Fort Hood: Terrorism or just a tragedy? Propaganda, Part I

by Clio

In my earlier blogs (“Man-Caused Disasters” and “Grab Your Merriam-Websters…”), I expressed disdain for the Obama administration’s terminology tinkering. “Man-Caused Disasters” focused on taking out terrorism and replacing it with an easier to digest “man-caused disaster.” “Grab Your Merriam-Websters…” examined the new policy of wiping out “war on terror,” giving preference to “global overseas contingency operations.”

When those exchanges were announced earlier this year, I felt so strongly about the White House’s word wrangling that I grabbed my laptop and pounded out a couple of blogs to express my disapproval. I had a feeling that these subtle substitutions marked the beginning of a campaign to change our opinions about the new government’s domestic and foreign policies.

It seems that Mr. Obama believes that if he expunges a certain word, such as “terrorism,” and replaces it with a less offensive term like “man-caused disaster,” the result will negate or change reality.

Reality arrived home last week in the form of an Army major at Fort Hood, Texas. Major Nidal Hasan murdered 13 people and wounded 29 others in first act of terrorism on American soil since September 11, 2001. News reports are surfacing regarding Major Hasan’s ties to radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki and Hasan’s attempts to contact members of Al Qaeda. In fact, there is enough information regarding Major Hasan, his activities and statements to launch a Senate inquiry into the shootings; other agencies will follow suit with their own investigations.

How did Mr. Obama respond to last week’s terrorist attack? During a brief press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Obama spent two minutes acknowledging a member of the audience and touting his health care package before he mentioned the Fort Hood attack: “… some of you might have heard there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas,” he told the assembled guests and cautioned “not to jump to conclusions” about the event.

Mr. Obama used poor judgment in failing to mention the attack on Fort Hood before giving “shout outs” and promoting ObamaCare, but I concur with his prudent advice about jumping to conclusions. Meanwhile, the facts are beginning to emerge and the evidence collected thus far suggests that a thorough examination of Major Hasan and his deadly acts is warranted.

On Tuesday, November 10th, the Commander-in-Chief spoke at a memorial service in honor of the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood Army Base. Again, Mr. Obama refused to use the term terrorism or even his own spin, “man-caused disasters.”

“This is a time of war. And yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.

It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next.

We are a nation of laws whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes.” Barack Hussein Obama, Fort Hood Memorial Service, November 10, 2009

The attack was a “tragedy,” not terrorism, according to Obama, and Major Hasan is a “gunman” and a “killer,” but not a terrorist. The exclusion of the expunged terms is pertinent because there is significant evidence, not far-fetched right-wing conclusions, that Major Hasan is a terrorist and his words and deeds provide substance to the charge. Mr. Obama may not want to acknowledge that, after eight years without a terrorist attack on America, one just occurred during his first year in office.

“It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion” – Joseph Goebbels

Author’s note: after posting this blog around 4am, I turned on the television. Commentators on FoxNews were discussing Major Hasan’s legal defense and his attorney’s intent to use a mental illness defense for his client. I’m quite certain that Major Hasan suffers from some mental malady (the diagnosis was psychopath, according to the commentators), but that begs the question: are all terrorists suffering from mental illness?

Surely, strapping explosives to one’s chest and walking into a building filled with innocent adults and children qualifies under that presumption. Piloting airplanes filled with highly explosive jet fuel and frightened passengers into skyscrapers and government offices – those 19 terrorists on September 11, 2001 were clearly mentally disturbed, as well as terrorist militants who engage in variety of murderous activities.

It all makes perfect sense to me; anyone who shouts “death to America” or carries signs that read “America is the Great Satan” is obviously a few nails short of a dirty bomb.

Will psychological illness become the new defense for terrorism? If so, what will that mean for those who were detained at Guantanamo Bay or tried, convicted and jailed for their attacks on America, its people and military? Should we release all of them for humanitarian reasons or ship them to a mental hospital to be tended by trained psychiatric staff?

If Major Hasan’s legal defense is successful, this could open a Pandora’s box in the prosecution of terrorism.

Psychopath or terrorist? Oh, here we go again… Shall we just trash our dictionaries and let liberals tell us what words mean and what we should or should not believe? It’s PROPAGANDA, my friends, an insidious ploy to stage manage our perception of the world and its dangers.

The Hitler/Goebbels Legacy; Mr. Obama and his Thesaurus… Propaganda, Part II

by Clio

Recently, we learned that “stimulus plans” are now “safety nets” – the latest addition to the Obama argot of more palatable phrases. In essence, there is nothing wrong with “stimulus plan,” except that it is now linked, in our collective mindset, with bailouts and trillion-dollar taxpayer debt. “Safety net” makes you feel protected, comfortable and less-stressed about the government incurring an astonishing national debt and that’s the point: safety nets are good things, like money saved for a rainy day, a bulging piggy bank, 401k or a reliable benefactor.

On the other hand, stimulus plans bring to mind Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, AIG, CitiBank, automobile manufacturer bailouts, exorbitant executive severance packages and luxurious corporate spa vacations. All of these issues and catastrophes are fresh in our minds and we remember that stimulus plans were put in place to, supposedly, salvage our economy and restore equilibrium in the marketplace.

Shall I put this language massage in context? It’s called PROPAGANDA.

“Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.” – Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, “Propaganda and Persuasion”

To be fair, propaganda is a tool that groups and individuals have used since time immemorial; every country has used propaganda at some time, in some way – including the United States.

The current administration uses propaganda in a very traditional manner, much like the Nazi’s did during WWII. Obama propaganda seeks to influence our thoughts, opinions and beliefs by taking seemingly unpleasant facts or words, regardless of proper usage, and replacing them with gentler, less scary or threatening expressions.

The relationships and attitudes of the current administration bring to mind the relationship between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda architect and head of Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Hitler valued Goebbels brilliance as a propagandist and installed him in a grand office near his own; they met often to discuss how to present information to the masses in a way that bolstered their political goals.

The purpose of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was to promote the Nazi Party line and control German culture and society through its media and artists. All members of the media, writers, and artists were required to register with the Ministry and obtain permission before publishing or broadcasting their work. The Nazis also produced films, books and posters to support their party, enhance Hitler’s deified public image (courtesy of Goebbels) and propagate Nazi precepts.

One cannot over-emphasize the importance that Hitler, Goebbels and the Nazi party placed on the usefulness of propaganda in their military objectives. The Nazi propaganda campaign was successful in creating a messianic image of its leader and justifying its strategies to the populace, but Germany lost the war due to Hitler’s tactical miscalculations, his narcissism and belief in the infallible “der Fuhrer” persona that Goebbels created. Of course, Germany’s inability to repel the determination and might of Allied Forces also contributed to the Nazi military failure. (That’s my over-simplified recap; I don’t want to write a thesis on WWII.)

It is not truth that matters, but victory” – Adolf Hitler

Can you visualize a similar scenario with Obama and David Axelrod or Rahm Emanuel?

Luckily for Mr. Obama, the mainstream media, including Internet news and blog sites, are already onboard with the administration’s propaganda policies. In fact, they volunteered prior to the election, thus negating the need for our own Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda – for now.

It’s important to note that the Obama White House is currently engaged in a “war” on Fox News, accusing the news organization of being in league with or an arm of the Republican Party, while other conservative broadcasters and writers are routinely denigrated or denied interview requests by this liberal administration.

We know that past presidents had “feuds” with various media due to unflattering reportage, but declaring war on a particular organization is alarming; our First Amendment rights are precious and we cannot be passive as Mr. Obama puts our Bill of Rights in his sights.

Conservative journalists and broadcasters are concerned about attempts by the left-wing to revive the Fairness Doctrine which requires broadcasters to provide opposing views on issues of national importance. Many fear the federal government mandating debate and opposing opinions to views expressed by our media and with good reason; it’s a first step to controlling our freedom of speech.

The Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987 during the Reagan administration. Last February, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina, proposed the Broadcaster Freedom Act; legislation that prevents the Federal Communications Commission from re-instating the Fairness Doctrine. Sen. DeMint’s bill passed, 87-11. However, Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat, Illinois, countered with an amendment that essentially negates Sen. DeMint’s amendment. Sen. Durbin’s amendment passed, 57-41.

While Mr. Obama professes to oppose the Fairness Doctrine, it has not deterred liberal senators from attempting to revive it through cleverly crafted “stealth” amendments, such as legislation that encourages media diversity. Regardless of Obama’s public position, we must be vigilant and wary of our leaders’ true agendas.

“Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition.” – Adam Smith

Language management falls in line with message manipulation; when the government takes charge of the media, our First Amendment rights are annulled.

You’ve heard this cliché before: words have power. Under Mr. Obama’s governance, words are manipulated to mislead and mask potential dangers to our lives, economy and our country’s security (see aforementioned blogs). His propaganda is verbal kool-aid for the masses; drink deeply and consume great quantities and you’ll find yourself taxed to financial insolvency and vulnerable to the very real threats our nation faces.

This is my third blog on the topic of our new government’s propaganda/language wrangling; the unapologetic exploitation of information in order to make us acquiesce, accept and agreeable to Mr. Obama’s plans is organically offensive to me.

Those of us who work in communications-related professions understand that words are the proverbial two-edged sword; one can influence, in a positive or negative manner, opinion by the choice and use of vocabulary. We understand and respect language – it is our livelihood, passion and domain. Messing with the message, particularly by politicians and news outlets, is commonplace and it is not harmless. It is a form of brain-washing and in the hands of Obama’s administration, media sycophants and czars; it is dangerous and inexcusable to use liberal newspeak to dupe the American people.

A word of warning for those who will listen: don’t allow yourself to be comforted or misled by some clever lingo legerdemain – demand honesty, in plain, unadulterated expression from the powers that be and always listen between the lines … that is where you may find the truth.

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” – Adolf Hitler

Grab your Merriam-Websters and some red pens. According to Obama and crew, it’s time to update our dictionaries!

March 24, 2009

Man-Caused Disasters and other irritating issues (Part II):

The Obama administration is playing fast and loose with our language again. Are you ready for this? The “global war on terror” is just an icky name, according to Mr. Obama’s regime. We’re now going to call it, and, no, I’m not making this up, the “Overseas Contingency Operation.” I know the new phrase will make the Iranians, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and every malcontent willing to strap a few sticks of TNT to his or her chest feel all warm and fuzzy about America.

In the spirit of reciprocity, I fully expect that Muslim extremists will cease to call us the “Great Satan” and use a less incendiary substitute, such as “kinda big demonically-inclined” or “super-sized malevolent one.” Perhaps we could start a contest for best alternative language for “Great Satan?” (“Big Bad” is already taken by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” While the show is out of production, the term is closely associated with Buffy and the Scooby Gang.)

The announcement regarding the Overseas Contingency Operation comes on the heels of a language modification by our Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. I was taken aback when I learned that Napolitano decided to tinker with the term “terrorism,” declaring that it was now just “man-caused disasters.”

I simply cannot find the words … however, I’m certain that Obama et al will find an appropriate way for me to express my feelings.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait for the publication of the new, revised American Dictionary according to Obama.

Link to the Washington Post article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/24/AR2009032402818.html?hpid=topnews

Man-Caused Disasters (Part I)

March 17, 2009

This isn’t a blog; this is just me, taking a moment to absorb what I just heard on “Hannity” this evening:

I turned off my laptop less than an hour ago, planning on spending some quiet time with my pet, watching the news and relaxing after a long day.

During a FoxNews commercial break, I surfed over to “Larry King Live” a few minutes, just in time to hear Larry’s guest, Donald Trump, stroking his ego over claims that he warned us two years ago about the imminent economic disaster. Thanks, Donald.

Mr. Bush, Trump whined, ‘left us with an awful mess.’ Someone should inform Mr. Trump, tycoon-extraordinaire, that this “awful mess” is grounded in legislation and tactics put in place by former presidents Carter and Clinton. Trump went on to predict that Mr. Obama would eventually do okay… well, that’s comforting, isn’t it?

Turning back to Fox, Sean Hannity was recapping the news of the day; one story mentioned that Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is taking on the august task of changing American English to reflect her disagreement with the “policy of fear” of the previous administration. Terrorism, she proclaims, should be renamed as a “man-caused disaster.”

Are … You … Kidding … Me? (Expletives, sighs, gasps, groans and sounds of human suffering deleted.)

I’m not sure if the tears I feel on my cheeks are from repressed hysterical laughter or from a deeply-felt fear of what the future holds for Americans under this administration.

For example, Obama closed Gitmo, but doesn’t know what to do with its prisoners – he isn’t even sure where to send them or what to call them. Mr. Obama decided that the term “enemy combatant” is too impolite for the um, guys we arrested on the battlefield in Afghanistan (GWABAs?).

I used to be a press agent, so I understand how subtle manipulations of words and sentences can change and affect the intent of a message. Secretary Napolitano’s use of a “nuance” to camouflage a serious and on-going threat to the safety and security of every American is frightening – and she is the head of Homeland Security.

While we’re here, shall we open the floor to other politically-correct concerns and demand that Secretary Napolitano explain why terrorism is a “man-caused disaster” and not a “female-caused disaster?” I’m waiting for Gloria Steinem to chime in on this one.

I’m not known for snarky diatribe, but I was, initially, speechless after learning of Napolitano’s terminology tampering. I had to grab my laptop and express my incredulity … I don’t have high expectations for the Obama administration, but it pains me to see so much effort expended to undermine the well-being of our nation.

Here’s the link to the original report on FoxNews:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,509597,00.html

If you want a good laugh or cry, try reading the Detroit Examiner’s story about Obama’s soft-hearted and weak-minded terminology adjustment regarding GWABAs, formerly known as enemy combatants. If you have time to post a comment to this article (the feature is heavy on insults to President Bush – can you imagine what would have happened without George Bush at the helm during the 9/11 attacks? Could Gore, Kerry or Obama have coped with the pressure of that vicious man-caused disaster?), feel free to flame. Here’s the link:
http://www.examiner.com/x-1300-Detroit-National-Politics-Examiner~y2009m3d16-Good-riddance-to-enemy-combatants