The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Music "The Devil went down to Georgia"

I figured I would go with this staple of the amusement parks especially Stone Mountain that play this song during the laser show and it has been a perrenial hit.  You also would hear it on other venues.  It is a very good some and I remembered the first time I heard it, I was in "Middle School" and that song was very popular in the south.

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is a song written and performed by the Charlie Daniels Band and released on their 1979 album Million Mile Reflections.
The song is written in the key of D minor. Vassar Clements originally wrote the basic melody an octave lower, in a tune called "Lonesome Fiddle Blues". The Charlie Daniels Band moved it up an octave and put words to it. The song's verses are closer to being spoken rather than sung (i.e. chant or Sprechstimme), and tell the story of a boy named Johnny, in a variant on the classic deal with the Devil. The performances of Satan and Johnny are played as instrumental bridges. The song was the band's biggest hit, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It is featured in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, whose choreographer, Patsy Swayze, claims that she set the song's tempo. "How fast can you dance it?" Daniels asked. "How fast can you play it?" Swayze replied.

The song is a country music ballad about the Devil's failed attempt to "steal" a young man's soul through a fiddle-playing contest that involved enticing the young man's participation using a worldly prize. The song begins with a disappointed Devil arriving in Georgia, having stolen far fewer souls than expected, when he comes upon a fiddle-playing young man named Johnny. At that moment, Johnny happens to be playing his fiddle impressively "hot." Out of desperation, the Devil, who as it turns out also plays the fiddle, offers Johnny the wager which involves challenging the young man to a fiddle-playing contest. The Devil offers to give Johnny a golden fiddle if the young man plays better than he does; otherwise, the Devil will gain Johnny's soul. Although Johnny believes taking the Devil's bet might be a sin, he wagers his soul without fear, confidently boasting he is "the best that's ever been."
The Devil plays his fiddle first, to a contemporary, harsh rock music theme with the backing of demon musicians. When the Devil's performance ends, Johnny compliments him and responds by playing four songs (see the section that follows). Two are traditional songs of Appalachia -- "Fire on the Mountain" and "Granny Does Your Dog Bite?" (the latter traditionally known as "Granny Will Your Dog Bite?"). The third is an unnamed square dance melody that includes the patter, "Chicken in the bread pan pickin' out dough." The last is a traditional American southern folk song "The House of the Rising Sun." The four songs are not performed but are only mentioned by reference. The Devil is impressed, admits defeat, and lays a golden fiddle at Johnny's feet. Johnny repeats his claim to be the best player ever and dares the Devil to a rematch in the future.
Johnny's final boast was originally written as, "I done told you once, you son of a bitch, I'm the best that's ever been" but was initially recorded as "'Cause I told you once, you son of a gun, I'm the best that's ever been" for airplay on country music radio. Thus, Johnny maintains his virtue, keeping his soul from the Devil, by displaying his musical virtuosity in performing traditional songs of America's South.

The ballad's story is a derivative of the traditional deal with the Devil motif. Charlie Daniels has stated in interviews, "I don’t know where it came from, but it just did. Well, I think I might know where it came from, it may have come from an old poem called 'The Mountain Whippoorwill' that Stephen Vincent Benét wrote many, many years ago (1925), that I had in high school. Either that or Jersey."
The songs Johnny plays are mentioned in the lyrics by reference only. In the order presented in the lyrics they are as follows:
  • "Fire on the mountain, run boys run" is from "Fire on the Mountain", a traditional bluegrass fiddle tune dating to at least the early 19th century. According to the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog, "The tune seems to be associated with a cluster of playful rhymes and jingles used in children's songs, play-party songs, and courting songs across the early frontier."
  • "The devil's in the house of the rising sun" refers to "The House of the Rising Sun", a traditional American southern folk song.
  • "Chicken in the bread pan pickin' out dough" refers to a well-known square dance patter that can be followed by another rhyming patter such as "Big pig rootin' up a little tater row." The patter logically belongs to an unnamed square dance song Johnny played.
  • "Granny does your dog bite? No, child, no" is a corruption of an old folk rhyme that starts "Granny will your dog bite? / Your hen peck, your rooster fight, / Your turkey walk a fence rail? / No child, no." Like "Fire on the Mountain", "Granny Does Your Dog Bite?" is a traditional folk song recorded as early as 1938.

The original version of the song spent fourteen weeks on the Hot Country Singles charts in 1979, peaking at number 1 and holding the position for one week. It spent two weeks at a peak of number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Since it became available as download in the digital era, it has sold 1.9 million digital copies in the US as of October 2013.
In June 1998, Epic Records re-released the song to country radio, but accidentally sent out the version in which the line "son of a bitch" was uncensored. This error was quickly corrected, and the song re-entered the country charts at number 62 for the chart dated June 20, 1998.It spent seven weeks on the chart and peaked at number 60.
 This is the Muppet version......

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter and some hate speech legislation...

Sorry about not posting the past couple of days.  I was working some major overtime:), I like to blog, but I like to get paid more.  First off  Happy Easter to all my fellow bloggers and visitors who may trip over my little corner of the internet.

    Now to this posting so I can go to sleep so I can go to work again tonight.    I heard about this a couple of days ago but I didn't have time to post anything about this until now...

   Here is the information....:

Boston (April 16, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced legislation to examine the prevalence of hate crime and hate speech on the Internet, television, and radio to better address such crimes. The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014 (S.2219) would create an updated comprehensive report examining the role of the Internet and other telecommunications in encouraging hate crimes based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and create recommendations to address such crimes.
In 1992, then-Rep. Markey, through the Telecommunications Authorization Act, directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to examine the role of telecommunications in encouraging hate crimes. Senator Markey’s legislation will provide a comprehensive updated report on the current prevalence of hate crimes and hate speech in telecommunications, as the last report was conducted and submitted to Congress over two decades ago, in December 1993. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 3878.
“We have recently seen in Kansas the deadly destruction and loss of life that hate speech can fuel in the United States, which is why it is critical to ensure the Internet, television and radio are not encouraging hate crimes or hate speech that is not outside the protection of the First Amendment,” said Senator Markey. “Over 20 years have passed since I first directed the NTIA to review the role that telecommunications play in encouraging hate crimes. My legislation would require the agency to update this critical report for the 21st century.”

“The Internet has proven to be a tremendous platform for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. However, at times it has also been used as a place where vulnerable persons or groups can be targeted,” said Rep. Jeffries. “I commend Senator Markey for his longstanding leadership with respect to combating Hate Crimes in America. He understands that in the digital era it is important to comprehensively evaluate the scope of criminal and hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of First Amendment protection. With the introduction of Senator Markey’s bill, we have taken a substantial step toward addressing this issue.” 
“I thank Senator Markey for his career-long commitment to ensuring that we have the data necessary to confront and combat hate speech in the media that targets our most vulnerable communities,” said President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition Alex Nogales. “NHMC has long-recognized that an update to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's 1993 report, ‘The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes’, is long overdue and desperately needed given the incredible evolution of our communications systems over the past 21 years as well as the ever-increasing numbers of hate crimes targeting Latinos and others. As the author of the original piece of legislation directing the 1993 report, there is nobody better than Senator Markey to join Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and others in calling on the NTIA to study this pressing issue once again.”

   I have several salient points to make.  First off you noticed that both people are from the Godless,corrupt,self serving,hates America,big government Democratic Party...,   I also wonder who is going to decide what "hate speech" is?   As from what I read from the legislation,  If I say anything that might "offend" a protected minority or religious group, I will be targeted by the Feds.  Now I do have several questions...First off...There is the 1st amendment;  The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
     Now that we have clarified this, those clowns basically want to shut down dissent opinions that according to some bureaucrat I might offend some "protected group".  The brush is soo broad that anything that I might say about the Obama regime or anything that supports a conservative viewpoint. would be considered "Hate Speech".  
      Let me clarify, I will use the first amendment as a back drop.  First thing is the 1st amendment says "Prohibit the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion or impeding the free exercise of religion.  Now I remember a couple of years, we have had people from the Department of Justice telling any muslim groups that if anybody says any thing bad about the islamic faith to let them know and they would pursue federal action against the offenders.  Now this sounds like we already have a state sanctioned religion and it is islam.  I don't see the same offer made to the Christians and Jewish faiths.  We have islamic groups trying to shut down christian groups and they are using the courts and the justice department to do so. You doubt me....go check out what is going on in Dearborn Dearbornistan in the state of Michigan.  I am using this as an example,  
     Now to continue my using the 1st amendment as a backdrop.  Abridging the freedom of speech and infringing on the freedom of the press.  Now these people want to curtail my freedom of the speech because I might offend somebody?  This will use this law to punish and squash any dissent against the Obama regime or anybody else that falls into the progressive orbit..  Since he is a "protected minority" president, if I say "Obama sucks"  I can get hemmed up in this legislation.  This is a full assault on the 1st amendment.  Remember when "W" was president we had Queen Pelosi screech "Dissent is patriotic."   Now they want to muzzle the opposition to the president or anybody else that is liberal.   The double standard is galling.
     The federal government has grown too large and is usurping our right and the rights of our states and the people have no clue, we are losing our freedom a little bit at a time..Well in this case...it is a lot.  Will there be "political commissars   observers" in the newsrooms to make sure that the news puts out a sanitized version that wholly supports the Obama Junta and any other democrats.  This is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind and what they feared so they had the 1st amendment because they knew that a unbiased aggressive media is a bulwark against tyranny from the government.  
     Now to the 2 gentlemen that proposed this piece of legislation......

Remember we also have the 2nd amendment to support the 1st.

    Now I am tired and I will fade away to sleep   zzZZZZZZZZZZZ

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Disney fun facts

-Walt's final words -written rather than spoken- were, rather cryptically 'Kurt Russell'. No one, including the actor himself, has any idea why.
-Walt Disney bought the 43 square miles of Central Florida swampland for Disney World for $5 million, or about $185 an acre.
-No gum is sold on property at Walt Disney World Resort.
-Contrary to rumours, Disney's daughter has assured the press he wasn't cryogenically frozen.
-Walt Disney died of complications of lung cancer on Dec. 15, 1966, before the first shovel of dirt was moved on construction of Disney World.
-Aged 16, Walt signed up for the army, but was rejected because he was too young. Instead he became an ambulance driver in World War I France.
-In 1971, when Walt Disney World opened, there were only about 5,600 rooms in the Central Florida area. By 1975, that number was well north of 22,000. Today, there are 22,449 rooms on property at Walt Disney World.
-'Man is in the forest' was a code used by animators to warn colleagues to get back to work when Walt Disney was coming down the hallway.
-Disney World has closed three times, all in anticipation of hurricanes: Sept. 15, 1999, for Floyd; Sept. 4-5, 2004, for Frances; and Sept. 26 of that same year for Jeanne.
-There are over 50 themed swimming pools among the various Disney Resort Hotels.
-The Matterhorn rollercoaster at Disneyland has a secret basketball court inside it for Disneyland staff to use.
-It took less than 30 minutes to evacuate thousands of guests from the theme parks on Sept. 11, 2001.
-Steve Martin used to work in the magic shop at Disneyland.
-After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration put a flight restriction over the Disney World resort. It extends out in a three-mile radius from Cinderella's Castle and up to 3,000 feet.
-Walt Disney World Resort is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States purchasing over one million fireworks a year for their more than 1,000 firework displays per year.
-The theme parks use a patented 'Smellitzer' device designed to pump certain scents around. Whether it's a waft of sea salt in Pirates of the Caribbean, or vanilla in Main Street, your senses are constantly being played.
-Over 600 million guests have visited the most magical place on Earth since it opened in 1971.
-An estimated 1.65 million pairs of eyeglasses have made their way to Disney World's lost-and-found bins since 1971. Every year, the park finds an average of 6,000 cell phones, 3,500 digital cameras and 18,000 hats. The weirdest things ever found... a glass eye, a prosthetic leg and a potty trainer - all of which were claimed.
-It's rumoured that Walt Disney had a phobia of mice. While this is hard to prove, it is a fact that his big-eared creation was named 'Mortimer', until his wife persuaded him that 'Mickey' had a better ring to it...
-The Disney Transport bus fleet consists of nearly 300 busses traveling along over 100 routes. In total, the entire fleets drives 15 million miles each year.
-Apparently, if you send Mickey and Minnie Mouse an invitation to your wedding they'll send you back an autographed photo and a 'Just Married' badge. If you send Cinderella and Prince Charming an invitation, you'll get an autographed congratulatory certificate.
-A married couple from Boynton Beach, Fla., Alex and Donna Voutsinas, realised years later that they were coincidentally photographed together at Disney as children.
-Walt Disney's attention to detail was legendary. He placed the bins at Disney World 25 steps away from the hot dog stall, as this was how long it took him to eat a hot dog. You will never be more than 30 steps away from a trash can in any Disney theme park.
-The Walt Disney World resort is about the size of San Francisco, and only about 35 percent of its more than 27,000 acres has been developed.
-Each year, several families ask to scatter a loved one's ashes into the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. The answer is always no, but a family has been caught in the act before.
-There are no exact ninety degree angles on Main Street, USA in Magic Kingdom Park.
-Mickey has more than 290 outfits, from a scuba suit to a lighted tuxedo. Minnie? She has more than 200, from cheerleading attire to evening gowns.
-Like air stewardesses, Disney Princesses have to fit a certain body type to work at the parks. While princesses are between 5'4" and 5'7", Tinkerbell, Alice and Wendy must be more petite - between 4'11" to 5'2". Oh, and you need to be a real spring chicken: 27 is considered over the hill.
-There is a tree farm on site so that when a mature tree needs to be replaced, a thirty-year-old tree will be available to replace it.
-Stretched end-to-end, the hats with Mickey ears sold at Disney World would span about 175 miles.
-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was make-or-break for Disney, costing his studios $1.4m to make. It was widely derided as Disney's Ruin, by people subsequently proved non-psychic. Adjusted for inflation, it's one of the ten highest-grossing films of all time.
-Cinderella's Castle is made out of fiberglass, and it stands 189 feet tall.
-Across Walt Disney World, over 20,000 different colours of paint are used.
-Disney World's biggest theme park, Animal Kingdom, encompasses 403 acres.
-Between the four major theme parks, there are 37,811 parking spaces available.
-The latest creatures at the Animal Kingdom are the blue people of "Avatar". A new section, with interactive 3-D rides, is planned to open between 2015 and 2016 at a cost of about $400 million.
-Cinderella Castle is constructed of fiberglass not stone.
-The Animal Kingdom features more than 3,000 species in its 4 million trees and plants.
-If the entire Jungle Cruise River was emptied, it would take 14 to 24 hours to refill it all. Similarly, the river's water is dyed a light shade of green to hide the shallowness of the water.
-Inside the upper levels of Cinderella's Castle is an apartment that Walt Disney intended to use when he and his family were in Florida. It was left unfinished when he died, until Disney announced in 2006 that it would be turned into a deluxe suite, which is awarded randomly to a family every day. It comes complete with 24-karat gold tile floors and a 'magic mirror' that turns into a television.
-Roughly 50 million people a year ride the Walt Disney World Monorail (including the Express and Resort monorail beams in addition to the Epcot beam) making it the most heavily travelled monorail in the western hemisphere.
-The Land ride at Epcot isn't just for entertainment. More than 30 tons of fruit and vegetables are grown there every year for Disney restaurants.
-The oldest attraction in Magic Kingdom Park is the Prince Charming Regal Carousel, which was built in 1917.
-If you were to stay in a different room every night at the Disney World resorts, to sleep in them all would take you 68 years.
-It took Disney ten years to develop and two years to actually construct Space Mountain.
-What does Epcot mean? Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

-Epcot was originally planned to be a futuristic city with 20,000 residents.
-75 acres of lawn and landscaping can be found at Epcot.
-Disney World employs more than 62,000 as part of its "cast" making Walt Disney World the largest single-site employer in the United States.
-If all of the water cannons were initiated at the Fountain of Nations, it would blast out 2,000 gallons of water.
-Test Track must operate for about 20 hours a day due to long start-up and shut-off times.
-Disney invited engineers from MIT to aid in the design of Spaceship Earth.
-23 countries brought water from their homeland to contribute to the Fountain of Nations.
-When Disney originally began designing Disney's Hollywood Studios, it was originally to be a half-day park.
-Disney's infrastructure has more than 270 buses, making it the third-largest bus system in the state, behind Jacksonville and Miami.
-Rock 'n' Roller Coaster shoots guests from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds.
-The newest roller coaster at any of the Disney World parks, Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom (aka the Yeti ride) is the tallest of any of the parks' at just a shade under 200 feet. Space Mountain at 180 feet is puny by comparison.
-The audio-animatronic Mr. Potato Head went through several days of guest testing at Disney California Adventure Park prior to ride opening to ensure that he had a line for anything guests said.
-Ever notice the water tower wearing the giant Mickey ears at Disney's Hollywood Studios? If you made actual Mickey ears for it, the "Earffel Tower" would wear a size 342¾.
-It would take six hours of continuous riding to see all 50 ride combinations for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
-If you look closely at the mosaic mural on the fourth-floor lobby of Disney's Contemporary Resort, you can see a five-legged goat facing the monorail track.
-At 403, acres Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park is the largest Disney theme park in the world. The other three Walt Disney World theme parks could all fit comfortably inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
-Disney World decorates more than 1,500 Christmas trees at holiday time.
-All of the bathrooms in Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park have doors (unlike the other parks) with bolts making it possible, in the event of a dangerous animal escaping, to cram everyone into the bathrooms.
-There are more than 81 holes of golf on five courses on the property.
-All of the straws at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park are made out of a special (semi-edible) paper that would not choke the animals if ingested.
-If you dress up folks in all the shirts sold at Disney World in one year, you'd have enough for every resident of the state of Montana (pop. 974,989.)
-8,692 branches are on the Tree of Life. The Tree is actually constructed off the base of an oil rig from the Gulf of Mexico.
-When Disney World opened, adult admission to the Magic Kingdom cost $3.50. Today it costs $85.
-The tallest in-park attraction is Expedition Everest at 200 feet tall.
-Before it became strictly a theme park, Disney's Hollywood Studios (originally called Disney-MGM studios before a legal falling out) was designed to be a working studio.
-About 60% of the trees at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park come from other areas around Walt Disney World property, while the others were either grown from scratch using accelerators or imported from other areas of the world.
-Television shows were filmed at Disney's Hollywood Studios, too. "The Mickey Mouse Club" featured soon-to-be stars Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera. No shows are filmed there today.
-Of the 27 Disney Resort Hotels on property, eight are Disney Vacation Club resorts meaning they consist solely of timeshares.
-Disney World flew its flags at half-staff on the day Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died. Jobs was Disney's largest single shareholder (7 percent), and he was on the board of directors.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Pig Trap and the declaration of independence 2.0

I was following another link from another blog and ran across this Screed.  It is a long one and very worth the time to read it.  It gives you stuff to think about about the possible almost certain future that is over the horizon.  How close it is I am not sure, but the Bundy farm standoff shows that a clash of ideology and firepower isn't here...yet but it is brewing and I hope that we as Americans can head off the possible conflagration but there are soo many people wedded to the status quo and want things to remain the same because it is beneficial to them or their group.   I don't know if we will be able to vote our way out of this.  I have alluded to in prior postings that we may have to be in the wilderness for 40 years or something along that line until all the people that have grown dependent upon others and have become modern slaves to the system  and have lost their lust for freedom but enjoy the chains of servitude that they are no longer in abundance and our descendents will have learned from the most recent example and treasure their freedom and independence and not squander it like we as a people have done.

America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.
Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution (1996)
I had a very memorable and thought-provoking passenger a while back that I never wrote about because while I found him fascinating, he seemed a little too political for what was always intended to be a fun blog to read and some cheap therapy for your humble driver and writer. But in light of all the scandals that have erupted lately and the EpicClusterSharknadoFuck that is ObamaCare, I have been thinking about a few things he said to me, so I’m going to commit them to paper (or pixels), if only for my own reading. So if you just want to read about moron drunks and belligerent whores, skip this post…
But if you are interested in catching up on current events that just might personally affect you soon, please read on…
It was June of 2012, when I got a call to pick up a gentleman at a resort hotel at around 4 AM going to the airport. I was a little surprised to see “Mr. Wheeler” waiting for me in front of the lobby, five minutes early, standing by his suitcase. Generally, people keep me waiting on these calls, still half asleep, late coming down, trying to get checked out, dicking around with their luggage and what not. He was in his late 50′s or early 60′s, fit, wearing a navy blazer and was obviously a business traveller, but he also had a certain posture and demeanor that made me think he was ex-military. We load up his luggage and hit the road, and I am chatting with him as we are heading to the airport. I ask what kind of work he does, and he says he is in “executive security”. I said, “Oooh, that sounds interesting… you mean like bodyguard work?”
He says, “Something like that… executive protection, security systems, personnel screening, entry/egress control, things like that. It sounds much more interesting than it really is… I spend a lot of time shuffling paper around and reading emails.”
I said, “You have the bearing of a military man… am I correct?”
“Yes, Sir… 22 years in the Marine Corps.” I thanked him for his service, something I always do when I encounter a member of our armed services. My standard line is, “Thank you for your service. I think you should hear that every damned day for the rest of your life, and your first beer should be free anywhere you go.”
So we are chatting on the drive, and the story on the radio is Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress over the Fast and Furious fiasco. I said, “Can you believe that shit? This asshole intentionally sends guns to Mexican drug gangs that will no doubt end up killing thousands of people, and then he lies and stonewalls the Congress? How is this deceitful douchebag not in shackles and an orange jumpsuit? And more to the point, how does someone like this ever ascend to the office of Attorney General?”
“He’s part of the Clinton machine… he knows low people in high places. He came up under Janet Reno… you know who that is, right?”
“Oh, yes, I know… the crazy dyke that gave the order to burn down the Branch Davidians in Waco. But what I don’t get is how they ever thought they could pull this shit off… people aren’t THAT stupid. If you say you are tracking guns, although you have no actual means of tracking the guns, that makes you look both dishonest AND moronic, and your cover story doesn’t make any sense. This didn’t have anything to do with illegal gun sales… any idiot can see that. So what was the REAL plan here?”
Mr. Wheeler says, “Have you ever heard of Occam’s Razor?”
I said, “Yeah, I know it… the most obvious answer is almost always correct… but I don’t think we need an instrument that sharp. I think Occam’s Rubber Spatula would seem to indicate that this is a push to vilify guns and gun owners here in America, as a pretense to drive stricter gun control. Obama was just on TV not too long ago with the President of Mexico, saying that American guns were responsible for the violence in Mexico, and now American weapons are showing up at crime scenes. It seems to me that an organization with the money and resources of an international drug cartel certainly knows where to pick up weapons, even if all American sources dried up completely. I assume they could go south of the border to Central America and get all the M4′s and AK’s they want… most likely full-auto… am I correct?”
Mr Wheeler replied, “There is certainly no shortage of guns and corruption in Central America. If you have the means to smuggle a ton of cocaine, you can probably smuggle a ton of guns, too. But this was easier… the Justice Department and the ATF made the contacts and set up the networks, told the gun shops to cooperate, so all the Mexicans had to do was send in a straw buyer, make the purchase, and move the weapons south of the border.”
I said, “These people aren’t very smart… there are something like 300 million guns in America, and they have a robust shelf life. Even if all gun manufacturing stopped tomorrow, there would still be an abundance of guns in America for decades. The only way to disarm Americans is mass confiscation, and I feel pretty certain that would spark a civil war. I know several gun owners that would rather fight than give up their guns.”
Mr. Wheeler said, “Oh, I know dozens… perhaps hundreds that feel the same way. I really don’t think confiscation is something you need to worry about, because it will never work. There are simply too many of them, and too many people have guns that there is no record of. A confiscation program would only piss off the most dangerous people in America… the people who would shoot back. You are correct, a mass confiscation would provoke a civil war.”
I said, “Well, you are a military man… what would that look like?”
Wheeler said, “Well, it wouldn’t look like the first Civil War… no lines of men standing in ranks and shooting across a field at each other, no “North and South” or sharply defined state lines for friendly and enemy territories, at least, not in the beginning. No, it would look more like Iraq or Afghanistan, with house to house fighting, IED’s, snipers, small factions and independent militias operating on their own, refugees streaming away from battle zones in all directions…”
“But the first question to ask is who would the combatants be? I mean, the Army isn’t going to just roll out onto the street in tanks on day one, so my guess is that it would start out as a police action, with Federal agencies like ATF and FBI taking the lead, supported by local law enforcement. But once people start shooting back, they would have to ratchet things up, do things like institute curfews and roadblocks, and they would eventually try to press the various state Guard units into service. That’s where it all goes squirrelly, because both local law enforcement and the Guard will be riddled with people who support gun rights, regardless of what laws the politicians pass, and they won’t be crazy about having to police, and maybe even fight against, their own people. The Governors may well object to the state Guard units being activated and may not wish to cooperate…”
“And it is not clear to me how many LEO and Guardsmen would remain loyal to the government and how many would join the “rebellion”. My guess is that both sides would be riddled with defections, informants, and spies. But what if, say, the Gulf states like Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida secede, and they take control of all military bases and equipment, and you suddenly have gone from an insurgency with rifles to a breakaway nation, or maybe several breakaway nations, armed with fighter jets, drones, tanks, and a navy? Whoo, buddy… now all bets are off… kiss posse comitatus goodbye. This would be the ugliest thing this county has ever seen…”
I asked him several “what if” questions and let him riff on them… I just let him talk and wargame out the Second Civil War, there in the back seat of my car as we drove to the airport, and he painted a picture of horrific death and destruction. Once this conflict started, even the best-case scenarios he described sounded truly grim. He seemed to believe that civilian casualties would be extremely high, given how much fighting would centered in and around large cities, and that food would be used as a weapon, causing famine and starvation on a terrifying scale. Booby traps, IED’s, rampant bombings, drone strikes, snipers, local-level assassinations, mortars and shelling, death squads (both government and rebel), reprisal killings, torture… it sounded more like the Middle East than middle America.
Wheeler got quiet for a few moments, and then he said something that I will never, ever forget.
“These people are playing with matches… I don’t think they understand the scope and scale of the wildfire they are flirting with. They are fucking around with a civil war that could last a decade and cause millions of deaths… and the sad truth is that 95% of the problems we have in this country could be solved tomorrow, by noon… simply by dragging 100 people out in the street and shooting them in the fucking head.”
And lemme tell ya, he had the list… he rattled off 25 or 30 names of well-known, prominent politicians, mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans, several members of the current Cabinet, a couple of Obama’s “czars”, a couple of figures from the Bush administration and the Republican establishment, several media company executives and on-camera newscasters, reporters, and pundits, a couple of people who are active in leftist politics but not in elected office… he had obviously thought about this to some degree already.
I was struck by his cold, detached, matter-of-fact tone. I said, “Dude… that’s more French Revolution than American Revolution. Do you really think that is the way to go?”
Wheeler said, “I believe in efficiency and economy of action. You wouldn’t trade one hundred of those criminal bastards for ten million of your fellow Americans?”
I don’t remember if I actually answered out loud, but in my my head, the answer was, “Yeah, I probably would…”
The Founding Fathers wouldn’t have put up with any of this shit. The Founders started blowing people’s heads off because the government put a tax on their breakfast beverage… and it wasn’t even coffee. Can you imagine how batshit those guys would have been on a double espresso?
Dennis Miller
This conversation with Mr. Wheeler took place long before we learned of the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, the litany of lies associated with the rollout of ObamaCare, the AP/Fox snooping, the executive overreach of the Obama administration, and all the other sundry and everyday lies and corruption of what passes today for a “representative republic”.
So as I think about all the horrible shit the government is doing today, I can’t help but think about the Founders, and what they would think about current events and the state of the republic they left to their heirs. I make no claim to be a historian or a scholar, but I have only personally met a handful people that have read more history than me. History, particularly American history, was always my favorite class in school, along with American and English Literature. I’ve read the Declaration of Independence many, many times, and I can’t help but notice that the indictments of the Declaration seem eerily familiar today. Many people reading this probably haven’t read the Declaration since high school, if they ever really read it at all, so indulge me… go ahead and read this next section out loud, and listen to the reasons the Founders felt it necessary to defy their government, load their guns, and take on the most powerful military on the planet.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
So in the context of the early 1770′s, what would the Founders think about the government secretly and illegally trafficking thousands of military-grade arms to criminals, brigands, and pirates, knowing full well that those criminals will kill thousands of innocent people with said arms, as a ploy to disarm their own citizenry… and when caught red-handed in this criminal and despicable act, the governmental appointee responsible for executing this disgraceful policy lies, dissembles, and stonewalls, and suffers no sanction or penalty?
What would they think of the government reading, and oftentimes copying and warehousing, every single letter of their correspondence, their diaries, their conversations, their most private and intimate of communications?
What would they think of government agents standing on rooftops and street corners, monitoring and documenting the comings and goings of every citizen every day of his life, whom they speak with and associate with, and what they purchase and from whom?
What would they think about their government spying on journalists, town criers, and pamphleteers, and swearing out false oaths to judges to have them surveilled?
What would they think about government tax agents given specific orders to harass, intimidate, penalize, and obstruct any person who speaks for peaceful, legislative reform of the government or is critical of the government, even demanding that they document the content of their prayers?
What would they think about a government that routinely ignores laws already on the books solely for material and political gain, a government that creates punitive laws through specious methods, and then exempts themselves from being subject to those laws, and when their agents, officials, and appointees are caught in serious crimes and malfeasance, they are simply reassigned and protected by the government, never to face trial or pay any penalty for their acts or the harm they inflict on ordinary citizens?
I’ll tell you what I believe… I believe the shooting would have already started. It’s not that I want something terrible to happen, it’s that I am positively astonished that something terrible hasn’t already happened.
The Founders set out to create a limited government. They did not create a Constitution that spelled out what the government may not do, they created a Constitution that detailed exactly and precisely what the federal government MAY do, and nothing more. This far, and no further. All other powers were specifically and deliberately left to the individual states, and to the people themselves. The Bill of Rights was added at the insistence of several of the Founders to protect the individual citizen from future tyranny and avaricious government.
Yet today, our government has no compunctions about monitoring all my communications, tracking my movements, deterring my business success with punitive taxes and onerous regulations, accessing my banking records, compelling my participation in an ill-conceived healthcare system that will most assuredly give me substandard care and higher prices and may violate my personal wants and perhaps even my religious beliefs, and regulating almost every aspect of my day-to-day life, right down to the type of the car that I may drive, the lightbulbs I am allowed to buy, and the kind of toilet I am permitted to shit in. And thanks to the NDAA, if my government deems me to be a terrorist, I can be black-bagged and zip-tied, arrested without warrant or charge, held incommunicado without legal representation indefinitely, and perhaps even tried by a military tribunal in secret and summarily executed.
So tell me again… just what are the limits of my so-called limited government?
I feel like I have been ripped off. I recognized at a very young age that I had won the lottery; of all the millions upon millions of people born on this planet the same year as I was, only a small segment of them were lucky enough to be born Americans, and now, a small group of lying and avaricious politicians and leftist activists have stolen my birthright.
All I want is the government that I was promised by my ninth grade civics teacher… a government of laws, not of men, a government with checks and balances, lawfully enforced to restrain and contain the government from infringing on the rights of populace. But all of this has been swept aside in my lifetime; now criminals like Eric Holder and Charlie Rangel and Al Sharpton and Lois Lerner and Jon Corzine suffer no sanction or consequence for openly and nakedly breaking the law. They are now part of a protected class, when 250 years ago, they would have been lucky to only have suffered being tarred and feathered.
I would be content with an ordinary and ultimately forgettable life. I’ve strived for excellence from a young age, but never been consumed with the pursuit of wealth, fame, or power. I would be satisfied with enough money to take care of my family, to send my progeny to college, to live in modest comfort and to enjoy a few vacations and indulgences here and there, and to leave my children with a better life than I had. I am a simple man with simple needs. I would like to die in my bed at the age of 106, surrounded by my children, grandchildren, and my 22 year old second wife, with a couple of old guns in the closet, now rusty and dusty from disuse.
But I don’t think that is going to happen. I truly believe, deep in my heart, that I am going to need those guns before I die, and not for a burglar.
I see only two paths for America today. First, some miracle will happen in which a couple hundred constitutionalists like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and Trey Gowdy will be elected to the House and Senate over the next few election cycles, and something resembling the Founder’s republic will be restored, but given the current climate of relentless progressivism, massive bureaucracy, government dependence, and voter ignorance, that seems like a very remote possibility.
The second path is that complacency, ignorance, and indifference will allow more progressives and communists to be elected, the federal government will continue to grow and amass power unchecked, and one day very soon, we will we will witness the birth of a police state that will make the Gestapo, the KGB, and the Stasi look like pikers and dilettantes.
Hell, the argument could be made that the police state is already here. I read an article not long ago about the Stasi Museum in Berlin that described the files that the East German secret police accumulated over the course of forty-five years, and it is nothing less than staggering. Imagine a shelf, 65 miles long, crammed with file folders full of photos and detailed handwritten and typed notes about almost every citizen of East Germany. I’m not really up to speed about the state-of-the-art data storage devices of today and what they are able to store, but I would bet that entire 65 mile shelf of paper and photographs would today fit in a metal and plastic box about the size of a standard four-drawer file cabinet. But if I am wrong about that, no need to worry; your government is building a 1.5 MILLION square foot storage facility in Utah to hold all your vital information.
Wild Boar
In my previous occupation, I worked as the marketing director for a company in the livestock industry, and I once took a business trip to Texas to interview a gentleman and take some photos for the company’s website and print advertising. I could tell you his real name, but it wouldn’t mean anything to you unless you happen to be involved in the world of show animals like cattle, lambs, and goats. But in the circles he moves in, “Kevin” is an absolute rock star… getting his endorsement for my company’s products was on par with Michael Jordan for Nike shoes or Eric Clapton for Fender guitars.
I flew into Austin, rented a car, and drove for a few hours to Kevin’s ranch, not far from Waco. Kevin was a massive bear of a man, 6-3 or 6-4, with big hands, big boots, a big gut, a big smile, and a big heart. He seized my hand in his giant, calloused paw and pumped it vigorously… it was meaty and leathery, and felt like a catcher’s mitt. You just couldn’t help liking this guy… Kevin had a way of making you feel like you were already lifelong friends, he was just waiting for you to catch up.
We did the interview over tall glasses of iced tea and delicious BBQ pork sandwiches, and then went outside to shoot photos of him around his pens and barns and out buildings. We wrapped up around four in the afternoon, and Kevin and his wife insisted that I stay for dinner at 6:00. We had a couple hours to kill, so Kevin suggested I go with him while he did a little work around the ranch.
We went out to a barn and got into a dilapidated, beat-to-shit Ford pickup. It was an early seventies model, rusted, dented, missing the passenger-side window, driver’s side mirror, and rear bumper, so it was also missing a license plate, and it had a screwdriver hammered into the ignition switch. The bed was removed and there was a rough-hewn flatbed made of pressure-treated lumber in its’ place, with a mechanical apparatus of some sort on the wood. Kevin was very successful in his business and had plenty of money, so this Mad Max piece of shit stood in stark contrast to the newer Ford diesel he took to the livestock shows. I would have bet this old beater hadn’t run in decades, but it started right up. Kevin threw a little Playmate cooler and several plastic buckets in the back of the truck, handed me a beer, and we took off, following deep wheel ruts that meandered around his property. Kevin’s ranch was huge… if he told me how many acres, I don’t recall, but I thought square miles was a much more useful unit of measurement for a tract of land so huge.
I asked Kevin what we were doing, and he said we were going out to feed the deer. His property had all sorts of wildlife on it, including deer and wild pigs, and he supplements their usual forage with grain and veggies and other goodies. He explained that he harvests several deer and pigs every year, and all the animals on his ranch, domestic or wild, were very well fed. In fact, those mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches we ate earlier were from a wild pig he had killed, butchered, and barbecued himself, right here on his ranch. The strange apparatus on the back of the truck was a feed dispenser; we pulled up to a little clearing and he dumped the contents of several of the buckets in the top of the machine. He got back in the truck and he threw a toggle switch, crudely screwed into the metal dash, and put the truck in gear. The machine in the back made a grinding, rattling sound, and a mixture of chopped carrots, apples, and dry corn slid down a chute and spilled onto the grass as he slowly idled along the tree line.
He shut off the feed dispenser and he pulled away about fifty or seventy yards, then stopped and killed the engine, and said, “Watch this…”
We spun around and looked out the back window, and within two or three minutes, no less than ten or twelve deer emerged from the woods and started eating the corn and veggies. A few of them eyed the truck warily for a moment, but they all placidly started devouring the bounty Kevin had spilled out of the side of his pickup.
Kevin said, “It’s like the ice cream truck… they hear the music, and they come running out to get the goodies…”
I said, “You have conditioned them to come to you… I guess that takes the difficulty out of shooting one of them…”
Kevin replied, “This isn’t about sport, it’s about feeding my family. I don’t have time to haul my fat ass up into a tree stand at 5 in the morning. I get my deer in a half hour, and I can be choosy.”
We tooled around his property, drinking beer and dumping corn and veggies here and there at strategic points, and then we came to another clearing with a strange metal object. Kevin put the truck in park and told me to hop out with him. There were three eight-foot pieces of crude steel tubular fencing that looked sort of like the metal barricades that get put up at parades for crowd control, but about five or six feet high, and forming half a hexagon They were obviously hand-made; they just didn’t have the finish of a commercial product. Kevin grabbed the last two buckets out of the back of the truck and told me to bring him two more beers.
In front of the steel tubing was a shallow concrete “bowl” that I believe was the top of a large birdbath, sunk into the dirt. Kevin filled it with loose corn and small ears of corn, then dumped in the contents of the second bucket. This bucket contained table scraps, potato peels, onion butts, bacon grease, and other household garbage, and it smelled pretty ripe. I asked Kevin what was up with the fencing, and he told me this was a pig trap. He then opened the two beers and dumped them in the bowl, saying that pigs love beer.
Kevin explained that pigs are highly intelligent animals, and can be quite dangerous. They are powerful beasts, very fast, and armed with fearsome tusks that can gore a man to death in short order. He said that commercial traps are available, but pigs are smart, and will often be wary of a new metal object suddenly appearing in their environment, and his home-made trap was much more effective. He told me that these three sections are left up year round, and over time, the pigs learn that this metal object poses no threat, and there is frequently delicious corn, slop, and beer to be had here. The scent of the slop and beer travels a long way across the property, and over time, the pigs are conditioned to not fear the strange metal object. Kevin showed me how they had formed a soft trail around one end of the fencing as they came in and out to the bowl.
When the time comes to harvest a pig, Kevin adds a section of the fencing, refills the bowl a few times, and the pigs ignore the new section of fencing. A week or two later, he adds another section, and keeps the bowl full. Finally, he puts the last section up right on the trail they created, and this section has the trap door in it. A screw eye is twisted into the end of a corn cob, and a cable is attached to it, and is connected to a pin that drops the door. As soon as a pig picks up the corn, the pin is pulled, the door is dropped, and the pig, and perhaps one or two or three others of his group, are trapped. In the morning, Kevin can simply walk up to the cage and dispatch the beasts with a handgun, without risk of personal injury or spending a lot of time stalking the animals in the woods with a high-power rifle.
I can’t get Kevin and the pig trap out of my head, because it is a perfect metaphor for the surveillance state our government has built. It has been erected slowly over time, one piece at a time, so as to not panic the populace. And the government seems to have been wildly successful, because the American population at large seems completely unphased and unalarmed at what has been built over the last twenty or thirty years.
The government is reading and storing all of my emails? No big deal; I’m not a terrorist, so I am OK.
The government is listening to and storing all my phone calls? Whatever, I don’t talk to terrorists.
The government is tracking and storing my location? So what? I don’t go anywhere that is suspect.
The government is targeting political enemies and surveilling journalists? Who cares? I’m not an activist or a partisan, so this does not affect me.
This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat issue, it isn’t even a conservative vs. liberal issue… this is an American vs. un-American issue. Do you wish to be a free American, or will you accept becoming a slave to a massive and all-powerful police state? You are either an advocate for freedom and limited government, or you are an advocate for tyranny. There is no gray area, no middle ground to be found here. This government has slowly amassed powers over the last hundred years that would horrify the Founders of this nation. As I stated earlier, I can’t believe the shooting hasn’t already started.
For you liberal readers out there, let me offer this: pick your favorite right-wing boogieman, the craziest fascist evil criminal wingnut that there is, and make that person the President…. President Dick Cheney, President Rick Santorum, President Charles Koch, President Alan West, President Michelle Bachmann, President Rush Limbaugh, President Glen Beck, President Joe Arpaio, President John Bolton, President Ted Nugent… whoever really freaks you out.
Now ask yourself this question: Do you want that person to have the power and the surveillance apparatus and the unchecked force of the IRS that Barack Obama and this massive government now wields?
This should scare the shit out of you… ask yourself how you would feel about the Palin administration having the power to track your every move, listen to your every call, read every email and text message, cross reference all your email contacts and Facebook friends, scrutinize every Visa card purchase, reexamine the last decade of your tax returns for any rounding error you might have made, and the ability to call up your complete medical records with a couple of keystrokes, for you, your family, and everyone you know, right down to every antidepressant prescription, bunion surgery, psychiatric visit, Low-T diagnosis, encrusted carbuncle, PAP smear, and vaginal wart.
Is this getting creepy yet?
Suppose your kid needs a kidney transplant, but it turns out that Uncle Jack is union guy and a fundraiser for your state Democrat party… well, we all know that crazy President Palin was lying about those “death panels” doncha’ know, but jeez-o-pete, there sure are a lot of irregularities in your HHS paperwork and your tax returns and your insurance documentation and your website information and your credit report and stuff, and it might take months to sort this whole kit and kaboodle out. But be patient, you know how slow things are, now that the ACORN Health Care Navigators unionized and expanded out to every hospital and clinic in America… but your child’s IRS Form 6488-B says your deductible should be $16,000, not $9,000 as you claimed here on line 173 of your HHS 871 form… and there is some sort of red-flag hold thingy here due to your Uncle Jack’s union exemption status, because of that whacky Detroit thing… It sure looks like Uncle Jack’s paperwork is even more screwed up than your file… yessirree, this could take a long, long, long time to weed through, and good golly, we seem to have a whole lotta Mexican patients in this hospital, and they are all in line ahead of little Scooter there… Just you and that little tadpole of yours hold your horses, and we’ll get this paperwork straightened out over the next few months, okey dokey?
But whatever you do, when your kid dies, don’t do news conferences, don’t start blogging, don’t start calling out the government publicly, don’t become an activist, don’t go on FOX News, and definitely don’t become an embarrassment or a pain in the ass to this government, lest you find yourself being gang-audited by the IRS, if not declared a terrorist and having your door kicked in by armored agents at 4 in the morning, who are here to shoot your dog, terrorize the rest of your kids, and to take you to an undisclosed location in zip ties, where there are no lawyers, no phones, no sunlight, the food really sucks, and no one can confirm or deny that they have ever heard of you.
I like Sarah Palin, but I don’t want President Palin to have that power. I really liked Ronald Reagan, but again, I wouldn’t want him to have that power. I really, REALLY like Ted Cruz. I think he is a man of principle, of integrity, of honor, and perhaps the most Constitutionally-grounded politician I have seen in my lifetime. But in spite of all of that, I don’t want President Cruz to have that power.
So take a guess at what I think of President Hillary Clinton or President Nancy Pelosi or President Chuck Schumer or President Cass Sunstein or President Michael Bloomberg or President Diane Feinstein or President Al Sharpton or President Howard Dean or President Harry Reid or President Van Jones having that kind of power…

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Who is Martha Raye...?

I got this email from my Dad about a person called Martha Raye, so I decided to do a bit of research on her.  Apparently she spent a lot of time with the USO entertaining troops in a war zone.  My Dad being a Vietnam vet likes certain women, especially the ones that took the time to visit the troops.  I remember him talking about Nancy Sinatra and Raquel Welch among others,   Here is a list of the entertainers that visited the troops during Vietnam.  I think there is a special spot in Heaven for people like that :

The following entertainers performed for U.S. military personnel and their allies in the combat theatre during the Vietnam War (1959–1975):
     Well I had gotten a bit of information on Martha Raye and she had a fascinating story so I figured I would put it together for my blog.
Martha Raye (August 27, 1916 – October 19, 1994) was an American comic actress and standards singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She was honored in 1969 with an Academy Award as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops.

During World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, she travelled extensively to entertain American troops despite her lifelong fear of flying.
In October 1966 she went to Soc Trang, South Vietnam, to entertain the troops at the base which was the home base of the 121st Aviation company known as the Soc Trang Tigers and their gunship platoon known as the Vikings, and the 336th Aviation company known as the Warriors and their gunship platoon known as the Thunderbirds. Shortly after her arrival, both units were called out on a mission to extract supposed POWs from an area nearby. Raye decided to hold her troupe of entertainers there until the mission was completed so that the servicemen could all watch her show. She often served as a nurse on these trips.
During that time, as a serviceman flying a "Huey Slick" helicopter carrying troops recalled, it had received combat damage severe enough to force its return to base at Soc Trang:
I was the pilot of that "slick" which had received major damage to the tail-rotor drive shaft from a lucky enemy rifle shot. The maintenance team at the staging area inspected, and determined that a one-time flight back to base camp would be okay but grounded the aircraft after that.
Upon arriving back at Soc Trang, I informed Martha (she came right up to us and asked how things were going) that we had a gunship down in the combat area and additional efforts were being made to extract the crew. I don't recall if we had received word of the death of the pilot at that time. Martha stated that she and her troupe would remain until everyone returned from the mission.
As there were no replacements, the servicemen could not return to the mission. While the servicemen waited, Raye played poker with them and helped to keep everyone's spirits up.
I enjoyed playing cards with Martha but regretted it somewhat. It appears that she had plenty of practice playing poker with GIs during her USO service in multiple wars. But I still love her for who she was and what she did.
When the mission was completed, which had resulted in the loss of a helicopter, gunship and a Viking pilot, there was also an officer, the major who was in command of the Vikings, who had been wounded when the ship went down. He was flying pilot position but was not in control of the ship when the command pilot, a warrant officer, was shot. When he and the two remaining crewmen were returned to Soc Trang, Raye volunteered to assist the doctor in treating the wounded flier. When all had been completed, Raye waited until everybody was available and then put on her show. Everyone involved appreciated her as an outstanding trouper and a caring person. During the Vietnam War, she was made an honorary Green Beret because she visited United States Army Special Forces in Vietnam without fanfare, and she helped out when things got bad in Special Forces A-camps. As a result, she came to be known affectionately by the Green Berets as "Colonel Maggie."

In 1968, she was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in the form of an Oscar.
On November 2, 1993, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for her service to her country. The citation reads:
"A talented performer whose career spans the better part of a century, Martha Raye has delighted audiences and uplifted spirits around the globe. She brought her tremendous comedic and musical skills to her work in film, stage and television, helping to shape American entertainment. The great courage, kindness, and patriotism she showed in her many tours during World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict earned her the nickname 'Colonel Maggie.' The American people honor Martha Raye, a woman who has tirelessly used her gifts to benefit the lives of her fellow Americans. "

Her final years were plagued by ill health. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had lost both legs in 1993 from poor circulation. She died in Los Angeles at 78 of pneumonia on October 19, 1994 after a long history of cardiovascular disease.
In appreciation of her work with the USO during World War II and subsequent wars, special consideration was given to bury her in Arlington National Cemetery on her death, but on her request she was buried with full military honors in the Fort Bragg, North Carolina post cemetery as an honorary colonel in the U.S. Marines and an honorary lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. She is the only civilian buried at that location who receives military honors each Veterans' Day.

Raye has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6251 Hollywood Boulevard and the other for television at 6547 Hollywood Blvd.