Monday, March 31, 2014

The Novel Nowadays

I've always been a reader, especially of novels and short stories, starting way back when I discovered the Howard Pease books about the sailing ships of long ago. I've been an avid reader of magazines, too, but in the early seventies realized that I had become so interested in news/commentary magazines like the incomparable National Review that I had ignored the novel for a long time.

I checked the best-seller list and discovered that Portnoy's Complaint was all the rage and bought a copy. I made it through four pages in which appeared such a pile of sex-ridden garbage and unbelievable weirdness that I put away the book and decided that if the novel had degenerated to that despicable level I needed to stick with just the news, which helped anyway since I was writing a couple of newspaper columns a week for the local newspaper.

According to the literati (especially book-reviewers of the avant-garde publications and coastal newspapers as well as university English faculties), Portnoy was then and still is among the best of English writing in the last 100 or so years. The book continued in the vein of the first four pages, I've read, so I would have needed 100 symbolic showers using abrasive soap if I had finished it just to eradicate the written dirt.

It wasn't that long before I returned to reading books but I'm like most guys – at least so I've heard – who read not for discovering a “slice of life,” which the enlightened professors like to have as a useful cliché, but just for entertainment, with the demand that there be an actual plot and that unbelievable coincidences and feats of physical legerdemain not predominate. I'm not enamored of Faulkner or Salinger.

So...I like the “commercial” books, those down upon which the literati look in their condescension. I've discovered a change in them as well, except for the best writers like Le Carre, Clancy, Michener and Grisham, who handle the “delicacies” adroitly and not with the hormone-driven high-school-sophomore boy in mind. The major change has to do with women, who appear now as hard-nosed career superior-beings able to out-think, out-swear and out-muscle any man who gets in their way. They appear especially in books having to do with crime subjects and written by men.

These women use the f-word like it came before Adam and fling off their panties for the slightest reason, especially entrapment of an inferior male (all males are inferior), sorta like the spider in her web. I checked out from the library the other day an “action” book, one of the usual best-seller types, and I'm just over half through. I can skip the garbage parts and have no idea why the stuff is used – maybe just filler.

Already, action has drifted from this country to the Middle East and a tortuous session in Bangkok – an assassin, burning buildings, heroic jumps from roofs – and another in Zurich, where a beautiful lady outsmarts the hero, slamming and locking him in a tanning bed to bake him alive. He escapes, of course, just in time. Meanwhile, back in Washington, two lesbians, who outsmart their bosses by day but have been invited to dinner by them, have just retired to a stall in the ladies room for a quick orgy between the salad and main course to do whatever they do. I'll skip this part but on second thought may just skip the rest of the book.

I write novels, too, though I'm unheard of (books are, too). I got so sick of this best-seller stuff that I decided to write a novel (my fifth) in which no main character is a woman and sex is of no consequence. Its title is The Biggest Con and it has to do with the world of spies, intrigue, religion, and even some fun. Its heroes belong to the CIA and its meanies are jihad-types out to promulgate al Qaeda-ism throughout the world. It's the opposite of Portnoy and the book I may or may not finish reading now.

Actually, art reflects culture, especially with respect to the written word. The little needless lesbian episode mentioned above took 2.5 pages that I didn't read. It was followed closely by a whore attempting seduction of the hero in Zurich. So far, this has been the century of the homosexual (now a protected species like the famous snail-darter), up to and including marriage, as well as the glorification of kinky sex and the “liberated woman,” who nevertheless screams rape when she's mad at a guy and wants to ruin him. This shows up in the American novel, and the enlightened literati worship it, which proves that morons can be book-reviewers and college professors.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pope & Prexy

Much has been made of the fact that Pope Francis has become a virtual icon throughout the world since ascending to his lofty denominational position last year, which Catholics sometimes designate “vicar of Christ,” as if a mere man could aspire to such a thing. Vicar is defined as “one serving as a substitute or agent.” The term represents blasphemy to most Christians, who believe Christ defined himself and his mission quite well, as recorded in scripture, and certainly would not countenance a substitute.

Pope Francis presents himself as an humble servant of both God and people, and there's no argument with that. He doesn't live in the plush papal palace among all the riches displayed there but in a more modest dwelling though he lacks for nothing 24/7, with all sorts of folks to carry the water. He presents himself as an advocate for the poor and has made it plain that a capitalistic society, such as in the U.S., does not signify, apparently since the wealth is not redistributed in putting everyone on the same economic level in the nation, with the surplus funds redistributed worldwide.

An economic guru he is not since he doesn't seem to understand that help/service for the poor has to be bought just like everything else and that people must work to provide the capital for helping and that capital is created by people making/doing things, for which activity they are paid so they can eat and work some more. He should understand that people have hugely varying levels of intellect and skills, meaning they will have hugely varying remunerations for what they do – justifiably.

Some believe the Pope is popular for his humility and his chastisement of countries like the U.S. This is doubtful since thousands of famous people are lionized for their charitable works – justifiably. However, the Pope's popularity in the so-called developed nations is for another reason. On a flight back to Rome last year, Pope Francis made this startling remark with regard to the subject of homosexuality: “Who am I to judge?” Homosexuals are a protected species in the U.S., virtually idolized by the intellectual elite. They are practically worshiped in Europe, as well. With that statement, the Pope, besides spitting in his denomination's face, ingratiated himself to nations already on the skids morally. Thus, these words:

The prexy went to see the Pope,
Just happened that he was in Rome,
A photo-op might stir some hope
Since things were going south at home;
Il Papa was a gracious host
But felt no kiss upon his ring
Meant prexy dumb as wooden post
Or feared an Arab-inspired spring
Since he by fiat made new laws,
Would not enforce the ones in force,
Complained of Constitution's flaws
And made czar-rules his tour de force;
This made his disapproval-rate
Increase quite exponentially
But Papal blessings might create
Improvement providentially.

The visit lasted near an hour
So prexy could confess all sin
With still some time to talk of power
The Pope might use against Putin;
Concerning such, the Pope demurred,
Explained his guards used only spears
And that from all that he had heard
A stare by Putin could cause tears.

They also talked of other things
Like homosexuality
And men exchanging wedding rings
And bridal gowns for two...or three;
The Pope said, “Who am I to judge,
Inclusiveness – new liturgy,”
The prexy laughed, gave Pope a nudge
And then a wink or two...or three.

The Pope-and-prexy press machine
Put out the word that they agreed
That inequality was mean
And that the world should just take heed;
Redistribution of the wealth
Of working stiffs should now be done,
They shook on that, drank to their health,
Proclaimed salvation had begun.

And so they posed for photo-op,
Then prexy took his leave apace
And wondered to his secret-cop
If they might find a par-three place
Where he could try his new chip-shot
And maybe then not have to cheat
When next on some fund-raising plot—
Though truth he found hard to repeat.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The University & Inequality—Laughable

In a column of 24 March, Lexington Herald-Leader's Tom Eblen pointed to the upcoming UK conference titled “Economic and Political Inequality in the United States,” with keynote speaker columnist Ellen Goodman, whose subject will be “Inequality: Working Moms, Designated Daughters, and the Risks of Care-giving.” Among her awards is the Media Award for Outstanding Newspaper Columnist from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Warning caveat: I'm a retired railroader living on a blue-collar pension. Economic inequality is not definable because it accrues to so many variables such as degrees of education, risk-taking, innate abilities, health, inheritances and even luck – especially as when a UK freshman signs an NBA contract for a couple million or so. There's no such thing as economic inequality in a capitalist society such as in the U.S., just as there's no such thing as economic equality. The income of a life-saving surgeon is not to be compared to that of a railroader or columnist.

Eblen wrote: “Consider ... a recent study that found incomes in Kentucky rose 19.9 percent from 1979-2007, but that 48.8 percent of that money went to the top 1 percent of earners. According to the Economic Policy Institute, that 1 percent saw their incomes rise an average of 105.1 percent, while the average income of the other 99 percent of Kentuckians grew only 11.2 percent.” He didn't break down the various percentiles according to income.

This is from the Congressional Budget Office (November 2011): “For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007. For others in the 20 percent of the population with the highest income (those in the 81st through 99th percentiles), average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent over that period, much faster than it did for the remaining 80 percent of the population, but not nearly as fast as for the top 1 percent. For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale (the 21st through 80th percentiles), the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent. For the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income, average real after-tax household income was about 18 percent higher in 2007 than it had been in1979.”

So, Kentucky, a poor state by any reckoning, didn't hold a candle to the rest of the nation 1979-2007 with respect to what the conveners of the upcoming conference call economic inequality. That 275% figure is breathtaking as are the numbers of some other percentiles. It needs remembering, however, that these figures essentially have virtually nothing to do with government but with private enterprise and private individuals heavily taxed by government.

Inequality is a pet project of the president, a multi-millionaire who rails constantly against that 1% to which he belongs and finally got the top federal tax rate raised to nearly 40% – a chump-change increase for him and at least half of the members of Congress, who are also millionaires. He is officially in favor of junking the U.S. Constitution and revising it to mandate “redistribution of wealth.” One can only cringe when thinking of the government setting all wages and profits in addition to taxes. That would be socialism or communism at its economic worst but it's the president's position.

Eblen used China's economic success under an oligarchic dictatorship to warn that the moneyed class could take over government in this country, as if the moneyed class hasn't always had much to say (or buy) with respect to government. Obama's solution to this problem would be to tax the 1% to near bankruptcy as if that would solve the problem.

This is from the Heritage Foundation (based on 2010): “The top 10 percent of income earners paid 71 percent of all federal income taxes in 2010, though they earned only 45 percent of all income. The bottom 50 percent paid 2 percent of income taxes, but earned 12 percent of income.” This is from American Enterprise (December 2012): “... the top 1 percent (1.35 million) of American taxpayers paid almost as much federal income tax in 2010 ($354.8 billion) as the entire bottom 95% of American tax filers ($388.4 billion).” The article also noted that “about half of the bottom 95% of American “taxpayers” paid nothing or got a tax refund.” All citizens receive the same amount of services from government but some pay far more for them than others.

The top tax rate each year 1950-63 was either 91% or 92%, as the costs of World War II were paid off. The average bottom rate for those years was 20%. As late as 1980, the top rate was still at 70% and the bottom at 14%. During 1988-90, the rates were down to 28% and 15%, respectively, as the nation took off economically and the beneficiary was Bill Clinton. The rich have always paid the freight but punishing them is Obama's chief objective while the economy tanks and the nation borrows from China.

I begrudge the highly inflated government salaries (including university- and public school-administrators) but feel no jealousy whatever for those in the private sector who manage to legally work the system for all they can get. As long as UK can pay wages greater than the U.S. vice president's to assistant football coaches, it would do well to forget inequality and let Goodman do her whining elsewhere.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ky. Democrats in Disarray

Recently arrived political writer Sam Youngman at the Lexington Herald-Leader has been very active this week, with articles thus far on 18, 20, and 21 March, the subject matter essentially being that democrat Grimes is about to unseat longtime Senator Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the Senate. He and other democrats continue to rely on a recent poll, called the “Bluegrass Poll,” commissioned by two newspapers and TV stations, respectively, in Louisville and Lexington, strongholds of anti-McConnell media cabals.

Pollsters of SurveyUSA interviewed 1,200 adults with home phones and cell phones between January 30 and February 4, of whom 1,082 were registered to vote in the state with 404 being registered republicans, but with Primary questions asked only of them. Other questions were asked of all registered voters. Why no Primary questions of democrats? Answer: these media activists have eliminated the three democrat candidates besides Grimes...the fix is in. And why count 118 who were not even registered? Twice as many democrats as republicans were polled, the reason being obvious to even a fifth-grader.

Kentucky votes republican in national elections even though democrats outnumber republicans in the state by 52%. The poll, demographically identified by name and therefore probably confined to the actual “bluegrass” area, had McConnell slightly behind Grimes—not surprising. Most of McConnell's strength resides in the rest of the state, though Lexington is represented in the House by republican Andy Barr. All but Yarmuth in Louisville in the other districts are represented by republicans.

This is Youngman on the eighteenth: “McConnell's numbers are dreadful. It doesn't look like they can get much worse. It's the most commonly accepted truth of the race...” Wow! In the next paragraph, he indicates that Grimes was “still working to find firm footing for a bruising campaign.” The lady hadn't even got her agenda settled. He then turned to McConnell, with remarks that showed McConnell's strength and tactics and opined that McConnell's campaign, in horse-race jargon, was “rolling in, and the track could soon go from fast to sloppy.” Indeed!

In his offering of the twentieth, which pointed to the fissures in the democrat party concerning the next gubernatorial clambake, Youngman quoted hopeful Attorney General Conway as claiming that “a strong gubernatorial ticket is an asset to to Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign.” Whoa! Is Grimes' campaign this year or next year? As of yet, there is no gubernatorial ticket to help her campaign...or was Youngman dreaming of his Washington days instead of listening? Gubernatorial campaigns begging for (and siphoning away) money from other candidates could not be helpful in any year. If Conway believes this, he should get a running mate and announce—to help Grimes, of course. The governor's race is a long time off.

House Speaker Stumbo, according to Youngman, said categorically that Crit Luallen (his most feared enemy, whom he classified as a hopeless Frankfort “insider,” as if he isn't) has absolutely no chance for the governorship. He also took out Auditor Edelman (“ain't made it yet...gifted but young”). His criticism of Conway took the form of comparing him with other candidates from Louisville—“doesn't run well out in the state most of the time.” McConnell was judge-executive of Jefferson County (Louisville) 1978-85 but managed election to the Senate from “out in the state” anyway, and has ever since. Maybe Stumbo didn't notice.

In his offering of the twenty-first, Youngman seemed to have an attack of journalistic integrity, citing Grimes' jobs plan but also indicating that Grimes couldn't explain it very well and that, besides, it depended largely on federal funds, this at a time when those funds would have to be borrowed from China if the Congress managed to do anything in the first place. When pressed about how to finance her plan, according to Youngman, she resorted to attacking McConnell, a sure sign of desperation.

The articles taken together indicate that the state's elite democrats, not to mention the friendly media, are worried about both the state and national races, as well they should be. Governor Beshear's split on same-sex marriage perks with AG Conway, with the governor winning the judicial delay of indeterminate length, is an example of the democrat disarray. Stumbo went with the wrong rich guy the last time around (for the second spot) and is waylaying the opposition early this time. Democrats in Kentucky have always been plagued by the infighting of their factions—great fun to watch.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Muslim Pilots?

At risk of violating political correctness to a degree so exponential as to be incomprehensible, it is necessary now – should have been done long ago – to decide who should and should not be certified to pilot commercial aircraft. The question should certainly have been raised in October 1999, when Gameel el-Batouty, copilot of Egyptair #990 and with the captain out of the cockpit, deliberately crashed the plane off Nantucket, soon after takeoff.

For more than a minute as he produced this genocide – 217 dead – Batouty, a Muslim, was heard repeating “I rely on God” over and over. According to the “black boxes” recovered, the pilot returned to the cabin and tried to save the plane, imploring Batouty to help him, but Batouty had even cut the engines. The copilot was committing homicide/suicide and, he thought, was on his way to the 72 virgins, as promised by the ayatollahs and imams.

Less than two years later, 19 Muslims commandeered four commercial jets on 11 September 2001, with their pilots crashing two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and the fourth into a Pennsylvania meadow, killing some 3,000 and totally destroying the WTC, both buildings imploding. It was the suicide/homicide jihad-model, with the hijackers off to 1,368 virgins for their trouble.

The red flags should have been acknowledged then regarding Muslims and commercial jets, since Muslim pilots, even though hijackers, had wreaked such havoc. Their absent regard for even their own lives, not to mention those of the people they killed by crashing commercial jets, is incomprehensible to civilized people but such was the case.

The recent crash of Malaysia Airlines #370 soon after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur on 08 March is the instant case in point. Both pilots were Muslims – 239 people died, and there's no trace of the plane. The consensus is that the crash was engineered on-board the plane, i.e., by one or both of the pilots. The plane flew for hours after veering off-course so one can only imagine the hell on board, i.e., if the passengers lived long enough to know what was happening.

The pilot of a commercial flight has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. The pilot’s decision must be reasonable and based on observations of a passenger, not stereotypes; however, stereotyping is often the best way to make a decision – profiling, in other words, which is what happens at airports in Israel, for instance. No aircraft has ever been hijacked out of the Ben Gurion Airport. The body-scanner is not used.

The attack is thwarted when the would-be attacker is neutralized. Police, with the blessings of the citizenry, profile as a routine matter, notwithstanding regulations to the contrary. One such flight event – not the only one – happened in May 2011 when a captain on a Memphis to Charlotte flight refused to take off if two imams were allowed on his plane, even though they had been taken off and reexamined as threats. They had to take another flight.

This seems unfair, especially since Muslims insist that Islamic teachings do not allow for suicide/homicide; however, they must admit that their religious protocol concerning infidels is that they must be exterminated or taxed (enslaved). The media is replete every day with the butchery of jihadists who insist that they are obeying the Koran, the Islam holy book.

There's no more damning fanatic than a religious fanatic, regardless of which religion. The Judeo/Christian faith does not teach nihilism but the imams and ayatollahs do; therefore, a Muslim, no matter how circumspect, is automatically under suspicion especially since he has to admit the “infidel thing” or lie.

Sometimes, professionals are deemed too smart to fall for the suicide/homicide/72-virgin thing, but this isn't so. Khalid, mastermind of the WTC destruction was well-educated—in North Carolina. Humam Khalil al-Balawi, subject of The Triple Agent by Joby Warrick, who blew-up himself and seven CIA personnel in Afghanistan (while wounding many more), was a medical doctor. Using well-trained pilots for terrorism is a no-brainer, especially for mass killings.

Should both pilots of a commercial flight be Muslims? Absolutely not! If a pilot can refuse a Muslim passenger, a passenger should have the option of refusing a Muslim pilot. In a perfect world, this shouldn't be, but this isn't a perfect world.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


For decades, women and women's groups have aligned themselves with militant feminist organizations, as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as being part of a mistreated minority suffering at the hands of insensitive men, principally white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males (WASPs). Women have never been a minority, comprising more than half the population, but observing minority status is worth the proverbial pot of gold.

While the NAACP has made observing victim-hood its main thrust, thus demanding state-financed existence and perpetrated by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, it has seen its gains – especially during the giveaway 1960s – nullified and its family-oriented structure almost totally destroyed. Not so with the ladies but only in concert with the evil WASPs, who turned out not to be so bad after all, even though they built the nation into the powerhouse of today and at least have bragging rights.

This is from the Pew Research/Demographic organization of 11 December 2013: “Armed with more education, greater labor force participation and an increased presence in more lucrative occupations, women have seen their median hourly wages rise by 25% over the past 30 years. But losses for men—particularly young men—have also contributed to the narrowing wage gap. Overall, the median hourly wage for men decreased 4% from 1980-2012. The decline has been much sharper among young men (20%), contributing to the dramatic narrowing of the wage gap between young men and young women.

As women have decided in ever greater numbers to work outside the home, the family-structures of whites have also been damaged, with children raised not by government but by day-care centers and increasingly early participation in public schools. The push is on now for kindergarten paid by public funds for four-year-olds, a bit of nonsense since it is well documented that Head-Start students do no better than traditional students by the third grade.

The paradigm for the modern female today is Savannah Guthrie, anchor of NBC's Today Show, who at age 42 is four months pregnant (perhaps accidentally) and so has just married her “significant other,” presumably the fetus's father. This is welcomed in the elite community as the way things should be done. Have fun and get the career concreted and then, almost as an afterthought, have a baby, a toy to be raised by an assortment of nannies or other child “caregivers.” Guthrie is savvy enough to know that pregnancies at her age can lead to children with serious problems.

With the necessary acquiescence – if not an actual thrust – of the evil WASPs, women have managed to raise themselves to levels on which to “take over” the country in many ways. This is from the Pew article: “Among older Millennials today (those ages 25 to 32), 38% of women have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 31% of men. And among younger Millennials (those ages 18 to 24), women are more likely than men to be enrolled in college (45% vs. 38% in 2012). These educational gaps in favor of women emerged in the 1990s and have widened since then.

As they did as “hunters/gatherers,” men have continued in roles that demand physical strength (brawn, not brains) – heavy manufacturing, rebuilding infrastructure, huge building projects, transportation, the military, the last mentioned of which threatens to enervate military strength. Even manufacturing, especially through the use of robotic machinery, is less demanding physically such as in auto-manufacture plants or even mining. Women working in the old steel-mills/foundries/oil-fields would have been unheard of or on the steam-era railroads, where both skill and brawn were required to handle heavy equipment – not to mention a certain nerve.

So, one wonders if the time has come for the National Association for the Advancement of White Wasps (NAAWW). This doesn't mean that men have consigned themselves to ignorance. Indeed, some of the greatest minds, especially in spatial understanding and building, belong to men, as much as for any other reason the fact that men and women are different, admittedly a proposition that the diversity gang resents, preferring the nonsensical unisex model, with which Nature constructs otherwise.

Of course, when military threats exist, the women are suddenly (and for the most part gladly) shunted to the side so that mostly just male blood will be shed, and justifiably, since men are equipped by Nature emotionally and physically to break things and kill people when the need arises (or doesn't, as in cases like Obama's assault on hapless Libya) in 2011.

Yeah...the time has come for the NAAWW!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Best regards, Vlad

Dear Barack Hussein,

Just a rather belated congratulations upon your election to a second term in 2012, though 2013 seems to have been a tough year for you. You would not have had to face it if you had told the truth in 2012 and admitted that happy owners of their insurance could not keep it under Obamacare, but – though I would hate to believe it – you might not have known what was in what the mean talk-show people call the Un-Affordable Care Act. Speaker Pelosi said no one would know until it was passed. You have acted bravely, however, by changing the law nearly 30 times without having to bother the Congress. That's the way I do things, too.

This brings me to another point, namely, your high dudgeon regarding Crimea. I've taken over there because the Crimean Russians (my people) have been mistreated by the Ukrainian government, as well as by its citizens, and need protection. You'll notice that there's been no bloodshed thus far and, though I hate to “rub it in,” as you say in America, you can't say the same about your attack on Libya in 2011. Actually, there were no Americans under any threat in Libya so you didn't even have that as a pretext.

I have been puzzled by that action since Libya is nowhere near your country, but spending seven months killing Libyans means you must have had a good reason, whatever it was. If you remember, perhaps you will pick up your red phone and give me a call. When your president Reagan invaded Grenada back in the day, he at least had as a reason all those American students in medical school there when my kind of people – the communists – tried to take over the island. And don't forget Kosovo. Your president Clinton bombed Serbia (U.S. friend in WWII) so Kosovo could become independent, like Crimea wants to be. Does the term hypocrisy yank your chain just a little?

You will forgive me for bringing it up but in your whining about Crimea (not to mention that awful Kerry's pomposity) you turned your back on a friend (me) and also reneged on your promise to Medvedev that you would be more flexible after being elected in 2012. Everyone in the world heard that promise. I went along with your fervor to overcome Qaddafi in 2011 and abstained from voting in the security Council so you could get your resolution passed to attack his 76,000 troops with your 1.5 million troops plus NATO (I'm still laughing – seven months it took), but you have not returned that favor concerning Crimea. Maybe you just forgot (Kerry forgets sometimes especially what he forgets) but that indicated an inflexibility up with which I will not put (a Churchillian phrase in case you might have missed that in eighth-grade).

So, why not be a good sport (besides returning my favor) and get off that stuff about sanctions? You've put the Europeans in a bad spot since they get much (most for some of them) of their gas from Russia THROUGH Ukraine. How would you like it if the Saudis cut off your oil? Gas prices are out the top now but, as you say there, you ain't seen nuthin yet if you actually contrive some sort of sanctions, not that they will hurt Russians, who are accustomed to living in tough circumstances already. That's socialism, the very thing you're advancing there.

Besides, Russia has two borders with China that amount to nearly 3,000 miles and I'm already talking to the Chinese about oil shipments since China is second only to the U.S. in oil imports and will probably become first sometime this year. They need to switch to gas just to get the smog from coal-fired generator-plants out of their cities so people can see well enough to drive. We're soul-brothers (atheistic, of course) anyway since China also abstained from that UN vote so you could waste Libya.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I'm nevertheless suggesting that you not set any RED lines (appropriate color) in the Crimea matter since I have it on good authority that China will join me in vetoing any UN military action. Assad is still laughing about those red lines in Syria...and that's something else – you've never thanked me for saving your bacon in that mess. NATO (your gang) has already opted out since all nations but the U.S. used up all their ammo on Libya and are too broke to manufacture more.

So, as you remain on the campaign trail for whatever is your whim of the day, keep your teleprompters trimmed, and in the interest of flexibility don't forget to order somebody to let me in on the secret for the destruction of Libya.

As ever,

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Alleged Rape in the Military

This is from CNN on 26 February regarding rape in the military: “To say zero tolerance for 25 years, and have 26,000 sexual assaults and rapes last year alone, and only one out of ten reporting, and only have one out of 100 going to trial and conviction – those are horrible, horrible rates for survivors to know that justice is possible,” [Senator] Gillibrand told CNN's “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” And this: “Of the one out of 10 victims that did report, 62% were retaliated against, says the senator,” in connection with a Senate hearing.

This works out to 2600 reporting rape, 1612 of whom suffered retaliation of some kind, with 260 actually convicted. This appeared in this space in June 2013: “The subject of the hearing: rape in the military and the lack of effort to do anything about it. The big news recently has to do with rape in the military (3,374 rapes reported in 2012, with 238 convictions) but perhaps 26,000 (includes groping, etc.) that were not reported. This, reportedly, was an increase of 37% from 2011.”

Even discounting the coincidental figure of 26,000 unreported rapes/assaults for both years, the military did better in 2013 than 2012—23% better regarding reports and a 10% increase in convictions. Actually, no one takes seriously the 26,000 figure of unreported assaults simply because something unreported can't be counted. Wild estimates, 500 unreported assaults per week, do not signify.

The lady senators are justifiably upset at the alleged problem but hopelessly naive in attempting to understand it, which essentially is that it would be greatly resolved by the common sense method of not mixing hormone-driven young people in areas or by methods wherein they are in close quarters, such as on ships in the navy. On a modern aircraft carrier (about three football fields long) at sea, there about 6,000 crew-persons, a small city, with people literally piled on each other.

I pushed planes around on smaller carriers back in the 1940s, so I can see the problem. People sleep in racks four or five high. All kinds of detritus winds up on the bottom rack, including the vomit of sailors who have just ingested huge amounts of pizza and beer while on liberty in port. Sailors passing each other in narrow passageways or on ladders often make body contact. There were no women on ships then, so the head (bathroom facility) was not a problem. There was just a long trough with water swirling through it and planks on top for seating (or not). Inside outhouses.

There was no privacy on that trough, in showers or anywhere else. I could stretch out my arm and touch the guy sleeping in the adjacent rack. Is it any wonder that homosexuals are not welcome in the military? Integrated boot camps have been tried in response to political correctness, with the predictable result that male soldiers did not become battle-ready because training-activities (called torture by recruits) had to be designed not to kill 115-lb. girls, who were hopelessly out of place.

Nor does it help that a woman can scream rape and the guy is automatically considered guilty. In civilian life, she isn't named but his name is in the media even before an investigation, much less a charge.. The same is true in the military. The most recent example is that of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, accused by an unnamed female captain with whom he was having a three-year affair. The woman even kept a diary made available to the military court trying him in which she made unbelievably stupid statements such as that she was afraid Sinclair might still love his wife and that she loved him “almost unconditionally.” No judge will believe there was a rape/assault...unless the lady senators must be mollified at all costs (and the president, of course).

Sinclair will suffer anyway because army regulations disallow adultery by officers. It's noteworthy in this regard that General Petraeus, Iraq War headman, made sure his hanky-panky with “another woman” happened AFTER he resigned from the army. His behavior cost him the job as head of the CIA but at least he didn't lose his pension or part thereof.

The lady senators are demanding that military trials concerning rape/assault/groping be abandoned and that the accused be tried in civil courts. Imagine transferring an accused from Guam or South Korea all the way back to some court in the continental U.S. The Senate voted “no” 55-45. General Odierno, army chief-of-staff, commented last November that this could cost $113 million per year and involve 600 lawyers, not to mention whacko judges and the inordinate time involved for appeals ad infinitum – lawyering fees, in other words.

The answer is a no-brainer. Let naval ships be manned by either women or men but not by both, for instance. Keep the genders separated everywhere possible; otherwise, the military designed to break things and kill people will grow weaker and weaker.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Crimean Secession

Interestingly, the current brouhaha regarding Crimea, especially concerning its own parliament empowered by the Ukrainian government, is that the Crimean parliament did what the Confederacy did in the U.S. in 1860-61, i.e., legislatures of some states voting themselves out of the federal government and setting up their own collective government. Under Article 7 of the U.S. Constitution, the founding states agreed to form the Union, so the secession by states like Georgia would seem to have been in violation of the founding document.

The tenth amendment (states rights) has to do with powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to be reserved to the states or the people. Lincoln determined that the seceding states did not have the right to unilaterally withdraw from the Union, to which those states had bound themselves legally. He therefore took military action to proscribe their secessions. This is what the Ukrainian government has the right to do – make war on Crimea, which doesn't have an army of its own with which to respond.

There's no stable government in Ukraine, its president having been legislatively voted out of office accruing to what might be called the Ukraine Winter demonstrations and bloodshed. So, who has the power to order civil war against the people of Crimea? There may be an election in May but the problem is current. The Kremlin supports the annexation of Crimea to Russia so the affair seems to be beyond the power of any on-scene entity to neutralize it.

There are Ukrainian military operatives in Crimea, if only because its naval and coast-guard facilities/ships are stationed there. The Russian Black Sea naval facility is also stationed there in Sevastopol and the port is actually controlled by the Russians. It's said that there are 16,000 Russian troops stationed now in Ukraine whether they were already there or sent in from just across the border, where Russia has been conducting “training exercises.”

Russia has an active troop-strength of 845,000, while Ukraine's is 129,950. Russia also has armaments including nuclear weapons. It would be suicide for Ukraine to engage the Russians militarily, a useless loss of life, especially when the majority of Ukrainians in both the Crimea and southeastern Ukraine are Russians. Those who insist that such a war would precipitate World War III, dragging in countries such as the U.S., England and Germany are wrong.

The U.S., England and France have nuclear capability, so a “cold war” might occur, but not a hot one. If Obama, whose military acumen is zilch, should try to pull a “Libya” in the area, the Congress and the people (perhaps duplicating in the streets the Arab Spring of 2011) would put a stop to that if the military did not simply disobey orders. Obama, however, seems to have learned his lesson through being reminded by hordes of people of his total ineptitude vis-a-vis the “Syria Problem.”

Though the South, especially, and the North in the 1860s tried to gain support from England/France, both nations stayed out of it. The loss of much of the cotton production in the South, on which foreign interests depended for their textile mills, was the main factor on which either nation might have come to the South's aid. Ukraine, virtually bankrupt, has little to offer any nation in return for support.

NATO has indicated no military action from that quarter. The UN has no role to play except as a place for rhetorical axes to be sharpened through long-winded speeches made by self-important pooh-bahs. The most important EU nations get their gas from Russia via Ukrainian pipe-lines, so the chance that Putin could (and would) cut them off keeps them neutral. The Ukrainians could blow up the pipe-lines but then they would be out in the cold, not to mention forfeiture of potential funds from Europe to keep the country financially viable.

Obama speaks of sanctions as if he thinks Putin could not retaliate in many ways, such as simply nationalizing assets owned by Americans or closing the “northern route” the U.S. military uses to supply troops in Afghanistan, a huge segment of which originates in Latvia and goes through Russia. Obama and Kerry began their juvenile denunciations of Putin in obvious ignorance of all the ramifications involved. Now, all that's left for them is to eat crow and shut up.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Exponential Hypocrisy

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 03 March and with regard to admonishing Congress, President Obama said, "When it comes to preserving the principle that no country has the right to send in troops to another country unprovoked, we should be able to come up with a unified position." The enormity of the hypocrisy of that statement would be impossible to comprehend.

In March 2011 and without a consultation with Congress, let alone any Congressional approval, President Obama sent the U.S Air Force against Libya in an attack so unprovoked as to be indescribable in its mendacity. He said his action, which he announced on a vacation trip to Brazil, was to protect Libyans from Qaddafi, the argument his three Amazons, State Secretary Clinton, UN Ambassador Rice and White House political hack Samantha Power, made to the UN Security Council (not the Congress) for “permission,” including the strong-arming of NATO into the genocide.

Libya, with troops numbering a mere 76,000 and a population two million less than that of New York City, was no threat to any nation or even the Boy Scouts. Obama's action, already publicly opposed by both Defense Secretary Gates and Joint-Chiefs Chairman Mullen, was a calculated murder of Libyans, egged on by Senators McCain, Graham and Lieberman. The president said the action would take “days, not weeks.” Gates said it was done “on the fly,” and he was right. Obama had no plan. The genocide lasted for seven months and cost over a billion dollars, with never an accounting of the number of Libyans killed or injured.

Russian strongman Putin claims that Russian-oriented citizens in Crimea needed to be protected from Ukrainian government oppression. Sound familiar? Obama thought Libyans needed protection so he ultimately had Qaddafi murdered but only after seven horrific months of fighting. Neither Obama nor Putin was telling the truth. Each had an agenda, though Obama's has not been made clear unless he was just suckered by Power and Clinton. Putin intends to annex Crimea, and he will. So far, there has been no bloodshed, partly because the majority of Crimeans favor the annexation.

The Amazons were dead wrong, assuming they could actually think or had even a slight understanding of Middle-East politics. Mostly, they were just dumb. Obama learned enough from his Libya fiasco to backtrack from his “red-line” commands to Syria's Assad to turn his country over to ragtag rebels and al Qaeda, part of the gang of butchers that received weapons from the U.S. in Libya. McCain said he knew just who should receive them. What a laugh! Clueless, he said the same thing about Syria.

Obama seems totally at sea, with no foreign policy at all except maybe to apologize all around for U.S. existence, as he did in 2009, bowing and scraping his way through Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other “superior” regions. So...State Secretary Kerry, who backed into his job when former UN Ambassador Rice, in line for the job, told the BIG LIE about the Benghazi massacre and had to fall on her sword for Clinton and Obama, has just landed in Kiev—with a cool billion of U.S.-taxpayer dollars in hand, about the same amount Obama used to kill Libyans. Perhaps McCain told Kerry who should get the stash.

Power got Rice's job—naturally—and, concerning Crimea, told off the Russians in the UN Security Council clambake on 03 March. She's obviously delusional and has no knowledge about the history of Crimea and its attachment to Russia. From 1921 until 1954, Crimea was part of the Soviet Union. Then, unaccountably except perhaps because he had Ukrainian roots, former Soviet dictator Krushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine, with the pact that the Soviet Naval fleet would be stationed at Sevastopol on the Black Sea.

The Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 and Putin wants guaranteed access to the Mediterranean Sea through the Black Sea-Dardanelles-Aegean Sea trail, as well as the geographic support (land area surrounding Sevastopol). At least 60% of Crimeans are Russian. The Russian language is spoken there. So, what one dictator gives, another takes away.

Putin has substantially and consistently outmaneuvered Obama in foreign affairs, as well indicated in Syria. One remembers the mistakenly-live open-mike remark made by Obama to then Russian president Medvedev in 2012 about more “flexibility” after the election. in everything else, how seriously should one take anything Obama says?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Time for Silence

In the second chapter of Ecclesiastes the preacher notes that there are times for just about everything, notably in verse seven a time to be silent and a time to speak. Unfortunately President Obama probably never heard a sermon on this subject from his acknowledged mentor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah (God damn America) Wright.

Specifically, POTUS has been shooting off his mouth concerning Ukraine when he should have been silent. In warning Russia's Putin that there would be “costs” accruing to an incursion into Ukraine he again embarrassed the United States, whose citizens are not about to back his play militarily. Someone suggested such a cost might be his refusal to attend the G-8 Summit in Sochi, Russia, in June. Some cost!

A petulant POTUS refused to attend the games last month in Sochi because Putin indicated his disapproval for and perhaps even a dis-invitation to the games regarding homosexuals. POTUS was in high dudgeon at this affront to his latest gaggle of sycophants, now a protected species somewhat like Jimmy Carter's snail darter that shut down a vital piece of infrastructure back in the day. Ignoring the G-8 powwow would turn Putin around? Stop laughing!

Obama embarrasses this nation any time he says anything because what he says is heard within the context of empty phrases and outright lies. If the current “costs” are anything like the “red lines” he told Syria's Bashir Assad not to cross, they mean nothing. The only time Obama instigated a war (unconstitutional, at that) was when he decided to BULLY Libya into a four-day submission and wound up with seven months worth of the blood of dead Libyans on his hands. U.S.: 1.5 million troops. Libya: 76,000 troops. Those are Obama's preferred odds: 20 – 1.

Russia has 845,000 active troops plus anyone's guess as to how many million reserves. NATO, which is nothing without the U.S., has already indicated that it will do nothing if Putin moves, meaning that Obama is not on board with his own outfit. NATO does nothing without U.S. backing (or instigation) so Obama speaks with forked tongue, one tine for propaganda (for the world) and the other tine for lying (at home).

Putin pulled a fast one in Syria, saving Obama's empty-threat bacon while preserving Assad's WMD. U.S. citizens might have taken to the streets if Obama had undertaken any sort of military action regarding Syria other than sending a few rifles to save face, an empty gesture especially since no one—not even John McCain—knew to whom to give them. As it stands now, the insurrectionists and al Qaeda gangs fight each other to see who will own Syria, while Assad does business as usual, not including transporting all his toxic stuff out of country. Nobody expected that anyway except maybe John Kerry.

The EU has this elephant in its living-room, not the U.S., which has been at war with some entity or other since 2001 and has had enough. EU nations are in even worse shape than the U.S. financially and probably wouldn't risk a face-off with Putin anyway since much of its oil flows from Russia through Ukraine. The UN Security Council has been convened but Russia has veto power over anything that's decided, not that a UN resolution would mean anything anyway. The UN has no army without suckering Uncle Sam into another war. The NATO nations ran out of ammo in the Libya butchery, so Obama spent over a billion dollars on his “little war,” part of which paid for the ammo.

Southern/eastern Ukraine (Crimea) is mostly Russian and would welcome Putin, who already has neutralized the Ukrainian Coast Guard. Ukrainian active troop-strength stands at only 129,950, so any significant opposition would be nil, suicide. None of this means that Putin is right. He's wrong, but his Black Sea Naval contingent is in Sevastopol and his troops have already taken over its airport. In effect, he's already invaded Ukraine. As if necessary, he has his Parliament's permission (the upper house) to make war.

Bush 41 managed to cajole the world into helping the U.S (500,000 troops) throw Saddam out of Kuwait in 1991 (100 hours). In the free world, there's no one of that stature today. Maybe a partitioning of Ukraine is possible. That would seem to be the best approach. Nobody wins, but bloodshed is averted. Otherwise, civil war is more than possible...another Syria.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark