If you think the "military industrial complex" is a fanciful entity imagined by liberal America-haters, they really do exist and really are evil...
It seems that some defense contractors are demanding royalties up to $40 per model from the small companies that make model planes, tanks and the like.
These bohemoth companies will sell a squadron of real airplanes for $40 million apiece but still have time to try and squeeze a couple bucks out of kids' toys. C'mon, the money they milk out of these toys wouldn't buy a fart absorber for the flight seat of an F/A-18 Hornet.
Jokes on them though. Since these little model companies can't afford to fight the legal battle, some of them are just selling models of enemy equipment instead. So now we're going to have a generation of kids growing up dreaming of flying MiGs and driving Type 96 Chinese tanks into battle against the great imperialist satan.
Irony, she is a harsh mistress.
"Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims"
~ bush in tonight's State Of The Union Speech
Frivolous asbestos lawsuits are what's wrong with the economy?
I hated Clinton, I really did. Couldn't stand the man, thought everything he said was a lie, but with him you could listen and say "Yep, that's true" or "that"s a lie." With bush you're left scratching your head trying to figure out what the hell he's talking about. And what's worse is that you know that he has already begun to base dramatic changes in policy on it by the time it's said, so everyone is still left scratching their head while he's already out wrecking the way America does business.
I'm well aware that our political leaders are mentally lost in a world of their own, but what I wouldn't give to go back to the time when they at least spoke like they lived in the same reality as you and I.
Is history repeating itself?
Hopefully not, but Abbas Kadhim has a great post today where he quotes a Sept 4, 1967 report in the New York Times.
"United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam." -- Peter Grose, 'U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote,' The New York Times, Sept 4, 1967, page 2.The elections were a good thing but I still think we need to chill out a while before patting ourselves on the back for things the Iraqis are doing.
Yay for elections in Iraq!
Well, maybe yay, we'll see. I'll at least give a "Yay!" for low casualties on election day.
The press in the US, and perhaps all over the world, have been hyping the elections in Iraq as the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. Democracy beat evil, or whatever, but what does it all mean?
First off, it's highly doubtful the elections were such a resounding success as everyone seems to think. The estimates of 72% turnout are already starting to look like wishful thinking and turnout among Sunnis is starting to look pretty sparse overall.
But did democracy win? Well, no. It's not like democracy was an issue in the elections where you could check yes or no.
But wait a minute, doesn't voting for representatives mean you're practicing democracy? Well kinda, but as I've pointed out, Iraq has had many elections over the years where they elected representatives to the National Assembly. If that's all that constitutes a democracy then you'd have to say that Iraq has always been one.
There were two differences betweent his election and the others. This time they had a choice other than Baathists so that's a good thing, and this National Assembly has the duty of crafting a new constitution for Iraq.
But then again, this time no one knew who was running because candidates wouldn't release their name for fear of being killed. So people turned out to vote for parties to send their people to the National Assembly, and it looks like the parties of Ayatollas and Islamic rule probably fared pretty well in the election.
And no one even knows who their candidates are. Are they liberal or fundamentalist, religious or secular? Did Osama bin Laden run? No one really knows, but it's possible that when the new constitution is written, they may choose something other than liberal westernized democracy to be their new system.
Another problem is the fact that turnout was really low among Sunni arabs so they may get screwed when the constitution is written. I'm no expert on Iraq but what's to stop some of these anonymous candidates from writing civil laws based on Shiite Islam and excluding Sunnis? Then what's to stop a civil war from erupting?
But I'm not trying to be all doom and gloom. I'm just saying it's not over yet, this is only the beginning. It does look like a lot of people voted because they believed it would end the occupation, and it's kinda embarrassing to say high turnout was a victory for the bush doctrine when it may be due to the fact that they were voting to get rid of us, especially given the fact that the bush administration were against the election from day one and only changed their mind and started taking all the credit when it became apparent that they couldn't stop it.
However, if that's the case, in my mind that's still a good thing. The election will still be a success because it gave the Iraqis the feeling of autonomy. I don't want to speak for them but maybe they were thinking that they may not have the perfect system, but they'd take an imperfect Iraqi system over being occupied by a foreign military any day.
And who can argue with that? The first step to getting their country in order is to want to get it into order. A drill instructor in the military takes a bunch of guys and treats them all like shit so they'll all hate him. That way the guys join together into a team and work together to accomplish their goals. In the end they thank him for it.
And now in Iraq, maybe they all joined together to get their system in order so they could end the indignity of foreign occupation. So even if they don't adopt an American-friendly liberal democracy, maybe everything will end up allright anyway.
A lot of people want Iraq to be our best buddies and drink Coke and wear Levis and watch HBO, but I, for one, don't care about that. I just want to see the Iraqi people happy and safe and living the way they want to, not the way some foreigners want them to. Let's hope that happens. Let's hope they make it happen. And who knows, maybe in the end they'll thank us for the little part we played.
I will never look innocently upon a merry-go-round for the rest of my life
Crystal and I went to the movies Saturday night in Sevierville but we were an hour early for the movie we wanted to see so we needed to kill some time. For those of you who don't know, Sevierville goes alongside Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to complete the tourist hell trifecta that is the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains, thus we knew we could easily find something to kill time.
Anyway, we had been in one of those "As Seen On TV stores" stores earlier and had a good laugh at all the infomercial crap they were hocking, so we decided to drop by the Price Right Mall because it looked like the mother of all As Seen On TV stores, big and cheap.
So we're walking around, joking about some of the goofy things for sale and I notice this carousel horse and said something dumb like "Here ya go, you need one of these."
It was about three feet high and really well designed and artistically made, quite ornate I guess, but it was still ugly as hell. We kinda chuckled "yeah that'd look good in my house" and started walking because other than the fact that we cut it's head off in the photo you probably wouldn't notice anything amiss. However as I walked around behind it I noticed something a little odd.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, IT'S GOT BALLS!! BIG HUGE HORSE BALLS!
OH SWEET JESUS NO! NO... NO... NOOOOOOOOO... THAT'S SO TERRIBLE! NOOOOO!!!>
I just busted out laughing and pointed and we both started almost rolling on the floor with laughter.
It's not just the fact that the horse is anatomically correct that is so funny, it's that you don't expect it. You think, oh here's a cheesy ceramic sculpture of a carousel horse, a children's ride, to get grandma for Christmas. He's even cocking his leg up and prancing around like a well trained horse might. Then you notice he's really cocking his leg up because his creator endowed him with a set of gargantuan testicles that would make any other stance uncomfortable.
Now let's look at the first photo again.
Yep, he's got the frank as well as the beans.
The question on my mind is, why? Why, for the love of God, would someone make something like this and add balls to it? And not just balls, but bawls. Big freaking huge bawls right there for everyone to see. The artist was apparently happy with his work because, although it didn't come out clearly in the photo, he signed the horses right leg next to it's testicles.
Is it not the most terrible thing you have ever seen? Why? Dear God why?
My only regret is that I was laughing so hard that I didn't even think of buying it at the time. I didn't even check the price on it. I'm going to check it out next weekend so if you're reading this in the Tennessee area, I have dibs on that horse! It's so horriffic I just can't pass it up.