The Bitemaster talks about patriotism

The Bitemaster stands for the National Anthem, but supports those who kneel in protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

The Bitemaster despises the swifboating of John Kerry. It was one of the most dishonorable actions of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.

The Bitemaster despises Donald Trump’s insults of Gold Star Mother Ghazala Khan.

The Bitemaster salutes our service members even when he disagrees with their politics. And that goes double for John McCain. Unlike Captain Bone Spur, McCain earned the right to to spout off on any damn thing he wants — even when I think he’s wrong.

I’m no showy patriot, but I have nothing against pledging allegiance to the American flag. But the flag lapel pin has become a symbol of fake patriotism, proudly worn by those who would destroy the Constitution and betray the US to Russia.

And the American right-wing is full of “sovereign citizens,” tax protesters, secessionists like Todd Palin, and other anti-American types.

Which brings me to standing for “God Bless America,” which is now played at American baseball stadia, Should one stand for it? It’s just a song, not the National Anthem. So I asked one of the most decent men I know, himself a veteran of Vietnam. He said he stands in honor of his friends who died there. Good enough for me. Next time, I stand.

 

Gen. Kelly takes second swig of the Kool-Aid

Remember when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron”? And then was forced to walk it back?

“He [Trump] loves his country. He puts America and Americans first. He’s smart. He demands results wherever he goes and he holds those around him accountable for whether they have done the job he has asked them to do.”

Hey, Rex: that was some serious groveling!

Now on to General John F. Kelly, current White House Chief of Staff. It had looked to us here in the Bitecastle like Kelly had brought some much-needed order to the chaotic Trump White House. Then the poor guy started hitting the Kool-aid, and hitting it hard.

In October 2017, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) criticized Trump for his phone call to the widow of a slain U.S. soldier, saying his remarks had been insensitive. A few days later, Kelly held a press briefing where he defended Trump’s phone call, which he had overheard, saying Trump “expressed his condolences in the best way that he could.” He harshly criticized Wilson, calling her “the empty barrel that makes the most noise” and stating that in a 2015 speech she had “stood up” to inappropriately claim credit for securing federal funding for an FBI building in her district. Video of her 2015 speech showed his description to be inaccurate. [Wikipedia]

Then Kelly took his second swig:

In an October 2017 interview with Laura Ingraham, Kelly claimed that “the lack of ability to compromise led to the Civil War.”

. . .  Two historians of the Civil War described Kelly’s remarks as ignorant, a misuse of history reminiscent of Lost Cause mythology, and they broadly reject that a failure to compromise led to the war, noting that a number of compromises on slavery were made in the lead-up to the war. [Wikipedia]

Who will lead the incoming US government?

The Trump Team

OfficeNameRichMilitaryEducationSpousesCareerComment
PresidentDonald TrumpyesnoBS in economics, Wharton3business (2nd generation), tv personality, author24 hour tweeter, always on the attack, no patience for details
Vice PresidentMike PencenonoJD, Indiana U1US Rep, GovernorConservative Republican
Chief strategist and senior counselorSteve BannonyesyesMBA, Harvard3Goldman Sachs, movie producer, Breitbart News Exec ChairIdeological leader of the Alt-Right
Chief of StaffReince Priebus nonoJD, Univ of Miami1GOP operativeCan talk to both Tea Party and mainline Repubs
Senior White House AdviserJared KushneryesnoMBA, JD, NYU1 - Ivanka TrumpReal estate developer (2nd gen.), investorFather was busted by Chris Christie; plans to sell most of his portfolio; problems with Federal nepotism law
Nat'l Security AdvisorMichael T. FlynnnoyesMBA, Golden Gate U; MA, Naval War CollegeConfirmed bachelor33 yrs military; Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; consultantFriend of Russia; possible violation of Logan Act
White House budget directorMick MulvaneynonoBS, Georgetown U, Int'l Economics, Commerce and Finance; JD, U of NC1politician, businessman, lawyerpaid maid or nanny off the books
Press SecySean SpicernoyesMA, Naval War College1Republican communications specialisttraffics in "alternative facts"
Sec of StateRex TillersonyesnoBS, civil engineering, U of TX1Exxon CEOPutin buddy
Treasury SecSteve MnuchinyesnoBA, Yaleengaged to #3Goldman Sachs (2nd generation); Jewish
Defense SecJames MattisnoyesBA, Central Wash. UConfirmed bachelor4 star general, MarinesNickname "Mad Dog"; no longer opposes gays and women in military; will need waiver of National Security Act of 1947; better than Trump on foreign policy
Attorney GenJeff SessionsnoyesJD, U of Alabama;1US Attorney, Ala Atty Gen, US SenateConservative Republican; supports reduced penalties for crack possession
Homeland Security SecJohn F. KellynoyesMA, Georgetown U; MS, Nat'l Defense U1Marine Corps Major General, lobbyistTwo children in the Marines, one died in combat
Commerce SecWilbur RossyesnoMBA, Harvard3investor, speculator, businessmanHelped Trump with bankruptcies; undocumented household employee
Labor SecAndrew PuzderyesnoJD, Washington U2businessman: Carl's Jr and Hardeesanti-abortion pioneer
Health & Human Svcs SecTom PricenonoMD, U of Mich1Geo State Sen; US Rep., surgeonSponsor of Empowering Patients First Act (Obamacare replacement) and other healthcare legislation; active trader in healthcare stocks; "I seen my opportunities and I took 'em."
HUD secBen CarsonyesnoMD, U of Mich1SurgeonHe's black
Interior SecRyan ZinkenoyesMBA, National U; MS, global leadership, U of San Diego1elected officialunderstands global warming threat
Transp SecElaine ChaononoMBA, Harvard1 - Mitch McConnellSec of Labor, Dep Sec of Transpborn in Taiwan
Energy SecRick PerrynoyesBS, TX A&M1TX Govintelligent design; Bd member, Dakota Access Pipeline
EPA secScott Pruitt?noJD, U of Tulsa1lawyer, OK Atty Gen'lclimate skeptic
SEC ChairJay ClaytonyesnoBS, JD, U of PennunklawyerBig deal Wall Street lawyer
Education SecBetsy DeVosyesnoBA, Calvin College1business, investor, philanthropistMajor figure in charter school movement; anti-union
Agriculture SecSonny PerduenoyesDVM, U of GA1politician, Gov of GASneaky land deal
CIA DirMike Pompeo?yesJD, Harvard1military, business, US Cong, House Intelligence Commfar-right on everything
FCC ChairAjit PainonoBA, Harvard; JD, U of Chicago1telecommunications attorney; FCC commissioneranti net neutrality; seeks reduced regulation; parents born in India
Amb to UNNikki HaleynonoBS, Clemson U, accounting1business, community service. politics, SC Govpro-life, conservative, Sikh parents
Amb to UKWoody Johnson IVyesnoBA, U of AZ2business (4th gen), philanthropymoderate Republican until 2016
Amb to IsraelDavid M. Friedman?noJD, NYU1bankruptcy lawyer (!)Jewish; supports Israeli settlements; right-wing fanatic
Amb to ChinaTerry BranstadyesyesJD, Drake U1Gov of Iowaold friend of Xi Jinping
Sec of the ArmyVincent ViolayesyesJD, NY Law1Successful businessman, stock brokernot as rich as Trump
Chair of commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrityRobert F. Kennedy, Jr.?noJD, U of VA; LLM, Pace U3Attorney (briefly disbarred); environmentalistAnti-vaxxer
Senior director of strategic communications for the National Security CouncilMonica CrowleynonoPhD, international relations, Columbia U0Author, punditWorked for Nixon; alleged plagiarist; expected to jump ship.
Cybersecurity advisorRudy GiulianiyesnoJD, NYU3Lawyer, US Atty, Mayor of NYCGreat during Sept 11 attacks, unimpressive since then
Head of National Trade CouncilPeter NavarronoPeace Corps, 3 yrsMPA and PhD, Harvard U1Economist, author, professorFringe economist, anti-China
Special Advisor to the President on Regulatory ReformCarl Icahn yesyesBA, Princeton2Investor, speculator, corporate raider

See also ProPublica

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA

Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war .

It’s something of an open secret that the Bitemaster is not very knowledgeable about foreign policy, but then neither is the U.S. government.

Source: In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA – LA Times

Sy Hersh would have had more facts on a UFO coverup

In the London Review of Books, Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour M. Hersh calls the official report of the Osama bin Laden raid “a complete lie.”

But not everyone thinks Hersh has the goods. Jack Shafer in Politico says

It’s a messy omelet of a piece that offers little of substance for readers or journalists who may want to verify its many claims. The Hersh piece can’t be refuted because there’s not enough solid material to refute. Like the government officials who spun the original flawed Abbottabad stories, he simply wants the reader to trust him.

Perhaps Hersh should be investigating UFOs instead, since there is a wealth of evidence of UFOs, with sightings ranging from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Astronaut Gordon Cooper.

Source: Sy Hersh, Lost in a Wilderness of Mirrors – Jack Shafer – POLITICO Magazine

Don’t believe anything until it’s been denied

“Jade Helm 15” is the name of a “military training operation” that Chuck Norris and Louis Gohmert have explained is just a cover for a joint Chinese/ISIS takeover of Texas and other states.

Source: Wal-Mart: ‘No Truth To The Rumors’ Of Tunnels Being Built To Take Over Texas

Is Islam at war with us?

To the Bitemaster, the answer is a clear “no.”

In 1945, a little less than 10% of the US population was serving in the military. If 10% of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims were truly at war with us, I’d expect to see 150 million of them in the military. An invasion by an army of 150 million would be devastating.

Should we carefully watch what the more radical Muslims are up to? Sure.

Should we go out of our way to antagonize the non-radicalized Muslims? Not unless we have a death wish.

Should we try to get our agents provocateurs like Rudy Giuliani to STFU? You betcha!

West Collapses in Spasm of Verbalist Derp.

Senate report says Dr. Stanley Milgram was right

Yup, in the right circumstances, ordinary people will waterboard, threaten sexual violence, or use rectal hydration (WTF is that?) to try to extract information from prisoners.

Are those torture techniques reliable? Sure, if by “reliable” you mean do they cause the victim pain. Not at all if you mean does torture yield useful intelligence.

Which brings us to today’s joke:

In the spirit of the evolving peace process, and in an effort to establish which of Ireland’s many security forces would take a leading role in the new cross-border bodies, the two police forces and the two armies were each brought to a secluded forest area in South Armagh, and given the task of catching a rabbit, which had just been released there (courtesy of the FCA‘s Counter Terrrorism Squad)

The Gardaí (Irish Police Force) went into the forest. They placed animal informants throughout their patch. They questioned all plant and mineral witnesses. They did a video reconstruction of the rabbit’s release for Crimeline, and waited for some punter to solve the crime for them. After three months of intensive investigation, they concluded that rabbits do not exist.

Next came the Irish Army. They set up two base camps, and cleared a path through the forest for the Pajero to patrol from one to the other. They placed listening devices in the undergrowth, but were unable to hear any signs of animal life on the tapes. Their investigation is still ongoing, six months later.

The British Army moved into the forest in full combat gear, with fifteen helicopters and three small tanks. After two weeks without a capture, they burned their patch of forest to the ground, killing everything in it, including the rabbit. An investigation found that no blame could be attached to any individual, as the local animal community was clearly harbouring the rabbit.

The RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) moved into the forest. Two hours later, they came out dragging a badly beaten bear. The bear was screaming “Okay! Okay!, I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit!”

Senate Report Says Torture Program Was More Gruesome, Widespread Than CIA Claimed.

See Milgram experiment.

Source for the joke.

Obama requires all Air Force reenlistees to swear “so help me God”

Under Commander-in-Chief Obama, you can no longer reenlist in the Air Force without swearing to God.

Air Force spokesperson Rose Richeson said, “Reciting ‘So help me God’ in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 USC 502.” AFI 36-2606, she said, “is consistent with the language mandated in 10 USC 502. Paragraph 5.6 [and] was changed in October 2013 to reflect the aforementioned statutory requirement and airmen are no longer authorized to omit the words ‘So help me God.’”

via Air Force blocks atheist’s reenlistment for refusing to swear ‘so help me God’.