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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas whether you like it or not

You read it right; Merry CHRISTmas, as in "May you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ." Despite the mewling of the Politically Correct crowd, and the protestations of the atheists, the reason for Christmas IS the celebration of Jesus Christ. True, it was decided to celebrate this event as a politically expedient way to co-opt the Pagans, but that does not dilute the importance of the life and death of The King of Kings.

Now I, as a Christian, have faith in the story of The Immaculate Conception and the Divinity of Jesus Christ. The contradictions and paradoxes throughout the Bible require faith in order to reconcile the known with The Word. We KNOW that immaculate conception is not possible. But according to The Bible it happened. Thus, one must have faith.

Still, even if you dismiss the Divinity if Jesus and scoff at the notion of Immaculate Conception, you still have cause to celebrate the life of Jesus. The religion that arose from the worship of this man was the catalyst for the rise and ascendancy of Western Civilization. Before Christianity took hold, the world was a place where the weak, infirm, old, and feeble were simply prey for those whose strength, brains, or position in society made it possible to steal from or kill them for pleasure or profit.

From the Roman Empire to the Asian Dynasties, consideration for one's life depended on political connection, tribal affiliation and strength, and wealth. The death of those of noble blood was considered a tragedy and was mourned. Sacrifices were made, huge temples built, and feasts were held. A commoner who died at the same moment as the nobleman was lucky to even be buried. Often as not, their corpses were devoured by scavengers.

Jesus taught that those less fortunate should be shown mercy, the sick should be cared for, the poor should be lifted up, and the infirm ministered. It was His teaching that gave rise to the notion that those in power had a duty to protect their citizens and allow them to rise above the circumstances in which they were born.

While not a perfect progression, the trials and tribulations involving Christianity and its spread through the world would, and has, filled volumes. The one irrefutable fact is this; Divine or not, Jesus' teachings were instrumental in changing for the better the hearts of men across the globe. That in itself is worthy of celebration.

Monday, December 6, 2010

You just can't win with the TSA Chesters

Ya know, you let them paw through your luggage, feel up your wife molest your kids, and your crotch and then they piss and moan about being called names. So, when this guy tried to make it easy on them, they STILL insisted on feeling him up. Is there any doubt at all that these assholes have more than just "security" in mind when they take this job?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A McWopski Christmas (rant)

I'll be blunt; I hate The Holidays. Specifically, I hate Christmas. Not what it represents, but what it has become. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the original reason it was set in December was so that the early Christians could co-opt the Pagan Festivals during Winter Solstice. To me, that indicates that this was not so much a celebration of the birth of Jesus as it was a political maneuver.

I hate what we, as a culture have done to Christmas. Instead of being a celebration of The King of Kings, The Prince of Peace, The Lamb of God, it has become a seasonal orgy of consumerism and greed. I actually know people who gauge the esteem in which they are held by their family by the extravagance of the presents they receive. And while the shopping frenzy usually begins on Black Friday, the rumblings of things to come can be seen earlier and earlier each year. I can still remember a local appliance retailer in my hometown parodying the phenomenon by having a "4th of July Christmas Sale" The only celebrating going on during the season is by those in the retail business because they know that they are about to reap huge profits in the spirit of Christian love.

And then there is Santa Claus. In what sane culture is the perpetrator of hot prowl burglaries considered to be a hero? Look, I grew up in Detroit. If you woke up in the middle of the night and found some stranger in your house, I don't care what he was wearing or what his stated purpose was, the only appropriate response was a Louisville Slugger to the head or, even better, a hail of hollowpoints to the center of his mass. Most offensively, the myth of Santa Claus is yet another Christian figure whose name and good works have been hijacked by those who neither know nor care about the truth.

Another thing that I loathe to the core of my being, is the music. A bunch of smarmy, obnoxious crap; Christmas music is one of the most heinous crimes ever committed with a musical instrument. Some of it is actually frightening: "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good..." sounds more like an ominous warning than a description of some jolly fat man. Ironically, my current job requires me to spend all day in an environment where this shit is inflicted upon me over and over and over and over and over and over again. I try to explain to them that having different people sing the same seven songs isn't variety, and I try to explain to them that Amnesty International considers repetitive music a form of torture, but my protests are ignored. And while pop music performers line up to protest the use of their music to offend a bunch of flea-bitten terrorists, my co-workers and I can't even get the management to change the CD in the music system for a couple of hours. And believe me, after nine hours of seven different renditions of "Winter Wonderland", I'm ready to kick over a manger.

However, aside from the rampant consumerism, and the musical excrescence, the thing that galls me the most, the thing that just taxes my self control to its limits, is the way that Jesus Christ has been almost completely eliminated from the holiday that was supposed to be a celebration His birth.

See, I'm a Christian. Not a great one, probably not even a good one. I tend to agree with Gandhi when he said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians." And, for the sake of clarity, I'm not a very likable Christian either. However, right is right and X-ing Christ out of CHRISTmas is just wrong. It is also symptomatic of a bigger issue: Christians are being marginalized and ostracized from this country. It's considered completely okay to portray Jesus as a gay man, or to place a Christian religious icon in a jar of urine and call it "art", but should someone dare to express gratitude to God for their life, liberty, or achievements, they are punished, if they dare to express their faith in public, they are arrested even though it is perfectly legal to do so! Worse, Christians that wish to engage those of other faiths in a meaningful dialogue are prevented from doing so with the approval and assistance of the agents of the state. Nativity scenes have been eliminated from the public eye because they offend people, and school employees daring to associate with Christians on their own time is grounds for disciplinary action,

So, for me, the holidays are just the amplification of all that is wrong with America. How will I celebrate? I will give presents to my children, I will pray that my Christian brethren stop emulating the girly-man Jesus we've been spoon fed for decades and start emulating the Jesus that kicked ass on the moneylenders, called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" and died on the cross because it was His duty to do so. Our future depends on it, Christian men need it, and praying is always a good idea.

Then I'll start writing the lyrics to a new Christmas song. I've already titled it "Hey Santa, Kiss My Ass!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Chesters in Action

Watch how they make it a game. It seems innocent enough until you think about it; this kid is being conditioned to be a good, docile, little Multi-Use Labor Element that will give his molesters no resistance. Watch it twice and learn what America dying looks like.

And while you're at it, think about this; while the Chesters are exposing your wife's breasts, fondling your child's naked torso, dumping piss on you, and putting their hands in your pants, keep in mind that the reasons given are to keep us safe from terrorists. Of course, there may be a few flaws with that argument.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rise of the Chesters

Way back in my misguided youth, I read 'Hustler' magazine. One of the monthly features was a comic, titled 'Chester the Molester', that chronicled a child-molester's plots to entice a young girl named Dorothy Arlene into his clutches. One unintended consequence of this execrable feature was that inmates in various prisons nicknamed child molesters 'chesters', as in, "Tonight, a couple of the Chesters are getting a beatdown."

I put forth that we, the outraged citizens of this nation, extend that moniker to those that inflict public strip searches upon our children. So I, McWopski, hereby decree that those employed by the Total Sexual Assault organization shall no longer be identified by the noble, and wholly undeserved, title of 'Agent'. They shall now, and until this perfidy against the citizens of the United States of America has forever ceased, be referred to as 'TSA Chesters'.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day: Why we remember

I want to introduce you to someone: a young man full of promise that has huge obstacles to overcome before he can get on with his life. His name is Corporal Todd Nicely, USMC. When you read his story and watch the video, don't dwell on his injuries because he certainly doesn't seem to. Instead, look at the man. He's 26, married, and has his whole life ahead of him. Think about that; he's 26. In terms of the military, that makes him an old man.

The next time you watch a movie involving the military, look carefully at those portraying the soldiers; they tend to be twenty or thirty something with square jaws, chiseled features and straight teeth. They are an illusion. When you watch a movie about the War Between the States, and you see row upon row of pot-bellied, superannuated reenactors advancing across the battlefield, you are being lied to.

The next time you watch a news broadcast about the war in the Middle East, notice how they focus on helicopters, tanks, humvees and long shots of the Soldiers or Marines as they go about their tasks. This is deception. Soldiers faces are displayed only when it serves the purpose of the reporter, and they are carefully vetted to insure that they are photogenic enough for the task.

I say these things because the men and women that get sent to far away places to do things that lesser individuals cannot conceive of, are kids. I do not say that pejoratively for in their achievements and their dedication to this nation, they are far more deserving of the title "American" than those that watch the war on TV. But they are YOUNG.

It has always been this way.

When you read a history book, and you learn of men like Audie Murphy, John Basilone, or Ross McGinnis, keep in mind that these men did what they did in the prime of their life. When you see that old man with the baseball cap embroidered with "USS Saratoga", the middle-aged bald guy with the faded "Airborne" tattoo, the intense, self-assured woman wearing a jacket adorned with the insignias of various Air Force bases, or the muscular young man with the Globe and Anchor t-shirt announcing to the world that he is a Marine, remember that they all have one important thing in common; they sacrificed a large part of their youth, signed on the dotted line, and took upon themselves the responsibility of protecting this country. In some cases, they served only as a deterrent to this nation's enemies, ready to do whatever it took to preserve our liberty.  Some, like John Basilone and Ross McGinnis made the ultimate sacrifice. Most, served, survived, and came home.

Corporal Nicely survived, but he left a good portion of himself on the battlefield. Certainly not the best of him, but definitely enough to remind him every day of the price of liberty. I present him to you, not as some sort of macabre freak show, but as a reminder that above all of the vagaries of political whim, beyond all of the bickering about left and right, and more real than any pseudo-sympathy expressed by some expensively coiffed talking head, are the men and women in uniform that have dedicated themselves to higher ideals than personal gratification, accumulation of wealth, or acquisition of power. Regardless of your opinion about the military, the war in the Middle East, or the current political situation, take a moment to think about them, remember them, and say a quick prayer for them. They are certainly worth at least that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Voting, angry or otherwise

I won’t waste time trying to convince you to vote one way or another; if you haven’t figured out who you’re voting for by now, throwing out names won’t help you. However, I do have a bit of advice that I think will help. Take a look around and take stock of your circumstances. Are you financially better off than you were when Hope and Change took effect? Are we, as a nation, more secure than we were when W was in office? Are we freer than we were when Obama took office and installed his shiny new administration? Are the troops coming home from the Middle East as promised? If the answer to any or all of these questions is ‘NO’, you have your answer.


Speaking of voting, I have heard many of the talking news heads mewling about how “angry” the voters are and how they are “reacting out of anger.” Ignore them. We’ve been angry since Bush the Elder reneged on his “no new taxes” pledge. We were angry when Billy Jeff sold us to China, turned the White House into a cheap, hourly-rate motel, and used an intern for a humidor. We’ve been angry since Baby Bush exhibited his willingness to respond to foreign aggression and his dedication to preserving our freedom by ignoring the swarms of illegal aliens flooding across our borders while simultaneously saddling us with onerous air travel regulations and the largest expansion of government bureaucracy in this nation’s history. Oh! And lest we forget, out of control spending that required someone of either monumental incompetence or the most sinister of motives to exceed.

This brings us to Obie.

President Obie was bringing Hope and Change to the nation. He was going to undo all of the damage that Baby Bush had caused with his tax cuts and out of control spending. He was going to bring healthcare to the poor, prosperity to the downtrodden, and peace to our nation. What he has accomplished in his short time in office was to ram Obamacare down our throats despite the fact that 72% of the people were against it, flushed trillions of dollars down the toilet by rewarding corporations for failing to adhere to any semblance of common sense while simultaneously dwarfing the amount of Baby Bush’s spending.

Angry? You don’t know the half of it. The politicians of this election cycle should consider themselves lucky that the anger is being expressed by way of the voting booth instead of makeshift gallows around the country.

In closing I have a couple of things to say to those running for office;

Democrats, pay heed to what you are experiencing. The average American is perfectly happy with your lunacy if you leave his/her property, money, and freedom alone. You can get away with such nonsense as the creation of the Welfare State as long as the economy is doing well and the cost of living is relatively low. Once your cockamamie schemes result in Joe Sixpack having to sacrifice his quality of life in order to provide for someone who has neither the intent nor the desire to improve their station in life, Joe gets angry and votes accordingly.

Republicans, if you have a decisive victory on November 2, you need to realize THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE! Conservatives fell for it when Newt Gingrich was crowing about the “Contract with America”. We were promised that the new faces in Congress would work for smaller government, lower taxes, and more liberty. What we got was a display of internecine warfare as the Old Guard fell upon the Freshmen and insured that they would not upset the status quo. We saw a new promise when Baby Bush was given a green light by the election of Republican majorities in both houses. His lackluster domestic policies and his obsequious appeasement of the radical left did nothing but reveal the GOP to be a party of eunuchs led by a moron. Fail to revert to your conservative roots this time and you can watch your voter base dissolve as they seek out a party that has the resolve and the desire to stand firm against the creeping tide of collectivism. Meanwhile, you will suffer the cruelest fate any politician can face; you will be irrelevant.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funny, but does it ring true??

Wal-Mart vs. The Morons


1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.

2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target +Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.

5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world's largest private employer, and most speak English.

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only fifteen years.

8. During this same period, 31 big supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.

9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.

10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had five years ago.

11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)

12. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart.



You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work for suggesting that MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to fix the economy.

This should be read and understood by all Americans... Democrats, Republicans, EVERYONE!!

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature,

It is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:

a.. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.

b.. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.

c.. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.

d.. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.
e.. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
f.. Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.

g.. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every "government service" you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.

AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM ??

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Petty Tyranny

Throughout history, one way that tyrants have exercised power and subjugated those under the heel of their boot was to control the food sources of the people. In some parts of Medieval Europe, killing one of the King's deer was an offense punishable by death. The common justification for this was that the King was the "owner" of the land and all that it contained, including the people. Another, less obvious reason for this restriction was to prevent the people from enjoying the benefits of protein in their diet. Animal protein contributes to muscle growth, enhances mental acuity and overall well being, and provides essential amino acids unavailable in other foods. Most peasants put in long hours and performed back-breaking labor in the service of their lord. Their diet consisted of vegetables and grains, the amount depending on the generosity and benevolence of whichever nobleman they served. A starving peasant, or one that has barely enough to survive, is easier to control than a well-fed, well-muscled peasant.

Later on in history, we have the example of Hitler's Final Solution, in which Jews were rounded up and sent to ghettos. There, they were given the bare minimum to sustain life. Their meals consisted of thin soup and a chunk of bread doled out by the Nazi overlords. Later on, when the Jews were sent to concentration camps and slave labor camps, their diet was reduced to just six hundred calories a day. Again, the idea was to keep them hungry, malnourished, and exhausted,to prevent any resistance to Nazi tyranny.

Elsewhere in Europe, a much less vigorously documented, but no less horrific genocide was taking place; Josef Stalin's campaign to destroy Ukrainian independence by starving them to death. Understanding that, as long as they could feed themselves, the Ukrainian people had no reason to obey the Communist regime, Stalin ordered the land, livestock, and crops of the Ukrainian farmers seized. Anyone caught in possession of "socialist property" that being a bag of grain or an undocumented chicken, was either exiled to Siberia or shot. In the course of this organized famine, seven million Ukrainians died. That's seven million people that died in one of the most fertile spots on the planet; A place with soil so rich that, during WWII, the Nazis actually sent trainloads of topsoil back to Germany to be used on farms there..

Mind you, the farmers were not allowed to stop farming, they were just not allowed to consume any of the harvest. The crisis became so horrid that many resorted to cannibalism to survive. Entire villages were emptied as a result of the people dying off. In true Soviet fashion, Russians were encouraged to move in and take possession of these empty villages.

In any despotic government, the first thing that must be done to assert control is to eliminate competing factions, such as politicians or clergy, usually through imprisonment or execution. Next, those that show any ability or inclination to resist must be eliminated. This usually results in hundreds if not thousands of people, including those that assisted in the tyrant's rise to power, in being executed by whatever means is the most expedient. It also means eliminating those in academia whether they are teachers, philosophers, scientists, or engineers. Ultimately, what the country ends up with is a nation being led by uneducated peasants with one strong personality in charge. Anyone who knows how to do anything has either been executed, exiled, or escaped to another country.

That brings us to Mao's China. Mao's ineptitude, much like Che Guevara's proclivity for murder, has been concealed under the cloak of celebrity. Having eliminated almost the entire group of people that knew how to run things, Mao began his campaign of centralizing the economy. In what would eventually be called the Great Leap Forward ( a name that would be comical had the consequences not been so tragic) Mao manipulated the population like the pieces of a badly played game of chess. Between his ordering of agricultural workers to work in steel plants, and his subscribing to agricultural theories that were more akin to wild guesses than scientific fact, thirty million Chinese people died of starvation between 1958-62.

Even today, that last bastion of hardcore Communism, North Korea, utilizes centralization and deprivation of food production to control their population. The only people in North Korea that are fed well are those in the military. Ironically, it is the West that supplied much of the food needed to prevent a repeat of Mao's Great Leap Forward.

That brings us to the USA. While certainly not on a par with Stalin, Mao, and Hitler, there is a virulent campaign to either eliminate independent farms or bring them to heel. Every day, family farms are going under as a result of the skyrocketing cost of farming due to increasingly restrictive environmental regulations and the high cost of feed, gas and oil. Add to that the importation of foreign agricultural products that are purchased from overseas farms that have lower labor costs and much less pressure from environmental agencies and it is obvious that the family farmer of today is playing a losing game with a dealer that has stacked the deck against him.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the arena of raw milk. Setting aside the arguments for or against the health benefits of raw milk, the government's ongoing campaign to destroy raw milk producers has reached a level where, if not taken directly from the tyrant's playbook, it certainly resembles it enough to evoke images of another time where armed troops terrorized peaceful people into submission.

It is an outrage that, here in America, some government bureaucrat should be able to target and mark for elimination an entire segment of our economy based solely on a lack of understanding and unclear regulations. Here in South Dakota, the raw milk industry has been subjected to ever changing regulations that are seemingly designed to drive up the cost of doing business while spreading disinformation to potential customers. Raw milk producers are portrayed as scofflaws and rustics who obtain their product through outmoded and potentially hazardous means. A little time and research would reveal quite the opposite. Today's raw milk producers are usually modern operations run by conscientious people who work very hard to comply with all of the onerous regulations imposed upon them by petty tyrants under the guise of bureaucracy.

Witness the plight of Black Hills Milk; a family owned and operated dairy, BHM has worked long and hard to bring a healthy, high quality product to market. Every Thursday and Saturday, you can go to the Farmer's Market in Rapid City and see the line of people waiting to purchase raw milk and other products from them. Unfortunately, they have become the center of attention for one venal little bureaucrat within the South Dakota Department of Agriculture named Darwin Kurtenbach. His game is a simple one; he requires BHM to comply with some standard of his choosing, when they accomplish that, he raises the bar again to force them to spend more time and money trying to stay within the confines of the law and somehow make a profit. He gets away with this because the regulations that are pertinent to dairy farming are written in an ambiguous enough manner as to make them subject to interpretation by the individual administrator. Strangely enough, it is only the small, independent operations that seem to have his presence inflicted upon them. And we know how safe these massive operations are, don't we?

It is infuriating enough to be denied a safe, healthy product because of the prejudice of a mindless bureaucrat, but to watch good people fight a losing battle simply because such an individual has taken it upon himself to eliminate them under the umbrella of government authority is intolerable. It is with this in mind that I urge those that can to call the office of the Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture at 1-800-228-5254 and let your voice be heard. Don't let artificial boundaries separate us and don't let geography or time zones stop you from speaking out against this perfidy. Good people anywhere can help other good people everywhere by lending their support.

It's a small step, but an important one in reminding the government just who is in charge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Enemies

"War to the hilt between Communism and Capitalism is inevitable. Today, of course, we are not strong enough to attack. To win, we shall need the element of surprise. We shall talk peace while we prepare for war. The Capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at a chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we shall smash them with clenched fists. We will attack Europe directly, head-on. With the mongrel nation that is the United States, we shall come in through the back door."


Dimitry Z. Manulsky
Lenin School of Political Warfare
Moscow, 1934

The above quote, spoken some 76 years ago, laid bare the ultimate plan of the Communists. Not content with spreading their misery and death upon the peoples that they had conquered, their stated intent is to bring the world under the crushing heel of the Communist boot. And, just as Manulsky predicted, we're helping them along with their plan. Doubt me? Look at the sweeping reforms made in China in the last decade. Look at how Russia has developed since 1989. By all appearances, both have abandoned Communism in favor of the liberty and prosperity brought about by their newfound capitalism.

Just like Manulsky said they would.

Understand, the hostility between the USSR and China was an illusion. The hostility between Russia and China today is an illusion. By the same token, the new openness towards the West is also an illusion.
When both countries 'reformed', they made it seem as if their respective Politboros were relinquishing power in favor of the new economic model. The problem with that ruse is that history works against them. No government in the history of the world has ever worked towards having less power unless there was some sort of trade-off that resulted in a more advantageous position for those in power.

Moreoever, the tanks haven't voted yet. Communist countries all over the globe have never hesitated to kill millions of their own citizens if it were politically expedient. Usually, the corpses of the slain were useful in demonstrating to the rest of the population just how dangerous and futile it was to resist a tyrannical government. Think of the famine in Ukraine or the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Plus, Communists are ALWAYS willing to attack and subjugate neighboring countries, as in Russia's testing the waters in August of '08 when they attacked Georgia.

The way that this effects us is simple; as we spend our way deeper into debt, we have less and less money to pay for things that are truly important, chief among them being defense. Our air forces are flying planes that have remained virtually unchanged since the 80's (or, in the case of the B-52, since the 50's). Bringing new aircraft into the arsenal is met with fierce resistance by those that, ideologically at least, are fellow travellers with Vladmir Putin and Wen Jiabao. Our tanks remain the same basic platform introduced in the late 70's and early 80's. Their have been refinements of various systems, but the overall inventory remains the same as it was 30 years ago. Our navy still bases its strategy upon the carrier fleet, a concept that may have seen its last days as China develops strategies and weapons specifically designed to combat them. Perhaps most egregious is the fact that our troops still carry a rifle that has been proven time and again to be inadequate.

While our politicians wheel and deal, and invent new ways to loot our nation's coffers, our enemies (and make no mistake, Communists, no matter how benign, ARE our enemies) design new weapons, plot new strategies, and embark on new campaigns designed specifically to bring down our way of life. Our real enemies are not plotting to fly airliners into our skyscrapers. Instead, our real enemies are attending our state-sponsored cocktail parties, smiling at our diplomats, imbibing in taxpayer provided alcohol, and shaking hands with those that are supposedly working in the best interests of the United States, all the while looking for the opening that will enable them to slide the dagger between our ribs and into our heart.

Worst of all, they have the willing complicity of many members of our own political class. A perfect example is John Conyers; this pustule on America's rear end has an unblemished record of supporting virtually every redistributionist piece of legislation ever put forth to Congress. Typical  of his ilk, he  conceals the fact that he is a socialist while simultaneously personifying everything that is wrong with the political class. He and his cohorts in Congress are what Manulsky was talking about when he stated,

"With the mongrel nation that is the United States, we shall come in through the back door."

Now, I realize that there are some that would defend Socialism as being different than Communism. To them, I fly the midde finger salute and remind them that Socialists are different than Communists
only in the degree of obvious violence that they are willing to inflict upon their citizens, and that that level will surpass their Communist brethren when they think that they can get away with it. Witness the genocide committed by the National Socialists of the 30's and 40's. You may more readily recognize their abbreviated name: NAZIS.

No doubt, there are those who are clamoring to point out to me the United Kingdom, one of our staunchest allies, as an example of just how well Socialism can work. Save it. If you think the Brits are innocent of any bloodshed, I suggest you read a book. While your at it, you might want to think about the fact that the aforementioned National Socialists incorporated into their system at least one very British concept: the concentration camp.

Make no mistake, whether man or woman, billionaire, politician, or pauper, anyone that seeks to squelch free thought, limit free exchange of ideas, limit communication between free people, seize your money or property for redistribution to those that have earned neither, or limit your ability to defend yourself, is your enemy. Many have risen to positions of power and influence in our country. Not surprisingly, they have become fabulously wealthy in the course of their careers (because, after all, redsitribution and elimination of excess wealth is for, well, other people. I mean, shouldn't they be rewarded for their efforts in bringing about social justice?) yet they see no contradiction in the wealth they have accumulated and their attempts at eliminating the fortunes of others.

With a mid-term election coming up, I offer this simple test to determine whether or not a candidate is worthy of your vote; does their platform increase or decrease your liberty? Those that are working to free you from the chains of government servitude are your allies. Those that seek to control more of your life, money, or property are, metaphorically speaking (for now), your enemies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Republicans are Losing Control

It used to be simple; if you were a fiscally conservative gun owner that was pro-life and believed in a strong military, you voted Republican. The Republican Party, to show their gratitude, would then cut taxes, pay lip service to the pro-life crowd, protect our gun rights, and build up our military.

Then, along came George W. Bush.

At first, W was a welcome change from the Clinton Regime. His public profession of faith and his resolve in the face of adversity seemed to indicate that the adults had returned to the White House and the Hippies that had resided there previously could take their place on the ash heap of history. Things were supposed to get even better when there was a clear majority in the House and the Senate. Except that they didn’t. The indolence and arrogance exhibited by the GOP during that time was infuriating to those of us that had suffered through the Clinton years, biting back on our rage against the utter contempt that the Clintons had for Americans, secure in the knowledge that these buffoons and their ilk would soon be given their walking papers because that’s the way the system was supposed to work. When the GOP had an unfettered majority, we looked forward to the massive rollbacks of government, huge tax cuts, and major increase on our individual liberties that we had been told were the hallmarks of the GOP. We waited. And waited. And waited.

When a bunch of Muslim lunatics flew airliners into the World Trade Center, anyone on the street could have done the appropriate things; close the borders, deport the illegal aliens, round up those that had expired visas, and send them packing back to wherever they came from. This would have been the logical and correct thing to do. For some reason, that logic evaded W’s administration. Instead, the border remained uncontrolled, airline passengers were subjected to the indignities usually reserved for cattle in stockyards, and the Bush Administration created the very Soviet sounding Department of Homeland Security. In the meantime we became involved in a two-front war in the Middle East, which subsequently caused spending to skyrocket, and the economy, already weakened by a decade of manufacturing interests leaving the USA for the cheaper labor and looser environmental regulations overseas, began to decline. This lackluster performance on the part of the Republicans is what lost them the majority and subsequently the Presidency.

Then came President Barry and his cronies.

Obama’s presidency seems to be an amalgamation of all of the worst aspects of the Clinton and both Bush administrations. For instance, the deceit of Bush the Elder with his “No new taxes” pledge being emulated by Barry’s promise to stimulate the economy by spending taxpayers’ money to reward a bunch of corporate executives for monumentally failing at their jobs. Clinton’s violation of the Constitution with his retroactive tax increase has been mirrored by Barry’s violation of the Constitution by forcing people to buy health insurance, and Baby Bush’s spending is dwarfed by Barry’s. Exhibiting no ability to lead, and even less ability to make good choices, Barry flounders while the GOP is poised to gain a whole bunch of ground in the upcoming mid-term elections. Things are looking pretty good for the Elephant team and they, no doubt, would already be breaking out the brandy and cigars if it weren’t for the fact that us pesky voters have insisted on getting involved.

Having already been duped once by the GOP, many voters have begun looking around for suitable replacements. “Business as usual” is not going to fly this time around. Those that are found to be squishy in their resolve are being shown the door. Witness the Republican primary in Alaska where Lisa Murkowski, the candidate with the GOP stamp of approval, was beaten by Joe Miller, a candidate supported by the grass roots Tea Party. She should have had an easy victory and ten years ago, she probably would have, but that was then. The people spoke, Joe Miller won, and he will be facing the Democrat come election time.

Even more amazing was the Delaware primary where Christine O’Donnell’s stunning victory against nine-term GOP-approved Mike Castle came seemingly out of nowhere. Again, the voters actually chose the candidate they wanted to represent them, and it is making the Republican insiders crazy. Squeals of protest are heard regarding the electability of someone that was not anointed by the party chiefs. No less a person than Karl Rove has turned upon the newly elected GOP candidate in Delaware (although, to be fair, he has recently changed his tune. I’ll leave you to speculate as to why). The reason for all of this is as sinister as it is unsurprising; politicians hate voters who pay attention.

You see, as long as the voters vote according to the guidelines of both parties (“Hippies and abortionists form to the left, gun nuts and grubby capitalists to the right.”) the politicians can sort of snooze through midterm elections. Incumbents are a shoo-in, newbies get a taste of the campaign trail and then fall into line and wait their turn, and the voter, if he or she bothers to vote at all, votes for the name that they recognize from the commercials. No fuss, no muss.

Unfortunately for the gang of thieves in Washington DC, the jig is up. The idea that one party is different from the other has been revealed to be true only on paper. Dig deeper and it is obvious that the only real difference is the way that they want to spend the money that they gouge from our paychecks every year. I think that one of the best descriptions I’ve heard of the Democrats and Republicans is “The Combine”; a term coined by Chicago Tribune writer John Kass, it is a title used to describe bipartisan corruption in Illinois. I think that it can be applied nationally.

The Combine on a national level, work to keep the status quo, that is, keep the tax money pouring in to support their lives of wretched excess, all the while telling us about the good that is being done with it. The only thing that throws a wrench into the nefarious machine that is The Combine is a voting body that pays attention, and becomes involved in the process. The influx of Tea Party candidates into the forefront of the election cycle is what happens when they do. This sudden uprising of Joe Averages looking to unseat career politicians has, frankly, scared the shit out of them. Should voters start paying attention, those in office are going to have to start working to keep their promises. A difficult task when you have made so many that you can’t remember them all since you had no intention of keeping any of them.

Like my good friend Kevin Starrett told me, “The only thing politicians understand is fear, and pain. The fear of losing an election, and the pain of having to live under the laws they helped to enact,” I say that from today forward, we give them large doses of both.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chapter 2

Just a quick warning; this book will have a Christian theme with a supernatural sub-plot. I wouldn't want to waste anyone's time with something in which they have no interest.

Chapter 2


Mike slept fitfully. He dreamt of his son. The dream revolved around his son being trapped and screaming and pleading for his daddy to come rescue him. The images were blurry at first, becoming more vivid as the dream progressed. Finally, he saw the image of his son bound, lying on a dirt floor, with a slavering demon above him. In his dream, he was running towards the demon as it raised a huge war hammer above its head. The boy screamed again for his daddy as the hammer descended, too quickly for Mike to prevent it from hitting him. Just as the hammer came down, Mike awoke with a start. He was crying, and he felt a wave of nausea overtake him. He got out of bed, staggered towards the bathroom and barely made it to the toilet before emptying the contents of his stomach into the bowl.

When he had emptied his stomach, he was wracked with dry heaves for a few minutes. When those had subsided, he leaned back against the tub and cried some more. Still sobbing uncontrollably, he leaned over until his face touched the cool floor and closed his eyes, “Oh God, oh God, how can I end this? How did this happen? Why did You let this happen?”

Suddenly, his stomach wretched again and he was beset with another period of dry-heaving. When those had subsided, he lay back down upon the floor and passed out into dreamless unconsciousness. He had no idea how long he stayed there, but just below the surface of wakefulness, he became aware of a rhythmic pounding in his head. As he became more awake, he realized that the pounding was at his door, not in his head. He got himself off of the bathroom floor and discovered that he had a raging hangover. He staggered to the door, opening it without first finding out who was there.

Standing in the hallway, holding a bag of groceries, was McCool, “It’s 9am and…rough night?”

Mike was standing there looking even more haggard and unkempt than the previous night, “No more than usual.”

“I’m sorry. Well, I hope to bring about an end to your suffering soon.”

“Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m running out of ideas.”

“Well, I think that we may be able to figure this out together.”

“We? What are you talking about?”

“We. As in, ‘you, me, and some others.’ ”

“Is this some kind of twelve-step program?”

“I could explain it better of you’d let me in.”

Wordlessly, Mike stepped aside. He didn’t understand why he trusted this guy other than the fact that he pulled his butt out of a tight spot the night before. Still, he was cautious.

“So when do we begin this…process?”

“Now. I’m going to make breakfast. I suggest you go take a shower. No offense but you could use one.”

Mike just looked at him for a moment as he went through the motions of preparing breakfast. Then, figuring that McCool had had ample time to steal from or kill him the night before, he went and did exactly that. He washed quickly and dressed in another set of clothes that were nearly identical to what he had worn the night before. He entered the kitchen just as McCool was dishing up the food.

“Hope you’re hungry.”

“Not really. Do you have anything to drink?”

“Orange juice, tomato juice, and apple juice. I also made coffee.”

“Tomato juice. And coffee. What did you cook?”

“Scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage with wheat toast.”

Mike mumbled “Thanks” as he accepted the plate from McCool. At first, he thought that his stomach was going to rebel against the food but, after he took a long drink of tomato juice, he began to feel hungry. By the time he took his first bite, he realized that it had been two days since he had last eaten. He finished quickly.

McCool looked slightly amazed, “Do you want some more? I can whip it up pretty fast.”

“Better not. I didn’t have such a good night.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Bad dreams, vomiting, passing out on the bathroom floor, pretty much the ‘alcoholic variety pack’.”

“Bad dreams? How bad?”

“The worst. Weird shit. Demons, stuff like that.”

“Did they involve your son?”

Mike suddenly became wary, “What do you know about my son?”

“I read about it in the papers. Was told a little more. Like I said, I know a bit about you.”

“Well, if you want…whatever it is you want from me, you’re going to have to start providing answers. Let’s start with, why are you here?”

“I’m here because I was asked to be here. Right now that’s all I can say. I will tell you this; if I had known what was happening with you, I would have done the same thing as I am doing now whether I was asked or not.”

“Did someone from the city send you?”

“In a manner of speaking. Like I said, I can’t say anything more yet.”

“What if I refuse to cooperate?”

“Then, we finish breakfast, I leave and you go back to your life.”

“Simple as that?”

“I’m not here to force you to do anything. I’m simply here to offer you a chance to regain some of what you’ve lost. To that end, I can promise you that the road will be rough, the obstacles huge, and in the end, you may still not get everything you want, but at least you will be on the right track. I also promise you that there will be support the whole way through.”

“What will it cost me?”

“Nothing but time and effort.”

“What do I have to do?”

“Will you do it?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will you know?”

“Why?”

“Because there are other people involved, other people to attend to, schedules to be kept, that sort of thing.”

“So, right now?”

“Basically.”

Mike sat there looking at McCool. ‘Who would do such a thing? Who would send someone like this? Could she have..?’ he cut the thought off before he finished it. There was no way she could have done it. Not after what he had done to her.

He looked around his kitchen, out into the living room at the squalor and the mess and realized just how low he had fallen. He thought about himself and his appearance, his clothing, most of all he thought of his loved ones and what they would think about his current state. That, more than anything, guided his next words, “What do I have to do to get started?”

“Nothing. Just wait here for an hour. You will be contacted and taken to where you need to go.”

“Where am I going?”

“To a facility where you can be healed.”

“So I don’t need to do anything?”

“Well, there is one thing.”

“What?”

“I need to take possession of your pistol. You’ll eventually get it back, but I need to take it for now.”

“My Glock? Why?”

“Just part of the program. Like I said, you’ll get it back.”

Mike picked it up off of the coffee table, cleared it, and handed it to McCool, “Anything else?”

“Just this; if you are serious, we need you to become a citizen of this process. In other words, if you’re going to hang out for a few days and then bug out, tell me now.”

Mike thought about that, “So this is a twelve-step program!”

“No, more like a twelve hundred step program. And the people involved are volunteers, so don’t waste their time. Or mine.”

Mike sat back in his chair stared at McCool. He was thinking about the events of the last couple of years; the losses, the separation, the rapid decline of his health, finances, relationships, and most importantly, his self respect. He wondered at how quickly he had lost control of everything in his life. ‘Was I ever in control? Did I ever really have it all together? Or was I just fooling myself?’ He got up wordlessly and walked through the tiny apartment, his earlier reflection on his situation replaying in his head. He looked at what his life had become and realized that he wanted nothing so much as a way out, “OK, I’m in for the whole ride. Now what?”

McCool said nothing. He pulled out a cell phone and pushed a button. In a few seconds he said, “He’s in. Meet him at the address I gave you. Bring the crew; we’re going full ‘on’.”

He quickly hung up, stood, and looked directly into Mike’s eyes, “OK, I’ve got to go ahead and let others know. I just want you to know that I, and others that you will meet later, rejoice at your decision. It takes courage to break out of your comfort zone. I promise you that I will stand with you brother.”

Taken aback at the intensity of McCool’s words, Mike just uttered, “thanks”

McCool laughed and walked towards the door. Opening it, he turned and looked at Mike again, “By the way, if you have a favorite Bible, bring it. Otherwise, we’ll get one for you.” With that he walked out, shutting the door behind him.

Mike stared at the door while he wondered what he had gotten himself into. He knew that he couldn’t continue being a drunk, and he had already proven that he couldn’t end it himself, so his last choice was to follow some crazy process to who knows where. He became aware that his stomach was churning. After a steady diet of vodka and occasional fast food, the breakfast he had eaten was causing his stomach to rebel. He sat on the couch to steady himself. After a few minutes he felt stable enough to make his way to his bedroom and lay down for a bit.

It seemed like mere minutes had passed when he heard a pounding at his door. Sitting up in his bed, he swung his feet over the side, paused to clear his thoughts, and went and answered the door. Standing there was a slim, African-American man that looked to be in his forties. He was dressed in denim shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Behind him was a group of six other African-American men of varying ages.

Mike squinted, as if trying to see them more clearly, “May I help you?”

“Actually, I’m here to help you. I am Reverend Darryl Shelton of The Lord’s Beacon Evangelical Church. John called and gave us your address. I am here to take you where you need to go while these gentlemen will pack your belongings and take them to storage.”

Still staring at the crowd behind Reverend Shelton, Mike suddenly recognized one of the faces, “Hey! I know him! He tried to rob me last night! What the fuck???”

Shelton waved his hands in a calming motion at Mike, “We know all about that. DuShawn told us last night what had happened when he came to my house. You have nothing to worry about, he’s with us now. I’ll take full responsibility for any theft or damage.”

Still glaring at DuShawn, Mike motioned them in. DuShawn walked in and looked at Mike, “I-I’m sorry.” Was all he said before joining the others.

“Is there anything that stays?”

“Well, the furniture was here when I got here. The clothes are mine. The dishes, the TV, and the radio. The bed can stay. It was used when I bought it. Heck, just empty the drawers and closets and that’s pretty much everything I have.”

Reverend Shelton turned and addressed the group, ”OK, you heard the man; take everything in the closets and drawers, the TV and radio, leave the rest. Make sure you clean out the trash, and clean the place up before you go. Henry?” this directed at one of the older men, “You have your truck? Good. Send a couple of these boys down to get the cleaning supplies and packing boxes. Don’t you go hurting your back trying to do too much. That’s what these young men are for.”

He turned to Mike, “Is there anything you want to take with you? Don’t worry about clothes, those will be provided. Any valuables or sentimental things?”

Mike walked over to the coffee table, picked up the photograph of his wife and son and placed it in his pocket, “I’m ready.”

“Then let’s go.”

With that, Rev. Shelton walked out the door, waiting long enough to confirm that Mike was going with him. They took the elevator and walked out into the morning sun. Even though it was only half past nine, the day was already warm. Reverend Shelton pointed to an open-air jeep. They walked over to it and Mike clambered in. In less than a minute, they were on their way.

As soon as they hit the main street, The Reverend turned and headed deeper into the city. Their course took them down one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city, towards the City Airport. The stiff suspension on the jeep made the ride seem rougher than it really was. At one point, they stopped at a red light where the rough ride combined with the increasing heat and the smell of exhaust fumes caused Mike to lean over and vomit his breakfast on to the pavement. The sound of car horns honking in apparent protest only served to make him feel worse.

The Reverend laughed, “I knew that there was a good reason to take the jeep today.”

They continued on, driving directly towards the airport. They turned down a street that took them to the backside of the airport, where dozens of abandoned industrial buildings sat, looking like nothing so much as the aftermath of a war.

The immediate area was mostly abandoned, with only a couple of the homes looking occupied and only one of the buildings showing any signs of habitation; a small one-story motel. It looked as if it had been relatively inexpensive even in its heyday, now it just looked worn out. The entire property, front, back, and parking lot, was surrounded by a high, chain link fence topped with barbed wire. It was to that building that the Reverend drove. He came to a stop in front of an automated chain-link gate, also topped with barbed wire. He honked his horn twice, waited, and then honked again. The gate opened and he drove in. By this time, Mike was even sicker and his head was pounding from the hangover headache.

The Reverend pulled to an entrance on the side of the building. Out walked McCool and another man rolling a wheelchair to the jeep.

“Who’s that for?” Mike asked as he unsteadily climbed down out of the jeep.

“You. I figure that about now you’re feeling pretty bad.”

“How’d you know?”

“Experience. Sit down and let Roger take you inside.”

The other man looked to be in his twenties and very fit. Mike gingerly sat in the wheelchair. The younger man smiled at him as he wheeled him through the entrance and down a hallway, “I’m Roger. I’ll be helping you out for the next few days. You just concentrate on getting well. This is a safe place; you won’t have to worry about anything else.”

Oddly, the words that Roger had chosen about this place being ‘a safe place’ gave Mike comfort. Roger wheeled him down the hall to a room that had a bed, a small table with a lamp, and a small wardrobe. A door led to what he assumed was the bathroom. It was the type of place that, had it operated as a motel, would have charged hourly rates. However, even through the waves of nausea and the increasing pain of his headache, Mike saw that it was clean and well-kept. Roger wheeled him into the room, “This is your new place for the time being. We have some pajamas for you to change in to. I recommend you do it while you can. I’m not going to lie to you; the next few days are going to suck hard. When that’s done, it will still suck, but you’ll at least be ready to deal with it.”

“What is this place?”

Roger thought for a moment, “Sanctuary.”

Momentarily, McCool walked in. “Are you ready to begin?”

“As ready as I’m going to be. What do you need me to do?”

“Well, for starters, change into your pajamas. Roger needs to draw some blood and if you’re up to it, we need a urine specimen. Also, we need to bring in a cot for your monitor.”

“My monitor? What’s a monitor?”

“Someone who will keep an eye on you and prevent you from hurting yourself. Also, you’re going to need someone to clean up after you.”

“I am? What are you going to do to me?”

“Nothing. You’ve already done it. We’re just the clean-up crew.”

Mike stood up out of the chair and picked up the pajamas and the provided urine specimen cup, walked into the bathroom and did what he had to do. When he was done he walked unsteadily out and sat on the bed. Running a tremulous hand through his hair, he maneuvered himself so that he was lying down and extended his arm towards Roger, who had already prepared the necessary supplies to collect his blood samples. Roger proved to be efficient and skilled as Mike felt almost nothing when poked and he didn’t realize that Roger had given him a Heparin Lock in preparation for an IV until he started taping it into place.

Once all of the samples were taken and Mike was seen to be comfortable, Reverend Shelton and Roger left, leaving Mike alone with McCool. Mike looked around for a minute and then looked at McCool, “So? What now?”

“Now nothing. You’ll stay here for as long as it takes. Once you’ve overcome your addiction, we will advance to other areas of your life. If you have questions, feel free to ask.”

“How many people are here?”

“You’re the only patient right now. There will be staff monitoring you around the clock. We have a doctor on call whom you will meet when your test results come back in a couple of days.”

Mike nodded thoughtfully, “I’m not the first, am I?”

“Not by a long shot. We’ve treated others here for a long while now. You’ll meet some of them later. We operate up to five rooms if the money is there. We do what God allows.”

“Is this a religious organization?”

“Religious? I guess you could call it that. We’re a Christian organization, but we have no name.”

“So, what church are you with?”

“All of them. None of them. We try to keep churches out of it if possible. Correction, we are happy to allow churches to participate, but we don’t allow any single denomination control us. We welcome all denominations, but we remain autonomous.”

Mike was about to ask another question when he felt a wave of nausea wash over him. He barely made it to the toilet where, for the third time in twenty four hours, he emptied the contents of his stomach.

McCool walked in behind him, “It’s started. I’ll get Roger.”

He walked out the door and into the hallway. Roger was just finishing up packaging Mike’s specimens for transport when he looked up and saw McCool coming towards him, “Problem?”

“He threw up again and he’s got the shakes. If you want, I’ll take these to the lab while you call the doc and stay with him.”

“Good idea. I’ll put the call in now. From the looks of things, we’re going to have to watch him close.”

“He’s been through a lot. Plus, he’s been targeted.”

“Oh shit.”

“Yeah. I have a feeling that this is going to be bigger than we thought.”

“I’ve never known your ‘feelings’ to be wrong.”

“That’s what I’m worried about. I’ll see you in a bit.”

McCool walked out and headed towards his car; a four door sedan that was several years old. Placing the package on his passenger seat as he got in, he started the car, pushed the button on the gate opener, and headed out to do his errand.

Roger, in the mean time, went into Mike’s room and checked on him. Mike looked like he was ready to collapse as he walked out of the bathroom.

“C’mon bud, let’s get you into bed.”

Mike sat heavily upon the mattress, “I really need a drink.”

“No. You may as well understand this; I’m here to help you. A drink would just put you back at square one.”

“I feel like shit.”

“I know. And the worst is yet to come.”

“Are you trying to cheer me up?”

Roger chuckled, “Hang on to that sense of humor. It will help you get through this.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Writing a book

Okay, I'm writing a fiction book. Here's chapter 1, tell me what you think....

Chapter 1


To look at Michael Catania’s apartment was to look into the heart of despair. The one-bedroom domicile still had vestiges of a more prosperous time, but those were being buried by the ravages of poverty and neglect. The beige walls, so painted to provide a neutral tone for prospective renters, were grimy and stained by years of cigarette smoke. The furnishings were best described as “Early American Cast-off” as no two pieces seemed to belong to the same set. Adding to the atmosphere of overall decay were the numerous boxes and bags from various fast-food restaurants, occasionally fluttering from the breeze created by a dusty, oscillating fan.

Michael, himself was a reflection of his environment; just 35 years old, his face would be handsome if one could see past the five day growth of beard and the bloodshot and sunken brown eyes. Though slim, his body had little muscle tone. His clothing consisted of dirty, old, sneakers, a sweat shirt emblazoned with a local university logo, and a pair of jeans that may have fit once, but were obviously too big for him now.

He was sitting on his couch staring down at a couple of objects amid the clutter of liquor bottles strewn across a dark, stained, coffee table; a Glock pistol, and a photograph. Incongruously, the pistol was clean and appeared to be well oiled, the blocky lines and black finish emphasizing its utilitarian appearance. He had a round in the chamber and a full magazine.

Michael thought of the hundreds of hours he had spent honing his skill with it, the thousands of rounds sent down range, the classes and schools he had attended to improve his ability with it, all in preparation for….what? To protect his family? Himself? What? All of his preparation had come to naught.

His eyes strayed over to the well-worn photograph. The image was that of a woman and child. The child, a boy, was about five years old. He had an unruly shock of red hair and blue eyes that dominated his face. In the photo, he was smiling as if laughing, possibly from being tickled by the woman in the photo. His little hands clutched at her arms around him as if trying to pull them apart, confirming that that was exactly what was happening.

The woman had the same shade of red hair and the same blue eyes. Whereas the boy had a round, almost cherubic face, the woman’s was long and her features delicate. She too was smiling in the photo, her perfect teeth slightly parted as if she were laughing with the boy. The sight of those two together brought forth a racking sob from Michael as tears flowed from his eyes. He buried his face in his hands and cried silently for a minute.

Pulling himself together, he looked at the pistol on the table and stared as the conversation ran through his head for what seemed to be the thousandth time,

“Just do it. You can end this pain if you just pick it up and do it. You failed. You failed everyone around you and they all know what a failure you are. Just pick it up, put it in your mouth and do it. One split-second and it will be all over.”

These thoughts dominating his mind, he reached for the pistol, picked it up, and placed against his chin so that it pointed up and rearwards; a definite kill shot.

“That’s it, just four and a half pounds of pressure and it all ends. Just do it. Doitdoitdoitsdotidoitdoit…”

Michael suddenly pulled the pistol away and set it forcefully upon the table. He began crying loudly now, his head dropping to his chest.

“Didn’t even have the balls to do that right.” He said out loud through the tears.

He picked up the photograph and looked at it again. The pain he felt cut into him like a knife, evoking another sob from him. He brought the photo to his lips and kissed it gently, “Happy birthday buddy.”

He set it down and stared off into space. A drink, he needed another drink.

He rummaged among the empty bottles before him, checking several for any dregs. It wasn’t long before he resigned himself to the fact that there was nothing to be had; he would have to go out. Rising unsteadily to his feet, he walked to the front door, grabbed his wallet and keys, and stepped into the hall way. He walked slowly, more shuffling than striding, keeping one hand on the graffiti covered wall as he made his way to the elevator. In a minute, he stepped out the door into the street.

He was shocked slightly by the heat. The fan in his apartment had kept him cool enough to be comfortable, but outside there was no wind and even the exertion of walking caused him to break into a sweat. It also struck him that he hadn’t realized it was night. He had no idea how long he had sat in his apartment mourning his…losses.

The neighborhood was a shining example of what happens to a city when its major source of revenue suddenly disappears. The houses on the block were separated by empty lots where other houses had been burned or torn down. Of the houses that were left, a full third of them were vacant. Those street lights that still worked gave the area a surreal glow as young children ran around on one of the vacant lots. Michael could feel the eyes upon him as he walked down the block towards the main drag where the liquor store sat. A white man in this neighborhood was a curiosity to his neighbors. He had never spoken, or even acknowledged any of them and they, in turn, did nothing but stare as he walked by. The rumor was that he was a ‘crack head’, a person addicted to crack cocaine, that was on his way to bottoming out. The people that lived in his building had often heard crying and yelling coming from his apartment, but they never inquired as to what was going on. The infestation of drug dealers had taught them long ago that curiosity could get you killed, and getting involved in other peoples’ business was a sure way to end up dead. Their attention was so concentrated on Michael’s progress that none of them noticed a second figure walking on the other side of the street parallel to him.

Michael walked as if he were on auto-pilot. He had traversed this route countless times in the last eighteen months, often times in worse condition than he was in at this moment. Anymore, head down, hands in pockets, he just plodded along the cracked and broken sidewalk towards his destination; so lost in an alcohol-fueled haze of grief and self-pity that he was almost completely unaware of his surroundings.

In a neighborhood like this one, that was yet another condition that could be fatal.

It is a fact of life in inner cities that the lack of opportunity and gainful employment results in high crime. Young men with too much idle time roam the streets like wolf packs in search of prey. In fact, there is a direct correlation between the two groups; both seek out the weak, the sick, and the unwary. Most often, the result for the objects of either group’s attention is injury or death.

Michael finally noticed the group of four when they were thirty feet away. His first indication that he was in trouble was when the largest of the group moved directly in front of him and stopped him with a rough palm to the chest. Somewhat startled, Michael looked at the man in front of him. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, and had a muscular build as if he worked out frequently. The jailhouse tattoos revealed where he held his gym membership. He was dressed in a black sleeveless sweatshirt and jogging pants with high-top sneakers that were glaringly white in contrast. The other three were similarly clad, though all were younger and smaller than the man in front of Michael. Michael was shaken from his reflection by another rough shove and the large man’s voice, “I said, ‘where you goin’?”

Michael, as if noticing for the first time, looked around and realized that he was in a bad spot; no occupied houses for a hundred feet in either direction, and nothing but empty lots across the street. He looked at the speaker, “To the store.”

“Yeah? You got five dollars I can get?”

“No. I don’t have any money.”

“You don’t have any money? ‘Then what you goin’ to the store for?”

“Vodka.”

“How you gonna get vodka, you ain’t got no money? You lyin’ to me? Huh motherfucker? Now I know you got money, let me get ten dollars.”

Michael, even though he knew this wouldn’t end well for him, had receded into that crazy place within all men where, when they had nothing left to lose, they simply spoke their minds and hang the consequences, “I’m sorry. I meant that I don’t have any money for you. You might try getting a job.”

“A job? You know what happens to white people around here? Especially drunk, out of shape, mouthy, white people?”

Michael, now to the point of being beyond caring what happened to him, looked directly into each face, pausing long enough to be sure that they acknowledged his eye contact. He then stared directly at the apparent leader of the group, “Yes, they get assaulted by a group of semi-literate jailbirds.”

Just as the man whom Michael had come to think of as Muscles, moved towards him with bodily harm on his mind, another voice spoke loudly from the street, “Well! It looks like I found you Mike! Who are your friends?”

Instantly, all eyes shifted to the source of the voice. A man, approximately fifty years old, six feet tall and maybe two hundred pounds, approached them. His grey pullover shirt and blue khakis, combined with graying blonde hair and blue eyes made him stand out even more than Michael did in this neighborhood. The group of young African-American men reflexively stepped back to assess this new threat.

Finally, the group leader spoke, “Who the fuck is you?”

“Who is he? Who am I? You’re just full of questions. The name is John McCool. My friends call me John. You can call me Mr. McCool. I’m a friend of Mike’s.”

The group, as if choreographed, looked over to Michael who just shrugged.

“You his friend? Then maybe you got the ten dollars he was goin’ give me.”

McCool smiled, “Nope. Don’t you know it’s dangerous to carry cash?”

“What if I decide to take it? What you gonna do then muthafucka?”

I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do; I’m not going to give you any money, I’m not going to let you hurt either of us, and I’m not listening to anymore of your nonsense. C’mon Mike, we’ve got a lot to talk about.”

Muscles moved in, throwing a wide right hand while saying, “I gots sumthin’ fo you to fuckin’ talk about!”

As he moved, McCool intercepted his arm while simultaneously moving out of the way, yanked him off balance and drove him into the ground. He held him there with an arm lock, applying enough pressure to assure Muscles that any resistance would end up in him losing the use of that arm. The other three, stunned into inaction by the sight of their champion being so easily defeated, looked stupidly at one another. By the time they had reached a decision, McCool had adjusted his position so that he could maintain the arm lock on Muscles while drawing a large, black, semiautomatic pistol out and point it at the nearest of the three remaining miscreants,

“Too slow, boys!” he said jovially, “now here’s how it’s going to go down; you three back off five steps, you on the ground, I’m going to let you up. If you make another move towards Mike or me, I’ll send you to the hospital where you can consider your errant ways while they figure out how to get you to walk again, understand?”

Muscles grunted in the affirmative. McCool let him go, stood up and backed away rapidly. He motioned to Mike over to him. He immediately complied. As the four regrouped, Muscles, who was trying to preserve some dignity squared off with McCool again, “Without that gun you ain’t shit. This ain’t over.”

“You’re right. I forgot something.” McCool reached into his back pocket. He came out with several business cards, “Mike, I want you to hand one of these to each of them. “ Looking at the four, “If any of you moves on him, I will shoot all of you.”

They remained tense but motionless while Mike handed them the cards.

McCool spoke again, “That is the business card of Reverend Darryl Shelton. He’s Pastor of The Lord’s Beacon Church on Six Mile and Hayes Avenue next to the fish and chips place. If any of you decide you want to work towards something other than a police record, go talk to him. Tomorrow is good, tonight is better. Just tell him that Mr. McCool sent you. Let’s go Mike.”

McCool gently pressed Mike’s shoulder, guiding him away from the sullen group. When they were far enough down the block, McCool re-holstered his pistol. Mike noted that he did so without looking at the holster; he had done this often. Neither man said anything as they made their way to Mike’s apartment. The denizens of the neighborhood took immediate notice of the pair; one white man in this neighborhood was a curiosity. Two was an event. While walking past one of the houses whose occupants were sitting on the front porch, they heard a voice comment, “Oh shit. There goes the neighborhood.” The rest of the people on the porch laughed in appreciation.

Still fueled by adrenaline and the need to put some distance between themselves and the group of thugs, they covered the distance to Mike’s apartment in much less time than it had taken Mike to reach the place where he had run into trouble. Once they had entered the building and got on the elevator, Mike turned towards McCool, “Do I know you?”

“No, and I don’t know you, either. I know about you, but we’ve never met.”

They arrived at Mike’s apartment and stopped. Mike, who was still drunk and now very tired as a result of the evening’s events, looked at McCool, “You want to come in? I don’t have anything to drink but water. I was on my way out to restock when I ran into those guys.”

“Water would be fine.”

They entered the apartment. The first thing McCool did was look around as if he were taking it all in, “Maid’s day off?” he quipped.

“Took the whole year,” Mike replied.

Mike went into the kitchen, found a clean glass and filled it with tap water. He handed it to McCool and sat heavily on his couch, “Who did you say you are again?”

“John McCool. I’m here to talk to you.”

“About what?”

“You.”

“Me? What’s there to talk about?”

“Well, for starters, how does one of the most respected men in the mayor’s office end up here?”

“Poor choices.”

“Obviously. “

“ What? This? Naww, this is just the end result. When I say poor choices, I mean from start to finish. I believed in a man and it turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life. You know? You do all of the right things, college, internships, job…you try to make good choices, you try to be a good man, and one day, some psycho asshole rips it all out from under you. Worst thing is though? It’s the guy you thought was your best friend.”

“You’re not the first person to have suffered losses.”

Mike looked sideways at him, “Easy to say when you’re not the one who lost.”

“True enough. Unless the speaker has already walked the path you’re on.”

“You mean you?”

“Among others. We can get to that later. Right now I need to ask you three questions and I need honest answers.”

“Why? What do you want from me?”

“All in good time. Can I ask or not?”

“Sure. Why not? Least I can do after you saved my ass and all.”

“Good enough. First: Are you sober?”

“Are you kidding? I haven’t been sober for a year and a half. At best, I’m functional. Like I said; I was on my way to restock when I ran into the local youth group.”

“Fine. Second: Is this where you want to stay for the rest of your life?”

Mike looked at the floor, “It’s what I deserve.”

“That wasn’t the question. Do you want this to be your last place on Earth?”

There was a long silence. Finally, as if to himself, “No. I just don’t know how to get back.”

“Understandable. Finally, Can you keep from drinking for 12 hours? It’s 9pm right now, can you stay dry until 9am?”

“I guess so. Why?”

“Here’s the deal; you keep from having a drink until I return tomorrow. At that point, we’ll have breakfast, and we can discuss your new start.”

“New start? What are you talking about?”

“Not now. Like I said; tomorrow. Just stay dry for 12 hours and we’ll go from there.”

McCool looked around with a calculating eye. He looked directly at the pistol and the photograph, “Nice pistol. Doesn’t do you much good here when you’re out there.”

Mike just shrugged.

“Is that your family?”

Mike looked directly at McCool with a challenging glare, “It was. I don’t care to talk about it.”

“Right. Okay, well, I’m going to go. I’ve got a lot of preparations to make between now and tomorrow morning.”

Mike was curious as to what he meant by that but said nothing. McCool nodded to him and let himself out. Mike got up and locked the door behind him. He didn’t look forward to facing the night, this night without the refuge of a bottle of vodka, but for some reason he couldn’t identify he was compelled to see where this chance encounter led.

His first action was to turn on the small television set in his bedroom. He watched what seemed like an eternity of beer commercials and then turned the set off. He tried reading a paperback book he had started several days earlier but couldn’t concentrate. He ended up moving restlessly about the apartment for a while and then decided to try and lay in bed for a bit. Amazingly, the combination of alcohol and danger had drained him to the point where the act of laying in bed caused him to fall asleep in less than a minute.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A View from the Lower Rungs

I don’t usually subscribe to conspiracy theories but, I’m inclined to believe in collusion between those with differing opinions but converging goals. Please understand, while I have a college degree, I do not have the benefit of an Ivy League education, nor have I ever been a “mover and a shaker”. In fact, I have spent the majority of my life in the lower economic strata of this country. I’ve tried to follow the formula to get ahead but success has thus far eluded me.

No complaint, just fact.

Along the way, I have developed some opinions about life and politics in America based on my almost five decades of observing society and having to live with the consequences of the actions of those in power. My opinions can be, and have been, changed over the years as I gained new information and insights but, when I determine that something is right, I tend to be intractable. Moreover, if someone attempts to force their opinion on me in an effort to change my mind about something I know is right, I can become surly and unpleasant. In fact, the more strident the offered opinion, the more I dig in my heels against their efforts at convincing me.

I tend to dismiss most conspiracy theories because those that put them forth insist that everything known about a particular situation is wrong and that the theorists have the monopoly on truth. They disregard any data, study, or proof that they are wrong and set forth the notion that we are all a bunch of ignoramuses being duped by the power elite. Most conspiracy theorists present their case as if a bunch of elitists/terrorists/power brokers/robber barons are skulking around in darkness, meeting in out of the way places, plotting and scheming on how to accomplish their diabolical schemes. From Pearl Harbor to 9/11, conspiracy theories abound on how and why these events came to be, and the desired result is usually claimed to be an increase in power and influence for a select few.

In my opinion, the biggest problem with all of these theories is that they give way too much credence to the competence of those in government. According to (insert conspiracy theory here)“they”, meaning those in government, business, military, or religious leadership, are ascribed with supernatural powers of manipulation and prediction as if “they” could know all of the consequences for setting things into motion. That the government that has been infiltrated by so many foreign spies, and has had so much classified information leaked on to the internet that it’s barely even news anymore, is somehow able to keep conspiracies of the magnitude of assassinating JFK, or of Bush being complicit in 9/11, completely concealed from the public eye is ludicrous.

However, that does not mean that there is no foul play taking place.

It is human nature for people of common goals to gather together and work in concert to attain those goals. Whether it is sports teams or Congress, gathering allies in order to gain advantage over their opponents is their stock in trade and they will go to extremes to see their plans through to fruition. The trouble starts when the opposing sides turn their attention upon an unsuspecting third party that both sides have decided to “help” in order to gain their support.

Enter, our government. For years now, in fact, for my entire life, government has been in the business of helping people. LBJ created the welfare state with his Great Society. He paved the way for single mothers to get government benefits in order to raise a family. His “help” was probably the single largest contributor to the dissolution of the nuclear family in history. By opening the doors for Big Government to replace fathers, he insured that there would be a permanent underclass that was perpetually seeking more and better handouts from the taxpayer.

Then, Nixon gave us the Environmental Protection Agency, a bureaucracy that has gone from forcing factories to stop spilling industrial waste into our rivers and lakes to an iron-fisted regulatory agency that has made it impossible for American manufacturers to comply with their complicated and contradictory regulations to the point that it is too expensive to even attempt to comply, resulting in them leaving the USA and moving operations to more business-friendly countries.

Tricky Dick also gave us the Drug Enforcement Agency; an agency that has managed to grow and flourish even though their rate of success is dismal. They interdict less than 1% of all of the drugs that flow into the United States every year, yet their efforts are applauded and their budget is expanded. It strikes me odd that a 1% success rate is cause for reward. If airline pilots exhibited this level of competence, there would be howls of protest from Los Angeles to New York, but somehow the DEA is given a pass.

And while I’m willing to concede that all of these plans were the result of a sincere desire to help, once it looked like they were positively going to become reality, the opportunists showed up. The opportunists saw these new bureaucracies, not as methods of helping America become a better place, but as an avenue to increase their control over the average citizen and thus increase their power and influence over our nation. Opportunists have no loyalty to party or people, they affiliate themselves with whomever will give them the greatest advantage. And they have taken over both parties. Democrats and Republicans state that they have different platforms, but their actions and results speak for themselves. No matter who is in office, we the people end up with more government, more taxes, more regulation, and less liberty, less disposable income, and less security in our futures.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this: How is it that those that proclaim to the body public that they are working for us always manage to create that which eventually becomes our adversary? Why would the successors of the progenitors of those bureaucracies use the exact same formula time and again to create new departments, new enforcement arms, and new regulatory agencies to add to the long list of those that have developed into adversaries bent on total control and domination of our money, property, and lives? Are politicians just inherently incompetent?

I don’t think so.

What has happened in the last one hundred years is that there has arisen a political class in this country. That political class has morphed into a select group of people that consider themselves smarter, more savvy, and more deserving of power and influence than those of us among the masses. It has become so pervasive that we now have political dynasties growing within the ranks of our government. The Kennedys, Rockefellers, Bushes, Dodds, and Gores have established themselves as the political elite. They are the American royalty. Four hundred years ago, they not only would have recognized the Divine Right of Kings, they obviously would have wholeheartedly supported it because they support it now.

Think about it; the examples I listed do not necessarily like each other. In fact, it has been noted in various publications that the Kennedys and the Rockefellers were political rivals. Yet, how often do any of these people ever suffer the consequences of their actions? The same goes for their cronies in Congress and The Senate. Scandals abound; from adultery and tax evasion to statutory rape and negligent homicide, the collective record of our government reads like a rogue’s gallery, yet very few of them ever seem to face the same punishment that Joe Sixpack would for the same crimes. Even when they are found guilty and convicted, they still manage to get back into the game.

Politicians have become a law unto themselves. Party affiliation means little as they all look to achieve the same goal; acquisition of money and power. That is what I meant by collusion and convergence. No, there is no Big Conspiracy to enslave the American people, but there are entirely too many people in government that care for nothing but their own gratification, and are willing to satisfy that desire at the expense of our security, our wealth, and our very lives if they see fit. And they will do these things secure in the knowledge that, should they be caught breaking the law, their colleagues will make the appropriate noises about morality and responsibility, and then see to it that they end up in some lucrative position with a lobbying firm or as a Party Official. Because, just like the NFL, as long as you play the game the way you’re supposed to, you continue to get paid.

I was brought up in a single-parent home during the sixties and seventies, when there was still a stigma attached to being the child of a divorcee. To my mother’s great credit, she rejected the notion that she needed the government to give her a handout. Despite having the burden of raising two children on her own, she held a good-paying job, managed to buy a house and, every couple of years, a decent used car.

Nowadays, children are left to fend for themselves because both parents are working to make ends meet. The only way they can afford a car is to go neck-deep in debt to buy one, same for a house. Taxes eat up the majority of our paychecks, and the cost of living eats the rest. Debt is a way of life even though it robs us of life. Middle America is disappearing under the crushing weight of just trying to survive.

Many are not surviving. We’re losing what little we were able to accumulate because jobs are disappearing, disposable income is decreasing, taxes are increasing, the cost of living is spiraling ever upwards, and despite our best efforts we are failing.

The obvious solution is to clear the way for small businesses to grow so that they can hire more people, lower payroll taxes to lighten the burden on the working people, to cut spending so as to free our great-grandchildren from the huge burden thrust upon them by nine decades of deficit spending, to eliminate obstacles to growing wealth like the Death Tax, and to staff our government with people that place America’s interests above those of other nations. These solutions are obvious to any casual observer of our current plight. It’s also known to those in government. They know the best path to bring about recovery; they just don’t want to do it because that would diminish the power and influence that those in government wield in our lives.

Our government has become one of the opportunists, by the scoundrels and for the sociopaths.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heroes

No, not the TV show. And not the kind that rises to prominence during war time. I'm talking about the kind we never think about; the person that does the right thing, even though it may cost him everything. Frank Adams is just such a hero. He's a Miami-Dade cop that has witnessed abuse and cover-ups by his fellow police officers, and he is speaking up.

Now understand, any job that requires you to associate with a select group of people day in, day out, has a tendency to become insular. Your co-workers understand what you go through every day. They know the stresses, the frustrations, the joys, and the tragedies. It's true among medical personnel, firefighters, police officers, members of military units, and on and on. And because you depend on these people daily, and they depend on you, it becomes commonplace to overlook any of your co-workers shortcomings. In extreme cases, you'll even cover up for them.

But....there is a limit.

The doctor that kills or maims someone due to neglect, the firefighter that needlessly endangers himself or others, the soldier whose recklessness exposes his unit to enemy fire, or the cop that commits an unlawful act and then lies to cover it up, these are all examples of when it's time to speak up.

Frank Adams spoke up. That's no insignificant thing. He broke "the code" about never betraying your tribe. He exposed the very people he depends on to watch his back. He will, no doubt, be subjected to some level of resentment. He might even be ostracized. In all likelihood, he might find it tough to find someone willing to work with him. But make no mistake, a hero's walk is usually a lonely one. Frank Adams, I salute you. You will be in my prayers.

Miami-Dade cop Frank Adams: Colleagues lie:
Miami-Dade Police officer Frank Adams calls it the "Rodney King beatdown." When the burly, soft-spoken 15-year department veteran watched four fellow cops kick, choke, and punch an unarmed subject eight years ago, he says, it was every bit as vicious as the infamous Los Angeles incident. The only difference: There wasn't a video camera to catch it."

The rest of the story here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!

I have to hand it to the citizens of my hometown; they don't discriminate when it comes to turning a buck!




Payne: The irony of Jesse Jackson's stripped SUV

HENRY PAYNE

The Michigan View.com
Add Jesse Jackson’s ride to prominent vehicles being stripped in Detroit.
Following the embarrassing news that Mayor Dave Bing’s GMC Yukon was hijacked by criminals this week, Detroit’s Channel 7 reports that the Reverend’s Caddy Escalade SUV was stolen and stripped of its wheels while he was in town last weekend with the UAW’s militant President Bob King leading the “Jobs, Justice, and Peace” march promoting government-funded green jobs.

The rest of the story