Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is it time to "short" Google?

Theresa Poulson at National Journal reports that a former Google executive has requested president Obama to “please raise my taxes.”

It is an eye-opening remark.

First, this is a person asking the president of the United States for help.  It’s not like the woman in Florida who asked the president to get her a home.  It’s more intriguing.  This town-hall participant is asking for help with his personal angst.

Second, we get a glimpse of the difficulties associated with living in an easy-money environment.  Doug Edwards, the town-hall participant, feels like an untethered balloon.  He is asking that his balloon be “popped” to help him gain a better sense of reality and fulfillment.

Third, the president and his town-hall supporters treat Mr. Edwards with the greatest respect.  His problem is acknowledged by the audience with gracious sincerity and support.

Does this exchange help explain the “disconnect” many Americans feel with our cultural leadership?

Our leaders hold the belief that money and privilege are too easily obtained, and we must orient our public policies to generate a greater sense of fairness.  We see this structure in Mr. Edwards’ remarks.  He implores our political leaders to stop this injustice.  It is a paramount concern.

Try not to be cynical, but examine this issue in the context of the characterizations of our military that are explored by Ann Marlowe in today’s Wall Street Journal. She points out the personnel facts associated with military recruits, and compares these with the “personal facts” that are widely conveyed by opinion leaders.  Which point of view would Mr. Edwards hold?

Here’s a better question: If the highest levels of our cultural, political, and commercial stewardship reflect Mr. Edwards’ perceptions, should Americans be concerned?

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Monday, September 19, 2011

In Memoriam

One thing that makes America great is the manner in which we pay tribute to the individuals and events that shape us.

You might have seen the reprise of Budweiser’s commercial commemorating the events of 9/11/2001 this past weekend. It beautifully expresses our sorrow and respect.

The 2011 Emmy Awards on Sunday had another moving tribute. It was a memoriam to the people in the television industry who lost their lives this past year. The video features the Canadian Tenors (Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray, Remigo Pereira, and Fraser Walters) singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  I don’t think you will be able to watch it without the tears welling up...

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Dehumanization 101

“Don’t eat anything with a face!”

That’s a slogan meant to encourage all of us to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.  It does so by “humanizing” food.  The idea is that if our food takes on human characteristics, we lose our desire to eat it, much less kill it.

This type of appeal is emotional, and comes at us from different directions.  We see it in the politics of capital punishment.  Those against capital punishment humanize the individuals who are facing this legal sanction.  The opposing side dehumanizes them.

Dehumanization is usually a precursor to violence. Yesterday’s commemoration of the events of September 11, 2001 reminds us that people can be motivated to turn airliners into killing machines.  Once a political adversary no longer perceives us as human, the moral issues associated with killing evaporate.

Luckily, dehumanization on a grand scale doesn’t happen often.  When it surfaced in Germany in the latter part of the 1930s, it was devastating.  But, thankfully, that couldn’t happen in the 21st century, could it?

Perhaps we should note the dehumanization that is alive in our anti-Republican culture.  Here, dehumanization is used as a tool of political power.  Keith Olbermann characterizes Republicans as being ghouls and sub-human.  Maxine Waters believes Republicans should go straight to hell. Richard Trumka and James Hoffa want Republicans taken out.  Steve Cohen sees Republicans as worse than Nazis.

And now the dehumanization has become entertainment.  StarvingEyes Advergaming brings us “Tea Party Zombies Must Die.”  It features (You guessed it!) Sarah Palin and other Republicans as targets to be killed.

It is hard to imagine, but our culture now legitimizes the proxy-killing of Republicans as sport.

And this is ok, don’t you see, because Republicans are really just a bunch of Zombies.

UPDATE 9/14/2011:
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit directs us to the Comments section of this post from The Hill.  In America our culture makes it comfortable for us to publicly declare, "The only good Republican is a dead one."

UPDATE 9/16/2011:
Molly Ball at Politico has an article on recent attention directed toward Sarah Palin. A soon-to-be-released book by Joe McGinniss delivers a variation on the dehumanization theme. Mr. McGinniss advances the notion that a Republican leader who exhibits human traits is "scandalous" and therefore must be banished from the public square.

The extent to which our culture legitimizes Mr. McGinniss's narrative and promotes his double standard makes this story worth watching.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Must I be a Citizen to Vote? (Part III)

Margaret Wong, a Cleveland immigration attorney, has been retained as counsel to Mr. Onyango Obama (pictured above).  Mr. Obama is in some legal jeopardy, based on his arrest for drunken driving in Massachusetts this past week.

As a consequence of that arrest, it has become apparent that Mr. Obama is not a citizen of the United States, and has been in the country illegally for many years.  Ms. Wong will attempt to win asylum for Mr. Obama, and will characterize him as a deserving American suffering political persecution.

The case is in the news because it tests the application of the rule of law.  Do our laws apply equally, or does our culture look more favorably on certain political groups?

That question will not be addressed in any of the legal actions against Mr. Obama.  Yet it is significant, because our enforcement of immigration law seems wholly directed at extending privilege to those who are anti-Republican in their principles.

One of the questions that will be addressed is Mr. Obama’s apparent fraudulent use of a Social Security card.  The United States Code makes an individual inadmissible for immigration to the United States if that individual "falsely represents, or has falsely represented, himself or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this Act or any other Federal or State law." [Sec. 212 (C)]

Will this provision of law be enforced in the case of Mr. Obama?

What about the question of whether or not Mr. Obama voted in any of the elections held during the time he was in the United States?  Fraudulent voting would be another reason to deny Mr. Obama citizenship, but will this issue even be investigated?

People who go through our naturalization process take an oath to the Constitution.  Our culture blurs the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, but there is a substantial difference in the mindset of these two groups.  It is significant that the path to legal immigration is made difficult in our culture, while accommodations for illegal immigrants are broadened.

The journey through the naturalization process toward American citizenship requires perseverance and integrity.  It also requires a dedication to the principles of our Constitution, rather than the administrations of Ms. Wong.

It seems our culture wishes the journey of those inclined toward Republican principles to be a discouraging one.  What’s up with that?

 It’s almost enough to make you cynical.

UPDATE 9/12/2011:
Uncle Omar has been "disappeared!"  Not only is the Rule of Law not applied, the principle of Due Process is ignored as well.  Based on the relationship of Onyango Obama to the President of the United States, we can hope that he is in good hands.  However, the chain of custody has been severed, and nobody is saying where Mr. Obama has been taken.

Is this truly America, where someone in custody simply disappears without explanation, and the lack of transparency is justified because the Democratic Party is taking care of things?

UPDATE 10/1/2011:
John Zaremba at the Boston Herald reports that president Obama's uncle has resurfaced.

UPDATE 3/29/2012:
The Boston Herald reports that Onyango Obama's case has been continued without a finding.

UPDATE 12/4/2013:
The Boston Globe reports that Obama Okech Onyango can now get a green card, and in five years, apply for U.S. citizenship, unless the Department of Homeland Security appeals the case in the next 30 days.

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