Category Archives: US Army

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans need to toughen up

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Evidently these people who volunteered for the most recent Presidential Wars seem to be coming home and offing themselves at a rate of 22 per day. Probably there’s a hidden message in there somewhere.

But the big problem is they’re whining and crying about it beforehand, trying through their, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization to get new special treatment and benefits for themselves and hire professionals to talk them out of it.

IAVA’s efforts have made an impact, as Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.), the first Iraq war veteran to serve in the senate, introduced comprehensive legislation that would increase mental health professionals at VA, enhance collaboration with the Pentagon, and review cases of soldiers who may have been wrongly discharged for “invisible wounds.”

“Returning home from combat does not erase what happened there, and yet red tape and government dysfunction have blocked access to the care that saves lives,” Walsh said in a statement to Business Insider. “It is our duty to come together for real solutions for our heroes.”

Just my opinion here, but there’s a really money-saving way to prevent all that. Veterans speaking out noisily to potential enlistees telling them all the reasons they are going to hate themselves for volunteering to serve in a Presidential War might be a good beginning. Then quitting accusing themselves of being heroes next breath after rolling ’round on the floor weeping about not enough sympathy.  Recognizing there are concomitant sacrifices that come with the financial and other benefits for joining a military force.  Abdicating personal moral and ethical choices to politicians and soldiers where the information’s already out there about the brushfire wars the nation loves to submerge itself in.

Hell, these people offing themselves know best whether their lives are worth living. But if they want a shoulder to cry on there’s plenty of help available already through the VA, and it’s easily accessible. Just take a look on the right sidebar:

https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/anonymous.portal;MHV_JSESSIONID=slK7T6vZ49t4TLd81GkdytND025vBpWx4msqx0qJplMXny1WpT0B!-1419889142?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=mhvHome

What almost certainly won’t help is  S.2182,  the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act to liven things up.  It would save a lot of money and effort, not to mention veterans hating themselves afterward, if we’d just stay the hell out of Presidential Wars.  See if that doesn’t clear the problem up without any mindless legislation.

Old Jules

Photos VA Chapel and Weston, MO house courtesy of Jeanne

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Possumly Jesse James, or a Younger or Dalton or someone else lived here, or visited here, or rode a horse by the place and gazed at it as he/she went by.

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!895 Chapel for VA Center at Fort Leavenworth in seriously bad repair. Protestant downstairs, Catholic further downstairs though the signs are somewhat misleading. No harm in a protestant attending Mass or a Catholic racking up some fire and brimstone occasionally, I reckons.

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Interesting stained glass work. Dunno whether it’s Catholic or the other one.

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Gargoyles are shared equally by Catholics and Protestants.

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The VA hospital environment surrounding this seems obliquely appropriate.

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The metalwork on those doors is probably symbolic of something, but everyone who once knew what it was is dead.

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This end of the building is in bad repair threatening collapse in places, but ain’t likely to get any better.

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Directly across the street from the chapel. It’s been through a long series of declines and repairs but we need another World War of considerable duration to bring it back to full bloom. Need to conscript all these young houdilums and get them on track to need a place such as this.

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The sign above the door reads, THE DUGOUT and can still be made out with a bit of squinting. I’m thinking it was a club for the people going through treatment, might have been used as recently as the Vietnam War.

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The Dugout

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Ex Post Facto: The retroactive waltz of point-men and snipers

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I finally got to see a primary care physician in that KC VA Medical Center.

KC VA Med Ctr

I arrived early and put my defibrillator to the test carrying a 20# daypack 150 yards across that parking lot, up the hill to the entrance, and a quarter-mile of heroesque hallways.  Registered and waited around a comfy area filled with old vets.

At which point life became a hoot.

Jeeze we veterans are a bunch of liars!  And we all know it, but remain silent on the issue so’s when our turn comes all the the others will nod sagely and pretend we aren’t just blowing pure unmitigated horse manure back and forth at one another.

So here in this Hero Hall you’ve got close to a hundred of us, maybe a third wearing VIETNAM VET, or some other VETERAN nuanced headgear.  And roughly a third of those are talking in loudmouthed indignation about something a first sergeant did or said forty years ago in a different country.

Meanwhile the other 2/3 wearing the Veteran caps nod and wait patiently for that vocally active third to finish or pause for a breath so’s they can cut in and tell what some first sergeant did or said to THEM forty years ago in some foreign land.

Those of us not wearing Veteran headgear listen deadpan, saying nothing, doing nothing to break the spell of dramatic fantasies, of young men who never existed prowling through the jungles of our imaginary youths doing and saying courageous things for the betterment of mankind and Freedom.

“Hell man,” I muttered to the guy sitting next to me, “I must be the only person here who wandered Asia trying to get a dose of clap, never met a hero.  Never sacrificed a damned thing in the service of this country.  I can’t recall a first sergeant ever knowing I was alive.”

The guy smiled at me.  “Not me.  I was an Air Force Sniper working out of the finance office in Danang.  Spent the whole time killing zipperheads except when I was in an office doing payrolls.”

About then a nurse called my name and I trekked breathlessly back to see a physician.  He hadn’t received all my med records from the recent hospital stay, so we’re starting all over.  Got an EKG, Lab [blood] work, complete stomach sonogram, and XRays to get out of the way brand spanking new before I can be seen by a VA cardiologist.  He says they can’t get the records from the Olathe Medical Center work because the VA computer is connected to the National Defense computer system, which might be compromised if they allowed outside data to be transmitted into it.

So they’ll just have to do it all again.  Though if I go over to Olathe Med Ctr. and get them to photocopy everything and carry it along when I see the cardiologist he figures the specialist might look through it if I provide it that method and that context.  Maybe.

So at least I’ve got some things I can do to improve my health this week, picking up those records at Olathe Med, going over to KC MO VA for all that expensive medical testing I’ve donealready had, getting it again so’s to be able to see a cardiologist.

Confidence raising, being able to do something uncharacteristically positive.

Somehow it’s vaguely reminescent of back when I was an infantry point man and sniper in the US Army in a country I never had the pleasure to visit.

Old Jules

Saved by the British? Wow!

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

My friend Rich explained on the phone last night that this guy in the White House had his heart set on embarking on a new military adventure.  Wants to bomb the bejesus out of Syria, of all places.  Sounds as though he wants to take a page out of the Bush book and use the second-cousin of WMD to justify it.

But at least the Brits have some questions in their minds left over from the last time they believed a lying US president and got themselves into a stewpot.  Plus, no doubt the ‘What’s in if for me?‘ part of the equation didn’t work out.

Evidently Israel, who probably provided the chemical weapons to the party who used them, and the French are just about the only people in the world with any enthusiasm forselective humanitarianism. 

The Chinese say, “Hey, let’s have a closer look at all this crap and find out whether anyone’s telling the truth about any part of it before we jump in chasing imaginary WMDs.”   Likely the Chinese are well aware of the propensity of US presidents for stretching the truth and trotting off into military interventions, false flag terrorism, and just lying for the sake of lying.  And no doubt they’ve got a fair idea who is hiding next door blowing into the coals of “Let’s you and him fight.”  Probably figuring they might be able to come out of it with a few inadvertent more miles of territory belonging to someone else.

Sheeze.  Sounds as though for once a presidential war might be avoided, and that the Brits might be a crucial part of the reason.

Wonders never cease.  Maybe if everyone but the French can keep their testosteronies under control, and if the Israeli  Security people can’t find an Archduke Ferdinand to off,  WWI can be prevented this time around.

Old Jules

Tags:  Syria, Israel, presidential war, US government, britain, france, WMD, Bush, false flag, chemical weapons, humanitarian

Terrorists on airliners prior to 9/11 – the cost of thinking we’re worth killing

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back before 9/11 the airline flights over the US almost always had a few terrorists aboard.  You’d see them hanging around DFW or Atlanta, or LAX wandering around the boarding areas looking hopefully at the other passengers.  A couple of typical Turks, or Iranians, or Arabs, or Israelis, or Northern Irishmen.  Just wandering around watching people in hopes some of their fellow passengers would be worth killing, or even getting themselves into trouble, wasting a bomb on.

Aside from an occasional hijacking they mostly never did anything.  Fact was, the people sharing their flights were just a bunch of bureaucrats, bleating women, corporate zombies, and people going somewhere to meet people of the opposite sex they’d become acquainted with on the Internet.  Just typical Americans.  Worthless as hell, and certainly not worth the life of a highly trained terrorist.

But when 9/11 came along it made all those non-terrorist passengers feel a lot better about themselves.  Nothing changed with the terrorists, but the typical Americans were generally elevated by the whole thing.  Suddenly it seemed to them that someone thought they were worth killing.

Turned out it was such an uplifting experience for them the government decided they liked having all the spinoff benefits …. trotted out a lot of airport security, Homeland Security, 87 new layers of cops and surveillance, and legions of new guys wearing berets carrying machine guns to go off places terrorists came from and blow away anyone who might think Americans were worth killing.

Worked out fairly well, all in all.  Win-win-win.  Only downside is that so many of the Americans who use to be not be worth killing decided it might be better not to get on airplanes if they could avoid it.  Those people over there where terrorists come from might begin to be pissed off, eventually.  Might start killing some people who aren’t over in those countries they come from and aren’t just wearing berets, battle dress uniforms, and dropping grenades into the market places full of women and kids.

Going back to not being worth killing might be nice.  But you can’t get there from here, I reckons.

Old Jules

Tooth Fairies, Trouble-Makers and Japanese Nukes

2013 Tooth Fairy with Radioactivity Sniffer Dog

2013 Tooth Fairy with Radioactivity Sniffer Dog

Hi readers.

If you’re like me you probably wonder why the Tooth Fairy changed so much since we were kids.  It was the Baby Tooth Survey did it.  Here’s what happened:

When the Commandant of the National Tooth Fairy Regiment died of cancer in 1963 a lot of traitorous whining wimps in Missouri started crying about the fact the US Government was dropping hydrogen bombs on itself to pre-emptively protect itself in case someone else should drop nukes on Nevada and New Mexico. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Tooth_Survey

Baby Tooth Survey

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The Baby Tooth Survey was initiated by the Greater St. Louis Citizens’ Committee for Nuclear Information in conjunction with Saint Louis University and the Washington University School of Dental Medicine as a means of determining the effects of nuclear fallout in the human anatomy by examining the levels of radioactive material absorbed into the deciduous teeth of children.

Founded by the husband and wife team of physicians Eric and Louise Reiss, along with other scientists such as Barry Commoner, the research focused on detecting the presence of strontium-90, a cancer-causing radioactive isotope created by the more than 400 atomic tests conducted above ground that is absorbed from water and dairy products into the bones and teeth given its chemical similarity to calcium. The team sent collection forms to schools in the St. Louis, Missouri area, hoping to gather 50,000 teeth each year.[1] Ultimately, the project collected over 300,000 teeth from children of various ages before the project was ended in 1970.

Preliminary results published by the team in the November 24, 1961, edition of the journal Science showed that levels of strontium 90 in children had risen steadily in children born in the 1950s, with those born later showing the most increased levels.[2] The results of a more comprehensive study of the elements found in the teeth collected showed that children born after 1963 had levels of strontium 90 in their baby teeth that was 50 times higher than that found in children born before the advent of large-scale atomic testing. The findings helped convince U.S. President John F. Kennedy to sign the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the United Kingdom and Soviet Union, which ended the above-ground nuclear weapons testing that placed the greatest amounts of nuclear fallout into the atmosphere.[3]

Follow-up analysis
A set of 85,000 teeth that had been uncovered in storage in 2001 by Washington University were given to the Radiation and Public Health Project. By tracking 3,000 individuals who had participated in the tooth-collection project, the RHPR published results in a 2010 issue of the International Journal of Health Service that showed that the 12 children who later died of cancer before the age of 50 had levels of strontium 90 in their stored baby teeth that was twice the level of those who were still alive at 50.[3][4]

After that things seemed to settle down okay for a while.  Then came Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl.  Tooth Fairies were dying off like flies.  Gums rotting away, skin peeling off them like overcoats.

Fact is, we almost lost the whole kaboodle of Tooth Fairies when the Japanese started dumping all the radioactivity they could scrape together and sending it into the atmosphere headed for Alaska, California, Washington and Oregon.  Pumping water hotter than a two-dollar pistol into the Pacific Ocean.

Tooth Fairy recruitment programs went to zilch.  Finding new Tooth Fairies to replace the ones getting the blind staggers was tougher than the Mother Church trying to find women willing to be nuns.

Luckily, the US Military and the National Academy of Multi-Layered Police Forces, comprising about half the US population, came to the rescue.  Provided pistols to be held to the temples of potential Tooth Fairies who were trying to take French leave from the job.  But to compensate, providing body armor and radioactivity sniffing dogs to help the ones still able bodied enough to slip into a bedroom at night and reach under a pillow for a tooth stay alive longer.

Saved again by the police and the US military and mercenary forces.

Old Jules

Getting had by Indians – taking the long view

homeland security2

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Europeans thought they were getting a fairly good deal when the Indians snookered them into paying a bunch of beads and mirrors for Manhattan.  As historian John Wayne once pointed out, “The Indians were selfishly hoarding the whole continent.”  They were in a position to demand unreasonable prices for real estate. 

Later on they demanded even higher prices for the land east of the Mississippi River and so on, always pretending they didn’t want to sell.  Cheating white men and the government every time they turned around.  The Black Hills.  The Rocky Mountains.  Florida.  Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington.  New Mexico, Arizona, Texas.  Those aboriginals were shrewd businessmen, turning white people every way but loose.  Nevada.  Utah. Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, wheeling and dealing every step of the way.

Worse than a bunch of Chinamen.  Those Indians were taking the long view.  What they wanted was casinos.  Tricking white men into giving them choice spots along the highways where they could open up gambling joints.  Trinket shops.  Clay pots. 

And they got it, too.  They still have some nice real estate up in the Dakotas, down in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and other places.  And some of that land has oil, coal, natural gas and other things white people need to fire up the hair dryers, air conditioners and clothes dryers mornings. 

It’s time for white people to realize we’ve been had.  There are plenty of big power companies, mining companies, real estate developers and other white people who’d love to have that land if they could get it for a reasonable price.  Pay for it in slot machine tokens, maybe, or table chips. 

Time to cut off all that free health care and commodity cheese, break up those reservations right down to the pavement on the casino parking lots.  It’s time for white people to quit getting had by Indians.  Those corporations would gladly keep them from selfishly hoarding all the stuff nobody knew was there when the original deals were made to let them stay on that land.

And after all, we’re all Native Americans now.  If we’re not, what the hell are we?

When the Mexicans were selfishly hoarding the whole southwest US we had to shoot a lot of them before they’d give us a reasonable price.  How the hell are we going to stop all those illegal aliens from Mexico  sneaking into the land we took away from them if we keep getting had by other Native Americans?

We need to send some tanks and drones and helicopters to take care of our problems right here at home before we go off to places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  There’s nothing on those reservations and in those casinos a few thousand mercenaries and enough explosives won’t cure.

The Visionary President Ronald Reagan wanted to give all the National Forests, National Parks and Bureau of Land Management lands to the real estate developers, mining and oil companies.  But he didn’t go far enough and it serves him right he’s remembered as a failed lunatic.  He had the Army and he had maps of the US.  If he didn’t know where the reservations were he could have asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  White people could have finally gotten a good deal on something.

Old Jules

The importance of being insignificant

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Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

President Jimmy Carter was scheduled to visit Fort Hood.  The First Cavalry Division [my old unit in Korea] was to stage massive war games and tank maneuvers and culminate the affair with a chemical substitute for a battlefield tactical nuclear weapon.  Because the President was going to be there, FAA closed down the airspace over Fort Hood for civilian air traffic.

Pissed my old buddy Phil Washburn  

Afterlife of One Hero – Sex, Violence and Crazy Love

  and me off something awful.  We were taxpaying citizens.  Who the hell did they think they were telling people they couldn’t fly around not bothering anyone watching how our tax dollars were being spent?

So when the day arrived we gassed up the old Cessna …. 100+ F on the runway, and began the long climb outside the forbidden airspace.  Burned up a lot of avgas and an hour getting up to 8000-9000 MSL.  Clear day though, and the temperature became comfortable somewhere above 5000′.

We circled at the edge of the airspace boundary watching the specks of gathered tanks and massed troops a few miles to the north waiting for the show to start.  Suddenly, hundreds of roostertails of dust obscured miles of landscape as the tanks charged forward.  Then the sky below us filled with helicopters.  Wow!  Wowowowowow!

I gradually eased us north until we were almost over the action, but still far enough south so’s we weren’t trying to see straight down, kept circling.  Powered back enough to hold the altitude, savor the cool, and watch what a major wartime battle must be like viewed from the air.

Finally, toward the north beyond all the tanks the substitute battlefield nuke sent up a heluva pile of smoke and fire into the sky, rising rising rising until we were looking up at the top.  It kept rising.

Turn off the lights.  The party’s over.  The roostertails behind the tanks had all faded, everyone down there was taking a break, having a drink of orange KoolAid or something, we reckoned.  The helicopters were headed away where ever helicopters go when the shooting stops.

Time for us to get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge before the high sheriff and POLice come gunning for us.

I pointed us back toward the Killeen airport and as we neared the edge of forbidden territory I shut down the engine, pulled up the nose to stop the propeller windmilling.  The old Cessna had a 20:1 glide ratio, so we were a long while circling over the airport just listing to the whisper of the wind over the surfaces of the plane.

I’d intended to push the nose down to re-start the engine when I got on final approach, but I’d never landed dead-stick and figured this was as good a time as any to do it.  Got the numbers and came to a dead stop 50 feet beyond them, restarted the engine and taxied over to the FBO under the admiring stares of everyone who never landed an airplane dead stick on a public air strip. 

Naturally we did a lot of bragging at the FBO, and a lot of people were shaking their heads in various attitudes of disapproval, horror, and awe.

Hell of a fine day to be an outlaw.   I recommend it.

Old Jules

Ever wondered who the Vietcong were?

Eddie Adams

Eddie Adams photo 1968

Last night I came across a thrift store book I’d never gotten around to reading.  One of those ‘last resort’ books set aside again and again.  A backup for a time when I would be desperate for anything besides the labels on sardine cans.

But as I thumbed through it I was abruptly captured.   When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace, by Le Ly Hayslip.

Here’s a woman born in 1949 in a Vietcong controlled village near Danang where her family’s spent the previous generations fighting, first the French, then the Japanese, then the French again.  As a small child she watches relatives and neighbors in her village raped and slaughtered by French mercenaries.  Then:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Ly_Hayslip

“Hayslip was born in Ky La, now Xa Hao Qui, a small town in central Vietnam just south of Da Nang. She was the sixth and youngest child born to farmers. American helicopters landed in her village when she was 12 years old. At the age of 14, she endured torture in a South Vietnamese government prison for “revolutionary sympathies”. After being released, she had fallen under suspicion of being a government spy, and was sentenced to death but instead raped by two Viet Cong soldiers.[2]

“She fled to Saigon, where she and her mother worked as housekeepers for a wealthy Vietnamese family, but this position ended after Hayslip’s affair with her employer and subsequent pregnancy. Hayslip and her mother fled to Da Nang. During this time, Hayslip supported both her mother and an infant son, Hung (whom she would later rename Jimmy), while unmarried and working in the black market, as an occasional drug courier and, once, as a prostitute.

“She worked for a short period of time as a nurse assistant in a Da Nang hospital and began dating Americans. She had several disastrous, heartbreaking affairs before meeting and marrying an American civilian contractor named Ed Munro in 1969. Although he was more than twice her age, she had another son with him, Thomas. The following year Hayslip moved to San Diego, California, to join him, and briefly supported her family as a homemaker. In 1973, he died of emphysema, leaving Le Ly a widow at age 24.

“In 1974 she married Dennis Hayslip. Her second marriage, however, was not a happy one. Dennis was a heavy drinker, clinically depressed and full of rage. Her third and youngest son, Alan, was fathered by Dennis and born on her 26th birthday. The couple filed for divorce in 1982 after Dennis committed domestic violence. Shortly thereafter, he was found dead in a parked van outside a school building. He had established a trust fund, however, that left his wife with some money, and he had insurance that paid off the mortgage of the house.”

So here’s a woman, a real, no-shit Vietcong, tortured by the South Vietnamese, suspected of being a traitor by the Vietcong and sentenced to death, raped and escaped.  Married a US civilian and became a US citizen.

Probably a person couldn’t be more caught-in-between from birth than she was.  Surrounded by hundreds, thousands of other peasants caught in-between.  Trying to dodge the steamrollers of forces they didn’t understand, South Vietnamese and US rifles pointed at them daytimes, Vietcong rifles pointed at them nights.

Yep, this lady is one of the people the guys with Vietnam Veteran caps walking around mining for praise and ‘Thank you,” spent their tours in Vietnam trying to kill.

Damned book ought to be required reading for anyone buying a SUPPORT OUR TROOPS sticker.  Because at a foundation level, SUPPORT OUR TROOPS isn’t about the troops.  It’s about people who are being defined as ‘the enemy’ those troops are going to do everything in their power to ruin the lives of.

People in US government who couldn’t locate the place on the map defining one side as ‘the enemy’ and the other side as ‘friends’.

Old Jules

Grandkid:  Granpaw, what did you do in the Vietnam War?

Old Vet:  I helped Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon kill a lot of people who didn’t need killing, helped destroy a country that didn’t need destroying, helped get a lot of GIs killed and maimed in the process.  And I’m damned proud I did.

Grandkid:  Oh wow!  Thank you Grandpaw!

Picking your symbolism: The biggest food bird, or the biggest predator?

hero patriot2

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Hydrox, Niaid and I were out in the RV a little while ago, two of we three scurrying for new places to hide every time a new dash of thunder rolled across the landscape, rain pelting the roof and some edifying lightning to season it all.

Finally the drama ended, but the rain continued a while and the cats decided the world wouldn’t end.  I sat there gazing across the meadow, opened a side window to let the odor of fresh rain inside.  Something big moved around the other RV ……. six wild turkeys grazing on apple cores I’d thrown out the window.  Occasionally letting out enough turkey noise to scare the bejesus out of the cats and have them scurrying for cover.

Watching those turkeys got me thinking about how they were runners-up to become the National Bird, once.  This is no BS.

Time was when most of the people in this country were acutely aware they had relatives, distant cousins somewhere, still laboring for nothing, starving to death, fighting wars and living under the iron heel of aristocrats.  Aristocrats who had histories as far back as anyone could remember of using the biggest predatory bird anyone could think of as a symbol of what aggressive sons-of-bitches they were.

Eagles.  Imperial eagles.  Regal Eagles.  Birds that didn’t do a damned thing but come down out of the sky and kill anything they could catch.  Birds nobody anywhere ever ate.

So a lot of people in this new land thought they’d donealready had everything they wanted to do with eagles and starving, and having heavy heels on their necks by a bunch of damned aristocrats.  They figured if they were going to pick a bird to symbolize the way of life they wanted, a the biggest bird people could make a meal of would be a good symbol.

A symbol of common people with full bellies for a change.  A symbol of people being able to go out into the woods and get a wild meal without some aristocrat telling them that deer, or turkey, or rabbit belonged to them, the aristorcrat, and common people would do better to starve than get caught eating one.

Well, friends and neighbors, we donealready had an aristocracy putting itself together, deciding whether we wanted to be represented by the biggest predatory bird with a complete history of aggression, repression and exploitation.  They knew whether they wanted to be represented by a turkey, or a Regal Eagle.

You can look around you and see which one they picked.  And you can consider the 50 tons of laws they’ve made since they adopted that eagle for their symbol, the several tons they’ll pass this year, and know why they picked it.  50 tons of laws telling you what you can’t do, a few tons more this year.

But you have the satisfaction of knowing you have a proud bird for a national symbol.  Not some damned turkey you could make a meal of in a pinch if there weren’t a law against it.

Old Jules