Current Affairs

Forty-Four Years of Always Being Right, Well Left Actually

 

Saturday was my birthday and I am forty-four years old.  I am usually told that I don’t look forty-four but instead somewhere in my mid thirties, whereas my wife, who actually is in her mid-thirties, is often mistaken for being in her mid twenties.  Maybe if she took worse care of herself and I took better care of myself people would think we are the same age.  I certainly don’t feel much older and I’d like to think I have grown wiser, but regardless, here are some things that I have learned in my thirty-five years on this planet.

  1. No matter what age someone guesses that you are, simply smile and say, “Yes, that’s exactly right,” unless they guess you are older in which case you simply smile, nod your head, and then spit in their food when they’re not looking.
  2. Never tell your kids any of the terrible things you did when you were their age because all they will hear is “Awesome! Dad got stoned! Now I can too!”
  3. If you do ever catch your kids smoking pot make sure to act very disappointed, apply the appropriate punishment, and confiscate whatever marijuana and paraphernalia you find. Then after they go to bed, make sure to open a window so they don’t smell you “disposing” of it.
  4. Premature ejaculation is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something to laugh at.
  5. Ninety percent of the people that you call Facebook Friends used to be called people you did not care enough to keep in touch with since high school.
  6. You don’t need to update your Facebook status every time your kid makes a crap on the potty, and stop poking me!
  7. Not every movie needs to be shot in 3D unless it’s animated, science fiction, or pornography.
  8. The best advice I ever got was from Steven Colbert, moments before going on stage to audition for The Second City.  He said to me, “Just be yourself.” I blew the audition.  Thanks a lot asshole.
  9. If you like high school reunions then you probably also liked high school.  Personally, everyone that I want to see from high school, I already do.
  10. In life there is right and there is wrong and I’m right, unless you ask my wife, then I’m wrong.
  11. Just because you voted for Barack Obama does not mean you are a champion of civil rights. It means either you finally realized what a dick George Bush was, or the thought of Sarah Palin becoming your next president scared the living crap out of you
  12. Before Tea Party protesters make their signs they need to learn that calling the President a fascist, socialist, communist is like saying Sarah Palin is smart, while also saying she is so stupid that if she got for a penny for her thoughts, you’d get change.  You see, you just can’t be both.
  13. If you voted for John McCain, it does not make you a racist, it just means you lost.  Yep, you lost…lost, lost, lost, lost, L – O – S – T, lost, as in looser, did not win.  Boo hoo for you, go have a tea party.
  14. Whether you voted for Barack Obama or not, if you really thought that in 18 months he was going to be able to turn around the job market, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring back manufacturing to this country, reform the greed of wall street, stop record foreclosures and bankruptcies, stop terrorism, and bring every last one of our troops home from the two costly wars that failed in capturing Osama Bin Laden and stopping al Qaeda, but succeeded in killing over 5000 of our troops, and injuring over 35,000 more, not to mention running our deficit up into the billions, all before Obama took office, then you either had unreal expectations, have been watching too much FOX News, or are dumber then Sarah Palin, and that’s pretty dumb.
  15. Global warming exists and if you don’t believe me check out this photo of Sarah Palin on the beach at the Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, in Alaska, and the same beach in a photo from 1880.

    Alaskan glacier2

 

Yes, I have learned many things in my twenty-nine years on this planet, and I have decided that I have a lot more to learn.  You see, I may not know everything, but the things that I do know, I am completely right on.  Oh and one more thing, the other day Sarah Palin was seen talking into a mail box. The mailman asked her what she was doing and she told him, “Sending a voice mail.” What an idiot.

 

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Gay Marriage, Strangled Chickens, And What They Have in Common.

 

"I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman." - Arnold Schwarzengger

 

Is being gay something that is learned or something that is inherent to a persons being? In other words is it nature, or nurture?  Is a person born gay, or are they taught to be gay?  This is the ongoing debate about homosexuality.  Thinking about it for a minute I am not sure what you could do to teach someone to be gay.  I mean no one ever taught me to be straight, I just am.  Oh sure I guess there would be some obvious things you could do like, making your kid listen to showtoons all of the time, although when I was a kid I loved going to see musicals, or encouraging your son to decorate the house, although I was excited to go help my mom pick out wall paper and a matching comforter for my bedroom, or I suppose you could dress up your son in girls clothing and put makeup on him and call him Briana, although my older sister used to do that to me to amuse her friends and tell my mom that she has a new sister, but even through all of that, as far as I can tell, I am completely straight. I am married to an absolutely wonderful, drop dead, knock-out, beautiful wife, I have two wonderful kids and although I feel secure and confident enough in my masculinity to admit that George Clooney is a very good looking man, I have no desire to sleep with him.  The closest I ever got to being gay was when I was in the show “Tony and Tina’s Wedding” for six months.  I understudied the role of the all too obviously gay videographer who if you played the part right made Richard Simmons look like a WWE wrestler.   I wore a purple suit with a cropped jacket with shoulder pads that looked like it was stolen from Prince’s closet.  I knew I had done the role justice when one night after the show an overly homophobic audience member, who I had earlier highly embarrassed at his dinner table came up to me just to make sure that I was straight and not really a member of the Kathy Griffin fan club.   Basically, if nurture was what made a person gay, then I would be a flaming homo by now.  But even so the debate over nature vs. nurture rages on.
 
The answer all depends on who you ask but regardless of the answer, many believe homosexuality is just wrong.  Many believe that it is a sin and that very simply it is against the teachings of the bible.  On that note, what else is against the teachings of the bible?  Well according to the Holy Scriptures these are just some of the hundreds of things that are considered “sins” in addition to homosexuality.

  1. Eating blood. - Ok, it’s gross, but a sin?
  2. Not spanking a disobedient child. - Yes, you read that right, NOT spanking.
  3. Filthy dreams.  - C’Mon, those are the best ones!
  4. Eating things strangled. - I call this one the Dahmer sin.
  5. Striking a man in the groin. – Fuck yea it’s a sin! But apparently it’s ok to do to a woman.
  6. Boasting. – Oh by the way, I just got my Masters Degree!
  7. Wives not submitting to their husbands. – Ok, now that one makes sense.
  8. Wearing clothes of the opposite sex. – Um, does this apply to silk?  Just wondering.
  9. Not honoring the President. – I did not make this up, I swear!  FOX News is SO screwed!
  10. Being Called Rabbi. – Oh that is SO hypocritical!
  11. Being Hypocritical – See “Being Called Rabbi”.
  12. Judging – Now THAT is Hypocritical, JESUS CHRIST!

 
Isn’t judging exactly what people are doing when they say that people of the same sex can not get married?  But I guess that sin is OK to do.  Isn’t the very act of creating Prop 8 in California a sin according to the teachings of Jesus Christ? But I guess that sin is OK. And isn’t the very act of voting for Prop 8 in California a sin in itself since the individual who votes is placing judgment on who does and who does not have a right to be married?  But again, I guess that sin is ok.  The fact is deciding who can and who can not get married in this country should not be decided by religion, by fear or by prejudice.  Prop 8 by its very nature is nothing but pure discrimination against a group of people, in a country that separates the laws of church and state. As Judge Walker wrote in his decision to overturn Prop 8 this week:
 
“Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment… Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples… Proposition 8 played on the fear that exposure to homosexuality would turn children into homosexuals and that parents should dread having children who are not heterosexual.”
 
The fact is, there is no law saying that men can’t wear women's clothing, or wives must submit to there husband.  There are no laws saying that you must honor or respect the President, or that you can’t eat a strangled chicken.  It is not against the law to be called a Rabbi, and it is perfectly legal for you and I to have any type of dream that we want to have no matter how dirty it may be.  Yet for some reason this one particular “sin”, same-sex marriage, is singled out by those who claim it to be immoral.  Yet many of those same people have no problem spending an evening watching naked women pole dance while they stuff dollar bills in there g-strings, as they drink liquor, smoke cigarettes, and swear.  Many of those people cheat on their spouses, gamble in Vegas, steal pens from their work place and cheat on their taxes.  I guess those sins are ok to do, but g-d forbid two individuals of the same sex, who love each other, and want to spend the rest of their lives together, and maybe even share that love with children, should have the legal right to do so, because that of course would be wrong, that would be immoral, that would be sinful. Actually, to forbid that would be hypocritical.
   
 

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The Presidents View on The View

By Brian

 

 

Yesterday President Obama made history.  No he didn’t solve the immigration problem or eliminate the national debt.  He didn’t bring peace to the Middle East or teach Sarah Palin the difference between Iran and Iraq.  Yesterday President Obama appeared on The View.  Ok, this may not be history on the level of the falling of the Berlin Wall, but none the less this was the first time that a sitting president has appeared on a daytime talk show.  I believe he was supposed to appear on Jerry Springer but they could not find anyone to claim that the president was their baby-daddy.  This obviously was a big honor for the ladies of The View and I am sure that the fact that Barbra Walters is the producer and a co-host was one of the reasons that the President chose this show over Kathy Lee and Hoda.  Of course being the type of show that it is I didn’t expect the questions to be as hard hitting as Meet the Press, but the ladies held there own.  Perhaps the most interesting part of the show was watching Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who thinks that Fox news really is “Fair and Balanced”, act perfectly giddy as President Obama strolled out onto the stage. (Didn’t she loose on Survivor?  How exactly do you make that transition from Survivor looser to talk show host along side Barbra Walters?  If losing is the requirement to success then I should be co-host of the Tonight Show by now.)  Watching Hasselbeck was like watching Sasha and Malia at a Justin Bieber concert. I was just waiting for her to yell out, “I love you Mr. President, Oh and by the way what about the Death Panels!” or ask him to produce his birth certificate.  Much to my disappointment, neither of those things happened.  She did ask a question, very respectfully, about “saved jobs”, or jobs that were not lost due to the Stimulus Package, that sounded like it was lifted straight from the transcripts of a Sean Hannity show, but as the President pointed out, he was sure that any person who’s job was saved due to the Stimulus Package was not upset about his administration talking about “Saved Jobs”. (BooYa Hasselbeck!)  By the way, before the President goes to bed each night do you think he asks Michelle if she would like to see his stimulus package?
 
It’s no secret that I am a supporter of President Obama but that does not mean I think he can do no wrong.  I believe that pouring more money and troops into Afghanistan is a mistake and we need to get out as soon as possible.  The money we are spending there could be much better spent rebuilding our own infrastructure, investing in clean energy, supporting our schools, and so on. But I believe that President Obama has made two huge mistakes in his presidency.  First, the President needs to realize that the Republicans have not, are not, and never will be on his side.  I fully blame the President for the Health Care debate going as long as it did.  He came into office promising change and fully knowing that the change he had in mind was the complete opposite of what the GOP would ever support.  I can guarantee you that if John McCain had won he would not be spending any time trying to win over the Democrats.  This is a time when there is a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. Mr. President, you pretty much can pass any bill you want to.  Stop trying to make friends.  The second mistake the President is making is that he thinks the campaign is over.  He said on The View that there is a time for campaigning and a time for governing and now is the time to govern.  To that I say you are wrong Mr. President.  In fact they go hand in hand.  This answer was in response to Joy Behar’s question regarding the 27/7 GOP media machine known as Fox News and how they seem to be "hijacking the narrative" with the constant negative onslaught that the right wing media is constantly putting out there.  She asked, "Where on your side is the narrative, where is your attack dog to tell the American people, listen this is what we did?" 
   
Whether or not the right wing media will have an effect on the Presidents re-election is to be seen.  In politics a lot can change quickly and today’s polls don’t mean diddly squat when it comes to 2012.  If the President has proved one thing it is that he is a master campaigner.  He is unshakable in debates and rivals Ronald Regan is speech making. But what the President does not seem to understand is that the election, the campaign is never over and this is what the Republicans have figured out.  Just like American Idol, this is a popularity contest and if the health care debate proved one thing, it showed that the voice of the people matter and not just at election time.  We can vote at any time on any issue simply by calling our congress person, signing petitions, organizing marches and so on.  The reality is politicians do listen to the people that elect them because they want to get re-elected and people are influenced by what they read and hear in the media.  And with a 24/7 media machine like FOX News constantly putting down the President and his initiatives, spreading lies, half-truths, and mis-information, the people will be influenced to believe this negative rhetoric and when they do contact there congress person, sign petitions, organize marches and so on, they may influence there congress person to vote against a bill that actually could be a very positive thing for our country.  Yes, there are progressive talk radio stations out there and television programs like The Rachel Maddow Show, or Countdown with Keith Olbermann, or even The Ed Show on MSNBC, but there is nothing like an entire network, like FOX News, that is singularly devoted to refuting every positive thing that the President tries to accomplish.  The President needs to call out the lies that FOX news spreads just like he did when John McCain and Sarah Palin spread lies during the campaign.  Public opinion may not matter a whole lot right now when it comes to the election in 2012 but it does matter when it comes to individual issues.  The reality that the President does not seem to understand is that when he appears on talk shows like The View or does interviews on the nightly news his numbers go up, and when his numbers go up people support his issues even more.  This is a popularity contest and the person with the least amount of votes must leave the island, the head of the losing team gets fired, and only the winner becomes the next American Idol. The bottom line is that the President is likeable, he’s engaging, he’s tall, he’s good looking, and unlike George Bush he can talk very eloquently without a script.  Even Elizabeth Hasselbeck admitted the next day on The View that after his appearance she thinks she has a little crush on the President. In fact its reported that on her View notebook she doodled in pink marker, “I “heart” Barack”, and “Elizabeth Obama”. The only negative comment that I have heard about so far regarding President Obama’s appearance on The View has come from, master orator, and friend to Tea Baggers everywhere, Sarah Palin.  She said that the President has no time to visit the U.S-Mexican boarder, but does have time to be on a daytime talk show. Then she mentioned that she will be visiting the border in the near future, finally realizing that she can’t see Mexico from her front porch.
 
 

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Let's Talk About Sex, Montana

 

I remember when I was in grade school, sex education was taught to us in fifth grade.  I believe that they spent about two hours on it and most of it consisted of badly animated movies of a very happy sperm swimming upstream to meet up with an equally happy egg only to join together and well you know what happens next.  The egg wakes up with a bad hangover only to look at the smiley sperm lying naked next to her and wonders how she got there and why her panties are around his neck.  Seriously, that is all we got.  There was no mention of love or marriage, foreplay or how the sperm got in there in the first place, and certainly no mention of any of the other creative ways that two people could express there undying lust for each other, although looking back on it, that would have been awesome!  But I was not that lucky, at least not as lucky as the fifth grade class that my oh so cute, blond and perky, twenty something wife taught during the first year of our marriage.  It was her first year teaching science to fourth and fifth graders and she was assigned the task of teaching the fifth graders sex ed.  The first thing I thought to my self was somewhere there is a group of fifth grade boys who can’t wait to get to science class!  Whereas I got two hours of “instruction” in this subject, her students received two weeks.  By the time she was done, each one of her students could name each position of the Kama Sutra and had memorized five pickup lines.  But seriously, her curriculum was very appropriate for the age of the students.  The parents had the option of having their child opt out of those lessons, and my wife pulled it off with the grace, style and professionalism that I knew that she was fully capable of.
 
Now let’s fast forward to today, and a sleepy little town called Helena, Montana.  Actually Helena, the capital of Montana, is not that little with a population of about 29,500 and home to such notables as Gary Cooper, the A-Teams Dirk Benedict, Liz Claiborne, and L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology.  Helena is the type of place where you can stroll down its quiet streets that have retained the feel of the old west, and with a murder rate of zero for 2007 and 2008, feel safe while you admire the 18th century, gold rush architecture.  It is also a place that has turned the subject of sex education upside down and has created a national uproar that had not been seen since sex education was first introduced to our educational system in the 1970’s.  The Helena school board has put forth a proposition that would teach school children, as young as kindergarten, sex education using anatomical terms such as penis, vagina, breast, nipples, testicles, scrotum and uterus.  It would teach first graders about same-sex relationships, and would teach fifth graders that intercourse can not only be done vaginally, but also anally and orally.  That’s right.  It teaches fifth graders about blow jobs. Here is an actual excerpt from the proposal.  “Understand that sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration; using the penis, fingers, tongue or objects.” Objects?  What, are they going to bring in vibrators and dildos?  It’s interesting, talking to a ten year old on the internet about blow jobs is called a felony, but at school in Helena it’s called standard course work.  I mean really, at ten years old most girls don’t even like boys yet.  Are they really ready to be told that they can be used as a human popsicle?  According to one school board member they even want to teach high school kids about erotic art and anxiety about sexual performance.  Thank g-d they did not have this curriculum in the 1950’s or Woody Allen may not have made a single film.
 
But having actually read the proposal (Helena Proposal) I have to say that I applaud them for there honest, well meaning intentions.  This is a crazy time that we live in where girls from as early as 12 years old up think that giving a blow job to a boy is less intimate then having intercourse, where sexting, or the sending of sexual pictures of ones self via a text message to a friend, is common place, and where hard core sexual content is readily available on the internet for anyone of any age to access.  The sexual pressures that kids experience today is light years beyond what we ever had to deal with as kids and the truth is, the way sexual education is taught in this country probably does need to be re-examined.  For example, included in the proposal from the Helena Public School System are proposed guidelines on talking to students about sexual predators, when it is alright for an adult to touch certain private parts and when it is not, and who to talk to if an adult does touch them in a way that the child does not feel is right. But also included in the proposal is the discussion of family and who can be parents, including same-sex relationships.  While I am 100 percent in favor of same-sex couples right to marry and raise children I think that the Helena Board of Education is missing what the real issue is that needs to be addressed.  Same-sex marriage is really part of a larger picture that should be dealt with by our educational system.  What needs to be taught to our children is the concept of tolerance, the concept of acceptance, the concept that it is alright for people to be different then us or our peer groups and that there are many kinds of people and families in this world and it is not our place to place judgment on an other person or group.  What needs to be taught is that discrimination of any kind is not only morally wrong but also legally wrong whether it is racial, sexual, or whatever, and to let that discussion be open to what ever questions our children may have. 
  
Where I think the Helena Board of Education’s intentions were completely misguided was with students from forth grade down.  Quite simply, at that age it is not appropriate for the public school system to discuss in detail the anatomical names of a persons private parts. Children of that age range are not mature enough to take this discussion seriously, and at this age the discussion of private parts should be between the child and the parents.  There are endless resources on the internet and at bookstores for parents on how to address this discussion with there kids if they don’t know how or are nervous about talking about it with their kids.  In addition, it is not the place of our educational system to teach first graders about homosexuality as proposed by the Helena Board of Education.  This again is a subject that should be up to the child’s parents on how and if they want to address this with their child. 
   
After reading what was proposed by the Helena Board of Education I have trouble believing that they truly thought that this would just sail right through with no controversy.  I was waiting for someone to yell out April fools while reading this but that simply did not happen.  It is clear that a great deal of time and thought went into putting this proposal together and minus some of the highly controversial items that the press has reported on, it is a very impressive and a quite comprehensive plan that many educational systems around our country could draw from. 
   
In writing this proposal I think its authors were acknowledging the fact that our world has changed and many of our young people are simply growing up with out certain fundamental skills and information that unfortunately they are not getting from their parents or their peer groups.  To many young people are getting pregnant way before they are ready and others have no idea what to do or where to go when sexually abused.  The internet has become a virtual playground for sexual predators and both children and parents are ill equipped to deal with it.  Children are bombarded with sexual images and peer pressures that they simply are not prepared for.  Most sexual education programs were created way before the evolution of Facebook or MySpace, texting or the iPhone, and just as technology has evolved, how we teach sex ed must evolve as well.  But ultimately it is the parents not the schools who are responsible for what kind of adults their children turn out to be.  Maybe it’s not just the children who need sex ed.
  
  

 

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Marriage, That's So Gay!



I’d like you to ask yourself some questions, some real tough questions, and I‘d like you to be brutally honest with yourself.  After all, you are the only one who will know the answers.  Let’s get started.  First, how stressful is your marriage?  What percentage of the time do you spend fighting, bickering, and arguing, or what ever you want to call it?  And how are you as a parent?  Be honest.  What are your short comings as a parent?  Have you really done the best you can?  Have you given your kids all the love, patience and understanding that you are capable of?  Is there anything that you can see your children looking back at, twenty years from now, that you did or said, that they may say to themselves, during some therapy session, “My parents really messed me up with that one.”  Oh and by the way, if you can’t think of anything, believe me, there’s something.  And finally, what has contributed more to the success or failure of your family, the fact that you have a “traditional marriage”, and by that I mean a man married to a woman, or the decisions that you made as a parent and their effect on your children?  I don’t know what your answers are and frankly, I don’t care.  But what I do know is this.  How you parent has a much larger impact on the type of individual your child turns out to be then if your family is “traditional” or not. I have seen many a heterosexual married couple mess up there kids beyond belief.  I have seen kids scarred by divorce, had there lives ruined by physical and sexual abuse.  I have seen kids who all they want is time from mom and dad but instead are told that they are too busy, kids who crave some attention then act out because they simply can’t get it.  I have seen kids who turn to drugs, alcohol, who get pregnant at fourteen years old.  I have seen kids who whether they know it or not just want a loving family to be there for them. And I don’t care if you are gay, straight or bi, you all have an equal opportunity to mess up your kids lives.
 
According to traditional Christian belief, a marriage is made up of a man and woman who take certain vows and then are “married” in the eyes of g-d.  Add kids to this formula and supposedly you have a family.  And according to traditional Christian belief this is final and absolute.  There is no other form of marriage, or family.  It is precisely this final and absolute Christian definition of marriage that has been challenged in the last few years. 
 
If you look up the word “family” on the internet you find the following definitions:
 
1.  A social unit living together.
2.  Primary social group, parents and children.
3.  A group of people or animals affiliated by close relationship, affinity or co-residence.
 
But my favorite definition that I found is this, “a group of people held together by bonds of love and affection.”  If you notice, there is one commonality between all of these definitions.  That is no mention of parents having to be a man and woman.  These definitions open up the possibilities for many types of families to exist including families that have two parents of the same sex.  The fact is same-sex couples have as much rights to get married and to be parents as any other people in this world do.  Recently I happen to be flipping the channels and came across a documentary made by Rosie O’Donnell, about the cruise that she and her partner at the time sponsored for families with gay and lesbian parents called “All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise.”  I had heard about this movie and remembered when she was putting this together.  There had been many cruises before this one for gays and lesbians, but never specifically for those with children.  This one was meant to make a statement, a statement about what is a family, a statement about who is acceptable to marry.  I watched this movie and saw something amazing, I saw families.  I saw unbelievable, loving, caring families.  I saw parents who cared and nurtured their children in such a loving way that I wished all parents could be like this to their kids, and who like any other parent should, gave them as much of themselves as they knew how.  I saw parents who respected there children and didn’t shield them from the world but instead kept there eyes wide open so that they could grow and understand, and learn to overcome what ever obstacles may come in there way.  I saw parents, loving wonderful parents who simply wanted the same thing that all of us want, to raise there kids to be the best they can be, and the right to commit to each other without the law saying you can’t.
 
Currently only six states allow same-sex marriages, while thirty-six states have prohibitions on the books banning same-sex marriage.  Yet every state will allow a convicted rapist, murderer, or child molester to get married, and do so while they are still in prison. But for some reason, in the eyes of the law, a same-sex couple has less rights then convicted criminals.  We would not be the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.  Currently it is legal in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, South Africa, and Canada. Where exactly is the argument against same-sex marriage?  In every case the argument is rooted in religion.  The law may not word it in such a way, but ask any one who supports a ban against same-sex marriage and they will refer to the bible as there support and rational.  The problem with this though is simple.  In this country we have laws that separate church and state.  Our laws are not based on the teachings of Jesus, Moses, or Mohammad, or any other religion for that matter.  In addition, we also have laws against discrimination, and to ban same-sex couples from getting married is nothing but that, discrimination.  We have overcome so much in this country.  We forget that at one time women did not have the right to vote.  African Americans had separate schools, drinking fountains, places on the bus.  Buildings were not required to be handicap accessible.  But that has all changed, we have all changed, this country has changed.  Shortly we will see the ban barring gays from openly serving in the military change as well.  And eventually “a group of people held together by bonds of love and affection” will be the only thing that will matter when it comes to marriage. This too will change. 

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Guitars Don’t Kill People, People Kill People

 

With this Fourth of July weekend coming up I think it’s time once again to celebrate the United States continued dominance through out the world, to remind ourselves that we are number one, and to never forget that the American dream lives in all of us!  Not only in this country do we have a constitution that promises us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but also a promise of the right to keep and bear arms, the right to have the highest murder rate, involving guns, of all non-third world, higher income nations, a rate that is five times higher than Canada, and ten to forty-four times higher than other high income countries around the world.  According to the Brady Campaign, “in one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States.”  We’re number one!  Woo Hoo!  We should be so proud of our selves.  To anyone who says, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” I say DUH!  A gun lying on the ground with no one touching it is pretty harmless.  What a stupid argument.  I could say the same thing about a guitar string, but if I pick it up and wrap it around someone’s throat and pull it with all my strength, I could probably chop there head off, except that people actually use guns to kill other people, they rarely use guitar strings! 
 
The fact is this.  There is a direct correlation between the number of guns owned per capita, to the number of deaths by firearm per capita. And guess who is number one on both lists, the United States.  For example, the United Kingdom with only 56 guns per 1000 people had only 39 gun related deaths for the entire year.  Canada with 315 guns per 1000 people had only 200 gun related deaths for the entire year.  But the United States with a staggering 900 guns per 1000 people had 9,484 gun related deaths.  You can make any argument you want but these are the numbers and the numbers tell the story.  Listen, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have guns.  If you hunt, you should have the right to own a gun.  I have no desire to deny those who like to shoot wild game for sport their right to do so.  Guns for sport are completely legitimate, but nobody needs a 9mm Glock, a sawed off shot gun, or a semi-automatic rifle to shoot deer, unless of course the deer learn to shoot back.  Hand guns are made for one reason and one reason only, to kill other people.  No one brings a hand gun duck hunting.  And I’ve heard the argument that if you take away the right for people to own guns, then the only people with guns will be the criminals.  To that I say OK.  Because you see, you have to start somewhere.  Too many people in this country are being killed by guns in relation to the rest of the world.  We’ll get to the criminals next.  The bottom line is this, any firearm that is not considered a hunting class firearm should be illegal for any person in any state to possess with the exception of law enforcement and those in certain security related positions.  And for those who require a firearm for there job, other than law enforcement, they should be required to pass a background check, a psychological evaluation, and have at least a two week waiting period from the time they apply for their firearm to the time they receive it.  In addition, and most importantly, we must pass legislation to close what is known as The Gun Show Loophole.
 
If you are not familiar with the gun show loophole, it is a fatal flaw in our system that in thirty-three states allows any person, regardless of their criminal or mental background, to purchase a gun of any kind from a private seller with no questions asked.  That means a person standing trial for murder could purchase a gun.  A person on the suspected-terrorist list, could purchase a gun.  A person with a documented history of dangerous mental illness could purchase a gun and nothing could stop them and it would all be considered perfectly legal according to our current laws.  There are gun shows every weekend in thirty-three states that allow anyone to walk in and buy as many guns as they can afford to with out even so much as an ID check.  No records are kept of these gun sales, who the guns go to, or where they end up. The fact that this is legal in the United States, a country that has seen so many fatal school shootings, so many senseless gun related murders, is beyond comprehension.  It is unbelievable to me that something that is so easily preventable is not being prevented.  How many more Columbines have to happen for this loop hole to be closed?  The fact is the gun lobby, that spends millions of dollars to keep gun-control legislation from being passed, has blood on there hands.  The NRA who refuses to support simple background checks for those who purchase a gun at a gun show has blood on their hands.  And the fact is criminals don’t have to be purchasing there guns in back alleys or behind closed doors. The private sellers at the thousands of gun shows across the country will be happy to sell to anyone who can breathe anything they want, with no questions asked, as long as they have cash.  The fact that legislation outlawing this practice at gun shows has not been passed is unconscionable.  I’m sure this is exactly what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote in the second amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  Ooooo, Ahhhh!  Was that a firework or did someone just fire a Glock?  Happy Birthday America.

 

 

 

 

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Problems, You Think You Got Problems? You Got Nothing!

 

 

What’s your problem?  No really, what’s your problem? What’s that one thing that is eating away at you that you just want to get up and scream about at the top of your lungs?  What is pissing you off!?  Think about it for a second because I know there is something.  What is the biggest thing that is going on in your world at this very moment that is just making you insane, the one thing that you just wish you could do something about?  Is it that your kids don’t call you enough?  Is it that one is stoned all of the time or that you think your wife is cheating on you?  Is it that you regret not going to med school and life insurance sales is just not working out for you?  Is it that your friends have a bigger house than you do or that your partner who you thought you could trust has been embezzling from you for the past five years? Maybe you think you need to loose ten pounds, or maybe you’re morbidly obese and can’t figure out why you use food to comfort the pain that your obsessive eating is really all about.   Maybe you think that your problems actually matter!  To be honest I have no idea what your problem is but I’m gonna tell you right now… GET OVER IT!  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF AND TAKE CHARGE!  Because the truth is nobody gives a crap about your problem because we all got problems and everyone thinks theirs is more important than yours is.  So do something about it and stop wining about it on Twitter!
 
Let’s put your “problems” in perspective here.  The reality is, your "problems" pale in comparison to what is going on in the world right now!  I mean really, the U.S. just lost in the first elimination round at the World Cup! (Yea, like we really cared.  We don’t even call the sport by its real name.  Unless your native land is somewhere in Europe the last soccer match you watched was between bunches of kids while you sat in a folding chair playing games on your iPhone.  The U.S. has given new meaning to the phrase ‘fair weather fan’) The real truth is none of your problems really matter in comparison and if you think they do pick up a news paper. At this very moment man is destroying the earth. Ok, BP is destroying the earth, but we sure are not helping any with our complete dependence on oil in this country.  We have the technology to run cars on hydrogen but refuse to invest in the infrastructure to make it happen.  You can get almost anywhere in Europe on high speed rail but if we did that here it might just damage our failing auto industry, create thousands of jobs, and g-d forbid reduce our dependence on oil.  And how about bottled water, the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the American people.  Some how the beverage industry convinced us to pay for something that you can get right out of your tap, something that is regulated and tested for drinking safety by the EPA, unlike bottled water. Do you know how many inspectors the FDA employs to inspect bottled water plants?  One, yea that’s right one, so basically none.  In addition it takes 47 million gallons of oil, (you know that stuff leaking into the Gulf,) per year to create the 1.5 million tons of plastic water bottles produced each year that are thrown into landfills and the ocean.  Not to mention all of the oil needed to transport all those bottles of water from the plants to the supermarkets.  And guess where Aquafina and Dasani get there water from?  Queens, NY and Jacksonville, FL tap water!  In effect, the beverage industry is selling snow to Eskimos.  C’mon people, there is an oil spill in the Gulf bigger than Rhode Island and we’re using napkins to clean blades of grass.  To quote a recent Facebook status update by my “Facebook friend” and Second City Alum, David Razowski, “We HAVE to stop calling this a ‘spill’. A ‘spill’ is tiny. This is not a ‘spill’, this is a ‘disaster’.”  The Exxon Valdez was a spill, a huge spill mind you that destroyed countless wildlife, but a spill none the less.  This is disaster on the level of biblical prophecy! BP opened up a f!@*kin portal of doom that has unleashed a demonic poison killing everything in its path and has destroyed the lives and lively hood of millions of Americans from Louisiana to the Florida Keys.  Man, I hope Tony Hayward gets his way of life back soon. So how are your problems looking now?
 
Oh, and then there is Iraq and Afghanistan.  The chief commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, just got caught bad mouthing the President in Rolling Stone Magazine, whereas the President responded with “I’m rubber and you’re glue, what ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!” Then he fired him.  So now our leadership appears weak, we are in the middle of the longest war in our nation’s history, more soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year alone then in all the other years of the war combined, and Osama Bin Laden is probably drinking Mai Tais at the Fontainebleau in Miami.  Seriously, nobody would even think of looking for him there.  So as Michelle said to Barak while they privately celebrated there win against John McCain on election night, “Mr President, it’s time to pull out!”  While I applaud the President for wanting to finish what his predecessor did not, it’s never gonna happen.  And as for Iraq, (yea Sarah Palin, it’s Iraq with a Q, not Iran, you stupid bimbo!) Cheney’s buddies at Halliburton and Blackwater made their money, George W. made daddy proud by overthrowing Saddam, and we poured billions into rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure, while at home our roads and bridges crumble all around us, our educations system is going bankrupt, and our economy is nearing complete economic collapse once again, and you got problems?
 
Foreclosures are at their highest ever.  More Americans are out of work then any time in our history. Illegal immigrants are running over the border stealing those coveted busboy, car wash attendant, and lawn care jobs that we all want so much, and any terrorist fresh from the Al Qaeda school for hating Americans can walk into a gun show and buy as many semi-automatic rifles as they want.  At least my problems are gone because I have a business idea that is guaranteed to make me rich, pure Artesian Mountain Bottled Air.  Just don’t tell anybody it’s really from Queens, NY.
 
 

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Everyone Deserves a Fathers Day, My Dad Had Forty Nine

 

"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong." -- Charles Wadsworth

 

This will be my first fathers day with out my dad.  He died in late December just before new years of cancer of the biliary duct, a cancer that is very hard to detect and often is not discovered until the later stages.  He went way too soon and way too fast. He was diagnosed in August of 2009 and in just over four months he was gone.  This is the same cancer that took the life of the Chicago Bears, Walter Peyton.  My father was an incredible man and although we didn’t always see eye to eye, I am the man and the father I am today because of him.  I catch my self saying things to my kids, my boy who’s six, and my daughter who’s three, that sound exactly the same as how my father said these things to me.  I find myself making jokes exactly like my father did and even sometimes disciplining in ways he did.  I find that sometimes I sound like my father so much that I don’t need to miss him, because he is right here.  All I have to do is talk and I hear him.  I am truly the dad I am today because of him. 
 
But I was lucky because I got to have my father for the first 43 years of my life.  Many aren’t that lucky.  Today I went to a Cubs game and sitting in front of me were a bunch of guys in their twenties.  I over heard one ask the other if he was going to Afghanistan or Iraq, and all I could think to myself was, I hope this kid comes back in one piece.  I hope he gets to see his father again.  I hope he doesn’t have any kids he is leaving behind and if he does, I hope they get to see him come back home soon.  I hope his time there doesn’t leave him harmed mentally rendering him unable to deal with life, taking away his ability to feel for his family.  I hope he comes back with two arms so that he can hug his kids good night, and with both legs so that he can play soccer with them. And even if he doesn’t have any kids, a wife, or a father or mother that is still around, I just hope he comes back.  Because this fathers day there are way too many boys and girls, wives and girlfriends that are not going to be able to spend this fathers day with there fathers, husbands and boy friends.  There are way too many boys and men who have served honorably in these wars and have either come home in body bags or have come home with parts of themselves missing either physically or mentally. 
 
The hard truth is defeating Al Qaeda will not stop terrorism. Capturing Osama Bin Laden will not stop terrorism.  In fact there is nothing that will stop terrorism.  This is an ongoing threat that is not confined to one group or one boarder.  This is not like other battles where the enemy is clear and sheer firepower can eliminate them.  This enemy is everywhere, hiding in the shadows, living in our neighborhoods, working at our companies in every western country that shows any kind of sympathy to either the U.S. or Israel.  If Osama bin Laden is captured, (and since he has not been caught by now I seriously question our ability to do so) an other leader will arise.  If Al Qaeda is eliminated another group will arise.  Why?  Because there enough Muslim extremists who hate us and our way of life that eliminating one group or one leader will not make a bit of difference.
   
What we must do is continue to do what President Obama did when he spoke to the Muslim world in Egypt shortly after taking office.  We must bridge the gaps between our two cultures.  We must come to understand each other.  We must preach the message of tolerance and acceptance.  We must make the Muslim world see that we are not the enemy, but instead the true enemy is the fraction of Muslims who preach extremism, those Muslims who commit terrorism in the name of Allah, those Muslims who give there religion the reputation of being killers and murders when in fact most Muslims are peace loving and only want to practice there religion in the same way that Jews, Christians and all other religions in the world do, with out the stigma of terrorism attached to it.  We must be diligent in reminding the rest of the world what the President said during his speech in Egypt, “The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores - that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.
 
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America.” 
 
This is the message that needs to be continuously reinforced to Muslims around the world, the message of tolerance, that we are not the enemy, that the true enemy are the terrorists that use the Muslim religion to justify there illegal terrorist actions, that to commit murder in the name of Allah is to defile the word of Mohamed. And if we can do that the Muslim world will become our partners in stopping the terrorists, not our foes.  By embracing the Muslim world it does not mean we are abandoning the other religions in our country.  It means that we are fulfilling the promise of our constitution and the American dream, the promise of freedom of religion, and the separation of church and state.  It means that we are supporting our values that have made all religions flourish in this land with out the threat of persecution.
 
Too many wars have been fought in the name of religion.  Too many people have died because of false impressions and misunderstandings.  Too many fathers have lost the opportunity to ever see there children again, to put there arms around there loved ones, to watch there kids grow up and to take part in shaping there lives, and hear there little boys and girls say to them, Happy Fathers Day.

 

 

 

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Peace Ship To The Gaza Strip, What The Media Left Out

 

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." - Adolf Hitler

 

Recently it was widely reported that Israeli soldiers boarded a ship that was filled with peace activists delivering humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and in cold blood murdered nine of these peace activists. When I first heard this, like many people around the world did, I thought to myself, how terrible, why would Israeli soldiers do such a thing? At first I figured it must be true. Every major news organization in the world was reporting this. I’m sure they have double and triple checked the facts before reporting such a horrific story. But then after thinking about it for a while I thought to myself, there has got to be more to this. Is it possible that the media is not getting the full story and has unfairly put out a worldwide report that completely vilifies Israel? Is it possible that the worldwide media is not being objective? Is it possible that some key elements about this incident may have been left out? This is what I needed to find out. Well as it turns out there were multiple cameras that just happen to catch the event on tape. Now for some strange reason none of these were shown on the world wide media but never the less, they did exist. There was a camera on board the ship that was reported to be attacked. And there were cameras being used by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) during the reported attack to document the encounter not unlike police in the U.S. use video to document traffic stops. Now just to make something clear here, in my research my agenda was not necessarily to dispute the reports but simply to see what else I could find to support or not support the reports in the media. What I ended up finding is video that seemed to tell a different story then what the media had reported. Before you read on I ask that you watch these short videos and then judge for yourself. It would be interesting to see what world opinion would be if these videos had been included as part of the media's initial reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched these videos and could only come to the following conclusions. First, who ever brought this story to the press had clear intentions of how they wanted the world to view this incident, because what was reported was obviously either not the complete story or just a plain fabrication. Second, if there were peace activists on that boat they were either the most violent peace activists I have ever seen or they were far out numbered by non-peaceful terrorists. My favorite line about this incident came from Jon Stewart of The Daily Show when he said, “The activists said they never attacked the soldiers. They thought Israel was welcoming them with commando shaped piñatas.”

Before I go on let’s at least agree on some realities. First, humanitarian aid is needed in the Gaza Strip. Israel has imposed a military blockade in the region for the purpose of disarming Hamas Terrorists and other Palestinian militants. The blockade is not there to deprive civilians of humanitarian goods that are needed to survive. It is there to block the inflow of arms to Gaza. Israel has an approved method for letting in humanitarian aid. Part of that method includes the right to inspect ships that are reported to be carrying aid to make sure that there are no military arms being smuggled in on these ships. Second, the Palestinians are never going to give up fighting for a homeland. Third, the State of Israel will now and for ever defend its right to exist.

Now with that said was Israel wrong in there actions when they boarded this ship? Like I said Israel is enforcing a blockade to the Gaza Strip in order to reduce the amount of arms being smuggled in. This was a routine search simply to confirm what cargo this ship was carrying. Five other ships were searched right before this ship and there were no incidents. The facts are Israel is at war. The main group that Israel is at war with is Hamas. Hamas is the main elected ruling party in the Gaza Strip. The United States, Israel, Canada, The United Kingdom, Australia, The European Union and Japan all consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization. Hamas has never stated publicly that they desire peace with Israel, recognize Israel’s right to exist, or denounce terrorism. And Israel, like the United States, does not negotiate with terrorists. Israel held the same policy with the PLO until it agreed to denounce terrorism, and recognize Israel’s right to exist. That was when Israel agreed to peaceful negotiations with the PLO or as it is now know, the Palestinian Authority, as the official representatives of the Palestinian people. In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza and turned the region over to the Palestinian Authority. This was basically Israels put up or shut up moment. As it turned out the Palestinian Authority could not effectively manage a falafel stand in the Gaza Strip and could not get Hamas to agree to the same conditions to peace that they did. At this point Hamas stepped in. It is said that if you want to get the people on your side, provide them with food, housing, security and education and this is exactly what Hamas was able to do for the people of Gaza. Eventually Hamas was elected the ruling authority in Gaza. And since Israel and most western counties consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization this left Israel with no legitimate authority to negotiate with. Hamas has continued to attack Israel from within the Gaza Strip with continuous rounds of mortar fire. In addition Hamas has chosen to use buildings such as schools and civilian housing areas to store arms supplies. This has put innocent civilians in harms way and many civilians have died due to this policy. The problem is that the people of Gaza have chosen to accept Hamas, a terrorist organization, to represent them, and Israel will not negotiate with terrorists. So basically we are left to bang our heads against a wall. There is no dispute that all parties want peace. The difference lies in how. Israel wants a mutual peace with parties that can respect each other and live together as neighbors like they have been able to do with both Egypt and Jordan. Hamas wants peace by eliminating Israel from the face of the earth. To give you a little background on Hamas here is some excerpts from their Covenant, published in 1988:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts… from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realized.”

“…so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

“The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

“I’m rubber and you’re glue. What ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!”

Ok maybe that last one I made up but all the others I took directly from their Covenant. The bottom line is this. I have been to Israel. It is a beautiful country like none I have ever seen before. Yes it is officially a Jewish state but they also respect the freedom of persons to practice any religion they so choose. They have kept Jerusalem a free religious center for all people and have been the only government to do so and have pledged to continue to do so. Jerusalem is open to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike and if you have ever had the privilege of being able to feely walk through the Jewish Quarter to the Arab Quarter to the Christian Quarter, it is an amazing experience of sights sounds and smells that every person should experience at least once in their life. What the world and often the United States does not get is that Israel is a country that was born out of tragedy. It was born out the Holocaust. It was born out of survivors who never had a country they could call there own and always relied on others to protect them but never did. It was created by those who lost all trust in a world that they thought would defend them but instead turned there backs on them and when they finally did come to help, more then 6 million Jews were dead. It was created by those who had nothing more to lose, who vowed never forget and promised never again. It was created by those who turned tragedy into strength, Holocaust into homeland and made the words “next year in Jerusalem” a reality. They day Israel declared themselves a state they were attacked by every Arab nation that surrounded them and they fought back and won, and since that day they have been in a constant state of war. Israel has a right to defend itself and always will and when Israeli commandos board a ship that is in there own waters with out Israeli guns drawn only to confirm who is on board and what goods they are carrying and are instead attacked with metal polls, knives broken glass bottles, shot with live ammunition, and thrown off the side of the ship, you bet your sweet tuchas they have a right to defend themselves. And to these “peace activists” who were reportedly on board this ship, I say to you next time you board a ship to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, make sure you know who else is on board with you. Because when you’ve been fucked with as many times as the Jews have, you don’t take crap from no one. To wage war is easy, to wage peace is hard.

 

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War Through A Brown Eyed Girl

By Brian Dann 

 

Peace-pic-by-jerusalem-kids1In 1988, in a London dormitory just steps away from Hyde Park and Royal Albert Hall, a young Lebanese girl with olive skin and dark brown eyes, pushed me up against a wall, and with a passion I had never seen, made the demand “TALK TO ME! JUST TALK TO ME! TELL ME WHY YOU SUPPORT ISRAEL!” And I did. It was a moment that changed me. You see being a Jewish boy having been born and raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, far removed from the realities of everyday life of an Israeli citizen, I was taught that we support Israel. I learned that Israel was the home land of the Jewish people and the state of Israel was surrounded by hostile neighbors. I learned how Israel was attacked by the Arab states that surrounded it the day it declared itself a country and Israel fought back to win. I learned of the Six Day war and numerous other battles. I learned of the PLO and planes that were hijacked, Jews singled out by their passports, shot and tossed onto the run way. I learned of busses blown up filled with innocent men, women and children, time and time again. I learned about Entebbe and the Jews that were taken hostage by PLO terrorists, only to be freed in a now historic mission by the IDF. I remember watching with my class mates as Israel and Egypt signed the peace treaty, and I remember hearing about the death of Anwar Sadat only too soon afterwards. I learned of the Holocaust and “never forget” and “never again.” I remember being taught that Jews were good and Arabs were bad. And as a kid I wondered why so many people hate us.
 
 Then when I was attending college in Chicago, I decided in my last year to spend a semester studying in London. Through my school I found an exchange program at Richmond University, an American University in London. I was thrilled to be going there and knew this would be the experience of my life. When I got there I quickly discovered something I had not anticipated, not a bad thing just something I did not expect. Half of the students at this American University were Arab Muslims. They were mostly the sons and daughters of Arab nationals based in London. Being a boy from the Midwest, I had never encountered this many Arabs in one place. Their certainly were not this many on the North Shore of Chicago. So I decided to make this a learning experience. I decided to open my mind and erase all of the pre-conceived notions that I had learned over the past 20 years. After all wasn’t that what this experience was all about. First I signed up for a class called “The History of the Muslim Religion from 600A.D. to the present.” Next, I tried to interact with the Arabs attending this university as much as possible. I hoped it would allow me to form my own opinions, entirely separate from what I had been taught. I found it fascinating that here were two groups of people, who traditionally, by label alone, Americans, and Arab Muslims, were not known to have the best relationship, and were thrust together and forced to interact. It was like a great social experiment. I never told any of them I was Jewish. It was obvious I was American.
 
What I quickly noticed was that it was not easy to get to know them. They mostly socialized with each other. There was nothing wrong with that, in fact it's very natural. After all I hung out mostly with other Americans. I’m not sure if it was the policy of the University but as far as housing went, we were all kept very segregated from each other. It wasn’t until I had a business class that I encountered a very friendly young girl named Abeer. She was from Oman. Honestly, she was beautiful as were most of the Arab girls. She had long dark hair, very dark eyes and beautiful skin. She was also a bit shy but somehow I flirted my way into becoming friends with her. We would sit together during breaks and talk about class and each other’s cultures, but I still never mentioned I was Jewish. Then one day, about halfway through the semester she said to me, “You’re Jewish, aren’t you?” I said, “Yes I am. How did you know?” and with a little smile she said, “I’ve always known.” I asked her if she wanted to have dinner one night and she made it clear that was just not going to happen so I didn’t pursue it. I never talked politics with her or what she thought about Israel because I wanted to get to know the person not the politics, also believe it or not, I did not like to talk politics, especially when it came to Israel.
 
But the girl from Lebanon was different. First of all she lived in the same dorm as all of us Americans. She was attractive but somewhat of a tomboy. She seemed more at home with the Americans than anyone else. She was just one of many in the group of people who all hung out together. But every once in a while, after a few to many pints at the pub she would ask me what I thought about Israel. She kept it real open-ended and I always told her, “I don’t like to discuss it.” I had my views, they weren’t going to change, so why discuss it. I know it frustrated her but I didn’t know why. What I did know is I always supported Israel. Whatever they did I supported Israel because that is what I was taught to do, but the truth was besides being Jewish and knowing it was the Jewish homeland, I really did not have a true understanding of why I supported Israel beyond that’s how I was raised and I really didn't question it. So every time she would ask me, I would tell here, “I really don’t want to discuss it. I have my reasons, and you have yours, and I just don’t want to discuss it.” After that she would usually back off, annoyed by my answer.
 
Finally the semester was nearing its end. We would all be leaving, going back to the countries that we came from hopefully being a bit wiser then we were before we arrived. We went out for one last time to the local pub that we would go to each night after classes. At 10:30 pm when all pubs in England closed we headed back to the dorm. We all sat around the main lobby of our dorm and had a great time. We talked for hours. Then the Lebanese girl with olive skin and dark brown eyes tried one last time to talk to me about Israel. She found me in the hallway and asked me again, “Why do you support Israel!” I said, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” She grabbed me, pushed me up against a wall, and with a passion I had never seen, made the demand “TALK TO ME! JUST TALK TO ME! TELL ME WHY YOU SUPPORT ISRAEL!” And I did. And after I was done, after I told her what I had been taught, so far removed from the realities of life in that part of world, she told me the other side, the side not so removed, the side I had never been told. Not the side of a terrorist, or a soldier but the side of a child, a child who didn’t know or care about the politics of the situation, or who fired first. She told me the side of a frightened little girl who saw the bombs and the missiles come down and kill her aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. She showed me the side I had never seen before, not the Lebanese side, but the human side, the side you never see on the news, the side removed from politics, not of who’s right and who’s wrong, but instead the side of a pretty little girl who saw things she should never have seen, who’s attitudes and opinions have every right to exist based on her perspective and experiences, a side that we all too often forget when we talk about not just Israel, but also Iraq, and Afghanistan. We forget that no matter what side we support, there are family members who are devastated by the loss of a loved one, parents in the middle who lost a child, children orphaned by a bomb, soldiers and civilians both American and foreign, maimed by explosions. Do I support Israel? Yes I do, but not blindly. I don’t support any move by any side that is counterproductive to peace and all sides have made mistakes. But most importantly I support the human side because somewhere there is a little girl with olive skin and dark brown eyes watching her family get blown apart. And whether that little girl is Israeli, or Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan, Lebanese or American it doesn’t really matter, now does it? We are all people and we all have families that we love. Our leaders need to remember that, but they seldom do. We all need to remember that in every conflict, on every side, there is a little brown eyed girl.

 

Afghan Civilians Killed Since the War Started: 8453

Afghan Civilians Seriously Injured: 15,215

Iraqi Civilians Killed Since the War Started: 835,058

Iraqi Civilians Seriously Injured: 1,503,106

U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan: 5,390

U.S. Troops Seriously Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan: 34,569

About 296 times as many people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than in the cowardly attacks of September 11, 2001.

(Source:http://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.html)

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The Gulf, It's His Fault, No It's His Fault, No It's...

 

I’ve been watching this oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico for weeks now and I’ve been at a bit of a loss as to what to say about it.  The enormity of this disaster is so huge that if you sit down for a few moments and really try to wrap your brain around the effects this has had, and will continue to have, not just on the wildlife that you see photos of on the news, but on our entire ecosystem from the smallest bit of plankton up to every human being on the face of this earth, it is simply mind boggling.  And that is where the problem lies right there.  No one, not the news media, not the environmentalists, not our government, no one has been able to put this unconscionable, unfathomable disaster in any sort of terms that will make the public understand what has really happened here to the point that the masses will demand answers, demand change, and personally take action so that this will never happen again.  We have not, as a nation, as a world, become mad enough about this, and we need to.  So what I am going to attempt to do, is make you mad.
 
Let’s imagine for a moment that instead of that pipe spewing 210,000 gallons of oil a day at the bottom of the ocean, it was doing it on your front lawn.  Imagine that for some reason that no matter how hard they tried, the authorities could not stop it and since it started, an estimated 4.9 million gallons had been emptied on to your neighborhood.  In the process the fumes have poisoned the air for miles and thousand of people have been suffering from severe headaches and possible brain damage.  In addition the oil has made its way into the local water wells and water filtration plants and made the drinking water undrinkable. All local plants and vegetation have died and in turn all the animals that live in the area are dying from lack of food.  The sheer amount of oil has made it impossible for vehicles to navigate the roads so there are food shortages at all local supermarkets.  To help dissipate the oil, the government has decided to dump thousands of gallons of chemicals on the oil but the toxicity of the chemicals makes it so hard to breathe that some pass out and even die. Now imagine that no matter how hard they try, the oil just can not be fully cleaned up.  You are told that your home can not be saved, and because of the amount of oil that has been absorbed into the ground, it is unlikely that any vegetation will grow at least in your lifetime.  Imagine that everything you know about the world you live in has been ruined and it can not be fixed.  Now imagine you’re a fish, or a sea turtle, or a dolphin, or a sea gull and with out warning, without any fault of your own your world has been destroyed.  Those around you are dying and you don’t know why.  The food you eat is gone because it has been killed off by the oil. Your atmosphere is polluted, your home is destroyed, and you have nowhere to go.
 
A tragedy like 9/11 is easy for us to comprehend.  We see the planes fly into the Twin Towers and we get physically ill.  We watch them collapse and we shudder at the loss of human life.  We sit dazed, confused, we cry and we ask why? We come together, we see the common enemy, and we get mad!  We demand action, we take to the streets, we vow never again!  But for this, we do nothing.  For this we say how terrible and we do nothing.  We drive our cars, we drink from our plastic bottles of water, we buy our gas from BP still, and we do nothing.  We do nothing because all we see is the occasional dead turtle, the oil covered bird, and the photos of some oil floating on the top of the water.  It is impossible to see the devastation in its entirety that this disaster has caused, and will continue to cause, because it is simply to big to comprehend.  It is impossible to see the loss of life that has occurred, a loss that dwarfs the number of lives lost in 9/11. And because most of that life is not human, we do nothing.
 
To comprehend what has happened is simply impossible, but we need to.  We need to get mad.  We need to demand action, because if we don’t the collective enemy will not be the government, it will not be corporate America, it will be us.  We will go on driving our cars, drinking water from plastic bottles, and demanding nothing.  And when this happens again, who will be to blame? You will. Are you mad yet?

 

These are the names of the eleven Transocean workers who died. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

 

Jayson Anderson - Toolpusher
Dewey Revette - Driller
Donald Clark - Asst. Driller
Stephen Curtis - Asst. Driller
Dale Burkeen - Crane Operator
Roy Kemp - Derrickhand
Karl Kleppinger - Floorhand
Shane Roshto - Floorhand
Adam Weise - Floorhand
Gordon Jones - MI Swaco
Blair Manuel - MI Swaco

 


FOX, Lies and Videotape...Let Us Pray

 

Just imagine for a moment, if when the President came into office there was a budget surplus of $128 Billion!  Wouldn’t that be great, an actual surplus.  Now imagine that after his first year in office the President turned that $128 billion surplus into a deficit of $158 billion.  Let’s say that in his second year the deficit increased to $378 billion, then in his forth year $413 billion, and by the time the President left office he turned that $128 billion surplus into a deficit of $482 billion!  Imagine that the President attributed a portion of this all time record setting deficit to a $170 billion stimulus package that was put through, the largest stimulus package in history, a $400 billion bailout of FannieMae and FreddieMac, a $182 billion bailout of AIG, and a $17.4 billion bailout of the auto industry.  Now imagine that an additional $819.6 billion was spent during this time on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and it was not included in the deficit numbers previously mentioned, because funding for these wars was requested each year to congress as “emergency spending measures” beyond the budget that was already approved by congress.  And finally, let’s imagine that members of congress blasted this president stating that because of his “reckless fiscal policies (he) will be remembered as the most fiscally irresponsible president in our nation's history.”   You would be certain that the opposition in congress would be fighting this president tooth and nail, voting nay on every proposal offered!  You would be certain that FOX News would be all over this, blasting this President for his irresponsibility and for running this country in to the ground.  You would bet that there would be Tea Party Protests breaking out all over the country with venomous anger about record setting deficits and gross over spending that certainly would lead our country to certain financial collapse!   But for some strange reason, this never happened, no protests, not a word.  That is not until Barack Obama became president.  Everything I just described happened under George W. Bush, and no one said anything, nothing, not a single word.
 
Not a word was said when Bush’s tax cuts went to the wealthiest two percent of Americans in this country rather then the other 98% of Americans who truly needed those tax cuts.   Not a word was said when under Bush, the largest corporations in this country were given tax breaks that allowed them to pay less in taxes then the average blue collar factory worker.  The facts are that under the economic policies of George W. Bush the average median income of Americans in this country decreased 4.2 percent, while under Clinton the average median income increased 14 percent.  Under Bush the total number of Americans in poverty increased 26.1 percent, while under Clinton poverty decreased 16.9 percent. Under Bush the number of children in poverty increased 21.4 percent, while under Clinton poverty decreased by 24.2 percent.  Under Bush the number of Americans with out health insurance increased by 20.6 percent, while under Clinton it stayed even, and nothing was said, not by the republicans, not by FOX “News”, no protests, not a word.  But President Obama, on the other hand, since taking office has faced nothing but criticism from those same parties that said nothing to George W. Bush.  He faced criticism when he gave tax cuts to 98% of all Americans, criticism when he signed the Lilly-Ledbetter Act that guaranteed fair pay for women, criticism when he pushed through the health insurance reform, giving health insurance to 34 million Americans who currently do not have health insurance and can not get it, And now criticism as he fights for economic reforms that will eliminate the tax loop holes for the richest corporations and banks in this country and provide consumers with protections that they so desperately need.  This President faces Tea Party protests that are fueled by lies, criticism, and propaganda from FOX “News”, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reily.  This President faces a GOP that has pledged to fight this administration on every measure it tries to put through congress.  What the right fails to see is that the economic policies of George W. Bush simply did not work and the reason that we are in the place that we are today is because of those policies.  Less regulation did not work.  Large tax breaks to corporation and the wealthiest two percent did not work.  And the fact is that Bush is the only President in recent history to preside over an economic downturn in both terms in office.  They fight against change even though their ways did not work.
 
So my question is where were these Tea Party protesters when our economy was taking a nose dive under eight years of George W. Bush?  Where were they when jobs were going over seas, when average Americans were loosing there homes because they could not pay there mortgage due to high medical bills while the insurance companies were making record profits and there executives were making multi-million dollar salaries.  Where were they when spending on two wars was going out of control, when pensions and 401k were being wiped out because of an unstable market, when thousands of young soldiers were still dying even though it was announced “Mission Complete”?  Where were they? I will tell you where they were.  At home doing nothing, that is where.  And why were they at home and not out in the streets holding up misspelled signs?  Because the spokes people for their religion, the high priests and priestesses, did not tell them to.  And I am not talking about their Judeo-Christian priests and priestesses.  The church I am talking about is not the church of God, but the church of FOX.
 
Among conservative Republicans and Tea Party members FOX is their church, Fox is their religion, and there is a fanatical dedication to FOX “News” and the misinformation that is conveyed. For those who take the word of FOX as their primary source of information, the facts don’t seem to matter. No matter how false and slanted to the right the information may be these followers of FOX take it as gospel.  Nor does there seem to be an interest in obtaining different points of view from other news organizations on the days events or checking to see if the rhetoric from FOX is in fact accurate.  FOX Faithfuls want to believe what FOX tells them and they do not want to hear any different because if they did, then FOX forbid, they may actually find out that the propaganda that FOX spews out to them on a daily basis is in fact anything but “fair and balanced” as FOX claims their “News” to be.  FOX “News” is simply nothing but a Right Wing propaganda machine for the Republican Party disguised as a news organization.  If FOX forbid, one should talk badly about Fox “News”, FOX Faithfuls will defend their beloved “News” station with a passion usually only reserved for religion or political convictions.  This cult like passion towards FOX by its viewers is in itself proof that FOX is committed towards reporting the news in a way that is anything but “fair and balanced”.  I have never seen a viewer of MSNBC, CNN, ABC, or CBS passionately defend any of these stations, and that is because when a station is truly being “fair and balanced”, when news is presented as news with out bias and personal commentary, and opinion is kept separate from the actual news, that station does not need to be defended.  It’s integrity speaks for itself.  The misinformation about President Obama that started during the presidential campaign and continues until today is the result of FOX “News” and their endless campaign to derail any initiative that President Obama and the Democratic Party believe in.  The lies about President Obama’s religion, patriotism, political agenda, ties to terrorism, and citizenship, as well as the lies promoted about health insurance reform are a direct result of the actions of FOX “News”.  With out FOX “News” and their commitment towards promoting the Tea Party, there would be no Tea Party.  With out FOX “News” their viewers would actually get fair and balanced news and their decision to support or not support this President would be based more on truth and factual information, then lies and misinformation. 
 
Not everyone may agree with this administrations policies nor should they but all Americans including the FOX Faithfuls deserve to have the truth told to them.  They deserve to have news that is mostly free from personal opinion and entirely filled with facts.  They deserve, if they so choose, to fanatically disagree with the Presidents agenda based on real information, not on lies and misinformation.  And until this happens FOX “News” will be doing their Faithfuls a disservice.  We deserve better.  Their Faithfuls deserve better.  And FOX willing, America deserves better.  Let me hear an AMEN!

 

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Dear Dad, Some Hopey Changey Advice Ya BetchYa!

 

Because of the hundreds of e-mails that NorthShoreDad receives every day asking for advice or my opinion on various subjects, I’ve decided to start an advice column called “Dear Dad”.  Our first letter comes from a reader in Washington D.C. that calls himself Potus. 
 
Potus writes…
 
Dear Dad,
I have a very important job.  Millions of people look to me for leadership every day.  Frankly, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I am probably the most powerful man in the entire world, that is unless you ask my wife (LOL), if you know what I mean?  But quite seriously, after I got permission from my wife to run for this position, I worked my behind off to get where I am today.  Believe me, there were many people who never thought I would make it this far and many people who still wish I hadn’t, but in the end there really was not much of a contest.  I mean the old guy I was up against picked an unknown Alaskan chick to run with him who couldn’t tell the difference between the White House and an outhouse!  I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to walk out to tell me I’d been Punked but then I realized the old man was being serious.  Now she’s going around the country, speaking at these Tea Party events which are one sheet away from a KKK rally.  It's times like these that I wish I was a communist ‘cause I’d sick the CIA on her perky ass, ya betch’ya! So here I am now, leader of the free world and in all honesty, this is a lot more stressful then I expected it to be!    For some reason I thought this was going to be like past leaders who came into this job, where everyone rallied around him, accepted him as their chief of staff, and got down to business.  But it seems instead half the country hates me, and half of the government won’t work with me on anything.  It is really starting to depress me!  Thank god we’ve got the majority in congress, for now at least.  But regardless I’ve tried to be fair and include the other side in everything but nothing seems to work.  It seems like the only people who like me unanimously are the Europeans.  This would be great if I was the ruler of Europe but I’m not.   But my biggest problem is that there is this group of bullies who just won’t leave me alone.  Every day they go on their stupid television network and spread constant, unbelievable lies about me.  And the worst of it is that the people who watch them believe every word they say like it’s coming from the mouth of god.   I mean how stupid are these people?  Are they too damn ignorant to operate a computer?  It’s called the internet people, do a little research!   Check the facts for gods sake!  For once and for all, I was born in Hawaii, I am a Christian, not a Muslim.   I am a Democrat, not a Socialist, or a Fascist, or a Communist, or a Marxist and I am most absolutely not the Anti-Christ!  I do love this country, and yes, I also think it was crazy that I got a Nobel Peace Prize.   Let’s be real, I hadn’t even done anything yet!   I just don’t get it, I‘m a nice person.  I’m tall, decent looking and have a great smile and I am always trying to get everyone involved.  For example I just did this really nice thing.  I gave health care insurance to 34 million more Americans who could never get it before.  Did I get even an ounce of help from the opposition or at least a thank you?  Hell NO!  They did everything they could to stop me no matter how much I tried to get them involved.  I eliminated pre-existing conditions, no more caps on coverage, and you can go to any doctor you want.  You would think that everyone would love me.  But according to them, not only am I going to kill grandma but I’m also gonna bring about Armageddon!  I mean really, Armageddon?  Now I have to choose a new Supreme Court Justice and I just know this is going to another partisan pain in my half black ass!  Dear Dad, what can I do to finally bring everyone together so that this nomination goes smoothly and we can work together from now on in political peace and harmony?  Oh one more thing I forgot to mention, now the Jews are pissed at me as well because I kind of snubbed Netanyahu on his last visit here, Oy Vey!
   
Signed, Potus

    
  
Answer:
  
Dear Potus,
Were you not hugged enough as a child?  Where does this insatiable need for everyone to come together and get along come from?  Sure in a perfect world this would great.  We would all think alike, we would all agree, but guess what, that would be frigin boring!  Variety is the spice of life.  That is what makes America great, that we can all think and say what ever we want no matter how wrong, misleading, and completely untrue it might be.  To be frank with you Potus, wake up!  You got the power and up until now, you have yet to use it.  Stop trying to make friends with the other side and get the job done.  You and your friends can pretty much do any thing you want and you are spending way to much time trying to get everyone to agree and come together.  Do you think if the old man got the job he’d be spending one second trying to get you to agree with him?  No, he would be pushing through every piece of legislation he could regardless if you approve of it or not before he croaks and Miss Alaska is running things!  So I say stop with the Kumbaya bull-shit, go grow some gonads, screw the opposition, tell those bullies to go to hell, spend the next few years making some real change in this country, and stop pissing off the Jews!  Believe me you do not want to get them mad.
 
 
If you would like advice from Dear Dad you can write him at nsdblog-deardad@yahoo.com.

 

 

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Parties, We Don't Need No Stinkin' Parties!

 

My grandmother was born in England.  She had this kind of half Jewish half English accent.  But just like any good English lady she always drank tea, and always with milk, just like a good Brit should.  Grandma was a tea bagger. She didn’t use any of that fancy herbal tea, only good old fashion Lipton tea bags. She never drank coffee and back then there was no Starbucks so she never had the opportunity to try any of the foo foo coffee drinks that may have opened her world up to the joys of lattés.  That’s right my grandma tea bagged.  She tea bagged every chance she could get.  And she didn’t care who’s tea bags they were, she would soak them, squeeze them dry and get all the juice out of them she could.  She was a real Tea Partier, the real deal. I myself don’t like tea bagging, and only mildly like coffee.  Myself, I like a good beer.  And not just any beer, a good English ale or wheat beer.
  
So here is what I am proposing and hear me out on this.  To all you Tea Partiers, (and by the way, don’t you find it even a little bit funny that in the beginning you called yourself Tea Baggers which is a sexual term that refers to placing a mans testicles in your mouth?  I mean that was really dumb, like Sarah Palin dumb, and that’s really dumb! Oh and what’s the difference between Sarah Palin and a box of rocks?  About 30 IQ points and a red blazer.) and to all you Coffee Partiers, (listen I get it, you’re Democrats and wanted to make a group that countered the Tea Partiers so you called yourself Coffee Partiers, but really that is pretty lame, don’t you agree?  Tea Partiers are up there yelling at the top of their lungs, calling Senators the “N” word, spitting on Democrat Congressmen, throwing rocks and chairs through windows and yelling baby killer at town hall meetings, and you guys are sipping skinny, soy, no whip, grande caramel lattes, while eating cinnamon scones, and low fat cranberry orange muffins.  Way to make an impact!) there has got to be a better way then all of this Democrat, Republican, tea bag, coffee crap.  The problem we have is that in Washington nobody votes simply what they believe.  Democrats vote their party line.  Republicans vote their party line and what ends up happening is that if there is a Republican or a Democrat that wants to sway from the party line and does so, they are then banished from their party and can never make a deal again in DC to get their own bills passed. So what we are stuck with is constant partisan all or nothing votes.  But there is a solution.
 
Eliminate all parties!  I’m talking Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green Party, Socialist Party, the Constitution Party, all of them!  Let everyone be Independent, think what ever they want, not be bound by party lines, and then we will see some real fireworks happen in Washington!  Just imagine it.  No one could ever be accused of abandoning their party because there wouldn’t be any.  Politicians could wheel and deal with anyone they want to and vote their conscience instead of voting their party.  But how do we start this?  How do we get it going?  Like any movement it has to start with the people.  But it can not happen all at once.  Like any grass roots movement it must start small.  It must happen with one party and then all the other parties will follow suit like lemmings.  I believe the best way to approach this is for every Democrat, and independent to send the following letter to every Republican you know:

Dear (Republican friend),
 
We Democrats and Independents have decided that enough is enough, enough partisanship, enough bickering and enough parties!  Even though we do not see eye to eye on the issues, the party system is not letting us vote our conscience.  Those of us who want to vote different then our party are bound to the party lines and we can not think for our selves.  The solution is simple.  Join us in eliminating the party system, join us in declaring that we are all Independents and join us in voting your mind, not your party.  Together we can create a better America, one that the great Ronald Regan would be proud of!  Now you go first.  Get this ball of independence rolling and we promise to follow next.  Together let’s follow the immortal words of Sarah Palin, “I Quit.”
 
Your Democratic friend and soon to be Independent, I promise, pinky swear, I really will quit my party, you can count on me, would I let you down?
 
(your name here)

 
Before you know it there will be no more Republicans, FOX “News” will be gone, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh will move together to Costa Rica and the only thing left to do will be to have a real party!  I’ll supply the beer.

 

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Spinning The Propaganda Machine

 

You can say what you want about Adolph Hitler, but the fact is he could spin the propaganda machine like nobody could.  The reason that he and the Nazi party were so successful in perpetrating the crimes against the Jews and all of humanity was that he was able to convince an entire nation that his bullshit was fact.  He made the entire country of Germany, who before he came along really had no problem with the Jews, believe that the Jews were the sole reason for all of there problems.  How did he do this?  With a systematic and very well organized and thought out campaign of constant nonstop and never wavering talking points that constantly placed the Jews at the center of every thing that was the downfall of German life.  He made people believe complete falsehoods were complete facts no matter how illogical they were. And by the way, if you’re not Jewish, don’t feel left out.  Besides killing 6 million Jews, Hitler also killed 3 million Polish Catholics, 500 thousand Gypsies, 15,000 homosexuals, and countless others who stood up against the Nazis because they did not share there beliefs, or tried to hide Jews, or just did not fit into the Nazis perfect vision of the perfect race.  In total Hitler killed over 11 million individuals with the most of course being the Jews.  And Why?  Because of lies and propaganda.
 
Why do I bring this up?  Because I see it happening again today.  In a recent pole by the well respected Harris organization it was revealed that 67 percent of Republicans believe that Obama is a Socialist.  57 percent believe that he is a Muslim.  45 percent believe that he was not born in the United States and therefore is not eligible to be president.  24 percent believe that he may be the Anti-Christ, and 38 percent believe that he is “doing many of the things that Hitler did.”  And why do they believe these utterly ridiculous lies and falsehoods?  Because of a systematic and very well organized and thought out campaign of constant nonstop and never wavering talking points that constantly place President Obama at the center of every thing that according to the right is the downfall of American life.  And while I could very easily write off this poll as crazy, I can’t because it begs the question, how does this happen in the United States that so many people believe that these lies are in fact truths?  Why is their such utter disrespect and contempt for this president?  This is not the first time that a Republican has lost to a Democrat.  Fourteen months into Bill Clintons presidency their were no protests in the streets, no Tea Party movements, nobody shouting out “Liar!” during state of the union addresses.  Everyone was much more civil.  What is it about this particular president that is invoking such unbelievably strong and at times vial and frankly embarrassing reactions fourteen months into his presidency? 
 
Of course their is the easy answer, the media machine for the Republicans, FOX “News”.  The fact that there slogan is “Fair and Balanced” is laughable to the point that I don’t think that even they believe it.   There over obvious smear campaign against President Obama and everything Democratic is so blatant that their are websites devoted specifically to exposing the daily lies told by FOX “News”.  Their are no web sites exclusively devoted to exposing lies or misinformation from CNN, MSNBC, or ABC News.  But Fox “News” has maintained a consistent line of negative rhetoric that is repeated hundreds of time a day by whatever “newscaster” happens to be on at the time. While other stations will refer to “Health Care Reform”, Fox “News” will call it “Obamacare” or the “Government Takeover.”  Fox was not just reporting about the Tea Parties, they were active sponsors and appeared as speakers at many of the rallies.  During the presidential campaign, FOX “News” would only refer to Barack Obama as Barack “Husain” Obama in order to consistently portray him as a Muslim. Fox News has overstepped the boundaries of fair, balanced, and objective journalism so many times, they have lost all of there credibility to everyone except there core demographic of mostly white ultra conservative middle to upper class Republicans, and uneducated white rural America who are already predisposed to be untrustworthy of any African-American and especially one that has a Muslim sounding middle name.  Just like the Nazis did, Fox “News” and other conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, consistently repeat completely false rhetoric that is meant to deceive, and misinform, and has now incited hatred and violence against the Democratic party and the President.
   
Dick Morris on Fox – (03/19/10)  “Obama "is going to adopt the entire socialist program by essentially circumventing the Constitution.”  
  
Glenn Beck on Fox – (03/09/09)  ”Obama is so clearly a socialist…he has surrounded himself with Marxists his whole life…and this is who he is.” 
  
Rush Limbaugh - (03/24/10)  “Now, as far as this Hitler business, one of the first things that the National Socialist Party did was try to nationalize health care…the facts are facts. The president is a socialist.”    
   
The rhetoric on Fox “News” is neither fair nor balanced.  And while I have no problem with a network being one sided completely to the right, I have a huge problem with a network portraying themselves as a news station and deceiving there viewers into believing that the information being broadcast is completely “Fair and Balanced” facts when the reality is that most of what they report is in fact completely slanted to support the ultra-conservative right and the Republican party.  Although I completely disagree with most everything that Rush Limbaugh has to say, he does not claim to be a journalist.  He claims to be an opinionated conservative talk show host and nothing more.  This is not so on FOX.  They claim to report the news but do nothing but spew consistent lies and misinformation.  They do a disservice to there audience who believes that they are getting “Fair and Balanced” news, and they do a disservice to the institution of journalism.  Over time they helped fuel an atmosphere of hate and intolerance in this country that has led to insane acts of violence against the Democratic Party and individual citizens, simply because Health Insurance Reform was passed in Washington.
 
But in addition to FOX “News”, their is something else here, something deeper that makes the reactions to this president much different then the reactions to other presidents.  This nation has a history of watching political candidates make promises, make speeches about how they are going to bring change, tell us how radically different things will be when they get into office, and then we watch promises get broken and things mostly go on as they have been.  It is something that we as Americans have come to expect from our political candidates.  We had been used to voting for the lesser of two evils, voting against one candidate rather then voting for the other. But this time it was different.  This time it was a movement.  This time a candidate with seemingly everything against him, African-American, a first name that, at least to white-America, sounded unlike anything we had ever heard before, a middle name that sounded Muslim, a father born in Kenya, and not a very long career in national politics, rose above all the other candidates with his consistent message of Change, of Hope, and of Yes We Can, not to mention a unflappable calmness that could never be shaken.  The fact that Barack Obama himself was not “the same” as every other candidate we had ever seen only reinforced his message of change and reflected the mood of a country that had been fed up with eight years of George W. Bush and where he had brought us.  And the fact is it was not just those supporters that night in Grant Park who could not believe their eyes when they watched President-Elect Barack Obama give that speech, it was also those who were opposed to Barack Obama who could not believe their eyes, who still can not believe their eyes, and who will not rest until this President, one way or an other is no longer in office. 

While Obama's supporters prayed that his message of Change would be backed up with actions, his opposition prayed it would not.  It is what they had come to expect just like we all had.  But change came, and with Health Insurance Reform it came hard.  And DAM, if a Socialist, Muslim, Anti-Christ, who wasn’t even born in the United States, is going to have Government-Run ObamaCare, with there “Rationing” and “Death Panels”,  rammed down there throats!
   
This is what they believe.  This is the injustice.  The violence and the threats to members of the Democratic party that followed the passing of this bill should never have happened, and the fact that it did is a direct result of how the Republicans conducted themselves during this debate, the lies that were told, and the obstructionist atmosphere that was created.  The Republican Party, through their direct rhetoric and Fox “News”, made people believe complete falsehoods, were complete facts, no matter how illogical they were. They were able to convince a significant portion of America that there bullshit was fact.  They spun the propaganda machine, like nobody could. Well...almost nobody.

 

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