Tap dancing

The tap-dancing grows more frenetic.
You will notice that the 'California Congressional delegation' has toned down the nasty rhetoric of yesterday, after the LA Times published their article showing that the CongressCreatures were told about this two years ago.
Now they have dropped into the 'I have no recollection,' or 'I have no record of,' or ...'Geez, I dunno why ...'.
However ...
"California Guard officials say they informed California lawmakers about the scale of the debts in 2014, telling them in a list of legislative priorities sent to each House office and the House Armed Services Committee that “thousands of soldiers have inadvertently incurred debt, through no fault of their own because of faulty Army recruiting or accounting practices.”
“Unfortunately, no official process exists to adjudicate debt relief for Army National Guard soldiers, which has caused years of hardship for them and their families,” the document said."
That's right. The law simply doesn't allow it. Es la ley.
The CongressCreatures, having tried to crucify Ashton Carter, Obama, and even the Clinton Crime Syndicate, are having that one blow up in their faces.
Darryl Issa, the GOP's resident badass in the House, who was quite vocal yesterday, is nowhere to be seen - or heard - today. Considering that Issa never misses an opportunity to be on TV, that's rather odd.
They need to get off their asses and pass the legislation that would allow the forgiveness of the 'debts'. And probably, while they are at it, look into prosecuting the clowns who pulled this stunt in the first place. It all boils down to misuse of funds.


Oh! Oh! Oh! The imminent collapse of the Republic!

“In a totally disqualifying act that is a violent threat to our democracy, Hillary Clinton directly involved herself in inciting violence directed at Trump supporters,” Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement, demanding an investigation. 

The 'violent threat?'

Here it is:


Righteous Outrage!™ over veterans' bonuses

So ... there is considerable Outrage!™ on the part of CongressCritters, over the California National Guard bonus payback 'issue.'

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the Pentagon demands “disgraceful."

"I find it hard to believe either you or your leadership team was aware that such a boneheaded decision was made to demand repayment," Duncan Hunter wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in which he asked Carter to put his weight behind a quick remedy.

Darryl Issa called the Pentagon's effort "unconscionable."

The far right is of course blaming Obama, even the Clinton Crime Syndicate, though all these bonus 'missteps' took place during the Bush administration. That the problem was discovered during an audit, during the current administration, does not make the fiscal mismanagement and wrongful payment of bonuses the current administration's fault.

DoD cannot, by law, issue a blanket 'forgiveness' on this. The law simply does not allow it.

So the law must be changed.

The only outfit that can change the law is ... Congress.

So McCarthy, Issa, and Hunter ... and the rest of Congress ... should really put their Outrage!™ back in the box and put some effort into changing the law.

And yet ...  Congress knew about this two years ago. And did nothing. It's great Outrage!™ stuff for an election cycle, though, isn't it?

Congress knew for at least two years about Pentagon efforts to take back bonuses from veterans


Wallace B. Jefferson

The far right are foaming at the mouth over the 'revelation' by WikiLeaks that John Podesta, campaign chairman for the Clinton Crime Syndicate, and Chris Stone, a top George Soros henchman, 'plotted' a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia. This scheming rather shockingly took place less than 24 hours after Scalia's death.

According to WikiLeaks, this is the conspiratorial plotting that took place:

Stone: “Remember our discussion of Wallace Jefferson, Chief Justice in Texas?”

Podesa: "Yup."

That's a pretty damning revelation.

That's quite the conspiracy, there. Especially considering they are referring to a highly respected Republican with a most distinguished career. Jefferson was appointed justice to the Texas Supreme Court by Rick Perry, to fill the seat vacated by Alberto Gonzales, who resigned to become White House counsel to George W. Bush. Jefferson's appointment was confirmed in the next election, in 2002, with 60% of the vote in the contested Republican primary, and 56% of the vote in the contested general election.

Here is an editorial from the Dallas Morning News. DMN is hardly on a par with Mother Jones or MSNBC:

Editorial: Wallace Jefferson leaves an impressive legacy on Texas Supreme Court

an excerpt:

Jefferson, who will step down from the state’s highest civil court next month to return to private practice, will take with him a keen legal intellect and a track record of trailblazing on and off the bench.

A moderate-conservative on a Supreme Court reputed be overly pro-business, Jefferson became the first African-American to serve on the court when Perry appointed the San Antonio appellate lawyer in 2001. Three years later, Jefferson again made history when Perry tapped him to replace chief justice Tom Phillips.

As respected a jurist as there is in Texas, Jefferson pushed hard to demystify a justice system that still is too opaque and tainted by money and politics. Administratively, he expanded open electronic access to Supreme Court records and put hearings online. He also pushed for increasing legal aid funds for people who can’t afford a lawyer and continued in the footsteps of Phillips to urge Texas to adopt a merit system in which judges are appointed, instead of elected.

Here's another, from "Texas Week with Rick Casey". It was written before Scalia's death.

Jefferson would be perfect Obama nominee

No excerpts here. You should read the entire article.

So exactly what is the context of the 'plotting' in the email?

If it is in fact a scheme to put forward Jefferson as a replacement for Scalia ... well ... Wallace B. Jefferson does not seem to be a raving liberal who would destroy the Constitution from the bench.

I doubt that very many 'conservatives' will read those articles. They are much longer than the 140 character Twits generated by Trump; they have too many big werds; the thoughts contained within are much too complex.



OK ... Faux and the 'conservatives' are going nuts over this one.

If I understand it correctly, we have the driver of a bus chartered by the campaign dumping the sewage.

The driver works for the bus company. Not the campaign. The bus is owned by the bus company, not the campaign.

And it's ... Hillary's fault?


I would have thought it was just a not-overly-bright bus driver screwing the pooch, in a manner of speaking. Send in the HazMat cleanup, write the driver a summons, and send the cleanup bill to the ... bus company.

But nope. It's Hillary's fault.

I expect this will factor hugely in the debate. I can just see Trump now, boring in for the kill.
The entire presidential campaign, reduced to a load of sewage.

Putin and the Rooskies? ISIS? Jobs? The economy? Education? National defense? Immigration? Healthcare?

All reduced by FauxNews and the Republican party to a load of sewage, somewhere in Georgia.
Well, at least it will get them off the emails and yet another Benghazi investigation.


A dangerous patriotism

This article by John Blake is exceptionally good:

For the love of America: How the Obama era gave us a dangerous patriotism

This was a dangerous type of patriotism, not a polite demonstration or mild civil disobedience. It was the kind that could get you fired from your job, shunned by your community, beaten or killed.
Yet it was the kind of patriotism that made progress possible in America, said Ralph Young, author of "Dissent: The History of an American Idea." He said people often forget the United States was founded by political and religious dissenters fleeing Europe. They put the right to dissent in the Constitution, he said.
"Dissent is the fuel for the engine of progress," said Young, a history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. "Inertia is built into institutions. Things don't change unless people push for change."


Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura posted a video online in which he said he fully and completely supported Kaepernick. He literally saluted Kaepernick for having the courage of his convictions and said "whether I agree with him or not is irrelevant."
Ventura recalled that he vetoed a bill when he was governor that would have required the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in every Minnesota public school.
"You know why?" he said in the video. "Because governments should not mandate patriotism. ... Who mandated patriotism? The Germans in the 1930s."


But maybe it could be one day. That's the hope that has helped so many Americans in the past who felt like outsiders. How does society accommodate this new form of patriotism that incorporates the good, bad and ugly of America, but still looks forward to something better in the future?
Maybe I'll never stand for the anthem. But for the first time as an adult, I can find the words and examples to explain why I think America is exceptional.
You may prefer the "love it or leave it" America. But I, and I suspect many others, believe in another America -- "the one that never was and yet must be."

More Trumpian Bloviation

Trump is now seizing on the contents of newly released FBI records that include claims senior State Department official Patrick Kennedy offered a "quid pro quo" with federal authorities during the Clinton email probe. According to the file, Kennedy offered additional slots for the bureau overseas if they would de-classify a particular email from Clinton’s server marked “SECRET.” This effort was unsuccessful.

That's from the latest FauxNews 'fair and balanced' hysteria:

'Cover-up' claims fuel Trump attacks on Clinton, as candidates enter last debate

But if we go to more reliable news sources - with the caveat, of course, that 'reliable' is 'relative' we find this:

Agencies Clashed on Classification of Clinton Email, Inquiry Shows


What remained unclear from the documents was whether it was Mr. Kennedy or an F.B.I. official who purportedly offered the “quid pro quo”: marking the email unclassified in exchange for the State Department’s approving the posting of more F.B.I. agents to Iraq.


In one of the newly disclosed documents, an unidentified F.B.I. employee told investigators that Mr. Kennedy, through another F.B.I. official, had sought in one case “assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.’”

but then we have

A second F.B.I. interview included in the documents provides a somewhat different version of the dispute over the classification of the Benghazi email, with the suggestion that the F.B.I. — and not Mr. Kennedy — had offered to make a deal.

And in any case, there is no indication that HRC knew of, or had anything to do with, any of this. But of course, that would be part of the Trumpian conspiracy theory, that State and the FBI are in cahoots. Faux seems to be part of fueling the tinfoil hat crowd's fantasies, as Faux makes no mention of the second interview.

MovingOn to WaPo ...

Documents show State Dept. official pressed FBI to change classification of one of Clinton’s emails

An excerpt:

Both the FBI and the State Department disputed that their employees had engaged in a quid pro quo. The agencies, though, acknowledged that Kennedy had inquired about the classification of an email, and the FBI said that in the same conversation, a bureau official “asked the State Department official if they would address a pending, unaddressed FBI request for space for additional FBI employees assigned abroad.”

Neither agency disputes that Kennedy asked for a re-classification. However, the FBI's own documents indicate that the 'quid pro quo' idea may well have come from ... the FBI.

Re-classification is nothing new, nor is it a big deal. Documents are reviewed all the time, and de-classified or re-classified. Sometimes, documents are improperly classified, for some interesting reasons.

Back during 'The Secret War in Laos' (and Cambodia, for that matter) there was a lot of 'secret' bombing going on in those countries. All you have to do is Google 'Operation Menu' or 'secret bombing laos' to find all kinds of interesting items.

But the main reason for the secrecy had to do with keeping it from Congress. Yep. Oh, there was some need for classification at the operational level, but this was political. TOP SECRET/NOFORN/SCI? Seriously? 'Declassify after 30 Years'? Yep. I can't tell you how many mission packages I slapped those stamps upon. Johnson, and later Nixon and Kissinger, wet their pants at the very thought of being found out. Take a read of Shawcross' "Sideshow: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Destruction of Cambodia." This Clinton stuff is kiddie level intrigue in comparison.

You really want to see some sleaze involving misuse of classification? Google "Lima Site 85", where Lyndon Johnson kept the destruction of the COMBAT SKYPOT site at Phou Pha Thi a deep secret - screwing over the families of those lost there. It makes Benghazi look like child's play.

So the fact that Kennedy simply asked for a declass, or a reclass, is not in and of itself all that remarkable. And I'm not about to join the Trumpian Tinfoil Hat Brigade over a few articles in the media.

MoveOn, sports fans. Study your history. Get a bit of a grip on reality.

Unholy evangelicals

One thing that has completely befuddled us, with the Trump Phenomenon, is his appeal to evangelicals.

How anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ, can support Trump and his mindless rants and raves, his verbal and physical assaults on women, his inciting of violence against those who oppose him, his blatant racism, his continual ad hominem attacks - which are not all that well done; he rises to the level of Beavis and Butthead at best ... is beyond us. "Us" in this case is literal, not editorial; Leece is in complete agreeance.

But it turns out that Trump is not quite the darling of all evangelicals. Mostly just the white ones. Mostly the Pat Robertson crowd, what we used to call "The Moral Majority."

Here is a pretty good article on this:

Donald Trump Reveals Evangelical Rifts That Could Shape Politics for Years

Some excerpts:

“Trump has consistently normalized violence, sexual deviance, bigotry and hate speech,” [Hatmaker] said in an email interview. “I wouldn’t accept this from my seventh-grade son, much less from a potential leader of the free world.”


While most of the religious right’s aging old guard has chosen to stand by Mr. Trump, its judgment and authority are being challenged by an increasingly assertive crop of younger leaders, minorities and women such as Ms. Hatmaker.

“Those men have never spoken for me or, frankly, anyone I know,” said Ms. Hatmaker, the author of popular inspirational Christian books. “The fracture within our own Christian family may be irreparable.”


Kate Shellnutt, 30, the online editor of Christianity Today and editor of the CT Women section, said she had observed that “the millennial generation has a lot less patience for Trump.” Of the 33 influential millennial evangelicals she profiled for a cover story two years ago, she says she can now find only one, Lila Rose, who is pro-Trump, and even she has been publicly critical of him. Several have been using the hashtag #NeverTrump, Ms. Shellnutt said.


Students at Liberty University in Virginia, which was founded by Mr. Falwell, started a petition on Wednesday criticizing the university’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr. (the founder’s son), for endorsing a candidate who is “actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose,” and tarnishing the school in the process, the petition said.
“Liberty University is not Trump University,” said Dustin Wahl, a junior majoring in politics and policy, who wrote the petition. “We don’t stand with our president on Donald Trump. It’s embarrassing because most people here realize that Trump is a joke.”

So at least some people who call themselves 'Christians' can see what an unholy hatemonger Trump really is.

As to the rest of them ... here is where they are:

We've Reached the End of White Christian America

At least the end of the Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson/James Dobson/Joel Osteen/John Hagee version of White Christian America, which, when all is said and done, is not all that 'Christian.'

A 'has-been?'

Perhaps not quite yet, but Trump is rapidly getting there:

Trump's new problem: He's becoming a bore

Trump is becoming boring even to Republicans, but his worst performance is among those who identify as political independents or members of smaller political parties. Among these folks, who could be considered swing voters, Trump is 17% less fun, a whopping 37% less "dynamic" and 30.6% less distinctive that he was just 90 days ago. This same cohort found Trump to be 31% less "unique."

The implications for Donald Trump the politician are dire. Although he keeps talking about himself as a political "outsider," he is rapidly losing the credibility to make such a claim. Among independents and political "others," Trump suffered a 10.7% decline in his score for independence. This means that he is losing his renegade's appeal. Instead he has become the object of ridicule on "Saturday Night Live," where he is regularly portrayed as an incoherent, self-defeating boor.

That's true.

He's not all that interesting to blog about. He's just an incoherent ranter. He doesn't even make sense. A wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, he is a prime candidate not for the presidency, but for an AFDB.



Donald doesn't like SNL's spoofs of him. So Donald - a Constitutional expert if ever there was one - says SNL should be cancelled.
Donald hasn't learned ... never screw with a media outlet that buys its bandwidth by the megaterabyte.
That First Amendment thing can be a real whizbanger.


Christian Values

Trump's sleazy comment about a ten year old

The ten year old must have been better looking than Natasha Stoynoff.

But it's OK. Jerry Falwell, Jr, a solidly 'Christian' man, says so.He knows this because Trump himself told him so. And in any case, it doesn't matter.

What the hell, Donald, why wait? And while you're at it, invite Falwell in for a threesome, and scream 'Praise Jesus!' every time you have a 'happy ending.'

Here's a pretty good opinion piece about why Jerry Falwell Jr is such a hypocritical POS:

Jerry Falwell Jr. Is A Disgrace To Liberty University And Should Resign

But by far, Falwell's worst moment is this:

[Falwell states:]Our country is gonna suffer if we get sidetracked on these rabbit trails about is this person a good person, is that person a good person, it’s not about that it’s about what are their positions on the issues.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the man who has taken over his father's legacy and is running a school intended to impress Christian values onto its students specifically so they can spread out into the population and culture and bring God's values and teachings with them, is asserting here, with the authority of a pastor (of which he is not), that it is not the responsibility of Christians to ensure that the person they are electing shares anything close to the value system of a Christian. And that is incredibly irresponsible.

Evangelicals are really working the Bible to justify their support for Trump, and to excuse their turning a blind eye to the man's crudeness, his rudeness, his depravity, his contempt for women (well ... maybe Trump's just taking Titus 2 a little too much to heart). They seem particularly fond of perverting John 8:7, which reads:

When they kept on questioning him, [Jesus] straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

Unfortunately, evangelicals are very very selective about to whom they apply that. It doesn't apply to gays. It doesn't apply to Muslims. It doesn't apply to Mormons (unless, of course, you have a particular Mormon running for president, in which case the Evangelical-in-Chief will provide a dispensation). It doesn't apply to welfare moms. It doesn't apply to Barack Obama or Michelle Obama, and it sure as hell doesn't apply to the Clinton Crime Syndicate.

But it should, shouldn't it? I mean, if one really is a 'Christian?' As opposed to merely claiming to be one?

Jesus is just a political shill to these people.

Well ... no, not really ...

Last post we went on a bit about voting for Hillary, rather than Johnson. We like Johnson a bit more than Hillary, and a lot more than Trump ... but the idea of Trump in the Oval Office, as commander-in-chief, is something we (editorially speaking) just cannot stomach.

We talked about voting Republican on the rest of the ticket, to try to keep the Congress in GOP hands, so as to tether Hillary, and to bring the system of checks and balances into play.

But ... not with Darryl Glenn challenging Michael Bennet.

Glenn is another one of those GOP types that just can't separate religion from politics; he 'Buck-pedals' almost as much as Ken Buck ... and he says he won't compromise with Democrats.

The only way our system of government operates is by compromise.

So he's yet another character who appeals to the far right base, but has nothing to offer in the way of reasoned or rational thinking.

He is another example of the poor quality of candidate the state GOP has been offering Colorado voters since before the 2008 election cycle. Remember that fiasco? Dan Maes, the cop who wasn't? Tom "Ol' 1Y" Tancredo, who was a Republican, before he wasn't? Ken 'Buck-pedalin' Buck, who waffled on every single issue before finally refusing to take a stand on anything?

Buck ran for the Senate, and was soundly, even embarrassingly, defeated back in 2010. He ran against Michael Bennet. Then he decided to run against Mark Udall in 2014. That sent shudders of dismay through the state GOP; they finally offered up Cory Gardner, who is about the only GOP candidate for whom we could otherwise vote, and sent Buck out to the sticks to try for Gardner's seat in the House. That was an easy win for Buck, since his far right, waffle-on-everything mindset perfectly fits eastern Colorado, which is redder than a liberal's bleeding heart.

Perhaps if the state and national GOP's could come up with candidates who don't sound like characters from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" they might actually have a chance of winning the Oval Office and/or keeping the Congress.

So we'll vote for 'Buck-pedalin' Ken this time around, though it's hardly necessary; it's a lifetime position for him so long as he can keep his zipper up and his fingers out of the till.

And we will vote for Michael Bennet, even though it's hardly necessary, given his opponent is Darryl Glenn.


The Temptation of Jesus, Trump style

We've seen The True Trump coming out of the woodwork these past weeks, especially the last few days.

He makes the Clinton Crime Syndicate look like hick amateurs when it comes to immorality, lying, cheating, sexual deviance.

Since the GOP has written a substantial chunk of religion into their political platform, we can compare Trump's position and 'apology' with the Temptation of Jesus in the Judean desert. So Satan tempts Jesus ... and Jesus accepts. He gives in. His excuse, following the Trumpian logic is this: "Well ... everyone's doing it!" (that's the Giuliani Gambit) or "Well, Satan did worse!" (the Trump Position). Good thing for us that Jesus had a somewhat better grasp of morality than the GOP, and didn't give in ... but where does this Trumpian/GOP logic leave the country, and We the People?

"Among the topics Trump discussed: his daughter Ivanka's physique, having sex with women on their menstrual cycles, threesomes, and checking out of a relationship with women after they turn 35."


I'm thinking that when Trump was assuring his 'Christian' evangelical supporters that he believed in the Trinity ... he and the evangelicals may have been on different pages.

But at this point, what difference does it make?

Rude Rudy Giuliani thinks it doesn't matter, that it doesn't make any difference.That's not surprising, considering his incoherent and irrational attempts to justify everything that Trump has done and continues to do.

There have been calls for Trump to step aside, to let Pence rise to the top, as it were.

That is too little, too late.

The GOP foistered this clown upon We the People, and despite a rising wave of GOP 'leaders' disavowing Trump, he still is the GOP Clown.

We wouldn't vote for Pence even if Trump were to step aside. He knew what Trump was and is. It has been evident for decades.

We are voting for Hillary. We were going to vote for Gary Johnson, but we are going to vote for Hillary. We have to do what we can to keep Trump out of the Oval Office. It may not be much, but we will do what we can. We will hold our noses and vote Republican the rest of the ticket, if only to do what we can to see that the GOP holds Congress. Hopefully, the system of checks and balances will kick in, and between a GOP Congress and an Oval Office held by the Clinton Crime Syndicate, governmental gridlock will occur. They will be so busy screwing each other they won't have time to screw with We the People.

It's up to the GOP to hold the Congress down-ballot. If they cannot, then they brought it upon themselves.

To paraphrase Chief Justice John Roberts: "It is not our responsibility to protect the GOP from the consequences of their political choices."


Just Say ‘No’ To Republican Family Values

That's the title of a piece over on HuffPo:

Just Say ‘No’ To Republican Family Values

Overall, it's a pretty good article. It demonstrates some of the hypocrisy of 'conservatives'..

But nothing demonstrates the hypocrisy, especially that of the Bible-thumping 'Christian' conservatives, the evangelicals that make up much of the leadership of the GOP's far right base, more than simply taking a look at Donald J. Trump and the philandering adulterers with whom he has surrounded himself.

How Donald Trump used the three women in his life for his own benefit — and pleasure

The men in Trump's boys' club

I'm curious as to just what 'family values' the GOP is touting, given the behaviors and attitudes of their standard bearer and his collection of frat boy 'advisers.'

This type of 'family values' extends all the way down to local GOP politics.

It is truly amazing what Republicans are willing to overlook in the way of adultery, marital infidelity, total lack of morality and ethical conduct ... making a mockery of anything remotely related to that Bible they love to thump so much.

The interview with Rudy Giuliani was an epic in moral incoherence and intellectual non sequiturs.

The GOP is a cesspool of situational morality, and ethics of convenience. They can't even keep their Biblical story straight. The 'Christian' evangelicals have always detested the 'Mary-worshiping Jesus-eating' Catholics, and JW's, and Mormons, and pretty much anyone who isn't a 'Christian' evangelical ... till the only man they could get to run against Obama was a Mormon. Then, Billy Graham, that paragon of rock-solid morality, declared that Mormons were now 'real Christians,' at least till after the election.

That isn't the first time we've had to put up with the Religious Right's self-righteous attacks on a political candidate. Remember the knickers-in-a-twist over JFK's Catholicism? JFK put them in their place, though, with one of his very best speeches.

The latest from the Party of Family Values, just now leaking out through WaPo and CNN:

Trump in the gutter

"This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course - not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended," Trump said in a statement released Friday.

Trump is always in the gutter, but let's go with that  'locker room banter,' and 'Bill Clinton has said far worse ...'. That's always a good excuse for behaving like a boorish buffoon: "Well, Bill Clinton was worse!"

I thought these were the guys who were supposed to be better than the other party. Well, I guess 'better,' like morality and marital fidelity, is relative to 'far worse.' And at this point, what does it matter, as Rudy Giuliani says, 'everyone is doing it' anyway.


The separation of the US military and American civilians

In our last post ('our' in the editorial sense) we saw that General James Mattis had some interesting observations regarding the relationship of our modern military, and the civilians who form the nation our military defends.

Mattis, along with Kori Schake,  are both involved with a think tank out of Stanford. They have co-edited a book on this subject, Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military.

Our military has been increasingly disconnected from the civilian population - or vice versa.

There are a number of articles and more scholarly studies on the phenomenon.

Here is a particularly good article from Time magazine, published a few years back, on November 10 ... which is the both the day before Veterans' Day, and the anniversary of the founding of the United States Marine Corps:

An Army Apart: The Widening Military-Civilian Gap

An excerpt:

“There’s no challenge for the 99% of the American people who are not involved in the military,” says Army veteran Ron Capps, who served as an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan. “They don’t lose when soldiers die overseas, they’re not being forced to pay, for the wars, and there’s no sense among the vast population of what we’re engaged in.”

and another:

More evidence of the military’s growing separateness: it is becoming a family trade. Mullen has had two children on active duty. His successor, Army General Martin Dempsey, has had three. General Ray Odierno, the new Army chief of staff, has a son who lost his left arm to an RPG in Iraq in 2004. Of course, there are other ways of looking at it. “It is truly inspiring to see the same commitment to serve this nation passing to a new generation of leaders who will follow in the footsteps of their fathers,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said as Mullen handed off the baton to Dempsey Sept. 30. Fair enough. But what about the rest of us?

I don't know about the rest of  you, but our family has served the nation for at least four generations. We had people in World War I, not only in the US armed forces, but the Canadian as well. Both of my parents served as Marines in World War II, and my father served in Korea, retiring just before the buildup in Vietnam. Then I did a 20 year jolt in USAF. And now, we have two grandchildren serving as Marines. The military is very real to us.

Admiral Mike Mullen was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time the article was written:

“I have been struck in my travels at the lack of what I would call in-depth understanding of what we’ve been through,” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told Time before he retired last month after 43 years in uniform. It’s almost like the American Foreign Legion. “We come from fewer and fewer places — we’ve BRAC’ed our way out of significant portions of the country,” Mullen said, referring to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission process that has shuttered hundreds of military posts across wide swaths of the nation. “Long term, if the military drifts away from its people in this country, that is a catastrophic outcome we as a country can’t tolerate.”

He calls it pretty well. Almost all Americans I know are pretty much clueless about the military. "An American Foreign Legion ..." Mullen called it.

He's right.

That doesn't stop our fellow Americans from getting all teary-eyed and waving a few flags. Look at the furor over the Kaepernick Kaper. Most people will tell you that Kaepernick is showing great disrespect for the military with his protest, while I'm wondering exactly when the national anthem became so overbearingly militaristic. I thought it was a national anthem, not a military march or hymn. I also thought serving in the armed forces of these United States was all about 'protecting and defending' the Constitutional values that make America so unique. Isn't that a major part of the oaths of enlistment and commissioning? You know, stuff like freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. Not freedom to think, speak, and worship in a manner approved by self-anointed TrueAmericanPatriots™, the majority of whom have never served themselves, except perhaps at an approved church potluck.

The outrage over this 'disrespect,' however, is superficial at best, and completely disingenuous at worst. The same people who piss and moan over 'disrespect' don't know all the words to the national anthem, and think for the most part that the last words are 'Play Ball!'

Their 'respect' for the military consists of fidgeting through a couple of minutes of music while waiting for a ballgame to begin.

And that's as far as it goes.

Unless you've got some skin in the game.

Most Americans do not.


General Mattis: Why civilians don't understand war - or the military

We Asked Gen Mattis About Why Civilians Don’t Understand War

There needs to be a little more humility and a little more modesty on the part of those who may have statutory, legal, constitutional authority over the military, as they listen to NCOs and junior officers who will actually have the responsibility to try to create unit cohesion, and the gap that exists between the military and civilian world in terms of some of the attributes as an effective military unit, cannot simply be dismissed as being on the wrong side of history as something like this.

The book:

Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military 

This would certainly be a much more useful read than some self-serving crap about Benghazi.

Tough guy

Trump took another cheap shot in his remarks before the Retired American Warriors PAC:

Donald Trump: Military suicides happen to servicemembers who 'can't handle it'

The Trumpkins are claiming that Trump's comments were taken out of context.I don't believe that. Nor, apparently, do a lot of veterans.

This follows too closely with "Heel Spurs" Trump's insulting comments regarding John McCain.135 likes
You will recall that McCain was shot down over Hanoi while on a bombing run - his 23rd over North Vietnam. He bailed out over central Hanoi, coming down in Trúc Bạch Lake, with two fractured arms and a fractured leg. When the Vietnamese pulled him out of the water, they butt-stroked him with a rifle, crushing his shoulder, and bayoneted him. McCain spent five years in Hỏa Lò Prison, where he was subjected to repeated torture.

While this was going on, Trump was recovering from heel spurs. 

Oh, the humanity of it. The poor suffering man.

And this is the man who would be commander-in-chief.

But it gets better ... or worse, depending on your usage of the language. It turns out that as in so many other matters, Trump is clueless.

What Trump gets wrong on veterans' suicide, PTSD

[Trump's] statements perpetuate several myths about military and veteran mental health that are dangerous because they are contradicted by considerable scientific evidence as well as the experiences of service members and veterans who have grappled with psychological injury.

The worst of it:

But by far the more troubling implication of Trump's comments is that PTSD and suicide are signs of weakness. This perspective is incredibly dangerous and harmful to veterans. Multiple research studies have disproven this myth, showing that people who think about and attempt suicide can actually tolerate higher levels of emotional and physical pain than non-suicidal individuals.

"Heel Spurs" Trump. A man utterly clueless about the military, and those of us who have served, and those of us who serve today.


Incoherence and irrelevance

Continuing on the Twitter/social media thread ... we have this one, on Rudy Guiliani's recent comments:

The hypocrisy of Rudy Giuliani

 Rudy Giuliani lobbied for his share of the spotlight with a number of wild declarations, questionable not only for their veracity but for how they actually might serve to strengthen his candidate's appeal. Among them: Hillary Clinton only "pretends to be a feminist." Also: Trump is a "genius" for managing to avoid to pay taxes for nearly two decades. Oh, and that "everybody" engages in extramarital affairs.

The Republican Party has operated for centuries on a platform of "family values," of which adultery is not generally a part. (Safe to say, neither is tax fraud.) It's curious that Giuliani would seek to position himself as a GOP supporter while rebuking one of its primary—if often ignored—tenets. Especially given that he's been guilty of adultery himself.

That was mind-boggling.

So much for the GOP's highly vaunted 'family values.'

But it gets better, if only because it gets even more incoherent:

After "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd wondered if Giuliani was "the right person" to raise the topic of infidelity, given Giuliani's own extramarital affairs, the former mayor revealed that, well, adultery wasn't so uncommon after all. "Everybody does," he said. "You know, I'm a Roman Catholic and I confess those things to my priest."

So which is it: Adultery makes you unfit to lead or not? (Don't expect an answer to that question. At least not from Giuliani.)

Infidelity and adultery are apparently OK if you are Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani - or presumably any GOP politician - but not if your name is Bill Clinton - or presumably any Democrat politician.

I don't know many people who cheat on their spouses. In fact, at the moment, I don't know anyone who does.

But one of the GOP's leading political leaders, one of Trump's leading advisers, believes 'everyone' does it.

How does that set here in Otero County?

New Mexico's Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

We stopped here this past weekend, on the way home.

This is unquestionably the most well done such memorial that I have seen, other than The Wall in Washington, DC.

The visitors' center has some displays that are nothing less than awesome. It's clear that a great deal of thought and effort went into this.

The chapel is very nicely done. It's in the form of an indoor amphitheater, not very large. At the bottom of the seating area, what would be the 'stage' in an amphitheater designed for performances, is an area where visitors have left mementos, items of remembrance. That's an emotional hit, but the thing that hit home for me was not that ... but rather, the boxes of tissues placed on each of the seating levels.

This thing still isn't over.

But we knew that, didn't we.

Twitter, social media, and the most basic of human emotions

On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded Only by a Character Limit

Jim Rutenberg takes a look at the mind-boggling lack of civility and decency on social media. In this case, he focuses on Twitter, though any social media will do. In fact, it goes beyond social media to simply commenting on articles on any 'news' site. One of the worst of these is the Todd Starnes section of FauxNews ... but for the moment, that one is another story.

Rutenberg opens with what is the readily apparent:

If you go by what some Twitter users have to say, it’s a wonder I can string together a sentence. I don’t know how I ever manage to get myself to the office given what a “dumb ass” I am — a Jew, no less, and someone who soils his pants out of fear of a Trump presidency. And if you don’t believe that last bit, someone using a pseudonymous Twitter account was kind enough to provide a graphic photograph of the supposed soiling, but not his or her actual name, because it’s just so much easier to hurl bile while cowering behind anonymity.


But Twitter is floundering a bit.

Twitter is seeking a buyer at a time of slowing subscriber growth (it hovers above the 300 million mark) and “decreasing user engagement,” as Jason Helfstein, the head of internet research at Oppenheimer & Company, put it when he downgraded the stock in a report last week.

There’s a host of possible reasons for this, including new competition, failure to adapt to fast-changing media habits and an “open mike” quality that some potential users may find intimidating.

But you have to wonder whether the cap on Twitter’s growth is tied more to that most basic — and base — of human emotions: hatred.

It courses through Twitter at an alarming rate, turbocharged by this year’s political campaigns and the rise of anti-immigration movements that dabble in racist, sexist and anti-Semitic tropes across the globe. And this is to say nothing of its use by terrorist recruiters.

Perhaps it is possible that the level of hatred - which reaches the level of threats - has begun to wear out not only the recipients, but the ones who propagate it as well.

I doubt that last; that would require too much self-awareness; and much less self-absorption.

Sadly, we also see this in many of our elected officials, at all levels of government - look at Trump's twitters, for example - but especially at the local level. Incoherence and irrelevance of thought processes are so prevalent, we could call it 'tabloid mentalities.' Or, just like a couple of ghetto chicks going at it on the Jerry Springer show.

Is this the new American Way? Or has it been there all along, and social media just brings it out in more visible format, than the more traditional Copper Kitchen/Barista/local church/local service group gossip fests.