Insanity

scream

 

It’s an election year – and the crazies are pouring out of the woodwork!

It is my opinion that since the Nixon Administration, the Republican party has done more damage to the republic, than any terrorist group. Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace, after allegedly committing a series of felonies. Ford pardoned Nixon – which many felt cheated the American people of Justice (personally, I disagree with that position: I have no wish to have the crimes of an American President laid bare for all the world to see – nor could I stomach the idea of an American President in prison.) After Nixon had covered his office with shame, Ford covered the office with ridicule: his clumsiness, poor public speaking, and foolish economic policies became a joke all over the world. I distinctly remember a reporter interviewing Ford’s High School football coach and asking whether Ford had always worn his helmet during games!

These republicans left the reputation of the US, and the pride and trust of most Americans, at their lowest level since the great depression – and they left the economy of America in nearly as poor a condition.

We had one term of Jimmy Carter, during which pretty much his only successes were a slight resurgence of the Economy (which vanished when OPEC jacked up the price of oil), and the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel. But resentment against the US which had been smoldering since America had given asylum to the deposed Shah of Iran – and that resentment led an obscure group of revolutionary students to seize the American Embassy. Carter’s handling of the crisis is seen as being inept – and it was capped by a botched military rescue attempt launched during a freaking dust storm! (I still get burned up over that: dust storms can be seen by satellite – and most assuredly would have been known of through radio intercepts if nothing else. Nevertheless 8 jet turbine helicopters, and a KC-130 tanker aircraft tried flying through one – and it was a disaster, leaving two aircraft destroyed, and 8 servicemen dead.)

The Evangelical group The Moral Majority was instrumental in defeating Carter’s bid for a second term, and putting another republican in Office: Ronald Reagan. It can’t be argued that President Reagan began to repair American foreign relations: where American power had been seen as ineffectual, and American Presidents as impotent, Reagan demonstrated that the US could, and would, use its military might, when challenged. America began to be feared again – and anger against America, which had begun to subside in the middle east following the release of the hostages in Iran, rapidly flared up again.

It was the time of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Muamar Gaddafi*, and the Russian-backed Saddam Husein, and Hasef al-Assad, father of Syria’s current dictator, Bashar al-Assad – none of them liked America, all of them hated us for propping up the former totalitarian Shah of Iran, for backing Israel, and for allying with the King of Saudi Arabia. As revolutionary leaders, they thrived on the ignorance of the masses – whom they kept ignorant by state-controlling schools and madrases, and fed a steady diet of propaganda via state-run media.

Gaddafi was the loudest – and it seemed that he’d actually bought into his own propaganda. He began a series of provocations, which Reagan was only too happy to respond to, culminating in an Airstrike on Gaddafi’s headquarters, and homes in Lybia.

By all standards of international law, and with the strong support of the American people, and the approval of our allies, it was clearly the right thing to do – but I deployed to Saudi Arabia the next day, and it was on every radio. The commoners of the middle-East – even the Saudis, who are nominally our allies – were absolutely freaking rabid at the news!

Osama Bin Laden was in Afghanistan fighting with the mujahideen  against the long Soviet Occupation there. He became a hero to the fighters of Afghanistan, and earned great respect through-out the Arab world. It is my opinion that the series of humiliating airstrikes against Lybia – and a loudmouth who posed absolutely no actual threat to the US – probably was an important recruiting aid for Al Qaeda, which Bin Laden founded 2 years later.

I was a US Air Force Officer during these years, flying aboard the E-3 AWACS Command and Control aircraft. The E-3 was a flying radar post – and, after the horrific attack on a US Marine Barracks in Beirut, killing nearly 300 (2/3 of them US Marines) – rather than sending Marines to trouble-spots, it became policy to send an AWACS, as a somewhat more subtle way of saying “America is watching you”. We had established a presence in Saudi Arabia, and flew continuous orbits over Ras Tanura – the Saudi oilfield that provided nearly a fifth of America’s Oil.

I became very familiar with Arab culture, and very quickly learned to despise it (Arab culture, not Islam, the religion) – even in the relatively enlightened Saudi Arabia. More than anything, it reminds me of a very extreme form of Christian fundamentalism:  they embrace ignorance, willingly believing anything that jibes with their established point of view, and instantly dismissing anything that doesn’t;  they have similar ideas regarding a woman’s dignity and her control of her own body; they tend to be hawkish, and openly advocate violent solutions to problems; they strongly support capital punishment, and pretty strongly oppose the rule of law – except for religious law, which they can impose themselves without reference to any government body.

It’s ironic that the greatest opponents of Islam and Arabic culture so closely resemble their arabic counterparts – and virtually all of them are far right-wing conservative republicans. The kind that are making Donald Trump the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

(For those that don’t accept that Arabic culture is to be despised, I would ask “When was the last time you were in the middle-east?” A culture that embraces vast inequalities between the rights of men, and those of women. A culture that embraces execution for such horrible offenses as ‘adultery’ [by the way, no proof is required: all that’s needed to pass sentence is the husband’s declaration that he thinks she’s unfaithful.] A culture that embraces stoning, as a means of execution (if you’re unfamiliar with the actual procedure, the victim – who in most cases has not had an actual trial – is wrapped in a sheet and buried to the elbows;  stones cannot be too large or too small – they have to be between the size of a cricket ball, and a grapefruit, and everyone in the village must throw at least one stone. It usually takes 20-30 minutes to kill a person by stoning. It is a culture that believes girls shouldn’t attend school, and that they should undergo cliterectomies at puberty, often performed under barbarous conditions by, well, a barber. If you support any of these cultural beliefs, please emigrate to any Arab country. Be sure to take your mother, wife, and daughters.)

Sorry, I’ve kinda gotten off topic!

After Reagan was George H.W. Bush – on paper, the most qualified man to hold the Presidency in decades. He had long years of government service under his belt, and, as a former director of the CIA, he had a broad grasp of what was going on in the world – and a clear understanding of his limitations. Unlike previous Presidents, when it came to warfare, he made no attempt to micromanage things, but left them in the hands of competent Generals. That turned out to be an excellent policy during Desert Storm:  the President left the direction of the land war in the hands of General Schwarzkopf – who well understood what a quagmire any advance into Baghdad would be, and satisfied himself with the destruction of the Iraqi’s power to wage war.

Bush’s administration, however, could not escape the Voodoo Economics of the Reagan years. The massive deficit, and an even more massive reduction in the size of the military, guaranteed that many civilians would be out of work, and 600,000 military members (including me, by the way,) all with the same skill-sets, would get dumped on the market all at once.

He didn’t get re-elected.

Clinton took over, rapidly fixed the economy, improved the job-market, modestly strengthened the military, made strides in foreign relations – and very nearly got himself impeached when a blow-job from an intern made the news. (Incidentally, during that particular crisis, Hillary managed to claim that it wasn’t really adultery, if it didn’t involve intercourse. Really.) Still, for eight years, America prospered, respect for us overseas grew, and Americans got comfortable again.

Then there was the other Bush. Bush, Jr couldn’t pronounce the words his speech-writers so eloquently wrote down for him. He had essentially no military, foreign relations, or intelligence training – all things his father had excelled in. As near as I can tell, he really didn’t know anything about, well, anything – and certainly not anything about practical economics. I’m pretty certain he’d have fallen flat on his face – except except on 9/11 Al Qaeda highjacked 4 aircraft and flew three of them into the symbols of American economic and military power:  the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon. A 4th Aircraft, targeted at the US Capitol building crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, when it’s passengers heroically rose up against the hijackers.

Al Qaeda couldn’t possibly have done more to shore up the republican party.

Bush seized on the grief and anger of America, unwisely started a legitimate war in Afghanistan – and foolishly started a totally fabricated war in Iraq. The war itself was real enough, (if you could call it that, since there was never a declaration,) as were the casualties pouring out of Baghdad (remember all those horrible casualties General Schwarzkopf had been concerned about when he stopped short of Baghdad? Those casualties.) The thing is, the justification for the war was the “Suspected presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s)” – all the evidence of which was concocted! Bush even finally admitted to it – and, given that he’d directed hostilities on his own authority, rather than asking Congress for a Declaration of War, this made him solely responsible for the deaths of a half-million Iraqis, many of them civilians, and nearly 4,500 deaths of US Military personnel.

An officer who illegally orders his soldiers to kill people, enemy or not, is guilty of murder and war crimes. Bush did precisely that – he knowingly ordered that conflict on evidence he knew to be fabricated.  The statute regarding impeachment – the US Constitution, Article II, section 4, states: “The President … shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Congress seriously spent months on debates about impeaching Clinton for getting blown by a silly hero-worshiping girl. Congress did not spend any time debating impeachment of Bush for unjustifiably blowing away a half million foreigners, and 4500 US soldiers.

Nearly as bad as the farce of war was the ruin of the economy, the loss of american personal rights, the encroachment of the Intelligence community on American privacy, unprecedented tax breaks for corporations, and an increased tax burden for the American middle-class.

Say what you will about Obama: America is more prosperous, is enjoying affordable healthcare for the first time in a very long time, and the death-toll overseas is dropping steadily.

Last time there was a presidential election the GOP nominee was Mitt Romney, who enjoyed the strong support of all those guys who ruined the freaking economy last time, and confided to a roomful of exceptionally wealthy supporters that 47% of the US population really would’t be any concern of his as President. I was a little upset by that, since I’m in that 47%.

The previous election featured John McCain, Viet-Nam War Hero, and Sarah Palin, the Seriously Whackadoodle former Governor of Alaska. McCain was strongly in favor of continuing the war in Iraq (the one we were illegally fighting, which had been based on made-up provocations) – despite his previous personal experience in another war fought over made up provocations. In fact, Mr. McCain was a strong proponent of “fighting the War to a successful conclusion”.

As a former military officer, and the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one would expect John McCain to be aware of US Military Doctrine – the book that defines why and how to wage war. The very first concept it mentions is Mission – all military actions, including wars, and all lesser operations in a war, had to have a clearly definable, attainable, Mission. There has to be a definable goal … it’s what you tell the privates they’re fighting to attain, and may be called upon to sacrifice their lives for – and it’s how you decide if you’ve won. (If you’d like to read the book for yourself, it is Joint Publication 1, Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States.)

If there was ever a mission in the Iraqi war, I could never discern it – particularly after the execution of Saddam Hussein, and the virtual destruction of the Iraqi government. If there was such a mission, it was neither clearly defined, nor attainable.

There’s a pattern here:  republicans tend to make things up, engage in rabble-rousing, commit American military power based on emotion, rather than reason, make things super-easy for corporations to get fat at our expense, and cut taxes for the very wealthy, while increasing taxes for the middle class, and then lie to them that this is for their own good!

It is a party led by the wealthiest men in america, backed by many of the wealthiest corporations in America, with inexhaustible funds – and supported by huge numbers of middle and lower income people who believe it’s in their best interest to vote for these bozos. Most of them are poorly educated – but that isn’t the overwhelming quality that these republicans have.  What defines this voting block best is a ready acceptance of any statement if it confirms their previously held point of view – and utter disregard of any statement that conflicts with that point of view! And they won’t bother to verify or disprove either of those statements! The “Birthers” are a perfect example – anyone else’s Birth Certificate they’d accept, but the President’s has to be forged because they heard that on Fox News, and they were already certain Obama couldn’t be trusted.

These people accept everything they hear on Fox ‘News’ – despite the fact that what they’re listening to is not news but opinion. They refuse to accept verifiable facts like global warming – even after a freaking huge chunk of Antarctica melted!  You can show them the before and after satellite photos – I’ve done it! The reply I got was “Oh, bullshit, that happens all the time!”

And the truly scary thing is 43% of Americans identify themselves with this party (if they’re asked which major party they lean towards – if all the options are on the table, 38% of Americans identify themselves as Independents – which is worse! Tea Partiers who feel it’s perfectly OK to shut down the Federal Government till Obama-care is rescinded!). They’re the ones that think the 2nd Amendment guarantees them the right to own any weapon they can afford, no matter how lethal. They’re the ones that think Religious Freedom should actually read Christian Freedom. They’re the ones who think women should be forced to carry a baby to term, no matter what. They think that public money shouldn’t be available for condoms or birth-control, and teenagers can just be told to keep it in their pants (like that’s ever worked!) They think (after careful priming from their leaders) that a corporation should have the same rights and privileges as a citizen – that if a company’s CEO has a religious or moral belief, it’s OK for him to impose that belief (usually on the question of abortion, or Birth Control) on his employees!

They accept these things and don’t even bother to think about the implications! What if we put a law in place that requires students to pray in school – but the teacher leading the prayer is Muslim, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Satanist, or Atheist?  Do we force everyone to pray to the Christian God? Do we force the children to pray to the God of their teacher? What if we put a law in place to keep all Muslims from immigrating? Do we just accept their statement at customs that they’re actually agnostics? What’s to stop someone from proposing a law to keep all Jews out? Or Atheists? What if we do allow same sex marriages: how is this threatening anyone’s family – unless someone in the family is a closeted gay or lesbian! Shouldn’t Gays and Lesbians and Transgenders have the same rights as Heterosexuals? If not, what about bisexuals? What if a law was passed permitting only same sex-marriages:  would the government have the right to tell you who you could and couldn’t love? What if a law was passed making it illegal to own a flame-thrower (believe it or not this is legal in virtually every US State) – would that violate your second-amendment rights? How about a grenade launcher? A helicopter mini-gun? A rocket launcher? Where does the line get drawn? What weapons should you have the right to bear, and what weapons shouldn’t you have the right to bear? How about anthrax? If you have the right to bear any weapon at all, shouldn’t you have the right to culture Anthrax, or Plague, or Small-Pox?

I can handle a debate. I can handle an honest discussion. I don’t mind listening to their ideas if they’ll listen to mine. But they won’t.

Evolution: “just a theory, can’t be proven, God says otherwise, don’t want to hear anymore.” Pro-Choice: “A fetus is a human being from the very beginning and aborting it is murder – and I don’t give a shit how the fetus came to be there! Rape, incest, doesn’t matter. Don’t want to hear any more.” School Prayer: “Everyone should pray to our God, because ours is the real God. Don’t want to hear anymore.”

You can go right down the line: gun rights, separation of church and state, freedom of religion, gay rights, abortion, birth control, health care, etc, etc, et-fucking-cetera. Their opinion is the only one that matters. Only they are in possession of the facts – never mind that they haven’t verified them: it was on Fox News!

And now the vast majority of these people are backing Donald Trump. The Donald Trump. The one with the idiotic comb-over. The one who spews racist, and sexist comments. The one who has all kinds of ideas about how to deal with America’s problems – never mind that none of them are practical or workable. The man considered a clown by other heads of state, and virtually every media outlet, and the GOP leaders. That Donald Trump.

Forgive my crudity, but fuck me with a fork!

 

† (I’ve seen about 6 different spellings of the Lybian dictator’s name. This one is the current favorite.)

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~ by dourscot on January 26, 2016.

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