Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sounds sort of like a threat

Thousands of conservative Christians gathered Saturday on Independence Mall in Philadelphia to pray for the future of the United States in the weeks before the presidential election.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins topped a full day of speakers at “The America for Jesus 2012” prayer rally.
Robertson, a former Republican candidate for president, called the election important, but didn’t mention either major political party or candidate by name.
“I don’t care what the ACLU says or any atheists say. This nation belongs to Jesus, and we’re here today to reclaim his sovereignty,” said Robertson, 82, who founded the Christian Coalition and Christian Broadcasting Network, and ran for president in 1988.

What exactly does Robertson mean by that statement? Is he implying that there must be an effort to subjugate Americans under restrictive Levitical law? Or is he merely pandering to his base?

Romney versus Conservatism

The GOP is not likely to gain ground...or the White House...this election cycle. The horrid slate of faux-Conservative primary candidates, and the ultimate selection of a squishy crony capitalist all but ensures the reelection of Obama. Sadly an upset win by Romney won't likely change the paradigm. We will still labor under increased regulation, decreased civil liberties, a growing Federal government and an obsolete foreign policy.
More interesting is his supposition that Romney could put a blast of wind into his sails by more vigorously denouncing Obama's lassitude. You might think that Romney had already stuck sufficient feet in his mouth with his precipitous and absurd statement about Obama kow-towing to Islamic terrorists right after the murder of Stevens, but then you wouldn't be living on Mr. Krauthammer's planet. Krauthammer wants Romney to "go large. About a foreign policy in ruins."
The truth is that the ruination of the Romney campaign has in part been the handiwork of neoconservatives such as Krauthammer. Yes, Romney is a middling politician. Yes, his campaign has struggled to find its footing. But part of the reason, as a number of commentators such as Fareed Zakaria have noted, is that the GOP itself is becoming an antediluvian party, stuck with a host of orthodoxies that no longer comport with new realities. Nowhere is this clearer than in foreign policy, where the old mantra that America need simply flex its muscles and the rest of the world will fall into line has become gospel for the GOP.
Perhaps the biggest problem for Romney may be that the ideological straitjacket he keeps trying to don doesn't fit him. The union between Romney and conservatives will never be conusmmated. Romney's progressive foes keep pointing to what they see as his penchant for prevarication. But what if the opposite is the problem—that Romney is a bad liar, trying to sell policies that he knows are bogus. The only thing that would speak for Romney, in other words, is that he can't speak for himself. But perhaps the moment has arrived for Romney to emancipate himself, to, as Hillary Clinton once put it, find his voice. The upcoming presidential debates will offer him his last chance to turn around his battered campaign, or a looming defeat will turn into a landslide for Obama. And if Romney does win the election—and, as the New York Times' Charles Blow wisely notes, it can't be precluded—he will know that he did not accomplish it because of conservative support but despite it.
National Interest 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Barbie for Men

Crap.....I'm not even a third of the way there......

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Light posting, as work is busier than ever and quite frankly, I need a little break once in a awhile from the clownish hyperbole from both parties.

We used to have this posted in the team room, waaaaay back in the day, but always a classic for those practitioners of vertical envelopment.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Apocalypse may be upon us

A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable, says Britain's National Pig Association. But British supermarkets can protect consumers from shortages and steep price rises if they pay Britain's loss-making pig farmers a fair price, to help them remain in production.

New data shows the European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world. Pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, caused by the global failure of maize and soya harvests.


Oh sure you say..."but that's in England...that could never happen here...right?"
Are you really going to take the chance?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Puttin' the jab in Hijab

We need to see some more of this!
They may be a far cry from their Western counterparts fighting for the acceptance to breast-feed -- or go topless -- in public, but two girls clobbered a cleric recently in a small town in Iran when he admonished one of them to cover herself more completely.

The cleric said he asked "politely," but the girl's angry reaction and some pugilistic double-teaming with her friend landed the holy man in the hospital, according to an account Monday in the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.

Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the girls on his way to the mosque in the village of Shahmirzad for noon prayers in late August.

Women's bodies: The public perception of private parts

He told one of the girls to cover up, the report said.

"She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me," Beheshti said. So he asked her a second time to cover up and also to put a lid on what he felt was verbal abuse.

She hit the man of the cloth, and he hit the ground.

"I don't remember what happened after that," he said. "I just felt her kicks and heard her insults."

Beheshti, who emerged from the infirmary three days later, said he did not file a complaint against the girls.

But he doesn't mind the local prosecutor's investigation into the matter either "as long as the case helps the cause of Islamic hijab."

The girls may have put the "jab" into "hijab," but fighting with morality police or private individuals telling women to cover up is rare in small towns. It's more common in larger cities, where women are more likely to take a stand.

Dear Middle East,

Just stop it.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Clint Eastwood rocks a quote

On his speech to the RNC, and to an empty chair....Clint states:
“People loved it or hated it, and that’s fine. I figure if somebody’s dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they’re gonna have to take what they get.”
That's the Clint Eastwood we know and love!

Death Knell for Romney?

It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well "believe they are entitled to heath care," a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him. - Bill Kristol
I'm not terribly surprised. Romney was arguably the most popular primary candidate......but from just about the worst field to choose from in my memory. He tries to run as a Conservative, but he's not a Conservative. So what we're left with, is a flipping, reframing, intellectual whirlwind of telling people what they want to hear....all dependent on the audience, and he even does that badly.

If this is the best the GOP can do, they deserve to lose. With the Obama presidency and the worst economic recession since the depression, Mitt should be running head and shoulders above the competition in the polls. At this juncture, I'd say it's Obama's to lose. But for the diehards, it will never be a failing of the's always someone else's fault. They will blame a third party, or more certainly, the media......and thus the status quo will continue.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Love Story in 22 Pictures

The story of Navy EOD Tech Taylor Morris, and the woman who loved him unconditionally....told in photos.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rep. Peter King may be a Republican.....

...but he's no Conservative. True Conservatives rely on fact, thoughtful assessment, and logic. King showed none of these traits on this mornings edition of Meet the Press.

David Gregory: You’re a supporter of governor Romney, is this American weakness that brought this on. Is that the Republican view, is that what the view of President Romney would be?
Rep. Peter King: Well my view is President Obama’s policy has been confusing it’s been apologetic and it’s been misguided. From the day he started his apology tour back in 2009 , he was no matter what people say, apologizing for America. Somehow suggesting that we’ve been anti Islam until he became the president. Even talking about Iraq. He took our troops out of Iraq without even getting the status of forces agreement. He was given a glide path in Iraq and yet he pulled the troops out, brags about the fact that the troops are out, gives a definite get for getting out in Afghanistan. What he’s doing by that is telling our allies they can’t trust us.
Obama did not in any sense of the definition, apologize for America - yet the allegedly liberal media fails to counter the charge.

The Status of Forces Agreement [SOFA] was negotiated in full, by the Bush Administration in 2008 - yet the allegedly liberal media fails to counter the charge.

Obama does erroneously take credit for withdrawing US forces from Iraq - and the allegedly liberal media fails to counter the charge.

Peter King makes drive by statements of provable falsehoods, like many other politicians, of both parties. But he does so to the peril of the GOP. If Republicans wish to ever stop the minor alternating balance of the teeter-totter every four years, they need to repudiate lies and falsehoods, while continuing to point out those by the left.

Worst Religion Evah......

Combinations of illiteracy, ignorance and social immaturity all add up to Islam's position writ large, as a culturally inferior demographic. That's not to say that all Muslims are inferior...some have defied the odds and entered the 21st century, while many others have refused. As Daniel posits below, the paradigm shift that will bring them into an interactive and interdependent community of peoples, is exactly the paradigm shift that they are rebuking: notions of secular governance, science, principles of liberty and individual freedom, and the sovereignty of self. These are not incompatible with religion, but can quite provably coexist, to the betterment of the social structure. Christianity moved out of it's dark history of tyranny, and Islam can too.... eventually. But the events of the last week [and many others preceding] show that they're not ready for prime time.
Congratulations, Islam! You've won this year's award for Worst Religion in the World. Christians were trying for it with the whole Chick-Fil-A thing, but you really clinched it when your followers rioted and murdered people because they felt offended by a really bad film.
You know, every other religion in the world has pretty much chilled the fuck out about this kind of thing. Buddhists don't rampage in 20 countries when their religion is challenged. Hindus — okay, admit it, Hindus, you've had your moments, but nothing like this. Christians cop it all the time on the blasphemy front, and they don't storm embassies. Hell, they've invited me to debates in their own churches, where I've challenged their religion, and even told them that their god must be kind of dumb. And then they invite me back. Do you know what does? It shows people that their faith is robust. Your rioting shows the world that your god is so weak that he can't protect himself, and needs his butthurt followers to enact violence on his behalf.
Let's not let Christianity off the hook entirely. They acted like homicidal loons when they could get away with it. In the early American colonies as recently as the 1600s, you could be punished or put to death for blasphemy. It's just one of the things religion in general is so good at: creating these non-negotiable zones where certain beliefs or values are held as holy, and setting people up for needless conflict.
How did Christianity calm down? Christianity didn't move from Inquisitions to PR departments by themselves. They were pushed by an emerging tradition of secularism in Western countries since the Enlightenment. Secularism tamed Christianity, and needs to continue. But Islam — you need to catch up. 
I don't know if this is a real Arabic proverb or not — it was marked as such when I first heard it — but it's worthy of consideration anyway:
He who takes offence when offence is not intended is a fool.
He who takes offence when offence is intended is a fool.
Good Reason

Saturday, September 15, 2012

And yet another reason I left the GOP

Many on the right have usurped the role of victim from its traditional usage on the left. Kneejerk blame on the media, redefinition of vocabulary and reliance on opinion driven meme's have coupled with the fetishization of Christianity = Patriotism. All of this has led to the GOP sliding away from a party that valued intellectual dominance and individual liberty over the left's ideology of entitlement and petulant emotion.

They're not even pretending anymore. And they're losing the Libertarians....and they probably wonder why.
Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked the media and "smart people" for not being on the side of conservatives in a speech to the Values Voter Summit on Saturday.
"We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country," Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. "We will never have the elite, smart people on our side."
[Here Barry Goldwater is rolling over in his grave]
The media "doesn't like the other side," Santorum said. "And not necessarily, I would argue, because they agree with them, but because they can influence the country.
"If just a few people make decisions about what this world looks like, what this country looks like, then you have people sitting in offices at major media outlets and Hollywood who think they can deal with a small group of people, to get them to jump through the hoops they want you to," Santorum said.
Santorum also criticized the libertarian wing of the Republican party for not supporting what he sees as the pillars of conservatism: religion and family.
"When it comes to conservatism libertarian types can say, oh, well you know, we don't want to talk about social issues," Santorum said. "Without the church and the family, there is no conservative movement, there is no basic values of America."
[And this is why you are struggling in the pools in what should be an easy win over Obama]

The Politics of Blight

It should be no secret that the tyranny of local government outweighs the tyranny of the federal duopoly, as it affects the daily lives of individual citizens. Nothing of this nature hits harder than the irresponsible criminal use of Eminent Domain.

This week the Denver City Council authorized the use of eminent domain to seize homes and businesses for private development in the historic Five Points district. The vote puts 246 properties in the commercial corridor—including well-maintained Victorian homes dating back to the 1880s—under threat of condemnation for at least the next seven years.

Here's some case law, courtesy of that blight study:  
The absence of widespread violation of building and health codes does not, by itself, preclude a finding of blight. According to the courts, "the definition of ‘blighted area’ contained in [the Urban Renewal Law] is broad and encompasses not only those areas containing properties so dilapidated as to justify condemnation as nuisances, but also envisions the prevention of deterioration."
Essentially, the existence of a few rundown but perfectly serviceable properties that are not generating code violations triggers eminent domain for an entire neighborhood. According to the blight study, the situation in Five Points is dire. Two (two!) properties are safety hazards and nine have serious issues.

The study consists, as these things too often do, of a consultant driving around and taking unflattering photos of whatever presents itself and wildly inflating the dangers of cracked sidewalks (“injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the residents of the state”); peeling paint (“a social and economic liability”); and vacant lots and oddly-shaped parcels (“contribute to the spread of disease and crime”).

Moreover, Colorado law only gives property owners 30 days to challenge a blight declaration in court. So five years from now, if city officials decide to seize a property that was declared blighted this month, it will be too late for the owner to argue that their clearly non-blighted property isn’t blighted.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

And Liberty is chipped away...a few ounces at a time

It's only a matter of time before they come for your Hostess Fruit Pies.
They city that never sleeps won’t be able to rely on a late-night sugar rush for much longer: New York City’s Board of Health has approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on “sugary drinks” in containers larger than 16 ounces from being sold at certain businesses.
One annoying outcome of this half-assed Nanny Statism is how it’s easy it’s going to be to spin an argument for an expansion of the ban regardless of the outcome. If the city’s obesity numbers drop, it will be an argument that the ban worked and it should be expanded. If the obesity numbers don’t drop, it means the ban obviously didn’t go far enough and should be expanded. The drug war’s arguments are on their way to the soda dispenser.

I don't even know what to title this post

A song for the Brotherhood.......

What If November Changes Nothing?

What If November Changes Nothing?

Judge Andrew Napolitano vacillates between sound and cogent......and bat shit crazy. But in his latest column for Reason Magazine, he says what I've seen many people thinking; many more than the other election cycles I've been alive for.

Here's your sign......

h/t to One Eyed Jack

This was theater. This was a production. Everyone had their roles; everyone had their signs. What this was, was the most disgusting and shabby travesty of a convention that I've ever heard of. Those signs, they make me wonder. Did any of those faceless sign-holders look around at all the "THANK YOU" signs, and at any time feel a moment of shame or humiliation? What is the matter with them? Whose idea was it to hand out all those signs and take all the other signs away? It had to be Obama's idea. Or if not his idea, he at least authorized it.

Think about it for a moment. There you are at a political convention. You're there to support the person that you think best represents your political viewpoint. You're there to help reelect the guy who will best represent the way you think the country ought to be run. Well, I'll tell you how he runs a convention. You don't get to say what you want to say. Obama doesn't care what you think. You ought to be grateful. You'll just hold up the "THANK YOU" sign and you'll shut your giant flapping mouth. Shut up and hold your sign.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And early on, the GOP stays classy....

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus (@Reince) tweeted out the following before news of the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, but after the sustained attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities there and in Egypt: "Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic."

There's no proof for this assertion, of course -- the mealy-mouthed tweets coming from the Cairo (the ones seemingly sympathizing with the pre-enlightenment types who believe that blasphemers deserve to be murdered) were written by embassy staff and were disavowed by the Obama Administration.

More to the point: Really? The president who is waging war against Islamist extremists in six or seven countries  "sympathizes" with their fellow travelers in Egypt? Please provide proof, Mr. Priebus. Otherwise this is slander. And also, a question: Will Reince Priebus say anything in order to gain a moment's political advantage?

The Atlantic

A general note to Islam......and the State Department

In point of fact, making a movie commenting on the sexual proclivities of someone who died some fourteen hundred years ago in no way constitutes “incitement” under any meaningful use of the term.

More importantly, the United States government has no business whatsoever condemning the exercise of free speech, the most fundamental of civil liberties, by a member of the citizenry that employs and finances it. While the First Amendment right to free speech is subject to certain time, place and manner restrictions, the fact that it might “hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” is decidedly not among them.
- James Joyner
 The National Interest

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fox's unholy God fetish

Fox & Friends is already known as the favorite morning show of the baby Jesus....but they continue to carry the water not for religious freedom, which actual Conservatives support.....but  for Christian nationalism and religious preferentialism.

Helmet haired Gretchen Carlson vacuously inquires “The President calls for a moment of silence but he does not call for the word ‘God.’ So, some people are asking why is God being left out again?”.

I might remind the intellectual clown car that is F&F, that GW Bush signed Public Law 107-89, which designated 11 September as Patriot Day. The resolution does not mention God, and Bush only invoked the name in three of his eight proclamation signings.

Not to worry, this solemn day will end tonight, and Fox can go back to it's regularly scheduled programming of finding "Christian victims".

Men of Cornwall stand ye steady

Every 11th of September, I am reminded of the life and deeds of Rick Rescorla. An immigrant to this nation, he showed us time and again how to be an American. If you have not read the seminal account of his deeds over at The Mudville should.

In St. Augustine, Dan Hill was laying tile in his upstairs bathroom when his wife called, "Dan, get down here! An airplane just flew into the World Trade Center. It's a terrible accident." Hill hurried downstairs, and then the phone rang. It was Rescorla, calling from his cell phone.

 "Are you watching TV?" he asked. "What do you think?"

"Hard to tell. It could have been an accident, but I can't see a commercial airliner getting that far off."

"I'm evacuating right now," Rescorla said.

Hill could hear Rescorla issuing orders through the bullhorn. He was calm and collected, never raising his voice. Then Hill heard him break into song:

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors' pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

Rescorla came back on the phone. "Pack a bag and get up here," he said. "You can be my consultant again." He added that the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

"What'd you say?" Hill asked.

"I said, 'Piss off, you son of a bitch,' " Rescorla replied. "Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it's going to take the whole building with it. I'm getting my people the fuck out of here." Then he said, "I got to go. Get your shit in one basket and get ready to come up."
Hill turned back to the TV and, within minutes, saw the second plane execute a sharp left turn and plunge into the south tower. Susan saw it, too, and frantically phoned her husband's office. No one answered.

About fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Rick. She burst into tears and couldn't talk.
"Stop crying," he told her. "I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I've never been happier. You made my life."

Susan cried even harder, gasping for breath. She felt a stab of fear, because the words sounded like those of someone who wasn't coming back. "No!" she cried, but then he said he had to go. Cell-phone use was being curtailed so as not to interfere with emergency communications.

From the World Trade Center, Rescorla again called Hill. He said he was taking some of his security men and making a final sweep, to make sure no one was left behind, injured, or lost. Then he would evacuate himself. "Call Susan and calm her down," he said. "She's panicking."

Hill reached Susan, who had just got off the phone with Sullivan. "Take it easy," he said, as she continued to sob. "He's been through tight spots before, a million times." Suddenly Susan screamed. Hill turned to look at his own television and saw the south tower collapse. He thought of the words Rescorla had so often used to comfort dying soldiers. "Susan, he'll be O.K.," he said gently. "Take deep breaths. Take it easy. If anyone will survive, Rick will survive."

When Hill hung up, he turned to his wife. Her face was ashen. "Shit," he said. "Rescorla is dead."

The rest of Rick Rescorla's morning is shrouded in some mystery. The tower went dark. Fire raged. Windows shattered. Rescorla headed upstairs before moving down; he helped evacuate several people above the 50th Floor. Stephan Newhouse, chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said at a memorial service in Hayle that Rescorla was spotted as high as the 72nd floor, then worked his way down, clearing floors as he went. He was telling people to stay calm, pace themselves, get off their cell phones, keep moving. At one point, he was so exhausted he had to sit for a few minutes, although he continued barking orders through his bullhorn. Morgan Stanley officials said he called headquarters shortly before the tower collapsed to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

John Olson, a Morgan Stanley regional director, saw Rescorla reassuring colleagues in the 10th-floor stairwell. "Rick, you've got to get out, too," Olson told him. "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out," Rescorla replied.

Morgan Stanley officials say Rescorla also told employees that "today is a day to be proud to be American" and that "tomorrow, the whole world will be talking about you." They say he also sang "God Bless America" and Cornish folk tunes in the stairwells. Those reports could not be confirmed, although they don't sound out of character. He liked to sing in a crisis. But the documented truth is impressive enough. Morgan Stanley managing director Bob Sloss was the only employee who didn't evacuate the 66th floor after the first plane hit, pausing to call his family and several underlings, even taking a call from a Bloomberg News reporter. Then the second plane hit, and his office walls cracked, and he felt the tower wagging like a dog's tail. He clambered down to the 10th floor, and there was Rescorla, sweating through his suit in the heat, telling people they were almost out, making no move to leave himself.

Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at
his side. But only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Well that's a relief!

Mitt Romney in Virginia:

“For me, the Pledge of Allegiance and placing our hand over our heart reminds us of the blood that was shed by our sons and daughters fighting for our liberty and sharing liberty with people around the word,” he said. “The promises that were made in that pledge are promises I plan on keeping if I’m president, and I’ve kept them so far in my life. The pledge says ‘under God.’ I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coin,s and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.”

LA Times

I for one, was worried that my money might not spend as well without some sort of divine blessing upon it, should the Kenyan/Marxist/Communist be re-elected in November. However did they use money before the addition of the phrase?


In related news, an interesting article about both candidates faith in the Vatican Insider.

Obama vs Romney: The debate over faith

Post DADT Repeal Study reveals no negative impact

The first academic study of the impact of DADT repeal had been released. Make of it what you will. If you think it's a smokescreen, remember that not only would that logically require a factual rebuttal, but an argument against the methodology and the participants.


1. The repeal of DADT has had no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.

2. A comparison of 2011 pre-repeal and 2012 post-repeal survey data shows that service members reported the same level of military readiness after DADT repeal as before it.

3. Even in those units that included openly LGB service members, and that consequently should have been the most likely to experience a drop in cohesion as a result of repeal, cohesion did not decline after the new policy of open service was put into place. In fact, greater openness and honesty resulting from repeal seem to have promoted increased understanding, respect and acceptance.

4. Recruitment was unaffected by the repeal of DADT. In an era when enlistment standards are tightening, service-wide recruitment has remained robust.

5. Retention was unaffected by the repeal of DADT. There was no mass exodus of military members as a result of repeal, and there were only two verifiable resignations linked to the policy change, both military chaplains. Service members were as likely to say that they plan to re-enlist after DADT repeal as was the case pre-repeal.

6. DADT repeal has not been responsible for any new wave of violence or physical abuse among service members. The policy change appears to have enabled some LGB service members to resolve disputes around harassment and bias in ways that were not possible prior to repeal.

7. Service-wide data indicate that overall, force morale did not decrease as a result of the new policy, although repeal produced a decline in individual morale for some service members who personally opposed the policy change and boosted individual morale for others.

8. There was no wave of mass disclosures of sexual orientation after repeal, and a minority of heterosexual service members reported in an independent survey that, after repeal, someone in their unit disclosed being LGB or that an LGB service member joined their unit.

9. Some military members have complained of downsides that followed from the policy change, but others identified upsides, and in no case did negative consequences outweigh benefits. In balance, DADT repeal has enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission.

10. The findings of this study are consistent with the reported assessments of repeal by military leadership including President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and Marine Corps Commandant James Amos.

11. The findings of this study are consistent with the extensive literature on foreign militaries, which shows uniformly that readiness did not decline after foreign armed forces allowed LGB troops to serve openly.

12. As positive reports about DADT repeal emerged in the media, repeal opponents who predicted that open service would compromise readiness have adjusted their forecasts by emphasizing the possibility of long-term damage that will only become apparent in the future rather than identifiable consequences in the short-term.

Full Report

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Seems an appropriate reminder

A Classified Mea Culpa on Iraq

But will the allegedly liberal media cover it?

CIA Analysis Acknowledges Intelligence Failure on Iraq's WMDs

The "Scary Assault Weapons" meme rises again (Updated)

So after a few weeks of hanging around the gun counters, and generally conducting cost comparison regarding AR's...I had narrowed it down to the SIG M400/5.56. Now, there's one at the gun store in Manassas that I can pick up tomorrow....but knowing that my local Walmart had the same platform at a few dollars less...I mosey down to see if it's still in the display case. A few dollars saved is a few more dollars towards Magpul, right?

Not only was my SIG not in the case, when I inquired if they had any in the back....the sales 'associate' told me that two days ago, Walmart [this store at least] was told they could no longer sell "assault rifles".

I haven't yet found any substantiation for where this edict for now I'm left with the cynical notion that somebody decided that a major 'family oriented' retailer should have 'scary looking' weapons within eyesight of your normal citizen [insert commentary about your average Walmart shopper here].


Football players support Liberty too

Recently, Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns wrote a letter to the Baltimore Ravens owner, decrying Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo's stand on gay marriage. Burns wrote, in part:
"Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other. Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement."
Ayanbadejo wrote a great rebuttal, but Minnesota Viking Punter Chris Kluwe really sends it home:
Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,
I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):
1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees,” more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
2. “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who’s “deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland”? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can’t even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).
3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in.
Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it.
Chris Kluwe
P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.

Afghan Disconnect

An excellent interview in Small Wars Journal with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.
One gets the sense in looking back over the 2009 White House strategy review that then led to the President’s decision to largely accept McChrystal’s request for more forces that the military’s view of Afghanistan was sort of like Henry Ford and the color of your car.  You can have any strategy you like as long as it’s COIN.  The senior military leadership really coalesced around one option and alternative points of view, such as a narrower focus on counterterrorism as advocated by Gen Cartwright, were really cast aside by the rest of the military leadership. 
While we were trying to get our head around Afghanistan, I do think it behooved the nation’s military community to really more fully understand what happened with the surge in Iraq and the application of counterinsurgency.  It had its benefits, but it had its limitations.  It wasn’t a panacea, and understanding the truth of itm and moving beyond the politics, is essential to understanding how this strategy can and should be applied in the future. 
You opened your question with a fundamental disconnect in America’s war strategy.  The goal was narrow – to go after al Qaeda – yet the approach was broad – population-centric COIN.  And it did involve a civ-mil mission creep.  I think both sides fed on each other.  Yes, the military had a very expansive view on what to do with governance, anti-corruption, and so forth as epitomized by Gen Petraeus’s Anaconda slide, but the civilians in many cases were goading them along.  Karl Eikenberry who outlined accurately the many failings of the Afghan government and the many reasons why a COIN strategy wouldn’t work as hoped for then went along with these grand efforts to try to rebuild the government, to create government in many cases where the Afghans didn’t have it--to bring in dozens and dozens of American investigators to pursue corruption cases which further frayed our relationship with Hamid Karzai.  We tried to do two things that were in conflict.  We wanted a war with narrow goals, but we fought it broadly.  And that just doesn’t work.  If really what we wanted to do was just go after al Qaeda, then that’s what we should have done.  If the overall stability of Afghanistan, the defeat of the Taliban, the improvement of lives for the Afghans was something that we found to be in the American national interest, then a comprehensive COIN strategy was defensible.  But if that wasn’t the overall goal, then the record shows that we should have been narrower.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The "Scary Assault Weapons" meme rises again

Bias up front......I'm a big fan of Emily Miller of the Washington Times....and I'm a big fan of guns. The irrational arguments against 'assault weapons' has surfaced again, this time with the nations premier race pimp at the helm.
The Democratic policy statement approved this week calls for enacting “common-sense improvements — like reinstating the assault-weapons ban and closing the gun-show loophole.” The so-called “assault-weapons ban” in the 1990s banned scary-looking guns and magazines that held over 10 rounds. The platform does toss in a line that claims to recognize the right to bear arms, but it is “subject to reasonable regulation.” The left wants “an honest, open national conversation about firearms.”
I asked many Democratic leaders about the party’s position on firearms at the convention, but almost all claimed not to have read that section of the platform. Jesse Jackson was one of the few willing to come out and say he wants to ban all guns except bolt-action rifles, shotguns and revolvers.
“You have the right to have a gun in your castle to protect your house. You have the right to have a gun to hunt,” the reverend said in an interview in Charlotte. “Semi-automatic weapons — military-style weapons — are beyond the zone of reasonableness.” The civil-rights leader asserted, “These mass killings in Aurora and Milwaukee … we must end easy access and ban these assault weapons.” He added, “Twenty-five percent of all police are killed by assault weapons, and they cannot defend themselves from that.”

I'll just leave these here......
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." (Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.)
"The great object is that every man be armed... Everyone who is able may have a gun." (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution.)
"The advantage of being armed... the Americans possess over the people of all other nations... Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in his Federalist Paper No. 26.)
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." (Second Amendment to the Constitution.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

...and the Left is at it again.....

This calls for my shocked face.
Dianne Feinstein announced Wednesday that she’s re-entering the battle over gun control during her keynote speech to the California delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
Feinstein was president of the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on what she calls that city’s “day of infamy” in 1978, when a former colleague shot and killed Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Since then, Senator Feinstein has been one of the most vocal proponents of gun control on Capitol Hill.
She promised California delegates she’d return to Congress to reintroduce “an updated assault weapons bill.”
At the delegates' breakfast, she said that, "Weapons of war do not belong on our streets, in our classrooms, in our schools or in our movie theatres."
Feinstein co-sponsored an assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994, which expired 10 years later.

And ironically, I'm going 'assault weapon' shopping this weekend.

Did God get the shaft? Part II

The faux hullabaloo over which party shows more [or enough] obsequiousness and submission to the Christian God continues after the DNC's botched attempt at recalibration. Quite distracting from real issues....but a piece at US Catholic puts it best:
But ultimately, what each party says (or doesn't say) in its platform about religion isn't worth getting worked up over. The Democrats may talk big about working with faith communities, but they still failed to incorporate the views of pro-life Catholics who support them on other issues into their platform. The Republicans can brag that God shows up 10 times in their platform, but so do positions that fail to place a priority on protecting the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. 
How many times each party mentions God, faith, religion, or any other term doesn't make one party more friendly to religions than the other, nor does it guarantee that the party's policies and the actions of its leaders will match the values of people of faith. Both parties fall short in that regard, no matter how much lip service they may pay to religion.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rhetorical Question for the DNC....

Is Obama going to take credit [again] in his speech on Friday night....about how he withdrew all of our forces from Iraq.... neglecting the fact that it was the Bush Administration who negotiated the SOFA and withdrawal?

Did God get the shaft? (Updated)

I'm being told all over the internet, from the GOP the twitterverse, the allegedly liberal media and of course, the favorite morning show of the baby Jesus....Fox & Friends....that the DNC has dropped 'God' from their platform.
GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama’s administration “purged” mentions of God from the Democratic Party platform Wednesday.
“I think it’s rather peculiar,” Ryan said on “Fox & Friends.” “It’s not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision. I’d guess you’d have to ask the Obama administration why they purged all this language from their platform. There sure is a lot of mention of government. I guess I would just put the onus and the burden on them to explain why they did all this, these purges of God.”

But in about 45 seconds, I'm able to look at the Democratic platform and find the following:
Faith. Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith- based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world—from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.
Democrat Platform

Seems cogent enough...but oddly, the GOP platform's section on faith doesn't seem too different [beyond the victimhood theme].
The first provision of the First Amendment concerns freedom of religion. That guarantee reflected Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which declared that no one should “suffer on account of his religious opinion or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion….” That assurance has never been more needed than it is today, as liberal elites try to drive religious beliefs— and religious believers—out of the public square. The Founders of the American Republic universally agree that democracy presupposes a moral people and that, in the words of George Washington’s Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” 
The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration’s attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion. This forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations, including faith-based hospitals and colleges, has been in tandem with the current Administration’s audacity in declaring which faith related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment—an unprecedented aggression repudiated by a unanimous Supreme Court in its Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC decision.
We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government. We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools and to have equal access to public schools and other public facilities to accommodate religious freedom in the public square. We assert every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices. We oppose government discrimination against businesses due to religious views. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association ofthe Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations whose values are under assault and condemn the State blacklisting of religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples. We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.
GOP Platform

Surely this is not another case of a politician, party and their myrmidons hyping another meme through the allegedly liberal media?

Lawyers, Guns & Money built a graph depicting the mention of God in GOP platforms since 1856:

A few observations:
1. The 2012 GOP platform is a total outlier, presumably designed to intimidate the Saracen hordes biding their time for Obama’s re-election.
2. Judging entirely by the text of its platforms — for by their words, or works, or whatever, ye shall know them — the party clearly had no use for God from its founding through the 1960s. By my sophisticated calculations, the godlessness of the Republicans from 1856-1956 likely accounts for the successful passage of 93 percent of Progressive Era legislation and 97 percent of the New Deal.
3. I have new-found, albeit limited, appreciation for the Nixon-era GOP.
4. How did Reagan manage to win in 1980 with 66 percent less Jeebus than 1976?
5. How did Bush manage to win in 2000 with 75 percent less Jeebus than 1996?
6. I don’t know what that weird green dash is to the right of the graph, but fuck it! I made a graph!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remember before November

Sometimes we get the candidate we deserve.

From Judy Morris:

The Democrats claim to love and value humanity, human rights and justice. While the Republican Party is currently saddled with the entirely justifiable label of 'War Party', the history of liberal/progressive/Democratic views on humanity are grotesquely contrary to its mantra as the Party of Peace and Love.
What's really tragic is that Republicans who once stood for limited government and peace somehow managed to link up with the progressives on the road to tyranny and joined them.  Not only is America now stuck with 2 evil War Parties, those progressive moralists that bashed Bush/Cheney on foreign policy were suddenly all quiet when they won power in 2008 and their party was doing the killing.
Love humanity and value peace, liberty and prosperity?  Then don't vote Republican or Democrat.


I've followed the ongoing debates around the Counterinsurgency [COIN] theory of warfare for quite some time, especially during my ramp up to spend 15 months in Baghdad during the much vaunted 'Surge'. Folks like Gentile, Metz, McMasters and Nagl would take to the wonkish forums like Small Wars Journal and the Center for Defense Studies to defend their strategy of taming asymmetric warfare in the 21st century. The discussions waxed and waned over topics like understanding indigenuous cultural values and the efficacy of armor and artillery in a COIN environment. These men are not superstars outside of their arena, as the media has not given due diligence to the architects of strategies that have influenced national policy and news cycles....though one name had stood out the brightest and for the longest. LTC John Nagl [Ret] wrote Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, which was published in 2002, and soon became the rising star of a cadre nicknamed the COINdinistas.

COIN soon became the new currency of strategic success, coming at a time when our outlook for obtainable metrics in Iraq was rapidly diminishing. But as many have noted, COIN is not a band aid for bad national policy, nor poor planning.

Nagl is leaving the world of strategic studies and the Center for a New American Security, but the debate still rages on.

Learning to Eat Soup with a Spoon
The American Conservative

Cogent commentary on the TAC article
Small Wars Journal

Monday, September 3, 2012

Show of hands if you're surprised

As a family who has had our two young daughters in public schools, private schools and have [and currently] home schooled [the downside of military life and deployments/moves], I feel like I have a pretty good basis to assess the general state of primary education.  The results come as no surprise to me...but I likewise don't really see anything from our political officials to rectify the obvious problems.
Among all types of U.S. educational institutions, Americans believe that public schools offer the worst quality of education, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday. In addition to public education, the survey examined four types of U.S. schooling: charter schools, independent private schools, parochial or church-related schools, and homeschooling.
In the nationwide survey, administered August 9-12, interviewers told participants: "I’m going to read a list of ways in which children are educated in the U.S. today. As I read each one, please indicate — based on what you know or have read and heard — how good an education each provides children — excellent, good, only fair, or poor. How about: public schools, parochial or church-related schools, independent private schools, charter schools, or home-schooling?"
A mere 32 percent of respondents believe public schools provide a “good” education, while only five percent said they deliver an “excellent” education. This combined 37 percent, who gave public schools an “excellent” or “good” education rating, was by far the lowest among all the types of schooling cited in Gallup’s survey. “Public schools get a relatively poor rating,” the poll stated, “even though the vast majority of American children are educated in public schools.” 

Somebody explain to me.....

Why it's become politically correct to deride somebody's "anti-colonialism"....when we began as, and rebelled against colonialism?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pulling out of Iraq....Romantically......

Two Parties......No Choice

Today's cogent post from fellow Libertarian blogger Kent McManigal. It's a bit embarrassing, but ultimately helpful and educating when others can translate exactly what you're thinking and make it read better.

It's frustrating when you can see the game for what it commiserate with others who seemingly agree with you....but watch them become props in the play all the same. The political theater that we've seen throughout our lives, has been scripted long ago. Meme's become truths....similarities become differences.

Today's voting eligible public has been taught to believe that the media is biased towards a single party, when in fact it is complicit with both The masses are told that there are stark differences between the two major parties, so that when you choose between the two, you are left with a facade of satisfaction that you've helped your team....when in reality, a vote for either merely ensures that the size and scope of government will continue to grow....more laws will be passed at all levels that restrict, regulate and tax your lawful activities. The nanny state is perpetuated in sometimes divergent directions depending on the party, but it grows just the same with a vote for either.

While you Republicans are wrong on half of the things you yap about, just like Democrats are, and I have gotten over the need to vote (although I still have empathy with the voters), I will offer you some advice. Take it or leave it.
You screwed yourselves badly by nominating Obamney 2.0. And now you are falling over your own feet trying to justify what you did, and trying to convince each other how great he is and how only he can save America from Obamney 1.0. Even "conservatives", who should despise the liberal extremist Republican candidate, are doing this.
You don't have to convince each other. You have already bought in. The only people who "like" your candidate are those voters who either despise the other candidate so much that they'd vote for a smelly gym sock soaked in goat urine if it were running against him, or those who will stick by anything as long as the GOP nominated it. You've got that vote locked up easily. But that's not enough to give you a win.
You've got to convince those people who basically see things as I do, but haven't yet walked away from the rigged game- those who still hold out hope that liberty can be increased by a vote. You can't win the election without them.
And most of those people are not stupid enough to vote for your chosen candidate. We see that he is just a mirror reflection of the other candidate- a thuggish goon who supports and advocates all the same crap the other thuggish goon advocates and supports.
You are committing suicide, Republican Party. I won't try to stop you- I only hope the Democrats do the same. But they won't unless something changes because they don't try to be exactly like you. That's purely a Republican trait.
So, if you actually want to become relevant, you will have to nominate people who scare you just a little. Candidates who are different. Candidates who will arouse deep hatred in liberals while they attract those who want something different from the bland offerings you keep serving up. In other words, you will have to become a little more libertarian.
Personally, I hope you don't. Liberty will suffer until the statists all make themselves so ridiculous to normal people that the spell is broken and the "same old thing" stops getting recycled. You're well on your way.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Yes are just as complicit

From the Libertarian PatriotNice to see that the GOP is admitting that they had a hand in putting the nation deeper into debt.


My Oregon flag flies today. As the official spokesman of the Unofficial Northern Virginia Chapter of Displaced Quacker-Backers....I hereby pronounce this day the greatest day of the year since January 2nd!