Apr 30 2016

16 years in to the new century

And we have nothing to show for it. The great spiral downward of the United States of America continues.

Charles Pierce is one of my favorite writers. He pulls no punches in latest masterpiece of great writing to tell us how Donald Trump is the visible symbol of our failure as a country:

The first decade of the twenty-first century gave us a great deal to forget. It began with an extended mess of a presidential election that ended with the unprecedented interference of a politicized Supreme Court. It was marked early on by an unthinkable attack on the American mainland. At this point, we forgot everything we already knew. We knew from our long involvement in the Middle East where the sources of the rage were. We forgot. We knew from Vietnam the perils of involving the country in a land war in Asia. We forgot. We knew from Nuremberg and from Tokyo what were war crimes and what were not. We forgot that we had virtually invented the concept of a war crime. We forgot. In all cases, we forgot because we chose to forget. We chose to believe that forgetting gave us real power and that memory made us weak. We even forgot how well we knew that was a lie.?

Pierce is echoing my feelings directly. "I watch the presidential campaign this year, and I watch how the country has abandoned self-government and the idea of a political commonwealth, and I see a country that is voluntarily taking upon itself my father's disease. A vagabond country, making itself a stranger to itself, a permanent refugee country, unmoored from its history."

It is some great writing. You should be reading him every day, but particularly this day.

Remember, this passage said to the people of a tattered and bleeding nation. Bind up the wounds. Take care of him who has borne the battle, and his widow and orphan, too. Achieve a just and lasting peace between yourselves and all nations. But first, remember how this misery came to pass. Remember what we are capable of doing to one another if we lose faith in every institution of self-government, especially those into which we are supposed to channel our passions to constructive purpose. Remember, Lincoln said in this speech, which was his last warning to the nation he'd preserved. Remember that we can be killers. Remember that, and you can be strong and powerful enough to not allow it to happen again.

The late historian Michael Kammen likened even the newest Americans to Fortinbras in Hamlet, who declares that he has "some rights of memory in this kingdom." Even the immigrants most lately arrived can, Kammen argued, "have an imaginative and meaningful relationship to the determinative aspects of American history." In the campaign now ongoing, we see successful candidates running against the very notion of what Kammen was talking about. When Trump chants his mantra—"Make America Great Again"—the rest of the slogan is unsaid but obvious. The implied conclusion is "…Before All of Them Wrecked It." And that is what has been selling, all year long, because while the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting, there is no guarantee that either struggle will end in triumph.

 

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Apr 28 2016

Running with the devil…….

If you have been following my sparse postings lately ( and judging by the hit counter, you haven't) you will know that I am no fan of the junior Senator from the less than great state of Texas, Ted Cruz. In my lifetime, I have seldom seem an individual more vile, self serving, selfish bastard in American politics-and that is saying a lot. Especially when consider the long history of vile, self serving bastards we have had in American politics over the last 240 years.

Ted Cruz

myopic self-righteous, power hungry asshole who won't listen to anyone or change his views no matter the circumstances.

That guy you're dating is a total Ted Cruz. Run for the hills before he defunds your abortion savings account.

by wonkette2016 October 01, 2013

If a bus ran him over on the road, I would really have to think hard about running over to help him, or giving the bus driver a 100 dollars for performing a public service. Even the father of the underworld is wondering about this guy:

25hhhg

My Canadian Counterpart, whose writing I dearly miss ( and I wish was commenting on this election) had him sized up pretty well back in 2013:

I've never met Ted Cruz, so I can't say as an absolute certainty that he's a psychopathic retard. But because he's a Republican and a Tea Partier, he can't honestly object to either characterization, since both are such a central part of his political base. 

Republicans and Teapers get awfully pissy when I say things like that, but I'm hardly the one that's been in the trenches finding new and ever more self-defeating ways to turn superstition and stupidity into conservative virtues. 

Even before the advent of the Tea Party, supposedly conservative politicians have equated self-promoting ignorance as folksiness, which explains the non-sexual appeal of Sarah Palin perfectly. Christ, when I try to explain to reasonable, intelligent people why I hold conservative positions, I have to bend over backwards to demonstrate that I'm not a fucking yahoo. And that's exhausting because people like Ted Cruz have made it their life's mission to make it exhausting. ………….

But people with normal cognitive functions – including most rational Republicans – have come to loathe Cruz with the power of a thousand suns.

I don't want to see Cruz turned into Robert Taft, the serious conservative that wasn't given a chance. He needs to be Alf Landon, the guy who got beaten within an inch of his fucking life.

 

 

And those are just the printable sentiments I have for him. Under the influence of Scotch I have a whole different view point.

So imagine my surprise when I read that even people who are supposed to be on his side, truly hate the guy. And he really may be spending his summers in the 7th circle of hell:

Much of the discussion – and laughs – focused on Boehner’s views on the current presidential candidates. Segueing into the topic, Kennedy asked Boehner to be frank given that the event was not being broadcasted, and the former Speaker responded in kind. When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.

“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

On which, Mr Boehner and I are in complete agreement. Wow. Vindication from an very unlikely source.

So given that Satan's image picked a running mate, just the day after he was mathematically eliminated from having a realistic shot at enough delegates to win the nomination, what does Mr. Boehner's pronouncement make Carly Fiorina?

'

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Apr 23 2016

Here we go again.

Published by under Navy

A CO has been fired through what appears to be, assassination by IG.

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Yokosuka base commanding officer Capt. David Glenister has been relieved of duty, Navy officials in Japan said Thursday.

Rear. Adm. Matthew Carter, head of Navy Region Japan, relieved Glenister Wednesday afternoon after losing confidence in his ability to command.

“The action resulted from the findings gathered during investigations which determined that Glenister had not performed to the high standards demanded of an installation commanding officer,” a Navy statement said.

Glenister’s initial misstep involved an investigation into Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs in the summer of 2015, Navy Region Japan officials said.

The investigation completed by the base command was deemed by higher headquarters as “wholly insufficient,” Navy Region Japan spokesman Cmdr. Ron Flanders said Thursday.

The regional command later conducted its own investigation, which found and later corrected deficiencies found in the MWR programs, Flanders said.

This year, Glenister inadequately handled a “very serious” personnel grievance filed by a Yokosuka civilian base employee, Navy Region Japan officials said. The grievance was not filed against Glenister personally. Officials declined to provide more detail on the grievance because it could be the subject of a lawsuit.

The two incidents, combined with poor initial findings of a command climate survey, led the Navy to determine that Glenister could no longer “handle that complex range of issues that can occur at a major base,” Flanders said.

 

My sense here is that we do not know the entire story and there is more to this than just what was written above. Certainly it says a lot about autonomy, or lack of it, in the current Navy Chain of Command. Was he counseled by his leadership following the first incident?

The poor command climate is a wrinkle-but then again, I would like to know the back story here. And it would be worth seeing the demographics involved. It is an open secret that Navy Region Japan has been enforcing the utterly stupid "5 year rule" on its civilian employees. That has to have an affect, and its not one the CO can control. A military vs civilian breakdown might reveal something.

And lets not forget, all the bullshit liberty restrictions in place that turn a really good deal, namely living in Japan, into a nuisance.

There is more here than is being admitted to.

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Apr 17 2016

I can’t believe this is even up for discussion

At my alma mater. It seems someone wants to wear a hijab over her head as she matriculates for her knob year. Never, everm, back in the bad old days of an all male Corps-full of fun and camaraderie-would I have ever thought that we would be having this conversation. What's a hijab you ask?

An islamically prescribed way of dress in which a woman must cover herself at least from her shoulders to her knees in loose fitting clothing that isn't sheer. At best she covers her body with the exception of her face and hands. The clothing can be as stylish as she wants it to be or as drab and unstylish as she wants it to be. She can wear silk, or any other fabric and follow any style as long as it stays within these bounds. 

As practiced in many places it is a scarf that covers to the shoulders.

Which is why the S.O. calls them "scarf people".

You know, someone who may look like this:

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Or perhaps not.

Here are the basics so far:

The Citadel is considering a request from an admitted student that she be allowed to wear a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith, a move that would be an unprecedented exception to the school’s longstanding uniform requirements.

If the request for the traditional Muslim hair covering is granted, it apparently would be the first exception made to the Citadel’s uniform, which all cadets at the storied public military college in South Carolina are required to wear at nearly all times. (At beaches, for example, college rules stipulate that, “Cadets will change into appropriate swimwear upon arrival and change back into uniform when departing.”) A spokeswoman said that to her knowledge, in its nearly 175-year history, the school has never granted a religious, or other, accommodation that resulted in a change to the uniform.

And now for the understatement of the year.

As word spread on social media, students, alumni and others responded strongly to the idea of an exception being made at an institution where uniformity, discipline and adherence to rules are defining values, where loyalty to the corps is paramount and individual preferences are trivial.

Strong is how someone feels against the New York Yankees. This is something more than strong, we are talking furious, ready to set a house on fire angry, and livid are just a few of the milder reactions to this insanity.

And informal poll on Facebook was alumni opposed to the notion by about 99%.

And for the record I agree with them. So count me in the, " Hell no and go fuck yourself for asking."  group.

A big part of The Citadel experience is supposed to be knob year. It is supposed to be an adversarial system that tears you down to basic building blocks before building you back up. That involves a certain level of conformity-and that is partially achieved by wearing the same uniform.

I suppose this was inevitable since the Supreme Court failed in 1996, but even holding my longstanding beliefs aside, this is just ridiculous.

Look,  I get it about religious accommodations. But they are also to be implemented on a "not to interfere" basis with good order and discipline. This, in my opinion,  crosses a line.  And before someone throws out the "B" word, please remember  I live in Europe and I see a lot of women with hijabs and other garments. Like it or not, its a problem, because it puts everyone else on the defensive and makes you automatically suspicious of them. Is that profiling? Yes. Is it right? Probably not , although my Israeli friends would argue the point. Nonetheless it is a fact of life as long as Islam is as a corrosive a force as it is in the world. I see this issue as one of assimilation-which is what should be happening if people wish to successfully immigrate to the west. The French banned it for good reason. And if I had my way, the women in Europe would have to remove their hijabs and dress like a western woman. Perhaps its bigotry-but its also a prevailing sentiment. An incident like this in Germany would get Alternative for Deutschland (an anti-immigrant party) 100,000 votes every time it hits the papers. 

Also, this is really not a black and white issue. It's complex as the French have found out:

 "During the years I lived in Paris it became clear that what people in polite society alluded to as the “Muslim issue” was, actually, a fiendishly complex knot of social, religious and historical threads all bundled up as one. On the surface – and there was no need to doubt the genuineness of this – most French Muslims declared themselves to be patriotic, and resoundingly supportive of the constitutional separation of church and state.

It wasn’t surprising. The post-war Muslim presence in France had been built around the harkis who had lived and worked under French administrations in north Africa, often serving in the French forces and seeing France as their true home across the Med. Like the West Indians who came to Britain in the 1950s, they were astonished on arrival to discover that the natives were far less respectful of the mother country and its institutions than they were.

But this generation’s influence was starting to fade, and in the unlovely satellite suburbs where many Muslim immigrants settled, or – to be more accurate – were dumped, a new kind of identity began to emerge. Today, virtually cut off from mainstream society, the populations of many of these places have become hostages to virulent strains of radicalism. Women who refuse to wear the hijab, and, increasingly, the burka, are intimidated and brutalised by gangs whose ideas about female emancipation are on an exact par with those of the Taliban.

This, as Mme Amara painstakingly tries to explain, is the problem with all those charming liberal pieties about allowing women to choose how they wish to dress. Large numbers of the women who wear the burka – whether in France, Britain or anywhere else – don’t have a choice."

Furthermore, Islam has not an absolute requirement to wear a hijab. It is more of a cultural thing than perhaps we realize. And I believe that we should be incentivzing assimilation if we want to make immigration work. If you don't like those reasons, here is a better one:

 

A Hijab protects women from lustful and sinful thoughts from men. How can we incorporate this into the system at The Citadel? How can we represent one’s religious beliefs into the system without affecting the basic Unity and foundation of the system? The Millennial inside of me says acceptance, but the experience I was given there, and the leadership foundation that was taught says something else, we choose to go down that path and it is a path not designed for everyone. Unfortunately, some systems do not conform to ones beliefs.

That being said, The Citadel is not rejecting her religious beliefs or the act of religious freedom at all. Conforming does not mean disowning or not allowing her beliefs but simply means it does not comply with the rules and standards The Citadel has set in place.

Rules and Standards, The Citadel is founded upon them. The rules and standards of The Citadel are what produced some of the greatest leaders of our time, and the system needs to change because of acceptance?

We are not against religious freedom, we are a public school that has higher standards than others and cannot meet everyone's needs. Anyone is free to enter or leave the gates as they please. The act of denying her right to wear her Hijab is not an act against religious freedom but one’s beliefs does not conform to The Citadel’s rules and regulations is not a good fit for her.

 

Just say no!

 

5 responses so far

Apr 14 2016

Pet Care

Published by under Fun things!

This is why you do not, I say again, do not, leave your dog in the car:

 

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Apr 13 2016

New Job Opportunity

What could possibly go wrong with this?

The story of how Prince secretly plotted to transform the two aircraft for his arsenal of mercenary services is based on interviews with nearly a dozen people who have worked with Prince over the years, including current and former business partners, as well as internal documents, memos, and emails. Over a two-year period, Prince exploited front companies and cutouts, hidden corporate ownership, a meeting with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout’s weapons supplier, and at least one civil war in an effort to manufacture and ultimately sell his customized armed counterinsurgency aircraft. If he succeeded, Prince would possess two prototypes that would lay the foundation for a low-cost, high-powered air force capable of generating healthy profits while fulfilling his dream of privatized warfare.

I cans see the job advertisements now:

International firm seeks experienced pilots. Must have 1200 hours flight time, half of that at night and be fully instrument rated. Prior military experience a must. May involve some personal risk. Salary? HUGE. Must be available immediately and look the other way when shady financial and maintenance practices encountered.

And of course you must be able to dodge the inevitable question from your friends and steady girlfriend (s): Why isn't this fucking guy in jail?

I mean really. What the hell does it say when the CEO of the firm gets voted out by his own board and has shady financial dealings with the Chinese?  Isn't that the same as playing for the bad guys?

That source, who has extensive knowledge of Prince’s activities and travel schedule, said that Prince was operating a “secret skunkworks program” while parading around war and crisis zones as FSG’s founder and chairman. “Erik wants to be a real, no-shit mercenary,” said the source. “He’s off the rails exposing many U.S. citizens to criminal liabilities. Erik hides in the shadows … and uses [FSG] for legitimacy.”

Last October, FSG’s corporate leadership grew so concerned about Prince’s efforts to sell paramilitary programs and services that the board passed a series of resolutions stripping Prince of most of his responsibilities as chairman.

FSG also terminated the contracts of two of Prince’s closest associates within the company after management became suspicious that they were assisting Prince in his unapproved dealings, according to two people with knowledge of FSG’s inner workings. Smith declined to comment on internal FSG personnel matters.

In recent months, FSG employees became alarmed when they began to hear reports from sources within the U.S. government that their chairman’s communications and foreign travel were being monitored by U.S. intelligence. According to three people who have worked with Prince, his colleagues were warned not to get involved with his business deals or discuss sensitive issues with him. “I would assume that just about every intelligence agency in the world has him lit up on their screen,” said one of the people advised to avoid Prince.

And then , of course, there is this little matter to deal with.

race2

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Apr 12 2016

Well that serves me right

Published by under Uncategorized

I am back from the Whining States of America. In trying to write up a play by play of my time back on the other side of the Atlantic, I inadvertently screwed up my database. I could not get the site to load. And then, in the process of trying get the machine to work-it appears I dumped a LOT of pictures. That is what happens when you have to go in the "back door" so to speak.

So please be patient while I try to fix this. You will probably get a few 500 pages again I think.

Damnit!!!!!

Skippy-san

 

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Apr 02 2016

An unintentional April Fool’s Joke

A traveling man is a happy man. Or should be anyway. Normally I would be happy to be on the road again-even if the trip is back to the Whining States of America. But not this time. Thanks to the machinations of the little psychopath, the meetings I am heading to will be filled with unnecessary conflict. That I do not like. After all:

 

Ah, but such is life. After all those frequent flier miles are not going to earn themselves you know-and I am within 20K of making 1 million.

It was with considerable bemusement that I noted this post, which documented a welcome development-namely a desire to have Universities return to teaching history of Western Civilization ( a staple class for many majors at my beloved alma mater) back in the day. Now, that I will admit is a welcome development and as I have argued before should be a fundamental part of a proper education , regardless of your field of specialization.

In 1964, 15 of the 50 premier universities in America — including Stanford — required students to take a survey of Western civilization. All 50 offered the course, and nearly all of them (41) offered it as a way to satisfy some requirement.

But in the 1980s, minority students and faculty at Stanford asserted that requiring students to take the Western civ survey was implicitly racist. Jesse Jackson marched with an army of protesters chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Western culture’s got to go.”

In 1988, away it went. Stanford then began requiring a course on a non-Western culture. By 2010, none of the 50 top universities required Western civilization, and 34 didn’t even offer the course.

Stanford students want it back. And they don’t simply want to dust off a shelved syllabus.

The Review writers, led by editor-in-chief Harry Elliott, seek a new way to study old ideas. Students want to know the good — the legacies of reason, freedom and innovation. But they also want to know the bad — the skeletons of wars, slavery and the Holocaust.

They also recognize that we seek equal rights and individual choice because we have inherited Western ideas about freedom and human dignity.

Why study Western civilization? As these students argue in their manifesto, by knowing the West we can understand how knowledge has grown over time; how dictatorships rise and fall; how ideas we now presuppose took many years and much struggle to gain traction; and why these ideas matter. Without such knowledge, students will take the heritage of their civilization for granted and be unable, or unwilling, to defend it.

 

For now we will set aside the fact that this article comes from the New York Post, not exactly a beacon of intellectual integrity, and focus on the conclusions drawn from the development.

Phib, like many conservative "scholars", takes an admirable development and twists it to his own devious purposes. A knowledge of Western Civilization is a good thing, but its is a worthless development if leads you to draw conclusions like this:

The war against what binds us together is trans-generational. The kids of the Progressive Era used the children of the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, as their foot soldiers. Gen X saw the fruits up close when they were in college in the 80s and 90s. Though advancing in some areas, the Diversity Industry has seen a few setbacks as the Boomers approach their dotage and Gen Y gets a footing – good news for all of us.

That last statement is as full of bias as anything the diversity bullies might have said, and in another news flash, most of them do not hate themselves, no matter how much you want them to. The Baby Boomers, of which I am proud to be one, are not to blame for your twisted interpretation of history. You might want to go back and check your bias at the door-there is another conclusion, you know.

The misdeeds of our current economic system are trans- generational. They screw millennials  and boomers alike. And as the parade of Western Civilization proves, when people are deprived of basic necessities and dignity, there is a only so far they will allow it to go. If your cherished vision of American political commonwealth is under attack, it is because the inherent selfishness that underpins your vision of economic justice and "structure to be bound by ideas and principals" is not sustainable in the long term. Government is not, as so many of today's "principled conservatives" believe, transactional in nature. The history of Western Civilization teaches us that.

Or it would teach us that if you had bothered to actually do the homework. At the end of the post, Phib seems to show us,  by his failure to comment on it, that he needs to go back to school.

No matter what field students enter, they are well-served throughout their lives if they know how we got here. They can understand Donald Trump more clearly if they’ve read Machiavelli. They can see why it matters that Bernie Sanders is an intellectual descendent of Karl Marx.

I am afraid you flunked the final exam sir, and will need to retake the course.

This is what happens when people read too much Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn and therefore fancy themselves as "learned" on Western values. Bernie Sanders is nothing like Karl Marx, just as Trump is really not Machiavellian at all. That would be Ted Cruz. If Sanders does owe anything to Mr. Marx, it is his anger at the blatant unfairness that our pursuit of obscene wealth creates. I hate to break it to you, but plenty of other non-communist authors had equal disgust with that unfairness. The Enlightenment is built on it.

Sanders has more in common with Otto von Bismark and FDR than Karl Marx, and much of the ideas he champions had their start economically in the late 1700's and 1848. Sure, he believes in regulated and  taxed private enterprise, but he does not seem to want the state to own banks and make cars. He believes in social benefits for the same reason Bismark did-because they build a stable society. The Germans were also not the first to draw this conclusion. As for Trump, well you should be looking to Wendell Wilkie, not Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli for a historical example.

Stupid study starts tomorrow afternoon.

MjAxMS0yOWJkYWEwZjM2M2QxMWY5

 

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Mar 31 2016

Just in under the wire

It is the end of March. The end of that oh so wonderful time of the year known as women's history month. Long time readers know that I don't like Women's History month although I do like women a lot. There are a lot of past posts that you can read here. I like them-some other readers did not.

There is a lot to talk about this year. We could talk to this. Or this.

But instead I want to just quickly talk about the law of unintended consequences.

As you may be aware, the military changed its retirement scheme this year affecting folks entering the military in 2018.

In contrast to the longstanding current system that reserves pension payouts for troops who serve at least 20 years in uniform, the new, “blended” plan would give troops who serve as little as two years some retirement benefits through vested 401(k)-style investments in their Thrift Savings Plan accounts.

Today, only about one in five service members sees any retirement pay. Under the new plan, officials estimate, about four in five will leave the military with some level of retirement savings.

The plan follows a recommendation from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission in February, which found most younger Americans “change jobs frequently and tend to favor flexible retirement options.”

The concept has been discussed among military advocates for years. Commissioner Steve Buyer, who served as a Republican representative from Indiana for 18 years, said lawmakers envisioned the shift from military pensions to investment accounts when they first approved the Thrift Savings Plan in 1999.

Not everyone will shift to the new model; it will cover all troops who enter service after Jan. 1, 2018, but anyone already in the ranks or who signs up in the next 24 months will be grandfathered into the traditional, 20-year retirement system

However guess what the Congress forgot to address in this  rather stupid poorly thought out change.( Lets be clear. I do not support this change to the retirement program and I think it incentivizes people to leave the service at mid career if not before. The retirement system was not what needed to be changed. DOPMA did) The Congress did nothing to change that incredibly horrid piece of legislation, the abomination known as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. You can read more about it here.

Fast forward to 2038. A Commander, who got divorced at the 10 year point is now opening his mail, 30 days before his retirement,  to find that his worthless shrew of an ex wife is suing him for 35% of his now diminished retirement pay. That, by the way on top of the 50% of his 10 years of TSP savings at the time of the divorce. So now, thanks to Congress' lack of due diligence and concern, our new job seeker gets screwed at the drive through not just once, but twice. And you are kidding yourself if you don't think some sleazy lawyer won't try it.

"But he could have stopped that when he got divorced by having it written into the decree".

Perhaps, but it could be just as likely, if not moreso that the fucking bitch, pushed to get both travesties in the divorce decree. That happens.

And not one Congressman is having the courage to take up this part of the law or better yet advocate for its repeal entirely.

And that dear friends, is a bit of feminist future history, brought to you here in 2016. Because remember:

vOozw3Z

2 responses so far

Mar 28 2016

Where was Waldo?

Published by under Travel

Sorry for the lack of posts. I just got back from a nice weekend here.

Where was I?

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