Many Americans perceive President Trump as the Devil himself, incarnate. They call for his impeachment. I’m told that a petition begging that end collected more than a million signatures in less than a week. Well, collect away. I don’t care how many sign. A hundred million. Two hundred million. We don’t decide who will be impeached and who won’t, not even We the People. The law decides and it's clear.
“SECTION 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
-- The United States Constitution
I have often joked about falling off the Earth. During my almost six years in the military service, it seemed that I had. I am a native of Baltimore and the Civil Rights Riots occurred and the Orioles won their first World Series championship while I was attending Infantry School and then serving in Vietnam. Laugh In and Star Trek appeared on TV while I was stationed in Hawaii where broadcasts were aired by tape delay a week later, but no one was watching. Thus, I was disconnected, oblivious to the popular culture of the time. Literally, it was as though I had fallen off the Earth.
Now, I have a new excuse and a new joke. I suffer from Transient Global Amnesia (TGA). The operative word is “Transient”. It passes. It’s temporary and I have no memory of anything that occurs during an episode. The brain loses the capacity to form short term memories. My wife tells me that I keep repeating the same thing, “Something’s wrong”, but I don’t know what. And, if she asks me about anything happening during a TGA episode, I can’t answer correctly. When it’s over, I announce that I was abducted by aliens. That’s my new joke.
Do you have hope for the future of America? Or have all the stories of doom and gloom gotten you down? Well, one week gave me a boost of confidence in our nation and our children, its future. You may have already seen two of them but missed the real story behind the scenes. The third is a very personal experience, one in which I escorted three WWII Veterans to a high school to meet the students who wanted to pay their respects and learn their history. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did
Our odyssey began with the latest screw up by our cable company. On December 6 I notified them by telephone that we were moving on December 15 and would require them to transfer our service on that date. When I attempted my next call, the phone was dead. Using my cell phone, I was able to contact the cable company to find out what had happened. They informed me that they had responded to my service request to disconnect my service.
When I asked them to restore it I was informed that they couldn’t. They were in the process of switching from analog to digital phone service.
Well, they’d try.
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.
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...
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.
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?”
NOTE: For those unfamiliar with the annotation “[sic]” means that the preceding text was copied meticulously including any errors.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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