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Please Stop Wiping Your Ass With My Flag

I am FED UP with the asshats among us using the American flag to spit on other people’s faces. This is an epidemic, and it needs to stop.

I can’t believe I’m writing about these idiots, but they perfectly exemplify a trend that pisses me off to no end.

I couldn’t avoid the story of five boys in a California high school being sent home from school for wearing American flag gear. Here’s the synopsis:

Five high school boys decided that it would be cute if they all went to school wearing American flag laden clothes to school on cinco de mayo. Their principal responded to this by completely ignoring the freedom of speech that we enjoy in this country, and sending them home when the boys refused to take off the “offending” flag apparel. This stupid response by the principal turned this into a national news story.

Let me be clear here, the principal was a jackass for sending them home, or even making an issue out of their clothes. He succeeded in turning five little shitbags into “national heroes”.And he succeeded in eviscerating freedom of speech.

These kids aren’t heroes. They’re shitbags. They thought they were being cute, by sending an “anti” message, draped in the American flag. There’s a Facebook page supporting these little assholes now, and they’re receiving undeserved praise in the national coverage they’re getting. They weren’t sending a pro-America message here. They used the American flag to spit in someone’s face which to me, is as anti-American as you can be.  And their parents, who called in the media are proof that the ass didn’t fall far from the cheek. Righteous indignation over a situation where your kid was an asshole is not good parenting.

Using the American flag to denigrate immigrants fundamentally ignores the rich history of immigration in this country. We’re a country that has, since its inception fought for equality and acceptance for everyone that lives here. In the grand scheme of civilizations, we have raced through issues like slavery, racial equality, gender equality, and now, gay rights. In 245 short years, we’ve leveled the playing field in ways that no other country has ever managed to do. Sure, there’s always opposition to equality, but that opposition consistently loses in America because we’re better than the least among us. Less than 80 years ago, the “loathsome” immigrants du jour were the Irish. Today, it’s Mexicans. The rhetoric is exactly the same then as it is now. We moved on then, and we will move on from this because we’re America. We don’t tolerate this crap against any group for very long.

I am so sick of people wrapping their intolerance up in the American flag. This practice is everywhere; the tea party, far right wing websites, militia websites, anti-gay sites, anti-Muslim sites, anti immigrant sites. You name the “anti”, and I will show you their propaganda wrapped in an American flag.

I’m so OVER people using my flag to be against something.

Why don’t you try being FOR something for a change? Patriots are PRO American. Using our flag as a weapon does NOT make you a patriot, and you should not be shielded from being labeled the asshole that you are, just because you decided to use it.

I understand that you’re so full of shit, that it’s pouring out of you uncontrollably. Can’t you find something to wipe all of that shit off with, other than my flag?

We need to take back our flag. We need to use it for good. I’m ashamed of the way it’s being used now.

And by the way, the situation in California is now spiraling out of control. Apparently, 85 Hispanic kids have staged a walk-out in response to what happened. Great, we’re going to have a race riot over one idiot principal and five jackass students.

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Little Help, Republicans?

So everyone knows about Faisal Shahzad by now. He made a lame attempt to detonate a bomb in Times Square last Saturday night. He parked an SUV which contained a bomb that didn’t really have a snow ball’s chance in hell of detonating properly, right in the heart of Times Square.

As an aside, he parked that SUV exactly one block away from where I was hanging out two nights earlier. As a New Yorker, these attempts are personal.

Back to Shahzad. Once he was arrested, fifty three hours after he attempted to detonate the bomb, a couple of troubling and confusing narratives emerged.

The first wave of reporting on this story after his arrest came with questions about how he was able to get on the plane. The criticism over this continues as I write this. I cannot be more perplexed by this attitude. Color me stupid, but I see fifty three hours between attempting to set off a bomb, to being hauled off in handcuffs as a giant victory. I take great comfort in how this was handled and I slept like a baby last night, with the knowledge that NYPD, the FBI, and Homeland Security moved on this so quickly and effectively. And I must say that this is a refreshing since I’m used to the perpetrator of an attack on my city never being put into handcuffs.

I know, I know, there’s one big difference between the Shahzad situation and the Bin Laden circumstances in that, Shahzad was in the US. Okay, I’m willing to make a concession for that. But who sent the anthrax? How long did it take to catch that guy? And where were the people that are unhappy now, over the fact that Shahzad got on the plane back then? I don’t recall hearing much criticism from them, over the fact that the anthrax sender was never apprehended. And where were they when we lost Bin Laden on Tora Bora, because we only had him surrounded on three sides? Where was the outrage then? Good lord, a fucking sheep herder could have pointed out the flaw in that genius plan! Where were all of those crack journalists then?

The other confusing issue that I’ve been hearing is a debate over whether Shahzad should have been read his Miranda rights. This made me wonder which part of US citizen was confusing to these people. Are we seriously debating over whether a US citizen should have access to our justice system? What I found more confusing is that the crowd that is advocating for denying due process are republicans. I’m not sure that they understand their own rhetoric.

Do they distrust the government, or are they so certain the government got the right guy, that they don’t feel due process is necessary? Which is it? Do you irrationally hate government, or do you have unquestioning faith in it?

Is there a republican out there that can help me out?

My confusion leaves me with the impression that you don’t believe anything that you say because what you believe in seems to change, based on who you’re saying it about.

Here’s the problem with this tactic; When you’re willing to contradict yourself to the point of embarrassment, you end up with a very tiny crowd of people that are willing to keep listening. In going after Obama like rabid dogs, you’ve completely eviscerated any credibility you may once have had.

I’m talking to you, John McCain. In ten short years you went from a rational republican that occasionally voted his conscience, to a crazy old man that may well lose a primary to a politician that we already know is corrupt. Peter King and Joe Lieberman, you both get a pass for your hypocrisy because you’ve both always been self serving fools. Embarrassing yourselves is a natural state of being for you. Senators Cornyn and Kyl, you are an embarrassment to your party. Marco Rubio has added his name to the list of republicans that hate the American justice system.

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m not shy about spanking Obama when he deserves to be spanked. But what’s going here isn’t rational because it has very little to do with Obama. When you criticize how this whole thing went down, you’re denigrating New York and I won’t have it. To quote Jon Stewart, “Go fuck yourselves”.

This was a victory for America. It was a victory in that, the community sprung into action minutes after that SUV was parked. It was a victory in that, the police immediately realized that they were facing a serious situation and acted accordingly. It was a victory in that, the suspect was apprehended two short days after his attempt.

I’m sorry for everyone that can’t celebrate America’s victories, because they’re so embroiled in their petty bullshit, that they are incapable of taking pride in their country anymore.


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Immigration Fun Facts

I hate to hammer away at Arizona, but I’ve been hearing many Arizonans defend this new immigration law for the past week. Most of the comments are along the lines of, “If you had to deal with the huge immigration problem we’re dealing with, you’d agree with this law”.

No I wouldn’t. And let me share some facts with you, for why I wouldn’t.

Let’s start with the fact that Arizona has the 6th largest illegal immigrant population in the country. California has seven times the number of illegal immigrants that Arizona has, putting it on top of the list. Texas comes in next with three times Arizona’s illegal immigrant population. New York is next with double Arizona’s number. Illinois has 30% more illegal immigrants than Arizona. And just above Arizona is Florida, with roughly 25% more illegal immigrants than Arizona.

Four out of the five states that have more immigrants than Arizona are donor states meaning that, they get less money back from the federal government than they pay in. CA and NY get back 79 cents for every dollar they pay in federal taxes. IL gets back 73 cents for every dollar it pays. TX gets back 94 cents for every dollar it pays in federal taxes.

Arizona is a recipient state. It gets $1.30 for every dollar it pays in federal taxes.

Illegal immigrants are not destroying your economy. If they were, California would be fucked. The fact of the matter is, that California has the 8th largest economy in the world. Not in the country, but in the world.

In fact if you look at GDP by state, you’ll notice that the states that top the list are familiar. The top five (in order) are CA, NY, TX, FL, and IL.

I want to be very clear in what I’m saying here. I am not suggesting that the high number of illegal immigrants is the reason why the top producing states are on top. There are obviously a number of factors involved, not the least of which is resources.

But I am saying that illegal immigrants definitely are not destroying your economy. There is absolutely no empirical evidence to suggest otherwise.

All of that crap that you hear about what illegal immigrants are costing each state are completely unsubstantiated. There’s no way to look at the data that I just gave you, while still holding onto that myth. Again, California would be fucked if that were the case. If those assertions were even remotely true, then the illegal immigrant population would be draining the states with the top GDP in the country. They’re not.

As an aside, Arizona’s illegal immigration population has dropped by 7% in the past two years. Why? It’s the economy, stupid! When the economy tanked, jobs dried up for everyone. When the jobs went away, so did the illegal immigrants.

This supports my earlier post about how to deal with illegal immigration if you’re really serious about ending it. If we didn’t have eager employers, we wouldn’t have hungry illegals.

So please Arizonans, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

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Ideological Handcuffs

I’m depressed.

As you guys know, I’m a news junkie. I listen to right wing news, liberal news, conservative talk, liberal talk, you name it, I engage in it. My news addiction had become the bane of my existence.

I’m not depressed because of a giant oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. I’m not depressed because a lunatic tried to detonate a bomb in Times Square. I’m not even depressed because our financial system is hanging by a thread. I’m depressed because all of that media that I diligently take in every day is either batshit crazy, or utterly uninformative.

Let’s start with the BP oil disaster. The right wing media has been cooking up a conspiracy theory that the whole situation wasn’t an accident, but that it was sabotage. I’m not going to go into details about the conspiracy theories, because that would be a giant waste of my time and yours. But Media Matters has compiled a good synopsis. The crux of it is basically that the white house orchestrated the spill so that President Obama could renege on his offshore drilling plans.

Really? He created a monumental oil spill that will potentially fuck up three states so that he doesn’t have to risk expanding offshore drilling, which he’s opposed to, because it could fuck up nearby states? Has anybody ever heard anything more stupid? We just lived through eight years of George W Bush, and this is still the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!

I’m not depressed because the right wing is crazy and stupid. Sadly, I’ve come to expect that they will be. I’m depressed because there is a legitimate criticism of Obama that we’ll never hear. Obama never should have consented to expand offshore drilling. We have mountains of evidence to show that it can’t be done with 100% certainty that something won’t go wrong. I’m not opposed to it because it sounds bad. I’m opposed to it because logic and reasoning tell me that when you’re drilling under 16,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, a lot of shit can go wrong. And with that kind of pressure, the tiniest thing that goes wrong, rips the whole pipeline open. The legitimate attack on Obama is that his administration didn’t do enough to impose stronger safety regulations on the oil industry and that, like Bush before him, he let the oil industry largely police themselves. But we’ll never hear that from the opposition because they are wearing ideological handcuffs. They want offshore drilling, regardless of the very real and now, demonstrable downside. This is an ideology that isn’t based in facts therefore, it is an an ideology that is impervious to cogent debate. The right wing, who hated Ted Kennedy never went after him for blocking the building of wind farms in his backyard. THERE was a legitimate criticism of someone they loathed, and yet they never raised it because they don’t want to get off our oil dependency. Ideological handcuffs are preventing them from taking legitimate shots at the opposition.

Let’s move onto the failed attempt to bomb Times Square on Saturday. As usual, the right wing was a bottomless pit of useless, uninformative, and crazy. FOX spent its time trying to prop up the Bush administration by falsely claiming that there were no successful attacks on US soil after 9/11. Brian Kilmeade had his panties in a bunch over the reports that the suspect was (OMG) white! Let me digress for a moment to say to Mr. Kilmeade, “Hey ASSHOLE, I don’t care what color this psychopath is. I just want him caught, and so should you!”. I have to admit that my initial reaction to this stupidity was to hope that the suspect was not only white, but was married to Brian Kilmeade’s cousin. But then I realized that my reaction would make me as guilty and stupid as FOX. I don’t have a racial dog in this race and neither should anyone else. I’m a New Yorker. The only thing I want is to catch this shitbag.

Based on the information that we had at the time, shouldn’t the conversation have been about the rise of domestic terrorism? Or maybe, we could have had a discussion about how people become radicalized. But no, we can’t have that from the right because implying that crazy doesn’t have a minimum melanin requirement would contradict their narrative that brown people are to be feared. It’s not terrorism if the terrorist isn’t Muslim. Guess what? Crazy doesn’t have a color. It’s not born, it’s created. We need to talk about how it’s created and why it’s created.

Now onto financial reform. I’ve realized that the worst sources for any sort of information on economic matters are CNBC, FOX Business, Bloomberg, or any other business channel. None of them will report what actually caused the collapse, or what needs to be done to ensure that it will never be done again. They can’t. Watch the commercials that air on these networks, and you’ll see why they can’t. When a company is spending $50M a month on advertising on your network, are you really free to report them in a negative light? Have you ever wondered why you see commercials on TV for products you can’t buy? Why would Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, or Boeing spend money on prime time ad buys when you can’t buy their products? Because they’re buying insurance. The networks they advertise with would never risk losing that giant pile of ad dollars, just to keep you informed.If you’re watching news or commentary on television, you need to pay more attention to the advertisers than you do to the content.

Here’s a great clip of audio from a comedian named Jimmy Dore, talking about NBC’s reporting on the financial reform bill. It’s thirteen minutes long, but well worth the listen:

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I’m depressed because a freaking comedian is more informative than any of the news outlets that are available to me. He makes an excellent point about how network news is completely devoid of anything resembling investigative journalism anymore. They have become stenographers, relaying information from both sides, making sure that they create a false equivalency in the process.

Our media is handcuffed by financial interests.

Ironically, the best source of legitimate criticism for the Obama administration on television comes from Jon Stewart. Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann come in second and third to the comedian.

My favorite source for intelligent, unbiased analysis is The Young Turks. Give them a listen. You can get the first hour of their podcast for free through iTunes. I didn’t love them when I first started listening two years ago, but they’re the first thing I listen to every day now. They aren’t handcuffed in the same way that everyone else out there is.

I’m depressed that comedians are doing a better job of informing Americans than traditional media is. These ideological and financial handcuffs that plague our media is the reason why most Americans have no idea what’s what anymore.

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Small Government, My Ass!

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the new Arizona immigration law by now. You know, the law that requires roughly three million US citizens of Hispanic decent living in Arizona to keep their proof of residency or citizenship with them at all times. I’m sure that everyone is aware that this law was passed by republicans in the Arizona legislature and signed into law by the republican Governor of Arizona.

What you may not know, is that ten other states with republican legislatures are considering passing very similar “show your papers” laws.

Republican legislatures in Oklahoma just passed a charming abortion law. It’s charming in that, a doctor can no longer be held liable for NOT telling a pregnant woman that her fetus has debilitating birth defects. You read that correctly, a doctor in Oklahoma is not required to tell an expectant woman that her fetus will be born with a condition that ensures that the child will never live a life without constant care. So when a doctor tells a woman that everything is perfect with her pregnancy, she really has no reason NOT to spend the next 8 months wondering if her baby is going to be healthy. But don’t worry, there’s no reason to believe that stress is detrimental to a pregnant woman or her fetus.

I haven’t gotten to the disgusting part of this new law yet so brace yourselves. A woman that wants to get an abortion in Oklahoma is now required to have a vaginal ultrasound, during which the doctor is required to describe the heart, limbs, and organs of the fetus to the woman. And if you’re wondering NO, there are no provisions to exempt victims of rape or incest from this requirement. As Randi Rhodes put it, why stop there? Why not require that giant balloons that read “it’s a boy!” be in the room? Why not have the baby shower during the procedure? The nurse can read from a book of baby names, it will be fabulous!

I guess that the reasoning here is that if a woman wants an abortion, it’s obvious that she hasn’t thought it through. A vaginal ultrasound wherein the doctor describes the fetus to the pregnant woman will help her to make a sound, intellectual decision, based on what would be in the best interest of her and the child.

I have to wonder what’s next? Will we restrict freedom of religion? You can choose to be Jewish or Muslim, but only after having spent a year at a Catholic seminary.

All of this is brought to you by the party of small government. Why do we still buy into this charade that republicans stand for small government? The party that brought us warrantless wiretapping and electronic surveillance on anyone they choose, stands for small government?

Let me ask you a question. Which of these scenarios feels like big government to you;

Government regulators preventing big banks from trading derivatives with money they don’t have

OR

A camera forced into your vagina?

How about having to produce a birth certificate to a police officer while going to get money out of an ATM? Does that feel like big government?

The paradox that keeps being thrown at us about what our political parties are must stop! It’s complete bullshit, and we need to stop letting people get away with it.

Republicans aren’t against big government in any way that serves the American people well.

I don’t know what the fuck democrats are for anymore, but I do know that they have never advocated for shoving a camera in my vagina, while creating a scene that should be in a Freddy Kreuger movie. And they’ve never insisted that I produce my passport, just because an illegal immigrant is working for pennies in order to increase the profits of their contributors.

When you join a party that habitually takes rights away from its citizens based on their morality, it won’t be long before they come for you.

Marco Rubio is starting to figure this out. He recently came out (meekly, but still) against the Arizona immigration bill. Why? Because his parents are Cuban immigrants. In Rubio’s defense, he did the right thing on this issue. He could have gone the Michelle Malkin route. Little background on Michelle – her name isn’t Michelle. It’s nee Maglalang. She was born as what she would affectionately refer to, as an anchor baby. Her parents came her on work training Visas while her mother was pregnant. So while she is a natural born citizen, her parents were not. This means that Duncan Hunter would have her deported if he had his way. She has spent her entire career railing against immigrants. She obviously hates herself, and her parents for doing what they had to do to give her a better life. I suppose we should take comfort in knowing that Marco Rubio could be much more loathsome than he is. He does manage to do the right thing when it hits close enough to home. Now he’s being attacked by some, for not being hateful and ignorant enough.

I refuse to ever let anyone tell me that republicans are the party of small government again. We need to stop letting them frame themselves this way.

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Unacceptable!

I’m referring to the merry band of miscreants that we have to choose from this November. I don’t know about where you guys live (I’d love to hear your stories), but here in New York, we’re forced to vote for another crappy senator. It doesn’t matter who we vote for, they’re all crap.

Kirsten Gillibrand is very likely going to win the senate seat she currently holds because republicans have nothing, other than a former Chief economist for Bear Stearns. Yay for us! In one of the most liberal states in America, we get to pick between two conservative corporatists. Gillibrand has spent the past year trying to “left it up” in order to secure any votes in Manhattan, but she recently showed her hand by doing her part in eviscerating the financial reform bill. She’s getting a TON of money from Wall Street to fund her campaign, which means she takes marching orders from Lloyd Blankfein. She hasn’t even been elected to that seat yet, and she’s already made it clear that her interests trump those of New Yorkers and Americans at large. What is she going to turn into after she’s obtained six more years of job security?

The sad thing is that my situation in New York isn’t even the the worst of options that Americans must make. Poor Nevada has to choose between the very the ineffective pussy that is Harry Reid and the crazy chicken lady! Arizona gets to choose between the filthy, corrupt JD Hayworth and crazy, bitter John McCain. And let’s not forget California, another liberal bastion of America. You’ve got Meg Whitman, who somehow finds time to run a campaign between board meetings at Goldman Sachs and Carly Fiorina, who was paid $45M just to get the fuck out of Hewlett Packard.

Why is this happening to America? These are not candidates that anyone can get behind, regardless of party affiliation and political ideology. No true conservative can possibly find JD Hayworth palatable if they’re being honest with themselves. And Kirsten Gillibrand, the corporatist Annie Oakley should make any self respecting democrat wretch. If we voted our conscience and our real ideology, rather than being herded by our political affiliations, we would all see that none of these people are acceptable. None of them give a fuck about protecting our interests.

Both parties have completely gone to shit, and it’s not going to stop unless we stop it. Every time we vote for one of these assholes, we’re ensuring that the next wave of candidates that our party puts in front of us is going to be worse than the last.

I have found another Senatorial candidate to support here in New York. He doesn’t have a snowballs chance of getting the word out in the face of the big money that Gillibrand is getting from Wall Street, but I’m campaigning for him. If Jonathan Tasini can siphon off 10% (I know, that’s a lot) of the votes in the democratic primary, we can send a message to the DNC.

Sadly, I feel lucky to even have another option since that’s not the case in a lot of races across the country. My plan was to just go in and undervote, meaning that I will vote on everything else, while leaving my senatorial choice blank. Trust me, undervotes do not go unnoticed. Not voting at all is completely ineffective because it appears as if we just don’t give a damn.

I fundamentally believe that the only way to change the sad state of political affairs that we find ourselves in, it for us all to work for change within our own party. I don’t believe that democrats can fix the republican party or vice versa. But if democrats send a clear message to the DNC, they’ll listen. This will never be accomplished by holding you nose and voting for the piece of shit candidate that the party has put in front of you. It certainly won’t be achieved by drinking the party kool aid and convincing yourself that piece of shit isn’t a piece of shit, simply because they’re representing your party.

It’s our responsibility to find better candidates and to support them with our votes, our time, and our money. And if you can’t find another option, maybe you should run! I’m not kidding. But barring those two scenarios, I believe that an epidemic of undervoting would send a message to our parties. We have to stop tolerating the unacceptable.

I am never going to leave the voting booth with that feeling of needing to boil my body just to clean off the stink of what I was just forced to vote for again. Are you?

Please, feel free to share your crappy candidates! It’s hard for me to stay on top of local races across the country, but I an curious!

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