Monday, December 30, 2013

Money Quotes for 2013

1. "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan"
- Barack Obama. Actually, Obama has been using this or a similar line since 2009, and continued to use it well into September 2013.

2. "Every journalist has an agenda. We're on MSNBC now where close to 24 hours a day the agenda of President Obama and the Democratic Party are promoted, defended, glorified. The agenda of the Republican Party is undermined."
- Glenn Greenwald, being interviewed on MSNBC.

3. "I hear Democrats say, 'The Affordable Care Act is the law,' as though we're supposed to genuflect at that sunburst of insight and move on. Well, the Fugitive Slave Act was the law, separate but equal was the law, lots of things are the law and then we change them."
- George Will, discussing Obamacare on NPR's "Morning Edition".

4. "[Insurance companies] are being bossed around like extremely subservient public utilities, to which I say: it serves them right. They've been collaborators in this from the first. They looked at this plan back in 2009, and they said: 'well, the government is going to mandate that people buy our product; they're going to punish them if they don't; and they're going to subsidize them if they have trouble buying it.' This looked like a big business model for them. Now they're finding out what it's like to be in the bed with the government, and as I say I'm a compassionate conservative but not compassionate enough to feel sorry for the insurance companies."
- George Will, on the dance insurance companies are doing with the government in implementing Obamacare.

5. "Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be."
- Edward Snowden, proving that he has a far deeper understanding of the Fourth Amendment than do certain judges.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I'm Gay and I Support Duck Dynasty

Ron Paul once said:
"We don't have freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things."

Please steal this image and republish to your heart's content!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Obligatory “Where Was I When…” Post

CNN, NBC, and NPR are both creaming themselves with touching, just touching, tributes to John F. Kennedy on this anniversary of his assassination. NPR even described Dallas as the “city of hate”, blaming JFK's death on racism. An opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle essentially blamed the assassination on a 60s-version of the Tea Party, dropping the inconvenient fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist.

The term “adulation” applies to this situation, but what is being worshipped -  Kennedy, or the assassination?

Let me join in: when JFK was assassinated, I was in my mother’s womb. She might have heard words that sounded like “Sic Semper Tyrannis” coming from me. Not sure.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I Said to the BAH Recruiter

A friend suggested that I post this to my blog, even though the e-mail exchange listed here took place months ago.

In case you don't know, Booz-Allen-Hamilton is a major defense and security contractor located near Washington, DC. Ed Snowden, the guy who leaked NSA secrets and now lives in Russia, used to work for BAH.

So, I received the following e-mail from a BAH recruiter:
*****, Christopher (TSC, Inc.) <*****> Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM
To: "***********" <***********>


Hello. I saw a copy of your resume online and was hoping to connect with you regarding several exciting Developer roles we have available in the DC Metro area. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss these roles. Your background looks like an excellent fit. 

Chris *****, Sourcing Recruiter
Booz | Allen | Hamilton

Here's my response:
From: Mike K <***********>
Date: Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: Booz Allen Opportunities
To: "*****, Christopher (TSC, Inc.)" <*****>

Hi Chris, 
Given BAH's complicity in violating our Constitutional rights, there is no way in which I will work with your company.  
Please, rot in hell. 
Mike K

What the NSA has done and continues to do is blatantly unconstitutional - despite the blessings bestowed upon it by the secret FISA court. The fact of the matter is, though, James Clapper and the other bureaucrats at the NSA are incompetent boobs. The only reason that the NSA is able to do what it does is through the consent and assistance of competent people, from individual IT professionals on up to the the powers that be at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc.

There is a word we should be using towards government officials whenever they deny our individual rights: "No". Being just a word, it isn't a strong weapon. But it is the intellectual wellspring from which all other weapons flow.

Saying "no" will always be the first step in fighting for our freedom, be it from NSA spying or any other intrusion from a long bill of particulars.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What Good Can Come from the Shutdown?

Dan Rea, the host of the "NiteSide" talk radio program on WBZ Boston, asked an extremely interesting question, which I'll paraphrase as: "What good can come from the shutdown over Obamacare - why not let Obamacare go forward and see what happens?" He went on to ascribe to some Republicans the position (and again I'm paraphrasing) that: "once Obamacare starts, people will get addicted to it". So Obamacare is sort of like a drug, but not that new drug called "krokodil" - Google it, and be prepared for horrible photos, Gentle Reader.

What good can come from the shutdown over Obamacare? The shutdown fight really isn't about Obamacare; that program is the jus ad bellum, and a symptom of far larger problems.

In general, then, what good can come from the shutdown? The immediate answer is that individual rights are *always* worth fighting for. And that it is not the government's job to be in the health care business. And that we deserve better than to have a Supreme Court that invents the "Broccoli Test" - and then fails it. And that the fight separates those who actually care for individual rights from those who merely pay lip service.

But there are less immediate consequences to the shutdown.

On the first day of the shutdown, the sun rose. Food continued to grow. And loe, it was good. And those things continue to happen, despite the blatant fear-mongering by the media. Droves of federal workers - upset that their unemployability is now matched by their unemployment - have not invaded the countryside, pillaging and plundering as though they were still worked for Uncle Sucker.

The first lesson from the shutdown is just how bloated and irrelevant so much of the government is. We have all the "services" that the Feds are constitutionally mandated to provide, as well as almost all the unconstitutional ones, at a fraction of the workforce. Yay!

Another consequence is the fragmentation of large spending bills.

Twenty-five years ago, government spending was either done one agency at a time, or a small number of small agencies at a time. By the early 2000s, omnibus spending bills became the norm. They combined the spending for large programs together with large amounts of pork. A good example of this style of "budgeting" is the combination of the food stamp program with the Farm Bill.

Congress hasn't passed a budget since 1997, and that eventually became the trigger for sequestration. In place of an actual budget or omnibus spending bills, the government budgeting has been done using continuing resolutions.

Look at how things have changed: WIC and the Farm Bill are now separate entities from a legislative standpoint, and we have tightly-focused spending bills - like the one recently proposed by Republicans which funds the NPS, the VA, and a few others.

Harry Reid said that Congress cannot pick and choose the departments they want to fund. Why not? It is called the power of the purse. It is called being fiscally responsible. It is called doing their job.

We also have the changes we're witnessing within the Republican Party. The GOP has been the handmaiden of big business for far too long - for proof, look for Boehner's collusion with the Democrats on Syria. As the Obamacare showdown began, Boehner and McCain distanced themselves from Cruz and other "dangerous Tea Party anarchists". Then we have the e-mails between Boehner and Reed. The Republicans talk of small government was all a smokescreen. The Tea Party is now holding them to their words.

Sure, the Republicans have a long way to go, but like people in recovery programs say, admitting you have a problem is the first step.

Finally, we have the number of things for which private individuals are willing to pay out of their own pockets:
Pro-taxation shills complain about the "need" to steal money in order to support the "greater good". What greater good? The shills' good pet projects, of course. The above list are counterexamples of the "need to steal".

If all this isn't convincing enough, and you, Gentle Reader, still think that the shutdown is crying over the spilled rancid milk that is Obamacare, maybe a picture might help. Imagine you're at your doctor, and a little circus car drives into the office. The car door opens, and lots of clown bureaucrats, clown lawyers, and clown politicians come piling out and cause mayhem. The fight against Obamacare is really the fight against circus clowns. So there.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Obama, McCain, Boehner, and Pelosi in Agreement - A Bad Omen

Part I: The Excuses

A guide to the rationalizations currently being given for war with Syria was recently published on The excuses are from that page, the analyses are my own:

1. American credibility is on the line
American credibility is on the line because Obama's described of the use of chemical weapons as crossing a "red line." In reality, America's credibility isn't in danger, just Obama's. Only die-hard Obama supporters would equate the two.

2. Iran must be deterred
This one is from John Boehner. OK, so then why not get to the point and take action directly against Iran?

3. It is in the interests of America’s allies, especially Israel, to strike Syria
Then it should be Israel's job to do this, not ours.

4. The use of chemical weapons violates basic standards of human conduct
Agreed. Unfortunately, such violations are all too common. Is it a fact that Assad used chemical weapons on the rebels, or was it the other way around? Regardless, is there ANYBODY in Syria that would be a US ally and not just looking to be "friends with benefits"?

Part II: Release the... Oh, Never Mind

The watch dogs (both main stream media as well as the "opposition" party) are acting as lap dogs, as usual. They explicitly assume that the Syrian civil war is our problem. They treat this as a done deal, that the decision has been made to go to war with Syria. The administration wanted to take military action even before the UN inspection team even gathered evidence - they didn't want facts to get in the way of their theory.

To muddy the waters, Obama decided to seek Congressional authorization for military intervention, though he claims he didn't need to do so.

Part III: End Games

Senator John McCain criticizes the current wording of the authorization in that there is no "end-game" plan. Perhaps McCain missed that part of the presentation because he was playing poker on his iPhone?


What is much more interesting is Obama's end-game. What does he get out of it? Here are some off-the-cuff theories:

1. The whole affair acts as a diversion from all the other scandals: Benghazi, IRS, NSA, ATF "Fast and Furious", overall spending, etc. The Administration believes that to make one scandal to go away, they must create an even bigger scandal. But isn't this just a bit over the top? Really, all it takes to divert media attention is a bright shiny object who twerks.

2. This is for the benefit of certain Democrats and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) during the midterm elections
- If congress rejects, then Obama saves face. That's good for Obama, and therefore good for America (so his acolytes believe). Meanwhile, the Syrian civil war rages on, and supporters of military action are then given ammunition against those who rejected it, namely the Tea Party and the so-called Peace Democrats.
- If congress accepts, then the blame could be spread around if things go bad (and they will).

3. This is yet another executive-branch power grab.

Of course, there can be other theories, and more than one can be true at the same time. My money is on #3: Each and every action taken by Obama has strengthened Federal government power in general, and executive branch power in particular. The consequences are that we are less free as a nation and economically worse-off.

Part IV: The Analysis

With the exception of McCain and a few others, everybody involved in this are on the other side of historical events: the most recent and relevant being the second Iraq war, but Vietnam, Korea, and other wars would count as well. It is commonly said in DC that McCain is perpetually one war away from happiness, and so he is one individual who isn't on the other side of those events. It will be interesting to see how two people in particular - Obama and Kerry – bridge the events.

In October 2002, Senator Obama gave a speech against the Iraq war in which he said, in part:

"Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power.... The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. 
"But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors...and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. 
"I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. 
"I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. 
"I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars..."

In 1970, Navy Lieutenant John Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In 1971, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in opposition to US conduct during that war. This no doubt caused quite a bit of media attention, and most likely was the start of his political career.

During one of the VVAW protests, Kerry and other veterans threw their military decorations over a fence which surrounded the Capitol building. When he did this, he said:
"I'm not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all."

These two men, Obama in 2002 and Kerry in 1971, were neither pacifists nor "non-aggressivists." But Obama and Kerry in 2013 certainly have shifted sides. Were Obama and Kerry always so opportunistic, or were the younger versions of those two men "authentic" and the older versions opportunistic, or is it the other way around? Perhaps they have been absolutely corrupted by absolute power. Whatever the reason, we may never know why they sold out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Monetize the Apocalypse!

Just finished watching two episodes of National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers” as well as half of the first episode of a new series called “Doomsday Castle”. Here’s what I learned...

1. I really hate TV.

2. The father character on "Doomsday Castle" used waaaaaaay too much dye in his hair and eyebrows, and that the cast should save themselves from skin cancer by avoiding tanning beds.

3. NatGeo should put more into the writing of those shows. Hint: manufactured conflicts aren’t drama, they’re particularly cheap and obvious melodrama. Please, we get enough of that crap from Washington.

4. Those shows, especially “Doomsday Preppers”, are great money-making opportunities!

The purpose of this note isn’t to denigrate preppers nor the prepper movement. In fact, I consider myself to be a prepper, especially after learning from the Maryland Snowpocalypse of 2010 that you can’t survive a winter storm on one frozen pizza and two packs of ramen noodles. The purpose is to make a guess about the business model of those TV programs and the characters that appear on them.

Quite often, the preppers purchase underground shelters - and this is a great chance for the builders of these shelters to advertise their services and the quality of their products. This happens especially when the builder shows-off the shelter to the customer: the builder is genuinely beaming with pride, and is also realizing that he’s completed a cycle that will generate a new batch of customers.

And this doesn’t just happen with the builders. One of the “Doomsday Preppers” episodes featured a man named Bill Hennessey, who provides security for a prepper compound. A little googling shows that he is a retired Marine who has turned that knowledge and experience into (I suppose) security consulting, and he works with a company called Survival Warehouse.

Other “soft marketing” and “product placement” occurs when the characters purchase dehydrated meals and bulk seed packages.

It is clear that preppers are truly committed to surviving devastating events, and frequently have pushed themselves beyond their preconceived limits. That’s a good thing. Those who are serious about it know that they are trying to find a working balance between the general skills required for self-sufficiency and the various commitments required to carry out specialization of labor.

It is also clear that there is money to be made here. There's nothing wrong with that.

Gil Scott-Heron was wrong: the revolution is being televised.

Now I Want to Be Your...Weiner


This essay of Sydney Leathers (one of the people with whom Anthony Weiner has been sexting) interests me for several reasons:

First, as a tech geek, I find her description of Facebook to be priceless:
I messaged Anthony in 2011 saying I was "disappointed" in his behavior from his first sexting scandal. Then he "poked" me out of nowhere on Facebook and said he was "sorry for letting me down." I love that he poked me. When "Insider Edition" asked me what "poking" was, I told them, "yeah, it's a button on Facebook you push if you want to fuck someone." I've deactivated Facebook since then. It's trouble.

Second, as a wonk and a person who despises all politicians, I enjoy the utter contempt she displays for those "attention whores":
Dangr33: so you won't tell me what picture of me you like the most or turned you on the most? only tv?
Sydney: Specifically your health care rants were a huge turn on

Finally, we find out just exactly why Anthony Weiner's wife is still with him. The length and girth of this goes far beyond the "stand by your man" crap.

Why post this on "The Other Side of History" blog?  The whole scandal shows what is happening to the concept of "shame" following the popular availability of Internet access.

But, is it History?

You say to yourself: "this story about Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex is interesting and all, but it is natural history not real history."

Agreed. Real history has to have a human actor. What about this?

A story read on PRI's The World in April 2012 describes the finding of a frozen baby woolly mammoth in Siberia. The mammoth showed signs of being killed by human hunters. Natural history or real history?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Historically, where are we at?

Originally posted this on a militia forum I belong to...

Comparisons between past and current events are often made in the discussions here, essentially stating that the present situation is like...
1) Just before the Revolutionary War
2) Just before the Civil War
3) During the Cold War
4) France under the Vichy RĂ©gime during World War II
5) None of the above

Historically, where are we at? We all are armchair generals to a point, but the purpose in asking this isn't to set armchair generals all a-twitter. It is asked in hopes of finding overlooked tactics, strategies, or anything else that would help us restore freedom!

A strong case could be made for each of the above analogies, and that case would only be strengthened by what comes next.
So, we have us rightfully and deeply pissed-off at a distant and corrupt government, one which has no regards for individual rights and that treats us as their ATM machine. Small militias spring up like mushrooms. Then, a general who was passed-over for promotion switches sides...
Or, we have our country dividing along issues of individual rights, state rights, and federal authority. Rhetoric gets hot, media fans the flames, and people stop listening to each other. Then, it is brother against brother...
Or, we have two cautious enemies, each waiting for the other to make the next move - both agreeing that the first move has already been made. Then, one side realizes (while waiting for the translation) that they can no longer afford to play...
Or, we have our leaders selling-out to those would deprive us of individual rights. They have turned the machinery of the state into tools of oppression. Then, a bunch of draft-dodgers form the Maquis and they try to hold off the bad guys as best they could...
If none of the above are right, we could be down with General Stanley McChrystal, who, by switching to a counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan, understood that the next war could be different from the last one, and that analogies could either sharpen one's vision or cause blindness. Too bad he didn't have the wisdom to realize that some wars should not be fought, nor to realize that Al-Qaeda has natural selection on its side...

Historically, where are we at? This isn't an idle question - the answer determines, in part, the tactics and strategies that would be most successful in regaining our freedom. 
Armchair generals: ready, set, GO!