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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stonekettle Station's Rules of the Coffee Shop

As those who know me personally can attest, I am a hopeless coffee addict.

I’ll put up with a lot of unpleasantness - as long as there’s coffee.

Let the coffee run out though and my tolerance for unpleasantness, such as it is, drops to zero. Bad things usually follow.

Nowadays, I don’t drink shitty coffee. This is my one hard and fast rule, no shitty coffee. Period. And while I generally don’t drink coffee after lunch (unless there’s Irish Whiskey in it), if I don’t get coffee in the morning somebody is going to get maimed and it’s not going to be me, if you understand what I’m saying here. 

I spent more than two decades in the US Navy, coffee is a sailor’s lifeblood. Unfortunately, our lifeblood is coffee that’s been boiling in giant urns since the Eisenhower administration. Navy coffee consists of pure distilled caffeine, jet fuel, a hint of machine oil, and the bitter tears of Marines filtered through a pair of dirty skivvies. Navy coffee is a weapon of mass destruction and a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions with regards to the treatment of military personnel.  I don’t miss it and neither does what’s left of my stomach.

I’ve lived and travelled all over the world, I know what decent coffee tastes like.  You can hate the French all you like, but those beret-wearing wussies can make some damned good coffee, there should be a Nobel for the Jean-Pierre who invented the French Press.  Italy? Land of fantastic espresso and cappuccino made in beautiful copper and stainless steel machines that look like works of art.  Spain? Once you’ve had CafĂ© Con Leche (basically a latte made with strong espresso, thick whole milk and sugar) you tend to regard Folgers Drip as the runoff from Satan’s colon. The Greeks do some fine and tasty things with coffee. And the Turks make a cup that will cure a hangover migraine with a single sip – and leave you wide-eyed and quivering for a week. Turkish coffee is wild and full of life – sort of like the Turks themselves.  Some of the best coffee I ever had was in Israel, sweet and spiced and perfect.

Americans? Our coffee tradition descends from the tea sipping English. The English make coffee the way they cook, i.e. boil the shit out of it until it’s reduced to a thick bitter pudding.  Add sugar and lard, enjoy. These are the people who invented the Hot Toddie, which tastes like scalded rockgut stirred with a fried chicken leg.  You wonder where the British expression “keep a stiff upper lip” comes from?  It’s because they’re clamping down on about three centuries of bile. Americans, being Americans, looked at all the options out there and then took the shittiest tradition of the lot and made it faster.  Americans will drink damned near anything, as long as it can be made in a cheap disposable plastic machine and it’s fast – Give me a big ol’ cup of ass and be quick about it! Ever have McDonald’s coffee? I’m pretty sure that stupid clown used to be a Navy cook.

Sooner or later I’m going to break down and buy my very own espresso/latte/cappuccino machine. Problem is, a cheap machine is worse than useless and a good machine costs $1000 or more and requires special plumbing.  Now a crisp new Grover Cleveland for a decent cup of coffee doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to me, but my wife has other ideas.  So, for now, my very own steam spitting,  copper and steel, chrome trimmed, self cleaning, automatic espresso machine with integrated bean roaster and burr grinder with its own dedicated plumbing on a special gilded coffee island in the kitchen with optional bikini clad barista remains but a fantasy. Some day though, my electronic friends, some day it will be mine. Oh yes.

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Update June 2012: I bought the espresso machine.  The position of Bikini clad barista is open.

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I’ve learned a few things:

 

- Never get in line behind two women: Women are worried what the other woman thinks, they'll try to out non-fat each other. Seriously.

Barista: Nice to see you again. Your usual quadruple mocha latte with whole bottle nosed dolphin cream and a scoop of Hagen-Daz Peanut Brittle Supreme, double brown sugar, extra whip and stirred with a glazed donut, served in a rolled up slice of pizza, ma’am? 

Woman 1: Oh, heh heh, no, you must have me confused with Kirsty Alley.  No, I’d like an extra small non-fat, no-sugar, hot water…  

Woman 2: Really? That’s what I was having too! Only I want mine with no caffeine.

Barista: (priest-like neutral expression)

 

- Never get in line behind two men: Men will compete to impress the barista. Honest to God, it could be a trained warthog behind the counter, but if it has breasts men will hit on it.

Barista: What can I get you, Gentlemen?

Guy 1:  Heh, whatever it is, I’ll need it in the kind of cup that fits the cup holders in my Porsche!

Guy 2: Ha ha! You mean small. That piece of shit Porsche could use some coffee stains on the seats! They’ll cover up the other stains, ifyaknowwhatisaying! Now, my Hummer, that’s a man’s truck you can spill some coffee on! And I’ll need a large.

Barista: Large what?

Guy 2: I don’t know, but I want some extra shots in it! Make it strong!

Guy 1: I want extra extra shots in mine. In fact I’ll just take some raw coffee beans! Yeah! Just squeeze the juice out and I’ll drink that. In my Porsche!

Guy 2: Make mine extra hot!

Guy 1: Make mine extra double hot and I don’t even need a cup, just pour it in my bare hands!  Say, which one of us do you think looks more like Tom Selleck? I know, I know, people always say it’s me. Come on, what do you think?

Barista: (covertly adds extra ass flavor from the special bottle behind the counter)

 

Note: Yes, “Ass” is a coffee flavor.  It’s right between “Toejam” and “Hugh Jackman” in the Starbuck’s catalog.

 

- Never get in line behind two kids: Kids will order something weird and complicated as a goof.

Barista: What?

Kid 1: how much does flavor cost?

Kid 2: yeah, how much?

Barista: Sigh. Flavors are free.

Kid 1: I want a bubblegum hot chocolate frappe with a shot of every kind of flavoring you got. Mix them all together.

Kid 2: Good one, D00D! LOL!

Barista: (makes mental note to order more Ass flavor).

 

- The Macho guy will order the sissy drink.

 

- The quality of the brew is inversely proportional to the hotness of the barista:  Seriously, the fuglier the girl, the better the coffee. If hotties in bikinis are making the Java, I guarantee you that it’ll be indistinguishable from the bilge in a Navy galley. Hot girls get tipped no matter what, especially if they’re hanging out of a drive-up window in a halter top, they never have to learn how to make a decent cup. You want good coffee? Go to the coffee stand with Quasimodo behind the counter.  I don’t know if this it true of male baristo’s, with or without halter tops, because I only go to the place with the hot girls, but I suspect that it is.

 

- Never get the special.

 

- People behind you haven't had coffee yet. They're angry, impatient, and suffering withdrawal and I’m their king. Don't speak to them.  You’re at the front of the line. We hate you with the heat of a thousand espresso bean roasters. Get your shit and get the hell out of the way.  Taunt us with your cheerful banter and you die.

 

- Never get the drip coffee. Coffee shops make zero money on drip coffee. They don’t want you to order it. They make it from ass sweat filtered through toenails in order to keep you from ordering it.  It will suck. You will not like it. You will have to put in a gallon of cream and fifteen packs of sugar just to choke down one sip, and you still won’t like it. Then you’ll complain. And ask for something else. And you’ll hold up the line. And I’ll have to kill you.  Don’t order the drip coffee.

 

- Don't tell the barista how to make coffee: What the hell is it with these people?

Barista: What can I make for you today?

Clueless Moron: A large latte. Only I don’t want it how you make it, I want it like that place in the Mall does it.

Barista: Sigh.

Clueless Moron: You better write this down…

Barista: (I wonder if I can order Ass flavoring in the five gallon jug?).

 

- There will always be one jerkoff in line loudly describing bodily functions on a cell phone.

 

- Never order anything that requires the use of a blender: I haven’t had coffee yet, the sound of metal blades on ice makes me homicidal to a degree that would make Freddie Kruger look like a fluffy cotton candy bunny. Order a smoothie and you die.

 

- Know what you want: Seriously, you've been in line for ten minutes. Know what you want. If you ask, "what's good?" you die.

 

- Don't order stuff that is not on the menu: 

That thing? You know, that you used to have? With the Cinnamon and Strychnine? I want one of those. Only over ice and run through the blender.

Make it a Grande!

And non-fat.

Oh, and put a jelly donut on top!

Say, what are you doing after work?

Ever ride in a Porsche?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Deification of Ronald Reagan

The media this week is full of articles about former US President and conservative icon, Ronald Reagan.

If he were still alive, he’d be 100 years old this month (he’d also be clawing at the lid of his casket… stop me if you’ve heard this one).

What?

Oh, right. It’s actually next month. February 6th to be exact. But hey, when it comes to Reagan, well, you know every day is his birthday.

Some of those articles are favorable, some less so, depending on the political bent of whatever particular writer penned the article. Left or Right, one thing they all seem to have in common is an almost mythical view of The Gipper. Love him or hate him, Reagan inspires strong passions in many Americans – even those who aren’t old enough to actually remember him.

Liberals see him as, well, not evil incarnate per se (that title is reserved for Darth Cheney and his sidekick, Jar Jar Bush) but more like something akin to one of those animatronic androids in Disney’s Hall of Presidents – and in fact, during his cocaine fueled heyday the manic comedian, Robin Williams, used to do a hilarious sketch of exactly that.  A cross between a break-dancing move called The Robot and Max Headroom, Williams would jerk mechanically on stage while doing a dead-on balls imitation of Reagan’s famous voice, zzzzzzzzzzzst, click zzzzst clank, weeeeelllllll now Naaaancy, ssssprt sprong!  I don’t know many Liberals who out and out hate Reagan, but I do know a whole bunch who’d rather have Robin Williams at the helm than a repeat of Bedtime For Bonzo. 

Conservatives, of course, revere Reagan as near God-like, a heroic Jesus/Charlton Heston figure, the man who won the Cold War and beat the Evil Empire. His mystical legend grows day by day, he’s the man who singlehandedly saved the Republic, invented modern conservative economics, and revitalized the Military/Industrial Hair Gel complex.  Conservatives renamed Washington’s National airport for him and, if that wasn’t enough, they christened a Nimitz Class nuclear super-carrier in his name a full decade before he died (of course, they named one after George H. W. Bush too, so you know, don’t be too impressed). Nowhere is this bizarre worship summed up better than in a USA Today OpEd piece penned by the world’s bestest Conservative and would be Reagan Heir Apparent, Sarah Palin:

I had the privilege of coming of age during the era of Ronald Reagan. I like to think of him as America's lifeguard … The image of the lifeguard seems to represent what Reagan was to America and to the freedom-loving people of the world. He lifted our country up at a time when we were in the depths of economic, cultural and spiritual malaise. We were told that we must accept that the era of American greatness was over; but with his optimism and common sense, President Reagan held up a mirror to the American soul to remind us of our exceptionalism… under his leadership we won the Cold War without firing a single shot…

Privilege? Well, sure, Sarah. And aren’t you special, aren’t you exceptional. Yes you are. Just like those bumper stickers liberals like to slap on the backs of their Subaru Foresters attesting to how their kid is a special superstar – just exactly like everybody else’s kid.  Yeah, you’re special. You and about 8 billion other people – including me – who “came of age” during the so-called Reagan Era.

Of course, the difference is that while Sarah Palin was losing beauty pageants and her virginity and failing out of one college after the other, I was serving in Ronald Reagan’s military on the frontlines of that Cold War – I’ve got a decoration around here somewhere testifying to it (Yep, there’s a Cold War Service Ribbon. That and $3.75 will get you a large latte at the VA Coffee Shop).  While Palin was fumbling her way through the local high school sports scores on KTVA in Anchorage, Reagan sent my comrades and I across Daffy Gadhafi’s Line-O-Death on a mission of gunboat diplomacy called Operation Eldorado Canyon – I’ve got a couple of medals around here for that little adventure too (and for those, people might actually buy you a beer, or not). Yes, I guess you could say that I had the privilege of coming of age during the era of Reagan too – except my coming of age was shaped directly by the consequences of Reagan’s foreign policy instead of by lipstick and locker-room parties.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I grew up during Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement and Nixon and the Hippies and the Age of Aquarius. And I remember very well indeed exactly what it was like after the war ended.  I remember the Carter years, and the OPEC Embargo, and Iranian Hostage Crisis and the Recession and the car industry going belly up.

Oh yes, I remember what Edwin Feulner called the Great Malaise.

And Reagan did, in many ways, make America proud of itself again.  He was charismatic, he made you like him. Conservatives, oh how they hate Obama for his charm and easy manner and especially his popularity, derisively calling him “The Messiah,” but that’s nothing compared to the worshipful adulation, and present day deification, of Ronald Reagan by Conservatives.  Reagan radiated a 1950’s movie star charm and confidence, like Errol Flynn, you could feel it when you were in his presence.  I saw him speak once, and shook his hand, and you couldn’t help but like the guy even if you couldn’t stand his politics. He was a sincerely nice human being. The military loved him – especially after he signed the defense authorization bill in 1986 that for the first time in our country’s history increased our pay to a living wage. 

History will probably say that he was one of the great ones, i.e. the right guy in the right job at the right time. And I don’t think I’ll argue the point – you’d have to have lived through that time from where I was sitting.

But Reagan most surely didn’t “win” the Cold War by himself – he was simply the last in a long line of cold warriors.

And he sure as hell didn’t win it “without firing a single shot.” 

Because see I was there, and there were many shots fired. We expended rounds in Libya and Lebanon and Grenada and the Congo and the Korean DMZ and Afghanistan and Iran and Nicaragua and El Salvador and, oh hell, all up and down the Central American isthmus from Mexico to Panama. After Reagan declared war on drugs we fired more than a few shots in South America too – some at Russian advisors.  I’ve got pictures looking straight up into the open bomb bay of a TU-22M Backfire bomber, straight into a belly full of bombs and missiles, as it and twenty more just like it, roared over our heads at less than 200 feet with their targeting radars pulsing down on us with enough energy to fry our digital watches. I’ve got pictures of a Soviet frigate deliberately ramming USS Yorktown in the Black Sea, ripping the starboard torpedo bay open and damned near precipitating World War Three right there. I’ve got a tiny sliver of teak, a piece of wooden decking from a Libyan Wadi PTG, that attacked us one night south of the Line of Death deep in the Gulf of Sidre and as a result of that poor decision (at the behest of their Soviet masters) they took a pair of US Navy Harpoon missiles right straight in the teeth – hence there being nothing much left larger than a few small slivers of wood.  We fought a dozen proxy wars, big ones and little ones, and a hundred combat operations short of war that neither Sarah Palin nor her ignorant supporters have ever bothered to learn the names of.  I’ve got another dozen medals for those too and I can name the names of a dozen comrades in arms who are now nothing more than stars on a wall in a couple of lobbies in Washington D.C. who would agree with me – if they were still alive. 

No, we sure as bloody hell didn’t win the Cold War without a shot being fired – that statement is either a deliberate falsehood or it speaks of a profound and staggering ignorance.  Palin spends a hell of a lot of air expounding on her own supposed patriotism as the mother of a soldier, you’d think she’d show a greater respect for the sacrifices of that same military under the command of her idol.  But then, the fact that roughly 14,000 US military men and women died during the eight years of the Reagan administration doesn’t have quite the same miraculous ring to it that “won the war without firing a single shot” does.

You know, to some extent I can understand this deification of Reagan.  Like him or not, he was a hell of a leader during a time when America needed a leader. What Palin and the rest of those on the far right forget is that Reagan made you like him. He brought people together, even when they disagreed with him. He strove to unite the nation, not divide it, and to a large degree he succeeded if only briefly.  Could he do that now? I doubt it, this is not his time, the world has changed – due in no small part to his own efforts– and I don’t know that Ronald Reagan would be welcome in his own party today.

Conservatives, Palin and the Tea Party chief among them, rail about government overreach and intrusion upon American freedoms. This is a key plank in the conservative platform.  That and a bizarre paranoid fear the President will someday turn the military against its citizens. Reagan, as governor of California, sent in the State Police to put down student demonstrations on the Berkley college campus. That event became known as Bloody Thursday when the police opened fire on the crowd with double-ought buckshot fired from 12gauge shotguns. Hundreds were wounded or injured. Reagan then sent in 2000 National Guard troops to occupy the campus and impose martial law.  When criticized for a military response, Reagan famously responded, “If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with. No more appeasement.” I have to wonder how those conservative militiamen who swarm the edges of today’s Tea Party would feel to see soldiers firing upon American citizens, but then again since the student demonstrators at Berkley were undeniably leftists, perhaps those Patriots wouldn’t protest too loudly.

Then, as California governor, Reagan signed into law the Therapeutic Abortion Act. Now to be fair, Reagan agonized over that bill for days, and he regretted it for a long, long time afterward – and claimed that if he’d been more experienced as a politician he would have vetoed it – but sign it  he did and he made abortion legal in California.  One has to wonder just how forgiving of that action John Boehner and the conservatives who are attempting to outlaw abortion in Congress right now would be of Reagan today.

On March 30, 1981, Reagan, his press secretary, and two Secret Service agents were shot in an attempted assassination.  Reagan barely survived, and while he eventually recovered completely, his press secretary, Jim Brady wasn’t nearly so lucky. Brady had been shot in the head and suffered extensive brain damage – there are few of us who lived through that terrible time who don’t remember poor brain damaged Jim Brady in his wheelchair while his wife, Sarah, spoke passionately about keeping guns out of the hands of crazy people.  Brady and his wife became advocates of gun control legislation – along with Reagan who championed their cause and who eventually signed the Brady Bill into law. Can you imagine a Tea Party or Republican candidate who advocated for gun control today getting their party’s endorsement for President?  Can you imagine Sarah Palin endorsing such a candidate? Even in the wake of the Giffords’ shooting? The thought is so ludicrous it makes me snort chocolate milk through my nose.

Conservatives deplore “socialism” and the government’s use of tax dollars to benefit those they deem unfit or undeserving or not American. Funny thing, Reagan gave the entire world, commies, socialists, Marxists, American hating dictators, terrorists, Iranians, drug smugglers, illegal aliens sneaking across the Arizona border and across the oceans to Miami, everybody, access to enormous gobs of America tax dollars in perpetuity. Yes, that’s right, Reagan gave the world our military GPS system for nothing – and now we’re obligated to keep paying and paying and paying for all those people to use it. There are 29 satellites in that system. Want to know how much is costs you to maintain that constellation? And Conservatives get pissed because a poor American woman might get a discount on cheese and formula for her baby. God Bless Ronald Reagan.

Palin has suggested that we invade Iran. Well, OK, not in so many words, what she said was President Obama could raise his popularity among conservatives and guarantee his reelection if “he played the war card” when it comes to Iran.  Well, ok, you got me, she did say it in so many words. Palin is not the only one, former VP Dick Cheney, and damned near every single conservative media pundit worth his dusty chalkboard has bloviated at length to the same effect.  Why then do you suppose they so venerate a president whose administration sold enormous amounts of weapons and military hardware to that self same Iran - weapons, I might add, that were later used against us – in defiance of the will of the people, Congress, and US law?  What’s that you say? Reagan was unaware of Iran/Contra? Sure. And O.J. didn’t kill the bitch, and Ollie North isn’t a popular conservative media personality. Sure. Look, either Reagan was operating outside the confines of the Constitution or he had lost control of his own administration – I’m having a damned difficult time figuring out how conservatives think either option is a good thing.

Palin et al denounced Obama as unAmerican when he bowed to the Emperor and the Prime Minister of Japan. Reagan laid a wreath on the graves of the Waffen SS – you know, the fucking Nazi SS.

But, of course, it’s Reagan’s economic policies that make him such a Saint in so many Conservative’s memories.  He’s famous for lowering taxes significantly in 1981, his first year in office, but he’s a lot less famous for signing into law legislation that quietly raised taxes every single year after that, every single year, Let me repeat that for the slow people in the room, every single year for seven years after 1981 – so much so that his successor, George Holy War Bush, used the campaign slogan “Read my lips, no new taxes” to grease his way into the Oval Office after Reagan (the ironic part being that the tab for Reagan’s economic policies forced Bush to raise taxes after all…and cost him reelection. Well, that and the fact that he had all the warmth and charisma of a sea cucumber).  Those huge tax cuts also had another interesting effect that I’m sure modern conservatives and Tea Party types alike will appreciate: combined with a 40% increase in the defense budget, they raised both the national debt and the deficit to levels not seen since WWII – where they’ve remained ever since (Clinton’s budget “surplus” shouldn’t be confused with national debt or the deficit). As to Reagan’s famous Reagonomics, well Reagonomics succeeded in making a lot of defense contractors and a lot of bankers very, very rich but there are a hell of a lot of people in this country who are still waiting for that wealth to tickle down twenty years on.  And in point of fact most of that wealth evaporated in an ongoing and continuing series of boom and bust cycles that don’t seem to affect the wealthy all that much but are sure hell on wheels for those folks who want Reagan’s face carved into the rock of Mount Rushmore.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I liked Reagan. I didn’t agree with everything he did or said or believed, but I didn’t hate him for it either. I liked being in his navy. I did.  I think he was exactly the kind of guy we needed back then. But I don’t think he’s the kind of guy we need now.  Reagan was like a shot of nitrous oxide into an internal combustion engine – great for a quick burst of power and speed, but you for damned sure don’t want to run the motor like that for long or else the pistons are going to blow right out through the hood. And my point here is that while history may one day judge Reagan as one of the Great Presidents, that’s a judgment more fitting of his 200th birthday and not this one. 

Reagan, whatever he was, was certainly no saint, no devil.  What he was, in point of fact, was an actual, no shit leader.

To give Palin her due, she’s right to admire Reagan. She’s certainly right to believe he was a great man, maybe even a great president. But she and Conservatives are wrong to put him up on a pedestal. On this, his 100th Birthday, politicians and pundits and indeed the rest of the nation would do far better to drop the hushed reverent tones and the Reagan-as-Myth airbrushing of history and learn the real lessons of his legacy:

We are one nation (under God, if you like), our strength comes from standing together and not from the things that drive us apart. Of all the things Reagan did, he did that, he brought us together as a nation and as a people.  He used humor and sincerity and humanity to reach people, he didn’t use hatred to drive them apart.

He deserves to be remembered.

He doesn’t deserve to be worshipped.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here, Have A Sled Dog

Long weekend.

We spent it in the Interior of Alaska.

We stopped by Skunk Place Kennels to visit our friends, famed Iditarod mushers Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore. You can learn more about them and the Iditarod Sled Dog race here.  The Iditarod, the last truly great race, takes place in the dead of the Alaskan winter and runs a thousand miles from Anchorage to Nome.

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More later.

Must go do things that make money now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More Random Thoughts on the Giffords Shooting

It’s been a week now, since the attempted murder of Congresswomen Giffords.

A week for things to shake out.

Couple of observations:

- You know what I said about Second Amendment solutions at the beginning of the week.  That view hasn’t changed and is quite unlikely to.  I think people, especially people in positions of power, who speak of Second Amendment remedies should be investigated exactly the same way as anyone who pens a threateningly letter to the President. Do that, and you can go to jail, even if you don’t mean it.  Words should have consequences. Abuse of power should have consequences. And it is long past time for the radicals on both sides of the aisle to be held accountable.  It is long, long past time for the fear-mongers to be held responsible for their rhetoric, especially those whose only real purpose is to grow rich off of the hysteria and hatred they themselves stir up.

- Tea Party backed politicians have demanded that each new bill before Congress contain a clause specifying the precise provision in the US Constitution that gives Congress the power to enact that law.  I think this is unnecessary, and so did the men who wrote and ratified the Constitution and formed our first government, but so be it.  I can see no reason not to.  Here’s what I want in return:  A federal law that requires all officials, elected or appointed or candidate for, at both the state and federal level, to be required to provide references for their public statements and to be held accountable for deliberately propagating verifiably false information – or be required under penalty of law to admit up front and unequivocally that their statements are baseless and made up.  Similarly, I want a modification to US FCC regulations that requires all public information outlets to list their references. I’m talking about those information entities that are governed by federal regulation, i.e. broadcast media, not private individuals.  Product manufacturers have to do so, drug manufactures have to include a disclaimer and a list of side effects, financers have to disclose the terms of the loan – hell, even the Wikipedia requires some kind of citation – I see nothing unconstitutional about making Glenn Beck write down the specific source of his information on his little chalkboard when he says that “The Liberal Food Police” have “outlawed fried food in New York,” or he should have to admit up front that he just made it up.  I’m not talking about curtailing anybody’s freedom of speech, including FoxNews, I’m simply saying that if you are going to propagate falsehoods and rhetoric to tens of thousands of people every night it should be clearly marked as such, no fine print. Period.  I can’t see anybody on the Right objecting to this, being the staunch Constitutionalists that they so fervently are all of a sudden, after all does not the very first sentence of the Constitution say: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America?

- I note a common trend among commenters on conservative sites such as Fox and on the crazy “we just love guns and NASCAR and we fucking HATE Obama” sites like Yahoo: the President declared a moment of national silence for the victims of Tucson (I.e. democrats) but not for the victims of Fort Hood (i.e. Conservatives), AH HA! therefor the President hates the military and is unAmerican.  Seriously? No, seriously? This is the best you’ve got. Seriously? Is the converse true? George W. Bush went to Fort Hood in the wake of the shootings there to comfort the victims, but he didn’t go to Tucson, does that mean he hates nine year old girls and moderate congresswomen? What the fuck is wrong with these people? 

- It would appear that Conservative pundits are not, in any way, responsible for Jared Lee Loughner’s actions.  Loughner was a nut.  He lived in a fantasy land of his own making, literally.  He shot Congresswomen Giffords, allegedly, because she didn’t answer one of Loughner’s questions to his satisfaction at a previous Q&A session.  It wasn’t Rush’s fault. It wasn’t Glenn’s fault. It wasn’t Sarah’s fault.  It wasn’t the hateful extremist toxic battlefield of modern media fueled politics.  Well, that’s good.  Guess we can just keep on with the hate speech then. Yeah, that’s good. 

- I read a comment under an article on Yahoo yesterday, I can’t find it again today and I really wish I could because it sums up something I’ve been seeing, and it sums it up better than any other comment on the subject. It went something like this: This is exactly why I carry, Boy, if I’d been there, that shooter would have died in a hail of bullets.  Uh huh.  Ok.  Question: how come Jared Lee Loughner didn’t die in a hail of bullets?  Arizona has the most (heh heh) liberal gun laws in the country, you can carry concealed there without a permit. Until Loughner pulled the trigger, he was perfectly legal. Guns are a big damned deal in Arizona. Man should have a right to defend himself and all that. All free men carry guns, yadda yada.  But nobody, nobody, shot Loughner down. Nobody.  Where are all these pistol packing people, locked and loaded just in case something exactly like this happens? Where are all these free men, these heroes, ready and able to take out the bad guys and the commies and the crazies? One of the men who eventually tackled Loughner and held him down until the cops arrived was supposedly armed, legally. Didn’t do much to prevent the carnage, did it? In Tucson, on Saturday, it would appear that the only person empowered by Arizona’s lax gun laws was, well, the assassin

- But let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that everybody who was legally able, was armed last Saturday morning in Tucson. Untrained. Uncertified. But legal gun owners and packing heat, you betcha. And let’s say they all slapped leather when the shooting started and cleared their holsters with those 30 round Glocks and 14 round Berettas and they returned fire in a jackstraw jumble of laser-sights and hot lead. There in that grocery store.  Yeah, right there, in that crowed grocery store. In the midst of chaos.  Screaming and running, panic. Crying children. Blood and smoke and confusion. Oh hell yeah, a dozen folks armed and brandishing weapons and no clear idea of what the hell is happening and no idea who the crazy grammar assassin is and who is just some other hero wannabe with a gun.  Then imagine the police pulling up and stepping into the fray with their guns drawn.  Yeah, sign me right for that. Sign me right the fuck up. 

- I wonder, I really do, how many more times this kind of thing is going to happen before we finally stand the hell up to the NRA and the lobbies and beer-bellied hero wannabes and start passing sane gun laws in this country.  I’m not talking about getting rid of guns, I’m talking about adding some goddamned sanity to the equation. Frankly, I’m not holding my breath.

 

Gabby Giffords has opened her eyes.

One wonders when we will do the same.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blood Libel: What Sarah Palin SHOULD Have Said

[j]ournalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible - Sarah Palin, responding to criticism leveled at her following the Gabby Giffords assassination attempt

The sound you hear is, of course, me banging my head on the table.

Blood Libel.

Of all the actions Sarah Palin could have taken, she chose to play the victim card.

Of all the things Sarah Palin could have said, of all the words in the English language, she chose the phrase “Blood Libel.” 

Jesus Hopalong Christ, you’ve got to be kidding me.

Blood Libel, for those one or two of you who don’t yet know, is just about the single most vile label Palin could have used.  Blood Libel refers to the persecution of Jews specifically by Christians. Not by crazy people. Not by Nazis. Not by pagans. Not by Muslims. Not by Kings or nations or terrorists.  No. Blood libel refers specifically to a heinous and evil story perpetrated by Christians and used to justify the torture and killing of Jews. No more. No less. It does not mean anything else and non-Jews don’t get to co-opt it for their own use. Blood libel specifically refers to a common Christian belief that began in the Middle Ages when the Catholic church began to spread a rumor that Jews tortured and killed Christian babies by recreating the Crucifixion, then drained the murdered child’s blood and used it to make their unleavened bread – which they then supposedly ate during Passover. As a result of this pervasive blood libel myth Jews were commonly harassed, persecuted, made outlaw, driven from their homes and villages, falsely accused of every single crime imaginable and few that weren’t (including, you know, child molestation and rape that was actually conducted by Church priests, but I digress), imprisoned, tortured, and brutally murdered all at the hands of Christians. The belief in blood libel and the resulting pogroms and purges went on for centuries – and, in fact, still continue to this very day in dark places around the world.  There is very good reason to believe that certain Christian churches and Christian leaders (churches and Christians that I shall leave unnamed) either turned a blind eye to, or even actively assisted, the Holocaust due to blood libel and a belief that Europe, indeed the world, would be better off without Jews.  And don’t get all smug thinking that it doesn’t happen in America, because it does. Today, right now, Holocaust Deniers use blood libel to justify their foul and noxious beliefs, spreading rumor and false accusations against Jews via modern communications technology. Do a Google search, use the terms “Elders of Zion” for starters and expand your search from there and see if I’m engaging in hyperbole – it didn’t take me ten search iterations to find blood libel screeds propagated right here in the United States by good God fearin’ morally superior Christians. Go ahead, see what you get.

For any Christian to assume this term for themselves, let alone a fundamentalist such as Palin in the context of her own victimhood, is disgusting enough.  For her to use it in this specific context – i.e. the attempted assassination of a Jewish Congresswomen, and murder of her Jewish intern – goes so far beyond the pale that it powers straight into the obscene on full afterburner.  Remember, this is a woman who spent two weeks and thousands of words telling the world how utterly “devastated” she was by the use of the word retard; her deliberate and hypocritical use of an anti-Semitic epitaph, especially this one in particular so laden with a very particular form of ethnic bigotry, followed by brushing off criticism for using the word - saying in effect, hey, it’s not my fault if you take it the wrong – is exactly, exactly, what sparked criticism of her in the wake of the Giffords shooting. 

Yes, the sound you hear is me continuing to bang my head on the desk.

The woman is either the meanest bitch ever to walk the earth, or dense as a block of solid neutronium.  My vote is on the later.

Given Palin’s track record I really want to ascribe her anti-Semitism to simple ignorance and her continued self-inflicted victimization (the woman is the political version of a cutter) but I can’t.  I just can’t.  I simply cannot believe that in this very specific context, given the cast of characters involved and the horrifying events that have occurred, that Sarah Palin did not use those very specific words and that very specific label without malice aforethought. No, given that both she and Glenn Beck attempted to co-opt the black Civil Rights movement for themselves, I have to believe that this is just one more example of her overpowering lust for attention and one more facet of her maggot ridden character.

This event, more than any other word she has spoken, should clarify in every American’s mind just how utterly unfit Sarah Palin is to occupy elected office. Any elected office. 

Here’s what a real leader and someone of character would have said:

First, allow me to offer my heartfelt condolences for the victims of this terrible tragedy.  I know that some of you don’t believe in prayer or a higher power, but I do, and I pray to that power to speed the recovery of Congresswomen Giffords and those who were so grievously injured. I pray that those who died find eternal peace according to their own beliefs, and even though I know that nothing can ever replace lost loved ones, I pray that the victims’ friends and families will find their own comfort in the coming days. I know that I am most likely the very last person they would take help from, but if there is anything I can do, I will.

Second I would like to address the criticism directed towards myself in the wake of this horrific event.  You may rest assured that I have done some deep soul-searching over the last few days. I regret certain things, but I honestly do not believe that I am responsible for the actions of Jared Lee Loughner. However, I can see how others might read the words I have written and listen to the words I have spoken and come to different conclusions.  I can see how certain unbalanced individuals could take my words, or the words of others, spoken in passion or in the heat of the moment, as leave to commit unconscionable acts and even if Mr. Loughner did not, others might.

This terrible event brings to light something I did not realize, or did not realize completely, and that is this: words have power, and power has consequences.  Because so many people listen to my words, I wield a certain degree of influence. I knew this, but did not realize it’s extent. I know that some feel this influence, this power, is unearned. I don’t agree with them, but they are entitled to their opinion. Regardless, that power exists. With this power comes a certain responsibility, one that I only fully realized after reflecting on recent events.  And while we do not know what ultimately motivated Jared Lee Loughner, it seems prudent to wield that power tempered with restraint. 

I cannot take back what has been said – modern politics and the Internet’s long memory make any attempt to do so futile. I’m not asking you to forgive me and I won’t apologize for what I or others may have said, many of you would doubt my sincerity anyway.  However, I can see now that those statements may not have been the wisest choice of words.  Accordingly, I promise that from this moment forward I will no longer use phrases alluding to or encouraging violence against my political opponents, even in metaphor, in even in jest. I will not allow those who speak for me to do so either. I ask that my fellow politicians, both Republican and Democrat do the same.  I ask my fellow journalists to do the same.  If I have even a small degree of the influence that people say I do, then I ask that all of us, every single American, do the same.  Let us bring back a degree of civility to American politics – and if, as some people say, such civility never truly existed, well then let us create a new era of respect for each other.  Let us remember that we are all Americans, both on the left and the right and in the middle, we are all Americans.

Today let us stand together as one and join our President in a moment of silent reflection, each according to our own beliefs, for the victims of this terrible tragedy.

Thank you, and good night.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sunday Morning Come to Jesus Moment on Second Amendment Solutions

I got some fan mail in relation to the previous post on last weekend’s attempted assassination. 

Here’s a sample:

Morning BUTThole!  How’s it feel to be PREDICTABLE BUTThole? LOL! (is your BuTThole chapped yet? ha ha LOL) I knew you would blame Sarah for what is CLEARLY a LEFTY terrorism LOL! You stupid liberals stope to new lows yet again! You LEFTYS just CAN’T be HONEST can you? You can’t pin this one on Sarah even no matter what you try.  This is LIBERALS killing LIBERALS!!!! just like the commune revolution! This is killing because of one thing -- the commune N@@R in the WHITE HOUSE LOL 9better get some rash cream LOL ha ha!) who divides us all. Sarah only says what is in the CONSTITION! “The tree of LIBERTY must be watered with the BLOOD of PATRIOTS” this is why we have 2 AMENTMENTS! (look it up on a REAL dictionary not LIBERAL BIAS WIKIPEDIA!!  Sarah is RIGHT we to put GUNSCOPES on SOCIALIST LEFTYS!!

There’s more, it goes on for another two paragraphs and another half dozen LOLs, but it’s all pretty much like the gibberish above. Blah blah ha ha. Lefty. Blah blah LOL! Asshole. Blah blah. Sarah, she is teh awesome. Blah blah LOL LOL LOL. It’s signed Florida Patriot, only patriot is misspelled “patriote.” 

When this guy first started emailing me a year or so ago, I figured it had to be a Poe.  Had to be.  I mean, come on

Any time I publish something on Palin I get a note from this character.

He’s tried to make a number of comments here on Stonekettle Station (at least I assume it’s him for various reasons) but I routinely delete bat guano like this without comment as is my official policy – well, unless there’s some comedy value to be gleaned by pointing and laughing.  Seriously, when he first showed up I figured it had to be troll bait, it’s just so stereotypical – almost too stereotypical – but then I read the comments under Fox and Yahoo and in the Tea Party forums and I realize that Patriot(e)’s writing style and cognitive ability is a fairly stereotypical example of his kind, and in fact may be more literate and concise than the average. Hell, he writes better than some of the comments I’ve gotten on Facebook from people that I actually know. Certain things (which I may or may not tell you about some day) since he first contacted me have caused me to come to believe that Patriot(e) is, in fact, for real and is probably a pretty fine example of a Tea Party poet laureate. Also, I’m pretty sure his comments and email originate from a server near the nation’s capitol, so I’m not entirely sure about the “Florida” part of his signature – just another mystery to explore in my spare time.

Honestly, I kind of like his letters (yes, yes, I know I run the risk of encouraging him. But, for you, gentle reader, I’m willing to risk it). His letters amuse me. So far he hasn’t threatened to kill me (though he does occasionally suggest that others, you know, might when the revolution comes) so you know that’s something. Plus, I really enjoy it when he calls me an enemy of America.  There are days where I almost think I should thank him because he’s inspired more than one blog post, this one included. Now, I have no idea if my crazy little Tea Party muse has the ability to influence others, or if he emails every writer he doesn’t agree with (I’m fairly sure I’ve spotted his comments on a few of the major news outlets), or if he’s just some trailer-dwelling comb-over sitting in his batman underpants, covered in Pop Tart crumbs and cat hair, dreaming about the day Sarah Palin and the “2 Amentmenters” take back America for people just like him. No, I’m not particularly worried about him, besides, he’s using IE on Windows Vista, how dangerous could he be really?

And the truth of the matter is that he’s only parroting what other far more dangerous and influential extremists have been saying since Saturday.

Take Rush Limbaugh:

Instead of dialing down the hate speech and the partisan rhetoric, instead of showing some class, Rush’s first comment on the attempted assassination of a US Congresswomen, the murder of a Federal Judge, a nine year old girl and half a dozen others, was to say that the Democratic Party “seeks to profit out of murder” and “openly wishes for such a disaster in order to profit from it.” 

Yes, face palm indeed. 

The utter hypocrisy is simply staggering.  He accuses the liberals of seeking to profit from murder, while he profits from murder.  You have to wonder if he isn’t pulling a Poe.

But Rush didn’t stop there, he goes on to say,

“Don't kid yourself. What this was all about is shutting down any and all political opposition and eventually criminalizing it. Criminalizing policy differences, at least when they differ from the Democrat Party agenda. One of the more disturbing things about this incident is that someday the left will finally get their wish. One of these days it's going to happen. This is all setting the table for it.”

And there it is. Nice of Limbaugh to prove me right.

Them. Those people. They’re coming for our freedom! They’re trying to take away our rights! They’re coming for our freedom of speech and our guns and our America! Them. Those people. Those Liberals. Those commies. Those people are stealing America! It’ll be a dictatorship! One day. They’re coming. You’ll see!

They used to talk like this about the Freemasons, coming to take our country. 

They used to talk this way about African Americans, coming to take our land and our women.

See, assault rifles and 30-round magazines, hate speech, assassination, putting crosshairs on politicians you don’t agree with, are policy differences. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if somebody in the Obama administration or some FCC bureaucrat or some Democrat congressman has it already written up, such legislation, sitting in a desk drawer somewhere just waiting for the right event for a clap-down. They have been trying this ever since the Oklahoma City bombing."

See? Liberals, they’re the enemy of America. The Democrats are coming to take your freedom and eat your babies. Why they’ve been planning it all along.

They used to talk this way about the Jews.

Hell, they still do.

Limbaugh then went on to complain about the criticism of Sarah Palin. Criticism like that I leveled against her in yesterday’s post. Limbaugh called that criticism “insane.”  So did Glenn Beck. So did SarahPAC’s spokewomen. So did a lot of people, including my little friend up above. 

On the surface, that criticism appears valid, i.e. attempting to tie Palin et al to this tragic event is crazy. 

Sure it is.

Rush, Beck, Palin’s mouthpiece, they all say the same thing: see, those weren’t crosshairs per se, and even if they were, not that we’re saying that they were because they were really surveyor’s marks from surveying like you know George Washington was a surveyor and all, but even if they were, well only a nut would actually think that we really meant, you know, shooting people for reals. You’d have to be crazy.

Yes, see, if you don’t agree with Rush, well, you must be crazy. Right?

Rush Limbaugh again:

“Groups are large. Many people populate groups and within any group of people, a sample is gonna find those who are unstable, deranged, and so forth like this kid [Loughner].”

Yes, every group. Including his own listeners.

Question: Knowing that, knowing there are crazies in your own followers, wouldn’t you want to temper your rhetoric?  Wouldn’t you caution your friends to temper theirs, for their own sake if for nothing else?

No? Of course not. Of course not.

Hey, I’m just asking here is all, don’t get your batman underpants all in a twist.

Here’s the real question, what exactly do these people think “Second  Amendment Solutions” are?

Seriously, when you talk about “taking back America,” when you talk about “taking our guns to Washington,” when you talk about “taking them out,” when you talk about “the blood of Patriots” and civil war what exactly are you talking about? When Chuck Norris talks about a “second Revolution” what exactly is he saying?  When Sharron Angle talks about “Second Amendment remedies” what does she mean?  When Joe Miller talks about the Second Amendment and then hires a security company made up of radical militiamen who talk of taking up arms against the US Government, hell, who have taken up arms against the government, what exactly does he mean? When Glenn Beck stands on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and talks about Second Amendment rights, when he invites the NRA onto his show to explain why Americans, each and every one, need access to fully automatic assault weapons and 30-round magazines, what are they getting at?

I’ll tell you what they mean.

They mean a women, a US Congresswomen, the wife of a US serviceman and astronaut, shot point blank through the head and lying in a puddle of her own blood.

That’s exactly what they mean.

Because that, my friends, is exactly what a “Second Amendment solution” looks like. 

But that’s not all. Not by a long shot.

Let me tell you exactly what the rest of a Second Amendment remedy looks like:

It looks like a judge, John Roll, choking out his life on a sidewalk, leaving his three kids fatherless and his wife a widow.  A fitting end, I suppose, after years of death threats egged on by conservative talk radio for his ruling on civil rights. I guess he had it coming.

It looks like a 30 year old intern, Gabe Zimmerman.  Gone in the first second. At least his fiancĂ© can take comfort in knowing it was a free citizen who answered the Clarion call of Second Amendment solutions that took her husband-to-be from her.  Perhaps that will keep her warm at night. But hell, he was just a liberal, get ‘em before they can breed, right?

It looks like a 79 year old grandmother, Phyllis Schneck, shot dead in cold blood.

It looks like another grandmother, 76 year old Dorothy Morris, a homemaker. Her husband, George, a former Marine, tried to save her by covering her body with his when the shooting started.  He’s still in the hospital, shot twice, life shattered, alone, his love of 50 years nothing but cold rotting meat on a slab in the morgue. They’ll bury her before he leaves the hospital, if he ever does.

It looks like a 76 year old grandfather, Dorwin Stoddard, shot through the stomach while protecting his wife, Mavy, with his own body, whispering his last “I love you” to her, his grade school sweetheart, as his life drained away.  She cradled his head in her old shaking hands and she told him that it was going to be OK, that she loved him – herself bleeding and shot multiple times in the leg – and it took him ten minutes to die there on the dirty tile of that grocery store.

And it looks exactly like a dead nine year old kid, Christina Taylor-Green born on September 11th, 2001 the day terrorists declared war on America, laying with her guts blown out in the middle of a sidewalk. No, don’t look away, don’t you dare.  You look at her, look at her little body curled around the bullet holes, her blood staining the tiles. She made it to the hospital, and she died there. You look into her clouded empty eyes as her body grows cold and stiff. Her hopes, her dreams, her future, her life, lost, gone, destroyed, erased in a spray of blood and violence and extremist hatred and Second Amendment solutions. By your God, you bastards, you look at her.  You look at her family, destroyed, shattered, gutted, empty, forlorn, bereft.  Everything she would be, everything she could have become, gone as if she had never been.  You look at her and you remember.

That, you stupid fuckers, is exactly what a Second Amendment solution looks like.

What the hell did you think it was?

Rush Limbaugh has the gall to call me insane?  Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Chuck Norris, Jan Brewer, Jon Voight, Michelle Bachman, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Wayne Lapeierre of the National Rifle Association, FoxNews, Bill O’Reilly, and every drooling ignorant illiterate rednecked moron who has ever waved a gun over his head at a Tea Party rally, keep calling for Second Amendment solutions? So let us be very, very clear here: what they are calling for is exactly what happened Saturday morning in Arizona to US Congresswomen Gabby Giffords. Exactly.

And Christina Taylor-Green, Gabe Zimmerman, Ron Barber, Pam Simons, John Roll, Dorwin Stoddard, Phyllis Schreck, Dot Murray? What of them? Well, they’re collateral damage. Make no mistake whatsoever, when you talk about Second Amendment solutions, what you’re talking about is taking up arms against the United States of America, you’re talking about shooting down those you don’t agree with, you’re talking about shooting a US Congresswomen right in the head.

You’re talking about refreshing the Tree of Liberty with the blood of a nine-year old girl.

That is exactly what you’re talking about and don’t you dare try to pretend that it’s not.

Here’s the thing so pay attention:  It does not matter whether or not the assassin, Jarad Lee Loughner, was a righty, a lefty, an independent, or just plain batshit bang bang crazy.  It. Does. Not. Matter. Not one iota. Because, see, Jared Lee Loughner’s solution was a Second Amendment solution, and that is exactly what it looks like. It does not matter if Congresswomen Giffords was a Democrat, Conservative, or an Independent. It. Does. Not. Matter. When you talk about Second Amendment solutions, you’re talking about taking up arms against the United States of America, you’re talking about taking up arms against your neighbors, and this is exactly what it looks like.

What’s the logic here?  Some random nut doesn’t agree with the government, so he guns down a Congresswomen like some gunslinger in the old Arizona west?  Well, yeah, that’s bad. But, hey, when we don’t agree with the Administration and we call for Second Amendment solutions, that’s different.

Different how?

How is that different?

How is it different from those Leftwing extremists who took up arms against their fellow citizens during the 60’s? How? Conservatives repeatedly bring up Bill Ayers. They repeatedly condemn his radical extremism, and rightly so. Then they talk about doing the exact same thing, only somehow when Chuck Norris and Sarah Palin and Sharon Angle call for armed action against the government it’s different. How? Because they’re talking about guns instead of car bombs? Because they’re talking about shooting Liberals? Because they’re talking about shooting Progressives? Moderates? Centrists?

Bullshit.

Or do they somehow think they’re just going to show their guns to the rest of us, and we’re just going to go meekly off to die in the Canadian wilderness without firing a shot? Is that it?

When the mullahs called for death to America, when the Imams declared Jihad, when Osama Bin Laden called for the Mujahidin to kill the infidels, the murdering bastards didn’t get to look America in the eye and say, hey, we’re not responsible if the crazies chose to fly an airplane into the World Trade Center, we were just speaking metaphorically. It’s insane to hold us accountable.

Now, now that there is blood on the sidewalk, now Rush Limbaugh wants to absolve himself of responsibility? Now Sarah Palin wants to pretend that Second Amendment solutions are something else? Now they want to claim that this isn’t what they were talking about?

What then is the point of bringing their guns to Washington? Why then do they even care about gun control laws, if they have no intention of using those guns in the first place?

They don’t even have the common decency to be ashamed.

No.

Make no mistake, make no mistake whatsoever, Limbaugh and his friends, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, the Tea Party, these treasonous traitorous seditious sons of bitches finally got a look at what they’ve been threatening us with for the last two years. And what it looks like is a women shot through the head, what it looks like is a slaughtered nine year old girl, what it looks like is a dead grandmother and a dead grandfather. What it looks like is a bloodbath.

Limbaugh wants to absolve himself of responsibility? He wants to absolve Sarah Palin and the Tea Party?  He wants to absolve Glenn Beck and FoxNews and the Right? He wants to absolve Chuck Norris? He wants to absolve all those who have been calling for Second Amendment solutions?

Fuck him, I don’t think so.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Random Thoughts on the Giffords Shooting (updated x2)

Update is near the bottom of the post


I’ve had all day to think about this event.

And the more I do, the more enraged I get.

 

For starters if it had been I who posted this hit list:

image

 

here on Stonekettle Station prior to today, I’d be sitting in a small room right now answering questions from humorless men in dark suits. 

If I had spent the last two years advocating the assassination of the President, Congressmen, Senators, and Judges that I don’t agree with, if I had used the exact words Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reily, Michelle Bachman, and the rest of these traitorous scumbags who purport to be Americans use, if that was my signature on the hit list above, I’d be in custody right now. 

If I had encouraged my followers to take up arms against the government, if it had been me who called for the military to mutiny against the Commander in Chief, if it had been me advocating for a new civil war, if I was any random high school kid in America and I had published a hit list like the one above, the one that has graced Sarah Palin’s website for the last year, I’d be in jail right now.

Don’t think they don’t know it either, because Palin and Fox and the Tea Party and the rest of these bastards have spent the last eight hours editing their websites to remove any reference to guns and violence and target lists.  Palin couldn’t delete that hit list with its little scope sights fast enough – though she apparently doesn’t understand the concept of cached copies. They know, yes  they do, but they simply have no shame whatsoever – and if you don’t believe me, well, all you have to do is read the comments from the Tea Party under Palin’s hypocritical bullshit on Facebook.

When you agitate for violent solutions, you don’t get to wash your hands of the bloody responsibility when the unhinged take you up on your suggestions.

 

And the shooter, Jared Loughner, was indeed unhinged. Certainly – at least if the raving paranoid crap he posted on the web is any indicator.  I don’t know that he was either right or left or somewhere careening down the centerline of Bugshit Street, Crazytown, USA.  But I find it typical that because he listed both the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf as his favorite reads, the commenters under Fox, Yahoo, and Palin’s Facebook page have decided that he is a “Leftist!”  It doesn’t surprise me in any way whatsoever that none of these drooling idiots seem to realize that Mein Kampf, was written by Adolf Hitler, a fascist, and an extreme rightwing nationalist.  No it doesn’t surprise me at all, it’s just par for the course. It also doesn’t surprise me that Palin has taken no action whatsoever to correct her commenters, ditto Fox, ditto Yahoo, ditto the dittoheads of the Tea Party.

 

A large number of folks are now apparently creating fake webpages and Facebook accounts purporting to be from Loughner himself in order to “prove” that that shooter was or was not motivated by whatever agenda they’re pushing. That’s going to make the investigation fun.  It sickens me to realize just how many people feel that they have to “win” at all costs, even if they have to fake the evidence – whether it’s the attempted assassination of a US Congresswoman or an autism study.

 

I think it’s about time we chucked the bullshit and started referring to our country as The United States. Seriously. Because if these stupid sons of bitches keep at it, sooner or later – probably sooner – we’re going to go the way of the dinosaur.


1/9/11, 0700 Updated

This morning Palin aides are busy defending the bull's-eye imagery and the gun violence statements used by Palin and the Tea Party.  "We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," Rebecca Mansour, a senior Palin spokesperson, said. She denounced attempts to tie Palin to the violence as "obscene" and "appalling." We never intended it to be gun sights? Really? Because based on Palin’s “Don’t retreat, reload” rhetoric I’m going to have to drop the bullshit flag on that one.  When you put up a list like the one above and you talk about “taking them out” and you talk about “2nd Amendment Solutions” you don’t get to later claim you weren’t talking about killing people. But her attempt to change the past, even when directly confronted with a hit list, complete with gunsight bull’s-eyes and signed by Sarah Palin herself, is typical of Creationists who dogmatically deny the evidence before them and change the past to suit their nonsense.  Palin’s spokesperson saying “we never, ever, ever intended it to be gunsights” while looking at fucking gunsights is just the second coming of the same old cavalry.

What is obscene and appalling here is that target list up above, and the rest of the “2nd Amendment Solutions” advocated by Palin and her toadies. That hit list is an act every bit as obscene as those who hang nooses or burn crosses in the yard of a black family.  That hit list is an act every bit as obscene as carving a swastika onto the front door of a synagogue.  What is obscene are statements by people like Rebecca Mansour, denying that those symbols up above are gunsights. 

It in the cold light of the morning after, it is my considered opinion that Palin and the rest of these foul violent bastards should be charged as co-conspirators in this event and prosecuted to the fullest degree of the law under the domestic terrorism clause of the Patriot Act.  I think Rupert Murdock should be dragged before a military tribunal at Gitmo to account for the actions of his media empire, and if found guilty should be stripped of his citizenship and deported back to Australia – let them deal with his ass.

Words and actions have consequences, the Tea Party should be held to account for theirs.


1/9/11, 0900 Updated

Expanding on something I said in the comments section:

Rights come with responsibilities.

This isn’t an abstract, it’s the law.

In the US it is the right of most citizens to own a gun, but they are fully responsible for how it’s used.   If you as a gun owner leave your weapon out where a child or a crazy person can get a hold of it, you’re responsible for the consequences.

If you and your friends get together for a tailgate party and it evolves into riot after your team loses, you are responsible for the broken windows and property damage and the gang rapes – you don’t get to claim that you were just exercising your 1st Amendment right to free assembly.

The same is true of free speech, if you encourage someone to kill another, and they do, you are guilty of conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder – and people are routinely convicted of this nearly every week. Saying “oh, I was just kidding” or “oh, I didn’t really mean it” or “oh, I was just speaking metaphorically” isn’t a defense.

Rights come with responsibility.

The 1st Amendment isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card.


 

It’s a sad day in America, folks, a sad fucking day indeed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Captain Dishonor

Well, I suppose it was inevitable.

The Navy fired Captain Owen Honors, Commanding Officer of USS Enterprise.

It’s a damned shame, isn’t it?

Damn those queers, it's getting so you can't ridicule anybody anymore.

Used to be the military was the last refuge from political correctness, a bulwark of blunt and rough video skits keeping America safe from the humorless PC police.

Back during the Greatest Generation you didn’t have to watch your mouth. No sir. It was the golden age of American Freedom, a veritable paradise of 1st Amendment rights for true Americans. You could tell ethnic jokes all day in the foxholes and make fun of homosexuals and women and non-Christians until the air raid siren sounded and nobody was offended – and, boy, you know if it wasn’t for that kind of harmless patriotic morale-boosting humor we might not have beaten those filthy racist homophobic misogynistic anti-Semitic Nazis and Japs. And what would America be like now, huh?

Alas, that great age of expression is gone, every generation since The Super Greatest One has been a little more diminished, a little more politically correct, a little more wussified.

It seems that a real American can no longer make fun of anybody. You can’t demean black people, er I mean African Americans any more, or Asians, or Latinos – hell, there isn’t a single ethnic minority left that you can safely ridicule in public – except for maybe Indians (everybody loves that 7/11 bit, even Indians).  You can’t pick on atheists or Muslims because they’re too thin skinned. People get all sensitive and call you Nazi if you poke a little fun at Jews. You can’t even treat women as second class citizens anymore because they get all emotional and start crying and stuff.

And now they want to take away the last safe target of hate and derision: Gays.

Honestly, what’s a real man supposed to do? Act civilized? Act maturely? The politically correct terrorists have won! I weep for lost America when men were men and everybody else had a sense of humor.


You buying any of this?

No?

I didn’t think so. Unfortunately, you may be in the minority. See, for a rather large number of folks, the tongue in cheek bit I penned above really is how they think. They really do buy Glenn Beck’s teary proclamation that the White Christian Manly Man is the most persecuted minority in the world, oh yes they do. Let’s look at a sample of comments from Yahoo News. Yahoo, for those of you unfamiliar with the forum, makes FoxNews readers look like limp-wristed bunny-hugging Obama-loving Liberal intellectuals by comparison.  Yahoo is where stupid and ignorant go to breed incestuously and multiply with Willie Nillie abandon:

- This is the kind of persicution CHRISTIANS have to deal with now that gays can serve in the military. A bunch of fags whining about everything!!!! Those damned gays! Oh how I hate their whining! Why can’t they just be quiet? Quiet like those Christians who suffer in stoic silence whenever a local Atheist group oppresses them by putting up a billboard, or somebody accidently raises the topic of evolution in their presence. Yes, like that. Just like that.

- Here it is !!! a career Navy man who has dedicated his whole LIFE to serving his country.. tells some JOKES.. (like Larry the Cable Guy, or Ellen.. or any number of others ) and because 10 homosexuals whant to play Navy guy and take showers together and hold hands in uniform...lets sacrifice honorable men to the cause of homosexuality.. if i were still in the Corps.. i would resign.. and would recomend ALL non-homosexual men and women do the same... i guess America will feel SO much safer with @#$%'s and hey.. lets fill the ranks with illeagals.. to protect the people.. see how you like this hopey/changy thing also. Apparently those gay people who dedicated their whole lives to serving their country aren’t deserving of the same courtesy and respect as Captain Honors. All I can say is that if we do end up filling the ranks with gay illegals (or illeagals, whatever those are), hopefully they will know the difference between the ellipsis and a period and how to use each form of punctuation correctly. Ability to use an internet browser with an integrated spell checker would be good too. Question, what’s the deal with fundies and the use of the ellipsis as a period and bizarre random capitalization? It’s like Conservative Tourette's (Seriously, these are the people bitching about immigrants who can’t speak English without an accent? Doh)

- This whole issue is because Gay's came out for revenge. They will get there's I'll bet. They will regret the repeal of "NADT" When they will have to function like fighters (unless scratching becomes the method of warfare" Beware the Gay Revenge! I love the logic here, gays will regret being able to serve openly because they’ll “have to function like fighters.” As opposed to what? Serving covertly under DADT when they apparently didn’t have to fight? Apparently the commenter doesn’t realize that gay people already serve in the military – that, of course, being the whole point of DADT in the first place - but then he doesn’t even seem to know what the proper acronym for the policy is.  Fuck it, I’ve got no actual idea of what I’m talking about but I’m outraged! Outraged, I tell ya! Outraged about them vindictive Gays and their revenge!

- Scumbag liberals strike again. No one was offended when it happened and everyone enjoyed it. Morale was very high during a long deployment at sea. We were in the middle of 2 wars but some gay liberal got offended so the MAJORITY gets screwed again. Continue with the traditions. Gay Bashing is a time honored tradition apparently If the majority appreciate it, then shout down the minority. Finally! Somebody who understands the Constitution, shout down the minority! Yes, that’s how we do it in America! If only we had stayed true to that founding ideal why we’d still have good old American slavery and women would be livestock as God intended. Damn those scumbag liberals, damn them and the tyranny of the minority!

- Probably considering a gay black woman as a replacement. Yes, because that’s the only choices there are, an randomly chosen unqualified politically correct candidate or Roger Ramjet The Masturbating Gay Basher. Nothing in between. Isn’t there a name for this particular logical fallacy? Or is this the wrong forum to bring up logical fallacies?

- America has lost the experience of a career and dedicated officer. He was given command of a carrier so he was no slouch and that video was mild parody humor at worst. This was just a head on a stick handed to the demented homoperverts by the Odumma administration. There are homoperverts everywhere giving limp wristed high fives and celebratory blow jobs to each other. Question: is celebratory oral sex strictly a gay custom, or can anybody get in on that?

- I am a soldier He was commanding officer of humor. The conversion Capt. Owen Honors to the administrative division is normal. Because he was happy too that affect the United States Navy honors. But Capt. layoffs. Honors are too heavy for him. Capt without violating the professional commanders. This incident happened many years ago, Capt. there was still a good achievement and are trained from the U.S. Navy. Captain commanded aircraft carriers as the world He's only a few dozen people only. Sorry for Capt. Owen Honnors Hell, I love this guy. At least he knows how use a period.

- Anytime that anything other than "excellence, intelligence and competence" are used to elevate people to high levels of authority... then a society is in trouble!!! Quota's and set-asides have already lead to a generation of ill equipped fools in positions that they don't deserve and did not earn on merit... only God can save us now... but I am starting to doubt why he would even want to!!! Oh, I’m sure God values your opinion. He cares, no really, He does. Sure He does. I have to assume the commenter is railing against the well known Naval Academy Graduate White Alpha Male Fighter Jock Only Club Super Carrier Skipper Quota. Fucking Affirmative Action is soooooooo unfair. 

- This is pathetic, one day you civies will figure out the military is for the military and you'll keep your nose out of our business. Just like the Constitution says!

- This is a nation of wussified wussies. Wussified Wussies would make a great name for a breakfast cereal. Kellogg’s Wussified Wussies, now wussified with 8 wussy vitamins (It would be like the opposite of Cheerios).

- Letting this man go is a crock of @#$%. The Navy has a lot of time and money invested in him. Next we should put our military in skirts and give them sticks to fight with. Never would I serve again in this nations politically correct armed forces. When politicians and military @#$% run our military, it's an absolute no win situation. Get the women off the ships, out of the co-ed barracks, put the troops back in 60-70 men squade-bays, feed every body the same @#$% food (get the lard off their asses) and start running the military the way it should be run. Restart the draft and teach all these young kids to respect people, the law and drugs ain't the way to go. Somebody has watched one too many reruns of Full Metal Jacket.

- This would not have happened in Patton's time because people today are very perverted unlike yesterday. Oh, excellent example. One thing about conservatives, they know their Patton – his superiors would never have held him accountable for being politically incorrect, not the Greatest Generation, no sirree. Because, you know, if Patton did something stupid that offended and outraged people and brought discredit to the US Military by becoming a national news story that was so fucking obnoxious people actually remembered the event seven decades later, why there’d be some kind of record of it. Right? Yes, excellent example.

- IMPEACH the Marxist-Leninist, Barack Hussein Obama! Because, as you know, Tea Party rules dictate that this phrase be used at least once in every conservative forum. Alternatively, you may substitute a request to see the usurper’s birth certificate.

- In the few days leading up to the repubs in the Congress...you have 1. environmental attack..genetic markers kill 1.000 's of birds in Arkansas... 2. environomental attack ..killled-- fish at same time 3. leak of inhouse four year old video causes navy reassignment.... 4. sudden suicide of iranian shah's youngest son...just like that... I now know what to expect from you ruthless socialists.... I get it.... Damn it, he’s on to us! Which one of you blabbermouths talked?

- (And finally, my personal favorite) obviously he made an enemy of some lesbian or male homosexual who was out for revenge and this all came to light just as "dont ask dont tell" is repealed ...my bet is on a lesbian ..no one hates men in positions of power& command like a lesbian ....they live and thirst for control its what drives them that and hatred of mankind.  There’s some sadistic part of me that is tempted to repost this comment verbatim on John Scalzi’s site. But, honestly, I’d be afraid that the resulting total supernova fusion meltdown of uberfeminist SciFi Fandom would explode the internets and destroy the world like some kind of Dr. Strangelove doomsday device of offended outrage. But I won’t. You’re welcome. 

A lot of you wrote to ask my opinion of this incident.

Let’s start with a couple of points:

- Institutionalized denigration and demeaning of gays?  Well, sure. That’s the poisonous part about making people second class citizens. Those videos were made by the Executive Officer of one of the world’s most powerful warships without fear of repercussion (false confidence as it turns out, but still).  They are the result of a 17 year policy that made some people, people who were willing to lay down their lives same as the rest of us by the way, less than full citizens and gave that minority absolutely no recourse. No recourse whatsoever in fact. Anybody complains, ipso facto they’re gay and they get kicked out and their life ruined.  Honestly, what the fuck did you think the results of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell were going to be?  This was the result of Separate But Equal. This was the result of those policies that kept women out the military and out of business and out of politics. This is always the result when you decide that some people are less than others.  This, in microcosm, is the same wrong perpetrated on a national scale when gays, or any minority, are denied the Constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

- By all accounts, Captain Honors is a damned fine officer.  I seriously doubt he intended to actually offend anyone. Most of us in the military are tough enough to handle some bawdy humor, foul language, and sexual innuendo. Sailors tend to develop a thick skin.  More than any other service, we’re rude and we’re crude, it’s a mark of pride with us. It’s true.  I watched the videos available on the web. I’ve see worse, far worse, in Grand Theft Auto or on basic cable.  I’m positive that Honors was only trying to keep morale up and have a bit of fun.  Life on a warship is tough. Life on a deployed birdfarm is a special kind of hell and little things like your XO hamming it up make a big, big difference. 

What?

Oh, you think I’m going to excuse him, don’t you?

You do.

Well, you’re wrong.

I’m not making any excuses for him whatsoever.  There are few, damned few, officers in the United States Navy that should have known just how inappropriate this type of juvenile frat-boy bullshit was as the XO of USS Enterprise. In point of fact, it is the XO’s job to put a stop to this kind of unprofessional nonsense.  It is the XO’s job to ensure that every single Sailor, every single one, is treated fairly and with respect and dignity – yes, even the gay ones. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that Captain Honors couldn’t have made funny morale boosting videos without demeaning a minority, simulating sex acts, or using foul language on shipboard TV.  The XO of a navy ship isn’t an idiot, he had to have known there was a very high probability that those videos would find their way outside the lifelines - and even if there wasn't, honor is how you behave when nobody is watching, if you wouldn’t act like that in front of your family, you sure as hell shouldn’t be doing it in front of your crew. Captains and Executive Officers set the standard for their crews, no excuses, no exceptions, they are held to a higher standard for a damned good reason.

Captain Honors was relieved of his command by the Navy today and that was the only way this was going to end. Period. It was inevitable from the minute those videos surfaced on the web. His dismissal was right and proper and keeping within Navy tradition - and there isn’t an experienced Navy sailor who didn’t see it coming right down the line.

It wasn’t because what he did was wrong, because legally and by regulation it wasn’t.

It wasn’t because he bashed gays, because under DADT gays were NOT a protected minority within the military.

It wasn’t because he used profanity, it’s frowned on for someone in his position but if we shitcanned every Sailor who used salty language, well there wouldn’t be anybody left to man the fucking ships.

It’s not because of political correctness or revenge of the gays or the fact that president is a democrat or any other such nonsense.

There are a lot of mistakes a Navy officer can make and survive.  I know of a commanding officer who through arrogance and bullheadedness managed to cause the loss of not one, but two, US Navy helicopters.  Fortunately their crews survived.  He went on to another command at sea and what finally did him in was the affair he was having with the wife of one of his young crewmen…while his own wife lay dying of cancer in a Navy hospital (I hear after he got out, he went to work for the John Edwards campaign.  Ba dump bump! What? Too soon?).  I know officers who’ve hit the pier on approach to dock and managed to survive with their careers only slightly dented. I know aviators who lost planes because they were too hungover to be flying and yet they returned to the cockpit.  An officer can fuck up a lot of ways and still survive.

But see, Captain Honors violated the one inviolate cardinal rule that a Naval officer cannot recover from.

He brought discredit to the service.

It’s really just that simple.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tic-Tac-Toe with the Devil

There’s this great line in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Inferno.

Inferno, for those of you not familiar with the genre, is a modern day retelling of part of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Science Fiction writer Allen Carpentier dies and goes to Hell.  Hades turns out to be exactly as Dante described it, a series of concentric circles, each dedicated to the eternal punishment of specific sins.  Carpentier must journey from the Vestibule in the outermost ring to the Lake of Ice in the middle where Lucifer himself resides. Along the way he is forced to play a game of chance against a demon. The Demon makes a game-board with its rapier-like claw by slashing two parallel cuts into Carpentier’s bare abdomen. 

Carpentier stumbles back from the Demon, staring in horror at the wounds.

The Demon waits patiently.

Carpentier doesn’t understand, but he’s curious and willing to take foolish risks to achieve his goal (traits that got him sent to Hell in the first place).

And here, Niven pens one of my favorite inner monologues of all time. To wit: Carpentier demonstrates his inability to learn.

The protagonist steps within range of the Demon yet again, just to see what happens next…

 

That line is something I’ve quoted to myself for the last thirty years, whenever, driven by my curiosity, I’m about to engage in something foolish.

(What? Oh yes, that. Carpentier steps within range of the Demon, and the fallen creature slashes two more deep cuts into the writer’s flesh perpendicular to the first set. A crosshatch. See?  Carpentier suddenly understands what he’s looking at, it’s a game. Tic-tac-toe.  Carpentier made a game of religion in life, now he must play a game for his soul. Carpentier eventually wins by scratching X’s into his own flesh with his fingernail. As he walks away, holding his guts in, the Demon shouts after him, “Best two out of three?”  You can, if you like, imagine Carpentier’s response).

 

I get mail.

Sometimes I answer.

You’d think I’d know better by now, but no. 

And here, yet again, Jim demonstrates his inability to learn:

The following is a heavily edited version of an email conversation that happened over the last week.  It is edited for a number of reasons: 1) for clarity, because the original illiterate blathering gibberish is too painful for me to repost here, 2) for certain reasons I feel it necessary to hide the writer’s identity because it is possible, though unlikely, that certain readers might recognize him (or her), and 3) because ending every single sentence with “LOL” makes me want to punch baby bunnies in the face. Repeatedly. Until their soft little bones shatter.

 

Jim, long time. I’m sure you remember me despite the fact that we knew each other only briefly a long time ago. I’m sure you’ve been thinking about me every single day since that fateful meeting and living your life solely in a manner I approve of.   I am laughing out loud at this for no reason that makes any sense whatsoever.

He’s wrong, I don’t remember him. Well, mostly don’t anyway. It’s been a long, long time and I tend to edit the dipshits from my memory.

I came across you on Facebook. I’m still laughing out loud because I apparently find the fact that I found somebody on a site designed for finding people funny. I don’t know why I’m laughing out loud, perhaps I am a giggling douchebag.  I know that I learned all about technology, computer systems, networking, information systems, and electronic theory from you, and I know that I am technologically illiterate to a degree that makes it astounding that I can even eat pudding by myself without the nurse’s help, but I still can’t believe that you are using the internet.  You must be new to the internets and find it difficult to understand because you are old. I am so amused at the fact that you, of all people, are on Facebook, that I continue to laugh out loud. I’m laughing and laughing. Out loud.

In my head, I’m punching small crying bunnies. In the face. Over and over and over.

I sent you a Facebook friend request, but you didn’t answer.

I didn’t? How odd.

I see you have a blog.  This, of course, makes me laugh out loud. Laugh. Laugh laugh. Despite the fact that you didn’t accept my friend request, you deleted my comments on your website and blocked further access, you keep brushing off my various attempts to stalk you via chat, and you wished upon me painfully infected “taint boils” in your last email, I knew you would value my opinion of Stonekettle Station.

(Jim demonstrates, yet again, his inability to learn) Oh, please, enlighten me, Laughing Spasm Monkey.

I am very disappointed. Yes, so very, very disappointed in you.  Tsk tsk. For shame. When I am disappointed, I like to laugh out loud. Laugh. Laugh laugh laugh.   I used to admire you because I thought you were awesome. But I’ve been reading your blog and now I find out that you believe in equality for all, freedom of expression, rule of law, intelligent dialog, education, science, honor, duty, and taking care of others. I am horribly disappointed to learn that you don’t love Fox News as I do and are unwilling to allow Glenn Beck to implant his embryo in the flesh of your thorax where it will grow and gnaw its way out in a fountain of blood and ruptured tissue. This, of course, makes me laugh out loud like a fool.

Yes. Well thanks for pointing that out.

To repeat, I am so disappointed to find that you are not the bigoted, racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, misogynist, right-wing, tea-party lovin’, Palin-worshipping, Jesus Action Figure collecting douchebag that I just invented in my mind and that bears no relationship to reality whatsoever.  Of course, I find this humorous and that in turn makes me laugh out loud some more.

Taint boils might be too kind.

 

How many times has this exact online conversation happened to me in the last year? Four times? Five? A dozen. Hell, I’ve lost track. Those of you who follow me on Facebook have been witness to some of these conversations.  Somebody from my past shows up and immediately expresses their sadness and disappointment that I’m not who they thought I was.  It’s always the same, they haven’t seen me in years, but they know all about me.  They tell me how smart they thought I was back in the day, but then go on to speak to me as if I’m a slow child – that I’ll come around if only they quote Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to me again, and again, and again.  They repeatedly tell me how stupid I am, while typing in L33T-speak and punctuating their illiterate grammar with “LOL!” and an endless series of ellipses like a monkey with OCD let loose on the period key.  Every single one of these idiots seems to think they are the first of their ilk I’ve met. They seem to think that they have some kind of right to “school” me. They seem to think they have a right to dictate who my friends and family should be.  They get angry, very angry, when they find out I’m not going to be the person they expect me to be.  Witness the idiot on Facebook who told me to “stay out of politics” if I didn’t know anything about it.  Me. And after I locked him out, he started emailing me death threats – accompanied by admonishments not to take things so seriously because “you’re going to have a heart attack before you’re 50!”  These are always the people who yell the loudest about rights and freedoms – the right to think just like them apparently, the Freedom of Orwell’s 1984.

 

I cannot understand why you hate America.

Probably because I don’t, actually, hate America. Which doesn’t mean that I am blind to its flaws. And like the Founders, I expect my country to admit those flaws, and work towards improvement knowing that we will never be perfect - but striving to be anyway.

You must acknowledge American Exceptionalism!

Exceptionalism isn’t a word. 

Yes it is! Sarah Palin uses it!

You got me there.  I don’t believe in American Exceptionalism.  I think America is a great country.  I think Americans think America is a great country. I also think Canadians think Canada is a great country. And Englishmen think England is a great country.  And Spaniards think Spain is a great country. And Icelanders think Iceland is a great country.  And Iranians think Iran is a great country. Hell, even the French think France is a great country.

France sucks. You must be stupid. Your stupidity makes me laugh out loud.

Ever been to France?

No, but it sucks. Everybody know it. It sucks so much that I will laugh out loud yet again. Laugh, laugh, laugh.  So does Canada and Spain and England. They all suck. They are not America. America is special.

Why?

Because America is favored by God. Ha! Your argument is invalid!

What proof of this do you offer?  I can’t find “and so God loved America above all other blighted lands, and especially France where men lay with goats and cheese smells of feet,” in my Bible.

Laughing out loud here!

I’m glad you are amused. But where do you get this? Where is it written? Did Jesus appear on a cheese sandwich or a spot of mold on Bill O’Reily’s forehead and proclaim his love for America? Did they turn over a rock in the Holy Land and find America, Fuck Ya! written in fire on the bottom?  Did the Pope declare America day?

We’ve got freedom!

Sure as long as you don’t mind getting naked and groped by government police.

We’ve got Democracy!

So do a lot of people, more actually in some cases.  And we’re a republic, not a democracy by the way.

We have the Constitution!

So does Liberia.

Fuck you.

So, you just pulled that whole God Loves America Best bit out of your ass then?

Fuck you.

What? No laughing out loud?

Fuck you.

 

Aw. Come on, don’t go away mad! Hello?

Best two out of three?