Hysteria

I sent this letter to the editor of the Joplin Globe the other day in reaction to a column by a local conservative columnist who thinks concern over the Russian affair is overblown.

As I understand from his column (Globe, July 16), Goeff Caldwell believes the “hysteria” over Russian hacking of the 2016 election is unwarranted. We just need to calm down about it and go about our business normally while the FBI special investigation proceeds. Actually, I think most Democrats are OK with that. Even Senator Kaine, who used the word “traitor”, is not advocating the abandonment of due process. But, I submit, unusual concern is justified because president Trump has challenged the emoluments clause more blatantly than any other president in modern history.

There is a good reason why the founders wrote, “ . . . no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign state.” The Cold War supposedly ended two decades ago now, but Russian motives are resurgent and adversarial to American interests, both economic and moral.

Maybe it is too soon for hysteria, but I am very concerned that our chief executive has no consistent policies, no grasp of history, no vision, not even trust in our own intelligence and foreign affairs communities. He has shown himself to be gullible by flattery, admiring of tyrants, and has no compunction in profiting from his own executive actions.

I will not, actually, be too surprised if Mr. Mueller eventually finds the Trump campaign innocent of any planned conspiracy with the Russian government. It may well be that acceptance of Russian help derived from nothing more than the same ineptitude, gullibility, disorganization and impulsiveness that have characterized the first six months of this administration. Vladimir must be laughing his anatomy off.

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Interview List

Just after a recent White House press briefing, a note in bold felt pen was found left behind:

Things to ask job applicant

1. Could you ever bring yourself to investigate me?
2. Who do you think is the best U.S. president ever?
3. Why do you think rich people are rich?
4. Why do you think poor people are poor?
5. What do bad people look like?
6. Who are the good people?
7. What news station do you watch?
8. What news station would you never watch?
9. Do you like Andrew Jackson?
10. Would you mind taking orders from Jared Kushner?

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The War Prayer

Thanks to my friend, Herb VanFleet, this essay by mark twain is well worth reading.

The Humanist Challenge

The War Prayer by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory with stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in…

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How’s Your Mood Today, Mr. President?

 

Every year, at least one intercontinental ballistic missile is launched thousands of miles from a United States submarine to an instrumented area in the ocean. The purpose of this is to test the reliability of the complete system, including the accuracy of its independently-targeted dummy warheads. Also tested at these times is the integrity of the chain of command authorizing the launch.

Does the crew know they are launching a pre-planned dummy weapon?  I hope and expect that the sub’s captain would know, but I’m not actually sure.  It probably doesn’t matter much.  This is what they train for.  The missile(s) will be launched within mere minutes.  I’ve been retired too long from the submarine Navy to be up on such policies, and it would be classified anyway. After all, the deterrence of the system depends on instant and unquestioning obedience to the orders of a single person, the president of the United States.

nuclear_war

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Constitution requires that a declaration of war be the decision of Congress, a power and responsibility that have not been exercised since the invention of nuclear weapons. That’s partly because the orbital flight of such missiles requires only half an hour and even with specialized satellite sensors, there is no time for speculation or debate, nor politics of any kind. The policy, half a century old now, is called MAD, short for Mutually Assured Destruction.  (The other reason a declaration of war is no longer required is technology – no draft call-ups or civilian sacrifice needed.)

An all-out nuclear war would probably end the human species. Not only would we die from blast and radiation, but also from catastrophic effects on the environment.  Crops and livestock would die. The ozone layer would be severely damaged, eliminating the radiation protection essential to life. Some say there would be a “nuclear winter.” But with warhead sizes tens and hundreds of times those of WW II, even limited blasts over populated areas would have severe effects because of fallout.

With these thoughts in mind, and feeling a little insecure about politics lately, I searched and found a fascinating story from 6 years ago, a remarkable story about an Air Force officer who had a simple question about nukes and what happened to him. It seems even more relevant to me now than it would have been in 2011. What do you think?

And, by the way, just what does it mean when they say, tactical nuclear weapons?

Posted in Ethics / Morality, Politics, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Don’s Johns

I thought this piece by my blogging friend Elyse, at Fifty Four and a Half, has some staying power.

FiftyFourandAHalf

Sometimes a metaphor actually plops into your lap.  Or your hands.  Or into someplace you hope you don’t drop your cell phone.

That happened to me today, when I read an article in the Huffington Post about one of the, ahem, priorities, of the folks setting up Friday’s Inauguration of Donald J. Trump.  And really, it is a metaphor for what is to come.

You see, whenever there is a big event here in the DC area, there’s a lot of shit going on.  Literally.  Lots of people = lots of pee and poop!  So port-a-potties line the Mall, surround the Monuments; and ring the Capitol itself.  And in the DC area, one company has the scoop on poop.

dons-johns Photo Caption  Don’s John’s.com

But, according to the Huffington Post,

Someone’s Covering The ‘Don’s Johns’ Logo On Port-a-Potties For Trump’s Inauguration

When I saw that headline, my first thought was…

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10 People Donald Trump Is Considering For His Cabinet

Rumors are flying about filling the Trump administration. Here is a great forecast by the great X.

List of X

"I got all the best people - me, Donald Trump, myself, my hairpiece, also me, Don, Melania's husband, Ivanka's father, really amazing, tremendous people! I'll also hire some losers for other jobs." Image source: National Review “I got all the best people – me, Donald Trump, myself, my hairpiece, also me, Don, Melania’s husband, Donald, Ivanka’s father, that guy who just won the election – all really amazing, tremendous people! I’ll also hire some losers for the other jobs.”
Image source: National Review

Last Tuesday, America elected Donald Trump as our new president, and he has been diligently working to assemble the list of people he wants to nominate for various positions in his cabinet. And since Donald Trump isn’t a regular politician, the people he wants to put in charge of the government won’t be regular politicians either. Here are 10 federal jobs and 10 people Donald Trump is considering for these jobs.

1)  Transportation Security Administration: Billy Bush, the co-star of the Trump’s infamous “Grab-em-by-the-p***y” leaked video. In this video, Mr. Bush proved that he would be well-suited for enabling the TSA agents…

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What Now?

What do you want to be when your grow up?

What do you want to be when your grow up?

The Democratic party of 2016 has failed. It lost the confidence of the working class. The best analysis I’ve read so far, and I know it’s early, comes from this Huffington Post article.  If we don’t figure a way out of this problem, the country is in for a very bleak future of war, hatred, xenophobia and recriminations.

From this article I learned what the number one middle-class job is in 29 states.  Can you guess what it is?  I wouldn’t have been able to.

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