Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics 2012: Not Doing the Right Thing

We love everyone, we hate everyone

The real hell of life is
everyone has his reasons
--Jean Renoir


Forty years ago the Israeli Olympic Wrestling team was kidnapped and killed by Middle Eastern terrorists. Fast-forward 40 years to London, 2012, to a world embroiled in a War on Terror dominated by al-Qaeda and like-minded groups: Why have the Olympics not been targeted?

Since Britain has been a major ally of the United States in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), would not the Olympic platform be a realistic target? It can't be that it has already been done, for they targeted the World Trade Center twice. Redundancy does not seem to bother them.

Could it be that al-Qaeda is not the hot doggers we have presumed them to be, and they lack the operational depth to exploit such a target heavy with symbolic value? Simply: If they have the assets, the Olympics will be a targeted event; if not, then it will not be.

Relevant aside: why did the International Olympic Committee decide against a moment of silence to recognize the murder of the entire team of a member nation, especially as the perpetrators of that craven crime were Middle Eastern terrorists -- the same sort against whom we say we are in an existential struggle? What sort of solidarity (not) is that message sending?

To their credit, the Italian team alone held a moment of silence. A few hundred others remembered at Trafalgar Square. It would appear that the remembrance is being rebuffed because they were Jewish and Israeli. It can hardly be imagined that if the athletes had been American, British, Russian or German, let's say, that a moment of silence would have been denied, or indeed, that the request would even had to have been made.

What moral cowardice all round.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Who's a Wounded Warrior

A preventive war, to my mind,
is an impossibility today
--President Eisenhower


The government is back at the divide and conquer game with veterans.

Back at the Social Security office this week attempting to resolve the ongoing matter of his docked pay resulting from a March 2008 administrative error (see Rodeo Clown and links), Ranger noticed the "Expedited Disability Applications for Wounded Warriors": If your disability was incurred after 1 Oct 01, you qualify for fast-track adjudication by the Social Security Administration,
which made Ranger feel like chopped liver.

So much for all the rhetoric about inclusivity amongst all of our nation's veterans. If you're a Vietnam veteran with emergent issues, you're in the back of the bus, behind the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) vets. The message: You still make us nervous.

Why is it extended to current soldiers, but not wounded or disabled veterans from other wars? Is a soldier's service post October 2001 more valuable than that of his predecessors?

And why are those veterans any different than any other citizen? Shouldn't all citizens be treated fairly by our government? Ironically, one does not need to be either wounded or a warrior to qualify for this preferential SSA program. From the pamphlet: "[W]ho become disable ... regardless of where the disability occurs" -- so a Quartermaster company clerk in a car wreck could be magically transformed into a "Wounded Warrior" ™.

I will be surprised if the SSA clears up my account before my next birthday, eight months from now. 14 April 2011 SSA informed Ranger that they had made a self-admitted error in 2008 and claimed Ranger owes them in excess of $10,000. He filed an appeal form within the month and received his first correspondence on the matter 9 Jul 12 stating that they would remand $8,500 to his account until they make an administrative decision. This over one-year lag time despite appealing the matter through my congressman's office.

No one at the Administration is being held accountable for screwing up my hard-earned benefits. This is doubly irksome in our current political climate which advocates for less rather than more government; the government we have is not doing its job, so why do we think less will be more?

Vis-a-vis the Chicago SSA Regional office handling (or not) his claim, Ranger feels like a rat in a sticky glue trap that some clever marketers call a "home".

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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Farewell to Arms

Give them lots of sex, perversion and rape,

give them lots of violence, and plenty to hate
Give the People What They Want, The Kinks

This world's divided into two kinds of people:
the hunter and the hunted.
Luckily I'm the hunter. Nothing can change that

--The Most Dangerous Game
Richard Connell

I've got my finger on the trigger

I ain't lettin' go

--Love is in Control
, Donna Summer

[T]he deadliest sociopaths aren’t the ones
who dye their hair red
and identify with comic book nihilists
--Child Killer as "Comforter-in-Chief,

The genus Homo is populated by mostly violent species, the most recent incarnation the reasoning sapiens taking a commandment that they shall not kill. They have not been spectacularly successful with that injunction, however.

We in the United States have had wars to exterminate Indians, to retain slavery and to avenge the sinking of ships (the U.S.S. Maine and the R.M.S. Lusitania, for example.) In addition, we are tremendously innovative when it comes to creating weaponry, and have unleashed the power of the atom in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now, we can even bomb people remotely, so the trigger man need not feel the tang of immediate remorse as his targets are merely moving images on a screen.

We take it as gospel to answer aggression by using greater violence than that of the precipitating event. The Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) in which the U.S. is currently immersed is one example. Though a success if measured by outnumbered body counts, it provides no benefit to the retaliating country. The U.S. faced the abyss of nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and presently has five Navy carrier groups, a Strategic Air Command and an Army, all of which possess the nuclear weaponry to destroy continents with weapons leftover for follow-ons, should there be any need.

These are the national imperatives that quash "Thou Shalt not Kill", yet we wail and gnash teeth when another crazy kills people for no reason other than the sport of the kill. Compared to our nuclear potential, the bullets that rip holes though bodies are as mosquito bites to the population (though the bite is still deadly).

Guns cannot destroy the earth but nuclear bombs can, and they can be employed without unrolling the 2nd Amendment. We have a President with his finger on the trigger
and he gets to manipulate these toys without a background check or a waiting period. Ranger does not doubt that the U.S. would destroy the world if push came to shove; only a fool would doubt that any nuclear nation would fail to light up the sky if they felt threatened by a like-armed enemy.

So excuse us if another senseless shooting fails to elicit crocodile tears. It is only a matter of time before man will destroy his little neck of the universe through his hubris and folly, and all of his efforts contrariwise will be for naught.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Double Talk

The right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed
--James Madison (1789)


In previous entries, Ranger has compared the fees required to carry a concealed weapon to those of the illegal poll tax which required people to front funds, knowledge or property in order to vote.

Attorney General Holder recently said the Texas's voter ID law, requiring a photo ID from all prospective voters, was the 21st-century equivalent of the illegal poll tax.

The poll taxes of the Jim Crow era were designed to dissuade poor black people from voting in elections, and the Texas law requiring a photo ID from all prospective voters is no different. An estimated 1.4 million Texans, predominantly the lower-income and minority voters who tend to vote Democratic, don’t have a driver’s license or other photo identification. To apply for a voter ID card, Texas requires people to travel to a state office and supply fingerprints and proof of identity, such as a birth certificate—copies of which cost $22. Discouraging people from voting this way is illegal, which is why Holder’s Justice Department rightly blocked this “disgraceful” law back in March. Soon, a federal court will rule whether Texas’s law—and similar laws in a dozen states—violates the Constitution (Voter ID: The Modern Poll Tax).

If a poll tax and photo voter ID requirement infringe upon our franchise -- a guaranteed right of citizenship -- then surely requiring a fee for a CCW permit is the same thing. Forty-nine (49) states allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon, either with or without a permit.

In Florida, the CCW permit costs $135 + fingerprinting fee, plus $100-150 for the required classes prior to application. The total cost to carry a concealed weapon in Florida is about $250. This is unconstitutional as a right can neither be denied nor abridged.

However, neither party will address the issue since both are complicit in its origin and furtherance. The CCW is a hidden tax and therefore a source of revenue.
Additionally, neither party wants the lower socioeconomic classes carrying a gun in a de facto recognition of the direness of a life which might drive one into dangerous gun scenarios.

The Democrats wants these people to vote, but not tote; the Republicans would like them to do neither. That is it in a nutshell, but why might that be?

On a personal level, as a retired military officer having commanded three Army Marksmanship Units and Infantry weapons proficient to include sniper qualified, Ranger feels insulted that he is required to buy a permit for the purpose of exercising his right to carry a weapon.

The United States is a nation of conflicting beliefs, laws and emotions. One cannot move with cohesion until the rules are unified and clearly stated.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dark Night

--Sleepwalking in America

The first and principal benefit
caused by the arid and dark night of contemplation:
the knowledge of oneself and of one’s misery

--Dark Night of the Soul
, St. John of the Cross

--Have you met the devil?
I want to meet him too.
--Why do you want to do that?

--I want to ask him about God.

He must know. He, if anyone

--Seventh Seal (1957)


Sunday Homily: Propriety

It may seem an odd topic for RangerAgainstWar, but we, your humble writers, are often in the process of asking ourselves how to get it right, this appropriate living - behavior thing. Beyond identifying some of the problems, we are not sure.

The recent Aurora, Colorado shootings at the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" brought propriety back as a topic. Needless to say, another senseless, meaningless performance from a disenfranchised, perhaps deranged individual, and impropriety is not the word for such an unspeakable action. There is not much to say beyond another soon to be delivered dissection of another 15-second-murderous-famer by an obsequious press in collusion with a nation which does not really want to know why these senseless acts are now occurring with predictable regularity.

The thing that is improprietous is
President Obama's visit to the Aurora Hospital which currently houses ten of the survivors. Colorado Governor John Hickenloope and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan should be on-site. But for Obama, who interrupted his campaigning in Florida, this smacks of campaign flourish. The President should not glorify every failure via his presence, lending a gravitas which should be saved for events of national import. This is just another shooting event du jour.

We do not mean to be priggish, but a message sent from the White House would have sent the correct tone. Does our President intend to run hither and thither to address every heinous act?
Obama is neither a goodwill ambassador nor a triage nurse.

What advice from the Gospels do we have on how to treat our fellows? The Golden Rule, the 10 Commandments and the Good Samaritan are a start, but these offer advice to the individual navigating his world, and do not need the reinforcement of a secular president. If they don't work prima facia, then perhaps they don't work.

The Aurora shooting occurred at the midnight premiere of the third installment in the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight. The series has been hailed as a masterful depiction of the comic book characters, but it is far from light entertainment; the films raise sadism and violence to an art form, or so the aficionados say. One of the dead is a six-year old girl, her mother still in intensive care.

Who would take a young child to the midnight showing of such a gore fest?
That is a story of societal malfunction in itself. The UK Telegraph ran a piece in '08 addressing the issue
(Our attitude to violence is beyond a joke as new Batman film, The Dark Knight, shows).

We feel Mr. Obama has made several missteps in his capacity as Chief Executive of the United States. Several involve giving lie to the fact that we are a post-racial nation, as the pundits so glowingly declaimed after his election.

[1] Obama inappropriately stepped into the Cambridge, Massachusetts arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by saying the police department "acted stupidly", and later holding a "beer summit" at the White House between the arresting officer and Gates.

[2] Next, in the Sanford, Florida incident of a Stand Your Ground killing of a 17-year-old black male by a 28-year-old Latino male, Obama chose to say of victim
"If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon", hopelessly biasing the adjudication of the case.

[3] Now, Obama is visiting Aurora following another mindless mass shooting. It is surely simply a photo-op in a contentious campaign.

We have some serious issues as a nation, but these lie underneath the matters of State and are not things our President should be addressing, nor is he able to address them.

As one of our readers recently commented, if we need to talk about race, let's talk about race; if guns, then let's talk about guns.

Why must we behave disingenuously, taking the long way about the barn, and never solving anything anyway? Americans may be loud and brash, but the bravado is shrill as it lacks self-awareness.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

On the OP - LP: Varmageddon

Guns are too quick.
You can't savor all the little emotions
--The Dark Knight

He was especially hard on the little things

the helpless and the gentle creatures

--Raising Arizona (1987)

My religion is kindness
--The Dalai Lama


Topic for consideration: How do you interact with the creatures in your world?

Varmageddon is a bullet manufactured by the Nosler Corporation specifically for waxing little critters. Yesterday I read an article in a hunting magazine which advocated for coyote hunting in Montana and Wyoming in the winter as the coyotes are starving and therefore must be on the move.

It struck Ranger as an odd reaction: Animals are starving, therefore, kill them. Lotsa kills to be had as a starvation dividend. My relationship with nature is different.

The animals passing through my compound do not starve because I provide them food and water to help them sustain their lives. Rattlesnakes have even drunk from my automatic waterers. Water is the most dire need for most animals, especially in the summer, and in urban environments. It will soon be the limiting resource on human life, as well. (Many of us do not see that because the water always flows when we turn the faucet.)

In return for allowing the animals forage, I get to see fifteen wild turkeys with three mature males safely eating 20 yards from my bedroom window. Same for deer, coyotes, foxes, squirrels and rabbits. Now that my dogs are no longer on patrol and squirrels are no longer being shot, rabbits and squirrels frolic in the front lawn and have taken over the water from the dog bowl.

Buddy the dog has entered the cycle of life, too, and his passage allows the squirrels ascendency. Every now and again the urge comes to kill one and place it on Buddy's grave, but I have fought that impulse so far. Enjoying this ebullient life refreshes my jaded soul.

The most common request from people who know my property is, "Can I come over and kill a few deer this year?" They do not get it.

Changes have happened over the 20 years spent on this acreage. The once-plentiful whippoorwills have disappeared and the white egrets have become a rare sight. Ditto the honeybees and butterflies. Is this due to the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides so liberally dosed on the local environment through the largess of truck farming?

There is an ebb and flow to life and it is at our peril that we ignore this fact. The whippoorwills used to sing me to sleep and they are missed. A coyote or a rattler could have destroyed this family of birds, yet that too is the cycle of life and the pattern of nature.

My critters will have a haven as long as I can hold onto this land. My dominion over the beast will be one of conservation. The world is filled with too much killing.


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Spy

--High-tech British explosive, ca. 1942
Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

I think the people have gotten dumber

Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D)

We can teach these barbarians a lesson

in Western methods and efficiency

that will put them to shame

--The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)


Ranger will now be the fly in the punchbowl.

A recent cheery announcement says "Spy Planes Cut Roadside Bomb Deaths":

"Spy planes that capture images of insurgents carrying explosives from Pakistan and sensors that detect wires that trigger the bombs have helped to mitigate the No. 1 threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan -- roadside bombs -- over the past year.

"The Pentagon has filled the skies over Afghanistan with high-tech sensors, and the effect has been measurable. ..."

When b
ombers are using wires to detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs), this indicates a low level of sophistication. If they were using advanced techniques they would be using detonators WITHOUT wires. Further, this indicates the ISI is probably not supplying the bomb makers as we would see an elevated level of sophistication.

The U.S. is wasting precious time and money on sophisticated 21st century devices tracking pre-technological improvised explosive devices using cord, often not even worthy of the word "bomb". How smart -- or necessary -- is that?

The article describes insurgents stuck somewhere in a World War II movie, like Bridge On the River Kwai. Moreover, how is the denial of insurgent bomb makers in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan making us here in The Homeland any safer? When was the last roadside IED detonated here in the United States?

What exactly are the soldiers doing whom the drones are protecting in Afghanistan? The threat to Afghanistan by insurgents is not the same as the threat to the U.S. by radical Islamic terror groups like al-Qaeda.

Until we realize this glitch in our military raison d'etre, we will continue to roam the earth seeking wires in the sand.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Requiem for State

The statue got me high
The monument of granite sent a beam into my eye

The statue made me die

--The Statue Got Me High,

They Might Be Giants


Peter Van Buren has given a poignant and informed requiem for the State Department at his site today
(State Department: America’s Increasingly Irrelevant Concierge). They could have been a contender.

Here is an excerpt, but please read the entire piece:

The Militarization of Foreign Policy

The most obvious sign of State’s irrelevance is the militarization of foreign policy. There really are more military band members than State Department Foreign Service Officers. The whole of the Foreign Service is smaller than the complement aboard one aircraft carrier. Despite the role that foreign affairs has always played in America’s drunken intercourse abroad, the State Department remains a very small part of the pageant. The Transportation Security Administration has about 58,000 employees; the State Department has about 22,000. The Department of Defense (DOD) has nearly 450,000 employees stationed overseas, with 2.5 million more in the US.

At the same time, Congress continues to hack away at State’s budget. The most recent round of bloodletting saw State lose some $8 billion while DOD gained another $5 billion. The found fiver at DOD will hardly be noticed in their overall budget of $671 billion. The $8 billion loss from State’s total of $47 billion will further cripple the organization. The pattern is familiar and has dogged State-DOD throughout the war of terror years. No more taxi vouchers and office supplies for you! What you do get for your money is the militarization of foreign policy.

As Stephen Glain wrote in his book, State vs. Defense: The Battle to Define America’s Empire, the combatant commands are already the putative epicenters for security, diplomatic, humanitarian and commercial affairs in their regions. Local leaders receive them as powerful heads of state, with motorcades, honor guards and ceremonial feats. Their radiance obscures everything in its midst, including the authority of US ambassadors.

. . .

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pulp Non-Fiction


Woman Tells of Encounters With Killer in Martin Case

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual
and lost the original black box,

they still remembered to use the stones

--The Lottery
, Shirley Jackson

I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem—
vengeance is walking Salem

--The Crucible
, Arthur Miller

Do you take it upon yourself to determine
what this court shall believe
and what it shall set aside?


The above the second most viewed story in the New York Times at 2 p.m. yesterday.

Number two not in a tabloid, but #2 in the ostensibly top paper in the United States. These are the things that make me embarrassed to be a liberal today. Zimmerman's fate relies on the decision of a unbiased jury. In his case, as with any similar, the laws will be applied to his actions to arrive at a decision.

So why is the liberal press so assiduously committing character assassination in this case? This headline is naught but indictment sans trial, replete with dime store title: The Killer I Knew. This is nuts -- who is making these editorial decisions? These are the same journalists who would have been horrified by the tactics of the McCarthy era witch hunt trials, so why the about-face? Why feed us this prurient and lurid non-news, and why do we feast upon it?

Unfortunately, an overzealous press in the mistaken business of swaying public opinion has been scrambling to dredge up anything which will heap an adjudication of "guilty" upon Zimmerman's head, even before his case goes to trial (if it even does). The reason for this is unclear.

The WaPo's Jonathan Capehart and the NYT's Charles Blow have embarrassed themselves by keeping up the drumbeat of insinuation against Zimmerman (it is said his family likes blacks as long as they behave like whites ... -- living in South Georgia, I can tell you that attitude blindsided me. Yup.) This is pathetic gruel for a paper of supposed note to be indulging in.

So why is Zimmerman being publicly pilloried in the top paper in the nation? Why are we reading pulp fiction heads like "Woman Tells of Encounters with Killer"? The late Paul Fussell called it "prole drift" in his, "BAD -- the Dumbing of America".

And what were those "encounters"? Zimmerman apparently diddled her under a blanket while they watched t.v. when she was 6 and he 8.

Says witness 9,
"a lot of kissing, groping. He would put his hands under my shirt and just rub and grab my chest and put his hands down my pants again ... ". It happened a few more times over the years, but when she was 18, boy, she just got up and left him high and dry: No more groping, so there!

Now, not one to encourage groping, but it does happen, and is not a marker in the making of a murderer. Now, if they could come up with some singed cats or dogs over the clothesline (whoops, that's what pro football players sometimes do.)

Did the victim, Trayvon, ever diddle a girl? We are not told, making him seem virginal, locked in amber in a moment of the press's creation, iced tea and Skittles in hand. Zimmerman grows more heinous with each lurid innuendo, like something on a late night werewolf movie.

Anyway, I don't get it. This coverage is so blatantly inappropriate on so many levels. That the U.S. president spoke out sympathizing with the victim hopelessly biased the case.
Why must Zimmerman be martyred for our collective sense of guilt? The witch hunt is so pagan and atavistic in nature.

He must have hairy palms, which would further prove something, if they can just trick him into opening them upwards.

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We Happy Band of Brothers -- Not

I didn't start a war. Nobody died
--Rafael Nadal
, on putting his loss to
100th ranked Rosol into perspective


The Tallahassee Democrat ran an article 9 July about the fraternity to be found at the local Post No. 13 of the American Legion (Veterans Helping Veterans). Of course, in order to feel the love, one needs to be accepted as a member of that brotherhood, which Ranger was not.

He expressed his consternation with his exclusion from the group in a response, which the paper did not publish; we will do so here:

Dear ed.,

Though the American Legion performs many charitable acts for veterans, the group is not the all-inclusive "band of brothers" the writer portrayed.

This veteran had a different experience with our local American Legion Chapter.

The Executive Committee, in secret session, rejected my application for membership. As a retired U.S. Army officer and Vietnam veteran who receives Combat Related Special Compensation for 100% VA disability, one would think I would qualify for membership in this congressionally-chartered veterans organization.

The local chapter refused to explain their decision to me in either verbal or written form. Off the record, a member expressed to me that my anti-war stance was the cause of their decision. Freedom of speech -- the thing we combat vets put our lives on the line for -- was being sanctioned in their dismissal of my application.

I believe the bible and the Constitution are not entwined. I am not homophobic and do not hew to a hard right-wing political view, all of which are contrary to the prevailing notions of what a servicemember should believe according to fraternal organizations like the American Legion. I believe our nation's strength lies in democratic thought.

Like all veterans -- but not all American Legion executives -- I fought for my freedom to dissent.

Dissent is not unpatriotic.

--James Hruska

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Homily Addendum


Homily addemdum -- Confession as Enablement:

An excerpt from a recent interview in Slate with Pulitzer Prize- winning myrmecologist and sociobiologist E. O. Wilson (Altruism and the New Enlightenment).
Mr. Wilson is an Alabama boy who has evolved in his thought:

So it comes down to a conflict between individual and group-selected traits?

Yes. And you can see this especially in the difficulty of harmonizing different religions.
We ought to recognize that religious strife is not the consequence of differences among people. It's about conflicts between creation stories. We have bizarre creation myths and each is characterized by assuring believers that theirs is the correct story, and that therefore they are superior in every sense to people who belong to other religions. This feeds into our tribalistic tendencies to form groups, occupy territories and react fiercely to any intrusion or threat to ourselves, our tribe and our special creation story. Such intense instincts could arise in evolution only by group selection—tribe competing against tribe. For me, the peculiar qualities of faith are a logical outcome of this level of biological organization.

Can we do anything to counter our tribalistic instincts?

I think we are ready to create a more human-centered belief system. I realize I sound like an advocate for science and technology, and maybe I am because we are now in a techno-scientific age.
I see no way out of the problems that organized religion and tribalism create other than humans just becoming more honest and fully aware of themselves. Right now we're living in what Carl Sagan correctly termed a demon-haunted world. We have created a Star Wars civilization but we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. That's dangerous.

Mr. Wilson ironically echoes the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to its scientific and technological abundance”

“Through our scientific genius, we have made this world a neighborhood; now, through our moral and spiritual development we must make of it a brotherhood. In a real sense, we must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.”

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Greatest Salesman in the World

--Seen in Tallahassee this week

--We just want you to be all you can be
--You want me to join the army?
--Let's try this again
--Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

There is an immeasurable distance

between late and too late

--The Greatest Salesman in the World,
Og Mandino

Other nations when victorious

on the battlefield dictate peace terms.
But when Israel is victorious
it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews
to be the only real Christians in this world
--Israel's Peculiar Position, Eric Hoffer

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?

And one of them shall not fall on the ground
without your Father
--Matthew 10-29

Homily: Confession as enablement.

Ranger recently found the book "The Prayer Warrior's Way" by Cindy Trimm in a North Florida restaurant. She also wrote The Art of War for Spiritual Warfare, co-opting both Sun-Tzu and Cameron with no evident credentials. (Her bio claims she is a "Doctor" and a former "Senator", but neither the academic nor the civic reference are found on her website.)

But it caused him to wonder whether he, too, could become a prayer warrior. He feels as misunderstood as Jesus, at times, and as they are both SOG, he decided to go into it. Taking a particular Ranger's perspective, he asked:

What if Jesus died not to atone for my (our) sins, but rather so that I (we) might continue to sin? Why else the various actions toward forgiveness, like confession and penance? Why get forgiven when the reality is, we will sin again? The confessional booth is a revolving door, and it is a form of repetitive atonement forestalling ... what? It is a fix, a nicotine patch -- your mileage may vary.

Is God a fool, or the Greatest Salesman in the World? What is this ephemeral snake oil of the sacraments that cures no one from his indwelling slant towards ignominy, from his ever-present, puerile Reptilian Brain? We pay for it, gnash our teeth and rent our garments, but to no avail: The sunrise brings another day of moral failings.

--Like Burma Shave signs,
on the way to Ranger's house

Why die to relieve us of the burden of sin when that dismissal is a sham, and the reality is that your empire is built on the necessity of man's moral lapses? Whatever the intention, sin is big business.

Why do we deify one single (unverified) Jew who forsook his religion and tooka spear for us, and then we proceed to pogromize and slaughter untold millions in abject degradation -- in the spirit of Christianity -- since that day? Is this good faith? Is it we who created Jesus to enable our millennial inequities?

--The end of the Burma Shave trail

Why is Jesus more sacred than his his murdered brethren? One could become even more catholic and extend that to every State murder of any vilified individual or group. If He died for a purpose, then why have millions been murdered hence as a result of racial hatred, if we are all brothers?

Simply put, why value and worship a Jewish God born of Jewish traditions, and then vilify Jews for the next 2,000 years?

Utterly flummoxed as to the answers, Ranger is content to ask humbly, "If there is a heaven, will God one day reunite him in eternity with all of the mismatched socks in his drawers?"

--Jim and Lisa

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Out on the OP - LP, 14 July 12

Again we fail to make amends

And wend our way between intents

And looking back, not moving on

Oh but something's always wrong

--Something's Always Wrong,
Toad the Wet Sprocket


Time for the Second Edition of "Out on the OP - LP", what we hope will be a regular feature here at RangerAgainstWar.

We are tweaking things, trying to find out how to make it something in which you will enjoy participating. To that end, we will try a leading question, to see what thoughts it might dredge up. You are not, however, constrained by the topic. As always, R.A.W. is a free-fire zone.

Topic: Accommodation

I mused this week upon the uneasy accommodation I have with the tree frog who has made an abode out of my mailbox. As I am not a little boy, meeting wet frogs has always been a fraught issue for me. Yet I know I will have to meet the frog daily as he leaps out when I remove the mail, or just sits on an envelop until I flick him off.

I wonder: Is it not terrifying to him when the postman drops a particularly large bunch of mail in the box., thoughtlessly, without heed to the fact that he is disrupting someone's lair? How does the frog sleep, never knowing when something will be dropped into the post box? What is it about the black metal box that keeps him there, braving bodily damage?

Then I thought about myself -- it seems we all make poor choices at times in order to accommodate. Friend and professor emeritus of sociology at FAMU, Charles U. Smith, once mused about the forms accommodation takes, from the simple idea of acquired changes in the behavior of individuals to help them to adjust to their environment to Lundberg's more dire idea of people's simple desire to relieve the fatigue and tension of competition and conflict -- accommodation not as a way to reach a higher state, like harmony, but as a technique simply to be able to exist.

He mentioned how he had accommodated to being raised in poverty by being penurious, and how difficult it was for him even today to splurge on a filet mignon over a flank steak, when he could well afford the former.

What accommodations do you make, and why? Is it always better to determine one's desires outright versus accommodating to another? Are there certain issues upon which one should never accommodate? Anything else on the topic?

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Ordinary People

I can't read and I don't care
and education's awful

Raisin' heck and writing checks

it ought to be unlawful

--Cornbread and Butter Beans
, traditional

Waving to the girls
Peeling out of sight
Spending all my money
On a Saturday night

--Pink Cadillac
, Aretha Franklin

I know a place

Ain't nobody cryin'

Ain't nobody worried

Ain't no smilin' faces

Lyin' to the races
--I'll take you there
The Staples Singers

Often, I am told, they dance a fiery dance

And whirl 'till they're completely uncontrolled
Soon the mind is blank and oh, they're in a trance
A violent trance astounding to behold
--What Do Simple Folk Do?,

If you can talk with crowds

and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings---

nor lose the common touch

, Rudyard Kipling

Our friend Chief at Graphic Firing Table eloquently eviscerates the Republican Party, 2012. His is effective all the moreso because he grieves for what it once was -- a viable second party for our Republic -- but no longer is.

Ranger will see him, and raise him $100.

Since John F. Kennedy's Camelot we have conspicuously consumptive winners inhabiting the White House, from Martha's Vineyard, to Kennebunkport, back to the Vineyard (with the Obamas). Ranger, like most Americans, was not to the manor born. He attended a state university with a degree in American Studies, and strives to understand his nation's trajectory.

John Kerry was a bespandexed-wearing 2004 Democratic contender against the oil mogul George W. Bush. Now Mitt Romney, he of non-Socialistically-gained largesse, shamelessly flaunts his wealth in a way he thinks the masses will grasp, with mention of his multiple Cadillacs. No one bothers to choke on Clinton's words, because they do not "feel our pain". We the people are as martians to these high-fliers.

Sure, men like Franklin Delano Roosevelt were to the manor born, but they tempered their Hyde Parks with their Warm Springs (FDR's humble Southern retreat). FDR moved amongst the people, in order to get a sense of their trials and travails. Politicians today have lost the common touch.

Yet, the plebs are not rankled at the gulf between they and these fortunate he's because their betters appear to condescend to them; they do this so slickly that the groundlings don't even notice. They do this in the most common form -- by making the plebs feel as though they have some "ownership", that this is "their" society and that together "we" will protect our borders from fearsome interlopers, for instance. What this will do for the proles in uncertain, beyond presumably keeping the pool of minimum wage jobs open for them to compete amongst themselves, while toeing the party line fed to them, which is to rue the day the Other party rose to power and somehow sold them down the river.

Hope is the thing the demogogues peddle. If you hope for change, in four short years I will bring you back to the prosperity that is rightly yours. But not before me and mine get ours, by shorting you and yours in some way beyond the boundary of your horizon. If you are obedient, you may be able to afford daily greens fees and possibly rub shoulders with your betters.

You -- whoever you are -- will like and affiliate with us because we are you, or what you might be, if you pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. Maybe you've lost so much hope that you just hope you can tread water wherever that line is for you. Whatever your goal, we will help get you there. We, under the Hart-Schaffner-Marx suits, are simple folk, just like you.

Make no mistake: Ranger is neither Democratic nor Republican. We are loyal United States citizens who feel like strangers in a strange land when confronting the excess of our leaders. The Dennis Kucinich's of civic life are rare, and painted as space aliens for their modesty. (You have to be nuts not to feed at the trough, right?) So, why do we buy into the shtick?

We work and struggle to do our best for family and country, and the best we get are these spoiled, entitled pretty boys. How does the U.S. really differ from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar or any other country run by potentates?

Does an election = democracy? We laugh at the Soviet regimes for having elections with one candidate on the ticket. We may have two, but does it matter?

Winning an election does not entail the same skill set required to govern a nation. That may be part of the problem: We get money-raisers, but not nation-makers.

--by Jim and Lisa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Notorious B. H. O.

I know. You know I know. 
I know you know I know. 
We know Henry knows,  
and Henry knows we know it
--The Lion in Winter (1968)

My grandma had a picture of J.F.K.

above the kitchen table.
Now I like Tupac,
but the day ain't gonna come
when your
grandma looks at a picture of Tupac and says,
"That Tupac was a great man"

--Chris Rock,

I see you walkin' on your beat

Searchin' strangers on the street

Especially the whores you meet

It's a shame such a disgrace

--Mr. Policeman
, Rick James


Ranger Question of the Day:
How do U.S. presidentially-mandated kills in Yemen
differ from those called by President al-Assad in Syria?

Biggie Smalls is no longer with us; how unfortunate. The new gangster culture idolizes members like Biggie, 50 cent and Tupac because they stopped a few 9 m/m rounds. Enter the latest gansgta whom we will call, Notorious B.H.O.

B.H.O. does flybys from Hellfire missiles, as opposed to pimped out slabs. However, unlike the new gangstas, B.H.O. subcontracts his bitchfags out to the poor white and Latino boys, and we idolize him for it. This is presumably B.H.O.'s idea of "nearsourcing".

Nobel Prize winner, assassin -- our President can claim some diverse company.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

God Save the Queen

Martin McGuinness telling the Queen,
"Slan agus beannacht" ("goodbye and godspeed")


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with "former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander" Martin McGuinness late last month, called by the press "the ultimate moment in Northern Ireland peacemaking." This is remarkable in many ways.

First, it reinforces RangerAgainstWar's position that warring parties must eventually reach an accord. The IRA, dubbed variously a terrorist organization and a revolutionary military organization has been fighting Britain for the unification of Ireland for almost 100 years. They did this by targeting British interests in a low intensity conflict (LIC) using terror tactics.

Reconciliation and political accommodation are necessary to address long-standing grievances. Although the official party line in the U.S. and Britain is that we do not negotiate with terrorists, this stand is obviously not unequivocal. The English abandoned their military approach to Northern Ireland in favor of a non-military one.

Facing the end of empire, the English are loathe to succumb to the terror, and have given as good as they got. The IRA were painted as thugs who murdered innocent civilians, though they often put out a warning before their bombings. The Queen suffered the murder of her cousin, Lord Mountbatten.

At least, NYT columnist MoDo called it "murder"; in fact, it was a targeted assassination. This parsing of terms is important, since in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) the United States kills people every day but never calls it murder; instead we interdict, neutralize or eliminate a threat.

Next, is the recognition of former IRA leader Martin McGuinness as a "Commander", lending military legitimacy to the group. During the struggle, England refused to recognize the military nature of the IRA and so did not grant Prisoner of War status to captured IRA personnel (much as the U.S. fails to accord this designation to those whom it fights in its current wars in the Middle East.)

When was the last time anyone called anyone in the al Qaeda chain of command a "Commander", or afforded them any military dignity? We make reality by the labels we bestow.

It is instructive to note that many world leaders have started their careers on the terror side of the equation. Luminaries like Gerry Adams and McGuinness have attained center stage and are now viewed as legitimate power brokers.
This morphing into positions of legitimate leadership is the logical course for a LIC leader to follow.

This event suggests that the PWOT © has been a colossal cock up, and must eventually be settled by non-military means.

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