The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Monday Music "Lets Dance" by David Bowie

This song was supposed to be my "Monday Music" last week, but I wasn't planning on being sick so it got moved to this week.
    I am continuing my series of songs I don't care for.  Like I said, these songs are commercial successes, but to me it is a personal taste.  I flat out don't like them.  I will do David Bowie next week again and it will be a song that I do like. 

"Let's Dance" is a song recorded by English singer David Bowie from his album of the same name, Let's Dance (1983). The song was written by Bowie and produced by Nile Rodgers. It was released as the album's first single in 1983 and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks. Stevie Ray Vaughan played the guitar solo at the end of the song.
The single was one of Bowie's fastest selling, entering the UK Singles Chart at No. 5 on its first week of release, staying at the top of the charts for three weeks.[6] Soon afterwards, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bowie's first (and only) single to top the charts in both the U.S. and the UK. It was also his second and last single to reach #1 in the U.S. In Oceania, it narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at No. 2 for three weeks but it topped the chart for 4 consecutive weeks in New Zealand. The single became one of the best selling of the year across North America, Central Europe and Oceania. It is one of the 300 best-selling UK singles of all time.

The music video (which uses the shorter single version) was made in March 1983 by David Mallet on location in Australia including a bar in Carinda in New South Wales and the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran. In the beginning it featured Bowie with a double bass player inside the one-room pub at the Carinda Hotel and an Aboriginal couple 'naturally' dancing "to the song they're playin' on the radio". The couple in this scene and in the whole video is played by Terry Roberts and Joelene King, two students from Sydney's Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre. As Bowie opted for real people, some residents of the 194-souls village of Carinda are in the pub too, watching and mocking the couple. They do not understand who David is nor what the take is all about, hence their behaviour towards the couple as seen in the video is real.
The red shoes mentioned in the song's lyrics appear in several contexts. The couple wanders solemnly through the outback with some other Aborigines, when the young woman finds a pair of mystical red pumps on a desert mountain and instantly learns to dance. Bowie's calling 'put on your red shoes' recalls Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Red Shoes", in which the little girl was vainly tempted to wear the shoes only to find they could not be removed, separating her from God's grace - "let's dance for fear your grace should fall"  "The red shoes are a found symbol. They are the simplicity of the capitalist society and sort of striving for success - black music is all about 'Put on your red shoes'", as Bowie confirmed.
Soon, the couple is visiting museums, enjoying candlelit dinners and casually dropping credit cards, drunk on modernity and consumerism. During a stroll through an arcade of shops, the couple spots the same pair of red pumps for sale in a window display, their personal key to joy and freedom. They toss away the magic kicks in revulsion, stomping them into the dust and return to the mountains, taking one final look at the city they’ve left behind.
Bowie described this video (and the video for his subsequent single, "China Girl") as "very simple, very direct" statements against racism and oppression, but also a very direct statement about integration of one culture with another.

Friday, September 27, 2019

USS Texas in trouble..

I ran across this article while surfing around.  I really hope they can pull it together and save the ship.  There ain't any WWI Dreadnough around anymore.  Most of the American ones were either used as target ships for "Operation Crossroads" because it was quicker to blow them up rather than scrap or put the ships in a museum and others were scrapped.  We were drawing down after WWII and quickly demobilizing back to a peacetime military and we had a bunch of "Modern" ships from WWII so the older ships were expended.  USS Texas was spared such a fate as was the USS Olympia which was Admiral Dewey's flagship at the battle of Manila( where Old NFO manned the tiller and stood resolutely by, but that is another story) and IJN Mikasa the only pre-Dreadnough battleship left in the world.  The USS Texas is tangible link to our past and it showed when men of Iron sailed on ships of steel.  Tradition is important to anybody with a martial interest, it gives the Soldiers and Sailors today a link to the past and it reaffirms their belief in themselves and their country.  I keep thinking if I ever scored the lottery, I would blow a huge chunk of my fortune to save those ships.


Battleship Texas BB35 is a New York-class battleship that has the distinction of having served in both World War I and World War II. The 104-year-old ship is facing possibly its toughest battle as it fights a two front war against time and budgetary constraints.
The aging battleship is currently closed to the public as it undergoes repairs. Corrosion has caused leaks in the hull of the last remaining WWI dreadnought. Officials have stated that they are pumping 300,000 gallons of water out of the hull every day.

A heavy German coast artillery shell falls between Texas (in the background) and Arkansas while the two battleships were engaging Battery Hamburg during the battle of Cherbourg, France, 25 June 1944
A heavy German coast artillery shell falls between Texas (in the background) and Arkansas while the two battleships were engaging Battery Hamburg during the battle of Cherbourg, France, 25 June 1944
The state of Texas had been paying for maintenance on the ship but it has announced that it will no longer do so after paying $35 million to have the ship floated to a shipyard to undergo the repairs.
This means that the ship will have to support itself based on admission fees. That would require 300,000 people to pay to visit it each year in order to fund its own maintenance costs. Currently, the ship is berthed by the San Jacinto Battle Monument in La Porte, Texas. That site does not get enough visitors to keep the ship afloat.

The tale of American exploits during WWI and WWII will not be complete without mention of Texas BB 35
The tale of American exploits during WWI and WWII will not be complete without mention of Texas BB 35
Galveston has emerged as a front runner to provide a home for the Texas. They have two locations that could take the battleship, though both have problems which need to be addressed before the ship could dock there. These findings are from a citizen-led committee’s report which provides recommendations on where the ship could be berthed.
Seawolf Park on Pelican Island and Pier 21 located on Galveston’s harbor are the two locations identified in the report.

A veteran of two world wars
A veteran of two world wars
Bruce Bramlett, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation, says that the ship needs to find a spot with higher visitation which would rule Seawolf Park out in his mind. “That would be a worse location that what we’re in,” he said.
Seawolf Park currently sees 80,000 visitors per year according to park managers for the Galveston. This is not nearly enough to support the Texas. But Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau Chief Tourism Officer, Michael Woody, believes that the number would rise with the Texas berthed there.

Having the historic ship located in Seawolf Park, which already hosts the USS Cavalla and the USS Stewart, would provide opportunities for education programs, school trips, corporate events and even increase leisure traffic at the park.
Pier 21 has the benefit of being near downtown and cruise ship traffic. This would provide the necessary numbers to support the ship. But having the battleship docked there would exacerbate parking and crowding issues already being experienced at the pier.
Also, the berth at Pier 21 is 510 feet long but the Texas is 560 feet long. With budgetary constraints, the city may simply not be able to afford the work required to bring the Texas to that site.
The city officials have stated that they will require more information before deciding if they want to make a bid for hosting the Texas.
Representative Mayes Middleton is on the committee researching locations in Galveston says that the bottom line is whether Galveston has the number of visitors required to support the Texas. He says that since the ship needs 300,000 visitors each year and Galveston sees over 7 million tourists every year, the numbers aren’t a problem.
The committee is expecting to release the full report along with its recommendations this month.
Meanwhile, the Battleship Texas Foundation, which is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Texas, is pushing for the ship to be placed in a dry berth. The constant contact with salt water has weakened the hull of the ship and caused many leaks.
Work on building the Texas began in 1910.  After serving in both world wars, the Texas was placed under the care of the Battleship Texas Commission in 1947. The Texas became one of the first museum ships in the US. In 1983, leadership of the Texas was transferred to the Texas Park and Wildlife department. At that time, a survey showed that the watertight seal. The ship was closed to the public for nearly two years while repairs were made.
In 2010, a new leak led to the ship sinking 2-3 feet. In 2012, 30 new leaks were discovered. The ship was once again repaired and reopened to the public.
The Battle Ship Commission would like to see the ship placed in a dry berth, out of the water. Then they could stop spending money on repairs. But getting the Texas out of the water will cost $40 million. The foundation is willing to raise part of the money but seeking assurance from the government that they will provide the rest.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Some Goings on at Casa De Garabaldi

On  this past Saturday I worked a shooting range with the Boy Scouts in my council,  I shanghai'ed my son to assist me, well because I an the Dad.  We were supposed to run the shotgun range, I was looking forward to shooting my "over and Under" and my 870 that hasn't fired a shot in a long time.  But when I got there, there were changes and I had to run the .22LR range.  I minded it a bit, if I knew that I was going to run the .22 range, I would have brought different guns.
 Those are Scouts that happen to be "Girls"  Still getting used to the idea
More shooting....
My son shooting during Lunch
Of Course one of the scouts shoots the rope holding the targets
so My son goes out there and repairs the damage

One of the rifles that we were shooting
Ruger American Bolt Action, I really liked the 2 stage trigger
I had asked my friend Mack about them and wondered if he had any in his place of employment.
Of Course my assistant faded out on me for over an hour...I could agree, the cold/flu that I caught was starting to affect me at this point and I wasn't "feeling it" as they say.

New radio for my truck, I installed it after I started feeling better,  I gave my son the radio out of my truck for his truck and picked this one up on Amazon as a replacement.  I had to do some modifications to make it work.  Drove for 2 weeks with a hole in my dash before I got this done.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Man who saved the world dies at 77

This is on my scheduler thingie, I saw this on NPR and it reminded me of the "Able Archer" blog post I did back in 2013.  1983 was a strange time as the Americans were rearming after the failure of "Detente" that Jimmy Carter tried to push on us that the Soviets could be trusted and the Soviets being Soviets took full advantage of the naivete of the American President and his administration.  Jimmy Carter learned when the Soviets went into Afghanistan.  Then the hostages were seized by Iran because the Americans were perceived as "weak".

Stanislav Petrov, a former Soviet military officer, poses at his home in 2015 near Moscow. In 1983, he was on duty when the Soviet Union's early warning satellite indicated the U.S. had fired nuclear weapons at his country. He suspected, correctly, it was a false alarm and did not immediately send the report up the chain of command. Petrov died at age 77.
Pavel Golovkin/AP
Stanislav Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union's Air Defense Forces, and his job was to monitor his country's satellite system, which was looking for any possible nuclear weapons launches by the United States.
He was on the overnight shift in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 1983, when the computers sounded an alarm, indicating that the U.S. had launched five nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"The siren howled, but I just sat there for a few seconds, staring at the big, back-lit, red screen with the word 'launch' on it," Petrov told the BBC in 2013.
It was already a moment of extreme tension in the Cold War. On Sept. 1 of that year, the Soviet Union shot down a Korean Air Lines plane that had drifted into Soviet airspace, killing all 269 people on board, including a U.S. congressman. The episode led the U.S. and the Soviets to exchange warnings and threats.
Petrov had to act quickly. U.S. missiles could reach the Soviet Union in just over 20 minutes.
"There was no rule about how long we were allowed to think before we reported a strike," Petrov told the BBC. "But we knew that every second of procrastination took away valuable time, that the Soviet Union's military and political leadership needed to be informed without delay. All I had to do was to reach for the phone; to raise the direct line to our top commanders — but I couldn't move. I felt like I was sitting on a hot frying pan."

Petrov sensed something wasn't adding up.
He had been trained to expect an all-out nuclear assault from the U.S., so it seemed strange that the satellite system was detecting only a few missiles being launched. And the system itself was fairly new. He didn't completely trust it.
Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis recalled the episode in an interview last December on NPR:
"[Petrov] just had this feeling in his gut that it wasn't right. It was five missiles. It didn't seem like enough. So even though by all of the protocols he had been trained to follow, he should absolutely have reported that up the chain of command and, you know, we should be talking about the great nuclear war of 1983 if any of us survived."
After several nerve-jangling minutes, Petrov didn't send the computer warning to his superiors. He checked to see if there had been a computer malfunction.
He had guessed correctly.
"Twenty-three minutes later I realized that nothing had happened," he said in 2013. "If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it. It was such a relief."
That episode and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis are considered to be the closest the U.S. and the Soviets came to a nuclear exchange. And while the Cuban Missile Crisis has been widely examined, Petrov's actions have received much less attention.
Petrov died on May 19, at age 77, in a suburb outside Moscow, according to news reports Monday. He had long since retired and was living alone. News of his death apparently went unrecognized at the time.
 Man who saved the World trailer
Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who had highlighted Petrov's actions in recent years, tried to contact Petrov earlier this month to wish him a happy birthday. Instead, he reached Petrov's son, Dmitri, who said his father had died in May.
Petrov said he received an official reprimand for making mistakes in his logbook on Sept. 26, 1983.
His story was not publicized at the time, but it did emerge after the Soviet Union collapsed. He received a number of international awards during the final years of his life. In 2015, a docudrama about him featuring Kevin Costner was called The Man Who Saved The World.
But he never considered himself a hero.
"That was my job," he said. "But they were lucky it was me on shift that night."

Monday, September 23, 2019

being sick...sucks

Y'all know that event that I went to that was work related....?   That one...Apparently someone was sick and it nailed me.  I was doing stuff with the Boy Scouts and I started feeling *Blah* Saturday afternoon, and I was feeling like crap on Sunday and I went home and crawled into bed and that was it for me.
I am feeling better now after a lot of sleep and better living through modern chemistry. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Work event,

I spent the last 2 days at a seminar at work, my employer sent me as part of my ancillary responsibilities with my job.  As part of the event, we went to an Atlanta Braves game.  The Atlanta Braves were playing the Philadelphia Phillies
Well my luck stayed the same....
Well the Braves Lost......They are still out in front in the hunt for the pennant.

    It was interesting listening to the senior members of the company discuss what is going on and the state of the industry and human resources talking about things.  Was educational and I learned a lot about marketing, cost and other items

 Also won an Apple Watch.  I don't know what I am going to do with it.  For starters I wear either my fossil watch at work or I wear this one...
I will see, looking on selling it perhaps.  I would give it to my kid because he is the only "applephile" on our household but he already has one.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reading a book rather than blogging.....

I have been reading my kindle with the following book.  It is really good, and of course I know several of the authors which makes it really neat.   Please if y'all haven't already bought it, check it out!!

Thirteen outstanding authors. Thirteen aviation stories that never happened.
Throughout the human experience, historians have wondered, “What if?” What if Americans had fought on the side of Germany in World War I? What if Germany had invested in naval aviation in World War II? What if Russia had started World War III?
Wonder no more, for these questions, along with many others, are answered within the pages of this book. Told by a variety of award-winning authors, like Sarah Hoyt, the 2018 Dragon Award Winner for Alternate History, Richard Fox, the 2017 Dragon Award Winner for Best Military Science Fiction, and Kacey Ezell, the winner of the 2018 Baen Reader’s Choice Award, “To Slip the Surly Bonds,” deals with aviation warfare that never happened in our world…but easily could have.
The second book in the exciting new “Phases of Mars” anthology series, there is something for everyone inside! From fighting alongside the Red Baron, to flying a P-38 Lightning, to present day air warfare, “To Slip the Surly Bonds” traces a century of aviation warfare…that wasn’t. From learning how the PBY got to the new world in Taylor Anderson’s “The Destroyermen” series…to fighting the French in a very different Vietnam, this book has it, so come aboard and find out “what if” all of these things had changed history…just a little. You’ll be glad you did!
Inside you’ll find:
Friends In High Places by Joelle Presby and Patrick Doyle
In Dark’ning Storms by Rob Howell
Perchance To Dream by Sarah A. Hoyt
Trial of the Red Baron by Richard Fox
The Kaiserin of the Seas by Christopher G. Nuttall
Through the Squall by Taylor Anderson
The Lightnings and the Cactus by James Young
Catching the Dark by Monalisa Foster
Do The Hard Thing by Kacey Ezell
Tail Gunner Joe by William Alan Webb
Red Tailed Tigers by Justin Watson
Zero Dark 30 by JL Curtis
Per Ardua Ad Astra by Jan Niemczyk

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday Music "China Girl" by David Bowie

I am continuing my series of Music that I don't care for. This week and next week will be David Bowie.  This is a personal preference thing.  One of my favorite Christmas songs is Bing Crosby and David Bowie.  David has another song on this album called "Modern Love" that I really like.  I will do a Monday music on that one in a few weeks.

Let's Dance is the 15th studio album by David Bowie. It was originally released in April 1983, almost three years after his previous album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). Co-produced by Chic's Nile Rodgers, the album contains three of his most successful singles: the title track, "Let's Dance", which reached No. 1 in the UK, US and various other countries, as well as "Modern Love" and "China Girl", which both reached No. 2 in the UK. "China Girl" was a new version of a song that Bowie had co-written with Iggy Pop for the latter's 1977 album The Idiot. It also contains a re-recorded version of the song "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", which had reached No. 1 in New Zealand, Norway and Sweden a year earlier.
Let's Dance was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy Award in 1984 but lost to Michael Jackson's Thriller. It has sold 10.7 million copies worldwide, making it Bowie's best-selling album.It was Bowie's eighteenth official album release since his debut in 1967, including two live albums, one covers album (Pin Ups, 1973), and a collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra (1978). At one point Bowie described the album as "a rediscovery of white-English-ex-art-school-student-meets-black-American-funk, a refocusing of Young Americans". Let's Dance was also a stepping stone for the career of the Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on itThe album was released as a limited edition picture disc in 1983. The album was re-mastered in 2018 and included in the Bowie box set Loving the Alien (1983–1988) (2018).
Critical reviews for Let's Dance as an album were mixed, although Rolling Stone later described it as "the conclusion of arguably the greatest 14-year run in rock history" Bowie felt he had to continue to pander to the new mass audience he acquired with the album, which led to him releasing two further solo albums in 1984 and 1987 which, despite their relative commercial success, did not sell as well as Let's Dance, were poorly received by critics at the time and subsequently dismissed by Bowie himself as his "Phil Collins years".Bowie would help form the hard rock and grunge-predecessor band Tin Machine in 1989 in an effort to rejuvenate himself artistically.

"China Girl" is a song written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop's debut solo album The Idiot (1977). The song became more widely known when it was re-recorded by Bowie, who released it as the second single from his most commercially successful album, Let's Dance (1983). The UK single release of Bowie's version reached No. 2 for one week on 14 June 1983, while the US release reached No. 10.

Paul Trynka, the author of David Bowie's biography, Starman, explains the song was inspired by Iggy Pop's infatuation with Kuelan Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman, as a metaphor for his Stooges career.
Nile Rodgers, the producer of David Bowie's 1983 version of the song, imagined his own meaning: "I figured China Girl was about doing drugs ... because China is China White which is heroin, girl is cocaine. I thought it was a song about speedballing. I thought, in the drug community in New York, coke is girl, and heroin is boy. So then I proceeded to do this arrangement which was ultra pop. Because I thought that, being David Bowie, he would appreciate the irony of doing something so pop about something so taboo. And what was really cool was that he said 'I love that!'

The music video, featuring New Zealand model Geeling Ng, was directed by David Mallet and shot mainly in the Chinatown district of Sydney, Australia. Along with his previous single's video for "Let's Dance" with the critique of racism in Australia, Bowie described the video as a "very simple, very direct" statement against racism. The video consciously parodies Asian female stereotypes. It depicted as a hypermasculine protagonist in an interracial romance. The original video release includes the two lying naked in the surf (a visual reference to the film From Here to Eternity).Unedited versions were banned from New Zealand and some other countries at the time. The uncensored version was issued on the 1984 "Video EP" issued by Sony on Betamax, VHS and LaserDisc. Versions of the video included on subsequent video and DVD compilations (including EMI/Virgin's Best of Bowie) are censored to remove the nudity. The original video went on to win an MTV video award for Best Male Video.

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Comment about Character;

I wasn't done with the post and it posted earlier...

I have blogged a lot in the past about the virtue of "Character", it is what it is that makes us "Men", That virtue was prized in the past generation,  the term "Deal with a handshake" was all you needed sprung from this.  Now the old ways are reviled as the modern left tries to create "the new modern man" like the Soviet system did in the 1950's when they tried to remake what is considered "Natural" to something "manmade".  This was an attempt to make men without  God where there was a man who was a good for the soviet system but didn't have the character of a person that believed in a higher power and a desire to better himself by living an honorable life and how you treated people.  The Soviet system prized the belief that the state was supreme, whereas the scholars of old believed that the individual was supreme and that everyone was a "temple".  This was reflected in the teachings in the Bible and the Torah.  Now the new way is based not on who you are as an individual, but to who your group falls into in the intersectional politics of the modern left.

   I shamelessly clipped this from "Art of Manliness"

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis
Have you ever come across the above quote? I had, and, even in the absence of its context — it’s taken from the fairly dense first chapter of Lewis’ The Abolition of Man — figured I understood what it meant: modern society creates men who lack a chest-swelling virility, and then complain about the lack of upright, manly men.
However, having recently taken the time to actually study the full context of the quote, I learned that Lewis was actually getting at something different; or, more accurately, that he was not describing the loss of manly virtue itself, but rather the mechanism by which it, along with all other types of virtue, is produced. In fact, by “chest” he doesn’t mean some kind of literal or metaphorical scaffolding of masculinity, but sentiment.
His lament is that modern society makes men without heart.

The Tao of Sentiment

Nearly all religions and philosophical schools, whether Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, or Platonism, Lewis observes, posit that there is an underlying natural order to the world, and Truth is that which most clearly reflects and explains this reality. To uphold this “doctrine of objective value” is to believe that “certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are.”
Lewis feels this perspective is best described by the Chinese concept of Tao:
“It is the reality beyond all predicates . . .  It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar.”
Within the objective reality of Nature, exist people, places, and things which possess an objective value, and are thus deserving of varying levels of esteem and respect:
“until modern times all teachers and even all men believed the universe to be such that certain emotional reactions on our part could be either congruous or incongruous to it — believed, in fact, that objects did not merely receive, but could merit our approval or disapproval, our reverence or our contempt.”
Given that the value of things is objective, then they should elicit certain responses from us. The night sky should elicit a feeling of humility; the story of a courageous warrior should elicit a feeling of veneration; little children should elicit a feeling of delight; a friend’s father’s death should elicit a feeling of empathy; a kind act should elicit a feeling of gratitude.
While the nature of emotional responses is partly visceral and automatic, a man’s sentiments also have to be intentionally educated in order to be congruent — to be more in harmony with Nature. Such training teaches a man to evaluate things as more or less just, true, beautiful, and good, and to proportion his affections as merited. As Lewis notes, this training was considered central to one’s development throughout antiquity:
“St Augustine defines virtue as ordo amoris, the ordinate condition of the affections in which every object is accorded that kind of degree of love which is appropriate to it. Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought. . . . Plato before him had said the same. The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting and hateful.”
The man who leaves a one-star Yelp review for a national park, scoffs at the brave deeds of a soldier, decides that attending his friend’s father’s funeral would be too much hassle, or fails to say thank you for a gift, shows the lack of this kind of education of the sentiments.
If one believes in objective order and value, then the failure to feel the proper sentiment in the face of a particular stimulus cannot be justified on the basis of mere personal preference, casually categorized under the rubric of “to each their own”; rather, it must be frankly countenanced as a deficiency in one’s human make-up. As Lewis confesses, “I myself do not enjoy the society of small children: because I speak from within the Tao I recognize this as a defect in myself — just as a man may have to recognize that he is tone deaf or colour blind.”
To follow the Tao in this sense is to see things as possessing a “quality which demands a certain response from us whether we make it or not.”
Given this perspective, emotions are themselves neither rational nor irrational, but do play a central part in following the dictates of Reason:
“because our approvals and disapprovals are thus recognitions of objective value or responses to an objective order, therefore emotional states can be in harmony with reason (when we feel liking for what ought to be approved) or out of harmony with reason (when we perceive that liking is due but cannot feel it). No emotion is, in itself, a judgement; in that sense all emotions and sentiments are alogical. But they can be reasonable or unreasonable as they conform to Reason or fail to conform. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.”

A Dangerous Dissection

The “Taoist” system as described above existed anciently and across many religions and philosophical schools for thousands of years. It began to be dismantled, however, in the postmodern age. And it is this dismantling that Lewis seeks to counter in The Abolition of Man.
In the 20th century, it began to be posited that there was not a natural order to the world, and that things did not possess an objective value which demanded a certain response; rather, people simply brought their own feelings to objects, and these feelings are what gave the objects their value. Such feelings were culturally conditioned and relative to particular societies and individuals, and were thus completely subjective. Lewis observes that certain corollaries followed from this conclusion, mainly that “judgements of value are unimportant,” “all values are subjective and trivial,” and “emotion is contrary to reason.”
Rather than education seeking to improve young people by both increasing their stock of facts and honing the sensitivity of their sentiments, students began to be tutored in facts alone. This shift was thought to benefit youth, protecting them from the emotional sway of propaganda. But Lewis argues that not only did dropping an education in and emphasis on sentiment fail to provide this protective effect (and in fact made students more susceptible to hype and disinformation), it atrophied their capacity for virtue and human excellence.
Lewis sees those who propagated the first error as having “misunderstood the pressing educational need of the moment”:
“They see the world around them swayed by emotional propaganda — they have learned from tradition that youth is sentimental — and they conclude that the best thing they can do is to fortify the minds of young people against emotion. My own experience as a teacher tells an opposite tale. For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defence against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head.
What Lewis is saying is that young people have a propensity towards apathy or cynicism or sterile complacency anyway, and if you only magnify this cynicism by telling them that all value and emotion is subjective and that absolute truths do not exist, then you create a thirsty vacuum that is actually more vulnerable to being filled by advertising and propaganda. Being subjected to the endless debunking of ideals imparts to young people a smug “pleasure in their own knowingness” that can disguise an ignorance that leaves them susceptible to the enticements of disinformation. Really protecting one’s mind from indoctrination requires filling it with positive truths that are both well-reasoned and animated by sentiment. A man with a well-honed sentiment for an ideal, a real love for something, rises above the cheap plays of propaganda: A man who loves democracy deflects rhetoric that merely encapsulates a false simulacrum of it; a man with sentimental love for the philosophical value of simplicity tunes out the enticements of advertising; a man with a noble sentiment for intimacy and romance sees through the siren song of porn.
Emotional sentiment not only functions as a defense against negative propaganda, but acts as a catalyst for “offensive” activity. As Lewis argues, dry rationality alone can never be a sufficient spur to positive action:
“no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat’, than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not [logical] syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest Sentimentalism . . . about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use.”
Lewis compares his view of the importance of sentiment to Plato’s Allegory of the Chariot, in which the philosopher likened the soul to a charioteer (representing Reason) tasked with guiding a winged vehicle pulled by two horses: a dark horse (appetites) and a white horse (honorable spiritedness or thumos). To really soar, the charioteer needed to harness the energy of both horses, and used the white horse of thumos to pull the dark horse of the appetites into sync; it’s far easier to choose the right thing when you’re driven to do so by a heroic, noble, feeling.
Lewis puts it this way:
The head rules the belly through the chest — the seat . . . of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments . . . these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.”
Thus, when society stops emphasizing and educating the sentiments, “it produce[s] what may be called Men without Chests.” Men without real feeling. Men without spiritedness, without thumos, without heart.
To those who do not lament what has been lost, who are skeptical there is an objective order to the universe, and believe in the subjectivity of feeling, it may seem that men without chests are a sign of progress – that they are more evolved, more advanced, more logical and intellectual. But this comforting affirmation is a mirage and an “outrage,” Lewis says. For the chest-less among us do not pursue truth with greater keenness, quite the opposite, since the ardent search for knowledge “cannot be long maintained without the aid of sentiment” — without a bit of passion. In reality then, “It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks [the chest-less] out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.”
The irony is that those who do lament what has been lost, who mourn the disappearance of men who through the sentiment-producing-seat of their chests manifest manly virtues like ambition and courage, as well as all the other traits of good character, have no idea as to what has killed off this species of man, and their own role in hastening his demise:
“And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Russia declassifies documents relating to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Non aggression Pact of 1939

I have blogged a lot about Stalin and Hitler because I like History, and I believed that both formed a pact for their own reasons, Hitler wanted to invade Poland, then turn his attention to France without worrying about Stalin being froggy at his back.  Stalin signed the pact, besides getting a chunk of Poland, they also had a free hand with the Baltic republics with the world distracted by other events.  And he also needed to buy time to rebuild the Red Army after the purges of 1937.  This was verified when during the "Winter War" when the Soviets invaded little Finland and got their noses bloodied by the Finns when the poor performance of the Red Army was shown to all the world.  The signing of the pact shocked the world because National Socialism and Communism were not compatable and people were expecting a clash of Titans.

Prior to World War II, the USSR Soviets and the  Nazis signed a non-aggression pact. Historians say that the agreement cleared the path for WWII to begin. The Defense Ministry in Russia has just declassified documents relating to that agreement.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed on August 23, 1939. Along with the non-aggression pact The two countries agreed to separate Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Poland into two “spheres of influence” controlled by the USSR and Germany.
This ensured that The Red Army would not interfere in Germany’s invasion of Poland which began the war.
The Nazi-Soviet Pact was a  pact between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the agreement was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939. Also known as the  non-aggression pact.
The Nazi-Soviet Pact was a  pact between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the agreement was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939. Also known as the  non-aggression pact.
The Defense Ministry decided not to release the documents in chronological order. They say that the order the documents are released in will give readers “the most complete picture” of how the two sides came to sign the agreement.
The Ministry highlighted a 31-page memo from a Red Army chief of general staff, Boris Shaposhnikov. According to the ministry, this document will change the prevailing views of why Russia signed the pact.
The 1938 memo discusses the Soviet’s need to prepare for battle both against Germany and Poland and also against Japan. It raises concerns about the vast number of troops, tanks and warplanes that the Germans could deploy against the USSR on the Belarussian-Ukrainian border.
President Vladimir Putin, speaking in 2014, said that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the Soviet response to being isolated by the Western countries and having its peace efforts rebuffed by the West.
Alexander Dyukov, of the Russian Academy of Science, called Shaposhnikov’s dispatch a key to studying military history. Sergei Kudryashov, a researcher with the German Historical Institute in Moscow, found the document to be uninformative and only interesting in how it illustrated Soviet understanding of the conditions just before the war.
German and Soviet soldiers meet in jointly occupied Brest.
German and Soviet soldiers meet in jointly occupied Brest.

The Defense Ministry said that the motivation behind releasing the documents was for the purpose of protecting the truth and to keep others from trying to revise history.
The USSR had attempted to come to terms with Britain and France for a collective security agreement against Germany. By 1939, with the likelihood of reaching an agreement with the two countries, Moscow felt the need to change their policy in order to avoid fighting Germany on their own.
Joseph Stalin fired his foreign minister, Maksim Litvinov, a Jew who sought collective security. Litvinov was replaced with Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov who almost immediately began negotiating with the Nazi foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop.
Stalin continued to negotiate with France and Britain until he finally decided to sign the pact with Germany. He hoped to avoid conflict with Germany until the Red Army could be built back up following a purge of officers in 1937.
For Hitler’s part, a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union freed him to invade Poland with no resistance from the Red Army. Following the occupation of Poland, Germany would be free to engage France and Britain without opening another front with the Soviets.
Publicly, the pact prevented either side from attacking the other, from assisting any country that attacked the other, not to join any group that threatened the other.
And to consult with each other in any matters that affect the two parties, and to solve all differences between the two countries through negotiation and arbitration. The pact was to last 10 years with an automatic renewal for 5 more years unless either party gave notice to terminate a year before it expired.
Russian foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov (left) and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (second from right) signed the non-aggression pact on 23 August 1939.
Russian foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov (left) and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (second from right) signed the non-aggression pact on 23 August 1939.
Secretly, a protocol was attached to the pact which divided eastern Europe into spheres of interest controlled by Germany and the Soviet Union. Two additional points were added which clarified borders and renounced Germany’s rights to Lithuania in exchange for a sum of money from the Soviets.
The pact ended on June 22, 1941, when the Nazis attacked the Soviets in Operation Barbarossa.
The Soviet Union’s borders in eastern Europe roughly followed those set in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact until the 1990s. At that time, changes within the USSR made it impossible for the central government to stop the Baltic states from declaring independence.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rick Rescorla, the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley and Sept 11, 2001.

 I set to post this on the scheduler thingie to drop on Sept 11, 2019.  I wrote this post back in November of 2018,  I have blogged before about Rick Rescorla, to me he went to Valhalla on the wings of Valkyries.  To use a phrase that isn't used much anymore, "He died Well".  Everyone dies, that is the truth of our existence, but some choose to run forward despite the almost certainty of death to make a difference.
The Battle of la Drang Valley was the first major battle in the Vietnam War. 36 years later, the first major battle of the War on Terror was the bombing of the Twin Towers.
There are many people who remember both events, but Rick Rescorla is the only person who was at the heart of both.
Rick Rescorla was born in Cornwall, United Kingdom, but was one of the most distinguished heroes in the initial battle of Vietnam. He gave his life on September 11, 2001.
Just before the collapse of WTC 2. You can see all floors fully involved with fire and         structural failure is imminent
Rescorla’s career in the military started at the age of 17 when he joined the British military. There he trained as a paratrooper and would later serve in Cyprus. At the end of his Short-Service Commission, he joined the Northern Rhodesia police before returning to London to join the Metropolitan Police Service.
Rescorla’s tenure with the Met police was short-lived and he soon emigrated to the United States where he lived in a hostel in Brooklyn. He stayed there until he was able to enlist in the United States Army. He completed basic training at Fort Dix.

After basic training, he completed Officer Candidate School and airborne training, graduating with the assignment of platoon leader.
He became infantry leader of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Rescorla and his men were one of the first combat units on the ground in Vietnam.
In November 1965, he and his unit were involved in the battles in the la Drang Valley. One of the moments from these battles was captured by a war correspondent and appears on the cover of We Were Soldiers Once And Young. This iconic image is of Rick Rescorla holding his rifle with bayonet attached and marching forward into battle.

Rick Rescorla during the war, 1965
Rescorla and his unit fought at Landing Zone X-Ray before being extracted and provided with a brief rest. They were then instructed to return to the valley and reinforce another unit. The battles lasted three days, during which time the companies faced superior numbers but were able to hold off and drive the enemy forces back.
For his part in the war, Rescorla was honored with the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Some U.S. Army soldiers air-lifted into LZ X-Ray.

After leaving active duty, Rescorla remained a reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel. He used his military benefits to study creative writing and eventually earned a law degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law.
He would go on to teach criminal justice for three years and publish a textbook on the subject.
His teaching career was short-lived and he moved on to the world of corporate security, joining Dean Witter Reynolds at their office in the World Trade Center.
It was during his time there that Rescorla became concerned with the security of the towers. This was prompted by the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland.

The remains of the forward section from Clipper Maid of the Seas (Pan Am Flight 103) on Tundergarth Hill, Lockerbie Scotland, 21 December 1988
The bombing pushed Rescorla to invite his old friend, Daniel Hill, to assess the security of the World Trade Center. Hill was trained in counterterrorism and determined that the basement would be the easiest target for a terror attack.
The two of them used the findings to write a report to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey insisting that more security be added to the parking garage. Their recommendations were ignored due to the costs, leaving the building open to the 1993 terrorist attack.
During the 1993 attack, Rescorla was upset by the poor evacuation of the building and vowed that it would never happen again. In 1997, he became the director of security for Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley and was able to make some of the changes he wanted.

Procession of emergency vehicles at the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993. The Tower is on the far right of the frame. Photo taken by Eric Ascalon from an adjacent pedestrian walkway. 
Rescorla did recommend that the company find different office space due to the vulnerability of the building, but lease obligations made this impossible. This left Rescorla to create an emergency evacuation plan that all employees had to practice again and again.
The emergency plan ensured that Morgan Stanley employees were ready for any attacks. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Rescorla heard the explosion from the North Tower and saw it burning from his office window on the 44th floor of the South Tower.
An announcement from Port Authority came over the PA system telling people to remain at their desks. Rescorla ignored the announcement, grabbed his bullhorn and ordered Morgan Stanley employees to start evacuating.

The north face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175

He directed the employees down the staircase and continued to encourage them when the building lurched as the second plane hit. To keep everyone calm, Rescorla started to sing as he had done for his platoon in Vietnam.

 Rick pushing people out of the building in Sept 11, 2001 saving their lives, this was the last pic that was taken of that man.
2,687 employees of Morgan Stanley owe their lives to Rick Rescorla as they were successfully evacuated. After seeing to this, Rescorla returned to the South Tower to ensure that everyone was out.
He was last seen on the 10th floor heading up shortly before the tower collapsed. His remains were never found and he was declared dead three weeks later.

The exterior support columns from the lower level of the South Tower remain standing after the collapse of the building.

Rick Rescorla was a man who saw battle with two armies and the start of the War on Terror. All but 13 employees of Morgan Stanley were able to exit the South Tower safely because of his leadership and foresight.

 Rescorla's name is located on Panel S-46 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool
One of my favorite pics, it shows the indomitable spirit of the American People.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Technical difficulties///

My Internet is uncooperative....Read the people in the sidebar, they are a heck of a lot better than I am.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Popular Tax...?

I got this from Alex from Ammo.com.  I never knew about the exact act that created the "Conservation Tax".  I remembered hearing about this in the 1970's when American Sportsman were responsible for saving the National Parks and other areas so they could be enjoyed by everyone that loved the outdoors.

The Pittman-Robertson Act: The Forgotten History of the Celebrated Tax on Firearms and Ammo

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The Pittman-Robertson Act: The Forgotten History of the Celebrated Tax on Firearms and AmmoIt’s unusual to think that Second Amendment proponents and members of the freedom movement would celebrate the day that a tax took effect. But that’s precisely what the Pittman-Robertson Act is – a tax often celebrated by gun enthusiasts, patriots and pro-freedom elements in the United States. Its story is one of the more fascinating in the history of American legislation.
Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 2, 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act, known officially as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, does not establish a new tax. Instead, it commandeered an existing 11-percent excise tax on rifles, shotguns and ammunition, and a 10-percent tax on pistols. Rather than going into the general fund of the United States Treasury, the Pittman-Robertson Act earmarked this money for the Department of the Interior and its wildlife preservations efforts. The money is then distributed to the states and can be spent how they see fit.
This was a coup for the Second Amendment and liberty movements. Rather than the money going toward a federal government interested in stripping them of their rights, it went to the Department of the Interior, with interests in keeping the American wilderness wild at heart. With this bill, hunters and firearms enthusiasts continued their role as the unsung heroes of the American conservation movement. In fact, Federal Ammunition was instrumental in getting the bill made into law.

Where Does This Tax Money Go?

The money raised by this tax isn’t just a blank check to the state governments. There are strict requirements on how it must be spent. What’s more, the Act also demands that the state governments not use any of the money they raise from selling hunting licenses outside of the state game and wildlife departments. The Secretary of the Interior must approve all plans for apportionment of the money – acceptable uses include surveys, land acquisition and leasing, and management of wildlife and their habitats. States must pay for the costs up front and seek up to 75 percent reimbursement after the fact. Generally speaking, the remaining 25 percent comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Any money that is not spent within two years goes into funding for the Migratory Birds Conservation Act.
Funding from this tax makes projects possible that otherwise would not be affordable. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service stated that in 2010, over $2 billion was generated from this tax, meaning that state costs were reduced to $500 million.
Habitat acquisition shows some of the most stunning results of the Act. Animals such as American black bears, cougars and elk have been able to expand their range. White-tailed deer and many different galliform birds have been able to recover their numbers because of the habitat acquisition as a result of Pittman-Robertson Act funding.
There is also a sort of self-perpetuating aspect of the Act. Because the habitats of game animals are expanded, there are more hunting opportunities. This, in turn, means that more money is spent on items that are taxed for the purpose of funding this Act. Secondary effects include greater eco-tourism to the areas, which means there are more jobs for Americans in sustainable and, dare we say, “green” industries. The Act also funds hunter education and the construction of public target ranges.
The money raised by the Pittman-Robertson Act is one of the areas you’re least likely to find sweetheart deals and boondoggles. The money spent on capital improvements due to the act must be spent on property controlled (but not necessarily owned) by the state in question. Grants can be provided by the state to independent third parties, but the way this money is disbursed is tightly controlled, meaning that it’s very difficult to obtain and thus, not an easy target for crony capitalists.
What’s more, the money is not just distributed willy nilly to every state on an equal basis. Instead, it’s apportioned on the basis of how many active hunters and fishermen there are in the state in question. This ensures that the money raised by the tax goes, at least somewhat, back in proportion to the states from which it is raised.

Pittman-Robertson by the Numbers

Different studies show different numbers, but all of the figures are impressive: 
  • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service found that Americans spend approximately $10 billion every year on all of the supplies they need for hunting. 
  • A study conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Agencies found that hunters were spending somewhere between $2.8 and $5.2 billion every year on taxable items alone. This represents between $177 and $324 million in revenue generated by the Act annually. 
  • The National Rifle Association has found that $3.5 million was generated daily to conservation efforts through money spent on taxable goods under the Pittman-Robertson Act. This represents an enormous return on investment for the firearms and hunting industries – on the order of 823 to 1,588 percent annually
Despite being little known outside of hardcore hunters, the Act raises more money for conservation and restoration than a number of well-know charities dedicated to the same purpose. Greenpeace International had operating expenditures of $96 million in 2017, while the Sierra Club had operating expenditures of $65 million for that same year. It’s not terribly surprising that most of the money raised to protect America’s natural resources and wildlife is done so by the very people who spend the most time in it.
Because the Act was such a rousing success, it inspired other, similar acts. For example, there is the Federal Aid in Sports Fish Restoration Act (popularly known as the Dingell-Johnson Act) passed in 1950, that effectively is a version of the Pittman-Robertson Act for fishing and waterway conservation and restoration. The Wildlife and Sports Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act was passed in 2000, by U.S. Representative Don Young of Alaska, who also sat on the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors. This tightened the ways that the money can be spent and included increased oversight in response to worries about mismanagement of funds. The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, passed under President Donald Trump, makes it easier for public gun ranges to be constructed using money provided by Pittman-Robertson.
So remember, every time you go to buy a new weapon or ammunition, you’re helping to support America through Pittman-Robertson. Indeed, many of the wild places and the natural wildlife that you and your family treasure so much might not be there without the large sums of money raised by this Act.
It’s hard to say that there’s such a thing as a “good tax,” but if anything qualifies, it’s the excise tax created by the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937.