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Friday, October 05, 2012
Death Penalty Redux
It's been eight years since I wrote about the death penalty, and my opinion overall really hasn't changed for the most part. The salient points:
I believe that if you have incontrovertible evidence of a crime, video, DNA, more than ten eyewitnesses, I mean really ironclad stuff, then go ahead and kill the guy. If shaky eyewitness testimony or circumstantial evidence comes into play, then the death penalty is off the table.
To the point of its misapplication, the evidentiary threshold shouldn't only be applied to capital murder cases. It should apply to particularly brutal assaults, major financial crimes, rape, and especially child rape.
What I know of pedophiles is that it seems as though many would, if a therapy was available or a switch could be thrown to stop the urges, would gladly do it. Most pedophiles don't want to be pedophiles. (This isn't to excuse any of the behavior.) My point is that these guys are wired a certain way, and no amount of therapy or threat of prison is going to stop them from doing what they do. If the proof meets the high bar, then execute him. Give him the mandatory appeal, but if he's ruled against, he has 48 hours to get his affairs in order.
If you want to know how high a bar I'm setting for proof, I'll put it this way: Without knowing nearly all the details of the case, and based solely on what I've read, Jerry Sandusky wouldn't qualify for execution. As far as I know, there isn't any proof other than one eyewitness and that of the victims. There's no visual or auditory proof, and no DNA that I'm aware of. If I'm wrong about the scarcity of more ironclad evidence, then I gladly nominate that scumbag for the end of a rope.
The same applies for the other types of crimes I mentioned, and probably a bunch more. A guy who beats the hell out of his wife and kids was probably beaten as a child by his parents, and his own kids are going to end up beating their own children. Just end it. Break the chain, and let's put the defective genes to bed.
There are certain people who cannot be rehabilitated or fixed. Given that even rapists who were "chemically castrated" still found ways to commit sexual crimes, there's just no point to keeping these people around if they've been proven guilty to the degree I've described.
I'm not a liberal, I'm not a conservative, I'm a rationalist. My views and opinions are based solely on what makes sense. You can argue with me about this if you want, just so you know, you're wrong.
posted at 12:29 AM
So grateful that we've settled down to the usual black and white view of what happened in Colorado this morning.
Ban all guns!
If everyone was armed, he could've been stopped!
See how simple solutions can be? Must be satisfying to just leave it at that.
Here's the thing, the Second Amendment allows us to bear arms, and the Constitution is fine by me. If you want a hunting rifle, have at it. If you'd like a handgun or shotgun for home protection, be my guest.
Do you have any business with a weapon that is automatic or easily converted? No, you don't. I have a problem with the government taking your gun. I have no problem with them limiting the scale of weapon you're allowed to own. If you aren't in the active military, and feel you need an automatic weapon, you are a moron, a coward, or both. You can't have a Howitzer. You can't have surface-to-air missiles. And you can't have your own nuclear weapon. The only people that have a problem with those restrictions believe Tim McVeigh is a hero.
If you need a machine gun for hunting anything smaller than a T-Rex, you have no business hunting. Hunting is a valuable skill that should involve more qualifications than having a trigger finger. If you can take down a bear with a bow and arrow, then you are a titan as far as I'm concerned.
I suppose we could grandfather in assault weapon ownership for those that already have them. I would add the proviso that should your weapon be used in a crime, you will also bear responsibility as an accessory. And if you take said weapon off of your own property, to any place other than a shooting range or for repairs, you go away for twenty years. No problem, because they're for home protection, right? This is who I am, I solve problems.
On the other hand, there's the response that we shouldn't do anything because maybe someone armed could have taken out the shooter. I suppose that may happen one of these days. I don't believe that even with the gun safety course you took that afternoon at the Y that most humans are capable of responding calmly enough in this situation to stop an assailant without hurting a lot of other people.
When Congresswoman Giffords was shot last year, a legally armed bystander, Joe Zamudio, raced toward the sound of the shots as he unholstered his 9mm. When he arrived, he saw a young man on the ground and an older man standing over him with a gun. His finger was on the trigger, but he thought better of it, and grabbed the armed man's wrist, trying to wrestle the gun away. Other bystanders shouted that he had the wrong man, and that the shooter was on the ground. Second tragedy narrowly averted.
Given that 40% of adult Arizonans own guns, I suppose it was fortunate that some cowboy didn't start shooting back.
Another hilarious line of reason is that "I'd rather die fighting back." It must be awful to be that frightened all the time. I am just barely smart enough to understand simple statistics, and even I know the odds of me being assaulted any time I leave the house are very low. Not hit-by-lightning or attacked-by-terrorists low, but pretty low. I am not afraid when I go outside. Bad things happen to good people, and they might even happen to me one day, but walking around armed is basically admitting that your fear has defeated your freedom. You can't go to the store without your gun, because something might happen to you. It's your right, and your choice to live that way, but even with my cynicism, I'm still enjoying my life more than you are, because I'm not afraid. Bad guys aren't going to dictate my freedom to live without fear.
I'm sure a lot of concealed carriers will take issue with that, but what are you gonna do? Shoot me?
I'll leave you with this: If more guns means a safer society, then why isn't the United States the safest country on the planet?
posted at 2:22 PM
Occupy Wall Street - 15 November
The police have trashed the Occupy camp in Liberty Park. They certainly must feel justified, other wise, why would you do it at 2am, and ban the press, even from the airspace above the park?
When a riot occurs, it is good to ask, "Which side came dressed for one?"
The police have a job to do, but I suspect that most of them understand that in a country that now vilifies teachers as pampered and elite, that the firemen and cops will be next. You're in a union, too, officer.
The movement has been non-violent for the most part, there are always some dumbasses. I'm one of those dumbasses, because I can't imagine how anything changes without a lot of men in expensive, tailored suits hanging from lamp posts in lower Manhattan. It's time these criminals put some skin in the game.
posted at 12:42 AM
A Defining Moment
I was watching The Office on television, when a commercial came on for an upcoming episode of The 700 Club. I began vigorously rolling my eyes, but before they completely dislodged themselves from their sockets, I couldn't help but notice that the upcoming episode was going to be about 9/11.
"Damn," I thought, "it's coming up on ten years."
Before I could slip into a proper state of melancholy, I heard the voiceover guy read that the attacks were "a defining moment for the US." That jolted me out of my Atheist's Prayer For The Death of Pat Robertson, and got me thinking.
Were the attacks ten years ago a defining moment for the United States? I honestly don't think so.
I think of defining moments in terms of the Civil War, the signing of The Declaration of Independence, or the moon landing in 1969. Events where the nation looked down the road into the future, asked itself whether or not it was up to the task of becoming more than it was, and then began the hard work of making it happen.
9/11? With no disrespect to the dead and their families, I don't feel like it measures up in terms of what it had to necessarily mean to America.
The closest comparison would be Pearl Harbor. When Japan attacked Hawaii, FDR declared that we were no longer sitting on the sidelines, it was time for the US to stop being a provincial backwater, and to either assume its destiny as a world leader, or perish in the attempt. My reading of history tells me that Roosevelt was a great leader at a time we needed one. But even without that, Americans knew what was going to be necessary, that the cost would be appalling, and your grandparents and great-grandparents created the arsenal of democracy, and began giving their lives by the thousands in Africa, Europe and Asia.
Pearl Harbor was not a defining moment. The selfless response of an entire nation was the defining moment. There was no other choice to be made.
In the case of 9/11, the attacks were not a defining moment. Instead, we stared at the moment, had a collective freakout, looked to the president for leadership, were told to go shopping, and just went downhill from there. And this isn't even about Bush, I'm pretty sure any of the weasels in office from LBJ on would have blown it.
This country has chosen to be defined by 9/11, instead of the event choosing our destiny for us.
We are now victims. We aren't simply the wronged, out for focused payback, we are a gigantic angry infant, lashing out at anyone and everyone who doesn't worship art the altar of American exceptionalism. Muslims? Europeans? Chinese? They're all against us, probably socialist, and definitely not Christian! We have been attacked (for some reason!), and it was because they hate our freedom, our iPods and our Jesus.
We had choices on September 12th, 2001. We could have taken effective, highly focused military action in specific places. We could have tried to act like adults who live in a scary world, and sorted out what the best short and long-term responses would have been. There were choices that could have been made that would have made the country and the world a better place for the next hundred years.
I don't think 9/11 was a defining moment. It did not make plain for us what to do next. No, 9/11 was an illuminating moment, one which shined a harsh light on how truly small we have become since World War II. Walt Kelly called it 40 years ago:
posted at 8:37 PM
Eyes Wide Shut
Like most reasonable Americans, I usually watch The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. I was watching Jon Stewart talk about NY Congressman, Peter King, and the hearings that are being held to investigate the radicalization of Muslims in the US. Aside from the fact that these types of spectacles tend to cause the thing they claim to wish to prevent, Stewart looked into King's long time support of the Irish Republican Army, a group which has been on America's list of terrorist organizations for decades.
King's response? The IRA never carried out attacks on US soil, and his only loyalty is to the United States.
So, I guess that those civilians blown up in Harrod's in London in 1983 weren't killed by terrorism. They all died of blunt natural forces complicated by not being American.
But I don't really want to talk about Peter King. I want to look more at what how people like him can say one thing, and do pretty much the exact opposite without ever appearing to notice the contradiction.
It's the disconnect that bothers me. I understand in some cases, like Clarence Thomas, it's about money, and at least I get the impulse. Gingrich? I don't think he's an immoral man. Gingrich is amoral. That's a different animal altogether.
But how does he do it? And how do people who work hard just to keep a roof over their heads cry so loud to defend the bonuses of hedge fund managers while decrying the health benefits of teachers?
It's irrationality. And I've become exhausted trying to talk to crazy people in a rational tone of voice. The imbalance is glaring, and this kind of imbalance cannot occur in nature without repercussions. I want to help.
Liberals? This is what you need to do:
You are not respected by conservatives, because they have guns, and you do not. You are weak, and everyone knows it. You need to get guns, you need to get trained on how to use them.
Then you need to start showing up at political rallies with them strapped to your hip, just like Real Americans.™
Conservatives don't want to hear your arguments, they aren't interested in logic or rationality. They understand brute force, and they understand fear. You do not currently register on their radar as anything which needs acknowledgment, which is why it is so easy for your point of view to be dismissed, even on the rare occasion where it's heard.
Go to gun shows and pawn shops. Buy handguns, rifles, shotguns and machine guns. The fight you're in isn't a fair fight, and your opponent knows it.
Now, you don't have to start shooting people, although you're certainly welcome to return fire. The point is, until the irrational people understand that you are properly equipped to play their game, your point of view holds no standing. You wouldn't reason with a charging grizzly bear, even if your treatise on why he'd be better off eating something else is well-thought out and incredibly persuasive.
I am imagining the massive rallies in Madison, but with thousands of the protesters sporting sidearms. I adore the irony of streets full of anti-war activists, with legally purchased rifles on their shoulders. I absolutely want to see a march for marriage equality populated by armed citizenry.
Trust me, the first time a few thousand peaceful but armed black folks show up someplace for some political cause, even the most disconnected will begin to wonder if the gun laws aren't a bit too liberal.
I understand an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but this isn't about shooting someone's eye out. This is about simply getting the eyes open, where they may at least have a chance to catch a glimpse of reality.
posted at 5:45 AM
It's the Monday following the terrorist attack on a constituent meeting being held in Tucson, Arizona last Saturday, and I've had 48 hours to let things sink in.
I'm sorry, does the word "terrorist" bother you in relation to this incident? Would it make it easier for you if Jared Loughner's first name was instead Jamil? Feel better now? Super. Moving on.
There's a lot of agita spewing as we once again try to pin a political philosophy on a mass murderer, hoping that somehow the Kool-aid the killer drank isn't the same flavor as our own. Now, while some people might assume that he must be one of these gun-toting, anti-immigrant liberals that we hear about so often, reports have surfaced that in addition to Mein Kampf (another liberal must-read), he had a copy of the Communist Manifesto. It might be argued that the only thing we may discern from his reading list is a lousy taste in literature.
It's not nearly as important to understand Loughner's political philosophy (if any), or if it led him to do what he did in Tucson. Ultimately, we're going to learn that he was severely mentally ill, and was going to come to a bad end.
What we need to discuss, and learn from, is what are the philosophies and actions that made this incident, if not possible, certainly more viable?
Loughner purchased his Glock pistol legally under Arizona and federal law. Although considered mentally unstable by many who know him, and with a record of disturbances at Pima Community College, he was able to walk in, pay for and leave with, with no background check, not only a firearm, but also the extended magazine, so he could fire 32 times without reloading, instead of a nearly worthless 10 rounds.
Whose policies made this possible? Who is against background checks? Who has bent over for the gun lobby? Who was paid to fight for the right of Americans to own assault pistols and rifles, you know, for rabbit hunting?
Jared Loughner is obviously mentally unstable. I don't know if he was still on his parents insurance, his own, or uninsured. Did he have access to mental health counseling? If he did, was it an incredibly Byzantine process in order to get it started, as it is with most insurance carriers? Whose policies have made access to mental health providers so difficult, and in most cases, very expensive?
There's already a ridiculous amount of spin coming from both sides, as conservatives and liberals try to distance themselves from Loughner, and whatever it is he believes in. The right is taking it very hard that people are jumping to conclusions that just because he believed in a return to the gold standard, was anti-immigrant (if mostly for grammatical reasons), and a couple of other Glenn Beck chestnuts, the left is dealing with the fact that Loughner was an atheist who was irritated about the military distributing bibles to service members.
Loughner liked his beliefs smorgasbord-style. It may be his only redeeming quality.
It could be a coincidence that he decided to assassinate a Democratic congresswoman (and a Jewish one for good measure), or it could just be that she was the most convenient one available. Maybe if he lived in West Chester, Ohio, he might have blown John Boehner's brains out, or Nancy Pelosi's if he lived in San Francisco. I can't say, all I have are the facts available.
Jared Loughner's beliefs are irrelevant. The question that needs to be answered is, who is responsible for the policies that allowed an obviously mentally ill person to go untreated, and have instant access to a weapon of mass destruction?
Since no one is going to address that question, I'll leave you with another:
Who will be the victims of the next Jared Loughner, and when?
posted at 12:42 PM
Here we are in the busiest travel week of the year, and millions of Americans are about to board planes. This year, however, your trip comes with a bonus plan: Radiation, a grope, or both.
I'm speaking of the new TSA procedures at many airports in the United States, which have been all over the internet and television news for a week. Either you go through a new type of scanner, which essentially gives you a 5-second x-ray (do not want), or you can opt out, and demand a personalized trip to second base in full view of the rest of the cattle being herded onto our nation's fleet of flying Trailways buses.
This is America! Isn't it nice to have choices?
I have joked that if I am forced into needing to use air travel, I am showing up at the airport wearing a tank top, Speedo, and flip-flops, and just carry some other clothes in my backpack. I have nothing to hide after all, especially in the shame department, and if I can help hasten the process for myself and my brave fellow travelers by donning these newly sensible garments, then as ever, I am a trend-setter and true patriot. I probably won't shower for a few days before my trip.
Also, I'm not joking. If I'm to be treated in this manner, I want the government's representative to, at the very least, be made uncomfortable, and at the most, sickened and temporarily rendered blind.
The real issue, I hope, is the question of whether or not any of this makes our planes any safer. It doesn't. That's not just my opinion, it's also that of Isaac Yeffet, former director of security for Israel's El Al Airlines. I suppose I'm going to put some stock in the collected learnings of a man responsible for keeping safe the nation on Earth most threatened by terrorists, especially when El Al has a perfect safety record.
No one seems thrilled with the new procedures, but the least thrilled? The people at FOX News, who see this as yet another intolerable reach by the government into our otherwise bucolic, wholesome lives and crotches.
And maybe they have a point, or at least part of one.
My question, though, is how can a citizen raise so much hell about the new TSA protocols, and have no qualms about the Patriot Act, warrant-less wire taps, or any of the other infringements that have taken large bites out of the Constitution in the past decade?
If you have nothing to hide in your underpants, you don't need to be worried, do you?
posted at 12:03 AM
Let It Burn
Got a hold of a phenomenal transcribed speech today, passed along via Twitter by Andy Richter, of all people. The speech was given by Bill Moyers at Boston University on October 29th, 2010. It's a long read, and even if you know a little something about how the owners of this country run things, you'll likely still pick up some interesting facts as you read it, and I hope you will.
The guts of it deal with the de-evolution of the United States into a plutocracy, or as Citigroup calls it, "plutonomy." The plan is to continue the 30-year shift of wealth from the working and middle classes to the very wealthy. None of this is being done in a particularly secretive fashion, but the vast majority of the ones catching hell don't seem to be able to form enough cohesion as a group to give a damn.
Well, you might want to consider what your passivity and fealty to wealth has gotten you. According to Moyers' speech:
This isn't just bad luck and poor career choices. There has been a highly concerted effort to roll back the gains made by the middle class during the post-war boom when unions were growing strong and creating a living wage for the majority of Americans. Since Reagan started busting unions in '81, your average income has increased about $11 a year, instead of almost $500 per.
You can't even support a starving African kid for $11 a year.
So, what are the remedies? Moyers continues:
Organize. Protest. Demonstrate. Strike. Boycott. Rebel. And violate the law in order to uphold justice.
Let me expound on that last one.
I grew up in the Midwest, close to a major GM assembly operation, and Delco labs, founded in 1909, which, in addition to building the only American-built plane to see action during World War I, invented the first dashboard-mounted car radios, and at one point employed 30,000 workers in the US. Union workers.
Even though no one in my family worked for GM or its subsidiaries, it was obvious the value that these jobs brought to the community. People who have good jobs and good wages spend money like no one else, including the rich. Their families go to the doctor and stay healthy, the kids go to college and get even better jobs, and the whole god damned country prospers.
Since the recession of the 70s & 80s, solid manufacturing jobs like these have disappeared. In fact, the assembly plant near where I grew up, after hemorrhaging jobs for 30 years, closed down this year. The city where I grew up, has largely dried up and blown away.
Sadly, I doubt that the information I've given about the town will help you narrow it down to less than a dozen possibilities. This story has happened thousands of times since 1980.
Getting back to it, the only union workers whom I actually know as neighbors today are police, fire fighters, prison guards and teachers. I know there are a lot of unions, but they have almost no power. However, they are certainly welcome to take part in what I'm suggesting.
Police, when a call comes in from a neighborhood of the sort where residents could afford private security, you should really take your time getting to those calls. Think about it! People of means can pay private guards to patrol their property and keep it safe from any type of intrusion. Even better, the wealthy are always well-insured, and can have any item replaced or reimbursed. Why hurry? Most of all, they really hate paying your salary, and in some regards, pay less of a share of it than working-class types, who do not have tax shelters, and cannot find the Cayman Islands on a map.
Fire fighters, same thing. Many of your nicer homes have state-of-the-art fire suppression systems that should be able to handle any manner of calamity. Why race out to some beautiful suburban estate to put out a fire and save a couple lives, when you just know that you're going to get an earful about water damage, tracking soot on the Italian marble, and trampling the rose garden? Heroes! Have some more chili, and go back to sleep.
Teachers? Stay home, you don't feel well. You probably get more crap from the ignorant who think your jobs are sunshine and lollipops because you actually get due process should someone want to take your job from you. Prove them right. Refuse to babysit their idiot progeny, make them pay for day care, or skip work, assuming they still have a job to go to.
Of course, the wealthy often send their precious snowflakes to private schools, so wouldn't this only really hurt the people I'm claiming to want to help?
As the Moyers speech details, you can't really hurt the rich through actions like the ones I've outlined, because they are attempting to construct a separate economy from the one the rest of us are living with, anyway.
You! Working class, middle class, unemployed, and everyone hanging on by their fingernails! You need to start feeling this in a way which doesn't just make you scared or frustrated. You need to be angry about this.
Your country and its promise is being stolen away from you, and stolen by people that could afford to pay for it if the law didn't make it so simple for them to just confiscate your dreams and hopes. Until you stop being subservient, stop showing up and making the shareholders wealthier as your wages and benefits shrink, this will not stop.
Organize. Protest. Demonstrate. Strike. Boycott. Rebel. And violate the law in order to uphold justice.
Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. People are going to get beat over the head, thrown in jail, gassed, shot and killed. You can wait until you have nothing left to lose, but that day is closer than you think. Heroes act. The effort required is Herculean, and it will take all of us working together for what's good for all of us. Otherwise, to quote the late, great George Carlin:
posted at 3:20 PM
I am concerned
Concerned, as a matter of fact, that we, as a country, may be fucked.
The economy is still very rough for a lot of people, we're mired in a couple of very costly wars, oil rigs are tipping over and exploding, and I can't think of a snappy way to end this sentence.
In the past, when I felt a little down about the state of things, I'd take a step back from it all, remind myself that this country has been in rougher spots, and we always managed to tighten the belts, pull together, and do what was necessary to stop the ship of state from sinking. We'd emerge stronger, wiser, and the next generation would be on its way to doing better than the current one.
Not this time. I can't see it happening. Why? There are a lot of reasons.
First of all, I think we have a fascism problem that needs to be addressed. Some of you are probably smirking in a knowing fashion. "A-ha! He sees Obama for what he really is!"
Sort of. You're right, but for the wrong reason.
Fascism is not when men in garish uniforms stand at podiums demanding racial purity or national superiority. Fascism is much more an economic theory than a political one. Essentially, when the government and corporations collude to determine national policy, that's Fascism. Corporatism would do equally well as a description.
So, when you cry that Obama is a Fascist, it's because you think he's coming after your guns and Christianity. He isn't. If the president has Fascist leanings and policies, and he does, you should at least be somehow content that it's only because he is allowing corporations to write law and policy at the federal level, whether they are good for the citizens of the United States or not.
So, stop calling Obama a Fascist, unless you're actually concerned about the creeping corporatocracy that is ruining the country.
But ignorance of the meaning of the word brings me to another equally large problem that makes me think we're going to have a tough go bouncing back this time: We are getting dumber by the year.
We may live in the information age, but most people only want the information that jibes with what they already believe. The world is only 6000 years old? Of course it is, hundreds of websites and my pastor say so! You can cut taxes and reduce deficits? I've found an entire cable news channel and one-and-a-half major political parties in the US who insist it's so! Evolution is a myth? Damn straight, otherwise monkeys would have human babies, right?
Check and mate.
I can almost live with the willful ignorance. I mean, people are taught a lot of really dumb things as children, and bad wiring is tough to rip out once that house is built. If you were taught that the Bible is a literal record, there's always the possibility that you may, upon reaching maturity, understand that they are loosely historically-based fables. Many have good morals, some have really bad ones, and you can still manage to believe in your deity without worrying too much about whether to eat shellfish, or selling your daughter into slavery.
We're past willful. We've moved on to prideful ignorance.
These are the people who will stick their fingers in their ears, screaming how climate change is a myth, even as reams of data rolls in about the continuing streak of hottest years on record. You show them fossils, they trot out Genesis and stories of how dinosaur bones were put in the ground by Satan to fool us. What great things can you hope to accomplish with dependence on people like this?
So, we're ignorant, and dumber. What else? Lazy.
Now, I don't think it's so much a lack of work ethic. People in this country work hard, many because they take real pride in doing good work and earning their pay, although more do it because they're afraid if they don't crush it every second, they'll find their asses fired.
Our problem is that a lot of us want to believe that there is a magic bullet to solve our problems. Crumbling infrastructure? Someone will fix that, the free market, most likely. We're fat, so instead of eating better and exercising, we wait around for science to invent a pill that will allow us to do whatever we want and stay thin, and erect for more than 15 minutes, but less than four hours.
I don't believe we have the will to pull together and achieve anything important anymore. Could this country, as it exists today, build the Interstate Highway System, electrify Appalachia, the South and West, or send a man to the moon? How could we hope to manage them, when everyone is so insistent that things be done the way they want, common good be damned?
Which brings us to intolerance.
We've actually spent a good hunk of the summer arguing about whether or not American citizens with spotless criminal records should have the right to build a community center on a city zoning-approved site they own, two blocks from where some radical religious assholes knocked down buildings nine years ago.
THIS IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The First Amendment is very clear about this. The government doesn't get to decide how or where you pray. A local government can pass restrictions about types of construction allowed, and usage of areas of land, but if you pass muster on the zoning, you get to have your prayer shack.
Why isn't anyone getting in the ass of the greedy capitalist that sold "sacred ground" (near the strip club), to these awful weirdos, who, let me remind you, had nothing to do with any terrorist attacks on American soil, or anyplace else?
"Well, turning a profit on real estate is as American as apple pie."
And so it is. A corporation made money on the sale, investors were enriched, and the wheel keeps turning, greased in the same manner we all understand.
Greased, not with the tens of millions of gallons of oil that flowed into the Gulf, while government stood by impotently, as BP was allowed to control beach access and the airspace over the disaster, because they've got more flex than any government agency. The feds couldn't stop it, and it turned out that the almighty corporation didn't have a plan for such a contingency, either.
No plan for trouble was needed. The government trusted the corporation to do the right thing. And BP will deliver on that promise, larger profits when all of this blows over.
Which will be sooner rather than later.
This country lacks the will to achieve anything much greater than finding a more comfortable way to watch television. It will be built in China, and it will be paid for with a credit card.
There are still things to be thankful for, of course. I am mostly thankful that I won't be alive in a hundred years to see how bad it gets.
posted at 11:57 PM
Any remaining popularity I had?
Shot to hell.
One of the stories dominating the news this week has been about a massive screw-up at Arlington National Cemetery, the largest and best known place where America buries her war dead.
The mistakes are many and they are various. Graves unmarked or marked incorrectly. Grave site maps with erroneous information. Caskets and cremation urns with different people in them occupying the same grave site. Cremation urns being found in piles of fill dirt. At last check, 6600 graves could be either wrongly marked or unmarked.
It's disgraceful. There's really no better way to say it. The remains of the men and women who fought and died defending our country deserve far better treatment than to be misfiled like so much useless paperwork.
The incompetence is criminal, and one has to wonder whether there hasn't been some misappropriation of funds, embezzlement, call it whatever you want.
I agree absolutely that when it is your job to do something, then you really ought to try and do it the way it's supposed to be done. There is always someone up the chain you can consult with if you have questions, or don't understand some part of your job. What was required of the administration at Arlington was to receive the remains of our honored dead, and not mishandle or lose them. It's a big job, but not that complicated.
Everyone involved in this fiasco should be fired, and charged, if malfeasance can be proven.
This is where I get my ass kicked.
If one of your loved ones was affected, I am sorry for that. If you traveled to Arlington (and I encourage everyone to do so), visited the final resting place of your serviceperson, and it turns out you happened to be standing over the remains of some other person...
Well, practically speaking, what difference does it make?
I am not trying to be flippant, I want to make that clear. I know with certainty that I am going to stand alone on this opinion. I feel like once a person is dead, what happens to the corpse is of almost no importance. I'm likely to go with cremation, and that's only because I can't convince anyone that I would actually prefer to have my body dumped in a river or field where it can do the planet a small measure of good. I understand funerals are for the living, but realistically, so are burial sites, head stones, mausoleums and all the rest. We seem to want to have a place to visit the departed, and the nicer it is, the less bad we feel about it.
Admittedly, if you paid for that (and handsomely, no doubt), then you want the place to be nice. I get that. You purchased a small piece of real estate, and generally maintenance is part of the contract. So, if the marker is clean, the lawn is tended, and the flowers are tasteful, what difference does it make which remains you're standing over, if any?
I know some people go out to grave sites, and speak to the departed, and it can be therapeutic. I'm not opposed to that, or whatever helps people deal with grief. I don't think they're prone to speaking back, and I would humbly suggest that if they do, that's obviously being generated within the visitor's imagination. Again, whatever helps the living feel better is okay.
I'm not for cover-ups, especially with this kind of gross incompetence. Ideally, the responsible people would be punished, fired, prosecuted, whatever remedies are available for this sort of thing. I guess I'd have preferred if it somehow could have been handled internally, since the publicity and righteously thunderous Congressional speechifying results mostly in additional crushing heartbreak for the families of America's war dead. Even worse, families who aren't actually affected will always wonder if perhaps their deceased is one of the mishandled or mislabeled.
And for what? To carry on eons-old superstitious traditions of visiting the bones of our dead? What good is it?
On the day you read this, an American man or woman will die in Iraq or Afghanistan. A small handful of people will ask why this person needed to die, whether it was necessary. The rest of us, if we even bother to become aware of it, will shake our heads slowly, and think, "Well, I sure hope the remains are dealt with properly for the family's sake."
Traditions can be glorious, and they often give us a sense of community and country. We have some wonderful ones in the United States.
The one where the dust of the dead is considered more sacred than the skin of the living is one we would do far better to outgrow.
posted at 11:19 PM
Good luck pinning me down
Like most of us, I've spent the past week looking at pictures from the Gulf Of Mexico, and the spread of the oil after an offshore rig blew up on April 20th. It's a disgusting thing, seeing oil floating in the Gulf, and made worse by the fact that BP isn't anywhere close to shutting off the flow, even after something like a million and a half gallons have been spilled.
I'm old enough to remember the Exxon Valdez spill, and how grotesque and widespread the damage was. I've seen footage of enough oil spills to know how damaging they can be. Interestingly, this is the first large one I recall since the advent of Facebook.
I've noticed a few people "sending prayers to the plants and animals in harm's way." 12 people are missing and presumed dead in the explosion that set off the spill, but I think I understand why no one has much sympathy for them or the bereaved left behind.
They were complicit, right? Their hands were, quite literally, dirty, no? Would you be so bold as to suggest that they got what they deserved? I hope not.
The "drill, baby, drill" crowd is, in a moment of reasonableness, largely keeping their simpleton mouths closed on this one. Truth be told, I'd prefer it if someone in a position of responsibility would make a sensible case that justifies this inevitable result of a backward-looking US energy policy, but I likely won't hold my breath.
The Gulf Coast is about to be inundated with toxic sludge, and should the tides fall badly, a lot of inland areas, lakes, streams, wetlands, will suffer catastrophic damage. It's even possible that this floating cesspool may drift into the Gulf Stream, and let a whole lot of the rest of the world share in our special brand of energy security.
Also this week, after nearly ten years, the people who want to build an enormous wind farm off the coast of Nantucket, finally received the go-ahead to do so. My feelings about the project are mixed, although not for the normal reasons.
On the pro side: Hey, wind power! Neato! The stuff is out there, let's harvest it.
On the con side: Wait, there aren't any places left on dry land to build these turbines? There are vast areas of North Dakota, Texas, and other areas in the Southwest to build these things. The cost of building a 440-foot high structure in the ocean is far more expensive than doing it on dirt. Let's grab the low-hanging fruit first.
What I don't care about is people on Nantucket bitching about their view being ruined. I've seen projections, and on a clear day, if you stare way the hell out to the horizon in just the right spot, you might be able to see these things from shore. They aren't going to be 50 feet out in the harbor.
And a special dishonorable mention to Ted Kennedy and his powerful family, who have been instrumental in holding up the process. I have a great deal of respect for the late senator, and the decades of great work he did for the country in his service. But for my money, on his list of shameful acts, this isn't up there with Chappaquiddick, but it makes the top 5.
Getting back to the energy question, I was reading a column by David Brooks this week, and one of his figures jumped out at me.
Technology companies spend 5 percent to 15 percent of revenue on research and development. Energy companies, on the other hand, spend only one-quarter of 1 percent. The federal government spends $30 billion on health research, but only $3 billion on clean energy research.
BP's first quarter profit rose to $6.1 billion in the first three months of this year, which I suppose is nice, because even if they spend a billion dollars trying to clean up their own mess, everyone is still going to walk away with nice fat dividends.
But getting back to Brooks' column, my question is, why doesn't the government use a gigantic stick & carrot to get us on to the next thing?
The oil companies, in an adorable attempt to appear green, have re-branded themselves as energy companies. Well, I should hope you are, we need a great deal of it. Maybe you ought to consider spending more than one dollar in every 400 on researching what the next viable method of providing energy will be.
So, how about this? For every dollar of revenue you put back in to research on solar, wind, tidal, more efficient methods of moving electricity over great distances, etc, you receive a 1-for-1 free pass on your profits. Let's say, for the hell of it, you make a profit of $6.1 billion dollars in a quarter.
Ridiculous, I know, but I'm in a silly mood.
If you want to have 20% of it absolutely untaxed, all you have to do is put $1.2 billion into research. Not only have you effectively lowered your overall tax burden, you've also kicked some money into a future, where you'll have to opportunity to continue making fat profits, only on cleaner, safer forms of energy that don't require the fouling of our coastlines, or funding of insane people who want us to pray like they do.
Besides, you're going to want to get that tax break, because the taxes on revenues from carbon energy sources are going to rise significantly. I'll set it up so that you can continue to make a ton of money, but only if you start realizing those profits from cleaner energy sources. It'll be in your interest to make it work, because otherwise, you'll be taxed out of business.
So liberals, don't take too much shameful joy in this shaming of the Palin philosophy and the energy companies. And conservatives, don't become too fearful that I am trying to steal your way of life and ability to make a good living in America. You can still charge me too much for your energy services, you're just going to need to stop fouling beaches and exploding rig workers while you do it.
posted at 1:50 AM
Senator Mitch McConnell
The esteemed Senator from Kentucky was kind enough to advise Democrats that if they manage to pass health care this year, it will cost the Democrats their majorities in both houses of Congress.
Then why aren't you doing everything you can to help them pass it, asshole?
I assume it's because you know that once a health care bill passes, even the extremely lame one the Democrats have managed to sell out the American people to assemble, improvements will occur. Not big ones, but some people will be in a better position to get or keep access to health care. No one will give a damn about the legislative process, they will only see a reform bill in their rearview mirror.
Take back the Congress for your party, Senator! Why aren't you aiding the Democrats in slitting their own throats? If you believe it, then stop holding up the process. When your enemies are determined to do themselves harm, only a fool would stand in their way.
posted at 7:00 AM
I wish I knew why I bothered.
I don't know why I talk to people, I really don't. The following is the result of something I saw on Facebook:
Jacqueline: Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this.
Kevin: You can thank mr obama for that. I'm right with u on that, but I wouldn't say were the only country like that. We r actually way better off than most countries. Shame on obama, not america.. Lol
January 25 at 3:55pm
sims: Because no one was ever homeless before January 20th, 2009.
Add "lol" to that, if it'll help.
January 25 at 4:01pm
Ryan: Thank Obama???? Keep listening to Fox news...
Audra: hey girlie girl, i couldnt agree more! charity begins at home. and to add injury to insult, the italians are saying our relief efforts over there are all mere attempts at notoriety. whatsmore, the day when devastation hits this nation, you can bet we'll have to fend for ourselves without relief from any one else!
sims: Well, we are the richest country in the world. I wouldn't expect Haiti to offer their limited resources to attempt to help us.
But for the record, lots of countries offered to help us after Katrina, including Cuba, which isn't exactly a rich country.
January 25 at 5:30pm
Kevin: Come on ryan, u can't possibly think this asshole is a qualified prez. Lol. He's so ass backward. And I'd rather listen to fox news than george clooney, whoopi goldberg, or any other self proclaimed actors turned politicians. Check ur facts son. Still love ya tho! Lol
sims: Let's see...He's over 35, a natural-born citizen of the US. Yeah, actually, he is qualified. You probably think that being white is a requirement, but it's not.
And do define "ass-backward," would you please? Or just keep posting LOLZ!!1!!!111
January 25 at 7:31pm
Kevin: I posted my opinion like everyone else and u get personal? Wow. If I had to explain why he's ass backward it would take me all day. But no, no because he's not white, because he for one was a senator. Senators have half as much responsibility as governers. as a senator he voted present indtead of yes or no on more than half the bills voted on in his time as senator. Don't u want a decision maker in office? He makes people rely on the government and not giving them the tools to rely on themselves. That's dictatorship not democracy. When counrty is in debt, u don't spend more money to get out of it. That's economics 101 buddy. The reason I wrote lol was to keep the mood light, but if wanna get personal, come meet up with me sometime and c how far that gets you! I guess liberals r the only ones allowed to have an opinion.
January 25 at 7:54pm
sims: Well, I think referring to a person far more educated than either of us could ever dream of being as "ass-backward" is somewhat personal. But, point taken.
Voting "present" in the Illinois Senate is a common tactic, and essentially counts as a no vote. In may of said votes, he was acting in concert with other members of his own party as part of a strategy. You know, like voting no on everything, regardless of what it is.
Was Bush also a dictator, for taking a huge surplus, wrecking it, invading Iraq, and then running up the largest deficits in history while cutting taxes to the wealthiest 1%? He was an MBA, but maybe he skipped Economics 101, because he was so goldarned smart.
Have your opinion, you're entitled to it. It'd be nice if you weren't so...emotional.
January 25 at 8:14pm
Kevin: Alright, I hear ur points. Wasn't gettin emotional, I just don't kno u and it seemed like u were the one gettin emotional. But that's what makes america great, were all entitled to our opinions. I have mine, u have urs. Done talkin about it on someone elses post. Wasn't tryin to make a big deal about it.
January 25 at 9:45pm
Just one last comment here and I'm done. Ass backward doesn't mean dumb. It means that his beliefs in my opinion don't make sense... And a degree or education doesn't make u "smart" anyway. Anyone really smart would know that. When u try to give rights to criminals and terrorists and then take away the rights of an innocent unborn, yet living thing, that's what I mean by assbackwards. Not just obama, the whole liberal way of thinking is ass backward to me. I can honestly go toe to toe with u on politics and talk a lot more about it, I'm not just some idiot. I love america, those who don't shouldn't live here. But to end this back and forth, I don't care about u enuf to even explain anything further. Its politics, shouldn't b so personal dude.
January 25 at 11:11pm
Then I get a message.
Kevin: Jan 28 at 7:08am Report
So, I know I don't know you, and I kno I got a little too personal with u on jaquelin's post. I obviously feel very different than u but at least u sound like u do research and don't just talk out ur ass like most liberals I kno. The only reason I'm taking the time to write this message is because I felt bad for making it personal. That makes me no better than the people I despise. I stand by my thoughts and am passionate about politics to a certain extent, but I have a lot of liberal friends and our different views have never caused us to despise eachother. So, as an american citizen who cares about my fellow americans, I apologize for getting too personal. That's why I always write lol on those posts. Cuz its such a sensative subject. I will say tho, that when u said "our prez is over 35 and an american citizen and that makes him qualified"... I'd have to disagree with u on that. It takes a lot more to be truly qualified to run this country, not just age and citizenship. It takes backbone and heart! Cuz it aint ez takin all the shit a president gets in his time in office. He has to be grounded in his beliefs and stand by them regardless of what his adversaries think.He needs to have the ability to stand FOR something, not AGAINST everything. Anyway, kindof a random message, but I wanted to be a bigger person than I was acting on jaquelin's post.
sims: January 28 at 4:49pm
Honestly, don't sweat any of it, Kevin. The "lol" thing is just a pet peeve of mine, the same as when people say something really shitty, and then think you should forget about it by adding "just sayin'."
I'm probably a great deal less liberal than you suspect, but likely more liberal about some things than you are. That's okay, I don't pretend to have all of the answers.
My issue with those that use the conservative label at this point in history, is that they seem to have completely yielded on many issues to simple, willful ignorance. The issue with Obama's birth certificate for example. The proof of where and when he was born are beyond question, and even with the several proven fake documents people like Orly Taitz have produced, some people refuse to believe that the President was born in this country. I'm sorry if it offends you for me to say this, but anyone who truly doubts this man's origins is either stupid, or being stupid on purpose.
And the other problem with wasting effort on idiotic fake controversies, is that it takes time and effort away from real debate. If you're against health care reform, more power to you. But did you actually believe that Obama was going to set up death panels to pull the plug on grandma? The entire premise is ridiculous, and in order to believe it, you must have a serious disconnect from reality.
The larger problem, of course, is that this country is in a rough spot. There are a lot of reasons for it, and while many of W's policies over the past 8 years contributed, every president going back 30 years had a hand in it. Clinton was the one who set the deregulation of the banks in motion. Bush might have gone ahead and done it anyway, but Clinton allowed Bush to wreck banking regulations a lot more quickly and thoroughly than he might have otherwise. What happens going forward is up for debate, but the economic situation right now simply isn't Obama's fault. The next 12-18 months will reveal a great deal, but this country got hit with an economic tsunami under Bush, and just because the water has receded, doesn't mean the cleanup is going to happen quickly or easily.
The country is where it is, because we have allowed it to get there, either by not paying attention, or just nodding every time a politician said "tax cut," and pretending that somehow infrastructure maintains itself, wars pay for themselves, and that a good education should be cheap, but don't raise my damned taxes. It just doesn't work that way.
The politicians have been treating us like children, because we refuse to be spoken to like adults.
Sorry for the rant, but we're here because we begged to be here.
Kevin: January 28 at 7:34pm Report
Well I agree with a lot of that believe it or not. I'm not a consperacy theorist and definitely don't believe obama wasn't born here. There r so many extremests on both sides that have confused a lot of people because of their ongoing rants. Its hard to kno what the truth is anymore so I don't listen to any of it. When a politician is talking, I look in his eyes to see the truth and I trust what my heart tells me to believe. I did stand behinf W. But don't claim that he was right about everything. However, I do think he got a bum wrap. We probably disagree on that, but one thing we can agree on I think is that even tho we r in a tough spot currently, we r all still very lucky to b americans. That's where I get offended, when people bash america. We r the luckiest people on earth to have the freedoms we have... To even have the freedom to have this very conversation. Anyway, thanks for the reply. Take care
sims: Jan 29 at 12:30am
I will simply say that I don't believe for a minute that criticizing my country is the same thing as not loving it. I'm fully capable of appreciating what's great about it, while recognizing that isn't the same thing as saying it's perfect, or has no room for improvement. We got to be the greatest country in the world by living by the principles laid out in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, not simply by virtue of being born here.
I'd be interested to know in what way you think that W got a bum rap, you know, really be specific. I know you can't blame everything on one guy, but let's face it, he's been a pretty substantial screw-up since he was a kid. He couldn't find oil in Texas, you can look it up.
Anyway, it's late, take care of yourself.
And then it began, long, long diatribes, all of them a single paragraph.
Kevin: 29 at 8:25am Report
First, I don't care where Obama was born. I do care about his phony chin in the air presence and lack of experience and qualifications. George Bush cut taxes and grew the job market by 6 million jobs over 8 years. He responded forcefully and directly to an assault on American soil by terrorists. He warned us it would be a long and painful war against terror and we all supported it. Not three months later, the liberals in Congress tried to cut his legs out from under him. He brought down a vicious, cruel dictator who had continually threatened America. Had we known what Hitler was going to do to millions of Jews, wouldn't it have been better to stop him before he could do it. Bush used the same intelligence which prompted Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry to claim his dad, George Sr., allowed Hussein to produce weapons of mass destruction. All three made speeches saying we should take Saddam out. When W did just that, they all jumped ship because they all said he lied. He may have had some bad information but the fact is, there were weapons of mass destruction at one time and Saddam used them against his own people. They either were destroyed or removed, but that doesn't mean W. lied. A lie is when you know you're not telling the truth, he believed every word he said. W. never once whined about his treatment by the left wing press as have both Clinton and Obama about their treatment by the right, even going as far as wanting to shut down all conservative talk radio and news (liberals think freedom of speech only applies when they are speaking!). W. upgraded our nation's security, the libs held him hostage with the funding for the war by including billions in earmarks and entitlements that had nothing to do with the war. If he vetoed the bills, he would have been blasted for not supporting the troops. Still he did not whine or complain. Finally, his last two years in office he had a democratic congress. Check the national debt over these last three years, which includes Obama's first year and you will see a phenomenal jump in debt and a reduction of jobs. Obama blames Bush for everything. Bush, on the other hand, took the heat like a man and has never (as a past president) said anything derogratory about Obama. Therein lies the difference between a man and a boy.
sims: January 29 at 12:04pm
"Boy?" Really? Funny how things subtly reveal themselves.
You said, "He responded forcefully and directly to an assault on American soil by terrorists."
By invading Iraq? No one, not even GWB still believes Iraq had anything to do with any attack on the US. So, your "man" invaded a country, at a cost of over 5000 dead Americans (a lot more than died on 9/11), costing two TRILLION dollars. That will put one hell of a drag on an economy. It still is.
Your comparison of Saddam to Hitler is disgusting. The only people in history who even approach that level are Stalin, and maybe Pol Pot. Saddam was a piece of shit, and a brutal dictator, but he was never even remotely the type of threat to this country that Hitler was. It could easily be argued that the world is a better place with him gone. But I would also suggest that America would be in far better shape if he was still running Iraq. He was completely contained, and no threat to anyone, even his neighbors. The cost to carry out W's Oedipal revenge fantasy has been too high. Your concern for the plight of the Iraqi people is touching, but I imagine that will not lead to calls from you for humanitarian aid to them after our troops have come home from there. And Somalia? *crickets*
And feel free to cite more Democrats who enabled Bush to get away with the snow job he perpetrated on all of us. You won't find me trying to defend them for allowing what happened with the Patriot Act, waterboarding, any of it. They can all go to hell as far as I'm concerned, for thinking that they somehow knew better than our founding fathers what was necessary to defend this country.
Bush constantly blamed Clinton for the recession that started not long after Bush took office, and he also repeatedly tried to blame the Clinton administration for the intelligence failures that led to 9/11, although I'd still like to know how it was Clinton's fault that Bush never responded to the daily briefing titled "bin Laden determined to strike within US."
There may be liberals who are serious about trying to shut down right-wing radio, but none who are worth a damn. Awful things are said by people of all political stripes, but I will always defend their right to say them. There may be consequences, but everyone has the right to say whatever they choose, no matter how stupid. It isn't pretty speech that needs protection.
Besides, the press completely rolled over for Bush after 9/11, completely frightened out of doing their jobs, afraid that if they dared to mention that not ONE hijacker was from Iraq, or that al Qaeda and Hussein were enemies, that the frightened American people would turn on them. The press didn't even think about doing their jobs again until after New Orleans drowned.
You sort of forgot about that one, it appears. Heckuva job, Kevvy.
Kevin: January 29 at 4:32pm Report
Wow, u basicly just proved every point I make about liberals. U asked my opinion, I gave it, and once again u got personal and obviously completely offemded. I could argue every point u just made but its ull just come back w more false info. Ur so full of shotty info it makes me laugh. I apologized to u for getting personal, but I wish I didn't. I didn't kno u and obama were so close. U have his back like he's ur best friend. Please don't write back cuz ur impossible to have a reasonable coversation with. Ur use of big words makes u think ur smasrt I bet, but I see right through u and every other liberal. Tried to have a nice discussion w u but u won't have it. So go live in ur fantacy world and go on believing what u think is truth. It doesn't bother me as much as it obviously bothers u to hear someone elses opinion and take it respectfully. U think ur right and ur wrong! Do not bother me anymore please, ur a waste of time to hv a reasonable discussion with. Wow! Ur amazing!congratulations on being a complete idiot, with all ur rambling all I heard was "blah blah blah"
So, he's all done with me, right? I should be so lucky. Apparently, while I was out last night enjoying myself, he was stewing because he got no response from me.
Kevin: January 30 at 6:26am Report
And to say my comparison to hitler is "disgusting" tells me enuf about u to kno ur literally too stupid to argue with. How do u possibly get off defending that guy even a little. And the war was not against any one country, it was against terrorism and anyone who backs or harbors terrorists u dum ass! Was sadaam not a constant supporter of terrorism? He posed a huge threat and because of guys like him, we lost more americans in one sitting on american soil than any other event in our history. That's enuf to piss me off. But I'm sure u thot sadam and other terrorists were reasonable enuf to talk to and negotiate with. If u negotiate with them. U r one in my book. That's what ur party wanted to do. Every man and woman who served in that war knew what they were getting into, don't dare take that away from them...they died for a much greater cause than u and I will ever get the chance die for... Including my best friend who died in iraq. Its people like u that try to tear our country apart and make it much easier for those who pose a threat on us to attack us. No one can defeat us if we all stood together. But no, ud rather stand behind those that flew planes into our buildings. Sometimes, it is just that simple!!! Everything u have has been faught for at one time. U wouldn't have a pot to piss in if it wasn't for war. So do I think war is a good thing? No... But it is an unfortunate nescessity when u have people around the world who have no care for human life. Ur rehearsed dialog is so sickening and full of shit that I literally cannot hear it anymore. I've played professional baseball for 8 yrs and the large majority of my fellow ball players would second my statements to u... Because we know what its like to sacrifice something for a higher goal. Pencil pushin bitches like u have no idea what its like to sacrifice anything. U just expect everything to be handed to u. I guess that's why u like obama. The bailouts are a joke. Give me the tools to better myself, don't do it for me. That creates dependancy on our government, we should depend on ourselves. U watch what happens in the next few years with this guy running things. U can already see if u open ur eyes. Go talk it out with sadaam, watch him say one thing to ur face, and then stab u in the back immediately after. Those type of people do not give a fuck! And yet, u come to his defense?? Un freakin believable. If u write back, I won't even open the email. I'm done letting ur ideology into my life cuz its pure crap. The thing that bugs me so much is how u think ur so smart. Words are words buddy. U can pull numbers and so called "facts" from anywhere. Real truth lies in ur heart and backbone, two things u clearly do not have!
sims: January 30 at 10:20am
Shocking, you've resorted to name-calling. And text-speak. But as noted earlier, you do seem to be quite emotional, and I have apparently hurt your feelings, which was certainly not my intent.
I'm also sorry that you managed to completely miss my point about trying to compare Saddam, or anyone, to Adolf Hitler. Hitler started a world war, exterminated 10-12 million people in concentration camps (6 million of them Jews), invaded nearly every country in Europe, resulting in something like 50 million deaths by the time the war was ended. Saddam was an irredeemable piece of garbage, responsible for many, many atrocities. Saying that he wasn't as awful as Hitler is not in any way defending him, it's a statement of fact, the same way it would be if I said that you aren't as bad as Saddam.
But he ain't in Hitler's class. Maybe if he hadn't been completely contained by the US & UN forces, almost completely disarmed after the first Gulf War, etc, MAYBE he would have wanted to wreak the kind of havoc Hitler did. But he couldn't, so he didn't. And if you still truly believe that there is an actual equivalency there, I'm not surprised that you view history as you do, because that would mean you lack the ability to understand perspective. You wouldn't be the first.
As for 9/11, that really wasn't the event where "because of guys like him, we lost more americans in one sitting on american soil than any other event in our history." Saddam was a secular Arab, and al-Qaeda are Sunni extremists, much like the Saudis who bankroll them. Saddam was a douchebag, but not a particularly religious one, which is another reason bin Laden hated him. I know it's tempting for you to lump all Arabs or Muslims into the same simple stereotype, and likely useless for anyone to expect you to begin to understand the philosophical differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims, and how that actually relates to the war on terror. But don't feel bad, Bush didn't understand it either, although I guess you can feel bad for your friend who died bravely in Iraq. It's too bad his commander in chief felt the need to sacrifice him in Iraq instead of the country where 15 of the 19 hijackers came from, Saudi Arabia. It's too bad that the Bush family's relationship with the Saudis goes back so far that he was more comfortable putting young American men and women at risk in order to take out a man in no way responsible for 9/11, rather than deal with the people responsible. That decision to let his friends off the hook for 9/11 may be the worst foreign policy decision in the long history of this country.
I think it's funny how you talk about "ur party" as though this was about something as base and simple as politics. I'm not a member of any political party, because all they do is gum up the process so that nothing can get done. I have no use for political parties, or people who are unable to see beyond the simple scorekeeping that they use to measure success and failure, while the country's future is at stake. I would abolish them all, actually.
I love baseball, played for many years myself. Not really sure how toiling away in the minor leagues in hopes of getting a fat Major League contract is an equivalent sacrifice to a higher goal in the same way joining the Marines and going to war is. But hey, I've had to stay in some lousy motels for road games, and been hit by pitches, too. You would appear to be suggesting that makes both of us just about Pat Tillman. Frankly, I doubt you can sell your sacrifice argument to anyone who understands the word. But I have no doubt you fall asleep with a clear conscience, like most children, and I do envy you for that.
You are right about the fact that al Qaeda cannot defeat us, though. If you think about it, they could carry out a 9/11-type attack every month for a year, and they still wouldn't kill as many of as as die in car accidents each year. They just aren't big enough to defeat us. The way they win is by scaring people like yourself, who then beg authoritarians to protect you at any cost, even by violating the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I know you think that you're a better American than I am because you're willing to send our own to die for payback against a country that wasn't a threat to us, but you really aren't. What you are is a frightened little boy who is willing to give up the rights and protections that MILLIONS have fought and died for, in order to gain some small illusion of safety.
You are pathetic, and it is people like you that will be the death of our way of life, not a few thousand Muslims with death fantasies. Sleep well, and just keep on never thinking about the cost.
There's really nothing you can say to people like this, I mean, just nothing at all. You would think people as panicky as this wouldn't sleep like babies, but they do. I sometimes wonder how well I'd sleep if I could give up 25 IQ points.
posted at 10:21 AM
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