Monthly Archives: August 2010

Alex Jones: Showman, Charlatan and Huckster

Alex Jones: Master of disinformation and Tea Party poison.

Maybe it’s not such a coincidence that Alex Jones shares the same last name as that notorious, faux Christian sicko who led over 1,000 core supporters to their death (including 280 children) in the Jonestown Massacre. Victims of their own blind devotion to a madman, Jones’ cult followers inadvertently created a now ubiquitous term in the American lexicon — Kool Aid drinker — often used by talking heads like Bill O’Reilly to describe folks who refuse to think for themselves, but instead fall for false, provocative rhetoric packaged within a charismatic personality.

The citizens who comprise today’s “beautiful movement” (as described by Sarah Palin) known as the Tea Party must be on guard against another poisonous cult of personality aside from the delusional congressman from Texas: Alex Jones. Purveyor of anti-American garbage disguised as patriotism, Jones was the subject of a serious warning issued to the “new right” by AIM back in June:

But Jones is not and never has been a conservative. Jones has much more in common with the left than the right. He is, for example, a member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, as was Van Jones, the Obama official fired after evidence of his communist background began to surface. The 9/11 Truth Movement was originally designed to undercut evidence that Muslims were behind the attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans. Leftists joined the movement and used it to undermine the Bush Administration drive for a military response to Islamic terrorism and its base of operations in the Middle East.

On MSNBC, it seems clear that the “Rise of the New Right” program planned for June 16 is an outgrowth of fear that the Tea Party movement could threaten liberal control of Washington, D.C.

The key to the MSNBC assault is the use of Jones.

As Accuracy in Media has documented, Jones postures as a “patriot” with inside information about various plots but appears regularly on the Russia Today television propaganda channel, where he has defended Russian foreign policy. One of his themes is that the U.S. is the greatest instigator of terrorism in the world today. He also promotes legalization of marijuana as a solution to our economic woes.

These are hardly “conservative” or Tea Party positions.

Indeed.

And when I see friends I know to be actual conservatives posting articles from Jones’ InfoWars and Prison Planet (neither of which I will legitimize with a link) on Facebook and Twitter, I cringe.  This man is not our ally, but the exact opposite — an enemy, a fringe kook who ought to be marginalized, not validated as a credible source of information and news.

No one who believes 9/11 was an inside job deserves to be taken seriously.

Like his buddy Ron Paul, Alex Jones is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Though Paul will not actually admit he’s a 9/11 truther, he basks in the glow of their support, has never condemned their false propaganda, and even promised to investigate the matter to a group called “9/11 Students for Truth” back in 2007. Further, he consistently blames the United States for acts of Muslim aggression, including the attempt to blow up the Northwest airlines flight on Christmas Day, 2009. He constantly uses the anti-Semitic, derogatory term “neo-con” to describe Americans who want to stay on offense against Global Jihad, and those who oppose the travesty of the proposed Ground Zero mosque.

Faux Christian and deadly charlatan Jim Jones, whose tactics much resemble those employed by talk radio fraud Alex Jones.

Let’s also remember that Alex Jones harassed and threatened conservative author, journalist and blogger Michelle Malkin at the DNC in 2008, screaming “Kill Malkin!” as he menacingly swarmed her on the streets of Denver. Cool as a cucumber, Malkin calmly kept walking, surrounded by friends and colleagues.

Given all of these facts, why would any rational American give credence to either Jones or his political soul mate Ron Paul? It is imperative for the sake of the republic and the success of the Tea Party movement, that authentic conservatives and grassroots activists soundly reject these dangerous charlatans who like their lefty counterparts, are useful idiots for the cause of Global Jihad.

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Ron Paul: “I don’t believe for a minute that the religion of Islam is our enemy.”

As if we needed anymore proof of Ron Paul’s anti-American treachery — and no, I am not speaking of his inclusion in the Democrats’ list of favorite Republicans(though it’s also quite telling), — he’s finally waded into the Ground Zero mosque controversy where — unsurprisingly — he’s chalked it all up to yet anotherconspiracy theory, fomented by those war-lovin’ neo-cons:

“I think it’s a big distraction, a grand distraction from the real issues… To me it should have been a grand opportunity, and you really touched on the opportunity, because it’s really a property rights issue, and who owns the property? And it’s also a civil liberties issue. It’s a freedom of speech issue… Property rights and civil rights are one and the same… drives the neo-cons nuts… I don’t believe for a minute that the, quote, religion of Islam is our enemy.”

Really, Ron? And I suppose Al-Qaeda is just a CIA fantasy, too?

For the record, the majority of Americans and politicians who oppose the mosque fully understand the constitutional right to build it. Then again, most of us also understand that Islam is a strident political ideology wrapped up in the cloak of religion, and that jihadists committed an act of war against the United States on September 11, 2001 — not the United States government — all in the name of Islam. Further, understanding the history of Cordoba, we are cognizant of the fact that such a mosque is nothing short of a monument to their bloody victory over the “Great Satan” and 3,000 of its citizens on 9/11.

I  know its tough for you libertarians — much like your foreign policy kindred spirits, liberals — to place a moral judgment on anything, but out of respect for 9/11′s grieving families, it would be nice if you’d grant them some deference on this emotionally supercharged, morally reprehensible issue. It would also be refreshing if you’d actually give your country the benefit of the doubt, instead of blaming it for the existence of a so-called religion that preaches death to infidels, practices pedophilia, commits unspeakable crimes against women, and actively engages in a worldwide, genocidal movement with the ultimate goal of imposing a worldwide Muslim Caliphate.

In short, since you’re so fond of conspiracy theories, maybe you can believe in one that’s actually true: Global Jihad. Then temper your constitutional remarks about the Ground Zero mosque with some intelligence and real compassion for your own countrymen — especially those who lost everything on 9/11.

Update: from Nice Deb, the son of a Hamas founder and convert to Christianity speaks out against the mosque.

Update 2: Here’s a great post from Ron Williams on why Ron Paul should never be president.

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SarahPalin

An Appeal to an FB Friend and the GOP on Palin, Conservatism and Moderation

Recently, a Facebook friend (someone I’ve known in real life from the time he was in high school), posted a status update warning the Republican Party not to even attempt to rid the country of Obama by putting up a “right wing extremist” like Palin as a presidential contender. There were so many inaccuracies contained in his one simple status update  – which, sorry to say, received a “thumbs-up”  from someone else with whom I share an actual history —  it’s hard to know where to start my rebuttal.

But let’s begin with the “right wing extremist” label, shall we?

Perhaps I should cut my friend a little slack; after all, he’s been living in the leftist paradise of California for over 10 years if my memory serves correctly. And though he’s not a big government loving statist, it’s quite possible he’s been hoodwinked by his contemporaries into believing that so-called moderation (what we on the right prefer to call “Democrat-Lite” or “RINO”) is somehow the way to victory in 2012.  It’s also quite possible he’s bought into the false media caricature of Palin as a book-burning, Bible-thumpin’ zealot, whose appeal could never expand beyond the grassroots base of the GOP.

Never mind Palin’s proven record as a reformer who rid the state of Alaska of the Corrupt Bastards Club, sold the previous governor’s taxpayer-funded plane, squelched the bridge to nowhere, sealed the deal on the Trans Alaska Pipeline, vetoed Obama’s stimulus (a decision which was unfortunately overruled by the state legislature) and bequeathed a fiscally solvent state to her successor Sean Parnell and her fellow Alaskans.

Set aside the fact that with one thoughtful Facebook note or even a 140-character tweet, she not only shapes the debate on a critically important issue such as energy, socialized medicine or the proposed Ground Zero mosque, she consistently beats every other alleged Republican 2012 contender to the punch. Not being a creature of Washington D.C., Palin is not constrained by considerations of political expediency, but driven by moral clarity and conviction.

Yet no matter how stellar her fiscal record, she’s somehow a “right wing radical” because she also believes in the sanctity of human life (demonstrated by her decision to give birth to her Down syndrome baby), devoutly practices her Christianity and believes in American Exceptionalism.

Gee, if I’m not mistaken, her views are in alignment with some pretty formidable figures in American history, including Ronald Reagan and the Founding Fathers. Guess they were “right wing extremists”, too.

But back to the whole concept of squishy moderation as the path the victory. The irony here of course, is that my friend is actually echoing the sentiments of the very GOP establishment he’s excoriating — you know, the “establishmentarians” and members of the “ruling class”, as Angelo M. Codevillaso aptly described them. Like Goldwater and Reagan before her, they would like nothing  better than to destroy Palin politically, so it seems my friend’s concern is misplaced.

He and the Republican Party elites are on the same page where she’s concerned, still stubbornly adhering to the misguided notion (in spite of the failed campaigns of George H.W. Bush in 1992, Bob Dole in 1996 and the ultimate RINO John McCain in 2008) that the road to electoral victory is paved with insipid pandering, “feel good” platitudes and watered down rhetoric, so as not to offend the tender sensibilities of the elusive “moderate” swing voters.

You know, those folks who don’t bother to do their homework or pay much attention to politics until two weeks before a presidential election, and then vote for the “cool” guy? Yeah, those people.

What my friend fails to comprehend is that these voters took one look at old D.C. relic and mushy moderate John McCain — who in essence was no different from Obama on many key issues, including the TARP bailout  –  and figured heck, if they’re both offering the same thing, I’m voting for the young, hip, sophisticated, super-cool black guy. My friend also conveniently forgets that if not for Palin turning out the grassroots base of the Republican Party, McCain would’ve lost in a landslide.

Last but not least, my friend is either ignoring or is completely ignorant of Palin’s accomplishments, none of which bear the hallmark of an “extremist” but rather as a public official and servant of the people who governed in accordance with her state constitution as well as that wonderful document we call the United States Constitution, conceived by such “right wing radicals” as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson  and Benjamin Franklin.

I am not saying he has to support Sarah Palin for president, if in fact she chooses to run for the office. But I am urging him to get his facts straight before condemning her as a radical right winger and dismissing her impressive achievements in his rush to inaccurate judgment. As I’ve said before, her detractors on the left and right are incapable of constructive criticism.

Whatever her ambitions, she’s the de facto leader of the conservative movement and the voice of everyday Americans who are frustrated and alarmed by an overreaching, ever-expanding, evermore corrupt federal government. And that’s a result not only of her political track record but also because — unlike milquetoast RINOs like Romney — Palin speaks with bold clarity in layman’s terms, guided by integrity and principle. She’s also an exceptional retail politician who connects with middle class voters in a way Mitt Romney never could. Believe me, after attending a rally for him in Boca Raton in January of 2008, I know this to be true. While he’s a nice-looking man with a beautiful family, he came across as stiff, plastic and even a little uncomfortable — all the while displaying his trademark grin and repeating the mantra, “Washington is broken! So we’re gonna go to Washington and fix it!”

And yes, I still voted for him, but only because Fred Thompson dropped out of the race.

Whatever happens in the race for 2012, here’s my demand for the GOP: This is not a monarchy, so get rid of the “next in line” mentality. Or you may soon find yourself a footnote in the annals of American history when the Tea Party/Silent Majority funnels its energy and resources into a new party that will actually represent them.

As for my Facebook friend, stick to arguing on the facts, please. Character-assassination is so unbecoming of a good guy like you.

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The Food of Water Signs: Regional Brands

In attempting to evoke a palpable experience of the culture and atmosphere of the Philly, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and South Jersey areas, I purposely peppered Part One of Water Signs with references to popular brands enjoyed by residents of the Delaware Valley. Complemented by the addition of ethnic favorites like Italian wedding cookies, provolone cheese and tomato pie, this was highly effective in drawing readers into Ken and Maddy’s world.

In Chapter 9, Maddy tends to a recuperating Ken, who has injured his leg in a work accident (something that did happen in real life, although many of the events of this chapter have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes). It’s here where I first introduce readers to some Philly-area favorites:

“Thank you, sweetheart!”

Ken had awakened to find Madeline busily setting up a tray table with a turkey and cheese hoagie from Wawa, a pickle and a bag of Herr’s potato chips. He looked adorably groggy as he rubbed his eyes and sat up on the couch.

“Damn!” He laughed. “How long have I been out? And what smells so good?”

Placing the tray in front of him, Maddy smiled. “Hmm, well I’d say at least an hour and a half, to answer your first question. As for the second, I am attempting to make my Mom’s mussels marinara sauce for you. There’s plenty, so you can have some tonight for dinner and freeze the rest. I’m also leaving you chicken cutlets and a pan of eggplant parm. Wouldn’t want you to starve or anything, just ‘cause you have a bad leg.” Her tone was playful as she unscrewed the lid to a cold bottle of Turkey Hill iced tea.

If there’s one thing I really wish we had in South Florida, it is Wawa convenience stores. A cut above similar retail chains like 7-11, Wawa offers fresh homemade soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as various pots of steaming hot flavored and regular coffees, soft pretzels, Tastykakes and other on-the-run refreshment. Oh and yes, in Philly we call them hoagies, not subs.

Lancaster-based Turkey Hill products are also sorely missed. Whenever I go north for a visit, my parents’ refrigerator is always stocked with fresh-brewed Turkey Hill iced tea and lemonade, and the freezer with their fabulous ice-cream featuring team flavors for the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies. As for Herr’s potato chips, they’ve been on the Philly scene for as long as I can remember, just like soft pretzels and another area favorite, water ice (known to the rest of the county as Italian ices), as mentioned in the beginning of Chapter 7:

“Here you go sweetheart,” Ken said with a smile, handing Maddy a small cup of one of her favorite treats—lemon water ice.

“Ooh, it’s even got little pieces of lemon in it, awesome!” she enthused, taking a spoonful into her mouth. They were sitting on a green-painted wooden bench, facing the ocean.

“You know, I really could have splurged on a large, Madeline Rose,” he remarked, giving her a playful nudge. Then, just as she was about to speak, added, “Oh, I know, I know. We have to watch our calories!” He was teasing of course, but Maddy took slight offense.

“Hey, just ‘cause you don’t understand what it was like to be the ‘chubby girl’ in school, don’t make fun of me! I wish I didn’t have to be so careful, but I was never one of those naturally thin girls like Carmen who can eat whatever she wants and not even have to exercise. It’s just the way it is.”

As she spoke, her eyes followed the graceful trail of a seagull as it rode the evening air currents. Ken lodged his plastic spoon back into his slushy cherry flavored concoction, and then turned her shoulders so she was looking squarely at him.

That scene is reminiscent of countless hours spent sitting on a bench on the boardwalk — either alone or in the company of family and friends — enjoying a cold water ice while gazing at the ocean. I can picture the seagulls, the waves and the colorful umbrellas dotting the sand even as I type this. It was so easy to place Ken and Maddy into various situations like this, regardless of whether or not the real Ken and I had actually done the same thing back in the day.

In a future post, I will delve into a character study of Madeline, complete with all of her insecurities including excessive worry about her weight, as evidenced in the dialogue above. I’ll also take a look at some of the real places that provide the settings for much of the interaction between the characters such as Frisanco’s Restaurant (now out of business), Taj Mahal Casino, The Ship Inn, Acapulco Grill (which no longer exists), Arturo’s Restaurant and The Boca Resort and Club.

We’ll also explore the use of popular music to help keep readers abreast of the current year throughout a long, 16-year journey; the development of technology to denote the progression of time; and more comparisons between fact and fiction.

Stay tuned!

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