Jan 11

LBJ: Great President or Greatest President?


Yet another example (previously) as to why LBJ was awesome.  When the man needed pants, he got himself pants.  In the above, LBJ contacts Bill Haggar, the son of the Texas-based pants company patriarch, to order new pants.  The audio is presumably from the same audio recording system,  that would later take down Nixon.  The animation was commisioned by the folks at Put this on.

Listen to it, at the very least to hear Johnson reference his “nuts” and “bunghole”.  Via Guy Kawasaki.

Nov 10

Fickle Americans and “Gate Rape”

Attention, information, knowledge and awareness can be amazing things (photo from Jon Gruber’s flickr stream)..

Touchy Touchy

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Mar 10

Yes, Ronald Reagan Belongs on Our Currency

Let me start off by saying that Reagan is the President of my youth, the President that as a child I trusted to keep the missiles from falling, who grieved the astronauts, and who “ at the time, I thought “ single-handedly defeated communism.   You can solidly put me down in the   “not a fan  column.   Yet I still think he deserves a place on our currency.


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Aug 09

Tortured Logic

Military personnel accused of   ‘torture’   often claim they were just ‘following orders’.     During the court martials at Nuremberg after World Was II, ‘just following orders’ didn’t cut it (just like “ignorance of the law is no excuse”).   Nuremberg focused on the planners of the depravity:

The case as presented by the United States will be concerned with the brains and authority back of all the crimes. These defendants were men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood. They were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders without whose evil architecture the world would not have been for so long scourged with the violence and lawlessness, and wracked with the agonies and convulsions, of this terrible war.

Attorney General Eric Holder seems to disagree, choosing to let the architects walk.

Most of these guys have every reason to believe that they were given legal orders.   Every time something like this comes up, the commanding officer walks and the grunt breaks rocks.   That is fundamentally unfair.     PFC Smith is not a Constitutional scholar, expert in international treaty, or military interrogations.     He’s told over and over to follow orders, gets told that the Dept. of Justice said its okay, and he dutifully follows those orders.     Then, when the event becomes public, they get hung out to dry.

You heard about Lt. William Calley – the guy from My Lai. He was ordered to light up that village, and then when the investigation was completed, his commanding office skips out and Calley does time.     Meanwhile, Nixon’s cronies get the right all riled up about persecuting the troops – read up on “Die Götterdämmerung” for the origin of that idea, with Nixon later pardoning Calley.   Fast forward 40-years, and Callie speaks his truth:

He did not deny what had happened that day, but did repeatedly make the point ” which he has made before ” that he was following orders.

Calley explained he had been ordered to take out My Lai, adding that he had intelligence that the village was fortified and would be “hot  when he went in. He also said the area was submitted to an artillery barrage and helicopter fire before his troops went in. It turned out that it was not hot and there was no armed resistance. But he had been told, he said, that if he left anyone behind, his troops could be trapped and caught in a crossfire.

Callie got screwed because he trusted his superior officer and followed orders.   That’s what we want our soldiers to do.   They are absolutely dependent on good leadership by their superiors in the field, at the Pentagon, and in the White House.

Don’t get me wrong. My wife. My kids. I’m not willing to say that IO as an individual would not torture. I know the consequences, and it’s my decision. It’s another deal altogether when sanctioned by your country. It starts blurring the line between us and them.

The stuff we’re going to start hearing about isn’t about soldiers. It’s Psychologists. Doctors. Contractors. Mercenaries. Other ‘torture-friendly’ countries who we paid off.   This is the stuff that makes more terrorists.   This is the kind of stuff that kills our troops.   Instead of going after those who put those soldiers at risk, we go after those who were just ‘following orders’.

Jun 09

James Von Brunn, Renaissance Man

I can’t tell you how weird it is to see “elderly white supremacist” in print?   We’ve now found that he also dabbled in the arts (via BoingBoing).   TPM has a very complete bio as well as a collection of his various diatribes from around the internet.

Prior to his assualt on the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, we see that von Brunn gave away his computer and similarly appears to have transferred ownership of his website and domain on June 1st to Steve Reiminick, who has an interesting Ron Paul connection.   “When white people are provoked, some of them will snap,  said John de Nugent in this ABC video on the Raw Replay.   Apparently having Obama in the White House pushed the crazies over the edge.   FoxNews’ Shepherd Smith said the Right Wing Extremist report was right on the money.   Conservative websites have been busy scrubbing the blood from their hands, while the GOP pundits bob and weave, hanging on to the “lone wingnut theory”.   An acquaintance of Von Brunn,   John de Nugent,   has stated that “responsible white separatists” should condemn von Brunn’s action. So far, I’ve seen the attack blamed on economic despair, Muslims, and taxes.