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.

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.

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.

Bill Cosby Insults My Intelligence

I don't think I can do a humorous photo caption that won't offend the non-rapists reading this blog.  (Photo is in the public domain.)

I don’t think I can do a humorous photo caption that won’t offend the non-rapists reading this blog. (Photo is in the public domain.)

By now, my U.S. readers will have heard the “news” about the numerous rape allegations against Bill Cosby.  Although celebrity news usually insults my intelligence, this story is different.  After all, our country and its media held the controversy down for decades.  The delayed timing just goes to show that the American people will forgive the most horrific of sins as long as the sinner is pushing a pudding pop down their throats.  Bill Cosby is being taken down so late in life only because he can no longer stand proudly behind a towering pudding pop on TV.

So let’s shove rape allegations to the side when they mess with our fun.  Priorities matter.

It’s such a shame because this guy was admired as “America’s Dad” because of his iconic Cosby Show.  Obviously, we must now stop calling him “America’s Dad” unless he fathered enough children to have earned that designation through other means. With that in mind, I think we should now refer to him by the job he chose for his character on that famous TV show.

That’s right.  Bill Cosby is America’s Obstetrician.

Of all the medical fields he could have chosen, he picked a vagina-gazing specialty and America didn’t blink.  Never underestimate people’s willful ignorance.

Now, unfortunately, all women will suffer for his misdeeds.  So, ladies, the next time you’re spending quality time with your OB-GYN, try not to think of Bill Cosby.

Blogger’s note: I promise that the next post will be happier.  It would kind of have to be.

Empty Academics Insult My Intelligence

This week, college football fans were shocked to learn that UNC-Chapel Hill’s football players had access to sham courses so that they could remain academically eligible to  wear tight pants and throw themselves on top of unwilling victims.

Who says that athletes have nothing in common with the pleasant law-abiding citizens of fraternity row?

This was supposed to be the publicly recognized scene of the crime.  (Photo credit: yeungb)

This was supposed to be the publicly recognized scene of the crime. (Photo credit: yeungb)

This was done to help the athletes and not the school, right?  It’s not like alumni donations rise and fall with the football team’s win percentage, right?

I’m looking forward to the players’ lawsuits on this one.  They have no right to complain but I’m sure they will anyway even though they were the prime beneficiary of the university’s generosity.  What might a lawsuit look like?

“Your Honor,

I choosed Chapel Hill because they had done promised me good edjamacation. I trusted them. All they gave me is empty grades. I can’t get my edjamacation time back. I gots to learn to do a job. They stoled that from me because I play football.

Please give me ten million dollars for my brain damage.”

Unfortunately, the concussions and/or lack of education will prevent any UNC football players from trying this gambit. Too bad…

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)

 

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.

The Common Core Insults My Intelligence

Originally posted on Facebook, this made it to the Yahoo homepage after making its way to Glenn Beck's website.  (Photo credit:  https://www.facebook.com/PatriotPost/photos/a.82108390913.80726.51560645913/10152143072400914/?type=1&stream_ref=10 )

Originally posted on Facebook, this made it to the Yahoo homepage after appearing on Glenn Beck’s website. (Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/PatriotPost/photos/a.82108390913.80726.51560645913/10152143072400914/?type=1&stream_ref=10 )

 

Dear Frustrated Parent,

We, the educational minds behind the Common Core, regret your inability to understand your child’s math homework.  Although your educational credentials impressed us, we don’t understand why you can’t comprehend one basic concept:  counting on your fingers.

It’s so simple that even a child can do it.

You start by taking the first digit that’s being subtracted, the one in the 100’s slot, and jump 100 on the number line for each 100 being subtracted.  Then you do the same for the 10’s slot and finally for the 1’s slot.  As you can see, the number line represents nothing more than a sophisticated version of the tried-and-true natural bodily mathematical apparatus (a.k.a. digits) that you conservatives claim to love so much.

It’s not scary.  It’s traditional.

Just wait until your child reaches Trigonometry and you’ll discover how much easier these methods make things.  Calculating sines and cosines to three decimal places will excite our teenagers more than it ever has!

Moreover, we are saddened that you chose to mock our interest in developing the children’s writing skills.  If more of you engineers were literate and/or competent in your field, you would understand the value of recognizing errors and being able to communicate them so that they might be rectified.  Your letter demonstrates that you have not progressed beyond a rudimentary comprehension of the English language.  Thank goodness your child has us to help him achieve.

We thank you for your self-incriminating gesture.

Sincerely,

The Department of Education

 

Blogger’s notes:

I do not have a math or science degree and I was able to figure out the homework assignment… which doesn’t exactly shed a more positive light on it.

For the less mathematically inclined among you, one would not use subtraction to calculate sines and cosines.  Judging from the common core authors’ ignorance of what will be needed in higher math courses, I assume they would not have known this either.

Perhaps I’ll agree with Glenn Beck again in another 100 years or so.  I imagine it will be something along the lines of “Gee, this dirt isn’t very comfortable.”

Pacifists Insult My Intelligence. Ariel Sharon Did Not.

It takes a warrior to make peace.  (Sorry Cindy Sheehan.  That’s a warrior, not a warrior’s mom.)

As you may have heard, the former Israeli military leader and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died today after a lengthy coma.  These days, he may be best remembered in the U.S. for his promising efforts at a true peace with the Palestinians that were derailed by his stroke.  For those of you who don’t know, he had also founded Israel’s hardline conservative party and abandoned it late in life to create a more centrist alternative.

[Photo Credit: Jim Wallace, Smithsonian Institution]

Sharon is the second major world figure to die recently, the other being Nelson Mandela.  If we put these two next to Barack Obama and John McCain, we can learn much.

I can already hear the cries of outrage that I would put those four men’s names together.  To placate the protesters, I’ll offer a small hint about the rest of this post and you can sing along if you like:

One of these men is not like the others.

One of these men just doesn’t belong.

Can you tell which man is not like the others

By the time I finish my song?

Let’s review, shall we?  Sharon forged a broad consensus among Israelis for peacemaking solutions they would never have accepted if the proponent weren’t so credible on national defense.  Much of the Right wouldn’t cross their war hero and Sharon’s agenda pleased much of the Left.  You can see the same thing with McCain’s opposition to torture and Mandela’s peaceful activities after he was released from prison.  (Let’s not forget that Mandela had endorsed violence before entering prison and the government offered him an earlier release if he would publicly denounce the use of violence.  He shrewdly refused the offer.)  All three men are known for their willingness to use violent tactics, which made their recommendations against such acts more meaningful.

(None of this is meant to disparage nonviolence for social change, such as MLK Jr. used.  I am not a dunce.)

On the other hand, guys like Dennis Kucinich lack credibility among everyone but his fellow pacifists because we all know that he’d have to be smoking some (different?) mushrooms to suggest anything but a non-violent solution.  For guys like Kucinich, the solution precedes the problem and therefore the solution will always be the same.

Sadly, the reverse is true as well: it takes a pacifist to make war.  Look at Barack Obama, the agent of “hope and change” who Amnesty International recently designated a war criminal.  When Bush was making war, Democrats and much the media never ceased the criticism.  Now that a liberal is performing the same (or worse) misdeeds as George W. Bush, Obama’s allies in the media and the Left have become largely quiet while the non-libertarian-leaning Right has no reason to complain.  Obama the “pacifist” can get away with more war than Bush ever could, at least in the eyes of U.S. voters.

So… Obama was the man who’s not like the others.

Nevertheless, I wish Sharon would have adopted two of Obama’s typical actions to make his peacekeeping activities more effective: eating healthy and exercising.

The world needed Ariel Sharon a little bit longer.