Are you ready for some …. politically charged racist nonsense, before getting on with a completely pointless game of …. football?

I suppose you’ve been wondering when I would get around to saying something about Colin Kaepernick and his sit-down protest of the national anthem.  Well, I was really hoping we could let this one slide past, but some of you just won’t let it go, on both sides, so… Here we go.  In no particular order, here are a few random thoughts on Mr. Kaepernick’s 15 minutes of infamy…

First, regardless of what I or anyone thinks of what he has to say, he absolutely has the right to say it.  We have freedom of speech in this country for a reason. If you want to live in a country where everyone is forced to stand for the national anthem, move to North Korea.  We stand by choice, out of respect.  That is as it should be.  If there is no choice it is a meaningless gesture.

Second, by the same token, if someone is disrespectful, of anything, you have every right to criticize it.  First amendment protection only protects oneself from the government, not from the opinions of individuals.  Speech has consequences.  Our first amendment simply guarantees that one of those consequences is not prison.

Third, and more to the heart of the matter, I respect Kaepernick’s desire to protest, but I think he is an absolute idiot for choosing the method he did.

Yes, an idiot.  Here’s why…

In a nutshell, his protest accomplishes nothing.  Nothing.  We have gotten so caught up in HOW he is protesting, that no one is talking about WHAT he is protesting.  His protest started a dialog alright, but it’s entirely the wrong dialog.  It is not just ineffective, it is a distraction from the dialog we should be having.

The simple fact is, black people are disproportionately more likely to be stopped, searched, detained, and arrested than white people.  They are more likely to be convicted, and are more likely to serve longer sentences.  Those facts are clear.  (Go look them up, if you like… I’ll wait.)  What is not entirely clear is whether, once stopped by the police, blacks are more likely to be injured or killed by the police than whites, but even if the rate of injury or death is the same, as one study suggests, the fact remains that they are stopped, and thus subjected to that possibility, disproportionately more often.

Regardless of the reasons, regardless of the perceptions, regardless of anecdotal evidence, the fact is that the black experience in their relationship to the police, and to the criminal justice system, is very different than the white experience.  This is the conversation we should be having.  This is what the protests should be all about.  But no, everyone’s bent about whether or not athletes should stand before a ball game.  Standing, sitting, or taking a knee is not the problem.  Nor is it the solution.  It is nothing but a distraction, and focusing on it does no one any good.

If I had any advice to offer Kaepernick (like he would have any idea who I am), it’s this.  There are other ways to start the dialog we both know needs to happen, so stop freaking out the white people, stand up, and find another way to make your point.

Third, I’ve heard a lot of people say that he has no right to complain, because he was raised by a wealthy white family, has lived a life of privilege, and is paid millions of dollars to play a game.  I’ve heard him called a whiny, ungrateful, spoiled little brat.  And worse…

This notion that, just because one has not personally experienced oppression, that one cannot protest on behalf of the oppression of others, I find this notion deeply disturbing.   This idea that I cannot complain about the unjust treatment of others, simply because I have had the good fortune to live a life or relative ease, I find personally insulting.

You do realize right, he is not protesting on behalf of himself, he is protesting on behalf of the millions of nameless, faceless people who do not have weekly exposure on national television.  If the people who enjoy celebrity will not speak out for those without a voice, who will?  Those of us who are fortunate enough to have used our skills and talents to achieve a level of success, do we not have a responsibility to advocate for those who have been less fortunate?

Personally, I believe we do.  That is why you will find me here often, complaining about things that do not affect me personally.  I believe Colin Kaepernick does too.  I just think he chose an unfortunate and ineffective way of going about it.

I hope he changes his approach soon, his current “protest” isn’t doing anyone any good.

Let’s Talk About Who We’re Voting For…

I know, it’s taboo, but…this year is the year that breaks all the rules.  Any other year, if you asked, I might tell you who I liked or didn’t like.  Any other year I might just as likely tell you it’s none of your goddamn business.  And any other year I could not possibly care one whit who you were voting for.  But, this year is different, so let’s talk about it.

I have always been registered as an Independent. I strongly lean Republican on economic and defense issues, but could never abide their desire to restrict personal freedom on social and religious issues. As a result I tend to vote Republican more often than not.

At the presidential level, I have only once not voted Republican, and that was to vote 3rd party (a deeply disappointing experience). This year would have been no different, I was prepared to hold my nose and vote for any of the other 17 Republican candidates, except one. Yes, even Ted Cruz, as repugnant as I find him, as any of those 17 were preferable to Hillary Clinton. Except one.

Additionally, I have never before publicly advocated for or endorsed any candidate. I would make general comments about any candidate, or more often about specific issues, but I was never one to publicly support any particular candidate.  For any office.  This year would have been no different, had the Republican party nominated any of their 17 candidates, except one.

But, that didn’t happen. This year IS different. It is fundamentally different. This year it is NOT about politics. It is about principle. It is about who we are as a people. It is about the survival of the Republic as we know it. I may be powerless to prevent it, but I will not knowingly be a part of the destruction of our society. I cannot and will not remain quiet about this. I can only apologize in advance if you’re tired of hearing it.

This year I will very likely do the unthinkable. I will very likely vote for Hillary Clinton, and I will urge others to consider doing the same. For the survival of the Republic. For the survival of our principles. For the survival of the American ideal. For the survival of who we are. And yes, I am fully prepared to accept the consequences if she wins.

If you cannot bring yourself to do the same, know that I while I understand, I beg you, I implore you, at least consider Gary Johnson. He really is the better choice, and a strong third party showing would do wonders for our political system, if anything is to remain of it after this year. Who knows, by November, I may even convince myself to join you.

Post-rationalism in America, an Example…

Okay, by now you’re used to me saying we now live in a world where rationality is dead, facts don’t matter, and expertise is irrelevant.
Here’s an example…
I’m sitting here not watching TV, but Property Brothers is playing as background noise, and I’m catching bits and pieces. This is the piece I just caught.
The Property Brothers just finished a walk through with the homeowners, the couple has had the house listed at $1M for seven months, with no offers. The brothers tell the couple that, in their expert opinion, the house is worth $900K.
What do you think the couples reaction was? Thank you both for your expert opinion, you guys are the professionals, you obviously know what you’re doing, I guess we will just have to adjust our expectations.
No. Of course not. Their reaction was: No, absolutely not. That is unacceptable.
This couple, based on literally zero knowledge, simply out of hand rejected the findings of experts who are so expert at their job, that the have their own TV show.  (Not that that means anything, but these guys are widely regarded as experts, with or without a TV show.)
Facts don’t matter. Rationality is for losers. Experts have no value. My uneducated ignorant opinion is every bit as valid as yours, even if you did spend literally years of your life closely studying the subject at hand as your profession, that means nothing. I can yell just as loud as you, therefore my words are just as relevant. Everyone gets a trophy.
Welcome to Post-Rational America.

Trump and Cruz — The New Win-Win…

Okay, let’s be really clear about the Ted Cruz speech at the RNC.  Trump and his campaign knew exactly what Cruz was going to say in that speech, and they put him up there anyway.  Why?  Theater.  Well, sort of…

Trump doesn’t know classical theater, but what he does know?  Professional wrestling.  He’s spent a good deal of time on stage with the WWE, and he understands exactly how it works.  Cruz gets to speak his peace at the convention for the same reason the bad-guy wrestlers get so much air time talking smack about the good-guy wrestlers, just before the good-guy wrestler makes his appearance and the bad-guy wrestler wraps it up and quickly slinks away.  Did you notice Trump’s appearance right at the end of Cruz’s speech?  That was no accident or impromptu reaction.  That was classic stagecraft, in the WWE tradition.

This was an easy “win” for Trump.  He gets to remind everyone of his overwhelming “victory” by parading his vanquished foe on stage for his fans to jeer at.  Trump gets to be the “victim”, attacked by Cruz’s refusal to endorse him. And he gets to portray Cruz as the poster-child of the conscience-voting ant-Trump Republicans, arguably their worst possible representative.  So Trump gets to be the good guy, under attack but prevailing, banishing his foes back to the political underworld from which they came.

But don’t feel bad for Cruz, it’s a “win” for him too.  He gets to “stand up for his principles”.  He gets to basically deliver a giant FU to Trump at his own convention.  And he positions himself perfectly for 2020.

Cruz is betting that the Trump campaign implodes in the general, or at least fails at electoral math.  (A real possibility, given Trump’s skill with numbers, facts, reality, etc.)  It’s not just a good bet, it’s really his only play.  A Trump win leaves Cruz out in the cold regardless of anything he does, but a Trump loss?  That’s something he can work with.  If Trump tanks and Clinton wins, Cruz is perfectly positioned for 2020 as the conservative, principled candidate.  The man who stood his ground, refused to back down to the Trump machine, and still appeals to the right and the far right.  His “strength” and “principles” become a stark contrast to Hillary, who is unlikely to win any converts, and a 2020 win for Ted becomes a very real possibility.

So yeah,  Trump knew exactly what Cruz was going to say.  And Cruz knew exactly why Trump was going to let him say it.  They probably had long meetings and conference calls about it, planning it all out.  It is the classic political win-win scenario.  Everyone wins.  Everyone benefits.  (Except as always, us.)


photo from the Tea Party Tribune

Thoughts on Trump and Religion…

Lately I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally for a Trump presidency. (Yes, I know the latest polls show him loosing, but… the Trump phenomenon has so far defied the conventional logic of polling as effectively as Kirk whooping Spock’s ass in three dimensional space chess.)
Trump has made his feelings on Muslims made very clear. Step one, don’t let any more into the country. Step two, register and track all the ones that are already here. I can only assume the unspoken step three involves rounding them up and/or shipping them off.
On the other end of the spectrum, Trump has said he wants to force everyone to say “Merry Christmas”. How he intends to do this is unclear, but that Christianity is his preferred religious group seems clear.
From this we can extrapolate that Trump intends to establish a new American caste system based on religion, with Christians enjoying all the benefits and privileges of being on top, and Muslims being kept very firmly under foot on the bottom.
My question is, where do the rest of us fit in? In Trump’s America, what is the status of the Jew, or the Buddhist, or the Hindu? Are they near the bottom with the Muslims, based on their non-Christian tradition? What about Catholics and Mormons? Are they “Christian” enough to be near the top? And what about the Atheists/Agnostics/Nones/Others? Where do they fit in Trump’s America, if at all?
Of course, we could all follow Trump’s example, and say we go to a Christian church, without the bother of actually attending. (No seriously, the church Trump claims to attend actually went out of their way to issue a statement saying that despite a long history with the Trump family, Donald himself is not a member of their congregation.)
Anyhow, I propose the following Trump American Religious Caste Hierarchy (Trump ARCH™), let me know what you think…
Pretend Christians
Pretend Catholics
Actual Christians
Actual Catholics
Snake Handlers
Mentally Handicapped
Physically Handicapped


(photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid) 

Welcome to the Irrational Age

Side effect #1 of the Internet… because information is available to everyone, expertise is no longer valued. The ironic part is most people dismiss expertise without ever availing themselves of the information available on the Internet, because of side effect #2… because everyone can publish an opinion, everyone’s opinion is thought to be equally valid, therefore information is irrelevant.

Facts are nothing more than the archaic relics of an outdated way of thinking. Belief is all that matters now, and we will bend and shape the “facts” to fit the belief. The very idea that facts are immutable, or can and should be used to shape belief, is an unnecessary absurdity from a bygone era.

Our country was founded in an Age of Rationalism. Today, our country may well fall in an Age of Irrationalism.

Remember when we had facts?

We’ve reached this weird reality where any statement is just as valid as any other. And attempts to refute statements with facts are just other statements that is just as invalid as any other. Statements rise and fall based solely on their appeal to the listener, and facts have zero weight in the equation.  We have literally factored out facts, to the point where most people don’t even recognize them as facts, or even understand why they might be important.

This is the new factless society, where rhetoric reigns supreme, where fear and hatred are the currency of the day, and facts are these useless ancient relics that only a handful of nerds collect and care about, like trading cards. No more trying to win an argument with facts, who needs that, way too tedious, just speak your mind and say what you think. If you say it, it is automatically valid, no matter what it is. Everybody gets a trophy.

We Are At War

Okay, let’s be real clear about something here. WE ARE AT WAR. And it is important, now more than ever, that we understand WHO our ENEMY is.

Muslims are not our enemy. There are 1.6 billion (that’s “billion”, with a “b”) Muslims. That’s one fourth of the planet. Most of these Muslims are non-Arabs, living quiet, peaceful lives in and around Southeast Asia. Only 20% of Muslims on the planet live in the Middle East. These Muslims tend to live lives that are neither quiet nor peaceful, but most are too busy fighting, or at least positioning, amongst themselves to be concerned too much with the West.

Arabs are not our enemy. Of the 300 million or so Arab Muslims in the Middle East, there are maybe 200,000 members of ISIS at most, and maybe half as many members of Al Qaeda, and those are the high estimates. That’s maybe 300,000 terrorists with both the interest and the capability of attacking us. That’s about one tenth of one percent of all Arabs, and less than two one-hundredths of one percent of all Muslims.

If we killed all the Muslims, not only would that mean wiping out one fourth of the population of the entire planet (probably not a good idea in and of itself), but it means we would have to kill over 5,000 Muslims just to get one terrorist. That seems like an awful lot of extra work.

Islam is not our enemy. Yeah, I know, they call themselves “Islamic”. So what. Have you never met someone who calls himself a “Christian” who didn’t quite live up to the ideal? The IRA and the KKK were “Christian” organizations. Calling yourself something doesn’t make it so.

Take Christianity as an example. Based on the number of different denominations and sects, it seems there are a huge number of possible interpretations of scripture. And if you are so inclined, there are plenty of calls to violence if all you’re interested in is killing people who aren’t like you.

Islam is no different. One one-hundredth of one percent of Islam claims to follow a version that requires them to kill the infidels. The other 99.99% of Muslims mostly understand that killing is wrong, and are generally more concerned about maintaining their personal relationship with God than going to war with others.

Terrorists are our enemy. Terrorists. I don’t care what word you put in front of “terrorist”, it is the fact that they are terrorists, and nothing else, that makes them our enemy.

Terrorists kill, rape, and torture to inspire fear. Everything they do is designed to inspire fear. Fear and hatred. They WANT us to hate Muslims. They WANT us to hate Islam. Their goal is to bring about a World War, one that unites East against West, Muslims against Christians, Islam against Christianity. They think the Muslim world will unite behind them. They think they can win this World War, and rule over the entirety of whoever happens to survive.

In reality, the chances of anyone actually uniting the Muslim world are remote, but it is literally impossible unless they can unite the Western world against the Muslim world. Conversely, they know their days are numbered if we ever got smart enough to unite, Christian and Muslim together, to stand against the terrorists.

They want us divided. They need us divided. Their whole plan is to have us at war with each other. That is WHY they want us to hate Muslims. That is WHY the want us to hate Islam. It’s all part of their plan.

Let me say this again, it’s important. They want us to hate all Muslims. They want us to hate all of Islam. Everything they do is designed to bring that about.

Know your enemy.

And please, for the love of God. STOP giving the terrorists what they want.

There have been times in my life…

… when I have been drunk.  Shocking, I know, but…  I have been drunk.  I mean really drunk.  No, I mean really, really drunk.  I have been pass-out, blind, stinking, staggering, slobbering drunk.

I have made bad decisions.  I have gone places I shouldn’t have.  I have passed out in places I shouldn’t have.  I have woken up in places I shouldn’t have.  I have woken up in places I didn’t even recognize.

I’ve been so drunk I thought I could sing.  I’ve been so drunk I thought I could leap off buildings.  I’ve been so drunk I thought I could catch a duck.  (Hint:  You can’t, if you get close, those suckers know how to fly.)  In short, I have been all kinds of drunk, but…

I have never, ever been so drunk that I thought it was okay to fuck a woman passed out behind a dumpster.

I don’t think it’s possible to get that drunk.

You see, you are either a person who thinks it’s okay to fuck someone who is passed out, or you are not.  No amount of alcohol changes that.

When people do things drunk that they wouldn’t do sober, it is always, and I mean always, things that they wanted to do.  The only reason they didn’t do them sober was because they feared the consequences.  That is what alcohol does — it removes fear.

So, if you get caught fucking a woman passed out behind a dumpster, it’s not the alcohol.  I don’t care how drunk you were.  It just means you are the type of person who would fuck a woman passed out behind a dumpster.  In short, it means that, drunk or sober, you are a rapist.

We should all just respect each other’s opinions

Lately I’ve noticed a number of Trump supporters saying things like, “everyone’s entitled to their opinion”, “you should respect my opinion”, and, “you claim tolerance but you’re being intolerant”.

All valid statements… normally. And I would agree with you… normally.

This is not a normal situation. Normal rules do not apply. What’s different? This….

Donald Trump is the first openly racist presidential candidate we’ve had in over 40 years. Lets let that sink in…. an openly racist candidate… for President of the United States.

Donald Trump is openly racist. Supporting him is itself an openly racist act. You may hold the opinion that his racism is somehow excusable or acceptable. Or that its somehow okay to support a racist, as long as you yourself are not racist. Or that its okay to support a racist, because he’s not Hillary. You are indeed entitled to any of those opinions. You are also wrong. Racism is not okay. Yours is a morally wrong opinion.

I am under no obligation to respect your racist opinion. Your opinion is unworthy of respect. In fact I will go on record right now and say if you support racism, in any form, I will have little or no respect for you.

Being openly racist is unacceptable. It is un-American. It has no place in our society. We should not tolerate it. We should never tolerate it. (If you’re confused, just remember, its okay to be intolerant of intolerance.)