Friday, August 31, 2012

What war?

Clint Eastwood's RNC Convention speech was was memorable...wasn't it? 

Memorable because he was yelling at a chair...and sort..of....rambling. Memorable because he mentioned Afghanistan and Iraq.

Memorable because so far as I can tell, neither the prospective POTUS or VPOTUS spoke about national policy that affects our men and women in harms way.

But I suppose when Bush, Obama and Romney all generally share the same policy on the 'war on terror'....why bother, right?

The United States has some 68,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan. Over two thousand Americans have died in the more than ten years of that war, a war Mitt Romney has supported. Yet in his speech accepting his party's nomination to be commander in chief, Mitt Romney said not a word about the war in Afghanistan. Nor did he utter a word of appreciation to the troops fighting there, or to those who have fought there. Nor for that matter were there thanks for those who fought in Iraq, another conflict that went unmentioned.
Leave aside the question of the political wisdom of Romney's silence, and the opportunities it opens up for President Obama next week. What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we're fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we've been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors? 

Must have....Where to find?

America Runs on Tactical Coffee

Green on Blue attacks and the illogic of national policy

Nothing like friends and allies, eh? This is what we get when we attempt to nation build in a loose, tribal confederation...while propping still corrupt, former warlords as national leaders. The current Administration should be ashamed at not only not addressing this issue earlier with the Kabul regime....but for not addressing this issue with the American people. Political sensitivities should never outweigh the consequence when the lives of our forces are in danger from within.

Of course, had the previous Administration opted to continue the fight against al Qaeda, instead of embarking on both an errant civil and political reconstruction plan - and - an invasion of the nation that previously served as the counterweight to Iranian hegemony in the Persian Gulf.......we'd likely not be in this position today.

The political and social makeup of Afghanistan has not lent itself to the type of vetting processes needed to ensure that our freinds and allies really are our friends and allies. That we apparently thought different at the national level, is exasperated by the fact that we made much the same mistake in Iraq.

Our military is designed for - and maintains the Constitutional mandate to - shoot people in the face when they threaten US national security. The Taliban does not pose that threat, yet the overwhelming majority of military, analytical and fiscal assets are directed towards what can politely be called a mob of illiterate goat herders, who can infiltrate the ANSF with apparent ease - all the while al Qaeda remains aloof and largely unengaged.

A pretty good article on this recent rise on Green v. Blue attacks over at Defense IQ:
For the enemy in Afghanistan, nothing succeeds like success. The last year in Afghanistan has seen an increase in the frequency of attacks upon U.S. and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel by Afghans who were soldiers, recruits undergoing training, acting as embedded advisors, or otherwise occupying low-level security positions at bases or outposts jointly occupied.

If IEDs were eliminated as causal factors since July 2010, the percentage of all ISAF casualties in Afghanistan through hostile action reaches a staggering 33% caused by the intentional actions of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) or Afghan Security Guard (ASG) personnel. Put simply, one out of every three ISAF killed since June 2010 has been murdered by the Afghans he is training or otherwise serving with.[i] This may be the highest incidence of intentional fratricide in recorded military history.

The media have made much of this phenomenon and recent press statements on this issue by members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Obama indicate the depth to which it continues to influence strategic policy. Defense Secretary Panetta’s recent trip to Afghanistan included a specific discussion of the issue with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, followed by yet another press statement which was gobbled up by a Western news media anxious to seize upon it as evidence of yet another strategic miscalculation by a superpower in quagmire.

Read the rest

Dirty Harry...what happened to you?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Look what happens when you treat adults like adults

The head of the U.S. Marine Corps on Tuesday stressed that the integration of openly gay and lesbians into the military has gone smoothly.

“I don’t think there is a problem,” said Commandant Gen. James Amos during a National Press Club luncheon in downtown Washington. “I don’t see it. I don’t hear about it.”

Amos’ comments come nearly a year after the repeal of the Pentagon’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers officially took effect. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his 2010 confirmation hearing that he opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” LGBT rights groups later blasted Amos for suggesting that openly gay and lesbian servicemembers would prove a distraction that would lead to further loses on the battlefield. He stressed, however, that the Marines would implement the policy if ordered to do so.

“We obey orders,” said Amos. “We do that better than anybody does and we have.”

He again noted that he doesn’t “even get a question” about openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from subordinates and other Marines.

“I don’t hear anything,” said Amos. “I’m not seeing anything at all, so I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. I’m very proud of the Marines.”


I think the reality is a direct counterpoint to the GOP and religious fundamentalist charge of 'forcing social experimentation' on the military. Whether the aforementioned wish to accept it or not, a plurality of this nation apparently understands that gay people exist, that they can be just as capable and patriotic as any other American, and frankly it's simply not an imposition or restriction on their lives and liberties.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The best speech of the RNC Convention week...Updated

...didn't happen at the RNC Convention. Lt. General John Kelly (USMC) speaking at the American Legion in Indianapolis.

Catch the clips at Ace of Spades HQ

Fortunately, I came across some transcripting of key points in Kelly's speech, courtesy of Phase Line 'Birnam Wood':

We didn’t start this fight.  It came to us motivated by a visceral loathing of everything we are.  It will not end until our adversaries and their allies around the world – state and non-state alike – understand that we will never lose our faith and our courage as a people.  Our enemy is savage, offers absolutely no quarter, has a single focus: that is kill every one of us here at home or enslave us with a sick... extremism that serves no god and no purpose that any decent man or woman could ever understand.

I don’t know why they hate us, and I don’t care.  But we are America, and we must prevail because we remain mankind’s best hope for the future.  Not them. . . . It’s about us and our freedoms as a people.  About the way we worship our god.  It’s about the value and dignity we place on human life, and our intense belief in the inherent value of every man, every woman and every child and their equality in the eyes of God and under the law. . . . We cherish what our ancestors worked for, fought for and sometimes died for to give us.  (The enemy) loathes who we are.  These are irreconcilable positions.  There is no compromise.

And as for our children, our siblings, our family, friends, and acquaintances who carry the fight to the enemy?

They were as good, our service people, as any who came before them in our history – as good as what their fathers and grandfathers did in the wars they had to fight for America.  But like those who came before them, they were not born killers.  Rather, they are overwhelmingly good and decent kids without thought of self who perform remarkable and most often unsung acts of bravery to a cause they decided is bigger and more important than they are themselves.  Any one of them could have done something more self-serving.  But they didn’t.  They chose to serve, knowing full well a vicious war was in their future.  They welcome the most basic and esteemed responsibility of a citizen: the defense of country.  Men and women of their spirit know no other way.  They’re the best of the best of their generation. . . .

The real strength of America does not come from making a religion of diversity or emphasizing the differences among us.  On the contrary, they have come to a profound understanding of what our founders, our forefathers and foremothers, understood as they built a nation that was once proudly referred to as a melting pot.  In our armed forces, the ultimate, most successful institution of American diversity, servicemembers have come to understand the simple fact that America’s strength was and should be again a people stitched together by a shared sense of history, values, customs, hopes and dreams that unite us.  That there is great power in us as individuals, but even greater power in individuals who work together and support each other.  They also know that the opposite is true, that we are weakened and can lose what we have if we continue down a path of identifying as hyphenated Americans or closed cultural groups focusing on what is in it for me. 

That in spite of the efforts of those who make their living and often fill their pockets by driving wedges between Americans based on  race or religion or ethnicity, our servicemen and women discover early, and on their own, while looking at their comrades standing with them in the ranks, that it is not about the color on the outside, but about the character on the inside.  That it’s not about where on earth you were born, but only why you came to America and what you did once you got here.  That it’s not about the god you worship – if you worship any god at all – but you will respect the right of your neighbor to honor any god he or she damn well pleases.  That it’s not about what you, as an individual, can achieve, but all about achieving together as a people, as friends and neighbors. . . . There is an exceptionalism about America, and we should treasure who we are and why we are extraordinary.  We should not be embarrassed about who we are or give excuses about what we have. . . .

I’ve seen them literally turn the intangibles of commitment, bravery and selfless devotion into real and meaningful action.  In my three tours in this war, I never saw one hesitate or do anything other than lean into the fire and, with no apparent fear of death or injury, take the fight to those who would do you harm. . . . When no one would call them 'coward' for cowering behind a wall or shivering in panic in a bunker, slave to the most basic of all instincts – survival – none of them do.  When the calls for the corpsman or medic are shouted from the mouths of young kids who know they will soon be with their God, when seconds seem like hours and it all becomes slow motion and fast-forward at the same time … and the only sensible act is to stop, get down, save yourself, they never did. . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

DCGS-A v. Palantir

A recent and ongoing debate within DoD regarding analytical software that enables All Source Analysts to develop and target terrorist networks. A debate reported by the media, which ebales me to lead in with a quite german quote from the SOFREP article snipped below: Palantir is not an “Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) finding program”. Wow. What a colossal failure by the media. It doesn’t find anything. Much like DCGS, it uses existing sensor infrastructure and message traffic and integrates them into the Palantir user interface. It does however allow you to “crowd source” your work by putting it on the network for everyone to see and work on.

I was not only surprised to see this reported in the MSM, but additionally surprised to see them entirely off base regarding what Palantir does. I use Palantir quite often in my work, but have never touched I'm a little bit baised, and have relied on assessments of DCGS-A from the analysts I work with.
Thus, you have two types of tools. The Army builds the first one. This means the Army said, “I want to see this and this, and this is the type of architecture I want”, and then they ask if Lockheed or Boeing can make it happen. Army engineers are certainly part of the process, but a lot of the nug coding and telecom work is done by companies.

The second is built for finance, with defense uses. It is built ground up by a company and being marketed and sold to the Army (and the other services). The company brings its architecture to the Army, it requires installation, but does not have to be built from the ground up.

Does Palantir have folks that lobby for it? Yes. Does DCGS-A have folks that lobby for it? Yes. Is Palantir expensive? Yes. Is it worth the cost? IMHO, Yes. Is DCGS-A expensive? Less than Palantir, but yes, it’s expensive. Is it worth the cost? Yes. Can you compare DCGS-A on a one-to-one level to Palantir? No. Each does different things and is better at different things. This means you are comparing a duck to a moose.

This argument arose at a policy and bean counter (comptroller) level. The debate was meant to give publicity (for whatever reason) to one or both of the programs and does not in any way address the issue of whether or not these tools are useful to the analyst and thus relevant to whether it saves soldiers’ lives. If it does, both sides are guilty of a degree of hypocrisy. Both of the systems have saved soldiers’ lives, because both save time. It’s a subjective argument and, personally, I as an analyst would not like to go to the battlefield without either of these systems. In fact, the more useful tools I have, the more lives I can help save.

How do you save money? Don’t spend nearly a quarter of your acquisition budget on a piece of flying hardware that doesn’t work effectively. My two cents.

Purchasing licenses for Palantir is what I consider one of the smartest moves the Army has actioned in quite some time. What's not smart is to allow this issue to be debated within the media.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Emily get your gun

"Gun ownership goes up, crime goes down...that's how it works," explains Washington Times senior editor and recent gun owner Emily Miller.

Reason TV

The Dangers of the Duoploy

This comes ultimately from FreeThinke, cross posted at Rational National USA, and captures the paradigm that we've allowed ourselves to hoist to political primacy....not moving the country forward, but gaining and maintaining political power for it's own sake. Party over country.

There's an old saying that has always resonated well with this 72-year-old conservative-libertarian:

American politics always boils down to a contest between The EVIL Party and the STUPID Party.

I'll give everyone three guesses as to which is which.

"Straining out gnats while swallowing camels" is what The Stupid Party tends to do. If you don't know who they are, you are probably a member in good standing.

"In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other."

~ Voltaire (1694-1778)

I agree with Voltaire. Politics is all about money and acquiring enough power to be able push people around and bend them to your will, and that's ALL it ever has been or will be in my never humble opinion.

Issues like Abortion, Right to Die and Gay Marriage should have NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in the political arena. They are PERSONAL and RELIGIOUS matters that function only as three large -- and very smelly -- red herrings that give the D'Rats a TREMENDOUS advantage, because harping on these things makes Republicans look foolish, naive, out of touch with reality, and potentially tyrannical. 

Concentrating on Abortion and Homosexuality makes it LOOK as though Republicans are eager to establish a THEOCRACY. That frightens the hell out of people -- as well it should.

I'm a Christian, certainly a fiscal conservative, but probably a social liberal. There are far more people like me than there are of the crowd who wants to micromanage the inner-workings of every woman's vagina along with the direction and purpose of every man's penis.

The Conservative Movement is DOOMED if it continues to cater to the radical beliefs of Backwoods Bible Thumpers and Mediaeval Papists.

Many are rightly scared to death of permitting SHARIA to be established within our borders. So am I! But everyone should be EQUALLY terrified at the thought of the reemergence of a Christofascist State. 

The United States of America my have been partially founded by strait-laced, iron-mouthed, agate-eyed Puritans, but it was also partially founded at the same time by Soldiers of Fortune, deported criminals, and worldly, sensual, materialistic members of The Church of England. 

Those groups were highly pragmatic because they had to be in order to survive, but they had little in common. And yet, they managed to forge an alliance that defied -- and finally defeated -- the then-most powerful nation in the world.

If ever a miracle has occurred, surely the American Revolution was it. What we are doing to ourselves today is not only moronic, it is shameful and degrading.

Fools like this Akin character from The State of MISERY ought to be FORCIBLY EJECTED from the political arena. He wouldn't have survived ten minutes after displaying his idiocy if we had men like Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys around today.

We've allowed ourselves become a nation of PUSSY-WHIPPED COWARDS who’ve abandoned COMMON SENSE in favor of pusillanimity.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Reason #6758 why I won't be voting for Obama

"Well, I think that worker probably has a good understanding of what’s happened over the past four years in terms of the president coming in and seeing 800,000 jobs lost on the day that the president was being sworn in, and seeing the president moving pretty quickly to stem the losses, to turn the economy around, and over the past, you know, 27 months we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs. That’s more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery...." - Stephanie Cutter, Obama deputy campaign manager

And some truth.........AEI

h/t Western Hero

Zombies on the highways

Reposting this one again, because I am thinking of trying to get a smaller that could fit on the back of my helmet. I figured something like this might be a better fit because a sticker stating:


You might be able to sense that I rode the bike into work today.....

Reason #4575 why I'm not voting for Romney

“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised". - Mitt Romney

That, and the fact that at least 7 'birthers' are speaking at the GOP Convention.

Random Friday Follies



Last one found at Broken Andy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Irony or the hand of God?

A biblically named hurricane bearing down on the GOP Convention.

Just yesterday we see that Pat Robertson blames the drought on sinners, or something. It's sort of hard to tell what the true offense is...but when we have a track record of blaming weather related events on people lack of belief, or failing to abide by it's restrictions....does it really matter?
"Somehow in this country we feel that we can ignore the laws of God with impunity, and the truth is we can’t, God always has the last say.......we need to do some praying. The heavens have been shut up and it’s time for those folks in the Midwest to do some serious praying”.
So is God trying to send the GOP a message?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"We Built This"

Tuesday night's theme at the Republican Convention.

Finally...a glimmer...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

At least slack-jawed mouth breathers provide entertainment value

Well I think as we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council, clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of an administration that’s indifferent or hostile to religious freedom and groups like as I mentioned the Southern Poverty Law Center that recklessly throws around labels giving people like this gunman who came into our building a license to take innocent life.
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

“And to the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who was found by the United Nations to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico, Virginia and who has yet – after two years in prison – to see a trial: he must be released.
“Bradley Manning must be released.
“And if Bradley Manning did as he is accused, he is a hero and an example to us all and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.
“Bradley Manning must be released."
Julian Assange, from the Ecuadorean Embassy

“We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the US and we hate him!”
"You know, we've got a President that does a call to the Koran or Mecca or whatever."
"I mean, the guy is the worst. Giveaway programs, hates America in the first place, forget about the flag"
Hank Williams Jr, various venues 
There is a holy war being waged against G-d in America – not against Allah, of course. Despite the relentless gains Islamic supremacists have made in imposing Islamic law on the public square, non-Muslims have enjoyed no such privileges. Quite the contrary: Non-Muslims are being forbidden to even invoke the word G-d.
The ever entertaining Pam Gellar

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Would it be any worse than Obama or Romney?

h/t to Jennifer on FB

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stossel's Law

I don't always agree with John Stossel, but he penned a good piece for Reason Magazine, on how Americans typically view government, philosophically and realistically.

People on both sides think of themselves as freedom lovers. The left thinks government can lessen income inequality. The right thinks government can make Americans more virtuous. I say we're best off if neither side attempts to advance its agenda via government.

Let both argue about things like drug use and poverty, but let no one be coerced by government unless he steals or attacks someone. Beyond the small amount needed to fund a highly limited government, let no one forcibly take other people's money. When in doubt, leave it out—or rather, leave it to the market and other voluntary institutions.

But this is not how most people think. Most people see a world full of problems that can be solved by laws. They assume it's just the laziness, stupidity or indifference of politicians that keeps them from solving our problems. But government is force—and inefficient.

That's why it's better if government didn't try to address most of life's problems.

People tend to believe that "government can!" When problems arise, they say, "There ought to be a law!"

George W. Bush ran for president promising a "lean" government, but he decided to create a $50 billion per year prescription drug entitlement and build a new bureaucracy called No Child Left Behind. Under Bush, Republicans doubled discretionary spending (the greatest increase since LBJ), expanded the drug war, and hired 90,000 new regulators.

Bush's increases in regulation didn't mollify the media's demand for still more.

Then came Barack Obama and spending big enough to bankrupt all our children. That fueled the tea party and the 2010 elections.

The tea party gave me hope, but I was fooled again. Within months, the new "fiscally conservative" Republicans voted to preserve farm subsidies, vowed to "protect" Medicare and cringed when Romney's future veep choice, Rep. Paul Ryan, proposed his mild deficit plan.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

True American Exceptionalism

Many people believe that America is the greatest country in the world, especially most Americans do. What's special about this is that they believe many foreigners think alike.

Well yes, many foreigners think alike - they think their country is the greatest country in the world, just as Americans do.

It's easy to find foreigners who admire America and it's easy to find foreigners who are instead totally in love with their own country.

America is the greatest country in the world based on some hard facts, not the least because it's the developed country with the largest population.

What's more interesting is how its greatness is something that requires constant maintenance and improvement.

Wealth quickly fades away without near-constant hard work. We need to invest every year in factories, training, education, infrastructure, research and development.

We need to be alert that our freedoms aren't being restricted by corrupt policemen, authoritarian politicians, faceless bureaucrats or CEOs who mistake control over money for power over people.

We need to care for our society to keep fractures of the society under control, to create and maintain a social climate that enables people to live without much fear of others and the risks of life. Children ought to grow up without heavy burdens caused by social stresses.

This near-constant, everlasting need to maintain the greatness of a country for the benefit of its people is of greatest importance. America did a better job in this regard than many if most other countries.

This is why I'm always uncomfortable when "greatest country in the world" sounds more like an article of faith than like a reminder about the hard work and alertness that's needed to maintain what we have and to improve upon it. Someone who strongly believes in the phrase as an article of faith may come to think of it as self-evident and become complacent.

Defense and Freedom

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rest Easy John...your Granddaughter is safe because of your actions...

A 62-year-old Detroit grandfather was fatally shot while protecting his granddaughter from a group of men who broke into a home on the city's west side.

John Villneff's four grandchildren were playing video games inside his daughter's home on the 6000 block of Rutland Street around 11 p.m. Wednesday when the men barged in and began to pistol-whip a 16-year-old boy.

Three other children inside the home ran out next door to where Villneff lived. When he came out of his home, the assailants were fleeing the scene. But not before Villneff's 12-year-old granddaughter, who said she recognized some of the attackers, snapped several photos of them with her iPad.

Upon seeing this, one of the suspects fired several shots at the girl. But Villneff stepped in front of her, taking two bullets in the back. He died at the scene but not before calling his son to alert him of the attack.

"I didn't even get to tell him I loved him," said John's son Michael Villneff. "These cowardly, heartless, worthless people took a key person in our family away from us for nothing."

John's daughter Melissa says the iPad was turned over to police.

Villneff was a Marine veteran and awarded the Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.


If you'd like to donate to help the family pay for the funereal, please do so here.

h/t This Ain't Hell

Joe the Fascist?

 Joe Wurzelbacher at a Congressional fundraiser in Arizona:
"For years I've said, 'Put a damn fence on that border going to Mexico and start shooting...' that's how I feel. I'm not going to hide it just because I'm running for office. I want the borders protected, and I'm very adamant about that." 
Joe the next a "Patriot" rally.
"I'm running for Congress. How many congressmen or people running for Congress have you heard, put a fence up and start shooting? None? Well you heard it here first. Put troops on the border and start shooting, I bet that solves our immigration problem real quick."
Let's see if the GOP decides to be Patriotic and shitcan Joe.

I luv REI

I loved REI when I was a teenager involved with the Marion County Search and Rescue Squad. I loved REI when I was a young Soldier, buying gear to supplement the poor quality issued items from Uncle Sam.

And I love REI today, as I introduce my daughters to the wonders of the outdoor world. I also love them because they've taken a stand against bigotry.

I never use the term 'bigot', because it's always had the connotation of closed mindedness....and has always been used to stifle rather than pursue honest and intellectual debate. In this case however...I believe it's justified.

NOM - the National Organization for Marriage [hetero marriage of course] has come out with a statement in response to REI's recent public statement supporting the idea that homosexuals should be able to enter into a loving and committed relationship, recognized by the state:
“REI is taking a position in support of marriage equality — an issue that is important to the co-op as an inclusive organization and a welcoming place to work and do business."
“The Board, Leadership Forum and I are committed to ensuring that we continue to create an environment where people can be themselves and feel welcome at REI, including respecting religious and political diversity.”
“I want to ensure that our colleagues and customers who have beliefs that run counter to the position the co-op is taking on this issue feel respected in their right to disagree.
My own journey in understanding and coming to this position on marriage equality has been shaped by thoughtful, heartfelt discussions with people who have held a variety of differing perspectives.  I encourage you to engage each other in a discussion, practicing our core value of respect—“we listen to and learn from each other.”
NOM recieves the bigot label for their response:
REI is the latest corporation to take a stand against biological parenthood by supporting redefining marriage. Any company and any individual who supports redefining marriage is opposing your right as a biological parent. REI Endorses Same Sex Marriage.
Regardless of the other good things these companies do, never forget they are actively opposing your rights as a biological parent. By supporting the redefinition of marriage, they are saying that biological parenthood does not matter – they are saying that your rights, which were granted to you by God, do not matter. The only thing that matters is “legal parenthood.”  The only thing that matters is that the state gets to say who counts as a parent.
Here is a list of people and entities that oppose your rights as a biological parent, who are saying, in effect, “We believe that your rights as a parent come from the state. We are working tirelessly to strip society of this notion of ‘biological parenthood.’ The state should be the final arbiter of who counts as a parent; the notion of children coming from your body will at some point be totally insignificant to decisions we make about them and you.”
Note my bold portions. Whereas previously, gay marriage was going to somehow 'destroy' your if gays will 'lose your rights' as a parent.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Nevermind that REI made the same [but oppositional] type of public statement as Chik-Fil-A did....and nevermind the obvious inconsistancy of these organizations stating that the 'right' to marry comes from God, yet they both allow and actively seek the state to regulate and tax that right.

We now have the charge that because gays want the same liberties and privileges that their fellow Americans enjoy by virtue of citizenship, consensuality and franchise...they actively 'oppose' those same rights enjoyed by their fellow Americans enjoy by virtue of citizenship, consensuality and franchise.

I've had a difficult time trying to disengage my logic function in an attempt to understand how somebody's brain can possibly go down this intelletual road.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hows this going to play with the Religious Right?

Paul Ryan on Homosexuals:
"The way I see that may be informed by just friendships I've had, people I grew up with in Janesville who didn't choose to be gay. It wasn't an orientation they decided to experiment (with) or choose. It's just who they are. They were just created that way."

What is the deal with Christian Revisionists?

I used to think the left had a lock on trying to rewrite history in their own image. But with the growing trend of Dominionists and Christian Nationalists' interjection into the political sphere [apparently easier to do when somebody allegedly "hostile" to Christianity occupies the White House], the art of stretching the truth has been taken to new heights.
"There is no question that there was divine inspiration behind the writing of the Constitution, which is why the Bible is referenced four times more than any other document in our Constitution" - Jerry Boykin, USA, Ret.
I hate to break it to the good General, but the Bible is not mentioned a single time in the US Constitution. Dr Gregg Frazer, a Christian historian [not to be confused with people like David Barton, who claim to be historians], notes the same:
The fact that some parts of the Declaration and/or Constitution are not in conflict with verses in the Bible does not mean that the Bible was the source. This is especially important when — as in the case of the Declaration and the Constitution — the authors claim other sources, but do not claim the Bible as a source!
In a May 8, 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Jefferson identifies his sources for the Declaration’s principles. He names as sources: Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and (Algernon) Sidney — he does not mention the Bible. Then again, the terminology in the Declaration is not specifically Christian — or even biblical, with the exception of “Creator.” The term “providence” is never used of God in the Bible, nor are “nature’s God” or “Supreme Judge of the world” ever used in the Bible.
In the hundreds of pages comprising Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention (and those of the others who kept notes), there is no mention of biblical passages/verses in the debates/discussions on the various parts and principles of the Constitution. They mention Rome, Sparta, German confederacies, Montesquieu, and a number of other sources — but no Scripture verses.
In The Federalist Papers, there is no mention of biblical sources for any of the Constitution’s principles, either — one would think they could squeeze them in among the 85 essays if they were, indeed, the sources; especially since the audience was common men who were familiar with, and had respect for, the Bible. The word “God” is used twice — and one of those is a reference to the pagan gods of ancient Greece. “Almighty” is used twice and “providence” three times — but neither is ever used in connection with any constitutional principle or influence. The Bible is not mentioned.
This is no assault on an individuals beliefs in a Judeo-Christian creator....but my continuing fascination of the campaign by many, to rewrite American history and to govern our nation by the tenets of a single religion......far removed from what our Founders envisioned.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Live Free

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Campaign window dressing

I sort of like Paul least much of his fiscal outlook on governance. He's young and energetic...and predictably spouts the requisite lines of limited government.

Of course he voted for the Patriot Act, TARP and the auto bailouts....and against medical he's not likely to sway my vote towards the GOP.

All in all, he was probably the best of the probable picks, but he's going to outshine his empty suit of a running mate. That will not likely bode well for Romney. VP picks are like sweeps week for the end leg of the campaign. Lots of attention, speculation and excitement amongst the media and pundit-sphere.

But in reality, a VP pick doesn't add a whole lot of weight to the ticket on Election Day. One point I found interesting was that not long ago Romney emphatically included an alleged exchange between himself and a business owner, where the citizen stated: "I'd like to have a provision in the Constitution that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birthplace of the president being set by the Constitution, I'd like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States." 

But Romney proceeds to choose as a running mate and potential successor and POTUS, a candidate who's business experience comes nowhere near that standard.
What’s more, Romney makes much on of not being a career politician or ever serving in Washington (ignoring, of course, that he could have been in the Senate for nearly two decades had he defeated Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994).
Yet Ryan, 42, has spent the bulk of his career in the capital. The House Budget Committee chairman has been in Congress since he was 28 and before that did stints as a congressional staffer and at the late Jack Kemp’s think tank, Empower America.And the very small but influential constituency that’s now promoting Ryan hails from the same orbit of GOP thinkers and politicians as Ryan.
Ryan’s time working in the business world is limited to the brief period he spent at his family’s construction business in Janesville, Wis. That was only a matter of months, though. According to published reports, he returned to Wisconsin after the 1992 loss of his then-boss, Sen. Bob Kasten, but was back in Washington the next year working for Empower America. He returned to the family firm once more as a management consultant in 1997 but spent just a few months there before launching his winning congressional bid the next year.
He included that exchange [as he includes in some degree in every campaign stop] to imply that his business experience is what sets him apart from Obama, and thus makes him a more viable candidate to grow the economy.

If the tired lines about the 'inside the beltway' and 'Washington insider' is to be taken seriously, he might have then chosen someone who was able to be held to that standard. There should be no surprise of course, when a politician specifies one standard for their opponent and another for themselves. It's all part of the game.

From Skeptical Eye, a snippet of Paul Ryan's voting history:

Paul Ryan on Bailouts and Government Stimuli
-Voted YES on TARP (2008)
-Voted YES on Economic Stimulus HR 5140 (2008)
-Voted YES on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)
-Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)

Paul Ryan on Entitlement Programs
-Voted YES on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003)
-Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)
-Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks. (Oct 2008)
-Voted YES on Head Start Act (2007)

Paul Ryan on Education
Rep. Ryan went along with the Bush Administration in supporting more federal involvement in education. This is contrary to the traditional Republican position, which included support for abolition of the Department of Education and decreasing federal involvement in education.
-Voted YES on No Child Left Behind Act (2001)

Paul Ryan on Civil Liberties
-Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
-Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
-Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)

Paul Ryan on War and Intervention Abroad
-Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
-Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003)
-Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)
-Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Curiosity takes it's first photo of Mars

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fox shows it's colors

“If President Obama gets his way, the special voting rights of some of America’s finest will be eliminated,” host Shannon Bream said Friday night. “The campaign is suing to keep members of the military from having extra time to cast their ballots in one key battleground state.”
This of course, is a lie. Ohio's law as it currently stands, creates a tiered system of voting privileges...instead of the same voting window for all Ohio citizens.

The Obama Administration argues in the suit that “This disparate treatment violates 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and can be rectified by the Court enjoining enforcement of statutory changes that eliminate early in-person voting for most Ohioans during the three days before an election”.

Is Fox guilty of misreporting the facts of the case, purely out of poor journalism........or has their role as the GOPs media wing become even more blatant? I decide.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Well how about that?

In an unusual twist regarding a favorite debate subject of mine, that of labeling the United States a "Christian nation".......a recent survey of Evangelical leaders seems to reject the notion that a free nation can be regarded - logically - as Christian [or Hindu, or Mormon, etc....].

Oh, I know that Israel is an outlier...but it's also more homogeneous than the US, and the "Basic Laws of Israel" enshrines Judaism.

As the nation celebrated another Fourth of July, American evangelical leaders reflected on whether the United States is a Christian nation. Most (68 percent) who responded to the June 2012 Evangelical Leaders Survey said it is not. 
"Much of the world refers to America as a Christian nation, but most of our Christian leaders don't think so," said Leith Anderson, NAE President. "The Bible only uses the word 'Christian' to describe people and not countries. Even those who say America is a Christian nation admit that there are lots of non-Christians and even anti-Christian beliefs and behaviors."
Evangelical leaders said that regardless of whether they would call the United States a Christian nation or not, America is fertile ground for evangelization. "America is one of the world's great mission fields that the Church has been called to reach in this generation," said George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God denomination.
A non-profit executive continued, "The 'state' cannot mandate religion, nor should it. If I lived in another country where the majority practiced a religion other than Christianity, I would not want those religious beliefs dictated to me through the country's government. I hope others will learn to love Christ as I do, but that will happen more authentically through the Church and individual Christians sharing the Good News and demonstrating the person of Christ through our words and actions."
Another set of responses noted America's Christian heritage, and some shared the sentiment that "perhaps the United States was a Christian nation, but it is no longer." Others rejected the idea of that a nation can be "Christian" altogether.

I'm starting to feel the fever.....

30 days from now Autzen Stadium will be where the roar of a Harley can only be matched by the deafening blast of foghorns. Fast. Hard. Finish. Win the Day.

Because the best way to "pay tribute" is to trivialize what they do

NBC is receding further into irrlevance by introducing a new "reality" show, where "stars" *ahem*...."face the challenges of real American heroes."

(gratitous quotation marks used to indicate air quotes)

Are you 'effing kidding me? The damage increases with the tagline "They're not in Hollywood anymore".

I may either throw up or drink heavily tonight...possibly both...and not in that order.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Chik-Fil-gAy Controversy

I've commented on some other sites, such as Silverfiddle's excellent blog.

For what is likely my only submission to my own site, I'll let Dr Steve Salbu of the Georgia Institute of Technology encapsulate my thoughts:

....society that truly believes in individual freedom will respect Mr. Cathy’s right to his views. Those who disagree with him are free to boycott Chick-fil-A in protest. But if our elected officials run Chick-fil-A out of town, they are effectively voting for all of us, regardless of our respective beliefs, and eliminating our individual freedoms.

And freedom, after all, is at the heart of the controversy over same-sex marriage. True individual freedom includes allowing consenting adults to marry the partners they choose, regardless of gender. To those for whom same-sex marriage is personally objectionable, their free choice is simple: Don’t enter into one. But don’t impede the freedom of others to do so. As long as Chick-fil-A operates within the boundaries of the law, municipalities and institutions should leave the decision about whether to eat at Chick-fil-A to individual consumers. If they do, Chick-fil-A is still likely to experience a net loss of business over time as a result of Mr. Cathy’s statements. This is because gay people are the constituency most viscerally, fundamentally and personally affected by the denial of the freedom to marry the consenting adult we choose.