Saturday, October 6, 2007

Little Eddy’s Blog #5 Waging War the Corporate Way

Last week’s blog reminiscing about my experience in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, plus this past week’s revelations about Blackwater, point out the dramatic differences between the way World War II was fought, and the way these modern so-called President’s Wars are fought. In World War II the entire country had to sacrifice to bring us to victory. Our enemies were clear cut, and if you did not serve in the military yourself you probably worked in war related industries, or at the very least you endured many kinds of rationing, and bought War Bonds to lend monetary support to the war effort.

In the post World War II wars, Korea, Viet Nam, or the present day Iraq conflict there was no united effort towards victory. These President’s Wars are so named because only the president and a small circle of his closest advisers truly supported them, and they were fought on the cheap with an all-volunteer army. Both Korea and Viet Nam played off of our (as it turned out) irrational fear and loathing of communism, and in Iraq the administration is playing off of our very real fears of militant Islamic Fundamentalism. However neither Harry Truman who oversaw Korea, nor Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon who oversaw Viet Nam, were willing to call on the nation to sacrifice for victory. As a result Korea ended at the same battle lines from whence it started, and in Viet Nam we lost and got the hell out. President Johnson was the one who gave this new style of warfare its label, “Guns and Butter,” ie having your cake while eating it. Of course in both cases the conflicts lessened the value of our currency. Before Viet Nam gold was around forty five dollars an ounce, after some six years of Viet Nam the price of gold was closer to four hundred and fifty dollars an ounce.

But the most outrageous thing about the game plan our present day Iraq affair is being played by is how much of the support of our troops is being handled (AT A PROFIT!) by private corporations, at prices which are out of this world as compared to what the same service used to cost when the military itself handled it. KP duty (stands for kitchen police), otherwise known as feeding the troops, used to be handled by the military. And the cooks and support personnel got salaries similar to those of the rest of us who served in the military. But that’s not the case in Iraq today. Today’s all volunteer military are stretched so thin that there is no way that they could feed themselves, and so a former branch of Halliburton called KBR (Kellogg Brown and Root) is feeding the troops among many other jobs they are doing for the military in Iraq. (The same company built the infamous Tiger Cages during the Viet Nam war.) And you can bet that the civilian workers operating in the Iraq war zone are getting many times over the salary that a gi (government issue, ie soldier) would have been getting for performing the same task.

Prominent in the news this week is the Blackwater Security Corp., a company few of us had ever heard of, which is presently under a contract with the State Department to provide security for its personnel, in lieu of United States Marines who in past wars had the job of safe guarding State Department and other civilian officials. Blackwater is a private security company whose trigger happy workers are accused of the recent deaths of 11 (now make that 17) Iraqi civilians, unprovoked according to Iraqi’s who witnessed the shootings and an assessment by the army itself. Blackwater swears their men were fired upon and were simply returning fire. The Justice Department has sent the FBI to investigate. It will be interesting to see what their look-see comes up with, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against a gigantic Whitewash for Blackwater.

And I have yet to read an accurate assessment 0f the staggering amount of money these war related jobs which have been very quietly transferred from the military to private corporations are going to cost the taxpayer in the long run. Will it break the country economically? Those of us who depend on Social Security surely hope it will not. But even if the country had the wherewithal to end such monumental spending today, it has surely grown into a tremendous debt which will have to be handed down to our grandchildren to pay. Is that fair? Shouldn’t there be serious questioning of the leaders who led us down this extremely disturbing path? You tell me? Or better still tell the Congress as we approach the election next year.

But I hear the nay sayers and the pro war crowd crying out, “How can we keep our elected officials from involving us in these adventures? It’s a free country isn’t it?” Well, it’s not a free country, not with taxes as high as they are. And as far as a deterrent goes we must insist that the Congress pass a Constitutional Amendment requiring all future interventions in outside conflicts be preceded by the institution of a National Draft. If the nation supports a war it WILL support a national draft, if it does NOT it WON’T! It’s as simple as that. And any future president proposing intervention without first instituting a draft should be made to go stand in the corner facing the wall. With a dunce cap on!

Footnote: At the height of the Watergate crisis H.R. Haldeman told Richard Nixon not to worry. No matter what comes out 33% of the nation would continue to believe in him. Polls at that time upheld Mr. Haldeman’s prediction. In a poll taken between Oct. 1st–3rd, the AP-Ipsos poll found George W. Bush’s approval rating had slipped to 31%.
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Greetings,
The reason why I contacted you through this media is that there is an excess concealment of fund which I want you to assist my client secure into your company's account or private account for investment in your country. The sum is $120 million (Hundred and Twenty Million Dollars) and you will be gladly compensated with 15% after the deal is done. My client cannot deposit the fund in any account with his identity presently because of his political problems. This is urgent and I need your assistance. Right now, the money is in a secret account with a bank here in Nigeria. If you can secure the money for him; we make arrangement to move the money out through the bank affiliate in Spain. We will want you to be present in the bank in Spain through were the money will be channel to with the help of the bank director.
You will have meeting on our behalf with the bank officials as my client's business partner on the best way to move the money into your account in your country. We seek your confidence and with assurance that there is no illegality with the transaction.
Thank you and I am looking forward to seeing your reply for more understanding.
Sincerely yours
Barrister Akuson Afoma

Well, hello there Barrister Afoma, welcome to my gmail box. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be getting one of these African Scam letters for which the internet is so justly famous. I was beginning to feel left out, not quite a real person, having been consistently overlooked in matters of this nature. However, now I can finally feel fulfilled. I’m sorry I am not going to be able to be of any assistance to you in what I’m sure is an upstanding, worthwhile endeavor. You see I have neither money nor legal nor banking skills. However I do wish you the best of luck, and hope for your complete success in matters of this transfer. And if you could see fit to send me that fifteen percent anyway, all of us here at the Real Little Eddy’s Blog will be forever grateful. Love and kisses. TRLE
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Re: Spring Meadows Property Owners
5295 Hollister St.
Houston, TX 77040-6205

Dear Mr. Badeaux:
You have chosen to live in an attractive and desirable community in which your Homeowner’s Association offers various amenities. In order to preserve this desired standard and home values it is important that all residents work together to maintain their property at the highest possible level.

During a recent review of the community it was noted that your mailbox is damaged and laying on the ground. Please take whatever action is necessary to ensure that it is repaired and kept in an upright position at all times. On behalf of your Homeowner’s Association we request that this be taken care of as soon as possible.

If the requested service has been completed please disregard this letter. In the event that a continuing violation is not corrected, all costs and expenses to enforce compliance of the Rules, Declaration, or By Laws will be charged to the owner.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Harriet Tunick
Spring Meadows Property Owners.
____________________________________________________________________

Harriet Tunick,
Spring Meadows Property Owners
5295 Hollister St.
Houston, TX 77040-6205

Dear Ms Tunick,
I thank your for your communication of October 1st, and indeed no one is more ashamed than I of the formerly beautiful brick mailbox which has been knocked off of it’s original proud perch and now sits ignobly on the grass next to the place where it was built. Of course, this is not a situation of my doing. The last thing in this world I would ever do is interfere with my ability to receive United States mail.

It seems that the elderly Asian gentleman who lives across the street from me and who works at the nearby WalMart, started his car and leaving it in neutral for a reason known only to himself and his deity he got out of the vehicle with the motor still running. And as he watched with eyes wide open gravity took control of his vehicle and it rolled down his rather steep driveway propelling it across our street, where its progress was impeded by my formerly stately brick mailbox. Perhaps it was just as well, otherwise the car might have continued on up to my house.

I apologize to you and the Property Owners Association for fact that the remains of my mailbox have been a blight on this otherwise impeccable neighborhood. I had left it in place in case the gentlemen across the street would care to buy the bricks from which a new mailbox might be constructed as he alluded he might while first explaining the incident to me. However, since he seems to be taking no action in that direction I will replace the mailbox with a new one in due time.

I write a weekly blog at: http://littlleeddy.blogspot.com and I have taken the liberty of publishing your letter along with my reply on this coming Saturday’s post. I do this to share with my readers the shame I feel in having left the remains of my once proud mailbox in public view as a reminder of life’s tenuousness and the supremacy of the automobile over a structure of mere brick and mortar. And also in the hope that one or more of my generous readership might feel inclined to make a contribution towards getting little Eddy a brand new mailbox. Checks, money orders, or cash happily accepted at: Little Eddy, 12022 N. Fairhollow Ln., Houston, TX, 77043. Please make all checks, money orders payable to: Ed Badeaux
Yours very truly,
Ed Badeaux
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Last week CNN brought to it’s waiting viewers a frightening story about an adult male who videotaped himself having sex with a four year old girl, and pictures of the little girl abounded in the media for several days as law enforcement desperately tried to find and rescue the child. Well, the plan worked. The little girl was found, she is now seven years old, and according to the same media that had speculated on her demise, she is a normal and perhaps even a happy seven year old. Doesn’t a story like that make you stop and think? Perhaps the media’s and the establishment’s constant labeling of any kind of sex with a minor as abuse is not quite accurate. I wish we could see an interview with the little girl today, so we could see for ourselves that she really is as happy and normal as the media reported, in spite of the dire accounts of the “ordeal” she evidently went through when she was four.

This is not to say I approve of what that guy did. Obviously I have not seen the tape and so I’m in no position to have a reliable opinion on the subject one way or the other. The police officers who are the only ones to have seen and publicly talk about the video are well known for having an unequivocal penchant for hyperbole and overkill, a characteristic which in law enforcement speak translates the word sex into words like abuse or rape or worse. I am simply suggesting that our society has an off the wall, and often completely wrong opinion of the effects of sexual experiences in childhood.

I have ordered a copy of Harmful to Minors, the Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, by Judith Levine. Because of its incendiary nature and content Ms Levine had difficulty finding a publisher for her book. Finally in 2002 an academic publisher, the University of Minnesota Press published it. It received national notoriety when it won the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and conservatives immediately began screaming about having it banned. Taking the stance that anything that is roundly condemned by the evangelical right must at least be of interest, I am looking forward to reading what appears at first glance to be a reasoned approach to a touchy subject, and when it arrives and I get a chance to read it I will bring a review of it to this blog.

I realize that most Americans have no use, and many are even offended by erotic material and especially that where relationships extend from adult to children. During the nineteen sixties, that all too brief a time when America and the world seemed to be genuinely open to new ideas, two northern European countries, Sweden and Denmark, threw off their long standing taboos on what could and could not be shown and published pictorially, even to the extent of allowing children to be portrayed and participate in photographic nude pictorials, and also going so far as to allow live sex shows to be performed on stage. There was quite naturally much tsk-tsking at the time on the part of moral leaders in this country, and throughout the so-called civilized world.

The powers that be were so sure that such a relaxation of traditional mores would lead to inevitable increases in sex crimes and become an impediment to law enforcement that our fearless leader, Lyndon Baines Johnson, ordered a Presidential Study to determine the effects this sudden relaxation of established morality might have had on the crime rates of their respective countries (he undoubtedly ordered the study in hopes of taking the country’s mind off Viet Nam which had become a quagmire). The ensuing study dutifully and carefully analyzed before and after crime statistics, and surprise, surprise, what it showed was that crime did not increase in that so recently freed environment, it actually DECREASED. Markedly so.

It is quite logical when you stop to think about it. Prurient interests are something most all of us are born with. If you can satisfy someone's prurient interests legally chances are they won't go out and commit a crime in an effort to gain their satisfaction. Why should they? Well, LBJ and the politicians of that day hemmed, hawed and hollered when the study decried their most sacred pre dispositions, and they subsequently did their most adroit footwork attempting to dance away from the scientific truth which the study illuminated. In a similar manner they distanced themselves from the marijuana study done at around the same time that found certain medicinal attributes to the weed and the actual enhancement of certain skills while under the influence. So much for the objectivity of scientific Presidential studies.

For much of the past four years I have been writing erotic stories which were posted on the web site: mrdouble.com under the pen name Uncle Pan. I don't consider those stories I wrote dirty. They are fantasies. They go a few steps beyond the Thorne Smith fantasies I grew up reading and enjoying as a young man, but then all things evolve. All of my stories are fictional tales, concocted out of pure imagination with text carefully woven to entertain. And not incidentally they are written to make the reader feel good about him or herself, and I was proud whenever I found that one of my stories had succeeded in that vein.

I bring this up because fans of Uncle Pan’s stories might be interested to learn that one new and two previously published tales have just been posted on the web site: http://storiesonline.net/auth/Uncle_Pan. The brand new story is called Naomi’s Lessons. Perry Mason's house is a refuge for Naomi Parsons, 11, who comes over one day to tell Perry how she and sister Maggie spied on their mother as she was giving their uncle Martin a brotherly oral event. Perry advises the girls to 'fess their spying up to their mother, which when they do sets up a strange series of events.

The two previously published stories date from 2003 and include Matt and Rosie, where Matt Rollins, divorced, befriends a 13 yo girl, Rosie O'Flannery who lives down the street and who spends the hours after school and before her parents come home from work shooting the breeze with Matt. Rosie was extremely curious about the facts of life and one thing led to another. In Ross’ Extended Family, Ross Bouchaleaux, 28, had been grad student teacher when his parents were killed in an auto accident. The resulting insurance set him up for life, but the house seemed empty, so he posted a note at his former college offering free board if candidate meets his qualifications. A former student of his saw the note, and called him. She brought her 4 yo daughter over, who in turn proceeded to adopt Ross on first sighting. Ross then is faced with a mighty challenge as he finds himself becoming a father in training.
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As I have noted before, there really isn’t a hell of a lot good to recommend to you about growing old. But there is one quality which does distinguish you from the younger generation, you will have lived long enough to see and experience a great deal of change. For instance let me spend just a moment recalling the ancient times of my own childhood. It was a time before milk was homogenized and came in plastic cartons, it was a time even before either electric or gas refrigeration was in wide use.

When I was a child we had ice boxes, and the Iceman cometh around every morning to bring you a 50 lb block of ice which you used to keep your food from spoiling. (People in tropical climates season their food so highly to cover the taste of spoilage.) In those golden days you had one additional tradesman visiting each morning, the Milkman. Back then both the Ice and Milk men used horse drawn carriages for transportation, for automobiles though coming into style weren't as yet in as heavy a use as they would be later. The milkman brought you milk in glass bottles with a compartment up top where the cream rose. Coffee drinkers in those days used real cream in their coffee, there weren't these fake imitations so common today. And if the house had a coffee drinker or two in it the rest of the bottle of milk was more or less skim. Great for keeping the poundage down. The milkman also brought several other commodities, butter, pure cream, and fresh eggs. Your corner grocery store also carried these items, but it was a lot more convenient to have them delivered fresh to your door each morning.

Let me next describe the first real taste of culinary heaven I had. I was young, maybe five or six and my late, sweet aunt Ethel Forman (whose nickname Offie I explained in Blog #2) was the person who took care of me while my mother went off to work and it was she who subsequently introduced me to this exotic bit of culinary heaven on earth. It was so simple a concoction, really. But so divinely good. You take freshly churned butter at room temperature, add a sprinkle of table sugar and stir. That's all there is to it. But you can't imagine how heavenly the taste is. However, I attribute this delightful delicacy to have been a major contributor to the early demise of my teeth (the fact that I wouldn't drink milk back then might also have done its share of damage.) Looking back on it though all I can say is what a way to go.

At any rate, no discussion of my childhood would be complete without talking about my many trips to the family dentist. I was brought into this world by a Dr. Sidney Lister, who was our family doctor. His brother, Dr. John Lister, was our family dentist. And probably thanks partly to my addiction to the heavenly concoction of butter and sugar I spent much of my childhood in my dentist's office.

Now Dr. John Lister was a very special man. He had fought in Europe in World War I, and he had been gassed, which had given him a dreadful case of emphysema. The normal sound of his breathing would drown out the sound of a passing street car, and he could only work for short periods of time, and so he used what he euphemistically called "temporary fillings," little wads of some kind of gum-like material which used to inevitably come out while I was eating. He also didn't like to use anesthetics when he drilled, it was many years later that I found out that dentists could actually make drilling nearly painless with a well placed shot of novocaine.

Fortunately for me though he did use novocaine when he had to pull a tooth, and later on he would use it when I seemed especially nervous with the drill. Which after awhile was like most every time. When I went into the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944 and went into air crew training the next year the dentists had a field day replacing my many fillings which would pop out in the decompression chamber I used to have to use while training as a B-24 gunner.

Incidentally I spent the first thirty-six years of my life looking like I was under eighteen years of age. When in my thirties I was refused service once trying to buy a beer in a bar with a bunch of Settlement Camp Counselors in Beacon, N.Y., and at age thirty-six the store manager of a River Oaks liquor store refused to sell me a bottle of Scotch Whisky I was trying to buy for my father, until the clerk who had gone to college with me at the U of H many years before and who looked his age, talked the manager into letting me buy it by assuring him the two of us had gone to college together. I had shown the man my Texas driver's license which of course had my date of birth on it, it had been to no avail until the clerk had verified our having gone to college together.

And so it was at age thirty six that I decided to grow a beard. And it came out gray in spots, and I never got refused liquor service again. You know how your parents, mainly your mother, gets a picture of you in her mind at a much earlier age than your actual one. My mother had me pegged at around fourteen, and I believe she never quite forgave me for growing that beard and ruining her mental age for me. Many years later, on the Mike Douglas tv talk show of all places, I was to learn that anesthetics like Novocaine, Procaine and related compounds are known to slow down the aging process. And so I finally found what I could blame for my youthful looks during the first thirty six years of my existence. I have often wondered if Michael J. Fox, of Family Ties and the Back to the Future movies had extensive dental work done when he was a kid?

In retrospect I would like to give a belated toast to The Beatles for pointing our way and allowing those of us mere mortals to do many personal and truly individual things, like growing a beard or growing our hair long. Let’s drink this toast first to John the Magical Beatle, then to Paul the Addictive Beatle, to George, Musician Extraordinaire, and finally to Ringo, Drummer and Mister Every Man. There had never been anything like them in music or entertainment, the group not only quadruple-handedly changed the terrain of popular music, but they also put their individual stamp on the realm of the human personality. If you are too young to have been there keep your eyes and ears open for the film “Across the Universe,” a 60’s style love story woven together with songs of The Beatles. The N.Y.Time’s review is at: http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/09/14/movies/14univ.html
And let us never forget John Lennon’s message, “All You Need Is Love.”
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In a previous draft of today’s blog I lamented my decision to put a counter at the bottom of my page. If your name is Huffington or if your blog is the darling of silicon valley as is the Fake Steve Jobs then page counters are your friend. But if you’re TRLE your page hits can be embarrassingly small. In desperation we admit to initially bumping up our count (by refreshing the page) until it reached 100. But from there it has gone steadily upwards on its own, I think thanks to the fact that the nice folks at storiesonline.net put a link to it on my author page. I thank them, and I thank each of you for coming. At 7:30 C.S.T. Saturday morning the count is 414. It’s not in the stratosphere, but at least moving in an upwards direction. We wouldn’t object, however, if any of you who might get a chuckle or two from our ramblings e-mail our (woefully misspelled) link to any friends who might be interested. http://littlleeddy.blogspot.com/
And once again, thank you for coming.

The Real Little Eddy