic buildings. There are fewer aggravating stories about school boards banning red and green construction paper and Salvation Army Santas being kicked off curbs. When we ban the Christmas symbols of our Christian heritage because a certain group feels offended, we like to think we are being respectful of others' beliefs - but we are not. We are only catering to their intolerance.

2 - It looks like fascist, I mean President Obama gave out some early festivus gifts to those pesky democrats who wouldn't play the Pelosi/Reid health care shell game. The Dems won yet another round in the health care blowout after Senator Ben Nelson finally sold his vote for full and permanent federal aid for expanded Medicaid goodies for his state. Sen. Mary Landrieu got $400 million in federal aid under her Christmas tree, and billions more ended up in the stockings of Senators from Mass., Florida, New York and Vermont. Backroom Chicago politics imported to the capital for all, just in time for Christmas.

What do the American taxpayers get? Well, the CBO says you'll be getting $800 billion dollars in new federal spending over the next decade, cuts in Medicare Advantage plans that would force about 8.5 million seniors out of the coverage they would prefer, and across-the-board payment rate cuts for hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies. Yay! What a deal. Keep up those tea parties, my dear friends - your representatives won't be losing their generous health benefits. Don't let them take this any further.

3 - My father in law recently underwent some unpleasant knee surgery. Thankfully, all went well, but he appears to be favouring a plastic broom handle over his rather functional crutches to get around. He kind of looks like a dollar store Gandalf, but he's rather attached to this dangerous home crafted walking aid, and I have the feeling this is going to end quite badly, making his certain catastrophic fall an overnight Youtube sensation. He's starting to put some weight on the knee, now I just hope he can part with the broomstick.

4 - Give a 40 ouncer to a homeless guy on Christmas day. Yeah, it's not the help he needs, but, come on.

5 - Claire and I are looking into adding to the family in a year. She got a pamphlet about fertility, and it says guys should keep their jewels away from tight clothing and heat, so I guess my unitard/hot tub nights are over.

6 - Have a wonderful Christmas. Be kind to everyone, remember to keep Christmas well, and read this blog.

Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Radical Left and The Creepy Cult of Green

I watched Sling Blade for the second time in almost a decade, and Billy Bob Thornton's portrayal of Karl Childers reminded me a little of what Joe Biden might sound like if someone hit him over the head with a baseball bat, shaved him bald, and yanked his pants up to his nipples;

"They got me a job with the President...some people calls him a socialist, I calls him the President. Hmmm. He brought two fellars up there from some college that weren't getting along proper..hmmmm. We all drank some beers. Bible says a man shouldn't take to drinking and I figure the good lord knew what he was talking about after we was about done, ah hmmmm. Sometimes the President...some people calls him Obama I calls him the President...he says he'll give me some french fried pataters if I got sense enough not to talk so much. I reckon that's a pretty good arrangement, um hmmmm"

I bring up Sling Blade because, in the movie, Billy Bob Thornton's antagonist, Doyle, is a volatile sociopath whose laid back good naturedness is nothing more than transparent window dressing to hide his otherwise dark and unpredictable nature. Granted, this is a weak segway, but I thought the Biden bit was pretty damn funny.

I recently had a (thankfully) brief rekindling of a friendship with a radical socialist friend of mine, whom I hadn't spoken to in almost a decade. It was a bizarre but telling window into the strange Kabuki theatre of the extreme left and how their perceptions of the conservative movement - and the world for that matter - seem limited to parroting talking points spit out by the callow hacks at the Huffington Post. The HuffPo has always struck me as a kind of cyber saloon where discredited journalists and a rogue's gallery of other has-beens gather together to form tightly packed manure balls to stuff into their Trebuchet of lunacy.

Radicals who get all dressed up trying to look respectable usually use the same MO. I've seen it so many times I can spot it quicker than Columbo on his best day: They whisper about how they're secretly disappointed with the hostile tone of their compatriots on the left, and (not so) subtly remind you that they've been to Europe so they can use terms like "social Swedish-style democracies" and mention, without the slightest trace of irony, "how different the Euro-right is". Then, faster than you can say "Dorothy Hewett on a corndog", they spin around like Linda Blair's head in the exorcist and begin moaning about being stuck in a world of uneducated morons who only listen to Glen Beck and think women shouldn't use "big words". Usually the good people they claim to be so savagely victimized by are tolerant and educated folks whose only crimes are working in the oil industry and not living in a constant state of fear about an imaginary warming trend that will wipe all of mankind off the face of the earth.

Of course, there is the usual stock footage: Frothing at the mouth and throwing cyber feces at Sarah Palin for the unforgivable crime of attending a cancer benefit; Recycling discredited reports by unethical scientists to give each other high five reassurances about how climate change is an undisputed fact; and of course, living in a state of perpetual victimhood.

The thing that really creeps me out is the fervent, almost evangelical, pulpit pounding zeal when they discuss environmental issues. They kind of get, well, all Jehovah's Witness-y on you. I half expect them to whip out some green version of "The Watch Tower" with David Suzuki on the cover.

As the green intelligentsia camp out in Copenhagen - taking advantage of comped CO2 spewing limos and sampling the after hours local delicacies - they're finding themselves up against a tide of scientific elites who have finally found their voice after years of threats and intimidation spearheaded by the tribal mentality of environmentalists. They are also having to answer to an increasingly skeptical public wondering if their "green lifestyles" have been nothing but hollow gestures to prop up a cargo cult that has fueled a multi-billion dollar industry (we'll touch on that later in my Climategate piece I'll have up in a few weeks).

What disturbs me the most about some foot soldiers of the green movement is their glazed-eyed, batten-down-the-hatches, straight-jacket-with-the-sedatives craziness they seem to possess. Environmentalism, to some, is a sort of pre-packaged quasi-socialist religion. Fundamentalist Christians are often ridiculed by the left for believing that if man doesn't change his ways, the end is nigh. They share a lot more with these folks then they would care to admit. The apostles of the environment believe that if man doesn't change his ways it will trigger a global Armageddon juggernaut that will bring floods, famine, and a Mad Max society where we will be using our neighbors' skulls for soup bowls. The biblical end of days doesn't differ all that much from the more secular death and destruction scenario brought to us by the tree huggers (anyone see 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow)?

Oh, but back to the creepy Wilsonian aspect of all of this. Last week in Copenhagen, journalist and documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer was stopped in the middle of a question to Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider by armed UN guards at the request of Schneider's assistant. McAleer, a global warming skeptic, was ordered to stop filming, manhandled, and threatened, even though he had full press credentials. When I asked my socialist friend whether she was disturbed by this, she responded;

"They were inconvenient and irrelevant questions".

It seems the pacifist anti-gun crowd doesn't mind silencing dissent with the butt of a rifle when journalists ask "inconvenient" questions. Armed response to "protect" the environment is OK, but roving wire taps to prevent terrorist attacks is unacceptable.

I wish UNAMIR would have felt as passionate about genocide as the UN as a whole feels about "pointless questions" from journalists. Maybe some of the 800,000 people slaughtered in Rwanda would still be alive today.

Today in Copenhagen, hundreds of bored young Europeans and rich white American progressives are shouting for the global community to amp up it's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. Several of the protesters are waiving large flags of the former Soviet Union, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the evil ideology that is Communism has killed over 100 million people. I'm sure many who escaped the horrors of Stalin's Gulags could tell these folks quite a bit about waterboarding.

I doubt any of them would listen. They're too busy being victims of invisible bogeymen, shadow governments, and the military industrial complex. If you have a radical liberal on your Christmas list, maybe you should buy them a crowbar. It might help them pry the nails out of their hands and feet so they can come off of their crosses....Oh wait! Crosses are symbols of patriarchal Christian oppression. Scratch that. Buy them a Snuggie instead.



Sunday, December 06, 2009

Giggity! Blogging by Numbers!

Well, it's been a few days, and I suppose you good folks are expecting a blog or something of the sort. I thought maybe I could distract you with this Youtube video of a giant bouncing ball, but my paint sniffing webmaster assures me that cats don't account for any fraction of the various demographic groups that read my blog. Some of my leftist/Marxist demographic may still be watching the video and have long since forgotten they were reading this, so we'll continue on without them. Let the blogging by numbers begin.

1- Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane seems to be making good on his promise to back off the left wing preachyness that was beginning to make the show boring. I've always loved that MacFarlane holds nothing sacred, and that there is no line he will not cross. The problems started when the writers of the show made the fatal mistake of forgetting that a satirist must never think himself above that which he is satirizing. To his credit, he's gone a step further and made the show's Prius driving liberal character, Brian, the butt of the majority of this season's most cutting jokes. Hats off to the folks at Family Guy for creating this scene, which has quickly become one the show's most memorable moments - and thank you.

2 -Who would win in a fight? A Navy SEAL, a real seal, or the singer Seal?

3 -Lots of you are wondering if I'm going to tackle climategate. The myth of global warming has fueled a multi-billion dollar industry for close to twenty years, and while we addressed it quite regularly on the old website, it's not something I've written much about over the last few years. The recent release of emails that were discovered after hackers broke into the server at the CRU have finally proven that a group of scientists have been hiding data, manipulating statistics, and silencing critics by intimidating the editors of publications that print research articles contrary to their own findings. Phil Jones, the head of The Climate Research Unit, has been forced to resign, and the media is finally realizing they can no longer turn their heads and hope this will go away. I've already started what will be a rather detailed piece on the issue, but it's a labour of love, so sit tight.

4 - Claire and I were worried about the crazy homeless guy who lives under the bridge near our home after he was chased away from his newspaper padded nook by a gang of more aggressive panhandlers (Apparently, the politics of begging can be quite nuanced and complex). After a couple of weeks of not seeing him, I was oddly relieved to find him hiding in the trees across the street. Well not exactly hiding in the trees, but standing very still next to a tree. Claire and I help him because he is certifiably insane, and not just some guy who only needs to sober up. He proves this quite often when we overhear him quoting biblical passages that involve Paul's Letters to the Corinthians mixed in with lyrics to Kenny Rogers' songs.

"I say onto thee, as our Father told us, you've got to know when to hold them..."

5 - I'm not kidding about that last part.

6 - Hey! Speaking of the Green Guardians at the Gate in Copenhagen, it's nice to know that the rules they are hell bent on imposing on the bigbadcorporations don't apply to them. The current "carbon footprint" of the defenders of the environment rings in at 1,200 Limos and 140 Private Jets - not counting the emissions from the mounds of pseudo-scientific horseshit that will be emanating from the conference all week.

7 - Challenge: To those who continue to make the bizarre comparison between the perpetually medicated Amy Winehouse and the brilliant Regina Spektor - if you can find one Winehouse song that sounds even remotely like this song by Spektor, I will admit on this very organ that Spektor is, indeed, just another "emo" hack.

8 - Have a great weekend, and watch out for the man!!



Monday, November 30, 2009

Mr. Nice Guy - The Final Word on The Internet Age

It may come as a surprise to those of you who have never met me, but I have somewhat of a reputation for being a "nice guy". Not the kind of "nice guy" actors like Steve Carell are always portraying, who are so socially awkward and bumbling they are more the object of pity than respect. Nor am I the "nice guy" of lore who is eternally doomed to walk the earth as a single and lonely man playing the role of the perpetual sympathetic ear to every broken hearted girl - the male version of "always a bridesmaid, never a bride."

I won't irritate you with the list of things you might find on the last page of a YMCA job application, but I will say that I've always taken a certain pride in being known for my warmth, courtesy, good sense of humour, and quick wit - but lately, a strange phenomenon has been occurring. Some seem to be questioning that warm and fuzzy feeling they once harboured toward me. They're no longer quite sure what to make of me. A strange look crosses their face - kind of like the look you see on people who keep swigging from a carton of eggnog, trying to decide if it's gone bad or not.

It seems that with the dawn of social networking sites, people are discovering that I'm a Stephen-Harper-loving, George-Bush-cheering, Iraq-war-supporting capitalist. I have no use for quasi-fascist politicians like President Obama or Jack Layton (or the NDP as a whole for that matter), environmentalists, socialized medicine, socialism, or people who think that wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt makes you cool.

This is nothing new. I'm a university educated political scientist who's been writing about politics and the media for close to 15 years. In 1999, my former website "The Rant" was voted one of the top 5 conservative sites, and my blog has been mentioned by some of the largest political websites on the Internet, and was even referenced twice by a New York Times #1 best selling author. After my wife, my faith, my family, and maybe music, American politics has always been the great passion of my life. I live, breath and eat it. I've seen James Madison's wine cellar; I stood only a few feet away from Thomas Jefferson's desk and telescope; I even stood on the glass floor showing the foundation of the first Church in Jamestown. People often admonish Claire and I for not taking the same pains to visit the homes of our own country's leaders. It's a fair criticism, but one that has an easy enough rebuttal. Traveling 10 hours to see a crumbling duplex in Baie Comeau doesn't quite hold the same breathtaking appeal as walking the grounds of Jefferson's Monticello - a protected United Nations World Heritage Site.

Again, all of this is nothing new. These beliefs have been a part of my identity since I was 16 years old, but lately I've been feeling like the old guy who's exposed at end of every Scooby Doo episode when his rubber mask is ripped off by "those meddling kids". So it begs the question - what gives? The Internet, that's what gives.

Ever since Facebook came on the scene, there's a weird social cross-pollination occurring, and I've written about it previously. As people read and watch the things we post on our Facebook pages, they are peering into parts of our lives and personalities they didn't know existed. I've discovered some of my friends and acquaintances swear like cabbies and drink like sailors on shore leave. Some are devoutly religious. Some like to talk about their sexual escapades in graphic detail. Some are die hard anarchists, who believe the world is run by a covert network of Freemasons, Oil Executives, and "the military industrial complex". Others seem to blow through relationships like Micheal Jordon blows through money at the tables in Vegas.

And you know what? Who cares? Freddy foul mouth doesn't cease to be a nice person because he drops F-bombs like cracker crumbs on his profile page. It actually makes me admire him all the more, because it demonstrates that he has enough respect for the rules of polite society to realize it's not appropriate to 4-letter it out loud at the office. Amy the anarchist's views may annoy the hell out me, but that doesn't necessarily mean the sweet and caring attitude she demonstrates towards her co-workers is a phony pretense she puts on to lull us all into a false sense of security while waiting for the day she and her merry band of political malcontents succeed in tearing down the world's governing class.

At the end of the work day, everyone goes home, and if you're not near and dear to any given person, it shouldn't shock you that the tapestry of experiences and emotions that make up their personalities go beyond the realm of please, thank you, and idle pleasantries. We are the sum of our parts, and well, some of us let our parts hang out a little more than others in that strange little world called the "profile page".

It's all a little weird, and it's getting weirder:

Potential employers are now checking Facebook profiles before they even look at a someone's resume, and if you have a photo of the night you did a Jello shooter off the belly of that waitress, you may be the best accountant this side of Toronto, but your application is going to make a fast acquaintance with the office shredder. People are "Facebook stalking" old flames to see who they are with, who they talk to, and even try to track what bars they frequent. But I'm getting off topic. The world will always have it's weirdos and misguided HR departments. Facebook is just another vehicle to do - whatever it is they do.

So is "Mr. Joe Nice Guy" still a "nice guy" even though he's Reagan lovin', National Review reading, bomb the hell out of 'em all, right-wing son of a bitch? Well, not even my own wife can recall the last time I ever raised my voice. I am as cordial to strangers as I am to my friends, but some of my hippy dippy liberal friends can't square my sweet guy attitude with my conservative beliefs.

Let me help you.

I give food and sometimes money to the homeless guy who lives under the bridge near my home. I just don't think the government has any business forcing me to give my own - or anyone else's - money to him. I don't like being forced to recycle because some people are under the misguided belief that we're "killing the planet". If you want to recycle, have at 'er. Just don't fine me for putting a carrot peel in the "dry" garbage bag. President Bush may well have been a cowboy, but I felt safe at night knowing that he was a cowboy with his six shooter ready, saying "Stand back partner". I don't feel so safe anymore.

No one is a monolithic robot of banal pleasantries, and neither am I. Just because I believe in limited government, low taxes, free markets, and military spending doesn't mean I don't care about my fellow man. My wife was so shocked at people's bizarre and hostile reactions to both of our rather mainstream political beliefs that she's decided to remain silent when a conversation turns political, even though she often wants to blow her brains out when she's listening to someone parroting some idiotic banter they heard on CBC that morning.

Guess what? Not everyone thinks like you do- not even the occasional nice guy.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can't Stop the Shop - Black Friday Attack

Though the turnout was slightly more encouraging than expected during the post-American Thanksgiving Greco-Roman orgy of shopping called "Black Friday", it will still be interesting to see how the retail sector holds up as the holidays draw nearer. So frenzied was the shopping and eating extravaganza that plumbing calls for clogged sinks and backed up toilets increased by 50%, as they do every year on this day.

As always, I encourage all my loyal readers to keep the free market rockin' in the free world, and spend, spend, spend - like Rosie O'Donnell on all you can eat shrimp night at Red Lobster.

Now, as always, there are a few festive malcontents who smugly refrain from any form of holiday philanthropy because of their disdain for the very economic system that allows them the freedom to waste my hard earned tax money, and organize protests so they can rid the world of Walmarts, while the rest of us have to actually work for a living. Frankly, if these whiny little enviro-freaks want to knit reusable hemp tampons for the person on their Secret Santa list, that's fine with me, as long as they don't try to sell me any "Fair Trade" coffee beans. Remember, the next time one of these anti-trade layabouts starts screaming about how your cup of coffee comes from the work of exploited child labour, remind them that it's their tiny hands that make it so tasty!!!

Ok, maybe the acidic nature of this update is a little out of sync with the very spirit of Thanksgiving, which is supposed to melt the heart of even the most ardent of misanthropists amongst us. But, just like turkey ain't turkey without the stuffing, the Hype ain't the Hype without taking a few bow shots at lefties, liberals, paleo-liberals, extreme libertarians, and their unkempt cousins, the anarchists (to borrow a phrase from the invaluable Jonah Goldberg).

Anyway, if you're still waiting for the plumber to retrieve the PS3 you dropped down the toilet while trying to get the high score on 'Grand Turismo 5 - Prologue' in the bathtub, hang tight. They're probably next door trying to unclog the catastrophe some Ritalin-fuelled kid stuffed down the kitchen sink.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rick Sanchez and the OJ Effect

I've often said that the Washington Post bares the brunt of the blame for the sub-standard level of journalism we see today in the form of cable news networks. Were it not for the relentless and vengeful glory-seeking attack on President Nixon by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - the douchebags that launched a thousand careers - perhaps the news would contain more reporting and less smug editorializing by the likes of Rick Sanchez and Solodad O'Brien. Sanchez's endless self-aggrandizing - like using twitter and Myspace to generate publicity for his frequent appearances on CNN - would almost be comic, were he not spinning in a constant state of self-rightousness. You would think that someone who not only hit and killed a pedestrian while driving intoxicated, but also fled the scene of the accident, would have some semblance of humility. You would be wrong.

In an industry that loves to shout "HYPOCRISY" at any conservative politician who so much as jaywalks, it was almost surreal to watch Sanchez endlessly replay footage of the day he chased down a Georgia State Legislator who refused to overturn a 2006 prohibition that would have reduced the prison sentence of Genarlow Wilson. The legislator - who worried that changes to the law could possibly allow convicted sex offenders back on the streets - was relentlessly badgered by a sanctimonious Sanchez, whose usual tunnel vision blinded him from appreciating the difficult situation the man was in. Maybe someone should have played the tape from the mid-eighties that forced Sanchez to resign from his job as a Miami TV anchor when he was unexpectedly caught accepting favours from a corrupt political operative during a police sting.

I'm picking on Rick because he is perhaps the best example of how low the bar has dropped since the age of "Gotcha!" journalism erupted. In the post-Watergate cable news world, he proves that as long you are in constant attack mode, your own credibility - or past criminal conduct for that matter - is of trifling importance. Stranger still is that Sanchez lacks even the respect of his own peers. After a recent "tweet" claiming he could easily get a job at Fox News as a Latino "sellout", the industry erupted in a cacophony of laughter, and prompted a Fox News' spokesman to wryly reply "Everyone knows that Rick is a joke, he shows that he's a hack everyday. And he doesn't have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings."

Perhaps Ace Smith and James Bowman were right to lament about how our society has abandoned the quaint notion of shame.

But what about the OJ Effect? I'm not talking about the popular urban usage of the term, which implies money buys justice. I'm talking about the birth of modern media-created spectacles that turn virtually unknown and unexceptional people into overnight celebrities. What brought this to mind was Jeffrey Toobin's rather odd "brief" that appeared in the New Yorker magazine critiquing the Stupak amendment. Not only did the article skirt the boundries of outright plagiarism, it was plagiarized from a 1989 Supreme Court briefing, whose contents were later proven to be entirely fraudulent. It appears that Toobin has been a "legal analyst" for so long he's forgotten he's an actual lawyer.

Shortly after former Heisman trophy winner OJ Simpson was arrested for the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, murder became not just news, but entertainment, and CNN needed a ready slew of "legal experts" to keep up appearances. Suddenly an adjunct faculty member from Georgetown Law of no particular distinction named Greta Van Susteren became a household name; OJ's freeloading house guest, Kato Kaelin, is now a regular fixture in a variety of TV and radio shows, resulting from nothing more than hearing a bump in the alley below his window; A Los Angeles prosecuting attorney named Roger Cossack is now enjoying a cushy job as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, as well a good paying gig at ESPN. As for Toobin, he has the distinction of being the "First TV Legal Analyst" at ABC - all a direct result of being plucked from virtual obscurity to provide commentary during the OJ trial (as a matter of fairness, I must admit I've always had a grudging fondness for Cossack).

There seem to be more self-professed analysts making the daily rounds of cable news stations than there are actual journalists. One hour of watching CNN produced commentary by a "Gaming Analyst", a "Fashion Analyst", and even a "self esteem expert", whatever the hell that is. There was a time when the only kind of analyst who had any business being anywhere near an anchor desk was a "Financial Analyst" or a "Political Analyst", and even the latter have been wearing out their welcome as of late.

Could anyone have envisioned a world, even years after Ted Turner cut the ribbon on CNN in 1980, where people would tune in every night to watch disgraced former prosecuter Nancy Grace speculating on the contents of bottles seen in grainy pictures of the inside Anna Nicole Smith's fridge?

The "news as entertainment" shtick is an old hobbyhorse of writers who fancy themselves a cut above the pack for making such a painfully obvious observation. What I'm really driving at is why a news anchor like Rick Sanchez sometimes doubles as a financial commentator on CNN's "Your Money". Why does Jeff Toobin sit in every election night as a political commentator, when he can't even avoid being duped by a dubious Supreme Court briefing? Everyday we watch the village idiots act like interchangable polymath titans playing a bizarre game of musical chairs.

As I write this, Rick Sanchez is reminding us that using words is much better than settling disagreements with bats and clubs (I had no idea), after quite deliberately refering to a band of thugs who are on rampage in Mumbai as "conservatives" because they are "anti-Muslim". He's making sure to repeat the dishonest conservative angle, and has it blazed across the screen, just in case someone's not listening. Really Rick, how do you know they aren't liberals? Did you interview any of the looters to find out if they thought free markets, limited goverment, personal responsibility, and fiscal restraint was the answer to India's third world conditions?

My wife, a graduate of a grueling 2 year massage therapy course, said that when we hear that an elderly person fell and broke their hip, it didn't really happen that way - their hip broke first, causing the fall. Her comment reminded me of a buffoonish Rick Sanchez, clumsily trotting about in a post-Watergate post-OJ news world. Sanchez's daily rantings and Toobin's half-baked legal ramblings aren't what caused the media to break, it was broken long before they got there.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Soup For You!! Midweek Pit-Stop

I have never rejected a comment submitted for posting on the blog until today. A reader, identifying himself as "John", emailed a comment on a recent piece of mine entitled "Heydrich's Ghost". He lamented about; "...why we're to feel sorry for the Jews" and repeated the tired old canard about how those; "...not glorifying the Jews are considered anti-Semitic".

We are not opposed to debate at the Hype. On a message board hosted by Prospero forums, the article received over 130 comments. There are legitimate arguments to made about settlements, boundaries, and historical claims on the region, but I will never let this blog become a forum for bigotry - no matter how cleverly disguised it is.

Every day we are bombarded with anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and the ranting of lunatics who think 9/11 was a Jewish/American neo-con conspiracy. We have made it very clear in the past that we won't post comments sympathetic to those views - anything else is game, and will appear unedited within 12 to 24 hours.

So have at it. Write in! Have your say! Leave a thoughtful comment, or a semi-coherent alcohol induced diatribe about the merits of socialism and eating 8 small meals a day! If the fancy strikes you, go ahead and write a long and insulting post about how I'm a right-wing whack job who murders homeless people, drowns kittens, and volunteers as the guy who pushes the buttons on lethal injection machines on the weekends. We even encourage naked pillow fights, cage matches and also dueling when warranted.

Have a great week everyone!



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Musings - Welcome to TSH

The Hype has picked up lots of action this week - kind of like Barney Frank on 2 for 1 Tuesdays at Mort's House of Flapjacks, or Eliot Spitzer on coupon day at Miss Kitty's House of Leather (read whatever you like into either of those jabs). The blog has received close to 100 hits in less that 48 hours, and the counter continues to click away, like that nifty statistics keeper that continually updates the world's population. We are at a loss to explain just what to attribute this phenomenon to, but I am extremely grateful for all of you who take the time out your day to check out my punch-drunk ramblings. For our newer readers, note that I view blogging as the most convenient format to transmit information, and treat it more as a website than a Facebook-like profile page. I try to post once or twice a week, but if good taste and proper sleeping habits are your thing, you may want to shop elsewhere. I am grateful to everyone of you for making The Straight Hype what it is today. Thank you!!

In other news, today was my lucky day! I just got an email from Mr. Amala Kumbadi, President of the First National bank of Sierra Leone, and he's chosen ME of all people to help him release a rather large unclaimed inheritance. He just needs my social insurance number and some credit information. I'll be flashin' Benjamin's to the tune of $2.5 million once I wire $5000 American for the processing fees.

I really don't get it. Thousands of North Americans are victims of this kind of Internet fraud every year, and losses are estimated in the range of $150 million. Experts claim there are three main victim groups: The greedy, the sympathetic, and the vulnerable. They should add a fourth: The astoundingly stupid. What would cause anyone to think that an official from a corrupt country - without any real infrastructure, an average life expectancy of under 40, and no functioning government - would be in possession of that kind of money? I can understand people falling victim to certain phone scams, or a good hearted person being suckered via email into sending money for Little Sarah's operation on her deviated septum. I just can't grasp how people could believe that someone claiming to be an official from a country where 12 year old's wield machetes like nerf balls and elections are decided with M-16's could hold employment in an institution that requires a nominal amount of stability to operate.

Law enforcement officials are usually very charitable in their warnings, repeating non-offensive axioms about how "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is." How about this instead: If you send a substantial amount of money to a stranger you've never heard of simply because you've received an email asking you to, you shouldn't be allowed to use sharp objects unsupervised. If you huddle over the ATM machine to hide your PIN number, but willingly send your SIN number to some guy in Nigeria, no number of FBI or RCMP warnings are going to protect you. You might as well burn the money in your savings account in a bonfire and roast S'mores over the blaze.

Anyway, consider that my PSA for the week. By the way, I recently have come in possession of some classified information that may be of the utmost interest to you. I usually would not contact you by this method, but the director of my bank has asked me to handle....



Monday, November 09, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything...Blogging by Numbers!!

I learned two things the hard way this Halloween: Parent's didn't appreciate my "naked french guy" costume, and dressing up as a dog does not give you licence to pee on the lawn and bark at your neighbors. Hey! It's blogging by numbers time!!!!

1 - Remember the day you discovered that underneath Robert Penn Warren's breathtaking prose and beautiful writing lies...well, nothing? Today was that day for me. I flipped through my cherished 1st edition hard cover of World Enough and Time (a treasured gift from my wife), and realized that Warren was very much like the big Hollywood directors of today.

Think of Pan's Labyrinth or There Will Be Blood. Fantastic movies - hypnotic, really. They are masterpieces of cinematography and soundtrack, but beneath the shiny surface layers they have very little to say, and fail miserably when they try. In Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo Del Toro uses neo-realism and existentialist trickery to weave a convoluted tale about Franco's Spain and father-son relationships. It may seem oh so very clever to the hordes of pseudo-intellectuals who buy into such nonsense, but it's audio/visual wizardry that really wins the day - and that is no small feat. It is nearly impossible to tear your eyes and ears away from the astonishing beauty of his camera work, or the sheer perfection of Javier Navarrete's score.

I guess it's the price we pay for living in the age of fancy doodads and whatchamacallits. We can all take comfort in the fact that, every so often, a movie like The Royal Tannenbaums, The Aura, or In Bruges comes along to remind us that there are still a few directors out there who are true masters of their craft. Well, almost - The Aura's young director Fabian Bielinsky died after making only two movies.

2 - Message to the Cohen Brothers - You've lost it. There used to be two types of Cohen Brother movies: Simple morality tales (Fargo), or flashy show pieces with snappy dialogue (The Hudsucker Proxy). Now there is only one type of Cohen Brother movie - overrated nihilism with a few good lines (No Country for Old Men). Take a break guys. It was annoying enough when you started to make movies whose only goal was to showcase your rapidly declining cleverness. Now you're just boring. Go for an ego check and come see us in 2 years.

3 - Spraying cheap vanilla-scented air freshener in the washroom after you've taken a crap makes everything smell like you took a dump in a gingerbread house.

4 - What's on deck? I just finished a piece, which will be the last in a series of articles dealing with this weird sort of cross-pollination I'm seeing that's blurring the lines between reality and cyberspace, a direct result of social networking sites, message boards and texting. It should be up in less than a week.

5 - My wife is more than a decade younger than I am. We actually met during a filming of "To Catch a Predator" - just kidding. She once recounted that when she was in high school, her English assignments sometimes consisted of dissecting songs from the 1960's. One such assignment was to write an essay about the meaning of Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence. Here's a warning to any current or aspiring teachers: Claire and I have decided that when we have children, if one of our spawn ever comes home with an assignment that involves writing an essay about anti-war nonsense by useless counter-culture icons (or even rock stars from this decade), I swear by the beard of Zeus I will become your worst nightmare. There is not a principal or superintendent who will not burst into tears from an incessant campaign to prevent you from infecting our children with your mindless drivel. Keats, Shelley, Burns, and Chaucer were put on this earth for a reason. Consider yourself warned.



Wednesday, November 04, 2009

CNN - Theatre of the Bizarre

The expression on the faces of CNN's panel of "analysts" were similar to the look my dog gives me when I try to feed her a gummy bear. After suffering a crippling defeat in the first round of voting on the President's Health Care bill in late October, the Democrats were dealt yet another blow Tuesday night, as Republicans soundly won the Governorships of both New Jersey and Virginia. These were no small victories. In Virginia, Robert McDonnell became the first Republican in over a decade to win the state. In New Jersey, Chris Christie defeated Democrat John Corzine in a race that most pundits had written off as a lost cause.

Not even the androgynous bubble gum king of cable news, Anderson Cooper, could deny what was happening. I almost felt a pang of sympathy for John King, whose considerable talents and nifty little pie charts could probably be put to good use, were he not buckling under the weight of CNN's liberal overlords.

Holding court in the "fair and diverse" pundit corner was the forever moribund and professional ideological prostitute David Gergen; Pamala Gentry from BET; token conservative Mary Matalin; and her freak of nature husband James Carville, who I suspect is a hybrid version of a Ferret mixed with the DNA of Orville Redenbacher. The panel was rounded off by those faces you see every now and then, but can never put a name to - that skinny white guy in the off the rack suit, and the black dude who has that weird pattern going on in his receding hairline that looks like some kind of Etch-a-Sketch that went terribly awry. Wolf Blitzer popped in now and then, but was frequently interrupted, as if no one really cared what the old man had to say anymore.

This merry cavalcade - still high off the fumes of "Yes We Can" gas soaked bandannas - seemed unable to grasp that these wins, specifically in Virginia, were a clear repudiation of not only beltway Democrats, but the President's laundry list of pet projects. "Hate" was a word that was liberally brandied about as the abracadabra word of the night to explain away the crushing blow delivered to the Democrats a year after such a resounding victory. You see, the American people were filled with hate, or so the CNN intelligentsia would have us believe, running amok in the streets like punch drunk anarchists ready to tear up their driver's licences and burn down the White house - but something doesn't quite add up.

The network had spent the entire month of November declaring the "death of conservatism", and they paraded a never-ending Tonga line of left-of-center "pragmatists" to ensure us of this. The GOP had to "moderate", we were told, or they would be exiled to farthest corners of Mount Doom, never to be seen again. Curious. They said the same thing in 1977 - then along came Reagan. They said the same thing in 1993 when President Clinton soiled the oval office and a few dresses along the way - then came the 1994, 104th Congressional blow out. And now, we have have New Jersey and Virginia solidly in the pockets of not just Republicans, but principled conservatives. I pointed out on the pages of this very site that this media game was nothing but a clever ruse, and American voters demonstrated they were no one's fool.

- but back to CNN.

The cable news network has always been a reliable stage for the theatre of the bizarre. Who can forget the election night interview with WILL-I-AM from the Black Eyed Peas, who was beamed in as a sort of hologram from a cheap episode of Star Trek (Don't believe me? Click here). I have been a media watchdog for over 10 years now, and I have seen a lot of strange things, but nothing in my experience caused as much intracranial combustion as the stunt liberal journalist Soledad O'Brien pulled.

As the night deteriorated, O'Brien bumped poor John King off the set, and produced a computer generated pie chart showing that close to 65% of the American public were dissatisfied with the way the country was being governed. The unhappy folks were displayed in blue. Next she showed the 35% demographic who were happy or unsure with the way things were being handled in Washington - they were displayed in yellow. This was good news, proclaimed O'Brien. It sure didn't sound like good news, but she proceeded to point to a small section of the yellow "happies" that was shaded slightly orange. This, she said, suggested a trend. What trend was that, you ask? With a quick wrinkle of her nose, O'Brien switched to a new chart where the stats were reversed. Apparently, one year from now, the 65% of unhappy folks were going to be completely satisfied with the their elected officials - "a positive sign for the Democrats", declared Soledad. The trend that was alluded to was never explained. My wife and I exchanged the most puzzled glance that has ever crossed between us. Even the Coop seemed confused, and also embarrassed - so embarrassed that he actually mumbled something about possible "...spin from the liberal segment of the media". Anderson will no doubt be going to the Principal's office, and it ain't going to be pretty.

Wednesday morning, if you clicked on CNN's website, you didn't see any mention of the shifting of the electoral tectonic plates that had occurred. It was down in the politics section, hidden underneath a story about a homeless guy who plays the cello. This is shameless, but the administration's weekly Sunday morning finger wagging at FOXNews is meant to convey a not so subtle warning to the folks at CNN: Step out of line, and you'll be sitting in the cheap seats at the next White House press briefing.

Bizzaro hour aside, we should temper our victory with an ounce of prudence. The GOP is notorious for fumbling the ball, and reports of vote tampering and fraud by the Democrats are beginning to trickle in. Had the margins been a little slimmer, Tuesday night's results could have been drastically different. Polls are showing that over 40% of Americans identify themselves as conservatives - Republicans would do well to remember that.

Maybe Soledad's magical political forecast is correct. One year from now, perhaps 65% the population will be happy with the way things are being handled in Washington - right after we send the Democrats packing in the mid-term elections. Pie anyone?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Texting - Welcome to the New Idiocracy

Anyone remember the 2006 movie Idiocracy? No? Well, that's not entirely surprising. It was written and directed by Mike Judge (Office Space), and starred Luke Wilson (Vacancy). Despite the enormous success of Office Space and the popularity of Judge's King of the Hill, 20th Century Fox pro-actively killed the movie, releasing it in less than 150 theatres, without a single trailer or press kit. The motives behind Fox's decision to derail Judge's movie remains an issue of much contention, and most folks who've seen the movie can venture a few guesses as to why. The movie grossed less than $500,000 - barely a quarter of it's estimated 4 million dollar budget - but still managed to develop a rather sizable cult following.

The movie envisions a world 500 years into the future, where a bizarre type of reverse natural selection has taken place. A cryogenically frozen Wilson awakens to find himself in a society where the intelligent and even marginally cognitive elite have become virtually extinct, having been out-bred by pot-smoking, beer chugging, video gaming, Perez Hilton twittering morons. The result is a world dominated by slack-jawed idiots, whose only preoccupations seem to be violent reality TV shows and excessive consumerism. Hospitals have only two diagnoses, "'Retarded" or "F#$ked up", and the world is facing a massive draught resulting from crops being watered with an energy drink called "Brawndo" whose slogan is "It's got electrolytes - It's what plants crave". James Bowman wryly suggested that the movie got the plug because; " today's (progressives), a future world where they are not in charge, having put right all the world's wrongs, is almost inconceivable."

Bowman's jab is delightful, but liberals aside, it feels like we are already living in an "idiocracy", resulting more from behaviour than breeding. Exhibit A is the absolutely eerie obsession with texting. A few weeks ago I called a friend's cell for several hours, but could not get a response until I finally left a text message, which was immediately returned. It appears she was unwilling to answer the phone because she had been too preoccupied with dwarf typing. She was fully aware that people were calling, but couldn't quite pry her thumbs away from her Blackberry crack pipe.

Even more disconcerting is the weird way that Internet acronyms have snuck their way into our modern day lexicon. It was annoying enough when they first reared their ugly head over a decade ago in emails, causing the less Internet savvy to become instant cold war code breakers. By 1999, I had deciphered such gems as btw, brb, omg, imo, and for the more modest among us, imho. The most irritating of these letter bombs has always been ttfn (tata for now). Who in the hell would actually say that to anyone? Have we turned into a society of gay Victorian socialites? I am fairly certain the last time anyone ever said "tata" to me was as an infant being admonished for missing the toilet - but how in God's earth did these literary abortions find their way into our every day vernacular?

I was gob-smacked the first time someone - without the slightest trace of irony - said "O-M-G" to me in the process of expressing surprise. I thought they were referring to some kind of car insurance company until the full horror of what had just happened dawned on me. Later that week someone layed down a "WTF?" on me, and I sadly resigned myself to the fact that our society has become so lazy and idiotic that full words, let alone complete sentences, are far too taxing on our constitutions.

There is also an emotional component to all this, worth addressing since we live in the age of feeling and the "cult of authenticity." Facebook - Cyber-crack laced with meth. Judging by some of my friends' profile updates, they don't eat, sleep or go to work - and if they do, they are probably doing so while texting their latest inane "quote of the day" from the Facebook application on their Blackberry. It's also encouraging all kinds of passive aggressive behaviours in people - De-friending, friend blocking, and status updates meant to embarrass someone over something they seemingly didn't have the maturity to simply discuss with the person face to face. Do people not realize there are real life consequences to what they say and do on the Internet, or have we become so disconnected from reality that we have blurred the line to such a degree that it no longer exists?

Maybe Judge's Idiocracy got the axe because it had struck a nerve that had already become raw 3 years ago. I think we have stepped on the crack that broke our mother's back, and there's no returning from the precipice.

Oh well. WTF. I have to update my Facebook profile.

Maybe my favorite song siren Regina Spektor said it best.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Paging Dr. Reid

Wow, Wednesday was a bad day to be Harry Reid. Well, just about any day is a bad day to be Harry Reid, when life is a constant struggle just to get people to take you seriously because you remind them of the guy from those old Peppridge Farm commercials - without the sittin' on a rocking chair in ma back porch country charm - but I suspect, especially this weekend, Reid isn't feeling that "Riunite on Ice- Ooooh that's nice" feeling.

Despite holding the balance of power in the Senate, Reid lost the first fight in a series of upcoming battles Wednesday, when 12 Democrats broke rank and aligned themselves with every single member of a strongly united Republican party, and voted down the so called "doctor fix" that would have added 247 billion dollars to the tag of President Obama's already astronomically priced health care bill.

What is significant about the loss is that it was a surprising illustration of just how legislatively shaky Obamacare is. As Yuval Levin wrote in NRO's The Corner last evening, Reid and the President are facing more than just an increasingly skeptical public:

"The problem for Reid is more than substantive — more than unhappy doctors and an unhappy AMA. The biggest problem is the danger of losing the confidence of his Democratic senators. Passing health-care reform remains an extremely difficult challenge: There are two Senate bills, with very significant substantive differences between them, which need to be combined, voted on, then merged with an even more different House bill, and voted on again. Each of these votes would require the support of just about every (if not indeed every single) Senate Democrat, and each would be a very tough vote for one or another group in their caucus. It is an exercise in serial needle-threading that will call for an extraordinary degree of discipline by the Senate Democrats — a group not known for discipline."

The administration spent the better part of Thursday trying to spin the situation in a number of bizarre and comic ways, until deciding the official talking point would be that they had planned this defeat all along to show the world what a bunch of puppy-kicking buzz-kills the GOP are. Yes, that's right - They're saying they held a vote so they could lose on purpose.

By Friday, even the bill's co-author, Rep Peter Stark ,was distancing himself from the enitre mess, after the reason for the unexpected defeat became apparent - a damning audit performed by the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report concluded that:

- Total national health spending would increase by $750 billion over the next decade. (So much for “bending the cost curve.”)

- The overall cost of the House bill will be $1.2 trillion over the period between 2010 and 2019. By 2019, the annual cost of the entitlement expansions would be $236 billion, rising at a rate of 9 percent annually. After all this spending, there would still be 23 million uninsured residents in 2019.

- The president’s signature initiatives to slow the pace of rising costs — comparative effectiveness research, prevention and wellness efforts, and payment changes in Medicare — won’t work as advertised. The savings are almost non-existent.

- The cuts in Medicare Advantage plans would result in “less generous benefit packages” for millions of seniors. The actuaries estimate the House’s Medicare Advantage cuts, which are unlikely to change in any new version of the bill, would force about 8.5 million seniors out of the coverage they would prefer and back into the traditional program. (So much for “keeping the coverage you have today.”)

- Democratic proposals to impose arbitrary, across-the-board payment rate cuts for hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies based on presumed “productivity gains” are unlikely to work as planned. The actuaries suggest that some institutions won’t be able to hit the targets because health care is more labor intensive than other sectors of the economy. Consequently, the cuts could force some organizations to leave the Medicare program, thus “possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries."

Pelosi and company are promising a new and improved bill that will ring in at just under $900 billion - news that is unlikely to win too many fans.

President Obama's health care scheme is slowly going the way of his Secretary of State's own failed attempt so many years ago. Hopefully, Americans will soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief.



(Breakdown of the CMS's findings were derived from an assessment by James C. Capretta)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heydrich's Ghost

In the minutes of the Wannsee conference of Jan 20th, 1942, there is a reference to Reinhard Heydrich remarking how "...the Jews whisper in Roosevelt's ear." It's chilling to read, even within the context of a document that chronicles how in less than 90 minutes, the final solution was set in motion, leading to the Shoah, the extermination of close to 6 million Jews - 78% of Europe's Jewish population at the time.

Early in the transcripts, it becomes evident that Eichmann had carefully prepared coded language to shield the participants from any legal consequences should the document be discovered by allied forces as the war disintegrated. The facade didn't last for long, as Heydrich (who headed the meeting) appeared to lose his patience with Wilhelm Kritzinger of the Reich Chancellery, who is said to have become increasingly alarmed at what was being proposed (Eichmann later claimed that the word "extermination" was freely used as Heydrich grew tired of the euphemisms).

Heydrich's off the cuff remark was looming in the back of my mind in June when long time Obama mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright lamented to the Daily Press that "Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me" . Wright's hateful slur was widely reported in the press, but there were more troubling comments made during the interview that were seemingly ignored. He accused the President of making decisions based out of "...fear of offending Jews", and referred to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as " Ethnic cleansing (by) the Zionist(s)".

Now, President Obama's long and close relationship with this man, and his reluctance to cut his ties with him, are matters we've discussed before - in fact, the list of Obama's closest friends and associates reads like a who's who of people not to leave your children alone with. We've gone there, and will probably go there again - just not today.

Wright's comments are expected, because he's a lunatic who spends most of his time stacking Saltines in complex domino patterns in his living room and setting fire to Tin Tin comics. He relished the thought of his anti-semitic comments being broadcast around the world, because no one really cares what he has to say anymore. Outside of the town where the Reverend lives - called "crazy" - Heydrich's ghost still haunts us.

You all know where this is going, so let's get one thing clear - I am not suggesting that American progressives, along with their cohorts in Pat Buchanan land, are plotting to round up Jews in trains and ship them off to concentration camps. But there is a sort of quasi anti-semitism creeping back into our society. It is dressed up as clever cocktail conversation or intellectual ponderings on the legitimacy of Israeli power. Sometimes it wears the mask of a supposedly even-handed and serious news item in the media; sometimes it comes in the form of academic bullying from left-wing elitists who think anyone who writes articles such as this one possess only a shallow understanding of the world they live in. At it's worst, it comes in the form of the annual "World Conference on Racism" where the world's most oppressive Islamic theocracies and thick-skulled Eurocrats get together to discuss just how awful America and their friends the Jews in Israel are.

"...the Jews whisper in Roosevelt's ear."

An observant friend of mine recently emailed to say that it's a "scary time to be Jewish" - and I believe her. Just 10 days before the world " discovered" that Iran had a long range nuclear missile capable of wiping Israel off the face of the world (the thing can go as far as Athens and back), President Obama dismantled the European missile defence network that was the only thing with any real teeth keeping Iran on a leash. The administration claims it was done as a "good faith" gesture towards the Russians - odd, considering that in international diplomacy, the country being offered the "good faith", so to speak, must have something to reciprocate. America and it's allies got nothing in return but a smirking Putin shutting down newspapers and hurling insults at the United States.

Israel bashing is anti-Americanism by proxy. So fervent and irrational is the of hatred of the United States that any of its foreign interests and allies are immediately treated with intense suspicion - but how did we get this far? How can Western liberals continue to turn a blind eye to the atrocities that have been heaped upon Israel for just short of half a century? As Victor David Hanson noted in his brilliant article published earlier this year;

"First the terrorists of the Middle East went after the Israelis. From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass.....When the U.N. and the EU talked about “refugee camps,” none asked why for a half-century the Arab world could not build decent housing for its victimized brethren, or why 1 million Arabs voted in Israel, but not one freely in any Arab country. "

We in the west are indeed to blame for turning our heads the other way for so long, but post 9/11, you would think that many of us would have awoken from our ambivalence.

Liberal intellectuals continue to slander Israel, and their irrational rantings are all the more vehement because of Israel's relationship with the United States. Recently, Brandeis University made the astonishing decision to bestow an honorary doctorate to the self professed "secular Jewish left-wing" playwright Tony Kushner, who once said in an interview that;

"...the biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community and Israel itself has got this disgraceful record…Israel is a creation of the U.S., bought and paid for…There are lots of beautiful little orange groves and olive groves which the Palestinians had before the Jews were there"

"Bought and paid for"? ...really, Mr. Kushner?

Other leftist Israeli detractors seem to be fueled by disturbing comments made by public figures such as Kushner and Noam Chomsky, simply because they are Jewish (in name only), giving them license to take their rhetoric a step too far, such as Reverend Wright did.

The UN is also ready to lob its hostility towards Israel at every opportunity. On Wednesday, President Obama addressed the National Assembly proclaiming that “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”, a sentiment that was greeted with a chorus of raucous cheers and applause.

The Western media saturates the airwaves with gruesome images each and every time Israel is forced to defend itself, portraying their actions as heavy handed and negligent. However, little is heard of the almost daily attacks on innocent Israeli and Palestinian citizens at the hands of Hamas and other extremist groups in the region. Since the year 2000, 1176 people have been killed by Palestinian terrorists. This number includes 18 Israelis who were targeted while abroad, and 3 American service personnel working to help the people of Gaza. The number of wounded at the hands of militant Palestinians tops the scale at an astounding 8300, for a total of close to 10,000 wounded and killed in just 8 short years.

Nor is any attention given to the horrific cartoons that are aired on a daily basis to indoctrinate innocent young Palestinian children into a culture of anti-Semitism, hate, and violence. Even when confronted with this disturbing footage from a popular children's show, CNN made the bizarre decision to defend the video, a sickening propaganda piece that could have come straight out of Hitler's Germany. I was shocked.

Another curious trend I noticed while researching this article was the countless number of sites purporting to be tourist information for people visiting the Nazi death camps, and others claiming to be educational in nature. The sites would, more often than not, turn out to be holocaust denial propaganda.

Indeed, Heydrich's ghost still haunts us. He haunts us in the writings and speeches made by left-wing intellectuals who defend Hamas and their ilk; He haunts us in the world's apathy to the unapologetic bile broadcast each day on Palestinian tv; And most disturbingly, he haunts us through those in the media who make apologies for terrorists that promote genocide and declare that Israel must drip with the blood of every last Jewish child until it is wiped from the face of the earth.

As my Jewish friend remarked, it is indeed a scary time to be a Jew. In a world filled with ambivalence and apologists, anti-Semites masquerading as intellectuals, and major news organizations who try and convince us that a children's TV show that depicts a popular Palestinian children's character being stabbed to death by an Israeli Government official is just "misunderstood", my Jewish friend undoubtedly has much to fear.

Golda Mier once famously remarked; "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

I wonder if Eichmann would have felt the need to so carefully code his language in 2009 as he did in 1942.



Friday, October 09, 2009

Weekend of Weirdness and Thanksgiving

It's the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, where we give thanks for being obscenely taxed for sub-standard health care, being dragged before "human rights" tribunals for writing books or letters to the editor, being dragged to the polls every other year because the Liberal party can't accept the fact that it's not 1974 anymore, and of course, those little bottles of maple syrup at the airport.

Seriously, I love Canada. Our Prime Minister is slowly trying to turn around over 25 years of damage to this country. We are weathering this recession very well, because Prime Minister Harper understands the basic free market conservative principles of tax-cutting and realistic deficit reduction in the context of this economic climate. He is also healing our relations with Israel, after our previous government's embarrassing (and borderline immoral) refusal to put Hamas on our nation's list of terrorist organizations.

Speaking of Israel, I am working on a piece tackling anti-semitism masquerading as clever cocktail conservation among westerners, and the similarities to some of the same language that was being bantered about 50 years ago. It is taking a lot of research - and a great deal of tact - to avoid stepping over the line. It's going to be a great follow up to one of my favourite articles that was well received by readers and actually brought some wonderful friends into my life (that would be you Leah - the most Hebrew-tastic person I know!).

I am feeling a pang of sympathy for the recent embarrassment that has befallen my dear American friends. Losing the Olympic bid? Well, that's a big ouchie, but I'm actually referring to President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Everyone knew the left-wing intellectuals who hand out the award would eventually do this, I just didn't think it would happen this soon. Not only has the President been unable to do anything noteworthy to deserve such attention as of yet, he is actually - as NRO'S Mark Hemingway noted - making an ungodly mess of everything:

"The economy may be the worst since the Great Depression, the situation in Afghanistan rapidly deteriorating, and a psychotic regime in Iran on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons — but thank goodness the administration's self-regard is holding up."

Upon hearing the news, Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton remarked:

“I was nominated three years ago and I’m still waiting for the call. Today’s news is just another demonstration of how politicized the Nobel Peace Prize has become, from President Carter winning in 2002, to Al Gore in 2007, and President Obama in 2009. When the award was given to President Carter, the chairman of the committee said that it was a ‘kick in the leg’ to the Bush administration,” recalls Bolton. “This is yet another ‘kick in the leg’ for the Bush administration.”

A kick in the leg indeed, and one that a bunch of 2nd rate has-been Eurocrat nations never miss a chance to seize upon.

One thing I won't be giving thanks for this weekend is Facebook, a tool that I will forever have a love/hate relationship with. Two passive aggressive friends of mine removed (and one blocked) me as a "friend" as a result of, I suspect, their disagreements with my rather mainstream conservative political views. One is a harmless quasi-hippie I have no real problems with; the other is an angst filled young man who believes the world is controlled by a nefarious network of corporations in tandem with shadow governments and the military industrial complex. guys are...weird.

Anyway, I wish a wonderful weekend to everyone! Your continued support, confidence, and freshly baked cookies are not taken for granted - well, maybe I made up the cookies part.



Monday, September 28, 2009

Back in Business - Blogging by Numbers Time

Thanks to all for being so patient over the last few weeks. As most of you know, the lovely miss Claire and I were married on the 18th, and I have entered into that inextricable bond that John Adams referred to as the "Tyranny of the Petticoat". My editor has become my wife, which is a little like Godzilla finding out that Mothra is his new landlord - the only difference being that we are not radio-active mutants. Well, at least I'm not.

I am flattered but a little puzzled by the numerous requests to send as many wedding photos as possible to various friends and fans alike. Usually the phrase "Let me show you some photo albums" makes me want to put a bullet through my head, or jump out the nearest open window. Anyway, enough with all these Canadian pleasantries - It's blogging by numbers time!!!!

1 - Few outside of academia noted the passing of Professor J. B. Kelly this month. In his long and impressive career, he taught imperial history at various universities in the United States and London, but his most lasting and treasured achievements are the large and impressive tomes he penned delving into the treaties between Britain and the Islamic world in the 18th century and the creeping influence of radical Arab honor cultures throughout the middle east. As NRO'S David Pryce Jones noted, Professor Kelly's greatest achievement was his relentless quest to shake Western liberals out of their apathy over the threat the radicalization of Islam posed to the free world;

"Nobody and nothing was going to prevent him speaking his mind. He was all too familiar with the cruelty of modern Arab rulers, the disaster of Arab nationalism, the bigotry of Islamism, and the tremendous price that everyone in the Middle East has to pay for the frightful inhumanity that follows. But those John really went for and destroyed were the apologists in the West who pretend that everything is fine, that the Arabs are really doing well and we have only to give them everything they ask for."

J. B. Kelly, dead at 84. RIP.

2 - Our friends and relatives were exceedingly generous to us over the course of the wedding. As with many newly married couples, we find ourselves blessed with a little extra cash. I suggested that we invest the money in obscure 1980's arcade games, which I would devote the next five years to mastering. The suggestion was quickly vetoed. At least I tried.

3 - The irony of the Obama administration's astounding decision to dismantle its missile defense system in Europe on the 20th anniversary of Poland's break from communism was not lost on anyone paying attention - that would be anyone who doesn't work for CNN, MSNBC, or The New York Times. The President's naive rationale was that Iran's nuclear capabilities were grossly over-estimated, and the act would also serve as a symbolic gesture of good faith towards the Russians - a weak diplomatic move, as the Russians have offered nothing in return but international bullying and further crackdowns on individual freedoms. The topper on the cake, however, came last week, when it was revealed at the G-20 summit that Iran has tested two short range missiles, and are in possession of a long range missile that has the potential to reach Athens and destroy Israel - a fact that was confirmed when the missile was tested on the 28th.

President Obama is now adopting - with much chest puffing - a hard line on Iran, despite the allegations that he may have known about the missile construction site as early as March. This begs the question, is the President a foolish naif, or a blatant liar playing a dangerous game with the security of Israel? Whichever statement proves to be more accurate is, at this point, seemingly irrelevant. The drama that has unfolded over the past ten days demonstrates that Israel, surrounded by hostile neighbors, is alone in it's defense, and must take measures to protect itself from the destruction that the Mullahs in Iran are promising. May God, and all men of conscience, be on their side.

4 - My wife's adorable 11 year old twin cousins have suggested that the leading cause of mysterious unsolved deaths are either crazed hobos or scurvy - I'm loving 'em more every day.

5 - Remember how Patrick Fitzgerald spent millions of dollars investigating the supposed outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame? It was a farcical, politically motivated witch hunt that ruined the reputations of many good men, and almost sent an innocent man to jail, had it not been for a Presidential commutation. The left was outraged - The Bush/Cheney regime was compromising the security of assets abroad and playing cover-up, screamed the media. Well, the ACLU is now actively asking the public to photograph people they think are covert CIA agents, so the pictures may be given over to military defence lawyers, who in turn will give them over to their terrorist clients at Guantanamo bay. Will Attorney General Holder and the main stream media show the same outrage? Are rigorous prosecutions in the works? Don't hold your breath.

6 - TSH is back. Time to do the Kansas City Shuffle.



Monday, September 21, 2009

The Hype Will Be Down For A Few Weeks!!

We will be back up and running soon! As you can see, there have been a few life changes that have kept me busy recently!



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FDR's Grassy Knoll

I used to believe that infamy was its own reward, that the grandiose madmen of our society enjoy a certain level of macabre immortality by committing acts so brazen that their names are forever burned into our subconscious. The Jack Ruby's and John Hinckley Jr's of our world will never be forgotten, their deeds will remain ingrained in the national psyche for generations to come.

There are those rare souls, however, who defy this rule. They are the Milli Vanilli's of infamy, those who shone for a brief moment only to be discarded and forgotten on the ash-heap of history. Can you still recall the name of the serial killer who murdered Versace? At the time everyone knew it was Andrew Cunanan, though not many people can recall the name now without taxing their memory. Such is also the case of FDR's would-be assassin, Guiseppe Zangara. Zangara, like Cunanan, is one of those odd historical figures who just didn't have staying power.

On Feb. 15th, 1933, at Miami's Bayfront Park, an unemployed Italian immigrant, armed with a .32 revolver, stood atop a wooden chair and fired 5 rounds at FDR, who was seated at the back of his convertible, talking with supporters and guests. Zangara - apparently a bad shot - managed to hit everyone and everything, but FDR. Three of the shots lodged into the car, the other two bullets hit flesh, seriously injuring the wife of a prominent Miami doctor, and fatally wounding Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.

Zangara was immediately tackled by secret service agents and brought in for questioning. The national media quickly descended on Miami to cover the story. Was it a communist plot? Was there a conspiracy bubbling beneath the surface? One paper submitted that mayor Cermak was the actual target of the shooting. Cermak was a fervant anti- prohibitionist who had made enemies with the Chicago mob. Another paper opined that it was the work of a renegade band of socialists. The actual motive would prove to be far less ulcer.

Hollywood itself could not have created a more colorful or bizarre character as the 5'2" Zangara. During the weeks that followed the shooting he would baffle the FBI and the local Sheriff’s Dept. with his blunt, and often times bizarre answers. Reading the transcripts and press accounts of Zangara's statements to the FBI is surreal and often times comic.

In one interview, Zangara is asked to explain his motivations for wanting to assassinate President-Elect Roosevelt. It would the first in number of times he would make reference to his stomach pains.

"I shoot kings and presidents, capitalists got all-a the money and I got bellyache all-a the time."

Trying to probe the mind of the mind of Zangara for further information on his background, his affiliations, and politics would also prove to be futile. Zangara hated anarchists, socialists, capitalists, and probably even puppies. He belonged to no special group, and seemed to have no friends. During his trial, he would defiantly shout to the judge;

"I kill capitalists because they kill me, stomach like drunk man. No point living. Give me electric chair."

Zangara would eventually get his wish. On May 6th Mayor Cermak died from his injuries and the presiding judge sentenced Zangara to death. 14 days later, he was strapped into the electric chair - a quick execution, even for the time. Bouncing into the chair like a hyperactive child, Zangara continued to display his trademark brand of defiance;

"Viva Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere! Pusha da button!!"

All media interest and coverage of Zangara ended with his death. The press packed up and went home, Roosevelt was inaugurated, the doctor's wife recovered, and the scrawny, unemployed brick layer who had almost killed an American President over a tummy ache was quickly forgotten. The difficulty I encountered researching this article serves as a testament to Zangara's obscurity. Articles on the internet about the shooting were scant and often inaccurate, confusing dates and names. Many websites devoted to FDR made little, if any mention of the incident. Perhaps the fact we entered into a war shortly after, is the reason Zangara was so quickly forgotten. Perhaps it was simply because he missed his mark. Maybe his lack of a grander political motive doomed him to irrelevancy. In the end, I think Zangara's life can best be summed up in his own words;
"I don't like-a no peoples"



Editor's Note - I wrote this article nearly a decade ago and information about Zangara is much easier to come by these days with the dawning of such things as Wikipedia. Several new books have since been written about the incident, yet this failed presidential assassination attempt continues to remain an odd historical blind spot.

Reference material for this article was drawn from "The Five Weeks of Giuseppe Zangara" by Blaise Picchi and "A Date Which Should Live in Infamy" by Florence King.