Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The guns, not-very-far-below

The Trump Administration has directed the armed forces of the United States to violate the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152).
"The new “Cabinet order” was signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, not President Donald Trump. It allows “Department of Defense military personnel” to “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary” to protect border agents, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”
While unsurprising in its disregard of both legalities and governmental norms - after all, this is the President that seems to think that the job of the Department of Justice is to prosecute his political enemies - this is a reminder that this road to military-government-hell has been paved with the "good intentions" of the USAPATRIOT Act (public Law 107-56 and 115 Stat. 272).

For those of us who have been shutting our eyes very tightly and trying to pretend that the past couple of years have been about "economic anxiety", "shaking things up", and "telling it like it is" it's time to face up to the dangerous road we've been walking since 9/11/2001. We the People gave the Bushies these tools in our fear and anger. We've never taken them away.

Now we have a barely-hinged real-estate grifter in the Oval Office who has grasped them with both hands and the eager intent to swing them against his enemies.

Are you his enemy?

If so, you may find out and regret, too late, that...

So in the Libyan fable it is told
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart,
Turned about and said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft;
"It is with our own feathers, not by others' hands,
Are we now smitten.”

Update 11/23: And, as always, it's worth mentioning that this entire nonsensical business is founded on a concatenation of lies, ridiculous lies, and bullshit. Immigration, legal and otherwise, is still not an existential threat to the economic, social, or political life of the United States.

There ARE some vast and difficult issues facing this nation.

Climate change. That's gonna be a biggie, perhaps THE biggest challenge we will face in our lifetimes and those of our children.

Unfettered plutocracy, since you can have democracy or plutocracy, but not both.

The normalization, as mentioned above, of imperial war based on ludicrous ideas like "fighting terrorism". It's one thing to be an empire. It's another to try and pretend NOT to be an empire while being one; republican Rome discovered how destructive that is, both to domestic politics and economics.

The return of open white supremacy, which, in a nation at least notionally predicated on equal justice under law, is viciously toxic - if the United States intends to return to the sort of open racism that characterized it for much of its existence then it cannot afford to continue to pretend to offer equal citizenship to all its people based on their allegiance to the ideals of its foundational documents.

But immigration? Please.

It profits a man nothing to sell his soul for the entire world.

But for immigration..?


  1. While Trump publicly reviles immigrants let us not forget that he is the son of an immigrant mother, the grandson of immigrant Friedrich Drumpf, and he has married two immigrants.

    And aren't we all immigrants? Or at least the 98.4 percent of our total population whose ancestors arrived here after 1491.

    Trump has had major issues with that 1.6 percent of Americans who are actually NOT immigrants. Witness his 1990s attacks in the press on the Pequot, Ramapough, and Mohawk - his apparent adoration of 'Indian-Exterminator' Jackson - his denigration of Elizabeth Warren's ancestry - his approval of the leaking-like-a-sieve KeystoneXL and DakotaAccess pipelines through Sioux land - his lopping off 85% of Bears Ears which is sacred to Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and Ute - his attacks on tribal sovereignty on reservations - his wish to revise the Athabascan name of Mt Denali. It goes on and on.

    1. What I should have said is that we are not immigrants per se, but we are all "Anchor Babies". Or descendants of anchor babies such as Peregrine White (born 1620) or Virginia Dare (born 1587) or Martin de Argüelles (born 1566) or ....

    2. I try never to kid myself about the US as the most successful illegal immigration scheme in world history. It's not as though the Comanche were saints; given metallurgy, epidemic disease, gunpowder, and maritime technology I'm sure they'd have gleefully butchered Belgians and enslaved buxom Czech peasant girls.

      But they didn't, we did, and so we got the Big Casino. The US, like great fortunes, began with a great crime. I won't pretend to regret it, since it blessed me and mine, but I'm not going to celebrate it, or try and make it something it wasn't, or - as you detail - indulge in Trumpian latter-day piling-on of the victims.

      That's truly despicable, and just another reminder why the GOP must be destroyed.

  2. You know, what must really grind your grifter-in-chief? His inability to get his hands on the cash. I mean, the federal budget is what? 4 trillion dollars? A 5% cut of that would be 200 billion dollars! And that is per year! So a 4 year term nets you around $800 billion.

    And yet, there he is stuck with doubling club fees at Mara Lago to only $200,000 a pop. Even if he does sell a hundred memberships it is still 4 orders of magnitude less than potential (and you still have to spend the money to run the club)

    Imagine the pain of being able to direct a river of money the size of the Mississippi, and only being able to scoop up a cup of it (and getting sued over that!).

    I suspect that the reason he admires tin-pot dictators so much is that *they* get to scoop up the national revenue and drop the profits into their back pockets. Whereas he is stuck in a never ending populist/white nationalist circus show.

    1. If there is any justice in the world then Mar-a-Lago will be the first thing to be inundated by the ocean encroachment of global warming. It sits directly on both the Atlantic coastline in the east and on the Intracoastal waterway in the west. And his many seaside golf links may also go. But he would probably demand that protection for his historical 'Winter White House' be paid for on the backs of US taxpayers.

  3. Replies
    1. Pluto has been struggling w the comments - trying to comment and apparently succeeding (no error messages) but the comments don't show up. I went to a device that doesn't recognize "me" to see if it was a generic Blogger problem. Doesn't look like it. Dunno what is glitching for him...

  4. History repeats itself! I was just reading an article from the NY State historical association. Many immigrants during the colonial days were indentured servants. Too poor to pay for passage, so they sold themselves and their services for a term of years to reimburse the shipmaster for transporting them across the sea. But records as far back as 1727 indicate that these people were considered dangerous to the well-being of the colonies. So local assemblies took steps against them. Good thing my ancestor got in before they were banned. And maybe that is why two of my other forebears were wetbacks, although they came across the St John's River not the Rio Grande.

  5. Sorry to divert the discussion, but I need the Chief's opinion on this picture.

    What is going on with this weapon signature! Talk about holding up a huge "shoot me now!" sign. Is the M198 normally this bad, or is it something special about Yemen?

    1. I will defer to FDChief or any other Redlegs out there, since I am no cannon-cocker. My experience is just one tour back in the dark ages as an intel weenie with an artillery regiment that used M114s as heavies. But my two cents is that:

      a] as you hint at, Yemen is a harsh environment
      b] I doubt that gun tube has been scrubbed daily as recommended by Fort Sill
      c] how often (if at all) do those Saudi gun bunnys perform preventive maintenance checks and services?
      d] have the Saudi M198s ever been through an Inspect&Repair program? I doubt that.
      e] in 1994, a team of experts visited five major active duty Marine Corps and Army artillery units to identify and quantify major maintenance issues with the M198 howitzer, as reported by using units. This team found 15 recurring problems which were later resolved. Were these ever addressed by Saudi units?
      f] the M198 is 40 years old, 50 if you count the design and development
      g] service life was supposed to be 20 years
      h] it has been in Saudi service for 30 years or longer
      i] signature is not that bad IMHO, I've seen worse

    2. The amount of smoke may come from additives that reduce muzzle flash. The use of such additives was practice in WW2; you add those salts, they reduce flash and increase smoke (which doesn't matter at night when flash spotting is most important).

    3. Let me caveat my comment first. My entire career was spent in some form of "light" MTO&E unit, where the DIVARTY is 105mm towed systems. During my time these were typically M119A1s, and no, they did not produce this much smoke. Some, but not like this.

      Here's a thing, tho; the typical 105mm cannon uses a sort of "fixed" round, with a projo sleeved into a brass alloy can that holds the propellant, like a big bullet. The propellant comes in individual, relatively small, charge bags that go inside the case.

      The M198, like the 155mm systems that preceded it, uses a projo and separate, relatively large, powder bags that vary by strength of force produced. So whereas a 105mm mission will be announced as just "Charge 3" (meaning the crews will remove all but 3 powder bags from the case) a 155 mission can be "Charge X Green Bag", meaning the stronger type than the normal "white bag".

      For all I know this cannon may be firing a very high charge mission, and the bigger charges in larger bags may mean more smoke.

      Plus it's worth noting that most counterbattery fires are directed either by radars tracking the rounder in flight, or (perhaps) acoustic methods, since the sound travels much further than the smoke...

  6. And speaking of Yemen, maybe we just took the first baby steps in the right direction:

    But can the man with the 'omniscient-gut' and the 'all-seeing-eyes' veto it?

    If not, the next step should be for the Senate to stop our longest (and wrongest) war in Afghanistan. Seventeen years is too too long. Especially as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has just recently stated "the Taliban are NOT losing". It is time to come home.