Honor Among Rapists

We have entered a strange period in America, a time when most of us have begun to equate political leaning with ethical and moral belief systems. We seem to believe we can judge the goodness of heart, soundness of intent, and purity of will in another by simply viewing their voting pattern. And far, far too often, we are ready to excuse ethical lapses and moral turpitude when they are committed by those with whom we identify.

The issue of sexual assault in the military is the current best bad example, with people who ought to know better tripping over themselves trying to find justification and political leverage. Make no mistake, sexual assault in the military is a problem; females in the service are more likely (in some classes, as much as four times more likely) to be the victim of an assault than females outside of the military. And that really ought to be the sum of the problem; honor and discipline being paramount virtues of the military, there should never be an excuse or rationalization for the problem.

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Monday Musings: June 3, 2013

The RM will feature random thoughts from the desert today, as I am back in my ancestral home for the graduations of niece #1 (high school) and niece #4 (kindergarten).

From Facebook

Dick Cheney is upset about the encroachment of the government on people’s rights with regards to firearms. The man who shot a guy in the face is upset because elected officials tried to introduce a plan supported by a majority of NRA members and 90% of Americans (and which didn’t touch handguns, hunting rifles, or shotguns.) This is also the same guy who championed the destruction of our 4th Amendment rights via warrant-less wiretaps and the various other travesties of the Patriot Act. So in Cheney’s worldview, the government has the right to warrant-less search and seizure, but citizens have the right to shoot government agents as the enter to search and seize? We have embraced in our nation a sinister new vision of checks and balances.

From Fox News

Congressman Darrell Issa called White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar”…the notion of any politician labeling another a liar being enough to draw hearty chuckles from most Americans…but that is not my point. Former Obama adviser David Plough got off an incendiary blast against the Chief Scandal-Monger of the House, saying of Issa in a tweet; “Strong words from Mr. Grand Theft Auto and arsonist/insurance swindler.” Fox News had a panel on during the afternoon, one that we can all be sure was “fair and balanced”. Their assessment seemed to be that Issa might have been a bit harsh, but that Plough was way overboard because no charges were ever brought against Issa and the incidents were so long ago. That’s right friends…this is Fox News dismissing an item because it was neither topical nor related to the issue at hand.

From the Nexus of Sports and Politics

Longtime friends of the RM will know of my particular hatred of taxpayer funded stadiums, and this week we learned of a doozie. Chicago is closing 50 schools…the old funding chestnut rears its ugly head. In other news, Chicago is contributing $100 million to the building of a new arena for Depaul University. The Rational Middle has a few simple questions:

1. Why?

2. Why?

3. Why?

Seriously though…why? Why does Depaul need a new arena? Why doesn’t Depaul fund its own new arena? Why does Chicago have enough money to help build a basketball stadium for a college, but not enough to fund the basic public education that used to form the foundation for U.S. greatness? Emanuel offered a lame, conservative politician-like line of bullshit in defense of the move, speaking of the economic opportunity it would provide. And the economic loss caused by the closure of 50 schools? Not a word. I should sincerely hope that this incident marks the end of Emanuel’s career as a progressive politician. Maybe he can go to work for the Koch family.

The Rational Middle is listening…


Call Of Duty

I was thinking about my annual Memorial Day post, reading Facebook memes and historical pieces on the origin of the holiday, when I ran across an advertisement. The video game, Call of Duty, was reminding fans and potential fans of its existence. A so-called first-person shooter, Call of Duty is challenging, engrossing, and fun. It also features the type of realism that pleases the cynics and worries society. Or should worry society, at any rate.

It only requires a brief period of listening to the comments of players engaged in virtual combat to understand the depth of hostility and hatred that the game seems to capture and focus. From the mouths of babes and adults alike come an endless stream of death threats and a stunning variety of racial abuse. The line between fun and violence glorification has clearly been breached for many in games like these, and many critics have questioned what harm first-person shooters can do to society. I have questioned it myself, as one who has played (and enjoyed) the franchise, and as one who has fired (and enjoyed firing) an assault rifle.

But I don’t believe the game is the cause, and I don’t believe that random interpersonal violence is the dangerous effect.

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Sarah Palin noted when criticizing President Obama that “it doesn’t rain but it pours.”


It has been 40 years since a president was pushed out of office for (among other things) ordering a break-in at the offices of political opponents (he got out of trouble by quitting.) It has been some 30 years since a president escaped prosecution for selling both anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles to the Islamist Iranian government and using the proceeds to finance a civil war in Nicaragua (he got out of trouble by saying he had no recollection). A decade and a half has passed since a president was impeached for lying about the willful abuse of a cigar in the Oval Office (he got out of trouble by asking for both sex and is to be defined.)

Just 10 years have passed since the last President, and his Administration, made the conscious choice to lie the American people into a war with Iraq. In contrast to the previous scoundrels, the last President’s actions only cost us $1 trillion and 4,000 of our best people…far less important, evidently, than a blow job in the White House. And far less important than the barrage of earth-shattering scandals plaguing our current scoundrel.

Oh the humanity!

A Marine holding an umbrella over the head of the President. That dozens of pictures and videos show dozens of servicemen holding umbrellas over the head of every president in recent memory apparently makes no difference. Of course, a female Marine holding the umbrella over the President’s head would have been within the code, but I can only imagine the hysteria that would cause. All would be well in the hills and dales of our peaceful countryside if only that dammed Obama would hold his own umbrella. Sure.

Heavens to Cheney, make it stop!

The former co-president recently said that the Benghazi raid was one of the worst things he can remember in his life. Having received no less than 7 deferments from military service in Viet Nam, it is easy to believe he holds no bad memories from then. But this is a guy who (along with Rumsfeld) helped sell Iran a nuclear reactor, and then watched the country taken by Khomeni…that had to be rough. He was a congressman when terrorists attacked a diplomatic compound in Lebanon  killing 241 Americans. This is a guy who personally supervised the first Gulf War…a lot of death and destruction in that deal. Finally, this is a guy who was the Vice President of the United States on a bright September day when the national security structure of our nation failed to keep us safe (to the tune of 3,000 dead and billions in damage.) One would assume that incident was traumatic. Oh yeah, and the ten (10) attacks on U.S. embassies or consulates that occurred when he was the Vice President of the United States; one might assume they were at least irritants to the man.

I almost forgot…Obama wasn’t the President during any of the above mentioned incidents.

But he was the President when the I.R.S. began targeting political organizations who oppose taxes, and who openly offer support to individuals in attempts to evade taxes, and who have applied for non-profit status to avoid paying taxes. I would call that an agency doing its job…but I guess profiling is only good when it is used on those “other people”.

And Sarah Palin says that it doesn’t rain, but it pours. And she says it as a part of more criticism of the President; the President that has persisted in doing his duty in the face of opposition so cynical and ridiculous that it looks like a Saturday Night Live skit come to life. Which is appropriate given Mrs. Palin’s own (ex) career. Lest we forget, the person that used the 2008 campaign as a machine for thrusting her family into celebrity, and several hundred thousand dollars of clothing into their wardrobe is a quitter.

When scandal threatened her administration, she took a flier. Sarah Palin clearly didn’t get the memo; sometimes the rain never stops, and sometimes the floods come. Real Americans wade through the detritus and start again; real Americans don’t like quitters. I suspect the Ex-Half-Term’s egg timer is about to ding.


The Rational Middle is listening…