Author Archives: Brian Drake

Reinventing the Founders, or: A Response to Jill Lepore on July 4th, 2014

While sipping my tea this wonderful July 4th, I came across an article on Bill Moyers’ site where the author stated that the Founders would not recognize the Tea Party or their ideas; in fact, they would be appalled by them. Jill Lepore, the author of the piece, seems to know her subject, and she brings up some good points regarding how the Right Wing in general and Evangelical Christians in particular view the Founders. You can read her remarks here, but I’m going to provide a summary of her opinion with my response to follow.

Basically, the Founders are no help to us today. They wrote and said so much to so many, in some cases contradicting each other and themselves as time went on, that to strictly interpret their words and our Constitution is moot. We’re on our own in interpreting their words for our time and following the spirit of their efforts to shape America into what she should be, and that means the Founding Documents must evolve too. They aren’t written in stone, after all, but paper that degrades over time. The Founders didn’t create a perfect union; they created a flawed one, and it’s up to us to get it right. They weren’t the faithfully religious Christians the Evangelicals would like you to believe, so presenting them as such is also an error, and we cannot rightfully claim that the U.S. was built on any kind of Biblical or moral foundation because their recorded remarks simply don’t back that up. In other words, they just ain’t the guys you want to hold up as a standard-bearer. In fact, they got it so wrong the first time that we had to fight a Civil War to make corrections.

I think she’s right on a few things. Christians and conservatives have built the Founders into Saints, and they don’t belong there. They were men of their time, following the passions and ideas of their time, and if they were here today….well, I don’t think the Church would approve, certainly not of Ben Franklin and his dalliances with French ladies. Jefferson’s pantheism would send conservative Christians into furious rage.

I will go on record as saying that the experiment in self-governance that the Founders initiated was simply that. They read some books and considered some ideas and were able to take advantage of a situation in which to stir up a rebellion. They were in the minority. Plenty of Colonists were perfectly happy living under British rule, but the Founders were passionate enough to try. In other words, they weren’t fighting for the freedom of you or me. They were fighting for their own freedom, a chance to see if self-governance could work. Did they have future generations in mind? Surely they at least considered it. Some of them, like Jefferson and Franklin, didn’t think we could keep this Republic going. In the end I don’t think they looked further ahead than their own lives, and they lived long enough to see America grow as a free nation. When the last of the Founders passed, that was the end of their involvement in this experiment. It was a success, and left to the rest of us to carry on, if we could keep it.

While, philosophically speaking, man should be free to govern his own affairs, the fact is that only a small percentage of man is capable of doing that. The rest want a “safety net” and somebody to look after them should a problem arise; even more want a king to tell them what to do because life is tough, and it’s tougher when you’re stupid.

Man’s natural state is to live on his knees. He wants somebody to rule over him, not necessarily violently, but he certainly wants control over his life because of the chaotic state which is life’s way of doing business, assuming, if we must, that “life” is sentient. Because sentient life is out of control, we need some sort of man-made control to weather the storm. When you look at other governments around the globe, none are like ours. Progressives love to point out that because we don’t have some of the programs and ideas that other governments have, it means we’re less civilized. There are people who not only want to live in shackles, they indeed race to the front of the line to get their shackles before anybody else. It’s a badge of honor.

The Founders and those that inspired them refuted that, and it doesn’t matter if their own words contradict each other. Let’s go to the basics of what inspired them: Man should be free. What did they do? Create a government in the best way they knew how to ensure that man could be free. What happened instead? Those unable to take care of themselves, over time, made enough noise so that they could have the government take care of them, and since we are all our brother’s keepers, we must all contribute to the welfare of those who are unable to help themselves. Those same people exploited the flaws in the personal lives of the Founders to discredit their ideas and cast doubt on this great experiment.

And as for putting these men on a pedestal….well, that’s what man does, too, going well back to the golden calf. Man not only wants to live on his knees, he wants to worship what he can see. For all the talk the Church makes of not worshiping idols, we sure have a lot of them. It puts a burden on the Founders they were never meant to have, and gives ammunition to the progressives who gleefully point out that they can’t measure up to their Sainthood.

The Founders, though, are partially responsible for where we put them. Their recorded words still resonate; they have resonated with future generations that agreed, yes, man should be free, and those future generations have done everything possible to keep their ideas alive, because they are worthy ideas.

Instead of worshiping the men, however, what we should look to instead is the spirit of their ideas, and to the writers and philosophers of the Enlightenment who inspired them, to see how we too can be inspired today. The idea is more important than the man who communicates it.

Man should be free. Man should not oppress other men. Man should be allowed to forge his own way with as little restrictions as possible considering he must coexist with other Men. That means compromise, which is now a dirty word that neither the left nor the right will admit exists in our vocabulary.

In a perfect world, that’s what we would have. Instead we have strife. Man vs. Man. Conflict. Each side thinks it knows best and works to subdue the other side. Because my enemy rises against me, I must smite him because I was meant to be free. Today I use words same as Thomas Paine, though certainly he was far more eloquent. Perhaps someday I will use a rifle as those many nameless Revolutionary soldiers were forced to do, so many years ago, because the enemy refused to allow their freedom. As far as this nation has fallen, I’m frankly surprised I’m not writing this from a trench somewhere in the middle of America with enemy guns over the horizon as we march toward Washington for a final battle, because still we fight for an experiment that is by far the most worthy experiment ever devised.

Jill Lepore is wrong. In trying to discredit the Founders, she has shown her own bias and continues to fan the flames of a conflict we cannot afford. We can indeed look to the Founders for how we should govern ourselves today. They laid it all out in great detail; problem is, the progressives think we must all live as a Collective, with their own ideas of “mild” oppression, and here I am being kind. Conservatives have their own “mild” oppression on the agenda, too, which is equally repugnant. Examples will occur to you.

If we are to truly honor the ideas of the Founders, none of the above can happen here. Does that make me a pariah for not toeing the party line? Does that make me a Communist? I don’t think so, but plenty will accuse me of exactly that. So be it. My bullets will go wherever I aim them. Because the more I examine the ideas of the Founders, the more I am absolutely forced to toss religion and the “party” out of the discussion, the more I have to admit that there is a lot we haven’t done right, and if we truly believe in this experiment of self-governance than we need to stop fighting and forge the perfect union that has so far eluded us. Am I making Lepore’s point? Absolutely not, because I’m not arguing from the side of the Collective; nor is she truly arguing from the side of the ideas expressed by the Founders. She advocates her own progressive interpretation, which is wrong. I also don’t think I’m arguing for the conservative side. I want to get back to basics, to the original, uncorrupted ideas, which is what we need to do in order to keep this Republic. Unfortunately, we have dug so deeply into our parties and our “sides”, I do not believe that kind of compromise is possible.

 

BRIAN DRAKE’s new novel is The Rogue Gentleman: Mine to Avenge, available at Amazon.Com.

Lessons Learned the Day I Refused to Vote

There is no worse feeling in the world than knowing your vote doesn’t count. I’m a white male conservative who lives in California, and I can hear one of you saying, “There’s your problem,” and you’re right, that is a problem. The white male conservative vote (and, for that matter, the white female conservative vote) means nothing in a state run by women and minorities who vote Democrat.

I have been voting for 20 years, and in that time I have only seen the state slide further down the slope of progressive deviancy, with Democrat “Super Majorities” now the norm, and Republicans who …. well, who don’t do very much.

My vote has not made one lick of a difference in this state. When it has with specific state propositions, those same propositions are then challenged by the opposition and overturned in court. My vote means nothing in this state.

Yesterday we had our primary in California for the governor’s race and a few other races. On the GOP side we had a fellow named Neel Kashkari, whom the GOP establishment, from old guard Pete Wilson to the recent wanna-be presidential buffoon Mitt Romney, faithfully endorsed and provided with millions and millions of dollars. On the Tea Party side we had a fellow named Tom Donnelly, who was not endorsed, or acknowledged, by the CA GOP, and was forced to run his campaign on a very limited budget.

Right off the bat the GOP pissed me off by once again going “moderate” while ignoring the conservative side. In fact, they didn’t ignore Donnelly, they sabotaged him. Convinced they can’t win with a conservative, the CA GOP picked up and flooded money to a white Arab “diversity hire” who is more Democrat than Republican, and who thinks the greatest threat to the state is Jerry Brown’s high speed rail train linking Northern California to Southern California when, duh, there is absolutely no public outcry against the project, in spite of the overspending and usual allegedly corrupt shenanigans.

On the day of the primary, I said the hell with it. I’ve been pouring water into the ocean in an attempt to raise the level for 20 years, and I’m tired of it. The results were predictable. Tim “Have a Little Tea on Me” Donnelly got 14%, Neel “I Voted for Obama” Kashkari got 18%. The state suffered it’s lowest voter turnout in history, because what difference does it make? Here’s what’s going to happen between now and November:

Mr. Kashkari has (a) no chance and (b) might confuse voters into thinking they’re looking at a terrorist no-fly list rather than a ballot. Once this attitude takes root, there will be desperate lunges for relevance as he tries to rope in the Tea Party, who will have nothing to do with him because they’re again being ignored. Interviews will go viral in their stupidity that are not necessarily on the level of “the whole thing shuts down” variety but they will be close. He may even offer challenges to Brown–debates, etc.–who won’t bother to show up …. because he doesn’t have to. Kashkari will blow up like a supernova while Brown sails to victory in a landslide. The CA GOP will claim a moral victory because they offered a candidate who wasn’t the usual WASP, but will still go to bed after the general election wondering why the left still hates them.

Not voting yesterday was not an easy decision. I was off from work, the poling place is a five minute drive from the house, and I could have taken the time rather than spend all day on the couch watching rubbish on television. I almost caved and went. Just because. But I held firm. When I woke up this morning, I realized my mistake. It’s one thing to give up on the process, but another to not make a last stand. I should have gone to vote for Donnelly. Considering his numbers, it would have been yet another disappointment, my vote would have meant nothing, and I would have justified the decision to not participate in the general election. But, like Custer, at least I would have taken that last shot

So, yeah, I’m done voting as long as I live in California, but I hear good things about Texas. Your vote means something and you can even get machine guns there.

 

BRIAN DRAKE’s latest thriller is The Rogue Gentleman: Mine to Avenge, available at Amazon.Com.

How the Left Learned to Love the Military; or: At Least the VA Scandal has Vanished

Honestly, friends, I really tried to give the President the benefit of the doubt when news of the Bergdhal prisoner exchange broke. I really did. We trade prisoners all the time, the war is winding down, etc., etc., everybody just calm down because if we’re going to get on Obama for this we might as well criticize him for breathing, too. That’s about the only thing we don’t attack him for.

And then came…..the rest of the story.

We already know Obama is a weak sister. The debate is over: when it comes to being tough, he falls like France. He has not only broken the prisoner exchange law by not informing Congress, he has changed US policy about negotiating with terrorists. The last time I checked the Taliban is not a recognized government. In exchange for a POW with a sketchy story, we now have five reportedly dangerous Taliban operatives back on the grid. If he’s done it once, the enemy might think he’ll do it again.

And the other sticky part: alleging a U.S. soldier might not be telling us the whole story. This individual was either captured on patrol, or got sick of fighting for a conceited nation (his words). In an email to his father quoted in the linked article, America’s new hero said: “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

His old man, by the way, was not beyond encouraging the boy to “follow his conscience”.

Who would have imagined that conservatives would take up arguing against an individual soldier, while the left suddenly loves the military? The left would have us believe that demanding full accountability and, perhaps, a court martial is an awful suggestion for somebody who went over to bleed for our freedom, as opposed to when Bush sent him over there to die for foreign oil. Where’s Rod Taylor?

A local radio station ran a poll on this story today, and 80% of those who responded do not think the U.S. came out ahead in this trade. Only 12% thought it was the right thing to do.If that is any indication of a national trend, and as his own words come back to haunt him, I think newly-promoted Staff Sergeant Bergdhal might want to seek out a more genial clime.

Like Afghanistan.

By the way, have you noticed the VA scandal has pretty much vanished from the headlines because of this? I thought you might have. But in trying to deflect one scandal, we now have another.

 

BRIAN DRAKE’s new thriller is The Rogue Gentleman: Mine to Avenge, available at Amazon.Com.

You Can’t Keep a Good Chef Down

Here’s a story of a man’s dream, how he failed, and how he bounced back.

A couple of years ago a friend took me to a restaurant called Roderick’s. My pal, John, was from Memphis, and said Roderick’s made the absolute best southern bar-be-cue outside of Tennessee. He was already on a first-name basis with the owner, and introduced me to him when we arrived. We quickly became regulars because John was right–nobody made a better bbq brisket than Roderick.

Roderick didn’t follow the first rule of a business–location, location, location. That would come back to bite him. He was in the middle of a business park. During the day, especially the lunch hour, you couldn’t get a table. Take-out was your only option. Dinner hour? Forget it. You had the whole place to yourself. He couldn’t keep the doors open with that kind of traffic and closed.

Five or six years ago, the city revamped the downtown area and opened a new theater. Both sides of the street filled with new shops and new restaurants and Roderick announced that he had a spot near the theater. Perfect location. The line wound go around the bloc, we figured. John and I eagerly awaited the opening, but it never happened. I never got the whole story, but the gossip was that there were various issues that couldn’t be worked out.

And that was the end of Roderick’s, or so we thought. He dropped off the face of the earth.

Roderick used to work in the tech industry but he wanted to run his own business. He knew how to cook the traditional southern way, something nobody else in our area could offer. He knew he had a winning combination, but it didn’t work as planned. What does a guy who when his dream of owning a restaurant essentially goes down the tubes? Does he go back to tech work? Does he give up?

Nope.

Two weeks ago some pals and I were at an event where a bunch of food trucks had gathered to provide snacks. Somebody told me the “bar-be-cue truck” looked good so we wandered over. Low and behold, the sign on the truck said “Roderick’s”. The guy behind the stove looked a little older but it was the same guy.

“Hey, ugly,” I said.

He turned around with a frown that quickly turned into a smile, and it was like he’d never gone away.

Roderick is running a mobile food truck now. He’s still serving his traditional southern food, though he offers fewer items than he did at the restaurant. You can get a pulled pork sandwich; half a brisket, lightly sauced, that you can cut with a fork; grilled chicken breast that will blow your mind; and fried cat fish. And, wow, I can’t forget the hush puppies. Those are fried balls of corn bread, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Dip ‘em in the sauce from the baked beans. Delicious. Get the peach cobbler for desert, which he still cooks in a cast-iron Dutch oven like I used to do in the Boy Scouts, except he does it better. Crispy on top, gooey in the middle.

I asked Roderick how long he’d had the truck. Couple of years, he said, since the downtown deal failed. He can go wherever he wants, have less overhead, and take home more profit. He announces his locations via Facebook and Twitter, and people show up. He parks at one of the local universities regularly, which means he’s not too far from me–about a half hour’s drive. Yes, it’s worth it.

He wanted to know where John was. I told him John had gotten married and took his new family to Arizona. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich, gave him John’s number, and listened as the two of them caught up.

When his restaurant plans didn’t work out, Roderick could have gone back to the tech industry. He’d have done well, but he was made for more than that. If he couldn’t have a brick-and-motor place, he found another way to make the dream happen.

I think he wound up with the best option. He can keep prices low and still make enough to live, unlike other restaurants which, lately, seem to raise prices more and more and provide less and less in return. The fact that customers will drive long distances just to get a taste of his cooking proves he’s doing something right.

Let this be a lesson to you. If one dream ends, go find another one. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself because the original plan didn’t work out. Our country is full of stories like this, and it’s nice to see they’re still being written despite our current state of disrepair.

 

BRIAN DRAKE’s new thriller is The Rogue Gentleman: Mine to Avenge, available at Amazon.Com

Donald Sterling and the Crime of Opinion

Donald Sterling is the owner of LA Clippers basketball team who, you may recall, was allegedly caught on tape talking about how he really doesn’t like black people. His thoughts and ideas were recorded by his girl friend, who isn’t white, so he’s not a racist as long as the woman is hot. Typical white male.

His family quickly issued statements saying that they don’t share his “despicable” ideas, and everybody under the sun has hurried to any TV camera in spitting distance to make sure we know where they stand, letting out a breathless blubbering rush of “Sterling’s ideas are his own and I’m not guilty by association because I voted for Obama three times so I’m not a racist okay?” which is apparently necessary, less they get tarred and feathered by the 187th “So Help Me God” Division of the Sharpton Commandos, who are landing in LA for some justice.

Speaking of Barrack, he had to get involved, because, as a capable basketball player himself, he knows what it’s like for the homies on the court. He allegedly said, “If I had a son, I wouldn’t let him play for the Clippers,” but I wasn’t really listening. I’m sure that’s close enough.

Joking aside, there are bigger questions in this case that demand an answer.

Why do so many seek, so quickly, to disassociate themselves with Sterling and his remarks?

Is it a crime to hold an unpopular opinion? If so, we’re all guilty of something. Are the activists trying to scare us into silence?

It is a disturbing trend in this country that anybody who says they don’t like gays, Muslims, blacks, or miscellaneous, for whatever reason, suddenly are faced with investigations and resignations and forced apologies. Why is it a crime to say something that isn’t popular? What do those running away from Sterling fear?

What will the next criminal opinion be?

Support for capitalism?

Doubting global warming?

Holding a Bible study in your home?

It’s a slippery slope, folks. Better hope the friction doesn’t burn a hole in your jeans.

Liberal Worry: A Good Thing for the Good Guys

Look, ma, the liberals are crying.

Why are they crying, Timmy?

Because America isn’t buying their crap anymore.

We don’t use language like that, Timmy.

Regardless of your choice of words, I came across a poll today that I think Timmy summarizes correctly, and it’s worth a mention because you’re not likely to see it mentioned elsewhere.

Ben Dreyfuss, writing in Mother Jones, that paradise of leftist ideologists who think they’re smarter than you, posted about an Associated Press-GfK Public Affairs poll and said the following:

According to a new poll, 51 percent of Americans do not believe in the Big Bang. Fifty-one percent of Americans are wrong.

Forty-two percent of Americans are not falling for this “evolution” mumbo jumbo. They too are wrong.

Thirty-seven percent of Americans are not convinced that humans are causing global warming. Wrong.

Thirty-six percent of Americans are not buying this whole “the Earth is 4.5 billion years old” thing. Wrong wrong.

Fifteen percent of Americans are unsure that vaccinations are safe and effective. Wrong wrong wrong.

Have a nice day.

Actually, Ben, I am having a nice day over this, because this poll reveals a big problem the left may have to contend with: Americans aren’t buying their crap anymore.

And if America is starting to doubt the left, the left is doomed.

This article was posted on Facebook by one of my liberals friends (everybody needs one!) and some of his liberal friends reacted in such a way that, I think, deep down, they came to the same conclusion as I. They’re worried about these numbers.

Why?

Let’s look at the major points of the poll, as some of them (the age of the earth and vaccinations) do not belong in this discussion. I’m going to combine the first two into one since they’re part of the same argument:

According to a new poll, 51 percent of Americans do not believe in the Big Bang. Forty-two percent of Americans are not falling for this “evolution” mumbo jumbo.

The left has been trying to convince the world for over 50 years that God is dead. Why? Because a God that demands accountability prevents humans from practicing the religion of “if it feels good, do it” and all that entails. Examples will occur to you, but we know that the compromised values and general debauchery of our society stems from the early days of the “God is Dead” argument. If there is no God, what we do doesn’t matter, since we’re all going back to dust anyway. Now, I won’t get into the specifics of arguing for evolution or the Big Bang. As an advocate of intelligent design, I don’t believe we crawled out of primordial ooze, but that we were indeed created as-is, but there have been notable evolutionary changes within the species that are a reaction to time and environment. That shouldn’t bother anybody, and I don’t think it clashes with Christianity. However, according to the left, “God is Dead,” so there’s no room for anything but the idea that we came from sludge and go back to sludge. When we ask why they’re so stuck on that theme, they respond “Because science, bitch!” or something more eloquent. Problem is, if 51% of Americans are rejecting the “God is Dead” meme, the left is in trouble. “No God” is the very foundation of liberalism.

Thirty-seven percent of Americans are not convinced that humans are causing global warming.Wrong.

With all the evidence of junk science and reports that have been doctored to show the global warming point of view, I think there’s at least a serious question as to whether “global warming” or “climate change” is really an issue. But questioning global warming is anathema to the liberal, because the liberal needs a dying earth to make the rest of society pay for their way of life. We need to pay for our freedom by having less of it in the name of saving the earth. If 37% of Americans are beginning to doubt the meme, the left is doomed. The left needs a pliant population, willing to believe the worst and make the necessary lifestyle changes, to achieve its agenda.

So, yeah, liberals are crying. These poll numbers are not on their side. They’ve had two, maybe even three, generations to get the numbers on their side and it’s not happening.

When faced with defeat, liberals do not retreat. They try harder. And they get sillier. Expect more of that from the left; as a result, I think the numbers in that poll will actually increase in our favor, to the point where we may see a drastic societal shift in the “right” direction. Sure would be nice.

Cows Cause Global Warming, but Obama Has a Plan

We learn today of a new effort by the Obama administration to further curb global warming, or climate change, whatever they’re calling it now, by regulating cow flatulence.

Apparently cows have a greater carbon footprint than all the SUVs in Beverly Hills, and they’re flatulence is killing us. Don’t worry; Obama has a plan.

You can read about it here at the Daily Caller.

As we often joke, it’s nice to know the administration has time for such issues now that every other crisis has been solved, though we wonder what those in the Ukraine about to be crushed under the weight of the Soviet (um, I mean Russian) military machine might have to say, and we also wonder what the cancer patients left in the cold by Obamacare might add to the conversation.

One cannot help but think about what kind of plan Mr. Obama will implement to curb cow flatulence. (Feel free to include your own suggestions in the comments.)

Based on previous action, and following in the footsteps of the California legislature who imposed a similar plan, it’s not hard to figure out what the administration will try.

Mr. Obama will probably set up a cap-and-trade program for cows. They’ll be limited to so many farts a day until they have to trade with other cows who haven’t yet used up their farts. Cows will probably trade food for farts–in fact, that’s a good name for the bill, “Food for Farts”. In other words, one cow gives up some of his food to be allowed to fart more while the other cow, who farts less, can eat more. This sounds counter intuitive, but don’t worry, it’s the government, so it will make perfect sense.

Conservatives will argue that this will lead to some cows getting more food than others, and then we’ll have a “grass inequality” crisis to go along with the “income inequality” crisis which will require another government program and waste tax payer money. Better to just let the cows fart all they want.

The left will say these programs will create jobs and put people back to work, and accuse the Republicans of hating cows, because they’re part black (Republicans hate anything black), even though there will be no proof that Republicans have anything against cows.

We are glad in our hearts knowing the Mr. Obama is in charge, and we cannot wait to see how he saves us this time.

The Olympics Are Bush’s Fault, Too

Are you watching the Olympics? It’s not doing too badly in the ratings; in fact, the ratings for the programming are outperforming US athletes!

The US beating Russia in hockey was a nice flashback to 1980, but, basically, we suck this time out. As of this writing, we’re 7th place in gold medals, our athletes are phoning it in, and one in particular (I’m looking at YOU, Shaun White) didn’t even try.

We should not be surprised. The performance of our athletes reflects the state of our country.

We have a poor economy, high gas prices, high unemployment, a lot of hard knocks; yet everybody has food, television, the mall parking lots remain packed, and life pretty much carries on as normal, because yes we can, it’s Bush’s fault, and you’re a racist. Why bother making the effort? The gubbermint done gonna be there to hep. This attitude is translating to our athletes, who are showing the world that the US is nothing like it used to be, but at least we’re not Mexico. Mexico didn’t even bother going to Sochi. What? Mexico ain’t got no snow? As usual, Mexico is full of excuses.

Speaking of excuses, the US athletes are full of them, too. The uniforms are too restrictive. The altitude is too high, man, I can’t get no air. If the ICO gave out gold medals for excuses, the US would be #1. There has been nothing exciting about the US performance at Sochi; about the only noteworthy thing people may remember next time around is Bob Costas and his Commie Pink Eye.

And all of this can be placed at the feet of Mr. Obama (Bless His Holy Name) who leads with the greatest example of mediocrity since Ulyses S. Grant.

I’m sure we’ve been up and down the list of medals before, but this time feels different. It’s one thing to give everything you have and win bronze; it’s another to not even try and then cry about it after, as in this example from Breitbart:

“Figure skater Jeremy Abbott’s high hopes came crashing down when he came crashing down on the ice. His performance for the media wasn’t nearly as graceful as his performance on the ice. ‘I just want to put my middle finger in the air and say a big “F-you” to everyone who has ever said that to me because they’ve never stood in my shoes,’ Abbott emoted in reaction to potential criticism of his twelfth-place finish. ‘They’ve never had to do what I’ve had to do.'”

Jeremy, pal, buddy, with all due respect, you finish 12th place and you bet you’re gonna get hollered at for it, because America is better than that. At least we used to be. And maybe if you spent a little more time practicing and less time pulling the poor me act, playing your X-Box or whatever it is you figure skater types do when you’re not dressed up in tights and looking like a 10-year-old girl, you’d have won something. Anything.

But at least we aren’t as bad as Mexico.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.*

 

*From THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Jesus is All Right With Abortion

Recently a comedian named Sarah Silverman posted a video on the internet where she interviewed Jesus, or, really, a white person pretending to be Jesus, because we all know the real Jesus was an average-looking Jewish man. Sarah Silverman is obsessed with abortion, and she asked this incarnation of Jesus if killing babies was OK. Pretend Jesus said sure, no problem, kill ‘em all and I’ll sort them out, ha ha ha. Pretend Jesus is so funny.

I don’t know much else about Sarah Silverman other than that she once dated Jimmy Kimmel, and when he dumped her for Matt Damon, Kimmel announced that Damon had bigger boobs. But she appears to be a darling to liberals, and they eat up her allegedly funny skits such as this one. It’s controversial. It’s edgy.

No it isn’t.

If Sarah Silverman really wanted to be controversial and edgy, she wouldn’t interview Pretend Jesus. She should have interviewed Mohammed and asked him why it’s okay in Arab culture to smack women, and why it’s okay in Arab culture for a father to attempt to and/or murder his daughter when she becomes too Westernized. If she had Pretend Mohammed say something outrageous like, “The skins of our dead women make great lamp shades,” we’d have some controversy. But Sarah Silverman, an obvious Jew, won’t do that because she doesn’t want her next Internet video to feature her getting beheaded by ski-masked Muslim terrorists, because that’s what Muslim extremists do when you make fun of Mohammed.

If Sarah Silverman really wanted to be controversial and edgy, she wouldn’t interview Pretend Jesus. She should have interviewed an actual aborted fetus and asked how the procedure went. If the aborted fetus said something outrageous like, “It was better than Splash Mountain at Disneyland and I’m sorry I can’t be aborted again,” there would be outrage and gnashing of teeth.

Instead, Sarah Silverman, an untalented, unimaginative liberal who keeps failing to sell shows to outlets like NBC and HBO, does what is safe. Interviewing Pretend Jesus won’t get her head cut off, and, at this point, since Christianity is always a target, nobody but your humble correspondent really noticed. One has to wonder why she bothered, but since liberalism is a mental disorder, we can assume she was off her meds. Liberals do crazy things when they’re off their meds.

 

BRIAN DRAKE is the author of The Rogue Gentleman, a thriller in the tradition of Brad Thor and Vince Flynn, available in both paperback and ebook.

Classic Christmas Movies Where Stuff Blows Up Real Good

Merry Christmas, friends! ’tis the season to enjoy family and friends and watch sentimental slop on TV like “It’s Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story” which warms the heart and makes you feel good to be alive. But there are some of us who find those films anethema to our hard-boiled sensibilities and we need a little action with our Christmas cheer.

Luckily, we have “Die Hard” (1988) and “Lethal Weapon” (1987) to fill the role.

You’re scratching your head right now, but stay with me.

“Die Hard”, with its Christmastime setting, has become popular lately as a film for action buffs to watch during this season. We get Christmas trappings and action. John McClane shouts, “Jesus Christ!” several times during the film, which also fills the spiritual requirement. One of the supporting players in the film, Robert Davi, is on record as saying the film is in no way “Chrsitmas appropriate” because it’s secular. If it reflects Christmas, it refelcts the non-religious aspects that most of America seems to have adopted, and he’d prefer we not look at it as a holiday movie.

As much as I respect Robert Davi for his work, along with his conservative point of view, I must disagree.

One can sum up “Die Hard” as “Tough cop battles terrorists who have taken over a high rise” but let’s dig into the themes a little more. John McClane is on the verge of divorce. He’s come out to Los Angeles to spend time with his wife and family and to try and patch things up. In the midst of this, the building in which his wife works is taken over by the bad guys and she’s among the hostages. McClane, on the loose, must fight the bad guys and save the hostages. However, by the time he done that, he’s also saved his marriage. Let’s sum it up another way: “Tough cop on the verge of divorce battles terrorists and saves his marriage.”

“Die Hard” is not just an action movie, it’s about two people trying to reconnect under extreme circumstances. It’s about the importance of working out marital problems and a father being there for his kids. Sentimenal Christmastime slop? You bet! But we also get stuff blowing up real good. (And this, by the way, is what makes the original better than any of the sequels.)

Now let’s look at “Lethal Weapon”, which stars Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs in the tough cop role. Riggs, still mourning the death of his wife, is on the verge of suicide. It’s Christmastime and he’s not the only one having problems, as exemplified by a jumper he brings down from a building. Prior to that, they talk about how much they’re hurting. Lots of Christmas angst and sour complexions. Riggs teams up with a new partner, a family man, and while the pair chase slimy drug dealers, Riggs breaks out of his shell and, with the help of his partner’s family, learns to love again and breaks free of the isolation he’d placed himself in.

Huh?

“Tough cop learns to love again” is not the stuff of action movies, but it’s the stuff of a Christmas movie. And things blow up real good too. Riggs shouts “Jesus Christ!” a lot (so do some of the other characters, actually) and we also get boobs. Jesus, boobs, gun battles, stuff blowing up real good. Riggs begins the film bitter and angry; the film ends with him coming to terms with those emotions and eliminating them from his psyche. You bring the widescreen Blu-Ray, I’ll bring the popcorn.

Sometimes you have to look below the surface to find the value of something that, on the surface, appears to have no redeeming value at all. These are but two examples; there are others, I’m sure.

I’d rather watch “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon” rather than listen to Jimmy Stewart shout, “Merry Christmas, movie house!” for the umpteenth time. In one of these alternative Christmas movies, a bell ringing doesn’t mean an angel gets wings, it usually means the hero has shown up to kick some ass.

So, yes, “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon” are Christmas movies, and one should not be ashamed of watching them during the season. You may not want to watch when the kids are awake, though. Or maybe you’ll let you son watch with you and start a new father/son Christmas tradition. (But don’t tell Mom!)

My Take on Phil Robertson, Or: Christians Need to WAKE UP!!

Everybody get out your guns and point them at me, because I’m about to say something scandalous. I have no love for the Robertson family or their duck show. Seeing them on television makes me understand why Elvis put a bullet through one of his television sets back in the day. I don’t know what it is. I find them unpleasant. I hate their beards.

My roommate, however, is a huge fan of the duck show, and I often have no choice but to see at least some of it, and that makes me an expert on anything related to their public efforts. Heck, Phil Robertson might make a similar statement based on the same sketchy foundation as I have.

Speaking of Phil, he said some things recently that have made a small portion of the population very upset. That portion has wielded its influence and he has been removed from further participation in the duck show till further notice. There is a larger portion of the population very upset about his removal, and they are in the process of speaking their mind and wielding their own influence, the effect of which we don’t fully know yet.

I’m not going to repeat what Phil said. Google is your friend, and you’ll find either the exact words he used or a bastardization from a website representing the opposite point of view. I’m sure you’re smart enough to figure it all out.

What I will add is that I don’t disagree with Phil, for the most part; however, I disagree with the opinion among Christians today that the biggest problems in the world are abortion and homosexuals. That seems to be all they (we–I’m one of them) talk about. Abortion is bad, homosexuals are bad, and Obama is the anti-Christ; somewhere along the way, somebody named Jesus walked the earth and said some things but that isn’t as important as talking about how bad abortion and homosexuals are.

I don’t mean to attack the church, per se. What I mean to attack, via the above sarcasm (because one of you isn’t going to get it), is an attitude that has developed where we focus on what we consider the “major sins” while ignoring others, and watering down what the Christian message (redemption and a relationship with God) is all about. I wish Christians got just as upset about the “other” sins as they do about the so-called “major” sins (the Bible makes no such separation, by the way), because everybody in church knows that the person they sit next to is more than likely not a homosexual nor have they ever had an abortion, so those topics are easy to bring up.

What is not easy to bring up, but what the Bible describes as equally awful, are the following (and this is not an exhaustive list): gossiping; gluttony (seriously–nobody in church is skinny these days); selfishness; sleeping with people who are not your spouse; going to web sites you have no business going to (I’m looking at the men now); having a “poor me” attitude that brings others down; anger; jealousy; rage; alcoholism (the Bible doesn’t say don’t drink; it says don’t get drunk, because being drunk can damage your body); addiction (drugs, sex, etc.); being careless with your money (Dave Ramsay has made a fortune off Christians who can’t handle their money and weep about being in debt!); and being a phony, as there are some people who only go to church because they have no idea what to do at a bar.

Where is the righteous indignation about those sins?

But, wait, this is about Phil Robertson being shamed for his views, you say. Of course is it. We’re in a dangerous time right now where Christian religious expression is suppressed while Miley Cyrus is allowed to do disgusting things on television with little or no consequence. The press is careful not to offend Muslims, but then attacks Christians who speak out. (Perhaps Christians need to start crashing planes into buildings, starting with MTV headquarters; maybe then we’ll get some respect.) I understand, but while it is the point, it’s also not the point, because Christians have a problem. We’re too focused on what we hate on the “outside” of the church while ignoring our problems “inside” the church, and it’s rotting the church from within. We cannot be a light to the world if we’re drowning in our own filth; going on TV, or any other public forum, to talk about other problems will not make the interior issues go away. In other words, the church has a big plank in its eye, which needs to be removed before we get the speck out of our brother’s eye. Sound familiar? Those are the lyrics from a Rolling Stones song. Mick Jagger died for our sins.

I’m as upset as the next guy about what’s going on between the Robertsons, A&E, and GLAAD. It will be easy for me to boycott A&E because I already don’t watch anything on the channel. Woo hoo, I’m super spiritual. I’m more saved than you because of that. First Hallucinations, Chapter Two.

I’m tired of a watered down church that claims to teach the truth but doesn’t even get close. If the church got close to telling the truth, there would be no money for the jumbotrons in the sanctuary upon which we see the pastor practice his TV face, because every knucklehead pastor wants to get on TV. Churches have too much fancy stuff these days. It’s like walking into an Apple store. If I’m giving you my money, it better be to keep the lights on and fund overseas missions, not pay for your fancy gee-whiz garbage.

Abortion and homosexuals are not the problem; a fallen world is the problem. If the world had not fallen, there would be no need for a Redeemer. Instead of talking about what we think the problem is, we need to talk about the message of Jesus. We need to take people to the Redeemer and let them make the decision. As we are in the Christmas season, there is no better time to do so. I would like to know what would have happened had Phil stuck to a gospel-style message instead of getting specific; perhaps the same thing; perhaps not. We’ll never know now because both sides are in a staring contest. And that is always productive.

Dreams Upon a Rocketship

Perhaps you can understand when I say that as I get closer to 40, I’m starting to think about years gone by more and more, usually with “what if I had done something different” in mind, and this article about a boy who wants to be an astronaut made me think about how, at his age, I wanted almost the same thing. Six-year-old Connor Johnson who has started one of those White House petitions to save NASA. All he wants to do is fly in space some day, but as of right now, he’ll be lucky to get halfway there in a military jet, should humans still be flying military jets when he’s old enough. Maybe he can fly into space with the Chinese.

I was like Connor once. You would have to ask my parents to be sure but I don’t think I ever wanted to be an astronaut. I sure had an interest in the U.S. space program and devoured any and all information I could find on our efforts at the time (the 1980s) and the past. Popular Mechanics regularly ran features on what future NASA missions would look like, with speculation ranging from fancy and advanced space ships to colonies on Mars. I ate that stuff up. The 21st Century was going to be amazing!

I was born well after the moon missions. In my lifetime we’ve had Skylab, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. And now, basically, the ISS is all we have. American space exploration is pretty much kaput. We ride in Russian rockets, as guests, to the ISS. How ironic.

Which is why it made me a little sad to see Connor’s story. He can dream all he wants, but he doesn’t live in a country that goes into space any more. Even if we could still go, there isn’t a real reason to do so. The moon missions were more for beating the Soviets there than anything else, although “we came in peace for all mankind” was a great sound bite. What we really needed to do was show the Russians that we had superior rocket technology that could not only fly us to the moon, but power our nuclear missiles as well. We can say the same thing about the space shuttle. Conquering space proved we could conquer other places too, like, oh, the Soviet Union, should the need arise. It was all about the Cold War whether you like it or not.

I suppose even today it’s important that the U.S. stay on the cutting edge of space technology, but it appears more important to move NASA funding over to food stamps because missions to Mars won’t keep socialists elected.

And we really should be concerned about the Chinese moon mission. It didn’t get enough press. It’s more proof that America is fading as a world power. We used to own space; now, the foreigners are taking over (sound familiar?). Humans will land on Mars someday, but in ships launched from China and India. Maybe some Americans will be on board one of those ships (for old time’s sake), but perhaps China and India will have enough money to tell us to stay home. It’s a dream-killing sad state of affairs. But, wow, I sure remember being a six year old who dreamed of space travel. Poor Connor Johnson, who will also never see the America I grew up in, was born too late. Then agian, so was I.

Don’t you Dare Talk Healthcare for the Holidays!

This is really a new low for President Box o’Rocks, and that’s saying a lot.

Not only is he corrupting the country and bringing us down to a level below Canada, now he wants to hijack Christmas. He wants his Kool-Aid drinking minions to talk about how great Obamacare is during Christmas dinner. His operatives have also provided talking points and strategery for those who may have a hard time getting the conversation started. The talking points are printer-friendly, too, so you can print them on recycled paper which I will then snatch out of your hand to wipe my rear end with, because I have two words for anybody who is jazzed about doing their part for the president:

F*** you. F*** Obama. And f*** you again.

I’ve really had it this time.

Obama, what on earth makes you think this is a good idea? Is your agenda and ideology all that you think of? What am I saying, of course it is! And this tactic proves it. I bet you have your chest puffed out and you’re strutin’ ’round really pleased with this bit of ingenuity.

You’re a Grinch, plain and simple.

Be advised. If anybody within five feet of me during this holiday season even dares to talk to me about Obamacare, you’re gonna get a mouthful that will make you weep. I will make you feel so low you’ll have to jump off a curb to commit suicide. And when I make your momma cry too, I’ll tell her she should have had an abortion. I’ll tell her that her own mother should have had an abortion to spare us the misery.

I’ve really, really had it this time.

All I want to do is relax and enjoy my holiday and the coming end of the year where we get to reflect and start fresh in January. January always smells new, and I look forward to it like one looks forward to a rare steak. I will not tolerate anything that gets in the way, but progressive idiots seem hell-bent on doing just that.

Well two can play at this game.

The problem, Obama, is that you announced your plan. Others refined your plan. This is why you’re stupid. Now the opposition can prepare.

I encourage all of you to be prepared.

Of course, it’s one thing to talk, it’s another to actually act, and I daresay even the most left-leaning radicals among our families will bother. Deep down I think even they know this is a dumb idea, but there’s always a ringer. Always a ringer. So be prepared for the ringer. Let him have it. And then conk him over the head and cut off his beard. Lefty “males” always have beards. The women, too.

There’s Always a Scrooge

So I was almost arrested last Saturday for causing a whole heap o’ trouble. About 20 church friends and I flash-mobbed three places to sing Christmas carols, and nothing but joy was spread at the first two places. Ninety-percent of the audience ignored us but 10% joined in. You’ll always find a Scrooge somewhere, though, and when we arrived at the food court of the local outlet mall and began our six-minute routine, the grumpy food-court manager bah-humbugged his way to a telephone and called the fuzz.

Cops were already at the outlet mall to catch people stealing stuff so it didn’t take long for them to get there, all of one officer, and not a large one at that. The manager came out while we were in the middle of “Joy to the World”, went up to the nearest female in our group (of course, because women are allegedly easier to intimidate than males), and said, “We can’t allow this.” I wasn’t close enough to hear the entire exchange, but basically m’lady told Scrooge that we only had one song left and then we’d be gone. “This is against our policy,” he said. Or something. He turned to the cop to appeal for some law and order, because the Christians are making trouble, you know. But the cop shrugged. “What do you want me to do? Let ‘em finish.” The manager went away in a huff. The cop wandered to a corner and watched us for the remainder of the routine, presumably to make sure we didn’t start knocking over tables or set the place on fire in the name of the Lord.

If I may be allowed a digression, let me say that I finally have respect for one of the carols we sang, “Little Drummer Boy,” whereas previously I hated that song the way some people hate spiders. But have you ever looked at the lyrics? It’s not a bad song once you realize how much rum is in it.

Christmas is a funny time of year, with a split personality. On one hand it’s a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, who, if you actually line up the ancient calendar with our own (or so I read once), was born closer to the middle of August. But nobody wants to be holy during bikini season so the calendar makers decided Christmas should be at the end of the year when it’s bitch-ass cold. It started as a pagan holiday, as everybody knows, but the Christians stole it from the pagans, the department stores  stole it from the Christians, and now the atheists want to steal it from everybody.

On the other hand Christmas is a time when capitalism shines and reveals that we as a people really are just evolved monkeys with limited brain capacity. Stores turn on the big flashy signs and find ways to attract customers who buy all kinds of junk and sometimes kick, stab, and shoot their way through other customers to get to the junk. We fought a war to free ourselves from the British only to enslave ourselves to Best Buy. That’s ‘Murica!

I prefer the first hand rather than the other, but not everybody shares my beliefs, and my Jewish friends have their own thing going on, too, and I’m not going to interfere with that, so the dichotomy we must live with.

Christmas is a tough season for a lot of people, for a variety of reasons, and we need not review the causes of stress this year that stem from items in the news cycle. I can’t even address half of the personal issues people deal with that make one depressed, but I understand them.

And because of monkeys racing after junk and the things that make people depressed, it seems to me that we need as many people from the first hand to get involved as possible to try to show not only the other point of view but also display the kind of love and goodwill that Jesus told us we’re supposed to share. It can’t hurt. But there’s always a Scrooge. He’s like death and taxes, really. One must learn to deal with him in a way that, you know, doesn’t get you thrown in jail or cause you to die while choking on vomit or watching 2 Broke Girls. I think we dealt with our Scrooge in a peaceful way, but I don’t think he got the message. Like the police officer, he could have chosen not to make a fuss and let us sing. Maybe by the end of the season he’ll understand. If not, there’s always next year.

 

BRIAN DRAKE is the author of The Rogue Gentleman, a thriller in the tradition of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. Follow him on Twitter.

The California GOP Has a Mexican!

Here in California the race for governor is already starting. So far, Tea Party candidate Tim Donnelly has announced his candidacy, and State Senator Abel Maldonado has also put up a website announcing his intentions to run for the big chair in Sacramento. There are murmurs among my Tea Party pals that Mr. Donnelly is going to have an uphill battle and won’t be endorsed by the state GOP Establishment. They expect Mr. Maldonado, the alleged less-conservative choice, to get the official nod, the money, the support, etc., etc., yes we can.

When you think about it, that actually makes sense. Maldonado may indeed by the only chance the GOP has to win California (they’ll say), and all they need are fancy Establishment slogans meant to show the Democrats and the fruits and nuts in California that this isn’t Your Father’s Republican Party, such as:

Maldonado: We have a Mexican, too.

Maldonado: He Knows What it’s Like to be One of You

Or they can capitalize on his first name, Abel, and say:

Abel Maldonado: Our Mexican Sounds Like an Arab….Double the Diversity!

This is the path I expect the CA GOP to take. Why? Because apparently the GOP isn’t interested in governing, or standing up for the Constitution, or any of that other red, white, and blue rubbish we hear so often from the Tea Party (it actually gets a little old after awhile, guys). What the GOP wants is the status quo. We certainly see that in Congress. Don’t rock the boat, just go along with token resistance, and we’ll get back in charge of the money and spend it our way soon enough.

The Party itself has become a business. Right now, business is bad. The media tells us that conservatives are going to further ruin the business, and the Establishment has eaten that up. They regularly attack Tea Party candidates. In Virginia, where Hilary’s Man just won the state seat, the local Establishment refused to fund the conservative opposition. What does that tell you?

All people like Karl Rove and John McCain want is to be in charge of the money. We note that when the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, they quickly outspent the Democrats. Nobody ever talks about that. Fiscal responsibility? Not when we’re in charge!

Maldonado talks a good game. He doesn’t like California’s tax code, which keeps small businesses from creating jobs, bla bla bla, yes we can, etc. As Captain Kirk once said, I’m laughing at the superior intellect. Maldonado won’t stand a chance against the Democrat machine which has convinced Hispanic voters, the ones the GOP obviously wants, that Republicans are not their friends, and nationwide the GOP will get its clock cleaned for the next 10 to 15 years while they figure out this strategy of running lukewarm candidates will not achieve anything but more ridicule. We’ve seen the failures of extremists like Michelle “God Told Me to Marry my Husband” Bachman and nimrods like Todd “That Thing Just Shuts Down” Aiken and that “I’m Not a Witch” lady whose name I have forgotten and I’m too lazy to look up because who gives a crap, so now we’re going to run the center-left candidates to balance it out.

Donnelly won’t stand a chance against his own party, never mind the left. They won’t even bother with him because the GOP will take him out.

And in the end either Moonbeam Brown gets another term, or some other Moonbeam replacement will get the big chair; California will remain a firmly blue state, and more Californians will leave (a lot already are) and infect previously red states with their blue sensibilities (hello, Colorado!) and further ruin the nation.

But at least the California GOP has a Mexican.

Finally.

 

BRIAN DRAKE is a 20-year broadcast veteran in California and the author of The Rogue Gentleman, a thriller in the tradition of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. Follow him on Twitter.