Fake News falls Flat

Before I get into my weekly sermon about freedom of speech and government foolishness, I have to make everyone aware of the fact that there are still people on this planet who believe it to be a shape other than spherical. In other words, there is a demographic which believes with every ounce of their being that the earth is flat.

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Coming soon to a conspiracy theory or Presidential residence near you.

Um, yeah, that’s what I thought, too, but as Santa Claus said when talking to the M&M’s, they do exist. There is a cross-section of human life which has lost more common sense than our Congress ever possessed by disavowing all known science and failing to display even the the intelligence of my biggest-cat-by-tonnage, Max, in their insistence the widely accepted “round Earth” theory is, instead, the product of a sophisticated propoganda campaign. In the spirit of genuine research, I chose to dig into this particular cultural subset and discovered the Flat Earth Society, which actually attempts to use science to explain psuedo-science.

WRITER’S NOTE: If you are a believer in the theories of Alex Jones, Steve Bannon or the late Rev. Fred Phelps, please soak yourself in water to minimize the damage caused from the spontaneous combustion you will, no doubt, experience upon reading the rest of this. Thank you. I cannot be held responsible for any sort of immolation caused by contrarian beliefs.

The Flat Earth Society, in a May 2016 blog post titled “Einstein’s Relativity Proves the Earth is Flat,” goes into great detail about how the theories of one of the 20th century’s greatest theoretical minds conclusively debunks spherical planetary theories, using the idea of an elevator accelerating:

When the elevator starts accelerating upwards, a pull downwards is felt by the passenger. This is due to the passengers inertia. Recall that a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Einstein hypothesised that since this pull, caused by the momentum of the passenger fighting against his acceleration, is indistinguishable from gravitational influences, it is only logical to assume that they are one and the same phenomenon. Comparatively, another pseudo-force like this arises from a rotating reference frame, say if one is on a spinning carnival ride one would presumably feel a pull away from the center.

This post then goes into astonishing mathematical calculations which any normal person would define as “boring,” and which the Trump Administration would likely call “fake math,” only to finalize its argument in this final, compelling statement:

Gravity is actually revealed as an inertial force (also known as a fictitious force)

Yes, that’s right, folks! Inertia is fake, which means all those hours in chemistry class learning about “inert gasses” and “inert elements” were actually some sort of crazy scheme to brainwash us all. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Albert Einstein apparently is not only the one of the grandfathers of nuclear science, he is, according to this, the godfather of common core. (cue “DA DA DAAAAAAAA!” sound)

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This is nothing, and I do mean nothing, compared to flat earth theory’s most mesmerizing (notice a pattern of large adjectives?) claim, that the edges of the Earth are actually surrounded by giant ice walls which cannot be scaled by normal means. Many of these folks also claim that the curvature of the planet seen in about a zillion photos from such vehicles as rockets, shuttles, missiles, airplanes, and even flying lawnchairs is actually – wait for it – the result of sophisticated NASA photoediting. As for satellites, they don’t exist either – just another area of NASA wizardry.

Apparently NASA got some SERIOUS photoshopping game

According to this group think, there’s about 9 billion muggles on Earth.

Flat earth theory is both frightening in its increasing belief, and a complete distraction from the most bizarre college major now offered in the United States, Canadian Studies. This degree, offered through Duke University, “seeks to provide the student with an understanding of Canada” which, as we all know, is world renowned for hockey, maple syrup, snow and asking Russian subs in a very annoyed tone to stop walking on their aquatic lawn. Fastweb lists some of the career prospects for Canadian Studies, and they quite compelling:

Job prospects: Teaching at a university or college in Canada or the United States, museums or a government council

That’s right, folks, you too can work for a government council in Canada which, if I recall correctly, is far more competent than the General Assembly of the State of Florida, which once actually sued itself. Perhaps the thought of a flat earth was enough to scare these folks into submission, but it’s obvious that someone with an Advanced Degree in Canadian Studies could actually fare quite well in Florida. They would, of course, have to be open to such radical notions as science, freedom, facts, research, evidence, academic integrity, mathematics, and living with the Sunshine State between the months of October and May. It also means they would have to admit they live in America which, judging by the current state of things, could be they would be call an “enemy of the people.”

Better to just keep thinking the earth is flat – our brains will hurt less and we can actually laugh more at the theories.

UPDATES: Walker County and great Frying Pan vs. Skillet debate

With all the insanity in America’s politics, I am pleased to report that one positive in this mess has occurred. Though old news, the new Sole Commissioner, High Commander and Eternal Leader of Walker County, Georgia is now firmly entrenched in his new position. Shannon Whitfield, who was able to easily defang and disembowel Bebe Heiskell in the 2016 election by a score of 3 trillion neurons to 2.1, is apparently managing to score points with voters on the simple fact that he keeps schedules consistent and has not traded away star players to the opposition in exchange for defensive coordinators who blow 20 point leads in the Super…oh crap, I’ve got the Atlanta Falcons on the brain. Sorry.

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Shannon Whitfield.  Wait, wasn’t this guy in a Super Bowl commercial for avocados?

Whitfield, despite his obviously improved status as Not Being Bebe Heiskell, has still rankled some voters by posting edited county commission meetings online instead of the raw feeds. Walker County gods on high, however, are apparently pleased with Whitfield’s performance, as a recent 1.8 earthquake indicates (previous earthquakes have been in the 4s, meaning Heiskell’s soul has obviously arrived at Satan’s mailbox, postage due.) Still, the City of LaFayette continues to function as always, with its fine collection of shops, gas stations, and a convenience store actually named “Yanks” (seriously.) It also continues to enjoy its status as Unofficial Job Haven for Wanted Criminals, as the county has had apparent known of a wanted criminal from Colorado working as a 911 dispatcher for the county for some time. Perhaps the Heiskell curse continues, but large predatory bird sightings are on the wane, so there has be obvious improvement – such as employees actually being able to now cash their paychecks.

No word as to whether “Thad” was available for comment. (rim shot)

This, however, pales in comparison to a far more serious matter facing our nation today from a political standpoint. Today, this writer took the liberty of challenging the political status quo and asking an ultra-controversial question: what the hell is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan?

A query which has dogged cooks for eons, the notion of a frying pan and skillet being different things has been a perplexing issue. Gigantic studies using massive federal block grants issued via presidential tweets have been suggested, especially since the skillet lobby has stated an unofficial goal of “Making Cooking with Skillets Great Again.” Of course, I chose to use the definitive source of wisdom and knowledge to answer this question once and for all…

My Facebook Feed.

My friends/readers/followers/associates of ill refute/various shape-shifting entities from the Gamma Quadrant all weighed in, and the results were very clear: no really knows for sure, and everyone wonders why the hell I was even asking that question. Of course, that would stop me from sharing some of the answers with you, my loyal and delusional reading audience, some of whom are obviously not aware of the need to stay off the road after heavy medicinal or recreational relaxant use.  We know that won’t happen, so here we go – actual answers from actual readers of my feed:

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Until the horse WHACKS you with it. And then you STILL won’t know what to call it!

“A skillet has straight high sides. Same flat wide bottom so u can fry or search, but the the high straight sides like a pot allow us to add more stuff, especially liquids and put on a lid.”

“Geography.”

“Weight. A skillet also says, ‘What’s this non-stick crap???'”

“One of those questions that just simmers…” (Honorable Mention for Best Answer)

“One you fry in, one’s a band.”

“They both cook eggs. So, none.”

and the Best Answer of All, which actually led to me spraying coffee on my monitor in such a fashion several wet wipes were needed…

“The difference between a frying pan and a skillet? The size of the knot on your head if you upset the cook.”

Bear in mind, all these answers are moot when one considers the fact that, when used properly, both pans and skillets make excellent counterweights for mousetraps created by grey and white cartoon cats. Still, we must never forget the most important part of this research, that terminology can vary widely from region to region in our nation, and that such things as “homophones” will always be targeted for persecution by moralist elements who obviously didn’t pay attention in English class.

If you are still unsure about how to approach this debate or how to understand the jokes in this post, feel free to contact Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield’s office. Operators are standing by to hire you now, provided you’ve been arrested in at least one jurisdiction.  I’m putting my application in tomorrow.

Worldview: The word which has empowered propaganda machines of the left and right

Worldview (n.) – a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

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Nothing truer than this.

Worldview is everything in political belief, whether or not we wish to admit it. What dictates beliefs from an ideological standpoint varies widely from person to person. The extremes of both sides of the ideological aisles often fail to see, or choose to be blind to, this fact. What is more bothersome is that many of the things which we hold as truths, as Obi-Wan Kenobi once observed with such eloquence, depends entirely on our point of view or, to use a more modern vernacular, our worldview.

This definitely affects how news and information is approached and received. The notion of “fake news” is not a new concept; President Theodore Roosevelt spoke of reporters who infiltrated sweatshops in America’s Northeast and Midwest in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as “muckrakers.” To him, many of these reporters were simply attempting to sensationalize the conditions, such as those described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, in an attempt to advance an agenda. Granted, this was largely the case and did achieve historic changes which led to modern health and safety rules in the workplace, but Roosevelt and, more to the point, industrialists directly affected by the changes caused by said articles, regarded these journalists as self-serving do-gooders whose publishers where more concerned about selling newspapers than actually looking out for the national interest. It is very familiar song.

While the journalists of that time were unjustly regarded as parasites, today’s media has created much of its own perception issues, but those problems have also been exacerbated by the proliferation of the sources which cater to one particular worldview. Websites such as RedState, Huffington Post, NewsMax, and Mother Jones were all established with one purpose – activist journalism, which takes legitimate information and manipulates it to advance an agenda, be it conservative or liberal. These websites have become popular, and even trusted, because traditional legacy sources such as network news and periodicals such as Time, Newsweek and USA Today lost sight of their primary mission – to inform the public. Instead, traditional information sources have focused more on the viewpoints of individual writers and “anchors” to “sell the story,” rather than letting the story sell itself.

A great example would be to compare the Trump Administration to the Nixon Administration in terms of media coverage. Today’s media is focused on “pouncing;” attacking what the President does with Twitter, or what his underlings say in press conferences, and picking it apart. The media of the Nixon era was more concerned with receiving information as it was disseminated, analyzing it, and finding inconsistencies. While it was not entirely investigative journalism, the reporters of Nixon’s day focused more on the facts and allowed that administration to create its own worst nightmare; impeachable offenses revealed through a combination of individual hubris and collective administration incompetence. For the Nixon White House, the gaffes of ego committed by the cabal led by both Nixon himself and advisors, such G. Gordon Liddy, did more damage to that President than any newspaper editorial ever could. For Trump’s Administration, the media now appears to be willing patsies in a war of misinformation and blatant ego inflation. Rather than reporting on inconsistencies and obvious conflicts of interests, the media’s obsession with the President’s twitter feed and what his children do in their off hours appears to be stuff of political and editorial vendettas, as opposed to the work of truth-seeking reporters.

During operation Desert Storm in 1992, the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf pulled one of the great distraction moves in modern warfare. He sent coalition forces to the Kuwait border in such numbers to keep the late Saddam Hussein’s forces occupied and obsessed with stopping a direct invasion and then, in a bold move, launched a massive offensive to west of Kuwait, destroying the Iraqi Army’s rear lines. Much of Trump’s campaign and administration’s public relations moves appear to be the same; focus media and public attention away from the more pressing issues of the day by using marketing buzzwords and research to distract the public and media, then working to do things his way without public scrutiny. This sort of distraction is a classic tactic in business – use distraction in negotiations to focus attention on one hot-button issue in order to gain larger concessions on broader matters, and his most vocal, rabid supporters are defending him at every single turn, no matter how questionable his statements on these matters. A good question is why are these voters buying into it, but a better question is how is Trump pulling it off?

The answer is simple; Trump is playing to the fears of his base’s worldview.

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Former Fox host Glenn Beck, who became famous for his conspiracy chalkboards, started his conservative talk career at WFLA-AM in Tampa in 1998.

Many Trump voters share a similar, if not identical, worldview; a collective group of nations, largely Muslim, which seek to destroy the United States by any means necessary. While several of these nations exist, most lack the will or ability to strike even indirectly. In addition, they feel that corporate America is part of a globalist cabal which seeks to destroy the American-Western way of life. Some of these worldviews also put white Anglo-Saxon protestants (so called “WASPs”) at the top of the world pyramid of authority. Others espouse the worldview that Western culture is far superior to any others on Earth – former radio host and libertarian standard-bearer Neal Boortz once famously admitted he was not a racist but a “culturalist,” stating he did believe that Western civilization was superior to all others on Earth and must retain its eminence, and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck was pulled from Fox News when even the heads of the largely conservative-oriented news network got the jitters over Beck’s increasingly conspiratorial claims on his own short-lived TV program.

While these worldviews are often based in personal experience, they can also be based in a facade of nationalism designed to profit from the fears and emotions of those who seek validation of their beliefs and views. It is these individuals, such as conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones and Breitbart head/Trump advisor Scott Bannon, who are the greatest purveyors of convincing misinformation. In Bannon’s case, a reasonable individual can deduce one reason for his practices – packaging propaganda in a veneer of factual data to present in such a way that it’s accepted because it matches the accepted views of those who voted for Trump in the first place and, therefore, emboldens the President to behave in a manner which is to the advantage of both Bannon and those of his ilk.

To many, the media is not reliable because it was the media itself who bought into the notion of not only informing the public, but influencing it to act in accordance with a narrative. Individuals such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Nancy Grace, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews, and even Fox News’ newest crop of hosts are not journalists in the true sense of the world, but commentators using the facts given by genuine reporters to advance an agenda. This is reminiscent of another individual who has used legitimate reporting as a means to advance an agenda – The 700 Club’s Pat Robertson. The controversial conservative minister’s Christian Broadcasting Network, though a reasonably ethical operation on its own, allows its facts to be manipulated for Robertson’s own purposes, mainly fundraising. For this reason, CBN suffers from a heavy dose of “guilt by association,” and is regarded as a less-than-credible outlet for information.

Another example of worldview issues could be found on the other end of the spectrum, BBC News. For years, Britain’s government-owned network was regarded as a go-to source for information from around the world, with strong ethics and a high standard of quality and accuracy. As time went on, BBC’s own anchors became more and more focused on news which portrayed the United States in a less-than-flattering way and, for that reason, aided far-right media types in a campaign to paint the mainstream media as liberal elitists. Unfortunately, this image was only entrenched further when a scandal broke within the BBC’s ranks exposing editorial bias being encouraged and dissent being quashed by network bosses. Those with a worldview of journalists being nosy crusaders only concerned with their career found their views confirmed, and this only served to undermine the media and enhance the position of ideologically-oriented websites which take legitimate information and spin it to suit their needs.

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, known for her fiery ultra-left views, is considered part of why the network’s ratings continue to languish far behind CNN and Fox News.

So how can we separate the good from the bad, the reliable from the speculative. Critical thinking comes into play here. If something doesn’t an instinctual “smell test,” chances are it is either false or manipulated. Stories about Trump which seem too crazy to be truth tend to be so, just as stories about former President Obama also lean that way. Both sides have websites which focus on fomenting resistance though inflammatory news articles, and both are extremely adept at pointing fingers at the other side while denying stories which they themselves plant. One way to determine the veracity of story is to know the backgrounds of the writers. When one sees the words “activists,” or “political expert” or “left” or “right” in their bio, it is a fairly safe bet that writer has the interests of their cause, not the reader, at heart.

While some ideologically oriented websites have quality informational articles, double checking the information though other mainstream sources is always advised. If even a sliver of the information is accurate, it could point to a much greater situation. Nevertheless, worldview contributes to how we view news, whether we want to admit it or not.

Some legit reasons men just won’t commit

This is the season for many to become serious about relationships, and Valentine’s Day is one of the most high-pressure days for men in the Western World. Ladies, it’s easy to become annoyed and frustrated with your man when he refuses to commit, but there are often some valid reasons for his cold feet. While I am not a relationship expert, counselor, or qualified professional, here are some legitimate laypersons reasons as to why men are not prepared to commit to a serious relationship.

What Have I DoneOnce bitten, twice shy: when a man is deeply wounded in a previous relationship, scars exist. Even if there’s been a so-called “rebound,” it’s not uncommon for a man to want to take his time, or even never fully commit. While most who have come out of a damaging relationship or brutal breakup are encouraged to take some time to themselves, the desire to jump back in to avoid the “lonely bug” can be too great to resist, but with that comes a fear of repeating past mistakes.  This is especially true of relationships where one or both sides were abusive.  Healing time is needed.

kate-winslet-ned-kiss-zA torch still ablaze: guys, we’ve all been there – that woman we once had the strongest feelings on earth for, be it a friend or lover, and then our hopes are dashed. That one “who got away” is the stuff of best-selling love songs.  We try to get past her to move on to someone better.  Still, the fire smolders, waiting for any perceived breath of fresh of air to rekindle it anew, and set our hearts ablaze yet again.  Teensy problem with that; we meet a truly wonderful and committed woman, and that particular little fire still burning in our hearts needs a different fuel for combustion. Until that fire is put out, a new flame cannot hope to burn steady and bright.  The man in your life needs time to put the past behind him, and sometimes a “walkabout” of sorts is needed.

Bachelorhood just feels good: for many men, being single is a great thing. After all, there is nearly zero accountability, zero need to change and almost no risk. By jumping into a committed relationship, the notion of having to actually work with someone, compromise and change oneself for the better ensues. That’s scary enough, but combine that with the idea of children, pets or meeting family, and it feels like a sensory overload most men just are not ready for.  Time won’t cure this one; only maturation will.

yellingUnreasonable expectations: ladies, here’s where it gets unpopular. It’s very easy for women to decide they want a commitment from a man who is, honestly, just doesn’t want it. It could be any number of reasons, but the fact is some men just around ready for commitment, and some never will be. The worst situation of all are men who commit for the wrong reasons, such as custody of children or financial reasons. These almost always devolve into explosive and dangerous breakups.  Communicating expectations is key here, but even the most thorough communication may result in an ending.

Ultimatums: Any self-respecting man, or woman for that matter, will walk away from an ultimatum to be committed. If you tell your beloved “if you won’t commit, I’m out,” you should expect to be alone, period. To give any significant other an ultimatum to commit can be regarded as holding someone hostage emotionally, even if the person being held hostage is the ultimatum giver. Once you’ve gotten to the ultimatum point, the relationship is likely on borrowed time.

Finally there is Superstition: this is the one reason some men use and it’s based on the notion that Valentine’s Day commitments, proposals and such are bad luck. Now, that being said, it’s easy to have serious regrets about saying “yes” in the hoopla of the day. It’s even more common for a woman to not want to let her man down by saying no to that diamond ring. Many relationships which escalate on this day often fail down the road, so many men are skeptical about the validity of proposing in any way on Valentine’s Day.

Some of us just won’t be good commitment material, and sometimes it’s a matter of feeling “they can do it, why can’t I?”  We’ve all been there, and some of us grow out of it faster than others.  So ladies, cut your man a small break if he’s unable to commit.  Let him tell you in his way, in his time but, be aware, some men really aren’t ready to take that big leap. Be kind, compassionate and loving, but firm. Don’t let him hold you hostage, but don’t hold him hostage either. Compassion and love goes far further than demands and frustration, and the commitment which can result may be the best thing you’ve ever known.

This Super Bowl prediction will fall down and sink into the swamp.

Today’s big game is a gripping matching of two amazing teams, both of whom made it to the big dance to dance the waltz to claim the most coveted trophy in the world of pro sports, the hand of fair maiden Ivanka Trump. Both teams will face enormous challenges and dangers before they can make it to the bridge of Super Bowl Doom, where the Wizard Goodell awaits with the questions which must be answered to reach the Castle Lombardi.

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“My Lord, shouldn’t we throw the long bomb against them?” “Unwise, my good Knight! After all, they are from New England, which is close to French speakers.”

The Atlanta Falcons, led by King Ryan, had to face the Green Knight Aaron, though the outcome was never truly in doubt, as Ryan chopped off the defensive, offense and ultimately, the special teams of the Packers. Though it was not a draw, the Packers ultimately yielded to the might of the Falcons, and continued on to the Castle of Houston, but not before Packer fans attempted, in a failed attempt at intimidation, to launch a giant cheese wheel over the edge of the castle, but it backfired, causing the castle to burn down, fall over, and sink into the swamp, which we all know is located at the University of Florida.   Ultimately, football fans everywhere were spared the sight of King Ryan and Prince Julio singing when the good knight Sir Quinn successfully advised them to not engage in a debate with media rabble, who continued to sling shit in the fields.

No word as to if the Falcons were forced to locate a shrubbery in the Georgia mountains and cut it down with a herring.

Outside of Boston, the New England Patriots struggled valiantly against the killer Steelers, but they ultimately proved to be little more than fluffy rabbits as the Steeler defense, shortly before cornering the Patriots, suffered a full shutdown. Of course, this could not happen without Sir Brady deploying the Holy Hand Grenade of Belichick, which blew thine enemy to tiny deflated bits.  The Patriots went to work afterwards, methodically declaring at Steelers players witches and beginning the process of lowering them into the Atlantic Ocean, but not until a Lombardi Trophy-shaped beacon distracted the Steelers enough for the Patriots to score several touchdowns on the Steelers, though Patriot cheerleaders did not administer any spankings. However, the Grand Divine Master Kraft revealed himself shortly after the victory and administered one of the greatest tongue lashings in the history of football when he complained about the officiating and them screamed “Go Pats,” and there was much rejoicing. (yay!).

The Patriots then embarked on their great and noble quest, aided by several hundred gallons of clam chowder because the Falcons had already grabbed all the coconuts, and made their way to the Castle Houston, and now they will face the Falcons in the most devastating battle in the history of mankind – Trash Talk Deflate Rise Up Bowl, which was just now named so because of a pre-emptive Cease and Desist Order Issued by the NFL (aka “GOD”).

As part of my quest to divine the winner, I had to reach the bridge of foul smelling doom., where the Master Wizard Goodell’s question to me was “What is the current residential status of the a California franchise?”  My answer “which one?  Charger or Raider?”  His answer, of course, was “wha?  I, I don’t knowwwwwww!” (we can only hope he is tossed into the pit of judgment.)  Still, there is much to be revealed and and I thought this could be accomplished by studying my cat’s litter stink from deep within the pit.  That was proven a fruitless endeavor when I realized I had actually cleaned their box, so I relied instead on the stink of leftover Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentines Day 2001 foodstuffs left in my refrigerator, which has afforded me to the vision needed to reveal MY prediction on who wins the big game.

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“It’s a KILLER…wait, no, that the Steelers’ defence.”

In a stunning upset which will eliminate all stink of old crap in the NFL to usher in a new area of healthy, tasty but quickly forgotten trendy culinary treats, the Atlanta Falcons will defeat the New Patriots in a serious classic, with Matt Ryan tossing a long, bean-dip soaked bomb to Julio Jones in the final seconds. Later, it will be revealed that Tom Brady had enough of the NFL, and will request an executive order making him the U.S. Ambassador to Jakku.

Hope you all have a great time watching today’s game and bear in mind, this summary has been issued by a guy who not only doesn’t care too much for either team, but will be watching the Kitten Bowl because it’s, frankly, way more interesting.  As for Ivanka, I’m sure she’ll be happy living in a castle where they flip shit and cows over the walls at their enemies.

And I’m expecting Eric Idle and John Cleese to hit me with C&D Orders any second.  To which I will say one thing.

RUN AWAY!!!

A word about why American politics are so f—-d up.

Warning: this post may be offensive to everyone on earth. Better to close it now and get it over with.
Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, protests and riots have swept across the nation.  The new President has signed executive order after executive order, and the country is more polarized than ever.  The more I look at things, the more I can see the origins of a lot of these issues and it comes down to a saying by the late pro football coach Vince Lombardi:

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Somewhere along the way, both the left and the right decided that their way was the not only the right way, but the only way to run things.  Instead of being open to new ideas and practicing moderation, extremism took root, aided by the absolutism made fertile by talk radio hosts, many of whom have turned out to be, themselves, outright hypocrites.  Both left and right pointed the finger at each other, decrying the other’s way as “evil” and “corrupt,” tossing about buzzwords like “income redistribution,” “globalism,” “market freedom” and “indoctrination.”

In the end, both sides are guilty of fomenting national discord for the sake of their own ambitions and avarice.  Both extremes are akin to fans of opposing teams in the Super Bowl who use the exact same offensive and defensive strategies.  The only differences are the cities represented, team colors and the one massive variable:  personalities.

This year’s Super Bowl is a great example. New England’s Tom Brady is a person who draws absolute reactions.  You either love him or you hate him.  You either admire his guile for exploiting lax rules enforcement with “deflategate,” or he is a cheater.  For Atlanta, you either love Matt Ryan for his stoicness in games and his ability to heave the ball downfield with stunning accuracy, or you hate him for his occasional post game showboating and arrogance or the demands of owner Arthur Blank.  Long story short, team affiliation and cults of personalities determine the fan base.

America’s political landscape is much the same way anymore.  It’s no longer about “what’s right for America.”  Rather, many citizens have become so fed up with the demands of either side, their rhetoric, and the approach to life their supporters take, the “win at all costs” attitude has permeated American politics.  You either love Donald Trump and what he espouses, or you loved Hillary Clinton.  Anyone who isn’t on the side of an extreme allegiance is a gutless moderate, or an independent who is immediately picked apart for which side of the ideological aisle they most identify with, regardless of if their heart is good.

We are no longer a nation which compromises for the good of all; we are a country obsessed with winning and being “right,” even if being right means may the good of the nation be damned, so long as our side prevails.  We no longer see shades of gray, or the empty spaces in between the argument where facts get lost in the name of victory.  It is now black and white terms:  good and evil, order and chaos, life and death, left and right….and zero in between allowed.

Both sides are guilty on this one.  The far right has pushed gun rights, the far left gun restriction.  The far right pushes free market and free will as the answer to everything, while the far left pushes government as the solution.  Both sides point the finger at each other when something goes wrong.  A great idea is only a great idea of our side came up with it.  If one side comes up with a truly great idea, the other side will do everything they can to stop it, and vice versa.  Why?  Because it wasn’t their idea. They can’t take credit, so they want no part of it.

This is where our nation has been taken. Compromise is death.  Bipartisanship is evil.  The left will destroy the rights of all.  The right will destroy the rights of all.  They are both the same, but they are different.  The left wants people to be lifted up, but so does the right.  The only difference is the means it happens and who at the very top benefits.  It’s old money family rivalries on a global scale.  The same monster with two heads and the same master manipulating both heads, in this case the people are the brains inside the heads, to fight each other.

But why?

Did it not occur to anyone here that if a world leader with access to nuclear weapons gets into a pissing match with another world leader with nuclear weapons in this age of “pride before prudence,” things could end VERY VERY BADLY? This is not the old Cold War era where world leaders understood the concept of mutual assured destruction. In this era where all that matters is winning, regardless of the cost, MAD isn’t really so crazy anymore.  It’s considered “acceptable risk.”

That said, here’s something think about:  all the protests and guns on earth won’t mean shit if there’s nothing left to protest or no one to kill. Yes, people are angry at each other and there are powerful people making a ton of money off pitting us against each other, but do you really think any of them give a damn about YOU when the mushroom clouds start rising? They already planned for this years ago.  At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, anyone who thinks those in position of true power haven’t found some way to gain from a world atomic holocaust are sadly mistaken.  They get to rebuild the world, only the way they see fit.

We can stop all this madness, but we need to focus on what we see happening, not the rhetoric being said or the memes being posted. Focus on what’s real instead of what is imagined. We still have a judicial system and civilian control of our military. I know people are saying we need to strike “just in case.” What is that going to accomplish? To all of you wanting a civil war to settle it all, do you really think that dying for SOMEONE ELSE’S CHECKBOOK is more important than the ideals espoused in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, because I guarantee you that most of your radio and television pundits and commentators, liberal or conservative, couldn’t remember the Bill of Rights, much less which state first ratified the constitution.  They CAN, however, remember their bank account number and safe combination, easily.

Those want to die, or are okay with friends and loved ones dying, to impose their worldview of America on everyone else, are EXACTLY the sort of danger George Washington spoke of in his farewell address. We need to take a long hard look in the mirror as a nation, stop worrying about who is offended by who said what and what injustice was committed by people long dead, and instead focus on the injustices being committed right now, against us by each other. We need to look at our current immigrants who may not have gotten here legally, but are law abiding otherwise and a great source of tax revenue.  We need to look at our homeless and see how much of it is true laziness and how much of it is actually mental illness which, once treated effectively, can unlock the minds of potential geniuses.  We need to feed our hungry children so they can feel compassion and grow into compassionate adult instead of bitter children in adult bodies vying for the power they never knew in youth.  We need to help our veterans who our leaders have come to view as similar to sanitary napkins; something to absorb political blood in photo ops and rituals, but disposed of once they’ve outlived their usefulness.  We need to address the reality that racial tensions exist not so much as the result of what happened over a century ago, but the mistrust formed between races because of old fears turned into old wives tales, which have in turn become cultural norms.
Finally we need to remember and accept that assimilation does not mean elimination.  A people can become law abiding productive citizens without being forced to abandon their cultures and customs.  Immigrants should have to learn our language, history and abide by our laws but should not be required to abandon their heritage and culture in their own homes.  

Yes, there will always be those who wish to harm us, but we should never do the work for them, and our current political climate is doing just that.  We are truly doing our enemies’ dirty work.  We can, we must, learn to listen to the better angels of our nature.  That is what a “more perfect union” is about, after all.

An Open Letter to Atlanta Falcons Fans

Dear Atlanta Falcons Fans:

As a Buccaneers fans living in the Atlanta area, I would like to congratulate Falcons fans for their team reaching the Super Bowl.  Now this is not the first time the Dirty Birds made it to the big game, but it is, by far, the best Falcons team to get to this point.  Having said that, there are some thoughts which a fan of a one-time Super Bowl champion and division rival would like to share.

  • Be classy in victory or defeat.  Regardless of the outcome, show good sportmanship.  Don’t assault Patriots fans or be belligerent towards non-Falcon fans because they don’t care.  Show America Atlanta is a classy town no matter the outcome.
  • Don’t be like “chowds.”  New England fans are called “Chowderheads” but “chowds” are the arrogant, obnoxious, insufferable jerks who make Cowboy Nation and Raiderfan look like teddy bears.  Some Boston fans wear this monicker as a badge of honor…it isn’t.  Whatever you do, make sure you treat other fans with respect if you win.  Don’t become the entitled spoiled brats who think the Patriots and Red Sox are the unbeatable monsters and deserve to win the titles every year.
  • Remember it’s just a game.  This is not a life and death struggle.  No matter what happens, a Super Bowl win would do wonders for civic pride but it will do little to help poverty and homelessness.  Be kind to your fellow man even in victory because, after all, it is just a game.
  • Enjoy the moment.  Making the Super Bowl is a privilege earned by only two teams every year, and most teams don’t return to win it.  Enjoy this moment because, win or lose, it may not come again.
  • Be responsible.  For the love of God, make sure you get a cab or a bus if you overindulge, and don’t go home angry if they lose.  Be sure to show you are an adult so others aren’t hurt.

Finally, have fun and cheer on your team regardless.  When they get back to Atlanta, no matter the outcome, be proud because they did something only one other team has accomplished this year:  compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

With that said, congrats to the Atlanta Falcons for making it this far.  You deserve it.

Sincerely,

A Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan since 1990z