Archive for September, 2006

Hear tell, Rosie O’Donut and her crowd of feminazis, as well as many other shrill slices of the liberal hemp-wearing set figure that Christians and Muslims are all wrapped up in the same “religion = terrorism” wrapper. Well, let’s just take a gander, shall we?

 List of Muslim Terrorist Organizations, as of April 27, 2005 

Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
Ansar al-Islam (AI)
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Asbat al-Ansar
Aum Shinrikyo (Aum)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG)
HAMAS
Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
Hizballah
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)
Jemaah Islamiya Organization (JI)
Al-Jihad (AJ)
Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT)
Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Al-Qa’ida
Shining Path (SL)
Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (QJBR)

 List of Christian Terrorist Organziations

Army of God (AOG)
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
Christian Identity / KKK

Yup, reg’lar peas in a pod we is. Why jus’ yesterday ol’ Marvin, whats been leadin’ the choir and teachin’ the 4th Grade sunday school fer all those years, all up and strapped a couple sticks o’ dynamite to hisself, like them there Duke boys wuz always shooting out dem crossbows or whatever they was. So anyways, Marv walks into the brand new Piggly Wiggly, screams “Jehovah is Great!” …and then sets the whole durn mess off in one gigerntic whallapin’ kerblooie.

Now, I coulda told anyone what asked that it wuz bound to happen. What with him getting all holy-roller and charismatic and the like. One minute yer talking ’bout get all baptized in the Spirit, next thing you know your blowin’ a WalMart all ta kindlin’. Damn extremists!

Yes folks, believe it or not, there is a small (but apparently growing?!) contingent of, uh, what’s the word here…uh, concerned activists WHACKJOBS out there who state with unequivocal certainty that the terrorists attacks of September 11th, 2001 were in fact part of some carefully orchestrated master plan carried out by key members of the current (say it loud, now) REPUBLICAN administration. Oops. I mean, “regime.” A dark and nefarious plan put into motion and given the go-ahead by one, George W. Bush. Aka Hitler, etc.

Yes, George Bush. Ordered the premeditated murder of thousands of American citizens.  Why? Because…uh, well, because…uhm…hold on, I know this one.  Uh, YEAH! FOR THE OIL!  YEARRRRRGH! You know.  Kill 3,500 Americans so you can go to war, and kill 10,000 more cameljockeys!  Because that’s G.W., you know…alllll about the KILLING! And the oil.  And Haliburton.  I’ll bet they got the no-bid contract for all the explosives. 

There are those who — with a completely straight face, a fervent pitch to their voice, and yes, a mad, mad gleam in their eye — are able to state categorically that some group (the size, composition and/or goals of which are all unknown) somehow managed to wire both towers, as well as Bldg 7 to implode. On demand. You know, “a controlled demolition.”

And yet, anyone who has ever seen a Discovery Channel special on controlled demolitions of old buildings, smoke stacks, or facilities like the Kingdome in Seattle could tell you how many man hours go into rigging, wiring, and testing such a set up. And we’re to believe that “They” somehow managed to pull it all off, in three separate buildings, all full of people. Without so much as a whisper of notice.  No one tripping over wires, and det cord and piles of C-4 and TNT.

And that’s where we get to the really scary part.

These people, in the absence of any evidence save for their own delusional visions, have managed to convince themselves beyond any doubt or hope of rational discourse that, “BUSH DID IT! 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB.”

Because they hate Pres. Bush, and Republicans, and conservatives, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them. They are able to rationalize any theory, any course of action, no matter how illogical or unsupportable. Because that’s how it HAS to be, therefore that’s how it must be! Bush is Evil, because he planned 9/11! Why did he plan 9/11? Because he’s evil!

Folks, where I come from, we call that “circular reasoning.”

The greatest danger posed by this kind of worldview arises when they have so convinced themselves that the opposition, The Enemy, is capable of such depths of premeditated evil — and that by opposing Him/Them they are in fact opposing evil — that they can then rationalize and justifiy all manner of activities, viewpoints, and courses of action very nearly as reprehensible, all in the name of the “higher good.” They justify extreme measures to fight extreme evil.

This leads me to believe that the so-called “Truthers” are operating on the same moral and psychological level as the terrorists.  They see themselves as valiant freedom fighters, nobly standing up to “The Great Satan” {{i.e. – Bush}} in the name of their brand of “freedom”, furthering their ideology, no matter the cost to sanity, stability, or rule of law.

They are unapproachable on an intellectual level. They are so sold out to emotional fervor that rational thought processes no longer hold sway. Even confronted by hard facts, by engineers, architects, and eye-witnesses, the “Truthers” will continue to argue, to condemn, to hold fast to their cherished conspiracy theories despite the mountain of evidence against them.

They will tell you that you didn’t see what you think you did. You are a victim of the shadow government’s masterful deception, accepting at face value the computer-altered images fed to you by the government controlled Media. Or that you are “one of Them.” Or that you are another victim of powerful government mind control, to which they are inexplicably immune.

The Truthers view themselves as the final arbiters of moral authority, and the sole seekers of real Truth. And will accept no dissent, will acknowledge no view which doesn’t support their dogma.

So, if you think that The Bush Cabal somewhere managed to find pilots who would fire missiles into crowded skyscrapers and the Pentagon, or demo techs who would wire the WTC knowing it would be dropped still full of people, or airport personnel who would let knife-wielding terrorists on planes knowing full well what they intended, then YOU, my friend, are every bit as crazy as the men behind the controls of those planes that day.

And I genuinely fear what kinds of things you will come to see as “justified” in the pursuit of YOUR Holy War.

UPDATE:

Read some of the Comments on Mary Catherine Hamms article, “Beware the Truthers. Don’t Ignore Them.”

Planetoftheapes writes:

Occam’s razor analysis basically make the NeoCons the only group that could have pulled 9/11 off in the manner it was pulled off.

I am scared. Once Bush and Co. get really cornered they my attack us again. This time bigger.

AND:

Snicker. Laugh. Giggle.  I love the expression on the dudes face.  (h/t Cox & Forkhum)

“When that extra something isn’t quite enough”
Waiter groups try to get word out on the etiquette of proper tipping
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14801364/ 

I stumbled across the above article on MSNBC.com, and was a bit irked at some of the things I read. 

In some states, restaurants are only legally required to pay as little as $2 or $3 an hour. So if a server earns $30 in tips on a bad night, he could feasibly walk out having earned less than minimum wage after tipping out the bartender and busboys (a common practice in most restaurants). 

So then, if the practice is for the restaurant owner to pay such appallingly low wages based on the assumption that customer tips will make up the difference, then in essence, I am paying the bulk of my server’s wages.  In a way, I become his or her employer.  The money I pay on the bill itself is strictly for the food, beverages, and ambiance.  The expectation of an additional 15-20% in payment to my server, then, constitutes a payment for the actual service, separate from the food. An informal contract, if you will, between server and served.

While most restaurants already charge an automatic service fee for large parties, at least one restaurant began the practice of charging an automatic 20 percent gratuity, or “autograt,” as it is sometimes called, on every check. 

Making the gratuity mandatory takes away my latitude to decide what to pay based on the quality of service.  It is no longer a “tip,” it’s a “fee.” 

It wasn’t that long ago that a 10% tip was the going rate.  Then a few years ago, someone somewhere magically upped it to 15%.  Now the going rate is supposed to be a whopping 20% of the bill.  How is it that the people who are set to benefit the most from the policy are the ones who get to make it?  Sounds like the Federal Government or something. 

If I am paying for a service, then I expect service.  I expect my server to be solicitous and polite.  Courteous, friendly, and attentive.  I expect to have someone hand me menus or offer me water glasses within a few minutes of sitting down, if not immediately.  I expect to see my server at regular intervals, not just at ordering time.  I expect not to have to chase down the check after waiting for 20 minutes past when I am CLEARLY done with my meal.

I have long known that you don’t scrimp on a tip because the food was bad.  That isn’t the waiter’s fault.  But at the same time, I don’t hold for one second that I should fork over another 20% in gratuity “just because.”

If you are rude, or roll your eyes at me when I want the dressing on the side, your tip suffers.  If I watch tumbleweeds roll by my table before I ever see you again, the tip will reflect it.  If tips are a wage, then I expect you to be a good employee.

These days I see tip jars everwhere, from the latte stand to the counter at Baskin-Robbins.  I’m sorry, but if the grand total of your effort was to spend 2 minutes frothing up some hot milk and espresso, for which I am then charged $3.50, I don’t see dropping in a another dollar, and making my drink essentially cost $4.50, just because you managed to get me my order without burning yourself.  If I pay you a dollar for 2 minutes worth of work, that’s $30 an hour.  To. make. coffee.  Uh huh. Yeah.

However, if I take my coffee, and sample a drink, and find that it is piping hot without being scalding, that it’s well-brewed without tasting burnt, and that it was made to my exacting specifications, THEN, and ONLY then will I drop 50 cents in your tip jar.  On a $3.50 drink, that’s about 15%.  More than enough.

I realize and empathize with the fact that waiters and waitresses bust their collective humps to make a living, and that they rely heavily on what they make on tips to bring in a decent wage.  But the idea that I should fork over a $20 tip on a $100 dollar meal just because the United Waiter’s Union says so just doesn’t fly with me.  I pay good servers well; and if you suck, well then I’m going to send you a message with a whopping 10%, or less. 

Then there’s this: 

To level the playing field, waiters are taking action. Some are resorting to guerrilla tactics — it’s not uncommon for waiters to personally confront stingy tippers, or to blog about them on sites such as WaiterRant.Net. 

If I am required, on threat of physical confrontation, or my name on some web-stalking waiter’s blog because I didn’t tip enough, then that’s not payment; it’s extortion.  Protection money hidden beneath a thin veneer of respectability. 

You want my money?  Earn it.  Or find some other line of work, beyotch.

UPDATE:

Now, I don’t want that it should be thought that I walk into the average eatery with a chip on my shoulder, like some arrogant, yuppie schmuck due his “entitlements.”  I walk in expecting good, solid service.  And I tip 15% as a baseline.  But good gawed, man.  For 20-effin-percent, I’d better also get a hot towel, a foot massage, and a delightful parting gift.  Sheesh.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the day I stood in my parent’s living room and watched the towers burn. Older generations ask if you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot, or when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I remember the Challenger explosion, and the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Strangely, my first reaction when I saw those images, when I watched the second plane smash into the tower, was not fear, was not rage, or anything related. I instead felt a black humor, a grim resignation and instant resolve.  The first words out of my mouth were, “So it begins.”

I’m still not sure exactly what I meant by that, but my mom is convinced that it was Prophetic. I’ve long held a passing fascination with end-times eschatology and the Biblical foretellings of doom. I’ve watched as it seemed as though events were knitting together a strangely convergent tapestry of social evolutions and global revolutions heavily suggestive that some of those Biblical events were either occurring, or on the horizon.

The sheer, appalling audacity of the attacks on the WTC by the armies of Islam seemed to me to signal a turning of a corner, a bellwether event that marked the crossing of line past which we would likely never return. My fear, even then, was not for the efficacy of any direct attacks, but instead, for what those attacks would mean to our country, our culture, and our way of life.

I think my concern was founded, in that moment of illumination, in the sense that we might ultimately become our own worst enemy. That the victory of the Islamicists would not be because of the damage they inflicted upon us, but because of the damage they would cause us to inflict upon ourselves.

That concern hasn’t abated.

I lived in Spokane, Washington at the time, right beneath the busy air traffic corridor leading to SeaTac International in Seattle. I’ve always loved planes, and flying, and loved watching the big Jumbos winging their way westward, contrails in tow. For the longest time after 9/11, I could not look at those contrails without fear, without this dread that I would see one of those planes wing over and plummet to earth in the middle of downtown Spokane, or at the nearby Air Force base. For a while, I even stopped looking up, because it was easier to ignore them than to face the awful sense of impending destruction.

I hated the men of Islam who had taken that from me.

I don’t hate them anymore. I have settled into that same sense of grim resignation which comes from the understanding that even now, five years later, their motives, their means, and their goals have not changed. Their methods may have evolved, but their ultimate aim remains the same: To replace our way of life, with theirs. To destroy what we hold dear, what makes us who we are, and to build an empire of THEIR choosing on the ashes of our society

I consciously did not make this an emotional tribute or remberance of those who died on the planes and in the buildings on that fateful day.  Not only because there are plenty of others out there who will, but because to me, it is every bit as important to remember WHO killed them and WHY.  Perhaps moreso.

The acts of destruction committed on September 11th, 2001 were not isolated events. They were merely the most grandiose in a continuing string of attacks. And they were a clarion call announcing that the Islamic world felt confident enough to attack the United States on its own soil, attacking not just the symbol of our military, but of our culture, of our success, and of our freedoms.

For these are what they truly hate. And while we still have them, The Enemy will not cease to oppose us.  Let us remain ever vigilant, however, not just of the hand of The Enemy against us, but that we do not also become a worse enemy of freedom ourselves. 

 Steve Berven