25 December 2009
07 December 2009
20 November 2009
How many more adults will spoil things for children (and for other adults)?: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hCHNHQco9s98ruRro8qyPD2vwB_AD9C2K4TG3
31 October 2009
Republic of Lakotah site relates:
"When told the reason for daylight savings time the Old Indian said: 'Only the Government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket.' ”
Artist Liu Bolin paints himself into his environment:http://v1kram.posterous.com/liu-bolinthe-invisible-man
30 October 2009
Atomic goodie for you. How big is small? How small is big? As I sat here in my cell, this I found illuminating (work the slider): http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/cells/scale/
27 October 2009
Two things Belgium invented: "French" fries and...the Famous Underwear Museum.
Why not go to Saks or Bonwit, or what have you, and see the damn skivvies for free before the famous buy them?
Let's look on the bright side: the museum's debut may vex the crowd that denounce the Shroud of Turin as a fetish.
A public statement by former Labour speechwriter Andrew Neather reveals that Britain's Labour party (the liberals over there) determined secretly, without so much as a by-your-leave to British voters, the deliberate immigration policy of forced multiculturalism to alter willfully the makeup of the UK population.
20 October 2009
18 October 2009
13 October 2009
UPI reports Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has been up to some clever democratic tricks in behalf of himself and his party. Perhaps President Obama might suggest to Maliki that he take a Ba’ath?
12 October 2009
10 October 2009
To buttress the conclusions I drew in my previous post, this from a 9 January 2009 Jason Motlagh report on combat outpost Keating (Kamdesh):
“Given their low-lying position at the base of a ravine carved by the Landay River, members of B Troop, 6-4 Cavalry train their weapons at a 45-degree angle during firefights, shooting up into the trees where insurgents creep almost unseen.”
09 October 2009
George Santayana's epigram needs repeating (again, dammnit): "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
The recent Taliban assault which breached the outer perimeter of the US-ANA outpost at Kamdesh, Afghanistan, seems to be the fault, the responsibility of someone, or many someones, in the US armed forces who did not bother to study the French Union Forces 1954 defeat by the Viet Minh at Dienbienphu.
Kamdesh invited enemy assault before the Taliban attack on it began. Kamdesh repeated all the errors the French made at Dienbienphu, and the officers who chose it actually made worse errors than the French made. Both Dienbienphu and Kamdesh lie in low ground, in the middle of valleys. The main French base at Dienbienphu was at least a short distance from the mountains that ringed it - so it was like being at the bottom of bowl; but the outpost at Kamdesh is like the bottom of a test tube - it's in a tight valley, not just surrounded but hemmed tightly in by precipitous peaks which gave the Taliban terrain even more advantageous than that enjoyed by the Viet Minh around Dienbienphu.
Both battles were also intelligence failures: in both cases the defenders' intrinsic and higher command intelligence operatives failed to detect the long, slow enemy buildup of positions, weapons, and troops that came to surround and assault the outposts.
In both battles the enemy assault forces could and did shoot down, not just at the troops holding those outposts but also down at the aircraft upon which both of those posts depended for resupply and casualty evacuation.
I've nothing but the highest praise and eternal respect for our US soldiers' expertise, grit, and bravery, and I have - perhaps - praise also for some of the ANA soldiers (our US troops themselves will tell you that ANA units' loyalties are not to be trusted, and about a dozen or so of the ANA defenders of Kamdesh seem to have gone missing - captured or killed by the Taliban, or...?). Yet direct comparison of superior officers' choice of Kamdesh with that of the French high command's choice of Dienbienphu cannot, must not be ignored or dismissed. Given the experience of the French Union Forces at Dienbiephu the best I can say about the US choice of Kamdesh is: you can't make this stuff up.
After all. Yassir Arafat had to devote years of his life to studying revolution in the Soviet Union, mass-murder a few thousand Jews and Moslems, incite millions of Moslems and morally bankrupt Westerners to anti-semitic fervor, and embezzle millions of dollars of Moslem contributions and Western aid into his private Swiss bank accounts to merit his Nobel Peace Prize. I suspect that in voting for the award to Obama the Nobel Committee members simply agreed to say to one another: "Yes, We Can."
Words, on this Nobel Committee award, nearly failed me. The best I can, at this provocation of further loss of faith in what little remains of self-crumbling Western Civilization, come up with right now is: Ours too often dependably proves itself a ludicrous species.
07 October 2009
First there was barter. You manually hauled your stuff to meet with someone who'd hauled their stuff to the meeting spot. Cumbersome system this barter thing was. Hard on the back too. Even harder when the barter was interrupted by brigands who'd just swooped in and scooped up everything that you and everyone else had come to barter. Barter's User Friendly Rating: 2.
Next came money. It was common currency - everyone in the same country used the same money. Supermarket checkout - no problem. User Friendly Rating: 10.
Then came checks. Same as money, except you have to write this money yourself. At the supermarket you could pay by check, but only if you’d first trooped to the Discourtesy Desk and filled out forms, jumped through a bureaucratic hoop or two, to get a Store Card which entitled you to pay by check at checkout. Unfortunately...stores did not disallow pay-by-check in the Express Lane. Thus nullifying the meaning of the word "Express" - and too often turning that lane into Gridlock Alley. Checks' User Friendly Rating: 4.
Consumer Convenience History was next made by grocers’ introduction of the Universal Product Code bar code (UPC), which sped checkout like substance abuse grease sped countless crappy actors down the Jan Michael Vincent-Gary Busey Career Slide Into Oblivion. Way to go, UPC! User Friendly Rating: 10.
Now we have Debit Cards. Wonderful invention they are, too, because when in possession of a Debit Card, backed by a positive balance in the bank account to which you’d linked your Debit Card, you feel relieved of having to carry loads of cash all over the place, thus mugger-proofing your money. However several glitches with Debit Cards emerged.
First, in the checkout lane there’s the customer in front of you who apparently created a unique PIN for each card in the assortment of plastic cards that she possesses: credit cards (x 4); debit cards (x ??); Best Buy card; Breast Cancer Donor Platinum Card; NORML Gold Visa; Veterans Of Foreign Time-Share Weekends Card; the It'sForTheChildrenUNICEF Silver card; Frequent Preferred Log Jam Card; and more such what have you.
So you stand there, your ice cream bricks melting on the rubber checkout belt all over your bag of thawing jumbo shrimp, while Miss Cards Of A Thousand PINs at the Debit Card Keypad does her best impression of genius codebreaker Alan Turing as she tries keying, one after another, every possible four-digit combination until she finally lucky-guesses the one that triggers TRANSCATION APPROVED. Two nights later when you go to spoon ice cream from your home freezer-refrozen ice cream brick you discover that its peripheral contents have turned into something resembling fossilized mastodon tissue - and, just your luck, Ron Popeil has yet to invent the Kitchen Jackhammer. Then your next evening’s supper tastes funny - I don’t know much about Darwin, but are shrimp supposed to have angora-like pulpy-fuzzy coats?
Second, for you to use your Debit Card each store has its unique adventure-packed Unfamiliar Customer-Interface Check-Out Keypad - known by the industry insiders' acronym UC-IC-OK.
Unlike the wonderfully standardized UPC-barcoded product packages which scan on every supermarket’s and retailer’s scanner ever invented, each store’s UC-IC-OK keypad is uniquely configured to bewilder customers and slow the hell out of the checkout lane: function buttons in different places; different buttons on each keypad; differently colored buttons on each one; different DO YOU WANT CASH BACK? arrangements and “standard” amounts; and so on and so forth (as they say on all those New York Cop shows). And, just to make things evermore jolly and Customer-Convenient, each UC-IC-OK keypad has a different, store-unique keying-and-customer-approval procedure - just to keep us Information Age-Fluent consumers high up in the Computer Literacy Anti-Migraine Census.
But some of these UC-IC-OK keypads so cunningly hide the CLEAR and the BACKSPACE buttons that, as you stand there at the keypad with nine customers in line behind you, you think you’re on TV with Howie Mandel, under enormous pressure to pick’n’press the right button before the customers behind you in the checkout line start making tempting Banker Offers to buy you the hell out of their way before their ice cream bricks melt and their thawing shrimp grow their fuzzy-pulpy Darwin angora-coats. But then the bewildering assortment of store-unique UC-IC-OK devices are, after all, just one more Modern Convenience manifestation of the Information Age’s innumerable inventive examples of The Great Leap Sideways.
There’s another NFL-Time-Out-seven-commercial-long hold-up with the IC-UC-OK checkout keypads. Some people - narcissists, sadists, misanthropes, perverts - use the keypad-swiper to swipe not their Debit Card, but one or more of their credit cards. This is a whole new ball game. Because - here you go again - each store’s unique IC-UC-OK keypad has, of course, a unique procedure for credit card transactions. The endless assortment of Special Education learning curves for each store’s different IC-UC-OK keypads are time-gobbling bad enough for Debit Card transactions. But their learning curve for credit card customers can only be surmounted if you’re lucky that the credit card customer in front of you has prepared for this Close Encounter with this store’s unique IC-UC-OK keypad by her having taken the precaution to have earned a Higher Mathematics magna cum laude diploma, with a minor in Sumerian petroglyphs, from MIT.
So, UC-IC-OK keypads’ User Friendly Rating: Oh, wait, we’re not there yet because...
Each unique IC-UC-OK keypad has - of course! a unique LCD display screen. Many of these are the wishfully-named "touch"-screens. Unfortunately the Government Mandated Customer Abuse Testing Protocol for touch-screen devices seems to have omitted actual customer testers. Which means that the little touch-digit-squares on the millions of assorted touch-screens that have been customer-abused for more than ten thousand transactions each don’t activate when you touch them with that Special Inkless Touch-Screen Stylus-Wand that’s tethered to the UC-IC-OK keypad.
If, that is, one of those Wands - or Magic Styluses, or Styl-O-Wands - or whatever the hell they’re called - is actually still tethered to the IC-UC-OK keypad.
And - you saw this one coming, didn’t you? - even when you find a Styl-O-Wand tethered to the keypad, it’s tether is made of the most incorrigible, most vexing Self-Tangling-Self-Knotting Plast-O-Cord™ ever invented. So that from your life-span you now deduct the half-life of the Uranium 235 atom, because that's how long it takes for you to disentangle the frikking Plast-O-Cord so you can, you know, wield the Wand the way the Wand was - supposedly - designed to have been wielded. Quite involuntarily you find yourself thinking, “Good thing Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother’s wand wasn’t made by the forward-thinking designers and wand-tether-purchasing-agents over at Self-Tangling Plast-O-Cord™ Corporation.”
So you give up on the Wand and instead you poke the touch-screen digital-squares with your finger (and probably your finger comes away with your brand-new very own perfectly aggressive Swine Flu culture - or with a minute particle of some previous customer’s cart back-seated, touch-to-learn-about-the-world, playful toddler’s booger donor sample). But your finger’s efficiency for this keypad function doesn’t match that of the Styl-O-Wand. So you stand there, fingering-in LCD-flat screen digits in their proper order. But because the touch-screen was not designed for Human Booger-Finger Interface, but instead for Wand-Held-Only Activation (WHOA), the screen doesn’t register one, or several, of the digits from your finger-touches. So...you have to start all over again from LCD Swine Flu-Booger Digit Square One. But only after - yep, you guessed it! - you’ve found the cleverly, mysteriously located CLEAR button.
So let’s see. UC-IC-OK keypad User Friendly Rating: -273 degrees Kelvin.
Except, of course, when it comes to your semi-fossilized ice cream brick and your suddenly sweater-fashion-conscious shrimp.
So now you’re done here at checkout. Right? Oh, no. Wait. Wait. Because before you trundle - or as your already pushing like Sisyphus - your cart from the World’s Greatest Avoidable Unique Digital Keypad Procedure Bottleneck, you have to...Stop. Right. There. Because you can't leave without your having heard and obeyed your checkout clerk's Magic Words:
06 October 2009
Concerned about Iraqis’ persecution and murder with impunity of Iraqi religious minorities and homosexuals despite the sacrifices made by US and coalition troops and vast expenditures from the US treasury? You might want have a gander at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Annual Report 2009.
We - the US, the West - lost the Iraq and the Afghanistan campaigns the moment Iraq's and Afghanistan’s elect made their constitutions subordinate to sharia.
Iraq's constitutional delegates also asserted in their constitution the Moslem "identity of the majority," and they made no requirement for the civil legal scholarship of judges while they stipulated preference be given to selection of judges schooled in sharia.
It's for the same root reason - Islam’s adamantine supremacy - that NATO is losing in Afghanistan; and no increased amount or degree of General McChrystal's No-See-Islam "hearts and minds" nonsense of a "strategy" is going to reverse the ongoing Afghanistan débâcle.
04 October 2009
Walter Rodgers' sensible Christian Science Monitor essay opposes US stay in Afghanistan, proposes civil conduct of affairs should characterize domestic "nation-building."
Money quote: "Members of Congress must see themselves as colleagues, not enemies, and the public must not let buffoons with megaphones shape the debate at the expense of serious-minded observers."
With that quote I concur; but I must say that for so long as mass media behave as mass media have come to behave - which is as mass cheerleaders instead of as responsible reporters, I don't hold onto much hope of its prescription taking effect. Thank God, then, for the blogosphere.
(Hat tip: my old good friend John K. Ryan)
Enjoy this Times review of Poisoned Pens, Gary Dexter's book on authors disparaging other writers' works.
The review lacks, to my faint dismay, Truman Capote's splendid, accurate, apt execration of Jack Kerouac's monotonous, dismal On The Road: "This isn't writing. This is typing."
02 October 2009
Can you you say dirty bomb? - a device whose suicidal delivery system would give Iran plausible denial of its having been the bomb's source. Even if a post-detonation forensic fingerprint of a dirty bomb revealed Iran's nuke stash as the source, then Iran can policy-deny sponsorhip of the dirty bomb team, and announce that a "rogue extremist" on Iran's nuclear energy staff - no doubt a rogue who "misunderstands Islam," or who is "mentally unstable" - spirited the offending hot rocks to the bomb's delivery team.
And - can anyone having even rudimentary knowledge of the post-Shah behavior of Iran's poobahs expect that Iran will agree to turn over its uranium hoard to another power? Okay, let's say that Iran shifts uranium to another country for processing: does no one imagine that its rulers wouldn't have - quite intelligently - first squirreled-away a fall-back glow stash?
30 September 2009
Join me, won't you, in taking time today to pray for the repose of the souls of those slain by the Samoan and Indonesian earthquakes, to pray for their surviving family members, and to pray for the hurt and for those who lost their homes and livelihood.
29 September 2009
27 September 2009
16 September 2009
15 September 2009
In a post today on the Daily Dish Andrew Sullivan regales with this arresting tot of naïveté: “And what's so awful about a nuclear stand-off between Iran and Israel in the Middle East?”
Let’s see: Israel has exported offensive arms, ammunition, rockets, warheads, mortars and such to how many countries that harbor and support “terrorists” and to how many terrorist groups? Umm, well, none that I know of. You know of any?
Iran has exported arms, ammunition, rockets, warheads, mortars, and jihadis to innumerable jihadist wannabe theo-thugocracies in lands and states that harbor jihadis? Well, come to think of it, gee whiz, yes, it has. And have these clients of Iran’s weapons largesse ever used these Iranian weapons and munitions to commit indiscriminate mass-murder? Okay, so you tried to count all such instances and you ran out of fingers and toes - and red blood cells.
The recent meme that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is desirable for Peace In Our Time In The Middle East - or that it's “livable-with” - because it will result merely in a WMD standoff between itself and Israel is exceedingly naïve.
An Iranian nuclear ICBM attack on Israel is not the prime danger because the mullahs aren't so completely stupid to invite upon themselves an annihilating Israeli nuclear counterstrike. The prime danger consists of Iran distributing nuclear weapons, or just enough radioactive glow-goodies to construct and detonate several dirty bombs in populus non-Moslem conurbations, to its jihadist clients - you know, those Hearts And Minds Democracy activists with the long, admirable record of restraining themselves from committing indiscriminate mass-murder all over the globe.
I love that old sign that I used to see posted in workplaces: THIMK!
AP reports Vietnam blogger released by Communist government.
Money quote One: “Earlier this year, the government tightened its rules for bloggers, requiring that they must restrict their writings to personal matters.”
Money quote Two: “[P]olice told him they had evidence that he had violated Article 258 of Vietnam's penal code, which prohibits ‘abusing freedom and democracy to infringe on the interests of the state.’ "
In Vietnam “freedom and democracy” mean that bloggers are allowed to gossip, but not to participate in their country’s “democracy.” Gee, a couple hundred thousand boat people couldn’t have been wrong, could they?
BBC News reports former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf admitting that Pakistan diverted US military aid, intended to help Pakistan fight the Taliban, to bolster Pakistani forces along the wrong frontier - the one Pakistan shares with India.
Money quote: “In the past, Pakistan's army has dismissed claims that aid from the US had been misappropriated."
As if that's the first clue anyone's had to Pakistan having repeatedly fleeced the US and played the US for the fool. See my earlier post about General Petraeus' recent military aid giveaway bonanza visit to Pakistan.
Remember that old folk song? - "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"
13 September 2009
Wilson should have aptly cried out: "We lie." As in George W. Bush's "We do not torture." As in Barack Obama's mendacity of "transparency." As in Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman." As in George H.W. Bush's "No new taxes."
I could go on, but there's not enough space in cyberspace for the full litany of politicians' falsehoods, deceptions, deceits, and plain old baldfaced lies.
Next time you and I and all of we the people vote politicians into power, bear that in mind.
The Times reports Britain's elite SAS soldiers are training Libyan forces - yes, you heard it correctly: Libyan forces. The same Libya, under the the heel of the same He Of The Name Of Multitudinous Spellings (Qaddafi, Gaddafi, Khaddafy, ad nauseam), that supplied the IRA with explosives, arms, and ammunition which the IRA used indiscriminately to murder innocents, the same Libya to which the Scottish Chief Justice freed the convicted Libyan Lockerbie bomber from his life sentence.
“Robin Horsfall, a former SAS soldier who took part in the breaking of the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980 and fought the IRA in Northern Ireland, told the newspaper: 'There is a long list of British soldiers who have died because of Gaddafi funding terrorists. The SAS is being ordered to do something it knows is morally wrong.’ ”
11 September 2009
Lest we remember wrongly, it was Moslems who on 11 September 2001 used the Koran to arrogate to themselves the temporal power to mass-murder.
We in the US, and in other democracies, now enjoy far fewer liberties than we had enjoyed on 10 September 2001. Each one of us lives under siege; we live now, on our own soil, with the curbed mentality of the besieged, because our leaders shrank from what needed to have been done for us to have refused to live under Islam’s siege. Why? Because our leaders have capitulated to the Moslem's age-old war aim of circumscribing and shrinking our liberties, to the Moslem aim of hobbling our economy, to the Moslem aim of holding ourselves hostage to Islam in the Long War which our leaders need not have chosen to announce or to have mistaken to have committed us to prosecuting…the long, hard way - which affords no relief from Islam's siege, no decisive victory over Islam.
How have our leaders chosen the long, hard way? They have failed utterly to notice that Islam and its bloody holy book have been responsible for every one of more than 13,000 Moslem terror attacks since 9/11, and for all the innumerable such attacks before that date - all the ceaseless Moslem attacks going back 1400 years to Mohammed’s arrogant pitiless campaigns of conquest and subjugation. Our leaders have talked round and round, and round and round, even exceeded themselves in their platitudinous zeal to not see - to simply not see - Islam at its boa constrictor's lethal work in any outrage, any violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of international law, as they have lied outright that “Islam is a religion of peace.”
Islam is not now, and it has never been a religion; and it has had nothing to do with peace. Islam is not a religion, it’s a comprehensive tyranny which melds politics, economics, culture, social control, misogyny, homophobia of homicidal kind and first degree, indissoluble despotic patriarchy, and utter contempt for and perpetual aggression against all non-Moslems: it’s the only “religion” which divides arbitrarily the people of our planet into two antagonistic groups which, in the Koranic mind, shall be eternally at war until Islam subjugates all who do not espouse its cruel outright and its daily socio-politico-cultural violence. Our leaders have failed to act on the truth, which is that Islam is not a religion but is, of course, a comprehensive, implacable, aggressive tyranny - a means for Moslems to global dominion; and it is on this basis that our leaders ought to have recognized that the “War on Terror” is simply another campaign among the 1400-years’ long serial defenses which Islam has compelled the West to mount. Yes, this is a war against Islam because it is a war made by Islam, commanded by its prophet in its bloody holy book, on all the non-Moslems of the world.
Our leaders failed to note that General Curtis E. Lemay was correct on two counts:
One, “Since even small wars are cruel, we must fight them in such a way as to win them as quickly as possible….it’s a losing game for the stronger side to deliberately drag out conflict.” - especially, I point out, as the West mistakes to agree to go on funding with yet more oil money the enemy’s war against itself and its formerly free citizens; and especially, too, because the longer this defensive war continues, the more suffering and death will continue needlessly, avoidably.
Two, “We should stop swatting flies and go after the manure pile.”
Where is the manure pile? It's divided between two Islam-tyrannized lands beneath whose surface soil lies the vast preponderance of our planet’s crude oil stocks: Saudi Arabia and Iran. But instead having gone after the manure pile, our Western leaders have set us to the futile task - which does not qualify as a mission because a mission has a clear objective but a task is never-ending - of fanning the stench and swatting the flies that congregate upon it: the task of attacking by fruitless Whack-A-Mole method the expendable Moslem proxies whom Moslem leaders have been getting away with using to deflect responsibility from themselves, from the despots who head Moslem states, and from Islam’s intrinsic, implacable hostility and aggression.
Moslem leaders have used oil money - the most massive transfer of wealth in world history - not to illuminate Moslems, not to alleviate Moslem suffering under Islam’s tyranny, not to spread that wealth among Moslems, but to prosecute sophisticated, comprehensive, relentless, implacable Koranic war against the US and all of the democracies. So much for the litanies of economic deprivation and Western “offenses” which Moslems love to recite ad nauseam to the media and to the UN - the latter having itself been suborned by Moslem oil money and Moslem states so that it’s become a travesty bent on choking human rights, wiping the Middle East’s solitary democracy - Israel - off the world map, and avoiding human responsibility.
There is but one way to end the renewed aggressive Moslem proxy campaigns against genuine democracy and human rights, and that is for the West, with the US in leadership, to simply take over Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s oil infrastructure, or to at least use the West’s matchless naval reach and power - turning the asymmetrical warfare around on the Moslems - to control global oil pricing and distribution.
This one sure way to end Moslem aggression way must incorporate the West’s control of oil and oil money into a program to simply provide enough from those profits to sustain the life of people - Moslems and non-Moslems alike - in the Saudi and Iranian despots’ lands, and to use the remainder to re-energize the West’s economy which has buckled gravely under the present Moslem assault upon it. This one way must also end Moslem immigration into democracies wherein Moslems use cunningly - and yet openly, with the dumb complaisance of Western leaders who ought to know and exemplify better - the democracies’ individual and collective liberties and jurisprudence not to advance not human rights but to impose Moslem sharia upon Westerners and, indeed, the people of the whole world. This one way must also incorporate US legislation making it illegal, with violations punishable by life imprisonment without possibility of parole, for US citizens and corporations or their paid foreign agents, to be in the employ, for any purpose, of any Moslem power, company, or individual: thus far along all that Moslem oil money has been suborning too, too many meretricious, disloyal Westerners to work for Islam in its renewed aggression against the US, against world history's prime spreader and defender of human rights.
With the US in control of Saudi and Iranian oil, Moslem aggression will wither immediately, dramatically and die on its own poison vine; and the rest of the world and the people in it can get peacefully on with progress in every admirable human endeavor - including the restoration in democracies, and the slow but sure establishment in states such as Red China, of liberties which the present Islamic siege have caused our leaders to have mistaken to surrender to Islam‘s deliberate depredations. With the US in control of oil, the US can charge lower, fair oil prices aimed at growing the economies of democracies - and even of still-Red China (which is a monodimensional political tyranny, unlike Islam's comprehensive tyranny) - to the loss of the feckless, indolent Moslem masses and their 1400-year history of fecklessness and indolence, and aggression and conquest.
The war renewed in the two decades before and the eight years since the mass-murderous 9/11 attacks by Islam need not be the Long War that would inexorably bankrupt the democracies and leave them helpless before Islam’s pitiless sword and beneath its votaries‘ filthy sandals. It can and should be a very short war, yet our leaders have shown - along with Western academia’s and its mainstream media’s slavish connivance - that they lack the will to make the war short, and thus merciful to all people and, indeed, to our planet itself.
US takeover of Saudi and Iranian oil would not be immoral. Quite the contrary: it would be the exemplary moral objective the US could, and should, aspire to and attain.
How would it be moral? First, it would end Moslem warmaking on every level: the suicide bombers would disappear; the sixty-plus years long Moslem war making against Israel would end for Moslem want of oil money-funded arms - Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah would, for want of oil money, lose their venomous power; other, smaller-time oil despots, such as Venezuela’s contemptible Hugo Chavez, would be denied the gross immoral oil profits that fuel and prolong their dictatorships; Saudis and Iranians would live on adequate stipends dispensed by the US out of oil profits (though I expect that Iranians would, on slenderer yet adequate means, make a go of it for themselves while the Saudis would remain as venal, indolent, and feckless as they‘ve been for centuries); millions of Indian, Filipino, and African wage-slaves to Moslems would be liberated from bondage in Moslem - especially in Arab - lands; Moslem aggression in Africa would end - the famines in Darfur and Ethiopia would become only a sore and necessary memory; Iran's mullahs would no longer have the money to develop nuclear weapons and ICBM's; Russia's nefarious energy clout in Europe would be rightly curbed; the West would be enabled to distribute far more economic, medical, and development aid to needy peoples in needy countries than it had already, and for long, been generously distributing; Moslems already resident in Western and other non-Moslem lands would cease to be radicalized by the Wahhabist and Salafist imams and mosques which Saudi Arabia has been blatantly funding with oil money extorted from the West and other countries; Red China’s oil-craven adventures in Africa would cease to be necessary for China’s leaders once US control of oil distribution lowers oil prices to affordable, non-extortionist levels; security and the cost of maintaining it against the present oil-fueled Moslem attacks would be relaxed at airports, train stations, ports, and public and private places all over the non-Moslem world - the people of the world would no longer live with a siege mentality because they‘d no longer be under Islamic siege or have to scrape by under Moslem economic dominance; and the industrious, creative people of the world - the non-Moslems, as history has amply taught - would afford to far more cheaply develop non-fossil fuel, cheap, perpetual energy sources.
These are moral goals which benefit the most people in the most affordable, least lethal, least harmful and most liberal and progressive way. And if the oil-expropriated, blockaded Moslems should decide, in the face of the oil money-starved defeat of Islam’s tyrannous aggression, to abandon their bloody holy book’s exhortative mission and murderous methods, decide to join the rest of the world’s people in the onward march of genuine liberty, justice, and progress, then so much the better. This is precisely the way - the thorough, genuinely liberal, moral way - in which the Western Allies defeated the Axis powers and nurtured their rejoining the onward march of genuine civilization. Why have our leaders now shrunk from this shining exemplar of Western democracies' history?
Let me quote a line from the film Lawrence Of Arabia, a line which the West’s leaders ought to heed: “Aqaba is over there. It is only a matter of going.”
Ridding the world of Islam’s medievalism, slavery and aggression is only a matter of going. For us Western citizens to let the West's leaders go on choosing to not go, to let them continue to deplete the West's shrinking economic and human resources in the costly, bloody, futile Whack-A-Mole Long War that they've so far mistaken to prosecute, is the immoral way. To choose to go, to choose the shortest, cheapest, least harmful, and most generous global way to defeat Islam once and for all, is the only moral way.
09 September 2009
My favorite and, quite possibly, the only honest-to-goodness, fire-breathing woman thinker of our time - maybe the only thinker of our time, Camille Paglia:
“Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of...schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote ‘critical thinking,’ which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.”
Read the whole thing.
07 September 2009
Today's Times has groundbreaking news: “Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said: 'This case reaffirms that we face a real and serious threat from terrorism.' "
Only from "terrorism" -but not from Moslems, not from Islam. No, the latter two would be (gasp!) racist profiling.
“British-born [Abdulla Ahmed] Ali, of Walthamstow, was inspired by the July 7 bombers and Osama bin Laden and considered taking his baby son on his suicide mission.”
Gosh, what a nice guy. Inspired by Londonistan’s 7/7 bombers and Osama bin Laden - but not, you know, by the Koran’s exhortations to Moslems to slay infidels? And, hey, bring the kiddies along for the Virgin Adventure flight!
“Undercover officers looked on as the unemployed former shop worker used cash to purchase a £138,000 second-floor flat in Forest Road, Walthamstow.”
No word from the Times about where, or whom, those 138,000 quid came from. Must have come from one of the usual suspects - fascist Christian extremists, or the BNP, or the English Defence League!
And here’s a (yawn) surprise: “Police said the plot was drawn up in Pakistan with detailed instructions passed to Ali during frequent trips to its lawless border with Afghanistan.”
Too bad General Petraeus hadn’t followed the trial when, a couple of weeks ago, he went to Pakistan to begin handing out $400-million in congressionally-voted military aid (while Social Security announces no cost-of-living raises for the next two years for disabled and senior Americans) to those straight-up, square-dealing Pakistani generals and ISI agents who’ve proven themselves to be such dependable, resolute, effective anti-”terrorist” leaders in the fight against al Qaida and the Taliban.
“Counter-terrorist police, the security services and prosecutors spent more than £35 million foiling the plot and bringing Ali to justice.”
Let's see, it cost the Moslems £138,000 to run the bomb plot, and just £35 million for the British to foil it. Yep, no doubt about it, the democracies are winning on the economic front of the GWOT - so on your way out of AIW today, be sure you buy your Victory Bonds!
The would-be bombers will be sentenced in a fortnight, or so. That couldn't mean that in about eight or nine years the British will release the convicts to Colonel Qaddafi (He of The Name of Multitudinous Spellings) for thirty more barrels of Libyan oil.
02 September 2009
31 August 2009
30 August 2009
The Times reports scandal: Moslem mass-murderer of two hundred-seventy innocents over Lockerbie released from life sentence by Scottish Chief Justice Kenny MacAskill, who knew from Jack Straw's letters to him that the UK government's negotiations for a £multi-million oil deal with Libya hinged on Libya's demand for the bomber's release.
Pity, Britain. "You were great once. Time to be great again"
But, like America's, Britain's leaders have eschewed greatness and, indeed, leadership, and have instead preferred submission so that Britain is no longer great, no longer "Land Of Hope And Glory," no longer "Mother of the free," though it is living down to How shall we enthrall thee, who art born of thee. Another lyric begs emendation to: "Fool, Britannia! Britannia, foolish knave! Britons henceforth always, always, always shall be slaves."
God help you, my dear British cousins, for your elect have, as have ours here in America, determined that they won't.
29 August 2009
At Esquire we find Thomas P.M. Barnett, the risen Darth Vader of Grand Strategy, who loves to prate about "rule sets" while being forgetful, perhaps defiant, of our Constitution: "Obama has the right instincts to avoid criminalizing past policy mistakes even as he corrects them...."
Avoid criminalizing "policy mistakes"? As if President Bush and Vice President Cheney had mistaken to repeal No Child Left Behind or their tax cuts (though they did by their torture regime hand gratis to al-Qaida, and to Moslems worldwide, a colossal propaganda gift that keeps on giving - to the enemy). Barnett applies the euphemism "policy mistakes" to President Bush's orders to Americans to torture, to specious legalistic "excuses" for torture, and to the infliction by Americans of torture - for each of which war crimes Allied tribunals in Nuremberg and Manila convicted and sentenced to death, or to long prison terms, Axis commanders of torturers, law-perverting attorney-enablers of torture, and low-on-the-totem-pole torturers. Bush and Cheney made no "policy mistakes": they, and their complaisant underlings, committed deliberate, cold-blooded, calculated war crimes.
Barnett seems reluctant to observe, or maybe he's incapable of recognizing, that torture violates US law, that it violates the Geneva conventions to which US is signatory - this from Mr. Rule Sets! He seems to be ignorant of, or sly enough to avoid telling that he recognizes that, these deeds cannot be criminalized - because such orders, excuses, and deeds are already, by definition, criminal violations of US law. This from the man who seeks to persuade us, the Pentagon, and whomever happens to sit in the Oval Office to believe that the US military exists to enforce "rule sets" over the entire land and sea surfaces of our wobbly globe. Rule sets! Talk about brass balls forged in Pittsburgh.
As he goes on Barnett attempts to hoodwink with this nugget of bait-and-switch: "[T]he [CIA IG] report...depicts a defensible performance under impossible conditions."
Defensible to whom? Torquemada? Heinrich Himmler? Lavrenti Beria? Ho Chi Minh? Charles Manson? Pol Pot? Not to me. Never to me. Never under our Constitution.
Barnett's next sentence is an equally appalling cynicism: "But its [the IG report's] sheer existence says the CIA knew this day would come, thus proving the existence of its institutional conscience."
Which begs the question: Why, Mr. Barnett, did the CIA, from Day One of its torturing captives, act immediately to cover its ass if it did not believe that the torture its public servants and contractors were committing was a) illegal, was b) immoral, and c) would slam dunk its "institutional" asses in hot legal water? Dare I point out the obvious? - that institutions cannot and do not have a conscience any more than a wet rag can or does have a conscience. That, absent the fictive "institutional conscience," institutions have public servants whose sworn duty is to uphold, protect, and defend our Constitution and the treaties and conventions to which the US is, as a signatory, legally, morally, and constitutionally bound. There is not one word, not one phrase, not one hint in any government employee oath or employment contract that pledges its taker or a contractor to cover his own ass for his or for his institution's breaking US law.
Barnett's Esquire piece and his other works - especially his breathtakingly cavalier blog posts but also his books, advertise successfully that he's a minor league political seer; but it's impossible to miss that his works show nothing of, and lack grounding in, Enlightenment Liberalism or Humanism. Like Marx's and Hitler's theoretical-political screeds, Barnett's perfervid grand strategizing lacks a human dimension, lacks even so much as reference to, let alone allowance for, human nature. His entire thesis is economic reductionism at its abjectly soulless, arrogant, myopic, and most pitiless form. He has, it seems, convinced himself that he knows not just what's best for our United States, but for the whole "Core and Gap" Globalizing world. If Barnett's not megalomania incarnate, then I'm a monkey's aunt.
So I'm not surprised to find on his blog Barnett ejaculating, "I catch 'Inglorious Basterds.' And I loved it like I love and worship all Tarantino." (There Barnett seems to have exceeded his cinematic idol's misspelling acumen.) Barnett "loves and" worships - worships! - every frame of gore-porn cranked out by the stunted, amoral, juvenile cretin-auteur. My late WWII-veteran father would have seen two minutes of a Tarantino movie, heard two minutes of his adolescent talk show ejaculations - or read two of Barnett's hubristic paragraphs - and of Barnett or his cinematic idol diagnosed solemnly, sadly: "There's something wrong with that boy."
The more I read his gobsmackingly hubristic manifestos - which, by the way, are chock full of stunning self-contradictions and iced all over with fantastic bombast, the more Barnett and the rest of our constitution-contemptuous elite seem to give testimony that for them in high places the Enlightenment is dead; that Enlightenment principles and those who hold them sacred have become superfluous; that our Constitution is merely a paper that denotes "rule sets" to be rigorously, contemptuously ignored and evaded by the Bushes, Cheneys, Obamas, and Barnetts of the world - who pay lip service to Enlightenment Liberal principles while they evade and traduce them.
The more I read of Barnett's fulsome megalomaniacal "strategizing," the more I apprehend that Mr. Barnett is not about right or wrong, not about upholding our Constitution, not about any kind of American - let alone Catholic - ideals; the more it becomes plain that he's just another one of our time's legion, morally squalid, meretricious mountebanks in feverish pursuit of fame and Big Bucks- A Man For No Seasons.
Yet I fear that Barnett may prove to have been prescient about one thing, with which he introduced his Esquire pontification: "The closer you read the newly released CIA reports and read into the Justice Department's torture probe, the more you realize nothing much is going to come of them...."
That will ensue because we, the people, have not troubled ourselves to have yet noticed that we've ceded to our elected and appointed officials the power to suspend habeas corpus and the absolute power to torture whomever they will choose to torture. Do not mistake that if President Obama fails to hold the previous adminstration to the rule of law, those who pretend to represent us, who pretend to uphold our Constitution, will not choose again, and again, and again to torture.
You'll not find anything so boldly Hitlerian as an Enabling Act behind the sordid Bush-Cheney torture regime. Those two didn't bother with an Enabling Act, or even with an Emergency Powers Bill: instead they simply and brazenly, to the sycophantic regurgitative narration of our brown-nosing mainstream media elite, and with the ex post facto paper contortions of obeisant careerist lawyers, trod on our Constitution as if for them it was the convenient doormat beneath the gaping portal to their arrogated tower of power. We, the people, aided by the honest reportage of a media of genuine conscience, were supposed to form that gate's portcullis. But we did not, and we've not yet, let ourselves down from our couches, set aside our video game joysticks, or peeled our eyes away from American Idol to hold these Beltway Bandits monumental criminal odium to rule of law, and to punish them and everyone who enabled and executed their successful criminal takedowns of our most fundamental constitutional rights.
None of us should wonder why we now have the prophet Barnett propounding his Big Picture Long View Super-Realist notion that Mega-Finance and Globalization, that perpetual American military world policing and wide open borders - instead of the sober, wise, healthful bounds written by our Founders into our Constitution - must be America's (mis)guiding anti-principles. Barnett, on what nowadays passes for the intellectual Right, appears to form the perfect, and no less hideous, mirror image of the Left's unhinged Moslem barbarism apologists and mum-keepers. Barnett's and the Washington and media elite's myopic mantra is economic reductionism, which is wilfully and dangerously ignorant of Islam's Comprehensive Tyranny; the Left's is merely its parrots' bankrupt, narcissistic, fashionable ideologicial posturing blended with its terror-enabling romantic notions of the "value" of barbarous cultures.
Before you, I, and Mr. Barnett came into this world our American and Allied parents and grandparents recognized grasping, arrogant Barnetts for what they were; and these forebears in their marvelously demotic citizen armed forces had the sense and the guts to cut them down to size. Now that our Constitution is under vicious assault from within as well as from without, will we have the sense and guts to cut down to size America's war criminal torturers, Moslem supremacists abroad, and Moslem hate-spreading imams and cells that have insinuated themselves and the poisonous tentacles of their sharia throughout our very society?
As the Bush-Cheney torture war crimes rise to prominence in our national discourse, bear in mind that it's utterly immaterial whether information compelled by torture from detainees was accurate or inaccurate: because even if the detainees' cohorts-at-large had attacked the US or its allies, even if under torture the detainees gave information about future mass-murder attempts that spared Allied lives, torture is under our rule of law always a crime. Torture is even a crime before the fact of a future enemy attack - and two wrongs do not make a right. Ever. Let that put a proper end to Cheney's and his morally adrift apologists' crowing about the "value" of information compelled by torture, because that crowing is their cunning attempt to divert focus from the crux of this matter, which is that under our Constitution torture is illegal, and the ordering, "excusing," and infliction of torture are war crimes.
If President Obama determines to overlook war crimes committed by Americans from top to bottom of the chain of command, if he determines to "move forward" without his first having brought to justice the whole rotten roots-and-tree-and-branches-and-fruit of the many, many bad apples who played their criminal parts in the (it sickens me to write it) American Torture Regime, then he will have mistaken to have erected America's future on a rotten foundation, and he will have doomed the whole American enterprise to catastrophic collapse or to slow self-asphyxiation.
27 August 2009
Freeze Social Security increases for America's needy - who'd paid into the Social Security system, but lavish $20 million on Arabic road signs and "services" in the West Bank. Your Government not at work.
Money quote: "The sign project accounts for about $175,000 of a three-year, $20 million U.S. aid project to improve services in the West Bank."
Why is our US Government - yep, the government that supposed to be governing the US, not the West Bank - pouring money into Arabic road signs in the West Bank while, in the middle of a painful recession, it's slamming a two-year freeze on Social Security cost of living increases for disabled and senior Americans? And this "improve services in the West Bank" project isn't the only Big Giveaway that Uncle Sam's been laying obsequiously at the feet of other exemplary Arab causes and groups, such as that Nobel peacekeeping bunch known as the Palestinian Authority.
Galling. Just. Fucking. Galling.
Five o'clock local news telecast just announced that annual Social Security cost of living adjustments will be frozen for the next two years. This, the SS Adminstration says, is because inflation has been "negative." Despite gas, electricity, phone, rent and grocery costs having been anything but negative.
I hope Mr. Obama understands that this SS COLA freeze is not going to help his party win votes in next year's mid-term congressional elections, and that it won't help him to persuade those of us who have to live on Social Security to vote for him if he should decide to run for a second presidential term.
By the way, when was the last time we saw Congress freeze its wages or cough up some its deluxe employee bennies? Let me know when Congress gets around to freezing its wages and giving up a benefit or two so I can have my lethal shock heart attack too, okay?
Songwriter Ellie Greenwich died. Just thought I'd post a link to her obituary because it's been drowned out by the media's tsunami of saccharine sanctimony now breaking over you-know-who.
"Be My Baby" alone is a worthy lifetime achievement. I only set myself to learning to play it, by ear, about four years ago - and discovered that it sounds deceptively simple but it's got a marvelous, unusually complex, startlingly counterintuitive - as far as most much simpler rock songs go - chord progression. A splendid accomplishment for a twenty-two year-old songwriter. Greenwich also co-wrote the Ronettes' superb follow-up single "Baby I Love You" - later covered by innumerable solo and group acts right up to now, though none has surpassed in quality the Ronettes' original. (And Ronnie is still the all-time sexiest female rock star.)
"Be My Baby's" intro line is perhaps the all-time greatest pop song hook: "The night we met I knew I / needed you so!" It's ardor incarnate - the antithesis of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction's" peevishness.
"Da Doo Ron Ron" is just a great, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, press-the-pedal-to-the-metal deliriously happy rocker. The usual three basic blues/country/rock chords, but harnessed to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and thundered with tremendous tom-tom licks, it'll kick ass forever.
"Chapel Of Love" I rushed out to buy the first time I heard it on the radio; still have the 45. Now it sounds saccharine to me but it still holds a place in my heart. Greenwich also co-wrote the Dixiecups' follow-up "People Say" and in the same year the Jellybeans' hit "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" and Lesley Gore's top ten number "Maybe I Know."
I like to think that the angels welcome Ellie with "Have I ever told you / how good it feels to hold you? / I can't help it if I feel this way."
Why do we call them "pain meds" when they're actually anti-pain meds?
Think about it:
But when it comes to pain, it's "pain meds." Wha hoppen wit dat?, she asked in her best Chico Marx voice. Who takes meds to have pain?
25 August 2009
At Harper's Scott Horton has the goods. No wonder that Dick Cheney today snarled in full attack dog mode - he has much to be worried about, much to be called to account for.
Whenever I tried unsuccessfully to conceal my adolescent misbehaviors my Dad resorted to this lovely saying: "It all comes out in the wash."
Let our Department of Justice - if it will want to continue to qualify for its name - do the wash, let its investigators and prosecutors lift the redactions from the CIA IG's 2004 report, look also into torture inflicted by members of our armed forces, and indict and try those Americans who ordered, attempted to excuse, and inflicted torture.
Lux et Veritas: without which we have not democracy.
24 August 2009
Glenn Greewald has it nailed: "This quite likely sets up, at most, a process where a few low-level sacrificial lambs - some extra-sadistic intelligence versions of Lynndie Englands - might be investigated and prosecuted where they tortured people the wrong way. Those who tortured 'the right way' - meaning the way the OLC directed - will receive full-scale immunity." [boldface emphasis in original]
Read the whole thing - then be afraid, because what this means is that we have become two nations, the second of those two consisting of most of us who find ourselves under power-arrogating elites whose well-heeled, well-connected members cover each others asses (including the MSM which, led by the NYT, punted on torture all along), with liberty for some and injustice for all.
Oh, by the way: I never believed Obama's campaign promises about "transparency," and I hope no one else fell for that b.s. either.
AP's write-up contains this description of CIA disingenuousness: "Investigators credited the detention-and-interrogation program for developing key intelligence. One CIA operative interviewed for the report said the program thwarted al-Qaida plots to attack the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, derail trains, blow up gas stations and cut the suspension line of a bridge."
Did no one teach these "investigators" that two wrongs don't make a right?
Heavily redacted - black magic-markered - but it's here in as full a version as the CIA today released following the ACLU suit for its release.
Now what about the torture videotapes the CIA took it upon itself to destroy?
What about Bush and Cheney - the men who ordered these war crimes (and those committed by members of our armed forces); what about their underlings who cobbled together "legal" excuses for their ordering it; and what about those who obeyed those orders, those who inflicted the torture?
American males: does this mean the time's coming to for you to think twice before you drop your shorts and turn your heads and cough?
Ah, well, there's more than one way to get "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" head start on that Obesity Epidemic, isn't there?
Pun in preceding sentence most certainly intended.
23 August 2009
About midway through the Cash for Clunkers bonanza this question began to bubble up my brain stem:
Since the US auto industry's shrinking and struggling to not disappear, why wasn't the C-For-C bill written to award more - say $5K - for buyers of US marques, and - say $4K - for foreign models?
22 August 2009
In al-Megrahi's case Scottish, indeed Western, compassion would have consisted entirely of dosing the convicted mass-murderer with adequate cancer pain-killers for the duration of his life sentence; letting al-Megrahi go free amounted not to compassion but to abject submission.
Following MacAskill's release of al-Megrahi come - after all, this is the new Britain of Londonistan now, isn't it, the country whose government refuses admission, denies Freedom of Speech to Geert Wilders while its government funds mosques and ignores deliberately their sharia-spreading, hate-preaching imams - reports that Britain may have released al-Megrahi for profit from an energy deal with Libya. Libyan dictator Muammar "Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, said al-Megrahi's release was a constant point of discussion during trade talks."
Has Britain betrayed the lives of two hundred-seventy innocents, and the lifelong grief of their surviving relatives and friends, for...gas? Even if there had been no energy-for-Megrahi deal, it is and it remains a repugnant moral abdication for MacAskill to have sprung the coldly-calculating mass-murderer of two hundred-seventy innocents.
AP tells: "[R]eport by the CIA's inspector general reveals that agency interrogators conducted" - in deliberate, blatant violation of federal law - "mock executions of terror suspects."
Further along in the piece, this: "[F]ormer CIA Director Michael Hayden said...that the review also credits the harsh interrogation with yielding information on al-Qaida's basic infrastrucutre, which...allowed the CIA to fight the organization behind the 9/11 hijackings."
As if that excuses Americans who ordered, concocted legal "excuses" for, and inflicted, torture.
As if torture "allowed the CIA" to nail Bin Laden.
As if Americans' infliction of torture didn't hand to the enemy a colossal, irrevocable propaganda advantage and powerful recruiting appeal, which not only negated Bush and Cheney's ill-founded, rash expectation of a torture intelligence bonanza but also multiplied the enemy's ranks and maginfied worldwide Moslem approval of Moslem terrorism. Did we taxpayers pay these guys - from Bush and Cheney and on down their torture chain of command - for their, you know, intelligence?
These brilliant expert powerful officials forgot conveniently or they'd never troubled themselves to have learned Napoléon's maxim: "In war the moral is to the material as three is to one."
21 August 2009
The Universal Health Care tangle explained on napkins - now why didn't our Guvmint or Media think of that! Start by clicking on Napkin #1 (clicking on a napkin enlarges it for those of us of the bifocal persuasion).
(Hat tip: Chris Bodenner, subbing at the Daily Dish)
Shine a light!
Money quote about MSNBC's propagandist reporting à la Joey Göbbels: "Contessa Brewer... used tape of that same black man carrying an assault rifle and said 'there are questions about whether this has racial overtones….white people showing up with guns.' "
Scroll down that page, see and hear the local ABC affiliate's brief interview with the armed black male citizen whom Brewer's "report" so conveniently erased for worldwide consumption.
Think For Yourself Moment: Does the MSM's manipulation of its "reports," to make them agree with with its "correct" stereotypes of African and White Americans, make the MSM guilty of racial profiling?
No report yet of whether the MSM will howl for President Obama to invite Contessa Brewer -and the armed black male citizen whom Contessa's "report" conveniently erased, to the White House for, you know, a Brewer Summit.
20 August 2009
Do polar bears wear white for snow camouflage - or do they wear white so that during the long dark Arctic winter night they don't bump into one another?
Why else would polar-bear-white-colored human apparel be called winter white.
That was just one from among a vast assortment of thoughts that struggled its way up to float upon the surface of my brain soup.
Tune in again, and find out the latest floating thoughts.
Here's where you're supposed to say, "Thanks for the warning."
Or couldn't you throw my thoughts a life jacket?
(Of course I know that polar bears hibernate the winter - can't bump into one another in their dens while they're slumbering, can they?)
19 August 2009
Pakistan needs no extra help from the US to knock the Taliban out and to destroy al-Qaida. What Pakistan needs is to stop worrying about an Indian invasion and shift an adequate force - from the 90% of its army now massed along its eastern frontier against India - to its western regions to wrest control of them from the Taliban and al-Qaida.
First Petraeus should insist that Pakistan shift troops from its eastern frontier to fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida in its northwestern areas. Why is he accepting, seemingly without question, Pakistan's excuses for Pakistan's failure to prosecute a vigorous ground campaign against Taliban and al-Qaida forces? Excuses such as this last Tuesday gem from Pakistani "Lieutenant-General Nadeem Ahmed...who said...the [Pakistani]...army was attacking militants with aircraft and artillery with the goal of 'wearing them out.' " (Like Bill Clinton's cruise missile attacks wore out al-Qaida?)
Second, Pakistan's government says no to shifting enough and better troops to its northwest, yet it still wants this latest US help in arms and training - so why isn't Petraeus saying no gear, no training, unless Pakistan gives US/NATO ground forces, which are now prohibited from crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, permission to attack the Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Pakistan's tribal areas?
" 'It is part of a substantial effort to strengthen U.S.-Pakistani military cooperation.' " said US envoy Richard Holbrooke, apparently unaware that that the US has repeatedly handed billions in military aid to Pakistan and that each gear giveaway has failed utterly to interest Pakistan's leaders in holding up their end of the "cooperation." And why is the US spending billions on equipping and training Pakistani forces in view of India having confirmed that at least two Pakistani army officers were among the the nearly 100% Pakistani terror assault teams that savagely tortured many of the 159 innocents those thugs murdered in the 26-29 November attacks in Mumbai? Why is the US feeding more billions of quarters into Pakistan's Whack-A-Mole double-dealing terror game?
When do our presidents, envoys, and generals stop caving in to ludicrous, habitual Pakistani upturned palms - and cut off military and economic aid until the Pakistanis hold up their end of "military cooperation" against al-Qaida and the Taliban? And why did President Obama and Congress neither ask themselves, nor answer for the American people, that question before Congress approved $400-million for the extra US military gear and training for Pakistan's forces?
Seven years of democracy in Afghanistan. Five years of democracy in Iraq. After the arrival of U.S. troops both countries wrote and established their “democratic” constitutions to be subordinate to Moslem sharia. And the Iraqis and Afghans are still murdering one another - and driving out and persecuting Christians, Zoroastrians and every other non-Moslem minority - with guns, clubs, knives, bombs, fires, electric drills, and anything else that they can make or adapt to commit murders on a horrifying scale. That’s what our boys and girls have been, and are still doing over there: fighting and dying for sharia.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.
18 August 2009
Over at normblog Norm Geras lets Richard Dawkins tell us that Dawkins likes to have his cake and eat it.
Geras first quotes Dawkins: "Beliefs and tastes, political biases and hobbies, these will tend, at least statistically, to pass longitudinally down generations, and nobody would wish it otherwise." [my italics]
Fine and dandy, isn't that? All very scientific and tidy; Nature at work, wot? But then Geras quotes Dawkins' also having written, "To slap a label on a child at birth - to announce, in advance, as a matter of hereditary presumption if not determinate certainty, an infant's opinions on the cosmos and creation, on life and afterlives, on sexual ethics, abortion and euthanasia - is a form of mental child abuse."
Well, I'll be a monkey's aunt: from Science to name-calling - child abuser - in One Easy Lesson.
"Beliefs...pass...down generations, and nobody would wish it otherwise" works for Dawkins so long as those beliefs are any but them thar religious beliefs? For Dawkins only religious beliefs passed "down generations" are a "form of mental child abuse"? Whom, Mr. Dawkins, would you nominate to decide which beliefs are fit and which are unfit for a parent to pass on? Belief in the UN? - chockablock with brutally repressive sharia states that have been tripping all over themselves to impose sharia as global law? Belief in Her Majesty's government which has privileged Moslem men to have four wives - all of whom may suck at the dole teat - while non-Moslem men, and all women may not have more than one spouse? Do you believe that belief in the UN and belief in Labour are beliefs which merit passing down?
Who, Mr. Dawkins, gets to be Boss of Approving and Disapproving Adherences for Subsequent Survival (BADASS)?
There's a cake you won't have and eat, Mr. Dawkins, even if Mr. Geras seems to favor your enjoying it both ways.
17 August 2009
Someone whose first act - his very first footfall - on US soil is a crime which he then compounds immediately with his second crime of staying on US soil, is not "undocumented." He is illegal.
Were he not illegal then why should Mr. Appel, and his fellow sketchy practitioners of taqqiya, resort to such sleight of word - "undocumented" - to try to persuade Americans to accept that a foreigner who comes and stays here in violation of US law needs "Legalizing"?
And the study Appel's post links to, the study that purports to show that amnesty for illegal aliens is good for Americans - it was done by Australians. You can't make this stuff up.
12 August 2009
If one of those captives escaped a Kansas prison his prospects for remaining at large would, by a dozen orders of magnitude, be worse than those of WWII Allied POW escapees. Besides, WWII POW's who did escape Nazi camps - and then also managed the far more hazardous escape from Nazi-occupied Europe - were invariably helped by Nazi-conquered people hostile to the Germans, people frantic to help Allied servicemen regain their liberty. So fast forward to 2009...and the badassed Gitmo Gang brazenly transfers its headquarters to Kansas, and then one of its Gitmommando captives escapes, and from among 350-million of us continental Americans there would venture - what? - fearful swarms of secret terrorist-sympathizers hell-bent to aid Gitmommando and spirit him halfway to Waziristan?
Well, Allahu Arkansas.
If you're really that anxious about lodging the Gitmo Gang in our frightfully incontinent jails, maybe you could rehab one of those FALLOUT SHELTERS left over from the Cold War. And keep your ear pressed to the CONELRAD station that broadcasts all those prison breaks that have monotonously sent us, tails between our legs (well, between at least half of our legs), scrambling into our lead-lined bunkers before the murderous escaped cons could blow us to Kingdom Come with the radioactive power of a couple of dirty shivs.
" "Doc Mitchell' and 'Doc Jessen'...helped lead the United States into a wrenching conflict over torture, terror and values that seven years later has not run its course" - a duration the The New York Times' aversion to Webster's, to our Constitution and, apparently, to human decency has done nothing to shorten.
Further in the piece the Gray Lady sanitizes Mitchell and Jessen's torture sessions in which their powerless victims endured and survived being "confined in a box, slammed into the wall and waterboarded," as "the methods." Ever see a judge ask a child witness if she knows if it'sright or wrong to terrify or to hurt someone? - or to hurt an animal?
People found to have hurt animals - Michael Vick, remember? - are without hesitation pilloried by the media and PETA and pet owners and zookeepers, and are investigated, charged, prosecuted, tried by jury, convicted, and sentenced to time for the pain and suffering they inflicted deliberately upon the creatures they held in their power. Yet people found to have ordered torture, devised the torture, or inflicted its suffering on their fellow human beings are only using "harsh" methods. Nothing wrong with that picture of our national....whatsitsname... conscience. Is there?
To whom, or what, are the NYT's editors and their "methods" loyal? To Webster's Unabridged, you expect? Can we be sure, and shouldn't he himself tell us, whether Eric Holder subscribes, or not, to the Times' curious but apparently not entirely proprietary glossary?
"Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen, meanwhile, were....paid $1,000 to $2,000 a day apiece." But
"Col. Steven M. Kleinman, an Air Force interrogator and intelligence officer who knows Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen, said he thought loyalty to their country...prompted their excursion into interrogation." Are we to expect that Mitchell and Jessen 's meager $1000-2000 daily fees, piled "well into the millions of dollars," had zero magnetic pull upon either their loyalty, or their moral compass?
What about the powerful, well-paid superiors up the chain of command whose responsibility - "cognizance" in governmentspeak - it was to order or forbid the dynamic duo's plans and deeds: shouldn't we, the people, know who or what claimed their loyalty? It's not as if these personnel worked for us people under, you know, our Constitution, is it?
"Dr. Mitchell built a house with a swimming pool...valued at $800,000."
So far as I can make out, Mitchell didn't baptize it Karinhall. And perhaps you'll pardon me when I say I've no clue to whether, or not, in its swimming pool Mitchell allows his children and their guests to hold each other underwater.
Hmm. Could this, one fine future day, give a whole new meaning for "I think I've changed my mind."? Might this development present advertisers and retailers - and shoppers - with a whole new set of challenges, not to mention presenting many of us with an Insuperable Morning Dilemma as we choose an outfit for the day? Why bother changing my outfit when instead I could just...change my mind?
Read the redOrbit piece, which tells that the effort to build a human brain is intended to provided a functioning brain to help Science work out novel approaches to treat mental illness. Then sell off your stocks in Prozac.
All I know is that I sometimes found myself vexed when I tried to assemble something that looked like an actual real-world artifact out of TinkerToy bits. That puts me in awe of eggheads confident that they'll soon assemble an actual working brain. Perhaps now we have a clue to why our planet's fisheries have become depleted, which prompts me to speculate what's on the cafeteria menu over there at the Artificial Brain Institutes of the world: "Good grief, hairnet ladies. Mahi-mahi again?"
11 August 2009
My thoughts on Bodenner's quotations from Michael Cohen and Andrew Exum, both of whom deprecate the anti-drug lord mission:
No, we're not in Afghanistan to go "after the Pashtun Pablo Escobar." The mission of U.S. forces, according President Obama, is to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaida.
The Taliban and Al Qaida have long depended on poppy profits, their chief, or close-to-prime, source of funds - especially for the Taliban, to buy weapons and munitions, to appeal to and attract recruits, to extend their reach deeper into Pakistan, and to attack Afghan and Pakistani civilians and army and police, and coalition troops. So subtracting opium money from the enemy is a bad thing?
That said, it's doubtful that killing fifty drug lords will prevent poppy profits funding the enemy's war effort, because taking out fifty drug lords is unlikely to dissuade junior drug profiteers from stepping up into the top posts vacated by slain drug overlords (after all, risk and death have long been customary and accepted in Afghanistan's historical poppy-funded warlordism) . Taking out a few bosses won't reduce, let alone eliminate, the Taliban/Al Qaida poppy economic base.
The optimal coalition target, then, is the poppy crop. Remove the crop and Afghan government officials' corruption collapses for want of palm-grease; plus the mega-drug-dollars, which buy Taliban and Al Qaida weapons and operational depth, suddenly vanish, and deprive the enemy of a vast, hitherto dependable proportion of his funding - before he can pay to put forces in the field.
It seems quite likely that eliminating the poppy crop would spare coalition forces the casualties they'd otherwise suffer, avoidably, in head-on battle with fully-funded, well-armed Taliban and Al Qaida. Economically-compelled enemy force-reduction should also mean fewer battles necessary to defeat enemy forces in the field - the most costly way to prosecute a campaign; and yield a bonus of far fewer civilian casualties and thus advance the hearts & minds effort. More ways for coalition forces to sap and destroy the enemy's economic base, as a means of reducing his combat power and operational depth, amount to the most efficient way to decrease not only the enemy's numbers but also his weapons, munitions, transport, and appeal to potential recruits.
It's unnecessarily hazardous to U.S. and coalition troops to attempt in the middle of a war to persuade Afghan poppy growers to abandon poppy cultivation for other, less-profitable crops. It seems wiser to just destroy the poppy crop, leave farmers no option but to cultivate harmless, less-valuable crops whose smaller profits would be prohibitively costly for Taliban and Al Qaida to fleece from farmers. It's possible, if not probable, that farmers already hard-pressed to eke a living from less-valuable crops would resent, and perhaps resist, Taliban and Al Qaida skimming of slenderer crop earnings.
To take out the poppy crop is to nip the enemy's money bud. What poppy profit-ambitious, or even ideologically motivated youngster wants to fight in, or for, a force that can't meet its payroll, or arm or feed its Tali-grunts? Eliminating the poppy crop would also be poetic justice since Al Qaida's 9-11 World Trade Center attack was, by the enemy's own admission, economic warfare.
10 August 2009
Late each afternoon I left the rehab project and drove to 14th & Gould streets in Newark, where I started working at five o'clock, stripping UPS "cars" (does UPS still call their smallest vans "cars"?) and shifting their route-collected contents onto a long moving belt to which all the cars had backed up. Or I worked the far end of the belt, reading parcel labels and tossing the items to workmates who loaded the several trailers backed up there, trailers that left at shift's end to transport the sorted packages to regional UPS sites for local distribution & delivery.
The UPS shifts lasted for as long as there was freight to be stripped and routed. Most evenings this took about three hours, but if it took less time we were guaranteed three hours pay. At $3.03 per hour that was, in those days, just about the highest paying part-time job in the world - and I kept working it until early 1970 when the demands of university studies compelled me to leave UPS. The other great thing about the job was that if shifts took more than four hours we earned time-and-a-half pay - so you know that if shifts were edging toward the three and half hour mark every one of us greedy young capitalist apprentices, even our lone Marxist-Liberation Theology seminarian, slowed his work to try to dilate the shift past four hours!
That job was why I missed going to Woodstock. I'd bought tickets (you know, for the life of me, I cannot recall where I bought them!) for all three days of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair . But a couple of days before the festival's start my UPS boss asked me if I'd like to work overtime on the coming weekend, doing some non-freight work in the UPS center that UPS had put off. I needed the overtime money more than I needed to gallivant up to Woodstock, so I sold the tickets to a co-worker who'd declined the Saturday overtime offer.
When that co-worker finally made it back to work it was already Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week - UPS docked him for the work he missed and wrote him up for unauthorized absence. The guy was furious with me: he told us that he and his buddy hadn't gotten within fifteen miles of the stage; they had had to sleep in their car; go to the bathroom in a roadside thicket; and they had to beg food and drinking water because local grocers and restaurants - which were at least a mile from my coworker's car - had exhausted their stocks to the first waves of festival-bound customers who'd come from the unforeseeable, miles-long traffic jam. He and his mate got rained on, caked in mud, stank to high heaven; and when my coworker returned to work he wanted to choke me. All I could say to him was, "Wow, man. Who knew?"
Somehow, although I noted their engineering achievement, I never caught the romance of the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo space programs. Never wanted to be an astronaut; never had a yen to be shoehorned into a claustrophobic frail capsule to have myself shot into a colossal, super-cold vacuum. I suppose that I just felt that the space program was rather unremarkable, that it was just one of those things that exists, that's simply present in life; much as youngsters nowadays regard digital computer and cell phone technology as something that's just been an unremarkable, integral part of their life. I imagine that the children of Zog, inventor of the axle (which was the invention that made those round things - you know: wheels - useful), thought the axle unremarkable: "So what, Dad? So we're lucky to have the revolutionary, history-making axle already. So lighten up on the The Way It Before the Axle Was When I Was A Kid stories and help us load the frikking cart!"
When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon I was visiting my cousin George in his parents' house in Rutherford. George and I had gone through parochial school together - every grade, every nun, every schoolday morning mass, every rosary, every tears-provoking ruler whap! on our welted backsides. By summer 1969, four years after he and I had first picked up a guitar, George and I were still guitar novices. The moon mission failed to capture our imaginations. While the rest of the world was riveted to telecasts of Neil Armstrong's footfall, George was spinning a vinyl LP, turning me on to Ten Years After's blistering rendition of Woody Herman's "Woodchopper's Ball." Now that sent us to the moon, where we took no pictures, left no footprints.