To Drone Or Not to Drone

dronesLet’s just start out by saying: I’m conflicted here.

So don’t expect answers, just a lot of questions.

Under the Obama Administration, drone attacks of a lethal nature have increased from something less than fifty under Bush to something over 350 under President Obama. Some of this undoubtedly has to do with better technology, but more has to do with an increasing willingness to use predator drones as a means of assassinating so-called “enemy combatants.”

My moral sense, informed by my faith, tells me that drones are simply wrong, because war in general is wrong, and killing people deliberately is wrong. I find nothing in the teachings of Christ which can make war appropriate; indeed his life and death suggest that it is never appropriate. That said, my own church, and most Christian denominations support the concept of war in limited circumstances–something called “justified” warfare. That includes, but is not limited to wars of self-defense to repel an invader. The trouble is, the term just is pretty broad, and although there are a series of elements to it, in the end, each is big enough to drive a truck through. It ends up meaning, war is acceptable when we think it is.

Still, I could go much further than the Church and stick to my basic belief that the way to stop wars is to stop warring.

Yet, I live in a real world with real threats. Innocents around the world are dying by the hundreds each day due to the evil of lethal aggression from a variety of sources. There seems to be a duty to intervene to stop it. When and how and for whom tend to be the stumbling blocks. Sadly our intervention seems more determined by how “strategic” the country involved is. Do we want or need something from it? If we do, we are inclined to do what’s necessary to bring it to stability.

That stability, sadly, has little to do with what is morally right or wrong. It is the main reason we find ourselves hated by large numbers of people throughout the globe today. That is true of every continent. We have supported vile dictatorships in the name of that stability and the consequent protection of our “interests”. The people have not forgotten. Some, perhaps most, recognize that the American people at large don’t make these decisions–they hate our government but not necessarily us.

So, if we life in a world where war is going to go on regardless of our moral objections, where do drones fit in?

First, let’s set the record clear. There is nothing wrong with using drones on the actual battlefield. It is no different from a large cannon or a tank. Nobody argues that the use of drones should be prohibited here.

The area of contention is the use of lethal drone strikes in otherwise “neutral” territory. Best estimates suggest that the number of people killed by drones issued by the US, amount to somewhere between 2,000 and 3200, give or take. Somewhere between 18-23% of those killed were non-combatants or as we like to cleanly call them, “collateral damage”. This should give pause by itself.

There seem to be several points of inquiry about their use in general:

  1. Who decides?
  2. What are the standards by which decisions are made to identify a target?
  3. Should Americans be subjects of attack?

Some argue that it is unseemly or somehow wrong that the President signs off apparently on each of these targets. They claim he should be more divorced from the action. Since he is undeniably accountable for the program and what it does or doesn’t do, I find this argument specious. In fact,  am slightly comforted that I can trust that a sane head is making the ultimate decision.

By the way, the very fact that President Obama has expanded the drone program so dramatically during his tenure in office, suggests that the Tea Party reactionaries who claim that Obama is in love with Muslims and is secretly working for them, are as we would expect, crazy as loons. Yet of course the Tea Party does not laud the President either for his actions, suggesting that their motives as we always suspect are more racial than rational.

The standards, we understand are largely revealed in documents released. They suggest that the following must be met:

  1. The target must be an imminent threat to US citizens safety and lives.
  2. There must be no reasonable way to capture the target alive.
  3. There must be no other rational alternative.

Since most if not all of those killed by drones have occurred in foreign countries, it is hard to explain how the first standard is ever met. One can only conjure up claims that this target was the one to give the “go” to a plot ready to be employed but for the target’s okay. I suspect that such a situation is rare.

The second standard would seem to be regularly ignored as well, since we know that special ops alternatives can and are used on occasion, and it is unclear when they cannot be used as opposed to when they can.

The third standard seems redundant.

The third issue, regarding Americas being targets seems to be the one that causes all the wringing of hands and hysterics. I find the claim that American citizens are citizens and therefore “different” completely bogus. If we contend that American citizens should not be subject to drone attack because it violates their constitutional rights to life and liberty absent due process efforts to remove them, than I think the same applies to foreign targets.

We claim that our “rights” are nothing less than human rights. We tell the world that they too should give their citizens nothing less, because it is simply morally right. We often attempt to interfere in other countries precisely in an effort to help the people there “obtain” their human rights. We maintain sanctions against countries that we find in violation of “human rights.”

Given all that, how can we treat those we capture and claim to be “enemy combatants” anything less than the right to be charged as such, and to be afforded due process. Guantanamo is a hideous example of the ugliness of American policy toward non-citizens. Before somebody suggests that it is no different from a POW camp, think again. Most  all POW’s wore UNIFORMS. Their ACTIVE engagement in warfare against us was not in dispute.

Many at Guantanamo dispute their designation. Some have been released years later because it was determined they were arrested in error. We have held some of these people for nearly 14 years not. It is immoral, period. To suggest that they are not entitled to  the basic right of having an impartial judicial determination of their “guilt” is inhumane in its narrowest sense. To suggest that we cannot “safely” conduct trials in this country is ludicrous and makes Timothy McVeigh and other terrorists who were tried here, some kind of “special case” which they were not.

At present, polling in the US suggests that 83% of the country approves of the drone program. Close to 2/3 believe that it is appropriately used against American citizens. There seems to be no real divide between Democrats and Republicans; this is one area where partisanship apparently does not play.

That is what I know. I’m sure there is much I don’t know. If you can assist me in my quandary, please do. I’m still not sure where I come out with all this.

You may way to take a look at the following:

The American People Love Drones

The International Law of Drones

You Should Be Scared Now

Your intrepid writer (that would be me) is going into the darkness once again in an attempt to get inside the head of the average, leaning Romney, but feeling slightly uncomfortable. The realm of the few undecided who are fairly high information types. So the five of you, listen up.

I have a safety rope attached, so if I tug twice, pull you swabbies for all you are worth. This ain’t no aircraft carrier you know.

Okay, so Romney is no Georgie Bushkins. I mean in what drives this man. Georgie was the screw-up in the family Bush and decided that bein’ Prez would be a good way to show old Dad and Babs that he was “somebody.” Romney is no Dubya, in that sense.

No, I read Romney as driven by his Mormonism. A recall a younger man talking about coming back from mission and feeling as he claims most of them do, “so anxious to get on with making their mark in the world.” It’s a fundamental stand of the Mormon Church as I understand it, to take the gifts given and achieve for the glory of God, (and the church).

Now, George Romney came up from nothing and became not only the CEO of a major car company, but a two-term Governor if Michigan, and failed at running for President. Willard starts up three floors. Becoming a CEO of a car company is no real accomplishment, so he switched to venture capitalism, where he certainly made his mark. But being even Governor would not measure up, so I believe he set his sights on the Presidency while still a very young man.

This is not to prove anything to anyone else, it is to PROVE TO HIMSELF that he has achieved what he should. All his efforts for decades have been setting up that scenario. The last two years as Governor of Massachusetts was largely spent out of state setting up his political framework.

That is the backdrop.

Now consider yourself an average hardworking working class stiff who isn’t doing all that well. You’ve been treading water for a long time, just getting by. You figure you’re entitled to better. You aren’t much of an ideologue. You don’t consider yourself a racist, a sexist, or unfeeling when it comes to the needy. You’re more inclined to live and let live and so some of Romney’s rhetoric on social issues makes you uncomfortable.

But, you think, “hey, he is a successful businessman, and if business is happy, maybe they will start ramping up their companies, hiring and raising wages. That’s good for me. Romney probably can do that even though I know he is basically an opportunist. Business will love him being president, and that should be good for me. I don’t feel real good about how he might screw the less fortunate, but hey we all have to sacrifice. If this makes our economy better for all of us in the end, we just gotta bite the bullet. And besides, the Democrats won’t just lay down on this social stuff. They’ll fight him.”

So you are leaning toward the Willard, even though you know he changes his mind about most things, and you don’t really have a clue where he really stands on much of anything.

Now bring in the foreign policy debate.

Romney has undeniably rattled the sabre for months, if not years, when it comes to foreign policy. We have heard about the President being an apologist, (code for not being a real American), about American Exceptionalism, about American superiority and how we are the leader of the world. We have heard all about not being tough enough on Russia, Iran, Syria, and China  and that we have not glued ourselves sufficiently tight to Israel. We have heard about leaving Iraq too soon, and not setting deadlines for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Most all of this has come from his foreign policy advisors who are basically a collection of Bushites. Fully 18 or 24 of his advisors are old Bush boys. They are essentially neo-cons and war hawks who have their very own agenda (which they pushed Bush into adopting), and how want to return to that through Romney.

In the debate, Romney did not say any of the things he’s been parroting for months about various aspects of foreign policy. Instead, he pivoted to the hard middle, and tried to present himself as a “man of peace” who would leave no stone unturned to avoid war anywhere in the world. He agreed with Obama at nearly every turn. He did what he did in the first debate, he pretended not to know anything about the policies he had been pushing for years.

In a stunning reversal, he showed once again that he will say anything–literally anything–to get a vote.

Why does this matter given that this is nothing new?

It shows that he is, like Palin, supremely uninterested in foreign affairs. I heard in passing that a couple of his aides admit that he doesn’t read the daily foreign policy briefings. He had memorized a whole set of “policies” for the world, none of which he cares about. When it became prudent to help secure the “women’s vote” (presumably more pacifist), to tack to the middle and seem not threatening, he did so.

He doesn’t respect the electorate. But that is not the crime. The crime is that he does not care about the world, insofar as it has nothing to do with becoming President. Being President is ALL that matters. And if he becomes President, he will continue not carrying, and the same neocons and war hawks will be making the decisions.

The decisions they make will invariably, I believe, lead us into another war. The neocons desire American control in the Middle East and those reasons have zero to do with stability there other that the stability required to get their hands on the oil. That is their goal. They live in a weird world of American superiority and control over the entire globe. Where we can force everyone to dance to our tune because we can and will enforce our will on them.

A vote for Romney is a vote for shadow government who will “do the foreign policy” while Willard makes life more comfortable for the rich, who he truly believes are the reason why America is what it is. The rest of us?

Somebody’s got to carry the rifles. It ain’t gonna be his sons and grandkids–they go on “mission” instead. It’s your kids who will be the fodder in the next war machine.

So consider that when you vote. Please, THINK.

 

Amnesia Rampant in the GOP

 

 

Condi may not want the Veep prize, if such it could be considered, but she sure seems to want the political limelight still.

Recently the rather controversial chief foreign affairs adviser to Dubya, had these kinds of things to say about the present administration:

“Where does America stand?”

“When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question,” she told the Republican National Convention, “the world is a chaotic and dangerous place.”

Really?

REAL “e”?

Um, did ya kinda forget your time in the White House Condi? Did you bother to read any polls about how much the world thought of your esteemed former boss, the Cowboy with the brain freeze? Iraq ring a bell? Memo about flying planes into buildings set off any alarms for ya?

What do the following statistics suggest to you?

According to a recent survey by the Poll Research Center, 53 percent of British citizens had a favorable view of the United States in 2008, the last year of Bush’s presidency. Today the figure is 60 percent. In France, the figure rose from 42 percent to 69 percent; the Czech Republic, from 45 to 54 percent; Germany, from 31 to 52 percent; Japan, from 50 to 72 percent; Mexico, from 47 to 56 percent. Only in the Arab countries (Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan) has the rating declined (and do the Republicans really care much about that?).
Another Pew Poll, released just this week, about global attitudes toward President Obama as a leader makes Rice’s concerns seem ridiculous. As summarized by CNN, 87 percent of the Germans, 86 percent of the French, 80 percent of the British, and 74 percent of the Japanese have confidence in Obama–in each case, more confidence than they have in their own leaders. More striking still, 92 percent of the French, 89 percent of the Germans, 73 percent of the British, and 66 percent of the Japanese want Obama re-elected.

I mean really Condi, we all know the GOP has become the party of the convenient lie, but you too? I thought you had a bit more dignity and personal principles than that girl.

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I confess, I cannot tolerate listening to the bobble heads that pass for the GOP at the convention. I freely admit that I did not watch Paulie last night. It is annoying to others to scream out “you lie” every 20 seconds and so the better part of valour is to depart the field of battle and fight another day. That day is now, the place is here. Just telling you the truth after all.

So if you want a good analysis of Paulie’s goings-on last night, please go read what Squatlo Rant wrote. You can be sure it’s factual.

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I for one believe that the Willard Group is actively and deliberately playing the race card. I think they, with malice aforethought use racial code words in an effort to continue to gin up their base as well as anger more apathetic working class white folks. They are just that determined to win at any cost.

Read this article by Ron Fornier in the National Journal and see if you don’t agree that this is the group they are pandering too.

The welfare ad run by the GOP is false by every standard. And the GOP has stated it isn’t going to be dictated to by fact-checkers, meaning truth is irrelevant. Here is why:

First, internal GOP polling and focus groups offer convincing evidence that the welfare ad is hurting Obama.  Second, the welfare issue, generally speaking, triggers anger in white blue-collar voters that is easily directed toward Democrats. This information comes from senior GOP strategists who have worked both for President Bush and Romney. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution.

That’s why they do it. So much for your Christian set of ethics huh?

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I swear there are times that one almost wishes one were dead so one could roll over in their grave.  I mean really. The gall of the Willard is once again so big and so all-encompassing as to defy one’s sense of reality.

This is the guy who said that a federal bailout of GM was wrong, that we should just let them file bankruptcy. You remember?

Well, the freedom of information act is a wonderful thing. And Rolling Stone obtained Bain documents that prove that once upon a time, one Willard Romney “saved” Bain from falling apart. And you want to know how?

HE GOT A FEDERAL BAILOUT FOR THE COMPANY. And then he turned around, and screwed the FDIC out of about 10 billion in repayments, and did the usual thing which is pay huge bonuses to the rest of the team there at Bain who had failed so miserably in the first place.

Good grief. Go read it, but secure a barf bag alongside because you surely will need it.

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Bear with me as I search for a new theme. You know me, I’m always redecorating here. This is not the one I want. I just don’t know what I do want. . . .Hey it keeps me off the streets!

 

Analysizing Palinguage

A reader, OKJimm,  asks:

“Did you come up with the phrase “word salad”?

Alas, no. Wish I had, but I took it directly from the link in yesterday’s story about the latest Palin slaughtering of coherent thought.

I had, to be sure, heard of the phrase before, but in a medical sense.

Word salad is simply the collection of random words, put into phrases that appear to have some meaning, when actually they have, upon examination, none.  In other words it’s what Palin does all the time.

There are a number of medical illnesses that can result in this, such as dementia and schizophrenia. The person believes they are making sense, but the words, taken together, make no logical sense.

Yesterday we referred to Palin’s statement about Egypt. It would be helpful to read her remarks at length

Now, reading it, leaves you dizzy, of course. The words meander around in circles, repeating themselves, and then abruptly end in a period, somewhere, because, oh I don’t know, it just looks like a good place for one.

Let’s examine what thought if any is behind the words.

“Remember, President Reagan lived that mantra trust but verify. We want to be able to trust those who are screaming for democracy there in Egypt, that it is a true sincere desire for freedoms and the challenge that we have though, is how do we verify what it is that we are being told, what it is that the American public are being fed via media, via the protestors, via the government there in Egypt in order for us to really have some sound information to make wise decisions on what our position is.  Trust but verify, and try to understand is what I would hope our leaders are engaged in right now.

Sarah here seems to be asking how can we know what is in the mind of all these people, the protesters, the media, and the government. For some reason what we get is via the media, who get their information from the protesters, who get their information from the government. That’s what all those vias mean. Surely she is mistaken here.

What Sarah seems to be concerned about is how we process the information. Although she has also claimed that since she has a journalism degree, she is ready to help the mainstream media understand how to do their job, she seems unable to understand the concepts of critical reading and critical thinking. That is how we “understand” if this is a true “screaming” for democracy.

And if they are not screaming for democracy in a way that you think is appropriate? I mean, I know you want to know, but it’s THEIR COUNTRY.

Who’s going to fill the void?  Mubarak, he’s gone, one way or the other you know, he is not going to be the leader of Egypt, that that’s a given, so now the information needs to be gathered and understood as to who it will be that fills now the void in the government.  Is it going to be the Muslim Brotherhood?  We should not stand for that, or with that or by that.  Any radical Islamists, no that is not who we should be supporting and standing by, so we need to find out who was behind all of the turmoil and the revolt and the protests so that good decisions can be made in terms of who we will stand by and support.”

Now Sarah wants to know how this will come out? Who will be the new leader? She assumes Mubarak will fail to retain office, apparently even in the short run, but shares no information as to why that is. She wants information gathered as to who will replace him. Does she have evidence that this is not occurring?

Shockingly of course, she throws out democratic principles of free choice by the electorate, claiming that we cannot tolerate a government run by radicals. Thus she announces the Palin Doctrine–we will not tolerate governments in the world that are not in our self-interest. Democracy apparently is only for Americans.

Again, she pleads for information.

“It’s a difficult situation, this is that 3am White House phone call and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House it it seems that that call went right to um the answering machine. And nobody yet has, no body yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak. . .”

Sarah seems here to suggest that Obama has no information, that he was not asking questions or talking to either Egyptians in the government or from other foreign governments. Yet no facts are offered to support this otherwise snotty remark. She then suggests that she has a right to know whatever the WH knows, and she infers they know much more than they are telling. But of course, no facts to prove this inferred allegation are presented. Does she really think Obama knows who will replace Mubarak? How silly is that notion?

What she evinces is a shockingly childish understand of the world of diplomacy. Sarah seems to want to know everything we know about “them” even if it means telling what we know that they don’t know we know. But if we do that, then they might know how we know what they know that they don’t think we know, and that would be bad Sarah. Unless you are suggesting that we scrap the method of international communication in use for thousands of years, I think you should just hush here.

. . .and from DC in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And in these areas that are so volatile right now because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House.  We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with.  And we do not have all that information yet.”

Yes, we do need strength and sound mind. Yours would not be the one we would want. Again there is the inferred criticism that we don’t have that now, but nothing but innuendo is offered.

Inexplicably, she tells us that the WH? needs to explain “what it is that America stands for.” Well, yes, but I thought you were the queen of explaining the constitution and our freedoms and liberties? I thought you KNEW what America stands for? You tell everybody you do, and you tell all those who you don’t think understand. So I’m really confused now.

I thought the information about what we stand for is in our Declaration and in our Constitution? Am I wrong? Or are you hopelessly muddled once again dear girl?

Sarah, look, I know you love money and being in front of cameras. But pleeeeeeze, SHUT THE HELL UP! I mean good grief, I know the call that went to your answering service. . .the dictionary people asking for a recent photo to put next to the word–WORD SALAD.

There: Now You Went and Did It

I know. I said yesterday that I had no opinion on Wikileaks. I still don’t. But I’m starting to lean. Like the Tower of Pisa, if I tip too far, it is inevitable that I will topple over.

Why am I leaning?

Because more and more this is starting to resemble the aftermath of 9/11. Remember when Congress was declaring  for “Freedom Fries” and everybody was stumbling over each other to be more patriotic than the next gal?

Remember the upshot of that: the Patriot Act?  Where we pretty much handed over our rights to the government to ignore them any time it chose in the name of “national security” and protecting the “homeland.” The name alone was reason enough to vote against it. But I think one person did. Everybody was afraid to be on the “wrong” side and not be a patriot.

Today, people are starting to fall all over each other to be on the right side of the Wikileaks affair. We are hearing calls for assassination of Julian Assange, new laws to make him a terrorist, and of course the usual chorus from the right–censor the news and if necessary prosecute! Meanwhile corporate entities who provide financial mechanisms to support Wikileaks are closing their doors. No doubt corporate America may have concerns itself over what may come out about them and government shenanigans.

” . . . I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him [Julian Assenge] for the efforts. So that’s kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.” (quoted from Allen West, newly elected Rep. from Fl.)

Once one of these snowballs starts, they usually end up in a bad result. And then we all feel “safe” and everyone moves on to the next “crisis”. Except the laws remain and are ready to be used by exactly the sort of people we don’t want messing with our rights–the extreme right. With one foot now in the door, and salivating at the prospects of 2012, this is no meaningless concern.

Imagine (if you can stomach it) the power to censor the press in the hands of one Sarah, who is already on record as declaring that all media are lame, except for her Foxy supporters. Imagine. That’s an Imagine not the likes that John Lennon had in mind.

So, as I said, I’m leaning.

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I’m thinking that Time, in making its decisions about who they will name “person of the year” is now rending it a contest sent out to high schools across America. Recall the “mirror” one? Well, in their INFINITE wisdom, infinitely small that is, they have chosen Mark Zuckerberg, the kid who started Facebook.

While no biggie, it seems that this is the best they could come up with? It just seems a lazy choice. Zuckerberg and his creation are of no serious import in the world it seems to me. While I laud his offering of much of his wealth to cure societal ills, well, what is new about that?

Who would you have liked to see get the nod?

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Here are some things I read late yesterday without linkage:

  • Rush Limpaugh has taken to calling the First Lady, Michelle the Butt. Each time, he corrects himself to Michelle La Belle, but he’s don’t it in excess of six times and it’s clear it is deliberate. Rush has a thing for demeaning women, once claiming that Hillary Clinton couldn’t join the armed services because they didn’t have combat boots large enough to get over her thick ankles.  Rush is a piece of crap.
  • Somebody somewhere found a new planet and it’s very carbon rich, raising the possibility that it is full of diamonds. That should make Kays and Zales and all the rest giddy with anticipation!
  • Romney is against the parts of the tax bill that give aid to the unemployed and so forth because their raise the deficit by a few billion. But he is inexplicably for the parts that give tax cuts to the rich, when that deficit, over 10 years, figures to be in the trillions. Another case of assuming your base is too stupid to understand.
  • The House is re-introducing  a new DADT bill, alone. That allows the Senate to try again. We may just make it! That is, if we can explain to Sen. Manchin that his concerns were addressed by the Joint Chiefs and the report that emanated from the Pentagon. He’s new, he didn’t know any better.

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You know when the GOP claimed it wouldn’t do a thing unless they got their precious rich people their tax break? Well, on the verge of getting it, they are (didn’t we know they would) still balking at doing a thing. And some of so darn angry at giving the Dems even a tiny benefit, they are willing to screw everyone.

Kyl, the other dingbat from Arizona, is claiming that Reid is “disrespecting” the Holiest of celebrations for Christians by threatening to keep the Senate in session over the holidays. DeMint is threatening to have the entire START Treaty read aloud, wasting a good day, in order to screw that up. And Colburn is threatening to do the same with appropriations bill.

What part of compromise don’t these people get? They will destroy America before they will stop this petulant game of politics first. Never in my life have I seem a group who has less concern with the public good than this bunch of asshats.

***

Foxy lies continue to be unearthed. Just last week or so, memos came to light that Fox had directed it’s reporters and commentators to use the term “government option” rather than public option in regards the health care bill because the former didn’t poll well. Now we see that Fox employees were ordered to not report anything about this being the “warmest decade” on record without “immediately” citing that there is data claiming this is untrue.

…we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.”

What’s on the stove: homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Stay Warm!

Just a Little Off the Top?

I stopped after church yesterday to get my hair cut. It’s a fancy place, La Cost Cutters. French I think. They are intent on bringing high coiffure to the average jane, so they locate in Wal-Mart.

Now let me explain that my hair grows like the worst weed you’ve ever encountered. I imagine zillions of little guys on bicycles pedaling away, spinning out my hair.

For years I solved this problem by not getting it cut and wearing it loooooong. This finally grew tiresome and I started whacking it off around the shoulders and then just twisting it up and clipping it. I am tres chic.

Finally I grew tired of this, so I decided to get ‘er done in a short style, something most old women (which I’m now approaching) finally do. I wanted it short. The first stylist did a great job. That was several months ago. Since then, I’ve had a line of stylists who seem to have difficulty with the word “cut.” They nibble around at the edges.

“Go ahead and cut it. It grows so fast that no ‘to short’ will last more than two weeks,” I encourage.

But they don’t get it. They are afraid. Or, it’s a conspiracy to get more money out of me by getting me there more often.

But what gets me is the strange questions. “Cut it about one inch,” I order, while showing them with my fingers.

They cut the crown, and then ask, “Do you want any taken off the sides?”

“I dunno,” I want to say, “does it not all grow at the same time?”

I mean if it needs an inch cut off, wouldn’t that mean all over? Or from their perch above me, are they seeing something up there that I don’t? Am I a genetic abnormal?

I probably could solve all this by requesting the same stylist. But I go on Sunday after all, and they rotate those schedules. And further more, I really don’t give a flying floozy much about my hair, just want it presentable. I like the convenience of “walking in” and have no desire to make stupid appointments.

Perhaps I have the wrong insider language. You know, hair lingo. Help me here. Am I somehow saying things wrong?

Anyway, mostly I like my hair. A quick wash, a little “do” and let it dry, and brush it. And, well, it’s good to go. All this because the Contrarian assured me that he never was with a group of men who saw a great looking woman go by where anyone exclaimed, “look at that hair-do! wow, isn’t it great?” They seemed, he noted, to be more enamored of certain other features, mostly on the front end above the waist, if ya get my drift.

My hair thanks them for this.

***

I don’t have links to this but I read it over the weekend. Someone reported that John McCain is talking about “regime change” in North Korea. Now that sends a major chill down the spine doesn’t it? Thank God he is not the CIC.  And on the DADT front, John, who cannot get anyone in the military to agree with him, came out with this nasty mean remark:

There was never anything wrong with DADT. It was working fine, until an inexperienced” candidate for President decided to mess with it. (paraphrased)

John is just the worst sort of sore loser I’ve come across.

***

I’m not sure how I feel about the “wikileaks” thing. I guess my government is more incompetent than I thought. Generally I’m not in favor of secrets. But I recognize that sometimes very sensitive negotiations require it. In the end, I guess openness all the way around works best. But I’m persuadable on this issue. What say you?

***
Another thing I noted in reading over the weekend. STD’s are way up in Southern Alaska, home of “just say no” abstinence. HIV infection is up in the South where states embrace abstinence only and other tactics to make it difficult for people to get HIV inhibitor drugs. Doncha just love the compassion of the religious right? How’s that abstinency thing workin’ for ya Sarah, as someone noted.

***

A new Palinism:

I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree.”—To Sean Hannity, in a Fox News interview, Nov. 22, 2010.

***

Palin continues to demonstrate her complete lack of comprehension about much of anything. She apparently recently tweeted that since she was able to stop publication of parts of her latest ghostly written book, the government should be able to stop the wikileaks. To equate her silly book and government secrets in the same breath is breathtakingly stupid. The laws and court cases governing are NOT remotely the same. But of course, she doesn’t read so we can’t expect her to know that.

Okay, so my fascination with this train wreck continues. I find her laughable, but I also find her dangerous should she continue to manipulate the public for her own personal aggrandizement. AlterNet provides you with some provocative reactions to Sarah’s testing of the waters.

***

If it comes as a surprise that the GOP has so many women in the mix these days, think again. This doesn’t mean that women are finding their voice in the GOP. They are there because they assist in the Repucklian plan to reduce women to the stay at home little non-entities they think they really are. Read the Republican War Against Women.

Untangling Threads

Whenever your darling asks you to sup with him “on the town” and the restaurant is named “La GGG”, all I can say is beware.

GGG, in case you were unaware, stands for Gas, Groceries and Good Eats. I can assure you, they are lying about two.

Recently the Contrarian invited me to Chez Troy Store Restaurante for lunch. Ahh, we went in and sat down, finding the seating ample, (no one else was there) and took a seat overlooking the corn field.

Out rushed a cook, (I should say, the cook) and announced: “Oh we don’t serve until 3 now, economy and all. But I can get you pizza or fried chicken or a sub?” Two of those come from those display cases that keep the food warm with lightbulbs. We demurred and walked across to the Dam Bar (yes that’s what it’s called) and ordered the usual saloon fare: something fried or deeply so.

So, it should come as no surprise when last night in the middle of Nature, I cried, “oh damn!”

“Whaaaa?” the Contrarian started from his dozing, muttering, “I am not sleeping, just resting my eyes!”

“I forgot the pearl onions for Thanksgiving!”

“Can I get them at the Troy Store?” he queried.

Yes, he actually said that, asked it, I mean.

With a look of utter disgust, I pouted, “NO, you can barely get an onion there.”

“How ’bout at Sherbon’s? I could run over there,” he offered.

“No, no, she won’t have any either.”

Sherbon’s is a step above Troy, having no gas station and not purporting to offer dining pleasure, but it’s a long way off from being a GROCERY store too.

“How ’bout Center Point Store?” he whimpered.

“No,” I sighed, “they won’t have them either. It’s hopeless.

There was no offer to drive all the way to Cedar Rapids of course.

Such is life in the meadow. You either remember or you do without. I will sure miss my carmelized pearl onions though. Send me some if you can ship it FedEx overnight, okay?

***

I guess I’m doing an about-face on the whole patty down at the airport thing. I  still think it’s mostly silly whining perpetrated by testosterone-laden young men and old ladies whose junk is so old that nobody would want to if they didn’t have to, touch it.

But I heard an argument that made some sense. He (unknown speaker on MSNBC) suggested that it’s good we are questioning just what we are willing to give up in the name of “terrorism.” This is a good conversation, proving we are not so insanely scared that we are hiding in our holes, only coming out with full military protection.

Perhaps, he asks, we might start questioning all that stuff about unauthorized wiretaps, waterboarding, and all those other dark and evil practices that we kinda figure are going on but about which we really would rather not know. There’s a point there I think. I later found the same argument here.

***

The Pope, Benedict XVI is very busy backstepping his way out of the “condom issue.” Some saw some slight movement in his latest remarks that in some cases, such as male prostitution, it might be allowed, as a step in “taking responsibility”. Today the Vatican is claiming that there is no change at all in the position of the Church as to condom use. I suspect that is true. If the fiasco over the pope’s comments about condom use while last in Africa, didn’t bring about a change, then I suspect nothing will.

Odd, how all those who have tons of advisors to, well, advise them, still cannot avoid the sticky wicket. Spiritual Politics has their own take here. If you want to know more, (and you probably don’t) go to Enlightened Catholicism.

***

The bad the worse and the ugly, i.e., the GOP continue to stonewall on the START treat ratification. Editorials across the land, the support of dozens of old line GOPers and revered State Department and Military leaders from of old, have failed to move, so far, one Sen Kyl from AIR-headZona.

One wonders how long the GOP is willing to take the heat to promote their only real goal: the downfall of Barack Obama. Crooks and Liars has a nice post, featuring a roundtable held by Christiane Amanpour.

***

Thomas, at Living Next Door to Alice sends us a must read post from 3quarksdaily. It’s about us, politics, and our doom. While we play at politics, the rich are taking this country for themselves and leaving us to be their servants. We are coming to be a permanent underclass. And that can only lead to one thing.

***

But if the above article is too long, well, this next says basically the same thing and in just a couple of sentences: Justin Bieber was the big winner at the AMA awards last night, beating out Usher. The world has ended, you just haven’t heard the explosion yet.

***

There be times I wish I had me one of them big balls that you do stretching on. But I’d sit on mine as I read Internets. ‘Specially when I read about da stoopid Rethuglians and their being pulled mightily in two directions at once. The FC’s (fiscal conservatives) vs the SC (social conservatives) are trying to direct the old party hacks who give a damn about neither.  Priority One-McConnell and Don’t you dare touch my junket Boehner, are being stretched over the fence and, well, personally instructed to do their respective biddings.  And I’d be bouncing on my ball, sippin’ my soda, and giggling.