August 8, 2019

Militarism Threatens America

By Glenn

Militarism is an essential feature of totalitarianism, both fascism and and communism. Militarism embraces violence, unconditional loyalty, unquestioning obedience and absolute uniformity. Democracy, on the other hand, thrives with dialogue, earned respect, dissent and diversity of ideas. Our democracy is under assault. We must protect our values.

Montana Man Slams 13-Year-Old to Ground, Fracturing His Skull, for Not Removing Hat During Anthem

August 5, 2019

A Trump Terrorist

By Glenn

He didn’t cross a border.

He wasn’t a Muslim.

He was radicalized by President Trump.

A Trump Terrorist

July 8, 2019

Toledo II, Spain 2019

By Glenn
Topics:
Spain
Toledo 2019

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Our apartment had a clear view of the cathedral steeple. We followed Rick Steves’ suggestion and attended a Latin mass in the cathedral first thing in the morning. About five men sat on each side of the Chapel’s choir Enchanted the first portions of the mass. This part of the cathedral is dedicated to the Catholic “cult.”

Aftermath we walked around to the side, and paid her entry fee into the main part of the funeral. It was rather plain compared to other cathedrals in France. It did have interesting blending of Gothic and baroque.

“Disrobing of Christ”

The Highlight was a small room off to the side with more than 10 El Greco’s. The main event was called the Disrobing of Christ. Christ red robe dominates scene. And Jackie pointed out that there is a highlight on a yellow Rogue figure in the bottom left-hand corner. 
















Off to the side almost unnoticed, is a Goya painting capturing the moment Christ is portrayed in the garden, “The Arrest of Christ.” The image remind me of the 4th of May with its spotlight on the victim of tyrannical violence.










Mini Toledo


In the same room is an El Greco Joseph and Jesus. It’s a typical El Greco Style. It was interesting to see the landscape of Toledo down in the right-hand corner.









We walked to a tiny mosque, later converted into a Catholic Church.  It looked like a nice quiet retreat from the sun.

Walking all the way across town, navigating the twists and turns, we arrived at the Museum Casa El Grecco. In the early twentieth century a wealthy patron purchased and renovated a house beloved to be El Grecco’s.  It is home to portraits of the Apostle’s and a view of Toledo.

Our day out ended with a tour of Santa Cruz, a converted Convent/Orphanage.   It focused on two centuries of Hapsburgs.  Once again, the highlight was an El Grecco. 

We picked up the ingredients for a simple meal.  Sausage, onions and zucchini over couscous.  I paired it with my favorite Spanish table wine, Blanc Pescador

July 5, 2019

Arrive Toledo, Spain 2019

By Glenn
Topics:
Spain
Toledo 2019

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May 29

We landed in Madrid at 9:45 am to a brisk 60 degree morning.  For first time, we rented a car at the airport for the drive to Toledo.  Even with a google map print out, I took a wrong fork on the Autovia.  We simply exited and headed back the other way.

Unfortunately, the signs in the opposite direction were not the same, and I had to make a snap decision on another fork.  I decided to head away from the airport.  All of the signs indicated roads with no cardinal directions. Feeling lost, we got off the Autovia and reoriented with google maps. To get back on the required a round about.  I did my best Chevy Chase.

Once in Toledo, we got lost again.  The apartment is a the peak of the medieval city.  We found ourselves next to the river.  I turned off the river road to go up, but quickly found a series of narrow streets that became impassable.  An old Spanish woman was hanging out of her window. All I heard her say was “a la derecha” as she pointed.  I backed down the hill and did a Y turn to get back on the river road.  

I ignored google, and drove by memory for my pre-travel investigations.  I drove the narrow streets along with the large city buses.   Reaching the summit we arrived in front of the Alfonso VI hotel.   The apartment was down a step set of steps right next door.  Elisa meet us out side and told me to park European style, meaning on a walk way that had no markings.   

After dropping the bags off, we walked to the bank and the TI in Zocodover Plaza.  We found a plaza off the main drag with a fixed menu for 12.90 E. On the way back to the apartment we wandered the streets exploring.  It was cool in the shade, but getting warmer.

At 5pm we road the No. 71 city bus to the lookout over the city.   It was a broad scene with perfectly blue, clear sky.  On the way back, we walked to the Orange store to get Jackie her SIM card.  I had forgotten the unlock my phone and had to wait.  Walking back up hill we admired the Gate and the view into the valley. 

For supper (9pm) it was a simple meal of bread with jamon and butter served with olives and beer.  By this time it was 10 and dark.  The city was perfectly quite as walked to the wall above the river.  

Pan con jamon y mantequilla

We slept until 7 am undisturbed. 

May 27, 2019

Honoring My Dad and the Fallen

By Glenn

Memorial Day always makes me think of my dad-Yves “Buster” Melancon.  He served for twenty-seven years in the United States Army and went to Vietnam twice.  As a Combat Engineer, Dad wasn’t directly engaged in the fighting, but he did travel throughout the war zone.  I always wonder how my life would have been different if Dad had never come home.

I was lucky.  Thousands of sons and daughters lost their parents to the war in Vietnam.  Once, when I was an adult, and after he had retired, I asked my dad to tell me about his experiences.  He simply said, “all I know is that a lot of good brothers died for no reason,” and then he started to cry.  I never heard the rest of the story.

Now, I’m a dad and my son-Christopher Yves-Paul Melancon joined the United States Army.  He serves as a Combat Engineer.  I wish my dad were still alive.  He would be proud. I know I am.

Millions of men and woman-like my dad and my son-have sacrificed themselves to serve and protect you and me.  Do we do enough to protect them?  Do we do enough to prevent “a lot of good brothers” from dying “for no reason”?  I was convinced President Obama understood that he had their lives in his hands.

In a commencement speech to the Naval Academy graduates, President Obama made a promise to them.  He also made a promise to my son.  President Obama said, “as long as I am your Commander in Chief, I will only send you into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy, the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support you need to get the job done.”

The President clearly articulated the lessons of Vietnam.  Now, it just seems like common sense.  Unfortunately, in 2003 too few Washington politicians-neither Democratic nor Republican-thought to apply this lesson to Iraq.  It was an unnecessary war, based on a naïve strategy.  Making the situation worse, our brave men and women lacked the proper body armor and armored vehicles to keep them safe.

We now know that the failure of the Bush Administration to do its homework produced chaos.  Lacking a well-defined strategy, Donald Rumsfeld cut corners.  He didn’t trust the military and turned to outside contractors.  They convinced him that torture and humiliation could win a war.  They were wrong. Donald Trump is doing it again, ignoring evidence, sowing discord among our allies, and praising the barbaric practice of torture.

Even with such poor leadership in Iraq, however, our armed forces persevered.  They looked for long-destroyed Weapons of Mass Destruction.  They toppled Saddam Hussein and supervised three Iraqi elections.  Thankfully, President Obama reduced our troops in Iraq and lead our troops home from Iraq.

I have no doubt our military can achieve its mission on the battlefield. The problem is after the war. As Collin Powell said, “You break it, you own it.” How much blood and treasure have politicians wasted because of Iraq? How much more chaos was added to the world? The Middle East is clearly less stable.

Almost eighteen years after the murderous attacks on America, we, the American voters, should see clearly. A destructive war without a clear exist strategy makes us weaker, not stronger. We need a strong diplomatic and humanitarian effort to work alongside of our brave servicemen and women. The world is not our enemy. Reaching out a hand of friendship is just as important as eliminating the terrorist threat.

My dad always told me that no one hates war more than the soldier.  Soldiers know that the price of glory is high.  A reckless and foolish foreign policy not only wastes trillions of dollars, but more importantly, it risks the lives of our loved ones.  I can think of no better way to honor my dad and the Fallen than to make sure his grandson doesn’t die in a purposeless and fruitless war.

***Originally written in 2009. updated 2019***

May 2, 2019

Facts from the Mueller Report

By Glenn

Donald’s inner circle are confessed and convicted criminals.

Donald’s campaign/family worked with Russian agents to influence American elections.

Donald himself praised the criminal behavior of Putin while pursuing a hotel deal in Moscow.

Donald fired James Comey to obstruct the criminal investigation.

Donald tried 10 times to obstruct justice.

Mueller did not, and can not, exonerate this deplorable pattern of lies and cheating.

April 28, 2019

All Means All

By Glenn

Let me repeat everything Jesus said about gays and lesbians.

“____________________________”

Nope. Nada. Hating gays and lesbians is not part of Christianity. Go back and read the Gospels.

Love all. Care for all. All means all.

“‘Not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized’: Franklin Graham blasts Buttigieg for being gay “

March 26, 2019

Yes Donald’s Family and Campaign Worked with Russians

By Glenn

“The truth is that we barely know anything more today than we did a week ago. It’s likely there’s a reason for that.” Kevin Drum

Last week we knew Donald’s inner circle are confessed and convicted criminals.

Last week we knew Donald’s campaign/family worked with Russian agents to influence American elections.

Last week we knew that Donald himself praise the criminal behavior of Putin while pursuing a hotel deal in Moscow.

Last week we knew Donald fired James Comey to obstruct the criminal investigation.

Yesterday, does not change what we know. Yesterday, did not, and can not, exonerate this deplorable pattern of lies and cheating.