Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting Out.

Q: How is the army like Sex?
A: The closer to Discharge you get the better you feel.

April 29th 2009.  Oh man I thought I could walk on water.  My last day in the Army.  I'd already picked up my clearing papers, I was detected from my unit, and took one last chance to look around the post, one last time to visit the PX before I drove out the gate next the the Airfield, got on I-70 and began the long trek back to my home town of San Diego.   I drove for at least five hours before I even thought of taking my uniform off, but as everything was packed up that wouldn't work.  I still had my Barret in the passengers seat of my car, as if I might get out on post.  The freedom was going to my head and seeing as no one was really in western Kansas I took the opportunity to find a deserted road and see what my Stang really could do.  I chickened out at 130, but DAMN what a ride!

I drove all day, from roughly noon when I left Fort Riley till about 2100 (woops 9 PM) When I finally got a Hotel room for the night.  It wasn't until I got into the Hotel room that I took off my uniform.  For approximately 3 more hours I was still, technically a soldier.  I didn't pop my boots right away.  I didn't rip off my top, and throw it into a ball on the bed as I used to in the barracks.  I just sat there for a long while, delaying as long as I could the moment when I finally took my uniform off for the last time.  I finally got around to it, and I don't think I ever took more care taking a uniform off.  I laid it out on my Hotel bet and just stared at it.  No longer would I wear the craptastic Barret or worry about my crotch ripping out of my ACUs.  I wouldn't have to worry about oil getting all over my tan boots on motor pool Monday.  I wouldn't have to deal with PAs who think they're God, or Officers who remind you of their rank every chance they get.  No more NCOs that think if I'm not trying to go to Ranger School or Airborne or SFAS then I'm not worthy to trim their short hairs.  None of that.

But I also wouldn't ever have anyone call me Doc again.  People wouldn't stop and look at me with admiration when I walked down the street.  I wouldn't have my Brothers and Sisters that I could depend on for anything.  I even started to miss that PFC with a serious under-bite and a massive case of cranial-anal insertion.  The one who pissed me off nearly to the point of violence.  I was actually going to miss that son of a bitch?  No way.  And then it hit me.  My views on Serving were always going to be ambigious.  I had loved being a Line Dog, until I lost guys, then it tore me to pieces.  I had hated being in the WTB, and loosing a woman I had already started making plans to marry, but it got my life back on track, and reminded me that I was still alive.

All these things flashed through my mind as I removed my black pin on CMB.  I laughed a bit when I thought about the time I lost my dammits and the thing stuck into my chest.  I remembered when LTC Walker pinned it on me in the 225th FSB Bn conference room because there was a Hawaiian rainstorm outside.  I opened up the left shoulder pocket and pulled off my lucky Smart Ass tab that I picked up at Camp Buering, in my own little display of rebellion I had worn it literally every day I wore ACUs, though underneath where it wouldn't be seen.  I pulled off the Big (Black) One, smiling how I swore to myself after MG Batiste had screwed me out of an award on my first tour that I would never fall under them again.  I removed the U.S. Army, and the nametape that said Bailey, and stuck them together, then moved to the Specialist rank.  I still remembered Charlie Battery 2/11 FA giving me "blood rank" at FOB Dibbis.  Back when we wore DCUs, the whole battery had lined up to shake my hand then pound the two metal disks into my clavicles.  The worst had been the PA who had made like he was going to slam me, and smiled when I flinched then lowered his hand to rub them in.  I realized that if I told that story again people wouldn't get the pride, and even Joy I felt when I used my Gerber to pull the rank out of my skin.  I removed the Eletric Strawberry and smiled at the fond memories, of the Pride I felt having been a part of the first combat formation to go to war from the 25th since Vietnam.  About the drive from Camp Virginia to Kirkuk.  How I had missed the superbowl, and how I had once dreamed of being a Ranger, and how my Platoon Sergeant smoked the dog shit out of me every time I couldn't recite the Ranger Creed.

Lastly I removed the flag.  I had had this one flag that I had rotated from uniform to uniform.  It was dirty and frayed, and somehow that had more character to it.   I don't think people, perhaps not even my own family except my dad could understand the pride I felt wearing that flag every day.  If there was some nobility in sacrifice, I had been prominently displaying my willingness to step up and display that noble trait.  And now that was all over.  The missions would go on.  The guys would go out.  But without me.  My war was over.

I stared at that uniform until midnight.  It was official at that moment that one of the most important parts of my life was gone just like that.  The euphoria was gone and not I had to face the future.  Sitting in my skivvies I slowly folded my uniform, reverently as if saying goodbye to a friend.  In a way I was.  The Army is a family.  It has to be or no one would stay in.  I would be alone, I would have to forge my own destiny, without people easily able to recognize my merit, or understand my worth.  The great things I had once done would never be understood by anyone that had never been there, I was more alone now then ever I felt in Iraq.  Where else could a 19 year old nobody have done half the things I had done.  Who but the movers and shakers could understand what it is like to physically shape history with my own hands and actions?  It was a long time before I got to sleep.

The next day I  picked up my dad in Denver, we saw the sights in Avon Colorado, then moved on to Vegas.  Buddy, let me tell you, I had no problem dropping a good portion of my separation check there.  I hadn't been this free to go hog wild in years.  Back When, if I could have chosen my homecoming, it would have been in Vegas.  I smoked a cigar that cost $50 bucks, and almost cried when it was done (it was that good), had Whiskey that was old enough to drink itself, a Steak so tender you could cut it with a fork and so succulent that I didn't know who was drooling more me or the steak, and a former Raiders cheerleader doing her best to make me spend a little more of my hard earned cash.  All of those would be great.  At the same time?  I must've been in Valhalla.  I actually got a kick out of my dad having actual intelligent conversations with some of the strippers, him being both Officer and Gentleman.  To top the night off I won $200 bucks at the Billagio then spent that all on booze.  I don't have a clue how I got back to my hotel room but I had a shit eating grin the whole night.  Somehow though I don't think people would understand why.  

I was all smiles when I finally got home and thank God my parents had a plan to keep me busy because to be honest had I been allowed to languish over the summer I would have thought about what I had lost.  I would have thought about the future, and I would have wondered how I could possibly live a life worthy of the sacrifices of those around me. 

Civilians do not understand the isolation that Veterans feel.  How can they?  What possible comparison can they make in their life to what its like to do even a peacetime hitch in the Army, let alone go to war.  I have nine medals and ribbons for 6 years.  Even explaining an ARCOM or an AAM is grating, or why I take so much pride in a piece of ribbon and brass.  They can't understand how I laugh at the ASR out mandatory Gay Pride awareness ribbon.  To them its just a bunch of pretty colors.  To me it is quite literally blood sweat and tears.  Nor can I easily explain what the CMB is, let alone how much that little badge means.  Long after I am gone, I will still be apart of 225th Brigade Support Battalion's history, being one of the first in that unit to receive a combat badge of any kind.  Long after I have gone to senility I will still have been recorded on the rolls, of 2-16 in the hellish time that was the Surge.  With all that in mind, is it any wonder so many civilians just don't "get" me?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Tenth Amendment: Power to the. . . States?

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

-The Tenth Amendment

Well gee, who knew States had rights.  Raise your hands if you did.  See we live in a country where there is a clear succession of Government.  Local, State Federal.  Well obviously the laws that work for a small state like say Rhodes Island, are not going to work for say Alaska.  It would be absolutely insane to have laws regarding say Bears in Hawaii, and laws about Whales in New Mexico.  But its also kind of insane to have a federally mandated Minimum wage.  Or there should be a minimum you can possibly earn, but that should never be set by the Federal Government.  Why?  Well for the same reason that Federal Edicts about speed limits make no sense.  If I say that the National Speed limit is 45, that the speed limit for all roads is 45 just averaging out residential streets and Highways, well that makes so many problems its not even funny.  I'm sure someone could potentially be barreling down a residential street at the speed limit and run over little Suzie and her bike and not even notice it till it was all over.  Conversely well, if all the interstates are reduced to 45 MPH it would take hours to get anywhere let alone long distances.

The States also need to be protected from the Federal Government.  Ever read Atlas Shrugged?  In the first part of the book Colorado is experiencing a boom, so to "normalize" the rest of the country a special tax was placed on Colorado, and also some other schemes to suck the state dry to "give to the more needy States".  I'm not going to spoil the book for you but it actually backfires.  This idea that one subordinate Government needs to be protected from its higher government is actually pretty new.

I personally believe that this Amendment is quite important and that the 17th Amendment destroys a lot of the power that the States did have (more on that later).  But a quick quiz, what is the "State's House"?  If you said the Senate you are correct.  Indeed the Missouri Compromise was all about retaining some semblance of parity between Slave and Free states in the Senate.  Hell the stated reason for the secession of the South was for state's rights.  Their constitution almost guaranteed the government would fail, but that's beside the point.  After the Civil War the issue of State's Rights was put to bed or so it had seemed, until just very recently.

Now with Obamacare the 9th and 10th Amendments have become somewhat of a focal point, for the legal challenges.  More so the 10th Amendment, several states (more than a third actually) banning together in some cases, others going it alone, but the entirety of the Law is being challenged on the grounds of the 10th Amendment.   I would have liked more challenges like this when the Great Society or the New Deal came along, but you can't always have what you want. 

Now to be clear this Amendment does not state specifically any rights that the States do or do not have.  It is left to the reader to go back and check that everything is in order, and it is assumed that the States would watch the Federal Government through the Senate to make sure that nothing unscrupulous was happening with Federal Power (thus partially why the 17th Amendment is a bad thing).  All 50 States have their own unique history and problems.  Even within the States there are Laws and problems that aren't being handled very well.  This tends to happen in say Illinois or New York or California, which have such massive cities they can simply out-vote the "yokels" in the rest of the state.  However when the Federal Government comes down from on High and Declares something it tends to be bad for the State, and Local Governments.  As the saying goes Shit rolls downhill.  Eventually the Individual will feel much pain from such Federal Edicts.

My Take:  This Forgotten Amendment should be the rallying cry of Governors everywhere.  Our Government is too bloated to sustain itself, and while many states have problems and issues of their own if they do not start controling their destiny and soon the whole system will collapse.  America is unique in this way.  We have a "Chain of Command" in our Governments, and it is important for any American enterprise that the loyalty be both ways, or else the system will fall apart.

The ninth Amendment: Power to the People!

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

-the Ninth Amendment

Actually this one here is one of the ones that may be used to declare the individual mandate of Obamacare unconstitutional.  Much like the Tenth Amendment this one doesn't lay out any rights per se, but it is very clear that you can not take rights from the people.  It is typically used as a means for stating that Government can not expand its powers past what is enumerated in the Constitution.  That to do so would be destructive to the individual's rights.  This one comes from the Anti-Federalists, Madison mostly, and is actually something that Republicans are very fond of even if they don't cite it too often. 

It states in essence that the constitution already says what powers the separate branches have (Articles I-III) and the responsibilities of the Federal Government as a whole (Articles IV, and V).  Well what about those cases that the Constitution could not possibly foresee, like say the Internet or say Airplanes.  Well again point to this Amendment.  Is it in the Constitution?  No?  Then no more power for you Mr Government man!  See the Ant-Federalists, what would become known as the Democratic Republican Party (NOT to be confused with the Democratic party which was actually a consolidation of the remaining Federalists and founded a generation later) were really concerned with individual rights.  Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty or give me Death!"  The Anti-Federalists had fought the Revolution because of the destructiveness that a State could have on the individual.  It was assumed that a legislature or a president, could take power just as surely as a King, Oligarchy, or mob could.  That those forms of government were distinctly not in favor of the individual. 

Indeed as this Constitution was being sorted out the French Revolution was ongoing.  Anyone that has actually  studied the French Revolution will know that it was the exact opposite of the American, and that it very quickly turned into something horrific (actually almost as soon as it began, but I digress).  The individual was no more protected from the rampages of the Mob than it was from the ineptitude of the King.  Americans are big into individualism.  While hardly ever cited (much like the Tenth) it is nonetheless vital to ensuring that the Government can not encroach too far upon the individual Citizen's Powers and Rights. 

The Eighth Amendment: No beatings for you!

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

-the Eighth Amendment

Ah yes another Liberal favorite.  Well let's start off with the obvious.  What standards are we measuring this by?  See if you go down to San Diego, more specifically to Coronado you will see lots of young men linking arms in the surf then doing "sugar cookies" and running all over the damn place.   To be clear BUD/s is one of the most extreme challenges in the world and it is quite cruel when a day into Hell Week you're pulled because of shin splints (which happens a LOT) Indeed a lot of the training up till that point is designed to torment the men crazy stupid or foolish enough to think they have what it takes to wear the Trident.  If you can somehow get to Camp Darby in Georgia you will see the same damn thing with the Ranger Cadets.  Go to Lackland AFB and you will see PJ trainees getting the ever loving shit smoked out of them.  What about Paris Island or Ft Benning Georgia and the hell they put recruits through?  I'm not going to even begin to touch SERE school.  Go look up the full course those SF guys have to go through some time.  It is quite literally hell on Earth.   

My standards for "Cruel and Unusual" are simply put quite a bit greater than what has become acceptable in the legal arena.  Recently because of overcrowding in California Prisons the 8th Circuit court of appeals ordered that as many as 30,000 prisoners be released.  Now I looked for what was so terrible about their living conditions.  They were living in open bays in bunk beds three high.  So obviously the Court has never seen the inside of Enlisted Berths on a Carrier or Submarine.  I might understand if the prisoners were literally dropping like flies of starvation, or They were being whipped into submission but even that is not happening.  The court obviously did not consider the ramifications of releasing 30,000 criminals early many of whom will no doubt offend again.

If I showed pictures of some of the hooches I lived in in Iraq, you would have to say that it's pretty cruel to expect someone to live there.  I still have nightmares about those damn camel spiders, and lets not even begin to talk about the mice, and rats that would crawl all over my damn sleeping bag, and unless they built a prison in Barstow or Death Valley, I'm pretty sure most of the prisoners never had to deal with the kind of ungodly heat I did.  I am all for making sure you're innocent until proven guilty but once you're found guilty you have a debt to society, and personally I do not think it unreasonable for you to work that debt off.

Having said that this was designed to protect you from getting a bail you couldn't possibly pay.  Say a street sweeper is accused of petty larceny, he should not have to receive a bail of  $2.2 million.  It is also designed so that you are not beaten every night, or that your fingers are chopped off, or any number of things that can and do happen when a vindictive mob, or s snobbish king declares punishment.  It would be utterly insane to say cut off someone's hand (*cough* *cough*) for petty theft, that would be cruel.  But unusual?  Well forcing someone to stand outside with a sign to be publicly humiliated, is that unusual?  Well technically yes, but as Judges are getting ever more exasperated at the lack of effect their sentences are having, you might see this approach being used more often. 

My Take:  Well I've been painfully obvious that my standards are perhaps a little higher for what merits cruelty.  We need a clear and impartial measuring stick to say yea or Nay, this is good or this is bad.  Much like Waterboarding we may be faced with tough choices.  I believe that Waterboarding which only happened a handful of times to the most hardened Terrorists is not torture per se.  You will feel no lasting ill effects and the whole process is monitored by teams of doctors.  Ordering Waterboarding for say a guy that stole a TV that's a bit extreme.  I also tend to think that removal of body parts is a bit extreme, though I am in favor of either chemical or surgical castration of repeat sex offenders.  Like I said my standards are a bit higher that somebody whose never had to deal with the realities of the world outside CONUS.

the Seventh Amendment: This Is How They Sue Your Ass

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

-the Seventh Amendment

Well right off the bat $20 in today's terms is barely enough to take a gal to the movies.  I can't imagine what a person might possibly want to bring suit against another for $20 whole smackers, so I'm sure that this is adjusted for inflation, but if its not the piratical aspect is that every civil case  of any significant amount will probably be tried by a Jury.  The irony is that most cases today never reach the court.  They are often settled out of court, in what some might call an extortion racket.  In today's Civil system unless you're a major corporate entity going to court is a losing proposition and win or lose you'll pay big time.  Many ambulance chasers have latched onto this fact and every year hundreds of millions of dollars are payed to frivolous lawsuits that never see the light of a courtroom. 

The first part is pretty much self explanatory, I think it should be painfully obvious why.  But what about the second part?  What does that mean.  Well, that's mostly for the appeals process and that has a lot to do with Local, State and Federal law.  It would make no sense for the facts in evidence to be picked apart by people that are not equipped by proper law to handle the information.  Think of it as a way of ensuring that things that are important to the case are not thrown out for simplistic or idiotic reasons. 

My take on this amendment:  Well actually it's pretty sound the major problem is that because of how its set up its a pain in the ass to go to trail.  Because of that there are out of court settlements.  It is a system rife with corruption, and there need to be Tort laws, or laws reforming the damages awarding, and also there need to be laws seeking to quash frivolous suites.  A woman getting into a car accident and waiting 4 days to claim neck pain, really isn't worthy of $20 let alone multiple tens of thousands of dollars.  Likewise if you are in the commission of a crime and happened to be injured by say the legitimate owners of a house you're robbing, you shouldn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to a civil suit, and nay lawyer that attempts to do so should be disbarred. 

As an aside one of the reasons health care costs so damn much is because not of evil drug firms, or greedy doctors but because of Lawyers.  In some states its not economically practical to practice certain types of medicine, OB/GYN being the most commonly sued.  In some states up to 60% of a doctors' base pay may go to malpractice insurance.  It is painfully obvious to me that the protections an individual has in criminal proceedings are working quite well (if slowly), but the citizen is woefully under protected in the civil arena. 

The Sixth Amendment: This is how we do it

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

 -the Sixth Amendment

This Amendment is all about how they'll try you if you are accused of committing a crime.  Its not so much the procedures, there are plenty of lower laws and regulations regarding that, rather it is all about the methodology that a case should take.  To be clear, in many times in the past many societies had the basic premise "Guilty until proven innocent", this is classic mob rule and the very worst examples in recent history can be found in the French Revolution and the October 1917 Revolution.  You are guilty because we accuse you.  Even the current 24 hours news cycle is guilty of this.  If we are to be a nation of Laws, and Rights, perhaps one of the hardest Rights to maintain will be those of the accused. To be clear this deals only with criminal cases, so all the rights outlined herein, well you can pretty much kiss them goodbye in a civil case. 

Now the first part, "the right to a speedy and public trial".  There is a slight problem with this clause.  What exactly is speedy?  Is it the length of time it takes to bring the case to trial?  It is the length of time it takes from the start of proceedings to verdict?  For most it is assumed that Speedy is the amount of time which it takes from arrest till the beginning of the trial.  If that is the case then we are woefully failing in this regard.  It is prejudicial to any defendant to spend long periods of time in prison, if the defendant is innocent, then Jobs will be lost, and potential future work will also be curtailed, also the fees for retaining a lawyer (any halfway decent one anyway) can be ruinous.  It is my belief that a person should spend no more than 4 months in Jail waiting their trial, and that Bond proceedings should be commenced as soon as possible.  You can decide right away that the defendant is a flight risk and deny bond but they need to have their case heard ASAP.  It is also my belief that unless the Defense lawyer questions every single piece of evidence, and brings mountains motions, the trial itself should never take more than 6 months.  If you're sitting in a Courtroom for 10 hours a day five days a week, there is no reason it shouldn't be wrapped up quickly.  Again though, what "speedy" is was never defined. 

Also lets be clear that "public" means that it is open to the public to a degree.  You can not bar observers, though for obvious reasons there might be reason not to broadcast all trials over the news.  The aim of having a case with impartial witnesses should be painfully obvious, but the founders were wary of backroom deals where the courts were concerned.  This way everyone knows who is accused and what actions are taken in the court room. 

The next part about having an Impartial Jury, well its a nice sentiment but its nearly impossible to find a person who hasn't heard of this crime or that.  Also interestingly enough some Juries have fallen sway to the CSI effect.  In essence they believe that the Forensic team should be able to piece together the whole crime from two hair fibers.  This isn't the case and that juries have let people go on this belief only proves some people are idiots.  But why would you want the Jury to be from the same place where the crime was committed.  The Wronged community certainly couldn't be expected to be impartial could they?  Well what would happen if offender Joe steals from Jane.  Jane lives in say Orange County California.  Joe is from say Geary County Kansas.  it would make no sense to cart 12 people from Kansas for who knows how long to Orange County.  But also, what are the chances if Joe were say a local well to do in Geary County that he couldn't stack the Jury with his friends?

The next part is pretty standard.  It would be a complete show trial if you were not informed of what you are accused of.  Even if you're stark raving mad they still have to tell you what you're charged with.  Also having the ability to cross examine witnesses is vital.  There are no cases that I can think of where you might be denied the opportunity to cross examine a witness or provide one of your own, and this very thing is what separates America from places like Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or a dozen other extremes.  You can not be tried for a criminal case in absentia, which even the European Union does.  Lastly you will be provided assistance with a Lawyer if you need it.  This means the Tax payers are out the Lawyering fees, but in my opinion it is a price well worth it to prevent kangaroo courts. 

My take is this: You may not know this one but you have seen it play out on TV court room dramas.  This is one only professionals tend to worry about, but you the citizen should get aquainted with it real quick should you ever be arrested and accused of a serious crime.  Knowing your rights inside a courtroom are just as important as knowing them outside.  Keep it in your back pocket and pray you never need it, but if you do, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

the Fifth Amendment: Bet you only know one part

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

-the Fifth Amendment

Ok so the first part of this is actually easy to skip through though is very important.  You can not be held for a Capitol crime unless the Grand Jury indites you.  Now this part isn't used so much anymore because let's face it there aren't that many crimes we're punishing with death anymore.  Still it is meant as a safeguard to prevent you from having your life taken by the State.  A Judge alone can not assign you the death penalty.  The "otherwise infamous" crime is a bit vague, and I tend to mean that if there is a crime where life is lost or the depravity of the act is shocking to the conscious then there has to be a grand jury. 

Also its kind of important to note, the Military is singled out as not having this protection.  SSG Bales, the recent alleged Afghanistan shooter can be held, and if needs be executed for the crimes he committed without a grand jury.  Apparently the Founders were aware of a fact that has escaped the Modern Liberal.  Namely the Rules and Laws of War are different than those applied to civilians.  Peace and War are as different as night and day, and any actions in War have to be viewed through that understanding.  The "Public Danger" could well be any call up for the National Guard for disaster relief, or any number of occasions that may require the Military to deploy.  Keep in mind that this is before the UCMJ. 

The next part deals with "Double Jeopardy".  I'm not sure what crime you have to commit in America where Limbs are taken, but if there were any, if you were tried for a crime once, you can not be tried for the same crime against the same person twice.  Now if you have say a serial rapist who rapped a woman repeatedly, you can try him for each act.  In essence each time he violated that woman.  That's why when the charges are being read you hear "(blank) counts of. . . "  In practical terms it usually is a compounding of the sentence, but most of the time if a criminal is a repeat offender in multiple counties or states then if acquitted in one state or county then they will often be shipped off to another State or county to face trial there.  If you committed one crime which is hard to do these days because all crimes seem to be inter linked, then if you were acquitted its like it never happened at least on your record. 

The next part is the one everyone knows.  "I plead the fifth."  How many times have you seen someone pulled before Congress about some wrong doing that has really pissed someone off and they just keep pleading the Fifth.  Well suck it up.  The State can not force you to say anything in a criminal matter.  Now keep in mind, this protection is not  afforded to you when in a civil case.  If compelled you have to testify.  While annoying, the reasons for this clause should be painfully clear.  Again this does not cover anything to do with War time.  I believe the ICC in the Hague doesn't even allow criminals to abstain when dealing with War Crimes.

The last clause seems like its tacked on, but its actually really important in current times.  See there's this thing called eminent domain.  Essentially its the idea that the Government can come in and take your land if needed for "public good".  What is good for the public is actually really vauge and has actually been abused lots of times.  In Hawaii for instance you can not own any beach front property.  Its' quite clear that the State can come in at any time evict you and build whatever they want there (how do you think Waikiki got build?) They do have to compensate you with "fair" prices.  The problem here is that what exactly is fair?  Value as Heinlein put it is not absolute.   A bowl of cherries may cost X, but in the hands of a master chef they can cost significantly more.  Conversely in the hands of a dumbass they can be next to worthless.  If a three bedroom house has been in my family three generations I might value it a hell of a lot.  The State may say that the land is only worth so much and the two figures never  match up, usually falling in the State's favor.  My advise is if the State even tries Eminent Domain on you, make damn sure you get every penny out of them.  It should not be something they can do lightly. 

My take on the 5th amendment is that people are dumbasses.  They know all of one clause of the whole thing.  Arguably the one they might actually use, but if you do not know what the State can and perhaps more importantly CAN NOT  do, they you will be caught unawares.  It will also lead to abuses of power.  In the end it is you the individual and the Citizen that is the watchdog.  You are the guardian of the freedoms you have, not the State. 

th 4th Amendment: Stipping for the TSA and carting you off to Jail.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

-the Fourth Amendment

Security is vital to the well being of the individual the community and the state.  The three are not always mutually exclusive, but they tend to come into conflict a lot more than you'd think.  Security for one can mean that the other two may not have security and it seems like all three are in a tug of war, but the Founders felt that it was the Individual, that was the important one to protect.  Why?  Well who are States made up of?  The first step to and State becoming oppressive and ultimately destructive is to discount the security of the individual. 

Again its important to note that this doesn't protect you from nature, or from other citizens this is protection from the government.  So in practical terms this means that before the Police can search your house for anything incriminating, or to come and arrest you they need a warrant.  Here's the catch, "Probable cause".  See if I were to call a Police officer, say my house is being robbed, the Police come, and I am clearly high, and there's no evidence of any wrong doing at all, then there's reasonable assumption that there might in fact be drugs in the house.  They can't toss the place, but if I am a dumb ass and leave my crack needles out in the open, well, they've got me.   

But If I, a law abiding citizen had something illegal in my possession, then the Police can not come and search me or take any of my things.  If I am sitting on a park bench minding my own business a cop can't come and take me to jail, unless I have committed a crime in front of him, say sitting naked on a bench in the park.  Also in practical terms, The warrant has to state exactly where they will search and what methodology they will use to uncover any evidence.  Say there's a Search and Seizure warrant and the police are looking for the President's missing Cohones.  Well they can open drawers and look (carefully) for them, but if they're say hidden in an air vent, unless the warrant specifically states so, or someone tells them that its there, they can not go scrounging through my vents. 

The real tricky bit about this Amendment is the Exclusionary Rule, which in essence states that evidence can be dropped or "forgotten" about a case if it was obtained "illegally".  Its different from state to state, and even in each court room what is and is not admissible, but more times then we'd care to think about vital evidence was left out of a case because some T wasn't crossed or I wasn't dotted.  It is maddening and frustrating, but believe it or not it is far far better than the alternative. 

Another practicality that has actually given us a headache is the Patriot Act and the TSA.  I personally think that the TSA would be well within their right (and damned well should!) profile when doing a screening.  I doubt highly that Granny whose 80 years old is going to hijack a plane.  So where is the line?  The problem is that Air Travel is a Service, and the TSA, incompetent as it is, is necessary to prevent tragic consequences.  I believe though that should any idiot try to take over the plane you'll see what I have dubbed the Flight 93 effect.  In essence, the Passengers WILL fight back.  I can see screening your bags for explosives, and you can do that without being intrusive.  I can even see taking a person who is behaving belligerently for further screening, but at the core I believe the current methodology violates the 4th Amendment. 

The Patriot Act seemed like a good idea at the time, and if you are just sitting back looking for trends, then it is fine as a tool.  If Mohamed is calling Saudi, Pakistan, and Yemen every other day, then that might be a good idea to take a look at him.  But to actually tap his phone you do need a warrant.  Further than that any arrests better damn well have a good reason.  I am actually ok with not giving someone a lawyer right away, if they are in the act of committing a terrorist act, which is at its core an act of war, and not a normal crime.  But you'd better damn well catch him or her in the act.  Here, sting operations where a dumb ass builds a fake bomb with an FBI agent watching them the whole time. . . well actually I'd rather that than the dumb ass actually blows something up.  In this particular case you are not violating the 4th Amendment because this action was of the subject's own free will. 

My take is that there are fine, but distinct lines here.  We need to understand that there will be times that the individual will need to act in such a manner that he may not be as "free" as they would like, but that line is also distinct.  the second you cross it, the state has become destructive to its own citizen's well being. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

the Third Amendment: No Quarter for Joe unless he asks nicely

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

-The Third Amendment 

This is one of the least used, and hardly know amendments.  Lets face it when's the last time you heard of US troops knocking on a US citizen's door and saying they were taking the house?  Never.  It really hasn't happened since the Revolution.  There is all of one relevant case to this Amendment and it wasn't even seen in the Supreme Court.  Indeed while we can station troops in your house in a time of war, which hasn't really happened in the Continental United States since the War of 1812 (the Civil war doesn't technically count because most of it happened in what was at the time technically a foreign country). 

For rather obvious reasons Soldiers typically like Camps away from the civilian population when fighting a Force v. Force war.  Now this is kind of a funny thing because Iraq and Afghanistan you've had to buy up property to create little bases, and sometimes you go into a house and stay there for a couple of days, after giving wads of cash and telling them to scram.  As long as there is Law surrounding how you do this (and keep in mind everyone has agreed Afghanistan and Iraq are Wars) you're in the clear. 

My take, this won't be an issue unless Marshal Law has to be declared and even then, the Army is good at building Tent Cities.  Still as this was one of the grievances cited in the Declaration of Independence, it would be rather bone headed not to include this in the Bill of Rights. 

The Second Amendment: Malon Labe!

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

-The Second Amendment

Well this is strangely one of the shortest Amendments, and though this might seem minor the punctuation in how its written has cause an unbelievable amount of headache for us as a society.  On the Surface its pretty straightforward.  If the Fecal mater hits the fan a civilian militia can be called up and will augment the standing military.  If necessary local civilians can keep the peace inside their own states territories or municipalities should emergencies arise. 

But that's the thing.  See some people have use Militia to mean the National Guard (it's not a Militia by the way) and they are armed, so why should a private citizen need guns?  Another argument revolves around the words "well regulated" which could be taken to mean that you can throw on so many regulations that getting a gun is prohibitive.  In both arguments it is an argument of semantics and not really about the spirit of the actual Amendment. 

In theory, if I organized a group of individuals and trained them how to fight, with the express purpose of only doing legitimate Militia work in times of crisis, I could (again in theory) arm them with just about anything.  I don't know why a private citizen would need a Ma Deuce, but should the goose well and truly be cooked a .50 Cal would probably  come in handy.  I'm not sure how practical it would be, but we're just dealing with theory. 

The simple fact is that you have a right to arm yourself.  It is assumed that a reasonable citizen will know when and where and what circumstances to discharge or draw a firearm, and ultimately I think that's the main problem that Liberals have with this Amendment.  It comes down to trust.  Can you trust your fellow citizen to know what the hell they're doing?  To be sure accidents, and crimes will happen.  That's just what happens when it doesn't take 20 seconds to reload after each shot.  Would the Founders still have written the Amendment this way had they known about the Kalashnikov?  Actually. . . yes.  There are about 3 million Soldiers Sailors Airmen and Marines right now.  There are 300 Million Americans.  The DoD can't oppress the people because simply put they would get their asses handed to them. 

But this Amendment actually also saved us from Foreign invasion more than once.  Take WWII.  Hitler thought he'd *eventually* attack America but he wanted to have rested after the conquest of Europe Asia, and Africa.  In essence he wanted to deal with America last.  The Japanese which attacked America directly never had any plans to get anywhere near the mainland.  They had planned to strike at (but not hold) the Panama Canal, and a potentially interdict shipping to Hawaii, but setting foot on the US mainland never entered into any tactical or strategic Doctrine that has survived history.  Indeed Admiral Isuroko Yamamoto, the Pearl Harbor architect himself thought the idea was mindlessly suicidal because "there would be a gun behind every blade of grass".  The entire war aim of the Japanese Empire was to bring America to the bargaining table, to to dominate it.  

My take is rather simple.  Look at all the societies that have tried to ban the citizen from owning firearms.  They are either brutal dictatorships or have unbelievably high crime rates.  Indeed like it or not there is a direct correlation between crime, and especially violent crime, and private Gun ownership.  I believe it would be a wise policy to teach every child gun safety regardless of if their parents own any guns.  This would prevent children from having Negligent Discharges that kill or wound those nearby.  Further I believe that every effort should be made to make ammo cheap so that a citizen can afford to hone their skills. Training is the key to preventing Spray and Pray massacres where you hit everything but the target.

It must be noted that the Laws regarding Guns will only be followed by law abiding citizens.  I could potentially obtain quite a few rifles that are quite illegal for me to have.  I personally would feel no qualms about doing so, mainly because I have had the proper training.  Imagine if someone did not or did not follow the law as I do?  both would be dangerous combinations.  Adding further laws when such people cause problems will also not solve the problem only exacerbate it. 

I want to leave you with this thought about this Amendment.  Why is the Right to Bare Arms the 2nd?  Why not the 3rd or the 5th?  keeping in mind that America had already failed as a state (the articles of the Confederation were a disaster) you have to further understand that this right was meant as a safeguard for the First Amendment.  If the Government of the United States became destructive to the Freedoms of the Individual than this Amendment would be a safeguard.  The dangers that go along with this Amendment, are painfully obvious, but they were deemed, in the minds of the Founders, worth the risk.  Indeed the Revolution would not have been possible without Minutemen, and other such Militias.  Should the need ever arise, every citizen is given the Right to defend his Rights. 

Numeral Uno: The Liberal's Favorite

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

-the First Amendment

Funny thing about this Amendment, while it is one of the most important it is one of the least understood.  See there is no "Freedom of protest", and while the Government can not establish a Religion like the Atheists say, it can not also ban displays of religion.   The United States Government can't create a church, like the Anglican, or the Church of England.  But on the other side I can exercise that religion, and display it however I choose.  So in theory any Cross on public land can not be forcibly taken down. 

Also notice something else, it says the Congress can't do that.  It unfortunately doesn't say diddly about the Courts, which is exactly where this very Amendment is being Undermined ironically enough by claiming this amendment.  See the Courts can order just about anything.  Congress can no more take down a war memorial than it can erect one if it has religious overtones.  As I said though the Courts can.  Also technically Public land is owned by. . . the public.  It creates something of a Logical feedback loop.  The land is owned by the public, a majority of the public firmly believe in Abrahamic faiths, a majority of the public are fine with religious displays, and since Congress didn't put it up it's ok.  BUT since the United States Government can't establish a religion, then you are left with a question of  "does displaying the Cross (or any other religious symbol) mean the US Government is endorsing said religion?"  I personally do not buy the second part for a second, but that is the Legalise logic jam that has caused rather simple things to become actually tremendously complicated.  Also it should be noted that "Separation of Church and State" appears nowhere in this amendment or in the Constitution.  Rather that phrase comes from ONE LETTER written by Thomas Jefferson, and has been taken so out of context its a wonder no Judge has stopped a court preceding to call bullshit. 

"Abridging the Freedom of Speech".  It is funny how that keeps coming up.  Ok, let's be very clear you can say whatever the hell you want to whenever the hell you want to.  I don't care if you're in the American Nazi Communist Black Panther Gay Pride Party, it doesn't matter what you want to or have to say you can say it.  But you see there's a couple of catches.  First and foremost, no one has to provide you a platform for your speech.  If you're a rocker and you get on stage and bad mouth the sitting US president, that is totally your right.  Its just as much the crowd's right to boo you.  Also it does not mean that you can in any way coerce another Citizen to have to listen to you.  Free Market Principles will sometimes bite you in the ass here.  Like I said, you can Say whatever you want, doesn't mean you're protected from the consequences.  

Another catch is your Freedom of speech ends rather abruptly so when you infringe on another person's rights.  So the second you advocate Violence, or the second you put out information that will cause harm to another Citizen (financial or bodily) you have crossed the line and that freedom and the protections of this Amendment are gone.  A great example, and just recently, Spike Lee tweeted the (wrong) address of George Zimmerman who allegedly shot and killed Tayvon Martin.  The people who lived there were harassed to the point they had to flee their home.  In this particular case it is a civil Liability, and no doubt Mr Lee will pay dearly for that stunt, but had it been the correct address, and George Zimmerman had been hurt or killed because of what Mr Lee had done, he would become criminally liable.  In essence one tweet would put him up for Negligent Homicide (manslaughter). 

It must also be acknowledge that Secrets are a part of statecraft.  No state can effectively conduct any military operations without secrets.  Indeed some aspects of our national defense such as counter terrorist or submarine warfare depend on such secrets.  If you leak or "blow the whistle" on such operations that place service members at risk, that is most certainly not protected speech.  Indeed I have heard moonbats try to say that PFC Bradley manning, the yahoo behind the Wikileaks fiasco, was just exercising his freedom of speech.  Nope.  He put soldiers in danger, and the information he released literally got informants killed.  Also on a side note when you fall under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. . . well to put it bluntly most of the Rights and Privileges you have as a US Citizen disappear.  So you really can't hide behind any Amendments there.

An important part of this Amendment is regrading the Press.  While I would truly like to believe that the "4th Estate" is neutral, and is only concerned about the truth, we have seen time and again that this is not the case.  It is quite interesting that a lot of the Partisan sources of news have called for laws that demand "Fair" reporting.  The "Fairness Doctrine" which was almost enacted by the FCC would in essence violate the First Amendment, by forcing news to have opposing view points.  The Irony is that this is a Liberal doctrine.  The short version is that you can not force the Media to censor itself unless it is about to reveal something that is harmful (see Secret) or untruthful.  Also it should be noted that while the Government can't censor any reporter legally, it does not follow that it has to support them.  That consequences thing.  (See Michael Yon)

Lastly the "Right to Peaceably Assemble".  To be very clear while it is insinuating that this is "Protest" there is no "right to protest" anywhere in the constitution, nor to my knowledge anywhere in the writings of the Founders.  Again this right goes out the window when that peace is shattered.  If you sit down and sing and have drum circles that's fine so long as you have permits, and are not in anyway impeding your fellow citizens.  See Occupy Wall Street which sure started off Peaceful enough, broke this almost immediately.  They took over public land, and how the assembled soon became a health hazard both to themselves and the citizens that passed by them.  Also the livelyhood of those actually working in and near the financial district was affected by their actions.  There were no Permits filed, or fees paid, and thus the Taxpayer was out for the overtime the Cops had to pull.  That they got violent (as such people so often do) would have been grounds for the police to round everyone of them up and throw them in jail.  Occupy Oakland's seizing port facilities pretty clearly violated "Peaceably" and the only ones that should have been chanting "shame shame shame" was the rest of Oakland that had to put up with their antics.  Again, remember your right goes up to a point.  Once you cross that, the right is gone!

As far as petitioning the Government, that one is pretty simple.  We have the Courts, and believe it or not you can make an appointment with your Representative or Senator.  They pretty much have to see you if you feel that you have a grievance.  They may brush you off to their staff but if they don't even give lip service to your complaint that's a big no no.  It may cost you.  You may not get the reply you want.  The whole country can be against you, but darn it if you feel strongly enough about an issue, the US Government has to listen.

This Amendment should be simple enough, but it is not.  There is a reason though, that it is the First one.  No society is Free without the ability to speak.  We may not always like what is said or how it is said, and sometimes the people saying it can be downright loathsome, but in the end we need to be able to say what we need to say.  Without that ability, we would fast become a tyrannical dictatorship.  Even though it is rather tiresome to have to listen to someone whine endlessly about how their Free Speech (which if you think about it actually costs a hell of a lot) is being infringed upon, we must always be vigilant.  There may come a time when even your opponents are having their freedoms infringed upon, and such a case must be taken seriously, lest eventually your freedoms be taken away.

A look at the Amendments

Well Boys and Girls I've decided to start a little series I'm going to look at all the Amendments to the Constitution I'm going to start of with the exact text of the Amendment followed by my take on it and some of the problems surrounding it.   I'll try to explain most of the view points surrounding them (as I understand them) and lastly what I think about most of those arguments. 

Before I start though a bit of philosophy.  The Government, the Constitution, even the Military do not give you any rights.  Those rights are secured by said documents, which is to say safeguarded.  They are not granted, or ensured by those institutions.  Your Rights are your Rights.  If you're a dumb ass and don't exercise them properly then that is on your head not anyone else.  Having Said that its quite amazing how the wording, and even the punctuation has been taken by Lawyers and judges to twist the whole thing around. 

I will try my best to explain my view points and give examples, but as we've had almost 250 years to debate them eve rather simple things have become clear as mud.  I have decided to do this because I am tired of the ignorant boob that says he "knows his rights" but clearly doesn't have a clue what the hell he's talking about. 

Should be kind of fun kiddos.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What happened to the John Waynes?

"a Man's gotta do what a Man's gotta do." This simplistic saying has about all you need to know about what just a few short generations ago it meant to be a man. Now we have Boys taking hormones to delay the onset of puberty so they can stay girlish and teenagers barely old enough to know what the hell to actually do with what's between their legs, ready to chop off what God gave them and attempt to have a surgeon radically alter their entire body. Those that "choose" to remain male act less and less like Men and more like little boys that discovered playing with their pee pee feels good.

The Gentleman is a dying breed.  You do not need to be of High Station or breeding to be a Gentleman, it is a mindset not a class as we have been told.  We have been told to abhor those that act thus because they were all snobbish, and thus have been encouraged to exhibit boorish behavior.  Thus we have forgotten as men that our conquests are not lusty trophies that one simply discards for another trophy, but rather the thrill of victory over one's own doubts or the adversity that afflicts us. 

Men can not be Men alone, though when the time comes a Man will act alone and with certainty.  We are inspired to rise above our petty or brutish nature by the Lady, which sadly is also a dying breed.  Gone are the women who through grace and charm would captivate men and enthrall them.  Gone are the Subtle hints of sensuality, traded for a cheap mockery, of sexuality that makes one feel vulgar just being in its presence.  Women no longer seek for men to earn their favor, rather they deign to enslave their men through crude combinations of barely disguised Sexual ques, and a superiority that they are somehow doing men a favor. 

It is difficult to tell anymore though who is exploiting who.  The boys are lead around by the short hairs and the girls are not given options in what they can wear, they must dress and even act a certain way making them all interchangeable and forgettable.  In this Brave New World Beauty is a weapon, that is used by both sides, and both are bombarded with so many sexual ques its a wonder we have any time for civility.  Boys are encouraged to dip into their darker and animistic side, while girls dip into their darker side with cunning and scheming.  The boys struggle and fight to prove their sexual prowess and when they receive the conquest there is no real thrill of victory only a short lived pleasure which will as needs must lose its thrill.  They are left to wonder where the exaltation they were expecting would come, and as they discard one disposable girl for another, often being used as pawns as much at they are using the girls, they are left only with bitter drama and an empty feeling that even the eventual children can not fill. 

At this point it really doesn't matter who started it.  Were the Women really Liberated, or were the Men pulling the strings?  Did the men lose their power, or did the Women just realize theirs.  It really doesn't matter.  What is left is a legacy of selfish children who know only how their genitals work and nothing about what their sex really means.  What does it mean to be a Man?  What does it mean to be a Woman?  Only when these sad pathetic creatures are too set in their ways and their vices are they left to wonder why it is this way?  They forgot the pure and utter Joy they can bring each other. 

This cycle of vanity and vulgar pleasure seeking will not end until a generation is shocked to its core.  Each thrill they seek will become more and more extreme until some invisible line is crossed and we are left with a truly shocking moment when we realize how far we've fallen.  Our pleasures once easy to grasp at our finger tips, at the end of our dicks vaginas or assorted sex toys will come ever more from sources and methods once thought obscene, until not even the children sired or dammed are safe.   Because we don't know how to be Gentlemen, and our women don't know how to be Ladies. 

There is hope.  There is a way to break the cycle before it becomes irreversible.  Simply put you, must be a parent.  No I don't mean a Sire, but you must actually take the time to nurture your children.  To teach both the boys and the girls what it means to be a Man, What it means to be a Woman.  Girls need fathers, and Boys need mothers, it is a mutual requirement.  If they see you seeking pleasures wherever you can find them they will follow.  What honor have you found in life.  What lessons have your mistakes taught you?  you must hammer these lessons home. 

Ultimately The Cowboys will ride into the sunset.  They do these things alone because they can be confidant in who they are, they do not need anyone to lean on and tell them what to do, they keep their own council.  This is what it means to be a Man.  It is a strength and solidarity we have forgotten, but can claim once again.  A Man's victory is not some cheap thrill, but a woman that is worth fighting for and worth facing the cold and lonely nights for.  Our greatest triumphs are sought after in the name of the Love we hold, not the sex we have.  This will give your life meaning and you will feel truly alive.  If you are able, then embrace what it is to be a Man!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is this the Sh*t Hitting the fan (again)?

Right now North Korea is fueling a missile.  They say to launch a satellite.  But seeing as they already admit to having Nukes (they say a lot we're not so sure) and there are Iranian Scientists on the ground. . . It really begs the question of how stupid do they think we are.  Even if it is a perfectly legitimate satellite, which is extremely doubtful, that missile presents a threat not only to the US but to the entirety of East Asia. 

Nukes are a problem that we had hoped had been put to bed with the end of the cold war.  We were all friends, sort of, and we thought the old belligerents that had been kept in line by the superpowers seemed to accept that.  But as recently as the Clinton administration there were cracks in the post cold war consensus.  First North Korea was playing around with Nukes, then the Middle East started acting up.  It really isn't worth mentioning Africa, which has never been stable since the old colonial powers ended their rule there. 

But for the most part despite the fact that China seemed more belligerent than they had before, they were still notionally friendly.  It really wasn't worth mentioning Iran, but they weren't really a threat to anyone.  So what happened.  Well partially 9/11, which showed that the US could  be attacked without a massive military.  But more than that the fact that some of the biggest monuments to both capitalism and our military power were nearly destroyed showed the world that it could be destroyed.

Further than that with our whole attention turned to Afghanistan and then Iraq, a lot of the regional powers felt free to act up.  Indeed at the height of the Surge in Iraq in 2007 Iran had sent actual troops into Iraq and those special forces really did kill US Service members.  What was our response?  I wish I could tell you there was one.  Now Iran has Nuclear reactors, and the methodology to refine Uranium or Plutonium to make weapons grade fissile materials.  What does that mean?  Well essentially they have the raw materials to create a nuke, which is actually pretty simple.  Worse after the "Axis of Evil" Speech which at the time wasn't technically true Iran saw the benefit of joining with N. Korea.  What's scary is that Iran is directly opposed to Saudi Arabia, so any actual Nukes produced will spin off an arms race in the Middle East. 

North Korea has pretty much said Japan, South Korea, and most of East Asia is theirs.  It seems a tall order seeing as their people are literally starving.  Their military seems inordinately strong given that there are people literally starving to death.  There are over a million artillery tubes of various sizes alone, that not even speaking of tanks, or infantry.  Their Air Force is also pretty large.  So taking them on is daunting no matter who you are, and then there's China.  They are close allies with N. Korea.  So it is possible anything that happens in N. Korea it will involve China. 

So what do we do.  Well simply put, shoot it down, if we are able.  Do not allow any ballistic missile leave N. Korean Airspace.  Make it clear that this will not be tolerated.  You can not deal in good faith and trust in the honor of a state that has proven time and again it has neither.  The same goes with Iran.  Anything having to do with Nukes that is not directly related to their civilian power plants should be destroyed.  One warning should be given, then one large, single wave should be used to take out the said facilities.  When the dust settles we can say whatever we want, but both actions would be both justified and "legal".

The UN will do little more than send strongly worded letters, China and Russia will not intervene, China because they're trying to be a behind the scenes Superpower, to pit these regional bad boys against America.   Russia really can't deploy military forces outside its own boarders, despite still having some bad ass forces, the Kursk disaster has pretty much shown the threat of the Old Bear to be a pretty empty one.  It will fall to America and our Regional allies.  What form or shape those actions will be are debatable but it is clear that no one is coming to the rescue, other than the good ol (and tired) US of A. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Funny thing about the SCOTUS

Every Liberal loves the Supreme Court.  They seemed to "discover" rights all the time, from the right to Abortion, to the "right" to be informed that you can have a lawyer before being questioned.  People on the Left just love the supreme court.  That is until the SCOTUS does something like declare their Hallmark legislation Unconstitutional.  It happened in the 30's when the SCOTUS declared the New Deal Unconstitutional, and struck down a majority of the programs therein.  FDR was infuriated and wanted to push through a bill that would allow him to "stack" the court and add more Justices.  The Irony is that most of the programs struck down didn't really work anyway. 

Now we see this again.   President Obama is quite upset that the one piece of legislation that he almost literally spent ever bit of political capitol pushing through (that ironically caused a Republican resurgence and the Tea Party)  It was so big, and there were so many addendums to get enough votes to sign off on it, that it had people hopping mad.  Never mind that The Democrats had a super Majority that they could use to literally pass anything they wanted.  There is literally so much in there that we're still not completely sure how the damn thing is going to work.  Interestingly enough the individual mandate which requires each individual to buy health insurance (at a greater cost than the penalty for not having insurance) was not a clause that was made separate.  In essence because of some bad wording on a 2600 page document if one part of it is found to be unconstitutional the whole thing goes out the window.  They've already had two judges throw it out, and two judges keep it in lower court. 

So here we are the one lasting legacy that Obama might leave is quite potentially going to be struck down with 5 people's opinion.  That's all it will take.  5 People in the whole of the United States to say that the Government can't force you to buy healthcare.  Even if this one clause is not struck down we will likely see challenges both legislative and Legal for decades to come.  So when the Central piece of legislation came before the SCOTUS the POTUS had some harsh words for them. 

Well this had a lower court seriously asking just what the hell the President meant.  It is usual for there to be a struggle between the various branches but to use the same language as the President did you'd think is was a clear waring that if they struck down this law he would retaliate, which he can't do.  Well a lower court in Texas wanted some clarification on this because they felt this was disturbing and for the past week there has been some back and forth between the President, the DOJ and this lower court.

I can not help but sit back and laugh at it all.  Conservatives have for years bemoaned the courts decisions, especially on things like Miranda, and Roe V Wade, but other cases as well, for years they have moaned about their best laid plans being trounced by a minority of "Activist Judging" which they have proved time and again, and Liberals have gleefully stated that the laws were on their side.  But when it happens to a Liberal, its not so funny is it.  No I get hours of entertainment from this farce, and I think it is justly deserved.

Just remember Oh ye Liberals, that turn about is fair play.  If you hammer and hammer someone don't be surprised when you get blindsided by something you weren't expecting.    

Friday, April 6, 2012

The not so happy sock

One thing people never understand about deployments is the sheer utter boredom. Let me guess you played Call of Duty or saw Blackhawk Down, and you KNOW what Combat is all about. Guess what you're wronger than two alter boys tag teaming a priest. Let's face it, no one would watch a movie about an actual deployment.  If they ever learn of the stupid shit we do because we are so pants shittingly bored, they would think we're all a bunch of short bus riding redneck window lickers. Don't get me wrong almost every company has one of those, but most of the time we do these things that "normal" people might say "that doesn't seem like a good idea".  When you're that bored you tend to turn the word "not a good idea" to "Eh, why not?"

Case in point.  At one point during my second deployment we got nonlethal rounds for our shotguns and foam darts for our 40mm Grenade launchers.  Why?  Well we had a bad habit of causing riots.  I'm not kidding we'd cause the Iraqis to riot like clockwork.  I don't know what about 2-16 pissed them off so much, but man they loved to riot.  So here we have these nonlethal rounds.  Its not like we're going to use a 40MM grenade launcher on a crowd right?  What to do?  Test it out of course.     In one of those "eh why not" moments, one genius decided to try out the dart on a T-barrier.  He stood the prerequisite minimum safe distance and fired.  Only it was at an angle, and rebounded off and hit a poor schmuck standing near by.  The shot gun rounds we were going to test on people who volunteered but fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your take) Officers and NCOs put a stop to that. 

The same thing happened when we got the LRAD or Long Range Acoustic Devise.  Its essentially a speaker that plays the most God awful noise at a volume on par with jet engines.  Its  pretty focused so if you're closer than thirty meters you'll actually kill your hearing and supposedly its lethal if you are within five and right in front of it.  The point being to make people disperse.  But then someone said it makes you shit your pants too.  The infamous brown note.  There was no actual setting for "shit your pants" so we all took turns standing in front of it fingers in our ears (because it actually did hurt to stand close to it) and would stand as long as we could to see if anyone shit their pants.  Nope.  Darn.  That would have been funny if it did.

At another point we had a game.  The good game.  Literally.  You would slap the shit out of someones ass if they ever bent over and presented a target.  Double points if they were in PTs (believe me it hurt a hell of a lot worse than if you were in ACUs).  And as an added bonus because we were in the desert, you didn't have to say "good game"  but did just so they knew they were gotten.  Of course this lead to some very awkward questions when it came time for showers.  Its not like we're staring at each others asses or anything but its kind of hard not to notice a huge red welt in the shape of a hand on someone's ass. 

Of course these hijinks would only take you so far.  I mean the games were still fun and it would have you laughing (and rubbing your ass) For a few minuets but there were still 24 hours in a day and your prank just ate up 5 whole minuets.  Watch movies?  That gets boring too.  Work out.  Without a doubt.  But you can only work out so much.  So you've just managed to waste a whole 6 hours.  Chances are you'll be awake for at least 16-18 (more on "busy" days but you tend to notice boredom less then)  so what do you do.  Well a lot of folks' answer was. . . the happy sock.

Rub one out.  Stroke the pole.  Pump the Peter.  Masturbate. Some people used actual socks, some got a "fleshlight" or a pocket vagina from a male order catalog, others dry fisted it.  I really didn't want to know the details as I had a method of my own and since I didn't want anyone saying anything to me or catching me in the act, I wasn't keen on sharing myself.  That was until I had a soldier come to me with a problem.  See this soldier, we'll call him Specialist Snuffy, got very bored one day after his DVD player broke.  Well I'd seen him duck out a bunch of times to the shitter, so I thought he was going to ask me for something to cure the Baghdad Blowouts.  Oh how wrong I was.

"Hey Doc. . . I've got a. . . well I've got a bit of a problem."  Says he

"Food got you down?  Yeah no problem.  You haven't eaten any local stuff have you?"

"what?  Oh no its not that."

At this point I was already reaching into my bag to get some loparomide out.  I stop.

"Ok. . . well what is it?"

"Um. . . I have to show you but I don't want everyone seeing."

Um . . . God I hope this isn't going to turn homo.

"Ok," says I "Just let me grab some gloves first."

I do and thank God I did.  He leads me to a part of our COP that really had no people at this point and proceeds to drop trow and show me his dick.  Crap.  Well you're a Medic I say to my self part of the job is you're the resident Pecker checker.  Let's get this over with.  I put the gloves on, and actually get a look and somethings wrong right away.  See I'm not entirely sure but I think I see callouses and this individual has rubbed raw his tally wacker.  I mean the thing is red and angry and looks like its about to bleed, and worst of all it looks like the head is made out of plastic.  I mean its purple and. . . Shiny.  That's not how its supposed to look.

"What the hell. . . ?  What the f**k did you do man?"

"I was just going out to the shitter and I figure I'd rub one out but it. . . hurt it hurt when I got it up and when I started stroking I thought I was going to rip the damn thing off."

"Wow, I. . . wow."

Well the conversation proceded I found out that this was time number 9 today to play with the fireman, so that explains the painful erection.  I'm going to wait to tell him when I broach the subject of what he has been using as lubricant.  Can you guess?  Soap.  Apparently he'd had a really fun showertime sometime and he figured why not.  So he'd take a bar of soap lather up and go at it.  I kind of have to shake my head at this.  Its not a good idea.  Well I tell him trying very hard to be professional here, that I can't really do anything till we get back to the FOB, but he has to stop masturbating this rotation, and it would be a good idea to find someone with some lotion (I know SOMEONE has some) I also advised getting a clean sock or something to put over his Johnson so it doesn't rub a lot.

We were out for a couple more days and I could tell he wasn't having a good time, because he was always wincing.  I of course being the utmost professional consulted my fellow medics about it.  Laughing may or may not have ensued.  When we got back I was going to drag him to sick call but he begged off saying that it felt better and he really didn't want that going in his medical records.  Fine says I, but I'm going up to the Aid Station anyway, it would be real quick.  No, no he'd really rather not.  Ok no problem.  I went up in my ACUs which is a bit uncommon for me because you always wanted to be in PTs on the FOB.  I made my usual reports and then when no one was looking swiped a cargo pocket full of SurgiLube.  I admonished him not to play with the fireman so much, and gave him the lube and made him swear that he wouldn't use anything else.

About a week later I had at least three more guys asking for SurgiLube.  Somehow I became the KY Pimp.  Funny how that works. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Made in: (Anywhere but here)

Quick pull out your nearest pair of undies that still have the tag on them (cuz I know some of you nasty dudes out there wait till your tighty whitey's are black).  Look at the tag.  Where were they made?  I've got a better one next time your wife, Girlfriend or Sister go shopping take a look at the tags.  Next time you're out buying anything remotely useful Look hard at the labels.  Notice something?  Well if you're paying attention, you'll notice something amazing NONE OF THEM ARE MADE HERE!!!

No.  Mexico, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, hell The forceps I used for sutures were made in Pakistan of all places.  So where are all the awesome things Americans used to make?  Well they're gone.  See most of the factories are closed.  Most of them are pretty well rotting.  Hell Only people that are really making big things are Boeing and GE.  Lockheed Martin only makes Military planes, McDonald Douglas is gone (consumed by Boeing).  The major Car manufactures Ford Chrysler and GM pretty damned close to closing their doors.  Chrysler is now partially owned by Fiat.   Anheuser Busch, which makes Budweiser is no longer owned by Americans.  Hell even the Empire State Building of all places, is owned by the Chinese.

Are you scared or pissed off?  Perhaps you should be a bit of both.  Why should you be scared?  Well your job is dependent on goods (and services) provided by countries that do not necessarily like us.  China is not our friend.  I could see Japan or South Korea, both of which have a long history dealing with America and Americans.  But China really hasn't been our friend since Mao took power.  If everyone thinks China is friendly they ought to go take a walk around the Chosin Resivoir, I'm sure you can find some mass graves of US Soldiers and Marines that would beg to differ.  What about Pakistan.  Gee I'm sure turning a blind eye to Bin Laden for 9 years is nothing to worry about.

I could talk about resources.  Does it bother you that Saudi Arabia, who we defended in Desert Storm from a raving sociopath, happened to be where 11 of 19 men who perpetrated one of the worst Acts of terrorism in history.  Does it bother you that the Straits of Hormuz where 90% og the Arabian Oil flows is under threat by Iran and if you go through the Suez well now you've got Somali Pirates.  Now all this is without talking about the Soup Sandwich that is Palestine/Israel. 

You should be pissed that we allowed this to happen.  We were focused on the Soviets till the late 80's.  Then all the sudden we didn't have this large bear waiting to rip us apart at the smell of blood (or periods.  I hear they attract bears too).  But when all was said and don we came out on top.  We were number 1!  So what happened?  Where did it all go wrong?

Well believe it or not it went wrong a lot earlier than you'd think.  It actually started in the Great Depression.  The economies of the world went Kaput all at once, and it started actually in America, which was lending money to Germany, which paid England and France reparations, which money they used to pay America for war loans.  When Germany stopped getting Money, well France and England stopped getting money and America stopped getting money.  Keep in mind this was in the middle of one of the worst man made droughts in American history (believe it or not bad farming practices lead to the Dust Bowl, not actual droughts).  The result. . . Great Depression.  Well we decided that it was all the Fat Cat's and Industry's fault.  We looked for a scapegoat rather than fix the fundamental problems with our Economy. 

The problem is the great depression and the Internet Bubble and the Housing bubble and every other bubble you can think of didn't happen over night.  People in all three cases were playing around with notional money or assets and when someone actually stopped and tallied what there actually was, it turned out there was a lot less (or in the case of debt more) than everyone thought there was.  You have to make up that difference somehow right?  Well get cheaper stuff till you recover your loses.  Only problem is this isn't solving the problem this is actually the same problem in another venue. 

Where are the manufacturing jobs?  If you need something absolutely need something built today where are you going to get the parts?  Not here.  We have assets true, but those assets all rely on parts and materials that were built or gotten overseas.  You can outsource tech jobs, but what about manufacture?  The economy isn't going to crash tomorrow if you can't call Dell about a broken computer but it will crash if say China decides its not going to accept the dollar anymore for their products. 

So whats the solution?  Well for one I would strongly suggest that in big bold letters (with a flag) you see where every product for consumer use comes from.  I would like to see every box with at least thumbnail sized flag on it saying this was made here.  It may seem small but it tends to make people realize more than the faintly written words.  Second, and this is key, let people build factories wherever the hell they want.  If South Carolina is a Right to Work state (basically a Union can't force you to join in order to have a job) and Boeing wants to start building airplanes there. . . Let em.  Likewise if the Big three want to flee Michigan and UAW. . . let em. 

Third, and this is perhaps most important, stop using the stick so much on companies.  Use the carrot.  Taxes are a necessity, we can all agree on that, and we can all agree to pay them because we need the services Government provides (at least the Enumerated powers) but taxes will only drive people away.  Every empire that failed did so because of their tax burden.  They tended to fall because of the little things that, on a macroscopic scale caused great harm.  If a company actually does wrong, then let the laws that are on the books take care of it.  There's no need to add another layer of regulatory mess because that will only slow down the people making things and also conversely the people actually trying to catch criminals. 

Ultimately though we have to recognize and encourage ourselves to figure out what is absolutely vital to the economy.  We as a nation need to sit down and have a talk.  What do we need.  What can't we live without?  Once we figure that out the next goal should be how do we make certain that we control that.  The means by which these things are achieved or obtained must remain in America.   Do do any less is only inviting disaster.  Lastly we must keep a tally on WHAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE!!!  The trading on the margins has to stop.  If you don't have it then why trade like you do? 

Of course this won't happen until we have a real crisis.  Then we'll realize how much trouble we're in.  OOps. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

from the other angle

Ok so I've debated saying anything about the Martin shooting.  First Let me ask seriously how utterly retarded you have to be to go on and on about a white man shooting a black kid, then won't even admit that the "white man" is actually Hispanic.  Its really no wonder that there's so much racial tension in this post racial world when you fan the flames like this.  The fact that the News will almost never openly admit its mistakes even when its not only warranted but required shows, that the fourth estate is as vulnerable to corruption as any other entity that holds power. 

But if we look at the facts of the Case we see a neighborhood that has a high crime rate and a neighborhood watch captain seeing someone he doesn't know and somehow looks suspicious.  Believe it or not it's not only ok its also a good idea to use indicators such as race sex, dress and how a person carries themselves as an indicator of whether or not they are going to be trouble.  Something twigged in Zimmerman's mind.  Doesn't matter what about Martin said "trouble" he may not even be able to tell you himself, a lot of such ques are subconscious.  That's not the point.  He saw what he thought was a threat.  He wanted to keep an eye on that threat, so he followed.  When he was told to stop by the police he was sure he'd done his civic duty and went about his business.

Here's where things get murky.  Martin confronted Zimmerman and the two struggled the end result is that Martin got shot and died of wounds.  Ok stop right there.  The question here is who instigated the fatal tussle.  It appears Martin.  So unless Zimmerman just started pistol whipping the shit out of Martin, at the outset there is cause to believe that Zimmerman is in some level of danger.  The exact details of the the event have to be teased out the central question is that we have to ask was Zimmerman threatened?

Now the real problem about the incident isn't about the actual incident itself.  Its sad that we have to talk about the death of a kid.  But Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  Spike Lee tweeting the wrong address of Zimmerman, and the poor folks there having to move to a hotel room to escape.  Congressmen throwing all decorum to the wind in "protest".  Students leaving school early and having a Riot at a Walgreens.  All around the country we have "victims" creating real victims to express their out rage that they're victims.  Do you see the problem here?

So lets be clear, rather than ask if perhaps there's a reason that Blacks are targeted, and if perhaps there is a valid reason other than sheer evil headed racism that a person a captain of a neighborhood might see a boy as a threat that he calls the police.  Indeed there are other questions one should probably ask about the statistics of the crimes committed.  What race is committing the most crimes?  Go look it up.  I actually know the stats, but I'm not going to tell you.  Cite whichever source you wish the stats are still damming.  Guess what.  You can't argue that this is under reported, or even that this is the caused by some inherent racism in the system. The police (and everyone else) are going to focus on who seems to be a threat.  This is point blank not only a good idea but probably essential if you want to survive. 

Further the right to self defense can not be taken away.  Guns tend to empower the weak.  If Martin had surprise and Strength on his side whats to say we wouldn't be reading about a Black kid killing a Hispanic man.  Except that it's pretty common fare and no one would really care.  I believe that Zimmerman probably escalated the situation but he could have also ended things rather quickly if he had drawn his firearm before Martin had gotten within striking distance. 

Ultimately we don't really know what happened.  There have been so many reports that are conflicting our own judgement has to be a little conflicting.  This episode is tragic any way you slice it.  Rather than have a real discussion about why Zimmerman might have felt the need to open fire on Martin we decide to riot.  And put out bounties.  And tweet addresses.  Rather than get  Angry and Riot why don't we ask seriously, if there are an inordinate number of people who think Blacks are a threat, WHY IS THAT? By going to riots and generally making an (unnecessary) ruckus, you kind of prove that you are a threat.  That we should watch you intently.  By fanning the flames and making it all a racial issue we have ensured that one race will be held down by racism and be the but of jokes, and quite frankly the first suspect when anything bad happens. 

As I have said about Islam so to will I say about the Black community.  It can not be reformed from the outside.  It hast to be a choice.  You have to chose to be better than the Ballas, the Niggas, and the Gangstas, the Ghetto (here I have to say you have NO IDEA what a ghetto is.  Warsaw 1939  All I gotta say) is a prison of your own making.  You chose to live that life then get angry when it comes back to bite you in the ass?  You make a choice right here and now, to do the right thing, or keep doing the wrong thing.  One path will give you respectability and a better life.  The other will make things continue as they are if not worsen.