The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Archive for April, 2009

Snark For The Day

Posted by Bill Nance on April 30, 2009

I was listening to NPR today and heard the Swine Flu epidemic mispronounced as: SLIME Flu.

It is teh funnay.

-That is all.

Posted in humor, Le Snark | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Speechless -Part II

Posted by Bill Nance on April 28, 2009

I was gratified to read Daniel Larison’s article in the American Conservative today. Larison’s article is a response to  a particularly bizarre argument made by Jim Manzi who asked: “Or more precisely, why is the belief that the torture of captured combatants is wrong compatible with anything other than some form of pacifism? I mean this an actual question, not as a passive-aggressive assertion”

He echoes my own dumbfounded amazement that people are actually asking whether torture is “all that bad.”  Or if it’s alright as long as valuable intelligence was recovered using it.

Money Quote:

One of the things that has kept me from saying much over the last week or so is my sheer amazement that there are people who seriously pose such questions and expect to be answered with something other than expressions of bafflement and moral horror. Something else that has kept me from writing much on this recently is the profoundly dispiriting realization (really, it is just a reminder) that it is torture and aggressive war that today’s mainstream right will go to the wall to defend, while any and every other view can be negotiated, debated, compromised or abandoned. I have started doubting whether people who are openly pro-torture or engaged in the sophistry of Manzi’s post are part of the same moral universe as I am… (emphasis added)

The more I listen to people who call themselves “conservative” lately, the more I wonder if I’m not dreaming.  Is this America? Or is it the Weimar Republic?

Posted in National Security, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Speechless

Posted by Bill Nance on April 24, 2009

Speechless. That’s how I’ve felt lately.

Since the election I’ve been watching people I know, some of them friends, frankly lose their bloody minds.

Since 9/12/01 We’ve lived with the worst abuses of power, the most demonstrably dishonest, corrupt and incompetent administration perhaps in our nation’s history.

For at least the last three years, five if you start from the first revelations, it’s become quite apparent that the Bush administration wire-tapped everyone in sight -sans warrants or probable cause. That they held American citizens without charge incommunicado and without access to an attorney for years at a time, implemented a policy where detainees were tortured on a routine basis, spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave and generally left America vastly less safe, it’s economy in shambles and its reputation in the trash.

These aren’t even debatable questions.  As Mark Kleiman is fond of saying: Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.

So after eight years of this utter disaster, the American people voted in a clear plurality last November to elect a Democrat…and NOW the wing-nuts on the right are suddenly civil libertarians, fiscal conservatives and sticklers for the law…oh, except for that pesky torture thing.

I don’t even have a response for this level of intellectual dishonesty and blatant partisanship.  It’s inexcuseable and inexplicable.  And so I am left..speechless.

Posted in Politics, Right-Wing Nut-jobery, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Color Me Disgusted

Posted by Bill Nance on April 22, 2009

Practically every blogger on the internet is writing about the torture memos recently released by the Obama Administration which show a deliberate, concerted and widespread policy of torture of detainees in American custody. I won’t be doing so often as I think others have and continue to do a much better job. But the video below particularly disgusted me.

To defend these practices and to compare the behavior of barbaric thugs with whom we are war to our own behavior, therefore attempting to justify violations of U.S. law, international treaties and all standards of basic human decency is nothing short of barbaric in itself.

This video captures the type of thinking these fools and cowards use to justify such things.  Mind you, this is not some idiot on talk radio or a pundit, this is a United States congressman.

If the words don’t ring any bells for you, I suggest you look at the defense used by Nazis at the Nuremberg trials.

The methods used by the Gestapo and others, many of which are virtually identical to what was revealed in the document released a few days ago were all legal under German law and indeed violated no then-existing international agreements. This is the defense used by the Nazis. The acts were legal under German law and the torturers were “just following orders and policy.”

The standards set at Nuremberg was that “just following orders” was no excuse, nor were laws tailor-made to expressly viiolate all standards of civilized conduct.

The architects of this policy should be prosecuted for war crimes. I’ve no particular interest in going after the torturers themselves until this is done. I want no more Abu Ghraib prosecutions where a few low-level stooges stand in for people far more culpable.

Prosecute, Mr. Holder.  Let the torturers and their cowardly defenders howl all they want. If you do not, the United States will forever be dishonored -and rightly so.

Posted in Creeping Fascism watch, Crime, National Security, Politics, Right-Wing Nut-jobery, Terrorism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Susan Boyle: Wow

Posted by Bill Nance on April 19, 2009

I don’t usually comment on “popular culture,” but this was frankly too good not to talk about.  Yes, in case you missed it, I’m speaking of Susan Boyle, a dowdy, paunchy, cat-owning 47-year-old from a small village in the UK who belted out this number…And friends, if you don’t click, you’re missing a genuine treat.

Who knew such beauty was inside this woman? And how sad we that often forget that beauty truly lies within, not in the simple the wrapping of the package.  Thanks Susan, for reminding me of that.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Say “Arrrg” NOW -Bitch

Posted by Bill Nance on April 12, 2009

(CNN) — The American captain of a cargo ship held hostage by pirates jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.

Capt. Richard Phillips was helped out of the water off the Somali coast and is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. He was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.

At the time of the shootings, the fourth pirate was aboard the USS Bainbridge negotiating with officials, the source said. That pirate was taken into custody.

Three words folks:  Balls That Clank

-That is all

Posted in Crime, International, Law & Order, National Security | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stupid Idea Watch -Gun Registration

Posted by Bill Nance on April 10, 2009

Recently Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated that she wants guns to be “registered.”

This is typical of the complete stupidity of the gun-grabbing agenda. It’s not stupid because Bill doesn’t agree with it, it’s stupid because it serves no possible purpose whatsoever except to add layers of government spending and be a stumbling block and intentional legal  “gotcha” for lawful gun-owners.

Under most registration schemes (And I live in a state where there is one in place) New firearms purchases must be registered with a government agency. The registration generally include the model and the serial number of the gun and the name and address of the seller and buyer -oh, and lets not forget a tax in most places.

Now here’s the question: How would this ever prevent a crime from occurring?

  1. If the owner of the firearm purchased it legally and kills someone with it, registration won’t prevent that. As for tracing the gun, that’s easily done through existing ATF records, since all firearms transactions are already recorded by that agency.
  2. If a criminal obtains a gun, well, obviously they won’t register it. -Duh
  3. The vast majority of guns used in crimes are stolen. the only way to fix that would be a wholesale confiscation of all firearms, something that would both start a revolution in this country and would violate existing supreme court rulings.  -And criminals would still get guns, they’d just be a bit more expensive due to temporary scarcity. Registration wil not help that situation.

However… there IS one reason to have mandatory gun registration -If you’re a gun grabber.  If they are all registered then it’s easy enough to ban certain types of guns that gun-phobes think look scary and confiscate those under the canard of “reasonable restrictions.”

So the next time you hear someone talking about registration of firearms, remind yourself that this doesn’t prevent crime in any way, shape or form. It would add yet another layer of government bureaucracy and expense in keeping up with the additional paperwork and would be used as a tool to selectively prosecute lawful gun owners who simply don’t like being required to register their private property with the government.

Before you go along with this “reasonable” plan to accomplish nothing, cost a lot of money  and add yet more ridiculous laws to the books, ask yourself and your legislator why they’re even talking about it. Two wars, an economic crisis, an already bitterly divided polity and the Democrats want to waste time on this foolishness?

-Gimme a break

Posted in Crime, firearms, Guns Dammit!, Stupid Idea Watch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dissenting Opinion -No, Not All Gun-Rights Advocates Voted For Palin/MCain

Posted by Bill Nance on April 8, 2009

Deep breath….

Well, I had the temerity to (again) admit that I campaigned and voted for Barack Obama in November – Something I’ve never been in the slightest bit bashful about.  But when you admit these things on a decidedly right-wing gun forum, you’d better get ready for the fireworks. I admit I didn’t expect the animosity I received.

A few comments resulting from that post: (all anonymous by the way):

  • obama? thanks a fuckin lot
  • You Socialist scumbag.
  • A socalist is a socalist, they are all bad. You’re no [sic] excemption.
  • Burn those flags, brother!

These were actually, some of the tamest things said.

So how can someone who loves their guns, is an absolutist on the Human Right of self-defense (and the means to that defense) vote for a guy like Barack Obama? Easy enough to answer.

First and foremost, the country faces enormous challenges, politically, internationally and of course economically. The McCain/Palin ticket seemed to me to have virtually no answers on any of those issues. They promised what was, in all substance, a third Bush term.

Second, John McCain did two things for which I will forgive no politician, ever.

One: He voted against making the CIA hold itself to the same standards as the U.S. military’s Field Manual on Interrogations. In other words, torture is fine as long as the CIA does it.

Two: His pick of Sarah Palin, the buffoon from Wasilla, with major ties to a secessionist movement, not a shred of understanding of ANY issue of national importance and a religious fanatic to boot, was frankly the most horrendously cynical and irresponsible move by a major party presidential candidate in history. As I said at the time, Palin makes Dan Quayle look like Winston Churchill. -And I wasn’t alone. Many Republicans came to the same conclusion.

Finally, I liked lots of what Barack Obama was talking about.

Anyone who thinks the current healthcare system is actually working is not aware of the facts of the matter -it’s plain willful ignorance.

The notion that zero government intervention or yet MORE tax breaks for the already wealthy is the proper response when the market has imploded in an unprecedented way is a position firmly opposed to reality.

And finally, anyone who thinks more bellicose language and a refusal to deal with Realpolitik is a good idea hasn’t paid attention for the last 8 years. This is not even mentioning the Republicans’ complete capitulation on any semblance of fiscal discipline or intellectual honesty since 2001.

All that having been said, there was one guy with whom I agreed on lots of things and bitterly opposed on a few others (mostly guns and the sheer level of government growth) The other person running stood for absolutely nothing I believed in, had not a shred of credibility and had chosen someone as a running-mate who wasn’t qualified to be a decent mayor a a mid-sized town, much less Vice President of the United States.The ONLY thing I liked about the McCain/Palin ticket was their stance on gun control.

Given those choices, it was obvious to me who the right man was among the two serious candidates. I thought at the time and still believe that a McCain/Palin administration would have been utter disaster for this country. I think Obama will, overall, do a vastly better job. Gun control is ONE issue. A very important one, but not the ONLY one.

For those who can’t figure this out, let me ask you to join me in a quick thought experiment.

Suppose Ted Kennedy were running for office vs. an Anti-gun Republican with otherwise solid “conservative” credentials.

Now pretend for a moment that Kennedy had been an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment for his entire career, but that all his other positions were identical to what we all know and despise.

By you’re logic, given the above facts, you’d all vote for TED KENNEDY based on guns alone? -Gimme a Freakin break.

That’s the same choice you’d have me make in voting for the McCain Palin ticket. I won’t do it, I didn’t do it, and no, I don’t regret it for a second.

Posted in Barack Obama, firearms, Guns Dammit!, John McCain, Politics, Sarah Palin, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Stupid Idea Watch

Posted by Bill Nance on April 8, 2009

As my regular readers will know, I have no objections to meeting with and talking to our enemies. I figure it can’t hurt, and might very well help.

It’s another thing altogether to meet and compromise with criminal gangs.  these aren’t nation states with whom we have policy differences or conflicts. these are armed thugs deserving of no compromise whatsoever.

Enter the latest fiasco in the piracy game. As those of you who’ve been watching the news already know, an American-flagged merchant vessel, the Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. I won’t go into the details, which appear to still be developing.  But  I will again restate that arming the fucking ships would prevent this. I don’t know how many times it need be said, but gun control, which is what in effect what ships traversing international waters and multiple ports of call face, simply emboldens criminals who have no compunctions about ignoring said laws.

The latest entry into the completely stupid ideas category is this gem from Nikolas K. Gvosdev published at The National Interest today.

Money quote:

Piracy flourishes because it is successful in bringing in income. Pirates perform a Somali version of trickle-down economics because ransoms that are paid for hijacked ships provide an income stream not only in terms of donations to clans and religious leaders, but also supporting the entire infrastructure for piracy, down to paying the families of those who guard, feed and house captured sailors. If clans, however, could be paid (in cash and services) for serving as “coast guard auxiliaries”—with a clear understanding that payments would continue only if there was a corresponding drop in the number of pirate attacks—this might help to undermine the economic rationale for piracy.

I fail to see how how someone who is a professor of national-security studies at the U.S. Naval War College could have forgotten the line in the Marine Corps Hymn:  “..to the shores of Tripoli” That line was inspired by the attack on Derne by U.S. sailors (later officially called Marines) and was a result of, you guessed it, piracy against American merchant vessels.

To quote a great American of that time:

“Millions for defense, not one penny for tribute!”


Posted in International, National Security, Stupid Idea Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Welcome!

Posted by Bill Nance on April 8, 2009

A quick welcome to all those visiting here from SayUncle and MArooned. Hope you enjoy the blog and keep comin’ back!

Posted in Teh Intarwebs | Leave a Comment »