Week 11 of the Quarantine
SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – There are Indian ruins up there,” say the locals. “Almost no one still alive has ever seen them.”
We were determined to get up to the top of the mesa and find out for ourselves. Trouble was, nobody knew how to get up there. We tried twice… riding around, looking for a way up the sheer cliff. A rock climber might be able to get up. But if we have a superpower, it doesn’t involve climbing up cliffs.
“There is a secret path. But nobody remembers where it is,” said our foreman.
“But I know where it is,” said Martha, the cook. “My uncle had the puesto (herding station) near there. He showed me the path. It was many years ago. But I think I remember where it is.”
On Saturday, we tried again… but that story will have to wait until tomorrow.
One of the charms of a late, degenerate empire is that it gives you an assortment of cynical amusements. There are so many laws, regulations, and edicts… each day, reading the news is like choosing from a buffet of buffooneries. You only have to decide which to laugh at first.
Over the weekend, for example, POTUS defied the laws and customs of the city of Baltimore. Mayor Young had declared meetings of any sort, for any purpose, anathema to public health. Yet, there was The Donald drawing a crowd, celebrating Memorial Day in the city that gave us Francis Scott Key and the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
It was not the first clash between Baltimore’s leaders and the federales. During the War Between the States, for example, President Lincoln had Key’s grandson arrested without a warrant. Key was the editor of a Baltimore newspaper that was critical of the president. Lincoln even tried to arrest the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court – also a Marylander. But at least that attempt at lawlessness failed.
We used to know the mayors of Baltimore personally. Schaefer, O’Malley… But now, the mayors go to jail before we have a chance to meet them. It is a shame. Otherwise, we might have gotten on the phone to Mayor Young with some advice.
He should have sent the boys in blue to arrest the president and everyone in attendance. The president could have retaliated by sending in the National Guard to protect citizens’ rights to peacefully assemble. He might have even taken a page from the book of Dwight D. Eisenhower and ordered the National Guard to reopen the schools all over the nation.
Not that any of this would have served any useful purpose. But it would have made the occasion more entertaining.
And it might have helped to clarify the imbecilities in conflict. On the one hand, Baltimore has imposed a lockdown that is almost certainly unconstitutional. On the other, the scofflaw president was participating in a festival of sacred claptrap.
Credit Where It’s Due
The Memorial Day holiday is meant to be an occasion for Americans to pay homage to their fallen heroes. And this year, Donald Trump went to Baltimore and read his lines… saying the same empty-headed things presidents always say on Memorial Day, thanking our soldiers… our “warriors”… for saving our freedom. And our lives.
We do not dispute the need to remember the fallen. We just think it should be done with fewer lies and more candor. And today, in the spirit of public mischief, we offer a recommendation for how to make Memorial Day more meaningful.
No Real Danger
In the entire history of the country, only once were Americans’ lives or freedoms seriously in jeopardy. That was when the Yankees invaded Virginia, which led to the death of one out of every four white men of fighting age in the South… and the defeat and occupation of all of Dixie.
This was not a wholly bad thing; at least it provided an early liberation of the Southern slave population.
But it also empowered a new master. Now, the feds were in charge, no matter what it said in the Declaration of Independence.
Apart from the War Between the States, when at least there was something at stake, America’s military history is mostly sordid, clownish, and futile. Never was there any real danger of invasion by a foreign power. Never were Americans’ liberties at risk – except from their own government, as it used the cover of “war” to increase its power over its own population.
In a recent editorial, American author Max Boot criticizes the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, saying that if it had been in charge during World War II, “we’d all be speaking German.” But he is just being ironic. Or stupid.
In the first place, there’s nothing wrong with German; we might all benefit from learning a few declensions.
But there was no chance – none – that even the most unprofessional U.S. bumbling during the war would have led to a U.S. defeat and occupation by the Germans.
The Wehrmacht was already reeling from the loss of its Sixth Army at Stalingrad. And Hitler’s bad strategies doomed millions more of his own troops – even before U.S. troops landed in Normandy.
And even if, by some miracle, Germany had managed to escape defeat at the hands of the Soviets, there was no way it would have found the ships, planes, and soldiers to cross the Atlantic.
The real danger, then as now, was not the foreign invader… but the domestic bamboozler. In World War II, the U.S. government put 112,000 of its own citizens in concentration camps. And today, it has locked up nearly a million prisoners of war – in state and federal gulags – in its 50-year-long “War on Drugs.” There are also more than three million people on parole for drug “crimes.”
Add to those numbers the millions of people under “house arrest” in its war on COVID-19… and you have the measure of an enemy far greater than the Jap, the gook, or the hun.
Government operates like a protection racket. It stirs up enemies… and then offers protection from them. Even so, at reasonable rates… with reasonable protections (the Bill of Rights, for example) from the feds themselves… the racket is tolerable and actually welcome, for most people.
But after World War II, the atomic bomb and the threat of “mutual assured destruction” made real wars too risky. So the U.S. turned to fake wars… against enemies who posed no real threat – Vietnam, Grenada, Honduras, Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan – and to wars against drugs, poverty, terrorism, and now… a protein molecule.
Memorial Day should pay homage to all the victims… not just the poor soldiers who were fed into the military maul. It should include the millions of civilians, too – mostly foreigners – who died as “collateral damage”… and the millions of poor people turned into welfare addicts by the War on Poverty… and the millions who died from drug overdoses… or who spent years behind bars…
And surely, the highlight of today’s Memorial Day festivities should be the president’s visit to Arlington Cemetery. There, with the solemnity worthy of the occasion… he should lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown COVID-19 Victim – perhaps one of the 10,000 people driven to such despair by the feds’ war on the molecule… that he blew his brains out.
Tune in tomorrow… for our trip to the Lost World…
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