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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Orwellian language prevents communication

I sat down to watch George Orwell's 1984 the other night. I hadn't seen it in years and some masochistic impulse made me actually want to suffer through it again.
I say suffer through it, it's quite well done. Excellent cinematography, well acted, overall a great movie from that standpoint. Just a bit on the disturbing side and not a lot of fun to watch. Rather like the book which I also haven't read in years. One of those, "I'm glad I read it but I didn't enjoy it," types of novels.
I was struck, however, by a line early in the movie where one of main character Winston Smith's lunch companions remarks "the destruction of words is a beautiful thing."
This companion of Smith's is tasked with helping in the creation of newspeak, a language of sorts created by the government in order to control thought.
For instance within the book the "Ministry of Peace" concerns itself with war.
This seems funny until you realize that until after World War II we didn't have a Department of Defense we had a War Department.
Like the "Ministry of Peace" the DoD fights wars.
As a writer, and one who has occasionally been accused of diarrhea of the keyboard, I'm not at all fond of the idea of destroying words — or changing their meaning.
But that's precisely what the disease known as political correctness does.
In the name of "tolerance" or "inclusiveness" we have created a system in which certain things cannot be said.
We cannot have an honest discussion of race in this country. Anyone who tries is immediately labeled a racist.
A white person, for instance, cannot even try to discuss issues related to the destruction of the black family, or why so many more black men than white men are in prison. And if we cannot discuss them we most certainly cannot address them.
Moreover we have created more and more classes of hyphenated Americans. We are no longer Americans first. We are African-Americans, or Asian-Americans, or Hispanic-Americans.
As we more and more divide ourselves into smaller and smaller segments we are more and more alienated from each other. Language is a big part of how these divisions are created.
Language and the manipulation of it is a major tool of those who wish to also manipulate the populace.
We started with "global warming," then when things stopped warming it was changed to "climate change," then when it became clear that was a hoax as well it was changed yet again to "global climate disruption."
Words have power. The press, of which I am obviously a member, knows this all too well. Behind a guise of impartiality, it is all too easy to manipulate a story with the words used. Especially when relying heavily on "anonymous sources."
There's a backlash beginning against political correctness in all its pernicious forms.
Unfortunately, this Orwellian doublespeak may very well be too deeply entrenched into our language to every completely eradicate.
Which, by the by, is what the far-left actually wants. Keep in mind the idea of "politically correct speech and thought" are Soviet ideas. They understand all too well that if you control the language you can control both the way people think and the debate.
We have to stop trying to avoid offending anyone and realize that the only way to put this nation back on track is to have a series of very difficult, very un-PC conversations.
We have to stop letting the progressives on the left continue to divide us into ever smaller groups while using the language to control debate and keep us from actually talking to each other.
It's time for frank conversations about race, religion, sexual orientation and a number of other subjects — before the thought police make it impossible to have them.
All IMHO, of course.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Election was message to president

I was reluctant at first to write another piece dissecting the recent election. But then I figured everyone else is doing it so why not?

It was a fascinating night, the Republicans picked up 61 seats in the House of Representatives — a huge number not seen in decades — like about six of them. The last time there was a shift of this magnitude in the House was 1946.

The Senate, of course, did not change hands, and that to some degree is a blessing to Republicans in the House who can send legislation up, but when it does not pass the Senate can point to Democratic opposition.

It will prevent the Dems from blaming the Republicans if nothing gets done as Republicans can point to the Dem majority in the Senate and the Dem president.

One thing does concern me, however. I keep hearing Republicans talking about a “mandate.”

I hate to tell them this, but they don’t actually have a mandate.

With a few exceptions, and those were mostly Tea Party candidates like Rand Paul, the American people did not vote for Republicans, but rather against Democrats.

This election, as has so often been pointed out, was a referendum on the first two years of the Obama presidency. In no uncertain terms the American people told the president they were not happy.

This does not exactly translate into a mandate for the Republicans. This is more of a conditional approval.

The American electorate is as angry as I have ever seen them. The only mandate they have really given is “fix this and do it NOW!”

If there is no turn around in the next two years, at least a glimmer of things getting better. If large portions of the insanity that is Obamacare are not repealed, if taxes go up rather than down or at least remaining as they are now, the angry giant will likely slap the Republicans out of office just as hard and fast as it did the Democrats.

The American people are aware, I think, that without the presidency much can be stopped. And it is likely Obama will veto most of what is passed by the Republicans.

In which case he will find himself tossed out of office in 2012 and sitting outside the White House confused as to how he got there.

Which is, I guess, part of the problem. After the humiliation of Nov. 2, Obama went on TV to say the problem wasn’t his policies, but rather that he didn’t explain them well enough.

In other words, it wasn’t that he had stupid ideas, but rather that we were too stupid to understand them — proving he still doesn’t get it.

Mr. President, the American people have looked into the future socialist order you propose, and we didn’t like it. We told you to change direction through town hall meetings, and protests and polls.

You didn’t listen.

Now we’ve told you via an historic election.

Listen up, or we’ll tell you again.

All IMHO, of course.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Border continues to burn, time to put out the fire

We’ve all heard the tragic story of the woman whose husband was allegedly killed by Mexican drug cartel gunmen while jet skiing on a lake which straddles the Texas/Mexico border.
The woman, Tiffany Hartley is now begging President Barack Obama to do something about the cartels which killed her husband David.
So far as I know there has been zero response from the administration to her pleas.
In the mean time, apparent cartel gunmen invaded a rehab center in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, killing at least 10, and possibly as many as 13.
I have noted before that one of the reasons the Mexican government has failed to do anything about the cartels is that they have no real incentive to do so. Mexico simply makes too much money off the drug trade for it to be in their interest to stop it. Most of the violence is contained to the sparsely populated northern areas of the country, not the much wealthier heartlands to the south.
Unfortunately, that violence is spilling across our border with increasing frequency. Phoenix, Ariz., is now the kidnap capital of North America. Yes, you read that right. A major American city leads the hemisphere in kidnapping for profit.
At what point, exactly, do we begin to do something about this?
How much more violence do we have to tolerate before someone will step up and say “enough?”
This is intolerable. Entire areas of our border are no-go areas posted with signs telling American citizens to stay out of American territory because they might run into smugglers and get killed.
Now, apparently, Americans are unable to even enjoy a day on the lake without having to worry about getting shot.
The constant response to this sort of nonsense from the administration has been rhetoric, more rhetoric and lawsuits to prevent the implementation of laws which might actually help to stem the tide of illegal immigration.
Instead of actually doing his constitutional duty to enforce our borders what the president has done is admonish us, as if we were children, to not be “intolerant.” Others within his administration have gone so far as to call us “cowards,” and “racists,” for no better reason than our opposition to amnesty for illegals.
Meanwhile, people continue to die as the cartels war with the ineffectual, corrupt and mostly disinterested Mexican government and with each other.
It is time and past time for action.
In the 1990s the United States decided we had had enough of one Pablo Escobar and his MedellĂ­n cartel.
We sent multiple special forces teams to Columbia to train their police and to assist in finding and killing Escobar. In 1993 they succeeded in doing just that.
Please explain to me why we can’t do exactly the same thing here. These drug cartels are a danger to the United States and a danger to Mexico. The violence there is starting to spill into areas once considered safe. On Aug. 31 a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a night club in Cancun, killing eight.
We cannot afford a failed state on our southern border – and that is what we are facing if we do act.
All IMHO, of course.