The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our American Taliban

or/ There's Bed-Buggery Aboard

Our holier-than-holy folk had been lagging behind in the race for big-time global religious zealotry; i.e. the 'Piety Derby', but no more. Our neo-Taliban will equal or surpass theirs any day now. Maybe the others are way out in front in discipline, doctrine and enforcement but we are catching up rapidly due to our superior technology and True Grit.
Taliban Flag


As the Taliban's Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:

" The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people's requirements, people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran."

Well, OK. That's not bad, not bad at all. But how about this?

Proposed "citizen's flag"

..."The Bible contains everything that they need to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life, and there are no deficiencies in Scripture that need to be filled with by tradition, pronouncements of the Pope, new revelations, or present-day development of doctrine." Wikipedia

The march to piety begins and ends in the bedrooms of the believers. But it's not always easy doing it for the home team. Check this out:

"Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such purpose. The Prophet made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: "I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me. " The Prophet not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged those women who are child-bearing. He stated: "Marry the loving child-bearing women, for I shall have the largest numbers among the Prophets on the day of Resurrection." by Ahmed and Ibn Hibban

Is this direct challenge to go unanswered. Will our holy-folk fail to take up the cudgel and let the big numbers go to the other side? Not a chance of that happening! Let the breeding game begin. The Prophet may be in the lead but look who's got Eros bow in hand now: Go neo-Taliban!

Quiverfull ~ is the idea that truly godly families will “trust the Lord” with their family planning. Children are viewed as unmitigated blessings (“As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them”) and as such, the couple is willing to have as many children as the Lord chooses to bless them with. Artificial or chemical birth control such as the Pill or IUDs are equated with abortion ~ the sin of murdering your own offspring. “Natural” birth control such as Natural Family Planning is not actually “natural” because a couple must abstain at the very time of the month when the woman is naturally more desirous of physical intimacy. All methods of “conception control” is considered a lack of trust in God to provide for the “children of the righteous.” NLQ Stories

What of the children in this contest? Are they to be just useful idiots? Aha, here's a clue:

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: 'Children are tools to achieve God's will,' the Taliban commander told me.

"In a country where the average family size is seven people and the daily wage is as low as £1 a day, many families choose to send their children to Islamic religious schools, where they are given free food and shelter. Now increasingly, the Taliban are recruiting from these schools and paying the families a monthly stipend in return."

"They first call us to the mosques, and preach to us. Then they take us to a madrassa and they teach us things from the Koran," said Hazrat Ali.

" ...Qari Abdullah, a Taliban commander in charge of child recruitment, told me children are an essential element of Jihad. "If you're fighting, then God provides you with the means [to win]. Kids themselves are tools to achieve God's will. And whatever comes your way, you sacrifice it." Children as young as five and six years old are being recruited from poor families, he said....There are 80 million children in Pakistan. More than a quarter of them live below the poverty line. "THE INDEPENDENT

That's a lot of future zealots for the opposition. What can be done to even the playing field? How about this?

Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance.

..."Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.

All other marriages would be defined as “unrecognized” and people in those marriages would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits." ...

...Deep Something

So how do the two camps come down on the distaff gender, you may wonder. Few surprises here. Consider:

As the Taliban's Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:

"Let us state what sort of education the UN wants. This is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women which would lead to adultery and herald the destruction of Islam. In any Islamic country where adultery becomes common, that country is destroyed and enters the domination of the infidels because their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anyone who talks to us should do so within Islam's framework."

So how are the ladies seen here at home? Is the model superior to that of the foe? Yes, way to go! Hats off to our womanly-women.

Conservapedia defines femininity as:

"Femininity is the set of principles which form a womanly personality, many of which can be traced to the female reproductive role. While men often master their masculine traits well into adulthood and continually test the masculinity of their associates, femininity is something many women feel is rooted in their early development and is adjusted by picking up societal cues. Feminine characteristics are expressed through female gender roles.

Femininity builds a woman's esteem by enhancing her own interpersonal relationships rather than building confidence through the task-orientation of masculinity. Traditionally feminine traits include being emotional, demure, affectionate, sympathetic, sensitive, soft-spoken, warm, tender, childlike, gentle, pretty, willowy, submissive, understanding and compassionate."

Yeah, yeah, all of that is important but what about the mores? How is bad behavior controlled and evil brought to task?

"Under the Taliban regime, Sharia law was interpreted to forbid a wide variety of previously lawful activities in Afghanistan. One Taliban list of prohibitions included: pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards. They also got rid of employment, education, and sports for all women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and characterizations of living things, no matter if they were drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men had to have a fist size beard at the bottom of their chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short. Men had to wear a head covering. " Wikipedia

Awesome! Oh my, tough act to follow. Well, give it your best shot. It's daunting, pilgrims.

However, you must always be careful to pose in a dignified manner – sitting at your desk, for example, or standing on the Capitol steps. Your facial expression should be one of pensive sobriety, as if you’re contemplating how to repeal Obamacare and save this great nation from ruin.

For female members, a conservative dress or suit is fine for photographs; taupe is always safe. For men, the preferred attire is a navy blue coat jacket, a club necktie, and of course your American flag lapel pin (with the stripes positioned horizontally, Rep. Quayle!).

Obviously, all body piercings and tattoos should remain out of sight.

One final point, and I can’t stress this strongly enough: Republican House members should never, ever use their cell phones to photograph themselves shirtless, no matter how “hot” they think they look.

In the event that such a revealing picture does exist, you are absolutely forbidden from emailing it to somebody you just met online. No exceptions
! ...McClatchy Truth to Power

Sorry, folks, you're not even in the ball game. That's limp. Not one word about pool tables, chess, masks, lobster, or nail polish. What about firecrackers? Jeez. oops. Jeepers. Unless the pace picks up in a hurry, there's no contest. What a shame to lose the race by default. Come on now. Ban something!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Big O

Most communities had short notice of a storm's approach in 1928. A radio message from a ship at sea; reports of devastation where it made windfall in Puerto Rico or elsewhere. That's about it. Thousands of farm hands and residents in south central Florida had no clue of the Category 5 hurricane bearing down on them.

Prime farmland surrounding Lake Okeechobee was the draw that had populated this low lying area in the Sunshine State. The sun was not shining that day in September. Okeechobee, seventh largest fresh water lake in the US is half the size of Rhode Island. Despite is vast acreage, because it is extremely shallow, average depth is only 9 feet, only a small levee protected its southern end.

Although warnings were given early in the day, the storm failed to arrive on schedule and residents returned home. Without warning this monster storm struck the area. People dove for shelter as best they were able. It would prove to be of no avail. Drenching rains overfilled the rivers and tributaries dumping into the lake. A merciless wind surge whipped the vast basin and at once, swept over the inadequate berm. Hundreds of square miles were inundated and everything in its path was swept along.

In some spots the water was 20 feet deep and people and countless animals drowned in the deluge. Many clung to whatever flotation presented. This safety net proved illusionary and often deadly. If a survivor managed to stay afloat and was carried to high ground half drowned and in the stygian darkness, the sense of relief was short lived. Collapsing ashore they soon discovered that snakes and alligators had arrived earlier. More than 2500 perished.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sam, Sam, Wake up Sam! Save us!

Promptly at 4 PM on April 9 ,1865 at Appomattox Courthouse the bucolic American Giant, known fondly as Sam, went for a short nap that lasted for 136 years. After four long years preserving the Union, Sam needed a rest. He stretched out across the countryside with his head among the old original colonies; his rump placed conveniently at the headwaters of the Mississippi (for the drainage you see, clever Giant), and his legs sprawled westward ho! across the prairies with his heels planted in L.A. and toes dangling almost to the Mexico line.

Sam, like Gulliver before him, is plagued with Lilliputians but these cheeky, diminutive pests are known here as the 'Minions'. While Sam nods off, these Minions wreak havoc in his name. They are always careful to do their mischief abroad so as not to awaken the Giant. And mischief it is. Greedy little buggers, these Minions, can't seem to get enough little island getaways around the globe. Been collecting them since the War with Spain. And power hungry!; those nettlesome gits have been showing the flag around the world for two hundred years. What started in Tripoli on tiny warships has metastasized to hundreds upon hundreds of flagposts everywhere on Earth.

All things end and so did our exclusive export of mischief abroad. Abruptly. Our sleeping beauty was jarred out of almost a century and a half of slumber by a frightful racket almost under his left year. Sam had been using Central Park as a pillow for ages but on September 11, 2001 he was rudely awakened by the noise and smoke. The trusty Minions rushed to assure him all was well.
"Go back to sleep, Sam", the Minions cooed. "We can handle it. We have ways". Sam should have stayed awake but old habits, and all that. No sooner had the old guy dozed off again; the bombing and invasions began in earnest.

We're into the tenth year now. Sam's still out cold. The Minions are running amok.
The place is a mess. Everybody hates the Minions and the country is broke from their excesses. What will it take to rouse him from his slumber and begin to take charge again? Sam, Sam, Wake up Sam! We need you, again.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Yet Another Bleak Doomer Scenario

Are we destined to be the last generation of Americans to enjoy the life style we have been taught to expect and demand? The past five generations of Americans have, in the main,experienced an American Dream of comfortable retirement, adequate medical attention and the creature comforts that add years to life spans. Is it all coming to an end?

Will our decline, assuming it's already happening, continue as a gradual lowering to Second World status and, perhaps, then slowly diminish to an even lower permanent standard? This could, early on, mimic in many ways the collapse experience of Russia from the USSR to what it now has become. Russia pulled this off rather handily, possibly because life under the Commissars promised little and the Russkies had reduced expectations. Have we, on the other hand, grown to expect way too much from life, for way too long, to land gracefully?

Among us are many who hope to avoid diminishing circumstances by investing in more durable symbols of wealth. Dr. Tom Burnett addresses that notion thusly:

"You may think you are going to get rich investing in silver and gold - or you may think you can protect your wealth by owning it - or you may think that people will stop accepting paper money and no one will be able to buy anything without it. All of that is nonsense.
The same people who stole the equity in your home and your retirement and have been shipping 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month overseas since 1999 are also stealing the last hope of individuals, ounce by ounce, by packaging gold and silver as something that will hold it's value and selling it to people as a hedge against loss. That's nonsense as well."

Burnett goes on to say:

"Here is the secret to the entire affair. This is what no one will tell you and what you won't believe even after I tell you. Precious metal dealers are in business to MAKE MONEY FOR THEMSELVES - not to provide for your future. If one of them thought for a New York minute that the actual VALUE (not the PRICE- there is a huge difference) was going to triple in a year or five years, they wouldn't sell it. EVER. They'd keep it. No one would sell a huge guaranteed profit if they could make more by doing nothing.
The mere fact they are willing to sell it to you means that your cash is more valuable than their metal."

If we remain in a gradual slide, perhaps early symptoms might show up in spasmodic delays in shipments of goods and food stuffs; perhaps, even, the total absence of commodities always available in the past. Certain roads or bridges may be in permanent detour because the funds are not available for repairs. One of these days, if you haven't made payment in advance for protection (shades of Ben Franklin), the local (private) fire company will arrive in time to watch your house burn down. And the Black Ops. minions, now warring for Uncle Sam, will war for you if you pay them enough.

This bleak doomer scenario gets much worse. If we don't have the resources, the energy or the expertise to continue to monitor tens of thousands of nuclear devices and installations and their waste products in perpetuity, survival for anyone will be dicey, at best. Either they are dealt with timely, while we are able, or they will deal with us someday. They are capable of our annihilation any old time, and time is on their side.

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"