america

I’m a Registered Non-Voter

Let’s fix this fucker up.

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate consisting of hundreds of different publications spreading Truth throughout the world. From time to time we will reprint articles from our sister publications which our editorial staff have deemed particularly important or relevant to the modern world and of exceptionally high quality. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana, following the November midterm elections. It is penned by frequent contributor and renowned humanitarian Jake Besco.

To the Editor of the Greensburg Observer,

As another election season has come and gone, it’s important to take time to consider how lucky we are to live in a country where anybody, no matter how humble their origins or nakedly self-serving their ambitions, can become super rich and impose their will on the nation by spending gargantuan sums of money. As Adam Smith once wrote, campaign contributions and corporate media propaganda are the very foundation of any healthy capitalist democracy. It’s Freedom with a capitalist F. The troops (thank you for your service, etc.) may fight for our freedom, and we may love our freedom, but it is these glorious citizens who get our freedom. Let us thank our holy and inspired founding fathers for giving us such a precious gift as the right to choose which party stooge gets to root around America’s cookie jar this year.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time you give up, stop pretending you have any voice and join me in giving it all the middle finger.

Fellow citizens, I’m a registered non-voter. I have been ever since I started not voting at the age of 18. Every election Tuesday I take some time off work, fire up the ol’ Chevy and drive down to the polling place. I wait in line (no cutting!), fill in a few bubbles on a blank sheet of paper to simulate the physical stresses of voting and then leave.

Yep. That’s it. Hardcore non-voting.

Why go to all this trouble? To prove I’m not just being lazy. Let me be clear: no voting occurs during this whole empty act. I am simply scribbling on a piece of paper I brought with me. This is my way of pissing on the whole process without feeling like a piece of crap, or at least without feeling like a lazy piece of crap. I like to call it active cynicism.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking. Why oh why? You have a civic responsibility, Jake! Do you know how many people would kill/have died for the right to vote? Don’t complain when the person you don’t like gets elected!

Let me be clear: fuck off.

In America, we get our choice of laws like people at Golden Corral get their choice of food. There’s a whole lot of every kind of food, and it’s all shit. In every election there is a 99% chance a person I don’t like will get elected and only watered-down, filler-stuffed laws I don’t give a shit about will reach a meaningful vote in Congress. The best I can hope for in this situation is the person I dislike less getting elected, the buffet equivalent of a C+ chicken noodle soup I can stomach for an entire bowl.

Note that I said something will come along. Someone never, ever comes along. Every generation must learn this fact the hard way by caring about a candidate, getting them elected and then realizing that they’re essentially the same as everyone else. Barack Obama is the Millennial Generation’s version of this. His crime isn’t that he’s done anything any worse than other politician, it’s that he led us to believe he was different from other politicians. When he finally got into office and showed us that he was just a typical career politician, it was like when you compare the burger you get in real life to the one you saw in the restaurant’s ad. He’s a match.com date whose picture looked like a 10 but turned about to be a 4 when you finally met. Perhaps he wouldn’t have seemed so bad if he had sold himself as just another career politician, but he was supposed to be something different.

Although, I suppose, if I’m really honest with myself, what I really hate about elections isn’t so much the candidates, as the people who elect them. The candidates are just a reflection in our collective mirror, being what they are because that’s what works in elections. Anyone who spoke their mind and advocated real change on real issues would not get elected. Ever. What I’m saying is I despise our process because I despise voters—that is to say decent, hardworking “folks” like you and me, your average Joes, your straight shooters, the teeming, gelatinous client base of Wal-Mart. These are folks with good old-fashioned values, the kind of people who care about the price of gas and their local sports team more than civil rights or flaws in our justice system. They lap up pandering slogans, rhetorical tricks and nipple slips like hogs at a trough of half-fermented slops.

I refuse to be a folk. I demand to be manipulated in a sophisticated way. Don’t just pull on my goddamn strings and expect me to dance. I’m not a goddamn monkey. I just evolved from goddamn monkeys. Folks don’t even have the dignity of being difficult to manipulate. Just memorize a list of talking points containing “opinions” like finding strength and guidance in one’s faith, enjoying hard work and vigorous competition, glorifying the past, all the lessons learned from having come from humble beginnings, acting like the Constitution is holy scripture, rabidly supporting small business, having your cake and eating it too with taxes, etc. Did I mention gas prices? Throw as wide of a net as possible, throw in some argument-ending kill words like “socialist” or “racist” to describe your opponent and reel the folks onto your boat, flopping around naked and suffocating before you lop their empty heads off.

But this is not news. Plenty of people know it. In their hearts, even the folks know it. What bothers me is that people don’t have the common decency to lapse into pit of active cynicism like myself. They process way too seriously. They still hoot and holler when politicians don’t deliver and/or break their promises. Really, though, what did you expect? Politicians are people whose primary motivation in life is the accumulation of as much power as possible. Who could you possibly trust less with a whole shit ton of power than someone willing to say anything to get it? It’s like trusting a junky with your stash or an alcoholic with your booze.

When these people say they want to give back, make America strong again, etc., all they’re saying is they want to stick their dick in the proverbial American pie. They’re whispering sweet nothings in Lady Liberty’s ears to get into her pants. But, unlike most women who have repeatedly had their trust violated, she just keeps coming back for more.

Hugs and Kisses,

Jake Besco

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Wake Up America! (Part IV)

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate. From time to time, NFFHC will reprint articles from our sister publications which the editorial staff have deemed of exceptionally high quality and particularly important or relevant to the modern world. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana. It is the last in a four part series of letters on the topic from American citizen and freelance man-of-letters Randy Miller.

The Last Bastion of American Freedom

Dear Editor,

Well fellow citizens, it looks like the powers that be have “won” the battle of my trial. Your’s truly, Randy Miller, Citizen, is now Randy Miller, Inmate #401L435. It’s alright, though. Heck, I could use some from time. It’ll give me a chance to really delve deep into my scholarly research. Oh yes, old Randy is doing just fine. Don’t you worry about him.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I feel really sorry for Mr. Miller. Here in this mixed up, crazy place we call the modern world, we have a rare example of a man who actually stands up for what he believes, for his freedom, and what do they do to him? They thrown him in prison.” None of that is untrue fellow citizens, but I’m telling you: don’t feel bad. As you are all probably aware by now, this is no longer a free country. A handful of leftist radicals have done their best to destroy every last thing freedom loving patriots hold dear, and I am really just another one of their many victims. We’re all their victims, really. It’s just more obvious with me. All I can say is don’t feel sorry for me. As luck (destiny?) would have it, I just happen to have discovered a little pocket of liberty which the oligarchy that rules this country has failed to squash.

Where is this paradise, you ask? An obscure island off the coast of Alaska? A time machine?  An off the grid, self-sufficient, walled-in compound in rural Montana with an entirely gold-based economy, and daily, mandatory firearms practice and marching drills for all citizens aged four and up? Nope. Wrong on all counts fellow citizens. I’m talking, of course, about prison!

As some of the savvier readers of my letters may know, the American prison system is the envy of the world. America imprisons more citizens per capita than any other nation on Earth. In fact, for every  100,000 citizens in this country there are a robust 716 Americans behind bars, and this number is projected to grow in the years to come as the privately run prison industry lobbies the government for increasingly punitive laws. To put this in perspective, our freedom-depriving, draft-dodger-infested neighbor to the north, Canada, imprisons an anemic 114 per 100,000. Can you believe that? How can a nation be free if it’s not free of law-breakers?

By now I’m sure some of my more narrow-minded readers are thinking, “Wait a minute Randy, is that really a good thing? I mean, nobody wants to go to prison.” Sigh. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a common misconception perpetrated by the Liberty-stalking hippies and Quakers of this country that prison is a bad thing and that it restricts your Liberty. In fact, it does quite the opposite. It’s sort of like that thing where Iceland is the green one and Greenland is the icy one, presumably the work some medieval expert consultant from the PR and Marketing Guild.

So how is prison good for personal freedom? Well, for one thing, consider the prison economy. As far as I can tell, it is the only truly free market, laissez-faire economy on Earth. People here use their free time in the productive pursuits of their choice with little to no interference from the guards. And even when they do interfere, you can get around that through a good, old-fashioned bribe.

The entire economy is built on the currency of the cigarette standard, which, unlike fiat currencies used by countries like America, actually has use and underlying value beyond that dictated into it by the powers that be. On top of that, there are no taxes to speak of, be they income, sales, value-added or whatever. If I make 100 cigarettes in a day through my productive labors, I will keep 100 cigarettes and may spend them as I wish, free from government worms burrowing their way in for a cut.

I haven’t been this excited in years. I feel like Dagny Taggart uncovering John Galt’s secret mountain hideout in Colorado. Everyone here is paid by the value they provide and nothing more or less. The other day I earned 20 cigarettes for providing a fellow inmate instruction as to how to properly stitch a minor shanking wound and spent those cigarettes on a well worn James Madison biography and instruction in the making of the prison beverage known as Pruno.

It’s inspiring to see people who, on the outside, chose a life of crime, come here and suddenly their whole outlook changes. No more crime. No more tricks. No stifling regulation from the Boys in Washington sucking our blood. Just people driving themselves to heroic new levels of production and usefulness. Where an outsider may see a stick or toothbrush, an inmate will see a potential shiv and profit. Where an outsider may see half a bottle of cranberry juice, some old peaches and a steel toilet, an inmate sees a business opportunity. Why, if your average person on the outside had half their gumption, we could conquer China tomorrow.

Oh, and you know what else? The prison economy is roaring. Guess what the unemployment rate is in our fine prison? Surprise, surprise: zero percent. Without a government and their schmoozing cronies taking a cut of everyone’s cigarettes, we are motivated to work to our full potential. As a result, the prison hall is a hotbed of small business entrepreneurship. Toilet vinters, drug mercantilists, weapons smiths, personal trainers. And let me tell you, what Pruno lacks for in quality of ingredients it more than makes up for with the sweet taste of freedom added to it.

I’d also like to point out that every man is employed in useful labors, too. Doing laundry, making license plates, cooking meals, trading goods, etc. Not one gets to leech off society by somehow trying to get paid for doing something silly and unproductive like painting or making music. With exception of tattooing, the “arts” are virtually nonexistant here. Without government grants and university professorships, those types have no way to support themselves without getting people to pay for their wares on the open market. And you know what people are willing to pay for that rubbish? Nothing!

We need the government for virtually nothing here. Even policing and protection are controlled through private enterprise. I myself pay for protection from an extremely scary-looking group of guys through cigarettes and some personal services.

In a free society such as this you’ll also come to notice that there’s a different culture of interpersonal interactions. For one thing, there is zero political correctness. People here know how to call a spade a spade. A is A and the Aryan Brotherhood is me. Right now I’m not technically a member, but I’ve done some work for them, and I am a proud Christian male of Northern European descent. I like their style and they like mine. And that’s just how it is in prison. The old racial segregations are alive and well, as if the hippies never happened. Everyone knows their place and that’s just how it is.

My Aryan Brothers have a real commitment to old-fashioned Christian values, too. The other day they beat the snot out of some the Muslim inmates for no reason (other than that they were Muslim. In this man’s America, that’s enough. You don’t have to wait for them to bomb a skyscraper or shoot up a school before doing something about it. Now that’s freedom of religion! Guys in the joint don’t hide their Christianity either. Instead they put it right out in the open for all to see. My roommate Frank has a giant cross that covers up the whole of his back. Can I get an amen brother?!

It’s going to be hard to leave this place. It really is. I’ve got 5-10 years, but I’ll probably get kicked out in three for “good behavior” knowing the hippies they install on parole boards nowadays. My fellow Americans, I urge you to write your congressman tell him to support our prison system. Right now it’s still going strong, but you know the powers that be would love to rip their fangs in and nationalize it, turning it into one of those socialist prisons in Norway.

God Bless,

Randy Miller, Citizen

Wake Up America! (Part II)

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate. From time to time, NFFHC will reprint articles from our sister publications which the editorial staff have deemed of exceptionally high quality and particularly important or relevant to the modern world. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana. It is the second in a four part series of letters on the topic from American citizen and freelance man-of-letters Randy Miller.

So This is What Has Become of Our Justice System

To the Editor and Readers of the Greensburg Observer,

Liberty. Justice. God. Country. These are the principles the Almighty handed down to our founding fathers, first through the Declaration of Independence and later through that divinely inspired document THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I have always tried to live my life true to the Constitution and the principles it enshrines. I exercise the full measure of my legal rights. I seek vengeance where vengeance is due. And, most of all, I worship my God and my country. I even carry around a pocket copy of the Constitution to enlighten coworkers and cashiers at Wal-Mart. Sadly, sadly, sadly, these days it seems as if our glorious country has lost its way.

Let me give you an example of what “freedom” means to the powers that be in this country right now. The other day, in what in hindsight seems a bit ill-advised, I attempted to instill my sense of wonder, pride and duty towards America and its Constitution in my sons Reagan and F-150 by taking them to the courthouse. My plan was for them to sit in on a hearing I had for some trumped up charges about lacking the proper permits to satisfy our local bureaucratic overlords. (As a side note, since when do I need permission from the nanny state to heal my own kin, or my neighbor Joe and his daughter’s chinchilla, two consenting adults? I swear, they’re going to require a breathing license sooner or later.)

Anywho, a big reason for taking my sons was I wanted them to see the proper way to represent oneself in court, a skill they will no doubt find useful later in life. They are citizens, like any other, after all. They have the rights conferred by the Constitution and the God-given talent in their brains. I wanted them to see what real citizens do. For one thing, like performing your own appendectomies, representing yourself in court can be a real money saver, particularly with civil issues. More importantly, though, my sons don’t need to be beholden to some so-called “legal professional” provided to them by the very same state machinery that is trying to steal their freedom. You ever really thought about that, by the way? Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!

Anywho, they were hearing other cases before mine, so I decided we should sit in on a trial down the hall to warm them up for witnessing the thrill of republican government in action. This turned out to be a big mistake. As avid readers of my prolific catalogue of letters to the editor are no doubt aware, part of bearing witness in a court of law is the act of “swearing in” before our Creator, the Lord Almighty God, upon His divinely inspired instrument the Holy Bible. All witnesses are supposed to swear that they will tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, so help them God. But here’s where it gets ridiculous. At court that day I witnessed what no doubt had George Washington and Jesus shaking their heads in unison up in heaven. I swear to Ben Franklin, I’ve ever seen anything like it. This joker—hippie fellow by the look of him—came up there and insisted, I kid you not, that he was an atheist and did not want to swear on the Bible.

Now, I would think that’s enough right there to discredit whatever he says. I mean, punishment for perjury under the laws of men are nothing compared to punishment from God, right? But here’s the kicker. This clown of a judge lets the guy do it. I mean, I guess you see some ridiculous things in court. This is why we need governments in the first place, to keep guys like this in check. But if a judge—an officer of the court sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, mind you—won’t stop him, what protection do ordinary folks like you and me have from bottom feeders like this? But no, this judge—I couldn’t freakin’ believe it—just has the bailiff ask the guy to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and “nothing but the truth” so help him nothing. What the heck is that? Talk about a legal loophole!

Needless to say, this got ol’ Randy a bit riled up. I practically tripped over myself ushering Reagan and F-150 out of the courtroom as quickly as I could, embarrassed I had even brought them. What’s worse, though—and I’m still a little ashamed to admit it—is for the first time in my life, I was embarrassed to be Citizen of this country that we once called America. For a second, I considered just giving little Ray Ray and Half Ton some money and telling them to go wait for me in the courthouse cafeteria. That’s how much this had shaken my faith in our nation. Once we were out of that snake pit, though, I realized that if I did that, just gave up like that, I would be letting my sons down by letting these people win. I knew what I needed to do was to fire back, to show these kids what makes our country the greatest in the world: righteous Christian citizens standing up for their righteous rights.

I led my kids down the hall to my courtroom and procured some paper. For the next 35 minutes I sat in the back of that courtroom writing on various jury duty informational pamphlets like a man possessed. Ah, heck. I wasn’t like a man possessed. I was a man possessed, possessed with the holy spirit of the United States Constitution! Surely no coincidence, just as I put the finishing touches on my speech, I heard the bailiff call my name (divine inspiration works like that). I got up and strode confidently to the front, ready to meet my destiny and God’s plan.

Now, as readers of my letters are no doubt aware, I am generally a man of law and order. I vote. I own a firearm. I try to slow down in school zones. However, as Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” So while I respect the rule of law and hold in high esteem the judges who enforce it, there was no way I was going to respect judge joker and his crew of merry pranksters that the powers that be had installed on my case. And you better be sure I wasn’t about to give up that most essential of liberties, freedom of speech, just so the judge would take it easy me.

I was ready to fight.

So anywho, this judge, he comes out in his big black robe, with his tie and his slicked back hair and a look you would have had to see to believe. I mean, pompous doesn’t begin to describe it. What really drove me up the wall, though, was this itty-bitty smirk he got on his face every time I spoke, as if hearing the Truth was somehow amusing, as if our great nation were just some joke to him. Sadly, I’m sure it is all a joke to him.

So this judge, he started by asking some basic information: where I live, my education, etc. I told him I was going to take the Fifth on my address since you never who might be listening in that courtroom, and that I had a 26th grade education as of January, mostly done by independent study after the 10th grade. By my count that should be enough for a couple PhDs, far more than this judge’s mere JD, though I would never be so full of myself as to ask people to call me doctor (or doctors really).

Then he asks me if I have an attorney. You have no idea how much this bothers me.

“No your honor, I do not and I do not need one,” I proclaimed without a moment’s hesitation. “I am a proud citizen and patriot of this great nation and a scholar of the history of its government. I am fully capable of representing myself like any self-respecting American should be and don’t need any help from you or the state.”

“You do know you have a right to an attorney in a proceeding such as this Mr. Miller?” the judge replies in the most patronizing voice I probably will ever hear. “If you cannot afford an attorney, one can be provided for you. It’s free, in other words.”

“Yes, I’m aware,” I say. “Your honor, I have ample experience representing myself before this Court and many others. I wouldn’t want an attorney if the government paid me to take one.” (By the way, I’m sure paying you to take a public defender isn’t that far off for the minorities and the gays and all those other so-called “oppressed” peoples.)

“Very well Mr. Miller,” he said, rolling his arrogant eyes. Talk about unprofessional. Quite frankly, the nerve of this guy was astonishing.

So anywho, next the judge asks if I understood the charges against me. Heck, I wasn’t sure he understood the charges against me. What follows is word for word exactly what I said. It comes from the court’s transcript, which I, of course, requested afterwards. There were a couple typos the court reporter probably “accidentally” let in there at the behest of the judge to score political points, but I managed to clean it up.

“Your honor,” I began, “Two hundred and thirty seven years ago a man named George Washington stood accused, just like me. They said he had committed treason, that he refused to pay taxes, that he stood in open insurrection against his rightful leader. Now, do you know what he did, because I have serious doubts? Did he come crawling back to King George, begging for forgiveness? ‘Oh, please, massa King George, give us more of your wonderful taxes. I’m so sorry. I loves me some taxes!’ No. Did he cower in the dark, hoping the storm would pass? ‘Oh, please, King George don’t hurt me.’ No. Fellow citizens—even you, your honor—he rose up! He stood for Liberty, and he didn’t sit down until he had created a little something called the United States of America, the greatest country there has ever been or ever will be.”

“Mr. Miller,” the judge interrupted, “All I’m asking is whether you understand the charges against you. You’re not accused of treason or tax evasion or anything besides practicing medicine without a license.”

“Your honor, if you’d bothered to let me finish, you’d see that I am answering your question. I’m just trying to give the court a little context. I mean, isn’t that what’s missing from today’s 24-hour-news-saturated, fast food world, just a little context?”

“Fine, Mr. Miller, proceed, but make it quick. This isn’t my only case today.”

“Thank you, your honor. Liberty. Justice. God. Country. These are the guiding principles we inherited from our Founding Fathers, who were granted them by Almighty God.” I didn’t realize it until some heads turned, but I was nearly shouting in my ecstatic passion for this great land. “These principles are enshrined in our Constitution, a constitution which is the Supreme Law of the Land, mind you, one to which this this court supposedly subject.

“Excuse me, Mr. Miller?” the judge interrupted again.

I try to ignore him and keep going. “Your honor, in the words of Ronald Reagan, America’s greatest modern President and one of the finest leaders the world has ever known: ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.’

I could hear people shuffling out of the courtroom at this point, no doubt uncomfortable in hearing this Truth as a man coming out of a cave would be sensitive to sunlight. But I took heart that such men will adjust so long as the light remains. I continued.

“So, your honor,” I said with a subtle trace of sarcasm that, no doubt, went right over this judge’s head, “To answer your question, NO! I do not understand the charges against me. Yes, I understand the meaning of the words. I understand the dictionary definition of the crime with which you are attempting to pin me. But no, I do not understand the ways of men who unjustly accuse and imprison the righteous. Those who would attempt to cage the wings of Liberty, the men who would not let the eagle soar like she’s never soared before, deserve neither liberty or exotic pets.”

I let those words hang in the air for effect. The courtroom was stricken with a raucous, cacophonous silence. The man in the back row who had not left was in an apparent state of shock to see such a passion. The judge, too, was speechless, no doubt unaccustomed to such a fight. For at least 10 or 20 seconds all he could do was rub his temples, attempting to think of where he could possibly go now.

“Mr. Miller, are you finished?” the judged finally asked.

“I will never be finished!”

“Just, please. How do you plead Mr. Miller?”

“I have never been guilty your honor. I am not guilty now and I will never be guilty!”

“Let the record show the Defendant has entered a plea of not guilty,” the judge said in a rushed tone. “Trial is scheduled for March 5th. This hearing is adjourned.” He swung his gavel.

Walking out of the courtroom I savored my victory, but ultimately I knew I had won a battle but not the war. My real test would come March 5th. No doubt the judge and his political cronies would regroup and restrategize by then. This might have seemed a frightening prospect to some, but I have always had faith in the people of this country. Decent, hard working folks like you and me have the heart and the common sense to fight things like this.

You may not think this affects you, but I implore you, the people of Greensburg, not to be so short-sighted. This is how it happens. First they will come for the Millers, but you will not speak up because you are not a Miller. Then they will come for you and there will be no one left to speak up! The time will soon come when you, too, are in some kangaroo court being put on display by the powers that be to score political points. Stand with me March 5th and fight. Fight for Truth. Fight for Justice. Fight for America.

God Bless,

Randy Miller, Citizen

Wake Up America! (Part I)

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate consisting of hundreds of different publications spreading Truth throughout the world. From time to time we will reprint articles from our sister publications which our editorial staff have deemed particularly important or relevant to the modern world and of exceptionally high quality. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana. It is the first in a four part series of letters from American citizen and freelance man-of-letters Randy Miller.

___________________________

To the Editor and Readers of the Greensburg Observer,

In these troubled times it seems like everyone I know, be they coworkers and friends or even my own family, has given up their God-given right to independence. Like our Founding Fathers, I have always prided myself on my ability to accomplish things with my own power and skill, relying solely on my own brain, my own elbow grease, and my own heaping serving of good, old-fashioned American gumption. This attitude has always served me well and is something I have always tried to instill in my children and inspire in my acquaintances. However, the more I attempt to evangelize this critical element of the American spirit to others, the more I realize just how sorely lacking it is in most so-called Americans today.

Take my kids. As became evident one night last month on a particularly dark and lonely stretch of I-70, not a single one of those ungrateful brats knows how to change a blown tire. On top of that, they suggested I call that prissy coddle-factory known to the lazy, teeming masses as AAA. I was even more taken aback than the time I discovered my normally dutiful wife Theresa didn’t know how to change the oil in my car (you bet your behind she knows how now). And my kids and wife are not alone. My coworker Stan conveniently claims not to know how to change the printer paper, half my neighbors call a handy man just to change a light bulb or unclog a drain, and my sister Sue paid the jackals at Geek Squad to install her new computer. My point is, in this age where we pay everyone to do everything for us, haven’t we lost a part of ourselves? My grandfather could build an entire house with a hammer or medium-sized rock, the woods out back, and a saw or well-trained beaver (which he trained himself, by the way). My brother Steve can’t even cook microwave popcorn.

Well I say we take the power back! It’s time we relearn how to do things ourselves, right? A little time invested today will reap rich dividends for the rest of your life, and in most cases I think you’ll find that it’s not as hard as it seems. Let me repeat this, because it’s important: it’s not as hard as it seems. The problem is really just that most of these so-called “professionals” out there that we hire to do things for us want to keep that a secret so decent, hardworking folks like you and me keep having to pay them outlandishly high, endlessly skyrocketing rates to do something we could easily do ourselves.

Take doctors for instance. You’re telling me it takes eight years of education and several more in on the job training to diagnose my kid’s mild concussion and hand me bottle of Tylenol? Oh, you don’t say?! I could have told Clay that myself if Sherry Harper hadn’t rushed him to the Urgent Care Center without my permission the moment he fell out of Mikey Harper’s tree house. No, the real reason they “need” so much education—the secret they don’t want to tell you—is doctors want to keep the barrier to entry as high as possible to keep you and me from trying to take a cut out of their scam. They want to maintain the status quo so they can charge me $5,000 for that “service” they rendered my son. Heck, I buy crude by the barrel and distill my own gasoline. You think I can’t do a little doctoring? I might not have a fancy-schmancy MRI machine like they ran Clay through, but I’ve got plenty of experience with concussions and a gut feeling that consistently outperforms the market. Better yet, I don’t charge anything.

And speaking of doctor education, half those eight years aren’t even attempting to appear job related either. I spent a semester in college living with one of these so-called “pre-med” students. The guy was taking zero medical classes. The closest thing in there was a biology class, so I guess he might have learned how to operate on a fruit fly or something. Heck, he even had a literature class. What, pray tell, does reading Jane Austen have to do with curing the sick? Did he not get enough of that baloney in high school? (And don’t get me started on the government taking my money to fund the brainwashing of our nation’s children at some so-called public school.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Sure Randy, I see your point about the concussion, but what about more difficult stuff like surgery? Don’t you need a professional for that? I mean people could get hurt if you screw that up.” To that my answer remains the same: it isn’t as hard as it seems.

Take removing an appendix, for example. This is a simple procedure every independent-minded, God-fearing American patriot should know. It’s basically the oil change of human surgery—a weekend to learn, a lifetime of savings. And believe me, I know. I performed preemptive appendectomies for all my kids after my wife Theresa got appendicitis and that racket down at the ER tried to charge us more than the value of our double wide to remove it. Nuh uh. I ain’t falling for that again, brother.

As to the how, the only advice I can give you is just practice, practice, practice. If you don’t feel comfortable starting on your family members, go down to the pound and pick up a couple dogs, or better yet catch some strays yourself. Their bodies aren’t exactly the same but it will definitely help you get a feel for mammalian skin and organs. Cats work, too. Our cat Boris had the squirts last week, so I opened him up for some exploratory surgery—you know, just to make sure everything looked alright. Didn’t find anything, but he took a turn for the worst later that week. I guess sometimes there are things that even surgery can’t solve, but it’s really a myth of our nation’s medical cartel that surgery is dangerous. Sure, some folks have died at some points in the past, but what they don’t tell you is that most of those people were very sick to begin with and probably would have died anyway. I mean use your brains for second people: they were in a hospital for a reason. You don’t go to the hospital when you’re feeling fine.

Oh, and before I forget, I have one other piece of practical advice: get some tarps. Don’t be a cheap ass like I was and think you can get away with just putting down newspaper. Surgery isn’t all neat and pretty and McDreamy like on TV. It’s messy as hell. You do get better with practice, of course, but it’s still going to be bloody. I suppose maybe you could tape together some trash bags or something, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh, and another thing: get a decent anesthetic. My first appendectomy on the kids I just gave little Bo a bottle of NyQuil and a couple shots of whiskey. I figured since he’s only four it wouldn’t take much to knock him out real good. It worked, but not perfectly. He was raving like a lunatic for about half an hour before he finally passed out to a surgery-ready state. And trust me, having vomit all over the operating space isn’t very sanitary. Fortunately, I later discovered that an ether soaked rag works just as well. In fact, it’s what they used to use during the Civil War, back when men were men and anyone with a little gumption and good knife could be a doctor. That’s the way to go if you can. The kids recover from it a lot quicker, and I can save some for myself for afterwards (wink, wink).

Oh, one last thing. It’s going to cost you a little extra, but a genuine medical scalpel is worth the money. That first time on Bo I used a steak knife, which I figured was designed to cut into meat, but it’s really a lot more work than you’d think and leaves a nasty scar. It was Kitchen Aid knife, too, so don’t think it didn’t work because I was just using some cheap knife I stole from the buffet. Just buy a damn scalpel. They’re like $15 on Amazon. In a pinch I bet an X-Acto knife might work, too, now that I think about it.

Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking: “Hey Randy, what about the risk of infection doctors are always going on about? Shouldn’t I get some antibiotics, too? You know, just in case?” Let me tell you why you’re wrong there. See there’s something called antibiotic resistant bacteria floating around there right now. The so-called doctors say it’s because the antibiotics just “stopped working” because we’ve used them too much and bacteria are adapting. Baloney. That’s a pretty transparent excuse if you ask me. See what’s really happening—what they don’t want you to know—is that antibiotics never really worked in the first place. Folks were starting to catch on, see, so these conmen doctors are trying to cover their tracks by concocting some bull plop about antibiotic resistant bacteria. Plus, as if that weren’t enough, I’m pretty sure antibiotics cause the autism, too. Just a got a gut feeling about it. If there’s one thing you can trust in this crazy world, it’s ol’ Randy’s gut. You can set your watch to it. Heck, I don’t even own a watch.

The fact of the matter is you don’t need antibiotics or disinfectant or anything besides just good, old-fashioned soap and water. If you do your job right and really give the dining room table (or wherever you perform your surgery) a good, thorough scrubbing, use a new tarp and run your scalpel through the dishwasher, infection shouldn’t be a problem. The human immune system is a wonderful thing, see. Left to its own devices it can fight most infections. So why not let your immune system do the work? It’s particularly strong in kids. That’s why I made sure to do the appendectomies on my young ‘uns while they were still young. Plus, kids heal quickly and give you some room for error, which you’ll probably need your first couple times.

Well, I have so much more to tell your good readers, but I’ll save it for another day seeing as I’m getting near the Observer’s word limit. Let me close by saying this one more time: it’s not as hard as it seems. You have a right to control your own destiny. Together we can save millions on all sorts of things the so-called “experts” want to make you think you’re just too dumb and ignorant to do. Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

God Bless,

Randy Miller, Citizen

Immigration Now, Immigration Tomorrow, Immigration Forever

Who cares what color a taxpayer is so long as their money is green?

Who cares if they take a job so long as they increase the output of the economy and help generate more jobs?

Who cares what their education level is so long as they perform useful work?

Who cares what their religion is so long as they’re peaceful and law-abiding?

I’m tired of people who think our immigration policy should be to burn down the bridge their family crossed just a couple generations ago. They disgrace everything this country is supposed to stand for. I’m tired of the notion that jobs in this country are a zero sum game, that for every immigrant who comes across the border a nice, hardworking, tax-paying, apple-pie-scarfing American will lose their job.

It’s not like this country was allotted 100 million jobs back in 1776 and we have been slowly eating away at that number ever since. Increased population increases the total jobs available.

Think about it. We’re afraid of China, why? Because they have such a massive population it gives them greater potential economic and military power than us. They have more people to work in their factories, more people to pilot their fighter jets, more people to think up new technologies. The only reason the US is ahead at all right now is because its economy and military are more developed. Because, mostly by an accident of history, we got a head start. It’s not the inherent wonder of the Constitution, Jeffersonianism or whatever other religion you subscribe to. Wake the fuck up. There is nothing special, holy, divinely-inspired or secret about the success of America. We have a government and culture that are relatively more supportive of economic progress and innovation than other nations, but we can’t rely on that forever. We can only win the development battle for so long when we have 1/3 the population of our rival.

Oh, but they tookerjobs!!!

Sure, I get your point. In the short term it increases competition. But when Bjorn immigrates here from Iceland and takes a job, he provides more value to the country, our country, than he is paid for. Employers agree to hire employees because they get more value from the employee’s services than they are required to pay the employee. This is the essence, the foundation, of the whole concept of employment. Businesses aren’t charities giving people jobs because it’s a nice thing to do. If employees didn’t create more value than they took, the employer would soon go under. I’m not denying there are jobs where lazy people get away with doing practically nothing, but a good employer will generally route out and fire those people and if it doesn’t eventually the market will put that company out of business (or should without intervention).

There’s really only one legitimate reason to limit immigration: lack of physical space. That is, if the country is so overpopulated that it doesn’t have the geographical area to accommodate more people without substantial difficulty. America is not even remotely close to this. Have you ever gone on a road trip out West? There are places you can drive a hundred miles without seeing so much as a house (or, lesson learned, a gas station). This country could have five times its current population and be fine. Consider this, the population density of Europe is 72.9/km2. China is 145/km2. What, on the other hand, is the US? A measly 34.2/km2. Of the 242 sovereign and dependent territories in the world, it ranks as the 180th most dense.

Closing our borders to new immigrants and hunting the illegal ones within our borders is as unnecessary and wasteful as it is cruel. Besides all the productivity, tax revenue and consumer spending we miss out on, we also waste billions in taxpayer money funding a bloated federal agency to police the border with our browner neighbors (or is it just that the border with Canada is so big we can’t afford quality enforcement?) and to root out illegal immigrants already in this country. And not only that, we lose enormous amounts of productivity putting those current citizens to work as border patrol agents and immigration officials when they could be working on more useful occupations.

Oh! Oh! But those illegals broke the law! Do we really want people willing to break our laws living in our country?!

Sigh. Besides the fact that this argument is a little circular, it’s also horribly myopic. You don’t know what it’s like to be that desperate. I guarantee most self-righteous, anti-immigration Americans would have done the same thing in the “illegal” immigrant’s position. Undocumented immigrants are willing to risk their lives in the incredibly hazardous, life-threatening process of illegal immigration. Most Americans have no concept of what that sort of desperation feels like. And besides, why wouldn’t you want someone that hungry for America in this country? They’ll appreciate it so much more and work so much harder than some lazy, fifth-generation, middle-class brat like me who has angrily complained about such first world problems as having to have a roommate in my college dorm or having to walk the half mile to school because mom wouldn’t buy me a car and I didn’t feel like getting a job.

And in any case, who really cares if they broke that law? It’s just a pretext against amnesty. Unlike people, not all laws are created equal. Illegal immigration is about on par with jaywalking in my book, and at least jaywalking has a rational basis for being illegal.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking now. But what about felons and terrorists who could come over our borders and blow up our buildings and steal our 50” flat-screen, high-def televisions and get our kids addicted to the drugs? The drugs!!!! You want to let them in, too?! Okay, okay, fine. No. They don’t sound too good, and I’d be willing to keep attempting to keep them out. All I’m really saying is there should be a legal avenue for immigration open to anyone and everyone who wants to come here and put themselves to productive, legal labor. Personally, I think our border is too big and porous to ever keep out terrorists and criminals no matter how much money we blow on border patrols and fences and drones and Directors of Homeland Security, but if you want to try I guess I don’t really care. That’s at least rational.

A legal, quota-less avenue to immigration is what I really want and what the USA really needs. The American Dream is not just for Americans. The American Dream is everyone’s dream. I want to be the America we lie to our kids about. It’s supposed to be the city on the hill, the shining beacon of human potential shouting to all the world’s citizens that they deserve better, that if they work hard and play fair they can have a life worthy of their contributions to society. The sooner we realize that the sooner we can stop wasting money on yet another hopeless American war.

Forget Media Spin, Defining the Subject is the Real Problem

People make a big deal out of media bias these days. Usually what they’re talking about is the so-called “spin” media outlets put on what they’re reporting, interpreting a story in a way that aligns with some preconceived worldview. Like when one channel describes an anti-abortion law as protecting the life of fetuses, while another describes it as attacking women’s reproductive freedoms. Let me go on the record as saying I don’t care about spin, at least not in any serious way. All but the biggest idiots are aware of its presence and choose to watch, read and listen to what they do not because they’re duped or stupid but because they like that particular spin. In other words, they’re just joining the choir with their preferred preacher. If the news they watch is tinting the world rose (or gray), they wear those rose-colored glasses because they like to see those aspects of the world in that way. Like I said, this doesn’t really bother me. What’s far more insidious, and what most people never seem to talk about, is how media outlets define what the subject is in the first place.

We’re all taking sides in the fight between A vs. B, but no one is asking who built the ring. If spin is giving you a set of rose-colored glasses, then defining the subject is grabbing your head and forcing your gaze in a certain direction. If spin preaches to the choir, then defining the subject is determining the topic of the preacher’s sermon. The difference is critical. It’s the difference between filling in a coloring book and making your own painting, the difference between a train and an airplane. It’s the difference between the repeated life and the created life. The world is a vast and complex place. For most of us, media is our primary window to the world beyond firsthand experience. Because our firsthand experiences are so limited relative to the size of the world, defining the subject can radically shape how we see the world. We are what we perceive, and when we let someone else define the landscape of the world in our minds, when we let someone else define the subjects we focus on, think about and care about, we let them define us.

This should be repulsive to anyone who values freedom, be it mental, physical, legal or economical. When people define us they mold us to suit their own purposes. We cannot be free people when we’re letting others define us. Sure, it’s unavoidable to some extent, but not even remotely to the extent most of us let it.

Think about something for a second: why do we talk and think and care and hope and hate and pray about what we do at all? Why do we notice one subject but not another? Why do we focus on one idea, one person, one event over all the billions of others in existence? Why does the water cooler only buzz with what was on TV yesterday? Why are we only donating to the one charity we saw something about on our Facebook feed? Why am I more aware of breast cancer and ALS than malaria and multiple sclerosis? Why do all the loud-mouthed blowhards at workplaces across America all spout opinions about the same subjects at the same time? Why are those same blowhards’ talking points, arguments and reasoning always the same as the other blowhards on their side? Is that the complete universe of possible ideas on the subject? Why are we only voting on stuff that our political leaders give us speeches about or debate during election season? Look, I don’t care if you vote for A or B or throw your vote away on C. What I care about is what’s on the ballot in the first place. I care about voters defining what the issues should be rather than being told what they are. I care about people considering all the worthy causes and donating time and money to what they consider the most important. I care about people spending their time, thought and effort learning about topics that really interest them. I care about all citizens determining what society’s most pressing problems are for themselves.

There are an infinite number of things to talk and think and care about, but somehow all of us are only talking and thinking and caring about the things that have been spoon fed to us. Consider the recent coverage on Ebola in the United States. Why is this a subject worthy of national attention? Sure, it’s a terrible disease and a substantial cause of human suffering, but so are a lot of things. So are a ton of things. Is it really even in the Top 1000 as far as threats faced by Americans? The media likes it because, properly framed, it can scare the hell out of viewers and boost ratings. But why should Americans be concerned about it? Certainly the pain and death it has caused in Africa is a reason for humanitarian concern. But so are white slavery, malaria, world hunger, poverty and predatory lending, but those are hardly being talked about by everyone at the office and inspiring hordes of politicians to make bold empty gestures. And in any case, it’s not like the media presents Ebola as a humanitarian concern. They present it as a threat. A threat to you. But what degree of threat is it really to anyone outside of Africa? Sure, it has a high mortality rate, but it’s not a particularly contagious disease and it’s well contained in most of the world. To date only a handful of people in America have died as a result of it. Compare that to the about 30,000 people who die in car accidents in America every year, a threat that gets zero media coverage on a national level.

Why? Why do you care about what you do? They’re leading us along like dogs on a leash and we’re wagging our tails and whining for a treat.

The consequences of this sort of thing are substantial. Besides the general dickishness of inflicting emotional pain on people for profit, it has the effect of wasting many different types of resources that could be better spent. Governments, businesses and institutions are wasting money and employees and hampering their normal operations. Politicians will blow government resources on ineffectual measures to appease a frightened populace. Hospitals will needlessly quarantine people or force unnecessary procedures to keep a paranoid public happy. Individuals are wasting their time and effort. We can only do so much. When we focus on some pointless thing like this, we take our attention away from something else we would find more worthy if only we bothered to look. You might spend your time reading tips on preventing Ebola infection or canceling your flight to Cleveland instead of reading about measures to reduce your risk of developing the prostate tumor that killed your grandfather and your uncle.

And inciting fear for ratings is hardly the only insidious way of defining the issue. Think of all the new products you don’t really need but suddenly want after seeing a news article by an “expert” predicting it’s going to be the next big thing anyone who’s anyone has. Think about all the articles, reports and stories subtly (or not so subtly) telling you want you need to wear, how you need to look, what sort of job, hobbies, friends or family life you need in order to not be an unsuccessful, pathetic, unloved “loser.” Why do you care about how you look? There are legitimate reasons, of course. Maybe you want to be stylish. That’s fine. But you should want to be stylish because you want to be stylish and not because America’s top cologne producers planted the suggestion in your head. Or why do you want to get married? Maybe you love your significant other and want to formalize the relationship with pomp and circumstance, a sweet party and some solid tax advantages. That’s fine. But you should want that because you want that and not because Crate & Barrel wants the profits from your wedding registry. Most media is a conspiracy between sellers of consumer goods and sellers of ideas, ideals and ideologies. To the media you are a commodity to be bought and sold. To politicians and pundits you are the wood that burns in the fires of power. To some you are both. As long as they’re defining your world you’re letting them sell you to the highest bidder and your flame is burning bright and clean.

So what’s a girl to do? Abandon all hope? Liquidate your possessions, triumphantly hurl your 52”, flat-screen, 1080p HD LCD TV out the window and go live in a second hand tent by Walden Pond? No. Of course not. Walden Pond is a very popular park with the 9 to 5 crowd nowadays and you’d probably get kicked out at sundown. Just be mindful. Consider the sources of your thoughts, opinions and interpretations. Consider what you’re okay with. Instead of turning on the TV news to hear what the latest things you should care about are, open up an encyclopedia and browse damn it, browse! Browse until you find something that is of interest to you. It’s still an imperfect medium, but so is everything. At least with an encyclopedia you get some meaningful choice. You’re forced to choose your own path, to shine a light on a particular part of the world yourself rather than follow the theatre spotlight you see on the stage of TV.  The news is an encyclopedia with 10 entries. Don’t hike a trail through the same existence as everyone else. Blaze your own damn trail.  Make knowledge an all you can eat buffet where you pick and choose, not some prison mess hall where you eat what they damn well tell you to.

But maybe you shouldn’t listen to any of this. After all, I was the one who pointed your focus in this direction, wasn’t I? Not you. Do you really care about this stuff or is this idea just a flashing neon sign in the night, stealing your focus like a streetlight to a moth? Maybe you should listen to them. I’m just some silly, pretentious asshole on the Internet, right? What do I know? I don’t have the experts. I don’t have any power or impressive titles. I don’t run any Fortune 500 companies. I don’t give any TED Talks. I’m not a trend setter or a thought leader. I can’t even cancel my goddamn cable. And making a route for your life is difficult. Why not let them show you the way? Why not just go listen to the news, to the politicians, to the sitcoms, to the ad agencies, to the talk radio shows and to all the other voices in our collective head telling us to burn down our souls and pay them for the ashes?

Look.

Over here!

No.

Here.

Where I’m pointing.

To me.

Me.

Not you.

I Apologize, but I Couldn’t Resist Talking About Religion (Part I)

PART I

Introduction

I’d prefer to limit the religious screeds on this site. Really, I would. Or at least I’d like to think I would. I like to think of myself as a live and let live type, that most people’s opinions would seem reasonable if you could see them through the lenses of their experiences and emotions. But I also live in a part of the country where I have the privilege of hearing blowhards at work spout their religious views all the livelong day, often taking it for granted that their entire audience agrees with them 100% and it’s just those crazy, nasty, drug-addled city dwellers on the coasts that would be crazy, nasty and drug-addled enough to think anything else. Being non-confrontational, I rarely say anything even when I have serious problems with what they say, which is all to say I need to vent this somewhere.

See, I’m an agnostic. What that means is I find the existence of any particular god unproven, although I also consider it likely something out there we might call a “god” exists, but I take no final stance on what it is and would guess that it’s likely as beyond our comprehension as poetry to a butterfly. For people who actually know what an agnostic is (which is depressingly rare), it is a common misconception that an agnostic considers all possibilities regarding the true nature of reality to be equally likely. In other words, that Christianity is as likely to be true as Hinduism, or that ancient Greco-paganism (Zeus and friends) is as likely to be true as Islam. This isn’t my position at all. In fact, though I don’t like being identified as an atheist because it’s a common misconception (even among the non-religious) that atheists are all certain God does not exist (i.e. a hard atheist), I identify with them primarily because we both find the religions of Earth highly improbable.

Now, while I admit that I cannot know for certain that Christianity is false and that the Christian god Jehovah does not exist, I consider the truth of Christianity extremely unlikely. People who criticize my position often ask how I can think that humans don’t know the nature of the Universe but also have an opinion about the nature of the Universe, namely that humans are full of shit. My answer is simple. It’s the same way I can think my foil hat-wearing neighbor with his alien abduction story is full of shit without actually knowing whether or not aliens exist. It’s the same way I can be skeptical of him despite thinking that there probably is something out there but we just don’t know what it is, and further, that the true nature of extraterrestrial life is more incredible than we could ever imagine.

See, a claim itself is no proof of the claim, nor is the inability to completely disprove the claim. My neighbor makes shit up all the time, things I have verifiable proof are false. He’s also schizophrenic and prone to believing crazy theories. Not only that, his family says they were in the same house the whole night in question and saw nothing out of the ordinary. This argument against agnosticism is basically a restatement of the well worn idea that the inability to disprove the existence of God is somehow proof of the existence of God. Lack of evidence against is not evidence for. Just because I can’t tell you for certain the composition of the core of the planet Mercury doesn’t mean I can have no opinion on the subject, nor that I must accept your belief that it is made out of blue cheese as a valid, legitimate opinion.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that I have issues with religion, Christianity most of all. This isn’t because I think Christianity is particularly bad or deserves any more criticism than any other major religion on this planet. In fact, I actually admire many aspects of Christianity, or at least I admire the philosophy of kindness, forgiveness, charity and mercy that Jesus Christ supposedly taught. I focus on Christianity only because it’s by far the most common religion in my nation. I was made a Christian as a child. I have identified as a Christian. I have been friends with Christians. I am friends with Christians. I have dated Christians. I have had premarital sex with Christians. I have no such familiarity with any other religion.

And that’s just it: the familiarity. Most people don’t really follow Christianity (or any religion for that matter) as a philosophy of kindness towards others, as it’s ostensibly designed to be. They follow as members of a geographical team, like Red Sox fans. They follow it because they were born in a Christian nation and raised as Christianity fans. This is no reason to believe in a philosophy or a theology. It’s tribalism, pure and simple. It’s us and them, my team and yours. But more on that later.

My issues with the truth of Christianity essentially fall into three categories: (1) the philosophical, (2) the evidentiary and (3) the psychological/anthropological. That is to say I find Christianity improbable because of (1) what it says, (2) the lack of reliable evidence for its claims and (3) the minds, tendencies and histories of human beings in general.

In the interest of keeping these posts to single servings I’m just going to deal with one issue at a time. In any case, most of the time people find this sort of thing is either horribly offensive or preaching to the choir. In the unlikely event you are on the fence about this sort of thing, I salute you. God bless.