Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween


In tombs of gold and lapis lazuli
Bodies of holy men and women exude
Miraculous oil, odour of violet.
But under heavy loads of trampled clay
Lie bodies of the vampires full of blood;
Their shrouds are bloody and their lips are wet.
W.B. Yeats

Baobhan Sith, Leannan Sidhe, Dearg-Due, they go by many names in many places these beautiful seductresses of the Aos Sí, the people of the barrows, the bane of travelers at night.  Rumor has it that the only way to tell that these beautiful women were not women was to get a peak under their dress at their cloven feet.  Rumor also has it that they were the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula.

The Baobhan Sith, or white woman of the Scottish highlands was simply a vampire, who drank the blood of her victims and left them dead and empty husks.  Leannan Sidhe however, was a muse, an inspiration to Irish writers and poets that in exchange for her powers drained her partners of their life.  The explanation for why all great Irish writers and poets seem to die young.   

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

La Belle Dame sans Merci: Arthur Hughes

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

La Belle Dame sans Merci: Henry Meynell Rheam

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

John Keats


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Freedom? You Can't Handle Freedom!

Do some people need a dictator?  Do some situations call for a temporary dictatorship?

Der Spiegel published two essays, each taking opposing views on the subject of dictatorships, anarchy and stability.

Christiane Hoffmann asks, Are Dictatorships better than Anarchy?

She lets us know where she stands with her opening sentences...
Although there is always reason to celebrate the toppling of an autocrat, the outcome of the Iraq war and the rise of Islamic State have demonstrated in horrific terms that the alternative can be even worse.
The last decade has shown that there is something worse than dictatorship, worse than the absence of freedom, worse than oppression: civil war and chaos.
Mathieu von Rohr steps up for the defense of liberty and boldly states Dictatorships and Chaos go Hand in Hand
The mistake lies in even describing a dictatorship as stable: If the dictatorships of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya or Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia had been stable, they wouldn't have collapsed.
Although his basic premise is self-evident, I think Rohr's is the weaker argument.  Sometimes dictatorships are stable, then something changes:  It drifts from benignity to cruelty, or more often people and society end up growing beyond the need for such paternalism.  Many experts point to Egypt's economy, not iron-fisted military rule, as the ultimate reason for Mubarak's downfall. 

One of the many ironies of our Iraq invasion is contained in the conjecture posited by many Iraqis that if we has imposed order immediately and shot all looters and criminals in the street, the whole project may have ended up a success.

Were I an Iraqi father and husband just trying to get myself and my family through the day, I would probably agree.

Were I a Christian, I would want Saddam back in Iraq, and I would be helping Assad's regime in Syria.  "Freedom" has resulted in more danger, death and persecution for the Levant's religious minorities.

They Say it Can't Happen Here...

Liberals, Conservatives and Progressives of all parties all have their own ideas about right living and community standards, and they have the all-too-human dictatorial itch enforce it all.  Besides the money, why else are they fighting over the levers of power?  Power.

After all the cajoling, nudging and jollying along, at some point, ideas of right living and community standards will be enforced at the point of a government gun.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

700,000 Non-Citizens Voted

Photo: Jonathan McIntosh

Harvard Study: Cooperative Congressional Elections Study

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008

National Review

Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. 

Washington Post

Voter ID?

Of the 27 non-citizens who indicated that they were “asked to show picture identification, such as a driver’s license, at the polling place or election office,” in the 2008 survey, 18 claimed to have subsequently voted, and one more indicated that they were “allowed to vote using a provisional ballot.” Only 7 (25.9%) indicated that they were not allowed to vote after showing identification. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hillary's Obama Moment

Don't let anybody, don't let anybody tell you, that, uh, you know, It's corporations and businesses that create jobs.

Yeah, governments can create jobs... like baking bread.  Here the citizenry stands in line to get some:

Government can also run construction, here's an apartment complex in Beijing:

Government can create good jobs.  Just ask former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

And remember, you didn't build that.


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Second Constitutional Convention of these United States

Governor Martin O'Malley (D) recently stated that "WIFI is a human right". Obviously we're behind the times... therefore I would like to get you started on the second Bill of Rights.  Welcome to the Second Constitutional Convention of these United States, please contribute.

Here goes:

1. Gummy Bears 

and so on and so forth...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Why I'm voting for a Democrat

Irv Halter, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret)

I try my best not to vote by pulling a party lever, I take a rational analytic approach to voting and have crossed party lines in voting for who I believed to be the most qualified candidate in local elections.  I believe Irv Halter is the most qualified candidate and I can live with his positions.  Irv Halter will be my first cross-party vote in a federal election.

As Irv Halter said "I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me".  I can understand and empathize with that position.  Irv Halter was a Republican, then an Independent, and now he's running as a Democrat.  I'm not voting for Irv Halter because he's a Democrat, I actually dislike the fact that he's running as a Democrat, I'm voting for Irv Halter because of his positions on the issues.  It's kind of funny, but the one and only comment on the CPR website is that Irv Halter seems to have a much more solid conservative grounding than his Republican opponent, a position I tend to agree with.

Now I have to be honest, if this were the Senate race, I wouldn't be voting for Irv Halter, in that case I would be voting against his party rather than voting for his opponent.  Chances are Irv Halter isn't going to get elected, but even if he does the Democrats aren't going to take control of the House.  I'm willing to give Irv Halter the chance to live up to his campaign positions and buck the left-wing of the Democratic party.  I may be proved wrong, but it's a chance I'm willing to take.

Clap me on the back or kick me in the ass, your choice.  Agree with me or attempt to persuade me otherwise, but in my opinion Doug Lamborn is the epitome of everything wrong in Republican politics.  I'm voting for Irv Halter because of his positions and because Doug Lamborn is a Putz.  Frankly, I'm sorry that Irv Halter is running as a Democrat, he should be running as a Republican, but the days of voting for someone because they have a D or R after their name need to come to an end. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Sessions: Music for Halloween (Part II)

A bit more contemporary selection.

Donovan: Season of the Witch

Warren Zevon: Werewolves of London

Rob Zombie: Dragula

Bonus Ebola Track:

Eric Burdon and the Animals: Black Plague


And yes, I do believe that is an old black and white television

Friday, October 24, 2014

United States: Irrational Actor

Given the disparate motives of the various parties, it is unwise for U.S. officials to view the fight against ISIS as a stark conflict between good and evil. Instead, it is a complex, multisided, regional power struggle in which murky alliances and questionable, if not sleazy, objectives are the norm. U.S. leaders need to ponder the options very carefully, because Washington is barging into a geopolitical minefield with a high potential for policy failure and frustration. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. (National Interest - America's Fatal Blunder)

Does anyone really believe the "strategy" of Obama's amateur warlords (John Heinz-Kerry, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Samantha Power and Susan Rice) will produce anything resembling success in the Middle East?

Can anyone explain what "success" would look like?

Does anyone really believe the "good" Syrian terrorists they propose to train and equip can defeat Assad's Russia- and Iran-backed regime, while simultaneously vanquishing ISIS?

Can anyone explain why the "good" Syrian terrorists won't take the money and run into the arms of ISIS, providing them another bonanza of munitions and trained fighters?

President Obama's ISIS/Syria policy absurd, and yet no one is throwing the BS flag. If only it were Bush doing this, at least some tired hippie college professors and OWS rabble would attempt rouse themselves enough to get a news camera’s attention...

It doesn't add up. I've tried following the money, exploring different angles... All I can come up with is that this is expensive political theater to prop up the president's image.

The Islamic world is a madhouse, but each state is acting in its own rational interest.

The Saudis and the Gulf states fund ISIS and oppose Iran's BFF Assad because they don't want Iran running through the Middle East like crap through a goose, and their devil's bargain is a bribe to the terrorists to go pick on someone, anyone other than their own rotten regimes.

Turkey refuses to fight ISIS because that organization is killing Kurds, which gives Erdogan and his filthy Islamists great glee.

Iraq is split along the old Kurd, Sunni, Shia lines, and Iran is prepared to help us defend Baghdad while leaving the Sunnis in Anbar to the predations of ISIS. Iraqi Sunnis welcome ISIS because of their mutual hatred of Baghdad's Shiite regime.

The Euros and the UN dither and blather because they are toothless, balless, feckless, hopeless.

The US is the only nation whose actions are unexplainable, and possibly irrational.