In The Country Of The Blind

Ed Raymond

88,633 Reasons Not To Build A Wall  

   Our Great Leader (a title used by North Koreans for Kim) is demanding that Congress include $5 billion in the 2020 federal budget for the border wall which he promised his rabid constituents Mexico would pay for. If there is something more stupid then building a wall on the Texas border, please let me know. Geographers utilizing the Ground Positioning System (GPS) have determined that the United States has 88,633 miles of tidal shorelines and 12,383 miles of coastlines. The Border Patrol command says we have 654 miles of fencing on the border, 280 of vehicle prevention-fencing and 354 miles of pedestrian-prevention fencing. There are a few miles of 16-ft high steel bollards, but those sections have been compromised by 17 ft. step ladders and $100 metal saws purchased at neighborhood hardware stores. Drug dealers have used medieval catapults to toss drugs over the walls and tunnels under the barriers to smuggle in people and drugs.

   Small drones have been used to carry five pounds of drugs over the walls and fences. Griff Aviation is now selling an eight-propeller drone called the Griff 300 UAV that can carry 500 pounds. That means that smugglers could possibly fly two adults at a time over any wall that the Great Builder built. What would 500 pounds of cocaine or meth bring on American streets? The Great Builder keeps telling his rally crowds that his steel barriers are ‘virtually impenetrable” and are the “Rolls-Royce of walls.” That’s about lie #14,920 since he lied about the size of his inaugural crowd. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is a clever wordsmith. In her November 23rd column she used some rare words to describe one of her favorite subjects: “Donald Trump is a vulgar bareknuckle who is a ‘rodomont’ (a vain booster), a ‘grobian’ (a buffoonish person), a ‘Sinon’ (one who misreads and betrays), and who also leads a government (a chirocracy) that rules with a heavy hand and is ‘froward’ (difficult to deal with or contrary). She added the work “proditomania” in another paragraph. It means “A feeling or belief that everyone is out to get you.” As an old English major I appreciated her efforts because her work adds to the qualities of our Great Leader. Dowd adds: “Trump believes paranoia can be useful. He sees the world as vicious and life as a battle for survival.” As a New Yorker she has known Trump personally for at least three decades.  

Ignorance And Cowardice Now Command The White House Situation Room  

   When I joined the Marine Corps in 1951 a number of Geneva Conventions had been updated in 1949 because of horrific incidents committed during World War II. Four treaties and three protocols now make up what is usually called the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention defines the basic rights of wartime prisoners, both military and civilian, establishes protections for the wounded and sick, and establishes protections for civilians who are in and around a war zone. Approved by 196 countries in 1949, it also defines the rights and protections for people classified as non-combatants. The Geneva Convention does not cover the weapons of war. Other international treaties such as the Hague Conferences cover the aspects of bio-chemical, gas, and bacterial warfare. In my day the Marine Corps required all commands to review the war rules of the Geneva Convention and all international arms treaties annually.

   I bring this up because Our Great Leader, tied with Dick Cheney for first with five deferments during Vietnam, in his total ignorance of the Geneva Convention — and his paranoia — has pardoned three war criminals of our military. Ex-Army Captain Clint Lorance was serving 19 years at Leavenworth for ordering his troops to fire on and kill three civilians and several other civilians, including children, in a nearby Afghanistan settlement in 2013. He had served six years when pardoned by “Trumplethinskin.” (Thanks to Stash Hempeck of Hendrum for this marvelous contribution in a Forum letter.) Nine members of his command testified against him in his trial by court-martial. Trump also pardoned Army Major Mathew L. Golsteyn who was going to be tried for the murder of an alleged Taliban bomb-maker and hiding the body from authorities. Trump’s pardon of Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher is the most controversial as he was charged with “stabbing a defenseless teenage captive to death, picking off a school-age girl and an old man from a sniper’s roost, and indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods in Mosul, Iraq with rockets and machine-gun fire.”

   He also threatened his fellow Seals not to report him for those violations of the Geneva Convention. Unaccountably, he was acquitted for the murders but was guilty of taking a picture with the corpse of an insurgent. This pardon is a real messy one because two attorneys working for Trump’s buddy and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani pushed for the pardon of Gallagher. Actually, when Gallagher went on Fox News to talk about the pardon and thank Trump, he even violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice by publicly criticizing military officers way above his Petty Officer rank! He should be court-martialed again for that UCMJ violation. I have served on Marine court-martial boards, and as the commander of a heavy machine-gun platoon I was responsible for annually reviewing the rules of war outlined in the Geneva Convention and international treaties with the troops under my command. The rules attempt to bring some humane order to the treatment of combatants and non-combatants in the seemingly inevitable conflicts among humankind.  

Let’s Take A Break For A Trumplethinskin Washington Photo Op  

   Many years ago one of my favorite presidents Harry Truman put the politicians in Washington in their place by uttering his immortal statement: “If you want a friend in Washington get a dog.” Well, Our Great Leader asked the U.S. Special Forces to bring Conan, the hero dog of the mission to kill ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to the White House for a photo op during a tough week. The cowardly president who escaped serving in the Vietnam War by using a “fake news “ letter from a weird doctor certifying he had ankle bone spurs, said: “It’s a great honor to have Conan here” during a photo op in the Rose Garden. Vice-President Mike Pence scratched the ears of the injured Belgian Malinois. Our Great leader awarded Conan a plaque and medal to celebrate the October 26th raid in which Conan was injured.

   “He is the ultimate fighter—ultimate everything. He is a tough cookie. Nobody is going to mess with Conan.” At no time during the ceremony did Trump or Melania touch the dog. (We have had a dozen friendly dogs in our lifetime and have a dog cemetery at the lake. How many normal people can be around a dog and not pet it?) Then I remembered: “Even his friends don’t like him.” You can add dogs to the list. There were four humans and a dog present at the photo op—Trump, Melania, Pence, the dog-handler and Conan. I had this sudden flash of understanding. The least qualified of the five at the photo op to be president of the U.S. was Trump! Besides, Our Great Leader never knew that Conan the hero was a girl dog.  

Evangelicals Have Four Biblical Heroes: King David, Saul, Solomon—And Trump  

   Darn. I’m going to have to stop calling The Donald “King.” Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in her decision on the immunity and executive privilege case brought by the House Judiciary Committee summed it up with two dynamite sentences in 120 pages of reason: “It is a core tenet of this nation’s founding that the powers of the monarch must be split between the branches of the government to avoid tyranny. Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that presidents are not kings.”

   Well, Donald and his cult think he is. Anyway, King David came from shepherd stock, killed Goliath, and sent Bathsheba’s husband to a battlefront line so he would be killed. Then David took Bathsheba to bed. It’s a Biblical Big Deal. Saul was envious of David for his looks and women. Solomon was just another plutocrat who took office. Read all about it! First, let’s establish this black woman judge ain’t dumb. I assume she will be getting death threats from the Trump cult and screams of “fake!”judgments from Republican politicians. She is 49, graduated from Harvard magna cum laude and from Harvard Law School cum laude, and served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She has served as law clerk for three federal judges and at age 46 was considered along with four others by President Barack Obama for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. She is related by marriage to former House Speaker Paul Ryan.  

Let’s Get Back To Our Great Leader, A Magna Cum Laude Graduate Of Fox News  

   It is quite clear that Donald and his lovers Kim and Vladimir know nothing about the Geneva Convention. Kim murdered his own brother and some of his uncles to remain in power--and has put thousands of his own people in concentration camps. Vladimir has a history of making enemies disappear. It’s a nasty habit. We all know that the Bush-Cheney administration brought back torture under the clean title of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Dick Cheney and his torture attorney John Yoo took the position that torture started when the detainee started to die from something done to his body. Cheney, leading the world with five draft deferments from Vietnam because he “was too busy,” thought adding water to water-boarding was not torture. Water-boarding was banned by the U.S. military in the Philippines War. During the 2016 campaign Trump took this position: “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than water-boarding! The problem is we have the Geneva Convention, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight!” Trump also said American troops would not disobey him if he gave them illegal orders.” He is bonkers. To the 27 psychiatrists and psychologists who have determined Our Great Leader is a malignant narcissist: “Why do bullies always turn into chickenshlt hawks?”  

My Favorite Newspaper Calls 2020 “A Defining Year”  

   The Guardian recently ran this editorial: “These are perilous times. Over the last three years, much of what the Guardian holds dear has been threatened—democracy, civility, truth. Next year America faces an epic choice—and the result could define the country for a generation. It is at a tipping point, finely balanced between truth and lies, hope and hate, civility and nastiness. Many vital aspects of American public life are in play—the Supreme Court, abortion rights, climate policy, wealth inequality, Big Tech and much more. The stakes could hardly be higher. As that choice nears, the Guardian, as it has done for 200 years, and with your continued support, will continue to argue for the values we hold dear—facts, science, diversity, equality, and fairness.” For a good perspective on government read “In The Country of The Blind,” a short story written in 1904 by H. G. Wells. Sometimes even one-eyed men are not kings in blind countries.