Saturday, March 12, 2011

The United States of Failure

Japan is sinking in black turgid mud, cowering before a threatening nuclear monster and we're shaking our fists over murdering a furry little red one named Elmo and morally attacking our own brothers and sisters with unabashed glee. But I have complete faith in my Japanese brothers and sisters. They will react, rise, rebuild and move on with none of the incestuous acrimony that Americans scattered in the path of hurricane Katrina.

Stunning, it is, that I can send voluntary dollars to Japan to aid in the staggering aftermath of Mother Nature's omnipotence, but I have little say about my tax dollars being soaked in the blood of Afghan children. To the right-to-lifers waving an American flag over that operation in the name of self-protection as they call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood: GO TO HELL. You're already on your way.

America bubbles over at every seam with potential and greatness, yet we squander true exceptionalism by way of overblown self-importance, waving our guns in the Middle East with no end in sight, fighting over one another's pennies while clutching our own tattered coin purses. All the while, the elite Super Rich lounge in their purple silken robes, laughing and laughing and laughing.

Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be?

* * *

89 comments:

Bill said...

You can also send voluntary dollars to Elmo and Planned Parenthood. There are also excellent charities helping Afghan children and women who, before American intervention, were intentionally tortured, raped, and abused. There is no shortage of worthy causes. The more of your money you get to keep out of the hands of our government, the more you have left for the charities of your choice.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your thinking, Bill, is that the change going on is not going to lower my state or federal or local taxes one dime, but it is going to lower the level of services that all but the rich are counting on being there - including intelligent television! So it's not like I'm going to have an extra buck to send to Elmo or Planned Parenthood. However, the "job creators" are going to have more money. That money is going to create jobs - in the Mercedes and Audi plants in Germany somewhere. I guess.

Nice piece of writing, Erin. I'm from Wisconsin, so I'm a bit raw these days and embarrassed that my state is leading the way on this Republican power grab. But the streets are filled with outrage here, so as Bob Dylan said, "there's a battle outside and it's raging."

Of course, he also said, "All along the watchtower, princes kept their view."

Bill said...

Anon from WI: Intelligent television can only be created by your government? That says a lot about where you're coming from. If you hate the rich and love big government, you need to get out there and join the raging battle. Although I don't think it starts raging until this afternoon so, you still have some time. Bring it all down baby. Ha!

Erin O'Brien said...

Welcome Anon and thanks for the kind words. Regarding Bill's statement: "If you hate the rich and love big government ..." I know you didn't say anything like that. So do most of my readers.

As you may know, sometimes person's from the conservative contingent like to put words in other people's mouths and I like free speech even when I don't like the free speech that's being spoken, if you can dig that.

As for Walker, maybe y'all will throw him out of office sooner rather than later.

VideoDude said...

And the Teapublicans want to cut the Tsunami warning center!

I a so damn sic and tired of beign told I am lazy and ignorant because I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Whats really amazing is the ignorant fools who keep eating the pablum that the Teapublicans keep feeding them. They are not even hiding the lies anymore! Look up what one WI Senator said after the passed their union busting bill. It's not about the budget, it's about making sure the unions don't have the money to support Obama in the next election. Taking away workers rights to win an election! Yeah, the Teapubs care. They care about their rich friends, and corporations.

Cutting taxes on the rich didn't work under St. Reagan, It sure as hell didn't work under George Palpatine and Darth Cheney! Robin Hood in reverse steal from the poor give to the rich! As Erin said: "GO TO HELL!"

kamper said...

Awesome post, Erin, BUT Japan, like all countries, also has its share of right wing lunatics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyoku_dantai

Mrs. C said...

Anon of WI: We love you out here and love your championing of these issues. God how I wish the media were SHOWING what you all are DOING; but suffice (for now) that the word is being spread elsewise.

Bill. Jesus. Jesus-effing-Christ. Did you READ what Erin wrote? How would YOU answer those closing questions? Really. Jesus.

Erin, I love how heartfully and artfully and heartfillingly and insipiringly you tell truths. Your voice is beautiful. Keep singing.

Bill said...

C'mon. Get real. How does eliminating public sector union bargaining in WI negatively affect "intelligent television" or diminish services that the rich count on? What's so special about the public service workers in WI? There will be a lot of union money spent to recall Walker. Careful though. We did that in California and got Schwartzenkennedy.

Erin O'Brien said...

This post is by no means comprehensive. It is ideological. I turned on the box this morning, and watched the horror unfolding across the globe and the goddamn inequity just spilled over me. I got so goddamn mad.

We are one global people--that is a truth whether you like it or not.

Don't believe me, righties? WATCH THE FUCKING STOCK MARKET ON MONDAY.

I just wish we could unite behind the idea of spending less of our collective resources (money, flesh, breath, thought) on trying to kill each other and more on trying to nurture each other.

There's something very sinister about our post 911 world, the wealthy and the politics of fear.

It's time for the left to get some teeth. Serious teeth.

Bill said...

Mrs C: Yes, I read what Erin wrote. I love your references to Jesus. Here, in the USA, it's really more about who I am or you are not who "we" are are who "we" want to be. However, it's been my experience that most of us are pretty generous. When I'm generous, I'm generous with my money or time. You can do the same thing.

VideoDude said...

Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be?

The Teapublicans ideal of America:

The United States Of Koch!

Because, at least, they aren't BLACK! That's what it all boils down to. They can't stand it that there is a black man in "their" White House. Can you imagine, if Obama's ideas were the ones that save the economy and jobs? They wouldn't be able to stand themnselves know a black man save our collective asses!

Ms Amanda said...

Bill, You make me sad. Sometimes I choose not to come to The Owners Manual because I can't handle your responses. They kick me the gut. I am the child who benefitted from every social service available in the US and 'made good' because of it.
Erin, You speak my mind much of the time.

VideoDude said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/wi-firefighters-spark-mov_b_834879.html?ref=fb&src=sp

Erin O'Brien said...

Amanda, thanks for your readership. If you want to read my content without having to drop in, try one of the RSS feeders or the Feedblitz email service I have linked in my right hand sidebar. The Feedblitz service will email my new content to you every time I post.

Love the "move the money" link, Vdude.

Erin O'Brien said...

Here's a link for Bill.

alphadog said...

My dear Erin, you forgot to include the elite ruling class who sit right alongside the super rich, lounging in their purple silken robes laughing.
Those of you who believe that there's an honest shred of difference between the Democrat and Republican establishment are naive and living the lie that has been fed you since birth. The Democrats are as snugly in bed with big business as the Republicans.
The proposed spending cuts are a joke. They merely reduce the rate of deficit spending, doing nothing to address the actual problem.
To understand who is shouldering the monetary responsibility for this country, I offer you this link. Please recognize the bit of satire and tongue in cheek before you discount the overall message.

http://libertynewsradio.com/wire/articles5/2011/00242_Fully_Taxated_Part_II_100313.php

Voting in a new master every four years does not change the fact that you're still a slave.

Bill said...

Amanda: You'd probably like me if you met me. Congratuations on "making good". Not sure why I would make anyone sad.

Dudesworthy said...

A theory: The majority of Republican voters don't vote Republican because they have constructed a logical and well thought-out personal ideology that resonates with Republican values.

They vote Republican because they think politics is a sport, the Republicans are their team, and they offer them the same unquestioning loyalty that they give to their football team.

On a side note, the political situation in Japan is perhaps worse; check out their election results, they are a hair's breadth from being a single-party state. Japanese politics is consensual because they are at the opposite unhealthy democratic extreme.

Bill said...

videodude. I didn't think anyone here would suggest that there's a race angle here. A black man was voted in and a black man will be voted out. Suggesting that conservatives are all racists is stupid! Yeah, stupid!.

Hal said...

We see in Erin the mind of the Statist at work. To hell with the Constitution! To hell with liberty! You see, they always start with telling you you have to wear seat belts, then they tell you you have to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bike, then they say you can't smoke, can't have incandescent lightbulbs, can't eat smorse, and you know what's next? That's right - they'll take your guns away, take over the car companies and health care!

Erin, why do you hate American and support tyranny with such passion???

Bill said...

Uh oh!

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill: Congratulations on missing an opportunity to display a little class by saying something like I'm sorry, Amanda, if my comments were offensive. Sometimes I get a little carried away.

Alph: Although I have a lot of trouble with Obama's presidency, I laud that he pushed through on healthcare, as unpopular as it was, he and the Dems pushed through as best they could. It gave me faith that the US is still governable.

What everyone seems to forget is that we really needed healthcare reform and still do.

During my research for this article, I also found the Credit Card reform law to be pretty damn solid and sensible.

I am not convinced they are all bad guys, but there are a lot of that are bad. I miss the solid sensible Republicans, that's for damn sure.

Hal: because I am oversexed.

Bill said...

Yeah Erin, except for the fact that my comments weren't offesive and I didn't get carried away.

Hal said...

Bill, it is not accurate or fair to say that all conservatives are racist, or have some issues with a black man being President. But a disturbingly high number of them do.

A perfect example is the number comments you're likely to see on any random mainstream conservative blog post (ie HotAir, RedState, The Daily Caller, The Breirtbart Family of Smear Sites, or even The Corner at NRO) where someone refers to Obama as "Obongo," or "The Kenyan," or as being "half black," or as El Rushbo in/famously put it, "Halfrican American."

Another example is the birthers. This is more than just a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory. It is used by many conservatives use or allude to it to suggest that Obama isn't a real American. Huckabee was the last one to do this. Dinesh D'Souza in that ludcrous book he wrote that suggested the roots of his "anger" are "anti-colonialism." That is why a shockingly high number of self identified Republicans believe or suspect that he was born in Kenya (absent any credible evidence suggesting this. And no, the grandmother story was debunked), or that he is a Muslim, for which there is also precious little evidence.

Birther poll - http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/04/cnn-poll-quarter-doubt-president-was-born-in-u-s/

Muslim poll - http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/0810/Poll_46_of_GOP_thinks_Obamas_Muslim.html

Mainstream people believe these things. It goes further than your garden variety Alex Jones fan.

So I don't think it's unfair that at the very least, race tinges the perception of Obama by Republicans and conservatives.

Vince said...

' bubbles over at every seam'. I'm missing something here.

And for what it's worth I disagree with late term abortion. If one read the active evidence on the SCOTUS website I suspect most would agree. However, due to the entrenched positions any movement is seen as a loss to the other side.
What I find is totally ridiculous though is that a chap gone somewhat doolally is given more air time than a civil war within sight of where many have their holidays. And while the shit in Japan will hold for a day or two. That also will be so much chipwrapper.

Bill said...

I would love to make a comment about Vince's comment but I don't have the slightest idea what the hell he's talking about. Must be the result of my non union teacher education.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Damn. And here I thought I was a solid, sensible Republican ....

Al
TRAG

Anonymous said...

"But I saw some shit this mornin' made me think twice. See, now I'm thinking, maybe it means you're the evil man, and I'm the righteous man, and Mr. 9 millimeter here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or, it could mean you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is, you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd."- Jules Winfield, Pulp Fiction,

You know we are kindred EOB but I been thinking being pissed all the time isn't helping. I been thinking about this proverb alot lately-"It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." I am really thinking the solution won't come from the political system or the market place. Seems there's got to be some sort of wholesale change in consciousness about the brotherhood of man. I don't know that my chronic frustration and anger advance that cause.

RJ

Erin O'Brien said...

RJ: Amen brother.

Sometimes I allow my deluded brain to believe I am lighting said candle when I post about some miscellaneous detail of the human condition in hopes that the handful of chortles it evokes lift the collective boat, however minutely.

But sometimes the smirking Erin is so overwhelmed with frustration that she abandons her quirky chronicles in order to futilely rail against the machine.

Translation: I'm supposed to be making people laugh. Sometimes I'm supposed to make them cry. I'm supposed to be writing things that plant little seeds of human emotion. That is my calling and I'm doing my best to follow it--really I am, but sometimes the bad guys win one and I fall down.

Yeah, yeah.

Bill said...

Erin: I love the way you do what you do. You certainly make me laugh and I can recall, at least twice, wiping tears from my eyes after reading out loud, to my wife, something you wrote. Your political views are similar to a lot of people very close to me and I love most of them. The people, not the views.

Erin O'Brien said...

This is just too beautiful not to share. From the comment section of my Facebook link to this entry:

George Paul: Erin, read your rant, er, blog. I am without a doubt convinced that you are a sick and dimented individual. You are beyond help. People like you and are the reason I'm a proud, card carrying Republican that holds an elected position in the ...party. People like you are the reason I contribute my money to republican candidates, walk door to door handing out literature, work the phone banks, host town hall meetings at my house, work the polling stations as an observer, man polling stations in democrat held communities handing out literature, etc., etc. As mentioned in a previous coment...As long as I'm alive I wil do whatever it takes to minimize liberals and crush liberalism. The fight goes on.

VideoDude said...

Bill,

Racist Teapublicans, STUPID? I give you Birthers, etc. When Teapubs vote against their own ideals because Obama supports them, then what else could it be?

How about last year, 7 Teapub Senators proposed a pay-as-you-go bill (John McCain was one) When Obama said he [like it] all the Teapubs voted against it including the 7 Senators who proposed the Bill. Every Teaparty rally there are many signs with racists comements and pictures. And the So-called leaders refuse to call them out. I have yet to see one black Teapartier. If I'm stupid for believing the Tepublicans are racist, so be it.

I would rather be stupid than blind, ignorant, and willing to vote against my own interest to satifiy some idotic belief that conservatism will save the world.

Economic conservatism has failed:

St. Reagan lowered taxes, jobs began to leave America. Deregulation of the S & L industry and it collapsed. Remember the Keating 5? I bet former Maverick John McCain does.

Then Lord George Plapatine and Darth Cheney, and the economy crashed.

Neo-conservatism has failed, you know the idea of running into a country guns ablazing, topple the government and whip a little democracy on them. Look to Afghanastan (sp?) and Iraq for proof.

I WOULD RATHER BE STUPID, AND CORRECT, THAN RACIST AND IGNORANT OF FACTS AND HISTORY!

By the way, sticks and stones.

Amanda, don't let one ignorant narrow minded Teapub, who spews hate instead of facts, take away your pride of having help then making something of themselves. These people suport the Koch-Teapublican Party. You know the kind of people who didn't have to work for anything, mommy and daddy did all the work. If you think I a blaming them for being rich, you're right! Just like they blame the poor, unemployed, public workers, education, etc, for the problems they brought themselves!

VideoDude said...

Erin,

I need to friend yoiu non Facebook to see how you deballed this guy. LOL! Or post your response here!

Since he is an elected position in the "Party", he obviously, gets moeny from the Koch brothers. Isn't it funny that ordinary people standing up to their BS scares them! No facts to refute you, just insults and anger. Typical!

Erin O'Brien said...

This was my response:

Dear Lord,

Please give me strength to hold high the defense of free speech even when I no likey that speech at all.

Thank you for your continued support.

Love,

Erin

VideoDude said...

Erin,

Don't tell the goat, please! But I LOVE YOU!!!!! In a plutonic, intellecual way, of course! LOL!

Nate

Bill said...

Videodude: I said this: "Suggesting that conservatives are all racists is stupid! Yeah, stupid!." Hard to argue with that statement but you insist. By the way; "teapublicans" doesn't really sound that derogatory. I did like that "fleebagger" thing, referring to the WI pols who fled the state. Also, in your attempt to sooth Amanda's feelings you referred to me, I assume, as "hate spewing". Do you have an example of that?

VideoDude said...

Well, Bill what do you call people who blame the unemployed and the worker class for the problems brought about by the Teapublicans! Maybe "hate Spewing" was a little strong. But you and others get on this blog (and others) and spew Neo-Con BS about how the poor, unemployed, uneducated are to blame for our current problems. (Of cousre the answer is to cut education, SS, Unemployment, etc. While cutting taxes on the rich) I hardly ever see any facts or references to history from your side. Except of course how great the Lord St. Reagan was! No facts just lies and hate, that is all that comnes from the right. Becuase the facts prove the failure that the former Republican (Now Teapublican) party is!

SHOW ME FACTS. How did the Middle and lower clase destroy the economy? How after two major failures, will Tax Cuts for the rich create jobs? I have more questions, too. But these should keep you busy for awhile! By the way, Bill I noticed you didn't address any of my examples!

And remember: "You are Entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts." Quote by:
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Erin O'Brien said...

Let's keep it polite, gents.

Bill said...

Viddude:
Maybe I'll take the time to google some of those answers! lol. Yes, there's plenty of BS to go around but I'm glad you acknowledged that BS is not hate. It is possible for my facts to be different from yours.

Mike Lawless said...

Beautifully said, Erin.

Kirk Jusko said...

This just in from CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow:

"The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that."

Hal said...

Bill - Yesterday you said, "Suggesting that conservatives are all racists is stupid! Yeah, stupid!" And you're right. It is a stupid blanket statement.

But I do believe that some conservatives are not comfortable with an African American as President. As the campaign wound down in 2008 and it became pretty clear that Obama was going to win - especially following the financial crisis - there were all those borderline insane McCain-Palin rallies that directly or indirectly referred to his "otherness." Remember that lady with the frizzy blonde hair who was rambling wide-eyed about how Obama is "an Arab," and when McCain took the microphone away from her and said he was a "decent family man...citizen...that I happen to have disagreements with," he was booed.

Booed!

And as videodude alluded to above, the birthers just won't go away. In fact, there was a poll last year that found that - absent any credible evidence - 41% of self identified Republicans "definitely or probably agree that Obama was born outside the US." Why is that? Well I think it's because the GOP leadership will not dismiss this meme outright. At most, and only when pressed, they will make uncomfortable statements that they believe Obama is a citizen without saying anything more. And the reason they won't dismiss it as some tin foil hat nonsense is because it feeds into the meme that Obama isn't one of us. He isn't a "real American." And the GOP needs this meme to set themselves apart as the "real Americans."

Then there's that Muslim question. Again, absent any credible evidence, another poll last year found that 34% of conservative Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim.

in addition, check out the comments on any conservative blog - RedState, Daily Caller, Biggovernment, even The Corner at NRO, and you will find - sometimes frequently - Obama referred to as "Obongo," "The Kenyan," "The Witch Doctor," or as El Rushbo infamously put it once, a "Halfrican Amercan." And the blogs seldom, if ever, call people out who do post that, or remove the posts.

How could any of this be if some conservatives didn't have an issue with his race?

Erin O'Brien said...

Hal was getting spammed. So sorry about that. Please scroll up to see his last two comments.

Bill said...

Hal: Too many Americans have an issue with race. Unfortunately, it's not confined to just white people. Enough said. Regarding the "where was he born" thing. Seriously, the only place I hear/see this brought up is by libs, primarily on MSNBC and quite often by Chris Matthews. The Muslim thing is pretty funny. What's wrong with being a Muslim? He should just say that! "I'm not a Muslim but I have many Muslim friends and family members." Look how much shit Romney gets for being a Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. George Paul,

By the time you minimize and crush liberalism in America(which, btw, will make a terrible mess and leave a horrific smell)the Chinese will be preparing to cook and eat you with ramen noodles. This is no delusion. The voices told me.

Yours,

RJ

The Rev said...

It makes me warm and fuzzy that Ronald Reagan is on the way to help Japan.

VideoDude said...

Thank you, Hal.

I fully apologize for saying ALL Teapublicans are racists.

Bill, there are facts then there are opinions. Facts are resolute. Opinions are subjective.

I will close my debate on this topic by reiterating: "You are Entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts." Quote by:
Daniel Patrick Moynihan to a Republican Senator, Imangine that!

Another one I like is from Adlai Stevenson: “I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them."

Bill said...

Videodude: With all due respect to You, Moynihan, and Stevenson, there's another quote: "...to thine own self be true.." Bill (Shakespeare)

alphadog said...

Vid Dude and Hal,
Please note that those on the left have their own proud moments. Who can forget Joe Biden's “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that’s a storybook, man”. Ted Kennedy's "Osama Obama" or Harry Reid's "light skinned" and that he speaks with "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one". I think all three of those comments could be construed as racist.
And now for a short refresher on the history of racism in the Democrat party, unashamedly lifted from freestaterevolution.com, researched via the National Black Republicans and Frances Rice.

The Democratic Party has an extremely dark and racist past. Our children will most definitely not learn that the Klu Klux Klan was a militant terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.

Professor Dr. Eric Foner writes about the ignored history of the Klan:

“In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired the restoration of white supremacy. It aimed to destroy the Republican party’s infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.”

It was one of the heroes of the present day progressives, Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat), who introduced the largest number of bills proposing racial segregation and discrimination in our nation’s history.

It was progressive hero and Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt who gained the majority of black votes due to his “New Deal”, but he banned black American newspapers (feared they were communist). FDR also rejected anti-lynching laws pushed by Republicans.

The liberals, I mean, progressives, love FDR. He also rejected laws pushed by Republicans to establish a permanent Civil Rights Commission- a law that did not get established until 1958 under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.

And then there is good old Harry Truman- he also rejected the anti-lynching laws and Civil Rights Commission pushed by Republicans.

The real “smack-in-the-face” to the left is the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was indeed a Republican. This is one that liberals have lived in denial about for decades. And while they act like they “own” MLK, they also have held up John F. Kennedy as a saint as well. They ignore the fact that JFK, himself, voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Law pushed by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. JFK also opposed the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.- a march that was organized by a black Republican A. Phillip Randolph (bet you didn’t know that one).

Liberals won’t talk about the fact it was JFK who authorized the FBI to wiretap and investigate MLK (yeah, they thought he was a communist too). While many on the left would point to the wonderful phone call made by JFK to let MLK out of the Birmingham jail, it was agreed to (grudgingly) at the request of Dr. King Sr. (If you've never read "LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL", you should and can at this link: http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html
Jon)

Liberals proudly stand on a pedestal when taking credit for the civil rights legislation achieved by Lyndon Johnson. But had he not had the support of the Republicans due to strong opposition to his own Democrats, the bill would not have passed. In fact, in Johnson’s 4,500 word State of the Union Address, delivered in 1965, he only mentions 35 words devoted to civil rights, and not one word about voting rights- but you won’t read that in any high school history books.

All I'm sayin' is guys, racism exists and it's not confined to those on the right.

Hal said...

Alphadog:

There is no disputing any of what you said - except that it was Robert Kennedy who ordered the wiretapping of King after J. Edgar Hoover practically twisted his arm off.

Plus, you - and this is pretty common on the right - when pointing this out carefully omit that the Democratic Party of the 1930's-60's was vastly different then from what it is now, as is the Republican Party. One thing you didn't mention is that more Republicans in both houses voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats...after which many of the Democrats who voted no became Republicans (Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms come to mind). This began to happen with Nixon's "southern strategy" of reaching out to disaffected white voters in the South.

Indeed, racism is not confined to those on the right. But my comments were about people who have what I think are racist tendencies or racial discomforts who are on the right.

Bill from 7:24 yesterday:

You are right - racial prejudice is indeed not confined to white people, though I was speaking specifically of conservatives who seem to have issues with Obama's race.

As to your reply about the birthers, you are aware that 12 US Congressmen have sponsored a so-called "birther bill," which would require presidential candidates to produce a long form birth certificate in order to run for President. Several states have considered such legislation, one of which almost reached Jan Brewer's desk in Arizona. And recently, Michele Bachmann blew the birther dog whistle. So while Chris Matthews does talk about them, he only does so because they keep giving him fodder. Why else would conservatives keep alluding to a debunked conspiracy theory if they weren't benefiting from it politically?

There is nothing wrong with being a Muslim. And Obama has said that he is not a Muslim, but is in fact, a Christian. But few conservatives believe him. And few in the conservative press do anything to disabuse people of the notion that he is a Muslim. I think this is because, just as they do with birtherism, conservatives benefit politically by suggesting, directly or indirectly, that Obama is "different," and "not one of us." Do you disagree?

Regarding your Bard quote (to thine own self be true), I think it's more accurate to say that conservatives are true to their own, often fabricated facts.

The Rev said...

I just saw a video of a guy on a bike looking for his wife that was washed out to sea. He had photos of her, and he was begging for help to find her. He pleaded for help, the translator almost in tears. Yet you Erin, and the majority of the people on this site, feel that America is a failure. America is there, in our armed forces, in government officials, both left and right. This is not a time to stand on a soap box, it is a time to be thankful for what we have. Damn you people. What does it feel like to hate so much? Every time something goes wrong, you lousy excuse for a human find a way to turn it into something it is not. Failure of America?? YOU ARE THE FAILURE OF AMERICA. Let us hope someday you, the goat, me, or my wife never has to deal with the America you preach about. Let us hope that the America that is doing all it can to help save and give aid to the Japanese is, as I know it will, be the same America you bitch about. If you are so God damn sick of this country as every thing you write is, please leave. Otherwise, try to help. DO SOMETHING. People are dying, you complain. YOU MAKE ME SICK!!!!

alphadog said...

Rev,
While Erin and I disagree on most things political, in her defense I believe she was pointing out just how insignificant our bitches really are in light of the Japan disaster, suggesting that we have allowed these trivialities to overcome our potential. I don't disagree.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks, Alph.

Anonymous said...

Rev I hear a high colonic is just the ticket for an excess of bile.

These matters are not black and white. It is admirable that the U.S, is offering assistance to Japan. At the same time I have first hand knowledge of wealthy people that started short selling the NIKKEI Indexes as soon as they heard about the quake friday morning. The trades are entirely legal but I am troubled by people that exploit others misfortune for profit. Does that make me anti-American?

RJ

The Rev said...

Even if this disaster did not happen, she would only point out the same bitches. If no repub's lived, she would bitch. If she was the only dem, she would still bitch. And wrap herself in a flag while doing it. The vast majority of you really do not have a clue how good we have it. Yet the vast majority of you wankers still bitch. WAKE UP. It is really really good to be an American. People want to be like us. PEOPLE WANT TO BE US. How many other countries have as many people wanting to be one of us? Are there lines to get into Germany? China? I think not. We all have the right to complain. We all do. But remember those, left and right and middle, that never complained, did their duty, and died for it. I was willing to give my life for this country. Right or wrong. I will defend Erin's right to bitch, as I will everyone else's. But I will not remain quite while they slander my country, which they have the right to do.

Anonymous said...

If I were any more awake it would be illegal.

RJ

The Rev said...

I think the fact that you are awake is illegal, RJ. But, as is the case, I am sure you are right. I bow to you, your greatness. As I do Erin. God bless.

The Rev said...

Erin and RJ, something just dawned on me after almost 50 yrs. While I was willing to lay down my life for you, you were laughing at me for doing it. Thanks.

Bill said...

Although I do agree with the Rev on many points, I don't think Erin slanders the USA. I think she doesn't like the right and particularly the far right and thinks the nation would be better if we were all progressive. I don't pretend to be able to speak for her but my take is that she loves her country just as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

Rev you're making assumptions based on very little actual data. Knock yourself out with your passionate ideological arguments but don't assume for a minute you have any idea what makes me laugh.

RJ

The Rev said...

What makes you laugh RJ. That's easy. Pain. Suffering. Lack of passion. Again, you have a gift.

Anonymous said...

Now you just sound silly Rev.

"Tis far better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."


RJ

Erin O'Brien said...

On November 27, 2007, I sent a care package to a random marine in Iraq. It contained the following:

-some old Penthouse magazines
-a tin of striped candy sticks
-a bag of Jelly Bellies
-a can of squeeze cheese
-a box of Triscuits
-two bags of Chex Mix
-a one pound container of whipped vanilla frosting
-a couple of copies of my novel
-some funny little painted cat figures
-a tiny ape Beanie Baby
-every airplane size bottle of booze I had in the house
-some CDs of music
-packages of wetnaps

Rev, don't you tell me how I feel about the men and women in our Armed Services.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Erin,

BTW, if you do send another package to a Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine/Coast Guardsmen in Iraq or Afghanistan, delete the booze. It is against General Order #1, which forbids troops from consuming/having alcohol while deployed. If they're found with it, and even if it was sent to them without their knowledge, if found with it they can be punished under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). They could lose money, rank, or both, as well as serve extra duty (though in Iraq/Afghanistan, extra duty probably wouldn't be an option simply because they're on duty all the time anyway). And go easy on the skin mags too - a cultural taboo over there (unless, of course, you cut out certain parts of the pictures). Just some food for thought....

Al
TRAG

Erin O'Brien said...

Got it, Al. Point taken.

At the time, the person organizing that effort told me, "They're 20 years old. They want silly stuff. Candy, porn. They're not allowed to have booze, but they all want it. Getting a shower is impossible," she said. "If you can find them, put some of those wetnap packages in there. They use them for quick clean ups." God that wetnap thing put a hole in my heart. I put a shit load of wetnaps in my package.

I normally wouldn't gas on about such a thing (and it was a very small thing), but the Rev played the Military card so deftly in this here comment section, I felt I had to respond with something, so there you go.

For the record, Al, in all the years you've been coming here, I don't think you have ever ever played the Military card. You have talked about your 20-some Army years when it was pertinent to the discussion, but you've never shoved it in anyone's face as a way to demand respect.

Al, I have profound respect for that, for you, and for your service in the Armed Services.

Bill said...

"Despite Contamination, U.S. Navy Continues Aid Missions in Japan"

Americans have been risking their lives, for other countries, for a long time.

Erin O'Brien said...

Ironically, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor articulated my fuming with his comments on cuts to foreign aid in the face of the Japan disaster:

"All of us need to be tempered by the fact that we've got to stop spending money we don't have ... Essentially, what you are saying is to go borrow money from the Japanese so we can spend it there to help the Japanese."

Gee. Maybe we shouldn't have spend a zillion dollars bombing the shit out of Iraq based on the lies of one man named "Curveball."

Bill said...

Eric Cantor makes a lot of sense. One of the few pols that's speaking the truth. He's exactly right. The truth, sometimes, hurts.

Bill said...

TuckerCarlson Tucker Carlson
NW Univ. prof study finds people with small-government views less likely to be racist than supporters of big gov't - http://bit.ly/hUX5MR

Anonymous said...

Eric Cantor is a self-aggrandizing, corporate whore. A Koch-sucker. He's not exactly right and he doesn't give a shit about you Rev. He wants to keep those who pay his election bills happy....and they don't have the same interests as 90% of the country.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Erin - thanks.

BTW, wetnaps are a great thing to send to guys/gals downrange. During the first Gulf War we got a lot of those types of things and they were greatly appreciated, particularly those of us who were out on the "line," as I was. Candy was always appreciated, too, as was coffee. For us, showers weren't impossible, but certainly difficult in the traditional sense. I recall not showering or bathing for a 7 week stretch from January to mid Feburary, 1991. We actually used our battalion's chemical decontamination equipment (which functions like a shower) to get clean. That was the only shower I got until the war ended in late February, and we moved back into Saudi Arabia. Spent about two weeks in Iraq after the fighting stopped, moved back into Saudi Arabia and set up shop just outside King Khalid Military City in Northern Saudi Arabia, then finally moved into Khobar Towers after about two weeks at KKMC. After another couple weeks at KT, we finally flew home on 16 April 1991.

Al
TRAG

Bill said...

Anon: You're typical of the hate mongers. Bitch about everything and everyone. You have no answers or principals. Just be against everything. Many of you are sure obsessed with Koch too!

Conservatism, The Truth said...

http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html

Bill said...

CTT: LOL! I'm sure that's going to catch on a spread like wildfire! Good luck!

alphadog said...

CTT,
I got a short way into that piece, substituted Government for Conservatism and it suddenly all made perfect sense.
It works, right out of the box.

Q: What is Government?
A: Government is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

See?

Here's a passage, with substitution, that I randomly picked out about a quarter of the way down:
Government frequently attempts to destroy rational thought, for example, by using language in ways that stand just out of reach of rational debate or rebuttal.

Try it yourself, it's fun.

Anonymous said...

Hey Al you still out there?

I've been intrigued hearing about war zone culture from the Vets I've met who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They tell me there is a thriving black market for drugs, prostitutes and liquor- distilled in Iran! Given the stereotypical image of Islam I found this surprising. Are they pulling my leg or are these reports accurate?

Thanks for your time.

RJ

Anonymous said...

RJ
Mostly true. There is a bridge that runs from Saudi to Bahrain. Bahrain is pretty western and on Friday night it is a one way bumper to bumper traffic heading into Bahrain. Those items you mentioned are always on the black market of any culture.



James Old Guy

Bill said...

RJ: The stereotypical image of Islam is that Islamic men don't drink and fornicate or condone such behavior? I understand that several of the 9/11 Islamic terrorists frequented titty bars. I think it was their second to last religious experience.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

"RJ: The stereotypical image of Islam is that Islamic men don't drink and fornicate or condone such behavior? I understand that several of the 9/11 Islamic terrorists frequented titty bars. I think it was their second to last religious experience."

A bit of perspective here ....

In 2001, I deployed to the Middle East to serve as PSYOP Staff Officer embarked aboard USS PELELIU, supporting Task Force 58, consisting of the 15th and the 26 Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) commanded by then Brigadier General James Mattis. I served aboard Peleliu for about three to four weeks, then redeployed to Bahrain. I was housed in a hotel, and remained there for about a week until I went home.

I usually ate my meals in the hotel, and frequented the Sherlock Holmes Pub inside the hotel. Mostly expats were there, but, notably, I drank beer alongside many Arab gentlemen doing the same, wearing complete thobes and headdresses.

There is a concept of halal and haram in Islam. Halal means permitted, and haram means forbidden. Apparently, it's halal to drink in Bahrain in a hotel but not in other places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc.

Al
TRAG

Anonymous said...

Bill,

Yes, I think. It has been my impression that "radical" Islamists are characterized much like Fundamentalist Christians in our culture. Sex is to take place only between marital couples. In addition women are portrayed as extremely repressed and "deviant" female sexual behavior is punishable by severe penalties like stoning to death. Ergo one would think a prostitute had some sort of death wish. There also seems to be a popular view that Muslims abstain from mood altering substances like alcohol and drugs. You make a good point about the 9/11 terrorists and their trips to Florida topless bars. I am aware that with the right connections and for the right price there are ways around any prohibitions, as James points out. But on the face of it I was surprised to hear these activities were common.

RJ

Bill said...

RJ: Yeah. I've seen Christian women stoned but havent' heard of them actually being stoned. Can't say the same for women of the other radical religion.

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill, you must be exhausted.

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

RJ - as Bill mentioned, yes, these things take place in Iraq and Afghanistan from what I understand. In the places I've been in the Arab world (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar), most of the hotels have restaurants/bars, with copious amounts of alcohol available. Alcohol is permitted, but usually only inside the hotels - it is a punishable offense in public. Where there is alcohol, there is a black market. During the Gulf War we had guys busted for drinking after we got to Khobar Towers in Dammam - they'd bought it down at the souk (bazaar, a market).

Bill is right about Bahrain - I've seen the folks stream into it from Saudi Arabia on the bridge he's mentioned. And as I've said, I've seen Arab gentlemen in a bar, in full dress, drinking beer, liquor, etc. I've also gone through training courses with officers from Arab countries, and they were always at the strip clubs, drinking, etc. Now, when they went back to their home countries, they straightened up, but over here ... oh, boy did they tear things up.

Al
TRAG

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments. Guess the human appetite for vice is universal.

RJ

twinklysparkles said...

Thanks for the post, Erin.

I'm not sure who gets email notification when comments are added to the thread....

While I could not read every comment here, the whole thing made me fairly sad, especially what I perceived as specific attacks on Erin. I would like to name names, but I won't.

I know that writing and blogging is not who one is; it is something one does. There is a deeper truth. Words are attempts to connect and to point to those truths, but ultimately, if we treat each other poorly, what good is anything? You are going to die. I am going to die. Your kin, your pets, everything you love, dust.

We all struggle, no matter what we believe politically or otherwise. To be human is to suffer. So fucking be as kind as possible.

This is made all the more awkward because, although I know Erin, I don't know her well. I know she is strong and has borne her share of pain. She bravely exposes herself to us, clearly and unbidden. And, sexual innuendo notwithstanding, this deserves reverence and respect.

I want to defend Erin against personal attack. Don't confuse your own shit with someone else's. If pointing fingers at other people seems to be a habit, maybe it's time to address that habit. Grow up and be responsible for your motivations and emotions. Own your shit.

I dare you to look inside of yourself. Mill around a bit. Resist the urge to put all of the dark stuff outside of yourself onto someone else. Sit with it, feel it, befriend it. I dare you. Be as brave as Erin is.

Thanks, Katherine

Bill said...

twinklysparkles: You're the second person to be "sad" about this post and it's comments. Don't confuse being kind with kissing ass. There are some pretty tough comments here but most are not personal attacks and they shouldn't make you sad. It's a blog! One of the best blogs I know of but it's a blog! How boring would this be if we all just agreed with each other and got sad? Don't be sad. Be twinkly and sparkly.

http://twinklysparkles.wordpress.com said...

Bill,

Perhaps you felt the overarching theme of my comment was my sadness, but I can assure you that I spoke up because of the direct attack on Erin which yes, was only a tiny bit on this comment thread.

The state of US policy and politics makes me feel all sorts of things, sadness being only one emotion that comes up a lot lately.


I don't think anyone should agree with anyone for the sake of agreement. Everyone should kiss my ass, however, as I am worthy of it and it makes the world a better place.

Thanks for your words and suggestions. I am not new to Erin's blog, but I don't always read all of the comments as I did on this post. Twinkly only has so much time in her life for these pursuits. Long live Erin and her blog!

Erin O'Brien said...

I wholly agree that the world becomes a better place every time M. TwinklySparkles ass is kissed.

Bill said...

Twinkley: Mmmwahh!