Saturday, September 21, 2013

Safer in Afghanistan, The NRA Moment of the Week, and Ted Cruz at the Poker Table

Earlier today NBC reported three NATO troops were killed and one was wounded in Afghanistan, proving once again, living and working in a war zone is far safer than walking around in the United States of America.

On Monday, Aaron Alexis, who had been as crazy as a bed bug on acid for years, stepped into the Washington Navy Yard. By the time police killed him, he had shot to death 12 and another 14 were either injured or wounded. Despite a history of mental health issues and at least two previous incidents of gun violence where police had to respond, he had survived a background check by defense department contractor, USIS. That would be the same meticulous outfit who gave the okay to the NSA to hire Edward Snowden. Brother Snowden is currently a resident of Moscow, Russia and wanted by American authorities for making all manner of top secret documents available to the entire world.

Then Thursday, on Chicago's south side, someone opened up with a 7.62 mm semi automatic assault style weapon, which was fed by a high capacity ammunition clip. When the smoke cleared 13, including a three year old were wounded. The shooting occurred in the Back of the Yards neighborhood at a park where a crowd had gathered to watch an evening basketball game. Chicago police superintendent, Garry McCarthy was quoted as saying the type of gun used in the attack, "belongs on battlefields, not on a street corner, or park in Back of the Yards." Given the current casualty rates both in Afghanistan and on the streets of Chicago one would have to agree. To paraphrase an old movie line, "Taliban? We don' need no stinkin' Taliban."

On Wednesday, in what can only be described as, The NRA Moment of the Week, two guys named, Robert Taylor and James Pullum shot and killed each other in a car wash parking lot. They were in a heated dispute because one had been following the other too closely in traffic. Each of these responsible gun owners were licensed by the state of Michigan to carry concealed weapons. Back in 2006, Taylor had his suspended for three years because he was convicted of driving under the influence while he was armed. He reapplied for a new permit in 2010 and was promptly granted one.

Well of course he was. After all, we're not a bunch of communists here. This is the United, by God, States of America. If you don't own a gun, get one. You might as well. Everyone else is packing and nobody, absolutely nobody, is going to stop you from buying it.

Finally, in Washington the house passed a measure that gives the federal government a budget for the next fiscal year, but only if the Affordable Care Act is defunded. The legislation now moves to the senate, where the most vocal proponent of this act of extortion, the mad Canadian, Ted Cruz, sits waiting for its arrival. Unfortunately for tea party enthusiasts everywhere, Mr. Cruz has already admitted he doesn't have the votes to get the bill passed as is.

Some republicans in the center, most notably Peter King of New York are calling Cruz things like a fraud for whipping the conservative hoi polloi up into a frenzy over the bill which stands absolutely no chance making it out of the senate in it's current form. Speaking wishfully, King was quoted as saying, "He'll (Cruz) no longer have any influence in the republican party."

That seems a tad over the top. The fact is Cruz, a man of condescending smarmy smiles, who exudes supreme arrogance, believes he can blame a government shutdown entirely on Barak Obama and everyone in the nation will buy it.

It is a big gamble and he is going all in, not with his money, but the salaries of every man and woman in the military, not to mention hundreds of thousands of other federal employees. There is, at this time, no indication of how the general public--you know people other than the clods who show up at Cruz's town hall meetings--will react. There is a hint though.

The only previous time the senator from Alberta really fucked up was during his college career at Princeton. As a freshman he proved himself such a sucker at the poker table he had to borrow money from a relative to pay off his debts.

Being sure you're right can take you far, but when you become convinced everyone else is stupid it is guaranteed you'll eventually go careening off a cliff. As the man said, "When you bluff, you must be prepared for your bluff to be called."

And there we have it. Another week is in the books and we're all still here, at least at the moment.

As always, stay low and keep moving. There is no such thing as paranoia any more.

sic vita est


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