Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thug Nation

"Rule of law"? Not hardly.

Who's to blame? If the old adage "the fish rots from the head" is true, then blame this guy:

Barack W. Bush

Bush, at least, had some excuse. He was a bit of a goofball who passed through life on the merits of his family connections and a bit of a "aw-shucks-good-ole-boy" persona. Bush was led about by the nose, at least for the first several years, by his vice-president, a ruthless bureaucrat who was well-seasoned in both institutional violence and covering it up. Neither man evinced the slightest shred of concern for either the Constitution or the rule of law. Cheney, in particular, viewed anything that he could get away with as being legal. For a time, he held himself out as a fourth branch of government, accountable to nobody.

Obama had the promise to be different. Both he and his vice-president graduated from law school (though Biden may have only handled four traffic cases before going into politics). Obama taught constitutional law.[1] So he should have had some idea what the rules were.

But what he proclaimed would be the most transparent administration in history has turned out to be anything but. They have gone after whistleblowers and reporters with a ferocity that would have had Richard Nixon saying: "Guys, really?" The Obama Administration has stonewalled, repeatedly, any attempts to reform the domestic spying of the Federal government. When any reform has appeared to be inevitable, they have tried to water it down or neuter it with a zeal that they have formerly only reserved for protecting the banksters and Wall Street.

I don't see things changing. Regardless of who wins the contest for four years of free government mansion-living in 2016, the powers of the presidency will transform them. Nobody gets into politics at that high a level without developing a thirst for power and influence. And nobody who puts on the "precious" of the presidency will willingly surrender any of its powers.
[1] First year constitutional law classes don't get into the 4th-6th amendments, though. The criminal law classes do, but those are generally electives.


mikey said...

I've been noodling for a couple of years on an idea about the evolution of modern democracies. We see certain kinds of free market (as opposed to political) reforms in authoritarian governments while we see a decline in democratic institutions like rule of law and the judiciary in previously liberal democracies.

You get the sense that modern governments are all coalescing around some kind of authoritarian corporatist oligarchy where the government exists to enable the merchant class.

I suppose it makes sense when viewed from a cynical standpoint. Dictatorships don't generate as much revenue, but liberal democracies can limit the maneuver room of the corporations and their wealthy benefactors...

Comrade Misfit said...

The revenue that dictatorships generate is often under-the-table-- corruption. Russia and China are prime examples of that.

Stewart Dean said...

"Regardless of who wins the contest for four years of free government mansion-living in 2016, the powers of the presidency will transform them"
Well, if it's a Dem, it'll be Hillary or Eizabeth. Hillary won't have to change, as she channels Margaret Thatcher just fine as she is. Elizabeth might actually change things.

Murphy's Law said...

I'd rather have ten years of W. Bush than ten days of Obama. At least when Bush was in office and did questionable things--or even appeared to--the media was all over him calling him out. When Obama does wrong though, the media typically covers for him because he's still "their" boy--the one that they campaigned for and helped elect.

besides, say what you will about Bush, he still signed up and volunteered to fly fighters at a time when Guard units were being sent to Vietnam. He also passed every aspect of jet pilot training at a time when more people washed out than graduated. He had what it took and he assumed the same risk of SE Asia deployment that any other pilot did, and that puts him light-years ahead of Barack Obama, who has always looked down upon our military and those who serve.

Comrade Misfit said...

Oh, horseshit, Murph. The TANG unit was a "champagne outfit" used to shield the well-connected from the draft. And there was zero chance of a F-102 pilot going to `Nam, as F-102s weren't flown there.

Much of the National Guard was used for draft-dodging back then. Example: Dan Quayle.

Then there is the whole bit about Dubya skipping out on the last two years of his obligation.

Or the point that Obama was 14 years old when `Nam ended.

Or that Cheney "had other priorities" than going into uniform, as did John Ashcroft and most of the other Bush/neocon chickenhawks. For all the criticism levied at John Kerry, he went to war. Bush didn't. Cheney didn't.

But hey, you want to relitigate that fight, OK, then.

Murphy's Law said...

Ah, I've got to correct you as to the "No F-102s in Vietnam". They did fly there, and Guard pilots flew them.


It was also pretty well confirmed by those who served with him that President Bush completed his required service early, and the claims of him skipping out short of fulfilling his obligation haven't held up.

Now what V.P. Cheney or V.P. Quayle or anyone else did or did not do is pretty much outside the "Bush v. Obama" focus of this discussion, isn't it, Counselor? But I admit that almost took the Kerry bait.

Not really a Bush fan here, but he did serve honorably as an officer and a pilot during wartime. And while he may not have been our best president, I think that he's got more character and integrity than Obama ever will.

BadTux said...

Uhm, Murphy, I call bull fucking shit on your silliness about the ANG F-102's in Vietnam. Not a single ANG F-102 spent a single day in Vietnam. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Bumpkus. Furthermore, the last F-102 left Vietnam the year *before* Bush's daddy got him into the ANG.

As for the rest of your silliness, the fact that you think Bush II has "intelligence and integrity" says enough.

S O said...

As unlikely, unnecessary, inefficient and stupid as it sounds, the US really deployed F-102s to Thailand and later also to South Vietnam:

pages 23 and 29

It's still widely known that GWB went to the NG to dodge Vietnam. The only thing ballsy about it was the risk of an accident.

BadTux said...

Yes, yes. But the deployment of F-102's to the Vietnam theater a) was only of full-time AF personnel, *not* ANG personnel, and b) had already ceased by the time GWB got one of his daddy's cronies to land him a plum position in a "champagne unit', the last F-102 left Vietnam in 1968. Again: Not a single ANG F-102 spent a single microsecond in Vietnam. EVER. And by the time GWB joined the ANG, the F-102 was being phased out of active duty in Vietnam and was absolutely guaranteed not to go back to Vietnam.

The New York Crank said...

I have another bone to pick with Murphy for saying, "It was also pretty well confirmed by those who served with him that President Bush completed his required service early, and the claims of him skipping out short of fulfilling his obligation haven't held up."

Baloney! There was a standard National Guard Enlistment. It was six years. You couldn't "complete it early." You completed it when your six years was up.

Yours with extreme crankiness,
The New York Crank

Will said...

ANG pilots from the 147 FIG (Bush's station) flew in VN, in Air Force planes. Then flew in Air Force planes and squadrons, since they were fill-ins. There was a volunteer program called "Palace Alert" to cover this. The AF didn't have enough pilots for a war. F-102's were stationed in So VN from 3/62 to 5/71, plus Thailand. Bush was rated on the Dagger by 6/70, but the number of them in the SEA area was drawing down, and the AF wanted 500 hrs in the Dagger to qualify for deployment to that location. Bush never had enough hours in type to go there. The reason for the lack of hours may be due to the following:

It seems that there was a push on in the ANG by the early 70's to persuade the low hour/non combat rated pilots to leave early, to make space for experienced AF combat pilots so they could maintain flight proficiency. The money tap was being turned down for the military. This may not have been an "official" situation, as there may have been rules that would bar it. However, it would be easy for this to be done (it also happened after WW2). Simply deny the young pilots enough flying hours, and they will take the hint that they are no longer needed or wanted. Offer to let them leave early, and get on with their life.

If the military lets you leave early, it HAS to be with their blessing.

Here's a bit of info: http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/q0185.shtml

BadTux said...

That's one reason why I don't buy the "Bush deserted" deal. I have family experience with what happens when a war is winding down and the military is downsizing. My dad got out early under circumstances somewhat different from Bush's, but the reality is that when the military is downsizing they'll do a lot to push out the people they don't need.

Doesn't change the fact that when Bush signed up for the ANG he knew that the F-101 was being phased out of Vietnam service and thus he'd never actually spend a Dixie minute in Vietnam...