A Sunny Place for Shady PeoplePithy, contrarian, politically incorrect and curmudgeonly rants on sex, money, power and politics and religion and philosophy. In short: Nothing matters, everything changes and there are no guarantees. The rest is rationalization and bribery. (c) Tom Milner 2002-2003. DIRECTORY of offensive POSTS at Archives: 07/09/03. RECOMMENDED BLOGS: Archives: 07/29/03. email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com.
Friday, July 25, 2003
Monday, July 28, 2003
How voluntary, really, is this volunteer army of ours?
(For simplification, we'll discuss the army, but the other services are implied.)
The draft was ended, we thought naively, to avoid the massive draft dodging by the better social classes. (Bush qualifies socially, but has since betrayed his class by assuming the pose that was Clinton's birthright: white trash.)
Of course, once the government made military service optional, it then had to admit ladies to its ranks.
Militarily, this female incursion was foolish, and lowered morale and training standards, but as social policy it provided undereducated women (and men) a secure job and promise of advancement -- gone missing in the civilian arena.
(We are not indifferent to the service academies' sex scandals, but what did you expect?)
This volunteer army volunteered to secure steady work -- not actually to engage in combat and, gods forbid, fight real wars.
We pause here to give full marks to our servicemen/servicewomen (see what PC silliness this is?) who fought professionally in the Iraqi wars. We also applaud their success.
But they are not policemen, social workers, or do-gooders. They're not a UN bureaucracy.
Because of the swinish, inept Bush administration's "planning," these good soldiers are now vulnerable to guerrilla warfare, for which they are equally untrained and unpaid.
Of course, the troops' morale is abysmal and we sympathize with them.
We predict the end of the volunteer army and the return of the draft (from which the superior classes will once again flee).
After all, we have miles to go before we sleep -- engaging other "evil" entities like North Korea, Iran, and (dare we hope?) Saudi Arabia.
The complete bankruptcy of the country continues under Republican messianic stewardship.
Recommended: David Remnick, "Faith-Based Intelligence," The New Yorker, July 28, 2003.
Sex, race, and ethnicity by service
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Entertaining glimpses into the politics and economies of our two smallest states, Delaware (DE) and Rhode Island (RI), reveal that corruption blossoms in small places.
Delaware hosts (and panders to) corporate bandits, while Rhode Island the Smaller, welcomes (and defers to) the Mafia and even less lofty brigandage.
With such microscopic and malleable electorates, easily purchased often openly, it's unsurprising that one RI politician bragged, "an honest voter is one who stays bought."
Of the two states, RI is the more raffish, with a lower per capita income, fewer banks, and an economy more blue-collar dependent in services and manufacturing.
The tonier DE caters to chemical industries and high (very high) finance.
Both populations are overwhelmingly racially white.
Lincoln Steffans, early 20th century political reformer and seer, quipped that RI was "A State for Sale."
Dubbed the "Louisiana of the North" RI has worshipped cronyism and fixed elections since the War Between the States (or what Southerners call "The War of Northern Aggression") and remains a haven for scoundrels and scofflaws.
And RI has perfected the art of nepotism in a state where everyone is either kin to or knows everybody else.
Contrary, decadent RI.
DE offers its teats to corporate welfare, granting state charters exempting from accountability legitimate and illegitimate companies, which comprise its unelected and socially unresponsible "government."
Enron, for example, not only to avoid taxation but to conceal its foul deals, set up no less than 685 subsidiaries in Delaware, the better to further its deceit and greed.
Money launderers and the Bluest of Chips (are they mutually exclusive?) flock to DE for its lax, secretive corporate laws.
DE's petite Green Party asserts that the state affords its corporations more rights and freedoms than its citizens.
These two sorry little states more than compensate for their size by proffering bold, bulgy bosoms of bribery, banditry, bootlicking, and barter.