Category Archives: Asia

President Trump Sounds the Dawn Reveille

Donald John Trump has been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The Ceremony and the preliminary ceremonies as of this posting were it seemed to me decorous and worthwhile. His speech set a clear tone and although almost seventy Congressional Democrats were not in attendance the crowd seemed sizable enough given the gloomy weather and other factors.  We have a forty-fifth President. If somehow I were a slightly different version of myself living in a slightly different version of America, his speech would promise a time of opportunity for me personally as America sought to deal with China, Mexico and outer space in challenging new ways. Those are three places that have long been very important to me. But I will leave that as my personal note for now. I do not see President Trump as asking for my help or any real chance to be effective emerging here for me. This is a brief post centered on his speech. I think his speech is neither without merit nor without promise. But parts of it do concern me as well.

The new President Trump spoke succinctly enough greeting those present with propriety:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

 

His acknowledgement of all that is involved in legitimacy and continuity was in contrast to the way that many have received his own ascent to power. I thought that was to his credit. He did strike a populist tone and make clear that the American Forgotten Man, already credited with his electoral victory was at the center of his launching of the new product line that is the Trump administration.   He addressed the people in a kind of idictment of the dignitaries he had just greeted moments before, saying:

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

Whether Trump can continue to connect with important millions across this vast land remains to be seen but he seemed sincere enough in the attempt.

 

 

As President Trump reminded us all our woes and sense of alienation he seemed confident he could make a difference in our experience of life in this country. He laid that out as well:

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans do want someone to listen and Trump surely is chief among those they hope will hear them. The reaction over recent weeks has included the Congressional Boycott, The Arly Protests and the protests outside the electoral college voting. But it has included a wide variety of responses across the political spectrum. Those include, The Hill and many other outlets in the media who have reported that President Donald Trump came into today’s ceremonies with very low approval ratings for a new President of the United States. I will be looking to see how his ratings fare after today’s ceremonies. But merely saying there is discord has not been the totality of the conversation so far.

A lot of clever people from across the country have been weighing in on the Inauguration Day festivities for quite some time and most of all on the man and the office that together make up 45th POTUS, Donald John Trump. One article from South Carolina  reminded readers in advance that there was indeed a good bit at stake in this election.  As the nation prepares to mark a new course and follow it on immigration some have pointed to Melania Trump’s own journey to citizenship. While Trump did secure a sizable minority of votes among American Jews by his staunch support for Israel there have been actions in the Liberal majority of American Jewry that have been reported in the press and online of those lamenting his election. Trump did not emphasize abortion, Israel, or Obamacare in his speech. He focused on certain key parts of his platform. Note the issues mentioned:

 

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

Trump was concerned about secure borders, trade, crime and economic development.  Those were the first themes he hit upon. While he did not malign China or Mexico they were clearly the most threatened by him as in all past speeches about the overall geopolitcal situation. He promised a new era, of Trumpist protectionism and fine infrastructure:

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

Beyond that he was hawkish only toward radical Islamic terrorism. He was able to use the term and able to promise to unite the world against these foes. See the next phrases:

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Next,He laid out the vision of a technologically progressive and economically powerful America that would lead the world to the future. See the rest:

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We will make America strong again.
We will make wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

 

 

So Obama is gone and our civilization appears to be going on. The worst of the fears projected in this space have not been realized. The future is of course uncertain. The truth of the transition and all that will come of it is about to emerge more clearly.

Crimea and the Moment

I certainly think many people are doing the right thing to act early in trying to define the limits of Russian authority over Ukraine as being something that cannot be total. Little is ever gained by mere capitulation or hoping problems will go away.  Many commentators  make some good points about the Syrian crisis and by analogy and inference about other places in the world where Russia can play a role different than almost any other country. I commented on a post by prominent Labor party figure Clive Lord Soley as regards some of those comments he shaped and passed on in The Lords of the Blog. Russia is a striking alternative to the West both because of its view of itself as an alternative to Europe and the USA and also as a society which nonetheless has a history of Christianity, a large white population, huge shared literary and artistic conventions  with the West. There are also not only ties to nearby regimes but the recent memory of leading world Communism with only China coming anywhere close to being a competitor.

I am inclined to want very much to help Western Ukraine to a secure future and see their sense of the need to act. But I would not try to dislodge Russia from the Crimea. I am perhaps more of this view than many in Europe given the relatively recent past Britain joined the Turks in fighting the Crimean War against Russia as I recall. That surely shapes one’s point of view. The Germans followed a man committed to building a new order on a destroyed Russian state more recently still. Hitler mapped that out in Mein Kampf. Whether Napoleon, Hitler or the Turks Crimea is a key to beating down Russia. The time may come when I will wish we had beaten down Russia starting with the Crimea but that is not how I feel just now. Russia plays a key role in geopolitics. No ready substitutes are available and Russia is one of several great super societies.

If the US enter armed conflict with Russia I will mostly try to support my country and remember Russia’s many iniquities while behind the scenes perhaps expressing some other points of view. However, I do not think seizing the Crimea is the right reason to be drawn into conflict with Russia I do not even think it seems all that assertive to everyone. Most people feel the need to defend Ukrainian self determination, in some way — I do as well, and perhaps more than most. Many informed people feel the need to try to support the cultural rights and decent aspirations of Western Ukrainians in the next generation– I do probably pass the average person in desire to do that as well. But if Russia really and truly has no right to hold the Crimea in a friendly position then the world is unrecognizably bizarre.

I am aware that much of human history and current geopolitics seems different from different points of view. But to say Russia must commit suicide is to declare the end of this era in a very real way. In my personal life I have not hidden in the shadows but I do believe there is so much that needs resolving and doing besides war. This blog of mine is full of other priorities which I support and uphold. My life is full of distractions. I suffer from threats to life in my own health and have a friend in the hospital with a cerebral hemorrhage and the grandfather of two of my nieces and one nephew has just died of heart disease today.  My own schedule and the tourist economy of the region are  disrupted by unseasonable ice storms.

Bleak in Acadiana

Bleak in Acadiana

 

trees wrapped in ice in the afternoon in March near Acadiana's coast

trees wrapped in ice in the afternoon in March near Acadiana’s coast

I want to support those who would broker a better deal for Western Ukraine above all. However I also have a full set of distractions to keep me from Russia’s periphery. That is the nature of spheres of influence.

Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht

Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht

The world has many problems and Crimea is more important to Russia than it is to anyone else except possibly Ukraine. Really losing Crimea mean Russia must fight a major war sooner than later. We may squeeze them out peacefully and humiliate them and in the end it may lead to a post Russian civilization but somewhere before they check out they will fight a big war. A Russian dominated Crimea is essential to peace. I do not believe in peace at any cost. I do not think Russia and the US are pals. I do not believe I am a coward. But Russia has to control or be the largest and accepted foreign influence in Crimea for their to be peace, of that there is no doubt in my mind. So as I sit here trying to manage many other concerns and even to survive myself in the less than perfect health I enjoy I hope for peace in the Crimea.

Of course I live in intolerable situations and perhaps Russia can as well. But it would be intolerable for them to lose Crimea. What will they do if they concede this loss?

It is Mardi Gras. Tomorrow Lent begins and today is the day to celebrate the end of Carnival season

We have no way of knowing whether or not when asked about Russian troops in Ukraine Putin told Western diplomats “Crimea river”, Cry me a river” or none of the above. The Germans took the Crimea from Russia, so did the joint forces of the British, Turkish and French. Could the US do so? Certainly it is possible. with the support of the European Union and others but there is no doubt that those campaigns were fought over a very long time and at a high level of intensity. It is also arguable whether other powers had really achieved a peaceful status in which Russia was not in the end the dominant world power in the Crimea. I hope there will be a good resolution here.

Real Politics, the Politics of Reality and Me

It is an interesting time for politics for those who have time and energy to keep up their interest in politics. This may include me sometimes more than others. What could be more compelling than watching the news and expatiating on is implications? Well quite a few things in point of fact. For me just now my father’s cancer has me well distracted from the problems with Obamacare, same sex marriage, the Afghanistan situation, the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the ongoing BP leak situation, the nightmare of water management in the country, the escalating tensions with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), the North Korean missile tests, the downsizing of the U. S. Army and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues.

My father has received results of a biopsy from an area where he had a previous cancer that there is cancer, that cancer has recurred or that it is present. I am sure Mom will post some news eventually. This afternoon he will meet with an oncologist and Mom will be with him.My father has had at least two full-fledged cancer surgeries and some treatments for each. My grandfather Chief Justice Frank W. Summers, his father died of cancer as did one of his two brothers and the other might well have done so had he not succumbed to other maladies of the same organs in which some have said cancer was starting. Many of our relatives and some of his siblings have had cancer.

My father has been blessed in the years since his first cancer to see his mission company and legacy grow and he is still deeply devoted to following the progress of both. He and my mother have celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. His mother was born in a hospital and he was close to his grandfather who was a physician. I have often heard him express gratitude for the medical and allied treatments and care he has received. For him there is no doubt that his work and family life have been extended by the efforts of his professional care community.

I hope that all will remember him in thoughts and prayers and if you see him or my mother will offer such sympathy and encouragement as you can find to offer. I went with my father to New Orleans several times when he was first sick with prostate cancer and since then my direct involvement has diminished over time. My father has also recently been diagnosed with a different health condition which may complicate all of this. He and Mom may choose to disclose more about all this at different times but those who know me know of his health struggles to some degree and it would not be right for me not mention it and pretend this is in any way my life. Nor is it a secret that he has struggled for a good number of years in the cancer arena with remissions etc. I am attaching a post I put on my blog when he went for the biopsy. The picture doesn’t frame well on FB but is better at the other site.

https://franksummers3ba.com/2014/02/21/the-future-of-this-blog/

But although I am not holding a placard nor able to do what I might think fitting the problems with Obamacare but I am aware of the crises people are experiencing. All of the social, constitutional and political issues raised by  same sex marriage and the trigger happy federal courts in this country  are on my mind  — at leas most of the issues are on my mind. I am well aware of all the many blows to morale which are accumulating so that the next 9/11 attack would have vastly more impact on the USA. I am aware of all the obstacles to readiness and  recruiting in a crisis which are accumulating. It is in that context that I view the sense of surrender that can frame the evolving  Afghanistan situation. I am deeply aware of the dangerously the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the fact that minimum wage and Obamacare and social policy and migration patterns all feed this crisis. I am well aware of ten different trends I regard as potential threats revealed by or evident in the evolution of the ongoing BP leak situation.  The BP mess has me also more aware of the nightmare of water management in the country with issues form Eastern flooding to Western droughts, industrial abuses and the horror of the Bayou Corne/ Assumption Parish Sink Hole and Texas Brine.

http://www.assumptionla.com/bayoucorne

I am well aware of the world we live in every day of our lives. I am aware of the North Korean missile tests,and the vast resources connected to that small part of the force they represent. It is a serious concern not in itself but as a symbol rallying many other forces. It concerns me.  So does the sense of strain I detect in many of our institutions and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Sure there are always bad times but they are also always threatening. Once must overcome them to survive.

But all of these real political concerns are not the most important factors we face. I hope to devote a whole post soon to the escalating tensions of the USA with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), .It is a reality that we can really mess this up. It is not a joke. There are in fact ten wrong answers for every passable one. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. Nor is all speculation created equal. My solutions seem radical to many but they are moderate in my view. We must chart a sound course and do so very soon or there will be bad and serious consequences.  In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues. But America has the resources to handle its crises — but not the luxury of a huge margin for error.

Again there will be more later. . . I hope.

Worrying About American Safety at the Olympics

I am concerned this morning about the safety of American athletes in Russia. The Olympics is a great symbolic gathering for sport and international dialog. I feel that there is risk of it becoming a venue for assault on Americans at the last part of these games. It seems the games are poorly attended despite great expense by Russia in providing them. There are two reasons fro this which Russians are likely to be aware of in every hour. One is Islamic terrorism and militancy and the other is the US led denunciation of their domestic policies about sex.

Today is a special day for symbols of a happy kind. Happy Valentine’s Day! I cheer and salute the love, romance, betrothals, special friendships and marriage in the world. I want that to stand alone and so I have made it my thought in a status update below. However, It is also the case that on this Valentine’s Day besides sexy gifts, flowers and for a few the memory of a Bishop and martyr who helped poor girls find dowries to be able to marry — the world is spinning around. We have our customs related to these things and we have a lot of problems of our own with sex in America. Right now there is a lawsuit in my hometown by a student expelled for sexual misconduct. He is suing the school and alleging racial discrimination and the whole thing is a microcosm of all the the tensions and many of the absurdities of our society. Even I can find fault with myself here as I once wrote along list of complaints about schools in which I listed condoms at schools as one sign of too loose of a view of sex for adolescents. I never have opposed kids receiving information about condoms nor having access to them but simply putting them out like a kind of textbook when kids ought to be encouraged to wait. But in the absurdity of our society (others are absurd in other ways) it is easy to say the young man who impregnated two girls (allegedly) should never have been allowed anywhere without condoms. He should also have been expelled from the school earlier but that does not deal with the school’s faults in all of this. The truth is thousands of American instances of sexual dysfunction occur every day. In the Olympic charter and elsewhere it is pretty clear that this is not the venue for attacking the domestic policy of host countries.

So the question emerges whether some part of the security framework in Russia will allow Islamists to penetrate the ring of steel to kill Americans? I think it is not impossible. I think Obama has not made American security and success here his top priority. The next question is what is the threat?

The threat is that in Pakistan we see sophisticated drilling with large numbers of suicide bombers with fake ID cards and models for planning, In Afghanistan experienced fighters have been released from prison, in Iraq masses of suicide bombers are being trained in a way which strains their trainers capacities. That is all the current applicable risk. The conditions are that Islamic secessionist forces in Dagestan and Chechnya are eager to provide a conduit of support and avenue of attack for Islamist assailants against the Olympics. The overall climate is that European and Russian intelligence are more resentful and less eager to cooperate with America than usual. I am not sure President Obama is on our side and does not want to provoke an incident with Russia but whatever he wants this may still happen in a really horrible way. I will breathe easier after the closing ceremonies end peacefully than I ever have for any other Olympics. This is not a small risk.

Remembering Usama bin Laden

From Facebook
“Remembering Osama bin Laden
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 7:12am
Your note has been created.
Osama bin Laden has been killed by a group of American Navy Seals and others who perhaps will not have their names revealed because of the widespread and fairly random nature of the violence in this global war. He was killed in a modest palace in Pakistan in a military area. Clearly he was living as an honored Sheikh and secret warrior and he was killed as he should have been killed by our own black ops elite. He was killed as he should have been killed by forces that came into the country without the full protection of convention and law and did their duty. He was killed as he should have been killed with some civilian deaths of those near and dear to him. He was man who whatever he wished to be was an outlaw and and an unconventional warrior.

I watched a wide range of news sources yesterday and noticed that MSNBC especially kept saying that he had been killed after an almost ten year manhunt. That is part of the great American tradition of lying about Osama bin Laden. Osama was being hunted aggrssively by this country before 9/11. He was retailiating after we had flagged him for destruction. H e deserved to be flagged for destruction we simply failed as a nation to anticipate what he could do on his side of the war.

I remember, less clearly than I might once have remebered watching our country plan operations against the Saudi millionaire. At the time Bin Laden was supporting and financing militants in the Middle East and Africa.There is no doubt that as early as 1998 there was a team of American intelligence experts working full time on bin Laden and no doubt that as early as 1996 there were people giving him considerable attention here in these United States. But our relationship with bin Laden is much older than that he was our ally in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union portrayed in the movie Charlie Wilsons’s war. Osama or Usama fought with distinction in that conflict and all of us who cheered for the Mujahideen were cheering for him among other people. Life is complicated. I cannot really see that the US could have gotten happy about the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. I cannot really see that we ever could have lived in peace with Usama bin Laden. I am grateful the Seal Team Six or whoever it was killed the man and I am glad to have him out of contention to the degree that he is out.

President Willam Jefferson Clinton had been victorious in his heroic invasions of the women and children at Waco and Ruby Ridge was able to marshal enough forces to pressure bin Laden and he was forcred to recreate himself in the Afghan context which joined the Taliban and al Qaeda. In 1997’s later months- he had moved his base completely from Sudan to Afghanistan, and began a worldwide anti-American campaign. His cries for Muslims to organize against us were more effective than our CIA and DOD efforts at the same time to form an expert unit which had formulated plans for Afghan tribesmen to capture him before handing him over to the US. After evaluatingf the mood in Afhanistan, the director of the CIA decided canceled the program, according to a later report issued by the 9/11 Commission’s report.

Bin Laden showed his capacity for mayhem soon thereafter in August 1998 when well over 200 people were killed when bomb-filled trucks and vans drove into the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The hot war with the new Central Asian Usama bin Laden began when US President Bill Clinton ordered the launch of missile strikes against militant camps in Afghanistan, including Bin Laden’s compound. The missile strikes did not kill any al-Qaeda leaders but modified al Qaeda doctrine thereafter and Osama’s habits thereafter. The Saudi rich man who would later offer Kazakhstan millions for a a nuke could afford a series of homes and got them. Bin Laden also devloped mobile camps and a guard and logistics unit that could move quicklyand began changing locations frequently and unpredictably. The absence of this large guard is one of the features of his death they had apparenly been replaced by the protection of the Pakistani governement. He also got the courier system going which changed his method of communication and put the kinds of things the NSA looks for further from home. Nevertheless, despite his history as a hero against the USSR we found many who disliked him in Central Asia and tribal sources were still able to provide regular updates on where he was.

In 1998 and 1999 numerous opportunities to attack and kill him were passed up during his meetings with Afghan officials in areas full of civilians. However, I think it is absurd to say that we surely would have killed him when we attacked. He was more slippery in those days than he has been in recent years. Yet he was quite secret as Special Hero of the Pakistan Military as well.

On the 11th of September in the year 2001 his attacks on the US government at the Pentagon, his slaughter of airliner passengers, the destruction of the World Trade Center and other things made him the man we all know well. This long story has ended with the bravery of the special forces who stormed his compound and killed him. I like George H. W. Bush because he has two beautiful daughters he loves, he likes baseball, he honors his dad, he cares about people and he is pugnacious for America. He is a better man than Usama or Osama or whatever ever was but he also lied about ‘sama bin Laden. He called him a coward. The man was no coward he was one of the bravest and toughest warriors that has lived in my lifetime. As a kill trophy the Seals can claim on of the greatest prizes of our time. Maybe the greatest.

This leader was also trapped by destiny. He was the 17th of 52 children of his polygamous father and could certainly not love a West which singles out polygamists uniquely for hatred and abuse. He believed in Jihad and followed his convictions. But I am not like the Rodney King of the Los Angeles riots. I do not believe that we can all just get along.
People like Jesus and Jesus himself worked very hard at very hard models of peacemaking and they deserved to be taken seriously but not all crackpot ideas of peace deserve such support.

I hated bin Laden’s support of the Taliban that kept girls out of schools, created more dependence on heroin alone and pushed Afghanistan on a path I call evil.

I hated Usama bin Laden’s destruction of embassies where peace is the primary work and the innocent the primary victims.

I hated Osama bin Laden’s involvement in killing Christians and bombing churches in lands I think should be theirs more or instead of Islam’s and were theirs first. I hated his causes more often than I did not hate them.

I hated bin Laden’s antisemitism and cheap hatreds.

Of course I was deeply affected by 9/11. I do not think it was a uniqule morally repugnant act but it was unconventional and murderous and deserves our maximum reasonable vengeance. I had put Osama bin Laden on the list of one hundred people to watch in the second post 9/11 decade which does not begin until September 12, 2011. I did write in that seires on my blog that some might die before the kickoff. He still deserves to be on the list his influence through history will be large and in near years more so then later. But killing him was an important first step. He was seven years older than I am and I will have to wait seven years to see if I have any temptation to gloat over outliving him. In many ways he was a man of great passions and powerful iconography who lived out his goals at a very grand level and after a long hunt we have killed him. I rejoice in the chance to move forward but I find no reason to minimize him. I believe a team of skilled troops can do very important work and in this case they did. As long as he was alive he would have continued to redesign terrorism.

Governor Jindal Addressed Modest Sized Group in Abbeville

The A.A. Comeaux Recreational Center in Comeaux Park had a modest-sized crowd. The three sponsoring organizations were lightly represented. These were the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club. Abbeville’s Mayor Mark Piazza was the Master of Ceremonies and I think I recall that State Senator Nick Gauthreaux  introduced the governor. Over half a dozen elected officials were present. These included Clerk of Court Dianne Broussard, Parish Assessor Kathy Broussard and State Senator Nick Gauthreaux. There were a cluster of attendess from the local Indian-American community. There were a few of my personal friends. However, there was not a very large crowd after one names these groups of people. Jindal reviewed his time in office and administration policy so far and noted the awards and rankings he had achieved.

He did not entirly neglect the BP spill and its aftermath as well as his response. Such was the pace that he covered many basic issues from coastal restoration to federalism briefly. However, it was largely an incumbent’s stump speech. He reviewed the policies he had put into effect and how they had achieved some good effects. These were largely in administrative and legislative technical changes.

Because of the smallish crowd he was able to speak with a high percentage of the attendees in an individual face to face context afterwards. I took advantage of the opportunity and was pleased with the conversation I had with Governor Jindal. However, I had no camera and so I got no picture and cannot share the moment with posterity or with those of you reading this blog in a visual way.

The Danger of Being a Complete Idiot

I have decided that I am personally opposed to be the world being run by complete idiots.  I think that in time there will be a need to decide that merely being a complete idiot is not a sign of a divine right to govern. Being a complete idiot may be  a fine ideal for people at many levels and may feel really wonderful but it is not sufficient to outweigh all other possible human qualities.

We have a society that moves fast and moving fast has become essential to a lot of what we do and who we are. However,  we often move in a lot of ignorance and foolishness. The adjustment to a somewhat more deliberate pace will not be an easy one.

I think that it is somehow important to be able to step out of the ordinary and mundane flow and norm of human life and society.  It is important to be able to see the bigger picture and the connections between the separate pictures which are the worldviews of each society, nation and culture. I think it is good to be able to see the several goods that conflict with the several evils that may accompany a policy decision  and also to see  how those evils conflict with each other and how those goods conflict with each other. I trust the analysis that follows such a  moral parsing  more than one which starts always looking for just the good and the bad of a choice. I trust even less that analysis rooted in the opinion that there is no good or evil.

I like the idea that a school should be a place of learning first for all the students. I do not believe we can eliminate all the rest but I believe that rape, bullying, brutalization, farting, stupidity being propounded pompously and theft should be less important than well-organized lessons, sporting events, school dances, plays, bands, moderate punishments and friendly conversation at the lunch table. I am willing to see the world that I live in clearly but I am not willing to see it as all perfectly good and right.

I think that the main purpose of the world we live in from my point of view is to suck as much as possible. However, I sometimes choose to resist this trend. One thing I hate is that whole trend which has amended the election of any US Senators by the State Legislatures away, made absolute robots of the College of Electors to the point of completely ignoring them except as mathematical factors, diminished the role of the Vice President as President of the Senate, started the rule of saying the United States is a country instead of the United States are a country (to which like others of these rules I adhere), racial policy that says either no colored people can share a conference center with white people anywhere or else blacks have the obligation to overrun every white school and rearrange its curriculum and life. These are just some of the many ways in which the country which is my home has made being a complete idiot the national ideal. I wish it could be changed.

It takes great intelligence and knowledge and some discipline to really follow the beauty pageants system, baseball at each level, the NCAA basketball tournament or a good game of football. It takes great knowledge and intelligence to stay current on what is happening in Country, Cajun, Zydeco, Bluegrass, various regional forms of the Blues, Contemporary Christian, Southern Swing, Motown, Jazz, Broadway Showtunes and movie Soundtracks. It takes great knowledge and skill  to follow and understand the Mercantile Exchange, The New York Stock Exchange, the history of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange, the Urner-Barry Seafood Price Current, the NASDAQ and the Morningstar summary of  mutual funds. Nobody apologizes for any of this difficulty. But I am convinced that in the essence of our polity and commonwealth and in the social mechanics that hold us all together  we face the ideal of the complete idiot gaining ground year by year and generation by generation.  I do not mean democracy.  I really mean the ideal of the complete political idiot. I am not joking. We have not achieved our ideal yet, but that is the ideal to which we are being drawn and towards which we are drawing the world.

I wish we would adopt a different ideal. I fee l that there are real dangers in us all becoming complete idiots in this area of our lives. We will face challenges in the environment, politics, war and diplomacy which a complete idiot is not the best person to address. Sometimes we will need people who are not complete idiots.

Some thoughts about marriage in America

The US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has held that Proposition 8 which outlawed same-sex  marriage was unconstitutional and that this  is because heterosexual couples and same-sex couples were identical.  The judge ruled that the ban on homosexual unions was simply a kind of persecution which is at once entirely unmerited and simply cruel. There will be a lot of controversy as this goes through appeals and makes its way to the Supreme Court. But it does raise issues related to marriage and particularly polygamy that I wish to discuss here. I am going to point out a couple of my own posts where I have touched on issues relating to marriage, sexuality and the varied crises and have in one of them at least touched upon polygamy. However, the issues covered in this post do not require a close reading of these posts.  

 1. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/why-i-dare-to-advocate-radical-change/

I start with this post above because I think that it is vital that we recognize how far away from any ideal of marriage that has been proposed by the Christian faith in it its most idealistic and monogamous we really are.  If polygamy could be achieved for a portion of the many who are having children and expressing their sexuality with no reference to that ideal then it would be progress in terms of social and cultural nearness to both the spirit of Christ and the life of the gospel. That does not mean that there are not real risks and nothing that can be lost which is valuable and precious.

The link below is one in which I have discussed both the nature of human sexuality and also how it relates to social development and royalism.  We must find a way to address sexual reality. That is especially true for those of us who have the kinds of ideals that relate to humanism, Christianity and Judaism. It is imperative that we become conversant with reality again.

2. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/monarchy-and-royalist-culture-in-america-past-present-and-future-part-3-3/

I am a Christian and Christianity has never been the most polygamous religion. However, it has never been as completely anti-polygamous as it currently has almost entirely become. The Roman Catholic theologian Tertullian argued against the common and theologically supported practice  of priests (some of whom were celibate even then) commonly marrying two wives and especially sisters. When Tertullian was later disciplined for other reasons it is possible that in part it was because of the portion of the church which believed polygamy was an important part of the Christian tradition for some men in leadership both royals and some clerics especially. But there were few Christian royals (not none) in the third century. This is just part of the picture: Charlemagne who was able to add the filioque procedit   phrase to the Western version of the creed was an open polygamist as were all of his sons. 

One issue that I think has to be discussed if one is going to discuss polygamy at all reasonably is that one has to begin to visualize it in order to understand it and discuss. Where it has been so universally illegal for so long it is not so easy to visualize. I want to include some film and television references that deal with varied and complex glimpses of polygamy and make it possible to see where the institutions of plural marriage have found their way into American viewerships and audiences.  Here are some worth watching:

1. One Night With The King: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0430431/

The first link is to a film that tells the Biblical story of Esther.

2. The Other Boleyn Girl: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467200/

The second link is to  a film telling the story of Henry VIII and his women.

3. King David: http://www.amazon.com/King-David/dp/B000JGD264/ref=pd_vodsm_B000JGD264

The third link is to the telling of the story of King David which is extremely important to both Judaism and Christianity.

4. Big Love: http://www.hbo.com/big-love

The  fourth link is to a fictional family trying to restore and modernize Mormon polygamy. It is complex, muddied by multiple perspectives at times but I think it is a good show nonetheless.

Then I want to show some examples of contracted relationships between Americans in our history and present.  These are real lives past and present that matter to those who live them quite a bit. As a committed son of Louisiana I am pleased to discuss one of the institutions that expressed polygamy in a new and workable way tied to old traditions. Take a chance to look at this and I may return to it later and have actually touched upon this before in other posts. Clearly the social realities of the quadroon ball are very far from where we are now. But if you take a global perspective it is entirely clear to me that  they were often superior values and ideals from which we could still benefit some day.

The Quadroon Ball:

I. http://www.frenchcreoles.com/CreoleCulture/quadroons/quadroons2.htm

II. http://www.nathanielturner.com/livesandtimesofquadroons.htm

I also wonder how it would feel to be this young woman in the next video and be aware of all that is disastrous in our sexual realities in the world and still have one’s lifestyle just barely outside the criminal. I think it is horribly tragic.

Modern polygamy in the Mormon tradition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANXeiyGx7To&feature=related

It is to be remembered that if you are reading this blog you are reading the blog of someone who wants to change and reform the government and not either escape or limit it into insignificance. I think that governments of the States of the Union and of not yet existing institutions I have proposed would have a vital role to play in making any polygamous domestic institutions work.  It is not entirely clear to me whether the current king of Thailand can be said to ever really have entered into plural marriage. I have not confidential sources and the public sources that I have seen indicate all sorts of contradictory things. It is perhaps a powerful sign of anti-polygamy in the United States that the only true Oriental King to have been born to the rights of an American citizen is part of the possible complete dismantling of an institution so valued in Thailand. However, it may be that it has been a slightly concealed part of his life. To see something about the history of the royal polygamy of Thailand see the next link:   http://www.1stopchiangmai.com/articles/dara/

One thing to understand that is really vital is that those of us who would rather not lie, murder slaughter innocents wholesale or proceed blindly into the future have competitors and opponents who would  like to have all these thing happen routinely and others who would like most of them to happen often. We can still recognize that polygamy is something less than the best and highest forms of monogamy and acknowledge it has a role to play in the survival of anything that can be called civilization.

I will make on of my personal revelations here in this post. I have been married only once and to only one person. Although I am involved with Christian ministry I am not a regular churchworker and not reaping rewards that would cause me to greatly limit my romantic life on that basis alone. Given the actual realities of my life I think it is true that I have had a very limited sex life outside of the seven years of my marriage. However, I have dated a lot. I have sometimes had more than one girlfriend who knew each other. In a few of those instances I have dated two women who were lesbians and attached to each other. I would not flatter my self so much as to say that had polygamy been legal I might have married those gals, certified one as a covenant mistress and one as her maid or whatever else. But it has been an issue in my actual life. I am getting old and tired and mean and in every way less eager to marry but I feel personally that  I have been harmed as well as in the lives of my friends.  

There is so much more to discuss. Polygamy has dark potentials and sides that must be resisted and that is why government has a role to play. I am not interested in persecuting homosexuals but I do think commitments between wives or ladies and maids in royal harems meets the needs of those who really need commitment and maintains marriage between a man and a woman.  I do not want a world where all monks and canons are presumed homosexual. But I do believe homosexuals who care for each other can find civilized happiness as part of such groups. We must find ways to embrace sane civilized options that are imperfect and build again. We live in a world where ruin and deliberate evil  combine to threaten more than most people can imagine. Life will not be improved by further simplifying a too simple society nor by pretending same-sex couples are capable of marriage to each other as heterosexual couples are  capable of contracting such unions.

Positioning America for the Future We Face

I have listed, described and written about making very significant changes in America. That is what this series of posts is mostly all about.  There is no realistic reason in the world write all these things but some things are worth doing which are not realistic. We have to look around the world and see how America will fit into the future as it ties into the present. How will we find the world no matter what we do? In addition, in the context of my rather extensive and complex model of change and revolution described here how would America interact with the world after having undergone this transformation?

Anyone who really proposes revolutionary change must propose some things which would not be possible without some kind of revolution. If such a proponent does not then he is really some kind of a looter. The risk of revolution is not worth taking unless the results one needs to achieve are more substantial than can be gotten from ordinary political maneuvering.  I am exhorting America to recommit to a survivable future and one that could lead to what I would consider good places.  The chances of my living to see our society and the world get anything that I would consider a passing grade is almost negligible. However, there is a chance of moving from an almost completely dysfunctional student to one making low D grades and headed towards a B average after some tutoring. That would be a very good result.

I do not think there have been very many societies in history more intrinsically difficult to set on a sustainable path than the United States. On the other hand, besides sustainability there is another measure of a society’s success and viability. That measure is decency and the quality of progress or “progressiveness”.  I think that America is fairly near the top on that second measure of a society’s greatness. There have been many that were more decent and progressive but most of them were small and unambitious. We are one of the most generally decent and progressive  great societies in history. I say that being well aware of many horrors and inhumanities in our past and present.

We have to deal with recent geopolitical changes, with the limits of our own society and culture and also with the enduring and endless problems of  both the Earth and the human condition. That is in a sense a struggle that can never be entirely successful. However, it is true that it makes a great deal of difference whether or not one struggles. The mess we will end up with if we struggle well is much better than the mess we will be in if we struggle poorly or not at all.

If America makes the changes I am suggesting then it will be going down a path which will certainly be lonely at first and may not ever become much less lonely. First of all, many human societies (and most at many times) are fundamentally self-destructive and insane. America will become a society on the path of sanity.  Secondly, America will become even more committed to a moral sensibility. Thirdly, within the context  of sane and avowedly moral societies it will be a modern heir to the traditions of Western civilization in a North American context. Added to all of that, it will remain a great power. We will have to move forward with our own sense of what is real and right. Add to all of that the fact that we have our own dark side which I and others who might become key players would believe we have to deal with and you would surely have a country which nobody can find to be very much like any other country nor any less than a profoundly forward step for this country.

The science of calculating risk is very old and has been approached by many very clever and some very wise people from countless angles over a very long time. Nonetheless it is a vast distance from being perfectly systematized.  Only in formal games can we even get close to showing what would have happened if a set of complicated human decisions and actions had been substituted for another set of complicated decisions and actions. America is living in a world where many bad things and many good things will come its way regardless of whether or not the changes I suggest are made. There is a whole set of possibilities in which the changes would be attempted but basically fail. Then there are unforeseen changes which could come from anywhere and rewrite the course of future events. We face a great deal of possible tragedy that is hard to exactly predict.

I have come to writing these posts after a life in which I have done many active and open things  but in which there are many open and active things that I almost never do.  I am committed to writing for a readership with which I have little organized connection.  I respond to comments that sort of come in over the transom. But this is very different from giving speeches in a public square, leading parades, putting pamphlets out or writing newspaper articles. These are all things that I have done in the past. I do very little now compared to what I would ever have believed I would be doing for such a sustained period of time.  But I believe there is much that I must attempt to do before the worst trends become inevitable. What those trends are has been discussed in earlier posts and will be discussed  in later posts more than it is discussed here.

I personally have had over the years a number of contacts and correspondents both in post-Soviet Russia and in the Soviet Union.  On the other hand I have never been there, do not speak the language and have run into a good number of  Russians in the many places that I have visited and I do not believe our relationship with them is good overall. It has gotten much better but we squandered a very big opportunity during the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras. I think that even had Putin become the player he has become he would have been a different Putin had we acted differently. However, while I think Putin is a ruthless, homicidal, devious puppet master (who must prove he was innocent of the blood of the ninety-eight Polish leaders recently killed in the aircraft crash) I think he is basically a good man. Yes, I am serious and not sarcastic. He is willing to be a monster to save Russia from complete collapse but he has shown real interest in being something besides a Monster. He promotes the Russian Orthodox Church, tolerates other Christians, limits antisemitism and maintains a quasi-atheistic secularist power bloc in politics. That is a real work of  religious tolerance. He has invested himself in preserving parliament. If he faced a strong and dangerous President here who might exercise the positive pressures he might still be a better man and leader. However, earlier he might have turned out better. Russia is still devoted to Putin mostly because he is still devoted to Russia. That is how things are supposed to be. We are likely to be adversaries over the medium term but I do not believe that was inevitable.  

Of course one of the things about the system I have outlined (among many things) which is very notable is that  the system is a complex racially aware system and that will certainly complicate many geopolitical relationships.  However our current color blind system and our past of Jim Crow madness complicated foreign relationships as well. I will specifically say that our relationship with India would be among the most problematic.  Indian (not Aboriginal American Indians) would be presumed to be the types of people who live in the Colored Districts of the States or the Mixed Race Districts of the Territories. However, the Racial Codes of each State would need in some way or another to allow Indian families to file a particular form and have it verified that they are consistently and predominantly made up of a lineage of one or more of the following Indian Bloodlines (one form for all admixtures of the three) Moguls, the Old Northeast Asian Colonies of North Indians and Portuguese. Indian families certified as such would be eligible to vote in the North East Asian Districts of the States. America would pursue distinctions like this regardless of how they were received in home countries of populations. Portuguese found to be Portuguese families from India would eligible to choose Northeast Asian or ordinary status. No country will be quite as unique as India but many will have complex issues. 

Relationships with Britain, France and Spain, Mexico, Holland and Russia will be formalized to include their direct participation with areas they colonized. In the case of France, Britain, Mexico and Spain they should have formal relationships with a Compact each which are recognized by the US and limited by the overall society and yet are really direct to the Compacts. All of this will have a cost. These countries will play to their interests in areas we allow. There will be costs with ties to the constituted, armed and territorial Black community in a society that is formally white supremacist. The costs in money and blood are inevitable. But American institutions which are now not allowed to build our society would be given every help in doing so in the future.

The new era would be very difficult and would invest in the future. But not acting somewhere in ways akin to this plan will have serious costs as well.  I am urging us to take the medicines we need to take now and be a little but hopeful that things won’t go completely wrong. We could hope a little bit that hard work and courage will lead to a good result.