This blog, and all of its contents, is the original work of a university-educated professional American soldier who has served his nation and the world in special operations and strategic clandestine human intelligence operations overseas continuously for decades.
I should point out that, as an American man, I was fortunate enough to participate directly and extensively in the great civil rights movements of the 1960s as well as to obtain a first-rate education at excellent universities – before I was asked to contribute my talents to my nation’s armed forces and their global role in protecting the nation’s security and that of many other nations. I have also been fortunate to have been handed many interesting challenges by my government over a very long period, from combat zone foot soldier to cocktail circuit diplomat, plus many different endeavors around the world in between. Still embracing challenge and actively contributing abroad, my only “disability” today is a tenacious independence; I seek nothing from anyone and expect only the same level of competent and responsible professionalism from others as I have always given them.
> Gaiscíoch na Maithe – Laoch na Fírinne <
So, I am an independent thinking Irish-American with a very broad world view who does not subscribe to any group’s dogma and who will just as easily give the finger to Republican idiots as to Democrat morons. I like the idea of the Tea Party movement, mainly because it’s forcing a shake-up of the stupid establishment status quo in America that hasn’t accomplished anything positive for the past 40 years. Such movements literally terrify establishment “elitists” – the same sclerotic establishment “elitists” who in their own self-interests have made such a colossal mess of the US and Europe since the mid-1970s – so they predictably attribute all sorts of apocalyptic consequences to such grass-roots stirrings as the usual knee-jerk reaction of dedicated self-preservation. Established power never embraces challenges from others, even though mankind cannot move forward without such challenges. Unchallenged power in American democracy is simply un-American.
“I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” – Thomas Jefferson
My university background was in social sciences – primarily sociology, psychology and sociocultural anthropology – but as a constant vanguard participant in the world’s trenches I picked up a lot of other interests, expertise and history along the way.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” – Albert Einstein
I could fill these pages with all sorts of stories about military and intelligence stuff, and am willing to answer specific questions on such matters, but there must be a million “experts” out there, with a wide range of real or manufactured experience and knowledge, doing this. (If you wish to raise such matters, first see if you can master the basic primer I’ve posted in the article on “Purple Fingers”. Then try “Military Fruit Salad“.) So here I try to limit such topics to instances where they can have broader applicability to my primary interests. (Besides, I often get the distinct impression that most such “experts” focus their attention on such things primarily to avoid having to focus on the far more difficult things right here at home in front of everyone.) When raising military matters with me, please don’t use the royal “we” – when what you really mean is “someone else” expected to do the hard stuff so as to make “me” feel better for doing nothing, especially when the only times you don’t despise those “someone else” is when you need them to do the hard stuff.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, … who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I don’t offer bouncing baubles, pictures, or videos for the intellectually challenged or “shiny objects” for the “useful idiots”. The real world is a lot more complicated than that. So you won’t like this blog if you can’t read and comprehend good English; if you have an infant’s attention span not exceeding three minutes; if you are looking for short cuts, easy answers or quick fixes; or if you think “education” comes in a tweet and that “communication” comes in an epithet. Here you will find “inconvenient truths” you may not wish to learn, and you will have to actually think to learn them. Please do not expect to find your very own “Tailored Truth” on these pages; I don’t deal in self-serving fantasy. Older folks who already know everything probably won’t find much here to reinforce their beliefs, either. But even those who have an interest in Women’s Studies might find here some edifying material for adult consideration among some of the articles.
Most of my posts are rather academic, intended to have a long life, not bound by today’s fleeting interests. The articles posted here now constitute carefully constructed chapters in basic English for at least five, perhaps six or seven, books of original material with similar or inter-related sociological themes, primarily focused on American society unencumbered by popular myth and propaganda. As a flexible citizen-soldier personally familiar with much of the world’s human diversity, I welcome differing views that are intelligently considered, factual, rational and defended. I remain actively engaged, very well informed, and I give considerable thought and time to what I post here, so please don’t make me suffer the barbs of blustery boobs who spout simplistic emotional nonsense from the sidelines. If you post comments please try to avoid the bobble-headed group think that now seems to dominate everything in America depending on whether one is told what to think by their handlers on the left or on the right. I try to write for quite smart senior high school and college students, generally with males in mind, so please try to avoid profanity, etc.. Thanks.
Note that the “Recent Posts” index in the right column will accommodate only fifty titles. Some of my consistently more popular posts, such as “Why Are American Men So Dumb?” (March 2011) about US K-12 public schools; “Gymnastics Of The Mind” (May 2012) on gender bias in learning; “Irish In America” (March 2011) and its two companion pieces; the two articles on “Marketing And Propaganda” (March 2011); “Smiling Faces And Purple Fingers – And Egypt” (February 2011) and “Military Fruit Salad” (November 2012) (explains some military stuff, “war on terrorism”, etc.); “Women In Combat” (January 2011); “Let’s Change The Rules!” (April 2011); and the ever-popular piece about “Walt Kowalski” (Gran Torino) (January 2011), are automatically shifted to “Archives” as I add new posts, albeit intermittently.
The reader may use either the monthly archives or the site “Search” tool to find earlier posts, topics or terms that interest them. (The WordPress search tool is not sophisticated. Select one critical key word and spell it correctly to find articles; then use your browser to search the article’s page for that word.) And, please, no post should be considered “too old” to comment on; if I can no longer stand behind any of my posts, I would remove them entirely from the site.
I do periodically update or expand some popular posts, mainly in an effort to keep up with readers’ on-going interests, while also trying to keep to my original objective of not making things overly complicated or too esoteric for most normal readers.
Although I make frequent use of mostly statistical data from respected open sources, the material contained here is strictly my own, and my overall thinking, reasoning and logic is not based on sources beyond that generally held philosophically by America’s Greatest Generation plus my own life-long education – at universities, in the US military, and from good teachers all over the world. I write about things I know, not about things I think I know. If you doubt any facts I present, please try, as I did, to verify them elsewhere before concluding that my facts are wrong. Most of what now passes as “intelligent discourse” in the US is in reality little more than memorized group-think that rarely rises above the level of trite dogma. Far too often I feel like I’m trying to converse with programmed puppets and fervently wish I could banish from Earth forever the entire American public school indoctrination industry serving only the loudest of special interest group lobbies. Far too many of my very ignorant countrymen firmly believe that they brilliantly know everything. How is that even possible? I am only beginning to grasp how very much I don’t know.
Shocked by ISIS (or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria?
See “Smiling Faces and Purple Fingers – And Egypt“, posted five years ago, “Getting Gadhafi“, and the more recent “Human Rights, The Moral Imperative, and Just Wars“.
The true story, in three parts, of
St Patrick’s Day!!
I’ll bet that you don’t know 80% of this stuff. It’s part of the “secret” history of Ireland and America.
Terrified by ISIS? Did you know that the British crown employed tactics against the Irish over two centuries that were nearly identical to the ruthlessly brutal tactics employed today by ISIS – and that it was not so long ago, while the United States of America and its Constitution were being created?
Thought of the month:
Americans cowering in the corner while their government builds their own all-controlling prison, ostensibly to protect them from a potential few crazies with home-made bombs, are simply unworthy of defending. These fearful and short-sighted little children literally vanish in the shadow of their Greatest Generation parents and grandparents who lived their entire lives under the constant threat of nuclear Armageddon, and they have no concern at all for the hell they are bequeathing to their children. As its lemming citizens nonchalantly toss aside their rights and freedoms, America is rapidly becoming decidedly un-American.
“… O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.” – Benjamin Franklin.
A people who wage war out of fear have already lost the war.
All they are doing is creating more enemies who sense blood in the water.
It’s even worse when it’s all done in secret, in the shadows, out of sight and mind of the very people in whose name it is conducted. The only reason to conduct war in secret is for domestic political aggrandizement, to “control the narrative” for domestic gain. When the end comes, and it will, those people, the royal “we”, will never know what hit them.
(Proper Protocol: It’s not complicated, really. When the National Anthem is being played or sung, everyone present is supposed to stand, face the American flag and remain respectfully silent. In our severely fragmented society, that flag and the nation it represents is almost the last thing that unites us all. Those wearing a US military uniform are supposed to render a proper US military salute to the flag. Those not wearing a US military uniform are supposed to place their right hand over their heart (which is considered a “civilian salute” to the flag). Civilians are all those who are not military. Also, Memorial Day (last Monday in May) is for honoring dead soldiers (including their graves), while Veterans Day (11 November) is for honoring those who served or are serving with honor in the US armed forces. And, yes, there is a Big Difference: Memorial Day pays solemn respect to those who sacrificed their lives in wars defending the nation. Veterans Day is for thanking those few who step up for the tough stuff so the rest don’t have to. Responsible adults used to teach this very basic stuff to kids in grade school, but the Baby Boomers clouded everything by turning these special days into holidays for shopping bargains. “No one is more insufferable than he who lacks basic courtesy.” ― Bryant McGill. But it helps if you first learn a few civil fundamentals so as to avoid putting your ignorance on public display.)
For those of you who prefer not to post comments on public pages, my e-mail address is email@example.com
Robert J. Lavin, US Regular Army (ret), Montana, USA (and occasionally found at various other locations around planet Earth)
Those with the least invested in what America has to offer are always those most willing to just take it, waste it or give it away.
Those with the most invested are always those most eager to improve its flaws while offering its treasures at a fair price.
The greatest gift that America offers is opportunity, for all; it is NOT a free ride, for any.
Talk is the cheapest thing there is. Behavior easily trumps words.
There is no such thing as rights without responsibilities.
And there is no “special” in “equal”.
Freedom has a price – to everyone.
For other bloggers: I have a quite wide range of interests and expertise far beyond what appears here, but I am a novice at blogs. One of my primary interests is understanding history and culture, and one of my primary objectives is to educate younger people with objective information and analysis within a good context uncluttered by emotional nonsense. I’ve spent most of my life since college outside the US, so it’s difficult for me to discern what might interest thinking Americans. I’ve noticed that, while quite a few people, including very many from countries other than the US, drop by to look over my posts or upload them to reading devices, etc., most decline to comment on site. Let me know if you see similarities in my approach with your own, and perhaps we can share links to reach a wider audience.
Group Membership. In order to maintain my independent objectivity, I am not a member of, nor do I wish to be identified with, any special interest group, lobby, union, association, organization or political party, although I have nothing against bright young independent-minded political candidates trying to make a difference. I am just a thinking male American soldier, a political independent who has a life-long record of voting in every election. “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” – Thomas Jefferson. I have zero tolerance for those weak minds who use emotion, fear, propaganda, “sexism”, “racism”, “misogyny”, “homophobia” or similar labels to “make their argument” and shove it down my throat. Those in America who insist on different rules for their own “special” group are just being too lazy, too stupid or too arrogant to live up to the standards of those who built America and handed it to them for free. Those earlier Americans, who came from literally everywhere, did NOT create all this just so pathetic whiners and slackers could screw it all up. I’ve been listening and adjusting to everyone else in silence all my life; it’s now time for me to share a little of what I have learned. I deal only in fact and logic, and I do not need anyone else, or any herd, to do my thinking for me. Since I value integrity and truth above fame or fortune, you will not find gimmicks or advertisers on these pages. For the record, I have been a Regular Army “purple suit” officer (serving with all four military services and certain civilian agencies) for my entire unbroken career and have no experience with either the National Guard or the Reserves. US government agencies with which I have experience, in Washington and abroad, include Defense, DIA, CIA, State and NSA and some of their foreign counterparts.
November 2013: Ads. I now understand that the Wordpress host may display ads at the conclusion of select articles for some visitors to see. I do not see those ads, do not know what they are selling, and do not profit in any way from them. They are solely an option of WordPress. I invite readers to let me know if the ads are distracting; apparently I can pay WordPress not to display them.
Social Media: The WordPress host enables links to social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc., but I do not maintain accounts with any of those services, have little time to invest in them, and am wary of stampeding herds; feel free to use the links for your own constructive purposes. (It would be nice if you sourced any material borrowed from my site to “Invincible Probity”.) Having never in my life taken a “Selfie”, I’m just not into self-promotion, so readers who are interested will come, and those who aren’t won’t. Expert technical help to improve my site would be appreciated. (Because I am not a needy insecure person who requires constant “connections” to manage his life and do his thinking, I also do not own a personal cellphone.)
For “Followers”: I work without an editor, and usually while traveling in planes, so I often have to go back into posts later to correct typos or tweak a line or two. And sometimes I add or alter text to address comments and questions in e-mail from readers. So it’s probably best to wait a few days before taking one of my posts to the bank.
If any American can present an intelligent defense of a view different from those I have presented here in any of a wide range of topics, then I strongly urge them to do so. I am well aware of the excellence in thinking that many non-Americans can offer me, but it is my own countrymen who generally let me down. The only thing I want, the only thing I need, is to be challenged by a good mind on the things that concern me most about the future of my country.
For high school and college students: The only things about me that are important to you are that I am an honorable soldier with a good education; I am not some brainless two-dimensional avatar in a video game or Hollywood movie. Furthermore, any total loser can scream orders to morons from the very safe rear; there is only one way to lead people worth leading, and that is from the risky front, by example, by actually doing things and convincing others to follow. Talkers who don’t actually do anything join big groups and argue in the most useless of idle endeavors – politics, which anymore is mostly a selfish game of mobs forcing “someone else” to pay the bills, take the blame and do the hard stuff for “me”, a game that can be played by small groups up to whole countries. Just be your own person, and use your brains. Learn how to think; don’t ever let anyone, or any herd, tell you what to think.
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” – Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American cultural anthropologist who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1979.
The only way I occasionally track my visitors is by their home country. Over the past several years, only about half are from the US, which, to me, is a good sign. I am multi-lingual, but since English has become so predominant throughout the world, I think it’s important to offer everyone the English language according to proper rules of spelling and grammar – which is the first sign of an educated person who cares about communicating and understanding. (Any teacher or student who does not strive to meet such an important basic standard has no business being either.) However, no one anywhere should ever let their English limits deter them from writing to me. Many who do write to me from around the world are surprised to learn that this American is, in fact, quite familiar with their home country and some of its people, from first-hand experience. (I was born and grew up in Washington, DC., and roamed throughout the American South as a boy. A few of the places where I have lived, from 1 to 5 year stretches, include Berlin, Hong Kong, Panama, Saigon, Rio, Tokyo, Helsinki, San Francisco, Sydney, Beirut, Munich and London. I have also visited for extended periods, usually on business, many other places on six continents over the past half century.) Just please think about how you express yourself before you send it; the more thought you put into your topic, the more you will get from me in return. (Also, be careful when borrowing my work; some teachers are learning to recognize my writing.) Remember what every good soldier knows: The only dumb question is the one not asked.
In response to many e-mails asking the same questions: Among the jobs I had while attending an all-boys high school and six years of college were: farm crew laborer, seasonal US Postal Service letter carrier, department store furniture and accessory salesman*, construction worker, Longshoremen dock worker*, Teamster driver and freight handler*, UPS distribution center sorter*. (Those with an asterisk were full-time 40-hour-a-week jobs while also carrying a full-time college schedule.) I was a card-carrying Longshoremen and Teamster union man. I accepted no scholarships, grants or loans. Unable to lean on my attractive looks, my helpless gender or my doting daddy while fending off the Draft and avoiding crippling entanglements, I worked. I also tutored a number of subjects in college, including English, American and European history, math and social sciences. My worst subject throughout was French; I hate rote memorization exercises, but I eventually did learn enough French to work alone in Vietnam and elsewhere where the French left their former exploited colonies in dysfunction.
America is where you go to find the largest collection of eternally suffering human victims in the history of the world – all wallowing in the luxurious bounty that is the “Greatest Nation On Earth”.
(Go figure. Who would have imagined that perpetual victimhood would become the nation’s principle industry, employing full time almost 80% of its pathetic whiny population? Some advice for morons: Whiners are losers, and losers lead no one. Where winners compete, losers demand quotas. And quotas only dilute, create mediocrity, steadily lower standards.)
For all the many tens of millions of beneficiaries of powerful special interest lobbies in America protecting and championing our majority women and minorities for the past half century or more, an item of simple logic: If all you want to hear is what you want to hear, all you will ever get are lies. Our whole society now is based on absolutely nothing but stupid lies. Almost nothing is really what it seems. Look around you. Can you provide any other rational explanation for why everything has gone to hell in a hand basket? Intelligent members of a free and vibrant society do not censor open discussion, even if that discussion includes criticism of certain of its members and groups. Know that I have reached a point in my life when I will no longer bow to the cheap bully tactic of applying despicable labels to guys like me solely to silence our valid criticism, our considered opinion, our true beliefs, our freedom of speech – as 99% of the other members of my group now do as a matter of lifelong enforced habit – solely because we have never had a lobby of our own. (Now we shatter male icons like clay pigeons, once a week as sport it seems. Isn’t it fun … not to have standards anymore? Even a truly pathetic Harper Lee couldn’t rest until she destoyed the father, Atticus Finch, she had made iconic. Her original work in 1960 was the last time an American woman wrote of a man without hatred or malice, so the 2015 sequel was always a foregone conclusion.) You can always identify incredibly small people by the fervor they devote to tearing down icons whom they could never begin to match.
Just to be clear: I am a member of a group in a democracy that is identified as White Adult Heterosexual Male – a minority group that constitutes all of about 18% of the American population; for every one of me, there are four others who are members of other groups. I am NOT responsible for your behavior, your choices, and I really really HATE picking up the tab for them. (Yes, thanks to really huge herds of morons ending up actually believing their own self-serving propaganda, everyone thinks my group is that 95% of the American population that is always oppressing all the other poor tiny groups out there, but the sad truth is that we are just the only group without a lobby and are not granted any whines, excuses or dodges, so we HAVE to do things. The most asasine of these “oppressed” groups is the enormously powerful women majority, whose incessant whining “me” votes have decided all elections in America since 1980 – and still can’t stop its infantile whining even as the country steadily falls apart.)
Here’s a small piece of insight for all you folks out there who insist that “society” (government) has a “responsibility” to take care of all the many tens of millions of “vulnerable” people out there who can’t take care of themselves – in America! Over 90% of such pathetic people WOULD be able to take care of themselves if they had grown up, as I did, knowing full well that no one was EVER going to bail them out of their own problems. The simple key is to not grant anyone any excuses. Just tell them, “Sink or swim, baby. You’re choice.” If you need any lessons for very large groups, spend a little time studying the Famine-Irish-Americans from 1840 to 1940. Or, if you need a more contemporary example, take a closer look at white heterosexual males. Have you EVER heard anyone even hint that this group might need some help? Of course not. This is the group that everyone else needs to blame for their problems. If this group didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be anyone to blame, and where is the benefit in THAT? Our whole society would collapse in chaos in a few weeks. If we didn’t have white heterosexual males to take the blame, pay the bills and do the hard stuff, there just wouldn’t be an America. The reason why America is falling apart today is that for the past two generations women have been purposefully “educating” this ever shrinking group to be ever dumber.
The truly staggering numbers of perpetually whining “victims” in my country simply boggles the rational mind, but I nevertheless have been meeting your incessant demands every day of my entire life. As a man of considerable experience who has fully earned his stripes on his own merit, I will no longer bow to your self-serving bigotry. In America, no one is forcing anyone to do anything; your condition is solely a matter of your own choices, your own behavior. There is no legitimate excuse for perpetual childish whining. It’s been blatantly obvious for decades that it’s all designed solely to enable whiners to dodge their fair share of the responsibility anyway. If you don’t measure up, then you deserve to be told that fact, that truth. Besides, since you’ve never offered me or my sons anything but grief, I’ve got nothing to lose, and it’s time for you to grow up. You can’t whine and hide any longer; YOU are now “The Man”, everyone else’s hated target on the firing line. (It comes with the territory.) Like all those before you at the helm, ladies, your rights are no longer nearly as important as your responsibilities – for others.
Check out my three chronological articles on the Famine-Irish who became Americans in the 19th century to see where I get my standards, and why. For 450 years, from 1500 to 1950, America got the bravest of each of the world’s many groups, people who risked literally everything to get here on a hope for a better future and then made it work with their blood, sweat and tears; it is today our responsibility, your responsibility, to live up to their magnificent example. No one should ever take for granted anything that America offers; it could all be gone tomorrow, simply through irresponsible negligence and ignorant complacency. Because the greatest danger to America today is a myopic, under-educated and self-interested feminine majority, and the tyranny it forces on others, America needs to be strenuously defended every day, right here at home. My own ancestors were Famine-Irish serfs; although they never had a special interest lobby, there is no greater American legacy than theirs.
WARNING FOR ALL: I have a special passion for defending the rights of America’s boys against pervasive bigotry from their birth onward. With almost everyone else either permanently cowed and castrated, or forever worshiping their glorious navels, all while whining ad nauseam about victim “me” stuck on “stupid”, those boys are The Last Hope for my nation’s future. And get this loud and clear, all you “grown-up” idiots out there: Boys do NOT “create themselves”. YOU create them!
And it’s just incredibly stupid to ridicule your own crippled creations.
Don’t kid yourself. It takes a Man to make a man.
To those women who profess to agree with the things posted here, know that, if you are not the biggest and loudest part of the solution, then you are an integral and supportive part of the problem. There’s no one to blame but yourself. It is NOT all about “me”; it is about “us” – ALL of us, including the boys and girls you “raise” and “teach” and warp, and send out into our world. Just check out “The Last Minority“.
“A right is responsibility in reverse“.”
– E.B. White (1899-1985) Greatest Generation American writer and author; awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963) and the Pulitzer Prize (1978).
Baby Boomers. The reader may notice here and there a certain contempt for the American Baby Boomer generation, those born between 1945 and 1966. Of course, there are always a few exceptions to the rule, but it’s difficult to praise something so huge that has proven so utterly worthless. Generally, I regard Baby Boomer women as the most self-involved professional whiners in the history of humanity. And if Baby Boomer men had brains and spines to match their big mouths, they would have done something decades ago. This thoroughly corrupt mob of spoiled children has been steadily killing my country with a responsibility-avoidance dodge that is simply monumental. For a half century these 80,000,000 perpetual juveniles have done little more than worship themselves. And, even worse, they’ve passed all that disgusting “me” crap on to their children. Unless Generation Y, those born after about 1985, along with new immigrants, reject even more of the Baby Boomer dogma than the Baby Boomers rejected of their Greatest Generation parents, our society will not survive beyond mid-century.
After over sixty years of listening to the exact same stuff every single day, I’ve come to the conclusion that American women are permanently stuck in 1960, that no matter how powerful are the positions they fill, how much they dictate to every man in sight, how many elections they decide, how much others accommodate their every demand, how arrogantly entitled they become, the only thing they do better than anyone else is talk, and over 90% of that talk is whine, the same whine as in 1960. “It’s what they do.” It’s a maddening loop on perpetual auto-repeat. American women are the most pampered, protected, promoted, privileged and powerful group on the planet, and yet the only thing they can do better than any other group on that planet is whine, incessantly. This is because no one has ever demanded that they accept the responsibility parts of each and every one of all those rights they keep claiming for themselves. Men are NOT responsible for the choices women make. A half century is a very long time for such a really humongous and enormously privileged group to avoid coming up with an original thought, to avoid taking an initiative on behalf of someone besides themselves, to actually accomplish something worthwhile on behalf of all of us. Talk is the most common and prominent characteristic of a self-anointed nobility class, serving itself and nothing else. YOU created this mess. This is America; shut up and DO something!
Hey! All you ignorant self-involved Baby Boomers and their spoiled descendents! You do NOT “buy” your own Social Security and Medicare benefits with your monthly payroll taxes! Your taxes pay for your parents in their retirement. How well you do that will determine how well your children will pay for your retirement – provided, of course, that you’ve bothered to have and raise enough healthy and well-educated children to do that. Social Security is a societal welfare assistance program; it is not a corporate pension plan. It was based on a fundamental human concept that had stood since the dawn of civilization; only an incredibly self-involved generation of spoiled-rotten American Baby Boomers could ever have failed to grasp that simple universal concept. The Greatest Generation had and raised a comparatively enormous number of such children, the healthiest and best-educated children in human history, and all on their own, so it was very easy for the Boomers to pay for their Greatest Generation parents in their very brief retirements (if they lived long enough to actually retire). The fewer babies that native Americans have and raise, the more millions of Third World babies they have to import to take up the native slack. And, thanks to the Boomers, Slacker Narcissism is now the name of the game in spoiled rotten America. That’s why we are almost bankrupt.
People keep asking me about my favorite movies (more so than about my favorite books). I have a preference for serious drama films with very intelligent scripts, especially those that try to accurately portray history within the social context of the time (rather than imposing today’s values on the past in order to make arrogantly “superior” judgments or revising past fact to serve contemporary self-interests) while also trying to explain why it was so. Excellent films like “Girl With A Pearl Earring” (2003 Britain), “Everlasting Moments” (2008 Sweden), “Empire Of The Sun” (1987 USA), “The Last Emperor” (1987 China-Italy), “City Of Life And Death” (2009 China), “The Beautiful Country” (2004 Norway), “The Lives Of Others” (2006 Germany), “The Lover” and “Indochine” (1992 France-Vietnam) , “Lust, Caution” (2007 China-USA) and “Come See The Paradise” (1990 USA) fall into this category. Another is “October Sky” (1999 USA), the story of how a dirt-poor West Virginia coal miner’s son left the mines forever to become a university educated US Army infantry officer in Vietnam, best-selling author and NASA aerospace engineer. Slightly earlier favorites include “Doctor Zhivago” (1965 USA-Italy), “The Sand Pebbles” (1966 USA) and “Lawrence Of Arabia” (1962 UK-USA). *|* I also like interesting films that present very difficult ethical questions, such as “The Island” (2005 USA), “Fight Club” (1999 USA), “Blood Diamond” (2006 USA) and “Sleepers” (1996 USA).
Movies that America needs most are those like “Down To The Sea In Ships” (USA 1949), in which three generations of guys learn valuable things about life and manhood, from each other, without a single woman in sight to screw it up. Good stories about American boys growing up, with a key male role model, like “A River Runs Through It” (USA 1992), “Stand By Me” (USA 1986), “Good Will Hunting” (USA 1997), “Dead Poets Society” (USA 1989), “The Man Without A Face” (USA 1993), “The War” (USA 1994), “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (USA 2001), “That’s What I Am” (USA 2011) interest me, too. (Put me down for just about any film with Mel Gibson; even if the man himself, at times, can go a bit over the top, he still is defined by rare unapologetic masculine substance and conviction – and is not afraid to say so.) (And Steven Spielberg is America’s gift to boys.)
I also like movies about military guys who are just being real men, such as those in “Saving Private Ryan” (USA 1998), “Band Of Brothers” (USA 2001), “We Were Soldiers” (USA 2002), Kathryn Bigelow’s “K-19: The Widowmaker” (USA 2002) and “The Hurt Locker” (USA 2008) and, yes, “Source Code” (USA 2011), movies that avoid the usual hateful vilifying or ridiculous glamorizing of soldiers.
I have also been a fan of the TV series “Person Of Interest” since it began, and while I miss Detective Carter, Shaw is just terrific. (2014-15: Bring back Shaw. The show is becoming a bit silly with an endless succession of Shaw wannabes, reflecting a too-heavy women’s fantasy influence on what was once a great series. A quietly understated Shaw was fantastic, but the failed “Wonder Woman” clones are way too much.) I also like the TV series “Blue Bloods” and “NCIS“.
But, if pressed hard to choose among modern American movies, I’d have to rate my two top favorites as “American Beauty” (1999 USA) and “Gran Torino” (2008 USA). The former is about the complicity of the American Man in his own murder, recognized too long after the fact, while the latter is about the passing by the Silent Generation of the Greatest Generation’s baton of Responsibility, the baton rejected by the Baby Boomers and their children, to young Asian immigrants. These two films, to me, speak huge volumes about contemporary America.
Then again, I also like “The Race” (2009 Ireland-Germany), about an Irish farm girl who has the right stuff, and her beleaguered dad.
Mary Kensay (Niamh McGirr) in “The Race”.
Brief Bio (as requested): My parents were both direct descendents of Famine-Irish. My dad died at age 32 during the Korean War with a marginally negative net worth when I was eleven, and I left home shortly thereafter. My mom cared for my two younger sisters while she doubled down on her career climb in the Defense Department (NSA). After a few years as a roving laborer, I stayed put long enough to skip a few grades and work my way through a private boys’ prep school and two very good universities. The Pentagon then used the Draft as leverage to recruit me into military service, clandestine human intelligence/special operations training, and multiple consecutive tours in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Because the Army usually accommodated my broader wishes, including additional formal education and global experience, I remained on continuous active duty as a clandestine operations (case) officer for the next several decades, was twice married (widowed and deserted), and kept on marching, almost always in tough arenas overseas. I also served as theater-level senior operations officer and as national-level senior hemisphere desk officer. Primarily a DIA/CIA “Cold” warrior type, today I remain in service to my country on “Indefinite” military status. Often patched up for injuries, I have never drawn any benefits for any type of disability. When home I live in a nice, well-maintained, five-bedroom house with detached two-car garage that I designed and steadily built myself over the years on 15 acres of northwest Montana Rocky Mountain timberland I also own, drive my own new SUV and ATV, enjoy a very well-stocked classics library in my den, and travel extensively. I am not rich, but I am comfortably secure. I carry a small mortgage to keep my credit rating high, but I never once in my life accepted a single dime of assistance from any source. I also never failed to meet any obligation to which I had committed. Before he left, my dad had given me all the values I needed to become a responsible and honorable man – his own man. My life has been solely a consequence of the choices I made along the way as a responsible citizen of the free country into which I was fortunate to be born. I am beholden to no one, and no one owes me anything. I have always had zero tolerance for illegal drugs, druggies, liars, excuses, parasites, crutches, freeloaders, stupid Americans, and, of course, whiners. To me, trust is everything. Competence, not rank or wealth, along with character, earns my respect. I am an Irish-American Man who is satisfied that he learned the rules, mastered the process and beat the jerks at their own game – even while spending most of my life in service of my nation while “out-of-touch” abroad. Perhaps I did so because I always assumed that I would die early, and would again have to face my dad.
Oh, yes: The trick is to never stop moving and never look back.
“Behold a pale horse, and his rider was death, and hell followed with him.” – Rev 6: 7-8 (The Fourth Seal)
My greatest all-time rock concert ever: 21 July 1990, Brandenburger Tor, Berlin – Pink Floyd “The Wall”, audience: 450,000+. (I’d rate in second place Neil Diamond’s ten sold-out concerts in August 1972 at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles – “Hot August Night.”)