Showing posts with label Morals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morals. Show all posts

Sep 25, 2015

Boehner and the Asses

I have no more respect for John Boehner than for any other institutional  politician. Nevertheless, he was one of the better tacticians of the breed. A stern dedication to ideology is admirable, but Boehner fully understood politics as the art of the possible.

The instant issue is giving the left wing a massive political talking point: "The Republicans shut down the government, making you miserable, just because they hate women who want to talk to Planned Parenthood and maybe undo the result of a few moments of passion."

Boehner is as "pro-life" as anyone, if that's a criterion for "good" conservatives. He just saw the results of a shutdown drama as a huge political  loss for conservative (and, to some degree, libertarian) Americans.

It took the stage-surprise of his resignation to reveal the idiotic contempt in which deliberative politics is held by some of his reluctant stable mates. For instance:

...and Rep. Tom Massie of Kentucky said the speaker "subverted our Republic.I think it was inevitable," Massie said. This is a condition of his own making right here.

Ass: Noun describing persons of mean disposition, prone to seek the limelight via personal slurs on better men than themselves. Hello, Tom.


This Planned Parenthood crisis, acted out in the Center Ring, is probably the  most valuable thing that has happened to that organization in decades. It couldn't buy such attention for any sum of money. A massive slice of America now believes the issue is shutting PP down.  Not a chance.  All the pro-lifers are demanding at this point is that their abortion program should not be paid for, directly or indirectly, by taxpayers who hold a strong moral position that abortion is sinful.

The sin of the matter can be worked out among the factions -- those who long for a return to the back-alley coat hanger, those who chirp that abortion is just one more means of benign birth control,  and the more rational thinkers somewhere in between. Just leave the IRS out of it.

Aug 15, 2013

White man speak with forked tongue; Red man, too

If you're visiting Mt. Rushmore from the east or south, and if you enjoy pale blue highways, you could easily wind up in Whiteclay, Nebraska where the population is in danger of seriously declining.

Whiteclay and its 14 citizens exist to sell booze to the Indians, specifically to the Pine Ridge Lakota-Oglala people. Federal law makes the huge South Dakota scrub land dry. Thirsty descendants of the Crazy Horse days must cross the southern border of the reservation (and the South Dakota-Nebraska boundary) for legal fire water.

And do they ever. Is there any other world population center of 14 which sells 13,000 cans of beer a day?   However, if Whiteclay were a corporation, speculators would be selling it short. The Oglala people have just voted the reservation wet, which Washington "gives" them the right to do.

(It's as though the northern forest Indians in 1800 or so had finally decided to distill their own whiskey, sending the beaver-hungry Hudson Bay Company  English and John Jacob Astor scurrying for new trade goods. Astor, in fact, did quite well smuggling opium.)

The contentious election offered not one original idea. The arguments would have been instantly familiar to the white eyes of a century ago: Who should run the country, Carry Nation or the East Boston Kennedys? The undertones were also hoary. "Indians can't handle booze" is no more than an iteration of the19th Century  "Back people can't...".

Even the politics of the Pine Ridge vote owe a nod to the Chicago Machine. Disputed ballots outnumbered the counted vote margin, and when tribal officials reviewed them, they adjudged a sufficient number valid to, ta-da, ...

...Take the booze profits away from those 14 interlopers down in Whiteclay and transfer them to, (again a fanfare) ...

Tribal officials.

That body of politicans promises to use profits from its new and exclusive booze franchise to improve education and perform other notable miracles to make reservation life wonderful at last.

Of course the  Pine Ridge Paradise will be delayed for a few months or so.  After all, it takes a while to appoint new firewater bureaucrats and form up the several fresh official committees to maladminster the transition from lamentable drunkenness in Whiteclay to socially useful intoxication in Pine Ridge.


I accept that this will be construed by a semi-literate few as racist. No personal problem here because I've said for years that when my fantasies aren't urging me to be Henry Morgan, they compel me to be Crazy Horse, himself.

The point addresses political power as a club to enforce someone else's personal morals. It suggests that if scientists placed a random sample of red politicians and white politicians under the most powerful electron microscope, they would be hard-pressed to find one iota of difference, either in hypocritical motivation or in methods.

Jul 31, 2013

Bradley Manning (2)

Manning took an oath and violated it. Pledging to defend the Constitution and obey lawful orders from military superiors is not the equivalent of "I'll get back to you."

Setting aside the wisdom of any given foreign policy or military adventure, state secrets are necessary to implementing  those policies. There are sound practical and moral reasons for secrecy. There are none for revealing information about our military plans, abilities, or intent. Nor is there justification for publicizing our own assessment of enemy capabilities.

Manning is probably guilty of doing just that, though he may be sincere in denying intent to release operational information. That he couldn't possibly have read more than a fraction of his huge data dump is proof enough of a cavalier attitude -- at best -- toward the lives of his fellow soldiers, vulnerable in the sand and in the city rubble of the Afghanistan civil war.

Distilled to its essence, the Manning excuse constitutes a true and partially relevant statement: "Our government keeps us in the dark to avoid embarrassing itself by stamping "secret" on every report  revealing its blunders. Because citizens have no facts, they are unable to form reasonable judgements."

He violated his oath, he argues, in order to create a debate about over-classifcation for the sole purpose of making politicians and bureaucrats look good. The view that his real motivation was something else -- to be a somebody at long last  -- has merit, but the fact is that the debate occurs, a good and useful thing.

The most obvious point concerns the helicopter attack on Afghan civilians. Charitably phrased, it was an error. It may have been something more malign. In any case, who can doubt that the over-riding reason the video became top secret was someone's desire to hide the blunder, in part to protect the military from awkward questions about its tactical competence, in part to keep Afghanis from questioning our devotion to winning their hearts and minds, in sum a cover-our-ass maneuver made possible by governments' self-proclaimed right to declare anything, simply anything, a high state secret for purposes of national security.

Had Manning stopped there, his claim to moral heroism would  have been stronger.


Jul 30, 2013

Bradley Manning, Jailbird

My moral compass won't settle down to a cardinal point on the Manning case.

Begin with the boy-man himself, a classic reject by three cultures, America, Wales, and the United States Army. Even his chosen cults, the society of hackers and the community of gay men did not embrace this physical runt with anything approaching  his massive emotional needs.

Bradley Manning: The mythical Army misfit called Sad Sack, come to life and  writ large, an inept soldier made even more miserable by a an unbelievably bleak personal life,  a young man lacking even the wit to mask the manifestations of his  dispirited soul from family, chance acquaintances, and Army colleagues.

Unstressed by more responsibility than his personality could bear, Manning might have ambled through a harmless and reasonably contented life. He might have been a salesman of the year, a wheel in a local Kiwanis, president of his neighborhood home owners association -- anything that might have given him an identity short of accountability for arcane secrets to embarrass nations.

Manning did not authorize himself to sit at a computer a few key strokes away from military plans and sensitive letters between diplomats. Some one in authority gave that order, and others refused to countermand it even after he slugged a superior, locked himself in fetal positions, and posted details of his top-secret office on Facebook.  So dare we suggest courts-martial of the senior officers responsible for Manning's monstrous misassignment?


Nevertheless, he is guilty. He promised the nation he would not broadcast our leaders' nasty secrets, and he broke that promise. We are left to ponder, "How guilty?" And to consider the collateral good from his legally treasonous acts.


Mar 26, 2013

Gay Day in America

A good day to be very judicious in consuming the output of the electric news from the cable. Anything over a couple-three minutes per hour could warp a mind into believing that there isn't a committed, loving, heterosexual couple in America -- or, if there is, no reason to pay attention to it.

Too much of what I see seems like an offshoot of some sort of old European navel-gazing novel aimed at making me like the idea of  homosexuals getting married, of achieving a class status identical to man-woman unions while simultaneously retaining their grip on the most exalted status in America -- victimhood.

I don't like it. There isn't enough money in the world to buy enough advertising to make me.

So what?

So this:

If the Supreme Court decides the Constitution protects gay marriage, good for the court. It would be the same Constitution and Constitutional reasoning that protects putrid speech. George Lincoln Rockwell.  Al Sharpton.

In a pleasant world of liberty, the court says, "Okay." Then gays marry one another, more or less quietly like most everyone else in the sub-celebrity genre. Then they shut up about it. It is found unnecessary to put their posed intimate gestures on national television in celebration of a new-found diversity.

Of course there are moral and practical objections, just as there are to other  freedoms. The morality can be debated where it belongs, outside the coercive chambers of government. Let a church sanctify gay marriages or refuse. If the Bachman woman and her husband want to operate a pray-away-the-gay business, it is neither official government business nor a fit subject for civil action.

The workaday problems can in due course yield to clear libertarian thinking. Write marriage out of the law books. Eliminate the marriage license. Write it out of the tax code and labor laws. See it for what it is, a moral and emotional commitment between humans which may be based on nothing more than that -- or on a religious ceremony or on a  confirming private contract between the private parties.

I oversimplify of course, but mostly in the quest for clarity and for final burial of the the notion that we ought to keep the 82nd Airborne on high alert for two squigglies holding hands at 42nd and Broadway.

Jan 13, 2013


The urgency to get new gun-control before the Newtown emotion wears off.


The urgency to get the girl to a room before the roofie wears off.

Sep 7, 2012

The Public Vagina

If we must talk about it, I suppose we have to call it something, and vagina is technically accurate. Furthermore it is more, errr,  value-neutral than the four-and-five-letter synonyms of the locker room. So vagina it is as we chart the American future.

Get used to its ubiquity.  It has already begun to take root as a base for grammatical compounding. Such as "vagina-gogue," an offering in the National Review (of all places) by Michelle Malkin. She's furious at  Code Pink for fielding members dressed up like vaginae.  While I can't work myself up to a Malkin level of shrieking neocon rage, I too find it distasteful.

On aesthetic grounds, the costumed Pinkers resemble the female part only in the sense that a Salvador Dali clock resembles a clock. Certainly Dali had a First-Amendment right to draw slack, droopy, off-colored timepieces.

The ladies -- and a man or two, I gather from the news photos -- are similarly protected. Just as Stanley Kubrick was in gluing misshapen codpieces to his young thugs in "A Clockwork Orange."  If we want freedom of speech we learn to accept occasional ugliness along with, as in this case, the stupidity of vagina-as-political-tool.


The Pinkers and those who, like Malkin, take them seriously represent our failure persuade the masses and their political masters to raise their eyes about three feet -- from the national pelvis to the national brain.

I don't know if abortion is murder in the civil sense. I don't know if it is right or wrong to turn females into a financially protected or privileged class on the basis of their special health-care needs. (Or males for theirs.)  I do know that braying politicians are burdened with identical ignorance although they have struck electoral gold in pretending otherwise. Take a poll on "social issues." Count the votes. Plurality equals morality. Morality requires a law.

Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney, and all of your acolytes:  The world you aspire to rule is roiled by potential tragedy which might -- just might -- be tamped down by intelligent political effort. The problems are neither vaginal nor penile. They are economic, military, and organizational.

It is undoubtedly a futile dream that between now and November 6 you would elevate your focus, up from  the Y to the center of reasoning.

The fact that you won't makes some of us crotchety.

Sep 1, 2012

Girl porn. Money porn.

(1) One hundred years ago "September Morn" was finished and won an award from the critical Frogs of the Paris art industry. It was, however, considered no big deal, just another workmanlike oil by a guy who liked representational naked girl images against a sorta-impressionistic background. It might have sold for a few hundred francs, then spent time a bourgeoisie parlor until, eventually, an American tourist found it in a Left-Bank stall. He hung it in the rec room to surprise his wife, Prudence, who surprised him with "It goes or I go."  That's why you, you aging roue, might have scored it for fifty bucks at a garage sale down the street.

It didn't happen that way because of Duh Mare. "September Morn" was sent to a Chicago art dealer who put it in his window. Mayor Carter Harrison Jr. hit the ceiling* and filed indecency charges against the dealer. The dealer won the case and "September Morn" won instant fame.

A little later it found its way to a New York art shop and shocked another public titter. You've heard of him, Anthony Comstock, over-seer of public morals as a special agent of the Post Office. He threatened legal action, but by this time he was in his 70s and forgot to follow through. His bluster added to the fame, and the Paul Chagas painting now lives in the Metropolitan Museum of  Art.

I guess that means it isn't obscene.

(2) As this year's first September morn dawns, public titter and one one-per center  Ben Bernanke is just back from beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I read that it was a very nice gnome convention, and all the world's central bankers joined in a happy group giggle as Ben told them he still had his tools but intended to keep them zipped in for a little while longer. But just a little. He winked and nudged that   he was just letting the wine breathe for a bit, maybe until the next  FOMC meeting. Then he would flop them out and boy won't we have a ball. All the other bankers there dialed up their brokers and doubled their stakes in green-ink manufacturers.

That's obscene.


There's a logical reason to consider the big banker meeting in the same small essay as "September Morn." Jackson Hole is in the Tetons.

*Speaking of roofs, supposing a modern Mayor Carter Jr. happens to be in the Sistine Chapel. Supposing he happens to glance upwards. What the Hell does he do. Arrest the Pope? Sue Michaleangelo's estate?

Apr 26, 2012

The TSA: A fun place to work

Francesco Canesco is probably no more of a terroristic threat to you, me, and the Republic than any other congressperson. And even if he is, his sins are not of the sort that can be uncovered by twiddling his willy. The TSA does not get this.

Rep. Canesco says a TSA agent at the San Antonio airport became too friendly with his privates, so he pushed the groping hand aside and accused him of assault. The federal cop said, "No. You assaulted me." Supervisors calmed the whole thing down.

A week later the incident was repeated, and we can forgive even an elected official for complaining that he's been placed on the TSA list of those who must be palpated often and deeply because:

The TSA has a history of bearing grudges against commuters who issue complaints against the agency. A mother who was detained in a glass cell by TSA agents in Phoenix in 2010 said the incident was retribution for a previous complaint regarding confiscation of her breast milk.

In full fairness, we shouldn't overlook the possibility that pervs of the homosexual persuasion are over-represented in the San Antonio TSA corps and that they simply find  Congressman Canesco very hot. That's the price of fame and beauty, Congressman.

Anyway, it's all something to think about for the next time you put your 12-year-old grandson on a flight to San Antonio.

Apr 12, 2012

Minnesota vice

Marko has a pretty definitive report on Moorhead, Minnesota, cops trying to rob a sore-footed waitress struggling to feed her five kids.

You'll recall the lady was given $12,000 by a mysterious customer who called it a tip and refused her effort to return it. She reported it to the cops who took her money and told her she could have it back in three months if no one claimed it. Three months passed and it  suddenly became "drug" money which they would keep in their cop-toy fund. They offered her a $1,000 bribe to shut up, roll over, and play dead. She hired a lawyer instead, and the cops had an epiphany. Maybe it wasn't drug money after all, even though it drew sniffy interest from their Constitutional consultant Fido.  They returned her  money to her.

Which is probably the end of the story. But it should not be.

Somewhere in the Moorhead police bureaucracy is at least one command-level cop who decided he could get away with robbing this woman and gave it his best shot.  The criminal offense that leaps to mind is attempted grand larceny, though I suppose it's a bad idea to hold our breath until we see Officer Swindly indicted.

Nov 17, 2011

Boy Scoutageddon

That last post got me thinking about federal charters in general. The first one I personally heard of was the 1916  charter of the Boy Scouts of America. When I was a Tenderfoot we were told we ought to be real proud of that.

The charter was accompanied by the tradition of making Potus the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Yep, His Obamaness is the current head Scout. Never mind his discomfort in associating with a patriotic, quasi-religious organization which also insists that adult scout leaders be hetero -- or at least sufficiently controlled to keep their mouths shut and their hands off  the little boys at Camporee time.

Consider the unthinkable. Tragedy robs the nation of its president and vice-president  while Barney Frank is speaker of the U.S. House.   As his first official act he (with congresscritter help) charters Acorn. Then he waits for the invitation to honorarily head the Boy Scouts and wonders whether -- if the invitation comes -- he should accept or decline.  Talk about your horns of a dilemma...


On balance, I think the Scouts should bow out of the charter. If nothing else it would set a nice example for Freddy Mac.

Dec 10, 2010

Theocracy 101

The Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning may have been freed due to pressure from the slightly more civilized world, according to AFP and  the Vancouver Sun.

She was convicted of two crimes, involvement in her husband's slaying and sleeping around. The murder charge finally brought a 10-year prison sentence, but letting strange hands and whatever creep up under her abaya generated the death-by-stoning decree.

I submit that is all we need to know about governments which claim to have God's unlisted number on speed dial.

Nov 19, 2010


I try not to discuss abortion because its spiritual dimension is unrevealed to me.

I will observe that it seems to me to be a particularly cruel and emotionally draining form of birth control. I will make what I think is a practical observation. Laws forbidding abortion create two classes of affected women. Rich girls fly off to Switzerland. Poor girls are found in the  alleys.

Thailand is not the United States, but a grisly report illustrates the problem.