– David “Pudd’nhead” Wilson, Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins, (1894)
There’s nothing quite as awful and debilitating as returning to BUSINESS AS USUAL following a few days off, even if those few days off were spent mired in other bullshit. The first five minutes of walking back to the office, trying to climb back into the comfort of a routine — any routine — makes you feel like you’ve had your kneecaps bashed in, your ankles popped, Louisville Sluggers shattered across your spine and chest, while being utterly punch-drunk from the chin, up.
Good morning, as they say.
Worse is coming back to it from a road trip, a thing of nearly unadulterated unaccountability and irresponsibility, to a thing (like a job or a family or, I guess, living) that is the complete opposite of those things.
I haven’t looked too closely on what I missed since a rather sudden departure I hadn’t planned on Friday night. However, it’s worth noting that three more bankers slipped this mortal coil under at least questionable circumstances. I’ll update the tracker accordingly. Oh, and the last hiking banker who died in a blizzard in the mountains alone after being dropped off in a blizzard alone by her VP banker husband also apparently had a broken (or as I choose to refer to it, sabotaged) emergency beacon.
So what’s fallen apart in my blissfully ignorant absence?
Ready for it.
I would love nothing more than to just sleep for the next 55 hours or so, but alas, that doesn’t seem in the offing.
So I’ll just drink instead.
It’s supposed to actually rain here for once, so I don’t know how much I’m getting done outside. It’s probably for the best, I really have to clean out the office and tend to the extensive paperwork necessary to keep Casa de Huckleberry humming along.
One weird thing. The Raiders and Chargers announced that they were going in halfsies on a new stadium in the middle of warehouses and refineries, which seems about as good of an idea as forcing the Bloods and the Crips to share a frat house, Coke and Pepsi to share a can or conservatives and liberals to share a government.
It’s probably just a ploy to get a better deal somewhere else; I still have an Irwindale Raiders shirt from when I was maybe 8 years old that attests to how stupid these grand plans ultimately become.
Anyway, have a bitchin’ weekend and get ‘em in.
Get Outta My Way
Epitaph Records | 1993
An interesting question – is this whole ISIS kerfuffle merely an attempt to cram in the Islamic apocalypse before the Evangelicals can cram in theirs?
Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. Western media frequently miss references to Dabiq in the Islamic State’s videos, and focus instead on lurid scenes of beheading. “Here we are, burying the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive,” said a masked executioner in a November video, showing the severed head of Peter (Abdul Rahman) Kassig, the aid worker who’d been held captive for more than a year. During fighting in Iraq in December, after mujahideen (perhaps inaccurately) reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts or hostesses upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.
While that does sound like a Dabba-Doo time, most of the conversation regarding all of this focuses around What Do We DO About It? The way I see it, after some not-very-careful study, we (in the royal United States sense) have four options:
Despite what common convention would have you believe, nominally bombing an enemy that we really don’t seem all that bothered about calling an enemy all along the periphery isn’t the foundation for a winning strategy. Despite the fact that the US trained and armed a faction of Syrian rebels as a way to oust Assad, and that faction formed an important core of what is now lovingly termed ISIS, the current strategy is following the same line: arming and training a faction of rebels who have token issues with ISIS. We’ve even given them radios with which they can use to direct air strikes and call for CAS – what could go wrong? Minimal air strikes, nominal supplies to a constantly shifting cohort who claims they want to take down ISIS today but could just as easily declare allegiance tomorrow, and a military/civilian leadership doing the absolute minimum necessary for PR purposes.
Obviously, this is a sure, 100% losing strategy.
TOBY KEITH DOCTRINE
A full-scale combined arms campaign with tens of thousands of boots on the ground (and then in their asses) as the United States and perhaps a few others form a tacit coalition to reinvade Iraq and/or push into Syria, engage ISIS, disrupt their ability to control territory and conduct commerce and, eventually, kill them all. However, it’s worth noting that after almost a decade of boots on the ground in Iraq, the end result was a fertile ground for ISIS to entrench itself. Despite the bravado and the psychopathic embrace of their eschatological mandate, this is a military force well-practiced in the art of tactical withdrawal for strategic purposes. Once again, the coalition military will likely find the initial going quick and easy, as forward operating bases quickly become rearward admin posts. That’s where the familiar game of 4GW attrition takes over and tests coalition resolve. And unless the United States is prepared to spend the next century fully colonizing the entire region (which it doesn’t have the will or resources to accomplish) this will all be for naught. Once US boots, er, pull out it’s Game On for the next iteration of ISIS. And unless the colonization involves some rather brutal stewardship – there’s a reason it took a Saddam Hussein to pacify the place – it will do far more damage to the US in just about every way that matters.
In this context, with a creaking civilization that’s papering over all of its liabilities with more liabilities, mired with a fractured and diverse population, this is a losing strategy.
HAMMER OF GOD
It’s difficult to fight something with nothing; even bombs dropped in the name Apple Pie and Chevrolet mean little when there is nothing but a vacuum behind the platitudes. The best chance for a decisive military victory against a non-secular, religious army is to meet it with a non-secular, religious army. Raise a Christian army and send it off to raze the place Sherman-to-the-beach style; Have Nukes, Will Travel. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be Christians. Raise an army of Shintos and resurrect the samurai tradition and show the bastards a little something about ritual beheadings.
This probably won’t work, but of all the active, fight-them-there-so-we-don’t-fight-them-here strategies, it has the best potential for success, and a long and storied history of triumphs and failures upon which to build an offensive.
Just don’t call it a crusade.
Don’t bomb them with drones and joint-strike fighters, don’t arm and train temporarily opposing factions, don’t twist the rhetoric six ways from Ramadan about who is and who is not practicing Islam. Close the borders, bring the troops home from most or all posts abroad, intern and/or deport all those with questionable origins or affiliations, fortify the borders and the seas and protect only American interests within a greatly reduced sphere of influence. Let ISIS be ISIS and swarm across Arabia, Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and let the members of what will be the former EU realize the true folly of trying to establish an empire based solely on monopoly money. NATO’s mandate was to protect against Soviet aggression, and I have it on good authority that they’re still gone and at any rate ISIS ain’t RED.
This is the only thing that has a better than even chance of success, so of course it isn’t even an option for discussion.
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
– Graeme Wood, What ISIS Really Wants (2015)
The sound of one hand patting:
David Axelrod, the former senior adviser to President Obama, bragged on the administration’s record of ethical governance during a talk at the University of Chicago, telling attendees that the White House’s record for the past six years has been pretty much scandal-free. “I’m proud of the fact that basically you’ve had an administration that’s been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” he said, Talking Points Memo reported. “And I think that says a lot about the ethical strictures of this administration.”
I shudder to think what, in this miserable sack of goo’s mind, constitutes a “major” scandal.
Just shy of two years to find out…
According to Hoyle:
Hearts & Minds | Truth Revolt
One of two Muslims straddling a motorcycle said, “It’s blasphemy. Oh, yes, (the killing) is normal. There is no smoke without fire, as we say in France. They mocked, and they were warned.” Asked whether the Jews were behind the attacks, he responded, “Probably, probably.” Horowitz prodded, “Because they do a lot of manipulation around the world?” The Muslim man answered, “It’s normal. You know what’s in their books? The Talmud? Us, the non-Jews, we are called the goy. They have the right to kill non-Jews, to “rape” them.” The black man concluded, “Liberty, egalitarianism and fraternity are not shared values. On freedom of expression, there is a conflict.”
Fighting Fitness | Washington Times
The majority of potential Army reservists are either hooked on prescription drugs, have too many tattoos, are overweight or have mental conditions that prohibit them from joining the military, recruiters say. Seven out of 10 applicants fail to meet Army Reserve standards on “mental, moral and physical reasons,” said Capt. Eric Connor, U.S. Army Reserve Command spokesman. The problem affects the broader service as well. According to Army Recruiting Command statistics compiled last year, 71 percent of young people wanting to join the military would fail to pass service tests because of their physical, moral or cognitive shortcomings.
Euro’s Skids Properly Greeced | Of Two Minds Blog
This is why Greece has no choice but to exit the euro. The politicos in the EU will “do whatever it takes” to extend the fantasy their discipline is equal to the discipline of the FX market, but everyone knows it’s all PR and lies. There is no substitute for the discipline of a market that cannot be manipulated by political elites, and as a result there can be no real reforms until the euro is dissolved and the FX market forces the true cost of systemic imbalances on the domestic participants who created and maintained the imbalances. Reform cannot be triggered by borrowing more money–it can only be triggered by defaulting on existing debts that cannot be paid. Bailouts are never about enabling reform–they’re about preserving the Status Quo Elites’ and vested interests’ share of the swag.
Desperately Seeking Penumbras | Washington Times
A federal judge late Monday halted President Obama’s deportation amnesty, ruling he overstepped his powers in trying to grant legal status and “benefits and privileges” to millions of illegal immigrants, in a stunning decision that chides the president and throws the White House’s plans into disarray just a day before applications were to be accepted … White House press secretary Josh Earnest was dismissive of the judge’s ruling, saying it contradicted Mr. Obama’s own lawyers, who told him he was “well within his legal authority. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision,” Mr. Earnest said early Tuesday. Judge Hanen’s exhaustive opinion, which ran to 123 pages, eviscerated the administration’s legal arguments. Where Mr. Obama claimed he was only issuing “guidance” and using his powers of prosecutorial discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, the judge ruled that wording was “disingenuous” and ignored the substance of what the president was trying to do. He also said Mr. Obama hurt his own case by saying he’d acted to “change the law,” implying a much more substantive legal program than his administration was arguing in court.
A Right To Die Is No Right At All | Observer Online
The New York End-of-Life Options Act, introduced late last week by Ms. Savino and Mr. Hoylman, is modeled off the law in Oregon. It would allow adults to obtain a prescription from a physician for a lethal dose of medication that a patient can take on her own to end her life. The lawmakers told the Observer last month they had been inspired by Ms. Maynard’s story to make the options she moved to Oregon for available to their own constituents.
A small world for small people, it seems…
Third Banker in 3 Weeks to Die in the Mountains Alone | Daily Mail UK
An investment banker was found dead after attempting to climb the Northeast’s highest peak on Monday afternoon – 24 hours after she called for help as she hiked through 100 mph winds. Kate Matrosova, 32, arrived at the base of New Hampshire’s 5,400ft Mount Madison at 5am on Sunday, dropped off by her husband Charlie Farhoodi, who is listed on LinkedIn as a Vice President at JP Morgan. Within hours, she activated an emergency beacon amid treacherous conditions but a team was unable to locate her in the blizzard. Her body was found 24 hours later. It appears she died of exposure to the extreme temperatures overnight
Hmm. So an “investment analyst” is dropped off alone by her VP Banker husband at the base of a mountain for “a series of hikes”, alone, in the middle of what was known since early last week as an epic winter storm, AND that Matrosova is now the third banker to die on a mountain alone in the past three weeks.
The Presidents Of The United States Of America, not the shitty band who only used four horrifically out-of-tune strings on their Stratocaster guitars, but the group of dastards and scoundrels who Obi Wan warned a young pre-car-accident Mark Hamill about before they walked into that crazy alien puppet bar in 1977; men who, on the whole, were and continue to be possessed of weak moral compunction, feeble intellect, shockingly poor physical health and, nearly to a man, obsessed with the naked pursuit of political influence and the type of legacy historically reserved only for those delineated by Divine Right.
Despite best-laid plans, the Presidency became the very thing it was intended to prevent – a seat of imperial power beholden completely to the peddlers of political promises. The President was mostly intended to handle issues of foreign policy (i.e. telling the kings and archdukes of Europe to keep it in their pants) while on the domestic front serving as a check on any potential runaway legislative abuses.
Now here we are, with a collection of 44 men who mostly went above and beyond their simple mandate in myriad ways, ways that have and will continue to hinder us long into perpetuity. Forty four men, some of whom were petty thugs and tyrants, some of whom were craven and corrupt apparatchiks long before that became a thing anywhere else in the Western world. Some of them have been professional soldiers and acted that way, others have been professional soldiers and acted contrarily. Most have been insufferable and inept, while a few (very few) have been decent men and governed to both their mandate and their principles.
These are the Presidents of the United States of America, a gang of 44 men with whom I wouldn’t wish to have a beer, even the couple of good ones, in one important way they are all tarnished by association and the bastard never really falls that far from the tree.