20 01 2020

Atlanta;  Memphis

I’ll take the opportunity of the American holiday this is, to reiterate my long standing party line on such things.

Martin Luther King did not create the civil rights movement, the civil rights movement created Martin Luther King. Even if he never existed, the civil rights movement still would have won the victories it actually did. If he would have been born much earlier than 1929, he would have been unable to accomplish much of anything, whereas if he was born much later than 1929, he would have been seen as a charlatan trying to win an already won cause.  I happen to think that Gandhi, another very similarly overrated figure for whom the times made him instead of the other way around, and was far more an effect than a cause of the big historical event to which he is associated, also benefited from the lucky circumstance of being born during the right year.

Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General enthusiastically supported the civil rights movement, but at the same time, his FBI was spying on MLK. It’s easy to think that a contradiction, but it’s not a contradiction when one realizes that MLK was not that critical to the civil rights movement.

In one of the final polls taken before his assassination, the civil rights measures of the Great Society had a very high approval rating, in the 75%-ish neighborhood, but Martin Luther King himself had only a 20-25% approval rating. Once again, that is evidence that, in the public’s mind circa early 1968, Martin Luther King wasn’t that important to the civil rights movement.

I’ll also point to the fact that most white countries enacted race equality and immigration liberalization laws in the same general time frame as the American civil rights movement, in spite of the fact that those other countries did not have a Martin Luther King.  As an example, the country I’m currently in, or rather, the former split part thereof, opened the borders to Turks in 1969, upon the Social Democrats winning national control in West Germany for the first time, though I think that, even if the CDU would have held on, it, too, would have eventually done the same thing;  Remember, Angela Merkel is CDU.

The real and taboo for discussion in polite society causes of the success of the civil rights movement were: (1) Organized activist Jewish interests winning key marginal control and influence in key American institutions in the 1930s, and (2) The outcome of World War II.  Everything else was inevitable from there.  No matter what happened or didn’t happen, no matter who may or may not have won elections, no matter which preachers became national public figures or not, no matter which assassins’ bullets would have hit or missed their important targets, everything that eventually happened in terms of the post-WWII civil rights movement were big fancy footnotes to, and inevitable consequences of, those two big historical phenomena I just described. (*)

And the reason our sector calls this holiday today “James Earl Ray Day” isn’t just to be snide, but because Ray’s single thirty-aught-six round made MLK something in death that he never really was in life.

As an aside, we’re only seven years away from the MLK files being unsealed. If they tell us what we all suspicion they do, and if it does so happen that it causes public outrage, in spite of what we all know will be the mainstream media ignoring the matter, then Official America will diffuse the situation by reminding us of what I just wrote, that MLK wasn’t important to the civil rights movement, and the only reason for the holiday was the collective feeling sorry for him and his widow and children because he was assassinated.

(*) – I say this to head off our own sector’s propensity to play “what if history” games that involve the civil rights movement never being successful if only a few votes in an election had shifted or the assassin’s aim would have been slightly different.  My contention is that the only difference that, say, Nixon beating JFK in 1960, or Oswald missing JFK’s head instead of hitting it, or Isola Curry would have wound up hitting MLK in the right spot in the heart with her knife on September 20, 1958, or any other similar slight “game of inches” circumstance you could think of, all it would have meant in the long run is a slight alteration in the timeline of the circumstances that happened in the real world.  For example, it would have meat the Civil Rights Act that passed in 1964 wouldn’t have passed until 1969, the Voting Rights Act that passed in 1965 may have passed in 1961, or the immigration bill in 1965 wouldn’t have happened until 1978.


10 11 2019


November 9, 1989 is for Germans what November 22, 1963 and September 11, 2001 is for Americans.

The “where were you and what were you doing when you learned that…” moment.  The main difference is that JFK and 9/11 were immediate flash events;  The fall of the Berlin Wall, or more accurately, East German authorities no longer enforcing out-travel restrictions as of the evening of November 9, 1989, had a lot that needed to happen before it could happen, and then a lot of things happened as a result of it.

I’ve already gone over the Cliffs Notes of the history.  Except I should have mentioned something then, that I figured out in the car on the way to Berlin night before last as we zoomed by the old Helmstedt-Marienborn Inner German Border checkpoint, and yes, during the summer voyage summer before last, I saw the museum and remnants at that spot.  November 9, 1989 didn’t immediately abolish the Inner German Border — That didn’t happen formally until July 1 of the next year;  The CDU government headed by Lothar de Maizière elected in the DDR in March of the next year in the DDR’s only genuinely democratic elections needed to happen, and then his government abolished the Inner German Border security, and of course his government was just the placeholder for the DDR’s part in negotiating “German reunification,” i.e. the DDR being abolished and its territory joining the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (colloquially “West Germany” until 1990) per Article 23 of the Bundesrepublik’s Basic Law.

I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade on that day, and my teachers and most of my classmates followed along with the daily series of events, because we all knew this was big history happening right in front of our faces.

My girlfriend was only two and a half years old, her sister nine months old, her brother-in-law three months old, that day, so this could not have been a “where were you and what were you doing” moment for them.  My g/f’s father was 31 and her mother 27 on that day, so the next time I see one or both of them, (we’ll be motoring on outta here very shortly, but we won’t get back to Cologne in time for me to join them all for Sunday Rinderbraten), I’ll ask them where they were and what were they doing.

Just in the past year, I’ve been to the centennial of the Armistice of World War I in Compiègne last November 11, the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach back on June 6, and then, yesterday, here.  That’s one of the perks of this job, being here to be party to significant anniversaries of some big events and right where they happened.

And if you would have told 12-year old me on November 9, 1989, that I would be right there on site at the 30th anniversary commemoration of this event, I would have told you you were crazy.


There was a big disconnect between the way the German, American and international media portrayed the bittersweet nature of the day, and the attitude of most people on the ground about the bittersweet nature of the day.

The only thing in common between the two sides is the bittersweet mentality.

The disconnect is really easy to explain:

The media and political establishment thought that 30 years ago Saturday leading up to the day after Christmas 1991, the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, was the process which meant the Fukuyamaite “end of history.”  But in the generation since then, the promise of utopian liberal democracy has been unrealized, and is now being set back by those white populists and nationalists who stubbornly continue to take their own side.  The German media in particular also used the day as another opportunity to squeal about the lingering east-west divide.

Germans on the ground in Berlin on Saturday were bittersweet, because the grassroots mentality starting 30 years ago Saturday and peaking on the day of formal reunification the next year was that, now, finally, the Russians and Americans would take their troops and go home, and Germany could finally become genuinely independent and a true global power and maybe even superpower, and at the very least, quit being a vassal-client of either.  In that time, obviously the Russians left in very short order, mainly because the USSR proper was itself on its last leg.  But American disengagement from Germany has been a much more slow process, and still to this day not consummated.  While the American military footprint in Germany has been declining, what has not abated is American soft power.  Yes, I know I write that rather unironically.

To wit, and as a very small example:  The new Reagan statue debuted on Friday very near the exact spot where Reagan stood on the high podium to deliver the “Tear Down This Wall” address.  While JFK is openly honored about two miles southwest of that point, at the old West Berlin City Hall, the site of “Ich Bin Ein Berliner,” (and miss me with the jelly donut nonsense, that’s fake news), the reason why the Reagan statue there and now rubs Germans a little bit of the wrong way is because Americans are continuing to use Germany for American political ends, when by now, they thought we would have been long gone.

So that basically sums up the disconnect.  Politicians and the media are upset that populism and nationalism still exist, while grassroots Germans are upset that Germany is still an American vassal-client.


Ball Rolling

7 10 2019


Big things tend to happen gradually, then suddenly.

Thirty years ago today, gradually shifted to suddenly.

I’ve already gone over the history.



“Sacrifice” Is Not an Idle Word

11 06 2019

Wiesbaden; Bayeux, France

We’ve got a bit of ground to cover.


The 50th anniversary of D-Day was on June 6, 1994. That day was either the second-to-last or last day of finals for my junior year of high school, can’t remember which. That day, before my first final that day and also in the time between my first and second, one of my school’s English teachers set up a TV in his room so anyone who wanted to watch the ceremonies of the 50th could do so, and of course I did.

Aside from everything else that was running through my mind on Thursday, a day which had earlier that week been predicted to be all cloudy and rainy, but turned out to be partly sunny with no rain, thankfully, how heavy the day was from the standpoint of history, how this was me making it up for this my first Memorial Day I wasn’t able to visit any of my relatives at Jefferson Barracks, (foreshadowing there, I’ll get to it), and of course the low key networking and meeting some extremely important people, let’s just leave it at that, and adding to the fact that my worldview and perspective about the day 75 years ago and history of the matter is rather and substantially different than the typical person in attendance, one thing that occurred to me was that, if you would have told me on June 6, 1994, that, 25 years to the day in the future, that I would be in attendance at that very place I was looking at on that TV that day, in attendance at the 75th anniversary, and also the capacity in which I was there, leaving everything else out, I would have been rather surprised and pleased. Me at 17 couldn’t really fathom what me at 42 is doing.

One thing that struck me about the day and the proceedings themselves was how subdued everything was, compared to what I watched on TV on the 50th, and what I later on watched from the 40th. I think that was just a matter of time and the way of all flesh, that all the remaining living D-Day vets are nonagenarians; An 18-year old in 1944 is 93 years old this year, but figure on some 16 and 17 year olds of the time lying their age upward and the recruiters looking the other way, and 16 in ’44 means 91 this year.  Such as it was, there were D-Day vets there as “young” as 91. And when it comes to first world men in our era, 86 years of age is actuarially speaking where you start living on borrowed time. Since there are so few D-Day and in fact WWII vets remaining, D-Day at 75 was way closer to a history lecture than the reunion atmosphere that, say, 50 and 40 was. Also consider that the world leaders, heads of state and heads of government who were in attendance were born after the end of WWII, so none of them were speaking of an event that they were alive to witness. Emmanuel Macron, who did show up, even though he said about two weeks ago that he wouldn’t, was born in the same year I was. As you know, back in November, I went to Compiègne for the ceremony observing the centennial of the final Armistice of World War I, and what transpired on Thursday felt way more like that than the 40th or 50th D-Day anniversaries. Such as it is, the final WWI veteran, a British woman who served in the women’s auxiliary of the (at the time) fledgling British air force, died in 2012, so there were zero WWI vets alive to observe the Armistice centennial.


Paris on Friday, was, well, Paris. Il pleut, il pleut, il pleut. Oh well, at least the pleut held off on the day that really mattered. I only planned to be there that day, not wishing to be there on a Saturday while the yellow vest movement is still a thing. So I saw just the very top level sights, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and all associated with it, the Louvre, Versailles, and (what’s left of) Notre Dame. I hope to go back later to do a deeper dive, but I just wanted to do it in case for some reason I can’t ever go back. With these things, you may only ever get one shot.


Got back to Cologne on Saturday, and spent the rest of that day and Sunday packing to head to Wiesbaden for the summer, which I did yesterday, and started rehab today. I told you in a previous post that May 20 was the last day I needed to use the wheelchair, and that was the start of the six month stopwatch. Well, I had a setback this morning, and had it while at my first rehab session, so I couldn’t hide it. I didn’t stay down for long, but unfortunately, what it does is reset the six month stopwatch at zero all over again. Meaning December 11, if I have no more reoccurrences.

I can’t help but think that the setback was as much psychological as much as physical, from what you’re about to read.


Now the hard part.

In August, after my father’s funeral, and with me preparing for the trans-Atlantic move, both my only remaining blood uncle and my quasi-uncle (said remaining blood uncle’s ex-wife’s brother, whose house I was living in for most of my recovery, and he’s the one who accompanied me during the summer voyage), came to me at separate instances, and presumably independently of each other, to tell me the same thing: That I should not feel any need or pressure to fly back across the ocean and come back to St. Louis for their funeral, if something happened to either one of them while I was living overseas. Both of them used the exact words: “Don’t come back for me.”

As you know, my American and St. Louis (area code 314) cell phone number is virtual ported to my German cell number, for two reasons: One, to keep my long time 314-xxx-xxxx cell number mine the time if and when I come back home, and two, so that if anyone back home needs to call me, it will not be an international toll or metered call for them, even though it is for me on my end. I was always expecting such texts and calls to be important and decidedly less than good news. And in almost all instances, the caller ID properly transfers internationally, so I can filter the numbers I know and ignore the robocalls, of which I get plenty attempted.

Yesterday, while on the train, the quasi-uncle called me, and after I told him I was still en route, he told me to call him back when I got settled in, because he had something important, but wanted to wait to break it to me until I was no longer on the move.

I suppose by now you can figure out what it was. I knew at the time what it had to be; The only open question was who.  (Even though I knew who it wasn’t).

It was my uncle. It happened on Wednesday. He was 72 years old. Heart attack, preliminary cause. It was actually his second heart attack; He had one in 1998.

My cousin, his only daughter, and in fact, his only child, called him that morning, with no problems, with the intent of stopping by his place later that evening to pick something up and leave something. “His place,” where he lived by himself since he and my aunt divorced, and before that, where they lived together since 1978. It’s where I lived for the first month and a half of recovery, and when I got out of the second hospitalization stint, as I now know because of that matter between Norm and the person who will just be called E., I was not taken back to my uncle’s house after being released then, I was instead taken to my quasi-uncle’s house close to Waterloo. Anyway, my cousin and her husband stopped by Wednesday evening as promised, and found him on the floor lifeless, and called 911.

He was by himself for this the second heart attack, but not so with the first. We’ll forever be left to wonder if he could have gotten help soon enough to save his life if he wasn’t by himself this time.

When the quasi-uncle got done telling me everything, I was going to ask him why he didn’t call me on Wednesday, why he waited so long. But I stopped myself, because I could already figure out the answer before I even asked the question: I already told him (and my uncle, and a few others back in St. Louis), about my D-Day week itinerary, and he didn’t want to spoil it or anything for me. He timed his calling me to when he thought the hustle and bustle of the week was behind me, and when he did, he was almost spot on.

Wednesday was the travel day between Cologne and Bayeux for me. The way I figure now, I probably would have been some kind of way emotionally speaking having to deal with and think about all this, while in the middle of going there then being there for an important anniversary of an important military event and meeting very important people on top of that.  So not telling me right when it happened was the right call.

My uncle himself was a ‘Nam combat vet, so of course the final services will be at Jefferson Barracks, in fact, later this week. He will now be my fifth male vet relative to be at JB, joining my eldest aunt’s husband (November 1988), my mother’s mother’s youngest brother (November 2012), my elder uncle (July 2013), and my father (August 2018).

I was told that, in the early days of my recovery, during the time of my brain being in a zombie state, I could spout my uncle’s land line phone number easily, but not my own cell number at all. Only because he had it and lived in that house since the year after I was born, meaning that phone number was one of the very first I was made to memorize starting from the earliest of my ability to know what phone numbers are and in turn memorize them. My ability to recite my uncle’s landline but not my cell was a matter of the longest-implanted memories being the ones that were available for my at the time very limited cognition, or the memories that I had attained relatively recently were the ones that weren’t occurring to me. Which is the way it is for most TBI cases. You’ll remember that when I returned to blogging after returning to functional coherence in the middle of November 2017, that some of your screen names and real names (in the cases of those of you who use your real names) were unfamiliar to me, and that it took another two months for most of my short term memory to lock back into place. To this day, I know that not all of my pre-accident short term memory has come back, and it probably never will.

In principle, I could fly back to St. Louis and be there at the funeral. But I also know that it was also the last request he ever made of me to my face and in direct terms: “Don’t come back for me.” He knew what you all know, that I was going to D-Day then after getting back, turning right around to live in a different city for the summer to do rehab. He would not want me breaking or interrupting rehab to come back for him. Especially since he was critically involved in the first month and a half of my recovery, and importantly involved in other ways after that. He’s one of the last people who would want me not to see this rehab through properly and diligently just for his own sake.

Such as it is, the very house in which he left this world is technically my legal St. Louis and American address, for the purposes of official residence. How that came to be was something I wrote here in the spring of last year, that my Richmond Heights apartment lease was up on March 1, 2018, but it would not be for another half a month that it was medically safe to leave me by myself, so it made no sense to renew the lease, to keep on paying rent drawing down on my nest egg for a place I wouldn’t be able to live in or use. But at the same time I had to keep a Missouri address for my Missouri CCW permit and drivers’ license, even though I was living with the quasi-uncle near Waterloo (note to dummies: It’s in Illinois) for close to six months by then. So I used my uncle’s house. Since that house will most likely be sold in the coming months to years, I’m eventually going to have to talk with my lawyer back in St. Louis about my options in that stead. The people who eventually buy that house won’t want mail for an expatriated nephew of the guy who died inside of it to keep coming to them. I’m going to miss that house, because it was sorta my second home all throughout my childhood, and it’s where I would have lived permanently if (G.F.) something would have happened to my mother during my childhood, and such as it is, I actually did live there for brief periods when my mother was hospitalized during the few times she was during my childhood.

Not being able to go this funeral is going to hurt, in spite of it all.


Bringing things full circle, the summer of 1994, the summer after the 50th, is one where it seemed like I spent half my waking hours in funeral homes and cemeteries. That was a bad summer for relatives and quasi-relatives dying. It was also a summer of transition for me personally in a lot of other ways. I wrote above that me on June 6, 1994 couldn’t grok that me of June 6, 2019 is doing what I’m doing, but by the end of that summer, I could have.

I suppose the theme of the last week for me was sacrifice, both the ones I have made to chase my dreams, and the ones others made a long time ago supposedly to save the world.

When they say “sacrifice,” they mean it. It’s not just some idle word.

They Can Show You Better Than I Can Tell You

6 05 2019

Your Blogmeister’s German Desk

Remember this?

Earlier today, this video hit:

Note that Edward III gets mentioned early on. Also, a point that is somewhat given the short shrift here is the mathematical evidence of the reality of human inbreeding. Not of the Deliverance variety, but of the fact that tribes, ethnicities, nations and races are mildly and medically non-dangerously inbred groups of people that are more closely related to each other than to humanity in general.

Getting High

22 04 2019

Your Blogmeister’s German Desk

First off, I’ll be burning my two ended candle at three ends from now until the weekend after D-Day.  The main attractions will be the 75th anniversary of D-Day itself, and the MEP elections on May 26.

So, expect my blog and social postings to be pretty sparse for the while.


Now, for the main attraction.

I’m testing out my powers of inference and implication, and my ability to formulate theories.

I have come to notice that the language that is called Hochdeutsch (“High German”), aka textbook German, is in terms of accent and dialect pretty much on par with the way German is spoken in the modern day state of Schweig-Holstein and surrounding areas.

What it means is that, some point in the past, German(ic) society(-ies) and/or elites somehow came to either a deliberate decision or a cultural consensus that the dialect and accent of Schweig-Holstein and the former names of that region are more proper or better, and that the entire German speaking world should be standardized around it.

I’m asking myself:  Why?

I have come up with two theories, one bad, and one probable.

(1)  Prussia.  The Prussian state was the spine of the first attempt at a unitary unified German nation-state, the German Empire.  And Prussia, at the time and at its peak of territorial control, included S-H.

The problem with that theory is that Prussia also included a lot more than modern day S-H.  And its center of power was Prussia’s own capital, Berlin, which is why Berlin became the capital of a unified Germany, and that continued through the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, partially during the Wall and Curtain Days, and once again in the Reunification Era.  By all geographical rights, a city that big has no business being where it is.  But it’s there, believe me, it’s there.

What that means is that Prussia contained a lot of dialects and accents.  Therefore, if High German had anything to do with Prussian swag, it would have probably been the case that German spoken in and around Berlin would have been the model for language standardization.

But I think there’s a better, older, more deeply rooted explanation:

(2)  The Hanseatic League.  The areas along and close to the North and Baltic sea coasts, including modern day S-H, were Hanseatic territory for the longest among all the territory that would eventually become one version or another of a unified Germany.  And the League’s territories were, as you could probably guess, way more prosperous than anywhere else in what would eventually become Germany.  Which probably means that dialects and accents in Hanseatic territory eventually got a reputation as being “better than” the others.  If you wanted in on any chance of making a career or fortune from Hanseatic commerce, you had to learn their particular dialect.

So you can probably see that over the centuries, even after the League dissipated and, as the young folks today say, was no longer A Thing, that this left a cultural imprint on Germanic peoples.  Forget about the ongoing legacy of slavery, how about about the ongoing legacy of a trade and commercial league whose power peaked in the fifteenth century.

The ongoing legacy also manifested in terms of wealth.  As one of many examples, Heinrich Hertz, a pioneer of radio science, had enough of a personal fortune as late as the second half of the nineteenth century, because he was an heir to a rich Hanseatic family.  Remember, by that time, the League had been pretty much extinct for about two hundred years.  Yet and still, even after two centuries of anyone being able to make any serious fortunes from it, its prominent families still had enough to will down comfortable living amounts to people of that generation.  Hertz, for his part, was born in Hamburg, which was a prominent HL city, and to this day, it (and nearby Bremen) both call themselves “Free Hanseatic Cities,” even though they’re just Federal states like the thirteen current others.  Other cities along and near the North and Baltic seas and even ones inland in the general region call themselves Hanseatic Cities, and proclaim such on, among other things, the orange city limits signs as you come into town.  Another clue to the League’s legacy is something I’ve now used three times:  Lufthansa.  Based here in Cologne, a city which was part of the League at its peak.


I will eventually do the research to find out whether my theories are true.  However, I’m not going to do it right away;  I have my reasons for holding off.  So if you happen to know, don’t spoil it for me in the comment section.

Armistice Centennial

11 11 2018

Compiègne, France

“The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”

Precisely a century ago from the moment I am uploading this post.  I actually wrote it three days ago for upload at this precise time, 11 AM CEST, November 11, 2018, because, by the time it goes live, I’ll be in Compiègne for the centennial observation.  If all goes well, I’ll be back here in France, and namely, Omaha Beach, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6.

Onward and upward.

Efforts like these or movements like these aren’t complicated at all to explain, especially in the German context.

The war that ended precisely a century ago was a clusterfuck based on a flaw in the European paradigm of secret treaties as a deterrent to war and a deterrent to future Napoleon wannabes.  That paradigm really kicked into high gear after Napoleon.  The theory behind secret treaty-ism was that it was supposed to prevent national-level invasions — A won’t invade B, because A doesn’t know which other countries B is strapped up with, while B knows which countries B is strapped up with, and knows that A doesn’t know.  For the same reason, A has confidence that B won’t invade them, because A knows which countries A is strapped up with, but B doesn’t know, and A knows that B doesn’t know.  Sort of a Nash Equilibrium applied to big time military geopolitics.

Well, we all know how it went wrong.  In an overall general sense, it made all of Europe suspicious of each other and paranoid about each other, precisely because every country was looking sideways at every other country, even ones with which they were secretly allied, because nobody ever knew of the other countries’ secret side arrangements.  Which is why many forward-looking clairvoyant observant people in the decade leading up to the start of WWI openly stated that Europe was stinking from the stench of the predication to major warfare.  Specifically, because some minor royal in a place that Bismarck himself stated the whole of which wasn’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier got assassinated, and that started a domino effect of calling in secret treaty obligations, ending up with Europe being at war with itself, and eventually the United States entering because the American elite of the time basically bet on England, which means they influenced Wilson to goad the Germans into torpedoing an America-to-England boat with both American civilians and illegal munitions.

We know the history of the rest in terms of the German context:  Defeat in the “Great War,” end of the monarchy/-ies, near-breakup of the unitary German nation-state, brief Communist takeovers in Munich and Hamburg, impossible reparations, hyperinflation, depression, Weimarism, Hitler.

Many centuries from now, historians will consider World War I and World War II to be the same war, with a barely more than two-decade intermission.

The people seeking to “rehabilitate the German Empire” in an intellectual historical sense, and the people who form rural marksmanship clubs and pine for the Deutsches Kaiserreich aren’t really trying to rehabilitate the German Empire and really aren’t pining for the Deutsches Kaiserreich.  What’s really going on here from a psychological sense is rather simple:  Absolving Imperial Germany for the blame it never should have gotten for World War I means somewhat absolving Germany for World War II, and, eventually, giving modern day Germans a mulligan on the chance to be an international superpower.

My advice to Germans so dreaming, especially as someone living here as an expat from another superpower and at the same time has a supermajority ethnic constitutional heritage from this country, is this:  Be careful what you wish for.  Empires aren’t so great, even for most citizens or subjects of the imperial country’s proper territory.  Or, you don’t know how good you have it now, and that the grass is actually browner on the other side.