Make Selective Service Selective

A funny thing happened a few months ago while the entire country was in shock and horror at the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter took the opportunity to announce that all combat roles would be open to women.  As this administration is known for never letting a crisis go to waste, the DoD took advantage to announce a controversial policy that would have generated a great deal of news coverage, much of it negative, under cover of an ongoing American tragedy.  You can’t say that they didn’t have great timing.  The story was, as planned, lost in the greater story of terrorism on US soil.

I had previously expressed both my opinion (unfavorable) and prediction (it was going to happen regardless) on women in combat arms military occupational specialties here. So I knew that studies would show that putting women in combat arms specialties would be a bad idea, and that the military was going to make it happen anyway even if they had to jiggle the standards to make it happen.selective service 1

So there really isn’t a reason to go over the same arguments again as to why women in combat arms fields is not just a dumb idea, but a dangerously stupid one that at some point will cost many lives and drastically impact military effectiveness.  We’re too far gone for studies, or reason.  The country is running on pure PC approved ideology now.  Facts are for bigots.

But that brings up the next step in the post “women in combat” debate.  What to do about selective service? Should women be forced to register, and therefore be eligible for a future draft?  Feminists of course try to have their cake and eat it too by supporting women registering for selective service but at the same time think that the draft is wrong and selective service should be eliminated…now that they are suddenly asked to sign up. The issue even came up during the Republican Primary debates.

selective service 2

I’ve given this some thought, and recognize that we’re not going back on women in combat (until of course it blows up in our faces but by then it’s too late), so accepting the inevitable, I think I figured out a way to make feminists happy as well as more traditional minded folks like myself.

Make selective service voluntary.

The truth is, even if some massive emergency required a draft, we’re just not going to need every young person between 18 and 25. We wouldn’t be able to process and train that many people and currently most young people would not be eligible for the military; mostly due to fatties, druggies, dummies, and various tattooed freaks with criminal records. Do we really need to waste time processing, and rejecting, these losers in a national emergency?

Making it voluntary cuts out a lot of people who wouldn’t qualify for the military anyway and it eliminates the possibility of any future legal challenge to the draft. The Supreme Court has already ruled that a military draft doesn’t violate the constitution, but that was a century ago.  In an age when court decisions are based more on if it feels good do it rather than stare decisis, having a strictly voluntary selective service would go a long way to nipping in the bud future court challenges.  After all, if you are knee deep in an alien invasion, do you really need the Supreme Court issuing a stay on further conscription until they review the case next October?

Of course the question that comes up is; if selective service is voluntary, is who would be crazy enough to actually volunteer for it and sign up?  I’m glad you asked…

Currently, if you are male, you are required by law to sign up for selective service. But also, you are required to sign up in order to be eligible for federally backed student loans.  Do you know who isn’t required to sign up for selective service to be eligible for federally backed student loans? Females.  So right now, women are free riders on the student loan train, but if we’re changing the law to allow women to sign up, we naturally, in the interest of equality, should require women to sign up to be eligible for student loans.

A pool of potential draftees in the selective service database who are volunteers makes for a smaller, but better quality pool of people. The logic of limiting eligibility for federally backed student loans to just those who volunteer to be called to military service if the need arises seems clear.  Of course, not all of those people would be qualified for military service anyway, although the current student loan rules that disqualify anyone convicted of a felony drug charge doesn’t hurt separating the wheat from the chaff.  But we could do better than that.

Michael Bloomberg, take notes.

Since one of the largest disqualifiers for military service is weight, why not require a weigh in every year to ensure that the prospective student/draftee is within their BMI? The logistics and cost of a full military physical to make sure these young people are qualified for military service might be unrealistic, but a simple weigh in wouldn’t be.  Having one at your doctor’s office or at a local recruiter would make sure that when the balloon goes up, we don’t have tens of thousands of college kids who’ve sucked at the teat of government largess for years suddenly show up at the recruiters in stretch pants, riding their Hoveround scooters, looking like an audition for “People of Wal-Mart.”

Some people might argue that this is nanny-statism, however if you are getting a benefit from the government, what’s wrong with having requirements for it?  Nothings free in this world, and the sooner the entitled generation learns that, the better. And is it really that onerous a requirement to be healthy?  If you can’t keep the pizza and ice cream away from your pie hole long enough to pass a weigh in once a year, I have doubts on your ability to demonstrate the self discipline to complete college anyway.

And there are downstream benefits of requiring a healthy weight for beneficiaries of federal benefits.  Even if a fair portion of graduates, upon getting their last student loan, decides to celebrate with a pizza a day, the fact that they had to maintain a healthy weight for a couple of years will benefit them health-wise years later and will benefit the country overall in reduced healthcare costs.  And who knows, maybe some of them will decide to maintain a healthy weight through their lives?

And…if you really don’t like this idea, then we shouldn’t have decided it would be neat to have mothers of young children as infantrymen.  That’s a much worse idea.

 

Godwin’s Law Repealed

For the past few months, I’ve seen an incredible amount of media attention comparing one of the Presidential candidates to Adolf Hitler. Although that used to be considered a totally inappropriate comparison to…well anything; most commentators on TV are now unafraid to draw that conclusion.  Even normally bland conventional wisdom minded commentators will come right out with the Nazi inference.

And for good reason.

Bernie Heil

There is a spectre haunting America’s college campuses, artesian bakeries, hookah bars, and Whole Food’s organic foods departments.  That spectre is Bernie Sanders.  In speeches to overflowing crowds as he crisscrosses the country, the stern old man often raises his right arm to exhort the crowd of mindless followers. Promising assorted benefits if they vote for him, and taken from minority communities that Sanders names as enemies to the country, he preaches a chilling intolerance to his amped up crowds.

 

It’s a crowd, by the way that does not look like America.  The Berniejugend are quite monochrome in their whiteness.  With eye colors from gray to hazel, and hair color from bleached blond to streaked brown, they appear to be a single Volk, united in their subjugation to Sander’s harsh diatribes against those he points out as enemies.  Just think of a few comparisons we can draw from history…

Bernie Heil white crowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ominous Parallels

Bernie Sanders lives in almost all white State.

Hitler lived in an almost all white country.

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Bernie Sanders is a socialist.

Hitler was a national socialist.

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Bernie Sanders supports national healthcare.

Hitler supported national healthcare.

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As a youth, Bernie Sanders was arrested protesting government policies.

Aa a youth, Hitler was arrested protesting government policies.

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Bernie Sanders blames a small minority engaged in finance for the nation’s problems.

Hitler blamed a small minority engaged in finance…well you get the idea.

 

Be afraid.  Run to the closet, shut the door, and cover yourself with a blanket.

Oh and bring a flashlight, because the lamps are going out in America.  We may not see them lit again in our lifetimes.

RINO’s in Winter

Mitt Romney went insane earlier today, launching an attack on GOP front runner Donald Trump, in an effort by the Republican Party to sabotage its own front runner and ensure a humiliating defeat this fall for a party that has fetishized defeat as a noble virtue.

Or at least that’s how it looks to me.  Apparently GOPe has decided that they would much prefer another President Clinton to the possibility of actually winning anything, and will take down their own party to make sure they cruise into the November election to a humiliating Goldwater-like defeat by splitting the party.

And for what?

It’s hard to grasp this split is simply over policy differences. Position wise, Trump is a moderate Republican.  In spite accusations to the contrary, Trump is no right wing zealot.  Instead he, as an analysis piece in the Washington Post points out, he is a “textbook moderate.” The weird thing is, if you break it down issue by issue, Trump is a RINO, the exact type of Republican the establishment should love, and the exact type they’ve foisted on the Republican electorate in the past, and the exact type that they’ve always said was the only electable choice.

So what’s different? Except for trade, Trump is running on Romney’s 2012 platform. Now before you say, immigration, Romney ran on “self deportation.” The health reform plan that he released today is almost identical to the one Romney ran on. I can’t remember when a candidate has ran on a platform so identical to his failed predecessor. Is giving up bad trade deals that important to them? Or is it just a matter of style? Trump is a “short fingered vulgarian” after all. Or is it just that he’s running without any donor support and needs nothing from the GOPe?

Inquiring minds…

In the meantime, important GOP establishment “thought leaders,” inspired by Mitt Romney’s bout of suicidal mental illness, are planning their own vivisection of the Republican Party.

I can think of a name for the new party; the Whigs.  The future of the Republican Party is starting to look like it’s past.

 

 

Why Trump?

Forget Super Tuesday.  The Florida Republican Primary is March 15th and I cast my absentee ballot for Donald Trump, and nobody is more surprised than I am.  If you had told me a few years ago that he would have been my candidate, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t…couldn’t have believed it.  The loudmouthed TV guy; the birther?  That’s my candidate?  Clearly a lot of things have changed in the past couple years to lead me down this path.

First of all, Trump isn’t a perfect candidate; far from it.  Prior to his entering the Presidential race, I was aware of who he was, but wasn’t otherwise interested in him or his mixture of business and celebrity; the Trump brand, or his show, The Apprentice.  And I particularly wasn’t interested in his birtherism.  I hate conspiracy theories and I hated the fact that a PUMA inspired Democratic conspiracy theory from the 2008 Democratic Primary race got pinned on Republicans.  Too be sure a lot of people on the right fell for that malarkey, but Trump garnered a great deal of publicity by promoting it and playing it as if it was a well crafted publicity stunt, which I suppose to him, that’s exactly what it was.

Trump has continued to say things that are ridiculous on its face even this far into the Presidential race. Trump’s claim during the CBS debate that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq is absurd.  However Rush Limbaugh’s theory, that it was a play for Democratic votes in an open primary state, does, have a ring of plausibility.  In any case, I don’t regard it as a factually correct statement and that debate highlighted much of the criticism of Trump as legitimate, that he’s a thin skinned hot head who shouts before he thinks.

But…in spite of all of those flaws and many others, I voted for Trump in the primary.

The reasons are multiple, but I can jot down a few bullet points:

Trump might win; no other Republican can: For Conservatives, it’s over.  I’ve noted multiple times that the demographic time bomb has gone off and all things being equal, Republicans won’t win another Presidential race.  Donald Trump is the rare bolt of lightning that might actually flip that script. He’s bringing new voters into the primaries and has a good chance of doing that during the general election.  He also has a platform that has cross party appeal. Would I like to have a more standard conservative to vote for? Sure, but we’ve already crossed the Rubicon on the ability of such a candidate to actually win a general election. It’s not a choice between Trump and Cruz, it’s a choice between Trump and Hillary.

If I ever want to see what a Presidency by someone who owes absolutely nothing to donors, this is my only chance. Given the freak out of GOPe, it’s obvious that many in the Republican establishment would much prefer a Hillary to a Trump.  With Hillary, you get the same old same old, but with Trump, he owes no one in the establishment anything.  It’s a totally unprecedented state of affairs in the political world; a President who actually owes nothing to the donor class.  Imagine, ambassadors and other appointees selected because of qualifications instead of donations?  We’ve never had anything like that, and are unlikely to have that again in my lifetime.  So just once I would like to see how that would work in real life instead of fantasy.

Economic Nationalism. When Trump declared his candidacy, his political platform blew me away.  He actually had a platform that was popular, and was untouched by any of the other multiple candidates; no amnesty and protecting jobs from bad trade deals.  It seems a program ripe for cherry picking by one of the other candidates, yet no one did, because, as I predicted, there were no donors who were going to fund such a campaign.

No Amnesty, no how. I’m done voting for amnesty supporting Republicans. Sorry Rubio, but I’m not giving you another chance to betray me.  Ted Cruz might not betray me on amnesty but he also would never be President.  If through some miracle he were to get the nomination, he would go down in Goldwater like flames in the general election. But Trump bet his campaign on immigration, so I think he means it.  I want the wall, and I don’t care if it has a giant T on it.  The Cucks won’t build it, but Trump might.

I’m sure a Trump vote will be a hard vote to swallow for many conservatives, but think about this:  What have conservatives actually conserved?

Nothing.

They’ve lost every battle, for decades.  We’ve had multiple Republican Presidents and Republican lead Congresses, yet government is bigger, more controlling, and more expansive than ever.  No promise Conservatives have made has lasted beyond Election Day.  So I’m really not risking anything.  Look at the Republican Congress and Senate I helped vote in.  They’ve been busy as bees helping pay for Obamacare and fulfilling President Obama’s budget requests.  So if that’s what I get with a Congress with a larger Republican majority since before the Great Depression, I don’t see that I’ve got anything to lose.

But potentially a lot to gain.

 

Jeb Bush, End of the Line

The New York Times headline kind of says it all, Jeb Bush Bows Out of Campaign, Humbled and Outgunned.

Jeb Bush dropped out of the presidential race on Saturday, ending a quest for the White House that started with a war chest of $100 million, a famous name and a promise of political civility, but ended with a humbling recognition: in 2016, none of it mattered.

I’ve written a lot about Jeb as an unstable, unprepared, and unserious candidate, so I’m not sad to see him go.  So if anyone wonders if his master plan of winning the nomination without the base was working, the answer is clearly no.

Despite (or maybe because) the fact he never would have won against Hillary, even if she ran her campaign from a jail cell, he was declared the front runner by the media, and continued to consider himself the front runner, even after Trump exploded the primary race and his numbers fell.  He never made a compelling reason for his campaign and in spite of a media generated image as a deep thinker and policy wonk, was incoherent and contradictory, such was when during his book tour on immigration, he contradicted in an interview the main thesis of his book.  Just a word of advice, if you are a politician and have a book ghostwritten, you should at least read your own book.

And who can forget when it took him five days to answer a question about Iraq, the most obvious question he should have expected upon entering the race?

And this was supposed to be the smart Bush?

Well he can now slink back to Miami where he can turn off all English language media, and he and Columba can sit around and try to figure out what they are going to do with all of those left over guac bowls.

 

Winter TV Watching

My whole TV world changed a few weeks ago when my wife came home from work and announced that she was going to drop Cable and go to Direct TV.  I had always been suspicious of Direct TV since I assumed weather would be a factor in viewing far more than was the case with cable.  And I was never sure how much weather would make a difference.  However television service was one of those responsibilities I had delegated to my wife so I had little choice but to go along.

So far, it’s not a disappointment.  In fact, the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages by a considerable amount. With an 800 hour capacity DVR, I’m taking advantage of 3 months of free premium channels to pack it with a year’s worth or more of movies.  And the interface and system seem to be far more modern than what I had with cable.  Being able to be in my office and watch something recorded on the DVR is an advantage I didn’t know I needed until I got it.  What a convenience!

And the weather issue?  It is real.  So far on two separate occasion’s bad weather has resulted in a loss of signal, one while watching one show while recording two more.  All things being equal, being able to record 5 shows while watching one at the same time more than makes up for the infrequent weather issues.  At least I think the weather issues are infrequent.  The summer rainy season in Florida may be an issue.  Summer is coming…

With a high capacity DVR, I’m juggling more TV show plates than ever.  Here is a sample of some of the newer shows I’m watching now:
Shannara

MTV, yes, that MTV, has a new fantasy show called The Shannara Chronicles.  It’s based on series of fantasy books which I’ve never read, but it has all of the usual elves, trolls, and so forth, but the hook is that it takes place in a future post apocalyptic Earth, not some other world like Middle-Earth or GoT.  I’ve watched a couple of episodes and I like it. The show is filmed in New Zealand so the scenery is gorgeous. But what is really surprising is how good the digital and costume effects are.  I didn’t expect this kind of quality effort from MTV.  As for the show itself, it strikes me as Lord of the Rings meets the CW; hot elves flirting and dating while demons threaten the world.  Maybe they should have called it Shannara 90210.

Supergirl, yes Supergirl. I find the show enjoyable, despite its flaws.  On the other hand, maybe because of its flaws and let me tell you, this show has them!  Most of the problems of the show can be summed up in a Saturday Night Live parody trailer for a Black Widow movie:

Yes, it’s Supergirl, played as a romantic comedy.  There is the hot guy Supergirl desires, Jimmy (excuse me, James) Olsen, who is dating someone else, and there is the friendzoned work friend, who wallows in his self pity, but he is such a good friend that Supergirl would never want to change what they have.

So yes, you have seen this movie before.  However the show does have its own charms.  Calista Flockhart plays Supergirl’s media mogul boss Cat Grant with a hypercharged, manic gusto.  All words I would never have thought to use in relation to Calista Flockhart.  But the selfish, driven, work-is-all boss with the secret heart of gold probably gives the show its best moments.  Will a Superhero themed romcom attract the woman viewer?  No idea.

The Magicians is a new Syfy show that can best be described as Harry Potter goes to Graduate School, because that’s the setting of the show, a secret, magical grad school hidden away in upstate New York.
Magicians

The magic seems a little less ridiculous, although still magic, and it’s treated like alcohol or drugs; enjoyable but potentially addictive and very dangerous if misused (and it’s misused often apparently). The problems are more adult; or perhaps specifically young adult.  Finding your place in the world and of course relationships seems to drive a lot of the action.  There is even their own version of Voldemort; “The Beast.”  Apparently Brakebills University has a similar policy as Hogwarts; keep every threat and danger secret even when people start dying.  Nothing says school administrator like keeping everyone in the dark.  I give this show two and half wands.

Limitless is not only based on the movie of the same name, but it’s more or less a sequel to it. Bradley Cooper, who was the star of the film, has a recurring role as his movie character, now Senator Eddie Morra.  The new victim/recipient of the brain enhancing drug NZT is Brian Finch, a loser wanna be musician, who comes across NZT, likes it, and stumbles across both the FBI and Senator Morra.  Since the film, Morra has figured out a treatment to prevent the mental and physical decline from prolonged NZT use and offers it to Brian if he will be a mole for him inside the FBI.  The FBI wants Brian because they think his Morra supplied treatments are a natural immunity, so they hire him as a consultant, both to study him to see if they can reverse engineer his immunity to the deleterious effects of NZT and take advantage of his NZT enhanced IQ to solve cases.
Limitless

This show really works because Jake McDorman, who plays Brian, is exceedingly likable.  He plays Brian as basically a good guy who is forced to spy and betray his new FBI friends.  He’s also one of the few regular pot smokers on network TV.  His bong is a prominent accessory of his apartment.  You don’t usually see that in a crime drama.  The show’s breaking of the 4th wall makes this different from most shows on TV and fun to watch.  I ended up liking this show much more than I thought I would.  It’s fun.

If I were to cram every childish, pulpy thing I liked into one show, I couldn’t have done a better job than DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. It has superheroes, it has time travel, and it has a super villain.  I mean, that’s one delicious stew. And it’s all sitting in the same universe as Arrow and The Flash. It’s not surprising since many of the characters are side characters borrowed from those two shows.

The premise is, 150 years from now, an immortal super villain, Vandal Savage, conquers the world, so Rip Hunter, one of the “Time Masters” decides to go back in time to stop him from ever getting that far.  To do that, he goes back to 2016 to assemble a team of heroes and villains from the Arrow/Flash universe to travel in time with him to stop Savage before he gets to conquer the world.

Well, I did say it was childish and pulpy.  But it’s also fun too.

One of my more oddball shows that I’m trying out is You, Me, and the Apocalypse.  Now I love a good Apocalypse, and TV and movies have often tried to put a comic spin to the idea with movies as diverse as Night of the Comet,and  Zombieland to This is the End, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.  Not to mention TV’s Last Man on Earth. With 34 days to live before an asteroid renders Earth uninhabitable, a diverse group of people worldwide end up following paths that will somehow cross…I’m not sure how but the show is throwing out clues left or right.  With a great cast (Rob Lowe, Jenna Fischer, and Megan Mullally) and a tight, well written script, this show is growing on me. And Megan Mullally as Leanne, an escaped neo Nazi prisoner on the run with housewife and Librarian Rhonda (Jenna Fischer), provides some of the shows funniest moments.  The word for this show is intriguing. I’ve not seen anything quite like this on TV before and I like it.

Another new show I’m kicking the tires on is Second Chance. Just a guess, but I don’t think this show is going to be around too long.  The premise is that a grumpy and disagreeable retired Sheriff is murdered and brought back to life by a Google like company run by twins, one of whom is dying of cancer.  So after conventional treatments fail, just bring someone back from the dead and use their blood as an anti cancer treatment.  Pretty standard medical procedure right?  The entire bringing someone back from the dead angle sounds totally implausible.  And I mean by Science Fiction standards.  People come back from the dead all the time in science fiction and fantasy shows, but it’s either with “magic” or some sort of semi plausible technobabble that sort of, kind of, makes sense.  Not this time; it’s just technobabble. Maybe if I could like the characters more, I could get pass that.  But so far, only the tech genius twins seem likable.

There are those who might think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew in TV watching.  Maybe some critics might think I’ve let the hubris of an 800 hour DVR cloud my thinking on what’s practical to watch.  Only time, and a full DVR can say for sure.

 

 

More Red States?

Gallup had a party affiliation analysis  that purports to show there are now more red Republican States than blue Democratic ones.  Good news Republicans!  From their study:

“Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.”

On paper, this does seem like good news for Republicans.  Certainly the divisive Obama years have eliminated almost the last of the Blue Dog Democrats and gave the Republicans their largest majorities in the House and Senate since before the Great Depression. At the State level, Republicans have made a 900 seat gain in State legislatures since 2010.  In strictly office holder terms, the Obama years have been good for the Republican Party.  So smooth sailing to November 2016 right?

I noticed two anomalies on the map that struck my eye.

First Florida.  Since it’s my home State, I have a familiarity with the state that may not show up in polling.  First the obvious: Florida went for Obama twice in a row; in 2008 and 2012.  Is there something that’s going to break that pattern?  A lot of things could, except that the State used to be a red State, now, according to Gallup, it’s “competitive.” But there are trends that are moving Florida from red to blue, and that’s demographics. As NPR helpfully points out, Puerto Ricans have been pouring into Florida.  Although it’s part of a long term trend, it’s exacerbated by the financial crisis in Puerto Rico.  Although Puerto Rico can’t vote in a Presidential election, Puerto Ricans can, the minute they leave Puerto Rico.  And again as NPR hopefully shows, Puerto Ricans predominately vote for Democrats.

And secondly, just looking at that State map from Gallup, when did Texas go from solidly Republican to leaning Republican?  I wonder what could be causing that?  Demographics maybe?

Texas has 38 electoral votes.  Once that State moves from leaning Republican to “competitive” it makes a Republican Presidential win extremely “problematic” as a leftist might say, no matter how many State Houses Republicans win.

Republican wins on non Presidential years are not reflective of Presidential years.  Quoting myself:

There is a big difference between the number of people who show up to vote in the mid-terms and those who show up in Presidential years. Based on the numbers I’ve seen this morning, turn out for this year was even lower than in 2010, which was another big Republican year. So you have a 76 million voter turnout for this year, but in 2012 you had 129 million voters.  That’s about a 50 million voter difference between the midterms and the Presidential voting years.

So all things being equal, we should see Democratic Presidential wins from here on out. Of course, I caveat that by saying that sometimes all things are not equal. Wars, terrorism, or a financial crisis could flip the script; as could an off the wall Presidential candidate that has cross party appeal.  But Republicans shouldn’t take much comfort that some there are more red States on a Gallup map now.  That sort of information, like Hillary Clinton’s support, is miles wide but merely inches deep.