Category Archives: Places

Our National Obsession

We like our nation … We love our nation … We stand for our nation … and we die for our nation. That’s not enough … We think many others around the globe should die for it too, or at least for what we believe is for our nation’s standards.

Think that’s too harsh? Well the facts seem to support it.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday confirmed that the Trump administration is making contingency plans for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, but he refused to say whether the administration would seek congressional authorization first.”

White House acknowledges the U.S. is at war in seven countries

Roman Eagle

Eagle with stretched wings symbolizing the authority of the Roman empire

So, how many different places do we have active military operations? I’m not referring to how many bases, but how many places are we actively fighting? If you thought, well over 100, you would be right.

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[ Click on the map for better detail ]

Standard boot camp picture in dress blues

Me 1971

I’m a Vietnam era veteran, having served six years in the Marine Corps. That’s not an implication of authority or exceptional patriotism, merely a point of reference to the more casual reader who might make assumptions.

What I’ve learned in hindsight is the relative ease with which leadership assumes the right and objective of placing young men and women into harm’s way. Many times that’s under false pretense. These events leading up to, and stirring the initial support of the public, can be historic and accurate, or they can be created under the skillful machinations of “spycraft” or “false flag”.

notefalse flag is a covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.

The Vietnam escalation under President Lyndon Johnson was prompted by a false flag operation. The provocation and justification for the rapid ramp up of our military was based on the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident.

The original incident, sometimes referred to as the U.S.S. Maddox Incident, involved the destroyer U.S.S. Maddox supposedly engaged by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats as part of an intelligence patrol. The Maddox fired almost 300 shells.

President Lyndon B. Johnson promptly drafted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This became the legal justification for military involvement in Vietnam. The event(s) were contrived and President Johnson was aware of it.

The NSA’s historian, Robert J. Hanyok, wrote a report stating that the agency had deliberately distorted intelligence reports in 1964.

The Iraq War or Gulf War Round II.
Under President George W. Bush, guided by his Vice-President Richard Cheney, the Iraq incursion and subsequent war which lasted longer than Vietnam, was based on a report of Iraq possessing “weapons of mass destruction”. Code words for, Saddam has a bomb … and if we don’t act soon, he’s going to launch a nuclear bomb at us. That too was a false narrative.

from the Marine Corps art collection

We’ve been practicing invasion of the Middle East since at least 1973

This was an effective justification for launching an invasion against Iraq. We were going in to prevent another 9/11. The events of 9/11 have not only scarred but scared America into doing things against their own citizens, let alone the world. We’ve had global and national surveillance ever since Homeland Security was created.

Colin Powell, acting as Secretary of State, went to the U.N. to drum up International support for active military initiatives leading us and several other nations, into another Gulf War. Colin Powell went on to learn that he was given inadequate, and misleading intelligence, and he deeply regrets his promotion of it.

[ The following quote comes from Info Wars. Not my favorite source for information but helps identify the false flag initiatives ]
In his lecture at Contact in the Desert, Richard Dolan noted that a distinguishing characteristic of a false flag operation is that the official narrative IS NOT questioned by the media. There are often legislative, ideological and sociopolitical power plays waiting in the wings, which the government can immediately implement.”

“The most striking example of this is the Patriot Act, which was written well before 9/11 but seemed to correlate entirely with the events that had transpired.

An excellent background understanding as to the depths we will sink in order to promulgate a huge international lie, is the Valerie Plame Affair.

Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the vice president’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, got caught leaking the name of clandestine CIA agent Valerie Plame, an act of retaliation spurred by Plame’s ex-diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, and his undermining the White House’s claims about Iraq with more accurate testimony of his own — the “Deep State” conspiracy of the mid-2000s. There was a special counsel and an indictment, albeit not for the underlying crime but for lying to investigators, and while everyone pretty much knew something like this wouldn’t have happened without at least a wink from up top, no one above Libby ever faced a trial.” – [ Counterpunch – Lessons for Progressives from Bob Mueller — and the Valerie Plame Affair – April 2019]

Our military, our clandestine CIA, and various 3rd party military contractors have sought out and participated in active military combat operations, assassinations. We’ve come to accept that, and it’s telling the world, not in a good way, how we conduct ourselves in a global neighbor way.

Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War with Iran?

Because of the human and financial cost of a military intervention, domestic political support can erode if success doesn’t come quickly and smoothly. Television, the internet, and social media have greatly increased citizens’ access to information about the nature and progress of wars. A lengthy humanitarian intervention is harder to justify domestically than one based on national interest. It helps to spread the personnel and financial burden across a coalition of countries.”  [ lanekenworthy.net – US military intervention abroad ]

Overall we’ve become a nation of war, or at least on a war footing since the 18th century with increasing tempo in the 21st century. It’s one of our largest exports. We have an entire economy based on the creation of weapons, the maintenance of them, and “Global Security”. If we saw any other nation act as aggressively as we do, we would probably be at war with them too; and in that case, we might be singularly justified.
________ Oahu 1975 ___________
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Business Comes & Goes, So Does a Culture

There were days when we would go downtown to shop. It wasn’t like going to the grocery or hardware store. No, this was something special, and we would dress for the occasion.  Mother would take her dress gloves out of the drawer, and along with her dress and high heels, she would take out a hat from a box. I would wear dress slacks, shiny shoes, and a sport coat. There were times when I too would wear a hat.

We rode the bus from uptown to downtown, and we weren’t all that out of place in the way we dressed. Most of the other people riding would be dressed in what we might now refer to as business casual.

Minneapolis_downtown_Powers_dept_store_1950sUpon arriving downtown, we might walk down the street and look in various store windows to see what was on display. Most of them of course were pitching their current sales, but there was competition among the variety of retailers as to who might have the most attractive window display.

Minneapolis_Emporium_diner_1950s

Emporium tea room 1940-50s Minneapolis

Eventually we would enter a store, either through double doors which we would pull open, or by entering a revolving door which you or someone else would push to rotate your part of the large glass triangle, until you could enter the store. What awaited your eyes were a couple of things. Usually a store greeter, but not the disinterested couch potatoes who might greet you at Walmart. No, these would be smartly dressed people that knew how to smile. The other thing immediately noticed were the row upon row, of neatly arranged aisles with well placed merchandise on shelves, in displays, or on mannequins. As you made your way to the center of the store, there would be several elevators. Each elevator had a person inside the elevator who would open up the doors, or gate and doors for you to enter. They would then close the doors after everyone that could or wanted to get on. You then would tell them your floor, and they would make the selection for you. Each of these ‘operators’, wore some type of uniform, some with hats, most also wore gloves.

Sears_Tower_1988_1All that changed quickly as the suburbs began to erect large enclosed shopping malls. There were of course what we call strip malls. Stores that shared a large common parking lot and each retailer store were aligned side by side. That didn’t nearly have the impact of the enclosed shopping mall. Once they were constructed, many of the downtown stores simple opened their store in the new mall. This took a big toll on downtown retailers. They typically paid higher rates for taxes, most didn’t have convenient parking. They relied on nearby parking decks and lots, or those like us, who took city transportation. The downtown retailers didn’t maintain their greeters, elevator operators. Even their display windows became less interesting, a far simpler asthetic became the norm.

Those times seem strange to people unfamiliar with that era. Most downtowns have morphed into high rise condominiums, or permanent apartments. Either that or they were torn down as if part of a failed social experiment.

All that has changed again. Many shopping malls are skeletons of what they once were. Some malls have closed entirely. All this due to the evolution brought on by the Internet. The Amazon shopping model has become the new norm. First it was mail order. The big retailers like Sears, JC Penny adapted well. Then the Internet became a ready made 24/7 sales facility. Display windows are now the Internet tabs to click and expand. People still shop, the delivery times are quick and you might not even get out of your night clothes. Social interaction is minimized.

New_York_Lord_Taylor_store_closing

Oldest department store company in the US is disappearing entirely from Fifth Avenue after 104 years

The New York Post just came out with a lament on how much the retail store front is disappearing, and how it’s changing the character of the city.

Chicago_Sears_stores_closing_1

Sears closed last store in Chicago Illinois

The Chicago Tribune opines over the loss of the last Chicago Sears store. The once mighty retail giant, headquartered in Chicago is gone. There building tower still stands, but was sold off years before.

It’s fundamentally changing business, but furthermore, it’s removing us from personal interaction and social restraint. If social media is the replacement for the way friends might meet at the mall, or take day trips downtown, it’s a poor substitute.

Along with the loss of social skills comes another challenge, the need for fewer people. Just like the elevator operators, greeters and floor persons, all will disappear when picking and delivery become fully automated.

Retail has indeed changed, and so too has the culture.

Another Life Lesson to Be Learned

I recently finished reading a book which I found profound and insightful, “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz.The Four Agreements
Of course there are innumerable books on human understanding, self-help and boisterous guides and DVD’s on becoming a better you. I’ve read several and there are good and wise words in many, however I find myself continually seeking practical solutions for everyday living which I either don’t get from these texts or unable to apply in my life.

Then along comes this book, which I must admit, the 4 topics of focus are things I’ve heard one way or another before. Perhaps this time, I get it because of the way he explains. Here are the topics he writes on and then explains in examples.

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

These all seem simple enough until you try to apply them. I’m going to use this as a structure to examine a current event of which some people are familiar. For others not aware of Jeremy Clarkson as a presenter for the BBC program “Top Gear“, or are unaware of the use of political correctness in society, I suggest you skip the rest of my post and click on this link for an explanation of The Four Agreements.


Being offended is practically a national past time for a lot of people. I routinely read or hear how this person is a racist or homophobic because of what they said. It’s usually a charge pronounced against someone who has notoriety or to dismiss someone’s point of view that another disagrees. Of course it’s a special dividend when this verbal offense can be litigated for significant sums of money as in the case for Clarkson and the BBC.

Top Gear BBC presentersAfter all the years of being a presenter, Clarkson and his form of humor should be well understood by his employers and the public at large who view or listen to his public diatribes.

Clarkson may have grown out of short pants, but he still speaks as though a school boy, thinking everything he says is clever even if it sounds stupid. This is part of what attracts viewing audience to the Top Gear automotive review program as part of his normal prevarication. I can only imagine how far he may stray with his unfiltered mouth after intoxication.

Is Clarkson clever? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. He throws out lines of thought without considering who might be sensitive receptors. You can witness repeated topics or names are used because he has special disdain for anyone connected with said topic.

Here’s why he’s still around.
✔ – He’s a big lout that does have a sense of humor.
✔ – He’s not boring, clever enough to attract a large audience.
✔ – He’s a train wreck in motion and people seem to be attracted to this as much as their tabloid news.

The thing that prompts his lack of sensitivity is the reaction he gets when he pokes fun at people or their beliefs. Mel Brooks produced a movie called, “Blazing Saddles“, which probably couldn’t be made now, but expressly used almost every pejorative he knew to illustrate the stupidity of racism, bigotry and hatred for others. The society around Clarkson has changed into complainers who have managed to use the law and courts to censor people like him. It’s as if they can create a magical world of everyone holding hands and singing “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing . . “, while ignoring very serious societal problems of far greater magnitude.

I understand people want everyone to be treated fairly, but the truth is, people think whatever they want in spite of someone else and if we want to mature as a society we need to expect people will say things without our consideration. Perhaps its time we get on with our business and stop worrying what the Clarkson’s of the world say or think, because in the end it shouldn’t matter.

Miguel Ruiz states it better; There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”

Example of his non-sensitive nature humor:
Jeremy Clarkson Twitter @JeremyClarkson
I’m not a racist. I am currently sitting in a bar with a man who lives quite near Wales.