All Things In Their Place Endorses Barack Obama

 Civilizer 

“Screwed the pooch.”  It’s a great phrase that uses fornication with a dog as a vivid, absurd metaphor for dorking something up so bad that everyone who sees you doing it can only shake their heads and look away, disgusted but yet a little bit bemused.  And my friends, you look up “pooch-screwing” in the dictionary, you’ll find that it says “See John McCain presidential campaign, managers of.”

When it looked like the Republicans were going to throw in the electoral towel by nominating either an empty suit, a crazy Christian, or a generally crazy person and admit that 8 years of Bush/Cheney/Rove ruined their brand, they got it together and nominated John McCain.  War hero, experienced and popular Senator, guy with a reputation for not being under the thumb of the GOP leadership.  Going up against Barack Obama, quickly becoming the darling of the Daily Show crowd, the Republicans picked the candidate who basically made the Daily Show with his famously well-humored response to Steve Carell’s ultimate gotcha on the Straight Talk Express back in 1999.

And then they told that guy to go screw off, and introduced the country to A-hole John.  Out of touch, dishonest, pandering.  It’s gone about as well as you would expect.

When John McCain did take the nomination, I was relieved.  Republican that I am, I thought “Thank God.  The party has been one big embarrassment for the past several years, but now I can vote for one of the few guys that wasn’t.”  Not anymore.  Given the conduct of the McCain campaign, I must throw my support to Barack Obama, and for the following reasons:

That IS a pretty sweet state quarter, I have to give her that

1.  Sarah Palin – what a frighteningly stupid move picking this chick was.  Thrust from national anonymity into the spotlight of a presidential campaign, she’s initially fawned over by the media and voters as the much-needed “game changer” that McCain was after.  “Old guy listened to his gut,” everybody said.  “What a maverick,” they said.  She makes a carefully scripted but nevertheless punchy, red-meat fortified speech at the Republican National Convention.  And then, in a series of embarrassing interviews with the mild-mannered Charlie Gibson and former America’s Sweetheart Katie Couric, reveals herself to be a clueless dolt.  And then, in a series of stump speeches that continue to this day, reveals herself to be a strident harpy as well.  She displays all the contemptible failures of character that Tricky Dick Cheney does, but none of the effectiveness and villainous intelligence.  Cheney may have used the Constitution for fish-wrapping paper, but at least he succeeded in preventing another attack on American shores with those methods.  With Palin, we’d have a dirty bomb in Epcot Center inside her ticket’s first 100 days.  It’s telling that the McCain campaign had to fall back, predictably, on loud cries of sexism whenever their anointed loon came under attack – unfortunately, it’s not what’s between her legs that bothers me, it’s what isn’t between her ears.

2.  The recent tone of the McCain campaign – in a word, unbecoming.  Unbecoming the man who denounced the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry and frankly unbecoming our entire country.  How embarrassing it has been, in 2008, to watch video in which our oft-lauded “salt of the earth” Americans who I have often stated make up the backbone of the military, economy, and society of this country, sound like benighted dullards at every turn.  And how troubling it has been to see the McCain campaign pounce on this sad state of affairs.  McCain has been trying to get the bigot toothpaste back in the tube over the past few days, but that shouldn’t obscure the fact that he let his shrill toady turn a tenuous connection of Obama’s to Bill Ayers (who, for the record, is a complete asshole that I wouldn’t piss on if he were on fire to put him out) into some sort of insidious partnership cloaked in secrecy.  The McCainanites have stood there as Palin basked in shouts of “kill him” while she let her crowds turn uglier and uglier.  Rep. Lewis was exactly right when he compared the tone of the campaign to the “climate and conditions” created by George Wallace in Alabama.  The campaign isn’t being overtly racist, but has done shamefully little to contain that element at its events.  Fortunately, the McCain attacks aren’t working.

3.  Policy – I am going to sum this argument up with two examples.  First, the quickie:  I was watching TV the other night, and there was an Obama ad and a McCain ad almost back to back, with just another weird Burger King ad between them.  The Obama ad was an explication of the candidate’s health care plan and an argument against McCain’s.  The McCain ad was about Bill Ayers.  The economy is in absolute tatters, there are serious matters at hand, and Obama responds with an issues ad.  McCain responds with a character assassination.  What seems more useful to you? 

Second is offshore drilling.  I’ve written about this before, but I’m going to go over this again for any of you who still think that it’s a good idea (this means you, Aaron Tippin).  You can skip my argument and just go to this tidy little piece from those crazy redwood humpers and polar bear kissers at the Christian Science Monitor, but here we go:

The Minerals Management Service estimates that there are 86 billion barrels of oil in offshore regions.  This estimation keeps going up as the political winds dictate, and just a few years ago the estimate was 45 billion.  But, in the areas that McCain would open up, there are estimated to be around 19 billion.  Let’s be generous and go with the 45, meeting somewhere in the middle.  The United States uses an estimated 20.7 million barrels per day.  That means there is just under 6 years’ worth of oil in them thar oceans.  Six years’ worth, and that’s after the 10 years it will take to extract the oil have passed.

No wonder the Bush Administration’s own analysts have said that offshore drilling will have no significant effect on oil prices through 2030.  It’s just plain stupid, but McCain is all for it.  For me, that kind of poor judgement blows all the goodwill he’d built with me on the surge.

File photo, Arnold Conrad

4.  The Christian Right – McCain had Arnold Conrad introduce him in Iowa a few days ago.  Here is what he said:

I would also pray Lord that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their God — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his [McCain’s] opponent wins for a variety of reasons. And Lord I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.  Oh Lord, we just commit this time to you, move among us, make your presence very well felt as we are gathered here today in Jesus’s name I pray.

I can’t stand and cast my vote with these people.  Not if I want to ever respect myself again, anyway.

Warren Buffet: Apparently a Commie

5.  Warren Buffet – No president, no matter what he says, can “fix” this or any economy.  The market forces involved are by and large beyond the scope of presidential authority or ability.  But on the economy, Barack Obama has the endorsement of Warren Buffet.  Warren Buffet is a financial genius.  John McCain has the endorsement of Phil Gramm.  Phil Gramm is not a financial genius.

Lots of reasons that Warren’s endorsement means a lot, but I want all of you who think that because Obama is going to raise taxes on the 5% of Americans earning over $250,000, we’re suddenly socialists and our economy is going to grind to a halt, read this story.  The gist?  The Oracle of Omaha, the ultimate anti-socialist, says “I see nothing wrong with those who have been blessed by this society to give a larger portion of their income to the society than somebody that’s working very, very hard to make ends meet.”  So I guess Warren Buffet’s a pinko now, right, jackasses at Cape Fear BBQ in Fayetteville, North Carolina?

6.  Barack Obama – if you’re able to think critically, you’ve hopefully noticed that I’ve decided to vote for Barack Obama for reasons that have a lot more to do with the McCain campaign sucking like a $500 Dyson instead of Obama being a good candidate.  And believe me, I’m well aware that the man is flawed.  He’s slick, for one.  I don’t like slick.  You don’t survive Rev. Wright, Bittergate, Bill Ayers, and the middle name “Hussein” in a presidential election without being slick.  Obama talked around these issues more often than he tackled them head-on, and I wasn’t a fan of that.  And admittedly, he’s very green for the chief executive role, a point that McCain and Co. somehow managed to fumble by talking about the Weather Underground all the time and then nullifying the point by selecting Our Sarah.  And his support for ethanol is just…so…stupid.

But here’s the deal:  ethanol aside, the dude is smart.  B.A. from Columbia, thesis on Soviet nuclear disarmament.  Harvard Law School, magna cum laude.  Senior Lecturer at Chicago School of Law.  A lot of people look at a C.V. like that and say “he thinks he’s better than you.”  Good.  Good.  I freaking hope that the MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD thinks he’s better than me.  I hope that he is better than me.  I hope the President of the United States is smarter than me, more clever than me, braver than me, more well-read than me, more well-traveled than me…just plain more everything than me.  You know that line of conventional wisdom that goes “People want to vote for a guy they can imagine having a beer with”?  That’s some of the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.  Let me just say this:  if I can imagine kicking back and having a beer with you, then I don’t want you anywhere near the Russians.  They will eat you alive like the simple rube that you are.  I don’t want you anywhere near the tax code.  You won’t think it through.  Jeffrey Fastow won’t pay any taxes because his lobbyist buddies duped you, but you’ll somehow be trying to collect $78,000 from a family dog in Bismark, North Dakota.  I want somebody who is steeped in brainpower, has a bunch of degrees and a bunch of stamps on his passport, and knows how to think around corners.  Barack Obama is that smart.

Also, I think his opposition to Iraq is one of the most overrated aspects of his candidacy, but the guy has it right on Pakistan, which is the real national security threat of the next decade.  Iraq and Afghanistan are obviously must-wins, but Pakistan is the constantly evolving, inscrutable ticking time bomb of international terrorism.  And Obama knows it, he knows the ISI is keeping the tribal areas safe for al-qaeda and the Taliban, and has the stones to say that if we’ve got a bead on a high-value target, and Pakistan won’t take the bastard out, then our Special Forces will.  No kow-towing to our strategic reliance on Pakistan, no letting that country’s intelligence service leverage our relationship to carry out private and nefarious agenda.  Just hey, your sovereignty doesn’t supercede our security.  Deal.  McCain’s big on his surge, and good for him, but he’s given me no indication whatsoever that he has a plan for Pakistan.  And that’s a big miss.

The guy just gets it more than McCain does.  Obama has proven, throughout the course of the campaign, to be more thoughtful, more intelligent, and more thorough than his opponent.  McCain has flirted with self-destruction as Obama continues to draw crowds, donors, and the respect of military leaders, lawmakers, economists, and hell, even aides to John McCain who worked in the Reagan White House.  I hope that a McCain loss, borne of a craven appeal to the racist, the frightened, and the under-educated, burns my party to the ground.  Because it will be rebuilt again, and I hope the people restoring it pay attention to what happened in 2008.  I hope they noticed that a bright, eloquent, educated, intellectual man won the presidency, and that when they’ve got the GOP up and running again, they have the sense to tell the creationists, the pro-lifers who stop caring about the fetus once it’s out of the womb, the protectionists, and the dittoheads to please get off, the country has passed them by.  There’s a big difference, after all, between “elitism” and being elite.  Get that sorted out, and I’m back on board.  Until then, I’m voting Obama/Biden this year. 

The U.N. “Regrets,” Dictators Shrug

 Civilizer

Chalk up the Zimbabwe “elections” as yet another nail in the coffin of the United Nations’ credibility.  Zimbabwe’s best chance yet for meaningful change mangled by widespread coercion and intimidation, a people beset for generations by corruption-fed poverty and dictatorship, and the U.N. “regret[s] that the election went ahead in these circumstances.”  Now that’s inspiring.  My heart went a million miles an hour, reading the full text of the statement. 

These people desperately need intervention, and the U.N. can’t even come up with a finger-wag, instead opting for the sorrowful shake of the head and tongue-cluck.  What’s the matter folks?  Leave your balls in Kosovo?  Zimbabwe is yet another example of a humanitarian failing on this planet, and all your blue helmets are cleaner and shinier than the one worn by Peyton Manning’s backup.

 Zimbabwe, along with Darfur, is yet another shining example of the concept of national sovereignty being an absolute crock.  My stance on the issue might be slightly impolitic, but we really ought to be splitting democracies into 2 categories:  Real and Rubber Stamps For Dictators.  Real ones, like those in America and Western Europe, you may notice, are often hotly and bitterly contested.  A tremendous amount of power and influence (and therefore $$$) hangs in the balance.  And yet, even when the situation becomes chaotic (see Bush v. Gore), you don’t see any coups, leaders refusing to step down, or voters forced to pull a lever at gunpoint.  That’s what’s called “political stability,” and if a country has it, then by all means, U.N., let that country handle its own affairs.

And then there’s countries like Zimbabwe.  For God’s sake, Mugabe is sending goon squads into a flea market over there with orders to find people who lack the telltale red-dyed finger proving that they voted, and to force them to vote for Mugabe.  It’s called Operation: Red Finger.  Stable countries like the United States have to guard against what I have come to call “South Carolina tactics” – slanderous robocalling, push polls, anonymous fliers claiming that Barack Obama eats children – and over in Zimbabwe, the government rapes people.  Now, again, political correctness be damned, that’s when you send in an international force of people with tanks, guns, fighter planes, and the Active Denial System, and you go all Pantera on the resident concubine-raping, statue-erecting, aid-diverting tyrant’s ass.  

What could possibly be the argument for standing to the side when this is happening?  “The people have spoken”?  Bullshit, the people have spoken the way a ventriloquist’s dummy has spoken – forced to say what the guy with his hand up its ass makes it say.  “Countries must be allowed to conduct their own affairs?”  Yeah, and a guy should be allowed to do what he wants in his own house, but if he starts hitting his wife and dealing guns and crack out of his garage, it’s probably not out of line to get the cops over there and have them chuck a tear gas canister or two into the rumpus room.  

My point is that dictators are interested in one thing – staying in power.  The push for democracy in vogue as of late might pressure them to have elections, but you can bet the farm they’re going to do everything in their power to manipulate that election, up to and including making some poor shopkeeper vote to keep them in power by putting a knife to his wife’s neck.  “International pressure” is a sham these days, because worse-than-shit countries like Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, will always find a way to prop up an evil regime as long as they can get at their natural resources and/or destabilize U.S. influence in the region.  China, for example, recently took the extraordinary step of condemning the Zimbabwe sham election, but just a couple months ago had no problem shipping weapons and ammunition to Mugabe’s government.  You can bargain, cajole, and sanction all you want, but a guy that refuses to play by the rules of international law only truly responds to one thing: force, the same thing that keeps him in power. 

Robert Mugabe has governed at the point of a gun for long enough.  Let’s see how the bastard likes it when there’s one pointed at him.

Think This Would’ve Happened Without Elections?

 Civilizer 

Israel and Hamas agreed to a truce last week.  Hamas, whose 1988 covenant states:

“The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.”

Also, in case you were thinking that maybe Hamas leaves a little common sense leeway for peaceful coexistence:

“Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who does that.”

I point this out for the benefit of those people who were so quick to point to the electoral legitimization of Hamas as America’s Folly.  A sentiment summed up by this clip from The Daily Show, which essentially says “See what happens when you force democracy on a place that isn’t stable?  See what happens?  Now Hamas, a terrorist group, is in charge of Palestine.  Way to go.”

Well, now there’s a truce.  A tenuous truce, one that probably won’t hold, sure.  But consider this:  as long as Hamas operated outside the aegis of the accepted regional political process, this conflict would have been intractable.  Hamas would have been able to pursue, in focused and single-minded fashion, its stated goal of the total reclamation of Palestine and the destruction of Israel.  And Israel would have had few options, none good – negotiate with the notoriously weak and corrupt Fatah, who exercised little control over Hamas, launch phyrric incursions into Palestinian territory, or try and get some sort of regional or international consensus together in order to pressure Hamas.  None of those had much help of effecting a long-term solution, because the present international system still hasn’t really figured out a way for an established state actor to deal both peaceably and effectively with a non-state actor determined to conduct affairs in opposition to the interests of the aggrieved conventional state.

But with elected authority, Hamas also takes on responsibility.  Sure, they still have popular support for their anti-Israel stance, but they can’t stop there anymore.  They have to get the damn roads in decent shape.  They have to administer the schools.  They have to keep the lights on in their constituency’s houses.  They have to provide hospitals and daily necessities – and those daily necessities can’t be sucked into an inflationary whirlpool, either.  Pre-election Hamas just had to fight.  Post-election Hamas had to govern.  In other words, with elections, presto…Hamas is a conventional established state actor.  Vulnerable to any number of the retaliatory strategies practiced by states for centuries.

Like sanctions.  After Israel announced them in February of 2006, there was the predictable chest-beatingby Hamas and its supporters, the gist being “what does not kill us makes us stronger,” and some of the limp-wristed liberal press who just can’t stand to see big bad Israel come down on those adorable rock-tossers said the sanctions would just make the situation worse by inspiring a fresh round of Palestinian solidarity and nationalism. 

Well maybe it did, but when you’re dealing with blackouts and you can’t buy food, solidarity tends to dissolve: “Hey Mr. Mayor – death to the Zionists and everything, but how about some goddam potable water around here?”  And so Hamas, who swore 20 years ago to harden their hearts forever, to refuse to negotiate, to acknowledge Israel even has a right to exist, has agreed to a truce.  Certainly not the end, but shit…Palestine hasn’t even had a beginning until now. 

So to all the smug, grinning assholes who were so quick to point out yet another quixotic American misstep on the “road map” to Middle East peace when Hamas was elected, just remember – elections brought Hamas out of the rocket factories disguised as libraries and to the negotiating table.  If it was up to you people, they’d still be launching mortars, and Israel would still be negotiating for nothing with no one.

Shazam! Sunday News Roundup: June 1, 2008

 Captain Marvel

Top Story! -Progress At U.N. Biodiversity Forum

Nearly 200 countries have agreed on measures to protect the world’s most threatened wildlife.  At a Bonn conference they pledged to set up a deep-sea nature reserve and increase by tens of millions of hectares the area of land protected.  The Convention on Biological Diversity meeting also agreed to prepare a firm position on the benefits and drawbacks of biofuels by the next forum in 2010…[click here for more]

Iraq News – Iraqi Military Extends Control In Northern City

The recent successes in quieting violence in Basra and Sadr City appear to be stretching to the long-rebellious Sunni Arab district here in Mosul, raising hopes that the Iraqi Army may soon have tenuous control over all three of Iraq’s major cities…[click here for more]

Business News – Merrill’s Fleming Says Banking M&A Activity To Accelerate In Six Months

The financial industry will be reshaped by a “significant pickup” in takeovers when stronger banks emerge as acquirers as soon as the end of this year…[click here for more]

Israel/Palestine News – Israel, Hezbollah Take First Step In Possible Prisoner Swap

Israel deported a Lebanese-born Israeli citizen convicted of spying for the Islamic guerrilla group Hezbollah to Lebanon in what is widely seen as the first stage of a prisoner swap.  At the same time, Hezbollah unexpectedly returned body parts of Israeli soldiers who fell in the Lebanon War two years ago…[click here for more]

South America News – Brazil Reveals ‘Uncontacted’ Amazon tribe

Brazil’s government agreed to release stunning photos of Amazon Indians firing arrows at an airplane so that the world can better understand the threats facing one of the few tribes still living in near-total isolation from civilization, officials said Friday…[click here for more

Shazam! Sunday News Roundup: May 11, 2008

 Captain Marvel 

Top Story! – Sadrists and Iraqi Government Reach Truce Deal

The Iraqi government and leaders of the movement of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr agreed Saturday to a truce, brokered with help from Iran, that would end more than a month of bloody fighting in the vast, crowded Sadr City section of Baghdad.  The deal would allow the sides to pull back from what was becoming a messy and unpopular showdown in the months leading up to crucial provincial elections…[click here for more

Africa News – Niger Delta Push For U.S. Mediator

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter could play a positive role in mediating between Nigeria’s government and oil militants, a Rivers State spokesman told the BBC.  Rivers is the last state where Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) militants are not in talks…[click here for more]

Europe News – Controversial Proposals For German National Security

WAS it the start of a serious debate about German security, or a blueprint for militarism and a presidential style of foreign policy at odds with German tradition? Or both? These questions arose on May 6th, when parliamentarians of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the senior partner in the “grand coalition”, issued a paper calling for the creation of a national security council; and for fewer limits on the deployment of armed forces at home and abroad…[click here for more

Business News – Dollar Bulls Gain Control As Futures Signal High-Flying Euro Close To Peak

For the first time since December 2005, futures traders are turning bullish on the dollar.

The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on a gain in the greenback versus the euro, known as net longs, was 21,315 on April 29, figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington show. There were net-short positions in each of the previous 123 weeks…[click here for more]

Gun-Running News – Viktor Bout Indicted For Conspiracy To Kill Americans And Other Terrorism-Related Charges

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced the unsealing of an indictment against international arms dealer Viktor Bout for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the FARC to be used to kill Americans in Colombia…[click here for more]

Environment News – Huge Reservoir In Works For Everglades

Earth-moving equipment and high explosives are laying the foundation for a mammoth construction project: a reservoir bigger than Manhattan designed to revive the ecosystem of the once-famed River of Grass.  More than a century after the first homes and farms took shape in the Everglades, decades of flood-control projects have left the region parched and near ecological collapse. Now crews are building what will be the world’s largest aboveground manmade reservoir to restore some natural water flow to the wetlands…[click here for more]

Sports News – O.J. Mayo Received Gifts, Cash

Former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo, a projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft, received thousands of dollars in cash, clothes and other benefits in apparent violation of NCAA rules while he was still in high school and during his one year in college, a former Mayo associate told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”…[click here for more]

Shazam! Sunday News Roundup: May 4, 2008

Captain Marvel

I’m starting a weekly roundup of news that didn’t make major headlines over the weekend, but should have been paid attention to anyway. Most of it is going to be stuff from overseas (because somebody needs to keep an eye on what those pesky ‘ferrners are up to), but will also involve American jurisprudence, sports, business, music/movies/cultural detritus, and so forth. Basically, if you read this page every Sunday, you can walk into work on Monday and bring up some obscure story from Southeast Asia that no one heard about and act like a smug prick the whole day. The Roundup will be hosted by Captain Marvel, because I have been looking for an excuse to use the Alex Ross rendering of him in this blog for like 6 months now.

Top Story! – Thousands Killed in Burma Cyclone

A tropical cyclone has killed at least 351 people in Burma and damaged thousands of buildings, according to state television…[click for more]

Business News – Congress May Force Securities Firms To Raise Capital

The result may be a law modeled on the 1991 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Improvement Act, or FDICIA. Such a measure would obligate regulators to step in when Wall Street banks fail to meet minimum capital requirements. Securities firms may also face new costs and disclosures in any regulations Congress passes…[click for more]

Middle East News – Palestinian Police Deploy In Jenin For Self-Security Initiative

The Palestinian Authority has launched a new security initiative in the West Bank. The move, which coincides with a U.S. peace mission to the Middle East, has been met with Israeli skepticism…[click for more]

Environmental News – Top EPA Official Resigns, Citing Dow Chemical Hubub

The top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Midwest resigned Thursday amid internal fights over dioxin contamination near Dow Chemical Co.’s world headquarters in Michigan, according to a published report…[click for more]

Sports News – The Celtics Rob Atlanta Of Their Manhood On National TV

Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Pierce scored 22 points, and the Celtics turned back the pesky Hawks with a 99-65 victory Sunday in Game 7 of their playoff series to advance to the second round…[click for more]

Meet China’s Olympic Goon Squad

 Civilizer

You’re the new family in the neighborhood.  You’re planning on throwing a big backyard barbecue for everyone on your block, because you really want to make a great first impression on your new neighbors and there are some really nasty rumors floating around about you…that you only let your kids watch episodes of Father Knows Best on DVD and don’t let them use the interwebsnet for anything, even school, or you blindfold and beat them if they get a B on a math test, or you’re the ones who were shooting dogs and cats in your old neighborhood, including the tagged and registered ones, and grinding up their penises into a tonic because yours didn’t happen to work properly.

So you’re gonna throw this big soirée so the whole neighborhood can come over and see for themselves that rumors are all they are, and that you’re really a swell hybrid of draconian communist governance and unrestrained, exploitative capitalism bunch of people who you don’t have to feel nervous or queasy around, and you’re going to be great neighbors that your guests are going to want to get to know better.  This party is going to be so awesome, so wonderful, so by-God (actually you don’t believe in God but pardon the expression) cozy that the assembled throng in your back yard won’t even notice the sulfuric runoff in your koi pond.

Obviously, the centerpiece of any good barbecue is the food, specifically the steaks.  No doubt your guests will ooh and ah as you have the thick, pink, marbled prime cuts brought out from the kitchen and ceremoniously placed at the grill where you will commence the preparation of a delicious meal.  Now, this presentation is where you set the tone.  There’s a lot you could do here…have the wife carry them out on a silver platter (or the husband…just kidding!  You don’t have much regard for the rights of womenfolk around your house.), or sprinkle flower petals along your path to the grill.  Or maybe release some doves – people like doves; they’re peaceful and whatever.

 

Or, uh, yeah…you could hire a bunch of ex-military, cracked-out Hell’s Angels with poor impulse control to “escort” the steak to the grill and put any protesting vegetarians standing nearby in a nerve hold.  That’s a good idea too.