Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hacking of Sony by North Korea

May Santa bring Obama more drones

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 8:05 PM CST
This week I wanted to write something light-hearted, and perhaps inspiring for this holiday season. I had no intention of scaring the bejeezus out of you. But that was before I got all riled up over rinky-dink North Korea hacking Sony Studios and Sony canceling the Christmas Day opening of a movie that I really wanted to see.

ALL JOKING aside, this is a very serious matter. Calling it a “hacking” attack undermines the severity of this event. It should be called what it is….a terrorist attack! So now we are in a war—a different kind of war—a “Cyber War.”

AS IF we didn’t have enough to worry about, now we have to be concerned about “Cyber-Terrorism.” Cyber terrorism at its worst could destroy the infrastructure of our entire nation. Now that a country like North Korea has learned that they can bring a large American company, like Sony, to their knees and to have Sony capitulate to the threats, do you think they will stop there? I don’t.

SO WHAT can we, as ordinary Americans do about it? We can stop bashing and criticizing the National Security Agency (NSA), our government agency tasked with Cyber Security for our country. NSA is our first line of defense in this Cyber War. We can stop glorifying Edward Snowden by calling him an NSA “whistle blower.” Call him what he is, a treasonous, traitor snake who should rot in Russia.

DURING WORLD War II it became obvious that someone had to be responsible for code-breaking and signals intelligence. There were several military units that were forerunners to the NSA. But, the NSA as we know it, was created by President Truman in 1952, in a memorandum. Not even an Executive Order! A simple Memorandum. (Imagine that happening today!) The memo was classified and not known to the public at the time. Even though NSA has received much unwanted attention of late, it is still the most secretive agency in America. And that’s the way it should be. That’s the way it has to be to protect our country and our freedom. There comes a time when you must let some people do their jobs and get out of the way. This is one of those times.

NSA IS our most essential intelligence agency. I know of what I speak! I worked for NSA for 12 years, from 1980-1992. Let me make it clear that I don’t know any secrets! NSA strictly adhered to “Need to Know” and all I knew was enough to do my job as a recruitment assistant. For detailed information on the mission of NSA and to see lots and lots of acronyms, go to There you will learn all you “Need to Know.”

THIS IS strictly a guess as to what is going on at NSA in response to the terrorist attack on Sony. Long before now, these NSA computer masterminds have already determined down to the longitude and latitude of the exact location of where the hacking took place. This information has been provided to the President and others with a need to know. It is not the job of the NSA to act on the information, only to obtain it.

ALL JOKING aside again. Dear Santa: Please bring President Obama lots of drones.

HAVE A very Merry Christmas and I hope you make a memory.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Response: This is a p-a-r-o-d-y

Response: This is a p-a-r-o-d-y

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 6:05 PM CST
It’s Christmas time and for me, that means an evening spent watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. Seems I’ve watched this movie all my life.  Hey, wait a minute!  I have watched it all my life because it’s a movie made 68 years ago (1946).  You remember it, right?  It stars Jimmy Stewart who plays a gentle, kind-hearted fella named George Bailey who spent his life helping the people of his town while sacrificing his own dreams.  But, the greediest in town did not appreciate George looking out for those in need and set out to ruin poor George.

GEORGE BAILEY became deeply troubled and wished he’d never been born. Many prayed for George and when the prayers went up to heaven, an angel-in-training trying to earn his wings was sent to save him. Just as George was about to jump off a bridge, the angel showed George what the lives of people in town would be like if George had never been born. The angel showed George that he was loved and appreciated for all the good that he had done. George did not jump, and returned home to an outpouring of love and support from the townspeople. A bell tinkled signaling that the angel got his wings.

SINCE THIS is such an old movie, perhaps it should be updated. What would our country be like if President Barack Obama was never born?

Fade to Black & White

A VERY gray haired President Obama is standing on the George Washington Bridge on Christmas Eve. He is suffering from despair to the point he is suicidal. He said he wished he’d never been born. Suddenly his guardian angel appears; an angel trying to earn his wings. He bears a strong resemblance to Robin Williams.

PRESIDENT OBAMA explains to the angel that he had great hope for this country and he tried his best. No matter how hard he tried, he could not deliver on the promises he made to the American people. “I was young and naive and thought if I were President, I could actually change things in this country for the better.” The angel replied, “Take a walk with me Barack.”

THE FIRST glimpse into what it would have been like if Obama had never been born was a stop on Wall Street. It was dilapidated, abandoned buildings. The angel pointed out that at the end of President Bush’s Presidency our country was losing jobs at 800,000 jobs a month and the bleeding was not stopped. The Congress failed to pass a rescue plan. This led to a stock market crash. “You see, Barack, there was never an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Obama looked around at the streets puzzled and asked, “Why is everyone driving a Hyundai or riding a bike?” “You see, Barack, there was never a bailout of the American auto industry. Then the price of gasoline rose so high, people had to abandon their cars.”

THE NEXT stop was to gaze into a window at a family having Christmas dinner. The large family looked sad and teary-eyed. The angel explained that the father had Type I diabetes and he was very sick. He could not afford insulin and the supplies necessary to control this disease. He could not get insurance because his diabetes was considered a pre-existing condition.  “Obama said, “But what about the Affordable Care Act?” The angel replied, “There was no Obama Care because you were never born.”

AS THEY walked by a school, Obama asked the angel, “Why are all these children obese and sitting down, instead of running and playing?” The angel looked sad and said, “That’s because you were never born and Michelle Obama was never First Lady to create the Let’s Move program which addressed childhood obesity and fitness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA climbed down off the bridge. He said to the angel, “Thank you for showing me that my life has made a difference to millions of people in our country.  I’m sure now I will be treated with respect and admiration. The angel looked at Obama like he had four eyes and said, “Nope!  They still hate you!”

A LITTLE bell tinkled and that meant the angel got his wings.

Note: To the gentleman who said last week that my truthful column on Benghazi was a parody, I say, “No! This column is a parody.” (Or is it?)

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Response to My Benghazi Column

Langford column: Truth or parody?

Guest Column

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:05 PM CST
Marilyn Langford’s column last week was about a Republican congressional committee which found President Obama and his staff “guiltless” in the Benghazi incident. I considered the column to be intriguing. Perhaps, because I have spent my adult life dealing with literary analysis, I saw in it all the characteristics of a specific genre. It was a parody, a kind of writing that pokes fun at what, on the surface, it seems to support.

A PARODY uses unnecessary repetition to achieve an undeserved emphasis. Langford begins her column by repeating the word “Benghazi” three consecutive times. She makes each repetition so emphatic that the single word is a sentence in itself. This emphasis is exaggeration, another trait of a parody. For an intelligent reader, one Benghazi would have been sufficient to relay Langford’s message. Three Benghazis, each as a sentence, was over-kill. It was like killing an ant with a hydrogen bomb. Why did she emphasize her point so thunderously? A psychological principle indicates that the more uncertain one is of his view, the louder he screams it.

LANGFORD DELVED into farce when she concluded readers were sick of hearing about Benghazi. Then, she plowed forward with a whole column on the very subject she said was making readers sick. Why would she want to make county readers sick? She talked about conspiracies being rift in the country. Was this a conspiracy? I couldn’t tell.

THERE WAS something classic about the way Langford presented readers the findings of the congressional committee. The committee determined President Obama and his staff were “guiltless” in the Benghazi tragedy. Langford seemed to believe that being guiltless was a major victory for truth and integrity. All it showed is that the president and administration had not to have perpetrated actionable crimes.

THE PRESIDENT maintained unawareness and lack of involvement in the events of that night in Libya. Isn’t that a crime in itself? It was Democratic President Harry Truman who kept the sign on his White House desk: “The buck stops here.” In short, the president is ultimately responsible. Claiming ignorance or denying involvement does not absolve responsibility. With President Obama, the buck never gets to his desk. It goes to some remote, shadowy desk, to an unknown and without the president’s knowledge. In the Benghazi situation, the buck is said to have landed on the desk of a group of nameless intelligence analysts. The president is unaware, a stranger to personnel, isolated, uninformed and so politically inactive, I feel sorry for him. No wonder he spends time on the golf course. He doesn’t have anything else to do.

CONSIDER THE multitude of scandals that define his presidency: The veterans’ care scandal, the IRS scandal, the Affordable Care scandal, the domestic and foreign spying scandal, Benghazi, etc. The president was ignorant of every aspect of these troubling situations. Not only was he uninvolved, he didn’t know what had happened or who had done what. If the president Is telling the truth, why didn’t he know? Why wasn’t he involved? One must wonder who our leader is, who is running the Ship of State and who is in charge. For the record, using a small reason to justify something when there is a larger reason that invalidates the small reason is another kind of fallacy.

MY FAVORITE part of Langford’s “parody” was her comment about people who watch Fox News. Triumphantly, she proclaimed that people who watch Fox News are less informed than others and there are studies to prove it. “Less informed” is the politically correct way of saying “more ignorant”. Langford must have spent considerable time working on that part of the column because never have so many fallacies of reason occupied so small a space.  When I was a young boy, my daddy made me understand that one must not clump a whole group into one mold. In short, it is inherently wrong to assume that all Fox viewers are alike. Some Fox fans may be members of MENSA while others may be ignorant, but the group will be as diverse as any other large group. There are numerous studies which prove it. I would like to know the origins of the studies Langford cited. Are they harboring a bias, an agenda? What were their qualifications?  Surely Langford knows one can find studies which support every bias and agenda under the sun. By the way, I watch MSNBC and Fox. I wonder what that makes me.

LANGFORD’S DICTION demonstrated an unmistakable disdain for all republicans and for FOX. She used loaded terms such as “downright lies” and “demonized” in her reference to them. I admit I don’t know the difference between a lie and a downright lie, so I don’t know which one the president is guilty of. I do know there is a substantial number of videos which show the president’s penchant for telling untruths. Once one is caught lying, all his statements become suspect. The president took no chance of being misunderstood. He lied all along.

IT MADE me proud that Langford did depart from the usual democrat response to every criticism of the president. She did not introduce the “race card”. She understands that one can disapprove of a policy, an action or a plan for reasons other than that the president is half African-American.

I know Ms. Langford’s column was no parody. She wasn’t making fun of her own views. She was serious. She was expressing what she believed, and I admire any one’s courage to do that. There were many accusations, and they were stated in strong terms. One party seems to wish the other party would vanish from the earth, and the other party is guilty of the same feelings. Does anyone think of peaceful co-existence anymore?

I GREW up in an avidly political family. One of my father’s joys was to be a part of a fierce political debate. One might think he and his opponent were about to fight to the death, but they didn’t. When the debate was over, they shook hands and left still the best of friends. What has happened to us that we no longer observe even simple rules of courtesy where people with opposing views are concerned? Have we become such egomaniacs that we think there is only one way and that is our way? Until we become respectful of others and their opinions, we are less than the great republic our ancestors created, regardless of whether we are Democrats or Republicans.

YES! THIS column is a parody…of sorts.

Wendell Ramage of Forsyth is the former editor of the Reporter and is a retired English teacher.


Only faith can bring races together

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:05 PM CST
The night the Ferguson Grand Jury decision was announced, I knew I was watching an historic event. But what will history say we learned from this event?  I think we learned that Civil Rights laws alone are not enough to remedy discrimination, prejudice, and racial profiling that are innate with not all, but by a large number of White people. Racism cannot be legislated away. After all, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964 (50 years ago).

BLACK PEOPLE  have always known this. I witnessed racial profiling up close several years ago. My husband and I were waiting to be seated at Planet Hollywood in downtown Atlanta. The iconic Civil Rights leader, Congressman John Lewis was in line ahead of us. We were chatting with him. A 20’s something male approached Congressman Lewis and said, “Excuse me. I need a table for two.” Of course, Congressman Lewis was very gracious. I was mortified. Congressman Lewis was not. He was used to being profiled because of his skin color.

IT HAS been said that the good that will come out of the Ferguson event will be that a conversation will be started. I don’t think that’s gonna happen! I learned that in my own family gathering on Thanksgiving. Even though we all basically agreed, opinions were so passionately expressed that it took my wisecracking, nine-year-old grandson to break it up. “Who needs television news when you have this!”

THE SUBJECT of Ferguson is so explosive that I approach it here with trepidation. I have spent my life loathing racism and showing my color-blindness in the way I live my life. Yes, young Black men are the victims of profiling and sometimes wrongfully killed. However, I truly believe that this was not the case in the Michael Brown shooting. On the other hand, I believe the chokehold case in New York was murder. Plain and simple. Each case should be judged on its own merits.

A PERSON'S opinions are colored by their life experiences. I am a former police officer from a metropolitan area. I feel I can see both sides of the issue. You never want to use your gun and you fear the day it may happen. When I accepted the job as a police officer, I accepted the premise that if the threat was “you or him”, then you must “shoot to kill.” This was our training. If a suspect hit me on my face and grabbed my gun and tried to turn it on me, I would have shot, too.

NOT ALL police officers should be judged by the actions of a few. I witnessed first hand police officers that were known to be racially biased. I witnessed officers with anger problems. These officers should be culled from the ranks. There should be more in-depth psychological testing for police officers before they are hired. Perhaps the “shoot to kill” doctrine should be revised.

AS WITH police officers, peaceful protesters should not be judged by the actions of the few looters and arsonists. The looting and burning that took place that night did nothing to advance the cause of abolishing racism. Their actions were so despicable that some white people will carry those images with them and use it to justify their racism. To nullify some of the negative effects of this behavior, the Black community in Ferguson should insist that the looters and arsonists be identified and prosecuted. It’s a sad shame it happened.

THE MOST important thing we learned from Ferguson was the positive influence that the spiritual leaders had on the troubled community. To truly abolish racism, people’s hearts and minds have to be changed. Who better to do that than religious leaders? People of faith, all kinds. Black and White, joining together across this country, teaching love and tolerance of all races. How great would that be?

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Benghazi Truth

Report: Obama blameless on Benghazi

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:07 AM CST
Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi.  If you stopped reading now I wouldn’t blame you because I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it.  For two years we have heard all the conspiracy theories and downright lies about what happened on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. For two years, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and the CIA have been demonized by the right-wing media and any Republican with a microphone in their face. How many times have you heard the statement, “Four Americans died and the President lied?”  I only bring up this “beat-to-death” subject for one reason…..

AND THAT is to make sure that the die-hard Fox viewers out there hear the results of the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee’s (a Grand Jury of sorts) exhaustive investigation regarding Benghazi. After all, chances are you didn’t hear the story on Fox News.

THIS LONG anticipated report was released Friday evening, Nov. 21, in what is called a “news dump.”  That’s a time when no one is paying attention and by Monday, it’s old news.  The Republicans and Fox News demanded this investigation.   With so much time spent debating what happened in Benghazi, one would think that it would be big news, worthy of “Breaking News!”  One would think that Fox News would have assembled a panel of their most ardent Benghazi conspiracy theorists to provide analysis of the report. On the contrary, the story was barely mentioned by Fox News that Friday night and what they did report did not reflect the meat and bones of the story.

CAN WE blame them for not reporting this important story?  Yes!  It lends further truth to the many studies that show that people who get most of their news from Fox News are the most uninformed Americans.  And, before you scream at me for an inflammatory remark, research it.

AS REPORTED by the Associated Press (AP) and picked up by most all other news outlets, the entire Benghazi conspiracy theory was debunked.  The report concluded there was no wrong doing by anyone in the Obama administration!  There was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence CIA was overtly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.  Further, the committee report did not indicate that Susan Rice or anyone (including President Obama,)  acted in bad faith or deliberately sought to mislead the American People.  It was a failure of intelligence analysts, not political appointees.  In defense of political analysts, we all learned in the aftermath of the announcement of the Ferguson Grand Jury decision, that it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between protesting and a terrorist attack.

I WAS not surprised with the findings of the House Committee, After all, the House Armed Services Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the State Department had reached similar conclusions in their investigations.  Finally!  No more BENGHAZI!  No such luck!  Speaker Boehner announced that he wasn’t pleased with the findings of his own Committee and would form a new committee in January to investigate it again.

I HAVE one question for Speaker Boehner.  Since tens of millions of tax dollars have been spent on all of these investigations already, what budget cuts will you make that further hurt the working class to fund yet another political investigation?  My head hurts.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.