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Category Archives: History

Plus ça change!

Is there really anything happening on our southern border that’s surprising? If so, where have you been?

I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness…
— Gen. Jacob H. Smith

Slavery

Jim Crow

Wounded Knee

Trail of Tears

Chinese Exclusion Act

The Philippines

Manzanar, et al

Overthrow of Salvador Allende

My Lai

Abu Ghraib

(And dozens more . . .)

The United States is not a benign government and it is responsible for an awful lot of pain, suffering, and death. Especially for people of color. Don’t ever forget it.

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All Hail Cadet Bonespurs

In honor of this year’s (2019) Independence Day festivities in the nation’s Capitol which, for the first time in our history, looks to be more like a campaign rally for Trump than a celebration of our Independence from a(nother) tyrant, I offer this wonderful cartoon.


‘Battle-ready’ right-wing groups plan to rally at Trump’s Fourth of July blowout: report – Raw Story

Say goodbye to Independence Day (July 4th) as a national holiday for all Americans. Trump is turning it into a celebration of him, and his snowflake brigade will be out in force on the mall. I guess the rest of us will have to be content with our backyards, our pools, and our grills.

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that several far-right groups are planning to rally in Washington, D.C. as President Donald Trump hosts his massive Fourth of July celebration — and that some of the attendees may be armed. The event, titled the “Rally for Free Speech,” will be headlined by such right-wing activists as former…

Source: ‘Battle-ready’ right-wing groups plan to rally at Trump’s Fourth of July blowout: report – Raw Story


What I Want To See

The following is making its way through Facebook right now, and I want to share it here. These are not my words, but they track pretty closely to how I feel and what I’d like to see happen with respect to all the children being herded into what this Jew believes are accurately called concentration camps. They’re not death camps . . . yet. Actually, several children have died and, if we don’t somehow put a stop to this, it will only escalate. Here’s what is on FB:

Sharing (I am not the author)…

Here is what I want:

I want all 24 Democratic candidates for President to convene a joint press conference outside the worst of the facilities where toddlers are being held in their own filth with no blankets, no beds, no soap, no showers. I want all the candidates, with no exceptions, to demand the doors be opened. I want them to demand a tour.

I would like the candidates to show up with people from the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF. I want the candidates to personally render aid to the children — on camera. At the very least, I want it on camera when officials refuse entry to a federal facility by senators, congress people, governors and the national press. I want to see the guards showing their guns to block them.

I want this planned carefully. I want it publicized before, during and after. I want Fox News shamed into being there, then I want Fox News shamed into showing it. I want the candidates to agree to stand together, unified, and be prepared to stay for hours. I want them to only grant interviews in teams and I want them to keep on topic. I want no self promoting words from anyone. I want them to allow their actions to speak.

I want the DNC to set up everything necessary for a rally — refreshments, stands, shelter — and make sure this event is open to the public and well publicized beforehand. I want to see everyone unified in naming this part of the USA’s new Concentration Camp system. No equivocating. I don’t want any more lip service to outrage — I want us to SEE the outrage in such a way that anyone who is turning a blind eye to the outrage can no longer deny its existence.

The logistics for this would be hard, but you cannot convince me it cannot be done, if there really is a will to save these children, there is a way.

Would that be blatantly using children for political props? Maybe, but it would definitely be an attempt to rescue children who are already being used as political props.

I want someone to do something for those babies. Now.


Random Memorabilia

I found this piece of historical info about the—shall we call it “first half”—of the Shuttle program in one of my collections of “stuff.” Note that it ends with the Challenger disaster, which happened almost a year to the day before I was hired in (initially as a temp) at Rockwell International’s Rocketdyne division, working on the document that would prepare the SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engine) for the return to flight on September 29, 1988. Note also, as engineers are wont to do, the word “Incident” is misspelled at the bottom of the sheet. Color me unsurprised. OV-105 (Orbiter Endeavour) is also not on the list at the very bottom of the page.

I don’t imagine this will be terribly interesting to anyone who isn’t a bit of a human space flight geek like me but, as I have said recently, I need to memorialize some of the things I’ve kept over the years. They may not be of value to anyone but me—hell . . . they may not even be of value to me—but I want to get them scanned or reproduced and put out into the aether, for my sanity and possible future use.


MAGA? Yeah, Right!

Over the last few years I’ve spent most of my social media time on Facebook, with Twitter fairly close behind. My goal on both is to attempt to inform, entertain, and educate others on things I think are important, like politics, the economy, society, religion, and numerous other things I think are valuable to be informed about.

I will freely admit to being highly partisan; in these perilous times I would suggest it’s impossible not to be, given the stakes . . . our freedom, the lives of immigrant children, western democracy.

This blog, however, has remained a place for me to share my thoughts about what’s particularly important to me. Yet I seem to have had trouble filling this location with much content, considering how long I’ve been blogging and how (relatively) few pieces I’ve actually published. This is especially true in light of the fact I frequently post to FB more than a dozen times on any given day; more if there’s a lot going on, less if I’m busy elsewhere.

I’m changing that. In fact, I’ve been changing it for the past couple of weeks. For most of the last year and a half I have been concentrating on my position as Business Manager for Quantellia, LLC and not paying any attention to this blog. I’m not posting as many as four times a day and, actually, believe I will be posting even more frequently. Most of these will be fairly short, but I will still write some longer posts, especially since I’m gathering my thoughts for a book.


So, here’s a meme—actually, I prefer to think of it as a work of art—I encountered on Facebook. The person who posted it where I found it pointed out how the artist used the shadow of the child’s hand to create an Adolphian mustache on the Tangerine Tyrant. It’s him, dontcha think?


A Useful (for moi) Outline

As I have noted previously, I am seriously considering working on a book, either of my memoirs (my whole life) or one about my activities in the Peace and Justice movement of the late sixties and early seventies. Most of that work was in protesting the war in Vietnam, but some of it was in protest of racism and inequality. If fact, I just found this document I authored about six years ago, which I called “20 things about me” and I can see it doesn’t say a word about my work with the Committee to Free Angela Davis. Clearly, I’ll be adding to this list, which I believe I will use to help me organize my thoughts about my life.


This is two views of one of the casts that were put on my left foot beginning 2 days after I was born. They must have put it on loose, because I kicked it off. My mother asked me to save it so, even though she’s been gone for about a decade, they’ll probably get cremated with me.

  1. I was born with club feet, one of which was corrected with casts, the other of which was corrected with surgery at 5 years old.
  2. When I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966, I failed my physical because of my foot, but argued successfully that you don’t march in the Navy. Big mistake; it’s about all you do in boot camp. Was subsequently discharged when they discovered I had arthritis in my ankle.
  3. My father, fearing I would become a bum, bought a small snack shop for me when I was 19 and a half. I was there during the Summer of Love (1967) and ended up having him sell it at a loss so I could go up to Haight-Ashbury and find out what the hell was going on.
  4. It took me 3.5 years to complete High School because I cut so many classes and just didn’t want to be there. I subsequently gained admission and graduated with a Juris Doctorate from an accredited Law School ten years later, without having attended undergraduate school.
  5. I provided armed security – as a bodyguard and with a team doing bomb searches, etc. – for numerous groups and individuals during the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement, including Jane Fonda, Arco Iris, Hortensia Bussi, and Vietnamese students in the U.S.
  6. I, along with my brother and my roommate, provided armed bodyguard services for Roger MacAfee and his family after they had put up their ranch for Angela Davis’s bail.
    They were guests of honor at a fundraiser called “In Concert For Angela,” which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. His family, and the three of us, were about the only white people there.
  7. I was a bartender at the Ash Grove in Hollywood, a venue distinguished by having been burned to the ground numerous times by anti-Castro Cubans (Gusanos).
  8. I spent two months in Cuba as a guest of the Cuban government and a member of the sixth contingent of the Venceremos Brigade.
  9. I taught myself Spanish for the trip.
  10. My first wife was Cuban (totally unrelated to my trip many years earlier) and my current (2nd) wife is Sansei (3rd generation Japanese-American).
  11. I’ve smoked pot since I was 19. I’m currently 66 (and my brain still functions pretty darn well).
  12. I love good single-malt Scotch.
  13. My last dog was a Rottweiler who was given to me as a gift from a girlfriend who couldn’t handle him. He loved to chase shadows and stomp ants.
  14. I have had at least a dozen cats throughout my life, including two right now – Zack and Weezy.
  15. I accidentally ended up working on the Space Shuttle Main Engine program beginning a year before the Shuttle’s return to flight after the Challenger disaster. I stayed there for 23 years.
  16. I accepted an early retirement package in 2010, as the Shuttle program was winding down and the space program was contracting.
  17. I earned a Masters degree in Knowledge Management from CSUN in 2009, at the age of 62.
  18. I became a first-time, adoptive father at the tender age of 55 and, in a stunning display of higher intelligence, did it again at 59. I feel responsible, but not guilty, for the part I have played in IA.
  19. I attempted to provide social media marketing services for small businesses after retiring, but soon discovered nobody could afford to hire me and most were abysmally ignorant of what was possible.
  20. At the end of last year I decided to offer my services as an editor and proofreader and my efforts are beginning to pay off.
  21. I just signed two contracts to write for a couple of organizations I have a great deal of respect for.

Concentrating on the Border | The Weekly Sift

Testing a bit of WordPress’s functionality; in this case, the “Press This” widget I installed in Firefox that allows me to share just about anything. Here’s a blog post shared by a friend of mine on Facebook, whose judgment I trust more than most. At least, in terms of her politics, historical and contextual understanding, and her humanity.

With respect to historical and contextual understanding, as well as (perhaps, most especially wrt) humanity, I would argue the Trump administration possesses none of these admirable qualities.

Additionally, what comes across loud and clear is that most of the media is fucking clueless. Their quest for clicks and profit has made it impossible for the majority of them to pay attention to what’s really happening or to help do something about atrocities such as this. Link to the full post at the bottom.

This week America’s talking heads argued about a label: Should the places where the Trump administration is detaining immigrants be called “concentration camps”? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the term (she wasn’t the first), and then pundits inside the Fox News bubble began demanding she apologize: to Trump, to Jews, to history, and so on.

As so often happens, the perpetrator became the victim. The media hasn’t devoted nearly as much time to the real victims — the immigrants (many of them asylum-seekers who have followed the law and done nothing wrong) being herded into camps of dubious safety and hygiene — as they have to the Trumpists howling with outrage. Instead of “What is happening on the border?” our focus has been on “Is it fair to call them concentration camps?”

I will not get snarky about this, because Alexandra Petri has already done that very well. (“If we do not use the right words for this, we might think that something terrible was happening.”) But I will point out that we had a very similar debate (including some of the same people, i.e., Liz Cheney) during the Bush administration: Should “enhanced interrogation” techniques (water-boarding, beatings, stress positions, sleep deprivation, extreme heat and cold — sometimes resulting in death) count as torture. Instead of discussing exactly what our country was doing to people we had captured, we argued about a word. Those who felt injured by that word often got more sympathy than the people they were (or were not) torturing.

Source: Concentrating on the Border | The Weekly Sift


Respect to our Indigenous Brothers & Sisters

My first foray into blogging was at Blogger, where I posted as The Cranky Curmudgeon (https://crankycur.blogspot.com/). My very first post was on Thursday, February 23, 2006, and you can read it here. I posted reasonably frequently for a while, but I’ve always been somewhat sporadic in my writing, mostly because I get deeply involved in my work and just haven’t been comfortable spending time coming up with subjects, then researching and writing about them. Now that I’m semi-retired and, more importantly, my girls are growing up (my oldest just graduated High School last week) I have more free time. I also would like to see if I can make a little money writing and posting to my blog is great practice. I’m contemplating a book about the Peace & Justice movement in Los Angeles during the late sixties and early seventies, when I was extremely active. That’s another story.

My last post to The Cranky Curmudgeon was on February 1, 2014, which seems a bit weird as it was long after I started Systems Savvy (where you are now) and over two years since my previous post at the end of 2011. I suppose I could do a little archaeology and figure out what I did back then, but I’ll leave that for some other time. What’s important now is I just want to share this video. I believe it was created to run during Super Bowl XLVIII. Unfortunately, it didn’t (as far as I know) and it really should have, IMO. It makes a very important point, which I don’t think has been satisfactorily settled yet. So I’m offering it here, where a few people may view it and it will remain until the Sun goes red giant and swells to engulf our planet. Which means it will be viewable for at least another billion or so years. Hope you enjoy it!


Reservoir Goodness!

I’ve only been following this chart for a couple of years, but this is the first time all of the reservoirs shown in it have been above their historical average. A lot of them are also fairly close to their maximum capacity. It would be nice if this trend continues for a few years. I’m tired of drought conditions. We still conserve water; I hope everyone in California does. Actually, I hope everyone, everywhere is thoughtful about water usage.


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