Monday, November 12, 2007

Re: happy veteran's day & Pakistan?

In the photo, former President George H.W. Bush makes his entrance to his presidential museum during a rededication ceremony with Army Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott with the Golden Knights parachute team in College Station, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007. (AP Photo/College Station Eagle, Gabriel Chmielewski)

Does one really have to fret about enlightenment? No matter what road I travel, I'm going home.


To find the universal elements enough; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring---these are some of the rewards of the simple life.

---John Burroughs

I know there is no good in my trying to explain to you why I am away from home—war doesn’t make sense even when you are grown up.

---(Lt.) Henry Fonda to his children during World War II

From: "Annie Warmke" <>
To: "Richard Carlson" <>
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 10:05 AMSubject: happy veteran's day
> Happy Veteran's Day!
> This morning the local NPR station played their favorite tunes for "Happy
> Veteran's Day" and each year after about 15 minutes I have to turn the radio
> off.
> The songs are full of one message - pain. Some sing about the pain of going
> to war. Others tell the story of losing a limb, or losing children. They
> all tell a story that leads me to the same conclusion each year. War is
> hell and it is not the solution.
> So today I've turned off the radio earlier than usual and begun to wonder if
> that's not what America is doing each morning when the radio offers the
> morning "war report" as I call it. I'm wondering how much longer we'll turn
> off or tune out the news of death and destruction that is happening in our
> names.
> The elections this last week remind me that nothing so far has changed. We're
> still up to our eyeballs in corruption in the government. The Democrats
> refuse to take a stand that actually changes anything on any issue - you
> pick one and you'll see what I mean.
> As I look out the window at the colorful leaves on the trees - the trees
> that ought to be naked - I am reminded that we're at war in many places on
> this earth, and it seems we're losing them all.
> Annie Warmke is an activist, writer and farmer who lives at Blue Rock
> Station with her family of humans, llamas, chickens, goats, cats and her
> French-speaking dog, Rosie.

Dear Annie,

I haven't been to a Veterans Day parade in Athens in a couple years. I guess they've been on weekends, but when kids are in class a bunch of schools march and show up or something. Usually people on the staff put the pressure on or the principal is gung ho, and whole elementary schools turn out. The last couple have been particularly patriotic in the cloying way that makes me uncomfortable. That was before there was more of a general mood of We Support The Soldiers But Not This War. Of course in the military-trained mind---and for the kind of people who run parades like this---there's no such thing as not supporting a war, because your commander has issued an order.

As a kid, it still was Armistice Day. I knew it was about the end of World War I, at 11:00 on 11/11 in some long ago year (1918) but I didn't know what any of that was about. Few others did either, and there certainly weren't a lot of festivities. I wonder if anybody today knows what World War I was about. We sent 2 million soldiers to France, and 100,000 didn't come back. I read in the New York Times this morning, only one veteran from that war remains alive in the States. Garrison Keillor said Saturday World War II was just World War I continued...and I do remember some history classes in college supported that notion. I have a friend who claims the continuous war of the Twentieth Century was about only one thing: oil.

Armistice Day became Veterans Day as Decoration Day became Memorial Day and we added "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance all in the mid-1950s. A general for our president, the McCarthy Era, and the Cold War geared us up to be tough guys. Now we rattle our sabers anytime we feel like it, no one tells us what to do, and we say anything we want to the other nations. The other day Bush told the Pakistani prime minister to take off his uniform because you can't be a military commander and the president at the same time. Huh?

I hear in Baghdad they're claiming the suicide bombings have lessened considerably. That's a good thing...and I suppose we should credit the "surge." But are the inSURGEnts all dead now...or running away into the desert? Or have they been redirected? Are they massing somewhere else? If so, I wonder where that could be? Let's see, what staunch ally of the United States has nuclear weapons but is teetering into instability? Where is there Emergency Control for the next 2 months until more great democratic elections will be held to celebrate freedom? Where are suicide bombings increasing? And where is Osama Bin Laden, dead or alive? The answers to these and other questions will be revealed in forthcoming exciting episodes---or maybe later today.

The Washington Post published an amazing article yesterday about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal...and just how secure it is. And don't miss Frank Rich's column yesterday that includes concerns about Pakistan. And love him or leave him, coincidentally a real old warrior died for Veterans Day: I like this obit on Norman Mailer out of Chicago.,1,2721898.column?ctrack=1&cset=true

Love, as always, to you and the Blue Rock family,


Quinty said...

Yes, Bush has a way of lecturing his guests as they stand together on the White House lawn meeting the press. Even if that guest is the Prime Minister or President of another country. And as for lecturing Musharoff about his uniform how often does Bush appear before a crowd which isn't in uniform? By invitation only? One which will unanimously salute the Commander in Chief?

Mailer deserved a Nobel Prize. All artists are oracles, to a certain degree, and in later life Mailer even became an oracle speaking before audiences. A conduit for the Gods. He was a real artist, the genuine thing, faults, pot boilers and all. And he was one of the last writers who represented writing as a significant artistic endeavor. That great tradition which once existed in American culture. As Mailer said not too long ago serious novelists will soon be like those poets who write five act plays in iambic pentameter. Extinct as the dodo. We have come one step closer.

jazzolog said...

A Terry Gross interview with Norman Mailer from 16 years ago (in which he ventured he might have 15 years left) aired on Fresh Air last evening. Almost always refreshing to hear him...and especially here answering her probing questions with honesty. Maybe you can stream it.

Thanks quinty for picking up on the I'm-da-chief/I'm-da-decider irony. Also the saluting stuff. Eisenhower was a stickler about saluting. Army regs state, he emphasized, a soldier never salutes when he's doing civilian work...and so President Eisenhower never did. BUT since Ike, all these presidents, most of whom never were in the service, salute all the time. Rather revealing, eh?

jazzolog said...

You've probably heard that Barack Obama has accused Hillary Clinton of a potential swift boat attack on him---and warned her to cut it out. His 6-paragraph statement is based on a Robert Novak (REALLY?) column that hasn't even appeared yet (later today) which alleges there's a rumor going around but nobody's going to say what it is. Are we in junior high school yet?

Zepp wrote an essay about all this yesterday, which he hasn't gotten around to post at MyTown yet---but as long as everyone's racing around to get the jump on everybody else, why shouldn't jazzoLOG too? Here is the essay, which has yet to appear, and the column, which has yet to appear, and the reaction to these phantoms which has appeared---and, wait! there's even more~~~

Pernicious and Pervasive
©Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Back around 1995, I got to see an animated short about abortion. This was in the days before Flash® and DSL and all that, which means someone went to a lot of time and trouble to reach a pretty limited audience. I got to see it on a VCR.
The woman is lying on the table, her lower half fig leafed by thuggish-looking guys in scrubs. Apparently in 1995 six surgeons were required to perform an abortion on one woman. But then, foetuses were a lot tougher back then, too, as this movie demonstrates.
Unseen, the foetus begins to scream. “Why are you doing this to me! Stop! Oh, please, stop, it hurts! It hurts! Mommy! Mommy!”
Then a despairing wail. “Mommy! Don’t kill me! Don’t you LOVE me, mommy?”
And then, finally, in a preternaturally calm voice: “Jesus loves me, Mommy. Why didn’t you?”
By then, I’m falling out of my chair laughing. The sheer absurdity of the piece has overwhelmed me.
I doubt this was the response the makers of the short had in mind.
I’m sure there were a few people blinded by tears, vowing to kill the next abortion doctor and/or liberal they saw. If one in a thousand people responded that way to the short, then the film maker was happy. If only half a dozen people converted, that was a half dozen more than they started the day with.
That’s the pernicious thing about propaganda. Even when a vast majority of the viewers recognize it as such, some people will be persuaded. And the propagandists will have taken another small chip out of a society that they disagree with, be it abortion or free marketing or dominionism or whatever otherwise unpopular view they espouse. The oil companies spend millions in propaganda trying to denigrate fears of global warming, knowing up front that they’ll only gain a dozen or so converts a day.
A good example of how it works came the other day, when a friend passed along a piece in email entitled “Red for the Soldiers.” It’s reprinted at the bottom of this essay.
My friend isn’t easily conned. She’s a social activist, known in the lawyer trade as “a tough cookie,” willing and able to fight for what she believes. She is normally alert to people trying to pull a scam on her. But she (somewhat sheepishly) admitted a little later that she read the piece, not as a political piece, but as a human piece, and so she didn’t have her editorial filters in place.
Quite aside for the completely over-the-top tugging of the heartstrings, what gives the piece away as pure propaganda is the fact that it finishes up with a completely gratuitous swipe at “the liberal media.” THEY are hiding the TRUTH from decent people, that Americans secretly support the glorious war of liberation in Iraq!
In these days of Rupert Murdoch, Viacom, Disney, Westinghouse, and Reverend Sun Myung Moon, only a moron believes America has a mainstream “liberal media” to begin with, let alone that they are capable of hiding conservative values from the American people (who, magically, remain deeply conservative anyway, making it a mystery as to why the writers of such pieces are so worried about liberals in the first place).
This piece was far more believable than the “Mommy! Why are you killing me?” one, or even the sad laments by Bill O’Reilly that big, sinister forces are afoot in America to kill Christmas. But it’s easy, when you are exposed to such on a constant basis, to fall for some of them, and to at least get an impression that lots of people must believe them, or why would you see them so often.
Persistence and repetition are key to propaganda. The propagandists believe – with a certain amount of cause – that if they only repeat a lie frequently enough, it will become truth. Certainly, it stands a chance of being perceived as truth. Right wingers managed to convince the nation, for example, that Jimmy Carter caused stagflation, and even people who were around for Nixon’s wage and price controls and Ford’s idiotic “WIN” buttons have come to believe that. It’s a bit like believing that Cleveland had a great basketball team before LeBron James signed on. More recently, a lot of people think that Clinton’s administration was the most corrupt in history, despite the actual record which shows it was one of the cleanest, possibly THE cleanest, in American history.
Lies have the power to alter truth.
But truth has the power to destroy lies.
I’m glad to see Democrats taking stands against the sleaziest, most despicable, and most cowardly liars the GOP could come up with – the Swift Boaters. John Kerry, the first victim of this disgraceful group, has taken T. Boone Pickens, the loon billionaire who financed the Swift Boaters, up on his offer of a million dollars for showing that any of the smears Pickens’ paid liars made against Kerry are false. Kerry wrote to Pickens, “While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation afterallegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt.” Pickens, with the character and honesty characteristic of his group, promptly tried to move the goal posts, saying he would accept nothing less than release of all of Kerry’s medical records. Quite a step from “demonstrate that anything we claimed was untrue.”
And today, Barack Obama warned that lizard of the right wing “press,” Robert D. Novak, to not attempt to swift boat him. Novak has been running around claiming that he has evidence that the Hillary Clinton campaign is sitting on “scandalous” information about Obama. Characteristically, Novak just sneers that there IS a scandal without actually saying what it might be.
This is what the American right has fallen to.
You’ll be in for a tidal wave of misinformation, disinformation, and outright smear, and most of it will be coming from the trash right. Some will try to manipulate your senses of decency and patriotism. Some will have a little truth to them. All will be designed to use you to their ends – and as we’ve seen over the past seven years, your interest do not lie near theirs.
Keep your guard up.
The trash right have already begun a flood of innuendo and propaganda.
And here's the heartthrobbing email making the rounds~~~

/Red for the Soldiers/
/Will you give this to my Daddy?
As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support "Red Fridays."
Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around andwitnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.
When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops andtheir families.
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.
Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "hi."
The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.
The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave himthe biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining howmuch her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.
When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you." He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying "your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon."
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That youngsoldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.
RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops.
Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening messagethat.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.
By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.
If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know theonce "silent" majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on.
The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers.
Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.


It turns out Zepp posted this particular essay at his own site. Here's the