Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tom Swift on Steroids! tell me, my Cambridge brethren, you miss my short blog burst decrying my more than alleged suspicion this country of ours is slipping, not so slowly, into a socialist quagmire. Know, as advised they were spontaneous responses to your poking and prodding of your supposedly favorite conservative strawman! In my change of status, also advised a while back, what you are getting now, is a more incisive, more reflective of the media: print, television and the Internet posturing on current political machinations relative to those suspicions of mine. My slants/rants now more editorial in nature. more substantive, certainly more focused.., and in knowing in advance they will  not curry your partisanship favor-, Mea Culpa, live with it! I'll get around to changing my masthead in due course so as not to confuse new readers..... for starters I have a number of resent events, circumstances, political theater, that stick in my ever increasingly irritated craw. Are you ready?!

I’m really cranky.  I read the paper and listened to the newstoday.  And I watched the Golden Globes this week.  Really cranky may be an understatement.  I cannot continue to bear witness to the dissolution of morals, scruples, ethics and common sense that is threatening America.  So I vent. Where do I begin?


The People’s Republic of New York


Congratulations, New York, you’re up first.  Let’s just get down to it: Andrew Cuomo is an idiot, DiBlasio is an outright communist and the citizens of New York voted these two imbeciles into office.  And Andrew Cuomo is concerned about fracking causing contamination of ground water? Really? I think there is something in the water already that resulted in mass stupidity in the empire state.Now we have these two socialists pitted against each other in a conflict over a DiBlasio campaign promise to increase taxation versus an election year pledge by Cuomo not to raise them. Apparently DiBlasio wants to fund “free” pre-K education by “surcharging” the rich.  Cuomo wants to grab some of the pre-K policy glory for himself, but is willing to carve out the funds from the existing budget without raising taxes.  This flies in the face of DiBlasio’s progressive scheme to punish the wealthy for their success through redistribution schemes and he has stated that he will raise taxes anyway regardless of receiving funding from Albany because it is “fair and just”.  As an aside, let’s all bear in mind that studies repeatedly show that pre-K education shows only a temporary benefit, with the children not exposed to it rapidly catching up so that there eventuallyexists no statistical difference between the two groups.  So what’s the point? And we thought DiBlasio’s PETA endorsed stance on the tourist staple horse drawn carriage business was absurd.  With the New York City wealthy paying the second highest tax rate in the country behind first place California, we can only hope that Wall Street andthe city’s entire financial sector packs it in and moves to a more appreciative and tax friendly city, a move that would send a clear message to liberal idealogues about the consequences of a progressive agenda.


Meanwhile as the city contemplates a socialist future, upstate New York is a vast wasteland of failed liberal policies, with a staggering welfare entitlement population and punitive taxation on any business or wage earner that dares to be successful.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal, New York State has the worst Tax Foundation ranking for business climate with a state unemployment rate that has shown virtually no improvement since Cuomo was installed in the Governor’s mansion. With some counties registering the highest tax rates in the country, others registering 14 plus percent unemployment, and the highest per capita Welfare expenditure in the country, one would think that attracting business would be a priority.  Instead we get Governor Andy proposing special zones and rates for new businesses with the incentive being no state taxes for ten years.  Meanwhile the rest of the businesses who have been consistently getting theircollective asses kicked with exorbitant taxation for years can just suck a hind teat while these newcomers enjoy their tax free status.  How about spreading the tax break a little,Andy, and reward businesses for staying the course, employing New Yorkers and gagging at the trough of overregulation and taxation all these years.  Instead we will get the likes of Rubbermaid and a host of others that enjoyed their tax free time, then promptly skedaddled out of state when the tax man came a-calling.  And all the while, Central New York sits on the Marcellus shale, a vast oil reserve that has made rural Pennsylvania prosperous.  The same type of oil extraction that has made North Dakota the economic envy of the entire country.  But no, Governor Andy is too green for that.  A state-wide ban onfracking continues despite no evidence that wells have been contaminated in any of the other states that are experiencing oil related economic prosperity.  Andy will just continue to suppress Central New York until, in another generation, it will become a welfare wasteland, collapsing under the weight of failed liberal policies, union favors, entitlements, and government pensions.  Ascontroversial Syracuse radio talk show host Bob Lonsberryopined, Cuomo is kicking working New Yorkers in the teeth by making them tax slaves, placing more importance on welfare recipients and state employees, while simultaneously affecting your quality of life by breaking up your working family as your educated children flee out of state for opportunity and to escape punishing taxation. He may indeed be controversial, but the fact remains that New York is losing businesses and population. Bravo Andy, we all thought Obama was the only politician with virtually no idea how capitalism works.


And his signature legislation, optimistically titled the New York Safe Act, is far from safe.  Governor Andy seeks to disarm all law-abiding New Yorkers with a back door policy to prevent the sale of ammunition by anyone but a licensed dealer within the state of New York.  Mail order and private party purchases are banned and he proposes a background check on all purchasers of ammunition.  Records on the sale of every cartridge sold in New York must be kept for the lifetime of the business, placing a huge burden of record keeping on the seller. The BATFE has already balked at including this nonsense in the existing NICS background check system for firearms so this will have to be a state run enterprise, the cost of which will be passed on to you guessed it: the taxpayer.  And this comes on the heels of the recently disbanded cartridge identification CoBIS scheme that kept a database ofmarkings on the cartridges of spent casings from semi-automatic firearms, yet another layer of government bureaucracy that cost the taxpayers some 12 million dollars over its ten year life span and failed to solve one single crime.  So firearms dealers who rely on ammunition sales for some 60% of their business will now suffer as the public shies away from purchasing ammo in-state to avoid going on permanent record for the amount and caliber purchased.  Additionally, Andy the intellectual has proposed a ban on the sales of assault rifles which can now be defined as a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine and any ONE, not two as was the former definition, features such as a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, or even a bayonet lug.  Seriously, a bayonet lug.  I for one cannot recall when last a Seven-Eleven was held up with a World War Two vintage semi-automatic rifle such as a Russian Tokarev.  You know, an 8.5-pound wooden stock, 25-inch barrel, 48-inch long, monstrosity that, by virtue of Andy’s definition, is an assault weapon because of the ludicrously impractical addition of a flash hider and a bayonet lug.  Those bayonet lugs, you know, are really important to the criminal element.  Yes, shockingly, theTokarev has been deemed an assault weapon by King Andydespite the fact that it wasn’t even much of one when it was last used in 1945.  Political nonsense.  All to let Andy call himself the toughest Governor on gun control for his re-election campaign and perhaps his bigger national political aspirations.  


Now we all know that this is nothing more than another end around effort to ban firearms altogether and simultaneously drive firearms dealers out of business, all so Andy can bask in the liberal glow of adulation from simple-minded progressives.  But the firearms industry has taken notice.  Kahr Industries, makers of a fine line of handguns is in the process of moving their operation over the line into gun-friendly and apparently business friendly Pennsylvania.  Remington, a veritable American icon, is similarly scouting locations in Tennessee. Rochester based ATI, makers of accessories for semi-automatic rifles, has also had enough of taxation, oppression, and stupidity, reacting by moving their operation to South Carolina who openly welcomed the 2.7 million dollar investment and 120 jobs. I know beleaguered Rochester thanks you, Governor, for this one. After all, they can really afford to lose another business just after the decline of Kodak left a huge hole in their economy.  In a rare glimpse into Andy’s grand plan this month, he was quoted on “The Capital Pressroom” stating: Their [Republicans] problem isn’t me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. When asked to define those “conservative Republican New Yorkers” he added: “Who are they? Right-to-life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”Comments like these should frighten Americans.  Politics of generalizations, exclusion, intolerance, and the rejectionof law-abiding citizens based on their religious views, their support of the Constitution, or rural lifestyle is antithetical to the principles upon which this country was founded.  Andy simply cannot tolerate anyone who doesn’t think like Andy.  History lessons anyone?

The Lost Art of Civility

Now we hear that some ex-cop shot some boy scout in a Florida movie theater. Tragic. But wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said that an armed society is a polite society?  Apparently that quote has been lost on most of America.  So liberals:  what is your take on this?  You keep telling us that the populace at large is not responsible enough to have firearms, and that we should rely on police officers to protect usNot that they were any help at all to those Korean merchants during the LA riots, but hey, they could have been shot at and stuff.  But I digress. So here we have a retired police officer, armed as they most always are after a life of putting bad guys behind bars, confronted and belittled by yet another rude, arrogant member of the cell phone generation.  Uh-oh. I have a startling suggestion:Put….the…cell….phone….down. Got it?  We are tired of you texting, skypingface-timingfacebookinggoogling, and tweeting all the time.  And by all the time, I mean,all……. the……. time.  Now, I am not condoning shooting people over inappropriate cell phone use.  But this is yet another example of how civility has largely disappeared from contemporary society.  For those of you that missed it,a 71-year old retired cop asked Mr. Cell Phone, age 43replete with expansive tattoos and the requisite soul patch,in the row in front of him to stop texting so that he could watch the movie (apparently the previews) without having a cell phone light blasting in his face, as seems to be the current trend in all entertainment venues, mind you.  Mr. Cell Phone responded, probably with attitude, that he was texting his 3-year old daughter.  Like that matters. Not,I’m sorry I’ll take it outside, but pretty much an “up yours, pal”.  Retired cop went to complain to management and upon returning was again engaged in an argument with Mr. Cell Phone who retaliated by throwing his popcorn at him.  Bad move. Retired cop, undoubtedly unaccustomed to disrespect, had enough and promptly shot him.  Dead.

Now all this could have been averted if Mr. Cell Phone had decided to perhaps text before the lights went down and the movie started, stepped outside to text, or heaven forbid, been polite and excused himself.  But once again in a my rights trump yours world, he decided to let testosterone get the better of him.  Was it worth it?  Apparently not. You just never know how crazy the guy is that you have chosen to piss off.  The callous amongst us may look at this result as a win-win. Obnoxious cell phone guy and crazy cop are both permanently removed from the societal milieu.  But now that we have the gun ban crowd in full voice proposing the usual spate of ineffectual solutions, I ask you: what is a truly logical solution in the case of a former police officer? So do we just disarm all retired police officers, put them in witness relocation or just send them out on the street unarmed?  Or do we test them every year to see how many boxes are checked off on their crazy card?  Because crazy seems to be the most prominent feature in all these shootings.  Not types of guns, or access to guns, but crazy. Tough choices.  Meanwhile, I propose that while we contemplate a meaningful solution, instead we practicebeing a kinder, more polite America and try to avert this sort of madness.  Let’s not provoke the crazies. And for God’s sake people: step away from the cell phone. Teach your kids manners and respect the rights of others. Respect your elders. That goes double for you democrats.  In the words of Billy Connolly: Times may change but standards must remain.

Hypocrites in Hollywood


On to the Golden Globes.  Or is it the Critic’s choice, or the Oscars or the People’s Choice, or the SAG Awards, or is it the Emmys………I can’t keep track.  Never before in the history of man have so many privileged, overpaid, narcissistic, one percenters,  existed that feel ever so entitled to continue to heap praise and awards upon themselves.  The glaring display of excess that is Hollywood has never been in so stark contrast to their incessant railings against all that they represent.  Greed, gluttony, consumption, materialism, a thorough lack of humility, and a skewed moral compass. To a one, nearly all of Hollywood remains bleeding heart liberals who use their celebrity as a platform to further their progressive agenda.  The gullible public looks to them as role models suspecting that they are possessed with invaluable insight and intelligence when in fact most of them have limited education and through their accumulated wealth and pampered lifestyles live in a perpetual bubble of fantasy.  Witness affirmed Scientologist Tom Cruise and hisinfamous Matt Lauer rant proclaiming his deep knowledge of psychiatry as an example. Absolutely nuts. Climate change, income inequality, national healthcare, regulation of Wall Street, support for government social programs, gay rights, gun control, increased taxation, and the complete deregulation of Hollywood so that they may have unhindered “artistic” expression, all read like a wish list forprogressive utopia.  


Now we hear from uber-liberal, actor, director and activistSean Penn, a man possessing perhaps some enviable acting talent, but widely known for an explosive temper prone to violent outbursts and, given his less than attractive facial features, somehow still manages to remain in the company of some very attractive women.  A self-proclaimed anti-waractivist, Mr. Penn is known for positioning himself staunchly on the wrong side of global politics and, after his Katrina posturing where he hired a camera crew to document his aid to hurricane victims, and his $56000 full page ad in the Washington Post criticizing Bush’s Iraq policies, he is yet another glaring example of Hollywood money gone amok, self-aggrandizement and influence out of control.  Mr. Penn got his early start appearing in an episode of Little House on the Prairie, in an example of true Hollywood nepotism as his break was paved by his father, the director of the series.  A marriage to Madonna was marred by violent outbursts against the press, including on episode where he was charged with assaulting a photographer on a film set. The marriage ultimately ended in 1989 but not before Mr. Penn had been charged with felony domestic assault.  His see-saw marriage to Robin Wright-Penn was prominently featured in the press andended in divorce in 2010. In 2002 Penn visited Iraq to protest the Bush adminstration’s plans for a military strike and in 2005 visited Iran.  In 2010 Mr. Penn called for the arrest of anyone referring to his close friend, Hugo Chavez, as a dictator.  In 2012 Penn made a visit to Argentina, meeting and siding with president Cristina Fernandez deKirschner in the long running dispute with Britain over the ownership of the Falkland Islands. In 2008, Penn met with Raul Castro in Cuba and again stood by the side of Hugo Chavez in support of the Syrian government regime during the Syrian rebel uprising.  I relate these episodes and biographical oddities not in praise of Mr. Penn’s activism but as an example of apparent schizophrenia.  He is an activist for the people, yet he supported the dictators of Cuba, Iraq and Venzuela.  He is against war, yet he supports the oppression of the Syrian people through ruthless military force.  He abhors violence, yet he is arrested for assault. He supports a nation’s sovereign rights yet sides with Argentina’s attempt to take the Falklands from Britain, and attacks Bush, Cheney and then secretary Rice, calling them “villainously and criminally obscene people” for ridding Iraq of their dictator who violated the borders of Kuwait. He even used Chavez as a mouthpiece to call for the impeachment of President Bush. And all the while, Mr. Penn has made his career by performances in movies like Mystic River, Carlito’s Way, Gangster Squad, and The Gunman, all playing members of the criminal element, and violently so I might add.   Additionally the prominently anti-war and pacifist Mr. Penn has been featured in The Thin Red Line, Taps, and Casualties of War, all films with a military theme and graphic violence.  He even won an Oscar nomination for his sympathetic portrayal of a death row inmate alongside liberal loon Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking. Hypocrisy, thy name is Penn.


But his latest example of hypocrisy is fascinating.  It turns out that Mr. Penn has been quietly accumulating quite the gun collection.  65 of them to be exact.  And all located in the state of California, perhaps one of the most rabid anti-gun climates in the country, right under the noses of the prominently anti-gun Hollywood crowd.   Anti-gun unless they can make a fortune on a movie rife with gun violence that is.  And how do we find out about Mr. Penn’s gun obsession?  Not from him ever standing up and proclaiming his support for gun ownership all these activist years.  No, that wouldn’t be a good idea given Mr. Penn is a walking example of erratic behavior and mental illness that should be reasons why you shouldn’t have a gun.  And toss aside the felony assault charge because when it is convenient for the Hollywood elite, we can legally split hairs and note that he was never convicted. Nope.  It turns out that Mr. Penn is desperately seeking to stay ensconced in the trousers of oneCharlize Theron, a South African native and fervent anti-gun spokeswoman who objects to his gun ownership. Mr. Penn has therefore decided in the name of love to have his entire firearms collection smelted into a statue by celebrity artist Jeff Koons, the result of which will be auctioned off for charity.  Only Hollywood can take hypocrisy and turn it into a public relations coup, and with the help of a compliant media, gloss over the entire absurdity of it all.  In a statement, Mr. Penn laughably references Ms. Theronwith this nonsense: Being provoked by this aforementioned strong woman and considering how liberating of bulls**t and ugliness it would be not only get rid of the guns I have in the continental United States but also to destroy them, Jeff Koons and I had a chat the other day. The highest bidder gets every single one of my guns put in the hands of this iconic artist and sculptor…Koons will decommission [and] render inactive all of my cowardly killing machines." So eloquent and yet simultaneously so absurd. You just can’t make this stuff up.



Harvey Weinstein and the Holocaust


Moving right along, I offer up yet another Hollywood hypocrite: one Harvey Weinstein, producer, self-appointed genius and apparently a world class historian.  Mr. Weinstein was recently interviewed by Howard Stern who asked the producer if he owned a gun, not an unusual question given Mr. Weinstein’s penchant for producingextraordinarily violent bloodfests such as the Kill Billtrilogy, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Gangs of New York,and the recent D’Jango Unchanged.  For those of you who have seen any of these films, the expression “gratuitous violence” would be a gross understatement.  Mr. Weinstein responded: that he did not own a gun and never would. “I don’t think we need guns in this country. And I hate it,” the producer said. “I think the NRA is a disaster area.” He went on: I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll tell it to you, Howard. I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we’re going to take this head-on. And they’re [NRA] going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”  

In true Hollywood fashion, it appears that Mr. Weinstein is also currently working on a revisionist project about Jewsdefending themselves with firearms during the Holocaust. When Stern pointed out the glaring hypocrisy, Weinstein insisted that it was an unfair comparison ”This is when you are marching people into Auschwitz,” Weinstein said. “I’d find a gun.” Really, Harvey, I’ll bet that thought never dawned on them. Emily Miller of the Washington Times reports that Weinstein believes that “guns are necessary for self-defense, but only in other countries, during genocides and if the weapon is not personally owned.”  She also offered the history lesson in that when the Nazis rose to power, they instituted a gun registry and were thus able to confiscate the guns owned by citizens. Although the popular Hitler quote about gun registration has come under scrutiny as to its authenticity, the Nazis did indeed enact a law in 1938 that added restrictions to existing gun laws specifically aimed at Jews.  As reported to the website TheStraight Dope, Clayton Cramer, author of the book Firing Back reports that Jews were prohibited from working in businesses that handled guns, were prohibited under the age of eighteen from purchasing guns, the Nazis added a permit for handguns and banned silencers and hollow-point ammunition. After “Kristillnacht” Jews were prevented from possessing weapons of any kind.  Author IsraelGuttman’s book “Resistance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” details the general disarmament of the Jewish population and their difficulty obtaining weapons. The distinction made by Mr. Cramer is that although gun laws existed prior to the Nazi rise to power, Hitler strengthened the existing laws, using them to his advantage , directing the laws at Jews to prevent them from being armed.

So apparently Mr. Weinstein is under the assumption that ownership is not necessary and a magical cache of firearms exists that can be tapped into by the oppressed.  Preposterous.  And in a last example of Mr. Weinstein’s sudden moral epiphany after countless profitable onscreen murders, he offered this to Piers Morgan of CNNI’m not going to make some crazy action movie just to blow up people and exploit people just for the sake of making it,” he said. “I can’t do it.” The insensitivity that the average person has now because of violence is because people have become so used to it. It’s an obsession as well as almost an addiction. It’s a cheap way of getting an audience, more people shot and more explosions.” So which is it, Harvey.  Is Hollywood responsible for a degradation in morals and desensitization to violence?  So are you saying what we see, what we watch, that violent movies and video games may indeed play a role in our increasing level of violence?  And this is somehow the fault of the NRA and warrants an attack after you just admitted that  you have glorified gun violence and that your audience is “used to it? “  Well, your new movie may appease your conscience Harvey, but faceit……you and your Hollywood cohorts… are the problem.

I’m not finished……more coming.