War and Peace

Syrian War refugees struggle to gain access to Europe    greekreporter.com

Syrian War refugees struggle to gain access to Europe               /greekreporter.com

In between golfing expeditions on his recent extended summer vacation, the President of the United States must have at various times noted the recent news of the day.  There was of course that irritating Hillary Clinton struggling to explain how she had determined to house the nation’s secrets on an unguarded server for her own benefit, as a matter of preference. Then there was that silly Donald Trump ranting about something or the other.  Most importantly, it appeared the various golf outings had managed to secure the Iran deal with his democrat politicos, making it possible for a non treaty, with provisions no one has seen, and inspections no one intends to uphold,  secure the jihadist radicals as the secure rulers of an Iran emerging as world power for the next President to deal with.  That last bit of news, now that was a good one.

Lining up the putt on the 18th green of the Cape Cod golf course, perhaps the President briefly gazed upon the vast ocean that separated his country from the continents beyond, and thought, how wonderful a time of peace can be.  After all, he had ended two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pulled American influence completely out of the Middle East, and punctured the quant and old fashioned American resolve to try to always do the right thing, no matter how difficult or potentially risky the situation.  That martial, imperial impulse that had dominated American foreign policy since the beginning of World War II had finally met its overdue demise under the disciplined, steady direction of  this smartest of all presidents.  Now, finally, some real Peace.  And the opportunity to spend the Peace Dividend on more pressing needs.

Unfortunately, it turns out, it is our Peace, their War. Despite the determination to remove the warmonger USA from inciting the locals in the Middle East, warmongering has continued at an accelerated pace.  An increasingly nasty war contagion is filing the void created by the American withdrawal, and the damage is cataclysmic.  Michael Ledeen, a long standing Middle East observer, notes that increasingly larger players are taking sides and developing war strategies in the region that supposedly would have been pacified by removal of the American hegemonist, and are savagely feasting on the carcasses of Syria, Iraq, and Libya the Americans left behind.  The visible result is human misery on a massive scale, with millions of  refugees fleeing the horror most profoundly effecting Syria, and risking everything to come to the shores of a Europe that doesn’t want them.  The Arab nations, trained for decades on the ability to ignore Palestinian refugee plight, are comfortable with thrusting all the refugees toward the hated ottomans in Turkey and the colonialists in Europe, making sure none land in their own countries and mess with their oil monies.  The Russians, who have always been world players, seek to mold the war in a way that serves their interests, and are increasingly taking a direct role in the mad center of the tornado, Syria.  The greatest war strategists of all are Obama’s new partner, the Iranians, buying anti-ship missiles from the Russians for when it becomes time to clear American ships from the Persian Gulf, strategizing with the Russians to secure President Assad’s position in the Syrian holocaust, and reaping real casualties from the Saudi and United Arab Emirate troops in Yemen, testing their resolve and willingness to die for their oil princes.

War and Peace. Throughout history, the two expressions of human existence have always co-existed, each preventing the other through hard choices.  Peace is not the absence of war, but the prevention of it. Despite all the historical precedents, the President thought somehow by withdrawing the policing forces from a pacified Iraq, removing the leadership of Libya and defining no alternative, ignoring the progressive disaster of Syria as if it were a local affair, and releasing the restraints on a jihadist Iran, peace would ensue.  Instead he, and the U.S. leadership to come, will have War.  Europe, other than Great Britain, always willing to avert its eyes from responsibility and assume that the victory in the cold war was achieved by the attractions of passivist socialism, is now facing the reality of millions of entrants to their societies, and the urgent need to do something.  The something is unlikely to allow them to wait to be rescued once again by the U.S.  If Europe’s recent brief period of “peace” is to be extended, they may have to finally be willing to admit that the concept of Peace does not survive without constant, aggressive vigilance and defense.  The millions and millions of people caught in the middle, as always, will be the sentinel sacrifices, of the  dithering democracies.

The President, in his final year of office, probably has plans to enjoy the Peace dividend he has created, and get in some serious golf.  I suspect, that War, is going to turn out to be his very uncomfortable caddy.

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Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Trump, Clinton and the decline of a nation             abcnews.go.com

Trump, Clinton and the decline of a nation
abcnews.go.com

At the opening of William Shakespeare’s peerless study of malevolence, Richard III, the protagonist initiates his soliloquy with the seven words that focus the entire play –  Now is the winter of our discontent. To Richard the seeming stability enjoyed by the elites is about  to see the havoc of the discontented, from unpredictable and opaque directions, until the world experiences the reordering that will upturn the status quo. In more down to earth terms, the whole miserable truth is, that the joke is on them.

Such is our current season of discontent.  The polls suggest that the position of chief executive of the most powerful country on earth may come down to a choice between a bombastic clown and a truth-addled crook.  In Great Britain, there is a groundswell in the Labour Party to select as leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a man who would make Karl Marx blush regarding his proletariat uber-sympathies.  In France, the leading candidate for the Presidency of France is forced to evict her father from his own party for saying out loud the prejudices upon which the party was founded.

The discontent crosses philosophies and principles.  The unifying force is the discontent itself.  Legions of people who feel their particular issues have been stomped in the dust by the elites who set the rules that the rest must live by, and the elites blithely ignore.  To the discontented, it is refreshing for a Donald Trump to admit what they always suspected – that patronage is purchased, and the entire governing body is in on it.   He does what they wish they could do, act out,  and call people out, without recriminations.  The rule of law has crumbled behind the ever shifting sands of lawyerisms, so why not suggest extra-legislative means harshly correcting the inequities?  For the discontented, Trump doesn’t have core beliefs, just the cojones to do something to restore their voice.

Trump is pitted against Clinton, the poster child of name calling and victimhood.  She stands for the nihilist principle – Let me do what I want, and you get to do what you want.  She might be the first candidate in history to whom the candidate who presumptively will run against her, proudly admits to having previously bought her patronage. Yet even Clinton stands vulnerable to attacks from even farther out on the anarchist fringe from a progressively popular Bernie Sanders, who wants to take the ‘us versus them’ to a celestial level.  The toxic stew stands to drowned out any deliberative debate as to the country’s problems, as the emotional discontent gains further traction.

The discontent in Great Britain threatens the status quo, with competing nationalisms driving progressive unprincipled extremism, from the ‘throw the rascals out until it looks like England again’  mentality of UKIP, to the ‘drain the capitalists of their money and power’ invectives of Corbyn the rest of the Labour party seems helpless to thwart.  Tony Blair stands aghast at the unleashing of Corbynmania but seems clueless as to how his peculiar brand of elitism helped to create the monster.  The European Union, and by proxy the dominant German backers, cling to their bureaucratic dictums that demand the obedience of all under its puritan reach, yet are progressively alarmed at the increasingly nationalistic populations that thumb their nose and suggest that if they are to be ruled by a bastard elite, better a bastard elite they recognize and to which they can relate .

The discontent surges not knowing necessarily what it wants, only sure it doesn’t want the status quo.  Why have a constitution if no one follows it?  Why follow the rules if the elite tell you that those that don’t follow the rules, will receive an equal if not greater piece of the pie?  We are deep into our winter of discontent, and the former balancing forces of a stable society maybe unable to restore the accepted order, or the predictable outcomes.  For Richard III, when the tidal forces he unshackled came back upon him, he temporarily sought refuge from the progressive calamity, willing to give up “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”  When Catesby urges him to withdraw from battle, achieve the steed, and therefore safety he requested, Richard III knows his destiny is the calamity he has unleashed, responding, “Slave, I have set my life upon the cast, and I will stand the hazard of a die!”  

It is the mystery of our time to see whether our current protagonists will have Richard’s courage to see their role in stoking the darker shades of our nature, to destiny’s fitting conclusion.

 

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Felix Mendelssohn and the Romantic Age

Fingals Cave, Staffa, Inner Hebrides   Scotland

Fingals Cave, Staffa, Inner Hebrides Scotland

At the western edge of the island land masses that form the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, stands a little tuft of volcanic elevation known as  Staffa.  Barely a quarter mile in area, the southern most tip of this uninhabited island faces the huge expanse of the Atlantic with a peculiar formation  of crevice, cave, and stone referred to as Fingals Cave.  Despite its natural isolation, it has been reknowned for as long as there has been humanity on the islands known as Albion for the strange cathedral like natural formation of its prismatic hexagonal basalt columns formed by the slow cooling masses of sea lava that pushed out of the sea and were  reoriented by intermittent flooding of the lava flows by the great ocean.  Natural formations such as Fingals Cave  have taken on supernatural characteristics to those who are open to its coalescence of sights and sounds that seem to have been directed by an unseen hand into something beyond the sum of its parts.  At a certain time of day, in a certain light, the very rational explanation of the natural formation in the shadows and mists is progressively lost to the mysterious otherworldly sensual experience of that which is beyond explanation.

It is in that place, that an entire cultural line of creative thought we now refer to as the Romantic Age propelled out of the rationality of the Enlightenment of the seventeenth century.  Enlightenment, with man as rational thinker, and God as Engineer, saw the world as ordered and explainable, limited only by the means available to understand it.  At the turn of the 18th century and for fifty years following, a reaction to this ordered universe developed in the cultural world that connected the internal world of unspoken thoughts and dreams to the great unknown of the supernatural, and sought expressions in their writing, art, and music. The writings of Shelley, Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Robert Burns and William Blake, the paintings of Goya and Friedrich, and the music of Mendelssohn and Schumann, Liszt, Chopin, and Berlioz provided a reaction and withdrawal from the very real turmoil of the marshal and nationalist Romanticist impulses optimized by the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

Though a multicultural movement seen in every western society of the time, the greatest amount of definition came from the german remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, through its philosophers Harmann, Goethe and Schiller.  The German expression of “Sturm and Drang”, literally Storm and Drive, referred to sublimation of the rationalist to the internal turmoil of both individualism and emotion.  The natural world took on progressive attraction and awe, as it tended to stimulate unique emotions, and provided escape from the brutal realities of the development of state militaries and the darker effects upon people of the mass scale of the Industrial Revolution.

Felix Mendelssohn is the somewhat under-appreciated musical master of his time. Typical for his age, he accomplished a prodigious amount in the very short life span so common before the Age of Medicine.  Born in 1809 in Hamburg of a prominent intellectual Jewish family, he suffered under the rigid anti-semitism of european culture.Raised in a secular home, he was eventually converted to Christianity, but insufficiently Christian for most of european society, and insufficiently Jewish for his own understanding of his people and ancestry.   Although his family with its Christian conversion took the name Bartholdy, Mendelssohn  never fully dropped his ancestral name, and his courageous juxtaposition defined his relationships for the rest of his life.  This inner turmoil provided an exceptional platform for Harmann’s Sturm and Drang, and the undeniable genius that was Mendelssohn proved a fortress of this movement’s expression over his short 38 years on earth. From the 17th century’s end to the atomic age, genius was the province of birth, not formed through scholastic preparation. This particular form of genius was celebrated for its polyglot capabilities in language, music, and art, and Mendelssohn was from childhood recognized for the depth of his intellect and the prodigy level of his talents. Like Mozart, he was born a musical prodigy, by age 17 already considered at the highest order of pianist performers and composers, completing his seminal overture to the Midsummer Night’s Dream by age 16, and the aforementioned ode to Fingals Cave by 21. The Symphonies poured out in his twenties and the great Violin Concerto in E Minor by age 33. The music was sonic, pictorial, and nativist, connecting to the internal but never losing its relationship with the classical roots from which it sprung.

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy  1809-1847

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy 1809-1847

 

It was Mendelssohn’s unwillingness to sever his connections with the ancestry of musical expression the offended the more radical romantic dreamers like Liszt and Berlioz, and Mendelssohn’s pride in his jewish roots that even more offended the german racialist Wagner, who worked to demean Mendelssohn’s reputation where he could.  Mendelssohn created a very personal dream world that celebrated nature and individual but painted with a cool light that seemed too rational for the more disordered and exhibitionist world that a performer like Liszt inhabited.  Mendelssohn’ s universe foreshadowed more than later cool impressionism of Debussy and Matisse than the dense emotionalism of Mahler and Van Gogh.  Mendelssohn  also was selfless in almost single handedly bringing back to light the genius that was Johann Sebastian Bach, almost completely buried in the past, as well as the more present works of Schubert and Schumann to prominence.  It was Wagner’s racialist hatred, perhaps additionally fueled by Mendelssohn’s apparent earlier indifference to the youthful Wagner’s composing efforts, that nearly buried Mendelssohn’s musical memory.  In Nazi Germany, Mendelssohn’s works were banned as reactionary and his influence scrubbed, but the universal connection felt by his audience and particularly the performers  who admired the seamless perfection that was his Violin Concerto would not let his musical expression die.  To the horror of the racialists, Mendelssohn’s very germaness overwhelmed their ignorant theories, and his sublime work combined with his rescue of former German cultural greatness makes him one of the titans of Germany’s significant cultural gift to humanity.

In today’s world, where our current homage is to the twin temples of Settled Science and Athletics, it is nice to harken back to the creative geniuses that saw pleasure and awe in the unsettled and mysterious nature of life, and celebrated its obtuse and otherworldly side.  We don’t have to travel to Staffa and linger in the cathedral like cove that is Fingals Cave to feel our connection with the grandeur that is God’s Creation and our soul’s connection to it.  We only need to close our eyes and let a genius from another age take us there and make us one with it.

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Vice President Biden Gets It

Vice President Joseph Biden  at Chattanooga memorial services for slain soldiers Jason Davis/Getty Images

Vice President Joseph Biden at Chattanooga memorial services for slain soldiers
Jason Davis/Getty Images

President Obama has been firm with concept that America’s heavy footprint in the Middle East is partially responsible for stoking the intense violence of the region and that our withdrawal will reduce the nidus for the conflict.  He has been adament that the descriptiion of the violence as a premeditated goal of a radicalized Islam is our contribution to the seeds of that violence, and has no place in American thinking.  His view has led to the conceptualization of the Major Hassan as “workplace violence”, the Tsarnaev Boston bombing as “lone wolf” actions, and the recent Chattanooga recruiting station attack as a problem of “mental illness”.

Specific to the Chattanooga attack of July 16th, 2015, five unarmed military personnel were murdered by a Palestinian American named Mohammed Youssef Abdulazeez, whose parents left the middle east in 1996, and accepted American citizenship, but never left their fundamental Islamist beliefs behind.   Abdulazeez, pummeled by a life of drug abuse, poor personal discipline costing him stable employment, and consumed by the internal rage of arab youth felt denied their position as the superior race, attained an AK 47 automatic assault rifle and unloaded 100 rounds into people who could not defend themselves, until he was  put down by police fire.

On August 15th, 2015, the military finally secured a combined service for the five servicemen and their families, a month past the point where the rest of the country has already put the event behind them and moved on to other things.  In a country anxious to avert its eyes to the growing threat of radicalized Islam, assisted by the Averter in Chief, the individual loss of soldiers does not take hold.  After all, the country lives through assaults every week in its major cities as part of routine urban violence and does nothing but salute the occasional thug that determined to strike back against the police.  The shared sacrifice idealization of a soldier defending their country no longer secures an emotional response among a population where the great majority of the population no longer serves, or knows someone who has.

The Vice President of this country is thankfully different, and eloquently expressed what is rarely expressed anymore by those in power.  Vice President Biden has reason to connect with loss of loved ones; in 1972 he lost his daughter and wife in a car accident in which his two sons, Beau and Hunter were seriously injured.  This summer he lost his son Beau, Delaware’s attorney general, to brain cancer.  Beau, the Biden hope for the future, a major in the Army Reserve who served in Iraq, and assumed next governor of Delaware, was taken from the Vice President with a vicious cancer  that has clearly and deeply affected the Vice President’s views on life, sacrifice, and loss.  There is likely no loss as personal as a child to a parent, and places Biden in direct sympathy with those military families who must face their overwhelming loss in silence from a country that prefers not to know.

Vice Presidents do funerals, and perform eulogies.  But there was something very special about the eulogy Vice President Biden gave yesterday.  Something so heartfelt and direct, only someone who has lost, could understand.  With his eulogy, Biden showed great clarity in what it means to serve and defend the ramparts, what it means to sacrifice, and what it means to be an American.  Sometimes the most unpredictable events elevate a person and make them worthy of our attention.  In an election season where the presumptive republican front runner clowns his way through policy discussion, and the presumptive democratic front runner has shown herself to be laden with corruption and indiscipline, Vice President Biden may have just set himself apart, and shown the world that there is still a place for someone who gets it.

Watch the speech in its entirety, and you will get it, too.

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Averting a Train Wreck

Donald Trump at the republican presidential debate

Donald Trump at the republican presidential debate

On Thursday evening, August 6th,2015, an estimated 24 million Americans tuned in to watch the national broadcast of a debate of republican presidential aspirants. With such an audience, the standard was set for the highest rated non sports related telecast in cable network history.  I’m fairly confident this huge audience didn’t tune in to see Rand Paul articulate libertarianism, judge what Megyn Kelly was wearing, or query whether Jeb Bush would respond to the name Jeb Bush.  No, the great majority tuned in, I believe, to be potential witnesses to a real time train wreck.  On June 16th, the Donald Trump train left the station with his announcement that he was running for the Presidency, and has been teetering on the rails ever since.  A nation’s audience reveled in the chance he just might in front of everybody swerve completely off the rails and self destruct.

Donald Trump is the triumphant example of the progressive superficial vacuousness that has overcome the nation’s political discourse.  The Trump agenda for the country is essentially bluster.  Were it not for bluster, he would have no program at all.  But to Trump, what ails the country is not the lack of formative ideas to solve the nation’s challenges, it is the lack of politicians  being willing to lay it on the line, and tell it like it is.  Or at least tell it as Trump think it is to be told.   He sees the world not in layers of complex historical trends, intellectual assessments, and strategic insights, only as groups of winners and losers.  If you win you are “wonderful”.  If you fail, you are “terrible” and a “loser”.  In 1987, Donald Trump burst upon the national consciousness authoring a best seller called “Art of the Deal”, in which he relayed his recipe for success.  Among its breakthrough concepts, Think Big and Get the Word Out.  As Trump tells it, ” I like to think big. If you going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”  The Donald starred in his own television show in which he identified “losers” and “fired” them.  He states he would bringing this cutting edge management style to the executive branch of the nation’s government.

Is it feasible that 25% of the nation’s voting public, as currently reflected in the polls, sees Trump’s  political core thought as innovative and worthy of the nation’s highest office?  I suspect not, but there has been a progressive tendency to look for leaders that elicit emotional reaction, rather than measured thought.  Its seen in the tendency to want to look to elect the “first” of something – the “first African American”, the “first Woman”, the “first Other”.   Leaders that stoke victimization seem more caring about individual problems and concerns, rather than promoting challenging processes that might actually solve them.  Politicians also seek to identify the “villains” – the “Rich”, the “Gun Owner”, or the “Christian zealot”.  Trump nestles into the psyche of the average voter that is not entirely willing to investigate why problems exist, but fairly certain they are being at least impersonally screwed by the establishment.  Since Trump sees himself as never being duped, he aligns himself with the voters, who see him as protecting them against unseen forces.

As he is the deliverer of emotional retorts, Trump is under no pressure to secure is the logic or the consistency of his statements.  He has been able to make outrageous and contradictory statements,  because to him, the outrage is not his lack of facts, it is everyone else’s lack of outrage.  As Kevin Williamson in National Review articulates:

Asked to provide evidence for his daft conspiracy theory that our illegal-immigration crisis is a result of the Mexican government’s intentionally flooding the United States with platoons of rapists, Trump’s answer was, essentially, “I heard it from a guy.” Challenged on his support for a Canadian-style single-payer health-care system, Trump described the system of his dreams in one word: “better.” As though nobody had ever thought: “What we need is better policies instead of worse policies.” Trump’s mind is so full of Trump that there isn’t any room for ideas, or even basic knowledge.

Logic like that used to be recognized in American politics as a form of satire.  Pat Paulson, a sketch comedian on the Smothers Brothers television show ran for the Presidency in 1968 and five times thereafter on the Straight Talking American Government(STAG) party

Pat Paulsen, Presidential candidate 1968,1972,1980,1988,1992,1996

Pat Paulsen, Presidential candidate 1968,1972,1980,1988,1992,1996

platform, with the healthy comedic cynicism of an observer of body politics’ inherent hypocrisies.  Paulsen, freely willing to be a flip  flopper and double talker regarding  his policy statements, when caught in his incoherence, always responded with the catch phrase “picky, picky, picky!”  His presidential campaign slogan was “I upped my standards, now, up yours!”  Paulsen always secured a certain protest vote, but everybody knew he was in on the joke.

 

In 1992, H Ross Perot, a Texas businessman with a particular hatred for the sitting President George Herbert Walker Bush, set himself as a Trumpian candidate,  and his form of satire was certainly less funny and somewhat more ominous in its success.  He was quoted as saying obtuse policy statements such as, “ If someone as blessed as I am not willing to clean out the barn, who will?”  and  “If you can’t stand a little sacrifice and you can’t  stand a trip across the desert with limited water, we’re never going to straighten this country out.”  Whatever potential policies Perot felt such remarks would evolve into, he never let on, but he translated it into 19% of the national vote in 1992, and although he didn’t win a single state’s electoral vote, Perot managed to take down a sitting President and give us Bill Clinton.

H Ross Perot Presidential candidate 1992

H Ross Perot
Presidential candidate 1992

 

Perot’s success set the stage for the current “businessman savior” Trump, who feels his supposed dominance  in the business world would translate into the more arcane and compromise filled world of politics.  Of course such talents never need to show their skill level running for any lower office – the Chief Executive office of the country is fundamentally just big enough for their egos.

The 2016 republican field was felt to be one of the most talented in recent history, with multiple vetted and articulate candidates with willingness to confront one of the more challenging political environments in years.  Into this maelstrom comes the distortion of Trump, who looks to steal the energy and attention of the moment to pump his own ego and potentially upset the applecart.  Trump, the runaway train, threatens to take his circus “Independent” and achieve the same notoriety that propelled Perot, and likely bring another Clinton into the office.  It would suit Trump fine as he believes the office holders are meant to be “managed” for favors, and their policies consumer items for purchase.  It certainly wouldn’t phase him as to which party would be in power, as power comes from the Art of the Deal.   Is the country so gone that it can no longer participate in a real battle of ideas and help mold its destiny?  My gut sense is that the country has had its flirtation with the superficial (see current administration) and will trade it for some serious adults, not the theater of the absurd.  If so, Trump’s train will soon be passenger-less, and its conductor once again reduced to running beauty pageants, wrestling events, and roulette wheels.  I suspect after a period of time in the klieg lights, that will suit the conductor of the crazy train just fine.

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The Lion in Winter

WOODROW

WOODROW

This week was one of the more difficult weeks in my life.  My great companion of thirteen years, my dog Woodrow, succumbed to a nasty cancer of his spleen, that like a thief in the night, stole without warning our living bond.  Clinically the event was perpetrated as the result of a spontaneous rupture of a malignant hemangiosarcoma, but it presented as internal bleeding,spontaneous deterioration, and the acute need to make a rapid and very,very painful decision.  Like the warrior king he always was, Woodrow fought the vicious foe tenaciously for several hours.  He would not let his warrior heart give in…

I had to do it for him, to end his suffering.  The battle lost, the warrior king was at rest for the ages. His best companion’s deep suffering continues.

Above is the king at the height of his powers. An exotic mix of Golden Retriever and Chow, he carried the dual personality characteristics of beauty and beast.  Rescued in his youth from a kill shelter in Idaho, he maintained always the frontier spirit of the West in his soul.  He was a throwback. Self sufficient. A hunter. A loner.  He liked being outside in the elements when other wussified dogs of the suburbs to which  his rescue delivered him headed in doors at the first weather.  He would go on vision quests, long walks which irritated the neighbors and brought him in a precarious love hate relationship with the local constabulary. He did not suffer fools, neither dogs nor humans.  If a stray coyote sought to take over the territory, Woodrow made sure there would be none of that.

He brought an intense bond with his owners in that it was easy to see there was nothing to own, only life to share.  He did not whine, and he took care of his own wounds – the occasional untoward moments in life. A missing canine.  Facial scars from raccoons. The stiff gait of many a battle.

He also let you know he was your wing man.  Always by your side. He deeply enjoyed human contact, and showed real gratefulness for the comfortable life he ended up achieving through rescue, released from the wild, difficult, unknown world of his youth and the harrowing experience of the shelter.

He was strong and beautiful, but as life does to us all, he was slowly and insidiously drawn  down by the ravages of age.  The hips stiffened, and the massive shoulder muscles weakened.  He no longer could run, and progressively getting up and down became a daily challenge.  He had become the Lion in Winter.  In his last year, he would still guard his territory from the porch, surveying his domain from his padded bed – weakened, but still not suffering fools such as the UPS man.  The body began to deteriorate before the final insult, but the warrior heart remained strong and the deep eyes always burned with the fires of the ancient eternal soul within.

The night of nights came for Woodrow, as it must inevitably for all of us.  The stark rupture from the bonds of life to the vagaries of death is the essential moment that reminds us of the precious gift that is life.  In this same week, we are confronted with our modern culture’s confusion with the gift.  We note society’s faux outrage with a hunter’s kill of a somewhat domesticated lion in the country of Zimbabwe that dominates people’s emotions internationally.  The people of Zimbabwe are confused as to the intensity of the emotion of people for a lion they did not know, in a country where lions kill people every year, and other animals every day. In the same week, we are exposed to moral emptiness of a bureaucratic  human extermination process run by Planned Parenthood, exposed by video to be actively selling late term aborted fetus body parts for profit, taking care not to damage the “crop”.  The latest video identifies the horrifying reality that in some cases, the execution is not fast enough, and the fetus escapes the womb fully formed and viable – what used to be universally recognized as a human baby.  No matter. The baby is “harvested” anyway.  Society, unable any longer to sustain a soul, unable to understand the life creation process stands mute.  As the Nazi monster physician Joseph Mengele ominously and presciently was quoted,

” The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.”

We have progressively lost our wonder of the miracle of creation, God sent, with natural order of things a struggle to be mastered and the awesome beauty and diversity of life to be celebrated. To live in a world where humans become divisible consumer products and animals strange objects of worship demeans the entire constellation of the sacred gift of life.  The universe has balanced it all, the joy and tragedy, struggle and triumph, wonder and loss that makes the idea of living on a fulfilling one.  We can only hope to be worthy of the miracle and live a life totally respectful of it.

 

Norse legend suggests that for Woodrow , as one of God’s creatures, his time on Earth done, a lush meadow awaits him between this world and the next, where he can be young and strong again, body  restored to its majesty.  There he can wait, until one day he notes a familiar scent, lifts his eyes forward, and leaves the pack behind. And comes running to me, joy thus restored and the universe now healed… and from that point, together,  we cross the rainbow bridge, to our shared eternal destiny.

Were it to be that the universe indeed worked that way, that would be all right with me.

 

 

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People We Should Know #27 – Tom Cotton

1st Lieutenant Tom Cotton in Iraq      theatlantic.com

1st Lieutenant Tom Cotton in Iraq with the 101st Airborne             theatlantic.com

In Frank Capra’s 1939 film Mr. Smith goes to Washington, an American everyman Jimmy Stewart goes to Washington as an obscure replacement Senator from an insignificant Western state.  At a critical moment in the film, the inexperienced Senator Smith, under pressure from the corrupt establishment and facing personal damage to his reputation, mrsmith.3determines to fight them all and stand up for the principles of democracy, and the people who he represented.  He gives it all up to filibuster a corrupt bill and, in the end, wins the day for all that is good and fair in America.  The establishment, so blinded by the way Washington works, sees ultimately in Senator Smith the essentials of America they left behind so very long ago, and there is a epiphany of sorts.  Well, on January 6th, 2015, another Western everyman was sworn in to the United States Senate and this everyman has done everything to set the current establishment on its heels.  From his first day he has stood athwart the efforts of the establishment to accede to the authoritarians of Iran in their relentless drive to obtain nuclear weapon capacity and threaten the world.  The new saga might be called Mr. Tom Cotton Goes to Washington, and this senator is rapidly becoming one of Ramparts People We Should Know.

Tom Cotton, like the fictional Jimmy Stewart, came out of small town America, born in the  small Arkansas town of Dardanelle, population 4745.  His parents were good Arkansas democrats and supporters of Governor Clinton.  Son Thomas however was a contrarian from the start, absorbing on his own the conservative wave effecting the South.  Small town or not, young Cotton was a unique intellectual talent, and his future course one of one achievement after another.  He was an outstanding high school student, and was accepted to Harvard in 1995.   He graduated  from Harvard and was admitted to the Claremont Institute for graduate studies, determining to return to Harvard after a year when he was accepted into Harvard Law School.  Graduating in 2002,  he clerked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, then entered into practice of law with a prestigious  law firm.  By 2004, the very different nature of this individual to respond to his internal sense of purpose led him to quit the firm and join the Army, at the very height of instability in Iraq.  He not only joined, but decided not to take the obvious administrative officer route of attaining a captaincy in the Judge Advocate Corps his law education positioned him for, but instead decided on a combat route, starting as a Corporal, and entering the US Army’s Officer Candidate School, earning a 2nd Lieutenant commission.  He then attended both US Army Airborne School and Ranger School, and was assigned to the 101st Airborne as a platoon leader in Iraq in 2004.  In 2006, Cotton became a 1st Lieutenant and was re-assigned state-side to Arlington National Cemetery as a member of the Old Guard Unit.  The restless Cotton pined to return to the front lines and was re-assigned in 2008 to Lagham Province in Afghanistan where he completed another tour. Having completed two combat tours, Cotton was honorably discharged in 2009, rejoining the US Army Reserves in 2010 and finally discharged as a Captain in 2013.

Tom Cotton by age 35 had achieved a lifetime of accomplishment.  Graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law. Two combat tours in the US Army. Airborne School, Ranger School and honorable discharge as a US Army Captain.  But Tom Cotton has only just gotten started.  His political persona and the unique personality that couples a formidable intellect with the willingness to speak his mind on principle regardless of the risk, first presented on his initial combat tour in Iraq.  In 2006, the New Times proudly published classified material exposing the government’s secret program monitoring terrorist’s finances.  An obscure combat Lieutenant in Iraq named Tom Cotton read the article and determined to let the world know that to front line soldiers, what the New York Times had done risked American lives and bordered on treasonous.  He wrote an open letter, a technique he would use in the future, to go around the establishment and get his opinion out directly to the public.  The letter struck a cord and was an internet sensation.  This obscure lieutenant became overnight an international figure, and an almost immediate thorn in the side to his superiors.  The need to speak his mind risked court marshal and given the political sensitivities of army hierarchy, the potential destruction of his career.  It might have been the first time that a letter on the internet required a decision by the Army Chief of Staff, but luckily for Cotton,  General Peter Schoomacher backed his right to state his opinion.

The legend of Cotton was born at that moment in conservative circles, and he became a future star to be nurtured.  When a House of Representative seat opened up in 2012, Cotton’s political career began with a run for the seat, and he was elected to Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District in 2012, defeating his opponent 59% to 37%.   With the Cotton resume now in national focus, he was immediately appreciated for his intellectual and rhetorical skills on the House floor, and his reputation grew well beyond typical freshman status.  By 2014, a vulnerable democrat Senator Mark Pryor was in Cotton’s sights, and a similar electoral wuppin’ took place, with the ever more popular and skilled Cotton defeating Pryor 56.5% to 39.5%.

Now Senator, Tom Cotton has focused his attention with laser beam focus on the Obama’s administration’s focus on overturning thirty years of American policy toward the theocrat dictators of Iran and their desire for nuclear weaponry.  In typical Cotton focus, where the rest of the establishment political crowd has passively stood by as Obama. determined to get an agreement at any cost,  has given in on one critical issue after another to Iran, Cotton has singlehandedly manned the rhetorical and constitutional Ramparts against the administration’s appeasement.  Using his now famous Open Letter technique, Cotton published a letter to the Ayatollah countersigned by 47 other senators, that any executive agreement presented by President Obama designed to subvert the constitutional treaty process mandated in the Constitution would not have the obligations of a treaty:

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

Like Cotton’s previous letter, this brought faux outrage from opponents, and particular disdain from the President, who has sought extra-constitutional actions as his modus operandi again and again.  Despite the enormous pressures applied from all directions, Cotton as usual remained non-plussed. Cotton has been the direct visible opponent of each  Obama appeasement to Iran – from sanction removal to anywhere anytime site inspection to centrifuge research to release of a monster cache of frozen funds to, the final outrage, the furtherance of Iran’s ballistic missile systems, thus improving Iran’s capacity to threaten the world with weapon deliverance, once they have nuclear weapon capacity. Throwing aside President Obama’s usual deceptive tactic of stating the opposite of the obvious to a superficially attentive population and media,  Cotton has become a pillar of strength in the effort to protect the world against the Iranian threat.  He has proven he can hold his principled opinion even under the challenge of hostile media.  Cotton did not rest when the President and the Secretary of State attempted to present the agreement as a fait accompli.  He has led to organizing of the Senate to review document in its entirety, including side deals with Iran the administration had purposefully obscured from public notice as they ran contrary to the narrative of a “tough” deal.

Senator Tom Cotton is 38 years old, the youngest Senator in the US Senate, and already is the stiff backed principled opposition to the idea the  United States is a has been power that must except its decline, and subject itself to decline as a punishment for the “wrong” it has done as a superpower. Harvard Law graduate. Combat Veteran. Captain in the Army.  US Representative. US Senator.  Lion in the defense of America and her unique constitutional design promoting limited government and individual freedom.  At 38, the future sky’s the limit for Senator Tom Cotton.  Resoundingly, Tom Cotton is Ramparts People We Should Know #27 .  If Frank Capra,were to make the movie now, Mr. Tom Cotton Goes to Washington very likely would have an even more impressive sequel to come.

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The Age of the Globians

Globian in Chief

Globian in Chief

It is such a stressful time for those traditionalists among us that have considered the 2600 years since the Greeks brought forth the birth of western man as a rational and contemplative individual a journey of great achievement.  The tract of progress that in the proceeding thousands of years has been fitful and at times violent, but ever forward. Schools of philosophy and logic. Concepts of democracy and republicanism.  Rights of property and the rule of law.  Principles of free speech and freedom of faith.   Objectivity of learning , and the method and rigor of science. Obligations and privileges of citizenship. From the 6th century BC onward, the concepts have been at times celebrated and at other times attacked, but the ramparts of civilization have held fast against the multiple threats of hedonism, anarchy, and revanchism by totalitarian tides.

Unfortunately, our current age is under attack, and this time the enemy is from within.  It is possible that the maturation of western ideals is now in its progressively senile old age, and the practitioners of modern western thought are suffering under a form of cognitive dementia.  The syndrome is rudderless globalism, and the advocates a new ethnic group I am coining the descriptor,  Globians.

What is a Globian?  You might recognize the Globian in Chief referenced above, but this time, a thousand words speaks a picture.  In this progressively post western world that the Globian aspires to, nothing less than the total transformation of civilization from the focus on the individual, to the comfort of the collective is desired. The Globian strives for the re-ordering of what was once considered unalienable, and the process to get there moves on many fronts.

History      The Globian works to detach society from the chronological connection to its past. The concept of history is not to be about understanding what happened, but defining how it is to be remembered. Ask a globalist regarding the dates of the American or French Revolution, the first man on the moon, or the Civil War and you are likely to get a bizarre answer.  Years have no meaning to the Globian because past history is seen as imperial, hegemonic, and racist.  The connection of one event to another chronologically has no meaning because the history of man until recently has been seen as elevating the individual while denying classes of people.  History is remembered only as it fits the narrative. For instance, take President Obama’s insistence that the inspiration of the civil rights march of Reverend King across the bridge in Selma Alabama was the stimulus for his parents getting together and conceiving Barack Obama – except that the birth of Obama was in 1961 and the march at Selma in 1965.  Or that Texas has been a difficult state for the President, because as Obama stated, “Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, for, you know, historic reasons.” This would be a pretty big shock to the 150 years of democrat domination of Texas, from Sam Houston to Sam Rayburn through Lyndon Johnson and Ann Richards. The Globian narrative holds no event above another as they were all events of force or oppression  and therefore no need for clarity as to their relationship to each other.  History is parallel, and to the Globian the historical perspective of the Maori as important as the nation state.

Values    The Globian sees a value tradition as representative of societal prejudice.  The Globian is therefore entirely comfortable in the West throwing out the concept of marriage as being between a man and woman as reactionary and prejudicial, while being equally comfortable with an islamic radicalist throwing off the roof any individual believing otherwise.  Values of property and ownership seem archaic as they imply unfair advantage between peoples.  In the Global village, resources and production are cohabited – if you own that, you certainly didn’t build that.  The victim in a crime event may actually be the criminal, as his or her environment may have been such that they were drawn to violence or theft, and the victim instead the criminal, for owning the unfair advantage of wealth, skin-tone, or oppressive ancestors. Cultural values have to be leveled – splotches of paint thrown against canvas in anger reflect the same cultural value as carefully tendered art; hip hop poets measured against Shakespeare.  Religious standards are arbitrary – Jesus can be immersed in urine or lain upon a hammer and sickle, but Mohammed can not even be drawn.

Borders   The Globian is offended by arbitrary borders.  Borders seek to maintain for one people the bounty against another people, not the marker for a common set of principles or aspirational beliefs.  The nation state was founded to separate intermingling and diversity and must be progressively done away with to produce a universal equality.  Therefore concepts of citizenship are arbitrary.  Legal and illegal immigrants are assigned the same rights and privileges of citizenship.  A nation’s borders are turnstiles for migration, but the migrant may accept the bounties of the society without needing to accept any of its laws as binding.  The dissolution of borders progressively create one global village.

Rule of Law    The Globian sees laws as organic processes, not principles agreed upon.  The Constitution is a “living” document to be interpreted like any other time limited expression, requiring accountability and constant adjustment if it proves limiting.  Laws are inherently flawed in they require agreement through legislation.  The Globian prefers extra- legal regulation, as regulations can be extended far beyond the limitations of agreed upon laws, and changed as necessary to fit the “sense” of the law, rather than its precise delineated meaning.  Regulations additionally can provide universal control over individual pursuits, as these are antithetical to the global need to have a common uniformity of opinion.  Laws that don’t fit the narrative need to be overturned, a laborious process.  Regulations can be applied infinitely and without consent of the governed.  Globians see government as the answer for the needs of the governed, and regulations as the universal tool of governing.

Humans    The thought of humanity as having been ordained divinely with dominance over the earth is abhorrent to the Globian.  To the Globian, inanimate and animate objects hold equal sway.  Humans therefore need to respect the snail darter, and their damage to Mother Ghia borders on sacrilege.  Fresh water is not to be dammed or reservoired as water is meant to flow to the sea.  Modern humanity is driven to  kill the earth, plundering its resources and unfairly dominating its other species.  Humans gouge the surface of the Earth with mines, and scar Her viscera with fracking and drilling, for no other purpose then to produce the energy for humanity’s artificial comfort and the earth’s climatic demise.  Man as Lord over Nature is intolerable and unsustainable, and as its expression is so poorly distributed, must be stopped.

Science   the Globian needs to science to be “settled” where it fits a narrative, and be rejected where its does not. Science, since the Enlightenment,  the unprejudiced objective means by which man has been able to question the known and discover the unknown does not work for the Globian.  Science’s job as expressed by the Globian is to codify the Globian narrative, not to question it.  What good is uniform regulation of climate if people continually question the “science” behind it?  Why should the humanness of a fetus be questioned, if the discovery of its humanity would lead to questioning of the right of society  to ignore its personhood?  The Globian needs Wind power to be good, and Carbon to be bad, sexual education for toddlers to be good, and vaccinations to be bad.  The Globian wants science to regulate not illuminate and makes sure that contrary voices are labelled heretics.

The Globian in short, lives in a world of hypocrisy in my mind.  They are coddled in their modernity, but reject it for others. Being post modern hypocrites, they can fly private jets to give speeches to other globians to demand humans walk or ride mass transit.  They can decry racial intolerance while excusing the most extreme examples.  They insist others are held accountable to laws while ignoring those same laws themselves when it moves them.  They celebrate diversity, while driving people more and more into a generic uniformity that looks to squash all creative resilience.  In short, they want a global communal village, but one that suppresses the best impulses of thousands of years of developmental human rational thought, and they want it for everyone else.

The Globian age has momentum. What it doesn’t have is -integrity. Hopefully, at some point our unique need to be ourselves, will provide a more rigorous resistance. After all, throwing out 2700 years of progress for a few decades of loose values hardly seems to be a good trade.

 

 

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The War for the Future

terracotta-warriors_juha_leino

In the second century BC, the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang,  realized that in order to preserve his status and his great achievements, constant vigilance would be required, even after he was gone from this mortal coil.  When you are in it for the long haul, one can’t allow the ramparts to go unguarded, or the miscreants will inevitably look to erode your position.  Greatness, and great ideas, are unlikely to be gotten easily, and one must be a ferocious warrior for their defense.  So Emperor Qin Shi Huang made sure no one would threaten his position, even in the afterlife.  He assembled in his capital city of Xi’an an army of over 8000 warriors, led by generals, and armed to the teeth, accompanied by a full cavalry of chariots and horses.  The army was there to eternally defend his position, his power, and his greatness.  If some usurper wanted to war with his immortality, it was war they would get.

Well, its long past time we who man the Ramparts of Civilization assembled some warriors.  If you are a consistent reader of this blog, you are likely aware of what has been the gathering storm over the last twenty years, and the storm has descended upon us in full fury, and become a war for the future.  It shouldn’t have caught us unawares, but admittedly, we are ill prepared, as we felt our defenses were essentially insurmountable and inviolate. We were wrong, and the barbarians are at the gates.

Since the 1960s, a generation of attacks on the formidable fortress of liberties and rule of law that is the Constitution of the United States has progressively eroded its foundations.  What once seemed eternal and impenetrable, has now found itself with massive holes in its edifice and its very future is in peril.  If you think that civilization should be ruled by deliberative law and not by decree and the whims of the elites, you better pay some damn close attention.

The Supreme Court of the United States, considered since the founding, the apolitical arbiter of the law based on constitutionality and precedence, has joined the ranks of the barbarians.  In three major decisions this week, the court found that a law passed by the legislative body is defined by its intent and not its specific meaning, that democratic processes do not move fast enough whenever the state has determined that a “fundamental” right exists even when it was not apparent it existed before, and that the state could determine the makeup of communities based on its vision of fairness. The thought of the framers that the third branch stood to thwart, to check, the other two branches deviation from the constitution, was pounded to sand.

The specific”laws” and “rights” upheld were not of issue.  What was of issue was the checks and balances system that made this particular democracy a citadel for freedom, individual rights, and limited government.  The Constitution held that if the wording of a law or its expression was unconstitutional, the law was to be rescinded, and the deliberative process to be again undertaken to secure a constitutional law.  By policing the law’s specifics, the rights of individuals to vote for representatives who would uphold their individual rights and hold them accountable by the laws they developed would be secure.  According to the Supreme Court, a law is now only established by its intent, and its specifics can be adjusted in any way the state determines efficacious.  How does one make sure one is in compliance with such metastasizing  laws? Who can now determine whether any of the expressed rights of the Constitution are secure, or they all exposed to the  interpretation of the currents and personalities of the current day?  Justice Scalia – the last of the Mohicans – expressed better than any in his dissent the fundamental principles that have been sacrificed to the altar of “fairness”:

Those civil consequences—and the public approval that conferring the name of marriage evidences—can perhaps have adverse social effects, but no more adverse than the effects of many other controversial laws. So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

[W]hat really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds—minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly—could not.

Each of the decisions should be read in their entirety. The war is being fought now on every front.  The government of the founders, the government that was declared as emanating from We the People, is under full assault.  It is a government that can rule you by regulatory decree.  It can determine whether your exercise of religion will be infringed by those that would have you submit to their versions of correct behavior, regardless of how it  humiliates or degrades your view. It can force you to pay for the sloth of others, and can force you to ignore their misfortune.  It can drive your education and your facts. It can declare science settled, and victories defeat. It’s your father, your mother, your cradle, and your grave.

The war has been fought for some time, and those that would make the founders vision unrecognizable have always been sensitive to your weakness in naively believing these fundamental beliefs were important to all.  When you go to that voting booth, and it is at the voting booth that the armies of change are fundamentally engaged, you better stop voting Republican or Democrat, as they are two birds of a feather.  It is time you seek those who are warriors for the founders principles, and those who are barbarians of change.  Find such warriors, and put your money, and your vote, where your future might have just a breath of a chance.  If you don’t, you will find our freedoms forever buried, like the terra cotta warriors of Xi’an, a museum exhibit to a past greatness long gone and buried.

 

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And Then…There’s Europe

Fighting at the Donetsk International Airport

Fighting at the Donetsk International Airport

One has to feel a little sorry for President Obama.  Here he is, trying his best to achieve a socialist utopia in the United States and try as he might to withdraw from the rest of the world – it keeps pulling him back in.

If one can recall 2009-2010, the President put in place the wheels for an eventual total withdrawal of American influence in the Middle East to allow the region to heal itself without further suffering caused by the obviously overbearing and malign American presence. Assuming a stable Iraq, he determined to fully withdraw from the Status of Forces Agreement that kept American boots on the ground.  He announced the timing of American withdrawal from Afghanistan at the same time he announced a temporary surge of troops, thereby laying the ground work to force the Afghan government to parlay with the opposition Taliban.  Most profoundly, when faced with an Iranian government teetering on the edge of collapse under the pressure of the millions of Iranian citizens pushing for change in the Green Revolution, he determined to stay disengaged with events so that he could get in the good graces with the mullahs and devise a long term agreement of cooperation that would “open” Iran to the rest of the world. Then there was that “red line” in Syria that wasn’t.  And the Libyan over throw of Qaddafi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood election  that was supposed to be part of the “Arab Spring”.

Okay, the Middle East thing has been pretty much a disaster, but at least the President could rely on smart diplomacy and a prosperous and stable Europe to achieve lasting stability after an appropriate reset with Russia.  Despite the tensions of the cold war and the never ending hostility of the various hateful tribes of the Balkan peninsula, Europe had managed to go 70 some years without armed conflict, building itself into the democratic statist and socialist utopia Obama could only dream about for America, and securing an economic and diplomatic weight that could balance off more of that infamous overbearing and malign American influence, this time on the European continent.

Don’t look now, Mr. President, but a progressively unstable Europe may not have your back after all.

For a continent that has not known tank and artillery fighting since World War II, tank and artillery fighting have come to Europe. President Putin of Russia, sensing hesitation and weakness  like a hawk senses a wounded field mouse, followed up his blatant territory grab of the Crimea from Ukraine with further land grabs in eastern Ukraine under the proxy of the self declared Donetsk People’s Republic.  For some reason, the government of Ukraine took personally Putin’s attempt to swallow a third of sovereign Ukrainian territory and has fought back.  For the first time since World War II, there is conflict in Europe that has already caused the deaths of thousands.  Spiegel Online reports the absurdities of the new European border at Donetsk, and the progressively desperate situation for those caught on the wrong side of the line. The attitudes on both sides are hardening as the bodies pile up. European bodies.  Putin’s escapades have not been limited to Ukraine.  Similar land grab experiments following the model that a majority Russian speaking population in a portion of a sovereign country is reason enough to bring Russian military forces to assist in “Russianizing” – a pattern repeated in both Georgia and Moldova.  Now the New York Times reports that for the first time since the cold war the US is pre-positioning heavy weaponry in eastern Europe.  This time it is to support erstwhile NATO allies in the Baltics, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, who fear Putin is about to “Russianize” parts of their territory laden with heavily Russian speaking minorities. The possibilities for dangerous and untoward events are numerous.

Additionally, the Germans are beginning  to express how “tired” they are for what seems like the twentieth time, the never ending requirements to underwrite countries in the European Union that can not pay their way as part of the Euro economy. Greece, 17% of whose GDP goes to pensions, is unwilling to undertake the severe austerity required to maintain the Euro against such social compacts, and instead asks for more German economic support and debt they can not pay back.  To the Greeks, the Germans owe it to them.  The Germans have been willing to suppress their natural position as Europe’s biggest continental power, given their history, but they are not about to give in to the Greeks forever.  A “Greexit” is in the cards, i.e., Greece leaving the Euro, and the domino effect on other Euro countries in similar straights to Greece, could see the Euro implode.  Germany would left holding the economic detritus, and their reactions could bring some long suppressed European tensions back from long forgotten to oh so hotten.

War with thousands of dead Europeans. Russian and American/NATO tanks facing each other.  Europe in economic crisis.  Germany once again having to look out for its own interests.  And a dollop of islamic radical infestation from a collapsing Libya to stir the pot. The President has a transformation on his hands that has the potential to supersede all his other transformations.  The mother of all transformations, as it were.  Taking the overbearing and malign American influence out of the world may not have been all it was cracked up to be.

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