One Extreme Or The Other: Everyone Loses

One Extreme Or The Other: Everyone Loses


Extremes, think about the word itself for a moment, what does that word mean to you? My wife just told me the two words that come to her thoughts and they were “always and never”. I guess this is one of those things that we as a person know that you know, without ever really thinking about it, “what does always and never mean as a definition”? Pick any issue in life that you wish whether it be something like “my 14 yr old daughter will Never date a 21-year-old Woman”, or maybe “well sure I would Always let my 14-year-old son to be allowed to date a 30 yr old Pole Dancer, what, what’s wrong with that”? I would think that most folks would agree with that type of assumption, at least I hope so, though there are always many sides (at the very least 2, before there becomes only 1 acceptable side), even to an obvious story.


For most, live allows us many avenues in which we may be allowed to follow, these are things that we tend to take for granted here in America and the West (as well as many other Democratic leaning countries). Something that the whole world does, and doesn’t, (to different levels), what is acceptable in venues like labor relations, politics, religion, economics, race, cultures and there are probably many others that you have also thought of where for Humanity’s sake we must learn to compromise, or die as a species on this planet.


Folks the first one of these “Issues” I am going to refer to is one that I became quite aware of at the age of 10. This is when my family moved from a desolate situation in Spear Fish South Dakota to my Dad getting hired at a new Chrysler Assembly Plant in Belvidere Illinois in 1966. My Mom had always spoken very highly of Workers Unions from the time I could remember much as being the only way for working people to get such “Benefits” from your Employer as a livable wage, safe conditions to work in, and security of keeping your job even if your boss is having a bad day. To me, in my awareness of time, this job my Dad got at Chrysler would be the first Union job either of my parents ever had. From November of 1966 through the summer of 1975 when Dad became disabled from there, was what was going on every third year with labor negotiations between the U.A.W. and Chrysler Corporation. Mom was always worried that they would end up losing their home they had been able to buy in Belvidere if there was a Strike. Most working people in lower paying jobs never have more than a week or two of survival money in the bank, they can’t afford too, not when all their income is required for the minimum basics like housing and food. There are people who will argue with every little point of every issue though no matter what you think or say.


Strikes, no strikes, Unions, no unions, what should this have mattered to a 10-year-old kid? Don’t be snobbish now, those of you who think that the working class children don’t matter to you, everyone on Earth matters, yes, even you. During those years that Dad was employed by Chrysler I was age 10-19, it was during these years where I first started learning of labor negotiations with Corporations. Those of us who are old enough should remember that there was a nation wide industrial slowdown from about 1976-84 and it hit America’s industrial/now the rust belt, very hard with many Corporations either going out of business or having laid off employees several years deep into the seniority list. I have a question for those of you who honestly don’t understand it yet that when it comes to the adults earning ability how it affects not only the employee but the others that depend on the adults earning ability in order to stay housed, clothed, and fed. If someone bigger or richer or more powerful than you comes along and takes it all from you, how do you honestly think you would feel? Unless you are the one lone remaining survivor what have you really gained? This is true of a business or of the world itself and it is true for each human on this planet.


During the years of my youth I learned some basic lessons about Unions and Employers and even I as a youth could see the need for moderation on both sides of that isle. I spent most of my adult years in America’s Transportation Industry as a coast to coast truck driver which pretty much means anywhere and everywhere in the lower 48 states. There are many things that a person can learn about a country’s true feelings and condition as you travel all around the country for years. You can learn how different company’s treat their employees and I’m not just speaking of the trucking companies, I am speaking of the brokers, all the companies that transport or receive anything from a shipping or receiving truck dock. You learn both good things and bad about companies (which is really just another way to say a company’s leadership). But you also learn many things about some of the people employed there, as well as about people and events in the town of that region of the state or country which helps form political opinions on how people value each other, or not. Here I bring down the reason why I spent so much time above about Unions, so that you would be able to see that I do try to give the best most honest opinions on all things all of the time. I am not smart enough to be able to remember lies so I have to stay honest or I might forget who I am as a Spiritual Soul. I believe that when we forget that, then we are risking a very hot retirement.


Would my mostly good thoughts about Unions disappear when I could as a truck driver get loaded at a shipper and the six big pieces of product with a total dock time of about 15 minutes with shipping paperwork in hand, from a non-union mill in Louisiana? Would those good thoughts dissipate when you take the load to the shippers union company warehouse in Indiana? Your on time, you are the only trailer there in a 40 plus dock warehouse, you check in and then you sit there for about four hours while the employees are in the break room. In the real world what every one of us does affects others, it just seems a lot of people simply don’t give a damn about anyone else.


Just like life is a learning process about pretty much everything in life, we also each will in our own way, judge everything. We learn not just the art of compromise but the absolute requirement of compromise, or we all die as a species. Just as there are companies I have known in my life who have gone bankrupt some because of unions who would not allow the workers to work hard or for a full paid shift, so the company’s could not compete and dissolved. There are also companies who went bankrupt because of mismanagement and or theft. There are also companies who go under because of pure greed by management and ownership where they only pay anyone anything because our government makes them or if they can’t get anyone at the price they were willing to pay. If a company goes under and has to close it does many things and all are negative. No matter how or why the business had to close, now there is a loss of income that spreads in many directions not just to the former employees (both hourly and salary). This event depending on size of business and size of local employee market can shut down whole communities. Many people can suffer so badly just because of one arrogant, greedy, or hate filled person.



I am going to close with the main point of the note to you for your thoughts on why I say that if the world systems do not allow many minute compromises as well as the huge ones then the world will implode. It is my total belief that only one side wins when one side wins all, and there are always those who believe that one only wins if one wins all. In my country there are those in the public and in political positions who hate all trucks and badly want them all off of “Their” roads not realizing that everything that they own had at sometime and probably several times got to them via a truck. So no trucks, no food, no gas, no clothes, no pretty much anything. I hope these idiots are happy unemployed, living under someone elses bridge or in someone elses forest or open field. I hope they would have good luck finding any food or shelter when no one cares.

Point is that the world is now facing the most dangerous time in our history. The one place in this world that possesses the hate needed to destroy at least 6 of the 7 billion of the planets population is through religious hatred. I have no doubt that all 7 billion will be destroyed if certain members of that remaining one billion were able to get their hands on nuclear weapons. It is not just some of the worlds politicians and or some of its military leaders who want total global supremacy and domination, as we all know, some people try this by hiding behind a Cloth!

There are still people who are mostly of the belief that there is no such thing as a Deity or that through lack of any knowledge, who believe that all of these religions worship the same God. People who have spent a lot of time studying what the (at least major) world religions teach know very well that this simply isn’t correct. I used to think that same thing until I spent many hours studying the different teachings. When you break all things down, we don’t. I only know of one major religion that teaches world domination with the twist of convert or die. But, this hatred is taught in a major world religion that is not anywhere in Biblical Scripture. You don’t believe as they do, doesn’t matter, they will enjoy in cutting your throat just the same.

If the people of this planet decide to kill each other off I am sure that we could do that if a Deity didn’t stop it. Just because a person does not believe in something, that something if real in someone elses mind, it can still kill you. If there is a Deity that has final control of this planet but yet another Deity, or for these purposes, another Big Boss Man (or woman) that is not a God and is not you, then you are screwed just like all the rest of us. So, if you are not God then you really need to quit acting like an idiot like the politicians in Washington D.C. do every day. Both of our main parties will throw out a member if they try to work toward the middle of the aisle so that the country can once again function. With the main four political groups we currently have Democrats (which really aren’t anymore just as President Reagan felt ), Republicans and the Tea Party (which really has little to do with the current Republican Party), it is said we have two main parties, we really have at least four. If we as a country do as our so-called leadership is doing then all of the nation will implode upon itself and there are many who do not care, not as long as they win. One last question for the would be gods of the planet, when you have conquered all, but all is destroyed in your victory, what have you really won when everything equals nothing left? Just think of the current situation in Syria, President Assad because of the help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are going to win their 8-year-old civil war. Yet what is it that he has won? Reality is that it is going to take several decades to rebuild that country even to the status level of 2010 and it is going to take several trillion dollars to rebuild it. Right now there is no infrastructure, all there is now is a bombed out pile of rock and cement. This can happen to any country at any time, it is what hate will do for a people and their country.



Leading From Behind Is A Deadly Policy

Leading From Behind Is A Deadly Policy


Here in America these last few years we have grown rather accustomed to the term “Leading From Behind”, according to our President. My wife and I have discussed the logic, reasoning, and intelligence of such an approach several times throughout Mr Obama’s years in office. My wife and I both wish that the world was not filled with so many dangers, we also wish that America did not have to play the part of Global Cop, but unfortunately, we do. Even on that conclusion my wife and I disagree. My wife is not overly entrenched in politics at any level, this includes paying much attention to events and how they string together. My Bride wants the U.S. to invert, to pull away from all other countries with our military and our money and to put those efforts into helping the American people first. I wish that these things could be so, but it is way too late for just kindness and words to make such an action possible as to introvert away from the whole world and to just pretend the rest of the world isn’t really there.



Truth is, there are people in the Military, Security Divisions, and Politics throughout the world who wish that they could be bigger and badder than all their neighbors and that they themselves should lead. Simple what I am getting at, if a country’s leadership decides to do something like a radical expansion of their existing territories and they know in advance that there is no country that will or can stop him from expanding, there will be even more bloodshed. It is a reality that I do not like either but what we are all faced with from now throughout our very last breath and that is Spiritual Warfare. Warfare of the physical things that we see with our eyes possess physical harm that we can see, warfare for your Spiritual Soul has many snares that the eye does not comprehend.



When you have a country like Russia whose President decides to expand their territory over soil belonging to another country and He know’s in advance that no one will physically stop them, they expand. When a country becomes the expected defender of Freedom and fairness throughout the world they can not back out of the position if there is no one/country to take your place. There are bad people in our world who have ever-increasing positions of power, if no one stands up to protect the smaller and the weaker nations these independent nations will soon not exist. Before you realize it there is another big powerful nation who decides to annex a whole Sea or Gulf as their own disregarding international laws.



This current Administration in D.C. has constantly shown weakness throughout the world by failing to lead or engage on the World Stage. When our President showed our timidness in Libya, Egypt, and especially in Syria and with Iran  even to the point of infuriating our two biggest allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia. For many years now some of our so-called upper crust have degraded Russia and China as they supposedly downgraded from Superpower status. What I have to say to this ignorance is simple, when a nation has thousands of Nukes with the required launching systems, they are a Superpower! We have (not I) humiliated two great Nations and their People by stepping on their national pride. Then when these  nations aggressive leadership see that we will not step into protect another nation or treaty, we have shown these aggressive leaders as well as our “friends” that we will only give words of encouragement and nothing else. This Administration has caused the Evil in this world to smile and our friends to tremble.

Islam And Dictators

Islam And Dictators

As most people know the world experienced an event called “The Arab Spring” just a few years ago. The event started when a man through exasperation of the inequalities that were laid upon his life decided to end his life by setting himself on fire. This tragic event started an uprising of the people who spread across North Africa and the Middle East. The people of these countries raised up together to challenge their countries leaders in unprecedented numbers. The results of these uprisings do vary but it would be lying to say that these countries and their people are now living in peace.

The United States government has been involved in this region of the world since before I was born (I am 61). Their adventures attributes or lack there of can easily be argued long and loud from the Arab people’s point of view, their governments point of view, and the American people’s points of view. Many Americans are sick and tired of our country being the “world’s policeman” but just as cops on the street can be good and/or evil our country has often lacked moral ethics in how they performed their activities. But just as different Arab countries leaders and their people like and dislike things our government has done that has touched their lives, I would just like to share with you that just as you and your countries government’s do not always see eye to eye with each other, that the American people do not always back what our government in doing in regards to events that affect you and your lives.

Most of the American people I believe before 1972-73 knew little about anything that was to do with your countries. I was a teenager during that time and I was in the American military (1977) before I ever heard of the Shah of Iran, I am not sure that I had ever heard of the country of Iran before the events of his departure from your country. The more that I paid attention to the events concerning the Shah and our countries involvement the more it sickened me about things our country had done to the people of Iran. As just about anyone and everyone should know by now the American government was playing a deadly game with Russia during those “cold war” years. Both countries governments used other countries like pawns in a chess game not caring about the collateral damage their actions were putting upon the people of these countries.

The American government installed and supported many evil people, even crazy people (Saddam), giving them many weapons which the tyrants used against their own people. I am going to step back to Iran in the 1978 era when the people of Iran was able to get rid of one Tyrant to unfortunately have an even more evil person step into the leadership of their country. I know that statement will get some people mad but to be honest about things, here in America we have had many evil people in all different levels and departments of our government including some very evil Presidents. The Shah was a very evil person but after his departure, you the people, got locked into a government that is one of the most evil the world has ever known.

Libya, as most everyone knows is one of the countries that had a horrible lunatic for a leader who you the people, with some outside help from Jihad organizations was able to overthrow. But you the people have now got a living situation that is very dangerous for all of it’s citizens with so many armed groups fighting for more control. I am glad that this was one leader that wasn’t one of the CIA puppets because he was a horrible non-humanitarian leader. Our government propped up dictators from the Philippines to Central America to Africa to the Middle East. It Saddens me as an American and as a loving heart Christian that our government did some of the things to you that they did but it is not like we the people of America condoned our governments actions.

Syria, their President is the only leader that it seems is going to remain in office but only because he was able to get foreign help from nations like Russia and Iran and terrorist groups like Hezbollah. The cost of this failed Civil War is hundreds of thousands of people are dead with probably that many and more wounded. There is also the factor of how to go forward as a nation. There is many trillions of dollars of damage to businesses and homes and the factor of the human cost of getting that country back to a functional condition is going to take several decades.

The United States as you know involved themselves militarily in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9-11-2001 attacks here in America. I believe that going into Afghanistan was a legitimate action. But when our government went into Iraq in March of 2003 to get Saddam this was an unconstitutional act, thus and illegal action by our President. I try to always be honest and fair in all that I do and say, but in doing this it seems like I get most everyone mad at me. Thus saying, I personally believe that our President at the time, George W Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are all three guilty of War Crimes and should all three be behind bars right now. Now, if you fast forward to today, look at all the sectarian violence in Iraq and in Afghanistan with the government trying to get the Taliban murderers to become part of that government. Besides cutting off the figurehead of Al-Qaeda on May 2nd of 2011 what did all the blood and all the billions of dollars accomplish for the lives of their average countryman?

Egypt is the last country that I am going to focus on tonight because I am not trying to create a manuscript out of this post. The people of Egypt throughout history for the most part are now and have always been a great people even though they have had many Rulers who used and abused them. Ever since your President Anwar Sadat was murdered by Islamist traders, you the people had been saddled with a Dictator/President who you finally overthrew about five years ago. When you, the people of Egypt were doing your rallies there in the Square in Cairo the Western media kept interviewing protesters from the square pointing out to us viewers how it was the educated class of people who were the protesters. They would often say how the side streets and alleys were jammed with people but these reporters did not go into those side streets and alleys because of security issues. I knew even then that the Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood were more than happy to let the School Teachers, Doctors, and Lawyer types be the one’s speaking to the foreign press while they waited in the back streets hoping that the President would be run out of office. When President Mubarak was removed by the Military and elections were set in place I had no doubt who would win and then the people of Egypt who voted in The Brotherhood would see first hand how they now had another tyrant leading their country. To the praise of the majority of the people the people realized how badly they had been lied to and how inept these Islamist leaders were and once again with the help of your Military you brought down yet another Dictator.

There is a common thread that runs throughout the Muslim part of the world and that of course is the Islamic faith. I know that it sounds horrible but the pattern of governments that have come and gone and come again to your countries has been where a Military backed Dictator has ruled your country or you had a Religious Leader rule your country. The debate for your people has been a case of which one is going to be the most cruel toward the population. It has seemed that your only alternatives where the lazy, uneducated, hate-filled Islamist fundamentalists who allow the population no basic human rights or freedom of expression, or when a Military backed Dictator has been your countries ruler who has no choice but to clamp down on the Islamist groups. These actions unfortunately cause the collateral damage of taking away many of the general populations basic rights also.

It is and has been my belief for a long time now that the only way that the people have freedom in their country is if they remove the tyrant themselves. How Egypt has gotten rid of their last two Presidents has worked but it always comes down to where the loyalty of the nation’s Military is. Muslim countries who prefer to have a so-called Religious Leader as their ruler it is up to you to see that He or She is acting toward the populous with caring and love for the people. Proof that these so-called “Clerics” like the real rulers of Iran, have enslaved the people by their hatred against everyone they themselves do not consider to be “holy” enough. This has been proven to the people of Islamic countries time and time again, it seems that either way the people have no freedom or freedom of speech under penalty of death. The people of your countries are to this day wrapped up in constant violence and almost all of this violence is directly to do with the Islamic Faith in how people choose to interpret your Holy Books words. Personally, I believe that God can choose to kill or let live whomever He chooses and that He does not need anyone’s help to kill or harm anyone. If God wants you or I dead, if He really is God, He can just speak it or wish it so and it will be so. Anyone who uses a Religion to kill or harm another person is themselves a Servant of Satan. If you really believe that the One you call God says for you to do these things, you very much need to examine who/what it is that you are worshiping because it sure isn’t a God. God is peace and love, not hate and killing. I from the depths of my heart wish for peace prosperity and love to each and every one of you. I do pray for you everyday because there is so much hate and violence that surrounds you and your families daily, shalom.

N. Korea’s Olympics delegation to be led by a wanted mass murderer



North Korea’s new Olympics delegation to be led by man blamed for deadly ship attack

Pyeongchang, South Korea (CNN)North Korea is sending another high-level delegation to South Korea for the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony this Sunday, led by a man widely believed to have masterminded the sinking of a South Korean navy ship that killed 46 sailors.

Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee, will lead the delegation that’s due to arrive by land on the Gyeongui rail line hours before the ceremony starts, according to a statement Thursday from the South’s Ministry of Unification.

A giant floating crane lifts the stern of the 1,200-tonne sunken Cheonan to place it on a barge, before returning it to South Korea, April 15, 2010.

Kim is the former chief of the North’s Reconnaissance Bureau, a top military intelligence body blamed by Seoul for a torpedo attack that sunk the South Korean warship Cheonan, in 2010.
The choice of Kim to lead the delegation is likely to be interpreted as an intentional provocation. Kim is named on the list of individuals sanctioned by both the US and South Korea. The US sanctions include provisions intended to restrict movement, though it is not clear whether Kim’s trip to the South is in breach of travel-specific sanctions.
The announcement poses a renewed diplomatic challenge for hosts South Korea, who in addition to navigating issues relating to sanctions, will again need to accommodate both the North Korean and US delegations, without offending either party.

Pence, Kim Jong Un's sister ignore each other

The Opening Ceremony saw US Vice President Mike Pence positioned just a few seats away from members of the North’s high-level delegation, including Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The US delegation during Sunday’s Closing Ceremony will be led by Ivanka Trump, the first daughter and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, raising the prospect of a chance encounter between a member of the Trump family and members of the North’s delegation.
A more formalized meeting between the two sides appears unlikely, however, following comments from the South Korean government ruling out their involvement in such a possibility.
“The Blue House will not facilitate a meeting between Ivanka and North Korea’s high-level delegation,” said a government spokesman, referring to the official name of the executive office of the South Korean president.
When asked whether both Trump and North Korean delegates would be invited to a VIP reception before the Closing Ceremony, the spokesman declined to comment, saying he doesn’t yet know how it will pan out.

Full delegation

Other members of the North’s delegation include Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the “Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country” and six support staff.
Ri was among the delegation sent to South Korea in January for talks which led to North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics.
“We expect the high-level delegation’s participation in the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to help advance the process of settling peace on the Korean Peninsula including the improvement of inter-Korean relations and denuclearization,” the South Korean statement said.
It added that practical matters, including the delegation’s itinerary, would be discussed through an exchange of documents at Panmunjeom, known as the “truce village,” in the Joint Security Area between North and South Korea.

South Korean sailors salute images of their fallen comrades during a Cheonan memorial service in Seoul, April 25, 2010.

Cheonan Memorial

A total of 104 personnel were aboard the Cheonan when it sunk while conducting a normal mission in the vicinity of Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, in March 2010. Though rescue efforts continued for several days and involved more than 20 vessels, only 58 men were rescued from the ship.
According to an official South Korean report, based on an investigation conducted by South Korean, US, Swedish, British and Australian officials, the ship was attacked by a North Korean torpedo, fired from a small submarine.
North Korea has never claimed responsibility and refuses to accept the findings of the official report.
During his recent trip to South Korea, Vice President Pence visited the Cheonan Memorial which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in the attack.
Pence toured a museum featuring the sailors’ stories and examined remains of the Korean warship.
Speaking outside the memorial, Pence said the objective of the visit was to show that the US “stand(s) with our allies.”

More Blessed Than Deserved

More Blessed Than Deserved


It’s about 1410 Est on Supper Bowl Sunday. It has been a very boring day, have been on the computer since I got up bout nine. I have been aiming to put some other things into the blog other than just the poems I have been putting in. I still have a lot of poems I have written but I have been wanting to give some of my thoughts and presentations on life and the world we are all living in. So, I m not saying that I am special or smarter than anyone else, I am just going to put some thoughts out to you folks to see if you think or feel the same way about life and world issues. So, if you would, after you read my posts, comment, let me know what you think okay? I am not just trying to get folks to agree with me like some blinded herd of cattle, if you don’t agree with me on an issue, that’s cool, tell me why you either do or don’t. You know, a lot of time the most learning that one can obtain is when one disagrees within an orderly discussion.

Lately I have been occasionally thinking about my age (61). I have been thinking about different times in my life when I was at one of those “decision moments”. You know what I’m talking about, moments like I had in April of 1977. I was in the Air Force in Biloxi Mississippi when my wife up and left with my two young babies. She left to go back up to northern Illinois to move in with an x-best friend. Well it became one of those decision times, no, I wasn’t thinking about killing either of them, neither one was worth it. My decision was about whether to take an Honorable Discharge and go back to Illinois to see if I could get my family back, or just stay in the Service and continue trying to continue my life without them. I chose the discharge and went back to northern Illinois pretty much knowing she wasn’t going to get back with me. But I guess in my head I had hoped we could get back together because I wanted my kids. But after I had gone back to Illinois I began to realize that I didn’t want my now ex-wife back. Right there, this was one of those life decision moments. I should have stood up right there and gone back into the Air Force. I could have been a more respectable ex-husband and dad than the process I chose of bouncing around the country. I had many jobs and knew many different ladies and friends but I should have been more stable and stayed in one place longer. I don’t know what I was running from most, my recent failures or was it because of being afraid of success.

The Lord has blessed me all of my life. I seldom if ever have been deserving of how kindly the Lord has treated me throughout these years I have been given. In my life I have always been blessed with someplace to lay my head and though I have never died from starvation (obviously), I have been blessed to know what hunger feels like.

I have never been one to run from work. That is probably one of my biggest faults, I worked my body into an early grave. When for decades in your life you have worked a normal work week of 100 plus hours per week this will destroy the chemistry of ones body, and of their mind. A body and a mind, even if they are not doing hard physical labor cannot work twelve to twenty hours a day seven days a week forever. Even if you are fortunate enough to never sustain a serious injury when you work yourself about 360 days a year. This is depression, you think sometimes that you don’t deserve a real life. This is what I felt I deserved, nothing. Depression, I think I grew up with it because of how my dad always chose to behave. The next biggest kick in the teeth is when I lost my two babies. But she and I neither one was anything but ignorant teenagers when she got pregnant and we got married.

Parents aren’t the end all of how a person grows up though. I was blessed with a fantastic mom, but dad not so good. I guess I got strike one from him, 21 and divorced, both kids taken away, strike two. Then through ignorance not going back into the Air Force, strike three. I let myself strike out, I gave up on life at 21 I guess.

When people think of “what if”, we must always remember the other side of a change. If I/we were able to change our direction at any point in our life the good things we have experienced in our lives and the path that we did choose, would have never happened.

There is also another unknown issue to be considered. Two years into my second marriage in July of 83 I went into the Army. This marriage was one of those loveless marriages in that she had absolutely zero love for me. I had decided that being that I really had no real marriage and that I still felt guilty for not having completed my previous military agreement, this is why I went in the Army. I felt I should serve at least one four-year hitch, this was the patriotic side of my brain talking. I figured we would probably stay married, mostly just in name only. This would keep her on the military insurance and I figured I would make the house payment for her but I wasn’t planning on doing anything else to help her hate-filled ass.

She was a non-practicing Jehovah’s Witness so she did not believe in military service. She told me just before I left for boot camp at Ft. Dix, NJ she said that “God will get you for this.” I started boot camp 7-18-83. At eighteen hundred on 8-11-83 while on a bivouac I was struck by lightning. Maybe she was right or maybe God just has a sense of humor but that did hurt a lot. After I cleared medical I was discharged in February 1984. I have a 40% service connected disability but in reality it physically destroyed my physical life.

The (other side) of the decisions of which I spoke earlier is simple. I could say if I hadn’t gone back into the military I wouldn’t have been hit by the lightning and I would have had a healthy adult life. Or if I had stayed in the Air Force when I was younger I would not have been at Ft. Dix that evening. But now think, I would have been in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. If what happened to me had not happened only God knows the results. I could have found the wrong end of a Republican Guards little grey pill.

Life is filled with what ifs, you know, none of it really matters. And really, it’s not worth wasting grey matter on. We are where we are, the things we did or did not do either good or bad we all have our own personal history. We all will one day answer for all these things at our own allotted time at the Lord’s Judgement Seat.

Do you remember the title of this post, more blessed than deserved? I have tried to be a good person almost all of my life and I have never been one to try to hurt people on purpose. Yet it seems to me that there aren’t all that many sins that I have not committed at one time or another. By no means have I ever been perfect, yet look at how kind the Lord has been to me. I have been married three times. The first was for two years, this is where I was blessed with my blood children, one boy and one girl. The second marriage was for eighteen horrible years! She had a son who was eleven when I married his mom. He is almost 48 now and I have always called him my son to this day and he knows that I love him. I am still married to my third wife for a little over 18 years now. She had a six-year-old son when we wed. He is 24 now and living on his own here in the town his mom and I live in.

So, the Lord has blessed me with four kids and also seven grand kids. I have a woman in my life now who actually loves me and treats me great. In March of 99, I had open heart surgery, that is where I learned that the lightning had literally fried all of my innards. At this time, March 99, the heart doctors told me that if I really behaved and if I was lucky that I might live for another three or four years. Friends, if I am granted seeing next month, that will be nineteen years ago.

So, blessed more than I deserved, yes I think so. Though I have known many types of pain I have lived through them, just like we all have. You here now, have your thoughts fluttered into your past as you have been reading this post? Friends we are all still here in this puzzle that is our lives. Let’s try to make the best of the position in life that we are at. Let us all try to look toward the blue sky moments and to shed the hailstones.

Just remember we are blessed just by being alive at this very moment in time. If at some point in our lives, if we have been able to go back and change it to avoid a painful event you know you and I are only humans, we do not always know what is best. Who knows if changing a point in time in our past in our new reality we could have ended up being one of Jeffery Dommer’s former ex-neighbors.

Syrian Aid: What The U.N. And the U.S. Should Have Been Doing All Along

Syrian Aid

(10-01-13)   (02-19-18)

What the U.N. And The U.S. Should Have Been Doing All Along

As most people in the world who have radio’s or television reception knows, there is a very bloody civil war going on in the country of Syria for about two and a half years now. The United Nations tells us that during this war about 100,000 civilians have been killed with at least one million people displaced. Displaced in this case means that these people have been not only uprooted from their homes, these are people who have left the borders of their country hoping for safety in one of their neighboring countries. Wars are never a pretty thing for a land of for the people of the land to have to endure, but, unfortunately sometimes people are forced to defend themselves. Picking up arms toward another person is always a personal demon that each person has to face within their own soul.


In Syria the city of Aleppo was the industrial hub of the country as well as the countries largest city. I have seen online many pictures of this city as it looks today. This city is one that has been one of the major battlegrounds of the fighting between the Presidents military forces and the people trying to defeat him. This city is now in horrible physical condition from large bombing campaigns just like many smaller cities and towns across their country. If you get a chance Google stories and pictures of what is happening in Syria. Like in most any military conflict the loss of physical and human destruction is heart wrenching. When you are looking at pictures of all of these bombed out businesses and homes I have a question for you that I want you to think about. I will use Aleppo as my example for my question. Looking at the destruction how is it possible for the people of the country to produce anything with so much danger constantly all around them?


Let each of us try to put ourselves into the story-line which is the Syria of today. When war is going on around you, even if you consider yourself and your family as non-combatant, what quality of life do you think you are capable of having? Do you think life as you have known it will not change just because you tell all warring sides that you are neutral? Even if you are lucky enough not to have had your place of employment bombed yet, nor had combatants come to your place of employment and kill everyone, do you think you are going to feel safe going into work each day? Do you think that your coworkers are going to take the chance of putting themselves into a crowded situation which makes them a bigger body count for the combatants? When almost all if not all commerce production is stopped because of a war, there is no GDP for the country which in this case is hurting the government side in this conflict. But, if the people have no jobs to go to, thus having no income, plus the fact that there aren’t any needed daily goods in which to buy, the populous itself is now drawn into the reality of this war even if they completely don’t want to be. I am not just speaking of items that are non essentials like wallpaper and couches. With the situation the Syrian people are in, they can’t even get enough food to keep from starving. No one in this war zone can possibly lay their head down for a nap without fear they may be attacked at any moment. That is if they are lucky enough to have a roof over their head in some place that has not been boomed out yet. Please also consider that the people of Syria are now facing their third winter in this civil war with all their basic needs absent.


What I have described above is background information for those who have paid no attention to the events unfolding in Syria and their region of the world. Once again an Islamic country in the Mediterranean region is in flux. The American government usually is put into a position where many expect us to be the world’s policeman. As most of you know the government of Syria is being backed by Russia who is their biggest most powerful ally and they have a major naval base in Syria. Russia has blocked most western attempts to help those fighting against the Syrian President Mr. Al-Assad. The second biggest Syrian ally is Iran who has been helping backup the Syrian military by sending thousands of trained fighters from the Islamic militant group Hezbollah which Iran protects and trains within their own borders and within the nation of Lebanon.


Syria’s president and his family are believers in a sect of Shia Islam  known as Alawites but the majority of the Syrian people are also faithful to the Shia sect of Islam. This is why Iran is helping president Al-Assad, you see, Iran is the largest Shia based country in the world and in Islam the Sunni-Shia differences are massive, violence between these two sects have been simmering, sometimes boiling over into violent conflicts for about 1,400 years now. This is why Iran is helping the government forces and this religious divide is why majority Sunni countries like Saudi-Arabia are helping out the rebel forces that are fighting president Al-Assad’s forces. Russia’s backing of the Syrian government has nothing to do with religion though, their reasons are simply economic and military alliances.


Here in America our politicians have been debating about whether or not to send military help to the Syrian rebels. Lately discussions have been about such things as bombing certain government locations and/or putting a no fly zone in parts of the country to help the rebel groups. Part of the problems with the rebel groups is that it is very fractious with several main bodies and no real central command. There are many confirmed reports that many of the people fighting against the government are from very dangerous Sunni Islamic groups like Al-Qaeda which are groups of the same philosophy  that attacked America on 9-11-2001. So the question comes to light, do we, meaning the U.S. and the west European countries give weapons and training to groups that once that war is over would then use those same weapons against us?


Now, I will express to you what I totally believe that the U.S. and the west European powers as well as the U.N. should have been doing since shortly after this civil war broke out. First, militarily we should be completely hands off. What we as a Christian nation and people, as well as the governing body of the U.N. should have been doing to help the innocent Syrian people who have been trying to flee their country via  going to their neighboring countries trying to stay alive, is that we should have been helping these people from the beginning of this human disaster.


Syria’s neighbors badly need help from the outside world in the facilitation of a million plus people into their countries. What we need to be doing and should have been doing is to send these desolate human beings, our brothers and sisters of humanity, the basic staples they need for survival. What aid we should be offering and delivering is things like food, tents, clothes, and blankets, not weapons. The only time we should use any military force in this civil war would be if the Syrian government force attack these refugee camps and then only if the presiding country whose borders were breached asks for us to help.

Death of 5 Russians in Coalition’s Strike in Syria



US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles are designed to conduct airstrikes in Syria and Iraq

Moscow Preliminarily Confirms Death of 5 Russians in Coalition’s Strike in Syria

© REUTERS/ U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Handout


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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the death of five Russian nationals in the US-led coalition’s strike in Syria, but their citizenship has yet to be verified.

“According to preliminary data, as a result of the armed conflict, the reasons for which are now being clarified, five people, presumably Russian citizens, could have been killed. There are also injured people, but all this requires verification — in particular, first of all, their citizenship — whether they are all citizens of Russia or other countries. I would like to stress once again that we are not talking about Russian servicemen,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing.

According to Zakharova, reports of hundreds of Russian citizens killed in the airstrike are “disinformation” by anti-government forces.

“Claims about the deaths of dozens and hundreds of Russian citizens are classic misinformation. There are not 400, not 200, not 100 and not ten [of them killed as a result of the US-led coalition’s airstrike],” she emphasized.

READ MORE: WATCH: US-Led Coalition Strike Syrian Government Forces

“Among the first to spread this information within their channels were Syrian anti-government militants, who for some reason took a photo of the surface of Mars, put on it an image of destroyed military equipment, perhaps even Ukrainian, dated June 2014.”

The spokeswoman emphasized that there were many people of different nationalities in Syria’s conflict zones.

“There is a large number of citizens from all regions of the world, including Russia and CIS countries, in the conflict zones. The purposes for their stay in war zones are different, including participation in hostilities,” Zakharova said, noting that it was hard to trace all of them.

US-Led Coalition’s Airstrike on Pro-Damascus Forces

Last week, US Central Command announced that the coalition conducted what it described as “defensive airstrikes” against pro-government forces near the Euphrates River as a response to an alleged attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters. The airstrikes have reportedly resulted in the death of at least 100 pro-government troops.Damascus has slammed the attack as “a new act of aggression that constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity,” while the Russian Defense Ministry said that the attack showcased that the real goal behind Washington’s “illegal military presence in Syria” was control over the country’s economic assets rather than defeating Daesh.

Later, media reports emerged, alleging that a large number of Russian “mercenaries” had been killed in airstrikes. So far, the death of one Russian citizen Kiril Ananyev from an activist group “Another Russia” has been reported by the organization’s coordinator.

READ MORE: US Attack on Pro-Damascus Forces ‘Attempt to Support Terorrism’ — Syrian TV

When asked to comment on the reports, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saidWednesday that he didn’t rule out that Russian nationals, who do not belong to the Russian Armed Forces, could be in Syria.

Earlier in the day, he emphasized that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not make any decisions to classify any information regarding Russian nationals in Syria.

casualtiesUS-led coalitionMaria ZakharovaSyriaUnited StatesRussia

Dozens of Russians Are Believed Killed in U.S.-Backed Syria Attack




American special forces in Manbij, Syria, near the border with Turkey, this month. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

MOSCOW — Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials.

A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on Feb. 7 and 8, but news about Russian casualties has dribbled out only slowly, through Russian news organizations and social media.

Much about the attack and the associated casualties has been obscured in the fog of war. For reasons that remain unclear, Syrian government troops and some Russian nationals appear to have attacked a coalition position, near Al Tabiyeh, Syria.

The attack occurred in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, a strategic, oil-rich territory that is coveted by the Syrians. Most of the fatalities were attributed to an American airstrike on enemy columns that was called in by American-backed Kurdish soldiers who believed they were under attack.

At no point, an American military spokesman said, was there any chance of direct conflict between United States and Russian forces.

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“Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack,” according to Col. Ryan S. Dillon, a spokesman for the American military. “Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity.”

The Kremlin — seeking to play down its involvement in the fighting in Syria and seemingly hoping to avoid escalating tensions with the United States — has sidestepped questions about the episode, even as it faces rare criticism at home over its failure to acknowledge the deaths of Russians in Syria.

It has stressed repeatedly since last Wednesday that no members of the Russian armed forces were killed, and that any Russians fighting alongside the Syrians were mercenaries.

“We only handle the data that concerns Russian forces servicemen,” Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said at a news briefing on Tuesday. “We don’t have data about other Russians who could be in Syria.”

The Kremlin said much the same about the nature of the forces in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, however, claiming they were volunteers and men on vacation, only to admit later that they were regular soldiers.

100 km

President Vladimir V. Putin has said at least three times since 2016 that combat operations in Syria were winding down, including once during a surprise visit to a Russian air base in Syria last December. Yet there are hundreds if not thousands of contract soldiers in Syria whom the Russian government has never acknowledged.

They were deployed both to help keep the official cost down and to avoid reports of casualties, especially with a March presidential election in Russia fast approaching. Even though the Kremlin enacted a law during the Ukraine crisis in 2015 to make battlefield casualties a secret, the funerals for regular soldiers killed in combat need to be more official than those for mercenaries, and are thus difficult to hide.

And some individual Russians have begun speaking out. Aleksandr Ionov, a Russian businessman working in Syria offering security and other services, said he estimated after conversations with associates in several private military organizations that more than 200 Russians might have been killed.

Mr. Ionov said not all those killed were Russian: Some of the paid fighters came from other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. “More than 200 is the current estimate, we cannot know the exact number yet, but most of them were Russian,” he said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Ionov said he was speaking out because he wanted any Russians who were killed to be officially recognized for their sacrifice.

“The truth has to be told,” he said. “If people died, then this should be recognized and respects should be paid to people who fought against terrorists.”

He called on the government to give a fuller version of events, adding, “People are outraged because they want to know the truth.”

Mr. Ionov was not the only one speaking out about Russian fatalities. Aleksandr Averin, a member of the Other Russia nationalist party, confirmed that Kirill Ananiev, a party member who left for Syria about a year ago, had been killed in the airstrike, noting that there were other “substantial losses.”

“I can confirm that Kirill died on Feb. 7 in Syria, near the Euphrates River, as a result of a strike by the American coalition,” Mr. Averin said in an interview, adding that he was aware of “substantial losses” suffered by “paramilitary structures with ties to Russia.” He refused to elaborate.

Another victim, Vladimir N. Loginov, 51, died “in an unequal fight on Feb. 7 in the area of Syria’s Deir al-Zour,” according to a statement published online by his paramilitary organization.

“He died, heroically defending our motherland in the far reaches against the invasion of maddened barbarians,” the group, the Baltic Cossack Union in Kaliningrad, said in the statement.


Syrian pro-government fighters, who were reportedly wounded in a United States airstrike near Deir al-Zour, at a hospital in the town. CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

In another case, Lubava Kocheva, a woman from central Russia, said in a brief online chat that two of her male friends in Syria, Igor Kosoturov and Stanislav Matveev, also died on Feb. 7.

“We don’t know anything, whether they will bring them or not,” said Mrs. Kocheva, 41, referring to the men’s corpses. “This is very difficult and frightening.”

The names of most of the victims identified so far were first reported by the Conflict Intelligence Team, a group of Russian investigative bloggers. The exact circumstances of their deaths could not be established by The New York Times.

The Russian Defense Ministry, which supports the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in the continuing civil war, said none of its servicemen had been involved in the clash and that only 25 pro-government Syrian insurgents were wounded. It took pains to distance itself from the battle.

“The reason for the incident was lack of coordination between the reconnaissance movements of the Syrian insurgents and the Russian operative command,” the ministry said in its statement on Thursday.

The number and exact nature of private Russian security firms operating in Syria is unclear, although there have been persistent reports in the Russian news media that some militiamen who fought on the side of the Russian-backed separatists in the war in eastern Ukraine later deployed to Syria.

The main Russian paramilitary contracting organization is the Wagner Group, known by the nickname of the retired Russian officer who leads it. The group has been operating in Syria in various capacities, including protecting some oil fields, according to multiple reports in the Russian news media. Its relationship with the Kremlin is murky and unconfirmed, but its leaders have reportedly received awards in the Kremlin and its mercenaries are trained at the Russian Defense Ministry’s facilities.

Grigory A. Yavlinsky, a veteran Russian opposition politician who is a candidate in next month’s presidential election, called on Tuesday for Mr. Putin to disclose the number of Russians who had died in Syria.

“I demand an explanation as to why Russian nationals take part in ground military operations in Syria, despite the statements by the president and defense minister that Russian military formations will be withdrawn from this country,” Mr. Yavlinsky said in a statement. “I also think there needs to be a public report about relations with the U.S., as there is a growing threat of an accidental or deliberate direct military clash between Russia and America.”

The official Kremlin stance is that its military deployment in Syria is now centered on two permanent bases, one for Russia’s air force and one for its navy, there by invitation from the Syrian government.


Russian political analysts said that the country’s reluctance to confirm that its citizens had died as a result of a United States-led airstrike was actually a sign that Moscow did not want to further worsen the already fractured bilateral relations with Washington.

“This is a very rare case, where the positions of Russia and the U.S. got closer,” said Aleksei V. Makarkin, an analyst at the Center for Political Technologies, a think tank in Moscow. “No one wants to take steps that will do irreparable damage to the already broken Russia-U.S. relations.”

Correction: February 13, 2018 
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly described an account by a Syrian military officer. He said that about 100 Syrian — not Russian — soldiers died in fighting on Feb. 7 and 8.

Syria shoots down Israeli warplane as conflict escalates


(The Devil is in Tehran, His name is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the un-elected Dictator who calls himself the ‘Supreme Leader’)(trs) 

Syria shoots down Israeli warplane as conflict escalates

Crash site of an Israeli F-16 jet in northern Israel. Photo: 10 February 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe Israeli F-16 jet crashed near a village in northern Israel

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has crashed after being hit by Syrian air defences during an offensive in Syria, the Israeli military says.

The two pilots parachuted to safety before the crash in northern Israel. It is believed to be the first time Israel has lost a jet in the Syrian conflict.

The plane was hit during air strikes in response to an Iranian drone launch into Israeli territory, Israel says.

The drone was shot down. Israel later launched further strikes in Syria.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) say they hit aerial defence batteries and Iranian military sites in the latest strikes.

Israeli air strikes in Syria are not unusual, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman says, but the loss of an Israeli fighter jet marks a serious escalation.

In other developments in the Syrian conflict on Saturday:

  • A Turkish helicopter was shot down as the country continued its offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. Two soldiers on board were killed, the Turkish military says
  • UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the past week was one of the bloodiest in Syria since the conflict began in 2011 – with at least 277 civilian deaths reported

How did events unfold on Saturday morning?

The Israeli military says a “combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel”.

It tweeted footage which it says shows the drone flying into Israeli territory before being hit.

In a further response, the IDF “targeted Iranian targets in Syria”, according to the military. The mission deep inside Syrian territory was successfully completed, it said.

After coming under Syrian anti-aircraft fire, the F-16’s two crew members ejected and were later taken to hospital. One of them was “severely injured as a result of an emergency evacuation”, the IDF said.

It is the first time Israel has lost an aircraft in combat since 2006 when an Israeli helicopter was shot down over Lebanon by a Hezbollah rocket, the Jerusalem Post reports.

All five crew on board – including a female flight mechanic – were killed in that incident.

Anti-aircraft effects over the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights. Photo: 10 February 20218Image copyrightEPA
Image captionAnti-aircraft fire smoke over the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights

Alert sirens sounded in areas of northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights because of Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

Residents reported hearing a number of explosions and heavy aerial activity in the area near Israel’s borders with Jordan and Syria.

An Israeli F-16 takes off. File photoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe fighter jet was carrying out strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, the Israelis say (file picture)

Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying that the country’s air defences had opened fire in response to Israeli “aggression” against a military base on Saturday, hitting “more than one plane”.

What did Israel do next?

Israel launched its second wave of strikes in Syria. Eight of the Syrian targets belonged to the fourth Syrian division near Damascus, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said.

All the Israeli aircraft from this sortie returned safely.

“Syrians are playing with fire when they allow Iranians to attack Israel,” the spokesman warned.

He added that Israel was willing to exact a heavy price in response but was “are not looking to escalate the situation”.

Meanwhile Iran and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon – which are allied with the Syrian government – dismissed reports that an Iranian drone had entered Israeli airspace as a “lie”.

Russia expressed “serious concern” over the Israeli air strikes and called for all sides to show restraint.

What is the Iranian presence in Syria?

Iran is Israel’s arch-enemy, and Iranian troops have been fighting rebel groups since 2011.

Tehran has sent military advisers, volunteer militias and, reportedly, hundreds of fighters from its Quds Force, the overseas arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

It is also believed to have supplied thousands of tonnes of weaponry and munitions to help President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, which is fighting on Syria’s side.

Tehran has faced accusations that it is seeking to establish not just an arc of influence but a logistical land supply line from Iran through to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Presentational grey line

A powerful new element

Analysis by BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

For years Israel has been striking at weapons stores and other facilities in Syria with a single goal – to disrupt and, as far as possible, to prevent advanced Iranian missiles being delivered to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Syria has often been the conduit for these shipments, but the changing balance of power there, with the Assad regime’s survival bolstered by Iranian help, has introduced a powerful new element – a direct Iranian role in the crisis.

A more confident Iran is alleged by Israel to be setting up bases in Syria(whether for its own or its proxy Shia Muslim militia forces is unclear).

But it is also alleged to be developing missile factories, both there and in Lebanon, to make the supply lines to Hezbollah less vulnerable.

Israel’s campaign to disrupt missile supplies is becoming ever more complex.

And Iran risks becoming a direct actor in this conflict, ever closer to Israel’s own borders.

Presentational grey line

Trump: The ‘Coward Of The Country’ Wants A Military Parade


Donald Trump, in regards to the military, who is quite possibly the biggest coward to ever sit in the Oval Office now wants to spend millions of tax payer dollars to show off his ‘military balls’. Now this gutless wonder who was able to get either 5 or 6 military deferments (depending on which source you believe) while he was in college for foot issues, some say bone spurs, during the Vietnam War. Now he says he wants to have a military parade in Washington D.C. just like his “good friend” the mass murderer of China, President Xi Jinping and his other good friend, another mass murderer, Russia’s President Putin have in their countries.


Mr. Trump whom was able to play college sports yet could not put on our Country’s Uniform now likes to talk trash like he is some kind of a ‘he-man’. He who hid behind his Daddy’s hundreds of millions of dollars to hide in college instead of even going into a branch of Service like the Air National Guard which another Coward-in-Chief George W. Bush did in his attempt to not go to Vietnam. Mr. Trump could have gone in as an Officer yet he was even to much of a coward to do that. I can’t help but wonder how much Mr. Trump really gives a damn about Our Country considering the lessons he learned from his daddy. Remember his Dad was one of the KKK leaders in NYC during the 1920’s-30’s. Also remember his dad attended the Nazi rallies in NYC during the 1930’s leading up to WWII. Do you ever wonder what kind of morals was being talked into little Donnie’s ears as he was growing up?