Cynical Synapse

Fri, 09 Dec 2011

Workplace Violence is Bigger than Islamist Extremism

Filed under: Congress, Deceit, Good job, Government, Hypocrits, Islamophobia, Media, Military, Politics, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 5:37 pm

Rep. Peter Kane (R-NY)

Propaganda is propaganda and fabrications are fabrications. The blogosphere has come alive with claims DoD and the White House labeled the Fort Hood Massacre simple workplace violence. Normally, I would be very quick to jump on this bandwagon of apparent political correctness run amok. As it turns out, however, this is a politically-motivated twisting facts to create a sound bite by the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY-6) wanted so bad to have Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security Stockton admit the biggest threat is “radical Islamist extremists”. While agreeing on the need for vigilance and increased security, Stockton said, “The threat we are discussing is serious and enduring. The Department of Defense has become their target of choice.” Consider the following exchange, which brings to mind the Inquisition, where Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA-3) practically waterboards Asst. Sec. Stockton:

REP. LUNGREN: I didn’t ask that — I did not ask that, sir. I asked whether we’re at war with violent Islamist extremism. That’s my question.

MR. STOCKTON: No, we’re at war with al-Qaida and its affiliates.

REP. LUNGREN: Well, al-Qaida — how does al-Qaida define itself? Are they dedicated to violent Islamist extremism?

MR. STOCKTON: Al-Qaida would love to convince Muslims around the world that the United States is at war with Islam.

REP. LUNGREN: I didn’t say that.

MR. STOCKTON: That’s a prime propaganda tool.

REP. LUNGREN: Sir —

MR. STOCKTON: And I’m not going to aid and abet that effort to advance their propaganda goal.

REP. LUNGREN: No, no, my question is, is there a difference between Islam and violent Islamist extremism?

MR. STOCKTON: Sir, with great respect, I don’t believe it’s helpful to frame our adversary as Islamic with any set of qualifiers that we might add, because we are not at war with Islam.

Capt. Humayun Kuhn's grave marker

While homegrown, self-radicalized jihadists are certainly a concern, they’re not the only ones who kill servicemembers or their families. The January 2010 Department of Defense report, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood, took a holistic approach. The report identified DoD’s need to improve its posture concerning all types of internal threats—what civilian organizations call “workplace violence”—not just al Qaeda wannabes. Defense Secretary Robert Gates directed the military to implement Fort Hood recommendations in August 2010. His memorandum referenced both workplace violence and force protection.

It is interesting to note the Pentagon’s report on the Fort Hood shootings never once mentions radical Islamists and only uses the word “terrorist” in the context of muti-agency information sharing and expanding current Army force protection training. It does refer to “workplace violence” in several recommendations, however. How is it that wasn’t a problem almost 2 years ago when the report came out but it is now? Could it be, oh, I don’t know, election season?

Fort Hood east gate

In their desires to politicize the Fort Hood tragedy, Collins and King miss the fact DoD has implemented 43 recommendations from the Fort Hood report, with another 15 to be implemented by March 2012. In what seems to be a rarity, we have a government agency addressing identified issues, but Congress wants to beat them down because they’re not blaming the right bogeyman. Collins, King, et al, are on a witch hunt and Stockton won’t play along. Even worse, they have no care or concern for non-Islamist threats. Ranking minority House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS-2) expressed concern about the Committee’s direction.

Focusing on the followers of one religion as the only credible threat to this nation’s security is inaccurate, narrow, and blocks consideration of emerging threats.


 

Sun, 13 Nov 2011

“He’s Not a Terrorist Suspect…[He’s] an Enemy Combatant”

Filed under: Candidates, Global War on Terror, Justice, Legal, Media, Politics, War — cynicalsynapse @ 4:14 pm

Anwar al-Awlaki

Ever since US-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a Predator drone strike on 30 September 2011, there’s been a hue and cry from the vocal minority of “due processors” calling al-Awlaki’s killing an unlawful assassination. Folks, this is not rocket science. Al-Awlaki is as much a terrorist and enemy combatant as if he’d been one of the 9/11 hijackers. Citizenship and birthplace have nothing to do with it, whatsoever.

I do not like Newt Gingrich and have not since he was Speaker of the House. Maybe it’s something to do with that position; perhaps not unlike “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Nonetheless, Gingrich clearly articulated the legality of al-Awlaki’s killing during yesterday’s debate of Republican presidential candidates.

Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law; it is an act of war, and it should be dealt with as an act of war, and the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.

HT: Legal Insurrection
 

Tue, 11 Oct 2011

The Incredibly Inconsistent, Opportunistic Rev. Al Sharpton

Filed under: Behavior, Candidates, Deceit, Hypocrits, Media, Opportunists, Politics, Racism, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 4:32 am

Rev. Al Sharpton and Russell Simmons in Zuccotti Park

Frankly, I’m amazed Rev. Al sharpton waited 24 days before showing up at Occupy Wall Street. Reminiscent of Underdog, Sharpton’s motto is, “When opportunism knocks, I am not slow. It’s hip, hip, hip, and away I go.” Keepin’ It Real, Sharpton’s radio show, broadcast Monday afternoon from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. During his show, Sharpton exclaimed common cause with the causeless protest:

We [Sharpton and his show] are here today because we agree 1% should not be controlling the [nation’s] wealth. These [demonstrators] are regular people trying to feed their families, trying to pay their rent and mortgages, trying to survive.

Can I get a fact check on aisle 1, please? While there’s no question the 1% hold a disproportionate share of wealth, 66.6% of US wealth was held by the remaining 99% of the population in 2004, according to the Federal Reserve. Where do you suppose Rev. Sharpton falls in the net worth band? While he’s surely not in the despicable 1%, Rev. Sharpton’s $5 million net worth puts him in the top 10%, I’m sure. The same Federal Reserve data said the top 10% of the population held 69.5% of 2004 wealth. I’m thinking Rev. Al is not one of us regular people.

Russell Simmons, co-founder of the Def Jam hip-hop record label, joined Rev. Sharpton for his radio broadcast from Zuccotti Park. Simmons, reputedly worth $500 million, is not a regular guy, either. Sharpton has a TV show, too. Why not put Occupy Wall Street on his TV show? As the Gothamist put it, “Is he saying that the protesters have faces for radio?”

Herman Cain

Maybe Gothamist isn’t so far off the mark. Rev. Al Sharpton, and others of his ilk, can’t wrap their heads around Herman Cain not being an angry, race-baiting black liberal like the good Reverend himself. Maybe Sharpton is nervous because Republican Presidential candidate Cain has been steadily rising in the polls. Cain is the epitomy of the American dream, having become successful by will and effort. Cain threatens Sharpton’s powerbase and relevance, which exists largely on the basis of racial devisiveness and a continuing victim meme. And that might be the very reason Cain made the remark about African Americans being brainwashed into voting for Democrats.

From Keepin’ It Real‘s Friday (07 October) show, Rev. Al Sharpton said of Cain:

If Herman Cain were to come on my show radio or TV, I would say to him how could anyone in their right mind that grew up in the South and saw what they saw, or stand up there and act like anybody and that is unemployed and that is not rich did it to themselves starting with your momma. I could have understood someone with Barack Obama’s background having that kind of confusion. So, I would only assume that he is either socially ignorant or playing games to get votes. Cause he couldn’t possibly have grown up and come to that conclusion unless he was one or the other.

Sun, 20 Feb 2011

Opportunity Knocks; Jackson, Sharpton Run to Answer the Door

Filed under: Behavior, Deceit, Economy, Government, Greed, Hypocrits, Media, Opportunists, Politics, President, Unions — cynicalsynapse @ 3:50 pm

Revs. Jackson and Sharpton

Politics is full of opportunists and there’s certainly no shortage of people weighing in on the Wisconsin budget protests in Madison. The main stream media has become complicit in the rallying cry this is about preventing Gov. Scott Walker (R) from union busting. As a result, people and the media liken the Madison protests to those in Egypt. The reality is the budget repair bill limits public employee unions to wage increases tied to the Consumer Price Index. Unions can still bargain for higher raises, but the bill calls for those to be approved in a referendum before the people.

It’s no secret unions back Democrats and, not surprisingly, Democratic politicians tend to be pro-union. Thus, Pres. Obama has decried Walker’s blatant attempt to disempower workers. Never one to miss an opportunity to be a famewhore, Rev. Jesse Jackson descended on Madison to demonstrate his solidarity with the embattled workers.

Forty-nine million Americans are in poverty, 44 million are on food stamps, we give the wealthiest Americans tax cuts at Christmas time, and now lay off public workers. It’s not right, the workers ought fight back, and they are fighting back…That spirit of fighting back to close the north-south gap between the surplus culture and the suffering culture.

I payed for your pension

Jackson’s co-opportunist, Rev. Al Sharpton joined the labor movement under attack set, as well. Besides efforts to dimish public unions’ collective bargaining rights, Sharpton decries the detrimental effect on take-home pay the budget repair bill includes. Key elements elements at issue is the increase in pension contributions to 5.8% and in health insurance premiums to 12.6% for state employees.

Do you have a pension? Only 31% of US workers have a pension. I submit those are on the surplus side of Jackson’s culture divide.

got your race cards ready?

Another unfair burden Sharpton takes exception to is the higher health insurance premium costs Wisconsin workers may have to pay. But wait. According to the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US workers pay 26.7% in health care premiums, more than double the 12.% proposed for state workers. Am I missing how downtrodden these guys are? They sure don’t seem to be just a step away from Jackson’s references to those in poverty and on food stamps.

Regarding public employee layoffs, Gov. Walker promised no furloughs and no lay off for 6,000 state workers if the bill passes. The only ones not working right now are those who are protesting, most of whom are teachers. Wisconsin teacher salaries average $77,718, nearly $24,000 more than the average of $53,724 for workers in Milwaukee. In 2009, the average statewide salary in Wisconsin was just over half that of the teachers: $38,500.

Sharpton, Jackson, and Obama have not come out in behalf of the downtrodden or even union rights. They participate in fomenting an issue to keep the working people of the suffering culture in their place. Sustainability is irrelevant.

Wed, 05 Jan 2011

2010 in Review

Filed under: Blogroll, Media — cynicalsynapse @ 8:22 pm

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 95 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 341 posts. There were 9 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 18th with 404 views. The most popular post that day was Fight the Invasion of the Body Scanners.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were motorcitytimes.com, WordPress Dashboard, theblogprof.blogspot.com, facebook.com, and search.aol.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for full body scanners, body scanners, merrick garland, elena kagan, and obama care.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Fight the Invasion of the Body Scanners November 2010
5 comments

2

What Happened to Good Old-Fashioned Bowl Games? January 2010
5 comments

3

Most Dangerous: Michigan in Top 10; 2 Cities in Top 5 November 2009
4 comments

4

Detroit Homicide Rate Down 25% April 2010
2 comments

5

Miss Your Flight and Airlines Make You Pay! April 2009

Sat, 01 Jan 2011

Word Czars Take Aim at Social Media

Filed under: Humor, Language, Life, Media, People, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 8:59 am

viral

Michigan’s Lake Superior State University releases a list of banished words each year. The list started during a New Year’s Eve party in 1975. Since then it has been an annual effort to banish words and phrases from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse, and general uselessness.

This year, the list seems focused on how we communicate and use social networks.

In a busy U.S. election year, “the American People” told LSSU they were tired of not only “refudiate,” but also “mama grizzlies” who wanted their opponents to “man up.”

mama grizzly

The List of banished Words is developed from reader submissions. Here are the 2011 banished words and phrases.

  • Viral—something that has spread like wildfire on the Internet
  • Epic—”Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed.” Mike of Kettering, OH
  • Fail—pretty much any mistake someone could make, whether significant or not
  • Wow factor—a phrase used to highlight something that seems significantly appealing
  • A-ha moment—a point at which something becomes clear
  • Back story—and what is wrong with “history” instead of “back story”?
  • BFF—instead of BFF (Best Friends Forever), there’s BFFA (Best Friends For Awhile), which makes more sense
  • Man Up—another case of “verbing” a noun; a chest-thumping cultural regression fit for frat boys stacking beer glasses
  • Refudiate—a Palinism that doesn’t even warrant mainstream attention
  • Mama grizzlies—another Palinism
  • The American People—a political reference intended to include all citizens as if we all held the same opinion
  • I’m just saying—a phrase used to diffuse any ill feelings caused by a preceded remark
  • Facebook/Google as verbs—Excuse me? I’ve long held if you can’t find it on Google and can’t learn about it on Wikipedia, it’s not worth knowing about. And if I can’t Facebook with my friends, there’s no point in getting up in the morning.
  • Live life to the fullest—First, things are full or they’re not; there is no fullest. Second, ‘live life’ is redundant

Does this cause anyone else to wonder how we’re going to communicate with each other this year?

Fri, 25 Sep 2009

Time in Detroit and the City’s Media Image

Filed under: Bailout, Behavior, Detroit, Life, Media, People, Sports — cynicalsynapse @ 3:39 pm

Detroit is the cover story of Time magazine’s October 5th issue. In fact, the city is the subject of a year-long project Time calls Assignment: Detroit. The magazine’s bought a house and already has a dozen or more stories on it’s website. Web reporters from time.com, cnnmoney.com, and si.com are participating, as are journalists from Fortune and Money.

Why such focused media attention on the D? Time says “Detroit has been misunderstood, underreported, stereotyped, avoided and exploited for decades.” They believe the Motor City’s rise, fall, and struggle to come back are representative of America’s challenges. They claim they “want Detroit to recover and find its way into the future.”

But, if that’s the case, why is Time‘s cover picture of the Packard plant, closed since 1956? How about the downtown skyline or maybe the stadium district for a positive spin?

Detroit is accustomed to negative attention from the media. Just look at the way the domestic automotive collapse was reported. I’m still waiting for the media to connect the automotive crisis with the financial fiasco. I’m still waiting for the media to heap loads of scorn on New York and Wall Street. I’m not, however, holding my breath.

As teamowens313 says, Detroit is “America’s most beautiful disaster…Icarus after the fall.” Even though other cities have political problems, Kwamegate put Detroit on national news. Hockeytown is a great sports town, with loyal fans even for the Lions after 19 straight losses. Fans for other teams in other cities—Penguins fans come to mind—get out of hand but they don’t go viral on the Internet:

The two girls in front of us were drunk before the game started. They grabbed one of our signs and trashed it (real classy) because were Vikings fans, and then spent most of the first half mocking us instead of watching the game because the Lions were ahead.

They left their seats and we thought they were gone for good but somehow they managed to buy even more beer and get back to their seats. They were spilling beer on themselves, the seats, and some of the other fans. After they spilled quite a bit of beer on the guys in the row below them, they turned around and told them to SIT DOWN. One girl didnt like that so she poured the rest of her beer on his head. Then I knew it was time to start the camera 🙂

So, will Time paint a positive portrait of Motown? “[W]e do not intend to be cheerleaders or apologists,” they say. But will they be honest? They will find Detroit is a gritty city and, as Ernie Harwell said, its people have grit. Let’s see which side of Detroit Time showcases.

Thu, 17 Sep 2009

Voice of Baseball: Eloquent as Always!

Filed under: Detroit, Heroes, Life, Media, Michigan, People, Sports — cynicalsynapse @ 10:16 am

For a lot of folks who grew up in Michigan, Ernie Harwell was the voice of baseball! He was always smooth and never at a loss for words. He’s truly in the Hall of Fame of baseball’s great announcers. At last night’s game, the Tigers paid tribute to their play-by-play legend.

As Ernie took to the field, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, his remarks were eloquent as always! Thanks, Ernie, for being part of what makes Michigan—and Detroit—great!

Fri, 03 Jul 2009

Hypocritical Media: Reporter’s Capture Kept Secret; Demand Details on Soldier

Filed under: Behavior, Hypocrits, Media, Military, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 10:32 am

From the Weekly Standard

Media Double Standard on Captured US Soldier Predictable

Remember how the media conspired to hide the capture of New York Times reported [sic] David Rohde by the Taliban? We were told the media did the right thing to deliberately not report on his capture in order to ensure the reporter’s safety and not allow the Taliban to use the media to manipulate the narrative.

Today, it has been reported that an American soldier has gone missing in eastern Afghanistan. Unsurprisingly, just about every media outlet has run a major story on the capture, and if they haven’t, they will do so shortly. You can bet that when the soldier’s name is revealed, we’ll be bombarded with interviews of his family and any images or videos released by the Taliban.

The obvious question is why is it prudent to hide Rohde’s kidnapping yet splash the headlines with the capture of a U.S. soldier? The answer is that the media views itself as being above the fray in America’s wars. In their eyes, they’re a neutral party, not part of the story, so they can remove themselves from the story when they wish. And the funny thing is they re-insert themselves back in the story when it makes them look good, like this feel-good piece on David Rohde’s triumphant return to the New York Times newsroom.

—Bill Roggio

I’m certainly glad David Rohde got home safe and unharmed and I truly feel for the 8 months of anguish his family, and he, went through. But, he’s treated—and brandished—as a celebrity the very day after a US Soldier went missing in Afghanistan. That makes me sick.

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