Friday, July 31, 2015

The Psychopathy of Republicans

The Republican Presidential list is like a dysfunctional high school student body, and almost as big.
Donald Trump - The Quarterback
Sort of popular, although no one knows why. In his own mind he is more popular than anyone in forever. Isn't that dumb but hires the smart kids to do his homework for him because he doesn't give a shit.

Jeb Bush - Teacher's Pet
Does every extra credit assignment, stays after class to clean the erasers. Because of all his extra credit work Jeb has a solid C+ grade average.

Scott Walker - Wannabe Stoner
Scott is the guy who sneaks behind the gym between periods to smoke oregano joints and show off the porn he has on his cell phone. He'd smoke pot but he's afraid of the kids selling it. Scott thinks that cutting the line in the cafeteria makes him look bad ass when it just makes him look like a jerk.

Ted Cruz - Chess Club Pres
Thinks being a weak Class A chess player makes him a genius and, hence, he should be made class president by acclamation. Not popular outside the club because he plays chess; not popular inside the club because he's an obnoxious winner.

Ben Carson - Science Club Pres
Got a blue ribbon for a ninth grade science fair project on whether frogs can cross breed with mice (they can't). Now thinks he can solve cold fusion.

Mike Huckabee - Carries a Bible to Class
Wanted a Jesus Club on campus but the principal wouldn't allow it so he formed his own and holds meetings in his parent's basement.  Only two people joined, the lonely Indian kid and the crazy kid whose name sounds dirty and said the turtles humping at the zoo was "fornication."

Marco Rubio - Shy Kid
Marco is the kid who sits in the corner and never, ever raises his hand. If he were invisible he'd get more notice.

Carly Fiorina - Girl Geek
Think Amy Farrah Fowler. Desperately wants to be popular. Literally nobody likes her.

Chris Christie - The Bully
Beats up the smaller kids. Loves giving wedgies.

Lindsey Graham - Wedgie Getter
Gets beat up a lot 'cause the jocks think he's gay.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Psychopathy of Birds

If you have a backyard bird feeder and a tendency to anthropomorphize creatures you can see all sorts of human character traits in your feathered neighbors.

Finches Be Gangsta
In the community of finches there are three basic personalities. Shy Type B's wait for their turn at the feeder and never challenge another bird for perch. With only six feeding stations and a flock of over twenty looking for seed, these birds learn to hover in place as if to say, "can I have a little food too, please."

There are also Type A's, or Bully Finches. These girls, the bullies are always females, will see a fully occupied feeder and, spotting a timid Type B, knock the bird off its perch like Lindsey Lohan with a beak and claim the spot for her own.

The third type are straight up psychopaths. These girls don't just take all the seed they want they resent any other bird sitting down while they eat. These Psycho Finches will chase every other bird away from the feeder so they can eat alone. When two psychos face off things get insane.

I once saw one bird knock another off its perch, the second fought back and they fell to the ground fighting. One of the combatants flew off a couple of feet and stared down the other. Then it bullrushed its enemy and they had a stunning, wings flailing MMA wrestling match under a bush.

Finches share another human trait, they tend to poop in perfectly good drinking water. I have to clean out my birdbath every couple of days for the seed detritus (finches don't use napkins), feathers (the bullies also push their way into the pool), and crap. Like Americans who put potable water in our toilets, finches shit in the same water they drink.

Scrub Jays Are Neat Freaks
The Western Scrub Jay are the poor relations of the Jay family. They lack the fancy crests of the Steller's or Blue Jay and, frankly, look like that scruffy uncle with the mustard stains on his shirt you hope won't show up at the family reunion.  When Scrub Jays eat from the suet cake hanging from my Live Oak tree bits will fall on the ground. But, before he leaves, the Jays will clean up every speck of suet that fell. Really, the finches should take a lesson.

Ravens Have Language
It is said that ravens have the IQ of a seven year-old human, which makes them smarter than every Republican running for President. While I don't have ravens in my backyard I've seen many on my trips to Alaska. They don't just have problem solving intelligence and use tools, they have complex vocalizations.  If you watch two ravens click and trill at each other you quickly realize it isn't the mindless chatter of finches or TV personalities but an elaborate conversation. The ravens have words and are talking. Native Americans knew this to be true, give ravens thumbs and they would rule the world.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Value of Black Lives

This is a delicate subject and one I'm reluctant to broach. But if there is one thing that white Americans have been doing since the beginning of the nation it is putting a price on African-American lives.

Slave Market
Before he was a Confederate war hero and leader of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest made a lucrative living buying and selling slaves.
 In 1850, the average slave sold for $800. A strong, young field-hand cost more, over $1,000. An elderly house slave cost less. Accounting for inflation, owning one black life cost $25,000 in 2015 dollars. The 500 slaves N. B. Forrest was shopping for were worth over $12 million. In 1860, 20% of the white people in the South owned slaves. The four million humans held as slaves at the start of the Civil War were worth $100 billion, almost half the net wealth of the South.

North Carolina sharecroppers circa 1935.
After the Civil War, Southern plantation owners established a feudal economy called sharecropping.  Black families would work the white owner's land giving up to two-thirds of their crop to the owner in payment. Additional charges, equipment rental and overpriced supplies, would insure that the sharecropper would be deeper in debt every year. Debt tied people to the plantations a strongly as the slavers chains had. The noose of the Klan replaced the lash of the overseer to enforce subservience. In the early 1940's a sharecropper family would earn about 65 cents a day (less than $9 in today's money).

Prison Labor
Black child prisoner chain gang, 1903
In 1871, the Virginia State Supreme Court declared that prisoners were "slaves of the state." Forty percent of the US prison population is African-American, nearly one million blacks. In the Deep South (Louisiana through South Carolina) there are four black prisoners for every white one. All prisoners, by law, are required to work (unless you are a psychotic killer who, oddly, they don't want working as telemarketers) and the work is cheap.

UNICOR, the Federal Prison Industry, pays prisoners 23 cents a hour. A forty hour week will earn the prisoner the same as a 1940's sharecropper got in just one day.  But that's generous compared to elsewhere. In Texas, Arkansas, and Georgia prisoners are used as slaves and paid nothing for their labor and will be punished if they refuse to work.

Then there are the many private corporations that contract with states for exceptionally cheap prison labor. Companies from British Petroleum to Victoria's Secret use American prisoner workers to maximize profits. Chances are the telemarketer bothering you during dinner is calling from an American prison.

My inelegant point is that America has always seen black lives as a commodity. Antebellum they were property to be bought and sold but always black lives have been seen valuable only as beasts of burden. When possible, and with our current judicial system that is all to often possible, black lives can still be used as near slaves to increase their master's wealth.

Police shoot blacks for the same reason the Klan lynched them and overseers whipped them. As an object lesson to a class of workers lest they rebel.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tournament of Fools

I love a good bracket tournament and Daniel Donner at DailyKos has a doozie.
Round One
No upsets in the Lunatic bracket (left). In the Toady bracket (right) there is a chance that perennial suck-up Rick Perry could defeat the Bible thumping snake oil salesman from Arkansas.

Round Two
Ted Cruz will keep his nose firmly stuck up Donald's ass making Trump the easy winner. Rand Paul is a master of the unforced error; it will be close but Marco will bore him to death for the win. Scott Walker will decimate Ben Carson as Carson will spend all his money on diamond tiaras for himself. Neither Perry or the Huckster have a chance against Bush.

Final Four
Here's where it gets interesting. Trump will shoot 40-foot alley-oops to himself every time he gets the ball while Rubio will stick to a stodgy four-corner defense hoping to win by a score of 2-0. Trump wins 162-2.

Bush v. Walker is the marquee match up. Bush is as popular as chlamydia while Walker is as likeable as a horseradish scone. Each will try to razzle dazzle the other by changing their positions on every issue. It will be a dizzying affair, literally, as each will run frantically around in circles throwing money at the audience. I give it to Bush by a nickel.

Bush or Trump? Trump or Bush? Will it be the ultimate sycophant or the consummate billionaire asshole? Both will throw money around like confetti while claiming to be fiscal conservatives. Bush will try to sound rational but anyone going into a match with Trump will end up looking like a wacko. Trump will sling enough shit to cover Mount Everest. I can't see Bush surviving.
But whatever the outcome, there won't be enough soap in the world to clean up Republicans after this party.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quick Draw Walker and War With Iran

Quick Draw McGraw (1959-1962)
So Scott Walker thinks he'll have to go to war with Iran on his first day in office. The Oval Office carpet cleaners will still be finishing up as he send his spiffy B-2 bombers on their killing mission.

The whole of the world, save Israel, will rightly call it an unprovoked war crime. Israeli PM Netanyahu will applaud that his White House puppet is so immediately obsequious.

What effect will bombing have? Jon Perr has a good analysis.
  • The US has a handful of 30,000 pound "bunker busters" that allegedly can penetrate 200 feet of rock. Iran has at least one facility buried under 375 feet of mountain.
  • When the US violates the agreement all bets are off. Russia, certainly, and China, probably, will help Iran rebuild any damaged facilities faster than the US can bomb them. Iran will hurry to build nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
  • Russia and China will provide Iran with high-altitude anti-aircraft missiles both to help defend Iran and to test their efficacy against US stealth technology. Some of America's 21 B-2s will be shot down.
  • Iran will do all it can to close the Strait of Hormuz. Oil prices will skyrocket.
  • With bombing ineffective the pressure will build from neocons for a ground invasion. A joint Anglo-Soviet invasion was successful in 1941 but it was a sneak attack, not possible this time, and Russia had two nice, big borders with Iran to invade through.
  • Iran has a standing army of over 500,000 plus 1.8 million reservists. Even allowing for the technical superiority of US forces, America would have to dedicate its entire Army and Marine Corps forces to have a chance at victory. Remember the US is a rogue nation in this invasion, there will be no NATO help. As for Israel? They will keep their troops at home and use the Iran invasion as an excuse to attack Hezbollah and Syria.
  • The cost of military action against Iran will be in the trillions of dollars.
What would an invasion look like?
Iran is a mountainous trap. The best invasion path would be through Afghanistan but that would be a logistical nightmare. Pakistan would refuse passage so everything including food and fuel would have to be airlifted in. Iraq is possible but Iraq is allied with Iran so the US might first have to invade and reconquer Iraq before using it as a stable base. The third option is an amphibious invasion from Saudi Arabia. Even if the landing is successful the next step is winding through the narrow passes of the Zagros Mountains. The roads will be mined. Iranian infantry will have a mobility advantage over the US mechanized force stuck on those roads.

US causalities will be enormous, certainly exceeding the 58,000 combat deaths in Vietnam.

Of course, knowing Scott Walker's simplistic thinking process, he may just carpet bomb Iran with nuclear weapons. Easy peasy.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Short Takes

Lily-Livered Texans
All Muslims want to kill us, even the dead ones.
I've never met a more cowardly collection of humans than Texans. They have to carry a gun everywhere they go because they are terrified someone will try to mug them. They are paranoid at the prospect of American servicemembers holding training exercises in their state because they are certain they will all be locked up in FEMA concentration camps. And now they are shitting their panties in horror that Muslims who are living peaceably in their state might also be buried there. If anything bad ever actually happened in Texas half the population would drop dead of fear induced heart attacks.

Wesley Clark for Reichsf├╝hrer-SS
Himmler with Palestine's Grand Mufti
At one time Gen. Clark was a successful desk-jockey general, the kind of guy you want commanding spreadsheets but not personnel.  He ran for president as a Democrat in 2004 on the "I'm Just Like Ike" ticket. Since then, if not before, he has become seriously senile and suggested that young Muslims who are unemployed or lost a girl friend be rounded up and imprisoned lest they become "alienated" and start blowing shit up. Hint: Starting interment camps is probably a good way to start alienating people.

It Never Rains but it Pours
San Diego, July 19, 2015
Weather is not climate, I know that. For the second time this month we have been hit with tropical rain. Lots of it. It never rains in Southern California in July yet we've had more rain this July than any July in history. Hell, we've had more rain this July than the last 30 Julies combined. No, this doesn't solve the California drought. We'll need another 20 storms like this last one to do that and the rain needs to be in the north where most of the reservoirs are. But bizarre doesn't cover the freakness factor here. This is weird-with-a-beard outre and I wouldn't be surprised by a rain of frogs or plague of locusts next. I blame gay marriage.

The Pacific Ocean off California is 4oC above normal which has driven weird weather across the country. I believe this warming ocean is changing Southern California's climate from Mediterranean to subtropical. And I can't even guess what it is doing to the rest of the North American continent. Silver lining: If San Diego weather gets to be like New Orleans maybe we'll get better jazz.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I Love Jade Helm 15

Because I love a good conspiracy theory and Jade Helm has generated an entire forest of theories.

Martial Law
President Obama plans to impose martial law on the nation and declare himself dictator. Texans, of course, believe that Texas will be the most difficult state to subdue, hence the need for Jade Helm. This is the root of all the interesting theories, that the "training exercise" is an excuse to preposition troops so potential dissidents can be quickly rounded up and imprisoned in FEMA death camps.  The justification for martial law is where the theorists get creative.

ISIS Attack
This theory says ISIS has established camps in Mexico and is planning to invade Texas. Further, President Obama is allowing Islamic extremists to enter the country for a coordinated attack on the US. These attacks will leave the nation calling for protection and martial law. One of his first acts will be to confiscate all guns. Afterwards, President Obama will reveal he really is Muslim, install sharia law, and begin decapitating Christians.

Environmental Disaster
Some people believe that climate change is real and President Obama is engineering it. He is using a science station in Alaska (HAARP) to punish the country with extreme weather. He is planning to use the station to generate a series of weather disasters leading to a breakdown of civil society. US troops plus the military of Russia and China will be needed to restore order after which they will stay to enforce his dictatorship.

The Walmart Connection
Jade Helm's true purpose is to finalize the establishment of underground military bases linked by a network of tunnels connecting Walmart stores.

Economic Collapse
President Obama intends to trigger a Greek-style economic collapse with the resulting chaos requiring martial law.

Pope Takeover
A few point out that it is not a coincidence that Pope Francis' visit to the United States follows Jade Helm. Pope Francis, who is the antichrist, will declare the New World Order in his appearance before Congress. President Obama's Catholic overlords will then use Jade Helm resources to turn control of the United States over to the Vatican and Satan.

Space Aliens
An alien cube crashing over Texas.
Jade Helm is a cover story for a secret massive search for "Nordic" space aliens who have landed in Texas in the past few months. Or, the Pentagon has been notified of an impending space alien invasion of Texas and they are preparing to defend the planet.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Asylum Politics

There's probably a word for this in some language, probably German. That feeling you get when you can sense the pain someone is suffering but just don't give a shit. Sociopathic empathy. I'm feeling that for Scott Walker. He's been gearing up for months to this big day when he officially announces he's running for President and, literally, no one is noticing. The Donald has sucked up all the air and Walker's announcement is landing like a feather in a vacuum, with a soundless thud.

How About Selective Secession
Unreconstructed Southern Whites have their fee-fees hurting at the sight of the national celebration of the fall of the Confederate flag. May I suggest a second run at secession. The rest of the country would rejoice if the rotten core of the Deep South (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas) would just up and leave. And if Mexico politely asked for the return of Texas I'm sure we wouldn't mind but we would insist that Mexico take Rick Perry and the entire Bush family as part of the deal.

Jade Helm 15 Invasion
Speaking of Texas, Lone Star patriots are prepared to oppose the imposition of martial law on their state. They have organized squads to follow and report on any military personnel they spot. The founders assure all they are preventing "freaking nut-jobs" from joining.

Think about that for a moment. How crazy do you have to be for a batshit insane conspiracy theorist to call you a nut-job? I wonder how long it will take for some deranged, methed up, gun totting, mouth breathing Texan to shoot down an innocent servicemember on a training mission because Obama is a Kenyan.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Long, Inglorious History of Xenophobia

The Donald Trump phenomenon is not unique. The United States has a long history of xenophobia dating back to the beginnings of the country. The current wave of hatred for Mexican immigrants that Trump is mining is only the latest example. The faces and skin tone may change from decade to decade, but the hatred is consistent.

1790 Naturalization Law (non-whites)
Declared only "free white persons" could become naturalized American citizens. This act was not repealed until 1952. Of course, non-free, non-white persons could still enter the country as slaves.

Know-Nothings - 1850's (Irish)
They are taking our jobs, bringing their diseases and poverty into our country, most of them are criminals, and they are trying to take over our country! In the 1850's this is what the Know Nothing Party was saying about Irish immigrants. The were powerful enough to send several nativists in Congress and ran former president Millard Fillmore who, predicting Trump's current popularity, got 22% of the vote in 1856.

When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics." ~ Abraham Lincoln, 1855

Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion - 1880's (Irish and Italians) 
America would be a grand land if only every Irishman would kill a Negro and be hanged for it. ~ William Freeman, 1881
By the 1880's, the corruption and scandal within the Republican Party had diminished the party. In 1884, the Republican Party nominated for president the Tom Delay of their day, James G. Blaine was a notorious bride taker. (Oddly Democrat Grover Cleveland was the Bill Clinton of his day, having fathered a child out of wedlock.) Republicans were reduced to a three word platform, opposition to: Rum (appealing to the religious temperance movement), Rebellion (blaming Democrats for the Civil War), and Romanism (opposition to all things Catholic). Devoid of a positive platform, Republicans tried relied on patriotic xenophobia. Anti-Irish and anti-Catholic leagues sprung up in any good sized town.

Chinese Exclusion Act - 1882
While Republicans and the East Coast feared Catholics, Democrats and the West Coast were terrified of a Chinese invasion. All the old complaints we hear today were on display. This "Yellow Peril" was taking American jobs, speaking a strange language and looking different, and they were all criminals and drug smugglers. The act tried to block all Chinese laborers from the United States. Two years later the law was amended to apply it to all ethnic Chinese, whatever country they were born in. The law was renewed in 1892 and again in 1902. It was repealed in 1943. The United States Code: Title 8, Chapter 7 is still entitled "Exclusion of Chinese."

The California Alien Land Act - 1913 (Japanese)
In my home state, ethnic Japanese were coming to the state, buying land, and doing a better job farming it than Americans. Faced with competition we decided to make foreign ownership of land illegal. In 1920, state voter closed loopholes that allowed Japanese to lease land. In 1946, the state Supreme Court upheld the law. Six years later the same court ruled it unconstitutional.

National Origins Quotas - 1924 (Jews)
Popular music is a Jewish monopoly. Jazz is a Jewish creation. The mush, slush, the sly suggestion, the abandoned sensuousness of sliding notes, are of Jewish origin. ~ Henry Ford 1920
Escaping pogroms in eastern Europe, two million Jews had entered the United States by 1924. This law restricted immigration mostly to western and northern Europe and was drawn up to limit Jewish, Polish, and Italian immigration. Asian immigration was totally outlawed. Interestingly, Mexican immigration was unrestricted because of the need for cheap labor in the Southwest.

Japanese Interment - World War II
A Jap's a Jap ~ General John L. DeWitt, commander of the internment program.
The forced relocation of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds US citizens, into interment camps. Authorized by executive order. The round-up was facilitated by the FBI, which had planned for this, compiling a Custodial Detention index two years before the US entered the war. 

Operation Wetback - 1954 (Mexicans)
An INS program that indiscriminately rounded up and deported one million Mexican laborers. The justification was familiar, Mexicans were dirty, disease-ridden Communists coming to rape our daughters. Many Hispanic and Native American citizens got caught up in the sweeps because brown skin is brown skin.

California Proposition 187 - 1994 (Mexicans)
They keep coming! ~ from a Pete Wilson campaign commercial
"They" were Mexicans. Pete Wilson, Republican Governor of California in the mid-1990's campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform to keep brown people out of the state. Republicans charged that Mexicans were trying to take over California and return it to Mexico. Proposition 187 said that no one could get public services, like primary school education or medical care, until they had proven they were in the country legally.

Prop 187 passed with 59 percent of the vote; Wilson won reelection with 55 percent. It also marks the last gasp of Republicans in the Golden State. By the time Wilson left off in 1999, Republicans in the state were a pathetic rump of a party made up mostly of paranoid, elderly, white xenophobes.

Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law - 2010
Or the "Show Your Papers" law, shows there is still a place in this country for xenophobic know-nothings determined to expel anyone with insufficient European Protestant blood in his veins.

P.S. If some of this seems familiar, I plagiarized myself from 2006 for much of this.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Republican Owners Intervene

The oligarchs, who have bought the Republican Party like it were an exotic pet, are worried it is not properly leash trained. They want an orderly and obsequious nominating process.

Napa vintner John Jordan has "suggested" that the party ban from the debates the candidate currently ranked second in opinion polls. This is the same position that the oligarch PAC Club for Growth has taken.

Foster Freiss, clearly named after an ice cream store, and wannabe kingmaker Sheldon Adelson have written all the candidates instructing them on what to say and how to behave.

I wouldn't be surprised if FOX adds some clause to the debate rules that disqualifies Trump. Perhaps they will require some minimum number of campaign donors or Iowa appearances. Some weird addition that, magically, only removes Trump from the debate. It will be difficult but with big money tugging on the leash it can happen.

Then there is the Carly case. Fiorina is an oligarch and, unlike Trump, her fellow rich bastards love her. They want her in the debate as the anti-Hillery but she is currently polling at just 1%, tied for 14th place, and unlikely to make it to the debate even as an usher. I predict FOX will rig the game to get Carly on stage. FOX will probably keep secret the "polls" they use to rank the contestants and just declare she made the cut.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Greece Says 'No'

Athena, goddess of wisdom and courage.
I cannot know what was in the hearts of the Greeks when they rejected another round of German imposed austerity.

I know there were given the choice of staying on the well trod path of economic misery they have traveled for a half dozen years. It would be wretched but have the comfort of being familiar.

Or they could choose to travel into the unknown. It may be a path into the abyss or it may be the path that leads them out of the gloom that has surrounded them for so long.

They chose the unknown. They chose to forge their own path with all the thorns and thistles inherent in that. They chose the path that requires courage not resignation, that requires boldness not timidity.

I suspect that Athena would be proud.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Worst Generals in US History

Another patriotic, history buff posting.

1. Benjamin Butler
Not just a horrible general but a contemptible human being as well. A lawyer and politician with absolutely no military experience, Butler used his connections to get himself appointed as a Union general at the start of the Civil War.

His few forays into battle were marked by over elaborate plans that were impossible to execute on the ground. And Butler preferred to command the fighting far from the battlefield relaxing with a glass of wine.

As military commander of occupied New Orleans, Butler authorized and profited from extensive looting. He would buy or steal sugar and cotton in New Orleans and use government ships to take it to Boston where Butler sold it at a profit.

And then there was General Order No. 28. Upset that the genteel women of New Orleans were not being friendly to the occupation troops, Butler ordered that any woman being unfriendly was to be treated as a prostitute.

2. George McClellen
Lincoln and McClellen at Antietam.
I could fill this blog with Union generals. Just one more. Little Mac had trained at West Point. He felt the most important thing an army could learn was how to properly parade. Fighting was messy, parading was inspiring. His men loved him in large part because he refused to put them in harm's way. He convinced himself that the Rebel army vastly outnumbered his own, the opposite was true, so he avoided battle as much as possible.

He also had an over inflated opinion of himself. He contemplated a military coup in 1861. One of his kinder descriptions of the President was as a "well-meaning baboon." Lincoln fired an insubordinate McClellen after the meeting photographed above. McClellen ran for president against Lincoln in 1864 where he, predictably, lost.

3. Douglas MacArthur
Quite possibly the reincarnated soul of George McClellen. Certainly more of a popinjay, MacArthur spent his career looking for cameras to get in front of. The best example of this is his return to the Philippines. When he learned a film crew had missed his famous wet pants walk up the beach he restaged the whole thing for the cameras.

During World War II, MacArthur had been lazy in preparing Philippines defenses. His forces were caught napping when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. MacArthur was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for abandoning his troops and sneaking off to Australia with his family. Propaganda is more important than honor.

During the Korean War, MacArthur's amphibious assault at Inchon broke the North Korean army; a plus for him. Yet his suggestions to invade China and use atomic weapons against both China and Russia brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. When President Truman began to negotiate peace MacArthur went to the press and Congress to kneecap Truman's peace initiative. Truman fired him his ass.

William Westmoreland
Westmoreland was the mastermind behind the Vietnam War debacle. According to Westy, America was winning every battle. Although with each "victory" it was the Viet Cong that seemed to come out ahead. His strategy was to crowd a half million American soldiers into that tiny country and force the enemy to come out and fight. The Viet Cong strategy was to crowd a half million American soldiers into their tiny country and kill them until the Americans got tired of dying for a worthless patch of jungle.

To the end of his pathetic life, he believed that he had won the Vietnam War and that the American people had betrayed him.

Friday, July 03, 2015

When the Confederacy Died

In 1863, this day and tomorrow mark when the Confederate States of America ceased to be a possibility and became a doomed corpse. Yes, the Rebels lingered on for two more years while Union armies ground them into dust but their uncivilized cause was now totally hopeless.

July 3 - Gettysburg
On the third day of fighting, Robert E. Lee made one of the most abysmally stupid decision in the history of warfare. He ordered an attack across open terrain against an entrenched force holding the high ground, the infamous Pickett's Charge. Union general Ambrose Burnside had tried the same tactic at Fredricksburg the prior year and seen his command slaughtered.

Over 12,000 men began the charge, fewer than 6,000 came back in one piece. The Army of Northern Virginia was never able to recover. Lee continued fighting but all he could muster were defensive holding battles and fighting retreats. Lee managed a couple of marginal tactical victories but that didn't matter to Union commander Ulysses Grant. His plan was attrition, force Lee to fight until he literally ran out of men.

July 4 - Vickburg
Speaking of Grant, at the same time of the Gettysburg carnage, Grant's Army of the Tennessee was laying siege to the Mississippi town of Vicksburg. Vicksburg was one of the last, and the strongest, fortified redoubts the Rebels had on the Mississippi River. For months Grant had tried to capture the town whose artillery kept the Union from gaining total control of the river. He had even tried to reroute that mighty river to make the town's fortifications useless.

Finally, Grant settled on the strategy of starving the defenders into submission. On July 3, Confederate General John Pemberton asked Grant for his terms of surrender and on July 4 30,000 emaciated Rebel troops laid down their arms and surrendered. Vicksburg residents were so bitter about the siege and surrender that for 40 years after the Civil War they refused to celebrate Independence Day.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Police Kill Toll for June

The book for June of's running tally is closed.

It was an average month with 79 Americans killed by those hired to protect and serve them. While the vast majority will killed by gunfire, five were killed by "non-lethal" Tasers and three killed by the cop's police cruiser.

The oldest was an 86 year-old male who, according to reports, was threatening to kill himself and three police officers obliged him with a "suicide by cop." The youngest was a fifteen year-old boy. He was a passenger in a pickup pulled over for a faulty headlight, the boy pulled a gun and shot the policeman who returned fire killing the boy. On June 16, a police officer murdered his ex-wife in front of their seven year-old child.

The question before the court today is whether police work is a job that attracts sociopaths or a job that creates sociopaths. The answer appears to be both.

Certainly, police work is a perfect job for someone who longs to dominate others and is incapable of feeling shame, remorse, or regret. We've all seen them in action. Officers who shoot unarmed people, plant false evidence, and laugh about it later. In fact, cops with identified sociopathic behavior do their jobs so well then earn commendations and promotions.
Police are taught to to be sociopaths. If one officer starts beating a cop, the others join in. When one officer shoots at an unarmed suspect they all empty their weapons. When a dozen officers do the shooting there is no individual to blame, no one is guilty. Police are taught to lie in court to back each other up and put the bad guys away. The police version of omerta is just as stringent as the Mafia's. Not joining in, betraying your brother cops, is a fate equivalent to death.
SWAT raided this home, terrorized the family. No arrests.

American society makes cops sociopaths. To serve American weapon manufacturers, the police have been militarized. To justify the cost of SWAT teams, no-knock raids have become unnecessarily common. And we have a society where any nut can get as many guns as he wants.