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August 04, 2007

How to Say “Shut The Hell Up” and Make It Stick [Stashiu3]

I just don’t get it. If I follow the rules, do the best I can with what I have, and refuse to take any shit from anyone without losing my cool, things seem to work out. It’s like politicians on both sides keep forgetting this, or letting the “worthy opposition” change the rules mid-game. Now, I’ve worked psych for a long time and I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned is that EVERYONE is screwed up. It’s the human condition for pity’s sake!


In his novel Lifehouse, Spider Robinson has a character discuss something called the “Asshole Principle.” According to him, everyone is an asshole, but the biggest ones are people who believe that somewhere, there are people who are NOT assholes and want to be mistaken for one of them. If you just accept that you’re an asshole, you can get through a lot. Now Spider is a long-haired, guitar-playing, science fiction writer whose about as liberal as you will ever see. Not the Liberal you see in the United States, but a truly liberal person, like the Democratic Party my parents were part of long ago. High ideals and striving to make the world a better place. I remember when being considered liberal was a compliment. It meant you took the high road and were open to new ideas on how to improve things. The world was a hopeful place and the United Nations would one day unite the world.

We’ve had President Reagan who knew how to tell someone to shut the hell up. President Bush 41 should have done it instead of getting pushed into a tax hike. All the good things that happened during his term were overshadowed by “Read My Lips, No New Taxes!” President Clinton was sidetracked by personal temptations when, with a little discretion, he could have gotten oral sex from a different gal every week and nobody would have blinked. Women offered him BJ’s just for his work on keeping abortion legal.

Think back to the election in 2000 which, granted was unprecedented since nobody had ever been as big an asshole as Gore was before then. But once the Supreme Court had ruled, somebody should have told Gore, “Look, shut the hell up and try again in four years… keep up the stupid shit and we’ll marginalize you into the NEXT millennium asshole!” Now, being an asshole doesn’t mean you have to drop down into the gutter every minute of every day. Just take the practical route to where you want to end up.

Right after 9/11 and before the U.S went into Afghanistan, a few of us mid-level, career Army officers were bullshitting about politics talking about how to prepare. We were pretty unsatisfied with how the Gulf War came out for a bunch of reasons. Those of us who were prior-enlisted and had been in a while remembered how the Vietnam vets were treated, and what the military was like post-Vietnam. There wasn’t a weight-control program, drug-testing program… hell, there wasn’t any such thing as a PT uniform… we had some guys going to physical training in those 1970’s short-shorts (I expect Beauchamp would have fit right in.) It took a while, but we got rid of most our deadweight, amped up our training standards until we knew our shit, and became the best military in the world.

Anyway, what my buddies and I couldn’t get our heads around was why it seemed the Army kept turning into the World Police. How the hell did the United States keep getting bogged down in “Peacekeeping Missions”? If we needed to go in someplace because they’re a threat, let’s go in and do what we do best… kill people and break shit. Once that’s done, we leave a little note on the door saying, “Don’t make us come back here again… it’ll piss us off.” Then we get the hell out and stomp on the next dickhead’s neck who tries to do something stupid. Why get caught up in nation-building and restoring infrastructure? Let them complain and tell them if they don’t want to have to rebuild it, don’t make us come in and tear it up.

Would there be some chaos for a while? Hell yeah, but we’ve got a bunch of that now. I don’t think we’d be catching any shit from North Korea, Venezuela, or too many other places if we had gone in, walloped the Taliban and Saddam into little smears on the minarets, and left them to pick up their own pieces. As soon as any of those other assholes poked their heads up and saw what had happened to Al-Qaeda, they would realize the only thing they could expect for their trouble was a grand smackdown. There’s no way those leaders would keep starting shit, or letting it start in their hometown anyway.

How to apply this to other situations today? Take the U.S. Attorney firings. Why compare what happened with what President Clinton did? Who gives a shit? U.S. Attorneys serve “at the pleasure of the President.” As soon as Democrats objected, Tony Snow should have gotten one of the press to ask about it and respond, “The President was no longer pleased… next question.” If anyone has the balls to continue, a short “If the Democrats want to determine who the U.S. Attorneys are going to be, they need to win an election. Until then, it’s our choice.”

Scooter Libby? Even easier… sorry, but the dumbass lied under oath and should be in prison. Should he have been under oath? Not for a second. Who appoints special prosecutors? The Attorney General. Has there ever been a special prosecutor that was effective at it? Archibald Cox… Ken Starr… Patrick Fitzgerald… (all pretty good people). Nope… so knock that shit off, no more special prosecutors. The Attorney General knew no crime had been committed, and they knew that Plame and Wilson were lying through their teeth. The info ended up being declassified for the most part anyway, so publish the facts that proved Joe Wilson was a lying asshole and call it a day. Fitzgerald should have never entered the picture. The same goes for anyone else doing stupid shit, no matter what party they’re from. Call them on it, let them squawk, then tell them to shut up and get lost.

Katrina? Laugh your ass off at anyone who implies that the White House can create hurricanes. When they tried to complain about FEMA I thought, “Wait, why aren’t the state Governors, Congresscritters, and Senators monitoring emergency plans for their constituents? They should be the ones coordinating with FEMA and Red Cross.” How far down into the weeds does the White House have to get? If there is a rash of vending machine thefts, do we call for impeachment? Let local issues remain local and have FEMA only go in if asked for help. Hold the local government responsible as far down the chain as possible.

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? If you’re going to have military detention facilities, put detention officers in charge. Have the guys at Leavenworth train people up and fill the supervisory positions. Someone thinks there is abuse and torture? Get one person from each party who is generally respected by their base (like Al Gore and Alan Keyes, or Al Sharpton and Sam Berry) to go oversee the operations. It’s not like any politician is going to be missed for a year or two and they might learn how to actually run things.

The bottom line is that you can cut through a lot of the bullshit and spin with a firm “Shut the Hell Up”. The American people can take it, even the Left appreciated Reagan’s candor after they saw how it worked on the Soviet Union and Germany. They didn’t like it, they certainly didn’t think that’s how a President should behave, but they (mostly) didn’t deny that it worked. Not until after he was dead anyway, then the historical revisionism started up again and nobody called them on it.

That’s why Fred Thompson is such an attractive candidate to me (not in a gay way, NTTIAWTT). I may not agree with everything he believes, but it seems he doesn’t take shit and he’ll listen. That’s all I ever wanted in a boss while I was in the Army. If the decision didn’t go my way, it was no problem and “Yes sir! Three bags full!” and move out smartly. At least I got heard. If I even looked like I was still hesitant, I got a “STFU now” message quickly and my hesitation disappeared. That’s how We The People need to set our government straight.

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posted by xgenghisx at 09:28 AM

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