Gay New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to veto any bill that comes to his desk making gay marriage legal.  He’s willing to stand by his religious principles.  Too bad the United States Supreme Court can’t say the same.  Or at least stand by their Constitutional principles.

But instead of standing by the Constitution, they twist its meaning, rewrite it or ignore it, as it suits them and their Liberal agenda.  The Constitution says nothing about the right to commit an immoral act.  There’s scarcely a religion in the world that stands by homosexuality. 

Some religions stand by polygamy.  But there are three practices no religion “tolerates”:  adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality (doing it to the dog).  SCOTUS is legislating from the bench, which is not their job.  Ironically, secular feminists stand by the one practice tolerated by the Bible and cultures worldwide, but only deemed morally reprehensible:  abortion.

Even there, the Supreme Court interfered, just as it did with school prayer:  crush the abomination out of America.  Roe v. Wade.  Progressive politicians can rely on the Supreme Court to do their dirty work for them, pushing a minority agenda (abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, legalizing drugs) and bypassing the will of the people.  Democrats, not Republicans, were the supporters of slavery, yet somehow Republicans are taking the scolding for it.

We’ve gone far beyond “tolerance” in legalizing gay marriage. Society became the advocate of marriage for the purpose of increasing the population.  Any pair of idiots can marry, gay marriage proponents cry; why can’t we?  Plenty of couples marry and never produce children, they claim.  We gays, they clamor, should have equal rights.

In order to get married, you have to have a license.  Just as you have to get a license to drive or own a gun, you have to prove you’re worthy of the license.  You have to prove you’re not related to your intended spouse; that you don’t carry any diseases that would prevent you from having children or would endanger your spouse; that you’re not already married; and that you’re a citizen of the United States.

America was willing to hold its nose and agree to civil union.  Once that happened, the gay camel had its nose under the tent.  Gays wanted equal rights, the same as any other citizen, forcing other Americans to recognize their relationship as legal, not matter how immoral, distasteful, repulsive, strange or offensive it might seem to the average American.  It’s one thing for a gay couple to think of itself as husband and husband or wife and wife.  It’s quite another to demand that recognition from others.

If only that pesky religion, Christianity, wasn’t always sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.  Homosexuality has been an accepted practice since ancient times.  Then along came the Hebrews and their monolithic god, Jehovah, who according to their tales obliterated the San Francisco of those times, Sodom and Gomorrah.  The Greeks were a totally “tolerant” society.  They had a city entirely devoted to the practice of prostitution, which Marc Antony frequented with regularity.  However, those religious zealots had to come along and spoil everything.

Christianity dominated for two millennia, crushing the serpent under its heel.  That had to hurt.  Christians fell slowly away from the purer faith, though.  Corruption, seduction, greed, pride, drugs, contraceptives, and the foolishness of youth, all played in role in releasing the serpent from its bondage and carry on its evil work.

Not understanding, or caring about, the difference between liberty (doing for yourself) and license (doing whatever pleases yourself), we’ve slid down that slippery slope toward hedonism and wickedness.  We pat ourselves on the back for doing a good deed when we should be giving the credit to God.  Then we go back to whatever offensive thing it was we were doing.

Man cannot be his own salvation.  He cannot absolve himself from his sins.  He cannot arbitrarily decide what is right and what is wrong.  We’ve devolved into a state of arrested development, a perpetual adolescence, resenting and even denying the existence of a higher authority – God – because it isn’t convenient to the way we want to live.

We want to have sex – lots of it – with whomever (or whatever) we choose.  We want the right to murder the consequences of our licentiousness.  We feel we should be able to silence anyone who says something we don’t like, whether by lawsuit, prison or even murder.  We think our parents are fools.  We covet and envy our neighbor’s larger house, bigger car and even bigger screen television.  We think we have just as much right to those things as they do and we think we have the right to steal them in order to obtain them.  Or elect representatives who will steal the money through redistribution of wealth in order to obtain them.

We want to eat as much as we want whenever we want, and when we sicken from our gluttony, we want the government to make us better.  Government, seeing careers in it for them, are happy to oblige, although the glutton should beware:  the bureaucrat wants to get as much money and give as little service as he can.  He will put you on a strict diet.

We want to worship idols.  Today, there is a grand funeral for James Gandolfini, a gluttonous maximus, he died from overeating in a restaurant in Italy.  He died ignominiously in the bathroom, a fact the Media kept from us for several days and tamped down when it did reveal this odious ending.  Yesterday, his family held a private funeral for Gandolfini in Park Ridge, N.J., closing down a main thoroughfare – Kinderkamack Road – for literally the entire day, from something like 10 in the morning until 9 p.m. that night.  Commuters were forced to clog an alternate artery through Bergen County.

Today, celebrities and fans are gathering in New York City to pay tribute to this actor who portrayed a particularly vicious mobster, in addition to being a drug addict and alcoholic in real life.  New Jersey’s state flag was lowered to half-staff in tribute to this mobster actor, as it had been lowered to half-state on behalf of Whitney Houston, who also died of a drug overdose.

Today, Congress is debating whether to unleash upon Americans an invasion of illegal aliens who support gay marriage, abortion, illegal drugs, and cultural tolerance (while refusing to assimilate with the native culture).  That they even have to debate it is amazing.

Still, we’re the country of abortion, free contraceptives, political speech, flag burning, gay marriage, and the redistribution of wealth.  Why would anybody be surprised that our Progressive legislators would open up our borders to illegal aliens?

The status quo the Progressives want to maintain must be supported by illegal immigrants since Americans are no longer reproducing.

 

 

 

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Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm  Comments (2)  

SCOTUS Takes Broom to DOMA

The Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this morning, ruling that it is unconstitutional to deny legally married gay couples their benefits (presumably, Social Security, retirement benefits, etc.).

The ruling is one more blow for traditional marriage that marriage didn’t need.  Many Americans, including myself, are on the fence about this.  No one wants to seem “intolerant” in this politically correct age.  The fear for straight people isn’t about denying someone’s civil rights, but something more fundamental:  minding someone else’s business.

Our secular side says that it’s none of our business if George Takei and his “husband” are married and George wants to remember Brad in his will, or vice versa, or Brad gets George’s Social Security benefits if Mr. Sulu dies first.  Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto George what is George’s.

For those of who are Christians, the problem can be summed up in three words:  Sodom and Gomorrah.  Some meteor or asteroid fall-out really did take out those two cities, well-known for their proclivities; ultimately, the asteroid took out a huge chunk out of a mountain in the Swiss Alps.  Supposedly it was a chunk of this mountain that traveled some 3,000 (?) miles back to smite Sodom and Gomorrah, wiping them out and turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt which archaeologists say can still be seen in the desert (if you know where to look).

When it comes to money – the love of which, Jesus said, is the root of all evils – Americans, at least, are loth to criticize anyone (except the rich) for keeping what they earn.  It’s okay for George and Brad to share their accumulated wealth between themselves, but Mitt and Ann Romney, it seems, are evil Capitalists for leaving their wealth in their wills to their children and grandchildren.

The state of marriage is already in a state of decline.  Why in the world gay couples want to marry, when they see how badly married their heterosexual counterparts are, is a mystery.  For centuries, men have accepted the fact that their shrill spouses wear the pants in the family.  Wives, for centuries, have made sure that their husband accepts that fact.

It’s true and women regularly joke about it, support one another in this accepted fact of married life, and encourage one another in some very bad behavior.  Maybe homosexuals have the right idea.  Maybe men can only live happily with other men, and women with other women.  This is a strictly un-Biblical, unChristian thought, but possibly true.  Divorce rates, with men fleeing their harpy wives for younger harpy wives, and breadwinning wives deciding it’s much more pleasant to go to work, send their kids to daycare and hire a maid to clean their house than to share power with a husband are bearing out this unfortunate trend.

The result is that men will go happily on their way being slobs around the house, have full control of the remote, and never have to change a diaper, while women can go to work, have someone else clean the house and look after the kids, and spend themselves into oblivion.  No more wives nagging husbands to pick up their clothes or change the baby’s diaper.  No more husbands going berserk when they see the credit card or phone bill or insisting on watching the Hunting Channel when the lawn needs mowing.  Men who like to hit women can go to the gym and hit a punching bag instead.  Women who like to shriek and yell at husbands will just have to buy a recording device, record their hour-long rants about coming home late or early, and then play it back to themselves when they wonder why they aren’t married.

Heaven help you, Gay People.  Remember, the vow says, “For better or for worse.”  Don’t say you weren’t warned.  Living together, even for years, isn’t the same as being married.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

 

 

Published in: on June 26, 2013 at 10:56 am  Comments (8)  

Where in the Red World is Edward Snowden?

To spy or not to spy; that is the question.  Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Islamism or to build an enormous facility out West to archive the conversation of every American citizen on the chance that the NSA might capture that one conversation that will uncover a hideous radical Muslim plot to simultaneously blow every Federal building, monument, and school, every tunnel, bridge, and nuclear plant and a few shopping malls and synagogues and save America?

Former CIA Specialist Edward Snowden outted the NSA’s super-secret program called PRISM which has the capability of eavesdropping on any American making a phone call overseas.  Nothing is to say they can’t eavesdrop on domestic calls, either.  Or just walk down any street in America with an operating television set and use an old, 1960’s children’s walkie-talkie to listen in on what those dastardly Tea Partiers have to say.

During World War II, the United Kingdom was the Mother Country of a social (or is that Socialist) research organization called Mass Observation.  Founded in 1937, M.O. aimed to record everyday life in Britain through a panel of around 500 untrained volunteer observers who either maintained diaries or replied to open-ended questionnaires known as directives.  M.O. also paid investigators to anonymously record people’s conversation and behavior at work, on the street and at various public occasions including public meetings and sporting and religious events.

Nazi propaganda was at its height.  Through the broadcasts of the infamous Lord Haw-Haw, the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda attempted to discourage and demoralize British, Canadian, Australian and American troops and the British population within radio listening range.  Their aim was to suppress the effectiveness of the Allied war effort and motivate the Allies to agree to peace terms leaving the Nazi regime intact and in power.

Among many techniques used, the Nazi broadcasts prominently reported on the shooting down of Allied aircraft and the sinking of Allied ships, presenting discouraging reports of high losses and casualties among Allied forces.  Although the broadcasts were widely known to be Nazi propaganda, they frequently offered the only details available from behind enemy lines concerning the fate of friends and relatives who did not return from bombing raids over Germany.

As a result, Allied troops and civilians frequently listened to Lord Haw-Haw’s broadcasts in spite of the sometimes infuriating content and frequent inaccuracies and exaggerations, in the hopes of learning clues about the fate of Allied troops and air crews.  Mass Observation interviews warned the Ministry of Information of this and as a result more attention was given to the official reports of British military casualties.

“Lord Haw-Haw” was the nickname of several announcers on the English-language propaganda radio program, Germany Calling, broadcast by Nazi German radio to audiences in Great Britain on the medium wave station Reichssender Hamburg and by shortwave to the United States.  The program started on Sept. 18, 1939 and continued until April 30, 1945, when Hamburg was overrun by the British Army. This nickname, “Lord Haw-Haw,” generally refers to William Joyce, who was German radio’s most prominent English-language speaker and to whom it gradually came to be exclusively applied.  However, it was also applied to other broadcasters, mostly in the early stages of the war.

Radio critic Jonah Barrington of the Daily Express applied the phrase in describing a German broadcaster, in an attempt to reduce his possible impact:  “He speaks English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way-variety.” In practice, the name was applied to a number of different announcers and even soon after Barrington coined the nickname, it was uncertain exactly which German broadcaster he was describing.  Some British media and listeners just used “Lord Haw-Haw” as a generic term to describe all English-language German broadcasters, although other nicknames, like “Sinister Sam,” were occasionally used by the BBC to distinguish between obviously different speakers.  Poor reception may have contributed to some listeners’ difficulties in distinguishing between broadcasters.

In reference to the nickname, American pro-Nazi broadcaster Fred W. Kaltenbach was given the moniker Lord Hee-Haw by the British media.  The Lord Hee-Haw name, however, was used for a time by The Daily Telegraph to refer to Lord Haw-Haw, generating some confusion between nicknames and broadcasters.

So what are we to nickname Edward Snowden?  Eddie the Sneak/Snitch/Snoop, or maybe Ed the Red, who has gone on a whirlwind, round-the-Communist-World tour pedaling his top secret wares?  No one is even sure where he is or where he’s going.  We know he has been in Hong Kong, China, and left.  His destination is something of a, well, secret.  Rumors have him landing in Russia, Cuba, North Korea and Iran.  The NSA is hot on his trail with an arrest warrant as soon as he lands in country with an extradition treaty.

Or is Snowden a free speech superhero concerned that our unreliable administration will, in fact (some say he already has) turned the devices on freedom-loving Americans, seeking out opponents of his policies to intimidate them into silence.  An IRS agent refuses to divulge how the Tea Parties came to be targeted, basing her assertion on non-Constitutional grounds, defending her right to remain silent.  Yet, Snowden warns the American people of a surveillance program that could be used on innocent people and the Administration launches a worldwide man-hunt?  Anti-Fed Ed?  The Freedom of Speech Spook?  The Spook Who Spoke?  Don’t Tread on Ed?  Yeah, the hero titles don’t quite work, do they?

He may have been right about exposing this administration’s capability for spying on its own people.  But then he took off for the nearest Communist country and handed them all our secrets, at least according to the Obama Administration.  Snowden’s actions don’t look very good;  Rather like Julian Assange (who took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London) after he leaked secret intelligence. 

Lord Haw-Haw must be having a good laugh down there in Hell. 

Published in: on June 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pushing Back Against Agenda 21 in Riverdale

The citizens of Riverdale just weren’t having any more of it.  They’d suffered the installation of a massive high-density condo development on the south side of Route 23.  Now, under the guise of a non-profit organization, Push to Walk in NJ, Agenda 21 was proposing another massive, high-density low-income development on the Newark-Pompton Turnpike, right in the center of  Riverdale’s middle class neighborhoods.

“Push” came to shove and Riverdale “pushed” back, telling the planning board, the mayor and the developer, RPM Development Group, “no way!”  Angry, alarmed citizens complained that the complex would overwhelm the tiny town and its tax base.  They told the board they were willing to allow the complex to be built in some less populated spot.  The old Riverdale Quarry, nearly through chewing away Riverdale Hill, would be perfect.

However, The Suburban Trends reported, “After meeting with public outcry, the developers of a proposed affordable housing project in the borough have withdrawn their building application.”

The Trends scrupled not to lay on the guilt, continuing, “Push to Walk NJ, a non-profit organization that provides individualized workouts for people with spinal cord injuries, and its partner, RPM Development Group of Montclair,  have withdrawn their application to build a new, four-story facility that would have included dozens of affordable housing units on Newark-Pompton Turnpike.”

The spinal cord injury patients would have only needed one flour.  Right now, since the bookstore Borders decamped, there’s an enormously empty space available in that strip mall for the spinal cord injury patients.  Better yet, it’s right across the highway from an enormous senior citizens housing facility.  How perfect is that?

Riverdale would have an occupant for that empty building and would gain some additional tax revenue.  The spinal injury cord patients would have their rehab facility.  The residents of Riverdale would not be overwhelmed with non-productive citizens who would bring their crime and violence with them.

Congratulations, citizens of Riverdale, for telling Agenda 21 to take their affordable housing plan and shove it!

 

 

Published in: on June 24, 2013 at 10:38 am  Comments (8)  

Obama’s Double-Speech

Even as Obama opined at the Brandenburg Gate about East German heroes rising up against oppression, how citizens choose whether to be defined by a wall or tear it down, and about the American embassy being back at its historic home, even as he spoke about the history of a divided Berlin, in Washington, D.C., Tea Party ralliers were being prevented from attending a separate rally for immigration reform.

Only a certain number were permitted to go to the immigration rally and if your permit said you could rally against the IRS, that’s all you could do.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, Obama spoke about the square on which he spoke (Pariser Platz) once being a desolate no man’s land now open to all.  He invoked Immanuel Kant in his speech who he says “taught us that freedom is the ‘unoriginated birthright of man, and it belongs to him by force of his humanity.’”  In other words, God didn’t grant Man freedom; he gave it to himself just by being born.

In D.C. in the meantime, Tea Partiers report alleged discrimination in the face of two separate political events taking place. The two rallies were not concurrent:  The immigration press conference was slated from 9.a.m.-12 p.m., and again from 2 p.m. -5 p.m. The Tea Party rally was scheduled from 12 p.m.-2 p.m.

Capitol Hill Police Officer Sandra Brown allegedly left a voicemail for one of the directors of the “Audit the IRS” event, saying attendees from one event were not allowed at the other.  The message was apparently left for Kevin Mooneyhan, deputy executive director of Tea Party Patriots.

“It’s 9:28 a.m., June 19,” Brown stated in her voicemail. There are members of your group that are moving into other areas on the Capitol grounds, joining other groups on the east front of the Capitol. That activity is not authorized.”   Brown can be heard identifying herself saying in recorded voice message.

“Your area is the west front of the Capitol.  Have either yourself and our 12 marshals keep your group in your area and your area only. You cannot join other groups in other areas that have been permitted to other groups,” the message continues.

The voicemail noted that authorities would be on the ground to keep the “peace.”  Prior to the message’s release, reports were already raging that activists who were in D.C to attend the “Audit the IRS” rally were being prevented from also heading over to an immigration press conference taking place nearby between the two sessions of the Tea Party rally.

Back in Berlin, Obama stated, “Today, people often come together in places like this to remember history — not to make it.  After all, we face no concrete walls, no barbed wire.  There are no tanks poised across a border.  There are no visits to fallout shelters.  And so sometimes there can be a sense that the great challenges have somehow passed.  And that brings with it a temptation to turn inward — to think of our own pursuits, and not the sweep of history; to believe that we’ve settled history’s accounts, that we can simply enjoy the fruits won by our forebears.”

TheBlaze spoke briefly with Brown via phone to ask about the message, but she quickly forwarded the producers to the Capitol Police media office without comment, where we left a message for a representative to explain the meaning of her words.

“Still, two Blaze reporters attending the events indicated that they encountered no problems moving between the two. It’s unclear how the police were identifying attendees of either event.

“Later, in a phone call with Capitol Hill Police, spokesperson Shennell Antrobus told TheBlaze that he had not yet heard the voicemail. But based on its description, he said that it seemed as though there was a safety issue to have too many people show up and migrate to a separate event.

“’With each permit having an expected number of attendance, movements between events can sometimes be problematic on the space and safety front,’ Antrobus explained (especially if they exceed expected numbers). He was clear that opinion or content of specific meetings would not be at the heart of trying to prevent such migrations.”

“Glenn Beck, a keynote speaker at the rally tweeted about the division on the ground, writing,

“Already discrimination. Splitting us up into two groups on different sides of Capitol.  MLK would not stand for this. No sense.”

“… because courageous crowds climbed atop that wall,” Obama said breathlessly, “because corrupt dictatorships gave way to new democracies, because millions across this continent now breathe the fresh air of freedom, we can say, here in Berlin, here in Europe — our values won.  Openness won.  Tolerance won.  And freedom won here in Berlin.”

“President Kennedy was taken from us less than six months after he spoke those words.  And like so many who died in those decades of division, he did not live to see Berlin united and free.  Instead, he lives forever as a young man in our memory.  But his words are timeless because they call upon us to care more about things than just our own self-comfort, about our own city, about our own country.  They demand that we embrace the common endeavor of all humanity.

“And if we lift our eyes, as President Kennedy called us to do, then we’ll recognize that our work is not yet done.  For we are not only citizens of America or Germany — we are also citizens of the world.  And our fates and fortunes are linked like never before.

“The wall belongs to history.  But we have history to make as well.  And the heroes that came before us now call to us to live up to those highest ideals — to care for the young people who can’t find a job in our own countries, and the girls who aren’t allowed to go to school overseas; to be vigilant in safeguarding our own freedoms, but also to extend a hand to those who are reaching for freedom abroad.

“This is the lesson of the ages.  This is the spirit of Berlin.  And the greatest tribute that we can pay to those who came before us is by carrying on their work to pursue peace and justice not only in our countries but for all mankind.”

Then he spent the rest of the speech talking about climate change.  Climate change is very big – as in Big Money – over in Europe; so big, that it sent Spain into bankruptcy.

This is some of what Glenn Beck had to say in Washington, D.C., while Obama was playing Don Quixote in Berlin:

“What is it we even believe as a people anymore? Where did we get these ideas that now seem so popular?

“Our forebears came to these shores not for free stuff, but for freedom. The chance to make their own way, create a different life.  They came here because they knew that God made them free to make their own way in life, take the risk, do their best and take responsibility for their own lives.

“They came here because they wanted to serve Him in the way they believed, not as they were told.  But how many care about our history? And, of those who do care, how many really still believe?

“Some things are worth believing in. That the little guy can make it.  That every single life has value and is worth living. That honor and integrity do matter.  That justice will prevail – if not in this life – then the next, and that God does exist. And what we do in our lives matters.  I, for one, still believe in the silly notion of truth, justice and the American way.

“For those that think men make progress collectively: I warn you, history teaches that you couldn’t be more wrong. We are redeemed one man at a time. There is no “family pass” ticket or park hopping pass to life. One ticket, one life at a time.

“Man doesn’t vanquish hatred or bigotry. The target keeps moving. From the blacks to the Irish. Atheists to Christians.

“But as always, there are a few leaders: Ben Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. They know that the march toward freedom never ends; man must be ever-vigilant and pray less with his lips and more with his legs.

“In the past, these historic stands which we now call civil rights movements were done by a small but dedicated portion of our citizens which led to great shifts in our culture.  But those movements always came from the same institutions … the church.  And usually not the church with the popular preacher, but the one who put it on the line to tell the people the truth.

“I humbly suggest to you that Martin Luther King knew the answer, and he lost more than congregants during his long march. Students are taught that his vision came from the ideas of Gandhi.  Maybe a new radical 20th century Progressive philosopher was the one that taught MLK that “although we be free of all men, when we choose to make ourselves servants to all, we gain the more.”

“Let’s get a couple of things straight. What MLK and Gandhi did was not progressive or new. It was an ancient idea. Hollywood, Woodstock nor the hippie culture was the source of power of the 1960s freedom movement.

“God was.

“He was leading those who risked their lives over that bridge in Selma, not Janice Joplin, Columbia University or a labor union. It wasn’t John Lennon that taught people about love and peaceful resistance — that job fell on the shoulders of a Jewish carpenter. And it is there that we will find the answers that will break the chains that are being forged for a new generation of slaves.

“The government is no longer the protector of those civil rights, and so we must be. When we are told that it is okay for the IRS, EPA, ATF, FBI or anyone to hassle, threaten or intimidate others because of their skin color, religion or political belief, we stop being the country that we all want to build, and start being the country the world should fear.

“Men may make progress, but man never changes. Man loves power and money. No matter the skin color, religion or income level. These symbols of our nation make men drunk with power, who then justify their lust for more by claiming they are public servants. The only difference between Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. is that at least Vegas has the decency to admit the town is full of hookers and crooks.

“We are not violent. We are not racist. We are not anti-immigrant. We are not anti-government. And we will not be silent anymore.

“Those who wish to use unrighteous dominion over mankind are not enemies of ours; they are enemies of God, and He will not be silent much longer either.

“We will no longer accept the lies, the corruption, or the information and data gathering. It is evil. And we come here today to send a message that we will surround all of those who wish to stand and break the cycle of corruption. We will use ourselves as shields to protect those in the system, the elected officials or whistle blowers with the courage to stand.

“We come here today to respectfully, but with the power of the spirit, demand to be treated as an equal member of society. I am a man, and I will be treated as such. I answer to only one king and His kingdom will come, His will be done. We have chosen sides and we choose God. America as a nation must do the same, as well.”

Once upon a time, Americans were inspired by the words of their presidents.  Today, we must pay a professional broadcaster to speak those kinds of words – at the peril of his life.  We are a conflicted nation.  We want freedom, but we fear to invoke the wrath of the authorities and if we’re offered free stuff in place of freedom, we don’t quibble; we take the free stuff.  We want peace, but we cannot speak the truth without risking our lives, our jobs, and even our friendships.  We want justice, but we spell it differently – v-e-n-g-e-a-n-c-e.  We love America, but we seem powerless to defend her.  When her defense means the possible shedding of blood, prison time, a fine, a loss of popularity, we shrink away from her and turn our backs in cowardice.  Those who speak the truth are shunned and branded as fools, not heroes.

Obama recited JFK’s dream of social justice and of dreaming beyond individual freedom.  Individual freedom is the heart of freedom.  Yoked to one another by social justice, Common Core, Agenda 21, and government spying, there is no freedom.  In place of a dream is a nightmare of tyranny.

Wake up, Americans.

 

Published in: on June 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

“I Am a Doughnut Hole”

Obama is scheduled for yet another speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.  He’s scheduled it close to the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s speech, which took place in front of Schoenberg Town Hall on June 26, 1963.

“Ich Bin Ein Berliner,” Kennedy told the throngs.  Not quite grammatically correct, according to German linguists, but close enough to win over the adoring crowds.  At the time, in Berlin, there was a popular pastry called “The Berliner.”  He was basically telling the crowds, “I am a donut.”  But they knew what he meant.

“If you are a U.S. person,” Obama told Charlie Rose’s audience, “the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls and the NSA cannot target your e-mails.”

“And have not,” Charlie interjected.  Was there a slight, mischievous expression in Obama’s eyes as he said those words?  Were the words “Yet” hanging back there, intentionally misleading Americans?  And what the heck did he mean by “U.S. persons?”

John F. Kennedy, in his famous speech, did not say to the people of Berlin, “I am a Berlin person.”  His quote was “I am a Berliner.”  ‘I am with you in your quest for freedom.’  In his last address at the Brandenburg Gate, where Hitler once addressed the throngs, Obama said that he was “a citizen of the world.”  Not quite the same thing.

If Kennedy, in a mistranslation and ignorance of Berlin’s metropolitan culture (how would he knew what a Berliner was besides a resident of Berlin?), told the crowd he was a doughnut, Obama told the world that he’s a doughnut hole:  full of empty promises, vacuous, and ex parte.  Pres. Ronald Reagan would return to Germany and bid Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” that separated West (westernized) Berlin from East (Communist) Berlin.

The wall was intended to prevent East Berlin’s citizens from escaping to the free West during the Cold War.  The wall did nothing to contain Communism.  Obama is the doughnut hole, that portal through which Communism, which had been somewhat contained even during Kennedy’s administration, can now freely flow.

His immigration bill will not only make all Americans “citizens of the world” but will make all “citizens of the world” instant Americans, whether they deserve to be or not.

Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 10:22 am  Comments (6)  

Not Just Another Walk in the Park

The Middle East is such a hodge-podge of conflicting factions, all on the same side, yet constantly battling one another.  Still, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been doing a pretty fair job of turning their country back into an Islamic state.  According to the Jerusalem Post, in three consecutive elections, the party has increased its votes from 34.3 percent in 2002 to 49.8 percent in 2011.

But just because he wants his country to follow a 3rd Century religion doesn’t mean Erdogan wants his country to actually live in the Third World.  The fathers of Istanbul decided to build a shopping mall in Taksim Square, the city’s only remaining park and only remaining open space where citizens can gather for (hopefully) peaceful demonstrations.

Even Islamists can’t defy the environmentalists.  On May 28, a number of environmentalists gathered in the park to protest the building of the shopping mall.  The AKP’s project also includes plans to resurrect the Topcu military barracks, the site of a 1909 Islamist revolt (known as the 31 March incident) against the Young Turk government.  Now it’s the Liberals’ and pro-secular Turks’ turn to revolt.

The Jerusalem Post goes on to report, “The next day, during the opening ceremony of another of the government’s environmentally controversial construction project, Istanbul’s third bridge, which was named after Yavuz Sultan Selim (a 16th-century Ottoman Sultan who massacred 40,000 Alevis), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the protests in Gezi Park by declaring, “Do whatever you want to do, but we have made our decision.”

“And on May 31, his government sent the riot police to crush the Gezi Park protesters.”

“The police’s excessive use of violence, using tear gas and water cannon against the peaceful protesters, was the last straw for the masses, which took to the streets.  People from all walks of life (liberal, pro-secular, conservative, center-left, center-right, leftist, anti-capitalist Islamist, Turkish nationalist, Alevi, white-collar professionals, workers and students) spontaneously gathered together throughout the country to protest the AKP government’s authoritarian policies, Erdogan and his party members’ illiberal political rhetoric, and the AKP-backed police violence against the protesters.”

“The AKP, which has roots in political Islam, starting in its second term, has successfully mobilized against the secular-democratic state by exerting its power in executive, legislative and judiciary branches. As the party increased its votes, the AKP has started to reveal its authoritarian tendencies and has recently started to impose its Islamic values on Turkish society.”

“During its almost 11-year rule, as Erdogan stated, the AKP government initiated “a silent revolution” in Turkey. The AKP silenced its prominent pro-secular critics and curtailed the media and academic freedom by utilizing the Ergenekon trial – Turkey has become the country with the highest number of imprisoned journalists; increased the power of the police, which Erdogan called “the regime’s assurance”; silenced the secular military by utilizing the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer (Balyoz) trials; redesigned the mandatory education system favoring the Islamist movement’s strengthening and enabling the rise of a ‘religious and revengeful youth,’ in Erdogan’s words; prepared a draft law that would restrict women’s rights by imposing an abortion ban after the fourth week of pregnancy including cases of rape and incest, while severely restricting Caesarean births; ordered each theater and opera house to have a small mosque, and each university to build a mosque on its campus; banned the public’s celebration of national holidays, including the republic’s foundation day; erased the ‘Turkish Republic’ from official buildings; tried to intimidate the citizens, who protested the AKP’s policies, by sending the police over the protesters; and most recently, severely restricted the consumption, sale and advertisement of alcohol, while Erdogan implicitly called Atatürk and Inönü ‘drunken lawmakers.’

“In its third term, the AKP, having a majoritarian understanding of democracy, focused on replacing the secular-democratic values of the Turkish state with its conservative interpretation of Islam. Nowadays, every Turkish citizen can easily see the AKP in every sphere of his/her private life. Erdogan suggests that families should have at least three children and people should not drink alcohol because Islam forbids it, but should drink ayran instead, a traditional Turkish yogurt beverage.

“Erdogan, facing the Gezi Park protests, raised the tension by denouncing the protesters as “looters,” who were organized by “extremists” and “foreign elements”; called Twitter, which has become a hub for activists and a major news source, “the worst menace to society”; threatened to “choke” investors if they were caught speculating the bourse; and threatened to send his party supporters to crush the protesters.

“Indeed, during the demonstrations there were several incidents in various cities of pro-AKP civilians brutally attacking demonstrators with sticks, with no interference from the police. During the nationwide demonstrations, the police excessively used tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and nonlethal sound bombs against the protesters.

“However, the government’s policy of intimidating the protesters by applying brutal police force has failed and resulted in the creation of solidarity spirit among the protesters against the AKP’s authoritarian policies. The protests also revealed how the mainstream Turkish media applies self-censorship.

“During the demonstrations, CNN Türk was broadcasting a documentary about penguins, while NTV was broadcasting a cooking show.”

Yes, we here in America know how that goes.  The Tea Parties also know what it’s like not to be permitted to hold rallies.

“It seems that the tension will continue as Erdogan maintains his illiberal political rhetoric, and responds to the protests by holding mass political gatherings in Ankara and Istanbul, such as those on June 15 and 16. The state-controlled Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) fined four TV channels on June 12 for broadcasting the Gezi Park protests. And the police detained over 70 lawyers, who expressed their support for the Gezi Park protesters, in an Istanbul courthouse.

“The nationwide Gezi Park protests show that even if the AKP wins the 2014 general elections for the fourth time, the party may not be able to maintain the stability it has enjoyed since 2002. A consciousness has emerged among citizens in Turkey, particularly among the youth, that they do not have to remain silent facing the AKP’s authoritarian policies. The US has regarded the AKP as a successful model of democracy for the Muslim Middle East. And since 2002, the AKP government has enjoyed the US support. Yet, the recent mass anti-AKP protests reveal that time has come for the US to reassess its policy toward Turkey.

“The writer, Banu Eligur, is an assistant professor at Baskent University in Ankara in the Political Science and International Relations Department. She received her PhD in political science from Brandeis University, where she taught courses on Political Islam and Civil Society in the Middle East as a visiting assistant professor. She is the author of The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2010).”

Reading the article in her own words is important because this is a cautionary tale for Americans and it’s always better to hear the truth straight from the Turkish citizen’s mouth.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Gezi-Park-protests-The-AKPs-battle-with-Turkish-society-316870

Published in: on June 18, 2013 at 11:52 am  Comments (2)  

Flag Day, 2013

Fans of the Patrick O’Brian series about the adventures of a British naval captain, Jack Aubrey, and the ship’s doctor, friend and spy for England, Stephen Maturin, will be gratified to know that when Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, and his friend J.S. Skinner made a bid to free their friend, Maryland physician Dr. Beanes, they were taken aboard the H.M.S. Surprise.  Beanes was accused of aiding in the arrest of British soldiers.

The Surprise is the name of Aubrey’s ship in the film Master and Commander.  “Master and Commander” was the name of O’Brian’s first book in the series, but the film itself is based on a later book, “The Far Side of the World.”  Key and Skinner boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane (the captain of the Surprise and the model of O’Brian’s Capt. Aubrey) over dinner while the two officers discussed war plans. At first, Ross and Cochrane refused to release Beanes, but relented after Key and Skinner showed them letters written by wounded British prisoners praising Beanes and other Americans for their kind treatment.

Because Key and Skinner had heard details of the plans for the attack on Baltimore, they were held captive until after the battle, first aboard HMS Surprise and later back on HMS Minden. After the bombardment, certain British gunboats attempted to slip past the fort and effect a landing in a cove to the west of it, but they were turned away by fire from nearby Fort Covington, the city’s last line of defense.

Key and his friend were later transferred to a supply ship and then released to Key’s own vessel, the HMS Minden, where he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry beginning on Sept. 13, 1814.  During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort’s s smaller “storm flag” continued to fly, but once the shell and rocket barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn.  By then, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised.

During the bombardment, the HMS Erebus provided the “rockets’ red glare.” The HMS Meteor provided at least some of the “bombs bursting in air.”  Key wrote the four-stanza poem entitled “The Defence of Fort McHenry” on the back of an envelope and gave it to his brother-in-law the next day.  Judge J.H. Nicholson suggested using the nearly unsingable tune, “Anacreaon in Heaven,” which was also a popular bar tune (when you’re drunk, it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the right notes anyway and no one will notice) known as “When the Warrior Returns,” written in honor of Stephen Decatur and Charles Stewart on their return from the First Barbary war.

Also known as the Tripolitan War or the Barbary Coast War, it was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the Northwest African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States: Tripoli and Algiers, which were quasi-independent entities nominally belonging to the Ottoman Empire, and the independent Sultanate of Morocco.  It was from this battle that a treaty was signed, declaring that the United States of America was not a “Christian nation.”  The Muslims broke the treaty anyway, resulting in the second war and the nullification of the first treaty.  We were a Christian nation once again, at least until 1962 when the Supreme Court declared prayers in school unconstitutional.

So on this day, remember the service men and women who sacrificed their lives in defense of that flag (today is the 238th Anniversary of the U.S. Army).  You may think differently now of the tune to which the words were set.  Difficult as it is (although not too difficult for 16 year-old Marlana Van Hoose, a blind and disabled high school girl who belted the song out of the park – or in this case, gymnasium – before a women’s basketball game between the University of Kentucky and Mississippi State), the song is a reminder that freedom is never easy.  Certainly not as easy as collecting welfare without even being a citizen.

According to the YouTube site, “16-year-old Marlana was born with Cytomeglovirus (CMV), a virus that prevented her optic nerve from ever forming.  Marlana healed from the virus after her first birthday.  She then began humming before learning to talk and taught herself how to play the piano by age 2.

“Today, Marlana loves to sing, her most recognized performance is when she sang the National Anthem before the University of Kentucky vs. Ole Miss women’s basketball game Feb. 2, 2012. University of Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said “the standing ovation that she got was the longest he could ever remember.”

Francis Scott Key would have been proud.  ‘Let this be our motto:  In God is our Trust.’

 

 

Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Famous Last Words

“Rosebud.”   Those are the first words of the 1941 film, “Citizen Kane,” which happen to be the last words of the titular character, played by Orson Welles.  The remainder of the cast – and it’s a cast of thousands – spend the rest of the film trying to find out what the name means, who it belongs to.  A cast-off mistress?  A long-lost love?  They’re the most famous last words in cinematic history.

Following is a humorous and often ironic look at last words.  But we should be concerned about what might be the last words of the United States of America.  Glenn Beck apparently thought he was being punished by God for saying something wrong.  More likely, God was making an example of Glenn to demonstrate to us what may happen if we lose our voices as Americans.

Some famous last words include:

“Et tu, Brutei?” (from Julius Caesar)

 “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” (Nathan Hale, hung as a spy by the British during the American Revolutionary War.)

“That was a great game of golf, fellas!” (Bing Crosby)

“I’m losing it.”  (Frank Sinatra)

“Thomas Jefferson survives!” (John Adams)

“Good morning.”  (William Howard Taft)

“Tomorrow is another day!” (Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind);

“No, you certainly can’t.” (JFK in response to Nellie Connally’s remark, “You certainly can’t say that the people of Dallas haven’t given you a nice welcome, Mr. President.”

“Aw, no one’s gonna shoot at me.”  (Lee Harvey Oswald to a Dallas policeman)

“Put out that bloody cigarette!” (One officer to another while in trench during World War I.  He was then shot by a German sniper who heard the remark)

“I can’t sleep.”  (J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan)

“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.” (Humphrey Bogart)

“Now why did I do that?” (Gen. William Erskine, after jumping from a window in Lisbon, Portugal)

“I hope I haven’t bored you.”  (Elvis Presley, at his last press conference).  His actual last words were in response to his fiancée who warned him not to fall asleep in the bathroom.  “Okay.  I won’t.”

“Thank God, I have done my duty.”  (Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson)

“Let’s roll!” (Todd Beamer on 9/11)

 “I’d rather be skiing.”  (Comedian Stan Laurel, paraphrased from when his nurse asked if he was a skier)

“To the strongest!” (Alexander, upon being asked to whom his succession should go)

“May God forgive me for putting on another [uniform].”  (Benedict Arnold)

“The ladies have to go first.”  (John Jacob Astor IV, aboard the RMS Titanic)

“Now I can cross the Shifting Sands.” (L. Frank Baum, referring to the impassable desert in The Wizard of Oz.”

“I don’t want to die.  Please don’t let me die!”  (Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez)

“I just wish I had time for one more bowl of chili.”  (Kit Carson)

“I’m so bored with it all.”  (Winston Churchill)

“You got me.”  (John Dillinger)

“One last drink, please.”  (Jack Daniel)

“That guy’s got to stop…He’ll see us.”  (James Dean, just before car accident)

“Kurt Russell.”  (Walt Disney, on a scrap of paper, although no one, including Russell, who was 15 at the time, knows why)

“This is the fish of my dreams.”  (Fisherman Dan Dodds, who caught a 20-lb. salmon, then died of a heart attack.  The salmon was eaten at his wake).

“Don’t let them put me in one of those bags; I might suffocate.”  (Darragh Doyle, just before dropping a live grenade at Omaha Beach.)

“We are running on line north and south.”  (Amelia Earhart

“So, you got any advice for me here coming up?”  (Dale Earnhardt to Andy Pilgrim at Daytona 500 waiting for last start after caution.  Pilgrim’s reply was, “No.”)

“I’ll see you at the movies.”  (Roger Ebert, last public blog)

“Citater fra…”  (Albert Einstein, Danish phrase meaning “quotes from”)

“All my possessions for a moment of time.”  Elizabeth I

“Hurrah for anarchy!  This is the happiest moment of my life.:  (George Engel, before execution)

“Please don’t leave me!  Please don’t leave me!”  (attributed to both John Belushi and Chris Farley before dying of drug overdoses)

“Nothing soothes pain like human touch.”  (Grand chessmaster Bobby Fischer)

“I am sorry to trouble you chaps.  I don’t know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days.”  (Ian Fleming, to ambulance drivers)

“You can stop now; I’m already dead.”  (Abigail Folger to Manson Family murderers)

“Please – please don’t kill me – I don’t want to die.  I just want to have my baby.”  (Sharon Tate according to the court testimony of Virginia Graham as she was being murdered by Susan Atkins.  Atkins response to Tate was, “Look, you might as well face it right now; you’re going to die and I don’t feel a thing behind it.”)

“That’s not true!  I’m going to die in this suit?”  (Frederick William I)

“Don’t cry, Alfred!  I need all my courage to die at twenty.”  (Mathematician Evariste Galois to his brother after being fatally wounded in a duel)

“Don’t worry.  Relax!”  (Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to his guards when a suicide bomber approached him with flowers)

“No!  I didn’t come here to make a speech.  I came here to die.”  (“Cherokee Bill” when asked if had any last words before his hanging)

“And now for a final word from our sponsor.”  (Days of Our Lives soap opera writer Charles Gussman)

“Dying’s tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.”  (Actor Edmund Gwenn)

“That’s good.  Go on, read some more.”  (Warren G. Harding, to his wife, who was reading him flattering newspaper accounts)

“Everything is an illusion.”  (Mata Hari, propagandist)

“It was the food!  Don’t touch the food!”  (Actor Richard Harris to fellow hotel guests as he was wheeled out by paramedics)

“Gentlemen, I bid you farewell.”  (Titanic musician Wallace Hartley)

“Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”  (Pres. William Henry Harrison, 9th president, to his successor John Tyler)

“God will forgive me; it is His profession.”  (Heinrich Heine, German romantic poet who converted to Christianity from Judaism)

“Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub.”  (Conrad Hilton)

“Don’t be in such a hurry.”  (Singer Billie Holiday)

“Surprise me.”  (Bob Hope, when his wife asked where he wanted to be buried)

“Enough already.”  (Author William Herrick, Being Human)

“Don’t worry; they usually don’t swim backwards.”  (Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin of a stingray, which did swim backwards and stung him to death)

“That picture is awful dusty.”  (Jesse James, shot to death by a former associate while dusting a picture)

“Oh wow.  Oh wow.  Oh wow.”  (Steve Jobs, Apple CEO)

“Kaputt..”  (Manfred von Richthofen, The Red Baron.  Trans.:  “Broken” or “Smashed.”

“I will see you tomorrow, if God wills it.”  (Pope John Paul I, an hour before he died)

“Amen.”  (Pope John Paul II, seconds before he died)

“Vancouver!  Vancounver!  This is it!  This is…”  (Volcanologist David A Johnson’s last radio transmission before Mount St. Helens eruption)

“Vicisti, Galilaee!”  (Emperor Julian, trans. “You have won, O Galilean!” having attempted to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of time.”  (Jesus of Nazareth)

The quotes could go on and on.  This listing was “inspired” by Glenn Beck’s question to his audience, “If you knew you were going to lose your voice forever tomorrow, what would your last words be.”  Beck is suffering from paralytic laryngitis, which is treatable, but rather inconvenient if you happen to be a radio and television broadcaster.

My personal favorite is the cry of William Wallace at the end of the film, Braveheart:  “Freedom!”

There are other gems such as rock musician Terry Kath’s last words as he put what he thought was a gun with no magazine:  “Don’t worry; it’s not loaded.”  Ouch.

A more sublime quote comes from Martin Luther King Jr.:  “Be sure to play ‘Blessed Lord’ tonight – play it really pretty.”  Some famous quotes were actually uttered by other people.  American playwright Wilson Mizner was more down to earth with his priest:  “Why should I talk to you?  I’ve just been talking with your boss.”  Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery last words were:  “Well, now I must go to meet God and try to explain all those men I killed at Alamein.”

“Don’t give up the ship.  Fight her till she sinks.” Was not uttered by Commodore Perry but his friend and fellow naval officer James Lawrence.

“She won’t think anything about it.”  Abraham Lincoln was referring to family friend Clara Harris and what she would think of his holding hands with his wife, Mary.  According to an account by Mary, they’d been talking of their future plans and how much he’d enjoy seeing Jerusalem when the bullet struck.

More irony came from Joseph Lucas’ last words.  Founder of Lucas Industries, he was  manufacturer of automotive electrical components, including headlights, which were notorious for unreliability in the early days of the automobile.  His last words were:  “Never drive at night.”

“Mozart!  Mozart!”  No, it wasn’t Anton Salieri, as the film Amadeus would have it; they were Gustav Mahler’s last words.  Speaking of Mozart, the brilliant composer waxed poetic upon his death:  “The taste of death is upon my lips.  I feel something, that is not of this earth.”  Groucho Marx, on the other hand, waxed comedic:  “Die, my dear?  Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!”  These words were also spoken to his doctor by Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount of Palmerston.

Nostradamus, apparently predicting his own death, said, “Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here.”  Laurence Olivier remained true to his Shakespearean roots to the end:  “This isn’t Hamlet, you know,” to a nurse who stuck him in the ear with a lip moistener.  “It’s not meant to go into the bloody ear.”  [Ears and hearing are a key them in “Hamlet.”]

“This is a hell of a way to die.”  That was George Patton’s swan song, after a car accident while out hunting.  Ballerina Anna Pavlova last word’s were “Get my swan costume ready…Play that last measure very softly.”

“And will you rule better?” were the last words of Byzantine emperor Phocas to Heraclius who had asked him, “Is this how you have ruled, wretch?”  Outraged at the reply, Heraclius immediately beheaded Phocas.  Another Oriental traveler, Marco Polo’s last words were “I have not told half of what I saw.”

James W Rodgers, facing a firing squad, was asked if he had any last requests.  He replied, “Yes, a bullet-proof vest.”  To Eleanor Roosevelt the idea that she would die when the reason God put her on earth was fulfilled was “Utter nonsense.”  To Babe Ruth, he was “going over the valley.”

Edward H. Ruloff, the last person to be hung in the state of New York said, “I’d like to be in hell in time for dinner” and Finnish actress Sirkka Sari cried, “Let’s be wild tonight!” just before falling down a chimney, which she had mistaken for a scenery balcony, and into a heating boiler.

“I could shoot better!” Hannie Schaft, a Dutch Communist resistance fighter, said to her executioner when he missed.  He subsequently emptied his machine gun into her.  Union Civil War General John Sedgwick was just as skeptical of the aim of Confederate snipers.  “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”  He was then shot by a sniper.

“Roger, go at throttle up,” were the last words of Space Shuttle Challenger Captain Dick Scobee.  But the Challenger’s last recorded words were actually “Uh oh…” by crew member Michael J. Smith, less than half a second before the shuttle disintegrated.  Capt. Edward Smith of the RMS Titanic, as he was releasing his crew, said, “You know the rule of the sea.  It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

Despite rumors to the contrary, Princess Diana did not die immediately upon impact in that French tunnel.  She had some last words and they were, “My God, what’s happened?”  Joseph Stalin was rather less coherent on his deathbed.  As best as anyone can make out, he muttered “Dzhh…”

When urged to make his peace with God, Henry David Thoreau’s last coherent response was, “I did not know that we had ever quarreled.”   Japanese Army General Hideki Tojo, attempting to commit suicide for his failures by shooting himself in the heart, ultimately failed and said he had tried to dispatch himself honorably but “sometimes that fails.”

Whatever happens, let our last words as Americans not be, “If only we had spoken out against what was happening.”

 

Published in: on June 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm  Comments (8)  

Crashing Chrysler

The Chrysler Jeep Gran Cherokee is probably one of the most rugged SUVs on the road.  The favorite of off-roaders, it also has its fans among ordinary drivers for its legendary durability.  Twenty year-old Gran Cherokees are still on the road.  A good friend owns a 2000 JGC; it’s 13 years old and still hanging in there.

These drivers can’t understand the total recall of all Gran Cherokees for an alleged gas tank “defect”.  Only 57 Cherokees – and Jeep Libertys – have experienced this problem.  That’s in comparison to the millions of Ford Pintos back in the 1970s that burst into flames at the slightest touch.

The Gran Cherokee features a plastic gas tank, although off-roaders can order a more rugged, reinforced steel tank.  The reason the JGC was outfitted with a plastic gas tank was because the 15 percent ethanol that is now a standard part of all gas mixtures (it’s as high as 85 percent in the Midwest) rots out the steel gas tanks.

Chrysler Group LLC board member John Lanaway would have known about the plastic gas tanks and what ethanol could do to steel tanks.  He was Director of CNH Global N.V., an agriculture and construction equipment manufacturer which is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Industrial SpA.  It was probably a good idea.  Steel tanks that rot out and leak gasoline are more likely to burst into flames than a plastic tank.

So, the question, who wants to run the Gran Cherokee and its manufacturer, Chrysler, off the road?  And why?

Well, why happens to be an easy question.  A rugged, dependable car that can run for two decades isn’t very good for planned obsolescence or the company’s bottom line.  If you have a car that reliable, you hang onto it.  Gran Cherokee owners love their Jeeps and don’t have to rush out to buy another one.

The Gran Cherokee is a great buy for its owners, but not so great for its executives, stockholders, and union employees.  So what do you do to get planned obsolescence and union benefits up and running again.   You sell Chrysler to one of the worst automakers on the planet (according to my JGC friend, who’s a mechanic).  Then you create a crisis with the brand.

OMG!  Fifty-seven Jeep Cherokees have caught fire because the gas tank is over the rear axle (where most other gas tanks on other cars are located).  You get your auto industry bureaucrat friends from the NTHSA to go on TV and the radio and denounce the car and initiate a total recall.

Crazy, isn’t it?  Replacing a gas tank on a 20 year-old car that isn’t having any problems?  But rest assured.  Someone is looking to shut Chrysler down.  They may have to shoot every last JGC in the hood to actually kill the car, but by golly, they’re going to do it.

One of Chrysler’s board members is a “closer” –  Stephen M. Wolf.  His credentials read something like this:  although he’s currently chairman of R.R. Donnelley & Sons, a printing company and Alpilles LLC, a relationship mapmaking company, he’s also served as chairman and/or CEO of every airline that has either gone down in flames or has had a lot of trouble keeping its wings up:  U.S. Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Republic Airlines, whose merger with Northwest Airlines he orchestrated, Flying Tiger Line, which he helped sell to Federal Express, and Pan American World Airways.

He’s also a member of the board of Philip Morris, was chairman of Lehman Brothers Private Equity Advisory Board (the investment banking firm at the head of the 2008 banking scandal), and is an honorary trustee of the very Liberal Brookings Institution.  Wolf earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from San Francisco State University.  As chairman of the Advisory Board of Trilantic Capital Partners, one of his latest victories is a new, upstream oil and gas investment (meaning they’re at the oil well rather than the gas pump end of things).

Although Fiat is an Italian company, there’s a lot of Canadian camaraderie in this board of directors.  The chairman and CEO, Sergio Marchionne is also on the board of directors of Philip Morris as well as non-executive Vice Chairman and Senior Industrial Director for UBS (United Bank of Switzerland, where the one percent is trying to keep its money).  Marchionne was a philosophy major at the University of Toronto, although his minor was, wisely, in Economics.  He has dual Canadian and Italian Citizenship

Alfredo Altavilla is the Chief Operating Officer of Europe, Africa and Middle East Operations and Head of Business Development.  At one time, he was the Head of Projects in China and India, and served as the head of the Beijing office.

Douglas Steenland, in addition to serving on the board of AIG (think Warren Buffett), he’s also a member of Digital River, Inc., Hilton Worldwide and International Lease Finance.  Steenland is another airliner, serving on the board of Delta and Northwest Airlines.   Earlier in his career, he worked in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation.  He served on the board of the Detroit “Renaissance” in 2008 as a member of the Super Bowl XL committee.  He has a juris doctorate from the National Law Center at George Washington University.

Erickson N. Perkins is the union guy.  He’s a member of the staff of the United Auto Workers Office of the President and serves as Director of the UAW Strategic Research Department, as well as serving as UAW appointee to the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Health Care Reform.  Previously, Perkins served on the UAW’s National Negotiating Team during the 2011 contract negotiations with Detroit automakers.

In 2008, he was a consultant to SEIU (Service Employees’ International Union).  He has also served as an independent economic consultant, advising trade unions including AFL-CIO and the UAW.  He was also the Portfolio Manager, Senior VP, and Director of the European Research Alliance Capital Management L.P. (Now AllianceBernstein L.P.). Perkins graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Math and Economics, and an MBA from the business school at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Lanaway is the board’s accountant and marketing expert.  He was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of McCann-Erick, North America, and Ogilvy, North America.  Not to mention an assumed expert on the effects of ethanol on steel gas tanks.  He’s another Canadian graduate, of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, as well as earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto.

Leo W. Houle is the Chrysler board’s human resources guy.  He was Chief Talent officer of BCE, Inc. and Bell Canada.  He was group Vice President of the Lawson Mardon Group, which does investment research for investors and served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Human Resources for Algroup Ltd., a Swiss private equity and securities brokerage firm.  Yet another Canadian, he graduated from the College St Jean in Edmonton and holds Certificate of Human Resources Professional from the province of Ontario.

Then, there’s Ronald L. Thompson, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), a for-profit life insurance company, serving the retirement and financial needs of faculty and employees of colleges, universities, hospitals, cultural institutions and other non-profits.  Thompson has served as a board member of the Commerce Bank of St. Louis, the GR Group, Illinova Corp., Interstate Bakeries Corp. (the Twinkie baker that went bankrupt), McDonnell Douglas Corp., Ralston Purina, Ryerson Tull, and the National Association of Manufacturers.  He has also served on the faculties of Old Dominion University, Virginia State Univ., and the University of Michigan.  He holds a Ph.D and an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State.  Plus he’s earned countless awards for being a black/minority entrepreneur.  Well, good for him.  He, too, would know all about the effects of ethanol on stainless steel tanks, opting for the safer plastic tanks.

Ruth J. Simmons also has a background in government service.  Her first job out of Dillard University in New Orleans in 1966 was as a French interpreter for the Language Services Division of the U.S. Department of State.  She earned her Ph.D in Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard University, which means she must have learned Italian, very useful when serving on the board of an Italian car company’s North American subsidiary. She served as an Admissions Officer at Radcliffe College, Assistant Dean of the University of New Orleans, Acting Director of International Programs at California State University at Northridege, Associate Dean and Vice Provost at Princeton University, and Provost at Spelman College.  Her last gig was President of Brown University (an elite Liberal college).  Prior to that, she was Professor of Comparative Literature and African Studies at Brown.  Since retiring, she was named President Emerita

Looking at the Chrysler Board’s honor roll of board members, it’s not hard to see why they’re having problems.  Actually, the notion of plastic gas tanks for the Jeep Gran Cherokee was a good idea.  Kudos probably are due for Thompson and Lanaway. 

There has to be more to Chrysler’s sad story.  Industry experts probably have a number of very good explanations.  Chrysler’s economic woes are well-known.  How typical of the Obama administration to target Chrysler’s most successful SUV, the Jeep Gran Cherokee, the successor to the famous World War II vehicle – Jeep, or GP, for General Purpose vehicle, according to my World War II father who drove around Europe in enough of them to know.

By mid-June, the NHTSA will make its final decision on whether to recall millions of Gran Cherokees and Jeep Libertys for a problem that doesn’t exist.  The real problem is not the car but the ethanol gas that’s put into it and Obama has to squash Chrysler and its plastic gas tank before consumers find out the truth.

 

Published in: on June 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm  Comments (4)