Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Footnote Parade

A sampling of current news, with no particular theme or order of importance:

“American jailed in killings is CIA agent.” Whoa, didn't see that coming! Well... you can bet that any time an “embassy employee” gets in trouble, but no one wants to reveal exactly what his job is, it can only mean one of two things – either CIA or a mercenary of some sort. And, in fact, this guy Davis is not a CIA employee per se, but a “contractor” -- i.e. mercenary. Now, we know these people exist and that every American embassy on earth is swarming with them... and the point is, the American Empire is alive and well as long as it's supported by these types. We can be melting down and turning into green slime on the home front, but, by gosh, our agents are still covering the world with their plots and intrigues... creating (or preventing) revolutions... assassinating people... and so on. Wonder what happens when the day comes that they have no place to go home to?

“Senior minister: Britons don't grasp depth of cuts.” This is in reference to “austerity measures” in jolly old England, which are apparently just now getting under way... and the message is, “You ain't seen nothin' yet.” Now... I have a bit of insight into this situation from some years back. We had an “au pair” working for us, from Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north of England. She talked exactly like the Beatles – quite delightful, really. At one point, she was showing us some photos of her relatives – mostly young families, cozily ensconced in some sort of modest dwelling – and whenever we asked what the father did for a living, the answer was “Oo, 'e's on the dool” -- the dole, meaning welfare. Now... these guys were able-bodied, and completely able to hold down a job. But the system in Britain had corrupted them by offering more benefits for not working than for working. And this is what is being talked about at present – not some cruel, draconian, Dickensian throwing of people out into the cold, but simply a return to some sort of sanity. And it's not going to impact just those who are “on the dool”, but the middle class as well – since they are much more dependent on government handouts of various sorts, and entitlements, than they think they are. Sound familiar? Yeah – the day will come when we have to make much the same sort of reckoning... and I suspect we won't “grasp the depth of cuts” either, until we experience them first hand.

Oh no, not this character again. I swear, if I have to read one more news item about Michael Skakel, I think I'll scream. You know who Michael Skakel is, don't you? He's that “Kennedy cousin” who was convicted of murder back in 2002 (the event having happened 27 years earlier, when he was in his teens) and who has spent every waking moment since appealing the verdict. Now... I'm all in favor of people seeking justice, and all that... but don't you get a feeling that the Kennedy myth is at work here as well – those delusions of grandeur, and that extreme sense of entitlement? After all, these people are royalty! And they should be exempt from the minor botherations of the law, since that was meant to keep the “little people” under control, but surely not them! I mean... anyone remember a place called Chappaquiddick? Yeah, I know, Washington is, at long last, “Kennedy free” -- but wouldn't it be nice if the country was as well?

“Clinton, Bush will lead institute on civility in politics.” OK, you can clean up the mess you just made; you shouldn't have read that with your mouth full. The “Clinton” in question is, of course, Bill, who is one of most vicious, and least civil, politicians of our time. And as for Bush – well, that's not quite as bad, since he was never in the loop anyway, so had no reason to be anything but civil. But still, the thought of these two characters getting together and giving people advise about "civility" is just... well, "uncivil".

Yeah, and how about that ailment that broke out among people attending a conference at the Playboy Mansion in L.A.? There are all kinds of theories as to what caused it, but I suspect it was just the sheer biological pressure of all the STD's that have been floating around that place for years. I mean, that has to be about the most toxic environment imaginable, wouldn't you think? (And that doesn't include moral toxicity.)

In global warming news, it seems that “a return to New England winters more typical of decades past” has led to a modification in the predatory patterns of barn owls. OK, so... the owls are telling us that this global warming thing may be pure horse hockey. Now let's get the owls together with all the drowning polar bears, and see what they come up with.

And under the heading of “totally predictable” comes this: “Citing threats, Pentagon seeks highest funding ever.” And this is “driven by an expanding list of what defines national security” -- including things like “pandemic diseases, human trafficking, rising oceans, national debt, education, (and) cyber warfare.” What, no “hate”? I guess that'll be in next year's budget proposal. All agencies experience “mission creep” in the endless quest for more power and bigger budgets – but when the Defense Department does mission creep, they go all the way. And one objection (thank goodness there was at least one!) is that “the insistence that the United States fund a military poised to address every type of possible threat... makes it difficult to set priorities on what threats the nation really faces.” Very true... and it is, in fact a good question. What bonafide threats _do_ we face at this time? The Cold War is long gone, but it's been replaced by... virtually everything else. I know, the stock answer is “terrorism”, but we've gone over this before -- “terrorism” is something our government invented in order to justify expanding power and greater expenditures. The “terrorists” don't call it “terrorism” -- they call it “trying to get the Americans to get the hell out of their country and go home”.

And on the home front – the straw poll at CPAC put Ron Paul at the top of the list of potential Republican presidential candidates – a fact which the MSM immediately ignored, because... well, after all, it was just a straw poll, conducted by a bunch of extreme right-wing “haters”. But what if it had been a poll of the more left-leaning members of the Democratic Party? Well, then the results would be holy writ, and... forget about a convention, let's just give whoever it is the nomination by acclaim. In any case, Romney came in at #2, with everyone else falling far back in the field... which leads me to my quadrennial (and always wrong) prediction that the 2012 race will be Romney vs. Obama, and Obama will win. Everyone else is just wasting their time. But hey, let 'em do it; it's better than most of what they could be doing instead.

And in south-of-the-border news, “Mexican leaders try to halt game showing violence in Ciudad Juarez.” Right, that's the ticket – ban the video game that depicts “drug-fueled” violence in a border town. That's a whole lot easier than actually doing something about the violence. It's too bad, really...I mean, Mexico has always been a kind of sketchy place, but it used to be worth the risks. Nowadays, I wouldn't go down there for all the tea in China. And of course, it's not all their fault – where does the demand for all the illegal drugs come from? And whose government insists on keeping them illegal for purposes that have nothing to do with the welfare of the citizenry? Yeah, Mexico just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time... and I can't see anything changing very soon, if ever.

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