Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Monday, November 27, 2017

I know it's almost a daily occurrence, but this one got to me

We have a president who's an excerpt from the transcript of the ceremony with the Navajo Code Talkers

"I said, how good were these Code Talkers? What was it? He said, sir, you have no idea. You have no idea how great they were — what they’ve done for this country, and the strength and the bravery and the love that they had for the country and that you have for the country."

So he apparently had no idea who they were or what they did, until Kelly told him...and saying so in public seems not to have embarrassed him (and to have gotten buried in what came later.)

Also, the whole ceremony was in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson (see below). I don't know how most people feel about Jackson, but he's one of my least favorite presidents. And even if he were one of my favorite presidents, I might try to have a ceremony honoring Native Americans in another spot. One of Jackson's claims to infamy was his forced removal of thousands of the original inhabitants of the southeastern part of the US to Oklahoma and points west. During which at least 4,000 of them died, which is why it's known as the Trail of Tears.

And, finally, he had to make the whole thing into an opportunity to toss yet another gratuitous insult at Elizabeth Warren (with his "They call her Pocahontas"--he called her that, no one else did--remark).

An uninformed, insensitive man who takes any opportunity to insult people for no good reason, and who, in the process, turns what should have been a beautiful occasion into something else.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

One Day after Armistice Day

  1. This was written by Kurt Vonnegut; it's from Cat's Cradle, one of three books that I think of as his World War II trilogy [Mother Night (1961); Cat's Cradle (1963), and Slaughter-House Five, or the Children's Crusade (1969.] Vonnegut was a POW during World War II, detained in Dresden, and was in Dresden when the allies fire-bombed it (February 13-15, 1945). 135,000 people, more or less, lost their lives those nights. Dresden had no military targets--no war materials facto...ries, no army bases.
    I am about to do a very un-ambassadorial thing ... I am about to tell you what I really feel. ... We are gathered here, friends ... to honor [the Hundred Martyrs to Democracy], children dead, all dead, all murdered in war. It is customary on days like this to call such lost children men. I am unable to call them men for this simple reason: that in the same war in which [the Martyrs] died, my own son died. My soul insists that I mourn not a man but a child.
    I do not say that children at war do not die like men, if they have to die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays.
    But they are murdered children all same.
    And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend the day despising what killed them; which is to say, the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind.
    Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns. ... [I]f today is really in honor of a hundred children murdered in war ... is today a day for a thrilling show? The answer is yes, on one condition: that we, the celebrants, are working consciously and tirelessly to reduce the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind.