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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Day The Jersey Shore Changed Forever: Six Months Later and Hurricane Sandy Is Still Running Our Lives

Six months ago today, at this very moment, my wife and I were at the Manasquan Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, watching the rollers come through at a speed I had never seen before in 40 years of running to the Inlet the minute a storm warning was posted.

In the past five months and twenty-seven days I have learned more about people and how the world operates than probably in the lifetime preceding that time. The good, the bad, the horrendous, but mostly the good.

I've been working to raise money for Sandy recovery and delivering money and items directly to people affected by the storm since October 30, and there is no end in sight to this new way of life for many of us.

My politics, and my humanity, dictate that if there is someone in need, I don't wait for some agency to help, I get about the business of helping and finding solutions immediately. Thank God I am anything but alone in this world-view.

To commemorate the day the Jersey Shore changed forever, I am re-running the first post I published after the storm. Reading it back, the emotions I felt when I wrote this piece seem so small now compared to the journey we've all been on since then.

I wanted to leave the piece as originally published, so please click the link to read it as it originally appeared on Friday, November 2, about six hours after our power was restored.

Hurricane Sandy. The Point Is, My House Is Still Standing But My Home Has Been Destroyed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Be Mad At Me Because I'm Pointing Out That A Few People Are Bombing, Killing and Maiming Other People In Your Name

Much to the chagrin of everyone who voted for Barack Obama, the Boston terrorists were actually Obama supporters who just so happened to be Islamofascist terrorists. I’m not suggesting the two are intertwined, because I’m not a foolish bigot like those on the Left who automatically equate a love for freedom with a murderous heart.

The day after the bombing, the Twittersphere was alight with ignorant tweets from both sides–those who think it’s bad to cowardly kill people with bombs, and those who turn a blind eye to it lest they be stained with the blood of those with whom they share a religion. If that truth is too hard for you to digest, stop reading. Now.

Most Americans, that is to say the majority of people who have surrendered their welfare to the same government that proves time and time again it isn't capable of performing even the simplest government functions, are walking all over themselves trying not to insult Muslims. Most Muslims are silent on the issue, while a majority indignantly sniff at the rest of us that Islam is not to blame for Islamofascism. I agree, much like I agree that Catholicism was not to blame for pedophilia amongst the clergy.

Here’s the difference: Even though the leaders of the Catholic Church were glacially slow, and oft times dishonest in their response to the pedophilia problem in the Church, the laity–the every day Catholic–was deeply sorrowful, ashamed and bothered by the crisis. Any change that has come within the Church started with the individuals in the pews, not the leadership. This has not been the case with Islam. You can plant a bomb under my car if you like, but the truth is the truth. Where is the outcry from God-fearing, loving, Muslims when fools and cowards slander their faith in the name of it? If my faith was being slandered by murderers, I would cease to blindly defend my faith and I would begin to attack the slanderers.

As an allegory, let’s say my family, a bunch of Sharkeys, moves into your neighborhood. We don’t really like you or your neighborhood, but it’s a hell of lot better than our old neighborhood. Not satisfied with just going about our Sharkey business, some of us, just a few, not many, and certainly not representative of all of us, start bombing your kids and other innocent family members because they want to rid your neighborhood of, well, you. Because us good Sharkeys are actually afraid of the bad Sharkeys, we stay silent, except of course for when one of you cretins blame all the killing and bloodshed on “Sharkeys.” Hell, when you dare do that we not only speak up, we get quite indignant. This causes you to cower in fear, lest the good Sharkeys become like the bad ones and bomb the snot out of you too.

You think about calling the police, but this would screw up the allegory, so don't call the police.

Would you then drive by the good Sharkeys' house and say, “well those people aren’t bad, but jeez Louise, their cousins next door are a violent, evil, cowardly, bunch”? Or would you drive by our house and say, “I wish those good Sharkeys would make a stand against all the evil ones and get their house of Sharkey in order. At least that way we’d know where we all stand”?

We need to change our way of thinking. Instead of being afraid to slander an entire group because of the actions of a few maniacs in the name of that group, how about all of us join the members of the group under siege in repudiating the actions of the maniacs?

You don’t have to slander the good in your group in order to repudiate the bad, and it would go a long way toward resolution of the problem within the Islamic faith to hear the good, decent and loving people of Islam come out and strongly repudiate the monsters within their ranks. Ask the Catholics. First, you have to admit that human beings have hijacked the Word of God to serve their own needs. No need to be embarrassed. It’s what humans do. What we need are humans with enough spine to know the difference.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pop Quiz! How Far Can Government Go To Apprehend a Terror Suspect?

I am a libertarian. Sometimes my principles make others uncomfortable in the day-to-day real world, but in spite of that, principles are important so I stand by them even when it would be much easier not to.

Take this easy little quiz to see whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or libertarian and how well you know and agree with the Constitution of the United States.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bill Maher Uses His Tiny Little Mind To Further My Convictions About Liberty and Sanity. Thanks Bill Maher!

On April 5, 2013, Bill Maher, who used to claim he was a libertarian and is now a hard-core socialist, had this to say about libertarians like me:

Apparently, Bill Maher has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. Sadly, his dopey audience doesn't grasp what they are laughing at either.

Too bad Bill Maher's audience won't take the time to learn something, like, oh I don't know, what it actually means to be a free-market libertarian. But in case there are any of you out there who care about your own person and the person's around you, take a 6 minute break from Song Pop and watch this:

In case you don't have time, here's a pull quote for you:

Bill Maher is exhibiting lazy, self-centered behavior when he asks for government to solve problems. He is not interested in doing the work he believes should be done to help the less fortunate. He is only interested in forcing others, through government, in easing his conscience for him. Libertarians believe that if you see a person in trouble, you as an individual, should voluntarily help them,* or combine with other individuals to create the solutions needed. 

It is lazy and morally bankrupt behavior to use the force of government to appease your conscience. If you see a problem, you are morally bound to help create the solution.

* - Results-oriented libertarians like myself believe an individual is compelled by the nature of his existence to help another person in need, rather than hoping someone else steps in to help.. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Libertarian In Paris, Part III: Celebrating the Death of Margaret Thatcher

I was in England last week when the news of Margaret Thatcher's death broke. We were actually having tea at Fortnum & Mason's a few blocks from her hotel when she died. I haven't spent a lot of time examining the domestic policies of the United Kingdom and I make no pretense to understand them–a courtesy not applied to American politics by most people I encounter from the UK. I do however know that the end of the Cold War came about faster because of Thatcher, and I’d venture a guess that the brief glimpse of British economic ascendancy we witnessed in the 1990’s was as a result of at least some of Thatcher’s policies. Maybe not. Either way I don’t care. I’m not English. I have my own problems.

This Is the Part Where I Talk About the British Rail System 
As blissfully ignorant as I might be about British domestic politics, I am however a sort of expert on the difficulties of traveling on the British rail system. Here are some interesting facts about the London Underground:

  • People who commit suicide by throwing themselves under trains are called “one-unders”
  • Approximately one person a week commits suicide via an Underground train
  • The peak time for Underground suicides is 11:00AM
  • Approximately 200 people commit suicide by train every year throughout the UK

Two times in three days we were delayed by either “someone under the train” or a “fatality on tracks.” People groused and grumbled because of the inconvenience, then they all sort of did a collective tsk-tsk “such a shame” maneuver as they hustled to find other travel arrangements. I commuted on the NYC subway and rail system off and on for 25 years and was delayed zero times by a suicide.

One evening on the BBC evening news, the very stiff and insufferable lady talking head shook her head condescendingly and wondered “how many more Americans were going to die from guns” before America solved its gun problem. I stayed up late, but I didn’t hear this same well-coiffed yet arrogantly blind busy-body wonder when the UK was going to get its rail suicide problem under control. I always find it annoying when people point to the problems of others while ignoring their own problems. But that’s just me.

Anyway, Let’s Talk About Celebrating When Someone Dies

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” folks of the UK are ecstatic that an old woman has passed away. Let’s watch this video:

As Thatcher is buried today, people throughout the British Isles are taking the day off from work and celebrating. Here’s a picture:

Twice we sent our blood and treasure to protect this lot.

You’d think Hitler himself had loosed his Earthly chains.

I bet these people were not upset in the least when Hugo Chavez died. Even though Venezuela is rife with missing political opponents and a rapidly increasing poverty rate, Chavez is a Leftist, so he was cool.

Here’s the Part Where If You Get Pissed Off At What You Read You Can Celebrate When I Die, But Beyond That, Too Frigging Bad

A political movement that celebrates in the deaths of others–even political adversaries–is dangerous beyond the pale. A political mindset that feels it can only compete in the arena of ideas through the death of its opponents eventually finds nothing but opponents. We see this phenomenon in the United States on a regular basis. It's always the Left and the Democrats who are happy when someone they oppose dies. How many of you Leftists out there pray on a regular basis that Dick Cheney dies? You know who you are and you’re all pretty horribly simplistic people.

A political viewpoint that views life–even the life of those with whom one disagrees–as dispensable and unnecessary is downright scary. People who need the deaths of others to feel validated in their own thoughts will eventually broaden the base of people who must die in order to continue that validation. Think I'm prattling on about non-sense? Read a history book. Start with the French Revolution and go from there.

Liberalism and Socialism (one in the same) has moved so far beyond intellectual decency that it now celebrates regularly when someone who disagrees with them dies. I understand disagreement, but don’t bother trying to justify celebrating death to me: You are an abject failure as an intellectual human being and a danger to those of us who don’t see things your way. Either that or you are the useful idiot of those who are.

A person who celebrates the death of a leader who has been out of power for 25 years is in deep need of some introspection. The mob mentality that the death of others is a good thing brings to mind the old adage that to live by the sword is to die by the sword. Personally, I fear any human being who delights in the death of any other human being. But for a political movement to take to the streets in joy over the death of Margaret Thatcher leaves one wondering about the fabric of the society of the celebrants. 

Civilized indeed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Libertarian In Paris, Part II: Can An Over-Zealous Yet Inept Department of Homeland Security Treat People Like Dogs AND Keep America Safe At the Same Time?

The news out of Boston yesterday reminds us once again that we live in a dangerous world. We can fret over it and cry out for someone to give us some semblance of sanity, but we can never be made 100% safe in this world as it exists–and we have no control over the set-up of its existence. The government attempts to give us the illusion of safety through the pretense of being proactive in the wake of disaster but is there a thinking human among us who actually thinks that any measure of gun control currently being debated would have saved those children in Sandy Hook last December? The answer is no, yet we continue to allow our collective emotions to control our responses as we clamor for some measure of relief from the horror.

President Obama refuses to call the bombing in Boston yesterday “terrorism.” Who cares what Barack Obama says about what happened yesterday? He claims he will seek out and arrest those who are responsible for the bombing and we applaud him for his leadership. Apparently, I’m supposed to be enamored of a government official who makes a meek statement about making responsible people responsible for their actions. I think not.

This brings me to my morning’s slight dilemma: Publish Part II of my criticism of the Department of Homeland Security as scheduled or postpone it? As I watch the Corporate Media flood America with shock, horror and outrage in between commercial breaks I get a further sense that America is running away from reality once again. We are sitting and watching endless video loops of the horrific scene as our national talking heads scour the streets of Boston looking for the next gut-wrenching eyewitness account. Meanwhile, we are spoon-fed soundbites of outrage meant to mollify our anger from our Federal officials who are afraid to admit that what they are actually doing to stop terrorism is impotent at best, dangerous and reckless at worst.

The Internet is ablaze with accusations from each stupid side of the political spectrum. The Left desperately hopes it was a middle-aged white guy mad about paying his taxes, meanwhile the Right hopes it was an Islamofascist terrorist. Right now all we know is that innocent civilians were once again targeted by a madman–once again, history repeats itself.

The government pretends it is working hard to keep us safe, while it refuses to admit that a measly human-controlled government is powerless to stop evil. Understanding that, I’m going to live my life in the way I intend to live my life. I'm shocked and grieved by the horrors out of Boston, but every day I am shocked and grieved by evil. What happened yesterday is just a millennial-long manifestation of that insidious threat to us all–freewill. I will choose to use my freewill to try to rise above the muck of humanity and not be controlled by it.

* * *

To recap: After arriving on our flight from London Sunday night, I was flagged by DHS agents at passport control and shepherded to an immigration holding cell, presumably because my re-entry back into my own country was deemed a threat to the officer who checked my paperwork. After forty-five minutes of watching DHS agents humiliate and ridicule three other non-native-Americans I was called to stand before a DHS agent who sat on the high side of a six-foot-high desk designed solely to intimidate the human beings called to stand in front of it.

I have chosen to call my attending agent Officer Punk, because quite frankly, young men who swagger their authority whether at a traffic stop or an immigration desk, simply because they have it without earning it through a life well lived, are punks.

* * *

Officer Punk: Who are you traveling with?
Me: My wife. I answered that already.
Officer Punk: Spell her name.
Me: [I spelled it]. Why?
Officer Punk: Who is [name of my first wife]?
Me: My first wife. We’ve been divorced since 1987. I answered that already. What’s that have to do with anything?
Officer Punk: Okay, you can go.
'Okay I can go?' Really?
Me: Eh, tell me why I’m here.

Officer Punk stamped my passport and gave me a look that told me I was now endangering my ability to leave if I didn’t just go quietly. Too frigging bad, Officer Punk. It was as if he had just come to the realization that this was all just an incredible waste of his time. I didn’t bother to mention the inconvenience on my end.

My first wife and I went through a nasty divorce that dragged on for the better part of twenty years. In fact, every time I’ve shared stories of nasty divorces with those likewise afflicted, I win. I have never met anyone able to even approach outdoing my stories of how nasty and depraved a divorce can be if you are unlucky enough to divorce the wrong person. That being said, as much as I would like to share those stories with you because it would make you all feel sorry for me compelling you to send me money and presents, I have to respect the privacy of a person who deserves neither (privacy or respect). Wow, that felt good!

In any event, from late-1986 until mid-1993 and then again from 2001 to 2004, my ex launched salvo after salvo of legal invective at each me. I did return fire even though I would have preferred to just go on about my business, plus I was completely out of money. At our attorneys’ suggestion, we filed a Mutual Order of Protection (MOP) against each other in August 1988. My attorney advised me to file it in order to protect my rights to see my kids, and her attorney advised it get filed in order to make my rights to see my kids harder to enforce. There were never any court or police issues from either side regarding the MOP, but in all fairness, that wasn’t because we didn’t try: Seriously, we hated each other. She still hates me. It’s nice to be important.

So there you have it. I was flagged for re-entry into my own country by an over-zealous DHS “official” who saw 25 year-old paperwork and decided to act to protect America’s interests. I have left the United States and re-entered a total of 27 times since 1988, with the bulk of those re-entries coming in the five years immediately following the issuance of the MOP. I haven’t even thought about it in 24 years, and certainly haven’t been detained because of it ever. For some reason, Sunday night it became an issue to the federal government.

It’s kind of important to note that this was not a warrant or a legal order to act in any prescribed way (such as distance or contact). It was part of a divorce proceeding.

But more than that, what this was, was a complete and utter refusal of my rights as a US citizen in the false name of safety. What possible reason could a DHS agent have to detain me because of a 25 year-old legal ploy to make a divorcing couple hate each other even more? Here are some other questions I had for the DHS:

  • Did the DHS officer (Officer The Situation) sense that my current wife was in some sort of danger?
  • Did Officer The Situation sense that upon my return from London I was going to cause a ruckus when there is not any record in the 35 years I have been an adult that I was prone to causing one?
  • Did the DHS have a quota of Americans it needed to harass so as to seem fair and balanced to the non-citizens it obviously takes great joy in harassing?
  • What the hell exactly was the point?

Me: Excuse my, what the hell exactly was the point of this?
Officer Punk: {With a great deal of annoyance plastered across his face} There is a Mutual Order of Protection between you and [name of she who shall not be named].
Me: From twenty-five years ago…
Officer Punk: It stays on the record forever.
Me: So what? It’s not a warrant. How can you take my passport?
Officer Punk: We’re just checking. You can go now.

I decided it was going to be a waste of time to press the matter, not from any sort of fear of authority, but I had already been forced to waste almost an hour of my life after a seven hour flight and I wanted to go home.

* * *

I decided to write about this because it bolsters what I endlessly say: The government is not interested in solving problems. The government is interested in perpetuating them so as to congeal its own power.

Where was the power to make us safe the government has conditioned us into thinking it has? It wasn't present because it doesn't exist. It’s a lie.

At Newark ‘Liberty’ Airport on a Sunday night in April, an old woman, a crippled old man, a middle-aged woman and me were detained and treated like criminals. There may have been good reasons to detain the other three non-citizens, but even the DHS itself was unable to come up with a valid reason for detaining me.

At the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, at least three people were killed and dozens, if not hundreds, injured, some of them gruesomely and no one has a clue (yet) who the perpetrator is. Police were standing ten feet from the first bomb, yet it still went off.

Do we need border control? Yes. Are we serious about border control? Not from what I’ve observed. Is America any safer dragging up 25 year-old divorce proceedings of a person who has not had any interaction with the police (other than four or five speeding tickets) in his adult life?

You tell me America, you’re the ones who insist the Republicans and Democrats, and the government they force on us, are taking care of us.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Libertarian In Paris, Part I: An Evening Of Ridicule and Unprofessionalism Courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security

Note: This is the first in a series that will wind up being as long as it takes for me to run out of ideas. As with everything else on this blog, what you are about to read actually happened, but the names were changed to either protect the innocent or because I forgot. 

I spent a lovely ten days with my two favorite people, Muffy and The Lady, and while Muffy will be traveling around Europe on her own for the rest of spring break, The Lady and I had to return to the US. We arrived at Newark Airport around 7:00 PM last night aboard a horrible United Airlines plane and strode confidently through the arrivals terminal to passport control.

Imagine my delight at having my
passport seized by a kid who's goal
in life is to be The Situation.

At passport control we were commanded to come forward by a DHS (Department of Homeland Security) officer who looked like his audition to be The Situation on the Jersey Shore didn't pan out so he had
relied on his back-up plan to be an officious civil servant instead. The Jersey-style spikey black hair and the over-abundance of cheap cologne warned us that our border agent was not to be trifled with, especially if there were going to be shots of Jagermeister later on.

Here's our interaction:

Officer The Situation: What was the purpose of your travel?
Me: Vacation.
Officer The Situation: With who?
Me: Well, my wife. (I point thumb to the right in the general direction of The Lady)
Officer The Situation: Have you been married before? 

Wait. What?

Me: Yes, but it ended in like 1987.
Officer The Situation: Okay, come with me. Ma'am you can wait out there. (Officer The Situation beckoned us to follow him and upon reaching a doorway he motioned for my wife to keep moving toward baggage claim while he escorted me to a holding room)

This is probably a good time to mention that since 1987 I have traveled outside of, and re-entered, the United States around 25 times, most recently in 2011.

Officer The Situation took my passport and threw it in a paperwork basket on top of a desk and told me to sit down. At this point I had not been given an explanation for any of this.

The room I was brought to was a yellow, cinder block bunker affair with about 30 chairs on one side and a desk for four DHS officers on the other. The room was shabby, the furniture beat-up, and the television loudly blaring America's Funniest Home Videos. The most striking thing about the room was the height of the desk the DHS officers sat behind: Three steps up to a total height of about 6 feet above the floor of the room. Basically, the DHS officers were sitting as judges in a courtroom where due process was not in effect.

There I sat. My passport seized with no explanation. Ten minutes passed. I wondered what horrible crime I had committed that had caused the entire might of the Federal Government to fall on me without explanation. I'd had my passport seized three times before, in foreign countries, and this instance was just as unnerving. There were three other people in the room with me; I was the only American.

  • Was I a cocaine mule coming in from Colombia, I asked myself? Nope, I answered confidently. 
  • Did I have a bomb strapped to my cup? Look, I'm no religious zealot. If I was going to stick a bomb in my underwear I’d be sure to wear a cup to minimize collateral damage. I crossed and uncrossed my legs. No bomb. 
  • Had offended the French somehow? Being pissed about a mouse in a fancy French restaurant was surely not going to cause an international scene, was it? 
  • Do Janet Napolitano and Barack Obama read this blog and had they finally found a way to shut me up? This one actually seemed plausible when weighed against all of the other possibilities, but, no.

Thirty minutes passed and the humor faded.The DHS officers in the room spent far more time talking to each other doing that goofing-around-in-the-office crap that the unprofessional little kids at the Radio Shack and Burger King do all the time. The fact that myself, an American citizen, and the three non-citizens were being held and scoffed at without a decent explanation or chance to question the authority holding us was not important to these officers of the law.

There were four officers, from left to right:

1.     Officer Subway was proudly gnawing on a 6” Subway sandwich of unknown protein on Italian bread. He had a bag of Lay’s chips and an iced tea. His tie was way too short. He was clearly amused at the way the other officers were treating the poor bastards who had been pulled in before them.
2.     Officer Condescending Middle-Aged Woman
3.     Officer Jackass
4.     Officer Punk

Officer #2 was telling a woman something or another about something, but by the way she spoke to the woman I could tell she wasn’t being helpful.

In between her conversation, Officer #2 would glance to her left at Officer #3 and laugh out loud at some overly sarcastic comment Officer #3 had just made to the tiny, elderly woman who was insisting that she had lived in the United States for the past thirty years. Officer #3 was explaining to the woman that her Visa was expired and that she would be denied entry, which greatly upset the woman. For some reason, maybe the woman's stilted English, this made Officer # 3 laugh and say “I can send you back right now if I want.” The woman became visibly distraught and asked to go to the bathroom. Officer #3 made a crack to Officer #2 about the woman’s stated need for her medication and a hearty laugh was shared by all four federal officers. Mind you, I was seated a good fifteen feet away and could hear all of this quite easily.

But, the most horrifying treatment was reserved for an old man who was brought into the room in a wheelchair about 30 minutes after I got there. He looked to be about 80 or older, and of Indian descent. He was frail and tired, and obviously scared and alone.

Officer Punk, obviously annoyed that he was at work in the first place, came from behind the tall desks and from across the room said, “You can walk. Come over here.” This was not a question, it was a statement. The old man did not answer. Officers #2 and #3 found this funny as well. Officer Punk strode over to the old man with a fingerprint kit in hand and in a loud and condescending tone explained to him what to do next. The old man complied and Officer Punk snorted, “Now that wasn’t too hard was it? You think you could manage to do that again, or do I need to explain it again?” As I type these words I’m struck by the fact that I do not have the talent or ability to convey to you exactly how demeaning Officer Punk was and how palpable the feeling Officer Punk had about this old man’s sub-humanness. Regardless of the immigration status of any of the people in that room last night, yours truly included, when an officer of the law treats a citizen as a sub-human, and does so glibly, every citizen needs to be alarmed. The "what does it matter to me" mindset just gives our law officers permission to treat us all as sub-humans.

Forty minutes passed and there I sat, a criminal in a holding pen for a crime I had no idea I had committed.

I read the Department of Homeland Security Mission Statement that hung on the wall behind the giant judgmental desks:

The Core Missions

  1. Prevent terrorism and enhancing security;
  2. Secure and manage our borders;
  3. Enforce and administer our immigration laws;
  4. Safeguard and secure cyberspace;
  5. Ensure resilience to disasters;
In addition, we must specifically focus on maturing and strengthening the homeland security enterprise itself.

I'm an American citizen with a valid passport and only one speeding ticket in the past 25 years. Where the hell did I fit into any of the DHS's Mission Statement? I wondered.

Tomorrow: Our intrepid libertarian blogger gets to stand below Officer Punk, as Officer Punk explains what the hell this was all about.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Out of Office Message

I will be searching foreign lands for some Reality-Based Libertarianism and Other Stuff until April 15 when I will come back in time to file my taxes and help us recover from the sequester.

Based on the countries I'll be visiting while I'm gone, I seriously doubt I'll find anything other than boring socialism, good food, stuffy residents and old buildings, but hey, you can't fault me for trying.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Defense of Lowering the Minimum Drinking Age to Eighteen

I have zero patience for morons who sit at traffic lights and look at their Smartphones. It's easy to tell when you're stuck behind an idiot who can't go ten minutes without checking in with his or her BFFs on Facebook: his or her head is down and to the right, sort of staring at where the ashtray used to be. What's even worse is when the social-media-obsessed @$$%^&* continues to look at his or her Smartphone while pretending to accelerate after the light turns green. Here's my advice to you morons out there who can't bear to be without your digital devices for a few minutes while you're operating a 2 ton death machine on our highways and by-ways: Stay the hell home. Idiot.

In 1984, our illustrious windbag of a simpleton senator, Frank Lautenburg (D-People's Republic of NJ), sponsored a bill that took advantage of the hysteria of the day while at the same time turning the 10th Amendment on its head. This is also the singular piece of legislation that reminds me that Ronald Reagan (R-America) was not the perfect Constitutional protector and defender he is made out to be. 
Before I continue, let me first say that my family has been directly affected by drunk driving, suffering a terrible loss at the hands of a drunken fool who got behind the wheel of his car. I don’t take the subject lightly, but I also understand that government is more about the long view than it is about the short view.

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 (23 USC § 158) was written in response to the cries of people who likewise suffered at the hands of drunken idiots and who took the initiative to force each state to bend to the will of the Federal government and raise the age of consumption to 21. This was done not with outright legislation (that would've been easily identifiable as un-Constitutional), instead the individual states were threatened with a reduction of Federal highway money if they didn’t comply with the Senate's wishes. This is called coercion, and you Republicans out there who are tsking and shaking your heads at the very thought of such an incursion of State’s Rights need to understand that the Republicans in Congress gave lip-service to the 10th Amendment and then turned right around and supported the bill. Why? America is a place filled with emotional nincompoops and coming out in favor of drinking teenagers would be the same thing as coming out against a cure for cancer: It’s not good optics.

This is probably a good place to point out that the Feds had no intention of lowering the tariff the states and individuals in those states paid, they were just going to reduce the amount of the people’s own money the people could use to maintain their own highways. Special shout-out to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who kept the drinking minimum at 18 in spite of Big Brother Uncle Sam taking away 10% of their highway funding.

Today’s version of Federal childishness is gun control. Is there a violence problem among a segment of our population? Yes. Is taking guns away from everyone going to solve that problem? No, but this is America and we all have to suffer equally because we're too intellectually lazy to seek out and solve the root problems we encounter.

In the decade or so that the national minimum was 18, traffic fatalities did in fact increase by 17%. To contrast, let’s look at a recent study from the University of North Texas Health Science Center about distracted driving.

·       The study attributed 16,141 deaths from texting while driving during the six years between 2001 to 2007, based on numbers compiled from Federal statistics
·       Deaths from distracted driving rose 28% from 2005 to 2008, at the same time text messaging rates skyrocketed from 1 million texts per month in 2001 up to a staggering 110 million per month in 2008
·       6% of US drivers, at any given time, are using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Though this figure has remained steady since 2005, usage has changed from talking while driving to the more dangerous texting while driving
·       distracted-driving crashes are more common in urban areas and increasingly involve males who impact a stationary obstruction while driving alone

Admit it, you think you're smarter than everyone else.
Where is the national outcry from the likes of Frank Lautenberg and Mothers Against Distracted Drivers?

There isn't one because everyone does it. We are a nation of hypocrites who challenge death every time we shoot a text to someone while in a car while at the same time we think making people wait until they are 21 to drink is a panacea for traffic fatalities. Let’s get real.

Let’s start by strong-arming the Feds into admitting that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was an abuse of Federal powers. Next, let's consider this: We let our dopey teenagers vote for Barack Obama but we won’t let them act like adults so they can understand what a giant mistake voting for Barack Obama actually was. We send our teenagers off to foreign lands to kill people and face the prospect of their own deaths for nebulous reasons none of us actually understand anymore, but they can’t go to a bar and drink a beer while watching a basketball game. This is the new American common sense.

In terms of economic boost, as a person who grew up on the Jersey Shore during the time when 18 year olds were allowed to drink, I can tell you that if you, Frank Lautenberg, want to help an area decimated by a hurricane recover and become economically viable again, lower the drinking age. Why is my short-view any less logical than your short view?

As a nation we are more educated about the hazards of driving while intoxicated than we were in 1984, but we are still sadly cavalier about the same hazards of driving while distracted. Since America is obviously not concerned about the deaths of our fellow citizens at the hands of idiots checking Facebook, I can’t take it seriously when it tells me that 18 year olds are not adult enough to drink.

How about we stop wringing our hands over every little obstacle we're confronted with and we start educating people and becoming intolerant of those who refuse to be educated about the death and destruction their foolish behaviors cause the rest of us?

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Comprehensive List of World Leaders Who Use Manufactured Crisis' In An Effort To Scare Their People Into Adoring Them

Fear is a great motivator. Many parents use the dreaded "I'm going to count to three and those Brussels Sprouts better be gone, mister, 1...2..." tactic when attempting to teach good eating habits to their offspring.

Sometimes, great parents implant a life-long view of the police by saying, "If you don't behave I'm going to tell that police officer over there to come and take you away."

Other items parents use to scare their children into behaving exactly how they want:
  • Santa Claus
  • Jesus
  • Dad coming home from wherever it is dad spends all of his time

This reminds me of our greatest world leaders and how they use scare tactics to keep their people looking to them for security.

With that in mind, here is my Comprehensive List (in no particular order) Of World Leaders Who Use Manufactured Crisis' In An Effort To Force Their People To Adore Them:

1. Kim Jong Un - North Korea
Why do I think he smells like garlic?

Favorite Scare Tactic:
  1. Telling his people that any second now, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, are going to attack their country and force feed them.

2. Barack Obama - America

Favorite Scare Tactic:
  1. Sequestration
  2. Fiscal Cliff
  3. Gun control
  4. Health care
  5. Sandra Fluke
  6. Race
  7. Jobs
  8. Annual Easter Egg Roll (which he did quietly host)
    Obama salutes America then tries to scare it.
  9. War on Women
  10. Fox News