Dave’s Dead Horse Farm

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A week after the airstrikes on Syria, we are learning – in an unclassified manner – the assessment of the effectiveness of the attack. Which in round numbers was effectively, zero.

This is not a surprise. If the goal was to “deter” Assad from using Chemical weapons, this is not how you do it. It’s never been how one does it. It was doomed to fail, just as every time its been tried before it has failed.

The only available means to eliminate the threat of Chemical weapons use by Assad is to eliminate Assad. In which case, you will have eliminated Assad, but replaced him with the next fellow likely to use them again anyway. So… well done, there…

Where does that leave us? With a war that, euphemistically, has “stalled, but in reality is just not winnable.


One of the more interesting news stories this week doesn’t…

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Due Process of the Land

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The recent Supreme Court ruling in Sessions v Dimaya has Constitution Thursday taking a look at the idea of “due process.” What does it mean? How did it come to be in the Constitution?

And how does the 5th Amendments protection of ‘life, liberty and property” combine with due process to determine that a law calling for the deportation of an illegal immigrant convicted of “violent felonies” is “unconstitutionally vague?”


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The Revere Revision

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Information on the run-up to the Syrian strikes is beginning to come out. It turns out that SecDef Mattis wanted to get Congressional approval before the strikes were launched. This does not surprise me, because Military people tend to believe that Congress is in charge of things.  President Trump, advised by Vietnam dodger Bolton, did not want or did not believe that they needed to wait for Congressional approval. Guess which side won out?

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A TiTanic Paradox

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Ben loves to play “Would You Rather?” It’s a game where he postulates two – usually absurd – scenarios that are generally unrelated and asked which one you would rather do. Yesterday it was this:

“Dad, would you rather go back in time top your worst mistake and fix it; or go back to 1912 and ride the TiTanic, but you know that you will get into a lifeboat?”

It’s really a rather profound question from a seven-year-old. Sure, I have my regrets surrounding my “worst mistake,” but as was pointed out on my Facebook feed, I wouldn’t be here if that hadn’t happened. In fact, I can postulate a scenario where if I don’t make that mistake, my life today is really screwed up. On the other hand, it would have saved me a bought of clinical depression and alcohol abuse.

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The Monday After

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I have always been a pragmatist. I make my argument until it no longer matters. Then I move on. I am not given to the “I told you so” mentality.

So, where are we now after Friday evenings military excursion? Can we deduce anything from the Presidents statement – delivered just as the first missiles landed – as to what the next move may be?

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The Melian Dialogues

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“The purpose of war is peace.” – St. Augustine

In 1964, President Johnson told us that although we “sought no wider war,” aggression had to be met with aggression. we ended up fighting the entire Vietnam conflict with no clear idea of what “peace” would be.

In 2003 we invaded Iraq to eliminate WMD’s and get Sadaam Hussein. But what was the plan for what would be “peace?”

Today, and pretty much for the last five years, every time there is a report of the use of a chemical weapon, we posture and preen, and then shoot off some cruise missiles. Many of our Leaders have explained to us that this is not “war” in their definition, so we don’t even need to bother thinking about what the “peace” would be?

In the most recent use of chemical weapons, the echoes of the Melian Dialogues resound through history. The strong…

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3.2% Beer!





It is said that “Politics makes the strangest bedfellows.” Nowhere is that truer than it was during the experiment in Prohibition in the United States. The original idea of Prohibition is an odd amalgamation of a Conservative religious Value and a Progressive Political tactic.

And, of course, it failed miserably.

So began the process of repealing it via the 21st Amendment. It wasn’t as easy as it seems to us today. And it still affects how we do things today.

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