Friday, September 20, 2019

Sound the Trump ets, Tell Joshua to bring his horn.

Okay, so I had to do this post sooner or later. This has been bugging me like a pesky fly that won't leave off. Donald "I'm a raving loon" Trump's wall is a waste of money, time and effort. We all know this, don't we ? Don't we ? You do realize that walls are a 4th century solution that are easily breached, overcome, tunneled under, knocked down or simply gone around. Yes, I know, various nations have tried walls : Rome with Hadrian's Wall, China with the Great Wall, France with the Maginot Line, and now Trump with Trump's Folly.

Friday, September 13, 2019

O'Rourke is wrong. He may have a good heart but he's wrong.

I didn't watch the Democratic Party debate last night. It was, as all such events are, full of talking points and blather, and I have no appetite for either. But I did watch the Post-Debate coverage, including the big applause line from Beto O'Rourke (if he is going to call himself Beto, I'm going to oblige him and call him Beto. ) : "Hell yes, I'm going to take away your AR 15s!"
The problem is, Beto is proposing "Feel-Good" law that will not in fact lessen the amount of crimes in the United States. Not only that, but he is doing so based on faulty, and deceptive information.
Allow me if you will to elucidate:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

On this day in 2001.

So, 18 years ago today, I was working nights for a company that was owned by a company that had just got bought by a company. I was working 6 pm to 2 am shifts. I got home about 2:30, Sat down, had a cup of decaf and logged into a chat room on AIM. We had a regular crowd there that moved to aim when the community left AOL. We were chatting about this and that, when around 5 45 my time I turned on CNN. They had interrupted their usual AM chat show to talk about what appeared to be an aircraft accident involving the World Trade Center. I told everyone in the chat immediately to turn on the news. about a half hour later I got an IM from a friend : "We're at war, aren't we?" I replied back "I hope not, but I don't see how we can avoid it. " I didn't sleep that day, and most of the next two days nobody did much of anything except stay awake and stay by the news. On the evening of that first day, my Mom, Stepfather, Brother and I all went outside. It was just getting dark, with light still in the western sky. We all looked up and saw the F-16s from Luke AFB flying overhead on armed patrols. I knew people who worked at Luke. They said to me that the pilots were all of them pissed off. I knew guys in the special forces community. Usually they talk back and forth about shit, sometimes ribbing each other about things, but on the 12th and after, they simply stopped talking. One of those who would talk told me, though I didn't need to be told, "Dude, they're going to work now. " I just said "Yeah. I know." Afghanistan was the target. Everybody knew it. All I could do was sit around and wait to hear. I didn't know it would be the better part of a decade before Bin Laden got his, largely because George Effin W Bush was all hot to go into Iraq. Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, and which would have summarily executed bin Laden had they gotten a hold of him. Iraq, source of oil though it may be, turned out to be a goddamn tar baby. (excuse the racist reference just this once.) We needed to get Bin Laden, not because of revenge, but justice. As a point of national Pride. As a point of "nobody messes with the USA and gets away with it." A Child born in 2001 is now old enough to serve in the army that has not known peace in that child's entire lifetime. Meanwhile, Donald Goddamn Trump is telling jokes about how he has the tallest building in Manhattan now. or had. Whatever. This is not the day for Politics, but for remembering those who died, those who gave of themselves, and those who bravely got up, got a drinks cart to use as a battering ram and said "Let's Roll."

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Ghost of Emmett Till

The Ghost of Emmett Till 

Recently, I was listening to NPR on my drive home from doing some errands. A news story came on

A news story came on about the murder of Emmett Till. For those of you who do not know, Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy who was visiting Mississippi in 1955. He was abducted, beaten, tortured and then shot. His remains were then desecrated. His body was then chained to an industrial fan blade stolen from a local cotton gin, and dumped into the Tallahatchie river. Later recovered, his mother insisted on there being an open casket funeral. She wanted people to see the horror of murder. All these years later, NPR interviewed a man who had been a prosecutor back when Till's murderers were tried and acquitted by an all-white jury. They later confessed in an interview for Look magazine. The man, even now, all these years later, still stuck to the Official White Version of the events, saying Till got what he had coming to him, for being uppity and flirting with a white girl. The recipient of the alleged unwanted advances later retracted the story, but by then it was too late. Till had been abducted, tortured and killed. The four men to grabbed a 14 year old boy off the street, carried him off and killed him, for the crime of talking to a white woman. Furthermore, the man interviewed said, plaintively, why do they keep playin The Race Card ? Why keep raking it up ? it makes a stink.
I'll tell you why, after the break.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

On this day, 75 years ago.

75 Years ago today, men got down into landing craft, and sailed into history. 

     June 6, 1944. The Second World War is coming to a crisis point. If the Allies, led by Eisenhower (interestingly, his surname is German for  ice cutter -- someone who cuts blocks of ice for use in early refrigeration. ) succeeded in landing in France, the Germans would now be faced with a war on three fronts. The South, where the Allies were driving slowly up the spine of Italy after the Italian capitulation. The Russians were pushing inexorably Westward, with the aim of taking up as much of Europe as they could before the hated Nazi enemy were destroyed. The Britsh, French and Americans all wanted to drive to Berlin, and as General Patton would later quip, "personally shoot that paper-hanging son of a bitch!" For France, it was a true existential crisis. Vichy France was a joke -- the prostrate Vichy were little besides errand-boys for the Nazis, and they knew it. For Britain, it meant an end to the Blitz, an end to privation, a chance to be able to live their lives without blackouts, rationing and constantly looking over their shoulder for (more imagined than real) fifth columnists. For the United States, it meant an incredible expense in Blood and Treasure but also a task to be taken up, not because of continued national existence, but because rule by dictators like Hitler and Tojo was wrong. Perhaps many of them didn't quite understand the finer points of the issue, but to them, liberty meant much, and liberty was always worth fighting for. Not so much in these times, but back then, people seemed to understand the difference. So, those men got down into the boats, or strapped on their parachutes and got in the planes, or loaded up into the gliders, and they prepared to carry the fight to the enemy. Casualties were expected to be high. Some of the planning staff estimated a minimum of 20% losses. Some wanted to wait and go with more men. But Eisenhower was sure that the more they waited, the more the enemy would be prepared to throw the troops back into the sea. The invasion was delayed, and then the weather closed in. Storms -- the early beginning of the Channel summer storms -- made them put off the invasion for a month. It was a matter of needing a confluence of tides, weather and lunar phase. They wanted darkness to cover the first hour or so of the invasion, proper tides and weather good enough that the waves wouldn't swamp the landing craft. Finally, weather predictions aligned with everything else for the three day period June 5th thru June 8th, closing in by the 9th. (a westerly gale of immense proportions would cause havoc, but not until after the initial invasion had been decided. ) Eisenhower stepped out of his quarters, stepped to the staff planning table and queried his staff . Some hesitated, but in the end, all agreed, the invasion was on. Eisenhower, it is said, kept two pieces of paper in his breast pockets. One, his speech that the invasion had gone off successfully, and the other, a speech in which he took full responsibility for the disastrous failure. In the days before the invasion began, Ike made his now-legendary "Great Crusade" speech to the troops.
 Eisenhower's Great Crusade speech. 
The men got on the ships, most of them already seasick.  A moderate gale blew in from the south, making the soldiers even sicker. The final "go" order didn't come until late on the 5th. Then, in the pre-dawn hours of the 6th, the first wave went in.
It was the largest Armada ever assembled

They were all afraid. Every man-Jack of them. But they climbed down into those boats anyway. They got down in the boats and went in.
The fighting was vicious. The men on Omaha beach had it the worst. They may not have gotten off the beach were it not for the work of destroyers who sailed in some instances within 800 yards of the Beach, at risk of grounding themselves, to engage the German positions with direct fire from their guns. No matter if it was Omaha or Juneau, the day was no walk in the park. I could go on, regaling you with tales of bravery and sacrifice, but I'm going to close this year's D-Day memorial post by saying this : War is never pretty. It's terrifying, ugly, bloody and brutal. So let's try to limit how many wars we have. Let's honor those men who bravely went in on June 6 '44. Let's honor them by staying out of wars of convenience, like Mr "W" Bush's Invasion of Iraq. Let's try using diplomacy to maneuver clear of various causa belli.  Try settling not the problems, but the issues which become problems if not addressed. With thanks to those who engaged in the Great Crusade.

     Most Sincerely,

Monday, May 27, 2019

Decoration Day

Historically on this day 

We would gather our families together in whatever convenient groups were available, put on our good "going out" clothes, pack up baskets with picnic supplies, flowers, cleaning equipment and perhaps a hymnal, song book or a bible and we would all go together to clean, maintain and decorate the graves and memorials of our deceased relations who died in service to the country. The practice began sometime around the end of the Civil War, and continued on until sometime when the day's name was changed to Memorial day and people started visiting various war memorials instead. Gradually the visiting of war memorials faded and the day became just another day off from work. I don't say any of this with the intention of guilt-tripping anyone, or being accusatory, it's just a fact. Today, people have the day off, and they deserve it. But please, my friends, take a few minutes to sit back and remember the people who gave of themselves for the United States. We are not always right, and not always wrong. The state of being is much more complex than anyone can put into words in a short blog post. So just remember for a few minutes that friends and relatives of yours paid the ultimate price. Then relax, have a beer, grill some burgers and watch the racing or football or whatever.

Here's some music to remember the day by.
Johnny's Gone for a Soldier.

Hymn to the Fallen, John Williams


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Donnie says it's okay.

Yes, Donnie says it's okay. Not only is it okay, it's Great!

Did you miss it ?  The courts are being packed with hardline "movement" conservatives.
Largely this is possible because the DNC dropped the ball. They should have been watching the local races from 1996 onward. This is the fruition of a long term hard right plan.