Monday, September 11, 2017

Reeking tube and iron shard

Given the monumental clusterfuck that the inchoate rage and fear born on this day 16 years ago have created across the globe I can't think of any reason for my country or my countrymen to "commemorate" the events of that day in any way that doesn't consist only of a silent, humble, deeply mournful contrition.

We won't, of course, because We the People suck at contrition and have never accepted our own responsibility for excusing or, worse, encouraging a coterie of evil, greedy fools for using the events of 9/11/01 as a hammer to drive the poisoned nails of their ambition and hubris into the wide world as well as into our own society. Instead there will be all the usual solemnity and public waving of the Bloody Shirt of the dead of Manhattan and Virginia, just as if those heaps of dead had not, like the horrible unliving monsters of World War Z, created Alps and Himalayas of dead all across the world.

Instead of ruing the arrogance and stupidity that this day awoke in our nation we will continue to pretend that we were the victims that day, innocent of any wrongdoing and greatly wronged, instead of using a wrong done to us to do a thousandfold wrongs to any and everyone we hated - or were told to hate - and feared.



Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Like a taco in the sun

Of all the vile stupidity that the Fraudulency Administration has foisted on this nation the latest round of beaner-bashing - the promised elimination of the rule that allows people who were snuck into the United States as minors to remain in the United States - is perhaps the vilest and most stupid.

Vile because, like it or not (and the Trumpkins DON'T like it, which is why they're shrieking and stamping their widdle feet so hard to make this a thing) these people are U.S. nationals. Not citizens, but American in all effective senses of the word. Tossing these poor sonsofbitches into Guatemala City or Sinaloa would be no different than snatching some random gringo out of the nonexistent salad bar a Applebee's, stripping them naked and parachuting them out over San Pedro Sula. This will result in some predictable number of these people, whose "crime" is infinitely less egregious than the shameless grifting indulged in by some greater-than-random-percentage of Orange Foolius' appointees, being raped, murdered, robbed, beaten, and more-or-less enslaved.

Stupid because, frankly, this is more of the same nonsense I fulminated against here, here, and here.

Only worse.

Because the vast, VAST majority of the people targeted by this nasty little piece of xenophobic racism are, as I said, American. They are employed, many in college, many in position to be valuable contributors to any sensible civilization. But because of the gibbering lunacy of the GOP C.H.U.D. base they will be wasted, thrown away to appeal to a group of people who, by and large, appear as useful to the future of the United States as print-shop employees for a glossy skin mag.

One reason I really hate writing about politics these days is how utterly vile are the politics of the current ruling party and its' adherents. There's a point to be had in discussing controlling the entry and exit to the United States. There's no point to discussing that by shrieking demonization of the people trying to evade those controls. They're simply doing what every human being since Olduvai Gorge has done; make their lives and their families' lives better. A sensible polity would be trying to figure out ways to integrate many of them into the life of the nation, and to ameliorate the problems in the native lands of the others so as to wake them from the nightmares that drive many of the immigrants to flee their native lands.

But given the last year's history this nation is, quite obviously, NOT a sensible polity.

Aside from simple sensible policy, the deplorables that are squealing and squeeeeeing because His Fraudulency is punishing these "others" aren't even going to get the woody they anticipate out of this. They're highly unlikely to benefit from the expulsion of these people in any material way. Cletus and Lulabelle aren't going to pick tomatoes in the California sun, or sheetrock Houston in the swampy misery of late summer, or cook frantically in the back of a diner in Sherwood, Oregon. The "jobs" they think these people they hate are taking? They're not good jobs. These DACA people have no legal rights; they cannot afford to take any job that will do a thorough enough background check to expose their legal status.

That will make no difference to the deplorables; for them it's all about just wanting to make "those people" pay.

That's a fucking insane way to run a great industrial nation.

But insanity has never stopped modern Republicans before and it won't now. It's all tribal, all resentment, all whining and bitching all the way down, along with stooging for plutocracy and licking the guns of the ammosexuals and the cross of the God-botherers.

The dark heart of Treason in Defense of Slavery and the decades of segregation and racial oppression that followed was the the people who "counted" - the wealthy white elite that founded the U.S. based on what was good for wealthy white elites - conned the po' white trash into sucking up to them with the bestial promise that, no matter what, no matter how worthless and vile and shitty those white trash people were and would be, they would always be "better" than a nigger.

And a beaner.

And, as we can see, that hasn't changed an iota.

So, despite the obvious fact that, as I said back in February, that
"...the results will be at best underwhelming. The promised Day of Alien-Free Jubilee will turn out to be a quiet monotone of unpicked crops, uncleaned hotel rooms, unwiped asses, and uncooked meals.

The result of all this huge slug of spending - surely paid for by a tax hike, right? - will be, outside of personal hardship for those involved, a vast expanse of...very little."
his Trumpkins will fight for this like crazed hashashins because nothing, nothing, is more important to them than reminding those dusky little devils that this is still a White Man's Neighborhood.

Friday, September 01, 2017

They've finally developed the boneless cat

And here he is, with Maxine:
Drachma really is the sweetest kitty. He's not particularly a lapcat; I mean, he tolerates and even seems to enjoy being petted, but he doesn't really seek you out and cuddle with you in hopes of a pet.

But he's incredibly tolerant of being hauled around and mauled by the urchins. Practically every other cat I've ever worked for would have sliced the little mongers to ribbons for the stuff they do to him. Not Drachma. He simply lies quietly under their abuse until he's had enough, at which point he wriggles free.
I constantly remind the sprogs of this but they seem unconvinced. I await their encounter with a different, more typical, kitty and expect that they will be quickly disabused of their foolish conviction...

Just in case, here's the reference in the title.
It's actually sort of sad, a reminder of the time when Charlie Schultz bothered to actually cartoon and his creation was something other than a vehicle to huck insurance...

September bloggage!

I'm sorry to announce that the blogging fever is not on me now any more than is has been for the last year or more. I just have little of worth to say and little excitement to say it. Nothing has fundamentally changed in my country since I suggested that the United States was completely in the hands of a group that
"...in it's present incarnation offers only two things:

1. Stooging for open oligarchy, and
2. Comfort for white nationalism, Christian theocracy, and fear of the "others" (whether those others are gay, or brown, or Muslim)

And that's really it. There's no "hope" there. There's nothing aspirational. There's no vision of a future United States that isn't a polluted, plutocratic, conservative-Christian feudality. That's it; if you white (male, Christian) you right. If you brown...well, fuck off. And you lib'ruls, homos, uppity wimmens, nigras, beaners, immigrants of all stripes, Muslims, atheists..."
(I should note that when I posted this I was accused of being "meanspirited" and not optimistic enough, that the Tangerine Toddler wasn't a generic Republican but some sort of Magical Plutocrat, full of populism and America-First-end-the-foreign-meddling-ism and "shake-it-up"-ism and "tells it like it is"-ism. Ummm...how's that working out for those of you who gave me that shit, eh? Is Orange Foolius' rage against immigrants and scary Mooslims and vote fraudsters and poor people and medical insurance and his luuuuurve of tax cuts and bullying foreigners convinced you you were his goddamn marks yet? Be sure and let me know...)

As for the rest of the world...well, I have kiddo and domestic stuff, but that's of interest only to me.

I've tried to find some interesting things to say about the Army Reserve and the ARNG in the Nineties and Oughts, but there's not a whole lot of there there. I do want to try and come up with SOMEthing to say about them, if nothing else, to discuss my ORARNG's epic JRTC rotation back in the mid-Nineties and the Great Railhead Robbery, but that will take some time and thought. Might not get to it this month.

There is ONE thing I do want to write up this month; The Siege and Battle of Vienna, September 1683; the High Water Mark of the Ottoman Empire.

So I'm going to start picking away on that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hiding Cards in the Great Game

So apparently the Fraudulency Administration is going to continue try to hustle the East.
(And I should add to any readers out there who said, or believed, this: No. Donald Trump didn't ever mean what he said when he talked about "disengagement" (or whatever fourth-grade word he used for "getting the fuck out of Southwest Asia") on the stump. He...well, to call it "lied" would be to presume that he even bothered to put the effort into giving a fuck about whatever word salad came out of his piehole...didn't have the slightest idea or care the least bit about the pointless military farkling about west of the Khyber Pass any more than he really meant that you were going to have the best medical coverage, waaaay better than Obamacare. Donald Trump isn't some sort of pacifist, or even an isolationist. He's a conman and, like any good conman, he said what he needed to to get you poor, dumb bastards to buy his snake oil.)
Now this is all the same-shit-different-Groundhog-Day that the U.S. has been doing in the Grave of Empires ever since Dubya's day. IT didn't work when we had damn near 100,000 guys in theatre and it won't work now. I can talk forever about how it's going to be impossible without Pakistani buy-in and how the Pakis won't buy in because of the Kabul government's coziness with India, about how Trump's nonsensical rejection of "nation-building" leaves the problem of Afghan government corruption and malfeasance in place and, thus, ensures the worthlessness of any sort of military success.

But that's not what gets me about the latest round of this idiocy.

It's Orange Foolius' ridiculous obsession with not telling who he's going to direct the Pentagon to send as reinforcements.
(Oh, and another note: I'm hearing people talk about how "serious" and "presidential" the oaf sounded Monday night. Look. Regardless of how "presidential" he sounded his Afghan "plan" is a ridiculous mess of pottage that wouldn't produce a successful toddler's birthday party, let alone a solution to an intractable colonial war in one of the least-hospitable parts of the globe. Focusing on how The Idiot sounded lets the punditry elide what a mess he and his best, "the very best" military advisors have devised. As I noted; over 100,000 troopers complete with horse, foot, and artillery couldn't suppress the Pashtun. Now a couple of new brigade rotations is gonna work. And we're not "nation building" when every swinging richard who has taken a look at this has concluded that one of the single biggest problems is the regime in Kabul, which is loathed when its not ignored by every Afghan outside those leaching off it? So...no. He wasn't "serious" Monday night. He may have sounded "serious", but what he actually SAID was just the same Trump nonsense.)
A combat brigade, like love and a cough, is hard to hide. Trust me, the Talibs have people inside our log facilities in-theatre. When a new unit is due to arrive their advance party is on the ground making coordinations days, weeks, sometimes even months before the main body arrives. The muj will get intel on, at the very least, when and who is showing up long before they get there.

And the muj will also have people shadowing the units in the field AOs. They'll notice when the ADVON guys show up to coordinate the relief with the departing unit (or set up FOBs for a new AO). They may not know exactly which outfit is going to show up, or exactly where and when...but they'll have a pretty good idea that SOMEbody is coming.

But this all fits with Orange Foolius' ideas that war is like some sort of game where you "win" by hiding your cards or something, and, sadly, it also fits with our geopolitical infatuation with tactics as strategy. Every Great Power that has ever meddled with the Central Asian highlands has eventually figured out that you 1) choose your most ruthless local satrap, arm and equip him, and 2) declare victory and leave. Then, when your proxy falls to the inevitable coup or rebellion or whatever you shrug and move on. The whole damn place is pretty worthless.

"Killing terrorists" is just going to end up killing...more people. More Afghans. Meaning that we'll end us sowing Cadmus' teeth and making one or two new muj for everyone we kill. If you want to go Full Roman and make a wasteland? That's pretty much the only way that works. But, hopefully, Trump and his merry band of neoNazis aren't ready to tap their Inner Reinhard Heydrich.

Yet, anyway.

So the only people that this idiot is fooling with his secrecy are the people he's supposed to be straight with; the U.S. public. The Talibs will know before any of us civilians where and who he's sending to slay Afridis where they run.

Which will work just as well as is has for the past 17 years.

As I've said before; the only way to "win" this Central Asian Game of Thrones is not to play.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

An Open Letter to the 45th President of the United States

Look, I know you have the attention span of a housefly, but try to follow along, K? I'll keep it as simple as you are.

Here's what Americans do to Nazis:
That's pretty clear, isn't it?

It used to be a bar that you had to clear to get elected here in this goddamn country; don't be a Nazi, don't be a commie. Sadly, you could be racist, sexist, and xenophobic as all hell, but you at least had to clear that low bar.

So.

As the fucking President of the United States, here's what it's your job to do.

You put your ginormous orange gob in front of the teevee cameras and say this:

"Don't be a Nazi. Fuck "alt-right" and "white pride"; that shit's being a Nazi. Don't be a Nazi. Don't talk like a Nazi. Don't act like a Nazi. Don't hang out with Nazis. Nazis are evil. We killed shitloads of Nazis, there was a whole war and everything. If you talk like and act like and hang out with Nazis you are fucking evil. As your President, I hate Nazi scum and everything they stand for and I recommend you do, too."

See? Wasn't that easy?

But you won't say that.

Ever.

Because you can't. Because you know these Nazi shitpokes are your shitpokes, the ones who elected you, the only ones who still have your back after eight months of solid derp, the ones think you're doing such a great job, the very best job. Because you're a worthless goddamn orange oxygen-thief who should never have been trusted with anything more important than the menu choices at the Trump Tower grill.

But I'm leaving this here in hopes that somehow the Wizard figures out how to give you a heart, a brain, and some courage enough for you to act like a president of, y'know, the United Fucking States...

Lemme know when that happens.
I won't be holding my breath.

Friday, July 14, 2017

¡Fuera de acá, todos!

The Washington Post reports a rather disturbing meeting between the director of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus:
"Trump, Sessions and Kelly want to take 800,000 DREAMers with DACA and hundreds of thousands with TPS who are registered with the government and in compliance with the law and make them into criminals, felons, and deportees in the next few months."
We've been over this before and you know my position. But here's another thing to think about;

How, physically, do you DO all this?

I mean...almost a million people? Rounded up, "processed", shoved on planes and buses and dumped in airports and border towns across Latin America and, presumably, the world?

The sheer number of military/"law enforcement" bodies alone you'd need to do all this are just staggering. This is the sort of thing that changes entire organizations. Hell, it would change the entire country.

And...what do those bodies do once all these scary, dangerous "aliens" are gone?

Think about that for a moment.

So not only will the "...promised Day of Alien-Free Jubilee turn out to be a quiet monotone of unpicked crops, uncleaned hotel rooms, unwiped asses, and uncooked meals..." it will also include tens of thousands of armed paramilitary troopers with time and weapons on their hands and nothing else to do.

Hmmm.

I wonder how THAT could go wrong..?

Friday, July 07, 2017

The NORK Nukes - 2017 International Tour!

In what may well be the most NORK-y Fourth of July fireworks display ever, the Pyongyang regime appears to have successfully tested a nuclear-capable missile with the range to reach the western portions of North America; by definition an intercontinental ballistic missile.


The linked article does a good job discussing the strategic implications of this success, but the tl:dr version is "there are no good military options".

Simply put, the DPRK appears to have obtained what Stalin's Soviet Union did in the 1940s; a successful defense against U.S. military strongarming. Never a particularly good idea, given the NORK capabilities for inflicting nasty mayhem to American-aligned nations in northeast Asia, if the NORKs have the capability to directly threaten the U.S. mainland this option goes from "barely conceivable" to "off the table".

What's more, the strategic calculus of potentially-holding-U.S.-population-centers-hostage changes the relationship between the U.S. and Asian allies such as Japan and South Korea. If Trump wanted the Japanese government to start building its own nukes Pyongyang may well have given it the same push that the Soviets gave the British and French governments during the Cold War - the worry that the Land of the Big PX would be hesitant to risk its own civilians in the face of a possible nuclear exchange.

Where does the Tangerine Toddler fit into all this? Swinging the Big Stupid bat, of course. The King of the Deal is discovering what diplomats and potentates throughout history have discovered, albeit at his own, short-bus-slow-reader speed; that polities with interests that conflict with your own can't always - and often won't ever - be coaxed, swayed, or bullied into acting against their own interests. China fears a NORK collapse more than anything the U.S. can threaten. Figuring out a way to adjust U.S. geopolitical approaches to the new northeast Asian realities will require a hell of a lot more patience, creativity, and intelligence than either the current Chief Executive - who seems more interested in ginning up a "Blut und Ehre" white nationalist agenda - or his people have shown to date.

Nukes are funny things. Technically they are "weapons of war"...but they work well only as potential, not kinetic, energy. When the first nuke is thrown at a nuclear-armed adversary they have effectively lost much of their usefulness. If war is the "continuation of politics by other means" the problem with nuclear war is that, unlike politics, there is no real way to plan or predict or strategize what happens after the fallout settles. A single warhead getting through to a single city will mean that even the "winner" will suffer. There is little consolation for the "winning" public knowing that the northern portion of the Korean peninsula is a glassy wasteland.

Maintaining the nuclear balance was a difficult task for U.S. leaders like Truman and Eisenhower. What happens when the launch codes are clutched in the stubby fingers of a man whose primary education in conflict was as a WWF wrestling heel is something that I'm not sure I want to find out.