Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Name:
Location: Illinois, United States

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Diogenes the Libertarian Rides Again

Diogenes the Libertarian Rides Again
©2017  Ross Williams




I don’t like my brother.  Not because he’s gay, but because he’s a lapdog “progressive” who likes to rationalize why the government needs to pick my pocket to pay for his health insurance.  He’s also a small business owner − a CEO by function if not by name − who refuses to pay for the health insurance of his employees.  He doesn’t see the connection, the selfish bastard.

That’s not the only reason I don’t like him.  He also went out of his way to explain how his feels took precedence over my data as he was boorishly commanding me to alter how I did my job as a DoD data analyst during Dubya’s regime-change war but not − ironically − during Cuckold Bill’s regime-change wars.  There are other reasons besides.  He is every bit the soft-skulled dink that most idiot progressives are, and which I remind them of as often as possible.

In any event, I do feel bad for him.  Back in the mid nineties he was shacking up with his boyfriend when a Navy buddy of his asked a favor of him; both the Navy buddy and his wife knew my brother was gay and shacking up.

It seems that this Navy buddy’s oldest child, a mid-teen hellion, was uncontrollable in their home and wreaking havoc upon his younger siblings.  The Navy buddy and his wife decided it would be best for the entire family if the hellion stayed someplace else for a while.  So my brother, not merely a soft-skulled dink, but also a soft-hearted schmuck, went for it.  The teen moved into my brother’s home.

Some time in the next few days, ostensibly to watch television, the hellion got up in the middle of the night, walked to my brother’s bedroom door, opened it, and watched − apparently for quite a while − as my brother and his boyfriend did what two homosexuals do when they are in bed together.

The next day, the hellion called his mother and said, “Guess what?

The police arrived and arrested my brother.  The hellion’s mother, as so many mothers do when seeking to explain the behavior of their children away from themselves or their child’s innate personality flaws, insisted that the live sex show was the reason for the long history of the teen hellion’s sociopathy.  She pressed criminal charges.

On advice of counsel, my brother pleaded hoping that the judge would see that, first, what the kid saw was his own doing, and second, that it had no bearing on the kid’s long history of being a pain in everyone else’s ass, and third, people need to have some sort of expectation of privacy when a “victim” goes out of his way to be a victim.

Not so.  My brother was sentenced to what was, at the time and location, the upper end of punishment for performing lewd acts in front of a minor, even though the minor’s presence was unknown until well after the arrest, and brought on by the minor himself.  My brother served some amount of time in prison − I forget how much exactly − in the cell block devoted to homosexuals and sex offenders.  He can’t vote or own a gun.

It was roughly a decade later, maybe more, in the spate of sniffling piety surrounding “sex offenders”, that my brother − like all “sex offenders” in state after state after state − was required to register as a sex offender.  Naturally, this was so everyone else could be aware that he was spied on by a bratty kid.  Or, wait, the “spied on by a bratty kid” thing isn’t mentioned.  All that’s mentioned is “sex offender”.

Libertarians should have several problems with this.  Libertarians recognize that the power of the government to punish people for what is defined as a crime is limited by a number of factors.  First, of course: does the government have the authority in the first place to define a specific action as criminal.  Lewd conduct, i.e., having sex, is not criminal in and of itself.  To the degree it might be, it entirely depends on circumstances.

…which is the next limitation on the government: circumstantial: did the person accused of the lewd act knowingly and deliberately have sex in front of the minor?  There has to be a distinction made between a couple whose kids walk in on them in flagrante delicto, and the couple which says, “Hey kids! Wanna see where you came from?”  If there isn’t a distinction, then the government is called tyranny, or, in modern parlance: fascism.

The next limitation on government power is Due Process.  Does the law criminalizing specific circumstances contain the specific punishments that were meted out, at the time they were meted?  If not, then it violates Due Process and the government is not permitted to do it.

Are additional punishments added onto the pile years or decades after original sentencing?  If so, that violates the prohibition on ex post facto laws.

Are the penalties for the specific crime disproportionate to the offense?  Then it violates the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

As libertarians, we know these things − or we’re supposed to.  There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people across the country accused of, and convicted of, “sex crimes” where there was no sex, and the act was not particularly criminal … especially in a society which was defined to be free.  In some cases there is no conviction, but a person is punished just the same.  They are subjected to administrative barriers, and the lifelong attendant consequences of them, erected by unelected bureaucrats − the Deep State swamp we hear so much of today.

Who of the following are considered "sex offenders" in the United States today − multiple answers are allowed:
a] the girl in kindergarten who hugged a classmate
b] the pimply 19 year old dungeon master who raped his 3 year old neighbor
c] the 8 year old fourth grader who noted that his teacher has a nice ass and lusciously jiggly tits
d] the creepy uncle who felt up his pre-pubescent nieces on both sides of the family
e] the frat brother who had too much beer and was seen relieving himself behind the bushes
f] the couple who were seen copulating in their own home by neighborhood kids looking in their windows
g] the 19 year old guy who knocked up his 16 year old girlfriend
h] the 15 year old girl who sexted her 17 year old boyfriend a nude selfie
i] the 17 year old boyfriend who saw that nude selfie

This was a trick question; the answer is “yes”.  All of these people, and many many many more, are considered “sex offenders” in the United States.  Depending on circumstances, all of these are also considered “child sex offenders” − a sex offender who victimizes a child − as well.

The 4th grader who develops a crush on his teacher and says so, is not necessarily a child sex offender … unless he makes his confession to other children in graphic-enough detail.

The frat brother who whizzes behind the bushes isn’t necessarily a child sex offender, either, unless one of those who sees him is a 17 year old sorority pledge.  Then he is.

And the kindergarten girl who hugs her classmate will, as we’ve seen multiple times under the modern Zero Tolerance insanity, be arrested for it but there will be no trial.  Her punishment may, though, include expulsion.  When her parents attempt to enroll her in another public school, her prior expulsion is forwarded to her new school, and that − under Zero Tolerance psychosis − is enough to deny enrollment.  The government has effectively fucked this girl for life, but just try arresting the government for a child sex crime.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to all of these conditions carrying criminal credentials with the exception of b and d − raping little girls and molesting others.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to [e.g.,]the penalties for being seen whizzing in the bushes − by anyone − being identical to the penalties for raping little girls.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to additional penalties being added onto an already-adjudicated criminal case, years or decades after the fact.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to the government using raging non-differentiation between individual actions, and to the government’s anti-Due Process and pro-ex post facto proceduralism, and to the sentimentalist foppery of popular feels to add yet another punishment upon those who should never have been punished at all.

And libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to the academic conceit required to rationalize why dragging along hundreds of thousands of non-sex offenders is perfectly fine when a few actual sex offenders are caught.

If you can’t insist that the government recognize the difference between boyhood crushes, innocent affection, consensual teen-aged lust, invasion of privacy at the most private times, public urination, and techno-stupidity on the one hand … and child rape on the other, then you are not even marginally a libertarian.

That is the answer.  The government’s power is severely limited for a reason.  I shouldn’t have to be the only one who can remember that.


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Odd Time to Be Acting Libertarian

Odd Time to Be Acting Libertarian
©2017  Ross Williams




The object of libertarian personality cult adoration was smacked in the head, blindsided, in his own home, by a neighbor, a fellow doctor.  Yes, Rand Paul, the non-libertarian libertarians love to claim is a libertarian was assaulted!  The reasons were undisclosed.  Probably some HOA spat about whose lawn in their gated community isn’t being mowed often enough, or who needs to put white-backed curtains in their kitchen windows the most.

The social libertarian media has been on fire − veritably a-twitter − ever since the incident.   Libertarians have been crawling out of their skin to rush to his defense.  Invariably, these libertarians cite the Non-Aggression Principle, the holy NAP, in doing so.

The holy NAP does indeed support the urge.  As I’ve mentioned before, “non-aggression” permits force to be used in self-defense or in the defense of others.  Rand Paul is an ‘other’, in this case, and libertarians are justified in using force to defend him.

How much force is truly needed to defend against a rather feeble pensioner doctor is anybody’s guess, and my guess would be not much.  But who knows, I may be very wrong.  What I do know is that it would be very very unwise for any, let alone the thousands who have volunteered, to go rushing off to Bowling Green Kentucky to patrol the perimeter of Paul’s manse. 

Aside from the logistical nightmare involved, there is the matter of trampling Rand’s begonias, wearing paths into his bluegrass sodded landscaping that will be filled in the spring with dandelions and mouse-ear chickweed, and the motion-detecting flood lights clicking on and off all night long around the neighborhood raising further breach-of-HOA rules for him to contend with.  And that’s not even to consider the most likely event that he doesn’t want anyone there to begin with.

…nor do the cops.

…nor does the Secret Service detail.

It would just be a mess.  Leave it alone.

But yes, the actual wording of the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle does indeed justify rushing to his defense.  The wisdom of rushing to his defense is a separate issue entirely.

It is this Justification versus Wisdom problem that I’ve brought up multiple times in other circumstances to mostly hoots of pacifist outrage from pseudo-libertarians.  Yet, here we are, in the exact same academic position but with vastly different biasing data, and the political philosophy tables seem to be turned.

Why is it permissible under the holy NAP to rush to the aid of Rand Paul after he is assaulted, but it is not permissible to rush to the aid of the Kurds? or the Nigerian government? or any number of other people or sovereign systems being attacked by others?

Why does defense of others not count as NAP-permitted defense of others when the defense is accomplished by sovereign force? by our sovereign force?  For that matter, why does self-defense not constitute NAP-allowed self-defense when it is the self-defense of our sovereign entity against events recognized by International Law as acts of war?

The Non-Aggression Principle says what it says.  In myriad circumstances, large and small, the NAP justifies the United States taking forceful, military action around the world.  That answer isn’t going to change because libertarians don’t understand the geopolitics involved, or have been brainwashed by two generations of hair-shirted self-loathing as instructed by public schools and popular media.

The NAP justifies military force be taken by the United States under a wide array of current circumstances.  That cannot be rationally argued.

What can be argued is the wisdom of doing it.  But − as I’ve pointed out repeatedly − before one can argue wisdom, one must first have more than an infantile comprehension of the subject matter.  I’ve run across only a handful of libertarians who know more about the subjects of geopolitics and military doctrine, foreign affairs and International Law, than can be stuffed into a gnat’s navel.  Hence they perpetually fall back into the only argument they can make with conviction: It violates the NAP.

Yet it doesn’t.

Here’s the thing: if it violates the NAP for the US to rush to the defense of the Nigerian government being besieged by Boko Haram, or the Philippine government beset by Abu Sayyaf [et al], then it violates the NAP to rush to the aid of Rand Paul who got clocked by his neighbor.  Just like there is no invisible ink addenda in the 4th Amendment justifying warrantless government searches at airports if a large part of the American people are terrified of idiots trying to light their farts in an aisle seat, there is also no invisible ink addenda in the Non-Aggression Principle distinguishing between personal and sovereign force.  Nor between the object of political Personality Cult affection and anonymous people half a world away.


Apply your principles evenly, or don’t claim to have them.  Self-serving hypocrisy reeks too much of Other Peoples Politics.  It should be beneath us.

Friday, October 20, 2017

I am Shocked − SHOCKED

I am Shocked − SHOCKED
©2017  Ross Williams



I can’t possibly be the only one thoroughly unmoved by the sudden outrage over Harvey Weinstein.  Can I?

It’s not like this is unprecedented or unpredictable.  Hollywood has had a casting couch since before they married picture to sound.  Marilyn Monroe, after her major break in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, commented “That’s the last cock I’ll have to suck.”

The reality is people with power or status − in any aspect of life − are going to leverage that power and status for what it can get them.  In many cases, the commodity leveraged is sex.  While rude and boorish it’s not typically illegal.  Even when it violates some law a government has crafted, a libertarian would blanch at the imposition.  If Norma Jean Baker believes a series of hummers to post-war Hollywood execs is a fair trade for her transition to Marilyn Monroe, what business does the government have in nixing the deal?

At the end of the day, hell, at the crack of dawn of the day, Harvey Weinstein is as prosaic as they come.  He’s got movie roles for actresses, actresses have roles to perform for him.  I’ll concede that most of the roles discussed to date are puzzling for their trite fetishism, but still.  Don’t like the trade-off? stick to theater.  If you still want to get into movies and television, do it like Bebe Neuwirth: work for it.  Work hard.  Be like Bebe.

More puzzling than Weinstein handing out favors to budding thespians willing to watch him shower, though, is the pious responses from the sheltered ninnies who insist on publicizing their naiveté.  Among the more facile comes from a numbskull victimologist named Barbara Boland, who claims that many women making the same accusa … well, let’s go with her exact words: “the fact that so many women have accused him over so long a period of time makes their stories more believable.”

Really?  Does that logic also work with accounts of alien abduction, and visits from the Virgin Mary?  They are remarkably uniform as well, spanning even more years than Weinstein. That creates credibility?  Seriously?

What reason would they have to lie?” she implores, with all the feels of a college campus date-rape activist.  Oh, I dunno: fame, validation, basking in the glow of reflected glory, to cite Homer Simpson.  Revenge − personal or ideological, either one.  There’s four reasons, all endemic to the human psyche, and virtually unarguable.

I’m somebody!  I got pressured into watching a troll suds up his cojones just so I could read for a part that I didn’t get; give me another shot…”  Aww.  Poor dear.

While I have zero doubt that Harvey is a manipulative cad who did all − and more than − he’s being accused of, I also have zero doubt that there is a more or less large amount of concurrent piling-on.  Embellishment and outright fabrication.  Ditto altar boys about their catholic priests, ditto sweater geeks upon Bill Cosby, ditto every rock-n-roll bimbo groupie over the sexy front man who filled his trailer with booze, barbs and bimbos after the concert.  The reason I say this is because people are always going to be people.  It’s in their nature.

It is grossly naïve to believe that Weinstein is the only asshole in this equation.  Those who think he is are apparently unfamiliar with the human race.  And, well, to those: welcome to Earth, guys.  Can you shed some light on the whole alien abduction thing?  Barbara Boland needs to know; she has another victim group to champion.

As intellectually offensive as Boland’s fatuous credulity is, the truly loathsome responses come in the form of faux piety from Hollywood and the national democrat party insiders.  Those who knew, from Day One thirty years ago, what kind of bounder Harvey Weinstein was, who winked and nodded through it all, and who only chose this moment to get weepy and righteous about it.

They’re all playing a very poor rendition of Claude Rains’ Captain Renault.  They are shocked − shocked − to learn that Weinstein is a compulsive and serial defiler.

They didn’t give a damn when it was merely their friends and co-stars being mauled.  They couldn’t care less when he fundraised their political campaigns.  It only mattered when their silent complicity became evident and they were taking a share of the blame.  From that moment on, they signaled their virtue with the same single-minded ferocity of the telegrapher on the Titanic.

S.O.S. 

Save Our Sycophantia. 



Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Accidental Libertarian

The Accidental Libertarian
− or −
Not Looking a Gift Horse’s Ass in the Mouth
©2017  Ross Williams



As a libertarian, I rate politicians and political policy on one criterion: What is the politician doing, what does the policy do, to reverse past power abuses and bring them back into line with strict Constitutional limitations of government power?  I don’t care which party creates the policy.  I don’t care whether the politician is bombastic, a buffoon or a boor.  Those are completely irrelevant.  This is politics; I’m not screening guests for a dinner party.

Needless to say, for the last several presidential administrations I have been extremely disappointed. …in both the presidents we’ve collected and their concurrent Congresses.  Congress has passed a bazillion laws which grasp political power not defined to belong to the government, and the president has [mostly] faithfully enforced those laws.  Oh, sure, the party out of power would raise tear-stained, and sometimes panty-wetting, objections to those laws, but one administration later the critics of those laws would take the White House and wield the new law like a cudgel.

Example? Sure:
Republicans abhorred Obamacare − the thoroughly misnamed “affordable” “care” act, which gives neither.  And when they had a majority in Congress from 2011 to 2016 while its namesake was in the leather chair, they voted to repeal it and the horse it rode in on multiple times.  Barry Hussein slapped a veto on it with the speed of a lightning bolt.  But when a president gets elected who would not veto a repeal, republicans are suddenly pondering the political uses an all-controlling mandatory health statute, and the nearly infinite regulatory power, it gives them.

Need another? Fine:
Democrats detested the imperial powers given to the executive branch in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, despite them being complicit in it.  They woke up a few months after their swoon of unitary patriotism to discover they’d created a RealID Act to be administered by the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security.  The Dubya administration used the eVerify portion of it to ensure that only Americans or foreigners with properly forged paperwork could work for defense contractors.  Barry Hussein got elected by 50 million people who complained about RealID, and suddenly eVerify was a universal requirement.  Die dokumenten, Mein Herr!

Need a third? Great:
Democrats staged multiple public hissy fits over Dubya’s perceived and actual [but mostly perceived] laxity in obtaining FISA warrants to gain intel through domestic espionage on a relatively small portion of Americans who made phone calls to terrorists.  Then Barry Hussein gets elected and orders his NSA to spy on, literally, millions of Americans, mostly those who were “the enemy” of other political parties, and sidestepping FISA courts altogether.  …which explains why Edward Snowden is in exile while Bradley Manning gets an effective do-over.

These are just a handful of the major examples.  Knowing the rest of the libertarian crowd, there will be another thousand examples of political hypocrisy, more or less worthy, added to the list within five minutes.  It’s what we do.

Needless to say, there hasn’t been a president since Reagan who acted in any material way to correct prior abuses of power by the government.  Until now.

Donnie Combover, our cheeto president, despite advocating power abuses of his own, has done more to restrict prior abuses of government power than all presidents since the Alzheimer Kid left office.  Combined … zero plus zero plus zero plus zero equals zero.  Period.  That answer isn’t going to change, and libertarians simply need to get over themselves about it.

Specifically, he has single-handedly cut around $100 billion dollars from the pocketbooks of regulatory agencies.  So what, you ask?  Good question … and thank you for paying attention.

A regulation is a rule invented by an executive branch hireling sitting under the healthful glow of fluorescent lights in a six-by-six cubicle in the basement of a government office building in the DC Beltway.  A regulation is a rule “with the weight of law”, according to federal courts.  None of these courts, to include the US Supreme Court, give any indication that they’ve ever read the US Constitution.  If they had, they’d immediately recognize that only Congress has the power to make laws; the executive branch may merely enforce them.

Oh! But!” the quibbledicks will chime in, “Congress did make the law.  They made the law that gave the power to invent regulations to a specific cabinet-level department of the executive branch.  And by inventing regulations, that agency is enforcing the law!”  Ah, yes, falling back on the old Abdication of Legislative Authority Clause found in Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution.  Or … wait … there is no such clause, and Congress doesn’t have the legitimate power to punt.  Even if the courts say they do.

So the hireling, glowing pale green from his fluorescent tan, writes a rule “with the weight of law”, and kicks it upstairs to the suits in his agency to enforce.  The suits then march around the nation and enforce the regulation.  And those accused of violating the regulation will have their day in court, where the evidence of their non-compliance will be aired, they’ll get to defend themselves, and a jury picks the winner … right?

Wrong.

Regulatory enforcement is not law enforcement.  Under law enforcement, an accused is “innocent until proven guilty”, according to the bumper stickers.  The evidence of his guilt is brought out, he gets to rebut that evidence, and a jury decides.  Under law enforcement, the government has the burden of proof.

Under regulatory enforcement, the accused is guilty until he proves himself innocent.  The actual law behind the regulation was written for the regulatory agency; that agency is complying with the law, and they’ve decided that you have interfered with their compliance.  Under regulatory enforcement, the citizen has the burden of proof.  And because a jury is the privilege of the defendant − in this case, the regulatory agency accused of improperly complying with the law giving them regulatory power − the government would be stupid to request a jury. They are perfectly happy with the Administrative Law judge, one of their own, making the ruling himself.

While you are tilting this windmill, please keep in mind that the regulatory agency has at its disposal several hundred billion dollars with which to employ a fleet of on-staff loyyers all extremely knowledgeable of the regulation in question and the zillion legal maneuvers invented to cause delay and rack up Billable Hours of all other loyyers. …by which I mean, the loyyer you hired to take on the federal regulatory agency which has seized your home because you have a pond frequented by a migrating mosquito, or because you gave a pail of your cow’s fresh milk to a neighbor while you were all snowed in for three days.  You are simply going to run out of money first and the government will win by default.  Government almost never loses a challenge to their regulatory enforcement.

I don’t think I need to remind anyone that this “guilty until proven innocent” paradigm is the historical standard by which all governments operate, and against which we revolted in the first place.  “He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance”.  Anyone?  Bueller?

This is tyranny, the old-fashioned word that has been effectively replaced by “fascism”.  All-powerful central government doing what it wants, when it wants, because it wants.  This method of governance is arguably the most anti-libertarian you can get, and should be the primary target of libertarian ire, even over gun rights.  A government that doesn’t abuse its power doesn’t need to be defended against.  Under regulatory enforcement, there is no Due Process to get in the way.  All the process that is considered due has already been served by the government itself.  Convenient, no?

President Cheeto has provided a hundred billion dollar dent in this machine.  This is not inconsiderable.  Depending on how the departments wish to divvy up their dwindling funds, either creation of new rules is hindered, or the enforcement of old rules will be curtailed.  Or both.  There is a reason the Deep State swamp of Beltway Bureaucracy loathes Donnie Combover.  He stated an intention of impeding their ability to exercise power with virtually impunity, and he’s actually taking actions toward that end.  The first time in over a generation.

Not enough action?  Perhaps.  Is he only impeding those regulatory agencies that run afoul of his political priorities?  Duh.  Both just like Reagan, for what it’s worth.

Look, the guy isn’t Calvin Coolidge.  Libertarians must take what they can get when they can get it.  We’ve been handed a gift from an unlikely source, a gift we all need.  Pretend you have manners; say thank you.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver
©2017  Ross Williams



The last time I stood for the National Anathema was − as near as I can recall − somewhere back in the early Eighties.  It was against my will; I was in the Air Force, and many things I did then were against my will.  Haircuts, corframs … corfams?  Whatever they were.  Those artificially shiny plastic shoes that alleviated the mission-critical procedure of shining ones shoes to satisfy the dress code.

My beef with the National Anathema goes well beyond forced artificial patriotism, though.  It is a horrendous song combining a pretentious and maliciously self-congratulatory poem with a hideous melody spanning nearly two full octaves.  It can only be sung well by a trained vocalist and is otherwise only seriously attempted by the sufficiently inebriated.  …which is fitting, as the melody was lifted, outright, from a London drinking club’s arsenal of tunes to be besotted by.

The poem itself describes a battle the US lost in a war the US never won a single battle until three weeks after the war ended.  Thank you, Old Hickory.  But somehow, because the flag still remained atop the standard over Fort McHenry on the shores of the Chesapeake, it comprised a moral victory against the juggernaut Limeys.  What is less widely publicized is that the fort’s survivors were holed up in the basement and didn’t want to risk dismemberment to stop the shelling by taking the damned thing down.

Since the end of Reagan’s first term when I left the service, I cannot remember standing for the National Anathema a single time.  I quite possibly did, no doubt to be polite, but I do not remember.  I usually find some excuse to be off doing something else whenever the thing would start gearing up for its interminability.  Buying beer, returning the previous beer to the sewer … something.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I don’t particularly have an issue with people who don’t want to stand for the National Anathema.  I’m with ya! 

I don’t care why they don’t.  I don’t even really have an issue if those people are over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores trying to signal their virtue with more or less deliberate dishonesty.  Or ignorance.  Or hypocrisy.

It all started with Colin Kaepernick two years ago refusing to honor the flag because the country behind it, specifically the country’s cops, kill too many certain people coincidentally and superficially like himself.  No, not over-paid, third-rate NFL quarterbacks with a chip on their shoulder so large that it would alter the planet’s rotation if it fell.  Blacks; what most people currently euphemize to “African-Americans”.

Here’s a hint: Barry Hussein’s father was an African-American.  Barry is not.  He’s a mixed-race American mutt who should have been − but pointedly was not − happy and proud of the fact.  Colin Kaepernick is also not African-American.  He’s a black kid who was adopted by a wealthy white family as an infant and learned all he ever knew about black culture from watching Fresh Prince.  He reeks of white privilege, moreso than virtually all whites not named Trump.

But many blacks, Kaepernick whines, are killed by cops.  And this is racist.  Somehow.  What he fails to mention is it’s nearly always while committing crimes.

The fact that whites are killed by cops three times more often than blacks − also nearly always while committing crimes − rarely manages to get aired.  And when it does, it’s uniformly excused by pointing out that whites outnumber blacks by five-to-one, so the ratio shows a 1.67::1 bias in favor of cops shooting blacks than whites.

Yet, when someone points out that blacks are four times more likely to be involved in felonious activity than whites, thus erasing − and then some − the racial bias so critical to the agenda of those whose social conscience still has not emerged from the 1950s … well… math, we are told by the Progressive Ninny, is an indispensible tool of the modern racistsexisthomophobe.  Not enough feels.  Objectivity is so … objectifying.

The spreading anti-standing stand has departed from Kaepernick’s stilted and mealy-mouthed position by insisting it’s not a protest against the flag, as such, nor even the National Anathema, nor the military, nor our cops.  It is a silent protest, now on bended knee, to raise awareness.

Awareness of what?  That blacks are four times more likely to be committing crimes than whites, but less likely to be shot for doing so.  Apparently.  Because that is the mathematical reality of it.

However, the point that almost a thousand Americans of any and all races a year are killed by a cop’s gun is a worthy issue to raise awareness of.  There are simply too many laws in our free society with a government defined to have almost no power to get bossy and authoritarian, justifying too many interactions between cops and citizens.  That issue, though, isn’t being raised by the self-pitying attention-whores.

Indeed, removing certain of those inappropriate laws would disproportionately free blacks from interaction with cops, and thus disproportionately reducing even further their chances of getting killed for it.  It would probably greatly expand the opportunity, at least in the short-term, for more blacks being killed by other blacks − which already dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, the figure for Death By Cop.  This is also another worthy issue to be raising awareness of that is not even on the radar of pampered, over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores.

What we’re left with is a group of rich, privileged, black athletes protesting something, but not what anyone thinks they’re protesting.   Furthermore, they’re being paid to pout, ultimately, by their fans who are mostly of a straight-line sentimentality between symbol and reality.  These people see over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores kneeling during the National Anathema and they conclude they don’t love the country.  It’s what they see, and they won’t see anything else anytime soon.  Whether it’s true or not − just like whether it’s true that cops kill more blacks than whites or not − is irrelevant.

It’s the exact same phenomenon as all the black protesters in St Louis willfully refusing to see that the latest black martyr was anything but a career criminal who attempted to murder a cop with his car.  Even if the cop deserved it [and chances are good he did] there’s too many feels involved for reality to matter.

When fans pay large sums of money for tickets, and obscene amounts of money for what passes for American beer, just to get their own personal feels insulted by over-paid, self-pitying attention-whores, they’re soon going to stop paying that money.  Attendance at NFL games is down, for the second year in a row.  Television ratings are tanking, and commercial sponsors are losing their shirts.  It won’t be long before NFL salaries come down simply because there’s less ticket and sponsor money to sustain the current wage scale.

Rule number one of marketing: know your audience.  The audience for the NFL is the simple, straight-forward schlub male.  He probably voted for Trump.  The audience for the over-paid, self-pitying attention-whore is the Progressive Ninny who likely wouldn’t watch a pro football game on a dare.  Somebody hasn’t done their market research, and it’s not the fans.


The libertarian sees all this as a wonderful exercise in First Amendment protest.  Millionaire athletes are protesting something that doesn’t affect them, is the wrong issue besides, and insults their fanbase while doing so. The fanbase protests right back by finding something else to do on Sunday afternoons, offending the Progressive Ninny in the process.  The Progressive Ninny protests fans’ subtle racism and spurs on the millionaire athletes to double down.

What marvelous fun.  I’d pause to ponder where it will all end, but merry-go-rounds are notoriously predictable.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Once More Into the Breach

Once More Into the Breach
©2017  Ross Williams



I’ve written versions of this essay for − literally − decades.  Predating the War in Afghanistan, the entirely notional War Against Terrorism, and 9-11.  War is a problematic thing.  There are a zillion ways to fight wars stupidly and ineffectively, only a few ways to fight them properly.  US foreign policy has embarked on a Master Plan, transcending party, to fight wars stupidly and ineffectively.  We’ve been doing this for decades, hence my essays.

Stupid, ineffective wars should not be the calling card of the world’s and history’s most potent military force, but alas it is.  At this writing of the same old essay, we’ve been notably militarily involved in:
  • ·         Iraq [Barry Hussein] for 4 years,
  • ·         Libya [Barry Hussein] for 5 years,
  • ·         Syria [Barry Hussein] for 5 years, and
  • ·         Afghanistan [Dubya] for 16 years.

I’ve deliberately excluded the dozen or so myriad smaller on-going military engagements that almost no one knows about.  We don’t need to wrap ourselves around the axle of what constitutes a real military engagement.  We have quite enough to discuss without the side-show.

Quibbledicks will note I’ve assigned Iraq to Barry Hussein when they believe it should belong to Dubya.  Dubya did indeed have an Iraq of his own as did Daddy H-Dub, but I will remind everyone that Barry Hussein notoriously extricated us from Dubya’s Iraq, and then almost immediately reinserted US military might into the power vacuum that had been filled by ISIS … the inevitable and predictable consequence of our evacuation in the first place.

…at least I predicted it, back in ‘04/’05.  But power vacuums are not necessarily a bad thing; it keeps an enemy fighting among itself.

The one aspect of this that is most incredible to casual observers − and everyone who does not comprehend military doctrine is a casual observer − and virtually all libertarians fail to comprehend military doctrine − is the staggering length of these military engagements.  How can the children of our first-deployed troops to Afghanistan be nearing the age where they can, themselves, be deployed to Afghanistan?  Aren’t we the world’s most potent military power?  Is this still our daddy’s war?

As one of the few libertarians who actually understand military doctrine, I have to admit that these are good questions.

The answer, of course, as I said above, is that we are fighting wars, as a nation, very very stupidly, abandoning all semblance of comprehension of military doctrine.

Military doctrine is the collected wisdom, the best-practices, of ten thousand years of human civilization’s experience in fighting among itself.  Some things help you fight better, others don’t.  A war that lasts for sixteen years, in this day and age, is being fought by someone very poorly.  That someone, with regard to the interminable presence in Afghanistan, is the United States and its NATO enablers.

The US and Europe are full of Generals who’ve studied the military tactics of European and American Generals.  They are very adept at European-style, set-piece warfare, where units are discreet, and can be represented − chess board style − with markers on a terrain grid or a grease pen on a glass panel, and tallied in a spreadsheet.  Such wars are won by overwhelming force shattering enemy units, rendering their unit effectiveness to zero.  When enough units are rendered ineffective and cannot be replaced by new units, the sovereign government employing those shattered units becomes politically defenseless and it loses the war.  This is the Order of Battle preferred by those who fight wars by spreadsheet.  It is also preferred by those who design wars for computer games.

The only problem with this, though, is that neither Afghanistan, nor its spreading cohort of War Against Terrorism cousins, is a European-style, set-piece war.  US Generals need to put away the spreadsheets, drop the grease pens, and put the chess pieces on the shelf.  They need to read the next chapters of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz and learn to see beyond the next tactical military objective.  Traditional military objectives are beyond worthless.

Unit effectiveness is irrelevant in this enemy.  Shattering the unit is pointless.  There is no sovereign state behind it that cares about adequate defenses of its perimeter; it has no perimeter.  The world is its perimeter.  We cannot outflank the world.  We can only kick its ass.

A US/European-style war would require that we obliterate the population fueling the war in order to impose on it a political loss.  That population is, of course, islamism.  The relevant fact about islamism is that it encompasses the entire muslim religion.  I don’t want to hear that “only a few muslims are true islamists”.  While superficially true, it is wholly irrelevant.  People who spout that nonsense are willfully ignorant, determinedly suicidal, and willing to take the rest of us to a premature grave for their ignorant idealism.  They are as self-deceptive in their own right as our Generals are.

I’m willing to accept that only a small portion of the muslim people are, at any given time, active islamist participants in islamist paramilitarism − what we, in false piety, call terrorism.  But the rest of the muslim population consists of those who support the philosophy of islamist paramilitarism, or have been forced into silent complicity with islamist paramilitarism out of fear.  There is virtually no meaningful dissent; dissenters − and their families − are beheaded.

Yabbut… yabbut… we didn’t tolerate dissent during, say, World War Two!!  It’s the same thing!!”  False.  We fight European-style, set-piece wars, which are not the same thing.  If you want to figure out why our wars are being fought stupidly by our Generals with misplaced preconceived notions about the enemy they’re fighting then you, as critics of those wars, have to drop your preconceived notions about that enemy as well.

The undeniable fact of the matter is that European-style, set-piece warfare does not, and will not, work against a determined non-European-style enemy because they refuse to acknowledge political defeat as a necessary consequence of military defeat.  That answer isn’t going to change until the enemy changes.  The enemy isn’t going to change any time soon.  Sixteen years of Afghan war is all the proof anyone should need.  Get used to it.

Overwhelming battlefield force for the purpose of imposing political acknowledgement of military defeat will. Not. Work.  Yet that is the battle plan embarked upon in 2001, renewed a few years later, renewed once again by Barry Hussein, and renewed yet again last week by Donnie Combover.  The general consensus of US and NATO Generals, highly adept at European-style warfare, pointed us in this direction.  If only we can take one more hill and deny the enemy another piece of tactically advantageous terrain they’ll realize the futility of their plight and stop fighting …

Yeah-h-h-h… not gonna happen.

This enemy does not care about dead or crippled soldiers − not even their own.  This enemy does not care about territorial gains or losses.  This enemy fights for the sake of fighting.  It is, to them, a holy war.  If only there were a word for it, … like jihad or something.  Even then it would be useless when trying to explain to westerners saturated in the European-style, set-piece warfare model; even critics of this paradigm believe military defeat imposes necessary political consequences, and they will not abandon this belief even as it fails to happen.

There are valid reasons for embarking on war against those who have declared us their enemy and are actively attacking us.  But when they don’t fight wars the way we do, the only way to defeat them is to fight wars the way they do.  We should be smart enough to adapt, yet we absolutely refuse to do so.  We do not need to mirror the underlying ideology and adopt a similar self-righteous theo-fascism, but we need to stop playing our weaknesses into their strengths.

Our weakness is the belief that a militarily defeated enemy is also politically defeated.  Sixteen years of Afghanistan, eight or nine years of Dubya’s version of Iraq, and hell, even the entire Vietnam war are proof to the contrary.  Every single one of these is a string of almost exclusive military victories for The Good Guys® [yes, even Tet]and look what became of the politics.

When we militarily defeat an enemy we assume their acknowledgement of consequential political defeat, and our impulse is to stick around, help them up, wipe off the blood and dust, repair their schools, hospitals, roads and churches, and show ourselves to be gracious in victory.  This is what we did for nazi Germany and imperial Japan.  Yet when we try these things on an enemy which does not concede political defeat, we do little more than paint targets on our own backs and we wonder why our previous enemy does not understand that the war is over.

The answer is trivially simple: the war is not over.  We did not attain the political victory that we believe we got; we simply racked up a series of likely lopsided military wins.

Our strength is military force.  We are very capable of rapidly moving in, kicking an enemy’s ass, leaving him with dead bodies and broken infrastructure.  If we are to engage the enemy we insist on engaging because they insist on engaging us, and do so effectively, we must use our strength and abandon our weakness.

If we are to embark on a generalized War Against Terrorism, then the long-term strategy must be to take military action to our enemy, overwhelm that enemy on his field, and immediately leave and come home.  Overwhelming military victory takes about six months, give or take.  Leave the dead bodies where they are.  Leave the destroyed schools and hospitals in broken chunks.  That’s now their problem.

If they persist in continuing hostilities, take another six months to go kick their ass again.  A series of six month wars spaced several years apart will be far less costly than a single war decades long against an enemy which does not play our game.

The alternative is to allow them to use our weakness against us in the form of perpetually dodging IEDs, trillions of dollars in ongoing and recurring cost of re-establishing foreign infrastructure − that they are more than willing to destroy out from under themselves, and multiple generations of our soldiers lost to the same military adventure.  This is what we’ve been doing, and it doesn’t work.

The other alternative is to permit them to make our field the terrain for their war.  This is what Europe is beginning to allow.

I’ve said it multiple times in multiple ways over the past decades: if you’re going to play war, do it properly.  Properly is what works; properly is not what is palatable enough for your conscience to live with.  Conscience is irrelevant in war.

If you are unwilling to play war and play it properly, for any reason, including having a conscience that you cannot avoid, then stay completely out of it.  But if the enemy thinks you are his enemy regardless − as this enemy has said countless times and repeatedly shown himself willing to act upon, even before “we turned them all into terrorists” − then be prepared to lose your life, nation and liberty.  You can keep the cold comfort of a conscience in the grave.

Monday, August 14, 2017

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release: Presidential Statement on the Events in Charlottesville − as they should have been given
©2017   Ross Williams



Ladies and gentlemen of the press…

We have recently seen unacceptable events happening in Charlottesville Virginia.  Many people have been injured, and at least one has been killed.  This is never to be tolerated in the United States.

In that regard, many have been demanding that I take a stand against the virulent positions of the groups at the heart of the events.  As the President of a free people living in a free nation, I cannot do that.  I represent the government; I represent the powers that enforce freedom and liberty, and for those powers to promote certain positions and deny other positions would be to impose a tyranny of the exact same sort, however well-intended, that we rebelled against in the first place 240 or so years ago.

Instead, we are guided in these circumstances by the First Amendment, which protects our citizens’ right of Free Speech.  The First Amendment right of Free Speech has two aspects.  The first aspect is for the government to protect the right of a citizen − any citizen − to say what he wants to or about the government, or its agents, to the government’s face or behind its back, without the government being able to do a single thing about it.  The citizen may bear no repercussions for bawling out his government, however rudely and intemperately he does so.  This holds true in letters to his Congressman or Senator, while standing in line at the DMV, while discussing local policy at a city council or a school board meeting, or generalized political disaffection of the type so often leveled at me.

The second aspect of government duty regarding the First Amendment right of Free Speech is that it permits the citizen − any citizen − to say what he wants to or about any other citizen or group of citizens, without the government being permitted to take sides.  The very moment the government takes sides over the matter of rude, intemperate or disgusting speech, and chooses which speech is to be acceptable and which not, is the moment the government imposes censorship of political ideas.  The government of a free people may never do that.

This second aspect of Free Speech permits, indeed protects¸ and demands the government act to protect, the right of stupid people to make stupid statements about others, the right of bigoted people to make bigoted statements about other people, the right of assholes to make assholish statements about other people.  If those who are being targeted by stupid, bigoted or assholish statements wish to stand on the other side of the street and scream insults back, that is their collateral right under the First Amendment right of Free Speech.  The government will protect both sides’ right to scream themselves hoarse.

The only duty the government has in this situation is to ensure that anything beyond speech is dealt with properly.  The moment a stupid, bigot asshole uses one of the sticks holding his protest sign to whack someone he doesn’t like over the head, that is the first moment the government has an obligation.  That obligation is to arrest him for assault.  The very moment a counter-protester uses the stick holding his counter-protest sign to whack a stupid, bigot asshole over the head for being a stupid, bigot asshole, that is the moment the government has an obligation.  The obligation is to arrest him for assault.

You may say what you like in the United States; you may simply not do anything beyond that.

With specific reference to the circumstances in Charlottesville, it is not the prerogative of the government to decide which political ideas are proper and appropriate to entertain for free citizens of this free nation; that is the duty and the responsibility of you, you people, of this free nation.  If the ideas you see being discussed are abhorrent or appalling, then it is up to you, the people, to defeat those ideas with better ideas, and do so peacefully.

The government’s obligation is merely to stop those who have gone beyond the verbal expression of ideas.  In that regard, the person who used his vehicle as a weapon against those whose ideas were different from his own, who killed one person and injured several others, has been arrested and charged.  That is the only duty a government of a free people has in the clash of ideas among its free citizens.

If you don’t like the ideas being discussed, yelled, or screamed in Charlottesville, then it is your duty to defeat them with better ideas.  Do not demand that the government do your job for you.  That is cowardly and childish.

The government has done what is required of it.  The people have not.

Thank you.  I will take no questions and the matter is closed.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

He Turned Me Into a Newt!

He Turned Me Into a Newt!
©2017  Ross Williams




Quoting old movies is fun, particularly when they involve surreality.  Government functions are almost entirely surreal, but quoting them is rarely fun … unless Trump is somehow involved.  Love him or loathe him or something in between, he’s brought fun quotes back to self-governance.  And with them come the witch hunts.

There are ways to tell if someone is a witch.  What do you do with witches?

Burn them!

And what do you burn apart from witches?

Republican officiocrats who work for a loathably abrasive New York democrat twitter freak holding the White House as a republican that the Deep State Swamp is desperate to delegitimize because he’s declared war on it.  In other words: more witches.

Never mind that Medusa sold foreign policy futures to foreign government agents in the guise of contributions to her and Cuckold Bill’s charitable foundation.  The real issue is that members of the Trump campaign met with Russian government provocateurs who − wink wink nudge nudge, your wife’s a goer − had “information” on Medusa that would “bring down” her campaign.

Therefore, he’s made of wood.

And this contact wasn’t disclosed on the security questionnaire, which means he lied.  The only reason you lie about something this substantial is to hide the truth.

Therefore, he weighs as much as a duck.

The officiocrat’s security questionnaire was amended four times, and now contains hundreds more foreign contacts.

Therefore …?  A WITCH!! BURN HIM!!

Time the fuck out.  Has anyone ever completed one of those security clearance questionnaires?  I have.  Multiple times.  I’ve held a clearance for most of the time since 1980 when I joined the Air Force.  It is form SF86, in case anyone wants to follow along.  It can be found online.  Giving answers that can be construed as lies by those wishing to do so is trivially easy, for the form was devised by bureaucrats and their legion of loyyers.

The current version [as of 2014] is 157 pages long in its raw form on paper, including instructions and multiple release of liability and signature pages.  Paper applications are no longer accepted; it is now completed online requiring a government login ID and irrationally long gibberish password that cannot be remembered and must never be written down.  You will be calling the toll free help desk repeatedly to have your password reset.

You may not advance to the next section of the form until the current section is completely answered.  Unless you are fresh from the womb, you will have scores of addenda and explanation pages to add information.  These addenda are needed for families larger than you and two parents and one sibling, for any travel farther afield than the local Walmart, and for anything you’ve done more complex than buying a stick of gum.  God forbid you have a relative − to include in-laws − born in a foreign country.  I have such an in-law.

But still, I’m an incredibly boring individual with a relatively small family and no social or civic affiliations to speak of.  I’m a libertarian and thus have no meaningful political affiliation, either.  One investigator in the 90s looked at me and my paperwork and said, “Ah … N J.”  I quizzed, “N J?”  He replied, “Non-joiner.”

My most recent clearance application ended up being 380+ pages long.  …Not including instructions and signature pages.  It took me over five weeks to complete.

The online form has pull-down menus for standard fill-in-the-blanks.  But just try explaining where your father-in-law came from.  He’s been living in the US since the age of 9, but was born in a village in Yugoslavia to German parents.  He spent the first 7 years of his life in Nazi, and then Soviet, prison camps.  The online form no longer lists Yugoslavia as a legitimate nation [I used Angola, since it was listed first and I was not about to dignify their inept system], nor does it accept his home town.  The village itself was obliterated de facto by the Wehrmacht and de jure by the follow-on Tito government.  After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the specific location may be in Serbia, or Bosnia, or Slovakia, no one is quite sure.  Not that it matters anyway; it’s gone.  His naturalization document lists a naturalization center in the US no longer in existence and therefore not in the pull down list.  His naturalization is identified by a certificate number using a layout no longer recognized as valid − not enough digits.  My father-in-law is just generally suspicious, I suppose.

Explaining this one fairly trivial matter that I covered in one paragraph took − I recall − 15 additional pages on the SF86.  Maybe more.  One’s eyes tend to glaze over after a certain amount of useless necessity.  In any event, it took 15 pages too many.

But then comes the sections of the questionnaire that has caused Trump teammates so much trouble, and which would cause me the same trouble were I a republican party officiocrat instead of a mere libertarian DoD data analyst: section 19, about halfway through form SF86, “foreign contacts”.

I have been on eleven cruises, and I’ve met literally thousands of foreigners.  Most were wearing name tags, and many of those who weren’t told me their names.  I wrote down none of them.  With the exception of maybe a half dozen, I couldn’t tell you much more about them than their first name, sometimes not even that.  There is Pedro [last name unknown], the effusively friendly manager-slash-head waiter of a little cantina [forgot the name] on the second floor over a souvenir shop [forgot the name] on the main tourist drag [forgot the name] of San Miguel on the island of Cozumel.  We visit the place for lunch every time we’re there.  Pedro’s head is shaped like a bowling ball, if that helps the investigators any.

There is Major Tom [last name unknown], the unofficial greeter for the nation of Belize, and head of the Belize City Chamber of Commerce.  He runs several tourist excursion operations, including one we took our first time there.  He used to be in the Belizi army − hence his title of Major.  He looks like a young Ricardo Montalban, or did the last time I saw him.

There is Ngede [last name unknown], our Indonesian head waiter on not one but two cruises, on two different ships … and what are the odds?  Highly suspicious if I were a republican officiocrat.  He has his First Night patter down: the nearest any English-speaker can ever come to pronouncing his name is “g’day”, so just say G’day.  He has an advanced degree in engineering, but works as a waiter on US cruises because at $10 a day plus tips he makes more than an engineer in Indonesia. …where you have to be politically connected [i.e., the correct race, the correct tribe and the correct religion, none of which includes him] in order to get a job that pays more than twenty-five cents an hour.  He is now considered extremely wealthy among his countrymen … at least on his time off when he goes back home.  He showed us how to make a rat out of a linen napkin.

There’s the guy on Cayman who runs Moby Dick’s − the stingray encounter excursion.  His name is Richard something, and he’s from England.  He charges almost $100 American for a thirty minute boat ride and a bucket of squid to twenty folks at a time to feed the stingrays tamed by generations of hand-feeding on a sandbar in the sound.  Wouldn’t know him on sight.  He was thoroughly unremarkable, apart from being well-tanned.

On the ship, I try to find one of the bars with a particularly attractive bartender and get my glass of before-dinner wine or after-dinner drambuie from her.  The last two cruises these bartenders were in the form of a cutey from Ukraine, and a hotsy from Brazil.  I impressed the Ukrainian by knowing how to say please [pazhalsta], thank you [spaseeba], goodbye [da svedanya] and I’m bored [mnya skuchnya] in Russian.  I made my bartender from Ipanema laugh by butchering the words to Mas Que Nada.  I have long forgotten their names.

But by far, the most memorable foreign contact I had was a little boy, maybe four years old. He was paying close attention to the cracks in the sidewalk while walking with his mother, an attractive twenty-something, and older brother, maybe seven years old.  This was down one of the back streets of San Miguel on Cozumel.  I was searching for a cheap cantina serving actual Mexican tacos.  The older brother was in navy blue shorts, starched white shirt, and a solid black tie.  His shoes were polished black.  He was going to school, and mom was walking him there.  I was approaching them on the sidewalk, and as we neared I smiled and said, “Hola.”  Mom smiled back, and the older brother looked puzzled.  Both said “Hola.”  The four year old boy, though, looked up from the cracks under his feet, directly at me.  He pointed and announced, in surprise, “Mama!  Gringo!”

His mother was mortified, and stammered a Spanish apology interlaced with scolds directed to her child.  I laughed and told her “De nada.”  I still laugh when I replay it.  But that was it; that was the entire foreign contact.  I never quizzed them for their names.  Were I a republican officiocrat I’d be required to.

Section 19 of form SF86 requires full names, addresses, dates and places of birth, employer[s], all nicknames, not to mention affiliations, and purposes, and outcomes of all foreign contacts.  Per instructions, it limits the contacts required to be disclosed to those of “close and continuing” nature, but one’s definitions of “close” and “continuing” are extremely subjective, and might well rely on political partisanship.  Very few of the items under foreign contacts allow for the option of declaring “I don’t know”.  “I don’t remember” is not permitted at all.

As someone who’s had a clearance for over thirty years and a Top Secret clearance for all but my four years in the Air Force, I know exactly what they’re trying to get at here.  They want to know if a clearance candidate has ever encountered any foreigner who went out of his way to indicate that he was trying to dig for information about things he shouldn’t be digging for.  “Has any foreigner you’ve ever encountered asked you nosy questions about what you do, who you do it for, or otherwise acted like a spy?  If yes, list as many details as possible.

That’s what they’re trying to ask, but they don’t.  Instead, they require that anyone wanting a security clearance from the US government act like a spy themselves every time they encounter a foreigner, by getting full names, addresses, dates of birth, employers, the foreigners’ affiliations and purposes for existing … none of which anyone ever does.  You don’t go on a cruise with a notebook and stubby pencil demanding the names of every vendor hawking his souvenirs upon every passer-by.

Come in! Come in! We have condition air.  Feel all cool and cold while buy your pretty wife a necklace, eh?

Not until I know your full name, date of birth, nationality, who you work for, and what civic groups you participate in.

… yeah, not gonna happen.  As a result, almost everyone filling out this form leaves these things out.  And no one cares that you leave these things out.  …unless you’re a republican officiocrat working for an outsider president that everyone loathes because he’s harsh, abrasive and an outsider who’s declared war on the Deep State Swamp which creates − among other things − obscenely obstreperous national security clearance questionnaires.

Section 20 of form SF86 inquires after “foreign activities”; subsection A deals with foreign holdings, of which I have zippo.  Oh, drat.  I have a self-directed IRA which has mutual funds which hold foreign stocks and bonds.  Subsection A is trying to find out if I have meaningful holdings.  Never mind that “meaningful” is arbitrarily and subjectively determinable itself.  Ah, the hell with it; “No”.

Do I own, or plan to own, property in a foreign country.”  Yes, I plan to retire to Mexico.  I like Mexico.

Give the date of purchase, or planned purchase.  Where do you plan to purchase property, and what price are you paying for it?”  What? The hell?  I veered off onto one of the “explanation” pages with the following:  Listen, guys, if you think I can give you the speculative date and speculative location and speculative price of a speculative purchase of a retirement home for a speculative retirement and have this information mean a single god damn, then you must think I have a crystal ball.  If I had a crystal ball I’d be using it for personal enrichment and wouldn’t need a job which requires a clearance.  I plan to retire in Mexico, at some point, don’t know where, when, or how, but a guy can dream.  That’s all I’m saying about it.

I’m not going to describe the other 5 pages of this subsection.  Needless to say, it’s more of the same useless necessity.  Each item must be answered; “I don’t know” is not usually accepted.

Subsection B: foreign business, professional or government contacts.  Uh oh.  I’ve had literally hundreds of contacts with foreign government agents. … that I know about.  Knowing the nature of government, I’ve probably had dozens more government contacts that I don’t know about.  Eleven cruises, multiple port calls each cruise, encountering customs agents, port security wonks, police − in Limon Costa Rica, we were trying to find an outlet for the local coffee so I could bring home a few pounds of whole beans.  Had a conversation with dos policia who knew bupkus English.  With my formal Spanish lessons ending in 7th grade forty years prior, and my informal Spanish picked up in bits and pieces [Dos cervezas, por favor.  Muy Frijo.  Donde es el baño?] … my wife reports it was an amusing conversation to watch, and it would undoubtedly have been fun to participate in had I not been hung over.

Do I have to list these government contacts, to include full name, nationality, government agency and rank or title, date[s] and purpose of contact and all “offers” made?  I do if I’m a republican offiocrat working for the aforementioned outsider president loathed by the Deep State Swamp.  Does el policia pointing me at a bodega which sells coffee beans constitute an “offer”?  If I’m a republican officiocrat, yes.

Additionally, I’ve undoubtedly run across government agents burrowed into excursion outfits watching for illicit activities − you know what those Americans are like when they get closer to the source of their recreational drugs.  Many Americans attempt to score their own while visiting drug exporting nations, and their arrogant, self-absorption is a direct contributor to the unsolved murders of dozens of us a year.  But do I know they are undercover government agents?  No I do not.  Does it matter?  Do I have to list them as well, even though I don’t know who they are?  Only if I’m that republican officiocrat.

There are another 7 pages of this subsection that I won’t go into.  All items must be answered; almost none apply.  “I don’t know” is only acceptable for a small portion of the items.

Subsection C: foreign travel.  Once again: eleven cruises.

Specific dates [which I no longer know] for each nation visited.  And for each nation describe once again the information previously inquired after in section 19.  This was the section that was trying to, but did not, ask, “did any foreigner get too nosy about things that are none of his business?

It had taken me three weeks to get to this part of form SF86.  I’d long ago exceeded my tolerance for bureaucratic impertinence, and used one of the many “explanation” pages to freeform the following paraphrased blowback: Lookit, my wife and I have taken one cruise a year between 2004 and 2012, and one year we took two when we had both our parents along.  You have much more access to the dates of our cruises than we do at this point; all I can tell you is that they were usually in May.  We’ve met thousands of foreigners, and over a hundred foreign government weenies, and not one of them was any more forward than to pester us about emptying our wallets in their particular store.  No one asked what I do, or who I do it for, and no one especially asked if I had any government secrets to give out.  The only thing any of them wanted was my business.

I bawled out the apparatchik in the Deep State Swamp with irreverent, impetuous scold.  And once again, does this matter?  The answer is, once again: only if I am a republican officiocrat working for the well-loathed outsider New York democrat holding the White House as a republican and who declared war on the Deep State Swamp.

The nature of government bureaucracy is to evolve into an endless stream of gotchas.  It is these gotchas that are levied against anyone chosen to be the witch du jour.  You would have to be blind or a partisan shill to fail or refuse to see who is being gotchaed at the moment.  The republican officiocrat was doing opposition research during the presidential campaign, and was contacted about gaining opposition candidate spice.  He showed up to get the spice and met two Russians, neither of whom said, “Hey!  I’m with Moscow and work for Putin!” thus cluing him into it being a government contact.  The meeting was short, and the subject was not juicy gossip about Medusa; it was about US sanctions that resulted in Moscow curtailing Russian adoptions to the US.  The meeting was abandoned and none of the players ever met again.

Section 19 of SF86 requires − per instructions − “close and continuing” contact with foreign nationals to be disclosed.  A single meeting with a female Russian loyyer and her [from all accounts] silent partner is neither “close” nor “continuing”.  Unless, of course, you have it in for the republican officiocrat and the well-loathed guy he works for.  Therefore … a witch.

In contrast, the encounters with my bartender from Ipanema, occurring each day of the cruise before dinner for a glass of wine, and after dinner for a glass of drambuie was, in comparison, intimate and perpetual.  Even though I no longer remember her name − it was five years ago now − I learned much more about her than any republican officiocrat ever knew about the two Russians.

But it doesn’t matter because I’m not a republican officiocrat working for a New York democrat playing a republican president on twitter, and who declared war on all the jealously self-important bureaucrats who spend their days constructing 157 page long gotchas with which they can play king for a day.

King?  Pffft.  We didn’t vote for them.

You don’t vote for kings.

How’d they get to be kings then?

The Deep State of the Swamp, arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Regulation, signifying by authoritarian providence that they, the bureaucrats, should rule this land.

Listen, mysterious functionaries lying in ambush distributing arbitrary rules is no basis for a system of government.  Supreme executive power derives from broad support of the masses, not from some farcical procedural ceremony.

I fart in your general direction.

Ni.

You’ll be dead in a minute.

BU-U-U-URN him!!