Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Santa Works For the NSA

♫ He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake(?), he knows if you've been bad or good, just has to check the database♫

Never to early to indoctrinate an impressionable youngster in the ways of the surveillance state.

He's even got a jet-fighter escort, and was last seen over Connecticut.

Also see:

'Twas the Week Before Chri$tmas....

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Desolated By Mall Movie Experience

I know this is anecdotal; however, I attended the Smaug (pronounced Smowg? Is it au(ow)ger or au(ow)xilliary? Forget the deeper meanings of Tolkein and his times in the book) event yesterday and had the same sad feeling I did years ago when I sat in a Friendly's for 45 minutes and was the only customer eating breakfast the whole time (not one person came in the whole time, and the meal was undercooked).

Before I get to the movie I want to start with the arrival. Went around to the back of the theater complex at the local mall for parking closest to it and I know I have not been there for a few months and maybe year or two for Christmas holiday, but the paucity of cars in the lot stunned me. I know it was a (late) Friday morning, but it is two weeks before Christmas and the lot used to have more cars in it on any old day, you pick it.

So we (I attended with another person, yes) go inside and the first thing we do is get the tickets for the film. No problem. Film at noon, have an hour, no lines, nothing (not like I remember for Sith or Kong; used to get angry at myself for cutting it to close) in a relatively recent remodeling that is a fabulous complex.

Having some time to kill we decided to walk the length of the mall and see what was in the place. The first thing noticed was two restaurants in the food court, gone. I won't go all nostalgic and roll down memory lane on you folks, but it stunned my companion. So the fare in the mall now came down to a sandwich shop, a pizza house, and a Japanese or Chinese place. I suppose that is all you need; however, the mall is in the heart of the five colleges around here.

The trip around the mall was even more discouraging. Dollar outlets and beauty stores abound. I was down there for basketball sneakers because my current pair is reaching the end of the line; however, the Foot Locker and other shoe store were gone. The only place to go was a Dick's, and they didn't have what I was looking for. Other than that, the pathetic kiosks and walled of areas were plentiful, but the mall Santa sat in his chair without one child coming to see him.

Anyhow, over an early lunch my guest pointed out it was a dead mall, had been for a while and such, that the theater was the main attraction, and that is all likely true; however, it also doesn't ring true. If this economy were really in recovery (and not just a looting scheme that benefits corporate profits and wealthy and elite individuals) then the food shops wouldn't be closing down. Yes, the college kids may be gone for the holidays, but that post-dates the closing of the food places. That had to have happened because of forces far before the holidays. What is more likely is the kids have no money to spend anymore, also knowing they will have loans due soon. My point is the alleged momentum would at least have people taking chances, right? Banks not loaning money, or no one have money to get a loan to start a business? I suppose the crypt-like silence and mellow-murmuring as we traversed the tomb affected my observations, huh?

And on into the movie: to say the theater was 1/4 full would be generous. Yes, I know it was early on a Friday, but this was premiere day and week. Where were all the nut LOTR fans? Did they all go to the midnight shows (no Batman shooting, but someone was stabbed with a sword in South Carolina)? At least some semi-rude college kids sat behind us. As for the movie, I give it two-and-a-half to three stars on a scale of four. I'm not a big LOTR fan, wasn't a big fan of the original trilogy although I have come to appreciate it more over time. Stretching the Hobbitt out over three films is for the obvious rea$ons, so I did think this one was just a bit long, although the final half hour was enjoyable even if it ended abruptly (see you next year?). It's good storytelling even if it doesn't make my list of favorites. One drawback to the 3D thing was during an escape scene I felt like I was watching a video game at one point, but overall it didn't bother me.

Later in the afternoon, as I read my Globe, they basically confirmed my experience:

"The National Retail Federation estimates that sales during the four-day Thanksgiving Day weekend dropped 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion compared with last year. That was the first decline in the seven years the group has tracked the data. And other industry data have shown that, so far, fewer Americans have visited malls and brick and mortar stores compared with last year. But more people are shopping on their computers." 

Not nearly enough to make up for the lack of visiting actual stores, something we are all encouraged to do by the whoreporate pre$$ so we can spend on other things such as food and gas and help amplify the effects of the holiday season for business. This during a time of alleged recovery allegedly gaining  momentum and all the other crapola rolled at us by the mouthpiece of money and elitism.

It's going to be a cold Christmas in more ways than one.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Santa Is Safe This Year

He's getting a fighter jet escort from the U.S. military, kids!


"Some critics have protested that the Pentagon is militarizing Christmas, but they’re likely overthinking an initiative that’s meant to be all in fun. Still, the juxtaposition between the innocence of Santa Claus and all that high-powered weaponry is a little disorienting. It makes one worry that Comet and Cupid will be injured by a wayward drone, or that Frosty the Snowman might melt from the heat of a fighter engine."

Yeah, ha, ha.... ha. 

The U.S. military and mouthpiece media is ill.

"Some uneasy as military gives Santa a fighter escort; Big jets with your missiles’ might, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight" by Bryan Bender |  Globe Staff,  December 03, 2013

WASHINGTON — As Santa streaks through the sky this Christmas Eve, Rudolph merrily guiding the way, he will be flanked by some new and unusual companions: a jet-fighter escort, bristling with missiles.

That is the twist that — to the dismay of at least some child advocates — the US military has chosen to put on this year’s version of its traditional animated tracking of the yuletide journey.

The popular program, without the jet escort, reached 22 million people last year and generated tens of thousands of phone calls from kids and their parents around the country. The mock mission allows families, either by calling or logging on, to get “real-time” updates on Old St. Nick’s global trip to bring holiday cheer to girls and boys.

I sure as hell hope it is not in the form of a drone missile strike.

This year’s updated segment, now previewing on the military’s website, depicts Santa soaring over snow-capped peaks with military aircraft keeping pace on either side.

Adding the jets is “part of our effort to give the program more of an operational feel,” said Navy Captain Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the command that sponsors the event, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD.

But as the word gets out, the plan is taking flak. Some say the Pentagon appears to have lost its way by introducing destructive weaponry to the otherwise jolly image of Santa setting out from the North Pole. Up to now, the most threatening aspect of Santa’s flight had been lumps of coal.

Oh, "some" say that?

“Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas,” said Allen Kanner, a California child and family psychologist and cofounder of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. “They are associating this with the military in children’s minds. It is completely out of line.”

It's called indoctrination and inculcation, folks, and I've lived with it my entire life.

To add some multicultural balance, in addition to the pair of jets, the cartoon video shows Santa and the reindeer swooshing past the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China.

Yeah, that will make it all right!

NORAD’s headquarters is deep inside a mountain in Colorado, one of the highest-profile vestiges of the Cold War, with a mission of tracking and intercepting such potential nuclear threats as enemy bombers or ballistic missiles headed for US airspace. It has been sponsoring a Track Santa program since the mid-1950s to draw attention to its radar-tracking, jet-scrambling capabilities.

And it completely failed on 9/11.

Another video on the NORAD website shows military personnel ostensibly preparing for Santa’s flight, and in a lighthearted way, attempts to showcase NORAD’s defensive operations.

An intelligence officer asserts that “intel can confirm that Jack Frost and the Abominable Snowman will not be a threat.”

Can we get that intel double and triple checked this time?

Ground forces then report that all rooftops have been checked to make sure Santa, whose call sign is “Big Red One,” and his reindeer can land safely. Could Santa’s navigation system be attacked by a a computer virus? Another officer in charge of cyber space chimes in that the “anti-Grinch-viral is up and will continue to monitor threats.”

Related: Sunday Globe Special: Hacking is Good Bu$ine$$

Lastly, the video trains on the cockpit of a fighter jet flying escort to prevent Santa from straying into restricted air space and “to protect from threats.” What threats the old man and his sleigh may actually face are not disclosed.

Let's hope there are no war games exercises going on.

“It’s still cutesy since it’s for kids, but we don’t want people to lose sight of our true mission,” Davis said in explaining the approach.


Some worry that American youth are already sufficiently indoctrinated by the military — and wonder why the Department of Defense would deem it necessary to target little kids who still believe in Santa Claus.

Because you get 'em early!

“I think people are quite aware of the military’s true mission,” said Amy Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University of Washington, who has written extensively about military recruiting of youngsters. “If the military wants to keep its ranks stocked, it needs to appeal to children. The military knows it can’t appeal to adults to volunteer. It is like the ad industry.’’

Except this time they are SELLING YOU WARS based on LIES!

Some of the military’s recent recruiting advertisements on television have made war seem like a video game, such as a recent Marine Corps pitch that depicts a deadly invasion with the question, “Which way would you run?”

Related: Boston Globe Video Games

And you wonder why the military has a rape problem?

“What we have to remember is that the military has been hiring marketing companies for many years to best reach youngsters under 18 for the sole purpose of recruitment. They also know you can develop something called brand loyalty — from birth to death,” said Kanner.

What, all the TV ads (paid for by austerity-laden taxpayers) not enough?

The firm that NORAD hired to sharpen the “Track Santa” experience, Analytical Graphics, Inc. in Exton, Pa., highlights how the new website is geared towards the very young.

Just don't offer them cigarettes. That's evil.

Another new feature, according to a press release, is Starkey the Space Elf, who “is a very special elf that travels through space to ensure children around the world are on their best behavior.”

Nothing like extortion and blackmail with the threat of total surveillance to get kids to behave! Think they aren't learning a lesson there? 

Hey, it is the $pirit of the $eason!


Merry Xmas, everyone! 

Related: Sunday Globe Special: Northern Command

Maybe NORAD should spend less time watching Santa's sleigh, huh? 

Better not be any big booms over this holiday season.