Update from the Sunland
13.3.23 – 19.3.23
Blog version: http://heartlandupdate.blogspot.com/
I feel compelled to report my most recent book reading choice—Tom Ricks’ “Churchill and Orwell – The Fight for Freedom,” published in 2017. The thought came to me, with a title like that, who needs to read the book. Both men are well-known throughout the world. Far more has been written about Winston Churchill than George Orwell. A great many people have read Churchill’s books. Perhaps many more have read at least one of George Orwell’s books—one in particular, his magnum opus. Ricks offers us glimpses of the two men behind the historical facts of their times, the experiences that formed their world views. The book’s Afterword ties a neat bow about his historical treatise of the two men, and the last sentence of the Afterword summarizes the book. “It is the agreement that objective reality exists, that people of goodwill can perceive it, and that other people will change their views when presented with the facts of the matter.”
I highly recommend “Churchill and Orwell” to anyone who wishes to learn and see freedom in a more brilliant light. This book should be on every bookshelf.
Every once in a while, an artistic performance comes along that deserves illumination, notation, discussion, and attention. One such event came to me on Tuesday, 13.March.2023. Our local PBS television station broadcast a Great Performances program titled “Remember This!” The Public Broadcast System (PBS) aired the program on 17.February.2023, as Season 50, Episode 10. The renowned actor David Russell Strathairn gave us a solo performance of the true story of a Polish resistance fighter during the Nazi occupation of his country. Number one, Strathairn gives a rare, unique, incredible performance in his representation of the World War II experience of Jan Romuald Kozielewski (24 June 1914 – 13 July 2000)), better known as Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter, diplomat, and eventually a distinguished professor at Georgetown University. Secondly, Srathbairn’s acting tells the firsthand experience of Karski and his witness of Nazi atrocities in Poland and the Holocaust. While there are myriad more detailed and direct, firsthand accounts of the Holocaust, Karski personally carried eyewitness message of the Polish Jews genocide and their murder at the hands of the Nazis to the British and the American governments. He did not achieve the results he had hoped. The official position of the Allies at the time beyond denial was the best way to help the Jews was to win the war. Roosevelt and Churchill were probably correct from their 30,000-foot level, but like that altitude, the policy lacks humanity. The Allied policy was devoid of benevolence. Strathairn’s rendition of Karski brings humanity to the dreadful, disgusting, horrific violence the Nazis perpetrated in his country and the world.
Every human being on the planet today and for ever more needs to watch and listen to “Remember This!”
The follow-up news items:
-- After Tucker Carlson’s foolish, biased presentation of his opinion of the January 6th insurrection , an opinion article by a local journalist offers an explanation of why the MAGA bunch listen to his drivel and swallow his hogwash.
“Tucker Carlson's Fox News flat earthers will never be convinced by the facts – Opinion: Note to my journalism colleagues: Don't bother. Facts will never lead Fox's faithful viewers to flush Carlson.”
by EJ Montini
Published: 6:33 a.m. MT March 14, 2023
I do believe Montini nailed the issue precisely and accurately. Facts are irrelevant to Carlson and his believers. They have faith. Clearly, from the Dominion disclosures , we know Carlson does not believe his tripe, but he most certainly feeds his believers what they want to hear, to sustain and reinforce their beliefs. The far darker aspect of this reality is we are dealing with fanatics who ignore facts and reason. We can try to understand, but I suspect that is an impossible task. There is not much we can do, since they enjoy the same freedoms and rights we do. We can only be persistent and resolute in confronting them with the facts. And, when they break the law, as they did on January 6th, we must prosecute, convict, and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, KG, OM, CH, DL, TD, famously observed and succinctly stated:
“Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time; but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters.”
Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
HC Deb 11 November 1947 vol 444 cc203-321
Democracy is ugly, messy, nasty, cumbersome, slow, noisy, chaotic, and otherwise very inefficient. Dictatorship, totalitarian, oligarchy, and other forms of authoritarian governance are far more efficient, agile, and effective. There is no question regarding the choice of form when your only concern is governance of a nation-state. Fortunately, the Founders/Framers had the experience and wisdom to establish a representative democracy, to give We, the People, a voice in our governance, and to protect the individual rights and freedoms of citizens against the power of the State. After the constitutional convention , a concerned citizen asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin’s response, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Franklin’s response was more than just a succinct answer; it was a prophecy. Freedom demands a constant struggle against the natural forces of totalitarianism that seek the path of least resistance in governance. Democracy depends upon argument, discussion, debate, disagreement, and compromise. Authoritarians seek to use the instruments of state to suppress or eliminate a free press and quash dissent. George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” gave us a vision of what might be if we fail in the constant struggle to protect the republic. To me, it is not a question of ‘if.’ We must! We cannot give into the easy path and the Siren’s Song.
Governor Ronald Dion ‘Ron’ DeSantis of Florida, a likely presidential candidate, declared Ukraine is not in the interests of the United States. He told FoxNews (Tucker Carlson, of all people), "While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.” Russia’s unilateral invasion and occupation of Ukraine . . . a territorial dispute, he said. DeSantis’s short statement illuminates his ignorance and conservative isolationist mentality. Ukraine became an independent state with borders and sovereignty on 24.August.1991. The fact that Putin and his right-wing supporters disagreed with how or where those borders were set is irrelevant. The fact that there are ethnic Russians in Donbas, Crimea, and elsewhere in Ukraine is equally irrelevant. Putin had absolutely no right whatsoever to invade Ukraine and murder Ukrainian men, women and children. No, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a very long way from a territorial dispute; it is naked aggression against a neighboring state made worse by blatant war crimes and crimes against humanity. DeSantis is wrong in every possible way. I used to think he was at least more intelligent than the previous nincompoop, but now I know my impression was wrong. DeSantis has disqualified himself.
Another Arizona Republic journalist gave us an additional view of why the ultra-right do what they do.
“Maybe the rubes are catching on to Mark Finchem's election panhandling schtick – Opinion: Lately, I get the feeling that Mark Finchem's well-used tin cup has a hollow ring to it. That the 'patriots' may finally have awakened and realized they've been taken for a ride.”
by Laurie Roberts
Published: 1:05 p.m. MT March 14, 2023
I must confess that I did not know what the word ‘rube’ meant. At first, I thought it was a typographical error. But no! Merriam-Webster defines ‘rube’ as an “awkward unsophisticated person” or a “naive or inexperienced person.” Rube indeed! I could wax on extensively about this one, but I do believe Laurie Roberts opinion article speaks the truth in concise, accurate words. These guys like Finchem and so many others have found the motherload—free money. The snake-oil consumers and MAGA believers are the cash cow for nefarious men like Finchem. This nonsense is going to go on for a very long time as long as despicable men (and women) like Finchem can work this grift. The believers do not want the truth, and they will continue to give the grifters their money.
On Tuesday, 14.March.2023, a section of Russian Su-27 Flanker fighters intercepted and one collided with, damaged, and eventually resulted in the ditching of a U.S. Air Force General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned and armed aerial vehicle in international waters of the Black Sea. The drone was located in the middle of the Black Sea—international waters and airspace. The Russians immediately denied that they did anything other than intercept the drone. Then, the U.S. Government decided to release video clips from the drone itself of the encounter with the Russian fighters. I guess the Russians did not think live video was being uplinked real time. Judge for yourself. The video URL is:
The fighters were dumping fuel on the drone in an attempt to stall or explode the drone’s engine, and at a minimum, blur the drone’s optics to minimize its capacity to collect intelligence. The Russians were not successful. Then, one of the fighters got too aggressive and too close, colliding with the drone and seriously damaging the vehicle’s propeller. The damage was sufficient to preclude continued flight and forced the drone to be ditched into the Black Sea. The operators took steps to scrub the memory and destroy the sensitive electronics.
From another related view . . .
“Why the Black Sea is such a flashpoint between the U.S. and Russia – A U.S. drone's dramatic encounter with Russian fighter jets this week highlighted the importance of a body of water that has long been central to the rivalry between Moscow and the West.”
by Phil McCausland
Published: March 17, 2023, 3:36 AM MST / Updated March 17, 2023, 3:39 AM MST
At the bottom line, we cannot tolerate hegemonic intimidation anywhere, not the South China Sea or the Black Sea. Russia has no right whatsoever to expect or demand exclusive operating rights over or on the Black Sea.
The Russians violated international law and freedom of navigation. Yes, they did not shoot down the reconnaissance drone, but they directly caused sufficient damage to crash the aerial vehicle. They are dreadfully close to war.
In the category of ‘its about time,’ the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands, issued a criminal arrest warrant for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the president (dictator) of Russia. Multiple international news sources reported the event. I offer two of those sources.
“ICC judges issue arrest warrant for Putin over war crimes in Ukraine”
Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Gareth Jones
Published: March 17, 2023; 8:20 AM MST
“International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine war crimes”
by Mike Corder and Raf Casert
Published: Mar 17, 2023 at 2:01 pm
The panel of ICC judges have charged Putin with war crimes, unlawful deportation of children, and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. The ICC further charges Russia's Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova with the same crimes against children. Whether Putin will ever be tried for his crimes against humanity is doubtful, but none of us can predict how the gears of justice will turn or when. In this instance, I shall remain guardedly optimistic that Putin will fell the full weight of justice for what he has done in Ukraine.
The right-wingers seem to favor using the word ‘woke’ and its derivatives as a spiked bludgeon to beat up on anyone and anything that does not conform to their view of society. What is this term “woke” than has become a broad sword in the culture wars created and sustained by the fBICP, MAGA, social conservatives, and other alt-right conservatives? Merriam-Webster defines ‘woke’ as “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice),” and used as a disapproving term, “politically liberal (as in matters of racial and social justice) especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme.” Thus, for those of us who are socially progressive in seeking equality for all citizens regardless of any one or combination of the social factors, that bunch call us ‘woke,’ as if the label is some equivalent social slur akin to scumbag, lowlife, slime ball, and whatnot. When I hear Governor DeSantis publicly state, “Florida is where ‘woke’ goes to die,” I hear white supremacy dicta; I see the KKK in a suit. Yes, we have struggled with what “We, the People” actually means. To me, the meaning is clear and concise. The right-wingers in all their forms use woke as a cudgel against anyone who is not like them. Their use of the word further isolates them from the majority of humanity and American citizens. I reject, condemn, and curse the hatred-based notion of white supremacy; their use of ‘woke’ is just another form of that contemptible white supremacy. Lastly, I emphatically state that the right-wing use of ‘woke’ as an instrument of oppression is un-American, and using the logic of the ‘strict constructionists,’ white supremacy in any form does not appear anywhere in the Constitution and is thus unconstitutional. Caucasians are NOT the master race. Christianity is not the state-religion. Freedom to have knowledge is perhaps another unwritten right.
Comments and contributions from Update no.1104:
Comment to the Blog:
“I agree. People who do the kind of damage Mr. Finchem did to the Arizona election system ought to be deprived of the assets they’d need to do any further damage.
“I’ve seen a headline or two about CPAC losing its luster, and it’s reasonable to think 45POTUS’s base is eroding. McCarthy and Carlson are tools. They should be taken away from their operator(s) and locked up somewhere safe.”
My response to the Blog:
I am all for that. Kari Lake is bad enough, rather mindless from my perspective. But Finchem is downright offensive without even a modicum of substance. How he got as far as he did is baffling. Then again, with the likes of Gosar, Biggs, Lesko, et al, I suppose it should not be surprising. The thought of Finchem gaining supervisory responsibility for the conduct of elections is staggering to the imagination.
I have seen the same reports from a variety of different sources. We are seeing signs that the shine 45POTUS once enjoyed is tarnishing and fading. Yes, but they are very dangerous tools. They both sold their souls to the devil. Locked up seems appropriate. However, I have not seen Carlson break the law; he is morally vacuous, but that is not against the law. On the other hand, 45POTUS is quite the opposite; he violated multiple laws; the sooner he is indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law the better.
“Good day Cap. Thanks for your last update-managed to read it all while drinking my afternoon tea. The discomfort goes on will it ever cease?”
You are most welcome, my friend.
I trust the most recent Update did not disrupt your pleasure of a nice afternoon tea.
Yes, indeed; I completely agree. The discomfort and disquiet induced by the social conservatives and their political brethren is exhausting. I believe and have faith that freedom will prevail; it will just take time and persistence, but we shall overcome.
. . . follow-up comment:
“Personally I don’t have a lot of time or enduring patience with politicians in general. I know I know-what would we replace them with? Well very high value considerate people with understanding. A lot of understanding of the multitude of problems that we all face across this blue planet. There are many ‘politicians’ who are clinging on to power for their own ineptitude. Do other former servicemen feel like I do? I would think so.”
. . . my follow-up reply:
I am with you, my friend. We have more than a few despicable human beings who managed to fool their electorate and now “serve.” I am writing in this week’s Update about Sir Winston’s famous quote about democracy. Our form of governance is ugly, nasty, messy, and otherwise revolting. And yet, it is the only form of governance that even remotely protects the rights of individual citizens—We, the People. Unfortunately, we must remain ever vigilant to the insidious forces that seek to corrode democracy that invariably sprout from time to time in a free society. We bear direct witness to those terrible forces that seek to dominate, to preserve power, and to impose upon the whole.
While there have been and will be inept military leaders, the system has a process for minimizing the effects of their ineptitude and maximizing the positive leaders among us. There is no similar process for politicians. It takes an informed, curious, concerned electorate to cull the incompetent politicians. We see the failure of that process today.
My very best wishes to all. Take care of yourselves and each other.