RANGER AGAINST WAR <

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Vision Thing


It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing
--Macbeth, Shakespeare

I get bored
A wish for a real one
--Bored, The Deftones
____________________

Subtitle: Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

There is rampant speculation that the Democratic Party needs to develop a vision for the future.

Having thought relentless disdain and opprobrium toward their opponent and a sense of entitlement to the job good ways to sail into the White House (not), some are scabbing today onto that tone-deaf repertoire the thought that it might just be a good idea to mount a vision-quest.

To actually have something to offer the voter which is substantive, believable, forward-thinking, and more appealing than that offered by their opponent. Since the Democrats lost in 2016, it seems fair to say they failed in that mission.

But what they did well was obloquy, and they cut their teeth on their favorite catch dog, Mr. Trump. For those who do not know the "sport" of dog fighting, the catch dog is the designated loser, thrown into the pit for all of the other dogs to hone their fighting skills.

What they failed to see was, too many of We the People have become the catch dogs in the ring of life, and those people saw a vision of themselves in the pit.

None of the arrogant and privileged candidates spoke for them, and they knew it. For them, life continues to constrict, and Democrats have been on station during the devolution of their lives.

Candidate Clinton offered empty words that offered nary a drop of water to the thirsty.

So this "vision" will supposedly energize the system, allowing democracy to flourish and prevail. Great concept, but what about today?

Without a rock solid today, will there even be a tomorrow worth a hill of beans?

The Democrat's mission is a garbled transmission. One may not continue down the path of invective (their entrenched losing strategy), yet also build something credible and positive at the same time.

Speaking on the 2012 Presidential election, Mr. Trump recognized that meanness of spirit was not a winning strategy. Speaking of the Democrat's position on illegal immigrants he said, “They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind” (unlike their Republican opponents).

They are no longer kind.

Their continued divided efforts show them to have a tin ear, for the voters they lost already divined that the party's sole goal was a win, and not a desire for a better tomorrow for them.

There is no tomorrow without a today.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Into the Bray


No I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground
--I Won't Back Down,
Tom Petty

He goes out at night with his big boots on
None of his friends know right from wrong
--Rehumanize Yourself,
The Police

You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon
--Sugar Mountain,
Neil Young 
_____________________

Subtitle: What We Have Lost.


An unsung casualty of the 2016 election season is humor, that great American salve. R.I.P.

In its place, we have gained a robust factory system of bilge and bile production, delivered by rough performers who dance like marionette puppets to a Democratic laugh track.

When did the take-down of American humor happen? Probably, it was not a discrete event, but a slow and inexorable disappearance. One might look to humorist Jon Stewart, for a start.

In a 2009 Time poll, 44% of Americans said Stewart was their most trusted "newsman". Then Stewart admitted his piker status after his chummy interview and later socializing with Paula Broadwell failed to suggest to him her improper relationship with later disgraced General David Petraeus.

In his blind arrogance, Stewart said of his oversight, "I am the worst journalist in the world." Actually, Mr. Stewart is no journalist at all. At his best, he was amusing, and he left the stage last year before things turned ugly for the fake newsters.

And so we now have entertainers-cum-newsmen like Stephen Colbert getting his props for offering dreck that even a site like "Stormfront" would not proffer. Can you imagine him aiming this grotesque twaddle at President Obama or Mrs. Clinton? (Didn't think so.)

Our airwaves are filled with carnival barkers. Like emcees at a Cafe Risque midnight show, they grow increasingly outrageous in an attempt to keep us awake, tuned in and Twitter-fed.

Humor, satire, civility, and even sanity have left the stage. Many of my associates go snow-blind when they simply hear the name "Trump". Fury, anger, disgust ... I am not sure what overtakes them. The voices rise and, predictably comes the response, "I am so TIRED of hearing about Trump!"

And so they are, for they have been blasted from every one of their media outlets with the unfitness of the man and the supposed unreality and illegality of the election results since last year. At the mention of his name they recoil, for they know the drill -- the inevitable onslaught to follow.

Pain is anticipated, so woe be it to the person who attempts any dialog about the new President outside of a Ft. Bragg bunker playing Lili Marlene, for you are now persona non grata amongst your Democratic fellows. Perhaps they think such a person a troublemaker, callow, or naive?

Ire aimed at this President has become a self-licking ice cream cone.This is operant conditioning, and we have been brainwashed, en masse.

Someone who might buy simplistic slogans like "HOPE" and "CHANGE", or "Make America Great Again?" Pshaw! Perish the thought that anyone could be such a rube, eh? That's the domain of folks like, um, factory workers (do they still exist here?)

Yet the Democrats howl on command as the cant grow ever more tragedic, in the face of little or no facts. Meanwhile, in this fetid environment, the insinuations grow ever larger.

When the pattern of media lies was emerging, Lisa thought to take notes. However, it quickly reached pandemic proportions, and keeping track would have been a fool's errand. Bowing out is the only sane move.

However, before leaving, here are three idiosyncratic examples of why:


1.) When a member of peaceful group of Trump supporters was pepper-sprayed in Huntington Beach (CA) late March, the head was, "Riot Breaks Out at Trump Rally". Now, an ingenue might envision a David Duke sort of fervor, and some gentle liberals -- the sort who used to put daisies in National Guard rifle barrels --being bullied for their non-violent witness.

But it was the other way 'round, and the press identified the attacker of the woman at the peaceful gathering as a "counter-protester". But one must have a "protest" in order to have it's opposite, and the celebrants were NOT protesters.

So the press lied, in order to sow confusion in the reader's mind.

How would the press have covered a pepper spray attack upon a jubilant celebration of President Obama's election? Would the press call them, "racist"? Perhaps, "jack-booted Aryan thugs?" Certainly, they would be "protesters", and not "anti-protesters".

In a final filip, as if to justify their slanted coverage, the article's coda mentions that the protester's numbers are legion nationwide, compared to those who support the President. How is this conjecture relevant to the news piece?


2.) In a recent NYT Magazine piece about Facebook's effect upon the electioneven Farhood Manjoo has been forced to sacrifice his reporter's impartiality in service of The Story.

In the piece, Facebook is indicted for the rise of right-wing fanaticism, which is blamed for electing Trump. The election of Trump was the main offense: how Zuck's "news feed" algorithm might have aided conservatives ... that's all.

The story brushed aside the angry democrats who remain so because they are trapped in the bubble of the vanity "news feed".


3.) Michael Moore, erstwhile spokesman for the Little Guy, asks "What Would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Say About Trump?" He posits that he might cry -- which is laughable, were it not so blind. Moore gives us the horsehair shirt his followers want.

But I suggest Rev. King would say, "Let's reach out to our next President. He is our brother."

He would probably form a wonderful relationship with the new President, and appeal to the nation to cease its hatred and riven-ness; to stop the tomfoolery of an "Us vs. Him" mentality. (Mr. Trump has never shown any racial animus.)

He would forefront the plight of the American black which became inadvertently highlighted by violence in President Obama's term. In his own words, he would say let us stop pretending that it was all skittles and beer under Mr. Obama, or that it would have been so under Mrs. Clinton.

She lost the election. Now get on with it. We have work to do.

THAT'S what he'd say.


Democrats --- historical protectors of those who have been trammeled -- have now become the jackals and hyenas doing the trammeling. They are turning us on each other, so we do not ask, "What is really going on here?"

We are allowed neither solidarity nor peace. We have become Sunnis and Shiites (with the occasional Kurd), because that is all the news will allow for us.

Ironically, the Democratic base which has been animated to expulse the daily rot regarding their President is predominately the low- to center middle class, the very people who have been sold down the river by the glutted and disingenuous Democratic Party, a party which has not spoken for them for many years now.

They feel that mutant freaks like Charles Pierce speak for them as they crank up the band of their not very merry pranksters day by day, running their hamster wheel as fast as they can.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Disunited States of America

--Aesop's Scorpion and Froggy

Oh, I used to be disgusted
And now I try to be amused
--Red Shoes
Elvis Costello

Change your heart
Look around you
--Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime,
Beck

Tell me about your despair, yours,
and I will tell you mine
--"Wild Geese",
Mary Oliver
____________________________

[A caveat: when I write about the 2016 election, I am usually indicted as being pro-Trump. I did not campaign for any candidate. I have only sought to highlight the willful blindness and the anger and sorrows now rending our nation. The loss of a viable Democratic Party saddens me.

I continue in that vein ...]

Something new and ugly entered our national dialog in 2016 when The Atlantic (an otherwise respectable magazine) began running Charles Pierce's malignant invective masquerading as political commentary.

Pierce became an early organ grinder revving up the anti-Trump bloc, his bottomless black soul fueling his seemingly endless hate-filled diatribes to ever more grotesque lows. Licking his bloody claws, he became an early pied piper of no-holds-barred "false news" set, emboldening the loutish Left to take up residence in that dark Neverland.

As the Republican's Stable of Sixteen began dropping off, a paranoid fear possessed the intelligentsia of the Left. Though they professed a sure knowledge of Hillary Clinton's win (lukewarmly tapped heir-apparent by outgoing President Obama), concomitantly Trump became their sole focus, not of an intellectually rigorous debate, but of a very personal character assassination.

Inverted Willy Horton-esque ads were run by the DNC, one featuring a black girl alone in a room, terrified before an image of Trump. Hillary was re-cast as a stand-by-your-man kind of woman (the Other Hillary was so 1992), beaming at her milquetoast man, Tim Kaine.

Her campaign signs showed the candidate's names in pale blue small font on a mat of navy blue, so innocuous that one need almost squint to make them out. By any means necessary, as Clinton traded in her feminist bona fides in her stoop to conquer.

Of course it didn't work out for her, but the detritus in her wake is punting every which way to slake their fury over their sense of entitlement, derailed. In truth they have nothing to beat their drums about, as the election was an orderly and legal affair (unlike the Supreme Court decision in Gore vs. Bush, 2000.)

But they are so stoked up, they cannot come down. White entitlement rears its ugly head again as the liberal partisans fight on, rending their country in the process. Unlike the righteous anger (if one allows that) of the blacks in a Ferguson, MO scenario, the liberal whites have no cause for their anger against Mr. Trump and their fellow Americans who voted him into office.

It is a sad and pathetic show to witness the whites co-opting black anguish. They haven't a clue as to what real pain is, though they experience their thwarted proxy ambitions thusly.

The liberals are behaving so typically liberal. For the previous eight years of President Obama's administration they have seen black pain and anger ride the front pages. They have seen people upload shootings onto their Facebook, up close and personal. They want in on that, and think to do it in concert with their marginalized fellows.

Perhaps they feel their anger is in the service of some amorphous larger good, maybe something like, "We can't believe our candidate didn't win, because she's all over that human rights thing. (Except, of course, when the brown people might be deemed "bad men" from other countries. Different story there.)

A small analogy: Lisa recently volunteered in a program aimed at helping first-time juvenile offenders avoid a record by attending a "non-violent communications" program. While the program has merit, it is led by by non-'hood white people. The leader broke down in tears one day so flummoxed was she by her high attrition rate and general "lack of presence" (her term).

After an uncomfortable silence during which many left the room, one of the participants said, "My 14 year-old brother in court today tryin' to get custody of his kid; I jes' got slapped with more charges for things I didn't do ..."

What he was saying was, "You live in a different world, lady. You got nothing to cry about."

Much like today's cliquish liberal whiners: You have NO idea, so get over this sullenness and show some dignity for your nation.

Your whines and rants are pathetic, elitist and out of touch. You show solidarity with none so much as your own privileged fellows. As Fargo's fictional Police Chief Marge Gunderson said, "And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it."

Why do the liberals want to tear their country down? Because they can? Because they are guilty they didn't protest when it mattered, when the Phony Wars on Terror were busting out all over?

Because these pasty East- and West-Coasters feel their entitled hatred will gain them an aura of solidarity with their protesting inner-city brothers and sisters? Not likely.

All they can think to do is protest, protest, cry tears in their beer, be pugilistic and alienate friends because they're mad the election didn't go their way. For too many, the behavior has become habitual and psychopathic.

The elegant move for liberals six months nigh would be to strike a conciliatory pose with their fellows. Perhaps, to take some Abilify to amp up their anti-depressant regime. To take a stance to nation-build their own country.

But they behave so demoralized, gutted and enervated, they see no other way than to fight on.

Even notoriously ALT Left writer Tom Englehardt suggests the liberals have been "demobbed" of their will to protest anything that actually matters, like America's unjust wars.

"Why, with the sole exception of President Trump ... is no one ... going after the national security state, even as its wars threaten to create a vast arc of failed states and a hell of terror movements and unmoored populations?" 

Why? Because it's so much easier to stay ensconced amongst one's fellow naysayers, taking the morning cup o' Joe with a side of cyanide. Comfortable ... predictable.

Tap out the characters on your Facebook feed and it feels like you have done something. (And you have, virtually-speaking, on the order of watching your Zippo app -- which amounts to not a hill of beans.)

Our President ran on a platform of correcting some ills in the nation, so why not run with that and exploit that stated intention?

Trump ran for the Office on a platform of letting other nations take care of themselves, of not being President of the world. The sane among us should be pleased that there is an inert thing called United Nations led by men with names like Bhutros-Bhutros Ghali and U Thant whose job it is to convene a committee, to convene another committee, to mete out moral censure (=to wrist-slap) its more murderous members.

That is how Realpolitik is played, for there are lots of "bad men" out there. Some of them even sit on "Security Counsels," in a bit of high irony.

Instead the liberal mouthpiece, The New York Times shamed Mr. Trump for "moral cowardice" in the face of his non-action after some apres-inauguration Syrian attacks, goading this neophyte President into the very non-liberal action of dropping the largest bomb to date, The MOAB, on Afghanistan.

For busting a cap, Trump earned his first praise from that now thoroughly discredited "news" outlet. Pity, and foolish, for you can't gain favor by kow-towing to your brutalizers.

It's Aesop's "Scorpion and the Frog". That's pretty simple.

But it wouldn't do in Neverland for Mr. Trump to prove more liberal and pacifist than Democrats like Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton.


(Wait, there's more ... in a couple of days. Then back to your beloved Ranger fare.)

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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Damn Nation

--The Gleaners,
Jean-Francios Millet

there is enough treachery, hatred
violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply
any given army on any given day
--The Genius Of The Crowd,
Charles Bukowski

A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
and I decline
--The End of the World as We Know It,
R.E.M.

The Left Wing is broken
and the Right's insane
--Pretty Pink Rose,
David Bowie
_____________________

[This will begin a series of dispatches on Lisa's observations of her nation almost six most after the election of a non-party favorite for President.]

I have trodden this earth a few decades, and have never seen such frightening, absurd and pathetic behavior from my erstwhile fellows as I have in the past year plus, the people who once called themselves "liberal".

They have lost that provenance, and it if they are ever able to return to those qualities, they -- and we -- will be forever changed by what we have seen. Their solidarity consists in their mass externalaized hatred.

I have lost friends and acquaintances over this election. They left because the media told them they would leave, that it would be an irreconcilable rupture if Hillary Clinton did not win. The world would be akimbo and out of kilter, and dammit, they would ensure it was it so.

Good people are afraid to speak about this election because of the liberal media's Spectarian Wall of Sound which mewls on about "What went wrong?" But the problem is, nothing "went wrong"; democracy functioned as it ever has.

The wrong to them was, after billions of dollars spent and years genuflecting before their presumptive next President, Mrs. Clinton, the people went their own way. They spoke with their vote and said they were tired of the Left-Right boilerplate (predictable, the same), and wanted some thing new.

President Trump has revealed us to ourselves. Half of the liberals were willing to swallow their disgust at electing a tainted candidate like Hillary Clinton simply because they were obedient and had always toed the party line.

To achieve this tenuous-yet-obvious conclusion, they pulled all stops, and nothing was too low. The New Yorker magazine devoted one issue to "trample Trump" cartoons, no matter how stupid or vile.

As though performing on a canned laugh-track, the cognoscenti all laughed smugly and sent the derision round their web of Facebook followers. Dialog was outre, and wherever I went, a jab at Trump was meant to elicit a complicit guffaw.

When the anger remained and in fact ramped up following Mr. Trump's inaugural, it seemed they had gone mad. These anger-driven partisans had lost their way, lost their grip on the high road, and were now trading in the darkest behavior of those they once derided.

These liberals where the New White Supremacists [more on their agenda in a following piece.] They are bullies, and feel entitled to what they want. They have no shame or fear of threatening those with whom they disagree.

Having been indoctrinated for so long that the White Man was the enemy, they operate under the agenda that the sooner they could superannuate him and make of him a "Dead White Male" (DWM), the sooner a new and preferential order could take his place.

Ironically, predominately white, their horsehair shirts and self-flagellation serve as a source of pride and serve as a self-awarded badge of savviness (Ain't no flyover sorts there, except maybe a contingent from Madison, WI.)

Trump personified The Enemy, and so became the repository for a self-loathing malignancy which had been implanted into liberals for the past 50 years. He became the bullseye of their long-held target (i.e., themselves), and they brought all of their firepower to bear.

The nuevo white supremacists refused to acknowledge that Mrs. Clinton was naught but DWM with a pudenda for a penis. She might have worn Little Red Riding Hood's cape (with that poorly accessorized overly-large bead necklace), but she was in fact, the hound cast as her nemesis.

She had already manned the levers of governmental power, and had shown neither mercy nor remorse. Her card was played, and thus some Democrats turned coat.

That's all, and now some party die-hards would have us believe that those who chose against Clinton are somehow mentally unhinged, raving bigots, or worse.  The only dissidents who are marginally un-hounded are the Uncle Bernie supporters (those who voted for the Other Millionaire.)

Why are these the only ones untramelled, their Hybrid Leafs or 1979 Volvo wagons plastered with "Save the Whales", "Love Your Mother" and "Bernie 2016" safe from vandals?

Two reasons:

Bernie never was a viable candidate. He was only there to make Mrs. Clinton's presumptive win more palatable, as though she were not running on a banana republic ticket. 

And these deluded partisans for the ineluctable Jewish Socialist (only in Vermont) were like the retarded kid in class -- we all know it's not nice to make fun of him in front of his face. So, "You can keep your Bernie, you pathetic losers," was the general position, the presumption being they would have to close ranks once the man was flushed.

Former President Carter now says he voted for Bernie. 

Nuff said.


More later ...


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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Republic of Gilead, Redux


Your love keeps liftin’ me higher
Than I’ve ever been lifted before

So keep it up, yeah, quench my desire

And I’ll be at your side forevermore

--Your Love Lifted Me Higher
,
Auto Adrenaline


I'm looking for a miracle man

That tells me no lies

--Miracle Man
, Ozzy Osbourne

I can really do wonders, I can,

If you've got the misery,

Bring your misery to me,

I'm that Hi-De-Ho Miracle Man!

--The Miracle Man
, Cab Calloway

I am the way, the truth, and the life

--John 14:6

___________________


["Republic of Gilead" is a re-post from 28 Feb '08, relevant as ever. We told you Ms. Clinton was not gonna get it eight years ago; said it again, last year. Like the Man in Black sang, "we've got our eyes wide open all the time".

Like de Tocqueville to America or Mead to Papua New Guinea, Lisa will soon commence a series on post-election U.S. Ranger has a few thoughts up his sleeve, too.]
________________


Luuu-ceee! Remember Ricky's plaintively imploring yet reprimanding calls to his wife, Lucy? And how Lucille Ball managed to wend her way into getting whatever it was she wanted anyway, by pumping up Ricky's ego?


Flash-forward 50 years and I find myself lost in any I Love Lucy script. Obama cuts a retro figure, reminiscent of the well-spoken Malcolm X in dress and manner. And the women who flock to him serve in a behind-the-scenes way, which is also very retro, sans the aprons. 

Women have been abandoning Hillary for The Man, but why?


[1] Their desire for romance.
 Edward Kennedy suggests in Obama a recrudescence of Camelot. Forget that Camelot never was really Camelot; that is its beauty. 
Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg says he reminds her of her father. Michelle Obama, Oprah, Maria Shiver and Caroline Kennedy "put on the best campaign rally" Andrew Rosenthal has seen "in 20 years of covering presidential politics ("Michelle, Maria, Caroline and Oprah on the Hustings in California.")

Yes We Can campaign for a man.

Three more little ladies advocated for Obama in the 
Wall Street Journal ("The Obama Opportunity") -- "Ms. Napolitano (Governor of Arizona), Ms. Sebelius (Governor of Kansas) and Ms. McCaskill (D-Missouri)." (See how far we've come -- Ms. Steinem's honorific certainly has taken hold, even in a conservative paper.)

The trio say we need to end "political polarization," "divisive politics" and "bitter partisanship." But Hillary is nothing if not a conciliator. So how can their stated desire tap Obama and not Hillary?


[2]
 Below romance is just wanting to feel better.

Author/blogger Micki McGee says her book, Self Help, Inc., "looks at the rise of self-improvement culture as Americans have seen their economic circumstances decline." Books about feeling good are good business. If people actually did good and got better, the market would dry up.

When it comes to just feeling better on a Friday night, you are more likely to curl up with an Oprah guru, like Peter Walsh's 
Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? An Easy Plan for Losing Weight and Living More than the current issue of The Economist

Before psychotherapy went pop, there were lurid Gothic romances 
fronting the impossible Fabio which secretaries would hide in their desks. This escapism has now gone mainstream via programs like Desperate Housewives and Nip and Tuck. You can escape to a desert island and feel your potentiality spread out before you, and of course, this impulse to escape extends to men, as well.

With Obama, the ticket to escape is your vote. He says follow him, "we will do it; we will change." He is your own personal life coach, to help you work off all the bon-bons you ate while watching the latest installment of Lost.


What's more, he'll tell you what to do so you won't be lost anymore.


[3] The desire for direction, wh
ich is an equal opportunity impulse.

Once coronated by Oprah, Obama had all but won the election. As goes Oprah, so goes the nation. Oprah ministers to all that may befall a human being, and has assured us that we are all o.k. just by virtue of being here. That is some powerful validation, gained just by virtue of sitting in front of the tube.

After Oprah midwifes you in your walk through the fire of your particular dysfunctions and your subsequent shower, Obama is presented as the man to lift you higher. It is all done for you, like those wonderful prewashed, precut veggies Oprah introduced to her audience.


Her acolytes are on a conveyor belt, and happy to be shown the way. As in Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, women are mobilized to serve the Commander.

Obama is their miracle man, mouthing platitudes cribbed from Ghandi, and Krishnamurti, and MLK. Obama is like a good DJ sampling for his mix, but he gives no credit in his mash-ups ("Finding political strength in the power of words.")

It is blatant plagiarism, but I suppose he does it because he knows his demographic so well. They apparently are unfamiliar with the sources of his many platitudes, and this general ignorance saddens me as much as Obama's disingenuousness.


[4] The media has it in for her ("Rendell: The Media Does Not Like the Clintons.")

It is glaringly obvious that any move Clinton makes will be chastised. She can never win. Slate wondered if she'd "Come Undone, 2/13/08". Since then other major outlets have asked why she doesn't concede in a ladylike fashion, even though the candidates are in fact running neck and neck.

Presumably, the only safe stance for her is one of silent deference, in a corner, admitting that she has been bested by a man. It is cyclical American history: black men got the vote before women. A black man will occupy the White House before a woman will.

If a women were to come out with the vacuous platitudes which fire 'em up at Obama rallies, she'd be roundly laughed out of the room as a pollyannaish airhead.

Hillary has been painted as passe, someone who thinks "going viral" means coming down with pneumonia. If she could only play the sax, like Bill -- do something to hook into the national pulse in a visceral way. But that is not a privilege allowed to a woman of a certain age.

I am thinking of a recent ad which showed a fit 50-ish, silver-haired woman in overalls and Doc Martens, smiling. The ad recognized the revolutionary nature of her posture vis-a vis a culture which severely slots women via age. I think the only way the model got away with it was that she was identified as an artist, and we grant them their flakiness.

Hillary has forsaken her younger revolutionary rhetoric, but if you want to hear an actual and authentic challenge to be new, read Hillary's 1969 commencement speech at Wellesley, where she challenges her listeners 
"to practice with all the skill of our being/The art of making possible."

I'm no feminist, but the vitriolic coverage of Clinton vs. the glowing coverage of Obama speaks volumes. The candidate's platforms simply do not differ that much, and where they do, Hillary's bests Obama's.

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

April 7 Marine Reconnaissance Ambush, Pt. II

--Fallujah, June, 2016, after the Iraqis declared victory against ISIS
(looking very much like Fallujah, April 2017, when ISIS launched a
major decapitation mission)
 ____________________

[Pt II of April 7 Marine Reconnaissance Ambush] --

Actions at the objective:

The enemy had RPG's and at least three light machine guns suppressing the friendlies. Marines are taught to dismount attack, which is commendable, but it is not the best course of action.

They must break out of the kill zone and it is better to do so in a hardened vehicle than on foot (as dismounted Infantry.) While the enemy forces were effective, there were holes in their operation.

They did not seal the kill zone, nor did they have a well-conceived exit after the action. The Marine's described this as a near ambush, but the fact that it was not initiated with an explosive device suggests enemy incompetence. Additionally, the enemy's guns were neither dug in nor in hardened bunkers, also demonstrating a questionable level of proficiency.

In short, the enemies were not top-drawer soldiers.

There was nothing stopping the Marine's follow-on vehicles from swinging off the road and rolling the enemy's shoulder. Anything should have been done to break the tempo of the ambush.

Again, a mortar or 40 mm round would have been a literal life-saver: never send a man when you can send a mortar round, instead. The Marines were not carrying grenades, which are most needed when assaulting machine guns.

Now for the hard calls (which is what they pay officers for):

The lead vehicle is in a bad way, but he is still drawing enemy fire, which lessens the fire on the potential maneuver elements. A deep move right and left and a vehicle assault to the middle of the enemy's position would be a possible course of action, and one would expect this to be a normal immediate action call for recon Marines. It was not done, however.

In past battle analyses, we have discussed the need to determine if enemy fire is effective or ineffective, a key combat lesson. If a recon unit lacks air assets to do route recon and clearing, then perhaps the mission should be reconsidered and reconfigured.

That this failed mission was not casts aspersions on the Marine's training and counter-ambush techniques. Remember: if the enemy can see you, then you can see them. If they can hit you, ditto.

Ranger's take is that courage and valor are not substitutes for correct route recons and terrain analysis prior to launching a road-running event. Distance and interval should be enforced between march elements. This rule holds even for elite troops; complacence is not a military virtue.

These prior preparations and adherence to protective postures may seem tedious in the face of Marines willing to dismount and be "kinetic", but such precautions may prevent the grievous injuries and loss of life suffered when they are absent or given short-shrift, as they were on 7 April 2004 outside of Fallujah for an unlucky group of Recon Marines.

Now this is the point where the reader says, "But you weren't there!", which of course is true. But shock action and firepower are linked to keeping your vehicles mobile and to providing effective suppressive fire, and both were deficient on the side of the friendlies in this action.

Had any or all of these offensive-defensive actions been employed, another sad and tragic event in a litany of such events might have either been avoided or at least, ameliorated.

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Friday, April 07, 2017

April 7 Marine Reconnaissance Ambush


--Fallujah this week.
  
That Fallujah, the city a senior Iraqi Commander
declared definitively free of ISIS in June 2016, 
 the week after ISIS killed dozens execution-style in
that once-darling city of the United States, 
now abject sump 

I fear I'll do some damage
One fine day
But I would not be convicted
By a jury of my peers 
--Still Crazy After All These Years,
Paul Simon 

The earth is not earth but a stone,
Not the mother that held men as they fell 
. . .
To live in war, to live at war,
To chop the sullen psaltery   
--The Man with the Blue Guitar, 
 Wallace Stevens    

 And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.' 
--Ozymandias,
Percy Bysshe Shelley 
 _____________________

This is a review of a 7 April 2004 ambush of a group of U.S. Reconnaissance Marines on an operation near Fallujah, Iraq.

The History Channel ran a documentary of the action on Veterans Day 2016. Of course, it was hailed as a great act of valor. And the men, as always, were valorous.

From History.com, "(t)he Marines fought their fears to stay calm and fought on--making 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon one of the most decorated platoons for heroism in a single action in the War on Terror."

But the mission was a flub-up, the type of mistake executed far too many times in the 15 years of the current Wars on Terror. A military does not thrive on failures, yet we do not learn from our mistakes. So we make documentaries and sit transfixed before the simulated firepower, unaware of the depth of failure which we behold.

Ranger's Infantry mind railed against almost every aspect of the action presented.

The 7 April ambush did not have to happen, but it did, and it is not an isolated event. Several errors ensured the wounds and loss of Marine lives that day. We will look at a few:

The mission was to send a convoy of 3 to 5 up-armored Humvees down a road, doing something. The Platoon leader was a Captain (common in recon units to add some experience to the mix); the NCO's were heavily-weighted with combat experience.

The lead vehicle commander suspected an ambush, feeling he was in a potential kill zone. Hunches in combat should be dealt with as judiciously as those in civilian life, for mistakes can last a lifetime. Alas, the ambush hunch manifested.

According to the lead vehicle commander, their standard operating procedure was to stop in the kill zone and assault the hostile element, which of course, has them in a well-executed beaten zone. It is never good to start a fight from the one-down position ... not a winning proposal, even for representatives of a Superpower. 

Some questions:

  • Why did they not stop when their gut told them to?
  • Why did they have only direct-fire machine guns mounted and not 40 mm guns to put out suppressive fires? (It is not as through these are not in the TO&E.)
  • Why did they not put out flanks security in the suspected ambush site?
  • Why did they not have  artillery concentrations planned at danger areas, especially when moving in hostile territory on habitually-used roads? That is why we have organic unit -level mortars.
  • Why were there no gunships flying convoy cover?
  • And the OBVIOUS question: why not break OUT of the Kill zone, seal the near and far approaches and roll the ambush from the flanks or shoulders?

You do not stop in a beaten zone ... do NOT! (Unless you want to be on the take-out menu.)

The April 7th ambush did not have to happen. Moreover, sadly, it was not a unique event.

Setting a pattern is the kiss of death. The hostile forces knew the route of march, number of troops and assigned weapons before the Recon Marines had their chow call that morning.

Operation security (OPSEC) is vital, even in elite units. When a leader suspects anything is not right, he must take a proper unit protective posture -- even if this contradicts time schedules of the movement.

Time schedules are not worth the loss of life and limb of unit members. 

[7 April Ambush, pt. II, next.]

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Filibustering, But for What?

 We're living in a bad dream
They've forgotten all about mankind 
--All Those Years Ago
George Harrison 

You can cry a million tears
You can wait a million years
If you think that time will change your ways
Don't wait too long 
--Don't Wait Too Long,
 Madeleine Peyroux
____________________

It is understandable that the legions hooked up to the IV of daily hatred spewed forth from the media towards every move of their newly-elected President would come to meld with that angry mindset. To cower before every condemnation, and lash out with frustrated fury to any and everyone with whom they feel will be in resonance.

But the historic partisan Democratic filibuster of  Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch -- by all accounts an outstanding jurist -- is madness.

Gorsuch was admired by most mainstream Democrats up until now (including our own Sen. Bill Nelson [D-FL], until he decided he did not), so what could be the reason to end Senate rules which have allowed for centuries of bipartisanship, other than pure spitefulness?

In the anti-Trump New York Times, Neal K. Katyal (acting solicitor general in the Obama administration) in a considered Op-Ed explained why liberals should back Judge Gorsuch for the ninth seat on the Court.

Still, the Democratic grandstanding continues. What makes Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren MDP's? Republicans will probably have to invoke the "Nuclear Option" -- a simple majority -- first used by Democrats in 2013 (when former Senate majority leader Harry Reid [D-NV] convinced Senate Democrats to change Senate rules.)

Some Republicans warned the move would come back to haunt the Democrats.

Imagine if the roles were reversed and it was Republicans who were standing on the Senate floor blocking a vote. The media would go ballistic.

Let the nomination process begin, and the democratic rule of law hold fair sway.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Police Action

--Royal Marines in Helmand Province,
Andrew Miller 

Whenever I'm weary
From the battles that rage in my head
You make sense of madness
When my sanity hangs by a thread
--Now and Forever,
Richard Marx


Change your heart
Look around you
Change your heart
It will astound you
--Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime,
The Korgis
 
___________________

The Department of Defense (DoD) Dictionary of Military and associated terms does not have a definition for "Police Action". Per our previous post, this is a significant omission.

This military non-thing nonetheless has various iterations. If you check online, you will find "kinetic police actions", "preemptive police actions", "unilateral police actions", etc.

The online Legal Dictionary of the Free Dictionary provides a very nice and lengthy disquisition on war and its "sort of war" variations. Wikipedia says "police action" is a euphemism for military action, sans a formal declaration of war.

Neither answers the question -- "What is a military police action?" -- though they are two of a scant number of entries that even attempt to do so.

The United Nations authorizes police actions under Article 42 (Global Actions) and Article 53 (Regional Actions.)

Early in the Korean War, President Harry Truman referred to that war as a "police action", perhaps one of the first institutional uses of the term. Korea, Vietnam and Grenada were all considered police actions.

Furthermore, is "peacekeeping" a police action? Since "police action" has been so cruelly intertwined with violent actions, perhaps we need a kinder and gentler term for the peacekeeping variety of such actions.

Ranger contends that words used incorrectly -- either intentionally obfuscated or vague simply due to lack of clarity in thought or action -- cause confusion in our political, military and personal lives. "Police action" is just such a word.

Let us take Korea as example. In that war, the United States used every weapon its defensive arsenal, except nuclear weapons. Does that sound like police work? The same occurred in Vietnam.

Admittedly, "Police Action Against Terrorism" doesn't quite have the ring, so we call that one a "war". Phony War, but war nonetheless. And of course, if it IS a war, why do we not declare it as such?

Ironically, the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) should rightly BE a police action, but it is hard to get people excited about such things these days. 

Perhaps what we need are some new acronyms -- the military can never have enough, can it? (WETSU, so to speak.)

If it is military action with no war, let's call it MOOTW: "Military Operations Other Than War". Phonetically it could be pronounced, "Mootwu"... kind of cute, like a Pikachu, and yet belying its moot-ness at the same time (kind of like a Pikachu).

Our words have become weaselly things, woody or tinny, alternately overwrought with emotion and obfuscation, so much so that it has become impossible to understand a Department of State, DoD or White House briefing.

If those first degree informational sessions are so confused, how poorer must be the information trickled down to the rest of us via our increasingly enfeebled and excitable media.

Why not define words clearly, and use them as defined?

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Sunday, April 02, 2017

the Sins of the Fathers

--STOP 11 (1970),
Peter Kennard
Jumpin' slick was my ruin
'Cause I found out all I was doin'
Was makin' it easy for the clean up woman
To get my man's love, aww, yeah
--The Clean Up Woman,
Betty Wright


I the Lord your God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children
to the third and the fourth generation
of those who hate me
--Exodus 20:5


When we do for those in need
what they have the capacity to do for themselves,
we disempower them
--Toxic Charity,
Robert Lupton
____________________

This year (2017) marks the 100th anniversary of the entrance if the United States as a belligerent into World War I, The War to End All Wars (not). It is also being marketed as the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, a nice halfway point. (And if Ken Burns documents it as such, it must be so.)

How the assassination of a piss ant like Archduke Ferdinand of the bizarre griffon of the Austro-Hungarian empire by a crazed anarchist from Bosnian Serb constituted a necessary military entrance by the U.S. is still contentious. Certainly, the idea of pacification by United States President Wilson left a poor taste in the mouth of a young nation eager to prove its solidarity and efficacy. So men like Wilson were milquetoasts in a world of real men with real problems.

World War II followed in short order. Why was it necessary for a nation with 5% of the world's population to save the other 95%? The arguments are legion, but it is a question worthy of consideration independent of the boilerplate that this was a good and necessary war.

We have been conditioned to believe our participation in both World Wars was necessary, but we usually do not discuss alternative actions or legitimacy issues. We bypass discussing how we can stop the next war or head it off at the pass, in favor of debating techniques for winning it. National security issues are not discussed in any meaningful way.

After WW II -- the Good War -- came the "Forgotten War", the police action of Korea. Legitimacy issues fell by the wayside as each new, unwinnable action took their place in the queue of less-than-Good-Wars..

Fifty years hence, we are still unsure of why the Vietnam War was fought.

Vietnam Syndrome came to embody and signify the wary shame felt by a nation which had lost its moral compass after the cultural upheaval of the 1960's.

Gulf War I was said by then-President George H.W. Bush to have "erased" the black mark that was Vietnam, yet no one stated what it was we were attempting to achieve in either war, or what they contributed to our national life. Even the deaths of 58,000 servicemen could be accepted if they had been killed for anything meaningful.

Vietnam has been eclipsed by the current longest wars fought by America, yet still we do not know what it is we are fighting for, or what we hope to achieve by our entrance into and persistent presence in the hostilities.

Vietnam and the Wars on Terror are intertwined in many ways. In both, the enemy is nebulous. In Vietnam, the Viet Cong were a confederated "front" of organizations with hazy and ambiguous goals, much like any of the actors in the Phony Wars on Terror (PWOT ©).

The Middle East wars were sold as the "Domino Effect" of Communism fears in reverse: with just a wink and a nod, the dominoes would stand up and form a great democracy. But not even the frailest of democracies has emerged from any of the recent U.S. military misadventures.

Our hubris is embarrassing. Many thought that once the abundance of riches possible in a capitalistic democracy was presented, the erstwhile colonized populations would latch on like a greyhound to a rabbit. Perhaps Christianity is found wanting against Islam, or is it just that Christians themselves are in the dark?

Nonetheless, this brooding will not dampen the celebrations of the 100-year cycle, for celebrate we must. That Yankee can-do spirit has brought us through many dark nights, and led to many shining moments. Sadly, our willingness also can and has been exploited to bring us into many questionable entanglements.

Our current aggressions have no meaningful chance of eliminating terrorism nor of producing anything resembling liberal democratic institutions.

For your pleasure, a Zen koan: we cannot explain what Vietnam was about, but we are doing the same things in the Middle East, today.

Why are we so addicted to war? Perhaps it is as Chris Hedges wrote, "war is a force that gives us meaning".

The U.S. finds itself often cleaning up the messes left behind by colonial overlords. Only the problem is, there is no way to leave them spic and span. Invariably the U.S. military rucks up and leaves the rubble and turmoil behind with nothing better; often something worse.

It was never ours to begin with, and we cannot teach them to tidy up in a pacific way. Ours is a toxic charity.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wilbert O. Davis, Sr.


________________________

Soldier Wilbert O. Davis, Sr. (1933-2010) was a friend and mentor to Ranger while he was an ROTC student as Bowling Green State University.

Memories are are of a quiet, reflective, quick-to-smile and tough-minded NCO. Davis was a Civil War history buff, and so was Ranger.

Master Sergeant Davis was a primary instructor for Military Science I and II, and both classes were a pleasure to attend. He led us on patrols and taught us Close Quarters Combat (CQC) and rifle drill. He showed no mercy in these classes and always smiled when he put us into stress positions.

In 1966, Davis returned to the active Regular Army and pinned on his Captain's bars, going to Vietnam with the 25th Division.

The Army has an odd dual-track system whereby Davis was a Regular Army Senior NCO, but also held the Reserve rank of "Captain". The Army was in need, so Davis was called up as a Reservist.

Davis was in the last all-black Airborne unit in the Army. Since he enlisted in 1952, this was probably the 505th Airborne, which devolved from the renowned 555th Airborne Battalion (the "Triple Nickles").

In Korea, the 505th was integrated into the 187th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR). This was the first all-black Parachute Infantry Battalion integrated in to a United States combat division. If memory serves, Davis wore a 187the PIR combat patch.

[As a point of interest, the all-black 2nd Ranger Company was attached to the 187th PIR, and it is likely that Davis was in this unit. The 2nd Rangers have the distinction of being the first Ranger unit to make a combat jump (Korea).]

Davis's awards included the Silver Star, Bronze Star (for both meritorious service and combat valor), Air Medal, Army Commendation, Master Parachute Badge and 2nd award of the Combat Infantry Badge.

After retirement, Davis served as a Department of the Army civilian. He also lost his eyesight. The last time we met was in 1969 at Ft. Benning (GA), when he smiled and congratulated me on my successful completion of all the normal Benning School for Boys finishing courses.

This is an homage to one of the excellent men who helped to train up a young cadet.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Surreal

 --Orangina vintage advert, 
Bernard Villemot

 If they say,
Why, why, tell 'em that it's human nature
Why, why does he do me that way 
--Human Nature,
Michael Jackson

{This event is so absurd, pathetic, tragic and needless, 
we are going with a graphic neither black or white, 
a visual with a lot of holes,
as it is unknown whether race is a culprit.}
____________________

A day after we began our Black History month here at RAW, the November 2016 shooting of the murdered black Florida cop beater 53-year-old Edward Strother was back in the news (the shooter had been cleared by prosecutors).

It is not exactly a race story, but it is, sort of.

To wit: 53 year old Edward Strother is seen in a witness's phone footage in November (2016) whaling on Deputy Dean Bardes as he sits astride the deputy in the road. Ashad Russel, 35, happens along, strapped and possessing a concealed carry permit. Bardes, in extremis, calls to Ashad, "Shoot him! Shoot him!"

[Note: several witnesses are on the sidelines, watching and filming, but not calling 911 for assistance.]

Composed, Mr. Russel warns Strother, "Stop, or I will shoot." When Strother fails to cease beating the policeman, Russel fires three shots, killing Strother. Both the assailant and his killer were black; the policeman, white.

Following firing the shots, Mr. Russel throws the gun on the ground and walks away a la the film "High Noon", when the Sheriff throws his badge in the dirt with utter disgust for his fellows and his society.

So what prompted this absurd, violent event? Some backstory:

Both the assailant and his victim shared a job history -- both had been security guards in the Northeast; Strother in Connecticut, Bardes in New Jersey. Strother worked in the field for 22 years; Bardes left after five and became a Deputy in 2005

The only personal data on Strother are reports from his neighbors that odd and loud sounds had been reported coming from his residence late at night over the last few months.

On the day of the incident, Strother was reportedly traveling over 100 mph on Interstate 75 in Estero, Florida, when he almost struck patrolman Bardes' vehicle as the deputy was assisting in a separate incident.

News reports state that Bardes felt targeted when Strother almost hit his vehicle, and he then gave chase.

Strother pulled off on an exit ramp and as the two men approached, Strother reportedly punched Bardes, who then landed on the pavement. It was then that Strother straddled the officer and began "raining down punches" on him according to a witness, also slamming the officer's head on the pavement.

So what triggered Strother?
If his 22-year history as a security guard was a fairly consistent and uneventful one, what changed to make him violently target an officer of the law?

Emergent mental illness? Drug use? Personal trauma? A combination thereof? Whatever the cause, Mr. Strothers was killed in a pathetic, tawdry and sorry event.

Liberals will cry "gun control", but the man whaling on the cop did not use a gun, nor did the cop use a gun on Mr. Strothers.

Others will cry, "It is the paramilitary police", but Deputy Bardes did nothing untoward. The only way in which this is racial would be if the assailant had targeted the white policemen for his race, alone. This is unknown.

But if that is so, then what predicated this episode of racial rage?

The media was awash in news of racial violence prior to Strother's attack. The events spooling out in Ferguson, MO, was a fairly regular presence on the evening news. Then there was Freddie Gray, the youth in Cleveland, and the Charleston church shootings, among other incidents.

Also, what predicated Mr. Strother's release from his security job? Did he retire in good standing?

My construction of events is as good as any, and until further data is revealed, my diagnosis is:

Mental illness, exacerbated by an incessantly inflammatory press. Why else would a black man beating a white cop not cease his actions when a large and younger black man is standing in front of him in a full Weaver stance shouting at him to stop?

Mr. Strother must have suffered some extreme mental duress (possibly situational, possibly resulting from an organic mental illness, possibly, a combination of the two.) He may have suffered some personal affront from either a policeman or a white person.

After several years of exposure to incessant and salacious media coverage of prior racial events involving the police, Mr. Strother became vicariously, personally involved as a Person of Color (write large).

Possibly, he was on Molly or bath salts; if performed, a toxicology report was not printed. Possibly, there was no predicating event.

In what became a sad case of death-by-cop (sort of), Mr. Strothers lost his life after deciding that policeman Bardes was his enemy and beginning his brutal assault on the officer.

I contend that the two primary culprits in this pathetic and tragic event were severe mental distress or illness on Mr. Strother's part, and a complicit media organization which exploited racial events beyond their usefulness for their gratuitous ratings hunt.

Untreated mental illness and a media circus which promises fifteen minutes of fame, dead or alive. It is a toxic but heady combination in our frontier world lived on the flashy ground of social media.

Whenever acute distress meets with mediocre capabilities, tragedy is often the result. Mr. Strother was violating the law, and Deputy Bardes had demonstrated weakness with the issue of criminal containment (he had undergone remediation after a suspect once fled his patrol car.)

We can expect more Strother's and Cho's Adam Lanza's and James Holmes, until we figure out how to identify and treat vulnerable people, and how to live sanely in a world in which the itchy trigger finger is occupied scrolling through endless media feeds, and the mind attached to that finger can be roused to an immediate and visceral violence.

Moreover, the individual now lives in a vicarious relationship to those viewed events, being installed as he is in the immediate commentary (feed) to the viewed events. If you are one of the Twitterers, your shock and rush to commentary after such predictable events is disingenuous.

In this tragic event, as in most which preceded it, mental illness is the probable primary and proximal causative factor.

A fatted and goading media is the distal one.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Post- Post Racial

--Separate but Equal?
 
Will the suffering ever end?
--Jehovah's Witness tract left on Lisa's door 

That's just the way it is
Some things will never change 
--That's Just the Way it Is,
Bruce Hornsby 

Oh, we've got to free our brothers
from their shackles yeah if we can, if we can  
--Slave, Elton John
_____________________


[We have been a little slaggerdly at RangerAgainstWar. We are sorry. Today -- and this week -- we present the equivalent of "Christmas in July" (the tchotchke buying spree that gets most Southern hearts a'thumpin): Black History Month in March.]

A question arises from the ground of our post-post modern angst: "Is God a bigot, or are people simply bigoted, using God as an excuse for their bigotry?" Or, is God simply not a part of the racial equation? {And, no, we may not pin this phenomenon on President Trump, as the existence of bigotry pre-dates his arrival on the planet, and will outrun it, as well.}

Further, is segregation hard-wired into Homo sapeins? If religion does not provide a way out, and one may not legislate away bigotry, perhaps it is a behavior with which we are stuck.

Further, if we ARE stuck with it, what then can be done to accommodate this reality and perhaps achieve a more felicitous co-existence in full recognition of its presence?

Would an honest recognition of bigotry's existence allow for a more honest exploration of the behavior? Perhaps, if all sides were to look at it and say, "Yes, here it is" with no hedging and no whitewash and denial. We might be better able to say what is we would like to do with and about it.

To wit: Ranger annually attends a United States Army Airborne Instructors reunion in Columbus, GA (home of Ft. Benning). This is a group of men which has shed blood together while fighting for our country and is demographically representative of our nation.

But they are not exactly a Band of Brothers.

Every year, the blacks segregate themselves at one end of the hall, the whites, at the other. (Ranger does not know who initiates the spread, and "white" could have easily preceded "black" in the previous sentence.) While these men spent their lives and careers as a group, they self-segregate. [N.B.: they all see themselves as members of the same elite veterans group, each year convening to achieve this "separate but equal" meeting.]

The Charleston church shooting of 2015 highlighted this reality. The church was not forced to be an all-black one, but it and so many others are. And the segregation occurs while the preachers in every church preach that we are all God's children.
Here in Gadsden county, it is estimated that there are 400+ churches serving a community of 49,000 residents. The majority of these churches are divided along the color line, with a smattering of miscegenation. There are the occasional annual events which bring together the various members of the religious community, but generally, the twain do not meet.

The county seat also has a segregated American Legion, with no white members. Down the road, there is Legion of predominately white members. The Legion is mentioned because of its unabashed allegiance to "God and country", "God" preceding country.

It may be 2017, and we may like to say we have made great racial strides, but that is not what it looks like to this observer.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rise and Shine


 If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you,
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
--If, Rudyard Kipling
 ___________________________

If you or anyone you know has been severely wounded or injured in mind or body and are looking for inspiration and direction, I highly recommend the new Audible release of the book Rise and Shine -- one man's path to navigating the healthcare behemoth -- written by my dear friend Simon Lewis and read by actor Kelsey Grammer. (We have mentioned the book previously here, but this is a new and updated version. and accessible to those who cannot read.)

Here is a clip from the Audible book discussing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

In a terrible instant, Simon went from being a rising Hollywood producer, to learning to speak again via Disney children's films. Following many years of excruciating effort and assistance from an eclectic group of resources and against all odds, he regained his former 150 I.Q. and learned to walk again.

Due to the permanent TBI damage, he has sensorimotor and vision deficits. He calls the ever-present now in which he lives, "flat-time".

But Simon's fortitude, wit, erudition and unflagging courage will make a meet traveling companion for those who are treading the same arduous "hidden path", as he calls it. This book will lend you the courage and insight to bear it out against all odds.

Like Simon himself, Mr. Grammer lends dry humor, a sense of irony and gravitas to this dire yet tremendously inspirational story. As the reader writes on the Audible site:

"It reminds me of a line from Prometheus Unbound by Shelley — 'To suffer woes which hope thinks infinite' — surely Simon's story measures up to that description. That he emerged victorious, in the face of such travail, is a testament to his courage ... [and] is an inspiration to all."

Mr. Lewis is a tireless advocate for clients who are often discharged too early from treatment, to expect more. Through unceasing exploration, he asserts that answers can be found. 

"No one will tell you everything," he writes; of course, the corollary is, "No one knows everything" -- not by a long shot.

Bravo, Simon, and to everyone who is fighting a similar battle.


[cross-posted @ Milpub.]

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