Wednesday, March 31, 2010

**Wingnut Tool Alert**

Washington, D.C., March 30, 2010. “I am today compelled to make the distasteful choice to invite my own court martial, in pursuit of the truth about the president’s eligibility under the constitution to hold office”, said active duty Army Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin. The American Patriot Foundation, a non-profit group incorporated in 2003 to foster appreciation and respect for the U.S. Constitution, immediately announced it has set up a legal defense fund and will provide Lt. Col. Lakin with a top-flight defense team.

Article II, sec. 1 of the U. S. Constitution explicitly provides that only “natural born” citizens can serve as president and commander-in-chief. Mr. Obama’s continuing refusal to release his original 1961 birth certificate has brought Lt. Col. Lakin to the point where he feels his orders are unlawful, and thus MUST be disobeyed.

Lakin has today informed his superiors that he cannot understand how his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” does not permit military officers to pursue proof of eligibility from his commander-in-chief. Lt. Col. Lakin’s efforts to seek affirmation of the president’s eligibility have been rebuffed with legal evasions. Given the Obama Administration’s “transparency” initiative, many U.S. citizens are also demanding release of the original birth certificate.

Press Release

Wow. Somebody's TV appears to have been stuck on one channel for far too long. Does this guy remotely realize that he is refusing to deploy to an endeavor that was started by the previous CinC....someone who he very probably voted for? And that his little stunt only paints him to be a coward and a mentally imbalanced fool?

I hope that his family realizes the loss of career, retirement and benefits that he just screwed them out of. Move this oxygen thief out so somebody competent can provide medical care to our Soldiers.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Branching out

Be sure to check out my contributions to Military Pundits.

Trying out new templates.......

Comments are appreciated. Do you like the new look or the old look better?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Overdue Zombie news

If you've been relying on this blog for tips on how to survive the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.....I've been severely letting you down. Don't hold it against me if you have a mountain retreat and I come knocking at your door on Z-Day.....mmmmkay?

First some interesting psychology of why the Zombie genre is so popular, especially recently:

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when zombie movies first made their grisly presence felt on the screen in large numbers, it was felt that zombies were an allegory for Communism - a creeping, insidious infection that could take over your mind if you weren't careful. However, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, communism is all but dead. So why the recent resurgence?

I would suggest two possible reasons. First, zombies are an allegory for man's own folly - we're all so worried about things like poisoning the environment, nuclear reactor meltdowns, and such, that the zombie has come to represent ourselves (and, by extension, our own creations) run amok. Second, in the event of a zombie uprising, the remaining survivors would pretty much have to do "whatever it takes" to survive. As such, the prospect of a zombie apocalypse actually represents a chance to throw off the constrictive fetters of society, shoot your neighbours in the face, steal some guns and a car, and drive off into the sunrise, taking along only those friends and family you trust and care about the most. As such, it represents a simplifying of life.


Next a political discussion of how differing strains of the polity would react to Z-Day:

To try to make Massie feel better let's have some fun with this and ask a different question -- what would different systemic international relations theories* predict regarding the effects of a zombie outbreak? Would the result be inconsequential -- or World War Z?

A structural realist would argue that, because of the uneven distribution of capabilities, some governments will be better placed to repulse the zombies than others. Furthermore, anyone who has seen Land of the Dead knows that zombies are not deterred by the stopping power of water. So that's the bad news.

A liberal institutionalist would argue that zombies represent a classic externality problem of... dying and then existing in an undead state and trying to cause others to do the same. Clearly, the zombie issue would cross borders and affect all states -- so the benefits from policy coordination would be pretty massive.

Now, avid followers of social constructivism might think that Wendt and Duvall (2008) have developed a model that would be useful for this kind of event... but you would be wrong. Back when this paper was in draft stage, I specifically queried them about wther their argument about UFOs could be generalized to zombies, vampires, ghosts, the Loch Ness monster, Elvis, etc. Their answer was an emphatic "no": aliens would be possessors of superior technology, while our classic sci-fi canon tells us that the zombies, while resistant to dying, are not technologically superior to humans. So that's a dead end.

Now, some would dispute whether neoconservatism is a systemic argument, but let's posit that it's a coherent IR theory. To its credit, the neoconservatives would recognize the zombie threat as an existential threat to the human way of life. Humans are from Earth, whereas zombies are from Hades -- clearly, neoconservatives would argue, zombies hate us for our freedom not to eat other humans' brains.

Foreign Policy Blog

A must add for your post apocalyptic book collection is the Zombie Identification Field Manual

And finally, an observation of who might be the first to you valuable time retreat to your well stocked impenetrable fortress of the living:

As I was walking down rue Sainte-Catherine the other night a young man walking in front of me had his pants pulled down below his cheeks, with his tightie whities showing. (This is even worse, I think, than when there are boxers to shield the view. Tightie whities kind of ... cling. *shudders*) This event reminded me of a theory I've developed since the whole, you-wanna-see-my-underpants? trend began.

When the zombie apocalypse comes, boys with their pants below their butts will be eaten first.

Here is my reasoning: If the zombie horde is charging behind you, you're gonna need to run full out. Which means you can't hold onto your pants because you'll need full arm range of motion to get up to top speed. Which means your unsupported pants are going to fall to your ankles. Which means you will trip and fall to the ground and the zombie horde will be on you like last week's brains.

While I used to look at these boys with disgust (seriously guys, we really don't want to see that) now I'm kind of appreciative. It's like they're sacrificing themselves so the rest of us may live. Next time you see a pair of tightie whities mooning the world, thank the wearer. His butt just might save yours one day.
Tera Lynn Childs

Maybe Z-Day is already here......walking through a mall last weekend with my wife [malls being a haven for vacant-eyed, slack-jawed oxygen bandits], I commented that I often felt like we were one of the few living, thinking people in a sea of Zombies. A sea infested with skin sacks who can quote to you the contestants on this season [and every other] of American Idol, but can't name their Senators. Shambling hordes who are attracted to pretty, shiny things but couldn't light a fire with matches and gasoline. People who exist as living clothes hangers for fashion wear, and share the same IQ.

Fear not...if you're reading this blog, you don't fall into the above categories, and take heart, those people will be the first to go when the Zombies appear. I'm tempted to day good riddance if it didn't also mean the end of Harley-Davidson parts, Starbucks and the political circus that keeps me so entertained.

Now get back to canning and re-loading!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stumbling, bumbling....

One of my daily must-reads, RealityZone has posted a piece from, by David Michael Green...titled Stumbling About In the Graveyard of Empires.

Probably about the best article I have read concerning why we went, why we stayed and what it really means.

If there was ever a decent justification visible for the American war in Afghanistan, there isn't now.

That doesn't mean that one is impossible to imagine. I'm no fan of the Taliban or al Qaeda, though that alone doesn't justify invading the country. Nor does a military occupation necessarily make things better, even if you assume that a particular regime is noxious enough that a regime decapitation is warranted. Time after time, great powers have learned to their chagrin that the natives don't always necessarily appreciate being invaded, occupied and told who the new boss replacing the old boss will be. People can be odd that way.

But leave all that aside for the moment. Maybe al Qaeda did 9/11, as we were told. Maybe the Taliban were harboring them. Maybe both had a violent, regressive and otherwise just generally ugly agenda. Maybe there was even justification enough for invading in 2001.

I nevertheless meant my initial critique quite literally, however. Whatever may or may not have been the case in 2001, it's now 2010, and any such clarity or justification is now invisible. Indeed, what I find most astonishing about America's latest military adventure is just how much this gravest of national decisions is not being seriously discussed in our national discourse.

And the Sadists still claim it's not torture

Sick, disgusting, despicable, unlawful and treasonous. And if the current POTUS was as much of a leftist as the right claims he is Cheney, Yoo, Bybee and Addington would be in the dock [among others]; leaving poor Marc Theissen to defend indicted criminals instead of un-indicted.

Self-proclaimed waterboarding fan Dick Cheney called it a no-brainer in a 2006 radio interview: Terror suspects should get a "a dunk in the water." But recently released internal documents reveal the controversial "enhanced interrogation" practice was far more brutal on detainees than Cheney's description sounds, and was administered with meticulous cruelty.

Interrogators pumped detainees full of so much water that the CIA turned to a special saline solution to minimize the risk of death, the documents show. The agency used a gurney "specially designed" to tilt backwards at a perfect angle to maximize the water entering the prisoner's nose and mouth, intensifying the sense of choking – and to be lifted upright quickly in the event that a prisoner stopped breathing.

The documents also lay out, in chilling detail, exactly what should occur in each two-hour waterboarding "session." Interrogators were instructed to start pouring water right after a detainee exhaled, to ensure he inhaled water, not air, in his next breath. They could use their hands to "dam the runoff" and prevent water from spilling out of a detainee's mouth. They were allowed six separate 40-second "applications" of liquid in each two-hour session – and could dump water over a detainee's nose and mouth for a total of 12 minutes a day. Finally, to keep detainees alive even if they inhaled their own vomit during a session – a not-uncommon side effect of waterboarding – the prisoners were kept on a liquid diet. The agency recommended Ensure Plus.

Kool-Aid by another name?

Coffee Party USA aims to reinvigorate the public sphere, drawing from diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives, with the goal of expanding the influence of the People in America's political arena.

It's a Democratic response to a Republican movement, but I frankly expected more creativity from the left, as opposed to imitation.

I respect any true grass roots citizen's always refreshing to see people being activists rather than sheep. I really haven't seen it yet.....

I'm not implying that my opinion cannot change over time, but the Coffee Party movement is too new and too suspect given the reactionary implications. I have no doubt that there are good, honest citizens in the Coffee Party, who are becoming involved to make our country a better place. I have no doubt also that the Tea Party has good, liberty minded citizens who merely wish for responsible and accountable government. I'm sure that quite a few of those realize how the movement was either initiated or simply co-opted by the Republican Party, but know of nowhere else to turn.

As to the Coffee Party...I'm waiting to see if they will likewise be folded into their respective party, or if they will become an independent entity holding progressives accountable. The Tea Party hasn't done that, so I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Seven Years Ago Today

I haven't decided if we owe Iraq some form of reparations.....but as always, Spencer Ackerman writes a thought provoking piece about news that is ignored by our media.

The United States invaded Iraq. We barely mark today with an anniversary, a sign that the Iraq war has lost not merely the centrality it once occupied in American political discussion but practically all of its purchase. In a manner breathtaking to behold considering the 90,000 U.S. troops who are still in Iraq — is that number even still accurate? — we simply consider the Iraq war done with; withdrawal a certainty; and continued argument useless. Some think we’re a bomb blast or two away from reconsidering that judgment. I think it’s irreversible. You can’t, in the final analysis, rekindle support for waging an exhausting war when the strategy is to end it. The historical reckoning with Iraq is yet to come.

For the Iraqis, the war is not ignorable, the circumstances of it are not escapable, and the reality of it is not optional. We should pay the Iraqis reparations, whether in the form of favored trade deals or otherwise. What we did to your country was obscene and uncivilized, a source of national and historical shame that we will have to work to overcome. Seven years too late, as a nation, we must demonstrate remorse and ask forgiveness.

For shame, you whiny chickenhawk

From conservative columnist Debbie Schlussel...Sean Hannity's charity scam.

For the last several years, Sean Hannity and the Freedom Alliance “charity” have conducted “Freedom Concerts” across America. They’ve told you that they are raising money to pay for the college tuition of the children of fallen soldiers and to pay severely wounded war vets. And on Friday Night, Hannity will be honored with an award for this “Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host” at Talkers Magazine’s convention.

But it’s all a huge scam.

In fact, less than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferry the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beer for my horses.....

I posted the previous entry without comment, as I was a bit rushed. But I'd like to take the time now to comment on it, a reaction spurred by a comment from RealityZone:

Ya, lets not talk about the real problems. Lets just booze em up, so they can be zombies.
This is not looking out for our soldiers, this is making it worst. There is already a big enough problem among our soldiers when it comes to booze, dope, and suicide.
Why not talk about the the real problem?
Deployment, after deployment. Sending them back into the shit with no other recourse.
The only thing that our government cares about is BOOTS ON THE GROUND.
So, do they now want to condone putting our soldiers in an altered state of mind, so they can kill, and be killed without a conscience?

I disagree my friend...and here's why. Alcohol has long been known as a social lubricant, and that's no different when applied to it's use by military personnel. It's use, while often negative, can also be positive. I left Baghdad just under two years ago; 15 months of no alcohol, no escapism, no pressure valve...except for 2 weeks of R&R leave. In theater, there is often no comfortable outlet for guys to parse their experiences and come to terms with what they may have witnessed or experienced. Those influencers quite often get pushed down deep inside you...until a trigger or some random tick of the clock sends it all pouring out. There are still things I haven't and likely won't tell my wife... not because I couldn't drink in theater, but because I never had the chance to sort out my emotions soon after things occurred. I believe without a doubt that if given the chance to pop a couple of cold-ish beers with my guys, and have that time to come together, to let my guard down, to evaluate the events and the losses....I would have an easier time of it.

As it stands, soldiers are offered Combat Stress counseling with a stranger, a person who has not experienced what you just did, in a semi-clinical environment. It may help some people, but cracking a cold one may certainly help others....instead of waiting until they go from zero alcohol and escape to full on drunken retard in the span of a weekend. The families and the soldiers themselves pay the price [sometimes a very heavy price] for soldiers dealing with their issues after they have simmered and stewed. It may seem can a few beers solve complex emotional issues that can range from accidentally killing a child to seeing your HMMWV crew killed by an IED? I don't know how. But it can.

I agree with your comment regarding multiple deployments for a cause that probably doesn't warrant the loss of our national treasure. And there are many guys coming back with stress that cannot hope to be cured with beer and bonding.....but when it comes to saving and helping who we can...our brothers....a little hops, malt and water can go a long way.

Make no mistake, any allowance of beer in theater will be rationed and allotted during down cycles. It will not be allowed to endanger the mission or the men.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's about damed time

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a Vietnam veteran and former war correspondent who now chairs the Senate panel that oversees military personnel policy, seemed to endorse the idea of letting troops in war zones drink alcohol as a way to relieve combat stress.

At a hearing of his Senate Armed Services military personnel panel, Webb asked defense and service officials about mental health issues facing deployed service members and, in particular, about a recent Military Times investigation into the military’s use of anti-depressants and other drugs for treating mental health issues.

The reported increase in prescription drug use and self-medication by deployed troops “is, quite frankly, astounding to me,” Webb said, adding that it is a clear indicator of the overall fatigue of combat troops who are not getting enough time between deployments.

“We do have a really stressed force,” said Webb, who also is a former Navy secretary.

One thing worth investigating, Webb said, is whether a ban on alcohol consumption in the war zones — which he said is primarily a nod to host-nation sensitivities — should be lifted.

Webb said stress relief is handled differently in every culture and suggested that U.S. commanders should reconsider allowing “alcohol for stress relief.”

Army Times

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time honored trickery

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is the hope for sanity in Washington?

Likely not...but this is a good sign nonetheless.

Senior senators on both sides of the aisle leveled heavy criticism Tuesday against a controversial ad put forth by Liz Cheney and William Kristol, which labeled Justice Department lawyers as the "al Qaeda 7."

The ad, paid for and produced by the group Keep American Safe, referred to the U.S. Justice Department as the "Department of Jihad," and called out Attorney General Eric Holder for hiring but not revealing the names of several attorneys who had previously worked to defend terrorism suspects. More than a dozen Bush administration era legal officials have already condemned the ad.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services and Judiciary Committees, told The Cable Tuesday that the Cheney-Kristol ad was inappropriate and unfairly demonized DOJ lawyers for doing a noble public service by defending unpopular suspects.

"I've been a military lawyer for almost 30 years, I represented people as a defense attorney in the military that were charged with some pretty horrific acts, and I gave them my all," said Graham. "This system of justice that we're so proud of in America requires the unpopular to have an advocate and every time a defense lawyer fights to make the government do their job, that defense lawyer has made us all safer."

Foreign Policy

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Hurt Locker review....that I would write

if I could write that well. Bouhammer has a must read review of the Academy Award winning movie - The Hurt Locker.

There were only two good things in this movie and by good I mean realistic. These were the way that iraqi civilians were portrayed as always watching and leering at the soldiers and the way the explosions happened. Rather than the over-the-top, fuel-infused, fireball style explosions that are normally in Hollywood movies, the ones that happened in this movie were very realistic. They were true to form in that they showed the violence of a shockwave and dust all at once. I could see why there were some warnings on the internet for those with combat experience about watching it. It is understandable why some could have issues with watching this movie.

Well that was it for what was realistic in the movie. So let me list what wasn’t realistic. Just about everything else. Before I had seen this movie, I had the impression that it may be a movie that could be closely compared to what it would be like if a few ex-EOD guys were sitting around a bar years after being in war together telling war stories to hapless civilians. Now that I have seen it, I can honestly say that is what it was like. The life of an EOD tech is not that glamorous and is really filled with 95% boredom. However in this portrayal you would think that they have the most exciting job in the world that is part wire cutter and part door kicker.

What was important to me was the way this movie mis-represented the military, the tactics and the overall conduct of many brave men and women in combat (especially Iraq). Three EOD guys spend the entire movie running around Baghdad by themselves in a Humvee. Almost never with other units and in one scene even completely by themselves out in the open Iraqi desert. That is so BS it isn’t even funny. I know that sometimes EOD teams need to get away from populated areas in order to blow ordinance, but they never do that by themselves and never without security. Of course in this one scene they somehow come across some type of British mercenary or special operations team escorting prisoners. This turns into a sniper vs. sniper battle with some insurgent snipers in the only structure for as far as the eye can see. These Brits who don’t have a way to change a flat tire, somehow have a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle. Even with this firepower I guess they are not smart enough to use it and their british sniper ends up sky-lining himself and getting taken out in one shot, dead center by a insurgent sniper. The EOD jr. sergeant is somehow a skilled sniper and knows his way around a Barrett. The renegade sr. sergeant is a skilled spotter and together they posses the rare abilities to maintain patience and discipline to stay in shooting positions that only the best trained snipers can do. Of course it must have been while this scene was being filmed that the actor playing the jr. enlisted (and third member) of the EOD team wanted to get at least one shooting scene. While the “super disciplined” EOD snipers sat in place, the jr soldier along with two British mercs hide behind a dirt wall and all by himself and without any help from the brits, the junior soldier sees one, and only one, Insurgent drawing a bead on him and he asks his EOD sergeants what he should do. They tell him to “handle it” and he shoots and kills this guy (even though the enemy already has the soldier in his sights) and without the brits even flinching.

Near the end of the movie they go out to do a bomb damage assessment and even though there are apparently about 100 infantry soldiers at the scene also, SFC James takes his two fellow EOD “heroes” and they go down three separate alleys looking for a triggerman of an explosion that had to have happened more than an hour prior. There isn’t an infantrymen in basic training that would go down an alley by himself in Iraq in 2004 at night. Not one, not EVER.

There were many other scenes and things that happened in this movie that were complete bull*** also, but I am just tired of writing about them. Watching this movie was like watching two trains heading towards each other at 25mph on the same track. You know its going to be bad and you know you have time to turn away, but you just can’t. You have to watch to see how bad it is gong to be. My buddy wasted his money on this movie and went to bed half-way through. I stayed up to watch it, because I just had to watch how much worse it could possibly get. I was amazed that a movie so bad could get any kind of accolades from anyone.

Some say “who cares, it is only a movie”, but I can’t look at it that way. I had 78 of my soldiers in Iraq in 2004 of which only 77 came back. I consider this movie a complete sign of disrespect to them and all of the other soldiers that have not only served in Iraq but especially those that have served in the EOD. If anyone who has never served in he Global War on Terror thinks this movie represents what it is like, then you they are completely and utterly wrong. They could not be further from the truth.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Amazing Guitar

I try to share music that I come that impresses the hell out of me. here's John Butler.

Zero Tolerance = Zero Sense

I wouldn't have lasted two hours in school if this nonsense was in play when I was a kid.

YAKIMA, Wash.- Manuel Alvarez eats breakfast and gets ready for school. He's eager but nervous. He was expelled Monday from Barge Lincoln Elementary for making a gun with his hands. His mom says it's a hand gesture that could have easily been corrected.

"He didn't know did they talk to him about it what actions were taken to tell him this isn't allowed," Lorena Hurtado, Manuel's mother.

Manuel has a clean record never in trouble before his mother says a warning would have worked or even a parent-teacher meeting. Instead, His mom says, Manuel's afraid.

"I got a call from the School saying he's not raising his hand or speaking up. He's scared after we talked about not doing any gestures, he probably doesn't want to to do it because that could be a gesture. It might get him pulled out for two days," said Hurtado.

Manuel's mom doesn't see anything wrong with her son putting his hands like this and shooting down at the ground. She doesn't think it poses an immediate threat to the school or Manuel's classmates. We took the issue to School District employees and asked them about their policy.

"When students are at school they should be concerned about learning….safety shouldn't be a concern at school, we have a zero tolerance policy," said Dr. John Irion, from the Yakima School District.

Hurtado understands the policy, but in this case doesn't think the punishment fits the crime, especially when the student in question is in kindergarten.

"A five-year-old shouldn't be held to the same policy as a 12th grader...he is in kindergarten," said Hurtado.

Lorena Hurtado is appealing the expulsion and wants to try to clear her son's record. She says she doesn't want her five-year-old to be labeled as a troublemaker.

Bob.......Fat Bob

My new baby.

Daily Screed

I'm trying to be utterly Independent in my blogging, because I truly believe that both Democrats and Republicans [and the two party tyranny in general] are the most prevalent threat to liberty. But over the last year or so, the disgust and revulsion that I have felt for the Party I used to belong to....the GOP....has surfaced in most of my writing. Perhaps it is because of my former connection to them, perhaps it is because of the unprecedented rank hypocrisy and lying that has become the hallmark of said party. Make no mistake my esteemed readers, I am not now, nor ever be a Democrat. But until the ship of political discourse rights itself and both parties settle back into the keel with the bilge and the rats, the GOP will remain my primary target.

On that note, Americas' Most Trusted Blogger, Truth 101....has an excellent piece that speaks to my rant above.

Greed, fear and selfishness. The republican's best friends. It puts greed above all else in the pursuit of profit. No job is safe. Society isn't safe. Republicans will blow the loudest horns in an effort to get contracts for their chosen ones that build prisons. But when it's time to open them and keep criminals behind bars, republicans say "we don't have the money. Their promises of jobs and security are meaningless. They don't care about working Americans. They especially don't care about Americans that aren't working. Even though republican policies and obstruction create more of them. Look at Senator Bunning.

Republicans exploit selfishness and fear. Iraq was no threat. Yet republicans steered us into a war and occupation driving us billions of dollars into debt. Costing our Nation more lives than were lost on 9/11. Yes. Every Soldier that died in the Iraq War and occupation. Every one that was injured, is just as much a victim of terror as those who were killed and injured on 9/11. Republicans used fear of being called "Soft on terror" to keep Democrats and their own in their pro invasion fold. Shame on the Democrats especially that cowardly voted for this invasion because they feared being called "soft on terror."

Republicans use fear and selfishness to keep the paranoid in their fold. Pro gun nuts at all costs are being riled up by fantasies of G-Men coming to their homes and taking away their guns. Of criminals walking the streets with impunity because the police are rounding up law abiding citizens and taking their guns. Wackos complain about "waiting periods" or background checks" for gun buyers. Yet, every one of these people thinks the Patriot Act and it's warrentless wiretaps. Or locking people up without being charged indefinitely is a good thing. That's where the republicans exploit selfishness. Why should you care if it's happening to the other guy?

Sense and Sensibility

I had noticed that my good friend Lesly from America's Debate commented on a recent post of I took another gander at her recently dormant blog. There I found her quoting an article from Sic Semper Tyrannis from last August. What we surmised then about the 'tea party' movement has turned out to be dead-on balls accurate [who remembers what movie that quote came from?].

What occasions this? One cause is a kind of conceit that says “My vision of the way the country should be run is the only sound and permissible vision. Stray from it and there will be unprecedented calamity.”

That is one element.

The other is the inability to digest or tolerate the fact of their electoral defeat. One chief feature of a democracy is the rule of law, but the president’s opponents feel they owe no obedience to the law because if a man was elected that they despised, then clearly the election could not, at bottom, be legal. In their eyes, they represent what is morally most admirable about America, and the only way a whole class of sterling, morally superior people, clinging to an identical core of the most admirable convictions – the only way they could be defeated would be because they were victims of the workings of sinister, underhanded forces of fraud, deceit and misrepresentation. They did not lose the election, it was stolen from them by selfish scum.

So the losers’ resentment thus becomes, not an expression of mean-spirited, ill-informed and humiliated spite, not an ambition to regain power, but a kind of rescue effort aimed at restoring the rightful state of things in the land. In other words, Obama’‘s critics – are not blindly petty and vindictive, eaten alive by mindless rancor, they are heroic.

The people who hate Obama and who like to call him a communist actually share a certain similarity of disposition with communism. In communism, it was a central tenet that the Party had a monopoly on the truth and this required complete loyalty and subjugation on the part of the members. To hold back your complete endorsement to your group’s agenda did not mean that you simply disagreed with it. It meant something more menacing – a kind of moral failure, an excessive pride, a stubborn perversity of will that prevented you from seeing the truth. Obama’s critics believe they enjoy the same monopoly of virtue, and feel that what today’s desperate conditions require is intolerance – you can with good conscience cast aside your scruples. The importance of your mission and your certainty of being right relieves you of the burden of having to be truthful, restrained or respectful of the facts. The nobility of your cause means any weapon can be used against the enemy -- vile harangues, calumnies, slander, abuse, libel – you don’t have to use nimble skill in reasoning to outwit your target, you don’t have to have full command of the smallest intricacies of the issues to confute his claims -- you have only to stand and shout your opponent down, drown him out, bury him under a landslide of slights, epithets and insults. After all, you have the courage of a person with a crowd at his back.

Walter Bagehot once said that public opinion is little more than “the tyranny of the commonplace,”and one of its most hapless victims was none other than George Washington, commander of American forces during the Revolutionary War and the country’s first president. It was the custom to revere him, to admire and extol his preeminence as the rightful consequence of what he had accomplished during the war. Elected president in 1788 and 1792, he was called “the man who unites all hearts:” who was greeted by bands playing, “ the Hero Comes” before cheering crowds.

But by 1795, the habit of veneration had died out, replaced by the most extravagant contempt and mean-spiritedness. In the spring of 1794, the British, having broken a pledge, were arming Indian tribes and urging them to attack Americans in the frontier lands that would become Ohio and Michigan nor had the Brits dismantled a chain of forts in that area as they were pledged by treaty to do.

The U.S. public wanted a war, but Washington knew America, a young country, would be ruined by one - above all, it was not ready -- and he exerted every energy to avoid it. He dispatched John Jay to England, yet no sooner had Jay left, then the British took over an American fort, and Washington went into a towering rage, But Jay was abroad to bargain, not quarrel. The treaty was completed in absolute secrecy, but news of it quietly leaked, and when it did, all of America exploded in exasperated rage.

Washington was a man of rectitude who took pride, perhaps too much pride, in what he called “his disinterestedness.” He said that in all the facts of his administration, “I have sought the happiness of my fellow citizens” ignoring “personal local and partial consideration” in favor of the “Permanent interests of the country” and “the dictates of my conscience.”

This no longer mattered. Those who hated the treaty hated its author even more, and hatred knows no law. Vindictive fury “moved like an electric velocity through every state in the Union,” said a contemporary congressman. In Virginia, army veterans in drinking clubs stood to their feet to toast “A speedy death to Washington.” Americans complained Washington was living in a luxury equal in decadence to that of George III, the king they had fought a war to defeat. Some of the more devious critics resorted to forgeries that claimed to show that Washington had been bribed by British secret agents during the war. Still others charged that Washington had stolen military credit from his own generals during the conflict:”With what justice do you monopolize the glories of the Revolution” they charged

The majority of the country had no opinion about the treaty and paid it no attention, but its enemies were ready to go al lengths to destroy it. Washington finally got the treaty approved, but he was sixty three years old and badly shaken by the horrendous misrepresentations and the degree of narrow-minded jealousy and spleen of which he’d been the target. The whole episode “has worn away my mind,” he said

He decided not to run for a third term, weary or being “buffeted in the public prints.” But he had shown that a president to be president, had to get the American public to accept even things it did not like if it were in their long term interests.

But he was soured, As he was leaving for Virginia, he wrote to a friend, “I don’t wish to mix again in the great world or to mix ion its politics.”

And he went home to die.

It was an episode that did little credit to the right of free speech, but as Tocqueville observed, in America, “the parties are impatient of control and are never manageable except in moments of great public danger.” really should start blogging again. the fight against ignorance is indeed tiresome, but more fighters are needed on the front lines.

Un-healthy Political Discourse

I haven't written or really cared much about the current health care debate, for some pretty simple reasons.......the back and forth, the diatribes and the talking points are uniformly garbage.

There are a few irrefutable facts that get lost anytime a politician opens their mouth:

- NONE of the options that have been discussed by either side comes anywhere near the definition of Socialism. We do have Socialized health care in the's called the Veterans Administration. Socialized health care is the Government ownership of of hospitals and the direct employment of Doctors. Republican paranoid chants of Socialism are a lie.

- There are over 100 amendments to the current proposed health care bill that came from the Republican members of Committees. Claims of being 'shut out' of the process are a lie.

- As such, Democratic caving by adding even more incentives to Republican lawmakers only show a lack of resolve and backbone....because....

- This is an election cycle, and the Republican Party has staked their entire domestic platform on obstruction of any health care reform. The GOP will never vote for or allow any of it's members to vote for HCR, no matter what gets added to sweeten the deal.

- Health Savings Accounts [a staple of the opposition plan] are only beneficial to those who already have money. It is an irrelevant distraction to those who have next to nothing.

That being said....I'm not comfortable with such a large involvement of Governmental control in the private sector. There is enough precedence to warrant such a move; look at all the other functions that are handled by the Federal Government, but such things always come at a price. I equivocate between an across the board public option and complete privatization. To me there seems little difference between the Fed between you and your Doctor...and an HMO between you and your Doctor.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wow....what can you say about a group like this....

h/t to PFAW.

Are we devolving as a human race? Why do people and groups feel the desire to make it their mission in life to convert or ostracize others who may not have bought into the invisible guy in the sky?

A group in Amarillo, Texas really strikes a pose with their 'Army of God' motif, complete with soldierly euphemisms and bullet hole backgrounds. Scary.....

Pay special attention to their list of 'missions' [read-targets].

Some of the possible missions that these two groups may be called upon to work will be some of the following:

1. Gay pride events.

2. Earth worship events such as “Earth Day”

3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood

4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.

5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.

6. Spring break events.

7. Demonically based concerts.

8. Halloween events.

9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

These large events may involve both the intercessory prayer AND the soldier groups. Some of the smaller events that can be accomplished in between the larger events may be:

1. Sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip joints, and XXX-rated theaters.

2. Idolatry locations such as palm readers, false religions, and witchcraft. Many of the smaller missions listed above may be just prayer oriented missions for tearing down demonic strongholds or they may involve more aggressive use of soldiers and prayer warriors. Some other missions occasionally employed may be “undercover operations” where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together to effect the outcome of a public meeting such as city commissioners meetings, etc.


[Sarah] PALIN: I studied journalism, my college degree there in communications. And now I am back there wanting to build some trust back in our media. I think the mainstream media is quite broken and I think there needs to be the fairness, the balance in there — that’s why I joined Fox. Fair and balanced, yes. You know because, Jay, those years a go that I studied journalism it was all about the who, what, when, where, and why, it was not so much the opinion interjected in hard news stories. … As long as there is not the opinion under the guise of hard news stories — I think there needs to be clear differentiation.

Awesome music news

h/t to Joe. My. God:

There's a great interview with B-52s member Fred Schneider over at the A.V. Club in which he reveals that the band is working on a live album to be culled from four live shows in Australia. A lot of the interview is about Fred's new Orlando-based band, The Superions, but there's also a lot of stuff about the early years of the B's (which hardcore fans like me already knew.) It's hard to believe it's already been five years since I went to their 25th anniversary show at Irving Plaza.

The thought on everyone's mind

Courtesy of Cranky Epistles


Where was all this cool guy shit when I was still wearing the uniform?

In the military’s vision of future, the real trick will be getting information down to the individual soldier on the battlefield. Now the Army plans to test a smartphone for soldiers that will have mobile applications that could — in theory — access everything from technical manuals and maintenance records to maps and cultural intelligence.

In a discussion yesterday with reporters, Maj. Gen. Keith Walker, director of the Army’s Future Force Integration Directorate at Fort Bliss, Texas, said that around 200 soldiers would receive an “iPhone-like device” with digital apps installed.

Walker said the devices would have “various apps for system maintenance, instruction manuals — that we can all remotely upgrade. Also, we’re working to allow soldiers to have a distributed way of getting feedback to us on the equipment, where they can do Wikipedia-style upgrades to tactics, techniques and procedures, and comments on performance of hardware and software.”

Further down the road, Walker said he could envision tactical applications, like an app with GPS capability that could pinpoint the user’s location, or a digital tool that would allow troops to analyze terrain.

Read More

Something to chew on......

From DougJ at Balloon Juice:

There are a lot of people out there who believe that our sorry state of affairs is caused by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and, if they’re really deluded, they’ll add “and on the left, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann”. I know plenty of people who say things like this.

The truth is, it’s more the fault of Charlie Rose and Tom Friedman and David Brooks. Glenn Beck didn’t get us into Iraq.

Nothing new on the lunatic front

So now the torch and pitchfork crowd goes after the Department of Justice.......for hiring attorney's who defended clients in accordance with standing US law? Have these self-described 'sons of liberty' forgotten John Adams defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston 'Massacre'?

Liz Cheney's group Keep America Safe, which has led the resurgent Republican attacks on President Obama's national security policies, is releasing a video this morning that questions the loyalties of Justice Department lawyers who advocated for detained terror suspects during the Bush Administration.

The group has been hammering Attorney General Eric Holder for months on the issue, which has drawn increasing attention from Senate Republicans. Senator Charles Grassley last month pushed Holder to identify any lawyers who had represented detainees, and the Department said last month that nine Justice Department appointees filled that category -- but he refused to name those whose work hadn't been previously reported. Conservatives view the partial disclosure as another Holder misstep, and in a new video, the group is going on offense.

"Holder will only name two. Why the secrecy behind the other seven? Whose values do they share?" asks the video, suggesting that the lawyers support terrorism. "Americans have a right to know the identity of the Al Qaeda Seven."

Battling Guantanamo had, by the end of the Bush years, become a common cause for many lawyers who objected to detention policies on Constitutional grounds, and Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote Grassley that 34 of America's 50 largest law firms represented detainees or filed amicus briefs on their behalf.

Weich compared the terror cases to other prosecutions.

"For example, lawers in the Antitrust and Tax Divisions often come ot the Department with prior experience representing corporations and/or individuals in antitrust or tax litigation against the Government," he wrote on February 18.

Critics have noted that there are limits to this policy. The government does not, for instance, hire mob lawyers -- though very few detainee lawyers have evinced any sympathy for terrorism, and none have suggested terrorists should walk free.

"Holder has hired lawyers who used to represent terrorists to work in President Obama's Justice Department, and he won't tell the American people who they are," said Keep America Safe spokesman Michael Goldfarb. "These lawyers did far more than represent criminals. They have propagandized on behalf of our enemies, engaging in a worldwide smear campaign against the CIA, the U.S. military and the United States itself while we are at war."

Patriots or traitors? You decide.

The always amazing Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent [and Attackerman] takes this slander head on:

In the latest bit of brazen slander from the right, Republican Senators are trying to invent a scandal about Justice Department lawyers who — horror — represented Guantanamo detainees. You know, provided the representation that the Rehnquist and Roberts Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled those detainees are entitled? And which even the military commissions provide for? Instead, there’s this McCarthyite tactic of calling Justice Department lawyers the “Gitmo Nine,” a name that oh-so-cleverly suggests that those lawyers were themselves detained at Guantanamo.

So true.....