Closing Thought–18Apr18

I live in the South and of course a hot topic in this region is the   American Civil War….there is always someone that has to analyze this conflict…Hell they even play out each battle in their re-enactments…..

Of course one of the hot topics for discussion is what really started the war.  The most popular cause was the institution of slavery….but is it really?  In the South the common cause is the state’s rights thing….some even say it was economics that started the war….that is pretty close because Southerns did not want to pay the help…..

The first reason is that neither side had actual armies formed up and in position to fight at the time of the Fort Sumter attack. Abraham Lincoln, on April 15, had to put out a call for 75,000 soldiers to come forward and form an army because he had nothing with which to fight the South, and it would take weeks after that call for the first elements of the army to arrive at Washington. The South was in no better position and had to begin creating its own armies if it was to carry out its part in a war.

The second reason that war could not begin on April 12 or for weeks afterward is far more subtle than the first.  As of April 12, 1861, only seven states had declared their independence and joined the Confederacy. Those states were South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. Notably missing were Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, states that would only secede later.

Now the next question to be asked….why did the South lose the war?

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.”

Put that way, the business of fighting and winning wars sounds simple enough. And perhaps it was simple in the mind of the man who so concisely described the complex art: General Ulysses S. Grant. After assuming command of all Union armies in March 1864, Grant crushed the Confederacy in about one year.

But the American Civil War, like any war, was not simple. The North and South engaged each other for four long years. More than half a million people were killed. Families were torn apart, towns destroyed. And in the end, the South lost.

Your history lesson is complete…off we go until tomorrow…..chuq


Closing Thought–17Apr18

Back during World War 2 there was a small cadre of non-commissioned officers that were pilots… of my uncles on my gather’s side was one of these he flew a P38…..

I bring this up because the service is having a hard time with their pilots……they are considering a return to a historical thing…….

Eugene Taylor remembers how eager enlisted airmen like him were to fly.

Taylor, who enlisted in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam, first worked as an avionics technician. Nearly a decade later, Taylor, a tech sergeant, became a T-37 and T-38 flight simulator instructor with the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. He became so adept that he was occasionally given the chance to fly the T-38, with permission from the pilot, during stateside flights.

It has been decades since enlisted airmen had the chance to sit in the cockpit. But as the Air Force faces the greatest pilot shortages since its inception, service leaders are contemplating a return to a model that includes enlisted pilots. A Rand Corp. study, set to be completed this month, is exploring the feasibility of bringing back a warrant officer corps for that purpose. And another, separate Air Force study is examining, in part, whether enlisted pilots could benefit from new high-tech training that leverages artificial intelligence and simulation.

I do not see any problem with this…..I am sure that some self-centered tool will find a problem with having a lowly NCO pilot a multi-million dollar aircraft….but hey…if capable then let them do it.

My day has been tied up so I want to end it while there is time to enjoy some of my day….TTFN….chuq

Impact Of War On Foreign Policy

AS a foreign policy wonk I like to read just how our wars have impacted our foreign policies going forward.  World War One is very telling it was our first international war and our policies were changed after the end of that war….

A new book covers the US foreign policy changes after WW1…………

The United States, disenchanted with war, disenfranchised by financial crisis, and ready to embrace populism and isolationism faces dual challenges. A rising Asian power, seeking to up-end the established international order, and a series of protracted and controversial small wars.

Surprisingly, this is not a description of the current state of world affairs, but the picture that emerges from Carew’s study of the inter-war years, an era that saw U.S. policy makers faced with challenges that will resonate with their modern counterparts. But history does not repeat and it rarely rhymes, for the differences between 1938 and today are as stark as the similarities due in no small part to the legacy of the First World War.

The US has so many wars in the fire I am wondering just how these conflicts will effect our foreign policy…..we have not seemed to change our military ops very well…..can we find it in our DNA to find a good foreign policy… all the suffering and sorrow that we spread today.

1917–Why US Went To War

For about 4 years I have been writing about the one war that most Americans have tried to put out of their memories….The Great War…..World War One.

First just what made the US feel that fighting in World War One was a necessity?

History books would have pupils believe that it was the sinking of the Lusitania which killed 128 Americans…..

A whole lot of sources say that the main reason for the US joining WWI was the attack on the British ocean liner, RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, which left 1,200 people―including 128 Americans―dead. That, however, is not the case. The sinking of Lusitania is one of the many reasons that eventually led to the US joining this war. The attack on Lusitania took place in 1915, but the US declared war on Germany only in 1917.

Many of us history wonks point to the Zimmerman Telegram as the cause that lead to the US entering to WW1…….

This ploy came to light when the British naval intelligence, on January 19, 1917, intercepted a telegram sent by the German Foreign Minister, Arthur Zimmermann to the German Ambassador in Mexico City. In return, the Germans were to help the government of Mexico to recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona that they had ceded to the US in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War.

After a brief hesitation fearing that the Germans would come to know that they had broken their code, the Brits handed this telegram to the United States on February 24. The same was eventually published in the newspapers, and that played a crucial role in changing the public opinion in the US.

Is that the reason Wilson felt the need to fight in an European war?

(i) Some say that too much was at stake for the US on the economic front. They had already invested over $2 billion in the war, and the chances of recovering this money would have become bleak, in the event of a loss for the Allied Forces.

(ii) Some argue that by then, it had started to look like the Germans were going to be defeated, and the US didn’t want to miss the opportunity to pitch itself as the savior of democracy.

(iii) Then there is a third lot who believe that it was Britain who manipulated the US into joining the war by strategically timing the Zimmermann telegraph revelation.

Nevertheless, we often state that the US joined WW1 on April 6, 1917 after a nod from Congress. That, however, was the moment when the US had officially joined the war. Unofficially, it had become a part of the conflict the moment President Wilson placed the US navy personnel on civilian ships to protect them from the German attacks, citing an archaic anti-piracy law. In accordance to the International law, this step in itself constituted an act of war.

Whatever the true reason for our entry the result was to change the US and the world forever…..

Part Two of this post will be the debate on whether to fight or to stay neutral…..(coming soon to  blog near you)……

Psi Phi Society Discussion Group–Spring Session

Sunday and I would like to report on the Psi Phi (ΨΦ) Discussion Group Spring Session…..not affiliated with SciFi genre in any way……

The group is a formation of several friends that get together about 4 times a year for a dinner and drinks and a discussion  of a subject chosen by the group…..members are me, a high school history teacher, professor of archeology, a nurse, a computer programmer, a math teacher and an anthropologist…..if there cannot be at least 5 members for a meeting then we postpone to a later date….I had to miss the Winter Meeting because of my surgery and recovery….I did get updates on what was covered by friends……

We meet at a local steak house owned by a friend…..we have a good meal, drinks and then the selection of a subject……we all write a subject on a piece of paper and put into a stainless steel bed pan….the owner of steak house picks the subject out of that bed pan.

The lucky topic was the Voynich Manuscript…..Written in Central Europe at the end of the 15th or during the 16th century, the origin, language, and date of the Voynich Manuscript—named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912—are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undeciphered text. Described as a magical or scientific text, nearly every page contains botanical, figurative, and scientific drawings of a provincial but lively character, drawn in ink with vibrant washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue, and red.

Based on the subject matter of the drawings, the contents of the manuscript falls into six sections: 1) botanicals containing drawings of 113 unidentified plant species; 2) astronomical and astrological drawings including astral charts with radiating circles, suns and moons, Zodiac symbols such as fish (Pisces), a bull (Taurus), and an archer (Sagittarius), nude females emerging from pipes or chimneys, and courtly figures; 3) a biological section containing a myriad of drawings of miniature female nudes, most with swelled abdomens, immersed or wading in fluids and oddly interacting with interconnecting tubes and capsules; 4) an elaborate array of nine cosmological medallions, many drawn across several folded folios and depicting possible geographical forms; 5) pharmaceutical drawings of over 100 different species of medicinal herbs and roots portrayed with jars or vessels in red, blue, or green, and 6) continuous pages of text, possibly recipes, with star-like flowers marking each entry in the margins.

We all went the printer and printed out the pages and an hour to work out our version of the meaning……

Of course this argument went on and on and no ….and as normal there was no consensus to its meaning…..

I have enclosed a couple of sites in case you would like to join in the debate……

This is a fascinating topic and one that is a joy to attempt to de-code…..try it…it can be addicting.

In case inquiry minds want to know….I ate a 8 oz Filet with baked potato with lots of butter and sour cream with a small salad with blue cheese dressing…..and a glass of Pinot Noir (name withheld until I am compensated)…….

Peace Out my friends…..chuq

Psst! Wanna Have Sex?

I remember back in my younger days there were many that would say that I would have sex with a snake if someone would hold it still……thankfully I out grew my younger self….

That brings my to a study that I read in the field of anthropology about our distant ancestors….the Neds and the Cro-Mags….

Ancient humans weren’t against knocking boots with other species: We know they had sex with Neanderthals. We also know they mated with the mysterious Denisovans, as some Australasians (those from Papua New Guinea in particular) have 5% Denisovan DNA. But a “breakthrough” study shows the interbreeding wasn’t limited to those two instances. While looking for ancient DNA in the genomes of 5,600 living humans, a team at the University of Washington in Seattle came across evidence of a third interbreeding event, reports New Scientist. A smaller contribution of Denisovan DNA in Han Chinese, Chinese Dai, and Japanese people—about 0.2% of their genome—suggests humans mixed with a distinct population of Denisovans in not one but two locations: Indonesia or Australasia and East Asia.

Though the only four Denisovan fossils that have been found come from the same cave in Siberia, the research published in the journal Cell shows Denisovans were spread across Asia and “suggests that at least in some instances, Denisovans and modern humans were willing to live in proximity and interact,” lead author Sharon Browning says. Her research also backs the theory that there was a single “wave” of interbreeding between humans and one population of Neanderthals, reports the Atlantic. But Browning couldn’t link other ancient DNA found in living humans to Neanderthals or Denisovans, suggesting humans may have mated with hominins we haven’t even discovered yet. Harvard geneticist David Reich, who was not involved in the research, says the finding of “a definite third interbreeding event” makes this “a breakthrough paper,” per the Washington Post. (Here’s how a bit of cave dirt changed archaeology.)

Enjoy your day for I will…be well, be safe….chuq

Vietnam War

Morning my friends….it is a Saturday and I wish you all a great weekend….

Most my regulars know that I am a combat vet of the Vietnam War….that war has more misinformation about it than some of our other wars….and many veterans who like history see that there is a wealth of misinformation

There is now a new magazine that covers our history…..

The new Vietnam Veterans for Factual History is a resource designed to address a concern by its creators and associated blog readers that many history books and teachers are presenting a fraudulent picture of what was done and accomplished in Vietnam.

It would be a mistake to think of this magazine as just a place to air complaints and reminisce about Vietnam. Most of the members are Vietnam veterans, which is unusual today for any magazine to have so many with a shared unique background and who can “talk the talk because they walked the walk.” But this magazine offers more with academics and “Indochina veterans with special expertise in various aspects of the war,” too. Most have written books and articles on Vietnam subjects, as well. Vietnamese-Americans are also members and present a side of Vietnam that is usually overlooked or deliberately ignored. Members’ books can be identified throughout the magazine.

Vietnam Veterans for Factual History

If you are a student of history then I suggest that you bookmark this site…..I feel it well be well worth your time…..

Good Day my friends……chuq