27 December 2005

No Coup Necessary

Reading Kung Fu Monkey today, I found John's depressingly funny post Al-Quaker, in which he spells out a useful heuristic:
Good general rule: as soon as you have the military doing anything non-military, you have screwed up.
This reminds me of the Parameters (journal of the Army War College) paper I told some of you BARBARians I would post a link to, but apparently never got around to it. So, for your masochistic reading enjoyment, here it is: The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012. John's rule reminds me of this because one of Lt.Col. Dunlap's main points in that paper was that when the military begins doing non-military jobs (policing, drug interdiction, reconstruction, etc.), something has gone seriously awry and it will only lead to more serious problems down the road. What's particularly depressing upon re-reading that paper after the domestic spying (secret police by any other name) revelations is that the dystopia depicted (as the author emphasizes, merely a literary device) requires no military coup; as Paul Bigioni notes (via Buck at Bad Attitudes), we're well on our way there, led, as Germany and Italy were, by business, not the military.

Small reminder on the paper: it was written in 13 years ago, so any dates later than 1992 mentioned in it are extrapolations or refer to plans/suggestions/etc., not statements of fact (i.e., not all of them came to pass or didn't happen at the time stated).

26 December 2005

How do you say "whitewash" in Russian?

Just a small reminder that "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes," is not a uniquely American way of adding insult to injury: 'No mistakes', Beslan report says

In case you don't remember, here's the short version:
  1. Chechen terrorists take a bunch of children hostage.
  2. Russian military decides killing terrorists is more important than rescuing hostages.
  3. Russian military pumps chemical weapons (probably fentanyl) into the school, enough to incapacitate any adults in there, which is also obviously enough to kill (by respiratory failure) most of the children. Hundreds die at the hands of their supposed rescuers. Many probably could have been saved using Narcan if doctors knew about the fentanyl, but the military, to cover their asses, wouldn't say what they used.
  4. Paliamentary inquiry charitably finds that the military was incompetent.
  5. Russian authorities investigate themselves, unsurprisingly find that nothing went wrong. (Why am I reminded of China Miéville's post on Hurricane Katrina, "Everything has gone according to plan"?)

25 December 2005

Ho Ho Ho, Happy Hannukkah

I have something to tell Bill "Falafel Factor" O'Reilly: you're right, there is a War on Saturnalia Christmas. As you constantly remind us, there is a massive conspiracy of liberal secular communist Jews, led by Jon Stewart, intent on destroying the pagan solstice celebration baby Jesus' birthday.

But, Mr. O'Reilly, you underestimate the deviousness of The International Jew. Why should we eliminate Christmas when we can take all the good parts? After all, presents are fun. Getting drunk and Xeroxing our butts is fun, at least if we don't get caught. Highly flammable trees wrapped in damaged electrical wires are fun. And pigging out is not only fun, it's downright Jew-y. So we have presents, we have parties, and we pig out around the Hannukkah Bush. My Jewish grandfather even used to dress up as Santa every year. (One time the Rabbi stopped by right as he was walking down the stairs in his Santa suit. After a few moments of awkward silence, he quipped "ho ho ho, Happy Hannukkah, Rabbi.")

So I'll tell you what, Grinch Bill. I had, as usual, a very Merry Christmas: a great dinner last night, lots of rum cut with a little egg nog, and even fun opening presents around the Hannukkah Bush. But since I did this, and I'm one of them Christmas-hating liberal secular Jews, that must not be very Christian or Christmas-y. So, since a Christian Christmas is so important to you, how about we (sane people -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, Hindu, atheist, whatever) keep all these heathen debaucheries, and you can preserve the parts you find so important. Just picture it: while we're eating, drinking, and being merry, you can arrange a cheap plastic manger built for Wal-Mart by enslaved Indonesian children, you can listen to carols as vapid as they are sappy, and you can watch sacchrine made-for-TV movies about some version of Jesus' birth not found anywhere in the Bible. Oh, yes, and you can snap "bah, humbug," at anyone who wishes you a Happy Holiday. I doubt Jesus would approve, but to each his own.

23 December 2005

And the award for Creative Use of Quotation Marks in 2005 goes to...

... the BBC, for their recent headline:
Sailors 'die' after rebel clash
They only get this award, however, because Marie Jon' is disqualified in perpetuity due to a clear lack of understanding of how these inverted comma things are supposed to work. If anyone thinks someone else is more deserving, chime in, but I think this is hard to beat.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

I finally, finally, FINALLY got my internet connection working. Why'd it take so long? You try running ethernet cable through leaking walls in a storm. (Ironically, the problem leaks came from the holes drilled for the cable I use to connect.) So I'm back... again. Just in time to let everyone know I won't be able to make it to the next BARBARian Bash, or any others for a while -- it's kind of a long commute to Oakland from Washington.
That's right, my other reason for singing the Ren & Stimpy song is that your Token Reader somehow convinced a college to accept him (how? search me). So as of January 7th, The Token Reader will no longer be a Bay Area blog, at least geographically. I say "geographically" because no matter where I live, the Bay Area will always be my home, and "The City" will always be San Francisco, you bastards.
With those administrative notes out of the way, let me just wish you all a Merry Fucking Christmas, a (C)Happy (C)Hannukkah, a belated Spaced-out Solstice, an Orgasmic Saturnalia, a Groovy Kwanzaa, a Drunken New Year, and above all else, a Disappointing Festivus.