WOOF! Watchdogs of Our Freedom

~~REACTIONARY TIMES~~

In which WOOF's senior editor opines excursively just because he can; est. on August 14, 2017 at 10:41 pm

In which WOOF’s editor in chief, Old Bugler, expresses his up-to-the-minute-if-frustratingly-excursive views on nothing but 100% guaranteed genuine news, mostly in the annoyingly-officious third-person, as befits his station!                                      ________________________________________

  “The Caitlyn in the Hat Incident”

Your editor recalls a day in which Bruce Jenner adorned the fronts of Wheaties boxes, which is merely to say that your editor is ancient of days. A while ago, Emily Yahr of the subversive Washington Post wrote that “To understand the Bruce Jenner of today, you must understand the Kardashians. And sometimes, Bruce Jenner doesn’t even understand the Kardashians.” Your humble editor admits not only that he does not understand the Kardashians, but that until recently he thought they were an alien race on one of those vapid etiolations of Star Trek—but evidently not.  It transpires that Jenner, back in his disco-era Wheaties-box days, married into the Kardashian clan. The exact Kardashian involved appears to be named Kris.

A Cardassian–which turns out to be completely aside from Kardashians.

Old Bugler will now digress into one of those apostrophes that WOOF’s hipper, more commercially-minded proponents warn us about, insofar as they bore millennials and numb the concentration of even their more literary elders; but your editor is of an age at which self-indulgence occasionally triumphs over practicality. He will therefore include here the fact that he has long assumed Bruce Jenner’s wife was named Patti. To further digress, he will go so far as to blame this evident misapprehension on recording artist Warren Zevon (who, together with David Blue, may be fairly considered among the most unfairly pretermitted talents of art rock). In his sardonic opus The Indifference of Heaven, Zevon croons:

They say “Better days are near”
They tell us “These are the good times”
But they don’t live around here
Billy and Christie don’t–
Bruce and Patti don’t–
They don’t live around here.

Looking for Patti

Obviously, at least to your editor, the Billy and Christie reference is to singer Billy Joel and his wife, the once famous model Christie Brinkley, daughter of David Brinkley—last of the major networks’ quasi-objective newscasters. However, Old Bugler’s longstanding assumption that “Bruce and Patti” referred to Bruce Jenner and his wife is plainly confuted by the fact that Jenner’s wife turns out to be Kris Kardashian. Was he married previously? Your editor dispatched Research Elf Ernie to check on the matter. Apparently, Mr. Jenner was previously married to a Chrystie (no relation to the one married to Billy Joel), and a Linda—but, alas, never to a Patti. Patti, according to Research Elf Ernie, refers to the bride of Bruce Springsteen. Oops.  And even more disappointingly, Kris Kardashian (who was evidently named Houghton prior to converting) divorced Bruce/Caitlyn back in 2015, citing irreconcilable differences. It would be churlish, we suspect, to remark that burgeoning similarities may have proved equally irreconcilable.

Currently worth thousands on eBay! Imagine what we could get for our Wild Bill Hickok/Guy Madison Sugar Pops box!

Yahr goes on to write that “Long before he was sucked into the Kardashian vortex, [which sounds harrowing, we think] Jenner lived his life for the cameras. It was how the world watched him triumph in the punishing multi-skill Olympic sport, [the decathlon] taking a victory lap while exhausted rivals writhed in pain. It was how he made a living after that: Wheaties commercials, movies, sitcoms, infomercials, sportscasting and everything in between.” One detects a whiff of disapproval in Miss Yahr’s recitation of Jenner’s noisomely macho past, but her prose brightens as she reminds us that he is now assaying to be female, and that his mother has never been prouder.

America–where even a warrior princess quasi-wiccan from Australia can grow up and appear on John Milius’s series ROME…oh, never mind.

Here, Old Bugler pauses to remind those seeking an impassioned treatise on the courageous nature of Mr. Jenner’s subsequent metamorphosis, extolling his emergence as a veritable Xena, waste deep in the battle for gender equality, that no such kudos is forthcoming. For that matter, those wishing a screed denouncing Mr. Jenner’s hideous display of self-disfigurement while in the throes of pathological gender dysphoria will be equally disappointed. A common-sense (which is to say, we suppose, homo-and-trans-phobic hate-speech riven) discussion of the implausibility of the transsexual endeavor may be found here , courtesy of D.C. McAllister at The Federalist. We recommend it—but here at WOOF our libertarian enzymes prohibit any outright opposition to gender reassignment. Is this hypocrisy? Your editor thinks not.

Consider the tattoo….

Friedrich von Ledebur as Queequeg in John Huston’s film version of Moby Dick–was not widely recognized as a trend setter at the time.

Consider the tattoo–possibly the earliest form of self disfigurement. Presumably, many of you may have tattoos. Some of you may regret having them,others may be deliriously happy to have them and be dreamily engaged in contemplating the acquisition of more. We could care less. Our personal belief that tattoos are idiotic in no respect conduces toward anything like opposition to the right of individuals to freely desecrate their flesh, and as often as they like, assuming the age of majority has been reached. Now and then, for whatever reason, Old Bugler is asked by someone or other, “do you think I should get a tattoo?” And in such circumstances, your empathic editor always takes pains to wax Socratic, countering, in other words, with some such solicitous interrogative as, “Are you insane?” But never has he attempted to obstruct anyone from becoming tattooed; it is, after all, a semi-free country.

Castration in the age of absurdity….

No, the right of Bruce Jenner to undergo sufficient surgical manipulations to resemble a female, to restyle himself Caitlyn, and to declare himself herself, is as inalienable as Old Bugler’s right to drink whiskey, smoke cigars, or own .50 caliber handguns. What worries us is not the practically irretrievable and appallingly extreme nature of transsexual surgery—but rather the social, political, philosophical, and even lexicographical implications of such trauma in the Age of Liberal Absurdity. Liberals may argue that these are precisely the factors about which conservatism ought to be worried as progressivism drags America into the false dawn of atheistic modernity, but this pretermits the law of unintended consequences—that pesky obtrusion of reality upon the pretenses of humanistic Utopianism that follows progressive innovation like a faithful skunk. As an example, consider the tumult surrounding Caitlyn Jenner’s hat.

The lady who mistook her hat for her hat….

Any girl can grab the wrong hat!

It seems that Caitlyn Jenner, to whom we will refer henceforth using female-specific pronouns out of politeness, got in trouble earlier this August because she decided to play golf. No, not because throngs of insensate right-wing Neanderthals gathered to jeer her, ruining her outing and reducing her to tears—because they didn’t. Rather, Miss Jenner was undone by her decision to depart for the links in her 1960 Austin-Healey convertible. Concerned that driving her convertible from her Malibu estate to her Sherwood Country Club would muss her hair, the former decathlon star threw on a hat. She later insisted that she rummaged through a drawer of hats in her closet and simply grabbed one at random. Observing that such behavior might ordinarily be deemed “a guy thing” is beneath your humble editor, who already regrets the thought. Anyway—she arrived at the country club, doffed the hat, put on her golf visor, and “spent an hour or so hitting some balls.”

The Duffer’s Dilemma

According to Miss Jenner, it was only upon returning to her vehicle and retrieving her hat that she realized the enormity of her miscalculation. Only then, she insists, did she glance at the front of her cap, perceiving the maxim: Make America Great Again, whereupon Miss Jenner described herself as “horrified,” insisting “I hate Trump,” but as TMZ explained matters (in their exclusive coverage of the incident) “Caitlyn had a dilemma on her hands … wear the hat home or screw up her ‘do.” Evidently, screwing up her ‘do seemed more horrifying, at least in the moment, than wearing the MAGA cap, which Jenner says she thought nobody would spot. When she stopped at Starbucks on her way home, she prudently exchanged the cap for her golf visor before entering, thus avoiding what almost certainly would have amounted to spontaneous outpourings of rage and indignation from and the mocha-frappe aficionados within.

Oh sure, they look peaceful enough, but experts agree:  Starbuck denizens are dangerously unpredictable and known to succumb to insensate herd instincts in a heartbeat!

Caitlyn in the golf visor-we feel justified in calling the MAGA hat a better fashion choice.

Latte in hand, Miss Jenner drove off, but not before removing the golf visor and once again donning the MAGA hat. This peculiar detail proved her undoing. As fate would have it, the erstwhile Trumpite was halfway home when she realized she was without her purse. It dawned on her that Starbucks was the site of her last use of that accessory. which also contained her cell phone, and this in mind, Jenner threw the Austin-Healey into a U-turn and raced back to the coffee shop. Miss Jenner insists that by the time she re-covered the distance to Starbucks, she’d forgotten entirely that her head remained ablaze with hate speech. Tragically, heedlessly, she entered the establishment still sporting the red cap, which caught the immediate attention of numerous patrons–several of whom unlimbered cell-cams in order to document the star’s depravity.  One can only imagine Miss Jenner’s shock and humiliation.

And regarding the previously-mentioned Kardashian vortex, it was the Kardashians by all reports who most roused and reinforced armies of infuriated tweeters, raging against Jenner’s hat malfunction. According to The Mercury News, the Kardashians denounced Jenner as a “traitor to the transgender community,” adding that she was “heartless,” and “self serving.” Moreover, the Kardashians have since declared their refusal to have anything further to do with Miss Jenner—a gesture the family evidently perceives as punitive.

Oh sure, they look peaceful enough, but experts agree: Kardashians are dangerously unpredictable and known to succumb to insensate herd instincts in a heartbeat!

To her credit, Miss Jenner did her best to regain lost ground. She groveled in the required manner and emphatically renounced Donald Trump, assuring reporters that she “detests him” (for his ban of transgender participation in the military), and declaring for the record that “What he’s doing to our community is absolutely f***ing awful.” (Only without the asterisks—because leftists cannot be regarded as sincere nowadays in the absence of profanity, even if one’s likeness formerly adorned a Wheaties box). By way of additional penance, Miss Jenner resoundingly apologized “to all of the trans community,” adding “I made a mistake, I will never do it again and I’m getting rid of the hat.” In fact, she vowed to rip it up and burn it. Old Bugler is relieved to report that the press, the liberal establishment in general, and the “trans community” in particular–wherever located–appear mollified, at least for the moment.

Ungentlemanly thoughts….

Conscious of the inelegance inherent in doubting a lady’s word, Old Bugler cannot, despite himself, avoid noting a plot hole or two in the above story. Even a cursory reading excites one’s skepticism. First, of course, one feels compelled to wonder why Miss Jenner had a Trump hat in her closet to begin with—but that one’s simple. Jenner nearly paralyzed Diane Sawyer when, during a TV interview, she confided she was a Republican. Worse, she elsewhere voiced her view that Donald Trump “….would be very good for women’s issues,” insisting that a second Clinton presidency would “finish off” America, and going so far as to tender her endorsement of Trump’s candidacy. All of this apparently changed dramatically once Trump tweeted that transgendered individuals would no longer be welcome in the American military—a seemingly scant basis for so dramatic an emotional swing; but not in the liberal realm, and Jenner is a Republican whose transgendered identity mandates dependence on liberal tolerance as surely as on hormonal therapy.  And liberal tolerance for ideas or values other than those deemed acceptable to liberalism—however fleetingly–does not exist.

Presumptions, hopefully forgivable….

Your editor hopes Miss Jenner will forgive him if his presumptions are inaccurate, but he feels reasonably certain that the MAGA hat was not an issue to Miss Jenner until the photos drew torrents of fire from the rabid Left. Until then, she probably didn’t give it a thought. The rest of her multifaceted (and wildly paralogistical) narrative is almost certainly bogus. Your humble editor does Miss Jenner the courtesy of assuming she is rational enough that wearing her Trump cap didn’t strike her as villainous until she found herself awash in the resultant maelstrom. How, really, does one miss the fact that one has grabbed a brilliantly scarlet MAGA cap from one’s closet, and how does one manage to suppose oneself unnoticeable while wearing it, despite the fact that one’s noggin is sticking out of a small, exotic, British sports car with no top, and one is Caitlyn Jenner into the bargain? And if we entertain the possibility that Jenner possessed the presence of mind to swap her hat for a visor before ordering a latte, why would she go to the bother of switching back on the way home? It may not even matter whether Jenner forgot her purse at Starbucks, considering that the snapshot deemed most damnatory by outraged Leftists depicts Jenner driving her convertible rather than retrieving her bag.

The getaway attempt– she “thought no one would notice.”

No, it was probably not until the full brunt of liberal fury broke over her that Miss Jenner chose the better part of valor and back-formulated her explanation’s more inconsistent elements. We are otherwise left to assume that Miss Jenner went from championing Trump to hating him almost overnight, because the President saw fit to reexamine the wisdom of using the military for social experimentation in the Obaman mode, and voiced his objection to throwing transgendered recruits into the ranks without an opportunity for further study.  Of course dubious readers may ask on the other hand, is it realistic to suppose that Miss Jenner was so traumatically affected by a bit of flak from the establishment media and some trash talk on Twitter as to instantly reformulate her entire politics?

Why not shoot the paparazzi?

Fake news can drive anyone a bit nuts!

Yes, it is; or if not reasonable, at least a predictable result of subjecting oneself to deliberate testosterone deprivation even as one endures merciless importunities from the procrustean Left. Consider that a while back, when “one paparazzi” falsely reported that Jenner was Read more…

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“THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE—Oh, wait–the RUSSIANS ARE GOING!” (or) WOOF Chronicles the outbreak, the feverish climax, and the sweaty aftermath of the Media’s year-long bout with Russian Flu.

In "Apocalypse NOT" forum on October 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm

The unluckiest moment of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign may well have been his decision to crack wise about Hillary Clinton’s emails during a March rally. He had already joked during a televised debate that Mrs. Clinton’s preternaturally irretrievable emails might be locatable by Russia—a fairly amusing quip since the press was even then full of Russian hacking stories, none of which, at the time, involved Trump.  At a campaign rally, Trump iterated: “I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening; I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

“Maybe Russia can find them!”

It is unfair, we think, to say as many do that Leftists have no sense of humor. It is less unfair to observe that the liberal establishment is jocundly challenged, its mainstay attribute—sanctimony –having withered its less officious instincts. For this reason, the pontificators of the mainstream media routinely ignore or misinterpret irony, which explains, among other things, how Trump’s topical jape was deprived of context by Democrat politicians and newscasters.

So competent, I keep Putin up at night!

Initially, the chief utility of misreporting Trump’s laugh line as a serious remark derived from the tactical desirability of portraying Trump as a rapacious, sell-seeking power broker brazenly maneuvering to enlist foreign dictators in his effort to win office by defaming Hillary Clinton. The Russians, pundits claimed, might well collude with Trump in order to prevent a presidency helmed by the former Secretary of State whose brilliance, exhaustive geopolitical knowledge, sophisticated grasp of diplomatic nuances, and steely nerves would make her exactly the kind of chief executive Putin feared. The tone of analysis, in other words, was already psychotic.

We now know from Shattered, Jonathon Allen’s and Amie Parnes’s inside account of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous presidential campaign, that “Within 24 hours of Clinton’s concession speech, top officials gathered ‘to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up.… Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.’” But while the Clintonistas initially saw this fiction as little more than a face-saving device, the idea caught fire with media savants, Hollywood polemicists, disgruntled liberal voters, and a wide array of mentally unbalanced politicos who speak on their behalves.

In support of the hacked-election construct, the NSA seems to have leaked its own top-secret report to the effect that Russia attempted to manipulate certain regional elections by spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials. By all accounts, these efforts fizzled, yet appear to constitute the entirety of arguable Russian meddling in the 2016 election. More recent accounts suggest the Russians had nothing to do with the scheme. Even The Nation, that redoubtable house organ of American liberalism, admitted last August that “Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.”  Nevertheless, the impression was widely given by mainstream media that besides enlisting Putin to leak damaging information on Hillary, Trump had somehow persuaded the Russians to “hack the election” in some terrifyingly sophisticated manner that actually altered the vote count. Oddly, the Ruskies seemed to limit the application of this fiendish technology to the electoral count, perhaps leery of rigging the popular vote too, lest they overplay their hand.

“Mustn’t overdo! Hee, hee!”

At long last, hate!

The Dadaistic oddness of liberalism’s volte face on the subject of Russia inspires a mixture of bemusement and awe. Suffice it that nobody to the left of, say, Charlie Rose, would have dreamt of speaking ill of the former Soviet Union, its leadership, or its concerted efforts to manipulate our sociopolitical culture over the past eight decades, even while immiserating half the planet into the bargain. Russia’s immunity from liberal displeasure would be intact even today, were it not for the utility of Russo-phobia as a means of undermining the presidency of Donald Trump.

“Sunday” with Chuck and Alger….

At the height of their Russo-mania,, it seems reasonable to surmise, most Democrats would enthusiastically have impanelled a modern iteration of the House Un-American Activities Committee were its first function to investigate Russia’s clandestine abetment of the Trump administration. Notably, this signals the Democrat Party’s recent divorcement from longstanding philosophical premises (however irrational in the first place) and its newfound enthusiasm for whatever dogma seems momentarily opportune. The media, following like a leash-broken Maltese, shed its own longstanding Russophilia—a tradition that as recently as the late ‘80s saw Charles Kuralt narrating a segment of CBS’s Sunday Morning devoted to extolling Alger Hiss’s patriotism while rebuking his accuser, “the homosexual Whittaker Chambers.”

Haberman: “Never hit seventeen….”

Times change. The Great Liberal Russian Scare so fixated every establishment media outlet that remaining current on the topic proved almost impossible. Every day, newspapers rushed to print with fresh accusations attributed to unnamed sources quoted in articles that—read to their conclusions—ended with disclaimers acknowledging the absence of any substantiating evidence. For example, the New York Times initiated a particularly robust mythology when reporter Maggie Haberman mocked Trump’s refusal “to acknowledge a basic fact agreed upon by 17 American intelligence agencies that he now oversees: Russia orchestrated the attacks, and did it to help get him elected.” In fact, America has exactly 17 intelligence agencies, but to believe the Times, one would have to believe that Russia was cited as tampering with the presidential election by every one of them, including such disparate organizations as the 25th Air Force, United States Coast Guard Intelligence, and the TSA.  Indeed, after publishing several additional yarns featuring Haberman’s “basic fact,” the Times quietly retracted the story, burying their apology in the Gray Lady’s bowels, but Haberman’s “17 intelligence agencies” lived on, thunderously declaimed by congressmen and media babblers bent on revealing Vladimir Putin’s role in helping Donald Trump steal the presidency.

Rumors of Russian computer hacking predated Trumps victory, of course.  Going into the election year, the FBI warned both the RNC and the DNC that efforts to ransack their cyber files might be afoot. The RNC responded by taking the recommended precautions. The DNC did not respond at all, presumably because their efforts to sideline Bernie Sanders, as well as a plethora of additional, equally sleazy shenanigans, were not items they cared to share with the Bureau. Consequently, the DNC was hacked to a fare thee well, allegedly by the Russians, although no evidence of Russian involvement ever surfaced. The resulting embarrassment led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not because she dumbly permitted her data to be filched, but because the hacked material exposed her lies, schemes, and often shockingly illiberal opinions. Obviously, there is some good in everything.

The theft of John Podesta’s computer files occurred when Podesta, then chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, fell for a primitive phishing scam. No sooner had Podesta clicked the poison link, then tens of thousands of his messages were pilfered by nefarious powers, again widely reported to be Russian, although—as seems normative in these matters–no proof of Russian culpability materialized.

“Oops!”

Julian Assange, from liberal icon to doggie doo, in just one, short election!

Also during this period, Julian Assange was busily leaking information damaging to the Clinton campaign, widely reported as the fruits of Russian espionage, although Assange repeatedly denied receiving any material from the Russians, maintaining throughout that his sources were closer to the candidate–whose own computer scandals were now of a magnitude that demanded reporting, even by a media proclived to spike any news unflattering to her. Yes, this is the part where silly Hillary misplaced over thirty thousand emails formerly available on her private server, which she maintained in contravention of federal law in order to—shall we speak bluntly? —trade confidential, often classified information for favors and money.  Worse, Hillary’s oft-cited ignorance of computers accounted not only for the accidental purging of her emails, but also for her equally accidental purchase and application of a pricey software product called BleachBit, designed to cleanse hard drives completely, ensuring that all accidentally deleted items were unrecoverable.

“Oops!”

Loretta and Bill

In this regard, it will also be recalled that while appearing before congress, FBI Director James Comey detailed numerous crimes and malfeasances attributable to Mrs. Clinton, mainly related to her emails, her false statements, and her bizarre indifference to matters of national security, following which, Mr. Comey announced his unilateral decision to waive prosecution in each of the cases cited, mainly, he explained, because Mrs. Clinton didn’t know what she was doing.  Comey’s tortured rationale aside, it remained mysterious which federal codicil absolved criminals of legal responsibility on the grounds of not knowing what they were doing. Moreover, FBI Directors do not determine whether charges are preferred, they report to the Justice Department, where such determinations are made.

Fairly Odd Grandparents

We know now, however, that Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, instructed Comey to excuse Mrs. Clinton’s offenses, and, that done, hastened to assure reporters that she would abide by whatever decision Comey rendered.  Lynch’s surreptitious stand-down order came in the immediate wake of her controversial private meeting with Bill Clinton, (whose wife was currently under investigation by her department). Bill Clinton afterwards promised a preternaturally credulous news media that nothing political was discussed during his huddle with Lynch. Rather, Clinton contended, his conversation with the Attorney General focused entirely on such casual topics as the pair’s grandchildren—a version of events only slightly complicated by the fact that Lynch doesn’t have any.

The golden shower dossier….

The charges against Trump enjoyed a major revivification with the introduction of what might be called the blackmail hypothesis. By incorporating a simple, easily comprehended plot device, this approach finessed the objection that Putin had no discernible motive for promoting a Trump presidency.  Trump, in this variation on the theme, received Russian support because Putin held Trump in thrall. Details varied version to version, but the theme common to all blackmail scenarios, many of which are still recited at Georgetown cocktail events, was that Russia possessed information so damaging to Trump that policies dictated by the Kremlin would be slavishly implemented a Trump White House, lest the appalling details come to light. The apex of this narrative came and went with the discovery of the “golden shower” dossier—trumpeted in Vanity Fair (for example) as an “explosive revelation.”

“Steele…Christopher Steele!”

The secret details were provided by one Christopher Steele, whom Vanity Fair described as an “ex-Cambridge Union president, ex-M.I.6 Moscow field agent, ex-head of M.I.6’s Russia desk, ex-adviser to British Special Forces on capture-or-kill ops in Afghanistan, and a 52-year-old father with four children, a new wife, three cats, and a sprawling brick-and-wood suburban palace in Surrey.” Eat your heart out, James Bond.

In one of the most inadvertently hilarious contributions to the Russia-gate narrative, Vanity Fair breathily detailed the urgency with which Senator John McCain dispatched representatives to London to take physical possession of Christopher Steele’s Trump dossier, which must have been deemed too sensitive to be scanned and emailed—or perhaps it remains the case that Senator McCain cannot use email. At any rate, what emerged was the now-infamous yarn of Trump hiring Russian prostitutes during a visit to Moscow to urinate on a hotel bed formerly slept in by Barack Obama. This news burst upon the scene unvetted, as seems characteristic of all negative reports on Donald Trump, and dwindled slowly over the following weeks as its absurdity waxed increasingly manifest.

Director Comey–looking riveted.

FBI Director Comey initially found Steele’s “bombshell” riveting, having received a copy courtesy of John McCain’s office. Prior to its exposure as palpable nonsense, the pee scandal appears to have seized Comey’s imagination with a peculiar fixedness. That Comey, at that juncture, realized that the dossier was concocted at the behest of the DNC seems improbable, given that WOOF knows Comey initially planned to pay Steele to “continue his research.” How much Agent Steele was in fact paid by John McCain, Vanity Fair, various TV networks or any similarly credulous guardians of the commonweal may never be known, but we hope it was a lot. We do know the DNC ponied up $6 million, although nobody at the DNC can itemize the amount, recalls paying that amount, or recalls having anything to do with the project.  It now appears, in fact, that as Obama’s outgoing functionaries took pains to ruminate publicly over Trump’s Russian involvement, each offering up vague accusations dissembled as vital gleanings fresh from the files of the FBI, the CIA, or whichever agency was up to bat, no one really had anything more substantive in hand than the Mr. Steele’s bogus pee story. The stark absence of any symmetrical concerns regarding the Clinton campaign is telling, Hillary’s transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium storage to Vladimir Putin through Russian corporate fronts in exchange for millions laundered through the Clinton Foundation, and $500 thousand handed to husband Bill as “speakers fees,” seemed to fly entirely under the CIA’s radar. Of course, they can’t be everywhere at once. (Read more!)

Colt’s 1911 Pistol –An Allegory for Our Times?

In "Gunning for success" forum on July 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm

On shooting fish in a barrel….

It is occasionally remarked around the WOOF cave, especially by well-intentioned supporters who would love to see us eclipsing allegedly rival sites in popularity—that we should stick to articles about Black conservatives, and guns. The argument is entirely supportable from a marketing standpoint. For reasons we do not pretend to fathom, our discussions of conservative thinkers and politicians who are–to employ the currently acceptable (if paralogistical) locution–African American, always score huge numbers of “clicks,” while gun articles tend to outperform even Black conservatives. To be ridiculously candid (because, why not?) the largest number of views our humble site ever scored on a single day followed our publication of “Detroit Shoots Back,” in 2014. That article—which, come to think of it, was about guns and a pro-gun Black police chief—almost made it to the one-thousand clicks line on WordPress’s pale blue bar graph, which is what passes for an astronomical one-day tally here in the WOOF cave.

This is us, being obstinate.

But we are an obstinate lot, not at all driven by vainglory, and thus not much disposed to the pursuit of “clicks” obtained by shaping our ramblings to themes most likely to solicit large responses. And because this is so, when one of our team proposes a story that revisits any of these attention-grabbing topics, our first concern involves a kind of monastic self-catechism—in which we ask ourselves: Why are we doing this again? Are we selling out to the false gods of acclamation when we ought rather to be maundering on about underappreciated nuances of the 14th amendment, or decrying Paul Krugman’s latest sophomoric mishandling of Say’s Law…you know, stuff almost nobody wants to read about, let alone at such torturous lengths!

Besides, even “Stars & Stripes” can fall for fake news!

Usually the answer is in the affirmative, and so we cast aside the glittery item and slog ahead with whatever prohibitively recondite subject we deem preferable; but not always. Sometimes a topic seems irresistible despite threatening widespread appeal—and on such occasions we boldly pursue it. One such topic, as attentive readers will have gathered from this screed’s title and the accompanying illustration, is the United States Army’s pursuit of a new pistol for our troops—a story best left, one might suppose, to the pages of Guns and Ammo, or Stars and Stripes, except for the story’s inherent (and, we think, instructive) ironies, lifting it above a simple “gun story” and infusing it with a near-Greco-Hellenic cachet.

Note to the allegorically dense…

Sophocles, by the way, not Hemingway; but you knew that.

Readers who prefer to regard the forthcoming details less complexly are certainly free to do so. Just as no categorical imperative prohibits one from perceiving The Old Man and the Sea as a straightforward account of a frustrating day of deep-sea fishing, some may prefer to regard what follows as a simple chronicling of weapons development and its discontents. Why not? We invite such readers to skip the following discussion of congressional efforts to end Obamacare. It will seem incongruous and time consuming. We simultaneously invite the more philosophically inclined to bear with us—because what really persuaded us to proceed with this story was its allegorical dimension. The seemingly ineradicable nature of suboptimal policies once they are ensconced systemically is aggravating in itself, but when one further considers how often earnest exertions meant to reform these policies result instead in the reinforcement of their most egregious aspects—well—that’s what we mean by Greek! Permit us a single analogy.

Obamacare and the 1911

Just say  ‘arghhh!

Recently, the Republican Party undertook to relieve the nation of the horror that is Obamacare. It is not the business of this screed to detail the onerous, unconstitutional, and impractical characteristics of President Obama’s signature legislation, beyond remarking that its removal from the body politic is urgently required and demands uncompromising legislative surgery. More to our point is the commonly recognized fact that nothing of that nature happened. Rather, a president steeped in the art of negotiated adjustments to pre-existing business models combined forces with a GOP establishment so fearful of negative media coverage that it hadn’t the nerve even to recycle its own legislative efforts at authentic repeal, and produced instead its own version of Obamacare—sporting a handful of tweaks made chiefly in the interest of creating salable appearances.

President Trump wisely refuses to expose his back to applauding GOP House members.

In other words, what emerged from the GOP’s huddle, despite years of available brainstorming time, was simply the Affordable Care Act dropped into a more sedate, respectably Republican chassis. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr famously remarked, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (Which roughly translated from the French means: “The more the government tries to fix something the surer we are to wind up with more of it, working even less satisfactorily than before it was fixed!”)

It sounds a lot smarter when you say it in French.

One part of government that long seemed exempt from this critique was the military. In fact, however, the service-related procurement authorities were often doddering–even perversely Luddite in their opposition to weaponological breakthroughs. It was, after all, the Army Ordnance Corps that refused to equip the Union Army with the .44-caliber Henry Model 1860 rifle at the outbreak of the Civil War. In doing so, the Corps pulled the plug on what amounted to a per saltum leap in infantry firepower, citing the rifle’s weight when loaded to its 15-round capacity and the fact that the .44 Flat Henry cartridge didn’t fit other Army weapons as grounds for rejection. The Chief of Ordinance further declared himself unimpressed by the Henry’s rapid firing lever action, opining that it would waste ammunition and prove a burden logistically.  Resultantly, the Union fielded an army equipped mainly with single-shot muzzle loaders, relinquishing a potentially decisive advantage in firepower in order to avoid logistical headaches.

Prior to World War I the Army rejected the Lewis Machine Gun, mainly because Chief of Ordnance General William Crozier hated Lewis’s guts. The legendary Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was issued to only four American divisions in the last two months of the First World War, while most American Doughboys contended with the wretched French 8×51 mm Chauchat automatic rifle (also legendary, but mainly for jamming and misfiring). The most widely circulated explanation of this idiocy was the War Department’s fear that Germans might obtain a BAR on the battlefield, reverse engineer it, and turn it against us. Obviously, this logic—if generally applied—would prevent any advanced weaponry from reaching the hands of our front-line forces. The BAR became famous only after the armistice, when Bonnie and Clyde adopted it in rather less official circumstances.

Authentic photo of Clyde Barrow displaying his BAR. Bonnie does not appear, as the gang evidently had not yet stolen a delayed exposure camera.

The famous Thompson submachine gun was not accepted by the United states Army until 1938, despite its availability as early as 1918—principally because the First World War ended two days before the earliest Thompsons arrived in Europe, and the War Department sensibly concluded that nothing so devastating as General John T. Thompson’s “tommy gun” would be needed in the Utopian aftermath of what Woodrow Wilson (in his customarily delusional fashion) declared the “war to end all wars.”

General Thompson, and a Thompson.

But to discuss the Thompson is to get rather ahead of ourselves, which rarely happens here at WOOF, where devoted readers know fighting our way beyond the exordial details is our most common challenge. The Thompson is, after all, a weapon famous for its powerful .45 caliber punch; and that punch could not have been delivered without the development of the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge.

Come the Moro…

When 800 Marines disembarked in the Philippines following the Spanish American War, they discovered that while Spain had relinquished its hold on the islands, the inhabitants were feeling less generous. The First Philippine Republic pronounced itself dissatisfied with the terms of the Treaty of Paris (the one ending hostilities between Spain and the United states, not the one ending the revolutionary war…and what is it with peace treaties and Paris, anyway?) In any case, the treaty had been signed without consulting the Philippine Republic, and it was a bit late to make adjustments. Attempts to accommodate Filipino demands were partial at best and suffered a series of bollixed translations and misinterpretations into the bargain. The upshot of all this was a declaration of war, perhaps most remarkable for its injudiciousness, by the First Republic against the United States.

TRUE FACT: Excesses were committed by Americans during the war with the Philippines but obscured by the jingoist press and propaganda of that era. Fortunately, today we have Hollywood to harp on such things endlessly.

To their credit, the soldiery of the Philippine Republic battled far longer than had the Spanish armies and navies, but in 1902 the war ended in its third year with an American victory. Readers will be pleased to know that while a staggering complex of diplomatic, political, governmental, and international developments followed fast upon the Republic’s capitulation, we will resist detailing them here—because none of them serves to advance our narrative. What we will discuss instead is the guerilla warfare that sprang up in the wake of the Filipino surrender. This insurgency involved numerous tribal cultures, many of them savage fighters, but none more relentless in battle than the Moros, whose foremost warrior caste featured the Juramentados, (from the Spanish for “one who takes an oath”) who pledged themselves to kill all Christians. Obviously, this left little room for negotiation.

Meet friendly natives, and learn their customs!

The word Amok (yes, as in running amok) is considered to have Malaysian roots, but it was also the name of a Moro band as deadly as the Juramentados, with an even worse reputation for—well—running amok. The simple Amok creed of battle was to go berserk, charge into the largest available assemblage of infidels (meaning us in this case), and kill or maim as many as could possibly be assailed before being killed oneself.

Obama visiting Mindanao? No, this Moro chieftain’s resemblance is purely coincidental.

Worse still, the Moros preferred to attack after heavily drugging themselves with a form of local narcotic, binding their limbs and bodies with leather in ways calculated to delay blood loss if wounded, and participating in religious rituals that whipped them into homicidal frenzies. These attributes, on top of their 400-year history of relentlessly battling any occupier against whom they declared jihad, made the Moro tribesmen the most implacably bloodthirsty opponents the United States had yet faced. And just by way of reinforcing this article’s undergirding theme, which mnemonically gifted readers will recall as, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” allow us to present one additional fact about the Moros: They were Muslim.

Short by 56 virgins, but good to go, nonetheless!

As historian David S. Woolman put the matter in Military History Magazine a few years ago, “Although certain of their own extinction, these fanatics were secure in their belief that they would be whisked to the Muslim paradise for their valorous self-sacrifice, where, among other glories, they would be serviced by 16 virgins.” Sound familiar? Okay, we thought it was supposed to be 72 virgins too, but maybe the Moros were victims of soteriological discrimination and simply had to settle; Woolman doesn’t say.

Readers may also find themselves wondering how on earth swarms of Muslims wound up in the middle of the Philippine jungle in 1902, but we invite them to pursue the question independently given that a thorough explanation will involve us in God knows how many discursive tributaries, and none of us wants that, do we. Suffice it for our immediate purpose that Moros were Muslim, and hell-bent on slaughtering Christians—particularly Christians of the American variety, we being the most proximal irritants.

The Moros were not well equipped, of course, being essentially pre-industrial in outlook and armament. Firearms were scarce. Select fighters were equipped with either single-shot, 1871 Model .43 caliber, rolling block Spanish Remingtons (involuntarily provided by the islands’ previous occupiers) or, more commonly, the .70 caliber, black powder Tower musket originally manufactured in England for use by British forces in the Raj. In design, the Tower was barely superior to the infamous “Brown Bess” which British redcoats carried to defeat in the Revolutionary War.  Americans were far better armed with their bolt action Krag–Jørgensens, but even the M1899 carbine model, built specifically for use in the Philippines, was longish and slow to re-chamber for a jungle weapon. The Moros, meanwhile, turned their muskets’ muzzle-loading impediment to advantage by funneling iron pellets, available metal fragments, sections of light chain, and even pebbles down the barrels. The result was a nasty close-quarters scatter gun capable of inflicting horrifying wounds from ambush in the jungles of the southern Philippines.

The 1899 Krag–Jørgensen, a superb collector’s item but a suboptimal jungle weapon.

More often, however, the Moros attacked with their traditional bladed weapons, including the Kriss, a serpentine thrusting sword, the slashing
Kampilan sword, long Budiak spears, and the infamous Barong—often called a sword, but approximately the size of a large Bowie knife, and no less suitable for stabbing or slashing adversaries. Read more….