Americans should wise up regardless.

By Marta H. Mossburg – 1.3.14

I hope “messaging” dies in 2014. It is rotting the country from the inside out like an ambrosia beetle whose name is so sweet but ultimately kills the trees it invades. It is a main reason Detroit could not change its ways before bankruptcy and the reason Chicago’s public pensions are $27 billion in the hole. (Public employees “deserve” higher salaries and better pensions, and we must “invest” in public schools regardless of outcome.) It is the reason people believed “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It is the reason no one can discuss race relations unless he or she espouses the politically correct viewpoint and why science matters less than philosophy from matters ranging from climate change to sexuality to single parenting. It is the reason President Barack Obama increasingly only lets the public view images of him and his family pre-approved by his administration.

It is about winning regardless of reality. It disguises and controls, mocks language and has turned national political figures into mere vehicles for a script written by someone else for a cause higher than themselves. And it is so boring — and bizarre.


www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-mossburg-abortion-20130716,0,6479009.column

baltimoresun.com

The 'threat' of free services for pregnant women

Marta Mossburg says an abortion-rights agenda is driving city's harassment of Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns

Marta H. Mossburg

1:04 PM EDT, July 16, 2013


It's not enough to tell a woman who enters a crisis pregnancy clinic in Baltimore City that she will not be able to have an abortion there. A center must post a sign to share the information — or at least that is what City Council members voted for in 2009.

The law is on hold pending yet another court decision. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month rejected for technical reasons a previous decision that overturned the law on freedom of speech grounds, and sent the case back to lower court.


THE NATION'S PULSE

Progressives Don’t Believe in Progress

They expect Americans to live in a permanent state of cognitive dissonance.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently at a private event in Toronto that electing a woman president would send “exactly the right historical signal to girls, women as well as boys and men.”

What “signal” is she talking about – one that shows women have arrived? Isn’t that already obvious? That Mrs. Clinton is the Democrat frontrunner for the nation’s highest elected office without having declared her candidacy is evidence enough that the United States has changed without looking to colleges, where women exceed men in enrollment and also surpass them in bachelor’s and advanced degrees awarded, or to Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling Lean In. Her book urges women to choose more high-powered positions and in the process shows how free they are to choose their own path.


In the 2008 Pixar movie WALL.E, humans so clogged up the earth with garbage they had to move to spaceships. Motorized chairs ferried the obese blobs portraying people of the future, who sipped liquids from massive cups and sat mesmerized by video screens.

It was both funny and scary in its assessment of America’s throw-away, fast-food culture where convenience is everything and self-control and direction outsourced to technology. At the time of the movie it was part of an emerging chorus of voices decrying Americans’ growing girth. Five years later it is almost impossible to go a day without seeing a news story on obesity; first lady Michelle Obama has made childhood exercise and healthy eating a top priority; and even purveyors of the triumvirate of salt, sugar and fat feel compelled to make amends for selling the stuff most blamed for everything from extra pounds to diabetes and heart disease. Coca-Cola, for example, recently promised to make lower-calorie drinks and nutrition information for its products more widely available around the world.


The late, great Baltimore radio-talk-show host Ron Smith used to call him Father O’Malley and play religious music on air by way of introduction.

It is an apt description of Maryland governor and former Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley, who moonlights as the buff frontman for the rock band O’Malley’s March, who speaks and writes in reverent tones about everything from septic systems to slot machines, from reducing crime in Baltimore to gay marriage.


 

The Edward Snowden leak scandal is an American story. But it is also a story about Maryland and the Democrats who represent it in Washington and govern it in Annapolis being at least complicit with the massive surveillance program monitoring virtually every aspect of Americans’ lives today.

I have not heard one Maryland congressman or senator criticize the extent to which the National Security Agency or other federal government agencies filter email or download so-called “meta-data” that tracks a person’s location and with whom he or she speaks. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has all but donned a cheerleading outfit and pompoms for the government.
In every interview and public appearance, Ruppersberger stresses how everything that has been done is “legal,” and how the federal judges approving every government order at the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have “integrity” and would not approve anything “that they feel is wrong.”
Displaying a comic lack of transparency, Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, stopped a hearing earlier this month on cybersecurity to respond to a Twitter critic. At issue was a reporter who correctly tweeted that the senator was trying to not let other senators ask NSA leader Keith Alexander, who was testifying before her committee, about the leaks during the hearing.
Mikulski said, “There is no attempt here to muzzle, stifle, any senator, from asking any line of question,” which only underscored how she thinks that talking about transparency is the same thing as practicing it.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, a fan of expanding the federal government in Maryland, recently has pushed for a larger cybersecurity presence and has said nothing about the scandal and what it means for the civil liberties of Maryland residents and other Americans. Given that he is a likely presidential candidate, it is especially important that people know what he thinks about the extent of the government’s monitoring of Americans’ day-to-day lives.
The elephant in the room is what either their support or silence says about the progressive politics they practice. They haven’t tried to connect the dots for people, but anyone willing to look can see a philosophy of personal freedom does not mesh with government as Big Brother.
So what does that make them? Pragmatists? People who have “evolved” to respect a surveillance state? That would be the generous view. But it would require suspending critical thought, considering how important the defense industry is to Maryland.
Defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the company that formerly employed leaker Edward Snowden, has nine locations in Maryland, for example. According to a report in The(Baltimore) Sun, “The company has partnered with the University of Maryland to develop course work in intelligence analysis and cyber security. Booz Allen Hamilton employs 24,500 people, three-fourths of whom hold government security clearances, according to public financial filings.”
Without the federal government and companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, Maryland would not be able to boast the highest median family income in the nation and enjoy the ability to keep raising taxes. So it would be worth asking if safety or money is the main concern of self-identified civil libertarians representing and governing Maryland.
. Follow her on Twitter: @mmossburg. This is her final column for The Frederick News-Post.

The Edward Snowden leak scandal is an American story. But it is also a story about Maryland and the Democrats who represent it in Washington and govern it in Annapolis being at least complicit with the massive surveillance program monitoring virtually every aspect of Americans’ lives today.

I have not heard one Maryland congressman or senator criticize the extent to which the National Security Agency or other federal government agencies filter email or download so-called “meta-data” that tracks a person’s location and with whom he or she speaks. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has all but donned a cheerleading outfit and pompoms for the government.


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A FURTHER PERSPECTIVE

Liberalism Is Bankrupt

Liberals know that their worldview no longer makes sense in light of scandal after scandal in Washington.

The high priests of liberalism must be tossing and turning in their organic cotton bedding and downing more small-batch artisanal whisky each night trying to cope with the abject failure of their cause.

They know, even if the masses do not yet fully understand, that their worldview no longer makes sense in light of scandal after scandal in Washington and that the end result could be a great, if slow, deconversion on the scale of the millions who no longer believe in the Christianity its philosophy replaced.


— Barack Obama will never be “our lord and savior,” as actor Jamie Foxx said last week. But he is godlike at making people see him as a transformational figure.
If Republicans want to win, they should study why people see President Obama as a messiah and emulate the tactics he uses that are so powerful artists paint him as Christ crucified and hope embodied.
Ultimately, it comes down to branding, which Republicans are about as good at as unsuccessful Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is at explaining “legitimate rape.” In fact, a computer program created by a child could be designing most Republican advertisements and campaign material, given that their motif for the past 50 years has been the same: flags and eagles combined with a candidate’s name.
Other conservative-libertarian symbols probably alienate more people than they attract. The Gadsden flag, for example, depicts a coiled, hissing rattlesnake underscored by “Don’t tread on me.” It may have been a perfect symbol for American revolutionaries and embody the tea party’s distrust of government. But times have changed — a lot. For starters, America is a lot more urban, and pop culture is paramount. Young people are mostly ignorant of American history, see the Constitution as a “living” document and are not moved by symbols of our past. In fact, they likely see them as relics of a slaveholding, oppressive society.
Art critic Jed Perl wrote in the Dec. 6 issue of The New Republic that the popularity of Andy Warhol, whose advertising-inspired loud prints of celebrities and consumables that fetch multimillions at auction, reveals the new America. “Warholism is the dominant ism of our day, grounded as it is in the assumption that popular culture trumps all other culture, and that all culture must become popular culture in order to succeed,” he wrote.
Many people hate pop culture and love America’s historic symbols, reminiscent though they may be of a flawed past. But we live in today’s world, not one where the Founding Fathers still walk the earth. It requires meeting people where they are — not changing principles, just approach.
Obama gets this. Why do you think he all but only visited comedy and talk shows the closing months of his campaign? He knew that winning the pop culture meant winning it all.
Likewise, and more importantly, the iconography created by his campaign resonates with the prevailing culture. The “O” with the bright sun and flowing fields conjures images of a brighter tomorrow with Obama at the center of it — the sun, or the son as Jamie Foxx and others have labeled him. The “O” obviously stands for Obama, but it works outside of his name as an emblem for America. The Democratic National Committee, in fact, keeps using the symbol instead of the presidential seal. Commentator Bill Whittle says of the ubiquitous O: “What they are branding is in fact an ideology, centered around a cult of personality.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s brand — red and blue wavy lines in the shape of an “R,” by comparison — is like a bad copycat. The flow of the lines makes it feel somewhat modern, and it summons the U.S. flag. But the “R” in his case speaks mainly to the candidate without invoking a better, or any, vision of America.
Politics do not offer salvation for anyone, conservative or liberal alike. And adopting successful tactics does not mean shelving a belief in a limited government.
But icons are powerful tools that shape a candidate or a movement’s image in the public. Given the success of Obama’s image machine, conservatives need to understand branding is at least as central to their cause as the ideas animating it. When or if that happens, progressives will not know what hit them, because freedom and prosperity are so much more appealing than a government forcing each person to pay his or her fair share.
Marta H. Mossburg writes about national affairs and politics in Maryland, where she lives. Read her at www.martamossburg.com.
— Barack Obama will never be “our lord and savior,” as actor Jamie Foxx said last week. But he is godlike at making people see him as a transformational figure.

If Republicans want to win, they should study why people see President Obama as a messiah and emulate the tactics he uses that are so powerful artists paint him as Christ crucified and hope embodied.

The stink emanating from the planned move of the Department of Housing and Community Development from Anne Arundel County to Prince George’s County rivals rot exposed from corruption trials this year of politicians from the agency’s future home.
Financial concerns are one component of the stench. Abandoning the agency’s current headquarters — owned by taxpayers — in Crownsville for a new $170 million development in New Carrollton will cost about $3 million per year in rent, not counting any state financing for the developer. Even more important, the state is broke and legislators likely will raise taxes next year to cover core expenses.

But money and economics are not the only issues.