Sep 25 2015

Going Nordo.

Published by under Politics,Travel

Walking up the brow this weekend and going haze gray and underway. No wait a minute, the ship is white.

How about , "Bright white and out of sight!"surprise?

Either way posting will be non-existent for a bit. ( again).

But I could not let the good news / bad news of the day pass unnoticed.  Because the Pope has to be a powerful guy.




I admit, I did not see that coming. I mean wow-I never would have thought that would happen.

But here is the problem-there are any numbers of blatantly deranged psychopaths that are waiting in the wings to take his place.

And in news pretty much guaranteed to fuck up my world-I think it pretty much guarantees a government shut down.

Just one more reason to buy that unlimited drinks package , I guess.

See you on the other side!


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Sep 19 2015

Day late and more than a couple of dollars short

Published by under Beer and Babes

For beer and babes. My apologies. I wish I could say its because I got a better offer-but that would require the S.O. to actual remember that she is supposed to have sex. sad

But one can still admire this:


And drink some of this:


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Sep 17 2015

Not liking the competition

Published by under Sex,Technology

Back when I was in Japan, I remember vividly the complaints of Western Women, evil arch enemy of all us great guys who savored living there, complaining about us coming down with "Yellow Fever". 

Now it seems technology is going to replicate that cultural conflict on a grand scale:

A campaign has been launched calling for a ban on the development of robots that can be used for sex.

Such a use of the technology is unnecessary and undesirable, said campaign leader Dr Kathleen Richardson.

Sex dolls already on the market are becoming more sophisticated and some are now hoping to build artificial intelligence into their products.

Those working in the field say that there is a need for such robots.

Dr Richardson, a robot ethicist at De Montfort University in Leicester, wants to raise awareness of the issue and persuade those developing sex robots to rethink how their technology is used.

"Sex robots seem to be a growing focus in the robotics industry and the models that they draw on – how they will look, what roles they would play – are very disturbing indeed," she told the BBC.

She believes that they reinforce traditional stereotypes of women and the view that a relationship need be nothing more than physical.

And the follow up question should be, "So what's your point?"

Really? Robots are going to replace real women?  I don't think so-but at the same time, having an alternative that is not loaded with baggage is not exactly a bad thing either.

Besides as Sam Kinison pointed out, market forces are at work here:


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Sep 13 2015

Recent Reading

Besides the volume of recent work, I have been deeply involved in several books recently. Not really an excuse for my lack of steady posting, but it did provide a different sort of diversion. Below are my reviews of three of the best of the group. ( I have finished 7 in all since mid-July).

The first book was an oldie,  but goody. It is from the 1970's and it is Saul Bellow's, To Jerusalem and Back, A Personal Account. Published in 1976, the book is a fascinating series of anecdotes and stories about all aspects of the experience of Israel during that decade and the decades before. Bellow writes of a discussion with Jean Paul Sartre published many years earlier. He has a brief view of the power ( or lack thereof) of the United States Sixth fleet, back during the time that the US Navy actually put ships in the Mediterranean ( of which I was a part in the late 1970's). The book is a report of the authors personal experiences but it is much, much more than that-it is a series of vignettes that show the complexity of modern Israeli life. What is amazing to me is just how forward looking Bellow was. He was writing in 1976, but his observations still hold true today.  As one critic said, " Forty years later, it's like reading last week's news analysis from the Middle East. If he hadn't been one of the great novelists of the 20th century, Bellow might have been one of its greatest journalists." That's a pretty good summation of the book.



Along the same lines, and as an adjunct to my job, I try to read a lot of background material on Israel. I had stumbled on Bellow's book in the library and I am glad I did. Interestingly enough, I tried to add it to my Kindle library and Amazon said it is not available to readers in the US, due to copyright restrictions. I found that interesting, if not a trifle disappointing. 

For the reason I listed above, I also completed reading a newer book that does the same thing as Bellows book-provide unique insights into the complex puzzle that is Israel.  The book is by Ari Shavit, who is a writer for Haaretz newspaper, and it is called, My Promised Land. The book is a series of interviews and retelling of specific pieces of Israel's history staring with the first waves of Aliyah ( emigration to Israel) that began in the 1890's and moving up to present day ( 2012).

We meet Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv’s booming club scene; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country.

As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.


In reading the book I was struck by two of the main points that he raised. First, he points out that both the Israeli right and the Israeli left have yet to come to grips with a central fact that lies at the heart of Zionism-namely that whether they realized it or not, the movement was built on the foundational idea of dispossessing the current occupants of Palestine, in favor of a group of people who had no modern historical ties to that particular chunk of real estate. They only have a thousands year old religious mystery to cling on to that underpinned the reason why Palestine and only Palestine could be the Jewish State. Shavit very skillfully points out that one cannot duck that particular fact, and it is at odds with the narrative of Israel as a benign civilizing force in the region.

The second issue, and its one I had not given much thought to before, is the idea that the Holocaust changed the demographics of the Zionist movement dramatically. It is important to remember that Herzl's vision of Zionism was essentially a European one. The Jewish State he envisioned was to be a a modern, sophisticated and technologically advanced and Europeanized society. Herzl was aware of the Sephardic Jews ( Oriental or non-European Jews) but he tended to discount that.

Herzl completely rejected the race theories of Israel Zangwill. He became increasingly aware of the existence of Sephardic Jewry, but he envisioned the Jewish State as a state of Europeans, who might speak German. In his diaries he wrote:

"I believe German will be our principal language…I draw this conclusion from our most widespread jargon, 'Judeo-German.' But over there we shall wean ourselves from this ghetto language, too, which used to be the stealthy tongue of prisoners. Our teachers will see to that." (June 15, 1895, Diaries, 1: 171)

In The Jewish State, Herzl envisioned the government of the new state to be an "Aristocratic Republic," apparently modeled on contemporary Austria or Germany. In 1902, Herzl published a utopian novel about the Jewish state,  Altneuland (old-new land) a vision complete with monorails and modern industry.  Altneuland envisioned a multipluralistic democracy in which Arabs and Jews had equal rights. The novel concludes, "If you will, it is no legend."

Der Judenstaat and  Altneuland were visions of a Jewish state to be populated by European Jewry, who in 1900 were far more numerous than the tiny remnant of oriental and Sephardic Jews in Muslim lands and the Balkans. Herzl himself was no doubt aware of Zionist yearnings among Sephardic Jews. His grandfather was a friend of RabbiYehudah Alkalai, a Zionist precursor. But Herzl addressed his vision to the Jews of Europe.

Shavit points out that the Holocaust destroyed that vision and changed the planned demographics of the new state of Israel. A lot of the initial immigration to Israel came from the Sephradi population, especially as the Arabs turned away from toleration to outright hostility. Those population numbers had a distinct impact on Israel's politics and societal views and Shavit points out that those effects are still present.

Shavit is a great writer and the book is very readable and fascinating to immerse yourself into. For non-Israelis, and Americans in particular I would recommend this book as a must read. It shatters a lot of myths-and that is a good thing. Americans need to understand Israel as it really is, not as they think it it is.




The final book I have been reading off and on is a return to one of my favorite writers and historians, Arthur Schlesinger. A while back I read his collection of letters and posted a review.  Subsequently his journals have been published. They are much more candid than his letters and his insights into many of today's political figures when they were younger are amazing to read.Schelsinger is a great writer and I particularly got some great satisfaction out of his description of Charles Krauthammer. It is simply priceless as it points out what a slug Krauthammer really is, long before the rest of us really knew about him:

Last night I appeared on ABC's Nightline (Ted Koppel), leaving an entertaining dinner party given by Ahmed and Mica Ertegun for Irving Lazar. My combatant on the show was a fellow named Charles Krauthammer who writes particularly obnoxious neo-conservative trash for the New Republic and other right wing journals. His special line is that a mature power must understand the vital need for an imperial policy and for unfettered executive secrecy in the conduct of foreign affairs. He argues this line with boundless self-righteousness and sublime ignorance of American history. He is also, alas, a paraplegic, having dived into a waterless swimming pool. The joy of dealing with Krauthammer perhaps tempted me into undue vehemence. I have been trying to establish a new and more benign television personality. His performance was surprisingly feeble, and I was unnecessarily testy. Still, it gave me much satisfaction. [Political cartoonist] Jules Feiffer called this morning and said, "If Krauthammer were not already in a wheelchair, he certainly would be now after the pounding you gave him last night.

The puzzle is that there are people who take Krauthammer seriously as a deep thinker.

Those lines were written in 1986, long before Krauthammer sold his soul to the devil that is Fox News.  They remain as true today as they were then. Schlesinger saw his mediocrity long before the rest of us. 

Its a fantastic insight into a half century of history and well worth the time to read. The best part is, that because it is a journal, you can leave it and come back to it. That is what I have done for the last month. Whenever I have extra time, my old friend Arthur Schlesinger is there-thanks to the modern innovation that is Kindle.


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Aug 29 2015

Sea Credit

For the record, my sea duty counter when I retired stood @ 5 years, 7 months and 21 days. Since I was in aviation, that time was all embarked on US Navy vessels and most of it was underway. So it would seem more than odd that I am actually looking forward to another week and a half at sea.

Yes, the SO and I have confirmed that both us have officially entered the land of the old timers by booking a cruise this fall here:


On the plus side, this will be the first cruise I make where I don't have to hide my drinking on board. cheeky

2 responses so far

Aug 27 2015

Writers bloc

Not much posting. As E   @   L, points out, some of it is due to "too much time on Famebook." But most of it is due the fact, that while I have a lot of ideas, I have little desire to write them down.

Maybe I am just depressed. After all, there is a lot to be depressed about.

A sizeable number of stupid people think Donald Trump is fit to be President.

People are defending Megyn Kelly as a "responsible journalist" ( Trump is right on that one. "We have already established what you are, Madam, now we are just negotiating over price).

The other 16 members of the clown car are just as bad.

It could be because I desperately need some of this:


Or because I have not traveled in 4 weeks.

But take heart, I did not forget women's equality day. ( Which was yesterday)


No sir, I remembered it.


Just as I remembered it was National Dog Day:



But none of that helps with my writers bloc. Perhaps the urge is dying? Perish the thought!


2 responses so far

Jul 18 2015

The wrong people are winning

Well, now that really bad things are going on, its probably time for me to get back to work. I have a lot to say about a lot of things-but just can't seem to either find the time or the volition to address them. But I just wanted to point out a fact that most educated readers of the remaining sane blogs on the internet already knew:



My 10 years of blogging have proven that point back to me time and time again. Its been especially disheartening to watch the decline of so called "front running" milblogs become the kind of conservative cesspool that the Breitbart enterprise is known for. Ellen Pao is right to be jumping ship over at Reddit:

The Internet started as a bastion for free expression. It encouraged broad engagement and a diversity of ideas. Over time, however, that openness has enabled the harassment of people for their views, experiences, appearances or demographic backgrounds. Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet. But that balancing act is getting harder. The trolls are winning.

My own experience validates that , I can assure you. I like to think its been reasonably ok over here at my little place but we have had our run ins with moron set. It's been nothing to compare with some of the displays of lunacy that we have seen elsewhere though.

Take the tragic events of this weekend. Charles Pierce over at Esquire magazine, a real magazine with real editors and management, (something Tom Johnson has probably never had to deal with-more on that later), published a pretty reasoned piece on the shootings in Chattanooga. Pierce pointed out quite correctly that whatever the motive of the shooter, the insanely easy effort required to get guns in the United States did not help matters much.

Because he wrote eloquently and did not immediately jump in the cesspool of hatred, all the demons came swarming out of hell. 

As a regular reader at his place, I can assure you that the comments you see-especially in the last day are not typical of the kind of discussion that normally goes on at his place. There is a reason for that. In the general atmosphere of insanity that is prevailing in America after the horrific events in Chattanooga, it seems a certain percentage of our citizenry takes offense if you say anything but, "Kill Muslims! Kill more Muslims! Arms for every citizen"

And that is where a stellar specimen of humanity such as Tom Johnson comes in. 

Don't stay too long over there-just reading the comments will make you despair of humanity, or the fact that so many of my fellow citizens of the land of my birth are really tha f*cking stupid. 

He did accomplish his goal though. If you follow the link over to the Esquire piece you will see the hoards of really useless and stupid people commenting in a variety of useless and stupid ways. As Charles Pierce would say, "These people really are mole people".  For a minute there, I thought I had clicked the wrong link and had actually stumbled onto the useless idiots who write at The Federalist.

(When it comes to an overall level of douchbaggery, the folks at The Federalist are hard to beat. They take the conservative culture of victimhood to a whole new level. They, support Scott Walker after all-which is essentially the same as supporting Satan himself).

But the simple truth is that it gets worse. One cannot have a dissenting viewpoint anymore-and you can be certain that no one , even if they disagree with you will talk about the specifics of an issue. If there is one legacy of Fox News and its tenure during the 21st Century, that is it.  You are not even allowed to get angry at them any more-although the President did try:




The President had the correct response to Major Garrett. "That's nonsense and you should know better!"

One reason I have not been writing as much as I used to, is my overall level of disgust at my fellow citizens who should know better, but throw themselves willy nilly into the lanes of stupidity. It's barely been 48 hours since the horrific events in Chattanooga, and the swill that passes for commentary on the internet is , to put it honestly, appalling. I lalready showed you some from the Town Hall Harlot, but actually if you peruse either Facebook or Twitter, its even worse. The level of ignorance and stupidity in the land of my birth is appalling. Digby provides some really bad examples for all the rest of us to see.




As Digby points out, "Sadly, that thinking represents a majority of the Republican Party."

And indeed it does. She then goes on to point out an annoying little fact that bears repeating just like Pierce did:

If we were to compare our most recent mass murders (we have so many) and the reactions to them, ask yourself whether or not anyone was clamoring to punish Dylan Roof's family. Or round up all the white supremacists and put them in jail. No, there was a clamoring among some Americans to pull down the confederate flag from official buildings. And it's astonishing, when you think about it, that such a flag was even flying or that people were defending it — the same people, no doubt, who are clamoring for this family to be deported (or worse.) 

I noticed that while we don't know at this point the motives of the Chattanooga shooter, it's crystal clear what Dylan Roof's were — to start a race war. And yet the media is having no trouble calling Chattanooga suspected terrorism. The head of the FBI says he's just not sure about Dylan Roof. It seems too obvious now, if it didn't before, that the term is only applied to Muslims. 

Charlie Pierce has it right — this is about America and our love affair with violence.   I had been under the impression that the right had made its peace with that as the price we pay for the freedom to be armed to the teeth at all times.  But that's not true.  They are very philosophical about the consequence of violence when it's perpetrated by white people, to be sure. It's just a fact of life like summer storms and earthquakes.  But they get very, very angry when a racial or ethnic minority does it. There's some sick white privilege for you.



This is your democracy America. Enjoy it while you still can.

9 responses so far

Jul 17 2015

When is a crime just a crime?

Its been a month since I have posted. I have been busy. No excuse to be sure-but its the truth.

During that time a lot has happened, much of it comment worthy-and if you are big reader like I am, you have probably read a lot of the commentary on it already. So I will try not to repeat it.

What I do want to take a couple of moments to comment on is the Chattanooga shooting yesterday. As soon as I heard that the shooter had a Muslim name, I said to myself, "Oh boy, here we go."

And true to form, the Town Hall Harlot proved me right.


Of course, the fact that the shooter was a naturalized American citizen is immaterial to this conclusion.  Now mind you this is just a month after a mass shooting in Charleston S.C. occurred. That we are told is not "terrorism", but this is. Can't they both be equally despicable?

Apparently,  in the eyes of some, not.

I think its important in this time of national tragedy to not be a Malkin or a paranoid American, but to step back and look at some actual facts.

Because, whether you want to admit it or not-the events of Charleston and the events of Chattanooga are more alike than they are different. When boiled down to it's base facts, as we know them so far: An American had a grudge. So he obtained a firearm and attempted to rectify his grudge by using that firearm on his fellow citizens. The grudge may have been fueled by irrational ideas from abroad-but it does not erase the fact that the killer was an American citizen who decided that killing fellow American citizens was the way to go.

Americans are killing each other again. That is the fundamental—if politically less useful—lesson of what happened in Tennessee yesterday. An American citizen got his gun and he went to a strip mall and he killed four of his fellow citizens, killed them as dead as Michael Brown or Eric Garner, as dead as the people who were killed by Dylann Roof, who's awaiting trial, or as dead as the people who were killed by James Holmes, who was convicted of killing them just yesterday. By all the criteria of which we boast of our exceptionalism to the world, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez was as much of an American as the four people he allegedly murdered. His motivation doesn't matter. He was a citizen. His victims were citizens. Americans killing other Americans. It's an old story being rehearsed again with unfortunate frequency.


It troubles me that so many people are trying to tie in unrelated issues to this tragedy. Do we need to enforce our borders? Of course we do. Do we need to restrict immigration quotas from Islamic nations? Much as it pains me to say it, perhaps we might-but before we do so, we need to have a bigger conversation about American ideals and the laws of unintended consequences. Because the same people who are advocating this course of action, are descended from possible nations where their ancestors were considered terrorists just the same as Mr. Abdulazeez was. Is America a beacon of liberty or not?

That said, Islam has some real problems right now, problems that collectively it refuses to deal with. I'm not blind to that. Nonetheless, I am having a hard time making the distinction between how denying immigration rights now to qualified immigrants, would have stopped an immigrant family from spawning a criminal some 20 years ago. Someone is going to have to explain to me how that works.

I'm willing to bet you a quart of your favorite Scotch that :

1) The weapon(s) used yesterday were obtained legally, at anyone of America's 129,817 gun dealers.

2) Mr Abdulazeez may or may not be linked to some overseas terrorist group. I, at this point do not know. But I also would like someone to tell me how that would have stopped him from legally obtaining a gun to commit his heinous deeds. Evidently his family had already been investigated and cleared.

Eventually we’ll learn more about Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, but one thing is certain: The Marines who were killed yesterday were equally as much as victims of the American culture of violence as the victims in Charleston.

Lets not forget too that:

  So far in 2015 , 27000 times an American chose that same course of action. They all had problems they had decided they could not solve. They all had grudges. They all had something that made them angry enough. And, as a result, almost 7,000 of our fellow citizens are as dead as the people in Tennessee. This is not an explanation that satisfies any particular agenda but, unquestionably, we are a very fearful nation with an unacknowledged history of violence that also has armed itself very heavily. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, an American citizen, chose a very American course of action.  He had a problem he couldn't solve so he reached for the most American of solutions. He reached for a gun and he killed some of his fellow citizens.?

We will be told over and over again, "this is different, we are at war."  I beg to disagree. Whatever wars we are fighting beyond our borders, here at home-this was a crime. Every bit as much a crime as a contract hit ordered by a mob family in Ukraine, China or Sicily.  You have to fight it the same as any other crime. Its tragic that the nation lots four of its finest, but its losing fine citizens everyday. We need to remember that.  When you boil it down to brass tacks, this yet another case of an American with a grudge, who obtained a weapon inside the US and took out his rage with it. If this is terrorism, than most gun violence is terrorism.

And I call it a crime, not an act of war. Terrorism is a violent tool used for political reasons to bring pressure on governments by creating fear in the populace. In the same way, I have never thought it helpful to refer to a "war" on terror, any more than to a war on drugs. For one thing that legitimizes the terrorists as warriors; for another thing terrorism is a technique, not a state. Moreover terrorism will continue in some form whatever the outcome, if there is one, of such a "war". For me what happened was a crime and needs to be thought of as such. What made it different from earlier attacks was its scale and audacity, not its nature.

3 responses so far

Jun 20 2015

Just a walk in the park

Well, not really. Rather, it is an early morning ride to the S-Bahn station, and then a hike up the non-running escalator to await the arrival of my ride to the main train station. Its traveling time again, and even though I had very little sleep last night, the thought of travel makes my senses tingle and excitement courses through my veins.

Boarding the S-Bahn early on a Saturday morning is always something of an interesting sight. There among the silent or sleeping passengers-heading to work or home from a long night-lays the remains from the carnage of a Friday night. In the trash bins along the side of the car are empty beer bottles, a lone empty bottle of vermouth, and just forward of my seat, a Stolichnaya bottle that evidently had given its contents to the service of someone’s heavy intoxication.

Arriving at the Hauptbanhof only adds to the assault on the senses. Rising from the deep tracks where the S-Bahn arrives, one is immediately able to see, hear and smell the variety of the station’s underground. Passengers and tourists, some with suitcases, some without, scurry in all directions. From the bakeries the smell of fresh bread and pastry, mixed with smell of brewing coffee wafts in and around my nose. The noise of both trains and people is every present, but because it is still early in the morning, its still rather subdued. Come the late afternoon it will rise to a louder crescendo-but for now, it’s a rather peaceful and contemplative sight.


Having traversed the length of the underground concourse, a turn left is needed and onto yet another escalator, this one heading up to the heart of the main station with the high stone ceiling so common among European train stations. A quick stop at Starbucks halfway up and then it’s on the main lobby area. As I ride the second and last escalator up, behind me, a man is wailing, possibly drunk, definitely having had better days, holding plastic garbage bag full of bottles and cans. A homeless man perhaps? Hoping to score enough in recyclables to buy a meal or more drinks I think. Departing the escalator, he is quickly accosted by the Polezei, who I assume put an end to his scavenging ways.

The Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof currently has a lot of construction going on. The beginning of the platforms is moved almost half a kilometer down from the station lobby area. I’ve got just 15 minutes to traverse to my platform and board a high speed train that will whisk me up to Frankfurt airport and flying.

These sights and sounds are one of the things I really love about being in Europe and being lucky enough to have a job that allows me to travel the way I do. Had I been still in Shopping Mall, the morning would have been a slower start, but with none of this excitement. For all the things that I have to complain about, they all tend to recede into the background on a morning like this. I’m a lucky man indeed. Right now, for a bunch of reasons, the future here is uncertain-but those worries are for another day and time. For today, I can relax and enjoy the movement of the traveling man. And that’s enough for me today.





4 responses so far

Jun 19 2015

With clockwork precision

A mass shooting happens in America every three to four months or so. Charleston, home of my beloved alma-mater, took its turn in the barrel yesterday.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, S.C., killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

At a news conference with Charleston’s mayor early Thursday, the police chief, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime.

“It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church while they are having a prayer meeting and take their lives,” he said.

The police said the gunman walked into the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church around 9 p.m. and began shooting.

Eight people died at the scene, Chief Mullen said. Two people were taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, and one of them died on the way.

“Obviously, this is the worst night of my career,” Chief Mullen said. “This is clearly a tragedy in the city of Charleston.”

And with equal predictability will be the cycle of excuses, recriminations and most disturbingly the Fox News deflection of the real blame for these events. Tired old shibboleths about the intent of the Founding Fathers in writing the 2nd Amendment will be trotted out out for the 989th time. Real change however? Just     NOT    GOING   TO   HAPPEN. This is the mediocrity America accepts as the cost of "freedom".

Freedom? Really?  How about the freedom for the rest of us to be able to conduct the daily transactions of society without fear of being shot by some lunatic?

The ammosexual defense of their kink is predictable and almost certainly incorrigible. Driven (and heavily armed) that’s a view that’s managed to hold political sway over the mushy majority for whom the notion the the liberty of the gun-sniffing few outweighs the freedom of the rest of us to assemble, travel, speak without fear of suppressing fire. What drives that is, at least in part, the normalization of gun fetishization. Which is what you see above. And is what must be shamed out of the public square.

Nope, No, No sirree Bob. Because, "Murica!". Second Amendment. Protect against tyranny in government. Pick you own sick and twisted metaphor.

Nothing ever changes.

The truth is made worse by the reality that no one–really no one–anywhere on the political spectrum has the courage to speak out about the madness of unleashed guns and what they do to American life….

The reality is simple: every country struggles with madmen and ideologues with guns, and every country–Canada, Norway, Britain–has had a gun massacre once, or twice. Then people act to stop them, and they do–as over the past few years has happened in Australia. Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue.


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Jun 09 2015

USS Liberty

Published by under History

As I have mentioned I travel to the land of milk and honey quite a bit. One of the messages I continually hear is about how Israel is surrounded and always under attack. And I don't really dispute it-having been on the road twice when the sirens went off and rockets were inbound. ( True Story).

But there was also the time that Israel was the attacker. Yesterday being June 8th, it is probably worth remembering:

In 1967, at the height of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force launched an unprovoked attack on the USS Liberty, a US Navy spy ship that was monitoring the conflict from the safety of international waters in the Mediterranean.

Israeli jet fighters hit the vessel with rockets, cannon fire and napalm, before three Israeli torpedo boats moved in to launch a second more devastating attack. Though she did not sink, the Liberty was badly damaged. Thirty-four US servicemen and civilian analysts were killed, another 171 were wounded.

Later Israel apologized for what it claimed to be a tragic case of mistaken identity. It said that it had believed the ship to be hostile Egyptian naval vessel. US President Lyndon Johnson was privately furious but publicly the White House chose not to challenge the word of its closest Middle East ally and accepted that the attack had been a catastrophic accident.




In the years since then, there has been a lot of talk of conspiracies and cover-ups. I don't know who is right, but I know Israelis don't like to talk about it.

As for the truth about a cover-up, I don't know and will not speculate. But it is worth remembering that 34 men died that day. God grant them rest and peace.


5 responses so far

Jun 05 2015

The pre-determined script

About a week ago, I had the chance to read an article in the New York Times about Fleet Week in New York. Fleet Week, for those who don't know, is supposed to be a week where the Navy sends ships into town and they host tours and the city hosts special events. Done properly a good time is had by all and I have fond memories of a couple of fleet weeks where the libations and the scenery ( if you get my drift) were just fine.

Well, good old mother Navy wants you to know that is all changed:

The High Line.

Shake Shack.

The ballet.

Fleet Week is not what it used to be. Once upon a time, sailors on leave on New York’s streets after months at sea went a little wild — liquor and female companionship were the priorities, with barstool-tossing brawls often the unintended result. Now, not so much. “I spent way too much money at the American Girl store,” said Chief Petty Officer Justin Brown, a member of the Navy for 17 years who said he came to the city with a detailed shopping list from his daughters, ages 4 and 7, in Virginia. “I got a bunch of clothes for the dolls, and accessories.” The turn from those drunken sailors of shore leaves past to the American Girl doll-toting sailors of today has been long in coming, with cultural tourism slowly edging out more earthy pursuits.

To see this week’s white-clad visitors exploring New York is to understand not just how sailors have changed, but how significantly the city that welcomes them has changed. Shopping bags, iced coffee, restaurant recommendations, a photo beneath a selfie stick. The writers of “On the Town” would surely have scratched their heads in wonderment.

Complete and utter rubbish.

If judging by any numbers of recent covers of Navy times as a benchmark, there is still plenty of lechery going on in today's Navy. This article, however,  represents the Navy's PAO machine at work trying to convince us all that the great experiment was a complete success and that there were absolutely no costs involved to either the service or American society as a whole in the unleashing the great diversity monster.

I as I pointed out clearly , three years ago, the Navy PAO machine is always on the march trying to peddle this message. It would not surprise me one bit if the Navy paid the NYT to print that article.

Of course there were a few parts they conveniently left out.  Such as: Getting breathalyzed crossing the quarterdeck returning. Being forced to go ashore with a buddy and making sure you actually named that buddy before you left the ship. or the curfews and liberty limits, expressly illegal in the US I might add.

They also neglected to point out the significant percentage of that 1800 Sailors who at some point in the evening probably ended up in a hotel or bathroom stall f*cking their fellow Sailors.

A deeper and more insightful article would have pointed out the higher adminstrative burden the Navy bears for this "kindler and gentler" Naval Service. But that's not the objective here.

Look, I understand the way the tide of history has turned. I get it. But what still makes me angry is the utter dishonesty that the diversity mafia wants to foist on us in "proving" how essential women are to the service.

Try getting them to release overall pregnancy statistics sometime. Or how many dual service couples there are-and the difficulties in colocation detailing. ( We'll not even point out that the fraternization barriers were inevitably crossed somewhere on the way to the altar.) I won't even try to get into the utter hypocrisy of the whole TIP nonsense.

There is no free lunch. Everything comes at a cost.

They should at least be honest about it.

Are the processes welcome? That depends on your point of view. If the reason for having armed forces is to guarantee national security, then the answer is clearly no. …………

One may also look at the problem in a different way. Over the last few decades people have become accustomed to think of the feminization of the military as if it were some great and mighty step towards women’s liberation. In fact, it is nothing of the kind. For thousands, probably tens of thousands of years, we men have laid down our lives so that the women we love might live. To quote the Trojan hero Hector on this, he preferred going to hell a thousand times to seeing his wife, Andromache, weeping as she was led into captivity by one of the “copper-wearing Greeks.”-Martin Van Creveld.


5 responses so far

May 26 2015

Published by under Beer and Babes

This is my first post in the month of May. Not for  lack of desire-but for lack of time. I have spent most of this month on the road, first spending several weeks in the land of Eretz Yisrael and then a long promised trip to take the S.O. to see Slovenia. Slovenia, by the way is wonderful and worth the time to go. Lake Bled is simply charming and Ljubljana really surprised  me. In the next couple of days I will post some pictures of that little jaunt as well as some shots from an afternoon spent roaming around Jerusalem. Suffice it to say it will be good to get back to the old homestead and working at my desk again. My business trips are always busy and something has to fall away.

Hope every one had a nice Memorial Day or Pentecost holiday. The summer has officially started. That means its time for lots of this:


And some of this:


More to follow.cheeky


One response so far

Apr 29 2015

Never placing the blame where it belongs……..

Published by under Bush Buffoonery,Iraq

Over at another blog, there is yet another tired old rendition of the refrain, "The surge worked-and Obama pissed it all away."  Its a tiresome song that gets played over and over again, and the usual suspects will shout, "hear, hear". Now I do understand it, I do recognize that a lot of people believe it. There is just one big problem-they are completely wrong:

We fought in a war with no discernible outcome. If one were forced to label what we see, it would have to be called a failure because the job was half done. We won in Iraq before we lost. We fought to win, but the gains we made were abandoned for one man's vision of a superpower-less world. All gave some, sure, but some gave a hell of a lot more. Yet, after the blood has dried and the wounds are scarred-over, what was earned? What was saved? What was gained or lost? We are right to ask, "Why?" 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I wonder. Perhaps some can see it merely as a temporary job in a longer career, but I can't. People died because of what I did. Real human beings who no longer live and breathe. This wasn't some drunk driving accident; it was for a purpose … and now, it wasn't. 

"I support the troops, but not the war," is an equivocation that led to the asinine withdrawal and squandering of the gains … and therefore the lives and health of those who were hit.

This supposed ambivalence wasn't support at all. It was a socially correct door, left ajar so that those sacrifices could be made to mean nothing in the end… for convenience sake.

This country can retroactively reduce the value of your effort, your pain and even your life to zero without batting an eye. Our own countrymen do it, and they do it selfishly. They want safety, security, but they are unwilling to pay for it. Certainly not with their blood, sweat and tears; not even with their wallets.

Three points:

1) It is perfectly possible to support the troops and not the war-especially when you recognize that from day 1, as I did, the war was a huge mistake. The fact that one is powerless to stop the madness, does not prevent one from wanting it to be all over-and voting for someone who promises to do that. We didn't "squander" success in Iraq-we allowed the real enemies many years to advance past us. Which BTW, is not the same as wanting a "superpowerless world". It is, however recognizing, that a stupid decision made in 2002 had disastrous consequences. The multi-polar world was willed into existence on March 19, 2003 and all the post hoc whining about what you think Obama gave away is not going to change that. George Bush wasted 4,439 American lives for nothing. Stating it any other way is avoiding the truth.  And here is another news flash- the United States is powerless to stop the rise of the multi-polar world. Need to know why? Go ask George Bush.

2) Not once, not once,(and this is a big point)  does the author EVER put the blame for failure where it belongs-on the worthless Arabs of Iraq themselves, who have had 12 years to make something of their worthless country and have failed miserably at every turn. They were worthless Arab scum in 2003 and they remain so now. Certainly they were never worth the sacrifices made on their behalf. We tried, that is to be sure, but the "seed corn" we were working with was never up to the task of making a democracy.  We got empire with all of the burdens and none of the perks. The surge did not succeed-it failed miserably, at great cost, because it never achieved the political breathing room and conciliation that was envisioned. A whole lot of people told Bush at the time it would fail-and thus he deserves all of the blame.  Invading Iraq was the fundamental mistake-the rest were just attempts to put a bandage on a bad idea.

3) By wasting a trillion dollars on Iraq, the US set it self up for failure on a whole bunch of other fronts-including its own economy. If you supported the war, but did not support raising the revenue to pay for it, then you have NO RIGHT to complain about deficits, ever.  Its a hypocritical position and its truly maddening to hear this logic over and over again, even when the facts tell us otherwise.

The simple truth is that the folks who want to place the failure in Iraq solely on Obama, are not really concerned about stating the facts. The American people acted correctly in 2006 and 2008 by showing their disgust with the stupidity of a worthless war for worthless people. Leaving a residual force behind might have delayed by the current crisis by temporarily restraining Iraqis’ sectarian impulses. However, given political realities in Iraq and the U.S.., Americans couldn’t have stayed there indefinitely.

4,439 Americans dying for nothing bothers me too. But at least have the decency to place blame for that waste of life where it belongs. On the Iraqi people themselves. 


And because of those realities, the surge ultimately failed because the goal of true political reconciliation was unrealistic. In most of the world, sectarian, ethnic, linguistic and/or tribal allegiances run deep, which is why most of the world’s most stable democracies are found in relatively homogeneous societies. That being said, sectarian identities become pathological when a brutal dictator from the minority faction spends decades ruling over and terrorizing the majority population. No foreign power invaded Syria, and it is in worse shape than Iraq.

No residual force could rewire the Iraqis, and thus leaving one behind would just have delayed the inevitable.

5 responses so far

Apr 21 2015

Israel’s memorial day

Today is Yom Hazikaron (Yom Hazikaron l'Chalalei Ma'arachot Yisrael ul'Nifgaei Peulot Ha'eivah-  literally, "Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism"). This is Israel's Memorial Day.

Yom Hazikaron is the national remembrance day observed in Israel for those who fell since 1860, when Jews were first allowed to live in Palestine outside of Jerusalem's Old City walls. National memorial services are held in the presence of Israel's top leadership and military personnel. The day opens with a siren the preceding evening at 20:00 (8:00 pm), given that in the Hebrew calendar system, a day begins at sunset. The siren is heard all over the country and lasts for one minute, during which Israelis stop everything (including driving, which stops highways) and stand in silence, commemorating the fallen and showing respect.  Many religious Jews say prayers for the souls of the fallen soldiers at this time. The official ceremony to mark the opening of the day takes place at the Western Wall,  and the flag of Israel is lowered to half staff.

A two-minute siren is sounded at 11:00 the following morning, which marks the opening of the official memorial ceremonies and private remembrance gatherings at each cemetery where soldiers are buried. Many Israelis visit the resting places of loved ones throughout the day. The day officially draws to a close between 19:00 and 20:00 (7–8 p.m.) with the official ceremony of Israel's Independence Day at the national military cemetery on Mount Herzl when the flag of Israel is returned to full staff.

One of the government-owned television stations screens the names of all the fallen in chronological order (rank, name, Hebrew date deceased and secular date) over the course of the day. Names appear for about three seconds each. 

It is that last bit I would like you to think about. As of April 14 2015, Israel had lost some 23,320 of its servicemen and women, 116 of them in the last year alone – 67 of those soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge. Some 35 wounded veterans passed away this year as a result of their injuries, and were thus also recognized as fallen soldiers. To put that number in perspective, it is the equivalent of almost 1 million lost Americans.

I just point it out because I will be traveling to Israel in a few weeks-and I always try to keep that in the back of my mind when I am working there. It is all tragic. It is all the backdrop with which they live, every day. It helps me understand their perspective a lot better.


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