Archive for the ‘communism’ Category

News of Mr. HoHoHo

December 15, 2016

With all the fake news that’s been flying around lately, I wanted to make a contribution toward alleviating the problem of this malodorous development.

I read on the internet somewhere that fake news is similar to a disease in some ways. Fortuitously, it has been shown that nationwide outbreaks of fake news can be snuffed out with a vaccine, which is easily injected because of multitudinous media conglomeration points such as twitter, facebook and so on and so forth.

Now you know a vaccine is an actual sample of the dreaded malady, and if injected into the body politic, it can act in such a way as to provoke the body’s generation of antibodies that will work against the dreaded disease.

Therefore, in the interests of the body politic of this malingered nation I hereby am shooting up (uploading) an appropriately innocuous minuscule amount of fake news for purposes of turning this damn epidemic around so that it will no longer plague us with its irrelevancies.

So I dug this story up on the internet, and  I’m injecting it into your cyber-concsciousness.

Now you might feel a little pinch, but don’t worry it’s all for the good.

It has been reported that in the recent election, an illegal immigrant has voted. The alleged alien had slidden under the radar (it just happened to be in the state of Maryland) and was able to obtain a ballot and vote in the presidential election.

The votive offender has been identified as an illegal alien from Indochina. We have incredible sources who confirm that his identity as  HoHoHo Claus Minh, although the counterintuitive ID which he used to enter the poll location has been proven to be fake; it was fabricated in 1982 by Venezualan hackers, who had learned their malodious craft in Russian sweat shops under the guise of cranking out unlicensed athletic shoes which the Chicago Cubs allegedly obtained for recently-disclosed purposes  of gaining traction so they could teach the  Cleveland sluggers a thing or two about our national sport. But this has not been corroborated.

Nevertheless,  be on the lookout. At the present time Mr. HoHoHo is still at large, but we have been able to obtain an image of him, which was snapped by an alert journalist as the illegitimate vote-caster was illegally depositing his ballot into the box.

HoVote

In an undercover interview conducted outside the polling booth Mr. HoHoHo intimated that he was very relieved to be able to vote again, as he had not voted since 1956 back in his home country of Indochina. His rationale for not voting since that time was, as he shared, that he was so upset that in his country a great election had been conducted in 1956 but the politicians down south refused to conduct the election in their precincts because, as Mr. HoHoHo said, “they were pretty damn sure they would lose the election!” And so they and their lackeys just didn’t show up; they declined to participate in authentic democratic shenanigans. Now is that any way to run an election, or for that matter, a whole dam country!?

We think not, he reportedly said.

And so he has been mad about it since that time. Can you blame him? As Pulitzer prize-winning poet Bobby Dylan once said:

“I pity the poor immigrant, who wishes he should’ve stayed at home.”

Although, to be fair, Mr. HoHoHo definitely does not wish he had stayed at home, because life in the America is, like, great!

Just glad to be here, he said.  He disclosed that he lucked out–thought he’d have to climb over a big wall but as it was all he had to do was take a little swim to Key West.

The good news is he thereby got an  opportunity to become a citizen and cast vote in great US of A. Accordingly, the reclusive Mr. HoHoHo has stepped forward out of the shadows to participate in the USA vote-gathering. This is quite an accomplishment when you consider that he is the only man in history to ever defeat all three, JFK, LBJ, and RMN, in an undeclared military theatre.

Mr. HoHoHo declined to divulge for whom he voted, although he did allow that their initials were not HRC; nor were the the DT.

All in all, the beleaguered alien seemed quite alive and well, and doing his part to make a positive difference in the good ole US of A!

HoHoHo

(Please notify the CDC if this vaccine has successfully immunized your devices against the dreaded fake news epidemic.)

Glass Chimera

Hammer and Sickle ’65

August 23, 2016

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 5 of the new novel, King of Soul,  now being researched and written. We’re talkin’ ’bout 1965:

       The manipulations of human history had conspired to contrive a vast, geographical hook. The hook itself was forged in the shape of a country; it was a skinny little wire of a nation, slung long and slender along the 900-mile S-curve of an Asian sea strand.  Upon this seacoast hook the fearless pride of Pax Americana would be fearlessly snagged, fish-like. But the snagging ended up requiring an extremely long expedition, for the catch fought on the line for eleven years before being reeled in.

       This was Ho’s intention all along; he was a very patient angler. Ho was not a novice; he had been around the world a time or two. He’d been to London and to Paris, Hong Kong and Can-ton. He had spent part of the 1930’s in Stalin’s Russia, and had learned a thing or two by observing Uncle Joe’s tactics. Ho Chi Minh understood what it would take to get his fish on the line, and how to handle the catch once it was snagged. The expedition would take 11 years, but eventually South Vietnam was dragged up into the Viet Minh boat.

       Uncle Ho had learned a thing or two.

       Around the world, especially in defeated France and in bold America, there was talk about Ho Chi Minh—who was he and who did he think he was and what the hell was he capable of.

       Some folks never saw the hook at all. When they looked at that odd-shaped southeast Asian country on the map, it resembled something else, with its long arc curving around the western shore of the South China Sea. .  . . . maybe a domino?

       No. Vietnam was no domino; there was nothing straight nor square about the place. Nothing predictable. But we didn’t know that until much later in the game.

       The shape of Vietnam did, however, have resemblance to a sickle, like that sickle of the  infamous hammer and sickle. It was a curved blade,  hauled upon the lean, hard backs of legions of peasant laborers. As the years of the 1960’s rolled by, the sickle was forged into a weapon, to be skillfully wielded in the hands of militarized Viet Minh insurgents and Viet Cong guerillas. And that army of sickles was backed up by the persistent pounding of Uncle Ho’s communist hammer.

       Vietnam was a hammer and sickle; that’s all. It wasn’t some great domino scenario that toppled the Republic of the South during the 1960’s, ultimately rejecting President Diem and killing him, and then later ousting Thieu and Madame Nhu,  like Ho had swung up at   Dien Bien Phu.

       After the French pulled out—with tail between their legs in 1954—when  the Americans pulled in, hellbent on showin’ the world how to defeat communist incursion, it was pretty slow going for awhile. B’rer Ho Chi Fox, he lay low, waitin’ to see what  B’rer Rabbit-ears would pickup on his radio, because B’rer Rabbit did have a pretty fancy radio, and a lot of heavy equipment to back it up with, and a heap o’ ordnance to fling around with a lot of fired-up thunderations. B’rer Rabbit-ears could sho’nuff make some powerful destructions when he put his mind to it.

       By the time things got really cranked up in 1965, the man in charge of yankee warfare had come up with a plan. But there was a problem.

       The problem was an old one; stated simply, from a mathematical viewpoint, it was this: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

       No way around it; shortest distance between Hanoi and Saigon was a straight line. But the line didn’t go through Vietnam; it went right through two other countries.

       If Uncle Ho were to set a taut insurgent line of troop transport from, say,  Hanoi to Saigon—like from the handle of the sickle to the endpoint of the sickle’s curved blade—it  would pass, not through the south part of Vietnam, but through Laos and Cambodia.

       This was a problem. It wasn’t so much  a problem for Ho—his stealthy, low-lyin’ insurgent diehards just crawled right under the rules of international proprietary expectations; they slouched through Laotian jungles and beneath Cambodian canopies like it was nobody’s business. After a while, the clandestine route they had cut for themselves was called by the name of the one who had commissioned it: the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

King of Soul

Mysteries of 1964: Meridian and Tonkin

August 11, 2016

From the new novel King of Soul, now being researched and written, here’s an excerpt. In chapter 4, we find Uncle Cannon speaking about murder in Mississippi, and then the scene changes. As Uncle Cannon was saying, on August 4, 1964 . . .

        “Now these white-power types and KKK misfits who been runnin’ around for a hundred years like they own the place—now they won’t have a leg to stand on when Bobby Kennedy and Hoover’s FBI agents show up with their high-falootin’ writs of law.  I’m sure the Feds knew if they’d root around long enough, something rotten would turn up.”

       “Well now something has turned up. Three dead bodies. Over near Meridian, they found those three dead boys—two yankee college students and one local black, and all hell is gonna break loose. The old ways are gonna go, but they ain’t gonna die without a fight—probably a pretty damned ugly one.”

       The old man shook his head. “With Kennedy being shot last year in Dallas, and now Johnson, who is an extremely competent politician, following in his wake, this whole civil rights movement will mount up  like a tidal wave. It’s gonna break right over the Mason-Dixon line and keep on going, until it rolls all the way down to the Gulf. . .”

~~~

       It just so happened that, while Uncle Cannon’s projections were being uttered into the sultry southern air, a wave of a different kind was being set in motion on the other side of the world. It went thrashing just beneath the choppy surface of  Gulf waters that lie between the coasts of China and Vietnam. The Gulf of Ton-kin.

       A phosphorescent wake—the eerie, night-time straight-line underwater path  of a launched torpedo—went  suddenly slashing beneath the stormy surface of the Gulf of Ton-kin, sixty miles off the coast of  Vietnam. The torpedo had a target:  a destroyer ship of the U.S. Navy.

       Under cover of the dark, stormy night, the torpedo’s path was nigh-impossible to see, almost as difficult to detect as the P-4 North Vietnamese patrol boat from which it had been launched.

       In the air above the USS Turner Joy naval destroyer,  a plane-launched flare erupted,  illuminating  for a few moments the rain-stilted night sky. In the desperate brilliance of one flare flash, a boatsman’s mate caught plain sight of the attacking boat; he noticed, in the fleeting brightness, an odd detail—its long bow.

        Meanwhile, all hell was breaking loose, with the two U.S. Navy destroyers firing ordnance wildly into the stalking mysteries of the Tonkin Gulf.    Two  members of the gun crew sighted the offending boat in the strange light of their own exploding 3-inch shells; one squinting seaman managed to hold the object in view for what seemed like almost two minutes.

       Two signalmen, peering through dark Tonkin night-soup, strove to pinpoint the patrol boat’s searchlight, as it swept through the dark seas several thousand yards off the starboard bow;  Director 31 operator could identify a mast, with a small cross piece, off the destroyer’s port quarter, as it was illuminated in the glare of an exploding shell that the Turner Joy had fired.

      Ahead of the USS Turner Joy, on the flagship Maddox, two Marine  machine-gunners were posted on the ship’s signal bridge; after sighting  what appeared to be the cockpit light of a small-craft, they watched through the fierce weather. Having no orders to fire, they visually tracked the unidentified vessel—friend or foe they didn’t know—as it churned up along port side of their ship; later the miniscule light was seen coming back down on starboard.

       Up on the flagship Maddox bridge,  Operations Officer Commander Buehler was not surprised at  the spotty hodgepodge of indecipherable bogey signals and sightings from various quarters of the two ships; for his ship’s radar contact had earlier indicated something approaching at high speed, which had suddenly turned left when it was 6000 yards from and abeam of the USS Maddox. He knew from the swerve that whatever that was—some vessel the radar contact had indicated—had fired an underwater  torpedo. Approximately three minute later, a topside crewman on the Turner Joy had spotted the thin, phosphorescent wake of the torpedo as it missed both ships and  then disappeared in the dark Tonkin waters that chopped beneath them.

       Later,  black smoke could be discerned,  rising in a column through the black night, and the mysterious P-4 bogey aggressors were seen no more. Where did they go? Davy Jones locker.

King of Soul

The life song of J Alfred Bourgeois

May 11, 2016

We’ve worked hard for what we’ve got;

maybe we’re smart and maybe we’re not.

Thanks to the courage of long-dead soldiers,

we can grow and prosper and manage to get older.

We’ve read about .gov by the people, republics, and democracy;

we try to stay decent, clean, and free from hypocrisy.

And yes, we’ve heard of that Marx guy, and Lenin and whatnot.

but I’m here to say we aint no proletariat.

We don’t wanna change the world;

we like stars and stripes in the breeze unfurled.

Dinner on Sundays, work on Mondays, weekends for fun days;

this is what we like, and cultivate in predictable ways.

Jefferson said let’s do .gov by the peoples.

We say along with that came letting folks raise their steeples.

Marx, on the other hand said we need dictatorship of the proletariat,

but this home-making bourgeois boy giveth not a plug nickel for all that.

We’re happy to be plain ole boojwazee,

with a washer, dryer, car, and a home someday mortgage-free.

There are plenty out their who wanna die for the Cause;

we just like living in freedom under reasonable laws.

Floral

Glass half-Full

The Wisdom of Eldridge Cleaver

April 20, 2016

I am reading the book that Eldridge Cleaver published in 1978, Soul on Fire.

As I am currently writing a novel about the year 1969, my research has followed many paths of discovery about that period of time in which I was a teenager; One of the most influential dissent groups of that period was the Black Panthers. I’m not talking about the Carolina Panthers who lost this year’s super bowl to the team from Denver.

I’m talking about the militant Black Panthers, revolutionary terrorists of the 1960’s, who were infamously lead by a trio of intrepid militants: Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton.

During the course of Eldridge Cleaver’s amazing sojourn through civil rights activism and the minefields of 1960’s black extremism, he had renounced, along with Stokely Carmichael and other leaders, the non-violence that  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had espoused.

Eldridge fled the United States as a fugitive in 1968. In the seven years that followed, he visited the primary communist countries: Cuba, USSR, Peoples’ Republic of China, North Vietnam, North Korea. The young revolutionary, having been driven out of America, sought revolutionary guidance from communist leaders.

Because I’ve got to go to work in a few minutes, I’ll just cut to the chase here. On page 109 of his book, Soul on Fire, Eldridge writes:

“While in overseas exile, I discovered the frequency with which I was lecturing the hard-rock mentality of Communist leaders, reminding them that the world revolution was deeply rooted in the American people. I had heard so much rhetoric in every Communist country about their glorious leaders and their incredible revolutionary spirit that–even to this very angry and disgruntled American–it was absurd and unreal.”

And on page 97:

“I had lived defiantly so long and in such seething hatred of all governments, people in power, people in charge, that when I came under the shelter of Communist powers, I sadly discovered that their corruption was as violent and inhuman as the people the ‘victoriously’ displaced. ‘Up against the wall’ was a trendy slogan of the underground movements around the world–but I later learned that without inner control, a moral perspective, and a spiritual balance that flowed out of Christian love, justice and caring, the Communist promises were to become the largest fraud of all.

“Pig power in America was infuriating–but pig power in the Communist framework was awesome and unaccountable. No protection by outbursts in the press and electronic media–the Reds owned it. No shelter under the benevolent protection of a historic constitution–the Marxists held the book and they tore out the pages that sheltered you. No counterweight from religious and church organizations–they were invisible and silent.

“My adult education began in prison and was ruefully completed in the prison that is called Marxist liberation, ‘power to the people’: that was meant for the party in control, writing the script, and enforcing the rules. I did mean it deeply when I said seven years later that I would rather be in prison in America than free somewhere else.”

And prison in American he did do, when Eldridge Cleaver returned from exile. He did his time, was released in 1976, and lived free, free indeed, until his death in 1998.

King of Soul

The Fall of Man–Past or Future?

January 15, 2016

This world is a mess, isn’t it? It’s a screwed-up place. How in the hell did it get this way? Who’s responsible for this mess?

Among my people, the Christians, we generally attribute this world’s fallen condition to a collusion between the devil and a couple of homo sapiens named Adam and Eve. We read in our sacred book a story of how this presently messed-up arrangement of things originated in a place called the garden of Eden where the devil, shapeshifting as a serpent, tricked Eve and Adam into eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, whatever that is.

That book, the Book of Genesis, was written by Moses.

Moses’ impact on mankind has been huge. His writings have had more influence on human belief and behavior than just anybody else I can think of. His best-seller, the first five books of the Bible, is still more widely-read than any other written work. Moses’ ancient influence has outdone all the masters of modern storytelling, even heavyweights such as Shakespeare, Melville, Twain, Dickens, Hemingway, Tolkien, Crichton, Grisham, Rowling and even Stephen King.

But Moses’ chief contender these days for the role of Primary Explanator of the human condition is an Arabian prophet who has been around for 14 centuries: Mohammed. All around the world the advocates for Mohammed are giving Moses a run for his money. We shall see how this turns out.

As for me and my house–my money is on Moses. More importantly, my faith is in Jesus Christ. But I have to tell you–I think Moses was really onto something.

He, and his predecessor Abraham, had latched onto some pretty potent stuff. That is to say, some real truth. As for the Arabian, we shall see how all that plays out. Seems to me his deal is quite legalistic and compulsory, instead of being, say, benevolent and full of grace.

Consider Moses and his legacy.

His writings, and the writings of those who followed in his revelation, eventually became what we call the Judaeo-Christian heritage, generally associated with the Western World. When Mohammed came along, about 620 C.E., he sought to place himself into that Abrahamic/Mosaic stream of revelation. And as I said before, we shall see how that all works out. As for me and my house, I’m not into the Mohammedan thing, but the Mohammedans can do what they want. You go your way and I’ll go mine, okay?

Getting back to my original question of how or why the world got to be such a screwed-up place, I would have to direct you to an appraisal of some recent human history. About a hundred years ago, the whole damn world started to blow up with powerful new technologies that had been applied to human conflict. World War I was no walk in the park,  and World War II wasn’t either. In fact, both of those conflagrations were pretty horrendous blow-ups that caused, in an historically unprecedented way, a lot of damage and pain and strife among the peoples of the world.

I mean, looking back on it. The whole damn 20th-century–and even up to now in the 21st–is shown to be powerful evidence that the human race is fallen, depraved, or, as they say in the Red states, screwed-up, or as they say in the Blue states, dysfunctional. Something is wrong with us. Human history proves it.

So, as I pointed out above, Moses was correct in his assessment when he brought forth the story about the Fall of Man.

Now Moses was a Jew and that has gotten him into trouble.

The modern historical nemesis of Moses and all the Jewish people was a bestial man from Austria named Adolf Hitler. History has shown that Hitler’s diabolical hatred of the Jews, and probably his hatred of all the rest us who don’t measure up to his Aryan bullshit standards, turned the whole world upside down with war and destruction for a period of about five years, back in the 1940’s.

Hitler had spent his youth in artistic pursuits. He fancied himself an artist. During that first 20th-century decade before World War I, he had tried to break into the art world and become a recognized artist. While living in Vienna and trying to promote his art, he encountered some Jewish critics who did not appreciate his work. This became a big problem for Hitler. He acted out his inner resentment against them in such an extremely phobic way that his hatred for Jews became an obsession. One thing led to another, and, you know the rest of the story.

The point I am making is that Hitler blamed all the world’s trouble and dysfunction on the Jews. And he damn-near  destroyed the civilized world just to prove his point.

Look what happened as a result–another world war, millions of people dead. In some ways, it is still going on, although the names and the faces have changed.

But let’s learn from history. The problem is not with the Jews. The problem is with all of us.

As far as the present arrangement of things goes, in 2016,  there have been some interesting developments.

Take the Climate-bangers, for instance. They met in Kyoto, then in several other major cities, most recently Copenhagen, Lima, and Paris.

They’re working toward a worldwide implementation of their program to save the world by phasing out Carbon Emissions.

Good luck with that, Naomi.

Now some of their rhetoric is quite legalistic, even repressive. Sounds like it could even morph into a police-state kind of .gov program.

If they think they can correct this world by regulating everybody into enforced, low-carbon poverty, I have to say, respectfully, I beg to differ.

Over a hundred years ago, the Marxists were all hot and bothered with their new theory about what would straighten this mess out. They wanted to organize and equip the working people of the world to take control of the Means of Production–that is– to take all the resource-converting industrial/financial/gov infrastructure away from the Capitalists and let the proletariat run the show and this would evolve into the golden era of human brotherhood and thereby true communism.

History has shown, however, through the bloody regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot, Kim Jong-Un and other delusionary demagogues, that their theoretical Plan for our deliverance from oppressive Capitalism, while it looks credible on paper, does not actually work according to plan.

Why not? The problem is Fallen Man. We screw it up every time.

Nobody, not even God Him/Her self, will ever get all homo sapiens together on the same page working together to correct our messed-up world.

Now consider the problem of Climate Change. This is a lot like the old problem of Capitalist Exploitation.

The Climate-bangers’ doctrine we see evolving among world-class Academics involves a strategy similar to the Marxist prescription that was supposed to render Capitalism obsolete. This new Regimen calls for Taking Control of the Means of Emission–which is, practically speaking, the same as the Means of Production. But this has not happened under the Communist banner and it will not happen under the Climate banner. It’ll never happen.

Men are emitters–always have been, always will be. We are guilty of flatulence every day, in oh so many ways, whether through an exhaust pipe, a coal stack, or an anal expulsion.

Men are sinners–always have been, always will be. We are guilty of murder every day, in oh so many ways, whether through the gun, the bomb, or the polluted environment.

Word from the Tower is if we don’t get a hold of this Carbon thing it will be the end of us.

So now the Climate-bangers have predicted an Apocalypse of Carbon destruction. It arises from Man’s inability to get his shit together and properly disposed of, based on the 2% increase Plan, or even the 1 1/2% plan. Our goose is cooked. The train is about to derail. The jig is up and that’s all she wrote. It’s curtains for us, unless we can get everybody together on the same regs to curb our carbon flatulence.

But there is another Apocalypse scenario that is just as likely to happen, if you think about it. For many centuries, we Christians have read and taught from our scriptures, the last book of which describes an Apocalypse that befalls us as a result of our depravity. Now, in the 20th-century, we religious types who warn of  a possibly impending Tribulation, which is a result of our human carbon emission sin– we are thought to be on the  lunatic fringe because we are seen as doomsayers.

So as it turns out–it’s history’s little joke on us– we Bible-thumpers are not the only ones on the street with a Repent the End is Near sign.

But hey, we’re all in this together. Come, let us reason together.

Just lighten up, and let’s all try to get along here. I’ll minimize my emissions if you’ll minimize yours.

And by ‘n by, we shall see how this all pans out. But be careful; try not to fall on your way out of this mess.

Smoke

From Munich to Hormuz

September 12, 2015

In his 1972 journalistic opus, The Best and the Brightest,

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Brightest-Kennedy-Johnson-Administrations/dp/0330238477/

David Halberstam quotes President Lyndon Johnson, who made a speech on July 28, 1965, which included these words:

 

“We did not choose to be the guardians at the gate, but there is no one else.

“Nor would surrender in Vietnam bring peace, because we learned from Hitler at Munich that success only feeds the appetite of aggression. The battle  would be renewed in one country and then another country, (and) bring with it perhaps even larger and crueler conflict, as we have learned from the lessons of history.”

 

What history actually brought, in the years that followed, was this lesson:  the “larger and crueler conflict” of which LBJ spoke happened anyway, in spite of our confident, prolonged military efforts to arrest communist aggression in southeast Asia beginning in 1965.

The best laid plans of mice and men never work out as they were planned. This is the tragedy of human government, and even perhaps, of human history itself.

On that press conference occasion in 1965, President Johnson was announcing an escalation of the war in Vietnam, with new troop deployments increasing from 75,000 to 125,000. The total number of American soldiers eventually  sent to fight in Vietnam, before the conflagration ended in 1975, would far surpass that 125,000 that he was announcing on that fateful day.

If you go back and study what wars and negotiative agreements were forged between the leaders of nations in the 20th-century, you will see that our species has a long record of hopeful expectations for peace and safety that failed to manifest in the triumphant ways that we had expected.

After World War I, the victorious Allies, congregating in Versailles, France, went to great lengths to construct a peace deal that would last. . . that would last, as they hoped, in a way that would render their armisticed Great War to be the War to End all Wars.

A few years later, a foxy German dictator named Hitler worked himself into a position of systematically and stealthily destroying that Treaty of Versailles.

When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in 1938, and worked out a peace agreement which would allow Hitler to obscond Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain returned to London with the now infamous assessment, Peace in our time!

Look what happened after that.

That failed Munich agreement is the one to which President Johnson referred in his 1965 escalation speech. As quoted above, he mentioned what “we learned from Hitler at Munich.”

What historical lesson did we learn from history as a result of Chamberlain’s naivete at Munich?

Maybe this: You cannot always, if ever, trust your enemy. Especially if the arc of history is rising in his (the enemy’s) direction. Which it was (rising), like it or not, for Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in 1938.

Years later, after Hitler and his Nazi terrorizers had scared the hell out of most everybody in the civilized world, the postwar scenario unearthed in WWII’s ashes  revealed this: a new ideological death-struggle between the Capitalist West and and the spectre of advancing Communism.

During that postwar period–1940s through the 1970s or ’80s–the rising fear that dominated both sides (Capitalist vs Communist) became an obsession for many national leaders. On both sides,  brave men and women were called, and took upon themselves, the perilous burden of defending themselves and their own against the horrible deprivations of the other side.

I grew up during that time. And I can tell you this: At that time, the fears about “Communism” were very real and threatening to many, if not most, Americans. And I daresay that massive fear of “the enemy” was dominant on the Soviet side as it was for us.

Then History threw us a real curve in the late 1940s when Mao and the Chinese communists ran (our man) Chiang Kai-shek out of the mainland (to Taiwan) and established their Asian version of what the Soviets were attempting to establish in eastern Europe.

This Chinese Communist threat is what our national leaders greatly feared in the 1950s and ’60s, when we began to fear the spread of Maoist communism into what remained of (largely third-world) southeast Asia.

Long story short, this fear and loathing of creeping Chinese communism is what got us into, and eventually sucked us into, the war in Vietnam.

Now we all know how that turned out.

What is happening in the world today is not unlike what was happening then. It’s all slouching toward unpredictable, though predictably tragic, human history.

For us in the West now, the great fear is what life would be like under the domination of Islamic Jihad, which is to say, ISIS, or the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Al-qaida, or whatever stronghold ultimately controls that emerging world military threat. (I’m not talking about the “good Muslims”, whoever they may be.)

Hence, many folks today, me included, do not trust any arrangement that our President and/or Secretary of State could set up with Iran. We do remember, as LBJ alluded to, “Munich.”

But we also remember Vietnam, which began–as President’s Johnson escalation speech reference attests– as a military effort to prevent another “Munich” outcome.

In our present time, ever present in our mind is Iraq; we see what is happening there now, after we went to all that blood, sweat and tears to secure that nation against Sadamic Sunni abuse and/or Khomeini Shiite totalitarianism.

As Churchill did not trust Hitler, while Chamberlain did trust him: our principle ally Netanyahu does not trust Khameini and the Iranians, while Obama does trust them.

Back in the 1930s-’40s, which assessment was correct? Churchill’s.

In our present situation, which assessment of Iranian motives is correct, Netanyahu’s or Obama’s?

To try and  figure out–as historical precedent and historical possibility bears down upon us– how our contemporary peace efforts will play out in the chambers and killing fields of power, is like. . .well. . . The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

And we are now, as we were then, on the eve of certain destruction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntLsElbW9Xo

Did we survive the last time? Did the free world survive?

You tell me.

 

Smoke

Robert McNamara’s Tragic Choice

August 27, 2015

My freshman year of college at LSU was a real eye-opener. The world I entered that September was remarkably different from the high school existence from which I had just graduated.

There was a lot going on in 1969. I understood practically none of it, so my college education would be a huge learning experience–not only about the subjects of classic university study, but about the tumultuous times that we lived in then.

If you have, in your life, spent a freshman year at a large university, then perhaps you know something about the changes I was dealing with. But if you were a baby boomer like me whose collegial initiations happened in the late 1960’s, then you might agree that our experience then was even more intense that most college frosh would typically experience.

Nowadays, in my 64th year of life, I have undertaken to write a novel that is centered around this experience. The book, which will be a fourth novelic publishing project, is called King of Soul.

Who is the King of Soul, you may ask. You’ll have to read the book to find out. But of course you cannot read it, until I finish writing the dam thing, probably about 3 years from now.

Now when I’m doing this sort of project, I’m heavy on the research. The direction of my research will determine much of what happens in the story. For the last six months or so, I’ve been reading many books and articles about the 1960s. My historical novels are subjective explorations of selected time periods. The three previous novelic projects were propelled by research explorations in these years: 2005 (Glass half-Full), 2000 (Glass Chimera) and 1937 (Smoke).

1969 was, as Frank Sinatra might say, a very good year. On the other hand, in some ways it was a very bad year.

Just like any year, I guess. Depends on who you are, where you are, and what is happening around you.

What I found was happening around me and the other college students of 1969 was this: a helluva lot of change, and it was going down at a very fast clip. Most of the change revolved around three areas of societal ferment: civil rights, the Vietnam War, and sex.

I wandered, like millions of other high-school graduates, into a maelstrom of disruptive events and ideas.

My current enquiry about that anarchic decade has identified three main influences:

~the civil rights movement, which had started long before, but was accelerating in its intensity during that time

~the Vietnam War, and the draft

~the metamorphosis of the 1950’s “beats” into something new called the hippies

My first great discovery has been that the groundbreaking civil rights activists of the 1950s-60s taught the antiwar activists of the late 1960s how to mobilize and organize in order to get things done. The “Freedom Summer” of 1964 is the clearest expression of this development. That’s when bunches of white kids from up north spent their summer going down south to help blacks in their struggle for civil rights, and America was never the same after that.

My second great revelation is (as if we didn’t already know) the elephant in that era’s living room: the war in Vietnam.

This may seem obvious to anyone who was there, in the USA at that time. But God, and my advancing age, have taught me a great lesson in recent years. And the lesson is this:

One of life’s greatest satisfactions is to, by study, delve back into the time in which you were growing up, and learn about what the hell was going on then when you were so young and clueless about it all.

Toward that end, I am reading a great work of jouralism now, one of the best I’ve ever picked up: David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Best-Brightest-David-Halberstam/dp/0449908704

Today I encountered in that book a startling realization. You can perhaps discern what it is by reading this selection from page 242 of the 1972 Ballantine paperback edition:

“. . .in making his (Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s) arguments against nuclear weapons, forcefully, relentlessly, he had to make counterarguments for conventional forces. We had to have some kind of armed might, so he made good and effective arguments for conventional weapons (and if the Chiefs wanted to use them in Vietnam, to send American combat troops without nuclear weapons, he had to go along, since he had developed the thesis, the mystique of what conventional weapons could do with the new mobility). He gave them a rationale, for his overriding concern was quickly to limit the possibilities of nuclear war, to gain control of those weapons.(emphasis mine).”

In other words, the slippery slope of  conventional warfare in Vietnam war escalation came about as an effort to prevent ultimate nuclear war with the Communists!

That’s something to think about. Who knows, maybe the strategy worked. Maybe it will help us understand how that war slid, over the course of a dozen years or so, from a few military advisors deployed in 1961 to 54,000 Americans dead by the time we finally got out of there in 1975.

There was, admit it or not, a rationale to the tragedy of Vietnam.

As we (still) face a 21st century situation of potential nuclear disaster, maybe the strategy of conventional war–a lesser evil– can fend off the worst possible bellicosity–nuclear war against the “Communists” of our present age, the Islamic State of Iran, or North Korea.

Our detonation of atom bombs over Japan in August 1945 has changed the world–and the world’s strategic inevitable realities–forever. We’d best not forget that. For the preservation of human life on this planet, any bellicose nations who strive to develop nuclear warheads must be kept in check.

 

Smoke

Communism

August 16, 2015

It was an idea whose time had come

or so they thought.

First there was the original, the Marx

version.

It seemed to be a great idea, everybody equal

pulling their own weight in a

great society. You might say it was the French

philosophers who started the whole damn thing

when they sliced off the king’s head

in the Place de la Revolution, 1789

to, you know, get him and his royal legions

out of the way

so Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite could

rule the day

instead of the  divine right of fuddy-duddy

kings

which was an old disproven

notion. It had fallen, like the guillotine upon the king,

by the wayside. Later,

When the Bolsheviks got a hold of it

it became something else, and so

there evolved the Russian

version

which morphed into the Lenin

version

and eventually degenerated into the bloody Stalin

purge version

Then of course there was the Chinese

version

which, when Mao got a hold of it became

some great bloody leap backward and

a cultural revolution the likes of which the world

had never seen

since Pharoah, or whoever the hell it was that collected

all those sweating men out in the desert to stack

stone upon Ozymandian stone

up to the sky

but who knows why.

But I digress. It was the Ho Chi Minh

version

that really tripped us Americans up because

that great idea whose time had come had

proven to be not such a great idea

or so we thought.

And the whole damned ideological notion of

Communism

had become a terrible bogey man, an ogre in

the furtive minds of Capitalist men that

eventually got mired in the bogs of

Vietnam

And what a helluva thing that was.

Oh, and while all that was going down

along came the Che

version

and then the Castro

version

but the jury’s still out on all that or

so it seems,

‘though things are never as they

seem.

Maybe it was all just a bad

dream.

Smoke