Because I was raised in the south, have been married for more than 48 years, am white and basically a Christian… me and others like me have been called red neck, homophobic, misogynist, racist, bigots.
In this age of labeled diversities, I sort of understand why.
This was initially posted October 2016.
And the best way to explain that is to go back to my CIA transfer in 1973 from fighting with local Asians against invading North Vietnamese in Laos, to be assigned to the CIA station in Saigon, South Vietnam, and then subsequently sent to work out of the CIA base in the delta.
What I found in the US Embassy in Saigon was startling. It was a self-contained organization of place keepers, who for the most part had no vested interest – no sweat or blood equity – in what the US military had done previous to its 1973 withdrawal from the South Vietnamese countryside. While the Embassy maintained four consulates out in the provinces, for the most part it was the Embassy that spoke to Washington about what was goin’ on.
In this case however the Embassy got way out in front of its field units – and became a crystal tower, with its own imagined ideas about things… who towards the end, came to the conclusion that there would be a negotiated cease fire as the NVA got to the Saigon city gates and that Saigon and the delta would remain a free and independent South Vietnam.
Down in the delta we said, hell no that ain’t goin’ happen. Prompting the CIA chief of Station, Tom Polar, to fly down to talk with our base chief, Jim Delaney, to tell him to knock off sending back to Washington “doomsday” reporting about the pending fall of South Vietnam. And – when we didn’t stop our truthful reporting about the dire situation in the south – the Chief CIA analyst in Saigon, Frank Snepp, flew down and told us that there were things we just didn’t know, that they had secret information in the Saigon Embassy that we were not privy to in the Delta, that there would be a negotiated cease fire.
Yea? Well we knew that the Saigon Embassy crystal tower had almost no contact with what was goin’ on outside the city walls. That was true of both State Department and the CIA officials, in fact with most of the CIA people the closest they came to contact with the locals was friendships they had with their maids and their girlfriends.
And even at the end, when the Embassy analysis was proving to be completely wrong, the Ambassador would close the door to his office and write long, involved dispatches back to President Ford and Kissinger in Washington about the situation… mind you with no input from others.
Ambassador Martin fiddled while the South Vietnamese country side burned.
Whole thing was a clear example of crystal tower thinking… which in this case resulted in the shameful emergency evacuation of the Embassy in Saigon and the abandonment of many loyal long time South Vietnam assets/friends, sure to die when the communist took over.
This was reported conspicuously by talking heads back on US TV goin’ on and on and on about who was to the blame.
It was time of national shame, though the protestors in the streets took it as a victory. Which gave the talking heads more to talk about.
It was clear that the gov’t and the people just didn’t have good field information.
Why? Well the military obfuscated field information, for sure, our politicians withdrew from the battlefield long before our allies, for sure, and the media sensationalized, moralized and otherwise heavily influenced coverage of the posturing military/intelligence/diplomatic US embassy men there at the end. They weren’t covering the developments in the field, they were covering Saigon. And the public only knows what it’s told… and like I said, Saigon had the story wrong.
Jim Delaney, the CIA chief in the Delta was the only ranking US official who got it right. Remember that the next time you see some program on the evacuation from Vietnam. Jim and his base did right. Saigon did wrong.
And to further get at the Why of my initial question, consider this wildly different thought.
A blogger recently added up the 2016 deer license sales in just a handful of US states and arrived at a striking conclusion: There are over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin…
Allow me to restate that number: 600,000!
Over the last several months, Wisconsin’s hunters became the 8th largest army in the world.
That’s more men under arms than in Iran. More than France and Germany combined.
That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania’s and Michigan’s 700,000 hunters.
Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and the hunters in just those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world. And then add in the total number of hunters in the other 46 states. It’s millions more.
By comparison the CIA estimated that the ISIS Islam extremist group has 20,000–25,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. Maybe.
How does all this relate to US Embassy/Saigon head-in-the-sand thinking… and to the first sentence in this rant about the way I and my kind are often labelled?
Several ways. Or those two facts lend themselves to the following: One, no nation on the face of this good earth would honestly consider invading the US, what with millions of home grown Americans armed and ready to defend the home land. Add in all that salt water on either side of us acting like giant moots, and we can sleep well at night.
Two, this large army of hunters in the good USA – which I simply wasn’t aware of before – makes me think there is much about our great land that we ignore as we take stock of our personal place in time. That’s a pretty significant thing goin’ on that’s predominantly covered by negative reporting -if at all – by our national media.
The hunters? They’re mostly white Christians, like myself.
Now stay with me here… we goin’ to keep poking at this ‘till what I’m trying to say is clear.
As I’ve reported often on these pages when I grew up Dad sat at the head of the table for the supper meal and he told us what was what out there in the world.
It was like a multi-faced town crier putting out the word… that we all came to recognize as “that’s the way it is…” No competition really. No one saying, “No it ain’t. There’s all this other stuff.”
Long after Dad’s town-crier role had passed, I became friends with a West African named John Sherman, and among many closing arguments on how the world worked, he’d say to me, “We’re all tribal, Jimmy. Man deep down knows he can’t survive just on his own… he had a need to come together against common enemies and for the common good. When you try to understand why people out there do what they do, remember they’re tribal, looking after their own. You ain’t in their tribe, they ain’t looking after you.”
John’d take most any conflict on the world stage and throw in the tribal thought. “Basic,” he’d say, “to any comments on life its ownself.”
My tribe then, as John would explain it, as I just said, is home-based, white, work-oriented, male-dominate.. all broken down into family cells. And we’re learning we got our own Army of several million hunter/gathers out there.
You hear a lot of negatives about us and positives for the others, as our different tribes jostle for position out there.
Why is that?
Well I think the operative word there is “hear.” Where’s the noise coming from?
What we “hear” nowadays is a lot from those talking heads on TV – who appeared during the Vietnam War at a place our father used to take at the supper table.
And what do these talking heads have to say?
Well it is usually something that 1) is in line with their media manager boss’ thinking on subjects such as morality and politics and 2) that goes for drama – particularly strife that grabs people’s attention and 3) that’s part of the “national dialogue” the talking head managers have created.
A world of difference from the Dad-at-the-head-of-the-supper-table orations.
And let’s be honest, the media news is often disquieting or hard to get your mind around… there as we’re sitting at the supper table. Because these talking heads talk about things outside my tribe. Sometimes way, way out of my tribe, and though they say, we’re all in this together, they’re also saying I’ve noticed, your tribe’s wrong a lot. Diversity is the golden rule. Break down barriers, don’t stereotype, don’t ignore even the most trivial of human forms. The principle here seems to be the media’s saying a lot – this is what the news we’ve selected for you means. ‘Cause here in the media crystal tower we know what we are talking about. Now eat your carrots.
What happened to positive “news” on our bed rock values? What happened to the idea of focusing on things that unite us, rather than separate us. Why isn’t the principle of the news to recognize the value of a homogenous society? Well one reason why not, the media managers would say that that’s asserting or re-enforcing white majority rule. They’d spin that as blatant white-power thinking. “Black lives matter, too, you know.” This slogan sells… trying to promote us all holding hands singing “Kumbala,” don’t.
But I’m saying how ‘bout a little more talking head comments on my tribe, what it has achieved, how it’s different from other tribes, how it is entirely possible for several different tribes to exist in the US, as long as we have minority rights and majority rule…
And here’s a thought… when my tribe got here a few hundred years ago the homies were broken down in tribes. African Americans came over lumped into one tribe, though they have, since abolition, developed into sub tribes.
Like my larger tribe that has broken into sub tribes. My particular sub-tribe has an affinitive for NC Barbeque and church rules that play a big part of our moral make up.
Though like I was saying, the media plays this as homophobic, misogynist, racist, bigotry.
And as for the news managers themselves out there… TV and print and bloggers who reach the smart phone millions… let me say again… they live and work in crystal towers. They don’t hunt, nor own guns. Ain’t in anyone’s army but their own, fighting others with their pens and cartoons. They don’t get out in the market places, or the factories or the farms. Cut backs, you know. They outreach, investigate and stay in touch, with their phones.
Their attitudes, based on very liberal educations usually – never much from the school of hard knocks – are not always grounded, or fair. As you’d expect. How many journalist have you ever known that are prior military, or that worked their way through college, or that had a job of any kind outdoors, or had to make a payroll every week? Almost zero. And media managers? Certainly zero.
Journalist, talking heads, are a tribe themselves. They work in the clouds and their stock in trade are sophistic phrases like…. know the truth and it will set you free. Don’t shoot the messenger. All the news that’s fit to print. That’s the way it is.
There is just a very short list of subject on which they report, and there’s a media pattern to spin the reports… when – pls consider – former President George H.W. Bush said, our country’s like a “million points of light.” To me it’s more. It’s a million million. We are tall and short, sweet smelling and tart, wilderness and city crowds, cows and dogs, trains and driverless cars, computers and folk singers, country fairs and federal jails.
It is more than just 5 or 6 social/political issues that dominate our news… that’s part of the “national dialogue” they created. The depth of meaning and shards of lights that make the country of my tribe are rarely mentioned, like our million man army. There’s a movie out on the traitor Snowden, looking on him as a folk hero. Yea? He’ll never have those rays of lights to call his own, ever again.
The ideas of the media tribesmen – who separated from my tribe in the 1960s – has very little to do with what’s goin’ on now in my life, in my neighborhood… this newsman’s tribe has their own language which helps spin the items they discuss in a way they want. “Homeless” sounds like decent people unfairly caste out on the streets that should be given a free ride. They are our most needy Americans. Yea? My dad described them as “bums” and I’m still more comfortable with that word to describe the legions of unwashed street people here in Las Vegas where I live… and feel no guilt about detouring around them.
And the media’s often reference to “polls” – to supposedly illustrate their points – is a concept of their invention, or it was invented by their cousins. I personally have never been polled, I know that there are statistics, statistics and damn lies… so I don’t believe any “polls.” Period. In fact only if you substitute “media” for “polls” does this kind of reporting makes sense.
They have joined forces, the media has, in a united front with the advertising and entertainment industries in projecting a fantasy world, invented in crystal towers in cities around this great nation.
You go to the movies, what are your choices? Somewhere in the top ten is going to be an animated feature with anthropomorphic jungle animals singing and dancing… that my friends is fantasy. Or there is Superman flying, or Batman driving like a bat from hell, or Spider man… or Mickey Mouse…. Or Ssace ships going where no man has gone before.
And on TV, what are “reality” shows…. “Keep it or Flip It”… you know how staged that is? And “big brother” that’s like that movie with Jim Carey, I forgot the title, where he’s living in a closed society that’s totally covered by cameras. And the Bachelor and Bachelorette shows? Come on? And sports, more than the pretend combat of professional football, there’s the fantasy league.
And the contest shows, how many men do you see on Wheel of Fortune who talk about their “husbands” being out in the audience. It’s getting as bad as the State Department diplomatic corps.
I’m not saying queers aren’t in my tribe, they are, but the tribe doesn’t make anything of it. I’d think for the most part, my tribe would say your sexual preference is your choice or your own birthright, or whatever, just cool it. It ain’t the prevalent thing. We don’t know who the pitchers and the catchers are in these relationship, and don’t want to visualize who does what in the privacy of their homes, so you know keep it behind closed doors, please.
And I think it’s good for my tribe to be ambivalent about this… like me and abortion. Which I am for one day, and against the next. Same with capital punishment. I’m for it now, but check back in an hour. I just think with same gender relationships – there is sex involved that’s deviant, and shouldn’t get a complete pass. You know what I mean? And transgender, the numbers here just don’t justify the attention they’re given. Don’t force the issue on me… it’s just too minor a thing promoted by the deviant desk up there in the media crystal tower. If LGBTs want to stay completely in their own tribe that’s OK. Let’s not suggest it be the tail wagging the majority dog.
In fact, now that we’re talking politics – just you and me – with no media filter to go through, no political correctness to consider, I ain’t so sure my tribe’s represented so much in the White House
. See little sign of it… in fact there Mr. FBI chief recently absolving MS Clinton of felonies she committed, and the IRS commissioner, who was proven to use the IRS to go after members of my tribe for years – a criminal offensive - and he’s still in office? Someone who sees our gov’t as honest, pls explain the IRS guy not being asked to resign.
And speaking of the FBI… since Clinton, I worry. For example, everywhere you go in this great country of ours you run into local issues. In NC down where I grew up, you know one of the hot button items? Should you use dogs to hunt deer. In Raleigh the issue du jour is, does the duly elected NC state gov’t have rights that can be counter-manned by unelected gov’t bureaucrats in Washington? And if they do, what are those rights?
Here in Las Vegas, one of the hot button issues, in addition to the new MGM grand boss now charging for parking at his casino, is the way the water level continues to drop at Lake Mead, leaving a host of marinas high and dry. Now water and riparian issues have always been conversation # 1 hereabout… it’s the desert you know. Water’s key.
You want to know how local officials explain the dropping water level?
They said it’s a drought. Not as much water comes into Lake Mead as before.
Now maybe there is a drought out here in the west, but you just don’t hear that from anyone else on any other issue. It’s just used to explain Lake Mead dropping water level.
Well here’s a little bit of news maybe you haven’t heard. The local FBI raided the offices of the Hoover Dam commission a few years ago because of “corruption.”
And my first thought is that well maybe it isn’t too little water coming in, it’s too much goin’ out. California’s thirsty. If Cal Ag could pay under the table for more water, would they, or not?
Come on. Sure they would. And who would you pay? How ’bout the Hoover Dam Commission that handles the water-out valves to California? …the same organization the FBI investigated/raided for corruption.
It’s my Saturday morning musing, so I’m allowed to say there’s an appearance of impropriety here. Like no one I know has the full story of Harry Reid injury to his face. Sure looks like he got punched. Real hard. There’s his ne’er do well brother and that money man of his that’s doing some hard time up state. Plenty of people out there want to punch Reid face anyway.
But on this crooked or not Hoover Dam commission and the dropping water level in Lake Mead… can’t assume the FBI is doing the right thing. Maybe what they’re doing is OK by the Clinton/Obama tribe, but we know the FBI gives them special considerations. Maybe that precious extra water goin’ to California gets votes or something.
And more on the subject of the newsmen’s tribe machinations around here in the US SW…. let me tell you back two years ago a rancher named Cliven Bundy had a standoff with local officials over access to federal land for his cows. One afternoon he stood on the back of a flatbed truck and talked about his issues. I sat through his entire speech that was televised. He had some esoteric ranching points, some history and some common sense points, all delivered in a manner of speech that I liked.
Now I’d say for the most part the US military and US policemen come from my tribe. But here you got Bundy who sounds like he and I are kin… so this was almost a sibling fight… when the local Sheriff said, hell with it Clive, we’ll just pull back, do what you want, but I ain’t going to get in a gun fight with you and your people.
I thought that was a grand gesture from my different tribesmen, especially the Sheriff.
Then those from the news tribe kicked in with their two cents worth and you just wouldn’t believe what they had to say. Now I heard everything rancher Bundy had to say. You just had to wonder were the media people listening to the same thing? Jimmidy Cricket, the focus of their reporting was on such minor, minor items, it just wasn’t fair. And the print articles were just as bad in cherry picking facts to paint Bundy as a little on the loopy side.
And speaking of newsmen making up their own issues… how ’bout their clamor over the “Redskins” nickname to that bad Washington, DC football team. Remember the movement a few years pass to change the nickname to something less demeaning of native Americans… Remember? Sure you do. Well, someone, probably from my tribe, checked the 25 loudest critics to the logo “Redskins” that they said defamed native Americans, and not a single one was Native American. In fact there were no known comments from Native Americans on the subject.
And on our enemies – China and Russia – hacking our computers, causes me to think that we may have a 9/11 or Pearl Harbor in the future that causes a complete melt down of our technology, and the crystal tower people running the talking heads on the airways of our great country are not going to be able to use elevator during this crisis… and will have to walk the stairs up to the top of the towers in the clouds where they work and come up with their isolated ideas. I can get by without technology, and so can my tribesmen who hunt and gather, but I’m not so sure the media as we know it can.
So there you go. That’s why I and people in my tribe are called hard to pronounce names by the media people tribesmen.
Here’s a thought in ending this rant… maybe it will take a Trump as our country’s chief executive officer to assign someone reasonable to Justice/FBI, to the IRS… and also to the FCC, who will make a conspicuous effort to hold the news industry accountable, like with Dan Rather. That has the cojones to tell the talking head managers to clean up their act and be more responsible stewards of the airways and cease and desist from Fifth Column proselytizing.
‘Cause it just ain’t right.
I don’t know who the FCC commissioner is now, but I would like to see that organization given cabinet like status, and if you disband the Department of Energy and Department of Education at the same time, hell you’ll save money for the gov’t and make it better.
And in the process, maybe my large tribe can regain some respect and newsworthy representation it has lost. Maybe someone will realize, hey this tribe Mule belongs to, they got the biggest army in the world. Maybe we ought to take ‘um serious.
Naw, they’re the silent majority… too stupid to know how powerful they actually are. Let’s call ‘um some more names. That’s what we do. How ‘bout “deplorables.”