Cutting Through The Crap

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Question



Why does anyone still give a shit what John McCain says about anything? Didn't he make it pretty clear how far he'd fallen when he gave us Sarah Palin?

[image source]

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Man Of Integrity. Integrity, I Tell You



Lindsey Graham earned his Senate seat from his perch in the House by feigning sorrowful outrage at having been forced, forced I tell you, to prosecute President Clinton, chin fairly aquiver with the holiness of his mission and his deep love for his country, the honor of which was surely, surely I tell you, at stake in this matter that gave him a heart heavy as a bale of South Carolina cotton. He's better than you. He's better than me. He's better than all of us. And it saddens him to say it.

A member of the party of family values and Christian goodness, he's stepped up once again, riding on the righteous wings of money floated to him from casino-magnate and bankroller of the rightest people in our country, Sheldon Adelson. Why, it's only just and honorable to ban online gambling, right? Wouldn't have a thing, not a thing I tell you, to do with Shell-out Shelly, who stands to make more of his many millions. I mean, the fact that his people wrote the damn bill that Lindsey "I so love our country that it just pains me no end to take his money" Graham just introduced is merely a red-blooded America-loving freedom of the people from our bad bad government coincidence. Right?

Because Lindsey Graham would be pained in his ambiguously oriented heart if it were anything else. Pained, I tell you.

[Image source]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ugh


CPP tells us:


Forty-six years ago this week, elements of the American armed forces entered the village of My Lai 4 in Vietnam and systematically slaughtered 504 civilians in a deliberate war crime. The only reason the death toll wasn't higher was because some American heroes,  including Hugh Thompson and Larry Colborn, placed themselves between another group of civilians and the marauding Americans. 
Now, we discover, thanks to the 60 Minutes group, that, once again proving to be history's yard waste, Richard Nixon decided to ratfk Thompson and Colborn for his own cheap political purposes, and he set his button man, H.R. Haldeman to do it. 
The documents, mostly hand-written notes from Nixon's meetings with his chief of staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, lead some historians to conclude that President Richard Nixon was behind the attempt to sabotage the My Lai court-martial trials and cover up what was becoming a public-relations disaster for his administration... 
And yet, he was "rehabilitated," his considered a worthy opinion in his later years. Not unlike Newt Gingrich, Oliver North, Tom Delay, William Krystol, either overt criminals or constantly wrong. Or both. While the bodies of the victims are still warm, right wing media can't get enough of Dick Cheney, liar and undeniable war criminal, nor in any way denigrate W, his right hand man. Donald "Six days, six weeks, not six months" Rumsfeld is still given rehab time, stealing oxygen from the rest of us.

It would appear that there's no crime, no damage done, no distance traveled beyond what was once considered respectable conservatism, that disqualifies one from hero-worship and opinion-seeking in the cesspits of right-wing media, the halls of Congress, the gathering of crackpots known as CPAC.

Kinda depressing, really.

[Image source]

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Logic




Heading Over The Edge



If it isn't already obvious to everyone, here's more evidence that what's really going on with a large swath of the charter school movement -- the publicly funded charter school movement! -- is the dumbing down of education by those who claim the opposite. Namely, the replacement of science with bible studies:
Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies. Now a major push to expand these voucher  programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment...
We've become inured to the steady erosion of the wall between church and state; as more and more right-wing Christians rend their garments and wear sackcloth in town squares, wailing of their persecution far and wide, they are, in fact, simultaneously succeeding in their real goal, from which this disingenuous crying is deliberate distraction. While the courts, so far, seem to be ignoring or forgetting what they've said before, time and again, we come ever closer to undisguised theocracy.
... Decades of litigation have established that public schools cannot teach creationism or intelligent design. But private schools receiving public subsidies can — and do. A POLITICO review of hundreds of pages of course outlines, textbooks and school websites found that many of these faith-based schools go beyond teaching the biblical story of the six days of creation as literal fact. Their course materials nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists. They often distort basic facts about the scientific method — teaching, for instance, that theories such as evolution are by definition highly speculative because they haven’t been elevated to the status of “scientific law.” ...

How can one not despair for our country? On what basis is there reason to feel optimistic about our future? Increasingly, as the world becomes more complex, our problems more difficult, people -- in the exceptional USA USA USA, anyway -- are checking out. Turning to magic, to wishful thinking, to pre-failed solutions, ignorance, and pretending it'll all go away. To rationalizations for selfishness and short-sightedness. 

These are, indeed, the end-times. Brought on not by gay rights or food stamps. Brought on by the willful ignorance of those who so conclusively misread all the signs, and call it by all the wrong names.

[Image source]

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cosmic Conjob


Entire cartoon here.

Perchance To Dream



Surgical residencies have been significantly affected by the recently reduced work-hour requirements. People are finishing with inadequate training, and, realizing that, many are seeking subspecialty fellowships before loosing themselves upon the unsuspecting public. And directors of those fellowship programs are commenting that people entering them are disturbingly unskilled, unready to operate unsupervised. Not all of those, one notes, go into fellowships. Some go into you.

Back in my day (he said, like a typical old guy who grows nose hairs nearly as fast as he kills off brain cells) we had essentially no limitations on hours worked. On my easy rotations, I had every other night away from the hospital, although the time out was rarely more than about eight hours. On the harder ones, it was every other weekend off, usually starting mid afternoon Saturday and ending around 5 am Monday. As chief resident on the trauma service I had one short night out of the hospital in two months.

It's not as if I liked working that hard (although there were times I absolutely loved it); but I always believed, because, I'm pretty sure, it was true, that it was what was necessary to become a well-trained surgeon, one who could legitimately ask people to trust him with their lives. The rules changed, I remind the reader, after an incident in NYC a few years ago wherein a young woman died after arrival in an emergency department, and the review concluded (falsely, as it turned out, too late to matter) that the poor care she received was due to lack of sleep by the resident who first saw her.

In that context, I found this recent report interesting (I can't link to it because it's behind a log-in-required wall):

... Does loss of sleep from unscheduled nocturnal surgery have a negative impact on subsequent daytime elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy? The authors used Canadian administrative data to compare the outcome in 2078 cholecystectomies performed by surgeons who operated the preceding night vs 8312 cholecystectomies performed by surgeons with no immediately antecedent nocturnal surgery. The patient characteristics of the 2 groups were nearly identical. The results after cholecystectomy were similar in the 2 groups: the relative risk for conversion to an open procedure was 1.18 (P = .33), iatrogenic injuries were insignificantly lower in the nocturnal surgery group, and overall mortality was low and similar in the 2 groups...
I've thought about this subject a lot. Looking back, I've always believed that lack of sleep never affected my judgement or technical abilities during those training years. The main reason, assuming it's true, is that I was young. In those days, when called from sleep I'd be wide awake and functioning instantly. When I could grab a couple of hours of sleep, I fell asleep right away.

Funny thing is, it was after I was in practice, getting older, that I began to take longer to crank up my brain when the phone rang at two a.m. If I took a call and didn't have to get up, I'd often lie awake, sometimes needed to call back to correct something I'd said. To me, that was scary, and eventually was a factor in my early retirement: although it never happened, I started to worry that I'd talk myself out of the need to come in at 3 a.m. and that disaster would result.

I still think the work-hour restrictions were based on bad evidence, and are but one more example of widely-applied rules imposed based on a single incident, the consequences of which are much worse than the problem being addressed.

He says, reaching for the ear-hair trimmer.

[Image source]

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ryan Hits The Road


Entire cartoon here.

Sanction Very Much



I've mentioned once or twice that I'm no economist, so I can't really judge this. But while neocons wail and rail about Obama's weakness and how we really need to toss some bombs, somewhere, on someone, kill a few people and send troops some damn where before Putin waves his dick again, it would seem that the economic sanctions Obama has just announced are hardly nothing:


More from the linked article:

President Obama took new steps Thursday to intensify the economic isolation of Russia following its “illegal” annexation of Crimea, which could have a “significant impact on the Russian economy,” the president said. Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Obama said the U.S. will move “to impose sanctions not just on individuals but on key sectors of the Russian economy.” Senior White House officials say the sanctions will apply to 20 senior members of the Russian government and other “cronies.” They will also apply to St. Petersburg-based Rossiya Bank, which will be “frozen out of the dollar,” making it difficult for the institution to operate internationally. 
The sanctions will target Russia’s financial services, energy, mining, and engineering sectors, officials said Thursday.
If you don't make a bunch of people bleed or, better, die, you're not really serious, say such right-wing but never-right intellects as John "We're all whoever now" McCain, Lindsey "I'm sincere and I'm tough" Graham, Sarah "Sarah Palin" Palin, and every well-couched never-served pundit in Rushohannityland.

Today's Republican icons simply don't understand subtle. Nor can they seem to remember further back that their last press appearance (although, since they regularly contradict themselves, that's probably too long an interval). To them, foreign policy is a one-note deal: push people around. And everything bad that happens in the world is Obama's fault.

Must be nice to be so certain, all the time.

[Image source]

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It Smarts



Who can argue with the fundamental points? It's more even-handed than I tend to be, of course; but since the facts are with smart liberals, the criticism of them is milder -- as I saw it -- than of smart conservatives. (Important point: there are, quite possibly, a few smart conservatives. As the party is currently constituted, there are no smart Republicans.)

The video also, it should be said, reminds me of one of the greatest political quotes of all time, in this case offered up by Paul Krugman: "Newt Gingrich is a stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like."

Blogging is barely mentioned among the various wastes of time and energy, but the implication is there, and is a big part of why I bail now and then.

[Thanks to Cory T. for sending the link.]

When Life Gives You Lemon...



I wrote a bunch of stories when I was, like, eight. My mom, of course, thought they were wonderful. They weren't. One of them was about a guy who stole a paper bag full of "nuquelar reactors." Reading it, one would be forced to conclude I didn't have the slightest idea what a nuclear reactor was, let alone how to spell it.

Which brings us to Don Lemon, of CNN. I don't watch CNN because, geez, even I have standards. And a sensitive stomach. I'd heard his name before, though, when he bravely came out as gay a while back. Silly liberal me, I thought that must mean he's a good guy.

He's an idiot.

According to what I see on the intertubes, he's been among the leading theorists regarding the disappearance of that plane. "Supernatural causes," he's wondered. Bermuda triangle kind of thing?

But now he's taking it to heights heretofore occupied only by the most breathless of crackpots, the least informed of our leaders: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann and Louis Gohmert and Paul Broun territory. Vacuoles of the brain like Swiss of the cheese. Mr Lemon wonders if it got swallowed up by a black hole. No shit. A black hole.

That would fit in a brown paper bag.

[Image source]

Just A Thought...



Remember when Ronald the Great rescued us from our post-Vietnam funk of the defeated by invading Grenada to save the world for mediocre med students? The full force of our daunting Navy surrounding a tiny dot on the map, a country with no military worth mentioning? And we beat them, by god. And Ronnie declared we were once again "walking tall." (Ron did have a little trouble distinguishing the reality in which he found himself from various movies.)

Poor Mr Putin, smarting, no doubt, from the breakup of the Soviet Union of which he was a contributing member, and from the post-breakup descendency into relative powerlessness. So he pulls a Ronnie. Invades a country from which there'd be virtually no resistance expected, having chosen a region traditionally allied with Russia from its genes on up. Reaganesque, no? Not to mention Bushy.

This article, I'd say, gives more credence to the idea as well.

All of which is another way of saying: it had nothing to do with perceived American weakness, or lack thereof. But we knew that anyway, didn't we? If by "we" is meant people capable of stopping to think for half a second.

[Image source]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Okay, This One Is Harder



No less true and obvious than the one in the post below, but harder to accept. Some, of course, never do. And never will know of the missed opportunity. In living a fantasy, one lets a lot of life pass by unexamined.

See How Easy It Is?



If there are arguments in favor of religion, among them most assuredly is NOT the claim that without it, there can be no morality. The above video states what I've said many times: doing good require empathy, and recognition of the value of community. Simple as that. To assume that there's reward and punishment involved is to reduce it to selfishness, fear, and the opposite of moral values.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where There's A Will



A friend sent a link to this article, discussing willpower and why it's so difficult. This section struck a familiar chord: 

...There’s a part of you who is looking to the long-term and thinking about certain goals, and then another part of you that has a completely different agenda and wants to maximize current pleasure and minimize current stress, pain and discomfort. The things that require willpower pit those competing selves against each other. Willpower is the ability to align yourself with the brain system that is thinking about long-term goals — that is thinking about big values rather than short-term needs or desires. 
The reason that so many things can trigger that kind of conflict is because that’s the essence of human nature. Modern cognitive neuroscientists see this as the fundamental structure of the human brain — that there are competing systems that think about the world differently and that respond to challenges differently. I think of it as: the immediate self versus the future self. We need both systems for survival.  But a lot of our modern challenges really tempt us to be in the mind-state of immediate gratification, or escaping immediate discomfort. It can be quite a challenge to access the part of you who is willing to take that big picture and tolerate temporary discomfort...
To me, it describes the current stalemate in our political system between liberals and conservatives. Liberals are the willpower narrative. Conservatives the short-term, immediate gratification screw-the-future side. I've written about the need, at one time in our evolution, to have "shoot first ask question later" brains; and how, in these times, it's not only no longer necessary, but, in fact, a detriment. As we see every day in Congress. Putting the modern equivalent in terms of willpower is an interesting way to look at it.

It seems pretty clear that today's R party, the ones they elect, have zero willpower. They want what they want, for themselves (and for their oligarchical overlords). Now. What we need to survive -- addressing climate change, spending on education, research, health care, infrastructure, reinvigorating the possibilities of "the American dream" -- that stuff requires will power and the ability to think beyond. Not exactly their cup of tea.

Too bad for the rest of us.

[Image source]



Monday, March 17, 2014

He Held These Truths To Be Self-Evident



To today's Republicans, "security" means lobbing a missile once in a while, or invading the occasional country that has a crappy military to be sure people know we're the world's toughest guys. (Trying to remember: who was president when Putin invaded Georgia, and what was the timing vis a vis our invasion of Iraq, not to mention a face-to-face meeting with whichever president that was) and what did we do other than have John McCain declare, on cue, "We're all (insert name of relevant country)s now"?)

FDR, on the other hand, even in the midst of a world war, understood that real security obtains when citizens have access to jobs and living wages, among other things.

Silly commie. What did he know?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thoughts On A Sunday



The key point in Maher's rant is the dog/owner analogy. I've written similarly several times: if a father did to his kids what, according to the Bible, god does to his children, he'd be hauled away and sent to prison.

A nice J. Witness lady came by the other day. Rather than wishing her luck and sending her on her way per usual, I decided to engage her. (Stop me if I've already told you this.) I asked if she believed in prayer. Yes. Doesn't that mean god isn't perfect? If he can be made to change his mind?

Mainly, though, I asked her this, when she claimed that all of our problems are because of original sin (including, because I asked if god was perfect, what about hemorrhoids?): if your child did something you told her not to (like wanting to learn stuff), would you punish her forever, and her children, and her children's children? If you knew of a person who did that, would you not consider him or her an abuser and a pervert? Wouldn't you do everything you could to save her kids from this horribly vindictive and self-hating individual?

And yet that is the god worshipped so Stockholm-syndromly by a majority of our citizens. A guy who knowingly (because he's omniscient) created people unable to follow certain arbitrary and self-contradictory rules, and made a lake of fire into which to toss them for eternity when, as predictable as the morning sun, billions of them failed his little test. A test which lasted less than the blink of an eye, infinity-wise, but sets your fate for ever and ever hallelujah amen.

This is not a nice person if, indeed, he exists and behaves in the way so many claim. Certainly not a loving one. Worse: to claim that it's only by following such a guy that one can have a moral sense is beyond sad. Which is more moral: doing "good" out of fear of this abuser, or on the assumption that at some point he'll call off the dogs and give you a nice puffy cloud to float around on, while looking down and laughing (as so many evangelicals seem inclined to believe they'll be doing) at all those sufferers; or doing good because you have empathy and you know it's simply right? No expectation of reward, no fear of punishment. Just because it's right. Like all of us godless infidels out there. Is it even a close call?

Just saying.

(Because I have friends who are religious, to whom religion is a personal matter and whose religion is not used as a bludgeon against others but only as a series of signposts for themselves, I must add, as I always have: I recognize the value of religion for many people, and that it has been and can be, for some, an unqualified source of solace, inspiration, and goodness. Sadly, that sort of religion seems entirely lacking among the right-wing members of Congress, state legislatures, and other public office holders, and among most of those who elected them. In them, I see nothing but bigotry, hatred, fear, and denialism. Were all religious people like those friends of mine, our country's future would look a little less scary; and I'd have much less about which to write.)


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Cherry On Top Of The Turd



In an amazing act of self-abnegation, my hero Charles P Pierce attended CPAC, that gathering of the most fearful and hateful who come to be fed the most fear-based and hated-stewed bilge from the depths of what some still consider an actual political party. Mitch "I'm not a turtle" McConnell showed up brandishing a musket and then refused to say if he actually owns a gun. Michael Medved declared that no state has banned gay marriage, ever. Ben Carson whined that liberals had lied about his homophobic statements and apocalyptic claims. On and on they went, Santorum and Gingrich and Paul R and R Paul, vying for the title of most inflammatory, least factual, most scary. Sarah Palin wound it up. Here's, in part, how Charlie describes that most appropriately timed cap to the crime:

... McCain should pay a heavy price for unleashing this ignorant, two-wheeled bilewagon on the country's politics. If you think she's a legitimate political leader, you're an idiot and a sucker and I feel sorry for you.... 
...In 2008, we should remember, she wasn't sure how many Koreas there were, thought Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, and was unclear whether or not Africa was a country.  ... 
A friend bailed on the speech, making the very plausible case that Palin is simply another political celebrity freakshow, like Donald Trump. I can see the point there but, with Palin, and watching the hysterical reception her puerile screed received, there is something more serious going on. She is the living representation of the infantilization of American politics, a poisonous Grimm Sister telling toxic fairy tales to audiences drunk on fear, and hate and nonsense. She respects no standards but her own. She is in perpetual tantrum, railing against her betters, which is practically everyone, and volunteering for the job of avatar to the country's reckless vandal of a political Id. It was the address of a malignant child delivered to an audience of malignant children. If you applauded, you're an idiot and I feel sorry for you.
Oh how I wish I could write like he does. And oh how inexplicable it is that anyone able to think, even if it happens to be his job, could attend, without brain damage, that sad cesspool of the permanently aggrieved who long for an America that never existed and, most surely, never will.

[Image source] (And isn't it amazing that googling "cherry on top of turd" actually comes up with an image?)

Friday, March 7, 2014

In Case You Missed Them







If you only have time for one, make it door #3.

Those Men (And A Few Women) Are An Island



In what world does this make any sense, from any point of view, for anyone, of any political party, on any of the known planets?

"The world's greatest deliberative body," is how they like to refer to themselves. The biggest sham, the most corrupt, cynical, self-absorbed, proudly ignorant, arrogant, disinterested in the common weal, shameless group of people to have gathered in one place since Alcatraz was closed. Is how I'd refer to them.

[Image source]

Thursday, March 6, 2014

How Low Can They Go?



Add this to the most basic of American values which all Senate Republicans (and a few Democrats) reject: the right of the accused to have legal representation. How else to explain their rejection of President Obama's nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department? Overtly, nearly all of them -- including those few gutless Democrats -- stated that, somehow, people just can't have confidence in a man who defended, as the law requires, as was his job, a cop-killer.

Well, that and the fact that the last thing any of today's Rs want is someone snooping around their voter disenfranchisement efforts, or their pushing of Christianity as the national creed, or their denial of basic rights to homosexuals. (Where those few Ds fit in that putrid place, I'm not sure I know. Spinelessness does come to mind, though.) They've been against the very concept of a civil rights division since the first dinosaur ate the first spawn of Adam.

Far as I can tell, none of his detractors suggested he was somehow deficient in qualification or legal skills. (And how many people with African-sounding names can a government have, anyway?)

For me it's a little personal. My dad, aunt, and brother are or were attorneys. When I was in Vietnam, my security clearance was held up because my background check revealed that, many years earlier, my dad had had as a client the brother (not the man: his brother) of a former head of the Oregon Communist Party. Really? On that basis I was denied clearance? A brother. Of a former. Decades earlier. My dad, doing his job. I got my clearance eventually, but not before pointing out that being an officer, by law [or something] included at minimum a "secret" clearance, the denial of which meant I couldn't attend the daily base security briefings as all other officers did. (Flying in a particular plane in which I flew required "top secret," but I wasn't even being given "secret,") So, I demanded, either give me the clearance or bust me to enlisted and, since I had no skills other than doctorly ones, send me home.

You believe in our criminal justice system, in due process, or you don't. To defend a criminal of whatever sort is not tantamount to agreeing with whatever it is he or she did. Those guys, mostly lawyers themselves (except for the spate of idiot Congressional doctors that teabaggers seem to love so), surely understand that. To imply otherwise, even as the latest excuse for stopping anything Obama does, is beneath even them.

If there were a floor to such matters. Which, clearly, there isn't.

[Image source]

Nice Try, Paul



Paul Ryan, who, along with Newt Gingrich qualifies for Paul Krugman's characterization of a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like, has just produced a giant report on the failure of social programs. Or, at least, that was his intent. To those able to think past the fog emanating from  Ryan's brain as it struggles with arithmetic, it seems his report sort of backfired. According to The Fiscal Times:

... Ryan’s 204-page report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, is documented with hundreds of citations of academic work. The paper breaks down federal anti-poverty programs ... and reviews the evidence for and against their effectiveness, relying in large part on academic research. 

"Today, the poverty rate is stuck at 15 percent—the highest in a generation,” Ryan noted in the report. “And the trends are not encouraging. Federal programs are not only failing to address the problem. They are also in some significant respects making it worse. Changes are clearly necessary, and the first step is to evaluate what the federal government is doing right now." 

However, several economists and social scientists contacted on Monday had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research... 

This is, of course, the opposite of surprising. Unlike actual research or honest study of any sort, Ryan and all of today's Republican pushers begin with an answer and work to support it, by whatever means possible, not excluding obfuscation, distortion, and some form of this here thing.

[Image source]

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Taking It



Gotta admit: having argued in several venues, including my now-abandoned newspaper column, that the IRS "scandal" was anything but, I'm bothered greatly to know the then-head of the IRS took the fifth at the Congressional hearing. I'm sure it's on the advice of lawyers, yada yada. But it stinks.

(OTOH, this stinks even more.)

[Image source]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hobgoblins



Who was it that said, "Do I contradict myself? Well then, I'm a hobgoblin." No one, actually.*

Oh how Republicans loves them some dictators. Oh how they hates them some democracy, how they wish they had a leader like Vladimir Putin. Oh how they revile Barack Obama for acting unilaterally, for being a dictator, like Hitler, for usurping power and issuing executive orders.

Wait. Do what now?

As predictably as Knight follows Nike, Rs are falling over themselves these days (when are they not?) to laud Vladimir Putin's laudable strength and to deride Barack Obama weakish weakness for not shooting a few missiles somewhere, marching other people's kids off to die someplace. Action, goddamit, is what we need. Because America.

Sarah Palin, proving the adage that even a blind pig finds a squirrel on occasion, is fair unable to contain herself, having realized she actually got something right. Once. For entirely wrong reasons, about a situation she never, in her wildest dead-moose dreams, imagined. But, by golly, she does admire that KGB guy, into whose soul GW Bush once gazed in the most manly way and saw something looking back. That suppressor of scribes, that disappearer of dissidents. That parader of pectorals. Now there's a leader. And oh, does she wish she lived in a land where the voice of the people can't be heard over the roar of tanks.

Same with Rudy "9/11, 9/11, 9/11" Giuliani. And John "Shoot me down again so I can be relevant" McCain. And Lindsey "Find me a fainting couch" Graham. All of them. Looking through the wrong end of the telescope and seeing weakness. Because Iraq worked out so well. And makes it so easy for us to condemn invasions. (Well, there was Grenada, right, Ronnie's first-round bye.) (Don't mention Beirut, okay?)

If irony were potatoes we'd all be eating latkes.

Of course, it's absolutely impossible that, on the world stage, something happens that has nothing to do with the US. That the uprising in Ukraine (who are the players again? Freedom fighters? Nazis? Do we know?) had nothing to do with Barack Obama, either way. Or the US. Or that Thomas Jefferson George Washington Putin's response was an internal decision having little or nothing to do with his perception of possible US reactions, other than the obvious recognition that whatever else happens, there'll not be a shooting war between the US and Russia. But, you know, we're exceptional.  So we should definitely shoot someone.

There are a few differences between Russia and the US that one could name. Turns out, our America-loving, Constitution-written-by-god claiming patriots from the right side find those differences to be deeply disappointing. Democracy, it turns out, and patience, and preference for keeping kids at home unless all else fails, and doing things behind the scenes, and not strutting around shirtless, are just embarrassing to those benighted guardians of the flame of liberty. You want a role model, they're suddenly saying in unison, look from Sarah's porch and see Vladimir Vladimirovich "Not Ilyich" Putin.

Because democracy sucks and war rocks and history is bullshit.

______________________________________________
*Emerson said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." Whitman said "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself..."

[Image source]

Nose Under Tent



Step one: undeactivate blog.

Step two:


[Image source]