As 2011 Comes to a Close. . .

The 2011 calendar will always hold a special place in the attic that is my recollect as it is the year that I became both a husband and a father. I will also remember this as the year that I was fortunate enough to travel overseas. Such amazing events in my personal life put 2011 pretty high on my top 10 list but looking back on the year puts things in a different light.

The year began with the not-so-proverbial bang of a Congresswoman being maliciously shot in the head last January. Uprisings in Egypt brought the resignation of its Prime Minister in February. The month of March saw nuclear disaster and the United Nations issue a resolution that led to NATO action against Libya, resulting in the eventual death of Qaddafi.

In April, Sony's PlayStation network was hacked, leaving millions of users' personal data exposed, tornadoes ravaged heartland communities and the President of the United States, after 3 years and $2 million spent contesting its release, finally gave in to political pressure and produced a questionable version of his Hawaiian birth certificate.

Osama bin Laden finally met with justice in May and Portugal got bailed out. Syrian oppression cracked down on its own Arab Spring movement in June while Greece dealt with anti-austerity protests. The seemingly peaceful and serene land of Norway was irrevocably rocked in July by an enigmatic assassin's killing spree. The manufactured crisis presented by the "debt-ceiling" debate in August led to the largest increase in the arbitrary limit in the nation's history, only to be raised quietly three more times before the year's end.

September brought a somber ten year anniversary of the worst attack on America's soil while the President's re-election campaign strategy of class warfare began in earnest with his 'jobs' plan that amounted to another labor union stimulus tied to tax increases. Occupy Wall Street began to occupy the headlines in October with their incoherent message of economic fairness struggling to be articulated. As Lenin's useful idiots ran wild in the streets, Europe teetered on the brink of collapse throughout November.

The war in Iraq came to a ceremonious end in December, leaving many questions unanswered as Iranian war drums got louder and the Great Leader of North Korea passed on, creating many new questions. Also just this month, a Defense Authorization Act that enables the indefinite detention of American citizens became law while politicians argued over defunding Social Security for an additional 2 months or one year.

As the year nears its conclusion, I see few bright spots on the horizon in 2012...other than watching my son learn to walk and talk. The media will continue to wage a misinformation campaign on us all. The polls used to measure public opinion will be subject to even further manipulation as we are already seeing.

For example, the unemployment rate's drop to 8.6% this month was heralded as evidence of improvement. Digging beneath the headlines reveals that the new stats no longer consider hundreds of thousands of people whom are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, thus allowing the government to claim that these people are not actively seeking a job. Not to mention the impact of temporary holiday seasonal hiring.

Even the President's approval numbers are suspect. The media reported this week that Presidential job approval is at 49%, a 5% jump since the same poll was conducted last month. Again, what they don't tell you is this month's poll included 7% more professed Democrats than Republicans and how that skews the result. Last month's poll only had 3% more self-described Democrats.

Much of the same is happening across the pond. Despite what is being touted as strong, necessary reform, the people of Europe will continue to resist more authoriatrian controls from a more centralized European authority. More government bailouts will only prolong the inevitable collapse of the Euro and a potential breakup of the Union itself.

And though it is being widely reported that both the Tea Party and Occupy movements have fizzled out, don't be so sure. The Tea Party will be active throughout the Republican primaries and will have its impact felt in November as well. The Occupy crowd will be too, once the weather improves. The Occupiers, having gone through their test run this fall, will be much more of a disrupting force next time around, however.

So while the President enjoys his time off in Hawaii at the cost of $4 million to the taxpayer in between killing the Bill of Rights, defunding Social Security and quietly raising the debt ceiling $1.2 TRILLION, the country takes a collective breath before the new year. 2012 is going to be a bumpy ride. Perhaps the Mayans were on to something.

Decline of the.....television?

For the first time since statistics have been recorded, American television ownership has actually decreased. More than a million less people today have a television in their home than did a year ago, even as the total number of households continues to rise. We are told it is because of the economy. I think otherwise.

Let's perform a mental exercise.

I know, I know....who wants to perform a mental exercise?

Well this is actually case-in-point #1. Through our incessant consumption of media, we are trained to avoid mental exercising. Physical exercising, now that makes us look good and has the potential to get you on Jersey Shore so that is more encouraged, never mind the mental health benefits. That's unimportant.

But I digress. Back to the mental exercise. How many media outlets can you name that promote positive, values-based living styles? Where are we told as much about the importance of being a proud, productive member of society as much as the extravagance of some affluent housewives? What news organizations extol the virtues of those 'occupying' various cities with filth, drug use and immoral behavior while condemning another peaceful, responsible, clean movement as racist and a threat to America?

When you ask yourself these questions, conclusions are not hard to come by. It is easy to see that ABC/NBC/CBS/CNN/MSNBC all report the exact same stories with the exact same slanted perspective every single night. It is easy to see the number of 'prime-time shows' that corrupt ones sense of right and wrong. It is easy to see all of the attacks from all angles on Fox News as unbalanced when Fox News is the one mainstream outlet that dissents from all the rest.

If you were to only watch the major nightly news, every story you would hear about a Republican presidential candidate would be negative. Every one will be projected as a bumbling fool that will destroy the country and has no business being in the race all the while failing to give coverage of their respective resumes and just why it is so many people agree with their policies. Contrast that with the coverage of Barack Obama and his extensive resume of community organizing, phantom education and shady associates.

People hear quick soundbites or see headlines of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and claim they are racists, morons and bigots without ever having listened to their radio program or seen them speak. Never mind the tens of millions daily that arrange their schedules to hear them or their ratings dominance versus their liberal competition. Why is that?

Why is it that as Europe is failing the majority of the media reports another Federal Reserve bailout as a positive thing, while ignoring the $7.7 TRILLION in secret loans it has made to banks worldwide since 2008? Why is it reported as strong leadership Chancellor Merkel's calls for tighter central European controls? That is like saying Washington D.C. can tell each state what their budget is and what they can spend it on.

Oh, but I guess that is their idea of a positive. More consolidated government control.

More people are seeing the light and turning off their televisions. Much as you will be told doing so puts you in the dark.