Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Good Day For Bradley Manning

Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.
David Coombs, attorney for Private First Class Bradley Manning

Yes, you might say that. Obviously you celebrate your victories, no matter how small, no matter what else is coming around the corner at you like an out of control Spanish train.

A military judge ruled today that Bradley Edward Manning was not guilty of aiding the enemy, a charge which carries a life sentence. That is the good news for the Private. The bad is the same judge found him guilty of 20 other counts, including one of leaking intelligence while knowing it would be accessible by the enemy. If the judge decides to go all maximum on the 25 year old GI he could get hit with as much as 136 years. That would be in addition to the 20 he might already face because he has previously pleaded guilty to 10 other counts. Now I'm not big on math, or longevity studies, but if those numbers are added up with his current age, Mr. Manning won't see the outside of Leavenworth Military Prison until he is 181 years old. I guess some good days are a tad less hopeful than others.

Manning is the soldier who released to WikiLeaks approximately 700,000 classified documents regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Coombs he was, "trying to ply his knowledge to hopefully save lives." He added that his client thought he could make a difference.

Not hardly, but then the PFC isn't the first to have thought something as naive as that and probably won't be the last. It is a bright and shining disease that infects many of our young. Large numbers of us have displayed its symptoms in the past.

Of course the army, in its infinite wisdom, put young Mr. Manning in a position to hang himself despite a myriad of warning signs they were dealing with an intelligent, but highly troubled individual.

A cursory reading of his biography on Wikipedia shows the kid should have never been allowed around classified information at all and in fact shouldn't even have finished basic training.

He was born just up the road from Oklahoma City in Crescent. It is a tiny burg on the edge of the Oklahoma wheat belt. It's only previous claim to notoriety had to do with the Kerr McGee plant on its south side. It was the place that employed Karen Silkwood, who tried to blow the whistle on the poor quality of the nuclear reactor control rods being manufactured there, plus a number of safety issues. She ended up dead in a ditch as she was driving to meet a New York Times reporter. The documents she was supposedly carrying at the time were never found. But, as we all know, that's an old story and is currently available on NetFlix.

Manning didn't have an easy childhood. Although computer savvy, he was dealing with his Welsh mother who was not only chronically ill, but also chronically lost in the bottle. His parents divorced and he loathed his father's new wife. He was a slight child, effeminate, unsure of his sexual orientation, and an easy target for bullies.

All of that followed him into the army after a period of borderline homelessness and menial jobs. According to one source who knew him, he was constantly hounded by not only the drill sergeants, but nearly everyone else in his platoon. At 5'2" and 105 pounds he was an easy mark. It got so bad he was washed out of basic training. Despite the bullying and his sometimes angry and verbose responses to his platoon leaders, Private Manning was reinstated because the modern army needs computer geeks and not a lot of them apply for the openings available.

His mental state was such that before he was sent to Iraq, Wikipedia reports, two of his superior officers considered leaving him behind. They felt he could be a risk, not only to himself, but others. His condition was so iffy he was referred to an Army mental health counselor. Soon after he was deployed he threw a screaming fit when he was punished for being late to his job multiple times. During the outburst Manning overturned a table that held a computer and had to be physically restrained.

He was sent to Iraq in October of 2009, By November of that year he was in touch with WikiLeaks. In February of 2010 they began to publish the material he was sending them. In May he was ratted out to the FBI by a civilian he had confided in on line named Adrian Lamo. He was arrested on May 27th.

Now the army is going to send the little man away because he violated his oath and he disclosed all sorts of  information they didn't want made public. What they will never admit is they should have known Bradley Edward Manning was the loosest of all cannons. He had been dealing with tortuous mental and emotional issues from practically the moment he was born and certainly since his enlistment, but they ignored it all.

PFC Manning has been called a criminal and a traitor by some and has been saluted as a hero by more than just a few, One of them is Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times back in the early 1970's. They exposed the government's cover up of the true extent of American involvement in the Vietnam War.

This nation has been sucked into far too many wars that have nothing to do with either the constitution, or national self defense. They were fought just because they felt right at the time to the people running the country. The first three off the top of my head are the war with Mexico, the war with Spain and the war in Vietnam. Compared to those three adventures the invasion of Iraq was the most crass and cold blooded of them all. The others could at least be written off to blatant imperialism and some bizarre notion of saving south east Asians from themselves. The only thing the invasion of Iraq had to do with was the length of G.W. Bush's cock and the value of Dick Cheney's stock options.

So, in the end is Bradley Manning really a hero? Has he made a difference and saved us and others from ourselves?

I'd love to say so, but he hasn't. He is just another wounded soul who had a mind caving in on itself and was stuck in a place he should have never been. The nation is no better off because of him, or the information he made public. Neither is the world. America is still wound up in a collective hubris that demands we and we alone as a country make the difference, but only when and where the powers that be decide. The brute reality remains that more often than not the conflicts we become mired in are determined, not by altruism, but whether a scant few of us can make a buck.

PFC Manning leaked the information, but the Army is the one who gave him access to it. They are also the ones who knew he was not suited to wear the uniform they issued to him.

Now they've convicted him because they were too stupid to acknowledge it.

Ultimately, the truth is, Bradley Edward Manning didn't say a thing we didn't already know, or at least should have known.

Unfortunately for him, some of us are pissed off because he had the temerity to say it out loud.


sic vita est


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Dispatches: San Diego's Mayor Gropesalot, Egypt On the Brink, and More Gunfire in Florida

Not to be out done by that two bit little deviant in New York City, San Diego mayor Bob Filner admitted earlier this week he is, perhaps, the dirtiest old man on the west coast. He also announced he would be entering into intensive behavioral therapy next month in order to curb his insatiable sexual urges.

The mayor apparently has been running amok for years, but it hasn't been until lately that women have come forward to accuse him of things like grabbing buttocks, groping, forced kissing, and sexually coarse comments. Right now the count stands at seven different individuals who say His Honor has all the subtlety of a sixth grader who has just learned what happens when he tugs repeatedly on his penis.

In fact Filner's adventures make the escapades of Anthony, Carlos Dangerous, Weiner seem so inconsequential you'd think Mr. Dangerous would give him a call thanking him from the bottom of his heart.

Obviously Bob Filner is a man of good taste. The women who have come forward so far include the president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, a prominent business woman, the dean of San Diego State University's college of professional studies and fine arts, a San Diego school district psychologist, a political consultant, his own director of communications, and a retired Rear Admiral of the United States Navy. Yes, siree, no Facebook groupies there. This guy knew class when he saw it and tried to feel it up.

Mayor Filner's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson has brought a law suit contending she continuously had to fend off requests for kisses, outright sex, and the oh so smooth suggestion that she'd do her job better if she worked without wearing under ware.

On Thursday local democrats asked that he stand down. Their suggestion was seconded by Democratic National Committee chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Filner, who went before the press to say he was taking "responsibility for his actions," claims he will have twice daily updates on city affairs while he is locked away. He has refused to even mention the word resignation.

Yesterday, he attended a meeting of the San Diego Association of Governments. The topic of discussion was the South Bay transit project. NBC news reports the mayor, obviously bored by the lack of buttocks to grab, fell asleep during the proceedings.

Meanwhile in Egypt reports are that at least 100 have been killed and up to 5,000 injured in the last twenty-four hours. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators and counter demonstrators have taken to the streets as the country continues it's seemingly inexorable slide into civil war. Former president, Mohammed Morsi is still in custody and authorities are now considering charging him with murder. The investigation centers on a purported jail break attempt in 2011 as the government of Hosni Mubarak was beginning to crumble. Prosecutors accuse Morsi of conspiring with Hamas in a plot that ended with the deaths of both prisoners and officials.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad called the charges, "...the fantasy of a few army generals and a military dictatorship."

More demonstrations will take place today as the violence between opposing sides escalates. The United States is officially concerned about the situation and while President Obama put the stop on a shipment of four F-16 fighters, the state department has yet to decide whether a military coup actually took place, or not.

Finally yesterday in Florida an unidentified man stood his ground and shot an apartment manager, her husband and three other people in the complex. He also killed a person who was across the street. Police speculate that final murder was committed just because the victim was within range. A SWAT team ended the rampage when they killed the gunman bringing the total body count to seven.

The only established motive at this time is that the shooter was bat shit crazy and was able to legally buy and carry a firearm.

Slate and @GunDeaths now say at least 6,590 Americans have been shot to death since the Newtown, CT murders last December. That number includes 130 children twelve and younger and 331 teenagers.

Freedom, as they say, is never free. Just ask 6,590 different American families.

And there we have it--things are simply more fun than a barrel of monkeys everywhere we go.

Just remember to watch out for flying chairs and you'll be fine.     

Mr. Scott, you have the con. I'll be in the bar.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Carlos Dangerous is Still in the Race

Where do we keep finding these beings who pass themselves off as humans? How is it possible they continue to worm their way into public office only to implode in crude orgies of narcissism and deviant urges that leaves the public shocked, appalled, and bewildered?

Back in May of 2011 a photo briefly showed up on New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's twitter account. It was a crotch shot of a man in his tight, bulging underwear. When questions started being asked, Weiner claimed his account had been hacked. He told CNN he hadn't posted the photo and he had hired a law firm to find out who did.

However it quickly fell apart for Mr. Weiner and by June 6th of that year he was admitting he had been conducting "inappropriate on line relationships" with several women. This would be at about the same time Weiner's wife, former advisor to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin found out she was pregnant.

Five days later, in what can only be described as a tactical and desperate retreat, Weiner announced he was going to seek treatment for his problem and would take a short sabbatical from congress while he did so.

The next day TMZ published pics of him in various poses and stages of undress. It was the final straw for the congressional career of Anthony Weiner. On the 16th of June, a little over two weeks after the first photo appeared, he resigned from office.

Yes, it was time to get out of the political line up, seek professional help, patch things up with the wife and begin a family. After all there are some things more important than power and fame. Well, in theory anyway.

Democrats usually forgive the sexual dalliances their candidates and office holders step into. Let's face it, the list is pretty long. FDR was the first known philanderer, then Jack Kennedy's wandering eye became legendary after his assassination. There have been others. Gary Hart's political career came crashing down after a drunken spree with Donna Rice, but even then a good friend of mine shrugged at all the outrage and said, "Hey I would have fucked her." Then, of course, there was wild Bill Clinton and the only thing anyone questioned in his confirmed and unconfirmed affairs were the looks and intelligence of the women involved.

As the late science fiction author, Mike McQuay once said in a fit of frustration, "At least our guys get laid."

However there is a difference with Weiner. FDR, Kennedy, Hart, and Clinton at least touched someone real. The creepy meter starts to climb when a public official admits he chronically masturbates while engaging in internet sex, phone sex and has sent nude pictures of himself to women half his age. Yes, that mind is, as Morrison said, squirmin' like a toad. The truth is it has the feel of finding out the name of some dude in a trench coat who is wandering the streets while wearing nothing underneath--or answering a call and hearing some anonymous heavy breather on the other end of the line.  

In May of this year Anthony Weiner declared he was running for mayor of New York City. He was, by God, reborn. The past was the past, yada, yada, yada.

Fast forward to the day before yesterday. There was Weiner and his long suffering wife, Huma Abedin standing before the media as he admitted he had continued to sex text to what he estimated was up to three women after his resignation from congress and his rehabilitation had begun. One of them, a 23 year old Indiana woman. has admitted she and Weiner, who was internet cruising under the nom de plume, Carlos Dangerous, had participated in phone sex, "sexted" and exchanged emails which included nude photos of themselves.

The worst part of the entire sordid affair came during the Tuesday press conference after Weiner spoke. In fact it might have been the single most excruciating moment I've ever seen on live television. Anthony Weiner's wife stood before the cameras and was barely able to look up from the ground during his cheap jack excuses and political hyperbole. Then she recited a prepared statement saying she was going to stand by her husband. Weiner, aka, Dangerous, hovered over her shoulder as she read from a sheet of paper, appearing to make sure she didn't deviate even a word from the script. MSNBC contributor, Mike Barnicle took one look at the scene and declared that Huma Abedin was a victim of spousal abuse. Honestly, it is hard to dispute that assessment.

The former congressman claims he is in for the long haul, but his poll numbers have taken a nose dive. A month ago he had a nine point lead and now he trails by the same number. The New York Times has condemned him and 43% of democrats polled want him to get the hell out of the race.

His chief opponent, Christine Quinn issued a statement saying, "Being mayor of New York City demands a serious leader. Instead we have seen a pattern of reckless behavior, consistently poor judgement, and difficulty with the truth."

She had the moderation to avoid saying what we saw on Tuesday was also a bit scary.

Yes, the Carlos Dangerous campaign looks to be in serious trouble.

And it is about time. The truth is Anthony Weiner is one sick pit bull and no matter how intelligent he is, or what his politics are, he needs to go away for a while.

That would be not only for the good of  New York City, but his wife and child.

Unfortunately, I don't think it is going to happen any time soon. Why? Well, the word sociopath comes to mind, but hey, that is just me.

Sometimes you just want to spit.

sic vita est


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Latest Poll Numbers: Everyone Sucks

The President of the United States traveled to Galesburg, Illinois today in order to make a speech on his economic plan and policies. Frankly there wasn't a lot there we haven't already heard about.

In fact prior to the address, John Boehner, the rube who is rumored to be in charge of the house of representatives, asked rhetorically, "What's the point? What's it going to accomplish?" Those might have been valid questions if they'd come from anyone besides Mr. Boehner. Obviously the guy who has allowed the house to vote 38 times to repeal Obama Care when he was fully aware that each one of those votes would lead no where, has very little credibilty in the, what's the point area.

Well there is a reason practically everyone in the nation loathes congress. And make no mistake about it, the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal sponsored poll shows just that.

The numbers are breathtakingly bad. Obama's job approval rating has slipped to 45%, which is a single point above his all time low. However, when compared to the numbers congress put up the man is practically as popular as George Alexander Louis, Prince of Cambridge.

A stunning 83% of Americans disapprove of the job congress is doing. The 12% who think things are going along swimmingly represent the lowest approval number in the history of the poll. In addition, 57% of those polled say that if the option was available to them in 2014 they'd vote to throw each and every member of congress out onto the street and replace them with someone new. That number stays constant when the participants were asked about their own representative. 57% said get rid of the loser while only 32% said they'd vote to keep him, or her.

As the poll progressed those participating were asked, "When you hear republicans say immigration reform must wait until our borders are secure, is that a legitimate concern or an excuse to block the legislation?" It appears the public has caught on to exactly how republicans work. 36% said it was a legitimate concern while 59% said it was just a bull shit excuse to block all immigration reform.

In addition, those taking the poll were asked to give their reaction to a list of names. The response choices were, Very Positive, Somewhat Positive, Neutral, Somewhat Negative, Very Negative, and Don't Know. 48% responded on the positive side when it came to the president, while 40% responded on the negative end of the spectrum. On the other hand, Mr. Boehner's numbers were 18% in the positive and 36% in the negative. To put that in perspective the only people with worse numbers were George Zimmerman, who shot and killed an unarmed teen and Edward Snowden, the former NSA contract employee who might end up being charged with treason.

Yes, it seems new lows abound everywhere and just about everyone sucks. Unfortunately for the president and the nation as a whole, the average tea party bobble head doesn't give a rat's ass about poll numbers. They are on an ideological kamikaze mission. They've become adept at procedural terrorism and obstruction and that is all they are interested in. The moderates, if there are any actually left, live in dread of them.

Obama recognized that today when he told the crowd in Galesburg, "The fact is there are republicans who privately agree with me on many of the ideas I'll be proposing, but worry they'll face swift polictical retaliation for saying so."

Indeed, thanks to the crass gerrymandering that took place in 2010, most republicans in the house don't even worry about general elections any more. Their greatest fear is a bug eyed ultra right rogue wolverine running around their home district, financed by the crazed Koch brothers, claiming they are soft on Obama. Yes, complete fealty must be maintained, or one of purer faith will end up in the seat they currently occupy. It is almost as if the reincarnation of ol' Max Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety has taken charge of the party and decides who stays and who makes the walk up the steps to the guillotine.

Barak Obama's presidency is going to fail, not because of his leadership, policies, lack of tact, or negotiating skills--certainly not because of any unwillingness to hunt down and kill deadly terrorists. It is going to fail because the hard core right--their philosophy heavily contaminated by intractable racism and an abject fear of the future, has no other purpose than to make it fail. Tragically, at this point in time, they have just enough numbers to make it so.

That is America today.

And it stinks.

If you don't think so just ask the people who took the poll.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sometimes the American People Don't Like This Mess

We are a divided government. We are fighting for what we believe. Sometimes the American people don't like this mess.
John Boehner, R-OH, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Mr. Boehner got part of it right. The American people don't like this mess. In fact the public opinion of congress is at an all time low. The gridlock has gotten so bad that according to The Huffington Post's, Amanda Terkel this particular edition of congress is on schedule to be the least productive in modern history. It has passed a mere 15 bills into law.

Sunday, Boehner went on CBS' Face The Nation in order to explain why he and fellow members should be allowed to collect their pay checks this year. He put it this way, "Congress should not be judged on how many laws we create, but on how many laws we repeal." He added, "The country already has more laws than the administration ever could enforce."

Okay, I suppose that is one way to look at it from the conservative point of view. There are too many laws so we are weeding out and repealing the ones the nation doesn't need. Hey, we aren't making any, but at least we're getting rid of some. It's like they used to tell me back in my retail days, when you're aren't selling something you should be dusting the shelves.

Unfortunately for Mr. Boehner people keep track of these things. Someone should let him in on that information and save him some embarrassment--assuming he is capable of such an emotion.

At this point, under his watch, the number of laws congress has repealed is zero. Yes, zero, as in nil, zilch, nada, and none.

Damned if you don't, Mr. Speaker and damned if you--well--don't again.

In the house it isn't for a lack of trying. The republican majority has voted to get rid of what is termed as Obama Care 38 times while knowing full well such a repeal won't even get to the senate floor, much less the president's desk. They are absolutely stymied when it comes to thinking of anything else they could, or should delete from the books.

Realizing they have a bit of an image problem, the GOP has put together a written guide on how its congressional members should address the concerns of their constituents during the upcoming August recess.

NBC reports a couple of the bon mots republicans should rely on are, "We're fighting Washington for you." That's the style. Washington is some alien place that has no connection to us, your elected officials who hold a majority in the house and have for two thirds of Obama's presidency. Then there is, "Our government is out of control, but republicans are fighting to stop government abuse, to make Washington work for all Americans. We are fighting to fix Washington."

Well, I'm not sure I'm part of the GOP definition of "all" Americans and neither is the rest of Mitt's 47%. It seems pretty certain that huge portions of the Hispanic population don't feel included in the republican concept of "all," either; nor, do other minorities and women. It also remains terribly unclear how doing nothing fixes anything, but I'm sure there is some sort of occult message there, rather like the secret hand shake my old fraternity taught us years ago. Indeed, if you're not a member there is no reason to ask for an explanation, because even if we had one we couldn't tell you anyway.

NBC also reports that Utah republican Senator Mike Lee and a few others, in their never ending quest to, "fix Washington" have vowed to shut the entire government down this fall if funding for Obama Care is part of the budget. In certain circles this sort of tactic is known as working with the president.

The problem is, of course, the tea party rubes. They aren't there to fix anything. They are there to destroy a government they see as evil. They are the GOP version of all those masked and punked up anarchists who take to the streets burning cars and smashing windows when the World Trade Organization tries to have a meeting. They have nothing to offer, except destruction. Their only plan is to eliminate all plans.

Meanwhile the New York Times is reporting a new economic study shows that, depending on where you live in this country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape childhood poverty. The toughest area to climb out of the hole is the deep south.

Look for some clown like Boehner to blame the depressing statistics on over reaching government regulations and the creeping fog of socialism. In fact the study shows that a smaller percentage of Americans climb out of inherited poverty than do those who have grown up with it in wild eyed liberal places like, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and Japan. You know, nations where there are programs such as Obama Care.

That might be another thing we want to fix.

Or, we could all join the republican party and do nothing. After all, their plan is currently in place and its working like the proverbial broken clock. Despite the hands remaining perfectly and perpetually motionless, it is right twice a day.

See, there is progress. As always we have something to celebrate.

sic vita est


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trayvon Martin and The President of the United States of America

Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
Barak H. Obama, president of the United States of America

Yesterday afternoon Barak Obama gave the most heartfelt, personal, and honest statement I have ever heard a president make. He stood in front of the national press and talked about the lens through which African Americans have historically viewed life in this country. He did not claim Trayvon Martin was innocent. In fact he mentioned that the Judge conducted the trial in a "professional manner" and that the jury was instructed properly. What he did talk about is the pain the African American community feels when a tragedy like this occurs.

"It is important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history--that doesn't go away," he said.

Then he continued, "There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they are shopping in a department store and that includes me. And there are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happened to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often."

The president also had this to say, "And you know, I don't want to exaggerate this, but those experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it is inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear."

He went on, "The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case."

At last, an honest man in the white house.

When he spoke it was not a lecture, he wasn't admonishing. In fact his entire demeanor was one of sad resignation. He was simply telling you and me why many African Americans were shocked, hurt and finally skeptical of the jury's decision.

The reaction from a couple of FOX journalists was quick.

Todd Starnes called Obama "the race baiter in chief." He also said, "His remarks today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy are beyond reprehensible."

Their man, Sean Hannity said on his radio show, "This is a particularly helpful comment. Is the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow--I'm not sure how to interpret that because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night."

Starnes remarks are so despicably off the mark they aren't worth commenting on. Hannity, of course, has never let facts get in his way, or not tried to use the truth, to alter the truth.

When he was attending Punahou High School in Honolulu, Obama was part of a group of students who called themselves the Choom Gang. The word gang, as Hannity well knows, immediately brings to mind images of Crips and Bloods, gunfire and senseless violence. According to wiki, the Choom Gang was a bunch of kids, most of whom were better than average students and jocks, who hung out together, played basketball, surfed, and smoked marijuana. Their vehicle of choice was a Volkswagen mini bus which was named the "Choomwagon." Most of "the gang," went on to become successful lawyers, writers, and business people. Much of this is documented in Obama's book, "Dreams From My Father."

And actually there is no evidence whatsoever that Trayvon Martin was smoking marijuana the night he was killed. Only trace amounts of THC were found in his blood stream. Dr. Carl Hart, an associate professor of psychology at Columbia University, wrote in the New York Times on July 12, "The toxicity screen taken the morning after showed 1.5 nano grams (of THC) per millilitre of blood. This strongly suggests he had not ingested marijuana in at least 24 hours." The Dr. went on to flatly state, "Mr. Martin could not have been intoxicated with marijuana at the time of the shooting." Dr. Hart has been researching the effects of marijuana on the neurophysiology, psychology, and behavior of humans for 15 years.

Now you know why I don't listen to Sean Hannity and why so many members of the African American community think George Zimmerman got away with one. Trayvon Martin was the person put on trial and ultimately convicted, not the captain of the neighborhood watch.

Finally, what both Starnes and Hannity conveniently failed to mention was the note of hope at the end of the president's remarks. That part where he said, "I don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race."

Race baiting has never seemed more benign, or optimistic.

It moved FOX NEWS' Chris Wallace to say he, "...didn't see how you can read this in any way stoking racial tensions."

Whoa! At last, an honest man at FOX.

Look for Mr. Wallace's career to take a quick nose dive as the outraged complaints about his opinion flood the social media and FOX's inbox. The true believers are going to quickly label him as a traitor to the cause. You see free thought on the right is not an option.

Yes, things might be getting better, but we're not there yet.

Mr. Sulu you have the con, because, honestly, I've had enough of this brutal nonsense for a while. One can only take so much.

As always, keep moving and don't bunch up. The George Zimmerman wannabes are everywhere and they'd love to take some of us down.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum.


Friday, July 19, 2013

In Egypt Legitimacy is on First, Who is on Second, and I Don't Know is on Third

We have our own belief in the democratic system and we are willing to die for it.
Gehad El-Haddad, advisor and spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood

Some want a bloody path. We will battle for security to the end.
Adli Mansour, Interim president of Egypt

Well it looks as if everyone in Egypt is willing to die and battle to the end. Of course it is highly doubtful either Mr. El-Haddad, or Mr. Mansour will be on the front lines any time soon. No, hundreds, if not thousands, will be gone before someone gets around to them. That is the way these things work.

All this willingness to sacrifice one's self came about when the Egyptian military responded to hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets and removed the country's first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi. Egypt has been around as a nation roughly 5,200 years. Mr. Morsi lasted in office for one of them.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's old outfit and its allies have formed a united front called the, "National Alliance for Legitimacy." It issued a statement saying, "To every free Egyptian man and woman: Come out against the bloody military coup." Plans for mass pro Morsi demonstrations are set for today, although El-Haddad seems ready to distance the movement from the deposed president. NBC News quoted him as saying, "It is not about Morsi anymore. The people had a set of choices and they voted. I accept that Morsi wasn't doing a very good job, but the president of France hasn't been doing a very good job, but they don't take him down with the army."

Whether we like the brotherhood or not, he has a point. In another quote he said, "The military has no right to decide which protest is worthy enough to represent the people."

Indeed, the truth is the Brotherhood's supporters have put nearly as many people in the streets as the anti Morsi forces have and did. If the military was using strictly a head count to decide who to back, it looked to be about a dead heat.

General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi countered El-Haddad with a TV address. In it he said, "The armed forces sincerely accepted the choice of the people, but then political decision making began stumbling. The armed forces remained committed to what it considered the legitimacy of the ballot box, even though that legitimacy began to do as it pleased and in a way that contradicted the basis and origin of this legitimacy."

In other words, the legitimate government was about to become illegitimate, so to save democracy we had to get rid of democracy for a while. At least until everyone comes to their senses. One wonders if el-Sisi was a lawyer in a previous life, because he certainly sounds like one.

What it came down to is roughly half of all Egyptians and the military don't want their nation to become a theocracy and that is what they saw Morsi aiming for. The real misgivings started when he told the judicial branch they'd have no say in the new constitution, or challenges to it.

As for Morsi himself, he blamed the whole mess on supporters of Hosni Mubarak. He might also have had a point. The masses were edgy because of his politics, but when food prices went up, fuel shortages started to occur, and the country became plagued by multiple power outages on a daily basis they'd had enough. The lines for fuel and the power outages have magically disappeared in the short time he's been out of office. Conspiracy theorists are beginning to howl as I type.

At this time Mohammed Morsi's location is unknown. It is unlikely he will see the light of day any time soon because the military and interim government are clamping down. NBC reports that the assets of the Brotherhood's leader, Mohammed Badie and 13 other senior officials of the group have been frozen while the national prosecutor conducts an investigation into their involvement in pre coup violence.

Yes, it would seem the threshold for turning back has passed. Once the military picked a side the deal was done. To bring Morsi back now would put vast numbers of the officer corps at risk of being charged with treason. No one is going to voluntarily do that to themselves.

Meanwhile the United States is hem hawing about cutting off aid to the Egyptian army. After all we have a law that says we aren't supposed to give aid to a military that has overthrown a freely elected government. Although in the past we've never let something as inconvenient as laws stop us when it comes to international affairs. Just ask the ghost of Salvador Allende.

Perhaps in anticipation of some American soul searching Kuwait has promised Egypt $4 billion in aid. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are kicking in another $8 billion. That is roughly the same total as the U.S. aid package.

So it appears the most populous Arab nation in the world has two choices and one of them isn't very pretty. Civil wars never are.

The only sure bet is that President Mohammed Morsi has served his last day in office.

You can take that one to the bank.

Thankfully, here in the states it is the weekend and the only people who want to start a civil war are currently drinking heavily while they drag fish out of lakes somewhere.

So as they say in Tahrir Square, ma'a salama.

And by the way, watch out for flying chairs.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Nuge Says Trayvon Martin Was a Racist

The jury got it right and now non racist America rejoices that there is still common sense, honesty, and decency aware of identifying justice in this country.
Theodore Anthony Nugent writing about the acquittal of George Zimmerman

Well opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. Our man Theodore, also known as "The Nuge," "The Motor City Madman," and just plain ol' Ted certainly has his.

In the same article, written for the right wing online zine "Rare," the decrepit rock and roll guy declared the killing of Trayvon Martin, "...represents the purest form of self defense there is. It is exactly why people who believe in good over evil carry a gun, to protect themselves from the well documented violence that plagues our country, in order to save our lives from life threatening attacks. Period."

Of course if Brother Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his car and followed Trayvon Martin the shooting wouldn't have occurred. In fact in many corners, this one included, there is a sneaking suspicion that George Zimmerman lied to the police about the events immediately prior to the confrontation. That whole looking for a street sign story just doesn't make sense to many of us, especially when you consider there are only three streets in the gated community and Mr. Zimmerman patrolled them regularly.

The Nuge went on to write, "(the) race baiting industry saw an opportunity to further the racist careers of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Black Panthers, President Obama, and Attorney General Eric Holder et al who then swept down on the Florida community refusing to admit that the 17 year old dope smoking, racist, gangsta wannabe, Trayvon Martin was at all responsible for his bad decisions and standard modus operandi of always taking the violent route."

Okay, so there you have it. We've established Trayvon Martin was a racist, presumably because he called Geoerge Zimmerman a creepy ass cracker. In addition every black person who thinks the jury's decision was a travesty is also a racist because they disagree with the ultimate authority, Ted Nugent. Meanwhile, Trayvon Martin had no right to stand his ground and defend himself against an unidentified stranger who was stalking him on a dark evening. And although I'm not exactly sure when the president and Eric Holder "swept" down on Sanford, Florida, I hate to stop a guy when he is on a roll.

But now that we're talking about such stuff, Ted, what exactly is your personal line score when it comes to common sense, honesty, and decency?

After the re-election of Barak Obama, one of Nugent's many tweets said, "I cry tears of blood for the Last Best Place and the warriors who died for this tragedy."

Actually when the Nuge had a chance to be a warrior, he did what many of us back in the sixties did--he worked like hell to avoid it. How he got out of the compulsory military draft depends on which interview you read. In an early one he claimed that for thirty days prior to his appearance at the draft board he stopped bathing, or changing clothes. He also said during that foul month he urinated and defecated in those same pants he wasn't changing out of, all the while gorging himself with junk food. Later on he said the whole story was a joke and that he'd gotten a deferment after he snorted a line of meth right before showing up for the physical. Subsequently he decided that tale was another joke and said he'd received a student deferment because he was enrolled in Oakland (MI) Community College. I'm not familiar with the attendance policy at OCC, but apparently it is pretty lax. Numerous reports say he was touring 300 days a year with his band at that point in his career.

Whatever the case, Nugent did get out of serving in the armed forces and has been quoted as saying, "I didn't want to get my ass shot off in Vietnam." In other words being out in the bush with a weapon isn't nearly as much fun when the prey can and will return fire.

Then there is that, gotta love the young girls thing. Young as in real young. Nugent maintains he's never done drugs, or alcohol, (the draft board story not withstanding) but he did admit on VH1's Behind the Music he had an addiction to young females. In 1978, when he was 30, he hooked up with a 17 year old Hawaiian girl named Pele Massa. He was able to avoid some pointed questions by the authorities when he convinced her parents to sign their daughter over to him, making him her legal guardian. Spin Magazine rates this squalid affair as number 63 on its top 100 sleaziest moments in rock and roll history.

In addition the Motor City Madman has fathered five children out of wedlock and prior to his first marriage gave up two others to adoption. Hey, if they can't hold their own on the tour bus let 'em find another ride.    

There are other small infractions. Like hunting deer in California with out a deer tag, shooting an underage buck, and using illegal deer bait to lure the beast in for the kill. He pleaded no contest to it all, paid a fine and that was that.

Obviously it is a lot easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk.

Despite his personal litany of sins the Tedster has been hinting he might be available as a republican presidential candidate in 2016.

Mr. Nugent, I believe I speak for all leftists and other democrats when I say to you, please run. Honestly. I mean it.

Until then just keep up the rhetoric. It is people like you who make campaigning easier for the Hillary Clintons of the world.

Oh, and as a personal favor, stay the fuck away from my daughters, because quite frankly, in the words of the late Trayvon Martin, you are a creepy ass cracker.

sic vita est


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Juror B-37 Goes on TV and George Zimmerman Learns a Good Lesson

Sometimes even America has limits when it comes to profiteering. George Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday night. By Monday morning Martin Literary Management announced it had signed juror B-37 and her husband, an attorney, to a book deal. The company said it would be a study in how one person had to disregard her own feelings in order to follow the letter of the law. At about the same time it was announced B-37 would appear on the Anderson Cooper show that evening.

The reaction to the book deal must have been a tad discouraging. By late Monday Sharlene Martin released a statement saying her company no longer represented the juror and that B-37 had dropped the whole book idea. Yes, sometimes something as quaint as decency does win out.

At least until things cool off. You know, like until large numbers of people stop demonstrating from coast to coast because George Zimmerman was let off the hook. Once celebrities like Stevie Wonder stop boycotting Florida until the odious stand your ground law is repealed and yahoos like Ann Coulter and Ted Nugent stop wildly celebrating the jury's decision--once many recover from the disgusting news Brother Zimmerman can now reclaim his weapon from the police department property room. Odds are in a year or two we will be seeing one or more personal recollections and accounts of the trial in print. Someone is going to make a buck off this dreadful affair, there really is little doubt of that. It is just a matter of when and how many.

Meanwhile B-37 made her appearance on the Cooper show Monday. Not one to take any chances she made sure her face was obscured during the interview.

She said she thought defense attorney Don West's opening argument "knock knock" joke was "horrible." She also said that she felt Rachel Jeantel's testimony was, "not very credible." Jeantel was the woman on the phone with Trayvon Martin at the moment the fatal confrontation took place. Not very credible would be a bit of an understatement. In fact it appears the jury thought she had basically committed perjury, because what Ms. Jeantel told the court completely undermined the main pillar of the defense--that Trayvon Martin ambushed George Zimmerman and initiated the fist fight that led to his death. According to her, Martin said to Zimmerman, "What are you following me for?" Those words, if they had been believed, not only showed that Martin hadn't jumped out of some bushes as the defense theorized in one scenario, but that Zimmerman had lied to police when he said he'd stopped following the victim. According to Jeantel, Martin's last words before his phone went dead were, "get off, get off," which meant at the very least Zimmerman had laid his hands on the teenager.

In addition B-37 told Cooper that initially two of the six jurors thought Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter and a third was convinced he had committed second degree murder. She also said she believed Zimmerman was "well intentioned," but overzealous because of a recent string of break ins. She went so far as to say he, "shouldn't have gotten out of that car."

Yes, well there are a lot of people who think that right now, many of them are out on the streets as I type.

Although she'd never heard Trayvon Martin's voice she told the TV host she was sure it was Zimmerman yelling for help on the now infamous 911 tape. Her logic was that all the evidence indicated he was the one being beaten, therefore he was the one who would have been screaming for assistance.

After being pressured a little bit by Cooper she said that, "because he has learned a good lesson," she, "would be comfortable with having George on her neighborhood watch." She also maintained that "I think it's every one's right to carry a gun."

Finally, echoing that delusion so many white people cling to, seriously or not, she told Anderson Cooper than none of the jury thought race was a factor in the incident.

Right. That is why the defense called a woman to the stand for no other reason, but to testify that months before the shooting, her home had been burglarized by two black teenagers while she was there. Quick, name one connection that incident has with Trayvon Martin, besides the color of his skin.

Al Sharpton and others are howling for the Feds to get involved. They want Zimmerman brought up on charges that he violated Trayvon Martin's civil rights. Reports are that the Department of Justice is looking into it. Whether it actually happens is another thing altogether.

The awful truth is ol' George got away with one. Everything was in his favor from the moment he pulled the trigger and even before.

B-37 can say race didn't have anything to do with this nightmare, but in her heart of hearts she knows it isn't true.

We all do.

sic vita est


Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Trayvon Martin Trial and a Few Things About Florida

Well, we've found out a few things about Florida lately.

1. In that state any half baked idiot who wants to be a cop, but either can't get hired by a police department, or is too lazy to fill out an application, can buy a gun and walk around with it, pretending to be Dirty Harry Callahan.

2. It is perfectly acceptable to see a young black male on foot and assume he is a criminal.

3. It is also perfectly acceptable to break neighborhood watch procedures by getting out of your car to follow him while you are armed.

4. Additionally, it is okay to refer to people like him--you know other young black males--as "assholes" and to call him "a fucking punk" as you speak with 911, while at the same time disregarding the operator's advice to stop following him. On this one you can be assured huge numbers of white people will back your claim that race had nothing to do with your actions, or choice of words.

5. When in a confrontation with said young black male it is okay to not identify yourself in any way, or explain why you are, or were following him.

6. Most importantly, when you are engaged in a fist fight it is legal to pull your weapon and kill him.

On the other hand:

7. If you are a black kid on foot wearing a hoodie you are fair game for any coward who is so frightened of you and your race he feels it necessary to carry a gun and use it.

8. You have absolutely no right to defend yourself when being stalked by an unknown person in an unfamiliar neighborhood on a dark and rainy night.

9. If you're an immature 17 year old who has posted some things on facebook and twitter that are--well--immature, you've just given your murderer a valid excuse.

10. Smoking marijuana at any point in your life, even though it is legal in a couple of states, makes you a violent criminal who society is better off without. Think the film, "Reefer Madness," and you'll get the picture.

The innocent verdict came in last night. The media is still referring to this as The George Zimmerman Trial. It was never the George Zimmerman trial. From day one and I'm talking about the night he was shot, this has been The Trayvon Martin Trial. That is right. Make no mistake about it. Trayvon Martin was the one being prosecuted by not only the defense team, but by the right wing media and racist segments of the white public. Last night he was found guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and of being seen by the wrong guy. Other counts include being a black male and dressing in a manner that white folks deem threatening.

While none of that sounds terribly serious the other thing we learned about Florida is that down there, those sorts of charges can and will get you the death penalty.

Welcome to The New South and America.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Dispatches: The World's Most Dangerous Teenager, Big Goverment in Texas, Polls, and The Southern Avenger

Malala Yousafzai is one dangerous teenager. Just ask the Taliban. They thought she was such a threat they put out a hit on her. On October 9th of last year they got to her, severely wounding her in the head. At the time she had been writing a blog for the BBC advocating for the rights of girls to receive an education--one of the myriad of things the Taliban considers un-Islamic. Ms Yousafzai was flown to Britain in order to get specialized medical treatment and in an instant became the face of reason and tolerance--a couple of other things the Taliban aren't too keen on.

The backlash even in Pakistan was immediate and so overwhelming that al-Qaida felt compelled to issue a statement justifying the shooting. They said she was part of an agenda perpetrated by the BBC. The agenda contained the normal hyper bullshit--you know--wars on jihad, Islamic Sharia, yada, yada, yada. The Taliban claimed they didn't shoot her because she was in favor of girls getting an education, but because she was a western spy who opposed the mujahideen and their war. In the statement they failed to mention that since 2009 they had destroyed an estimated 800 schools in north west Pakistan.

Today, on her 16th birthday, Malala Yousafzai addressed the U.N. Youth Assembly, a gathering of young people from over 100 countries. She told the crowd that, "The extremists were and are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them." She also supported free and compulsory education for every child in the world. In addition she said the Taliban was misusing the name of Islam for their own benefit. She received a standing ovation and proved that sometimes the good guys and in this case, good girls do win.

Of course it is a never ending struggle and a dangerous one. The Taliban has issued a statement saying they will kill her if and when they get the chance.

Meanwhile in Texas another group of religious conservatives are set to pass a restrictive abortion bill. This would be the same one that Wendy Davis was able to delay with her herculean filibuster a month or so ago. No such luck this time however. In it's relentless campaign to insert big government into the personal lives and health decisions of women the republican controlled Texas state senate will pass the measure this afternoon. The new law will ban almost all abortions after 20 weeks and limit a woman's ability to induce an abortion with a pill. It will put such draconian new requirements on women's clinics which provide abortion services that Planned Parenthood says it will shut down all but six Texas facilities.

A number of groups have already promised to take the new law into the court system.

Finally NBC is reporting a new Quinnipac poll shows that 49% of republicans disapprove of the way republicans in congress are performing. An identical percentage of republicans believe GOP members of congress are not doing enough to work with President Obama. 32% of democrats don't like the way their party members are handling the national business, while 22% don't believe Obama is doing enough to reach out to the GOP on legislation.

The poll also reveals that when it comes to 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton is the woman to beat. She leads Chris Christie by six points and Rand Paul by 12. Joe Biden on the other hand trails Christie by 21 points, but is tied with Paul.

The same NBC report pointed out it was discovered that Paul's social media director, Jack Hunter was formerly a radio star who was pro secessionist and what they are terming as a neo confederate activist.

I'm not sure what a neo confederate activist is. However, when you make a living on the radio with the moniker, Southern Avenger, talk about how great it was for John Wilkes Booth to kill Abraham Lincoln, preach white racial pride, and oppose all Hispanic immigration it can't be a good thing. Brother Hunter was doing every bit of that shit right up until about six years ago, while making public appearances wearing a mask with the confederate battle flag on the front of it.

Good luck with those minority voters Senator.

And so there we have it. A victory over stupidity, hatred, and intolerance. A loss to those same forces in Texas. Polls, polls, and more polls and last, but certainly not least, a dude on the staff of a United States Senator who thinks the south should secede from the union again.

Who says America isn't great?


Thursday, July 11, 2013

George Zimmerman in Florida and James Holmes in Colorado

It all began on February 26, 2012. That was the night Trayvon Martin wandered out into the darkness and rain to buy some ice tea and skittles. It was also the night George Zimmerman decided to save the world from young black males who wear hoodies.

Both the prosecution and defense have rested their cases now and closing arguments will be made to the jury tomorrow.

The witnesses for the defense were an odd and mercenary lot. The most damaging was probably forensic pathologist Vincent DiMaio who testified the gun shot evidence supported Zimmerman's version of what happened that night. Of course DiMaio was hired by the defense and while Don West and Mark O'Mara might be many things they aren't stupid. They aren't going to pay a guy to say the evidence makes their client look like a liar.

Former police officer Dennis Root, who volunteered to work for the defense, testified about memory holes that occur right after a high stress event. His recommendation to police everywhere is to wait at least 72 hours before questioning someone about such an event in order to let that person's recollection recover entirely from the aforementioned holes. He also claimed to have interviewed Zimmerman's gym trainer and was of the opinion that the defendant would, "likely find himself lacking" in fighting skills compared to Trayvon Martin. He did not say where his knowledge of young Mr. Martin's superior level of fighting skills came from.

Olivia Bertalan, a resident of the gated community, told the jury about how she'd been robbed while at home by two teenagers six month prior to the shooting. She also testified that Zimmerman was quite concerned for her safety and volunteered to get her a lock for her sliding glass door.

John Donnelly, who may, or may not have violated Florida law by being in the gallery days before he was called to the stand, said he thought the voice on the 911 tape calling for help was George Zimmerman's. Donnelly had previously donated to the Zimmerman defense fund and in fact bought him the suit he has been wearing in the court room.

Robert Zimmerman, George's father, was "absolutely sure" it was his son calling for help. Of course Martin's mother was equally sure it was her son yelling on the tape. The only thing the rest of us is certain about is that the screaming stopped immediately after the gun shot.

Today, Judge Debra Nelson ruled the jury could consider a lesser charge of manslaughter. She said she'd take under consideration the prosecution's motion of allowing the jury to also have the option of murder in the third degree with child abuse as the felony element. Martin was, at the time of his death, a minor. The defense fought against both motions. Don West found the mention of child abuse, "outrageous."

There is a reason the defense doesn't want those lesser charges available to the six woman jury. Murder two was a reach even before the trial began. Now, after everyone in the world has disagreed on who was actually yelling for help and all manner of people have claimed this, that, or the other, depending on who called them to the stand, reasonable doubt has probably been established. However, according to Florida law manslaughter has occurred, "when a homicide does not meet the legal definition of a murder. It does not require evidence of a defendant's premeditation, or depraved mind." Voluntary manslaughter happens when "a homicide is intentionally committed while in the midst of a provocation."

Yes, that is a much easier sell to the jury, especially one, while not convinced Zimmerman set out to shoot Trayvon Martin, has no doubt he stepped way over the line in his cop wannabe act.

While the state and nation waits on the verdict authorities in Florida are running public service spots on TV urging people not to go crazy when they hear what the outcome of the trial is.

Meanwhile, in Colorado lawyers for James Holmes, the man accused of opening fire with semi automatic weapons inside a crowded theater, admitted he did it.

Oh, you think?

In a statement they claimed Holmes suffered from "severe mental illness" and committed the act while, "in the throes of a psychotic episode." The defense team is arguing that Holmes has shown good behavior in past court appearances and that he shouldn't be restrained during his trial and "kept hitched to the floor like an animal."

I don't know. If I am a defense attorney trying to get someone off the hook by claiming he is insane I might want my guy trussed up in a straight jacket that even Houdini couldn't get out of.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is so utterly and uncontrollably demented we must keep him heavily bound. God only knows what horrors he'd commit if he is turned loose in this room.  

Holmes' trial is set for February of 2014.

The wheels of justice grind slowly sometimes. And sometimes they don't grind at all.
We'll all see for ourselves soon enough.

sic vita est


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rick Perry Says So Long--For Now

Deep in the heart of Texas, Rick Perry has decided to give up the ghost after his current term as governor ends in 2014. The news is sure to set off a scramble among republicans who will look to fill a seat that is becoming increasingly influential in national republican politics, not to mention presidential elections.

The reality is Texas has 38 electoral votes, the second most in the nation. The republicans must have them in order to remain even remotely competitive in presidential races. When you consider the death grip democrats have on California's 55 votes and that Florida's 29 can only be counted on if GOP operatives down there can successfully commit a series of felonies, it becomes crystal clear why Texas must remain firmly in the red column. Indeed, when a republican Texas governor speaks now days, the national GOP will listen.

USA Today is reporting that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is mulling over a run, as is former Perry appointee Tom Pauken. The list will begin to grow in earnest now that Perry is officially on his way out. The job is simply too ripe of a plum not to attract an entire swarm of wasps.

The rising democratic star, Ft. Worth state senator, Wendy Davis says she will take a "second look" at the race and her options. Davis became an instant NAME when she pulled off a prolonged, "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" style filibuster a couple of weeks ago. With the help of a raucous gallery her 11 hour marathon, unbroken by bathroom breaks, or even the simple act of leaning against her desk, derailed a draconian anti choice bill.

Ms. Davis, however has two problems. One is that bill will get passed some time in the near future despite her heroics. Second, Texas hasn't elected a democrat to a state wide office since 1994. That would be 19 years and counting. Yes, they may love her in what ever part of Ft. Worth she represents, but she is going to find it rough sailing in places like Odessa, Midland, Lubbock, and Amarillo.

Back to Brother Perry though. What does the future hold for him? Well there is always The Palin Option. Fox News lets all these hacks come on board as analysts at one point or another. The money is good and your face is still on TV, both of which warms the heart and satisfies the ego of any professional politician. Indeed, dust off the old resume' Governor and this time remember your lines for God's sake.

On Fox Sunday, in a moment of what can only be interpreted as confusion, comedy, or astonishing dementia, Perry went so far as to say a second run at the presidency was, "an option." He added that, "Any future considerations will be announced in due time and I will arrive at that decision appropriately." It would be easy to write that statement off as a burst of Saturday Night Live sarcasm, but USA Today reports Perry has rehired Mark Miner, one of his advisers during the presidential primary campaign.

If he is seriously considering such a move the man has obviously become unhinged. Not even Michelle Bachmann is that far off her nut.

His 2012 republican candidacy was so ill received he was one of the first of that vast array of dullards and vile quacks to drop out. In fact his showing was such a supreme disaster his bus didn't even make it to the South Carolina state line.

A recent poll of Texas republicans shows that even they don't like him for the job. He comes in fourth behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. His support was in the area of 10% and these are the same people who have put him into office one time as Lt. Governor and three times as Governor.

Let's face it, Rick, it is time to go. Trust me, spend the next few years praying someone can knock off Hillary in the 2016 election and then lobby for a cushy ambassadorship to someplace like Fiji. Yes, then you can kick back on the beach, down a few mojitos without anyone noticing, and enjoy life. That's the ticket, lad. Who says retirement can't be fun?

So there we have it. We're already two days into the week and nine days into the month. Time certainly flies when you're having fun.

sic vita est


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Dispatches: Death on the Nile, Bad Craziness in Nigeria and Brazil, and Molotov Cocktails in Seattle

On Friday the Egyptian body count hit 36 in a single day. The way things are going that number might come to be considered minor in the very near future.

Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Badie was quoted by NBC as saying, "God is great. He can crush every traitor and every tyrant." Mr. Badie needs for the Lord to hurry up with that bit of work, because he is currently on the lam from the people in charge of the country.

NBC is also reporting that a new radical group is apparently being put together in the Sinai region. It calls itself, Ansar al-Sharia in Egypt. In an online forum for Islamic militants it announced it would begin to gather weapons and train members for combat. The group blamed secularists, Coptic Christians, state security forces, and army commanders for the whole situation, saying this dark cabal wanted to turn Egypt into a "crusader, secular freak." It promised to, "deter the attackers, preserve the religion, and empower the sharia of the Lord."

Arizona republican Senator John McCain, who has a unique view of what the American middle east policy should be, is urging the United States to cut off military aid to the Egyptian army. Just a few weeks ago he argued that the U.S. government should provide arms to the rebel side in the Syrian civil war. He bases his recent logic on an American law that states we will not provide aid to a military that has overthrown a freely elected government. He also acknowledges his take on the situation might be a tad problematic. He was quoted as saying, "I'm aware that by suspending aid to the Egyptian military, which is the only stable institution in Egypt, we are risking further problems in the Sinai and other areas of cooperation with the Egyptian military."

What we have here is an absolute conundrum. America was all rah rah for free elections a year ago. Then the Egyptians went out and elected a guy who we didn't really trust and who almost immediately began moving the country toward a strict theocracy. Unfortunately for him the local economy was falling apart and he found out a harsh truth--you can screw with the government, but you can't fuck with the average person's dinner without consequences.

After mass demonstrations the army, which is largely financed by us, overthrows the dude because of what he was, or was not doing. In their words, it was not a coup, they were just carrying out the will of the people by creating a new and improved democracy, one, coincidentally, more suitable to our tastes also. However, in doing so they quite probably have pushed the old regime's supporters straight into the arms of even more radical Islamic organizations. So, what we've managed to do is put ourselves into the position of having to ignore that law McCain cites. Let's face it, if the Morsi people win this one they are going to unload not only on the military, but vast numbers of those happy souls who were celebrating in Tahrir Square the other night. Indeed, if you thought Mohammed Morsi was a religious tyrant before, just wait to see what happens if he gets back in office now. Picture an Iran, only one who is in complete control of the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, speaking of Islamic radicals, a group of them in Nigeria attacked a boarding school the other night. They shot some of the students to death and burned the others alive. NBC reports the death toll is at 29. The group responsible is said to be called Boko Haram which is supposed to translate to, "Western Education is Sacrilege," although that seems a stretch for some reason. According to the story dozens of schools in north eastern Nigeria have been burned down in the last year and since 2010 at least 1,600 civilians have been killed in fighting.

In Brazil, the country which will host the World Cup next year, a soccer referee and amateur player got into an argument during a game on June 30th. The referee, in a reversal of the norm, pulled a knife and stabbed the player to death. Not to be outdone, family and friends of the player rushed the pitch, lynched the ref, quartered his body, decapitated him, and left his head on a stake at the field. Authorities are investigating.

Finally, police in Seattle, WA arrested Justin Miles Jasper, aged 21. They found him in possession of anti government propaganda, written material relating to the Syrian civil war and political unrest in--yes--Brazil. He also had on hand a stolen rifle with a scope, a shotgun, three knives, a machete, six Molotov cocktails, and directions to three Seattle area college campuses. Bail was set at $2 million.

And there we have it, sports fans. Another week is in the books for good or ill.

As always stay low and keep moving. You never know about that person across the street.

Mr. Sulu, you have the con.


Friday, July 5, 2013

The Fourth of July a Day Later

Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooh, they're red white and blue
John Fogerty

I'm not a big 4th of July guy. When I was growing up I liked the fireworks part of it. Especially during those heady days when parents would allow their children to handle small sticks of live explosives and you could actually blow shit up. Beyond that the rest of it was pretty well lost on me. You know the parades, the guys dressed up in Uncle Sam costumes; all the flag waving and band playing stuff. No, I was never interested in any of that during my youth.

For a long time now I have been struck by the historical importance of the date. It took some real courage to vote for a resolution that was in part brilliant and in total an act of high treason against a vast empire. Indeed, once their names were on the document the members of the continental congress had two options. It was either win the revolution, or take it on the lam to parts unknown. And, although no one really understood it at the time, the moment the declaration was approved the history of the world over the next two hundred plus years changed course radically.

Part of my current problem with the 4th is that I have this terrible aversion to huge crowds gathering in self congratulatory orgies and engaging in mass shows of nationalist hysteria under the guise of patriotism. Throngs of people, almost all of them white, chanting, USA--USA--USA has the feel of fascism run amok. Every time I hear it I have an incredible urge to look around for Leni Riefenstahl and her camera crews. Yes, I can't help but suspect she is out there, somewhere, filming a remake of "Triumph of the Will."

I also have a tough time dealing with people who keep insisting to me that the United States of America is better than every other country in the world at everything when it is clearly not true.

In fact, looking at some readily available stats, the few areas we lead, or come close to the top at, are a bit dubious at best. Like we rank second in the world in out of pocket medical expenses while per capita we're first in total health care costs. We are second in carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption. We rank sixth globally in assaults, third in automobile accident deaths and seventh in the percentage of divorces.

On the other hand we are 14th when it comes to the graduation rate from four year colleges, 18th in literacy, 29th in science test scores, and we're 49th in life expectancy from the moment of birth. When it comes to all those freedoms we supposedly cherish it seems we are also lacking. We are 57th when gauging an open and free electoral process. When asked if there should be a complete separation between church and state we rank 25th and we're 49th in civil liberties. Of the nations who are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (most of Europe and a few others like Australia, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand) we're third in the overall rate of poverty and fourth in child poverty.

We own the most guns and the good news is while we're not first in per capita gun deaths, the bad news is that everyone ahead of us is located in Central and South America, or Africa. As of today Slate and @Gun Deaths reports that at least 5,758 Americans have been shot to death since the Newtown, CT murders.

It is a fine and commendable thing to love your country, but don't gloss over what is wrong and pretend it isn't there. While you are running around with your star spangled sun glasses on keep in mind there is a lot to fix in this nation. Luckily, we have it within our means to make the repairs. Hopefully, at some point, we will find the determination to do it.

Now--pass the mustard. My hot dog is getting cold.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Big Trouble in Egypt: Part II

We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist, or ignoramus.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the sake of the security and stability of this homeland.
Mohammed Morsi, President of Egypt.

Odds are before this is all over a lot of people will be sacrificing their blood. That is what happens when you teeter on the brink of a civil war.

Right now in Egypt the situation is, as they say, fluid.

A live NBC feed from Tahrir Square in Cairo shows tens of thousands of flag waving Egyptians, occasional fireworks and street fires and the evening sky spiked with green hand held laser beams. Chants and widespread cheering can be heard as well as what could be either more fireworks, or gunfire.

An unnamed Morsi advisor has been quoted as saying a military coup is underway, that tanks are on the move outside the city and communications with the president have been cut off. There are also reports that some of the leadership of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested.

NBC is also saying that a few hour before the deadline set by al-Sisi a couple of days ago, a number of civilian political leaders were called in to confer with a group of senior military officers. Can you say interim government? Earlier the opposition Dustour Party had appealed to the army to protect the citizenry, "after Morsi lost his mind and incited bloodshed of Egyptians."

Yes, it appears the first democratically elected president in the 5,000 plus year history of Egypt is a dead duck.

This won't end well for many. Morsi supporters were in the streets also the other day. In fact estimates put their number at 100,000. Chances are more than a few of them aren't going to take a coup sitting down. Violence looms over the entire country like the biblical angel of death.

Morsi has claimed the demonstrations and opposition are being driven by supporters of the ousted Hosni Mubarak. He maintains these shadowy conspirators have done everything they could to sabotage his regime. He might even of had a point, however he didn't help himself when he began to consolidate presidential power in a way that looked suspiciously like Mubarak himself. As one opposition leader said, "We see Mubarak's face in Morsi."

The truth is during the single year of his leadership what the average Egyptian saw was an economy coming unglued, wide spread power outages, and hard line Islamists beginning to move a secular Egypt toward a theocracy. Violence against the Coptic Christian minority was on the rise and it appeared Morsi was turning a blind eye, not only to their situation, but to the arrest and detention of just about anyone who opposed him. When Morsi supporters began to say things like the opposition is, "waging a war against Islam," fears that the nation was on the verge of being taken over by crazed fundamentalists were confirmed.

So this particular experiment in democracy didn't do so hot. And make no mistake, that is exactly what it was. The man was voted into office by a clear majority only a year ago in an election that was far less corrupt than the last one down in Florida. Unfortunately he apparently didn't have a clue when it came to actually running a modern nation and was determined to make sure he and his supporters were going to be in power no matter what. Indeed, all that democracy stuff is fine and good until it limits what you can do and how long you can stay.

So Morsi is probably gone by now. We don't know if he had to sacrifice his blood, or not. However, he did sacrifice his office and the political clout of the Muslim Brotherhood. You can bet if the military is running things that entire organization will collectively become persona non grata in a hurry. Whether they arm themselves and go all tamarod is still very much in question, but don't be surprised if we start reading about an epidemic of IED explosions in popular locales soon.

Such is the nature of modern revolutions and civil wars. In the twenty first century everyone is a combatant and if you aren't with me, you're a legitimate target and fair game.

Just ask them in Syria.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Big Trouble in Egypt and Threats From Sarah

If the demands of the people are not realized within the defined period it will be incumbent to announce a road map for the future.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

After listening to the general speak those words and others on a national TV broadcast one can reasonably assume that Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi has just received an offer he can't refuse.

It was a rough Sunday for many in Cairo and beyond. NBC reports that massive anti Morsi demonstrations turned deadly and at least 16 were killed and an estimated 700 injured. Before the night was over the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood became a smoking shell after crowds heaved Molotov cocktails and ran off with everything from furniture and files to air conditioning units.

The general described the entire scene as an "unprecedented expression of the people's will." He explained to Mr. Morsi that he'd better meet with the opposition leadership in the next 48 hours, or the military would resolve the crisis and oversee the "road map's" implementation.

It really doesn't get much clearer than that. Especially when reports are that Morsi was not notified in advance of the speech.

NBC quotes Yasser Hamza, a leader of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, as saying, "For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy." You can almost hear the quiver in the guy's voice as he speaks. Images of Baghdad Bob immediately come to mind.

The opposition leadership gave Morsi until 5pm Tuesday local time to resign. If he doesn't they say they will call for nationwide strikes.

Obviously Morsi doesn't give a rat's ass about what the opposition thinks, however if he has truly lost the military's support he might want to consider hopping the next flight out of Cairo International Airport. A hundred thousand or so pissed off people in the streets is one thing, but a column of tanks headed right at you is another entirely.

Whatever happens, Egypt seems headed for chaos. Even if Morsi goes there are plenty of people backing him who are going to be just as angry and capable of violence as the current opposition is. And in truth you never know if there could be certain elements within the army and air force that will side with him also.

Indeed, simple chaos might be the least of the myriad of bad options when you consider the possibility that all of Egypt could be tossed into the black hole of a full fledged civil war.

Morsi has been given 48 hours, but the reality is his country is in for an extended period of pain, suffering, and violence.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S. Sarah Palin, in her never ending campaign to remain relevant and on camera, has threatened to pull out of the GOP and begin her own party.

Why anyone is still paying attention to her is beyond comprehension, but apparently someone does. It could well be as comedian Russell Brand once said, "People want to fuck her. That is why they tolerate the other stuff." Right now the other stuff is that Ms. Palin is quite upset with the immigration reform bill and republicans who might support it. She claims that if the GOP continues to, "abandon the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan" she will, in concert with radio talk show host, Mark Levin, form the Freedom Party. She believes the new party will attract those with a, "libertarian streak that much of us have."

There you have it, The republican party is rancid with closet liberals who might think acts of governing are actually a good thing. The pure of thought and breeding should have nothing to do with them.

Obviously Levin would be the brains of this new outfit. He graduated summa cum laude from Temple at age nineteen with a Phi Beta Kappa key. He also served as chief of staff for Attorney General Ed Meese during the Reagan era and as an advisor to several of old Dutch's cabinet members.

Ms. Palin on the other hand went to four different schools before graduating from the University of Idaho. Her practical political experience includes being a two term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska and a governor who resigned after only three years. Her vice presidential run with John McCain has become a legend. Unfortunately for both her and McCain the legend is named Barak H. Obama.

Since then her desperate attempts at keeping her head above the dark waters of oblivion have ranged from antics best reserved for Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, to the outright pitiful.

Of course if Ms. Palin acts on her threat and does siphon off a large block of the most rigidly right wing faithful from the republican standard, I know of at least one person who will be exceedingly happy, not to mention grateful. Her name would be Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So--we are off into another week. There is nothing quite like lethal rioting and the idiocy of a run amok ego to kick it off.

Yes, it appears we need all hands on deck. The seas and weather look to be heavy over the next six days.

And please, don't forget your life jackets. As always, safety comes first.

miserere nobis