Children’s Crusade

Back during the 13th century with all the Crusade mania…..there was one that was termed the Children’s Crusade…..

Children’s Crusade was a popular religious movement in Europe during the summer of 1212 in which thousands of young people took Crusading vows and set out to recover Jerusalem from the Muslims. Lasting only from May to September, the Children’s Crusade lacked official sanction and ended in failure; none of the participants reached the Holy Land. Nevertheless, the religious fervour it excited helped to initiate the Fifth Crusade (1218). It was arguably the first European youth movement.

I bring up this piece of history (you just knew that I would find a way to inject some history, right?) because the students that survived the latest mass shooting are planning a march on DC next month…..yhry are on a “crusade”……..

Five students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, made their way through all the major morning talks shows Sunday, appearing on NBC, ABCCBS, Fox, and CNN. They announced nationwide marches for gun control next month and ripped politicians, including President Donald Trump, who benefit from the National Rifle Association’s political spending while refusing to act to strengthen gun laws.

“Now is the time to get on the right side of this,” Emma Gonzalez, one of the students, said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Because this is not something we are going to be let [you] sweep under the carpet.” Gonzalez said she was speaking directly to Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), and other lawmakers who have benefited from pro-gun money.

Will this youth movement last?

The movement of young people demanding tougher gun laws after last week’s shooting in Florida arrived at the White House Monday, where teens staged a “lie-in” to represent those shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, reports NBC4 Washington. “It’s really important to express our anger,” says a 16-year-old participant from Alexandria, Va. “Every day when I say bye to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.” Here’s a closer look at the movement—this speech by student Emma Gonzalez went viral over the weekend—and some analysis on why it may not be dissipating any time soon:

  • Three national protests:Fortune rounds up future protest plans, including student walkouts planned for March.
  • Post-Columbine: In the Washington Post, Philip Bump notes that today’s high school students have never known a world where school shootings didn’t exist, and that these survivors are different from those at Columbine, Newtown, and Virginia Tech. “This is the first premeditated mass shooting at this scale that involved people who both grew up entirely in a world in which mass shootings were common and which targeted people old enough to have a voice.”
  • Rebuke to left and right: The wave of student activism is “remarkable,” writes Alex MacGillis at ProPublica, who sees it as a rebuke not just to conservatives who oppose gun reform but to those on the left who have cynically declared that nothing will ever change and given up the fight.
  • Feels different: Yes, passionate voices have emerged after previous mass shootings, but this “feels different,” writes Benjamin Hart at New York. “The preternatural poise of the students in the killings’ aftermath made it feel almost as though they had been anticipating the tragedy—which, in a society where mass-shooting drills at schools have become a fact of life, may not too be far off.”
  • Let them vote: University of Kentucky College of Law professor Joshua Douglas makes the case that 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote. The teens in Florida witnessed horrors and are now pushing for safer schools. “We should include them more directly in our democratic process,” he writes at CNN.
  • Not in vain: In a New York Times op-ed, 15-year-old Christine Yared, a student at Marjory Stoneman, writes that her friend Gina was killed and that her death should not be in vain. Among the tougher laws she wants: “If a person is not old enough to be able to rent a car or buy a beer, then he should not be able to legally purchase a weapon of mass destruction.”
  • Trump’s role: President Trump will meet with high school students for a “listening session” on Wednesday and host a similar forum the following day, reports the Hill. However, the president has been taking criticism from the Parkland students, with 17-year-old David Hogg calling him out on Sunday for faulting the FBI as too focused on the Russia investigation to stop the shooter. “You’re the president,” said Hogg on Meet the Press. “You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” per the LA Times.

Just like the children of 700 years ago the modern day equivalent sees their duty clearly.  In history the children marched off to war and the present day warriors are doing the same….they are doing wht adults are not capable of doing……

These kids will probably get more traction than their politician counterparts because the kids have no one to answer to but their generation.  They do not fear retaliation by the NRA because they are not owned by the group.

Will today’s children be successful?

In changing policy probably not….but they will make sure that there is lots of coverage which will make the debate more likely than if they did nothing.

My hat is off to these children and I wish them luck….they will need it…..I am waiting to see if the FOX will attack these children…..keep in  mind that in the 70’s student movement that made the difference.

“Don’t mourn, Organize!”


It Is Not A Democracy

You know that there is always someone going to point out the US is not  democracy but rather a republic…..usually it is someone that is trying to make a point but have nothing to add to the conversation…..

It is true we are a republic…meaning that we cannot elect the president directly….instead it has to go through the whole electoral college thing.

Personally, I have stated many times that the EC has run its course and it is time to get rid of that dinosaur from our early days.

It will not be eliminated simple because our country can only support the 2 party system……according to some government would collapse if we ever rid ourselves of the EC….that the US would slide into anarchy.

I disagree.

The wealthy elite that are our founders did not want a democracy……..

I’ve already confessed my bad attitude about the Electoral College system. And I’ve listed 10 of the potentially serious ways it can screw up our choice of national leaders. The trouble with such a list is that it implies that we have somehow been saddled with the worst system possible. It needs to be said that no system for choosing a national leader would be perfect (although I do believe that considering the anachronistic elements of our system, we could definitely do better).

All this system-bashing could also begin to imply that I have no respect or appreciation for the Framers. That’s not so. Although I don’t seem to have the normal allotment of reverence for the Constitution or its authors, I see them as very smart guys, many of them heroes of the War for Independence, who came to Philadelphia in the summer 1787 hoping to — and trying hard to — make things better.

One in a series of articles. You can read the whole series here.

It’s All About National Security

The release of the now infamous memo brings the thought of national security to the forefront… me to thinking about when our obsession with NatSec began…..

The beginning of the Cold War and Truman was worried about the expansion of the USSR……1947……

The National Security Act of 1947 mandated a major reorganization of the foreign policy and military establishments of the U.S. Government. The act created many of the institutions that Presidents found useful when formulating and implementing foreign policy, including the National Security Council (NSC).

The act also established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which grew out of World War II era Office of Strategic Services and small post-war intelligence organizations. The CIA served as the primary civilian intelligence-gathering organization in the government. Later, the Defense Intelligence Agency became the main military intelligence body. The 1947 law also caused far-reaching changes in the military establishment. The War Department and Navy Department merged into a single Department of Defense under the Secretary of Defense, who also directed the newly created Department of the Air Force. However, each of the three branches maintained their own service secretaries. In 1949 the act was amended to give the Secretary of Defense more power over the individual services and their secretaries.

You now have the back story of the beginning of our NatSec framework….while I agree that it was ma necessity back then I also think that it needs some reformation…..

The year 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of the National Security Act of 1947. To commemorate the landmark legislation that powerfully shaped the American national security enterprise, over 60 prominent scholars, practitioners, and national security experts gathered at the United States Military Academy over the course of two years to consider national security reform in the modern era. In April 2016, the group examined how the world has changed since the end of the Second World War and, building upon those discussions in April 2017, endeavored to develop specific, actionable recommendations for reforming our national security institutions and processes.

It is a defense industry solution…..while I may not agree with every word I do believe that it needs to be upgraded for the 21st century.  More weapons will not guarantee more peace.

Vietnam War’s Bloodiest Battle

Your history lesson for today is from the war that I was a participant…..Vietnam.

This is becoming another war that most Americans are trying hard to forget… has that in common with the Korean War.

Unfortunately all war is bloody but there are some battles that are more so than others.  So what is the bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War?

Khe San?  Tet?  Hamburger Hill?

None of the above.

1971 and the invasion of Laos will have the dishonor of the title of Vietnam’s bloodiest battle….

Invasion of Laos, 1971: Lam Son 719, author Robert Sander notes, “Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 1st Corps, appears to have suffered more than 7,500 casualties, and the Communist forces approximately 13,000.”

American losses are harder to estimate. But at least 250 Americans died in support of the operation.

Particularly hard-hit were US Army helicopter crews who suffered more losses than at any similar period during the war.

Despite all this the battle remains understudied.

The Dhofar War

I know it is obvious that I am a student of history so much so that I tend to hit people over the head with history as often as possible.

I am always going on about the US and its wars… I decided to check into some of our allies and their little wars.  I have many English visitors so I decided to try and embarrass them if possible (that is a joke please do not take offense)…….

The English have a long history on the Arabian Peninsula….this is one of their wars against god-less commies during the Cold War….

Between 1963 and 1975 the Sultanate of Oman was the scene of one of the most remarkable, and forgotten conflicts of the Cold War. The British-led Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) would battle and defeat a formidable Marxist guerrilla movement based in the southern province of Dhofar. The Dhofar War remains one of the few examples of a successful Western-led counterinsurgency in a postwar Middle Eastern country.

An interesting aspect of this conflict is the polyglot nature of the forces involved, with British, Pakistani, Arab, Iranian, and Dhofari irregulars ultimately involved in fighting the rebels (known in Arabic as the adoo), themselves a transnational outfit. A survey of the war raises interesting questions about the myth of fighting ‘localized’ conflicts, insofar as the Dhofar War is often portrayed as an isolated contest between British and Omani troops and the Dhofari guerillas. . It also draws interesting parallels with other ongoing multi-faceted counterinsurgencies as seen in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. As exhausted Western publics become increasingly hesitant to commit large-scale forces to conflicts in the Third World, their governments may depend on regional allies to provide the necessary manpower instead.  The war in the ‘Frankincense Mountains’ provides lessons in the benefits and complications of such strategies.

You see the US was not the only participant in those proxy wars of the Cold War era….

Ignorance About Slavery

When it comes to the subject of American slavery the student is woefully misinformed for the most part.

Every American knows though some do not want to acknowledge that the American South was a hot bed of slavery…….too many make too many excuses for the   situation and our educational system is no help in teaching the real story of slavery……

Just eight percent of American high school seniors can identify the cause of the Civil War; less than a third (32 percent) know which amendment abolished slavery in the U.S.; and fewer than half (46 percent) know that the “Middle Passage” refers to the harrowing voyage across the Atlantic undertaken by Africans kidnapped for the slave trade. These are only a few of the more unnerving findings from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which concludes that in classrooms across the country, the subject of slavery is as mistaught as it is misunderstood.

Drawing from online surveys of 1,000 12th-graders and more than 1,700 social studies teachers, along with an exhaustive analysis of the 10 most widely read U.S. history textbooks, the SPLC’s latest report attempts to assess how well the country understands its original sin. In a word, the results are “abysmal.”

More on the study made on the subject of slavery as taught in our high schools……

I am old and I live in the South……I have heard just about every  excuse possible for the act of slavery….none of them are acceptable… least to me.  Ignoring the institution will not make it go away……teaching falsehoods will not make it more acceptable.

A Flyer Comes Home!

Another fallen hero returns home……

An airman whose plane was shot down during World War II is finally coming home.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John Canty, who served with the 555th Bombardment Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group, 9th Bomber Command, was accounted for on Jan. 22, the Air Force announced.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John H. Canty, a gunner and engineer, was killed 16 days after D-Day when his B-26 Marauder was shot down just east of Caen, France. His body has been recovered by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. (Courtsey photo)

Canty was one of eight crew members aboard a B-26 Maurader on a nighttime bombing mission on June 22, 1944.

They left from Easton Lodge-Essex, England, toward targets near Caen, France, and were shot down between the French villages of Baron-sur-Odon and Gavrus. The villages were in German-held territory at the time, so U.S. forces were unable to make a detailed search for the crew, and all eight members were marked as killed.

Canty, from Winsted, Connecticut, is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Normandy American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in France. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for.

Welcome home and may you now rest in peace

On that note I will take my leave and start my weekend with a bang….my doctor says that I may once again have my customary glass of wine with meals……I go in search of a cork screw…..peace out my friends….chuq