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What’s the word I’m looking for? What word adequately describes the emotion one feels when viewing the image of the crumpled, poisoned body of an infant in another part of the word? The word needs to capture all the feelings, from the first breath-catching reaction to the overwhelming urge to “respond” or “react” in some manner. Is it revulsion? Would that lead to retribution? Helen supposedly had the face that launched a thousand ships; love was deemed to be the culprit. Which emotion launched a few dozen tomahawks? I don’t know; really, I’m not asking to be provocative, although this will end up that way. No, just looking for whatever word can explain why some feel the need to react to the slaying of children in another part of the globe; and apparently, a word for an emotion that’s obviously not universal. For if it was, would we, the United Sates, really have been the first and apparently the only country to react?

There, now he’ll finally stop…

What price did Bashar al-Assad pay for this crime? Is this a crime? It’s painful and argumentative to mention the reality of the situation, but there are people who would explain away the death of innocents as “collateral damage,” inadvertent casualties produced by the fog of war. You can like it or not; you can piss, moan and disagree. But it’s there. It’s true. Not everyone in the world feels that Trump had any reason or authority to strike another sovereign nation. Why? What does the list of those opposed to his response say about the value that those countries place on the lives of their children? What can we infer from their stance?

Is it the method only? Is gassing the children of your own people more horrific than strafing them with automatic weapons fire? Why? Is the method employed more important or repulsive than the ultimate outcome? Is the child any more or less limp in the arms of their grief-stricken parents? It must be. Why else would we laud our attempts, lead ourselves to believe either our own hype or wishful thinking when we declared that Syria had turned over 100% of it’s chemical weapons stockpile. What were we and the world actually saying to each other and to ourselves back in 2013? That as evil as this man is, that no matter how horrible it is for him to slaughter his own innocents to remain in power, that we’re comfortable knowing (or blissfully assuming) that he’ll no longer do it with gas? Our job here is done. Kill your children; just use any of the more acceptable methods.

No; I’m not making light of this situation at all. This bastard needs to go; he needed to go a long time ago. But again, here and now, today, what price did he pay? We knocked the shit out of some concrete bunkers, scarred a few runways; and the man ultimately responsible for intentionally killing civilians is not now, was not in the past, and probably will not in the foreseeable future, be held to account for these actions. The UN will condemn him; I’ll bet that leaves a bruise. He’ll get some crappy press in parts of the world. But rest assured, there is still a large part of the globe where he’ll be seen as a victim of the west, with the US in particular as the villain; flexing our oppressive military to enforce our will upon the less fortunate parts of the world. You know, those parts of the world we usually send endless streams of money and humanitarian supplies to so they can spit on our flag and chant “death to the US!” It’s all good as long as they don’t use gas.

When is the United States population at large finally going to realize that the minute we become so emotional about the faces of dead children in other parts of the world, it’s not long before we’re sending our own children there to die in the same place? Where are the other countries that are so horrified about Assad’s guilt? Do none of them have missile technology? More likely, none of them have any strength of their convictions. Or maybe, it’s more common sense; it all depends upon your view. As long as they can cheer us kicking someone else’s ass, they don’t have to accept any of the consequence that we do. You know; you break it, you bought it? What if we had inadvertently destroyed a children’s hospital? Would any of these brave western leaders applauding us now cover our asses in that scenario? Hardly. They’re too busy making sure they can continue to trade with countries that still support this monster, instead of the world at large and the UN in particular, ostracizing this bastard and all those who do business with him. To continue to make it possible for him to prop up his economy, to accept his currency, to supply him with food or other goods is for you to re-affirm that it’s alright to kill children in the acceptable fashions. But boy, once you cross that line we’re gonna say mean things about you in the security chamber in New York and cheer the good ol’ “US of A” when they ram an ordinance in your posterior. But until then, hey, what’s your price for a barrel of crude?

To be sure, I’m not making light of dead children. I just don’t feel that it’s a universal concern in various cultures around the world. So yes, I can hear your grumblings that “we’re more moral,” or “that makes us just as bad as them” or such. I always like the “well, we’re the only ones who can do it” line, as if the countries that we propped up and armed over the decades are really as helpless as they are feckless. As long as we’re willing to offer ourselves up as the world’s moral authority, to be the cop, judge, jury and executioner, the other Pontius Pilates will continue to wash their hands of our iniquities. We get to tweak all the bullies of the world and get jeered at by the victims of those very same bullies. That’s a neat trick right there. If, as many are concerned, this inflates and ends up igniting something bigger, they ‘ll turn their wretched little fingers towards us and tell us that we’re ultimately responsible; If only we didn’t have such an inflated view of ourselves, if we weren’t so racist and bigoted towards other people, other cultures; what makes us think we have the moral authority over the rest of the world.

Do these questions make me seem heartless and indifferent? Really, I only want someone to look me in the eye and tell me “why these babies?” He’s been killing babies for years. And we need to admit to ourselves that this is a part of the world where the dominant culture does not value life above all else, even a child’s, the way we do here; where it’s all too common for them to use women and children as shields for their soldiers, where their dominant religion tells them that it’s acceptable to do so. Maybe I need to rephrase that; for we too kill our babies and we’re sure it’s a god given right to do so, set down right there in the constitution. Horror of horrors, I went and peed on the third rail. How dare I equate a woman’s right to chose with a dictator’s right to choose? Because the greater point is that we are willing to start a war, alone, against a criminal who chose to kill his innocent victims in a way of which we don’t approve. Yet, we’ll take our own children and dissect them in the womb, then go about our day smug in the belief that we’re morally right to do so. The escape clause here is, of course, that they’re not babies. Not at least until they can emerge from the breech, preferably on their own and fully functional, both physically and financially.

How dare I equate the two; I’m not. But to assume that people of other cultures in other parts of the world don’t see this as problematic to our claim of righteousness is folly and quite naïve. Throw the hate all you want, but that viewpoint is out there too. How can we as a culture dictate morals onto other cultures? And, we don’t seem to be too alarmed when we see their children in videos training to kill those who don’t follow their beliefs; In fact, just to point it out brings howls from the left; you know, hate speech codes and all. It is the left after all that takes great pains to point out that other cultures are no less moral than ours. So we scream, hyperventilate, and make grand speeches about the way they slaughter their innocents but never wish to point out that it’s in their culture to de-value life the way they do; we just have to accept it, even as we have to accept them into our midst’s lest we be called racist, bigoted or xenophobic.

No, as distracting as that part of the conversation may be, as insulted you may be for me conflating the two issues, the bigger point is clear. If you are willing to be the moral authority in the world, if you wish to impose those morals on other cultures, a little consistency goes a long way. And trust me, we will go this alone. We should make sure that we’re comfortable with the moral foundation we are building this position on; not only in the way we deal with the countries that commit these atrocities and the countries who openly support them; but also with those Janus countries who are willing to let us take the risks, blame and quite possibly future casualties so that they too can feel morally superior.

Ultimately, yes we should have done this. But if we are going to punish a dictator for crimes he commits against his people, we’d better make it stick; trashing a few runways doesn’t cut it. It should have been severe and decisive. And afterwards, we don’t need to rebuild; we don’t need to “change” regimes. We don’t need to apologize. We need to shake the dust from our boots, walk away and flip off the U.N. on the way by. Any other action with any other outcome just continues the charade. They commit an atrocity; we become indignant. The world makes heartfelt condemnations in august bodies that do nothing more than feed their own egos with the sounds of their own voices. And years later, it occurs again, maybe in the same region, maybe in some other part of the world. Another bunker, another runway and yet another tyrant who has been gassing, executing and starving his own women and children, pays the ultimate price of a few weeks of bad press. Our sense of moral righteousness is perverted at best.

I’m not a pacifist; I’m surely not a war hawk. There are shrill warnings about the possibility of World War Three, all because parts of the world see no need for swift and certain punishment for the murderer of children. Sorry, but we already have a world war. We’re just tallying the casualties at a slower pace; and sadly, the victims are not necessarily dying in greater numbers at the hands of adversarial forces as much as at the hands of their own leaders.

The destruction of a few bunkers and several yards of concrete will not stop this. Unfortunately, there is no universal “negative” emotion to the killing of the innocent. Therefore, the best we can do is ignore whatever fear or negative emotion we might feel for inflicting ultimate punishment upon those who do. If we feel we are right; if we feel we are truly, morally justified; can we do anything less?


I couldn’t watch the video all the way through.  Didn’t even bother to click.  Call me uninformed.  I did however, get to hear the audio of it on my commute home; couldn’t make out much with all the “bleeps,” but you get the picture. A work of art, certainly not created by the greatest minds of our generation, for consumption by minds of even lessor capacities. But though I decided I have no need to view the fecal droppings of the dregs of society, I could still understand what was transpiring given the expletive-laden snippets percolating from my local AM commute companion.  Maybe it was the “F*** Donald Trump” or “F*** White people” that clued me in but I kind of figured this was a race based hate crime. Yup, managed to make that determination even through the horrific static buzzing from the cheesy dashboard speakers of the Volkswagen.

Oozing privilege... even  with the duct tape.

Oozing privilege… even with the duct tape.

Interesting to note that the conversation on the drive-time show quickly came to center on only one key point; that even though the four perpetrators were of one race with the lone victim of another, the authorities were struggling to come up with any information or evidence that would lead them to charge the wayward urban “yutes” with a hate crime. Apparently, the video was confusing the brain trust that runs Chicago. Why else would Police Commander Kevin Duffin try to downplay the racial implications by saying “kids make mistakes…” Superintendent Eddie Johnson offered no better, conceding that “if you looked at the video, it was just stupidity.” Others commenting on the video fared no better. Symone Sanders cautioned us to tread lightly here, saying “We cannot callously go about classifying things as a hate crime.” Okay I admit, that one made me giggle and I almost had to pee. Is this a thought we’ll ever hear her utter again? Doubtful, unless there is another video with exactly the same victim-perpetrator roles. Because everything else is an automatic qualifier. And of course, ol’ “tequila shots” Don Lemon pulled his head from his ass just long enough to embarrass himself, discounting how evil the act actually was and claiming “I don’t think it’s evil. I think these are young people and I think they have bad home training.” What the hell does that mean? Is that like blaming their actions on a video or maybe workplace violence? Pretty much sums up all you need to know about the left in this country. They can see it on video, they can protest and march on the streets when they feel it’s a “real” hate crime but if it doesn’t fit their world view, they’ll do their dammed best to back pedal away from it.  It’s racist, pure and simple. The left has always been, and will continue to be racist. They just get to hate those who don’t occupy the special protected groups; you know, the special protected groups that they defined themselves. Things like this video, so open, so obvious, so hard to explain away, threaten their status of perpetual victimhood and the accompanying race-baiting tactics they use to silence anyone who doesn’t quite see things their way. Even against those who may occupy one of the preferred protected groups.

So let’s take these points one at a time. Let’s start with a “hate crime.”  Sorry, I always thought of any crime as hateful; hateful to society, hateful to the victims. Not quite sure why we have to decide that the death of a black kid at the hands of a white gang banger is any worse than the death of a black kid at the hands of a black gang banger; well it is if you want to continue to inflame relations between black and white kids. In one instance, Jesse and Al will stop by the funeral and the local hood goes out for six or seven nights on a free anarchist shopping spree.  Let a black kid shoot another black kid and the victim’s mother weeps alone.  Black kids are a hell of a lot more likely to kill other black kids, but that crime isn’t considered as hateful as pointing out the statistic. “Hate crime” is just another ploy of the left to empower one group over another. Revenge. Same crime should be viewed the same way. Every time. Otherwise, aren’t you, truly, just hating those of one group who you deem to be so inferior?  That any crime against them is not startling, shameful, hateful even, and only crimes against the preferred group merit “elevated” or “special status?”  Seems divisive to me, almost, I don’t know… a little racist.

Maybe Don has a point.  Maybe it’s the home training. Odd, doesn’t it take a village? I don’t know Don; do you really want to attack parents from a protected group? Others have tried that route, you know, talking about the lack of fathers in the home, women having multiple children with multiple men, liberal policies that destroy the value of family bonds. Those who have touched this third rail are racists, Don. Just ask anyone of the folks who sit beside you on a nightly basis; let’s get their take if you can even get them to talk about it. Usually, they’re still too engrossed in the fiction of “hands up, don’t shoot” to engage in a conversation about any victim in Chicago who wasn’t shot by a cop. Anything else is just not hateful enough.

No Don, I think that these “kids of legal age” who decided to torture a white man with disabilities are showing great skills in the type of home training proscribed by liberal policies. Think about it; they have been brought up in an environment where they have been told repeatedly that they are entitled. They should get want they want because someone owes it to them; because someone else is the reason they don’t have it. That they should be violent, protest, burn and loot if they don’t get it. This applies to iphones, jobs, legal decisions, voting outcomes. Whatever. You want it? Go get it. You might have to take it, but hey, they owe it to you. And don’t worry; blacks can’t possibly be racist. Go ahead, hate others who aren’t black, all you like.  And never, ever accept any responsibility for your actions or their outcomes. Remember; it’s always someone else’s fault.

This is what they have been exposed to, what they have been brought up in; indoctrinated all their lives by people like you and Symone, who would have no power, no authority and quite possibly no means of support were it nor for the divisive hateful tactics and rhetoric that the left uses to gain and remain in power at the expense of the lives of those very same urban “yutes” who die daily at the hands of other members of the same protected group. No Don, they have learned their lessons well; from you and all the other parents in the “liberal village.”

Think I’m wrong here? Well let’s just consider one more point; not only did they show little or no remorse when they were picked up for this, they live streamed it for at least a half an hour.  So they picked him up, possibly held him for days, tortured him for six hours and put it out in a video stream for the whole world to see.  And we’re going to debate if they’re evil? Or we’re going to debate if they’re kids? Or whether or not what they did was hateful? Let it sink in for a moment that they weren’t concerned about repercussions, about getting caught; none of it. They were invincible, bulletproof, part of a protected group that has been told that they can’t be held responsible for their actions, be it lunging for an officer’s gun or carving the head of a mentally challenged white man on Facebook.

Better check your privilege.  Because soon, the liberal left will need another group more populous, more motivated, to march for them, vote for them, die for them.  How soon will it be before yet another generation of some other preferred group has been taught that’s it’s acceptable to hate you?


The GOP elites, establishment as they’re known out here in “not-Washington DC,” told voters for years to hold their noses and unify around the nominee they gave us. For the good of the party, for the good of the country, you see. And we did; to no benefit at all to the voters who did so. It was however, of great benefit to those who chastised us for complaining about the nominee(s).  They kept their hold on power, even expanding it while giving lie to the promises they made to the millions of working stiffs who canvassed neighborhoods, made cold calls and gave meager donations from the household rainy day funds in the hopes that we could halt the progressive slide towards socialism and moral decay we were witnessing.  Even though they continued to look down upon those who pulled the lever in their favor, they assured us that the party needed to be open to everyone who held dear the common principles of the party, as tepid as they were in support of those very principles.  Principles that they were all too willing to abandon once they started to wander the halls of power and prestige, looking for the opportunity to trade the power delegated to them for their own personal gain. They gladly shook hands with those of the other party, and quickly gave away the hopes, efforts and passions of their constituents, playing nice so they could reap the rewards of being able to sell their influence at the expense of those who truly owned that power.  The big tent was actually the tent of snake-oil salesmen and we were duped by mere carnival barkers, the voters dutifully playing the role of P.T.Barnum’s suckers.

Tickets limted; see #nevetrump for details

Closing soon! Tickets limted; see #nevetrump for details

 

So now the tent is too crowded for them; they look upon the Trump voters with the same contempt they claimed to have had for their opposition. Reality happened to come along and poke them in the eye.  The party became too inclusive over night;  actually over the course of a very unconventional campaign season.  A season, you might remember, that was highlighted by the pledge to support the nominee, no matter who it might be, and to eschew the thought of the third party route for those who might just suffer from a bruised ego and seek vengeance on the party.  Of course, they were at that time, trying to contain the biggest ego on the stage, the one that sucked all air out of the room and wasn’t ashamed of his inability to practice the art of political correctness.  Assuming Trump would never energize the party, they wanted to ensure he could do no more damage once he was defeated; hence Mr. Priebus noted in the early days of the pledge that “I think everyone understands that if Hillary Clinton is going to get beat, she is going to get beat by a Republican and most people that run for president run to win. If our candidates want to win, then they will have to run as a Republican.”  It took some convincing Ol’ Donald; who knows what was agreed to.  But Preibus managed to get the Donald to sign the document in early September, after the other sixteen wannabees had done so.  Why would Trump give up his third-party leverage? Simple; because he intended to win.  Why did the other sixteen sign? Equally simple; because they didn’t think he would.  And like most of the promises the party leadership has made through the years, this one too, went by the wayside. Now, it’s all about #nevetrump.  Or as I like to call it, #yeahwe’refinewithhillary.

It’s rather amusing watching this all unfold as someone who is not a Trump supporter. Where was all this new-found party unity during the last few election cycles?  Just half of the effort directed at derailing Trump would have been quite useful against Obama.  Or, even now, directed at Hillary-the-Great.  Party be dammed, country be dammed, no matter what Priebus’s original disingenuous intent was, his statement still holds true;  beat Clinton with a republican.  He just managed to leave off the remainder of the sentence, the unspoken qualifier that we voters had seen put into practice before; our chosen nominee.

What troubles party elites the most about Trump might be several things. One, he brings the great unwashed into the tent.  A party that wants to increase its size and inclusiveness is certainly doing its best to alienate any of those nearly nine million votes Trump has garnered to date. He betters Mitten’s  vote count at this point by more than two  million. Of course, they all happen to be bigots, racists, low IQ, misogynists and a few Nazi’s sprinkled in for good measure.  The media says it; Democrats repeat it; the GOPe believes it; it must be true.

Secondly, Mr. Trump has reminded those in power just how they got there. And they don’t like it. Not just in the GOP mind you; party elites in the democrat party are doing their best to hide the growing contempt their voters have for their own prom queen. The realization that these usurpers in Washington may just have to answer to someone who doesn’t have a private jet or a zip code in Hollywood scares the living shit out of them.  As it should.  “Where the people fear their government, there is tyranny. Where the government fears the people, there is liberty.”  Of course, democrats don’t believe that one bit because it was uttered by on old dead white guy.  White, but dead, privilege you know.  The GOP doesn’t believe it because no one at the Chamber of Commerce told them to.

Those leading the GOP have no intention of going down without a fight. The years they spent alarming us about the democrats, and how the GOP could fix everything if we just voted for them, voted their way, has given us all the clarity that comes with hindsight. Conservatives and libertarians were never truly welcome in the party at all; the tent was zipped, no matter what they tell you. They did everything they could to keep us out and now have the audacity to warn us that Mr. Trump is certainly no conservative; as if that’s a great concern to those we elected whose first act was the omnibus, effectively funding everything we voted them in to stop.

So of course, now the cry is that a vote for Trump is a vote for the wife of Monica’s boyfriend. If true, then what is a vote “not for Trump?”  Their answer of course; voting for my conscience.  All of a sudden, those who told us for years that they would repeal Obamacare and build the wall, a wall they voted the funding for years ago, have a conscience.  Yes, they have a conscience the way “the Donald” has a filter.  Not so much.

More telling is that Mr. Trump has expanded the party, gaining cross-over voters as well as independents. We can’t all be racist can we? Or misogynists?  I’m quite sure I’ve seen ladies and blacks and even black ladies supporting him.  Howzat? He’s increasing not only the diversity and inclusiveness of the party; he has awoken a great number of people who have been fairly apolitical up to now.  People who want to take their power back from Washington, not necessarily people who agree with one another or even agree with Trump on all issues, except in that Washington is a failed state, filled with those who are only concerned with the welfare of their constituents when they need funding for their next election cycle.

As the GOP finally folds the tent, I’ll be mildly amused. I’m sure those who are firmly #nevertrump will be easily accepted into the democrat party for as long as that gig lasts.  And they’ll blend in very nicely too, most likely adopting the #neverbernie stance that will be required.  Hell, they’ll probably even sign a pledge supporting “Wall Street’s favorite Motivational Speaker.” Don’t think that those voters won’t remember your names. Then there’s speaker Ryan, who was probably just echoing what he’s been hearing since he took over his speakership role; the hue and cry from voters disappointed in his performance and his willingness to throw us under the bus, back the dam thing up and hit us again. Ironically, Ryan speaks about more than unifying; he talks about a dedication to conservative principles. Are you kidding us? You actually believe the things you’re saying, don’t you Paul? Mr. Speaker, you should heed your own advice.  Millions of people are supporting the man with the unruly hair; I doubt you could garner as much support.  Oops; sorry, I forgot, you were on the ticket with Mitt.  You probably already realized that for all his faults, it’s fairly likely that Donald is far more popular with the voters then you are. In fact Paul, it might just be time for you and Mitch to look into switching parties.  You know, your conscience and all?

I mean, now that the tent is coming down, you’ll need hawk your wares in front of someplace other than the tent of  “Trump’s Party of the Disaffected.” I hear Hillary is vetting VP’s.  There’s one born every minute…


Yup, it’s the silly season up here in New Hampshire. Every yahoo who thinks that they have a shot at, or deserves the keys to the white house is taking up extra booths at our favorite diners or harassing us with hands out, ready for the shaking as we try to scurry into the mall and out of the dammed cold. Every one of them wants to be your friend; well, at least for the moment. So I wasn’t surprised to get an invite to a poker night themed “Betting on Bernie.” Poker night? Yeah, I’m in. I never need a reason to voluntarily give other people my money under the guise of a night of fun and relaxation.

Well, at least there are no white chips…

I arrived a little late and the only seat at the table was smack in the middle of the other four players. To the right of me were a young woman and a middle aged bearded man. They both smiled affably as I took my seat. On my immediate left was a gentleman who seemed rather nervous and never looked up from the table to acknowledge my presence. On the side of him was a young man with baseball hat askew on his mop of hair, busily rolling a joint while he held a lit one tightly between his teeth. He smiled and looked up at me, his eyes barely visible as slits, gleaming a violent red. He grinned and nodded then went back to his task, muttering something under his breath about stick and stems. Hey, that’s okay, to each his own. Personally, I was looking for a tumbler of vodka; unfortunately, to no avail.

 
The dealer looked at me and introduced himself as Wayne from “Black Lives Matter.” Not quite sure what bearing that had on the game, but I told him my name and said it was nice to meet him. He asked me if I was employed. I told him yes. He told me buy-in would be twenty dollars, and I parted with the last of the cash in my wallet. He pushed stacks of chips in front of me and turned to ask everyone the same question; everyone except the gentleman to my immediate left. All said they were unemployed and he pushed their chips in front of them without asking for any money. When he was done, he pushed another half of a buy-in in front of the woman.

 
“Can I ask why no one had to pay the buy-in but me?” I quizzed him. “Sure,” he said. “They’re all unemployed so they get a subsidy. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Understand?” He looked rather annoyed and his eyes never met mine as he shuffled the deck. “Um, yes, but you gave this young lady another half a buy-in more than the rest of us? Why is that?” I prodded. “Listen,” he told me firmly, “she’s the only woman at the table. Her gender is under-represented, so we try to assure that a woman has an even shot at winning. It equalizes the table.” I thought about this for a moment and when I looked around, everyone was sending me daggers. Best I just keep my mouth shut and go with the flow.

 
He dealt the cards and I picked mine up to sort them in my hand. I had two starfish, one tuna, one squid and one crab. Huh? The cards were two-toned, only gray and green, no numbers anywhere on the face. I chuckled at the joke and when I looked around the table, I quickly realized I was the only one amused. “You’re serious? I mean we’re playing poker, right?” “Yes,” he replied curtly, as he turned to instruct the lone woman to place her bet. “Wait, wait, wait, wait..” I interjected, “how are we going to bet with no numbers, no face cards either?”

 
“Listen,” he told me,” “you’re struggling with your “bicycle-deck” privilege so I’ll explain this to you slowly. No card is any better than any other card; all cards are of equal value. We value all cards the same. Face cards are patriarchal and oppressive. What gives one card the right to be a king or a queen? Who gets to decide that? Certainly not the masses. We are striving for a truly color blind game; no one color should oppress any other, except that we don’t want any cards that are white. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of the game quickly. Stop with the micro-aggression. This is a safe table.”

 
Okay, I can figure out “shut the hell up” when I hear it. I watched as the woman bet a hundred and tossed her chips into the middle of the table. The gentleman next to me called her bet and likewise, pushed his chips forward. I looked at my cards then at the face of the dealer, not quite sure what the heck to do, but hey, I was sitting on a pair of starfish. I raised her another hundred and pushed my chips into the pot. The quiet gentleman next to me just nodded at the dealer but never touched his chips, never folded his cards. The stoner at the end wasn’t paying attention, never looked at his cards, and when he tried to put his chips in the pot, he spilled half of them on the floor. The dealer had to count them for him, determining that he had miscounted anyway.

 
“Hey, wait a minute, this guy never called or folded,” I asked the dealer, pointing to the gent on my left. “That’s okay,” he told me. “He’s an undocumented player. Where he’s from, it’s against their beliefs to gamble.” “You gotta be kidding me,” I proclaimed, maybe a little too annoyed. “How the heck is he going to play poker and not gamble? I mean, if he wants to sit at the poker table, shouldn’t he be willing to play by the rules of the table?” “He is playing by the rules,” the dealer informed me. “Just not the rules of some dead white guy. What makes your values any more important than his? We respect his beliefs. All cultures and their values are equal. Anyone can sit at the table, regardless of the rules. It makes for a more diverse game.”

 
By now, it was clear that I was the skunk at the party. Even though I was the only paying skunk. However, It was determined that I had in fact, won the hand. I’m not sure why. The woman had a pair of sharks and I would have assumed that sharks beat starfish. But it was determined that sharks were too predatory and therefore, my starfish pair was a much more uplifting hand. The dealer counted the pot and gave me ten percent of it; the remaining ninety percent he distributed among the other four players.

 
That’s how the night progressed. Every pot was equally divided among the other four players after I was given 10 percent. At one point, I had a pair of dolphins which, I had learned in previous hands, was the one card that seemed to beat everything. I was wrong however. The stoner was holding what appeared to be a hand-drawn picture of a polar bear and everyone agreed that the card was so rare as to be endangered; he was awarded the pot. I protested, claiming that we couldn’t just alter the constitution of the deck. I was strongly reminded by the young woman that the constitution of the deck was living and breathing; any animal could be found in the deck, even if it actually wasn’t in the deck. It was very relative and situational. At about this point, I realized I really missed that vodka.

 
The game was called around eleven thirty. I looked around the table and realized I was the short stack. The undocumented gentleman to my left had the bulk of the chips. He never bet, never put any chips into any pot, never risked a stake and his pile was at least three times the size of mine. I had to assume he was the winner. “Wrong,” said the dealer. “We don’t pick winners and losers here; everyone wins.” He proceeded to hand everyone else a twenty dollar bill, what they would have committed to buy-in if they had in fact paid in the first place. He gave me two dollars back. He told me I was taxed at the ninety per cent rate. He handed us all a participation gift before we left; mine was a “feel the Bern” bumper sticker which I promptly affixed to the rear of one of the four Priuses in the parking lot on the way out.

 
They were gracious enough to ask me if I’d like to join them in the spring for some golf; “Driving for Bernie” would be the theme. I had to refuse. I imagined a fantasy-land putt-putt course somewhere with cups the diameter of basketballs, left hand only clubs and I was sure I’d have to part with ninety per cent of my balls.


Infamous molar-yanker, one Dr. Walter Palmer, DDS has returned to work. It’s been six weeks since our esteemed practitioner has dared to step foot into his place of business, probably to even show his face to the world. The sudden announcement of his return seemed to catch protestors off-guard, as they were far outnumbered by the media eager to push this story as far as they can. To what end? I’ve never quite understood the allure of hunting, from the ridiculous vermin that continue to build their frustrating nests in the corners of my garage, to the magnificent beasts that roam the wild fields of Africa. Killing for sport doesn’t quite seem, well, too human of us. Oh, I know quite a few hunters, had quite a few in the family. Even had the occasional deer or moose steak. Not sure what attracted my family to the sport but I never cared to find out. I never cared to ask either. There were no deer heads mounted in our home; no stuffed birds or the like. At least those I knew who enjoyed the sport, for whatever reason, made it a point to keep the freezers of their friends and families well stocked with wild meat. So it was when I was growing up.

Any chance you're going to take a bus to another location later?

Any chance you’re going to take a bus to another location later?

Even though the protests have dwindled some, I seriously doubt that Dr. sharpshooter will ever live this down. It may very well have been his boyhood dream, stalking the wild animals of Africa with his trusty bow; a dream that has now become a nightmare. I’m not sure how this plays out; hunting is still legal, although it’s unclear if this particular hunt was. Zimbabwe had requested extradition of the good dentist. And his guide will go on trial later this month. Fortunately for Dr. Robinhood of Bloomington, Zimbabwe has thought better of their demand for they fear it could jeopardize the very hunting industry that supports over 800,000 Zimbabwean families. There is, after all, a profit to be made in death. But I’m sure that given the beauty and majesty of the victim, this will not die down for Dr. Palmer. Animal rights activists have a long memory. How long will his patients be willing to cross their lines just to have their teeth cleaned? How long can these protests last?

All because this one human decided that it would be his right to kill.

Coincidentally, there is another medical office just sixteen minutes northeast of Dr. Palmer’s practice. No disturbances were reported there yesterday. It’s business as usual for the practitioners of this medical art. The compound bow has been replaced by the scalpel and the forceps. Just as deadly to be sure. But here, other magnificent creatures die daily to no alarm of anyone in the Minneapolis suburbs. Dr. Palmer had a guide; here, the hired hands cover their faces with surgical masks.

All because one human decided that it would be her right to kill.

For shame, conflating the death of the noble beast with that of a clump of pesky cells destined to be a human. But this is where we have come in our evolution. Death for sport, death for convenience; it all looks the same to me.

Sorry to be terse, but my patience is gone. I spent most of my life that odd conservative, one who was willing to look the other way to support a woman’s right to choose. I just couldn’t justify how I had the right to demand that a woman have a child against her wishes while claiming to support the rights of the individual. I struggled with my own shame, my own dilemma that yes, I believed a human life was being taken. But I had no right to interfere, no right or justification to intercede. Therefore, it was easier to just ignore it, go along with my life knowing that I wasn’t complicit, that someone else would have to live with the guilt or the shame or whatever moral disruption follows the event. Forcing a woman to deliver a baby was something I could never imagine as a free man, a man of conscience, a man dedicated to the free will of the individual.

But try as I might, I could get no sympathies or concessions from either entrenched side of the argument. To my conservative friends I was a traitor; to my liberal friends, I hate women. Pure and simple; I was wrong at either turn. That was okay; I never found myself having to make that decision, to be part of it. Too monumental to be made from outside of those actually involved. I was okay if I was left out of it; I would never put a woman in that position and would never let myself get into that position either. Period. Neat how being responsible works. Or so I thought.

There are many like me, believe it or not. But we are tired. We are being forced, against our wishes, to choose between two factions who wish to never close the divide. Compromise has been lost; so it has with me. If I were a willing expectant father, her right to kill my unborn child trumps my desire to be that father. Why? If I decide to walk away, her right to make me responsible until well into that child’s adulthood is enforced as well. Three people involved, only one has rights. Why?

I started to feel queasy knowing that I was paying for these procedures. Of course, I couldn’t make that argument known, lest I be labeled a racist, hater, misogynist et al. And of course, I wasn’t paying for the procedure I was told. Even though I’m not an idiot and like the majority of the population, I know damned well what’s going on with my tax dollars. Safe and rare was our mantra then. Same day service, best price in town is the new motto. How many children were murdered on the day Cecil was struck by the arrow on the African plain? Why none of course. These aren’t babies, they certainly aren’t human and besides, they’re not fully alive until they reach the crib in the nursery at home. So many ways to argue for death; so many reasons to justify giving up on our humanity.

You finally lost me with the Planned Dismemberment videos. I was watching a news show late one night and a supporter of Planned Infanticide had decided that she wasn’t going to speak on the subject at all because she was just going to be labeled a baby-killer. No one had called her that. Maybe it was a moment of clarity on her part, I don’t know. But I listened as she justified the existence of Planned Non-Parenthood and skirted the issue of partial birth abortion. How wonderful she posited, that something good could come from something so tragic like an abortion. She quickly caught herself; tragic. Indeed. If these children are being harvested, and they are, it is precisely because they are human. And for most of the tissue to be viable, the “donor” has to be alive our mere seconds dead. Of course, she hasn’t seen any of the videos, claiming they were heavily edited. Well, I saw them in their entirety. She’s not even a good liar, but what would one expect from someone who feels no pang of conscience knowing that children are indeed being left to die on the tables of the exam room or dissected while their “non-human” hearts are still beating. It wasn’t the videos themselves mind you; it was the mindless, unwavering mantra of “it’s her right” that finally pissed me off. If you can’t be disturbed by the sale of dismembered human children, we no longer need to have a discussion.

No, you had your chances. All I ever asked for was to keep the murder of your children to yourself. But you decided I need to pay; pay to have them killed or pay to have them fed until they’re twenty-eight. Mine or not. Somehow a woman’s right to choose leapt forward from the act of procreation to the consequences of it, and everyone but she is responsible for her actions. You only had to compromise with me, to be honest, to be introspective, to be moral. You failed.

It will be interesting to see how long Dr. Palmer has to hide his face for the killing of a wild creature on the plains of Africa. And for every day that the protestors make his life a living hell, another medical office, not twenty minutes away, will continue to churn out it’s product, whatever you want to call it, how ever you want to justify it, killing for the sake of killing because one more woman decided it was her right to do so.

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