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An Armed Society is a Polite Society

That’s something said by the pro gun crown, and to some extent it might be true in some areas. It assumes that manners are derived from a fear that if you trespass on your neighbors they’ll shoot you, and I’m not sure that fear is the best basis for ethics and ethical behavior. I prefer to behave politely towards other people because I think they are worthy of my consideration; their needs are as important to them as mine are to me. Purely selfish behavior is not good for any society as a whole, or to its members. I find it superior than to use fear to avoid harm, as this is a form of violence towards the other that will invite a violent response.


His Majesty, Governor Paul LePage

Maine’s some what … interesting governor has gone from belligerent to imperial in his behavior. When the people of Maine, the voters that is, elected the wrong person to the job he bravely decided to stand in the way and refuse to appoint Susan Deschambault, who had been elected in a special election earlier that week. He went all imperial and gave a pronouncement from on high. He took his toys and started for home

I missed this story when it came out, and since it was dated to April the first I at first assumed that it was a prank. After all, how could an elected official, the governor of Maine, ignore a legal vote and refuse to do his job in so drastic a manner. Isn’t this the sort of thing we’d expect from, say, North Korea, with its mandatory elections, 100 percent voter turn out, 100 percent of votes for the whatever he’s called leader, and one candidate on the ballot. Or maybe Iran would fit the bill better. Didn’t they have an election a few years back that the Ayatollahs were upset about, and decided to override the results? This sort of thing doesn’t happen in America, the land of the free, does it

Apparently it does. Either that, or multiply news sites are in on the joke which isn’t funny. I didn’t find anything on Google News yesterday when I first read the story on DailyKos, so apparently Google don’t see this as an important story. They got the story from the Beacon, a local Maine news organization.

After a bit of a nap this evening I came back and he seems to have come to his senses, and realized that he can’t have everything his own way. At least not this time.

The main page of Google still doesn’t have anything about the story, so I looked on it under a news search of “Maine”. It still isn’t highlighted, and it certainly isn’t being brought to anyone’s attention, but I did find a single reference to it, under a group of articles discussing efforts by Maine’s Republican Party to challenge an 18 million dollar spending plan.

So he is now ready to swear in the senator elect. A Google news search of “Lepage” did bring up a section of articles discussing this, but with an interesting editorial spin. Most of them seemed to write the incident as a “delay” of the swearing in ceremony, rather than the refusal of an elected leader to respect the wishes of the voters.

Apparently he now is willing to allow her to do the job she was elected for, but only as long as it is done on his terms.”Yeah, she’s going to be sworn in,” LePage said. “But it’s not on her schedule. My schedule is a little busier than hers.” (I found that quote from the Miami Hearald) WGME pointed out that according to state law LePage had until tonight to swear her in.

He is reported to have been upset about his nominee for his choice for the Steven Webster, his pick for the top post in the unemployment boar. Last I checked these sort of appointments had to be ratified by a legislative body, and are not automatically rubber stamped. There is no requirement for the State Senate to vote for anyone Governor LePage sends down. There is a requirement for Governor LePage to swear in to office those officials that have won a legal election.

The Portland Press Herald pointed out in its article that last year Governor LePage had vetoed ever single bill that was sponsored by a Democratic State Senator, but that 70 percent of them had been put into law over his objections. It seems that the Governor doesn’t think that Democratic politicians or their constituents should have a say in how the state is run. He seems to think that he alone should be able to dictate policy from on high, and that everyone else needs to do what he tells them. There is a name for this sort of leader; dictator.

This shouldn’t be a surprise for me, since the man is a republican, and is only following the example of his parties more senior members, who are at this moment refusing to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. This is also the party that on 2 recent occasions has forced the federal government to shut down when they were not allowed to dictate the terms of the national budget without the delegates of the other party, the Democrats, from having a say in things. It isn’t just him.

If a soldier refuse to follow his orders he can be charged with Treason under the Universal Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, the military law which applies equally to all of the branches of service. When the political class decides to so blatantly abandon their duties, this doesn’t happen.

Why not?







Jundullah, The Pakistani Army of God, fighting Jihad in the name of Polio

I’m taking this one from the New York Times, so you probably want to read their article before continuing.

“The bombing happened outside the polio center shortly before vaccination teams were due to be dispatched to local neighborhoods as part of a three-day immunization campaign, said Syed Imtiaz Shah, the local police chief.”

That is the main part of the story, the what happened. But why? Why would these Jihadi’s want to kill of a bunch of aid workers trying to keep the local kids from getting polio? Here is another quote from the article.

“The attacks intensified after a Pakistani doctor was arrested on charges of running a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign in the city of Abbottabad as a cover for a CIA-backed effort to obtain DNA samples from Osama bin Laden ahead of the 2011 U.S. raid that killed him.”

A different article in the Times,, states that;

“Hard-line Islamist in Pakistan have long opposed polio vaccination campaigns, saying that polio workers are Western spies and that such campaigns are part of a conspiracy to leave Muslims infertile. Resistance to such campaigns increased after 2011, when it emerged that the C.I.A. had used a vaccination drive as cover in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.”

So apparently our own American anti-vaccination advocates are not the only ones wanting to return medical practice to post modern standard, there are folks fighting a Jihad against modern medicine. Isn’t that lovely?

The fact that these teams have been used in the past to infiltrate CIA agents into the local communities complicates things; apparently some of their concerns are not without merit. But come on, guys, there has got to be a better way of dealing with the occasional spy inserted into these foreign aid organizations. Most of the sort of folks who go into the field do so out of concern for your people. Most of these folks want good things for the local communities. They want your children to be healthy and your men to be strong. They want your villages to be prosperous places that you can have pride living in. When the CIA plays its dirty little games they are being as much victimized as you are, and for the most part I would guess that most of them are not happy when this happens either.

As for the sterility conspiracy, that just puts you into the tinfoil hat crowd. If you are going to make an accusation like that you should have some serious evidence to back your claims up, evidence that you can make public to gibe it credibility. Otherwise no one in the west is going to take you seriously. Which assumes that you believe this claim yourself, and are not just using it as anti-western propaganda. If so might I suggest you consider creating more sophisticated claims?

Of course, these ideas may have been made entirely for the local audience, and you may not care what the rest of the word thinks. There must be better ways of vetting these vaccinations and the people that are delivering them. Killing doctors and medical staff is never a good idea, and only paints you as barbarians.

I guess the real question is whether you are trying to protect your people or control them.

Another Hospital Bombing

Another Doctor’s Without Border’s hospital has been bombed, this time in Yemen. The Saudis seem to have been the ones to do these, as locals have shown a cluster bomb case with American markings.

So this time we were not the ones that did it, at least not directly. Yet the Saudi’s dropping one of our munitions into a zone of conflict where we have a direct interest in … well, lets just say that it looks a bit fishy. Certainly we didn’t have anything to do with this?

The government and the military claimed the last hospital bombing was an accident, and then it turned out not to be an accident. What are the odds that a similar claim will be made about this one?

It will be interesting to see where this story goes.

Political Circus (from the Right) part the 1st

This political season is shaping up nicely, and at least two rings of the circus are pumping out content for the social circus at a high rate of giddy up. Most of the best entertainment comes from the Republican side of the isle, but in the presidential primaries this is usually the case. I suppose I shouldn’t expect more, but for some reason I do. Silly me, I actually expect more from our political leaders than they can.

As I said, the best in political entertainments these days come from the Republican Party, which is filled at present with clowns and blowhards who call themselves conservatives. They are not. They are thieves and pirates set to looting the public good for their own gain. Or for the gain of their compatriots, of those fellow travelers. The certainly don’t seem to be acting for the national good or for the needs of the American people. The Democrats aren’t much better, mind, but some of these Republicans really are exceptional in their behavior.

I’m not going to give and all inclusive analysis of these candidates. I haven’t spent as much time looking into them as I perhaps should have. I usually wait until there are less that a bakers dozen Republicans left in the primaries before I spend much effort on them, since most of these folks are going to disappear soon enough anyway. So here are a few quick impressions from a quick scan of the internet.

I might as well start with Trump, since he seems to be the best of the bunch at self promotion.

Here is a picture of the “Donald” hugging the American flag like a child hugs their wubby. I find his whole attitude in this picture deeply disturbing. Look at that smug little smile of his, that self satisfied he holds as he clings to the colors which he was too good to fight for. You may recall that during the Vietnam war he had other things that were more important than serving in the military. You may recall the utter contempt that he seems to hold for those of us who have served. He talked down to Senator John McCain for being a POW, saying that he preferred people who didn’t get captured.

Here is his exact quote (from ;

He must mean that he prefers people who don’t take risks for others, for opportunists like himself who play it safe. He is also the guy who thinks that by going to a military academy he is as military as any combat veteran. John McCain was awarded a silver star for his actions, for placing his own personal body into harms way. He spent 5 years in a North Vietnamese prison after being shot down; he did complete his mission first though, which for troops is the priority. But hey, Mr. Trump went to a military school, so that kind of makes them the same, right?

He has some great quotes on the subject, but then, he has some great quotes on lots of subjects. The man does like to hear himself speak. Look them up, Google those suckers. I’m not going to repost them all here (and I’m not sure who to attribute the above 2 pictures to, but neither of them are mine).

This is a man who is on his 3rd wife. I Guess that when his current gal shows signs of aging he just trades her in for a younger model. This strikes me a displaying a certain lack of loyalty to me, but maybe Trump sees things differently than I do. I consider marriage to be an important institution, and important part of American cultural values. Perhaps Mr. Trump and his ladies approached it as a business deal, in which case his divorces were nothing more than a change of contract. Maybe his first 2 wives married him knowing it was a temporary affair at best. Divorce is legal in this country after all, and both of Mr. Trumps divorces were obtained legally, but it isn’t what I would consider to be an example of conservative Christian moral values of the sort that Mr. Trump seems to be claiming.

So why is he running as a Republican, and claiming to be a conservative at that? Here is a quote and an image courtesy of People Magazine that might shed some light on this question.

Trump certainly does like to make outrageous statements, and he gets a lot of press time for doing so. If his plan is to play on the bigotries of the far right some of the things he says, statements that seem divorced from reality, can perhaps be understood. He thinks conservatives are idiots, and is riding their ideology for his own political benefit. What do you think the odds are that he’d prove loyal to the conservative voters should he get into office? I’m thinking the odds are somewhat low.

Ted Cruz comes next, at least according to the first conservative poll site I looked up. Lets take a look at Cruz. Have you seen that smile of his? Doesn’t it look snide? Doesn’t it look arrogant? Doesn’t he always look snide and arrogant? I haven’t seen a single picture of him that looks presidential in the slightest. Maybe he just has a really bad game face. Perhaps he was just born with unfortunate features, and that isn’t a thing that should be held against a person. We can’t all be as pretty as I am.

Lets see what the man has to say.

So he’s admitting that some Americans think that we should still have slavery. So is he saying that he’s pro-slavery? It sounds to me like he’s saying that he’s pro slavery, and even if he isn’t anyone stupid enough to say something like that where there are cameras running is clearly too stupid to be president, or to serve in any official capacity.

So Cruz wants the business community to ignore a segment of the population, to ignore their spending power. He wants the country to have first class and second class citizens, for the law to protect only some people, but not others. Who do you suppose he would propose we target next? Its the old divide and conquer routine. First he picks on one group he thinks his followers like to hate, and next he’ll have to pick another group. But most likely he’s just blowing smoke to curry favor with the most angry members of the public.

That’s all for now. I’ll add to this later.


Army Issued Ugly; Military issue soldiers are not allowed to use.

What is the deal with the U.S. Army giving its troops gear and then telling them that they can’t use it? My sister was telling me about the class A skirt that she was issued in basic training . It is an unshapely monstrosity that makes its wearer’s appear neither professional nor attractive. As soon as she was issued it she was told that they would never be worn. She tells me that she has seen all of two soldiers wear them, and they looked horrible.

Once she got to AIT (advanced individual training, where a soldier is trained in specific job tasks) all the female soldiers were forced to pay to get the hem on these skirts adjusted  upwards. Apparently it is a requirement that you keep the clothes you don’t wear fashionable. We wouldn’t want a soldier’s closet to be unfashionable.

Boonie hats are also issued to soldiers, though in this case it is their commanders that usually forbids its wear. Which is a shame, because this is one of the more comfortable and practical items troops get issued. They are great for keeping the hot middle eastern sun out of your eyes and off your neck. You have to maintain it as an issued military item, but you are not allowed to wear it.