Friday, September 23, 2016

Observations on Life in America, a Liberal Viewpoint of Present Issues and Dangers on my 69th Birthday



Tonight, the preeminent issue across the Media spectrum, is yet another Police Slaying on yet another Black Man, under questionable circumstance. Race is the most polarizing subject in the 2016 Presidential election. Whether the topic is Immigration Reform, Health Care, Jobs, or Income Inequality, it all works back to Race and Ethnicity.

Earlier, on an MSNBC broadcast, I saw a middle-aged, White, Trump supporter say, “We never had any racial problems in this country, until Obama got elected.” My question is, “Where in the Hell had this stupid bitch been for the past 60 years?” Maybe she’s been in that comfy little bubble of Republican Upper Middle Class, a place where the only racial question in whether to hire the local Black Lady who cleans houses, or the much cheaper Ecuadorian Lady, why does such an excellent job, but is ‘Undocumented’?

Now, for my part, I’m named for a Doctor who headed the Marion County / Indianapolis Health Department for nearly forty years. A Man who was sometimes criticized by his colleagues, because he had no qualms about serving the “Colored” community for Births and emergency Surgeries’. Someone who gave classes for Midwives, the graduates of which were given his every contact numbers in case of complications. Upon my Grandfather’s death, the wealthy black Funeral Director, Dr Flanner, (of Flanner & Buchanan Mortuaries),* built a Free Clinic near Methodist Hospital, and named it the Herman G. Morgan Health Center. (* Part of the funding came from decades of Fees my Grandpa was supposed to collect for signing every Live Birth Certificate in the City and County, a whole lot of Quarters and Half-Dollars never taken, because he considered it a “privilege” to sign such important documents.).

As his Grandson, and Namesake, I was raised to judge people on who they were, not what color they wore for skin. A ‘Colored’ Nurse named Jean, taught me how to tie my shoes, count to ten, and color between the lines. So, when she walked me out to the school bus one cold morning, and a ‘Big Kid’ said, “I knew y’all were rich, but I didn’t know you had a Nigger Nanny”, I felt no qualms about punching him in the nose !  

When I was a Junior in High School, and a Teacher told us, “White People will become a minority in America in the early 21st Century”. A lot of the kids just scoffed, like, ‘sure Lady. That’s gonna happen !’, but I understood that the demographics pointed in exactly that direction. I heard the same thing in Sociology 101 at Foothill College, in 1969, but I hated that Sociology class, and was damned if I would study a Science, where all the terminology was in German! 

 So, here We are, it’s about to happen, and even some moderate and sane White folks aren’t taking it well. Now, on the other side of the coin, I said many times in the 70’s and 80’s, that “White People can’t even organize a Club or Group about their own interests, without it being called a Hate Group, or Racist Organization”, and that fact is still largely true, but, most thinking people now recognize the reality of, and existence of “White Privilege”, a subtle benefit that is yours, whether you come from Trailer Trash, or can trace your ancestry back to the Mayflower, like some of us can. (That’s not to imply that some Trailer Trash Whites might not have deep roots ! ).

So, here’s some food for thought for all you white folks who resent the rise and inclusion of those who don’t look like Us.
 Try to Imagine Our Nation without Our Black Citizens? Think about Sports, Entertainment, Poetry and Literature, History and Education, without the Contributions of that Irreplaceable, yet Small, (13%) of Our fellow Americans? Scary and Sad isn’t it?

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Driver

Yesterday, I had a job to do for my friend Drew Berry. Along with my old FEMA trailer cohort John, and a new friend Brian, I went up to Rockport, IL to inspect and purchase some huge Ford F-750 Heavy Duty Trucks for Drew's Underground Cable-laying business.

These trucks are basically a semi-tractor with a extended frame. Powered by the same Caterpillar Diesel engines as a semi, and having Air Brakes and 6-speed manual transmission, these big machines are a step above what I am licensed for with my Chauffeur's License, but regardless of legal requirements, I can, and have long been capable of Driving Anything.

 On the long trip back from Rockport, which is right on the Wisconsin line, I had plenty of time to think, and it occurred to me that I have always gotten an almost Spiritual satisfaction  from Driving. From Tricycles and pedal cars in the big garage at Hilltop, to the souped-up cars and motorcycles I raced on in my teens and twenties, there is some visceral thrill to be had from confident control of a motorized vehicle.

 I've often heard people say that Racers must have death wish, from the chances they take when driving Indy 500 style, "open wheel" cars at 200+ MPH, or Stock Cars on NASCAR tracks, or the Formula One cars on the Road Course tracks in Europe or South America. Now, it may seem presumptuous for me to lump myself in with these highly skilled and Professional Drivers, but, I'm merely saying that I have always understood both the risks and the rewards that motivated and sustained people who did such Driving for a career.

I thought back to those days when my brother Steve and I raced laps in that big garage while pretending to be Bill Vucovitch, Parnelli Jones, Jack Brabham, and other  Speedway Greats, and to how much we admired and envied those lucky men who got paid for doing what they loved. Those days when racing was much less sophisticated, and a lot more dangerous than today, days where every lap of every race was fraught with danger beyond what "normal" people could or would face in life, were times when I totally "got" what those men thought about the challenges versus the risks. So, long before the dangers we faced while flying combat missions, or even routine Patrols in Vietnam, I understood that only a fool is "fearless", but it's what you do in times of fear that truly separates the brave from the timid. I used to tell people that "I fear No Man,(unless he's wearing a badge or a black robe)", and that was true, and when it finally did come a time when I stood before the Bench, and had my freedom curtailed for a couple of years, I found that I wasn't afraid of that reality either, and having survived that ordeal, I had reached a place where I really didn't fear a thing. Once Again, that sounds a lot like bragging, and there are caveats here as well, for one thing, I fear Pain a lot more than death, because Pain can last for seeming eternities, while death can be quick and merciful.
* This post was written in August 2014. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12-16-2014; Pakistani Taliban show their True Colors.

With today's horrific attack, and the slaughter of 130 or more Children, the world looks on in horror at such barbarity. While it is admittedly brutal and inhuman terrorism, and beyond the pale of even the most bloodthirsty of radical Islamist, I see some good coming from this attack. 
For years, the Pakistan Taliban has been covertly, (and overtly), supported by factions within the Pakistan's Military and Intelligence structures. The civilian populace has protested and demonstrated against Our, (USA) use of drones against Leadership and armed elements of their homegrown Taliban, and their brethren from across the Afghan border, now, as the old saying goes, "the proverbial Chickens have come home to roost". 

 Perhaps today's slaughter of innocents will finally make clear the true nature of the factions they have supported and defended for so long ? Maybe, just maybe, these civilians will realize that these Taliban are the true enemy, and that is not the West, the US, or anyone else who seeks to destroy their Nation and Society, but is instead the same monsters who shot Malala Yousafzia, and killed their children in the past, for the terrible sin of seeking an education.
Maybe, instead of directing their hatred against Us, they will choose to join the civilized World, in rejecting and destroying the ideology of hatred, and will see that the Taliban and similar groups seek to keep them in ignorance, while returning the modern world to a 17th Century state of a primitive and barbaric "Utopia", a place where They, the Taliban, have total control of every thought and action of the enslaved populace.

It is also a huge question of how the Pakistani Government will respond. The same Government who gives us the precise location of targets for Our drones, then decries the deaths that result in their press and condemns Us for violating their sovereignty. Will this attack finally bring about an open and accelerated effort to rid the world of these animals who take such actions against the most vulnerable of their citizens as their right in some imaginary war against "the Crusaders" which is what they call those Nations who only want a peaceful world for All.

I guess that We can only hope that this tragedy will, in the end, have a positive result in making a misinformed public in Pakistan understand which side represents their best hope for a future of peace and progress, and I look forward to seeing a closer, and more coordinated campaign against Terrorism between the Pakistani Government and the rest of the Free World.

One fear that all of us in that Free World have long held, is that a weak and divided Pakistan Military would lose control, and allow radical Islamists to gain control of their Nuclear Arsenal. I think this attack, and the deaths of so many Children of Army and Government personnel will insure that that fear is greatly reduced, because this obscenity against humanity should unite the Military as nothing We can do would have done.

If, this opinion seems harsh, or cold-blooded, rest assured, that like parents and people everywhere, I can't imagine the loss and grief, (and hopefully outrage) that these poor parents and relatives are feeling in the aftermath of this tragedy. I personally feel just as horror stricken as I  was on the day of the Newtown Massacre.

My greatest hope is that the Pakistanis will finally close, and destroy all the Madrassas teaching Hate in Waziristan, and the other northern provinces of their nation. The fiction that these were actual "schools", trying to educate the tribal Children, should finally be laid to rest, and people should realize that the Suicide Assassins who murdered their kids, were taught in places just like those that exist wherever Radical Islam exists, not the least of which are located in Our major Ally in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia. It's no wonder that Osama Bin Laden and the majority of the 9-11 Highjackers were Saudi Arabians.

Once again, I solicit Your Comments and Opinions on this, or any article here on my main Blog.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One More Time: No Keystone XL Pipeline !

Today, President Obama finally came out and spoke Truth to Stupidity. He will Veto any Congressional attempts to sidestep or avoid the Law, which requires the State Department and other Government agencies to approve any Foreign Project on Our Soil.

The Rethuglicans can tout this as a "Jobs Bill" all they want, but the Truth is that the Only American Jobs will be to construct the Pipeline. Those Jobs will go to Halliburton, and other established Oil Services companies already at full staffing.

A Far Better Plan, would be to pipe that toxic Tar Sands Oil no further than the newer Oil Refineries in North Dakota, then ship the much safer finished products by Rail and Truck to the Gulf Coast, where Canada can then send it to China, Mars, or wherever they want. This plan would generate Many Jobs. The Railroads would need to add Trains, and Crews to operate them. Thousands of the new, safer, double-hulled tanker cars would need to be built, as well as thousands of new Tanker Trailers, also of a new and safer construction. Those are high-paying, skilled labor Jobs, not the temporary drudge work of a few hundred Laborer Jobs that might come from building the Pipeline.
If the capacity of the modern refineries in ND is insufficient, well, there are more good jobs, both building those refineries for American Companies, and in operating those Refineries for years to come.

The low-information Fox-bots who sent another class of subtards to Congress this month, and the faithless Democrats who ran from Our President, (and Lost), will bear the responsibility for any Congressional Override of the President's Veto, and will further bear the guilt for the continuation of the "Do-Nothing" Congress doing even less.

Here's my (usually accurate) prediction. After being defeated on this horrible Pipeline project, the GOP will go back to their old ways of the past four years, ie; countless votes to repeal the ACA, constant idiots calling for Impeachment with no basis, (except "He's Black !"), and more attempts to reduce Voter's rights, continued obstruction of Immigration Reform, etc. They will use the Continuing Resolution to fund the Government, and the threat of another Shut-down in yet another failed attempt to blackmail the President into agreeing to their latest "Trickle Down" economic policies, as they've done for the past thirty years. They will protect Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest, try to lower Corporate taxes, and generally repeat the same dumb shit they've been doing for decades.

To my mind, "That's a Good Thing", because maybe, just maybe, the Voters will finally understand that the Republicans are nothing but employees of the Wealthy, will never do anything to bring the Middle Class and Working Poor into the new, prosperous Economy, and could care less about Our Country.

That's my take on this whole mess, what do You think ?  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

More on 9-11-01

So, Here we are again, at another Anniversary of America's 21st Century 'Pearl Harbor'. Once again I'm recalling the emotions of that time, where I was when I first learned we'd been attacked, and how I instantly knew who the Villain was,..long before the media had figured it out._______________________________



When my (then) friend Les called to tell me to turn on CNN, that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center, I took one look at the smoke beginning to roll from the tower, and said, "Les, that wasn't a "small Plane', because I've been in that building, and only an Airliner could make that big of a hole". He said, "Who would do something like that?', and I answered, "Usama Bin Laden", and of course he asked "Who?", and I answered, "the same Asshole who blew up the USS Cole".

See, I didn't just start following Politics and the News in recent years, and I remembered back when then Senator Al Gore asked Ollie North, (during the Iran-Contra hearings), who this bad man was who had so frightened Colonel North that he spent $100,000 of taxpayer's money on Home Security systems for his personal residence. When Ollie answered "Usama Bin Laden", I went back to an article I'd just read about this former mujaheddin who was forming his own terrorist group, after being our friend and ally when we needed him to kick the Russians out of Afghanistan.

 I also knew that besides the Cole, that Usama's bunch had been behind bombing our embassies around North Africa and the Middle East. Our National Security people knew about him too, and what a danger he had become, but the Bush/Cheney junta didn't want to hear it when Richard Clarke tried repeatedly to tell them what the Clinton Administration knew, and why Clinton had been reticent to blow him away when they had him in their sights on several occasions. ( President Clinton's advisers told him that if he wasted Bin Laden on someone's sovereign soil, the Rethuglicans would say he was doing it to distract from the Blow Job scandal).

Anyway, despite what could have been done, the threat from Bin Laden was ignored, because Bush just wanted to get even with Saddam for putting a contract out on Daddy Bush, and Cheney just wanted Iraqi Oil. What happened happened, and for a few weeks there, I saw the United America, the unity and agreement between left and right, black and white, with everyone pulling together, and comforting each other, regardless of party, status or wealth. That was the kind of Nation I had been dreaming of since Vietnam, but I also knew it couldn't last. That realization was almost as tragic as the attack itself !

Now, 13 sad anniversaries later, we're facing a new threat, and cancerous growth of barbarism which metastasized from Al Queda in Iraq, and is being led by the best Generals from Saddam's Republican Guard, the force we needlessly disbanded after our invasion of a Nation that didn't have a thing to do with 9-11, and a Leader which only posed a threat to his own citizens. Had we kept the Iraqi Army and the basic bureaucracy of that government in place, and had we not destroyed so much of their infrastructure, we might have gotten out of there in a year or two, and left behind some vestige of a Democratic society. We would also have lost a lot less irreplaceable Troops, and thousands less civilian casualties. Iraq today could have been a prospering and free Oil producing nation, and a Democratic example for it's neighbors, except that the Bush Government gave no thought to an exit strategy, and only thought of how soon they could start selling stolen Oil.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and Now we need some of that Unity and Bi-Partisanship that we experienced for a moment after that first sad Day. We need to form a better, more broad-based coalition than that which joined us in the earlier ill-advised invasion. This President needs the support of Everyone, just like We gave to Bush in the days following 9-11-01.
That's my several cents worth, and I hope some of you will comment and continue this post. Thanks, and "God Bless America, Again" !

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Not Another Koch-Headed Mid-Term PLEASE ! !

I won't begin this by Bragging about the accuracy of my 2010 and 2012 Election predictions, because now I don't need to ! Suffice it to say that " I told Ya so ! "

Here we are again in a mid-term primary season, and I'm hoping to God that working class Voters will pull their collective Head out of the Corporate Ass that is the Republican Party, and the gaping rectum that is it's failed Tealiban sub-party.


Now, I'm not as famous a prognosticator as Nate Silver, but, I'm betting that my instincts and accumulated political knowledge will trump his predictions this year.  Ol' Nate thinks that his Stat's tell him that the GOP will grab some more seats in the House, and regain a Majority position in the Senate, but my Gut tells me that the surge of enrollment in the closing days of the 1st ACA sign-up period will defy Nate's statistics, and show that the American People aren't as dumb as the Wealthy Right believes We are.

 Despite all the Billions spent by Big Health and Big Hate, and considering the 52 failed attempts to repeal 'Obamacare' , it is proving to be a blessing for folks on both ends of the Political spectrum. Case in Point, Teddy Cruz ran an informal survey on his Official Facebook page, asking his fans and constituents what they now thought of the ACA, and ( shockingly enough), the majority of respondents now had a favorable Opinion. The huge lines in El Paso and Houston, during the final days of Sign-Up are clear proof to me that both Teddy and soon-to-be Ex-Governor Perry are vastly out of touch with the majority of Texan Voters.

Another reason that I think Voters are coming to their senses, is that even a majority of right-leaning Voters, even those who don't like Obamacare, are ready for the Congress to move along. The Koch Brothers, and all the "Persons" of the Corporate Persuasion have failed to control the common sense and practicality that is inherent to the American People, and despite the barrage of TV, Radio, and Cyberspace Ad's, Surveys and Editorials they've, (Koch-Suckers & Friends), bought, I firmly believe that the Democrats will regain control of the House, increase their Majority in the Senate, then show the Nation what a Working and United Congress can achieve with a Progressive President in the White House.

Yes, I know some of you will flash-back to the 2009 / 2010 Sessions of Congress, and remind me of how little the Democrats accomplished in Obama's first two years, despite being in the majority, but let me remind you that that was a Party divided by years of opposition to Two Wars, and confused by years of kowtowing to the Bush-Cheney Junta in matters both Fiscal and Foreign ! That won't happen again !

 The Democrats are now a Party that has learned what can happen when they lose their nerve,(AKA "Balls"),now knows how to defeat the demagoguery of the wealthy Right, and are just dying to show their constituents that they remember how to get things done.

Comments and Critiques Appreciated !

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What's Your Opinion of Edward Snowden's actions ?

I've been following this whole mess that Mr Snowden created for himself, and I've bounced around on what my actual feelings are this entire time. Now I've pretty much decided that he is both a Traitor and a Coward. My main bitch about this situation is with Boozer-Allen, for not vetting this little wannabe Julian Assange ! They, (Boozer-Allen), should have all their present Government contracts voided, and refund any money they have been advanced on said contracts.

These Private Sector Contractors may have saved Us from building ever-enlarging bureaucracies, but in both Wars, and now in the Security Sector, the Contractors have turned out to be more trouble than they are worth. I blame Dick Cheney, but that's another article in itself.

Now, back to Mr Snowden. The question I had to ask myself was; "Would We Liberals all have had the same High Regard we had for Daniel Elsberg, If he had run off to a foreign Nation as soon as he released The Pentagon Papers?". I don't think so, as a main part of being a "Whistleblower", is to have the courage of your convictions, and being willing to 'face the music', 'pay the piper', etc.

What I've observed about Snowden's big revelations, is that he has only "outed" what everyone who cares has known since 9-11, and those who are informed about such things were fully cognizant of Every other Nation's efforts to glean every bit of intelligence they can, both about their enemies and friends, by pretty much any means possible. Yes, the end of the Cold War probably saw a lessening of traditional espionage, and yes, the advent of the Internet was a Bonanza for Intelligence agencies in general, but what has taken Us to the point of a Prism Program, was our sudden realization, via the 9-11 attacks, that a good portion of the World's population hates Our American Guts !

In my opinion, the worst thing about electronic surveillance and collection, is that we, the USA, lost or abandoned our vast networks of "Humintell" following the fall of the USSR. Another huge failure of our Intelligence Agencies was to lose touch, and stop supporting the Mujaheddin following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. That failure led directly to the rise of both the Taliban, and to the rising power of Osama Bin Laden.

Whenever I mention OBL's name, I have a flashback to the Iran-Contra Hearings in the Senate. At one point in those hearings, then Tennessee Senator Al Gore asked Colonel Ollie North why he had installed a $100,000 dollar Security System in his home. Colonel North answered, "Because a very bad man has threatened to kill me and my Family". Smiling, Al asked North, " Just who is this "Very Bad Man", and Ollie replied, "His name is Usama Bin Laden".*

Now Folks, those hearings were held in 1987, a full 14 years prior to 9-11, 2001, and 10 or 12 years before Al Queda blew up the USS Cole,...So, can we agree that CIA, NSA, and FBI dropped that ball Big Time ? Additionally, in that 14 year span, we had the Beirut Marine Barracks, various Embassy attacks, "Black Hawk Down" in Somalia, and many other incidents that should have been instructive to Us, and made us aware that a well-funded, and highly organized entity had declared War on Us.

So, to return to Today's problem of people like Edward Snowden, and the young Bradley Manning. Now, I believe that Private Manning was offended and outraged by the actions of coalition Troops that he observed in his position in Army Intelligence, and that he thought the world would benefit from his disclosures. The hard fact remains that Private Bradley swore and oath to defend his Country, and he knew full well that he was only in a position to access such information because he had had the Background checks, and advanced security ratings to be working at that level in the first place. Manning should have gone to his Superiors, or even his Unit Chaplain with his problem, Not revealed it to a malicious, anti-American foreigner !

On the other hand, I believe Snowden is, and was, seeking Fame and Fortune. He expected The Guardian to pay him, for Foreign Governments and Leaders to greet him as a hero, and to return home at some point, as the fair-haired Boy of the Liberal Media ! Obviously, lil' Edward was a victim, a victim of Right-Wing propaganda, which told him that the Media, and All Liberals hate America, despise our Government, and will do anything to damage either. Nobody told him that the Press and Media People who travel the World, embed with Our Armed Forces, and spend time in other Nations, are some of the Most Patriotic, because, like Veterans such as myself, we've seen how the rest of the world lives, seen what freedoms we have here, and wouldn't live anywhere else on the globe but right here in the U.S.A. So, suck it Eddie, I hope you end up in The Gulag !

* I want to acknowledge that some of the background of this article was drawn from my recent re-reading of Former National Security Adviser Richard A. Clarke's excellent book "Against All Enemies" a book I highly recommend for those who want to know more about the lead-up to 9-11, and the Bush Administration's failures which took us There.