Monday, July 31, 2006

3rd generation thinking in a 4th generation world

Unbeknownst to most of the world's politicians and large numbers of the world's military leaders, a revolution in military affairs has taken place over the past forty years. As the world's leading militaries have vastly improved their ability to fight 3rd-generation armored maneuver warfare -- the brand of warfare introduced by Hitler's armies in 1939 -- a new brand of warfare has quietly rendered those heavy armored columns obsolete. This new brand of warfare is a variant of an old idea -- asymmetrical guerilla warfare pitting guerrillas against a conventional military -- but takes advantages of the revolution in global communications and trade that has happened over the past forty years to operate completely independently of any state in which they happen to be hosted. This 4th generation of warfare pits non-state actors against the militaries of invading states, and thus far has proven immune to anything that a 3rd-generation military can dish out short of genocide.

Some politicians, such as U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, and some military leaders, such as the IDF's Lt. General Dan Halutz, have belatedly recognized that their nation's beloved 3rd generation military is no longer effective against the new 4th generation threats. However, their response to this fact has been typical of 3rd generation thinking. Rather than come up with a new way of fighting non-state actors, instead they focus upon revamping their third-generation military to fight a fourth-generation war by doing two things: 1. making the ground forces "lighter weight" to replicate the lighter weight of the non-state actors' forces, and 2. massive application of air power in order to "destroy the ability of the non-state actor to fight."

Needless to say, both of these are outdated responses to the problem, and accomplish nothing other than an increase in the body count and an increase in the support base of the non-state actor. For example, in Iraq, the United States has razed several cities and towns using air power to basically make the rubble bounce. The result? err, completely counterproductive. For each civilian killed in the rubble, the insurgency gained two new recruits, to the point where Baghdad itself is now threatened by the insurgency, requiring U.S. troops to be withdrawn from the countryside in order to re-take Baghdad. Similarly, all that "going light" -- going to lightly armored HMMWV's rather than more heavily armored Bradleys, for example -- has accomplished is to increase the body count on the part of U.S. forces.

Similarly, in Lebanon, Israel has been using 3rd generation thinking to fight a 4th generation enemy. Hizballah's armed wing was a few thousand criminals in the south of Lebanon that had the support of less than 20% of Lebanon's people. Lebanon's government had condemned attacks by Hizballah against Israel, but lacked the military power to itself disarm Hizballah -- let's fact it, if Hizballah can fight the 2nd-most-powerful military in the world (Israel's) to a standstill, the chances of Lebanon's much smaller and weaker military being able to disarm Hizballah are nil. But when Israel attacked Hizballah, they used the same tactics as they would have used against a 3rd generation enemy. 3rd generation enemies were armed states such as Germany in WWII, and the use of air power in such a conflict was to destroy their transportation infrastructure, food storage infrastructure, housing infrastructure, and otherwise reduce them to squalid refugees living in the rubble of their former cities incapable of supporting a 3rd generation military. The problem is that Hizballah does not have a 3rd generation military. They do not rely on a modern infrastructure for their combat capability. Like the NVA and VC in South Vietnam, they carry their ammunition on their back from their base of supply (Damascus, in the case of Hizballah). Thus attacking Lebanon's cities (outside of the southern zone where Hizballah's military is active) does not accomplish any useful military goal.

That, in the end, is why actions such as razing Fallujah and destroying Beirut's port are war crimes: those actions achieved no military objectives. All they accomplished was the killing of civilians (unless you wish to say that the blue-jean-clad dead men wearing work boots were Hizballah guerrillas -- but somehow, I doubt that Hizballah guerrillas go around dressed like longshoremen!). Since the non-state actor does not require a 3rd generation infrastructure in order to operate, such destruction affects him not at all. He simply fades into the background and bides his time until the enemy is forced to reduce force levels in some area due to the exorbitant expense of maintaining a 3rd generation military in the field, and then comes back out from hiding and resumes bleeding the 3rd generation military. Short of genocide, there is literally nothing that a 3rd generation military can do to defeat him, because he is capable of blending into the sea of civilians and the only way to militarily extricate him from the sea of civilians is to kill all the civilians. Which, I suppose, is one way of handling the situation, but it would be suitably ironic if a state (Israel) founded upon the saying "Never again" about one state's race-based genocide, would itself engage in race-based genocide...

These ideas about the limitations of 3rd generation warfare are not new. For example, General MacArthur during the Korean War applied traditional notions of destroying the enemy's infrastructure in order to eliminate the enemy's ability to fight, and U.S. B-29 bombers destroyed every bridge, railroad, roadway, and grain depot in North Korea. Mao's Chinese army, which had won against the Nationalists by pitting a 4th generation force against a 3rd generation enemy, used more conventional tactics in Korea but used what might be seen as a predecessor to 4th generation supply mechanisms to avoid being defeated by the 3rd generation American forces in Korea. Chinese soldiers, armed with single-shot rifles, were resupplied by coolies on foot, hauling ammunition and food in baskets. The eventual result was a cease fire and drawing of a treaty line -- the 4th generation military had fought the 3rd generation military to a standstill. Similarly, in Vietnam, the NVA fought a protracted guerilla war in the south. Again, the U.S. attempted to bomb the enemy into submission, using their massive B-52 bombers to drop more bombs upon Indochina than had been dropped by all the combatants in WWII combined. All it did was increase support for the Pathet Lao in Laos, Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the NVA in Vietnam.

The nascent 4th generation military again had defeated the 3rd generation military. Yet nobody seemed to notice. Then came Afghanistan, where the non-state militias fought the Soviet war machine to a standstill, then bled it to death until it was forced to retreat in ignomious defeat. Around the same time, Israel sent their troops into Lebanon, and similarly experienced the same thing -- they were literally being bled to death by the new non-state actors that arose to oppose them. And then George H.W. Bush sent his troops into Somalia on a humanitarian mission. Within six months, the Somalian militias had inflicted humiliating defeats upon the U.S. military, and the U.S. was forced to withdraw.

Yet still nobody seemed to notice that traditional notions of warfare had been rendered obsolete by the huge number of guerilla-ready weapons on the world market, the increasing affluence of the world at large which made those weapons affordable by even the poorest guerrillas, and the improving communications infrastructure of the world, especially satellite communications which allowed someone in Afghanistan to order an attack upon New York City despite the fact that Afghanistan's communications infrastructure had been bombed to rubble repeatedly over the prior 20 year period. And so now we end up with the current situation in Iraq and Lebanon, which pit 4th generation non-state actors against 3rd generation militaries, with predictable results -- the 3rd generation militaries and the nations supporting them are being bled dry by the enormous expenses of maintaining a large 3rd generation army in the field, said 3rd generation military is killing lots of civilians unnecessarily because they do not recognize that what would be a valid military target if fighting another 3rd generation military is militarily useless when fighting a 4th generation non-state actor, and said 3rd generation military is getting their butt handed to them strategically despite any tactical victories that they achieve, managing to do nothing other than destroy their country's economy while increasing support for the insurgents that they hoped to fight.

Yet still... yet still I hear 3rd generation warfare arguments from the supporters of Israel and the United States to justify the thousands of civilians they have slaughtered in their pursuit of non-state 4th generation adversaries. They fail to understand that what would be valid military targets if pursuing a 3rd generation state actor are militarily insignificant if persuing a 4th generation non-state actor, and thus are war crimes. The notion that the world has changed, that it is no longer 1941 and the enemies we face today in Iraq are not conventional 3rd generation militaries and thus cannot be defeated by the same methods we used to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan, literally blows their mind, in much the same way that, in early 1941, the notion that aircraft carriers would be more important than battleships in the upcoming war would have blown most fleet admirals' minds on both sides of the Pacific. Yet the world has changed, whether these heads-stuck-in-mud types want to admit it or not. And unfortunately, their stupidity results in disaster for all involved -- the states that end up being bled silly to fight an unwinnable war, and the civilian population of the states where the non-state actors have set up shop, who find themselves dodging bombs despite themselves having absolutely nothing to do with supporting or provisioning said non-state actors.

What will it take, I wonder, for the 3rd generation thinkers to admit that the world has changed? I'm not sure. All I know is that people are needlessly dying because the 3rd generation thinkers of the world refuse to see that their 3rd generation tactics are counterproductive against non-state actors. Stupidity kills. Literally, in this case. Unfortunately, if stupidity were gasoline, we'd be paying 2 cents per gallon at the pumps. Stupidity is something that there's a surplus of, in this world that we live in.

-- Badtux the Military Penguin

World Nut Daily: Condi's not black

Left: white woman Condi Rice and her husband smile for the camera.

World Nut Daily is in a froth because Palestinian newspapers have called Condi Rice a "black spinster." Because, of course, Condi isn't black, and she isn't a spinster (unmarried older woman).

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Progress of the next novel...

"Dead Children" is moving slowly but moving. It's turned out to be about something entirely different from what I originally planned it to be. No drug war, just child prostitution and child pornography, loosely based upon a child prostitution and pornography ring in the Pacific Northwest that included (includes?) several top city officials including several top law enforcement officials in a major city there. Not a very comfortable thing for me to write about, thus the slow progress. I've thought about throwing away what I have and starting over from scratch, but I'm not sure that I want to do that. Putting my protagonist in a situation that is particularly uncomfortable for her is a recipe for some fine drama and character development.

More later at Deadly Lies...

GAH! Windows sucks the big one :-(.

I keep my Norton Antivirus up to date, run the Symantec firewall, and *still* got infected. It appears that it came in via Internet Explorer somehow, since the compressed binaries for the rootkits were found in the IE cache directories when I did the full system scan. Now, I don't run Internet Explorer very often, just for the very rare site that won't render in Firefox, so that puzzles me. But so it goes with Windows...

Anyhow, reason I didn't post anything last night was simple -- I was engaged in all-out war upon the nasty viruses that had crept in via Internet Exploder. Now, some of you ask, "hold it, what is a Linux penguin doing running Windows?" Well, that one is simple. The corporate firewall requires special software if I want to VPN in to work. Said special software only runs on Windows. Gah!

Anyhow, I have my laptop cleaned up now, so hopefully I can get some blogging done. Or not!

-- Badtux the Computer Penguin

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Decided to give you a different kind of cat this time, although I've blogged this cat before.

I think this cat is cute, but hey, maybe that's just me :-).

Oh, the album is pretty good too, if you're into that melancholy sort of thing. Most albums have at least one song that make me wince. The only such song here is "Names", which makes me wince not because it's so bad, but because it's so depressing.

- Badtux the Cat-appreciating Penguin

That ole' Vietnam Shuffle: Stagflation is back

One way that LBJ and Nixon paid for their wars in Vietnam was basically by running the country deep into debt (in 1967, the military took up 15% of the national income, a large percentage of which was paid for via debt), then printing money to devaluate the debt. The result was "stagflation" -- increases in prices as the money became less valuable due to an increase in the money without any corresponding increases in economic output. Indeed, since inflation also tends to devalue the money that would have gone into investment, it tends to cause a stagnation of economic output.

The Busheviks have had the printing presses turned on for some time now to handle the fact that they're running the country outrageously into debt with their borrow-and-spend invade-everybody-and-let-our-children-pay policies, but nobody's noticed because during the same period, the dollar was the de-facto currency for most of the world and the world's total economic output was also growing. But it appears that this little bit of good news is over: stagflation is back.

I swear, Iraq is just like Vietnam, except without the cool hippy clothes...

-- Badtux the "History repeats itself" Penguin

Money won't buy peace? BULL!

"The time for external adventures is over." Thus says Egyptian leader Mubarrak, when asked if Egypt would intervene militarily on behalf of the Lebanese people.

There are people who say you can't buy peace with money, that my proposal that the setting up of a prosperous Palestine and Lebanon, not bombs, are the solution to dealing with Hamas and Hizbullah, is dangerously naive. But money for peace is a recipe that has worked for over 20 years with Egypt. Egypt is our second-largest recipient of military and economic assistance (after Israel), and is not going to do anything to jeopardize that money. Now, with almost unbelievable pressure upon his government by a very upset population, Mubarrak *still* is not going to send Egyptian forces into battle. Why? Because we're paying him to keep his army home.

So the next time I hear from some right wingnut, "you can't buy peace with dollar bills!", I'm going to tell him, "Bull!" and point right at Egypt. Because Egypt is perfect proof that you can.

-BadTux the "Follow the money!" Penguin

Americans too fat to fit into X-ray, MRI machines

Yes, too fat. And it's hurting their healthcare.

I was about to go out and buy a burrito for lunch, but maybe I'll settle for something a little less fattening, such as a can of tuna and half a cup of rice. Sob!

-- Badtux the "Diets suck!" Penguin

PS -- the good news is that I'm 10 pounds down and my blood pressure is (just barely) back under the red alert danger zone. The bad news is that I need to lose another 10 pounds to be down to my regular weight and get my blood pressure back to normal. Sob! I like fish, but I'm tired of eating so much fish!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The art of practical politics

Israel is probably the #2 military power on the planet right now. Granted, their military is not the largest, and they do not have the ability to project power like the U.S. does, but neither does any other military on the planet (unless you count Russia's mouldering nuclear-tipped missiles as instruments of power projection), and nobody else has Israel's level of military technology and professionalism.

There is no military threat to Israel's existence anywhere in the region. Of the surrounding nations, either they have no real army (Lebanon), an army that is basically reduced to AK-47's and RPG's because all their old Soviet military equipment is worn out and useless (Syria), is basically a friend of Israel (Jordan), or is more concerned with its own internal politics than with Israel (Egypt). Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas have any ability to threaten Israel's existence, despite any nonsense they might spout to the contrary. They may be formidable guerilla forces, but a guerilla force requires a sea of civilians that they can disappear into, and neither Hezbollah nor Hamas have the ability to conduct large-scale operations outside their own particular Shiite or Palestinian sea of civilians. They are a nuisance, and an often-deadly nuisance that needs to be addressed, but they do not threaten Israel's existence.

However, most of Israel's current crop of politicans, much like most of current American politicians, came to power by saying, "You are threatened, and I am the one who shall lead you to safety!". If a threat to Israel's existence does not actually exist, it must be manufactured. Thus the reason for the disproportionate response to Hezbollah's little border incursion. Israel's politicians play these things up to their constituents, saying "they want to DESTROY you!", then compete to see who can be most convincing with the "I will lead you to safety by dropping bombs on rocket sites" "hah! he's a weiner! I'll lead you to safety by dropping bombs on all Hezbollah-owned facilities!" etc., leading up to the inevitable, but not-yet-stated, "I'll lead you to safety by EXTERMINATING ALL OF THE LEBANESE! Then you'll be safe!". The response, to Israeli citizens, is not disproportionate because their politicians lie about the extent of the threat to Israel. If your nation's very existence is threatened, after all, is not any force up to and including the genocide of the enemy that threatens to exterminate you an honorable and acceptable thing to do? Did we not fire bomb the major cities of Japan and Germany for exactly that same reason -- because the Germans and Japanese threatened the very existence of our nation?

Of course, reality is that THERE IS NO CURRENT THREAT TO ISRAEL'S EXISTENCE. What there is, is serious but managable problems (Hamas and Hezbollah) which can be addressed via far less drastic methods than Israel is using. But you can't say that in Israel, or, for that matter, on the pages of the New York Times, because if you do state this simple little truth you're an anti-semitic nutcase who wants to exterminate Jews and probably a neo-nazi too.

In the absence of a threat to national existence, Israel's actions simply look evil. But from the viewpoint of Israel's deranged political scene, which is all based upon who can best scare the populance into electing them under the "our nation's very EXISTENCE is threatened and I am the one to lead you to safety!" theory (Mencken's First Law of Practical Politics), it makes perfect sense. And after all, for my fellow Americans, certainly we're well acquainted enough with our own politicians to know that politicians have absolutely no problem implementing insane policies based upon a lie (Iraq, anybody?)...

- BT

Stab in the back

Sigh. The neo-cons never seem to learn. According to them, the only reason we lost in Vietnam was because we didn't "stay the course". Because we "didn't use enough force" because our troops were "stabbed in the back" by dastardly liberals. Thus we can somehow "win" in Iraq, unlike in Vietnam, because our Dear Leader is "resolute" and will "stay the course" and "use enough force." Maroons. The whole bunch of'em. Reality, of course, was somewhat different.

Enough of the nonsense about how "we coulda shoulda won in Vietnam, if we'd just stayed the course." We killed probably 5,000,000 North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, and never came close to defeating them. We probably would have needed to kill three times that -- i.e., genocide -- to "win" domination over a defoliated landscape of demolished buildings and bones, but it's unclear, short of nuclear weapons, that we had the ability to do that even if we'd wanted to become a nation of mass murderers. And nuclear weapons would have meant WWIII with the Soviets.

Indeed, by the end of the war we were effectively bankrupt (at the peak of the war over 15% of the U.S. economy was going to pay for the war) and our army, the best in the world in 1965, had largely disintegrated into a poorly-led armed rabble more interested in scoring heroin than in killing NVA. This wasn't an issue of "staying the course". We had nothing left to stay the course with -- no army left that was worth the name (yes, there were still a few well-led units, but most of the army in 1972 was worthless), and no money to equip and pay them. We were defeated.

Get this straight, people: THE NORTH VIETNAMESE WHIPPED US. They bankrupted us just as badly as the Afghans bankrupted the Soviet Union. The stagflation of the 1970's was the U.S. Treasury frantically printing dollar bills in order to inflate the currency to the point where the Treasury didn't have to default on the Vietnam War debt, the act of a bankrupt nation repudiating its dept in the only way that modern nation-states ever seem to do, by printing money. We were whipped, folks. The "stab in the back" historical revisionist nonsense put out by the neocons is just as stupid and ill-informed as the "stab in the back" nonsense put out by Hitler (i.e., that the Jews "stabbed Germany in the back" and that's why Germany lost WWI).

But still, I hear this "stab in the back" myth for the Vietnam loss passed around neo-con circles like some piece of wisdom received from God Himself. The fact that 15% of the largest economy on the planet wasn't enough to win the war... the fact that the Vietnam War lasted longer than any of our nation's other wars and thus was hardly "cut and run"... those little facts just don't register on their little war-mongering minds. No wonder they persist in urging us to "stay the course" in Iraq, and why they want us to get involved into yet another guerilla war in southern Lebanon -- they haven't learned the lessons of Vietnam because they REFUSE TO SEE THEM. No blindness like willful blindness, I suppose...

-- Badtux the History Penguin

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Saddam: "Just shoot me."

Seems that Saddam, when found guilty, wants to die via firing squad rather than via hanging.

I think that can be arranged. But maybe he is hoping that the firing squad will be made up of Democrats, in which case the only thing they'd manage to shoot was each other...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The straight razor...

"This was monitored out of Cambodia. This has been verified as Colonel Kurtz's voice."

" I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. That's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor, and surviving. "

"11th transmission, December 30th, 0500 hours, sector KZK."

KURTZ (on tape)
" We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig, cow after cow, village after village, army after army. And they call me an assassin. What do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin ? They lie.. they lie and we have to be merciful for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. How I hate them..."

In the aftermath of reports (including in the Jerusalem Post, hardly an Arab propaganda outlet) that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz had ordered the military to destroy 10 buildings in Beirut in retaliation to every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa... I wonder... how long is it before we hear Halutz's voice on the radio, muttering about snails and straight razors?

-- Badtux the "History repeats itself, over and over again" Penguin

Note: For those wondering if the Jerusalem Post is an "Arab propaganda outlet": It has been reported by the BBC, interviewing the head of the UN relief agency, that eighty twelve-story apartment towers have been destroyed in the Shiite suburbs of Beirut. This pretty much matches up with the above statement by General Halutz, which the Israelis first denied, then said "well, reporters must have misunderstood", then finally said "well, okay, someone said that to the reporters, but he was mistaken"... eight Katyusha rocket strikes, 80 buildings destroyed in Beirut. Coincidence? You make the call.

How Israel Lost

Click on map for bigger version A Jewish blogger asks, "Israel was attacked. How did Israel become the villain here?" Well, Israel became the villain when they became the villain!

Look, nobody denies that Israel has a right to protect themself. But Israel went from good guy to bad guy when they responded to a few idiot guerillas in the south of Lebanon by bombing EVERY SINGLE MAJOR TOWN AND CITY IN LEBANON (yes, *EVERY* town above 1,000 in population) including those in the mostly-Christian and Sunni North because a few hundred nutballs in the south of Lebanon kidnapped a couple of soldiers and fired off a few antique Russian rockets mounted on high-tech launching devices (sticks). Look at that map above. Israel has rained destruction on parts of Lebanon that are predominantly Christian and Sunni in order to "punish" them for something that people they don't like (the Shia) did in the south of Lebanon. In short, Israel was attacked by Afghanistan, and bombed Iraq in response.

Don't give me the BS that this was somehow "defending Israel". Hezbollah is gloating right now. They had a 17% approval rating in Lebanon and were well on their way to being snuffed out by the Lebanese in their own way, which did not, BTW, involve sending the Lebanese "army" (a lightly armed border patrol with maybe 20,000 "soldiers" max) to try to militarily defeat a force which had held off the second-most-powerful military in the world for over a decade (what utter nonsense -- if the region's most powerful army, Israel's, could not disarm Hezbollah militarily during the 1980's and 1990's, Lebanon's tiny "army" certainly couldn't). Lebanon's plan was to build a prosperous peaceful Lebanon and gradually marginalize the armed wing of Hezbollah until they looked like a bunch of stupid hicks in the south and were basically forced by community pressure to give up their arms, and it was working -- 17% approval rating, remember?

So what happens? Hezbollah figured the only way to retain any relevance in Lebanon was to provoke Israel in order to prove that Israel was a bunch of racists who literally believed that it was okay to kill 100 Arab women and children for every Israeli civilian killed. Mission fuckin' accomplished. Hezbollah now has a 100% approval rating in Lebanon, and Israel... well, Israel has lost, and just doesn't realize it yet. Because they did exactly what Hezbollah wanted them to do -- bomb Lebanon back into the 1980's when the country was rubble. Every single bridge. Every single airport. Every single port. All bombed. Every single town has had at least one bomb fall on it. People had been laughing at Hezbollah's racist anti-Jewish sentiments, where Hezbollah called Israeli Jews "a bunch of baby-killers who would like to exterminate the Arab race." They're not laughing anymore. Mission accomplished. Bombs falling on you tend to stop laughter. If you know you haven't done anything wrong, yet an Israeli bomb falls in your town... what conclusion could any rational man come to, other than that Israel hates you and would like to exterminate you? Whether it's true or not is irrelevant, that's what anybody is going to think in that situation. And then they'll flock to the one organization which has been saying that all along: Hezbollah. An organization that was dying, suddenly has thousands and thousands of new-found converts. Congratulations, Israel, you just single-handedly revitalized Hezbollah!

We all know how effective these tactics have been with the Palestinians. It seems, however, that the Israelis don't learn any better than the Decider in Chief. Like the Decider in Chief, their policy apparently is "Stay the Course", and if the course ain't workin'... well, the solution is to keep doin' it! Here's a clue: If something ain't workin... then *STOP DOING IT!*. This policy of punishing civilian populations for the actions of a few idiot guerillas isn't working, and gives credence to the idiot guerillas when they spout the nonsense that Jews are all haters who love exterminating Arabs because they hate all Arabs and Muslims. Maybe people would stop listening to that nonsense, if Israel quit playing into the idiot's hands and quit doing exactly what the armed wings of Hezbollah and Hamas want them to do?!

In short, Israel has lost. They lost because they played right into Hezbollah's hands and did exactly what Hezbollah wanted them to do. Prosperity is the enemy of violence. You and I don't go and kill crooked politicians in Washington because we are relatively prosperous and don't want to lose all our goodies. By destroying Lebanon's prosperity and making hundreds of thousands of new recruits for Hezbollah, Israel has assured that Hezbollah will be a thorn in their side for yet another decade or more.

But maybe that was the plan? Because peace... well, for politicians who have made their careers by saying "You are threatened, and I am the one who will lead you to safety", isn't peace the least desirable thing to have?

-- Badtux the Map Penguin

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Were the Israeli soldiers captured inside Lebanon?

The above map, purportedly published by AFP (which then had Israel purportedly revoked the press credential of AFP's reporter in Israel in retaliation for violating Israeli press censorship laws -- yep, Israel censors its press, unlike Lebanon), shows the Israeli soldiers being captured within the borders of Lebanon.

Neither Hezbollah nor the IDF have any reason to confirm (or deny) this -- Hezbollah wants to foster the impression that it can enter Israel and kidnap Israeli soldiers at will in order to impress its own constituency, and of course an Israeli incursion into Lebanon sans an attack upon Israel would be an illegal trespass upon another nation's sovereign territory, thus making it legitimate to arrest any Israeli soldiers found in said territory in much the same way that Mexican soldiers found north of the Rio Grande would be subject to arrest on a number of charges (carrying automatic weapons without a Federal permit being the least of them). Hezbollah has no problem at all with provoking Israel to kill as many civilians as Israel has the stomach to slaughter (which appears to be an unlimited number, based on their targetting of hospitals, shelters, and soup kitchens owned by Hezbollah in Beirut) in hopes of "proving" that Israel is a bunch of blood-thirsty savages who aren't fit to be seen in civilized company, while it would be embarassing to Israel if the entire reason for its attack turns out to be based upon a lie (i.e., that Hezbollah attacked Israel first, rather than vice-versa). Thus both would have an incentive to lie about where that initial capture of Israeli troops took place.

Will we ever know the truth? Not likely. No matter where those troops were captured, Hezbollah is gloating as Israel proves that they are exactly what Hezbollah has been claiming all along -- a bunch of racists who literally believe that Arab lives are worth less than Israeli lives. Israel has played right into Hezbollah's hands. Hezbollah wanted to prove to the world that Israel was a bunch of blood-thirsty savages who would gleefully kill a hundred Arab women and children in retribution for the death of a single Israeli citizen, and voila, what did Israel do? You guessed it. They did exactly what Hezbollah wanted them to do.

Forget all the nonsense about how Israel is going to somehow "degrade" Hezbollah. Hezbollah was going to be disarmed within the next three years if Israel had done nothing at all. It is impossible to defeat Hezbollah militarily -- they fought the world's second-most-powerful military to a standstill last time the Israelies tried to hold southern Lebanon, and they're no weaker today than they were then. The Lebanese had a plan to wean Hezbollah from its wayward ways, a plan which did not depend upon somehow defeating them militarily with the (non-existent) Lebanese army. Their plan was simple: to build a modern and prosperous Lebanon, one filled with peace and prosperity, the most peaceful country in the Middle East, and then co-opt Hezbollah until the armed branch of Hezbollah looked like a bunch of ignorant hick rednecks if they kept holding on to their arms when there was no need for them.

Lebanon was the only place in the Middle East where Shiite and Sunni and Christians got together in the same coffee houses and worked out their differences over java rather than via death squads, where there was no press censorship (note that every other nation in the Middle East -- including Israel -- censors its press), no secret police "disappearing" people in the middle of the night... it was the place where, when others in the Middle East were weary of the oppressive police states or violent anarchies that they lived in, they fled to Lebanon for a few moments of precious peace. Lebanon had fought out its civil war, and everybody had come to the conclusion that there was enough war, enough killing, that the time for peace had arrived. And they were making it work. Oh, there were the occasional little glitches, but by and large, they were making it work.

But all of that is gone now. Peace, I suppose, simply cannot be tolerated in the Brave New World that is Bush's New World Order... peace is a threat, for it shows that there is a way besides killing, a way besides death, and if Lebanon's peace had managed to co-opt Hezbollah and eliminate that threat to Israel... why, we can't have that. How would Israel's rulers scare their populance into voting for them to lead them to safety if there was peace? What would happen to military contractors' profits if we all embraced peace? Why, politicians who ran on a platform of "you are threatened, and I will lead you to safety" might get thrown out of office, and arms makers might have to (gasp) GET REAL JOBS! No no, cannot have that. Thus it is important -- no, IMPERATIVE -- to destroy the only peaceful country in the Middle East, before that nasty "peace" stuff caught on. Can't have that kind of bad influence hanging around, y'know!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Another Bush "victory"

Seems the Pakistanis, now that Bush is gracing India with more nuclear fuel for its atomic weapons program, have decided they need more nuclear weapons too.

Thanks, Mr. Bush! Pakistan is one bullet away from going Taliban, and now not only will they have the Bomb, but they'll have *more* bombs! The world's peoples thank you. Especially the ones who will be glowing in the darky as soon as Mushariff gets his bullet...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel heading for genocide

There is only one way to win a guerilla war in an foreign land against guerillas who blend into the population, and that is genocide. The other methods used to win a guerilla war (secret police, death squads, etc.) are not available to you because you are an occupier -- you do not speak the language, you don't know the people, you don't understand the culture. Genocide is "it", so to speak.

Some folks wonder, "if Israel, the #2 military power in the world, could not win against Hezbollah in South Lebanon in the 1980's and 90's, why do they think they can win now?". One reason, I suppose, is that one of Hezbollah's backers, Syria, no longer has Soviet support since the collapse of the Soviet Union, while Iraq is out of the game. But that does not account for the "Iran Factor" -- Iran is certainly capable of providing Hezbollah with all the old Soviet-era guerilla weapons and ammunition that they can stamp out in their hundreds of weapons factories that they've bought from the Chinese. But another reason might be that they intend to go about it differently now. Think: If the problem is that the guerilla blends into the sea of civilians, how do you get rid of the guerilla? That's right, GET RID OF THE CIVILIANS! I.e., GENOCIDE.

This explains why Israel would bomb the ports and airport and all bridges, and put up an aerial and sea blockade. They want to isolate Lebanon so that reporters cannot easily enter and exit and, if they make it to Lebanon, cannot easily file reports. Don't believe the bullshit about how "Hezbollah brought weapons in through the airport thus we had to bomb it." If you want to bomb the airport that Hezbollah gets its weapons through, you have to go a bit to the south to Damascus. There's only one conceivable reason to bomb those bridges and ports, and it has nothing to do with anything Hezbollah. Rather, it's to isolate Lebanon, so that Israel can then slaughter as many civilians as necessary to remove the 'sea of civilians' that the guerilla hides amongst without international reprobation of the slaughter.

Not that there would be any more international reaction to the slaughter than there was in Darfur. As far as the major powers are concerned, if you're not a white Christian or white Jew you aren't human, and thus don't merit the concern of the world. As a former Israeli tank commander explained to me, about why he had no problems firing shells into Palestinian apartment towers -- "Palestinians aren't human. They're dirty smelly savages, cockroaches on two feet. We ought to exterminate them all." Yes, that's how Israelis think about Palestinians and Lebanese. Those nasty untermenschen are not God's chosen people, they're ugly nasty bad-smelling Arabs, thus they don't count as human.

Israel was formed as a reaction against the ethnic and religious-based genocides of Hitler's murderous regime. Now it appears that Israel itself is set to commit ethnic and religoius-based genocides. Congratulations, Israel. You have become that which you hate.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hey! You! Get yer effin head out of your behind!

Yeah, that's YOU I'm talking to, you in the yellow Toyota blocking a full effin' lane of CA-17 on the uphill from Saratoga. Yeah, it's a hundred effin' degrees and the highway is almost that steep, but shit, my 20 year old motorcycle has half the cooling system per CC that your Toyota has, and it's just fine. Now me, I'm baking because you're too fucking stupid to take your goddamned car to a mechanic and have your radiator cap checked and your fucking radiator boiled over and you came to a stop right in the middle of a fucking lane, blocking half the goddamned highway and putting slippery goddamned radiator grease all over the road, but my goddamned motorcycle is just fine. Because, you see, I'm not STUPID like you are. I know that effin' radiator caps don't last for effin' ever, and I check it every time I change the oil to make sure it's still sealing and still has the right spring tension.

Now, obviously you're too fuckin' stupid to do shit like that, so I got a suggestion for you: TAKE YOUR GODDAMNED CAR TO A DAMNED MECHANIC, you asshole MORON! And no, f'ing goddamned JIFFIE LOOB is *NOT* a goddammned mechanic, those are just a bunch of just-outta-high-school knob turners who don't know shit and who wouldn't be working at Jiffie Loob if they did. Look in your Yellow Pages under "Auto Repair", for cryin' out loud. I betcha that you'll see just OODLES of REAL fuckin' mechanics there, y'here?

And YOU, in that brown piece of shit Honda blocking the other fucking lane 5 miles further up the road: So you thought you were fuckin' being *SMART* by letting the con man at the auto body shop tell ya, "Look, I'll just pull the dent out of the radiator and we'll charge the insurance company full price for a new radiator and nobody will ever know but you won't have to pay the deductible!"? Now look how smart you are. Your stupid turd-colored car is just sitting there spilling green slime all over the fuckin' highway as steam rolls out from under the hood, and you're blocking half the fuckin' highway because, look. You bang a radiator real hard in an accident like you had when you ran into that old lady's rear bumper because you was fuckin' doin' your makeup while talkin' on the cell phone, and it makes those little tubes detach from the fins and it don't work worth a shit anymore. That insurance adjuster didn't specify a new radiator because he wanted to pay for one. He specified a new radiator because you fuckin' NEEDED one, you cheep-ass fuckin' MORON! And I'm just BAKING here because look, I'm riding a motorcycle and I don't HAVE fuckin' air conditioning to turn off like the sign sez I'm supposed to. But do you care? NOOOO! You saved a fuckin $200 deductible, TWO HUNDRED FUCKIN' DOLLARS, boy, aren't you fuckin' smart? You ask me, they shouldn't bother towing your stupid ass off the highway. Just shove your stupid brown turd colored car off the fuckin' cliff, and let the rest of us get going, shithead!

Oh no. A half mile further, and here's *ANOTHER* goddamned car with its radiator boiling over blocking half the fuckin' road. Damned classic Jaguar. Goddamned Limies, bad enough that the Lucas electrics were produced by the Prince of Darkness, but apparently they never figured that hills would ever get higher than a few hundred feet or temperatures ever higher than the mid 80's. Okay, so it's a hundred fuckin' degrees and you're climbing a 4,000 foot hill. What does the sign say to do, you stupid fuckin' moron? Yeah, that's right, it says *TURN OFF YOUR AIR CONDITIONING!*. What? You say you'd get hot? What the fuck do you think *I* am, sitting here waiting for cars to pick their way past your fucking stupid ass on my completely un-air-conditioned motorcycle, sweating in my riding leathers? And hey, I got the same fuckin' advice for you that I had for the moron in the Toyota: GET A FUCKIN' MECHANIC, you MORON! Yeah, your stupid piece of English shit car has half the radiator it really needs. So fuckin' what? A good mechanic knows how to handle that. Take my old motorcycle. It, too, has half the radiator it really needs. But you know what? I haven't gotten above 3/4ths on my temperature gauge. Because it's got the right juice in the radiator to handle this temperature and this grade -- 80% distilled water 20% antifreeze/antiboil (water carries heat, antifreeze doesn't, only use for antifreeze in hot weather is to keep the radiator from boiling over and you reach close to 100% antiboil protection at the 80/20 water/glycol mix), *PLUS* it has some shit called "Water Wetter" in there (basically a miscable oil) which makes that 80% water work even better. You say your mechanic never told you about shit like this? Well, did you even *TELL* your fuckin' mechanic that you were intending on going up 30% mountain grades in 100 degree heat trying to get the hell out of the Valley to a nice cool beach somewhere? How the fuck was he supposed to know that you were gonna do something so stupid on a 50/50 winter mix? Fuckin' TELEPATHY?

And YOU, random blog reader: This heat ain't nothin to fuck around with. If you're not a mechanic yourself and you haven't taken your car to a mechanic lately to have him check your coolant mix, radiator cap, radiator hoses, and everything else that's a normal service item to make sure everything's working right when the weather gets hot, *DO IT*. The last fuckin' thing your kids need is for your stupid cheap ass self to strand them in the middle of fuckin' nowhere in 100 degree weather without any fuckin' water to drink on some mountain grade where there's no real shoulder to pull off so you're all just kinda dangling on the edge of a fuckin' cliff because it's too goddamned hot to stay in the car and cars are blowing by honking their horns and shit at you and the tow company says it'll be at least four hours before they can come get your car because every tow truck in the whole fuckin' region is tied up hauling fucking morons back home where said morons thought takin' their car to Jiffy Loob every few thousand miles was "maintaining" it... is that what you want for yourself? No? Then TAKE CARE OF YOUR GODDAMNED CAR, for cryin out loud. And no, I don't mean take it to fuckin' JIFFY LOOB for some fuckin moron even dumber than you to open the hood and look in it and say, "Doh, there's an engine under here awrite!". Shit, you could do that much yourself and get the same goddamned result. Take your piece of shit car to a MECHANIC. Someone who actually KNOWS somethin' about cars. Got it?

This public service message courtesy of a VERY hot and steamed penguin, literally -- YOU sit in 100 degree heat in riding leathers going absolutely nowhere because a buncha cheap morons are too fuckin' stupid to take their cars to a mechanic, and see how YOU like it...

-- Badtux the Automotive Penguin

Dead children

Scroll down and look at the pictures. This is what happens when the second most powerful military on the planet (second only to that of the U.S.) attacks an entirely unarmed society. How the hell can blowing up little girls and unarmed longshoremen at the port be "self defense"?

I feel sorry for poor Raed. He fled war-torn Iraq to peaceful Lebanon, where everybody was so sincere and so eager to embrace peace, only to find that he was in the crosshairs of #2 rather than #1...

I suppose he could get to Jordan eventually. Once the Israelis quit bombing the road between Beirut and Syria, that is. Because that fish truck being driven by the old woman was actually, like, weapons of mass (olfactory) destruction, y'know? And besides, she was old. She didn't have many years to go anyhow. I'm sure she's grateful that she got put out of her misery early...

- Badtux the Snarkless Penguin

Friday, July 21, 2006

World Nut Daily rolls out new Party line

I get World Nut Daily "news flashes". Usually these are along the lines of "new invention makes your car get 90mpg with nothing but a simple pill in your gas tank!", but occasionally I get to see the new Party talking points in action.

In this case, World Nut Daily's Jeruseleum (Mossad) correspondent says, "Hezbollah and Hamas are detirmined to strike the United States".

All along we've been going under the assumption that Israel is dictating U.S. foreign policy, i.e., that Israel told the U.S., "Support us because we're going after terrorists." But a bit more thought, and a look at the upcoming Party line (the Party rolls out its new "truths" by using World Nut Daily and its ilk as a testing ground) and a different scenario arises: What if the Mayberry Machiavellis in the Bush Administration are the ones dictating to the Israelis instead of vice-versa, urging Israel to make a ruckus that will hopefully raise chances of terrorism against the United States?!

Look, Republican polls are somewhere down around Richard Nixon 1974 territory. There's only one thing that could get those polls back up: A terrorist attack within the borders of the United States, and resulting "rally 'round the President" effect. Thus far, the Iraqi insurgents have refused to take the bait, as has Iran. But look, we have those two other terrorist organizations out there... if we goad Israel to poke at them, with the promise of lots of U.S. support in the background *and* foreground, maybe we can goad one of *them* to strike against the United states and rescue Republican power?!

It's just a conspiracy theory, of course. But are you paranoid if they're really out to get you? Hmm...

-- Badtux the Paranoid Penguin


"Don't go, daddy, I'm adorable, see? Don't go!"

Alas, I had to go to work. Besides, I can 't reach up there above the cabinets to scratch his tummy like he wanted me to do :-).

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why is FEMA in Beirut?

Seen in the local fishwrap: "Watching the news, one would get the impression that evacuation of Americans from Lebanon was being handled by FEMA."

The only thing left is for the right-wingnuts to start blaming the victims because they didn't move the drowned buses to non-existent high ground before the air strikes started, or something equally stupid... I'm sure they'll come up with some way to blame the victims, it's their modus operandi when their Lord and Savior, George W. Bush, fucks up...

- Badtux the Outsnarked Penguin

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Serial feline lap warmers

Right now, the cats are taking turns keeping my lap warm while purring.

Nothing like a warm cat to make the day come to a close on a good note...

-- Badtux the Cat-warmed Penguin

Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies

Left: A dead Lebanese terrorist in Beirut

In my opinion, all liars need to be exterminated like cockroaches. The truth shall set you free, but lies do nothing but enslave, and I have one and only one solution for those who would enslave me: exterminate them like the animals they are. As Patrick Henry put it, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

The current sets of lies being trotted out by the neocon liars and their vile slavery-loving political hacks is that somehow bombing an innocent city (Beirut) has anything to do with defending Israel. They say something along the lines of, "Hezbollah fired rockets into an Israeli city, so it was self defense to attack a city hundreds of miles away!". Ignoring the fact that Hezbollah did not fire rockets into Haifa until after Israel bombed Beirut and killed dozens of innocent Lebanese civilians. I was watching the news when all this was happening. I saw the bombs fall on Beiruit *HOURS* before Hezbollah fired rockets into Haifa.

Here is the real chronology. This is what I saw, watching the news. Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol that was either inside Lebanon or very close to the Lebanese border, killed 3 Israeli soldiers and capturing two. Fair enough, war is war, and nobody denies that Hezbollah is at war against Israel, this is all soldiers fighting soldiers. Hezbollah then proposed a ludicrous prisoner swap of two Israeli soldiers for hundreds of imprisoned Palestinian activists. Israel rightfully said "You're smoking somethin', dude!" and told them to get stuffed.

Then ISRAEL BOMBED BEIRUT. Bombing civilian infrastructure in Beirut had nothing - NOTHING - to do with Hezbollah firing rockets at Haifa. Hezbollah hadn't fired rockets at Haifa then. And the rockets that fell on Haifa didn't come from Beirut. They came from Iran, via Syria. Why, then, bomb Beirut? All we hear are lies, lies, lies, lies, lies from the Israeli politicians and their propagandists in the media.

Then there's Newtie and Kristol and their lying ass bastard selves going on television and saying that if the Lebanese government couldn't rein in Hezbollah, well, we ought to kill all the Lebanese. Look, Hezbollah is supported by the Syrian and Iranian governments. WTF is a few thousand poorly armed policemen (the Lebanese "army") supposed to do about folks who have a million Syrian soldiers standing behind them? Asking the Lebanese government to take on Hezbollah would be like asking a 5 year old armed with a water pistol to take on the U.S. Army -- so laughable that it fails even the most rudimentary laugh tests.

The thing is, I just don't get it. Why would Israel bomb Beirut when Beirut has nothing to do with Hezbollah? I mean, the only reason that makes sense is if Israeli politicians simply want to kill unseemly mud people, untermenschen, in order to prove they had, like, a big swinging dick or something. But surely Israel would not bomb the capital of a sovereign nation simply because they hate darkies, right? Surely Israel would not bomb the Jabel Amel Hospital (an obvious military target, yessiree! Especially with that big red crescent on its roof!) simply because they hate Arabs and want to exterminate them, right? Surely Israel would not fire upon U.N. relief workers simply because they hate Arabes and want to exterminate them, right? Right?! Then why? All I hear are lies, lies, lies, lies, and lies. Where is the truth, in this sea of lies? And when can we exterminate all these liars, please?

-- Badtux the "Liars are evil" Penguin

The bombing of Beirut

Left: A terrorist killed by Israeli air strikes in Lebanon

Until Israel decided to attack it, Beirut was the safest city in the Middle East, safer than any big American city. There had not been any real violence there since 1988, when the Israelis last bombed Beirut on their way out of town. It was the commercial center of the area, with Syria and Jordan being dependent upon the port and airport for much of their commerce.

The people of Beirut were, and are, a peaceful people. They pretty much have to be. Lebanon has no real Army, they have an "army" that supposedly has 60,000 soldiers in it, but reality is that these "soldiers" are lightly armed and serve mostly as an internal police force, spending more time on drunk drivers, and customs duty than on any kind of military duty. The only "air force" is lightly-armed helicopters used for law enforcement. The only "navy" is a few coast guard cutters used to track down smugglers. Lebanon is effectively defenseless, and for the most part always has been. A bigger military would be useless with the much-more-powerful nations of Syria and Israel on its borders, so why bother?

Now Israel has brought war once again to a city which wants nothing to do with it, destroying 18 years of progress with one big bombing raid. Rather than attack the people who attacked Israel -- Hezbollah -- Israel apparently believes attacking people who have nothing to do with violence is the best way to punish violence. It's as if the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and we bombed Montreal in retaliation. Sick. Sick sick sick.

I definitely do believe Israel has a right to self defense. But bombing a peaceful defenseless city because some guerrillas hundreds of miles away snatched a couple of Israeli soldiers -- that's just sick. If there were any justice in this world, there would be howls of outrage, and NATO fighter jets flying over Beirut threatening to shoot down any hostile aircraft that approached -- even if they were Israeli aircraft. But the world response... [crickets]. Oh sure, the French PM whined a bit, but where are the French fighter jets flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) over Beirut? Where are the French naval vessels protecting ships coming into or exiting Beirut's harbor? Apparently the French are going to do about as much here as they did in Srebrenica or Rwanda...

And as for Dear Leader... well, remember if you object to anything Israel does, you're an anti-Semite and probably a supporter of Hitler who wants to exterminate all the Jews yada yada yada... Dear Leader's just fine with anything Israel does. After all, Israel is just killing darkies. It's like killing cockroaches. It's not as if they're killing REAL people, good European-derived white people. Killing untermenschen, unseemly mud people, for having the audacity to live hundreds of miles away from anybody who has attacked Israel, is hardly a crime, right? Right?!

- Badtux the Unsnarky Penguin

Monday, July 17, 2006

A question of salvation

So, let's see. If you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, that washes you of all sin, right? Cool! Now you can kill, rape, maim, and savage without worrying about that nasty Hell place!

Err, not so fast, Mr. President. Here's the deal. You can say that you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. But if you don't attempt to live like Christ says to live, you were lying. And I think we all know what He thinks about liars.

And no, I don't think asbestos underwear will help. Sorry!

-- Badtux the Salvation Penguin

Friday, July 14, 2006


The mighty Fang gets as close to a bird as he ever will... (and yeah, I know the light metering sucks. Unfortunately, without going to manual light metering I couldn't get a better pic, because if I focused on a bright part to get the light metering right, then the cat was out-of-focus... and I didn't have time to dig thru all the @#$%@ menus on the camera to set the manual light metering, Fang was on the move!).

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, July 13, 2006

In the kingdom of fear, only the dead are free

Fear. It surrounds, pervades modern American life like a drug. Our children are born in fear, nursed in fear, weaned in fear, diaper-trained in fear, don't eat that don't do that don't don't don't don't don't ooh a stranger fear the stranger fear the different fear the scary looking raghead fear fear fear fear fear if you don't buy a zit medicine to get rid of your zits no boy will ever like you fear if you don't do this, that and the other for your child they will become homeless bums fear fear fear fear liberals want to take your Bibles away! fear fear fear fear fear...

Fear. It is our heritage, for the past 100+ years, ever since an anarchist off'ed President McKinley. Fear has been the tool, the serum, the antidote to all that is good and all that is free, the toxic poison pervading American life, fear of anarchists, fear of Communists, fear of darkies of Japanese or African or Mexican descent, fear of ragheads, fear of those "others" who want to KILL US ALL...

In the end, all that is good, all that is of the teachings of Christ from the Gospels, dies under the waves upon waves of fear that radiate from our television sets and radios and newspapers and dictate to us how we will live every minute, every day of our life. We go to school because of fear, fear that if we do not, we will become one of the untermenschen, the unmentionables, the underclass whose name shall not be said, we go to work in fear, we live our every day in fear that we will lose our job, or our health insurance, or our home, fear is the broth that every American sips for dinner.

In the end, only those who reject fear, who do what is right rather than what is safe, who do what must be done rather than what will preserve their tidy little lives of quiet desperation, only those people are free. And even so, they are only as free as the rest of us who live our lives in fear allow them to be.

In the kingdom of fear, only the dead are truly free. If we are to have freedom in America, the first enemy to conquer is fear.

-- Badtux the Unfree Penguin

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shemp, Mo, and Larry "fix" my Internet

This is an actual EMAIL sent to an actual customer support person today, one week after I first reported my Internet not working. Note that attached to this EMAIL was the complete EMAIL log of my conversations with customer support over the past week. Names of the guilty have been changed to protect the guilty.

From: BadTux
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:28 AM
To: support
Subject: Re: support issue!

Ticket 276965

Yesterday, I met Mo and Shemp at the apartment complex. Larry was not there, presumably he was off doing a job for Comcast. Mo looked at the tangle of wiring and dead hub behind the access plate in my coat closet. I provided a 7.5vDC power supply and showed them that the hub works, it's just not getting power (or signal from the router).

"Yep, no power! Where's the power?" "Don't ask me, I'm just the renter." "Nyuck nyuck nyuck!" "Stop that, Shemp!" [pie thrown] "Is the power up?" "No." "Is the power down?" "No." "The power's coming out of this wire which goes into a Cat5 bundle up above the access, where does it go?" "Up, Shemp!" "Well, let's go up!" "But Mo, up is another apartment!" "Yo! Apartment renter dude! What apartment is upstairs?" "Apartment 1233." "Hey Shemp, doesn't that address sound familiar?" "Hmm..." [sound of shuffling paper] "Yeah it does! Their Internet is out, too!" "Maybe it's out for the same reason? Maybe the power supply is up there in their coat closet?" (sound of silence) "Mo, did what the apartment renter say make sense?" "I don't know, Shemp. It was in English and I only speak Bangalore." "Go up. Up up up. The upstairs apartment is identical to mine. Look behind the plate in the coat closet of the upstairs apartment and see if the power is there. Up?" "Oh! UP! C'mon, Shemp, let's go UP!" "Uh, guys, could you let me know what you see up there?" "Sure." Exit front door. Thump thump thump upstairs. Thump thump thump across the floor over my head. Sound of pies being thrown and faces being slapped. Thump thump thump across the floor over my head. Thump thump thump down the stairs. Roar of truck engine and screeching of tires as Mo and Shemp head out, presumably to round up Larry and a fresh supply of pies.

I dunno, perhaps the Improv wasn't the best place to contract for technicians...

Needless to say, my Internet is still not working.

Larry the Cable Guy was unavailable for comment.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

PS: The customer support rep was fairly graceful in her response: "We do apologize for the continuing outage of your Internet. We are working to get a different technician dispatched out to fix the issue. Thank you for your patience."

Flea market of mass destruction!

To quote the New York Times:

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have crafted: Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo, the Mule Day Parade, Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified "Beach at End of a Street."

Hey, they forgot my apartment complex's swimming pool, which lately has been visited by lots of dusky furriners. Wait, no, those are Indians, not Arabs. But wait, I seem to remember a movie where the Indians attacked white people! What? You're saying those were a different kind of Indian? I'm so confused!

... The database is used by Homeland Security to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-terrorism grants each year.

Please, Mr. Homeland Security, can I get an anti-terrorism grant to secure my apartment complex's swimming pool against the threat of Indian terrorism? Why, they might shoot fire arrows onto the roof of my apartment building and KILL US ALL!

... The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 51 percent more sites listed than New York (5,687).

C'mon, everybody knows that there are no terrorist targets in New York. That gaping hole in Manhattan? Nothing to see there, just move along...

I need me some of the drugs that the folks at the Department of Homeland Security are smoking. I just wonder if the Slab Days Festival in Ringgold, Louisiana (population 1660) is listed in that database as a potential terrorist target? Woa, gotta send a Homeland Security grant down there RIGHT NOW to outfit their three-man police department with sub-machine guns and explosives-sniffing dogs! What, wait -- you say Louisiana has a Democratic governor? Cancel that grant! Obviously the fine folks in Omaha and Louisville need it worse.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whither violence?

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind -- Ghandi

Indeed, this agrees perfectly with the teachings of Jesus Christ:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:38-39)...Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:38-44)

But I wonder...

There are people who advocate violence against those who believe in the teachings of Jesus and Ghandi. They appear on national network television shows and advocate the genocide of the followers of Jesus and Ghandi. They have nationally-syndicated radio shows. These are not Islamic mujahdeen. These are not atheistic liberals who are calling for the extermination of all Christians. These are "respected" conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh (a.k.a. "Drug-addled radio host"), Ann Coulter (a.k.a. "scary blond pundit"), Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, and of course Michelle "Darky in denial" Malkin.

When confronted, they say "Hahah, just joking!". But advocating that all followers of Jesus and Ghandi be interned in Gitmo ("I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo." - Her column December 21, 2005) is hardly a joke. Saying that the New York Times building should be blown up is hardly a joke. It is a plan. It is a plan for exterminating all who do not think like them, act like them, believe like them. It is a plan that Osama bin Laden would applaud, if he claimed to be "Christian" rather than claiming to be "Muslim".

What to do, then, with people advocating extermination of others? Jesus and Ghandi have an answer there -- non-violence on a mass scale -- but I'm not sure that's an effective answer when dealing with those who would exterminate all who do not believe as they believe. But what is the alternative? Violence? Only thugs like violence, and violent revolutions tend to result in rule by thugs in the end (the only reason the American Revolution did not end up like that is because it WAS NOT REALLY A REVOLUTION -- it was a successful attempt by those who already had power in the American Colonies to retain said power, in the face of attempts by the English crown to strip that power away from them). I cannot see a violent revolution resulting in a United States worth living in, whereas a non-violent revolution... one that unplugged the microphone of those who preach hatred of their fellow Americans and relegates them to lone voices shouting crazy thoughts on a street corner... might stand a chance of success.

But is it happening? No. Because we allow fear to control our lives, without realizing that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. A people who do not fear are a free people, because there is literally nothing that can stop them, not even death. But finding people who do not fear here in the Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Coward is hard... even on my own iceberg.

- Badtux the Thoughtful Penguin

Monday, July 10, 2006


Think about when you were fourteen, for just a moment now. Brand new skinny freshman in high school, a bit nervous about the big time, knowing that your entire future may rest on the next 3 1/2 years. There's all these big beefy juniors and seniors around. You may be a little scared of some of them, big brutes, but you're in school, and the worst that is going to happen is a little hazing in the locker room. You go home, and you shoot baskets in the driveway or talk on the phone with your friends or go practice some sport or musical instrument or whatever your parents have devised to help you pass time in these pre-programmed days when everything is just so, and your biggest worry is that your zits are going to get worse and you'll be ugly for the school pictures.

Now imagine that you are held down by large armed men. These men shoot your father in the head before your horrified eyes. They rape you. They rape you until you are bloody, as you scream in horror and pain. Then they shoot you in your head, and mercifully when they set your body afire, you are already dead.

She was fourteen years old. She had a name -- Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi. She was just a girl. She no longer wonders what she will be doing in life. She no longer worries about math exams or zits or her instructor criticizing her when she makes a mistake playing the flute. She is dead. Dead dead dead. And nothing we do or say will ever change that.

If there is a Hell, a literal, figurative Hell... we are going there, my friends. We are going there. Because we let this happen, you and I (assuming you are an American like myself). Oh sure, we blather and blather and blather from the safety of our keyboards, we whine and make excuses to ourselves, "Oh, I can't do anything, Oh, I might lose my job, Oh, I might be homeless or sent to jail," oh yes we tell ourselves these things. And then we do nothing. Nothing but more blather. Nothing but more excuses to excuse ourselves for our sins of omission.

She was fourteen. She was fourteen, and she will never be fifteen.

We are so going to Hell.

-- Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin

Sunday, July 09, 2006

We're Ma Bell. We don't care 'cuz we don't have to.

I'm beginning to think that Sprint got most of AT&T Wireless's customer service "managers" (for those of you wondering, ATTW was famous for multi-hour wait times and *never* getting things right). T-Immobile, which couldn't give me a reliable signal, is now history. Now I get to deal with Splint and their 1960's notion of "customer service", which apparently consists of, "we'll answer calls during banker's hours and promise the world while delivering only tiny improvements."

Seems the idiot order taker (who was staring at my T-Immobile bill while entering my name and address info) left out my middle initial, and when T-Immobile's number hit Splint's systems, they spit out the number reassignment because the names didn't exactly match, meaning that a customer service representative then went in and cancelled the old order and re-entered it by hand, except she re-entered it *wrong*. Now all of Splint's systems are out of sync -- the web management thingy doesn't know about me, the Vision thingy doesn't know about me, I finally got the tethered DUN working after a technician turned it back on because apparently the CSR who re-keypunched my order didn't bring it over from the original order, and apparently there is a battle over what my sprintpcs EMAIL name is supposed to be also. Gah. What a mess.

This has all been complicated by the fact that Splint's "customer service" is only open for limited hours. They make a change, and then tell me it will take two hours for the change to be effective. So I wait two hours, it doesn't work, I call them again, and they make another change and say wait two hours. Well, after eight hours of this, all of Sprint's customer service people *GO HOME!*. I work Silicon Valley hours, and frankly haven't run into a shop that didn't provide 24/7 support in years... look, my employer provides 24/7 support even though we have maybe 100 employees total, and it's just the *standard* for technical support in today's modern high technology industry. But I guess Splint still is stuck in 1960... I wonder if they hired the old AT&T Wireless people to run their IT systems and customer support department?

-- Badtux the Somewhat-Wireless Penguin

Friday, July 07, 2006


Okay, so a bunch of us were hiking. In our group is me (middle-aged penguin), German Ted (looks like a German version of Ted Nugent, i.e., has a mullet, mustache, and those short German shorts and funny socks), Cute Chinese Chick in her mid 20's (normal looking Chinese chick, not obviously athletic, no bulging calves or thighs and somewhat slender), and then a family group of Chinese Mom (mid 30's), Chinese Dad(late 30's), and Cute Chinese Girl (around 13 years old, the only one in our group wearing hiking shorts, but again slender and not obviously athletic, no bulging calf muscles or anything).

So we start hiking. Uphill, downhill. Uphill, downhill. Uphill... pant... pant... pant...

The pant, pant, pant being the male contingent of our group, of course.

There was one path that was cut out of the side of a cliff, basically a stairway that went 500 feet up. Chinese Girl practically *RAN* up that freakin' cliff, she'd run up 50 steps or so, wait there as if to say "c'mon, slowpokes", then run up the next 50 steps! Chinese Chick and Chinese Mom just walked up it like they were walking down the street. Me and German Ted were panting and plodding, one... step... at... a... time. Chinese Mom and Chinese Girl stopped about 50 feet from the top to wait for Chinese Dad, who was about 200 feet down, looking up and going nowhere at all. I get to the top and Chinese Chick is waiting there, not breathing hard at all while me and German Ted are panting for breath. German Ted goes over to a bench and sprawls onto it to catch his breath. I'm not as bad off, I'm waiting by the cliffside for Chinese Family to join us. Chinese Dad finally plods up, Chinese Girl and Chinese Mom join us (Chinese girl running that last 50 steps up the cliff again), and dammit Chinese Dad is wheezing and blowing but Chinese Mom and Chinese Girl aren't even breathing hard either!

It was like that all day long. The chicks just walked us poor dudes into the ground -- hell, the 13 year old girl was skipping and jumping and stuff at the end of the day, as if to say to us "hurry up, you stupid MEN!".

I swear, that sure cured me of the notion of underestimating cute Chinese chicks. Damn, they might not look like much, but they're tough as freakin' *NAILS* underneath that meek-looking and completely misleading exterior. Fear the cute ones, indeed...

-- Badtux the Amazed Penguin

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I have seen the future, and it is bright

Bright like fire, that is. Like fire reflecting off the tin siding of a shack on wheels. Exhibit A: Terrence Carter of the Smith Community near Coushatta, Louisiana. Who, upset at being dumped by his girlfriend, kidnapped her 5 year old child and burned the child alive.

This Terrence Carter could have been one of my students when I taught in the Coushatta schools (but he isn't, he apparently dropped out before he got to me). For those unclear on what Coushatta is, Coushatta is the parish seat and only major town in the 3rd-poorest parish (county) in the 2nd-poorest state in the United States. The town has a small hospital (run by the Catholic Church, interestingly enough), a single grocery store on Main Street, a good hardware store, and a few restaurants and gas stations, and not much else. Ooops, I forgot about the tractor sales lot and the Chevy dealer, which only sells Chevy trucks, and the "hotel" which is basically a junkyard (I suppose you could stay in it if you wanted, but the dude who owns it collects junk from around the countryside and tries to sell it to tourists coming through, not that there's tourists coming through, but a guy's gotta hope, I guess!). There's also a couple of jakeleg garages, you know the type, ramshackle metal barns and some dude inside with grease-stained overalls and a chaw of chewing terbaccer who has a few hand tools and a hand jack and that's about it (but one of these guys changed out my fuel pump when I needed it so I can't diss them too much).

The school district when I taught there paid us teachers a lofty $17,100 per year. That wasn't much money even with the low cost of living there. The school district has a total of less than 2,000 students, of which 3/4ths go to the consolidated elementary/middle school, and the remainder (approximately 400 students in all) to the high school. The "official" dropout rate is under 5%, but the "real" dropout rate is around 50%.

The Smith Community is an old sharecropper's community on the edge of an old plantation. It was majority-black when I was there (Red River Parish is about 40% black, which caused great problems when they had to consolidate the schools). If you look at it on Google Satellite you'll see that it is on the edge of a bunch of farmed squares (some of which are no longer farmed due to low commodities prices and being paid by the Feds not to farm). That's the old plantation. You'll see the airstrip to the east of it, then a cluster of buildings to the east of the airstrip. That's the old industrial park, which used to have a Sunbeam Corporation toaster and iron factory that provided jobs for a lot of the people of the area. It no longer does, because those jobs were exported overseas in the mid 1990's during the Clinton "prosperity", virtually destroying the local economy. Most of the people who are employed drive an hour to work in the Shreveport-Bossier metropolitan area to the north, where the riverboat gambling casinos are hiring a lot of rednecks to clean the floors, serve the food, and otherwise do menial chores for the rich Dallasites who clog the highway between Shreveport-Bossier and Dallas every weekend. But those are not full-time jobs -- as noted, the highways fill with Dallasites driving to Shreveport on Friday evening, and fill back up with them leaving Shreveport on Sunday evening.

Most people get by on family land, living with family or hauling a mobile home out there. There are very few homes being built in the Coushatta area, since nobody has money for that. Instead, they go buy an old repo trailer house for $3,000 or so, do some minimal work to make it habitable (patch the holes in the floor, fix the plumbing), pay someone $500 to haul it to the family land, and that's that.

As far as schooling goes, the school district has a single truant officer. He is also the attendance director, the technology directory, the bus director, and the discipline officer. He spends most of his time filling out the forms (in triplicate) that the Federal and state governments require. The district has a one (1) Special Education supervisor, who is the total staff of the Special Education department other than the special ed teachers. Evaluation of students is farmed out to contractors, and you pretty much have to sue the school district to get them to spend the (non-existent) money to do so -- every time a child is evaluated, it means that the schools have to do without paper and toner for their copy machines for a month. That said, there are several dozen special ed students, most of whom are either labeled mildly mentally retarded or behavior disordered (the school district has no facilities for more handicapped students, of which there are probably a half dozen in the district, who end up being sent to residential schools elsewhere). The school district has no money for supplemental materials or specially-trained teachers, so these kids are basically warehoused and often just run loose on the campus uncontrolled because the principal is afraid of getting sued if he disciplines a special ed child (remember, they got labeled as special ed in the first place because their parent threatened to sue). One principal got fired because a special ed kid brought a knife to school (forbidden under Louisiana law, period, but this very large and muscular and thuggish kid was threatening to knife another child he'd been in a fight with earlier that day, he ran home and got the knife and thank god a teacher caught him before he found the kid he was wanting to kill), and instead of expelling the child as required under Louisiana law, simply suspended him for three days. Because, see, if he'd expelled a special ed kid, then he would have had money taken out of his budget in order to home-teach that kid (i.e., a teacher sent to the kid's house several hours a week to give assignments and provide tutoring in order to meet federal requirements), and he didn't want to lose the money out of his budget, which would have required firing one of his teachers and cramming 40 kids in a classroom instead of just 30 kids.

So that's Coushatta -- a poor town in one of the poorest parishes of one of the poorest states in the nation, a town which is only a few feet removed from the third world, those few feet being the distance from the trailer house steps to the ground. Needless to say there are no social services worth the name. There's no money for it. The only services are those which families provide for themselves, and some of the families have been dysfunctional since the days of slavery. So mentally ill people in Coushatta -- of which there are definitely a few, probably a dozen out of the 500 students at the school I taught -- simply are turned loose on the streets, because there's no money to treat them or otherwise deal with them especially now that the state has completely abolished their mental hospital system other than for the criminally insane, and their families (which lack both education and resources) are left to deal with their mentally ill prodgeny alone. In a sense, Coushatta is the future of America -- poor, unschooled, only semi-employed, living in tin shacks, with random crazy people rambling around doing crazy things like killing the occasional 5 year old child (but that's unusually crazy even for Coushatta). The problem with that statement, however, is that this is how Coushatta has always been, with a few wealthy people (the owner of the lumber mill, the cotton plantation owners back in the days when those squares you see near the airstrip were all planted in cotton back before the price of cotton crashed, the town doctors), and the rest dirt poor and ignorant. In a sense, the rest of the nation is catching up to Coushatta, not the other way around. I have seen our future, and it isn't bright, unless you count the fire reflecting off of a trailer houses' tin siding.

- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Okay, right now I have T-Mobile, and it sucks, sucks, sucks. Calls drop, signal goes in and out, half the time it is showing zero bars where Cingular shows two and Nextel shows four, regardless of whether I am at work or at home. Nextel is at 850mhz while Cingular and T-Mobile are at 1900mhz so that's probably why Nextel's signal is so much better in this location (generally, the lower the frequency, the further the signal travels and the better it penetrates dwellings), but anyhow I'm getting pissed.

Now, Cingular and T-Mobile use the European GSM standard. This is nice in one way because I have two T-Mobile phones and can swap the SIM card between them if I need to switch phones. For example, when I went camping, I put the SIM into my small flip-phone because I didn't want to haul my big PDA phone onto a camping trip. But if it doesn't work, dammit...

One possibility is going back to Cingular. But their plans suck big-time. They're proud of their network, and it shows. Too damned proud for my pocketbook.

The other is to go to one of the CDMA vendors, of whom two serve my area -- Sprint PCS and Verizon. CDMA is derived from the phase-shifting frequency-hopping "jam-proof" radios that the military uses and is an inherently more reliable technology than GSM, which is a variant of the antiquated TDMA time-slicing protocol. But it was basically created by Verizon and Sprint for their own business purposes, which means that the serial number is built in rather than on a SIM card. What that means is if I want two phones (a PDA phone and a flip phone), I must have two accounts. Which is how Verizon and Sprint like it. The Europeans may have dictated an inferior standard in GSM, but they also dictated that it would be a consumer-friendly standard. When American companies dictate standards, on the other hand, they make sure that the consumer gets serviced alright -- serviced like a stallion services a mare, that is.

So anyhow, Verizon thinks they're Cingular when it comes to their pricing. But Sprint PCS has towers on all sides of my home, and on two sides of my work. These are all 1900mhz towers as of now (Sprint got some 850mhz spectrum when they bought Nextel's ancient proprietary network, so will probably be transitioning the part of the spectrum that's CDMA compatible to CDMA over the next few years, but that hasn't happened yet), but CDMA supposedly has better range than GSM, so I should hopefully get the kind of service that Cingular gave me, for T-Mobile prices. Hopefully.

Has anybody out there used Sprint PCS in the Bay Area? Am I smoking herring when I think that maybe it can give me better coverage than T-Immobile?

- Badtux the Out-of-communication Penguin

Internet down

The Internet service provider that serves my apartment complex was bought up by a bigger service provider. The old employees who knew everything about the installation were laid off. So today I got to talk to the new employees.

I described the mess that is the wiring cabinet at the back of my coat closet, which has six CAT5 bundles all terminating at a punch block, some of which are then punched through to RJ-45 to plug into a hub, which, get this, is powered by one of the twisted pairs from the punch block which is also shared with the telephone jacks as well as the Internet jacks in my apartment. The technician at the other end is aghast. "I've never heard of anything so depraved!".

I describe the experiments I tried -- providing 7.5v to the hub from my own power supply (the hub worked then), plugging the wire from the router into my own hub to see whether anything is getting there from the wiring closet downstairs, etc. -- and he finally says "we're going to have to send a technician there to see what happened in that wiring closet."

Note that my apartment building isn't down. I can hook up to my upstairs neighbor's wireless access point and surf the net over this same service provider. Just mine is down. Apparently a telephone guy got into the wiring cabinet and said "Huh, what are these pairs doing punched down over *here*?!" and punched them down somewhere else, thinking my pairs were telephone pairs rather than Internet pairs. GAH!

So anyhow, that's why posting has been light over the past couple of days (well, the fact that I didn't get in until 2am yesterday might be an excuse too :-).

-- Badtux the Internet-less Penguin

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why Bushbots hate evolution

It's all about monkeys.

Monkeys are programmed by their genetics to follow a Great Leader, an alpha male, not to think independently. And the hairless monkeys of genus "Homo Sapiens" was monkey for a lot more million years than the relatively brief 10,000 years or so of "civilization".

This is why the Busheviks are so afraid of evolution. Because if people believed they were monkeys with monkey instincts, rather than God's People, they would also realize that their following of a Dear Leader is something that their genetics is causing them to do rather than something that's a good idea in the modern world, and they'd quit following. Dear me, can't have that!

Monkeys. It explains a helluva lot. Including the howling screeching feces-throwing harridens of the Right, who could have come right out of the monkey cage at the zoo insofar as the intellectual content of the feces being thrown is concerned.

- Badtux the "In a time of Chimpanzees, I was a Penguin" Penguin

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hysterical revisionist

One of the things that the reich-wingers do, when you accuse them of fascist tendencies, is say "No we're not, you are! Because Nazi Germany was socialist!".

Just for those out there who confuse Nazism with socialism: I am one of those historians of the period who did read Albert Speer's memoirs. For those of you who don't know, Speer was the last armaments minister of Nazi Germany. When he became minister in 1942, Germany's war industries were similar to the way the current U.S. war industries operate -- i.e., they were private businesses selling arms to the government via lowest bidder. Speers' accomplishment was in substantially regulating the operations of these businesses, directing other businesses to switch to war production, and putting them all on a war footing, to the point where German production of munitions increased every year until the final collapse in 1945. This was similar to FDR's War Production Board.

Needless to say, if Nazi Germany had been socialist, Speers' job wouldn't have been necessary because these industries would have already been nationalized and could have simply been told "switch", the way that happened in the Soviet Union that allowed the much smaller economy of the Soviet Union to out-produce Nazi Germany over the course of the war. The reality was that the German government was rather uneasy about even heavily regulating the large industrialists who had brought it to power -- Speer recounts that he had a very hard time convincing Hitler that it was necessary to go on a full war footing. Hitler was convinced that if he did so, the industrialists would remove him from power. But the disasters of 1942 and the need to equip new armies to replace those destroyed got Speer all the authority he needed.

So to call Nazism "socialist" is ridiculous. Even Hitler's own armaments minister never made such a statement. In truth, as with in the United States during WWII, businesses were heavily regulated by the central government and told what arms to produce -- but the businesses remained in private hands. And until 1942, Germany's economy wasn't even that heavily regulated -- it wasn't until Speer put the German economy on a war footing in 1942 that even the slightest hint of socialism arrived.

So who should I believe -- Hitler's arms minister, or a bunch of right wing historical revisionists? Hmm...

- Badtux the History Penguin