Three very successful singers, Bing Crosby (BC), Pete Seeger (PS) and James Brown (JB) were all born on the 3rd of May.
I take the fact of this date as permission from God to try to fuse their thought. (E Pluribus Unum.) I hope nobody else objects.
(BC) “……. listen a lot and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking.”
(JB) “Give kids a chance to learn ……. The real answer to race problems in this country is education. Not burning and killing. Be ready. Be qualified. Own something. Be somebody.”
(PS) “It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.”
James: “I want to say to you: Help yourself, so you can help someone else.”
Pete: “I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.”
Bing: “I’m proud to acknowledge my debt to the ‘Reverend Satchelmouth’ … He is the beginning and the end of music in America.”
James: “His acting ability taught him (Reagan) the whole structure of the country … He knows what everybody wants. You see, every American man is still a cowboy.”
Pete: “I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I’m looking at God.”
Bing: “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. And I fall asleep … counting my blessings.”
God Bless America
Geoff Fox, 3rd May, Down Under
Nine years ago today, Osama Bin Laden died.
Millennial commentator “Shelly” of San Diego writes this about what it took to take him down and what she wishes had happened:
But this means not spending American blood and treasure on foreign (mis)adventures when our roads have potholes and our public schools are failing.
What benefit did the average American get from the Iraq war?
From the Vietnam war?
We didn’t even need the Afghanistan war to take out bin Laden; the CIA and SEALs did that.
That’s how it should have been all along; a specialized operation to take out just bin Laden.
We used a chainsaw where a scalpel would have been better.
We did not need to wage a 19 year war.
When the war is older than some of your soldiers you’re doing something wrong.”
Thank you, Shelly.
God Bless America.
Geoff Fox, May 2nd, 2020, Down Under
Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910.
He could call out crap like few other writers in history.
What would he have said about the Coronavirus lockdowns?
We will never know.
Here is his risk analysis response in 1871 to an attempt by a railroad ticket seller to sell him insurance for a train trip:
“I hunted up statistics, and was amazed to find that after all the glaring newspaper headings concerning railroad disasters, less than three hundred people had really lost their lives by those disasters in the preceding twelve months. The Erie road was set down as the most murderous in the list. It had killed forty-six—or twenty-six, I do not exactly remember which, but I know the number was double that of any other road. But the fact straightway suggested itself that the Erie was an immensely long road, and did more business than any other line in the country; so the double number of killed ceased to be matter for surprise.
By further figuring, it appeared that between New York and Rochester the Erie ran eight passenger trains each way every day—sixteen altogether; and carried a daily average of 6,000 persons. That is about a million in six months—the population of New York city. Well, the Erie kills from thirteen to twenty-three persons out of its million in six months; and in the same time 13,000 of New York’s million die in their beds! My flesh crept, my hair stood on end. “This is appalling!” I said. “The danger isn’t in travelling by rail, but in trusting to those deadly beds. I will never sleep in a bed again.” (1871)
Two years later here is what Mark Twain had to say about the newspapers of his era: “It seems to me that just in the ratio that our newspapers increase, our morals decay. The more newspapers the worse morals. Where we have one newspaper that does good, I think we have fifty that do harm. We ought to look upon the establishment of a newspaper of the average pattern in a virtuous village as a calamity.” (1873)
And: “It has become a sarcastic proverb that a thing must be true if you saw it in a newspaper. That is the opinion intelligent people have of that lying vehicle in a nutshell. But the trouble is that the stupid people — who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations — do believe and are moulded and convinced by what they get out of a newspaper, and there is where the harm lies.”
Perhaps what Mark Twain was doing in these quotes was calling out Fake News.
God Bless America, Freedom from Fear and Truth,
For me these are bastions for The Word in the modern world.
Geoff Fox, 21st April, 2020,for Terra Nullius
I am a poet, a Word Artist.
I consider Patrick J Buchanan the world’s greatest living writer.
I offer this brilliant metaphor alone as proof: “To save Americans from contracting a virus that may kill 1-3% of those infected, we have put America on a ventilator.”
What will we lose and what can we save?
Shutdowns are man’s way to fight a disease.
God Bless American Freedom.
And save us from us.
Geoff Fox, Down Under, 14 April, 2020
“The only thing new on this earth is the history you don’t know.” – Harry Truman
The Marshall Plan is famous as an act of extraordinary generosity from America which restored prosperity to a war ravaged Europe.
It was signed into law by President Truman on the 3rd of April 1948.
The plan was conceived and put in place after the damage was done and the situation had been fully assessed.
Now we see people in a health crisis calling it a war and spending enormous sums of money to prevent as yet unknown damage and simultaneously ceasing the economic activities which could generate the income to pay for what is being spent.
Does that order of doing things and that way of speaking of things make any sense?
What makes more sense to me as words for reflection by all of us now are these words of George C Marshall himself:
“The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”
“A political problem thought of in military terms eventually becomes a military problem.”
The more I reflect on The Greatest Generation, the more I believe this modern world still has a lot to learn.
Lest We Forget
Nobody should be fooled by President Trump’s blowhard style of political campaigning.
POTUS is firmly in the tradition of great Republican peace makers in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and saved the Union.
Dwight D. Eisenhower inherited a mess in Korea from Harry Truman but he acheived what has been a lasting peace.
Richard Nixon, a man of the Quaker faith which is profoundly committed to the pursuit of peace, started talking with his communist adversaries.
Ronald Reagan achieved genuine reductions in weapons of mass destruction and, using peaceful methods, the Gipper won The Cold War.
Donald Trump has chosen dialogue with the leader of the worlds’s newest nuclear power, while others try to score political points about this by practicing the demonisation which is second nature to far too many modern progressives in The West.
I believe this current POTUS has shown a better balance of restraint and strength in The Middle East than any American President since George H. W. Bush.
In the little movie above, I have endeavored artistically to create a seamless transition between the thoughts of Eisenhower in his astonishing farewell address and the thoughts of Candidate Trump in 2016, because:
I like Ike.
And Donald Trump.
Geoff Fox, 4th March, Melbourne, Down Under
Americans love celebrating their tradition of freedom, especially the presidents on January 20, evry four years when the presidential inauguration takes place.
In his 1953 Inaugural Address, Dwight Eisenhower said, “We are called as a people to give testimony in the sight of the world to our faith that the future shall belong to the free.”
On January 20, 1961, JFK said “……. the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”
In 1969, on the same date, Richard Nixon said, “The essence of freedom is that each of us shares in the shaping of his own destiny.”
Australia does not have the same robust and articulate commitment to liberty.
A few days ago, I asked a bloke, who is the Australian equivalent for me of England’s Samuel Johnson and who knows a fair bit about my situation, “….. do you recognise the trashing in 2016 of my rights under articles 19 and 21 of UDHR?” (freedom of speech and the right to participate in government in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Aussie Sammy answered, “I do. You and many other citizens and non-citizens will experience such outrages but when a Court is involved, they are lawful under the law for the land that applies them – even when, as I say, the greater human right is being trashed.”
This fella was talking to me about a country he loves more than I can. He showed great personal integrity in speaking so honestly.
I cant live with this sort of “legality” where The Law and those responsible for it can destroy the foundations of democracy with impunity. In my case this was done when I was trying to celebrate democracy and freedom.
I cannot pretend to be willing to be a part of such a country.
Geoff Fox, 20th January, 2020, Terra Nullius.
Tim Goldich of Chicago remembers his young friend Sam Foxvog, who recently died in a car accident on the way home for Xmas.
“Sam was lovable. He had a sweetness to him. People liked him and you felt like you wanted to protect him, or perhaps, you wanted to protect his innocence.
When driving at night, Sam would pick a spot on the ground, or somewhere under an overpass, and just crash for the night. He certainly wasn’t at all dependent upon creature comforts!
On the 23rd of December (NB the depths of winter in Maryland where the average December overnight temperature is 27.3 degrees Fahrenheit – minus 2.6 degrees Celsius) Sam wrote on facebook of sleeping …. “In the hedgeline by the highway outside my car. I woke up at 8:40 am or so ……. So peaceful.”
He didn’t always make sense; he could talk on and on nonstop without being all that coherent. But when he wrote his thoughts down, he nailed everything with clarity and insight.
But when he’d laugh, I HAD to laugh too. I could not help but laugh, even though I had no idea what we were laughing about, because his laugh was so infectious, so guileless.”
Deeply felt words from Tim Goldich.
Lest we forget: what we all need.
Published by Geoff Fox, 30 December, 2019.
On the first of December 1862, with his country torn apart in Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln told America, “In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.”
On Christmas Day that year Lincoln visited soldiers in hospitals. Then the president commissioned artist Thomas Nash to create the first modern image of Santa Claus, in the cause of freedom.
What a wonderful Christmas spirit that was: visiting those wounded in a righteous cause and creating art celebrating generosity.
In the modern world, freedom is under constant threat.
Why cant we give freedom to each other anymore?
Why cant we even communicate?
Geoff Fox, Terra Nullius, December 1st, 2019