24 March 2016

A SUPREME COURT NOMINEE WE CAN LIVE WITH


I have come to the conclusion that the prudent action for the Senate to take is to consent to the nomination of the Hon Merrick Garland to the United States Supreme Court.  My conclusion is purely pragmatic.

First, having read many of Judge Garland’s reported opinions, I believe that he is a judge’s judge.  That is, he tries assiduously to apply the law to the facts of the case before him.  In that regard, he is a judge of the same mold as the late Justice Scalia.  Are they philosophically different?  Sure, but that is not a disqualifying attribute, and I suggest that Judge Garland is more intellectually honest than either Justice Sotomayor or Justice Kagan.

Second, I suspect that if the Senate takes up the nomination, it will tie the Warren Wackos in knots.  We may see more Democrats than Republicans voting against the nomination.  Just read the comments from the left.  Intellectual , judicial and legal qualifications be damned—all they care about is putting on the Court a “woman of color,” someone who will increase the “diversity” of the Court.  As is usually the case of the left wing of the Democrat Party, all they care about is the portrait, not the qualifications.

Third, if Senator Clinton is elected, is there anyone who does not think that the first thing she will do is ask the President to withdraw Judge Garland’s nomination so that “the next President can make the nomination?”  Of course she will and the President will acquiesce.  And you can bet that she will pick some looney tunes leftist, probably from the Ninth Circuit—the most often reversed of the circuit courts.  If the Majority Leader lets that happen just to save face, he is not the citizen I always thought him to be.  He becomes just another Harry Reid!

Finally, it will stick a pin in the hypocritical rantings of the Democrat Party—the party that ignored the outstanding qualifications of Judge Robert Bork and scooped up the scurrilous Anita Hill in an attempt to destroy Justice Thomas. 

In fact, the Democrats have little use for the Constitution and have once again attempted to re-write it to fit their own ends.  Then Senator Biden argued in 1992 that the confirmation of a Justice should be delayed so that the “next President” (President Clinton, as it turned out) could make the nomination.  It is only now that he thinks an essentially lame duck President should make the call.  It leads me to suspect that a lot of Democrats are less than confident that Senator Clinton will be elected. 

Still, I am a conservative constitutionalist.  The Constitution makes no mention of how long the Senate may withhold a decision.  In fact, it does not set the size of the Court nor does it mandate any particular number of Associate Justices.  The ability of the Senate to forestall a presidential nomination is just one more of the checks and balances the Framers wrote into the Constitution to protect the States and the People from an imperial presidency. The whinings of the Democrats notwithstanding, there is nothing Constitutionally wrong with delay.  

However, it makes better sense to move forward on Judge Garland's appointment.  The threat issued by Senator McConnell has worked.  The President has nominated a centrist, to the chagrin of his own Party.  I urge the Senate to take up Judge Garland’s nomination and to consent thereto.

08 March 2016

THE TROUBLE WITH DEMOCRACY


I am a life-long Republican.  I have voted in every general election (State/Commonwealth and federal) as well as local, off-year, and primary elections since I reached the age of 22.  (I was 18 in 1964, but the 26th Amendment was not ratified until 1971.)  I have voted for only one Democrat for President—Jimmy Carter in 1976, to my undying regret and shame—although I have split my ticket in many other elections in order to vote for the person I thought best qualified.

And now, I find myself facing a moral quandary.  I hold the sovereign franchise in the highest esteem, especially because I have served with young men who, with their very lives, defended the right to vote although they themselves were not yet old enough to cast a ballot.  I will vote in an uncontested election for dog-catcher in honor of their sacrifice.  But this year………

Why, I ask myself, is the choice being offered to the American people so abysmal this year?  On one ticket, the choice so far is split between an unprincipled (“principle-less”) liar whose moral compass is fixed only on what is best for her, and a self-professed Socialist, whose platform is nothing more than “bread and circuses.”  They got rid of the only candidate I could have gladly voted for, Senator Jim Webb (with whom I served in Vietnam.)  I would have split my ticket for him—in a heartbeat.  He is the only candidate in either party who has moral courage and who saw fit to put himself … "between [our] loved home and the war's desolation!" 

In my own party, it now appears that a blow-hard game show host with no political experience whatsoever may be our candidate.  The only two possible counter-candidates at this point are Senators who have never worked anywhere other than in government.

Why are there no more Thomas Jeffersons, Andy Jacksons, Abe Lincolns, and Ike Eisenhowers?  I propose that there are two answers to that question.
 
First and foremost is the democratization of the nominating process.  The widespread change to binding primaries in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s have, generally speaking, been a disaster for our Country.  Just think of the candidates one party or another have been offered by use of the primary:  George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry for the Democrats.  Only Bill Clinton was truly a sound candidate, although if Ross Perot had not run, it is clearly possible that George HW Bush might have won re-election in 1992. 

The Republicans have done a little better: Bob Dole and John McCain, but they were not the strongest, most electable candidates.  Only Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest Presidents in my lifetime (I was alive when Harry Truman was elected in 1948) and in our National history, came from a primary fight.  So, two Presidents, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton are the only top tier Presidents (out of 44) to have come to the Presidency by way of the binding primary election process.

Think of the Presidents who have come from open conventions in the strong president eras:  Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, Ike, JFK.  Before that, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson were chosen by people who were concerned with the political process or delegates to conventions, all of them people who were willing, in the favorite modern catch phrase so beloved of the Democrat Party, to “compromise.”   Eleven of 44, which is pretty good, when one considers the totality of American history.

The Democrats learned their lesson after the McGovern debacle and instituted the “super delegate” into their process.  Although it still allows for run-away “democracy” when a candidate garners enough votes from a few large states early in the process, the threat or ability of Party professionals to block a clearly incompetent candidate is usually there.  I say usually, because Senator Clinton is leading in delegates in part because she has garnered the support of almost all Democrat super delegates who have announced their preference.  The Republican Party also decided to use super delegates to a significantly lesser degree (not more than three per State or Commonwealth and pledged to the candidate who won their home vote). 

Does anyone think that an open primary would come close to nominating Donald Trump for President?  I pray not.  But the "people" have spoken!  To paraphrase, “presidential nominations are too important to be left to the masses.”  For the historically illiterate, that is the exact reason for the Founding Fathers’ creation of the Electoral College.

But there is also another reason that the current system is so fallible—the modern media.  Really qualified candidates, candidates who could become great presidents, are simply unwilling to submit themselves and their families to the predatory, Pulitzer Prize hunting, pursuit of every person with a cell-phone and a blog who thinks that he or she is the equal of William Allen White and Woodward and Bernstein, when they are really the direct descendants of William Randolph Hearst.  Couple that with our modern society’s lust for the vicious attacks that mark “reality TV,” and no reasonable person would be willing to run.  Yes, I know about “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?”  and “Continental liar from the State of Maine!”, but the 19th Century electorate were not bombarded with such tripe 24/7.

So…I hold out little hope for the next presidency.  Perhaps the Nation will learn from its necessary choice of the lesser of two evils in 2016 and opt for a return to the open convention. 

In the meantime, we can hope that the Bismarckian quip from the 19th Century still holds true: “God watches over drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.”


26 December 2015

LET'S PUT AMERICA FIRST

Holiday eves are a notorious time for politicians to make announcements they hope no one will notice.  On the evening before Christmas Eve, the Washington Post and Politico both reported that the Obama administration is finally going to deport some of the criminal aliens who, in less anxious times, it allowed to thumb their noses—or use another digit--to express their contempt for our laws.  This time, there will be no sorting and even families will be tossed back over the border where they belong.

The Politico story by Seung Min Kim is headlined “Liberals outraged by Obama’s deportation plan.”  Senator Clinton has “real concerns” about this plan, according to her spokesperson Xochitl Hinajosa, and Senator Sanders is “very disturbed.”  (I was ready to agree, but I think the spokesperson was characterizing the Senator’s reaction to the plan rather than commenting on him in general.)  Governor O’Malley called the policy “mindless.”  Really.  And he actually wants to be President of the United States.  Maybe he should run for President of Central America.

And, of course they are against it.  The “hate America first” crowd is always outraged or aghast or ashamed or concerned or disturbed or deeply disappointed when an administration puts the interests of our people and Nation first.  I know exactly what they mean by their outrage, and to them I say “So what?”

One would think that getting rid of people who have made it clear that they have nothing but contempt for American laws would be a good thing—and I suspect that most Americans do feel that way.  The Politico article also reports that the number of law-breaking foreigners and the number of foreign children trying to crash our borders has drastically increased over the same period a year ago.  Three times the number of families and twice the number of unaccompanied children tried to cross our southern border in October and November 2015 as in the same two months in 2014.  And the number of deportations this year is the lowest of any year in the Obama presidency.

Obviously the President has read the political winds and knows that he is viewed as an appeaser on this issue.  Senator Clinton has a checkered history on the issue of deportation—she was for it before she was against it—so anything to cool stories of Democrat love for foreign criminals over law-abiding American citizens will help her.

However, according to the Politico article “The news, arriving on the eve of the holidays, sparked concerns and outrage from Democrats and immigration advocates.”  Sure it did.  These are people whose primary concerns are not for the American people but for the needs, safety, and security of a bunch of people who have no right to be here in the first place and who actually cheat the people from their own countries who have played by the rules and legally applied to immigrate. 

The most telling comment from an “immigration advocate” came from Ali Noorani who is Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.  He said, ““These are mostly women and children fleeing violence. Surely the Obama administration has a better Christmas in mind than the threat of deportation raids.  To punish these families for our lack of a functioning refugee program that meets the needs of Central America would be a moral tragedy.”

And there it is.  He wants our government to have a refugee program that meets the needs of Central America – not the needs of the United States, not the needs of the American people.

If the Democrats want to know why Trump has not disappeared, there is the answer:  at least he puts Americans first. 

24 December 2015

WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!!



Yes, fans,  

WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!!

Before we go to the entire Sappy Christmas Song of 2015, let’s recap the game.

It was looking like a repeat for the old pro, the Closer, that Galveston Bay Gal, our own QG, throwing scorching 100+ MPH fast balls.  But, sadly, she was disqualified on the best grounds of all:  Her final verses were declared to be “Non-Sappy!”  Yes, sports fans, it really is all about that Blaze of Glory—He of fire unquenchable and unending streams of life-giving water.  Nothing sappy about that!

So, QG gets the “Reason For The Season” Award, which ranks way above the Sappy Christmas Song Award; I checked and that’s where the awards go according to the ribbon chart in the PX uniform shop, right, RC?

Rookie of the Year goes to Robin; she also gets the “Dear Kitten” ribbon (shredded).  Ava’s assistant judges, Gideon, Uggie, Gracie, Jimmy, Jasper (Jazz) and Cleopatra were adamant in this regard.  Larry Bird and Beaulero were just content to grab a little more alfalfa and go with the flow.

Drum roll, please………..

This year’s winner of the Sappisimus Cum Louder Award is Reformed Catholic—for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of life, limb, and Christmas dinner for including in his award-winning stanza a toss of the head to those who practice Rev Mrs RC’s noble profession.  Explain it to the Session, you must.

Finally, I claim the Tomorrow is a Better Day Certificate for showing up, playing my mandated one inning, and doing it all at the last minute!  I’ll start sooner next year, Lord willin’ and the cricks don’ rise.

Aaaaaaaand NOW!  The moment you've all been waiting for---The Sappiest Christmas Song of 2015.  Take it away, Arlo……

THE WORST NOEL
By a truly demented group I am proud to call friends!

The worst “No El” the announcer did say
Was to shoppers and tourists on Christmas Eve day.
On Christmas Eve day, their lists now complete.
As homeward they struggled, for cookies to eat.
"No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we’re running no El."

(Mac)

In a subway car stranded down in the ground
A motley group of people were found.
A lawyer, a soldier and a stock trader
With a preacher, a teacher and a young hooker.
"No El!, No El! No El! No El!"
Subways are closing, we're running no El."
(Jodi Harrington, aka, QG)

No cell phone service, the lawyer did cry,
The trader then fumed that no stocks he could buy.
They both commiserated each others position,
That neither could speak with their office's admin.
No El, No El, No El, No EL!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

The Preacher got up, who's with me he said,
I'm exiting the car, gotta get me a sled.
My daughter's expecting it under the tree,
so I'm leaving this place, come on, come with me.

No El, No El, No El, No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!
(Reformed Catholic)

The young hooker's name was Anna Marie
Her dress was so skimpy her tats you could see
She shivered in the cold which the soldier did see
And he gave her his scarf to cover her knees.
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

" We must get out of here", they all agreed
The soldier kicked down the door so all were freed.
Finding the subway exit in the dark
Would certainly not be a lark.
No El! No El! No El ! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running no El!
(QG)

Down the street, in a house, the cats did not care.
Their antics had left the tree all but bare.
They decided to climb up the chimney with glee,
When they peered out the top, a strange crew they did see:
No El! No El! No El ! No El!
Subways are closing, they're running no El!
(Robin)

The lawyer did use his phone then that night,
the flashlight app did work and give them light.
They walked along the track, "will it end" someone wailed,
"It will end for you, stay away from the third rail".
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

"Emergency Door", shown the light on the wall.
They opened the hatch to get out one and all.
On a street they did not know, but holiday lit,
With a bunch of little kitties, on a chimney they sit.
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!
All the houses save one, had their holiday theme,
One was Santa's workshop, that one a Frozen meme.
Colored lights, candy canes, reindeer and a sleigh,
but not one had a stable where Jesus lay.
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

As they walked along the lane, a wee house they did see,
Somewhat shabby and lost, not a light or a tree.
Yet a creche was setup, shepherds, camels and things,
but the manger was empty, someone took the young King!
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!
(RC)

The light of the lawyer's phone led their searching
For the missing Baby, Jesus the King.
Anna Marie searched under a wreath
And found the Baby hidden underneath!
No El ! No El! No El!! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

As the darkness of night turned into daylight
Led by the preacher, awed by this sight,
Hand in hand, the group began to sing
And their happy chorus around the wee house did ring:
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Our King has come, who needs an El?


(QC)

SAPPY CHRISTMAS SONG INTERLUDE: AN OLDIE BUT GOODIE WHILE IT'S IN THE HANDS OF THE JUDGES

Well, fans, that's a wrap.  As the judges deliberate, here's a little ditty, an oldie but goodie, that some will appreciate more than others.

Merry Christmas to the guys for whom Christmas Eve memories will always include An Hoa, and Go Noi Island, The Arizona and The Yellow Brick Road, Antenna Valley and Sherwood Forest.  Hat's off to those who were in Hue City, the A Shau Valley, Khe Sanh, Mutter's Ridge, and "The Hill of Angels"--Con Thien.  To our Doggie mates in Pleiku and the Central Highlands, The Parrots Beak and Ia Drang Valley.  Hey, shipmates who were Brown Water Grunts in the Delta or spent Christmas after Christmas on Yankee Station:  BZ, gents, BZ. And who could forget the guys who flew Linebacker I and II and Arc Light and The 12 Days of Christmas--and those who never lost faith in places like The Zoo and The Hanoi Hilton.  Merry Christmas, brothers.  Welcome Home.

Christmas Eve Sitrep
5th Marines TAOR

(Translations available upon request)

Oh, there's strange things done 'neath the Vietnam sun
But the one that really jacked my jaws
Was the night 'neath the moon, when the third platoon
Gunned down Ol’ Santa Claus.

We’re the Marines, winter nights we’ve seen,
From Wake to the frozen Chosin,
Our lines were tight, pre-planned fires were right
And ready to be called real close in.

We had 81s and naval guns.
60 mortars were ready to crack.
We had an Ontos or so, and an arty FO'
With H&Is back to back.

T’was a Silent Night, and nary a light
broke the Arizona’s black mantle,
Except for a flare, o’er Hill 200’s air—
Recon’s Christmas candle.

No Yuletide logs, in paddy bogs,
But the ceasefire was holding well.
‘Course after Tet, you could pretty well bet
Uncle Ho just might still raise some hell.

Then I froze where I stood, 'cause out of the wood,
Eight horses came charging along.
This may sound corny, but those mustangs looked horny,
“My God,” I thought, “cavalry Cong.”

They were coming our way pulling a . . . sleigh?
Damn, you never know what they will use.
Our LP’s twice clicked and our flares all were tripped,
And our claymores blew a fuse.

We let him get close, then I yelled, "Who goes?"
Like they do in the movie show.
The answer we got, believe it or not,
Was a hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho".

Now these troops of mine had seen some time,
They'd done lots of things back-assward.
They may be thick, but I'll tell you a trick,
They knew that wasn't the password.

The "foo gas" roared, the 81s soared,
The ‘bloopers” sure raised hell.
A bright red flare flew through the air,
So we fired our FPL.

I'll give him guts, yep, that man was nuts,
Or I'm a no good liar,
But he dropped like a stone in our killing zone.
'Til I passed the word, "Cease fire".

I went out and took a real good look,
My memory started to race;
My mind plays games when it comes to names,
But I never forget a face.

He was dressed all in red, and he looked well fed,
Older than most I'd seen.
He looked right weird with that long white beard,
And stumps where his legs had been.

He hadn't quite died when I reached his side,
But the end was clearly in sight,
I knelt down low and he said real slow,
"Merry Christmas, and to all a good night."

So, I picked up the hook and with a voice that shook,
Said, "Gimme the six, rikki-tick."
"Skipper", I said, "Hang onto your head,
Well…we just sorta greased Saint Nick."

Now the Skipper's cool, he's nobody's fool,
Right off he knew the word.
If this got out, there'd be no doubt,
We’d have no “Freedom Bird.”

"Just get him up here and we'll play it by ear,
Make sure he's got a S-2 tag;
Bust up that the sleigh; drive those reindeer away,
And fer gosh sakes bury that bag."

Now back in the World, little kids are curled
in their beds awaiting first light.
Then their folks they’ll wake, and for the tree they’ll break
Expecting a glorious sight.

Instead, by and by, those kids will cry,
“Huh, nothing's under the tree!”
'Cause, the word just came back, from FMFPAC,
That Santa has gone VC.

Oh, there's strange things done 'neath the Vietnam sun
But the one that really jacked my jaws
Was the night 'neath the moon, when the third platoon
Gunned down Ol’ Santa Claus.

23 December 2015

SAPPY CHRISTMAS SONG: LAST CALL FOR CONTESTANTS

The latest iteration of the Sappy Christmas Song Contest.  It goes into the record books at Noon, EST on 24 December.  If you are from Chicago, follow Reformed Catholic's example:  Enter Early and Often!!


THE WORST NOEL
By a truly demented group I am proud to call friends!

The worst “No El” the announcer did say
Was to shoppers and tourists on Christmas Eve day.
On Christmas Eve day, their lists now complete.
As homeward they struggled, for cookies to eat.
"No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we’re running no El."

(Mac)

In a subway car stranded down in the ground
A motley group of people were found.
A lawyer, a soldier and a stock trader
With a preacher, a teacher and a young hooker.
"No El!, No El! No El! No El!"
Subways are closing, we're running no El."
(Jodi Harrington)

No cell phone service, the lawyer did cry,
The trader then fumed that no stocks he could buy.
They both commiserated each others position,
That neither could speak with their office's admin.
No El, No El, No El, No EL!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

The Preacher got up, who's with me he said,
I'm exiting the car, gotta get me a sled.
My daughter's expecting it under the tree,
so I'm leaving this place, come on, come with me.

No El, No El, No El, No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!
(Our first two-fer from Reformed Catholic)

The young hooker's name was Anna Marie
Her dress was so skimpy her tats you could see
She shivered in the cold which the soldier did see
And he gave her his scarf to cover her knees.
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

" We must get out of here", they all agreed
The soldier kicked down the door so all were freed.
Finding the subway exit in the dark
Would certainly not be a lark.
No El! No El! No El ! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running no El!
(Another two-fer from QG for a hat trick!  And the crowd goes wild!)

Down the street, in a house, the cats did not care.
Their antics had left the tree all but bare.
They decided to climb up the chimney with glee,
When they peered out the top, a strange crew they did see:
No El! No El! No El ! No El!
Subways are closing, they're running no El!
(And Robin enters the fray—if my Sis is the judge, you’ve got the cat edge)

The lawyer did use his phone then that night,
the flashlight app did work and give them light.
They walked along the track, "will it end" someone wailed,
"It will end for you, stay away from the third rail".
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

"Emergency Door", shown the light on the wall.
They opened the hatch to get out one and all.
On a street they did not know, but holiday lit,
With a bunch of little kitties, on a chimney they sit.
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

                                           (Two more from Reformed Catholic)


20 December 2015

SAPPY CHRISTMAS SONG -- BREAKING NEWS

THE WORST NOEL
By a truly demented group I am proud to call friends!

The worst “No El” the announcer did say
Was to shoppers and tourists on Christmas Eve day.
On Christmas Eve day, their lists now complete.
As homeward they struggled, for cookies to eat.
"No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we’re running no El."

(Mac)

In a subway car stranded down in the ground
A motley group of people were found.
A lawyer, a soldier and a stock trader
With a preacher, a teacher and a young hooker.
"No El!, No El! No El! No El!"
Subways are closing, we're running no El."
(Jodi Harrington)

No cell phone service, the lawyer did cry,
The trader then fumed that no stocks he could buy.
They both commiserated each others position,
That neither could speak with their office's admin.
No El, No El, No El, No EL!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

The Preacher got up, who's with me he said,
I'm exiting the car, gotta get me a sled.
My daughter's expecting it under the tree,
so I'm leaving this place, come on, come with me.

No El, No El, No El, No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!
(Our first two-fer from Reformed Catholic)

The young hooker's name was Anna Marie
Her dress was so skimpy her tats you could see
She shivered in the cold which the soldier did see
And he gave her his scarf to cover her knees.
No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running No El!

" We must get out of here", they all agreed
The soldier kicked down the door so all were freed.
Finding the subway exit in the dark
Would certainly not be a lark.
No El! No El! No El ! No El!
Subways are closing, we're running no El!
(Another two-fer from QG for a hat trick!  And the crowd goes wild!)

Down the street, in a house, the cats did not care.
Their antics had left the tree all but bare.
They decided to climb up the chimney with glee,
When they peered out the top, a strange crew they did see:
No El! No El! No El ! No El!
Subways are closing, they're running no El!

(And Robin enters the fray—if my Sis is the judge, you’ve got the cat edge)

19 December 2015

THE GREAT SAPPY CHRISTMAS CAROL CONTEST OF 2015

About ten years ago, before that Mostest Excellentest Texas Blogger, Quotidian Grace (aka, Jody Harrington), took a sabbatical from blogging for Grandma duties (a wonderful example of priority-setting and moral stewardship), she sponsored a wonderful seasonal event on her blog: 

The Sappiest Christmas Song Contest.

As one who tied for second place in 2009 and received The Country Music Wannabe Award (“… to Mac, who managed to send in lyrics that mentioned killing pets, prison, Bubba, pardons, Momma and a train in the same stanza! We are not worthy of such talent.”), I miss that ancient and honorable tradition.  [NOTE TO LOVERS OF MOMMAS AND FUZZY CREATURES, in a tasteful pastel color: my lyrics were based on a theme from David Allen Coe’s classic “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”, recognized far and wide as the most perfect Country and Western song ever written.] 

But, I digress.  In the immortal words of Alvin, Simon and Theodore, themselves pretty good Christmas singers, “Let’s do it again!”
Here are QG’s original rules, slightly updated:

Welcome to QG's Fourth Annual Sappy Christmas Song Contest!

~applause applause~

The contest is inspired by the Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest and its motto:"where w.w.w. means wretched writers welcome!" 

Each year my Gentle Readers are invited to contribute their own deathless lyrics in a group effort to create the sappiest, most sentimental and generally execrable Christmas Song of the year.

Here are the rules of the contest:

·                  Mac will post his beginning stanza.   If your muse is with you, add a stanza or lines of your own in the comments.
·                  Mac will post updates as the 2015 Sappy Christmas Song evolves and you may continue adding verses in the comments.
·                  When, in the sole judgment of Mac, the Song seems complete, or I am tired of it, the entire song will be posted and prizes will be awarded. The prizes will be inspired by the contributions--so be creative!”

This year's Sappy Christmas Song will be sung to the tune of The First Noel.

And....HERE'S THE FIRST STANZA:

The worst “No El” the announcer did say
Was to shoppers and tourists on Christmas Eve day.
On Christmas Eve day, their lists now complete.
As homeward they struggled, for cookies to eat.
"No El! No El! No El! No El!
Subways are closing, we’re running no El."

04 December 2015

A MOST DISTURBING DECISION

As reported in Politico and elsewhere, the Secretary of Defense has placed the liberal agenda and Democrat Party politics above National defense. He has decided that our Country will be militarily stronger and more secure if women are ordered to serve in the infantry, armor, and artillery branches. To get to the meat of the article, zip through Politico’s normal “This Town” emphasis on the “Republican Reaction.”  The reaction is interesting, but generally irrelevant.

This decision saddens me, because I generally respect Secretary Carter as a leader.  It disturbs me because it represents a threat to our national security.  Politics has no place in the front-line foxhole.

Ignoring the “draft” red herring, I write about the Secretary’s decision to ignore the advice of the Service Chiefs, men who have spent their entire lives mastering the nasty business of warfare.  I worry, in particular, about the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford, USMC, who was Commandant of the Marine Corps as the decision was being made.  Secretary Carter and the White House have ignored and simply wished away his reasoned and reasonable objections. 

Remember, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council (NSC).  This is important when one recalls that none of the current Service Secretaries has ever served in the armed forces, nor have the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security or the National Security Advisor.  All tend to be career politicians or bureaucrats.  The National Security Advisor, a former member of the Obama presidential campaign team, is serving in her post, which, unlike all the service Chiefs (including Defense and Homeland Security) does not require approval of the Senate.  Because of her misleading, if not outright false, statements on behalf of the White House concerning the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, she could not have been confirmed as Secretary of State. National Security Advisor was her reward for political loyalty.

Therefore, when it comes to dealing with the realities of close combat, the civilian secretaries have special need to listen to the advice of those who have had that experience.

Now, I recognize that people will say that General Dunford was the only Service Chief to object to opening all Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) to women.  There are several possible explanations for this.

The Air Force Chief of Staff is a career fighter/attack pilot and the Chief of Naval Operations is a career submarine officer.  Their branches do not regularly participate in direct, 24/7, close combat and the two chiefs reflect that mentality.  Pilots go back to air bases for showers, hot chow, air conditioned tentage, and when they are in combat, it is from several thousand feet.  As the Air Force pilot I know best once told me in a letter from Saudi Arabia regarding their basing arrangements, “Dad, we are the Air Force, not the Marines.  We don’t do suffering.”  Likewise, submariners live a cramped, crowded life, but they have not been in combat since WWII.

The Army Chief of Staff is a little different.  He is an infantryman, but spent most of his junior officer career with Special Forces (“Green Berets”).  He has commanded a brigade and two divisions, but his only combat experience is as a division commander.  More importantly, the Army surrendered on the issue of women in the combat arms several years ago.  He may have seen the issue as the bell that cannot be un-rung.  The Department of the Army is a huge bureaucracy, and most of its policy making professionals are either people who have never served in uniform or those who have never served in rifle platoons, rifle companies, and infantry battalions where the dirtiest of the dirty work is a professional constant.

General Dunford has done it all.  He, alone, can speak to the day-to-day effects that this new policy will have on unit effectiveness, morale, and discipline.  And he was ignored!  This in spite of a year-long test conducted by the Marine Corps in the field, which is the combat infantryman’s work space, that showed that in units at all levels, mixed gender units did not perform as well as all male units and were not as effective.

Ineffectiveness in combat results in needless death and injury. As an officer of Marines, General Dunford has lived a life dedicated to two things:  accomplishing the mission and taking care of his Marines.  No Marine infantry officer I have known in my now-fifty years as a Marine would ever tolerate someone who is, in any way, a threat to the effectiveness of his unit, even if that individual really, really wants to be there. 

I speak from experience—I had a Marine in Vietnam who could not tolerate C-rations.  His weight plummeted.  We sent him to the rear, but before the helicopter that would take him to An Hoa came in, he sneaked along on a combat patrol. When we were ambushed, we suddenly had to take care of the enemy AND a collapsed Marine.  (After the fire fight, he was raving until I clocked him, thus earning the privilege of carrying him in a fireman’s carry back to the Company position.)  My platoon at the time was 19 Marines, although the T/O was 42.  For number’s sake, and because he honestly wanted to serve, we could have kept him, but the detriment to the platoon as a whole made that impossible.

So, in the face of clear and convincing evidence that introducing women into a fire team, rifle squad, rifle platoon and infantry battalion will most likely deteriorate the combat effectiveness of the unit, all we get is the rosy statement that “Carter noted that about 220,000 military jobs were closed to women and would now be opened, allowing women to operate tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat.”

The infantry is just a job—the same as physician, files clerk, automobile mechanic, and short-order cook?  This is just another government jobs program.  Ask anyone who served in Vietnam about their experience when the last lessening of standards, LBJ's "Project 500,000" and they will tell you that combat is no place to test social theories.  

You see,  one does not “operate” a tank.  The crew fights their tank as a weapon.  If the loader cannot reload as fast because she is not as strong as a male replacement might be, the result is not a missed deadline costing paying overtime to finish the job; it is the death of the tank and its crew.  If the mortar crew cannot set up their weapon as quickly as possible because the woman assigned to hump the fifty-pound baseplate (along with the rest of her gear) is slow, several riflemen may be killed or wounded for lack of supporting fires. 

Not to worry, we are assured.  “[Secretary Carter] said the military would maintain high standards for all combat assignments but explained that some standards were being modified after studies demonstrated they were "outdated" or not reflective of the skills necessary for the jobs.

And there you have it.  Standards will be changed to accommodate women.  Never mind that centuries of warfare at the lowest levels have demonstrated a need for endurance, strength, simple bone structure are necessary.  If we have to do away with pull ups (going over walls, through windows), running at speed (forced marches when all the trucks are down and you just have to cover that 14 miles in two-and-a-half hours), and shorter training days because of increased knee, hip, and ankle injuries ("People, the lieutenant cannot join you in today’s attack because she cannot walk after the forced march.  Sorry."), we are less effective on the battlefield.

But as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, when even the reduced standards cause proportionately more women than men to fail to qualify, the proponents of this change will call for getting rid of more “outdated” standards.

Finally, I have personally had the sad responsibility of relieving for cause subordinates who just could not do the job and who were affecting the effectiveness of my command.  Just wait for the uproar the first time a woman is relieved for cause, not necessarily for any single error or omission, but simply because she is no good at being a rifle platoon commander.  Who wants to bet that the company commander is the one who ends up being relieved?

But, say the proponents of this change, only those women who want to be 0311 riflemen (riflepersons?) will be put in the infantry.  Really?  Anyone who says that has never been in the armed forces.  You may get to express your preferences for MOS and assignment, but the “needs of the service” take precedence.  And think of the effect on morale, good order, and discipline, if a man coming out of boot camp who is qualified to be a jet engine mechanic got placed in the infantry simply because the woman assigned there complained to Kirsten Gillibrand that “they  are making me go to the infantry and I don’t want to do that.”  Arrrrrgh!

No, this is not a decision that is best for the Country or for its defense—the one true responsibility of the national government.  It is all about politics and the President’s search for some kind of legacy.  As Politico observed, “Carter’s decision represents a major milestone for President Barack Obama, furthering his legacy of making the military more inclusive.  The president inherited a military that banned gays from serving openly, barred transgender troops and didn't allow women in units that were primarily involved in ground combat. All three of those exclusions have been or are in the process of being overturned.”

How reassuring must that be to the mothers of America whose sons and daughters will be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and party loyalty.

28 September 2015

THE PRESIDENT, WASHINGTON BASEBALL, AND STEPHEN DECATUR

            I am so tired of being embarrassed by my President.  I really am.  I try to give him the respect that any person who occupies that office deserves.  We only get one President at a time, and this is his time—and for some reason, he invariably uses it to embarrass us.  The latest case in point is his appearance at the United Nations this morning.   

He had an opportunity to be a statesman.  He had an opportunity to show himself to be worthy of his Nobel Peace prize.  He had an opportunity to be a visionary.  All three legitimate uniforms were in his wall-locker back in the clubhouse, and what did he do?  He pushed them aside and showed up in the clown costume of a two bit Chicago ward heeler, a party hack.

To use the baseball analogy that Edward-Isaac Dovere used in his Politico article referenced above, he threw a couple of inside puff balls to Putin and then, in the grand Washington tradition of Jonathan Papelbon, he threw blazers at the head of his own Country and kicked us in the groin in the dugout!  According to Dovere, the President then “invoked the invasion of Iraq as an example of how the United States itself stumbled by going against international law.”  That’s a great way to establish moral authority—calling your own country an international outlaw. 

He had an international stage, and he wasted it for the sake of the political hacks who make up his base.  Dick Cheney left office seven years ago.  He was only Vice President.  But, having done nothing of real substance in seven years, the President reverts to the only real consistent policy of his presidency:  blame the guys who came before him.  And then as an afterthought, he takes a few puny swipes at the Blowhard of the Month—who is self-destructing on his own, thank you very much. 

That, of course, is the real fear of the Democrats:  Trump slithers back into the subways and sewers of New York City and people take an even harder look at Hillary Clinton and her ever-changing stories:  I gave all the e-mails, er, well, not all of them, but certainly all that I wanted to ever see the light of day, and besides it was Ms Abedin's fault, the one I set up to be paid by the State department and a Party loyalist and maybe the Bill and Chelsea Foundation (about which I know nothing, Colonel Hogan, absooooluuuutely nothing!) and its all a plot against me.

And then, to complete the baseball analogy, he decides on his own to come back out of the dugout to tip his hat at…..himself.  He should have learned from Jayson Werth of the Washington Bugs…Mosquitos…. Gnats, that’s it, the Washington Gnats.  Here is Werth only 7 weeks ago:  :  “We are only a game back right now, but as we get healthy, we’ll be rolling again. It’s our division to lose.”  As of tonight, the Insects are nine-and-a-half back and failing fast. 

According to Dovere, 

Obama held himself up as an example of how to make international diplomacy work. The U.N. is a body famous for spending a lot of time and money sitting around in rooms like this one, he said, bemoaning what’s gone wrong in the world and urging international action, but rarely delivering much more than resolutions.
That’s a huge contrast to the Iran agreement he spearheaded, Obama said. If the deal is “fully implemented," he said, "the prohibition on nuclear weapons is strengthened, a potential war is averted, our world is safer. That is the strength of the international system when it works the way it should.”  
Unless it doesn’t.  To quote the World War II RAF pilots who were fed up with qualified assurances,  “And if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bloody motor-bus.”

Nope, it was a bad day for the home team in that snake pit on the East River.  Our own manager shot us in our collective foot.  And he did it intentionally.

We need another Stephen Decatur.  “My Country.  In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right.  But right or wrong, my Country.”  Do we have some dirty laundry in our closet?  Some, but nowhere near as much as the “Hate America First” bunch would have you believe.  Should we air it in public?  Just remember what our mothers taught us.

No, you blew it, Mr. President.  And when the team is doing as badly as you suggest we are, baseball has a tried and (sometimes) true solution:  Fire the manager. 


Sorry kid, we’re gonna option you to the Mexican League.