Monday, December 30, 2013

War and the Professional Soldier

The Afghan War is the most unpopular war in American history, which is saying a lot since the competition includes the Iraq and Vietnam wars. Yet there are no street protests, no politicians campaigning against it. Ask anyone and they will tell you it's a worthless waste of resources spent on a worthless patch of land. Still, it continues. The only people who see value in the Afghan War is the professional warrior class. For them it is an opportunity to experiment with technology and tactics and, most importantly, the path to career advancement.

The "all volunteer" army is a misnomer. They are not volunteers but paid professionals. Professionals who need wars in the same ways that auto mechanics need cars and football players need football games. It doesn't matter if the war is objectively stupid, most wars are. They can't be sitting around on they tanks waiting for a morally justified, necessary war. Those are rare; the last for America was World War II. These professionals need to exercise their craft. If the Afghan War did not exist they would need to invent it.

I believe the only thing preventing America going to war with Iran or Syria is the outlet provided for our professional warrior class in Afghanistan. Take that away and the inertia for a replacement war to justify our professional soldiers will become overwhelming. Iran is the likely target, although they may be afraid that Iran will be too able to defend itself and seek an easier victim like Venezuela.

The Founding Fathers were afraid of standing armies and preferred citizen soldiers who would only go to war as needed. Standing armies might be better fighters but their usefulness is outstripped by the dangers they create. Professional soldiers, like ours, tend to separate themselves from the common citizens, living in their own communities and sharing little in common with the nation the allegedly serve. They view us, at best, as obstacles to a smoothly run war. At worst, they see us as pansies and appeasers who refuse to see the absolute necessity of war and the terrifying dangers of peace.

As for us civilians. We have come to view our professional soldiers as convenient toys for our politicians. They can play at war without bothering the citizenship at large. We see our professional soldiers as faceless cannon fodder who will quietly fight the wars we don't give a shit about and not bother us with the petty details like their lives and deaths. Most important, we want our soldiers to behave professionally and not be distracted by moral questions like citizen soldiers are prone to. We want our soldiers to kill professionally, without conscious.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Who Cares About Duck Dynasty?

Apparently not a member of the Duck Dynasty cast.
I was briefly Duck Dynasty curious when I thought it might be a new Disney or Warner Brothers cartoon series. I quickly lost interest when I found out it was another "reality" show about inbred yokels who use high powered weapons to slaughter birds. (Aside: A TV show where people hunt water fowl using hand-made bows and arrows, then I might be interested.)

A few years ago the rage was for bounty hunters and slutty celebrities. Now every pawn broker and tow truck operator seems to have his own reality TV show. Always popular are trailer trash willing to humiliate themselves like the Honey Boo Boo clan. Duck Dynasty is another example of the freak sideshow class of entertainment.

Duck Dynasty precursor.
The purpose of the freak sideshow is to put truly pathetic people on display so the rest of us can believe our miserable lives are, at least, better than theirs. Nineteenth century circuses would display people with hideous birth defects or disgusting habits for the enjoyment of others. In England, families would day trip to the Bedlam insane asylum for an entertaining outing. Christmas was a favorite time to view the caged crazy people.

Apparently there is something of an uproar because the head freak of Duck Dynasty said something outrageous and entirely within character but outside the confines of the show. It was like a sideshow geek biting off the head of a chicken on a public street. Some people were disgusted by this public display of freakiness. Others are defending him because he has a constitutional right to be a disgusting freak or their share his perversions. The freaky has gotten so freaky some believe that Duck Dynasty will affect senatorial election results in Louisiana and Texas.
Who's the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows him? ~ Obi Wan Kenobi

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Searching for the Real Santa

Megyn Kelly (one of the FOXNews strippers) started a mini-firestorm when she declared that Santa Claus is real and white. Which begs the question, who is this Santa Claus person, anyway?

Santa Claus is an Anglicization of the dutch word Sinterklass, or Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of Holland. His companion servants are not elves but Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) who spy on children and report back to their boss about whether they are bad or good. Sinterklaas has a flying horse, not reindeer, and passes out chocolate letters to good children. This is remarkably similar to the old Norse god Odin and he is pictured looking like Odin.

Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a tiny, five foot tall, olive complexioned Greek from what is now southern Turkey.  The historic Nicholas was just another 4th century bishop, lots of them ended up being sanctified, who was known for being annoyingly pious. His one known accomplishment was being one of the 300 bishops to attend the First Council of Nicaea. Legend give him more credit. He is said to have resurrected three small children murdered by a butcher. His gift giving legend comes from a story where Nick threw bags of gold down a chimney into a home so a father would not have to sell his three young daughters into prostitution. Nick is the patron saint of children, sailors, and (yes, Megyn) broadcasters.

Father Christmas
By the 17th century the notion of a generous, jolly, bearded old guy personifying Christmas had migrated from Holland to England. This was a time when there was a genuine war of Christmas. The Royalists were decidedly pro-Christmas while the Puritans were anti-Christmas - Christmas was seen as a fun holiday and Puritans considered anything fun to be pure evil. Celebrating Christmas became an act of rebellion against the rule of Oliver Cromwell who had officially banned Christmas. Father Christmas is supposed to live in northern Finland, hence the reindeer now added to the legend.

Kris Kringle
From the German Christkindl, Christ child, somehow converted into an Odin-like old man because, damned if I know.

In the winter Odin and his son Thor disguised themselves as Jolnir and Longbeard to go hunting during the Winter Soltice. Odin mounted his flying horse while Thor drove a flying wagon pulled by goats. Centuries later Christians tried to reconcile these exciting stories with the birth of the Christ child by adding in an obscure Greek bishop and in a true Christmas miracle, Santa Claus was born.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Big Brother Is Looking At You In Your Underwear

I'm not surprised that our professional government voyeurs have developed the technology to surreptitiously turn on your computer webcam. And, of course, they will claim they only do it in case of terrorism or serious crime (or if she's really hot).  It doesn't strike me as a useful bit of surveillance if your are looking for evidence of criminal activity. Webcams are seldom positioned to pick up panoramic views of bomb factories. Generally all they can see is the torso of the typist and a bit of the wall behind her.

If you are a real criminal (and not an exhibitionist teen) this government technology is easily thwarted with a little bit of duct tape.  

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Five Infamous Days of WWII Worse Than Pearl Harbor

World War II was chock-a-block full of atrocities. Many of them, frankly, nastier than the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

December 13, 1937 - Rape of Nanking
Technically, it took six long weeks for the Japanese to exhaust their orgy of violence but the rape began on December 13, the day the Chinese capital city of Nanking fell to the Imperial Army. What followed was a massacre unparalleled in modern history. For the Japanese it was a grand old time. Army officers competed against each other to see who could kill the most Chinese first. Thousands of women were gang-raped to death. All totaled, over 300,000 Chinese were brutally murdered during the first few weeks of the Japanese occupation of Nanking.

November 9, 1938 - Kristallnacht
The "Night of Broken Glass" was the the worst pogrom in Jewish history. It was not the first assault on Jews by Nazi thugs but it was the day the actual Holocaust began. On that night across the whole of Germany over 7500 Jewish business were destroyed and 200 synagogues attacked. Officially, 91 Jews were murdered but hundreds more Jewish deaths were officially labeled as suicides. Of course, Jews were blamed for the anti-Jewish riots. The Jewish community was fined one billion reichsmarks (about $5.5 billion current US) to compensate the Nazi for the expense of destroying their property. Over 30,000 Jews were arrested and shipped to concentration camps.

September 29, 1941 - Babi Yar
As the German blitzkrieg raced across the Ukraine in the fall of 1941 there was little to slow them down. One thing the Nazis always had time for was to stop and slaughter local residents. Babi Yar is a ravine near Kiev. The Jewish population of Kiev was brought to Babi Yar, herded into the ravine, and shot. All 33,000 of them. Similar massacres were performed throughout the Soviet Union. The victims were also Gypsies, communists, and Russian POWs.

February 13, 1945 - Dresden
By the last year of the war there wasn't much left of military value left to bomb. But military commanders had plenty of bombers and bombs and needed to do something with them. So it was that RAF commander "Bomber" Harris set his sights on Dresden. One of the most culturally significant cities in Europe with no military significance, Dresden had become a gathering place of refugees fleeing the advancing Russian army. Ostensibly attacking Dresden's communications infrastructure, the raid mostly avoided bridges and rail lines and instead targeted the civilian population of the city center with almost 8 million pounds of mostly incendiary explosives. The resulting firestorm burned for days and killed some 25,000 non-combatants and zero combatants.

August 9, 1945 - Nagasaki
I'm of the opinion that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was a necessary, if obscene, act of war that prevented the need for a ground invasion of the Japanese home islands and the millions of casualties that would have resulted. The second atomic bombing was unnecessary and gratuitous. The only reason we dropped it was because we had a second bomb. There was not enough time (just three days) for the Japanese high command to consider the consequences of this new, terrible weapon. The Japanese surrendered five days after Nagasaki.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

And This Is Why Iran Should Want Nukes

Duncan Hunter is my congressman. Please don't think less of me. Before him, his daddy held the seat. Between them, father and son, they have held a congressional seat for nearly a third of a century. Theirs is not a dynasty by any stretch, it's more like a petty fiefdom.

Daddy, in his career, never accomplished anything other than almost getting his hand caught in the cookie jar. Daddy Duncan took money from the same corrupt defense contractors as felon Congressman Duke Cunningham. He just wasn't as stupid and didn't leave a bribery price list lying around for prosecutors to find. Daddy Duncan even ran for president once, not for any political purpose but purely as a way to collect legal bribes. By accounts, kiddy Duncan is following in his father's corrupt footsteps and, like father, except for his extensive corruption, kiddy Duncan has accomplished nothing at all in office.

Which all makes me wonder why kiddy Duncan has come out advocating a nuclear attack on Iran. It almost certainly has something to do with defense appropriations. Kiddy Duncan probably is being paid a pretty penny to channel multiple billions of dollars into a new nuclear weapons program (I'm guessing a new design of tactical nukes that can be fitted on drone aircraft) and needs to gin up some casus belli to justify such an utter and complete waste of money.

Kiddy Duncan, like daddy Duncan before him, doesn't give a fuck about the country or servicemen or balancing the federal budget. He would love a nice expensive war because that's where the really big legal bribes are found. Both Hunters are just low-class grifters who found himself a sweat scam. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Memories of 11-22-1963

I was eleven years old when JFK was shot in Dallas. I wasn't into politics then, I was more into kickball. Still, I remember that day and that weekend.

I was at school when it happened. We had just come in from morning recess and our teacher had pained, pale expression. She told us in an emotional voice, the only time I remember her being emotional, that the president had been shot. I remember we children discussed the assassination at lunch much like we had discussed the Cuban Missile Crisis a year earlier, with a calm rationality that is totally absent in today's modern Congress. I remember concluding that killing a president was treason.

When I got home, the black-and-white television was on and Walter Cronkite was talking. Kennedy has already been pronounced dead and Oswald had been arrested. I was watching when Air Force One landed with now President Johnson. I watched as Jackie disembarked, bloodstains visible on her dress.

The following days were non-school so I had the opportunity to follow everything on television. I was watching television on Sunday when Oswald was being transferred and was shot by Jack Ruby. I don't know if it was live or on film but my memory is that I saw the shooting live. I watched the funeral on Monday morning. I don't know if school was canceled or my mother let me stay home from school (or, and this is also possible, I watched a replay that evening).

Andrea Mitchell recently call the assassination the "most tragic day in American history at that point."  Probably not true, the Lincoln assassination was a worse single event and the Civil War seriously more tragic. But it was the first fully televised national tragedy. It was the beginning of a nation losing its innocence.

Five years after JFK was assassinated his brother Bobby and Martin Luther King were both murdered; in all three killings the conspiracy theories make more sense than the official verdicts. The six remaining years of the 1960's saw over a score of major race riots including the heavily televised Watts Riots. And there was the 1968 Chicago Police Riot at the Democratic National Convention. The Vietnam War raged throughout the following decade. The American people elected and reelected a criminal sociopath as its president (Richard Nixon).

To put it bluntly, Americans were deservingly smug and happy prior to 11-22-63. We've had our ups and downs after that date but we as a nation has been generally directionless and mostly miserable since then. The last great accomplishment America has achieved was fulfilling JFK's promise to land a man on the moon. History may very well record the date of November 21, 1963 as America's high water mark.

Monday, November 18, 2013

As the Gun Nut Turns

I observed once before that George Zimmerman, having gotten away with murdering an unarmed teenager in Florida, seems to have gotten a taste for blood. Well, Zimmerman is in the news again. He got into a spat with his girlfriend...
A little aside here. What kind of damaged version of womanhood does it take to voluntarily shack up with an animal like George Zimmerman? I know there is a class of mental illness called hybristophilia where someone can only be sexually aroused by a bloodthirsty psychopath. The woman in question is way hotter than a worm like Zimmerman would attract unless she is even sicker than he is.
As I was saying, Zimmerman got into a spat with his girlfriend and he pulled out a shotgun, no doubt thinking Stand Your Ground also works in domestic disputes. He was quickly arrested. My guess he will be convicted because while she wasn't hurt she is a white woman and not a black teen and that makes all the difference in Florida.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Corpulent Kings

Talk about Chris Christie maybe, someday, becoming president (ain't gonna happen) got me thinking about other fat rulers in history.

Fat Frenchies
In 881 AD, the great-grandson of Charlemagne inherited the great empire he had forged in Europe. While his granddad was known as "the Great," this guy was labeled Charles the Fat. Charles III was considered a sickly, lazy incompetent. Following his reign the Carolingian empire dissolved into a collection of kinglets (a real word). He was also lousy in the sack, managing only a single illegitimate offspring by a prostitute. Most of his later life was spent trying to wriggle into his doublet and getting his bastard kid a crown somewhere. He failed.

In the 11th century France had another rotund monarch, Louis VI, AKA Louis the Fat. His reign was less ignominious and he actually managed to father children.

Bovine Brits
George IV (1762-1830) was a dashing young rake renown for his womanizing and extravagant partying. By the age of 23, the Prince of Wales was nearing bankruptcy. Parliament had to give he a whopping £26 million (adjusted for inflation) to pay off his debts. As George aged he kept up his fast lifestyle, unfortunately he body couldn't follow. His nickname changed from "First Gentleman of Europe" to "Fat Adonis." By the 1820's he suffered from gout and dropsy (edema), was addicted to laudanum (opium), and would spend all day in bed his massive frame barely able to catch it's breath. He was also, probably, insane like his daddy.

Henry VIII was once athletic but like modern football players he ballooned after he became more sedate. At the age of 44 he fell from his horse while jousting, the armored horse then landed on top of him. The resultant injuries combined with his already seriously ulcerated legs put an end to his active days. His excessive eating habits, however, did not change. He ate constantly, up to 13 meals a day. By his death, Henry weighed in at nearly 28 stones (400 pounds).

Yankee Doodle Gross
William Howard Taft was called Big Lub as a youth. He was a chubby baby, a fat child, a heavy youth, and a downright fatty as an adult. He weighed north of 300 pounds and once, famously, got stuck in his bathtub. In more than just profile, Taft is a model of Chris Christie. Handpicked by Teddy Roosevelt to succeed him, Teddy quickly turned on Taft, considering him a namby-pamby moderate. Teddy tried to take the re-nomination away from Taft at the convention and, failing, Teddy ran on a third party, splitting the Republican Party. President Taft ended up third in a three-way race that the Democrat (Woodrow Wilson) won. In 1921, Taft got the job he really wanted, sitting as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Sitting being the one thing he was most suited for.

Eat Like an Egyptian
King Farouk of Egypt obtained the throne at the age of 16 and he loved the perks. He had dozens of palaces and hundreds of cars. He had a massive pornography collection, that he left behind when he abdicated although he did take his huge stockpile of champagne and Scotch. He also loved eating. He would eat caviar for breakfast straight from the can. Farouk weighed over 300 pounds. The CIA once plotted to overthrow him with a plan called Project Fat Fucker. Behind his back, Farouk's friends called him the "stomach with a head." Farouk died as he lived, gorging himself at a restaurant.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Another Cavalcade of Cowards

The Heroes
Four Dallas mothers who went to a local restaurant to discuss among themselves sensible gun control.

The Cowards
Some forty creeps, and a handful of their molls, who went to the same restaurant to hang out in the parking lot for two hours brandishing assault weapons in some sort of tribal penile display (note the guy in the red shirt). Forty men so terrified of just four mothers they had to bring enough weapons to arm an insurgency in the event the women confronted them. Forty men so piss-their-pants scared of life they are afraid to leave their homes without their blankey (or the Smith & Wesson version of a blankey).

In a dangerous situation I'd rather have one brave, unarmed mother than two score of these Open Carry pantywaists below.
From the Open Carry Texas website.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

What Happened in Virginia (and New Jersey)

People are speculating why the Virginia elections were much closer than expected by pre-election polling. Some are blaming the ObamaCare problems. I have an alternative explanation.

Modern scientific polling, especially in off-year elections, is only slightly more accurate reading goat entrails.
And significantly less accurate than crystal ball gazing.

But, seriously, the Libertarian candidate clearly cost the Republican troglodyte the election. This is not a good sign for Democrats in the state, right now Virginia is not in play in 2016. Establishment Republicans will see this result as proof they need to widen the tent. Tea Partiers will see the result as more evidence of RINO treachery, mainstream Republican donors didn't flood the state with money supporting Cuccinelli's campaign, as well as libertarian betrayal. They will redouble their efforts to purge the Republican Party of oldthinkers.

The current meme, particularly from the news networks, is that Chris Christie is the clear favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. I doubt it. First, the Tea Partiers see him as Public Enemy No. 1, some are blaming Christie for the Virginia result because he didn't campaign for Cuccinelli. Mostly, though, I don't think Christie's "in your face" style will play well west of the Delaware River. Christie will have early money, will probably under preform in Iowa, do well in New Hampshire, and suck eggs elsewhere.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Bored Now

It's funny how the absence of a crisis makes for complete political disinterest. Some people are allegedly having problems with their health insurance. But I say "allegedly" because I don't know how much is just Republican hype, how much is people who never considered insurance before in their lives, an how much may, in fact, be genuine. I know that my experience was simple and easy.

There are no wars, to speak of, going on. We, somehow, didn't get suckered into the Syrian Civil War; much to the distress of Israel. The ongoing Iraqi Civil War may be our cause but it's the Iraqis problem now; kind of like putting that broken pot back in the box and sending it back to Pottery Barn and then blaming FedEx when it arrives shattered. Afghanistan is so far out of the headlines their country may have fallen into a black hole.

Sure, there is a diplomatic kerfuffle around the NSA but, come on, Edward Snowden has been around for months now, how could the Germans not know the NSA was spying the shit out of them.

Even the anarchist nut who went TSA hunting at LAX was only a half-day story.

There is meat on the story that former House Speaker Jim Wright and Texas legislator Wendy Davis are being denied voter IDs because of the new stringent Texas Jim Crow laws. I'll probably get to that soon.

Right now, guess I'll do some laundry.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why the Tea Party Hates Democracy

If you want to piss off a Tea Party Republican, try this sentence:
The United States is a democracy.
They'll spit and sputter in rage. The more educated among them might try quoting Alexander Hamilton and say that the Founding Fathers hated democracy and considered it akin to anarchy. Others will point to the Pledge of Allegiance as absolute proof that the United States is a republic and not a democracy (ignoring the simple fact that the meter of the poem, written in 1892, required a three syllable word).

The ignorant Tea Partier will simply yell "Democracy is evil and contrary to God's law." Then there is the batshit insane Tea Partier who will tell you that democracy is a Jewish conspiracy of the Trilateral Commission being used to turn the United States into a fascist/communist dictatorship.

Pruning away the rambling verbiage, their principle difficulty with democracy is universal suffrage. Their preferred form of government, think Roman Republic, is one where only the most deserving have the privileged of voting. They want the 17th Amendment repealed ("It made the Senate more democratic — and that’s not good") because they believe the direct election of senators was a horrible decision and that senators should be appointed, as was done in Rome, without public input.

The new Jim Crow voting restrictions are just the beginning of the ultimate goal. Disenfranchising African-Americans, the disabled, Hispanics, students, even women and the elderly is an intermediate step. Their ideal form of a republic will restrict the voting privilege to taxpayers ("Universal suffrage is immoral"). With that simple change, Mitt Romney wins in a landslide.
Tea Party Republicans believe that democracy is "mob rule." Their mantra is "Voting is a privilege, not a right" and a privilege that only a select minority, the "select" being, of course, themselves, should be allowed to exercise. If only they can keep the common rabble, the hoi-polloi, hysterical females, and coloreds from voting then they will final deliver the nation from the curse of evil democracy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Personal Experience With Obamacare

During the course of several weeks starting before the Oct. 1 roll out, I visited the website over a dozen times. Not trying to register, just getting familiar with the structure and what was available. During those visits I calculated the bottom line differences between the lower premiums and higher co-pays as I carefully shopped for the best balance between bargain and service needs. I also downloaded the form in case I wanted to fill it out by hand and file by mail. Early this week, for the first time, I tried to register. Except for a mild glitch that I easily worked around, I was able to successfully register in about 10 minutes.

It was all easy peasy lemon squeezy. And, I think my annual medical expenses will be cut by more than half.

Now the caveats. I was using CoveredCA, not the federal site. There are lots of tech savvy people in California and not a lot of Republicans trying to muck up the works. California is fully invested in making the Affordable Care Act work. People who live in states like Georgia and Mississippi, where the politicians have been doing everything they can to deny their citizens access to affordable health care, are not so fortunate. But for them the problem lies not so much with Obamacare as with their Republicans officials deliberately trying to injure them to make a political point.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Devil Made Him Do It

Herm Cain is blaming the devil for his sexual harassment problems. Herm is old enough to remember the 1970's comedian Flip Wilson and especially his character, Geraldine Jones. Herm should know that "the devil made me do it" is a piss poor excuse but a very funny routine.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Now We Can Talk About Winners

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.
~ The Gambler
The whole budget shutdown, default showdown had winners and losers. Now we can talk about them.

The Winners

Harry Reid
 "Dirty" Harry is by far the big winner. His reputation, among Democrats, had been as a wet noodle who couldn't stand up to a gentle breeze. Now he should be compared to the great Senate Majority Leaders like Lyndon Johnson. He managed the affair masterfully - giving Ted Cruz all the rope he needed to hang his colleagues, ignoring the House radical fringe, and finally allowing Republican senators a fig leaf to cover their surrender. Like Stanley Ipkiss, he's smoking.

President Obama 
Like Reid, had developed a reputation as the Great Compromiser so dedicated to cutting deals he would compromise with himself even before meeting with Republicans where he would compromise himself into untenable positions. Republican radicals, like their Southern predecessors in 1850, were counting on a succession of surrenders from a President desperate to make any deal. Republicans were confident they would get 99% of what they wanted without even breaking a sweat. Instead they encountered a man walking tall; a man steady as a rock. They were stunned and, in the end, cowered by Obama.

Ted Cruz
Surprise! Sure, he can't walk down the halls of the Senate without his Republican colleagues trying to spit in his face. But he doesn't care. He's proud about not going to the Senate to make new friends and he hasn't. He's a winner because he used his quixotic mission to build a sucker list of over two million gullible patsies willing to sell their sisters to fund whatever campaign he's interested in. Cruz doesn't just resemble, he the the living embodiment of Alex the Large from A Clockwork Orange.

The Losers

Republicans and the Tea Party
I've made the comparison before, Republicans are the kids from Lord of the Files. They've been childish, tribal, cultish, and vindictive against adult authority. I won't be surprised if Republicans politicians begin wearing war paint.

John Boehner
He was whipsawed and humiliated by the Republicans House caucus and ignored by both parties in the Senate. He has been made less than insignificant. Given where most of the Tea Party congressmen hail from I am certain that more than once during those party conferences Boehner was instructed to "squeal like a pig." And he did.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tea Party Has a Plan

I've have my head in the Tea Party Echo ChamberTM the past 24 hours (and, yes, I have a terrible headache) and I'm here to tell ya', they've got a plan.

They have learned their lesson and are going to do it all over again.
They will attach repeal of the Affordable Care Act to every piece of legislation that hits the House.
Their mistake this time was letting the leadership know what they were doing. Next time they are going to spring their plan to default on the debt completely by surprise.

Defeat in primaries every Republican that showed the slightest sign of disloyalty to the Tea Party.
Even staunch conservatives like Sen. Thad Cochran and Sen. John Cornyn have been labeled treasonous RINOs.

Recall John McCain.
Even though it can't be done. I mean legally, it's impossible.

This purge will result in veto-proof Republican majorities after the mid-term elections.
I don't know how the Tea Party can balance a budget if their math says that 46 minus 28 somehow equals 60.

Repeal ObamaCare in 2015. 

Impeach the President.

The John Birch Society had similar insane goals fifty years ago.
Elect Ted Cruz President.
Or Sarah Palin.

Finally, arrest and imprison all the traitors in Congress who didn't support Cruz and the Tea Party and the news media members who disrespected Cruz.

It's a big agenda but Tea Partiers agree it's the only way to "Save the Republic" from democracy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Republicans Going to the Dogs

Have you ever seen feral pack of dogs being led by its smallest member? Some overactive Jack Russell intimidating a pack including a pitbull that could, were it so inclined, eat the terrier in four bites? Or a pack where an 80 pound German Shepard is cowering in terror from the yipping of four pounds of chihuahua named Buttons?

That's what the House Republican caucus reminds me of. The handful of Tea Partiers most closely resemble the droogs from A Clockwork Orange. These anarchists have John Boehner repeatedly peeing himself in servile terror. If Boehner thought it would sate their bloodlust even for a moment I've no doubt he would give over his two daughters for the mad pack to tear to pieces.

Past Speakers, think Sam Rayburn, would discipline rebellious backbenchers by assigning them broom closets in the sub-basement for offices and putting them on only the sub-committee for Litter Abatement. Any bill they sponsored would disappear without a vote and appropriations for their districts would be scarcer than bacon at a Muslim hunger strike.

But in the 113th Congress the whelps are running the pack.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Economic Brinksmanship

I haven't felt like this since I was ten years old, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fascinated, in a morbid "will I survive and will I want to" fashion. Energized by the suicidally egotistical attitudes of a handful of megalomaniacs using the fate of everyone on Earth as chits in a high stakes game of tiddlywinks. Desperately wishing we could give the people involve switchblades and tell them to go out back and settle things among themselves and stop involving the rest of us.

P.S. If I hear anyone on either side this pissing contest ooze the phrase "We're winning!" one more time, I'll scream.

P.P.S. If any more rich Tea Party bastards complain their health insurance is going to rise under ObamaCare to where it will be half of what I am currently paying for health insurance I'm going to beat him to death with this very laptop.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Modern Republicans In (Mostly) Old Pictures

The greatest political cartoonist in history was the 19th century's Thomas Nast of Harper's Weekly. Among other things he created out current image of Santa Claus and assigned to elephant to Republicans. But there are a couple of his drawings that speak to today.
This 1871 drawing recalls a scene from Oliver Twist where master pickpocket the Artful Dodger ran down the street screaming "Stop Thief!" to hide the fact he was, himself, the thief in question. Republicans are causing all the current economic threats yet they pretend to be innocent bystanders.
Then there is this classic also from 1871 as every Republican is blaming every other Republican for the mess they've gotten themselves into. However, Congressional Republicans are not so polite as the crooks in this drawing. A more accurate depiction is this modern pic...
Since Republicans are mostly intent on destroying other Republicans who deviate even by a hair from orthodoxy. Tea Partiers talk of "removing RINO traitors."
Old Joe Stalin called them purges but, really, no difference.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

In the Company of Cowards

Union forces fleeing the First Battle of Bull Run, 1861
"Retreat is a weak term to use when speaking of this disgraceful rout … The terror-stricken soldiers threw away their arms and accoutrements, herding along like a panic-stricken flock of sheep, with no order whatever in their flight."
The moderate wing of the Republican Party talked a good game about how they would support a clean Continuing Resolution until the threats from the Tea Party became to terrifying. They then started a mad retreat from reasonableness into the warm embrace of madness.

It a certain way I have more respect for the Tea Party radical than I do for mainstream Republicans. Tea Partiers, at least, have the courage of their lunacy. While Boehner, Peter King, and Devin Nunes have redefined the concept of abject cowardice. If they go down in history at all, which is doubtful because history tends to forget the excessively timid, they will be remembered as the Americans who made a joke out of the slogan "Home of the Brave."
I don't recall I ever heard that bugle sound retreat,
I could only hear the thunder of a hundred scamperin' feet.
It was forward into battle they came marching one by one
But I guess they thought it over, and they thought it best to run
~ Company of Cowards

Thursday, October 03, 2013

How Do You Negotiate With a Mob?

Some Republicans are complaining that President Obama is "not negotiating" with them to end the government shutdown. Who, exactly, ought he negotiate with?
  • Not Ted Cruz, who was vilified by his own Republican colleagues for getting them into this mess and now admitting he has no clue about ending it. Ironically, Cruz is now terrified that the government shutdown he orchestrated will lead to a successful terrorist attack.
  • Not John Boehner, who is clearly just a puppet being randomly manipulated by the 80-member Tea Party caucus. When he suggested some undefined "grand bargain" was possible all sides laughed at him.
  • Not Tea Party congressmen, which is a leaderless mob that has no clue what it wants except that it doesn't want to be "disrespected."
  • Not moderate and sane Republican congressman who are so terrorized by the Tea Party that label as "traitor" and threaten any Republican that dares to be less than an enthusiastic sycophant.
  • Not Tea Party rank-and-file, who are a bunch of anarchists who want to burn down the government and cheered the shutdown.
The Republican Party has become a real life "Lord of the Flies." There is no negotiating with a crazy mob. The only hope is that their mad frenzy exhausts them before too much damage has been done.
House Republicans in caucus.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Tea Party Anarchist Rule Republicans

Listening and reading about all the Tea Party Republicans who are cheering a government shutdown, from Michelle Bachmann to FoxNews to commenters on conservative blogs, the celebrating over the (temporary, I hope) end of government has been boisterous, and probably drunken.

Ted Cruz will go down as one of the most famous American anarchists, along with Emma Goldman, Sacco and Vanzetti, and Ted Kaczynski. Cruz's hero is certainly Leon Czologsz, who changed history by assassinating an American president.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Found at RedState:
So...right now we have 46 senators. If we could get RID of all of these [the 25 that voted for cloture]...then we would have 52, keeping in mind that we keep who we have that is Conservative. I don't know what the answer is to Collins....Someone has to knock some sense into Maine...perhaps they will become the state version of Detroit.

Let's see if I get the math. Primary out of office 25 senators and the Radical Republicans will magically gain 31 seats. The Republican Civil War, courtesy of Ted Cruz, is disclosing a level of insanity that is both terrifying and hilarious.

I'm beginning to wonder if Ted Cruz is an undercover liberal assigned the task of destroying the Republican Party from within. That theory makes more sense than the Tea Party crazy that is actually happening.

NSA Want Us to Love Their Stalking Us

The NSA is asking Americans to help it lobby Congress for their programs to compile comprehensive dossiers on every single citizen. Why does this remind me of the Alec Baldwin character from The Juror?
If you never saw the movie, Baldwin plays a psychopathic mob hitman contracted to coerce juror Demi Moore into voting "not guilty." After the trial he uses his considerable skills as a murderous lunatic to seduce her by stalking her.

The NSA is backing up it's demand by rather blunting stating that we will die horrible deaths if we don't fall in love with the NSA. I, for one, will not succumb to NSA stalking us nor to their threats. They are evil; they know it and I know it. And, no, I will never fall in love with you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cruz Caves

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Crazytown) just voted for the bill he was filibustering, as did every other Republican in the Senate.
I'll tell you, any vote for cloture, any vote to allow Harry Reid to add funding for ObamaCare with just a 51-vote threshold, a vote for cloture is a vote for ObamaCare. ~ Sen. Ted Cruz
Tea Party cultists were declaring that anyone who voted for closure would be committing treason. Like a craven coward, when Cruz was faced with the certainty of standing alone in his no vote he surrendered and meekly hid among the crowd.

His little "filibuster" was just a dog and pony show or, as Shakespeare put it, "sound and fury signifying nothing."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Way to Piss Off Your Colleagues

Sen. Ted Cruz has begun talking. According to Senate rules, all Republican senators are allotted 15 hours for debate, about 20 minutes each (Democrats also get 15 hours). Ted's talkathon will only prevent any other Republicans from having an opportunity to speak on the matter.

It's pointless, egotistical grandstanding that can only accomplish enraging every other Republican in the Senate. It's the political version of committing seppuku in that no bill he offers will have a chance of even being heard in committee. As far as the Senate is concerned, Ted Cruz will be a dead man walking for the remainder of his term.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ted Cruz In a Corner

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Crazy-TX) just keeps giving me the giggle fits. His latest plan to defund Obamacare is to filibuster the bill that defunds Obamacare. The logic, so far as his malfunctioning mind is capable of a sentient function like logic, is that by blocking his own bill he will somehow force Democrats to meekly surrender and vote for the bill he is filibustering. The plan is so profoundly stupid that even FoxNews is telling him it is idiotic.

When the dumbasses at Fox think you are being a dolt it's time to put on the cone cap and take a long timeout.
In a sane world this is where Ted Cruz would spend the rest of his term.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Affordable Care Act Rationally Viewed

I've studied the California marketplace for the ACA. My base health insurance costs (including copays) will decline a little, maybe $100 a month, but, and this is a huge but, factoring in the premium assistance tax credit, my insurance cost will be half what it was this year.

Now, when Republicans talk about defunding Obamacare they are talking about axing the tax credit which will amount to a massive middle-class tax increase. Democrats are missing the issue here. By trying to kill Obamacare, Republicans are trying to hike taxes on the middle-class by thousands of dollars a year. Suffering the most under the Republican plan will be families with children earning under $60,000 a year.

It is important to note, the tax credit is applied to the insurance premium, not the tax bill. So even someone who pays no income tax will receive full value of the tax credit. I'm totally surprised Democrats aren't publicizing the hell out of this simple fact.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New York's Tenderloin Corruption Lives

I'm surprised I didn't know the etymology of "Tenderloin" meaning the sleazy section of a city filled with bars and whores and drug dealers. I always assumed it alluded to the soft, fleshy parts of the professional women working in brothels.
I was wrong. The term was coined in 1876 by a New York City police captain who was describing how his life had changed after being reassigned from an upscale district of Manhattan to a precinct in the Bowery.
I've been having chuck steak ever since I've been on the force, and now I'm going to have a bit of tenderloin.
Meaning after years of being a poor but honest cop, he could now live bountifully off of all the bribes and protection payoffs he was getting working in the most lawless section of the city.

Of course, that was over a century ago and things have changes. Now, police corruption is not limited by geography. Any cop with an hand out and a black heart can earn significant supplemental income without accepting any bribes. And woe to any officer who tries to be honest.

Some cops believe in old fashioned corruption. These NYPD officers are using FBI databases as a resource to gain intelligence for their own lucrative criminal activities. But the big source of cash is rigging the system to get promotions.
  • Officers perjure themselves to gain convictions.
  • They plant evidence on innocent people. This accomplishes a couple things. First, it is a lot safer framing an innocent person than to try to arrest actual, possibly armed, criminals. Also, if an officer is taking protection payments from drug dealers he needs to be arresting somebody to keep his arrest numbers up.
  • Ah, the numbers. The NYPD puts it's officers on quotas. They are required to rack up arrests, it doesn't matter if arrests are bogus and the victims are eventually released. What matters is the raw number of arrests.
  • Alternatively, police will fail to report and pursue actual crimes, such as downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, so their statistics show a steady decrease in crime.
One honest officer who blew the whistle through channels was arrested by his colleagues and locked up in a psych ward for daring to question his superiors. Others have faced departmental discipline or been fired.

This last example has lots of supposition. Allegedly, a bank bribed a New York City judge to help the bank take (steal) a man's home. When the man publicly complained he was kidnapped, beaten, and murdered allegedly by two NYPD officers hired by the judge as muscle.

I've noted before that in several American cities the police are just another violent street gang, albeit with more impressive gang colors.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Taste For Blood

Most people, when forced by circumstances to kill another human being, react with revulsion to the deed. This is one reason the suicide rate of American soldiers returning from the was zone is so high. Even the notorious Doc Holliday is said to have cried after the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

A few find the experience morally liberating. They have broken the ultimate taboo, gotten away with it, and perhaps even been celebrated for the act of killing someone. And they like it.

Speculation is beginning to appear that George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed an unarmed teenaged boy, may belong to that second category. The conversation in Florida, including it seems at least one police chief, is that Zimmerman is a "ticking time bomb." It is unlikely that Trayvon Martin will be the last innocent person to die at the hands of George Zimmerman.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Hypocrisy and Chemical Weapons

I'm not claiming that Assad is an angel or that Syria using chemical weapons is not evil. Only that there have been times the United States did not consider using chemical weapons so bad.

Gaza - 2009
White Phosphorus (Willy Pete) is an incendiary weapon. It is a self-igniting chemical that burns at 5000 degrees C. It burns flesh to the bone. It has a limited military usage to generate smoke screens. The Israel Defense Force used it as an anti-personnel and terror weapon during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. While several human rights groups denounced this use of chemical weapons the United States was officially silent.

Iraq - 2004
Insurgents were so well established in the city of Fallujah American generals decided to use a tactic called "Shake and Bake" where chemical weapons (again White Phosphorus) are deployed to force people out of hiding so they can be killed with anti-personnel bombs. Obviously, the United States approved of the use of chemical weapons by American troops.

Iran-Iraq War 1980-88
During the third year of Iraq's war with Iran, President Ronald Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld to become Saddam Hussein's BFF ("The Enemy of My Enemy Is Mr Friend" foreign policy theory). The US provided spy satellite intelligence to Iraq to help them target their chemical weapon attacks. The United States also sold biological and chemical weapon agents to Iraq that it used against Iran.

Vietnam War
Sure, it was a half century ago, but the United States did spray over 20 million gallons of chemical weapons (Agent Orange) over South Vietnam and adjoining countries with the expressed goal of forcing civilians to abandon their rural villages. Five percent of all children born in Vietnam suffer from birth defects caused by Agent Orange. The United States also extensively used chemical incendiary weapons (napalm) against both military and civilian targets.