Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Seven, there were seven .... waiting for eight

Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson are gaining in influence in my world, a locale generally dominated by John Browning and Samuel Colt. These men were gun makers / inventors, for the edification of the uninitiated. The seven revolvers here are Smith & Wesson -- each and every one. They are waiting for the eighth to make its appearance and fill the rack to its capacity. The eighth is en route at this very moment, making its way from New York state to Minnesota. Upon its arrival, the rack will be full and complete, and another cycle will begin.

This is a strange, weird, odd post, so it deserves strange, weird, odd music. Who better, what better than Warren Zevon (rhetorical remark, no question, no answer necessary .... but, first ....)

Sic semper tyrannis

It is ironically fitting (perhaps, poetically, too) that Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz would leave the earth in November -- the same month John Fitzgerald Kennedy departed fifty-seven years earlier. Kennedy left on November 22, 1963 -- Castro on November 25, 2016. It would have been absolutely spooky had their deaths been the same date of the month since their lives were very much intertwined through economic, military and, some claim, personal warfare.

If the words within that paragraph form a mystery to you and you are curious, do a bit of research. History is fascinating. Whatever .... good bye and good riddance, El Caballo ....

Hmmmm .... interesting, for we doubters ....

From a conservative viewpoint, many of Donald Trump's Cabinet and White House selections are looking good. Obviously, dedicated liberals / progressives will not agree, but I am beginning to think there is method to the madness of our "potty mouth" president-elect:

Mike Pompeo, congressman from Kansas to head the CIA. West Point graduate, first in his class with military experience in Europe .... good .... hard core right politically .... wish he had some "spook" experience, but all-in-all a good choice

Mike Flynn, retired Army lieutenant general to be Trump's national security adviser, formerly headed the Defense Intelligence Agency .... great variety of intelligence and special military operations experience .... registered Democrat, but military hawk .... great choice

KT McFarland, former national security analyst, to be deputy national security adviser to the president .... brilliant strategist and analyst and negotiator, who can lay on the charm as a counterbalance to Flynn's hard core, in-your-face style .... she is a super choice, and probably will replace Flynn in a few years after he has figuratively cut too many people off at the knees ....

Jeff Sessions, senator since 1996 from Alabama, to be attorney general, strong conservative record on judiciary, immigration, military .... good to potentially great choice

There are others I sort of think of as fine choices, but who puzzle me a bit in some instances, and of whom I have no real opinion .... in short, some I really am not enthused about and it is a wait-and-see game with them: Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina as ambassador to the United Nations (this role really puzzles me since she has no relevant background); Betsy DeVos, businesswoman and philanthropist as education secretary; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee as White House chief of staff .... all right, there have been more, but we will stop with those for now ....

As a fascinating footnote, to me, anyway, DeVos has a brother, Erik Prince, who is a former Navy SEAL officer and the founder of Blackwater, the (now defunct) private military / security firm which had thousands of civilian "contractors" paid by the United States government doing adjunct military work in places like Iraq. Again, a bit of history worth researching for those interested in the depth of federal government duplicity and intrigue at home and abroad.

The end of November -- or one, long paragraph

Usually, I am pleased when November passes because I am one month closer to spring. This year, though, I have a nostalgic sense about November -- maybe because the weather has been mild (better rain than snow); maybe because it is one of those years when I sense my life changing and going in a new direction; maybe because it is the month of the end of World War I and Veterans Day .... of an afternoon in a park in Minneapolis I was never in before and never have been since with a girl named Sandy Daniels when we both were sort of young .... of John Kennedy and his death .... of Thanksgiving .... of the last day of my last deer hunt in Michigan woodlands along the rocky shore of Lake Superior, with wind howling in tree tops and five-foot snow drifts encircling tree trunks, then finally walking out along a logging trail as gathering dusk melted into absolute darkness; maybe because it is the month when the northern world was in its death throes just before being reborn again and again during epochs before Christmas ever was dreamt of in the minds of mortal men. Oh, well, maybe you understand the swirling drifts encircling me, maybe not, but you can see behind my eyes if you look closely .... November = metamorphosis, it would seem, this year .... there is no substitute for having been around the block once or twice .... hang in there, baby ....


A Cuban In London said...

JFK had Marilyn singing "Happy Birthday" to him. Castro had a group of schoolchildren back in the summer doing the same for his 80th. Jump to your own conclusions. :-)

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

My understanding is that El Caballo was something of a ladies' man in his younger days, CiL, so I think what we have here in regard to birthday parties is the reality of a soon-to-be forty-five-year-old JFK vs. the memories of an eighty-year-old Fidel Castro. I assume the school children sang the words of the Beatles to Fidel: "Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be ...."

Thank you, for your presence, CiL. It is nice to see you out and about again.

Fram Actual said...

Addendum in the form of a comment about Donald Trump's Cabinet selections:

I just learned four-star, retired, Marine Corps General James "Mad Dog" Mattis has been selected to be the president-elect's nominee to become secretary of defense. In a three-word response: Spectacular, wonderful, terrific. I could go on with innumerable, positive adjectives.

Mattis has variously been described as a Marine's Marine and as a General's General. He is a book worm -- really. Most importantly, he has led Marines into combat and knows the score, knows the reality, knows what truly is important about life and living -- and, he leaves the politically correct choking in their delusional dust.

I will write more about this nomination -- almost certainly, about the depth of his experience -- but, not tonight. I am packing to leave town for two or three days and I need to get some sleep before I "get (my) motor runnin' .. head out on the highway." For sure, tonight, I will be hitting the rack with a smile on my face.

Semper Fidelis, baby ....

ANITA said...

Isnt Marine Corps General James "Mad Dog" Mattis a pensionist now?Can he still be a secretary?

I see the world has turned to the right political way now..France ,Astria..and many many more..I wonder i wonder how its gonna be!

Have a safe and good trip Fram!


A Cuban In London said...

I'm chuckling at the Beatles lyrics you quoted. :-)

He was a ladies' man but like everything else in his life, it was not something he boasted about.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

James Mattis is sixty-six and retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, Anita. In effect, he was forced out by El Presidente, Barack Obama, because he disagreed with some of Obama's policies and was not afraid to tell him. He would not hesitate to do the same with Donald Trump.

There are a few hurdles, including confirmation by the United States Senate, Mattis will have to clear before his appointment, but there should be no real problems and there is no reason he cannot leave retirement anytime he wishes no matter what his age or status.

He is a straight-shooter who I would qualify as a military genius. Most importantly, Marines love him and would follow him into hell. Despite his nickname, he absolutely is not a war-monger; he simply is ferocious when a battle begins. His focus would be on making sure equipment and training were adequate; that goals, plans and missions were realistic and logical; and that, in a general sense, the United States military was ready for anything and everything.

Mattis, undoubtedly, is one of the top three or four military minds/leaders in the U.S. today. Best of all and most surprisingly of all, I think Trump will listen to him and to other people he is gathering around him to advise him.

Political movements and beliefs swing like a pendulum and life revolves in rising and falling circular patterns. The only constant in life is perpetual change, Anita. Conservatism will rise now for a while, continue strong for a decade or two (depending upon its successes), and then liberalism will begin to "wax" again .... politics mimic the travels of the moon.

The trip was good and it was safe .... thank you. And, thank you, too, for coming here, Anita.

Fram Actual said...

I think the Beatles had lyrics to cover just about everything in life, CiL. Too bad they could not have overcome personal differences and have stayed together a bit longer than they did.... but, then again, nearly fifty years later, who cares ??

This is from an opinion piece in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal: "Charles Baudelaire famously said the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. But he existed, and his name was Fidel Castro."

A news article in the Sunday Saint Paul Pioneer Press contained these words: ".... Raul Castro announced Saturday that his government would prohibit the naming of streets and monuments after his brother Fidel and bar the construction of statues of him in keeping with the former leader's desire to avoid a cult of personality."

The eye of the beholder, it appears.

I guess I will echo Friedrich Nietzsche with my verdict about Fidel: "Human, all too human."

Thank you, CiL. I just arrived home, and will catch up with your new post in a while.

ANITA said...

If the Marines love s him it says alot!then he must be a man of trust

Iam glad about it

Yes the wind of changes is surrounding the world

as you say..some times this and sometimes that

Only hope humans will still have their human aspects and justice for all..specially justice!

Ok dear friend..Ia have this working session agiain..5 nights..sorry bad spelling i am not right in my head just now..see you soon

Big hugs!


Fram Actual said...

Well, do not work too hard, Anita.

Much of the talk surrounding Donald Trump now involves speculation about who he will nominate to be secretary of state. I know the individual I would prefer among those being mentioned as possibles is John Bolton, who has been both an "under" and an "assistant" secretary of state and, briefly, was the United States ambassador to the United Nations during the Bush (the Younger) Administration. I do not know if Bolton has a nickname, but he certainly could be called "Mad Dog," too -- he is a tough guy.

Anyway .... everything about the pending "Trump Administration" is, for sure, proving to be interesting and entertaining.

Life is quiet for me at the moment. I hope it will stay that way for a while. And, I hope both life and work will be smooth and go exactly the way you wish them to go, Anita. Thank you, for being here and for your comment ....

A Cuban In London said...

Very interesting post on Pearl Harbor, one of those subjects on which my (Cuban) lecturer sat blatantly on the fence whilst teaching the Second World War. :-)

Greetings from London.

ANITA said...

tikk tokk here we are agin late as always..Iam baking christmas cakes so thats why.

I dont know anything about war things..pearl harbour only on video!

Wish you a sweet warm week Fram

Fram Actual said...

I think your lecturer must have been a political charlatan or spent some time in an alternate/revisionist universe, CiL.

I recall you are a student of the German language. In an alternate/revisionist universe scenario which is drifting through my mind at this moment, Japan does not attack the United States and Pearl Harbor does not happen, so the U.S. does not enter World War II; Japan and Germany proceed with their conquests; this equals everyone in London and throughout England speaking German and wearing swastika armbands today.

You wrote what your lecturer said, but you did not give your opinion. An even more tantalizing question and one Barack Obama recently refused to answer was if the use of atomic bombs against Japan in 1945 was justified?

Anyway, I am glad you came to visit, CiL, and I thank you for your comment .... I only wish it had been a day sooner and in the actual Pearl Harbor post itself.

Fram Actual said...

The events at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the aftermath are important not only to Americans, Anita, but virtually to everyone in the world. It is within the realm of possibility -- even probability -- that had Pearl Harbor not happened your life would be entirely different today: You and everyone who lives in Norway might be speaking German and Alexander might be required to be in some manner of Nazi youth league.

It is likely the United States would have entered World War II at some point, but had the Japanese not attacked the U.S., it is possible that America would not have entered the war and that Germany and Japan would have continued their conquests; that Germany would have defeated England and that Nazi-occupied Norway and other European nations would have been unified into sub-states of a fascist regime controlled entirely by Adolph Hitler.

Far-fetched? Sure, but possible. That is a lot of ifs, but the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, in my opinion, easily was among the most significant events of the Twentieth Century -- perhaps, the most momentous.

Anyway, Anita, I am glad you did arrive and did leave a comment here for me. Good luck, with your Christmas baking, and I will try to stay warm on these cold, snowy, windy, wintry days .... you, too ....

P.S. Donald Trump has selected another Marine Corps four-star general for his Cabinet -- John Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security. I do not know as much about him as I do about the recently-nominated general to run the Department of Defense, James Mattis, but I do know he was an enlisted Marine who left after his obligation ended, went to college and came back in through officer candidate school. He had a Marine Corps son who was killed in Afghanistan. He should be an exceptional addition to the Cabinet.

ANITA said...

Interesting about John Kelly that is been probably nominated to the fifth United States Secretary of Homeland Security.Dont know any thing about him but sure..Interesting..About the second ww2.No doubt America helped Norway out..but the same did the Russians on that point of time..I will not belive Hitler could have control of all those countries as he wanted for a long time.Peoples fight for freedom is very strong no matter what.They always find a solution.I would gladely go to the milletary myself.In fact I like that kind of life..(I think)..You really are living with fear and learn how to cope with it.But grows steady strong humans or?.(I dont want to talk about all the retired wounded soldiers..What a boring depressing painful and sad life they must live.I can understand that.(When the war is over.)

Well norway is frighten Usa will not help us in the FN/Nato matters.As Trumph says..They have given too much money away for a looong time and gets nothing back..So we are expanding our milletary regime.New airplanes Boats recrutes.Even special forces from Usa is now living with us.Paid by Norway of course.I dont know why.Something is frightening the goverment.


Wintertime is at your place?Minnesota cold ,storms and hurricanes?I can see it before me.Nice you have a good warm place to stay and a cute friendly dog beside you.

See you soon --Got my Christmas money and are spending time shopping
Hugs--your friend in Norway


Fram Actual said...

I guess I do not wish to debate our differing views regarding World War II at this time or in this (comment) format, but my opinion is that if Adolph Hitler would not have broken the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact in June 1941 and if the Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941 (and the United States not otherwise being drawn into the war), Germany might well have won and established its Thousand-Year Reich on the European side of the world and the Japanese conquered on their side.

So, we can save that for another day.

I began watching "The Pacific" again -- the HBO miniseries about the island-hopping war in the Pacific Ocean. I have not seen it since it originally was on television back in 2010. Actually, I was in Poland when it aired, and did not see it until reruns came a bit later. If you have not watched it, Anita, I would recommend it. While it might not seem possible, the Pacific Theater of war was more cruel, more violent and with more atrocities among the actual combatants than the war in Europe.

As for current conditions, it is the actions of Vladimir Putin in places like the Crimea and the Ukraine and Georgia which have Western nations on edge, and of having Russian aircraft and submarines "harassing" American ships and skirting the coasts of England which are raising tensions. Beyond that, there are the actions of North Korea with its nuclear weapon/ballistic missile programs and China's usurping islands in the South China Sea which create tensions there. Then, of course, there is war/war/war in the Middle East and elsewhere.

As for NATO, it is growing in strength and determination again, and will continue to do so with Donald Trump. In response to Putin's movements, there already is an increasing number of American troops and weapon systems in places like Poland and the Baltic States (and elsewhere). You might not be aware of it, for instance, but the Marine Corps has been cooperating in "war games" with a number of Black Sea nations the past three or four summers. Struggles among nations are a constant movement of push and shove, respond and react but, so far, at least, none of the sides has gotten overly-excited.

Minnesota has tornadoes to contend with during warm-weather months and snow and frigid temperatures about five months of the year. The coldest temperature I personally have been exposed to is minus fifty-six (-56) degrees Fahrenheit when I lived in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. That was the actual temperature, not wind chill temperature = minus forty-nine (-49) Celsius.

So, I assume you had a good time Christmas shopping .... thank you, Anita, for your presence and your words here = you are a sweetie. Take care and, yes, I will be seeing you here and there ....

A Cuban In London said...

Wow, that's a lot of questions and possibilities. When in comes to WW2, we also have to factor in the Soviet army, which had already begun to gain some ground on the German troops. So, perhaps Hitler would have annexed western Europe or part of it. Certainly France and Spain (Franco was already in power). Italy had Mussolini, so that would have been easy. I think that Britain would have resisted (the English Channel would have helped) and would have had support from you lot. After all, you were on your way to becoming a world superpower and Hitler was in the way.

What do you think?

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

I believe I pretty much answered your question in the first paragraph of my response comment yesterday to Anita, CiL, so I will make life easy for myself and ask if you will be kind enough to read that, rather than me writing it again and repeating myself here. I am operating under the supposition the United States did not enter the war, at least in December 1941.

Adolph Hitler and his fascist compadres had literal control of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East when Germany made its greatest mistake of the war and invaded Russia in June 1941. Incidentally, the Germans were still driving on Moscow when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

My point is that except for a blink or two, the history of World War II and the years since might have been very, very, very different.

Just like except for a blink or two way back when, my personal history might have been very, very, very different.

Thank you, for your reappearance, CiL. I truly appreciate your presence.

Something special ....