Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tanks but no tanks

A couple of thoughts, based on this Politico piece that Sven provided in the comments on the previous post:

1. For a dude who claims to luuuuuurve his military guys El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago has no problems with making at least some of the poor bastards work over the holiday weekend rather than hang out at home or drink with the guys in the billets. I wonder who drew the short straw down in Ft. Stewart to drag ass all the way to D.C. to babysit the Brads and tanks and the M88 so somebody who would rather not have dragged ass to Southeast Asia when he had the chance (cough!bonespurscough!) could pose with the heavy metal and get a little woody?
2. There's a big reason that the Fourth isn't like Bastille Day.

For all that both republics were born in war and the use of force, the U.S. deliberately pushed the troops back into the barracks - hell, the Founders and Framers didn't want "troops" in the sense of regular GIs at all - in a way that France did not. And, in part because of that the U.S. has been spared the sort of man-on-horseback problems France has had with it's armed forces. There's a reason we here revere George Washington; for all his flaws (and he had them, like all of us) he could easily have been Napoleon and consciously turned away from that.

It's a sad comment - not so much on Trump, who is a ginormous toddler with the soul of a cinerious lump of coal and the intellect of a howler monkey who can only be expected to crave the fake toughness of being close to soldiers and military hardware, but - on the state of this nation that the vast bulk of Americans are reacting to this ridiculous Red Square propaganda show with vast indifference.

I'm sorry I'm 3,000 miles away, because somebody owes those 3rd ID guys a beer for having to be part of this Reichsparteitag shit, and I'd be buying.

And someone owes Trump a finger, while they're at it, and I got one of those for his orange ass, too.


  1. Well, as a gunner, I always had to work the long weekends cause of the associated Royal Salutes so I have limited sympathy. Still, it made the hot rum taste better at the Legion after the guns were cleaned up.

    I am of mixed minds of this. Yes, the guy on the white horse is to be feared, but then, perhaps Americans should actually see the monster they pay for, rather than hide it away in some rural backwater.

    Finally, I would much rather the Great Pumpkin spend his (and his generals) time on choreographing operations on Pennsylvania Avenue rather than Avenue Libertador in Caracas.

    1. And as a young troop and an unmarried NCO I usually worked CQ on holidays; that was kind of the deal. But that was a different breed of cat than being ordered to take part in a May Day propaganda show.

      The problem with trying to see this as a way of shock-treating the US public to the reality of the costs of Empire is that 1) the US public already "knows" that; we've been fighting imperial wars for damn near sixty years now, and 2) the whole business has been so skeevy that the governments that wanted to fight these wars had to pretend they were the Liberation of France all over again.

      The US has always been an armed bully, all the way back to the Mexican War and the various "Indian Wars". We're no angels and never have been.

      But in general we've avoided the whole "the army is the soul of the nation" shit that has gotten so many European, South and Central American, and Asian (well, Japan...) nations in trouble. That's why the post-Vietnam tongue-bathing of GIs really gets up my wick. A republic really doesn't need to go there.

      Why? Because it's why dictators love military shows. They help get their subjects to conflate the armed forces with the nation. And subjects that cheer the tanks rolling down Main Street will cheer the tanks rolling down Avenida Liberatador. That's the whole point.

      We're bad enough as it is. The last thing we need is for this goddamn tinpot tyrant to help push his MAGAts even further towards "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer"-land

    2. And we would do well to remember that lots of people - smart people - were conned by the idea that all this is "just Trump" and "just a show". Here's Lisa on the "problem" with the Democratic candidate in 2016:

      "She has neither the fun nor the promise of a new tomorrow (as did Presidents Clinton and Obama). Her gravitas hides a multitude of questionable behaviors.

      This does not make me happy. I would like to vote for a good Democratic candidate, but Hillary Clinton is not that.

      Mrs. Clinton is a pop culture "fail". In the age of the spectacle, that is unforgivable."

      Which horrified me then and horrifies me now. Jim and Lisa are intelligent people who are committed to the ideals of this nation, how could they think, as I put it then:

      "Governing is not entertainment. Trump is not "Trump", star of a TV show. The "hackneyed boilerplate of decades of Democratic platforms" includes things like Social Security that keeps my in-laws out from under bridges, unionization that keeps mill owners and factory bosses from returning us to the Gilded Age, and the civil rights that keeps my daughter from being turned away from stores and buses because she is Chinese and you because you're Jewish.

      If Clinton is a throwback to an era when governing was taken as a serious matter and concern for hard choices on difficult issues was a virtue, good.

      If Trump is some sort of Space-Age notion of government as bread and circuses...well, all the better to be rid of him then."

      I put it to you that one of those arguments has proved to be completely accurate and the other a ridiculous piece of nonsense. But both people involved were equally bright and well-informed, proving the power of bullshit and spectacle and puffery and lies; the nonsense won.

      We need to start treating these people like the toxin to the rule of law and republican government they are.

      (Here's the original post, BTW:

  2. Votevets are trying to help with the finger part:

    1. WO -

      Thanks for that link. I went ahead and found an online site to buy one even though I won't be in DC. But I'll wear it when I next see my looney tunes maga hat wearing neighbor.

    2. That's some expert trolling right there. I hope a bunch of people wearing those stand right below Der Kleinhandfuhrer's podium as he gives his little unhinged stemwinder...

    3. Might be some fisticuffs. Hope his neo-Nazi bullyboys haven't been forewarned to bring their brass knucks and sawed off billiard cues - or worse.

  3. We just avoided extra special fireworks for tomorrow's parade

    1. Ael -

      I don't doubt that the USAF is flying Rivet Joints and many other reconnaissance flights in that part of the world. And spoofing another country's transponder code is done by many. Not only by us but done to us also.

      However, Moon's theory that we wanted a 100 million dollar aircraft with 30 crewmembers shot down, or even shot at, in order to start a war for SecState Pom-Pom is crackpot. Even if the IRGC saw through the bogus transponder code, Rivet Joint has the capability to fry or dupe Iranian comms and probably a countermeasures suite to avoid SAMs. And why would that flight track directly over Abu Musa & Sirri islands even be needed? A Rivet Joint could have gathered the same intel by standing off just a mile or two and staying in Emirati airspace. Rivet Joint is NOT a photo reconnaissance aircraft. No need to fly directly overhead. So we should question whether that flight path he showed is legitimate.

      If we wanted to bait them into shooting at one of aircraft it would have been a fighter, perhaps even a Wild Weasel with radar-seeking missiles.

      Moon needs to either ditch the paranoia, or stop drinking bad moonshine.

    2. I am fully confident that USAF was playing stupid teenager style games with the Iranians. (just like I am fully confident that the Iranians play stupid teenager games with the USN)

      I do *not* know the larger intention (if any) of this manoeuvre, beyond, perhaps a display of testosterone and arrogance.

      It smacks of the recent similar incident between USS Chancellorsville and Russian Destroyer Udaloy I DD 572. Both sides blamed each other, but in the video, the Russian ship clearly had the right of way. Now, I have no doubt that the Russian Captain had set things up, much earlier, so that the USN ship would have to give way. Nevertheless, he *did* have the right of way.

      Stupid teenage style stunts,except that they are betting the lives of their crews and others.

  4. "(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of Part B, Sections I and II, any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken." From the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

    The Udaloy was clearly overtaking the Chancellorsville. She, the Udaloy, did NOT keep out of the way, she deliberately sped up to get in the way. It was the Chancellorsville, who had been maintaining a steady course and speed, had to take evasive maneuvers.

    I don't believe the Udaloy was deliberately trying for a collision as some have said. They probably wanted some close up intel pics of a shipboard weapon system or of the chopper that was landing. Then got too close due to bad ship handling.

    1. It's overtaking only when the angle of incidence is less that 22 degrees, otherwise it is crossing. The angle of incidence isn't super clear from the photographs

  5. It is overtaking. She deliberately sped up as can be seen by the wake in the photo. Also from the wake it is clear that Udaloy changed course in order to overtake. Otherwise she would have passed behind the Chancellorsville if she had stayed on her original course.

    On the other hand I agree with your yesterday's 10:03 (my time) comment re testosterone. It should have no place in these situations. Perhaps the Chancellorsville skipper should have changed course earlier if he had intuited the Udaloy's intention. Although it is bad juju to be changing course during flight launch or landing.

    1. The rules are if the Udaloy can see the front navigation lights of the Chancellorsville then it is a crossing course. From the video, it is clear that they would have been able to see those lights. I also see the change in course on the photo, but the Russian Captain changed to a crossing course, not an overtaking course. My guess is that he deliberately overtook on the side and waited until he could (just) see the navigation lights and then changed course to fuck with the Chancellorsville

      American captains are not the only ones playing stupid games.

    2. "...changed course to fuck with the Chancellorsville "

      On that we agree!

  6. The more I think about this whole sad little farce the more irritating AND ridiculous it becomes. It's bad enough that the U.S. has swallowed the whole low-grade "support the troops" militarism at NFL football games and tongue-bathing GIs everywhere from "military discounts" at grocery stores to special "veterans" parking places at fucking Home Depot. Now this nitwit is making what's supposed to be a national day into yet another "thank you for your service!" mindless troop-wank, only it's us who're supposed to be thanking HIM, the draft-dodging sonofabitch.

    I'm old enough to remember the purple heart band-aids and the GOP howling about Clinton's dope-smoking college days hiding from Vietnam. Yet not so much as a peep about this gomer wrapping himself in the tree suit to pretend he's the War Lord.

    I never thought my contempt for Republicans could grow deeper after eight years of Dubya, and yet here we are...

  7. Commander-in-Chief Bone-Spurs is holding this parade NOT to tongue bathe the troops, but to tongue bathe himself. Have you seen this freaking pig hump the American flag like it was his own personal jizzrag?

    I personally have no problem with veteran's discounts. I take advantage of them when offered, and ask for them when not offered. What I don't like is the "Thank you for your service" comments. I generally respond by telling the commenters that it is better to say "welcome home". I get some weird looks for that even though I attempt to be gentle in my response.

  8. Frankly, I don't think democrats would be so exasperated about the parade or whatever that's going to be if Obama had done it.

    1. True, but then President Barry never would have done it. So, a moot point.

    2. The point is rather that the action in itself isn't so terrible, it's only terrible in the context of this administration becuase of the president's other actions.

      That makes it fairly uninteresting in itself IMO. Getting exasperated about it feels redundant like getting exasperated about the 11,000th lie.

    3. No, it's actually terrible on the merits. As I pointed out above; the supposed "point" of the U.S. is that we're NOT a nation built out of war and maintained by military force, but, rather, a nation founded on a civil compact that insists on civil control of military force. That's why the national day IS July 4 and not, say, April 18; it celebrates a document, not a battle.

      I'll be the first to say that the U.S. is, in fact, a nation that was and is defined by its casual use of force. But at least the ideal was a civilian ideal, and not "the nation in arms". This conflation of military force and patriotism IS terrible in and of itself, and the U.S. Right has gone insanely further in embracing it than the Left.

  9. Not exasperated. It is just that the sound of the man's voice is like a screeeeech in my ears. And his shit-eating grin, that is more of a gloat or a smirk than a smile, is an invitation to look away or wear a blindfold. His supporters may be correct in that I have TRS aka Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  10. And of course, the idiot managed to make it about his ridiculous goof about 18th Century airports. Congratulations; we were reminded once again that we elected an addled Fox News grandpa. Covfefe!

    The only positive I see about this is that from what I read the speech was so glum and dreary that it pretty much put the stank on the military pageantry, what there was of it. The downside is that it made it possible for the usual idiots to claim that Trump was "presidential", since he didn't crap his pants or grab someone by the pussy, so yay, Trump!

    The really depressing thing this all adds up for me is that the American Experiment is turning out to simply prove that a huge chunk of the human race is practically incapable of making simple deductive judgement when they have something that hits them right in the monkey brain. Trump is visibly addled, obviously a fool, and clearly not JUST that but a nasty, vindictive, petty, spiteful little addled fool, the sort who will stew in his grudge until he gets the chance to do you an injury for some minor slight or oversight you never even realized affected him.

    For all that there have been a crap-ton of loathsome people in office in this country, it's hard to think of someone as manifestly unworthy to clean toilets in a typhoid hospital than this guy.

    But 40% of the country loves him; absolutely adores him and will defend his "airport" idiocy to the death so long as they get their tax cuts and are free to dump their shit in the river and kick the homos and the Mexicans and the homeless dudes in the can.

    So the rest of us are just fecking rammed in the ramparts, ain't we..?

    1. Some politicians don't really have good policy on offer that would help the nation. So they turn towards fearmongering and hatemongering to gather support.
      Once in power, they do their crap policies plus some bullying to satisfy the hateful base.

      The hatemongering and fearmongering appears to work in many countries and communities all over the world, regardless of cultures. I wonder if political science has identified how to vaccinate a society against this.

      One thing is for sure; insisting on politeness in political discourse is not how to protect against demagogues. The press quickly normalises the impoliteness of the demagogues and harmstrings only the non-demagogues with its appeals for politeness.

    2. Very much yes. That's why every time someone attacks this loathsome Administration's loathsome policies the FOX/GOP talking heads leap up to denounce the "incivility" of calling concentration camps concentration camps and racism racism.

      What worries me is that about 2 of every 5 Americans is, as you point out, voting largely based on their hate and fear. They prefer the idiot rule of a fool to the possibility that they will be "forced" to tolerate anyone and anything that they hate and fear, regardless of how foolish, uninformed, and flat-out wrong those hates and fears are. It's the political equivalent of having more than a third of your compatriots so terrified of invisible spiders that they will cheerfully burn your house down because "it will kill the spiders!"

      The problem is that this moronic crew has their own "news" media, and will jam their fingers in their ears and chant "lalalalalala!!!" rather than listen to anything that doesn't confirm their hates and fears. I don't see a way to "rescue" these jokers. They're going to continue to poison the promises that the American Experiment has made. We're going to end up a White Man's Nation...or not. And the only way I can see "not" happening is...not good.

  11. And, one of the world's best trolls, just had to out do Trump. .

    This will drive Trump crazy. What will next Independence Day parade feature? Flying robots?