Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Just The Facts (Part Two: Teach Your Children Well)

Last week, I layed out some facts regarding Iraq and the War on Terror for everyone to interpret. I reserved my own interpretations of last week's facts for two reasons. First, I wanted all of you to chime in and discuss the facts in comments so all of us could see how reality changes from person to person. Second, rather than do my usual tirade about Bush Co, I thought it would be fun if I waited until this week for all of you to see how I got the idea for "Just The Facts" and how my favorite new Neocon has interpreted them.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine named Ann (named changed for this column) subbed on my co -rec volleyball team. I think Ann is basically a good person at heart but when she says things like "Liberals are destroying this country," she loses me. We got to chatting about my future career as a teacher and she said to me, "You know, Mark, you better be careful about what opinions you give in class because you could get into trouble." I asked her what she meant.......exactly. She told me that I should just stick to the facts. No opinions. Just facts. I got to thinking about how interesting that might be so that's the real reason why I wrote last week's (and this week's) column. Ann, if you are reading this column, how were my facts from last week? You inspired me!

Anyway, I wanted to really try to cover just the basics. No interpretations or long tirades. Facts, only. After I read the facts as they sat there on my blog, particularly #2, I have to say that I got pretty angry. Again. And it's the same anger I have had for the last five years. To me, the facts speak for themselves.

I mean, people, c'mon! It has been five years and we still haven't caught the two men (left) most directly responsible for 9-11? And somehow Bush has the approval of over 50 percent of this country in his War on Terror? I don't get it. It's not just that the Democrats are weak, although that is a part of it.

Maybe the answer lies in how neocons think. Maybe if I really got into their head I could get an answer to this burning question and end my frustrations. That's what I figured last week, anyway, so I decided to ask my favorite new Neocon, Merrill, who I am sure can help us truly understand these simple facts.

Merrill is a regular at the gym I go to. She also works there part time. I've had the occasion to chat with her about many things. One day a while back, the subject of politics came up and I knew right then and there that I was in the presence of a proud Neocon. To her, President Bush was the savior of the United States. She could not understand for the life of her why people were so critical of him and why they were questioning our government. They were all traitors. After all, he was/is protecting our country! She, and her father (who she champions quite often) were both Marines. Anyone who is in the armed forces should be a Republican, she has said. Democrats have always been weak and appeasers. I had a ton of fun that first day we talked as I got to hear about: John Kerry the Traitor, Al Gore the weasel, and Clinton...well, he is the devil incarnate. As all of you can probably tell, Merrill will be a regular guest on Notes.....well, let's just say forever.

Last week, we got to talking about my facts that I posted on the blog. She did not like them. She, along with her father, felt that they were liberally slanted. I had her explain to me how this was so and she did. Here is what she said:

Fact #1: President Bush said the following four things last week: 1. The United States attacked Iraq because we believed they had WMDs. 2. It turns out they didn't. 3. Iraq was not responsible for 9-11. 4. If we leave Iraq, terrorists will gain control of all of the oil.

According to Merrill, Iraq had WMDs and our government is hiding it from us. This is to keep us from worry and to keep us safe. I have to admit I thought our government was hiding them too, at one point, although not for her reasons. I gave up on that theory when I realized how much Bush Co would benefit if it was true. The Democrats would not win an election for the next 50 years.

Merrill also believes that Iraq attacked us on 9-11, not Al Qaeda, and that's why we are at war. When I told her that Osama bin Laden admitted to the attacks, she refuted his importance and said that, like President Bush feels, bin Laden doesn't matter. She did agree that the last item mentioned was true and that, while she acknowledges that Bush said those things, it was actually the liberal media's coverage of the event that took it out of context. When I told her I was watching the whole thing live and that he did say those things and mean them, she said it was just my bias and should really not be so naive.

Fact #2: Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahari, as the heads of Al Qaida, are responsible for the 9-11 attacks. They are both still at large, hiding somewhere in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At this point in the conversation, I finally got her to admit that bin Laden was a bad guy. She blamed Clinton for letting him get too big. When I informed her that several Republican senators, including Trent Lott and Bill Frist, criticized Clinton for bombing a bin Laden camp in 1998, she said that was a lie. And that I was biased. Since she had served in the Marines, she knew for a fact that our government was always on the trail of evil doers. We may not know it all the time but we should trust that they are after them and protecting us. .

Fact #3:American companies are making money in Iraq.

This fact didn't seem to bother her a wit. Capitalism, to her after all, was the best system in the world. She asked me if I was a communist because I had a problem with American companies making money in Iraq. I told her that I had a problem with financial gain which directly resulted in human suffering and death. She told me that the media likes to show only the bad things coming out of Iraq and not the good things so my information was suspect.

Fact #4: Roughly 2400 US Soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq. More have died outside of Iraq as the Armed Forces do not list deaths outside of Iraq, from wounds received in Iraq, as casualties. Fact #5: Tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have lost their lives in this ongoing conflict. Many of them have been children.

While she did not doubt the number, she reiterated that the media focuses too much on death and not enough the positive things happening in Iraq. I asked her if she had seen any of the pictures from Iraq of the dead children. She has children herself and I guess I wondered if she felt anything at all for them. She just shrugged and said, "Well, that's war."

Then I tried a different tactic. I asked her if she was a Christian. She said she was a proud evangelical Christian. I asked her how Jesus would feel about the War in Iraq. She said she didn't know but she did know that our current leadership was filled with good, decent people who just want what is best for our country. They are all good Christians who have been much maligned by liberals and the media who all hate Jesus and want to destroy the United States.

I thought about my conversation with her for the rest of the day. I couldn't help but wonder what happened to her in her life to have such an enormous anti-information filter in place. Was it fear? Was it the unknown? One thing is for sure. For the first time, since I can remember, I did not yell at neocon and call them an idiot. I wanted to but in the end, I just felt profoundly sorry for her. Now, I know most of you will say that everyone is entitled to their opinion. That's fine, well and good but when her opinion begins to directly effect the welfare of my children by the policies put in place by the people she supports and votes for....well, then I am most definetly not going to leave her alone or any other neocon who goes to the polls with their heads filled with propaganda. I may not yell at them and call them stupid but I will gently remind them of the facts as I see them.

So, I guess my question for all of you is.....are these the facts I should be teaching kids when I start my career in two years? When children and teenagers ask me what happened, what facts do I present them with? The rose colored version of history according to Merrill or what actually has happened? Are my facts distorted?

I remember a conversations I had with Crabmaster not long after 9-11 in which he said that if Bush did not catch bin Laden by the 2004 elections, he would be one term president. That did not happen. Merrill helped me to understand why this did not happen. People believe what they need to believe regardless of the facts. We live in a world of perception, not reality, and that has never been more true than the last six years.

I think that, based on these facts, we are less safe against terrorism than we were before 9-11. We are less safe under Bush and there is no doubt in my mind of this.The people that are running our country, through their myopic greed for wealth and power, have allowed this to happen. We have taken our eye off the ball and those of you out there who disagree with me have the luxury, if I am right, of not having a country left with which to say, "I told you so" when the real shit comes down.

What that real shit is and when it is coming down will be in my next column. This column will be posted on Sept 11, 2006. I am working on a "5th Anniversary of the 9-11 attacks" piece and I want to take my time with it so there will not be a new column until that time. This day also marks the 5th Anniversary of Notes From The Front so I really want to make it a big deal.

Tell your friends and stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Just The Facts (Part One: You Decide)

There has been much talk of late, both on this blog and in conversations with people in my life, that I seem to have difficulty with facts. My emotional vitriol carries me away from the "truth," whatever that is, and my critical comments towards Bush Co are just opinions in the end. Nothing more. No basis in factdom at all. In other words, my personal bias puts my writing in such a position that it is not objective and has no basis in reality.

I think that the people that say that are full of shit.

Sorry. But it is their ignorance of the facts that got us into this mess in the first place. And I think that they are, quite simply, sore losers who can't admit when they are wrong.

When it comes to any discussion of facts, many of the posts left on this blog and the conversations I have with conservatives make me fall out of my chair with laughter. Why? Because their defense of the criminals that are running our country contains the exact same rhetoric that liberals use to defend rapists and murders. "He didn't mean it that way" or "He's getting a bum rap" or "It's just an opinion" are the excuses that are thrown out constantly in light of the obvious crimes committed by this administration. Hey, neocons! How does it feel to sound just like those "lily-livered liberals" being soft on crime and all?" Hee Hee...

Essentially, their biased interpretation of any fact presented to them is what really renders any sort of information questionable. And that's really their goal, isn't it? If we, as a nation are constantly questioning information, then how do we know where the truth really lies? And, in our attention deficit disorder country, will people take the time to find out if President Bush did indeed break the law when he authorized the NSA to wiretap phones?

I am constantly astounded by conservatives' perceptions of facts in our world. I continually ask myself how much farther can Bush Co go and still have the support of 30 percent of this country? I think Bush Co asks themselves the same question everyday and pushes the envelope little bit further.

So this week I decided to stick to some facts and then let all of you interpret them in the comments section below. For those of you that don't feel like contributing, that's cool. Sit back and marvel at the unreality you will see unspool before your eyes. And speaking of unreality, next week, in Part Two of Just the Facts, I will give my interpretation of facts as seen through the eyes of two conservatives, something I thought would be quite enjoyable for all of you folks. Don't forget to bring the kids!

Alright, so, these are facts as presented to us by the powers that be. They may not be entirely accurate, conspiracy theories aside, but I figured for the purpose of this column we should just stick to the hard information we are given every day. Remember, my point in doing this exercise is that, in my opinion (whoops!, sorry), there are no such things as facts any more in this country. Spin is the word of the day and anyone can interpret anything and make it their own, regardless of reality. Let's see if you feel the same way.

Fact #1
In yesterday's press conference President Bush said the following four things:

1. The United States attacked Iraq because we believed they had WMDs.
2. It turns out they didn't.
3. Iraq was not responsible for 9-11.
4. If we leave Iraq, terrorists will gain control of all of the oil.

Fact #2
Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahari, as the heads of Al Qaida, are responsible for the 9-11 attacks. They are both still at large, hiding somewhere in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Fact #3
American companies are making money in Iraq.

Fact #4
Roughly 2400 US Soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq. More have died outside of Iraq as the Armed Forces do not list deaths outside of Iraq, from wounds received in Iraq, as casualties.

Fact #5
Tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have lost their lives in this ongoing conflict. Many of them have been children.

OK. So there they are. The facts in all their glory. What does it all mean?

You decide. Leave your interpretations by clicking on the word "Comments" below.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Left Lane

I thought I would take a small break from politics and talk about a topic that we all know and love: driving.

It's bad enough that we here in Minnesota have to deal with our two seasons of road construction and road construction. In addition, we seem to have developed a new form of idiot on our avenues: the road speed monitor. Recently, I was traveling west on Highway 3 (Excelsior Blvd). For the ninety nine thousdandth time, the person traveling directly in front of me (always miraculously taking the exact same route I am ) was annoyingly going ten miles under the speed limit (35 in a 45). When I finally could pass him, I did, and he started honking his horn spastically and pulled up to me at the next light. "Slow Down," he yelled. "Go the speed limit, at least, you oafish Minnesotan driving buffoon!!," I yelled back. Ok, I just said the first part but I was thinking the rest.

Minnesota has the worst drivers in the history of the world. Most people in this state ARE slow-witted, oafish buffoons and I really want to hurt them. I am not a violent man but the desire to inflict a large amount of pain on fellow drivers occurs to me when I see the unbearably common practice on our highways of slowing down to....GAWK AT OTHER CARS SLOWING DOWN!!!!! ARGH!!!! And, of course, the ever increasing amounts of traffic usually lends itself to further drive the collective blood pressures of the citizens of the seven county metro area through the roof.

There is one thing, however, that I can no longer tolerate in regards to the fine art of motoring. I want it to end. I need it to end and I hope that, beginning with this column, all of you readers will begin to help me stop it. We all know what it is. We see it everyday.

People driving in the left lane, at a slow pace, when they are not passing.

Just typing the last sentence made my blood pressure go up 10 points. All of you know how much I loathe the current administration. You have seen and heard me rant about it endlessly. How much I despise Bush Co is but a small thimble full of hate compared to how I feel about all of those fucking cock-sucking shit asses who drive their cars in the left lane when they are not passing.

(Side rant: Yeah, that's right. I call them CARS not vehicles. People who call their cars "vehicles" are fucking douchebags. What's with all the fancy smancy words and shit? It's a fucking car...leave it at that.)

The fact that driving in the left lane has created a cute name in this state....The Minnesota Wedge...makes it even more irritating. I have spent time asking people about this and, while many express frustration, others laugh about it or even defend it. There is no laughing or defending this shit. It is completely and utterly inexcusable . People that drive in the left lane at a slow pace, and not passing, should be put in jail. 30 days minimum.

More than one time I have asked someone why people use the left lane on our highways for something other than passing and they have said the following:

"Well...hee hee....we all like to drive together here in Minnesota!"

I hear this and well....hee my mind, the following happens....

Mark moves quickly to garage to retrieve shovel. He walks back to the fucking suckditch that just made that comment. He swings said shovel, Albert Pujols like, smacking the fucking suckditch in the face.

Of course, this is highly illegal and I would never actually do this....probably.....mostly.....more than likely I would not hit anyone in the face with a shovel. Even if they have no fucking clue how to drive a car.

Now, being a stay at home dad, I probably don't drive as much as y'all but here is one, small, simple, non-violent solution. Go to your document creation program on your computer. Print out one page, in Times New Roman Size 60 that says:


And when you see someone driving at a slow pace in the left lane, pull up next to them, honk your horn and hold up your sign proudly. Maybe we can start a trend or even a phenomenon. Think of it. Our state will become like I-94 in Wisconsin with the left lane clear and free as far as the eye can see.......unless, of course, their are any Minnesotans traveling through.

So, please, help me. I don't ask for much and God knows I give you all so much joy and happiness with my weekly columns. Stop this outrage from continuing.

Clear out our left lanes!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bad Samaritans

Do you know who are the most evil people on the planet? The most vile, scum sucking piles of vermin ever ? The largest incompetent collection of assholes currently holding public office?


Yes, that's right folks, I said it. The Democrats are the biggest bunch of criminals I have ever seen.

No, you haven't entered an alternated reality in which Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt stayed together, Star Trek is still on TV, and Mark is a Republican. I still despise what the conservatives have done to our country in the last five years and always will. This week, however, I thought I would take a look at what the Democrats have done to combat this rise in corruption and systematic destruction of our country. Here is what they have done:

And that just about sums it up. The Democrats have stood idly by while the worst government in the history of our country has set us on a path that can only end with heartache, pain, and destruction. They have allowed these incompetent, psychotic cretins to run rampant...tearing away any vestiges of the Constitution and this great Republic of ours. In my mind, the Democrats are just as guilty as the Republicans.

Why? Has anyone out there heard of the good samaritan laws that many states have on the books? In case you don't know, basically the law is if Steve is witnessing Joe beat up Jim and does nothing, then Steve can go to prison for failure to assist Jim. So, in my mind, the Democrats are Steve, the Republicans are Joe, and we are all Jim (and have been for the last five years).

My mind and heart are sick about this callous group of ineffective nincompoops (left) that deign to call themselves minority "leaders." The sad thing is that they aren't even followers, with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman (who was last seen gently tonguing Dick Cheney's taint). The Democrats today are bystanders...content to wait out the problems we are currently having in the hopes of voter backlash bringing power back to their side of the table. They moan on and on about having a "plan" but, really, their "plan" is a bunch of rhetoric that says:

Hi. I am a pussy. I don't have the balls to stand up to the biggest group of shitbags to ever run this country. Instead, I am going to make some noise over here that sounds vaguely like a cross between a bowl ringer and a silent-but-deadly...slightly loud and yet strangely quiet....almost unheard.

And, of course, if any Democrat like Russ Feingold or Paul Hackett starts to actually show some balls for once......well, they are made to look like fools. Make no mistake about it: Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Harry Reid are just like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Denny Hastert....they are using their power to manipulate us and gain more power.

Well, there I go again bitching and not offering a solution. So, let me go this way. I would first refer all Democrats to my column entitled, "Five Ways Democrats Can Grow Balls." The next step after that would be to come up with some fresh ideas on how to get this country going again. They (and we) need to Jack Kennedy up this motherfucker right quick and show the right what the word "vision" truly means.

Another recent, classic excuse from the left is that they "don't have any real power so what can they do?" What the??!!?? So what if they are in the least do something. Take to the airwaves and start saying things like: George Bush and Dick Cheney are guilty of the negligent homicide of 2300 of our armed forces. That will get people's attention.

If people call them on their Iraq War vote, if they voted yes, then they should admit they were wrong and move on. Message to Democrats: Don't blame Bush for the fact that you were too timid to vote how you REALLY felt. You were a pussy. Now you need to be a fucking man about it and start getting this country back in shape, bitch. Stop lying your ass off everyday like our President does and speak the truth. Don't sabotage the elections of potential candidates who are blunt and do speak the truth (i.e. Paul Hackett). People will respect you for it.

Tell the people of this country that we are totally fucked right now. Tell them that we need to vastly changed the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we conduct ourselves in the world. Stop hiding in the corner like timid little twits and actually do something, for crying out loud.!!!

Now get going before you really start to piss me off.