Archive for the 'American Society' Category

Jul 20 2014

Six New States????

Nothing like coming back to the land of the free-home of the stupid. I remain just furious every time I see someone come out in support of this incredibly ridiculous idea.

The plan would split the state of California into six smaller US states — each with its own governor and legislature — as you can see in this map:

Six_Californias

The proposal's chief backer, venture capitalist Timothy Draper, argues that with six states instead of one, government would be more decentralized and responsive. "The existing breadth of industry and various interests in California is untenable," Draper has said. He argues that the state's economy and educational systems have stagnated, partly because of the state's centralized bureaucracy — and he thinks dispensing with this bureaucratic baggage would allow for more innovation in governance. Under his plan, he told Gregory Ferenstein at TechCrunch, "Each new state can start fresh. From a new crowd sourced state flower to a more relevant constitution." Then, these "start-up states," as he calls them, "will be able to compete with each other, for us" — trying to lure businesses and residents.

So this is what I spent 29 years of my life in the service of a great nation, all so some rich douchebag can come along and propose an idea as positively dangerous and destructive as this? NO! I tell you. NO! Both the Constitution and the Civil War settled this-and quite simply, it is in really bad taste to even raise this issue at all. It is sedition pure and simple. "Any region caught leaving the State of California will be shot for desertion. Any one advocating the leaving of California will hung for sedition."

I can't tell you how much this really bothers me-and how much I hate people who dare to speak in its favor. California has a long and proud history-and until it started letting crackpots control the voting process by passing things like Prop-13, and giving credence to assholes like Grover Norquist. It deserves a lot better. The United States has a long and proud history too. And don't kid yourself, if an idea like this were to come to pass, it would destroy the United States. Maybe not right away-but it would start the US down a path it does not want to go down. I could see the US going the way of Europe-or Africa, increasingly smaller political entities, when in reality it needs bigger ones.

God this makes me angry. It really does. The reason the Union is inviolate-is that it forces, in the end, the people to decide,maybe after a lot of stupidity-such as that we are seeing from our teabagger crazed loons, maybe not-that they have to work to solve problems. Taking the lazy way out is not an option. You don't get to break up states! ( yes Texas, this applies to you too, spare the crap about your "special" status. You forfeited that when you took so many military bases.)

The State has problems, yes. The US, has problems too. But the solution is not to break up the Union-or to cede the solutions to a solution similar to the Balkans-and we have seen how well THAT has worked. Both California and the US have straightforward solutions to their problems. They just need to the will to exercise them-and stop letting crazed lunatics control the agenda.

I DID NOT give 29 years of my life in the service of my nation-only to see it kidnapped by rich bastards who care not a whit about it. NO!

Play nice in the comments or I will boot your ass in a heartbeat. I feel very strongly on this issue.

9 responses so far

Jun 22 2014

Why couldn’t the NCAA do this?

Published by under American Society

I was going bash my favorite group of deluded people tonight, namely those who seem to think that after 8 years of effort, almost 5000 American lives wasted, and 5 times that number wounded-we should some how go back into a country that proven itself completely unworthy of the sacrifice the first time. And now they want us to do it again?

But instead I got sidetracked in working on my course work-and watching the World Cup-where, speaking of worthless Arabs- the damn Algerians beat South Korea.Incroyable! Arabes ne méritent pas le moment de la journée, et encore moins une victoire sportive. Vive l'Algérie française !

And as I watched the match-it made me wonder. Why couldn't the NCAA conduct a real college playoff using the World Cup format?

I get that there are big differences between Futbol and US Football. But consider. There are 11 Conferences in NCAA division 1 football. That's 11 Conference champions. Throw in some independent teams and take the 2nd place teams with the best records-you could easily come to 24 teams that could play in a tournament along the lines of the world cup. Create 6 groups of 4 teams each. Start from scratch-arranging the top teams across the six groups. Shorten the college football season so that it ends in the second week of November. Then, the day after Thanksgiving you start the group stage with teams playing every day until they reduce to 12 for the knockout phase. ( Play two games a day (or night) which would be in each group). Once the group stage is done-take a 4 day break then start the playoff's. You could arrange the timing so that it came down to the wire sometime the 3rd week of December.

Groups of States could compete to host the playoffs and it could rotated among geographic regions. An example: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama could host the NCAA tournament. Between them they have enough quality venues to host good game with lots of fans. It could be a real money maker for them and for the ancillary industries in those states.

It certainly would be better than the current BCS system-and the out of control Bowls. Plus it would allow teams to come head to head to have to earn the title of #1 team in the nation. The college football season could stand to be 9 or 10 games-instead of 11 or 12. ( As could the pro season stand to be shorter). Colleges would still get a homecoming weekend.

I think it would make a lot of sense-and it would get folks fired up about sports like the World Cup does.

Its just a thought. Tell me why it would not work. With 6 groups there would be six days between games in the group stage and once it went to the knock out stage you space the games out to give teams the right amount of rest, so there goes that argument. There would still be plenty of advertising revenue, and it seriously would not disrupt the pro season.

So what I have missed?

 

3 responses so far

May 31 2014

TV worth watching

It took the S.O. and I a long time to get Internet connectivity to the house , besides our cell phones and a stick for the computer. While I was away, it was installed-but our bandwidth is severely limited due to the lack of fiber (and cable) to our little village. So we get a whopping 3MB/s download speed.

So it was with trepidation when she went off to work today, that I tried our Apple TV box. Suprisingly it worked very well with no ( almost no) interruptions for buffering. Sitting down to play with the box and sharing via WiFi with my computer. I can access my entire I-tunes library-so that is a good thing.

In channel surfing though-I stumbled upon the PBS channel, which in our previous abode had been one of my staples. And I started watching, The United States of Secrets. Its a Frontline documentary about the NSA's warrantless surveillance program, through which, the boys and girls in Ft. Meade got to violate every American's rights under the Constitution. Now, it is not suprising that in the days after 9-11, the goverment went seeking broader authorities to violate these rights. What is jarring, and has you saying "WTF?" about every 15 minutes is the ease with which the sworn guardians of those rights just gave them away with no moral convictions. And your second "WTF?" moment comes when you see honest civil servants , who realized the government was screwing the pooch, made attempts to set things right "though the system", only to be stymied at every turn. And, like it or not, a lot of the blame or that lies with Dick Cheney.

Watch for yourself how innocently your government can turn to be as evil as that with which it seeks to protect you from:

 

 

The whole show is 4 hours in two parts-long to be sure-but worth every second of your time. If you are an American who cares about the rights of your fellow citizens under the Constitution, you will be astounded at what it discusses. (Even if you support Bush). The real revelation is not that they usurped the rights under 1st , 4th, and 5th amendments-but the ease at which they brushed aside concerns about those incredibly important issue. The precedents it created are scary.

2 responses so far

Dec 17 2013

A Fox News Christmas……

Stuart Varney- who once was a competent business reporter, before he sold his soul to the devil Roger Ailes, would love this wonderful re-telling of "Its a Wonderful Life".

 

 

The douchebags folks at Newsbusters can't see the humor in this-but trust me, it strikes closer to home than one might think. Trust me, Noel Sheppard, I've spent Christmas with conservatives. You may think they are rooting for George, but only because its a movie. In real life-they root for no one but their own selfishness.

 

No responses yet

Dec 10 2013

Marriage re-booted

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a post up on his blog that postulates something I have believed for a long time. Marriage is no longer a relevant institution and needs to be re-vamped or done away with. He does not come out specifically state what I believe-namely that our ideas about monogamy are silly and have been for a long time; nonetheless he gets to the heart of the matter:

If you look at marriage the way an economist might, it is an exchange of services. Every marriage is different, but at its core you have two people who are choosing to provide one basket of services in return for a different basket. Historically, that meant the man provided protection and financial stability while the woman provided children, childcare, and household management. In modern times, the picture is more smeared, but in all cases the parties are getting something while providing something, including the emotional benefits.

Marriage made sense when the world was inefficient. You married a person nearby who could provide most of your important needs while hoping your lesser needs could also somehow be met. It made perfect sense in the pre-Internet age.

But today you can arrange for any of your individual needs via Internet. You can find lovers who don't want a commitment. You can find people willing to trade sex for travel experiences. You can find surrogates to have your baby, or you can adopt from another country. Then you can find a nanny who is willing to work primarily for room and board. You can find an intellectual partner, a business partner, a tennis partner, you name it. The Internet provides all.

For the first time in history it is feasible to create a virtual spouse comprised of a dozen separate relationships. And each would be optimized. Instead of dragging your spouse to the opera or a baseball game, you go with someone who loves your hobbies as much as you do.
 

From a transactional standpoint-marriage is a loser. Certainly the idea that there is one special person out there who somehow "completes" you. Do some women make better companions than others? Certainly. But even the best of friends need a break from one another.

When the exchange of services becomes a one way exchange ( e.g.. the S.O. doing all the taking and doing none of the giving-it can be less than fun.)

One of his commenters goes on to more explicitly point out what all of us who have been through the divorce wringer know already, that the system perpetuates marriage despite is now obvious flaws because women want it so.

Enter the legal system. Laws are designed to help society as a whole. Is the man better off because he's now legally bound to stay and help? Certainly not. He's looking for quantity, and sticking around to help is hurting his numbers.

But Marriage 1.0 wasn't invented to help him – it was invented to help her – and society as a whole. This is why religion pushes it. This is why governments push it. The good of the many over the good of the few, or the one. (Thanks Spock.)

But how does Marriage 1.0 do this? It uses TWO STICKS called Alimony and Child Support. Leave a marriage – and get hit with the Alimony stick. Have kids? Get hit with Child Support stick.

Sensible right?

BUT #1: Marriage 1.0 shouldn't worry about keeping a couple together that has no children. The concept of Alimony has no legal purpose for childless couples. Sorry house-moms and dads! Society just doesn't think you add value by being married.

BUT #2: A man who has sex, whether through Marriage 1.0 -OR- "Wild night of sex", will get hit with Child Support.

Waaaait a minute:
If we abolish Alimony, and Child Support happens even without marriage, then what good is marriage?

(crickets…)

Exactly. There's nothing left. Since children will be protected in either scenario, there is no longer a need to have it.
 

Quo es demonstratum

I'm very much on board with Adams idea that you can have several companions. Maybe one who makes a good roommate ( as the S.O. does)-and a couple of others who solve the passion needs. ( Which I need desperately). "One person was never meant to be your everything. That's why you have friends for playing sports, friends from work, friends for going to the theater, whatever. Expecting one person only to fulfill all your needs is a romantic notion (I blame Harlequin romances) that leads to much unhappiness."

The economics ( and the sexual needs of literally millions of disappointed men) demand it.


 

2 responses so far

Oct 03 2013

The Vandals are hard at work.

Congress imposed a government shutdown? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me.

 

( All posts will start with this until the shutdown is over).

 

I awoke this morning at my usual time and I started to get up. I've got to get to work! Then I realized, that no, I don't have to because my worthless excuse for a Congressman, the not so Honorable Mo Brooks-had selfishly willed that I can't. So I got up,  made coffee,  surfed porn read the news, and tried to figure out how to file the insurance claims I need to file since I need every penny I can get.

It was never supposed to be this way, I tell myself. How did it get this crazy?

Well here is why:

This is the unspoken subtext of what the vandalism is all about. This is the real motivation behind all the tricornered hats and the incantations about liberty and all the conjuring words that have summoned up the latest crisis in our democracy. Corporate money is the power behind all of it, and that corporate money has but one goal — the creation of a largely subjugated population and a workforce grateful for whatever scraps fall from the table. To accomplish this, the corporate money not only had to disable the institutions of self-government that are the people's only real protection, it had to do so in such a way that the people expect less and less of the government and, therefore, less and less of each other, acting in the interest of the political commonwealth. (The dismantling of organized labor is a sideshow to the main event in that the goal there was to cripple organized labor's political power within the political institutions so that there would be no countervailing force that could be brought to bear against the destruction of its power in the workplace.For all the endless bloviation about the dead-hand of government, what the vandals in Washington are shooting for right now is a subject population whose tattered freedoms depend on the whimsical ethics of the American corporate class. This is the really deep game being played here, and they're more than halfway to winning it.

 

Got that? Having already fucked me and the lifesyle I need to live with the sequester-these assholes are now going for the rest of my existence. This, in a world where Jamie Dimon made 23 million dollars last year-with stock assets of worth over 3 times that-when the man should have been really getting ass raped in prison. ( For those that don't know-Jaime Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan, the organization that fucked us all in 2008 with its bad bets on real estate, and then got bailed out 100 cents on the dollar). In case you have been living in a cave somewhere, let me remind you that JPMorgan is negotiating to pay $11 billion or so in fines to settle some regulatory investigations. These fines are on top of the billions of dollars of other fines that JPMorgan has already paid to settle other investigations, and the other billions of dollars of fines that JPMorgan will presumably pay to settle the investigations not settled in this $11 billion-ish settlement.  Interestingly enough-there are people who don't think he should be fired. The money is in the economy to fund the things that need to be funded in the Federal Budget.

Jamie Dimon does not have to sweat paying his bills. But he is part of the crew that is making sure I am sweating mine.

Fuck you, pay me.

 

3 responses so far

Oct 02 2013

What he said.

Congress imposed a government shutdown? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me.

 

( All posts will start with this until the shutdown is over).

 

The President summed up the issues at play in this shutdown pretty well yesterday. Its worth listening to his entire speech, not just the condensed or ignored version that would be shown at Fox Noise. (BTW I found it interesting that Fox was more concerned with showing Netanyahu's UN address than anything else-and they have taken their marching orders from Jim DeMint and referred to the shutdown as just a "slow down".)

 

 

 

He needs to talk this bluntly a lot more. 

“At midnight last night, for the first time in 17 years, the Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the Federal Government. Let me be more specific: One FACTION of one PARTY in one HOUSE of Congress in one branch of government shut down the government. All because they didn’t like ONE law.”

“The Republican shutdown did not have to happen, but I want everyone to understand why it did happen. The republicans in Congress refused to fund the government unless we defundedor dismantled the Affordable Care Act. They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they’ve demanded ransom just to do their jobs…They don’t get to hold the entire economy hostage over ideological demands”…

This shutdown isn’t about spending, or deficits or budgets. After all, our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 50 years. We’ve cut them in HALF since I took office. In fact, many of the demands the Republicans are now making would RAISE our deficit. So this shutdown isn’t about deficits or spending. It’s all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act…this, more than anything else, seems to be all the Republican party seems to stand for these days. It’s strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda. But that is what it is.”…..

If you buy a car, and you don’t pay your car note, you don’t save money by not paying your car note. You’re just a deadbeat. If you buy a house, you don’t save any money by not authorizing yourself to pay the mortgage. You’re just going to get foreclosed on your home. That’s what this is about. This is routine. This is what they’re supposed to do as a routine matter.”

“Congress has to stop governing by crisis. They have to break this habit. It is a drag on the economy. It is not worthy of this country.

 

This is why, I have no time for people like this-who pontificate repeatedly about how "polite" conservatives are compared to progressives. For one thing its not true. The documentary evidence of the coarseness of the denizens of Earl Grey ville is on the record-and has been ever since this bunch of selfish folks and their manufactured outrage showed up on the scene. They have played havoc with the United States, and I am NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ANGRY ABOUT IT?

Spare me your condecension! You  have no right to it.

I'm sorry. Putting a gun to someone's head and threatening to kill them unless you do exactly what they say, does not exactly qualify as a "polite" thing to do.

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me – my money – was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle….

Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored – contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong…

Fuck you, pay me.

No responses yet

Sep 17 2013

Random thoughts.

When I think of yesterday's events.

First of all, I hate it when someone prescribes, based on their own social conventions and biases, how exactly I am supposed to feel and react to such a horrific event. My values are not your values. So you will forgive me if I don't react in exactly the manner you-or the thousands like you think I should react.

How do I react to an event like yesterday's as an American? Fear, disgust, despair and anger.

Fear because when you look at the names of the victims-one quickly realizes that there is nothing to distinguish them from you. The went to work-to do their jobs-never expecting it would be the end. They had plans, families, dreams, a life. And it was all ended senselessly. Consider:

  • Michael Arnold, 59.
  • Sylvia Frasier, 53.
  • Kathy Gaarde, 62.
  • John Roger Johnson, 73.
  • Frank Kohler, 50.
  • Bernard Proctor, 46.
  • Vishnu Pandit, 61.

 

 

They have a lot in common with you-and with me. I don't know their individual stories but I'll bet a couple were prior Navy or otherwise prior service. They just wanted to do their jobs. These are hardly the "moochers" that government workers are portrayed as daily in the halls of Congress and in supposedly "smart" political circles. If I had taken a job in DC ( or LA , or Washington State, or Pittsburgh, or Charlotte) -it could have been me.

Which leads to a second point. I don't understand those who say they were targeted because they were Navy. That they were Navy is actually a secondary consideration. This was a workplace shooting. Nothing more, nothing less. If they had been working for Honeywell, General Dynamics, Merrill Lynch, the Department of State-would their deaths somehow have been less tragic? The Navy was their corporation. They were randomly targeted because the shooter objected to something that had occurred connected with the corporation. This work place had extra security to be sure-but the shooter still got through.

It's disgusting to me that this happened in my own country. Its also less than thrilling to realize that in the grand scheme of things in the world-it is just a drop of water in the sea of violence that engulfs our planet. Consider, in the 24 hours of yesterday:

41 people died in Mexico yesterday due to flooding.

8 People died in Colorado for the same reason.

No one knows how many people died in Syria yesterday.

The most senior police woman in Afghanistan died in as a result of shooting injuries.

36 people died in Iraq over the weekend.

3 people died in Japan on the 16th-as a result of a Typhoon.

64 people died in the Philippines as a result of fighting in Zamboanga.

And the list goes on.

Its here that anger can and should kick in. Its all tragic. Its all unnecessary. Its all fundamentally unfair. Yet we daily see events such as these pass us by and pay no mind to it. We become numb to it-unless it happens to someone we know.

I've been a bystander to a couple of instances of work place violence. During my time as a squadron XO, a Sailor in a sister squadron, after getting a career ending piece of paper, injured another Sailor and shot himself. On another occasion a fellow officer went AWOL and committed suicide. When I was in college-a Freshman refused to come home from leave. So he shot his family in their beds.

The cycle of violence goes on.

Those who survived and were spared, in the sheer joy of being alive, attributed the fact that they did so-because "God was with them". Are we then to surmise that God was not with the dead and wounded? That's hardly fair….or just. What kind of a God just lets random, senseless acts of violence roll on unabated because its some kind of "divine plan"? If it is a plan-its not divine nor is it much of one. Its pretty goddamn twisted and unfair if you ask me.  I'm not getting into the problem of why evil exists. Or how believing people reconcile themselves with the fact that God lets bad things happen to good people. I certainly do not know the answer.

However,  I do know its unfair-that unfairness undercuts His attempts to draw people unto himself.

And, while we’re discussing things that are unfair, here’s another: how the owner of the contracting firm that hired the shooter got so damn rich. Or how he has the balls to blame what happened yesterday on the sequester. Sorry pal-as the purveyor of a product, sequester or no, you still had an obligation to do due diligence. There is more here than meets the eye-and hopefully it will come out.

And if you are not mad about that-then perhaps you should be.

There's a lot more to be angry about-and I have a right to show my anger.  Its the primary feeling I had yesterday-especially since I was pretty sure from the start it was a disgruntled employee and not a terrorist attack-and it appears I was right.

I'm going to start drinking now because here is where the despair kicks in.

Because nothing is going to change.

Oh sure there will be tighter security-and background investigations for non deluded, non shooting, non messed up people are going to get really painful. Despair that dickheads like Joe Wilson can spout off nonsense. And never get called on it. A year will come and go and he will still be Joe fucking Wilson.

Despair that the clock is ticking till the next place of workplace violence appears-because rather than do the best thing one could do to honor their memories,-namely find a way to keep that next event from happening-the country will slump back into its pit of doing nothing and accepting this kind of mindless violence as the "cost of doing business".

And of course the same government employees now being praised will be screwed when the Congress shuts the government down next month.And it will only be a matter of time until some asshole Congressman tells us that clearly, only more sequestration, more budget cuts, more tax cuts,  can make our troops safe.

Because you know….we can't make any real changes. That benefit someone besides rich people.

As I said-I have a right to be angry. 

 

One response so far

Jul 21 2013

Some people remain true to form.

Some people are just incapable of change. Or understanding anything. Like Jim Hoft, The Dumbest Man on The Internet. Or his worthless colleagues at the Liars Club. Consistently-worthless pieces of s**t, each and every one of them.

And Charles Pierce had the temerity this weekend to point that out:

There is nothing in there that any sensible person would gainsay. There is nothing in there that could be interpreted as being in any way "divisive," unless you happen to be a person who considers the basic reality of the everyday contact between the races as being inherently divisive. (And, maybe, as a bonus, having said all that will make the president less likely to appoint Ray — Stop 'N Frisk — Kelly as his director of Homeland Security.) But it was unquestionably the most direct public remarks the president has made as a black man since he rose to prominence in 2004. As such, dear Jesus, has it jumped on some people's last nerves. Take, for example, the Dumbest Man On The Internet, who thinks the president's unremarkable remarks are a declaration of war on white people like him. Or some allied morons. But this swill is going to get some traction in more respectable circles because, in making those remarks, and in sounding for one of the very few times like what once was called a Race Man, the president broke what a lot of people assumed was a covenant he'd made with them when they permitted him to be president. That covenant was fashioned for him during his speech to the Democratic convention in Boston, wherein he told a divided country everything it really wanted to hear about itself. He was going to be the living demonstration of the progress the nation had made. His job, in addition to being president, was going to be as a redemptive figure. That was the deal by which the country would allow him to be its president.

 

See, it drives guys like William Jacobson, Hinderaker, and the rest of the herd of chronically stupid people-just up the wall that anyone might actually say the truth. Namely that it is a sad commentary on the state of the United States where: 1) People feel compelled to walk around with guns they have no business having-and the government of the respective states of Florida and Texas and others aid and assist them in that quest. 2) That people think it is perfectly fine for a non-policeman to gun down an unarmed man simply because he was walking down the street.

And to point out the criteria by which Zimmerman decided to stalk Martin and thus incite the altercation that got Martin killed-to point out that it was racial. That really spools them up.

But the facts are still the facts-as much as rumbling herd of morons who read the columns over at Breitbart's Mausoleum tell you differently. Don't read the comments there-it will make you despair of humanity in general and Americans in particular. Want to know why the United States of America is declining in the global competition? Just take a look at the Breitbart audience and multiply it a 1000 fold. Ramapant stupidity is spreading in the land of my birth.

I don't know which is more screwed up, the "Not Guilty" verdict-or the inability of the right wing to attribute it to tragic set of circumstances, which were completly avoidable.

Take this little gem for instance:

NB: I have included links for purpose of citation. I do not recommend going to any of them, except Wonkette.

As per an article released the 17th, Gateway Pundit is now circulating speculation that Trayvon Martin’s purchases—Skittles and Arizona-brand fruit juice—were to be used to create “lean” — aka sizzurp, purple drank. His source is American Thinker, which claims that a 2011 Facebook interaction between Martin and a friend included the former requesting a hook-up for codeine, to make drank.

 

What this guy says:

 

No responses yet

Jul 15 2013

The Zimmerman verdict

There is not much for me to say about the verdict. I feel about the same way I did when OJ was aquitted-shock that it happened, and no surprise that it happened exactly the way it did in Florida. Florida's gun laws suck-and the "stand your ground law" that Zimmerman based his defense on, is poorly written and unevenly enforced. 

The two key issues of the case for me are: 1) Zimmerman followed Martin-after he was specifcally advised not to.  In essence he picked a fight he didn't have to pick-and could have left to trained law enforcement officers. 2) Despite the opinion of the jury, the case for self defense here was weak at best. Because Florida's law is written so poorly-and has a lot to do with determining Zimmerman's mental state-logical burdens of proof would not and could not be met:

Contrary to popular misconception, the burden of proof lies on Zimmerman to demonstrate that he acted in self-defense, not on the state to show that he didn't. "Innocent until proven guilty" only applies to culpability for the offense in question, and no one has argued that Zimmerman didn't pull the trigger that ended Martin's life. While someone who has committed a violent crime obviously has the right to defend himself, we set a dangerous precedent if we automatically give the benefit of the doubt to the murderer instead of the victim. Not only does the victim lack a voice to present his or her side of the story, but any murderer who has been caught will naturally be inclined to argue that his or her actions were somehow justified. Because a murderer's word is obviously suspect, and because murder is not an offense which we can afford as a society to sanction without the strongest of all possible reasons, we must demand that one who is known to have taken another human life establish beyond any shred of doubt that he or she had good reason to do so — and punish them, for the sake of protecting the sanctity of human life, if their culpability can be established and their justification cannot.

Zimmerman never convincingly proved that his life was in danger. His bloody nose and the scrapes on the back of his head do suggest that he and Martin were involved in a physical altercation of some sort, but had he had his head smashed against the pavement several times (as he claims), he would have sustained far worse injuries than that. As the evidence stands, all we know for certain is that he and Martin had a fight, which does not translate into justifiable cause for thinking his life was in danger. If, for example, two men are involved in a barroom brawl, and one pulls out a gun and shoots the other, the killer shouldn't be exonerated simply because both parties were equally engaged in the act of violence; he is only justified if he can prove that he had good reason to fear the other party would have killed him if he had not acted first. A charge of manslaughter may be substituted for a more severe account, but it is ludicrous to claim that he should be entirely acquitted. Similarly, Zimmerman simply fighting with Martin does not justify Zimmerman killing Martin precisely because the only sound evidence that could have proved his life was in jeopardy — the severity of his bodily injuries — failed to meet that standard of proof. In short, there is no good reason to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had to end Martin's life.

What's probably more troubling are the reactions of the brain damaged individuals who inhabit the Liar's Club and those of the totally deranged at "Breitbart's Mausoleum". It is the reaction of the learning impaired at of these locations that make one ashamed of the human race in general-and Americans in particular. If you want some real evidence of the decline of American civilization and the corrupting effects of a fake news organization like Fox News-just read some of the comments there. Then take several showers to wash the filth off of you.

Matthew Rozsa summed it up well-its time for a "J Accuse" type letter to the country as a whole:

Yet millions of people have ignored the facts, and the rather basic logic that can be applied to them, because they want to take his side. Even before the photographs of Zimmerman's injuries were released, or before Martin's character was smeared by Zimmerman's defense attorneys, these same people were scrounging around for ways to defend Zimmerman and condemn the child whose life he took. For all of the talk of political correctness inconveniencing white people, the primary beneficiaries of braindead etiquette are the racists who are allowed to spew their bile and then hide behind disclaimers of their own so-called "color blindness."

I say enough. And I add to that disgust the following:

I accuse George Zimmerman of being a common murderer, for the reasons explained before.

I accuse Zimmerman's defenders of believing that Trayvon Martin deserved to die because he was a black male.

Some of them undoubtedly have deluded themselves into thinking that they aren't racist; others, just as certainly, know that they dislike black people but lie so as to avoid the stigma of being labelled a "racist." All, however, are basing their opinions on the fact that Martin was black. If both men had been white, these same people would never dream of arguing that a heavyset adult male with a firearm could be defended for stalking an unarmed child and killing him. These same people, whether they admit it or not, would rightly dismiss his claim to have acted in self-defense once the aforementioned evidence was presented to them. Because Martin was black, however, they readily bought into the stereotypes our society teaches about African American men, and formed their opinions accordingly.

Finally, I accuse our society of systematically targeting African Americans using the same logic employed by Zimmerman, his supporters, and the Florida jurors.

20 responses so far

Jul 12 2013

Quotable

I love the writing of Charles Pierce.

First of all,he is not afraid of all the conservative concern trolls who get all bent out of shape when one calls one of the Representatives from Wisconisn , the "zombie eyed granny starver" he truly is. Nor does he fall apart when they whine about the supposed injustice on calling them out on their selfishness and cruelty. You know who you are trolls-please go fuck yourselves.

But the other reason I like him is he has a way with the words. This is sheer prosaic beauty:

Our Congress is now a cut-rate circus with nothing but eunuchs as performers. Some of these people, like Stutzman and his colleagues in the flying-monkey caucus, become eunuchs by choice. Some of them, like John Boehner, are drafted into the position. Their job is to be forcibly impotent so that the government itself becomes forcibly impotent. They are proud of what they do. They consider it a higher calling to public service that they decline to serve the public. They sing a soprano dirge for democracy in Jesus's name, amen.

Or this:

Do we need to mention that Mr. Stutzman is a member of the Class of '10, when the country decided with malice aforethought to elect the worst Congress in the history of the Republic? Do we need to mention that this bill has no chance of passing the Senate, or of being signed by the president, or of ever becoming law in this country? Of course, we don't. That isn't what this brutal act of maladministration was about. That isn't what this House is about any more. We've made jokes about how Eric Cantor has Boehner's balls buried in a Mason jar in his backyard. As far as governing the country goes, the rest of the House is more along the lines of Origen of Alexandria who, when he found himself tempted by the sins of the flesh, seized a knife and, as Flann O'Brien's vision of St, Augustine puts it, deprived himself in one swipe of his personality. Whenever the House majority feels itself tempted by the sin of actually governing, out comes the blade and all of them sing soprano harmonies.

 

They do this to demonstrate that government cannot work. They do this so that they can go home and talk at all the town halls and bean suppers to audiences choking on the venom that pours out of their radios and off their television screens about how government doesn't work, and how they stood tall against it, and against Those People who don't want to work for a living. (When Stutzman says he's a "fourth-generation farmer" who doesn't want the Farm Bill to be a "welfare bill," the folks back in LaGrange County don't need an Enigma machine to decode what he's saying.) They do this out of the bent notion, central to their party's presidential campaign last fall, that anyone on any kind of government assistance is less entitled to the benefits of the political commonwealth. And they all believe that; the only difference between Paul Ryan and Marlin Stutzman is that Ryan has been a nuisance for a longer period of time. That the country rose up and rejected that notion in a thundering manner is irrelevant. What does the country matter in the Third Congressional District of Indiana? There, they believe government cannot work, and they elect Marlin Stutzman to the Congress to demonstrate to the world that it cannot.


As James Fallows reminds this-it would be funny if it were not entirely true. Unfortunately it is, so it is nothing short of terrifying and crazy.

 

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Feb 26 2013

Not understanding the meaning of the word, “satire”.

I must admit, I am taking enormous pleasure at the conservative freak out over both Seth McFarland's hosting of the Oscars-and the appearance of Michelle Obama therein.

It is indeed laughable-because it shows what prudish jerks, a certain segment of American society is.

For starters-Family Guy is great. Its funny, edgy and a great satiric criticism of the trends in American society. Anyone who doesn't think so must be a conservative hack. Or a conservative whore-like Michelle Malkin. 

Or Jennifer Rubin.

 Rubin wrote a scathing review of the first lady’s appearance, complaining about nearly every word she said, and claiming she must have felt “entitled” to “intrude” on the big Hollywood night. In her eyes, an appearance like last night’s “makes both the president and the first lady seem small and grasping. In this case, it was just downright weird.”

Yea………right.

There is a word for Jennifer Rubin. Its the same one the Onion used for Quvenzhané Wallis. ( if you can pronounce that name, you are a better man than I).

And the list of whiners goes on. 

The National Review put together their round-up of the various responses “mocking” the first lady. The Drudge Report called her a party crasher in his banner headline. The Breitbart team complained she hijacked the Oscars. Charles Johnson has a great round up of how truly demented most of the folks on the right wing side of the aisle are.

Hardly a group of "respectable" critics if you ask me. And clearly they have no sense of tradition whatsoever. ( But hey, what else did you expect from Andrew Breibart's useless children?)

Look, morons. If you had no idea Seth McFarland was going to be "edgy" then you are really stupid. You should probably go talk to your children who understand his work quite well. 

Now I will admit-what with the 9 hour time difference-I was not going to be able to stay awake for the Oscars. But I watched the re-runs this morning-and I thought Seth McFarland was funny.

And talented. Especially this bit:

 

 


 

Only a moron would think that was not cleverly done. And , by the way, correct. We did see their boobs ( Thanks be to God!)

So please, Ms. Malkin-since we already know what a whore you are-spare us the the criticisms of people who can pull off the role a lot better than you do!.

4 responses so far

Feb 04 2013

The most destructive force in America today.

Published by under American Society

One thing about being back in the US for a while. It just depresses the hell out of you, at least if you turn on the news.

If you watch the local news here in North Carolina-a lot of people are meeting violent ends. For what purpose I am not really sure. But there are some truly screwed up people out there, judging by the number of homicides I saw reported in just the past three evenings.

On the other hand, if you watch the national news-you see the same old drama playing itself out again and again. Our national leadership is simply unable to put aside their petty bickering and do the right thing and provide a budget for the rest of the year-along with spending targets for the remaining four. And before anyone throws out the stupid and completely ridiculous canard that "the House did pass a budget, two of them"-you can stop right there and stop wasting your breath. Just shut your pie hole because the statement is not true. Paul Ryan's so called budget was a fraud, based on cruel and evil premises-and worst yet-his numbers did not add up. When examined carefully, by reasonable economists, his math just falls apart. Garbage in=Garbage out.

Now that does not absolve Obama or the Democrats for not pushing harder to get a budget passed. However when you have a group who has proven to be such a group of spoiled children as Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, the entire Teabag caucus, and the rest of the "serious" people are, it becomes impossible for Congress to do its primary and perhaps most important job.

But as far as Ryan et al are concerned-they have only one job. Screw the black guy in the White House at every opportunity. A solid majority of Americans did itself proud by seeing through that smoke screen and sending Romney home. ( Which home is that by the way? The one in California or the one in Massachusetts? Or any of his other ones. It is hard to keep track of them all).

The failure to have a proper and serious budget is destructive. It does not allow the government and the people in it to plan. It does not provide security to a large group of folks who need it, and so whatever recovery we are undertaking gets short circuited.

And when I make that statement, that does not mean that taxes returning to the level they should have been at all through this decade is a part of that uncertainty.  Its not. Setting tax rates and sticking to them-while you figure out long term tax reform is not "stoking the flames of uncertainty".

However you can see by the cuts that are now being trotted out by the services-which- if the Navy means what it says are pretty Draconian. Now I tend to look at the Navy closest because it is my field of expertise-but it seems to me that they are being deliberate in trying to paint a picture of gloom and doom if sequestration hits.

Now don't get me wrong, I think sequestration as currently laid out is a disaster for the country, not just for DOD. However, both sides of the house, defense and non defense CAN accept some cuts. But they are going about it the wrong way. The Navy appears to be concentrating all of the pain in OM&N and personnel. Why I am not really sure. Actually I take that back, I know exactly why they are doing it-hoping to get a lot of people so upset that a ground swell builds to restore funding. The problem with that line of thinking is that there are folks like Ryan, who never served a day in his life, who welcome Draconian cuts. They don't get hurt, you see, so they could care less about anyone else.

But rather than make vertical cuts and RIF's, e.g.., removing whole staff's and agencies that are on the cusp of irrelevance, they intend to make sure everyone "feels the pain". The money gets saved but it's a stupid self inflicted move that will cause the deaths of real Sailors unnecessarily . At least in aviation it will.

The same is true in other areas of the government. There are cuts to be made to be sure-just as there is a need to raise the revenue base of the government to do the things it is supposed to be doing. But "spreading it out" and saying travel is the culprit of increased spending, or stopping training, or furloughing civilians for 22 days, or any of the other things being proposed is short sighted. And glosses over a Navy created problem, namely the service's inability to say no,  that have created the problems its faces today.

Let me say this again. Vertical cuts. Do away with the extra organizations and flags. Stop LCS acquisition. Deploy only one carrier to CENTCOM if need be. RIF civilians on the staffs that get vertically cut. Yea that is painful-but in the long run its less painful that doing this same drill next year.

Vertical cuts. What remains-you fund to 100%. Whatever 100% turns out to be.

And the only way to do that is with a budget.

Which is why I say it is the most destructive force in America right now.

Do I think we will get one? Not a chance. I have zero confidence in our GOP Galtian overlords, especially the saunty Mr. Ryan- he of zombie eyed granny starving fame- to do the right thing. I despise the man.

Shakespeare summed the guy up well:

Mark you this, Bassanio,

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

An evil soul producing holy witness

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,

A goodly apple rotten at the heart:

O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

The country needs a budget, a responsible budget that makes real progress towards balancing the budget, with both revenue and prudent cuts. But because Mr Ryan and his ilk are as described above by Mr. William, nothing of the sort will be accomplished.

17 responses so far

Feb 03 2013

Superbowl Sunday

Published by under American Society

Last week was a busy one-as I had to return to Shopping Mall to work on a project that will continue over the next few months. It was our idea-but my former place of employ had all the material needed to turn it into two 18000 word documents. ( I started the week with only 2000 written).  By the time I got back to the hotel room-I didn't have the energy or the time to blog.

Being back in Shopping Mall is always an interesting, somewhat surreal experience. Compared to the daily challenges of life in Germany, it feels more comfortable, more relaxed, and quite familiar. As I have noted before its like slipping on a suit that fits-but is not longer fashionable. The pants are comfortable-but you don't want to be seen in them or admit they feel comfortable. More on that in subsequent days.

So, the week's work complete, I flew to NC to see my father. Will be here for a few days and will visit with him, and do the Shopping the S.O. inevitably requests of me. The S.O. has been back in Deutschland with a bad cold. She's been sick-and cranky. And not happy I am here and she is there. 

As I am typing this-half the lights just went out in the Superdome. Is God a 49'ers fan? Does He not like 109 yard kickoff returns?

I like most of the folks in the US are watching the game tonight. When the game starts back up I will have to put this post to bed. So let me give you something to watch and think about. Especially when Zealots like Paul Ryan scold us about their screwed up view of the world. I want to write more on this subject tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

"America is not the greatest nation in the world." It could be-but it chooses not to be. How to get back to being the #1 country in the world, or is it even worth thinking in those terms anymore.

3 responses so far

Dec 17 2012

Will anything change?

The events in Connecticut are so horrific-it is just painful still to think about. 20 children-CHILDREN-and six adults all of whom got up and went to the Sandy Hook school thinking it was just another day.

Now if the world were just, we as a nation would come together and craft a means to stop the possibilities of sick twisted people getting a hold of weapons.

But we won't.

Even now-morons like John Fund are already hard at work writing rationalizations as to why gun control does not work. And Uncle Dumbo is hard at work slandering anyone who believes we should do things differently.

Probably the best analysis I have read comes not from an American publication,  but a British one:

Switching to red-blooded conservative talk radio, I found two hosts offering a “move along, nothing to see here” defense of the status quo. One suggested that listeners should not torment themselves trying to understand “craziness”, though it would, the pair agreed, be understandable if some parents were tempted to remove their children from public education and homeschool them.

To that debate, all I can offer is the perspective of someone who has lived and worked in different corners of the world, with different gun laws………

The first time that I was posted to Washington, DC some years ago, the capital and suburbs endured a frightening few days at the hands of a pair of snipers, who took to killing people at random from a shooting position they had established in the boot of a car. I remember meeting a couple of White House correspondents from American papers, and hearing one say: but the strange thing is that Maryland (where most of the killings were taking place) has really strict gun laws. And I remember thinking: from the British perspective, those aren’t strict gun laws. Strict laws involve having no guns.

After a couple of horrible mass shootings in Britain, handguns and automatic weapons have been effectively banned. It is possible to own shotguns, and rifles if you can demonstrate to the police that you have a good reason to own one, such as target shooting at a gun club, or deer stalking, say. The firearms-ownership rules are onerous, involving hours of paperwork. You must provide a referee who has to answer nosy questions about the applicant's mental state, home life (including family or domestic tensions) and their attitude towards guns. In addition to criminal-record checks, the police talk to applicants’ family doctors and ask about any histories of alcohol or drug abuse or personality disorders.

Vitally, it is also very hard to get hold of ammunition. Just before leaving Britain in the summer, I had lunch with a member of parliament whose constituency is plagued with gang violence and drug gangs. She told me of a shooting, and how it had not led to a death, because the gang had had to make its own bullets, which did not work well, and how this was very common, according to her local police commander. Even hardened criminals willing to pay for a handgun in Britain are often getting only an illegally modified starter’s pistol turned into a single-shot weapon.

And, to be crude, having few guns does mean that few people get shot. In 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and Wales, with a population about one sixth the size of America’s. In America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008.

The numbers don't lie-and countries with very strict gun laws like Britain and Japan experience far lesser amounts of gun crime. It does exist of course, but not in the volumes that exist here. The easy way out for many Americans is to pretend that guns are not the problem-"its the society".

Well that may be-but easy access to weaponry makes the consequences of madness far, far greater than should have to be endured.

Probably the argument put forth that is the silliest one,  is the idea that somehow, the Founding Fathers intended the 2nd Amendment to be some sort of check and balance on the government. They never intended anything of the sort-the only reason the amendment was there was to form a militia. A well regulated militia. I remain firmly convinced that were the Founders drafting the bill of rights today-the 2nd Amendment would not be there. Its a very narcissistic expression of a "courage" that simply does not exist.

 

I would also say, to stick my neck out a bit further, that I find many of the arguments advanced for private gun ownership in America a bit unconvincing, and tinged with a blend of excessive self-confidence and faulty risk perception.

I am willing to believe that some householders, in some cases, have defended their families from attack because they have been armed. But I also imagine that lots of ordinary adults, if woken in the night by an armed intruder, lack the skill to wake, find their weapon, keep hold of their weapon, use it correctly and avoid shooting the wrong person. And my hunch is that the model found in places like Japan or Britain—no guns in homes at all, or almost none—is on balance safer.

As for the National Rifle Association bumper stickers arguing that only an armed citizenry can prevent tyranny, I wonder if that isn’t a form of narcissism, involving the belief that lone, heroic individuals will have the ability to identify tyranny as it descends, recognize it for what it is, and fight back. There is also the small matter that I don’t think America is remotely close to becoming a tyranny, and to suggest that it is is both irrational and a bit offensive to people who actually do live under tyrannical rule.

Nor is it the case that the British are relaxed about being subjects of a monarch, or are less fussed about freedoms. A conservative law professor was recently quoted in the papers saying he did not want to live in a country where the police were armed and the citizens not. I fear in Britain, at least, native gun-distrust goes even deeper than that: the British don’t even like their police to be armed (though more of them are than in the past).

But the problem remains-American politics are anything but rational. And as Tom Levenson pointed out, "An armed society may be a polite one. But it’s not one that is free. It is not one in which a civic life in any meaningful sense of the term can take place. Guns kill liberty."

And too many Americans can't or won't think rationally on the subject of guns. So we will remain stuck right where we are today and have been for some 50 years in both this and the previous violent centuries.

But here is the thing. The American gun debate takes place in America, not Britain or Japan. And banning all guns is not about to happen (and good luck collecting all 300m guns currently in circulation, should such a law be passed). It would also not be democratic. I personally dislike guns. I think the private ownership of guns is a tragic mistake. But a majority of Americans disagree with me, some of them very strongly. And at a certain point, when very large majorities disagree with you, a bit of deference is in order.

So in short I am not sure that tinkering with gun control will stop horrible massacres like today’s. And I am pretty sure that the sort of gun control that would work—banning all guns—is not going to happen. So I have a feeling that even a more courageous debate than has been heard for some time, with Mr Obama proposing gun-control laws that would have been unthinkable in his first term, will not change very much at all. Hence the gloom.

Thus the editors of the Economist are right. We Americans are simply going through the motions. Since we, collectively, have no intention of fixing the root problem-we, collectively, have no rights to "mourn" the helpless children and their teachers. "It's our fault, and until we evince some remorse for our actions or intention to reform ourselves, the idea that we consider ourselves entitled to "mourn" the victims of our own barbaric policies is frankly disgusting.".

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