The chronicle of a dark and dangerous journey through a world gone mad.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

On President Trump and Eating Crow

During the last election, I vehemently opposed Trump.  I had good reasons.  Donald Trump showed no reasonable qualifications for the job except enough money to run without party support.  He has a problematic past.  And, he found much of his appeal in a class of voter that represents what is wrong with American politics.  There was simply no good reason to predict that a Donald Trump presidency would be anything short of a disaster.

But, to my shock and amazement, Donald Trump has governed very well.  He has done many of the things that other presidential candidates promised without actually intending to carry through.  He has governed wisely, if brashly, and exposed both the GOP and deep state for what they are. 

Trump's presidency has been plagued with deep state coups, GOP recalcitrance and absolute, violence in streets, war by the left.  Another GOP candidate probably wouldn't have generated this intense, visceral antipathy.  But, another GOP candidate might not have actually kept his word to the voters.  None have in my memory.

So, I have to say that I fully support Donald Trump as my president and will continue to do so as long he was governs well.  Had I known then what I know now, I would probably have voted for him warts and all. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Same War, Same Sides, Just Different Tactics .....

It was a steamy summer night in July, 1968 when I stood in a room with a dozen other guys of my age, faced the flag, came to attention, raised my hand and uttered the following words:

"I, (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

It was a solemn moment.  I wasn’t really happy about it.  I had a steady job, a beautiful girlfriend that I knew I was going to marry sooner or later and a brand new Camaro Z-28.  I didn’t want to leave them.  It was 1968 for heaven’s sake.  A wild time.  Peace, love and rock and roll.  Crazy things happened.  I had plans for my life.  I wanted to finish my engineering degree, become a Naval Aviator, get married and then become an airline pilot.

But, there was a hitch.  The tiny, wide spot in the road high school that I graduated from barely prepared its better graduates for entry into a backwoods teacher college much less engineering school.  It was particularly deficient in math and science.  The day I enrolled in college, I was two years behind the other students and I never caught up.  In 1968, if you weren’t making “satisfactory progress” (making passing grades in class level courses for your major) you were subject to the draft.  And, this was back in the day when you had to actually demonstrate proficiency in difficult subjects like calculus, organic chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, etc. to pass.  I couldn’t cut it in college and a letter from the local draft board was in the works when I enlisted. The fact that a year or so of remedial courses would have put my academic career and life back on track meant nothing.  Thirty years would pass before I finally earned a degree.

And, I wasn’t happy about the war.  I had no moral or ethical objections.  I had planned to serve in the military after I finished college.  I was far from being a hippy.  But, along with many of the better minds at the time including a chorus from inside the military, I knew in my gut that Viet Nam was a terrible mistake that would kill a lot of fine young men and still not end well for the U.S. or change much in the region.  I had read General Douglas MacArthur’s warning about getting involved in a land war in Asia and thought it made a lot of sense.

A lot of people avoided the draft.  Some broke the law and went to Canada.  Some tried the conscientious objector route.  Some faked injuries.  An amazing number of high school and college athletes were physically unfit for military service even though they had just played a season of their sport with taped knees, shoulders and ankles.  Some produced evidence of mental unfitness with the help of a sympathetic psychiatrist.  A few claimed to be homosexual.

Others found a “third way.  Some favorite sons with influence would hold a “frat party” where they would allegedly get drunk and do something stupid like joyride a conveniently placed vehicle.  There would be a quiet plea bargain (nothing in the papers of course) and a felony conviction that would later be expunged by a cooperative judge as a “youthful indiscretion.”  Some guys even went to seminary.  One these would be ministers I knew of, while still attending seminary, got drunk as a lord on a Saturday night and shot out most of the street lights in his hometown.  

But that was not for me and there I was standing before a U.S. flag literally swearing my life away.  Why did I do it?  Because it was still my country and my country was at war.  It was one of those rare binary decision moments where conscience requires that you choose a side.  I chose duty, honor and country.

The effects of that choice were soon overwhelming.  After boot camp, I was temporarily assigned to a destroyer on the west coast.  At the time, Naval Regulations still required that enlisted men leave the ship in uniform.  Unofficially of course, we were warned that it was not safe to walk around Long Beach, California in uniform so the command would “look the other way” concerning civilian clothes.  The implication hit me like a ton of bricks.  The Viet Nam war was being fought right here in the streets of the U.S as well as in Southeast Asia.  The folks who “opposed the war” by demonstrating, burning draft cards, and beating up military personnel were every bit as much the enemy as the Viet Cong.  It was the same war and the same sides just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.  

A few months later, I was in San Francisco.  You never forget the first time you pull real guard duty.  I was assigned to walk a section of shore on the Treasure Island Naval Station in San Francisco Bay.  Constant shore watches were necessary because the peaceful hippie types over in the city were given to rowing over and trying to burn down buildings, damage equipment and generally disrupt operations at the base.  I remember a conversation with a huge black Marine who was back from Viet Nam and now assigned to security at the Naval Station.  He told me, “You cain’t have no mercy on dem punks.  If dey come across yore line you gotta get dat stick goin’ and take their asses down.”  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.

A year later, I was home-ported on the East Coast.  One of the first missions I was involved in was landing Marines at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station a few days after the vicious race riots there.  A group of militant blacks had mutinied, beaten a bunch of people up, destroyed a lot of property and generally disrupted operations at the base.  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.

My ship’s “alternate home-port” in winter was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.  This was very pleasant duty.  But it had a real dark side.  Puerto Rico has always had a strong, communist backed “resistance movement.”  Americans tend to forget that Puerto Rican terrorists once shot up a bunch of congressmen in Washington D.C. and were plotting to assassinate President Truman.  FALN terrorists promised to kill one sailor or marine from each U.S. ship that docked in Puerto Rico every time they docked.  They often made good on their promise.  So, we went on liberty in groups and always watched the alleys and shadows.  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.

Around Christmas one year, we docked in a large South American port.  We had an unusual cargo, several large pallets of reconditioned toys from the Marines Toys for Tots campaign and tons of surplus C and 10 in 1 rations that were to be distributed to charitable organizations in country.  We were also training the local counter-terrorism forces in amphibious and riverine warfare.  I had shore patrol duty.  We were stationed around town at strategic places where it was deemed safer for our sailor and marines to enjoy their liberty.  We were transported around town by the local military in former U.S. Army six-by trucks with the canvas covers pulled tight so the locals couldn’t see us.  Unfortunately, on a Saturday night word got out about what route would be taken and we found our passage blocked in a town square.  We were quickly surrounded by a couple of thousand shouting, cursing, demonstrating locals.  Luckily, we were “escorted” by a squad of dead eyed, submachine gun armed local security troopers who kept the crowd from killing us.  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.

During that same week in that same port, my partner and I walked into an upscale European style hotel bar to rest for a moment.  A well dressed, obviously wealthy young man offered to buy us a drink.  We were about the same age.  We cautiously explained that we were on duty and could not consume alcohol.  He then offered to buy us a coke and explained that he just wanted to visit with some Americans and practice his English.  As we chatted, he told us that his family owned a large estancia (agri-business ranching operation) up in the highlands where there was an unpublicized but bitter little shooting war going on with communist backed FARC guerillas.  The terrorists were given to doing horrible things to people of his social class.  Unlike Americans of his class, this man had seen communism first hand and he hated it and the people who espoused it with a white hot passion.  As we left, he said he just wanted to thank us for being there and training the local security forces.  It was genuine gratitude we would often not receive in the states.  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.  

And then one day it was over, or at least I thought it was.  I was back home in civilian clothes, trying to put a life put on hold back together again.  But while I was gone.  America had changed.  The war on the streets of America had not ended simply went into a different phase.  The guys who had had avoided service outright or found their “third way” now had degrees and jobs and positions of power.  They were professors at the colleges returning GI’s had to attend and managers in the businesses where they sought jobs.  The hippies were now socially acceptable and even favored. 

The attitude of the nation had changed.  Veterans were looked upon with fear and avoidance and sometimes even shame.  The “establishment” (meaning at that time American culture and values) was now the enemy.  Just as we had lost the land war in Viet Nam we had also lost the culture war on the streets of America.  My generation of veterans would not receive the same welcome or get the same boost in putting their lives back together our fathers had enjoyed.  We sneaked home through airports, changed quickly into civilian clothes and tried to act like it had all never happened.  We hid our veteran status and avoided conversations about our service.  We basically just went to ground.  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.

It took me a while to realize that I had changed too.  I had been driven into hiding on the streets of my own country simply for wearing my country’s uniform.  I had been forced to take up arms against fellow Americans who hated me for protecting them.  I had walked the streets of a U.S. Territory knowing that there were people in the shadows who would kill me for simply being there.  I had walked the streets of foreign countries surrounded by people who hated all Americans, particularly the American military, for nothing more than being Americans.

If I learned nothing else, I had learned to spot my enemies both foreign and domestic.  When I heard an American college professor spouting Marxist bullshit I knew that he was just a front for the guys who burned villages, killed priests and castrated village leaders in other parts of the world.  When I saw pretty college girls who spit in soldier’s faces and called them baby-killers I knew that they were just useful idiots enabling the punks in the alleys who lay in wait for uniformed service people.  When I saw the professional athlete who converted to Islam and refused to serve in the military I knew that he was nothing more than a propaganda tool of the worldwide Marxist movement.  They were all the same.  Same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different place and moment in time.

You see, the Viet Nam war never really ended.  Viet Nam was only an outbreak of the larger cold war pitting Marxism against American style constitutional government.  The Marxists are patient.  They have waited, working quietly, producing a generation of Americans who are so stupid that they can be manipulated into a lynch mob by simply uttering code words and phrases coupled with meaningless accusations.

As I write, it is happening all over again.  America is being torn apart by a group of over-paid, badly behaved, under-educated, professional athletes who don’t even know what they are protesting only that they are black and need to protest something.  They and the idiots who support them don’t realize that they are being used by people with far different motives and that they are nothing more than the socially acceptable propaganda front for the street thugs killing cops, burning neighborhoods and destabilizing the whole nation.  And the team owners, the media and a lot of America are desperately and even militantly seeking yet another "third way" compromise that will prevent them from finally having to choose one side or the other in the long and never ending culture war for nations and souls.

In the last generation the enemy was the military and they destroyed it.  We will never again have a citizen military like the one that served our country faithfully for generations.  The Viet Nam years made it impossible.  The enemy now is the police.  With amazing speed, these Marxist pawns are now destroying our local police departments.  And all I can say is …… same war, same sides, just different tactics for a different moment in time.         

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Facing Southern Demons

Part of the challenge of being an intellectual southerner is learning to face your demons for what they are and then having confronted them retain the best of your culture without revising your history or burning it down. The famous author Forrest Carter wrote poignantly about the complex relationship between Cherokees and the larger culture in his award winning novel "The Education of Little Tree." In earlier years, this book reached near scriptural authority with liberals. Carter also wrote the novellas upon which arguably the best western movie ever filmed was based, "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Again, he put a human face on violent and marginalized people whose side of the story was never told.
Carter was a brilliant student of southern culture and his analysis of the Celtic influence on Southern Hill Culture deserves a place on your bookshelf. (If you can find a copy of his work that hasn't been ceremonially trashed by a PC librarian.) LINK TO ARTICLE

But, there was another side to Forest Carter. Before he became the darling of the liberals for his sensitive writing about the state of Native Americans he went by anther name, Asa Earl Carter. Asa Earl Carter was a hard core segregationist, a major figure in the "League of the South" movement, a Klansman and the speech writer for George Wallace. It was Carter who penned the words, "Segregation now. Segregation forever."

So how do you reconcile the bitter racist bigot Carter with the man who wrote so sensitively about Cherokee culture? How do you come to grips with the brilliant novelist who also had a terrible past? In some cases you don't. He was what he was. But, his work also is what it is.

So, you take his work on face value, read it critically in light of his background and learn what you can from it. You don't burn the books and the movies and you don't dig up his bones and scatter them on a trash heap. You praise him for what he did well and reject what he did wrong.

Carter died in a drunken bar fight in Southern Texas, perhaps a fitting end for such a talented, complicated and sometimes violent man.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Colwell, Iowa .... Who are you and what do you want?

For the past several days, I have been subjected to continual data scrutiny from a web address in, of all places, Colwell, Iowa. Colwell, Iowa is a tiny place near the Wisconsin border with a population of about seventy people distributed in thirty or so households. There are five numbered streets and two avenues.

Regional law enforcement authorities tell me that there is just not much up there. There's a bar, a Church of Christ and a grain elevator. They were amazed that somebody in Colwell could be running a web bot. 

This is a message to the person in Colwell, Iowa who is running the web bot. Instead of cyber stalking, why don't you just contact me? You can contact me by personal message on Facebook.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Holding Back The Darkness

I seldom read the Cherokee Phoenix.  But yesterday, I saw a copy in the Catoosa tribal tag office and the headline drew me in.  By executive fiat alone, the Cherokee  Nation has approved homosexual marriage.

I have a bit of an interest in that headline.  A dozen or so years ago, the Cherokee Nation's pastors rose up and told tribal leadership that should they approve homosexual marriage, they would oppose them.  The church is a powerful force in the real Cherokee Nation.  Many pastors threatened the nuclear option of refusing to perform tribal marriages.  As the matter progressed, native pastors from all over the Cherokee Nation met in churches and promised to oppose tribal leadership.  Feelings ran high and there was no doubt that tribal leaders were going to pay a high political price for ignoring the will of their constituents if they went ahead.

I have intimate knowledge of these events and issue because I was there.  I was those pastor's attorney.  But, like most things involving Native American issues, this project was a neglected step child of the splashier gay marriage cases in big cities.  Our battle was fought and won in the sanctuaries and fellowship halls of Cherokee churches deep in the Cookson Hills not a courtroom.  And when it was over, the national Christian civil rights law firm I was working for did not approve most of my expenses or bills for my time.  

It is hard to describe the commitment of those Cherokee pastors who stopped gay marriage in its tracks.  When you get away from the politicians, gambling operators and left wing opportunist, the Cherokee Nation is really a pretty Christian place.  The local church is often the social center of the small villages and townships in Eastern Oklahoma.  The hymns are often still sung in Cherokee and the theology is usually both sound and conservative.  Very conservative.  They don't follow the surrounding communities practice of preaching one thing and then doing something else. In the hills of Eastern Oklahoma, if you don't keep your word you're not welcome.  Their "yea"is "yea" and their "nay" is "nay."  The pastors and church leaders I met during that project made me truly proud to be a member of the tribe.  If I had to do it all over, I would be there again in a heartbeat and pay for it out of my pocket again.

But now, by what amounts to executive fiat, homosexual marriage is legal in the Cherokee Nation.  As the story in the Cherokee Phoenix said, "times change and people change."  But, that change is not always for the better.  The only thing certain about this decision is that the winds of political change have shifted.

If I could talk to those brave pastors now I would say, "Brothers, do not be discouraged.  We fought a good fight and won our battle.  We held back the darkness for over ten years.  The fight is not over it has only changed battlegrounds.  It is time to exercise your "nuclear option" by not recognizing or performing these so called marriages. You still have your pulpits and you are still the strongest grass roots political force in the Nation.   Use those tools to tell your tribal leadership to go back to their politics, casinos and high flying business deals and stay out of marriage and the church."

Gurahiyi my brothers.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Navigator, what's the course?

Many of my friends are urging me to shut up, hold my nose and support Donald Trump because, even though he is a thoroughly despicable, dishonest and dishonorable human being, we must support the "course" the GOP represents.  Well, as an ex (short time) navigator's helper on a sea going vessel, I have examined the GOP's course and that is the problem.

In navigation, there are two separate terms for the direction you are steering the pointy end of the ship.  One is heading, that is the direction that the bow is pointed at that particular moment.  The other is the course, or to make it clearer the "base course."  That is the direction you want to go.  Your heading may change constantly while maintaining your base course.  You may ease off a few points one way or another to ease the motion of the ship.  You steer one direction off the base course for a while and then make it up by steering the same amount the other direction, all the while maintaining the same base course.  Or, you may be facing strong winds and have to steer a few points off the base course to "crab" along sideways on the base course.  This happens more often in aircraft than ships.

So, let's take a look at the base course of the GOP.  Every president since Ronald Reagan has steered the GOP on a leftward course.  When it was necessary, they would change headings a bit to make the ride a little easier, but the base course always remained the same, just a few points to the right of the Democrats.  So, given that, no matter which party was in power and which distasteful candidate the GOP tried to foist upon the electorate, the Democrats have actually been steering the ship the entire time.  The destination is Europe. (literally European style socialism)  The course changes demanded by either party will only determine whether you make landfall at Rotterdam or Antwerp.

The GOP claims to be the pro life party but in decades of  controlling both houses and the White House, Roe v. Wade remains stronger than ever. The GOP claims to be the party of traditional family values but with control of both houses and the White House the gay rights movement has completely won the culture war.  The GOP claims to be the part of fiscal conservatism and yet, even before Obama, the GOP House, Senate and White House had no stomach for fiscal reform.  And finally, while the GOP claims to be the party of conservative judicial nominees, if you check the record, our worst Supreme Court decisions were decided by majority GOP appointed courts.  And that doesn't even take Justice Roberts and the Obama Care betrayal into account.  The bottom line is that the GOP has lied to the voters and continues lying.  If you continue to believe a known liar you are deluding yourself and will get what you deserve.

Donald Trump does not represent a major course change.  Until he decided to run for president he was a sharp dealing, Hillary supporting, gun grabbing, mobbed up, philandering, crooked New York real estate speculator.  Once elected, he will revert to his natural inclinations.

If you don't like the direction a ship is taking and the officers in charge are constantly engaged in vicious arguments, NOT ABOUT A COURSE CHANGE BUT A HEADING CHANGE, then you are on the wrong ship.  If you don't want to go to Europe, it is time to jump ship because your leaders are just arguing at best about which port in Europe you are going to wind up in. And at worst, they are arguing about the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Shrinking World

Most afternoons, I allow myself an hour at a local coffee shop.  I sip a tall iced coffee, eat a small cookie, glance at the headlines on the overhead television screen and then settle in to spend a quiet hour or so in the company of my Kindle. Sometimes, this is the high point of my day.  It is my daily indulgence if you will, my non spiritual quiet time.

The employees all know me.  I guess I am the "Norm" of this little "Cheers."  When the employees see me coming, they often change the satellite radio station to the Sinatra Channel or doo wop because they know I like it. I am usually the only person in the room except for employees.  It is normally quiet, friendly and peaceful. 

However, of late, there have been problems in my sanctuary.  For one thing, a Muslim intellectual
from a nearby university has taken to hanging around about the same time that I usually show up.  Americans would call him a lay missionary for his zeal in engaging unwitting passersby in conversations about the wisdom of Islam and the popular misconceptions concerning the "religion of peace." If you let him go long, he will quickly lead you into the five pillars of Islam in all of their glory and do it all with his face six inches from yours, his hot breath wafting over your face.  I have had to cut my respite short  twice in the past week to avoid him.

Today, I decided to show up half an hour early to avoid him.  Moments after I arrived, an inspector with the Tulsa County Health Department came in.  She was an attractive, very well dressed middle aged lady.  After a brief inspection she sat down at the table next to me to write her report. We exchanged a few pleasantries.  I apologized for appearing to stare at her and explained that the television set was directly over her head and I was following the news story being shown.

A few moments later, a loud young Millenial drove up on a motorcyle with a casually well dressed black girl on the b*tch seat.  He had the typical man bun/ponytail sexually androgenous look of his ilk and she looked for all the world like an up and coming feminist studies or black studies professor in the making.  She definitely looked like she was the alpha (insert gender appropriate non-offensive gender choice pronoun here) in that relationship.

First, the male appearing Millenial tried to engage the Health Department worker in conversation.  She brushed him off.  The couple then sat down on a sofa a few feet away and he said loudly to me, "I see you are wearing a gun.  What kind is it?'  I replied that I did not want to discuss it.  He then said, "Oh, I guess you just like to brandish it."

What is itabout this generation that forces them to make an issue out of things they don't understand?  Make no mistake, the question the Millenial asked was not designed to get gun info.  The words "Glock 43 Gen 4 with a 25 cent trigger job in a Blade Tech Kydex IWB holster" would not have satisfied him. I doubt that he would have really understood them. His body language, eyes and speech patterns all indicated a liberal troll on the make to start an argument or create a scene that could not end well for me no matter what happened. 

To say that I was angry does not begin to describe my feelings.  I wanted to say a lot of things like, "You're an idiot if you think my sitting here in the corner quietly reading my Kindle with two inches of gun butt sticking out of my waistband under the table is brandishing a weapon."  I really wanted to say, "Bud, open carry is legal in Oklahoma especially and while I don't do it often, I am licensed to carry this weapon just about any way any time I choose to."

But, I didn't say anything.  Talking to jerks like that usually only escalate an already degrading situation. I just began pulling my shirt tail out over my weapon.  However, as I did that I asked myself, "Why are you accommodating this jerk?" The peace of my quiet time had been broken.  There was no need for me share space with that type of jerk.  I simply packed up and and walked away, muttering under my breath.

But sadly, my world gets smaller and more annoying all of the time.