Winning wars and academy awards

Feb. 22, 2015

This is George Washington’s Birthday.  As Will Rogers wrote in 1928, “George Washington was a farmer, Civil Engineer and a gentlemen.  He made enough at Civil Engineering to indulge in both the other luxuries.”

Washington was the General of our Army that won the Revolutionary War, and he was elected our first President.  He wrote and said a lot of important things about winning a war, but I doubt he ever imagined he could have defeated the British by offering jobs to the Redcoats.

The spokesperson for the Secretary of State announced this week that the way to defeat our current enemy, ISIS, is to offer them jobs.  That received a lot of commentary, especially by comedians and Republicans.

But Marie Harf also said you can’t win a war by killing the enemy.  And no one has commented on that bit of wisdom.  She graduated from the University of Virginia, that excellent school founded by Thomas Jefferson.  Is it possible she could have earned an advanced degree without reading anything on how to win a war by the likes of Washington, Stonewall Jackson and George Patton?

When it comes to war, “General” Putin in Russia is demonstrating one way to win: simply say to the other side, “What war? I’m not at war.” I think he is following Hitler’s example in the 1930s, “Let me have Ukraine and I’ll leave the rest of you folks alone.” Well, once Putin takes the whole of Ukraine in a couple of years, he’ll move on to Poland. Maybe when he advances into East Germany, the rest of Europe will pay attention.

The Academy Awards are being televised tonight.  The best movie is “American Sniper.”  As I write this, the best movie has not been announced. I don’t know if it will receive one of those little statues, but the American movie goers already voted: it is the Best Movie.

When Will Rogers was the M.C. of the 6th Academy Awards in March 1934 he described those “little statues” as “lovely things (that) were originally designed for prizes at a nudist’s colony bazaar, but they didn’t take ‘em. It must be terribly artistic, for nobody has any idea what it is.”

Will Rogers admitted, “I have never seen any of these (nominated) pictures. They don’t look at mine, why should I go see theirs?  But he complimented everyone on their acting, “There is great acting in this room tonight, greater than you will see on the screen. We all cheer when somebody gets a prize that everyone of us in the house knows should be ours. Yet we smile and take it. Boy that’s acting.”

Weekly Comments: More random acts of violence

Islamic terrorists slaughtered a few more people this week. In Denmark a young hoodlum shot up a gathering of “free speech” cartoonists and then went to a synagogue and shot a few more.

Not to be overshadowed by a lone Islamic gunman in Europe, ISIS in Libya beheaded 21 Christians at Tripoli and threw their bodies into the Mediterranean. We’re still waiting for reaction from the White House on these “random acts of violence.”  Perhaps someone in Washington will show President Obama a report on how President Thomas Jefferson reacted two centuries ago when Islamic terrorists were pirating cargo ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last week Susan Rice, the self-appointed Secretary of Defense, declared that ISIS is not a threat like the Nazis and the Japanese were before World War II. She may be right, but she is really just hoping they wait two more years to attack us; then a different president will get blamed.

Europe is more concerned about Islamic terrorists than they are about Russia taking over Ukraine. Europe needs to be reminded that Ukraine has almost 20 percent of the best farmland in the world.  And most of that land is in the eastern Ukraine where it is most vulnerable to Putin’s army. Yes, Europe depends on Putin for natural gas, but if he takes over eastern Ukraine, they will be more dependent on Putin for their food also.

The 2016 Democrat Convention is going to Philadelphia, not Columbus.  Democrats held an auction and Philadelphia bid $90 million and one Liberty Bell. Columbus could only come up with $85 million and a national championship football for every delegate.  A few months ago Cleveland agreed to finance the Republican convention. Since I’m in Columbus I’ll stay in Ohio and corral the Republicans, and turn the Democrats over to Ben Franklin. The way things look today for the Democrats, they could conduct their convention by postcard.

On the other hand Republicans have a slew of Presidential contenders to choose from. I have no idea who will win the nomination, but the way things are looking in Washington here’s the slogan he or she will use: “It’s time for a Leader; I’m a Leader for the times. Vote for ______ in 2016.”

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

            “The (Republican) Convention opened with a prayer, a very fervent prayer. If the Lord can see his way clear to bless the Republican Party, the way it’s been carrying on, the rest of us ought to get it without even asking for it.” Convention Articles, June 12, 1928

Food may be scarce in Vermont; Obama REALLY mad at a religion.

Did you see the President’s speech at the annual Prayer Breakfast?  Seeing that Jordanian pilot burned alive made him so mad he compared the “ISIL organization” to Christian crusaders of a thousand years ago in Europe, and to Southern slave holders. President Obama still refuses to utter the words “radical Islamic terrorists” but he came mighty close to blasting “radical Christian terrorists.”

Vermont voted to ban “GMO food” unless it is labeled. The person who wrote the bill also considered including “DNA”, and if they had it would have passed by 80%. Well, it passed anyway, and a judge is deciding whether the bill means no one in Vermont can eat unlabeled GMO food, or only that no one in Vermont can sell it. That’s a big difference; in the first case you’d have to drive to New Hampshire 3 times a day to eat, and in the other, only once a week or so to buy groceries.

Personally, I think the Vermont judge should use tobacco as his legal precedent; any Genetically Modified food that has been shown to have caused serious disease such as lung cancer or liver disease or gall stones should be labeled, “This product is harmful to your health!” Otherwise, no label required. You might be interested to know, especially if you live in Vermont, that billions of meals have been eaten with food containing GMOs (and DNA) and not a single person got sick or died as a result, unless maybe they ate way too much food.

You may think because of my life in agriculture that I am being unfair to consumers who want food produced the way it was 50 years ago. As a farm boy, I ate mostly organic food. It was good, nothing wrong with it. But today I prefer watermelons and oranges with no seeds and corn-on-the-cob with no worms.  If our food was grown the same today as back then, it would cost twice as much.  What would that do to your family budget? Ironically, many of the same people who demand old fashioned food would hate to have a TV from 50 years ago (21-inch, Black & White, $500) or a telephone that required an Operator.

Brian Williams of NBC News got in hot water when he embellished personal stories from Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.  He is a newsman making $10 million a year who sees himself as a part time humorist and story teller.  His problem is that humorists can embellish stories to add laughs; a newscaster cannot. And as Will Rogers said, “I have always noticed that people will never laugh at anything that is not based on truth.”

Embellishment to add laughs makes you a humorist. Embellishment to add drama makes you a politician.

Men, remember Valentine’s Day is this Saturday. That’s the day after Friday the Thirteenth, so buy her a nice present or you’re liable to have two days of bad luck.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“Vermont has got (hills). Black ones, Green ones, White ones, any kind, color, shape or size hill that you want…  A Vermont farm don’t lay. It hangs. When your corn grows up big enough to gather you go up on the farm and shake the ears off and they fall in the barn.” WA #235, June 12, 1927

Banned words: Islamic Terrorist

Is the economy improving or not? The last few months our prospects looked brighter. But now, not so sure.

President Obama is certainly optimistic, taking credit for recovery, adding jobs and lowering oil prices. But all the added jobs in the private sector are in Texas. And all additional oil drilling has been on private and state land; none on federal land that he controls. The economy is growing at a 3% rate but that is only adequate because the rest of the world is doing worse. Actually, as Steve Forbes said, “in the sixth year of a recovery, never before in history has there been such a punk recovery from a sharp economic downturn.”

Congress passed a bill to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. But the President says he will veto it. He is also determined to shut down the Alaska pipeline by permanently prohibiting drilling on federal lands in northern Alaska. If Saudi Arabia had not declared a price war on other oil producing countries (by keeping production high) we would be paying $4 a gallon for gasoline and even Democrats would vote to override the veto.

President Obama has prohibited anyone in his administration from using the term Islamic terrorist. He and his spokesmen are committing verbal contortions to avoid using the term to describe the Taliban, Al-Qaida, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihadists, and a few others with similar names.  He has even persuaded the Al Jazeera network to ban the term. So, what should they call a bunch of masked men with automatic rifles who shoot victims, cut off heads, while praising Allah? Are they deer hunters with bad eyesight? To call them “armed insurgents” or “militants” sounds too peaceful and tranquil for murdering thugs.

The ISIS terrorists have beheaded Americans, British, Japanese and a few others. They are threatening to behead a Jordanian pilot, but Jordan has offered to trade a female Islamic terrorist they captured in return for the pilot. Are they kidding? ISIS and these other Islamic terror groups put no value on a woman, zero. Even a woman willing to strap bombs under her Muslim dress and blow up an Army post gets no respect from Islamic terrorists.

Meanwhile 90 miles south of our Florida coast, the Castros are making fools of our negotiators. They insist that in return for our offer to help Cuba enter the 21st century, we must give them Gitmo, pay a hundred billion dollars in cash, and hold the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Havana.  President Obama would love to let them have Gitmo, but he is pondering the other two.

Mitt Romney decided he did not want to be another William Jennings Bryan. So he turned the Republican horse race over to younger candidates. If we can convince the other Republicans to drop out at a rate of one a month, the race will be down to a manageable number by the time they land in Cleveland for their convention in July 2016.

The New England Patriots squeezed out a Super Bowl win, 28-24, over Seattle. This is not the first time a team won by stopping an opponent on the one-yard line. First time it was ever with an interception.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

         “Can you imagine? This town of Cleveland wants the Republican and Democratic conventions both in 1928. The Republican Convention will be held further west… And as for the Democratic one, a sanity test will follow any town purposely asking for it.” DT #228, Apr. 15, 1927