Category Archives: Hope

Das Fressen

Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.

First comes the feeding, then comes morality. the Three Penny Opera, Berthold Brecht.

A headline in Die Zeit online German newspaper of Februarty 28 reads thus: the war in the Ukraine won’t be finished until Putin is finished.

And the double entendre of mh “finished” was as intentional as the “zum Ende” in German was.)


We see this as a violation of sovereign rights, a blow at a democracy one continent too close to Putins Prison: Russia. There is the thought that he miscalculated the will of the Ukrainians to stay free. He did. quite manifestly.

Does this look and sound like a worried man?

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he visits the construction site of the National Space Agency on the premises of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Sergei Guneyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

We know he has been planning this for years.

We know he is still KGB first, then President.

We know that we are his strawmen, his less than a russian lying cheating, ruthless exploiting capitalists who are responsible for all the woes that he the Billionaire and Mass Murderer and War Criminal and Mastermind of Crimes against Humanity shoves onto us. And it sticks because we are not holy either.

We know that he has been successful in several wars for which he paid no price at all –memories of Hitler and appeasement.

We know he has threatened the deployment of nuclear weapons if anyone interferes with his plans to take and keep the Ukraine. It is clear: his negotiating position is: give up your liberty and arms.

We wonder whether these sanctions will be enough to stop him from..; doing what?

Broken record: to kill democracy on his borders?


Look at that face again, the smirk of superiority, the look of the cat who got the mouse.

Vladimir Putin is not an idealogue. Political ideology means nothing to him. What is important to him is control so as to make himself in his own mind and in fact if at all possible larger and more powerful than anyone. He thinks that the time for the tyrant autocrat has come and the time for the dithering democrat has gone.

Nothing we have done so far has persuaded him that he is wrong because he is not at the end yet.

Does he give a tinker’s damn about the fate of the people in Ukraine? Yes: about as much as the last murdering megalomanics army, Hitlers boys, came through and devastated wantonly.. Putin is total pragmatism impregnating strategic acumen. He wants what furthers his cause.]

And once more kids in the bleachers: what does he want? Control, dominate, be larger than and eliminate the empire of lies which has made him so utterly …. rich.

Here is what he wants:

  1. access to the black Sea so that the US Navy is blocked there;
  2. tie up the US so that it cannot concentrate its forces and crush him
  3. grain, grain , grain. Ukraine is grain, my friend, BIG GRAIN. And if he owns that, he is Grain King on Earth, his navy is already out on the high seas diddling around in places where we are in the grain game. Because controlling the grain means owning it on the way out, protecting it on the way to our former trade partners, and sinking the few traders we will have left.

and that will keep him Grain King for ever and ever, and ever…

and that will teach China that it pays to join Vlad the Paymaster to run the global economy, sink Taiwan and go to war against a vastly weakened and impoverished USA

He can kill every living human in Ukraine and get all that while we howl about human rights and crimes against humanity and war crimes.

So is this a nutcase who cannot plan his way out of an open barn door? Hardly. We need to take him more seriously than we have any enemy of ours ever,

because there is no bone of other orientation in his calculating KGB computer-brain;

because he thinks he has a right to do whatever he wants: survival of the fittest;

because he is who Luther describes in A Mighty Fortress…

“…our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe, His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.

Vlad the Destroyer has the jump on us. Sanctions and scoldings and withholdings and constraints will just get him to pull the trigger faster and it could be gas, chemical, viral, nucler or some historically unprecedented mixture, No weapon ever invented has remained unused. Which unused one will he use? Putting our heads in the sand about his baldfaced aggression won’t stop him. Time has come to remove the velvet gloves and hit back as hard and skilled as we can.

any change demands fully taking three steps

1 awareness of what is really happening and it is not just the subjugation of Ukraine whatever the cost to him and us;

2. acceptance: of the facts of life post Party time in the Putin Era, that in one day he transformed it to the Putin Era. All the media talk just confirms it, scolding or not: different strokes for Putin folks. We must not underestimate this enemy. We did in the 1930s and it almost cost us a world war. We must accept that this man has studies all that and made sure he does not make those mistakes. Ever. Period. We must stop thinking that somehow our degrees of moral superiority will carry the day. First they aren’t that great any more and second that is bass-ackwards thought: FIRST comes the feeding, and then comes the morality. Vlad knows that while at times we seem to get them switched in terms of action.

3, ACT–So what do we do? These ideas seem to have some potentiaol while we build back up, one more nauseating time, for war on all symmetrical and-a-symmetrical fronts:

1 Do not play to his fiddle. Take all risks to keep him reacting.

2, Masquerade and mislead. We did it to Hitler, we can do it to Vlad. Dictators do not double back and ask why did it go wrong? And they know they are never wrong. He has no rearview mirror. Make him turn around a lot and while he is turned, remove one of this tools. Silently. Keep him wondering how we did it. Frustrate him. Make hjim think taht we are more and closer than he had imagined, and shortly our masquerae will become Big Boy Warships.

3 Speak softly and carry the biggest damned stick on earth in very public display keeping it just out of his reach but well within ours.

4. Make sure we own the grain. Sink his Navy if we have to.

5. Make plans for how to handle him throwing nukes at non-Nuke Nato Allies. Keep at work on some today’s equivalent of Britains radar and air defense system in WW2 but with one difference: 0 penetration coming our way and having given him a little nuke demo, assured unilateral total destruction of anything he hides in.

6, File suit in the International Criminal Court for indictments against him and all qualified associated perpetrators, enablers supporters for at least the Crime aainst Humanity of Extermination — of Ukraine or any other ethnic group he has had harmed or have been harmed because he stayed the hand of mercy when de facto acting to keep a people from harm is the sine qua non for civilization.

As Robert Jackson said in Nürnberg, those guilty of such crimes must be puhished to the ful l extent of the law because civilization cannot withstand their repetition. It should be an easy task:

  • Malice aforethought if not in evidence clearly does not need to be proven by the prosecution: it will by the ICC rules be imputed from the actions.
  • And since Nürnberg in international law Crimes Against Humanity are no longer a subset of war crimes, and
  • since Nürnberg Crimes Against Humnity committed in wartime state service for country no longer have that state service as a defense=: perpetrators cannot hide behind orders or their rolesl=.
  • Consistent with that it is also the case that a large net can be case for such crimes because those only acting to further the malicious cause in even small ways are to be held to the same penalty standards as the big wheels.

Make sure it is all widely publicized and that he has a chance even in absentia to offer a defense: keep the moral high ground via due process.

7. watch for his errors: he is far too self satisfied and angry not to make some lollaploozers. Why:? People with his win lose power thiniing nevder ever have all the right facts about strategic impactl It is too costly to tell HRH Mr Right that he not only blew it but also did it naked. It never fails. When they think they are finally in charge and that actually the people whose families he tore apart, whose national pride he trod into the mud that once was their parks and gardens, whose freedoms her ripped from their souls so that his cronies could enrich themelves in any way they wanted, whose sons died in wars of his hate which he started and whose daughters were forced into his brothels and treated like breeding bitches, then speak loudly and use the big stick.

8 Make sure we go off into this having had an unsparing national dialogue of how we fostered him and his evil. No? — Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. To get one step ahead of him and to be open to small shifts in his currents which open big holes for us, we cannot afford our warriors — in other words nowadays all of us –to get consumed with doubt about our honesty and the morality of our causel We CANNOT AFFORD MORAL HESITATION. HE WILL SENSE IT AND USE IT,

9. Every responsible national officer read and do what Richard von Weizsäcker then President of the West German State said in his memorable courageous and very circumspect and complete speech to the Bundestag on May 8 1985, the 4th anniversary of the Allies Ww2 victor- but,not about win/lose at all. Itr was far more important a speedh than a celebration. it was a plea to the soul of the nation abouT How to reconcile guilt for having been part of the disaster of the war ajd Naziism. Copy attached for anyone to taie ad read itt.

10. Do what the Brits did when it looked too too much like they were cornered and could not possibLy win: have a national day of prayer. But instruct everyone that the prayer has to be only for knowledge of Gods will and the power to carry it out. No other way will work as any other request is based ipso facto on the egos decision of what is best (for itself invariably). After all it was the ego violating Gods moral script for the world that brought about this calamity to begin with.

It is the manner of prayer best suited and clearly proven to work to show the downtrodden, confused, hopeless, desperate and broken on the shards of their own shattered pride the way to safe action again. It is the way alcoholics at the jumping off place have learned to let to and let Godl. Ask them. Their contact info is usually right at the top of the A’s in the phone book. They have been using that manner of prayerwith high rates of success ever since the early 1903s and a previous time of despair and defeat. Proof that the other way does not work: German Wehrmacht belts had a buckle on which was embeded: Gott mit Uns, God With Us. You can easily ascertain from the outcome of WW2 for Germany then how well that steel prayer worked.

Do it that recovery program way and only that simple straightforward way! Leave the big stuff. the reestablishment of morality to the guidance of God. The great German poet+statesman+novelist+top level government advisor+lawyer+international celebrity Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it this way:

I believe that we bear in ourselves a spark of that eternal light that must be gleaming in the ground of all being,
and which our weak senses can only suspect from afar. To make this spark in us into flame
and thus to make real the divine in ourselves,
is our highest duty.

This is not about religion! This is about keeping the light of that divine spark burning in Europe, now, today. We must fight, it is necessary. But Putin can do that too. Only we in this struggle can act as Goethe suggested. Is it not Putin who seeks to kill that spark of the divine: it cannot coexist with him. Do his actions even remotely suggest any concern for The Light? And is that Light not what makes civilization possible: other orientation, unconditional positive regard for the other accepting the duty to act to prevent harm? Has the darkness of a Putin ever created a democratic state and is democracy, the only political philosophy that is learned and thus adult, the only hope for us?

What about the struggling, self sacrificing Ukrainians: who cannot feel that divine spark in their courage, refusal to accept Putin’s dark future, coming from afar back to their land in mortal danger to help each other? Who cannot discern that divine spark, the part of the divine in each person of good will, glowing as they stand for what’s right?

In God we trust: it is said that accepting the duty to love and defend that is the hardest challenge anyone of us will ever face. Whatever Higher Power in which you believe, it is merely a bush league pinch hitter if he-she-they-it does not demand of us that we grow, does not challenge us.

We are being challenged right now. Will we accept that call to grow? Will we open our minds to the path that a Higher Consciousness might show us? Vlad is all ego. When has that won anything lasting for anyone? Is it not time that we began to develop a higher consciousness?

The Brits had National Prayer Days when it appeared that they were finished. You can tell by the outcome of that war against men with God With Us on their belt buckles how well that beltbuckle God worked for them.

If you rail at this, then at least let the rest of us go that way. Judge by the results. And ask yourself: have our unaided minds kept us out of Putin’s grasp?

Let go and let God. That is not religion, it is just common sense.

Believe me, I have friends who live that way and I have seen it clearly. That simple practice is the foundation of a way of life that works in all situations. I;ve watched these cherished friends deal with financial woes, homelessness, fatal diseases, involuntary uprootings, death of loved ones and they, all recovered but not cured alcoholics, managed with a grace and beauty and strength that I just do not see much elsewhere. Lets use the tools that we have: it works if you work it.

Vlad thinks the feeding is the end, that life is all about hoarding. Hitler thought it was all about some mythical notion of strength and, like vlad, the survival of the greediest. In the end, even the cynical Brecht knew it, although most certainly he saw that famous dictum as being about the Fressen. Only as part one: dann kommt die Moral. Vlad does also.

We know what to do, we have turned our armies around in impossibly short times and won before. Our penalties for Vlad’s evil are starting to show their teeth. We are at the beginning of the beginning, but we have Vlad checking behind himself now. It is our one cent’s worth: in God we trust. Live it. Peace. Paneintale

Here is the link to the complete speech by Richard von Weizsäcker,. German Federal President, May 8,1985 to the Bundestag.

Want less but still get the critical points? Here are excerpts:

bird shot

drab day and woodpecker silhouette about all I couild shoot

I have made the decision to stay away from even possible sources of CoVid transmission on the advice of my good doctor.

He is right. Lifelong respiratory vulnerability is an open invitation for an infection. And being superannuated reduces the strength of the immune fresponse: a second reason to keep away. So I do it.

It is the right thing to do. If I get it, ipso facto I will have exposed others. Maybe even people I know and care for, although most of them are also my age or somewhat younger and staying put at home. But the nobility of it all has faded into….silence filled with the noise of troublesome thoughts and frustrations.

When we lived on the ridge on the side of the mountain in South Asheville, I could deal with cabin fever just by going outside. And if that didn’t work, I could watch Bruno and Zora and then after they died, Kaiser and Titan play.

(First row, third picture: me with Bruno and Zora at the Biltmore Estate. I would exercise them off lead==they were very obedient–and in the cooler weather, I wore a blue baseball cap with a German Shepherd insignia on it, a blue jacket with a Michigan patch on the front, khaki pants, and leather boots. People would gather to see the dogs do their routines and then ask us for directions. They though I was Security…. Second row, first two pictures TItan chasing or hovering, Kaiser leading Titan in chase or lolllygagging on the ground for more play–Titan really never got the lolllygagging.)

People places and things to visit and see — lots in the course of my life’s wandering journey. Lots of gratitude.

Bottom line, however, has been lifelong: antsy, bored, restless? Get out the camera and see what you can shoot and do better than the last time. that has led to Photos libraries of so many digital shots I’m embarrassed to name the number. The point is: taking pictures is, has been and always will be me.

The trouble is, off the mountain, in .8 acres rather than 6, in really unimaginative house a bit less than half the size of the mountain house, (it was all we couid get) is very practical for us and Roxy and Lutz, but quite sleep-inducing .

Rosy and Lutz: are partners but not much for playing together. Still each can havea big day and then they nap together.

Just less to see and do. Life on its terms: accept it and adapt.

OK. Maybe I can get some shots of that woodpecker who hammers away out in the trees around us.

I’ve been trying since April of 2017 — he or she makes a large racket but no image! It got to the place where I was sure, absolutely certain, that he knew I was down there with a camera and bigtime zoom lens. And just to spite me, he would always peck his tree caves on the other side of the tree from me.

Until two weeks ago, that is. It seems his arrogant self confidence got the better of him and he came out, onto the top of a couple trees on the neighbor’s lot, maybe 100 yards from me as the crow flies. And he came out into silhouette, perched on the top of one of those trees and even somewhat with his back to me. As if he were saying, come on, here I am, just see if you can get a good shot of me. I am, after all, very much worth it.

The shot at the top of the page is the result, the sad result. It was (yet another) foggy, soggy, misty greysky day. So my results, even with a good deal of photoshopping in Photos, did not get any better than this:

this was my first clue that I had here the very elusive, large and interesting pileated woodpecker, a male one. Note the red cap — clue #1 one, and the somewhat rectangular holes–clue #2: only the pileated ones make holes that shape. And this one is slim, not plump: a male.

I was happy I got that shot and that it could be improved so much — that one came from an almost black and white silhouette. I had a bit of my passion back, but it is addictive: I wanted something better, more interesting, more colorful, more revealing of this boy’s character.

In the meantime, I began to realize that if I want interesting bird shots from .8 acres and little flexibililty about shooting position, I’d have to find ways to make them come to me. And I have some ideas.

Two weeks later I was taking it easy (from what?) in the am with mly absolutely necessary cup of Aldi Coffee Store, when N out on the front porch called out, “he’s back”. I dashed out in bath robe and iPhone… and jhere he was. It was a clear, dry, blue sky and The Boy was showing off from the top of that same tree. His royal Aves Highness had bestowed his presence upon us once more!

It was a big risk, but I dashed back into the house to get the Canon with the Zoom Lens. To my utter surprise, he was still there, surveying his kingdom from his highwire throne:

Still just at the edge of my lens’ focus ability and a bit less sharp than I’d hoped, but I’ll take it.

When your photo quarry won’t move and it just a ibit too far away and you have very little position flex, then there are only so many pictures I at least can conjure up. So I wound up just watching, feeling a bit dissatisfied that I could not get any other more interesting shots,

And then he took off, hell bent for leather iln the air, headed to his next pecking place.

My lens is a sports lens basically. It is made for action shots and the Canon has a program for that. And I was using it for shots because it is not as persnickety about light as some other settings. So I aimed the camera by dead reckoning, line of sight guesstimate at where I thought he might be as he rocketed out of sight. But I expected not to have caught him at all, the odds were against me.

Oh well.

Later in the morning I was down here on the iMac, downloading the pix from the am into Photos. Boo. Nothing but blue sky and green leaves with lots of shadow.

But wait a minute. In those two shots there, the two before him against the blue sky came out with him as a blur in the heavens–what is that dark shadow? Lets try some adjustments in Photo…

Wow. How grateful for having lucked out and gotten those two shots. They made my day. He is beautiful. And beauty is so utterly consoling. Mr Canon: what a good job! the Gods were with us. Still just a tad indistinct but again, I’ll take it.

Now that’s the sort of bird shot I like. Maybe I have been looking to shoot the birds in all the wrong places. Mr Pileated Woodpecker is telling me that the richness of nature does not end just because my yard is smaller. Keep on doing your ‘tog stuff, Mr G!.