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Thursday, July 4, 2013

An Open Letter To The Idiot Nation

Update:  You know, it never ceases to amaze me what does and does not go viral.  This post has taken on legs of its own and again, despite the hate mail, it’s obvious that this post touches on something many folks feel strongly about.  This tickles me. That’s the point of writing, to touch on the things that move people, to inspire conversation and dialog.

That said, while I appreciate that the vast majority of people who read Stonekettle Station and go through the effort to comment here on a regular basis seem to be a cut above the usual internet free-for-all, when a post like this takes off, it tends to attract those who aren’t house broken.  Since I’m now pulling in a larger than normal percentage of trolls on this post, comment moderation is now on. I’ve got things to do today other than play whack-a-troll with these silly buggers.

Remember, folks, you’re free to disagree, but if you can’t follow the basic commenting rules (that you didn’t bother to read in the first place), then you’re not going to be allowed to interrupt the adults. That’s how it is, you pays your money and you takes your chances. //Jim


I’ve got a couple of old Navy buddies.

Had rather, I had a couple of old navy buddies, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

They’re both from the military generation just previous to mine, i.e. they were senior NCO’s when I was but a wee junior enlisted man. 

Back then they were good guys.  At least I thought so.

When I was coming up through the ranks I admired the both of them.

When I put on my Chief’s anchors and joined the ranks of the senior NCOs myself, and later when I was commissioned to Warrant and became an Officer, I worked with both of them in a special branch of military intelligence.  Our job was to get it right, to get the information right, to look at everything with a critical eye, to check the facts and double check them, to risk our very lives if necessary if that’s what it took to get the actual ground truth. We were trained that way, there were systems in place that were designed to force the military intelligence community to think critically, to double and triple check the information – but we, us senior NCOs, us Officers, we were the final check, the final stop before the information entered the system. Our job, as best we were able, was to ensure that only vetted intelligence made its way to the decision-makers – otherwise people tended to die.

Beyond that, as military leaders our job was to lead by example. 

Always, as a Chief, as an Officer, your job is to put a stop to the wild rumors that grow among a crew far from home, among Sailors who live shoulder to shoulder in close quarters for months on end. Our job as leaders was to depend on clear-eyed fact and to never fall for group think and mass hysteria and the other pitfalls of leadership under such conditions.

Like me, both of these men are now retired from military service.

Ten years ago, they would have settled into retirement outside some base in a Navy town, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Mayport, Pensacola, San Diego, Seal Beach, Oak Harbor, and grown fat. They would have hung around outside the local base Exchange, parked on a bench outside the barber shop, like old retired Sailors do, sighing and rolling their eyes at the current generation.  Drinking free coffee from the Commissary, pining for the good old days of the Cold War and Reagan and the 600 Ship Navy, those were the days, we were real sailors back then, man, I’ll tell you what, not like these punks today.  They’d have drawn a stool up to the bar down at the local VFW or the Legion and surrounded by other like minded beer-bellied old warriors they’d have cried into their cups about how the country was going straight to hell.

Their bitching and complaining would have been confined to few old gray-hairs, bitter at the loss of their youth, the loss of their power and authority, the changing world that was increasingly leaving them behind. But see, no matter what, they were always surrounded by the next generation, those hard young men and women, clear-eyed and lean, the ones who proudly wear the uniform today and who smile indulgently at the bitching of fat old men on a bench outside the barber shop. The presence of those fine young men and women make you stop and take stock, make you realize that you’ve become one of them, those garrulous old curmudgeons, and suddenly you’re self-conscious of the fact that you’ve been running your mouth instead of setting the example and you shut the hell up.   

Think of it as a sort of a natural check and balance on pessimism.

But nowadays, these guys, they’ve got the Internet.

And instead of sitting down at the base food court, they sit on the couch in their den with Fox News blaring in the background and their pistol on the table next to an open bottle of Jack and a blister pack of blood pressure medicine, and they comb the web for all the misery and pessimism they can find. Somehow, all that training, that hard won skill at fact checking and critical thinking that was once the very core of their being, is forgotten. Where once their bitterness was confined to a few doddering old farts down at the VFW, now they can reach hundreds, thousands, of like minded strident pessimists, reinforcing each other’s increasingly hysterical worldview without check or pause for reason.

I get a constant stream of woe and misery from these two – and from other former comrades in arms.

It’s an endless litany of pessimism and bitter grumblings fleshed out with the latest NRA hysteria, TEA Party conspiracy theories, Fox News lunacy, and silly chainmail nonsense. 

Here’s a typical example:

Jeff's got something to say... Unfortunately, it's about this country... Sad but true.

- [name redacted]

_________________

by Jeff Foxworthy:

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents' permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If, in the nation's largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is "cute," but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government's plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn't be found - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more "safe" according to the government - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

__________

What's happened to our aountry!=============

You know, I used to admire these men. I would have walked through fire for them. But that was long ago. Back before they forgot how to think critically and before they settled into a hog wallow of misery and pessimism and fear and hysteria.

I hated to do it, I really did, but this was my response.

Of course, I know what comes next. I know it all too well.

_________________________

 

Enough, Shipmates, enough.

Enough of this crap.

What the hell happened to you guys?   When did you start buying into this garbage?

Jeff’s got something to say?

What the hell, fellas?

Jeff Foxworthy? The has-been “you might be a redneck…” comedian whose popularity waxed in the mid 1990’s? That Jeff Foxworthy?  

Oh, well, if Jeff has something to say, I mean, Jeff, well, I guess I should probably listen. Right? I mean what? After his comedy career faded, he became Ambassador to China maybe? He and Larry the Cable Guy won the Nobel for a new economic theory? Did he lead  troops into battle and win the Navy Cross? Maybe he founded a string of hospitals for the poor? Built a Fortune 500 company from the ground up and then sold it off to build the next generation of private spacecraft? I mean, shit, Jeff Foxworthy, now there’s an authority on the state of the nation, you bet.

What?

What’s that you say? He’s the guy who hosts Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader on Fox? 

Oh.

Okay. Sure, that’s sort of the same thing, I guess.

Sad but true.

Except, of course, that part where it’s not true.

What’s actually sad about this, besides it coming from you guys, is that the entire thing is made up.

Jeff Foxworthy never wrote this.  Five minutes of fact-checking would have confirmed it.  It’s just something some bitter old codger made up, and figured he’d get wider play if he pasted a famous name on the bottom of it rather then his own forgettable one.  It’s complete bullshit. It’s like all the crap attributed to Morgan Freeman, or Ben Franklin.

It’s bad enough that the average idiot would believe this nonsense, but you two men are far from stupid and you were trained intelligence officers.  In uniform, you’d have never stood for this kind of sloppy bullshit from your watch team.

What happened to your critical analysis skills, did you take them off with your uniform?

The format and the topics bear no resemblance to Foxworthy’s actual material and should have set off alarms right away, which should have led to some fact checking starting with Snopes. Instead you just nodded because it confirmed you own bias and so you hit the forward button and dumped this crap on me. Thanks for nothing.

Confirmation bias is the single most egregious error you can make in the intelligence field – well, next to just making shit up, I mean. Confirmation bias leads you to invade countries by accident, because you ignored information contrary to what you wanted to hear. Confirmation bias gets people killed. You guys taught me that, so what the hell is this?

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

Talk about logical fallacies. 

You can get arrested for hunting without a license, but not for entering the country illegally – except for the part where we arrest tens of thousands of people for entering the country illegally every year

In 2011, for example, 447,731 illegal immigrants were arrested along the southern border of the United States. That’s 447,731 on the US/Mexican border alone. That doesn’t include all the other illegals arrested attempting to enter via other access points or the arrests of illegals already resident in the US.

It’s almost impossible to get a solid figure on the number of arrests, nationwide, for illegal hunting and fishing in the same period (they are typically different figures, maintained by each state), but it’s on the order of maybe a few hundred, maybe a few thousand, at the high end. Nowhere near the number of illegal aliens arrested, not by an order of magnitude.  The two figures aren’t even remotely comparable. It’s the fallacy of false comparison, just as is every other item on this list.

And yes, there are plenty of illegal immigrants in the United States, just as there are plenty of folks who hunt and fish illegally and remain uncaught or commit numerous other crimes all of which cost each of us money and resources. The question is, just how far are you willing to go to catch them all? How much of your own freedom and liberty are you willing to give up in order to catch these offenders? I’m all ears. Are you willing to show your papers at every turn? Are you willing to have all your communications monitored? Are you willing to be strip searched in the airports because you look like a foreigner? Come now, how far are you willing to go?  Oh, right, never mind, you complained about all of those things further down in the list.

If you think illegal aliens aren’t subject to arrest, you might be the very idiots you’re complaining about.

If you have to get your parents' permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

You people have abortion on the brain.  Shut the fuck up about abortion.

You spent your entire lives in the profession of arms, knowing that your actions might some day involve the deaths of children (can’t wage war without killing kids, fellas, you know that just as well as I – given that we fought in the same conflicts together. Omelet. Eggs. That’s just how it goes) but now you’re all about saving the babies? Now?

Again, the fallacy of false comparison. The reason a kid can’t take a field trip without a permission slip is that the field trip might be to the local museum, where the kid might be exposed to ideas about evolution and carbon dating and dinosaurs or climate change or other such taboo knowledge. Or the excursion might be to the local market where kids might get their heads filled with sustainable agriculture or be exposed to people with funny accents and strange religions, they might hear about birth control or safe sex or solar panels or god forbid, wind turbines, or any of a thousand verboten topics that make Jesus cry like a kid whose puppy just got run over.

I agree that it is insane that that an underage girl can get an abortion without her parent’s permission, that if the procedure is botched the parents are responsible for all that comes after including the medical bills even though they didn’t get a say. But that’s what it’s come down to. Insanity. Because you people can’t speak reasonably about abortion, because you can’t leave your God and your hypocrisy the hell out of it.

Fellas, extremists and extreme positions leads to extremism. Every time. As you damned well know. If you take up an extreme position, and then complain about extremism, you’re very likely the kind of extremist idiot you’re complaining about.

If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

The difference is intent

And you know it.

If you don’t want to be talked to like a child, then stop acting like a fucking child.

When the government makes you show ID to board a plane, it’s because it’s their job to make sure the passengers onboard are who they say they are.  Because given the abject examples of our nation’s recent past, this is obviously important.  Ditto having to show an ID to cash a check or buy booze, history would indicate that demand for identification is a good idea. 

Now despite endless efforts to the contrary, nobody can show a significant percentage of voter fraud, or even an insignificant amount for that matter.  In the last presidential election, despite intensive investigations on both sides of the political aisle, the only people caught illegally voting were Voter ID advocates who were deliberately attempting to vote illegally in order to make a point.  And they all got caught, without ID. They made a point, just not the one they intended. Imagine that.

Again, it’s the fallacy of false comparison: we make people show ID to board a plane because we’re trying to make air travel as safe as possible for all passengers and crew, but you guys want Voter ID laws solely in order to keep certain people you don’t like from voting for other people you don’t happen to like. 

The simple truth of the matter is this: if we’d make Voter ID laws fair and equitable for all, laws that guaranteed access to all legitimate citizens instead of tying to disenfranchise them,  then we’d have an ID law that we could all live with.

Here’s another simple truth, if your guy can’t win without keeping people away from the polls, he doesn’t deserve to be President of the United States of America. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, you’ve both seen enough third-world shitholes to know better.

If you demand voter ID laws solely in order to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, you might be the very idiot you’re complaining about, especially since further down in this list you start complaining about too many laws and regulations and your solution is what, more laws and regulations? Right.

If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

And again, the fallacy of false comparison.

Not to mention shooting yourself in your own foot.

Let’s start with this “…stable, law-abiding citizens…. “ Fellas, if we can’t do universal background checks because your friends in the NRA shot down that legislation despite overwhelming national support, just exactly how are we supposed to tell if the guy buying that high capacity magazine along with his assault rifle is stable and law abiding? 

No, really, please do explain.

I guess we just let him buy the gun and see how it all turns out, right?

Talk about idiotic.

You were both trained by the military, I know you both, I’ve shot alongside you, you’ve shot on my range under my command, and neither one of you would have allowed an unqualified or unstable individual anywhere near a gun. But now? Now you send me an endless stream of hysterical NRA bullshit squawking about how anybody should be allowed to own whatever gun he wants without so much as a background check? 

You two guys wore the uniform for more than twenty years and now you’re taking orders from the likes of a coward like Ted Nugent? You’ve lost your fucking minds, the both of you.

As to the F-16’s, see those were actually sold to the previous ruthless dictator of Egypt. The one conservatives and gun owners didn’t have any trouble supporting, the guy who killed his own people and who stamped out freedom and democracy whenever and wherever it appeared in his own country. Don’t tell me you didn’t know, like me, you spent plenty of time there. Conservatives had no problem selling more than 200 F-16’s and over a 100 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Hosni Mubarack.  The deal was struck back in 2009.  General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin have been cranking out equipment ever since. So, theoretically speaking, what? Those companies are good with getting stiffed? They built the planes and tanks, but now that it’s time to ship, they can’t sell them? Who picks up the tab? Them? Us? You willing go with maybe another bailout?

And who exactly do you think was up there on Capital Hill lobbying for the deal to keep going though? Liberals?

If you demand that “stable law abiding citizens” be allowed to own guns, but refuse to support a process that would verify that the prospective gun owner is indeed stable and law abiding, then you might be the very idiot you’re complaining about.

If you demand government get out of the way of business, but then complain when the military-industrial complex sells weapons to people you don’t like, you are indeed the very idiot you’re complaining about.

If, in the nation's largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

You know, for a bunch of people who believe in local self-determination, it cracks me up just how much New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg bothers you guys.

You can’t buy a big soda in New York.

So?

So what?

I don’t live there. I don’t care.

If you’re a New Yorker and it chaps your big fat ass, well, then vote for a different mayor. 

The size of soda, that’s what you’ve got to gripe about? I remember when the two of you were fit and trim and you used to complain about the fatties, times sure have changed since you stopped running seven-minute miles, haven’t they?

Seriously, if you’re complaining about Mayor Bloomberg and you don’t live in New York, you’re an idiot.

If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

Point to one case where an 80-year old woman or a three-year old girl was actually strip searched. Strip searched. Actually made to go into a booth with an agent and disrobe. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Personal rights violations by the TSA in some extreme cases are bad enough without exaggeration. And in those cases, the old lady and the kid were patted down same as the Muslim woman. Because, see, that whole bit about “a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched” is a straight up bald-faced lie invented by Glenn Beck and promulgated via The Blaze.

Muslim women in burkas or hijabs are subject to pat-downs and scans same as everybody else, and everybody goes through the naked body scanner, Christians, Muslims, pilots, old ladies, kids, veterans, everybody. 

There is an exemption: adherents of a certain religion are allowed to do a self pat-down of their head covering and then their hands are scanned for signs of explosive chemicals, but they are still required to go through the full body scanner which looks through the head covering. In this case, the head covering itself is considered sacred, the religion isn’t Muslim, it’s Sikh. But I don’t suppose that matters at this point.

If you’ve got to make up shit in order to be offended, you might be the very idiot you’re complaining about.

Then again, if you’re listening to Glenn Beck and calling Jeff Foxworthy an expert on the state of the union, there really isn’t any question of being an idiot, is there?

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

Right.

Talk about an idiotic over simplification. No acknowledgement of how the debt got to the level it’s at now. No acknowledgement of the basic fact that spending by the government is one of the main things that kept the global economy from collapsing into another Great Depression. No acknowledgement that the three primary causes of the national debt are the defense budget, social security, and medical costs for an aging nation – i.e. all sacred cows that no one is allowed to touch.

You’re not going to do a damned thing about the debt until you address those three things.

If you think the state of the economy can be summed up in one line and then laid at the feet of one man just because you don’t like him, you’re very likely the exact idiot you’re complaining about.

If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is "cute," but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

The kid was nine, not seven. And the school immediately admitted its overreaction and the principal was fired.  Of course, that doesn’t really fit the narrative of political correctness run amuck here, so I suppose that’s why the entire story wasn’t included. 

As to diversity, are you really – and I mean really – going to go down that road?

You know, if you’ve got to twist the facts and leave stuff out of the narrative in order to make whatever ridiculous point it is that you’re attempting to make with this statement, you’re very likely the kind of clueless idiot you’re complaining about.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government's plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn't be found - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

So, what’s the narrative here: We need less regulation on the billionaires and millionaires who crashed our economy and destroyed the employment and housing markets, but more regulation on the people who suffered the consequences.  We need less regulation on the folks who looted and liquidated American business and shipped American jobs overseas, but more regulation and restrictions on those people who are unemployed as a result.  Seriously?

When somebody like John Thain crashes our economy, destroys, literally destroys, a venerable old company like Merrill Lynch and puts tens of thousands of people out on the street, your plan is to give him a tax break on his multimillion dollar golden parachute and stick it to the folks who he left unemployed, is that about right?

The fuck is wrong with you?

No, seriously, how does somebody get this twisted?

The poor haven’t cost us a tenth of what Wall Street has. It wasn’t the poor who outsourced their jobs to Bangladesh and Mexico, it wasn’t the poor who caused the housing bubble, and the Dot Com bubble, and the Tech Bubble, and all the recessions. And your neighbor, the one whose mortgage was forgiven? You really might want to put in a little more research on that subject if you think he made out on the deal.  Was he an idiot? Sure, but it was lack of regulation on business that let him indulge his gullibility, and the fact that guys like you think capitalism ought to work like the Wild West.

If you can’t understand why, in a civilized nation, we have a moral imperative to take care of the less fortunate, why civilized nations establish social safety nets for the poor and unfortunate, if your sympathy lies with the rich and powerful and you have nothing but contempt for the poor whom you’re willing to dismiss with blind eyes, well, sir, you are the very idiot you’ve been complaining about and I wonder exactly how you square that with the admonishment of your religion to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and heal the sick.  Last I checked, Jesus said exactly dick about giving the rich and powerful even more free passes, but then you probably think he was an idiot too. 

If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more "safe" according to the government - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

How, exactly, have you “been stripped of your right to defend yourself?” Be specific.  And since you brought it up, how does allowing crazy people to buy guns make you and me safer? When this revolution comes, the revolution that you’re all praying for, when you take up arms and start shooting it out with the government and killing your neighbors, the ones you find undesirable and un-American, how exactly will that make you safer? Again, be specific.

What's happened to our aountry!

Nothing.

Not a God damned thing is what happened to our country.

It has its ups and downs, same as always.

It has its good days and bad, same as always.

Sometimes there’s a conservative in the White House, sometimes there’s a liberal. And America has managed to survive them all equally well – as somebody of your advanced age should know by now.

The only thing that’s changed is now you’re one of those miserable old bastards who sit around all day complaining endlessly about how the country isn’t like it was back when you were king of the world.  The only thing wrong with this country is people like you, those who used to be problem solvers and leaders, but are now little more than broken down old sons of bitches who piss away your time in an endless litany of woe and defeat and misery.

I doubt that that I’ll change your minds in any way, I know just how stubborn the two of you are. And it’s obvious that you’ve sunken far into this morass of fear and despair and misery.

It saddens me that the two men I used to admire have come to this end.

Take me off your mailing list, delete my name from your contacts list.  Forget that you know me.

I prefer to remember you two the way you were back in the day, when we were young and the world was ours. 

I want nothing to do with the bitter old miserable bastards you’ve both become.

//Jim Wright.

324 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Small world, Jeremy.

      Danny

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    2. Jim, I really liked your comments. One thing - a quick Google search brought up the Zimmerman incident with the TSA - the 80 year old lady strip searched by the TSA. One of my friends on Facebook "gotcha"'d me with it when I shared the link to this post.
      Thanks again for a great, anti-fear post.

      Delete
    3. Concerning 80 year olds and strip searches....

      My parents, flying out of Fort Walton Beach Airport (which is on the Eglin AFB Runway, they take the security seriously).

      My mother, all metal removed and placed in the container? Yes, she replies... Except for the 101 bobby pins in her hair. The safety pins holding her jacket closed, the quarters for a pay phone, the hip replacements, and the extra pair of glasses.

      My father, all metal removed and placed in the container? Yes, he replies... Except for the two handfuls of stainless steel hardware, the rigging knife, and the spare car keys. The diesel smell, that is from checking the boat before he left the house, the fertilizer on his overalls? From working on the lawn. Oh wait, I forgot the dacron line and the stainless fishing hardware....

      TSA was polite, courteous, and extremely patient.

      Danny

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    4. I worked in the same arena back in the 70s, serving six years in the USAF--cold warrior with 31 combat missions nowhere near Viet Nam. A friend linked this post on facebook, and I was frankly impressed. We were taught to analyze, to find the facts, find the sources, and nail down the truth, whatever that might be. Recently, I've seen this 'Jeff Foxworthy' post, '72 killed in Boston when police tried to confiscate their assault rifles,' and President Obama telling students not to go to college--all falsehoods, but all taken up in some way by people who seem to just want to believe the stories. The Boston thing has been around since at least '08, but someone posted it last Friday as though it had just happened. And the 'Obama' speech was satire. It bothers me enough when the truly uninformed and untrained buy into this stuff, but it truly frosts me when these wild tales take in people who should obviously know better. There's enough bad stuff going on that's true; we don't need people making it up.

      Excellent post.

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  2. You really touched a nerve for me. So many of my friends growing up who were far more liberal than now, who could think for themselves rather than parrot someone else, have turned into the brothers-in-hate that you describe above. So sad.

    Thanks for this. It helps me understand that it is not just me who doesn't understand how my friends have changed so much.

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    Replies
    1. I like what my mother had to say on the subject. "I don't need all this. I have had REAL pain and something to REALLY be afraid of.' She also told me that in her lifetime, people had gone from saying 'WE had to go to War', 'WE had to raise taxes', to people saying 'THEY started another war with foreigners', 'THEY raised our taxes again', and then to 'THOSE BASTARDS are at it again', etc.

      Delete
    2. My thought on this: Thinking, real Critical Thinking, is hard work. Esp. nowadays when so much pure bullshit is being fed to us from high pressure hoses. And humans are a lazy species. It's SO much easier to lay back, eat the pablum, and let someone else do the thinking for you, and so many clearly are. FOX news counts on it.

      Delete
  3. Brilliant, intelligent response to redneck thinking. Applause!

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    Replies
    1. I'm a redneck by birth and background, and I resent that remark.

      Delete
  4. I've seen the supposed Foxworthy email and a dozen others, mostly from friends and relatives whose critical thinking skills have disappeared down the same path. This is the perfect response and that it appeared on July 4th, even better. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I used to get this type of email on a regular basis. Invariably, my name would be one of a dozen or so on the mailing list. I started refuting these wild claims with facts, including links to reputable sources, and hit the "reply all" button so everyone could see. Amazingly, this shut stopped showing up in my inbox.

      Most who disseminate this type of garbage are not interested in the truth. They only want to reinforce their own twisted, hateful opinions.

      Delete
    2. Ramona, Anonymous @7:51...replying with factual sources certainly cut down on the b.s.forwards I have received ..but you are right; they do not wish to hear facts...Lost my best friend from junior high...who thought I accepted that b.c. pills ordered by the Obama administration was something I thought was wonderful...and for voting for that "muslum ass (sic)." so sad...Bless Mother Helen and Sr. Rose Angela who taught us critical thinking at St.Ursula in Cincinnati...and Fr. Garry who taught us logic...and its false comparisons...they are smiling at Jim's writing.. Marilyn Lee

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  5. I guess now that George Carlin and Andy Rooney have been dead long enough, the internet is pinning things to Jeff Foxworthy's name. Who will be next on that little chain meme game?

    As always, I love your writing and your perspective, even when I don't agree with you. And I rarely don't agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If you don't mind, I am going to borrow some of your points the next time my friends send me the very same emails.

    Again and again.

    Nicely done sir.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is what reminds me that I've not changed that much over the years, but a few of those with which I served and remain in contact with have bought this rhetoric hook, line, and sinker. I have coworkers who've gone there too. I don't have the energy you have to point them to hard facts and data anymore. I may be enabling them, by not correcting their statements, but it is a job Sisyphus would not prefer doing over pushing his boulder. Thank you sir for your continued efforts to push back the tide of stupid.

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  8. Your such an asshole to your old buddies, I LOVE it! Really, how many of them do you get shit from for being such a liberal commie against America? I have a lot of respect for someone like you that can put things down in words that so many of us just keep in our guts, never being able to form into words...and your an exceptional wood artist to boot! The funny thing is about sharing your posts is that the ones I want to read it the most just can't get through that long of an essay.

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  9. Only one problem there Jim. Your mostly speaking to a choir of somewhat intelligent people. The hard heads you've addressed this too will not even give it a moments thought before labeling you as a liberal traitor. In other words they are worthless to both you and the rest of the country. They have become brainwashed and have done so of their own volition. Face it the Koch brothers have won the old white idiot demographic. The only hope we have now is that they die off soon enough to save us from their overreaching backwards regressive thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To quote another famous redneck (accurately), "You can't fix stupid". Le sigh. Unfortunately, it's rare that someone is willing to swallow their pride and admit that the flag they've been brandishing for all the world to see is printed with typos, misinformation and poor grammar. Some people just need to feel important.On the bright side, the folks generating the rumors are not usually the ones running the country. Usually. But that's another essay...

      Delete
    2. The real problem is that the men Jim is referring to ARE intelligent people, and Jim knows they are. So how the hell did these intelligent, rational, well trained intelligence officers become such knee jerking morons? Because really, whatever method was used, our national enemies should be using it to subvert our intel weenies because it clearly WORKS.

      Jeff Lamm

      Delete
  10. You're just so damn awesome. Wish I could express what's roiling in me right now better'n that, but that was just too damn awesome....

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am sorry that it had to come to this for you. I have considered removing some of my own family from my facebook friends list, but I haven't done it. I am perfecting the art of hiding them from my feed and using notifications to see if anything they have to say today is important. It's a little kludgy, but it's keeping me from having internet screaming matches with them. Since Facebook, most of my family doesn't email me anymore. Except my mother - and I've had to delete more than a couple of her "forward this to everyone you know" messages (which comprise the majority of them). Although, I have taught her to check Snopes. I have always been the hot head - the one that got into arguments as soon as someone said something stupid. As I get older, I am finding that it isn't worth it. I used to be that meme where the guy is sitting at his computer at 3 am yelling to his wife that he can't come to bed yet because someone is WRONG on the internet. And now, I've finally realized that if I react to that, I am giving them the power they are looking for. If I don't, then they blithely go on about their business, and I get to remain in contact with people I love. The delete button is a powerful thing.

    We all have to find our own way to handle the crazy people.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post. I am a constant lurker, but too intimidated by your fine writing and the comment section to respond.

    This time I had to, because taking this point by point is what I hoped you would do. You did! And oh how well you broke it all down.

    Thank you, Jim.

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  13. Thank you, for putting into words how I feel when the lies are spread.You are a writer. Keep it up. I love it when there is an intelligent response to hate mongering and fear batting. I have a cousin who I loved as child who is now devoted to the tea party and the likes of Glen Beck. I find is sad that he has lost the fairness and love he was raised with. Granted he is not all bad or anything but just spouts nonsense and believes in things that will take him down, thinking that wall street tycoons will take care of him. Instead of SS or his retirement from the Railroad company well subsidized by the government, but we can subsidize Planned Parent Hood because they allow women to make their own choices.

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  14. Bravo, Jim! You've been reading my mind again, haven't you? Between this and the Paula Deen post, you've hit the nail on the head with everything I've been shaking my head at in disgust that's shown up on my feed in the past few weeks.

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  15. You know, that made me sad. I'm sorry, Jim, that must be really hard for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am with the lady above. It cannot be fun to have to cut loose people you worked with, worshipped and admired.

      I'm sorry you had to do it. I'm thankful for this piece, but the impetus is such a downer.

      How strange it is that the internet, which is so packed with lies and propaganda exposes the truths we have never seen about our friends?

      Delete
    2. I've had to do the same with family members. Once upon a time, they were parts of a finely tuned, well oiled machine. But at some point, they become...well, I was going to say Sea anchors, but even those have a purpose. Call them ballast then. And Ballast can and should be tossed overboard if the trim of the ship is threatened.

      No matter how much it can hurt.

      Delete
  16. What's that I smell? Is it a breath of fresh air?

    I know a former coworker who posts crap like this all the time on FB, along with his own rants about how tyrannical our government (suddenly) is, and how our President hates the country he helps to run (which makes perfect sense, why didn't I see it before?). Of course, he believes he is the only real critical thinker in the room.

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  17. I did something similar to a person who sent me an email about "Republicans are business men who create jobs and grow the economy and democrats are lawyers who muck up the works and are always looking for something for nothing rewards and that's why this country is going to hell in a handbasket...". Did about an hours worth of research and sent the thing back pointing out that 6 out of 7 of the business men listed had been convicted at one time or another of various and sundry illegal business practices, fraud, etc. And then went through some of the cases that "made" the lawyers. Pointing out that several of the examples were of people who had law degrees but were not trial lawyers but academics, public administrators, etc. and that none had ever been found guilty of malfeasance or malpractice equivalent to what the businessmen had didn't go over well. Then when I pointed out that one of the examples who actually *was* a trial lawyer had successfully prosecuted a case that had an oblique (positive) effect on my family, well that went over even better. I concluded by saying, yeah "democrats are lawyers, trying to make sure that the playing field is as even as possible and protect the proverbial little guy from the clear rapaciousness of the republican businessmen".

    Yeah, I got booted from a few mailing lists for that one. Wasn't particularly upset by it. Sadly, I think the only thing a few others learned was not to send me that kind of crap, but at least it's something.

    Keep up the good work - now I have something else to send along if that particular pseudo-Foxworthy crap happens to stink up my inbox.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jim, I was with you and cheering you all the way to this statement "No acknowledgement that the three primary causes of the national debt are the defense budget, social security, and medical costs for an aging nation – i.e. all sacred cows that no one is allowed to touch."

    Social Security??? Who are you kidding?? Every one of us who has worked in the private sector has paid into our Old Age Insurance Plan every year of our working lives, that is, up to the cut-off point mandated by Congress. That money was supposed to be sequestered, working for us, earning interest, growing until retirement age was reached. Instead, the US Government in it's wisdom saw fit to include the SS account to make the books look better than they were. Social Security didn't cause the national debt, it helped hide the national debt. Now when the money is coming due to us old folks, our demands for our "entitlement" are a cause of the problem? The fix for keeping Social Security solvent is to remove the cap and make sure every person who works pays the same tax on ALL their earnings. The cap has been raised before, it can be eliminated now. Even the millionaire gladly takes his maximum stipend SS check every month yet he paid on a piddling percent of his earnings while the $25K a year guy paid on 100% of his earnings and gets a smaller SS check. Medicare is another area where we don't see eye to eye but we'll save that for another rant. My background is in health care, long-term care and gerontology so I feel required to debate and inform.

    Still, excellent piece once again. Thanks for speaking for the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have worked in payroll (ADP trainer) and HR for over 25 years. You're 100% correct about Social Security. Remove the cap and stop borrowing from the Trust.

      Delete
  19. Having to respond as you did had to be difficult, to be sure. I admire your resolve and, I'm sure, your reluctance to do so. I don't know how I would respond under the same circumstances. But as we all know, the difficult things sometimes have to be done, even if only for ones' own peace of mind. And so we soldier on. It's what we do.

    Bigtoe

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  20. I *love* when you do the point by point, rational response thing. Unfortunately, that's what Liberals do. But conservatives like your ex-buddies need the lies to distract them from fear of irrelevancy and mortality. To offer a sense of community among the lazy, like-minded.

    It takes guts to buck the tide of conservative lunacy in ones' town and family. Your former buddies came from those influences, got taught the motions of better thinking by the military, but never really absorbed the concepts.

    Like you my only way to deal is to ignore the battles I can't win. But the incidious presence in my country of this willfull ignorance and the media that preys on it still depresses the hell out of me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is certainly not what all "Liberals" do. You're being part of the same problem from the other side when you take that kind of view, and it is made even more evident when you capitalize liberal and leave conservative lower case. I say this speaking as someone who doesn't identify as either.

      Delete
  21. Brilliant, Jim. And thank you. Like most of your readers, I have major problems with the reich wing, and I tend to delete them...over and over and over. I don't have a problem with blunt, I don't have a problem with working class or old or young or black or white or brown or yellow. I do have a problem with ignorant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ignorant ain't bad. Stupid is. We're all ignorant. Nobody knows everything and we all can learn better. Stupid is acquired, self-inflicted, usually.

      Delete
    2. When I was growing up, I was always taught that ignorant is much worse than stupid. Stupid people can be taught, even if it sometimes seems like you have to repeat everything thirty times before they get it. Ignorant people refuse to be taught; it doesn't matter how smart or dumb they are, you'll never get through to them because they refuse to listen.

      Delete
    3. I'd call that willful ignorance - where you don't know and also refuse to learn. Simple ignorance just means you don't know.

      Delete
  22. On a side note. Happy Birthday USA!!! Sitting on a boat in the middle of the Severn, looking over the Naval Academy, watching fireworks and having a cook-out. We decided if the Coast Guard stopped us, we would reply in Arabic, Russian, Spanish, French, and maybe even English.

    Life is good.

    Danny

    ReplyDelete
  23. And is there a state where one does not have to report work searches in order to receive unemployment benefits? Here in VA, you need to report search contacts weekly - I've been unemployed a couple of times now since being laid off in 2009 (after 30 years of service to a particular organization), so I'm a little familiar with the process.

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here. I have to report my weekly work-search efforts to the Texas Workforce Commission.

      Delete
    2. Ditto, I've run through the state unemployment compensation and am now onto the EUC benefits, did the initial orientation meeting this past week, will go see the counselor again in another week, and I've logged at least 3 (more often 5) different work search activities every week since I started receiving benefits. My log is getting long. I hope I'm employed somewhere, even if it's part time, by the time the EUC runs out on me. It's scary, and I love how people just can't be bothered about this, they expect those of us with over a quarter-century in our careers, and another 20 years at least to cover before we're eligible to claim social security, to do what exactly, when employers have been documented as having a bias against the long-term unemployed. If you've been out 6 months or longer, your call-backs and interviews dry up. Were it not for the fact that I am known (and well regarded) among people who do my type of work locally, I'd have no prospects at all. What exactly do these smug, self-righteous types who are absolutely convinced, because they are so much wiser than I ever was, that this will never, ever happen to them, expect me to do? Die? Sorry, not happening. I'm going to continue to take names and kick ass right up until I manage to hop back on to the world. Also, I've outed myself as a liberal, and have had one distant FB acquiantance, who knows my husband through our mutual hobby, not only unfriend me on facebook, but at the same time send me an IM saying he'd done so. I told him it didn't matter because I'd long ago blocked his updates from my newsfeed ;-). Felt good.

      Delete
    3. Same in Georgia. I was unemployed from 2009-2010, and every week had to log into a website and fill out a form.

      Delete
  24. If they want to cut government spending they could stop drawing military benefits and Social Security.

    How do they like the socialized medicine in the country? You know the VA hospitals that might be treating them now or in the future?

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    Replies
    1. I blocked the emails of a retired navy pilot who was collecting 3 government pensions after he sent me crap like the above. When he came back from his travels, he came by my workplace and asked why I was ignoring him. I told him I had asked him not to send me such garbage, he didn't respect my request, thus he didn't respect me, and therefore I took the tiny step of having my email provider block emails from his email addresses. Then he told me he'd broken up with all his remote girlfriends so he could be with me. LOL! Too late pal, you've proven you can't be trusted! And maybe you should have checked with me first! It completely pissed me off that he used another retired navy guy's address in one of the Dakotas to avoid paying taxes in the state where he lives, and his father collects a pension from the state university system. And he wonders why he's been divorced 3 times...

      Delete
  25. Smoked 'em. With TRUTH.
    "... nowadays, these guys, they’ve got the Internet."
    If there is one Thing. the internet requires - it IS Extra vigilance.
    ~ and MORE 'critical analysis skills' ~ Than EVER. before.
    played well Sir. very. well.
    Really Excellent point by point response.

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    Replies
    1. True-because of the internet we have many more sites providing misinformation and a lot more RW sites than left.When a BS story appears on one RW site it goes straight to about 40 more right away.And all just reprint the same piece.I had someone tell me that was proof of it being true.LOL.

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately I've also seen folks say that just because it's on a lot of RW sites it must be false. Like when they started posting the Homicide report from the FBI that made it clear that rifles were one of the least used murder weapons. Come to think of it I think that happened in a comment conversation on this very site.

      Delete
  26. This reminds me of why I'm so very thankful that my father is not on the 'net, because I'd be getting this stuff from him constantly if he were.

    My Dad is a retired Colonel, and spent his professional life being a responsible man who had to know what is, what ain't, and what's the difference. I remember when he taught me never to vote a straight ticket, but instead told me to think for myself. Now he rails and rants at whatever Fox News tells him to be afraid of and tells me that if I don't vote straight ticket Republican I'm going to hell. I miss the guy who told me to think for myself, and I wish he'd come back.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The fact is you cannot talk sense to any of these Fox News-RW blog sites listeners/watchers/readers-or any of these RW sites(I literally cannot find one that is remotely fact based and that includes National Review and other big names).The agenda has trumped fact and reality no matter what the site is.And the fact is they are no longer arms of the GOP-the GOP follows THEIR lead.So there's no Conservative voice that will lead any of them to sanity.With Hillary looking strong for '016 the GOP has resigned themselves that playing the game as is won't get it done so they've gone further out there in tone and actions.The policy is pre-Civil War -it's like they've turned back the clock to a time when there weren't rules or regulations or laws.This is no longer the party of Bob Dole.It is the party of Rush and Sean and they're just highly paid propagandists.Unless they can prevent voting by a large part of minority voters by dint of suppression or convince women that they should have as much liberty to make choices as men do they are doomed.And their current policy offerings such as they are will further put them in a hole.I just had an experience with a long time friend who is a Conservative Obama hater who was a bit short on facts.When I explained and showed her enough info that should have given her second thoughts all she could muster up was "I'll never be a Liberal so stop trying to make me one" WTF?? Frankly the Fox automatons as silly as they are kinda scare me.These folks are supposed to be thinking adults not mindless children.

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    Replies
    1. I too am just about to unfriend a long time friend for exactly the same reason. He hates Obama and goes on about how Obama stopped fireworks for the Marines. Then his sister called me an idiot because I asked for his source, which of course, I never received. Thanks Jim for your clear thinking.

      Delete
  28. How is it that someone who is supposedly intelligent, a critical thinker in important aspects of their lives, is able to suspend their judgement, and inhale the poison without ever asking what it is that they are smoking? I have a friend who works on jet airplane engines. He is one of the guys who is primarily responsible for keeping those huge machines from falling out of the sky. Yet he "doesn't trust science." When I ask him how he can reconcile his belief in the Theory of Gravity with his disbelief in the Theory of Evolution, or Global Climate Change, I get the deer in the headlights look. I have to walk away shaking my head.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well, written, Jim, and thanks for that. BUt just to give you a little hope:

    About 10 years ago, a dear friend (in fact the person who introduced my wife and I 27 years ago), forwarded one too many emails to me. The last one was about toxic tampons, made from fiberglass, designed to cause women pain and suffering to increase sales of something. I lost my mind, kind of like you did, and sent her a tear-down, complete with Snope's reference and ending with the request that she quit fear-mongering. Well, that didn't go over so well. In fact for about 4 years, she wouldn't talk to me, or even ask about me. Skip ahead 4+ years, and one day in my email was a short note saying that she had thought about what I said, and agreed that she had been fear-mongering, and asked me to forgive her for how she had acted. Next month, she and her husband will come with us to celebrate our 25th.
    Hope. It iz a gud thing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh, thank you, Jim. I always find some hope when I read your articles. Just knowing there IS someone who can distill, and hone, and clarify...well, it just makes me feel good, that's all.

    ReplyDelete
  31. ...I hope your old friends read all of your letter...but I doubt it..I however did, and thank you for it..agreement is so hard to come by these days...I've "lost" quite a number of "friends" over the past years,as they became more & more under the thrall of fox....and the flaming-nugget-coward..(how does any vet side with that fraud)??.. so, happy Independence Day and well done..

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  32. Kudos, it takes time and effort to research and defend your point the way you do. Thank you is so insufficient!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Rick Santorum only said one true and valuable thing in his entire political career: "We will never have the elite, smart people on our side..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very similar statement from a pastor involved in the evolution vs. creation trial in PA in 2005: "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture."

      Delete
  34. Thanks for the first class rant, Jim.

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  35. A member of my family broadcasts all of this crap plus dirty jokes, cute little holier than thou sayings, and so on. I told her to remove me from her mailing list and she exploded. SHE doesn't have a mailing list. SHE isn't subject to the laws concderning same. SHE is my FAMILY.
    God save us from sisters and stupid people especially when they are one and the same!

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  36. Once again, I feel I must bow to your superior reasoning skills and excellent abilities as a blogger. You are a wonderful voice of sanity.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Let me add my thanks to your clear-sighted and rational analysis of this crap from people who appear to be intelligent but have lost their ability to think critically about anything political. I have gotten crankier and less tolerant with age but I hope that I can still recognize BS when it appears regardless of how it's packaged. Trying to show reason to people like your former mates is like tilting at windmills.

    ReplyDelete
  38. how about an alternative list along the lines of:

    If you founded a country where citizens could own human beings so long as they had extra melanin in their skin, you are probably a mere mortal child of your time who will someday get bigged up into a genius.

    If you founded a country where only white men could vote, because, you know, you're a white man and all your drinking buddies and business partners are white men, so that must be the way to go, then you are probably a mere mortal child of your time who will someday get bigged up into a genius.

    Etc...

    BB

    ReplyDelete
  39. That is one righteous rant, Jim. Thank you very much.

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  40. Thanks for this. One of my FB friends had shared it. I am an USAF veteran and have received this specific email forward from family as well as most of the other gibberish mentioned.

    The worst thing that happened on 9/11/01 was not the planes into the WTC - it was the sudden turning on of the all fear all the time button such that we are now a nation of cowards (so I guess for folks to follow Ted Nugent's idiocy makes a small amount of sense in that instance)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The worst thing that happened on 9/11/01 was not the planes into the WTC - it was the sudden turning on of the all fear all the time button

      Hear hear!

      --cigfran_cg

      Delete
    2. A terrorist is someone who tries to cause terror. From that perspective, the 9/11 ones succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

      Delete
    3. I'm thinking the very worst thing that happened on 9/11 is that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz were on the phone during the attack planning exactly how they could use this to:

      Start a war, or two, or three.
      Suspend FISA laws
      Double the military budget
      Send no bid contracts to Halliburton
      Stick a knife in the back of their political enemies

      And NOT necessarily in that order.

      Meanwhile , George W Bush was reading "My Pet Goat", looking a little shell shocked, while the viciously partisan hacks around him were sharpening their knives

      Very well put Jim, and I'm afraid things are getting worse as the likes of Rush, Palin, Beck, and the rest of the fearmongers rant their nonsense.

      Delete
  41. I'm sorry you had to say this to your old friends. That must have hurt a lot.

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  42. If you have not written the great American novel you might be … a great American treasure lost.

    I've been pondering task that myself. I was a Navy man the last two years of the Vietnam War. I find myself reminiscing about that time and think that some of the vignettes I go back to in my mind would make an interesting story.

    I had a very odd experience yesterday as I was cleaning out the attic. Moving boxes to position them for removal I came across a box of very old artwork and memorabilia from days long past. In a box with my certificates of recognition for contributions to Spacelab Space Shuttle Missions I found a sort of diary/sketchbook. I had started it just over 40 years ago when I was in the Navy. It was treated like a yearbook by my friends and is full of inscriptions and sarcastic comments that take me back to a simpler time. There are a few of my sketches in it that are worth scanning. The writing I did back then reflects my scattered and tentative state-of-mind and is not worth sharing though I will reread it and do some self-analysis over the next few days.

    Did you record your thoughts when you were in the Navy, or are you getting your perspective looking back at what you remember from the past? I'm glad I started that journal because it really is a time-capsule and just might be the motivator to write down the twisted story of my life. You show that you have a mastery of the language and keen insight into the state of mankind.

    I would purchase whatever you write. You don't need my motivation or praise, but PLEASE get started, the American public and the world needs a dose of your brand of sanity.

    Randy Van Nostrand
    July 5, 2013

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thanks for a great piece. Picked up on it from a friend on Facebook, and I'll be sharing it along further myself. Have wanted to say this kind of stuff myself to a number of my friends, but knew I'd just be bashing my head against a brick wall. Very cathartic to read!

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  44. I don't know who you are, but thank you. I'm sad to say that your voice in this discussion means more than mine, but it does. I can't wait to link to this page.

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  45. Some network needs to revive the old "Point/Counterpoint" segment, with you on one side and the entire Faux News staff on the other.

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  46. You, sir, have a life. You're not sitting outside the Exchange shootin' the shit and wishing it was 1987. And that's the difference. You have a family you're involved with, woodworking, writing, and CATS. People who have moved comfortably into the next phase of life and live in the present tend to be less fearful, more optimistic.

    Thank you for standing where you stand and sharing what you write. It benefits us all.

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  47. Jim,

    I have to find the friend that turned me onto your blog...Posted it on Facebook...Kind of like your friends with the faux Foxworthy bit...but better.

    You brought the heat on your old friends and they'll either appreciate it...or act like you've described them...Either way...perfectly argued and cogently written.

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  48. I loved this rant, and want to print at least part of it to read over, and perhaps quote at times. I hope that's okay. You see, when I retired I bought and moved into place where I was surrounded by this type of idiots., but didn't realize it at the time. Now that I'm over 80, have been blessed with wonderful Native American skin from my great grandmother, and keep a trim body and open mind, I find myself more or less shunned by obese, Fox watching neighbors. You see, I'm a liberal minded old lady who hugs the one gay man in our community, puts yard signs out for Democratic candidates, attends a Unitarian Fellowship (not the local hallelujah Christian Church), wears tight jeans and eye shadow and volunteers hours and hours of my time to historic preservation spots and even attends POW WOWS!! So, Im what I am, and I like all your posts, but I love this one!!! You are so logical and you love CATS!!! And dogs!!! So do I! Thank you for this rant!!

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  49. Thanks Jim. It wasn't too long ago that you and all of these posters would have been considered and called 'unpatriotic'. It's past time we all started calling BS. Fortunately my 85 yr old Dad lost his computer skills, but can still plop his ass in the recliner with Fox news blasting all day. Complains about his hip all the time but doesn't do crap to help it (like walk). Well, yesterday was independence Day! I pulled a tactic I pulled on my kids about 20 years ago. After visiting for 15 minutes with the TV blasting the BS, I asked him if he had a pair of scissors. After I found them, I cut his TV cord. Then I said get off your ass, let's go for a walk and you can tell me about the old days. We actually had a pleasant day. The TV can be fixed in 2 minutes, but it won't be until I get 30 days of short walks and enough material to fill a notebook. I hope everyone else enjoyed their Independence Day too! Thanks Jim, Duff in NoFla

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  50. Funny and true of all political affiliations.

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  51. Hurt's don't it? I can feel your pain ( to coin a phrase ). But all is not lost, nor does all bad things last forever. I have old friends who see nothing but a negative future, worried about how our kids kids are going to survive this world that they see as all bad. Funny thing though, I remember my mom basically saying pretty much the same thing, and my dad calling her a hypocrite ( my mom was a devout Christian ). He said " if things are going to be so bad, then why in hell are you reading that f$%king bible?" ( My dad was a navy man to back in WWII ), so profanity was a second language in our house. Here's the thing. My old friends are old, they will die off one by one and take their pessimism with them. Jeff Foxworthy problem wont like it, but, his kid's kid's will probably inter-marry somebodies kids kid who looks like me, or someone of Latino decent. So, don't be to hard on your old navy buddies because they are witnessing an end of a preferred era that they cherished. They are feeling useless and left out of the main stream. They are no longer in charge of their own destiny. In short, they need a hug! The world is changing, and it will continue to change. Hopefully our children's children will be better stewards of it. I think they will.....Smile..............

    ReplyDelete
  52. Okay, Jim, my hat is off, my eyes are bulging, and my jaw is dropped in awe. This has got to be one of the most memorable 4th of July essays I have ever seen.

    And to add irony to it, I hadn’t even checked Stonekettle yet when I found it. One of my favorite Texas artists had linked to the article in Facebook.

    -Paul Cooper

    ReplyDelete
  53. U sound like a very bitter man. Who's thought's of others "right" to their views upset u. regardless if this was Jeff's or not. At your age. I would think u know the old say'n. Sticks and stones.. Happy u got your rant out here on face instead of in your local barber shop..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you sound like an illiterate troll, so it all works out.

      Delete
    2. Wow... Name-calling is certainly a critical thinking skill... as are recognizing your own ad hoc and strawman arguments. Too bad there are more people patting your back than questioning your logic. That's the funny thing about left/right paradigms. You can be right all day long about how the "other side" is wrong, but you can't apply it to yourself. You're guilty of many of the same things you're accusing. The clue is right here ^^ - Anger, and lashing out.. when it's pointed out to you.

      Delete
    3. Well, Anonymous, why don't you go ahead and volunteer to point out Jim's ad hoc and strawman arguments? We'll wait...

      Delete
    4. Anon, seriously, look at what you typed in the first comment. No really. You look exactly like the standard issue illiterate internet troll. I note that you conceded the point, since you took a bit more effort in your reply. As to name calling, you led with that. Mote, eye, beam, Pal. And then you went for the ad hominem attack, you know, like the standard issue internet troll.

      You've made your point, such as it is. You don't like what I wrote, duly noted. Thanks for your input. Now move along, any further comments from you will be deleted without fanfare.

      Delete
    5. I've noted this in a lot of my socially, fiscally and politically conservative friends.

      After years or decades of my tolerating their riding on the coattails of such inveterate insulters and patronizers as are represented by the conservative political parties and in the pundit communities surrounding them, they have settled recently on this tactic. They now call me out for, when I have eventually had far too much, breaking and calling someone by a bad name, or reminding them of where they came from or being some other form of "rude".

      As if this were a problem faced only by them from barbarians such as myself.

      This after years or decades of my tolerating their echoing the same kinds of insulting bullshit from them and their pundits as insults to my own good name and reputation.

      I'm simply croggled. I don't know what to do with that level of unthinking or apparently unawareness of past events, history or their own hypocrisy.

      Delete
    6. You can't reason with unreasonable people, Malcolm, attempting to do so gives you stomach cancer.

      Which is precisely why I won't attempt to reason with people like the anonymous troll above, they engage in a predictable course of logical fallacies and personal attacks. What's funny, is that they each seem to think they're the first of their kind to challenge me here on Stonekettle Station. They're like the little mice my cat hunts down and dispatches in woodshop. I loose track of how many diseased carcasses I toss into the trash every day.

      Delete
  54. Well said, Jim, but you should fix the typo in your subject line. "AN open letter," not "And open letter . . ." Not that the Idiot Nation will notice, but still . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, the post title is "An open letter..." That's also how it appears on Facebook and Twitter. I see that the underlying url code as "and-open-lett..." courtesy of the automatic process that creates each webpage on my blog. Odd. I'm not sure how that happened and it's impossible to fix now without deleting the post and manually reposting it. Which means, I'd lose all the comments.

      Delete
    2. I noticed that too, Ian. In fact, I almost did not want to read any farther because of that AND. But knowing the integrity of the individual who shared your link with me, I went ahead and clicked it. So happy when I clicked on the link and saw that your title was AN and not AND that I read on. So glad I did. It was definitely worth it. I am in awe.

      Delete
  55. Well said as usual sir. It's amazing how many IQ points some otherwise intelligent folks lose when they get on the internet. And some of them actually play the "Snopes tells lies for the librulls" card when you point out the real story that they have misquoted and misinterpreted every way possible. Perhaps there needs to be a breathalyzer for Facebook like the ones convicted DUI folks have to use to start their cars.

    A quick question re: Bloomberg and extra large sodas-that law doesn't limit how many large ones you can buy at one time does it? Didn't think so...logic...such a fragile thing apparently in cyberspace...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a NYCer let me speak to the soda thing....

      Research (honest to god legitimate research, with data and everything!) has shows us that most people, given a 24 oz, 32oz, or larger drink, will drink it - all of it. In fact we will make an effort to finish it so we don't waste money. However, if we are given a smaller drink, say 12 or 16 oz we will moderate our drinking to match our eating and not order a second. In fact, we will avoid ordering a second to avoid the appearance of overindulgence, and *so as not to waste money*. (Yes, humans are inconsistent and illogical - go figure).

      Bloomberg's proposal was an attempt to "force the issue" as it were. To make people *actively* *choose* a second helping rather than to default to supersize. His goal wasn't to stop people from drinking as much soda as they wanted, it was to get them to think about how much they are actually drinking.

      That being said, it was pretty poorly thought out and written when it came to practical application. It was clearly targeted at fountain style soft-drinks (and possibly HFCS) as it applied only to restaurants, movie theaters, and bodegas that sell "by the cup" soft-drinks but did not apply to buying a 1 liter bottle of soda from the bodega, or a "trenta" (30oz) full fat latte at Starbucks. Hence, it's utter failure.

      IMO, good intentions, poor application.

      Delete
  56. Interesting how themes can coincide in one life, or seem to (confirmation bias, perhaps?). I was just discussing with a friend of mine the terrifying possibilities for those of us in our twenties when faced with the political might of the Boomers. There are more so many more of our elders than there are of us, which is fine except when our elders seems to oppose human rights in general. On an individual basis there are few Boomers who are idiots, but en masse they seem to believe some very scary things. I don't like the idea that I will just have to wait for my parents' generation to start dying so that I can live like a human being. Here, in North Carolina, they just started redistricting so that my vote (as a liberal, young, woman) will be safely diluted by some solid conservatives and nothing will change no matter how many of us turn out to vote. It is a more despicable version of the ID laws, and there is nothing I can do about it. I do not know of any governing body with both the power and will to stop the abuse of power. It is a comfort to know that turning the corner into middle age does not automatically transform an otherwise thoughtful human being into that of a fear mongering fascist. Thanks, Jim, for being older, wiser, and willing to say something to your friends.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not all Boomers are complete idiots... only about half. (Note that I said "complete". Even my teenager gives me that much credit.) Some of us have critical thinking skills and a sense of empathy. You won't have to wait for *all* of us to die off before some semblance of sanity is restored. Unfortunately, not all younger people are sane and intelligent, either, so you'll have to keep fighting the good fight, well, forever.

      Delete
    2. Jessica, between the younger generation and the boomers who are not complete idiots, as Jerry mentions, we stand a chance of holding off the hordes. The younger generation(s) did a good job in the last election. The 2014 election is in many ways even more important than 2012. If all of us can get together and boot some of the right wingers out of power in the House and in the State Legislatures we can start making things better.

      Delete
  57. Jim,
    Once again you have voiced my frustrations more eloquently than I can. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I have coworkers who think like this. Two of the most vocal in favor of Republican principles and who apparently hate the current President are:
    1. Receiving government disability and relying on "charity" medical system for uninsured child. Oh, and former military who uses the VA medical system.
    2. Receiving food stamps and Medicaid for her children, a government subsidized cell phone, and likely used Medicaid when her 1 year old was born.
    They do not understand that Romney & his cohorts would like nothing better than to do away with all these benefits they are only too happy to acccept. And certainly not raise the minimum wage, which affects them both every paycheck.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Another great one Chief...Divide and Conquer...the right from the left...Male from the Female...Brother against Brother, Democrats against Republicans...Wedge issues are no longer just yer silk underwear creeping up the crack...This is how to conquer a country as large and powerful as we are...

    ReplyDelete
  60. Well, I hope you feel better. That was YOUR intent...correct? Does it feel better on the pulpit of arrogance. You do realize the Foxworthy post is "politcal satire" that has a great deal of truth hidden in the humorous statements. Perhaps you should look at the fact that some folks in this country(progressives) think they are far smarter than everyone else. So much so, that they forget a sense of humor can help folks cope with tough issues.

    "Shut the F#$% up about abortion" I believe that is what you said before you equated it to casualties of war. WTF!!! Choosing to take a life...and taking one during war are two VERY different situations. Maybe you should shut the F#@% up about abortion and stop promoting it.

    You are no honorable hero...tearing down your fellow soldier's...you are the same bitter asshole they are...you are just arguing the other side in typical liberal fashion, that being "I am smarter than you, so shut-up and listen to me" pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any time I see somebody putting expressions in quotes, I know I am dealing with a person for whom reality is an inconvenience to be skirted wherever possible. The Foxworthy article is not satire, it is made-up bullcrap, and no amount of sophistry can overcome that. As for your "progressives think they are smarter than everyone else"...jeez, the politics of resentment and BS strawmen doesn't like to die quietly does it? Do you have an argument in there anywhere, because all I can read are bullshit rationalizations and juvenile ad hominems using schoolyard abuse and cliches.

      Delete
    2. Exactly.. and did he "critically think" through the satire and address the POINT behind much of the incorrect specifics, and THEN talk about the real points, delving through the right/left BS? No, he just played the other side and called it "critical thinking". He did exactly what he was complaining about, but people who follow his flavor will follow it... lol.. with NO debate about the logic of any of it. Hey, Jim: You're a lot like the Bush Administration in the following manner: Say something often enough, and it doesn't matter if it's true! It just magically becomes true. I'm a critical thinker.. I'm a critical thinker.. I'm a critical thinker.

      Delete
    3. You do realize the Foxworthy post is "politcal satire" that has a great deal of truth hidden in the humorous statements.

      Thanks for the laugh.

      Your understanding of political satire is on par with your reading comprehension, as demonstrated by your second paragraph.

      Delete
    4. Both Cory and Anonymous (if they are different- the writing styles are very similar) fail to address the major points of the original post, and bring up extraneous matters.

      1. The e-mail chain letter is built on a provable lie. Jeff Foxworthy did not write that series of inane comments. Given Foxworthy's routine, I doubt that he'd want to be associated with something that denigrates America in that manner. Even the writer did not want to attach his name to that crap. You ignored Graham's comments about the e-mail not being satire, so I doubt that you are concerned about truth or reality.

      2. The war vs. abortion comment highlights the inconsistency and hypocrisy between the casual "death to our enemies" jingo from the right versus the "sanctity of life" argument. Note that the sanctity of life does not extend to medical care once the fetus hits air and actually becomes a baby, nor does it extend to food, shelter, and clothing, so the proper term for these proponents should be "forced birth" movement.

      3. Given your diatribe about critical thinking, your commments provide no facts, no rebuttal of any points raised by Jim or Graham, aside from your weak and easily refuted swipe at abortion. Try to exhibit some critical thinking skills whatsoever, and we'll talk. Make ad hominem remarks and that is what you will get in return. (If not banned by Jim- he's paying for this space, not you.)

      4. Putting down Jim's service to our country earns you, Cory, my contempt, as a veteran and a patriot. Another liberal veteran.

      5. Most conservatives hold provably wrong views, e.g. tax cuts have been shown not to improve the economy nor raise tax revenue (Congressional Research Service report of September 2012). Watching Fox News will make you less well informed than someone who watches no news at all (Fairleigh Dickinson University study 2011). The Texas GOP platform includes a position against teaching critical thinking skills in that state (Texas GOP 2012). See how this is done? Give your point of view and back it up with reality. Now you try it: Conservative states are poorer, are more dependent on the federal government (personally and as state governments), and have higher rates of teen pregnancy. All these points can be easily researched and backed up with facts. You *can* look them up and find facts, not just opinion and assertions.

      6. Finally, Jim is smarter than most people. This is a fact. I realize that you (two?) are uncomfortable with facts. This is not a comparison of personal worth, so try not to let yourself feel like a lesser human being just because you can not write as well or understand metaphors or follow the logic or give examples of critical thinking.

      Delete
    5. 1...Truth and reality. How about the reality that we fled Europe to escape tyranny and over-taxation, to have freedom and liberty. There is NO freedom, nor liberty in taking(taxing)from others in order to create(wealth distribution) what you think is a Utopian Society. Socialism which is the root of every liberal argument, doesn't work. Still has serfs and nobels. But, the liberal elite are smart enough to be on the nobility side, and herd the serfs into the voting corrals with entitlements.

      2.Wow...air is when life begins??? Must have learned that at whatever Ivy League indoctranation factory you spawned from.

      3. Funny how it seems the only comment worthy of qualifying as "critical thinking" is one that validates Jim's line of thinking.

      4. Also funny how my putting down Jim's service to our country earns your contempt, but his putting down other servicemen earns your respect? (I am a vet, not that you would care)

      5.Which report or study would you like me to site to contradict your inane statements. Again, apparently the droves of entitlement dependent serfs in the inner cities don't count, because they keep voting for your candidates. Find me a comparable number of inner city people that can grow their own food, fix their own equipment, hunt their own food, make their own clothes, cherish family, trust their neighbors, etc and then we'll talk about which "poor" group has the values more inline with what America was designed to be. You wouldn't have found many pioneers eager for government handouts. They were proud, hard-working, self-sufficient. Basically the heart of America. If you are really going to tell me that having a nation of government dependent zombies, requiring ever higher taxes to support, is what the American Dream is about, then...well just then???

      6. I acknowledged that Jim is smarter than most. He made it clear that he knows it as well. That doesn't make him better than most.

      Delete
    6. Cory Larson:

      On the surface, this post was about a deliberate inability to think critically, about the manufacture of "facts" and the twisting of information to justify a worldview of woe and pessimism. Normally, when somebody of your stripe shows up and behaves in the manner that you are, it amuses me, because it proves my point without any extra effort on my part. But frankly, pal, your amusement value was thin at best and your lazy reasoning and obvious attempts to hijack my blog onto your own agenda are starting to get on my nerves.

      Case in point:

      Also funny how my putting down Jim's service to our country earns your contempt, but his putting down other servicemen earns your respect? (I am a vet, not that you would care)

      Nowhere, repeat no fucking where did I in any way whatsoever put down the military service of my comrades. In point of fact, what I actually said was that I admired them both. I said it more than once. The actual point of the post being that if I didn't admire them, if I didn't look up to them as military leaders, their decline into the current sorry state wouldn't mean shit to me and wouldn't be worth responding to.

      You on the other hand, engaged in a personal attack, directly questioning my military service. I'm not offended, I expect swiftboating from people like you - and it tells me more than anything else exactly what kind of veteran you are. And yes, you may take that as an insult.

      You've made your point, such as it is. You don't like me, I get that. You are unlikely to respond to reason since you are not a reasonable person. Fair enough. I think we're done here. Don't bother to comment again, any further nonsense from you will be deleted without comment.





      Delete
    7. First of all, Jim's a sailor. Get it right.

      "You do realize the Foxworthy post is "politcal satire" that has a great deal of truth hidden in the humorous statements?"

      There wasn't ANYTHING humorous in that screed. I guess like dog whistles, it could only be seen by Reich wingers.

      Delete
    8. Just for the record Jim. I did not tear down your service, I was repeating the previous posters words. We disagree...fine...I do however value your service far more than most, just not the rhetoric. Enough said.

      Delete
    9. Not that you need any help, Jim, but your post also strongly praised the servicemen and servicewomen of today's armed forces. Cory failed to see that.

      The "fetus hitting the air" comment from Jerry A. that you misused was in fact noting that right-to-lifers most often cease caring about the child once said child draws breath.

      Delete
    10. Cory,

      What country in Europe did you leave? I get a laugh when people push that attitude, especially as the people pushing it were born, educated, and have always lived in the US. Too often, they then turn around and say we shouldn't let any else in the country.
      Assuming you were born in the US, you are free to emulate your ancestors, and depart to a more perfect union. Please write when you get there, and let us know where it is. When I am out of country, I am always looking to see what I like about the different systems, and would like to see here. I have yet to find a different country I consider 'better' to the degree that I want to leave this one.
      If you were born in Europe, and are a legal immigrant, please correct my erroneous assumption.

      Concerning 'what America was designed to be', I personally am glad to live in a country that grows, evolves and learns from its history. Slavery, indentured servitude, cholera, polio, and infant mortality that is so bad that babies were not named for the first year of their life is not something I define as the good ol' days.

      Danny

      Danny

      Delete
    11. I don't know about Cory, but my parents fled Europe because the frigging Nazis and Fascists destroyed their country and hauled off their money to finance the Third Reich, which was followed by a massive civil war. They didn't flee *taxes*. They would have been glad to have been taxed by a functioning government and gotten the civilization that taxes provide. That whole myth about the U.S. being over-taxed is crap. We have the lowest tax rates in decades and are paying for a military budget bigger than the next 15 countries combined. That's why we have a deficit, not some Libertarian or GOP/Tea Bagger delusion.

      Delete
    12. I am also tired of seeing that chestnut about the Founders wanted to escape taxation (or "over-taxation" as Cory put it)! The Founders saw nothing wrong with paying taxes, what they wanted was a vote in it. It was the lack of representation in Parliament that they felt violated their constitutional rights as British citizens when it came to taxation.
      "There is NO freedom, nor liberty in taking(taxing)from others in order to create(wealth distribution) what you think is a Utopian Society."
      And I would argue that there is a great deal of freedom in being able to vote for or against the people who will ultimately decide which taxes are legislated. THAT is what the Founders sought.

      Bruce

      Delete
    13. Fellas, Cory is done commenting here. Think of him as having gone up to the big Fox And Friends round-table in the sky. I know you have questions, and don't we all? But short of a séance, your questions are just going to have to go unanswered.

      i.e. don't feed the trolls.

      Delete
  61. I agree with everything you say in this post, but I have to add one thing.

    I was strip searched at LAX on Sept.11, 2002. There was no booth. I was given the choice to remove my clothing in an open hallway, or cancel my trip. Because I wore a brace on my knee, I had to remove my clothing so they could see it, touch it, and be sure in their own minds that I didn't have anything under it.

    My husband and I used to travel all over the country, every year. We continued to travel for a few years after 9/11, but we got tired of being singled out for extensive search Every. Single. Time we flew, because we're slightly disabled. We got tired of the pat-downs, the luggage searches, the delays. We got tired of being stripped of our braces and canes, and forced to stand for long periods without them.

    Now, we only travel as far as we're willing to drive.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I attend two conventions a year -- one for media fans and one for gamers. I cannot drive to them because I have sleep apnea and would not make Vegas (for the gamer con) alive, let alone try for Lansing, Michigan (from Los Angeles). I've also suffered from venous stasis ulcers the past ten years or so -- the worst one on my left leg has been open for over four years now; at its worst, it was about 5"x10" and an average of 3/4" deep. That means I wear special compression wraps on my legs -- partly for my DVT and partly for my wounds. At one point, zinc oxide ointment was slathered all over my legs under those wraps.

      I mention this because I, too, have been patted-down every single time I fly. I use a walker with a seat because walking isn't too bad, but standing still becomes agony after about a minute. I have learned to ask for wheelchair assistance at LAX and Las Vegas -- they know which line at the TSA checkpoint will lead to the screening area, for one thing, and also help with keeping track of my carry-on stuff while I am being patted down. I also help the process by not wearing long pants; rather, I wear a denim jumper with a full enough skirt that my modesty is preserved. For the husband of Anonymous, I would suggest jogging pants -- the kind with the elastic band hems and fuller leg -- so that the knee brace can be revealed by peeling the bottom of the pants leg up.

      I can understand there is a certain freedom in driving -- particularly in the amount and kinds of stuff you can bring with you -- but for those of us who cannot drive long distances, or if you wish to travel farther than you can drive (such as our 50th state), there *are* ways to make the security process easier and more comfortable. Don't stand on "dignity" and refuse the use of the wheelchair service -- it is there precisely for people like you and me. I am seated in the wheelchair when my walker is searched and scent pads rubbed all over it (and my shoes, and my hands, and the outer surface of my bandages); you will not miss your canes. The female TSA officers who have performed the pat-downs have been completely professional, describing where and how they will be touching me (back of the hands in all sensitive areas). I have never been groped

      I have written my share of action-adventure stories, and from my research, I know that as soon as the TSA stops searching bandaged areas and assistive devices, terrorists *will* use them for their heinous purposes.

      Oh -- and there is an additional benefit to using the wheelchair service -- no objections at the podium to your pre-boarding the aircraft; you get to your seat(s) first and put your luggage directly overhead.

      Sheryl Adsit

      Delete
  62. South Jersey DocJuly 5, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Superb, as usual.

    Why are your writings not available in (best-seller) book form?

    Beck, Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest of the morons have proven that bullshit sells. Why not prove that truth can sell even better. Besides, the country needs it.

    Regards, Doc

    ReplyDelete
  63. DAMN! you have been reading my mind....or is it....great minds think alike. Thank you sir, I copied it as a note on my FB page and will extract from it time to time as a reminder to my fellow Army Buddies and others.

    Regards:

    Mark Wattam, CW3 Retired

    ReplyDelete
  64. Thanks. I've missed the energy of your rants. I hate being a word nazi, but since I'm not teaching this summer I need to pick on someone. I think the word is "doddering," not "dottering."

    I'm usually not anonymous--it's just too damned hot to do anything else. I'll do better next time.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I hate to be too forward, but I feel as a happily married woman it is my duty to inform you that I just now added you to my List, right next to Russell Brand, Hugh Jackman, Justin Timberlake, and Ed Harris. (Don't judge, and apologies to your wife.) Your post gave me a huge truth-boner. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  66. YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You know, as a joke, I thought that was funny.

      Then I realize that you weren't kidding. You actually are exactly as you appear, an asshole.

      You really are an evangelical troll screaming in all caps on my blog. Does this look like a public restroom to you? So what the fuck gives you the idea that you can take a shit here? Do you do this in meatspace? I.e. walk into a room full of strangers and shit in the middle of the floor, do you just start screaming for people to read your blog? Does this work? This spam marketing of Christianity?

      Let me ask you something, Steve, do you see me doing this? Do you? Do you see me marketing Stonekettle Station in this douchebag fashion?

      No you don't.

      And yet, 25,000 people come here every single day. Do you know why? Because they enjoy what I write, or how I write it, or how I manage my site. They enjoy the commenters here and the conversation. It took years to achieve that modest level of success. Years of work. Years of refining my craft. Of working at it, every day. Years working to find my voice, to develop the tone and feel of Stonekettle Station. Years to create a unique style, a way of putting words together that was uniquely mine. Years, Steve, to find an audience, that's what it took.

      And so, you what? You figure you can just swoop in, drop a turd in the middle of my comments section, and, what? People will flock to your CHRISTIAN BLOG and then fame, glory, and hot girls will naturally follow? Is that logic? That's what Jesus did, right? He wandered around the Sea of Galilee comment-bombing people. Finally people had enough of his obnoxious shit and nailed his ass to a cross.

      Oh wait, that's not what Jesus did, was it? But you, you're a Christian, following his example. Right?

      Understand what I'm saying here, Steve?

      You're an asshole, Steve, a stupid, selfish, lazy asshole. The reason nobody follows your blog is because you're an asshole. You write like an asshole. The only people who would enjoy your stuff are assholes. You're probably married to an asshole and more than likely all your friends are assholes. I'm guessing your dog is an asshole too. Christian blog? If Jesus was here, he'd kick you right in your asshole. You fail at basic internet. Fuck off. Don't ever comment here again unless it's to apologize. Wait, you know what? Don't bother, just fuck off. Seriously, if I see you lurking about, I will destroy your blog. I'll make it my mission in life. I'll invite all my asshole friends and I'll come for the duration. This is your one and only warning. Seriously, fuck off, Steve.

      Delete
    2. Gawd, Jim, I was hoping you'd get to this post.

      Delete
    3. Sorry Jim, dipped a toe in the Christian word-salad and the following is all I came away with, it's now an earworm...figured I'd share it with your pal Steve:

      There's no stoppin' the cretins from hoppin'
      You gotta keep it beatin'
      For all the hoppin' cretins

      Cretin! Cretin!

      I'm gonna go for a whirl with my cretin girl
      My feet won't stop
      Doin' the Cretin Hop

      Cretin! Cretin!

      1-2-3-4
      Cretins wanna hop some more
      4-5-6-7
      All good cretins go to heaven

      Delete
    4. His dog probably isn't an asshole but I bet he's ashamed to be OWNED by an asshole.
      Pam in PA

      Delete
  67. Wow, guy. Has anyone said you're a great polemicist?

    But also, sympathies. No fun to watch old friends turn into old cranks. A few weeks ago, I lost an old friend to political disagreements—I called him on a nonsense argument and he complained of my rigidity and blocked me. (You can tell these people are out of arguments when they lose their tempers.) Another friend, who I have known since grade school, has turned into a coward who believes that the ACLU is exposing us to a risk of terrorism and was startled to be contacted by some serious haters.

    Fact of the matter is, a lot of people have been terrorized out of their right minds. Not by Arabs with bombs, but by our own leaders, who want us to support their craziness and their moneymaking "defense" contractors.

    Two quibbles with your remarks:

    1. Social Security is not a contributor to the national debt. It is a creditor, not a debtor. Social Security is supported by its own payroll tax. It is saving for the retirement of the baby boomers and lending money to the rest of the government; in FY 2011, some 18.1% of "the national debt" was owed to Social Security. (Source: http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/debt/debtbasics.html)

    2. "how far are you willing to go to catch them all?" Are you willing to militarize the Mexican border? Turn it into a killing field? Brrrr.

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    1. Re Social Security: I think we're arguing semantics.

      Social security is a creditor, not a debtor. OK, fair enough.

      The problem is that we own both the credit and the debt. In order to pay back SS, you have to increase the debt or come up with an alternate source of revenue. When I said that you have to "fix" Social Security, this is what I was talking about. You can be right, but SS is still going to go bankrupt unless we address the problem and that problem can't be fixed without addressing the debt.

      Delete
    2. But payment of the Social Security Trust Fund (and the other trust funds) is already accounted for. It's not a debt problem unless Congress decides not to pay. Social Security, as a pay-as-it-goes system, might run into trouble around 2040 or 2050, but there are fairly easy fixes for that--again, provided that Congress is willing to do its job.

      I'm going to go a little bit into the economics of this, though it may be OT. The USA currently has a lot of debt, even viewed by the debt/GDP ratio measurement, but it is being paid down and, provided that Congress budgets sensibly (oh, well) it is not problematic. Where the current debt comes from? Well, to begin with Bush II started a war, didn't budget for it, and "temporarily" cut taxes at the same time to boot. At the beginning of this year, the Obama administration, making a deal with the House Republicans, made 80% of the Bush tax cuts permanent. This is the "structural" deficit--the deficit that is independent of economic cycles. It is the "conservative" policies of tax-cutting and military spending that are responsible for this.

      The second source of the current debt is "cyclical;" that is to say a result of the depression. Tax revenues fall in a depression, various transfer payments that cover people in hard times (food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc.) rise, the administration bailed out the banks to keep the financial system going. Stimulus money was borrowed to improve the long-term functioning of the economic system.

      There may also be a long term structural deficit from rising health care costs but, for the moment, those have stopped rising, and the health care deficit may be less than feared. In any event, the USA massively overspends for health care, so there is a great deal that can be done to reduce that deficit.

      Now, I believe that not enough was done; that the U-6 unemployment measure of 14.3% ("Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force") could be substantially reduced without exploding the long-term debt. But, in any event, the policies that got the USA into this mess are the "conservative" ones.

      (U-6: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm. If you want to know more about unemployment, just poke around on that site--the BLS econometricians know their stuff.)

      Delete
  68. Wow.

    If it was simply that his facts were actually not facts and his accusations were false, that would be one matter. If the issue was simply that he spewed his arrogant, smug bile despite being blatantly wrong, that'd be somewhat worse.

    But that he goes and tops it off by accusing ~others~ of being "garrulous old curmudgeons" who need to "shut the hell up," or his blatant, asinine slander about Christians--so he doesn't ~just~ start with being logically, factually full of it, doesn't follow it up with a string of vile, blatant hate-but he starts by accusing other people of doing what he ~actually~ just did.

    People like this are the reason our country is in such a mess. The worst insult I can think of to cast at him is to simply point at his filth and say "he's probably not even ashamed of this."

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    1. Isn't he cute, Folks?

      Let's all give Ken a big hand for his self-righteous outrage. And please, Ken, feel free to help yourself to a cookie, since my blatant asinine slander about all Christians everywhere so chapped your sensitive little pink ass.

      Thanks for dropping by, Ken, and thanks for the cherry picking. Guys like you prove my point without any effort on my part, and I appreciate that.

      Delete
    2. And we wouldn't want any self-righteous outrage while you're busy frothing at the mouth about how much you hate Christians, would we?

      -- cherry picking--
      http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ8htRFWOJT32f07U88HUXE2PQyQzrsTV6kmHhLebDPbc3L5bhN

      --Guys like you prove my point without any effort on my part, and I appreciate that.--
      Not unless your point was that it's fun to lie about people you don't like. It sort of was, but I doubt you intended it to be.

      Delete
    3. You're a funny little crazy person, are you? Seriously, Ken, does the nurse know you're out of bed and fooling around on the internet?

      Instead of actually quoting anything in the text above, your "proof" of "how much I hate Christians" is a link to a picture of Mandy Patinkin from the Princess Bride? Seriously, Ken, if you're trying to improve your brand of Christianity's standing in my estimation, this isn't the way to go about it. Just saying.

      Delete
    4. You know, I bet Ken Abbott wasn't even ashamed of that.

      Delete
    5. Hey Ken-
      Did you notice this post got 666 "likes"? There must be a lot of us godless libruhls out here.

      Delete
    6. At first I was like, what? There's a whole lot more than just 666 likes. Then I was like, oh, I see what you did there.


      Jerry is my new favorite.

      Delete
  69. Well, of course progressives are smart. Why do you think most red states have a dot of blue where ever the universities are? It's because that's where the smart people are. The rural folks are so much more credulous and believe all the viral fwds and the made up stuff from Rush and Faux News. I swear, they're like an evil Wizard of Oz behind a curtain just throwing stuff out there to see what will stick.
    I really like this site. I would even if there were no comments but the civil and intelligent commenters make it all the better (by the way,your commenters know the difference between here and hear, there and their, even me as an objective case and I as a nomitive one, unlike some) Thanks for taking the time and trouble to keep this going.

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  70. You said it best when you wrote ... "Sometimes there’s a conservative in the White House, sometimes there’s a liberal. And America has [for 237 years] managed to survive them all equally well"

    This period of teaparty idiocracy is just a side note in American politics - all broken laws can be fixed, all idiots voted out and the GOP of old will find itself again.

    PS: I spoke to my God last night & she said.... 'Tell everyone to mind their own business, be true to their own conscience and leave me out of their petty politics!"

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  71. Excellent read,Jim. Tweeted.

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  72. Thank you for taking the time to refute this point by point. It is amazing in this day and age why so many people can't do a little fact checking before they forward crap like this.

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  73. Well, I think most of the whiners are missing a couple of points: a) The post mentioned definitely wasn’t written by Jeff Foxworthy. He’s probably intelligent enough to think those things, but lacks the written communication skills to put it into prose like that. So ya, I didn’t believe that he wrote that either. There was a severe lack of critical eye on his [ex]friends part. b) If I had to receive constant emails from friends talking about the demise of America, I’d get a little frustrated too. And that’s what [I believe] Jim was responding to. I constantly hear extreme conservatives say ‘pull your head out of the sand’. But what they’re pointing at is for you to put your head in their sand instead. c) Though I think there’s a couple quotes in the OP that glean a little truth and ring to my thoughts as well, it’s Jim’s right to respond as he wishes and share his thoughts on the matter. If readers of Jim’s post don’t like his response/comments, then move along. It’s really that simple. Besides, I would slightly agree that Jim is a crusty old codger as well, so no responder is going to miraculously change his mind. I’m not being a fan-boy. I’m just saying rather than making an opinionated observation about how wrong Jim was, allow him the same right of freedom of speech on what appears to be his blog, and go read something that’s more in line with your mindset.

    Jim: I like the way you typed your response [email] like you were actually talking to them. It made it easy to read---as if I was hearing it as opposed to reading it. -A little long-winded, rant’ie, and word’ie, but kept me reading on

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  74. Beautifully written! I agree most whole-heartedly! Hats off to you, sir.

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  75. OUTSATNDING, WELL THOUGHT & RESEARCHED REPLY. It's such a shame it will all be bleached from the brains of those that caused you to spend your time spelling it all out for them. They are going to simply push the channel button on their remote, and go right back to the Faux News fantasyland. I can't believe what's happened to our generation.

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  76. Thank you for this whole thing. As always I really value your perspective and your willingness to make it known. Well done!

    When I remarked to a colleague who'd posted this to his Facebook timeline that it promoted a lot of conservative thinking, he said it was just a joke and asked me to get over myself.

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    1. Jokes are supposed to be, oh what's the word?, "funny", not pathetic hate-filled rants with no connection to reality. Unfortunately, you can generally only use this reply with people once.

      Delete
  77. Thanks Jim. I will post a link on my brother's FB page. He thought enough to post the other to mine. I could only reply that I preferred my humorists such as Mark Twain and Will Rogers brand of sarcasm to Jeff Foxworthy's mockery. To my shame I did not verify who the author was.

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  78. I wish I could have every hate filled old geezer (male or female) be forced, Clockwork Orange style, to read your letter over and over. I'm so glad I had the chance to read this, so well put; I can't thank you enough!

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    1. ...be forced, Clockwork Orange style...

      That just might be a tad contrary to what I had in mind here, but I do admire your enthusiasm ;)

      Delete
    2. Kind of makes me think that Jennifer may not have followed A Clockwork Orange all the way through to the end maybe....

      JC

      Delete
  79. I agree about pessimism, but this is a big ol' straw man. Shooting down chain mail? Really? Try engaging the better arguments, man.

    And the economics in this piece are *horrendous*. Ranting about OUTSOURCING? That's exactly the sort of jingoistic stuff the rednecks you're mocking do, guy.

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  80. I see you've met my dad's old Air Force buddies, too.

    These are men and women I grew up with. They were kind to me when I was a child and taught me about the world. But I don't recognize them now because their fear has made them angry and hateful.

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  81. Be sure to read the commenting rules before you starting typing. Really.

    Uhhhh.... is this another spell checking thingie? Or is it a test? If it's a test, did I win anything?

    Wally

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    1. Holy crap. You know it's been like that for years?

      Whoa.

      Yeah, that's right, I am just that awesome, even under intense scrutiny, I can still make a typo. Booyah! Who's the man? Who's the man?

      I'll fix it. Thanks.

      Delete
  82. I was directed here via a friend's link to your page on Facebook. To be honest, this is one of the best responses to the sad litany of bitter misquotes that many old friends and family have fallen for. I recall my uncle -- a 35 year Navy man who retired in E9 grade some years ago. As a child and as a teen he was a tremendous influence on me because he was super smart, incredibly well-spoken, and very down to earth. He wasn't liberal or conservative -- but "just a man in uniform" as he used to say, a moderate who had opinions but who also exercised restraint as part of his identity as a career sailor. This was a long time ago, though. As he grew older in retirement, he has become more reactionary in his views, driven in part I suspect by fear that his contributions and benefits are in jeopardy of being forgotten and lost. Now his bitterness is a reflection of these "comedic gems" and other echoes coming out of the Fox rabbit hole. Its sad really ...

    Thanks again for the very heartfelt and informed post.

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  83. Jim,

    I have never heard of your blog and found it because of the fact that you pointed out which is that this post has gone viral.

    I read all your rules of posting and agree with your views.

    It is refreshing to read a well thought out and delivered article on the internet.

    I understand your feelings about severing ties with your old friends, however, I am sure you are somewhat saddened that you were forced into reacting in such a manner.

    However, again your actions show your true moral integrity and determination to hold to your values. I applaud you for that.

    In summary, thank you for being you and for sticking to your belief systems regardless of the consequences.

    I will definitely visit your site again.

    john

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  84. Hi Jim I grew up in a military town in Australia and many years later recently attended a wedding involving mostly military families and I was astounded that my friends hadn't evolved out of the 1980s the racism and sexism was confronting ( and i don't consider myself a saint on this count)It was shortly after this encounter we had the officer training sex scandal break, and i thought little wonder this happens.Not deriding my old friends just the culture they're trapped in.

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  85. Holy crap on a righteous indignation stick, this is brilliant.

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  86. I so relate to why you took the chain email apart bit by bit. For awhile I was getting these sorts of chain emails from a particular family member. At first I tried to ignore it, but then it just became too frequent. I took one particular email and responded with the snopes link about how the chain email wasn't true etc and suggested they could use the snopes site, or some others like it, to double check emails before forwarding. This gentle suggestion didn't work and I kept getting the misleading and/or lying chain emails. So I ended up debunking the lies or expanding on misinformation of the chain email point by point. The first time I did this the family member wrote me back saying they just thought the email was "interesting" and didn't really take any of that stuff seriously. I responded how I personally thought it was pretty serious to pass along false or misleading information. I thought this would at least get me off their spam list. Nope! So for awhile I kept answering their chain emails with the facts point by point or a link to snopes.com. Then one day, after a week of getting way too much email spam from this person, and in the midst of the presidential election, I snapped. Not only did I respond to each lying or misleading point on the chain email point by point, I also sent my response to "Reply all". See, this person also didn't suppress their email list when they forwarded spam. I had told this person that not everyone likes their email addresses forwarded to so many people they don't know, and that I didn't. Yet this person never stopped sending forwards with the open email list. So I sent my rebuttal response back to everyone on the list. After I pushed "send" I had a moment of feeling bad about it as my y intent wasn't really to shame this person. I was just hoping through it all that this person, while maybe never changing their opinions, would at least fact check stuff and back up their points with reality and actual facts and critical thinking skills. I also started to worry about a bunch of strangers emailing me back with angry rebuttals to my rebuttal, but it was too late to change my mind. I'd already hit the send button. What was done, was done and I would have to just deal with it. Much to my surprise I didn't get any angry emails from strangers. I did, however, get a couple of emails from some strangers agreeing with me and thanking me for my response! That was a relief. I think I also hurt this family members feelings. They never said so, but the spam stopped for a pretty long time. It did start up again eventually, but very much reduced in amount. Reduced enough that now I just delete it if it says "forwarded" in the subject line. I also kind of wish that this person would send me emails that are actually written by them with their own ideas and thoughts instead of just forwards. I'd like to actually hear from the person, ya know?

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  87. Jim, I've been reading your blog for some time now and finally the time has come for me to write a fan letter. I always enjoy your posts but it seems to me you may have outdone yourself with today's post. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your retorts.

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  88. I think we can make a rather astute guess as to why your friends have lost their skills: There's a black guy in the White House.

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    1. You know, Dave, were these anybody else, I'd very likely agree. But I know these guys, I don't think either one has a bigoted bone in their body. I strongly suspect that color has very little to do with it. But they both have this instant, unremitting, intense kneejerk hatred of anything that might be even vaguely "liberal."

      But then, perversely, they're in bed with Ted Nugent. Pants shitting, draft dodging, bug shit crazy Ted Nugent - who is now somehow a poster boy for conservatives. It boggles my mind.

      Delete
  89. Replies
    1. Send picture of boat and motor.

      Delete
    2. Snorting uncontrollably!

      Delete
  90. Another excellent post, Jim! I can always depend on you to easily dispense with others' BS. I've been watching administrations come and go for over 40 years now, and all of them make mistakes and have problems. What surprises me are the number of Americans who are willing to engage in the extreme revision of history only because a black man and a democrat won the presidency in the last two presidential election cycles. These guys don't have a clue about what having one's "rights" taken from, or denied to them, really means. I can imagine that if I had a time machine and offered to take them back to the 1950s as a black person like myself, they would waste no time rejecting my offer.

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  91. Well written........

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  92. Wow... beautifully written... the only sad thing is, I can only read this whole thing for the first time JUST ONCE...

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  93. Wow Jim !!! Sumpin' for everyone !!!
    I too am amazed at the "I got mine, screw you" attitude the country seems to suffer from.
    I'm also surprised at how many of my old comrades-in-arms have adopted a more moderately liberal attitude.
    Remember though, your post "Unreasonable People" (I think) - - you can't argue with these folks whether related by service, blood or friendship.
    Bear

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  94. Thank you for your sanity, and your service.

    Sincerely, THANK YOU! The post rocked.

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  95. Thank you..Jeremy

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  96. Thank you. I'll be sharing this.

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  97. I usually just return emails like that with the following note: Hi (name of sender). You have got to immediately contact your email provider because some asshole's hacked your account. Look at the bullshit they're sending out under your name!
    This usually gets me off their mailing list. However, I also love how you handled it. What a great post.

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  98. I read most of the long version of the commenting rules, and so I appreciate that you like comments from new people and with different viewpoints. My questions are legitimate questions, not sarcastic, since as you pointed out, I don't really know you.

    Are these real Christians? Or cultural American Christians? There's a difference. Do you know the difference? Is your disdain for these "type" of Christians or the whole lot (all over the entire world)? And I'm curious about how they reacted, if you don't mind sharing, but I realize that might be too personal.

    Thanks for the facts! I agree that the rich should be monitored more - but I will add perspective in that the whole system of Food Stamps, WIC etc. has a *potential* to be a money waster because of the paper-pushing side. I'm familiar with both receiving and case-working sides of public assistance. Sometimes people take advantage of the system (like some refugee elderly we personally know buying I-phones with their SS money for their grand kids), but it's rare and it can be reported. For others interested, the food stamps we received for a time hardly fed us, and we're not on public assistance anymore. We got off when we found more work - which is how the system is supposed to work. You're cut off regardless at five years, because it's meant to be temporary, not permanent as some might make you believe.

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    1. It's not for me to decide who is and who is not a "real" Christian. You say you're a Christian, good enough for me. Just like they used to tell us in the Navy before liberty, remember everybody out there in that country will judge America on your behavior. Ditto Christians, you say you're a Christian and then proceed to be a jackass like my little friend Ken Abbot up above (and who is still attempting to post an endless stream of douchebaggery), well, sorry, but he tends to color my view of the whole outfit. It's not personal, I feel the same about all religions. And militant atheists for that matter. I don't suffer jackasses gracefully.

      My "disdain," as you put it, is for hypocrites of all stripes, but especially the standard issue Right Wing American Evangelical, who at every turn attempts to force his particular Old Testament hypocritical version of Christianity on the rest of us - all the while protesting that he is not in fact doing exactly that even though it's patently obvious to everybody that he is. And that's exactly what I mean, these people aren't even honesty with themselves, but they mean to hold the rest of us to some bullshit version of biblical morality. I detest these people. Loath is not too strong a word. Case in point, gayness. There is no, repeat no, repeat absolutely no, argument against homosexuality that does not involve religion. In America, you don't get to force your religion on other people no matter how you whore it up. Period. That's the law. I don't give a fuck what you think Jesus said, too damned bad. You don't like gay? Don't be gay. But you don't get to use your religion to take away somebody else's rights. Period. Ditto every other social issue right on up to evolution and climate change. These people are idiots. Willfully ignorant idiots who want to drag the rest of us down to their willfully ignorant level. That's the type of Christian I'm talking about, the small minded hypocrite who uses his Christianity like a club. Rick Santorum. George Bush senior and junior. Michele Bachmann. Mike Huckabee. Every political action group with the word "Family" in the title. Every TV preacher ever - including the ones caught snorting coke out of a gay prostitute's ass. And so on. I despise this type of "Christian."

      Does that mean I hate all Christians? No. No even close. Of course not. There are many Christians that I admire and respect and am happy to call my friends. I admire those that actually try to live their lives in a Christlike manner. Those that feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick, do on to others.

      Here's a simple test: If I ask a Christian to tell me what Jesus really meant and they a) relate the parable of the good Samaritan, or b) they tell me how Jesus hates fags, abortion, and poor people, well then I know which type of "Christian" I'm dealing with.

      When God hates all the same people you do, you know it might be time to reexamine your faith, that's what I'm saying.

      Delete
  99. I have a friend, a former student, who's now in the Navy. And he's fallen hard for the right-wing/conspiracy whatever/it's all Obama's fault syndrome. But we're still friends and we do still talk, because we do it with respect. I call him on his bullshit, he argues, we agree to disagree. But I'm still a teacher at heart, and bit by bit he's learning things that upset his world view (like lesbians can be liberal and own guns). I keep linking to your site because you're brilliant, but also because I'm hoping that your status in his Navy world will help him see that his view is skewed. A gal's gotta have hope, right?

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  100. You are getting down right Buckwaldian.
    I mostly lurk here and save my troll bashing screeds for other sites, since you just smack them down and send them on their way.....no need to say anything.
    I have recently had to peel off several friends of numerous years for trying to shove their similar (to your old service buddies) warped world views into my face.
    One of their sisters asked me the other day, why I didn't talk to her brother any more....after I had literally thrown him out of my house a few months back, over oddly enough, our differing interpretations of the murder of that young black kid for the crime of carrying skittles while being a young black kid. I thought it was a horrible cold blooded murder...he thought it was some righteous street justice in the mold of Charles Bronson...or some such shit.
    I replied to her: Well, its like this.
    It's like I had a box where I used stuff all the hateful, narrow minded, bigoted, ridiculous bullshit that your brother and others like him used to spout off as gosphel to me whenever they felt the need to drop by with a little Fox News enlightenment.
    .....and one day I looked down and that box was oozing nasty shit all over my floor.
    So I picked it up and smashed it over your brothers head.
    Now your brothers gone, the box is gone...and I have never felt better.
    It's not just that their ideas are horrible, its that they feel the constant need to spread the word....as it were. Evangelists for hate and misery! Coming to an inbox near you!
    Rupurt Murdoch has ruined more peoples golden years than any other human in history. He and Roger Ailes should be hauled up before the Hague and charged with crimes against humanity, turning entire populations of the elderly and mentally weak...into frightened whimpering bug eyed bigots....

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  101. So well thought out and said, as usual. I think you and my former Marine husband would find many points in common. I know my late father, a WWII vet, would have loved to read your blog, he shared much of your point of view although he was a little more left. Thanks for keeping it real.

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  102. It's hard not to be pessimistic when many important things about my country are really getting worse. We are giving up our freedom in the face of a threat of terrorism that kills less people than appendicitis. Government spying on American citizens has reached levels that J. Edgar Hoover could not have dreamed of in his wildest fantasies. Income inequality in this country has surpassed the most corrupt third world countries, leading to class divisions so great as to preclude meaningful communications between classes. Militarily, we've gone from people dying in wars, to people dying in semi-formal police actions, to people dying in covert raids in a dozen countries.

    I want to be less pessimistic, but I don't know how. It sounds good to say that we have survived all the problems of the past and we will survive this too. But life looks pretty good every day to a chicken until the day he becomes a McNugget. Cultures and countries have come and gone in the past, and when they go, it's usually because people in power overreached themselves. Not much room for optimism.

    But thanks for the post. If people are going to bellyache anyway, it's better that they bellyache about something that's verifiable.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Ming, Flash here. How've ya been?

      Contrary to all appearances, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket. I know it is all the rage for intelligent, "sensible" people to moan about the various "problems" we see in our society. A certain subgroup of society just makes so much noise, kicks up so much dust and is just generally such a bunch of pains in the ass, that we cannot see what is actually going on.

      The things you mentioned are, indeed, happening, but it is not a sign that we are doomed. It is simply a sign that our institutions are dying. Our government, medical system, educational system, legal system etc. are all functioning on a scale somewhere between non and barely. Fortunately, a large number of people in our society are quietly instituting alternatives to these institutions. They explore alternative medicine, energy, monetary systems, educational systems, legal systems, etc. The main difference between them and the people making headlines is that they are not afraid. They are not much aware that they are part of an up and coming force, either, which in it's own way, is a bit comical. They are the movers and shakers and they think they are alone.

      It is not the job of the government to change our institutions and make them functional. They do not have the means or the will. They are focused on keeping everything going. Ultimately of course, they will fail. Their job is fail slowly enough that the rest of us can move in with the alternatives.

      I think things are going quite well. Things that were swept under the rug when I was young are now coming out in the open. This is the first step in getting rid of these behaviors. The flaws of institutions and individuals are being brought out into the open, making it very difficult for this kind of behaviour to continue. It's awfully messy, but if you stop looking where the magician (media, government) is pointing, you will see that some really outstanding things are going on.

      If you need a little optimism, I have lots. Help yourself.

      Flash out.

      Jeanne in WV

      Delete
  103. First, and most importantly Chief, thanks for your service. And thanks to the two curmudgeons who you had to cut off too.

    I was in at the kill during the Cold War. Did my bit as a "woodpecker" tearing down Die Mauer (Berlin Wall) near Checkpoint Charlie. Scored a few souvenirs too. Also bought a can of Coke each for three conscripts in the 5th Guards Tank Army in Potsdam, as their pay wouldn't cover it. Did stuff on subs before then, as a scumbag civie contractor and waste-of-space searider.

    The Cold War sucked. You probably know some of the stuff that went down. I hope one day the names on both sides of those involved in incidents that didn't happen will be memorialised, but I don't expect them to be. The Megatons weren't expended though, no Surface Zeros on the PPIs, so we should count our blessings.

    I've always considered myself Right of centre. Why? A respect for facts, not bloviation. I saw too many intelligent people with their hearts in the right places place their brains in deep-freeze, never checking a story that they wanted to believe, as long as it supported the DNC.

    That still happens, but now it's more a Right-wing thing. Still intelligent people, still with hearts in the right place (even if it's more "Duty, Honor, Country" than "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"). But swallowing the most egregious nonsense if it supports "their team" or denigrates the other.

    Worse, crying "Wolf" so often that real problems (on both sides of politics) get ignored as just more Rethuglican/Librul propaganda.

    I've seen the US become more and more Authoritarian, common humanity and common sense jettisoned in favour of going "by the book" no matter how insane that is in the individual circumstances. The Nuremberg Defence of "I was just following orders" is now not just routine, but universal.

    What's the first question when yet another botched SWAT raid happens, or a kid ends up with a felony conviction and 8 years jail for mouthing off? "Is the DA (D) or (R)"? Just so we know who to blame for the erosion of liberty, and who to excuse. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.

    Darned if I know what the solution is. Mobilise the electorate, I guess, no matter if they're (R) or (D) as long as they're sane. The system is broken, it needs fixing with humanity, not a Wrathful God or The Inexorable March of History.

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  104. Mr Wright, I have come to look forward to your writing as you always seem to capture what I wish to say to people. Therefore, I share you on FB a lot. I may not always agree with every part, but that adds to the joy of your writing, i.e., it makes me think.

    I was introduced to your writings by a lady recently departed. I think of her every time I read your posts. Thus, she is immortal in a way.

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  105. Aside from having left out the part about Kenya, the FEMA camps and the death panels, this is great.
    A bit of advice: When discussing anything that deals with the development of America, always find a quote by one of the founding fathers ... that gets a good foothold on the patriotism and legitimizes your point of view.

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  106. Getting older is always tough--keeping up with change and remaining relevant in a world that's no longer yours. Multiply to it though the lightning speed of current technological and social change and the mountain of learning one has to constantly do to remain barely engaged and understanding this new world and you see the frustration of those who are (1) too old to keep up and (2) more so those who have to work in that world but don't grasp it all and you have the anger that Fox feeds into and that underlies the Tea Party.

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  107. I'm the lowlife who checked the "I hate you so much" box. Not because I hate you, but because the box looked lonely. Its almost as much fun as being the 1 in a 450-1 precinct vote in a Collin County, Texas election (slight exaggeration...might have been 5).

    Also, too, perhaps, a slight bit of envy crept in because you managed to take Righteous Rant to a new level. Again. I offer thanks to fake Foxworthy for authoring such inspiration. I hope you have a chance to lift a few beers with your old Navy pals and talk about everything but politics. I've got a few friends who sample the right-wing psychotropic stew too much but we still can have fun with beer and guns (sold separately, some assembly required, your mileage may vary).

    Now, all that's left is to share this on FB and see if I can thin out a few "friends." Woohoo!

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  108. Sorry you had to call out your friends. Like many others here I find myself doing the same. Well said Jim.

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  109. Fantastic stuff here man, all of it is right on and I absolutely love your tone throughout. Not enough people willing to speak truth to power with such force and wit! Thank, much sharing about to commence.

    Oh yeah, and there are whole lot of less douchbaggery Christians out here, only few have the balls to speak up boldly and call bullshit on the ones who have hijacked Jesus for their perverted nationalistic, xenophobic country clubs. Thanks for reminding this blogger that it is ok to use MY words, as sharp as they may be at times, to counter the willful ignorance teeming all across this beautiful and broken nation ;)

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  110. The points made by the 'Jeff Foxworthy' type of post are still somewhat valid, but I agree, look at the facts to find reality, because not all of them are. As a whole, Jim, you did a good job of trashing simplifications, because that is how most people can deal with life, as only simplifications of the whole.
    Illegal hunting and fishing is on a per instance, whereas, being an illegal immigrant is on-going. How do we get to 11 million illegal immigrants (even if half a million are caught at the border/points of entry?)
    We show ID to get on a plane, to know who is there, to make it safer for everybody. But not to show ID to vote, because of a claim of "insignificant amount of voter fraud'? I can easily find articles of cases of voter fraud, committed by both parties. How about making your vote safer by knowing who cast it?

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    1. Actually, no, they are not even "somewhat valid", they are out and out bullshit.

      If you would try thinking for a minute, you would realize that 11 million is the product of A Whole Lot Of Years, like try 50-70 years not 1. So 1/2 million/year is most of the attempts, since most of the immigration occurred in the past.

      And I defy you to show any real amount of voter fraud that would 1) be caught by voter ID laws and 2) wouldn't be caught by existing registration law. Careful now, I actually know some of this stuff, so no cheating. Real numbers, say around .05% or larger of votes cast. 5/100ths of one percent shouldn't be too hard, right? If there's a real problem?

      And to tip an election, you would need 10-100 times that amount. So it's far easier, and legal to boot, to gerrymander the districts. No need to worry about going to jail! and the effect lasts for years (talk about your 4-year erection! I mean, election!) But you don't see ol' "Jeff" talking about that, now, do you?

      Nice try though.

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    2. If you can easily find cases of voter fraud, please do so. I would be very interested. They should be within the last 10 or so years. We all know about the Chicago ward system in the good old days, but to my knowledge, that is not going on now.

      They also should be significant, comprised of enough fraud to throw a local election, or to skew the vote in a state enough to affect federal elections. There will always be some people cheating on small scale, but they would tend to cancel each other out, or are so small that they don't affect the overall outcome.

      My vote is "safe". I don't have to have draconian "safeguards" in place to insure that an illegal alien doesn't sneak into my polling place and cast a vote, or that a Tea Party member doesn't vote in his own name and in the name of his dead uncle Bubba. It's just not a problem.

      I see gerrymandering (which IS going on right now) as a much bigger fraud being perpetrated on the American voter and as an actual threat to an individual's vote.

      Jeanne in WV (Who thinks well enough of her convictions to put her name on them)

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  111. Thanks. Well written. I hope it finds its way to even one person who reads it and realizes it's about him.

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  112. I agree with the thrust, some nits about SSI being part of the debt problem, it's not. SSI doesn't belong on the budget, it is only placed there to mask the yearly budget deficit.

    Also I'd give the trillions spent on QE[XX] a good solid mention when it comes to debt, but the rich man's welfare has always been a subject that the media shy's away from.

    On food stamps, most recipients have jobs. Food stamps are a subsidy to those employers unwilling to pay a worker enough to eat, you know Waltons, Pritzgers,et al.

    Not every one who sees Obama as a jerk has FOX on speed dial, Obama's most forceful critics attack his endless wars, his economic Hoover-ism and his enactment of a Stasi police state....and yes, I was quite will to offer full throated criticism of Bush [the 2nd], even when "liberals" I knew were in the thrall of his "end of hostilities" carrier landing.

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  113. What you said. Sad to say, my own brother who, in his prime, did so much LSD that his nickname was "Windowpane" and who railed against The Man like a good hippie is now firmly in the conservative camp. What's the old saying about liberals turning into conservatives once they grow up and have children? He disguises it by saying he's a social liberal and a fiscal conservative but he swallows Bill O'Reilly's garbage and complains about unions and the welfare state. It's caused a complete ban of political discussions during family gatherings. I chalk it up to older white male disenfranchisement syndrome but stubbornness is clearly a major contributor. I've learned to not engage with the unreasonable types. One of my recommended "liberal" links on FB brought a response of "That's fine
    depending on which truth you want to believe". I replied that facts are defined as facts because they are true. There are no different versions of
    the truth and when idiots offer up bullshit as fact they should be called on it. Thanks, Jim, for doing just that.
    Pam in PA

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  114. I Thank You Jim, for one of the best articles I've read in a long time ! I'm ex-Navy myself, an Airdale with a Land-based Patrol Squadron. I did 4 deployments to Cam Rahn Bay back in '65 thru late '68, so I too have ex-military friends who send me every right-wing piece of crap that lands on the web. I have sent them Fact-Check results from Snopes and elsewhere, but we all know how much these Tealiban advocates love Facts.

    I'm taking the liberty of reposting this on Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else I can, as well as emailing it to the worst offenders on my mailing lists,...hope you can stand the Traffic ! Thanks Again,Shipmate.

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  115. I've had to drop two friends for the very reasons you stated. Both are incredibly intelligent women, who used to be a pleasure to be around. Then one day it started, when one friend referred to President Obama as "the food stamp President". That was back in 2009. By last Fall, both had gone full-blown Teabagger. There were no more intelligent conversations, no reasonable disagreements between reasonable people. It became all FOX, all the time. I still cannot understand exactly how and why they stopped thinking clearly. I saw blatant racism, cruel and disgusting things were said about Hispanics and blacks, and every conversation started and ended with complaints about taxes, President Obama, Michele Obama, unemployed people, food stamps and Medicaid, Social Security. Words like "communist", socialist" and "Nazi" constantly came in from left field. Anybody who sided with the President was described as "hating freedom. I couldn't take it any longer. I just got sick of listening to B.S. I hit my limit of disrespect for the President and his family. If FOX and Jim Demint wanted to generate ongoing outrage, fear, dangerous rumors, and the spread of hate toward our very own government, well, they have succeeded.

    It seems as though a mass hysteria, no, a mental illness has become a pandemic. For the very first time in my life, I have felt fear over the stability of my country. The USA has a near-terminal case of Palinitis.

    After the last election, I was floored to see the nastiness ramped up. I could not be polite any more. I had known my two friends 20 and 25 years, but I had to tell them both not to call or come by- I was sick of listening to them. And, now I just will not sit by silently when some boob goes off on a Teabag rant, pretending to be a constitutional scholar or an expert on economics. I speak up.

    It's time WE take OUR country back.

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