Tag Archives: violence

Y’all Wanna Move to Roosha?

“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid.
As a nation we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’
When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” – Abraham Lincoln

How can I resist this quote when the burghers of the backwaters lined up this week to yet again worship at the moth-eaten, mad cow-diseased altar of Sarah Palin? According to the sly reporting of the New York Times, these people swore they would “take back their country” by doing everything in their power to get her into the White House. That they hadn’t read her new book or had any ideas what she would do if actually elected was beside the point.

Of course, if you purchase the secret redneck decoder ring (available at your local Wal-Mart), it all translates to: “Goddamn, what is this uppity Mooslim, Commie Socialist Nigra doing runnin’ MY country??? Lock away all the white wummin and get me my scopin’ rifle!”

Not unlike Barack Obama, Lincoln put up with this crap every single day of his political career until the nut cases indeed finally did him in. That quote – one of the few attributed to him that is dead on yet doesn’t soar – crystallizes the black exasperation he often felt. He represented a new paradigm: a bootstrapping backwoodsman with an intellectual’s temperament few people “got” until it was too late. The only previous President he had resembled to any degree was Andrew Jackson, like him a rural striver, but one fortunate enough to enjoy huge success as a commander during the War of 1812, and shrewd enough to exploit it for political gains. Otherwise, Jackson was just as hot-headed, paranoid and trigger-happy as his fellow Tennesseeans.

Indeed, Lincoln so alienated the Southern states that according to the eminent Civil War historian Shelby Foote, not even a “crank” redneck cast a vote for him in 1860. It’s fascinating that as recently as 50 years ago – when Foote used that term – that someone who thought Lincoln was fit for the presidency would be considered a crank.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, being one of the few mouth-smashing liberals in America, I believe it is time for the Sarah Palin rooters to leave the building. There is simply no rational explanation for their desire to elevate such a bumptious half-wit to such a powerful office. It only demonstrates this nation has too large an ignorant and prejudiced populace, one that refuses to be educated for its own good. Moreover, it will gladly use that ignorance to serve a malignant desire to imperil us all. At a time when there are simply too many short and long-term crises to solve, it would best serve the country to do what Lincoln did when he suspended habeus corpus during the Civil War – going beyond the Constitution in the short-term to preserve in the long-term.

Which is why I remembered the Great Emancipator’s quote, and why Russia would be the perfect destination for them. Here’s why:

1. Putin & Medvedev = Bush & Cheney…But Forever!

When George W. Bush said he looked Vladimir Putin in the eye in 2001 and was “able to get a sense of his soul,” it may have been the only intuitive observation of his entire presidency. Both men are glaringly alike: incurious, autocratic megalomaniacs who not only disdain the opposition, but believe it shouldn’t exist at all. Putin, as a matter fact, could be a template for the “unitary presidency,” that technocratic little term the neo-con fascists cobbled together during Bush’s first term as an excuse for marginalizing Congress and smashing the Constitution into rubble.

Vladmir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev's political relationship should calm all those recent Rooshan immigrants longing for the halcyon days of Bush and Cheney.

Putin was forced out of the presidency by term limits last year, but he assumed the presumably lesser prime minister’s role, with his dimwitted puppet Dmitry Medvedev assuming his old job. But really, everyone knows who’s calling the shots. Sound like a familiar relationship? Yet unlike the Bush/Cheney duet, these guys will have held power at least 16 years, and likely beyond that. This should be a very reassuring arrangement for the new arrivals.

2. The rich, and only the rich, are in charge

No bigger oligopoly exists on Earth than Roosha, where the only people who have the ears of politicians are the obscenely rich, and everyone else might as well live on Neptune – or else. Stepping out of line can still land you in one of those gulags Uncle Joe Stalin was so fond of. Indeed, only $150 annually is spent on healthcare per capita! Thousands of doctors have been laid off and hundreds of hospitals have been closed in recent years. It’s a right-winger’s dreamland: if you can get rich, God bless you. Otherwise, shut the fock up!!

3. They shoot journalists, don’t they?

The Committee to Protect Journalists announced in September that Russia was not only one of the most dangerous places on earth to ply the trade, but one of the worst at solving their murders. Witness Anna Politkoskayva, Russia’s equivalent of Dana Priest, the Washington Post reporter who broke the stories on the CIA’s secret “black sites.” After being unsuccessfully poisoned at least once, she was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building in 2006. The killers have never been found; some low-level thugs were tried earlier this year, but acquitted. All those code words about the “mainstream media,” “media elite,” “liberal bias” and Fox News’ “Fair and Balanced” slogan boil down to a desire to slaughter anybody who tries to unearth the truth. You couldn’t find a better place to nurture such kindred spirits.

4. Nyet, we have no environment

Russia is in some parallel universe regarding environmental protections. Its factories belch unfiltered smoke, even the most rural portions of Siberia are covered with garbage, and everyone smokes. Oh, and no one – NO ONE – wears seatbelts, an amusing prospect where most of the roads are rutted mudtracks and little is spent to improve or even maintain them. A perfect home for all the naysayers who insist that global warming is a myth and that the government intrudes too much in their lives. And since the average life expectancy of a Russian is about 15 years less than it is for Americans, I will have to listen to them grumble about wanting to live free for significantly less time.

5. But Sarah May Still Visit!

Those departed compatriots of mine may still cast a wistful eye toward the Motherland as they adjust to their new life in Roosha, but have no fears. Sarah Palin always insisted she could see Roosha from her backyard. Assuming that is correct, you’ll have no problems stealing admiring glimpses of her. Of course, she won’t be able to hear you, but take comfort in the fact she never listened to you anyway. And since you’re doing this to make your country a better place to live, Honest Abe would no doubt be proud. If you ask me if it’s the right thing to do, I only have two words: You Betcha!

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Trigger Mad

Everyone wants to make a mark in America, but few actually get the chance. Yet we’re still the land of opportunity: if you shoot everyone within sight, you’ve got a decent chance of making a front-page exit.

There used to be just one or two insane mass shootings a year. Now they’re every few days. The one that stuck most in my consciousness was at a McDonalds in San Ysidro, California in July 1984. Twenty-two were slaughtered by a loser named James Huberty. He had eaten there earlier in the day with his family, and no doubt decided it would be a great place to go out in a blaze of glory.

The country was shocked; front-page coverage went on for days. McDonalds tore the restaurant down. There were documentaries made about Huberty’s demons.

There have been so many shootings since then that I can only remember locales: churches, nursing homes, schools, etc, The jumping-off point was probably a couple of years after the San Ysidro shooting. A part-time letter carrier named Patrick Sherrill killed 14 of his co-workers in rural Oklahoma. Sherrill’s act inspired the term “going postal.” When it became a joke, people told themselves they no longer needed to pay attention.

When Patrick Sherrill's rampage coined the term "going postal," a lot of people stopped taking gun massacres seriously.

When Patrick Sherrill's rampage coined the term "going postal," a lot of people stopped taking gun massacres seriously.

For last week’s mayhem in Binghampton, N.Y., the New York Times published a tremendous headline: “13 Shot Dead During a Class on Citizenship.” It’s the Gray Lady’s version of “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar.” Welcome to America; prepare to die.

Certainly no one is paying attention to the fact that anybody who is angry or sick enough to see other human beings as mere objects can obtain a gun far easier than counseling. Angry high school students? Columbine. Angry college students? Virginia Tech. Angry politicians? Dick Cheney. Angry immigrants? Binghampton. Hell, an 8-year-old in Arizona killed his father and a neighbor a couple of months ago. He was probably curious to see what would happen when he pulled the trigger.

Yet anytime someone who actually doesn’t need a gun to command attention mentions this insanity, the other set of angry objectifiers who run the National Rifle Association begin their banshee wails about their rights. The day after the Binghampton shooting, the ticker on the NRA Website had the following headline: “Gun control advocates misfire with statistics.” Did some newspaper misreport how many people were killed? No, one of the nation’s most politically powerful lobbies felt it appropriate to put up a link to Rob Port, a far-right blogger whose home page says his favorite television show is “The Sporanos” (sic). I should get Tivo.

Certainly by this point the two or three sports hunters and cops who might stumble across this are rolling their eyes. Another schmuck who wants to take away something he’s never owned himself! Well then. I had my first rifle when I was 6. I scored my first bullseye on a firing range when I was 7. I loved the Beretta .380 I owned in early adulthood not because I could actually hit a target with it, but someone as clumsy as myself could take it apart and reassemble it in only a minute or two. I could have probably been an Army sharpshooter if I had any respect for authority, or bagged a helluva lot of deer if I had less respect for life.

I only gave up guns when my I moved in with my now-wife, a sort of hammer-and-sickle type who didn’t want anything to do with them. In the mayhem of early ‘90s L.A., it was position that was difficult to argue with. I haven’t owned a gun for nearly 20 years now, and I don’t miss them.

Most gun owners are responsible. Yet 30,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives every year to gunfire. That’s still about 15,000 less than what’s claimed by automobile crashes, but close enough to consider regulating them in the same manner. I’m definitely up for it now given that gun sales have soared some 40% since Obama was elected.

So, here’s what I’m proposing:

•    Licensure, including physical and written tests, to own a gun. Annual testing if you’re over the age of 70. A point-based disciplinary system. Score three points in a year, you lose your license. Cheney’s no doubt would have at least been suspended.

•    Mandatory annual registration fees, set by each state Legislature. In California, it costs a minimum $150 a year to register a car; if you’re a gun nut, it would really cost you.

•    Mandatory insurance for every legally-owned firearm. A minimum of $300,000 liability, medical and property damage coverage required. No insurance, you lose your license.

We all hate the cost of car ownership – I probably spend close to $10,000 a year on my vehicles, and I own them outright. But those costs – and the fear of what would happen to my insurance premiums – make me think twice before I consider doing something stupid with them.

My proposal would also create a job bonanza for both state governments and the insurance industry. But no doubt the open-minded souls at the NRA would shoot this down before it even got debated. The only thing that might open them up to debate is if one of those nutcases opened fire at an NRA chapter meeting (or better yet, the national convention). An odd wish, but I’m an odd man. Thank your stars I don’t own a gun.

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