Friday, August 18, 2017

Translation: President Trump Is A Raving Lunatic

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is a courtly Southern gentleman of the old school. He speaks clearly, but with constraint. So when he says something, it sometimes needs to be translated.

Today in Chattanooga, Senator Corker observed of Trump: "The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful," Later in the day he observed: "We should hope that (Trump) aspires that he does some self-reflection, that he does what is necessary to demonstrate stability, to demonstrate competence, to demonstrate that he understands the character of our nation and works daily to bring out the best of the people in our nation."


I grew up in the South and am fairly good at translation. What he says means: "Donald J. Trump is a raving lunatic."


For what it's worth.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Let's Be Clear: We Don't Need Statues Glorifying Traitors

Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee was not because he owned slaves - it was because he committed treason against the United States.

Moreover, he knew he was committing treason. As did Jefferson Davis, General Beauregard, J.E.B. Stewart and many others memorialized by statuary.

Remember: we have no statue of Benedict Arnold.

By the way, some of my ancestors owned slaves and some fought for the Confederacy. There are no statues to them nor would I want any.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Treason

Just a reminder:

Article 3 - The Judicial Branch
Section 3 - Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Points to remember:

Robert E. Lee committed treason.

Jefferson Davis committed treason.

Many others committed treason, including some of my ancestors.

The elected officials and commissioned officers knew at the time they were committing treason.

Soldiers drafted by the Confederacy had no choice. Their leaders did have a choice.

It is time to remove statues glorifying traitors.

Our best known traitor of the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold, has no statue in his honor despite his important victory at Saratoga. General Arnold was wounded in the foot in the battle. 
There is a statue at Saratoga of Benedict Arnold's boot, though it does not identify him.

Maybe that's a good precedent. We can put up statues to Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis in Mexico.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Locked And Loaded - Give Me a Break!

Donald J Trump's latest bluster was the boastful phrase: Lock and Load!

It turns out that is a phrase used by actor John Wayne (born Marion Robert Morrison) in the movie Sands of Iwo Jima.

No wonder Donald Trump borrows phrases from John Wayne. Neither of them ever wore their country's uniform for real. They use bluster to conceal that reality.

Like Wayne, Trump is playing a role. He isn't as good at it, and unlike Wayne, Trump can really cause people to die. Americans can die. Unnecessarily.

John Wayne was a chicken hawk. So is Donald Trump.

Trump is also a man without honor.

Now he wants us to go to war with Venezuela? What is that about?


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

United States And Korea

In 1949 a classmate in a country grade school in Oklahoma told us he had joined the National Guard.

He was big for his age - he had just turned fifteen, and could easily pass for eighteen. Like many farm boys, he was a good rifle shot and was at home around firearms. The big attraction was that they paid him for going to drills. It was a really good deal - good enough to lie about his age.

The down side came the following summer when the North Korean army attacked across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Oklahoma's "Fighting Forty-Fifth" was the first National Guard unit called up to be sent to Korea.

The young man's parents lost no time letting the National Guard know he was under age.

Like others of my generation, I spent my high school years in the shadow of Korea. Graduates were drafted right away and sent off to war. Even after the armistice of 1953, we knew if war was not to be in Korea, it would likely be in some other place.

It would be war or rumors of war for the foreseeable future.

I prepared for war by entering the Naval ROTC.

America's first conflict in Korea took place in 1871. Korea did not welcome foreign merchant ships and treated shipwrecked sailors harshly. Their treatment of American sailors led to a punitive expedition.

We sent a naval force and put marines ashore. A force commanded by Commander Winfield Scott Schley, later a hero in  the Spanish American War.

We have missed many opportunities to negotiate a permanent settlement to Korea, but it always takes longer than we have before another election.

A key misstep in my view was the decision in 1956 to introduce nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula. We are reaping the results of that decision now. North Korea's response was a combination of belligerence and passive countermeasures. Most significantly, they dug reinforced caves which eventually served as protected sites for their nuclear development programs.

The Honest John nuclear missiles and the nuclear howitzers that we installed in Korea had very limited capabilities and were obsolete very soon. They were removed by President Bush long after they ceased to be of any use.

But the hardened enclosures remain an enormous obstacle to preemptive attack.

Another case of "be careful what you wish for, lest you get it."

Now we need some thinking adults in charge of strategy, including diplomatic strategy.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

John McCain - Man Of Courage

I never met John McCain. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958; I graduated from NROTC in 1958, which puts us in the same year group, with the same date of rank.

He flew airplanes; I drove ships (destroyers and cruisers). In the 1980's I served in the Pentagon in Plans and Policy - he served in Congressional Relations.

So our paths never crossed.

I often disagreed with him.

But I never doubted his courage or his integrity.

He has more strength and courage in his little toe than Donald J. Trump has in his whole body.