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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Return of Tail Gunner Joe

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke

 

Tell me, who decides?

Who decides what this nation will become?

Who decides what legacy we will leave our children?

Who decides how America will be remembered by history?

Who decides if we will be nation of tolerance and freedom, an example to the world, a shining city upon the hill…

… or whether we will be a nation of barbed wire and secret police?

Who decides that?

“We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after Nazis. We passed several laws in 1938 and 1939 to go after Nazis and we made it illegal to help the Nazis. We're going to presently have to go take the similar steps here."

We are going to have to take similar steps.

Similar steps as the House Un-American Activities Committee.

That was former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who yesterday on Fox and Friends suggested without any trace of self-consciousness or shame, that the US resurrect one of the most vile and Un-American periods of its history.

Gingrich, commonly referred as the smartest guy in the Republican party, suggested in all candor on national television reestablishment of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The House Un-American Activities Committee.

This is what it's come down to. The House Un-American Activities Committee.

The presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States of America has made walls, barbed wire, guns, secret police, mass surveillance, mass deportation of undesirables based on religion, all, planks in his platform.

And he is cheered.

He is cheered.

He is cheered by the masses. And embraced, however fearfully, however reluctantly, by the cowed Republican establishment.

And now?

Now we are actually talking about these things as a nation as if this fascist Nazism isn't an ideology our grandparents gave their lives to wipe from the face of the earth.

And now?

Now one of those being considered for Trump's running mate is openly suggesting America go full on Tail Gunner Joe.

It was bad enough, McCarthyism, in the 1950's. Imagine it today. Go on, imagine a congressional "Un-American ‘Activities’ Committee" helmed by the likes of Trey Gowdy and armed with the tools of modern surveillance, unfettered by the FISA court, enabled by the Patriot Act, and  backed up with the vast invisible bottomless power of the National Security Agency.

Gingrich would make Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's Cheka look like rank amateurs.

 

What's it going to take here? Actual goosesteps and the sound of fucking tanks in the streets?

 

Who decides?

Who decides what's Un-American? Donald Trump? Newt Gingrich? The howling Brownshirts who make up Trump rallies? Congress? Congress can't even agree on what to order for lunch, half of them believe the Earth is 6000 years old and their God gallivanted around the Sea of Galilee on a velociraptor handing out Glocks to the faithful. For fuck's sake, we're going to let these certifiable lunatics decide who is and who isn't an American?

Who decides?

Tell me, why is it that a religion which preaches intolerance every single day in the name of their deity, whose adherents embrace violent nationalism and daily wave their guns and clamor for the elimination of those not like them, who daily declares their intention to burn down the elected government of the United States and replace it with a religious theocracy more to their liking, why is that religion American simply because it's Christian?

What?

What's that?

Oh no. No. No. No. Don't you dare try to tell me that's not what a significant percentage of homegrown religious extremists are saying. That's exactly what they are saying. Every. Single. Day. All you have to do is look at their Facebook pages and their websites. All you have to do listen to the various militias. All you have to do is tune into Franklin Graham or Bryan Fischer, or drop by a Trump rally. Hell, a bunch of Mormon fanatics just took up arms against the rest of us in the name of their God while Christian extremists cheered them on and rallied to their defense -- or have you forgotten Malheur already? And as long as we’re on the subject, look up Nevada State Assemblywomen Michele Fiore.

Who decides?

Who decides what is and is not American? The fucking Bundys?

 

This guy, this asshole who murdered 49 people in Orlando? That guy? That guy was as American as it comes.

Oh yes he was.

He was born right here in America. He’s more a natural born American than Ted Cruz or John McCain.

He raged against gay people just exactly the same as every pinched faced conservative Christian preacher currently spewing hate and intolerance from his pulpit. No different than Pat Robertson or John Hagee. No different from the politicians currently rushing bathroom bills through the various state legislatures. No different than Kim Davis, conservative hero. There is no difference in rhetoric or the target of their hate whatsoever.

He loved guns. He saw guns as power, power over others, power to impose his will so that he didn't have to suffer those he despised. So he didn't have to compromise. Guns, for him, were freedom, liberty, and a final solution to his hatred. How is this different from those who took over Malheur? Who threaten daily to march on Washington with their guns in the name of their god? Because he pulled the trigger? Because he was actually willing to shoot down his fellow Americans? Look at any Christian militia Facebook page and tell me how they are any different. Go on, I'll wait.

You going to tell me this guy wasn’t an American?

Who decides? Who?

I am once again watching Fox News national security experts blame political correctness for the carnage. Over on Twitter disgraced spook John Schindler is beating the same drum. Schindler wasn't much of a spook, but like those of his ilk he's damned good at telling the brass what they want to hear – and today he's busy telling conservatives it was "political correctness" in the same tone and phrasing guys like him told Donald Rumsfeld about those weapons of mass destruction which were surely waiting for us in Iraq.

Political Correctness, that's why the FBI didn't do anything about the Orlando Shooter.

Political correctness is why we tolerate Muslim extremism in our own midst.

Sure. Why not? I'm hip.

When will we set aside this political correctness and call out religious extremism residing among us be it Islamic or Christian or Mormon or the National Rifle Association?

 

Who decides?

Who decides what is American and what is Un-American?

 

I'll tell you who decides: You.

You decide.

Each and every one of you. You Americans.

If you don't speak up, you decided.

If you turn a blind eye to hate and intolerance in your religion without public and vocal challenge, you decided.

If you allow attacks on your neighbors verbal or physical, you decided.

If you allow the politicians and the preachers to decide who can and cannot use the bathroom, who can get married, you decided.

If you allow 33,000 Americans to die every year from gun violence without protest, you've decided.

If you don't vote, for whatever reason, you've decided.

Who decides?

Who decides what this nation will become? Who decides what legacy we will leave our children? Who decides how America will be remembered by history? Who decides if we will be nation of tolerance and freedom, an example to the world, a shining beacon on the hill, or whether we will be a nation of barbed wire and secret police?

Who decides?

If you don't, then small fearful men like Newt Gingrich will.

 

If you want a better nation, then you must decide to be better citizens.

97 comments:

  1. Bravo! You've said everything that needs to be said!

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  2. Once again,Jim, thank you for your words. You keep me sane, in an insane America.

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    1. Powerful and so true. Sadly the people who need to read this and understand it, won't. They like there hatreds and the thought that they are much better than the rest of us. Ty once again

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  3. "Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides." - Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would be considered a RINO by the "conservative" base today

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    1. Ivan, it's my theory that Ike would be considered a moderate Progressive today...but maybe that's just me...

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  4. Thank you. As an observant, voting, advocating, protesting terrified American, just thank you.

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  5. If by some bizarre chance Trump wins and Congress continues to be controlled by batshit crazy extremists who implement ANY of these fascist, unAmerican ideas I believe you'll see opposition on a scale that makes the sixties look like a picnic in the park. I'll be there.

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    1. Sign me up and I will bring the flags..

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    2. Remember, wear comfortable shoes to the revolution and make sure to bring enough snacks for everyone.

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    3. And just why would you wait exactly? Surely the time for opposition is BEFORE it happens?

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    4. My question is, why do we have to wait until Trump is president plus batshit crazy right wing extremists? If we don't oppose this nonsense now, I am no longer convinced that having the deadbeat orange garbage fire as our president, plus the right wing extremists, will be the push we need. We need to fight this nonsense NOW.

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    5. "Deadbeat Orange Garbage Fire"! Congratulations, Mary Stone, you just won tonight's internet!

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    6. Mary.....I believe it will be a very long and hot summer beginning with the RNC Convention. Trump just threatened to run third party again today.

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    7. I'd be okay with reconvening HUAC if they were going after the libertarians. Those guys are as unamerican as they get.

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    8. ...respectfully Chris??? I'd rather keep baby rattlesnakes in a tin can by my fishing gear {a line from my Grandfather.} than trust ANY such thing especially but not exclusively with Teatards in charge...

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  6. Brilliant. Thank you for saying what I feel.

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  7. Thus endeth the First Lesson. Hallelujah and Amen. Thank you, Jim!

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  8. I can absolutely say I'll be part of those who decide!

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  9. An ex-pastor of mine once asked the congregation from the pulpit, "is the real struggle in the world between good and evil, or could it be between good and indifference?" at any rate it seems as if indifference is the winner in the popular vote.

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  10. Love your words Jim, thank you for being what I consider a true America: one who questions authority, defends freedom and Liberty, and stands up for those who can't defend themselves.

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  11. Sunday the situation in Orlando demonstrated one of the big problems of the 24/7 news cycle: posturing politicians and swaggering svengalis. As more information is obtained and released the picture of what happened in Orlando becomes increasingly muddled. The characterization of the shooter wanders from typical loser to religious reactionary to jilted gay disturbed by his own nature.

    But that won't stop many from pontificating about what really happened. A new HUUAC wouldn't have found him, either.

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  12. Michele Bachman called for an investigation on the Democratic majority in congress for being "Un American". Inventory of the arms left behind at the Mahler refuge (Bundys) include 15,000 live rounds of ammo and 50 guns of all kinds. 1654 spent rounds. LEFT BEHIND. This does no include the 50 caliber machine gun one of the followers answering Bundys call for aide was found with. Currently the Soverign citizen movement is working on their own justice system so they can arrest, judge and execute our side out laws. Their constitution fits in their pocket.

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  13. You have such a gift for explaining things so there's no confusion. I'm envious of your talent; I'll just have to try harder. I'LL be in the voting booth in November, deciding. thanks.

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  14. Damn right.

    If the House Unamerican Activities Committee is ever resurrected, Gingrich should be one of the first put into their spotlight because of his activities during his Speakerhood, especially his hijacking of Congress in an attempt to impeach a sitting president over behavior that he himself was guilty of.

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  15. Sadly watching the horror show from abroad, I noted earlier today to a friend that the really toxic influence of the 2nd Amendment Gun Culture is that it has brought with it the pervasive notion that if the government really goes bad, if a despot truly arises, that they can be overthrown with violence by an engaged and armed populace.

    It seems like this has led to a situation where some people, outraged by politics, corruption, gays, bathrooms (and occasionally trees, clouds and that nasty rabbit sculpture that's been giving them the eye) disengage. They don't HAVE to persuade people that they're wrong anymore, because if it gets too bad, hell, lets march on Washington.

    They don't need to be better citizens in their heads, because owning a gun and being ready to march is them already being the best citizen they can be.

    And this seems to becoming more mainstream, not just out on the fringes anymore.

    And it presupposes that the citizenry is alert enough to notice which ignores history - a despot nearly always has the backing of the people at first, and then it's usually too late by the time people wonder "why are we gassing all these people?".

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    1. Daren, a friend asked me recently if I own a gun. When I said NO! he asked "Why Not?" I CAN'T...the VA diagnosed me as "Severe Depression with Suicidal Tendencies." But what's more I don't even want one...I've mentioned before my Dad, a US Army Veteran of the Korean War gave me a certain amount of gun training.Sure not at Jims level, but effective enough. Has anybody else noted, in TV and Movies the Bad guy is cornered in front of a crowd, a barrage of bullets take him down...AND HE'S THE ONLY ONE HIT??? Dad pointed these scenes out so many times over the years I spot 'em myself and point them out to my wife. My point is this: Dads biggest lesson was "Don't fire until you know where that bullets likely to wind up." I don't NEED a gun, and probably will never own one.

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  16. At the risk of being lambasted, all I can think about is who is the best person (candidate) to really produce the change we want to see in this country. And the ONLY one with the honesty, experience, education, and compassion to lead our country in a new direction is Bernie Sanders. Vote for Bernie for change. Vote for Hillary and things will stay the same. Multiple polls show Bernie Sanders has a much better chance of defeating Trump.

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    1. That's swell. The process is nearly complete, and there is a good chance he will not be the nominee. You will not be absolved from having to decide.

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    2. Take your defeatism and begone, nameless saboteur.

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    3. Bill Petersen, CitizenJune 14, 2016 at 12:12 PM

      All fine and well should Bernie Sanders become the Democratic nominee but that is highly unlikely. Soon the Bernie signs will be removed from my front windows and replaced with Hillary Clinton signs. I'm with Bernie until he concedes and then I'm with whomever is our best chance to prevent a Trump presidency. I'll decide. I'll decide in local and state elections and I'll decide in national elections. I'll be for those who vehemently oppose unrestricted access to weapons whose only purpose is killing. I'll be for those who vigorously support equal rights for all races, religions and sexual orientation. I'll be for those who will be active in seeking a better life for my progeny. Doing anything else is admitting defeat.

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  17. You're a true hero.

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  18. One thing is certain, if the American people completely lose their minds and put Trump in the White House, it is a SURE BET that we will find ourselves staring down the barrel of WWIII. Except this time WE will be the ones that everyone else organizes themselves to stop.

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  19. I never feel like I have the words necessary to argue against such hatefulness - until I read your blog. Thank you, Jim, for your analytical mind and willingness to stand up and say "ENOUGH!" Thanks to you, I too can say "ENOUGH!"

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  20. To this, I'd add a few things.

    1. I learned about the Red Scare in the mid eighties, when I was in college. I was appalled; why had I not been taught about this in the Texas public schools? Why had I had to go out and learn about this nonsense myself?

    2. Joe McCarthy has been judged by history as a shameless demagogue who didn't care how much damage he did to anyone, long as it kept him powerful. He is not well thought of by history or his country. Who does he remind us of?

    3. While McCarthy went up in flames, other politicians on the House UnAmerican Activities Committee did not. One got out unscathed, and later went on to a most successful career. Guy name of Richard Nixon.

    There's a lesson in here somewhere.

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    1. Tailgunner Joe was never on the HUAC. He was a senator, the Chairman of the Government Operations Committee and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

      And Nixon's tenure with HUAC ended a while before McCarthy picked up steam; Nixon was a senator from 1950-1952. Joe didn't really get going until 1953, when he was appointed as Chairman of the GOC. Nixon was Vice-President at the time.

      Bobby Kennedy was assistant counsel to MCarthy's witch hunt, as well as being good friends with him. He's the guy who got out unscathed, at least until Sirhan Sirhan showed up. Both parties were complicit in the Red Scare witch hunt.

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    2. Well, we might argue the actual succesfulness of Richard Nixon's political career. Though I concede your point. I think what we have to remember is that all these bozos serve at our discretion. If we don't like them, we need to work hard and get them out of office. Complacency feeds the status quo.

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  21. Wow! So true and powerful. Thanks for a great post.

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  22. This essay is spot on in every particular, but I want to express my own reservations:

    I'm already scared.

    I'm scared just writing this.

    I'm scared that if these predictions come true, people like me and you fine folks will become targets for actual persecution (rather than the imaginary Christian "persecution").

    Jim, I admire your service, and perhaps you are, either through training or natural inclination, the type of person who doesn't suffer from these fears, or is able to keep them in check.

    Me? I'm not. It shames me to admit it, but I am afraid.

    I honestly hope that I would challenge anyone spewing the kind of hate you're talking about loudly and publicly, and I firmly believe that would be the correct course of action, but I'm just not sure I could muster the requisite resolve.

    That said, I might very well say "fuck it, shoot me or lock me up or waterboard me or whatever, I will not let this pass."

    I really hope that's what I would do.

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    1. Jim and I have similar backgrounds, and I'm afraid too.
      I just don't let it stop me from doing what's right, as I am able to understand what's right.

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  23. Never think your vote doesn't matter. Ever. Don't be complacent. Don't refuse to vote because your primary candidate wasn't the one the party chose. It matters. If you don't vote, the people Jim just talked about in this article will be doing your thinking and deciding for you. If that doesn't scare you than nothing short of death will.

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  24. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Martin Niemöller

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    1. This should be posted at every polling place in the country.

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  25. Well, my non-denominational, secular god, anyway. Sort of a baha'i hunting guide, as it were. Keep up the good work. Sending cat food money. You're welcome.

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  26. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredJune 14, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    Why does this need to be said? Rhetorical question. I really believe that their worldview includes their interpretation of what an American is and they really believe in THAT America. And you're automatically un-American if you don't agree with their view. Scary, indeed.

    Gingrich, commonly referred "to" as . . . (I believe).

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  27. Will you please run for Congress? We need representatives who understand the nuances of these issues, and who can be a champion for much-needed change.

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  28. Great commentary! Now what do we do (besides voting) to make sure we don't have troops goose-stepping down the streets in every community in this nation!

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  29. Thanks Chief. I never, ever thought I would hear HUAC mentioned again. It's a sad day indeed.

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  30. Silly rabbit, the NRA decides!

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  31. Cheers to another outstanding post! Your FB comments over the last week or so are a great argument for a "stand up and cheer in support" emoticon option! Your voice in the one that makes sense to most logical, reasonable folks. No wonder the whackjobs attack; you use big words they have to look up. Bravo!

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  32. As usual, spot on. And thanks for saying so eloquently (with appropriate profanity) what needs to be said.
    Larry Taylor

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  33. I weep for the total shit hole we have dug for ourselves. Damn the people who have put us here, damn the people who won't let us fix it. Well, they wanted us to live in fear, but I don't think the fear they anticipated was exactly what they are creating. We don't fear the same things. What the fuck can we do to stop it? Yes, vote. Dear God, YES VOTE! But how can we be sure that we can outvote the insane crazies? I am scared shitless, and I don't like it. I wish ... I don't even know what I wish anymore.

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    1. ....and I say DAMN the people who aren't going to get off their lazy asses, get registered and VOTE! Otherwise, the lunatics will remain in power, to our nation's everlasting shame !

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  34. Being, as I am, a retired military guy with 20 years of active duty, my circle of friends on FB - people who damn well know better about what they are supposed to be/are currently defending have thinned my patience to a remarkable degree. A few cases in point:

    1. They: Shooter was a Muslim Democrat!!!1111
    Me: Timothy McVeigh was a Christian Republican. Are you calling for the banning of Christianity? Why or why not?
    They: .....

    2. They: Trump will make America great again!!!111
    Me: When did America stop being great?
    They: .... (Well, one was honest enough to say BECAUSE DEMOCRATS!!!)

    3. They: Posts picture of George Washington with fake quote.
    Me: That quote is fake/fraudulent.
    They: No one will listen if I didn't use someone famous to make the point!!!
    Me: Did it ever occur to you if your ideas were that good, you wouldn't need to frame them dishonestly?
    They: ....

    These $*(^%$ing People.

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  35. Jim: like many who read who read and appreciate your stuff, I never served in the military. However, my brother John was one of the few members of the 2-7 to make it through Ia Drang unschathed. Like you, he volunteered, and lived by the oath he took. Like all too many others of his generation, he also died by it.

    Like you, John had his own personal reasons for volunteering. I have always thought the whole "thank you for your service" thing a bit on the trite side, and just a bit smugly self-righteous. But I will say this: thank you for coming home alive.

    And using your experience, wit, and talent, to make your voice heard. Once again, sir, you say it well - far better than I and many others could.

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  36. Jim, you are on FIRE with this one. An excellent essay!

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  37. I decide, yes, I do decide and I will share with my friends and we will decide together. Thank you for the focus and significance of citizenship.

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  38. Scott GottliebsonJune 14, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    Jim - Mr. Wright, no, JIM.
    Great writing needs to be shared! In addition to my Facebook feed I wish to add this link to a comment stream in which my friend helped to disseminate the politicization of the tragedy in Orlando by sharing to some pixelwaste of a site who misrepresented the Presidents remarks (I know, shocking, right?) in which I provided the relevant part of the transcript.
    "My friend said keep my head in the sand and said it was "an act of war."
    We had some back and forth until I said:-It's very great and noble of you to say your brothers and sisters paid the ultimate sacrifice for their freedoms but just who the fuck decided they were allowed to? And who the fuck gets to decide who the next of our brothers and sisters gets to sacrifice their lives for who they are?"

    Thank you again for confirming that Great minds think alike.

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  39. Being the majority, I think it's safe to surmise that Christians kill more Americans each year than the most enraged Muslims could ever dream of. Strange, there are no calls to ban them.

    The picture coming out about the most recent mass shooter is of a closeted gay man who decided to take out his self hatred on a bunch of innocent people. Oh, and he happened to be a barely-practicing Muslim. Rather than go after Muslims, perhaps we should embrace gay people so they can all accept how God made them. I don't know, but there is nothing more un-American than attacking people for their faith.

    Excellent essay, sir!

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    1. Read a meme today that there have been 988 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. Four have been by folks who identified as Muslim. Yet we are supposed to believe that we have a "Islamic Terrorism" problem?

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    2. Which makes the idea that Trump will be discussing with the NRA the idea that it might be a good idea to prevent people on a terrorist watch list getting guns seem a bit like the kid sticking his finger in the hole in the dike.
      http://www.adn.com/alaska-news/nation-world/2016/06/15/trump-and-nra-to-discuss-preventing-gun-sales-to-people-on-terror-watch-lists/

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  40. Newt Gingrich is a loathsome weaselly little man who apparently needs attention again. He hasn't been able to garner it through being an "author" nor has he been able to stay tucked away in whatever little shitty college he's "teaching" at. He is one of the worst people in the world for any kind of political power, which means he's perfect for Trump. In my opinion, anybody who would even consider voting for him needs to be put where they aren't a danger to themselves or others.
    That being said, I will be in the front of the line to protest this one. I was too young for the 60's, but I'm now older, in debt, and I don't give a shit any more. These people cannot be allowed.

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  41. Thank you for saying this I just hope America listens.

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  42. You can choose a ready guide
    in some celestial voice
    if you choose not to decide
    you still have made a choice
    you can choose from phantom fears
    and kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that's clear
    I will choose free will

    When Rush penned that chorus, they might have been thinking solely about religion, or maybe of free will as a concept in general, or maybe they were still on that Ayn Rand high they were on many years back (a move they admit now was regrettable, but produced some of the greatest music ever).

    But the words are true nonetheless.

    You can sit back and say you're not going to choose because your conscience tells you to, because you aren't satisfied, because they haven't done what you want. You can say it's not your fault, that you wanted the *real* change and *they* didn't give it to you, that you did what you thought was right.

    You are choosing nihilism in that case. You are choosing to continue the status quo of broken government and bad ideas.

    And it won't save you.
    Not when the men in uniforms come to your door.
    Not when the missiles start flying.
    Not when the country you love so much that you stood back and let it die is a ruin.

    You can have your utopia when the threat of dystopia is crushed to powder. You can have it when saying you want to ban an entire religion or bring back HUAC or tell people where they can and can't shit based on their genitals is something that will get you shamed out of society and into the wilderness, never to return. You can have it when we aren't counting the number of mass shootings in a month on our digits by taking off our shoes. You can have it when we aren't facing the possibility of a President who thinks that one of the biggest existential threats to our planet is a hoax invented by China to weaken us. You can have it when people of color aren't being gunned down like animals by corrupt police who get support from mass media who run with any rumor that makes the victim look like a villain.

    But you can't have it right now. Sorry. I know you're used to having it all right now, I know you're used to instant gratification and nobody ever having to not get exactly what they want when they want it. I know you're not used to being told "no". I know you're used to everything being a simple question of good and evil, black and white.

    You can't have your utopia, not now. Not when your revolution would be built on the backs of the already downtrodden. Not when your nihilism results in entire classes of people who (mostly) aren't you being treated worse than they already are.

    Not when your voice can mean the difference between a knowingly-flawed but decent person and the exact thing my grandfather fought to stop.

    You can choose not to decide. But then you still have made a choice, and it is for our destruction.

    I will choose a path that's clear.
    I will choose free will.
    And my will is to fight.

    Jim, I have decided. I can only hope your other readers will, too.

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    1. This is an excellent post as well. Thank you.

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    2. "But you can't have it right now. Sorry. I know you're used to having it all right now, I know you're used to instant gratification and nobody ever having to not get exactly what they want when they want it."
      I've been working and voting since 1968 and I'm still waiting for gratification. I don't expect it all, but a crumb now and again would make it easier to keep going.

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  43. We are being driven by fear just as 1930 Germany. Why are we following the plan for the weimar Republic? Why are their 400 industrialist that meet in the woods? Are they forcing Hillary or Obama to declare martial law, and then cause an uprising just as it happened before? Or will we fade away like the Republic did as Trump - Hitler rose to power. Get out and vote we cannot be driven by fear, no matter what. After Trump-Hitler rose to power he eliminated the brown shirts and consolidated power. History is doomed to repeat itself because men forget to learn from history.

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  44. My father-in-law fought beside Chiang Kai-Shek with such bravery, he was given a ceremonial sword. He was also the first Chinese alien (as they put it back then) to wear a US military uniform. He was part of the US Army Air Corps during WWII, in military intelligence, risking his life behind enemy lines in the Pacific Theater. His comrade was caught and executed, he barely escaped with his life. He was put on the HUAC list as a communist because of his Chinese ancestry. Let's just say my family is in no hurry to return to the "Good Old Days" of HUAC.

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  45. Thank-you Jim, that's exactly what they are saying.

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  46. As I heard someone say this weekend, if Edward R. Murrow were still here, Trump would already be gone. With hundreds of questionable pundits spewing their views, skilled journalists are often drowned out. There may not be anyone with the clout and gravitas of Murrow, but many voices are speaking and writing the truth, including you, Jim. We need a Murrow-like intervention now.

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  47. Jim, I'm merely a Facebook Friend. You don't know me, but I follow, I donate, I appreciate, and I share your cogent essays. This is powerful writing, my FB friend. I am proud to be in your circle, and proud to have you in mine.
    When these egregious, self-righteous motherfuckers put on their brown shirts (however symbolic that may be), I will put on my browncoat and we will see what we will see. Before that instant, however, I will add my voice to the call for simple human dignity and reasonable discourse. I decided long ago that if I do not, I don't deserve my browncoat.
    You have become a light for so many. Grateful to you for saying so directly, so clearly what must be said.

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  48. I would not be surprised if Jim is already on Newt and Trump's list. His is exactly the kind of American voice they fear the most, and what they fear they will attack, given the chance. "Terrorism" will just the the excuse they intend to use as cover.

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  49. Thank you Jim for saying what needs to be said, clearly and concisely. We need to vote, not only against Trump, but also for a better Congress and I'm voting for Democrats all down ticket. The GOP is not Lincoln's party anymore; it hasn't been for a long time, but now it's just in the gutter and not deserving of its party status. Voting is our major power and we must use it to overwhelmingly deny Trump, Gingrich and all their goons any power at all.

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  50. Jim, you always express so beautifully exactly what needs to be said. This post reminds me of Politico Magazine's article, "He Brutalized for You - How Joseph McCarthy henchman Roy Cohn became Donald Trump’s mentor." It's a hell of a read that shows how Trump learned Cohn's lessons well and ruthlessly practices them today. There is a straight line of belligerence, no apologies, media manipulation, and arrogance running directly from Tailgunner Joe to Trump.

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  51. Hi Jim,

    Something I noticed while taking classes for a Masters in Homeland Security and studying the intelligence community...you know what insurgency is from your time in the Military, and you are likely familiar with counter-insurgency tactics...are we seeing an insurgency in this country, the whole Right-Wing, anti-government, militia stuff, this IS covert operations tactics used overseas to manipulate regime change being used on us, isn't it...or do you think I am just being overly paranoid after reading my textbook lol. I am personally hoping on the paranoia because hell, better paranoid than right on this one.

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    1. Cherilyn, Jim, et al - My brother recently asked me (seriously) if I agreed that the USA was on the verge of descending into a civil war. I asked back "Why the hell would you think that?" and he replied with many of the same concerns and observations you make about potential armed and motivated anti-American types rebelling against the gov't (self serving-militias, 3%'ers, sovereign citizens, and all other types of low-IQ nutjobs dwelling in their parents' basements or depriving their kids of dental care in order to amass ever more ammo "Just in case ISIS comes calling.")

      I sent my bro a link to the Rude Pundit response to the recent Andrew Sullivan piece on Sullivan's fears of mass upheaval and democracy's demise cuz the unwashed masses (GOP base) are ripe for the leadership of an authoritarian and demagogic orangutan with the brain capacity and attention span of a tweet. (Trumps favorite communication channel.) Check it out: http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2016/05/dont-worry-andrew-sullivan-americans.html

      I agree fully with the Rude one that there is no risk to America that there will be a mass or even small uprising by gun huggers, racists and sexually conflicted losers (sometimes all in one). The Malheur Mormon Militia episode in OR illustrated the depth of their ineptitude and stupidity. That was not an uprising but a sloppy annoyance which did waste taxpayer dollars, but resulted in a net win for Federal law enforcement over these nutcases.

      Americans are too embedded in the US ways of life of working electricity, sewage and water systems and the comfortable security knowing that King Super, Safeway, Home Depot, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc will be open and stocked with an abundance of stuff that they can buy with currency backed by the US Treasury. People have jobs they need to keep to buy the stuff that makes them happy and healthful. Civil war or armed uprisings tend to disrupt that confident flow of services and comfort that most Americans take for granted. No matter what their grievances or hatreds, I just don't see any indications that a large(ish) portion of the population will quit their jobs and take up arms to attempt to bring down those systems that give us comfort and make us American.

      I spent several months in the US Embassy in Liberia during the 1990/91 Liberian civil war. Now THAT was a civil war. For the record, the sensations I noted of civil war include the silence of no electricity or fuel for civilian vehicles - the occasional sound of gunfire or mortars, and crying - the darkness at night lit by periodic fires - the smell of shit and rotting meat - and the perimeter fence fully lined with starving Liberians staring in silently at the well fed Marines. That was fucked up.

      I just don't see the reason for Americans to give up everything they have for their fevered dreams of anarchy over having a black or female POTUS. Now some gun nut will always lose it now and again. But, there will be no large scale, coordinated and well led armed rebellion (cuz they are too stupid to coordinate or be led). And besides, the gov't has more and bigger guns. Kinda long response, but I think you can rest easy. But, watch out for weirdos all the same - Semper Fi, Tommy D

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    2. Same goes for us on the other side of the Pacific. We may not particularly like our government, but seriously - car, house, wife, kids and parents come first, and as long the quality of life is decent and improving, nobody's going to start a large-scale uprising.

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  52. Dear Jim.
    I've only recently discovered you and became "a follower", which is not my wont, but in my defense, I enjoy rational rants, if there is such an animal. Having said that, I'm somewhat chagrined to have read your post re. the mass killing in Orlando. Chagrined because it was a rant - long, populistic and quite painful to read. It was your obvious impotence that pained me, the frustration with a status quo that may not be, must not be reality in what you like to quote as "a shining beacon on the hill" (a term, btw, that sadly has lost all relevance decades ago). To keep this, my rare comment to a blog compared to my own occasional rants on social media, relatively terse, I fully grok your utter frustration with the accelerating cycle of gun violence in this country, but I'm afraid that this train has left the station, what with the hundreds of millions of firearms in the hands of tens of millions of good, not so good and outright psychopathic gun owners in this country. These weapons are here to stay and I for one am miserably discouraged to see us reduced to rants and not able to find a solution to this quagmire. Otherwise, thank you for your musings on this blog; I'm glad to have been turned on to them. Last, but not least, good luck with FLA, Jim.

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  53. It's probably been said but it bears repeating...and repeating...GO VOTE! And don't just think about the one office of President, vote on all the other positions up for election, national, state, local, freaking school board if that is on the ballot. Change doesn't happen from the top down. If you don't vote the nonfunctioning pols out of office, then whoever you do vote for President will be as hog-tied as Obama has been. Be a better citizen and be involved!

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  54. You help me feel not alone with these thoughts. I was a 3rd generation soldier. All 3 generations took wounds for our freedom. I believe strongly in that thought. Now we have a racist nominee and people are ok with that. The whole idea of this nation is one of freedom of choice. That to me means you can love, worship, believe and say whatever you want. I don't have to agree with it. Maybe we can find something to respect in each others opinion. So many people have stop listening to anything but themselves. All I can say is vote for sanity. Don't vote in fear but with eyes open.

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  55. Thank you, Jim, for saying what's on everyone's mind. I feel safer with you around than without.

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  56. The Orlando shooter was as American as the rest of us? “Everybody who was in the bathroom who survived could hear him talking to 911, saying the reason why he’s doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country,”

    His country, Afghanistan. American wasn't his country. Why? Maybe he's disturbed. Maybe it was religious indoctrination about imposing Islam on the whole world. Maybe he was bullied and felt rejected.

    The primary perpetrators of the Paris attacks were the children of Muslim immigrants who settled in their Brussels enclaves, didn't assimilate, didn't learn the language, never bought in. They took revenge on France for bombing and killing "their people" in Syria.

    The Quran is chock-full of imperatives to the Muslim faithful to either convert, subdue, or kill Christians, Jews, infidels, pretty much everybody. Like every faith, most Muslims aren't really that into their religion, so they explain away or ignore the uncomfortable parts. Layer on geopolitical grievances, though, and those verses are re-animated as rallying cries and recruitment tactics. That's his country over there, and we're bombing it.

    I'm a Christian. Every Muslim in America and the world has been instructed by their prophet and deity to wage merciless unrelenting war on me or be punished by said deity for their lack of commitment. Thankfully most don't take it serious. Most just want a better life for themselves while being pious enough to squeak into the afterlife. But every unassimilated Muslim with an affinity for a home country currently being dismantled by our awful foreign policy is a potential lone wolf powder keg.

    What most gun-toting right-wing religious zealots don't understand is that we don't have to try to kill them all "over there". Their savage and intolerant religion leads them to first brand each other as infidels and destroy each other in an attempt to claim the mantle of true Islam. There are dozens of heretical sects needing to be eradicated to keep Sunnis and Shiites busy, when not killing each other, for a couple more millennia. Yes, Americans will die because, well, we are still infidels, but that will be a footnote.

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    1. THAT is pure bullshit!!! I have known quite a few Muslims, as well as some Middle Eastern Christians, the source of the "Islamic" hate-hate-hate is far right-wing clerics; just as the source of "Christian" hate-hate-hate is far Reich Wingers like Pat Robertson or Mike Huckabee...the REAL worshippers of God{by any name} is invisible to the media...because there is NOTHING on this Earth more boring than anybody trying to truly serve the Almighty.

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  57. Funny that history teacher Gingrich got the story of the HUAC wrong. It was not created "to go after Nazis," it was created during the First World War to investigate possible pro-German influence in the U.S. After WW I and the Russia Revolution, it became a tool for anti-communists. Even during the height of WW II it was never used to "go after Nazis."

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  58. I figured out why Republican law makers refuse to ban people on the terrorist watch list from buying weapons, why they want people on that list to be able to buy weapons: because most of those people are what Republicans call their "base".

    Scott F.

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  59. Hope the move's going smoothly, Jim.

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  60. http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/boy-6-fatally-shoots-little-brother-while-allegedly-playing-with-his-mothers-gun/ar-AAhGVaR?ocid=spartandhp

    Another one Jim. :(

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  61. Jim, I learn so much from your essays, and agree with 95% of what you say; the other 5% being shit I have NO idea about.Is there a reason you haven't 'friended' me on FB? Ah well, Aloha...

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  62. Gingrich is an old turd warmed over to join the stew concocted by the Tea Party and Fox News. I remember well the Newt and 1) Contract with America and 2) Desire to reestablish orphanages, and 3) other humanitarian ideas. Did not leave office under a good umbrella. But memories are short. And he was a History Professor so he must be up to speed on what he preaches.

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  63. As your attorney I advise you to take a break for the day.
    Thanks, Mr. Wright

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