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Here is the flight path of MH 17 up to where it disappeared…

MH 17

Here is the next flight after.. ……

MH 17 day before

Here is the flight after that…..

MH 17 2 days before

Here are all the flights on an interactive screen….

Hindsight is always 20/20. But one wonders why the alternate route was not thought of earlier…..

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If I said… “Hey, dude, what happened 100 years ago today?”…. about 4 out of every 25,000 of  you, would know and answer back with a question…. “Are you sure you are not talking about 100 years yesterday?”    You would be officially right of course…  June 28th…. But I would be “politically” right, I guess, (struggling for an adjective to describe the rightness I would be..).

To fill in the rest of the 24,996 of you…. yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the shooting of the Archduke of Ferdnand,,,,

“Who the fvck is that?”  say 24,996 people all at once….  (People in Oklahoma hear that rumble as another frack quake..)

Since reality is 100% of reality, I’ll take that on….

In 1914… there were 5 nations that mattered.  One of the nations that didn’t matter back then would have been the United States; others: China,  and Japan… The 5 nations that were relevant back then actually included Russia, believe it or not…. with Germany, France, Britain, and Austria-Hungary rounding out the full 5… This last nation, I always think of as a joke, and say so sometimes… (“What?  Austria’s Hungry?  What a joke!”)   That is because I tend to ignorant of anything southeast of Germany… I’m an American, you know…

Austria Hungary was called the Dual Kingdom…  Can you guess why?  One was Austria, the other was Hungary.   Austria ran Austria/ Hungary ran Hungary, and a couple of times a year they got together to coordinate…  Those episodes resembled today’s divided Congress.  Neither side would accept the provisions of the other….  and stalemate meant each could go their own way with little interference from the other…   However on security matters they were conjoined…  Austria had the military; a standing army of 900,000..  and Hungary bordered Russia from where any major attack would come…

To the south the ancient empire of the Ottoman Turks was decaying from its inside.  Recognizing that most of the Empire’s attention had to be focused inside of Turkey proper, all 5 relevant  nations begin eyeing the Balkans and Dardanelles and sizing each other up…  Significantly, Russia was very nervous over the Dardanelles because the wrong person owning that property, could bottle her navy inside the Black Sea…

Austria had, in just a very few years before, annexed Bosnia, roughly the same size as it is today, by marching in and calling it their own… Serbia, had wanted the same, but was too small to do anything about it and no one came to their aid…. But people inside of Bosnia who had wanted Serbia to control it, had financial resources made available to help make that happen…

The archduke was the next in line to the Austrian emperor, who himself was getting quite old.  Both the archduke and emperor were primarily pacifists who didn’t believe that war was profitable.  But like any nation, within their cabinet as well as in charge of their military, they had well-spoken ministers who argued that a “shock and awe” first strike was always the best option…

Unfortunately for the world, it was one of those two pacifists who was assassinated 100 years ago today….  along with his wife… killed by what today would be considered a terrorist cell of about 5 people total… working independently…  meeting in secret. etc. etc.  They botched their previous attempts and by today’s standards were almost comical, until they finally got lucky on number 3…

Some people got the word 100 years yesterday… June 28th.  Who these were, were mostly heads of state, many of whom were on summer vacation so telegrams had to jump all over the country, and in some places be put on skiffs and rushed out to meet the heads of states floating in the Baltic….   No one at first predicted what this assassination would preclude… Those who firmly believed in war,  thought it precluded war.  However most thought that was too unreasonable and assumed everyone would of course get mad first, then settle down and make certain arrangements and life would eventually go on as normal…..  After all, worse crises had been settled such….

There were two small problems… One involved the signing of treaties, some secret and some not, that tied promises of reaction to any military invasions of one of the signatories… The other, was the Victorian mode of character which dictated that one dutifully filled out one’s signed obligations, regardless if they had been originally made in error…  One filled out ones obligations and damned the torpedoes.

In efforts to preserve a peaceful Europe, (which had been effective for 40+ years, and probably a world record at that time)…. alliances had been made loosely between Britain, France, and Russia…  With the two extremes  of East and West appearing united, this left vulnerable those who could get crunched in the middle, so they formed an alliance too:  Germany and Austria-Hungary….

But no one ever thought they’d be used.  Ever! Europe was one chummy place.  The heads of England, Germany, Russia were all related, and met for state weddings and funerals regularly.  Vienna was one of the playful destinations in Europe, and socialites from all 5 nations frequented there every summer…  It and Paris vied for the Art & Music capitols of Europe…  Tension was not like during our Cold War at all. Europe was very open and much like international relations today, where one could travel freely, where all the big powers meet occasionally and decided how to deal with each of little tweaks and interruptions….

So 100 years ago today,  people woke up to this assassination story ….  Today (yesterday) is the real beginning of the count-down-clock because for the first time in European history,  the populations inside the nations were to have a profound impact on the upcoming events to come… (even though the structures of the governments were very closed to all but the upper crust of society…) Public opinion primarily through the growth of large metropolitan newspapers, had become an influence that had to be “reckoned with”.

For Austria Hungary was hot!  You can imagine if Joe Biden was killed.  Though some here love him, and some here make fun of him, … were he assassinated, this entire nation would demand retribution….   So Serbia got blamed….   In Austria-Hungary, with one pacifist dead, and the other now solo against a cabinet calling for an invasion, the call to go to war with Serbia came quickly…

Serbia appealed to their soul mate Russia.  There had always been a deep Slavic bond between the two nations… and the head of Russia, when confronted with the fact that his people would rebel against him if he ignored his brother nation’s plea, said Russia would attack Serbia’s attacker if Serbia were attacked by Austria Hungary…   Military philosophy at this time dwelt solely on the benefit of a quick attack.  All armies were trained to attack, not defend.  Simply put, the philosophy was that if you attacked quick enough, you always won…  And all nations suffered from this delusion, though reality had showed it certainly hadn’t worked in all the proxy wars (Boer, Sudan, Balkans)….   As Austria began to mobilize her troops towards Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, Russia began mobilization to send it’s troops to the  Austria-Hungarian border….

Austria Hungary had the second largest standing army in Europe (Russia had the largest due to its gigantic size relative to European nations)  but even still, Austria-Hungary could not both defend its border, and attack/occupy Serbia simultaneously… Therefore they appealed to Kaiser Wilhelm to promise an attack on Russia if Russia attacked The Dual Kingdom…  Previous handshakes had sealed the deal long before, and the Kaiser promised he would….

Now this caused a dilemma within Germany’s army.  Their plan had long called for first attacking France … France was the more dangerous of the two, so it made great sense to defeat France first and then attack Russia, instead of attacking Russia and have a fit France barge in through the back door…   No one had ever considered the option that perhaps a minor limited war with Russia could happen first without French involvement.  But plans were plans and the detail in them was so meticulous that there was really no option to opt-out and siphon off troops to the Russian Border…. (all the trains would be tied up and busy carrying soldiers to the West) until after France and fallen and signed their surrender…  The surprise Russian build-up now meant it was more imperitive than ever that France surrender before Russia could mobilize to march into Prussia proper….

France was insistent that it would not make the first move.  They tried to dissuade Russia to stand down, but Russia’s people felt a personal insult  (and a rational fear of internal overthrow) if Serbia fell, so that didn’t happen.  The French who were the villains of the last European War( the Franco-Prussian War that ended in 1870… a quick war, which France had lost, and been paying repatriation upon for a long time), were very squeamish about being  considered the aggressor again, and so they mobilized defensive forces and  fortified their common border with Germany, just in case.

Britain’s Prime Ministe firmly believed in making alliances but also keeping them secret so both his allies and enemies would be left guessing…  He was so good at it, that the Kaiser was convinced upon invasion, that Britain would definitely not interfere and that Paris would fall quickly as had long been planned (across twenty years)….

The accidental player in this scenario, turned out to be the tiny little neutral nation of Belgium……   With no real army and a reputation for being a peaceful take-what-comes population, its future role had been dismissed by Germany, France and Britain…   Germany simply assumed that it being a neutral nation, it would take the gentlemanly course and let the German’s pass through unopposed to attack France where it lacked defenses.  Britain and France had assumed due to its neutrality, Belgium would be off limits for any German advance….

As troop deployments began to show the German’s hand,  four nations raced to shore up that area….  Belgium said it would not allow German passage and began to mobilize  its defense….  (This infuriated the Kaiser who apoplectically raged how dare that tiny nation not fall in line with Germany’s plans; who did they think they were?)… which shows how reality and clear thinking often had little voice in governments at that time…. Assumptions made by whomever was annointed head of state, tended to always carry the heavier weight.

With everything ready and the impetus on the Axis (Germany/Austria)  to strike quickly and the Entente (Britain, France, Russia) to wait and only fight defensively, all pieces were in place for what everyone thought, would be a short little war… Most analysts assumed everyone lacked resources or the will to fight in order for it to carry over 2 months…  “By Christmas all the troops would be home” each nation’s people were promised….

What impressed me most upon looking back from a 100 years’ perspective and I guess it is true with any war, was how life went on normally for 99.999% of the world’s population while this crises brewed… Future weddings were planned, meetings between future adversaries were scheduled,  treaties and statements of purpose continued to be signed between the future enemies… At any point, if anyone powerful enough had said, “STOP!  let’s talk about it”, (as is done so often today it now seems like an extra step), this war would have been prevented… If Russia had not mobilized, this would have remained a local conflict, taking place only on Serbian hillside  whose outcome have been very quickly settled.  Or if Britain had been forthright, stating that it would come to France’s aid and attack German interests, then the cost of war would have risen to where the Kaiser would have backed down from attacking France first and would have made a deal with Russia…  If Germany had not been locked so deep into its own plans, so that once the order was given to mobilize it started everything which precipitated the next step automatically like a line of dominoes. …. if any of these occurred prior to the  First World War , history would be far different today;  The First World War would not have happened…..

The suddenness is simply mind boggling.  How could Europe go from congeniality and peace and prosperity and hope, to an all-out brawl.  Like a bar fight that erupts instantly leaving lifelong scars?

It would be like today… if we opened our paper and read the news that one of Putin’s emissaries was assassinated in Sevastopol, Crimea….   And…  by this upcoming Saturday (July 5th), Russia had asked China  if it will help fight and China agrees. .. and exactly two and a half weeks later on July 23, Putin’s Russia surprises the world with an ultimatum to Ukraine designed to be so harsh that the Ukraines cannot possibly accept it.  The world holds its breath, and the 5 day deadline passes, and Russia declares war on the Ukraine….  July 28th, exactly on month from today!

NATO mobilizes, beginning with their declaration… .   All NATO units are then put on full reserve and active units are then moved into Turkey, Uzbekistan, Poland, and Finland, positioned along their borders with Russia….

On the last day of this month, July, China calls upon the NATO to stop its mobilization…. NATO says no; it is mobilizing solely against Russia  and for only the protection of the Ukraine people….  Then on August 1st, China declares war on NATO, including the US….

The very next day, August 2nd, China bloodlessly rushes in to occupy North Korea  … China then demands of  South Korea to let them use its seaports to facilitate their landing craft invasion against Japan.  They promise that after hostilities are over, all Korea will be free and promise it can under them become one nation again…

The very next day, on August 3rd, China declares that the state of war now exists between it and Japan, Taiwan, North Vietnam, and the Philippines, and moves their navy into blockade those ports…  All those nations plea for help from the US and the US promises it…..  South Korea to the Chinese surprise, announces despite overwhelming odds,  it will NOT grant permission for China to enter peacefully, NOR allow Chinese military hardware into its country….  A brief testing skirmish occurs on the 53 parallel between US and Chinese troops becoming the first engagement of the war….  On this same day unknown to almost everyone, China and most Latin America nations sign a secret treaty…. relating strictly with the US and stating that if China is attacked, Latin America will side with China in order to protect their massive investments there….

The very next day, August 4th.  China swiftly invades South Korea and quickly over runs Seoul and commandeers all the ports on the peninsula.   China’s massive merchant marine of commercial cargo ships out of nowhere suddenly gather outside all of  Korea’s ports.   The US protests. calling for China to leave Korea. China flatly says it won’t.   The US declares war on China…. The Chinese merchant marine begins loading up the 2 million troops and lands them on the remote undefended section of north-western Japan…  Within 7 days,  2 million Chinese are moving towards Tokyo….

The very next day, August 5th… Latin America surprises all and closes shuts down all commerce with the US, closing it’s borders… All US firms have their property confiscated to be nationalized and the Panama Canal is closed  to all but Latin American and Chinese traffic…

The very next day, August 6th… Putin’s Russia declares war on the US and NATO….. and for what it is worth, the Ukraine declares war on China….

The very next day, August 7th…  The first US troops from Okinawa, land in Japan and rush north to engage the advancing Chinese… Battles ensue and the Chinese throughout the next week, till the 13th, win all of them…

The very next day: August 8th…  NATO and the US finally declare war on Russia…

For the next week, all eyes focus on China’s advance to Tokyo.  Then one week later, August 15th… Ukraine counter attacks a Russian outpost on its border, and regains control of the entire border area… The Russians run back across the border.  It will be the first allied victory of the war…

Two days later… August 17th… The US and NATO forces invade Russia proper upward from Uzbeckistan, and upwards from Turkey through Sochi, and eastward into Belarus from Poland, and towards Leningrad from Finland….

==========

4 years later, 2018, the armistice will be signed, leaving  37 million souls dead…. 93 million wounded for life…. and 34 million people simply missing… never heard from again….  And the borders between most of the big players will primarily remain just as they are… ( Hopefully all parties refrained from nuclear weapons….. or citizen causalities would be uncountable.)   Unsettled emotional antagonisms will continue to fester, and won’t be settled until after the next great war beginning in 2039…..

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This is how life changing that event was 100 years ago…. Literally it came out of nowhere…..  Just take a moment to consider the breathtaking speed with how fast this occurred and stretch your imagination wide enough to take in us being in a full fledged real world war equivalent to WWI in less than one month and 5 days from today, as you read this and the News Journal and fret over Greg Lavelle… ….. Maybe this could happen today, maybe not.   You and I need to make sure the “not” wins out…. were such a crises to occur.

The lessons of yesteryear are so lost on us today, as I’m afraid they are on every new generation.  I only share interest because of a personal bond with a relative, who was called to France in 1918.  So unlike most today, this history to me is something very real.   Upon my passing, there will then be no one to remind us of how stupidity can sometimes take over an ruin a world of good…  But for the rest of you, 100 years ago today you would be just reading about this life-changing first step in the paper…. (yawn) another assassination in Crimea… possibly thinking  “awwww… how sad”…  but never dreaming it would within four years time, cause you to lose your entire family in the same amount of time that briefly passes between two World Cups….

Life should never be taken for granted. Lesson.  Always be vigilant against war. Always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China shoots down two  B52’s flying through it’s extended air zone.

What now?

Nuke 7

The initial reaction would be to retaliate.  Strike something of theirs!  Expect some nut of the Tea Party to do a stand-up filibuster the Senate and demand nuking Beijing and Shanghai… But they are stupid.

The US is really not in any position to retaliate. We would have to react diplomatically.  Pull our staffs, etc, etc,… talk to them through the Russians.

For if we were to launch, we would be launching against a nation smart enough to cybersleath into our NSA, not some dumb Muslim nation locked in the 13th Century.  Good chance that not only would we have lost the two planes originally, but our losses would also extend to every single one of our attacking planes. We’d be wiped out.  No doubt all our electronic deflections have already been neutralized by the Chinese…   Our most effective military retort would be of a submarine at-sea launching of unmanned missiles taking out a minor retaliatory target.  But even if that launch was not jammed, once that was over, the extension of airspace would remain, and not be challenged again…..

In any military engagement off its coast, China wins.  Pretty much the same way the US would win in enforcing the Monroe Doctrine 2 centuries ago…  We have the power here; and you, from way over there, don’t.

Nuke 6

So one must use a different perspective.

What is the one thing China most fears…  Come on.. you know… It is obvious…  Still guessing?    Ok, I’ll help you out.  China most fears an insurrection of its own people.  People who want freedom, privacy, democracy, and those great things we often take for granted.  The Chinese willingly let themselves be run by their totalitarian government… At any point, based simply on numbers, ie the number of people in security, and the number of people not, China could rise up, revolt,  and rule itself…  This scares the Party more than any other threat.  They know that whereas the US would certainly not dismember their bodies in a public square, if the revolt got ugly, unlike us the local population would have no qualms in doing so…

Therefore we play to their fear….

The reason China does what it does, is to keep the people happy enough so they don’t revolt.  Their economic growth, their development, their capitalism, is all based upon that premise.  “If they are happy, we, the Party, stay in control….”

So.

Nuke 5

What if we declared economic war?  Stopped buying anything from China?   China would have to become a consuming nation to survive. Currently China’s wealth is saved and reinvested.  Compared to the average US income, which practically buys everything it makes… China buys very little of their own products, those are slated for exports to bring more cash into the country. If the world stops buying Chinese products, then those savings not invested outside of China, need to start buying  up the products instead of the other members of the global economy….  That is a short lived proposition.  After all, how many shovels will each Chinese buy?

It is further aggravated by China’s demand for raw materials.  Food is one.  Oil is another.  Heavy metals are a third.  As each of these become critical, each becomes rationed, the growing restlessness starts whispering that these hardships would never have come to pass, if the regime had not shot down two airplanes that up until a week earlier, had always flown that route with no problem.  Now, because of a gross error made by the current regime, millions have to go hungry, aren’t working, and are barely existing…  Perhaps the whispering campaign goes, it is time to overthrow the overlords and sue for peace, and get things back to normal?

As China cracks down against this whispering dissent internally, it loses focus externally…

Nuke 4

That would be the time to present a show of force.  The US  then blockaids China.  It would take two rings.  The outer ring would consist of ships permanently parked outside the range of China’s missiles… Their job would be to impede all international commerce headed to China, boarding and searching every ship…   The inner ring would consist of primarily of stealth submarines who would sink or shoot down everything making a mad dash into China…

The Russians would probably take the middle road, most likely benefiting from their proximity to China, but not going as far to alienate the US itself by forming a Sino-Soviet Aggression Pact.  It would be impossible to stop all commerce into China.  The demand for all goods would make the profit margins of smuggling, impossible to ignore.  The Soviets would benefit; Indochina, India, Burma, the Stans, would all benefit, but that amount slipping through, would not compensate for the hurt coming from the Shanghai and Hong Kong docks being empty of commerce….

Sooner or later, a group within the Chinese leadership, would have attracted enough numbers to challenge the military extremists, and something would crack and diplomacy would then become an option….

Point is, the choice to not attack militarily, is not an act of cowardice…  it is just so smart.  If every American citizen were to follow the Tea Party option and attack China, we would be at a 5 to 1 disadvantage.   But if every citizen in China attacked the ruling party and we were on THEIR side, we would have a 20 to 1 advantage….

nuke 3

Attacking China with economic weapons, is no different than surrounding a castle during a Medieval siege and waiting it out….

Super smart.  One gets the prize for no cost at all…..

That is why China has erred in its calculations… by thinking only in military terms where it does possess all the cards in its favor…

Unfortunately in war…  one does not get to make up all the rules….

Nuke 2Nuke 1

The Commanding Officer Women Would Love To See
This Awesome Live-Action Photo Courtesy of Jesebel

Rick Santorum Says Women Aren’t Fit for Combat Because They’re Just So Emotional

Apparently Rick Santorum said on CNN’s John King:

“I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. And I think that’s probably—you know, it already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat. But I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat, and I think that’s probably not in the best interest of men, women, or the mission.”

Jesebel digresses further, far better than could I….

Can you be more specific about exactly which of the well-known lady emotions will be compromising the mission? Is it the lusty kind of emotion that leads us to give out BJs in the backseats of tanks when we’re supposed to be shooting people? Or is it our ‘fraidy cat emotions that cause us to start crying when things go boom? Or worst of all, is it those “time of the month” emotions which make us so bitchy that we refuse to take orders from our commanding officer? Or maybe it is some witches’ brew combination of all three? Or, even more terrifying, maybe it’s the men that are the problem. Will they be so concerned with being chivalrous that they’ll do something dumb, like try to be a gentleman and hold the helicopter door open for us? There are just so many “feelings”.

140 women have been killed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’ll have to run that through your own special logic machine, but here in reality, where most of us live, it seems like if women are brave enough to die for our country, then we should be good enough to fight for it.

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

Ok,.. Let's Do This!....

Yesterday, Obama was in Dover to grieve the return of those heros who crashed.

It brings up again the argument of why we are there……

There are small truths, and there are Great Truths…

For example, a amall truth may be that your child is on heroin. It will suck away everything you own.

A Great Truth, is that the boy or girl is still your child; you can’t wipe out that fact. You can’t say, “you made your choice; I’m done with you.”

Of course you will get that advice from well meaning friends. They’ll point out the hard facts that your child made his own decisions; that your child bears the responsibility; that your child made his bed and now has to lie in it.

And in the context of small truths,….. they will be right. Why should you cash out your retirement for legal fees, fines, clinics, drying out facilities? Why should you go to bed with a collapsed heart, cleaved by grief, from guilt, from the ghosts of “what could have been?”

But our lives…. are run by “Great Truths”, not small ones.

The “Great Truth” is that:.. “that is always your child”. The “Great Truth” is that: there can always be “hope”. The “Great Truth” is that: miracles do often happen, and when they do, they often leave a trail of good in their wake… The “Great Truth” is that: if you do choose to give up, and stop fighting the fight for “good”, the answer suddenly becomes final. It is over. You were it’s last hope.

But,…. if you never give up, for as long as you keep fighting, it can,… it can have a “good” ending some day. At some point in the future, it will have all been worthwhile…. Every effort, every pain, every tear, will have had its place in history as being a piece of the road that brought you to this marvelous conclusion.

Yes, miracles do happen. They never happen to those who give up.

So the question that needs addressed to the American people, is not symptomatically whether we should or should not get out of Afghanistan….

The question needs to be framed, that as Americans, should we pursue our journey towards a Greater Truth… or collapse upon the recognition of the small truths, and cut our losses…?

Essentially every president faces this test. Dying in quest of achieving a “Great Truth” is worth the lifeblood of every American parent’s children. Losing one’s child in vain, is the opposite.

Our goal in Afghanistan, is not to eliminate Al Qaeda, nor eliminate it’s unwilling ally, the Taliban. Our goal is not to support Karzai, who increasingly is showing himself to be using the vehicles of corruption to keep himself alive…. Our goal is not to isolate Pakistan, which will tend to increase their nuclear paranoia, were a freely independent Afghanistan to do a reach around and engage Pakistan’s arch rival India…..

Our goal is simple… It is to leave Afghanistan in a position where it can rule itself, and rule itself with a power that is not intent on crashing airplanes into our cities……….

It is that simple… We are simply there to protect individual families of Afghanistan from being on the receiving end of terror from either side or warring party, and provide each family with enough security for them to figure out just how to accomplish these goals…..

Yes Afghanistan is a mess now. And yes, there are hopeful signs of a positive conclusion. Those of you who shun the military, probably missed the significance of this teeney, tiny little line in today’s paper…..

“Mohibullah (chief target of the raid) and the unidentified man who fired the shot at the helicopter attempted to flee the country, ISAF said, most likely to Pakistan, but were tracked to a wooded area in a nearby district. Both were killed by an air strike Tuesday, ISAF said.”

That sent a tsunami through the insurgent community.

“Sure you can get lucky and bring down one of our more antiquated helicopters, but don’t expect to be a hero for long. We will find you. We will kill you…”

Every insurgent will think twice the next time, RPG in hand, a helicopter flies over his head…. “Um, not me, too risky. I won’t be the one this time.”

Small truths… Greater truths.

No one ever faults the parent of a child who successfully beats his habit, who drove the streets at night looking for their child on every corner, who stayed by his child through treatment and jail, who supported them right to the end, when finally that child, after all that effort, decides to dry out permanently, and start taking control of their own life.

Walking down our streets at night, asleep in its shadows, lie the sleeping bodies of all those children of parents, who chose to accept the “small truths”, and washed their hands, giving up on them.

That’s pretty much the answer to Afghanistan.

This headline would have cracked me up before November 2nd. But the results of that election raised some interesting questions.

1) Why does the election really say?

2) Who are the Tea Partiers, really?

3) Why was Delaware different?

To get the answer, one had to ignore the media (and those sycophants of causes who butter up to that media). To get the answer one has to go to the people who voted and find out exactly why they felt the frustration and voted the way they did.. The answer, if one takes the time to listen, is that they wanted change. Ironically, as some of you may remember, that was Obama’s message from the last election. 2 years ago we voted Obama in for a change. 2 weeks ago we voted tea partiers in… for a change..

The common denominator between both elections, is that the electorate is unhappy with the status quo.
The common denominator between both elections, is that the Republicans lost big.. first to the Democrats, then to the Tea Partiers.

The Republican Party is in crises. They may lose party leadership battles, adopt or absorb the Tea Party’s doctrine, but from what Tea Partiers are saying, they want nothing to do with Republicans. Here locally, Mike Castle’s and Tom Ross’s bashing proves it. Party activists on the ground floor, see the Republican party only lip syncs to their libertarian streak; then turns a blind eye, tending to keep things locked down in status quo.

Funny thing was, when Tea Partiers talked after the election, as I listened I was agreeing. I was saying to myself, ” Hey, that sounds like me 2007-2008… the exact same thing.’.. For one, Tea Partiers are infuriated that costs for small businesses are climbing, while multinational corporations are able to buy their congressmen to slip in a waver so they can import specialty chemicals duty free. Is that fair? NO. For two, Tea Partiers are infuriated that they had to scrape and scrimp to pay their tax obligations, and Exxon-Mobile was given a $23 Billion dollar tax break during a period when gas was $4.25 a gallon. Is that fair? NO. For three, Tea Partiers are infuriated that the Republican Party, diligently undercut, undermined, and underfunded their candidates, thereby pushing them to independent status. Only after smashing party endorsed candidates, did the Republican Party cold heartedly endorse who ever it was they had on the ballot… Is that fair? NO.

If one looks at the political landscape. .. .. The two parties out there, are the Tea Party and the Democrats. The Republicans are non existent, except in name and corporate donors… Only because of the financing laws as they are today is the Republican organization still a player. Were this the 1850’s, they would be as dead as the Whigs.

Secondly. The wave of Democrats elected to Congress in 2008, meant that some very Republican districts, dismayed with everything the Republicans had done under George W Bush, went blue with the Democrats.

Therefore, during this past session even though their representative was Democrat in name, they were answerable to their conservative electorate. It would he suicidal for those congresspersons to vote for any liberal causes. It appears the restraint of the Blue Dogs wasn’t enough; each of those went back Republican this time around.

Of course Republicans would be fools not to spin this as an indictment of Obama Healthcare and Economic Salvage. After all, they have nothing else going for them. We should expect they spin something positive out of their own collapse, and point out to all that is exactly what they are doing. Though they do so, not everyone out there agrees with them. After all, the electorate remembers the havoc Republicans did to our economy. After all, the electorate remember that Clinton actually helped all five quintiles of America grow richer over his tenure…

They don’t have faith in Republicans. Their faith is in America, ie, as in American values. What they saw over the past two years is that the Democrats were ineffective in making a dent against Republican stall techniques. And so, … they pushed back and made change happen within the party.

So what did the election really say? It says the GOP failing streak has continued. It says the population has no confidence in their leadership. Ironically, the old time Republican values are alive and well. They are in Tea Partiers instead. Those possessing them, are disillusioned that Michael Steele’s official Republican Party, as it stood Nov. 2nd, could deliver.

So who are the Tea Partiers? Most are new at politics. Most came to politics in 2009 as their incomes shrunk back, and tales of stimulus corruption spread rampant. Most are small business persons, either running a family business or a small corporation. From their viewpoint, they see a government still cut back from the Bush years, unable to deliver services while asking for more and more money. And they didn’t see results coming from Democrats.

And Tea Partiers were furious at corporate meddling in the election process. All of them had to plow through tremendous amounts for corporate money thrown against them. All had to overcome big bucks coming from just a few people. All of them are cynical as to how the election process works. I took some comfort, in how in almost every post election interview, the Tea Party candidate emphatically made a point to scold the Republican Party. The Republican party is corrupt. It is bought and owned by corporate interests. It only pretends to want to alleviate peoples pain and suffering, until it gets their votes. Then, it is about assuaging the large corporations who keep their campaigns afloat.

The Tea Partiers realized that money doesn’t vote. People do. And whether for a Tea Partier, or for a Democrat, overwhelmingly, people voted anti-Republican which loosely translated, means they voted anti corporate.

So this is the crystal. Americans are fed up with the corporate takeover of our government. Leave small businesses alone, both Tea Partiers and Democrats say. But stick it to the corporations. They are fed up that a conservative court can scuttle the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. They are fed up with robo calls, fed up with character smearing literature appearing daily in their mailbox, fed up with talk-show blathering ad nauseum, and they know,… they know.. that the only reason that stuff is getting spit out, is because someone with a lot of money is paying someone else to do so.

Money is ruining our politics.

On this Tea Partiers and Liberals agree. They were attacking the exact same problem: the corporate political takeover; just tackling it from two different directions.

Why didn’t Delaware follow this same trend?

Delaware is different. But in a certain way, it did follow the same trend as the nation. Delaware supported Christine O’Donnell while she was an outsider. But as soon as the Republicans stepped in …. she lost that support. Republicans told her not to speak to reporters. She did what they said and lost. Republicans told her not to talk to the media. She did what they said and lost. Had Christine done a full court press with the entire media immediately after her win, and personally engaged in all the attacks with which she was presented, the electorate would have been tired of all that witch stuff by election day and would have begun to listen to her message: that its the people who matter.. In the general election, the voters voted for the anti-Republican: which in this case was Coons.

Vance Phillips lashed out at the Republican leadership. He won. Winners don’t attack their own party unless something is seriously wrong. With Delaware’s Republican party, something is seriously wrong. Vance Phillips is not a corporate sponge. He’s a candidate in touch with his electorate.

Delawareans gave their vote to Coons because he is the better guy. Christine is great, but seeing her standing next to Coons it was obvious to all but her most ardent supporters, that he was simply a better fit for Delaware. Nothing against Christine. Had Tony DeLuca been the Democrat’s choice, she might be sitting in Congress right now..

Likewise, Delawareans gave Flowers the treasurer’s spot because they saw through what Bonini was. Everything bad about the Republican party… he exuded from foot to toe… and it stunk. Against two unknowns, they went for the one which smelled like flowers.

Korn just did not win. Wagner is not a Republican despite whatever political party is attached to his name. He is a good guy, and though very few people know the details of what he does, they do know that he hasn’t messed up anything so far, and therefore between two unknowns, the one currently doing ok appeared to be the safer choice. No doubt, Korn would have made the better auditor. He didn’t make his case out where it could be seen by most of the electorate.

But had Wagner come out like Bonini, spitting Republicanisms left and right.. … Korn would have won.

What’s different in Delaware is that with it’s small size, it has a rather active blogging community. A citizen’s news-rag so to speak, made up of many individuals that simply talk about what they know. In that environment it is hard to spread lies. “Obama is a Socialist”? I don’t think even Urquhart muttered as such. Yet such statements were commonly printed in red state’s editorials, where there is no independent source to discredit that slant. The News Journal tried to spin royally up through the primaries, but Christine O’Donnell flatly put them in their place with her win. They licked their wounds all the way past Nov. 2nd, afraid to get caught propagandizing again….

If you have an outlet for truth to be heard, it usually rises to the top. That is why totalitarian governments work so hard to suppress truth anywhere they find it. If you don’t kill it.. it kills you. In Delaware the electorate had a balanced opinion. They were able to listen to both educated citizens and corporate shills.

They chose wisely.

To succeed this next session. Tea Partiers and Liberals will need to kill corporate money influencing elections. After all, it goes against one of the values instilled by our founding fathers, that our nation would rise, or fall, upon the principal of one man… one vote. We desperately need campaign finance reform eliminating all corporate sponsors from donating to campaigns; so our elected officials can return to worry about what ‘We, the People’ think, and not the thoughts of just a handful of their campaign donors.

Early Technology in Its Infancy
Photo Courtesy of Infoage.com

While researching the Pearl Harbor incident on its 67th anniversary, I came across this vignette. As most of us have heard all the major stories before, I decided to write upon this uneventful sliver of history…

The story goes like this. A large blip appeared to the northwest of the island, the largest blip either of the newly trained radar operators had ever seen… They called Kermit Tyler, the switchboard operator. Having heard Hawaiian music all night and having been told the radio station plays Hawaiian music so the planes can hone in on it….and knowing that a flight of large B17’s was en route, Kermit made the logical conclusion, and said: “Don’t worry about it.”

America’s destiny changed 50 minutes later…

But had he spoken up, little would have changed. There was no method to warn the remote airbases.. none of the ships could have been moved, and considering that no one ever expected the attack to come, one has to consider what the recriminations would be if all the planes had been scrambled, and general quarters sounded across the entire fleet, over a laughable fear that then turned out to be the B17’s after all?

Kermit Tyler was cleared by all boards of inquiry, including the U.S. Congress. His only crime, one constantly faced by every single person on this planet, was that he did not think big enough outside the box, and did not refer the incident or seek additional counsel..

Kermit is 95 today and I believe still occasionally surfs off California… He was planning on surfing after he got off his shift at 8:00 am December 7, 1941, but the war he could not prevent… got in the way…

I see myself as one Kermit Tyler. Perhaps we all do.

To fight against that urge, explains a little why I continue to probe, pick apart, dissect, reformulate, investigate any incident that appears anomalous. Others may dismiss the evidence out of hand. We won’t know who is right until the anomaly has past…rectifying it with some preconceived notion. But if something falls hard into my lap, arbitrarily making me responsible for the welfare of others….. I do all I can… Unfortunately that’s just the way I’m wired…

I know. Sometimes you cluck your tongue and shake your head….and mutter that this intrepid soul has lost it…..

And sometimes you may be right; just don’t expect me to agree with you.

Otherwise, you may be just like the hero of this post…..and with all good intentions….restate his infamous words of historical significance to equal effect.

Hey. “Don’t worry about it…..”

This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.) 🙂

1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.

2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.

3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the continuous guns fell silent…… After years of incoming artillery’s deep, resonant pounding,…..the quiet began. The rare pop of small arms fire,….. faded away. Cautiously a brave soul or two crawled out and stood on top of the trenches. Turning to the other side, they saw the enemy of just a few minutes before, mirroring their own actions…..It was truly over.

Compared to the rest of Europe, the US fared well. Germany, France, Great Britain lost an entire generation of their young men…..

Some dreamed that surely, after such a waste, there never could, or would be such a war again……

It was only a dream…..as history would soon prove……

On this day, there are 22 verified veterans left….worldwide. Four of these are Americans. Soon the last living memories of this war….. will fade away……….

My brush with living memories happened when I was in High School. What the German war machine failed to do………an insignificant clot accomplished. Those who visited, told stories of the dark, turbulent wrestling within the soul……They whispered of an alert mind, albeit one locked in the year 1917 from which it would ultimately and peacefully escape…. They spoke in hushed tones of an old man, possessing enormous strength, incapable of being subdued by even the hospital’s largest orderlies……They told of the soldier’s enterprising son, who climbing back into those years to be with him, and navigating the treacherous barbed wire memories, peacefully calmed him down, until the old soldier finally accepted that his war was over, and quietly signed his own armistice with God………..

We learned he had suffered from shell shock as they called it then, spending the post-war years in a sanitarium somewhere in occupied Germany, of the bland letters to his wife and unseen child back home, letters whose lack of substance during this vapid time, played rabidly on her fears of another women…..

We heard stories of involuntary reactions, occurring some twenty years later…of a face, framed by white hair, turned scarlet in the middle of a social gathering, when someone absently said, “Oh that was during the war.”

And then there were the personal effects, a letter rapidly written in German by a dying officer, with our hero’s first name mentioned as being the one entrusted to make sure the letter got back to his wife, a letter that said the war would soon be over for him, that the only important thing he hung onto as he crossed over to the the other side, were the times he and she had shared together……..As kids we used to march around in a dough boy’s hat, and a genuine spiked Prussian helmet. (the originals were all black, by the way, no silver.)

And then the youngest son, who came along after our soldier had mellowed somewhat, told of stumbling with his dad, across a model of one battlefield, I think it was Belleau Wood, and how that opened up the memories which, pent up for years, calmly flowed out unrepressed, with no emotional consequences.

Through this, we heard the story of a young officer defying a direct order to attack, solely because the objective was unattainable and trying to attempt it, would wipe out every one of his men….Who opting, instead of facing a firing squad, to have himself crawl into no mans land……accompanied only by his sergeant who had stood steadfast with him during this ordeal only to get ripped apart minutes later, had to lie there for two days protected under the warm, safe body which occasionally absorbed a well placed bullet, kept safe by only the tiniest rise of land preventing a direct shot…..

The story of showing up in France, and leading the AEF’s first attack, upon a fortified hill surrounded by the Meuse, and succeeding…..

Those memories didn’t die….they passed and took seed in another generation. Today they lie embedded in one more, a generation who once again questions the “why” of war.

Like his grandfather before him, this person too was brought up under a religion that seem to question war and tell us to “turn the other cheek.” Like his grandfather before him, this person too believes that sometimes there is no greater duty, than to give one’s life for one’s country……..How are these two, supposedly opposite points of view, ever to be reconciled?

We know that Jesus allowed his disciples to carry swords. During the final days, when he asks the disciples if they have a sword, and Peter shows two, he says that is enough…..But later that night when Peter uses his sword to protect Jesus and cuts off a servant’s ear, Jesus tells him sternly. “Put that away. We will have no more of that…”

Fascinating. This duality starts from the beginning of the Christian religion itself.

Throughout history, the worst wars fought have been religious ones. The longest animosities, the ones considered too hard to bury, are those originally pricked by religion….

When we are told to turn the other cheek, perhaps we are to do that on a personal level…. By doing so, hoping that we show others, just how deeply we believe these principals . Perhaps this line of thought recognizes that we are each small instruments of change; but a change of heart in multitudes of men, can implement massive changes…..Therefore doing a self deprecating act, such as dying for another, or carrying an enemy soldier’s bag an extra mile, can have a much greater impact overall, than another killing and the loss of one dead soldier…..

But as a nation of free people we have another responsibility. That responsibility is to ensure that justice, (or that which is right),… prevails over evil, (or that which is wrong)…. As some of you may note, there is a wide play of interpretation in just exactly what is right, and what is wrong…..

But for a strong nation to appease a despot like Stalin, Hitler, or those tyrants in Burma, does exactly the opposite of performing justice. Instead it shows others, despite our words, that we implicitly support these evil regimes, and in doing so, we fail to send hope and inspiration to those who fight, to right the wrongs caused by their misguided leaders….

War enacted by a political state is sometimes a necessity, the last remaining line of defense against the selfish designs of a demented few. Less pain and suffering worldwide, can be bandaged by enacting war, than by allowing open wounds to fester, rot, and spread their evil infection elsewhere.

Therefore as a nation, the United States must occasionally gamble all of it’s resources in the ultimate test…. One must on occasion risk all, to determine whether all was worthy to be risked……

Any nation is only as good as its foot soldiers,…. its grunts. Those choice veterans I know, with whom I’ve hugged, laughed, and cried, …… continue to reinforce the notion I once had as a child: that based on the quality of people who put their lives on the line for this nation, we are truly the best nation to have ever lived upon this planet……..