Archive | November, 2012

Must Be Air Popped

27 Nov

This morning three Republican senators on the intelligience committee (profoundly ironic) came out of a meeting requested by Amb. Susan Rice, whose innacurate early accounts of the Benghazi attack on tv news shows were compared by one of them, Lindsay Graham, to the Iran-Contra affair, to give statements to the press (big surprise).

But it isn’t Graham’s ridiculous statement, where he compares relaying incorrect information, after first cautioning that it was early in the investigative process and that information might change, with a series of felony crimes committed at the highest levels of government, or Senator McCain’s desprerate attempt to create a select committee with him at the head, so as to maintain his power in the Senate after January 1st, when term limits on his chairmanship will render him irrelevant.

What I found interesting was the demeanor of the third and most junior Senator, Kelly Ayotte.  She was scared. Either that or she really had to pee. Normally, she is poised in front of the cameras, but she seemed nervous and cornered.

Is she fearful this is a mistake politically, to try to run the standard “borking” of a potential cabinet appointee at a time when Americans want Congress to deal with fiscal issues?

Ayotte, who is young and theoretically has a political future, is following some old farts down a bad road. She is participating in yet another attack on an Obama appointee that is a person of color. Although the President invited Senators McCain and Graham to “come after me” they lack the guts, or for that matter, anything to actually go after him about. What the Republicans have done is go after every Obama appointee that is black. Starting with Van Jones, then Shirley Shirrod, AG Eric Holder and now Susan Rice.

So they run this tired old game on Ambassador Rice. Once again in 2012, the republicans seem to think it’s 1992. Rally the old white men!

Ayotte fears attacking another black Obama appointee, and a woman, continues to marginalize her party. With Lindsay Graham blowing the racial dog whistle, questioning openly the intelligience of Ambassador Rice, a Rhodes scholar, compared to Graham himself, a lawyer with an undergrad degree in Psych from South Carolina.

Indeed Senator Ayotte is nervous. She’s following the same playbook that saw her party boot chances to gain the Senate in the last two cycles. She may be having a hard time holding the line, something Republicans always do, when she sees oblivion on the horizon. 

Senator McCain is old, will always be a war hero, and he’s proven to be most adept at shifting positions. And after he finally loses a primary challenge from the right, Senator Graham can retire and then gracefully come out of the closet and write his memoir.

But Ayotte is young, she’s only been in the Senate since 2010.

She could simply disappear, as demographics indicate her current party eventually will.

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“How can a brown Cow eat green grass and give white milk?” 

This was the question posed to me by my father when I was a child. It has troubled me these many years.

And finally I found the answer, from the only place it could come, my childhood.

Saturday morning I tivo’ed Rawhide in order to hear the theme song. For some reason, I felt like hearing it again, and there in the verses I found the answer to the question “How can a brown cow eat green grass and give white milk?”

Movin’, movin’, movin’, though they’re disapprovin’, keep those dogies movin’, Rawhide!

Don’t try to understand ’em, just ride ’em, rope and brand ’em….

And there it is, there’s the answer to the age old question….just get the milk, fool!

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Several predominately white Southern states have shown an interest in secession. A quick use of the Google shows these states, as are most red states, are takers.

They depend on taking more money from the federal government than they pay in.

I say, let these welfare states like Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia go! Not only can we use the money we spend supporting these unproductive states to close the debt, but we can tax goods going in to them and get some of the money that taxpayers in states like Massachusetts and California have sent them. Just so they could produce substandard educational systems and provide inadequate healthcare to their citizens.

Money sent to red states finds its way into the pockets of fat cats.

I say let them go.

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Said to the press by Sen. Lindsay Graham this morning;  “Sometimes you’re pressured into giving an answer, but if you don’t know, you just shouldn’t answer the question.”

While he appeared to be talking about Ambassador Rice and Meet the Press, I thought I heard someone in the background yell out…”Senator, are you gay?”

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If America as a whole ranks 17th in educational acheivement, where does Mississippi rank against countries like Cuba and Viet Nam?

More Unpopped Kernels

21 Nov

Just finished watching a rerun of the Daily Show from Nov. 7th. Say what you want about politics, the presence of the truly bat shit crazy on the national stage, while it may endanger the very future of mankind’s survival on this planet,  may be worth it just for the jokes.

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A few days after the election I saw a blurb about an industry study that said America would be the world’s largest exporter of energy by 2020. I’m skeptical about the energy boom. Beyond the need to get off fossil fuels for the sake of the planet, it just seems like a hustle. Suddenly we have all these new energy sources. Well yeah, as long as you’re willing to pay these kind of prices, we can make money getting this stuff out of the ground.

It’s all predicated on being willing to pay the ever rising cost of a fossil fuel economy.

This fracking stuff seems sketchy, as well. Fracking replaces the oil and gas in the ground with fresh water, and some chemicals.

Well, if you think about it, we’re already paying more for designer bottled water than gasoline. As water becomes more and more scarce, something you can see happening, we’ll be trying to force it out of the ground using gas and oil.

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Some things are going to change. Newscorp, owner of Fox News, is in trouble in Britain and thanks to Jimmy Carter,  they likely will be here eventually. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed under the Carter Administration, opens Newscorp up to all kinds of Justice Dept. investigation, as the crimes they commited in the UK, phone hacking, bribery, murder, ok, not murder but bad stuff, make there way accross the pond. And they will, they will, mwah, hah, hah, hah.

I like the Brits. Scooter Libby got his sentence commuted for outing a covert agent. In the UK, Rebekah Brooks is accused of approving the tapping of Posh Beckham’s phone, and is facing thirth years in jail!

Now that is how you run a goddam empire!

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Heard a good one.

Is Mitt Romney the current Republican party’s Hubert Humphrey?

The retread guy that was kind of inevitable but that the party base just wasn’t really too excited about? A guy identified with the same old establishment type party apparatchiks.

Tired old blood?

It leads to an interesting question.

Will the Republicans follow up their Hubert Humphrey in the next cycle by nominating their version of George McGovern?

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More trouble in the Mideast. Why do Palestinian militants fire rockets into Israel from Gaza? Is it as simple as the inevitable Israeli response will cause collateral damage, ensuring future generations will carry on the feud.

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People are seriously running up the price of Twinkies on Ebay? How humans survived evolutionary forces is a mystery to me. It never fails that if you can imagine something incredibly stupid, someone will have already have posted the video on youtube.

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I have a lot of friends that are passionate about protecting their Second Amendment rights. Personally, I think they are trending toward paranoia bordering on the ridiculous with an infusion of bat shit to give the finish a nice acidity, but I appreciate what they are doing. Slippery slope, ever vigilant and all that.

So thanks, appreciate it.

I’ll go ahead and try to keep a lid on all the currently elected American politicians who have said repeatedly that their aim and purpose is to bring an end to Social Security and Medicare, and you can protect me from a UN based one world governmental heirarchy bent on disarming us.

Thanks.

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I think it was Republican senator Lindsay Graham that first suggested the President send Bill Clinton to the Mideast to negotiate a peace deal. Now I see libs taking the bait.

Bubba spent most of the last year of his presidency trying to get a Mideast peace deal. I don’t think he’s going to swoop in and save the day here. And neither does Graham. They see this going badly and they want the administration tarred with anything bad that goes down vis a vis Egypt and it’s new Prime Minister.

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Senator John McCain seems determined to find his way into the news cycle if he has to destroy the almost non existent credibility he still had. Think about it, this guy can not refrain from giving the President a daily lecture, veins popping from his head to cool a brain that is ready to boil over with……..sternness. He has such certitude, even though a quick recap of very recent history demonstrates he is always proven wrong. He’s increasingly just a complete gasbag that failed to recognize his time on the stage had long passed.

The National Debt and the Holographic Principle II.

21 Nov

It’s just out there, like a boogeyman, just out of your peripheral line of sight. It’s the National Debt. The amount we owe, collectively as a nation, to our creditors. It’s like a massive Visa bill you somehow ran up over the last seventy five years and now you can’t even wrap your mind around how you can ever pay it down.

And like boogeymen, all that fear is unwarranted. Because the national debt is just that; a boogeyman. There’s only one time when you hear about the debt. When Democrats have the White House. It’s a boogey man, brought out to scare the bejesus out of the credulous, drive some cattle into the pens, you know, bidness as usual.

Ok, you’re probably thinking wait a minute, we really did borrow that money and we really do have to pay it back.

Yes. We do. But when, and more importantly, how?

Firstly, we aren’t going to pay it off with taxes. You’ve seen those debt clock things.Think about it, when you look at the amount owed by each and every American family and how it grows, it doesn’t take a genius to see that if you hit individuals or businesses with high enough taxes to pay it down at an accelerated rate, the economy would grind to a halt. You can’t tax your way out of it. And if you try to do it by cutting spending, you quickly realize that the sizeable cuts to the budget required would negatively effect the economy, shifting massive costs onto state governments that are in no way up to the task.

So how do you pay it off? With growth. In times of economic expansion you devote a greater part of the yearly budget toward paying off the debt.  You must resist the pressure to cut taxes or otherwise line the pockets of special interests with excess funds, but it isn’t rocket science. It’s accounting. It’s a year to year thing, and what counts is not the point you are at, but the aiming point of where you are headed, and the confidence folks have in your marksmanship.

And so, naturally, it stands to reason that there is a time to borrow, and the time to run up the debt is when there is a; a need and b; favorable market conditions.

The need to run up the debt would be a time of low demand for goods and services. Lagging growth in the private sector slowing the economy. A recession. Hmm….sound familiar?  And favorable market conditions occur when there is a strong demand for US Treasuries. That makes for low interest for the borrower.

Low and behold we are living through a Perfect Storm for running up the debt. Oh, but wait, there’s politics involved in the process of allocating collective resources.  Get the boogeyman out boys, there’s fear to monger!

So you’re still scared by the debt, even though I promise to you that if you just use Google, you will discover at light speed that in the last thirty plus years, Republican presidents always preside over increases in the national debt, regardless of economic conditions? That alone should tell a person this is all just a load of crap. Just as sure as they’ll try to stop a colored person from voting, a Republican administration regards deficit spending of such small consequence that they treat it like a private honeypot.

OK, if that isn’t enough to convince you of the relatively benign nature of the debt, let’s try something easier. Theoretical Physics.

There is a theory called The Holographic Principle.  It has to do with black holes, what a singularity actually is and whether or not gravity could make matter dissapear and Shatner’s in there somewhere and some stuff about light years….you get the picture.

Anyway, after some braniac moments it leads to a very interesting question:  If you’re looking at a full moon, and you turn your back to it…is the moon still there when you can no longer see it?

Obviously, there is evidence that it is, like your shadow, but is it really still there? More and more, scientists are beginning to suspect that it isn’t. It has to do with how the littlest of particles that comprise the universe only behave in the predictable manner that produces the universe we know when we observe them.

But when we’re not looking, they do all kinds of crazy shit. 

So it only stands to reason that when you’re no longer looking at the moon, it is doing some crazy shit too, and then reassembles itself as soon as you look at it. It’s almost as if the Man in the Moon is laughing at us behind our backs.

Insane, right. But true. So true that the guys who put men on the moon are now looking for the fundamental membrane that this three dimensional holograph we call “real life” is projected on. And if you think that’s just nonsense consider…billions are being invested in this science.

Quick refresher course; What talks? Good. And what walks. Right again, nice work.

You can’t really expain this to someone in real terms unless you both have outrageous math skills. But it’s true. If you will choose to believe the guys that put men on the moon over your neighbor with the rebel flag mailbox.

Only a theoretical physicist can work the the math and experimentation behind all this. All you or I can do is offer up analogies, and then ask people to use a combination of careful fact based consideration and their natural bullshit meter to realize you’re telling them the truth. Kind of like you need them to do with climate change.

And the same is true about the National Debt. You really need an analogy. I’ve read a little about economics. Not any actual economics per se, that’s over my head and pretty dry stuff, but about economics. Theoretical stuff. I sort of grasp the difference between John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman. I have a friend who’s an economist. So what the hell, I’ll take a stab at it.

Here’s the situation; You’re in tough shape. Work is slack, pay is low, and you’re carrying beaucoup debt. You’re working, your job is steady, you know it will pick up. The boss likes you, so you know that if you just keep showing up and working hard, your problems aren’t solved, but you can hold it together while you try to work it out. Except you can see a problem that is going to mess you up. Your wheels. You need your car desperately to earn a living, and you know it’s on it’s last legs. You’ve got blue smoke coming out the tailpipe and it sounds like something is starting to knock. So besides your four bald tires and the high price of gas, which your ’85 K Car guzzles, you lack anything like the cash it would take to keep this peice of junk running. And you have no downstroke and no way can you afford car payments, but, what the hell, you do have good credit, why not just fall by the dealer and see what up.

So you hit the lot and the salesman says, “You don’t have good credit, you have great credit! The best!  You can get the car you want no money down.”

Yeah, but you just can’t afford the payments, how can you afford the payments?

And that’s when the credit manager comes out, and shows you that the rates on car loans are so low, that you can borrow at at rate that, over the years, will result in you paying less for the car than today’s sticker price! It’s a deal to good to be true, only for the first time in your life, it is true!

So what do you do?

Duh!?!   You buy the freaking car! You’ll save money immediately on gas and repairs that you can apply to your monthly payment, the rest you can figure out, a second job maybe, but the bottom line is, you’ll be working because you have a dependable car!

You are being given an opportunity to work your way out of your current problems via credit.

And it’s the same with the national debt. We can’t afford not to run up the debt right now! Market conditions have never been so favorable, and clearly there is need. Dire need.

All of our greatest landmarks, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Empire State Building, and many of those jewels of smaller stature that are treasured by us, our great civil engineering projects, were done during the Great Depression. Just like Lincoln, who chose during the Civil War to build a transcontinental railway, times of travail demand large, heroic decisions made by men and women with steel in their gizzards.

The investors of the world are begging, please, to invest in the future of the United States. We are the economic bedrock of the world.

But we will only take action, we will only commit ourselves to rebuilding the infrastructure of the nation, the power grid, high speed rail, solar and wind power generation, the r and d, if we understand that the national debt is like the moon.

It’s real, it’s there, but it’s just not exactly what we think it is. Unless we look at it. Unless we add it up and look at the bottom line. Turn away, who know’s what it is.

Other than something we don’t need to fear.

Credit is something to be put to work. They talk about running government like a business. Now’s the time.

The Way Back.

20 Nov

After the Great Recession the economy is arrow pointed up again. We see some evidence of growth in the hardest hit sectors like housing and the resultant careful optimism on the part of the citizenry.

But that’s really all you can say. We know the recovery is weak, we are still in a vulnerable state. A double dip, or at least another period of mild correction, is a fifty fifty proposition.

Stop to consider, after the crash of ’29, the markets did not fully recover until the early fifties. We probably won’t fully recover from this latest calamity by 2016.

Political gridlock will not help. One of the political parties choosing to represent it’s political aims in the context of make believe thinking doesn’t help. And a populace that to a large extent has bought into a worldview that really doesn’t reflect global realities but instead is centered on a kind of foam finger “We’re No.1” pop culture perception really doesn’t help.

There may be cause for hope. The chasm between the US and the rest of the world in terms of economic development is not so great as it was when Richard Nixon visited China. At a time when the largest, most populace nation on earth was vitually a peasant economy, the biggest thing in the United States was the Pet Rock.

At five bucks a piece.            In 1970’s dollars.

Back to back bubble economies, two wars (they really do cost money, just like they always did) , the housing collapse and all the subsequent damage to the economy, most importantly the personal economies of all the families suddenly dumped out of the middle class and into poverty, you don’t have to go very far to find somebody who will agree with you that times are not good.

And that doesn’t help either because even when times are good, forty pecent of the people will tell you we’re in for big trouble just ahead.

Let’s just agree to one thing; we don’t need another bubble. Let’s agree that we need to find a new economic backbone. We need a reset. We need to retrain workers for the jobs of tommorw, of course, but what the hell are tomorrows job’s!

We’re a consumer based economy. How many robotic assembly green energy factory software developers and hardware technicians are we really going to need in the brave new world?

If history is any judge, not enough to keep up with population growth, and less of them to do more work every year. So what do we do? In a consumer based economy how do you create enough good paying jobs for people that are not career oriented, highly driven entrepeneurial spirits, but rather, ordinary people that whose lives are centered on their families?

 The folks that would rather spend weekends raising their kids than working six days and spending hours more in commute, hours more at home dealing with work creeping into homelife. Folks who just want to have a decent home, in a safe neighborhood, with a school for the kids that works like it should.

Let’s just agree to be honest about the future. We only need so many highly skilled, highly trained, cutting edge techno-futurist wonder workers in any new economy.

Regular people need regular jobs.

Unfortunately, regular jobs turned into jobs that pay squat somewhere along the way. Jobs that keep hard working people poor if they don’t get out of them.

It’s relatively simple, how it got this way. It’s the way wealth is disributed throughout the economy. And by that I don’t mean people sitting on bags of money, although a few do, but rather the structure of our economy that keeps so much money out of people’s pockets for no good reason.

Growing up, I remember how my friend’s dad might work in a men’s clothing store or a shoe store and provide a decent middle class life for his family.

So if this is a consumer economy, then why not look to the retail sector to provide those jobs again? Oh no, you can’t, you couldn’t, cost of goods would go through the roof! Think so. What if not.

What if not?

What if WalMart paid a minimum salary of 25K? Imagine the economic growth! Bear in mind, people who make 25K put most of that money right back into the economy. It’s entry level middle class.

But what would it cost?    Please read on;

http://www.demos.org/publication/retails-hidden-potential-how-raising-wages-would-benefit-workers-industry-and-overall-ec

The Church of Tubular Salvation

10 Nov

Being as it’s the weekend, I have some work, thank God. Or maybe more appropriately, I should thank the Beatles, Elvis and Chubby Checker. So not too much blogging will get done today. There are strings to change, guitars to polish and tubes to obsess over.

Tubes. Something the average 21st Century citizen of Liferaft Earth doesn’t encounter, like ever. Back in the day, but no more. Ya’ll are digital semiconductor solid state toroidal powered transformerless technology dependent, and so am I.

But I also need tubes. Tubes. Thermionic valves for the international audience.

I need tubes to make my music real. I can’t do it with simulations. I can’t do it with digital approximations, no matter how many times they are sampled per second.

Now, an audio engineer will tell you that it’s because of the pleasant sounding natural compression that a tube applies to a signal just before it distorts, but it’s much more than that.

It’s fractal. Like a tree. We’ve all noticed how if you cut off a small shoot from the branch of a tree and hold it up and look at it, it looks like a little tree. And if you cut a little shoot off that shoot and look at it under a magnifying glass, it looks like a littler tree, and so on.

Same with a tube. If you look at it’s signal on smaller and smaller scales, it will always be musical, it will always be a littler and littler tree down to the atomic level. (Till you hit the quantum level, then everything is all fucked up and nothing  works like it should which proves the immutable law that governs our existence;   Wherever you go, there you are.)

Audio engineers have done remarkable work, using fractals, to create models of tubes. Heirin after we will refer to these people as The Evil Usurpers (Sorry Democrats, taken.) And if you’re listening to a CD, if you’re in a recording studio or any other kind of wholesome environment, riding in your car even, the Evil Usurpers have won (how ironic)! Put me in a studio and blindfold me and I can’t tell the difference between a ’65 Blackface Twin and an iPad, but in a nightclub, totally different story.

In a nightclub, digital recreations just don’t cut it , you must use real tubes!

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s the ozone created by the glowing tubes combining with the fragrance molecules from the beer mixed with the pheromones produced by human sexual attraction that creates a 3 dimensional sonic canvas that more effectively carries the sound waves of rock and roll, and country, and heavy metal (but not jazz).

I don’t know, that’s one theory.

But I think it’s something much more spiritual. Something you can’t explain with that kind of scientic analysis. It is something spiritual, something that I know but I can’t describe.

There is only one analogy……swearing in church.

Swearing in church. If you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean. Something in the way it sounds and you know immediately……..

I won’t do that again.

Unpopped Kernels

10 Nov

Just a couple of things rattling around;

At some point I’m sure I’ll want to touch on one of my passions, which is football. Or should I say American football? While that sounds like some kind of lefty, europhile play for approval, I think it really does a much better job of describing the essence of the game to call it American football. I believe football is the great metaphor for our nation. It displays our most admired spiritual  charachteristics, demonstrates the marvel that is our brains and bodies.

American football epitomizes the virtue of sacrifice. On the professional level, it even mirrors our politics and the balance we try to strike between individual freedom and social collectivism.

But enough for now, I’ve got more meat for that bone, but we’ll get to it later on.

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“That juice isn’t worth the sqeeze.” A member of Mitt Romey’s GOTV effort told the media when asked what he thought of the Obama campaign’s college campus outreach in Ohio, which included live bands rockin’ it while buses loaded kids up to go vote!

“That juice isn’t worth the squeeze.”

I hope this anonymous campaign hack is haunted by this quote. Forever.

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Notice how every other new cable drama series theme song seems to be built around a swampy, throaty dobro slide guitar lick?

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Charles Krauthammer is bat shit crazy. He wrote in the Washington Post that his party’s problem isn’t opposing abortion even in the case of rape or the life of the mother, but rather talking about it…..indelicately. Just be a little more genteel when telling a woman that being raped was God’s plan for her life. Speak softly and don’t forget to put your hands in your lap and sink your shoulders so you look like you feel her pain.

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Tim Tebow was voted most overrated by his fellow players for the second time….this season!

Jesus, I mean Geez, that’s got to hurt!

Thing is Timmy is the perfect hybrid of a high motor, low skill H back, and a bad quarterback.

His success in the NFL reminds me of Tom Matte. Tom was a slow footed halfback whose only other fault was he was not that big. He was the Baltimore Colts emergency quarterback, and when injury struck and he was the only man left standing, he rallied his team and led them to a playoff for a berth in the NFL Championship game. He lost, but it was thrilling.

Timmys done that, also. And now the arc of his career is taking on that of Tom Matte. Only Tom Matte eventually got back on the field as the Colts utility back. I don’t think Tebow will see the field much unless it’s because of injury. And I don’t see any success there.

Tebow Time becomes Outta Time before you know it.

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I remember a kid in about the seventh or eighth grade telling us about his crazy cousins that had visited over the weekend. “They don’t believe in dinosaurs or cavemen. They said there’s no dinosaurs or cavemen in the Bible. If it’s not in the Bible, it didn’t happen!”

We all laughed, having learned about fossils in school. We were just kids, what did we know.

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Saw the photos of Paula Broadwell, the biographer and confidante of Gen. Dave Petraeus. The General’s wife is an accomplished woman named Holly.

I’d like to speak directly to her;   Ma’am, I saw the picture of the woman who slept with your husband and ruined his career, and I must say……….

………..Are You Blind!?! Did you see the woman travelling around with your husband? C’mon, nobody should trust their husband with a woman like that! It isn’t natural!

Ladies, if you’re suspect your husband may be sleeping with a woman but you don’t want to confront him cuz, ya know, you may be batshit, there is an easy test. You get the woman’s picture and look in her eyes.

If her eyes say “Of course, I’m fucking him!” then you know.

Don’t believe me, get out a celebrity magazine and look at the picture of any actress or model that’s been involed in a high profile affair.

See. Told you.

General Disarray

9 Nov

Hot on the story of the Genera David Petraeus sex scandal, as it rolls into Paula Broadwell, his biographer and close personal friend who is being investigated by the FBI for potential national security breaches. Holy crap, tall about hero to goat.

Although when you think about it, Dave Petraeus has kind of skated with a lot of props on Iraq, when nothing was really solved and the situation there deteriorates, and Afghanistan, where the “surge” just flat did not work. Counterinsurgency tactics don’t work there. Nothing works there.

Then off to CIA to preside over it’s assumption of many things that previously would have required DoD involvement, like drone strinking American citizens (albeit radicals that I would gladly cap myself….so far).

And Benghazi, which although the CIA will take it’s lumps, I don’t think is fair to put on them.

Holy Crap. King David goes down hard!