M&M Candies, Suicide, a Challenge, Hackers, and an Addendum Repost
Over the weekend, my two most excellent ramblings were monkeyed with, causing them to be unviewable or deleted. Even though they were popular, rather than just reposting them, I've decided to a little updating. Let's call this blog The Ultimate Updated Repost Blog.
What do I win if I get the green M&M?
Back in the early days of the Department of Homeland *cough* Security, SNL ran a funny skit showing Tom Ridge using M&M candies to pick the security threat level color. "What's it gonna be today, Tom?" Comedic fiction would have been preferable to the truth:
Ex-Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge has admitted, in his new book, to government manipulation of the “security threat level.” This news has me in shock! Karen De Coster wrote about that here and here.
"Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says pressure from fellow Cabinet members to raise the nation’s terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election helped convince him it was time to quit working for President George W. Bush.
In a new book, Ridge says that despite the urgings of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft he objected to raising the security level, according to a publicity release from the book’s publisher."
Do you still take this thing (or this department) seriously. [Or this government, for that matter?]
You only support the troops from afar
Because if you really cared about them, you'd want action. Suicides rates in the AOR are skyrocketing and the bureaucrats and socialists in the Pentagon are confused, alarmed by the possible negative press, but not necessarily worried. You should be. I can't point to a specific study, but something in my gut says that high suicide rates translate to low morale and poor performance. But that's just me. Perhaps, it's just seasonal affective disorder running wild. It has been rather humid in the Middle East lately.
The suicide rate among Army personnel is rising at an alarming pace. According to Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Eric B. Schoomaker, the Army's surgeon general, the suicide rate has nearly doubled in the last five or six years, the Express-News reported.
Through the first seven months of 2009, 141 active-duty and reserve soldiers had committed suicide. During all of 2008, there were 140 confirmed suicides.
What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us by Yuri Maltsev
In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal "cradle-to-grave" healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The "right to health" became a "constitutional right" of Soviet citizens.
The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would "reduce costs" and eliminate the "waste" that stemmed from "unnecessary duplication and parallelism" — i.e., competition.
These goals were similar to the ones declared by Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi — attractive and humane goals of universal coverage and low costs. What's not to like?
Read the full article
The Great Libertarian Challenge for the Obamanots
While some may, ummm, quibble with Maltsev's choice of words, I have a better idea. How about a challenge. Commentor KSV29 on the Mises blog, raises an interesting point:
"The socialized medical systems in Europe and Canada work to a much better degree than the USSR's (and soon the US' as well) for one simple reason - Canada and the EU do not have empires to maintain.
In the aftermath of WWII Europe rejected empire and the wars that go with it. Instead the future EU turned its productive ability inward. They saw first hand what happens when people are miserable and desperate and they vowed never to let that happen again.
Meanwhile, the USSR embarked upon its quest for expansion before the burning ruins of Berlin had even cooled. In the Guns vs Butter debate, Guns won out in Moscow. You want a new X-Ray machine? Sorry, the Warsaw Pact needs more tanks.
(While the mid to late 1970's were hard economic times in the US, I'd love to see the figures for how much money the Soviet Union lost in the Vietnam war.)
It took a while, but the US is now following the same path as the USSR. They had their worker's revolution, we now have "spreading democracy." And like the Soviets the US will go down kicking screaming and will give up the global bases only when the economy is so bad that even the troops can't be paid and fed.
In the meanwhile the US will be in full "Все для фронта!" mode (everything for the front!) You want a new MRI machine? Sorry, the Iraqi Army needs more tanks and...my, this sounds familiar.
The destruction of the America people's wealth abroad is tied directly to the failings of the US health care system and the overall decline in the standard of living.
Turning control of health care over to a government that has nothing but conquest and killing on its mind is the most insane thing America could do. DC has no interest in healing anyone."
Challenge! Support the complete an unconditional withdrawal of all American troops from the 130+ countries they currently occupy and I'll support a public option for health care. Take Obama and the Pelosicrats to task for increasing military spending, expanding the war in Afghanistan, and maintaining a global empire, and I'll support a public option.
While Obama and Pelosicrats are running around trying to shove this public option down my throat, people are dying in the Progressive War against the Taliban. Yes, the Progressive War. GWB and his right wing socialists were, up until Obama, the most Progressive president in American history. It is a continuation of policy, a policy selected by the CFR boys, a group that both Obama and GWB are both members.
Maybe the Talking Vegetables can explain it to you
I hate peas. I really do. I won't ever eat them. I don't even like to look at them. Occasionally someone will mix peas into my carrots and that really gets my panties all in a bunch. So I throw them all out. But hey, those carrots didn't do anything to me so maybe I should have taken the time to separate them first. Those crappy diced carrots are not much better than peas. They're pretty awful, but you're right, they're not the same thing. Heck, even the broccoli knows that. That broccoli is probaby sitting there thinking, "look at this dumbarse. He treats carrots the same as peas, just because they're vegetables, dumping them in the trash and calling them evil. What a second, I'm a vegetable and I happen to live here too. How long before a few peas end up in my neighborhood? Is that fruit going to come over here and kill me too?"
These ridiculous talking vegetables might have a point. You may not be aware of this, but the Taliban never attacked America. That's a fact. They didn't perpetrate 9/11, the USS Cole, Dar es Salaam or Nairobi, the Marine barracks in '83, or the flight over Lockerbie. Contrary to what the television cretins tell you, the Taliban is not Al Qaeda. You may wish to believe they are the same thing, but you know who thinks you're wrong? The other people living in Afghanistan. The broccoli. They've lived in that once beautiful country (see The Kite Runner for a time when Afghanistan was wonderful, ya know, before the Soviets) their whole lives. They know that the Taliban is not Al Qaeda. Now along comes this cocky American officer/bureaucrat and his spooks in the intelligence service haughtily informing him that "sorry, but according to America, they are one in the same. They lived together, so that's that." That doesn't give the rest of the Afghanis a whole lot to consider. "How soon before the Pashtuns are Al Qaeda according to Americans? How can I trust people that don't recognize the differences between us," says the broccoli.
Are you starting to understand now why the Taliban is getting stronger?
Can you give me a letter of recommendation to the University of Phoenix
Back in the mid 90's, I was sitting in a platoon squad bay in Camp Hansen, Okinawa (Land of the Hand.) The platoon sergeant was a tough son of a bitch that volunteered for Army Ranger school even though he was in the Marines (they keep slots open for other services every year), just to show those Army wimps how it's done. (I have great respect for Army infantry. Don't read that the wrong way.) He stood before us and asked, "how many of you joined the Marines for the education benefits?" Every hand went up. He continued, "for how many of you was that the primary consideration?" 90% of the hands stayed up. It was a small sample size experiment, so I copied it every where I went. The answer was always the same. It's even more pronounced in the other services (for reasons that should be obvious but maybe they aren't.)
"There's a sucker born every day." - P.T. Barnum
These kids may have been suckered in with cheap education benefits, but they get smart quickly. How long do you think they stay motivated when they compare the dregs of war with the prospect of a worthless piece of paper from the University of Phoenix in an ever spiraling economy? You can only bribe people for so long.
This isn't the Marine Corps I joined
Several years back, on a Marine Corps base in the middle of nowhere, a few senior enlisted Marines (salty veterans of Vietnam) took their seats to be judges for an enlisted promotion board. Three hard core, dedicated, and excellent young Marines stepped before them. The first to speak was perfect. He made no mistakes, answered every question, maintained a flawless uniform, etc. The board judged him to be perfect, indeed. The second was nearly as good, as was the third. They were all excellent candidates, but the second and third each made one clear mistake. So the board excused the Marines and deliberated. Each member agreed that the first candidate was perfect and all but one agree that he should get the promotion. That one member argued for candidate number three. After all, candidate number three was a black female, and it just wasn't fair that the Marine Corps had so few black females in the NCO ranks. Others started to waver, and eventually the board ruled in his favor. When this happened, a 28 year veteran Sergeant Major stood up and said, "Gentlemen, I retire. This isn't the Marine Corps I joined." And he did, putting in his papers that day. His action made the board ruling invalid, but it hasn't prevented the Socialist takeover of the military.
(That story is 100% true btw, but no, don't get your hopes up. It didn't happen to me. I had a great, and lucky, career which I am thankful for.)
I'm often confused by the reality I see, and the reality of others. In America, conservatives hail the military as the savior of all humanity. Yet, it's the most Socialist institution in the world. If only Hannity and Limbaugh knew! All standing armies become Socialized. They suffer from bureacratic malaise. They get stale, they grow too large, and they start to stink. Eventually they rot from within due to intellectual apathy, the type that invites weak religions like social justice and equality in without questioning.
Those of you that are American history buffs know the story of conservative founder William Buckley. He traded his passion for liberty for temporary safey against the Reds. He postulated that to beat the Communists, America had to become temproarily Communist. America, he thought, could always change back. Oops.
Anyway, it's too late now Republicans. The Socialists already own every service outside of the Army infantry, some of the calvary units, a few Marine Division units, and the scattered Ron Paul supporters. The rest of the entire military went Socialist twenty years ago.
Pancho Villa Attacks Texas
That headline is probably unlikely, since he's been dead for about 75 years. But Pancho Villa or Osama Bin Laden, what's the difference? We chased each one around for decades. The locals hid him and laughed at us. The tyrannical nature of our police actions turned the independent observers into allies of the enemy. Then they died and we kept looking for them
Bin Laden is dead. He's been deader than dirt for 2-3 years now. Everyone in the Middle East knows this, except Americans. It's quite a joke to them. Here is the mighty America, superpower of the world, the self proclaimed greatest nation, combing the desert at the cost of $100 billion a year looking for a ghost. That's uproariously funny to them.
The only mention of Bin Laden's death I've ever seen was by that nitwit crook Benazir Bhutto. When the American State Department (apparently already having forgotten that the Pakistanis chased her family out of Islamabad for stealing millions from the people), tried to put her back in power, she gave an interview on BBC (?) in which she nonchalantly mentioned that Bin Laden is dead. Two days later, she was blown up.
It's too bad that the FBI never put Bin Laden on the America's Most Wanted list before he died. They said they didn't have enough evidence, even though it was clear that Al Qaeda was behind the attack. I don't disagree, but how about putting some effort into the proceedings. Hmmm, I wonder why they can't get the evidence they need....
Take this money or I'll blow up your garage
In the late '90s I was stationed as an embassy guard at the American Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. For my facebook friends, that picture of me geting promoted is taken there, and that fella pinning on my rank is the former Ambassador, Bill Milam. He was a nice guy. Honest man. So was the CIA station chief. He was kind enough to speak to us from time to time. They liked the Marines. We were tough. That kind old station chief was replaced in 2000 with a young go-getter. In his early 40s, he pretended to superhuman energy and perfection in every mannerism. He was the first person in the air when the Council on Foreign Relations gave Bush the green light to invade Afghanistan. This young CIA station chief started throwing money all over the country, lining the pockets of every warlord. Here's $50,000. take it or leave it. No? You won't join us? The next day you'll find your garage and guest home blown to pieces and an offer for $25,000.
But that money doesn't last forever. You can only bribe people for so long. 8 years later and the war rages on. Buying warlords today has suffered from some .. ahem.. inflationary effects. It's no longer feasible. To the warlords, the Americans are capitalist scum, hoping to buy them when they need them and happy to discard them when they don't. Are you starting to understand why the Taliban is getting stronger?
The contract on Bin Laden's head is equally ridiculous. I mean, even when he was alive. In 1999, I asked my Pakistani house servant, a good young man with a great deal of compassion, if he would report Bin Laden (the U.S. had already put a million dollar price on his head for the Embassy bombings.) He said absolutely not. "Where would I go? Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows my family, my cousins and their cousins. They would find me." "Yes," I replied, "but you'd have a million dollars to move everyone away." This was a man that lived off $500 per year. He could not comprehend a million dollars or what it would possibly buy him. He knew what he knew, that Bin Laden could reach his family. Case closed.
This Won't Be Pretty
America is not going to beat the Taliban. Americans are too arrogant, the military has gone Socialist, and the boogeyman is dead. We're left with a colossal, out of control, bureaucratic maze, running around the Middle East with its head up its ass, stomping and destroying everything in its path. Eventually, it's going down, drowned out by the cheers of the revolting masses.
Most Muslim bad guys are real, and Muslims don't deny this. But now they are waking up to a simple idea, "Perhaps it would be better if we took care of our bad guys, rather than letting those unruly and arrogant Americans come over here and make a mess of things."
At least, I hope they're learning their lesson, because Americans sure aren't.