Category Archives: Commentary

July 4th, NOW: March and Sing

AS we age, if we are lucky, we get the chance to assess the balance of plus and minus in our lives. If we are lucky, we get to ask of ourselves, as the aged Private Ryan asks his wife at the end of Saving Private Ryan: have I lived a good life?

Turning on You tube did that for me today—and helped me sharpen the moral battle sword I think I am called on to carry now at 78 and for as long as I need to or live, which ever ends first.

After I had been up for about an hour, I thought: its the 4th, why not see if YouTube has long playing patriotic music. Yes: an 8 hour selection that I set to “loop”—keep on playing.

It has all the music I so have loved all my life: Sousa marches, the official songs of the branches of the military services, patriotic hymns and some non-US American marches which we play so often that they might as well have been ours: If I did not know better, I would be wondering what units Radetzky and Colonel Bogey served in.

So many thoughts and emotions about this country, MY COUNTRY, were triggered by all that oh so familiar music: chest inflating, march tempo foot stomping, gratitude, pride in what we have tried to do with the better angels of our nature. Yes there had been times when I thought that we had permitted our focus to blur, our honor to be stained by greed and small minded authority figures, the vision of what we could be lost in favor of pursuit of the lowest common denominators—position, power, status, prestige, win-lose competition, trying so hard to be #1 that we lose sight of the debris of destruction in our wake

But the ones that keep coming back, come from 1941-1945 mainly.

I was born 3 months before the Japanese Empire destroyed the muscle of our Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, all except for the aircraft carriers, that is. I had three uncles in the services: one designed with Gene Tunney the physical training for the Navy in World War Two, one who fended off Japanes machinegun bullets on Iwo Jima while using his bulldozer to prepare landing strips, one-who was asked to return to the services as an officer after a Depression years tour of duty as a non-com, was a 1st Lieutenant of Field Artillery, in the Huertgen Forest. He destroyed all the letters he had written to my aunt after being mustered out in Detroit, and refused to speak of that nightmare.

Two of them wrote me letters from their duty stations, which my Mom read to me just because they were there. I have all of them from one of them today still.

How proud and at the same time worried to death my parents were about the two in combat. I just natuallly absorbed all that emotion. But mostly I got my feelings about the US from my dad.

My Dad was mayor of my then hometown in Michigan from 40 through 48. He was an attorney with a background in high school teaching. He taught history, civics and coached the debate team — which kept winning debate contests under his guidance. He was proud as a strutting peacock and grateful— as I have ever seen anyone be— that he lived in the United States of America. He was a Republican of an ilk that the Republicans would not even recognize today: he thought FDR one of our great Presidents, he praised a country that built a strong and prosperous middle class, he was a staunch defender of the Bill of RIghts, of the absolute need for the protection of the writ of habeas corpus, of a military that never began the fight but usually won, a military that was 100% subservient to our civilian leaders, that was built never to turn on its own citizenry, that was not a permanent standing army, of Presidents who acted beyond party boundaries for the common good, of a strict construction of the Constitution, of the notion that we cannot legislate morality, and much, much more. He taught us that in conversation over dessert at the dinner table..

He did his duty when called also. He had tried to enlist, but was rejected. The examining doctors said that the Army needed professionals who could go right in as officers,and that he would go as a Major except that his pilonidal cyst would mean he could not ride in Jeeps and that the Army would have to pay for his surgery and recovery. No, the doctor said, you can serve better in civilian life. Rejected!

He was Air Raid Warden, and he led the drives for War Bond subscriptions. In the latter he was very successful: first city of our size then in the US to achieve 100% War Bond subscriptions. He was awarded a medal and I think it was given him by General MacArthur – but could be mistaken.

Mostly however, he expressed his pride, patriotism and gratitude musically: he would sing the services songs and march around the house, with me doing the same in tow in later 44 and before May 8 1945.

All of those memories are mine! More than that, however, the emotions and the sense of pride in what the US was striving to be were etched without any filters right onto my soul. Today I see how right they were; I see how much they are a part of that central core of me called the self image. Aged and having been tested by time and trial, they and their emotional power are emerging at the other end of my life, emerging with that childhood energy giving them new life.

Those thoughts all were waving like many flags in the blustery mental winds of an old man letting all the memories of 78 years gather, present themselves in review for inspection and assessment, by and for both my mind and that observer who inhabits my soul: which side of the scale, the + or the-, will fall under the greater weight. And as it has been doing for some months now, the weight is surprisingly greater on the positive, morally right side. It builds that all important grease for sliding through the rusty, rough passages, gratitude.

I was not feeling too well as the music began to flood me with all of the above, and so my marching to the music (with the proud accompaniment of my dad, I am sure) was rather less than the chest out, chin up strutting like I always felt like doing hearing the Allentown Band play Sousa at the 4th celebrations in Ocean Grove NJ.

And then The Battle Hymn of the Republic came on. MIne eyes have seen the coming of the Lord—moral rectitude and being willing to die for freedom. My eyes could not see because they were pouring out tears. I was crying silently but so hard that I was choking. Tears were coming from my soul.

I was so overwhelmed that it took a little for me to understand why I had spontaneously begun to cry so hard. For what? I have heard and sung that revered battle hymn hundreds of times.

I cried because there is a blockage now to those well justified feelings of pride in being a citizen of a country with enough belief in itself and in ideals to have been working towards a more perfect union of, by and for the people for 244 years. We have faltered, failed, been wrong, been unable to unite as fast as needed—always however it was inside the bounds of our Constitution, never ever posing a challenge to the country’s indispensable moral examples of Washington, Lincoln, FDR and others of our morally committed leaders.

Until now.

Donald J Trump is the anathema of all that I held dear, He is the living embodiment of the Devil as depicted in the great classical work on evil, Goethes Faust: the spirit who constantly negates. Constantly.

His ignorant, unskilled, intemperate, selfish, threatening, superficial, wavering bully behavior casts a pall on everything I have held sacred. And the worst part is that a substantial minority of Americans does not, will not, cannot understand the traditions he is violating. They are willing Trump executioners for The Donald of anythng but what Devil Donald wants for himself.

Of course our history is still there. Maybe we can recover it from this collapse, but for me the corrosive poisonous fog has sbown me concretely to what we have let the growth of the negative on my scales define who we are. Grief is the roadblock to that unfettered joyful, energized marching around the house while singing with full gusto, Anchors Aweigh, the Caisson Song (WW2 version, please!), off we go, into the wild blue yonder….and yes an un-arranged version of the National Anthem.

And right below the grief, because I will not betray the vision of who we can be, is anger, raging, red-hot, boiling anger, anger like lava looking for that crack into which to explode and attack.

In the end, all Trump has done is to weld me to my inherited imperatives to help drive this nation in becoming a more perfect Union of, by and for the people.

So Donald, you want to divide us, eh? You want a fight, eh Donald? I have tried and tried to be civil, not to engage at the lowlife level where you live, and I will not stoop to that level. But fight I will. The lava is there, getting hotter, and ready to erupt all over you and your gang of slugs, slimy swine and serpents. All it needs is for you to continue to be the disgustingly disruptive empty suit you are.

I will march and sing, but no longer as just validation of what we were working to become. Now it all is a battle hymn for the present and the future for me.

Anchors, aweigh, roll the caissons, open the gates of heaven for us, and let us march today especially but every day, and sing to keep men free. America, America, God shed his grace on thee and crown the good by dumping Trump and with brotherhood for all of us, from sea to shining sea.


Over 42 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Many of them are losing their health insurance because we as a country decided to tie it to employment. And … hospitalized coronavirus patients are being discharged with bills in excess of a million dollars,

Charity and change begin at home: shame on me, shame on us.

Shame for having put up with a tattered, moth eaten, patchwork quilt healthcare scam. Shame on us for having stood aside while the money suckers made health, the fundamental condition for viable national life, a commodity to be sold for the profit of empty suit corporate managers and the totally unneeded accretion of wealth for the money vampires.

It is a national obscenity and cannot be left unaltered. Healthcare of the people, by the people, for the people in a reformed governance of the people, by the people, for the people.

Crime and punishment

rather risk death by CoVid19 than isolate a bit more….

The EU is now considering closing its borders to US travelers.


They say we do nothing to control the Corona Virus.

They are right.

Trump just destroys whatever does not feed his psychotically deluded ego. Thje virus is proving him a failure. What to do? Ignore it.

He cannot summon his sheep to any rally of import any more: l ook at Tulsa. What to do? Blame anyone else, foment a crises somewhere else, threaten objectors, then finally deny and ignore it.

Except in a world based on blatant evil, his mis- and malfeasance are real llve felonious crimes. People have died who otherwise could have had a chance to live had he not intentionally bungled dealing with Corona. Yes, – he has said that he interfered with treartment to help boost his failng stock.. He thinks he can say such things with impunity and that saying them makes them real.

What a great gift for all of us from the Repugnikans: isolation in the world while a psycholpath sets up death by CoVid19 in an effort to reduce the number of hjs opponents.

It appears however, finally to expanding and strengthening the opposition.

Nice but no cigar. Necessasry but insufficient.

Here is another echo of what is being said more frequently and more open-assertively these days: we the People, in order to form a more perfect union, need to jetison The Donald. Not in the election which after all may or may not happen, . No. Unambiguously, and unalterably.


Are you listening Democrats, moderate Republlicans, the Lincoln Project, the politically disengaged–everone except the far right and far left or especially the far right and the far left?

Before it is too late, arrange for a Big Slide down and out for DT. Because if you do not, there could well be others who will act to stop the crimes and incompetent ways far less gently than what one might be considering about now. Do not let him drag us down to a Roman Empire’s murderous ways of changing leadership. Do not stoop that low. We are better than that. Prove it on Donald.

Not with a Whimper but a Boom? Neither?

As a boy growing up during WW2, I was taught that the US Army was intended to be used only against foreign enemies. Another loss toe grieve, another nail in Trumps self-images coffin.

Trump decries the outbreaks of violence as unacceptable to our way of life, itself. How would he know what our way of life is? He has always lived in his own delusions. Even more than that, however, if the street violence is not tolerable, why would governmental military violence be any less so? Of course that presumes that logic might enter The Donalds fried brain.

No question: why would the people who are being killed in droves by CoVid19, who are locked in teeming, fetid ghettoes, who cannot afford to have Obamacare rescinded, who are treated everyday in every way as pariahs in their own land — why would they not be setting fires to urban America? After a while, frustration and deprivation transform desperation into destruction. And that is what has happened here. And shooting at them will just make the fires burn hotter and swell the ranks of the rioters.

Of course this is just what DT has been looking for: some excuse to use force to suspend our quasi-democratic ways, to blame his enemies for his crimes and failures, and to put the power of terror into his little hands. Anyone who doubts that, has not been observing him well.

Did this just boil up by itself? Local people have said it was not the radical left who incited to riot in their communities, it was the radical right. Note that governors do NOT want this, refuse to accept using the National Guard, oppose the breach of 244 years of tradition in using the US Army against its own citizens.

Note also that DT named only one radical political group and it was not one of the right wing groups who have come in from the woods with their guns,; masks, and bombs. Must one not wonder, whether, Reichstag-fire-like or war-on-Poland-like, whether the right wing groups might not have been quietly invited to kick off events? Who knows? I sure do not.

But one has to wonder: is this a right wing catalyst event? Stranger things have been known to happen.

The question now drifts in the air, everywhere and in every way: Will it now end with a boom rather than a whimper?

The living in the USA question for me is: will the fuse burn fast and ignitre the growing pile of social, economic and political high explosives before the election or will the threat of that finally bring the democratic processes, the few remaining, to their final halt before we even vote?

The personal question is: how to extricate myself from the mania and be able to offer more than more fuel for Donalds Fires. Increasingly, I think the unthinkable and then as often as I can remember it, drop out of the maelstrom and work hard to find Eckart Tolles Presence. Experience shows me that it will be spiritual practices which resolve and heal all the damage that DT has done and will do. Not religious, spiritual. We need have neither the bang or the whimper, but we need to get at it.

Omen? Chance?

Yesterday as I was walking up our driveway after yet another day of rain, my eye caught several of these leaves lying on the still damp asphalt.

Where did the orange come from? Why had it not faded like the rest of the leaf? It caught my interest.

Such fine structure just below the surface. Delicate leaf veins. What would the newly possible increase in environmental poisons do to that delicate life? .. to the orange?

What else has an unusual orange swath — Donald does. He has turned his negating touch to nature, banished eco-protective regulations. Might he too be blown away by some storm? Omen? Pure coincidence— in a universe in which nothing happens by accident?

Had I been caught yesterday in DTS mania for always being the focus of conversation, I would have missed this reminder that all beauty happens in the present. I am grateful for the orange decorated leaf.

The New SS

Where would you rather spend your Pandemic time?

1. A country in which the wealthy and their puppets want to rebuild an economy by sacrificing the lives of those who most need the recovery and the seniors, who are the least able to defend themselves? Call that nations notion the Christie Sink or Swim Resurrection.


2. A country in which all are working to end the depredations of the virus for all and in which there has been informed, researched debate about what actions will let all return to some semblance of normal life? Call that country’s strategy German Strategic Incremental Reconstruction.

The Christie SS Resurrection will object in tones of wounded noblesse oblige. Theirs is no fly-by-night, off handed, facile idea! They do so in all seriousness and after careful consideration for the growing financial and political losses of the pandemic. They are soberly suggesting the intentional sacrifice of a few for the benefit of the majority! That’s the democratic way! And that’s only realistic—sooner or later we will need the bustling economy to compensate the corporation s for their losses while shut down. And that in turn will trickle down to restart all the rest!

Note that the Christie SS Resurrection is not a vendetta or witch-hunt. They are not Nazis, aiming at certain numbers and groups of less than human people! They are not hard hearted killers—-they do not have to resort to that. It can all be done quietly. Just keep the seniors at home with last shot at food and healthcare, and let those who are now starving return to their infected workplaces, and the choice will take care of itself. To is actually the humane way to resurrect—in their view.

And consistent with their self proclaimed humane way, the Christie SS Resurrection will think itself noble for having made the tough choice, for having had the courage to act fo the good of others. In a Repugnikan, trickle-down sort of way, of course.

Let us then honor them! Their spiritual stature must rest upon the universal pillar of all spiritually viable movements, the Golden Rule.

So, consistent with their exemplary spirituality, let them send their families to be sacrificed first! Perhaps they might join their families on that path to noble destiny. That is, if they are not too busy identifying the next round of sacrifices for the economic good.

What an example they will leave for all times once their story has entered the history books!

Where would you rather go?

Time to learn some german

The United States now has 1/3 of all the corona virus infections on this earth. The United States now has 1/4 of all the deaths from The Virus on earth.

The number of infections and the number of deaths is INCREASING≥. Some perspective: a few days ago,. Germany: 855 new cases ,0 deaths.

And yet Angela Merkel stopped and postponed going to their second phase of relaxing socializing restrictions until mid June due to concern over increases.

While in the USA despite well communicated, increasing infection rates and death rates much higher than any other nation on earth, some states are relaxing restrictions. Ahhh yes: the South’s R-naught will rise again! And some unbelievably carried weapons, Nazi and Confederacy flags into the Michigan state house to protest for restoration of such basic rights as…. getting a hair-do. What an example of ….. self seeking gone lethal.

According to information which came my way some years ago from a source at the German Embassy in D. C., we spend the same amount per person for health care as Germany. We do it out of pocket, they by taxes. They have even coverage, we have hole-y pre-existing exclusions. They had systems and supplies ready to deal with such a contingency. We did also, until Trump and bad boy Jared Kushner actually threw away all the notebooks compiled to help them govern. Then Trump plus Moscow Mitch and his gang of paid off puppets gave the body pandemic the Genickschuss (coup de grace) when they took away funding. We pay as we go if we can, and if the help we need happens to be there. They just go. By and large, whatever they need, is already there.

Who, given reasonably prudent discernment, would not want the German ones: one of the the worlds best death rates, guaranteed top notch and immediate healtlh care, payments to replace Corona-lost income, a Chancellor who works in planful collaboration with her own staff; and with the Minister Presidents of ALL the German states?

Here: Missing Picture of any Federal Trump-er Meeting with Governors to Coordinate Federal and State Efforts

Die Zeit today published an article about why the Germans have been so effective in dealing with the Corona virus.

Der Föderalismus wirkt Federalism Works

Deutschland meistert die Corona-Krise besser als viele Nachbarstaaten. Das zeigt sich nicht nur im Gesundheitswesen. Vor allem der deutsche Föderalismus hat sich bewährt.

Germany is mastering the Corona Crises better than many neighboring states. That is apparent not only in the healtlcare system. Above all German Federalism has stood the test.

A concluding statement his the nail on the head: Der Föderalismus, richtig verstanden und betrieben, wirkt. Er sorgt auch für ein besseres Verständnis von Maßnahmen, die sich an der regionalen Situation orientieren und deshalb nicht als unverhältnismäßig empfunden werden.

Federalism, correctly understood and practiced, works. It ensures a better understanding of measures, which are oriented to regional situations and therefore are not felt to be disproportionate.

that is 100% correct and that is also exactly what is happenig here that is sandbagging any countrry wide effort to get ahead of the epidemic. Each region feels that is has to protect its own regional situation since whatever Trump does or most likelly does not do, is a one size fits all, excelpt of course that it does not. Just ask the people in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and the armed protestors in the Michigan State House.

but Zeit again explains it all better:

In Staaten wo Föderalismus weniger kooperativ interpretiert wird und man stattdessen mehr auf den Wettbewerb setzt, ist das anders. Im amerikanischen Föderalismus werden Informationen getrennt voneinander gesammelt – also Bundes- und einzelstaatliche Behörden erheben eigene Daten und handeln unabhängig voneinander. Die USA gleichen damit mehr der Europäischen Union, die kaum geeint auf die Corona-Krise reagiert und wo vielmehr die Mitgliedstaaten autonom entscheiden. Beide, die EU und die USA, tun sich schwer damit, eine Antwort auf das Virus zu finden.

In states where federalism is interpreted less cooperatively and instead is based on competition, the situation is different [re the good results the Germans have gotten]. In American federalism information is gathered in a divided manner–thus federal and state agencies gather their own datra and act independently of each other. The USA in that regard is like the EU which has reacted to the Corona Crisis scarcely in a united way and where the member states make decisions autonomously. Both, the EU and the USA, are struggling to find an answer to the virus.

The key here is that federalism works by cooperation. 244 years down the road we have yet to learn that. How else explain that 1/3 of the voters laud Trumps vile, and dangerously evil but not too skilled attempt to destroy it? How else explain that these same voters apparently think that more competition, win-lose competing, will carry the day and save the moribund, ragged health care patchwork quilt and the staggering, top heavy economy?

Whether German or other, there are systems in this pandemic which work better than ours. Indeed any of the others is working better sincew ours is working worst, by any measure. Our Federalism not only is not working, it is being used to make the crisis far, far worse than we may even be able to imagine. Trump and his supporters could easily do themselves and then us in.

What to do, how to build a working federalism?

First, isolate the disease spreaders. Let Trumps lethally undiscerning, self seeking supporters all get together, hug, shake hands, work shoulder to shoulder —for a couple of months, then send the survivors to Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina — and any other states who are dropping social distancing and lockdown while the Rnaught continues to rise. Turn back, with all force needed, any one of them trying then to leave those assiduously stupid states, when their R naught erupts volcanically while ours continues to fall at the same slow rate with which it rose. Those people misusing our federal system are endangering our lives every bit as much as if they were pointing loaded guns at us. that is a crime, so why not this?

It is high time that we exacted a penalty upon those who would endanger their own and us just to go to a restaurant or get a haircut. And the penalty should be as onerous as the illness which they pass on to others.

Let them all stew together in their own juice..

In the meantime, the rest of us will need to do a moral inventory. The key to cooperation is our thinking. We need to examine: why do we think that our competitive ways work when in one of the worst surprises Mother Nature could foist upon us it has failed so utterly miserably and dangerously for all of us? And then we will need to rethink how we understand and practice federalism–one might say that our current methods have not exactly been stellar..

Maybe it is time to cast off the erroneous German cultural stereotypes of Hogans Heroes and the WW2 War Department and learn something from our allies, the Germans. Who looks more like Colonel Klink: Angela Merkel or any Trump-er? How about Trump’s Arch Fool, Jared Kushner? Todays Germans would say to us: Wenn dein Pferd stirbt, steig’ ab: when your horse dies, dismount. Looks more than a little like we have been beating a dead horse. Time to dismount and try out some German ways. Nicht wahr? (Wouldn’t you say that’s true?)

Whatever You Do, Trumpublicans, do not dismount.

Statistics show that 45% of Republicans are ignoring social distancing. They are going out in groups, doing all that Dr Fauci and everyone else has warned them about.

To no avail. They just keep at it.

While they are ardently at work on resurrecting some imagined golden past time,, the United States now has become the most infected and most lethal place for CoVid19 on earth.

Evidence to any eyes that are open and any brain capable of distinguishing a real live plague of BIblical proportions from a Father Knows Best delusion. This is not a wave of colds, this is lethally dangerous, easily worthy of Last Days status if left to its own devices.

Any fool can see that. Just look at what has happened to the health care system of New York. Or New Jersey. Or. or. Or…and so on ad nauseam. OK, well, perhaps not Trumpublican Fools. They continue to act out the the 20th Century’s insane script of growth, trickle down, casino capitalism. As they try harder and harder, all sorts of things fail. It is the Story of The Donald’s Deluded Life.

It is clear to a blind man that Trump is a colossal failure with Corona virus and CoVid19.. And so what is their reaction? Work to improve the health of those they are supposed to represent? No. They appoint mushmound lapdog Lindsay Graham to be Chief Inquisitor in a Witchhunt for scandals involving President Obama.

Be clear: Trump uses lies, accusations and chaos to get his way–or at least to try. So do not be surprised when Graham vomits up some rotten old garbage looking for all the deluded world like an “Obamagate”

Be clear also about this: working for the people of the US is not an agenda in theTrumpublican Partei. It has not been for 50 years. Let’s finally get some truths: there is no democracy in the US now, there never was much, and we have the best government that money can buy for Rich Mitch and has rich beyond belief puppeteers. They want to own the richest prize now on earth, our country. And they want YOU and ME to have to work for them for a pittance, without health care to keep it all pouring cash into their coffers. T

They have been working for 50 years to get this. Nothing short of a revolution will get rid of them.

andMoscow Mitch (old MM) says in retort, so what? We have the power now and it is going to be tough …. for The People. Here;s what I think of them: : let the people drown in their own cheap swill, go nuts on their frustrated dreams, die of CoVid19 and just simply starve to death. You the People do not count. So get the hell out of our way. We are paid off, mounted and ready to ride!

MM (gums up your hands, fouls in your mouth), DT ( the legend in his own mini-mind), et al , are living proof of two old German adages: die Dummheit stirbt nie aus.— stupidity will never become extinct and second, even more apropos, Wenn dein Pferd stirbt, steig’ ab!: when your horse dies, dismount!

Living those two adages means lilving the third one: arrogance cometh before the fall. They have sown the wind. WE need to be the whirlwind. That means a lot more pushing them for the fall and that has to mean finally doing much more to them than just winning an election.

Big changes are in the works—this is a spiritual as well as physical, mental, financial, social upheaval. In the DT-spawned and MM managed lethal vacuum of leadership and care involving CoVid19, in the violent racist response to Black Livces Matter, we are rediscovering helping each other again. They underestimate the equal and opposite reaction to them that is building. We are finding allies all across the globe. We are learning that we need to strike back in ways we would never before have considered. We need to upset the apple cart..

And, we are discovering that we can do without those old fools beating their dead horses.

So bored and angry are we at them that we no longer even laugh at a bunch of pasty dissipated old MM-like boys sitting on top of decaying horse cadavers (or were those Elephant corpses?) kicking, jerking reins and shouting, Wahoo, yippiekaiyaye, out of the way you evil liberals because here we come….

As we begin to turn our backs and minds on them, we slowly begin to chuckle at those zombie-faced, half human, dead-horse beaters. They are right where they belong.

Do not dismount, boys. You are serving the cause of democracy very well right where you are.

Too good not to share


Ode to Sean Hannity

by John Cleese

Aping urbanity

Oozing with vanity

Plump as a manatee

Faking humanity

Journalistic calamity

Intellectual inanity

Fox News insanity

You’re a profanity


Thank you, John Cleese!. But a short historical correction applies here. DT cannot hold the title,the greatest leader in all of history. You see, the Title is already taken. It was first bestowed, with all due insincerity, on …. drum roll…..Adolph H, late of the 13 year long Thousand Year Reich. Adolph, a worthy rival to DT in egotism, ate it right up. Leader Fuehrer FIeld Marshall Stable Genius Feldherr in the Nazi State or the dirty delusion of a Trump State, it all meant #1 guy and respect it or else!

It was originally published by the Nazi Party, but that backfired. Subdued and threatened German soldiers, who wanted to laugh privately but thoroughly at the malignant corporal clown, with tongue in cheek shortened to Gröfaz – German soldiers’ derogatory acronym for Größter Feldherr aller Zeiten.(Grö+F+a+Z) (Thank you, danke schoen Wikipedia)

One history of humor in the 13 years of the Thousand Year Reich indicated that Gröfaz became a popular derogatory term outside the Wehrmacht. It could have been heard by Germans just as an acronym to laugh at, but it also, when spoken fast, and semi-whispered at a distance almost can be heard as the German for “greatest fart” größter Feldherr aller Zeiten ~ Grö-faz/Größ-furz.

What it sounds like in German

At any rate, the full title can belong to only one Deluded Stable Genius, and AH took that accolade. However, the acronym has now become a term unto itself. It is listed on Wikipedia as a German military term. And therefore it may be bestowed with all rights and honors appurtenant thereunto upon the fake sun tanned brow of DT: D Gröfaz T. OR DT, Gröfaz— has a certain ring to it, nicht wahr/ right?

Who are we then?

Living today is often like finding out that I am in a real On The Beach–the last US submarine after the nuclear war has dropped me off on some formerly bustling sunbathing, volleyball playing, eating and drinking and beautiful body showing beach. The hissing of the silence is unnerving — did I hear a voice? was that a person just on the edge of my view? Now there’s just an empty everywhere, with traffic lights silently choreographing yellow-red-green-yellow-red… for traffic that no longer exists.

Where has the US of my father gone? How can something as bad as this be so quiet?

A while back a poem was making the rounds of blogs by the medieval German poet, Walther von der Vogelweide. Someone must have figured out my background and love for German Literature because without warning of any kind, links to it found their way here to Pane in the Tale.

It is a moving poem about losses in old age: Owê war sind verswunden, alliu mîniu jâr… Oh woe where have all my years disappeared to….. And indeed it does very eloquently express the woe and loss that the collapse of contact by outliving friends has caused.

  1. an older cousin, one of crucial importance to me in my youth mostly, and who has always occupied a bright place in my consciousness: gone. How can he be gone? It cannot be but is.
  2. the friend who died and who via a medium, who has no idea who I am, told his wife, tell Greg I miss our morning phone calls! He cannot be gone, he is too important.
  3. add Muffy, JJ, Steve, Butch, my first five German Shepherd companions,
  4. my parents, my uncles:
1944, late spring. That’s me riding on the back of that beloved uncle. Yes, the1st Lt. , who directed his field artillery unit in the Hürtgen Forest and would not talk about it


  1. my uncles who fought in World War Two. Wait a minute, didn’t I just the other day see the one who loved to play with me arrive in his summer khakis by train in downtown Detroit amidst a crowd erupting in tumultuous volcanic welcomes?

If it ended there, then OK Walther, you get the ring on the merry go round.

Today, however, it does not end there..

How can Trump stand where FDR stood, yes stood crippled, in the nation which came from far behind in 12/7/1941 to wind up last man standing at the end of WW2? How to adjust to the open and unhealing wound from the cutting bully behavior where civility and diplomacy always came to reside as mission critical competencies for 240 years?

Of our three foundational rights, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, life and liberty are cracked and happiness come to mean selfishness, greed. Was Jefferson wrong? Are we finally unworthy of the happiness derived from participation in the governance of ourselves?

Am I deluded in thinking myself a worthy member of a democratic state by expressing my opinions publicly? It would appear that 40% of our population thinks that we really need someone as President who “shakes things up, a disruptor”. How can we believe in that part of us who thought this country to be a unique experiment in equality–who felt that we were part of that?

How can we have the continued sense of safety and stability when the President has failed to catalyze a response of any positive sort to the largest physical threat humanity has experienced ever?

It is not just the failures that reduce us. His attacks which lame and dismanantle our democratic, republican institutions violate our trust in our President, and by easy extension, the political system and public values which put this incompetent world-hater into George Washingtons chair. We relied on those institutions. We invested ourselves, our trust, our expectations, our treasure, our safety in them.

Who are we then that this nation, which we thought was there for us, no longer is? How can we ever again think ourselves proud agents of an admired, successful state? After all, we elected him, not “they”. Who he is was as plain as the nose on your face or his perpetual sneering scowl.

Yet he won the Electoral College nod. Whatever currents of dysfunction and destruction carried him into office, they are ours now to stop in November and then, with the ardor of racing for survival, to correct .

And now the reports about fewer food choices begin to trickle in. It was predictable that food plants might have to close during lockdowns. It was predictable that we would need them open to eat. It was predictable that the one agency which could act across state lines, the Federal Government, would need to and could help keep it going till we could go back to work.

And who should have led that charge to protect food production, which never happened? That’s him, our DT, in the scowl shots above. What was he doing when the food reports came in? Dithering in temper tantrums about whether to hold briefings or not. He decided not to – -and could not keep that resolve for three days.

Who we are is in part a function of what level of needs we are working to satisfy — enter Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We have just had the rugs of self actualization, esteem, love and belonging as US citizens, and safety as people who need to eat yanked right out from under us.

This is not whining self pity. God does not like that: . It is not the poor-me’s. It is grieving the loss of the props of democracy and safe participation. . I am being pushed into protective thinking, pushed under by the waves of disorder as the river of consciousness is suddenly channeled over very stony rapids.

How then can I say that graphically?

Jump forward in time a few centuries in German-speaking Europe to the the 30 Years War (1618-1648) and Andreas Gryphius. In the horrid meat grinding, pestilent 30 years of war, he has to ask: was sind wir Menschen doch? – – well what are we humans then?

Menschliches Elende

Human Misery

Was sind wir Menschen doch!

What are we humans then!

ein Wohnhaus grimmer Schmerzen

a home for ferocious kicks,

ein Ball des falschen Glücks

a ball of false luck

ein Irrlicht dieser Zeit

a fen-fire of this time

ein Schauplatz herber Angst

a theater of tart worry

besetzt mit scharfem Leid

cast with bitter burnt lime,

ein bald verschmelzter Schnee

a snow soon melted away

und argebrannte Kerzen.

and burnt out candle sticks.


Das Leben fleucht davon

Life is whisked away

wie ein Geschwätz und Scherzen

like idle chatter or some jest.

Die vor uns abgelegt

Who before us have laid down

des schwachen Leibes Kleid

the frail body’s cloak—

und in das Totenbuch

and in the obituary

der großen Sterblichkeit

of the great Croak

längst eingeschrieben sind,

long since had been registered:

sind uns aus Sinn und Herzen.

gone from mind and breast.


Gleich wie ein eitel Traum

Just like a vain-hoped dream

leicht aus der Acht hinfällt

easily fades to black

und wie ein Strom verschleußt

and rushes onward like a stream

den keine Macht aufhält

which no power can hold back,

so muß auch unser Nam, Lob,

thus must our name, praise

Ehr und Ruhm verschwinden.

honor and glory disappear.


Was itzund Athem holt

Whatever now draws breath

muß mit der Luft entfliehn

must expire with the air exhaled.

Was nach uns kommen wird

Whatever will come after us

wird uns ins Grab nachziehn

will pull us back into the grave’s jail.

Was sag’ ich? Wir vergehen

What am I saying? We fade away

wie Rauch vor starkem Wind.

like smoke before strong wind.

Who are we then? We are Americans who need to affirm all that Gryphius says, rid ourselves of the Trump Pestilence, and remember always: AMERICAN ends in I CAN.



Gryphius (born Greif) close witness of 30 Years War (1618-1648 much fought on German soil) plus plague, famine; ca. 67% of German population died during that time

Left strong impressions: Witness to burning and pillaging of town of Freystadt 1August 1632

Many of his images are events he saw and used also metaphorically-and can be read as metaphors for our time as well

Death was personal experience, not abstract: left his mood somewhat melancholic

Driven from hometown by war, made self an orphan but acquired excellent classical education

One of earliest poets to write in German instead of Latin

Must successful dramatist in German from 1616 to 18th century

Well educated man, named poet laureate by his wealthy patron; one of most important poets of German Baroque, improver of German as language of poetry

Time of political, social, economic upheaval & unbridled, seldom neither active nor almost active violence as status quo in certain of German principalities of Central Europe

Famous image of omnipresence of war: das vom Blut fette Schwert–the sword grown fat on blood

Asteroid 496 named Gryphia after him