Saturday, December 06, 2003

Snow, snow and More Snow!
It's snowing something fierce here in the People's Repbulic of New York -- by my guestimation we have about 7" on the ground now, forecasts are for up to another foot of snow by tomorrow night.

Four things about snow:
1. I love the shit out of it -- Snow seems to have a quieting effect on everything around it. If you've ever been walking through deserted streets with a light snowfall coming down, you know what I mean. Sound seems muffled, nerves seemed smoothed over. The quiet is both eerie and relaxing at the same time. If it were up to me, we'd have snow falling perpetually, just for the peace and quiet it seems to bring.

2. It's a pain in the ass -- Shovelling, scraping, slipping, sliding, etc., etc. Snow, for all of it's other soothing qualities is about as annoying as a Clinton proclaiming their innocence. It's a chore to get rid of it, especially if you have bad back like I do, and no matter what you do to get it out of the way, Nature conspires to blow it back over whatever you just cleared. If it doesn't freeze, get rained on (creating slush -- third nastiest substance know to man; the other two are snot and that black, crusty stuff you find under the ketchup bottlecap), and it can never be totally eliminated except by evaporation -- meaning warmer weather.

3. The obligatory phone call -- from both my landlord and the condo board, reminding me to clear the snow from my terrace, lest it collapse under the weight. Gee, you pay maintenance fees you'd think someone would do it for ya. I guess it's just the price we pay. Yes, I'm fully aware that the weight of a foot of snow could have serious effects upon the structural integrity of this cardboard hovel, thank you. Now that I've just cleared the FIRST snowfall, I'll prepare myself for the SECOND. A never ending job, it seems.

4. Snowball fights -- self explanatory. Nothing like pelting your nephews with a cold, wet projectile.

Friday, December 05, 2003

John Ashcroft and the Fourth Reich?

For what seems like dog’s ages already, I’ve been hearing the plaintive wail of the permanently panty-bunched about how George W. Bush is turning the United States into a police state. These kinds of noises usually are made by people who still believe in the viability of real police states, like the Soviet Union, Communist China, the “people’s paradise” police state of Cuba and, more recently, the colossally autocratic, mega maniacal, murderous police state of Iraq. Now, when one considers that in the real police states mentioned above, one could be detained for “questioning” for no reason at all, where torture was a common method of extracting “confessions”, where no legal rights (as we would understand them) exist, I wonder what the heck they mean.

I’m sure no one has noticed mass executions or arrests in the United States recently. I mean, no one I know has come to me and said something along the lines of “hey, did you notice a lot of people are missing in the office today?”. There isn’t the samizdat floating around that people are just “disappearing”, or at least, none that I can detect. John Ashcroft has yet to issue his own version of the “Night and Fog Decree”.

Hmm, let’s see – just how much of a police state do we live in?

Well, to begin with, I would hardly call it a police state when I can travel anywhere I want to go without being, unreasonably, asked for identification. No one that I know has been stopped on a busy street or walked up to in a sidewalk café and asked to present “your papers, please?” I can still read what I want. I have 90 channels of crap on cable television, all offering different kinds of expression and opinions on a wide variety of topics. As far as I know, newspapers and TV broadcasts are not being censored by the government (although they are being censored by the media, which often has a different political agenda than the government), unless of course, you count Geraldo not being able to jump into Iraq with a bunch of Green Berets as censorship.

I don’t believe that being asked to take your shoes off in an airport is objectionable – it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s a relatively minor irritation when one looks at the other side of the coin, which is airliners-cum-guided missiles.

We can still vote for whom we wish (appropos of there being no one to really vote for), even if both major parties either sound like each other on some issues, or automatically gainsay the other based on ideology. Californians have been able to get the chance to recall their Governor for being an idiot, you know, just like what happens in Cuba all the time. People are putting up web sites to egg Hilary on to run for President, which indicates that if G.W. is a despotic police state ruler, he’s a pretty bad one. In fact, the government does a better job of making sure I don’t come back from Mexico with more tequila than I’m allowed then it does of policing the borders of this police state of ours. What kind of police state is this is if I can’t bring back more than two bottles of liquor without a hassle but a million Mexicans a year can get in and take all the really good landscaping positions?

So, where is all this police state stuff happening? Because I don’t see it.

The hue and cry is over the U.S.A. Patriot Act, an act of legislation that was enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The thrust of the Patriot Act is to make it easier for the government to chase, capture and prosecute terrorists, and to make it easier for intelligence agencies to co-operate and share information that has National Security importance. This was a necessary evil due to the fact that over the years since Vietnam and Watergate, Congress has done an outstanding job of hampering our Federal law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, usually for political reasons. The Patriot Act is intended to undo some of that damage (remember, the FBI couldn’t get a warrant to search Zacharias Massoui’s computer? That was because it would have been considered possible evidence of another crime he was involved in which was not related to the one for which the FBI originally got the warrant for).

Think about this for a second – if this was a true police state, don’t you think you would know it? Think about what kind of power G.W. and Ashcroft have over you right now, even without a U.S.A Patriot Act.

Bush sits at the head of a vast apparatus of police and intelligence agencies: FBI, CIA, INS/Border Patrol, ATF, Coast Guard, Treasury Department, Secret Service, NSA, National Reconnaissance Office (which runs a satellite network that can read the Surgeon General’s Warning off a pack of cigarettes from 200 miles up in space), the National Guard, National Park Police, Customs Service and a dozen other alphabet-soup agencies you never heard of, and probably never will. He also commands the most effective, technologically advanced military force the word has ever seen. That’s just for a start. Ever think about having your mail tracked, or maybe even read? Ninety percent of your life runs through the Post Office (which has it’s own police force, by the way), and if someone wanted to, not only could they read your incoming and outgoing mail without you knowing it, they could also collect a list of names and addresses of the people you correspond with. Guilt by association, perhaps? Sure, it might be impractical, but it is theoretically possible. Let’s not forget all those new federal Employees of the Federal Transportation Agency, who have the authority to open luggage and scan packages and ask you take your shoes off in the airport, and who have the authority to conduct a strip search if they feel like it, and have a plausible excuse for doing it.

What the Patriot Act does is redefine the concept of probable cause in the obtaining of search warrants, relaxes some of the evidentiary responsibilities of the government when dealing with national security issues in the prosecution of terrorists (like keeping sources and methods secret), and generally, makes it easier for the FBI to do their jobs. However, it’s not as if the government has carte blanche to do whatever it wants. While the requirements for obtaining warrants might be loosened, they still have to get one before they can go forward. That decision is still up to a judge – he still has the legal right to refuse one if he feels the cause doesn’t pass a smell test.

So, is the Patriot Act the first step in the evolution of the American police state? I doubt it, or I should say, I doubt it with regards to the current administration. I would be much more worried if, instead of Bush and Ashcroft, this kind of power was in the hands of a Clinton, Gore or Kennedy. We’ve already seen all three subvert the legal process for personal gain or to get back at their enemies. I would literally defecate if any of them ever got into the White House and had access to this kind of power.

But, the screaming retards that are making the most noise over the Patriot Act (on the Left of the political spectrum) are really hiding their true argument. Their objection to the Patriot Act is not that the power it gives Federal law enforcement would be abused (they want to retain that capability for themselves if they ever regain control of the government), but that it could be used in a wider range of nasty activities, most of which they support (even if only secretly). Primarily, however, their objection to it is that it is Bush and Ashcroft who have this authority. The Left so viscerally hates both men that it will stop at nothing to ensure that everything they touch or have access to must be shown in the least positive light.

Then again, I can see some other potential dangers (from a Leftist’s point of view) that might have them urinating in their pants. Let’s say, in the process of tracking down a terrorist or organized crime figure, the government, with a warrant granted under the Patriot Act, also finds out that the person in question was a pedophile and actively engaged in distributing and creating child pornography. The seriously-hard Left routinely dismisses such activity under the auspices of “personal preference” and “free speech”. God forbid, if, the government in investigating terrorism managed to read a dirty e-mail from a pedophile to a 10 year old and managed to get information on additional pedophiles. That would be an “invasion of privacy”, not something beneficial to society, but rather, a violation of a criminal’s rights. This is how they think, and this is what they’re afraid of – not that the Patriot Act might actually help catch a terrorist, but that it can be used to prosecute crimes or expose rotten behavior, which might be discovered incidentally.

And if you’re nutty enough to believe that the government might actually wait to get a warrant if danger was imminent, think again. Remember Predator? That was supposed to be this super-intrusive, electronic listening system that was designed to listen into phone calls, e-mails, television and radio signals, cell phones, etc., and which might have heard a piece of the 9/11 plotter’s plans. Well, Predator was emasculated by the Left as a violation of privacy rights under the 4th amendment. Apparently, discussing the hijacking of four airliners in order to use them as guided missiles is a Constitutionally protected right to a Leftist. Do you seriously think that if Predator caught a whiff of something terrible that was about to happen, that the government would sit on it’s hands waiting to go through the legal niceties? Not after 9/11 they won’t. Do you think for a second that if the Government reacted to Predator information, which later turned out to be erroneous, that the American public would be amused or angry? Heck no, they want to know their Government is on the ball in this department, even if it was a false alarm. If anything, such an event would give people confidence in the government (which would be an event on par with the second coming of Christ), provided no one got killed by mistake. Now, what happens if the government listens to your phone conversations or monitors your e-mail, finds nothing wrong and thus, does nothing about it? No harm no foul? Would you even know it was done? This is what Predator was doing prior to 9/11, and no one knew anything until the French complained about it. So, what the heck is the deal?

The people who shout the loudest about a police state are those that would readily create one for their own benefit, and who have already excused police state tactics because one of their one was involved.

Anyone remember Waco? If there was ever an example of a police state run rampant, that was it. Makes you wonder just what David Koresh knew, and why they were so hot to get at him.
Initially, we were told that the raid was made by armed ATF agents storming the house with scaling ladders and battering rams to serve a search warrant. Whatever happened to knocking on the door? Apparently, Koresh had committed the mortal sin of having guns in his church – quite a lot of them, actually. What no one mentioned, or maybe they did only in passing, is that Koresh was a federally licensed firearms dealer. So, was it a cache of highly dangerous weapons to be used in a criminal enterprise or was it inventory?

To make matters worse, when the ATF agents storming the compound got their asses handed to them, another excuse was needed to get inside the house and arrest everyone. That excuse was provided by Janet Reno, to cover up the weak case against Koresh and the even weaker execution of the raid – there were children being sexually abused in that house. It was always “for the children” in the Clinton Administration. It was so urgent to get to the sexually abused children that the government conducted a 50-day siege of the compound. In the end, they had to burn the children in order to save them. That, my friends, is how a police state operates, and that is what a police state does – it harasses people, ultimately kills them, and then gives you 62 reasons why it had to be done, none of which would pass as logical, even at an idiot’s convention. Don’t even get me started on what the Clinton/Reno team did to Elian Gonzolez – using police state tactics to return a small boy to another police state

I don’t see Mr.Ashcroft burning down churches, barging into people’s homes with guns blazing, or arresting children found hiding in closets in order to curry favor with a dictator. The people who yell the loudest about Bush’s and Ashcroft’s intent, motives and the potential for abuse are not warning us about what this administration would do with this kind of power – they’re really warning us about what they would do with that kind of power.
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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Bush Wants New Moon Mission

Wow, Guantanamo Bay must really be filling up...

Seriously, a great idea. The country needs even more things to unite it and what could be more uniting than a trip back to the moon? Even after "we've been there and done that" there is still a sense of adventure.

NASA is still (rightly) licking it's wounds and needs to either do something productive or go the way of the dodo. International Spaces stations are pie-in-the-sky scenarios that do the country no good whatsoever. The Chinese are becoming major players in space exploration (with consequences for their nuclear program as well, and the Europeans have a growing lock on the aerospace industry (with the Arianne rocket).

I see no prpblem with spending money to go to the moon if at the end of the day it brings us closer together as a nation, presents American business and science with a challenge, and we get something better than Tang out of the deal afterwards. Remember, the last time we went to the moon it drove the country into a new era of high-speed computers, new materials, communications, etc. This sort of thing does have commercial and economic benefits.

Heck, makes more sense than spending money on printing voter-resitration forms in 62 different languages. Never know when you might need a form written in Bantu in Utah.


In yesterday's rant, I mistakenly dated the Battle of Poitier as having occurred in 718. The correct year is 732. While I may have been off by 14 years on the date, I think it does not diminish from my original point that Muslims were busy interrupting the (relative) peace of Europe way before Europeans (not Romans, that's a different animal) were disrupting the relative peace of Islam. Neither anything resembling a Christian Europe or a Muslim Middle East existed during the heyday of the Roman Empire. Feel free to nitpick if you wish....
Life in The People’s Republic…

I have a bone to pick with the Sanitation Department of the City of New York. Don’t get me wrong, I have known quite a few sanitation workers in my lifetime and have found most, that’s most, to be wonderful people, regular Joes, just like me. There is one Sanitation person, however, that I would like to meet in a dark alley one evening. I will not use the…ahem…gentleman’s name, because I have a feeling that he’s “just doing his job” and there was nothing personal in it, so I will not smear his potentially-good name here.

Here in the People’s Republic of New York, we labor under some of the strictest sanitation codes to be found anywhere in the country. There are two reasons for this; the City is perpetually short of cash and invents stupid rules constantly in order to fine people for doing that which they normally would, and second, because we have a lot of transplanted idiots here (who all seem to live in Manhattan) and who are “environmentally conscious”. Let me translate that term for you – in any other setting, and if they could get away with it, these people would be charter members of your local Communist collective.

The Greenie Meanines here decided that recycling one’s garbage would be a good thing. There are materials that can be reclaimed and reused and it helps alleviate the problems of overflowing landfills (which eventually become prime land for housing developments here in New York City). What this means is that the typical New Yorker must take pains to ensure that his/her trash is properly separated – white paper and colored paper go in separate bags, glass, plastic and aluminum in another, cardboard must be dissected and wrapped or tied with a certain grade of twine in order for the garbage men to collect it. Finally, all of this refuse must be put out either in a specially-marked can or placed by the curb in clear, plastic bags so that it might be easily inspected.

The labor involved, in my opinion, far outweigh the benefits.

We have a situation here where the squeaky wheel got the grease again. Folks who are “concerned” about landfills went ahead and got the politicians to pass legislation that addresses their pet peeve. Normally, this would be a good thing – government responding to the wants and needs of the governed. In this case, the same folks who want everyone else to recycle didn’t want to have to make the trip to the recycling center with all this trash, so by default, the Sanitation Department picks it up. In order for the Sanitation Department to save time, money and effort, you, the citizen (kulak), must do the job of “pre-processing” your trash. And if you don’t, you get fined. Government passing along its expenses to the taxpayer in one form or another is nothing new, but this is ridiculous.

Now, what on Earth did I do to deserve a fine, you ask? I committed the cardinal sin of not cutting up my Cheerios box before I stuffed it into a garbage bag. I further sinned in the eyes of the Sanitation Gods because said box was mixed in with “common, household trash” (as if I were also generating uncommon, industrial-strength trash, like toxic waste) and was placed at the curb in a WHITE plastic garbage bag, and not a clear one. Which seems to make no difference since the guy who wrote the ticket obviously had no trouble seeing a Cheerios box through it. For this, I must be fined $25.

Now $25 is not the end of the world and it isn’t as if I were about to retire on that money and desperately need it. The problem is how one goes about paying the fine. I cannot, apparently, just send a $25 check, be pardoned and sent forth to sin again. No, I must make an appearance at “Sanitation Court”.
Now, considering I only got the summons five (5) days ago, and the City has already seen fit to schedule me for an appearance in court, I’m quite pissed off. They took the opportunity to inconvenience me just in case I decided NOT to pay the fine. How nice of them!

Well, if this is a court, it’s a pretty poor excuse for one. To begin with, do we adhere to the same rules of evidence that prevail in a criminal case (technically, since I was fined for breaking the law, this IS a criminal case)? Where is the evidence that will prove my guilt or sustain my innocence? Well, last time I saw it, it was on the curb and then it was gone. Unless the guy who wrote the summons is keeping my garbage on file somewhere, I will assume that it has been placed in a landfill, incinerated or is still sitting and rotting in the back of a truck somewhere. We have no physical evidence that I have committed a crime.

But, you will say, the inspector who wrote the summons SAW my trash in such a sorry state, and presumably, so did the trash collectors. There are WITNESSES to my crime! Well, how many garbage bags a day do you think these guys see? Could they identify mine in a line-up? Did they dust for fingerprints and send for Quincy to gain forensic evidence? I doubt it, so how does an eyewitness account of the tragic saga of my garbage cut any ice here? Am I presumed innocent, until proven guilty? Well, no. I was given a summons, which arrived in the mail. I had no chance to confront my accuser, and there was no opportunity for him to correct me on the spot or save me from myself, so to speak. Besides, this is New York City, and if there’s a fine, pay it and shut up, what’s the big deal?

The Big Deal is that I have a problem with someone inspecting my garbage. People are going nuts about John Ashcroft and his plans for a national system of concentration camps and the Garbage Nazis are out here making sure I don’t throw garbage into the garbage, or at least, throw it into the right garbage. I did not vote for recycling, and there was no vote for it. I could give a rat’s ass about a full landfill – that’s what they’re for. I don’t care two turds that incinerators are polluting, stinky things – I live in New York, and if you’ve ever been trapped on a subway car here with a filthy, flea-infested, drunken vagrant with cheap, bourbon-induced diarrhea, then a smelly incinerator seems more like perfume.

These kinds of things take on a life of their own, and right now, while we separate paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and cardboard, we don’t take pains with fabrics, rubber, batteries, oils or chemicals. I’m sure if I threw a plastic bottle of paint thinner out with the “common household trash”, no one would notice, provided it was in the proper bag. It’s only a matter of time before coffee grounds will require their own separate pail (and only after someone has verified that you’ve used them at least twice), our pails will become color coded so that people who can’t read have no excuse for fucking up the trash, and finally, daily trash pick ups for individual kinds of trash; paper on Monday, cardboard on Tuesday, your Sanitation Summons on Wednesday.

The nitpicking regulations that one has to put up with here are bad enough – alternate side parking, no right turn on red (unless a sign tells you that you can), no left turns on certain streets between certain hours, and now, no smoking in bars, restaurants and public buildings, even outdoors. Do we have to put up with someone looking in our trash to make sure we don’t put a box of Cheerios out with “common household trash” when it belongs with shredded cardboard? The KGB probably never went through anyone’s trash with the vigor and ruthlessness that the sanitation inspectors here do.

At least in Soviet Russia you could EXPECT someone to be tearing through your garbage with a fine-toothed comb, but here, in America? Oh, I forgot, this is the People’s Republic of New York, and if there is a buck in it somehow, someone would probably go through your stool looking for undigested corn.

The only thing missing from Comrade Bloomberg’s modern New York is the hammer and sickle.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Youth-anasia might not be such a bad thing after all….
“Bush=Saddam”, the sign proclaimed. “No Blood for Oil” said yet another. One loses count when it comes to accounting for all the signs with swastikas on them, usually red-white-and-blue ones. “Your War” is another piece of wisdom that finds itself present at all the rallies. “Hands off MY Bush” (usually with an arrow pointing towards the crotch, in case you didn’t get the joke – these Leftists are soooo clever), is also popular. This is, in short, the bumper-sticker mentality of those who still cling to the notion that the Soviet Union was a noble enterprise, and that everything would be hunky-dory if we all learned to suspend reality.

Bumper-sticker mentality pretty much sums it up. Check out every slogan being waved from a placard at an anti-war protest (which still occur, by the way. I wonder why since the war is over?). What qualifies it as bumper-sticker wisdom can be summed up in the three basic lessons of general marketing: a) It’s short (three or four words, max), b) it’s cute (love them swastikas), c) after 5 seconds no one will think about it, they’ll just accept it. This pretty much describes, to a “T” the liberal mindset. We’ll use small “L” liberal because they really aren’t liberals at all. They just stole the appellation.

Anyway, check out this link to photos of anti-war protests from all over the world (compete with witty commentary, no less!-- and see what I mean. There seems to be a general belief, amongst liberals anyway, that if you’re outrageous enough, offensive enough, loud enough, and persistently stupid enough, you will get your way. If your desires have not been met, get louder, more obnoxious, and still more persistently stupid. If that doesn’t work, resort to violence and repeat. Through it all, do not forget your catchy slogans. It worked (they think) in the 1960’s and 70’s where the younger set believed that they a) got civil rights legislation passed, b) stopped a war in Vietnam, c) pulled down a President. They “spoke truth to power” and they got everything they wanted, and got high and laid while they were at it. The formula, apparently, worked.

The crowd that used to be rock-throwing hippies in the Summer of Love is now, unfortunately, in positions of power --- they’re parents, grandparents, politicians, academics, teachers, television hosts. They have passed on the “lessons” of their generation to their offspring; a bunch which, in general, gives hippies a good name. The latest generation of drug-taking slackers is even more unkempt, dirty, ignorant and lazy than their ideological forebears. There seems to be a penchant for baggy clothes, knit ski hats (even in summer heat), skateboards, “Shaggy” beards (like on Scooby-Doo), backpacks, combat boots and skinhead hairdos, even for the girls (I think they’re girls, anyway). Let’s not get started on the tattoos, and the body piercing. This is the latest incarnation of the Hitler Youth, only their message is not purity of the Aryan race, death to the Jews (Israel is a different story though, apparently it is possible to separate Israel from the Jews in their minds), and world conquest by military victory. Their views revolve around the idealism of “peace”, “justice”, and “rights”. Ask then to give a coherent definition of any of those things and what you will instead get is a reflexive recitation of the evils of American democracy.

The disease has entered it next, virulent stage --- the parents and grandparents hated the power structure, now their offspring hate the country and people that enabled the power structure. You can see the deconstructionist mechanism at work from here --- start with the government, then it’s ideals, and finally, it’s people. We’re in stage two right now and no one has a shot for this.

This new virulence needs to be stopped dead in its tracks. This is not, as many would argue, a bunch of kids exercising their constitutional rights. It is not “people of conscience” making their feelings known, and it certainly is not “peaceful protest of government policy”. Those things would be based upon logic, would not involve hooded rock and Molotov throwers, nor would they include in their numbers people who obviously are unable to objectively think on their own. The protests have nothing to do with peace and justice, they are a reflexive action intended to keep reality even further at bay. This generation of kids does not believe in sacrifice for principles (since they have none) in the same way as the young did in 1930-1960. The people of that era understood that nothing was free and that freedom often required the blood of those that would enjoy it, and so they went to fight Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Kruschev, Kim Il-sung, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot, or marched in the streets of Selma.

Actually, they have a warped concept of responsibility to begin with. In their convoluted logic, the United States is responsible for every evil ever perpetrated because we are: racist, sexist, exploitive, imperialist, majority white, rich, happy, well-fed, free. Well, if we were guilty of all these things (and we aren’t), don’t we have a responsibility to clean up the mess we made? Yes, you say? Only it shouldn’t be you doing the cleaning because you’re too busy studying “The History of Cannabis in Ancient Mesopotamia” at the moment? Oh, so other people’s children, treasure and effort should be expended to avoid inconveniencing you, maybe even keep you from getting killed or maimed? Just like your parents and grandparents did at Woodstock? Sat by and let others take on their responsibilities? Since you realize, even in a backhanded way, that you want no part of the war personally, that it’s better to just get it stopped, somehow, some way, before it fucks up your career plans and eats into your X-Box time?

Who the fuck do you think you are, you little maggots? People are sacrificing their limbs, their lives, their families and their futures to ensure that you have the right, and the security, to put Bush=Saddam on a piece of oaktag. Every one of you is a pious hypocrite, and since you do not know what either word means, I guess I will reflexively be castigated as a “hater”. Orwell once described the Two Minute Hate to us in graphic detail, here it is for all to see in full stereo and living color.

This is a crowd that eschews religion as a “social construct” and “destructive force” out of one side of its mouth and yet praises the “peaceful nature” of Islam to the hilt. I guess any religion is okay as long as it isn’t Christianity or Judaism. This is a bunch that believes that the concepts of historical guilt, and collective responsibility apply to all, except for them --- they can be excused because they’re “socially conscious”. This rabble believes that capitalism is an evil thing, which deprives people of their “dignity” and “rights” without once stopping to think that it also provides a job and sustenance, without which, there are no rights and their ain’t no dignity. This sea of mutated hippies will carry on for hours about the “rape of the environment” and leave behind them a sea of paper that was once protest flyers, power-bar wrappers, empty sports drink bottles, used condoms, broken glass, protests signs, burned and looted buildings, not to mention the vast amounts of feces, urine, cigarette butts, joint ends, and God knows what else in their shanty camps, or in the street.

The point is this; this is the generation that will come to power while I’m in my old age. They’re ignorant, they have no morality, they cannot think coherently, and all of their ideals can be summed up in three or four word phrases that make no sense. It’s scary to think what might become of me, and others like me, when confronted by the relentless stupidity, Pavlovian hate, and rancid effluvium of a bunch of spoiled, over-indulged, under-educated, ill-disciplined, aimless, shiftless, lazy, bastards.
I say that at the next protests, the police be allowed to open fire. I’ll even buy the bullets.
Lifetime: Television for Idiots

What I’m about to admit may not seem very manly to many of you. In fact, it’s rather embarrassing, but please withhold your laughter until I’ve given a full explanation, and expounded on it a bit. I promise, it won’t be as bad as you think.

I’ve watched Lifetime Network. You know, Television for Women…Stop LAUGHING and let me EXPLAIN!

Occasionally (about once per week) I find myself in my sister’s living room, usually on a weekend. Now I show up to see my nephews (three boys on the way to being manly men!), and sponge a free meal every now and again. It’s really the only time I have with my family. Now, what happens is that usually my sister and mother are watching television whenever I show up (if the kids haven’t monopolized the television to watch 53 episodes of SpongeBob Squarepants), and they usually have Lifetime on. So, I’m kind of forced to watch it, since it ain’t my house and I don’t have control of the remote.

Two things immediately will strike any man who watches Lifetime for any extended period of time: first, the incredible number of tampon and birth control adds (not to mention the number of times I’ve seen Prozac, Zoloft, and 50 other medications hawked), and second, just how badly men come out looking on Lifetime.

Lifetime spends just about its entire programming day on weekends showing re-runs of “made-for-TV Dramas”. The central point of most, if not all, of these “made-for-TV Dramas” revolves around a woman (naturally, since Lifetime bills itself as Television for Women). The woman in question seems to always be played by Jaclyn Smith/Melissa Gilbert/Nancy McKeon, and my favorite, Lindsay Wagner. There may be another actress or two in there somewhere, but I admit to not paying strict attention. Anyway, Jaclyn/Melissa/Nancy/Lindsay always seem to find themselves in the same fix, as their characters always grapple with one of the following themes:

a) Cheating/Lying/Bigamist/Abusive husband
b) Adversity caused by tragic disease (Cancer, AIDS, Cerebral Palsy, Retardation and Down’s syndrome seem to be the favorite candidates for this).
c) Powerful, career woman struggles with the eternal question of “I have wealth and power, so what is missing in my life?”
d) Kofka’s eternal theme of “Little Man (or, in this case, woman) against the mindless bureaucracy”.

Four themes, four actresses. Occasionally, you get a mix of both: A mother of a child with leprosy wants her child educated in the same school as “normal” kids, leading to an epic courtroom fight for equal rights for lepers. Or, you might get a twist on a familiar theme: instead of the Husband leading a double life, the wife does, and she manages to have everything work out just right, vis-à-vis the family, the community perception, etc, which we all KNOW a man would never be able to pull off with such style and élan.

Now, you know me – I usually wouldn’t be caught dead watching this stuff, but I have to admit, it’s sort of interesting, and educational on certain levels. I mean, if anything, this sort of drivel demonstrates four facts about today’s modern woman:

a) She’s distrustful of men either because of similar experiences or because she’s been told to be.
b) She’s brainwashed into believing this sort of stuff happens everywhere, all the time.
c) Women will swallow (pardon the pun) anything, if it’s presented to them in the right way, that is, in a way that reinforces their pre-conceived notions or which celebrates their achievements.
d) If you tell them this is based on a True Story, they will believe it whole hog, neglecting to think for a moment that somewhere along the line, someone took artistic license with the story to make it more presentable/believable/palatable and ensure that the woman came out of it smelling like a rose.

And now I know why men and women don’t communicate as well as they should. It’s an insight that literally struck me as if a bolt of lightning from a clear sky. I will patent this idea, bottle it, and then we can all stop reading self-help relationship books, stop going to therapy and maybe even learn something that will enable us to lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Get ready for it, because it will be an earth-shattering observation – some people are just too stupid for their own good!

I watch my mother and sister sit and watch this crap on the screen and I get a kick out of just how revved up they get over the whole thing. They talk potential plot points and twists during the commercial. They give each other knowing looks and a sort of feminine “high-five” smirk when a man gets caught or a woman proves her superiority, as if they’re sharing some private joke with each other vis-à-vis the whole man/woman relationship thing. They sometimes even cheer when a particularly nasty male character (which accounts for about 85% of the male characters on Lifetime. The other 15% are what we real men would call “pussy whipped”), gets his comeuppance. It’s almost like watching a female version of the WWF. Jaclyn/Melissa/Nancy/Lindsay is taking a terrible beating from “Wife-Beater Jones”, who is just about to smack Jaclyn/Melissa/Nancy/Lindsay with a chair, when our bloody, groggy, heroine manages, with the last vestiges of her strength, to get up off the canvas and manhandle her opponent into a submission hold, whereupon he surrenders. Jaclyn/Melissa/Nancy/Lindsay takes home the championship, and the crowd goes wild!

Vince McMahon does this stuff every week, and we call it crap.

So, in my opinion, someone at Lifetime should get a hefty raise. She (I can’t believe a man would put this stuff on TV) has made the same leap of logic made by Vince McMahon, Josef Goebbels and Bill Clinton – give the people what they want, on a level from which they can understand it, and reinforce their preconceived notions, prejudices and secret fears, and you will make a ton of money. Lifetime makes a ton of money, obviously, because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be on television. Kudos to Lifetime! However, they should stop and look for a second at some of the damage they may be doing to people. If I were an alien, I’m sure that one of my first sources of information on human beings (ala E.T.) would be watching them on TV – to see how they communicate and interact with one another. If one of my first impressions gained from TV would be the nonsense on Lifetime (and the same could be said for WB, CNN, and about 30 other channels on cable), then I would probably be informed that human males are:

a) Disgusting
b) Immoral
c) Violent to wives and offspring
d) Stupid or at least shortsighted
e) Unreliable and undependable

In other words, I would not have a favorable impression of human males at all. But then again, that was the point, wasn’t it? It’s only natural that Television for Women would ignore or at least, marginalize, the better qualities of the human male. Unless it was shown in a form in which the male was either subservient or devoted to the female, or a laughably pathetic victim of her “superiority”.

This is what 40 years of “feminism” have brought us to? Women that are continually portrayed as victims, and as powerless and confused human beings? Even when a woman has power on a Lifetime show, she usually isn’t satisfied with it. I find the whole situation entirely laughable – here we are, decades after the “sexual revolution”, a time when women were supposed to “empower” themselves, and “take control of their own lives” and parading around, right there in their living rooms in full color and Hi-Definition, are Jaclyn/Melissa/Nancy and Lindsay, continually the victim of powerlessness, abusive men, “the system” and God knows whatever else in the way of perfidy and degradation, and they all find heroism in their victim-hood. What a seriously society-damaging and person-destroying message to be putting out over the airwaves!

Television for Women? More like Television for Idiots!
If At First You Don’t Succeed...

A Short Dissertation By a Fringe Lunatic

I’ve been laughing incredibly hard lately at some of the rhetoric that passes for reasoned discourse that comes from the open cesspit that we refer to as “The Middle East”. Apparently, what pisses most Muslims off about the West is that we are none of the following:

1) Muslim
2) Arabic-speaking
3) Respectful
4) Peaceful
5) Sufficiently pious
6) Stupid
7) Anti-Semitic enough
8) Weak and available for easy conquest from camelback.
9) Sufficiently backwards enough to admire Islamic culture in all of it’s 7th century splendor.
10) Sufficiently mean to our women, nor as accommodating to our hump-backed, quadruped, sexual partners.

The solution, they keep telling us, is what they call, depending on the pontificator’s wackiness, any of the following:

1) Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam)
2) The Caliphate (the rule of Islam)
3) Sharia (the Law of Islam)

Problem is, when you’re trying to convince people that have done things like invented quantum physics, solved the problems of flight, cure most deadly diseases, transplant organs, know how to farm food efficiently, build skyscrapers, and are used to running water, indoor plumbing and electricity, you’re already fighting an uphill battle. Especially when you’re pontificating from a cave someplace in Afghanistan trying to avoid all those flying things that drop high explosives. You look even more ridiculous when you’re using means to transmit your message that were invented by the very people you’re trying to kill…errr…sell your concept to.

Of course, maybe it’s just me, and I don’t understand the Islamic mindset, or perhaps some things and concepts don’t translate well from Arabic to English, a common problem when we’re dealing with ideas rather than concrete facts. It’s sort of like discussing the process of fission in abstract terms instead of scientific ones: you might get lucky and produce an H-bomb, but more likely than not, you’ll probably poison or kill yourself, your progeny, and the surrounding landscape for 10,000+ years. We’re not operating on the same wavelength here and kind of using an apple to demonstrate the virtues of an orange. It all comes out in some Pidgen-like mumbledygook that your average Joe can’t understand.

However, give me the benefit of the doubt for a second, and believe that I’m not your average Joe.

The thrust of this argument, if I take it right, is that if only we all believed the same thing, all agreed to live the same way, and let you run the whole shebang, then there would be peace on the planet and you would stop ramming airliners into office buildings and attempting to add anthrax to laundry detergent? How am I doing so far? Good. Can I continue the thought? Thank you.

The second point to your argument is that the entire planet (with the exception of those vile Jews, of course) would simply live in peace, harmony and universal brotherhood, if only, if only, we could all lose our emotional attachment to all the things that have made human existence bearable over the last 3,000 years (like political rights, television, medical care, literacy, pizza, dental hygiene, Doritos and Led Zepplin), and revert back to a 7th century social system invented by a guy who sounds more like Norm from Cheers (“wouldn’t it be great if….”) but who actually worked up the ambition to see his dreams come true? Am I on the right track here, Sparky? High five, my man! Let me see if I can string this line of reasoning out to its final conclusion.

Your final thrust is that, in the interests of peace and brotherhood, of course, that since your world cannot cope with the modern world, then my world should be taken down to the same level. Only then, you’re telling me, can I avoid things like being blown up on a school bus or having my flight to Disneyland eat a SAM after liftoff? Ah, see? I got it. And you thought I was dense, Abdullah? Guess again.

According to the morons that the media continually refer to as either “Islamic-fundamentalists” or “Islamic-revolutionaries” (depends on your politics – if you’re conservative, they’re fundamentalists, if you’re a leftist, “revolutionaries” sounds so much more romantic), the only way to achieve world peace is when everyone on the planet lives in a society centered on tents, camel caravans and the fear of the fatwa. Only when the Caliphate of Islam, i.e. the ultimate triumph of the forces of Islam, is complete, will God grant peace. Until that time actually arrives, you will continue to do your best to refute everything Islam supposedly stands for and mercilessly slaughter anyone who disagrees with you.

Yep, you’ve sold me. Sounds like a pretty good idea. So does root canal with no anesthetic.

The problem, in case no one has told you, is that the Caliphate or whatever you choose to call it this week, has already existed, in several dozen permutations, and every last one them has failed. Utterly, miserably, meekly, and pathetically failed. You’ve tried to spice it up a bit from time to time, I know. You added socialism to the mix --- didn’t work out; that’s how you got Saddam. You’ve tried Nationalism and got Nasser, who wasn’t violent or inhospitable enough to suit your tastes. You have added a dash of bribery from time to time (only Non-Muslims pay taxes, for example), and that didn’t work either. You got a bunch of people who were willing to go through the motions in order to save money. Sort of like Senior Citizens on a Government cheese line. In short, you should have learned from the “New Coke” debacle --- when you change for change’s sake, you often fail. Miserably.

The Caliphate or Dar al-Islam, etc, etc, will not come to pass in the world that you know because the rest of us are having a blast in our world. Living until you’re 98 is a good thing for most of us. Western culture and society made that possible. Having 86 channels of porn or sports TV is a good thing --- chalk up another one for Western Civ. Eating food that is actually engineered to be healthier than the natural stuff is pretty cool, if you ask me. Same thing goes for colleges, casino gambling, voting, the internal combustion engine and refrigeration. The problem is that what you’re offering has no appeal, and has even less appeal when it’s delivered with a death threat. Death threats cannot be passed off, in marketing terms, as a “value-added feature”.

Okay, so now that we’ve knocked off the logical case for buying what you’re selling, what’s left? Historic angle, perhaps, with some guilt and recrimination built into it? According to this theory, if I understand it, Mohammed, your people and culture are stuck in the Middle Ages because of Western interference in your affairs, via vehicles like the Crusades, World Wars and Imperialism.? Therefore, we Westerners owe you one? Hmmm, let’s think this one out and see where it goes.

If I remember correctly, there were already Islamic empires in Spain, Asia Minor, India, parts of Italy and Russia around, say, 700 or so, about 60 years after your version of David Koresh took the dirt nap and had Scotty beam him up to the great beyond. In fact, if I recall, the Battle of Poitiers (718, I believe) was fought near Tours, France and in victory, the Franks managed to keep what would later be France safe for idiocy and surrender well into the 21st Century. Bearing in mind that year --- 718 --- I remind you that the First Crusade was called by Pope Urban in 1095. That’s about 300 years or so after Islam invaded the West. So, who started it? If I also remember my history, and I do, Vienna was besieged a number of times (two to be exact), the Balkans were a battleground between Islam and Christianity for a few hundred years (they still are), Constantinople was besieged, sacked and ultimately conquered by Islamic forces. Islamic rulers usually fought these wars with slave armies (Mamluks, Jannissaries, etc.), typically drawn from amongst those they conquered --- a concept totally unknown in Western history (i.e. the use of armed slaves as a battlefield tactic, or if you like, as mercenaries), knowing full well that some people might have a problem with potentially killing their own relatives on the other side of the battlefield. So, who invaded whose land and interrupted whose peace first?

I do not intend to imply that two wrongs make a right, because that would be reaffirming your own, immoral logic. But it seems to me, historically, Christianity was a much more peaceful force in the world (love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, weapons were instruments of the devil, fighting never solves anything, etc) until it was near extinction under the threat of Islamic hordes looking for loot, plunder, and a reason to kill with a religious sanction. So, Christianity returned the favor with the Crusades, some of which, in case you didn’t notice, fell on Christian lands (a predisposition in the Germans, I’m afraid). If you want to hold a grudge for something that happened a millennia ago (and I can understand you would --- you lost --- at least until Europeans found other things to excite them, like sea travel) that’s your business. But I remind you that most people in America can’t trace their own lineage back more than a few generations, and making the assumption that we’re all the descendants of evil Crusader-types is certainly ridiculous. I’m not sure just how many African-Americans, for example, there are in these parts that can proudly point to their family’s exploits on the Road to Jerusalem. This argument doesn’t hold water, Achmed.

World Wars? Well, if you weren’t living under the Ottoman Turks (whose imperialism and invasions you don’t seem to have minded all that much), you would have been left alone. See, the Ottomans backed the wrong horse in that one and when the bet was due, they had to pay up. The Empire was carved up into “protectorates” and “mandates” (those who win wars usually do things like that --- it’s called “division of spoils” --- you did it too whenever you won, be honest!), and a lot of you welcomed the release from the Islamic yoke, as implemented by the Turks. In fact, many of you actually collaborated with Westerners in order to achieve power or wealth (quite interesting since Islam seems to prohibit man from having either), and thus, we get Saddam Hussein, the House of Saud, Ba’athists, Emirs, etc., which you claim plague your lands and your peoples. Don’t blame us, Americans that is, because we didn’t do it. It was those nasty Brits and French who did it, with your help, or at least your acquiescence. Then of course, it was discovered that your otherwise-worthless real estate had a commodity underneath it that you had no use for and which the West did. You gladly accepted the money, technology, human capital and expertise, and ultimately, profit (not prophet, get it?) that came with it, which you now claim infects your society with things like Britney Spears’ belly-button and, horror of horrors, equal rights for women. So, naturally, since you have this fabulous source of wealth, you want it defended, and so you have asked over the years, for Americans, French, British, Italians, et. al. to come and defend you. Another argument for the Caliphate down the drain, Mahmoud --- you can’t even get a puddle of black, oozy stuff that naturally percolates up, out of the ground without us, nor can you muster the stomach to protect it for yourself. You exude weakness and helplessness like a blister exudes pus and you expect other people not to take advantage of it? Have you never heard of human nature? When you stand in traffic of your own volition you can’t blame the BMW that smacked into you at high speed for your injuries. And I was always told that you guys were supposed to be such great businessmen and hagglers. Ha!

Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot all about the Great Jewish World Conspiracy that aims to place you squarely atop the dung heap of history and which manipulates every aspect of life on this planet? Can’t buy that one, either Mustaffah. Again, if I recall my history, Jews have been scattered, separated, vilified, killed and otherwise despised by just about every other race they have come into contact with for about 2,000 years. Yet they have managed to survive pogroms, mass gassing, religious persecution and all other forms of degradation by assimilating with their neighbors where possible, living peacefully and resorting to violence only when threatened. Even when Hitler was deporting them into Eastern Europe to be annihilated, they kept to their faith in God and did not resort to weapons to save themselves. As a result, 6 million of them, that’s million, never left Germany, Poland, Hungary, Russia, and two dozen other places, alive. Yet, these same people managed to defeat the combined armies of every Islamic state arrayed against them with, something like 70 soldiers or such. Can’t have anything to do with the fact that your system can’t produce motivated soldiers, or handle foreign technology designed with the simple intention of killing with any kind of dexterity. Certainly can’t be the fact that, in the end, fighting for God and religious frenzy can only take a poor peasant so far when his real aim is to become a doctor, lawyer or maybe just a bricklayer, and live in peace. Nope, you can’t have lost because your system produces inept, unmotivated individuals (except for the truly loony), it must be the result of some conspiracy.

Well, if you hate the Jews so much, then why does Islam claim descent from the very first Jew, Abraham? Did they trick you into that, too? Why did your prophet (Norm) ascend into heaven from Jerusalem, the very heart of the Jewish world? Why is the Koran chock full of admiration for the Jews? Why do you respect the messages given by the Jewish prophets? How can you explain that your system, your beliefs, the very core of your vision for humanity, is itself, simply a third-rate knock-off of that you profess to hate? Nasty things conspiracies --- they always leave more questions then they answer, but you seem quite prepared to either ignore your own stupidity and inconsistency, or to embrace it as truth and then castigate it’s sources. How can land be holy when Islam itself forbids the transferring of the glory or power of God into an inanimate object or icon? Yeah, I want to be part of a screwed up religious/political ideology like that. In fact, I’ll take the XL model with power everything.

I can see how all of this must drive some you crazy, even batty enough to walk into a pizzeria with a pair of TNT boxers. I can almost see how logic gets convoluted, by which I mean, you believe, in union with Christians and Jews the Commandment “Thou shall not kill” but then think it perfectly reasonable to machine gun a day care center full of one or the other, or preferably, both. I can almost, though not without laughing, perceive how one might be incredibly pissed off to realize that one lives in a world that’s totally upside down, and the response to it is not to challenge those that made it that way, but to mass murder thousands of people on the opposite side of the planet who had nothing to do with it. It makes perfect sense to me. Gee this Caliphate sounds better all the time. It has democracy and republican government beat a dozen ways to Sunday.

The point, Usama, is simply this --- you’ve gone through, by my count, more Caliphates than Clinton had rape victims, and you ain’t gotten it right yet. Shall I run the list for you and refresh your memory? Abbasids, Assassins, Ayyubids, Berbers, Buyids, Fatamids, Ghaznavids, Hashemites, Karakhanids, Mamluks, Moghuls, Ottomans, Saffarids, Seljuks, Umayyads, Wahabbis, and probably ten others I’ve forgotten. See, I even put them in alphabetical order for you. And guess what? After all this time, after all these attempts to put together your blessed Caliphate, you have failed. That you repeat your failure and blame it on others says more about you than it does about us. The only people stupider than you, it seems, are those that still believe that communism was a good idea poorly executed.

All of Islam, it seems, is suffering collectively from what psychiatrists call “denial”. You deny that you’re idiotic; you deny that your so-called enlightened way is destructive to the human spirit, which if unleashed, would lead you into a better world. You compound your denial with the psychotic belief that God told you it should be this way. In the end, just like the stereotypical, maladjusted guy who sits in his basement with a ham radio, Nazi paraphernalia hanging from the walls, and a garage full of guns and ammo, you sit nursing your imagined hurts and stewing in your own juices and when you finally snap and go berserk in the great Post Office of Society, you kill everyone in sight and then turn the gun on yourself. Because you’re, ultimately, all cowards --- and retarded ones at that.

I think I know why we have to fight folks like you, because like the loony in the Post Office, you are the biggest threat of all --- the directionless, implacable, homicidal, paranoid-delusional misfit who believes that, ultimately, his problems are not of his own making, but of somebody else’s. This makes you unpredictable and indiscriminate. In the end, you can’t be honest with yourselves or tell the truth about your motives because to do so would admit your own worthlessness. Yep, makes me want to join your little club, it does.

You know the old expression, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? You guys need to learn it, and adapt it, and find something more constructive to do than base a society on a religion that demands slavish devotion and then murders those that don’t give it. Maybe then you can join the rest of us in the real world. You should also hope that there are still some of you left to achieve it sometime in the future. You’re running out of DNA and what you have left seems to be committed to suicide.