Do you want to write for Ink 19?

Angry Ink

It's all about me, angry me. That's what blogs are all about, start your own!

Archive for the 'Political Intrigue' Category

Thanks for Signing That Dotted Line

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): This is a hate-filled, minimally-edited, list-form Veteran’s Day screed I expect will be misunderstood, mis-characterized, and disliked. It goes like this…

Since 1973, there’s been no conscription in the United States. That is, there’s been no Draft for forty years.

OK, then, for the last forty years my beloved country has relied on an All-Volunteer Military – for whatever the grand old U. S. of A might require a military for, usually defending our interests – which could mean anything from organizing disaster relief to causing disasters needing relief, it all depends upon one’s perspective. My father was drafted in 1957 and served stateside. His father was drafted in 1943 and served in the Pacific. My grandfather was thirty-two years old, with a wife and eight-year old, when he was pressed into war and came back three years later. He’d be a hundred and two years old right now if he didn’t die at age eighty-seven. If I recall correctly (I was ten in 1973), age eighteen was the minimum draft age… so someone forced against their will to fight in Viet Nam would be, 40 + 18 = 58.

If you’re at least fifty-eight and a vet, hat’s off and thanks for your sacrifices!

For the rest of you after that, maybe not so much. Now hold on! For you non-vets (99% of the folks who’d read this), you probably should’ve figured that out already. For those one-percenters, you will know exactly what I’m talking about and blush.

1. You signed on the dotted line… You signed on the dotted line to take orders and carry them out, no questions asked. No one forced you to sign on the dotted line and as such the choice has always been yours. And the game has a price: on queue you have to: wear a uniform,  eat, sleep, perform routine bodily functions, exercise, learn to kill, learn to survive, learn contempt for civilians whose freedoms you’re protecting, and so on. If you’re really lucky, you get your character and body built. You did not sign on the dotted line to learn a trade, there are much more economical ways of learning such things – and they pay real money right after the training’s over. Considering the abundance of economically-priced training programs that don’t require voluntarily signing your life away, the only reason you really joined the military is to learn how to kill people. ‘Cos that’s what you learn and you are supposed to learn how to do it well. General Patton was serious about killing the other poor dumb bastard being the job of the soldier. And considering the abundance of war-porn out there on the web, in the movies, in the press, everywhere, um… you did realize that it’s all about killing, right? That’s what weapons are for, you know… And yes, I respect the right of the solider to complain as being divine, but…

2. More bang for the buck. You can’t keep a good man down in the military. If there’s one thing that’s true, that’s it. Even the near-moron who puts his (or her) name on that line will more than likely get their first real chance to be good at something and thus become upwardly mobile. Even if it’s just taking out the trash or digging a hole or taking your laundry in, once you get good at it – that means the Sergeant who’s making your life miserable recognizes that you’re good for something – you’ve arrived. Translation: you’re finally listening to orders and doing your level best to carry them out. First Sergeants are masters (no pun intended) at the system of punishment-reward and if you’re smart and want to move up, you’ll let yourself be another successful experiment. Of course just being good at taking out the garbage doesn’t mean your good at much of anything else and that’s why you’ll get placed at the front line or worse. What’s worse? Being a REMF , that’s what. At least in the front you have the chance to be slain in battle – which is honorable. But… look, if you didn’t know this already (civilians only), you’ve just not read enough history. See, there’s a serious dark side to recruitment that I suppose has been around as long as the production of cannon fodder, but it’s gotten the attention of the right people maybe too late. There is serious gang activity in the US Military And it makes sense: free training on killing, advanced weapons, leadership, discipline, survival and so on are just the things one needs to survive in the cut-throat world of big business, especially the illegal drug trade. The next time that 30-year-old “veteran” is busted for drugs or something worse  remember the passing “thanks for your service” you may have mentioned… Maybe they should say “thanks for giving me the opportunity…”  before they put a cap in your ass or blow up your place of work.

3. Sacrifices I.  Military pay isn’t close to that of a lawyer’s fresh out of law school, but it’s not too bad. Plus, there’s housing allowances, clothing allowances, incentive programs for saving lots of money, special shopping centers, lots of training that’s “free” – when you have the time, all medical, dental and vision care, if you’re in combat you don’t pay Federal taxes, and so on. And when you get out, there’s all sorts of programs, from college, to hiring preferences… Wait, it gets better: you get to take your family with you – sometimes around the world and your kids come back home as polyglots.. But… if one does the right web search, one will find story after story of military families on food stamps. Most of those I have seen (and some I have met!) are the Specialists (E-4) with big families. Folks, folks the world is upside-down: an E-4 has no business having to be responsible for a family! What is wrong with these people? Wait until you make at least SFC and have some cash stored up! But it happens. Thanks for your service and adding more folks to the welfare roles… For you liberal pukes out there with your fake outrage over what you wrong-headedly take for my callous hatred: doesn’t progressive thinking make is appropriate to incentivize zero population growth? What easier place to start than with the lower enlisted ranks. But thanks for your sacrifice, anyway. Those civilians out there who waited several years until they could afford the responsibility a family requires really appreciate the way you’ve guarded our freedom after signing on that dotted line.

4. Sacrifices II. More and more, military officers are marrying each other. And they’re sometimes even deploying together, somehow General Order Number One is accommodating. These dual military couples (that’s a web search term, check it out!) get even more benefits than the PFC’s family on welfare I mentioned above. And there are the maternity benefits that kick in should (or when) the wife in the couple becomes pregnant, they’re pretty good! For the female officer who’s pregnant – you can serve up to the point where, I guess, you really ought to be taking it easy… Thanks for your service – and keeping the military gene pool pure for the future generation of military officers.

5. Sacrifices III. Getting your limbs blown off is terrible and shouldn’t happen to anyone. If there’s one thing we should be doing is providing the right kind of medical support to wounded veterans, no matter how old they are. That is certainly something you’re supposed to get for signing on the dotted line and it’s something you do, in fact, get. …but I will go there. Keep in mind that our military personnel, from all ranks, are capable of high competition in triathlons. They are exceptional athletes. What they may have lacked in talent by birth, they’ve more than made up for it through intense endurance training. What happens when an iron man (or woman) loses a limb or two (again – that is horrible, I’m not making light of it at all)? In recent years, in addition to the best therapy in the world, the best doctors on the planet, at a cost of maybe more than six million dollars to the US taxpayers, are rebuilding them back into competitive athletes . Which is great, but if a god-damned insurance company won’t pay for repairing a non-veteran civilian’s old injury at a comparable nominal cost because it’s a pre-existing condition, somehow I keep thinking-twice about one man’s sacrifice being another’s fortune. Yes, I do know there are some damned horrific injuries sustained by soldiers that will require a lifetime of care – that’s why we have the VA, a Government Agency to be looked on with reverence, but it’s hard, really hard, to empathize with a bionic man. Save your anger and see the last part of this essay, please, after you’re through.

6. Sacrifices IV. Soldiers (and sailors and Marines) die. They die in training accidents, non-training accidents (like civilians), in combat and by suicide. I would agree with Stormin’ Norman that one is a tragedy, I can’t ignore that they happen. If it’s your job to kill people while they are trying to kill you, the odds of you getting killed are better than those, say, for.. oh, anyone else. Regarding suicide, I know for a fact that the US military has an excellent outreach regarding the mental health of its personnel, active, reserve and retired. I also know that one has to consider a number of factors, quite well explained here, regarding suicide in the military. The biggest one is, like the civilian population, men are better at it than women and since the military is mostly an all-male organization, unlike the general population of the United States, the suicide rate is skewed accordingly. Regardless, we either make excuses for the suicide – because we cannot know what truly is in his head, or we as a society look upon it as a sometimes tragic waste. As a digression, for example, I wish actor George Sanders didn’t off himself at age 65 in 1972, had he stuck around for ten more years – or more, who’d have made a better, more evil Emperor Palpatine? Back to the subject… According to a news article, the suicide rate for divorced or separated soldiers is highest, at 19 per 100,000. Not to be callous – I am not – there are, at the time of this writing, about 1,500,000 active military personnel (that’s less than a million behind China). At a rate of 19 per 100,000, that would mean we would lose 285 this year (if my math is correct). Most are senior non-commissioned officers (i.e., the higher ranking sergeants), followed closely by the lower-ranking enlisted. This would seem to mirror the general population of the US as suicides among the working class and poor are apparently higher than those of the middle and capitalist classes. If you want some seriously depressing reading, check out what the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has to say in the way of statistics. Suicide is a real tragedy and the US Military is taking a proactive stance addressing it; as there’s no shortage of Americans out there who are thanking military personnel for their service, it’s not because they’re unappreciated, it’s far more complex. If it were only the regular redeployments (you signed on the dotted line…!), then for every 19 who had no other way out, there’s 999,981 out there who were able to successfully deal with being away so much, what was their secret?

7. Officers I. Don’t get me started on officers… too late.  If there’s ever been a class of Americans more institutionally privileged than anyone else, it’s military officers, especially those who’ve graduated from the military academies. It’s a very, very special person who makes it into those schools and they don’t generally come from the ranks of the lower-income, working class brackets (I said “generally,” of course there are exceptions). These are the kids who do great academically, athletically, and socially. They are high-performers in high-performing, well-connected families, oftentimes children of high-ranking military officers themselves or perhaps children of former military officers who’ve done exceptionally well in the business world. And in preparation for a lifetime of running things, officers are trained pretty much to take orders without question, to give orders without being questioned, and to keep their asses out of trouble. The better one is at keeping out of trouble (correction: being caught ) the higher one will rise. The number one way to stay out of trouble is to take orders without question. People who ask questions are exhibiting passive-aggressive behavior and thus aren’t team players, get rid of them. And who the hell are you to question my order, anyway? Ever meet someone like that? These Ubermenchen (and Uber-frau) do astonishingly, astronomically well with what their Creator and Country have liberally given them. It only makes sense that they should be rich and in charge… oh, and don’t forget to thank them for their service and sacrifice.

8. Officers II. May God richly bless those officers who worked their way up from the military ranks (the mavericks) and those who took the ROTC route after college. The latter is a great way to pay off those pesky student loans one may have needed had one not gotten a scholarship. But… it doesn’t matter, they’re not and never will be as good as an officer from, say, West Point. That’s the way it goes. So let’s add an inferiority complex to the associated megalomania a quality officer needs. Never, but never, question an order from these guys…

9. Congrats for getting this far. I do not begrudge the professional military man or woman (hmmm, maybe I do, a bit…). What I have a real problem with is the apparent entitlement  my fellow citizens give them without really considering what’s been traded for the military life. I will say again and again: you voluntarily signed on the dotted line and thus were provided incredible opportunities – many of which are never available to the general public, like playing with machine guns and wearing a uniform. Where is the “thank you, taxpayers” day from the active military for all of us who did not serve, either by choice as is our right or because a medical condition wouldn’t allow one to join? I’ve yet to meet one from the former group that regretted never signing up and didn’t care what a military man says or thinks, the latter group is a different case, generally looked upon by solders as inferior, worthless and weak – not good enough and probably ungrateful… but I speak in generalizations. I definitely say thanks for the service of those who fought like American soldiers should: hard, lawfully and to the death – of their opponent, but it’s getting a bit tired in these last days.

Epilogue: if I have upset anyone with this essay, beyond the usual people I regularly upset, feel free to express yourself in the comments, even though I think you’re wrong. Having an opinion and being able to express it in print is one of the many awesome blessings being an American is all about. And isn’t that one of the freedoms our military protects? I am not so sure. The attacks the US has received  that provoked the current state of world affairs deserved swift, brutal military action. Paving Afghanistan was what I had in mind, but I should’ve been careful what I wished for. We have paved Afghanistan; that country has some excellent roads thanks to the US taxpayer’s deep pockets. I have also seen with my own eyes the seriously astonishing benefits and opportunities available (and taken advantage of) to the active military. I have seen, as well, first-hand, the pain that the military families express when their deployed loved one comes back dead or horribly disfigured – which isn’t often, but always tragic. I have also been on the receiving end of the contempt some military folks – including their non-military families – have for me, since I’m, well, not one of them. I don’t deserve it and neither does any law-abiding, tax-paying American, ungrateful or not. Thanks for your service, but you’d better appreciate that we’re thanking you.

Paul Ryan

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

In 1989, 23 years ago, the important punk rock band Poison Idea released an album (these were things that contained music to be played through some sort of mechanical device) called Ian Macaye, an homage to the guy responsible for Emo.

Here’s what the album cover looks like.

I think Rage Against the Machine should release an album with a similar cover and call it Paul Ryan.

I won’t buy it because I can’t stand Rage Against the Machine. But maybe the army of Paul Ryan fans out there will.

I don’t like ‘Rage, never did, never will. I’ve seen them perform a couple of times and, yeah, there were folks into them (not the first time, though – when they opened for House of Pain). Not me, though. I don’t like their pro-communist politics for useful idiots, their “fusion” of rap and metal, if that’s what it is; basically, I don’t like their sound. They don’t groove and do they have guitars? What they did with “Street Fighting Man” is criminal – man, it really blows… But hey, for the billions out there who know what they like, I don’t expect a rat’s ass given.

But one of those fans is Paul Ryan? Know what? He is not the first follower of Ayn Rand or something pretty close to that who’s a Rage fan I know. I didn’t get it way back then and I still don’t get it. Rage Against the Machine is a band I turn off if they’re on the radio or satellite. Again, rat’s ass’s not expected by me from the Rage fans.

Things Rage Against the Machine is strongly for that Conservative Young Guns who like rap-metal obviously support as well: Communism run by blue-blood political elites who know better than the masses; Free Mumia!; War Crimes Tribunal for the entire Bush Family; Communism; criminalization of meat eating; Homosexuality;  public nudity in the name of Tipper Gore; Communism; and Communism.

Reading between the lines, the economics of Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and William F. Buckley, Jr. like, dude, they jump out of the speakers if you play it loud enough!

But you know what? I guess if a tea-partying, Ayn Rand acolyte can dig Rage Against the Machine an Irish guy sitting in Rev. Wright’s church every Sunday for twenty years may actually be capable of thinking for himself and separating the wheat from the chaff…

I hear he’s a Led Zeppelin fan, too. Who isn’t?

It’s not the first time a childhood hero turned out to be a douchebag…

Friday, August 17th, 2012

or

Obama by a Landslide in 2012

 Picture of a guy with the Mormon Prophets and Mormon Jesus tattooed on his back.

Hello, fans! It’s been a long time! Seven years! Wow!

Clint Eastwood was – WAS – my hero through Firefox, when was that? 1982? I didn’t like Firefox that much and for some composite of reasons I let him go. Went to see “Pale Rider” and thought it sucked. I kind of liked “The Unforgiven,” and “In the Line of Fire”… The “edge” westerns of his stopped with “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and the Dirty Harry series should have stopped with “Magnum Force” – one of the greatest films of all time – for the music and the co-stars (Tim Matheson, David Soul, et al). And for what it’s worth, my favorite of Clint Eastwood’s films is “High Plains Drifter” – a feast for fans of westerns, horror movies, in-jokes, and dark characters.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s a douchebag. Not because he’s a so-called “conservative” and been plenty successful at politics, business, procreating, shaking off crazy women without apology and so on… that stuff is the hallmark of a high-quality movie star…

He’s a douchebag for endorsing Mitt Romney’s Presidential candidacy.

According to some website, Clint Eastwood said that Mitt Romney would “restore, hopefully, a decent tax system that we need badly… so that there’s a fairness and people are not pitted against one another as to who’s paying taxes and who isn’t.” Gee, Clint, what’s wrong with the tax system that, over the last 60 years made and kept you a multi-millionaire? Same with Jenna Jameson – who also endorsed Romney in the same article (OK, here’s the link) apparently because, as a rich person, it’s better if there’s a Republican in the White House. I guess she didn’t do so well with Bill Clinton in office, wait a minute, that’s when she did her best work – that’s made her filthy – FILTHY – rich… But I digress.

So wealthy octogenarian Clint Eastwood, about whom I’ve yet to hear an Alzheimer’s joke, thinks we need Romney to “restore” whatever. I guess during the commie-socialist years since the 2000 election he was just taxed too hard and couldn’t make a cent. Hold on, a bit more than half that time we had George W. Bush in office and the US was fully employed, stocks were all go-go, and it was safe to use your house like a free ATM, right? Despite the wars – the wars that made a hell of a lot of people very rich.

My understanding of recent economic history is that it all came to a grinding halt about 2007 and the bottom fell out of everything due to the interference of UFO aliens in the housing market (do you have a better explanation?). And starting in January 2009, with a new Executive Administration, the USA was forced to wear sackcloth, eat ashes and shave our collective heads.

And things didn’t get better, depending on your perspective.

Because, in my expert opinion, the Tea-partying Republicans, who took over from the do-nothing idiot Democrats who took over from the stupid idiot Republicans (they threw away everything an alliance with Ed Koch and Ron Silver bought them), don’t really want things to get better. They would rather the entire country come to an economic bottom than give the Irish guy in the White House anything other than complete political failure.

I think it’s because he’s identified as Irish and “those people” are still not accepted as an “Americanized” ethnicity. But some may disagree.

Is David Lee Beowulf endorsing Barrack Obama in 2012? Are you kidding? I never vote for commie-pinko, collectivist, hippie liberals! But I like the present and future Republican machinery a hell of a lot less so it’s understandable for me to prefer the re-election of President Obama. I guess my opinion on these matters has evolved – though I voted for a black guy in 2008!

Among Barry’s accomplishments in office there are: getting Osama Bin Laden, Ending the Iraq War (as a war), speaking in favor of bettering Americans who have found themselves in dire economic straights (that would not include people of the wealth of Mr. Eastwood and Ms. Jameson), surrounding himself with wealthy liberals, a bunch of stuff that doesn’t effect me or stuff that I don’t care about, all sorts of things that I disagree with but he at least isn’t pro-feudalism, he’s smart about the importance and influence of the Clintons, and standing firm on his public principles in the face of incredible adversity. I can’t help but respect him. But I digress yet again.

Getting back to the sackcloth-wearing thread, none of the Republicans is wearing sackcloth or giving up much of anything.

But economics isn’t what’s going to cost Romney the election. No one cares about economics anymore because it’s more important to hate the Irish guy because he’s Irish. Bush-hating liberals forgot that W. was a progressive center-rightist (oh yes he was and is!). And, accordingly, Irish-hating “conservatives” have failed to notice that B.O. is a progressive, corporate, center-leftist, an economic inclusionist, and a hawk. Shoot, the guy could almost be an Irish Dick Cheney!

Romney will not win because he’ll likely not get the votes of two key political blocs: Christians, African Americans and serious students of American conspiracy theory. (Oops, that’s three, but the third no one knows about so it doesn’t count.)

Christians, especially the so-called “Evangelicals” will find it difficult to vote for a Mormon. Christians historically (and currently) view Mormonism as a cult. It will be fun to watch who among the popular TV evangelists compromises on this… Is it more important to be a “conservative” or a Christian?

In a nutshell, Mormons believe that Joseph Smith discovered – with help from the angel Moroni – and subsequently translated, the Book of Mormon, written on gold plates, buried in Palmyra, New York. This book tells the amazing story of the pre-Columbian Anglo Israelites who inhabited North America, built impressive cities, fought incredible wars, nearly annihilated themselves, and wrote books in a language only Joe Smith could translate. The original gold plates have long since been called back to the planet Kolob.

And from roughly 1830 on, the Mormons built an amazing Global Empire that allowed (or allows, nay, demands it, if you’re a Mormon Fundamentalist) polygamy, forbids drinking of coffee, condemns masturbation, and a bunch of other stuff.

By divine revelation, the Mormon leadership decided to dispense with their position on polygamy in favor of Utah reaching Statehood. But they’re still on the books about prohibiting coffee and masturbation. Anyone who’s read the Bible will know that while many of the prominent Biblical personalities practiced polygamy, there are strong warnings against it as taught through the adventures as object lessons of said personalities like David, though it’s not prohibited – unless one wants to be a deacon of the church. The Bible doesn’t say anything about not drinking coffee or jerking off, so no one can claim them as forbidden by God. Yeah, the Bible doesn’t say anything about shooting heroin, either, so I would conclude that any laws regarding heroin are strictly of human origin… (…so is there a Biblical precedent for the War on Drugs? I can’t find one.)

While there may be “marginal” Christians or “Secular” followers of the Abrahamic religions (i.e., Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), where they identify with some of what they consider mainstream-palatable tenants of said religion and they live their peaceful, lawful lives as they see fit (e.g., Bill Clinton). There’s no such thing as a marginal or secular Mormon. A Mormon lives his daily life looking authoritatively to their Living Prophet and the works of previous Prophets, on back to Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, as the receiver and arbiter of divine revelation from God. They’ve got rules to follow and they are monitored.

Anyway, core beliefs of Mormons include that Jesus and Satan are brothers, Mormons can become Gods, and a bunch of other stuff. And thus Evangelical Christians will find themselves hard-pressed to vote for someone who firmly believes in and identifies with these, and other, weird, anti-Biblical teachings, no matter how well behaved they are.

African Americans will likely not vote for a Mormon, either.

Until 1978 African Americans were, in accordance with divine revelation to the prophet at the time, to put it nicely, “inferior.” Or, in the words of Brigham Young, “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.” Powerful stuff, contrast it with lily-white Christian Abolitionist, John Brown, predating Young: “If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments-I submit; so let it be done.” And it was, as Brown was  soon after executed for treason (and murder…).

To which I suppose Brigham Young’s reply was “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be.” Modern translation: “you’re a putz, John Brown!”

Don’t believe me? Do a web search. John Brown’s history should be well known to all Americans, Brigham Young’s, maybe.  Do a web search for the quotes, you’ll find them.

Donnie and Marie offer this on the issue.

Mitt Romney was 31 years old in 1978. His accomplishments at the time included a Mormon mission to France and missing out on Viet Nam.

Until he was 31 the public would presume that he firmly believed that (heresy, see Acts 8:27, etc.)  black people were cursed by God  because God said so through the Mormon prophets.

Despite the numbers of African Americans becoming Mormons, unless Mitt Romney explains his position – and he likely won’t because any thoughts contrary to the hive-mother’s, retroactive or not, could be akin to a death sentence – he’s not going to get the votes of this important group of American voters.

And thus, let’s wrap it up with the conspiracy theorists.

Joseph Smith and his apostles’ goal was a kingdom on earth. They were a group of physically strong, charismatic white men who were determined through right of concentrated, concerted force to take as much land and white women for themselves as they could. They almost got it in Illinois – before Joseph was dragged out of a jail and killed by a mob. They almost had it in Utah, too, but they joined the Union as a State and had to tone it down a bit.

They have thus since waited.

They have thus since sent missionaries all over the world, have built “Temples” in many major world cities, they figure prominently in all levels of government, they have recruited legions, they command an economic empire worth billions of dollars that’s got its tentacles in all facets of the American enterprise, they are an army of non-masturbating, tee-totaling coffee-abstainers, working tirelessly for the right time…

The right time wasn’t 1968 when Mitt Romney’s father ran for president.

The right time is NOW, to quote Thulsa Doom, er, Brigham Young, “…when the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they [the people of the United States] will have to call for the ‘Mormon’ Elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it.”

Gird thy loins, folks!

But… my money’s on the Irish guy come 7 November 2012.