The Time Machine to Occupy Wherever

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I am reminded of my Freshman year at UCLA, when I arrived on my 1980s campus one morning to find myself immersed in a crowd of hippies in leather fringe, bell bottoms and long stringy hair.  What the heck happened, I wondered, between the time I went to bed the night before and this bright morning? The filming of some movie, that’s what happened. So no, I had not been transported in my sleep back 20 years to the sixties, and thank God for that.

But now here we are in 2011, awakening to find ourselves immersed in crowds of retro protesters, not, this time, the products of Hollywood’s central casting, but real live sixties throwbacks calling for the downfall of the United States of America. Marching on Wall Street, Los Angeles, Boston, Tampa, Oakland, San Francisco, Phoenix, Portland, and everywhere in between, they call themselves “Occupy wherever,” and from what I have gleaned, I don’t think they have any idea what they are demanding, other than freedom from personal responsibility, freedom from employment, and freedom from basic hygiene.

Coverage of these protests reveals nothing but a flood of imprecision and generalities, punctuated by the catch phrases fed to the protesters by those who are organizing these latter-day love-ins: Down with the corporations. Tax the rich. Legalize Marijuana. Bush is a Nazi. All praise the hammer and sickle. We are the 99 percent. Death to the one percent. You get the drill…

One young woman I heard interviewed was asked just what she and her cohorts want. Like so many others handed the microphone, she couldn’t answer. The interviewer —  obviously not a member of the left’s mainstream media lapdog brigade — explained to the misguided “freedom” fighter that plenty ‘o politicians have sold their souls to the unions and other special interests in sweetheart deals designed to bankrupt the very cities where the occupiers are protesting. Plenty of fat-cat democrat donors, too. She knew none of that. Don’t you think that makes the opportunistic politicians responsible, too, for whatever it is you are protesting? I can’t speak for that, she said. But we’re discussing things, she said, and getting new ideas. What kind of ideas? she was asked.  Uh, well, I can’t really…I don’t….um….when we have talked about it, there will be really good ideas.  Like what? She didn’t care to speak anymore.

The mouthpieces for the protests – the mainstream lapdogs, leftwing politicians, various unions, hired thugs, and yes, even the president of the United States, tell us it’s all about jobs. I have yet to hear any of the protesters speak of jobs. The mouthpieces demand that we celebrate the audacity and purity of the protesters. Ignoring the filth and stench permeating the protest sites, the mouthpieces, by taking the side of the occupiers, are hoping we the people won’t notice that they are aligning themselves with calls for, among so many other issues, forced and universal veganism, the legalization of drugs, the communistic distribution of wealth, the abandonment of the usage of oil (both foreign and domestic), and the forgiveness of all debt (with those members of society who are responsible and productive footing the bill).

The left, including the media hacks and the president of the United States, would have us believe that these protestors, these occupiers, are America’s majority. Don’t believe it. We the people know who they are. And we are asking, rhetorically of course, why they are not marching on the White House. As for me, I keep thinking of the words of a favorite bumper sticker: “Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with.” And for what we have “put up with” for the last three years.


Both Sad and Not Surprised at Borders Filing Chapter 11

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About a week ago the CEO of Borders bookstores sent a mass email announcing that the company has filed Chapter 11, and will thus be closing those stores that are “underperforming.” I found this news very sad, but not all that surprising.

One of my greatest joys in this life is to enter the great double doors of a Borders or Barnes and Noble, catch that rich warm aroma of bound pages and brewing coffee, then wander the aisles for books either familiar or newly discovered (the most recent for me of this latter category being Black Potatoes, a kids’ book on the potato famine of Ireland that kept me transfixed for more than an hour).

The Borders closest to my home seems safe at the moment from closure, which I must say almost surprises me, given their failure at times to remember their reason for being. A few years ago I went to this store to purchase a book by conservative political commentator Ann Coulter, which at the time sat perched high atop the New York Times Bestseller List. I couldn’t find it anywhere, including within the display at the front of the store allegedly boasting the nation’s current bestsellers. So I asked a guy who worked there.

“Oh, that’s back here,” he said, and he led me to the most secluded shelf of the most secluded corner at the very back of the store, where we found the book, practically wrapped in a plain brown wrapper.

“Isn’t the goal here to sell books?” I asked the guy. He just shrugged. “You know this is a bestseller right now,” I said.  He just shrugged again. I decided to forego such concepts as censorship, political agendas, and supply-and-demand business practices. Chalk it up, I decided, to some left-wing genius at this Borders, perhaps every Borders, who hatched a brilliant plan: Hide the Coulter books, and the customer will have no choice but to purchase instead an Obama autobiography, anything by Michael Moore, or perhaps the film made and released during the presidency of George W. Bush, allegedly fictionalizing his assassination — all of which, may I say, were prominently featured in this Borders, and perhaps every Borders.

This was, unfortunately, not my only brush with the Chapter-11-to-be practices I witnessed at this store. Recall, if you will, the July 21, 2008, issue of The New Yorker that featured a cartoon of a radical militant then-democratic-presidential-nominee Barack Obama and his wife on the cover. When this cover was revealed to its predictable outcry, I wanted one, so again I traipsed into my trusty local Borders. “Oh, we’re not carrying that one,” a guy – a different guy — told me. So I traipsed off to my local Barnes and Noble, which was apparently unaware of the Borders brilliant plan and did have the issue available to customers who wished to shell out the cash to purchase one.

So for the time being, it appears the victor in the battle of the bookstores is Barnes and Noble, its decision makers even willing to feature a giant cover of Atlas Shrugs on the wall, a design element I spotted during visits to several California Barnes and Nobles last week. Also featured were displays devoted to Ronald Reagan’s centennial (standard right now to every Barnes and Noble, east and west, I have frequented of late), the only evidence of books devoted to our current president being a couple of children’s paperbacks slipped in among books celebrating President’s Day. A bookstore selling books on both sides of the political spectrum: You don’t have to be a CEO to hatch that brilliant plan.

Oprah Just Can’t Understand Why America Does Not Respect Obama’s Authority

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Apparently mistaking the United States of America for a third-world banana republic dictatorship, Oprah Winfrey commented in an MSNBC interview earlier this week, that she is “surprised” that the American people are finding it so easy to criticize her fearless leader, Barack Obama.  Ms. Winfrey is evidently “concerned” about this, because, to paraphrase, the president naturally has “authority” over the American people.  She seems to believe that blessed as we are with such an extraordinary man to rule us, we the people should be grateful and shut our collective mouths.

To her credit she did mention respect for the “office” of the presidency (not necessarily one and the same as the individual holding that office), but perhaps it’s time for Ms. Winfrey to take a course on the United States Constitution and the First Amendment.

In the meantime, Ms. Winfrey, let me inform you that no one has authority over me, my family or anyone blessed with the rights and privileges bestowed upon this country by the men who risked their lives to craft them.  In fact, Ms. Winfrey, were you to investigate those documents, those men, you would discover it is we the people who hold the authority card in this great nation, and the vast majority of us have no intention of handing our liberties over to anyone, including your would-be “authoritarian” friend currently occupying the White House.  Let me remind you that such arrangements came to an end in this country back in the 1860s.

Meanwhile, the man who would be king – the man you, Ms. Winfrey, seem to think a king currently occupying that big house in D.C. – trots the globe bowing and scraping to any and every world leader who will receive him.  While more than comfortable exerting his “authority” over we the people here at home, he willingly subjugates himself to other countries around the world, even those with unsavory designs on our nation and our people.  At the same time, this president has in recent weeks taken to comparing himself to our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, even unabashedly referring to himself as “the gipper,” President Reagan’s nickname taken from one of his famous movie roles.

Were he with us today, I imagine Ronnie would get a good laugh from that ridiculous “gipper” comparison, imitation being the finest form of flattery, but so do I also know that such imitation would not flow both ways.  We would never have seen President Reagan bowing and scraping to other heads of state, knowing as he did that such circumstances are where we the people do wish to see some American presidential authority on display.  Once we have someone who understands this back in the White House again, we trust that individual will enjoy your full and uncritical respect, Ms. Winfrey – even if he or she does not happen to be a liberal, a messiah, or your close personal friend.

To Burn or Not to Burn: That Is NOT the Question

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We have no idea if the newly notorious pastor in Florida is going to burn the Koran on Saturday. He apparently hasn’t decided, but no matter. Having successfully reaped his 15 minutes of fame, and now apparently inspiring others to burn, as well, when tomorrow dawns, the situation has escalated into an international firestorm. Yet the actual burning is not at all the issue.

I personally find book burning abhorrent, whether the tinder be the Bible, the Koran, Mein Kampf, Harry Potter or Huckleberry Finn. I frankly regard this pastor’s showboating as either a publicity stunt or a death wish (perhaps both), evident in his announcing his intent long before 9/11 to ensure maximum media attention. But my country has taught me that it is within the rights of all Americans to burn a book or a flag, to behave stupidly and recklessly, or to speak out against our government — rights foreign to most other countries, particularly those currently criticizing our handling of our own internal issues, such as illegal immigration and the building of a mosque at Ground Zero.

What disgusts me most about this incident is not that a man of the cloth would protest Islam by burning its book, but rather the strident response of, among others, our own media outlets, elected officials, and President to the man’s threats to do so.

I think back to moments in our history — to the celebrated desecration of the Virgin Mary and the Star of David, to modern-day Nazis marching through a town occupied by Holocaust survivors, to a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine heralded as fine art, to the former President routinely burned in effigy — and I wonder, where were the protests from all those exalted authorities and institutions then? Where were the calls for restraint? We all know the answer to that one.

Which brings us to the fundamental difference between these documented incidents in our recent past, and the current threat of a torched Koran. Fear. That’s the difference. The authorities and institutions squawking in unison to stop Saturday’s burning don’t fear the Christians, the Jews or we the people. They know that those so inclined to desecrate and disgrace the symbols of these faiths, and of America herself, can do so freely and graphically without threat of repercussion. But these same authorities and institutions are terrified to the bone of those who follow Islam. Their resulting reactions, their policies, their censorship and their scoldings, are fueled by that fear.

This chronic hypocrisy is in turn fueling the palpable rage brewing in America right now: a rage at the tyranny spewing from our nation’s capitol, a rage at politically correct appeasement of those who wish to destroy us (whether or not a Koran is burned), a rage at punishing policies and taxes that cripple our childrens’ futures. This rage now boils over at a most symbolic moment in our nation’s history – the anniversary of a day we the people will not forget, despite the left’s attempt to rewrite history. It’s going to be a rocky ride.

But Names Will Never Hurt Us

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For the last year or so, the left has told the right in no uncertain terms, like never before, in the most condescending manner possible, that those who oppose their left-wing – make that socialistic, even fascistic — agenda, are to be named the worst of the worst.

Oppose them, and you are “Hitler.” You are “haters.” You are “rageaholics,” “angry Americans,” “truthers” and “tenthers” (those who dare believe in the 10 amendment of the Constitution). You are “religious extremists” and “terrorists” (though don’t dare call a jihadist, the 9/11 perpetrators or the Fort Hood slaughterer, such a vile name). You are “racists,” “goons,” “rednecks”and “astroturfers.”

The list never ends, and indeed they seem to come up with new terms almost daily, patting each other on their collective backs for their oh-so-clever collective intellects that so-succinctly keep us neanderthals on the right in our place. Most recently, the Gulf Coast oil-rig disaster has been christened “Palin’s folly” by a pathetic leftist or two, and even the President of the United States, that scion of civil discourse, has ramped up his own additions to the fray, calling those who oppose his agenda “teabaggers” (well aware, no doubt, and with an arrogant smirk, no doubt, of the full implications of such a slur).

What you won’t hear the oh-so-clever clever name-callers admit, however, is their understanding that we neanderthals on the right couldn’t care less what they call us. Indeed we just add the newest additions to the list and laugh at the obvious desperation they represent. And that is driving our opponents, the clever name-callers, completely insane. That is why they continue to struggle almost daily to come up with more and more names to hurl our way.

But, as they see daily, their slurs fall on our deaf ears. I have been called Hitler (and much worse) myself from time to time – and this in response not to what I write here, but to puff pieces I penned about dogs, horses and small fuzzy pets (it doesn’t take much to incite some people – and, it would seem, some Congressional representatives, Presidents and presidential mouthpieces). We cannot, will not, fear their words. Those who oppose us may say what they will, but we in turn remain undaunted in our love for our country, our founders’ ideals and the enduring documents that made those ideals not only a reality, but the last best hope on earth.

So keep it up, guys. While many on our side who have been physically injured by left-wing thugs since January 2010, can testify, your sticks and stones – and punishing legislation – can break our bones. But your names will never hurt us. Indeed all they do – along with those sticks, those stones, those fists and baseball bats — is strengthen our resolve.

Miracle in D.C.

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October 25, 2009 | | Comments

Over the past few weeks those of us who revere the Constitution have watched in shock, amusement, rage, disbelief…name your emotion…as the Obama administration has waged war against Fox News.

The reason for the attack? Simple. In the midst of the news media’s universal fawning over a President, an administration and a left-wing agenda, Fox News is the only major media outlet that has dared to ask questions about such issues as health care and unemployment; that has dared to cover such stories as the ACORN scandal, terrorism and czar eruptions; and that has dared to criticize the White House and its agenda. Fox News is the one voice to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes, and, not by coincidence, the only voice currently enjoying vigorous ratings.

So in response, the White House, citing the refusal of Fox News to play nice, intimated that this obviously illegitimate news outlet is not worthy of press credibility. In addition, officials urged all the other allegedly legitimate, unabashedly obedient, news outlets to shun Fox News, as well. In other words, we won’t let poor Fox News join in any reindeer games.

It came to a head Friday, when the press was invited to interview the illustrious Pay Czar, who has been granted the unbridled (not to mention un-Constitutional) authority to determine how much we the people can and should be paid. But something unexpected occurred. It seems a small voice began to nag at the collective senses of right and wrong of the journalists assembled there, a small voice implanted in the hard wiring of these individuals when they felt the first tender flame of their journalistic calling and received their initial instructions in the tenets of who, what, when, where and why. That small voice, it seems, became a roar that would not be ignored. And the journalists assembled there, for the first time in their willing collusion in this President’s ascendency, for the first time, they said no. If Fox News can’t play, then we won’t either.

And that was a miracle….or maybe not.

You have to believe that even so-called mainstream journalists have a thread of self-preservation running through their veins. For months they have sacrificed any semblance of professionalism, training, objectivity, and perhaps even individual conscience for the agenda of a man they hardly know. In the process they have watched their audiences, their readers and in many cases, their careers, evaporate. Perhaps, then, for a brief collective moment they acknowledged that this man and his administration could ultimately damage not only their livelihoods, but their country, as well.

Look, guys. The government goes after Fox News, it attempts to shut down and censor an arm of democracy that at one time you yourselves pledged to uphold, and you just can’t help but ask yourselves and perhaps each other: Who’s next? Say something that might be deemed unpopular or outside the realm of the prescribed administration talking points, and it will be you, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, and yes, even you, MSNBC. Though the moment was fleeting, we the people applaud you for your brief moment of collective illumination. We applaud you for having the guts to say no (felt good, didn’t it?). And we thank you, for the time being, at least, for preserving the sanctity of the reindeer games.

Perhaps we can also thank German pastor Martin Niemoeller, a man known for an unwavering resistance to Adolf Hitler, who has been attributed with the familiar following quotation that has occurred in various forms since coming to light after World War II:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

It’s sad to realize how relevant this passage has become in our country over the past months. But I continue to keep the faith, believing that, inspired by these words and their link to that brief miraculous moment in D.C., we will be seeing more miracles in the weeks and months to come.

Betsy Siino | Comments