Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fredd's Choice Awards: Top 10 films ever made

These flicks have everything a red blooded American could ever ask for in a film: Good guys wasting bad guys, or in the case of The God Father, bad guys wasting good and bad guys. Note the absence of any over riding love interests in the Top 10: I relegate those movies to the "Chick Flick" genre, and therefore they are absent here.
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Without further ado, here are Fredd's selection of the Top 10 Films Ever Made in descending order:
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10. Robocop. Set in the future in crime-ridden Detroit (no change from the present), police officer (portrayed by Peter Weller) is gunned down by scumbags, dies and his corpse is refitted with state of the art weapons, computer brain and great lines: 'dead or alive, you're coming with me.' Unbeknownst to Robo's creators, a bit of his human memory containing morals and ethics flickers within the computer brain, and in the end the bad guys get theirs. A true feel good flick, this film is one for the ages.
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9. Electra Glide in Blue. Good hearted motorcycle cop (lead role by Robert Blake decades before he became a murderer) is promoted to detective, then is witness to lawlessness by his mentor. He rats his boss out, returns to his motorcycle beat and meets an odd end. The photography in this movie is outstanding, considering its age (1973).
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8. The Unforgiven. A brilliant Clint Eastwood film (he played the lead and directed this one) about justice meted out in the old west town of Big Whiskey. Gene Hackman is also outstanding as the small town thug sheriff 'Little Bill,' who also gets his in the end. Great lines throughout, such as 'a man's got to know his limitations.' Also, Little Bill to Clint's character: 'you just shot an unarmed man!' To which the great reply goes 'well, he shoulda armed himself.'
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7. Jaws. Another great movie, where primordial monster shark devours any and all hapless New Englanders who splash about in its waters. Best line: Roy Scheider to vessel skipper Robert Shaw, when spotting the beast in their 20-something foot fishing vessel: 'we're going to need a bigger boat.' Indeed.
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6. The Godfather. Need I say more? Some say this is the best ever, I say phshaw. It is indeed a good flick, with the bad guys portrayed as having a twisted sense of moral virtue in their murderous pursuits of money and power, but the best ever? Nope. Great line: "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
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5. Kelly's Heroes. Another Clint Eastwood jem, a savvy U.S. WWII soldier gathers a team of other greedy GI's to snag a fortune in gold from a bank behind enemy lines. Star studded, and memorable performance from Donald Southerland as 'Oddball.' Catchy little sound track of 'Burning Bridges' is well done in conjunction with the entire production.
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4. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Russell Crowe does a truly superb job as commander of a British War ship of the line during the Napoleonic War era, and historical attention to detail is magnificent in every way. The relationship between the ship's doctor and the captain is also engaging. Great lines at the captains dinner table, including the 'weevil' joke. A real keeper, this one.
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3. The Outlaw Josie Wales. I have included this one (yet another Clint Eastwood beauty) because of the righteous vengeance wrought upon so many wicked and deserving adversaries. Josie loses his family to a merciless and brutal raid on his homestead while he is away in the Civil War fighting for the Confederacy. When he returns to find the slaughter, watch out. This film has got to be the record holder for most killings by one guy (I lost count after the 'Gatling Gun' segment). Chief Dan George also hilarious in his role as Indian side kick.
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2. Fargo. The Cohen Brothers can really come up with some sick stuff at times, but put it together in a most compelling fashion. Homey, pregnant northern Minnesotan police officer tracks down homicidal maniacs hired by moron struggling car salesman trying to pull off hostage scam, things go completely awry.
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1. Shane. This film, although dated (1953) has everything a great film requires: good guys (Alan Ladd) prevail over slimy bad buys (Jack Palance) in this sod busters vs. cattle barons setting based roughly on the Johnson County War in Wyoming circa 1892, and was primarily filmed in the spectacular Grand Teton setting near Jackson Hole. Great film effects, and the attention to historical detail merits mention. Just a great feel good flick, this one will definitely stand the test of time.
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You will note that all of these films (with the exception of Shane) are from the 1970's on. Some might say that this list suffers from the 'error of recency' where the rater will favor more recent films than those 'great' films of the past. Not so, since a great flick absolutely must be filmed in color (Technicolor was the gold standard going way back). "Citizen Kane," for example, was left off the list: black and white just doesn't cut it with Fredd. Sorry. That, and any films with romance as the main attraction must be included in a 'Chick Flick' category, not 'Greatest Ever.' So, you see, if you disagree with my list, you are simply wrong.
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That, or your choice is in the Top 20, where I have omitted the 11 through 20 films simply because my fingers are getting tired of typing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The National Organization of Women (NOW) thinks of the military as nothing more than a jobs program

Get pregnant while on active duty in Northern Iraq under Major General Tony Cucolo's command, and you get in trouble. Penalties for getting pregnant, or for a male soldier who impregnates a female soldier would be administered under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, likely in the form of a letter of reprimand and perhaps a reduction in grade and a small monetary fine.
When asked about this policy put in place last month, Gen. Cucolo said 'I realize it might be hard for those who have never served in a military unit. I knew there would be public interest and I am fine with that, that's Americans. I've got to take every measure to preserve my combat power.'
To date, the order is considered valid and has not been challenged by anyone other than by National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O'Neill. She has reportedly requested via correspondence to the military commander in chief, President Obama, that he intervene and countermand this standing order. Ms. O'Neill was quoted as saying 'well it may be his prerogative to be dumb but that's really not a very good idea.' .
The two sides of this issue are of keen interest to me.
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The army, as represented by Gen. Cucolo, has finally taken a baby step towards turning back decades of political correctness as it pertains to women in combat or combat support roles. Prior to this, great pains were taken to insure that women were given equal standing in the ranks with their male counterparts, but were given great latitude regarding issues that relate only to female soldiers, and pregnancy is the primary issue here. Male members of combat and combat support units for decades have been expected to pick up the slack for missing females in their ranks when the females became pregnant while on active duty.
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Each unit (be it a platoon, battalion, regiment, division, etc.) has specific man power allotments prescribed by equipment and staffing regulations (technically called TO&E, or Table of Organization and Equipment) that specify how many soldiers are required to carry out any unit's assigned mission. For example, an army supply company may specify 100 soldiers, but the ratio of male to female soldiers within that company has never been specified. If at any one time, 10 female soldiers are pregnant and have been relieved of more strenuous duties via a medical document of pregnancy (called a 'medical profile'), the remaining 90 soldiers must still perform 100% of the duties of this supply company to meet it's mission requirements. Many times this involves additional guard duty, for example, or other unpleasant duties that are shouldered by fewer soldiers, and morale suffers accordingly. Resentment towards these pregnant females builds over time, when they have been given light admin duties involving pencil pushing and drinking coffee, rather than sitting out in the cold numbing snow or perhaps searing, sweltering heat at a guard post. General effectiveness of these affected units is diminished as a result.
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Terry O'Neill sees things in a totally different light: she does not understand that the purpose of an army is to kill people and break things. She looks at these positions as purely social in nature, and does not agree that armies should be going around killing people and breaking things. Ms. O'Neill is highly perturbed that the army does not continue in its old manner of coddling pregnant women, using the ranks of the military as a protector of a budding family, and paying these unproductive pregnant women full pay while they simultaneously adversely affect the cohesiveness and overall morale, and ultimately the fighting effectiveness of the unit.
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Contrary to believing in the force of the military being used to protect and defend our country, Ms. O'Neill and her entire organization (NOW) are showing their true colors: they are pacifists who think (incorrectly) that people of different nations can always negotiate their differences away, and that evil does not exist in the world, only bad negotiators. She sincerely believes that we employ a standing army as a way to create jobs, and sending them into battle is not what they are there for. Or at least that is my guess as to what she thinks military people are supposed to do: sit around and cash a pay check but Heaven Forbid they actually kill people and break things.
. Terry O'Neill calls Gen. Cucolo 'dumb' for demanding that all soldiers under his command be accountable to their unit and fellow soldiers, I call Major General Tony Cucolo a patriot. We need more of this kind of policy in our military today, not less of it.
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I know who the 'dumb' one is on this issue.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

All Hail King Barack I?

Well, it's done. The foot is in the door, the tooth paste is out of the tube, and the Genie is out of the bottle. On December 19th, 2009 (mark this day on your calendars, fellow soon-to-be Proletariat's), was the day that Ben Nelson (D-Neb) reportedly accepted whatever back room agreement offered by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) to secure his vote on the disastrous senate version of Barack Hussein Obama's coveted health care reform initiative. If all 58 Democrats and 2 Independent senators keep their words and actually vote in favor of shutting down debate on the Senate floor, this one is a done deal. It will pass, regardless of it's wildly unpopular standing with the American public.
Even though the hated 'public option' was taken out of the wording of the bill, and the God awful 'Medicare buy in' provision has been scuttled as well, they will be back. Those provisions will be added by hook or crook going forward, in addition to public funding of abortions, rationing, death panels, and all the rest of those unsavory ingredients: in a few years, it'll be like the old ad for Praego spaghetti sauce: 'it's in there.'
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This wildly unpopular legislation will be touted by the Obama administration as the beginning of a new era, the first significant social program to find footing since Social Security was passed in 1935. And we all know how well Social Security is doing these days.
With the upcoming signature of Obama's into law of this health care reform debacle, we will have the foundation arguably of a primarily socialist republic. And now for the scary part: Barack Hussein Obama will want to be around to make sure that those stricken provisions (you know, the death panels, the abortion funding, and outlawing private insurance eventually, etc.) are put back into the wording so that the government will in time be able to tell us what to drive, what to eat, what to smoke/not smoke, what to drink/not drink, what to play/not play, where to live/not live, what to listen to/not listen to, what to (fill in the blank), what not to (fill in the blank). All in the name of keeping health care costs under wraps. Like they care about the cost of anything in the first place, they don't. Barack Hussein Obama and his ilk just want to be able to control our lives down to the tiniest detail.
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With the current system in place, the 112th Congress will likely see the huge majority of Democrats shrink if not even disappear, and Barack's administration will come to an end in 2012 as all Republicans, a majority of Independents and even some Democrats will sack him, maybe even in the Democratic primary.
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Not so fast. Since we just got rid with a single signature on a piece of paper of our current capitalistic based representative republic for a socialist base for the most part, what's to stop Barack Hussein Obama from seeking to get rid of other components of our country's heritage? Like removing the 22nd amendment regarding presidential terms of office limits via executive order, increase ACORN's funding by ten fold, and thus have the framework in place for securing fraudulent election victories from now until he tires of being president for life. Heck, why stop there, he may as well just dissolve the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and the Senate while he's at it. Sound unconstitutional? The Constitution of the United States of America has not stopped this guy from doing what he wants to do, not even one time.
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Once these inconvenient (and in Barack's mind, trivial) constitutional matters have been eliminiated and we are completely under his boot, he can anoint his daughter, Sasha The First, as Queen of America in 2045. Then King Barack Hussein Obama The First, or likely in the history books, King Barack I, will have realized his vision for our country.
Remember, Adolph Hitler accomplished much the same thing: he was duly and legally elected by the German voters to the Reichtag in the 1920's, solidified power of the National Socialists over the next 4 years, and was then elected Chancellor (the last Chancellor of the Wiemar Republic), dissolved the Reichtag and took over as Der Fuhrer of the Third Reich. And we all know how things turn out for him thereafter.
Yes, all of this doom and gloom speculation sounds pretty far out there. I wonder how Hitler's rhetoric sounded to the citizens of the Wiemar Republic back in the 20's. I understand that the old paper hanger was quite the gifted orator.
Sound familiar?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Obama intends on being a one term president.

Does Obama intend on becoming a one term president? You would think given his enormous ego that he would not want to think about getting the boot after only 4 years, but it sure does look like he is not overly concerned with his receding chances at getting re-elected in 2012. Many of us, concerned about Obama’s record of extreme liberalism during his short stint in the U.S. Senate, and several terms in the Illinois state senate, were told not to worry: he would, like all other liberal presidents have in the past, govern from the center. We were told he was not a crazy fool who would try and foist on the American public all of that demonstrably failed Marxist garbage that he wrote about in his books, and espoused during his days as a law professor. We were told that doing so would limit him to one term, and that the American people would not stand for such a vicious lurch to the left. Accordingly, we felt a bit more at ease during his ‘president-elect’ period prior to the inauguration. What’s the first thing President Obama did after his swearing into office on January 20th, 2009? He didn’t even let the ink dry on the paperwork before he started implementing his wildly irresponsible spending initiatives, starting with an enormous stimulus bill (which only stimulated Democratic bank accounts), the TARP bailout of banks (which again seems to have only effected Democrat interests), and on and on. This guy spends so wildly that he makes drunken sailors look like misers in comparison. And that is not even the tip of the iceberg as to the concerns that many independents and all Republicans, and frankly even some Democrats now have: his plans to cram massive tax increases down our throats in the name of health care reform and environmental protection (cap and tax) are particularly galling, and there are now murmurs on the horizon that he plans on granting legal status to all 20 or 30 million illegal immigrants currently here by fiat. His approval numbers for any president at this time in their terms is the lowest ever recorded. Does Obama seem to care about this? Seemingly not, as he is doubling down on his march towards achieving a socialist America. Which now begs the question: doesn’t he notice that the widespread opposition to his policies by most Independents, some Democrats and all Republicans are not only likely to profoundly and adversely affect the fates of Democrats who face elections in 10 months or so, but his re-election as well? If he notices, he doesn’t seem to care. And why would he not care? Maybe, just maybe, he’s acting much like a ‘rabbit’ in a long distance foot race: there’s one guy who’s sole predetermined job is to sprint out to the front of the pack, and set a pace that he himself cannot sustain, but that the strongest runners in the race will keep up with, and in the end they will cross the finish line, while the rabbit burned himself up after only three or four laps before dropping out. Obama, the rabbit, will have set in motion the necessary steps that his handlers (George Soros and other deep pocketed socialist ideologues) want him to initiate. Then, during the elections of the 112th Congress in 2010, the first of the Democratic rabbit causalities will bite the dust. In 2012, Obama himself will fall to whatever Republican candidate who will run on claims of being able to return America to its capitalistic former self. But by then the handlers will figure that it will be too late to substantially return American entrepreneurship and self reliance to the overall structure of the American economic system, and socialism will have crept into every fabric of our lives. Even though the Democrats will have been summarily booted from majorities in congress, and the White House will fall into Republican hands in the short term, this newly implemented structure will in the long run favor Democrats who fully understand and embrace imposing rules, taxes, restrictions on the masses, and bestow favors upon the anointed ones, and they will in the fullness of time claim their rightful places in the U.S. government: Masters and Rulers of The Great Unwashed. All thanks to the heroic pioneering efforts of ‘Rabbit’ Hussein Obama, who in kamikaze fashion fully intended on being a one term president.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How dumb does Congress think we are?

This is a serious question:
How stupid does the current liberal congress and administration think we are, anyway? Or put in the form of a multiple choice question: Which of the answers below most accurately describes how the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress, all controlled by Democrats feel about the intellectual capacity of the American public:
a) Americans are dumber than a bag of hammers b) Americans are dumber than a manhole cover
c) Americans are dumber than a box of rocks d) Americans don’t have the brains God gave a crowbar e) All of the above Frankly, they all think we are dumber than a thousand bags of hammers. And that’s pretty darn dumb. They think that the Great Unwashed (that’s us) all just fell off of some turnip truck, and that we don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain, much like mad dogs and Englishmen. The current frenzy of nutty bills pending in congress right now will jack up our taxes like never before, such as the Cap and Trade bill, or more technically the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454). Passage of this awful bill will reinforce the false premise of man made global warming and allow this hoax to act as a platform whereby congress can fleece Americans of vast gobs of cash and restrict our freedoms perhaps to the point that we cannot even control our own home thermostats (because we are too dang stupid to know what to set it at, you see). And don’t get me started on this idiotic health care reform bill that the Democrats are going to shove down our throats because they think they know better how to manage one sixth of the private sector economy than we morons comprising the Great Unwashed do. Never mind that they can’t even manage the House of Representatives cafeteria and make a profit, or run the Cash for Clunkers program with any degree of efficiency, but this time things will be different. My favorite provision, since I am so dang stupid, is the privilege of paying taxes to fund this monstrosity of a program for four years BEFORE any disbursements are made, as this bill is written to start disbursal of benefits in the 5th year. That’s like leasing a car on a 120 month contract, starting the lease payments immediately, but not taking delivery of the car until the 49th month of the contract. Boy, howdy, we sure are going to like this program, Congressmen and Senators. Of course, we are just too dang stupid to understand how screwed up this bill is, and of course, being dumber than bags full of hammers, we all believe the CBO estimates of its cost over a 10 year period. They say the price tag will be about $900 Billion, but my dumb guess would be that its going to cost perhaps $12 TRILLION (which would double our current national debt). When has the government ever come in on budget with any of their pie in the sky programs, I ask you. When has it come anywhere close to the original estimates? How about never.
'Oh, boy, I cain't hardly stand to wait until ah gits me some o' that thar health care, Brandine! And ah hears that it's all free, yaaahooooo!' (Cletus Spuckler, the slack jawed yokel Simpsons character of limited intellectual and cultural capacity seen above has a wife named Brandine).
And of course, they are hell bent in getting this done prior to the start of the 2010 campaign season, as they are convinced that us dummies will forget that they shoved this garbage down our throats by the time the elections come around next time. We always have before, what’s changed? Thank you, Sir. May I have another?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Afghanistan: US trying to train an army of Gomer Pyles and a police force of Barney Fifes

With our 18 month time table now in play, President Obama has laid out the framework of our mission in Afghanistan. We send 30,000 more troops, secure the Afghani population from terrorism within their borders inflicted by the Taliban, and train the Afghani army and police forces so that they can assume responsibility for their own security. Sounds good. Sounds achievable. Right? No way in hell is this going to happen, and I would be more than happy to elaborate on why I think this administration has absolutely no chance in achieving these pie in the sky goals. We have been trying to do this since the inception of hostilities in 2001. According to my math, that is eight years and counting. Eight years. You would think by now that some serious training would have transpired, and that a stable standing Afghan army would now be in place. In addition to the standing Afghan army, we have been training (and training, and training, and training…..) an Afghan civilian police force to assume some of the civil security now under tenuous control by the U.S. Army for eight years now. Eight years. Well, we all have to consider what kind of raw materials we all have to work with as it pertains to available personnel within this endeavor. Most Americans think that the citizens of the world are all made up of the same DNA (which is true, but irrelevant) and accordingly, other than some minor differences in politics, that we all behave the same; we all have similar hopes, desires, fears, and dreams for a just and righteous society. Right? Wrong. Profoundly and demonstrably wrong. The template that most Americans and nearly all the U.S. politicians have in place is horribly wrong. We assume that the Afghan population has the same desire, the same potential and the same tenacity to take control of their national security as that of the typical American. This is where a disconnect the size of the Grand Canyon throws the monkey wrench into our strategy: the Afghani population are not by any standard in the civilized world what we would call ‘civilized.’ And that is the key here. This country, if you can even call it a country, is one of the most primitive societies on earth. Illiteracy is well above 90% of the population. More than 9 out of 10 Afghanis can neither read nor write. This society consists solely of local brutal and savage tribes with no contact to what the rest of us would call civilization at all. Karl Rove in his interview with Fox News last week said that illiteracy is an issue with regards to our goals in Afghanistan. This is the understatement of the century. Saying illiteracy is an issue with regards to our goals in Afghanistan is akin to saying that having a 5 foot 9 inch center on your NBA team is an issue in winning the NBA Championship. It is like saying that having a 167 pound average on your NFL team’s offensive line is an issue to achieving a Super Bowl win. It is similar to saying that having an IQ of 77 is an issue to securing a Rhodes scholarship. This issue of illiteracy is not only huge, it is an impediment, a virtual road block to our ultimate goal of training Afghanis to defend themselves from overthrow by the Taliban. In order to maintain an effective fighting force or civilian police, it's imperative that the soldiers and policemen have the ability to reason, to make split second decisions regarding whether to use deadly force or not, and to make these decisions on the side of justice consistently. An uneducated, uncivilized goat herder with no formal education has no business being placed in any position of power over others, such as are civilized soldiers and police personnel. The U. S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines require anyone entering military service in an enlisted capacity to have at least a high school education, or have completed a G.E.D (General Equivalency Diploma). Ditto for nearly all U.S. civilian police force entry requirements. Additionally, these branches of our armed forces also require an officer to have completed a college degree prior to receiving the commission. Our armed forces have by far the highest standards of any significant military force on the planet. You cannot possibly get into the U.S. armed forces if you can’t read, since all of the training you are expected to complete to master your specific job entails a significant amount of reasoning, logic and comprehension. And yet we as a nation seem to expect that we can train these savages to achieve our civilized standards of behavior in a matter of a year or two. Good luck with that. The average Afghani picking up a rifle and trying to keep in step in a platoon formation is much like the old TV show ‘Gomer Pyle, USMC.’ Gomer couldn’t do anything right, but had the typical heart of gold that Hollywood script writers always gives these fish out of water characters. And it took every bit of energy on Gomer’s marine platoon sergeant, SFC Vincent Carter, to keep Gomer in line. Imagine an entire army of Gomers. And of course who could forget deputy sheriff Barney Fife of the 60's sitcom 'The Andy Griffith Show.' Stumbling, bumbling Barney (with his standard issue heart of gold) was issued only a single bullet, and for good reason: give him an entire cylinder of ammo in his service revolver and the idiot became a bona fide menace. Now consider trying to train an entire standing army and police force of Gomer Pyles and Barney Fifes. And once you have that image in your mind, then imagine hitting all of those Gomers and Barneys in their heads with a brick 20 or 30 times, until dementia and brain damage was well established. Then you would have a better feel as to what kind of standing Afghan army and Afghan police force you will have at the ready. It will take much more than 18 months to train these ignorant and brutally savage goat and yak herders. It will require them all to attain high school diplomas. And how long will that take? Well, it took me 12 years, if you don’t count Kindergarten. But before you start with that process, you have to build schools. And before that construction starts, you have to have the will of the population to initiate this process. Good luck with that. And Obama is confident that 18 months will do it. The reality is that the Afghanis will never, ever be up to the task of their own security as a nation. The only force on earth strong enough to get rid of the Taliban in Afghanistan is the United States military. And we have yet to unleash our awful and terrible deadly forces within our awesome arsenal to do that. We, contrary to any and all common sense regarding this situation, continue with this pie in the sky hope that we can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Good luck with that.