Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Eleventh Minute of the Eleventh Hour

I had an incandescent rant all ready to go for today, similar to the one I put up here last November 11th. I wrote it out. I looked at it, and I just couldn't find the heart to publish it.

What's the point?

You all know as well as I do what I was going to say. War is a racket. We - me, everyone I served with, the people serving now, the veterans of tomorrow and next week and next year - are just the bailiff's men, serving our country's liens in places and on people all over the world. No, we don't do sweet fuck all to "defend your freedoms". We kill people and break shit that our "leaders" have designated as inimical to our national interests. We're the button men and women for Donnie "Five-Deferment" Trump and his crew of racketeers just as we have been for every President and every Congress since 1945.

Now there's some honor and decency serving as an imperial legionary. Not all empires are pure Evil. But to pretend that we're still the Arsenal of Democracy of Remember Pearl Harbor? To tell ourselves that the people who wore the uniforms in the 1980's and 1990's and Oughts and now the Teens are somehow like the Greatest Generation that saw off Hitler and Tojo? That's just foolish, the self-deluding mumbling of an idiot child needing the comfort of a kindly lie.

I won't pretend that I didn't enjoy my Army days. I won't pretend that I'm not proud that I was a good soldier and then a good sergeant. When my days are done I'll gladly slope off for a pint in Hell with my old pals from Division, from my Reserve and Guard outfits, and maybe if we're lucky with the hard boys of the Legio X Fretensis, and the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the Légion étrangère. Here's to us. Who's like us. Damn few, and they're all dead.

I know who I am, and what I did. I'm not ashamed of it, but I'm not vauntingly proud, either. I didn't hold Bastogne or Guadalcanal. I did the dirty work of geopolitics and I'm okay with that. I served with good people, had a laugh, and came home sound, and no legionary can ask more than that.

No, it is you, my friends, my fellow Americans, who need to look into year hearts and souls and ask why you have been happy to be lied to, gleeful to parrot the nonsense taught you about "freedom" and "fighting them there", eager to pretend that you have not sent, or been willing to let others send in your name, young men and women into harm's way for nothing more than a handful of dollars, or a passing bit of geopolitics, or some fancy of "national honor", or some fantasy about dangerous enemies, where there is nothing but ruin and impotent anger that our own nation has grown from the seeds of our own ignorant hate and fear while pretending to be the victims ourselves.

I just don't have the heart to rant about this. I am just tired, and a little grieved, for the foolish waste of it all.

On this day I offer only the cold comfort that our nation's ideals promise that We the People can choose to honor our veterans by choosing not to make more of them unless it's for a truly fucking good reason.

For those of you who have come here seeking grave words hymning this day, weighted with honor and glory of the service I and mine have done and do, I have none.





Friday, November 10, 2017

Wild, wild West

Just got back from a bunch of days in the field up the Columbia, on the deserty side of the Cascades. Pretty country there but...spare. Sparse. Not much out there other than the grass, the rock, the wind, and the sky.


Mind you, that's not what I'm thinking about. I had some idle thoughts about the latest bang-bang-crazy, as Jim Wright likes to call it.

And, because I'm a callous sonofabitch and nobody got killed in Vegas or Texas who I know or remotely care about, my main idle thought was this:

What the fuck is it about these ammosexual gun-licking nuts and the Black Stick?

If I had a choice I can't imagine a less-fun rifle to own than an AR-15 or one of its clones. I mean, seriously? I was assigned an M-16 for many years. I was decent with it - a workman should know his craft, after all - but I never liked the goddamn thing.
I'd say that for me it was just a tool, like an axe or a hammer, except it wasn't nearly as useful at its trade as a hammer or an axe at theirs.

The worst part about it was that it was chock-full of fucking irritatingly tiny little parts. Sure, it knocked down and went together easy, that comes with being a modern battle rifle. But when you had it knocked down the little fucking parts had an immensely irritating way of hiding or rolling away - don't get me started on the firing pin retaining pin! - unless you had a perfectly flat, well-lit, clean place to put them.

Then it was hard to clean. And you had to KEEP it clean; if it got fouled - and all those tiny little parts were easy to foul - it tended to malfunction, usually either in the form of a clogged gas tube and a short-recoiling bolt carrier, meaning either a failure to extract, a failure to eject, or a failure to feed. Double feeds, too, which were a stone bitch to clear, weren't uncommon in a dirty rifle.

My understanding is that the early 1960's issue models also suffered because the ammunition propellant burned dirty, gunking up the inside of the rifle with soot and crap and increasing the fouling problem. I can't imagine that cheap civilian 5.56mm ammo is all that much better.

Plus, frankly, what benefit is there to have a "hunting rifle" that can crank out a round every couple of seconds? Elk aren't going to shoot back. And a 5.56 round seems less optimal for knocking down something bigger-than-human-size. It's either going to tumble and tear up the meat, or its gonna break up and scatter nasty little lead bits into your venison.

I have a Short Magazine Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III* that has served me perfectly well for years as both hunting and target rifle. It's fun to shoot and relatively accurate given it's long life and relatively hard use. I've debated several times whether or not to hang a rifle scope on the thing. It would make my shot group tighter, but I love the history of it and wouldn't want to just slap a modern scope on the centenarian. Yet the original Periscopic Prism Company scope and mount is an awful abortion, only 2x magnification and, worse, offset to the left of center which is the kiss of death for me, a left-handed firer.

But I've let myself get off the damn subject.

The point is, what gives? What the hell makes so many of these people crave the AR-15 in all its flawed avatars?

The impulse to kill people? I get that. Just thinking about the dumb fuckers who gave us the Fraudulency Administration makes me want to go all St. Bartholomew on their asses.

But to do that with a shoddy tool? One that makes it harder to do a decent job of work?

Who the hell needs that?

I swear. People are just weird.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Acting 1SG Lawes reads the morning formation announcements

Comp-ney, Atten-shun! At ease. Okay, listen up. Coupla things here.

First.

I've been hearing a bunch of you he-roes prancing around the dayroom talking smack about how y'all are "the best 1 percent this country produces".

I hear tell that y'all got that shit from some jarhead, and a jarhead general at that.

Now y'all know how I feel about jarheads. So hearing y'all woofing because one said something about how “We don’t look down upon those of you who that haven’t served. In fact, in a way we’re a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our servicemen and women do.” just means that the overpromoted shavetail doesn't know about the kinds of things our servicemen did down at the Flaming Mug last week and, yes, I'm looking at you, AT Platoon. I've got my eye on you, slickyboys.

So before you get all "Ooo-rah! We bad, we bad!" take a look to your left and right flanks. You know as well as I do what that guy next to you is capable of. We all went to high school with that guy. The dude that locked himself in the last stall in the boys' bathroom in the B-wing and had to get pulled out by the school cops?

That's him.

The joker that useta take polaroid dick pics and put them in the romance novels in the library?

That's him.

And don't get me started on surfing the fucking storm drains on their sleeping mats, am I right, Blackie?

The "best 1 percent" my rosy red ass.

The civilians are too fucking busy shoving their tongues up your collective fourth-point-of-contact to remember this, but y'all, at least, should know that y'all are the same jocks, nerds, stoners, wierdos, brainiacs, goofballs, and just regular American dipwads they went to high school with only now y'all wear the same colored clothes. Raisin' your right hand didn't suddenly make any of y'all smarter, braver, more honest, or less likely to fuck up a wet dream and yes, I mean you, night bakers. I saw your fuckin' mess hall this morning and we gonna have a little come-to-Jesus chat right after this formation.

Y'all are good troops, and that's what you're supposed to be. But don't let that make you think that you're some sort of national gold standard. That's how good troops end up getting waxed in combat.

Y'all get free food and clothes, y'all get to get all-expenses-paid vacations to the shitty parts of the world to fuck up things there. Don't let that make you kid yourselves about what a bunch of special fuckin' snowflakes you are just because some goddamn gyrene general who probably hasn't actually seen one of y'all in his natural environment since he was a itty-bitty lieutenant. Those fuckin' star-warriors run around in a little general-officer bubble and they have no more idea of what y'all are really doing out here than a cow knows about the fuckin' Council of Trent.

So. Get over yourselves, people. Like I tol' ya last week; thinking you're all better than civilians is a straight-up dick move, and I won't tolerate that shit in my company, regardless of what the Old Man tells you about how awesome you are.

OK.

Second.

Rumor has it that the Brigade Sergeant Major is gonna be in the company AO this Friday. Y'all know that dick as well as I do, so I highly recommend that you ensure that those "extra" toolkits find their way to SSG Reye's garage, Commo, and Medics? The quarter-ton y'all keep "forgetting" to turn in? That sumbitch needs to go live in the woods starting Thursday night.

Oh, and I will be doing a walkthrough tomorrow at fourteen hundred hours and if I find more pogie bait in your walllockers I will go medieval on your ass. Are we clear on that?

I thought so.

Comp-ney, Atten-shun!

Platoon sergeants, take charge.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Acting 1SG Lawes reads the morning formation announcements.

Attention! At ease. Okay, listen up. Coupla things here.

First.

All this horseshit about how kneeling during the playing of "To Anacreon in Heaven" is somehow spitting on the graves of soldiers?

Get over it. There hasn't been a single fucking American soldier who served, fought, was wounded, or died for "freedom" since 1953 (and that was the freedom of the people of the Republic of Korea, people, know your fucking history).

There are a handful of living veterans of Korea and WW2 who might qualify and you're welcome to ask them THEIR opinions, but all the rest of us fought for "national interests"; we helped secure a tank of gas, or navigation through the Panama Canal, or for diddly-shit Great Power games in the Middle East.

The U.S. of 2017 uses armed force like any Great Power, people.

This isn't 1776.

Grow the fuck up.

Second. I've seen fellow GIs get all whip out their DD214 on people who haven't served to beat them over the head with the "right" to be all pissy about people protesting the fact that coppers are WAY more likely to kill your ass if you're not White Like Me.

That's a dick move, brothers.

Those despised "civilians"? They're OUR FUCKING BOSSES.

If they want to protest, or shout at us, or dance naked in the streets...our job, our ONLY fucking job, is to salute and move out smartly. THEY are the true "guardians of liberty", not us. We're here to keep the outside out. THEY are there to make the "inside" truly free, truly just, true to the promise of "liberty and justice for all"...or not. It's up to them, and not us to lecture or hector them about what they do or how they do it.

S&T Platoon. Imma see your ass in the motor pool after this formation and we're gonna talk about your fucking Conex.

That is all.

Platoon sergeants, take charge.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Reeking tube and iron shard

Given the monumental clusterfuck that the inchoate rage and fear born on this day 16 years ago have created across the globe I can't think of any reason for my country or my countrymen to "commemorate" the events of that day in any way that doesn't consist only of a silent, humble, deeply mournful contrition.

We won't, of course, because We the People suck at contrition and have never accepted our own responsibility for excusing or, worse, encouraging a coterie of evil, greedy fools for using the events of 9/11/01 as a hammer to drive the poisoned nails of their ambition and hubris into the wide world as well as into our own society. Instead there will be all the usual solemnity and public waving of the Bloody Shirt of the dead of Manhattan and Virginia, just as if those heaps of dead had not, like the horrible unliving monsters of World War Z, created Alps and Himalayas of dead all across the world.

Instead of ruing the arrogance and stupidity that this day awoke in our nation we will continue to pretend that we were the victims that day, innocent of any wrongdoing and greatly wronged, instead of using a wrong done to us to do a thousandfold wrongs to any and everyone we hated - or were told to hate - and feared.



Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Like a taco in the sun

Of all the vile stupidity that the Fraudulency Administration has foisted on this nation the latest round of beaner-bashing - the promised elimination of the rule that allows people who were snuck into the United States as minors to remain in the United States - is perhaps the vilest and most stupid.

Vile because, like it or not (and the Trumpkins DON'T like it, which is why they're shrieking and stamping their widdle feet so hard to make this a thing) these people are U.S. nationals. Not citizens, but American in all effective senses of the word. Tossing these poor sonsofbitches into Guatemala City or Sinaloa would be no different than snatching some random gringo out of the nonexistent salad bar a Applebee's, stripping them naked and parachuting them out over San Pedro Sula. This will result in some predictable number of these people, whose "crime" is infinitely less egregious than the shameless grifting indulged in by some greater-than-random-percentage of Orange Foolius' appointees, being raped, murdered, robbed, beaten, and more-or-less enslaved.

Stupid because, frankly, this is more of the same nonsense I fulminated against here, here, and here.

Only worse.

Because the vast, VAST majority of the people targeted by this nasty little piece of xenophobic racism are, as I said, American. They are employed, many in college, many in position to be valuable contributors to any sensible civilization. But because of the gibbering lunacy of the GOP C.H.U.D. base they will be wasted, thrown away to appeal to a group of people who, by and large, appear as useful to the future of the United States as print-shop employees for a glossy skin mag.

One reason I really hate writing about politics these days is how utterly vile are the politics of the current ruling party and its' adherents. There's a point to be had in discussing controlling the entry and exit to the United States. There's no point to discussing that by shrieking demonization of the people trying to evade those controls. They're simply doing what every human being since Olduvai Gorge has done; make their lives and their families' lives better. A sensible polity would be trying to figure out ways to integrate many of them into the life of the nation, and to ameliorate the problems in the native lands of the others so as to wake them from the nightmares that drive many of the immigrants to flee their native lands.

But given the last year's history this nation is, quite obviously, NOT a sensible polity.

Aside from simple sensible policy, the deplorables that are squealing and squeeeeeing because His Fraudulency is punishing these "others" aren't even going to get the woody they anticipate out of this. They're highly unlikely to benefit from the expulsion of these people in any material way. Cletus and Lulabelle aren't going to pick tomatoes in the California sun, or sheetrock Houston in the swampy misery of late summer, or cook frantically in the back of a diner in Sherwood, Oregon. The "jobs" they think these people they hate are taking? They're not good jobs. These DACA people have no legal rights; they cannot afford to take any job that will do a thorough enough background check to expose their legal status.

That will make no difference to the deplorables; for them it's all about just wanting to make "those people" pay.

That's a fucking insane way to run a great industrial nation.

But insanity has never stopped modern Republicans before and it won't now. It's all tribal, all resentment, all whining and bitching all the way down, along with stooging for plutocracy and licking the guns of the ammosexuals and the cross of the God-botherers.

The dark heart of Treason in Defense of Slavery and the decades of segregation and racial oppression that followed was the the people who "counted" - the wealthy white elite that founded the U.S. based on what was good for wealthy white elites - conned the po' white trash into sucking up to them with the bestial promise that, no matter what, no matter how worthless and vile and shitty those white trash people were and would be, they would always be "better" than a nigger.

And a beaner.

And, as we can see, that hasn't changed an iota.

So, despite the obvious fact that, as I said back in February, that
"...the results will be at best underwhelming. The promised Day of Alien-Free Jubilee will turn out to be a quiet monotone of unpicked crops, uncleaned hotel rooms, unwiped asses, and uncooked meals.

The result of all this huge slug of spending - surely paid for by a tax hike, right? - will be, outside of personal hardship for those involved, a vast expanse of...very little."
his Trumpkins will fight for this like crazed hashashins because nothing, nothing, is more important to them than reminding those dusky little devils that this is still a White Man's Neighborhood.

Friday, September 01, 2017

They've finally developed the boneless cat

And here he is, with Maxine:
Drachma really is the sweetest kitty. He's not particularly a lapcat; I mean, he tolerates and even seems to enjoy being petted, but he doesn't really seek you out and cuddle with you in hopes of a pet.

But he's incredibly tolerant of being hauled around and mauled by the urchins. Practically every other cat I've ever worked for would have sliced the little mongers to ribbons for the stuff they do to him. Not Drachma. He simply lies quietly under their abuse until he's had enough, at which point he wriggles free.
I constantly remind the sprogs of this but they seem unconvinced. I await their encounter with a different, more typical, kitty and expect that they will be quickly disabused of their foolish conviction...

Just in case, here's the reference in the title.
It's actually sort of sad, a reminder of the time when Charlie Schultz bothered to actually cartoon and his creation was something other than a vehicle to huck insurance...

September bloggage!

I'm sorry to announce that the blogging fever is not on me now any more than is has been for the last year or more. I just have little of worth to say and little excitement to say it. Nothing has fundamentally changed in my country since I suggested that the United States was completely in the hands of a group that
"...in it's present incarnation offers only two things:

1. Stooging for open oligarchy, and
2. Comfort for white nationalism, Christian theocracy, and fear of the "others" (whether those others are gay, or brown, or Muslim)

And that's really it. There's no "hope" there. There's nothing aspirational. There's no vision of a future United States that isn't a polluted, plutocratic, conservative-Christian feudality. That's it; if you white (male, Christian) you right. If you brown...well, fuck off. And you lib'ruls, homos, uppity wimmens, nigras, beaners, immigrants of all stripes, Muslims, atheists..."
(I should note that when I posted this I was accused of being "meanspirited" and not optimistic enough, that the Tangerine Toddler wasn't a generic Republican but some sort of Magical Plutocrat, full of populism and America-First-end-the-foreign-meddling-ism and "shake-it-up"-ism and "tells it like it is"-ism. Ummm...how's that working out for those of you who gave me that shit, eh? Is Orange Foolius' rage against immigrants and scary Mooslims and vote fraudsters and poor people and medical insurance and his luuuuurve of tax cuts and bullying foreigners convinced you you were his goddamn marks yet? Be sure and let me know...)

As for the rest of the world...well, I have kiddo and domestic stuff, but that's of interest only to me.

I've tried to find some interesting things to say about the Army Reserve and the ARNG in the Nineties and Oughts, but there's not a whole lot of there there. I do want to try and come up with SOMEthing to say about them, if nothing else, to discuss my ORARNG's epic JRTC rotation back in the mid-Nineties and the Great Railhead Robbery, but that will take some time and thought. Might not get to it this month.

There is ONE thing I do want to write up this month; The Siege and Battle of Vienna, September 1683; the High Water Mark of the Ottoman Empire.

So I'm going to start picking away on that.