Preemptive Nation (Part 2)

The United States has never been one of those “attack first, ask questions later” kind of countries. Somehow the events from 3 years ago have caused us more fear than we can remember. So much in fact, that we have been willing to throw away 227 years of growth just so that we could get revenge for something that hasn’t happened yet. That causes me more fear than anything else that could have happened.

1898 – The United States decides that we want Cuba to be an independent country from Spain. Congress passes an Act that declares Cuba independent, and authorizes the president to use military force if necessary to make sure that Cuba gets their independence. Of course, Spain tells us to buzz off. We declare war, Spain declares war, we go at it. War was formally declared, nothing was done preemptively.

That’s the closest we came to preemptive military force, and if you sat down with enough people, you would more than likely find some that believed it was in fact preemptive anyway. Either way, both sides declared war, both sides knew what was happening, and the definition of preemptive military force was not met.

Fast-forward.

1962 – There are missiles in Cuba. Soviet missiles are in Cuba. I wasn’t alive, so I have no idea what fear must have been involved, but I get scared trying to imagine it. There were actually missiles off the coast of the United States that were within easy range of the eastern seaboard.

Crap.

So, even though the fear is rippling through the nation, what do we do?

Kennedy had to choose and choose quickly. Whether to respond immediately and attack inside Cuba, attempting to destroy all of the Soviet missiles before they were launched, or come to a diplomatic solution.

How scary would that be?

And how did he handle it? Peacefully, diplomatically, amazingly. Somehow, even though we were struck with fear, we were able to talk our way out of the situation without everybody losing.

Fast-forward.

September 11th, 2001 – One of the most horrible days in our country’s history. The President again is faced with a hard decision. He is backed up by most of the nation when he decides to go after the terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks on American soil.

Even to those who may understand why the attacks happened in the first place, and may be against the use of force over diplomacy in any situation, this one was hard to argue. It is something inevitable that comes with somebody invading your country and killing your citizens.
We were struck with fear again, except this time it was fear directed towards an act that had actually taken place.

2003 – All of a sudden, it becomes important that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. All of a sudden, even without concrete proof, Iraq is responsible for attacks on America. All of a sudden that fear that everyone felt 2 years prior is being used against them in order to try and build a case for attacking Iraq PREEMPTIVELY.

The world is interested in working things out, we have people on our side. Instead, we ditch them completely, changing the attitudes of world citizens towards America forever.

We attack Iraq, we Shock and Awe the hell out of them. We kill thousands and thousands of Iraqi citizens, combative and non-combative. We don’t find any weapons of mass destruction.

Seriously, how much can possibly be wrong with this picture. Take our primary goal and toss it to the side for a while. Take a country that hasn’t attacked us EVER and make it our primary goal to establish a democracy and rid the world of their leader.

Is that what fear has made us become? A force to be reckoned with, a society of people only interested in revenge for things that may or may not happen in the future?

Come on people! That’s not the country I grew up in. That’s definitely not the country that I love. That’s nowhere close to the country that people across the world at one time respected and admired.

How is it logical for a nation to have laws for it’s citizens, but then at the same time throw those laws to the side when it comes to the actions of the nation itself.

Consider the story in the post below. If you were on a 12-person jury deliberating my fate for the actions I carried out against the “man with a gun”, what would you think. Should I go? Should I be punished?

Of course punishment would be in order. I killed a man, not in self defense, but in blind fear that I might have to use self-defense at a later point. In the meantime, I caused total destruction to the things and people around and close to him.

I would be locked up for life.

And what did the United States do? Helped Saddam get weapons of mass destruction. Let him use them against people in his country and outside of his country. Then years later, go back and demand that he destroy the weapons of mass destruction that he obtained with our assistance in the first place.

When Saddam refused to cooperate with our requests, we attacked his country and his people. We did this even though the rest of the world thought more time was appropriate. Everybody else agreed that he was not an imminent danger because realistically, we knew everything he was doing anyway.

That’s where my fear sets in. Anybody that pisses us off could now be subject to a preemptive strike, another campaign of Shock and Awe. How many times do we get pissed off before World War III and then World War IV begins.

Total fear. I’m scared of my own country.

Iran – we don’t like them.
Syria – we don’t like them.
Saudi Arabia – we love their oil.

Now that it’s happened once, how many times will it happen in the future? And why has this now become a campaign issue?

We know what Bush’s stance is on using preemptive force against our “enemies”, but what is Kerry’s? He has come out and said that he would use force against terrorists and if necessary, he would authorize the use of preemptive military action.

I don’t want to have to deal with choosing between 2 gun toting individuals that are willing to strike any country that gets in the way of our free market and democratic policy before that country even tries attacking us. That scares me.

I don’t want it to be a bad thing to believe in a pre-9/11 foreign policy where we tried to solve issues with our minds and our words, not with our superior military might. If we are supposed to be a nation of resolve, why did we not have the resolve to stay the course of peace.

I want to world to respect us again. I have always believed that the United States is in a great position as a young and powerful country to lead the process in making the world a better place. I never imagined it would be through tactics usually used by the playground bully in grade school.

Preemptive Nation (Part 1)

I sold a gun last month. It wasn’t really necessary, but this guy’s neighbor had just put up “Alan Keyes” posters in his front lawn and was refusing to take them down. He came to me for advise, because as we all know, Alan Keyes should not be helping to run this country. So I told him, take this gun, use it on your neighbor. Everything will work out for the better.

He took it from me, ended up shooting his neighbor. I was going to go over and help him pick up the signs, but I didn’t want to be attached to it in any way, so I kind of ignored him for a little while. I called him up a few weeks later to remind him that I didn’t want to have anything to do with him, but he laughed and hung up the phone.

Anyhow, I decided that I didn’t think he should have that gun anymore. I mean, he lives 20 miles away and doesn’t own a car, it’s not like he could really shoot me with it. But I don’t want him finding somebody with a car to get it over here so that he could kill me. I mean, he actually tried to fool me by saying he got rid of the evidence after killing that guy. Right, like anybody would get think about getting rid of a gun that easy.

So I called up all my friends and told them:

“There is this guy several towns away that has a gun, right…. and I don’t think he likes me. In fact, I’m 100% sure that he’s going to shoot me or maybe even one of you guys when we least expect it.”

Now, most of them couldn’t handle the situation. Bob and I had to take care of it. We decided that we didn’t need anybody helping us anyway. All we had to do was drive a semi-truck into his house while he was sleeping so that he would be completely amazed at our method of destruction and instantly drop his gun.

So Bob and I drove over to this guy’s house, parked outside in the front lawn and hooked up a PA system. We explained to the rest of the neighborhood that we were about to drive a semi through his house and if we didn’t run him over, we were going to tie him up. The neighbors looked perturbed, but we didn’t care. We just kept on announcing it over and over again. Making sure that everybody knew we were about to drive a SEMI THROUGH THIS MAN’S HOUSE.

Night-fall came, we started up the engine. We had seen the guy a few times during the day. He came out in the morning to get the paper, then in the afternoon to pick up the mail. Yeah, I probably could have gone up and talked to him, maybe work some things out, but I was too busy announcing over the PA what I was going to do to him when he went to sleep that night.

“I’M GOING TO DRIVE A SEMI THROUGH YOUR FRIGGIN FRONT DOOR YOU GUN CARRYING BASTARD!!!”

“12:00AM, he’s gotta be sleeping by now.”

Bob started up the truck, I started up the laughter.

The truck started shaking back and forth as Bob revved the engine up to redline… we were giddy with excitement knowing that we were about to get that gun back. How could he have not given it back sooner, that pisses me off SO MUCH!!!

SLAM the gas, drop the clutch, we’re cruising.
Right through the porch, into the hallway, through the kitchen….

SLAM it in reverse, don’t even look behind…
Back through the living room, into the kids bedroom….

“damn, well their dad should have given that gun back, they’ll be better off.”

SLAM into first, damn, hit the kids again….
Into his bedroom, back and forth over the rubble…….

“Where is he?”

“There’s his gun….ohh… no, that’s an empty box of bullets. HA, that means he still has that gun, that little bastard…..”

“Wait, there’s his gun… oh, damn, that’s a knife. Well, he only left the knife out here to make us think there was no more gun…..”

“Oh well, let’s find him, we don’t want him getting away so that he can shoot me next year.”

Bob and I dug through the rubble all night and all the next day. In the meantime we tricked the neighbor kid in the house behind his to drive the truck for us back and forth over the remaining parts of the house. If this guy even thinks he’s going to live in this house again, he’s got another thing coming.

Finally.

We find him. Huddled down in a corner of the basement. Surrounded by the millions of pieces destroyed from his own house.

WE WON!!!

“Ha, You didn’t shoot me BASTARD!!! Oh, you wanted to, but you couldn’t get your chance, we were too quick for you…. What do you think about that evil man!?!?”

His puzzled look said it all. He was a lying scheming bastard who had no intention of giving me back his gun.

We grabbed him by the arms and walked out of the rubble. Off to my house to keep you in the basement until we figure out what to do with you.

disclaimer: if for some reason any of you thought that was a true story, I’m surprised. But anyhow, just to be safe, that was fiction, see part 2 above for the non-fiction accompaniment…..

a brain with a mind of it’s own

well, that was interesting.

I was sitting here minding my own business and my brain says to me “hey you, turn on the radio if you want to hear a new song”… pshh, they don’t play new songs on the radio. But then my brain chimed in again, “seriously, turn on the radio, I’ll prove it to you.”

So I turn on the radio.

Sure enough, the brain gets it right again. For the first time in a long time, I heard a new song on the radio that I haven’t heard before. Actually, I heard two in a row. Crappy Q101 actually has a new show called “crash test audio”. New music. Now usually, they would use this time to play really bad new music by Alter Bridge and other various worthless bands. This time though…

Jimmy Eat World. Now, I’m not a Jimmy Eat World lover, but I do have the self-titled album, Jimmy Eat World, and the song Bleed American (free legal mp3 here) that opens that CD kicks ass. So Q101 plays their new song “Pain” (streaming clip here), and it’s good. Not excellent, but good. Something to look forward to.

So, I was like “wow brain, you called that one…”

And another new song comes on. This time it’s Radio 4, kind of a rock/pop/dance/electronic combination. Song is “The Death of American Radio”, from their upcoming album “Stealing of a Nation“. And even though I’m normally not a fan of the dance/electronic stuff, they did a good job with this single and it’s a fun song.

My brain is on tonight…. yeah.

Chicago – Friday Night – Double Door

Anybody live in Chicago? Anybody live in the greater Chicago area? Have anything going on Friday night?

Cancel it… Ghost Story is playing the Double Door.

Print out the ticket above and you get in free, show up at the door without a ticket and it’s only $3. Tell them you came for Ghost Story.

Yeah, so if you haven’t guessed from the lack of me telling you, that’s my band. It’s a big show for us at a kick ass club and we need as many people as possible to show up. So, check out our website, take a listen at the free legal mp3s, and come check us out. If you want, come up to me (the tall guy) afterwards and let me know what you thought. See you there!

rock and roll muse-ack

So I got this album a few months ago, and didn’t take it out of my cd player for the first week. I constantly played it over and over again because it was so refreshing. I put it away for a couple months and pulled it back out last week. Once again, it’s been in my cd player for a week and I still love it.

Ryan Adams switched from his normal alt-country to a standard rock and roll record, pretty well deserving of it’s title. Now, it may be too standard, as it is definitely heavily influenced and doesn’t sound horribly original at times. But it’s worth it given the current music scene. This gives me something fresh to listen to that sounds like a rock and roll record that could have been recorded 30,20,10 years ago or now.

Yeah, so borrow it, buy it, download it legally… whichever.

To Everyone (Who Should Still Be Concerned)

Don’t be scared.

I try to keep most of this site non-politically aligned, but I’m going to have to make this exception to be able to explain my point. Here’s my original dilemma…..

I can’t vote for Kerry. When I finally realized that, I was scared at first. What if Bush wins? But then I realized if I voted for Kerry just to keep Bush from winning, then I wasn’t following what I believed in, and that’s not what is supposed to happen. It’s almost as if Bush wins either way then. He gets me to vote for somebody I don’t believe in.

That brings me back to the first sentence. Don’t be scared.

Don’t be scared to vote for somebody that doesn’t have the best chance of winning.

Now, enter the horrible analogy of roulette. It won’t make sense at first, but bear with me.

For those of you who haven’t cared enough to pay attention to your common casino games, roulette is the spinning wheel with the ball. 18 black numbers, 18 red numbers, 0 and 00. Bets on the inside are for the ball landing on the specific number itself. Bets on the outside are for black/red, 1st/2nd/3rd row, 1st/2nd/3rd third, 1-18/19-36, and odd/even.

So…. Let’s say you walk into a casino and decide to sit down at the roulette table. You have the outside bets and the inside bets. We’ll concentrate on the black/red for the outside bets. Payout is 2 for 1 if you win. So you bet red because those seem like the easiest odds to deal with, all you have to keep on doing is betting red over and over again, it’ll hit sooner or later and you’ll have your moment of happiness. You think the other people are crazy for putting all their money down on the numbers, hoping for that 35 to 1 payout.

What you don’t realize right away is that it’s all the same. You may be making the easiest bet, but you aren’t necessarily making the smartest bet. Either way over time, you’re going to lose, the house will always come out 5.26% ahead, that’s by design.

But, if you’re only there for a few spins of the wheel, why not play the numbers anyway… sure the chance is slimmer, but the payout is much greater.

Now.

Compare that to your vote. I know it’s not the best analogy, but work with me on this. I’ll concentrate on the presidential election, just because that’s the most important one right now.

The average life expectancy in the US is 77.43 years. You can start voting when you’re 18. That leaves about 60 years for voting. Which means you will vote for president (if you’re a good citizen) about 15 times.

Now, if I walked up to a roulette table with $150, I am faced with two main choices. Bet black/red 15 times or bet on the numbers 15 times. Let’s not go into splitting your bet up among different numbers, we’ll stick with lucky 13 vs. red. And maximum bet is $10, you don’t get more than one vote, so we’ll stick with that.

Now, I bet red 15 times in a row. What will happen? If I win 1/15 times, I lose $130. If I win 8/15, I bring home $10. If I win 15/15 times, I walk away with $300.

Now,I bet on 13 fifteen times in a row. What will happen? If I win 1/15 times, I walk out with $360. If I win 8/15, I bring home $2880. If I defy all odds and hit 13 every time, then I’m really happy with $5400.

So, it’s not exactly the same. But if I rely on the Democrat/Republican voting system for the rest of my life, I may come out a little ahead in the end. They might do some things for me, maybe change a couple things for better or worse. But there is that chance where they go against everything and everybody ends up losing.

But…

If I vote for my lucky number, the people that are going to keep my best interests in mind all the time, and I win, then life is good. There’s no, “yeah, that’ll work I guess”, it ends up being somebody that will follow all of what I believe in, not some of it. And if they win 15 times in a row, that’s even more that they can do in my best interest.

I know politics isn’t as clear cut as roulette, but there are a lot of similarities when you think about it that way. It’s just another analogy to keep in mind the next time that somebody is complaining about “so and so stealing a vote from a certain candidate”. There’s no reason for that phrase to be included in our political process, it makes absolutely no sense at all.

Now, don’t take this as a “you must vote for a third party candidate”, it’s not that at all. This can apply completely if you think Kerry or Bush is acting in your best interest. Just don’t be scared to vote for the person you think is best, not the person you think has the best chance of winning. Life is either all, nothing, or mediocre… take your pick.

Republican Party – http://www.georgewbush.com
Democratic Party – http://www.johnkerry.com
Green Party – http://www.votecobb.org/
Libertarian Party – http://www.badnarik.org/

and so many more – http://www.google.com

Shop smart, shop S-mart!

After watching Bubba Ho-Tep, I am now ready for the just slightly almost announced Freddy vs. Jason vs……

ASH!!!!!

CNN Article Here….

Yes, that is cool. Yes, that is also stupid. But yes, that is cool.

Take Freddy vs. Jason. Who actually liked that movie? I didn’t, and I haven’t even bothered to watch it yet. But it gave us two very important thoughts to ponder.

Why……. Why are Freddy and Jason still around?
Who……. Who will get rid of them forever?

Freddy and Jason are still around because their creators have not come up with a proper way to kill them off for good. They’re still around because people still watch the movies. They’re still around because they haven’t met Ash.

Ash is finally ready to rid the world of them forever, and he will kick the crap out of them with his boomstick.

And yeah….

I was more pumped up about it when I started, now I ran out of steam. So, the “serious” stuff. Sam Raimi won’t be directing it….that’s bad. I’m not sure if anybody can capture the true character of Ash besides Raimi. But, there’s no way they would use Ash without Bruce Campbell, so it will be close to perfect. It will definitely have too large of a budget and will definitely bomb at the box office. But that’s okay… It will be a B-movie and shouldn’t be intended to make millions, it will be better if it doesn’t.

sniff sniff sniff………. sniff

Julia Child, the famous cooking teacher for Robin Williams and many others, has passed away at the age of 91. I was going to say ripe old age, but that’s too easy and I would feel bad about it….

How much did she kick ass? Well, honestly, I never watched her show (I’m not sure if I was around then), so I couldn’t tell you. But when she says things like cooking “wasn’t just for fancy French chefs.” That makes me think she must have been cool….

Because it’s not, it’s for everybody. But lots of people get intimidated by cooking. If it was really that hard to do, could I do it? I don’t think so.

RIP Julia (1912-2004)