Independence Day Open Thread


I'm about to follow Jesse Walker's advice and go grill soy products, drink cheap beer, and play with fire. You should get out of the house and do something similar. But if you've got any Fourth of July style thoughts, ruminations, poems, links to relevant blog posts, revolutionary performance art, or jingles, hit the comments.

NEXT: It's the Fourth of July. Why Are You Online?

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  1. Jesus, you weenie boy, are you afraid to eat a damn hot dog or a burger?

  2. Matt Groening's pledge, from his "Life is Hell" series:

    "I plead alignment to the flakes of the untitled snakes of a merry cow, and to the Republicans for which they scam, one nacho, underpants, invisible, with licorice and jugs of wine for owls."

  3. Hey, there is absolutely nothing wrong with simulated foods.

    Anyway, let's raise a glass to these wacky United States!!

  4. From a soldier in Tikrit for 4th July
    10km NW of Tikrit, Iraq

    He knows why he is there and what it means to him and America.

  5. For reasons given by Radley Balko, I'm not in much of a celebratory mood today.

    There's no particular reason anymore to celebrate this country over any other. It's just another meaningless day off.

  6. Actually I do have a bit of Constitutional/flag art but this blog software won't allow my image link so for you to see it you have to go to my blog, LeftIndependent at:

    Center column above the blog.

  7. Happy Independence Day

    I pledge allegiance to the Constitution
    and to the Bill of Rights of America.
    And to the Declaration of Independence,
    Upon which we stand as
    One nation, under law.
    With liberty and justice for all.

  8. Daily News,
    That was a good link. Nicely put. That is why I too am here.

  9. Fireworks are banned where I'm at. Not to say that they're not available, just that folks "shouldn't" have them. My biggest concern is that my neighbors will get all liquored up and be shooting off fireworks all night long--and in doing so will put my apartment building in danger of being set ablaze.

    I don't care if these assholes want to burn down their own domiciles while behaving like idiots. It's when they threaten my domicile that I have a problem with them.

    The problem (other than post-fire recovery) is when these people fail to see how they are behaving improperly combined with the lack of personal responsibility if and when something goes wrong.

    Question: How can this situation be remedied without using the power of the state?

  10. Last night, I went to the store to pick up some soda and gas up the car. Of course, there were fireworks displays just about everywhere I looked. I started getting a little maudlin as I drove along.

    Independence Day, I thought, What's the fucking point? It seemed to me that all these buffons where celebrating is the ability to shoot off fireworks and stuff themselves with burgers and bratwurst. They seemed entirely oblivious to the fact that whatever freedom we had was flushed down the toilet some time ago. We've got congress chomping at the bit to ban flag burning and revice the PATRIOT act, a supreme court willing to steal property from the poor to give to developers and tell sick people they can't smoke a weed that helps them feel better, a theocratic president who is dragging this country into a new dark age, and a despotic electorate who put these nimrods into office in the first place.

    What the hell do we have to celebrate?

  11. Consider it a bit like May Day in the former USSR ... (I exagerate for effect of course).

    The government gives us a day off to celebrate what a wonderful goverment it is. How wonderful indeed our government is, better than any other. When our goverment tortures it tortures only for noble purposes, when it detains people without evidence it does so with good reason.

    Sigh :(. Actually, I understand why people want to celebrate. Americans work extemely hard. Days off are few and far between and thus cherished. It's nice to celebrate good summer weather and good friends. American culture doesn't really allow enough ritual play and release and so who would pass up the opportunity? Etc.

    The problem is with the actual assigned purpose of the day. How can one not feel like (no worse than) an atheist on Christmas? And even an atheist usually has less against modern Christianity than there is to have against the current U.S. government.

    We may work hard and deserve *a* day off but we hardly deserve this particular day as the one thing Americans have let slide is keeping any restraint at all on the thuggery of the thugs in power (yes especially this administration though prior ones were hardly perfect).

  12. Fire Bad,

    I think that you may be asking the wrong question. As you stated, the state has already tried to remedy the situation by making all fireworks illegal. You describe the miserable failure that results. Those that have no sense of civic duty or responsibility go on taking another swipe at the authority that tells them no. While many take this as a sign that we give the state more power to regain civilty, I think that is the wrong option. If the start doing random house searches in your neighborhood looking for fireworks in the week preceeding the 4th, it probaly wouldn't eliminate the problem completely while it would certainly cause numerous new ones.

    The question is, how to we get the state less invovled in our lives and try to regain a sense of no-state enforced, civic responsibility that has been replaced by the wanton disregard for any authority, much like the mindset of a spoiled child?

  13. When raising our glasses at times like this, there is one thing to which we must raise them before all others: our ability to endure.

  14. Our President is a buffoon, and our Secretary of Defense is incompetent.

    ...I love this country.

  15. I shall celebrate my freedom to whine, bitch & moan, as well as my freedom to make ridiculously naive historical comparisons to certain aspects of the current state of affairs.

    Once I get done with work that is. You guys got the day off? Bastards, there ought to be a law.

  16. Check out the 4th of July post at

  17. I agree with the "saysuncle" thread; we haven't much reason to celebrate anymore.

    Friday before last was my last day of work before going on a week-long business trip, so I had to work late and didn't leave until almost eight o'clock. (It was still full daylight.) Driving home, there was a sobriety checkpoint just before the Interstate; I reached it around eight-fifteen, still in daylight. The cop was polite, I'll grant that, and I only had to wait five minutes before my turn to prove that I'm a nice, law-abiding person by answering the following questions: Where was I coming from? Where was I going? Had I had anything to drink? Had I consumed any controlled substances?

    Hooray for freedom, indeed. I got a little too much sun at an outdoor party yesterday so today I am quite content to stay in my shadowy apartment and brood on just how few freedoms I actually have to celebrate anymore.

    But let's look on the bright side: I am still far better off than I would be in North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Too bad "We're better than a brutal dictatorship" doesn't have quite the same ring as "We're the land of the free."

  18. Few remember anymore why we celebrate this day. As I said elsewhere (before I got to this post, sorry!) a reminder is in order. Pay careful attention to what is going on in America today, be vigilant, and oppose the next rise of tyranny. Otherwise all this will have been in vain.

  19. In some ways, we're getting better. In others, worse. Let's not shit ourselves; America has never completely lived up to our own ideals. The trick is to keep fighting, despite the essentially discouraging nature of the enterprise.

    Now, I'm going to go meet up with the other volunteer firefighters to supervise a local display. The beer and personal fireworks are for later. Happy 4th, all.

  20. Comment by: Stewart Vardaman at July 4, 2005 05:27 PM

    See my graphic response to the flag burning amendment here:

  21. Reading comprehension problems I see. What part of "I exagerate for effect" don't you understand?

    To the extent that it's more than a day to party, it's seems it's just a day set aside to worship the state.

  22. America! Fuck yeah!

  23. If anyone has missed out on Mencken's translation of the Declaration of Independence into 20th Century English, remedy that. It starts:

    When things get so balled up that the people of a country have to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are on the level, and not trying to put nothing over on nobody. ...whole thing here.

    Miund you, H.L. uses the occasional word that I wouldn't, but you'll enjoy most of it.

  24. The Fourth of July is the secular equivalent of Christmas. The shopping mall is the contemporary temple. The great spirtual disciplines of our faith are to consume without getting fat, to diet without ceasing consumption, and to stay healthy by swallowing pills. We believe in eternal life, or at least, in eternal youth, and we want it now. In the name of the Dollar and of the Euro and of the Yen, Amen.

  25. Got something you'd like to share, Mr. Sanchez?

  26. Those Afghan warlords would make short shrift of you, Mr. Bozo.

  27. Screw you people. This country rules. You're just being ornery.

  28. Keep the faith, Jow. If you've got any kids, sacrifice them to freedom in Iraq. That will really show your patriotism. If you don't have kids, go on a shopping binge.

  29. Daily News...
    I read John of Arabia's bit about the 4th of July and I'm confused...where in the Constitution does it say "all men are created equal?"

  30. NIMBY
    Has anyone considered how it might be offensive to Iraqis that we are using their back yards to fight terrorists?
    If fighting terrorists were really really important, we'd want to fight them right here, wouldn't we, where we could really make mincemeat of them?
    Ain't it funny "our" back yard is so sacred we won't allow a gasoline refinery to be built, so Saudi Arabia is building a gigantic one in their back yard, which will surely help stabilize the price of gasoline.
    Should that count as a Brownie Point for the country most obviously responsible for 911?

    Does only Dubya get to decide which yards of this globe are front yards and which are back?

    Was John Hancock a terrorist? Ben Franklin thought so.

  31. America is great!
    We are libertarians
    And we do hate the state
    But like the proletarians
    Who disappointed Marx
    We're oh so patriotic
    So, stuff your smart remarks
    America is great
    It might be idiotic
    But America is great!

  32. Ruthless,

    Fuck the Iraqis. Oh, I guess we did.

  33. Koko,
    I defer to kwais.

  34. Melissa,
    You sound like Sparkle Plenty (of Dick Tracy fame.)
    Sparkle was B. O.'s daughter.

  35. Ruthless,

    I'm from Italy, so I don't know much about Dick Tracy. Is that a compliment?

  36. Assuming I support the Iraq Debacle because I love my country, Melissa? Shame on you - fine yourself $20, payable to the DNC.

    Can I tell you all about the day I became a patriot?

    It was September 14, 2001 - the Friday after September 11. My city had a candlelight vigil on the plaza in front of City Hall. I missed it. But I was driving home from a friend's, when I hit some weird traffic. The vigil had broken up a couple hours before, but the kids were driving around in a big loop through downtown, waving American flags out of their windows, and there were other kids standing along the roads, cheering them on. Lovely, says I. Grumpy cops trying the keep the speeds down, and to get the kids not to lean quite so far out of their cars while yelling "woo!" or not to lean quite so far into the road while yelling "woo!" back at the cars.

    But what I noticed was, the white kids with crew cuts in the cars were waving their flags at the Cambodian kids in front of their tenements, and yelling "woo!" And the Cambodian kids were waving little American flags back at them, and yelling "woo!" There was a beefy kid with no shirt on with an American flag in one hand, and a Puerto Rican flag in the other, with the letters "USA" painted on his chest, standing on the side of a main street. He was yelling "woo!" at the white kids in the cars, and they were yelling "woo!" right back at him, right back at his red, white, and blue Puerto Rican flag.

    Yes, it was an obnoxious display of meatheadery, and it's lucky one of those kids didn't fall out of his pimped out Civic and bash his head in on the curb. But I've never been prouder of my city, and I've never been able to dismiss patriotism as the mean, divisive, disparaging right wing phenomenon I'd previously scorned.

  37. WoW, Joe, what an epiphany! It's a little tawdry, maudlin, and suprerficial, but it's your epiphany. I'll bet the hair stands up on the back of your neck when you hear the anthem. Good for you.

  38. "I'm from Italy, so I don't know much about Dick Tracy. Is that a compliment?"

    Melissa, It's a compliment. It's a compliment!
    Sparkle is good! B. O. may not be so good, but sparkle is!

    Below is from

    "I finally got on to speak for my 82 seconds (all the time Larry King Live could spare for the peace message) about how this war is a catastrophe and how we should bring the troops home and quit forcing the Iraqi people to pay for our government's hubris and quit forcing innocent children to suffer so we can allegedly fight terrorism somewhere besides America. How absolutely racist and immoral is it to take America's battles to another land and make an entire country pay for the crimes of others? To me, this is blatant genocide. How dare we export our brand of flag-waving death and devastation to a people who have been through so much already? It wasn't bad enough that our sanctions killed tens of thousands of Iraqis before we even started an active aggression against them. Now we have to create confusion, chaos, and disorder there. How dare our president and Congress, and we Americans, allow this to continue?"

  39. Suddenly all your meanderings about ED make sense, joe. No wait; correction: Suddenly I have a whole new perspective for what can pass for thought. Lovely, says I, and thanks for sharing.

  40. Melissa,
    Being from Italy instead of France, what is the shape of your head?
    Cone is taken.

  41. Mr. Bobo, you old Internet chat queen, it's been awhile! Last I saw you, you were reforming AOL, one convert at a time. Good to see you keeping up the moonbat image here in the Hive of overt colonial imperialism. Great touch, that phoenix-liberal-hyperrational thing on the 4th! And at Reason, no less! Simply brilliant.

    Posting as Ruthless too? Also a nice touch.

    Anyway, good to see those same old synapsis firing again. I'm sure folks are finally listening.

  42. Ruthless,

    You are a victim of the anti-intellectual, xenophobic strain in American culture. Joe is a victim of the sentimental strain. Anarchist discourse in Italy is a tad higher than anything I've seen in these posts, so you should worry about the shape of your own head.
    Oh yes, and in Italy, we don't call our fascists Republicans. We call them fascists.

  43. To all of you who are making fun of joe: shame on you. Loving this country isn't wrong. Love is rarely, if ever, deserved; it's freely given, with full knowledge of the beloved's faults and flaws. I love this country to distraction. I don't love it as much as I do freedom, of course, but that's not what's at issue here. What is is that we're all sitting here, moping, complaining about how bad things are. Well, things aren't bad; they're simply not perfect. One day a year, can't we focus on what's good about this country, and not on what's bad? For the last month, things haven't been going the way we libertarians like. Why don't we just get drunk (or high), celebrate what's been going right, and wake up tomorrow renewed, refreshed, and reminded of what we're fighting for?

    The United States is, all things considered, the freest nation on the face of the planet, and there is no better place to work towards the future we all want to see than here. And if we lose the fight, so what? Let's go down fighting valiantly, to the last man, rather than giving up because it's hopeless. Who knows? Maybe we'll win. But let's not let future generations say that we didn't give it our all.

  44. "You are a victim of the anti-intellectual, xenophobic strain in American culture."

    Is that a compliment?

  45. I was thinking of...

    ...Burning an effigy of King George III...
    ...Firing a musket into the air...
    ...Dumping tea into the American River (the nearest large body of water [also having a very appropriate name])...
    ...Burning all my tax information in a prominent and public location...
    ...Publicly decry and forbid the quartering of troops within my dwelling...

    ...But on second thought maybe I'll just watch some TV, surf the Net, read a book and maybe watch some other people set off fireworks...

  46. Re-reading the Declaration Of Independence just now, I decided I really wanna do something brave, smart, effective, and patriotic someday. Sure hope I can come up with something good.

    I really love this country. I just wish its political leaders acted like they really understood or cared what it is that makes it so special.

  47. Let's not shit ourselves; America has never completely lived up to our own ideals. The trick is to keep fighting, despite the essentially discouraging nature of the enterprise.

    Exactly right. That, to me, is what this country is about.

  48. I found reading the comments here quite depressing. It seldom happens, but I agree w/ joe.

    Look, no one is more disgusted by the Raich and Kelo SCOTUS decisions that I am. And no one more revolted by the obscenity that is the so-called "war" on drugs.

    But where is it better, in time or geography? (OK, possibly, the Netherlands.) Here, in the U.S., we can say what we like (except 60 days before an election). That is almost unheard of, and all over Europe people get prosecuted for criticizing religion or ethnic groups. Blasphemy remains a crime in the U.K.

    The U.S. needs to go further to realize the ideals of its founding. There have been set backs, absolutely.

    Yet, I love this country, not out of mindless nationalistic fervor, but out of sheer gratitude to the cosmos that I was born in a place and era more free than any other. That is no -- no -- little thing.

  49. MayDay:

    Flag waving by itself isn't fascism. What do you call using lies and manipulation to con the populace into backing the invasion and occupation of a country and then keeping it whipped into a patriotic fervor by maudlin appeals to support the brave solders--many of whom were conned into enlisting?
    It's the militarization of American society combined with the flag waving that smells of fascism, at least, to anybody who has had any experience of it.

  50. Americans are so quiescent toward their state. Where are the mass protests? I guess everybody is watching TV.

  51. Melissa writes: What do you call using lies and manipulation to con the populace into backing the invasion and occupation of a country

    There were no lies. Everyone, world-over, thought Saddam still had a viable WMD program.

    Saddam Hussein was a genocidal tyrant who harbored at least one terrorist from the '93 WTC bombing, and he tried to assassinate a former U.S. President. These are acts of war. Further, liberating Iraq from Saddam has indeed been costly, but so was WWII and ending Hitler/Mussolini/Hirohito. The U.S. then was held back from acting when it should have in that war, by isolationists. Had we joined Europe earlier, to defend against fascism, the ultimate cost would have been less. A lesson there, no?

    Bush is moving to stabilize the Middle East and destroy despotisms there. It remains to be seen whether he will succeed. If he does, history's verdict will be that he was far-sighted and brilliant. If not, not. It all depends on the result.

  52. This country rules. You're just being ornery.

    The excess of ruling is exactly why we're ornery, joe.

  53. Fireworks: $365
    Alcohol: $85
    Ambulance Service: $750
    My obnoxious neighbor's celebration of freedom: Pointless

  54. Fire Bad-

    Question: How can this situation be remedied without using the power of the state?

    Maybe by having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on hand in your apartment? Make sure you're insured and that you have valuable documents and keepsakes in a fireproof container? Making sure your landlord keeps the building up to fire code? (Oh, but that involves the state.) In short, worry about protecting your interests without trying to coerce other people. You can make your own domicile a fireproof fortress - you don't need to worry about handcuffing everyone in the neighborhood. This will be more positive and effective, because your domicile is just as likely to catch fire from any other of a thousand reasons besides drunken knuckleheads with fireworks.

    But notice - with certain types of people the first impulse is to always try and tell other people what to do. And to try and bend them to your arrogant will.


    The question is, how to we get the state less invovled in our lives and try to regain a sense of no-state enforced, civic responsibility that has been replaced by the wanton disregard for any authority, much like the mindset of a spoiled child?

    That's it, everyone without the same amount of deference to the same authority figures and institutions that you kowtow to needs to be shown the way. And the "spoiled child" crack is a prize-winner, sort of like the colonial powers and the slaveowners - any of the aboriginal and slave populations that they oppressed were always "childlike" and "primitive". It's a remarkably cowardly way to condescend - try to marginalize someone as a "spoiled child" to stop the debate so you won't have to learn that there's a good chance that you're wrong. Don't bother with the facts or arguments, just put a false label on them to try and get what you want.

  55. Mona:

    There are never any lies.

  56. scape-

    Fireworks: $365
    Alcohol: $85
    Ambulance Service: $750
    My obnoxious neighbor's celebration of freedom: Pointless

    Right, so are hundreds of other dangerous or risky things that people do.

    When are you going to go door to door banning motorcycles? Cigarettes? Aspirin? Mountain climbing? Whitewater rafting? Football? Boxing?

    What's next, omniscent and all-powerful one?

  57. Melissa cryptically writes: Mona:
    There are never any lies.


    Now that we are past the chic cynicism, what of the reality of Saddam's Iraq, the ME, and Islamic jihadists who kill Europeans, Asians and Americans? Aborting jihadist -- secular or religious -- efforts does not serve humanity?

  58. Mona-

    You're dreaming. With all the sanctions and no-fly zones Saddam was a shadow of his former self. He didn't even have effective access to large parts of his own country.

    The Downing Street memo states that there was a nearly non-existent case for war that needed to be "sexed up".

    Assume for a minute that the current administration is able to militarily topple every "despotism" in the middle east and install a democracy. What happens if and when religious hardliners are elected? Keep toppling until someone is elected that the US approves of?

  59. CAT writes: Mona-You're dreaming.

    Perhaps. Saddam did not harbor a terrorist from the '93 WTC bombing? He did not attempt to assassinate a former U.S. President? He was not refusing to allow UN inspectors confirm -- contrary to what nearly everyone everywhere thought -- that he had no WMD programs? He was not terrorizing his population and piling them in mass graves? He was a fair and democratic-minded guy building stability in a region that was very friendly toward Americans?

  60. The Independence Day feast this year was good, even if it had to run for cover. Barbecued turkey drumsticks are great. Had the weather cooperated, I wanted to roast potatoes in the coals, clambake-style, what, growing up, we called "mickeys." So I hadda cut them up and steam them in the rice cooker. They were still good. Sweet corn on the cob is hard to beat. In a bit I'm heading out for chocolate frozen custard.

    Note that all foods originate in the Americas. Perhaps next year I'll grill some bison or beefalo. A dessert made from blueberries, cranberries, pumpkin or concord grapes are other possibilities.

    Chez kevrob is also working its way through a selection of local microbrews. I do hope that new science about moderate amounts of alcohol helping to keep your arteries clear works, as I think I've exceeded my yearly allotment of butter and salt.

  61. But, Mona, When Saddam was gassing Kurds, Rumsfeld was shaking his hand. Saddam was no threat. Think oil. Think power.

  62. Melissa,

    So...Are you here to provide thoughtful, honest and friendly criticism and advice on ways to advance the individual liberties of Americans while reducing corruption, dishonesty and lawlessness of our elected officials?

    Or are you just here to gloat over and chide the "trigger-happy, unilateralist, colonialist, fascist, yankee, cowboys"?

  63. Perhaps. Saddam did not harbor a terrorist from the '93 WTC bombing? He did not attempt to assassinate a former U.S. President? He was not refusing to allow UN inspectors confirm -- contrary to what nearly everyone everywhere thought -- that he had no WMD programs? He was not terrorizing his population and piling them in mass graves? He was a fair and democratic-minded guy building stability in a region that was very friendly toward Americans?

    Most of those things occurred years ago, with the exception of some of the oppression, which was ongoing. Why didn't we immediately invade when those occurred? And there are at least a dozen countries that engage in similar human rights abuses, why haven't we invaded them?

    As far as the inspections go if I remember correctly there was some movement just before we invaded. Perhaps he was jerking us around. But he couldn't have been doing much productive work on WMDs if he had to play games dodging inspectors, spies, and satellites all the time. (In addition to the aforementioned "no-fly" zones, which cut off access to large parts of his own country.)

    No - he wasn't a democratic-minded guy that was friendly to Americans, but that doesn't mean we needed to spend enormous amounts of money and lives invading to depose him.

    You didn't answer my previous question: What if the current administration militarily deposes all "despotisms" in the middle east and installs democratic governments and they elect religious hardliners? Or are marked by constant strife and instability?

  64. CAT: You might be right. It might be the case that Bush II coming to power after 9/11 and redressing attacks late, mean nothing. Or, they convince jihadists one cannot attack us with impunity. The historical verdict is out.

  65. Criminy. Why is joe the only poster who makes any sense on this thread? What's wrong with you folks, really?


  66. kwais: Thank You.

    This thread has shown me how I agree with nearly everyone somehow, and the difference between getting the point and being argumentative.

  67. Melissa:

    When is that oil from Iraq scheduled to arrive, anyway? I'm sick of these high gas prices. Almost as much as I'm sick of idiots claiming that this was a "war for oil", without even the wildest conspiracy theory to back up that hare-brained theory. Bad war, yes, but a deliberate act of evil for gains of power and oil? No proof except that created by your own delusions and hatred.

  68. I'm with joe on this one. F a bunch of you people. A little perspective would be nice. We are, as a national population, among the freest people ever to walk the earth. We have plenty of problems, but they are not especially bad in the large scope of history. Republicans are not fascists. Democrats are not communists. Current incarnations of the former believe that certain psychotic behavior can be best addressed with military power, while current incarnations of the latter would like us to look like Europe. Mind you, the complaint is that we have more economic freedom than Europeans. As complaints go, well, I can live with that one.

    We have created the greatest engine of economic growth in world history. That is nothing to sneeze at. We have problems like too much food for our children to eat.

    C'mon guys. There is plenty to celebrate.

  69. America...
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah,
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    Freedom is the only way yeah,
    Terrorist your game is through cause now you have to answer too,
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    So lick my butt, and suck on my balls,
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    What you going to do when we come for you now,
    it?s the dream that we all share; it?s the hope for tomorrow


    McDonalds, FUCK YEAH!
    Wal-Mart, FUCK YEAH!
    The Gap, FUCK YEAH!
    Baseball, FUCK YEAH!
    Rock and roll, FUCK YEAH!
    The Internet, FUCK YEAH!
    Slavery, FUCK YEAH!


    Starbucks, FUCK YEAH!
    Disney world, FUCK YEAH!
    Porno, FUCK YEAH!
    Valium, FUCK YEAH!
    Reeboks, FUCK YEAH!
    Fake Tits, FUCK YEAH!
    Sushi, FUCK YEAH!
    Taco Bell, FUCK YEAH!
    Rodeos, FUCK YEAH!
    Bed bath and beyond (Fuck yeah, Fuck yeah)

    Liberty, FUCK YEAH!
    White Slips, FUCK YEAH!
    The Alamo, FUCK YEAH!
    Band-aids, FUCK YEAH!
    Las Vegas, FUCK YEAH!
    Christmas, FUCK YEAH!
    Immigrants, FUCK YEAH!
    Popeye, FUCK YEAH!
    Demarcates, FUCK YEAH!
    Republicans (republicans)
    (fuck yeah, fuck yeah)

  70. Man, the bitterness certainly is strong with many of you.

    Get a fuckin' grip.

  71. For everyone who thinks America is done and over, maybe you would enjoy this potential future?

  72. For libertarians, you all sound a lot like ordinary right-wing national chauvinists.

  73. March 09, 2005

    American troops are being taught to recognise that the Union Jack means British troops in an attempt to stop them firing on allied vehicles following thirty two 'blue on blue' attacks in the past year (GILES PENFOUND / CROWN COPYRIGHT / GETTY IMAGES)

    US troops get training to avoid friendly-fire attacks on British
    By Laura Peek and Michael Evans, Defence Editor

    AMERICAN soldiers in Iraq are being given ?anti-fratricide? training to reduce the number of friendly fire attacks against British and other coalition troops, The Times has learnt.
    Thirty-two ?blue-on-blue? attacks on British and other coalition vehicles have been logged in the past twelve months in southern Iraq, Britain?s area of responsibility.

    The training was revealed as Washington and Rome announced a joint inquiry into the killing last week of an Italian secret agent when US troops opened fire on the car in which he was accompanying a freed hostage to Baghdad airport.

    The inquiry was announced by General George Casey, commander of multinational forces in Iraq, after Gianfranco Fini, the Italian Foreign Minister, had highlighted differences between the American and Italian versions of the incident.

    Nicola Calipari, an experienced hostage negotiator, was killed as he protected Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist, who had been held for a month.

    On the same day, a 30-year-old Bulgarian machinegunner was shot and killed in a second friendly fire incident, for which US forces were also blamed.

    The vast majority of the 32 reported incidents involved American troops opening fire at night-time against suspected insurgents who turned out to be friendly forces, on or near the main route through southern Iraq used by US convoys.

    Military officials in Basra, where the British-controlled Multinational Division (Southeast) is based, said that the ?vehicle blue-on-blue incidents? in the period from February last year had resulted in ten minor injuries. ?There have been no fatalities,? one said.

    The officials declined to spell out the injuries received or whether they were all British soldiers, but they confirmed that most of the ?firing nationalities? were American. A small number of incidents involved Romanian and Bulgarian troops opening fire.

    US commanders were so worried that their men were shooting at the British because they failed to recognise the Union Jack or other distinguishing military markings that, in an unprecedented move, they asked the British Army to supply vehicles, men and flags to teach their soldiers what their allies looked like.

    It is understood that the British supplied several ?snatch? armoured Land Rovers, the most common vehicle used by British troops on patrol and senior non-commissioned officers, with Union Jacks, to instruct the Americans.

    This was in addition to a detailed presentation already provided by the British for all incoming US troops, which outlines what a British soldier looks like, what type of vehicle he drives and what other coalition troops in southern Iraq drive around in.

    When asked by The Times about the special anti-fratricide training, which was requested in January, a spokesman for US Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, said: ?It is understandable we are doing this. We all want to reduce the number of friendly fire incidents. Checkpoints are very dangerous places. It has come into the headlines with the Italian and Bulgarian, but there are more incidents that do not get publicity and probably do not end so badly.?

    British troops have been given warning against approaching American convoys because of the risk of being shot at. They are ordered to slow down to a snail?s pace as they pull alongside a convoy. They are told to display the Union Jack and shout that they are British. ?The problem is that most of these incidents happen in the dark,? a military source said.

    A British officer in Basra said: ?The Americans can be pretty pumped-up. Sometimes they fire in broad daylight when we are travelling at two miles per hour, shouting that we are British out of the window and waving the Union Jack. If they shoot, our drill is to slam on the brakes and race in the opposite direction.?

  74. Look at me, everyone! I'm anti-intellectual! I'm xenophobic! I'm a FASCIST!


    (see, you can tell I'm a xenophobe, because of how much I like living in a city with lots of immigrants)

  75. Well, I'm reading on the 5th of July, but I'm glad I wasn't here yesterday. Akira, Jennifer, Sandy, etc., etc. -- would it have killed to hold the "Amerikkka sucks" bitching and moaning for 24 hours? Sure, I hate just about everybody running this country, but I'm a libertarian, so that's to be expected. This is still the greatest goddamn place on earth, and it wouldn't kill you to let us enjoy it for a day without pissing all over our party. Have some BBQ, listen to some rock 'n roll, drink some bourbon, read some Mark Twain, play your favorite American-invented sport, and chill the fuck out.

  76. Steve-
    If I didn't like this country, I wouldn't give a damn what happens to it. Which Mark Twain works should I read to reinforce the "America: Fuck Yeah!" motif? Would it be "Huck Finn," where Twain talks about the hypocritical evils of American racism? "The Man who Corrupted Hadleyburg?" "The Damned Human Race?" "Innocents Abroad?" Mark Twain's one of my favorite authors, but he's NOT the guy to read if you want to feel warm and fuzzy about people and institutions.

  77. Jennifer,

    I'd hardly characterize my post as "America: Fuck Yeah!"

    Stop letting the bulletheads tell you what patriotism is, Jennifer, and find out what it really is.

  78. c'mon. quit feeding the troll.

    this was the same melissa who jumped on someone for talking about "limited government" with a sophomoric screed about "limited powers" vs "limited size". (and the limited size argument was incorrect)

    just quit feeding.

    86 the protectionism here.
    86 PATRIOT
    86 wars of aggression and misunderstood jingoism
    86 the UN

    free trade. individual liberty. stay out of my bedroom and boardroom and billfold.

    so there.

    and joe. no. you're a miserable kommie 🙂

    right (at least that's what a few types around here assert. grin)?


  79. Joe-
    I'd say pointing out flaws and things that need improvement IS patriotism. I have no kids, but I'm the honorary aunt of a number of friends' children, and I don't want to have the following conversation twenty or thirty years from now:

    POPPET: Aunt Jennifer, why didn't your generation DO anything when you saw America turning into a totalitarian hellhole?

    ME: Well, sweetie, we were too busy waving little American flags and yelling, "We're number one!"

    It's like I've said before: say you're giving your beloved wife/husband/significant other a backrub, and on the part of the back that she can't see or feel for herself you notice a hideously ugly malignant melanoma. What do you do?

    A. Say nothing, because you love this person too much to admit she could have any imperfection, let alone one as ugly as a melanoma; or

    B. Raise hell about it, because you love this person too much to let them die from a problem that's easy to treat if caught early enough?

  80. Lord knows I point out flaws, Jennifer. But I do it out of love. You, on the other hand, seem determined to go out of your way to present your observations as refutations of patriotism.

    I'm looking at my American flag waving right now. Actually, it's just sort of dangling there...there it goes. And that doesn't stop me from trying to right this ship of state before it goes off the rails and over a cliff.

    You couldn't find a single nice thing to say about your country - YOUR COUNTRY, whether you admit it or not - on the day of its birth?

  81. In the Middle Ages, the church burned "trolls" at the stake.

  82. Joe-
    In my first post on this thread I said I'm better off here than in North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Faint praise to be sure, but after a week that started with having to pass through a drunk-driving check and tell my business to a cop, and ended with the TSA treating me like a borderline criminal for wanting to fly on a plane, I wasn't feeling my most patriotic. (But you'll be glad to know that, wherever the hell Osama bin Laden IS hiding these days, he sure as hell wasn't in my carry-on bag.)

    What does your staring at the flag have to do with anything?

  83. And my shoes were entirely free of dangerous nuclear devices.

  84. I actually did go out and get some sun on the Fourth. Yesterday was Dollar Dog Day at Jacobs' Field, so I ate two while watching the Cleveland Indians mop the floor with the Detroit Tigers. (Detroit Sucks!) Also attended the obligatory cookout and municipal fireworks display.

    Hooray for fattening foods, alcohol, the National Anthem, baseball, and bright, sparkely things that make loud "boom" noises!!!

    It seemed to me that all these buffons where celebrating is the ability to shoot off fireworks and stuff themselves with burgers and bratwurst.

    Rock n' Roll Baby! Freedom of Expression!

  85. I was flying the flag for the last month - I like the color it brings to the landscape. I took it down when I heard Bush exhort us to display the flag on the 4th. The way this country is going, this mild protest may someday earn a jail sentence.

    There are a lot of great things about America - but the current trend is terrifying. The freedom we celebrate on Independence Day is rapidly eroding. I just want to be left alone. I am disgusted at the layer upon layer of governing bodies regulating every action I take. I detest being taxed at every turn, and having most of these hard-earned dollars ending up in the wallets of wealthy bastards who pull the strings on our puppet politicians. I do not want religious beliefs shoved down the throats of my innocent and impressionable children. I do not want my country slaughtering people for no valid reason.
    I want independence from my country - and everyone in it that wants to impose their will by force and economic sanctions.

  86. Ssssshhhhh, Crushinator. You shouldn't insult America on its birthday--you might hurt its feelings.

  87. The spirit of the Declaration formalized by the Constitution is eroding?

    I imagine my father enjoyed the freedom to his own section of the lunch counter, that my great grandmother enjoyed the freedom to watch powerless on election day, that further back in history we were free from the concerns of finding employment because our owners just told us what to do. We used to be free to suffer from mostly-forgotten diseases now cured through the efforts selfish individualists exploiting the capitalist system. I really feel the loss of freedom as I suffer from crippling indecision choosing with whom I associate, where I live, how to worship, where to sell my labor, and even which mouthwash to buy.

    Yes, the modern USA is just a really big prison. Damn those Founding Fathers who built this gaol! And cruel fate for locking me inside.

    joe: Woo!

  88. Dynamist-
    Yes, things are better than they were in the old days. Problem is, in the old days, while we were never as perfectly free as we claimed to be, we were getting closer all the time. Now it looks like we're getting further away. The Constitutional amendments being debated nowadays won't give rights to greater numbers of people; they'll, respectively, enshrine gay folk as second-class citizens and outlaw a type of freedom of expression. Our own PRESIDENT, Jesus-jumped-up-Christ-on-acid, makes comments like "You're either with us or with the terrorists." We're starting wars on false pretenses, and labelling as traitors those who point that out. How are these supposed to be viewed as positive trends?

  89. Look at me, everyone! I'm anti-intellectual! I'm xenophobic! I'm a FASCIST! -joe

    Cool! I knew that you'd eventually come around to the proper way of thinking. And to think that I was only accused of being an "ordinary right-wing national chauvinist" by Melissa. Sheesh! I feel left out. I can only aspire to someday become "a victim of the anti-intellectual, xenophobic strain [and/or sentimental strain] in American culture"...

  90. Jennifer, I mentioned Twain just because he's a great American writer, not because he wrote "America: Fuck Yeah!" stuff. On the 4th of July, I try to think of the things I like about this country. Hence the bourbon, the BBQ and the rock 'n' roll. I can even admire the Bill of Rights without thinking about the way it's been treated recently.

    Since today is the 5th, please go ahead and bitch about America. I just feel a little sorry for you (and I question your grip on reality), if your reaction to the 4th of July is to think about everything that's wrong with the country.

    I disagree with joe about almost everything, and like him, I also disagree with the current administration about most things. I think we both realize, though, that there's still a helluva a lot more that's right with America than wrong with it. OK, that was a very inelegant way to say what I'm trying to say, but maybe you get the point.

  91. No, Steve, I do get your point. And yes, there's a lot of good left in America, but ironically enough, the more we focus exclusively on the good, the more likely we are to lose it.

    I don't know how much of this thread you've read, but I posted earlier that two Fridays ago, driving home from work, I had to stop through a drunk-driving checkpoint and answer various questions (like, "Where are you coming from?" and "Where are you going?") that were NONE OF THE COP'S DAMNED BUSINESS, especially since he had no reason to suspect me of any crime. I can't do a simple thing like drive home from work without having to answer to the police anymore? And then last week I had a business trip, with my first post-TSA flights, and discovered that the simple act of trying to board a plane makes me a criminal suspect who is not worthy of respectful treatment. (But neither were any of the other passengers.)

    No, these experiences of mine certainly weren't horrible, and I'm not going to have nightmares from them, but they're no damned reason to celebrate.

  92. Just like any birthday, the 4th of July provokes one to ponder where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed. The bitterness expressed in this thread is not directed towards where we have been but rather the current direction of this great country. The USA used to be a beacon of hope; a shining example of free enterprise, personal freedom, and government by the people. We have overcome many obstacles and repaired many of our flaws (slavery, limited suffrage, environmental destruction, prohibition, capitalist exploitation, our horrible treatment of Native Americans, to name a few). However, we seem to have lost our way and are backsliding.

    America is like a child that failed to actualize its full potential. The country was born against the most unlikely odds. We learned fast, grew big and strong, and saved the world from totalitarian zealots. Now our beloved child has begun to hang out with the wrong crowd - thugs, thieves, and bullies. We are now reviled by the world that once respected us for our integrity. The Robber Barons have returned to power. We have evolved into a nanny state that does not trust the individual to be personally responsible and make their own decisions. Privacy, private property, and individual freedoms are under constant attack. We are shackling our sons and daughters with an unbearable debt that will precipitate America's economic decline. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Murderers and burglars are released early to make room in the prisons for folks who want to smoke a little weed or play poker. We have got our priorities all screwed up.

    So go ahead Steve and joe, and wave your pretty flags and admire America's little league trophies on the bookshelf. Meanwhile, I refuse to gloss over her problems will be working hard to reverse the current trend towards mediocrity.

  93. I just wanted to add (to clarify my position) that I celebrate the Fourth of July not in the name of what the present state of the country is, but what it once was, how it came to be that way, and what was intended to be. In no way do I celebrate Independence Day as a present-day "I-lurve-mah-cuntry Patriotic Holiday", but I celebrate it from more of a historical appreciation of what freedom can really mean and why it's worth fighting for. That is a good enough reason for me to get wasted and have a good time with friends and family in the middle of summer. I do more or less agree with Crushinator, although I'm perhaps not quite as fatalistic/despondent about the current state of our country. I don't think celebrating a holiday on a designated "National Holiday" is fascist -- it's just a day that the nation set aside to celebrate being a fuggin' nation. (What are you protesting? Some of you are ridiculously belligerent, reminding me of the political fringe lunatics in "Life of Brian" who are arguing for men's rights to have babies.) I'm not glossing over our country's failings or problems in any way by celebrating on Independence Day; I'm just not letting a bunch of "totalitarian zealots", "Robber Barons", and "thugs, thieves, and bullies" run my life and ruin my fun, especially on one of my favorite holidays. That's just obsessive. You only have so many years on the planet; why waste every day pouting? Whether you like it or don't, the fact that you're not going to see the fireworks that your tax dollars paid for and enjoy a beer with good company is not going to change anything, and no one will be affected by your non-participation in the holiday. Except that means more hot dogs, lawn space, and keg beer for me.

  94. I went to take pictures of the fireworks at Lenox Square, Atlanta. Knowing the Simon Properties guards, I knew I had to stay on public property (in my case Peachtree Road) to not harassed. Still, that's exactly what Atlanta Police did to me, stopping by a few times to make sure that my cameras were pointed at the sky, because I was not allowed to take pictures of people, as soon as they found out I wasn't an official journalist. The cops didn't like the fact that I was still using film cameras and thus was unable to show them the shots I've taken, either, but at least they didn't arrest me or take my equipment.

    Now I'm in the process of getting some kind of journalistic ID, so that I can work on my current project - shots of the sky, as reflected off different Atlanta buildings...

  95. Well said, Smacky!

    I fall into the trap of taking myself too seriously. Guilty on all counts.

    I have four kids. Of course we enjoyed the holiday. I would never yield my share of the food, booze, fireworks, and fun. Life is too short to be miserable. I am not pouting, but I am depressed that my kids will not have it as good as I did. You are absolutely correct that freedom is worth fighting for. I came away from this year's Independence Day celebration with a renewed resolve to make a difference. I want my kids to grow up in a world where they do not have to be scared of the cops, and where they feel empowered to pursue any dream they want to pursue.

    I guess I am most disappointed with my own paltry efforts to restore lost liberties.

  96. I guess I am most disappointed with my own paltry efforts to restore lost liberties.


    I know the feeling of helplessness and/or inefficacy that you describe. It does not make a person proud to experience that feeling. Frequently on the 4th (and many other days of the year) I get that way, too, and I don't even have any next-of-kin. The fact that you care enough to bitch about it is a step in the right direction, though. I was not trying to defend the status quo in my last post, only reminding the individuals that are chronically hung up on current affairs that there is life outside of perceived political issues. Although I've said in the past that discussion is essentially futile once it reaches a certain point, it is also key if anything is to be accomplished. So basically I'm all for protest, and even better: doing something about a problem, but bitterness doesn't help anything.


    If you don't grill animal byproducts outdoors and set off dangerous explosives in your yard this summer then the terrorists have won!


  97. "So go ahead Steve and joe, and wave your pretty flags and admire America's little league trophies on the bookshelf. Meanwhile, I refuse to gloss over her problems will be working hard to reverse the current trend towards mediocrity."

    Um, have you been here before? I'm not generally known for my efforts to gloss over problems.

    How pathetic and shallow of you, in an "It's all just bullshit, man!" sort of way, to believe you can't be patriotic and a dissenter. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

  98. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

    No, it isn't!


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