<![CDATA[Jack Durish  - Jack's BLOG]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:00:14 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Are you lost in the fog of war?]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:49:44 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/are-you-lost-in-the-fog-of-warAmericana
War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.
— Carl von Clausewitz
It’s easy to get lost these days. There are at least three wars raging in America simultaneously. We are being attacked from within and without while at the same time we are immersed in the Revolution that has never fully quit since the founding of the nation.
America is being attacked from without by the new enemy, fanaticism. Religious zealots have taken up the banner dropped most recently by the Nazis and the Communists, and loosed the dogs of war. Their weapon of choice? The only one available to them: Terrorism. They are supported and supplied by petty tyrants who use the terrorists as agents to wage wars they could not wage on their own.

America is being attacked from within by collectivists and individualists organizing under many banners. The Frankfurt School and the Progressive Left have been working assiduously to fundamentally change America for more than 100 years while Constitutional Constructionists and Originalists representing the right wing of the ideological spectrum oppose them. Fanatical groups such as The Occupy Movement and AntiFa sputter and burn briefly, but leave little lasting impression.  

Finally, the Revolution, the war within America, that once was relegated to the ballot box has burst those confines and now rages endlessly. Elections are no longer capable of giving satisfaction to the traditional electoral duelists, the political parties, who seem to have lost their relevancy. Thus, the people are becoming increasingly fragmented into ideological subsets employing ever more belligerent tactics to gain attention.

That’s a lot of war, all of it generating fog. Who wouldn’t be lost?

Clarity comes with patience and persistence. Like any good military commander, we must probe the battlefield to gather intelligence. Sadly, our enemies have planted those fields thick with misinformation. We are assailed by it at every turn. The ideological Left has employed this tactic far more expertly than the Right. During the past 100 years they have infiltrated and come to dominate the entertainment and news media. Meanwhile, a disorganized band of rebel journalists and commentators have sniped from the Internet with electronic books and weblogs. All have surrendered the high ground of traditional journalistic ethics to engage in a propaganda melee. Thus, we cannot afford to trust any news, any opinion, even that which arrives from friendly sources. Every fragment of intelligence must be examined and tested. Tiresome, isn’t it.

There is an alternative. Simply join a side, shut down, and follow the leader. Of course, there are consequences.

I had a friend who used to drive for Greyhound Bus Lines. Once, while lost in a peasoup fog in New Jersey, he got behind a dump truck and followed him. All went well until he left the road and found himself parked in a barn having passed through the hole in the wall left by the truck that preceded him. He lost his job.

You have a lot more to lose. Maybe a nation.
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<![CDATA[Who was America's quirkiest President?]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:17:51 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/who-was-americas-quirkiest-presidentAmericana
Someone is always running a poll to name America's favorite President or it's most important President. Sadly, most people can't answer well because they don't know more than a handful of them. Here's an opportunity to simply choose the quirkiest factoid from a list provided. Who knows: You might need this information if you ever end up on a game show...
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<![CDATA[Are concentration camps a necessary evil?]]>Mon, 02 Oct 2017 18:55:21 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/are-concentration-camps-a-necessary-evilGood Read
Are concentration camps a necessary evil or are they simply places where acts of evil must always occur? I once thought I knew the answer; however, after reading One Long Night, author Andrea Pitzer’s global history of concentration camps, I’m not so sure.
If anyone had asked me to guess at the earliest examples of concentration camps, I might have mentioned the reservations used to remove Native Americans from valuable lands that we coveted. Or, I might have mentioned American plantations where African slaves were employed in forced labor. However, Pitzer makes an excellent argument that the modern system of concentration camps began in Cuba during the revolution there during the late 19th Century. Inspired by Sherman’s March to the Sea, the Spanish engaged in Total War, incarcerating and tormenting noncombatants, to separate the rebels from their popular support base thus depriving them of food and war materials. She then shines a bright light into the darkest corners of history and tells a tale that comes full circle, ending like a thrill ride where it began, at Guantanamo Bay.
Dare you read it? If Pitzer limited her descriptions to the cold academic facts, you would have nothing to fear. However, she breathes life into the story by populating it with real people who were incarcerated in concentration camps. The effect is as though you’re touring a Nazi camp at Auschwitz or Birkenau and you recognize a family member or friend among the piles of bodies. Not even Old Blood ‘n Guts himself, General George S. Patton, could bring himself to enter the carnal houses full of strangers. Could you knowing the humanity of these victims?
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Click to purchase on Amazon
Maybe you should force yourself to read it, as I did. It is unlikely that concentration camps will simply go away. They have been an important strategic element ever since the warlords came to realize that, as Napoleon infamously said, “Armies march on their stomachs.” All wars, even wars of aggression mounted by terrorists, depend on the support of a civilian population feeding, arming and, in some case, hiding the warriors.

We must solve the riddle of how to deprive enemy combatants of this support or suffer the consequences. Sadly, as Pitzer describes in her book, civilians have been incarcerated in time of war without evidence that they are supporting an enemy, but rather to rob them of their personal and real property, or out of unfounded fears, or simply in response to racial, cultural, or religious bias. Thus, we can no longer simply leave these decisions to elected or military leaders who have proven, if Pitzer’s testimony is to be believed,  incapable of deciding these issues wisely.

Ultimately, we need to memorialize a solution in law or, when the devils we seek to defeat turn, there will be no one and nothing to defend us. Our defenders may become our persecutors as has happened in almost every concentration camp in recorded history. You must prepare yourself to join the conversation. That’s why I highly recommend One Long Night.
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<![CDATA[Have you ever encountered road rage on the Internet?]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 21:58:51 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/have-you-ever-encountered-road-rage-on-the-internetBlogging
Let’s ignore simple disagreements. Those are easily explained. But what about those times when you say something like “The sky is blue,” and someone responds, “No! The sky is blue.” That’s the kind of “road rage” I mean.
Let me give you an example. In a discussion about YouTube censoring videos that reflect conservative points of view, I mentioned that “... it isn't the government restricting free speech.” A respondent commented, “I gather you have not read the Constipation for a while. the first ammendment [sic] does not ap[ply [sic] to the actions of private businesses that do not use the pubic [sic] airwaves?”
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NOTE: For those unfamiliar with the annotation “[sic]” means that the preceding text was copied meticulously including any errors.
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This respondent is well known for comments such as this. Despite the fact that I acknowledged that I was complaining of censorship by a private business and not the government, the user focused on the fact that constitutional protections of free speech do not apply to anyone but the government. Okay, maybe I should have been more explicit. Also, the typing errors are common enough and should not be indicative of anything amiss. However, the use of “Constipation” for “Constitution” could be worrisome. Maybe he was just trying to be funny (although there’s nothing funny that I can see in that word substitution). In another discussion thread he responded, “Anyone decent would gave left atby he fir da t racist or anti-semitic chant [sic]”. I suppose that could be explained by anger.
Again, it is not any one example that makes me suspect a disorder, but rather the pattern of behavior that gives me pause.

No, I’m no psychologist. I’m just a reasonably educated person looking for an explanation, one that will help me communicate better. However, after countless incidents like this, I’m beginning to wonder, what chance have we?

And no, I’m not talking about the pop psychology of “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. That’s simply one ideologue insulting another.

This pattern of communication sent me exploring the Internet for a possible explanation and I found Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder.
“Social (pragmatic) communication disorder is characterized by difficulty with the use of social language and communication skills (also called pragmatic communication by professionals). A child or teen with this disorder will have difficulty in following the ordinary social rules of communication (whether they are verbal or nonverbal), following the rules for storytelling or conversations (each person takes a turn), and changing language depending upon the situation or needs of the listener.”

The cited article goes on to state “Difficulty understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meaning of language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation).”

Two questions came to mind after reading this: (1) Do such disorders persist into adulthood and (2) Do such disorders impair written communication as well as verbal communication. If you research further, you will find that the answer to both is yes.

Thus, when you enter the arena of debate on the Internet, be patient. Among the many issues you will have to deal with above and beyond the topic of debate, may include a handicapped individual. You can no more be angry with them for their misunderstandings and malaprops than you can be angry with a cripple for limping.
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<![CDATA[Are today’s Nazi’s my father’s Nazis?]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 18:48:24 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/are-todays-nazis-my-fathers-nazisAmerica
My father was a Nazi. I don’t know if he actually belonged to the American branch of the Nazi party. I have grounds to suspect he did. In any case, he was a fervent admirer of Adolf Hitler and all that he did. I grew up listening to my father extol Hitler’s dreams. Fortunately, I learned at an early age that my father was bat guano crazy and to ignore him.
Now, before you judge him harshly (that’s my prerogative) remember that many greatly admired Americans shared his beliefs. Charles Lindbergh for one. Joe Kennedy, the father of the famous brothers including President John F. Kennedy, for another. Why not? Der Fuhrer pulled Germany out of the Great Depression and who really cared what he did with the Jews? Everybody hated them.

Thus, I look with more than passing interest on the shenanigans of today’s Nazis. I wonder. How do they compare to Hitler’s minions?
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First, there is no direct connection that I can find between the Nazis of Germany and today’s American Nazis. There is no individual who arrived on these shores to spawn such an organization. Indeed, there have been a couple of iterations of American Nazis since the fall of the Third Reich.

The first iteration of American Nazis were the ones to which my father belonged in the 1930s when Hitler first rose to power. They were distant admirers rather than acolytes. In time they met in enclaves to share news of progress in Germany and complain about American politicians who failed to bring such relief to their desperate lives. Interestingly, President Franklin Roosevelt was as much a socialist as Herr Hitler, possibly more so, but socialism wasn’t the Fuhrer’s principal attraction. He focused more on giving his people a scapegoat. I think that is why my father despised Roosevelt. I suspect that he wanted the President to be more like the Fuhrer in placing the blame for the nation’s ills on some identifiable minority, blacks or Jews, more so than even curing the economy.

When the war broke out, American Nazis and their sympathizers scattered like cockroaches in the kitchen when the light is switched on. Some even joined the fight against the Nazis. My father didn’t. He found work in the war industry that sheltered him from the draft.

The second iteration of the American Nazis came in 1959. It was an actual political party founded by George Lincoln Rockwell. Originally known as the World Union Free Enterprise National Socialists, he renamed it the American Nazi Party in 1960. Thank God. Is there anything more confusing than “Free Enterprise...Socialists”. It’s an oxymoron. They claimed to adhere to Hitler’s ideals and policies, but that “free enterprise” think must have given them trouble. In any case, the American Nazi Party disbanded in 1967 when Rockwell was assassinated. (It seems unfair to elevate his murder to the level of an “assassination”.)

The third iteration of American Nazis was headed by Rockwell’s deputy commander, Matt Koehl. Koehl, a self-identified “Hitlerist” appears to have exposed the real intent of American Nazis, to seek an all-white America. Christian, too. Groups of American Nazis then began to splinter off, intent on pursuing their own agendas. For example, Frank Collin, secretly the son of a Jewish father, formed his own chapter of the American Nazi Party in Chicago focusing on a crusade against Jews. (Ironic, isn’t it?) Their march through Skokie, Illinois, home to a community of Holocaust Survivors, led to the Supreme Court Case of Nationalist Socialist Party of America v Village of Skokie which established the legal right to display the swastika by virtue of the First Amendment Right of Free Speech. (Remember, popular speech doesn’t need protection.)

Since the late 1960’s there have been several other iterations of the American Nazi Party. Although their focus shifts to reflect their personal prejudices, they tend to remain enamored of the German Nazi iconography, especially the swastika, and uniforms.
This, of course, merely glosses over a substantial history of Nazis in America. You will have to fill in the details for yourself. There are plenty of resources available in local libraries and on the InternetWikipedia is a good place to begin, but question everything you find therein. Remember, Wikipedia is publicly edited and that may include a Nazi or two. However, I have reached a few conclusions of my own.
  1. The American Nazi Party of today bears little resemblance to earlier iterations and almost none to the Third Reich. Indeed, if one of today’s American Nazis met a member of the Third Reich they would likely wet themselves.
  2. The American Nazi Party of today is not a socialist organization.
  3. The American Nazi Party of today is primarily a racist organization preferring swastikas and brown shirts to white sheets.

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Click to view weblog posting
I have two propaganda filmstrips that I believe my father came in possession of while participating in Nazi meetings and I'm still looking for a worthy home to donate them. Please see my earlier weblog posting describing them.
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<![CDATA[What chance have we at understanding each other?]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:04:22 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/what-chance-have-we-at-understanding-each-otherWriting
Seriously, what chance do we have communicating effectively when lexicographers can't agree on the meanings of the words we use? Oh, what would you call a person who is an expert with words? Educated? Grammarian? Linguist? See what I mean?

The topic of this essay was suggested by a comic strip that I recently read in which a character laments, “There should be a term for the opposite of ironic.
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Well, there is, isn't there? There is, I looked it up. All was clear until my wife looked it up. That's when confusion reared its ugly head.

Ironic: Antonyms
  • My source: logical, sincere
  • Her source: exaggeration, hyperbole, overstatement

That's when the argument, or should I say “debate”, began. We decided to settle it by first agreeing on the meaning of “irony”.

Think about it. We did. What is “irony”? Okay, you aren't a lexicographer and neither are we. We turned to our smart phones and looked it up. Apparently the experts can't agree on the definition either, nor the synonyms for “irony”.

Well, let's go back to the source. Let's consult the people who invented the word. They should know, right?

Irony (origin): early 16th cent. (also denoting Socratic irony): via Latin from Greek eirōneia ‘simulated ignorance,’ from eirōn ‘dissembler.’

Say what?

H. L. Mencken famously described the British and Americans as “two people separated by a common language.” I suggest that my wife and I similarly separated as is everybody else.

So, before you jump down someone's throat for some imagined slight, I suggest you stop and ask, “What did you mean by that?”
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<![CDATA[What's the best way to handle a temper tantrum?]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:58:58 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/whats-the-best-way-to-handle-a-temper-tantrumAmerica
A tantrum or temper tantrum is an emotional outbreak, usually associated with children or those in emotional distress, typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification and, in some cases, hitting.” – Wikipedia
Recognize this behavior? A large segment of the American population seems to be having a tantrum ever since Donald Trump was elected President. Of course they feel justified. But what is their justification? Well, at first blush it was the unfairness of the Electoral College. That excuse didn't last long because few people actually understand the Electoral College. Then came the Russians.
Now it's the Nazis. What will be next?

Meanwhile, the nation survives. Flourishes, actually. Unemployment down, way down. Stock market up, way up. Consumer confidence high. Federal deficit spending low.

What, then, is the best way to deal with a tantrum? Just ask any competent parent. Don't reward it. Don't even acknowledge it. God help you if you do. You will teach your child (or emotionally distressed adult) that it's a successful tactic and they'll use it again and again.
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<![CDATA[What are alt-Right and alt-Left?]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:59:39 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/what-are-alt-right-and-alt-leftAmerica
Most experts tend to agree that they are made-up terms. So? All terms are made up, aren't they? Every word of every language was made up, crafted to express an idea, name a thing, or denote an action. If alt-Right and alt-Left are made up, does that make them any less valid?
The challenge is to understand what they are. Inasmuch as they haven't yet appeared in any dictionary, it's a great challenge. The simple fact that they are being used as pejoratives, used to express contempt for the opposition, I suspect that both are describing strawmen.
What then is a strawman? Fortunately that term has arrived in the dictionary: An intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent's real argument.
Thus, when you hear these terms, beware. You have stumbled upon propaganda. The Strawman Argument is a classic technique of propaganda. The propagandist is attempting to convince you of the correctness of their position or opinion by contrasting it with the obvious weakness or falseness of that of their opponent's (that they have crafted for them). 
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<![CDATA[Why are we fighting the President?]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 16:01:01 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/why-are-we-fighting-the-presidentAmerica
America's success is the sum total of the successes of millions of individuals free to pursue their dreams according to their own abilities and ambition. Free market capitalism allowed many to build great businesses such as Henry Ford.
The Progressive Left vilifies the most successful among us arguing that only they should be allowed to be the captains of American industry. Well, let's see how well that's worked out in Detroit, the natal home of Ford Motor Company, where the Progressive Left have captained one of the world's great cities for more than 50 years.
These are the same people who have been captains in Washington. They are The Swamp. Now, why are we trying to tear down the one person who was sent to Washington to "drain The Swamp"?
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<![CDATA[I'm back in the saddle again]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 01:27:18 GMThttp://jackdurish.com/jacks-blog/im-back-in-the-saddle-againWriting
Last year's contentious election and its aftermath as well as my growing involvement with organizations helping active duty military members, retired, and veterans distracted me from creative writing. Now I'm back with a new short story that I hope you'll enjoy.
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Click to read "Would you like some coffee with your sugar"
My immediate plans are to clean up my short stories and publish a book of my favorites, then resume writing my Korean War novel and other projects that have been waiting. Thank you for your patience
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