Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A recap...

The old blog has been pretty heavy lately - I promise I'll get to lighter stuff soon enough, but for now let's recap...

I grew up a liberal in Berkeley California - and I was always taught to think for myself and question authority.  Unfortunately when I actually started doing so - I got shouted down, called names, lost friends - I was basically ostracized by many who had once told me to speak my mind.  Thankfully my close friends all stuck by me.

As I got through college and then out into the  real world, traveling to over 30 different countries, many of them 3rd world, as a camera operator and working with various charitable organizations - I became more and more convinced that a capitalist free market system was the only salvation for the planet; I also recognized that I lived in the greatest country on earth.

Over a decade I was transformed from a statist liberal - into a fiscal conservative and pro-military hawk, though still with quite a few liberal tendencies on social issues.

My true friends and of course my family, almost all of whom are liberal - still love me, we just don't talk politics.  But far too many acquaintances on the left that I encounter these days are super fast on the draw with the "r" word - racism, which is laughable to me and has lost all meaning.

I have also been called "evil" and "a bad person" on lil' old facebook.  I have been summarily de-friended by many who I assume have been unable to support their arguments and have been beaten up pretty bad by my unrelenting principles and beliefs.

But I don't bear any one of them ill will, and I don't believe a single one of them to be bad people.  They are simply lost - and ignorant of the real world.  Me, I've seen it first hand; I get it... not from some book or some socialist professor; I've dealt with it, poverty and real injustice in my face.  But the world is a big and complicated place and it demands logic and critical thinking, not emotional, reactionary rhetoric.

I pray on a regular basis that those without faith, those without a compass, those who are lost in their own anger and fear - will someday see the light.  That they can recognize that we are indeed put on this earth to help one another, but we must be on guard against the false compassion and the power hungry tyranny that threatens to bust forth in the name of "social justice" or being "fair"from the left.

You cannot legislate morality and you cannot insure that the world is "fair" from a political office.  You can only simply do your best to serve the people by insuring that they keep their freedom and individual liberty.  Only by this basic tenet will we all have the best chance to prosper; there is no quick fix, no miracle cure for greed in the human heart.  You cannot pass laws, draw up regulations, that will right every single wrong or insure a utopia.  

The best approach is, and always will be - to have faith in the creator and preserve as much personal liberty to the individual as we all can stand.  Only then, will we even have a remote chance at heaven on earth.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Say I was in an argument with a family member, perhaps a family member that I didn't always get along with - but a family member non the less.  A person that I would have to live with and deal with for the rest of my life.  And a family member that in the end, I would have to admit that I loved.

Now in this argument, let's say I was WAY right and they just happened to be WAY wrong.  But being a stubborn member of my family they were loathe to admit this.

Still, I lay out the evidence and decisively show that I am 100% right, and they are 100% wrong.

As they realize this, what should I do?

A.  Do a victory dance and multiple hip thrusts in their face.

B. Smirk and pshhh and turn my back and mumble "whatever".


C.  Be gracious and accommodating and even "admit" some fault of my own and find some way to give some ground even if I feel that I shouldn't give anything.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

First, a question.

What is leadership?

Is being arrogant and condescending with your opponents always the best approach? Even when your opponents are your fellow Americans?  And not just fellow Americans, but fellow civil servants who love their country.

Is it wise to have an unrelenting and unbending ego that blinds you to the big picture?

If I say to someone that I feel I have humiliated, "Yeah, well that's what you get.  NOW BEND DOWN AND SUCK ON IT YOU EXTORTIONIST ASSHOLE!!"  Does that really get me where I want to go?

Now don't mistake my hypothesis here - I don't for a second feel that the GOP is entirely, or even largely wrong.  But if I was a democrat, and my ship was on fire and headed for the rocks I might think twice about kicking republicans overboard just because they keep bothering me with a pesky fire extinguisher and keep grabbing onto the wheel.

Alas, I fear that our president is so hopelessly consumed by his ego, which is saturated with a dangerous infantilism that is fairly common for people his age and of his political bent - that he cannot for a moment see the forest for the trees.

Ultimately, it's his deep down fear and loathing of American exceptionalism that is blinding him to his obligations as our leader.  So instead of stepping back and understanding, that just because he has the momentary tactical advantage - he shouldn't necessarily use it to crush his adversaries; as these adversaries are ultimately on the same team as he is.  Ultimately, they are his family.

For me to unload on and humiliate an in-law, or a crazy cousin or uncle - just because I happen to be right on whatever topic has come up; would not only be selfish and childish, it would ultimately be destructive to my family.

Obama needs to take a breath, step outside of himself and understand that an unconditional surrender from the republicans simply isn't going to happen.  He has within his grasp the ability to at least temporarily dodge the rocks and put a damper on the flames - and he can do it with saving face and getting almost all of what he wants.

But he CAN'T expect the GOP to turn their backs on the people that elected them and get nothing for their efforts.  Even if, for arguments sake, we say that their efforts were entirely foolish.

For the record - I personally don't think the GOP was that far out of line; I would have preferred a fight for a delay of the ACA for the individual and a fight to make congress obligated to sign up for it.  Not a fight to defund; Obamacare will undoubtedly crash and burn on it's own, but that's neither here nor there and beside my point.

If Obama thinks the GOP will blink at this point as the debt ceiling deadline approaches, he is a fool.  And if we default it won't matter the amount of media spin - ultimately his administration, and he himself will bear the blunt of the blame for the beginning of the end in our country.

Monday, October 07, 2013

It's the law of the land, deal with it!

In other words, even though we passed this shitty legislation that most Americans are against in the shittiest and shadiest way possible - now we expect you to roll over and take it.


This law sucks, and the way it was passed sucks.  And now, while I may not agree with the strategy of the GOP, I am in fact grateful that they are at least fighting.

And it makes my head spin that the democrats retaliate by humiliating veterans and dragging senior citizens from their homes.  And liberals wonder why this administration is so despised.

And they are SHOCKED that conservatives are being less than cooperative.  Right.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Good job ass-clowns of Oakland, LA and New York!  Nothing says justice like smashing up your own stores and beating up your own neighbors.  Now you've convinced me that I was way off on this Zimmerman thing - I should've known better!  Rather than look at the evidence and the law, FUCK IT.  Just start smashing shit.  Awesome!

Clearly this is all whitey's fault.

Oh by the way... how's that 50% drop out rate going?  How's that 70% of babies born out of wedlock thing working out? Still having fun with that 40% of the prison population thing?  And best of all the insanely high murder rate - blacks make up 16% of the population, they have 49% of the homicides and 93% of them are black on black.

And now black kids should be afraid to go get some Skittles because of maniacal white people with guns. (Never mind that Zimmerman was Hispanic).


Fantastic.  You've convinced me.  Just stay the fuck out of my neighborhood.

And if you do wake up and realize that you've been duped by race hustlers who don't give two shits about you or your community, then we might have something to talk about.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Omg, the stupid Zim trial is now the lead story on my fave show on Fox, The Five. I could care less about this crap, really.

Don't care what the verdict is, don't care about this incident whatsoever. There are tons of cases just like this all the time, and the media chooses to inflate this into race baiting nonsense purely for ratings and all it does is piss people off.  Eff Zimmerman, eff racialists, eff social justice, eff them all right in the ear.

I don't give two shits what the jury does and don't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut if morons riot and burn down their own neighborhoods when this asshole walks.

A part of me though wishes, that more people cared about the every day violence in lower income communities. But no, it's far more productive to harp on about a "white Hispanic" (whatever that is) who like a wannabe vigilante dummy confronted some punk kid who decided in turn to beat his ass and then got shot for it.

Can you tell I despise both parties in this case? It's true, they both piss me off. I'm an equal opportunity hater. I have little use for idiots no matter what convenient pigeon hole the media tries to ram them into.

Also, notice that I just stick to the facts of the case?  It blows my mind how many people have been duped into seeing an agenda of "good" vs. "evil" rather than a tragedy with deeply flawed human beings on both sides.  There are no winners here and I REFUSE to give either side too much credit or blame.

In all honestly if I was on the jury I could probably be convinced to find the Zimster guilty of something, but I have enough of a rudimentary knowledge of criminal law to understand that what happened wasn't anything close to murder one and that it wasn't really anywhere near murder two either. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" means what it means.

In any event, if the jury does come down and find Zimmy guilty of murder, I will be mildly disappointed and then get on with my life.  If they find him guilty of manslaughter I will be perfectly fine with it, if they find him not guilty I'll be okay with that as well.

The truth is, I can't have a really strong opinion about the particulars of the case because I've been trying my best to avoid them!

But even as someone who doesn't know the mechanics of the case - as a truth seeker who is intellectually as honest as I can be and about as color blind as anyone I know, it's clear Mr. Z is not a murderer.  He may very well be guilty of manslaughter (either voluntary or involuntary) or he may have committed a justifiable homicide in self defense.  Either way I don't really know and I really really really DON'T GIVE A FUCK.

Or maybe I'm just a racist.

And that, more than anything is what pisses me off about this case. Forget the pedestrian facts of the case, forget that this shit is really nothing more than a dime a dozen homicide with tragic circumstances.

Let's look at it for what it is - A CRIME AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE.

What the fuck ever.

I can use all the logic and reason in the world and none of it makes a difference to the race baiters, both black and white.  Honestly, their stupidity makes me want to say "Okay, whatever, I'm a racist. So what? Fuck you." And that is a bad thing because it means that someone who has tried to be thoughtful and lead a tolerant existence for all of his life is now enraged enough to entertain the idea that the majority of these social justice dopes aren't worth even talking to.


Really I should feel pity.  Pity for the white folks who are so full of self loathing and guilt that they can't see the banal and boring truth of this tragedy.  Pity for the black folks who are so full of anger over perceived injustices, real ones in the past and all too often imagined ones in the present, that they sling the "r" word about randomly as a catch all exertion of power to bring an absolute end to any and all intellectual discussion.

The word "racist" has lost all actual meaning and is now only used as a cudgel, a blunt instrument that says SHUT THE FUCK UP to any flicker of truth that might flare up among the embers of discord and divide so carefully stoked by academic elites and their working class ghetto pawns.

Well guess what.  I ain't buying it.  And I DON'T CARE.

And whatever decision the jury delivers, I won't lose a wink of sleep over it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Convenient Libertarian

I admit it, I want my liberty only to the point of my safety.  In this way I FAIL as a "libertarian".  Were it not for the libertarian party's penchant for being anti-military and anti-police, I would say I had found a home.  I'm with them on taxes, I'm with them on guns, I'm with them on social issues.

But on this NSA thing, I drift towards the middle.  Glenn Beck and Michael Moore are in agreement that NSA data-mining is wrong.  I'm of the opinion that they both are out to lunch on this issue.

First of all - anyone who is actually surprised or shocked that such a program exists, and has existed for half a century, is either incredibly stupid or naive.  And anyone who doesn't think there are far more invasive programs also in place is also one of these two adjectives.

I'm happy to blast Obama and his administration on the seemingly endless parade of scandals; but the government collecting a massive data-base of phone calls is not one of them.  I support my president on this issue and hope the program and other similar ones continue.

I guess I'm not a true libertarian in the sense that I don't feel the need to be free from the state when it comes to me and my family surviving on this planet.  Radical Islam, both the millions of zealots who openly proclaim it and the millions more who are complicit in it's actions, is the single greatest threat to our way of life and freedom in the world.  I want my government to do what I pay it to do and make sure that it doesn't grow back to what it was pre-9/11.

It is our military and it is our intelligence community that keeps us safe.  When we handicap them we put our own lives in jeopardy.

This is not to say that there shouldn't be some oversight, but I put the emphasis on "some".  Realistically, we have to concede that there is some dark shit afoot that must be allowed to exist, so that the bad guys are kept at bay.

This douche bag Snowden is a traitor to his country.  If he really felt compelled by his conscience to reveal the NSA data-mining program, there are a million ways he could of done so without fleeing to China, of all places, like a chicken-shit.

By running like a little bitch to the nastiest government on earth, he has shown his true colors - that he has no love for the USA and that he will sell us all out to an evil empire as long as he is kept safe.

And so, to all my right wing friends, those especially who I admire who are farther right than me - I cannot condemn the worst president in half a century along with you on this issue.  I am rather disgusted by his "defense" of this program, a typical Obama mushy / ignorant / apologetic / pointless warble at a random press conference a week ago - but I do stand behind him and our intelligence community.

I have no problem with the government keeping track of my phone calls and emails.  And if they want to listen in or read them then they are welcome to be bored silly.  If that's what it takes to keep the dogs at bay and prevent them from slitting my throat, then I welcome this oversight.

And really, I have little doubt that the vast majority of conservatives, as well as many right of center libertarians, would agree with me if there was a republican president in office.  I don't appreciate the hypocrisy evident by those on the far right who condemn Obama, it's glaringly obvious.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Is the long honeymoon finally winding down?

Responding (here rather than there) to a liberal friends half-hearted and half-joking facebook post which states -

"Looks like our Prez chose this month to give his critics the first actual shreds of evidence of what they'd been accusing him of for 4 years. Last week: tyrannical over-reach. Today: apology speech. Looking forward to next week's reveal of Kenyan birth certificate."

Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Van Jones, Bowing to the Saudi King, Middle East Apology Tour, A trillion dollars spent on Shovel-Ready Jobs that DIDN'T EXIST, White House Closed - Gitmo Open, 120 days of Golf (Bush 24), etc. etc.

Yep, nothing to see here but a pervasive culture of corruption and intimidation and an economy IN THE TOILET.  Thank goodness the sheen is off and the rest of you can finally see what this administration thinks of the first amendment.  Newsflash: it wasn't created to protect popular speech, it was created to protect UN-popular speech and the IRS scandal is mind blowing in it's disregard for our
Constitution and is stunning even to an ardent anti-Obama wingnut like myself.

And as far as I can see he hasn't owned jack shit.  He keeps saying the first time he heard about this stuff was when he saw it on the news.  So which is it - is he cunning and devious or staggeringly stupid and out of touch with the people under him?

In all honesty, my heart is a bit broken for our country, that this dangerously under-qualified clown has indeed met my worst fears and is threatening to exceed them.  I'll admit that the viscous and partisan part of me was initially happy that this dope finally managed to get the media to stop slobbering all over his wang by being such a fuck up - but deep down I really am sad.

Sad that his charade is now so transparent for all but the biggest kool-aid drinkers, sad that I myself was way more right than I ever wanted to be about him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Much like the abortion issue, I recently have found myself on much less sure footing than I used to be when it comes to the legalization of marijuana.

I've always thought our government should pretty much stay out of what people do to themselves on their own time.  Marijuana seems manageable enough, certainly more so than alcohol, which has wrecked havoc on many a life and loved one, the latter especially with me.

But as bad as alcohol is, and as certain as I have been that pot is more benign, lately I'm not so sure.

It all stems back from this PSA, it came out the year I graduated high school, and I think it sums up what's bad about marijuana just about perfectly.

And through my adult life I would occasionally cross paths with habitual smokers - not a lot of them, but without a doubt every single one of them, while I was happy to interact with them, I made a conscious decision to keep them out of my life.  Granted, none of them were as bad as this...

But all the same, the fog they live in, not the literal one, but the delusion that weed is "harmless" is simply not true.

Marijuana is highly addictive.  I don't need to cite a source or look it up - I've seen it with my own eyes.  People that "wake and bake" ad infinitum, are serious, serious addicts.  Cannabis is incredibly insidious and this is something that even the most die hard liberal would be hard pressed to deny with a straight face.

But I am, for now, still in favor of making weed legal for recreational use.  The medical thing is fine too I guess, though I have the feeling that it's pretty much a crock of shit for all but the most seriously ill people.  "Medical" marijuana has always been pushed by the stoner crowd, and I've never been fooled by it.  The vast majority of these folks don't give a rats ass about cancer, they just want to get lit.  I say, they're welcome to it, but don't expect me to like it or say it's okay for my kid to do it.

People smoking pot smell like dried skunk anus.

People smoking pot are generally slow witted and get worse with habitual use.  Don't ask me to look it up - I know a few people who did it every day in high school, and I see them on occasion today.  They are fucked up, serious brain ding.

Yeah, I guess I'll take stoners over drunks, but really, it's kind of like saying I prefer a moldy sandwich over a rotten egg.  I have little use for either.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Oh I'm sorry, do I make you uncomfortable?

Suspect #2 is in custody and is never seeing the light of day again.  I'm indifferent to whether he gets the death penalty or not.  It is however, my fondest wish that he get no miranda and no trial.  He should be interrogated swiftly and firmly and then be sent to gitmo without a second thought.

Evil has been stopped today, now it should be vanquished. Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  Bring on the water board.

Enough with the kid gloves, enough with the bullshit.  The drones are a good start, but we can do more.  We can always do more.  We must stop at nothing to keep our shores and our children safe.  This is war.

And while I'm not surprised that this act of terror, this slipshod barbarity, was yet another jihad, I'm not happy about it.  Well, maybe a little, because I said from the very beginning that there would be an al qaeda connection.  But I'm not nearly as happy as the liberals in my life are disappointed.

Don't believe me?  This article from Salon pretty much sums up the left and the MSM's true feelings in the matter.  I know they are relieved as I am that the bad guys are caught and Americans are safe, but I also know deep down they are in anguish that once again evil came with a prayer rug.  And even deeper down, they know this evil is here not because of what we have done but because of who we are.

Oh, and I won the bet with my wife that these terrorists would be radical Muslims.  I proclaimed, in our living room on Monday "This is radical Islam, no doubt."  The love of my life raised an eyebrow skeptically, not because she claims to be any expert or even cares really, but because she loves to cool me off when I think I'm hot shit and know everything.  "Alright, you're on.  A hundred bucks says this is some crazy white guy."

I got the text this morning, "Ok, and I owe you a hundred bucks."  Like I said, only happy a little.

And yet I am still mystified.  Mystified that it's okay to call every fringe group on the planet crazy and fucked up - except the one that has killed the most innocents.  Pro-lifers are fanatics.  Tea Party people are scary.  Right wingers are Fascists.  Gun advocates are violent.  Radical Muslims are...  WAIT A MINUTE HOLD ON YOU RACIST PIECE OF SHIT!!!

And yes, liberals are also reading comprehension impaired.   Read the next sentence very slowly.


No matter how many times I say this - it doesn't seem to get through.  Oh well.  I guess I'm racist.  Whatever.  Don't care.

Radical Muslims are crazy and fucked up.  And they are far crazier and more fucked up than all the homegrown American idiots put together.

Radical Muslims mutilate women.  They chop off limbs.  They terrorize villages and chop off heads. They rape young boys - systematically.  They are genuinely and truly deranged and terrifying.  And there are millions of them.

Take the worst of the worst from our shores.  The Westbero Baptist Church assholes are crazy and could be called evil - but last I checked they haven't been lopping off limbs or throwing acid in school girl's faces.  There's also less than 100 of them.

And then let's look at the home grown evil doers that have actually raped and killed people.  Like say, Occupy Wall Street.  There's thousands of these knuckle heads and they have actually done some real damage.  And if the seemingly never ending list of crimes from these folks doesn't impress, how about an actual plot to blow up a bridge and kill innocent people?

Still not impressed?  Alright, then how about the Weather Underground, who more than once succeeded in killing people, including cops.  Of course, their members are now all rotting in prison for their crimes.  Oh wait, no scratch that.  They're actually out and highly successful, in positions of power and influence, including tenured faculty at Columbia University.  They get a pass because their socialist beliefs fall in line with the infantile progressives that sip latte's and text on their i-phones while bemoaning corporations.

So because there are these few rotten apples that have done evil of course means that I view ALL left wingers as murdering rapists, right?  Oh wait, no... I'm not a MASSIVE IDIOT.

And when I say that Radical Islam is evil, people couldn't possibly think that I meant ALL MUSLIMS were evil.  They would have to be MASSIVE IDIOTS to believe that.


I call evil evil when I see it, and I call it by it's name.  I am not uncomfortable saying that radical Islam is the greatest threat to our freedom on the planet and that we must fight it.

I'm dismayed at those who squirm at these words but are perfectly comfortable slandering pro-life or pro-gun people as lunatics and "just as bad" as the taliban.  That's like me saying Michael Moore is just as bad as al qaeda.  He's crazy, he's an asshole - but he ain't evil.  He's just a moron.

Now if he were to pull out a gun and blow Rush Limbaugh away, then we might have an argument to say he was "just as bad" as a suicide bomber.

And when a lone nutball kills an abortionist, as has happened in the past, a grand total of 8 times since Roe v. Wade - I can concede that he's evil and even that he's "just as bad" as the pieces of shit that bombed Boston on Monday.    But he's one guy.

But the pro-life movement is NOT evil.   Radical Islam IS.

Despite the isolated incidents of sexual assaults (a LOT more than 8) and even two murders in it's brief history and a plot to bomb and kill hundreds, Occupy Wall Street is NOT evil.  Radical Islam IS.

Radical Islam is a systematic system of beliefs in which the primary focus is the destruction of Israel and ultimately the United States and the end result for all western countries to come under a caliphate of a twisted version of the Muslim faith.

It has millions of followers who celebrate in the streets when Americans die.

It is evil.

I have no ill will to the real religion of Islam, and I in fact (unlike most of my liberal friends) have been to several Muslim countries and have made actual Muslim friends that I still keep in touch with.   I am a lover of all people and have a deep belief and faith that most all, including Muslims, ultimately want peace and prosperity for themselves and their children.

Just because angry liberals in this country make shrill condemnations that anyone who speaks out against the radical version of Islam is a xenophobe or a racist - doesn't make it so.   But if that's the only argument they have against those of us to speak the truth, then so be it.

I am happy to wear the names "racist" or "hate monger" as badges of honor if they come from cowards.

And I am content in my beliefs, so much so that I forgive the self loathing decadence of those who are quick to condemn my country and yet slow to recognize true malice that festers overseas and occasionally infects our shores.

Tonight I will sleep soundly, knowing that Suspect #2 is going away forever, a footnote in the long story that is our war against terror.  But tomorrow is another day and no doubt future challenges await.   There are those among us who through their jejune tantrums seek to intimidate those of us, the majority, who can recognize true evil when they see it and have the fortitude to call it as such.

These childish screechers are of little concern, because I know when the shit really hits the fan, as it did on 9/11, they will (much like the toddler who has his sippy cup snatched away) for a while, wake up and realize that the time for foolishness has ended, and they will join the rest of us, united as Americans.

Then peace time will likely return and they'll head back into the ball pit of self-doubt and selfishness.  But the grown ups will still be here for them if things should go bad again, with love in our hearts and malice towards none.

Except those that are actually evil.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


As I sit here Wolf Blitzer is speculating that the "right wing" may very well be behind the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  But my mind hasn't grasped just yet that we are under attack once again and the likely result will be little or no change in the world view from Wolf and other idiots like him.

No, I'm not ready to talk about this terrorism yet, as it is so fresh.  However...

Lately I have been thinking about Kermit Gosnall.  Click here at your own risk for a detailed summary of this monster's crimes.  Suffice it to say, because of the MSM's blatant non-coverage of this story, I am slowly but surely giving up hope that I can be reasonable with liberals over their sacred cow which is abortion on demand.  The Gosnall case contains more than enough murder and mayhem to warrant bombastic front page wall-to-wall coverage from the usual suspects, Nancy Grace and her ilk, and yet they mostly remain inexplicably silent, focusing instead on the murder trial of a psycho liar who happens to be a reasonably good looking young woman.  Is the liberal press' silence political?  Is the Pope Catholic?

I have always declared myself "pro-choice" here and to my friends, recognizing intellectually that as abhorrent as the procedure is - we are bound to have far less of them if we keep it safe and legal.  But the Gosnall case has me reconsidering my cavalier views.  If the result of a blind adherence to the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy at any time and for any reason - is that we willfully ignore the most heinous and outrageous abuse of this dictum, then where does true evil lie?  And where does that leave someone like myself who is God fearing and has a deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong?

This man butchered baby after baby after baby after baby.  Mostly black babies.  Mostly poor babies. It boggles my mind that so many are turning a blind eye to this great evil.  Not because it  they are too revolted to speak of it - we have entire museums devoted to equally horrific atrocities - but because it doesn't quite fit the liberal idea of freedom.  Witness this piece of brilliance sent to me by my good friend Cali.

I finally may be coming around to radicalization.  I refuse to be on the side that is casual about killing a baby.  Planned Parenthood's official stance is that if a baby's spinal cord is snapped inside the womb, it is a medical procedure.  Outside the womb, they could charitably be called "hazy on their stance".   I cannot, in good conscience, share either of these views - even if it means that I find myself in the company of "crazy" people who believe that new life is innocent and sacred and should be defended.

I'll concede that the waters are a bit murkier in the early months of a pregnancy.  My wife and I gave the nickname "rice grain" to the zygote inside her belly when we learned she was pregnant.  I knew from google, that my future child was literally the size of a grain of rice at less than 2 months after conception.  And yet, had Beverly miscarried at that point, I have no doubt that we both would have been devastated.  We were so proud and happy that we had made a child, even one as small as a speck, and that it would grow and emerge.  To lose that life, even a "rice grain" would surely have been traumatic.

And yes, I have been to Africa - I have seen the devastation of AIDS and abandoned babies that a society without adequate reproductive health care can bring upon the world.  I saw a baby, starving to death in front of me in her mother's arms.  What is the humane path here?  Would it be more humane of the mother to have aborted this child?  It is a blunt question that I wrestle with often, reflecting on the most desperate of circumstances and the sheer volume of children on this planet who suffer because they emerge into a sphere of poverty and desperation.

There are no easy answers on this issue.  In the real world, it is complicated, it is difficult.

But God has been helping me find my way.  

I often take my little girl to a park 3 blocks from our house.  It is a softball field, next to nice basketball and tennis courts, next to a great playground, next to a beautiful field of grass and trees that is not quite large enough for idiot soccer players to ruin.  The park is made even more peaceful and serene because it is directly adjacent to Valhalla Cemetery, an enormous but old and beautiful graveyard which is home to a large military contingent from World War I, as well as a fair amount of the old guard from Hollywood including Oliver Hardy.  

In the park there are a couple of trees suitable for climbing, but the one Natalie likes best is right along the chain-link fence at the cemetery border.  Just on the other side of the links is a very long row of truncated grave sites, seemingly crammed in against the fence.  But they are not crammed in, they are short graves because these are the graves of babies.  Infants.  Most were only on this earth for a few days at most.

Most of these babies died ages ago.  The majority of the graves are dated in the 1960's with only a handful from the 70's.  One grave in particular caught my eye two Saturdays ago.  It was the grave of a baby who had only lived 2 days in 1965.  The grave caught my eye because atop of it sat a pristine white vase holding a batch of fresh spring flowers.

This angel had just had a visitor, like, probably earlier in the morning.  I looked closer.  October 6th, 1965, was the date of death.  This baby died in October - exactly 48 years and 6 months ago.  Nearly half a century ago this baby was born and died two days later.  And 48 years and 6 months to the day later, fresh flowers had arrived right on schedule.

Not even a yearly anniversary, 48 1/2 years precisely. The love for this angel was still no doubt as fresh in someone's heart as those flowers.

And then there's Kermit Gosnall.  And then there are those of us who are flippant about "terminating a pregnancy".  I have been in this group at times.  It's easy to fall into the trap.  

"Who is going to care for that baby?  Republicans?" 

This is an actual argument I've heard from pro-choicers.  

In the face of Kermit Gosnall, in the face of those flowers, it seems to be an absurd position.

Intellectually, I have already been radicalized past the point of any sympathy at all for people in this country who use abortion as a form of birth control.  If you are privileged, as most people who are born in this country are, there really is no excuse for not stepping up and doing what is right.  That one to me is easy.  Sandra Fluke and other idiots like her who demand free birth control and free abortion on demand so they can do what feels good at any time without consequences are plainly despicable.  

But in the cases of rape and incest, again the waters are murkier .  

How can I tell someone who has endured unspeakable violence what her choice should be?  On the other hand, are we really blaming an unborn baby for the crimes of violence and/or sickness perpetrated against it's mother?

This is the part where many pro-choicers FLIP out for someone even daring to ask this.  I think it's a legitimate question, at the very least worthy of dialogue and discussion.  My heart tells me that the baby is innocent and should be protected, but my heart also tells me that a woman who has been subject to the life altering horror of rape, in any of it's awful forms, has rights too.  And I really can't speak for a woman who has endured this.  I don't understand how pro-lifers can't honestly address this quandary.  

Rape is soul shattering.  I've never been down that road of pain - I can say the baby is innocent and should be protected, but realistically I can never walk in the shoes of a woman who bears the scars of rape or incest, and I cannot deny her a say in the matter.  What about the baby's choice?  Yes, people should speak for the baby - but ultimately the mother must decide.  I would pray that she would choose life - but I cannot interfere with her decision, for history shows us that she will make it, legal or not.

This is my honest truth.  I don't have an easy answer for this one - but I also think it is absurd for someone who calls themselves "pro-choice" to blindly proclaim anyone who puts out the question of protecting an innocent baby as "crazy" or "anti-woman".

The real war on women is carried out every day across the globe by millions of zealots who still practice female genital mutilation and honor killings.  The war on women is not the compassionate pro-lifer whose heart tells them that an unborn baby is innocent.

And as for the third world, which I have been to and experienced more than a few times in my life - I cannot condone the starvation and depravation I have seen before my eyes.  If birth control and adequate health care was made available in these places, suffering would be greatly reduced.  This is a simple fact.  

It does not take away the simple truth that the unborn are innocent - but it does no good for pro-lifers to blindly proclaim that every pregnancy must come to term and every baby must be born NO MATTER WHAT.  People who say this sort of thing without any thought or introspection are not wrong in the most basic sense, but they are absent of any critical understanding of the real world.

Still, more often than not these days, I find myself leaning their way.  Especially when it comes to my country and all the resources we have at our disposal.  Does this mean I think African babies have less value than American ones?  Of course not.   But someone who lives in a shack with surrounded by raw sewage and filled with starving children, has a legitimate need for actual and practical mercy and compassion.  Not platitudes without actual assistance.

And someone in the first world who has been brutalized into pregnancy, while their baby may be innocent, has the right to do what they feel they must do.  I cannot speak to their horror and they alone must decide.  Does this mean I'm okay with murdering babies?  I don't know.  Maybe it does.  I pray that it does not. I pray for God to help me with this.

No easy answers.  That's just the way it is.  The abortion question is not a simple matter.  If it were, most of us would be on one side of the issue.  

Still, I keep going back to those flowers.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Movies 2012

2012 was a GREAT year for movies.  As readers of this blog know, I'm a big movie fan, and I also enjoy films from time to time.  What's the difference you ask?  Read the first two paragraphs here for the lowdown.

Before we start, the usual disclaimer - I don't get out much these days, so you're getting a pretty limited view of 2012 (especially when you see my list at the bottom of movies I still want to see).

Here's my top 10 for 2012 so far.

10.  The Hunger Games
As someone who has never read the books and has zero interest in doing so, I was pleasantly bowled over by the craft displayed in this surprisingly low budget blockbuster.  Every element, from story to acting to production design was handled expertly and efficiently - and made for a compelling narrative in the best of sci-fi movie traditions.  Reminded me in a good way of classics like Logan's Run and the original Planet of the Apes.

9.  The Dark Knight Rises
This one suffers greatly in comparison to it's predecessor, which is simply the best superhero movie ever made - but it still has a lot to offer.  If you've read my treatise on The Dark Knight, then you know I'm a bit of a right wing nut-ball about this stuff, but in both TDK and the TDKR there are tons of unmistakable conservative paradigms.  Particularly powerful in this latest Batman movie are the indictments against Occupy Wall Street and a completely unsubtle comparison with the movie bad guys and al  qaeda via' haunting images of bodies being hung from a bridge.  I don't care what you say Chris Nolan - I know you're one of the good ones in Hollywood.

8. Skyfall
Probably the best Bond movie ever, but then I was never a huge Bond fan.  I've always liked JB but not loved him.  Up until this film I'd say "True Lies" was my favorite Bond movie, which tells you how I feel about the franchise.  Still, this one is a triumph of story, production design and cinematography - all rooted in a deep love of the character and his legacy.  I admit I am a bit put off by the idea of peeling back the layers of Bond's background... no, I don't want to know that he is an orphan thanks.  Just like I don't want to know about Michael Meyer's childhood, my imagination works better than some random pedestrian explanation - but I forgive this contrivance, as the movie is so darn good.

7. Django Unchained
I have often said that I like my entertainment to be entertaining, and that there is enough misery in real life that I don't need to be subjected to it in a movie theater.  This movie stomps right through that line and blurs it in gleeful bloody fashion and in the end absolutely cannot be taken too seriously.  It is a righteous and moral film, as QT's work always has been, but it is also an indulgent revenge fantasy (as his last few movies have been) that is not for the squeamish or those uninitiated to grind-house cinema.  I for one never took the violence as anything more than cartoonish and had a hell of a good time.

6. Wreck-It-Ralph
It was bound to happen, the Disney animation group finally put out a better film than their PIXAR brethren.  I liked Brave a lot, but Wreck-It-Ralph is amazing.  I admit, I'm a bit biased because the love this movie has for old school video games hits me right in my wheelhouse (I'm the perfect age for this nostalgic shit) but I also see that people of all ages will be able to appreciate Wreck-It's heart and compelling characters.  The story is also top notch, dare I say... Pixar quality.  I love Ralph.  I love the Glitch.  I love, love, LOVE this movie.

5. Lincoln
Simply a powerhouse movie.  Spielberg at his best as Daniel Day Lewis once again emerges from the shadows as a completely different person to collect his Oscar.  History comes to life, and though most of it involves people talking in close quarters - it is truly gripping.

4. The Hobbit
I have nothing but love for Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth.  This is a very dense movie for a very simple story and I very much want to see it again even though I've seen it twice already.  As an editor and geek I was both enraptured and repulsed at the HFR (high frame rate) version I saw.  Loved the level of detail and clarity that I had never seen before, disliked the video-like frame rate.  Not sure if I'm sold on this format.  As for the story/characters, etc. I can't tell you if it was genuinely good or not. I'm too much of a fan.  If you liked Lord of the Rings very much, then this is for sure a must see.  If you are ambivalent about LOTR then you can safely pass.

3. Argo
Amazing old school movie that works on every level.  Best of all it is firmly pro-American, despite one clumsy liberal-pandering scene of American protesters beating up a cowering Muslim.  Yeah, who could forget all the footage of that stuff happening?  Oh wait....  But in any case, this misstep is easily forgivable, as the rest of the movie is a damning indictment of those crazy motherfuckers in Iran (despite what liberals are sure to perceive as an American indictment over the brutality of the Shah) AND, even better, a great caper movie that my dad would have loved.  Ben Affleck.  Who knew?  And of course he is snubbed by the Oscars, which by now has about as much credibility as I do in saying which movies are the best.  On the other hand, I think I'm a lot more sensible than they are. Smiley face wink.

2. Avengers
The Dark Knight is still the best superhero movie ever - but this one is probably the best comic book movie ever.  Works on every level - spectacle, character, heart and especially humor.  Joss Whedon finally brings it home and knocks it out of the park like all us Buffy geeks knew he would.  And the hulk is the star!  How bad ass is that!  One for the ages.

1. Zero Dark Thirty
Not even close.  This is the best and most important film of the year.  Like all great "war" movies both sides of the political spectrum have seized on the "message" of this story, and they are both correct.  A great quote from liberal critic at the SF Chronicle sums up the left's praise....

"The lesson is unmistakable: Mess with the United States, and not only will the CIA and the special forces find you, but your story will be subsumed and commodified by American culture in the most obvious and thorough way possible - as first-rate, mass-market entertainment."    -Mick Lasalle

And I'm like, "Yeah, that's right."  USA = good guys.  Terrorists = bad guys.  And it works just because Bigelow is an honest filmmaker.  She can shine the light of truth on everything, from enhanced interrogation (which you can call torture if you wish) to the business like dispatch of OBL, two taps to the chest and skull.  It all comes out the same.  In the end, the USA emerges from the shit of sin as the greatest moral force on the planet, and yes, Bigelow pays tribute to those who willingly sacrifice - giving either their lives or pieces of their souls - to insure that the United States continues to be a beacon of liberty and greatness to the rest of the world.

America.  Fuck yeah.

Again, as with Lincoln, most of this movie is talking in offices - but as with that film, it is engrossing and powerful.  Jessica Chastain and Kathryn Bigelow are my heroes - bringing light to darkness on the horrors of our world.

But not all on the left and right have embraced this movie.  Senators McCain and Feinstein have claimed the film's link of harsh interrogation to killing OBL as false.  I have all the respect in the world for Senator McCain, I actually met him once for an interview I shot - but I respectfully have to wonder if he, as someone who indeed endured true and pointless torture for three years, is seeing the big picture clearly enough.  I would never presume to doubt his sincerity, but I think it is fair to say his objectivity is clouded.

And others on the farther reaches of the left have called this entire enterprise Fox News propaganda.  This to me pretty much seals ZD30 as a great movie.    

In the end it will be up to the viewers to decide whether this movie makes them ashamed or proud to be American.  As a patriot who also recognizes and embraces the simple truth of endlessly complex and utterly grey shades of the world - I can proudly say that I was inspired by this film.  As with the fictional Frodo who treks to Mordor and who is never the same when he returns, bearing scars from sins both external and of his own making - the real life heroes of ZD30, the CIA operatives, Seal Team Six, and countless others have willingly taken a journey with no return so that the rest of us can be free.

And in the end, whether or not sheltered Americans waste their time with decadent self-loathing, we can deep down all thank God that selfless men and women are still on that wall for all of us.  Protecting the right of many to be blissfully unaware of the world and for the rest of us to stand and applaud at the conclusion of this film.  Most of the theater sat in awed silence.  Not me, I was exhilarated.


As I said, 2012 had a lot of great movies.  Here is a surprisingly long list of movies that I also enjoyed, but just didn't quite crack the top 10.

Probably number 11 on the list.  Very moving and expertly crafted - once you accept the rather strange direction the story takes about half way in.  I kind of like it after seeing it a few times.  It does work, but it is unusual.

Hotel Transylvania
The kid and I had a blast with this one.  Plus it touches on daddy/daughter stuff that resonates pretty well with me.  Frantic cutting, but lots of fun.

Ambitious but flawed.  Holds up better on repeated viewings.

Ghost Rider 2
Pure schlock that loses momentum greatly in the final act.  Still a fun ride.

Twilight Saga BD2
The best of the saga for me - meaning it had the most action.  A Twilight movie that for once I would not mind watching again.

21 Jump Street
Flippin' hilarious.  Ice Cube rules.

Pitch Perfect
Glee as I wish it was.  Gross and obnoxious, with people that you actually root for.

Rise of the Guardians
Similar to Prometheus in it's ambition, falls down occasionally but when it soars it really soars.  Dream Works really needed to pull back on the editor a bit, there's lots of majesty here but we don't get to see it because the cuts are so quick.

I really need to see this again to see if it really holds up.  Time travel is always tricky.  Then again, maybe I should just let it be and remember it fondly as a kick butt action movie that gave me a great ride and surprised me more than once.

And lastly, there is a GANG of movies from 2012 that I still very much want to see.  These are at the top of the list.

The Impossible
Les Miserables
Act of Valor
Cabin in the Woods  (Can't believe I haven't seen this yet!)
Life of Pi
The Bourne Legacy
Amazing Spider Man
(I've already seen this story, but people keep telling me that this version has some value.)
The Grey

The older I get, the faster the time goes.  We have "The Grey" on our coffee table in it's Netflix sleeve as I write this.  Hopefully I'll have the energy to watch it soon.