Today is the anniversary of the end of the Civil War, or at least the major surrender of the Union’s major Confederate opposing force.
Once of generals was the anti-slavery Union general from West Point that was Lincoln’s original pick to head the entire Union forces, the general who inherited slaves and freed them years before the end of the Civil War, the general whose wife and mother-in-law worked to free slaves in general, the general whose wife (assisted by their daughter) ran a school teaching slaves to read and write. Continue reading Appomattox
Sorry for being out of contact so long, my friends. Here’s the story, which is personal and that you’re quite welcome to skip.
Continue reading Hospitals
I notice a number of new things politically that happened while I was out of it. First and foremost: “President Trump.”
Yes, I was tracking on election night, and I clearly remember one startling momemt. I had been following different states, and it seemed that Donald Trump had no chance because all of California’s 50+ electors would certainly go to Hillary, making his elector lead all to temporary. Then I realized that they had already called California for Hillary hours earlier — she was behind even with California counted. That was it; he was in. And hours later, even the media were forced to admit this.
President Trump began by doing many of the right things, though his wild-ass warrior habits with Twitter and off-hand pronouncements continue. Other problems I will write about, but I am still hopeful.
The Russia/Trump connection is constantly in the news, and the leftist media won’t let it go. Perhaps they understand why their masters want this pressure kept on: I’d bet that few of the news anchors and pundits understand.
Here is the reason: Trump must immediately cut a deal with Russia. And as long as the silly “investigations” bit continues, he’s hamstrung and cannot pursue that deal.
Lest this post get too long, let me try to briefly cover a bit of history and a bit of strategy.
A Brief History of Russia in the Middle East
Russia, and before it the Soviet Union, mastered game playing around the world to tilt power toward the federation, or at least away from the US. While many blamed the US for Saddam Hussein’s military capability, less than 1% of that hardware came from the United States. Instead, 57% of it came from the Soviets/Russians, and 13% from France with the balance spread between Germany and others.
Thus, on March 19th, 2003 — the night of “Shock and Awe” — we discovered that some of our massive rain of weapons into Baghdad’s military facilities was being redirected into civilian neighborhoods. How?
There was brand-new and very sophisticated hardware on the ground that scrambled the signals coming from the GPS satellites. This made the inbound weapons think that they were not quite in the right place, and adjusted courses as a result. Or that they were completely lost. In both cases, civilian neighborhoods tended to get destroyed rather than the originally targeted installations, and in some cases this was hoped for as Hussein’s hope to make the US look bad.
This new Russian hardware was being operated by Russian techs, on the ground in Iraq. By then, we had tracked by satellite as tens of thousands of truckloads of Iraqi military material were being brought by Russian trucks and crews from Iraq up into Syria. Much of the conventional military gear was left behind.
But Russia had been helping Iran gain nuclear material and technology for years by that time. They advised Iran to “cool it” after we moved into Iraq in 2003, perhaps to keep their own involvement hidden. Russia has generally preferred helping Shia rather than Sunni terrorists and supporter nations, as it was the Sunnis that sent their hotheads to Afghanistan and eventually defeated the Soviets there.
Now, Russia is comfortable acting openly as Iran’s air force, among other things, and is helping to solidify Iran’s power (and its own) in the Middle East. This includes supporting the Assad regime, for a number of reasons including petro pipelines and strategic access to key Middle East areas.
Trump needs to cut a deal with the Russians that would involve less overt support for Iran, and better economic access to Europe along with many other perks we can offer. Putin could reasonably say, “What can you do for me more than Obama, who did everything I asked him for eight years?” But there are bargaining chips that would help Russia greatly, as it is on the verge of economic collapse.
This works especially well if Trump can improve European ties at the same time.
So, to prevent this (knowingly or not), the media and other Democrats must keep up their cynical and hypocritical anti-Russia hysteria. And thus Iran remains a military protectorate of Russia, stymieing other actions needed against that terrorist regime.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
It’s been a long time, but I am back, at least back in business here.
Things took an interesting turn a few weeks after posting “The Happy in Happy Independence Day.” My gradually declining condition, traceable back to the meal that killed my Lady Anne and crippled me, caused me to pass out in my desk chair right at the end of July. I was found and ambulanced to the hospital with extreme dehydration, failed kidneys, and massive wounds eaten by sitting in my own fluids.
Just shy of dead.
More than half a year in the hospital (actually, three in succession) and intense rehab and ongoing wound care and other nursing care, here I am. But now, except for visiting nurses and frequent visits by a couple who are great friends, I am living alone in a tiny desert home, so far out in the boonies that Domino’s can’t find me. Other than mail and UPS and such, there is no food delivery here at all, and the closest restaurant is miles away.
I’ll tell more of the story if you’re interested, but in the meantime I am at the beginning of a long way back. And I shall not be wheelchair bound forever!
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
The commentary is from a year ago
, and the poem was written so long ago that we were still flying Space Shuttles. But the feeling is quite sincere, and I’ve had much reason to put the skill discussed below to use.
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I hope that each and every one of you is having a happy Fourth of July. The “happy” part of that is significant, and I sincerely hope that you have the skill and the circumstances to achieve it.Skill? Yes. Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, wrote one of the most oft-quoted lines in history describing unalienable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Someone suggested to me today that:
Happiness is a thing based on the circumstances we are in. Good circumstances=happy, bad circumstances=unhappy.
I disagreed. (And later, the commenter pretty much agreed with my objection, which is posted below.)
Happiness is a learned skill. To describe it as as merely the result of circumstances would be like saying a person is a skilled carpenter simply because he lives in a neighborhood of well-built homes.
Look at even recent history, and the number of people who have been so desperately unhappy that they took their own lives — despite living in comparative luxury and in circumstances that billions around the world would fight and die for, and would take minor issues in stride.
What killed these people — the teenager despondent over acne, the wealthy man who had a deal go bad, the actor without work despite a great body of success and money in the bank? (Let’s set aside the cases of actual cognitive impairment, such as Robin Williams’ Lewy Body Disorder.)
These people did not die from circumstances; they were led to kill themselves from the lack of sufficient skill to handle the circumstances they were in. Have you ever seen someone of very modest means, even in dire straits, who was nevertheless happy? Of course. Yet that person’s circumstances would dictate otherwise were the hypothesis correct. And successful (or particularly wealthy-through-inheritance) people being unhappy is so common it is a cliché.
Circumstances can be so bad as to interfere with happiness. Of course, death does this, but injury or illness or loss can require extraordinary skill to remain happy, and few have such skill. Cognitive impairment, like Williams above, can take away whatever skill you had already developed and leave you without defenses.
But happiness, as Jefferson knew, is a very good thing, not an “affliction” as mentioned upthread here. (He knew better; he wished that “affliction” upon Citizen Tom in good faith.)
Jefferson used “the pursuit of Happiness” as a shorthand catch-all for those things a person can do once they’ve attained some skill at it, and those things are inherent rights and not to be infringed upon. Don’t disparage it, and don’t sell yourself short. You can be as happy as you decide to be, if you follow up on that decision by seeking and acquiring the skills involved.
During the past year [ed: two years now], I have had to refine my own skills in this area, but I have been successful at this [ed: with more work to do here]. My level of happiness cannot be merely a product of my circumstances, or I’d have been long gone [ed: even more true this past year].
Best wishes for your celebration of Independence Day, and your pursuit of happiness.
On the celebration of Independence Day itself, I wrote this some time back, and it still holds true for me:
The Independence Journey
Tomorrow I travel
Across this great land
And try to unravel
How all this began
I look to the mountains
And gaze at the sea
Are these where the fountains
Of freedom might be?
The fields full of crops
The deep sylvan glade
The bustling shops
Where the future is made
The skyscrapers soaring
The bridges, the ships
The Space-X craft roaring
On million-mile trips
But harvest, invention,
Our tools and our crafts
Are not the intention
Contained in those drafts…
“United States” seems
Like a common phrase now
But once it was dreams
Born from deep thinking brow
As the Founders grew weary
Of rough distant rule
And taxes and tariffs
Provided the fuel…
Hear the bell as it rings!
That proud history shared
Isn’t based on mere “things”
The new nation caught
And flamed bright in their hearts
And though doubters still thought
That such disparate parts
Could never be coached
Or formed into one
Still ideas, once they’re broached
Sometimes see the job done
Through blood and through sweat
And through fear, war and strife
They struggled, and yet
Freedom loved, more than life
So they crafted a code
That gave people a voice
That gave promise to all
And the world, a new choice
By the people’s consent
A Republic was born
And with blood sorely spent
Broke the shackles we’d worn
Then we prospered and grew
In this fair rugged land
And to build straight and true
All the folks lent a hand
The foundation they laid
Is a strong, steady place
And the price that they paid
Gave us strength, hope, and grace
And still our Constitution
Guides the Land of the Free
And provides the solution
That made all of this be
And at last I can see
How our strength came about
Founders fought to be free
With hearts noble and stout
And they carried the day
And they brought it to us!
And we now, in our way
Undertake this great trust
For Americans make
Our America great
So I’ll pause and I’ll take
One more moment to state:
My dear friends reading here
Don’t forget where you are
We’ll defeat hate and fear
And we yet will go far
We each have work to do
(Not just do, but know why)
Now, to each one of you
Happy Fourth of July!
Continue reading The “Happy” in “Happy Independence Day”
This article on PJ Media is entitled: “4 Reasons Christians Can Believe in Evolution” and carries the subtitle buried within “and 2 reasons why you might not want to.” Continue reading Creation
The question was posed this way:
Is it true The Muslim Brotherhood has extensive operations inside the government…?
The question divides into two portions: (a) Are Muslim organizations extensively influential over the US government?, and (b) Are those Muslim organizations fairly considered as part of the Muslim Brotherhood?
To (a), this is uncontroversial. And sadly, the integration of CAIR and ISNA and others into the government’s decisions is blatant and the result is troubling. CAIR (the Council on American Muslim Relations) and ISNA (the Islamic Society of North America) are regular invitees to the White House, are participants in various influential committees, and their demands are heeded.
This unfortunately began during the Bush administration, and was already beginning at the time of 9/11. Muslims demanded that the US government’s output (from military and intelligence training manuals to White House press releases) absolve Islam from blame and never mention it during discussions of jihadism — a word which they demanded not be used.
These demands were part of the discussion of Muslim leaders who were to meet with White House staffers on a date that could be considered bad timing: September 11, 2001. That meeting was delayed somewhat by the events of jihadists taking down the World Trade Center buildings and killing people in airliners and the Pentagon. But when Bush spoke about the attacks, he began by holding Islam blameless and praising it. In his speech on 9/20, and his introduction of the PATRIOT Act, he used what is now common language:
The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are some of the murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.
Al Qaeda is to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money, its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.
The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.
The terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children.
This group and its leader, a person named Osama bin Laden, are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
During the Obama administration, this practice of tiptoeing around Islam’s involvement in jihad was readily accepted and amplified, and the meetings with and participation of CAIR/ISNA and other Muslim leaders became ever larger. It is official US policy not to mention Islamic involvement in jihad, an absolutely absurd policy. As you’ve seen, various leaders from Obama on down now insist that the Islamic State is not Islamic.
As to Ikhwan’s involvement (“Ikhwan” is “brotherhood” in Arabic), CAIR and ISNA were founded by Ikhwan leaders, and the documents unearthed (during a raid about terrorism support) revealed that CAIR and ISNA and many others were specifically part of a plan to overturn the secular US government and replace it with sharia law. The revolving door between these organizations’ leaders and Ikhwan leadership is further evidence, as is the convicting of a number of those Muslim leaders on terrorism charges.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
Another commenter, on gun rights and Obama:
Yes, Obama is gonna take away your arsenal! The President can’t confiscate anything, even a B-B gun.
Continue reading Confiscation
A commenter asked why the slaughter of blacks in South Carolina recently was not used for browbeating like the Orlando slaughter and all the others. Here was my reply: Continue reading Browbeating
Carbon dioxide is continually referred to as a “poison” or a “toxin” which must inevitably be irreversibly damaging the Earth. The case is actually the opposite of this. Continue reading Nontoxic