Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zombies and Democrats.

I haven't been following the AMC series, Walking Dead, but this weekend I saw an ad for it and began to investigate. The more I looked, the more I saw parallels between the zombies of the Walking Dead post-apocalyptic world and the Democrats of our world.

Let me tell you why you may want to forever refer to Democrats as the Undead.

For those of you unfamiliar with zombies, let me explain. Zombies are humans resurrected in an reanimated body that, while literally dead, exists only to kill humans and dine on their flesh. In the Walking Dead story, zombies have been created by a plague that infects everyone. If you succumb - whether naturally or by violence - you can reanimate as a zombie. If you are infected by the bite or scratch of a zombie, you move directly to the undead state. Zombies must be reduced to food processor by-product to be stopped. Usually a shotgun blast to the head or chest, an axe to the cranium or a grenade in the pants is the kind of violence required to stop an undead walker. How do you like the parallel so far?

 Consider the following. Zombies and Democrats are hell-bent on accellerating a condition of entropy. If the zombies succeed in killing and eating all humans, zombies will cease to exist. In other words, zombies are unsustainable even though they appear to be indefatigable. They just wreak havoc and ruin lives along the way. Similarly, Democrats pursue policies that suck the life out of the economy, kill jobs, force higher costs and grow only the most unproductive elements of the workforce.

Zombies and Democrats all behave the same way, even to their detriment.

In Walking Dead, humans change strategies, set traps and act resourcefully. But you never see a zombie learn from watching another zombie fail. A zombie comrade will lose the majority of his skull and its contents to a 180 grain .30-06 at close range, and the zombie parambulating right next to him is unfazed and undeterred. They pursue the same course that has failed to work for every other zombie that ever tried it. It's mindless, pathological, unnatural and bizarre. Democrats are the same way. Look how African Americans remain a largely impoverished group generation after generation, but loyal Democrats, because they are convinced that the Democrat Party has their best interests at heart. Really? Man, if I were Black I'd eventually look for a friend who did more than tell me how they were helping me while I'm wasting away. Especially when basically all the people who did me wrong were Democrats. And look how Unions talked themselves out of a dream job where you could have all the Ho-Hos you can eat! And why do Democrats allow environmentalists to talk people out of the quality of life they've always enjoyed. Like the lady on Extreme Home Makeover said, “I was Green back when it was called being poor.” Who wants that?

Zombies infect others who then become zombies. Democrats have a similar pathology of liberalism.

It's like rabies. If you get bitten or scratched by a zombie, you get the disease that turns you into a zombie. It's fatal, but you can spread it by biting or scratching someone else and while you're in that walking dead state, you exhibit an evolving surreality in your appearance and actions. Similarly, Democrats spread their pathology. Let's suppose you oppose same sex marriage. They'll argue that you're against love. You're not and you don't want to be thought of as heartless so you moderate your stand and eventually concede that it's possible for two men to love just like a man and a woman. Had you realized the discussion wasn't about love at all, you might have been inoculated. Instead, the liberal Democrats use your good will against you. They ask you to think with your feelings – like they do – and not with your intellect. That would be more like work.

Zombies feed off the flesh and blood of the living. Democrats feed off the sweat and blood of productive hardworking people.

You turn the corner in an abandoned neighborhood and suddenly there are two zombies chewing away on the body of a woman who has been pulled from her house where she had been busy preparing lunch for her kids. The zombies don't care if she's a mom, they don't care how taking her life may deprive her kids of a rich quality of life, the loving embrace of their mother or the food and comfort she can buy with money she might earn. Same with Democrats. You owe them and they are never satisfied. Feed them, raise their wages, excuse their lawbreaking and give them the vote, let them kill their offspring with impunity and they demand you donate to the charities that front for their abortion mills. They're insatiable. And if you think you've put them down for good, you're wrong. You have to make sure they're gone – like Dan Rostenkowski, John Edwards, Jim Traficant or Jim Wright. It takes a merciless blow to stop them. But it's kinda' cool.

There's an army of walking dead, staggering forward behind dead eyes, no future ahead of them but death, destruction, corruption, and though they are legion, they are leaderless and alone, undead victims of a pernicious pathogen, looking not to reason with, but to feed on the living.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Meme that can Knock Out Obama

When I’m not ranting about politics I’m employed by US and foreign manufacturers to analyse their products and business models and create marketing communications strategies and tactics to improve their sales. A major part of that job is creative thinking that takes the available assets and known factors, powers them with the right words, and mobilizes them against the competition.

Every once and a while when looking at a company’s situation, an idea emerges that is so darned perfect for the situation you get really excited. Then the client gets really excited, then the market, and then - it works.

So, I was suddenly struck by an idea yesterday that puts Obama in a box he can’t get out of. It’s a positioning that forces him to deny soemthing that’s undeniable and explains all his bad behavior.

Barack Obama just isn’t into being president any longer.

It explains all the golf, the parties, the travels, the failure to call congressmen, establish comraderie, reach out to his peers in other countries, or establish a SOFA with the president of Iraq. He was so focused on the hunt that bagging the job was anti-climactic. He wanted to win the presidency, not actually be president.

Now, he’s caught in a horrible position. He has to run for the sake of his party, his ideology, the Wall Street donors that gave a fortune to his campaigns. But, sadly, he really isn’t into it. The pressure is aging him, he’s isolating himself more and more, according to reports. His second Chief of Staff just left a year early. His wife doesn’t even want to live in DC. The guy is stuck.

You don’t phone in the presidency from the golf course unless you’d simply rather be on the golf course. You don’t manage one or two signature pieces of legislation in four years unless you haven’t got the enthusiam to do a lot more. And then, how can you get fired up when your key achievement is about to be declared unconstitutional, and your big money bill was a failure that can’t be explained away under your own economic models. Frankly, the job may be too tough for him. After all, his only work experience, prior to politics, was as a community organizer - that’s not a slap at him, it’s just a fact. This job is a lot bigger.

But, Obama has no choice. He has to run and make it look like he’s into it - even if he’s not. The bloom is off the rose. The job is no longer cloaked in mystery and challenge. It’s a prison sentance. He’s hoping the next four years go fast.

If this “he’s not really into it” meme gets out there, it’s all over for Mr. Obama. It will be too hard to deny given his own actions and the circumstances around him. And, the closer we get to the election, the more it will seem to prove true.

If you communicate with a congressman, a Senator, a candidate, Reince Priebus or someone who can get this idea to the Powers That Be, please do. Or just retweet the link to this page.

It can’t hurt.

Monday, January 2, 2012

From Boer War to Bore War
A Review of War Horse

Every New Years eve, my wife and I take in three movies. Then we head home to watch the Times Square festivities on TV. This year, because of the running time of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and War Horse, we really didn’t have time for a third - which is a good thing because there wasn’t a third movie we both wanted to see. TTSS wasn’t playing yet in Pittsburgh or that would have been our choice.

Dragon Tattoo? Go. Absolutely a terriffic movie. Lots of Hitchcockian elements, too, that were delightful. Rooney Mara is an amazing actress who transcends, in this one character, anything I ever saw Meryl Streep do. Note to Rooney - eat something, drink some milkshakes, beef up.

The only negative comments I read were in a few fan reviews. Some friends said the “sex scenes were too violent.” True, there’s violence and it’s distrurbing, but integral to the story. I really didn’t pay attention to those who said they preferred the Swedish version because I haven’t seen it. So, I suppose without that bias to influence me, I thought the film was great.

On the other hand, War Horse is so bad, so unredeemingly faulty, that I can’t spend this entry just praising Dragon Tattoo. I have to warn you about War Horse.

Briefly, it’s a bad story with poor character development, technically a throwback, and long and tedious. Oh, the acting is terrible, too.

The film opens as a young man witnesses the birth of a colt and within two minutes he’s decided he is going to devote his life to this animal. We don’t know why exactly, the kid has no other apparent interests. No girl friends, no friends at all, really. Everyone keeps repeating that there’s something special about the animal. Yeah. If you say so. Actually, the animal kept changing throughout the movie. Sure, it had to grow and age a little. But at one point, you could clearly see where his forehead star had been painted on over an existing diamond shape. Wierd, too, because they could have brought the horse with the natural star in for the close-up and then swapped them out for a wide shot.

As a colt, the animal warms up to the lad because he offers it a bright red apple. We see the animal react to the offer with interest, and when the camera cuts back to the young fellow, his apple is no longer ripe red. Okay. Then the kid once again extends the apple to the horse who continues to keep his distance. And back to the boy. Now the apple has a big bite taken from it but the kid isn’t chewing. So what is going on? Who is in charge of continuity?

Oh, and you can be sure the kid didn’t eat the apple because he can’t shut his mouth. I mean whether he’s talking or not, his mouth is always, always open. I remember my mother once said that was a sign of “adenoids”, whatever that means. His father is a stereotypical drunken, abusive Irishman (thanks a lot, Spielberg. Bet you love stereotypes as much as I do) enabled by his mother. Curiously, we find out at the outset that Dad had served with the British military in the Boer War. Ironically, boredom sets in not long thereafter and remains a leight motif. Here’s some of the flaws I found so vexing.

Dad’s Boer War regimental colors, we are told, are a good luck talisman, and are passed to each caretaker of the horse. They are such good luck that one guy gets killed during his first charge into battle. And just about everyone else who gets close to the horse suffers, too - including anyone who pays anything to own the horse, only to lose all the money they paid, along with all their worldly possessions like food, saddles and granddaughters. Though not the film’s intent, it’s clear, the horse, like most horses in stories, is a bringer of destruction.

But first, there was the farm field. The horse, named that timeless favorite of horse names - Joey, (not Flicka, not Silver, not Black Beauty...but...Joey) plows a field and that makes him a hero because he’s not a big powerful draught horse and the field was in horrible shape. Okay. But check this out. The field is on the side of a hill and it would make a better quarry than a vegetable garden. The landlord even advises the kid to start Joey (not a dancer) at the top of the hill so gravity will help him plow as he heads downhill. It makes sense, there’s at least a 15 degree slope and it’s hard work.

Nevertheless, the horse delivers, turnips get planted and they grow into beautiful plants about to be harvested. However, there’s suddenly a torrential downpour and the field - that hillside of gravel - is flooded like a rice paddy. Now, how you flood a hillside? That had to be the dryest piece of ground in Ireland. And lest you think I’m being picky, you have to understand how obvious this flaw is. Even the characters point out how steep and rocky the hillside is. Gimme a break.

Anyway, Joey (not a kangaroo) is sold to a soldier on his way to the fields of France and WW1, and we see it placed in a makeshift stall at their bivouac next door to a black stallion destined to become Joey’s second best friend. Farmboy says goodbye and promises to find Joey (not a lounge singer), which is how we know Joey will get lost.

By this point I recognized a directorial look reminiscent of Old Yeller. The sets, the story, the acting, the camera angles all look like vintage Disney. There’s even a full frame shot of Dad’s face with a glorious sky behind him. The only difference is Disney would have centered the guy and Spielberg chose to compose him off-center, which is more contemporary. But there’s something else vintage that drove me crazy. The lighting.

The lighting in War Horse sucks.

Like at the bivouac. You’ve got a light source, presumably the sun, coming from behind and left of the camera. To the right is a black horse. You’re not going to be able to see any detial in the horse’s face without a lot of light (there was a better way to do it and I suspect James Cameron would have thought of it) so they blew (or based on the color temperature one could say they blue) a ton of light onto the black horse’s face. Every time the horse nodded, the light shot under or over the horse’s mane and blasted the soldier behind him, turning him pale and blue.

It reminded me of the many old Westerns filmed in the Hollywood Hills at the same familiar rock outcroppings. Rock outcroppings have a lot of shadows so film crews would use reflectors to fill and provide shadow details. Characters often cast two shadows and moved through hot spots where crinkles on the reflectors were evident. Cheap looking.

The horse eventually encounters a portly old Frenchman and his grandaughter who were so over-the-top that I am convinced when they left the set of War Horse they spent their evenings as Tevia and Bielke. “Oooh Grandpere, may I ride ze horse to my death? Even zo ma bones, zay are zo brittle I must take ze green medicine?” So endearing I wanted to yell, “Shut up!”

I couldn’t get to know any of the characters. Maybe there were too many. They were introduced but not well developed. And the war scenes were impersonal. I don’t think there was a single image of an enemy shooting. There were long-range machine guns, mortars and artillary images. But no enemy in a trench drawing a bead. Very distant.

And the trench. That was another problem.

There’s a scene when the Brits have taken the German trench and there are German bodies scattered here and there still wearing gas masks. All of a sudden gas grenades hit the trench. Do you think anyone grabs a mask off a dead German to save his own neck? Have they no survival instincts? There are masks everywhere! Spielberg put them there cause they’re scary. But they’re not as scary as seared lungs, right?

And to make matters worse, farmboy’s friend is consumed by gas as he calls out to him, yet later, he’s okay and farmboy is the one with chemical burns. Bad luck, Old Bean.

Anyway, they’re about to kill the horse, which there’s a lot of in this movie, but he’s rescued by a miracle that anyone in the theatre could have predicted. He hears farmboy whistle for him the same way he did on the farm. Spielberg takes so long to develop this that I really wanted to shout (again) “Hey, Joey, get yer bloody ass over there.”

But I thought I shout at you, instead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Dutch Sanction

I read in The Drudge Report that Dutch scientists have mutated two genes within avian flu, H5N1, to make it more virulent, more contagious and more deadly - capable of being spread on the wind.

This makes those scientists more dangerous than the pathogen they have created.

First, they have knowledge of a very deadly process that can be weaponized by merely releasing it. Think of it like a suicide bomber. A fanatic exposes himself and takes a trip around the world. The destruction would be measured in hundreds of millions of lives.

So what do we know of these scientists? We know they have bad judgment. They may also be naive and arrogant. In any case. We can be assured that this discovery, if true, will most certainly someday cause great damage unless some action is taken right now. We also know that the Netherlands is plagued by radical Islamists who have wantonly murdered to enforce their radical views and who regularly threaten the public with their lives should the Islamists simply be offended by a word or deed. Not harmed - just offended.

The threats are even greater than that posed by Oppenheimer’s crew when they created the atomic bomb. A bomb is so expensive only a state can afford to create one. Bombs cannot procreate and they are not dispersed by the wind. An atomic bomb or ten - however dangerous - are not nearly as dangerous as a deadly wind-borne virus, and that is what the Dutch have given us.

Unfortunately, these scientists could be so weak in terms of their morals or judgment that they would publish their findings - releasing their secrets to those who would use the virus simply to unleash misery upon the world. Or, they could be threatened and held hostage, their families or an entire group of people could be held hostage by terrorists, until the scientists relented and revealed their secrets. And terrorists do not seem to fear mutually assured destruction.

The discovery is an existential threat to all humankind, a threat greater than nuclear weapons.

The only solution, I’m afraid, is for a state to kill every one who worked on the project. It’s that bad. They should be assassinated and their work utterly destroyed. Unless you have a better plan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jonah Goldberg Inspired This Post

I just read his piece, “Newtzilla to the Rescue” and enjoyed the satisfaction of reading that an NRO superstar had reached the same conclusion I had reached, in many respects, about Mr. Gingrich. See Just Two Speeches Away from the Presidency.

Goldberg’s story got my hackles up by reminding me about the vocal GOP establishment and the Establishment/Media cabal, the writers and politicians who are attacking Newt and failing to offer a better alternative. What they don’t see, and what the Tea Partiers see clearly, is that Newt is never going to be the Not Romney. He’s gaining ground because he’s the Not Obama.

The Tea Partiers, bloggers, and Top Conservatives On Twitter that I know, want to see Newt eviscerate Obama. And while they do not care whether or not he performs that act metaphorically, they are imagining one grand debate. Think about it. You’d have teacher against teacher, grasshopper. Ego against ego. Chamberlain versus Churchill, Ken Jennings toe-to-toe with Big Blue Statist. Andrea Tantaros wrestling Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Yeah, maybe that’s just me. But you get the idea.

It would be the moment we have all been waiting for. Newt wielding his vorpal blade, “Mr. President, I knew Hubert Shlafly, Hubert Shlafly was a friend of mine (wait for it). Mr. President, you’re no Hubert Shlafly.”

Tears would roll. Sobs of joy would be audible from entire suburban neighborhoods. There would be fist bumps and the other thing people do when they jump into each other and slam their beer guts together. It would awaken America like Whoville on Christmas Day.

It really does come down to this. Newt knew to run against Obama from the start. He has honed his weapons and we know what is coming just as surely as we knew the plot for Home Alone Two.

Personally, I’m hoping for something on this order:

“Mr. President, I’m fairly widely regarded as a person with ideas, but I can say without fear of equivocation, that never in my wildest imagination did I think I would say these words to a president of the United States. Mr. Obama, you are a Marxist and therefore an existential threat to our Nation and its way of life. You must be defeated or we will all be defeated. Our dreams will cease to exist like they did for the people of the Soviet Union, our future will freeze in time like it did for the people of Cuba. Our government will become even more bloated and fetid like most of Europe is today. Now, that is not a deduction on my part. That is the only conclusion the American people can reach when they examine your very words. You renounced the free enterprise system in December 2011 when you stated clearly and in context that “Capitalism is a failure.” You have complained incessantly that there is a disparity between economic classes in America that you believe the government should fix by taking from the wealthy and distributing it to the poor - precisely how Marx defined communism. Even Robin Hood knew better. He took from the government and gave to the poor. He let the rich be. You know, envy is so unbecoming as to be regarded as sinful in some quarters.

You have made friends of the worst of America - it’s haters like Bill Ayers the terrorist bomber. Like the Black Panthers who violently threatened voters that might have denied you your office. Like the drug cartels who you hoped would help you persude the Congress to ban guns - though the lesson we learned is that we have much more to fear from government than we do from Mexican Drug Lords. Or, like the sadly misinformed Occupy movement who claim to be a 99 percent minority incapable of working within a system designed specifically to deliver up all of its power to even just 51 percent.

“You have shut down industry and lamented the loss of jobs. You have forced American companies to keep their money offshore yet admonished citizens to buy American.

“You have squandered the blood of heroes so you could remove our military from a conflict that is not over - just so you could appease your voters.

“You have apologized for our greatness, you have bowed to lesser nations and you have humiliated us across the world with the zeal of a missionary.

“You have spent this Nation’s treasure like a profligate. You have indebted us to a greater degree than all of your predecessors, combined. And, you have failed to take responsibility for the damage you have caused. Instead, you have, on every occasion, blamed President Bush for leaving this Nation in arrears.

“The truth is, Mr. President, until Mr. Bush’s last year in office - and despite the worst enemy attack on US soil in our history, our country and our economy was strong and people were at work. It was a Democrat-controlled congress that spent the money - you know Mr. Bush didn’t write the bills he signed. But you, you have had your own Congress, your own Senate - now that the people have taken back their House from you. So, when you complain that work remains to be done, one must wonder how you fail to realize that you could have passed any bill you wanted. You had all the votes.

“Now, you must run on your lack of a record. You have not just wasted the great opportunity and the incredible honor you were given. You have soiled it.

“I am here to take it back.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Mark Steyn is Wrong about Newt

Yesterday, Mark Steyn subbed for Rush Limbaugh.

Don't get me wrong, I think Steyn is a terrific radio host, a superb wit, a true Conservative and the kind of guy who I'd like to call a friend. In fact, as it turns out we do have mutual friends. Maybe some day I'll get to meet Mark. I'd like that.

But yesterday he ranted on an on about Newt Gingrich, asserting that the large majority of the ideas that have caused Newt to be credited as a great thinker are horribly flawed beyond redemption. To hear Steyn tell it, if we weren't being seduced by Gingrich's debate style we would see right through these awful, convoluted, contradictory, Escher-like visions for a Gingrich world.

Mark may be right on all counts - but he has missed the point entirely. It's all about Newt as a quintessential American.

A few years ago I engaged in a political discussion with some friends in Madrid. My Spanish isn't that good so it was difficult, but I knew what they were saying. They were trashing George W. Bush over the war on terror, which at that time had progressed to Shock and Awe and no further. The discussion turned to generalizations about the people of America and their character. How could we, for example, not revolt when there was such an opposition of clearly strong, well verbalized and very public dissension, shared to a great an extent by these Spaniards, who had just elected Zapatero and had not yet seen their friends carved up by shards of what used to be a commuter train.

I did not get into the weeds with them. I just asked them if they understood us, if they knew what was the essence of America. They did not, they didn't even know how to approach an answer. I explained, "America es una idea." That's it. That's why Steyn was wrong about Newt and why he thinks we're being lulled into embracing a dreamer of labyrinths.

The reality is that America, as an idea, is itself horribly flawed, very high maintenance, completely entropic, and overly complex to the highest degree possible without ceasing to exist - and yet it does. It continues to, I would submit, thrive. Yet, as Americans, we no more expect perfection from an idea than we expect sinlessness from Christians. It is only in the marketplace of ideas where American Conservatism values the effort even more than the outcome. We will invest our lives and our fortunes in a good idea and it has been that way from the beginning.

Because in the DNA of every American we have a reverence for ideas, we respect them, we cherish them, we spend our fortunes to nurture them. We name them; Mac, light bulb, TV, assembly line, Windows 7, movies, Blues, Rock 'n Roll, telephone, iPhone, MRI, One small step for man, cheeseburger, cowboy, oil well, Mach one, basketball, New York, LA, Peoria.

The earth is fertile here for the growth of ideas. So much so, even the seasons anticipate the harvest. We knew that each summer solstice brought with it a new iteration from the mind of Steve Jobs, for example. Yes, ideas grow very well, that's why some of our best traveled from somewhere else to be planted in our soil, traveling by Einstein, Tesla, Marconi, de Tocqueville among them. Okay, even Cowell.

Mark, when we look at president Obama, we see no ideas, we hear no plans, we gain no insights. He imbues within us no anticipation of an American Spring because he has no ideas. Ideas are so fundamental to American leadership that his lack of vision only gives life to the questions concerning his citizenship. What was the last great Kenyan idea?

But despite the fact that nothing has grown, we look forward to the fall harvest. We will pull out this weed, we will throw it on the compost heap, we will put it from our minds, we will briefly lament the lost season and then we will lovingly, respectfully, honor the idea that we are endowed by our Creator with the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and then we will repeat the process until we get it right.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene. Big Deal.

The media are rushing to defend their over-coverage of the fizzled hurricane and, in the process, they’re forced to defend state, local and federal government actions. Already we’re hearing the dead being used as a defense. “Do you think the family’s of the six dead North Carolinians think the warnings were overdone?” was one defense this morning on Fox.

Of course, these comments are beside the point.

The point is that the government got several things wrong in a way that’s symptomatic of government’s major shortcomings. First, government is ham-handed. It is packed with people who think they know better than you how to run your life, and they do so without your consent. Mayor Bloomberg is a great example. If he’s not complaining about your diet, he’s demanding you leave your home because a storm is approaching. His excuse, in the case of the storm, is that you will put a burden on emergency services if you get into trouble. Problem is, while Bloomberg is not in charge of you, he is in charge of emergency services and all he needs to say is, “Fine, stay home. But when the storm’s blowing and you’re crying for help, we won’t be able to reach you so you’re on your own.” Fair enough. But don’t tell me I have to leave my house. You are not welcome to make any rules about my house. Period.

And NOAA. They got it very wrong. Today, they’re saying it’s better to over-predict than to under-predict and, by the way, they got the track exactly right. Well, let’s just predict rain for every day opf the week. If we’re right, nobody cares. If we’re wrong, everyone’s delighted with the sunshine. What a bogus argument!

It’s your job to get it right. You missed the dry air mass that interdicted the storm. You missed the extremely low pressure. You missed a lot of details.

The problem is, a government agency carries a certain elevated import or credibility that government agencies are not entitled to. They have never earned their credibility and every time they’re put to the test, they screw up. The government screws up about everything it touches.

Obama’s “Nice job, Brownie,” moment with Napolitano and Fugate was a Little League trophy ceremony. Congratulations on handling the storm of the century, er year, er week, so well. Okay, well here’s a thought. Do you think the families of the six dead in North Carolina think you did such a good job?