Archive for the 'American Society' Category

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.

One response 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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Dec 30 2014

The tragedy of the American Military

James Fallow's of The Atlantic magazine has written a must read, thought provoking article, on the current state of civil-military relations. It is a long read, but it is well worth your time. In it, he highlights the real hypocrisy of a country that fawns over its military to the point of idolatry, yet allows its elected leadership to condemn them to unending and repetitive deployments and wars that accomplish nothing in the national interest, get a lot of fine young men killed and wounded for nothing, and insulates itself from understanding the true cost of the wars they so cavalierly cheerlead.

Outsiders treat [the US military] both too reverently and too cavalierly, as if regarding its members as heroes makes up for committing them to unending, unwinnable missions and denying them anything like the political mindshare we give to other major public undertakings, from medical care to public education to environmental rules. The tone and level of public debate on those issues is hardly encouraging. But for democracies, messy debates are less damaging in the long run than letting important functions run on autopilot, as our military essentially does now. A chickenhawk nation is more likely to keep going to war, and to keep losing, than one that wrestles with long-term questions of effectiveness.

In the body of the article he highlights what many in the military will private admit, and is a subject I have written about many times here; the fact that a lot of the military's problems are not caused by its political leadership-its self induced pain that comes from some very flawed policies by the perfumed princes that now inhabit the 3 and 4 star ranks of the services. This is especially true in the area of acquisition, which can't seem to buy anything efficiently and where warfighters are treated as persona non grata. Instead we see people who have been the acquisition community their entire careers ( like a certain director of a major DOD agency a couple of years ago) who could not lead or for that matter purchase anything either.

America’s distance from the military makes the country too willing to go to war, and too callous about the damage warfare inflicts. This distance also means that we spend too much money on the military and we spend it stupidly, thereby shortchanging many of the functions that make the most difference to the welfare of the troops and their success in combat. We buy weapons that have less to do with battlefield realities than with our unending faith that advanced technology will ensure victory, and with the economic interests and political influence of contractors. This leaves us with expensive and delicate high-tech white elephants, while unglamorous but essential tools, from infantry rifles to armored personnel carriers, too often fail our troops.

At this point the letters, LCS, should be coming into your mind. Fallows picks on the F-35 which is a fine target, but in reality all of the services have their own boneheaded procurement decisions and the Navy is no exception. The American people no longer look at their military in an objective vein, recognizing both its successes and flaws-and even worse, personnel within the military seem all too willing to buy into their own hype holding themselves out as supermen who are above the level of the civilians they so ably serve. One has only to go some of the major military blogs and read the swill that passes for a comment section. Besides making you despair about the mental ability of a certain segment of the human race, it proves the incongruity that one of Fallows' readers quite accurately pointed out. They rail with fervor about issues they know nothing about.

I am an [post-Vietnam era] West Point grad. Resigned after 5 years.

Your article is spot on. I often wonder what the rest of the world thinks of us when at each major sporting event, we have fly overs of fighter planes, B-52s, Apache helicopters and legions of troops getting awards at halftime.

I see in my classmates a total divorce from civilian reality. They live in a rarefied world where they are the only ones who are honest, law abiding, and religious.

They totally disdain social welfare programs as they receive health benefits to death, commissary privileges, and pensions. In their view, civilians are not worthy of these programs.

It is a dangerous slope we are on where we worship the troops, have no clue what they do, or why, and as along as we don't need to know, we are happy.

I hope your article stirs discussion. I fear it won't. The coup may in fact be coming.

 The incongruity, and to put it bluntly, hypocrisy,  of those who are vocally speaking out against other people having benefits that improve their lives, while at the same time enjoying some of the best benefits available from any employer is indeed rich. But don't try telling them that-they are special people. Don't you know that? So long as you agree with them, that is. Others of us, who served longer and equally as well but have arrived at different conclusions-get cast out into the outer darkness.

It's a dangerous phenomenon, and the ideas of people like John Nagl who defend the idea of a "Praetorian Guard" are troubling to me. Nagl thinks that because the troops "know what they are signing up for……..They are proud to do it, and in exchange they expect a reasonable living, and pensions and health care if they are hurt or fall sick. The American public is completely willing to let this professional class of volunteers serve where they should, for wise purpose. This gives the president much greater freedom of action to make decisions in the national interest, with troops who will salute sharply and do what needs to be done.”

You should be very afraid when you hear that-at least if you believe in the concept of a democracy that serves the citizens of the country. Too much history shows us where this can lead if we are not careful. Cue Fallows again:

I like and respect Nagl, but I completely disagree. As we’ve seen, public inattention to the military, born of having no direct interest in what happens to it, has allowed both strategic and institutional problems to fester.

“A people untouched (or seemingly untouched) by war are far less likely to care about it,” Andrew Bacevich wrote in 2012. Bacevich himself fought in Vietnam; his son was killed in Iraq. “Persuaded that they have no skin in the game, they will permit the state to do whatever it wishes to do.”

Shall I remind you of the things that "have needed to be done" that have been done in your name, like torture and warrantless wiretapping? Just a couple in a long list of abuses aided and abetted by the members of that "Praetorian Guard". The problem of the civil- military disconnect is real and dangerous.

In the end of the article, Fallows turns to the recommendations in a never before published memo from Gary Hart which is also worth your time to read.  I will comment on those in a post after the first of the new year.

Many of you will not like Fallows term "chicken hawk"-but he's right on the mark in my humble opinion. The United States wasted the first 15 years of the new century going down foreign policy ratholes. And big part of that is because the American people are insulated from the sacrifices and the true costs of the policies they casually cheerlead. Fallows is doing a national service in pointing that out and I applaud him for it.

For the first time in the nation’s history, America has a permanent military establishment large enough to shape our dealings in the world and seriously influence our economy. Yet the Americans in that military, during what Dunlap calls the “maturing years of the volunteer force,” are few enough in number not to seem representative of the country they defend.

“It’s becoming increasingly tribal,” Dunlap says of the at-war force in our chickenhawk nation, “in the sense that more and more people in the military are coming from smaller and smaller groups. It’s become a family tradition, in a way that’s at odds with how we want to think a democracy spreads the burden.”

4 responses so far

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.

23 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.

 

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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.

 

No responses yet

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!.

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