Sunday, May 03, 2015

Is Ultron Really Hillary Clinton?

by JASmius

Directed byJoss Whedon
Produced byKevin Feige
Written byJoss Whedon

RATING: ** (out of four)

I'm not kidding.  As the primary villain in this film, Ultron, despite being voiced by the wonderfully cast James Spader, was a character of inexplicable motivations, acute lack of anything that made him remotely interesting, and woeful lack of menace that posed a believable threat to the Avengers.  He was dull, weak, and highly overrated.

If that doesn't sound like Hillary Clinton, I'll eat the next Infinity Stone.

Yes, Avengers II: Age of Ultron was a comprehensive disappointment, more of a glorified television episode than anything worthy of the big screen.  The reason why is best illustrated by the fact that I feel no urge to recount the plot in this review, because there really wasn't one.  It was all action - sometimes spectacular - and little or no story, logic, or character development.

Let's begin with the aforementioned principle antagonist.  Ultron originates as an A.I. (artificial intelligence) created by Tony Stark to be the brain of an army of Iron Man-like drones (kind of the perfected version of the "Hammer Drones" from Iron Man II) designed and intended to, in essence, do the Avengers' job for them by pre-empting internal threats and protecting Earth from external alien invasion (e.g. the Chitauri attack on New York City in Avengers I).  After the team destroys the last Hydra base, where the latest Hydra leader, Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, has been experimenting on "enhanced" humans (Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, aka Quicksilver - not the same one as from last year's X-Men: Days Of Future Past - and Scarlett Witch) using Loki's scepter and its Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones, Stark repossesses the scepter. (How Hydra got hold of that stick when the last we saw of it was Black Widow closing the Tesseract portal with it in Avengers I is unclear, although one supposes that it was a consequence of the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America II: The Winter Soldier.  But I digress.)

Stark and Bruce Banner ask Thor's permission to scan the Mind Stone before he takes it back to Asgard, and Thor foolishly acquiesces, or there'd have been no movie.  Their scans seem to indicate that there is an alien A.I. in the Mind Stone that is vastly more sophisticated and powerful than even J.A.R.V.I.S., Stark's personal A.I.  After they wander off for a "We Kicked Hydra's Ass!" victory party at Avengers Tower (formerly Stark Tower - and yes, Cap could have used his teammates' help in Winter Soldier, just as Thor could have in Dark World and Stark in Iron Man III.  But again, I digress), the alien A.I. appears to ambush and destroy J.A.R.V.I.S., takes over several of Stark's battle suits, and crashes their party, informing them that his mission is to save the world, and in his estimation, the biggest threat to Earth is humanity in general, and the Avengers in particular.

Sounds like Ultron is an environmentalist, doesn't it?  Oh, and "Bwa-ha-ha-ha."

There's not much else to tell about him.  He grabs the scepter and uses it on the inventor of an advanced synthetic tissue technology (Dr. Helen Cho) to try and force her to create an android body for him, complete with the mindstone in its brain.  He fails due to the betrayal of the Maximoff twins, whom he initially scoops up as allies, playing on their animus for Stark (because their parents were killed by Stark weaponry, a rehash of the first Iron Man film), but who - well, Scarlet Witch anyway, who is, among other things, telepathic - sense "Bwa-ha-ha-ha," as you'd think Ultron would have anticipated.  He creates an army of his own drones, which the Avengers mow down like the Jedi did Count Dooku's drone army in Star Wars Episode II.  He uses the remaining global supply of vibranium (what Cap's shield is made of) to create a machine beneath the Maximoffs' hometown to try and lift the latter into orbit and then drop it back on the planet, intending to create an extinction level event like an asteroid or comet strike and wipe out humanity.  The problem with that being that a loosely held-together piece of the surface would mostly burn up on reentry, and whatever didn't would be moving at a small fraction at best of the velocity of an inbound asteroid or comet, lacking anywhere near the kinetic energy needed to produce the results Ultron was seeking.  Which illustrates that for a fantastically advanced alien A.I., Ultron wasn't the sharpest knife in the ol' drawer.

I suppose you could say that Ultron's witless one-dimensional villainy was at least somewhat leavened by his Stark-esque wisecracks, but that just seemed to confuse and diminish the character even more.  In fact, the most compelling depiction of Ultron would have been a Frankenstein's monster motif, but the irreverence of the Tony Stark character made that angle prohibitive.  Still, they should have attempted it if they wanted Ultron to be a compelling movie-caliber bad guy - it would have further developed Stark's character as well - but Joss Whedon quite evidently isn't nearly that ambitious a story-teller.

The contrast with Loki from Avengers I couldn't be more, well, "stark".

Now let's go down the Avengers' roster:

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.): My impression from the end of Iron Man III was that, having come to grips with how his super hero ego trip ("I am Iron Man!") endangered the woman he loved (Virginia "Pepper" Potts) and that he still couldn't save her (but the Extremis with which she'd been injected did), he'd given up being Iron Man.  The symbolism of his destroying all his battle suits, having the mini arc reactor and shrapnel surgically removed from his chest and tossing the former into the ocean seemed to clinch it.  Indeed, I was wondering if Stark would even still be an Avenger in Age of Ultron.

But there he anachronistically was.  Which made his "retirement" from the team at the end of the film all the more arbitrary.  Although his presence in next year's Captain America III: Civil War seems to tell you all you need to know about this "retirement".  Just seemed to be a character regression to me.

There's not much else to tell.  Stark was his usual wisecracking irreverent self.  He'd invented new gadgets for the team (the Ultron drones, the "Veronica" orbital weapons platform, his thumb drive A.I.s for his battle suits).  And he still very much kept his own counsel, which is how the Ultron crisis came to be.

I did sort of like his "my girlfriend is hotter than yours" back and forth with Thor.  And the wood-chopping scene with Cap planted the seeds for Civil War.  But I have to wonder how the Avengers can recover from losing his scientific and mechanical genius, which James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) sure as shinola isn't going to replace.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth): Nothing much new from the Crown Prince of Asgard, but nothing to dislike or object to, either.  His Scarlett Witch-induced hallucination warns him of Ultron's cataclysmic endgame, and a bigger picture that will play out in the two Avengers III: Infinity Wars pictures.  And I did enjoy the post-party scene where everybody took a turn trying to lift, or even budge, Mjolnir.  But otherwise, Thor was just kind of "there".

Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo): In Avengers I, we saw that Banner was doing everything in his power to avoid having another Hulk "episode"; at the end of that film, we saw him turning his Hulk persona on and off at will.  In Age of Ultron, we see him going back to needing outside stimulus to "Hulk up" and Black Widow to calm him down and return him to normal.  I wish Whedon could make up his mind.

Banner has a Scarlet Witch-induced hallucination as well (the whole team does), although we never get to see what his is.  But it not only Hulks him up but sends him on another rampage through downtown New York City that Stark has to stop with his "Hulk-buster" battle suit (where "Veronica" is utilized).  This revives Banner's fears about "the other guy" hurting innocent people and prompts his departure from the team, which would be understandable and commendable if he wasn't still able to turn the Hulk off and on at will like he was at the Battle of New York.  Now I suppose he'll become the David Banner of the old Bill Bixby 1970s TV show, wandering around trying to "find a way to control the raging spirit within him".  As with Stark, his loss is going to be a difficult hole for the Avengers to fill.

Choosing not to fill Black Widow's hole in the shower will probably haunt Banner for all his remaining days as well.

Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans): At the end of Winter Soldier, Cap was off to search for his old friend Bucky Barnes.  Yet here he is still leading the Avengers (whose help he could have used when S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, or locating Barnes, who'd make a nice addition to the team, but I digress).  Again, I don't really get it.

Cap is the same old Cap.  They even do a recurring riff on his distaste for "colorful language," which is not bad and true to his "ripped, ass-kicking Howdy Doody" character.  Steve Rogers is a character who almost can't change and develop precisely because the nature of who he is requires him to remain true to that character.  Which detracted from the aforementioned wood-cutting scene, where Tony Stark told him that he "doesn't trust anybody who doesn't have a dark side," and Rogers retorts, "Well, maybe you just haven't seen mine, yet."  Nothing ever comes from that remark, although, again, that may be planting the seeds for next year's Civil War.

I do have to mention Cap's one-on-one bout with Ultron in Seoul, in which Rogers doesn't win or even get the upper hand by any means, but does hold his own far better than he should be able to against a far bigger, stronger, deadlier, and more intelligent being.  This further underscored what a lame, underwhelming villain Ultron was.

Natasha Romanov/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson): I'll give Whedon credit for trying to effect some character development to Black Widow.  We do learn more about her background in "Leviathan," the Soviet equivalent of Hydra, including the fact that they sterilize female agents so that they cannot be distracted by love, romance, or the vestigal maternal instinct.  It does leave Romanov with nothing else but her career, and therefore very lonely.

Because of and based on that, I could see her wanting to form a romantic attachment.  Why she would want to form that romantic attachment to Bruce Banner is at least a little baffling, but I could have accepted that if there'd been anything in the first Avengers film that remotely hinted at it.  Indeed, the Hulk tried to kill her on the helicarrier, not exactly an expression of affectionate endearment, and which was a little extreme, even for Klingon foreplay, it seems to me.

But then it begs the question of whether any man could fall in love with Natasha Romanov when there's simply no way he could ever truly trust her.  We saw that early in the final battle scene in Sokovia when she kisses Banner and then shoves him off that precipice in order to turn him back into the Hulk.  And after Banner departs, the same Black Widow who was almost plaintively appealing to to him to run off together not only is training new Avenger recruits along with Cap but doesn't appear to miss Banner in the slightest.  So what was that whole seduction about?  Unlike the Stark-Rodgers wood-cutting debate, I can't see any MCU story-arc purpose to it.  It was just screenplay five-knuckle-shuffling.

Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner): The only successful bit of character development in the entire cast, and for a character who retired from the Avengers at the end.  Kind of symbolizes the whole movie, if you ask me.

Barton, we learn, has had a secret wife and children, hidden at an undisclosed farm by S.H.I.E.L.D. (and which Hydra apparently never discovered or didn't care about enough to wipe out).  That alone provides sufficiently believable motivation for his departure from the team.  But that wasn't all of it, as he also felt like the weak link (along with Black Widow), which he pretty much was.  His lone "power" (which is more of a preternatural skill) is his hand-eye coordination.  He sees himself, as he says to Scarlett Witch during the climactic Battle of Sokovia, as "a guy who shoots arrows" on a team of "gods," and who was compromised and used against his teammates in Avengers I.  Which makes the fact that he was the only Avenger not mind-raped by Scarlet Witch a nice touch.

Finally, the wound he suffers in the opening battle against Hydra underscores to him that it's time to hang up his quiver while his family still has a husband and father.  So good for Hawkeye, even though the Avengers are unlikely to miss him in the least.

So, little or no character development, considerable character regression, and no compelling villain to raise the Avengers' collective game.  And no real plot to speak of; just a series of stupendous action scenes sandwiched between occasional head-scratching expositional exchanges, all leading to a preposterous and ill-considered jeopardy premise.  And the Avenger that was reputed to be killed off - Quicksilver - technically never got the chance to become and Avenger at all, although his sister will be one going forward.

Lastly, there's J.A.R.V.I.S./Vision (Paul Bellamy), whose demise at Ultron's hands I never really bought, and who comes back in the body meant for Ultron, complete with Mind Stone.  I suppose that his gaining a body, becoming an Avenger himself, and his ability to pick up Mjolnir (I'm assuming because of the Mind Stone) constitute character development, and could lead to great things to come.  I'll leave him in the "jury's still out, but I'm optimistic" category.

It does have to be said, though, that had Whedon written the story where J.A.R.V.I.S. turned heel on the Avengers and became Ultron rather than the latter being conjured out of nowhere, that would have been a much more wrenching blow for Tony Stark and a much more compelling story - the conflict of saving J.A.R.V.I.S. versus saving millions from Ultron, the genuine doubt of whether Stark could have made that agonizing call and been able to live with the consequences either way, and the conflict with his fellow Avengers if they'd made that choice for him.  Would also have provided an eminently believable reason for his departure either way.  Alas, it was not to be, and became a huge missed opportunity.

Parting questions: The "age" of Ultron lasted for....what?  A few days?  A week at most?  Has S.H.I.E.L.D. been effectively reconstituted at the new Avengers HQ in upstate New York?  Is Tony Stark's "retirement" from the Avengers just pertaining to his participation as Iron Man, with his "consulting" and technical and financial backing still intact?  I have to think that'll be the case.  And are Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, and Sam Wilson/Falcon adequate replacements for Stark, Banner, and Barton?  One thing's for sure: The new team is going to be a lot less interesting and entertaining.

Just like Age of Ultron.

Baltimore: The Big Picture

by JASmius

Virtually every big city in America is run exclusively by Democrats, and to a one they are overrun with poverty and hopelessness and racial strife and declining populations from middle class flight, so bad (in Detroit, Michigan, for instance, and, of course, Baltimore, Maryland) that large swaths have been completely abandoned, left to collapse into ruin.

And what can leftwingnuts do but argue for more of the same, as Representative (and Senate candidate) Donna Edwards (D-MD4) did to Fox News's Chris Wallace this morning:

More stolen wealth, more poverty, more hopelessness, more racial strive, more middle class flight (assuming any remain), more population decline....more Democrat governance.  Oh, yes, and it's all, in this case, the fault of Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who has been in office a whopping four months.

I've got another hypothesis: Donna Edwards is insane, her party is insane, and it should be forcibly disbanded as an act of public service and national security.

Unfortunately, the majority of the electorate is equally nuts, so perhaps sanity and intelligence and common sense are overrated after all. Or at least there isn't a market for them. And besides, who is more of their marbles?  The rock-thrower or the rock-in-the-face catcher?

Battlestar Galactica: Kobol's Last Gleaming (S1E13)

by JASmius

Rating: **1/2

Story by: David Eick
Teleplay by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed By: Michael Rymer

For a season finale that purports to be a watershed installment, and does end with, shall we say, a bang, “Kobol’s Last Gleaming” has a deceptively mundane opening act. Much like the Star Trek: TNG episode “Data’s Day,” the program opens showing the characters involved in ordinary pursuits. Workaholic Colonel Tigh gets immersed in paperwork and forgets his anniversary, even after wife Ellen reminds him in a sexy nightie with a bottle of booze. The Adamas, Bill and Lee, are doing a little sparring, of which the son is getting the better until he lets his guard down and Pops tags him, giving him a shiner for the rest of the ep (The CO couldn't lose here, since Apollo could have pounded his face in and nobody would have noticed the difference). And Vice President Baltar is in the missionary position, banging away at…Starbuck?

Yes, indeed. Man, she must have been drunk. Either that, or he really is hung like a Tauron.

Thing is, right as she climaxes, she cries out the name, “LEE!!!” Why this would matter to Baltar is puzzling, since he never conflates lust with love anyway, but it does throw him off his rhythm (though not so much that he fails to, um, finish his business). Why it’s supposed to matter to Starbuck gets back to the A/S shipping that has been blessedly in the background for most of this first season, but accursedly has never gone completely away.

As a sort of “housekeeping” note, I should mention that I’m combining my review of parts I and II in one post, which gives me all the excuse I need (i.e. space limitations – though, of course, I’m not really limited at all in that regard, but work with me here…) to avoid elaborating any further on the Apollo-Starbuck-Baltar triangle, or, for that matter, Number Six’s jealous reaction to Baltar's womanizing, which comes off as completely out of character since she always knew that about him and used it to infiltrate the Colonial defense net in the first place. On the other hand, I could elaborate, only substituting the classic characters; somehow, the picture of Richard Hatch walking in on John Colicos feeding it to Dirk Benedict just never fails to make me smile (on my mad dash to drive the porcelain bus).

The quiescent prelude is fourteen months pregnant with ominosity, so it doesn't take long for business to start picking up.

On a routine scouting patrol, Boomer and her partner Crashdown discover an M-class world that is not just a goldmine of supplies, not just a possible place where the survivors of humanity could possibly resettle, but could be Kobol itself.

Kobol, just to review, is the planet from which the ancestors of humanity ventured forth several millennia earlier, eventually discovering and colonizing the twelve, well, colonies. We haven’t yet gotten an explanation for why they did this, or whether they completely abandoned Kobol, or just some left and those who stayed behind were decimated in a civil war or a natural disaster or an attack by an unknown alien species, or even went off in some completely different direction – like Earth, for instance.

What is clear is that whatever the answers to those questions are, Kobol in the here & now is deserted, but still habitable. And it is too rich an opportunity, just from a re-supply perspective, to pass up.

This discovery sets off a flurry of activity that takes various characters in unexpected directions.

Adama, as you might expect, immediately dispatches three Raptors with a survey team that Number Six “persuades” Baltar to volunteer to lead. Probably to get him away from Starbuck and any other comely wench in whom he’d delight, but also a far more nebulous reason (see below).

Before he can depart, though, Number Six also “persuades” him to have a talk with Boomer. And just in time, it would seem.

Despite Gaius having assured her that she was “100% human,” Sharon Valerii is still having self-doubts. She still isn't sure who or what she is. She’s still deathly afraid that she’s going to do something else to harm her friends and shipmates, and with the termination of her romance with Chief Tyrol, she has nobody in whom to confide. She’s scared and alone, and she reaches the point where she’s ready to end it all.

Enter the veep. Which itself is rather odd, at least from Sharon’s perspective, since she’s about the only piece of ass on the Galactica to which he hasn't helped himself. Also ominous upon reflection, despite his attempt to figuratively talk her in off the ledge, since the only other interaction she’d had with him was her “Are you a Cylon?” screening. Him showing up now when she’s suicidal would be confusing at best, and certainly not reassuring.

Sure enough, as Baltar, with Number Six in tow, walks down the hall from Boomer’s quarters, a shot rings out. Don’t worry, she “missed.” But that shot was a heavy bit of foreshadowing. Let’s just say that it wasn't the last time Boomer would be firing her weapon before the episode was over.

I’m guessing that there aren't any psychiatrists left in the fleet. A shrink might have been able to get inside Sharon’s head and maybe, must maybe, put two and two together.

Meanwhile, on Colonial One, President Roslin is getting higher than a kite.

You’ll recall in “The Hand of God” that the chamalla she’s taking for her breast cancer – an “alternative” treatment that, by her own admission this week, isn't even slowing down the spread of the malignancy – also has hallucinogenic properties that have given her “visions” that Elosha, a Kobolian priestess, interprets as Roslin being the fulfillment of ancient prophecy of a future exodus, with her as its “Moses.”

This comes into play again when the President takes a look at orbital photos of Kobol that Boomer and Crashdown took. One pic looks to her at first like an intact structure with a round, domed center with horizontal columns extending from it in a circular pattern like spokes from a wheel. Then when she looks at it again she just sees ruins, with the wheel/spokes pattern only barely discernible.

Roslin, more influenced by Elosha’s mumbo-jumbo than she really wanted to admit even to herself, consults with the priestess in hopes of finding out what this could mean. Number Six answered this question two weeks ago: this planet is, in fact, Kobol, and prophecy foretold that Roslin would find it. The kicker Elosha adds is that the predicted “Moses” would also find the way to Earth and lead her people there as well.

How this squares with Number Six’s version - that the fleet will encounter its greatest enemy at Kobol and meet a “catastrophic end” – is another mystery yet to be fleshed out. Although, as telegraphed earlier, Boomer may provide a possible answer.

In the meantime, the aforementioned survey mission jumps into Kobolian space, and right into the middle of a Cylon ambush. One Raptor is destroyed, a second (Baltar's) is damaged but manages to make planetfall, and the third succeeds in escaping back to the fleet.

The Cylons have made all too little tangible trouble for the human survivors this season. Here is where the piper gets paid. They had Kobol within their grasp, and now a big, fat Cylon basestar is sitting on it, with a third of the survey team, including the Colonial vice president, trapped on the surface.

This looks like a job for …Starbuck!

Well, Starbuck and her pet Cylon raider, captured back in “You Can’t Go Home Again” and reverse engineered ever since. Her mission: jump into Kobolian space in the raider, approach the basestar as if intending to land, fire off a nuke, blow up the basestar real good, and return home.

Simple as pie, right? Not so fast.

According to ancient prophecy, the future “Moses” needs a doohickey to actually divine the route to Earth – something called the “arrow of Apollo” (no, it’s not a phallic reference to the CAG – at least I hope it isn't…). There’s only one teensy-tiny problem: this doohickey is all the way back on Caprica (sorry, that should be “Cylon-occupied Caprica). And there’s only one vehicle that can execute that long a jump: the captured Cylon raider. And there’s only one person who can fly that captured Cylon raider: Lieutenant Kara Thrace.

The ensuing scene between President Roslin and Starbuck suggests, and almost writes, itself.

Ah, but you might be thinking, “Come on, Starbuck can’t be talked into anything by anybody. Especially not Roslin – she’s not just an authority figure, all of whom Kara disdains, but a politician to boot. There’s no way in the cosmos that the President is going to persuade Starbuck to defy orders and jump back home to fetch Apollo’s Arrow for her.”

But you’re forgetting one thing: Roslin isn't just a politician, she’s a damned good one. Which means she’s a keen observer and knows what buttons to push on anybody to whom she happens to be speaking. In Starbuck's case, Roslin turns that very disdain for authority to her advantage. How? By spilling the beans on Adama being full of crap about knowing where Earth is.

If you wondered why Adama got so pissed off in the conclusion, now you know. He confided that secret in the President, made it part of the foundation of trust in their mutual working relationship, and she blatantly betrayed that trust – with potentially catastrophic consequences for the entire fleet.

The immediate consequence was that, after surreptitiously sounding out the Commander about the topic of Earth and its location and how far they still had to go to get there (which elicited evasive answers that confirmed to Starbuck what Roslin had told her), Starbuck flipped a big, fat “FU” at Adama and warped off for Caprica instead, leaving the survey team (including the vice president) marooned and both them and the entire fleet imperiled by the still intact Cylon basestar.

Thus ended part I. As a standalone hour, I’d give it three stars. Which should tell you what I thought of the continuation in part II. It should also bring to mind something that didn't occur to me until just this moment: that part II was the season finale rather than part I. Typically the way season-ending cliffhangers work, part I is the season finale and part II is the next season’s premier. I’m not sure why TPTB arranged it this way, aside from the likelihood that they knew part II would be the weakest installment and wanted part III, which presumably is significantly better, to kick off season II.

OTOH, maybe the “bang” ending had something to do with it.

That ending is about the only thing of any real interest in part II. The story tracks set in motion in part I fall more or less into holding patterns while the lone new wrinkle unfolds. Unfortunately that new wrinkle is, at least to me, utterly inexplicable given the parameters of the characters involved.

I mentioned a few graphs back that President Roslin betrayed Commander Adama’s “There’s no Earth” secret to Lieutenant Thrace, causing her to disobey orders and take on Roslin’s “arrow of Apollo” quest instead. I mentioned that Adama was pissed out of his mind at this double-cross. What I can mention here is that I can and do completely understand and identify with that anger.

We know that Adama never has really seen eye to eye with Roslin. We know that he resented her interfering with the “private little war” he was determined to have with the Cylons back when all this nastiness began. And we know that even after he realized she was right about survival dictating flight instead of fight, he was still zealously territorial about any and all military decisions remaining his – and wasn't shy about expanding that territory as far as he possibly could.

And now here is that same “schoolteacher,” ratting him out to an insubordinate subordinate, hanging him out to dry, all but literally squatting right smack in the middle of his bailiwick, and endangering the entire fleet (the original gathering together of which was her idea), all behind his back, and for what, to him, is a certifiably crazy, loony, wacko myth-quest that brings her fitness to continue serving as president into serious question.

I was with Adama in all of that. I was even with him when he got on the horn to Colonial One and demanded Roslin’s resignation.

Where I took my leave was when he told her he was sending troops to arrest her.

I've tried to come up with rationalizations for Adama ordering a military coup. It’s an extreme situation; Roslin imperiled everybody whose protection is Adama's prime responsibility; she directly caused a mutiny against his command; her imbibing of that chamalla crap and the detrimental effects it's having on her judgment justifies invocation of the Kobolian equivalent of our Twenty-Fifth Amendment (hence, the imperative of rescuing Vice President Baltar and his survey team). The last one would be the most compelling, but the problem is that, unless there's some wrinkle of Kobolian law with which I’m not familiar, or he has been named Defense Minister off-screen, Adama is not institutionally empowered to “transmit to the President pro tempore of the Quorum of the Twelve his written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of her office.” And since Adama never offered so much as a pretense of a justification for seizing Colonial One, I can only conclude that he didn't have one. It was simply a direct power grab, out of wounded spite. It was revenge. It was rule by the fist.

And it is completely out of character with what we've seen of this incarnation of William Adama.

I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. Adama is not a Napoleon. His old man was a lawyer, for heaven's sake. He knows the established institutions of government, and his role within them. Unless Kobolian democracy is a recent innovation, he must know that even if you have utter contempt for the person who occupies the office of president, you must respect the office itself, even if the occupier him/herself does not. And if you wish to remove that occupier from office, you must utilize the means, if any, that your Constitution, or bylaws, or Colonial Charter provides.

Leave aside that any public move to impeach Roslin would only play into the hands of Tom Zerik. Or, for that matter, that it would make the patsy-traitor of humanity, Gaius Baltar, the next president. It’s the system itself that must be preserved, even over the fate of any individual entrenched within it. Otherwise…well, you just play into Zerik's hands even worse by proving every point he’s been making.

And then what does Adama do? Once Roslin is in the brig, does he announce that he's seized power? Does he destroy her politically by revealing her dirty little secret about being strung out on hallucinogens? Does he tell the fleet of what she did to him? Can he do that without running the risk that his dirty little secret about there not really being any Earth after all will get out to the public at large? And if he tries to keep everything quiet, well, could something like that be kept under wraps for long, given what an overt show he made of storming Colonial One like it was the prison barge?

The implication is that he did at least consider the leadership alternatives, found them comprehensively wanting, and opted to “promote” himself, instead. But I just do not believe that this Adama would do that. It’s petty, it’s impetuous, it’s wildly ill-considered. It isn't him. It wouldn't happen.

Is it any wonder that the writers had Boomer shoot Adama at the end?

Yep, that cat is now out of the bag, although it’s not like I didn't drop several piano-casing-sized hints.

After not quite blowing her own head off, Lieutenant Valerii inherited Starbuck's basestar-cracking mission. There was the little detail of not having a Cylon raider available, but her superiors reasoned that with a Cylon transponder aboard her Raptor, the basestar would think she was a Cylon agent. How’s that for toe-curling irony?

While on final approach, Boomer’s co-pilot, Racetrack, tries to launch the nuke into the launch bay, but the launcher conveniently jams, providing a plot contrivance for Boomer to enter the basestar itself and set off the warhead manually. What she finds upon disembarking are (1) that basestars are as “organic” as raiders, and (2) a delegation of Boomer clones coming out to greet her.

I haven’t made up my mind about the depicted psychology of this progression. On the one hand, this cannot help but confirm Sharon’s worst nightmares, that despite all she knows and remembers, she really is a Cylon. Given that she was about to blow her own brains out not twenty-four hours earlier, I would think this would drive her into catatonia, or panic, or a dead faint.

On the other, she appears to accept this revelation with far more equanimity than is plausible. After some nervous kibitzing with her “sisters,” Sharon beats a hasty retreat, finishes arming and triggering the nuke, and flies the hell out of there.

Perhaps the oddest part is that the Boomer clones let her go, and let the nuke destroy their ship. Or maybe it’s that, having apparently decided to go with her human side after all, she suddenly pulls out her sidearm and blows two holes in Adama's chest right after he congratulates her on accomplishing her mission. Almost as if that was a separate program that was on a timer and kicked in unconsciously. Judging by her dazed, bewildered expression after she’s tackled to the bridge deck, that may indeed end up being the case.

Is a basestar for the life of the human military commander a bargain for the Cylons?  Perhaps – if they have another ambush waiting in the wings.

Meanwhile, back on “Cylon-occupied Caprica,” Starbuck finds the “Arrow of Apollo,” which is remarkably underwhelming since, given its supposed mythical properties as the thing that will “point the way to Earth,” you were somehow expecting it to be more than just…well, an arrow. I mean, at least the “Engine of Creation” that Dylan Hunt, Beka Valentine, and Trance were hunting for in Andromeda’s “In Heaven Now Are Thee” had some bells & whistles attached.  It wasn't even Loki's scepter.  All Starbuck's find looked good for was a little archery practice. That, and killing the Number Six clone that was doing a splendid job of kicking her ass.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that Helo and his pregnant Boomer avatar would pick that moment to show up. Kara, who has been through quite a bit even over the past few weeks when you think about it, falls to pieces when she sees another Boomer where she shouldn't be, and is stopped from blowing her away by Helo who informs her that this Boomer has his bun in the oven. I think it would have been more in character for Starbuck to burst out laughing instead, but what do I know?

I guess I should touch briefly on Baltar and his Number Six. Let’s see; NS “pulls” him out of the fire-engulfed Raptor wreckage before it explodes, thus (allegedly) saving his life; he falls onto the nearby grassy hillside in a configuration dismayingly reminiscent of the Crucifixion; NS appears again standing above him, providing what is a spectacular upward look at Tricia Helfer's knobs until you realize that Baltar's view would have been straight up her dress as well. Two for the price of one with a side order of tuna salad, as it were.

Sorry, where was I? NS takes Baltar by the hand and leads him into a particular ruin that assumes “virtual” shape once he’s “inside” it. There he finds an auditorium with the stage blindingly lit, and something sitting there that NS tells him is the “birth” of something. Baltar looks inside, is apparently overwhelmed by what he sees, and then lovingly gazes into NS’s eyes and engages in some serious tonsil-hockey that, for the first time, looks like something more base lust.

What did he see? Beats me. The whole sequence was a non sequitur, near as I could tell. Maybe it's Helo's and the other Sharon’s “baby,” though I really don’t know what significance such hybridization (assuming Helo's speculation that the “Cylon agents” are human clones is off the mark) could have for the Cylons, since they've already “gone organic.”

Or maybe it was a holo of Adama lying on the CIC status board table thingie with two bullet holes in him. A glimpse of Baltar's “glorious destiny,” as it were.

I guess I sort of care to find out. But it’s not as if I can’t wait until July to do so. Perhaps that was the point of part II – to lower expectations for next season's premier.

Until then, “Kobol's Last Gleaming” is symbolized for me by the armed confrontation on Colonial One. Adama’s troops burst in, led by Colonel Tigh and Captain Apollo. The find themselves staring down the muzzles of President Roslin's bodyguards. Neither side is willing to yield. Then Apollo turns his weapon on Tigh, almost beseeching him to back away from this precipice. Tigh looks back with dense consternation (coming in the wake of Starbuck's betrayal) and snarls, “This is mutiny!”

Well-done irony raises the hairs on the back of your neck. Bad irony gives you the giggles.

I’ve been hee-hawing ever since.

Next: the continuation and the one thing classic Galactica never had – Season #2.

As Immigration Rises, U.S. Wages Drop

by JASmius

As you can see from the chart above, over the course of America's first 190 years or so, there have been cycles of immigration.  The first being from Ireland and northern Europe during the mid-1800s, followed by an assimilatory breather, followed by another wave in the last 19th/early 20th century, followed by another interregnum where our countries economic and culture could "digest" the new arrivals.  Yes, we're a "nation of immigrants," but that immigration was not a perpetual avalanche of foreigners pouring across our borders legally and illegally, as has been the case for the past half-century.  The latter is describable as Cloward-Piven immigration, a maximum overdrive overloading of the system until it, eventually, collapses.

For all the justifiable public fixation upon illegal immigration, this has distracted from the equally dire problems with legal immigration and how America isn't being allowed the "breather" it always was earlier in our history.  And perhaps nowhere is this phenomenon more garishly displayed than in the following astonishing statistics (via Newsmax Insider):

Wages for the overwhelming majority of Americans have fallen below 1970s levels as the percentage of the population that is foreign-born has surged.

A memo from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), released in response to a request for data from the Senate Judiciary Committee, shows on the other hand that in the decades prior to 1970, when the percentage of foreign-born Americans dropped, wages for most Americans rose.

From 1945 to 1970, the foreign-born population in the United States decreased from 10.97 million to 9.74 million, a decline of 11.2%.

During that twenty-five-year period, the reported income of the bottom 90% of tax filers rose from an average of $18,418, in 2013 dollars, to $33,621 in 1970, an increase of 82.5%.

The share of total income held by the bottom 90% also rose during this period, from 67.4% to 68.5%.

The CRS also disclosed that from 1970 through 2013, the foreign-born population in the U.S. increased from 9.74 million to 41.34 million, a rise of an astounding 324.5%.

During that period, the income of the bottom 90% of tax filers fell from an average of $33,621 in 1970 to $30,980 in 2013, and the share of income they held sank from 68.5% to 53%, a decline of 15.5 percentage points over this 43-year period.

The CRS report "questions claims that native Americans are economically helped by greater immigration," The Washington Examiner observed in an article about the report.

Numbers can be made to lie, folks, but not these.  And all because the immigration spigots, legal and illegal, have been left on full instead of being turned off for a few decades to allow our economy and culture to catch its breath.

Gluttony is a useful analogy.  When we eat, there arrives a point, after about twenty minutes or so of shoveling it in, that our stomachs start sending signals to our brains telling us, "No more, you're full".  Your system needs time to digest what you've taken in.  Then, by the time of the next meal, you'll be hungry again and ready to devour some more.  Whereas when you keep eating past the point of satiation, eventually you wind up throwing it all back up because your system simply cannot handle the influx.

Legal immigration is great, legal immigration is wonderful, but a four-and-a-quarter-fold increase in our foreign-born population in as many decades is stark raving insane.  Even the Golden Goose can't keep honking under that much strain.  The numbers, again, speak for themselves.

And yet....

"The report could throw cold water on congressional efforts to expand immigration for tech and other jobs. One bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and backed by presidential candidate Marco Rubio, would boost guest worker levels and remove any cap on green cards for certain foreign graduates of American colleges and universities."

The U.S. each year already admits a million immigrants, half a million immigrant students, 700,000 guest workers, and 70,000 refugees and persons seeking political asylum.

The CRS report follows an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) estimating that in the next eight years, the foreign-born population will reach a record high of 51 million.

Another CIS analysis disclosed that since 2000 all net employment growth among working-age adults went to immigrants, while the number of U.S-born adults not working rose by seventeen million. [emphases added]

To employ a cherished leftwing term in other circumstances, that much uninterrupted immigration is not sustainable.  At that rate of influx, a third of the population would be foreigners by the end of this century; we would become the minority in our own country a century after that.  And, of course, the "elites" are constantly ratcheting up that rate of influx, so those milestones will be realized a lot sooner.

We desperately need to cut off ALL immigration, in accordance with the former cycle, to allow our economy and culture desperately needed time to adjust and recover.

This is the genesis of an emerging genuine conservative economic populism equal or superior to the leftwing Obamunist "steal the wealth" fascism of the past seven years.  Senator Jeff Sessions is one of its leading lights:

In an op-ed piece for the New York Times last year, Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, wrote: "It defies reason to argue that the record admission of new foreign workers has no negative effect on the wages of American workers, including the wages of past immigrants hoping to climb into the middle class.

"Why would many of the largest business groups in the United States spend millions lobbying for the admission of more foreign workers if such policies did not cut labor costs?"

You know who else has gored this sacred cow?  Wisconsin Governor Scott "Everyman" Walker, alone of the blundering herd of GOP presidential hopefuls.  Just one more reason why, if there is a 2016 presidential election, he is destined to win it.

And give us that breather.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The Latest Scott Walker "Scandal": "Searsgate"

by JASmius

This is actually the Saturday afternoon palate-cleanser trifecta, in the sense that I have never seen the Left so desperate to destroy a Republican presidential front-runner and be so woefully unable to come up with the slightest speck of "dirt".

To wit:

2016 hopeful Scott Walker has tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, owing money to a list of banks and stores including Sears and Barclays, a new report alleges.

The Wisconsin conservative Republican governor owes between $10,000 and $100,000 to credit card companies, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday, which cited Walker’s latest state financial disclosure forms, filed in January.

Among Walker’s cards with debt listed, according to the forms, were a Sears MasterCard and a BarclayCard.

That's it.  He's got two credit cards and has significant balances on them.  And that somehow disqualifies him as a fiscal conservative.

Of course, Walk also has two kids in college, AND his parents live with him, AND he has a mortgage on his house (i.e. NOT the Wisconsin governor's mansion).  Plus, his net worth is the lowest of any candidate, coming in at a whopping $72.500.  To lend a little perspective to this number, my own net worth, a year and a half into my vocational exile, is approximately five times that size.

It's also kind of hard not to notice that there is nothing mentioned about the nature of the governor's credit card purchases, which evidently means they found no bar tabs, no strip clubs, no "escort services," no garishly large purchases of furs or jewelry or hotel stays as would presumably be the case of he had a few skanks on the side, no conspicuous "prescription" drugs, etc.  Just the normal, everyday, humdrum line items that any average American would carry on their balance.  And the media can't have LIVs and NIVs reaching the conclusion that Governor Walker is an average American, just like them, instead of a dirty, rotten, filthy, stinking rich Republican plutocrat bent on converting the 99% into caviar for his next country club soiree.  Otherwise, why, they might start believing that he actually mows his own lawn or something.

And that he bought his mower at....Sears.

The African-American Spring Comes To Baltimore

by JASmius

Another palate cleanser for those sane Baltimoreans who are still alive and in hiding.  Take hope: Not all African-Americans have lost their bleeping minds - and as hard to believe as it may be, there numbers are actually growing.

In addition to which is that I had no idea there was such a thing as electric blue lipstick.  Almost makes me wonder if Lena Pullam (aka "Battle Cat") is a Seahawks fan.

(NSFW language warning)

Constitution Association: Abortion

I know you are likely very busy, but we need you at today's Constitution Association meeting.  The topic is a very important one: Abortion. We will be showing a short film by Pro-Ject Life, and the film "180" by Ray Comfort. The giveaway during the drawing will be a DVD for a pro-life film titled "Doonby," and a 1946 printed copy of "Common Sense and The Crisis" by Thomas Paine. Common Sense, if you will remember, is the pamphlet put out by Mr. Paine that stirred the colonists to revolution prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Check-in for the meeting is at 5:00 pm, and we will begin at 5:30. Join us Saturday, May 2, for dinner at Merna's Cafe, 26850 Cherry Hills Blvd., Menifee, CA 92584.  See you there.

Student Interviewer To Obama: "“I Think You’ve Covered Everything”

by JASmius

A palate cleanser for your Saturday afternoon as you await the return of Constitution Radio on Smart Talk 1490 KMET.  Those of you old enough to recall the Art Linkletter Show remember his "Kids Say The Darndest Things" segments.  I think this clip of The One being cut off by a young man who gives every appearance of looking and sounding like Dinesh D'Souza: The Next Generation is both a worthy addition, and bolsters our flickering hopes that the next generation isn't, after all, completely beyond salvaging.

Well done, young man.

Alan Dershowitz: Charges Won't Stick Against Baltimore Cops

by JASmius


Gee, where have we heard this possibility pointed out in the last few days?:

Criminal charges filed Friday against six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray were based on "politics and crowd control," not justice, renowned civil rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV.

"This is a very sad day for justice . . . Today had nothing to do with justice. Today was crowd control. Everything was motivated by a threat of riots and a desire to prevent riots," Dershowitz said on The Steve Malzberg Show.

"The mayor outrageously said we're going to get justice for the victim, the family and people of Baltimore, never mentioning the defendants. Under our Constitution, the only people who are entitled to justice are the defendants.

"They are presumed innocent, they need due process of law, and the mayor and the state attorney have made it virtually impossible for these defendants to get a fair trial. They have been presumed guilty."

Because that is the new definition of "justice," wherein the politically disfavored are defined as "evil" and therefore "guilty," and the politically favored define themselves as "good," and therefore entitled and empowered to commit any evil, corrupt, and violent acts necessary to suppress and destroy "evil," whether "freelance" like the rioters, or state-sanctioned like Mayor Blake and SA Mosby

Consequently, only the three black cops charged have any chance at a fair trial, and the three white cops may as well start practicing not dropping the soap.

But Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus and Newsmax contributor, said the case will very likely be thrown out for lack of evidence....

"There's no plausible, hypothetical, conceivable case for murder under the facts that we now know them. You might say that conceivably there's a case for manslaughter. Nobody wanted this guy to die, nobody set out to kill him, and nobody intentionally murdered him....

Dershowitz added that the charges did not meet the criteria for justice in the United States.

"It may have been the criteria in Rome, for Fidel Castro, in Iran, and in other countries, but in our country you don't base indictments on what impact it's going to have on the crowd," he said.

"You base it on a hard, neutral, objective view of the evidence, and it doesn't look like that was done here....

Of course not. Because this is Obamerikastan, which is to the Left of Rome, Fidel Castro, Iran, and "other countries". Because this is no longer a constitutional federal Republic, but an Islamocommunist dictatorship where the president rules through the mob and We, The People are ruled by both and have no rights. Because this is what sixty-two million idiots voted for in consecutive presidential elections.

Still think your vote doesn't - didn't - matter?

And finally, we arrive at the point where Professor Dershowitz echoes me all but verbatium:

They have invited a mess. What they did is they bartered short-term results today for long-term problems in the future.

"My prediction? They've overplayed their hand, it's unlikely they'll get any convictions in this case as a result of this, and if they do, there's a good possibility it'll be reversed on appeal and will just postpone the riots for months ahead." [emphases added]

Couldn't put it better myself.

And I did.

Reboot: Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs, KMET 1490 AM

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs on KMET 1490AM (Saturdays at 1:00 pm Pacific). . .

Constitution Corner

Riots and Racism (Baltimore Mayor Blake: "Let the Protesters Loot, It’s Only Property”) (Doubling Down: Black Baltimore DA Charges Six Cops With Freddie Gray's "Murder") (Fraternal Order Of Police Demands Independent Prosecutor Replace Compromised Marilyn Mosby; Mosby Angrily Refuses) (Baltimore "Social Justice": Black "Students" Pulp Elderly White Man In His Home) (Baltimore Violence Spills Into May Day. . . a.k.a. Socialist Riots) (Witness: Freddie Gray Was Trying To Injure Self In Baltimore Police Van)

The American Police State (Obama White House Tries To Suppress Fears About Operation Jade Helm)

War for World Domination

Islam: (Pew Study: Millions to leave Christianity for Islam) (Los Angeles Airport (LAX) On High Alert After Homeland Security ISIS Warning)

Russia: (Russia Might, Just Might, Be Behind Its Own Invasion Of Ukraine)

Nuts and Nuggets

Jim Geraghty; conservative blogger and regular contributor to National Review Online and National Review, had something to say about what he calls the "Socialism of Blame."  Who does Mr. Geraghty believe to be to blame for the Baltimore riots, and the racial divide in America?

Before Constitution Radio we also broadcasted on American Daily Review

American Daily Review , the pre-game show for Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs, was on today at 11:00 am Pacific.
Here's what we talked about:

Constitution Corner for ADR: (Nullification is a Natural Right, but Not the Only Tool to Restore the Republic)

USC Festival of Books (The Belly of the Beast in a Depraved Society, a.k.a. my weekend at USC)

2016 Race for the Presidency (Rubio Hurls Fusillade Of Poison Pills @ Corker-Menendez) (Clinton Foundation Stench Driving Away Hillary! '16 Donors?) (Rand Paul: It Was A "Mistake" To Overthrow Saddam Hussein)

Economic Time Bomb

The Naïve President?

Remember when Obama told Scott Walker to bone up on foreign affairs before having an opinion? (Obama Calls Scott Walker "Foolish" For NOT Trusting Iran)

Well, how about President Bush’s opinion on the matter?

Douglas V. Gibbs Radio Schedule, May 2, 2015

Are you missing today's IMPORTANT RADIO PROGRAMS by Douglas V. Gibbs?

Saturday is not just for the Constitution Association (meeting at 5:00 pm in Menifee), for we have also a great line-up of radio programs as well.

May 2, 2015 at 8:00 am Pacific Time
Conservative Voice Radio
KMET 1490 AM and
(Did you miss today's show?  Catch the podcast!)

May 2, 2015 at 11:00 am Pacific
American Daily Review Radio

May 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm Pacific
Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs (Call in! 951-922-3532)
KMET 1490 AM and
(And if you can't listen live, listen to the podcast later)

American Daily Review Radio begins an Hour Earlier than Usual

American Daily Review (click here to listen live, or to catch the podcast later), the pre-game show for Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs, today begins broadcast in its new time slot (to accommodate Constitution Radio's move to 1:00 pm Pacific) at 11:00 am Pacific.  Join us as we address the following:

Constitution Corner for ADR: (Nullification is a Natural Right, but Not the Only Tool to Restore the Republic)

USC Festival of Books (The Belly of the Beast in a Depraved Society, a.k.a. my weekend at USC)

2016 Race for the Presidency (Clinton Foundation Stench Driving Away Hillary! '16 Donors?) (Rand Paul: It Was A "Mistake" To Overthrow Saddam Hussein)

Economic Time Bomb

The Naïve President?

Remember when Obama told Scott Walker to bone up on foreign affairs before having an opinion? (Obama Calls Scott Walker "Foolish" For NOT Trusting Iran)

Well, how about President Bush’s opinion on the matter?

And Then Later on Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs on KMET 1490AM. . .

Constitution Corner

Riots and Racism (Baltimore Mayor Blake: "Let the Protesters Loot, It’s Only Property”) (Doubling Down: Black Baltimore DA Charges Six Cops With Freddie Gray's "Murder") (Fraternal Order Of Police Demands Independent Prosecutor Replace Compromised Marilyn Mosby; Mosby Angrily Refuses) (Baltimore "Social Justice": Black "Students" Pulp Elderly White Man In His Home) (Baltimore Violence Spills Into May Day. . . a.k.a. Socialist Riots) (Witness: Freddie Gray Was Trying To Injure Self In Baltimore Police Van)

The American Police State (Obama White House Tries To Suppress Fears About Operation Jade Helm)

War for World Domination

Islam: (Pew Study: Millions to leave Christianity for Islam) (Los Angeles Airport (LAX) On High Alert After Homeland Security ISIS Warning)

Russia: (Russia Might, Just Might, Be Behind Its Own Invasion Of Ukraine)

Nuts and Nuggets

Jim Geraghty; conservative blogger and regular contributor to National Review Online and National Review, had something to say about what he calls the "Socialism of Blame."  Who does Mr. Geraghty believe to be to blame for the Baltimore riots, and the racial divide in America?

Constitution Radio Returns Today at 1:00 pm KMET 1490AM

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs, KMET 1490AM (<===  Click here to listen live online at 1:00 pm Pacific), Saturdays, 1:00 pm.  Listen live on the air, online, or catch the podcast later.  Call in and join the program with YOUR opinion: 951-922-3532.

Join Doug, JASmius and Alex each Saturday for the "Local Show with a Global Footprint" as we discuss the topics of the week through the lens of the United States Constitution.

Today's Topics:

- Constitution Corner: Rule of Law versus Rule of Man.

- Riots and Racism

- The American Police State

- War for World Domination (by Islam and Russia)

And then our signature segment: Nuts and Nuggets

- National Review's Jim Geraghty had interesting comments regarding the "Socialism of Blame" we are seeing in America, and the racial divide that is triggering the riots.  Who's Responsible?  Tune in and find out!

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Conservative Voice Radio starts now!

Conservative Voice Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs, and a round-table of members from the Banning-Beaumont-Cherry Valley Tea Party on KMET 1490 AM airs every Saturday at 8:00 am.  Listen now, or catch the archived podcast later!

Today's topics:

Iran and the United States confrontation on the seas.

What is the Tea Party accomplishing?

California Crises lead to petitions to Governor Jerry Brown.

Baltimore Riots.

Obama's Police State.

Los Angeles International Airport on high alert after Homeland Security ISIS warning.

NORAD Warns Of EMP Attack

by JASmius

It's coming, folks.  Only question is how soon, and which enemy will carry it out:

The potential of a devastating attack to the U.S. power grid by nuclear states such as North Korea or Iran has prompted the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to return to its former location inside Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colorado, two former Reagan-era government officials write in the Wall Street Journal.

"Why the return?" write Henry F. Cooper and Peter Vincent Pry. "Because the enormous bunker in the hollowed-out mountain, built to survive a Cold War-era nuclear conflict, can also resist an electromagnetic-pulse attack, or EMP."

While the Pentagon is moving to shield its global air defense command from being knocked out by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, the Obama administration has failed to act on urgent recommendations to protect the country's civilian electronic infrastructure from a similar catastrophe, they write.

"An EMP strike, most likely from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, would destroy unprotected military and civilian electronics nationwide, blacking out the electric grid and other critical infrastructure for months or years," Cooper and Pry write.

"The staggering human cost of such a catastrophic attack is not difficult to imagine."

Doesn't take a whole lot of imagination.  Just stop and consider how much of our lives comes out of those little wall outlets.  It goes far beyond being able to plug in your gadgets.  Your phones, whether cell or landline, would be dead, so you couldn't contact anybody if you needed help.  No Internet or radio or TV, so you can't find out what's going on.  No money beyond whatever cash and change you have on you or in your house.  No food or medicines, as trucks that transport supplies to grocery stores - which operate on a real-time system with no more than a day or two's groceries on their shelves - cannot be gassed up any more than you can your own vehicles.  You can see where it goes from there - if you want any of what's left in terms of these basic necessities, you have to steal them, and once supermarket shelves are looted bare, and then warehouses, the only other source is your neighbors.  Society starts breaking down.  Disease and starvation and civil unrest grow and run rampant.  Think Baltimore this week on a national scale times a hundred or more.

By some estimates, after an EMP attack on the continental United States, as much as 90% of the American population would be dead.

And our enemies are very well aware of it....:

In the Journal, Cooper and Pry reiterate that "Iran should be regarded as already having nuclear missiles capable of making an EMP attack against the U.S.," noting, "Iran and North Korea have successfully orbited satellites on South-Polar trajectories that appear to practice evading U.S. missile defenses, and at optimum altitudes to make a surprise EMP attack."

....and nobody in the White House or the rest of the Democrat Party seems to give a damn:

"Yet President Obama has not acted on the EMP Commission’s draft executive order to protect national infrastructure that is essential to provide for the common defense," Cooper and Pry write.  "Hardening the national electric grid would cost a few billion dollars, a trivial amount compared with the loss of electricity and lives following an EMP attack."
The authors also fault Congress for failing to act on the recommendations of its own commission and for dropping the ball on multiple bills to fund electronic infrastructure security upgrades.

"In recent years, the GRID Act, the Shield Act, and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act have gained bipartisan and even unanimous support in the House, yet they died in the Senate," they write.

Leaving us with the begged question: Why does the American Left want America to be destroyed in an EMP attack?  Are they such ideological zealots that they are willing to gamble on their dogmatic peacenik orthodoxy with the lives of three hundred million people?  Or are they as eager to see America destroyed as our enemies - their friends - are?

Either way, the scattered survivors of this looming Armageddon will see the election of Barack Obama as president of the late, great United States as the suicide pact it always was, and will soon become.