Thursday, February 22, 2018

American Police State: School Zone

A couple years ago while walking Jerusalem's Old City, I stumbled upon a children's Purim party. Watching over the costumed children having fun were two uniformed men carrying automatic weapons. It was a bizarre sight, young children running around laughing while soldiers stood over them to prevent religious extremists from slaughtering the innocent.

It's a social deformity that Republicans want to bring to schools around the United States.

Of course, there are differences between Israel and the US.
  • Israel is at war with Palestinian terrorists; Americans just love guns so much they want everybody to have them all the time everywhere.
  • Israel uses highly trained professionals (soldiers, police); Americans just want to pass guns out to underpaid teachers and hope they will figure out what to do.
  • Israel treats a rare school shooting as a national tragedy; in America it's just another Tuesday.
  • Israel has strict gun laws; America has more guns than people and acts like guns are more important than people.
America the Beautiful?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The American Slaughter

Another day, another mass shooting.
The Numbers
Americans die annually of gun violence (15,590 in 2017) at a rate close to the worst year of the Vietnam War (16,899 in 1968). Americans were outraged at the carnage of that war while this home front war butchery is accepted by most as routine.

During the entire nine year Iraq War 4,424 Americans dies. That many Americans die by guns (96 per day) every seven weeks in this country.

The Non-Debate
We are told repeatedly that discussing gun control immediately after a tragedy is "too soon" but after 48 hours it becomes too late as there is probably another mass shooting to be too soon to talk about. There have been thirty mass shootings in the first 45 days of 2018.

Suffer the Children
Children are special targets. In 2017, a quarter of those shot to death (3,966) were aged 17 or younger.

School Shootings
There have been seven school shooting in the first seven weeks of 2018, killing 20 and wounding 39. There were 226 throughout the entire one hundred years of the 20th century. So far in the 21st century we are only 14 shy of matching that total.

The Constitution Is a Suicide Pact
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Why is it that nobody reads the first half of the Second Amendment?

The Predictable Outcome
  • NRA politicians will vomit their standard "thoughts and prayers" although they likely gave neither a second thought nor a first prayer.
  • Liberal politicians will declare that "something must be done" and then do nothing.
  • Whatever gun caused the latest bloodshed will see its sales skyrocket as collector fetishists demand the newest celebrity firearm while wannabe mass murderers want something with proven killing potential.
  • Rinse off the blood and wait too short a time for the next one.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Hope Hicks Is a Bit of a Slag

I had something else planned but I can't help noticing that Trump's Communications Director appears to be sleeping her way through an awful lot of Trump's staff.
Hicks was a model.
First there was the creepy story of Trump openly calling Hicks the "best piece of tail" Corey Lewandowski every had. Then came the news that Hicks is shagging serial wife abuser Rob Porter. As the cherry on top of this disgusting sundae is the rumor that Trump has an unnatural relationship with her.

I know this is slut shaming and I should be above such abhorrent behavior, but apparently not.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Trump's Wittle Parade

What Trump wants is to stand on an elevated platform...
like Kim Jung Un
probably joyishly applauding...
Stalin at a Soviet May Day parade
while tanks rumble down American streets...
Putin's tanks
like Washington D. C. was some occupied foreign capital.
Americans in Baghdad
He'll probably order American soldiers to goose step in parade because it's so showy.
Almost like the Rockettes.
Then again, maybe there will be one brave American patriot to show the world what freedom is really all about.
Beijing, 1989

Monday, February 05, 2018

'If This Be Treason, Make the Most of It'

Donald Trump today called Democrats "treasonous" for not applauding him at the State of the Union.

The first American legislator to be accused of treason for expressing his liberty from oppression was the great patriot Patrick Henry.

Damn good company for Democrats, I think. Damn good company indeed.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Stalin Is Rolling In His Grave

Old Joe Stalin knew how to purge government bureaus of their dedicated and honest workers and replace them with idiot sycophants. His show trials (this video about the 1938 Bukharin trial is worth a watch) displayed how to paint loyal patriots as traitorous scum. Even that other Joseph (McCarthy) knew to use public congressional hearings to slander innocent government employees.

But, a lightweight four page memo? Stalin's ghost is embarrassed.

Within the Fox-Breitbart echo chamber the Nunes memo will continue to be all the proof they need of treason most foul. Within the MSNBC-HuffPost echo chamber, where I live, this memo is such a nothingburger it is an insult to the very concept of nothingness.  To the people outside either chamber the 1300-word memo's convoluted vagueness will likely land like a wet turd in mud.
In chess the threat is often stronger than the execution. ~ Grandmaster Aron
Trump's mistake was making the memo public. He should have kept it secret, blamed the secrecy on the FBI, and used it as the excuse for his FBI purge. As a secret, the memo contained all the conspiracies the human mind can imagine. Joe McCarthy knew this when he fabricated his secret list of "205 communists" in the State Department. Kept secret, it painted the entire department as treasonous.

Making the memo public robs it of its power. In the open, there is not enough there to justify show trials and purges. If anything, now people will want to see the Steele dossier for themselves and its continuing secrecy will be even more intriguing.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Soiled Doves of the West

In the 19th century, opportunities for a woman were limited. In the upper class, she was expected to learn needlepoint and marry well. A working class woman could hope for a job as a cook, maid, or servant or find herself in the hellish work of a sweatshop.
These women were paid about 50 cents a day.
Abused wives and daughters and women seeking adventure could run away and choose a different path out West where the opportunities were nearly limitless. But in a society where there were four men to every woman, a popular employment (at least popular for the men) was a career as a sex worker.

The Madams
The pimp is mostly a 20th century invention. From New Orleans to San Francisco and north to the Yukon goldfields, almost every brothel was own and operated by a woman who had grown wealthy plying the trade.

Jennie Rogers (right) was a statuesque beauty who became wealthy running one of the best houses in Denver. Jennie was not above blackmailing her clients to finance her upscale house.

Another madam, Mattie Silks (left), had a famous duel with a woman who had flirted with her lover. Mattie and her opponent, Katie Fulton, stripped to the waist, paced off, turn and fired. The only person shot was the man they were fighting over.

Mattie was a very successful businesswoman, owning brothels in both Denver and Dodge City. Her name was linked to a stylish type of boot and she endorsed a pearl handled dagger for women to carry for protection.

Pearl de Vere (real name unknown) showed up in Colorado as Mrs. Martin and adopted her pseudonym upon opening her upscale brothel in Cripple Creek. Hers was one of the swankiest parlors east of San Francisco, only the wealthiest mine owners could afford her girls.

Ladies with Nicknames
Big-Nose Kate (Mária Katalin Horony) pictured with her notorious lover Doc Holiday. She ran away from her foster home as a young teen and worked in the brothel owned by Bessie Earp, wife of Wyatt's older brother James.

Squirrel Tooth Alice (Libby Haley Thompson) was kidnapped by Comanche raiders at the age of 10. Ransomed three years later, she was ostracized by the good citizens of Bolton, Texas as used goods. At the age of 14, she ran away to Abilene where she worked in dance halls along the Chisholm Trail as a performer and prostitute before establishing her own brothel. She is pictured with one of her pet prairie dogs.
Calamity Jane (Martha Jane Canary) did, occasionally, engage in prostitution for extra cash but she is most noteworthy for showing what work was available to women in the West. She was an army scout during the Indian Wars.

The Working Life
Working women chopping wood in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
Sex work is never glamorous. The hours are long. The customers in mining camps are numerous and smelly. In the cheap cribs of San Francisco's Barbary Coast or Los Angeles' Hell's Half Acre a woman might have to service 30 men a night for less than a dollar each.

It was a hard life, but all life in the 19th century was hard if your name wasn't Rockefeller or Vanderbilt.