Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Friday, August 10, 2012

The False Nobility of Partisan Swag

The False Nobility of Partisan Swag
©2012 RossWilliams

I don’t dissect local matters much, mostly because when I’m done dissecting there’s not much left except vaguely issue-shaped lint. Local political issues are all so tedious and boring ... usually. This one matter seems to be holding its shape well, though, even after several washings, and it’s annoying the hell out of me.

Every year, there are some property owners who don’t pay their property taxes on time. It always happens. They forget, or they have money issues, lose a job, get divorced, flee town ... whatever. They don’t pay their property taxes.

All states have laws which allow the counties to penalize property tax delinquents. In Illinois, the delinquent taxes are sold at auction to the lowest bidder roughly three months after the last tax bill was due – the county wants their money; the county has bills to pay.

It is the lowest bidder at the auction who takes the tax sale. The bidding is for the interest rate that shall be charged to the property owner. The bid starts at the highest rate allowed by state law [18%] and proceeds downward until it is no longer worth it to the tax buyers to pay the property owner’s taxes for him. It is a reverse bid.

I’ve gotta believe most states operate similarly. When the law is followed.

In Illinois, following the law is only incumbent upon unconnected citizens; government officials and their cousins are frequently exempted. And that is the way my county’s tax sale operated for years and years: contrary to the law. We should all be aware by now of the reputation Illinois Democrats have – Blagojevich ... the Daley Dynasty of Chicago ... generations of Cook County shenanigans in general ...

Coincidentally [or not] there is an abundance of Democrats in my county. They control the county board, and until recently held every county-wide government position, to include Coroner, on the ballot. How is a coroner a Democrat? or a Republican? That changed in 2011 when the County Treasurer resigned suddenly for health reasons and a special election voted in the Republican candidate – a professional CPA with no political experience.

As stated, the tax sale in my county never operated properly. It was supposed to be a reverse auction, but the Democrat County Treasurer who used to run the proceeding could never quite hear any bid below 18%. As a result, delinquent properties in Madison County Illinois were typically sold to those who were, for all practical purposes, Professional Tax Buyers allowed to rig the Madison County tax sale to their benefit. I’m sure they had no connections at all...

But then the Republican Treasurer came into office and changed the Madison County tax sale procedures to operate more according to law. And I have to say “more according to law” because this is, after all, Illinois and we are more corrupt than the average bear. I have no doubt that this one small redirection in the manner by which Madison County sells its delinquent taxes would still be the envy of every Banana Republican to be found in South and Central America.

It did not sit well, though, with the remaining Democrats who run Madison County. Among the changes instigated by the Republican Treasurer was to have an actual officer of the court file the legal motion – merely a procedural detail – instead of having the Treasurer himself do it, as the previous Democrat Treasurers had done for a few decades. Technically, Treasurers – unless they are licensed practicing attorneys – have no lawful ability to file legal motions themselves. The Treasurer gave it to the office of the States Attorney to file.

Well, this Attorney – a Democrat, how is a prosecutor a Democrat? or a Republican? – didn’t file the motion because, well, the Treasurer had always done it ... “It wasn’t the States Attorney’s job,” said the States Attorney.

Yes, actually, it was.

So what happened was that when Madison County held their tax sale, it had not been approved by a judge ... and so the tax sale was “improcedural”. Not completely illegal, since the law allows, indeed requires, counties to sell their tax debt to citizens willing to pay it, but it had to be signed by a judge first, and it hadn’t been. Oopsy.

To make matters worse, the Republican Treasurer held an actual, by-god reverse bid for the tax sales, which annoyed those who showed up attempting to shout down every under-cutter by screaming “EIGHTEEN PERCENT!! EIGHTEEN PERCENT!!” until the Treasurer got tired of listening to it and set the going rate at 18%, which had been common practice for at least a decade. It annoyed them to no end! The interest rate for this tax sale was close to 3%.

The tax sale was held and everyone went home, and no one knew different until some months later when some clerk discovered, hey! we didn’t actually get the motion signed by a judge... so what do we do now?

What they did now was to have the tax sale nullified, refund all tax sale money to the tax buyers, and revert the delinquent tax debt to the ownership of Madison County. And of course all the Democrats on the county board and in virtually every county elected office – to include the Coroner – pointed their fingers at the Republican Treasurer who had started operating more by the book.

By law, the county must charge 1.5% monthly interest on outstanding tax delinquencies. In this case, it will benefit the county coffers because they sell property tax debt at face value simply to have that money immediately rather than having to wait for a property owner to get a new job, or to sell the house and pay off the liens on it, come back from Paraguay, or whatever.

For most counties, this immediate liquidity of tax debt is a major factor in their fiscal solvency, since the county has bills to pay. But Madison County Illinois is in somewhat of a catbird’s seat with their county financing. Several years ago the courthouse three and a half miles from my house was the venue for a class action lawsuit against Philip-Morris, the cigarette maker, for making “light” cigarettes. The idiots who smoked these “light” cigarettes rationalized to themselves how they wouldn’t get cancer, emphysema, or heart disease because all the bad stuff had been taken out of the tobacco. “That’s what ‘light’ means, right?”

Come to find out, these smokers were just as big a group of idiots as other smokers are, and they still got sick, so it was all Philip-Morris’s fault. And they sued. And because Madison County Illinois is a “judicial hellhole”, the only thing you need to do to gain standing to use our courthouse is to find a parking spot on West Vandalia Street. Philip-Morris lost at trial to the tune of over ten billion dollars.

Yes, billion. With a “B”.

Well, Philip-Morris appealed the ruling [duh!], and they were required to put up a cash bond with the county equal to some huge percentage of the liability. Essentially, Philip-Morris gave Madison County a few billion dollars and for two or three years – until the Illinois Supreme Court vacated the ruling altogether – Madison County had been earning interest on Philip-Morris’s money, earning millions upon millions of dollars in the process.

Madison County still has quite a bit of money from that escapade left, because god forbid we reduce our property taxes in this county, highest in the state. We aren’t hurting, is the bottom line, and the county has the ability to retain its own property tax debt at 1.5% interest a month by spending its Philip-Morris windfall to cover the gaps, which was earning around 1% a year.

We still have the tax sale for delinquent 2011 property taxes to contend with, and because property taxes are paid in arrears, the tax debt itself is for 2010, so the properties with unpaid taxes are probably still not paying their taxes. While the Democrat-controlled county board figures out what to do about the tax sale, they’ve also got to figure out what to do about the tax debt that they now own again.

Not content to pout about what the lone Republican among the major elected officials [to include Coroner] had done to make Madison County fractionally less corrupt, the Democrat chairman of the Democrat-controlled Madison County board has put forward a motion that the county vacate the interest on delinquent property taxes completely, because “it is not their fault” that the tax sale was botched.

And he’s right, which is a unique position for this Democrat to be in; but he’s not pertinent. It’s not the tax delinquents’ fault for the botched tax sale, no. It IS the tax delinquents’ fault for not paying their taxes in the first place.

The delinquents would have been charged 3% interest on their outstanding taxes from this tax sale. Or 18% if the sale had been “finessed” to the advantage of the tax buyers who almost certainly did not have any connection to the Treasurer at all perish the thought! The only ones to get screwed here is the tax buyers who, in our county, have been one of our more corrupt institutions. And this is what our Democrat county board chairman believes is unfair.

It would have been perfectly fine to charge property tax delinquents 18%, or even 3%, when the extra money goes to the Democrat-connected tax buyers who’ve long ruled the Madison County tax sale. But when he can pillory a Republican, it becomes an unfair penalty on the innocent. ...according to the faux nobility of the county’s idiot Democrats. And now the ones who are getting screwed are the rest of Madison County’s taxpayers.

The vast majority of Madison County property owners paid their taxes in full and on time simply because they didn’t want the 1.5% interest added onto it, even for a short time, and – had we known – we wouldn’t have paid our taxes either. Hey! If the county’s willing to float a zero-percent loan while they gang up on the Republican who tried to do something properly, I’ll take it. I could have found something to do with almost $5,500 last year, not the least of which would have been to buy delinquent 2010 taxes [for property tax year 2009] that I could have earned 18% on.

As it was, my wife and I had lost track of the due date for the second of our four property tax bills. We thought it was due on the 8th of the month ... it was due on the 6th. We paid it on the 7th, and because it was a day late, we had an extra $21.27 tacked onto it. We paid it, because we were in fact late. We were not “innocent”; we were lazy and didn’t double-check.

But now, if the Democrat-controlled county board, at the urging of the Democrat county board chairman, refuses to charge interest to those who are now 9 months late with their property taxes instead of simply being a day late on one of four payments, then someone’s going to cut me a county check for the interest we paid for being one day late last September.

I wonder if the county’s property owners who paid their property taxes on time, or paid interest penalties on late payments, could constitute a legal class with standing to take a class action? Or do we have to be out-of-state residents to use our own courthouse?

We Shall See What We Shall See

We Shall See What We Shall See
©2012 Ross Williams

If you’re ever in Seattle, be sure to drop by Carter’s Chocolates. My younger brother built, owns and runs it.

Yes, he built it, Barry Hussein. Public infrastructure is required by our Constitution; you are obliged to provide roads and bridges. Personal initiative is a citizen’s right. My brother took his rightful initiative, undoubtedly over the many speed bumps and roadblocks our governments create, and he makes good chocolates – except for those which are jalapeño-flavored. That’s nasty, Matt. Matt Carter. Williams.

Carter’s Chocolate can be found online at its own website [CartersChocolates.com] and they’re probably on Facebook as well, I don’t know specifically. If you read his website you will learn that not only does my brother go in a big way for “natural”, “organic”, “sustainable” and “fair trade” – all of which means that he is employing Barnum’s strategy of fleecing the suckers – but that he is also a retard.

By which I mean he has been seduced by the dark side of the American Political Force: he’s a liberal and [ironic term] “progressive”. This is the same guy who, fifteen years ago in our mother’s Michigan kitchen and in front of my then-wife [a liberal and, ironic term, “progressive”, herself] was extolling the virtues of one Rush Limbaugh, who Matt then idolized. He gave me a Rush Limbaugh tie for Christmas one year in the late 90s. I still haven’t worn it.

Just listen to him for a week!” Matt said, aping the promos Limbaugh used to give. “By that time you’ll be hooked!

I’d heard the guy a time or seven on the radio already and could immediately spot the telltale signs of a populist cheerleader – rah rah. I scoffed at my brother for his puppy-eyed devotion to a “personality”. My estimation of the guy was that he knew his audience and he knew it well, he knew want they wanted to hear and, as all cheerleaders everywhere do, he gave his audience exactly that ... and nothing more. Limbaugh is not necessarily incorrect about what he says, but he often is; the worse sin, though, is that his analysis tends toward the grossly superficial. Which means even when he’s correct he rarely knows why.

Rush Limbaugh was, in short, a stopped clock: right twice a day through no fault of his own.

My position on Limbaugh has not changed substantially since then: he’s sometimes right, usually not, has no clue why. I don’t go out of my way to listen, contrary to what a number of people inform me – including Matt, the last time he decided to tell me what I was all about.

But all that was fifteen years ago before my brother dropped his last name for professional reasons and developed a new puppy-eyed devotion to a different “personality”, one Barry Hussein Obama, who is little more than the populist stopped-clock cheerleader for the opposing American political -ism himself.

I’ve avoided my brother since ‘03/’04 ... somewhere around there ... due to his newest puppidom emerging in the piddle puddles that, as with all puppies, didn’t quite make it to the fire hydrant as they should. Because I work as a DoD contractor in their myriad war planning/execution/sustainment programs, I am not reliant, as others are, on reports from the popular press providing information filtered through their convenient bias and misunderstanding of military goings on. I have straight poop to work from.

Because I have better, unfiltered information to do my analysis from, not to mention years more experience in war theory and doctrine than does a pastry chef who did 5+ years on a Navy sub doing everything he could to get out of his job and go scuba diving, I have a far more complete understanding of what’s occurring in a war than does the aforementioned pastry chef who is busy listening to his own stopped clocks telling him what he wants to hear. And the war that this piddling puppy deigned to school me on was Iraq II.

Needless to say, he was as ignorant and superficial about it as Rush Limbaugh and George Soros, both. And I told him so. I also told him that if I – as a DoD contractor working on the myriad war planning/execution/sustainment programs – were to accept what he [more correctly, the George Soros MoveOn insanity which my brother liberally quoted] defined as the reality of Iraq II, it would be the military doctrine equivalent of redefining pi to equal 3. Yes, such superficiality is easier to comprehend, but when pi=3 circles are rendered flat-sided, cars, planes and trains can no longer be built [and for more reasons than their wheels won’t roll], and modern society crumbles into a heap.

When war is fought by the childish paradigms offered up by America’s neophyte class – which was busy offering up countless neophytic paradigms during the Bush years – America loses wars, stops plying foreign policy for self-interest, and the first batch of yahoos armed with anything more than pea-shooters tosses the US bodily into the history books to be covered by dust.

You don’t need to like war, nor do you need to like the guy in charge of it, but if you don’t understand why certain things are done in war and that reality transcends party, then it’s best to keep your mouth shut. I can guarantee you that those who do understand war will consider you a raging ignoramus if you don’t; and it was because I actually told my brother he was a raging ignoramus – “Stop telling me how to do my job” – he and I both got snippy with each other and, well, I don’t need the frustration of a petite Napoleon converting his sincerely-held but baseless beliefs into my job description. Implementing even one of his crackpot ideas would have gotten me fired.

The last time I saw Matt was at my mother’s insistence at my older brother’s Florida house – I don’t talk to him either. He’s intellectually dishonest, not merely a sincere ideologue, and I didn’t talk much to either of them during that miserable visit.

My older brother pretended he had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t quite put his finger on why I don’t need his interaction any longer. He talked at me for a time expressing his wish to let the past remain in the past. Hint: until you change the way your brain processes information, Steve, your past will be your future as well, and I don’t need people around me who refuse to think. I don’t care what your opinions are, but if you can’t think, then you can’t articulate those opinions; what you’re left with is axiomatic ideology which I’ve grown exceptionally weary of.

Matt simply got snotty with me on a few occasions while pretending that he hadn’t been a peevish little shit completely out of his league the last few times we emailed each other.

But I got a chance to listen to both of them while keeping my mouth shut at the jigsaw puzzle.

And Matt, the small-business owner, the one whose revenues put him perilously close to being the very same “wealthy” who don’t pay “their fair share”, and whose resulting selfishness further required Barry Hussein to construct Obamacare out of – and here’s an apt allusion for a pastry chef – pie-in-the-sky delusion, ... this very same Matt was whining for over an hour to my sister in law about how “the other side” just can’t understand that he [the uninsured] just “wants the same right” to healthcare that they [i.e., me] have. “It’s only fair. We want to be able to afford it as well!” he whimpered.

His idea of a “fair” “affording” of his right to healthcare? Thirty-five dollars – I neglected to notice whether he thought this fairness was per day, per week or per month. I neglected to notice because at the mention of “medical insurance”, “fair price” and “thirty-five dollars” occurring in one sentence I immediately had visions of countless hands all shoved into my pocket for the ability to avail themselves of their rights, using my money – against my will. I left by the back door as quickly as I could, startling several people and a dog on the way.

Just a note for the uninsured, if they are curious: my employer’s share of my medical insurance premiums is roughly $35 every two days, according to the benefits disclosure they provide me. That’s just for me, based on their bare-bones plan [which would be illegally scant under Obamacare], and this is a group plan with the lower premiums that Obamacare purports to provide for less. I pay for the “improved” plan upgrade for myself and everyone else in my family out of my paycheck. Total, it comes out to about $35 every sixteen hours.

This $35-every-sixteen-hours plan is even skimpy compared to what Obamacare is promising to do for everyone – by which we mean, of course, the 15% of everyone who, like Matt, refuses to cough up for their own insurance and, in Matt’s case [for he is a small business owner] for his employees as well, which I can only think is rude and hypocritical considering he’s a liberal and [ironic term] “progressive”.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the wizards who conjured up Obamacare knew damned well that they were [deliberately] grossly underestimating the cost of insuring people for what that insurance will cover, and that the minority support it receives on the street is primarily from those who understand nothing about how insurance works.

But now that five dunces on the Supreme Court have forgotten what the Constitution says about the limitation of federal authority, I am left wondering what my business-owner, “fair-share” scofflaw brother will do about it, and many questions nag at me.

Will Carter’s Chocolates provide $35-every-sixteen-hours health insurance for its employees, even though it is small enough right now to not be required by law to do so? ...and out of its own revenues, because it is the decent thing to do for its American employees? Or does his “commitment to the people” only extend to the Colombians who pick his cocoa beans?

If Carter’s Chocolates grows large enough to need so many employees that it will trigger its legal requirement to provide $35-every-sixteen-hours health insurance, will it take the tax credit of $8 every sixteen hours [until 2016] to provide $35-every-sixteen-hours health insurance for its employees? Or will it discover that it is significantly cheaper to take the $12 every sixteen hours “penalty” [read: tax] per employee than to get $8 every sixteen hours tax credit but lose $35 every sixteen hours in insurance premium? Or will Carter’s Chocolates go out of business before it needs to do such arithmetic, because those who can afford to pay twice or three times the regular price for chocolates simply because they are made from “organic”, “free range” and “fair trade” cocoa beans to the benefit of the people of Colombia are themselves going out of business because Obamacare was deliberately misrepresented to our nation’s hero-worshipping ignoramuses?

How long until the proprietor of Carter’s Chocolates discovers that even if the government has a good idea, the only tool it has to implement it is law and punishment, and those methods are only successful in breeding bureaucracy and crime, historically very, very poor means of making the good idea a “sustainable” reality? How long until the proprietor will understand why our Constitution was written the way it was – by my-style libertarians – to prevent the government from doing pretty much everything that the government is now doing? How long until he becomes a my-style libertarian himself?

These questions and more are going to need to be answered in the next several years by the only one whose answer means a damn: my younger brother, Matthew Carter Williams, founder and “yes he did build that” of Carter’s Chocolates in Seattle. Because I don’t go trying to tell other people how to do their jobs, unlike some people, I’ll just ask the pesky questions and let those whose job it is figure it all out.

But if anyone wants to prime Matt's mental pump about these, or simply order overly expensive chocolate, drop him a line at Matt@carterschocolates.com. Ask about his hero-worshipping Obamabar; it only looks inexpensive. Wait’ll you get the final bill.

Maybe China will pony up for it. Again.

It’s All in the Wrist

It’s All in the Wrist
©2012 Ross Williams

Headline: Paterno Statue Removed

Article Synopsis:
Following a report by Clinton’s ex-FBI director Louis Freeh that Joe Paterno and three other athletic department administrators hid sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant football coach, Penn State University dismantled the statue of Joe Paterno, who died last year holding the most wins of any Division I football coach. NCAA – never one to miss an opportunity to exercise its power unilaterally and idiotically – has since “stripped” Paterno and Penn State of their football wins for 13 years, giving Bobby Bowden the record for winningest head coach. Bowden, coincidentally, was in favor of taking down the statue and NCAA sanctions, as was a group of thugs who hired a small plane to tow a banner around the campus threatening vandalism upon it if the university didn’t vandalize it first.

Dining on Roasted Scapegoat: The report cited as blaming Paterno, the athletic director, a retired university vice-president and president for complicity in the Jerry Sandusky Episode was penned by Louis Freeh, as incompetent an investigator as the FBI ever churned out. It was his leadership that bungled the investigations into the twin Waco and Ruby Ridge debacles of innuendo-based hyper-reaction which left dozens dead. He also personally covered up the Chinese government’s donations to the ’96 Clinton re-election campaign ... in violation of the federal laws he was supposed to be enforcing.

His directorship was implicated in the length of the Robert Hanssen spy case, which allowed years’ more secrets to be sent to Russia; the lynch mob mentality that hounded security guard Richard Jewel for years, even after the real Atlanta Olympics Bomber was caught; the nearly catastrophic delay into investigating Khobar Towers; the Los Alamos rush-to-judgment; and the procedural nullification of the FBI Crime Lab’s findings in TWA 800 that has since spawned countless conspiracy theories built upon an embarrassing and potentially damaging fact that the Clinton Administration did not want to have made public ... and so it was officially erased.

Freeh has a notorious habit of making the wrong conclusion when presented with facts, inventing facts to fit his conclusion, and dismissing the findings of others when they get in the way of the desires of those who paid him. He was a political hack wearing a badge.

The case he made against Paterno, specifically, was that he did not report Sandusky to anyone ... which was false, as the Freeh Report actually acknowledges. Paterno reported it to the University, which he was required to do. It was the University which deliberately did nothing with it.

Conclusion: Having Freeh look into the background of the Sandusky Deal was not the most circumspect of choices for “official investigator” here; I’ve gotta believe that Inspector Jacques Clouseau would have been a better option. At least Clouseau would have gotten the right answer at the end. Freeh, at best, batted .500 in his career – which is great for a baseball player, but for a cop ... it’s flipping coins.

Headline: Syria Threatens to Use Chemical Weapons if Attacked

Article Synopsis: The Syrian government issued a general threat to the rest of the world indicating it would use its chemical weapons against foreign forces inside its territory seeking to topple the government or assist the anti-government rebels. Syria indicated it would not use such weapons against its own people, only foreign military forces; it prefers to use bullets and tanks against Syrian civilians. Syria has been “suspected” by the worlds’ intelligence community of having such weapons for a little over a decade, though the revelation is a surprise to most. Obama is “concerned”.

I Hate Being Right All the Time: A little over a decade ago, when the Syrian government was “suspected” of acquiring chemical weapons, US Secretary of State Colin Powell was briefing the UN Security Council about the International Law violations being made by the Hussein government in Iraq.

Among the items being briefed was a steady supply of military trucks seen in satellite surveillance arriving at the warehouses that UN weapons inspectors had stored several thousand tons of Iraqi chemical weapons – mostly artillery shells – they had found, along with other contraband. These weapons were confiscated from Iraqi depots by the UN between early 1992 and late 1998, and were waiting for the United States and France to quit bickering over whose military contractor would get the contract to build the incinerator that would reduce these chemical weapons to microscopic ash.

The trucks seen in the spy satellite photos would line up at the [supposedly] locked UN warehouses in Iraq, have a flurry of activity around them for a time, and then drive to various other places. Among the places it was popular for these trucks to drive was the Syrian border.

In late 2002, when the UN weapons inspectors under the leadership of Hans Blix went back into Iraq, among the first places they looked was in those same warehouses that the UN had stored chemical weapons and other contraband just four years earlier. The warehouses were now empty, which was a surprise to no one, not even Blix who made special note of it in his reports to the UN Security Council.

What was somewhat surprising, however, was the popular conclusion arrived at by the world’s press and other idiot liberals: “See? Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction! There’s no reason for the US to invade!!”

Completely missing from this conclusion is the information from the first several chapters in the recent history of Iraq and Syria, the Baathist Brothers-in-arms: they should have had chemical weapons – because the UN found them and stored them for seven years. Seven. Years. And then they were gone ... like they never existed in the first place.

Conclusion: So ... just where did all those Iraqi chemical weapons end up, I wonder? I guess it shall forever remain a mystery.

Headline: ABC Apologizes for Tea Party/Massacre Link

Article Synopsis: The slaughter of 12 and wounding of 50 in Aurora Colorado by a gunman named James Holmes inspired ABC News’ Brian Ross to report that the Tea Party was either behind – or implicated – in the massacre. Their source? An online reference of a Jim Holmes of Aurora Colorado listing an affiliation with the Tea Party. After attempting to blame “social media” for the error, ABC News retracted their story.

When the Only Tool You Have is Innuendo: In the first few moments of a rapidly changing event where an individual is deliberately thrusting dozens or hundreds into tragedy, news media will scramble for every ounce of information they can get. A lot of it will be wrong, and almost everyone knows that. What most people will not remember, though, is which parts of those hazy first reports were incorrect. The media was informed that a person by the name of James Holmes – wearing a bulletproof vest and in possession of guns – had been arrested.

Most news agencies would start to ask questions about him: where was he from, why did he do it, had he left any notes ... that sorta thing.

ABC News, on the other hand, ... the same ABC News which has tried linking the Tea Party to the assassination attempt on Congressman Giffords, to various resurgent racisms, and a wide array of intemperances of lesser degree ... this ABC News’ first thought, rather than asking questions about the guy arrested, was to hit the internet to google ‘Colorado Tea Party’ to search for the name Jim/James Holmes.

And they found it on Facebook. So they reported it. Tea Party ... gunman ... massacre.

It’s a common enough name, it would undoubtedly appear in any phonebook, organization’s membership or company’s employee list, including ABC’s. There’s a James Holmes who works for my company, in fact. There are over 100 James Holmes listed with whitepages.com within 25 miles of my zipcode – though many are duplicates; on the first two pages [out of more than ten], I can count at least 8 unique. There are even two Ross Williams – in my zipcode, only one of whom is me. The other one is not, which may be lucky for one of us at some point.

I knew a Jim Holmes – two actually, a Jr and a Sr – growing up in New York. The Junior had cerebral palsy and is undoubtedly deceased by now, while the Senior was a high school shop teacher and outfielder/pitcher for the church softball teams for which I played second base or third base. I never once considered, though, that the Senior had moved to Colorado to shoot up a movie theater as an indictment of shop teachers or church league softball players. Because that would be psychotic of me; I don’t have the credentials to term my psychoses “journalism”.

Conclusion: ABC has long been accused of not practicing journalism, but instead perpetrating propaganda on behalf of its political -ism, which decries virtually all politics to the right of Karl Marx. When their first thought is to create a convenient link to a fiscally conservative group of small government Republicans who don’t even get along with “establishment” Republicans, and a link that would ultimately have to be retracted as the slanderous horseshit it was, should anyone still be disputing it?

Stop Me if You've Heard This One

So, a Guy Walks Into a Controversy...
©2012 Ross Williams

Here’s the scene: Daniel Tosh, a stand-up comic with a popular television show of his own on Comedy Central, tosh.0, is appearing at a famous Los Angeles area comedy club where ticket prices for his show are likely to be considerably higher than they would be for someone who does not have his own television show, is performing his type of humor for an audience who – like most audiences everywhere – want to get their money’s worth ... and who also know, generally, what they’re buying.

Tosh’s humor is not for everyone, it is rather blunt social satire, and he is a type of comic known in current vernacular as a “shock comic”. He says outrageous things for the reaction they get. But because the things he says are actually outrageous, the reaction of the audience [who knows his work] is to separate the outrageousness from reality, compartmentalize, and laugh at the outrage while not even beginning to consider that the outrageous statement might have been sincere.

Not all people can do this. Which is why “shock comedy” is not for everyone. But it doesn’t nullify the validity of the form any more than slapstick – which is physical comedy built around actual or perceived infliction of pain and injury – is a valid form of comedy not for everyone. I myself cannot stand The Three Stooges, the preeminent American slapstickers.

But I don’t go around denying the validity of it as a form of comedy. To do so would be pretentious of me.

There was a pretentious audience member seeing Daniel Tosh for – apparently – the first time in her life that night. And she started a controversy that other pretentious people picked up and carried. We shall call the pretentious audience member “Idiot Feminist”; here is the interaction between Daniel Tosh and Idiot Feminist.

DT [doing his routine]: ...for example, rape jokes are always funny.
IF [heckling]: Rape jokes are never funny.
DT [responding to heckler]: Wouldn’t it be funny if she were raped by, like, five guys right now?

A comedian who allows hecklers to heckle unimpeded is no longer doing his routine, and the audience doesn’t get what they paid for. Comedians have put down hecklers forever, and the comedian’s audience knows that if anyone heckles there’s going to be a response of some kind from the stage, and it may not be polite [but it will be intended to be funny]. Each person in the audience further understands that if the heckler is him – or in this case her – the unkind response will be directed at him. Or in this case her.

Ya pays yer buck, ya takes yer chances. Heckle at your own risk.

The interaction between Idiot Feminist and Daniel Tosh ended at that point because – to quote the Idiot Feminist’s own blog entry upon the subject – she noted that everyone else was laughing about it and she felt a-skeered that this mob, laughing at absurdity writ large, was a gang-rape waiting to happen.

Seriously. She felt in danger of being raped. I hope she’s under a doctor’s care for that paranoia.

At any rate, I read about this in the news, I googled the incident and found both the Idiot Feminist’s indignant description of it [including the almost word for word exchange between them above] , the typical mincing mewlery of the head of RAINN which posits that some subjects are just too horrible to make jokes about, and several instances where common people were jabbering about it.

In one of these online jabberfests, google returned a portion of a statement that had been made. It was thus: “...anyone who sees something funny about gang rape is a pig.”

Of course, such a declarative statement is outrageous to make. After all, quite a number of people listening to the ironic statement made by Tosh to his Idiot Feminist heckler thought it was funny. Besides, many people think there’s something funny about Nazism, the evil that destroyed a generation, virtually obliterated Europe for another generation, decimated the Jewish and Gypsy populations, and inspired the deaths of millions of people of every other hue and stripe.

Oh, and made the atomic bomb.

How can I say Nazism is funny? Because Hogan’s Heroes is funny; because The Producers is funny, because any number of other treatments of Nazism, or which use Nazism as a backdrop, are funny.

And I replied to the person – whom we shall call Idiot Feminist II – along this line. Not to mention, torture and torturers are both funny, inasmuch as “NO-O-Obody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” and Mel Brooks’ inimitable Torquemada routine from History of the World, Part I.

If mental retardation weren’t funny to millions upon millions of people – mostly in America, no doubt – Adam Sandler wouldn’t have had any movie roles under his name except Fifty First Dates.

I asked, since “anyone who thinks gang rape is funny is a pig”, if anyone who thought fascist barbarism was funny became a barbarous fascist as well. And the reply to this was “Of course not! Because it’s different!” Yeah? How?

Dig it folks: tragedy is funny. It is our ability to compartmentalize the tragedy from the absurdity in it that separates us from the lizards. It is a function of our upper brain. If anyone cannot make the separation it indicates that his upper brain isn’t working properly – which is a symptom of several forms of mental illness, apart from paranoia.

One of these forms of mental illness is voluntarily acquired; they refuse to separate absurdity from reality. It is Idiot Feminism.

The same Idiot Feminism I endured in grad school when I made the mistake of making a statement to the effect that “a lady I knew...”

I was immediately corrected by two ladies – about 15 years older than me – informing me that the proper term is “woman” because “lady” is used as an insult – “always”. And “woman” can never be an insult. Oh, “always”. “Never”. Right. Another outrageous statement. They went on to humorously explain to me that the terms by which I choose to refer to them [or anyone like them], such as “lady”, alters who they are; it makes them whatever it is they are called.

I played along with their joke: “So if I were to call you a six-string Alvarez guitar ...” [I had, and still have, an Alvarez 6-string] “...it would make you an Alvarez guitar?” I asked incredulously.

They quipped back, “You’re missing the point!!

I joshed, “You don’t have a point. You’re making shit up to be indignant about that has no reality outside the confines of your fevered imagination.”

Okay ... so this last sentence is just a paraphrase ... I said something like that, bringing up the importance – indeed the criticality – of context, and intention, and perception, and perceived intention, the responsibility of both the speaker as well as the listener to not make presumptuous conclusions based on their own bias filters. The rest of it is pretty accurate though. At some point in the discussion, the professor stepped in and indicated that because some of the class was upset by the use of “lady” and preferred “woman”, would we all kindly use the term “woman” to refer to a lady.

Okay, I can do that. And for the rest of the evening I pissed off those two smug women in the back of the class by referring to them as “woman”. When they said something facile – which was often, as they were Idiot Feminists – I would interrupt [I don’t generally interrupt, but allow someone to complete their statement, even if it’s idiotic] with “Woman, that’s wrong!” “Aww, geez, woman! Really? You’re going down that path?” “Leave it to a woman...”

By the end of the second hour of the seminar on Gender Studies, the two were livid while most of the others [minus the prof] were stifling laughs at the pair being shown to be incorrect about their “lady” indignation. They approached me at the vending machines in the lobby and huffily demanded that I stop insulting and berating them.

But ... but ... I thought ‘woman’ could ‘never be an insult’. Isn’t that what you told me? I coulda sworn it was.”

They allowed as how yes it was, but it wasn’t the words I used, rather it was the tone I delivered them and the context surrounding them.

Oh ... so I was right after all, I said.


Yeah, well, I knew I was right, most of the rest did also, and now – after this object lesson – so do the two of you.

I didn’t ask for an apology from them, either in the third hour of class in front of all those they had berated me in front of, nor in private by the vending machines. Nor did I get one. They just dropped it, which is fine with me.

They pretty much left me alone with my terminology after that, apparently satisfied that when I corrected someone it was because they were wrong and not because they were a woman ... or a minority ... or some other inferior specimen who needs to be put in his place. All things they can grasp from context if they actually turn on their upper brain and use it as designed.

The problem with internet [and other written] discourse, though, is that much of the tone and other contextual markers of face to face interaction are missing, and most people [I exclude myself from this] make assumptions about intent based on their own biases and ignorances.

And Idiot Feminists are chock full of both.

I replied to two of the more inane denunciations of Tosh’s shock comedy on this website purportedly devoted to “honest dialogue” among “varied points of view”; my comment which suggested that Nazi humor and rape jokes were two forms of the same “tragedy forms the basis for humor” dichotomy that our upper brains are built to handle was “hidden” by website moderation. Apparently it is a semi-serious faux pas on this website to actually have honest dialogue among varied points of view ... which is built ... um ... for that exact reason. The local orthodoxy shall not be questioned.


In any event, the Daniel Tosh Affair made the Idiot Feminist television show The View, operated as a cabal of five women ... including three who were at one time in their careers stand-up comics, one quite famously: Whoopie Goldberg. The three Idiot Feminist comics averred that, no, no subject is outside the range of a good comic doing good comedy, but they quibbled that Tosh’s “Wouldn’t it be funny if she were raped by, like, five guys right now?” constituted good comedy. Idiot feminists always stick together: they asserted Daniel Tosh bombed on his heckler response.

The audience hearing it, however, is the only real true measure of the idea, and that audience, save for one paranoid woman and her friend hightailing it out of irrational fear, indicated it was. You don’t need to agree – so don’t watch tosh.0. I don’t agree about slapstick, so I ignore The Three Stooges.

I was raped by my doctor, which is a bittersweet moment for a Jewish girl...”-
standup comic Sarah Silverman demonstrating, as if it really needs to be said
... again, that Idiot Feminists are idiots.

Everybody is trying to be a victim in our society. Victimhood lends instant credibility. Tragedy exists and victims are made. That’s not the point of any of this. Historically, comedy is used to get beyond the tragedy, to force our brains to confront the tragedy, to compartmentalize the tragedy, separate it from the reality that still has to be dealt with. If an individual cannot transcend his own tragedy and see the humor of ... 9-11, of Katrina, of a terminal disease, of Nazi brutality ... okay. You’ve been traumatized. We probably expect that out of you ... an individual.

But to collectivize tragedy, to lump victimhood into a whole demographic group by proxy, is not tragedy nor is it victimhood. It is politics, and it is ideological megalomania masquerading as “sensitivity”. Any woman who claims to be victimized by being confronted with the absurd statement “Rape jokes are always funny” when she herself has not been raped – as this woman in the audience had not – is leeching off others’ tragedy for the purpose of initiating her own pseudo-victimhood.

How condescending can you get? I have been “victimized” a time or two in my life, just like everyone else has, and quite frankly, I resent others claiming to know all about it. Although I doubt I’d interrupt a comedian during a set if he touched a raw nerve; I understand what comedy is trying to accomplish.

But apart from condescendingly cheapening others’ tragedy, claiming false victimization is exactly the purpose of shock comedy in the first place. Whether the hyper-sensitive dingbats wish to believe it or not, society at large is growing weary of the legion of victims all laying claim to larger and larger chunks of other people's sympathy. The phrase “sympathy overload” was coined a decade or more ago to describe it.

Racism makes victims, sexism makes victims, ageism makes victims, terrorism makes victims ... yes. Your point would be ...?

That everyone you confront with your victimhood has to give it the same purpose and relevance in their lives that you give it in yours? How phenomenally arrogant of you. Of all the -isms that create victims there’s one whose victims don’t often get to own their victimhood: politicism. Every time a subject gets politicized – as rape has been, as gender inequity has been, as racial stereotyping has been – anyone who is simply sick to death of hearing about it has no realistic outlet. They could be – and frankly most of them likely are – just as sympathetic to the “cause” as anyone else is, but it’s not their issue, they’re tired of being confronted by it continually, harangued by ideologues, and it’s simply not in their nature to grab the next ideologue by the shoulders and scream into his face “SHUT THE FUCK UP! I’M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT IT!

What are they to do?

They listen to comedians like Lisa Lampanelli, like Sarah Silverman, like Daniel Tosh, who satirize the victim mentality our society has acquired, allowing sympathy-overload to be compartmentalized, and thus better tolerated.

Frankly, Idiot Feminists need to thank Daniel Tosh for the service he provides them. Without Tosh mocking for the rest of us what we all too often don’t have the time or talent or cojones to mock ourselves, he helps lessen the likelihood that some victim of politicized sympathy-overload will snap and strangle the next simpleton who opines on the latest demographic to be identified as “our most vulnerable people”...like women.

Take my wife, please.