Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An American Tragedy


It is a capital mistake
to theorize before one's data 
--Scandal in Bohemia,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away
If you can use some exotic booze
There's a bar in far Bombay
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away 
--Come Fly with Me,  
Frank Sinatra 

Here they come again,
Catch us if you can,
Time to get a move on,
We will yell with all of our might 
--Catch Us If You Can, 
The Dave Clark Five

It was all going to be so easy, all so simple and clear back in March 2003. America was going to remove the evil of Saddam from the chessboard of the Middle East. The United States had to discharge its collective angst at feeling like just another country vulnerable to terrorism.

A military strike was just the thing, but it could not be against the nation serving as the proving grounds for the terrorists, our best frenemy, Saudi Arabia. No, it was a token strike for a token war.

The simplicity has long disappeared, and instead of safety we have bought daily news feeds of increasing grotesqueries, brutal and pathetic sights we thought we had left behind at some point following the Inquisitions.

Now, like the good liberals we have been guilted into being, we are saying "bring it on" to a new tragedy, the open arms given to the pell-mell self-evacuees of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, etc.

To clarify: We ARE RangerAgainstWar. We are not conservative thinkers, not by a long chork (to borrow from Beckett.) It's just we don't address conservative thought because they're on another plane of existence. We hope for better from liberal thinkers, but to take our on advice on hope, its just something at the bottom of Pandora's Box;  most people don't reach that deeply.

As Rocco Gianluca, Western Balkans coordinator for the International Organization for Migration said recently,“There is no real system. We don’t know who all these people are."

As with the discretionary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are incapable of defining the problem, rendering the chimerical problem insoluble. A problem which cannot be defined has no solution; there is no "there", there.

And since there is no definition of the problem, then an immediate stop-gap measure is needed. The question of concern is, "Why should any Western nation welcome unvetted Middle East Muslims into its population?"

Forget paranoia, good liberals refuse to even ask the question. A recent Friday News Roundup on NPR ended with one of the uber-hip commentators tut-tutting the possibility that there could be any bad guys among the immigrants. Saith he, "Can you even imagine someone waiting at a train terminal or a dock to whisk one of these people off to an apartment?"

Well, uh, yeah - that would be within the realm of possibility, no?

If the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) is a real thing, then accepting millions of military-aged men into Europe is a suicidal endeavor. If  radicalized "lone wolf" terrorists area threat, then isn't it logical to imagine that 100's of thousands of unknown immigrants would enhance that threat?

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Manufactured Humanitarian Crisis

--Germany and Refugees,
Arend van Dam

Sufficient to have stood,
though free to fall    
--Paradise Lost, John Milton 

This isn't right.
It's not even wrong.
--Wolfgang Pauli

 Subtitle: Duckspeak on the Prolefeed.

Ranger and I are growing tired of the Duckspeak on the Prolefeed (thank you, Mr. Orwell), specifically surrounding the latest immigration crisis. The wailing, the babies, the fences. We should all shed crocodile tears and open up the borders, yes? No, not really.

Why has the number of refugees the U.S has agreed to accept tripled in the ten days since 10 September? And why  is the United States so enthusiastically encouraging the Europeans to open the floodgates?

The majority of these people are not political refugees fleeing for their lives. They are instead, Discretionary Émigrés seeking to illegally force their entree into cowed Western nations for economic and educational benefit. Discretionary emigrés following a discretionary war.

The photographs in the news show well-fed and well-dressed people vociferously demanding entrance, circumventing the legal protocol which all previous asylum-seekers have had to pursue. We would not honor this mass exodus to those from persecuted African nations; in fact, Greece, Italy and the others ship them back.

So why the carte blanche to the Syrians, the Iraqis, et al.? Could it have something to do with the fact that their skin color is more in line with ours?

Sure, the U.S. has had a major hand in fomenting this madness by unleashing the roiling secularism which strongmen like Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammer Qadaffi had held under wraps, but that does not mean it or any other nation is responsible for setting these nations aright and instilling 21st century modes of behavior. Yes it was fatuous to imagine a garden of democracy would spring up in the desert wasteland, but our job, poorly-executed as it may have been, is done.

Perhaps the only people leaving their home countries who deserve the title "refugee" would be the Syrian and Iraqi Christians. Much as Syria obliterated its Jewish population in the decades before, so now is it attempting to purge this next group of undesirables. 

The remaining refugees are largely Sunni or Shiite Muslims, and their internecine warfare is their own gift that keeps on giving. The U.S. removed the strongmen of the Middle East (Assad is still hanging on) as a gift to the peoples of those nations (said with some sarcasm), with the thought was that the residents would now carve out their new heaven. That is what a people must do in their homeland, so why are these people leaving, and why is it our responsibility to house them?

No case has yet been made that the Islamic State (IS) is composed of dead-enders who are out of step with the population, and we straddle the fence. Either the populations of these countries don't like this form of "radical" Islam, or they are fine with it. If it is the former, they do not seem able or willing to step up to the plate (with massive U.S. aid) to confront their "nemesis".

Do we now recognize the IS as a new nation, a caliphate? If so, who will be defined as undesirables in that state? This is the undefined moment for those who will not fight to exploit the guilt-laden Western nations, so the non-fighters are bolting -- and maybe some of the fighters, too.

Notice the appearance of most refugees: Besides being well-fed and dressed, and the women all wear the Hijab, Niqab or burkha. These are not people renouncing their ways or clamoring for Western-style humanitarianism; if it were so, they would have had it at home.

But they all want to get beyond the Eastern European hard-scrabble lives which would await them in Serbia, Croatia and Hungary -- nations who do not want them, anyway -- to get to Germany and Scandinavia. They're not fools.

Are the emigres majority Sunni? Are they Shiite? Will they carry their long-standing racial and ethnic animus in to their new lands? For those who settle in the U.S., will they carry their resentments against the Great Satan? This is surely some kind of insane Mobius strip which, as we endeavor to rout out radical Islam in our midst, folds back upon itself and opens the floodgates to unvetted Muslims.

It's a nice day for Middle Easterners hedging their bets, and for having your cake and eating it, too.

[cross-posted @ milpub]

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being Pope Francis

 This is the struggle of every person:
be free or be a slave
--Pope Francis

Terrorism Counteraction (TC/A) training taught us to think like terrorists, but that may be a fool's errand since few who have been brought up in the Western mindset can think that way.

But today, let us try and think like a terrorist.

Pope Francis, controversial in some circles, will visit the United States on 22 September. He recently held said priests could absolve women of the sin of abortion if they are contrite when they seek forgiveness. To some fringe fundamentalists, this is as bad as sanctioning abortion itself, and much as they would kill an abortion provider, so too they might try to kill the Pope. (It is not as though attempts have not been made on the lives of other pontiffs in the recent past.)

Feminist extremists could also see the Pope as a target for his refusal to eliminate the "celestial glass ceiling" and keeping women in support positions (=nuns) versus ordination to the forward leadership positions. To hell with being Rangers, these women would aspire to being Pope.

Add in the contingent that wants to throw illegal aliens out of the U.S. Doesn't Francis argue for compassion, and isn't he suspect of being their advocate, being of South American and not European origin? So here are three disaffected groups before we even leave the runway.

Now add in Islamic extremists and you have some real possibilities for an assassination attempt. It would be quite a coup, in terrorist-think, for any of these groups to execute a mission on U.S. soil.

The Pope would be a fine symbolic target, worthy of expending valuable western-trained operatives. If they have the assets, the Pope would be a logical target for expenditure.

What could the U.S. do to counter the threat?

  • Cancel the Pope's visit due to the threat level
  • As the head of a foreign government (the Vatican), provide him an aircraft with ECM capabilies for his trip 
  • Require the Pope to stay in unknown and unannounced secure military locations (much as President Bush hid out following the events of 9-11-01.)
  • Limit his exposure to the public

If there is anyone who wants the Pope dead, the U.S. would be a great place to kill him. This is a sad thought, but it is thinking-like-a-terrorist. 

Is anyone discussing this potential eventuality?

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame

The only thing that makes battle psychologically tolerable
is the brotherhood among soldiers.
You need each other to get by 
---War, Sebastian Junger

Without heroes, we are all plain people,
and don’t know how far we can go
--Bernard Malamud

Greater love hath no man than this, 
that a man lay down his life for his friends 
--John 15:13

An addendum to 7 Oct PSA on the "Airborne Instructors Reunion" (The Black Hats):

For those able to attend the Airborne Instructors Reunion, a special guest will be Col Paul Longgrear (Ret'd), the last surviving officer from the well-documented Vietnam Battle of Lang Vei. Ranger wishes to bring attention one of Paul's latest accomplishments, the founding of the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame (GMVHOF).

When Paul was inducted into the Arkansas Military Hall of Fame in 2012, he told us he was humbled to be in the company of such decorated fellow Arkansawyers. Upon realizing there was no such recognition given to Georgia Veterans (the home of Ft. Benning!) Paul decided to form a nonprofit in 2013 to give veterans in his adopted home state the same recognition.

Georgia is now one of only 20 states that honor veterans through a Hall of Fame.

Of the more than 770,000 veterans who have hailed from the Peach State, 18 have been inducted into the first (2013) class of the GMHOF; 16 were in the second (2014).

Paul's goal in forming the organization was to ensure that Georgia military veterans are properly honored for their service and sacrifice and to introduce young people to heroes. He said, "Athletes and entertainers are stars, but not heroes. When they signed on to serve their country, military veterans signed a blank check for an amount up to and including their lives. They are real heroes."

For those interested in making a nomination, candidates may be living or deceased and nominated for valorous military performance, extraordinary achievements or combined military and civilian community service. An independent selection committee reviews the nominations and honorees are inducted at an annul banquet in November.

Visit GMHOF.org for more information or to submit a nominee. You can contact Col. Longgrear directly at GMVHOF, P.O. Box 745, Pine Mountain, Ga. 31822, (706) 302-2220.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

He Knew From Syria

Today's entry is in the "Oldies but Goldies" category, re-titled,

"Not that he's a Cassandra ..."

Ranger nailed this one two years ago to the day:



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ranger's Rule of Order

  Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God 
--Matthew 5:9 

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ,
think it possible that you may be mistaken
--Oliver Cromwell

The run-up to the bombing of Syria has been full of the usual bloviation justifying the use of violence as the American Way of problem-solving. But if and when we bomb Syria it will not be war, because the United States has lost the ability and skills to fight  a real war with all attendant features.

If we contravene the efforts of the world community to stave off our brinkmanship -- if we drop bombs on Syria -- this will be violence without purpose. Do not mistake the application of violence as war; it is not war. It is simply a flash and bang simulacrum of war.

Ranger's Rule of Order #1:
Adding violence to an already violent situation will not ensure a peaceful outcome.

Corrolary: The result will be de facto a continuation of the violence. For civilians, this act is akin to adding salt to an overly salty soup; potatoes would be a more sensible addition if the goal is to ratchet down the saltiness.

Dropping bombs is not peacekeeping.

In war, violence is added to achieve goals, but in peacekeeping violence is SUBTRACTED to reach the goal. At least, that's how it should be.

Even for a Ranger who prides himself in his simplicity, this is embarrassingly simple to have to state.

[cross-posted @ MilPub.]

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Modalities of Mortalities

 We are not concerned with the very poor.
They are unthinkable, and only to be approached
by the statistician or the poet
-- E. M. Forster 

Out of a hundred people:
Righteous- 35, which is a lot
Righteous and understanding- 3
Worthy of compassion- 99
Mortal- 100 out of 100
(Thus far this figure still remains unchanged.)
Wisława Szymborska 

Outside of the killings,
DC has one of the lowest crime rates
in the country
―Mayor Marion Barry 

Candy is dandy,
but liquor is quicker
--Hard Lines, 
Ogden Nash

The online news source Slate bemoans the fact in their lede today that five children were killed by gun violence over the Labor Day holiday  ("11-Year-Old, 7-Year-Old, Two 5-Year-Olds, and 3-Year-Old Killed by Guns Over Labor Day Weekend"). No doubt bad news, but let's go for some fair-and-balanced, an approach woefully unpopular among the agenda crowd. 

Using Paul Simon's "50 Ways" method, let's scatter-gun the topic of death: 

  • Four to five children die per day in the United States as a result of child abuse. This is via the brutal beatings that we all picture when the dire topic is discussed. However, far more die via a protracted mental and physical dissipation due to long-term neglect, but these tragic cases are under the wire, and go unnoticed by most people. 
  • Three woman are killed daily in the U.S. as a result of intimate partner (IP) violence. Of course, many others are consigned to lives of brutality at the hands of their partners, coming near death many times before actually dying. We do not like to hear it, and sweep it away with a "She should have seen it coming," or, "Why did she stay?" conveniently dismissing the actual problems on both sides which facilitate such "hidden" brutality in our midst.
  • Nine die daily from the results of "distracted driving," defined as texting, viewing media, etc. Some people do not realize that watching the road is not compatible with reading a Facebook feed. We can dismiss this one as "Darwin at work," save the behavior kills so many people who are faultless, save for being an innocent victim of the others' carelessness and narcissism.
  • 3,287 people die daily on the road in the U.S. from all causes of traffic fatalities. Just the cost of driving in a highly-distracted society, among drivers with varying levels of skills, sobriety and consciousness and vehicles in various states of repair. We have all seen the grotesque videos in driver's ed showing the hideous outcomes of poor driving, yet the statistics remain horrendous. But it is not sexy to suggest that we might do otherwise. The cost of living in a free society, don't you know?  

We have not even begun to look at the toll of our two discretionary wars in the Middle East -- the gift that keeps on giving. We are not looking at reasons, but simply modalities of mortalities and morbidities.

Addiction and a sense of entitlement feed many of these destructive behaviors, poverty and despair, others, so you will not see voluntary changes in these self-neglectful behaviors. But they will kill you quicker than beans, all the same. 

But the damn fool gun-toters, "those Americans" neatly and disdainfully lumped by people like once-progressive candidate Obama as the God-and-Guns group ... they are an easy target for our floating unease that things are not right. If we could just do something about guns, well, we'd have a much better society.


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Blackhat Reunion, 2015

U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules
dropping green parachutes

 "Jumpers ... Hit it! Check canopy!"
--Sergeants Airborne (Black Hats)

We anti-violent. Anyone says different,
I'll bust a cap in their ass. 
--Fear of a Black Hat (1993)


The annual meeting of Airborne Instructors, past and present, will take place in Columbus, Georgia on October 2nd and 3rd. Historically, the group meets the first Friday and Saturday in October. Informally they call themselves "The Old Airborne Instructors Group," but the meetings draw a mixed bag. This is truly an historic gathering.

Friday night is a cash bar at 17:30 hours, and Saturday is a covered dish lunch, 11:30 until 1300 hours; bring a dish or dessert to share. Both events take place at the American Legion, 3361 North Lumpkin Road. Attire is casual.

All former instructors and former students are invited. Last year a 94 year-old trooper attended, and World War II instructors have also attended. The Triple Nickels (555th Parachute Infantry Battalion), the first all-black Airborne Battalion in WW II, are also well-represented. They are as historic as the Tuskegee Airmen, though less well-known to the general public.

Point of Contact is Cary Rutland, 706-587-5543; email: crutland173@charter.net.

Hope to see you there.

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Friday, September 04, 2015


--Gangster State,
Arend Van Dam 

Everybody talks about a new world in the morning
A new world in the morning so they say
I myself don't talk about a new world in the morning
A new world in the morning that's today
--New World in the Morning,
Roger Whitttaker 

Pity the nation divided into fragments,
each fragment deeming itself a nation 
--The Garden of the Prophet,
Kahlil Gibran

The commentariat is full of banter about the nature the Islamic State (IS), its structure, motivations and use of terror tactics, the latter of which violates the Rule of Land Warfare.

Be that as it may, how have their actions differed from those of Lawrence of Arabia in World War I? As the differences are minimal, why is IS so exasperating to our Western sensitivities? No one cared about the atrocities under Lawrence because they were killing for us.

One obvious difference is the destruction of antiquities being conducted by IS. To them, however, it is not a desecration. Instead, it is a destruction of blasphemous relics, and by way of the destruction an eradication of the blasphemer, and isn't that the Roman way of war?

Mainly, the atrocities matter to us when they are conducted against us.

That is the difference between an ally and a terrorist.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Asymmetrical Numbers

Welcome to the jungle we've got fun and games
We got everything you want honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find whatever you may need
If you got the money honey we got your disease 
--Welcome to the Jungle, 
Guns 'N Roses    

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,
I gotta love one man till I die 
--Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine, 
Porgy and Bess     

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine? 
Could you be mine? 
--Would You Be My Neighbor, 
Fred Rogers

While the topic of the Islamic State (IS) is perversely fascinating, we will instead look just at our reaction to the group, a reaction which violates the principles of war, diplomacy and logical thought. A reaction not equal in reason to the actions of IS, which are clear, evident and understandable, if not grotesque.

The United States has killed both the No. 1 and No. 2 leaders of IS to much fanfare, but to what end? No military or political objective was accomplished in the execution of this very costly project; the U.S. Homeland is no safer. As such, our effort is wasted, and our violence just as criminal as theirs.

Reports indicate that 15,000 IS troopers have been dispatched to the next life, hurried along by ~5,500 U.S. airstrikes. This equates to a success rate of 2.73 kills per strikes. Parsing the cost of each airstrike, are they cost-effective if they do not achieve a military objective?

Are these casualties worth the expenditure, or could our dollars be better spent on social programs here in the U.S.?

Further, the U.S. has trained and equipped only 54 moderate Syrian rebels thus far at a cost of $36 million USD. The goal is to recruit 3,000 fighters by the end of 2015; 4,500 in 12 months. That amounts to a cost of $666,666.67 per recruit. [For that outlay one could buy a bona fide (somewhat) Hollywood sniper and reap a higher entertainment value, at that.]

Aside from the crack 54 -- each earning a cool $400 per month-- one must wonder whose pockets are being lined by the overflow. Someone is benefiting from this egregious expenditure, and it is not the average U.S. taxpayer.

The U.S. pays big bucks for questionable proxy-quasi-allies to fight against people who pay nothing for theirs. So who is winning this asymmetrical war?

Choose any field you wish on which to apply your metrics.

[cross-posted @ Milpub.]

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Thursday, August 20, 2015


 --Carpetbagger, Thomas Nast  

 As specialists and bureaucrats, human beings become tools,
able to make systems of exploitation and even terror
function efficiently without the slightest sense
of personal responsibility or understanding.
They retreat into the arcane language
of all specialists, to mask what they are doing
and give to their work a sanitized, clinical veneer. 
 --Our Mania for Hope is a Curse, Chris Hedges 

The time will come
When you'll be blue
Your cheatin' heart
Will tell on you 
--Your Cheatin Heart, 
Hank Williams

 They'd call us, gypsies, tramps and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down   
--Gypies, Tramps and Thieves, 

Florida is more than the state that brought you Tourist Season, Mickey Mouse and oranges -- it is also the United States' fourth largest cow -calf producing state, so it is with flourish that we mention one of the most lily-livered crimes in our nation's history: the cattle rustle.

In the Old West the branding iron was carried by cattle and horse thieves to alter the brands when rustling livestock. Rustling is a crime, and often, a hanging one. But such will not be the fate of our two Presidential frontrunners, JEB! and Hillary, who have taken the hot iron and re-branded themselves with abandon.

Hillary entered the world as an "XXY", but she has re-branded herself the Double Bar, "XX". Or, for those with a scientific bent, she is now a Double Barr. [RAW considered whether this was too crass, but decided it passed muster. This is not a crumpet-and-clotted cream site, after all.]

Hill presents today as the True Blue wife, mother and grandmother, a veritable Granny Weatherall. Someone who dines at Waffle House and shops at Costco. But who is she, really?

She is a social climber who affixed herself to the bumbling Arkansas boy - Rhodes scholar, Bill Clinton. Her milieu is Old School feminism, lesbians, old hippies, and the plethora of women who have been cheated on or otherwise hard-done-by their mates. On her campaign stops, she is often seen dressing dowdily, like Rosalynn Carter, to appeal to the COSTCO crowd.

During her tenure as Secretary of State she is probably responsible for a multitude of sins, both omitted and committed. Maybe she learned this from Bill, maybe the propensity to untruth is vice versa; perhaps, connubial.

In any event, she has neither the panache nor the aplomb to commit venality with a smile, unlike Bill. Her BRF is as perennially committed as those of Condi Rice or Michele Obama.

Hillary is the Ur-feminist who once told an interviewer that she would not "stand by her man" (if he were proved cheating.) Alas, like all good politicians, she made a deal with the devil and gutted it out. She did stand by her man, and has proceeded  to use him as a stepping stone to the highest office in the land.

BUT, she is a piker up against JEB. As Florida's Governror, JEB stole an entire election for his brother in a grand national tragedy on the par with the best Greek tragedy.

In 2000, Just like the Earps or Clantons in the West of yore, brothers JEB and W marched up to the OK Corral -- the Capital in Tallahassee, FL -- and gunned Democracy into the filthy ground of partisan politics

The Supreme Court stayed the recount of votes in Florida in 2000 (stopped by then Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, heiress to a Florida cattle fortune co-chair of George W. Bush's campaign in Florida), which gave the election to Bush. Harris certified GWB as the winner by 537 votes over his Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore in a highly questionable election resulting from poorly constructed ballots.

Never once did Governor JEB consider any course of action beyond ensuring his brother's theft of Florida's electoral votes in 2000. He never said, "This is an issue of State's rights and the Florida legislature and law, and when contention arises, the U.S. legislative branch should properly address the issue." He failed to support the law of the land.

Supreme Court Justice Stevens wrote in his dissent in the case,

"Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today's decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

JEB!, scion of the wealthy Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush family, is no dummy. He is being branded as an outsider, though he is a consummate insider. (In the same way that Hillary is being branded as a champion for the poor.)

Start with his simple campaign logo: JEB! Many Southern homes feature a photo of J.E.B. Stuart, a Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War [or "War of Northern Aggression" as it is known 'round these parts.] JEB simply HAS to be a good old boy. 

Say it, feel the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth, like divinity on a sweltering humid day. It sounds like "JED", patriarch of t.v.'s Clampett family ("The Beverly Hillbillies"), which derives from the biblical, Jedidiah. So there you have it. An unholy trinity.

JEB is as profligate a character as was his brother, former President GWB -- the man who single-handedly birthed the Clash of Civilizations we have been exposed to daily in the news (in between stories of Jared the Subway huckster and Ms. Jenner.) JEB has the added political bonus of being as sneaky as his father, former President and former head of the Central Intelligence Agency GHW Bush.

There's more, of course. JEB later worked for a New York banking firm which screwed Florida's teachers and other State employees through mismanagement of their retirement investments.

But that's another Florida story.  One more in a time-honored miasma of skulduggery and venality which, like so much other muck, sinks to the bottom of a gator hole, never to be seen again.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Drifting Right

  The transition from democracy to tyranny
is most easily brought about by a popular leader
who knows how to exploit the class antagonism
between the rich and the poor
within the democratic state,
and who succeeds in building up a bodyguard
of a private army of his own.
The people who have hailed him first
as the champion of freedom are soon enslaved 

After such knowledge, what forgiveness?
--Gerontion, T. S. Eliot

The way you wear your hat
The way you sip your tea
The memory of all that
No no they can't take that away from me
--They Can't Take That Away from Me,

Ira Gershwin

Rifles have either a left or a right rifling, and oddly, most are right twist. This may be a linguistic legacy from Latin which affiliates "evil" with being leftward turning. (As an aside, this is why children especially in parochial schools used to be trained not to be a "lefty".)

This affinity for twist can be seen throughout quantum world, as well. Subatomic particles each have a signature spin. In a most curious analogy to modern man from contemporary physics witness the Majorana fermion, a particle so conflicted that it spins both right and left, ultimately self-destructing. They are their own antiparticles. Madness, no?

But unlike those ruminants among us who are Left-leaning, the Right seems to suffer no qualms about the rightness of its mission, even in the face of its abject and patent absurdity vis-a-vis modernity. We in Florida suffer a surfeit of absurdity in the Presidential candidates which our state fronts.

Florida, the land of underwater mermaids, Marco Rubio and Elian Gonzales, the land which brought the "Latino" out of Hispanic. JEB!, nee "Bush", follows Rubio's lead. [Learning Spanish was the best thing this profligate young Bush scion ever did.] Florida delivers as it ever does on bringing the nation full-on oddities in the name of JEB! and Rubio.

Per the failure of today's Right-thinking: Elections are about the future, yet the field of Republican candidates is staunchly reactionary. Why is that? Because the people of the Republican Party feel themselves to be hard-done-by, and their media stations of choice pummel them with that idea daily.

What are they angry at? What do you got?

They are whipped into a lather by the likes of FOX news and Rush Limbaugh, and the one emotion they have is aggression. Aggression against anyone who does not look or think like they do. They feel this way because they take the prosperous post-Cold War years to be the set-point of how the United States ought to be. But it is not.

They feel that Someone Else is taking the jobs that are rightly theirs, and their ire is directed at any number of indigenous threats to their imagined lost glory. We heard in a store recently a stout woman proclaim, with feeling, "Damn if they'll take my Confederate flag from me."

Echoes of Charlton Heston's "cold, dead hands" speech at a past Republican convention, a pathetic cri-de-cour from a woman not operating at the upper echelons of her nation, yet fully subservient to them, all the while thinking herself to be a player in her world.

She and her cohort know only "No -- you can' take that from me." It is the plaintive cry of the five-year-old who doesn't want to share his toys, yet does not notice that the other kids have niftier toys, anyway.

Lady-- your tattered flag is the least of your beloved nation's concerns.

The mentality is so Hatfield and McCoy. We do it well, and the politicos set us up for it every time.

The problem is, the U.S. no longer controls 50% of the world's manufacturing, and the country is beginning to resemble the America of the turn of the 20th century. We can no longer be the World's Policeman. We never should have been, and that power mindset is a folly which is leading our country to deficit madness.

Both Bush and Rubio exhibit a Cold War mindset of anti-Communism that keeps us pathetically entrenched in an idea which has long passed on. The Domino Theory is dead.

Yet the Cubans in Florida are devoutly anti-Commmunist, and their thinking is front and center in American Right thought. What's on the nightly news? Watch Mother Russia make its power grab in the Crimea and the Georgia province of South Ossetia. But please don't look at China over there, our Most Excellent Favored Trading partner.

The Cold War is dead -- or it should be -- so why doesn't someone pass the word to Rubio, et. al.?

--Jim and Lisa

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Whitewashed, Part Deux

As specialists of apparent life,
stars serve as superficial objects
that people can identify with in order to
compensate for the
fragmented productive specializations
that they actually live 
--Society of the Spectacle,
Guy Debord 

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars 
--57 Channels (And Nuthin' On),  
Bruce Springsteen 

Too much information
running through my brain
Too much information
driving me insane
--Too Much Information,
The Police

While Ms. Dolezal's choice to be black might make for an interesting study in Post Modern Culture or perhaps some journal on psychopathology, it is not national news. No moreso than if a woman with black genetics passed as white. Ditto the former Bruce Jenner's gender reassignment surgery and all of the other bosh which fills out the so-called news programming, the pseudo-news.

It fills someone's agenda of anger and outrage keeping the issues of blackness and transgenderedness on the front of the tabloids and news, which are indistinguishable today.

The television news always leads with a shocking event, the tragic or the sensational. On a dog day that might have to be a tornado in Kansas which does not affect the other 49 states (it is called "Tornado Alley" for a reason.) And while these sorts of things might credibly open a local news program, they have no place being featured on the national news 

Yet that is where they now perch, front and center.

All programs could be called "Entertainment Tonight" today, all created to gain your rapt gaze, to fix you and satisfy you as a mute voyeur. There is no need for you to cogitate or communicate what you have viewed as it is all masticated and predigested for you. Fast food for your brain.

One might wonder if there is anything beyond bread and circuses which motivates programing today. Rather than being motivated by exaltation at the inspiring, we are daily dragged through the muck in the media -- the ugliest places that policemen, doctors and social workers are paid to navigate.

In its early days t.v. featured playhouse events and straight news. Commentary was labeled as such. Broadcasting was not 24/7, and it's goal was not to lull the viewer into an insouciant dullness but to provide something provocative and substantive.

But it was not long before game shows and soap operas found their niche, and the hopes for a high-minded educational medium soon faded.

Today we have so much more connectivity than that provided by a few network stations, but our skills at living a good life alongside our media  masters have not increased. The majority of our days are spent in feverish communications via our electronic devices, but what exactly are we accomplishing?

With the new threat of death-by-lifestyle (=sitting while glued to our devices), so much for "better living through science".

As Science magazine reported, in causes of death, "infectious disease has been eclipsed by long-term chronic disease, closely followed by humans themselves." While man's ability to develop technology continues apace, his ability to digest it is limited. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said of our military capabilities, we have guided missiles but misguided men.

--Dodd Hall frieze

A frieze over the entrance to the first library at FSU (Dodd Hall) states,"The half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge". Until the last couple of decades that was true. One would scour the card catalogs and microfiche and conduct one's own "meta studies" to verify a thesis which one wished to investigate. Finding knowledge was a skill.

However, the "half" which was NOT knowing where to find it was taken care of. People thought about things. Without having to escape to an ashram, they somehow found the time to think and to determine meet concerns and what constituted rightness for themselves.

Now knowledge is a blitz. We have immediate access to a torrent of info from any place, but we do not know how to ask the questions. We lack for the "What" or the "Why"? The implications of this in our media-saturated world is, we don't know how to live.

We have continual media feeds from every source to which we subscribe, but it seems that the rate of flow of data has taken precedence over our ability to enlist our own discretion. There is no time for careful mulling over of the fitness of the question or of the answers. What has taken its place is a mute miasma of data scrolling through our lives on an unceasing dumb feed. Like lava erupting from a volcano, there is no way stop it.

In the meantime, while we are amusing ourselves to death, actual issues are marching across the nation's stage:

-- The UN reports the world faces a 40 percent shortfall in freshwater in as soon as 15 years (World Water Development Report)
-- salmon and trout are facing a die off in Oregon due to unprecedented drought.

-- accessible solar technology is ignored (Power to the People)

-- children are not learning to socialize (Screen Addiction Has taken a Toll on Children)

-- a superpower like the United States cannot rebuild parts of its rail line taken out several years after the last hurricane in the Southeast

In central Florida, Lake Apopka and its Chain of Lakes --what was once a renowned bass fishing resort -- now has transgendered fish and frogs, by no choice of their own (unlike former decathelete Ms. Jenner.) Their plight is due to decades of toxic runoff from the muck farming in the rich soil surrounding the lake.

That's the merest beginning of actual issues which might occupy our thought ... were the Marching Morons to halt and do an about face before their next video game session.

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