Jun 17 2016

Good News for Cleveland…..

Published by under Beer and Babes

Maybe Donald, the talking yam, will make America great again. Certainly , Cleveland is looking forward to a good time in July:

Last month, artist Spencer Tunick put out a call for women to pose nude at the Republican National Convention this summer. They'll be part of his latest large-scale art installation: "Everything She Says Means Everything." According to Tunick, the response has been massive. He says 1,500 women have applied for the 100 available spots. 

"The response has been incredible," said Tunick, who recently returned to the U.S. after organizing a project in Bogota, Colombia. "These women really are so brave."

Tunick shared with Esquire some of the reasons the women gave for wanting to participate:

"As a woman, I want to stand up for my reproductive rights. As a Hispanic, I want to be seen as a member of this community. As a first­-generation American, I want to show that anyone deserves the opportunity to come here. As a young woman, I want to embrace my body and everyone else's size and shape. As a human being, I want to stand up against Trump and other Republicans whose hateful speech towards women, immigrants, LGBT people, and all 'others' is poisoning this nation."

 

Of course, this is probably like being a gynecologist, for every good one you see, you have to look at four that are perfectly hideous. 

After the lousy week this has been, including yesterday's lunacy in the UK. It's time to start drinking, heavily.

Margarita (1)

And so you don't have to experience the horror of ugly women, lets look at a beautiful one:

 

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Hope next week is much, much better.

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Jun 16 2016

The four horsemen are saddling up

The four horsemen of the apocalypse that is. As if having Donald Trump on a presidential ballot were not proof enough the Anti-Christ is alive and walking among us, now comes a day when I actually agree with a Republican Congressman from Mississippi. Repent! The hour of judgment is at hand!

Long time readers here will know that I am a big fan of the writing of Charles Pierce. I love the rich way he uses words and the unerring way he pillories people who deserve to be pilloried.

Most of the time anyway. But today he got it wrong by a country mile. So I am going to give some credit, where credit is due.

I agree with Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.)

But Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) said believes the naming of ships should be reserved for former presidents, war heroes and people who have served in the military, which neither Lewis (D-Ga.) nor Levin (D-Mich.) did. "My amendment has nothing — absolutely zero — to do with John Lewis or any other member of Congress," Palazzo said in a statement.  The measure was introduced as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill scheduled to be debated in the House this week. The proposal would have prevent the Pentagon from using any federal funds to name ships for "any member of Congress, living or deceased, unless such member served as the President of the United States or as a member of the Armed Forces."?

What Charlie is not seeing here, is the absolute abomination the last three SECNAV's have made of the ship naming process. Ray Mabus deserves the bulk of the blame, but lets not forget the shitty work done by Gordon England and John Dalton. They each failed in their own way.

In fact I would take Rep Palazzo's bill much, much further-forcing the Navy to reinstate the accepted Navy naming conventions. E.G., naming submarines for fish, cruisers for cities, destroyers for war heroes ( posthumously), SSBN's for states ( since there are no more battleships -sigh), Carriers for historic Naval Battles and Presidents. The current practice of using ship names as a "trade" for political favors is insane.

Sorry Charlie, you got this one wrong.  This is a fight worth picking.

I'll be waiting for the moon to turn black.

One response so far

Jun 15 2016

Let’s play a game.

Let's pretend that Americans can have a reasonable discussion about the issue of gun control. Personally, I don't believe that is possible- a certain segment of American society is totally committed to a completely unreasonable position on the issue. We have long passed the point of reasonable discussion on this issue.

But for the sake of discussion, let's pretend, shall we?

What I propose ( and this should be really interesting to watch unfold) is to have a debate on the why or why not certain specific gun control proposals could be enacted. To do this I propose to ask a series of questions, and ask for answers in the comments section.

However before we start, I think it's critically important to lay out the rules of this game:

1) Responses have to be REASONABLE. If you go off the rails with rants about tyranny and freedom, I will "shoot" your comment in the heart.

2) For purposes of this discussion, we must make the assumption that the 2nd amendment rules. The right of an individual to possess a firearm is accepted and not up for discussion. Repealing the 2nd amendment is not on the table for discussion. (We will get to that in a later post). Having said that, we must also accept the logic put forth by Justice Scalia in his majority opinion in the Heller decision:

“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited…”. It is “…not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

 “We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller (an earlier case) said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time”. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ” 

The court even recognizes a long-standing judicial precedent “…to consider… prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons.”

3) Recognizing the above, we also recognize the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, so all arguments about "states rights" will also be summarily discarded. In other words uniform standards for the states is an accepted starting point for the discussion. Don't like that, go watch wrestling, your presence here is no longer required.

4) The " defense against tyranny" argument is not welcome here. I'm repeating that because : 1) its the weakest argument for the 2nd amendment and 2) we already established that individuals have rights to firearms.

 

So lets play the game, shall we?

Question One: What is wrong with having restrictions on buying ammunition? Why not need a license to sell ammunition, and creates a new system for collecting information about those sales?

Question Two: Why can't we have restrictions on large capacity magazines? Why does any sport user need a magazine that holds 30 rounds? What's wrong with limits to 10?

Question Three: Why not allow a ban on gun sales over the internet? Require that all gun sales require a face to face sale and completion of background checks and waiting periods. In other words, eliminate the gun show loopholes.

Question Four: What's wrong with being in favor of smart gun technology? In other words to fire your gun you need  a safety feature or features that allow it to fire only when activated by an authorized user. The NRA by the way, is on record as opposing this.

Question Five: Why can't we have an accepted definition of what constitutes "sporting use"? Weapons of certain calibers and certain types? A ban on weapons that clearly have no sporting use or utility and a ban on all semi automatic weapons. 

That's probably enough for now. I fully expect things to spiral down a rat hole soon enough so let me remind you, you don't play by my rules, I will consign your comments to the flames of woe.

Let's begin.

 

 

 

12 responses so far

Jun 14 2016

Let’s talk about sex instead.

Published by under Fun things!

Because we cannot talk about politics at work, ever. Here is what happens when a co-worker tries to talk about politics with me .

Rule #1: I am always right in a political argument.

Rule #2: When in doubt, see rule # 1.

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Jun 13 2016

Vichy Republicans

Is my new favorite put down for those members of the GOP who can't seem to find where they left their moral compass………

Drowned out in the cacophony of tragedy this weekend, was a very well delivered and well written speech by filmmaker Ken Burns (who has done great documentary series on The Civil War among many others) who let us know, in no uncertain terms, why, He, Trump, is a dangerous threat to the American Republic-every bit as dangerous as our fetish about firearms. It is worth reading, and for the record I agree with him. If you don't, well, may God have mercy on you, but don't expect any sympathy here.

Take it away Mr. Burns:

For 216 years, our elections, though bitterly contested, have featured the philosophies and character of candidates who were clearly qualified. That is not the case this year. One is glaringly not qualified. So before you do anything with your well-earned degree, you must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process, divided our house, to fight against, no matter your political persuasion, the dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience in the much maligned but subtle art of governance; who is against lots of things, but doesn’t seem to be for anything, offering only bombastic and contradictory promises, and terrifying Orwellian statements; a person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter; who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment; who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, immigrants, and all Muslims; a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan; an infantile, bullying man who, depending on his mood, is willing to discard old and established alliances, treaties, and longstanding relationships. I feel genuine sorrow for the understandably scared and — they feel — powerless people who have flocked to his campaign in the mistaken belief that — as often happens on TV — a wand can be waved and every complicated problem can be solved with the simplest of solutions. They can’t. It is a political Ponzi scheme. And asking this man to assume the highest office in the land would be like asking a newly minted car driver to fly a 747.

As a student of history, I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient proto-fascism, a nativist anti-immigrant Know Nothing-ism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African-Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber-rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that, predictably, points fingers, always making the other wrong. These are all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past. But they now loom in front of us again — all happening at once. We know from our history books that these are the diseases of ancient and now fallen empires. The sense of commonwealth, of shared sacrifice, of trust, so much a part of American life, is eroding fast, spurred along and amplified by an amoral internet that permits a lie to circle the globe three times before the truth can get started.

We no longer have the luxury of neutrality or “balance,” or even of bemused disdain. Many of our media institutions have largely failed to expose this charlatan, torn between a nagging responsibility to good journalism and the big ratings a media circus always delivers. In fact, they have given him the abundant airtime he so desperately craves, so much so that it has actually worn down our natural human revulsion to this kind of behavior. Hey, he’s rich; he must be doing something right. He is not. Edward R. Murrow would have exposed this naked emperor months ago. He is an insult to our history. Do not be deceived by his momentary “good behavior.” It is only a spoiled, misbehaving child hoping somehow to still have dessert.

And do not think that the tragedy in Orlando underscores his points. It does not. We must “disenthrall ourselves,” as Abraham Lincoln said, from the culture of violence and guns. And then “we shall save our country.”

This is not a liberal or conservative issue, a red state–blue state divide. This is an American issue. Many honorable people, including the last two Republican presidents, members of the party of Abraham Lincoln, have declined to support him. And I implore those “Vichy Republicans” who have endorsed him to please, please reconsider. We must remain committed to the kindness and community that are the hallmarks of civilization and reject the troubling, unfiltered Tourette’s of his tribalism.

The next few months of your “commencement,” that is to say, your future, will be critical to the survival of our republic. “The occasion is piled high with difficulty.” Let us pledge here today that we will not let this happen to the exquisite, yet deeply flawed, land we all love and cherish — and hope to leave intact to our posterity. Let us “nobly save,” not “meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

 

The entire address can be found on Stanford's You Tube channel here.

 

 

 

4 responses so far

Jun 12 2016

It is not always black and white. Mostly its complex and gray.

Jeffrey Goldberg ( the good Goldberg in contrast to the evil Jonah) makes a point that needs to be remembered:

 

Just because the guy was of Afghan descent and may have been radicalized, does not give a segment of the population a "get out of jail free card" on other issues.

Issues like this:

36-Americans-killed-every-day-by-guns

And this:

STATS-2-05

 

The need to fix America's incredibly bad gun laws and the need to protect against violent extremists is not ( and never will be) mutually exclusive.

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED ON THIS POST. I am not in the mood for a discussion here.

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Jun 09 2016

More from Kotor

Published by under Travel

Which is in Montenegro if you did not know.

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Kotor calls it self the City of Cats

Kotor calls it self the City of Cats

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It's a beautiful place and the drive down the Coast Road in Croatia is beautiful too!

One response so far

Jun 07 2016

Let me tell you a story about a man named Tom.

Who as we noted here at Far East Cynic HQ , last year, would be Sen Tom Cotton (douche bag-AR)-a worthless man,  the freshman Senator from Arkansas, who seems not to have a very good understanding of his place in the United States government. 

However when we wrote about him then, we were just decrying his stupidity when it came to foreign policy and demonstrating that he really had not done very much except show that he needs to take some remedial lessons on geography and history. Little did we realize at the time, that he was truly a fucking asshole and had no soul whatsoever. As it turns out, he had bigger ambitions on his mind, ambitions that included joining a list of folks who had sold their souls to Satan.

This is what hitting rock bottom looks like:

In early 2014, after decades of government and nonprofit work that reflected a passion for public service, Cassandra Butts got a reward — or so she thought. She was nominated by President Obama to be the next United States ambassador to the Bahamas.

It wasn’t an especially high-profile gig at the crossroads of the day’s most urgent issues, but it was a longstanding diplomatic post that needed to be filled, and she had concrete ideas about how best to do the job.

“She was very excited,” her sister, Deidra Abbott, told me.

The Senate held a hearing about her nomination in May 2014, and then … nothing. Summer came and went. So did fall. A new year arrived. Then another new year after that.

When I met her last month, she’d been waiting more than 820 days to be confirmed. She died suddenly two weeks later, still waiting. She was 50 years old.

The delay had nothing to do with her qualifications, which were impeccable. It had everything to do with Washington. She was a pawn in its power games and partisanship.

At one point Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, had a “hold” on all political nominees for State Department positions, partly as a way of punishing President Obama for the Iran nuclear deal.

At another point Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, put a hold specifically on Butts and on nominees for the ambassadorships to Sweden and Norway. He had a legitimate gripe with the Obama administration over a Secret Service leak of private information about a fellow member of Congress, and he was trying to pressure Obama to take punitive action. But that issue was unrelated to Butts and the Bahamas.

Cotton eventually released the two other holds, but not the one on Butts. She told me that she once went to see him about it, and he explained that he knew that she was a close friend of Obama’s — the two first encountered each other on a line for financial-aid forms at Harvard Law School, where they were classmates — and that blocking her was a way to inflict special pain on the president.

Got that? Not about any significant legislative issue with an obviously qualified nominee for what is not necessarily a critical diplomatic post. All because he wanted to play out the role of spoiled child.

Some people are ideologues. Some people are charlatans. Some people are opportunists. And some people are simply raging, flaming holes of pure ass. As Bruni's column makes clear, at least in the case of Tom Cotton, these categories are far from mutually exclusive.

Oh and by the way, Cotton's office does not dispute any part of this story. But Dudley Douchebag tried to paper over his evil by saying he,"had enormous respect for her and her career." 

Sure you did, shit for brains.

Since Tom Cotton believes he is saved by grace, he seems to think that gives a pass on behaving like a decent human being. News Flash! –It doesn't.

Tom Cotton weaponized a dying woman's final days in order to "inflict special pain" on the president. Tom Cotton is a petty, sadistic swine who has the basic conscience of a cholera outbreak. He should be shamed from office, and he should be shunned by decent people. 

 

Charlie is being way too nice here.

 

5 responses so far

Jun 06 2016

Confronting a totalitarian dictatorship in North Asia

Not every dictatorship in Northern Asia is run by a chubby little Korean guy with a bad haircut. It would appear some dictatorships exist in lands that are supposed to be nice and democratic. Just today, I found out that in my beloved Japan, in a district just south of Tokyo, there is a totalitarian dictatorship run amok:

U.S. sailors deployed to Japan are now under a temporary ban on alcohol and off-base liberty, with top commanders citing a string of "alcohol-related incidents detrimental to the U.S.-Japan Alliance."

The ban, which covers drinking both on- and off-base, will remain in place until commanders believe "all personnel understand the impact of responsible behavior," according to an announcement by the commanders of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet and the Navy's forces in Japan.

With all off-base liberty canceled, sailors will only be allowed to enter civilian areas for either official business or essential reasons, such as childcare, gas and groceries. Liberty privileges will be reinstated only after "face-to-face training has been conducted by unit commanding officers, executive officers and command master chiefs with all personnel," the Navy says.

The ban is the latest shift in the U.S. Navy's centuries-long relationship with alcohol. More than 100 years ago, the Navy declared a ban on booze aboard all its ships, ushering in a dry era that contrasted with the service's early days of doling out a half-pint of liquor to sailors daily, as the U.S. Naval Institute has noted.

It's also a new phase in the discussions over the large U.S. military presence in Japan, particularly in Okinawa, which has long been a controversial subject. That's due in no small part because over the years, American personnel have committed high-profile crimes — such as the infamous kidnapping, rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. service members back in 1995.

 

Way to go Joe! That will sure fix the problem.

asshole-kitty

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Yea, keep treating your  Sailors like children-and then be shocked, SHOCKED, when they don't respond as advertised.

"These measures are not taken lightly," Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, says in the Navy announcement. "For decades, we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the people of Japan. It is imperative that each Sailor understand how our actions affect that relationship, and the U.S.-Japan Alliance as a whole."

Discussing the new restrictions, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, says, "The overwhelming majority of our Sailors are doing an outstanding job every single day. But that same majority — at every paygrade — is also responsible for providing leadership on all levels. We will not condone misconduct that impacts our ability to conduct our mission or which jeopardizes our critical alliance with Japan."

Oh really? Let me tell you what is really going to happen. The 95% of the Sailors who don't do anything wrong except try to enjoy their lives will sit on their hands for only a few days and then the letters to Congressmen hopefully will start flying.  In the meantime the more enterprising Sailors will find a way to get "home delivery". ( Maybe one or two will use the old MLC "trunk resupply method" to restock our declining beer stocks when everyone was clamped down after 9-11. Yes, they got a nice 5000 yen "finders fee"-but desperate times called for desperate measures.). What the hell do you guys think this is, the Air Force?

Today’s Air Force is addicted to this kind of control scheming, even if it inflicts more damage than could ever be justified by the potential good. This addiction is facilitated and fueled by a cultural pathology that has taken root over the last 15 years: taking airmen for granted. Gen. Mark Welsh has made it explicit during his endless string of mandatory hangar calls: if you leave, someone else will step in.  

It takes a special leader to see past the commodity marketing and flesh-peddling of his manpower “experts” and hold in clear view the key truth that even if a down economy allows you to get away with it from an algebraic perspective, the moral injury of treating people like serfs will be toxic and lasting. The damage multiplies exponentially when it stands uncorrected.

 

Substitute the word, "Navy" here and the effect is still the same. John Q. Public reminds us where these "reinforcement" tactics eventually lead:

What today’s senior Air Force folk don’t understand is that they need the trust of their juniors much more than the other way around. If your people don’t trust you, you can’t lead them, and therefore you’re not a leader. You’re just some schmoe exercising positional authority, and not qualitatively different from a cashier, DMV clerk, carrot gardener, or gas station attendant. It just so happens your positional authority lets you harass people to a greater degree than those others. But that doesn’t mean you should do it. In fact, by doing it, you will alienate the very people you need to actually do your job, since teamwork — yes, teamwork, is required for you to succeed. Even if you can get promoted without it, and might even get promoted quicker by eschewing it.

 

You brought this on yourselves, boys and girls. When you created an atmosphere where Senior enlisted won't dare to go on liberty with their juniors because it is just a lose / lose proposition.

Look, I get it. These are serious incidents. But here is a news flash folks, the Japanese understand that too, and most what posturing you see is for domestic consumption, not to advocate these types of Draconian measures. And here is another news flash for you-you have the means to deal with the small percentage of troublemakers already.

This type of knee jerk reaction is not just limited to booze. You see it everywhere in Navy life these days , (and the other services too) this completely flawed idea that the services can tell you everything to do with your personal life, regardless of the legality of it. Today's leadership thinks they have the right legislate one's private life: telling you what you and cannot say on the internet, what you can and cannot do in our private time, even in some cases who can and cannot sleep with. ( Cue the obligatory TIP BS discussion here).

And if you think about objecting to it, by pointing out quite correctly that there is a dividing line between what's professional and personal? Be prepared to be marked with the Scarlett "W". ( for whining):

Any policy push-back is therefore marginalized as “whining” and everyone is reminded that no one forced them to join or to stay……..

Here’s a bigger issue: as people figure out they’ve been had, the ability to recruit and retain enough of them to win wars gets compromised. 

This is the unfolding reality of the Air Force [Navy], and it gestures toward a related pathology. …………

I’m guessing for those at Osan, [Yokosuka] morale is anything but pretty darn good. It’s hard to be proud of your unit and inspired by the role you play in the mission when your chain of command is obsessed with monitoring and controlling your private life … and when you’re not even trusted to live privately without supervision. This during the scant few hours you’re not sleeping, preparing for duty, or doing your own job plus the job of the person who should be next to you but was either fired in the last drawdown, deployed on the last AEF on 6-9 days notice, or obliged to miss work for volunteer or educational “opportunities.”

You have done this to yourselves over and over again. Even worse, you would not try that in San Diego or Norfolk because-spoiler alertit's illegal. You would not try that in a homeport in CONUS. Well, Yokosuka is a homeport too. Not a liberty port. Same is true in Okinawa. That is why you can only ask your civilians to "voluntary comply" ( good luck with that!).

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Kudos to John Q. Public for spelling this out better than I ever could!

6 responses so far

Jun 04 2016

The surrender declaration

Paul Ryan unconditionally surrendered to the forces of evil on Thursday:

Donald Trump and I have talked at great length about things such as the proper role of the executive and fundamental principles such as the protection of life. The list of potential Supreme Court nominees he released after our first meeting was very encouraging.

But the House policy agenda has been the main focus of our dialogue. We’ve talked about the common ground this agenda can represent. We’ve discussed how the House can be a driver of policy ideas. We’ve talked about how important these reforms are to saving our country. And we’ve talked about how, by focusing on issues that unite Republicans, we can work together to heal the fissures developed through the primary.

Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives. That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall.

It’s no secret that he and I have our differences. I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.

For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I—and my House colleagues—have invested so much in through the years. It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead.

Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.

Yes, I am sure Trump will help you build your Hegelian hell that so strive to build, Mr. Ryan-you self serving little prick.

Brave talk from a man who used government assistance to put himself through college, and then could not be bothered to do a few years of service to his country.

Trump will do what Trump does best: serve his own interests. But that’s really what Ryan is doing, too: if he doesn’t back Trump, his chances of losing his Speakership increase. Hell, he might even find himself in a more difficult primary. So he sold himself cheap.

Here, Mr. Ryan, here is a towel to wash the jizz off your mouth.

 

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