Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seven Days in May Revisited

Radical Republicans are again suggesting a military coup to unseat the elected government of the United States. This time it is a little piece of fluff called John Perry in this article in NewsMax. (Note: NewsMax has taken down Perry's article without comment but it can still be found mirrored on several conservative sites.) Perry sugarcoats his coup, saying it will be "civilized."

Perry suggests the casus belli will be the Middle East, with generals deciding they can do a better job than civilians. Perry suggests that President Obama will be kept as a compliant figurehead, although that could only be accomplished by holding him and his family prisoner and threatening their lives. Adding to what I said six months ago,
A military coup need not have tanks patrolling the streets of Los Angeles. In fact, if it comes to that the coup would fail, there are not enough US soldiers to control the country if the people actively oppose the coup. A successful coup would be a decapitation. The President, most congressional Democrats, and the civilian leadership would have to be imprisoned (or murdered). The broadcast media would have to be controlled and the Internet shut down to control the message that we were all in grave danger and the military heroically, and "reluctantly" stepped in to "save the country." There are certainly many Republicans willing to be the "civilian face" to a military dictatorship.

I'm not saying it will happen. I am saying that anyone who believes a US military coup is impossible is a fool.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Word of the Day: Rogue

As in "going rogue."

Rogue (n) - A vagrant; an idle, sturdy beggar; a vagabond; a tramp. A deliberately dishonest person; a knave; a cheat. From 16th Century thieves slang for a vagabond who begs by pretending to be a scholar. In horticulture, a worthless plant occurring among seedlings of some choice variety.
Which leads me to remember that old Dorothy Parker story. In a parlor game, Miss Parker was asked to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence. Her reply was, "You can lead a horticulture (whore to culture) but you can't make her think.
Which is my way of saying that Sarah Palin choose an absolutely perfect, totally appropriate title for her book. Yeah, this is also posted at Word of the Day. Hey, it's too good not to share.

Why I've Learned to Hate Radical Republicans

Oh, and I'm beginning to believe all Republicans are Radicals. (Source)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fools and Their Money (X2)

Why Vote When You Can Buy Politicians
Two Republicans running California, one for Senate (Carly Fiorina) one for Governor (Meg Whitman), have a lot in common. Both are women. Both made a shitload of money, one for mismanaging her company into the ground and one by sitting back and profiting from people selling silly crap to each other. And both never really got the hang of voting. It's understandable, really, why waste valuable time voting when it is far cheaper just to bribe politicians.

Legal Thievery
Bill Keller used to make money through insider trading but that just ended him up in prison. He found it just as profitable, and totally legal, selling prayers to rubes. Now Keller and attorney Gary Kreep (such a wonderfully appropriate name) have come up with a new way to soak the stupid. They've got a Birther infomercial running where they are selling $5 bumper stickers for 30 bucks. Using that old P.T. Barnum truism that a sucker is born every minute (and most of them reach puberty south of the Mason-Dixon Line) they are counting on the fact that sleep deprivation makes even the brainless more gullible by buying cheap, after midnight, TV time. There are so many perfectly legal ways to con money from dopes its a wonder anyone turns to crime.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Disappeared

This video is not from Chile in the 1970's or Iran last week. It is from Pittsburgh, USA yesterday. It looks for all the world like that one, poor individual has just been "disappeared" by the military.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Census Lynching - Round 2

Why do I get the feeling that a cover up is beginning? I don't know if the FBI is afraid of copycats or whether the Feds have been so infiltrated with Bushites that their professionalism and honesty is hopelessly compromised. I do know that, as of now, I don't believe a single word about this Kentucky murder the FBI is saying.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Census Worker Lynched

It doesn't take an FBI profiler to know that when a US census worker was hanged in rural Kentucky with the word "fed" written on his chest it was right out of the KKK handbook. That the victim was white does not change this.

It it probable that the murderer was encouraged by the paranoid rantings of Michelle Bachmann. It is certain this will not be the last murder of census takers by Republican extremists.

Origin of Stupidity

Cristina offers a brilliant and straightforward response to the latest creationism bullshit. Watch it then go to YouTube and vote it up. She deserves the props.

Word of the Day Is Back

After a month off due to heat, a busy schedule, and general summer boredom with blogging, Word of the Day is back on a mostly daily routine.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The American Police State: I Shot a Man In Reno Just to Watch Him Die

Arm the police with portable torture devices and some will use them to torture people. The latest incident was in Merced, CA where a cop twice used a Taser on a wheelchair-bound double amputee.
Police have grown to love the Taser. It looks and feels like a gun but it doesn't kill (often, in the United States police using Tasers kill citizens on an average of once a week), instead it causes agony with the victim writhing in pain. Police have discovered torturing with a Taser is a lot more fun than killing with a gun. A Taser also doesn't leave bruises and wounds like beating a prisoner with a nightstick so there is less embarrassing television video.

Police seldom get in serious trouble for using a Taser. In Edmonton, Alberta a policeman used a Taser on two sleeping men and all he got was a 90-hour suspension. But, I'm certain they were sleeping in a threatening manner.

I'm always a little worried when I write about the American Police State. I fear a policeman may decide to electrocute me. The Taser has become a toy used by police for recreational torture. I even wonder if police consider it a sex toy. Here is another Texas story about an on-duty officer getting shot with his own Taser that sounds more like sex play gone wrong than an accident.

See also:
Torture by Taser
A report from Der Spiegel on American police Taser practices
Pam's House Blend's take

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oklahoma High School Students Couldn't Pass Citizenship Test

Seventy-five percent of Oklahoma high school students don't know that George Washington was the first president of the United States. A whopping 97% would fail the basics civics exam required of people to become naturalized American citizens.

I'll wager, however, that a big majority know that Adam and Eve were the first Americans, that the Earth is 6,000 years old, and that God wrote the Bible in English. So, it's not all bad.

Oklahoma Education News

Murder By Insurance Company

Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that that whole "death panels" meme was nonsense wrapped in a crock. It doesn't take any more common sense to realize that the current health care system is designed to kill off high risk patients.

The system is simple. You can't get treatment unless you are insured. You can't get insurance unless you are already healthy. If you were once healthy but later become sick the insurance companies will move mountains to prove you were always sick so they can drop your coverage, thereby not spending money treating you, while at the same time keeping all of the premiums you paid while you were healthy and didn't need the insurance. Insurance companies call this "win-win."

Because doctors tend to be compassionate all the really important decisions about medical treatment (i.e. anything that costs money) are made by insurance company clerks none of whom ever spent an hour in medical school and all of whom went to work at insurance companies because the only thing they every enjoyed in life was torturing people in pain and there were no job openings at Gitmo.

The end result is something called Murder By Insurance Company and every year this system needlessly kills more people than would fit in Petco Park.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hate Like It's 1935 Again

I sometimes wonder where this nation will end up if the current class of Republicans regain power.

Segregation Now, Segregation Forever
That darling of the Right, Rush Limbaugh, yesterday openly called for racial segregation.

Only For Lack of a Rope
A white Georgian viciously beat and kicked an Army reservist in public in front of her daughter because the black woman had been uppity. A white judge was quick to drop the felony charges. We will see if any new felony charges survive Georgia's elected judiciary. The story would certainly have been different if that Cracker had had a good lynching rope in his pickup truck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I don't know if I whether or not I should feel safe because there are a couple hundred thousand spies in the CIA/FBI stable (The Stasi, in 1989, had 91,000 employees and an additional 173,000 informants). I understand why President Obama wants to keep the Patriot Act spying powers Dick Cheney championed. It's the same reason why the son of a counterfeiter would want to keep his papa's phony engraving plates. I understand, but I don't approve.

Should I be afraid that the government is peeking into every aspect of my life to "protect" me? Or, should I stop worrying and start inviting my personal watcher to parties because he knows more about me than most of my friends?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Marines Playing Russian Roulette

Marines in Iraq have this game they like to play where they point their weapons at other Marines saying, "Do you trust me?" Sometimes they pull the trigger. Because Marines aren't nearly as competent with firearms as they'd like people to believe, sometimes they don't know if the gun is loaded so sometimes they shoot their best friends in the face.
While, officially, the Marine Corps outlaws this "Trust Game," the fact is that officers and noncoms will order soldiers under their command to play the game. When something goes wrong and a Marine dies the commanders never face charges for tolerating, let alone ordering the game. It is always the lowest soldier in the chain who pays the price; always with prison, never with treatment.

There is no getting around the fact that all these tours in Iraq, with the occasional sojourn to Afghanistan, with all the drugs they take to stay alert on long missions or deal with combat stress, American Marines are slowly being driven insane.

Art is "Solider in an Insane Asylum" by Conrad Felixmueller.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

American Police State Update

El Cajon is a bedroom community for the city of San Diego. It is pretty much a nothing of a town and I should know because I live there. Their police headquarters are in a 40 year-old building which makes it "way old" in surfer jargon. For comparison, the Castleford Police Station has been in continuous operation since 1898.

Because their building is older than many of their officers the El Cajon Police Department has been lobbying for a new, bigger facility for the past 20 years. They are finally getting it.

The brand spanking new El Cajon Police Headquarters is going to be a cozy 119,000 square-foot facility on 5.7 acres. It is going to be bigger, fancier, and better landscaped than any any hotel in the town.

About that bigger part. El Cajon only has 119 sworn officers which means there will be 1000 square feet of office space for every single officer in the force. At $65 million (Any bets the final cost will be twice that?), it will cost more than a half-million dollars per policeman. It would be cheaper to build a brand new home for every officer on the force.

They are not wasting a lot of space on criminals, there will only be 12 holding cells. For comparison, Mayberry had two. This is not a place to coddle prisoners. Oh, no. Almost all of the space will be dedicated to the comfort of the working police officers. Why it is going to be so plush they will never want to leave to actually, you know, patrol.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Life's Little Lessons

I just learned something I should have already known. When the truck comes to empty the porta-potty that has been part of my neighbor's endless remodel, close your windows. Emptying a porta-potty smells exactly like you'd expect it to.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Afghanistan Failure

Afghanistan was Russia's Vietnam. Of all of the Bush Wars the Afghan conflict was the only one I felt was justified. Yet now, eight years in, we are stuck in the same hopeless quicksand that sunk the Soviet Union. It's time now to cut our loses and bug out.

Criminal Activity
The recent Afghan election is setting records for blatant fraud. America's man in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, isn't even trying to hide the ballot box stuffing. The American options are either to continue to back a petty criminal and drug dealer as Afghan president or organize a coup, knowing how badly that worked out in Vietnam.

The orgies being held in the US embassy in Kabul are just the tip of the iceberg. United States military drug use is rampant as well. The Afghans used drugs to destroy the Soviet occupation army thirty years ago just like the Vietnamese used drugs to hobble the US Army in the 1960's.

We Are Losing
The Afghan War started to punish the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It has devolved into a colonial struggle where we are trying to "win the hearts and minds" of a nation we occupy. It didn't work in Vietnam and it isn't working here.

There are many Afghans, perhaps even a majority, who want to like the United States. But we keep killing innocents, stupidly killing innocents, because our soldiers are too over-stressed, over-worked, and over-medicated to bother trying to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys.

What To Do
We could stay in Afghanistan for decades and even, perhaps, over time compel a certain compliance but it would not the worth the cost in either men or money. Or, we could pack up, cut our loses, and get out.

On going we should leave behind a few blunt warnings - 1) Any al-Qaeda camps erected in Afghanistan will be obliterated as soon as we find it; 2) If the Afghan government supports al-Qaeda or other terrorists in any way then those government officials should expect short lives with messy deaths; 3) in short, stay out of our way and you will be left in peace.

I would prefer that the United States be liked but sometimes all you can hope for is to be feared.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

California Heat - Twilight Zone(ish)

The Southern California heatwave has entered its second week of 100 degree F plus temperatures. The fires north of Los Angeles continue to burn. There is little work being done during the day if it requires stepping away from an air conditioner. There is little sleep at night if you are not sleeping next to an air conditioner. We have no hope for relief until sometime next week.
Today I was talking with a friend and mentioned I had been thinking about an old Twilight Zone episode. She quickly replied, "The one where the Earth is getting closer to the sun." She was right. The episode was "The Midnight Sun" with Lois Nettleton (above) and written by Rod Serling.

If you are interested, veoh.com has the full episode available. It will give you a hint what we are going through.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Joe Klein's Hissy Fit

I admit I don't read Time Magazine's Joe Klein. He represents the worst of modern journalism. He is a cocktail party journalist who is "too important" to do mundane tasks like research, too Daiquiri-addled to understand the issues he covers, and too attached to his C-List Beltway status to ask tough or even any questions at all so he simply parrots back whatever he is told by his betters. Klein is the kind of journalist that H. L. Mencken would spit in the face of.

Still, I had to stop and read all of the links from this Rising Hegemon post.

Klein got his diapers twisted because Salon's Glenn Greenwald caught wind of Klein's behind the back email attacks on Greenwald and posted them on a tidbit blog Greenwald keeps. How dare he, screeched Klein, repeat "private communications."

Anyone over the age of three knows never to write in an email anything you wouldn't want to see published on the front page of the New York Times (advise I was giving 20 years ago). Email is not a quiet whisper between the stacks of the Political Science section of the library, it is shouting to a friend on the street from a third story window. In this instance one of the many people Klein sent his attack to passed a copy along to Greenwald. That's exactly what I would hope any friend of mine would have done.

The most interesting part of Klein's whiny-assed posting is the comments. Out of scores of comments Klein found only one defender -
Joe Klein is a great asset to the media ~ #49 awb75 (probably his girlfriend)
and one guy who hates them both equally -
Klein and Greenwald are both secular Bolsheviks not real Jews. ~ #40 dencal26