Friday, May 29, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Poem For Memorial Day

"You Have No Fucking Clue" 
by Vietnam War veteran Joe Depaoli

A bunch of young men in their late teens riding a bus to MCRD San Diego,
“Get the hell out of the bus and on those yellow footprints, you fucking Maggots”.
You have no fucking idea

Congratulations Marine, 
the pride one has.
You have no fucking idea

On our way by ship to Vietnam, 
riding out a two day typhoon on an old WWII troop transport.
You have no fucking idea

Off the coast of Vietnam, 
watching flairs, tracer rounds flying, shell bursts.
You have no fucking idea

Getting on a Mike boat 
and setting foot on enemy land - locked and loaded,
You have no fucking idea

An officer comes and says we can’t fire on the enemy until they fire first,
You have no fucking idea

The first night in enemy country,
You have no fucking idea

Short round, several Marines wounded,
"Corporal, take those two new Marines out about 3 clicks and set up an LP."
Night, dark as hell, seeing movement, fire M16 full auto, 
hear yells of, "I’m hit, I’m hit - cease fire", 
we just fired on or own ambush.
You have no fucking idea

Not on point today, 
Why am I flying in the air, trip wire and a grenade;
You have no fucking idea

Scraping my wounds and the wounds of guys next to me out with a brush, 
no anesthetic, 
until they are clean and bleeding,
You have no fucking idea

On the hospital ship USS Sanctuary, standing on the railing, 
watching a CH46 attempting to land on the flight deck, 
it suddenly pitches right and 19 folks are in the water… only 5 survivors.
You have no fucking idea

Alfa Company is gridded in by the NVA, 
only 26 non casualties out of 115 marines, 
rescue effort to pick up the dead and wounded, 
place dead and wounded on tanks.
You have no fucking idea

Take the wounded and dead off the tanks, 
some flesh remains on the tank exhaust, 
the burning flesh of Marines, so hastily loaded aboard,
You have no fucking idea

Back at Con Thien, only a couple of hundred incoming today, 
buddy hit twice by shrapnel, 
blew my radio away and part of one of my fingers, 
got to get him to the chopper,
You have no fucking idea

Med evac buddy, 
he lost one eye, 
at the hospital in Da Nang, 
someone yells, everyone that can get under your beds - incoming,
You have no fucking idea

On a C130 flying over the South China sea, 
finally feel a little safe,
You have no fucking idea

One month later landing at Travis AFB,
the cheers of all aboard resound as we touchdown back in the world,
You have no fucking idea

Seeing my mother and father, 
round eyes, 
no smell of cordite, 
no smell of burning 55 gallon drums of shit, 
no orders to lock and load, 
no sound of incoming, 
no dead bloated maggot infested bodies of the enemy on the ground, 
no one screaming "I’m hit - medic up", 
no more shredded jungle fatigues, 
no more dumping of enemy bodies in town squares,
You have no fucking idea

I look at my mother and father, 
dad has a fucking idea because he was in WWII, 
and my mother has a fucking idea because of being in an occupied country in WWII, 
nothing is said or needs to be said other than, “Glad you're home son.”

My wife, 
my children, 
my grandchildren, 
most of my family and friends,
You have no fucking idea

Dear Lord, 
Dear Ancient ones, 
how I wish I had no fucking idea.

hat tip = The Rude Pundit

Sunday, May 24, 2015

On Memorial Day Eve

Relax and be mellow - and melancholy if you've been reflecting at all on the extraordinarily shitty reasons for feel-good bullshit celebrations on a day intended to memorialize lives cut short in service to the venal ambitions of politicians bent on conquest driven by corporate profit.

Freedom rings loudly now
Listen up, hear the sound
Screamin’ as the shots ring out
That’s what freedom sounds like now

Beating drums, fathers’ sons
Teach ‘em well to kingdom come
Steal the daylight from the sun
That’s what freedom has become

Stand over the shadow of a man
Starin’ at his lifetime with blood-stained hands
What had you planned to say?

Underground, out to sea
Bodies come to rest in peace
Fighting for the right for more
That’s what freedom has in store

Asphalt burns the un-soled feet
Vacant eyes in defeat
Lost the thread on every dream
That’s what freedom’s come to mean

Stand behind the handle of a gun
Starin’ down the future, darin’ time to run
Like time could run away

Freedom’s blowin’ sadly now
Listen up, love came ‘round
Candles burn in memory
Freedom is a fading dream

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Sunny Day In Ireland

It's generally a lousy idea to put Human Rights to a vote, but in a country that's 85% Catholic, marriage equality is now the law in Ireland. 

Way to go, Irelanders.
With the world watching, the Republic of Ireland has become the first nation to enact marriage equality by popular vote.
The leader of the opposition, David Quinn, has already conceded the loss. “Congratulations to the Yes side on their win,” tweeted Quinn, who is director of the Iona Institute. And in a more lengthy statement Quinn is already pivoting to the next fight, saying "We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience."
But today is a day of celebration for supporters of LGBT rights, both in Ireland and worldwide. The margin is still being finalized but all reports say Irish voters Friday overwhelmingly approved adding this language to the country’s constitution: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
Coupla things:
While Ireland is the first to make it official by way of popular vote, they're the 19th country in the world to make Marriage Equality the law nation-wide.  USAmerica Inc (aka The Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave) funnily enough isn't among them.

And also too:

Irish people from all over the world went to great lengths and considerable expense for the  chance to go home and vote.  We've seen similar phenomena in South Africa and Argentina and Panama and Iraq and Afghanistan and Poland and Ukraine and Egypt - and we never see it here in the US.  I guess it's just another good example of how fucking exceptional we are.


hat tip = FB buddy LM-M

Basically - we don't wanna bust the biggies because that'll be bad for business; it could hurt some companies that are very important to all of us in a lot of ways, and could have a really bad impact on the economy as a whole.

By that logic, we don't wanna bust the meth peddler on the corner down the block because that could drive down the property values of the whole neighborhood(?)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

World Music


Maybe I'm growing up or maybe I'm just getting weirder as I grow old, but even though there's a tinge of 1960s East Coast ersatz Bohemian (Faux-hemian?) in this, there's something I find compelling about it - and I'm not going to bail on it by calling it "oddly compelling".

There's just something kinda noble and soulful about talented people creating something interesting enough to get past the barriers of culture or politics or whatever.

Bonus - looking them up on Google and Wikipedia was worth the effort if only to have discovered there's a music genre known as Ethno-Chaos.

The world is out there - we should go take a look at it once in a while.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Today In Fashion

In the last dozen years or so, it seems like a bajillion middle-aged middle-class American men (guys with more money than either common sense or hair) grew goatees and started riding Harleys - evidence of how fucked up and phony we can get in our obsessive pursuit of a personal identity driven by the whims of fashion and imposed from the outside by marketeers bean-counters and peer pressure instead of reflection study and insight.

Or maybe I'm just feeling the effects of having binge-watched way too much Mad Men over the weekend, trying to catch myself up on a part of Cultura Americanus Vulgaris.

Anyway, along comes this - via KWTX:
WACO: (May 17, 2015) Rival motorcycle gangs turned a local restaurant into a shooting gallery Sunday afternoon and when the gunfire was over, nine people were dead and 18 were injured.
Early Monday, law enforcement had turned their attention to the risk of additional bike gang members looking to retaliate, and initiate further violence in the Waco area.
Sunday afternoon, Waco Police, assisted by Department of Public Safety troopers, police officers from several cities and deputies from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office were surrounding the Twin Peaks Restaurant, in the Central Texas Market Place after several people were reported shot during a rival motorcycle gang fight, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
Police initially said three gangs were involved, but later said factions from at least five gangs took part in the melee.
Police and troopers were in the parking lot trying to secure the area and protect citizens when a fight broke out inside the restaurant and spilled into the parking lot.
Swanton said the fight quickly escalated from fists and feet to chains, clubs and knives, then to gunfire.
Gang members were shooting at each other and officers at the scene fired their weapons, as well, Swanton said.
So - a few questions:

Assuming there're good-guy bikers with guns and bad-guy bikers with guns, which was which when the shooting started?

When the cops showed up, were they able to spot the good-guy bikers?  Or did they just assume everybody with a gun (but without a cop suit) was a bad guy who needed to be seen as a threat?

And when can we expect all you CosPlay Bikers to stand up and condemn the extremists in your midst?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Bias Runs Deep

We learn that things are supposed to be a certain way, and it can be a ridiculously arduous task to un-learn them in order to re-learn them in a different way.

I understand it, but it still kinda pisses me off that we'll have to spend the next 30 years trying to undo the damage caused by the Political Psychology of the last 30 years and that it's more than a little probable that we'll just have to wait for the UltraCons to start dying off.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

(sigh) Hersh

Oh-fucking-dear - it might not be about what they told us it's about.

The Rude Pundit nails it again:
"High-level lying nevertheless remains the modus operandi of US policy." Where Hersh goes wrong (and what everyone attacking the article follows) is pretending that his conclusion about President Obama and his administration making up a story about the bin Laden raid is earth-shattering. Christ, we just expect the president to lie to our faces. Hersh is living in a pre-Nixon era if he thinks we have that outrage gene anymore.
This is a nation that reelected the man who lied them into war. We are so apathetic that we just want to believe whatever story makes us sleep better at night. If we pull at the threads, if we start saying what the lies are in our "war on terror," there's a mighty big, comfy blanket that will fall apart. We will never allow that to happen. Truth carries a trigger-warning for Americans, so we choose to ignore it. Whether or not the real story is Hersh's, it sure as hell isn't the official one. It never is.
With all the bullshit faux-scandals and flat-out malarkey about Obama that the Repubs have been just making up, along comes a coupla items that're worth gabbing about (TPP, and now this bin Laden fantasy), and there's nothing  anybody has to say about anything?

I wonder why I'm not shocked that we are not shocked by any of this.

Today's Pix

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Paid Up Patriotism

I've always felt uncomfortable with what seems like mandatory displays of patriotism - all the shit you see on Facebook and Twitter and on any given "news" show on radio or TV; and now including SportsBall events.  It's always seemed like I was back in high school in the late 60s, when guys wearing letter jackets were free (and encouraged) to beat up any kid who dared not stand up and sing the anthem or genuflect as the flag went by.

But not even in my darkest heaviest skepticism (some would say cynicism) did I ever really think we had sunk so low.

And I think it really sucks that we need Smedley Butler to come around once in a while to warn us again about the totally shitty misuse of any American soldier in service of wielding the political power necessary to pursue such grotesque profit at such an obscene expense.
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.
In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914.
I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.
I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.
I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916.
I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903.
In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Today's John Oliver

Today's Deep Thought

Once upon a time we decided we'd do a little governmentin' to get Dow Chemical and Standard Oil and Honeywell (et al) to stop dumping all their shit into the water, and to stop filling the skies with lead and mercury and sulfur (et al) - we needed Gubmint to help defend us against Big Bidness.

(remember now - Dick Nixon put the EPA together, but it was Johnson's idea because he loved working with the windows open on a spring day in DC, but he couldn't stand the stench of the Potomac wafting in on the breeze)

Anyway, then we decided that was just too restrictive and job-kill-y, so we wanted Big Bidness to defend us against Big Gubmint, and we got all Animal Instinct-y and Free Market-y, and gee - looks like we're kinda back to where we started.  'Cept that now, it seems we'll be fighting to the death to decide whether Big Bidness or Big Gubmint will defend us against an evermore hostile environment.

Good luck, kids.  

BTW - I'm in the market for some old aluminum cookware, hoping to push my Alzheimer's onset up by a decade or two so I don't hafta watch this shit happen.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tim Wise

Re: Cops beating on people - mostly people with dark brown skin, and the ridiculousness of pale people thinking they know much of anything about what it's like to live black in white America.
It is bad enough that much of white America sees fit to lecture black people about the proper response to police brutality, economic devastation and perpetual marginality, having ourselves rarely been the targets of any of these. It is bad enough that we deign to instruct black people whose lives we have not lived, whose terrors we have not faced, and whose gauntlets we have not run, about violence; this, even as we enjoy the national bounty over which we currently claim possession solely as a result of violence. I beg to remind you, George Washington was not a practitioner of passive resistance. Neither the early colonists nor the nation's founders fit within the Gandhian tradition. There were no sit-ins at King George's palace, no horseback freedom rides to effect change. There were just guns, lots and lots of guns.
We are here because of blood, and mostly that of others; here because of our insatiable and rapacious desire to take by force the land and labor of those others. We are the last people on Earth with a right to ruminate upon the superior morality of peaceful protest. We have never believed in it and rarely practiced it. Rather, we have always taken what we desire, and when denied it we have turned to means utterly genocidal to make it so.

 Read the rest of it at Alternet

Happy Day, You Muthuh

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Today's Quote

Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us – and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along.
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge—even to ourselves—that we've been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.) --Carl Sagan 
I think of this quote pretty much every time I hear any "conservative" start to talk about almost anything.

Supply Side Economics & Trickle-Down
Nicotine isn't addictive and smoking's not really all that bad for ya
Tea Party
Antonin Scalia
Post-Racial America
Climate Change is a hoax
Tax Cuts boost government revenue
Cops aren't fucking us over
Freedom of Speech means billionaires should own everything
DumFux News
We were founded as a christian nation
Jade Helm 15

and on and on and on

Friday, May 8, 2015

Brady's Balls

Today's Chart

Here's a comparison of mandated Paid Maternity Leave and Protected Maternity Leave in 38 "first world" countries. (I'm thinking you won't be surprised)

The article that goes with that chart deals with the trend of a declining birth rate in USAmerica Inc.
New findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey reveal that nearly half of women between ages 15-44 were childless in 2014, a 1.1 percent increase from 2012. This is consistent with recent National Center for Health Statistics data showing a six-year decline in U.S. birth rates. The report says America's fertility rates dropped to record lows in 2013 with women ages 15-44 only having 1.86 babies on average. In order to maintain a stable population, the average has to be at least 2.1 children.
Family-Friendly my dyin' ass. This is one of the reasons I find it so hard to resist kicking "conservatives" right in the nuts.

Wanna know why "Millennials" aren't buying into the American Dream?  They're not convinced there's any future in it for them.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

About That Geller Lady Thing

Every time something happens like what happened in Garland TX, I'm reminded that "free speech" is a weapon as much as it is a tool.  And that goading some dumb sucker into a fight just so you can make a point (and a pile of cash) is about as craven as it gets.

I'm not suggesting the two dead 'jihadis' deserved anything but bullets in their heads once they started the shit, but let's at least admit their reaction was predictable - and predictable  to the point that we can condemn the fact that the provocation has almost nothing to do with Free Speech, and everything to do with making it justifiable (and profitable) to kill Muslims.  

Geller's little stunt produced exactly what it was intended to produce, which is Violence As Revenue Opportunity.

A good bit from The Rude Pundit:
Conservatives Really Need You to Care About the Garland Thing
Honestly, conservatives, most of us on the left look at Pamela Geller's stupid ass Mohammed cartoon thing, which was attended by a handful of Fox "news" zombies and more media than it deserved, and think, "Well, if that's what you wanna do." 'Cause, see, we all knew that images of Mohammed piss off loser jihadi-wannabes who need to prove their street cred. So, oh, gee, you mean the deliberately provocative act provoked someone to violence? Well, fuck us all with a surprise stick. Shit, considering the nonsensical conspiracy theories floating around Texas right now, why not say that the two idiot gunmen were promised cash and seven minutes in paradise with Geller to come shoot up the joint in order to justify the whole goddamned effort?
But the right really, really needs us to give a shit. They need us to condemn Geller's show. Look at what Erick "Erick" Erickson of the Red State blarg had to say right after the shooting: "Over the next twenty-four hours, we can expect the media to wring its hands about 'Texas gun culture,' the unnecessary provocations of Pamela Gellar [sic], and a host of other issues. They will work very hard to suggest Muslims were somehow the victims and try to distance the story from Islam." Look at that list. One of those things has come true - about Geller being an attention whore who makes real whores think, "Fuck it. I should retire and give her the whole block" - and the rest? No one of any note has said shit about guns in this case (except maybe how the bad guys got the guns). No one has said Muslims were victims, except to say that a bunch of needy fucknuts tried their hardest to get a reaction from Muslims.
Later, Erickson says, "[T]he most telling thing to me is how quickly prominent leftists placed blame on the event organizers for holding than event instead of on a group of Muslims for deciding they can kill because they are offended." No, sweet, pudgy Christ fellater, we are all blaming the dudes with the guns. We can also say, without contradiction, that the event wouldn't have taken place if the threat of violence wasn't built into it, and that shit's reckless. By the way, aren't you the people who think that the problem with rape on college campuses isn't that rapists do it, but that sexy coeds get drunk and are easy targets?
Anyway, you know who some of the loudest voices against Geller are right now? Other conservatives who think Geller's full of shit, which, of course, made Geller screech even louder than usual. (That last link has all the cartoons from the event, and you will forever regret clicking on it.) Skeevier attention whore Donald Trump even said that Geller was "dumb."
Still, people like Rush Limbaugh blubber on about how much eeevil liberals don't give a goddamn about free speech. Meanwhile, most of us real lefties, not the fantasy flesh-eating gorgons conjured by the deranged minds of conservatives, feel about the cartoon display the same way we feel about flag burning: You have the right to do it, but you sure as shit aren't doing it to make people believe in your cause.
It's your right to fuck with people's core beliefs. And it's our right to think your point is worthless.

Today's Pix

Meanwhile, Back At The World


via HuffPO:
Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 -- the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Scientists with NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a "significant milestone" in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.
“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120ppm since pre-industrial times,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's greenhouse gas network, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”
Lotsa people spend lotsa time worrying about and wondering why it seems "The Millennial's" are so self-absorbed and uncaring. If ya get a chance to sit down and talk with a few of 'em, ask a coupla questions about the way we're runnin' the joint and what they think the future holds for them.  And then try not to fuck up your knuckles too bad punching the mirror when you get home.

They are the way we've taught them to be.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sounds Of Resistance

What About Me --Quicksilver Messenger Service

Things Goin' On --Lynyrd Skynyrd

What Did You Learn In School Today? (cover) --Stacey Randol and Michael McBurnett

I'd Love To Change The World --Ten Years After

Make Me Wanna Holler --Marvin Gaye

Bid 'Em In --Oscar Brown Jr

We Beg Your Pardon --Gil Scott-Heron

If I Had A Rocket Launcher --Bruce Cockburn

What The World Needs Now / Abraham Martin and John (DJ mashup 1971) --Tom Clay

Go Larry Go

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Real News (updated)

Step 1) Find somebody who knows something
Step 2) Ask a few smart questions
Step 3) Shut up and let him talk

hat tip = FB buddy DR via truthdig

(And Uh-Oh.  My guy Martin O'Malley took a bit of a hit there (starting at about 3:45) when Mr Powers slags him for misunderstanding the Broken Windows approach to the point of total FUBAR.  I guess I need to figure out a way to ask him about that.)

So, wouldn't it be nice if we could take a hard look at the whole process?  Maybe we could start with: Coin-Operated Politicians getting elected partly on Big-Money donations from the Crime-&-Punishment Industries which eventually makes for a very tidy loop of criminalization and recidivism (Bust. Bargain. Jail. Repeat).  The cycle of Poverty, Ignorance and Crime isn't a bug in the system - it's a fucking feature.

And as a nice bonus, it gives our returning war heroes some occupational therapy so they can work out those PTSD issues that they don't have and that nobody ever needs to talk about because they couldn't possibly manifest themselves in the worst possible ways at the worst possible times - but like I said, let's not worry about any of that. Ever.

Anyway, concentrating your Zero-Tolerance approach on the "problem areas" almost ensures those problem areas will forever remain problem areas.  Which is, again, actually the point.  While it's being sold to us as Public Service, law enforcement is being administered as a Profit Center.  And the Revenue piece of any good business plan includes Recurring Revenue Opportunities - Returning Clientele, Customer Retention, Repeat Business, pick a buzz phrase, any buzz phrase.

BTW - the people filling our prisons aren't the "customers" of the Crime-&-Punishment Industries; the same as the patients filling our hospitals aren't the "customers" of our Healthcare Industries.  The main point there being that a healthy patient is a detriment to somebody's profitability the same as a law-abiding citizen walkin' around free isn't putting money into the pockets of an ever-widening system of interlocking "security" businesses.  

But weirdly - healthy patients and law-abiding citizens are very good for taxpayers and premium payers and business owners and families and and and.  So how come it seems like somebody doesn't want us to be particularly free or particularly healthy?  It's a wonderment, ain't it?

Prisoners (like Patients) are both the raw material and the product.  This is a strictly Business-to-Business proposition. The customer base consists of corporations which spend lots of time effort and money getting you and me to line up so we can volunteer to get scammed into believing we're buying ourselves a little law and order; some peace of mind; a feeling that we'll be allowed into the powdered wig salon just as soon as we've kissed all the right asses and stepped on all the right fingers - when actually, we're just identifying ourselves as resources for a system that eats people, extracts power and money, shits people back out; and then starts over again.

What, you weren't still thinking Law Enforcement's about enforcing the law, were ya?  You're so cute.  We live in USAmerica Inc, silly - America's business is business.  And business is fucking great.  

You're very important to us, so please stay in line - we'll get to you soon enough.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Today's Contextualizationing

There really was a time (quite a while ago) when Geraldo Rivera was thought to be a journalist.

The very well-practiced frozen smile on Rivera's face is a dead give-away that he suspects just how irrelevant he is; and that he's afraid that that irrelevancy is about to be shown to the world.  He desperately wants to be the gutsy plucky reporter he thinks he used to be as he's almost literally running away from that guy.

And the fact that he can't hold a candle to that guy's arguments is great tribute to the simple fact that whenever anybody working for the DumFux News crew ventures outside the bubble, reality short-circuits their closed-loop thinking and the whole program craters in on itself.

To be (kinda) fair, most of the other Press Poodles have run into similar buzz saws - it's just a little more satisfying when I get to watch some schmuck working for the GOP's PR Channel shit himself in public.

And now this:

Tweet Trend

Been seeing a lot of this one lately.

Not Even Close