Political Theater Insults My Intelligence

In the race to the 2016 election for President of the United States, two major stories have been brewing as of late:

1- Conservatives disowned Donald Trump because of his most recent misogynist commentary.

2- Joe Biden is contemplating a presidential run, in no small part because his late son reportedly encouraged him to do so.  (How convenient that his son’s wishes became public!)

I would like to say categorically that both news stories are a load of BS.  Let’s review, shall we?

Mr. Trump is no newcomer to the world of misogyny.  The GOP knew about him before he was allowed on stage at last Thursday’s debate.    I could be kind of cynical and claim that they’re turning their backs on him now because it makes them look good in the face of Democratic assertions that they’re pursuing a “war on women.”

Stupid is as stupid does.  (Photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Stupid is as stupid does. (Photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Fortunately for you, I’m more cynical than that.  Right now, Hillary Clinton is widely assumed to be the eventual Democratic nominee.  And then there’s Mr. Trump who claimed at the first debate that his financial contributions to Mrs. Clinton have allowed him to call her when he likes and get whatever he wants from her.  If I’m the GOP, I want Trump around as long as possible but not as part of my organization.  It used to be the case that a third-party run by Trump would have cannibalized the campaign of any Republican candidate in 2016.  Now, however, keeping Trump relevant means the GOP nominee would have a very simple way of painting Mrs. Clinton as being under total sway of the wealthiest Americans.  Just play that debate video over and over as a political commercial and the Republican nominee most likely wins.

(Un)fortunately, Mr. Trump isn’t smart enough to realize that he undid his “leverage” over the GOP with that comment.  On the other hand, he might get his leverage back by eventually making comments about Hillary Clinton’s vagina.  Since Bill Clinton always seemed to be interested in every vagina other than his wife’s, comments by Trump might finally succeed in making her likeable.

Scary thought, huh?

Of course, Mrs. Clinton is not a sure thing to win the nomination.  DJ Gaffemaster Biden may defeat her.  Or maybe he won’t have to.

Let me ask you all a question: does anyone other than the Clintons seriously believe that the NSA has been keeping surveillance on all Americans EXCEPT Hillary Clinton?

Here’s a second question:  does anyone seriously believe that the Commander-in-Chief hasn’t contacted the NSA (part of the Department of Defense) to find out about all of the security issues that are presently being debated?

If Hillary Clinton did something that would make her unelectable, Obama and Biden are two of the only people who would know about it already.    The House investigation of Clinton is probably just political theater that’s trying to get information publicly that they already have.  And Biden’s preparations are probably a political necessity whether he likes it or not.   A credible candidate on the Democratic side (and Biden is credible in spite of everything) keeps the looniest of the loonies from winning a presidential election by default.  Sorry, Mr. Cruz.

Moral of the story: you don’t get the real story.  You only get the narrative that covers up whatever information cannot be released to the public at the present time.  Even if my speculations about Trump and Clinton are wrong, it’s still the case that all sorts of backstage shenanigans are more consequential than anything you “learn about” on the news.

Stop being a gullible sap.

Lethal Injection Insults My Intelligence

In recent years, the United States has witnessed numerous challenges to capital punishment on the basis of the method (lethal injection) being cruel and unusual punishment.  I have no interest in arguing over the maximum appropriate threshold of pain during an execution; the courts are already providing guidance on that matter.

Syringe

“Don’t worry. The needle is painless.” (Photo credit: Armin Kübelbeck)

In fact, I tend to be suspicious of the death penalty because people are idiots and juries are made out of people.  Courtroom arguments have to be made at the average idiot’s comprehension level and that doesn’t exactly bode well for getting a good result.  I’ve even faced questioning for jury duty and one lawyer was clearly trying to screen education out of the jury pool.

But that’s beside the point.  As long as we have a death penalty, it ought to be performed within the bounds of common human decency.  With that in mind, I would like to propose several alternatives to lethal injection that would give convicts more of a warm and fuzzy feeling on their way out of this world:

1- Bring the convict to a garage.  Start up a car and close the garage door.  People die like this at home all the time without realizing how much carbon monoxide is building up, at least until they find themselves looking up from a very comfortable coffin.

2- The guillotine was quick, effective, and cheap.  I cannot overemphasize “cheap” because so many states still face budgetary problems.

3- We all know that the appeals process can take decades.  We also know that bacon flavored desserts have become immensely popular.  Because of this, I suggest placing convicts on a strict diet of bacon grease ice cream from the moment they reach death row.  If the conviction is overturned, they can be given free medical care; if not, their heart attack should arrive by the time their legal journey ends.

4- Marijuana, LSD, crystal meth, booze.  All at once.  If you’re clueless enough to kill people, you’re probably clueless enough to think that this execution method sounds like a party.

5- Toss convicts from the Empire State Building and turn the event into a carnival.  People could place wagers on how far the blood will splatter and in which direction.  Guards could even paint a bull’s eye on the ground and play a game in which the convict tries to land on it.

As you can see, there’s no good reason to continue with the ever-so-controversial drug cocktails being delivered by way of a nasty little syringe.  Until such time as we eliminate irrevocable punishments that could be wrong, we ought to at least have a little fun with them.  “Fun,” by definition, cannot be cruel and unusual punishment.

And please pass me a bacon doughnut.

Feminists Insult My Intelligence

Everybody loves feminists but nobody loves feminists more than the feminists love themselves.  Unfortunately, most feminists are also highly educated and equally resistant to common sense.  This results in some dubious psychological endeavors.

Just to be clear, I do not intend to rehash accusations (such as those by Phyllis Schlafly) that assert an inability among feminists to engage in rational thought and argumentation.  I spent a long time in a Ph.D. program and learned that feminists are quite capable of high-level intellectual endeavors.  It just seems that they also have this unexplainable fear of revealing this capability in public.

So what brilliance do most people get to see instead?

If a feminist finds your opinions unworthy, she (or he) is rather likely to simply turn her (or his) back and refuse to interact with you.  Let’s review, shall we?  Feminists believe that they can convert you to their opinion merely by depriving you of the pleasure of their continued presence.

We all know how well that works.  When someone starts acting like an insufferable asshole, I’m always willing to do anything possible to get them talking to me more.  Aren’t you?

On the flipside, they’ll often start interacting with you more when you start hinting at opinions that correlate more with their own.  When they do this, they think they’re using advanced psychological techniques to move you into their corner (or something like that).  The halfway intelligent person will respond to this by toying with the unwitting feminists.  You raise their hopes, then you let them down, and raise their hopes, and let them down, and on and on and on because many feminists aren’t bright enough to realize that non-feminists can recognize their tricks.

As for me, a very old friend recently told me that no one can be her friend unless they’re a feminist.  I’m not sure whether she thought I agreed with her but it’s telling that she sprung this on me while I was in her car as she drove us through the middle of nowhere.  I complimented her on her hair instead of  answering her comment and was able to avoid being stranded.

(Contrary to popular belief, feminists do care about their appearance.)

I’ll close this ever-so happy and enlightening post with an additional message to all the feminists who might still be reading this:  I love all of you.  The world is a better place because of all the diverse opinions out there.

Blogger’s note: My opinions veered closer to feminism until I went to graduate school and met real feminists.  Suffice it to say that those women (and men) inspired me to change my ways.  Who says you can’t find moral enlightenment at a secular university?

 

Reading the Stories Insults My Intelligence

These days, I rarely write a new post on two consecutive days.  However, you may know of some critically important international crises that deserve immediate attention.  We must discuss them now and we must discuss them well.

Well…

Because the situation’s so urgent, we must visit the most respected informational source in existence: Playboy.

And guess who’s being featured in Playboy…

Confront your fear of Playboy.  I dare you.  (Image credit: Valstein0)

Confront your fear of Playboy. I dare you. (Image credit: Valstein0)

No, not Miley Cyrus.  Playboy is an intellectual publication and only produces material to engage the most significant of minds.  That said, you surely will not be surprised to discover Dick Cheney’s picture if you click on this link.

Actually, you’ll find three pictures of the former Vice President… and he consented to this.

Your dreams have finally come true.

Side note to readers:  As a man, I feel the natural obligation to explain how I ever-so-innocently happened upon the Playboy website.  I clicked on a headline and I didn’t realize that such a scandalous publication would be involved.  I cast thee to Hell, Playboy, and I hope my female admirers are satisfied with that gesture of solidarity with whatever it is I’m showing solidarity with.

I really did visit Playboy to read a story.

Boot Camp Insults My Intelligence

I recently had the opportunity to visit an old friend at the military base where he’s stationed.  Since I’m somewhat above the maximum weight limit to join the forces, no recruitment attempts were made in spite of my unemployed status.

Realistically, I would have declined if I had been asked.  The odds of me making it through boot camp are exactly zero.  Come to think of it, the odds of me making it through any remedial physical fitness training before boot camp are also zero.

And even if I made it through, I’m rather clumsy.  I’m the guy who would slip on a rock and accidentally drop his gun, which in turn would fire while conveniently pointed at someone else’s head.

Putting me in the military would be a horrible idea.

Almost.

You see, this is what most people imagine when they think of military training and work:

I bet he's running after ISIS.  (Photo is in public domain.)

I bet he’s running after ISIS. (Photo is in public domain.)

And this is what I see a lot of on base every time I go:

Okay, maybe I didn't see Slovenian soldiers.  But the guy is sitting on his butt doing work.  Close enough.  (Photo credit: Carol A Lehman)

Okay, maybe I don’t see Slovenian soldiers. But the guy is sitting on his butt doing work. Close enough. (Photo credit: Carol A Lehman)

Now, I’m not stupid.  I understand that the military occasionally needs soldiers to do physically grueling work in combat zones and those soldiers need appropriate training to do that work.  However, do soldiers really need any remote level of physical fitness to fire missiles from drones while sitting at a distant computer center?

When gays were banned from the military, Americans often heard complaints of critical skills being excluded from the force because their owners had a certain taste in sex.  Even though sex was irrelevant to the job.  And now, people are being excluded from the force because they have a certain taste in food even though the resulting girth would no longer hinder many soldiers from doing their jobs properly.

The U.S. military is outdated.  Fat people skills are state of the art; moreover, diversity in body type ought to be celebrated for the unique contributions each body is able to make.

Just make sure that larger soldiers aren’t put on the front lines.  We would make easy targets…

Soylent Hillary Insults My Intelligence

Hillary's golden years before her golden years.  (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

Hillary’s golden years before her golden years. (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

If Soylent Hillary
is made
out of people…

Will she degrade
and fade?

Donations,
Benghazi,
Email,
Controversies pervade.

Corpses.
(Her fault or not,
the dead feel betrayed.
They made her what she is.)

The consultants strayed
and made
The Soylent One.

Her new views are coming.
Her loyalists start drumming.
She drinks lemonade.

It’s bitter.

Once again
the Queen ascends
to nothing.

Made from people,
but not people herself.

Seemingly.

Cursed by her own deeds
to grow old
as Bill’s doting wife
with privacy
and inevitability.

Inevitability?
He’ll get laid.

How
does a former
inevitable
failed candidate
loser
defeated by her own faults,
unmade
by her own weaknesses
become inevitable again?

The addition of more
baggage?

Tirade?

No one deserves to win
except “me.”

Mitt Romney’s Detractors Insult My Intelligence

Mitt is back and he's ready to entertain.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mitt is back and he’s ready to entertain. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

After not-so-nearly coming somewhat close to defeating Barack Obama in 2012, Mitt Romney is reportedly planning to run again. Critics claim that he has no chance of winning the nomination, much less ascending to the presidency, but I believe that he will ensure a Republican victory in 2016.

Let me explain.

During primary season, the other Republicans will spend a lot of time talking about how Mitt is yesterday’s news, how he seems to lack core political convictions, how he seems to be seeking the presidency out of ambition and not out of service, how he seems cold, how his underperformance the last time around reflects on his leadership abilities, how he’s cozy with Wall Street, and so on.

After getting all of this practice, the Republican who eventually defeats him will be well prepared to hurl the same factually accurate rhetoric at Hillary Clinton.

Gun Owners Insult My Intelligence

Has anyone else noticed that there’s too much gun violence in the United States?

No?

Okay, you’ll have to trust me on this one.  We have this Second Amendment thing here that gives us the right to own weapons.  Lots of weapons.  Big weapons.  Shiny weapons.  Deadly and fun weapons.

We start at a young age here.  (Photo credit: sirfoxyprincess)

We start at a young age here. (Photo credit: sirfoxyprincess)

I like the Second Amendment.

Guns have been shown to deter crime when they’re not aiding crime.  If only there were a way to get the deterrent effect without all those pesky negatives.

With that in mind, I’d like to make a proposal.  The problem with gun owners is that they’re often the people who think guns are cool; that means they’d have relatively little aversion to firing one.  We should mandate that guns be given to the people who are least likely to shoot them and most likely to exercise good judgment by storing them in an appropriate gun safe.

Let’s start by arming all Catholic priests.  Everyone knows that no priest would ever harm an innocent person.  Moreover, the Church has demonstrated its willingness and ability to police wrongdoing when its members don’t meet the highest of moral standards.

After all, the clergy loves holy things, not holey things.

We all know what Jesus would do.  (Photo credit: RIOT Devon England)

We all know what Jesus would do. (Photo credit: RIOT Devon England)

Stating the Obvious Insults My Intelligence

I’m not naive.  I realize that the news has to be dumbed down for a lot of people to understand it.  I know that “news entertainment” has to be created from thin air to make people click on ad-generating links.

Unfortunately, people are dumber than I thought.

I found this lovely headline today: Analysis: US Strikes Unsettle Damascus.  Did people really think the Syrians and their leaders aren’t “unsettled” when people drop bombs on their country?

So this is what passes for “analysis” these days…

This photo isn't of the airstrikes; this airplane participated in "Operation Deliberate Force."  May God have mercy on us all if the military is staging non-deliberate force in addition to its regularly scheduled excursions.  (Photo credit: US Army, public domain)

This photo isn’t of the airstrikes; this airplane participated in “Operation Deliberate Force.” May God have mercy on us all if the military is staging non-deliberate force in addition to its regularly scheduled excursions. (Photo credit: US Army, public domain)

 

The Great Bra Debate Insults My Intelligence

I, a male blogger, am writing about bras today.  Stuff like this always turns out well for everyone involved.

You see, it was reportedly someone of my gender who invented these wonderful undergarments.  The idea was supposedly to improve women’s figures at the cost of their comfort.  Because men are pigs.

And then, as can be readily observed, folks of my gender started spending their time trying to convince women to stop using these things.  They’re less transparent than shirts and they can be difficult for us to unhook.  That also shows how we’re pigs.

 

Oink!  (Photo credit: Rumpleteaser)

The pig’s still smirking.  (Photo credit: Rumpleteaser)

So we support bra use because we’re pigs and we oppose bra use because we’re pigs.  This fits a prominent definition of prejudice wherein the object of prejudice is viewed as conforming to a preconceived stereotype regardless of what he or she does.

Seriously.  That’s a factual definition.  For instance, girls stereotypically avoid math and science because it’s not feminine.  And when they do go for it, they’re not feminine.  And no action can break the cycle of stereotypes because anything will be twisted around to fit.

And with that in mind, the accusations towards men insult my intelligence.  There’s simply no way to behave towards a bra that will not get us identified as pigs.  That’s not fair.

Even though we really are pigs.

Oink!

New Yorker Politics Insult My Intelligence

Throughout Germany, you’ll find a chain of clothing store called “New Yorker.”  It vaguely reminds me of Abercrombie without the sex and expensive merchandise.

On second, thought, maybe it’s not so similar to Abercrombie…

Doesn't that make you want to walk in and spend all your money?  (Photo credit: halleliebe)

Doesn’t that make you want to walk in and spend all your money? (Photo credit: halleliebe)

Once upon a time, someone over there concluded that “New Yorker” would work as a store name, at least from a marketing perspective.  We have brands with “New York” in the name here in the U.S. so it’s not unique to Germany.  However, New York seems to imply coolness over there when you’re talking about superficial things like clothes.

And New York is cool.  Unless you’re a Boston fan…

And then there are the images of New York that foreign countries see and they assume that all Americans live in New York… except for Barack Obama who obviously lives in Washington and a little girl named Dorothy who hails from the mythical land of Kansas.  New York isn’t particularly associated with anything cultural in this view, so you get a blending of stereotypes:

We all live in New York and wear cowboy hats and carry guns and lassos.  Okay, maybe we’re not portrayed with lassos.  The German media doesn’t inform its people THAT poorly.

So let’s have ourselves an information party.

Images emerge from individual parts of our very large country and they usually don’t represent much beyond a segment of that location’s population.  (Hint: most Texans don’t wear cowboy hats.  Most New Yorkers don’t work on Wall street.   Most Americans don’t eat at McDonald’s unless a need arises, or uprises in the case of obnoxious children.)

But I’m tired of griping about stereotypes.

Instead, I’d like to talk about one small-scale case that does reflect on the U.S. as a whole.  Recently in Virginia, one of our country’s most highly ranking congressmen was defeated in an election that was only open to a small geographic area; he even lost to an underfunded member of his own party.

Some call it a problem with the system.  I call it useful, even though I’m not fond of the political movement that ousted him.  Right now we have a large-ish and staunchly anti-government group called the Tea Party.  (To my non-U.S. readers: the Tea Party is not a political party.  They are among the most conservative people in the Republican Party and their name is a reference to the 1774 Boston Tea Party.)

I’m not going to debate whether the Tea Party has screwed things up on various issues because I prefer to remain nonpartisan around here.  However, its ability to influence events points to something positive.  In most countries, such a sizable anti-government movement could threaten political stability.  Instead, our dissenters run for Congress and they can win whether the national party likes it or not.

The reasonable expectation of being able to wield influence and enact change outweighs any disagreements one might have with one’s current political leaders. And, despite claims to the contrary, we are still free to openly disagree.

Blogger’s note: This post was inspired by KleesButterfly’s excellent take on how Germans are misrepresented. I decided to do an American version today because of the upcoming festivities.  (Plus, I usually do European travel photos on Fridays.)  To my U.S. readers: have a most excellent 4th of July.  Don’t forget that the day is about more than flags and fireworks.  Since it’s an election year, take the opportunity to refresh your memory on how the system works around here… and do it before you start guzzling all that beer.

 

Edward Snowden Insults My Intelligence

Russia seems to play a prominent role in current events these days.  We have their anti-gay policies, their annexation of Crimea and desire to take over all of the Ukraine, and their harboring of Edward Snowden.

Yes, this “hero” Snowden thought for some reason that certain other countries might be more admirable in their actions than the United States.  While I’ve expressed negative thoughts about the NSA actions he revealed, I don’t quite get why he didn’t contact someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee (for example) who, if I’m not mistaken, has a legitimate right to learn that information and the power to perhaps slow the abuses.

Have the abuses slowed?  I thought not.  And now he gets to see lots of worse stuff in Russia.

And so, inspired by Snowden’s naive belief that foreign countries act for the common good instead of in their own national interest, I would like to present a song.  You may recognize it as a parody of the Tears for Fears classic:

Welcome, Comrade Ed.
There’s no turning back.
Even while you sleep,
We will use you:
Acting on your information,
Glory be to Russian Nation!

Everybody wants to rule the world.

It’s our own design.
You’ll have your remorse.
You helped us decide,
Helped us take the most
of freedom and of treasure.
Ukraine could not last forever.

Everybody wants to rule the world.

There’s a room where the Feds won’t find you,
Full of mice ‘til the walls come crumbling down.
When they do, I won’t be behind you.

So glad we’ve almost made it.
So sad you can’t now trade it?
Everybody wants to rule the world.

I can’t stand your dear old country.
It is ruled by rabid monkey.
Everybody wants to rule the world.

Say that you’l never never never never mean it
when you say borscht is spleen! It
is not what we’ll use to rule the world.

The world’s freedom and its pleasure
Can no longer last forever.
With your help we will soon rule the world.