Sunday, December 04, 2016

Mad Dogs and Generals

The nickname "Mad Dog" is generally reserved for serial killers and psychopaths. Gen. James Mattis earned his nickname during the 2004 Fallujah campaign when he dropped white phosphorus munitions on civilians in violation of international law. He is said to hate the moniker.

Some other examples of men called Mad Dog.

Adm. Zinovy Rozhestvensky
Zinovy is the only other line officer that I could find with the nickname Mad Dog. He had the reputation of being a brilliant naval officer with a tendency to fly off the handle in blind rage for little reason. In 1904, he was tasked with taking the battleships of the Imperial Russian Navy's Baltic fleet to the Pacific Ocean in anticipation of war with Japan.

The Japanese knew he was coming and were prepared. On reaching the Tsushima Strait between Korea and the Japanese island of Honshu the Russian fleet saw its path blocked by the Japanese fleet in a crossing the T formation.

The wise and prudent thing to do would be for the Russians to withdraw and avoid battle, which were Adm. Rozhestvensky's orders. But the admiral was insulted that the Japanese Navy was blocking him and in his anger blindly charged the battle line.

The Japanese bombarded the Russian fleet with broadside after broadside while the Russians could only respond with far smaller bow guns. Two-thirds of the Russian fleet was sunk and the rest surrendered.

Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll
During Prohibition Coll was the go-to hitman for the Dutch Schultz gang. He earned his nickname in 1931 when, while trying to kidnap a rival bootlegger, he shot into a group of young children, wounding four and killing a five year-old child. As was common in those times, Coll got away with the murder.

Coll died in 1932. Schultz had put a hit out on him and he was submachine gunned down while using a telephone in a Bronx drug store.

Marion Pruett
Many serial killers have been called Mad Dog. I found six in a cursory internet search. For example, Joe Taborsky brutally killed six people during robberies in six weeks in 1957 and was called Mad Dog in the press.

Marion Pruett gave the name to himself.  In 1979, Pruett was put in witness protection after testifying against another man for a murder Pruett had committed. In 1981 while under federal protection, he killed his common-law wife by beating her to death with a ballpeen hammer. In the following week he shot and killed four other people across two states.

He claimed to have killed others and offered to revel the location of a Florida victim if he got a paid interview with Geraldo Rivera.

More About Mattis
I have not found a single example of a sane, rational person who has been given the nickname "Mad Dog." Just saying, probably not someone you want in charge of a two million person military.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Trump and War Roulette

It's not a question of if Trump bungles the US into a war. That is inevitable. The only unknowns are how, when, and with whom.

The very first page of the international relations briefing book Trump hasn't bothered to read says, "Be discreet when talking with Taiwan."
AKA "International Relations for Dummies"
Even more pathetic than Trump angering China by publicly chatting up Taiwan was Trump's reaction to the cock up. His whine was straight out of a tween's diary after she got caught sexting her BFF's boyfriend. "I didn't call him, he called me."

Bitch, how'd he get your fucking phone number!

Then there is Trump's choice to head the Pentagon. Even his friends compare soon-to-be Secretary of Defense James Mattis to a deranged feral animal. "Mad Dog" Mattis longs for war with Iran. He gets an erection just thinking about war with Iran. He creams his pants whenever he sees a picture of a mushroom cloud.
You're welcome for the orgasm, Jimmy
Now would be a good time to build that fallout shelter in your basement. You're gonna need it.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Disinterested President

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ George Santayana
Sixteen years ago President George W. Bush ignored multiple memos warning him that al-qaeda was planning something big. The resulting ignorance enabled the 9-11 terror attacks.

Bush was a diligent student compared to Trump. Trump is routinely blowing off intel briefings. I'm sure he finds them long, complicated, and boring. They are. But they are also extremely important. Rejecting them will lead with absolute certainty to shocking strategic and tactical surprises.

Maybe it will be Russian tanks invading the Baltic states or Chinese expansion in the South China Sea or North Korean troop movement presaging an invasion of the South or some perfectly predictable (if you read the intel) Middle Eastern shit. Whatever the surprise it will force the United States into knee-jerk, unprepared responses that will probably kill a lot of innocent people.

Trump wanted to be elected president but he doesn't want to be president. Being president is hard, stressful work that turns even young men grey in just a few years.

Trump will revel in the pomp and ceremony of the inauguration but likely turn his back on the rest. He even considers the White House to plebeian for his tastes and wants to live out his presidency in his Manhattan penthouse.

He will leave governing to the amalgam of inexperienced oligarchs, racists, and con artists he is appointing. They will be too busy plundering the treasury and inflicting harm on minorities to care about the best interests of the nation.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Donald Trump's 'Art of the Lie'

Lies are easier and much more effective than truths.

Be Loud, Be Proud
The big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie. ~ Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf
Whisper the truth and people won't believe it. Shout a lie and the world will accept it as gospel. Timid people rely on the truth. As Hitler taught, big lies are more easily believed than little lies because people believe no one would be so bold as to tell such a huge whopper. Be bold and the world will believe anything.

Repeat It
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. ~ Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister
The key to a successful lie is repeating it over and over and over again until your lie are the only words that people can remember.

Facts Are for Wusses
Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect. ~ Jonathan Swift
Truth tellers are handicapped by the desire for facts and evidence. Lies have no such shackles. Facts and evidence are traps that weak people fall for. How many times can you repeat your lie while the truth tellers are researching their facts?

Be Specific In Your Lies
I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. ~ Sen. Joseph McCarthy (1950) starting the McCarthyism witch hunts. It was a blank piece of paper.
As long as you are making shit up, be specific about it. People will believe specific lies before they believe general truths. Odd numbers are more believable than even numbers. If McCarthy had claimed a list of 200 Communists it would have been less believable. Claiming three million illegal votes for Hillary Clinton is more believable than saying there were two million illegal votes for her.

Be big with your specifics. Even now, with no evidence of any illegal votes, you have already accepted the lie of illegal votes and are only wondering if it was three million or only two million.

Make Truth Treason
Truth is treason in an empire of lies. ~ George Orwell
Ideally, you want to create a society where truth is considered an obscenity, an assault to the mind and a burden on the soul. In such a society, telling the truth is a punishable act - an act of libel, an act of sedition, an act of treason.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This Christmas I'm Gifting Liberty

The Statue of Liberty under construction
This Christmas I am not giving stuff to my adult friends and family. Stuff is meaningless. Instead, I am spending Black Friday giving gifts in their name to nine organizations that for the next four years are going to be defending the Constitution, the People, and the Earth.

For Liberty
American Civil Liberty Union - Founded in 1920 initially to defend the free speech rights of people against World War I, its lawyers have over the decades fought against McCartyism, segregation, and police misconduct. The pledge on their website speaks volumes.
Southern Poverty Law Center - Founded in 1971, they have led the fight against the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists. Their work is needed now more than ever.

Project Vote - Their effort is to protect all Americans right to vote against disenfranchisement.

For Our Fellow Americans
NAACP Legal Defense Fund - Founded by Thurgood Marshall in 1940, they led the fight against segregation and racial discrimination.

Muslim Legal Fund of America - The threat against American Muslims is more acute than ever.

National Council of La Raza - Mass deportations in America as threatened by Trump have have a history of being cruel, deadly, and indiscriminate, deporting citizens and non-citizens alike.

For the Earth
Sierra Club - The oldest group on this list, founded in 1892 by John Muir, their focus is the protection of public lands.

National Resources Defense Council -  Their focus is global. With Trump's antipathy to green energy and disdain for climate science, their efforts are vital.

Greenpeace -Willing to get their hands dirty defending the planet.

So, no fruitcakes or useless gifts that have to be stored away.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Trump's First Amendment

First they came for the satirists and stage performers and I did not speak out because I was not an actor.
Hispanics and Muslims may not be the first targets after Trump is sworn in. Judging from his recent Twitter posts, Trump really hates being laughed at, publicly booed, and publicly lectured.

While it is perfectly possible that Trump will grow out of his Terrible Twos in the next seven weeks, it is far more likely that Trump will put off his southern wall and Muslim registry to focus his energies on stifling public discord.

In Germany during World War II, the wrong joke could result in you facing a firing squad for treason. A woman named Marianne is said to have been executed for telling this joke on the production line of a munitions plant -
Hitler and Göring are standing on top of Berlin’'s radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to cheer up the people of Berlin. “Why don'’t you just jump?” suggests Göring.
Now might be the time to show Trevor Noah's Halloween skit of Trumpistan 2020.
Many totalitarian regimes accept humor as a necessary outlet, better a little laughter than revolution. My guess is Trump won't be so broad-minded.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Is There Any Courage In the Senate?

In 1957, then Senator John F. Kennedy wrote a book entitled Profiles In Courage where he told the stories of eight American politicians who bravely stood up and did what was right when political expediency and professional survival dictated they meekly surrender their principles.

I've been thinking about that book with the prospect of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming Attorney General and his promise to roll back civil rights by a hundred years. Will any Republican senators have the courage to vote the best interests of the country and her citizens and refuse to confirm his selection.

It would only take three Republicans to keep Sessions from gutting 60 years of voting rights progress and spitting on the First Amendment by imposing restrictions on Americans based on their religion. Are they there?

I kind of doubt it. I suspect it is more likely that some future American will write a book titled "Profiles In Cowardice" and he include a chapter on the 2018 class of the United States Senate.