Published October 19, 2021 in DemCast and written by Alvina McHale.
In the fall of 1969, I started my first job as a caseworker on Capitol Hill. Over the next 7½ years, some days were terrible, like the ones when I worked to return home for funeral services the bodies of loved ones who had died in Vietnam. Other days were memorable; I once flew to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to see the launch of an Apollo mission to the moon. And then there was the day I stood with other staffers in the back of a Senate Watergate hearing and realized Richard Nixon would not likely survive as president. I was not afraid. I was confident the country would weather the storm. Read more.
Published October 13 in the Sun Gazette and written by Alvina McHale.
Fifty years ago, long before the poet Maya Angelou used these words, my mother said to me: When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. Those words were good advice to a young woman. They are good advice today for Virginians less than a month away from electing a new governor. Read more.
A poster child for the extremist and fascist Republican Party: “This Eddie Haskell of the Mar-a-lago and Bedminster pilgrimages is a key foot soldier in the attack on truth and the spread of disinformation that is tearing this country apart.”
Note: Eddie Haskell was a 50s TV character noted for creepy insincerity.
When the 25-year-old James Madison did not sign the Declaration of Independence, and when the rest of the Founding Fathers (never the Founding Mothers) that NC-11 Rep. Madison Cawthorn constantly evokes created the Constitution, the average life expectancy in the newly created U.S. was 38 years, give or take. So the minimum age of 25 for Congress, as per the 1787 Constitution, assumed an entirely different life experience than that of today. The equivalent age today, factoring the change in life span of 78 years, would be 51. Which is to say that Cawthorn needs another 26 years before he can approach anything resembling the maturity needed to be a Congressman. Or from another mathematical angle, a John or Abigail Adams would deem Cawthorn’s maturity level to be approximately that of an 11-year-old child.
Thank God I wasn’t a Congressman in my twenties. Not that I wanted to be…
For the past months, I have been going through all the letters I wrote to my wife from SEA.
16 June 1973: just when I was getting somewhat settled into my combat routine – we lost one. An F-4 took a direct hit while dive-bombing a Triple-A position (AAA – Anti-aircraft artillery weapons). The aircraft went in, no chutes, no survivors. This was a real wake-up. When you fly there is a trap that many fall into complacency. We had been warned about this repeatedly at RTU. Although Cambodia was not as dangerous as flying north, it still was dangerous.
Years later, I learned more of the details about this loss. In 2009, I read Colonel Phil “Hands” Handley’s excellent account of his flying career: Nickel on the Grass. Handley told about his long friendship with GIB Captain Jack Smallwood and how he was stunned to learn of his death…
“American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the earth,” Trump said. “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
America’s worst president uttered this attack on the majority of Americans who decry racism in America, support BLM, and oppose police brutality. Why would anyone running for reelection attack his constituents? To distract is one certain answer but another answer is that Donald Trump reeks of fear. Trump remains shuttered in a mental bunker terrified of the people who drove him into the physical bunker.
For his entire life, Trump was sheltered from the repercussions of his mistakes, large and small. Money and the illusion of power always worked to smooth things out. Not this time. The bully who is Trump met his match with the tens of thousands of outraged citizens who appeared outside his home and across the nation. We, the people, have had enough. This frightened Trump to his core. On June 1, he ordered the vicious attack on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square but only after Donald had an army to hide behind.
That attack and use of military force allowed many Americans to see the essential weakness that lie behind Trump’s bully facade. Senator Duckworth labeled Trump well when she called him Cadet Bone Spurs, a moniker now well used by our military. Trump’s bluster is only exceeded by his cowardice. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker Pelosi, countless mayors and other leaders recognized the reasons for the peoples’ rage and actually went out on the streets to meet and speak with them. Meanwhile, Donald Trump remained near his bunker hurling threats and invective while hiding behind his army.
In spite of a pandemic and in a desperate attempt to reclaim his momentum, Trump and his campaign decided to stage a massive Trump rally in Oklahoma, the very heartland of his base. Ever the salesman, Trump hyped his rally continually. In yet another massive failure, Trump’s much hyped hundreds of thousands of attendees never exceeded 7,000 people. Underneath all this action, abuse, and failure lie the never far away pandemic Trump tries to ignore.
The disastrously mishandled COVID-19 pandemic resulting in over 132,000 dead Americans with thousands more sure to follow all but shuttered the American economy. While other nations, addressed COVID-19 with varying degrees of success, Trump appeared unable to effectively act and opposed his scientists and healthcare advisors at nearly every turn while appealing for magical intervention. Other nations succeeded where the United States failed on a scale certain to be studied far into the future.
More Trump bluster:
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said. “They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive.”
With some exceptions, the protesters are peaceful and, as well documented by domestic and foreign press, Trump attacked the very peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square with federal forces. Yet, Trump calls them mobs and looters because he greatly fears them, for they are a majority and they are not “weak and soft and submissive”.
As shown in the introductory quotation, a desperate Trump seeks any cause and tells any lie in a desperate attempt to avoid responsibility. His regime has stifled achievement, discovery, and progress in America while plunging millions into deadly disease, poverty, and unprecedented food lines. As with most demagogues, the accusations Trump hurls at others reflect his own dark soul. He is the barbarian and he is inside the gates.
This appears to me to be headed towards an authoritarian act intent on waging war on the American people – a top/down coup orchestrated by a president bound and determined to have his way and remain in office no matter what he feels he needs to do to retain and extend his power beyond the next election. We don’t need martial law. We do need one who leads rather than dictates – who solves problems rather than trying force everyone else to be content to live lives of increasing desolation and quiet desperation. What will happen if his calls to violent action are allowed to escalate on a continually increasing.
Trump needs to learn in no uncertain terms that a president is not above the law and will not be permitted to shred the Constitution on a whim. We need a government of, by and for the PEOPLE, not Donald…
The first of the pandemic after action reports is in, along with a clear plan for the future. A long but important read:
“..Relying solely on the market and the private sector to take care of this is a recipe for failure, because in many cases, there will be no viable customer other than the government to fund both the development and the manufacturing process.”
The real situation is that the nation’s healthcare system was overwhelmed and government failed to act effectively and quickly. When healthcare providers cannot obtain even swabs and PPE, there is a massive societal failure. The private sector was never designed to serve this function.
This economy is shut down because the healthcare system failed and was not equipped to handle an upfront surge of patients. America’s enemies note this as well. Now, we have progressed to mass graves. We have no immunity yet. But when bodies start piling up and you are running out of basic supplies, action must be taken. The economy will not recover if customers are afraid to leave their homes and workers are too frightened or fragile to work effectively.
Two failures can be assumed from current results. Just in time management doesn’t work, when under a systemic assault. Stockpiles of vital, yet mundane, materials are costly and must be managed and maintained but they are essential. Along with stockpiles, we cannot hire necessary skilled talent only when we need them because they likely will not exist. For expertise is expensive and costs much to acquire. Investment in people and their needed educational skills is required.
The second failure is the country’s healthcare system itself. Uneven medical coverage and availability handicapped response and increased friction. When the after-action report is written years from now, it will be clear that the entities responsible for public health did not exist in anywhere near the needed numbers and strength. Turns out that public health is not just a safety net issue but a vital national security necessity.
When you fly in the military there is a path that you follow. All do it. You start as a student flier, earn your wings, become qualified in a certain aircraft, move on as a squadron member, and then if you are proficient, and do well, become an instructor for others.
From there you might become a member of the unit’s Stan Eval shop –or Standards Evaluation – which is the group that annually checks that fliers to make sure they are qualified and certifies their abilities in the air.
It also should be noted that flying in the military is not just strapping on a fighter and taking off. There are countless jobs that are done in addition to the primary duty of flying: Administration officer, schedulers, flight commanders, operations officers, supply officer, and the list goes on and on.
Recently I watched Band of Brothers. One episode centered on new men entering Easy Company as replacements after D Day. The men are welcomed with less than enthusiasm and are not sure what to make of it. And I thought as a combat air vet, that is just like I experienced when I joined the 13th TFS shortly after Linebacker II. I came to my new unit qualified to fly the backseat, but that didn’t me make accepted at first. The men who joined Easy Company had to prove themselves. We who came to fighter units did also. Qualified but not accepted summed it up.
Shortly after my arrival we had a squadron party to bid goodbye to the men leaving and welcome us. This “Sawadee” – hello or goodbye in Thai – party was a unit tradition. The squadron commander got up and said, “Let’s welcome the New Guys (AKA…