28 December 2015

SEVERE CLEAR. A review.


Severe Clear
 
 
Holy Shit.  I just watched a documentary by a Marine FiST Leader in 1st Battalion, 4th Marines from OIF I / The March Up in 2003, entitled Severe Clear.  I now know what Vietnam Vets must have felt like when they first saw Stone's Platoon or Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket.  This movie is just that powerful.  In my own humble opinion, it is the essence of the experience of we who fought in Iraq, specifically we who became Marines in the mid-1990s.   It is apolitical, inasmuch as it seeks to derive no conclusions about whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, but seeks to explain it from the Marine side of the equation.  I absolutely cannot imagine a better way of telling that story than what Mike Scotti accomplished in this picture. 
 
For Coyotes: These are the guys who we are training: FiSTs who are headed into first contact with a conventional force.  I don't know when 1/4 went through CAX before they deployed, but there are places where I can definitely sense Coyote teaching.  What we're teaching now is going to absolutely make so much money for these guys that are on the dime to do the NEXT BIG THING.  Keep this in mind as you go out there for ITX 2-16.
 
I implore you to clear 90 minutes out of your day and give this a watch.  It is without a doubt the most captivating thing that I've watched in years.
 
The link to the movie: SEVERE CLEAR
 
Be Well,
Unclean 

07 September 2014

Bile

Bile

 

 


Shifting Perspective


For me, last weekend was one of those that each of us needs every once in a while.  I watched Legends of the Fall with Daniel before he went to bed, and then found Flags of our Fathers on HBO in-progress.  I caught the last hour.  I realized while watching those two movies that I had turned some corner.  I don’t remember when this happened.  There was no accompanying fanfare, as I might have expected as a younger man.  It even took me the better part of an hour to accurately identify exactly what had just come about. 

Context: My mother, Jean, was an exceptional woman.  I spent forty years and twenty some-odd days learning from her.  She taught me living, loving, accepting, raising children, cooking, crisis response, and civility in the face of fear, panic, meanness, and anger; the lessons were endless and her example remains with me every moment.  She left her mark on each person who loved her, and each of us would chew our leg off rather than feel unable to live up to our own expectations in light of the example that she set for us. 

Jean passed away in October of 2010.  She had a massive heart-attack, and I rushed back to Texas from Twentynine Palms as quickly as I possibly could.  She had been resuscitated in the Emergency Room, but it had taken them a very long time to affect that, longer than her brain could go without oxygen.  Thus, she was alive but not present by the time I arrived.  Her body took a few days to pass, and I accepted the deathwatch at her bedside each night.  It was somehow fitting, I reckon, that it became my lot to be with her in the small hours.  She loved peace and quiet when she was among us, and there is nothing so peaceful, nor so quiet, as a hospital room at 0300.  As was her wont, my mother held on for a number of days and nights.  I don’t remember how many, as those days have become a single, jagged wound.  The night that her body finally gave in to the pressures placed upon it, I was beside her, reading.  I did not notice that she had left for some time.  There was no fanfare, as I did expect, unreasonably, as a younger man.  I kissed her forehead.  I said goodbye.  I told her that I loved her.  I then made the walk down to the nurses’ station to inform the staff that my mother was dead.

I say these things, partly out of the empathic need to finally describe that night, but mostly because I realize something now, almost four years later, which is vitally important.  We each go through life preparing ourselves for something.  The training that we conduct, the education that we receive, the preparations that we make all generally carry with them some expectation that we will be tested at some point.  That we will use this training and education.  That these preparations we have made will be called upon.  Those of us who made careers out of being Marines naturally assume that this trial will take place in war, or something very much like it.  In that assumption, I was only partially correct. 

I came home from Iraq in 2006 with the satisfaction that I had acquitted myself well.  That the training and preparations were appropriate to what was expected of me by my boss, myself, and the Marines under my charge.  I see now that Iraq was ALSO preparation for what would come.  It prepared me emotionally for the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  All of that training, education, preparation, and experience was necessary for me to see my mother off into the next world, and to deliver her eulogy.

So it might seem a trivial way for me to realize something that had been staring me in the face for quite some time.  I’ve watched Legends of the Fall probably forty or-so times, but I’ve always identified most closely with “Tristan”, the character who refused to bend his identity to match the conventions of his time.  This time, I inexplicably found myself identifying very closely with the patron of the family “Col. Ludlow”.  (This might have been aided by my son’s regular comparisons between the Col. and myself.)  Then, as I watched Flags of our Fathers, I found myself identifying with the aged Corpsman, John Bradley rather than his son, who sought to understand his father.  In either case, this represented a change in my perception.  Both of the elder characters had reached their allotted four-score and ten years and their time of trial had become the mentorship of their adult children.  Their wars were over.  It was all prologue to their last years spent as the patrons of their respective families.  This was a nuance to human existence that I had never really considered.

Maybe this is part of a trap of my own making.  I’ve always wondered why I made it through Iraq twice.  Since then, I’ve wondered what would pass for a death for me.  A senile old man?  Wandering through a home in a robe with a walker grafted onto my fists?  I had kind of surrendered to the idea that all of this time after my war was just a long epilogue.  I’ll just keep doing my bit to train the next generation of Marines to go and fight (and HOPEFULLY help them to combine arms in a meaningful way), die in harness, have them dump my ashes over Trench 1 at 410A, and call it good.   Carry on. 

I don’t know, maybe a lot of veterans think that way.     

But after watching the end of Flags of our Fathers, as I was washing up before bed, I heard Ma asking me from somewhere deep in my consciousness, “what are Joel, Sarah, and Daniel going to say about you someday, when it’s their turn to do for you what you did for me?  What have you earned, in that respect?  You used to write, what have you written for them to have, after you’re gone? ”

Then I heard, “the legacy you leave will be determined by the effort you give every day.  It is yours.  Own it.”

I bought a new laptop to replace my balky tablet the next day.    

It’s all training.  All of it is preparation.  Every word, every lesson.  It’s preparation for WHATEVER comes next.  The test comes every day.  There is no epilogue because apparently God is not interested in the literary aesthetic.  I have a feeling that his symmetry is on a much, much larger scale. 

Earn it.

Unclean

14 May 2014

Allow Me to Sing You the Song of My People

This is the Song of My People...

Real quick and in under 500 words...

-My people distrust their government, any government. Because government means someone who knows less than we do about the challenges we face daily will tell us how they can solve our problems, will try to do so ineffectively, and then will charge us for their failure to do so.

-My people took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.  If you've taken that same oath, yet are actively engaged in the subversion of that document,  then consider yourself perilously close to the category of "domestic enemy". Watch your ass.

-My people were raised by persons familiar with civility and a code of honor. Making vice out of virtue and virtue out of vice is not acceptable and we will not tolerate it. Nor will our children.

-My people are not politically correct. We do not understand, nor will we tolerate prior restraint. We call it as we see it. If you don't agree, make an argument or leave the room. We did not give up our right of free expression because some actor or professor disagreed with us.

-My people do not want to be taken care of, by anybody, if we can help it. We understand that any assistance we receive will be immediately followed by some bureaucrat dictating to us what freedoms or choices we have given up as a result. We will do for ourselves, accept the inherent risk, and will bask in the glow of our own free will, thank you very much. Take your safe, well regulated serfdom and stick it up your ass.

Regards,
Unclean
Homo Indomitus est

06 May 2014

Cinco de Mayo Bile

Fuck it.

Due to the modern miracle of facebook, I've been subjected to, and have argued with a huge number of people who just. don't. get it.

It's almost like the people of these United States have forgotten not only the tradition of a limited government guaranteed by the Constitution, but have completely become unreconciled with the premises of manhood, individualism, honor, accountability, and/or personal responsibility.

These principles are things that I have argued in favor of for my adult life.  Here, though, I finally admit defeat.  My notions of old and outdated principles have blinded me.  These self-evident duties that are assumed in a polite society are outdated, in fact they are obsolete.  Nevermind the bondage that awaits a people who shed such a burden.  There are people just like us, who are no smarter than we, and no more trained in the aspects of such responsibility, but who will take care of us.  These geniuses will contrive a better way for each and everyone of us to live, strive, and survive that will be better than anything that we have ever imagined.  Better than any of our forefathers could have contrived in their ancient, by-gone era, guaranteed by their obsolete documents. 

Despite the fact that not one of these worthies are better qualified than any of us who is reading this to make a single decision as to the disposition of our life, liberty, and property.  Somehow THEY know better than any of us who wake up each morning with nothing in mind but the continued survival of the tribe for whom we are responsible.  At each turn, we find ourselves outmatched, outmaneuvered, and out-motivated by the group of people who feel themselves to have been trained, educated, and motivated to make better decisions about what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. 

One of my literary heroes is H. L. Mencken.  He applied Occam's razor to more craziness than I ever have, and has often done so in fewer than 100 words.  I offer his effective and terse summation of the above few paragraphs:

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.

People, these folks who wish to tell you how to live your life, what you should eat, drink, wear, tell your kids; these people are no more qualified to do so than my dog.  They have the same degrees that you and I have, yet those who are currently running this show have less experience in leading people, managing projects, and holding people accountable than you or I.  We've been places, done things, taken risks, all under the specter of the fear of failure.  If we failed, we would be shamed, dishonored, kicked to the curb.  We would have failed at something that we believed in vehemently and felt lacking.

This is not the crucible that tempers those in power now.  They have thrived and acceded to vaunted places by being able to cause the majority of our people to believe that they deserve the very sweat of our brow.  They exist because they have effectively fooled a majority of the voting public that they give a shit, and can run things better than they have been run.  Better than you could run them.  Better than I could.  They're fucking wrong.  

You are smarter.  You are stronger.  You have accomplished more than they.  You do so on a steady basis.

Yet, (and this is the saddest thing), despite all of the above: They Have Won.  I'll let them flip their bat and waddle around the bases. They can spike the ball and dance in the end zone as long as they want.  Those of us who understand Locke, and Adam Smith, and Rothbard are not on the rise.  We're not winning, nor can we be, for the foreseeable future.  Because our lot is hard, it calls on sacrifice for our responsibilities, it demands accountability...all the things that no one wants to accept in these days of instant gratification and victimhood.


Nixon called those who remembered the old ways the "Silent Majority", and hoped that those plain folks would ignore his narcissism.  It was a pipe-dream, and the day he became the face of the opposition over Goldwater was the end of it all, my friends.  The day that people, who thought that lyrics to Beatles' tunes were acceptable substitutes for legitimate domestic and foreign policy, were allowed to decide how to run the country was the day that our ideal ended.

I have no doubt that I will be one day soon (like 4 May 2014) viewed as "an anacronsym" or a "right wing conspiracist".  But the thing is; I've been so weird for so long that I'm comfortable with any or all of that.  I've never been bashful in saying what I perceived needed to be said. 

I'll keep saying it.

But for the first time in twenty years, I've despaired that it will make one damn bit of difference in the end.  I have no hope that we can get out of this spiral of madness, control, and despotism.  Yet, in the dark hours, with these conclusions weighing on me like so many regrets, so many mistakes, like lead wrapped 'round my neck...

Fuck it.


Immundus saecula saeculorum,

Unclean


05 May 2014

Breaking the Stereotype


Mattis is the one guy to be in a position to call this like it is. In a country where less than 1% of the total population served during the longest war in our country's history, and less than 1% of them actually went outside the wire on a regular basis, this story is a bit over-reported, I think.

If not, then the stereotype of the emotionally frail veteran is definitely spread or sprinkled over all of us very liberally.

Here's to Gen. Mattis for saying what many of us have been thinking; and here's to "post traumatic growth", by God...

13 June 2013

Overload

"This line is tapped.  So, I must be brief.  They got to you first, but they underestimated how important you are.  If they knew what I know, then you'd probably be dead."  
"What are you talking about?"
"You are the one.  You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent a lifetime looking for you..."
-The Matrix, Neo's first conversation with his liberator.  
It has been awhile, hasn't it?  I tried some inspirational content. Worked in some half-hearted attempt at something like a "thingy of the month".  But then "it" happened.

What "happened", friends and neighbors, was the punchline to all of the jokes that I've slathered on this space since sometime in 2001.  We have, as a nation, come to realize all of those things that HAD to be coming, based on our patterns, our culture, and our tendencies.

  • We --perhaps not you nor I, but this nation-- elected a guy to a second term as President who is determined to destroy the very fabric that has held us together for a long time.  This nation did so because it was unable to focus on those particular aspects that make us free:  The Bill of Rights and the separation of powers in the three articles of the constitution along with the tenth amendment.    
  • Despite the overwhelming and mind-destroyingly egregious manner in which our rights have been tread upon, NOBODY REALLY MINDS THAT MUCH.  Thus, we find ourselves in the pot of boiling toads that we discussed a long time ago.  Stewing in a roiling, tepid broth, shocked that it has come to this at last...
It was and is, my worst fear.  I'll turn it over to Morpheous:

"I imagine that right now, you feel a bit like Alice?  Tumbling down the Rabbit hole?  I can see it in your eyes.  You have the look of a man who expects what he sees, because he's waiting to wake up.  Ironically, this is not far from the truth.  Do you believe in fate?"  
"No."
"Why not?"
"Because I don't like to believe that I'm not in control of my own life."
"I know EXACTLY what you mean.  Let me tell you why you're here.  You're here because you know something.  What you know, you can't explain.  But you feel it.  You've felt it your entire life.  But there's something wrong with the world.  You don't know what it is.  But it's there...
Like a splinter in your mind.  Driving you mad.  It is that feeling that has brought you to me.
Do you know what I'm talking about?"
"The Matrix."
"Do you want to know...what IT is?   The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us.  Even now, in this room.  You can see it when you look out your window, or turn on your television.  You can feel it when you go to work.  When you go to church.  When you pay your taxes.  It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."
"What truth?"
"That you are a slave."
-The Matrix, Neo's second conversation with his liberator

Bile
Overload.

1)  "This is not Vietnam, Smokey.  We have rules here."
What sent me over the edge was a facebook post from that sage, Dan Mainville.  It was a "open mic oopsie" by the current Egyptian government.  I'll give you a few minutes to check this out (watch the vid at the bottom of the story)  http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/12/im-very-fond-of-battles-egyptian-cabinet-minister-caught-on-hot-mic-discussing-war-with-enemies-israel-and-america/

This is the latest of many stories that have been dragged across our desk over the past weeks.  It documents, in live television and streaming video, that a nation who we donated $1,300,000,000 to last month is casually referring to us as an "enemy", along with Israel.  Because Ethiopia is building a hydroelectric dam on the Nile.  
Look, I've read Bismarck.  I've taken the command and staff class. I know that we give money to foriegn nations for ACCESS to that country whenever we might need to fly into or over that nation to kick the shit out of someone.  But this is beyond anything.  The people at that table, before they even realized that they were being broadcast live and on TV, "calmly" and resolutely plotted against us.  
Did you see that on any major news network?  I didn't think so.  This sent me over the edge.  Inconsolable.  That's enough, by God...THAT is ENOUGH...

2)  "Dozer, when you're done, take her up to broadcast depth.  We're going in.  I'm taking Neo to see her."

Here it comes.  The slavery that is being pulled over your eyes.  One incident at a time.  Episodically, like a baseball game...
  • "The Administration announced today that Vice President Joe Biden is to lead a task force aimed at increasing gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy."
  • "Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said today that he likes it in the ass, and wants every single service member on active duty to acknowledge his right to enjoy it.  Following his announcement, he sodomized the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff until they liked it.  Any like-minded service member is henceforth free to do the same to his chain of command without any repercussions deriving from existing articles in the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
  • "The White House today confirmed that it changed the Benghazi talking points twelve times before those talking points were released to congress..."
  • "Today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, along with the Secretary of Defense, call upon all service branches to develop a plan to include females in combat-arms branches of the service, or else prepare to suffer the Spanish Inquisition."
  • "The IRS confirmed that agents targeted right wing applicants for higher scrutiny once they filed for non-profit status."
  • "Right wing organizations confirm today that the IRS questioned them regarding the names of their donors and what they ate last week for lunch."
  • "The Associated Press confirmed today that the Department of Justice sodomized them repeatedly regarding the exact identity of their sources and bludgeoned a FoxNews reporter's civil rights into a bloody pulp in order to make us safer."
  • "Today, the Washington Post confirmed that the NSA is tracking the phone history, emails, and browser history of millions of Americans."
  • "Today the State Department's Office of Inspector General acknowledged that diplomatic security teams repeatedly purchased the services of whores, but were not investigated because they were told to cease and desist."
  • "The Obama Administration announced today deep cuts in the Defense Department as a result of budget sequestration.  Active duty Marines and Sailors immediately commissioned a car wash at the corner of Adobe Ave. and Two-Mile Rd. to raise money for Operations and Maintenance funds to cover training costs for the rest of the Fiscal Year."
  • New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pays $350,000 to take out ads to admonish Democratic Senators who voted against additional gun control measures.
  • "The Deputy Director of the IRS pleads the fifth today under questioning from the House Oversight Committee."
So, we've managed in the above continuing litany, to emasculate the military culture while besieging the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 10th Amendments. 

There seems to be little freedom of the press or free expression/thought (The IRS hounding of right wing groups and the invasion into the sources of the AP and FoxNews.)

  • Biden is plotting, in his bed right now with Mike Bloomberg, snuggling and whispering post-coitus, various and sundry ways to disarm us.  The state of California is in the process of banning anything that doesn't load from the muzzle.  Chicago surpasses Baghdad in number of deaths due to gun violence over the past twelve months.
  • The NSA has been granted authority by a judge sitting in a so-called "FISA" court to pull "metadata" from Verizon.  Meanwhile, a former tech from NSA exposes a rather comprehensive plan to pull data from Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and AOL servers.  
Here's the problem.  Despite all of this, there has been no independent counsel appointed, there are not armies of congressional investigators marching into the State Department, looking for the truth about Benghazi and the malfeasance of the diplomatic security details.  No corps of independent counsel questioners goose-stepping into the IRS to get actual records that will indict those responsible for the witch-hunt against conservative Americans.  Not a single peep has been addressed directly to the President about anything of substance, while I desire above all things to see everyone in the West Wing subpoenaed and questioned at length about everything from the Benghazi debacle, to the IRS director's 157 meetings with the President, to what he knew about the Attorney Generals beef with the AP and Fox, to why he is reading this blog right now via PRISM.

 I see no one besides Rand Paul raising a single eye-brow follicle over the NSA's push to know EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY.  I don't see anybody on a national level, outside of the NRA, countering the rank stupidity of that Bloomberg asshole from New York City and the other members of his mayoral circle-jerk.  Through it all, everyone seems okay with just going along, waiting to see how it all comes out in the news.  Meanwhile, the administration sends low-level minions out to answer Congress and the people. 

 Fuck Jay Carney, I want to hear an explanation from the Commander in Chief about why he wants to emasculate the military culture, while restricting the ability of the press to report on the government, while his VP wants to take my guns, and why I don't have an expectation of privacy while I conduct daily business on a cell phone and on my computer.  I'd like him to give a detailed explanation of why the only constitutional amendment mentioned by any member of his administration is the fifth amendment, which was only brought up to avoid telling the truth about why the first and fourth amendment rights of American citizens has been actively violated by the IRS.

It's as if we have all given up, in some cynical overture to the inevitable political cover-up and spin that we've seen in every administration since Kennedy, that the will of the people is irrelevant and will be ignored.

BULLSHIT, people.

This is an assault on the Bill of Rights.  It is as plain as the nose on your face.  It is not racist to decry injustice, just due to the fact that the sitting President is a man of color.  It is never wrong to stand up to this kind of despotism.  Don't let the sheer tonnage of the accusations hanging over this administration distract you from your justifiable moral outrage.

Aristotle pointed out that it is just as vicious to suffer injustice needlessly as it was to be over-sensitive about any perceived transgression.  If one allows the state to trample on his rights without protest, then he is as much to blame as the tyrant doing the trampling.
Read my writing on the wall,
If ignorance is bliss,
Then knock the smile off of my face...
If we don't take action now,
we'll settle for nothing later.
  If we settle for nothing now,
we'll settle for nothing later.
Normally, I end on that kind of a quote.  But not tonight.  This is too vital.  I've been saying this for years but that doesn't matter either.  What I need you all to do, all of you who read this, is to Google the constitution and read it.  You have to read it and the amendments.  You need to inform yourselves of rights that you might be unfamiliar with.  Know them and be very aware of issues that effect them.  Tweet the fucking things (most are well under 140 characters).  Tell your friends.  Share them on your Facebook feed.  SHOUT THESE RIGHTS FROM A THREE STORY WINDOW.  If the above message is too crass, fine.  Don't share it, but for the love of all that is holy, START GETTING PISSED OFF.  Paraphrase it in whatever tone you feel comfortable with. But DO something.  

People who currently sit in seats of inscrutable power need to go to jail for this. 

Not fired.  

Not publicly humiliated.

Not minimum-security detention, but a genuine Federal Pound Me In The Ass facility.  And it needs to happen now.

People, I love each and everyone of you.  It gives me no pleasure to say that your government does not.  They want to enslave you, in the worst way.  They are doing so, easily. And we are going out without as much as a shout, but as sheep being led to slaughter, or worse, as chattel being led to the field to till, return from our labor, consume, surf the monitored web, sleep, and go out and do it all again.  

Please, raise a stink.  Get mad.  Be effective.  Tell somebody.

I remain,
Immundus saecula saeculorum,

Unclean

27 March 2013

Waiting on the Ghost of Tom Joad

"I don't have to tell you that things are bad.  Everybody knows things are bad.  The dollar buys the nickle's-worth.  Banks are going bust.  Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter.  Punks are running wild on the street.  There's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do and there's no end to it.
We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes as if that's the way is supposed to be.

We know things are bad, worse than bad, they're crazy.  It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore.  We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller.  All we say is: 'please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms.  Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel belted radials, and I won't say anything.  Just leave us alone.'

Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.  I want you to get mad.
I don't want you to protest.  I don't want you to riot.  I don't want you to write your congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write.  I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first you've got to get mad.  You've got to say 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, goddammit! My life has value!'"
Sitting on GP4, mourning the loss of Tom Joad. ~Unclean





13 October 2012

2016, Obama's America

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This evening, I rented "On Demand" the Dinesh D'Souza documentary about the current president. I expected a certain amount of snarkiness and catch-as-catch-can. I was mistaken. We did not know the man that ran for the office in 2008, and did not question why those in the media did not do due diligence. Mr. D'Souza's documentary, 2016, Obama's America, has opened my eyes and grabbed my attention.
Many of you remember me pledging "never again to vote for evil...lesser or greater." several years ago. After watching Mr. D'Souza's video, I will vote for the Republican Drone this year. Because the man who is in office is a threat. Like I've never conceived before.
Please, my friends, watch 2016, either On Demand or on Netflix or DVD (It will hit Netflix and DVD on Monday). It can't hurt to know more about President Obama. Love him or hate him, at least know him. This video is reasonably neutral and deals with the subject in a very objective, scholarly way. I'm begging...
Watch it.
Unclean

25 April 2012

Enlightened Author, April Edition

I'm planning on highlighting the work of various authors who have changed the way people write, interact, and think about the world around us in a positive way.  Sort of a geneaological look at the thinkers who have advanced the cause of the Effective Tribe since the time of Adam Smith and John Locke. 

This month's subject is a man who excoriated idiots in the first half of the twentieth century, H.L. Mencken.  Mencken is one of the few who foresaw the terrible results of the New Deal reforms, the creation of the Fed, and the beginning of the egalitarian larceny that we have suffered under since before WWII.  Below is a very good look at the life and work of this member of the effective tribe, written by Murray Rothbard in 1962.


Here's an excerpt from Rothbard's article that explains a good deal of the man's character:

"Any man who is an individualist and a libertarian in this day and age has a difficult row to hoe. He finds himself in a world marked, if not dominated, by folly, fraud, and tyranny. He has, if he is a reflecting man, three possible courses of action open to him: (1) he may retire from the social and political world into his private occupation: in the case of Mencken's early partner, George Jean Nathan, he can retire into a world of purely esthetic contemplation; (2) he can set about to try to change the world for the better, or at least to formulate and propagate his views with such an ultimate hope in mind; or, (3) he can stay in the world, enjoying himself immensely at this spectacle of folly. To take this third route requires a special type of personality with a special type of judgment about the world. He must, on the one hand, be an individualist with a serene and unquenchable sense of self-confidence; he must be supremely "inner-directed" with no inner shame or quaking at going against the judgment of the herd. He must, secondly, have a supreme zest for enjoying life and the spectacle it affords; he must be an individualist who cares deeply about liberty and individual excellence, but who can – from that same dedication to truth and liberty – enjoy and lampoon a society that has turned its back on the best that it can achieve. And he must, thirdly, be deeply pessimistic about any possibility of changing and reforming the ideas and actions of the vast majority of his fellow-men. He must believe that boobus Americanus is doomed to be boobus Americanus forevermore. Put these qualities together, and we are a long way toward explaining the route taken by Henry Louis Mencken."

Some Mencken quotes:

-"A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there. "

-"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. "

-"A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar. "

-"A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers. "

-"A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them. "

-"A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married. "

-"A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in. "

-"A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. "

-"A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground. "

H. L. Mencken






05 April 2012

Manifesto of the Effective, Part III

So we've dealt with, in this space, the danger of becoming domesticated, and the erosion of the definition of what it means to be a man. All good, I reckon. However, there's something out there that deals indirectly with both subjects, but is the logical conclusion to the entire line of reasoning. It came to me after I submitted the last Bile last week, when a friend of mine (thanks, Jess) asked me: "Okay. I see it. I understand. WTF do I do about it?"

And that is where we find ourselves, isn't it? We've defined differences between the effective and those that are not. We've described various manners in which the ineffective manifest themselves, and the specific causality of how these people lose their ability to maintain a baseline of effectiveness. But, indeed, how do we deal with these fucking people?

Sean and Andy know the answer to that question, and I suspect that most of those reading this understand at instinctual level as well: you obviate their ineffectiveness by finding that shining diamond of an individual who: a) says what he can do; b) does what he says he can do. Sounds simple, no?

The difficult thing is that we find that there are ineffective people (in order to save keystrokes, we will call them "assholes") who have been appointed to positions which are clearly above their head, and these assholes defend their positions by inventing miles of red tape and bureaucracy in order to block any improvements to existing procedure by simple legerdemain --OR-- there are assholes who, given positions of authority, understand nothing of context regarding how procedures have been derived, but simply bull ahead with their own idea of how things should be without any understanding, nor caring about, why we decided to run things in a certain way many, many years before those assholes showed up and were given a job here.

We see this in the Marine Corps all the time. A 2nd Lieutenant shows up after his basic officer training and either completely freezes up and becomes a complete burden on the unit due to his indecisiveness (for this argument "type A"), or worse, he decides on day-one to change the dynamic of his platoon based on ten months of entry-level training and ten day's worth of experience (for the sake of this argument, "type B").

The effective ones will hold off and watch how personalities interact, and seek to improve operations based on recommendations from the SNCO who has spent the past twelve to fourteen years figuring things out and putting them into execution, or by a dialogue between him and his subordinates based on their collective experiences. The assholes will assume that everyone who came before was an asshole, and that he knows better. In any case, the poor bastards who work on the bottom wrung suffer, as in the first case; nothing effective gets accomplished due to inertia; and in the second case, institutional knowledge, born of years of trial-and-error, are disregarded due to ego and a misplaced sense of self-worth.

Yes, yes (Jess) I've not dealt with the question.

What is one to do?

I've spent years dealing with type A and type B of the above example. What I find myself doing is a few things:

1) Find the member of the Tribe of the Effective. Within most organizations, there is one individual who is the central point of success. You will often find him to be the busiest individual within the organization. There's a reason for this: HE'S THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO ANYTHING. We see this often, and we often feel guilty for engaging him, because he is so busy. Don't feel that way. Engage. Bring him beer, when he helps you out. Befriend him. He is your counterpart in that organization who belongs to the Tribe of the Effective. You see this all the time, when you go out for a smoke with someone with whom you've found success in getting shit done with. There's a bond there. A recognition. Commiserate with the fellow. Cultivate relationships like this until you have a solid group of contacts who can help you get shit done. If they move, or get another job, keep track of them because they are priceless. Call them when necessary and ask them questions that you're dealing with. Because they belong to that Tribe, they'll shit you diamonds.

2) Dismiss the ineffective. They are legion. "98% of the population of this planet right now is simply inert. They can't react to anything, and you can't get them to if you were to set them on fire, or freeze them, or put them under pressure. 1% are bullshitters. They'll promise you the moon and never deliver. The last 1% are those say what they can do and deliver." (Paraphrased from Stephen King: The Dark Half. That is the best description of the Tribe that I've ever read, people.)

You'll identify these assholes of the 98% quickly. They speak in platitudes, grandiose statements that mean nothing. They will seek to replace the ethos of your organization with a dedication to themselves, seeking a personality cult whose existence replaces the need for effectiveness. As their ideas are confounded, assholes like this tend to try to blame "the system" and quickly circle the wagons around their intentions. When confronted, they will inevitably blame you. Yes, you. You poor bastard. If only you'd just gone along with their will, everything would be optimal. Fucker.

Your recommended reaction is to find reasons to avoid these fuckers altogether. Engaging them only encourages their sense of self-importance. If they are ineffective, they won't miss you. If they are a member of the Tribe, then they will seek you out to accomplish or codify their procedures. Simply put: fuck those fucking fuckers. (Thanks, Dan)

Remember one thing, in conclusion, my friends: The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College for a reason, and it wasn't because they had faith in the intelligence, effectiveness, and the ability of their fellow man to be able to identify shit from Shine-Ola. It was because they saw what you and I see: "Jesus, there are a whole lot of dumbshits out here! Don't let these fuckers be the deciding factor in the governance of this nation."

In like way, go about your bidness by being able to identify these assholes, and marginalize them. Then go find a fellow member of the Tribe and get shit done.

Immundus, in saecula saeculorum
Unclean

01 April 2012

Spring Training Bile

Every official that comes in
Cripples us, leaves us maimed
Silent and tamed
And with our flesh and bones
He builds his homes
-Rage Against the Machine, "War Within a Breath"

Any attempt on my part of providing weak explanations of why exactly I have not been as vocal, as angry, or why I've not been pounding on the table with a ten pound sledgehammer for others to wake up and simply become aware is immaterial to the argument. While this space began eleven years ago as a way for me to simply try to amuse my friend(s), it has long since wandered over and served as a means to speak my mind with regards to political and social philosophy.

Today is definitely the later.

Sublety is pointless, at this point.  A single well-aimed logical shot from the prone has been rendered ineffective. What is called for is a logical Mk-84 2000 lb. bomb.

Americans, you have just found yourself inside the Minimum Safe Distance (MSD) of my rage. Despite my best intentions to just maintain hope in the overarching ability of free men to reason, I look about and note that the siege engines of those people who are hell-bent on enslaving us are tightening ever closer. I've been scoffed at before, and I'm sure most of you just read this and roll your eyes at what is perceived as hyperbole.

However, were it simply hyperbole, I would've stopped writing these little rays of sunshine many years ago. I started all of this during the second Clinton administration, looking around me and seeing clearly that we were travelling in a direction that would inevitably result in the end of what many of us have taken an oath to protect and defend: our Constitution. I thought, when I took up the pen in 2001, that the threat was distant. I thought eight years ago that the most striking threat was that represented by Mohammedan Extremists. I was wrong.

The threat is us.

Americans.

I don't write this anymore assuming or hoping that you get a giggle and forward it to your friends, I write this because I don't hear it coming out of any of the popular media, and I think it may, in fact, be important enough, alarming enough, and sufficiently tragic enough that you will want to send it to those with whom YOU associate to make them aware of what is being done in their name.

However, so as not to put off those who don't want to read several thousand words worth of my vented spleen, I'll try to keep the argument on the early side of 500 (not counting the forward. HA! see what happened there? Read on, dear friends. Please click on the links. I didn't embed the text in hopes that reading it from other sources would lend credibility to an old, weathered patriot.)

Bile
Transition from Republic to Empire
1) A Brief Segue (no, not that gay two wheel thingy. Rather, a brief history lesson.)
It is generally accepted that the Roman Empire started slowly bending away from their republican heritage during the reforms that came about during the tribunal of Tiberius Graccus in 133 B.C. While the reforms by Tiberius, which sought to correct a manifestly unjust and corrupt land-grab by the ruling elite, can only obliquely be used as a metaphor for the recent troubles that were a result of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the important aspect of the beginning of this period is the erosion of the influence of the Roman Senate, and by proxy, the Roman people themselves. This erosion, this disenfranchisement, is the parallel that I wish to draw.

It took until 27 B.C. for the Emperor Augustus (Octavian) to finally consolidate all power under the Roman throne.  106 years; that is what it took the Roman ruling class to steal the right of self-determination from their people.  In 133 B.C., each Roman citizen with the right to vote had some say regarding the laws that were being enacted in his name.  Three generations later, none had that right. How long, do you think, would it take for a free, educated populace to have their freedom taken from them?

The Federal Reserve Act was enacted in 1913.   That was 99 years ago.

2) "No, I assure you. Squirrel!  This administration. Squirrel!  Is dedicated to assisting the plight of the little... Squirrel!"
While these stories regarding the wholesale destruction of constitutional precedent have been out there, the following is what appears as "trending" by CNN.com right now:

Muslim Brotherhood to field presidential pick
Trayvon parents seek review of prosecutor

Pimco's Gross: More ETFs in th works
Taylor Swift wins big at the ACMs
I'm not sure whether it's ineptness by the media, corporate/government control of the media, or apathy by the consumers, but the fact that none of this is being talked about is a failure on the part of these people who claim to want to be the Woodwards and Bernsteins of the modern world.  The news is ineffective, showing you only what they think you want to see because the majority of the media is wholly owned and operated by entertainment corporations that pander to the lowest common denominator.  As a nation, we need to stop losing focus anytime someone yells "squirrel" at us.

[Okay, coming up are some links that support the argument. Please read them. Most are short and will increase your awareness of what is happening with regards to your government. Those that are actual links to government documents are longer, but still warrant a quick scan.] 

At 9:00 P.M. on New Year's Eve of 2011, when some of us were in the process of becoming somewhat overserved, President Obama was busy. At that time, he enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. This particular piece of legislation allows the Department of Defense to detain anyone on this planet, to include American Citizens such as, oh- you or me-, without due process "until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force." (quoted from the act itself:

On March 16th, the Barack Obama administration signed an Executive Order that should terrify anyone who does not want to live in the Soviet Union. That Order was termed the "National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order". It eases restrictions on the President's ability to declare martial law, which he can do, as Jim Garrison from the Huffington Post says, "in peacetime without any national emergency to justify it. The language of the Order does not state that all these extraordinary measures will be done in the event of 'national security' or a 'national emergency.' They can simply be done for 'purposes of national defense,' clearly a broader remit that allows the government to do what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, to whomever it wants, all without any judicial restraint or due process". Once martial law has been declared, the President would be able to delegate to the Secretaries of the Executive branch to take control of the resources of this nation in the following ways:


  • The Secretary of Defense would have power over all water resources;
  • The Secretary of Commerce would have power over all material services and facilities, including construction materials;
  • The Secretary of Transportation would have power over all forms of civilian transportation;
  • The Secretary of Agriculture would have power over food resources and facilities, livestock plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment;
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services would have power over all health resources;
  • The Secretary of Energy would have power over all forms of energy.
But don't take my word for it, go here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness and scroll down about two or three pages to "Sec. 201, Priorities and Allocations Authorities".

Additional websites to view regarding this particular ridiculously slippery slope:

A new law pertaining to your right to peaceful assembly:
http://rt.com/usa/news/trespass-bill-obama-secret-227/

A discussion of your President's right to target and kill whomever he wishes, American citizen or not, by the Director of the FBI: http://rt.com/usa/news/fbi-mueller-assassination-holder-193/

And finally, on the heels of all of this is the President's brief side-bar with Dmitry Mededev, the President of the Russian Federation: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-28-2012/march-28--2012---pt--3

"More flexibility". God help us all, should that come to pass...

Okay, I said it'd be a short post, and there it is. Please stay vigilant, my friends, as these forays into the rights given us under the Bill of Rights are not being reported by anyone.

...Don't mind me, I'm going out the same way I came in:

Yes, I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite,
All of which are
[have become] American dreams...
                    -Rage Against the Machine, "Know Your Enemy"

Immundus, ergo sum,
Unclean

02 October 2011

Manifesto of the Effective, Part II

The Plight of Man.

We have become an endangered species.  However, unlike the panda, the blue whale, and the bald eagle, we are not protected.  We are men, and those who act like men are dwindling.  Being a man is not the same as simply being male, and the undeerstanding of what it entails to be a man is slowly being lost in this culture. 

I am a man, people.  Not merely a male.  I have a deep feeling for kicking the living shit out of something.  I'm not going to apologize for it, but I am going to explain it, because it's getting lost in this society.  I've given up on the political side, and I've come to understand that you people will not or cannot get mad enough about the loss of a valid currency, the seige on your Bill of Rights, or the daily degredation of the Constitution of the United States to change what is being done to us, but I'm hoping that, after you've read this, that you'll conduct yourselves in a manner that reflects your understanding of a few simple tenets.

We've endured over the past forty-or-so years the  rise of political correctness.  This was not born of  guys.  This was born of guys not wanting to piss off their girlfriends.  Girlfriends are the reason that Titanic grossed a kazillion dollars.  Girlfriends are the reason we are forced to watch those godawful commercials about abuse of pets.  Gentlemen, we need to assert ourselves here.

The problem is this: we're a bunch of pussies.  We've lost our self reliance.  We're awash in a sea of estrogen and thus we're bound to an understanding that we have to be nice to everyone.  Sounds nice, right?

Truth is, there are stupid, irrational, and inept people.  Everywhere.  They are all over the fucking place, and their number is growing everyday.  Because of the above factors, these people are not identified for what they are, but are coddled and empowered because we have had the ability to call a "stupid motherfucker" a "stupid motherfucker" taken from us. 

"It's mean to call them that.  They're trying.  Be nice."

Fuck that.

I'm here to witness that there is a moral imperative for each of us to tell it like it is.  There is a moral imperative to act like a man and say what needs to be said.  If the effective individuals among us stand up and declare that we will no longer tolerate the douche-rockets among us, then we can get our balls back. 
                                 
And along with that, let's revel in our manhood while we're at it.  A man should get pumped during the first scene of Gladiator.  A man should get teary-eyed when Deets and Gus die in Lonesome Dove.  A man should, in his day-to-day life, not seek to be safe or comfortable.  Every warrior hopes that a good death will find him.  Live your life with abandon, my friends.  Teach your sons to do so, and be the example.  Deny safety ,  Embrace freedom.  Be what you've always wanted to be.  There is no reason not to, my friends.  We've got one shot at this mortal coil, ensure that your shot is well-aimed and on purpose.

-Unclean

07 May 2011

The Manifesto of the Effective, Part 1

The Manifesto of the Effective


by Larry Adams

The Unclean

There have been, over the past thirty years or so, hundreds of self-help ideals that have come to the fore to help all of us poor benighted, unenlightened, unmotivated people to find the source of the drive and motivation which apparently missed us completely. What comes now, by my hand, is not to be interpreted as such an argument. It is intended only to allow me to highlight the absurdity of modern reliance on those tomes, while showing how this modern society has lost sight of the fact that, in the end, it is only each of us against the world that we live in. That we are not entitled to help from any source that we cannot secure for ourselves. It will seek to highlight the reality that those who can think, decide, and act for themselves will ever outpace those who stand around, like ducks in thunder, waiting for someone to come and take care of them.

The goal of these musings is to show the confluence of individuality and logical thinking; and how the uncompromised expectation of these qualities in others is not a vice, as some would have us believe, but is paramount to being an effective human being. As a manifesto, it is not intended to be an exhaustive work, but rather an argument that runs contrary to the tendencies of a society that has forsaken accountability and the expectation of anyone's ability to do what they say that they can do.

Forwarned: I use "he" and "him" when dealing with hypotheticals. If that offends you, go fuck youself. Thank you.

THE TRAP OF MODERN EXPECTATIONS

Once upon a time, (one of my favorite lead-ins) the American people were feral. We, as a culture, were rough, uncivilized, wild. In those days, the number of people who lived in urban sprawls were not the majority. Therefore, the average man was expected to be able to take care of himself. There was no modern safety net of universal health care. Hell, there was no anticipation of any sort of healthcare anywhere outside of a built-up area. One lived by his wits. As such, he became lord of his own destiny. He didn't need to justify any sort of risk to an insurance adjuster. He didn't need to plead with a bank to give him money on the margin to establish a homestead on the frontier. He had provided no assurances and none were provided to him. As such, his successes were his own, and could not be claimed by any other who sought to reap the produce that resulted from the sweat of his brow.

This is our legacy. It is what identified us as an effective people. It is why we have come to enjoy the success that we have enjoyed since the Eisenhower administration.

So what happened? How did this modern society come so far from that paradigm of accountability?

The majority of the United States became domesticated.

Consider for a moment the difference between a feral animal, and a domesticated one.

-A feral turkey is a wily animal, who is a member of a flock that works together, is adept at percieving and mitigating threats, and can communicate with the rest of his mates to preserve the continued survival of the group.

-A domesticated turkey is an idiot, raised simply to consume food, reproduce, and be eaten by humans.

We can see this same dynamic in almost every single animal that mankind has adopted to serve his ends. Horses, dogs, pigs, sheep, goats. (I would include cats in this discussion, but I've never agreed that a domesticated feline actually serves the ends of mankind, but rather the opposite.)

This domestication has taken place, sadly, within our own species.

A hundred years ago, if a man brandished a firearm in a public place with clear intent to use it, he was put down by others in the crowd who understood that NOT having a way of defending oneself was to become beholden to any aggressor bent on taking away their life, liberty, and property.

They were feral. They were adept at percieving and mitigating threats, and could communicate with the rest of their mates to preserve the continued survival of the group.

Compare that to this current era. These days, if a man brandishes said firearm in a crowd (or in the case of three 9/11 airliners, a razor blade), mass panic ensues. Few are able to effect their own defense, and mitigate the threat. There is an expectation by those threatened that someone else should protect their life, their liberty, and their property. And so they defecate in fear, begging for their salvation, instead of taking actions to preserve themselves.

Much like the domesticated turkey. Welcome to life in 21st century America.

Unclean