The Sarcastic Cynic™

Sarcastic and cynical view of the world.

An open letter in defense of democracy — November 2, 2021

An open letter in defense of democracy

Guest Column

Todd Gitlin, Jeffrey C. Isaac and William Kris

An open letter in defense of democracy |

This open letter was published simultaneously by The Bulwark and the New Republic

From the left, the right and in between, we writers, academics and activists are joining together to defend liberal democracy and confront the danger facing America.

We are writers, academics, and political activists who have long disagreed about many things.

Some of us are Democrats and others Republicans. Some identify with the left, some with the right, and some with neither. We have disagreed in the past, and we hope to be able to disagree, productively, for years to come. Because we believe in the pluralism that is at the heart of democracy.

But right now we agree on a fundamental point: We need to join together to defend liberal democracy.

Read more:

Because liberal democracy itself is in serious danger. Liberal democracy depends on free and fair elections, respect for the rights of others, the rule of law, a commitment to truth and tolerance in our public discourse. All of these are now in serious danger.

The primary source of this danger is one of our two major national parties, the Republican Party, which remains under the sway of Donald Trump and Trumpist authoritarianism. Unimpeded by Trump’s defeat in 2020 and unfazed by the January 6 insurrection, Trump and his supporters actively work to exploit anxieties and prejudices, to promote reckless hostility to the truth and to Americans who disagree with them, and to discredit the very practice of free and fair elections in which winners and losers respect the peaceful transfer of power.

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2021/10/29/an-open-letter-in-defense-of-democracy-column/

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Op-eds in a Chinese tabloid slam U.S. policy; author works at the Pentagon — June 17, 2021

Op-eds in a Chinese tabloid slam U.S. policy; author works at the Pentagon

BY MICHAEL E. MILLER

Washington Post

The headline hardly stood out on the website of the hyper-nationalistic Chinese newspaper.

“Why US will lose a war with China over Taiwan island,” announced the April 27 op-ed in the Global Times, which also referred to Taiwan’s democratically elected leaders as “renegade secessionists” and called U.S. Congress interest “corrupt.”

What was unusual about the article was its author.

Franz Gayl isn’t just an American. He is a celebrated whistleblower — whose conduct was praised by then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. — and a retired Marine major working at the Pentagon.

https://tampabaytimes-fl.newsmemory.com/ Continue reading

So why are humorist Tom Lehrer’s lyrics on the previous post? — November 16, 2019

So why are humorist Tom Lehrer’s lyrics on the previous post?

The other “father” of the space program in the United States of America, a man from Germany, Wernher von Braun, “made what amounted to a Faustian bargain for the advance of rocketry,” by joining the Nazi Party and becoming an SS officer!

He claimed he had no choice, arguing that the Gestapo kept a close eye on him, watching him for signs of disloyalty.

However, some of his “contemporaries did manage to resist the fascist regime, often perpetrating small, undramatic acts of slowdown, sabotage, or resistance.”

The Peenemünde team of engineers, lead by Wernher von Braun, “were Hitler loyalists who looked forward to the day when Aryan Germans would have the promised Lebensrum (room to live) granted by conquest of Europe.”

Von Braun later claimed he was “merely an earnest enginner who put his craft above all else.”

“This excuse didn’t  prevent him from enjoying his wartime position or being fêted by the Third Reich’s rich and powerful.”

“Von Braun, a colonel in the SS, was deeply complicit in the war crimes at the Mittelwerk and Dora facility” that “was carved inside Kohnstein Mountain, near Nordhausen in the Harz Mountains.  Using concentration camp slave labor, they transformed a tunnel complex into a facilty that could produce thousands of V-2s.

Arthur Rudolph, a close colleague of von Braun and chief operations officer at the Mittelwerk V-2 production facility,  oversaw the slave labor. He was an ardent Nazi and anti-Semite.  Nevertheless he was quietly accepted into the United Sates and granted citizenship in the mid-1950s.  Keeping a low profile at Fort Bliss, working in secrecy, he immediately began making contributions to the American rocket program, as did ex-Peenemünder Kurt Debus.  Hubertus Strughold, another beneficiary of Operation Paperclip,     was a physician who had been the director of the Luftwaffe Institute of Aviation Medicine during the Nazi  era was given a a similar job heading the new Air Force of Aviation Medicine, in West Texas.

[Operation Paperclip: a paperclip was placed on the files of those Nazis chosen to work as rocket engineers in the United States of America.]

As Strughold settled in America, quite a liberty to enjoy the privileges of democracy, his former colleagues were facing trial at Nuremberg for war crimes he’d known about.”

Warning! Do not read if sensitive to acts of torture. 

In one experiment, Jewish inmates were forced to squat in a chamber as the pressure insde the chamber was altered in a matter of seconds, simulating a depressurized airplane dropping from high altitude.  The doctors watched as the prisoners died or permanently lost their minds.

Okay to continue reading after this period.

Werner von Braun’s first public speech, in the United States of America to the El Paso Rotary Club stated:

“It seems to be a law of nature that all novel technical inventions that have a future for civilian use start out as weapons.

Rocketry entered a new dangerous territory with the development of the first intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Werner von Braun, once again did the sensible thing to lie low and develop his ballistic missiles in Fort Bliss—White Sands for U.S. Army purposes while keeping the moon and beyond in his dreams.

Did he ever think about the pain inflicted to all those who died, or survived, or who were harmed severely by the manufacturing and use in acts of war, by the V-2 rockets he engineered?

 

Tom Lehrer – Wernher Von Braun Lyrics | MetroLyrics — November 15, 2019

Tom Lehrer – Wernher Von Braun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

I just happen to be reading acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley’s fresh look at the American Space program.

American

Moonshot

JOHN F KENNEDY

AND THE GREAT SPACE RACE

So why are the lyrics of Wernher Von Braun by Tom Lehrer below?

https://www.metrolyrics.com/wernher-von-braun-lyrics-tom-lehrer.html

Tom Lehrer – Wernher Von Braun Lyrics

Tom Lehrer

(Introduction, spoken:)
And what is it that put America in the forefront of
the nuclear nations? And what is it that will make it
possible to spend twenty billion dollars of your money
to put some clown on the moon? Well, it was good old
American know how, that’s what, as provided by good
old Americans like Dr. Wernher von Braun!

Gather ’round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance
Is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won’t even frown
“Ha, Nazi, Schmazi” says Wernher von Braun

Don’t say that he’s hypocritical
Say rather that he’s apolitical
“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department” say Wernher von Braun

Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude
Should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pension to Wernher von Braun

You too may be a big hero
Once you’ve learned to count backwards to zero
“In German, oder Englisch, I know how to count down
Und I’m learning Chinese!” says Wernher von Braun

It’s been a while since I last spoke to you. — March 28, 2019

It’s been a while since I last spoke to you.

What has changed in the United States of America?  Nothing much but yet again another commander-in-chief, who did not serve a minute in the military during the Vietnam War.  This must be a new trend where our presidents have managed to avoid going to Vietnam by being given deferments. One for being an only son still enrolled in a university, and the other for being a rich son who suffered from bone spurs in his foot.  Or was he just a flat-footed, deaf and blind enlistee who was rejected for cause?

vanities i am the swoosh donald trump hair
vanities i am the swoosh donald trump hair

The emergent former Soviet Union is still a partner with the United States, in space and in the Middle East.  The North Koreans are still a thorn in our side, but the rulers of both nations really like each other.  The People’s Republic of China, the P.R.C., is not the super power it claims to be.  The United Kingdom struggles to keep herself in the European Union.  Their subjects voted to get out of being part of it and now find themselves wondering why they accepted a narrow vote for doing so.  The French government and the yellow jackets are holding scrum every weekend.  The Italians are still busy trying to keep the water out of Venice; charging you an extra fee just for using their cutlery while keeping you sitting out in the sidewalk with the pigeons and pedestrians; expecting an additional tip from the clueless, who like lemmings always leave a tip.

In the United States after months of investigating those associated with Donald Trump, we are told by a single man that there was no evidence of collusion with the Russians.  Teflon Donnie T has brainwashed all who work for him.  “There was no collusion.”  There was no Billy Bush and a hot mike between them, when talking  “locker room trash.”  The women did enjoy being pinched and grabbed between the legs by a billionaire.  Not one has been successful in bringing this braggart down to earth.  And Billy Bush is gone.

Replacing him in the limelight is Michael Avenatti who has shown himself to be allegedly guilty of being an extortionist.  Nike did not want to play with Avenati.  Avenati was caught trying to force Nike to pay ransom to the sum of millions of billion of dollars.  He’s been accused of blackmailing the Nike Corporation, who claims itself to be benevolently improving the lives of the youth of the slums.

See: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/sports/michael-avenatti-extortion-nike.html

Boeing is building 737 Max 8-9’s that don’t let the pilots fly it.  Eliminate the anti-stalling system.  Using computer updates is not the answer.  Let pilots fly the 737 and fix the hydraulic valve problem in the aft.  This 737 aircraft family has a history of being too cozy with the FAA.  It’s time to separate them for the good of the travelling public

See: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-ground-boeing-max-20190313-story.html

Isn’t is ironic or maybe just coincidence that a man who has represented a zaftic woman against Teflon Donnie T, is now finding himself looking at spending a timeout behind shiny steel bars.  Who could be behind this?  The new Don of the world?

In Dallas,Texas the TexRail from DFW to Fort Worth with stops at Grapevine, and other stations along the new train system is up and running. Free rides for a month were enjoyed by all!  Finally a State that knows how to build for the future.

See: https://ridetrinitymetro.org/texrail/

In Florida…it still keeps growing.  Nothing seems to whither in this state.

In Georgia and North Carolina Jim Crow is still alive.  Elections in N.C. were rigged to stop black candidates from winning.  Re-election will be held in a few more months.

See: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/north-carolina/articles/2019-03-26/investigators-followed-money-in-tainted-n-carolina-election

In North and South Carolina…all else is  well.  Savannah and Charleston are still quaint cities and no one knows which one is in the south or which is their favorite.

In New York City, the former Borough President of Queens County, is now running to be the District Attorney.  I guess term limits has forced her out. Unfortunately she didn’t have time to clean up the borough while she was in office. See: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2019/01/10/queens-district-attorney-richard-brown-retirement-not-likely-to-bring-in-flood-of-candidates-to-replace-him

Also the Van Wyck Expressway is worthy of being the mess to avoid, and John F. Kennedy International airport is improving but not succeeding  to impress anyone.

In Albany, the Cuomo’s are still the reigning family and in Staten Island, a family lost its head because of jealousy or just plain idiocy.

In Flushing, Queens the majority is now Asian and in Bayside the same will happen.

In Uniondale, the Coliseum and the Long Island Marriott are still in the way of the seagulls  that pick up the trash left by the fans of the current version of a hockey team.

In Puerto Rico,  and not because of the Teflon Donnie T’s paper towels, the effort to bring back this island nation back to our century is still lagging.  If not for celebrities like Broadway actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and chef José Andrés, https://twitter.com/chefjoseandres, and many luminaries and citizens of the mainland of the US,  would this island be abandoned by all its citizens.  Thankfully this island nation’s future will surpass that of Hispaniola.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin is still revered by all.  He runs unopposed by anyone of his party.  Doesn’t this sound like the Teflon Donnie T of America?  Crimea, the land he took back from Ukraine in a “democratic referendum” is now being fully intergrated into Putin’s Russia, who is defending the “referendum as complying with the principle of self-determination of peoples.[54][55] In July 2015, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Crimea had been fully integrated into Russia.[56]” Hope they’re happy with their choice of returning to the motherland.

In the UK, Theresa May agrees to to quit of Brexit Deal passes in the U.K. Parliament.

I don’t know much about what these crazy English are doing anymore.

Read the following link to get a better picture.

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/27/707288194/theresa-may-agrees-to-quit-if-brexit-deal-passes-in-uk-parliament

Okay?  I think I need to return back to my present hometown.  The Pinellas Trail is empty of cyclists,  pedestrians, and mountains.  I have not done any serious road training for the next Tour de France.  My tennis elbow is missing me and so will Roland Garros if the French government doesn’t squash the yellow jackets soon.

 

 

 

 

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