Council Submissions: August 10, 2016

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Most Wreckless National Security Officials Label Trump Wreckless

A group of 50 national security officials who served on Republican presidents from Nixon on to Bush 2 have signed a letter saying Trump “would be the most wreckless president in American history.”

I’m not delving into the names here, but I’d like to know the answers to the following questions.

  1. How many of these officials supported leaving the South Vietnamese to their own devices in the last two years of the Vietnam conflict?

  2. How many of these officials thought it was a great idea to put hundreds of marines into a indefensible location in Beirut where they could easily be wiped out by a single truck bomb as happened in 1983?

  3. How many of these officials actually thought it was a great idea to get involved with the evacuation of the PLO in the first place?

  4. How many of them supported the arms for hostages swap with the Iranians under Reagan?

  5. How many of them convinced George Bush to support Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war?

  6. How many of them turned on Saddam after the invasion of Kuwait?

  7. How many of them thought it was a great idea to not remove him from power the first time and stop the advance into Iraq outside of Baghdad?

  8. How many of them supported the sanctions regimes and no-fly zones which Saddam used to great propaganda effect during the 1990s?

  9. How many were absolutely certain that Saddam was pursuing a viable nuclear program and had bomb-making material?

  10. How many of them supported the North Korea agreement brokered by Jimmy Carter in 1994 that froze the NK nuclear program?

  11. How many were surprised when North Korea detonated a nuclear device in 2006?

  12. How many supported the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001?

  13. How many supported thought taking out Saddam once and for all was a great idea in 2003?

  14. How many of them consider the Saudis our allies – and aren’t on their payroll?

You see, I’m no expert, but when I look at American Foreign Policy over the past 40 years, years during which I’ve been alive and sentient of such things, I don’t see much that any “national security official” should be proud of.

In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is clear that we are today in the worst possible worlds, one where rogue states like North Korea and Iran have or soon will have the Bomb, where indigenous strong men we took out (Khaddafi, Saddam) once kept a lid on religious zealots that are now slashing women to death in the streets of London and gunning down gays in Miami. In fact, if I was an American national security official, I might be so embarrassed to call myself such, especially since I likely contributed to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq for what turns out was no purpose at all.

I supported the war and I feel duped. I feel like a patsy, but more importantly, I feel angry towards the very people who now have the audacity to crawl from their little hide-holes and spout their so-called “wisdom” once again.

If they want to sign a letter and print it in the Washington Post, they should print an apology to the families of those who died putting their ideas and strategies into place.


What I Didn’t Tell the Young Owner of a Purebred Dog

I was in town and while there stopped into the local PetsMart to pickup dog food. My crew of 6 eats only Hill’s Science Diet, going through one 38 lb bag every week and a half or so, making the dog food budget one of the more significant in our house. I won’t pay $120 for cable TV but I’ll keep my pups in Science Diet at $175 a month. I have my priorities.

While standing in line to check out I made faces and played with the young Siberian Husky in front of me. She was a gorgeous dog, a little skittish but didn’t hold back licking my hand, allowing me to pet her neck while I looked into those deep blue eyes. I struck up a conversation with her owner, a woman a few years older than my son who grew up in the area near where I live in the country but now lives in a condo in the city. I mentioned that I didn’t see Huskys out my way, and she said she got her from a breeder about an hour outside of Asheville.

I don’t say anything. It wasn’t my place to lecture this young girl and make her feel bad. And the dog was beautiful.

But here’s the deal: I have never bought a dog from a breeder. Nor will I ever no matter how much I might fall in love with the animal.

When the kill shelters in my area have kill rates of 95% I believe it is morally wrong to breed dogs and cats and if you don’t breed them, purchase them from breeders.

When all the kill shelters are shut down and all the animal rescues turning away volunteers because there’s is nothing to do, then the time might come when it’s okay to breed a dog or cat for cash. But I doubt I will live to see that day.

Just a week ago I had to find a home for one of my rescues, a Pit Bull/Boxer mix who is a very special girl. I had found her in April 2015, her breasts heavy with milk walking lost on my drive. No collar or microchip of course, and although I searched, no puppies. This is Appalachia and dog fighting is still consider a sport in the same way that f***ing your cousin is I suppose, and I have a pretty good idea where those puppies went.

Anyway I took her in, got her cleaned up, shots, and spayed which is what I do for all my animals. All receive vet treatment and all get quality dry food. I tried to find her a home twice, but both flaked out on me. By that time it was Summer, and I was already missing her, so I happily took her back, naming her “G” and giving her the collar which to me symbolized my commitment to her. In September the Kid found a puppy wondering beneath the cars at the local WalMart, and the girl pretty much raised him. The two were inseparable and the puppy loved his “Crazy Aunt G”.

“G” was smart, and when I started training the puppy “G” picked up on the lesson faster than the puppy. Because I spent so much time with her she in effect became my dog, and as I trained her and worked with her I began to unlearn all the prejudices I had against her breed. She loved fetch and waterplay. She and the puppy loved leaping into the upper pond or wading into one of the creeks and settling down onto her haunches leaving her neck and head above the water, playing “U-Boat Commander” as a I called it. At night she’d be under my legs on my couch, and during the day she’d be outside to “greet” anyone who ignored the “No Trespassing Signs”. Her look and her bark turned around many pickups, cars and motorcycles.

But the problem with having a pack of dogs is that fights inevitably break out. They are rare, but when they happen they are explosive and usually expensive. All my fights have been between girls, and “G” being the newbie, was in her share of scraps. She eventually made her way up the hierarchy without much fuss, and things were quiet in the house until last month.

On the evening of July 4th the alpha female, a 12 1/2 year old Lab mix, attacked “G” at the food bowl.  “G” , instead of submitting to the female, decided to challenge her and the kibble went flying. Eventually the Wife and I got the two apart but the damage was done and it was clear who the winner was: “G”.

The old alpha disappeared in the woods for two days and when she returned she was injured and terrified. I took her to the vet, and they recommended that it wasn’t safe for the old alpha to be around “G” anymore. I then made arrangements to find “G” yet another forever home. “G” was adoptable, the old alpha was not. It took me a month but I found her a place at a no-kill shelter who promised to contact me if they had trouble finding her a good home.

Let me make this clear: I don’t live with this many animals because I like being covered in hair and stepping in pee in the middle of the night. I do it because if I don’t no one else would. All of my Crew would be destroyed. 

I have 3 black cats. Can you provide a decent home for one or two of them? Didn’t think so.

I have a young blind dog. Are you willing to take care of her and give her kisses when she jumps up blindly to lick you? Didn’t think so.

I have a little dog who has the energy of a hyperactive meth head on a double-shot espresso. Will you calm him down when he starts barking crazily in the middle of the night when it’s too dangerous for him to go outside? Ditto.

All these animals were dumped on me. I have more stories but you get the point.

It wasn’t my place to educate this young girl with her lovely little purebred Siberian Husky in PetsMart that she likely could have found a Siberian Husky from a shelter. That the dog she was buying toys for in front of me was alive at the expense of the dog she could have adopted in its place, likely euthanized months ago in one of the area kill shelters. Or that had she adopted a rescue dog that she would have saved not only the life of her pet but the life of another dog who would take its place in the rescue system. I simply petted the shy Siberian Husky and kept the thoughts to myself.

For Heaven’s sake and the sake of the millions of dogs and cats in shelters throughout our country, if you are looking for a pet, get one from the shelter. Animals are not iPhones and definitely are not fashion accessories. If you want a specific breed, find its rescue equivalent. The chihuahua on my lap would agree though that your best option is the shelter.

Shelter animals make the best friends.

The Council Has Spoken: August 5, 2016

Council Winners

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You Can’t Be Republican And Vote For Hillary

As a registered Republican I am supposed to vote for my party’s candidate regardless who it is. If you decide to vote for a Republican for one office but a Democrat for another office, you are no longer a Republican. You are an independent.

And if you actively solicit donations for Hillary as Meg Whitman is doing, you are actively undermining the Republican Party. And that makes you a Democrat in my book.

Friggin oligarchs…

Book Review: Living With Concealed Carry by Chad Amberg

Bored with catching Pokemon with your phone? Don’t know much about handguns especially concealed carry and want to learn more? Then for the price of a latte you can come up to speed on how to live with a handgun by reading Living With Concealed Carry.

Although dedicated to the details of how to conceal carry a handgun this ebook is filled with solid information about possessing and using a handgun that every gun owner should know, from basic gun handling to interacting with law enforcement while carrying. Even trivialities like where to put your holstered firearm while using a public toilet (don’t remove your gun from the holster and place it in the crotch of your pants) are covered. Throughout the book Amberg emphasizes safety first and foremost starting with 4 basic, cumulative rules:

  • “All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as they are.” Whenever you see a gun assume it is loaded and clear the action immediately after picking it up. It doesn’t matter if your buddy or the salesman cleared it. Always check it yourself.

  • “Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.” Never point a gun at anything you don’t want to kill, even if you followed rule #1. If you want to play with a gun, buy a plastic toy or airsoft gun. Don’t ever point a gun at another human being unless you are prepared to kill them.

  • “Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.” This is tough, especially for those practicing drawing from a holster, and accidental discharges have happened to experienced shooters including soldiers and cops.

  • “Identify the target, and what is behind it.” This comes in handy as I once learned while siting in my .22 rifle. I thought a pine tree stump would stop the .22 round, so I was surprised to hear “PING”, and realized that a round had penetrated the tree stump and hit the steel rim of my car’s tire.

Chad is my “gun-father”. He used to be my boss and once after work we hit the gun range. After some initial trepidation Chad showed me how to safely handle a firearm, and after a few hours I was hooked. When the Kid got older I got my first membership at that very same range, and soon purchased my first firearm, a Marlin .22 rifle. Since then I’ve read everything I can about handling guns safely, and Chad’s book is a concise summary.

For anyone interested in CCW or in guns in general, Chad’s book is well worth the $3.

Council Submissions: August 3, 2016

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The Internet’s Designated Nazi Rule

A long time ago I was once called a Nazi by a roomful of Jews.

My crime? I dared stand up against a Chabad Lubavitch rabbi at a town hall meeting who wanted to build a parking lot on land owned by the power company.

A proud gentile Zionist who supported the state of Israel more than some of the Jews in the room, and I was spat at by a Holocaust survivor and called a “Nazi thug.” Afterwards I spoke to an ex-roommate of mine, a Jewish biker who assured me that there was enough anti-Semitism in the world that his tribe didn’t need to go making more up.

We are 70 years removed from Hitler putting a bullet through his own brain yet Hitler and Nazis are still trotted out by people to demonize their opponents. It’s gotten to the point where Jews are regularly called Nazis by the very people who WERE Nazis, the German Left and their Palestinian terrorist pals who were fervent Nazi sympathizers, and every death of a handful of people or more becomes a Holocaust.

I’ve studied the Holocaust in detail and the Nazi regime from its pre-WWI roots to its end in a shell crater in Berlin, covered in gasoline and set aflame. I read the transcripts of the Nuremberg trials and watched movies and documentaries (personal fave the Wannsee Conference) . Although I was born an entire generation after the end of the Nazi period I studied as much as I could stomach of that regime (there are things I read and pictures I saw twenty-five years ago that I can’t read or look at today).

While certain events have come close enough to being a Holocaust to warrant the term genocide such as the Killing Fields under the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s and the systematic slaughter of Tutsis in 1994 Rwanda, there has only been one Holocaust in our written history. Nothing else can touch it. Nothing can match its bureaucratic and systematic barbarism. The entire European continent, its economy, society and even its culture were all reconfigured for one purpose: the annihilation of the Jews. The war that Hitler fought on two fronts wasn’t about German military conquest: It was about creating the space needed for the true task of the Nazi regime: the destruction of Jewry. By exterminating the Jews Hitler saw himself as creating the Master Race and 1000 Year Reich. In the Nazi mind Killing Jews led to these goals, not the other way around which is why trains with cattle cars filled with doomed Jews were granted priority over troop transports and military supply trains.

Nothing in our history compares to the Holocaust. The genocide of native Americans? Ad hoc policies over a period of centuries with no systematic plan. Manifest Destiny was an idea, not a systematic program implemented at every level of the government. Even Stalin’s purges and Mao’s Great Leap Forward that killed tens of millions weren’t as methodically planned and executed by a powerful bureaucracy as the Nazi regime used against European Jewry.

Are we clear on that?

So when I see The Daily Beast article, “Trump Versus Hitler: What We Can Learn From Weimar Germany written by Nathan Stoltzfus, the Dorothy and Jonathan Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University and the author of Hitler’s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany, I pretty much know the answer before I read the first sentence.

Elites are so terrified by an outside politician that they instinctively rush to portray him (or her in the case of Sarah Palin) in the worst possible light. Trump is Hitler, although the article approaches the subject through rhetoric that equates Weimar Republic with current conditions in the United States.

What can we learn from the Weimar Republic?

Plenty of things but none of them are the author’s point. And few economies compare to the absolute disaster that Germany’s was between 1919 and 1933.

The Weimar Republic’s economy was a nightmare thanks in large part to the onerous war reparations the Allies levied on Germany. This led to inflation to a degree that people regularly ran out of money, and the printing presses were running so furiously they often ran out of paper. At coin shows I’ve seen Weimar currency printed on bits of leather, even wood. It was a lesson that was learned  and applied after the Second World War whereby both Germany and Japan were given extended time frames to pay war reparations and the US even gave the former Axis powers money to help rebuild their economies and societies as exemplified by the Marshall Plan.

Trump says our economy is bad, but he doesn’t say it’s that bad. The only place on the planet with a comparable economy to Weimar Germany right now is likely the Leftist poster-child Venezuela where even toilet paper is being rationed. Equating the US economy to that of Weimar proves ignorance of European history or a tendency towards excess by the writer. How is Trump’s calling for background checks on Muslims from warzones like Libya, Iraq and Syria different from the Left’s demand for background checks on ammo buyers? It’s not as if he’s slapping on yellow crescents on every Muslim that enters the country.

History is filled with lessons, but determining which one is more of art than a science. For example, as a student of Ancient Roman History I’m wondering whether the Edict of Caracalla which extended the right to vote to all non-slave residents of the empire including women contributed to the decline of the Empire. Left-wing historian Mary Beard views the edict in a positive light, like a 19th amendment of the Roman Empire. But I see it as anti-democratic, diluting the power of the Senate even further and boosting the power of the Emperor.

There should be a rule on the internet banning the designation of anyone as Hitler. It proves the ignorance of the writer and does an injustice to the millions who suffered because of him, minimizing their horrific experience for the sake of scoring cheap political points. Nathan Stoltzfus, the Dorothy and Jonathan Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University should know better.

The Council Has Spoken: July 29, 2016

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If Bill Thinks Hill is So Perfect…

After forcing myself to watch BC’s speech last night, digesting it and sleeping on it, I have just one question to ask. Why would Bill Clinton, ever in his wildest dreams, think of cheating on such a dreamboat? – Kathleen Willey.

Hattip: VA Right

Council Submissions: July 27, 2016

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Will Obama Pardon Clinton?

I know this question is premature with several months to go before the election, but I think it’s one worth considering.

In the event that Clinton loses in November, will President Obama pardon her?

If Hillary loses, the Democratic machine will be ripe for takeover with Sandernistas. Right now that machine is completely Clinton’s, as the DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks proves. But that machine would be wrecked by a Trump win in November, and the likely replacement would be with Bernie Sanders backers, many of whom also are Obama backers. It should be remembered that the Clinton machine and the Obama machine are completely separate entities, with the latter focused on governing. Once Obama leaves office his people will be freed to focus on shaping his party to cement and extend his legacy in the same way the Clinton machine has done. The Sandernistas will likely have an important role to play, at least for the first few years while Obama’s people get placed.

So what about Hillary?

A Trump win means there would be a likelihood of continued investigation into Clinton affairs abetted by the Sandernistas and Obama’s people whom Hillary has crossed. The indictment of Hillary which many on the Right (and I) have called for would become a strong possibility.

Would Obama as one of his last acts as President pardon her?

There is no love lost between Clinton and Obama. The two have had differing views and come from completely different circumstances. There is little cross-over between their machines, and so Obama would have the latitude he would need to simply let his time expire and leave his one-time nemesis to the GOP dogs.

On the other hand a pardon would help him pull allies from the Clinton camp that are worth having. The Clinton machine knows how to make money and peddle influence in ways that could prove useful to an ex-president. A pardon could endear him to those allies who, having lost their future with a failed Hillary, would be looking for new opportunities.

Which way would he go?

Social Media: Why I Quit It

I quit Facebook completely in the Spring, leaving the account but locking down my profile so that even my FB “friends” can’t see my information. After several years on the platform I realized there was a reason why I’ve lost touch with most of the people I’ve known over the years, and those friendships that have stood the test of time don’t need software like Facebook to maintain them. Many of my friends are liberals who naively assume everyone on their friend list of hundreds thinks exactly as they do and will “like” their post on global warming, gun control or Hillary Clinton. They were then shocked when they learned that others didn’t subscribe to their philosophy, and the ensuing arguments that erupted in the threads usually when one friend of the poster who didn’t know the other friend of the poster, a complete stranger in other words,  flamed him/her for daring to think differently, proving the medium is at best a near infinite number of virtual sandboxes with toddlers talking to themselves.

I’ve also shutdown my Twitter account. I never really liked the medium or really spent much time using it. I’ll admit I am old fashioned. One of the keys to good writing is thinking about what you are trying to say, then perfecting it in the editing process until it says what you intend clearly and concisely. Blogging challenged this methodology, but even here I am able to set a post aside and save as draft to come back to it, revise it after it’s been published or on rare occasions, pull it completely if I realize what I posted was a mistake.

Twitter is the antithesis of this process. It encourages people to share whatever thought crosses their mind no matter how half-baked, idiotic or rude. And let’s face it: there are few people out there whose thoughts are so important let alone interesting that they are worth reading. It seems that the best ones are when celebrities use Twitter to show how ignorant and clueless they are, such as when Playboy pinup Dani Mathers, who is famous for being blessed with a nice body, uses Twitter to show how ugly she is inside by mocking the body of an older woman. As a libertarian I’m also put off by a private company owning the medium and allowing it to be used by jihadis as a recruitment and communications tool, but banning conservative voices like Stacy McCain and Milo Yiannopoulos.

If you think you are not paying for the product, you are the product, and while I believe companies like Twitter and Facebook are free to do as they wish, I don’t want them to make money off of me. And for that reason I have completely avoided other social media sites like Snapchat, Photobucket or what have you. I collect photography as art and I have paid good money to own a photograph, so I don’t see why firms shouldn’t do the same. If a photo I take is in demand, then I should be compensated by something more than a “free” account. It’s the same reason I don’t fill out surveys at stores promising to enter me in a drawing to win a gift card. I value my time, and if a store wants my opinion on my “shopping experience” then they can pay for it with more than a contest entry.

The question comes up: Isn’t cutting oneself off from the social media stream isolating? There are few feelings as lonely as posting something on Facebook which is important to you that is completely ignored by everyone. It doesn’t matter whether your friendlist is in the double or triple digits, the “sandbox” nature of the media is revealed. You want to feel loved? Post a funny cat or baby video.

I got my first real PC in 1989. It came with a 2400 baud modem and I have been online ever since. I have found that being online is worthwhile, but it is not a substitute for human interaction. Skype, chats, emails – all of these help connect us to each other and are not bad. These interactions aren’t much different from a phone call. But Fb and Twitter aren’t meant to connect us to another person, they are meant to make money for their companies by pretending to give us an audience. And that’s how they differ from those older electronic mediums.

If you want an audience, become an actor. If you want human interaction, pick up the phone and call your best friend. But I’d recommend against wasting your time on social media.

The Council Has Spoken: July 22, 2016

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Council Submissions: July 19, 2016

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