Monday, December 29, 2014

On the Lack of Religious Liberty in the Middle East

Sister Hatune Dogan is a Universal Syrian Orthodox nun who does field work through "A Helping Hand to the Poor" dedicated to aid persecuted Christians, especially in Syria and Iraq.  

Sister Dogan has been outspoken not only in calling out Muslims for their religious intolerance but also for Western complicity in not helping persecuted Christians.  Sister Dogan's perspective from living in Syria noted that 95% of what was reported in the West about the Free Syrian Army (from which ISIS sprang) was wrong.  

At the Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit in September, Sister Hatune decried the mainstream media's blindness to the slaughter, raping, ransoming, crucifying and killing of Christians in the Middle East. 

Among the "thousands of stories" of Christian persecution, Sister Hatune recounted:

“I met an Iraqi girl, five-and-a-half-years maybe, and they kidnapped her. I met her at seven-and-a-half-years. Until today, she [will not] say, no one knows, what happened to her, because she was misused. They [were] paid $30,000 dollars to release her. They released her, but under that condition. I am sorry for her. That was the youngest girl that I met. She was misused.”
Paying a ransom is no guarantee of being freed from a hell on Earth. A 21 year old Jordanian woman was abducted and repeatedly raped her.  When these savages were not satisfied the ransom money, they cut her face in different ways.  Sister Hatune saw with her own eyes 280 girls who were kidnapped and misused by Muslim men and then had their breasts and "other sensitive areas" cut. Sadly, these stories of horrific brutality were ignored in the American Mainstream Media  to instead focus on the Ray Rice NFL reinstatement saga

Moreover, Sister Hatune inveighed against the open immigration policies in Sweden favored Muslims rather than the persecuted Christians from the Middle East. 

As we reflect upon the year that has past and make new year's resolutions, we ought to contemplate the lack of religious liberty and our collective lack of reaction to such deplorable deprivations in the Middle East and to a lesser extent at home in the West. 

h/t: Media Research Center 

Ayn Rand on Tyranny

Ayn Rand on Tyranny

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dennis Miller on Santa

Dennis Miller

The Story of NORAD and the Santa Tracker

A family tradition in my youth was worshiping at a Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve and driving around nearby neighborhoods with wonderful holiday light displays while listening for NORAD reports on Santa Claus' whereabouts.  As a jaded grown-up, I presumed that these reports were performance shtick on a long media night.  Little did I know that the reports were real and that a typo and the good cheer of an Air Force colonel brought joy to the world.

During the 1950s, America was engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union which threatened to become hot at any moment. School children of the era was raised to be prepared to duck and cover at any given moment due to a sneak nuclear attack from the enemy.  Soon, Sputnik's successful launch made watching the skies even more important.

In Colorado Springs,Colorado at  the Continental Air Defense Command    a.k.a. CONAD (the predecessor to the North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD), there was a red telephone on the commander's desk which had a secret telephone number known only by a four star General at the Pentagon, which would have been used to convey news of an enemy aerial attack.

However, in December 1955, the CONAD commander's red phone rang and the voice on the other line was a little voice which asked "Is this really Santa Claus?".  At first the Colonel was upset at what he thought was a crank call, but when he heard crying, the straight laced Colonel changed his demeanor.  The CONAD commander ho-ho-hoed and asked the caller if he had been a good boy.  Afterwards, the Santa Colonel asked to speak to his mother.

It seems that a copy for a Sears Roebuck newspaper ad had a misprint, so "Santa's private phone" number not connecting to Toyland but was actually the secret military number for what is now NORAD. Colonel Shoup delegated a few airman to act like Santa Claus for kiddie red phone callers.

Col. Shoup's daughter,  Terri Van Keuren, recounted: "It got to be a big joke at the command center. You know, 'The old man's really flipped his lid this time. We're answering Santa calls".  So much so, on Christmas Eve 1955, airmen modified the big glass board used to track air flights and included a drawing of a sleigh and eight reindeer coming from the North Pole.

When Col. Shoup saw this modified big board, he exclaimed: "What is this?".  His subordinates apologized and insisted that they were just making a a joke.  Shoup pondered the predicament for a bit and then telephoned a radio station with the message: "This is the Commander at the Combat Air Center, and we have an unidentified flying object.  Why, it looks like a sled.".  Hence the tradition began.

Now kids can call 1-877 HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to talk to NORAD staff about Santa's exact location.  The internet tracker for the big man in red began in 1998 with the SantaCam.  At, people can view the SantaCams from around the world as well as understand NORAD's main mission. Last year, "Operation Feel" had F-18 fighter jets escorting Santa and his sleigh, which led CNN reporters questioning if the US military had taken possession of Santa Claus.  Of course, these reporters failed to report on "Operation Noble Eagle" with the Royal Canadian Air Force escorts over their territory or how these videos infuse some of NORAD's primary mission to girls and boys along with the spirit of the season.

Colonel Shoup died in 2009.  But even in his 90s, Shoup proudly carried a briefcase which he treated like had top secret information that contained letters thanking him for having a good sense of humor in allowing NORAD to track Santa.

h/t: NPR 

Friday, December 19, 2014

On Sony Cyberwar Scuttlebutt

Former Speaker of the House  Newt Gingrich opined that America lost its first cyberwar associated by the Sony Hack, which demanded that the feature film "The Interview" be withdrawn from distribution. 

So America's freedom of speech is subject to the whims of a tinpot dictator (albeit with a few nuclear bombs) from the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea. 

A corporation like Sony Pictures may harbor concerns about liability associated with the publicized threats made by the anonymous hackers calling themselves "Guardians of Peace"  against movie-goers who attended the now cancelled Christmas day opening.  

Voices from both side of the political spectrum, from former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) to Alan Dershowitiz.  But Sony Pictures pulled "The Interview" from all prospective platforms.  There may also have been pecuniary motive for the move.  If the picture is never officially released, Sony Pictures could recover from insurance money, otherwise they would absorb the $41 million production costs.  

This does not explain Hollywood's cowardice towards pissing off Pyongyang. After Sony Pictures cancelled "The Interview",  the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas announced that it would show "Team America: World Police"(2004),  Alas those puckish plans were foiled by Paramount Pictures which refused to offer the Trey Parker and Matt Stone's film which satirizes Kim Jon Un's father Kim Jong-il due to "circumstances beyond their control." Those who want to revel to "I'm So Ronery" can still see it on Netflix or through Amazon Instant Video. 

If that is not sufficient evidence that Hollywood waved the white flag for the Hermit Kingdom, New Regency pulled the plug on the Steve Carell project "Pyongyang", which was slated to start up in March, 2015. And George Clooney spent a week asking a large number of Hollywood executives to sign a petition protesting the Norks blackmailing Hollywood through the Sony Hack.  Tellingly, no one had enough courage to sign the petition.  During World War II, studio produced propaganda pieces like Bugs Bunny cartoons sending up der Fuehrer. Now, such Tinseltown execs like the fortitude to sign a meager memo protesting business blackmail and standing up for freedom of speech. 

During his end of the year press conference, President Barack Obama opined that Sony Picture executives made a bad choice in pulling the film and that they should have talked with him.  It seems that running a rough cut in front of State Department officials was insufficient. Our Dear Leader's messianic charisma, Obama's renown negotiating skills and his steadfastness in setting red lines (and then ignoring them) surely would have made a difference.  But President Obama promises to study the problem and offer a measured US response to North Korean Cyberwar provocation. After all, Mr. Obama will be 6,000 miles closer on golf courses in Hawaii to offer leadership.

The United States does have limited options in dealing with North Korea.  There are virtually no economic sanctions left to use.  Moreover, Pyongyang is insulated by charity from the Peoples' Republic of China so the NORKS can continue create trouble with the US.  We can not forget that the Hermit Kingdom does have nuclear capabilities.  Then there is the small matter of the DRK having 10,000 missiles aimed at our treaty ally South Korea, where we incidentally have 37,000 soldiers stationed.  

There may be black operations by the US which should not become public, as well as behind the scenes diplomatic de marches with DRK allies in Beijing.  But the best public responses that I have heard so far involve Hollywood using the Oscars ceremony on Washington's Birthday to use "The Interview" actors James FRANCO, Seth Rogen and Randall Park to come out in character and joke around.  While at the same time, the Pentagon sponsors a joint training operation with the South Korean, Japanese and American military forces in the Sea of Japan.
But considering the cravenness recently displayed by Hollywood, it is more likely that the Oscars would be hosted by the actual Kim Jong Un with a special appearance by Sony Picture's Racial Inclusion Czar, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Eric Holder's Odd Interpretation of Civil Rights Law

In a memorandum, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder proclaimed that the Department of Justice will consider Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as including trangedered individuals as well as those with gender identity issues (e.g. transvestites).   Holder rationalized that the federal government's approach to the issue had evolved over time.  So even though such classes were not contemplated by Congress when the law was enacted, they ought to be covered despite the plain text reading and 50 years of DOJ precedent. Or it should be affirmatively decided by the highest court in the land.

Holder invoked the logic of Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs. (1978), a Supreme Court decision which purports that statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils".  A complication with relying upon this language as it focuses on acts which applies to discrimination on women and men. Holder's ukase is that it establishes new classes of Civil Rights coverage, namely for cross-dressers as well as transgendered people.  Such unilateral Administrative action was anticipated by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

However, Congress did not pass the Employers Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) because of concerns in the House whether the bills prohibitions on discrimination on sexual orientation would also include gender identity. ENDA did not pass Congress, but no matter for the Obama Administration to fashion its own law.

Although this holding supposedly only extends to the Federal Government, the limited scope of the Federal Gay Marriage applicability in U.S. v. Windsor (2013) was not respected.  In addition, consider how Attorney General Holder's logic of juridical evolution could be liberally applied.

Does America still have the rule of law or the rule of men?  This is a hard question to give a straight answer.

h/t: Michael Ramirez 

Obama's White House Channels JFK?

Josh Earnest on JFK

In response to the uproar over President Obama normalizing relations with Cuba without gaining any real concessions from the Castros, White House spokesman Josh Earnest invoked the spirit of JFK.  Earnest intimated that President Kennedy would change his policy of isolation after seeing that it did not bring about the desired change.

Really?  Is this wisdom akin to Mr. Obama's assertion that he heard the 2/3rds of Americans who did not participate in the Midterms shellacking of President Obama's Democrats in the House and Senate?  Of course, such perspecaciousness is unsurprising for a Commander-in-Chief who can see fallen heroes in a Memorial Day audience, especially Navy Corpsemen (sic). 

While the left and the right may seek to claim the mantle of Camelot after 50 years, it certainly seems like a stretch to imply that a Cold Warrior such as JKF, would give up for nothing.  After all, President Kennedy gave the final  approved for the Bay of Pigs invasion (before he withdrew air cover during the operation thus dooming the mission).  And Kennedy stood up to the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Furthermore, JFK  plotted several assassination attempts against Fidel.  It seems with his spurious assertion that Josh Earnest continues to be the ironic Obama spokesman.

But pro arguendo, should American foreign policy toward economically isolating Havana change after 50 years?  Well, 190 other nations have not been observing the boycott and what sort of political and economic liberalization has occurred in the island prison state?   Hmm, foreign tourists enjoy white  sandy beaches in Cuba but are cordoned off from the grime the common people live with through tourist apartheid separated by barbed wire fences.  Many regular Cubans seek to work as "sex workers" since prostitutes can garner some hard currency from tips.  Western companies can invest, but they must partner with the kleptocratic communist Cuban government  which keeps 92% of the joint venture worker's salary.

Then consider President Obama's diplomatic skills.  Once again, the 44th President is coddling a dictatorial government who is actively opposed to our interests, without winning anything in return. Wonder what our Dear Leader will offer Kim Jong Un in the wake of Sony Hack Attack in appeasement?

h/t: A.F. Branco 

Oscar Wilde on Communication

Oscar Wilde on Communication

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Senator Marco Rubio Slams Obamas Naive Negotiations with Cuba

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) had some harsh words for President Barack Obama's diplomatic naivite as displayed in his deal to release American hostages in exchange for normalizing relations with Castro's Cuba.

Rubio labeled Mr. Obama as the worst negotiator in American history.  But when a leader is driven to do something and faces no consequences from an electorate then any excuse will do.

Senator Bob Menendez on Let's Make a Deal with Havana

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the outgoing Chairman of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, had harsh words for the deal which effectively normalized diplomatic relations with the Fidel and Raul Castro governed Cuba.

Senator Menendez opined that trading for the freedom of Alan Gross sets an extremely dangerous precedent which invites rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as a bargaining chip. 

Agnes Moorehead on Life

Agnes Moorehead on Life

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jeb Bush on Exploring

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) has indicated on Twitter and Facebook  that he is actively exploring a run for the White House in 2016.  This announcement is no great surprise, as he has been toying with this decision for years, and facilitating for faux leaks.  Last week, the press reported Jeb's secret meeting with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on how to win the nomination without pandering and presumably circumventing the influence of the Tea Party.  

The two term Governor has a name which acts as a two edge sword, as he is the son of President George H.W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush.  Due to the legacy and residual resentment for "41" and "43", a prospective "45" may find that his surname is a four letter word in more ways than one.

Thus Jeb Bush seeks to be run on his own record.  So as Jeb explores embarking on a run for the White House, voters ought to explore Jeb's record and his fundamental policy positions.

Gov. Jeb Bush has been outspoken about encouraging amnesty and comprehensive immigration reform.  In addition, Governor Bush was noted for making educational improvements to the Sunshine State's school system.  However, his steadfast support of Common Core brings charges of crony capitalism benefiting establishment Republicans with education businesses.   By endorsing effective immigration amnesty and Common Core are not popular among grassroots Republicans.  No wonder why Jeb visited "Juan" McCain for his advice.  

There is little doubt what Jeb will find in his explorations.  Republican Party activists might find a white elephant and certainly a RINO. 

Santa in Fatigues?

President Obama on Santa in Fatigues

While speaking at Joint Base Mc Guire- Fort Dix in New Jersey, President Obama compared the military to being like "Santa in fatigues".

The stone silence from the assembled troops was not the desired response, the Commander-in-Chief ad libbed to mention C-130s to get an applause line.

Maybe Old Saint Nick can bring a new teleprompter to put under the Christmas tree to make it Mele Kalikimaka for someone special in Kailua. Or maybe after returning to the White House after his 17 day Christmas vacation, there can be more mature speechwriters.  

Milton Friedman on Open Borders

Milton Friedman on Open Borders

Friday, December 12, 2014

Barack Obama on His Morning News Choice

Well, it seems that for Barack Obama, politics is not his favorite sport in the District of Calamity. Here's hoping that that the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) does not get the short shrift to Mike & Mike in the Morning.

E.M. Forster on Spoon Feeding

E.M. Forster on Spoon Feeding

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New York Justice League: "White people, check your privilege"

In a sympathetic article in the Village Voice, Katie Toth highlighted how caucasian interlopers were muscling their way into leadership of the Michael Brown protests in New York.

Demonstrators were traipsing between stores at the Atlantic Center Terminal Mall in Brooklyn, New York.

Cherrell Brown, Community Organizer 
The youthful protesters  eventually tried were trying to overwhelm a Target, but organizers from the New York Justice League tried to stop violent pushing.   Cherrell Brown, a national organizer for Equal Justice USA,  grabbed a megaphone to tell the mob: "White people, check your privilege. We don't need you to provoke stuff right now."  After a couple of tense moments, the mob chose to conduct a "die-in" by laying on the floor of the mall to make shoppers uncomfortable and move on.
New York Justice League (founded by Harry Belefonte) representative Michelina Ferrara thanked the group for coming and not giving the police and the media to vilify the activism.

Later, Michelina Ferrara, who identifies herself as a mixed race first generation immigrant with "light skin privilege", fretted that a couple of  white dudes were trying to seize the microphone at the demonstration, which may have been aimed at shutting down the Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclay Center.  Ferrara's race consciousness and concern about white privilege probably was well honed during her Womens' Studies education at De Pauw University.  But the mass of  anti-cop protesters do not  appear to publicly recognize that they are being played by progressives professionals.

Cherrell Brown and Michelina Ferrara are both products of the progressive university indoctrination system (which degrees in political science at North Carolina A&T and Womens' Studies at DePauw University respectively).  Now both have graduated to community activism.  As much as they object to the Eric Gardner Grand Jury decision, they bristle at being horned out of leadership by presumed white privilege.

Assuming that the rabble represented Gotham anti-police protesters, it seems less about race than being a collegiate cause celebre. The only elements missing were a drum corps and giant puppets.  The protests have expanded beyond focusing on Ferguson or Staten Island Grand Juries, and is a melting pot of lefty obsessions, including support for Palestinians and Puerto Rican grievances.  It may be that Cherrell and Michelina want better optics by having more melanin blessed spokespersons.  But could it possibly be community organizers elbowing for prominence to be first among equals among grievance groups.

Occupy Wall Street's Twitter account was organizing the New York Times Square protests on December 3rd.  There were pre-printed protest signs and chant sheets  from union activists from SEIU and the REVCOM.US (the Revolutionary Communist Party US).

And Nike claimed that the revolution won't be televised.  Alas, not all of these useful idiots want to take stage direction to make it seem less elitist.  Kind of why the Occupy Movement fizzled once the public figured out that it was less about the protesting the 1% and more like  trust funders camping for a cause with their i-pads and i-phones taking direction from radical leftists.

If community organizers agitation prove successful, it is worth considering Kosh's quote from Bablyon 5 "The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."  In a top down, bottom up inside out Saul Alinsky scenario, political correctness  may neither be respected nor may radical privilege be checked.

h/t: Village Voice 

Bruce Lee on Mistakes

Bruce Lee on Mistakes

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rep. Hank Johnson on Dr. Ben Carson

Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA 4th), the four term incumbent from Atlanta, expressed some interesting views while on the Michael Smerconish radio program.  

While it was no surprise that a member of the Congressional Black Caucus such as Rep. Johnson would voice undying support for the first black President Barack Obama, it is interesting to see how other African American aspirants to the Oval Office are given short shrift because of ideology.

When Congressman Johnson cited Dr. Ben Carson, he suggested that the former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon was whipping up a frenzied lynch mob ignorant peoples' political support.   That seems like a stretch considering Dr. Carson's tempered, soft-spoken demeanor and his appeals for Americans to appreciate the constitutional foundations of this Republic.  But it may be that Mr. Johnson thinks that repeating outrageous accusations will suffice for a Groobered public.

Then again, consider Congressman Johnson's district  and his history.  After all, he succeeded former Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA 4th). 

 Moreover, Rep. Johnson's national claim to fame was during House Armed Services Committee in which he vexed about Guam becoming so overpopulated that it would capsize. This exchange with the Admiral of the Pacific Fleet went viral.  Johnson claimed that he was speaking metaphorically.  You be the judge.

And political junkies think that Republicans are the stupid party.

Stop Being Such a Groober!

Dr. Jonathan Gruber, PhD, the wunderkind Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist who was the co-author consultant of Obamacare finally had a chance to explain his "stupid" comments on Capitol Hill.  Government Reform member Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4th) had said that: "[W]hen you have an insomniac with Tourette's Syndrome, you let him keep talking..." in reference to the glib Mr. Gruber coming to Washington.  The arrogant elitist from M.I.T. did not disappoint.

Dr. Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D testifying before House Government Reform Committee 12/09/2014

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH 4th) asked Mr. Gruber how much he earned from his consulting for the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  The ordinarily adroit academic amazingly could not remember how much Gruber garnered from his Obamacare contracts.  The reality is that Dr. Gruber earned $400,000 from HHS,  $2.1 million from the National Institute of Health (NIH), $1.7 million from the Department of Justice (DOJ), $100,000 from the State Department and there were other state contracts in conjunction to Obamacare.  It figures that such a smart economist did not want to go on the record for how much he bilked American taxpayers and then called them "stupid".

When Congressman Gowdy got around to questioning Dr. Gruber, Gruber was impeached by his prior statements. Gruber's smugly tried to squirm from his statements by claiming that he was trying to make himself sound smarter than he actually was.  That is about as believable as President Obama's promise: "If you like your health care plan than you can keep it."

As Gowdy promised when Gruber's "stupid" comments finally caught the national attention in mid-November, the former federal prosecutor asked Gruber if he was sorry because he said it or because he meant it.  The economist's answer was as credible as the rest of his testimony.

While the Feinstein Intelligence  Report condemning decade old interrogation tactics by the CIA might have provided sufficient public cover for the day, the American people are not fooled by throwing one academic under the bus..  As more insured individuals are thrown into Obamacare and the Cadallac health care tax comes into being,  smarmy  delay tactics from the District of Calamity (sic)  will not salve the ire of the American body politic.  

However, Republicans should not rest on their laurels.  The GOP won an impressive victory in the midterm elections under the banner of rolling back Obamacare.  If those words were mere wind, the wintery winds of discontent from the middle class can easily make those political gains from the GOP- Cocktail Party may well also be gone with the wind, presuming that voters resist being groobered by bread and circuses. 

Steve Forbes on Freedom

Steve Forbes on Freedom