Jesus wept.

I saw a version of what you will see in the link on Facebook this morning. Crying and outrage don’t make good mornings. But that’s ok because people seem to have fifteen-minute memories and this is vitally important.

Our resident historians will have much to add, I suspect, and I look forward to their reactions to the article and pictures in the link. I watched the FB version four times. The first reaction was shock and horror. The second reaction was crying. The third reaction was outrage. The fourth reaction is this article I’m writing.

[There’s quite a bit more of this anti-Semitic death porn at the link above and below. Neo]

I tried really hard to keep an open mind about the tourist pictures, tried to find excuses – they’re young; they’re on vacation; this is the selfie generation to which I have no connection and no understanding; young people are thoughtless at this age. None of it worked. I can find no excuse that makes their selfies youthful exuberance or plain thoughtlessness. There is a distinct and pointed deliberateness about them that is unforgivable.

Again I have to refer to the documentary by Ken Burns, The War. The staff interviews with some of the men who were actually there, who actually helped to liberate the death camps, are indelibly printed on my brain and my heart. The documentary was filmed in 2006 if I remember correctly, and the men well deep in age, and even then, all those years after, their eyes and their faces register the horror of what they saw – the inconceivable brutality of true evil.

I am so grateful to the young Israeli, Shahak Shapira, (who lives in Germany) for creating the translation of what those ‘tourists’ were actually doing. If a picture speaks a thousand words, imagine what his images speak. Ignorance, disrespect, callousness, self before anything or anyone. I think he did a brilliant piece of work and should be commended.

Indeed. Jesus wept.

[Audre saw the TV series (as did I) but I also knew men who liberated Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. The first camp liberated by the US Army. They were armored infantrymen in the 4th Armored Division who came into France at Utah Beach on 11 July 1944 and became the spearhead of Patton’s 3d US Army. Amongst other things, they were the men who relieved Bastogne. They ended the war at Strakonice,  Czechoslovakia. They saw all the horror that the European Theater had to offer. When I knew them twenty years later, they tried to explain KZ Ordruf to me, knowing my interest in the military. All three of them failed, just sitting there at lunch with tears streaming down their faces, and the most haunted look I have ever seen. That’s what the very foolish kids are making light of here. I can think of nothing more despicable. Jesus indeed wept, and I thank God my friends and co-workers died without seeing this new horror. Neo]

Hyper Puissance, The American Way, and Donald Trump

United (States) Parcel Service.

United (States) Parcel Service. (Photo credit: matt.hintsa)

A quick change of plans here, I’ve an article cooking but didn’t start soon enough to get it sorted. Maybe tomorrow. This whose main theme goes back to 2011, explains a good bit about why Trump, as an entrepreneurial businessman, makes such an exceptional president. So enjoy, take the lesson, and vote for America, Vote Trump.


If you’ve been following along here, a few days ago, I posted on how Donald Trump was forcing American government (constitutionally, no less) to run at something like the speed of American business. That post is here.

But something was missing from that post, and it’s been bugging me, so I did a bit of digging in the archives the last few nights, and I found the article that spoke of it. It is one from the first month of NEO, and it was one that when Jess and I became friends she really liked, and asked me to rerun, and I think it deserves to run another time. Here it is.


Something I’ve been meaning to post about, given my interest in the military, freedom, and capitalism, is how they worked together to make the United States not only the most powerful nation in the history of the world but able to defeat the entire world, if necessary.

Pretty bold statement, isn’t it? Well, this isn’t going to be ironclad proof, but I think it is a given if America decided to.

Let’s start with a quote from Courtney Messerschmidt, Great Satan’s Girlfriend, herself:

Which may funnily enough hinge on a factor that is flat out tough to factor in:

Unbridled free inquiry.

“Courtney, free societies have, in general, a decided advantage when it comes to creativity and innovation, including in the military realm. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that”

All the cool kids know how Great Satan’s indispensable ally just to the east of Durand line sold access to that ditched sexed up chopper of Abottabad/Abottagood infamy. Theft of high tech and reverse engineering are the fortunes of unfree regimes and will directly impact the Diffusion of Military of Power.

Stuff that makes the West the BestWonderbra, BvB, individualism, scientific inquiry, rational critical thinking, democracy with it’s inherent capitalism, political freedom, dissidence and open free wheeling debate functions as kryptonite in Smallville in regards to autocrazies, despotries — and by extension — to their acquisition, development and deployment of military power.

Appears to be a dead link, Great Satan’s Girfriend is comatose but maybe you can find the article.

What she is saying here is that free inquiry and looking for the best solution (and being able to afford it) is what makes free armies so formidable.

The other thing is when fielded these same armies can react so fast that they may have 2 or three or even more decision cycles inside their opponents one.

Most of us, in business, don’t have a lot of use for an aircraft carrier, let alone a carrier battle group, that is why they are so expensive. There are less than 2 dozen in the world, ten of them American.

Each of the American ones is equal in power to most of the world’s air forces. They (some of them) are out there, all the time, 5-acre patches (plus their consorts) of the USA, representing all that we are. Freedom, Teamwork, Rock music, Movies, and all.

When the big steel battleships were coming into their own, it was a little different, the new developments were: Iron Ships, Steam Power, Radio Communications, Screw Propellers, and such. This was also the time when America was industrializing. An example of these early dreadnaughts is the USS Texas. These developments had very obvious commercial uses and therefore were much less expensive for navies to deploy.

So let’s go back to the infantry for a bit, it’s not nearly as sexy, even being the Queen of Battle, you tend to get all muddy. But what does the American military do so well? React. Small unit leadership is what we are all about. Spring and ambush on American forces and what do you get. If they are still doing it like they said they did when I was in college, this is what you get: Apaches and Warthogs, and Abrams and p****d off grunts (Oh, my) coming your way at a dead run all spitting fire, and if you are really unlucky even Spectre may show up to complete the ruin of your whole day. And that’s the first 30 seconds of your ambush, your day will probably still get worse. Try it at night and it will be worse.

OK, back to us civilians for a while, we compete, like our infantry, right down to the stubbornness to hold our positions. The other thing is, did you ever wonder why it is always the big companies running to Washington for help, while those of us in small business don’t? It really not the money, we could combine and find enough to at least rent some Congress-critters. It’s because, on anything remotely resembling a level playing field, we will outmaneuver the big companies so bad that we’ll run them all the way back home to mommy.

Why? Let’s think about it.

If I’m a supervisor at XYZ, Inc.that employs say 15,000 people (that would be a middle-sized company). I have probably something like 10 layers of management between me and the CEO, all of which have their bureaucracies to sustain, they aren’t all that interested in the company as a whole, they are interested in their little piece of it. So if I (a supervisor, remember) come up with a way to produce widgets at half the cost, how long is it going to take it to get out of the suggestion box and to a level where somebody says what a great idea. If XYZ is unionized, it’s going to be at least twice as bad. I don’t know either, but it will be a while, probably measured in years.

OK, now let’s say I’m a supervisor at Joe’s Widgets, LLC. where there are, say, 20 of us working. When Joe started the company he just copied what XYZ was doing and because his overhead was lower he made pretty good money. But now, I come up with the same idea and as before I sketch out how the process will work. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea, now what do I do? If Joe’s is like most companies this size when Joe comes to work, I ask him if he’s got a minute and he says yes. In some companies, this would be an after-work beer with the boss, but no matter. So, I go to Joe’s office and lay it out and he likes it, so later that day I’m talking to his support people and within a month it’s implemented. It will probably take a bit of tweaking, say another month and Joe’s cost has been cut in half. THAT is how small and/or informal businesses always win. That is also how Lockheed’s famed Skunk Works worked.

The other thing you notice is that its more fun to work in a small company where your effort is appreciated, as it usually is.

The real point here is whether we are talking about war or business, free inquiry, and minds that do not have to worry about being shot (or fired) for dissent are always able to run at high speed and outside the box. We’ve been doing this since at least when we decided the Redcoats needed to go home and it is what has fueled us all the way to where we are now.

The other thing that top-down management stifles is quality. If we remember the Soviet union designed really sexy widgets, their problem was that an 8th-grade shop class in America had better quality control. Courtney, again:

 

Cold War history continues the action for autocratic Commonwealth Russia. Long lol’d as more ‘evolutionary than revolutionary,” her defense industry is plagued with the horrible situation of being unable to redeem warranty claims by Pakistan, India, Iran and Algeria AND crank out new stuff at the same incredible instant. Since 1992, not a single state defense order has been fulfilled completely and on time.

If we allow ourselves to go over to the European model, we will need to set our sights to European levels in all areas including the lower productivity, higher unemployment, and the lack of what Courtney calls Hyper Puissance in both the military and commercial/cultural fields.

It amounts to a path to mediocrity, and I will never be ready for that.

Will you?


In talking with Jess after I reran this for her, I mentioned the aphorism that ended that other post, although in its more civilized form: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way”. She commented that she had never heard it, and was stealing it. That night she went to a social function with another friend of mine and used it when they were dithering over the choice of the wine. 🙂 She said it raised some eyebrows, and that our friend (who is quite senior) commented that she was keeping company with Americans, which raised them even further. Well, Britain is perhaps the next best at this, but it is basically an American trait. That pandering to Europeans is another reason the ‘elites’ got Trump (Brexit too, I think).

The Confederate Flag

That’s it. That’s my whole article.

What the article should be is your response to that flag. Good thing? Bad thing? No longer a thing? What does it mean to you? What shame should be attached to it? What glory should be attached to it? In the scope of issues at hand, where does it fit in? Where does it not belong? Is it a meaningless regional identifier or is it a pointed message?

You be the judge.

[Tell us what you think and why in comments. Neo]

 

The Voice of an Angel

Three years ago on Vera Lynn’s 100th Birthday and the release of her last album, I wrote this>

Yesterday we regretted the loss of Chuck Berry, whom so many of us loved and enjoyed. Today is a happier occasion for today is the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn, DBE, OStJ, CH, honorary citizen of Nashville Tennessee, holder of the British War medal, and the Burma Star. She is known worldwide as the British Forces Sweetheart. Quite a career for a girl from Wales.

And besides, all here know of my weakness for British, especially Welsh, redheads, so any excuse to feature one is welcome.

Her first recording was Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire, recorded on Crown Records in 1936.

 

Her greatest fame came during the Second World War when she became the Force’s Sweetheart with songs such as these

No doubt some purist will miss the point, saying that so many of those pictures were of American soldiers, and indeed they were. And yet, while Dame Vera was the British Forces Sweetheart, our musical tastes became so entwined together that we still haven’t sorted them out.

Many of you know that my normal music here is a couple of British stations that mostly broadcast music from the forties, and indeed that is my favorite popular music. So yes, I hear a good bit of Vera Lynn and other British singers and bands, but I hear an awful lot of the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Major Miller, and other Americans, too. Strikes me that we finally got to know each other and we found rather liked each other. It’s still true.

Yes, sometimes we despair of each other, but we’ve been there before, and we muddled through. I think and pray we shall again.

To me, this always brings back the British North African campaign culminating at El Alamein, with the Tommies and Germans romancing the same B-girls in Tobruk in their turn. I think it originally a German song, but hey, when haven’t Brits and Yanks stolen a good tune.

And this

This

For me, this song has to be accompanied by the sound of the Rolls Royce powered Spitfire, for it is the sound of those few that saved us all. Truly a

This is interesting

This is the only footage I’ve found of her during the war

 

Eventually, it was over

But she kept right on singing, this was the very first #1 on the American charts, in 1952, by a British artist.

Welcoming the troops home from the Falklands.

And still, she pressed on, Decca released a new album,  Vera Lynn 100, just three years ago. Here is the trailer

 

So, how do we end this glorious retrospective? There is only one possible way, in my mind.

And there will truly always be:

Even if sometimes we fear it will only be in our hearts. But I doubt that –

But maybe we best learn to teach our history better.

The band of The Coldstream Guards remember.

The b side of her smash hit Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart on both sides of the pond rather says it all, I think.

Till we all meet again, rest in peace, Dame Vera.

 

 

I Just Don’t Know

I’ve had to take a mental health break from the news. I realized something went ‘pear-shaped’ (as our cousins across the sea would say) for me when I forced an email discussion with our priest, a Ghanaian who is now a naturalized citizen. The conversation was systemic racism and unconscious bias. He supports Black Lives Matter and I don’t. In the end, I came to myself, so to speak, with the realization that I depend on him for spiritual things, not the latest news headlines and where he stands. He is perfectly well free to believe whatever he wants to, as long as what he preaches is Gospel. We are still friends and I still support his work in our church.

After that discussion is when I took my mental health vacation and focused on puppy videos and curiously talented bird videos and artistic cake decorating videos. The ringing in my ears had stopped, my breathing became much more regular and something silly I watched made me laugh.

Which brings us to today. I’m only reading video titles, not delving into everyone’s thoughts on what is happening. But then I found out about Seattle. Well, here we go again. My nephew and his partner of twenty+ years, born and raised Seattleans, moved to New Mexico about a year and a half ago. I think they saw the writing on the wall.

So. Seattle. Here is my very serious question to the historians and politicos that people the readership of Nebraska Energy Observer: Would it be a good or a bad thing for President Trump to send in troops to Seattle to restore order? And what do you think that might look like – how should they restore order?

I have to ask you because I simply don’t know.

Hypocrisy, Valor, and Prayer

Well, something new today and something that pleases me greatly. We are featuring a post by a guest author, whose nom de internet is 39 Pontiac Dream. He’s a friend of both Audre and me and lives in north Norfolk, England. It’s something I’ve wanted ever since Jess left, I find the English view of events here informative, and like so many of us, I care about what is happening to the cousins. So, Here’s Pontiac

The Hair Raising Hypocrisy of the Media

Take this title with a pinch of salt. It’s nothing more thanconjecture on my part, in relation to hat some might see as quite superfluous. In the UK, though, this superfluous musingcould potentially mean something quite different.

As Tina (my better other half as Neo and Audre will tell you) and I were watching the news ecently, Tina turned to me and asked, “who is doing their hair and makeup?” A relatively straight forward question with a simple answer in normal times however, here in good old Blighty, the hair and beautysector are being told that they will be some of the last businesses to reopen, considering the close and personal contact with their clients. If, however, those in the media are still using them, then they are disobeying the lockdown measures they propagate every day. Tina informs me (I’m a bloke – how the hell would I know?!) that hair and makeup, in relation to television, is a tricky business. The makeup, for one, and considering the cameras, the lighting, the heat in the studio has to be applied to ensure the presenters look completely natural. Apparently, that takes years of training and is not something a presenter would know how to do. With regards hair, not one of our news presenters or reporters look any different, presentation wise, to how they did before the lockdown. Some on the BBC insist they’ve been doing it themselves but I seriously doubt that. If they are, indeed, cutting their own hair, then inevitably there’d be someone who has made a mistake; cut one side higher than the other; cut a chunk out of the back of their hair leaving a bald spot. Inadvertently cut their fringe too short. There are no tell tale mishaps to back up their claims that they are doing it themselves which makes me suspect that they are not doing it themselves, as they say. They should, to all intents and purposes, all look as dishevelled as Boris Johnson does on one of his morning runs but they don’t so I ask again – who is styling these presenters?

If they’re not breaking the rules and are doing it themselves then you have to ask whether the stylists the BBC (and other channels) usually employ are now surplus to requirements
because I see no difference in how they look now to how they looked before.

I have no idea whether this sector, in the States, is suffering in the same way as it is here in Britain but I’m surprised no one has even thought to ask.

As I told Pontiac, likely they are employees of the network and considered essential, because TV makeup is pretty specialized. It can also be important. Back in 1960, the presidential candidates had a debate, Nixon refused makeup and Kennedy did not. By the transcript, it was nearly a draw, but Nixon won on the radio (more important then than now, of course) but Kennedy won on TV. Something to think about. But it is pretty hypocritical.

So say “Hi” to Pontiac in comments and let us know what you think, as well.


Today is an anniversary as well, of course, as most here will remember. Today 76 years ago, it must have felt pretty lonely in Southern England, as some million soldiers mounted the invasion of the continent that would result in VE day in about 10 months.

On April 2d of that year, A.P. Herbert published a poem that we should remember more than we do.

Boadicea from the Bridge looked down,
And saw the Yankee tanks invade the town.
Boadicea held her head more high
To hail the Sherman and the proud G.I.
‘Eyes right!’ she said. ‘Fine fellows though you are,
You’re not the first to drive an armoured car.
Halt, soldiers, halt! For here is one can tell
A tale of fighting chariots as well.
Look up, brave girls. In a.d. 61
I led the lads, and saw the Roman run.
God speed you too against an alien mob:
God bless you all for joining in the job.
By Grant! By Sherman!’ said the queen of queens.
I wish I’d had such men, and such machines.’

They passed. And Parliament, across the way,
Discussed the principle of equal pay.

I can remember waking up every Saturday to watch TV at 6:30 in the morning, no, not cartoons, a show called The Big Picture made by the Signal Corps. It showed various things the army was up to and was pretty interesting. This is one episode.

 

The Longest Day indeed, for here the future of Europe was decided for a generation by the Anglo Saxon powers. They went in with our prayers behind them, of course. In the United States led by the President.

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