Monday, June 19, 2006

Don't Get Your Gay On Me!!

In the last two weeks, the Republican leadership in Congress has decided to tackle three extraordinarily pivotal issues, the outcome of which could determine our very fate as a nation. So important are these issues that the Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, the one who sets the agenda in Congress, has said that he will not excuse the Senate until they solve these three problems!!!
They are:

1. Estate Tax. (aka the Paris Hilton law)
2. Flag Burning (an oldie but a goodie)
3. Gay Marriage.

If anyone wants to spend time on the first two items, feel free to leave your comments about these earth shattering issues in the comments section below. I, however, will be talking about that ol' favorite of of the pops issue on the mind of conservative people's personal lives!!

Let's hear it for that old hit from 2004 because, as we all know, conservatives across the country are shitting themselves at the thought of losing in November because the president they blindly supported is moronically incompetent and people are finally starting to wake up to that fact. And what better issue to dangle, carrot like, in front of their frustrated conservative base.

Before we go any further, let's take a look at some facts. Gay marriage is against the law in this country on both a federal and state level. Let me repeat myself because I am sure 29 percent of you didn't understand me the first time. Gay marriage is illegal in this country. So why does our government want to add an amendment to the Constitution stating the marriage is between one man and one women?

Because activist judges (aka judges who actually read the Constitution and understand what discrimination means) could allow these "people" to be married and, by gum, the Conservatives in Congress NEED to add a "double, anti-faggot, secret protection" law to the Constitution.

Interestingly, the chief sponsor of the marriage amendment, Wayne Allard, Republican Senator from Colorado, see here in this picture at left, seems to male lover of his own. I am not sure who this person is to Mr. Allard's right but the look on his face reveals his innermost passions.

Do Bill Frist, Wayne Allard and the other cronies in Congress realize that: a) our country is at war, b) people are dying the war because our leaders are myopic and incompetent, c) 40 million people do not have health care in this country, d) hurricane season is upon us and we might want to start planning now, and e) there are terrorists that want to detonate a nuclear bomb in this country?

I guess not. Because the institution of marriage is under attack by sinners. Well, one sinner happens to be the daughter of Vice President Cheney. Mary Cheney was recently on CNN's The Situation Room talking about her new book, Now It's My Turn : A Daughter's Chronicle of Political Life. Ms. Cheney stated that Bill Frist is just plain wrong. The discrimination that is going on against homosexuals is akin to what happened 40 years ago with interracial marriage. The Republican Party is behind the times and if they want to survive they need to stop treating gay people like 3/5 ths of a person.

I believe they need to go one step further. Conservatives need to "know" gay people. People in this country are woefully ignorant of gay people and what they are really like. I know several gay people and count at least a half dozen among my closest friends. Sadly, it seems that the media, supposedly rife with homosexuals, is part of the problem as well.

Earlier this year, a show called "Welcome to the Neighborhood," produced by ABC was shelved because the subject matter was deemed too controversial. The reality show told the story of a gay couple, with adopted son in tow, moving in to a conservative neighborhood. As the show progressed, several neighbors gave testimonials about how their bias changed in time as they got to know the gay couple. In other words, they went from slinging homophobic barbs to feeling regret at their sub-human behavior.

It played out, in my mind, in the same way our country could begin to embrace gay people as intregal parts of our society. ABC really missed the boat here but, hey, that's the "liberal" media for you!!

Maybe what our country needs is a program similar to the Netherlands. In order to become a citizen in Holland, each prospect must view a series of images which reflect everyday life in the country. Several photos and videos include men having sex with men and women having sex with women. The idea here is to root out people, in this case Islamists, who go berserk and start shooting people due to offense taken at homosexual acts. If candidates are offended, they are asked to withdraw their application for membership.

Imagine, if you will, Markadelphia armed with photos and videos of gay men and women....maybe not having sex (too personal) but, say, paying their mortgage while holding hands. Or reading to their children. Or (gasp) mowing their lawn with a large gas powered implement! Ah, yes, I can hear the cries of discontent screaming from the right already.

Bringing this down to a personal level, the other day when I dropped my daughter of at school I saw a 700 Club bumper sticker on a parent's car that said "Marriage= (male symbol) + (female symbol) ." My first reaction was to have a little chat with the fucking idiot who was driving that car (I restrained myself.) Why? Because my daughter, who can read and understand symbols, asked me about it. She wanted to know why my wife and I were "married" and our neighbors, Carrie and Ann, who have two children were not "married." Why can't two women or two men be married, she asked?

Taking my wife's advice, which is to never lie to my children, I told her it was because people in this country are ignorant and they haven't advanced along enough on the evolutionary ladder to understand that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

After I told her all of this she was quiet for a minute or so and then said (completely true, btw),"Well, maybe if they just read the Bible and learn about how Jesus loves everyone no matter what then they wouldn't be so angry."

Pearls of wisdom from the future of our country.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Last Human Being

Last week US Armed Forces targeted and killed the self proclaimed leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. My initial reaction was one of great relief that such a high profile terrorist finally met his end. He has been responsible for many, many deaths of US soldiers, Iraqi citizens and scores of other people in Iraq. His hideous decapitation of Nic Berg, a private contractor in Iraq, was truly despicable. So, this was a good thing, right?

I remember the whole Nic Berg thing and how truly horrible it was. So when I saw an interview with his dad, Michael Berg (below) I decided to give the article a read. Here is the interview:

O'BRIEN: Mr. Berg, thank you for talking with us again. It's nice to have an opportunity to talk to you. Of course, I'm curious to know your reaction, as it is now confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who is widely credited and blamed for killing your son, Nicholas, is dead.
MICHAEL BERG: Well, my reaction is I'm sorry whenever any human being dies. Zarqawi is a human being. He has a family who are reacting just as my family reacted when Nick was killed, and I feel bad for that.
I feel doubly bad, though, because Zarqawi is also a political figure, and his death will re-ignite yet another wave of revenge, and revenge is something that I do not follow, that I do want ask for, that I do not wish for against anybody. And it can't end the cycle. As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence.

O'BRIEN: I have to say, sir, I'm surprised. I know how devastated you and your family were, frankly, when Nick was killed in such a horrible, and brutal and public way.
BERG: Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.
O'BRIEN: No, no. And we have spoken before, and I'm well aware of that. But at some point, one would think, is there a moment when you say, 'I'm glad he's dead, the man who killed my son'?
BERG: No. How can a human being be glad that another human being is dead?
O'BRIEN: There have been family members who have weighed in, victims, who've said that they don't think he's a martyr in heaven, that they think, frankly, he went straight to hell ...
You know, you talked about the fact that he's become a political figure. Are you concerned that he becomes a martyr and a hero and, in fact, invigorates the insurgency in Iraq?
BERG: Of course. When Nick was killed, I felt that I had nothing left to lose. I'm a pacifist, so I wasn't going out murdering people. But I am -- was not a risk-taking person, and yet now I've done things that have endangered me tremendously. I've been shot at. I've been showed horrible pictures. I've been called all kinds of names and threatened by all kinds of people, and yet I feel that I have nothing left to lose, so I do those things.
Now, take someone who in 1991, who maybe had their family killed by an American bomb, their support system whisked away from them, someone who, instead of being 59, as I was when Nick died, was 5-years-old or 10-years-old. And then if I were that person, might I not learn how to fly a plane into a building or strap a bag of bombs to my back?
That's what is happening every time we kill an Iraqi, every time we kill anyone, we are creating a large number of people who are going to want vengeance. And, you know, when are we ever going to learn that that doesn't work?
O'BRIEN: There's an alternate reading, which would say at some point, Iraqis will say the insurgency is not OK -- that they'll be inspired by the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the sense of he was turned in, for example, we believe by his own No. 2, No. 3 leadership in his ranks.
And, that's actually them saying we do not want this kind of violence in our country. Experts whom we've spoken to this morning have said this is a critical moment where Iraqis need to figure out which direction the country is going to go. That would be an alternate reading to the scenario you're pointing to.

BERG: Yes, well, I don't believe that scenario, because every time news of new atrocities committed by Americans in Iraq becomes public, more and more of the everyday Iraqi people who tried to hold out, who tried to be peaceful people lose it and join -- what we call the insurgency, and what I call the resistance, against the occupation of one sovereign nation.
O'BRIEN: There's a theory that a struggle for democracy, you know...
BERG: Democracy? Come on, you can't really believe that that's a democracy there when the people who are running the elections are holding guns. That's not democracy.
O'BRIEN: There's a theory that as they try to form some kind of government, that it's going to be brutal, it's going to be bloody, there's going to be loss, and that's the history of many countries -- and that's just what a lot of people pay for what they believe will be better than what they had under Saddam Hussein.
BERG: Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't pull the trigger, didn't commit the rapes. Neither did George Bush. But both men are responsible for them under their reigns of terror.

Under Saddam Hussein, no al Qaeda. Under George Bush, al Qaeda.
Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability. Under George Bush, instability.
Under Saddam Hussein, about 30,000 deaths a year. Under George Bush, about 60,000 deaths a year. I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?

And then cometh the right wing shitstorm...and with it, a change in MY attitude.

Everyone from Laura to Rush to the psychos on ham radio went ape shit and called Michael Berg....the man who lost his son to a decapitation for fuck's sake....a PUSSY!

Ah, America. What a special place. According to Mr Berg, this is not a recent occurrence. Apparently, when has spoke of peace and trying to get along with everyone, people have.....THREATENED HIM AND SHOT AT HIM? You know, you really gotta love this fucking place. I guess they proved him right!!

I am absolutely disgusted at the reaction to this interview especially by Laura Ingraham (left). She made a joke out of it and said, "Well I am happy that he is dead!" This coming from the same woman who two weeks previous had proudly proclaimed how she is Pro Life. Well, which is it honey? If you think all life is sacred, why is this OK?

The Red States of America answer is: Killin' is alright when WE judge them to be bad. God has given America the power to judge people and it is our job to carry out His judgment.

Now, my rant here aside, I don't think we should stop looking for Bin Laden or al Zawahari. It is clear to me that they will stop at nothing to detonate a nuclear device in our country. They have declared these intentions and we need to stop them. It is unfortunate and sad but NOT our fault.

Iraq is our fault. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is our fault and reading the interview made me realize that there is a very clear distinction between him and bin Laden. Zarqawi was "created" by our own foreign policy. He saw an opportunity to make himself into something bigger than he would ever be. The proof of how much of a Noriega-like buffoon he was is in a hilarious video of him trying to fire a gun. He can't figure out how to clear the gun when it jams for crying out loud. Bin laden, on the other hand, knows how to fire a gun, and the last time I checked, was ACTUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 9-11 ATTACKS.

So, while all you chuckleheads out there in zombie land are drinking Busch Light and firing your guns into the air to our "victory" in Iraq, maybe you should take a step back and listen to the words of man who actually has lost someone over there. Ask yourself, is there any truth to what he is saying? Can we change?

Can we?

Monday, June 05, 2006

You're In The Jailhouse Now

A few weeks back, an ultra conservative friend of mine, whom we will call Chet, forwarded an email to me about a very special place. In Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set up a "real" prison. Unlike the luxury prisons in the rest of the country, where anal rape, HIV transmission, nightly beatings/stabbings and bribery occur, Sheriff Joe's prison is a really TOUGH one.

Sheriff Arpaio (left) has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them. He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails, and took away their weightlifting equipment and cut off all but "G" movies. He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects. Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again only allowed the Disney channel and the weather channel. When asked why the weather channel he replied, so they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs. He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value. When the inmates complained, he told them, "This isn't the Ritz/Carlton.If you don't like it, don't come back."

He bought the Newt Gingrich lecture series on videotape that he pipes into the jails. When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series might explain why a lot of the inmates were in his jails in the first place.

The response at the end of the email was:

Way to go, Sheriff! Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

The email left out the fact that, according to the Phoenix Times, Sheriff Joe "was once Arizona's most popular politician. But his popularity is plummeting as the public learns details of horrendous jail conditions, reckless police operations and Gestapo-like activities against political rivals. "

He also seems to have a habit of having a perfectly prepared statement anytime a camera or microphone is aimed in his direction. And a closer look at Maricopa County's rate of repeat crimes shows that it is among the worst in the country. But hey, who am I to argue with the reality that this email has created?

Ah, conservative fear-mongering and paranoia. It is soooo grounded in fact and reality it's almost hard to question, isn't it? I guess my first question is this: does Chet feel that because I am a "liberal" (whatever that means), that I am FOR crime? Apparently he thinks that Democrats across the country are holding hands with convicts, supplying them with baby oil and porn, and making sure that all victims of crimes are actually the ones punished.

Is this the right wing mentality? And they call left wingers too full of emotion and not grounded in fact? What a bunch of fucking nonsense! Do you want to know why I will NEVER be a conservative
(whatever that means)? It is because of this complete sack of bullshit email that was sent to me last month. Pardon me while I LAUGH MY ASS OFF FOR THE REST OF THE SUMMER AT THIS COMPLETELY FUCKING IGNORANT, MOUTH-BREATHING POINT OF VIEW!!!

Chet, I hate to be the one to inform you of this but if you want to know why criminals are "running free" take a look in the fucking mirror. As I write this article, if someone is caught with an ounce or more of marijuana, they will serve mandatory prison time up to 25 years with NO eligibility for parole. If someone rapes or beats a woman, it is more than likely that they will be out of prison in less than two years, if they even go in at all, and this is according to the Hennepin County Sheriff's office. This is based on federal laws that were made by people that YOU voted for, Chet; CONSERVATIVE lawmakers and their leadership who don't want the drug trade interfering with their own drug business (aka the Pharmaceutical Industry).

So, just to recap: smoking a joint and listening to The Beatles: BAD! Time for prison, pal! Raping and beating the shit out of a woman: NOT AS BAD! Time off for good behavior. Oh, and how was she, by the way?

But, hey, you know what? I thought that maybe I should give Chet the benefit of the doubt so I decided to find out how our society was really treating convicted criminals in our very own state of Minnesota. I sauntered into my local police department and had a conversation with a sergeant there whom I will call Smith.

Sgt. Smith explained to me that the conditions in most prisons in Minnesota and around the country were actually quite unpleasant. (Gasp!) In addition to confirming that the items I mentioned in the first paragraph really do happen, he cited small, unwashed cells, disgusting clothes and laundry as well as harsh treatment of prisoners. When I asked him if the Democrats were at fault for all the criminals running around, he laughed and said that maybe crime would really be over in this country if our leadership in Washington would set a better example.

And his comment gave me a great idea.

Chet, maybe you, Joe Arpaio, and I have more in common than I thought. I have three perfect candidates for Sheriff Joe's prison camp:

That's right, folks. Our president, vice president, and secretary of defense could all benefit from a stint in Sheriff Joe's prison to ponder the errors of their ways. The long days spent on a chain gang in 138 degree weather in pink shorts and eating green bologna would offer them time to reflect upon their crimes of negligent homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, theft, bribery, libel, and purgery. Rather than the Newt Gingrich videos, perhaps the staff of the tent prison could broadcast images such as this one:

This is one of the families that was shot in the head, execution style, by our very own Marine Corps in Hidatha, Iraq last November. The original cause of death was listed as a car bomb but now the Pentagon itself is saying that this was an actual massacre of innocent civilians by our armed forces. Notice the smaller body, second from left. That is a child. A CHILD!! A child that was shot in the head execution style. Take a look at that body and explain to me what justifies this action.

While the Marines involved clearly are responsible for these actions, our leadership sent them there in the first place. They put them in this position and they are the ones that are ultimately responsible for this atrocity.

What's that you say? The ol' liberal, Bush-hater Mark spouting off again?

Well, maybe we should ask Sergeant Smith's opinion. He told me that apparently, and this totally whackey, dude, but, hypothetically speaking, if Bob hires Jeff to go steal a can of gas from Jim and, in the course of the robbery, Jeff kills Jim then Bob is also guilty of murder. Huh. Imagine that.

So, Sheriff Joe, are you reading this? And can you do it without moving your lips? I have some new customers for you. Their names are George, Dick, and Don. I think they will fit in nicely with the rest of the murderers and thieves, don't you?

Wait. The image of a sweaty Dick Cheney in pink shorts eating a green bologna sandwhich came into my head.....hee hee...hoo hoo.....BWA HAH HAH AH AH....hey, maybe Sheriff Joe could teach him how to handle a gun! Hee Hee.......