I want to thank an old High School friend, Todd, for inspiring this weeks posting.
A few days ago, I came across this on his Facebook page;
We are screwed unless we take action now to reform our entire system. This is not something that Romney or Obama or the Tea Party anyone currently DC is going to do. We need to take our country back.
Who is the we? Those of us who are so too darn comfortable in our everyday lives, and think that someone else is going to take care of the problem. Guess what, we outsourced our responsibilities to this parasitic career politicians and we are getting just what we deserve.
Anyone who wants to talk to me about what they can do to make a change, I’m ready for your call.
Sound like anyone my readers might know?
I think part of the reason I stopped writing was because I became frustrated by saying the same thing, over and over again and, facing the reality that no one was listening, I quit.
Well that and my girlfriend fiancee had pretty much drained me of the “anger” that drove The Angry Jew.
The fact of the matter is, Todd, I agree with you 100%.
Sadly, however, I have to tell you my friend, it is my humble opinion that nothing is ever going to change.
Oh, I am sure we will see different names, different faces, new slogans, repackaged rhetoric. A fresh idea will surface, a movement will start and then whither and die on the vine, but I am afraid our current status quo is about all we are going to have.
You nailed the reason.
We HAVE become too darned comfortable with our everyday lives.
Lets face it, at our simplest, 97% of us are worker bees. We live, eat, work, reproduce & consume. We serve no real purpose other then to perpetuate the myth that our lives have some sort of meaning, when, in stark reality, we serve no real function other then to convince ourselves that we are anything more then dust motes floating in the vastness of space. We created religion to attempt to explain it all, give it meaning. We have invented art and music to prove to ourselves that we are above our animalistic origins and worthy of the “soul” endowed to us be our creator.
I am not saying that any of this is a bad thing, hell, I work fifty plus hours a week at what is, basically, a menial factory job. It allows me to provide for my family, enjoy the company of friends and occasionally step up on to my digital soapbox.
We delude ourselves into thinking that as individuals, or gathered into like minded groups, we can accomplish “change”, that we can better this society we have created.
It is an illusion.
Speaking specifically, the entity that began as The United States of America has become what it is because that is the way we wanted it.
We created the career politicians because none of us wanted to go spend time in the malarial infested swamp that was our nations capitol. As initially envisioned, democracy meant that we would send one of our own to represent our interests for a short period of time and then when that period was over, we would return to our farms and allow the next to take his turn.
Pretty simple really.
However, because we are a lazy, selfish species at heart, we decided to allow those who wanted to serve to keep going back, again and again, until we finally created what we fought a revolution to escape, a ruling class. A power elite that would remove from us the responsibility of thinking for our selves.
So here we are a couple of hundred years later and now we are reaping what we sowed, and we are not happy about it.
So what do we do?
How do we regain our way?
I was a witness to change, real change just once in my life. I had a front row seat.
I was serving in the Navy in the Philippians in 1985 when the widow of a murdered politician overthrew a virtual dictator with yellow ribbons and people power. Corizon Aquino‘s rise to power was, for all intents and purposes, a bloodless coup. After deposing Ferdinand Marcos, she helped to restore her nations constitution and set the country on the road to prosperity.
I am not saying that the Philippians is now a paradise, far from it, but those folks are a damned sight better off then they were.
In more recent history, we have seen the beginnings of true democracy take root and begin to flourish through this years “Arab Spring”.
What have we done to effect this kind of change in America?
The Occupy Movement.
Can we say Epic Fail.
The Occupy Movement failed to accomplish anything because, wait for it….We didn’t want it to.
The folks at the top, the career politicians and the wealthy donors who put them there are just fine with the way things are and the rest of us, well, anything that interferes with the status quo is scary and dangerous. It might interfere with our cheap gas and groceries and could interrupt access to Netflix.
Am I saying that the only way to accomplish meaningful change in this country is for a “people power” revolution or an armed insurrection to remove the government in place as provided for in our own Constitution?
Listen, back when I was writing The Angry Jew full time, I used a tracking program to see where people were logging on from. I was not surprised to see, given my military background that, for a few hours every month, someone is the Pentagon was logging on for a few hours reading my stuff. I figured that they wanted me to know that they were reading and a visit from nice young men in cheap suits and dark glasses is not high on my list of things to do.
What I am saying to you, Todd, and to anyone else that might be reading, is that for real change, there must be real sacrifice and I just don’t see enough people in this country ready to get off their well fed drone butts to make it happen.
At least that is what I am saying here.
If you find yourself here in the Pacific Northwest Todd, drop me a line and we can grab a few micro brews and I will tell you what I really think.
I know it’s been a while since we have talked, but since a musician friend of mine has been heavily promoting this site at his gigs, I figured I should probably generate some new content every now and again.
As most of you know, and those of you who don’t will only have to read a few of my collected essays to come to realize, I don’t hold the human race in very high regard.
I pretty much think most people suck, that they are selfish, greedy little piggies who care almost as little for their fellow man as I do for most of them.
Not that I fault humanity for this. For too long we have believed ourselves to be the top of the food chain and we do everything in our power to reinforce this belief. I can’t help but think if maybe a Godzilla or a herd or two of zombies would pop up every once in a while to remind us how insignificant we are, we would take the time to be better people.
My personal belief is that we have been supplanted by dogs in this regard as you will almost never see a dog following a human around picking up their poop. They have us trained very well, our four legged masters have.
But I digress.
So, even with my most cynical of attitudes and a deeply held belief that mankind could best serve the planet by completing our mad dash towards oblivion and allowing the rats and roaches to earn their well deserved shot at evolution, sometimes I will be a witness to a simple act of decency that will, for a moment, actually make me believe there just might be a glimmer of hope for us.
One such moment occurred the other day when Miz Mona and I were at our local grocery store.
We were in the check out line, getting ready to pay for our purchases when an elderly woman approached our checker. In her hand she had a plastic grocery bag containing 3 or 4 items.
“Excuse me” she said, “but I believe you gave me someone else’s groceries.”
Our checker paled a little and looked in the bag.
“Oh my” exclaimed the checker, “these things were from the customer in front of you.”
“I thought so,” said our elderly customer.
I was moved, for you see, when I say elderly, I am not exaggerating. She was 75 if she was a day and none to spry. She had obviously made it all the way to her car and realizing that she was in possession of merchandise that she had not payed for, she made the effort to return to the check out line so that the individual who had paid for them would have the opportunity to reclaim them.
I was moved.
It harkened back to an earlier time when honesty and integrity meant something. She was the embodiment of her upbringing, raised in a time when if you found a wallet in the street, you didn’t clean out the cash and ditch the rest. You made the effort to find the owner.
She was a reflection of the values that had made this country one of the greatest nations on earth. How she most mourn the America of her youth and how she must disdain what it has become.
For a brief moment, I felt hope.
Hope, that perhaps, this one act of selflessness might serve as a a shining example to others. That it might inspire others to chose the path that she has walked and perhaps restore our once proud people to their former glory.
I had to say something.
“Ma’am, excuse me, but I have to say, that is one of the nicest things I have seen anyone do in a very long time. It is a tribute to your honesty and integrity that you returned these items when you realized they didn’t belong to you.”
“Oh, there was nothing in there that I wanted. If there was, I would have just kept it.”
As I sit here, The Supreme Court of these United States is attempting to decide if lying about ones military service and awards is a violation of federal law or constitutionally protected free speech.
The fact that this question has made it to our highest court of law should serve as just one more bit of proof that my basic philosophy regarding America is as true today as it has ever been.
America we are FUCKED.
Now this an ABC News interview with a real Medal of Honor recipient. Note the humility, the belief that the award is for all serving Americans, the people he has served with. Be proud of this young man. He has displayed honor and bravery above and beyond the call of duty.
Now this gentleman is the other side of the coin. This “gentleman” is Xavier Alvarez, a minor politician from California.
Mr Alvarez is quoted by ABC News as having said;
“I’m a retired Marine for 25 years. I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.”
Too bad that the son of a bitch has never served a day in uniform.
Congress, showing a moment of brief clarity passed The Stolen Valor Act in 2006, which, when boiled down states that if you fib about military decorations it is a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in the slam, unless of course you are really trying to get laid and tell her you won the CMH. That little slip up earns you a year.
Well, Mr Alvarez apparently sucked at the telling of tall tales, some of his biggies included claims that he had played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, marrying a Mexican beauty queen and rescuing a US diplomat from Tehran during the hostage crisis.
See what I mean.
Anyway, he got caught, plead guilty, then challenged the law as a violation of his free speech.
Those putzs on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with this SOB and held that The Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional as it does not distinguish the type of speech, such as slander or libel. The court believed that this would start us down a slippery slope that would lead to such common lies as “The check is in the mail” or “I promise I will not show those nude photos of you I took with my cell phone to the guys at work” (OK, bad example, but you get the idea) becoming unlawful.
The 10th circuit court has since upheld the law, which has led us to today.
I would hope that The Supreme Court would uphold a law intended to insure that the valor of our men and women in uniform and to to see that anyone trying to usurp their achievements for their own personal gain.
The law does not cover little white lies, “Sea Stories” (if it did, I would be buying up some soap on a rope for my stay at the grey bar hotel) or shit guys say trying to get laid, and if such a law were to come to pass, I promise you I would be among the first to speak out against it.
All we can do at this point is hope and pray that the Justices feel the same.
No, what is confusing me is what does Mr Alvarez hope to gain with all this legal maneuvering?
To clear his tarnished name? He already plead guilty to the charges, saying is essence, yes, I lied about being a Marine Corp hero, or for that matter, being a Marine.
Is he hoping maybe it can help clean up his resume?
As luck would have it, The Angry Jew recently was able to obtain a transcript of a recent job interview that Mr Alvarez participated in.
“Why exactly did you leave your last position, Mr Alvarez”
“UH…I kind of got caught in a little white lie”
“So Mr Alvarez, it says here that you were a Marine Corp Hero”
“Uhh, not exactly, I might have made that up to get a job on a Water Board”
“But I challenged the law protecting the real heroes and had it abolished”
“So you see, when the law is struck down, I will have done nothing wrong, so you would have to give me a job”
“And so I shall, here is your bucket, your spray bottle and squeegee. Welcome to The Scrubba Dubba Car Wash family.”
In reality, I am sure that if the law is upheld, Mr Alvarez will probably receive community as he would technically be a celebrity.
Might I suggest at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Maybe something to do with Bayonet Practice.
I am sure he would be grateful to be able to spend some quality time with his “brother” Marines
I have got to get this off my chest before I explode.
America, I Love You, but what the FUCK are you doing?
Our nation is facing a crisis that makes September 11 look like a day in a kiddie sandbox and all you can do is obsess about the latest Harry Potter movie.
What the hell is wrong with you people?
I don’t know if this rant is fueled more by blind outrage or the three 12 hour shifts I just pulled at work, and, to be frank, I don’t care.
You people have done this to yourselves and you deserve whatever comes after America’s credit rating stops looking like that of a nation founded on integrity and begins to look more like, well, mine.
You confuse charisma with leadership and ideals with the ability to pander to the masses.
You elected, I say you because I did not vote because I didn’t like either of the choices, on a promise of change, and while I am sure he took the job with the best of intentions, intentions don’t cut it with the Washington power elite. With those sharks there are only two choices. You can either buck the system and get ground down like the eraser on a pencil on April 13th or you can go with the flow and help bleed what is left of our nation dry.
I, because I like to do silly little things like,oh read the news, do a little investigating on my own, ask questions, you know all those dull boring things that get in the way of rooting for my favorite celeb on Dancing With The Stars, was not given a choice.
McCain and Palin?
The fact that Palin is still considered politically viable by the Tea Baggers is just further proof of my theory that the only thing that will save this once great nation of ours is to immediately eliminate all warning labels on products and then sit back for ten years while Mr Darwin does his work.
2012 is going to be no better. Who are you offering me to go against Obama? Bachman?
OK, I know that by their very nature conservative Republicans are intellectually stunted, but do you really expect America to swallow that two faced cunts bold ass lies.
Well, now that I think about it, of course you do, barring the chlorine working its way through the gene pool.
Bachman is a woman of the people, of the land, a farmer, until it comes out that she accepted farm subsidies that are meant for, well, REAL FUCKING FARMERS. Then it was her Daddy’s farm, and she was just managing it with her hubby, Mr Pray The Gay Away.
This is the couple you expect me to put in MY White House?
Are you fucking HIGH?
Our potential First husband in a religious wacko closet queen, Oh don’t tell me he isn’t, anyone that anti gay has got have more then a few pairs of red velvet pumps sitting next to the skeletons in his closet.
It’s 2011 people, time to wake up and let go of the homophobia. You want to know what homosexuality leads to? It leads to tastefully decorated homes, gourmet meals and good parenting. This Christian Conservative version of reality where homosexuality is responsible for everything from the fall of The Dallas Cowboys to the diddling of little boys does not wash.
You people need to get your facts straight, pun intended.
Let us not forget it was The Catholic fucking Church that turned pedophilia into a wholesale business. I have a better chance of floating of to The Rapture come October then these fucks.
I feel better.
Of course, America is still going to melt down come August 2nd.
That is until, just before the stroke of midnight, Obama will announce a compromise that will raise the debt ceiling just enough to let Halburton and Rupert Murdock fist fuck us for just a little longer.
Now I dont want this, my first post in many months, to be a complete downer, so I am enclosing a clip of Americas greatest news man, telling it like it is.
Hello friends, I am back once again to save Americas sorry asses.
I, your humble servant, have, in a stroke of sheer genius, or, maybe I was just having a stroke, solved once and for all, Americas Debt crisis.
Thank you, Thank you, No really, please, stop, your embarrassing me.
OK, here goes.
Now there are those who say Washington is out of touch with the average American. They are right.
And you know why?
Because they do not have enough interaction with you and I, the unwashed masses. It is time to change that. We are going to kill two birds with one stone.
Are you getting excited yet? Are you feeling this?
So here is how we are going to pay off the national debt and put our leaders back in touch with the people.
We are going to hold a series of lotteries!
I know, I know, sure its been done.
Why not hold a telethon, for Christs sake, you waste all this time on a the build up and then that’s the best you can give us…Get Bent Jew Boy
Now wait just a second, you haven’t heard the best part. Here is what we do.
For $10 you buy a chance to spend the weekend at The White House.
You will spend three days, two nights in The Peoples House, with full, unfettered access to the President and the first family. Round trip transportation provided by The United States Air Force, all meals included, your own Secret Service detail, all the perks.
Chew the fat with The Commander In Chief over breakfast, work a bit in the White House vegetable garden, sit in on the planning of the invasion of an oil producing nation, all this and more.
Now, having just one prize is not going to pay off our trillions of dollars of debt, so, for $5 you can buy a chance to spend the weekend with a member of Congress and for $2 a chance to bunk down at the home of a Cabinet Secretary.
Got a beef with the ATF?
Buy a shot to spend the weekend with The Secretary of Treasury.
Concerned about Air Traffic Controllers falling asleep at the switch?
Take a chance to pull an all nighter with The Secretary of Transportation.
Need to hear all the juicy international gossip that even Wikileaks was afraid to publish?
Pony up $2 to listen in on The Secretary of State.
I am telling you people, this will work.
Now I am sure our elected officials will be solidly behind this idea. It’s revenue neutral. All of our elected officials agree to give up one pork barrel trip home for the weekend every six months to cover the cost of a constituent coming to them. The infrastructure is in place, most states already have lotteries, and for those who don’t, tickets can be sold in post offices and Federal Buildings. Hell, we can even hire a private company to run the thing for us, just like we do with our wars.
Just to sweeten the pot a bit, we could even create a reality show around the winners. Fuck Dancing With The Stars….How about “The Peoples Weekend”? OK, so it’s just a working title, come up with something better if you don’t like it. The advertising revenues over production costs would go to the national debt.
I am telling you folks, it is either this or we are going to end up with that crap Paul Ryan is spouting. I am telling you, you are not going to like that shit one little bit.
With my plan, everybody wins.
GE can continue to not pay taxes on Billions in profits, the wealthy can keep their tax cuts, the winners not only get the kind of access to our government that was once only available to high paid lobbyists but get to be real live media whores as well and our elected officials get to keep all their perks because we are going to have a one in a billion shot at living like they do for a couple of days.
This rant is dedicated to my friend Scott in Japan and to all of our men and women, and their families, currently stationed in or assisting with relief efforts…you are the best of us.
I realize I am part of the problem, but enough is enough.
I am, like most of you, a news junkie in times of crisis. I heard about the Japanese earthquake just an hour or so after it happened, and I was instantly flipping between CNN and MSNBC while surfing the news services trying to catch every detail.
I have been horrified by the devastation and having grown up in earthquake country, I know all to well the sounds and smells that accompany the horrific images that have been coming from the disaster zone. I know the feeling of helplessness that comes with each trembler that comes after a major quake.
I also think it is important for the American public to be informed. While I do not think we here are going to suffer any direct consequences from the disaster, (I have to admit that I laughed at the disaster declarations in California and here in my home state of Oregon following the arrival of the tsunami to our shores, given the devastation caused in Japan.) that is, other then increased prices for Japanese products. Check out the spot price today for microchips, and believe me, it is only the beginning. I can see a nationwide shortage of Hello Kitty gear in our future.
But, as much as I believe in our right to be informed, when I see that every network affiliate here in Portland, which is not even what is considered a major media market, has sent a team of reporters to cover the disaster, I have to ask myself, is our addiction to information causing more harm the good?
Let us say there are twelve major markets in the US. Each market has 4 affiliates, FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC. So that is 48 stations. Each station sends a reporter. Now of course, the reporters are not going alone, they have to take a camera man, sound man and probably a field producer. So we have sent 192 people. Each of those people are going to eat, and I am deliberately trying to be conservative here, two meals a day. That is 384 meals. Let us say each of those meals would feed two or perhaps three survivors. Lets say two. That is food taken out of the mouths 768 people who need it.
Now I am purposely not including all the NAME anchors that all the Networks and News Agencies are sending over to lead there efforts to provide the most comprehensive coverage possible, and, since we are the world leader, every nation on earth is going to be following our example. I would not be surprised if the Dubai Daily News has not sent two or three people into the disaster zone, and each of those people is consuming resources that should be spared for the survivors.
If the world’s media wants to impress me, let me see a shot of reporters giving up their North Face Extreme Weather clothing to a survivor or of them emptying out the coolers from the back of their vehicles or to drain the fuel from those vehicles and give it to a survivor searching the country side for their relatives. At this point, those are the stories I want to hear.
When I see Anderson Cooper poking through the muck, assisting in the location of bodies or spending the day consoling children who have lost their families, then I will believe that the medias presence is justified.
Our media has enough to do right here at home.
I want to see KOIN News send some reporters over to local grocery stores to do a piece on the panic buying of Sodium Iodine and Kelp by idiots who think this will somehow protect them from radiation that might make it all the way across the pacific and here to Portland.
Just to answer a few readers who I know will argue my closing statement allow me to amplify. The odds of any radioactive material from even a complete melt down in Japan reaching the West Coast are MINIMAL, that is to say that events may conspire to prove me wrong.
The distances involved make it impossible for particles large enough to create a serious health risk to stay aloft long enough to reach us. At the very worst, and my information is based on statements made by independent scientists as opposed to Bill Nye, The Science Guy, who CNN used the other day to explain to the American Public how a nuclear reactor works, God Help Us, we can expect to see a small increase in background radiation levels.
Yes, while iodine taken PRIOR to exposure to radioactive iodine will prevent it from being absorbed into the thyroid gland, it will not have ANY effect on any other radioactive materials, such as cesium, plutonium or uranium. If you inhale a particle of plutonium you are dead no matter how much kelp you eat.
Maybe it’s the fact that i am just coming of a week long depressive episode and I am getting decent sleep for the first time in days or that I am just getting a bit cranky, but I had to take issue with a story in todays Oregonian.
Actually, it was the way two unrelated stories came together.
And no, I am not talking about TriMets decision to allow miniature horses to ride on buses and light rail as service animals, although….
On page two there was a story regarding Presidents Obama’s remarks at a gala celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s inauguration.
Apparently our current democrat was inspired by Kennedy’s “Ask Not” Speech. You know, the one that goes…
I always found it pretty inspiring myself.
It is a shame that our elected representatives do not feel the same way.
On page 1 came a story that is essence says there is no way the current administration, and in my opinion, any future administration, is going to be able to reform that jumbled mess of rules, regulations and exceptions that is known as our current tax code.
“We’re examining whether we can find the political support for a comprehensive tax reform,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at a recent economic forum.
The tax code is 3.8 million words long and growing. In the past decade, there have been 4,428 changes — an average of more than one a day, according to a recent report by Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent watchdog within the Internal Revenue Service.
Now I am not going to go into a long winded explanation of how a flat tax would benefit our nation by widening the tax base, or how by increasing taxes on Capitol Gains and on the top 5% of our wealthiest citizens we might be able to spread out the burden.
I could probably score a point or two by telling you all that as an unmarried male with no children who uses minimal government services, I pay more in taxes then some of the largest companies operating in my home state.
Here are the figures straight from Oregon.Gov
S corporations carrying on or doing business in Oregon are subject to $150 minimum tax. ORS 317.090
C corporations carrying on or doing business in Oregon are subject to minimum tax based on Oregon sales shown here:
Less than $500,000, minimum tax is $150.
$500,000 or more, but less than $1 million, minimum tax is $500.
$1 million or more, but less than $2 million, minimum tax is $1,000.
$2 million or more, but less than $3 million, minimum tax is $1,500.
$3 million or more, but less than $5 million, minimum tax is $2,000.
$5 million or more, but less than $7 million, minimum tax is $4,000.
$7 million or more, but less than $10 million, minimum tax is $7,500.
$10 million or more, but less than $25 million, minimum tax is $15,000.
$25 million or more, but less than $50 million, minimum tax is $30,000.
$50 million or more, but less than $75 million, minimum tax is $50,000.
$75 million or more, but less than $100 million, minimum tax is $75,000.
For what I paid in state taxes last year I could have been a corporation earning between one and two million dollars…not bad for a guy who cleared 40 grand, huh?
The bottom line Mr. Geithner is a simple one and one that you will never hear spoken aloud in Washington, at least where the media or your average citizen can hear it.
Simply stated, no one in Washington is going to take the tax burden off my back and place it on the backs of the corporations and special interest groups that put them in office.
You know it and we know it.
I am afraid that Nina Olson’s quote that closed the article just does not hold water.
“The dirty little secret is that the largest special interests are us — the vast majority of U.S. taxpayers,” Olson said. “Virtually all of us benefit from certain exclusions from income, deductions from income, or tax credits.”
The only people you would hear whining if the tax base were widened and EVERYONE was made accountable for correcting the fiscal mismanagement that this country has engaged in for the last 50 years, would be the corporations and wealthy individuals who have profited from it.
Maybe it is time that someone in Government should spend some time asking themselves President Kennedy’s question and see, what if anything, America can do for US!
About three times a week, I am treated to a letter in The Oregonian Op/Ed section about how everyone needs to quit whining about the new invasive pat down searches.
Apparently, at least according to these folks, the fine folks at The TSA are looking out for us and keeping us safe and if we don’t like it, don’t fly.
OK, I will concede that point.
If…Someone…Somewhere…can explain to me just how in the hell someone got a checked bag full of pistol primers onto a flight bound for Jamaica.
How where they detected, you ask?
A high tech sniffer machine?
One of those chemical test strips that they rub around inside your bag?
A keen nosed sniffer dog?
They were detected when they exploded and damn near set a baggage handler on fire.
If you need the details you can check out the story on CNN here.
Im sorry, but if you guys cant find a couple of hundred highly explosive primers packed into some ones checked luggage, what exactly are you accomplishing by groping my junk and peeking under my clothes
I mean other then giving the flying public a false sense of security and spending my tax dollars on high tech, multi-million dollar machines that apparently cant do the job they were designed to do.