Keep Calm and Get Excited

Looking at the country’s reaction to the accusations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, I’m reminded of a scene from one of America’s great cinematic classics: The Boondock Saints.

In the NSFW scene, Rocco bursts into the apartment, wildly and uncontrollably flailing around trying to escape danger but accomplishing nothing more than creating chaos. The MacManus brothers don’t seem to believe there is any danger. Daryl doesn’t even have his crossbow nearby. As the brothers tell Rocco to calm down, he turns and yells “you start getting excited!”

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America – The Best There’s Ever Been

Let’s start this off with a simple fact: America is the greatest country that ever was or will be. Qarth can suck it.

America is, without question, the richest, most powerful, most influential country the world has ever known. But more than that, modern society would be impossible without the United States. I am currently writing this post on my phone, which would not have been possible without America. An American did not just invent the specific iPhone I am using, but the genre of cell phones itself. Nor is the cell phone the only American invention that has transformed our daily lives. Far from it.

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3 Cheers for Alex Jones

If you don’t know who Alex Jones is, he’s what medical professionals would call “a nut job.” He’s a loon. He promotes conspiracy theories that people with tin foil hats think go too far.

Among other conspiracy theories, he is a 9/11 truther, thinks the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag operation to push gun control (and maybe never even happened), promoted the pizzagate conspiracy that a DC pizzeria secretly operated a child sex ring with Hillary Clinton, believes the moon landings were faked, that a shadowy global organization (Illuminati?) secretly run things, and most famously, that the Pentagon is turning frogs gay. He has threatened to kill agents of the CIA, NSA, FBI, FEMA, or any other tentacle of the New World Oder that might try to stop him from telling the “truth.” Look it up. He really said those things.

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Who is to Blame for Political Shootings?

Here are the facts: in the early morning hours, a gunman shot several people, severely wounding a member of the US House of Representatives. Almost immediately, some people began blaming the shooting on a climate of hate stoked by the opposition party.

Those were the facts in 2011 when Jared Lee Loughner shot Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson, AZ, and those were the facts yesterday when James Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise in Alexandria, VA during practice for a charity baseball game.

In 2011, many prominent Democrats blamed Republicans, and Sarah Palin in particular, for the shooting. They argued the anti-Obama and anti-government rhetoric of the Tea Party, along with a map Palin created with cross-hairs over 20 Congressional districts she was targeting in the upcoming election, caused a climate of political hatred that manifested itself in an act of political violence.

Today, some Republicans are likewise blaming Democrats. They point to the over the top rhetoric about Trump – that he is a Russian spy, a dictator, stole the election, is not a real president, “resist!”, etc – and argue this created a climate of political hatred that manifested itself in an act of political violence.

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Honor the Fallen

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. The holiday that grew out of a Civil War veterans organization’s commitment to honor their fallen comrades. Initially called “Decoration Day,” Union veterans picked May 30 to place flowers on the graves of soldiers in a somber ceremony. This continued for over a century until Congress declared Memorial Day an official holiday to take place on the last Monday of May.

Like many holidays, Memorial Day has lost some of its meaning to the general public. It is widely regarded as the unofficial start to summer, with greetings such as “happy Memorial Day” that are a bit incongruous with the solemnity of the occasion. This, in turn, has led to some dedicated people (often veterans) who scold those who forget the seriousness of the day.

I propose a middle ground. Enjoy your day off. Have friends over for a BBQ. Spend some time outside in the nice weather and look forward to the summer. But at some point during your long weekend, take a moment to remember the 33 Americans who, since the last Memorial Day, have sacrificed their lives for our way of life.

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The Best Defense

The Manchester Arena seats 21,000 people and is home to sporting events, concerts, and other spectacles that gather large amounts of people into an enclosed space. As such, it has defensive security measures in place including guards and metal detectors. To defeat these precautions, a 22 year old suicide bomber who was known to the British security services simply waited outside the arena where he managed to murder 22 innocent people and maim dozens more.

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Britain is Great

In the early 1940’s, Britain stood virtually alone against the might of the Nazi Reich. France had surrendered, America was not yet in the war, and the Soviets were working with the enemy. Unable to invade the British isle protected by what at the time was the world’s most powerful navy, Hitler tried to bomb Britain into submission.

For months upon months, Great Britain endured nightly bombing raids that directly targeted civilians, but her people never broke. My favorite story of the Blitz is of an elderly woman whose home was nearly destroyed by Nazi bombs. When the rescuers came, they found a bottle of brandy in the one part of the house that was still standing and opened it to comfort her. The elderly woman, whose home and worldly possessions were ruined, chastised the rescuers because the brandy “was for emergencies.
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