But this is a kingdom not a democracy. I have an advanced degree in philosophy and love debate. I’m very tolerant of unpopular “politically incorrect” views even when I disagree with them. What I won’t countenance is outright nonsense, venom, and spleen. “Hit and run” posts by anonymous posters won’t be tolerated. Name calling I’ll handle on a case-by-case basis. Something like “James, you’re an idiot if you believe…” would likely be tolerated whereas “James, you fucking kike…” probably would not. Let’s keep our abuse of each other free of scurrilousness. I hope I don’t regret starting this blog, which I’ve done in response to the astounding lack of real discussion and debate in everyday life, especially when it comes to certain topics like religion and gender. Got something on your chest? Well here’s a good place to vent. Let’s see how it goes.

If you’d like to start a topic, get in touch with me with an abstract if not a full post and I’ll let you know if you can be a guest poster.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, lest you get it” phrased in several different ways.

President Obama was elected, in large part, on the idea of getting disentangled from our ground troop commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and while it took him a while to get this job largely done, we are now able to look at what the public got when its wishes were fulfilled.

ISIS

When George Bush invaded Iraq in a vain attempt to gain control of the country’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, our troops pretty much kicked everyone with power out of office. It seemed like the thing to do at the time, but the largely Sunni power base went to ground, taking their military training with them, and formed an underground army which came out into the open about a half year ago.

So, it was a situation caused by the Bush Administration and inherited by the Obama Administration, and Obama carried out the will of the people.

So, don’t blame Obama for ISIS. It’s a situation we got with our first wish. Let’s hope the Genie has two more wishes for us and that we use them wisely.

Seems like a day hardly goes by without some new rape allegation aimed at Bill Cosby. Now, while some accusers seem more believable than others, there are enough women telling stories without asking for money in return to conclude that “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Apparently Cosby took advantage of women after subduing them with alcohol and/or drugs so often it clearly became habitual.

Even so, while some of his appearances and projects have been or are being cancelled, when he does appear, even before a women’s group, he gets standing ovations. One commentator said of this that it proves that “rape culture” is so deeply a part of American society that even women accept it.

But my real reason for writing isn’t to beat the Bill Cosby horse one more time. Rather, it’s to make a prediction that the barn door is now open and we’ll be hearing about the unpleasant sexual proclivities of other performers.

Just you watch.

As with American Healthcare, The Party of “No” really has nothing to offer when it comes to the immigration problem.

Why isn’t the GOP responding to President Obama’s soon-to-be-revealed executive order on immigration with something like, “Wait! Hold on! We’ll come up with a plan and have it on your desk shortly?”

Well, obviously, the answer is that the GOP doesn’t want the electorate to know what their ideas on immigration are! Either that, or they’re just so clueless they want to keep their head stuck under sand, hoping that if they prolong their legislative slumbers it will just go away.

Well, it won’t go away, and they won’t curry the favor of the burgeoning Hispanic electorate by leaving it to the Democrats.

The 2014 elections are on the horizon and in past months the GOP has almost smugly assumed that it’s going to take back the Senate. However, if it goes on driving a wedge between white men on the one side and ethnic minorities and the majority of women on the other, it is doomed.

I think anyone can see that the GOP needs to split into two parties: one which promotes fiscal restraint and another which promotes reactionary social values based on their particular interpretation of fundamentalist Christianity.

The problem, of course, is that while the current GOP is a viable opponent to the Democrats, neither the fiscal GOP nor the religious GOP would be.

Whether or not the GOP wins the Senate back later this year, the current GOP strategy will lead to its doom. On the other hand, if they make the necessary change by splitting, they won’t be able to oppose the Democrats for many years.

The GOP committed political suicide in time to lose the Presidential elections in 2008 and 2012. They did it through losing enough female and minority votes to put Obama in office.

Losing a huge proportion of the female vote is a given between Republican opposition to abortion and the absolutely wild and scurrilous things dingbat GOP’ers say about women from time to time.

The black vote is a virtual lock. The GOP lost them decades ago and only  a very exceptional black person votes Republican. The Asians are up for grabs, but they are a relatively small contingent.

By contrast, the Hispanics have become America’s largest minority and, based on the last two Presidential elections, they appear to be mostly in the Democrat column.

Any GOP hope for the long-term future has to include winning a goodly number of Hispanics back into the Republican fold. This means doing something in the immigration area that Hispanics will view as constructive.

But what did the GOP’dominated House of Representatives do just before heading off to vacation? Read this MSN article for specifics, but what it boils down to is speeding up deportations of the current glut of undocumented children fleeing violence in Central America, revoking work permits of immigrants currently working here legally, and sending the so-called “dreamers” (children of undocumented immigrants who have never lived anywhere but in the United States and may not even speak Spanish).

In short, they have alienated the very voting block they cannot survive without, and all in the name doctrinal purity. The radicals have taken over the GOP and the GOP is now on a deathbed of its own making.

Etymologically speaking, “radical” refers to a root. Radicals adhere to their doctrinal roots. To a political radical, being pure is more important than being successful, and the GOP will pay the priced.

In past months, winning back the Senate has been talked about like it’s a done deal, but in typical Republican fashion in recent years, they may be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The GOP has become split in several different directions which are pulling the party apart. You have the fiscal conservatives. You have the religious fundamentalist faction. You have the screwballs who just flat-out hate Obama (presumably for being black), hate non-whites, or who want to roll American social culture back to the 1940’s or 1950’s.

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The population of Gaza is about 1.8 million. Here’s a little math: Assuming that this money could have been used to build industries, create greenhouses, dig wells, and initiate irrigation farming, Hamas stole (or diverted, if you prefer less inflammatory terminology) $50 from every Gazan man, woman, and child to build tunnels and build or buy weapons in a vain attempt to destroy Israel.

So, the problem with Gazans is that they get no love from anyone, least of all their Hamas leaders.

I’m pessimistic. I’m unable to imagine how the world can stop Vladimir Putin from annexing all or almost all of the states that used to compose the old Soviet Uni0n by using the ploy of protecting “Russian speakers” and people with Russian blood, who exist in all of those countries.

No Russian tanks will roll in. No bombers or fighters based in Russia will attack. No Russian troops will invade. Rather, it will be done in the style of asymmetrical warfare pioneered in modern times by Mao Tse Tung. Insurgency warfare.

The sad fact about countering insurgencies is that it can take anywhere from hundreds to millions of times the resources (in dollars) to counter them. Only a few countries, and perhaps only the United States in today’s world, have the economic resources to even attempt a counter-insurgency, and with very little prospect of success.

Why?

In an asymmetrical war, a handful of soldiers (frequently called “rebels” or “insurgents”) oppose a well-financed, well-equipped professional military. Unfortunately, professional militaries are most effective in battlefield situations where the sheer volume and quality of soldiers and hardware can play a huge role in the outcome.

Modern armies seem almost helpless to counter insurgencies. Sure, they can go house-to-house hunting down insurgents, assuming they can identify them. But since insurgents blend into the population, the soldiers will make many mistakes. Each mistake may recruit one, two, or three people to become—or at least to sympathize with—the insurgents. This makes the old school military lose the PR war for the hearts and minds of the uncommitted public in the insurgents’ area.

Often, the ways of countering high-tech military weapons are breathtakingly cheap by comparison. This goes back to medieval times when commoners found themselves in opposition to horse-mounted armored knights. A charge by a group of knights was, for a while, the end of the story. Until, that is, someone had the bright idea to sharpen a long pole. When the knights charged, the commoner would plant the blunt end of the pole in the ground, then when the mounted knight charged, the sharp end went into the horse, the knight fell off the horse, and was easily dispatched with a club of some sort.

In modern times, a torpedo or missile costing perhaps several hundred thousand or a million dollars can sink a destroyer costing almost a billion dollars. Antitank weapons cost far less than tanks, and while it may take several hits for such weapons to find a sweet spot that KO’s the tank, they will still cost far less than the tank.

When it’s insurgent against a professional soldier, it’s much the same. It costs a lot to train and arm a soldier. Here’s an exchange from a recent congressional hearing:

Keeping one American service member in Afghanistan costs between $850,000 and $1.4 million a year, depending on who you ask. But one matter is clear, that cost is going up.

During a budget hearing today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, asked Department of Defense leaders, “What is the cost per soldier, to maintain a soldier for a year in Afghanistan?” Under Secretary Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, responded “Right now about $850,000 per soldier.”

Conrad seemed shocked at the number.

“That kind of takes my breath away, when you tell me it’s $850,000,” Conrad said

A Pentagon spokesman later said a more accurate figure is $815,000 a year. (source)

What we’ve seen in the Crimea is the recipe for how the USSR will rise again, no longer Communist, and under the name Russia, not The Soviet Union.

If there’s a way to stop Putin, I don’t see it in so-called “sanctions,” especially since so much of Europe and Asia is dependent on Russian goods and natural resources.

Recently, the downing of a commercial airliner with almost 300 innocents aboard, about a third of them children, has some people thinking that things have finally gone too far and that Putin will have to pull in his horns. That may be true, but only for a while.

Why?

Because he has a recipe that works. Whether speaking of the old or the new Russia, it has always excelled at disinformation. It will weather the storm of the downed Malaysian airliner and in a year or two, that will be the vaguest of memories for most of us. And Putin isn’t really the problem. It’s likely that, once Putin is gone, the new leadership will also want to bring back the glory days when Russia had a virtual empire in Central and Eastern Europe.