Monday, September 29, 2014

Discomfort in North Korea: The Missing Kim and the Downside of the Job

Saying something strange is going on in North Korea is always an understatement. The leadership of the upper half of the peninsula has, since 1948, appeared to be on the most extended acid trip in the history of the world. How else would you describe a system of government which is a spectacular oxymoron--a Stalinist monarchy.

At this moment, no matter what the North Korean "press" says, there appears something is amiss north of the DMZ. The third Kim to run the place since its founding has not shown up in public for three weeks. Questions really started to fly last Thursday when Kim Jong un missed a parliament session for the first time since he took over. On the same day North Korean TV aired a documentary showing footage of an overweight and limping Kim touring a tile plant in August. According to an AP report the narrator told rapt viewers, "Our Marshal continues to light the path for the people like a flame despite his discomfort."

The revelation has thrown Pyongyang watchers into a frenzy. Rumors are sailing through the air like Frisbees on a college oval in the spring. They range from the possible--things like gout, high blood pressure, and diabetes--to the utterly bizarre--a massive and prolonged addiction to cheese, or an out of control taste for fried chicken and beer.

Given the limp the smart money should be on gout, or at least some sort of foot infection made worse by Type II diabetes. Let's face it, Kim is a real pudge and therefore a prime candidate for both diseases. And honestly, if you were a North Korean doctor would you have the guts to tell a guy who reportedly fed his uncle to a pack of savage dogs, he can't eat and drink anything he wants?

Of course there is another possibility, but no one is willing to go there yet. That is the army, which Kim depends on for his power, decided he needed to go. A couple of years ago he removed Ri Yong ho from the command of it and according to the AP,  at least one South Korean newspaper reported Ri didn't go quietly into that good night. In fact the unverified account says Ri was killed during a gun battle when troops loyal to him and not Kim opened fire on the people who came to arrest him. Whatever the case might be, the former commander hasn't been seen anywhere since 2012.

Who knows? Maybe some people held a grudge, or had other motives and were waiting for just the right moment to drop the hammer. If they did, they'd have to do it quietly because for 66 years the North Koreans have had it drilled into them night and day the Kim dynasty could do no wrong and all of them were and are tantamount to holy. No one with a functioning brain would show up on North Korean television and out of the blue, say something like, this latest version of Kim was a corrupt and decadent fool, not to mention such a vile traitor to the people he had to be removed from power. Only George Orwell's totalitarian state could make a paradigm shift like that and he was writing fiction.

Indeed, you have to ease your way into it. Discomfort becomes something more serious, then comes the great tragedy of his passing away, and finally a flower festooned funeral for the ages. After all, Hitler claimed Rommel died of war wounds and gave him a hero's burial. The truth was the Field Marshal had been implicated in the plot to kill Der Fuehrer and had to commit suicide in order to protect his family from the Gestapo.

Nearly everyone believes, Kim Jong un's old man was desperately ill for a couple of years before his shade drifted off to sit on the edge of Mt. Paektu's crater. Right up until his death there was absolutely no indication from the North Korean propaganda machine he had ever run even a slight fever.

That is why the word "discomfort" becomes significant when it comes from a media which makes Herr Goebbels' propaganda machine seem downright fair and balanced.

The fat boy is probably in his bed tonight, his big toe aching like someone has slammed it with a heavy hammer. Even if that is the case, when you are Caesar, you can never sleep easily, or long and your dreams are always filled with visions of those you trust wielding knives and giving you, the look.

It is, in the final analysis, the down side of the job.


sic vita est


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Muslims Duck and Cover in OKC: Another American Lunatic

At times it is easy to think that what we call civilization is going CTD, which in some cynical circles is short for Circling The Drain.

By all accounts Alton Nolen is a bad guy. He's been convicted of felonies three different times in the last eight years. He was popped for possession of crack, possession of marijuana, and in January 2011 he hit the trifecta when he was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, escape from detention, and obstructing an officer. Graham Lee Brewer writes in today's The Oklahoman, during that last adventure Nolen led the police on a 12 hour chase which involved four different departments and two helicopters.

Brewer also tells us, Nolen was allowed to serve all three convictions concurrently so he walked out of a lockup in March of 2013 on probation. At some point he went to work at Vaughan Foods in Moore, OK, which is a suburb just south of Oklahoma City. Yesterday, for reasons which have not yet been reported, he was fired.

When he got the news, Alton Nolen went off his nut. Yes, we've all seen that before haven't we. Brother Nolen left the human resources office, drove over to the main building of the food processing company, and pulled out a very large knife, one he reportedly used to chop the heads of lettuce with.

The first person he ran into was Colleen Hufford, who Phillip O'Connor of The Oklahoman reports was a 54 year old grandmother. Nolen attacked her with the knife and before he was done, he decapitated her.

He then confronted Traci Johnson and began to slash at her. Luckily for Ms. Johnson, Mark Vaughan the chief operating officer of the company, who also happens to be a reserve Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy, showed up on the scene. He had been called by the HR people and told Nolen was out of his head. Vaughan was armed with a rifle and charged head long into the situation. He dropped the assailant with a couple of shots, wounding him, thereby short circuiting the rampage.

So, what separates this senseless moment of work place brutality from say the guy at the UPS plant in Alabama who shot and killed two supervisors a couple of days ago? I mean, let's face it, this deadly nonsense happens all the time in the United States, so we should be getting pretty used to it by now. Besides, given the sordid history of these acts, the body count, while utterly tragic, was low.

Well the difference would be, Alton Nolen professes to be a Muslim. His facebook page has pictures of armed Islamic fighters, our old pal, Osama bin Laden, and a photo of a beheading. In addition it is reported that lately he had been trying to convert fellow employees to Islam.

After finding all this out the Moore cops called in the FBI, the local media went absolutely ape shit, and details of the attack, not to mention the accused's reported faith, reached the national level.

A little over a week ago state representative John Bennett, R-Sallisaw warned Oklahomans to beware of people who called themselves Muslim Americans. After Muslims and the NAACP reacted angrily to his facebook post, he held a town hall meeting and told his constituents, "Islam is a cancer on the country which needs to be cut out."

Given what has gone down the past couple of weeks the most terrified people in OKC right now are--you guessed it--Muslims. They are living in a burg which yesterday was named by the National Bible Association as, "The National Bible City for 2014." The Oklahoman's Carla Hinton writes, the head of the outfit, Richard Glickstein said Oklahoma City was chosen because, according to their statistics, it is one of the most Christian cities per capita in the nation.

As we've just witnessed it is also a metro where corporate chief operating officers carry weapons--not something you see in a lot of other cosmopolitan settings. Indeed, if the head of a food processing plant is packing a piece, one can only imagine how many other bible loving Christians around here are. It goes without saying the local Muslim community is certainly pondering those numbers at this moment.

Imam, Imad Euchassi was quick to say he didn't have any recollection of Nolen at his mosque, although others who worship there did and described him as exhibiting "odd behavior." According to Hinton once again, Saad Mohammad, the Islamic Society of Oklahoma director of news and information said he remembered yelling at Nolen because he put his copy of the Quran on the floor. Both he and Euchassi insisted to Hinton, Islam is a religion of peace. Imam Arif Abdullah was quoted as saying, "For my particular mosque, we don't tolerate any of that stuff. It was inhuman. It was savagery."

I will take them at their word. Many will not. That is why extra security is being requested by the mosques located in the metropolitan area this weekend.

Unfortunately, at the end of Hinton's story,  Euchassi didn't help his faith's cause when he sounded a little whiny and accusatory. He went back to the 1986 Edmond, OK post office atrocity committed by Patrick Sherrill during which 14 people were killed. When he referenced that original instance of someone going postal, he complained that then and after other acts of madness since, the press and public have not made a connection between the crimes and the perpetrator's faith, or have they condemned it.

While what he said was true, just about anyone like Bennett will now be able to argue, because Sherrill, not to mention assholes like James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and even Timmy, fucking, McVeigh didn't put together a public shrine to their religion, like Nolen did, his motive was somehow different from theirs. Let's face it, some demented souls are hallucinating right now. In short order they will tell us, Mr. Nolen has an incredibly secret connection to ISIS--that he is a vicious mole planted here by the nefarious leadership of that gang of psychos. You can almost hear the keyboards of conspiracy theorists clicking away in a frenzy as these words are being written.

The truth is Alton Nolen is a known felon and his connection to Islam is tenuous at best. He even has a tat spelling out the name of , "Jesus Christ" across his chest.

He is, in the end, just the latest violent fuck up in a country which produces them by the bushel.

Islam didn't cause the murder of Colleen Hufford--another American lunatic did. We've seen them before and the terrible reality is we'll see them again.

And given that awful truth, I suggest we now move to the bar. As always, the first round is on me.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Largest Prison Riot in the History of Humankind

By now it is obvious ISIS, ISIL, or Islamic State isn't conducting a revolution, or war. What we are witnessing is a bunch of hard core violent offenders running amok in what amounts to the largest prison riot in the history of humankind.

How else can you explain a parade of atrocities so appalling that nearly every person in the world who considers themselves a human being wants this roiling mass of psychotics wiped off the face of the planet. When it comes to crimes against humanity, they have all the sickening  and lethal potential of Heinrich Himmler's SS. Indeed, when you leave heads on the tops of walls and crucified bodies hanging on street corners, you immediately sink to the level of the depraved monsters who handed civilization places like Auschwitz.

According to various media outlets, on September 19th some of the IS good ol' boys barged into the home of Samira Salih al-Nuaimi. They were, as always, pissed off. This time it was because Ms. al-Nuaimi was not only a woman, but she had posted on her facebook page that the IS destruction of Shi'ite mosques and shrines in Mosul was, among other things, barbaric.

She was accused of apostasy, because--well--it sounds a little more mature than charging her with, She Said Bad Things About Us. They dragged her into a "sharia court," then in short order convicted her. Afterward they tortured her for five days. Yesterday she was taken to a public square in Mosul and a firing squad executed her. It is unclear if she was afforded that type of death, as opposed to having her head sawed, off because she was a Muslim, a woman, or simply all the available knives were in need of sharpening. According to NBC, her body was handed over to her family, but they were told in no uncertain terms a funeral ceremony was out of the question.

The UN envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, was quoted as saying that by carrying out the execution ISIS once more revealed, "...its infamous nature combining, hatred, nihilism, and savagery as well as its total disregard of human decency."

Yeah, yeah, now tell us something we don't know.

According to other reports earlier this month an Iraqi man and woman were stoned to death by IS members after they decided the pair had committed adultery. A witness told the media the execution took 15 minutes or so because those carrying it out used rocks only the size of baseballs in order to prolong it.

On Tuesday of this week a woman who had run for a seat on the provincial council was murdered and her husband kidnapped. On the same day another female politico was taken and hasn't been seen since.

Old Joe Stalin had nothing on these vicious yokels--their only real equal in the modern age seems to be the late and quite mad Cambodian, Pol Pot.

A very quick glance at verses in the Quran shows that it calls for a Muslim apostate to be "chastised." How he or she is chastised isn't specified. There is apparently nothing in the book about executing someone for that particular crime. The Quran also says the punishment for adultery should be lashes from a whip as opposed to stoning. All this other crazed stuff, as if lashings aren't crazed, comes from interpretations of what Muhammad implied in his teachings, or he tacitly approved during his life.The harsh revelations enforced by IS were divined only after the prophet's death by those who were supposedly close to him, or studied accounts of him. In other words they are second hand and at best, in a western court of law, hearsay.

The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy calls for the stoning of people who have turned away from the Hebrew faith, but then Jews and Christians, with a few exceptions, have pretty well moved into the 21st century. That's opposed to IS which seems determined to make sure the world is transported back to the seventh and eighth century, but only so long as it includes modern weapons systems.

In the end their barbarity will doom them. The horrors they impose upon the locals in the areas they control do nothing, but ensure every sane and civilized person will call on their governments to destroy them.

Serial killers with tanks are not easily subdued, but no matter how immense their gruesome revolt it will eventually be put down.

As we've seen time and time again, evil always loses. Tragically it takes great effort plus the blood of good souls to defeat it. And, in the end, no matter how decisively it is beaten, evil will always return.

It is, to our great detriment, the nature of the species.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Lord Save Us From the UnGodly and the Godly: Old Time Religion in A Tizzy in Oklahoma City

The faithful here on the southern plains have been riled up lately. Well, not as riled up as they are in some places of the world and certainly not as deadly. At least everyone, so far, has left the guns and knives at home and there haven't been any beheadings that we know of.

Yesterday Mr. Adam Daniels held what he described as a black mass in a tiny theater which seats less than 100 people in the basement of the city owned Civic Center. The ceremony had been announced months ago causing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and others to go into a tizzy. Despite the shrill objections of a number of Christian groups, in a rare fit of courage, city officials--after making sure Daniels' check didn't bounce--cited the constitutional guarantee of free speech and refused to stop the goings on.

There was a hitch though. When Daniels claimed he would use bread which had been consecrated by a rogue Roman Catholic priest during the ritual, Archbishop Paul Coakley did what any spiritual leader would do these days--he hired a lawyer and threatened to sue.

At that point Daniels was suddenly faced with the choice of either being tied up in court for who knows how long, or displaying his wife's open thighs on an altar-like table in front of a bunch of complete strangers. He ultimately caved in,  gave the bread over to the Archdiocese and partied on. 

The city's daily paper, The Oklahoman reported hundreds of protesters, Roman Catholic and otherwise gathered outside the Civic Center to raise hell about the people inside who were paying homage to the guy who runs it. The story, written by Graham Lee Brewer described a scene which sounded rather like a wild and weird combination of an old fashioned protestant revival and traditional Roman mass. The Rosary was recited repeatedly by many while the Lord's Prayer echoed over the grounds and "street preachers," such as Albert Stortz walked around screaming things like, "Shame on Oklahoma City!"

Brewer quoted Stortz as saying, "The bible says evil prevails if good men do nothing." It is unclear in which book, chapter, and verse, Stortz found that particular passage, although it does sound eerily similar to the famous Edmund Burke quote, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Hey, sometimes it is the sentiment that counts and not the source.

In the end, Daniels' group known as Dakhma of Angra Mainyu Syndicate, which is apparently comprised of six people and a rock band, conducted a ceremony which, according to The Oklahoman writer, Carla Hinton at times included piped in music from the film, "The Exorcist." Hinton also reported more than half the sell out crowd of 88 people were no shows. No wonder a  Christian denomination of more than 1.2 billion members had one of their leaders go all in to stop this terrible heretical threat. After all, once these crazed fucks get a toe hold there is no stopping them.

Daniels told the intimate gathering, "That the point of this is to destroy the fear of the Catholic Church." There was no mention of who and how many people fear the Catholic Church, but usually those are details best left to the little people and their imaginations. Especially when you are dealing with the big picture, not to mention your wife lying on a table with her knees drawn up and spread wide apart in a public venue as a large latex replica of a penis is being waved around during the proceedings.

Elsewhere in town, a small group of Muslims conducted a demonstration at a major intersection on the north side of Oklahoma City Friday of last week. They held signs which said things like, "Muslims Against ISIS" and "ISIS Does Not Represent Islam." Unfortunately, for just about everyone, ISIS, doesn't agree with that last assessment of the situation.

The demonstrators were led by Adam Soltani who is the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

The gathering was, no doubt, partly in response to state representative John Bennett, R-Sallisaw. A couple of weeks ago Bennett warned his facebook followers to beware of people who call themselves Muslim Americans. After CAIR, the NAACP and other groups asked him to dial back the rhetoric, on Monday, Mr. Bennett cooled the fires of distrust and hate by holding a town hall meeting in Sallisaw during which he told the crowd, "Islam is a cancer on the nation which needs to be cut out."

Soltani, who is married and has a two year old child, told reporter Barbara Hoberock of the The Oklahoman he received an anonymous call on his cell phone Thursday telling him he and all other Muslims in America should have their heads cut off.

Yes, well, there is a lot of that going around lately.

Sometimes it is easy to kick back, take a sip, light a cigar, then look to the sky and say something along the lines of, Lord, save us from not only those who hate religion, but everyone who belongs to one.   


And with that thought, ladies and gentlemen, Monday is done.


Friday, September 19, 2014

France Is In, Islamic State's Art Sale, Wild Bill Supports the President, and Welcome to Iraq Part III

You have to hand it to those beasts, otherwise known as Islamic State. Let's face facts, it takes some incredibly outlandish barbarism to get the French military involved in a war and they've managed to do it.

Earlier today the AP reported two French fighter-bombers flew a sortie over northern Iraq and bombed an IS controlled ammo and fuel depot. The amount of damage and the number of IS casualties as a result of the raid is still a little muddled, however the political significance is hard to miss. It is the first combat mission conducted by someone other than the Iraqis themselves, the Kurds, or the United States.

Of course French president Francios Hollande may have less than altruistic motives for laying four laser guided bombs into a nest of deadly loons. His handling of the French economy is wildly unpopular at home and the only time his approval ratings go up is when he takes military action, like he did in Mali, Central African Republic, and Libya. Nothing quite like war stokes the patriotic fires and takes the collective national mind off of things like long term unemployment and bankrupt pension plans.

Meanwhile the IS continues to prove to the world that someone should be bombing the living shit out of them. The AP is also reporting the outfit is busy destroying ancient archaeological sites for heresy, fun, and profit. According to the story, IS controls at least 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered historical sites, some as old as 3,000 years. The report states many of the curators and researchers have been run out of museums and places like the grand palace of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II on the grounds they were protecting idols.

While some of the bas relief artwork has been destroyed, chunks of it, along with other artifacts have been stolen from the sites and sold on the black market. Hey, everyone needs to make a buck and IS might be many evil things, but no one will ever accuse them of being communists. Unfortunately, while practically everyone west of Aleppo hates these mutants more than a few art collectors who have less than exemplary morals won't mind buying things like a  2,500 year old Babylonian vase from their sales reps. After all, business is business, not to mention that piece will look really great next to the Monet landscape stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis in 1938.

Proving they aren't just fixated on eradicating the accomplishments of ancient civilizations, the AP points out Islamic State is also gleefully destroying Shiite mosques and shrines simply because--well-- they are Shiite mosques and shrines. That's right, baby. Once you go all in, never flinch, no matter what you do.

Over here, Wild Bill Clinton went on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" and said he supported Barack Obama's plan in Iraq which, to most of us, remains more of a theory than actual policy. He told Stewart the United States, "...can't win a ground war in Iraq, but they can." It is unclear how Billy Jeff came to that conclusion since the Iraq army hasn't won anything since they rolled into Kuwait in 1990.

So here is what we know. First, both Obama and Hollande claim there won't be any American, or French troops on the ground. Second, since the airplane was introduced into warfare about 100 years ago absolutely no one has won a major conflict solely because of air superiority. Third, does anyone alive on this planet really think the Iraqi army can beat these psychopaths in a face to face fight?

I didn't think so.

U.S. ground troops are going in. Right now everyone is denying it, but there can be no doubt we are. America, welcome to Iraq, part III.

Ladies and gentleman, for obvious reasons, the bar is open.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Two More Savage Losers and the People Who Sell Them Stuff: Manhunts in Pennsylvania and Fighting Windmills in San Antonio

In the wake of a tragic weekend the search is on for a couple of different deadly geeks in the good and great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia police have named Devon Guisherd as their lead suspect in the shooting death of Megan Doto. Ms. Doto was talking to a neighbor on Sunday morning when police say young Mr. Guisherd showed up dressed from head to foot in black and fired a couple of dozen rounds just because it is so easy to do. The authorities have speculated he was trying to hit friends of Doto, but thanks to either poor marksmanship, or eyesight he managed to miss everyone except her.

The Huffington Post reports police and medics performed an emergency C-section on the 26 year old woman who was eight months pregnant. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital and the baby died several hours later.

Guisherd is now on the lam and there is a $40,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

He isn't the only one.

Pennsylvania police are also searching for Eric Matthew Frein. He is accused of staging a cold blooded ambush last Friday which ended in the death of one state trooper and the wounding of another.

Frein--and see if this doesn't sound a tad familiar--is being described as a bit of a loner and survivalist, who at age 31, still lived at home with his mother and father. His old man, a retired army major, taught him how to shoot and kept a few weapons around the place, despite what appears to be a long history of overt hatred of law enforcement officers and fantasies of carrying out a mass shooting. In fact his views and wet dreams were so well known by acquaintances that, after interviewing them, a police spokesperson described the shooting as, "not unexpected."

The father told investigators two weapons, a .308 rifle with a scope, which is believed to be the weapon used in the shooting and an AK-47 are missing from his house. He described his son as an excellent shot who, "doesn't miss."

Thanks for the heads up, Dad. You know that information might have come in handy to someone before last Friday night.

Fearing a repeat of the Sandy Hook elementary school nightmare, the Pocono Mountain School District's ten schools have been closed down as the search for Frein fans out across the area.

Wild Eric Frein borrowed his father's car in order to get to the Blooming Grove state police barracks where the shooting occurred. However, not being the brightest bulb, during the getaway he drove the Jeep SUV head long into what is being described as a swampy area and had to abandon it. Police say they found everything from shell casings, to camo face paint, to information about foreign embassies in the vehicle.

Proving a murdered highway patrolman is worth a little more than an inner city woman and her baby, the reward for Frein is sitting at $75,000.

Finally, in the fighting windmills department, the parents of Jessica Ghawi are suing four online sellers of ammunition, tear gas, high capacity ammo clips, and body armor. Sandy and Lonnie Phillips' 24 year old daughter was murdered by Jimmy Holmes along with 11 other people at an Aurora, CO movie theater two plus years ago.

The San Antonio couple allege Holmes equipped himself with 5,000 rounds of ammunition, a 100 round ammo clip, two tear gas grenades, and four pieces of body armor from the web sites of firms called, Lucky Gunner, Bullet Proof Armor, BTP Arms, and Sportsman's Guide.

According to the suit, "It was highly foreseeable to the defendants that their potential customers included persons with criminal intent, including James Holmes."

Highly foreseeable yes, but as long as it's legal and the people who run such businesses don't give a rat's ass if a drooling maniac buys their stuff, don't count on a favorable decision--not to mention any changes in the way those clods market their wares.

Even if the Phillips family does win look for the NRA to wrap itself in the constitution and finance the appeal, because that is exactly what they do. There is no body count too high for them to compromise even an inch.

So there we have it. Two more savage losers with access to guns are running amok and then we have the people who gleefully sell all the accoutrements to them without question.

Who says America has gone soft?


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Long NRA Type of Weekend

It started to go downhill last Thursday.

That is the day sixth grade teacher, Michelle Ferguson-Montgomery had a bit of a mishap in the faculty restroom of Westbrook Elementary School in Taylorsville, Utah. It seems Ms. Ferguson-Montgomery has a license to carry a concealed weapon and thanks to Utah law can do so with impunity even on school grounds. In fact the statute is so strict school administrators not only can't stop her from carrying a weapon, they can't even ask her if she is packing one.

The good folks of Utah might want to re-think that particular piece of legislation because we all know what is coming next. Ferguson-Montgomery's firearm went off, "accidentally" while she was in the loo. The round slammed into a toilet causing it to explode. The educator who has been teaching for 14 years, was wounded in the lower leg by flying shards of porcelain and perhaps even fragments of the bullet.

The police did not release any information describing the teacher's position, or posture, when her pistol went off, however NBC does say she is listed in "good" condition at a local hospital. In addition classes were not interrupted, presumably because the learning process should not be disturbed just because a good person with a gun stopped a bad commode without one.

Tragically, on Friday things turned much more deadly.

Around 11pm that evening Pennsylvania State Police Corporal, Bryan Dickson and Trooper Alex Douglass were ambushed just outside the Blooming Grove Barracks, which is 35 miles east of Scranton. The shooting occurred during a shift change. One of the officers was reporting for duty as the other was leaving. Dickson was killed and Douglass seriously wounded.

The perpetrator, or perpetrators are still at large. If the authorities have any clues about who, or why--other than the obvious one, that being the shooter is not only armed, but nuts--they are withholding them from the media.

Early Sunday morning, proving once more nothing good happens on the street after two am, Anchorage, Alaska police say an argument took place between members of a family and their friends outside of a place called the Kodiak Bar and Grill. In typical American fashion someone decided to settle the dispute, not with passionate discourse, or compromise, but by trying to blow the heads off those stupid sons of bitches who can't see how wrong they are.

Luckily the shooter, or shooters--police are searching for two suspects--had impaired marksmanship. Six people were wounded, one critically, but as yet, no one has died.

Then it got worse.

Late Sunday morning in Philadelphia, 26 year old Megan Doto was sitting outside talking to a neighbor. A car came down the street and someone inside it opened fire, striking her in the face with at least one round.

Doto was eight months pregnant at the time of the shooting. She was rushed to a hospital, but couldn't be saved. Doctors performed an emergency C-Section in order deliver the baby, but it also died shortly after birth.

NBC reports police found as many as two dozen shell casings a short distance away. Philadelphia authorities are speculating the real target of the drive by was a friend of Ms. Doto and she was hit by accident.

Perhaps her killer should spend a little more time at a gun range to hone his, or her shooting eye and exchange ideas on proper form with those two deadly geeks from Anchorage. After all what good is a firearm if you can't hit who you are shooting at?

Yes it was a long NRA type of weekend. Once more we've proven the dreadful fetish is still in full bloom. Apparently there isn't an American male alive who needs to ingest Viagra in order to get an erection--all he has to do is load his weapon, then whip it out and use it.

In the face of all this stupidity and vicious barbarity, how dare we call ourselves a civilized nation?


Friday, September 12, 2014

Ted's Devious Adventure

It was a rough night for Senator Ted Cruz yesterday, at least on the surface. He took the stage to deliver a speech at a conference sponsored by a group called, "Defense of Christians."

Sounds like his sort of crowd doesn't it? Hey, you look at the name of the outfit and it is easy to conjure up images of jowly white guys in pastel colored suits and their thick legged women, slathered with make up while reeking of hair spray and Estee Lauder perfume.

Actually it wasn't the case. Defense of Christians is an Arab-American organization concerned about the persecution of Christians in places like Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Who can blame them? With 30,000 or so armed zombies running amok in the region cutting the heads off of everybody who doesn't believe in Islam just like them, concern is probably too mild a word.

According to reports, Cruz first began making people shift uneasily in their seats when he claimed, the governments of Syria and Iran, plus Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic State are all basically the same when it comes to Christians and the United States. Unfortunately for the senator, a lot of Christians in the mid east depend on the Syrian government, Hezbollah, and Hamas to keep the Islamic State werewolves at bay. Up for conjecture, given his rhetoric, is whether Cruz is a dolt who actually believes what he said and thought he was preaching to the choir, or was being a right wing provocateur looking to elicit an angry response from those sitting in attendance.

Whatever the case, when he began to speak of Israel in glowing terms things really started to roll down hill. The heckling began after he told the audience, "Christians have no greater ally than Israel." A couple of people told him to talk about Christians, not Israel.Taken aback--because let's face it, Teddy Cruz isn't used to someone disagreeing with him when he delivers a sermon--the senator began to lecture the crowd.

The Washington Post reported he told the gathering, "Those who hate Israel hate America and those who hate Jews hate Christians." He went on to say, "I'm saddened to see some here, not everyone, but some are consumed with hate. If you will not stand with Israel and Jews, then I will not stand with you." At that point Ted Cruz left the stage and the building.

Congressman Charlie Dent, R-PA was seated in the front row of the audience, primarily because his district has a large population of Christian Syrians and Lebanese. Afterward he had this to say, "I support Israel, but what Senator Cruz did was outrageous and incendiary. He showed a true lack of sensitivity for the people he was speaking to, especially the religious leaders who were there. It was a political speech, inappropriate and overall an uncomfortable moment."

After the debacle, Cruz's communications director issued a statement saying the senator would have never shown up if he had been told not to discuss his support of Israel, or if he'd known his pro Israeli stance would have been taken "that way."

So has the Tedster already fired some incompetent staffer who failed to warn him about the nature of the audience, or is he simply a complete idiot?

Well, Ted Cruz is many things, but stupid isn't one of them. A couple of right wing blogs, "The American Conservative" and "The Federalist" condemned him in no uncertain terms, but there is also speculation from some, Dent among them, that the wily little Canadian knew exactly what he was doing. According to the congressman, Cruz, "...seemed to be speaking for another audience."

Now we're to the nut of it. Dent hinted, Cruz was playing to his tea party base, attempting to fire up their support by subjecting himself to the crass rudeness of a bunch of Arabs--people who aren't to be trusted, no matter what their religion. Yes, a little dose of xenophobia goes a long way with that crowd, just take a look at what they think about immigration reform.

It is a viable theory, but besides votes, which Cruz thinks he has bushels of, elections are won with money--lots and lots of money. Knowing news travels fast and everything shows up somewhere on a video Senator Cruz may have had a smaller audience in mind. His name is Sheldon Adelson.

Our man Shelly has boat loads of cash and is willing to hand over so much of it to preferred candidates, potential republican presidents of these United States kow tow to him as if he is a Ming Dynasty Emperor. He is also Jewish and a major supporter of Israel. He and he alone puts Cruz's, "If you will not stand with Israel and Jews then I will not stand with you," line into crystal clear perspective.

It is easy to hear him on the phone saying, Yes, Mr. Adelson, I stood up to those Jew hating Sons of  Bitches and if I'm elected president I'll run every one of those rat bastards out of the country. And by the way could you send my campaign, oh, $300 million?

Usually politicians are petty criminals, utterly incapable of any thing more devious than taking a crude bribe, or throwing a brick through some jewelry store window in order to grab a Rolex. In the end even Dick Nixon was a brute stupid felon who employed nothing more than a gang of cheap and incompetent B and E thugs.

Ted Cruz is a different breed of cat. He is smart, ruthless, amoral, capable of the most absurd lies which he will repeat incessantly in the face of irrefutable evidence and he's driven by an ego that is dangerously out of control.

He is just the vile Professor Moriarty type who would think a terrible stunt like this would work to his advantage and then have the gall go through with it.

Nixon, Ford, Reagan, then both Bush the elder and younger were foul people who were easily despised. Raphael Edward Cruz is beyond that. He is someone who should be feared.

He is that rare and dangerous beast, like Herr Hitler--eloquent, capable of speaking for hours with passion, and his oratory preys on the fears of a shrinking majority who believe the nation is slipping out of their control.

Hopefully we won't succumb to him like the Germans did to the unlamented Adolf, because we understand we aren't one race, or religion, but many and the many give the country strength, rather than undermine it.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is after five pm and at a certain bar around here there is such a thing known as a Hamm's and rye which is priced at four dollars. I suggest you join me there. Trust me when it comes to these decisions.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cheneyspeak, More Polls, and the Poor S.O.B.

Here we go. Barack Obama takes to the airwaves tonight to let us know what action America is going to both take and not take against the Islamic State.

Today our old pal Dick Cheney addressed some right wing outfit known as The American Enterprise Institute. He had these words of advice, "Our president must understand we are at war and that we must do what it takes, for as long as it takes, to win."

NBC reports this nugget of wisdom came a day after Cheney addressed congressional republicans about mid east foreign policy.

Senate majority leader, Harry Reid responded to all this Cheneyspeak by issuing a statement which said, "Dick Cheney is more responsible than anyone else for the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the nation." That is a diplomatic way of  saying, "Listen you gruesome fuck, if you hadn't invaded Iraq for absolutely no reasons beyond ego and profit none of this shit would be happening now."

Meanwhile those busy as beaver pollsters over at NBC and The Wall Street Journal made some calls, crunched numbers, and came up with a few facts. Back in April, 47% of Americans thought the United States should be less active in international affairs. As of a few days ago that number had dropped to 40%.

In addition, 27% now believe we should be more active in foreign affairs, which is up from 19% five months ago. The percentage of people who think our involvement in foreign affairs, rather like baby bear's porridge is just right, went virtually unchanged and still hovers around 30%.

While those numbers would seem to indicate most of us have very little interest to dive head long into some sort of mid east maelstrom, the telling question was, "Is taking military action against ISIS in the United States' national interest?" 61% answered yes, while only 13% said no.

You have to hand it to that vast collection of sociopathic monsters known as Islamic State. It was going to take a lot to get this nation fired up for more military violence, but because of their willingness to show the world how truly evil and barbaric they are, they've managed to do it.

So what does all this mean when it comes to those jockeying for the pole positions in the 2016 presidential contest? According to NBC, when you break the numbers down by party, 41% of republicans want us more involved in the miasma known as the middle east, not to mention elsewhere, as opposed to 15% of democrats.

Two things immediately come to mind, at least in the short term. Rand Paul's sales pitch just got tougher. He has staked out a territory known as neo-isolationism and recently bragged he could win over democrats and independents in a national election by convincing them Hillary Clinton is an over the top hawk.

Yes, that is all fine and good, but you have to get the nomination first and if the majority of your party actually are over the top hawks you have problems. Besides, there isn't a single tea bag loon out there who wants anything to do with a candidate who will actually appeal to left wing democrats.

As far as Mrs. Clinton is concerned the far left might not particularly like what she thinks when it comes to international policy, but when the only alternative to her is some corrupt beast who could well end up being Dick Cheney Part Deux, they will vote for her. Trust me--nowadays nihilism is strictly reserved for the American ultra right and bitter losers turned psychopaths who are cutting off heads for heresy and fun.

The President of the United States of America will speak to the nation shortly. The only thing we can count on is every republican in the nation will despise whatever he says. They will call him a foreigner, a communist, a Muslim, an incompetent, and everything in between.

The rest of us will understand the poor S.O.B. simply never had a chance from the day he was inaugurated.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

In American Politics There are No Sure Scenarios

In November the republicans need to pick up six senate seats to take over as the majority party in the upper chamber. Given Barack Obama's recent poll numbers it isn't a stretch to think they will accomplish their goal. Let's face it there is a reason the president hasn't been out on the stump glad handing democratic candidates during photo ops meant to illustrate mutual solidarity.

That's right, it appears all the good ol' GOP optimism we saw two years ago is riding high once again. Of course, as we saw on that fateful November night in 2012, you don't win with optimism alone, or Hispanics and there is no surefire scenario.when it comes to American politics.

Just ask them in Kansas.

On Wednesday the state's democratic nominee for the senate, Chad Taylor abruptly shut down his campaign. He issued a  press release and it is reported the word "suspended" was crossed out and replaced with "terminated."

So great news for incumbent, Pat Roberts, right? Not really. According to polls, Taylor and independent candidate, Greg Orman had been splitting up the opposition numbers to Robert's re-election. A fourth person on the crowded ballot is libertarian Randy Batson. He has consistently polled less than five percent.

NBC tells us there are local surveys saying that without Taylor muddying the waters, Orman's numbers improve to the point, Roberts suddenly finds himself in a dogfight. The three term senator knows it too.

His campaign quickly issued a statement calling Taylor's withdrawal, "A corrupt bargain between Greg Orman and national democrats, including Harry Reid." There was also something about, Orman being the choice of liberal democrats--as if there are a whole lot of them in Kansas. While Roberts' press release might sound a tad paranoid, he may have a point..

The Wichita Eagle reported Taylor quit after receiving a phone call from Missouri democratic senator, Claire McCaskill. Given the circumstances and timing, it is hard to think some sort of deal isn't in the works for Brother Taylor, who is currently the district attorney of Shawnee County.  He isn't talking though. He told news outlets that now he is out of the race he will have no comment on anything to do with it.

The Eagle also says Orman has the the support of over 70 former legislators, all of them republicans, who are sick and tired of the party's current addiction to the extreme right. In addition there are serious questions about whether Roberts is even a Kansan any more.

He served 14 years in the house of representatives and has spent the last 18 in the senate. His voting residence in Dodge City is a home owned and occupied by Duane and Phyllis Ross, who contribute heavily to his campaigns. And--as we all know--if the grass roots here in the outback loathe anything more than Barack Obama, it is a career politician who has lost all contact with the people of his state, or district.

If Orman were to win, everyone will hold their breath to see which party he will caucus with. According to Orman, "I'm going to caucus with whichever party is willing to actually go to Washington and start solving problems as opposed to just pleasing the extremists in their own base." While Orman didn't commit either way that revelation is most assuredly not a tea party point of view.

Besides the sudden chaos in Kansas, minority leader, Mitch McConnell is struggling in Kentucky. McConnell, who is seeking a sixth term, is locked in a tight race with democratic challenger, Alison Lundergran Grimes. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Grimes trails McConnell by six points, while six percent of voters remain undecided and seven percent claim they don't like either one of them.

Then there is Georgia where republican senator, Saxby Chambliss is retiring. The GOP candidate, David Perdue is in a dead heat with democrat, Michelle Nunn.

So now we have three republican seats in play. That's in addition to the six they need to win the senate.

Will democrats win in all three places? No, but if they can take even one things become much harder for the republicans to gain a majority.

In the end one thing has become clear in this election cycle--the tea party influence has begun to ebb. In Kansas, Roberts hammered tea bagger, Milton Wolf in the GOP primary. Now, Roberts himself is being seriously challenged by a candidate who has the support of old school republicans who think their party has sold out to a bunch of right wing lunatics they don't want to be associated with.

The truth is the tea party sociopaths are going the way of Big Joe McCarthy. When people like Ted Cruz are gone we'll all wash our hands and say to ourselves, "What in God's name were we thinking?"

It was an evil fad, but, luckily, like the hoola hoop and the twist, it is going away now.

For most of us it is none to soon.

sic vita est


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

It was a long sweaty Labor Day weekend on the southern plains, one filled with college football and anti union rhetoric.

On the op-ed page of the August 31st edition of The Oklahoman, Mr. Mark Mix set the tone. The headline of his piece read, "It's Labor Day, not Union Day." Mix, who is the president of something called, The National Right to Work Legal Foundation, knows a little something about propaganda. He managed to repeat the terms, "forced dues, forced union dues, or compulsory union fees" six times in the space of about 300 words. He also tells us, "Most Americans realize that Labor Day is about celebrating workers and their contribution to our free society, but that won't stop union bosses from stealing the spotlight to push their own agenda." The unsaid accusation being unions are anti freedom.

Yes, there is nothing quite like revising history in order to advance your own agenda. The truth is, Labor Day came about because,  one--according to Wikipedia, the head of the New York Central Union came up with the idea. Two--President Grover Cleveland and congress, in a spasm of guilt, pushed through the legislation to make it a national holiday in order to appease organized labor. The act was passed a mere six days after the Pullman rail car strike ended. That summer, Cleveland had used thousands of U.S. Marshals and 12,000 regular troops of the United States Army to help break, not only the strike, but as many heads as possible. By the time they were done, 30 strikers were dead and nearly 60 had been wounded.

Wikipedia notes, the early incarnations of the holiday were marked by large parades which were primarily designed to show the strength of organized labor. In other words the holiday was a union concept and originally designed to honor and celebrate union workers.

It was only in passing that Brother Mix lets us in on the real reason all the chamber of commerce and conservative types abhor unions. Toward the end of his screed he tells us, " union bosses use dues to exert an immense amount of clout in Washington D.C. and state capitals." Not only does he scrupulously avoid mentioning those bosses are elected by the rank and file membership of unions and ultimately are answerable to them, but he blithely skips over talking about what the clout is used to secure. You know, things like a minimum wage, an eight hour work day, overtime pay, a 40 hour work week, paid vacations, and medical benefits for not just union members, but everyone out there.

The following day The Oklahoman ran a diatribe by J.E. McReynolds who blamed Barack Obama for a "sluggish economic recovery," even as he glossed over the disaster left to him and the nation by George W. Bush. He noted Obama has been in charge for six years. What he didn't say is that six years are two trips around the sun fewer than it took Bush to foul the economy so completely we were on the verge of another great depression. He also ignores the hard fact a republican controlled house, which is rife with tea party hacks, will vote against anything the president proposes, no matter what the merit--not for the good of the country--but just because he came up with the idea.

In addition McReynolds claimed Obama was "dividing" the nation with his continued talk about the expanding gap between the richest few and the rest of us poor schmucks working in the trenches of corporate America. Of course McReynolds is a ruthless shill bought and paid for by some of those richest few who are fully invested in an obscene orgy of greed. He is the economic equivalent of those "scientists" who, decades ago, were paid by the tobacco industry to tell us there was no evidence smoking cigarettes caused lung cancer and heart disease.

He went so far as to blame Obamacare for the growing trend of companies to cut its staffers back to part time status. What he refused to admit is The Affordable Care Act hasn't forced a single corporation to cut employee hours in order to dodge the medical benefits it requires them to provide. That despicable maneuver is the choice of vampires like the Walton family and the Koch brothers. They are a just a few of those corporate bosses who aren't elected by anyone and can't imagine a capitalist system in which they aren't allowed to relentlessly fuck their employees for profit and fun.

Are there corrupt union leaders? Yes, but there is corruption in every human endeavor. Just ask all those poor folks who worked for Enron. In the end, we the workers have grown soft and complacent. We take for granted benefits which members of organized labor went out and not only fought for, but spilled their blood to ensure. Too many of us have bought into the vile lie that corporations have grown wiser and more compassionate--that we're better off listening to cruel profiteers rather than organizations which have no other goal, but to represent us when it comes to work conditions, pay, and benefits.

The blue collar middle class is gone. The next target of the Kochs and all the rest of the ruthless bastards who think like them is the white collar middle class.

They have nothing, but disdain for democracy and their god is the Almighty Dollar. To them the rest of us are no more than serfs to be used as tools and in times of war, cannon fodder.

There is a reason there are socialists. To find out why all you have to do is look no further than Wichita, Kansas and Bentonville, Arkansas.