This is a day of memoriam, not of celebration . . . “happy” does not EVER apply.
I originally published this article back on the previous version of this site, eight years ago, and thought it overdue for a republish. My source material at the time was an interoffice email, circa 1998, from a shipmate (with whom I’m still in touch), whose letter I’d still had in my digital files, but have since lost. At least to me, the original author is unknown.
As the graphic below illustrates, a mere seven percent of the total American population have ever served in military forces of the United States. (I remember reading somewhere that only 1% of the total American population is currently serving.) To make this number a tad more practical, if you were to door-knock any random twenty houses in your neighborhood, statistically only one of those households would contain someone who’s active duty, a reservist, a guardsman, a retiree, or other veteran.
On a day dedicated to national memoriam, we do well to properly remember those who’ve served, even if we cannot personally name even one of them.
Did a main street deplorable disrupt some Biddle Marsh big club backroom quid pro quo shenanigans?
Roughly three weeks out from a state convention, and ordinarily I’d be armpit-deep in some to-do list, but I’ve spent most of the past nine weeks considerably preoccupied. (If you really want to know why, then the obituary is here, and the funeral is here.) However, about four weeks ago, I had reason to have a rather lengthy and interesting conversation with one of the candidates for Michigan Republican State Committee Chair (the actual full title). I gotta tell you, it’s kinda nice to see that certain things really don’t change.
We’ve been here before – recently – how we respond will make a difference.
Since Christmas 2016, I’ve posted a grand total of three opinion pieces on this site, which is a very far cry from my usual pace; blame the weird hours of my current work schedule. The interesting thing about working “dawn patrol” is that I get to spend a great deal of time paying attention to my newsfeed. Many credible political pundits, whom I follow on that newsfeed, are referring to last week’s elections outcome as a “split decision” on a national scale. Fair enough. But here in the “Great Lake Effect State” (lots of snow on the ground last weekend), we’re armpit deep in something that isn’t snow.
The Michigan Republican Party seems to be the structurally weakest it’s been since the immediate aftermath of the Milliken Administration (circa 1983), a “rule of empathy” majority now holds the state’s Supreme Court, and an underinformed electorate has just enshrined systemic election fraud into the state’s constitution. Oh, and just in case it matters, the Libertarian Party of Michigan promptly lost their brand-new “major party” status, due to election underperformance. As with the other time something similar happened this century, the key question ought not so much be, “What happened?” as it ought to be, “What are we going to do about it?” . . . because that second question is the one that we must answer if we’re going to accomplish anything constructive going forward.
An unnecessary urinating contest risks two primary frontrunners canceling each other out.
It’s a given to the point of predictability, in contested republican primaries, that eventually someone will defensively mis-invoke Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. Naturally, this will require someone to explain that the intent of “thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow republican” is a prohibition against personal attacks, but that calling someone out on an accurate understanding of their actual record is always fair game. That said, I can honestly say that I never expected to have to explain one of the Ten Commandments in the context of a political campaign, nor that I would have to do so as a remonstration to a political attack that is not only blatantly personal, but also patently false (to the point of being willingly, deliberately, and knowingly deceptive).
A golden opportunity to actually “pink slip” the nanny state looms large this weekend.
This coming Saturday Noon will mark the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald John Trump as the 45th President of the United States. If we’re being honest (which the legacy media characteristically is not), then it’s been a year that even Reagan might have envied . . . and no, I’m not yet tired of winning. Believe it or not, though, this weekend might yet be remembered less for the demarcation of DJT’s actual first year in office, and more for the president making good on a threat from back in May, which comeuppance some senators – on both sides of the aisle – are on the record as thinking is some sixteen weeks overdue.
With Friday night’s deadline in mind, in light of the apparent deadlock around key issues (such as immigration infrastructure and military funding), Alice Ollstein penned a Talking Points Memo op-ed discussing what, in her opinion, are the three possible outcomes to the current standoff, none of which are particularly appealing. Former congressman, and current congressional candidate, Kerry Bentivolio, had a somewhat different take on Ms. Ollstein’s opinion, which he shared in an e-mail with fellow veterans, campaign staffers, and other supporters. With Kerry’s permission, I’ll share his thoughts following the break – with a skosh of editorial license and personal wordsmithing applied.
As badly as we need this done, do we care why he’s doing it, or even whether he gets the credit?
“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” (Winston Churchill, to his private secretary, Jock Colville, on June 21st, 1941, the evening before Operation Barbarossa)
Churchill was well known for being a consistent and vociferous opponent of communism, and had often spoken quite unfavorably about the Soviet Union, and particularly of Joseph Stalin (who was well-known even then as the brutal monster that honest history records). However, in seeking to stop the menace of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Churchill was willing to adopt an ad hoc “enemy of my enemy” approach, and initiated the Anglo-Soviet Agreement for joint action against Germany.
Given much of the recent hullabaloo regarding a badly-needed grassroots initiative having been likely co-opted, by a moderate opportunist apparently seeking a means to advance his political ambitions, and given that I have personally stood directly in the path of those ambitions at least twice in the past seven years, what I’m about to say is going to sound exceedingly strange, but I’m going to say it anyway.
The LORD laid bare his arm, in plain view of the nations, to ensure our salvation.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of a herald, who announces peace and preaches good news.
He announces salvation and says to Zion, “Your God is king!”
The voice of your watchmen – they lift up their voices.
Together they shout for joy, because with both eyes they will see it when the LORD returns to Zion.
Break out, shout for joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, because the LORD is comforting his people.
He is redeeming Jerusalem.
The LORD lays bare his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation from our God.
Isaiah 52:7-10 (EHV)
(In advance, I’ll credit my good friend Aaron Frey, who originally preached this sermon on Christmas Day 2006, as the source of much of what is written following the break, and as the inspiration for the rest of it.)
Multiple vulnerabilities and loopholes leave Michigan voters exposed to election fraud.
“I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this – who will count the votes, and how,” (Joseph Stalin, circa 1923). Often this quote is loosely interpreted as, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
Donald Trump has made clear in multiple speeches that he is under no illusion about being up against a rigged system, and that we cannot expect to correct such a system by relying on the trustworthiness of those who rigged the system in the first place. No, in order to reform a corrupted system, a critical mass of known trustworthy people must be placed inside the system, which often requires overwhelming the system at the ballot box. The problem with doing so is that we are required to rely upon a process where, in spite of clearly demonstrated key weaknesses and vulnerabilities, those charged with protecting the integrity of the process insist upon blaming the messenger rather than correcting the problems.
Michigan republicans have a bad habit of making national news for all the wrong reasons.
According to Article IV, Section G, Paragraph 1 of the Bylaws of the Michigan Republican State Committee, “The Chairman shall have the power to declare vacant the seat of any officer who refuses to support the Republican nominee for any office within the State of Michigan.” That’s the language, and it’s straightforward. If you’re one of the officers specified in Article IV, Section A of those same bylaws, then you support the republican nominees, up and down the ticket, or else risk immediate termination . . . end of discussion.
That paragraph is something that a certain lady, whom I still consider a friend, should have considered before shooting her mouth off, knowing the cameras were rolling, last Friday.
My late father, who was old enough to fly P-51D Mustangs for the USAAF during World War 2, once told me that he could remember exactly where he was and what he was doing when he heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Likewise, my elder brother (the only one of my siblings who is legitimately a baby boomer) can recall exactly where he was and what he was doing when he heard about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
In the exact same vein, a certain September day a decade and a half ago is irremovably burned into my memory.