Friday, December 30, 2016

Black Barts

A little fun before the nightmare of 2017 begins.

Black Bart is a great villain name that became famous twice in history.

Bartholomew Roberts
Black Bart Roberts started his pirating career in 1719 when, as serving as a mate on a slave ship, he was captured by pirate Howell Davis. Bart has a valuable talent, he was a skilled navigator, so the pirates gave him an option - join us or die. He joined.

Within six weeks of being forced into a pirate's life, Bart was elected captain, replacing Davis who had been killed by authorities on the West African island of Principe. Although Bart didn't want to be a pirate he decided if he was going to be a captain he'd be the most ruthless pirate who ever sailed. His first act was ordering his ship to Principe where he murdered ever man on the island in retaliation for the death of Davis.

For the next three years he wreaked havoc on shipping in both West Africa and the Caribbean, killing and plundering, selling captured cargo (often African slaves) for profit. He developed a reputation as an indestructible demon incapable of either death or mercy.

The British Royal Navy sent warships to hunt Black Bart and caught up with his fleet off the coast of modern day Gabon. Bart died in a grapeshot broadside in 1722.

Black Bart - California Outlaw
In the 1870's, Charles Bolton (or Bolles) was a middle-aged failed gold miner, failed farmer, and failed husband. Disgusted with his life, Charles decided to rob a Wells Fargo stagecoach in Calaveras County, California. He loved it, left his wife, and began his career as an outlaw.

He was an unusual outlaw. He did all his robberies with an unloaded shotgun. He asked for his booty politely, saying "please." And he often left poetry behind.
I've labored long and hard for bread
For honor and for riches
But on my corns to long you've tread
You fine-haired sons of bitches.
~ Black Bart, 1877
He was caught in classic CSI fashion. He had dropped a handkerchief and police were able to trace the laundry mark. Black Bart was 53 years old when he went to San Quentin Prison in 1883. Released four years later, he disappeared from history.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Trumpian Christmas

So much Christmas cheer from the Trump camp.

Private Prison CEO Wants to Build Concentration Camps
Auschwitz slave labor.
In an interview with CNBC, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) CEO Damon Hininger anticipated enthusiastically that his company was ready to imprison "a unique population." He didn't specify if he meant Hispanic-Americans or Muslim-Americans but I suspected he is willing to lock up both.

Hininger also anticipated using his captives as slave labor for Trump's infrastructure plans (the Wall). I'm sure he would respond that they are paid (23 cents an hour) and are volunteers (refusing to work results in punishment).

Hininger didn't mention gas chambers but, you know, baby steps.

Trump Tariffs
Trump is advocating a 10% tariff on imported goods like phones, computers, cars, and the components of many of the things built in the United States.

The Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930, designed to boost US industries, imposed a 13.5% tariff on imports. They slowed international trade to a crawl. Retaliatory tariffs by other countries caused US exports to fall by 83%. Unemployment jumped from 8% to 25%. And the Crash of 1929 grew into the Great Depression.

Nuke Happy
From the 1983 movie "The Day After" that convinced President Ronald Reagan to promote nuclear disarmament.
Trump wants nukes. More nukes, better nukes. And he wants to use those nukes to threaten the world into coming "to its senses." Add in Trump's refusal to listen to intelligence briefings and his tendency to tweet minor events into International Incidents and we have the makings of a truly explosive shit storm.

I used to think I would die in my bed, except for those times in my trekking youth when I thought I'd die by falling off a mountain. Now I hope I die quickly in a flash of flesh melting heat and not slowly of radiation poisoning.

Have a Merry Christmas. It may be our last.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Couple of Nazi References from Trump

Trump Insists Israel Meet With Nazis
Trump's team boycotted a meeting with Israeli government officials because the Israelis refused to included a Swedish neo-Nazi. Why, you ask, would Americans care so much about including some Swede? Because fascist brotherhood comes before everything else. So much for the lie that Trump is going to back Israel or Jews.

Trump's Private Bodyguards
Trump will have a private security army. The notorious SS (Schutzstaffel) began as Hitler's private bodyguards before expanding into related jobs like running death camps and slaughtering innocents.

Monday, December 19, 2016

This Is How Democracy Dies

Today, as a collection of low level political hacks gather in their various state capitols to make official the election of a man who lost the popular vote by nearly three million voters, I am trying to not feel depressed.

And failing. I am reminded of a not very well known poem with a really, really famous closing couplet.
We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats' feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar
~ The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trump Is the Useful Fool

"Useful fool" is a Russian idiom attributed to another Vladimir, Lenin. It describing someone easily conned into supporting Russian initiatives that the fool does not understand and are designed to destroy the fool. In English it is often translated as
The result was best described by Lenin when he allegedly said, "The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope."

It seems all it took to turn future president Trump into Putin's bitch was a little gratuitous praise. Once he had bitchified Trump, Putin set about inserting his propaganda into the US election thus influencing the gullible, or "useful innocents."

"Useful innocents" is another phrase from the 20th century Cold War. They are naive people easily confused by propaganda who are convinced to vote against their own democracies.

One final quote, this time an observation by Mark Twain that explains the mess we find ourselves in.
Ain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a majority in any town?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Understand Trump's Foreign Policy Goals

Judging from his appointments, Donald Trump views foreign affairs as an amalgam of the attention to detail expressed by English poet Thomas Gray...
Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
 and the dedicated servitude to someone named Vlad seen in the character of R. M. Renfield.
It suits him to just kind of grovel. ~ Penny Dreadful actor Samuel Barnett
Ignorance as Intelligence
Trump refuses to listen to daily intelligence briefings, claiming he is already smart and doesn't need to know anything more. He refused to believe CIA reports as a matter of principle.

Trump's choice for National Security Advisor is former general Michael Flynn who instructed his staff at the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012 that he would know if their intelligence was accurate by whether or not it agreed with his preconceived assumptions.

'I'm loyal to you Master'

Trump' Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson's sole foreign policy experience has been cozying up to Vlad Putin. Vlad, in return, provided Tillerson with the only thing he values - money. 

Trump, pictured above in Putin's lap, views Vlad with awe reserved for god-like creatures. He admires Vlad's vision of rebuilding the Russian Empire - that would include retaking the Baltic States, Finland, and a big chunk of Poland.

So, we have an incoming foreign policy team that actively does not want to know any facts that would risk making they think and, if they must know something new, are confident that Russia's dictator will tell them everything they need to know.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Famous Russian Spies
(updated to 2020)

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Convicted and executed in the 1950's for transmitting nuclear secrets to the Russian government. Julius also sent designs for the first American jet plane to the Russians.

Donald J. Trump
Elected president of the United States with the help of Russian spies and Russian agents embedded in the FBI. His withdrawal of the US from NATO directly led to the Russian invasion and conquest of the Baltic States. When the United Nations criticized Russia's actions Trump withdrew from the UN and kicked in out of its New York headquarters. Soon to be a Trump hotel.

Robert Hanssen
Sentenced to life in prison in 2002 (pardoned by Trump in 2017). Hanssen was an FBI agent who sold secrets to the Russian government from 1985 to his arrest in 2001. His spying compromised the FBI's counter intelligence efforts.

Rex Tillerson
Tillerson and Putin, laughing it up.
Secretary of State under Trump. Deep, long standing ties with Russian oligarchs and Vlad Putin. Also strong financial ties to Russia. Created the casus belli for the US to leave NATO allowing Russia to invade three NATO member states.

Anna Chapman
Arrested in 2010 as one of a team of Manhattan based agents smuggling "sleeper" Russian spies into the United States (Illegals Program). The rumor that Chapman was Trump's lover and spy handler are possibly false but, what the fuck, it's the kind of thing Trump would do.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Russians Are Coming

Blogger allows you to view some basic stats on your blogs readership. That's how I know that my readership has exploded since the election. The weird thing is that most days I'm getting more page views coming from Russia than the United States.

There are a couple of possible reasons for this. Perhaps the Russian people are so fascinated by recent events in the US they are reading everything they can find including tiny ego blogs.


The Russian secret police are scouring the internet and social media compiling dossiers on anti-Trump seditionists to be turned over to the FBI for harassment.  Evidence for this alternative may be the story of a journalist who tweeted a joke about a fake news story and is being investigated by the Feds.

For all my new Russia fans a little joke.
– Did you hear that Russia holds the 1st place in the world for psychiatric illnesses?
– Why do you find it so surprising? 70% of citizens idolize the mad fuhrer, schizophrenic Putin.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Mad Dogs and Generals

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

Some other examples of men called Mad Dog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Trump and War Roulette

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Disinterested President

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

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

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

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

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

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