Soldiers Deserve Better

I am looking at the Memorial Day faced book page of one of my class mates who NAVY ROTCEd and took a lot of crap for being the military on campus in 1970. I have a memory of An Air Force ROTC kid in an English class who was jeered for wearing his uniform to class. I didn’t think it was fair at the time, or smart… we need educated soldiers.

How the left deliberately chose to abuse fighting persons in the Vietnam era is a lesson in how not to oppose a war. The people who fight are not the ones to blame. We need soldiers and sailers and air persons and we are better off if we don’t let them choose the wars they fight. Their job is to follow the civilian leadership. Soldiers who choose their own wars are as likely to choose their own leadership. Not a good idea in a Democracy.

Still, I cringe everytime I hear a service person honored for “fighting for our freedom” in Iraq and Afghanstan. This is bullshit. In Iraq we fought because George W. Busch is an ignorant dumbass and was surrounded by arrogant uneducated fools. In Afghanistan, we went In to get Ben Laden and failed for 10 years to get him because George W. Busch is a moron.

There are few good wars. In our history we can be proud of the Revolution, the Civil War and WWII. (There is a valid argument that if we had not entered WWI, WWII would never have been necessary. Because we upset the balance of power, France and England were able to impose unnecessary demands on Germany… which led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler. We would have been better off to have allowed them to beat each other senseless and write an armistice as equals.)

When it comes to wars we have had a lot of stinkers. The Mexican Conquest, the Spanish-American, WWI, Vietnam. Iraq and Afghanistan. (I don’t know about Korea.) Most of these wars were the result of incompetence and greed and stupidity. A lot of good people died… some of whom I went to school with… in no good cause that I can name. Certainly, in most cases, it had nothing to do with keeping America free.

Still we must honor the soldiers for their steadfast bravery, their willingness to serve, their unquestioning loyalty to the nation.

We owe them our honor and respect. And we owe them one other thing. We owe them better leaders.

Happy Memorial Day

I don’t know about you, but I think most Americans have a pretty screwed up notion of what Memorial Day is.

See how many people you know who wish you a “happy” Memorial Day and you’ll see what I mean, or how many of your Facebook friends write that you should “hug a vet” today.

It’s Memorial Day, not bring a Vet to work day.

Generally around here we think that war is dumb. I can’t say I think these Untied States of America have embarked on a war that was actually necessary since World War II. And I think that presently this country is in two wars that we need to get the hell out from. (Yes, we still do have troops in Iraq people.) And I do think that if you’re talking budget cuts and not talking about the defense budget, you’re full of it.

But I’m not foolish peacenik enough to tell you I think we could have what we have without a kickass armed forces. And I’m certainly not one of these liberal observers who was wringing his hands about shooting Osama bin Laden in the eye. I think this Memorial Day holds special significance due to that accomplishment.

But hey. It’s Memorial Day. Let’s remember.


There is no economy in Joplin, Missouri. Not today.

Oh, come on, Brady. You’re just being your usual commie bastard self. Of course there’s an economy in Joplin. You know, supply, demand, that kind of thing?

No, bubba. When demand is this friggin’ off the charts, there isn’t any supply worth a damn that would exact a toll for it, or that could, for that matter.

Did I mention we’ve got family in Joplin? This was their house. From what I hear, the first thing they did after this went down was to run out to the nearest ATM to make sure they had enough cash to participate in this robust economy. Because you see, to my family, the most important thing is to participate in the dynamic, magical free market that would automatically meet their needs and the needs of those around them, you see.

Geez. That’s so implausible it doesn’t even successfully reflect the sarcasm it’s meant to.

There is no economy here. Supply and demand are so far apart in Joplin that there is no negotiating. Demand is off the friggin’ charts. And supply is all like, ewwww, it’s so muddy and icky, perhaps we’ll just stay here in this nice Marriott in Kansas City.

Certainly, the disaster capitalists will show up eventually, and there will be money back in Joplin. But Nelson Hidalgo doesn’t show up in Treme until the second season, not until after the fat guy jumps off of the boat. For now, there is no supply in Joplin. Only demand. That’s not an economy.

That’s what government is for. Government is supposed to do the shit work in times and places when and where even the most soul-less, opportunistic scumbags won’t go rushing in, when the incentive to work is so lousy that the only funding available to help is the munny that you and I put into the center of the table and agreed, look, if anything happens…

That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked. That’s how America works. It’s why Americans found the images they saw on television during the Katrina aftermath so horrifying; because most Americans, even the most tea-baggiest tea-baggers of all of the tea-baggy tea-baggers, most Americans assume that, in America, if you’re ever struck by a real-live disaster, in America, someone will help you. No matter whom you tend to blame for Katrina, that this social contract was left unhonored in this great nation was a devestating illumination for many Americans and was certainly the beginning for a lot of people to start pointing at the naked guy in the throne.

But Republigoats are what they are and they believe what they believe. I mean, it’s not their fault. They’ve taken the suppository. And so you have a guy like Eric Cantor, who’s sitting there nickel-and-diming while my cousins there are trying to track down any remnants of their family photo albums in the rubble.

These people do not govern well. They do not understand government. They do not believe in government. They believe we should all be one giant happy corporation and God Bless America Inc. But there is no economy in Joplin Missouri, and GBA Inc. wouldn’t spare those people two sticks to rub together.

Grass Roots Wisdom

Kathy Hochul told Rachel Maddow last night that Medicare was not the only issue in the campaign that busted the GOOP in the NY 26th. Seems Hochul’s older, blue collar conservative district believes that everyone should share the pain of economic downturn and the cost of fixing government. That’s right. They believe in taxing the rich. Hochul said a threshold of $500,000 in income resonated with her voters, and she suggested a return to something close to the Clinton Era tax margins is where we need to be. In those days, she pointed out, the economy was prospering.

Is the Democratic Party listening?

Show Me the Issues!

I don’t know what kind of thinking goes on in the heads of politicians. Today I get an email from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee all breathless about the NY 26th Congressional District where a Democrat  running in the reddest district in NY beat a GOOPer.

The big deal is that Kathy Hochul got outspent by about eight to one and still beat that Corwin woman. So the DSCCC says how much money Karl Rove ($850,000) poured into the race and Kathy Hochul beat them anyway… and that means we need a lot more money to spend in the coming election cycle… so please send us lots of money.

Now I don’t give money to the party or to any organization to the right of Andrew Weiner. But examine the pitch… we beat them on good issues, and without a lot of money… so we need more money. Really?

Seems to me if good issues win elections, we should focus first on the issues, particularly if we don’t have the money.

It Would Be Good To Be Wrong

One reason I don’t write here as much as I used to is that I hate to restate the obvious and I hate to repeat myself. Unfortunately that is the key to professional political punditry. If it were not for endless repetition of the same story… the GOOP has a confederacy of dunces running for President… is the current rage on MSNBC… Rachel Maddow would be covering crime news. I don’t know what the GOOP common taters have been assigned to talk about at Foxx this week… Same-o, Same-o.

The Ryan Budget is also big news, made bigger by the fact that those dunderheads in the NY 26th District (next door to me) voted for a Democrat BECAUSE she supported Medicare. Just note, these are the same people who, in GOOP sponsored health care town forums two years ago, were inclined to shout, “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!” I am, of course, pleased at Kathy Hocul’s victory, but my only surprise is  that a Democratic candidate used this issue so effectively. The GOOP has been threatening Medicare for years, so the issue has been lying around to be picked up and run with. Not that the Democratic Party noticed. Likewise Social Security, and now a new and popular government program presents another opportunity … FEMA.

Eric Cantor is singing a tune about how he is not going to fund assistance for my good friends and neighbors in Joplin (yes, the Bonk family has roots in that neighborhood and I can name three people who have lost their homes) unless there is a corresponding budget cut. Now I am looking for a Democrat to run with it… but have not yet seen it. Not even Clair McCaskill, the Demicratic Senator from Missouri, has spoken to the issue. The President has stated his support for Joplin specifically, but has not criticized Cantor’s aria. Worth noting that this is another long-time GOOP refrain. The Busch boys called FEMA an “overblown entitlement program” before Katrina. Now the President has an opportunity to edit the score when he is in Joplin Sunday. Will he?

Fat chance is my guess. The Democratic party still has not figured out the value of Medicare. As of last week, Dems were still saying that “everything is on the table” in the budget fight. The best advice on the topic came from Michael Moore on Larry O’Donnell’s show last night…. TAKE MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY OFF THE TABLE. And let me add.. INSIST ON FEMA FUNDING!

The Democratic Party had a perfect opportunity last fall to make the election about taxing the rich and saving jobs, but the Party chose to “compromise” with the GOOP and save tax cuts for the rich. Their failure to draw a line in the sand not only gave the GOOP the election, it also allowed them to steal the narrative… it’s not saving jobs, it’s cutting the deficit that is important. I don’t have much hope for Obama’s Joplin appearance. He will make nice and he will do well, but he will not use this opportunity to further attack the GOOP.

I hope I am wrong.

Pope to People: It’s All Your Fault!

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is helping the Catholic Church whitewash its long and sordid history of child sex abuse with issuance of a study called The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.  Among its startling conclusions: that it was the moral laxity of the times that caused the problem… not the fault of the Church itself.

The report studies sexual abuse in the church from 1950 to 2010, citing particularly lax morality in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s, not any particular failing of the church, as the prime mover. And the good news, according to the researchers at John Jay who were paid $1.8 million by the Conference of Catholic Bishops to do the research, is that there is very little of this stuff going on today.

Curious. I will concede that we have become a more open society in my lifetime and thank Gravity for that. We no longer force people into long, unhappy marriages; tolerate spousal abuse or force gay and lesbian people to live in unhappy sexual abstinence or hide their true identities in a closet. We havre developed a healthy public attitude toward sexual relations and the people who do not play the game no longer make the rules. None the less no one, not the most libertine liberal, has been willing to sanction the molestation of children.  Not by priests or by anyone.   Our culture, known for its moral laxity,  may have developed an amused tolerance for podophilia, but pedophilia is still beyond the pale.

And how is the Church let off the hook in other jurisdictions, where “moral laxity” has not taken hold. Places like Ireland, where children in Church-sponsored orphanages were treated as sex slaves for what may have been longer than 60 years; and Italy, where Rome has long set the moral tone for the nation, or Austria, where Cardinal Ratzinger… later Pope Benedict XVI… conveniently ignored a child abuser in his own diocease.   Not to mention the sordid tale of the Legion of Christ, a right wing religious order founded by a notorious pedophile, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, who enjoyed particular protection from Pope John Paul II. In fact, Wikipedia has a long list of Church sex scandals by nation…  not all of them can be explained by the moral laxity of us heathen Americans.

And if it is really under control and a problem of the past how do you explain a Philadelphia Grand Jury finding that the church had (as of 2005) failed to act in the case of 37 priests accused of child abuse?

The truth of it is the Church created the conditions for its sexual abuse problems and, once confronted with the facts, moved swiftly to cover it up. The Church has been notorious throughout history for its sexual hypocracy. The Church manocracy is an ideal breeding ground for sexual misconduct. Remove men from normal social intercourse, restrict their access to adult sex partners and put them in the company of children. What do you get?

And the Church hierarchy, motivated not by concern for its “flock” but by progress through the ranks, was not likely to stop it. What bishop with a eye on a choice promotion wants to admit to a sex abuse scandal in his diocease? Better to pretend. Pedophiles, once identified, were moved to new parishes where they could continue to prey on unsuspecting faithful. A recurring scandal moved from town to town and harder and harder to track. A disaster waiting to happen, brought about not by outside forces, but by the Church’s own internal prerogatives.

Laying off the Church’s many moral failings on liberal social change is a convenient tactic for the Church. They are not to blame, their enemies are to blame. And certainly we can fix it all if we can just get back to the good old days where birth control is illegal, women are forced to die in child birth rather than have an abortion, and homosexuals are enemies of the state. My guess is that’s where this is going.


I have been lately revisiting my effort so go mining about in the wonderful world of Leftblogistan. It’s a tiny little site powered only by me, just a collection of some of what I find interesting among the work of my colleauges.

Sometimes, you get a post that just blows your skirt up.

Bill Scheher over at Liberal Oasis has written such a post, titled etting Osama: What We Should Have Done In The First Place … But Republicans Wouldn’t Do

I think it is always worth remembering and reflecting on the sheer incompetence of the administration that was in office on September 11, 2001, and the forgotten complicity that incompetence actually played in getting our asses attacked in the first place. Bill does an excellent timeline there, and it is well-sourced. Nice going, Bill.