Deluded and Defiant

A headline in this morning’s New York Times described the last days of Qaddafi’s life as “deluded, defiant and unwilling to quit”. I laughed and thought, “just like like Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann”. The Republican Presidential field does make you wonder about the current state of our democratic process. Here you have at least two candidates that are in the race solely to raise their speaking fees (Cain and Gingrich). Four more candidates who have as much chance of being the Republican nominee as I do (Santorum, Huntsman, Bachmann and Paul). One candidate (Perry) who was riding high in the polls until he opened his mouth and then went into freefall. And then there is Mitt Romney, who has never held a firm opinion on anything for more than about a month and has never been able to attract more than 25% of the vote in any poll.

My guess is that Romney will get the nomination next summer, but not before being bludgeoned with the blunt force instrument of Perry’s Texas sized war chest. In the end, the evangelicals (and much of the Tea Party) will stay home in the November election and Obama will win on the strength of a great ground game, continued foreign policy success and a gradually improving economy. Then hopefully the Tea Party will split off into a third party, forever dooming both themselves and the Country Club Republicans to the wilderness of irrelevancy.

For Obama, getting out of both Iraq and Afghanistan would allow him to make real his promise of last week.

The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year.  The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home.  As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world.  And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits and the opportunities that they have earned.

This includes enlisting our veterans in the greatest challenge that we now face as a nation — creating opportunity and jobs in this country.  Because after a decade of war, the nation that we need to build — and the nation that we will build — is our own; an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we’ve restored our leadership around the globe.

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22 Responses to Deluded and Defiant

  1. woodnsoul says:

    The first two paragraphs say it all! I believe you hit the mark, precisely.

  2. JTMcPhee says:

    But… but… the Bank of America — America’s Bank, don’t you know? — has called the election as of last week, and per those folks, Obama is a one-termer and “we” will all share the benefits and beneficence of a uniparty government, come January 2012. Who can speak against the collective wisdom of the BofA, that has gotten away with stuff that ought to have called for heads to roll ever since the organization was facilitating currency intermediation and what do they call it, “arbitrage,” while I was hunkering down in Vietnam? Recent addition to the slogan pile from the 99% side, with maybe an unfortunate two-edged meaning: “Too Big To Jail!”

    What’s the betting on InTrade? Here’s a money-where-the-mouth-is estimate of Hoped-for Change:

  3. JTMcPhee says:

    And maybe the deployments in Iraq and Notagainistan may get scaled back, jump-switched to Visigoth mercenary management, or diffused into a more tenuous fog-of-war, but the whole global MIC apparatus has so much momentum, so much inertia, so many sad-and-madherents intoxicated by the endless and increasingly lethal successions and innovations in the Technicolor Catalog of the Great Hammacher Schlemmer Pentagram Universe, so many “regimes” dependent on a steady stream of almost-free brown paper packages tied up with Great Game strings, so many uniformed and revolving-door “careers” tied to successful guerrilla and full-frontal-assault procurement campaigns, such touching faith in the virtues and inevitable ultimate success! and victory! (whatever those terms pretend to mean) of Terminator-class autonomous battle hardware, that it will take a whole lot more than even the most generous and complete Big Hug of the Occupation! to even change just the increase in the rate of growth of the Real Wealth sucked into the magically expanding intakes of all the scramjets that phalanxes of newbie engineering grads, desperate for High-Paying Jobs, will conscience-free happily develop and market and produce to satisfy that ineffable urge to answer the Call of Duty, or the other, species-cidal Group Mind that “We” or “Some of Us” are just happy as well-fed piggies to take part in: Because you never know — the narcoshippers or the Somali warlords or (GASP!) the ChiComs! might develop Stealthy Submarines that we just HAVE to HAVE autonomous devices swooshing around the oceans to Destroy before they can Harm our Precious Sacred Way of Life! Because, he said, beetling his brows and squinting his eyes, That’s The Way The World Is…

    Sorry to wet-blanket Obama’s Great Success in seemingly winding down, with the sub silentio whimper, with a call to enfold and emote over the Warriors “we” sent on what for them was a fucking fool’s errand (in the name of enriching a few of us). It ain’t over until it’s over, and it ain’t over until the entire groupthink process that pervades the whole World MIC gets derailed, in favor of the awareness that We Are All In This Together, Like It Or Not, and that there’s enough to go all the way around the table, if we can keep the 1% from grabbing all but one of the cookies and stuffing their faces, and then looking slyly around and telling us we had better be careful — the guy in the next chair or across the table is plotting to grab that very last cookie…

    Not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

  4. Alex Bowles says:

    Let’s just hope their civil war doesn’t end like this for the rest of us.

  5. len says:

    I’ve seen crashes like that. Held the flashlight. People turned into moaning hamburger. It was Dad’s way of teaching me to be a safe driver. He took me to accidents. It might be worth collecting up some Wall Streeters and Beltway types and dropping them into Mogadishu for a month or that motel where the fighters located Qadaffi followers.

    It’s obvious the Powers That Be have decided to wait the OWS groups out until they fight among themselves and everyone goes home disillusioned, then business as usual.

    On the other side, I saw an interesting video this morning. Didn’t get the provenance and not American, but the gist is, a fan runs across a soccer field during a match and the police types caught him. While they were handcuffing him, they decided to work him over with their batons. At that point, the fans in the stands and team members ran on the field and beat the dogcrap out of the police.

    Could get ugly if the NYPD and some other city public safety types don’t get the message. So far, the OWS types are keeping their cool. although more ex-marines are showing up to take their side. A real shocker to the police may be that a lot of US military types aren’t very impressed by the way they’ve been handling unarmed civilians exercising their constitutional rights. Shades of Tahir.

    Like a significant number of the Hollywood a-listers, I’m having trouble being interested in Obama right now. He seems to be irrelevant to the main story of the time and the republican clown klatch are even less entertaining. Media has failed us miserably so we’re back to campfire songs and conversation. That ain’t bad.

  6. JTMcPhee says:

    len, thanks for the memory jog —

    Tuolumne Meadows, September 1968, me and my GI-pay-purchased MGB, en route from McChord and the docks of Seattle, on that Grand Tour of the Great West that I kinda hoped would re-float me into the American mainstream, after a year in Vietnam and with too much time left on my enlistment to get the “early discharge” that the last bunch of warlords used to “get rid of” troublesome returning warriors, on the last day and night before that part of Yosemite shut down for the winter. Sittin’ logs around a campfire, and yes, Berkley/Haight escapees and button-downs, working for the Park Service. Strumming and picking under the incredible stars, the air too still and cold for them to even twinkle, and singing “Kum Ba Yah,” and “Amazing Grace,” and this, to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw:”

    “Oooooh, I, had a little chicken
    But she wouldn’t lay an egg
    So I rubbed hot water
    Up and down her leg-

    Aaaannnd, the, little chicken hollered
    And the little chicken begged
    But the darn little chicken
    Laid a hard-boiled egg!

    [And to the tune of “Shave and a haircut,”]
    Match in the gas tank- BoomBOOM!”

    Why does that little ditty seem to me to capture so much of what’s “blowin’ in the wind” right now? Why do I wonder what the current crop of returnees will come “home” to?

    ‘Course, that night, sleeping alone (too weird to score, I guess) in one of those raised-platform tents, wearing every piece of clothing I had, I froze my butt, etc., despite six Army blankets (bitter irony) over me and four under…

    C’mon, Worgon, there’s your straight line, in five, four, three, two…

  7. len says:

    @jtmc: This one is dedicated to you. :-) The link is snapped to keep it fron cluttering Jon’s blog. Copy, paste, etc.

    http://www. youtube. com/ clenbullard#p/u/4/M09XJbAUpk4.

    We love the Big Green Beasties
    And we dress them up with care
    We make them for the government
    And some we make to spare
    They’re the sexiest,
    The very best logistics can produce
    They’re the beasties of the real green juice

    We made them up from scratch
    From the deepest of our fears
    The big green beasties blast away
    Regardless of your peers
    They have the latest blathergog
    The beastie geeks can sell
    They’ll roar right in and roast your skin
    And blow your ass to hell

    And when a beastie falls to earth
    And lays there on it’s side
    The beastie brave will wade right in
    And fetch its beastie hide

    For every beastie’s worth its weight
    In beastie sweat and grime
    And the beastie boy that lets it lay is slime
    And if you ask them why we need the beasties to survive
    They say the beasties need our help to lead their beastly lives
    The juice we feed the beastie children
    Isn’t for their health
    The beasties protect our wealth.

  8. JTMcPhee says:

    len — (twinkles) to you.

    Being the nasty cynic that I have been bred to be, I do have to add a link to Something Breitbart Said (and what, is the churl starting to be a little nervous that maybe the “serf’s up”?):

  9. Ken Ballweg says:

    Oakland OWS cleared by police with mass arrests. Early comments on some progressive blogs irate with OPD as if it sets it’s own agenda.

    But, this sort of response only happens when the “silent majority” allows it. The top simply controls the media that gives the impression that “this is not the way we do things” and then the police are allowed to “clean it up.” So it was in the 70’s until the size of the protests, the actual marches, against Viet Nam started to include the middle and undecided voters.

    People may sympathize, but until they actually march it will be The Money, not The Man who decides where these demonstrations are confronted with force. And The Money will do it by control of propaganda coloring the view of the protest. In NYC they got out ahead of the anti-message and made it harder for the orders to “clean it up” to come down but that’s one area with a liberal bent to it’s local politics.

    It’s ironic that Oakland, with it’s closeness to Berkley would be the first to react. How the East Bay OWS responds will tell you a lot about whether this is a protest with legs.

  10. len says:

    @jtmc: thanks (flat hand).

    @ken: The West Coast has been slow to pick up momentum. This seems out of character so I don’t quite get it. Maybe some of you who live out there can explain the passivity of the usual home of social injustice protestors.

    Here in the belly of the MIC, the police chief appeared on TV and said, “It’s their right to be out there protesting and as long as it is peaceful, we’ll ensure they are protected.” The numbers here don’t get very large, of course given the jobs here being what they are, but so far the police have kept their word. The local news stations interview, they put it on TV without much comment and they don’t edit it to the disadvantage of the protestors. So far, so good. This is one reason I think some of the anti-OWS coalitions are insensitive to the inclination of the serving and post-service military types to be on the side of the protestors insofar as understanding these are the rights they swore to and do defend.

  11. rhbee says:

    Groundswells of sound bites, larded with hope, comes the Repub convention, and Romney’s the dope, uh oh someone shouts, Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!, que sera seras all she wrote..

  12. len says:

    Looking at photos of the US Marine vet with the brain injury in Oakland. Mother f….

    OWS needs homes for the winter where they can go get warm and educate each other then come back out stronger this spring. Unlike a protest, an occupation figures out how to occupy seasons. If any well-off folk who have empty real estate and still remember what truth, justice and the American way are really about, now is a good time to let your freak flags fly. Let down your tinted windows and help them. Please.

  13. JTMcPhee says:

    Skimming the blog comments re one Scott Olsen, and how wonderfully illustrative of the cracks in the Great American Edifice. I hope what happened to him becomes the catalyzing event for full-on sticktuitivitousness, stiffening the resolve of any who might, ah, “flag” in their investment in righteous change, maybe even opening the hearts of some of The Rest Of Us. Lots of our Christian brethren, however, are just all about “he got what was coming to him, Commie, traitor, etc.,” and I particularly like the ones that hold that “Well, what do you expect? He was told to DISPERSE. What part of “disperse” is so hard to understand? Do what the police tell you to do, when they tell you to do it, and you will not be harmed…”

    “Congress shall make no law… abridging… the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” And equivalents in the CA Constitution.

    “But you know as well as I, patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either my country, right or wrong, which is infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile.”

    I need a nap.

  14. len says:

    I’ve got to find another job before I start another round of chemo in about a month. Watching them roll twin 30 cals down the hall next to the rocket pods is starting to unnerve me.

    One thing for sure, JtMc, we can all be patriotic, we want our guys and gals home from overseas, we want to put them to work, make it right, and yadda, but there are sure bits that won’t be easy.

    a) Unlike Vietnam where the troops did one tour or two or Gulf I where it was brutal but fast, these wars have gone on for a decade and these folks have seen tour after tour. Some are ok but cold; others are damaged goods, and some of them are really ok but gun crazy.

    b) Society isn’t ready for them and they aren’t ready for society. They are used to a bonded bunch of like minds and they are used to that and when it isn’t there, they miss it and want it back.

    c) The changes in society since Nam in terms of social justice are profound. When the troops came home from WWII, we had the era of the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. They had obedience beaten into them and these kids are no different but society is. They will gripe and whine but they will obey and they react badly to anyone who doesn’t.

    d) It’s going to be the happy season for civil rights lawyers who specialize in Title VII lawsuits. Enuff said.

  15. JTMcPhee says:

    I went to America after my year and odd days in Vietnam, to a 45 day leave and a sports car reverie built on a four-color, thumbed-to-near-illegibility British Leyland brochure touting the MGB I bought with E-4 savings. I was on mostly detached duty in various parts of “South Vietnam,” with little in the way of Band of Brothers. Back in America, my diffraction-grating immersion started with a sense of jamais vu — after a year of High-Ground-Clearance shades-of-green vehicles and floods of bicycles and cyclos and Vespas, the first car I saw getting off the plane was a white 1966 Caddy Eldorado convertible with a red interior, that as far as my eye would accept the image appeared to have a broken suspension and the tranny resting on the ground. And all these other cars-of-many-colors, all looking like a CanAm Chaparral ground-sucker. I had no connection to any part of the billboarded and clear-cut and plowed and slurb-mottled country I traveled through.

    I’ve got a very different sense and sentiment about the post-go-kill-foreigners-for-God-and-Country experience. Most of my contemporaries were draftees, with less than 90 days remaining on their stint when they DEROSed, a very large number of whom were discharged “early-out” simply because they were in fact damaged goods, had seen the rotten insides of the entrails of the Brass Beast, and “had problems with authority.” (My personal horror was having to work as the personnel clerk who, because I had 9 whole months left on my enlistment, got to process them out, hand them their final orders and DD214s and tell them it’s okay, you can go home now. Lots of scenes on the cutting room floor from that movie.)

    I’ve been zipping through blogspace, trying to get a sense from the emoting and explicating and sorrowing of the current crop of cannon fodder what’s in their minds. If you kind of try to integrate what the many different individuals have to say, the result appears to be an imaginary number, or something divided by zero.

    Based on a pretty small sample, with observer bias all over the place, I kind of get the sense that except for the really wounded in spirit, a lot of them would find a very happy place among what I understand is the Occupy polity, people who actually, and at least apparently, try to keep the Constitutional inspirations and aspirations front and center.

    All just speculation, of course. The returnees from the Vietnam thing, and from what I read about the Muddle East idiocies, have a lot in common with all who have done that thing, even, if you go back to the Good War too, a very lot. The troops must observe the chain of command out of fear of Article 15 and courts martial and that need for structure amongst armed men (and women) (of which there are plenty of too-usual examples of breakdown) but the NCOs and company and platoon officers have to earn the respect of the guys humping those huge loads in high heat and ball-freezing cold. The Battlepace Managers? Fucking monsters, puking Doctrines. Laying up treasures in Retirementland. “I say to this man, Go, and he goes, and to that man Come, and he comes.” Some do, some don’t. I bet the bullshit detectors are as highly tuned today as they were when some centurion told some little group of Legionnaires to charge that “disorganized rabble” of Empire-threatening Teutonic tribesmen. I would not bet on GIs who have perceived the root beauty of the notions of democracy (as preached, at least) and inhaled their oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, being “obedient.”

    And that Band of Brothers thing had its seams, too, and when as happened in my unit, the flight officers and senior NCOs started improving their lives at thecost of the troops, stealing our class A rations to trade to the Air Force and Navy guys who had regular milk run deliveries from Stateside, part of the fog and cost of war, for cases of steaks and chicken, and having barbecues and “entertainment” every night and using our generators to run air conditioners for the bastards living in the comfy, insulated hootches we GIs were ordered to build for them, they at least had enough sense not to make a big deal out of it when CS and smoke grenades started showering down on their whoopie-making out of the darkness. And they kind of got the message. There’s the model, and there’s the reality…

    Returning GIs — lost, maybe, uncertain, in need of a supplement to boost or restructure their identities, but easily able to see the gulf between what they are indoctrinated to believe they are protecting and defending, those that are not just High On War, and the on-the-ground reality of our kleptocracy.

    I would be far more concerned that many of these folks could be drawn into something that promises to restore (or create) what they were told were the bases of their ideals, something a lot more like a John Revolting movie than a disciplined extension of the Occupation. My dad was a Navy officer who skippered a 108-foot wooden sub chaser in the South Pacific, having lots of interesting experiences. His assumption of the gray flannel suit was simply, as he told it, to “get on with life, to get ahead in the rat race,” to re-join the tracks as seamlessly as possible.

    But hey, this is all just maundering, for my own delectation… It’s nice to think we understand something about human motivations and behavior, and tell ourselves we can predict what’s coming. But we can’t.

    I’m sure everybody here will be invoking whatever contacts they have in the Great Universe to direct your treament and your caregivers into the best possible outcome. Blessed be…

  16. len says:

    Some of them seem confused, JTMc, but then where we work, they are holding on to the connection back to the world they felt a part of by working on the beasties that they loved. They identify with the machines they were assigned to, they are Apache men, Chinook men, Blackhawk men, and a not insignificant number of Nightstalkers. Some of them are trying to get to the next place through this place and others are stuck in the last place. They do love those machines. I am so out of place I might as well be on the moon so I won’t be there much longer. I need the job, I can do the job, but it isn’t right for me. So a change is coming like it or not. I appreciate the blessings. I’ve been there before as you know so I know the drill, but I confess to not really looking forward to it. Treatments are not terrible but endurable. It’s the stuff you see in the center that really rots. Sad stuff.

    BTW: As I type, the kids at Occupy Nashville are singing the song I stood in the hall at the Guthrie Center and heard Arlo and Family sing to end the show that began their tour: This Little Light of Mine. Seems they’ve found their anthem. Arlo Knows. It’s the alien blood. :) Meanwhile the cops are going to evict the kids in Nashville tonight at midnight. You can see it on streaming video at

  17. len says:

    Aha. They just announced the Occupy Marines (former servicemen) are showing up to help. Semper fi.

  18. JTMcPhee says:

    What a commonality of interest and enemy can do.

    More military follies, from my own experience: After Basic at Ft. Leonard Wood (MO), I was on “casual status” pending orders for Advanced Individual Training. That meant that I and a lot of others were herded into shitty barracks under careful watch, and dispatched by the NCOverseers every morning and afternoon to do the scut work on the base, mowing officers’ lawns and weeding their shrubberies, picking up other people’s cigarette butts, that sort of stuff. I was once assigned to the base Golf Course, given one of those golf-ball picker-uppers (a bucket thing with a tube with fingers to reduce the stoop labor) and sent out on the driving range to “police up” all those cut and dimpled balls, where officers of various ranks, sotto voce sniggering “Fore!,” did their best to hit me with drives and chips, as I “thank you for your service’d” them. After that, I started emulating the wiser of my fellows, grabbed a clipboard with a couple of pieces of blank paper on it, and got out to wander the base before the duty sergeants showed up — if you looked purposeful, like you were “on a mission,” the Keepers of Order would just simply not even see you.

    Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein and Generals Sheisskopf and Petraeus could not have played to a more identical lie.

    Funny about that “machine loyalty.” I read that many line workers in Big Industry used to have the same kind of affection for their presses and brakes and furnaces. I personally hate Hueys: Tens of thousands of reciprocating and rotating and vibrating parts, traveling in loose formation, kept that way by dedicated GIs and maybe drunken civilian contractors, knowing in their collective little part hearts that unlike fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters really want to crash, not glide to a gentle landing. Pretty much zero tolerance for any errors in manufacture or maintenance.

    One of those drunken contractors left the “Jesus Nut” (the Main Rotor Retaining Nut, if it fails the flight crew has just about time to say “Jesus!” before terminal-velocity impact,) untorqued (1600 foot pounds, plus or minus 20, it takes an 8-foot torque wrench and breaker bar and two GIs) and un-safetied, Sergeant Tech Inspector just signed off on his chum’s work without climbing up to actually look, and I got to be on the detail that trucked on out to the crater and “policed up”the five people’s worth of shattered residual protoplasm and the unburnt bit of the tail boom.

    Myths About The Military Life, Part 1967.

    Is there anything in the observation that the Dodge Ram Tough Truck logo actually looks so very much like a representation of the human female uterus and fallopian tubes?

  19. len says:

    As I sit here at home tagging this MACquietly to avoid the furor at work over things that don’t matter, I’ll try to make fewer mistakes, JTMc. It is what I always fear and loathe about mil tech writing: a moment’s inattention. Let’s hope the E4s see it the same way.

    Watching the live feed from OWNashville was exhilerating. At times like this, I’m sort of glad for the time we all put in building the web. Used well, it gets results. Torqued badly, it creates craters of understanding. At about 3AM, the police rolled in and too the Willing To Be Busted to the night court. The judge refused to sign the warrants. Instead of letting them go, the Tenn Highwaay Patrol took them away for some hours, then finally cited them for criminal trespass. Wonderful system we have to grabbing kids who are overeducated and underemployed but decided to find out for themselves what free speech costs.

    Here in Alabama, they are rounding up illegals, putting them in the camps then using them for prison labor in the same fields they were working before except the middle men (say the counties and state) collect the pay. The US DoJ needs to wake up and quit doing piddly while the US Congress does nothing.

    I read Obama collected 5k a plate in SF while the people who voted him into office were being brutally assaulted in Oakland for exercising their rights to protest government corruption through political financing. The irony is too much to bear particularly here on a blog where he was sold as the last honest guy in the senate. So much for the media.

    Hillary Clinton for President.

  20. JTMcPhee says:

    (block) on the Hilary thing — sorry…

    Everybody’s competing to explain the #ows phenomenon. Blind Philosophers fondling their own private parts of the elephant, thinking they understand the whole. There is what to my mind is a thoughtful article in this week’s “New York” (not “New Yorker”):

    The SpinMeme is “frustration,” per the cautious triangulators. Everyone watches the polls for clues to the tidal movements, forgetting the broadcast delay and the steepening slants of the Leaning Towers of Pollza. Through a transparent glass, so very darkly. The corporatists whine about “uncertainty,” as their excuse for self-enrichment and -aggrandizement and the piling up of notional and nominal wealth, grounded in the levers they have created to move the nation’s, the world’s, Real Wealth from the wallets and accounts of workin’ folks to their own magicians’ purses.

    Frustration. Would that maybe be the new “draft,” in this ruling-elite-imposed, profit-and-hegemony-driven, fraud-grounded, one-sided class war of Girard-Perregaux choicey-ness? How many of the standers-around and sitters-upon and sleepers-beneath are Boomerangers, giving their heretofore fuddled Tea-bait parents an inkling of what their old age will really be like, sans Social Security, sans Medicare, sans housing, but with Junior and Junioress wanting, needing, their old rooms back? PGSD? Post-Graduation Successlessness Disorder? Kind of brings the war home…

    There’s a site that specializes in torture-by-jigsaw-puzzle, like “Little Red Riding Hood’s Hood,” 15,000 algorithm-generated, nearly identical red pieces, or a 4×8 foot “Where’s Waldo” or Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” Most of us are going to need new glasses to even try to make a whole picture out of this set of bits… Using Silly Putty, not cyanoacrylate, to try to stick the cracked and finally shattered Wedgwood melting pot back together. Anybody see a corner piece, or even a bit of an edge?

  21. len says:

    A similar depressed POV:

    And the downloads of my Ave Maria at Youtube are going vertical again. Not a good sign really.

  22. len says:

    Oops. Same article. Two different URLs. My bad….

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