Ruminations on Iraq

Here I sit, comfortably on my back deck with a cup of coffee and a cigarette, nine years and approximately 6,620 miles removed from my “home” on what was known as FOB Danger in Tikrit, Iraq. I’m older (though not necessarily wiser), married, a parent, a homeowner, and far beyond what I was in 2005. While I never fired my weapon in anger while there and spent most of my time as a fobbit, I still saw the elephant. The Fourth of July weekend isn’t nearly as fun as it used to be now. The first fireworks of the season always bring the “where the hell is the IDF coming from” feeling. Potholes, trash, and roadkill along the highway make me tense for a second, wondering if this one is going to be an IED. Crowds make my skin crawl. I was so uncomfortable not being armed when I was home on R&R that I purchased my first pistol and applied for my carry permit. Never mind the fact that my permit didn’t arrive until a month after I applied and two weeks after I returned to Iraq. I still traveled with that 1911 the entire time I was home.

None of this makes me special. Just one more Veteran who was lucky enough to come back in (mostly) the same condition I left in. Truth be told, my experiences weren’t all that bad. I didn’t have small arms fire aimed at me, I didn’t spend most of my time on the roads or patrolling on foot. My job had me working at Division HQ inside what used to be a palace built by Saddam Hussein for his mother. Pretty secure place to work. For that I am thankful and I am a bit disappointed. Part of me still wishes I had risked more, not that I didn’t try. “What? Convoy? Can I go?” “No.” “Dammit.” To this day, I’m still not sure if that was because I wanted to experience the dubious thrill of having small arms fire directed at me (which I would have taken personally…I mean you pretty well HAVE to) or because I was going stir-crazy staying on the FOB. We used to describe it as “prison with the guns facing outward” and that was an apt description. I think it was the latter, but as I said, I’m still not sure.

Whatever. It was my war. As noted above, I’m nine years removed from it and the stress reactions are fairly well under control. Still the occasional moment, but nowhere near what they were when I first came home. I’m still different. Just like the rest of the 2.5 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just like the 2.6 million who served in Vietnam. 5 million American men and women spanning four generations whose lives were changed permanently, be it by loss of life, limb, or just plain innocence.

Why bring this all up? Well, if you’ve paid attention to the news, a militant group calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIL, has steamrolled through northern and western Iraq in an attempt to start an Islamic caliphate spanning from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran. Actually, as of June 29th, they have declared the area they control in Syria and Iraq as a caliphate with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph.

(Note: I’ve included the links to ISIL and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi simply because I don’t want to explain background information. Yes, I’m lazy. I’m also stuck on the fact that ISIL used to be known as “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS. Being a fan of Archer, I find that hilarious. One of these days I’m going to find a picture of one of them wearing a tactical turtleneck. The minute that happens, I’m making that bitch go viral. Oh, and the first fat jihadist I see will be dubbed “Pam”.)

So where was I? Oh yeah, 2014 – a bunch of jihadists running rampant over the area I was responsible for nine years ago. Mind you, I can’t speak for everyone else, but that pisses me off royally. Yes, it’s someone else’s country, but after you spend a year in a place, you tend to develop a concern for it. Even if we cursed it as a shithole and muttered “fuck these people” on a daily basis, it was still our area of responsibility. And now it belongs to a bunch of assholes cut from the same cloth as the ones who murdered Americans on September 11, 2001. While that pisses me off, it doesn’t piss me off nearly as much as the fact that they pretty much showed up and the Iraqi security forces cut and ran. Man, am I glad we spend all that time and money arming and training them! What an outstanding use of resources!

(Yes, I’ve seen the news that the Iraqis are fighting back, have allegedly taken back control of Tikrit and the Bayji oil refinery, yadda, yadda, yadda. I also remember the hilarity of watching Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf AKA Baghdad Bob in 2003, swearing to reporters that the Americans were not in Baghdad when one could clearly hear the sounds of battle outside. Therefore, I have exactly ZERO trust in “official” reports from Middle Eastern figures.)

All of that leads to this – where do we go from here? Do we say “Sorry suckers, better pick your nuts up and fight or you’re gonna be living under sharia in a hot minute”? Do we make a token effort involving aircraft and military advisers? Or do we give in to that urge to head right on back in to Iraq and get full-on involved in a war that really isn’t ours to fight? If we get involved, to what extent will the military be hamstrung by politicians in Washington D.C. AND Baghdad? Because that WILL happen. Without question. Don’t believe me? I’ve mentioned Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. None of those were failures because the U.S. military shied away from the task at hand. Those failures are squarely on policymakers in all four countries.

(Note: The U.S. military can play the hearts-and-minds game, however, their primary mission is to find the enemy and utterly destroy him. I spent 7 years in uniform, not once did my annual training involve how to make friends and influence people. It did involve a whole lot of accuracy with a weapon, finding my way around without a GPS, patching holes in people to keep them alive, and how not to be seen.)

As I mentioned before, it’s not really our fight. The hell of it is, I still have that small part of me that wants to go back. From what I’ve seen from many Veterans on social media, I’m not alone in that desire. Nine years older, out of date with training, 15 pounds overweight, with a hell of a lot more to risk than I did back then and yet I want to go back to Iraq. Jesus, maybe John Kerry was right and we really are some seriously dumb fucks who enlisted because we didn’t study hard enough to get into Stanford. Maybe we are a bunch of knuckle-draggers looking for the next fight. Or maybe we’re pissed at seeing treasure, time, effort, and blood expended on a people who seem to give less than a shit. And maybe we’re prototypical Veterans who want to see a job all the way through and are willing to break our asses to finish it. You decide on that one.

Question is, would it matter? Even if every OIF Veteran went back in and the policymakers kept their grubby little dickbeaters off the situation, would it ultimately change anything? Probably not. Most likely, it would just buy some time until the next group of power-hungry-assholes-using-religion-as-an-excuse-for-sociopathic-behavior showed up.

Allow me a romantic moment. The people who enter into military service are paladins at heart. People who want to make the world a better place, even if it means doing bad things to bad people. The movie Boondock Saints appeals to us because of the base message: that evil will flourish if we are indifferent. We are unable to be indifferent to evil. Whether it is learned or we’re wired that way from birth, we simply cannot just let it happen. I’ve hit on the sheepdog mentality before, that we live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. But there’s more to it. This isn’t our flock. Yes, many of us made friends with Iraqis while there and worry about them right now, but it’s not really our flock. However, their freedom to live as they wish is being taken from them by force and that is reprehensible to us.

Speaking for myself – I’m alternately known as “Dad” to my daughter, “Uncle Steve” to her cousins, “Mister Steve” to her Girl Scout troop, “Mister J-Ro” to one friend’s son, “Unky Teve” to another friend’s daughter, etc. Some of them have seen me frustrated and cranky (my daughter does refer to me as “Grumpy Cat” on a regular basis), but for the most part they know me as someone who cares about them. They haven’t seen the other part of me that likes to fight. That hates this situation so much it wants to be back in the sandbox. That immediately says “fuck these people, they don’t deserve my effort” yet wants to destroy ISIL so completely and viciously that others are reluctant to try again. The part of me that doesn’t care if they hate, so long as they fear.  I don’t want to let that devil out of its cage. It took too long putting him in there the first time around. But damn if he isn’t yammering away, beating on the bars, and howling for a righteous battle.

I know I’m not the only one with this issue. The hell of it is, what do we do? Yeah, this isn’t our fight, but it will be eventually. Will we be too old to fight it when it comes? Will the next generation be willing or even able to fight it?

Wish I had some answers.


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Free Floating Hostility Weekend

I promised rants and unsubstantiated opinions on the last one, and the past week has given me plenty of fodder.  This may become a regular thing.  Hey, it works for Foamy.

So, we’ve had quite the eventful week, what with the Manning sentence, the Hasan trial, Ben Affleck cast as Batman, etc.  Let’s just get right to it, shall we?

Bradley Manning: First off, that’s right.  Bradley Edward Motherfucking Manning.  Unlike Wikipedia, I’m not buying this Chelsea shit.  Sorry, son.  You still belong to the United States Army until released from prison, you enlisted as “Bradley”, AND you still have dangly bits between your legs.  Oh, and despite how you may feel, you have a Y chromosome.  Therefore, you are and will be referred to in the masculine form until said bits are hacked off (preferably with a rusty spoon), which will hopefully be 35 years from now.  Furthermore, you had an alter ego known as “Breanna Manning” in April of 2010. Seems to me that it’s less “gender identity disorder” and more plain old “identity disorder”.

I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but I can’t muster up a whole lot of sympathy for an attention-seeking self-centered little prick.  Believe it or not, there are PLENTY of ways to get the hell out of the Army if one is so inclined.  Bradley didn’t want out that badly.  “Oh, but he sent that picture with the wig and lipstick to his NCO”.  Yup, and several people in his chain of command/NCO support channel failed by not addressing his issues sooner.  However, his gender dysphoria is not an excuse for violating the terms of a non-disclosure agreement that he signed of his own volition.  So any bravery for coming out/being true to himself is automatically negated by the fact that the little weasel couldn’t honor an agreement.

Make no mistake, I have nothing against TS/TG folks.  I cannot truthfully say I understand where they are coming from, because I haven’t questioned my gender or sexuality at any point in my life.  Because of that, I cannot fairly judge their choices regarding gender or sexuality.  Despite what you read above, I don’t judge Bradley Manning’s choices regarding his sexuality or gender.  I do judge his choices regarding classified material, his decision to seek a presidential pardon, and his oh-so-well-timed announcement that he is really “Chelsea”.  In my years on this planet, I’ve developed the ability to detect bullshit.  It’s not a perfect skill, but it definitely has come in handy from time to time.  And this, my friends, has the smell and texture of a giant steaming load of bullshit that has dropped onto our heads.

Consider the story of a young female veteran (withholding name, rank, and branch for privacy) who served on active and reserve duty.  She served honorably, did not violate any agreements or contracts she entered into as a part of her service, and discovered why she was unhappy.  She was born male, now she’s female, and happier in her life.  You know what I call that woman?  Someone I am proud to call a sister veteran.  Because she didn’t use her transgender feelings as a crutch to act out.  Unlike Bradley Manning.

Oh, and if I possibly offended anyone by refusing to refer to PVT Manning as “she” or “Chelsea”, I’m only following suit with MAD Magazine.

Convicted RIF Nidal Hasan – Not Major Nidal Hasan, not Nidal “Soldier/Servant of Allah” Hasan, not Nidal “found guilty of workplace violence” Hasan.  Convicted Radical Islamist and Terrorist.  What’s that?  He’s not a terrorist?  Bullshit.  The United Nations (an organization I’m amazed that I agree with for once) defines terrorism as actions “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”  Well, far be it from me to jump to conclusions, but HOLY FLYING SHIT BALLS THAT CERTAINLY SEEMS TO DESCRIBE THE FORT HOOD SHOOTING!  RIF?  That stands for “Radical Islamic Fuck”, by the way.  The guy DID shout “Allah Akbar” before shooting.  Hell, if you want more proof, he did his damnedest to self-incriminate during the trial.  Granted, I don’t have a whole lot of up-close-and-personal experience with RIFs, but his actions seem to fit the job description.  Can we quit denying reality here?  It was an act of religious terrorism and a direct attack on United States Soldiers on U.S. soil.  Period fucking dot.

So, the question here is, “what do we do with the guy?”.  Well, we could give him the death penalty like everyone seems to be screaming for.  But all that will do is give him his wish to be a martyr.  Screw that.  No point in giving the other RIFs a martyr to worship.  Toss his ass in Leavenworth and be done with him.  “But we don’t want to pay for him for the rest of his life!”  Really?  We’re paying for Congress.  Clearly we aren’t wisely spending our tax dollars.  At least this schmuck won’t be able to fuck things up while imprisoned.

Ben Affleck – This is news?  Are you shitting me?  And there’s a petition to Warner Brothers to pull him from the role?  Jesus, you people are shallow and easily led by the media.  You know what, I hope he kills as Batman just to shut you whining fucking maggots up.

Congress – Since March 23, 2010, Congress has voted forty times to repeal Obamacare.  All forty votes have failed as of August 2nd, 2013 when Congress went on their five week summer recess .  They have wasted 1228 days (not all working days, because that would imply actually working) on this ridiculousness.  Oh, and in the same time (longer actually), they have failed to pass a budget as required of them by the Constitution of the United States.  Oh, we’ve seen continuing resolutions and raising the debt ceiling.  But the last time that Congress passed an honest budget was on April 29, 2009.  That’s 1556 days between the last budget and the start of the current recess.  In that time, two-thirds of all Senators and all members of the House of Representatives have been up for their periodic job reviews (read: reelection).  Now, here’s the kicker:  Since April 29, 2009, 39% of the House has lost their jobs and 34% of the Senate has lost their jobs.  They have failed in their duties as assigned, yet are still employed.  McDonald’s doesn’t even stand for that shit!  Which brings me to…..

You assholes – People, if you want to bitch about lazy-ass government employees, do your part and start making your elected officials update their resumes.  Instead, you piss and moan about Ben Affleck playing Batman and wonder who the Kardashians are fucking this week.  Whining about every possible imbecilic topic that gets tossed out by the entertainment media posing as news.  The news organizations are in the business of entertainment, just like the writers of your favorite sitcom.  All they care about are ratings and sponsors.  You folks seriously need to be in the business (at the very least, the hobby) of examining what you are told and applying a bullshit filter to it.  If you choose not to learn how to identify bullshit, you’re making yourself someone’s bitch.  Politicians, entertainers, corporations, and media outlets (but I repeat myself) have no interest in serving you.  Actually, I’m wrong, they have an interest in serving you up to the highest bidder amongst themselves.

Wake the fuck up.  Wise the fuck up.

I’m done.

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One Nation….Divided by whatever catches our attention.

This is part one of two.  The second half will most likely involve ranting and unsubstantiated opinions.  You know, what most people turn on their televisions to watch and then go on Facebook to bitch about.  Yes, I recognize the irony here.

So…….what’s the complaint today?  No, really, I’m asking you, American public, what is your bitch du jour?  I mean, yesterday was Rolling Stone daring to put a wannabe terrorista on their cover (Hey look!  A magazine that gives the most banal reviews known to man is desperately trying to generate controversy to boost their sales….which have been slumping since the dawn of the Internet!).  Last week it was George Zimmerman getting off.  So what are you pissing and moaning about today?  What’s that?  President Obama dared to voice his opinion about a court case that had racial undertones?  Well, how dare he?!  Imagine….the President of the United States exercising his First Amendment Rights as a citizen of this Nation!

(If you’re frothing at the mouth about “Obama is a citizen”, just click on that X in the upper right corner.  That is a sad and tired argument.  It’s over, it’s not going to change, deal with reality.)

Actually, if you take the time to read what the President had to say AND you’re a rational person (the second part is key…as George Clinton once said, “Free your mind and your ass will follow”), you’ll find that he did his damndest to interject some sanity into the debate….on the topic of racism.  Admittedly, there was a fair amount of politicking in those remarks.  He’s a politician, I expect it.  Just as I expect a dog to sniff crotches and asses.  It’s inherent in the species (and I do view politicians as a sub-species of human).  Racism is not going to be solved by whites saying “well, they’re killing each other more than we’re killing them”.  Nor will it be solved by blacks saying “this is all the result of 400 years of oppression”.  Keep playing the victim or the disinterested bystander and nothing changes.  Change is a two-way street.  I’ll walk toward you, you walk toward me.  Maybe I have to take an extra step, maybe you do.  Either way, we can meet in the middle, which beats the hell out of standing on opposite ends of the street shouting at each other.  Distance and loud voices don’t improve a damn thing.  All that does is muddy the point both of us are trying to make.

I wasn’t aware that people were flipping their collective shit over the President’s remarks today until my wife brought it to my attention.  News stations were posting the story to their Facebook pages and the comments were flying.  I’m sure this comes as a surprise to exactly no one, probably saw it on your own local station’s Facebook page if you follow them.  But, in the odd event that you didn’t, here’s some outtakes from KMBC 9’s page:


Yes, I’ll admit I cherry-picked these.  But, holy trash, is this where we are?  Granted, I realize that simpletons having a platform is a result of the internet/social media and that means the loudest/most outrageous are the ones we hear the most.  But I can’t go on Facebook, message boards, Twitter, or even YouTube without seeing conspiracy theories of the most ridiculous level.  I have a metric shit-ton of questions for the current Administration regarding their policies and procedures, but I’m not gonna dive head-first into “Erhmahgerd!  Obama’s trying to start a civil war!”.  At this point, I can’t tell if the vitriol is a result of the fact that the President is a Democrat or because of inherent racism.

Black folks, I’m not even gonna attempt to tell you how to get past this ankle-high curb we call racism.  That’s for the likes of Chuck D and George Clinton.  However, white folks, I’m looking at you.  Especially you conservatives.  Why am I targeting you?  Because I’m one of you.  Therefore I can judge you relatively fairly.  I know where you’re coming from, and you might as well sit down and take it.  Hey, you made the mistake of clicking the link, don’t bitch at me.

I’m gonna take a page from Henry Rollins here.  I’m totally stealing his material and I will admit it because it’s a great concept.  Let me tell you about this amazing show I went to years ago.  It was George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC.  You know what sticks out in my mind most of all, besides the fact that the Godfather of Interplanetary Funk refused to leave the stage at midnight when club management was trying to close down?  The little girl standing in line in front of us with her mother.  This little light-skinned black girl, who couldn’t have been more than eight years old, excitedly telling anyone who would listen that this was her first concert.  I cannot describe how perfect that was, that her first concert was one where no one was judged by color or creed.  Her first concert was one that was attended by people who were all there for the same reason.  To give up the funk.  Funk knows no color, no creed, no race, no religion.  All funk knows is rhythm and groove.  Funk is about good times and loving your fellow man.  Funk is about getting off your ass to jam.  Not one person walked out of that joint angry.  Not one person was hateful.  The P-Funk dropped the Stomp on us, we bounced like a bunch of hyperactive kids, drinks flew, and no one got pissed off.  We walked out of there reeking of spilled beer, secondhand pot and cigarette smoke, sweat…..we smelled like funk.  And grinning like fools.

The point of that long diatribe is that no matter who you are, if you dig P-Funk, I cannot hate you.  It’s impossible.  Because you know the same joy I do when I listen to them.  Same goes for The Ramones (that’s where I’m ripping off Rollins BTW).  We could be at each other’s throats and you could shout “Twenty twenty twenty four hours ago” in my face.  My only response can be “I wanna be sedated!”.  Zero question in my mind that you are one of my people.  We don’t have to be best friends, but I know I have someone to call if the Ramones magically rise from the dead and start touring again.

Come to think of it, being a zombie is the only way that Joey Ramone could possibly be a weirder-looking cat.  Anyway….

Back to the bitch du jour (kinda like that phrase…and I notice the bourbon is taking effect, but I digress), this is gonna end up coming back to the same place I always come back to: that we as a people are being led by the media, talking heads, politicians, and other various shit-disturbers.  Look, do you go to work and produce something of value on a daily basis?  A valuable service or product?  You get that the groups I named above don’t do that at all, right?  All they produce can easily be replicated in a baby’s diaper.  And they’re they ones who are driving us all against each other.  I’ve pointed out above that it’s ridiculously easy to find something in common with people across the planet.  Music is simply one avenue to do so.  Music that moves you.  I’m not talking sugary bubble-gum pop that gets forced into your ears like a couple of rail spikes.  Hendrix, P-Funk, The Ramones, AC/DC, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, pick a band.  Hell, there’s a heavy metal band from Iraq.

Music transcends the petty bullshit.  Use it as a tool to bridge the gap between your world and someone else’s world.  Because once you bridge that gap, you’ll find friends and allies.  People who are trying to make it through this thing called life, just the same as you are.  And you’ll see that the same people who are claiming to represent you are just using you to further their own agendas.  That they don’t give a rat’s ass about Trayvon Martin, or any young black man, or the military, or veterans, or immigrants, or American workers, or any number of causes that they spout off about.

I honestly believe we, as a Nation, can get it together.  We have to.  We’re currently up shit creek and no one is looking ahead five years from now to see what’s coming.  We owe it to our children to take the lead and bring it together.  We can do this peacefully, or we can do it the way that 0.45% of us know how to.  Either way, there’s too much bullshit flying around the ether nowadays.  Call out ignorance and stupidity when you see it.  If you don’t, ignorance and stupidity will think it’s okay.

As for you folks who are too damn stubborn to admit that you need to open your mind?  Liberate your mind, motherfuckers.

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Fear and Loathing in Walmart

Been awhile since I posted last.  Family, work, and playoffs have prevented that.  Such is life.  Finally, on a family vacation to Florida, I have blog fodder.  How did we get to Florida?  Go to Jenn’s blog where she’s documenting the trip.


After arriving at the house and taking care of the essentials, Diet Coke for the girls and beer for me, it was time for the pool.  We had been cooped up in a car and hotel rooms for the past two days, nothing sounded better than diving in.  Great plan…except for that whole “eating for sustenance” thing.  The bag of pretzels left over from the trip wasn’t going to last long.  Someone was going to have to go to the store.  Unfortunately, that particular someone was heavily involved in watching the Blackhawks-Scum game (and not bitching about the game starting at 7pm CDT while being in a different time zone…I’m looking at you, Detroit).  So after the game was over, I was off to the store.

Side note: way to be a bunch of whining babies, Detroit.  I know three brothers who are fans of three different Western Conference teams.  These three brothers live in Ireland and England and don’t bitch about “the games start too late for us”.  They adjust their sleep schedules, like true hockey fans.  And this is why we Chicagoans like the Irish, because they adapt and overcome.  As opposed to crying until they get their way…like the French (obligatory American stereotyping).  Which reminds me: “Detroit” is French for “outhouse”.  /rant

Where was I?  Oh yes.  I headed off for the closest grocery store, which happened to be closed.  Not all that surprising considering it was 11pm.  Crap.  Check the phone to see what’s open 24/7 and that dreaded name pops up, “Walmart Supercenter”.  Now, I’ve been to the Walmart near my house plenty of times on late-night trips.  Admittedly, there’s some interesting characters to be seen there, but nothing that truly makes my head spin.  So how bad could a Walmart near Walt Disney World be?  As bad as a trip to Las Vegas with Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo.

Now, for those of you who haven’t been to Walmart, this site can give you an idea of the worst of it.  Mind you, it’s not all that terrible most of the time.  I prefer to support mom ‘n pop stores when I can, but a family on a budget shops where they can get the most for their coin.  Which leads to folks like in the above link.  I personally have seen a family of five (father, mother, son, daughter, baby) all decked out in Realtree camouflage from head to toe.  Only exception was the baby’s diaper, and that’s probably because they couldn’t find Pampers in that pattern.  Great place for people watching (and if you want to feel better about yourself), not so great if you’re looking to get your shopping done and get out. That is, unless you go at night like I normally do.  Then you’re only dodging other folks like yourself and the employees who are restocking shelves.  Everyone is trying to be efficient and get something accomplished, which gives me a warm and fuzzy.  So, again I asked myself, how bad can this be?

11:20pm, I entered the store, grabbed a cart, and began the process of figuring out where everything on my list could be found.  No two Walmarts are laid out the same way, so there’s a bit of “where the fuck is the mustard in this place?” to deal with.  No big deal, get the layout, and start working my way through the aisles.  I expected a few strange folk, but nothing like this place.  You see, I forgot that EVERYONE comes to Disney World.  From all over the world.  I expected Florida rednecks, instead I ran into every accent under the sun, and very few of them were speaking English.  Okay, no worries.  I’ve been a few places in the world, I can handle people from other countries.  Right.  Somehow, I forgot that Americans have the largest “personal space” of any country.  Oops.  So my bubble’s being infringed upon, no one knows where to find anything, and the employees restocking shelves have placed their pallets in the dead-nuts center of the already narrow aisles.  This is very ungood.

A note about me:  I am very aware of the concepts of pickpocketing, mugging, and “this would be a great place for a terrorist action”.  So when my bubble gets smaller, I get antsy. Add in people who are meandering down aisles, blocking egress, and I-can’t-find-where-the-fuck-these-assholes-are-hiding-the-cheese-that-they’ve-clearly-stocked-because-I-see-a-metric shit-ton-of-empty-cartons-right-fucking-OVER-THERE….well, that’s when my Agent Orange starts acting up.

I manage to find everything on my list, it’s time to get the fuck outta Dodge.  Head over to the checkout lines….and I realize that it is midnight.  They are closing down registers.  To include self-checkout. Are you shitting me?  This is a bad decision on the level of anything the Republican Party has done in the past 10 years.  I can’t even wrap my head around why in the hell anyone would think this is a good idea.  So lines are backing up, I find a short one and jump in.  “Sir, I’m closed.”  What?  “It’s the end of my shift.”  Clock overtime, then.  I just want out of this zoo.  So I find another line. Five people ahead of me.  Okay, they have full carts, but this won’t be long, right?  Right?

Fuck me running, I stood in line for 45 minutes.

I finally get to place my stuff on the conveyor, approximately 20 minutes after I started considering going back to the beer cooler and just pounding beers to pass the time.  As I’m placing items on the conveyor, the screen above the register (the one that they use to convince you to buy more shit you don’t need) shows me NHL Network’s Best Goals.  I shit you negative.  This trip has just entered “we’re in a fucking reptile zoo” levels of surreal.

Finally, I’m checking out, and the cashier, Jerry, makes eye contact with me.  Oh fuck….he’s going to start a conversation.  Sure enough, he mumbles something.  Being a mumbler myself, I do the polite thing and say “excuse me?”.  He repeats himself, “Do you ever wonder why some people do the things they do?”

Are you kidding me?  In this place?  Holy shit, Jerry, I’ve been wondering that since I entered this ratfuck an hour and a half ago.

But, being polite, I reply, “Yeah, but I try not to wonder too much with some folks.  No point in making myself crazy trying to understand them.”

He seizes his opportunity. “The girl who took over when I was on my break, she refilled all the plastic bags here, but when I got back there was a bunch of them in the trash.  Being an environmentalist, that bothers me.  And you know, wasting things like that is in the Bible.  In Revelations……”


Now…it took everything in me to suppress my smart ass urges.  I could have told Jerry to stuff his hippie bullshit and proselytizing before I bellowed for his manager (hell, it’s Walmart.  I’d be far from the weirdest person in the joint), and ring up my shit like his job description says.  I could have mentioned to him that I am an ordained minister (thank you, Universal Life Church) and started firing back with my own apocalyptic rants.  I could have simply laid a “Hail Satan” on his ass as I walked away.  No, I just simply got the hell outta there.  Because sometimes, it’s just not worth it.  Walked out to the car, loaded my purchases in, and drove back to the house so we could eat.

Today, my wife tells me that my mother-in-law will want to run to the store when she gets into town tonight.  Think I’ll take her to meet my friend Jerry.  Might as well have an audience for the next trip.

Posted in Heart-warming Tales | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To The Chicago Blackhawks, Specifically Rocky Wirtz And John McDonough

To be honest, this could be directed to all the NHL Owners, but since I follow the Chicago Blackhawks, theirs is the only post-lockout apology I read.  The apology (if if can be called that), can be found here.  For the purposes of this dissection/rant/caffeine-fueled rageahol, I’ll copy it below.

A letter from Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz and President & CEO John McDonough

On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks, we would like to thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past few months.  It is imperative that we now look forward in order to prepare and to focus on the exciting season ahead.

We are committed to a mission of consistent excellence, both on and off the ice.  This high standard fuels our passion to reward your allegiance to our franchise.

We are looking forward to the experiencing the electric atmosphere and energy you bring to the United Center for every game.

With “One Goal” in mind,

W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz – Chairman, Chicago Blackhawks     John F. McDonough – President & CEO, Chicago Blackhawks

Let’s break this one down, shall we?

On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks, we would like to thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past few months, as we were concerned that we would have to rely on the liquor distributorship to pay the mortgage on the United Center.  It is imperative that we now look forward in order to prepare and to focus on the exciting season aheadto fleecing you for every cent we can.

We are committed to a mission of consistent excellence, both on and off the ice (NOTE: “mission of consistent excellence” does not refer to CBA negotiations).  This high standard fuels our passion to reward your allegiance to our franchise.

I can’t even begin to play buzzword bingo with this last sentence, and I deal with bureaucratic bullshit on a daily basis.  The arrogance here is stunning, like Congressional-level stunning.  Reward my allegiance?  How about you reward the allegiance of the people who work for your organization?  You know, the ones who don’t make the league minimum and had to find other means of employment over the past four months.  Should we assume this shortened season was just throwing everyone a bone?  Fuck you with a broken off hockey stick.

We are looking forward to the experiencing the electric atmosphere and energy and money you bring to the United Center for every game.

As I stated above, this can’t exactly be called an apology.  That’s fine, as any apology would have been cheap and false.  But you know how you teach your kids to at least make the effort to say “I’m sorry”?  Apparently ol’ Bill Wirtz didn’t instill that in Rocky.  Hardly a surprise.  In fact, I’m just going to forget the 2010 season and make my sweeping statement here:


Yup.  There it is.  Rocky is not the savior of the organization, he’s just another motherfucker who could give a tin shit about the people who pay to watch the games.  I fully expect another attempt at Hawkvision in a few years out of this little weasel.

Tell ya what, boyos.  I’m going to reward your hard work by taking a stand.  I’ve been good for gear and tickets to a couple games every season, figure in the realm of $200-$300.  Not this year.  You’re not getting dollar one out of me, and neither are your sponsors.  Anyone who claims “official sponsor of the NHL” has lost their business from me until next October.  Will it really have an effect on your bottom line?  Doubtful.  But I know I’m not alone in this decision.  And I sincerely hope it hits you in the wallet.  Painfully.

Time to pucker up, Rocky.  You’ve got a lot of asses to kiss and we’re lining up to drop trou.

Posted in Blackhawks, Hockey, Ranting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Secession or “I didn’t get my way so I’m quitting!”

No disclaimer.  It’s a Teve Torbes post.  Yes, I typed up the previous post in anticipation of this one.

Holy crap.

I thought people had lost their minds immediately after the election.  The amount of hatred that was spewed across the internet was mind-blowing.  Personally, I went from “Damn…only 60% of those registered actually voted” to “Damn, I’m glad only 60% voted”.  The most asinine shit blasted out by people who, for the most part, wouldn’t have the balls to say it to a person’s face.  Verbal attacks on every level:  race, religion, looks, perceived intelligence, ancestry, etc.  The best (and I use that term very loosely) one was a 24 minute rant delivered by a woman on YouTube.  I’m sure she felt justified in her anger as she is clearly a True Believer and the rest of us simply can’t wrap our heads around the implications of this past election.  Or she needs 100mg of Thorazine and a padded room.  I’m leaning toward the latter.

Look, I voted Libertarian this election.  I knew going in that my candidate was not going to win, but figured “what the hell, this guy’s platform seems to fit my views more closely than the others”.  Mind you, the last two months leading up to the election, I was besieged by Republicans telling me “We need to get Obama out!  You people voting third-party are gonna screw it up for us!  You’re just as bad as the Democrats!”  The results came in and President Obama was reelected with 50.72% of the popular vote.  Do you get that?  That means Romney still wouldn’t have made the cut even if every third-party voter went for him.

Blame me and every other third-party voter all you want, but recognize that numbers don’t lie.  Blame the welfare abusers, single mothers, race apologists, insert ethnic slur here….basically everyone who didn’t vote your way (Fun fact for you Tea Partiers: that group includes members of the military).  Here’s the fact:  You lost, just like you lost that baseball game when you were a kid.  But unlike that game, your parents are not here to wipe the snot off your upper lip and tell you that you’re still special.  Your tantrums weren’t cute when you were a child and they’re damn sure not cute now.  To be honest, they’re pathetic.  Grow the fuck up and deal with the results.  The sun still rose on November 7th.  Life goes on.  You don’t like losing?  Field a better team next time.

After the tantrums were over, some folks who were still in serious denial chose a different method:  petitioning to secede from the United States.  A few facts on this.  The states themselves are not petitioning to secede, individuals in all 50 states are signing these petitions.  Seceding will require people to A) find a new form of currency, B) find employment with companies willing to leave the United States, and C) provide for their own defense.  Got that?  You want to cut loose?  That military base next door that has been providing jobs for your town is going bye-bye.  It’s all federal property.  Also, Texans….I got some bad news for ya.  Just because you were your own republic before requesting annexation by the United States, that does not automatically mean you can pick up your toys and leave when you want.  Check your history, y’all (I’m speaking Southern in an attempt to communicate effectively) tried that once in 1861 with the rest of the Confederate States.  Tell me again how well that worked out.  Oh, and everyone that thinks the 10th Amendment gives your state the ability to cut and run?  Do me a favor and read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.  That would be the one that was cited in disallowing federal and state restrictions on abortion (Roe v. Wade) and the integration of public schools (Brown v. Board of Education).

Yes, I realize those two cases are probably not the best ones to cite when speaking to hardcore right-wing racist redneck inbred mouth-breathing assholes.  What can I say?  I like kicking tigers in the ass in my spare time.  Particularly if it’s a chain-smoking tiger whose diet consists of fried food and beverages loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.  I may be a shit-disturber, but I’m not suicidal.

Back to the secession.  I really have to ask, how many of you people signing this petition have any experience with a revolution, armed or otherwise?  My guess is probably less than 5% of you.  I haven’t been out in the middle of one, just took fire from various groups while in Iraq.  That pretty much removed any desire I may have had to participate in armed rebellion.  Now, I’m sure someone’s saying, “they’re just seceding, no one’s talking about shooting”.  Right.  I guaran-damn-tee some wanna-be GI Joe militia asshole is jumping up and down (well, bouncing…most of those militia guys are fat.  Still can’t figure out how they find BDUs to fit them, but I digress) in anticipation of “fightin’ fer freedom from dem damn oppressors in Wash’n’ton”.  Okay, Rambo, but you might want to settle down before your “excitement” splatters all over your rifle.  Wouldn’t do to have your DNA gumming up the works.

So this is what we’ve come to, huh folks?  236 years since we declared our independence, 220 years of non-violent transfer of power, becoming the shining light of hope for a better future……and people are reacting to an election as if they were children.  Way to set the example for your own children.  “It’s okay, Johnny.  If you don’t get your way you can just quit.  Don’t forget to scream about how unfair it is before you leave!”  As much as I’d like to blame one group of people for this, I can’t.  This is a problem in our country that has been coming for a long time.  It’s a selfish childish mentality that seriously needs to go.  Maybe you didn’t get your asses handed to you when you were younger.  Maybe your parents didn’t believe in punishing you and let you grow up to believe the world was going to cater to your every whim.  Here’s a hot dose of reality:  The world is not fair.  You don’t always win.  You’re sure as hell not special.  If your parents did indeed punish you as a child and you are now quick to point out those parents who let their kids get away with being rude little terroristic asshats……and you are still swearing you’re going to secede?  You, my friends, are hypocritical bastards.  Now, you can bitch, piss, and moan about it or you can deal with it.  You want to thump your chests and proudly claim to be Americans?  Fucking act like it.

This Nation was not founded by Republicans or Democrats.  The Founding Fathers’ opinions differed greatly, yet they managed to get it done.  Want an example?  Compare the opinions of Alexander Hamilton to those of Thomas Jefferson.  George Washington didn’t belong to a political party while he was in office.  In his Farewell Address, he even warned against the tendency of political parties to distract government from its duties and promote infighting.  Here we are, 216 years after President Washington wrote his Address to the young Nation and we’re watching the EXACT behavior he warned about.  Republicans have spent the past four years slamming a Democrat President.  The four years prior to that, Democrats did the same thing.  Do I have to spell it out for you people?  The President doesn’t matter!  The assholes that we have reelected time and again into Congress are stonewalling each other in a partisan pissing contest! Seriously, it wouldn’t have mattered if Romney was elected, the same shit would have happened.  So instead of voting out the incumbents or getting off your dead asses and running for office yourselves, you’re just going to up and quit?  Fuck it, go ahead.  Quit.  Leave the Nation.  We’d be better off without you whining little pussies anyway.

Did that offend you?  Did it piss you off?  Good.  Now cut the bullshit, get your asses over here and help the rest of us try to fix this mess.  Admittedly, we’re responsible for keeping the jackasses in office this long, so we might as well do what we can to repair it.  How can we do that?  For starters, quit buying into the party line.  Get informed.  Don’t believe the party press releases and what Fox and MSNBC tell you.  Search out non-partisan websites and news sources.  If you can’t find non-partisan ones, find the least partisan ones and compare articles.  There’s three sides to every story: his, hers, and the truth.  Find it.  Examine each candidate and vote for the one you feel is best.  Vote the incumbents out.  Congress is supposed to be service, not a profession.  If the new Congress-critters prove to be lying assholes, ride them out of town on a rail.  DEMAND that your elected officials do their jobs and stay out of petty partisan bullshit.  If no elected officials meet your expectations, run for office yourself.  Remember what President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”.  He may have used the line on Marilyn Monroe a few times, but it’s still a good line.

If you wish to claim the title of “American”, you will pick your nuts up off the ground and take your Nation back.  If that’s too hard for you, then maybe the rest of us are better off without you.  Who am I to say that?  I’m an American veteran.  I was lucky enough to be born and raised here, and I’ve seen what life is like for people who weren’t.  I will not allow anyone to force their beliefs upon my family, but I damn sure won’t quit either.  I am someone who believes so hard in the legacy the Founding Fathers gave us that I’m willing to sign that blank check as many times as I have to.  I’d like to have as many fellow Americans standing with me as possible.  I’m asking you to stay.  Stand with us and make this Nation great again.

Besides, if you don’t secede, you won’t need a passport to kick my ass for all the shit-talking I’ve done tonight.

Posted in General, Soapbox | Leave a comment

Explaining “Teve Torbes”

This post came about as a result of listening to a podcast today.  I kid you not.

I’m a fan of Christopher Titus and consequently have become a regular listener of the Titus Podcast.  This week’s episode featured George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly.  Personally, I was looking forward to the episode seeing as I follow both Kelly and Titus on Twitter because I believe what they have to say is worth hearing.  Not to mention I knew they’d talk a bit about George, and I always have time to hear the Carlin perspective.  The guy was one of a few who shaped how I think and with the way this country is headed, I realize that he saw it all coming along.  I encourage you to go listen to both of their podcasts.  You’ll find more truth from them than you will on the news.

Anyway, this week’s episode didn’t disappoint, and they were on the topic of comedians finding their voices on stage, how the stage persona is not the everyday persona, and how who you are in your twenties is not necessarily who you truly are.  It got me to thinking about these posts and my various writings over the years.

I start many of these posts with a disclaimer because I realize I tend to write the same way I speak when I’m wound up about a topic.  I don’t have much of a thoughts-to-speech filter as it is, but I try to engage it as much as possible.  However, when I have a strong opinion on a topic, the filter gets bypassed and I end up stuttering and using curse words in place of “uh” and “um” in a ridiculous attempt to express myself in a meaningful, adult manner.  I’ll pace, rant, chain-smoke, gesture dramatically, and let it all pour out of my mouth like verbal diarrhea with chunks of the Seven Deadly Words.

How’s THAT for a visual?

Normally, my wife has to endure this, and she is a saint for doing so.  Mainly because A) I’m preaching to the choir and B) because to anyone who happens to witness these rants, it has to look like I’m just heaping verbal abuse on her.  Nope, I’m just frothing at the mouth about the latest example of stupidity in the world.  Now, I should know better.  I should just realize that people are generally jackwagons.  Can’t seem to get past that though.  Gallagher (the guy who smashed watermelons with a hammer) once said “You have to approach ignorance and stupidity when you see it and say something about it.  If you leave ignorance and stupidity alone, ignorance and stupidity will think it’s okay.”  I first heard that line when I was about 7-8 years old and it stuck.  Which is what leads to these infrequent posts….although looking at the news, they may become more frequent.

As for the “Teve Torbes” part…that’s twofold.  First, the name came from an old Saturday Night Live skit and a couple of friends tagged me with it.  Second, I developed a wee bit of a reputation for ranting about stupidity, usually while driving.  Hey, I lived on the East Coast for many years, therefore I had PLENTY of examples on the road.  The same friends who gave me the nickname would usually receive a phone call while I was driving and would get to hear me swear, curse, castigate, and question the ancestry of whatever idiot was on the road at the time.  It got to the point when I’d call, I’d announce “Teve Torbes time” and they’d put me on speaker.  Apparently they found it funny.  From then on, Teve Torbes became a sort of character for when I didn’t care about being offensive.  On the up side, I could say exactly what I wanted.  On the down side, carrying on like a rabid homeless lunatic tends to not be taken seriously.  I suppose that’s for the best.  While that character is a part of who I am, it’s not who I truly am on a daily basis.  This is probably a good thing because that Teve Torbes guy is a dick who will get me fired.

All of the above was to get to this:  I’m tired of writing disclaimers when I have zero intent of apologizing for my words.  If I expect someone to be offended, I’m just going to announce that it’s a “Teve Torbes post” and let it go from there.

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Suicide is good? It is according to Ted Turner.

Disclaimer: This post is biased. I have done my best to remove offensive language from it.  However, there will probably be some remnants.  That happens when someone suggests that military deaths are a good thing. I realize that much of this post is pure vitriol and invite anyone to convince me otherwise.

I didn’t have a whole lot of respect for Ted Turner to begin with.  Business-wise, the man made some great moves.  However, like many politicians, he has chosen to use his wealth and businesses to push his ideals upon others.  Now, I understand everyone has their opinions, whether they be popular or not.  It’s the venue you choose to express your opinion that matters more than the actual opinion.  As I’ve stated in an earlier post, I am extremely biased in my opinion of certain lives being more valuable than others.  It is not fair by any means, but I will not apologize for it.  My family is more important to me than yours is, and Americans in uniform are a damn sight more important than some media mogul.  That’s my opinion and this is my venue, this seldom-updated blog with few readers.  Ted Turner’s venue?  The worldwide news network that he created.

In case you hadn’t heard, Ted Turner made the statement that it’s good that more military personnel are committing suicide overseas than are being killed in combat.  The actual quote, taken from the transcript is below.

MORGAN: You made the point to me in the break there, more American servicemen have —
TURNER: — are dying now from suicide over there than are dying in combat.
MORGAN: That’s shocking, isn’t it?
TURNER: Well, what — no, I think it’s — I think it’s good, because it’s so clear that we’re programmed and we’re born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other. That’s an aberration. That’s left over from hundreds of years ago. It’s time for to us start acting enlightened.

Enlightened?  Pray tell, does celebrating a person’s suicide seem like “enlightened” behavior to you?  An aberration left over from hundreds of years ago?  Oh, you mean when people were killing each other over religious beliefs?  Because I don’t see much of a change since then, Teddy.  Did you perhaps consider than a person who is set on killing themselves will ensure than they will not be found until they expire so there is no chance of saving them?  As opposed to those on a combat patrol who will make damn sure than the MEDEVAC frequency is tuned on their radio?  Oh, wait.  That’s right.  You wouldn’t know a damned thing about combat because your chickenshit ass is far more comfortable judging others from your ivory tower.

Let me tell ya, Ted.  You sicken me.  You truly do.  No wonder you fucking married Hanoi Jane.  It was a match made in left-wing heaven…oh, wait…that’s right.  Heaven doesn’t exist to folks such as yourself.  Hence why you insist on doing your damndest to create a utopia in your image.  So, tell us, what led to the divorce? Was she not hardcore enough for you?  Did she actually show an ounce of sympathy for other “lesser” people and you just couldn’t get it up for such an unenlightened person?

Wait….what’s that?  He apologized?  I’ll be damned, he did right here:

During my recent interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, I inadvertently used the word “good” when asked for my thoughts on the increasing rate of suicide among U.S. military soldiers in the Middle East. It was certainly not my intent to imply that suicide is “good.” Rather, I was implying that it is good that the public is more aware of these tragedies and is more averse to war and war-related fatalities. My message has always been one of peace, I believe that we’re born programmed to love and help each other, not to kill or hurt each other. I strongly support our U.S. troops and would never intentionally say anything to harm the brave men and women serving our country. I deeply apologize for any misunderstanding caused by this comment.

Loosely translated: “I realize I pissed off a lot of people with my true beliefs and I might actually lose money as a result”.  Tell ya what, Teddy….have the sack God gave a woodchuck and stand by your statement.  Admit that you find the military to be a bunch of knuckle-draggers whose lives are worth less than those of “civilized, enlightened human beings”.  At least I’d respect you for refusing to backpedal.

Since you’re such an enlightened and altruistic human being, why don’t you actually donate your time and money to programs helping returning veterans?  Why don’t you help their families?  You’re a victim of suicide yourself.  Your father killed himself and you’ve been through the grief.  Rather than celebrating suicides, do something about it.  I realize it’s far too late to expect someone like yourself to understand that not everyone is receptive to discussing differences.  To understand that when someone tries to kill you, you kill ’em right back.  But for fuck’s sake, at least know what team you’re on.

I’m out of steam on this one.  Time to go see what the Internet masses of asses have been saying about Benghazi.  Funny how people have plenty of uniformed opinions on how shit should be handled yet never bother to get informed themselves.  Pick up a weapon and stand a post.  Strap yourself into that seat and realize your wrong decision can end someone’s life.  Do something for little pay and even less gratitude.  Then, MAYBE then, you’ll be qualified to judge.  Until then, keep your trap shut.

Posted in General, Ranting, Soapbox | Leave a comment

This is the best solicitation you have?

I received the following email the other day as a result of subscribing to The Daily Caller online.  I believe I’ll be unsubscribing.


Ever been sold on one thing, then at the last minute the salesman tries to give you something else?

That’s exactly what’s been happening with pro-life supporters across the nation, when it comes to the corrupt party bosses.

They sell you on one thing – supporting candidates that will protect the unborn. On taking back the Senate from pro-abortion liberals like Claire McCaskill. On going to bat for pro-life candidates like Todd Akin.

Then what happens when one of those candidates, like Todd Akin, actually dares to stand up for life?

The Party Bosses run for cover. They say, “We don’t need to be talking about THAT,” or “Abortion isn’t a ‘winning’ issue.”

My friends, there are some issues that transcend politics, and protecting the unborn is at the TOP OF THAT LIST!

For too long, the Party Bosses – the same ones that left Todd Akin for dead politically — have come to you hat in hand for your support. They ask for your money, your time, and your energy.

They raise money from pro-life supporters like you and me, but they then turn around and give it to people like Scott Brown, but not Todd Akin. Enough is enough!

Like Mike Huckabee said: “If they don’t want us, then they don’t need us.” Mike and Janet Huckabee have donated the maximum to Todd Akin because they know that Todd won’t just talk the talk, he will walk the walk.

Todd Akin doesn’t shy away from what he believes in. He will STAND UP for life, regardless of the political consequences. Won’t you consider helping Todd stand for life?

If you want a candidate who says “NO” to the corrupt Party Bosses and “YES” to life, support Todd Akin today.

Paid for by Todd Akin for Senate

Now, I could take that email for what it was, a desperate plea for campaign donations, delete it, and be done with it.  Or when life serves up hot and fresh material, I could go ahead and run with it.

My takeaway from this is either ideology trumps practicality in Mr. Akin’s head (ask the Soviets how that worked for their economy), or he’s lashing out because the GOP did exactly what anyone in politics does.  Distance yourself from those who will cost you votes.  It really doesn’t matter which is the truth, the result is the same.  He is not fit for office.  I expect a Senate candidate to A) dwell in reality and B) not throw a tantrum when his/her mouth gets ahead of them.  Mr. Akin doesn’t fit that bill.  You want me to contribute to your campaign?  Don’t whine and play the victim.

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If There’s A New Way, I’ll Be The First In Line…

For those who don’t know, that’s the chorus from a song titled “Peace Sells” by the band Megadeth.  Been listening to it a lot lately.  It seems fairly appropriate as we approach Election Day.  I imagine there’s a few folks who don’t necessarily see it that way.  I’m sure there’s a good number of people who believe the system is fine.  Nothing is broken.  Continue on your way, America.  I’m also sure there’s an equal (if not greater) number who believe the system is flawed.  That we are yet again forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.  That the country is in a downward spiral and we show no signs of pulling out of it.  So what are we to do?

My last post touched on this and apparently fell on deaf ears.  Not all that unsurprising.  One small voice, not many readers, wasn’t all that close to the election, etc.  That’s understandable.  I hope this one hits home with a few more folks.  Back to the question: what are we to do?

For starters: START THINKING FOR YOURSELVES!  Seriously folks, I have see more lemming-like “holy God I MUST believe EXACTLY what my chosen party tells me” simple minded sniping on the web than I’ve seen from a group of high school cheerleaders.  Grown adults playing the “they’re wrong because they’re different” card on Facebook.  The same adults decry teenage girls for bullying each other on the same medium.  Maybe no one has pointed this out so let me be the first to tell you, it’s the same mouthful of mouthwash swishing to the other cheek. Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, they’re both full of shit.  Got that?  Both are in the business of entertainment, just like your favorite actors, musicians, performers, etc.  My wife, daughter, and I went to see KISS last week, a group of four men who are very much in the business of entertainment.  The difference between KISS and the talking heads on TV and radio?  KISS has never pretended to be anything else.  I can respect them for that.  I also won’t accept their words as gospel truth.   The makeup, the lyrics, it’s theater.  Just like Limbaugh and Maher.  The difference is that Gene Simmons openly admits that he laughs all the way to the bank.

Another one that troubles me is this illusion that everyone who has served in the military will automatically vote Republican.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, there’s a lot of us who lean conservative, but it is not automatic.  After 7 years of active service and 3 years of working with the military, it’s been my experience that folks with military service tend to fall just left or right of center.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at how things have worked out since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed.  Haven’t heard about openly gay military members completely screwing up their unit’s readiness, have you?  That may be shocking to some, others may claim it’s just being covered up to force a political agenda.  Neither is true.  Here’s the reality of it: while some generals may have taken an open stance against repealing DADT, the majority in the military didn’t care.  Not a very Republican stance, is it?  Welcome to being socially liberal.  I served while DADT was in effect, and we had a few gay folks in the ranks.  Didn’t matter because they did their jobs effectively and didn’t bring their personal shit to work.  Just like straight folks.

While I’m on the subject of social issues, let’s hit that “legitimate rape” comment by Todd Akin.  First off, there is only ONE standard for “legitimate rape” and that is unwelcome sexual contact.  No means no.  Anyone who believes that the female body can magically deny unwanted sperm is a fool.  Anyone who supports such a fool is a moron.  Y’all do realize there are still people out there who support Todd Akin, right?  Look, as a result of my personal beliefs and upbringing, I tend to lean toward the conservative candidates.  However, as the father of a little girl, I cannot in good conscience support a man who thinks this way.  It’s 2012, we have this thing called science.  Look into it.  If you cannot wrap your brain around that concept, I suggest you pack your bags and relocate to the Middle East.  It’s the Dark Ages with electricity, I suspect people like Akin would do well there.

Now, I’m sure at least one person reading this is thinking, “Jesus, he’s been going after conservatives, this guy must be voting for Obama.”  Nope.  And I really can’t say that President Obama has personally done anything that I vehemently disapprove of.  Yeah, I thought the “Beer Summit” thing was a waste of time, and I do believe he was rather naive during the 2008 campaign when it came to national defense.  But other than those two and his background in Chicago politics (I grew up in Northwest Indiana, been watching the Chicago political machine all my life), there’s really nothing I can call him out on.  Now, I can’t say I approve of his Attorney General.  Claiming executive privilege in regards to Eric Holder and “Operation Fast and Furious” was a shady move in my opinion.  Truth be told, if President Obama had instead asked for Holder’s resignation, he probably would have my vote.

The fact of the matter is this: it really doesn’t matter which candidate is elected President this year.  Because Congress will have still failed to vote on a budget.  As a Nation, we are $16 TRILLION in the hole.  We’ve been hemorrhaging money and rather than fix the problem, politicians have instead been involved in pissing contests.  Or just ignoring the issue.  And you’ve been buying their bullshit.  This election is NOT about social issues.  Yes, I know I just harped on them, because that’s what your candidates have been pushing.  I’ve yet to see a solid economic plan out of the candidates.  You want a President?  Here’s what you’re looking for: a candidate with a rational domestic and foreign policy.  Quit blowing money left and right.  You cannot spend money to save money.  You can, however, quit throwing good money after bad.  Quit concerning yourself with other people’s personal lives.  Unless a person’s actions are causing harm to another person, stay out of it.  Quit building nations.  It pains me to say this, but we have wasted time, money, and lives for ungrateful people.  You can’t force self-determination.  Oh, you can encourage and support it, but the people you support have to be willing to work for it.  The funny thing about nation building is that it only works if everyone has the same goals.  Doesn’t work with a tribal mentality.

One more reality check for you: in the past 11 years, our national debt has doubled.  We are subjected to invasive security checks.  The economy has nose-dived.  People are out of work and getting hostile.  A once-prosperous Nation, one that was a guiding light in dark days, is crumbling.  The terrorists are winning.  How does that make you feel?  Pisses you off, doesn’t it?  Then do something.  This is America.  We never used to be afraid of hard work, making hard decisions, and getting shit done.  Oh hell, I’ll just let Bill Murray say it:

We can overcome this.  We can get back to the Nation we were before.  But we have to throw this partisan crap out the window.  The two party system is a joke.  People are too concerned with sticking by their gang to actually vote the issues.  I’m tired of hollow promises from politicians who only want my vote in order to attain power and money.  I’m tired of politicians who use their position to force their beliefs upon others.  I’m tired of voting for the lesser evil.  Campaign spending is at an all time high and the majority of the campaign advertisements are attacks on opponents.  It’s the old way.  Show me a new way.  Show me a candidate who will actually work for his or her constituents.  Show me a selfless Congress.  Most importantly (to me), show me that my service to the Nation was not wasted, that the sacrifice of my military family was not in vain.  You say you support the troops?  You support the veterans?  You honor the Fallen?  Prove it.  Vote your heart, not what you were told to vote.  And if no candidate represents you, step up and serve your countrymen by representing them honestly.  I’ll be the first in line to vote for you.

But it better work this time.  We can’t afford to stay on this path.


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