- Busy day. Not much writing done. Did get to go for a walk. Enjoyed the sunset.
Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day putting into practice one of the skills I learned when I was in the Marine Corps. I do not recall if I picked it up during the twelve weeks I spent at Quantico, Virginia, in the Platoon Leader Class (PLC) prior to getting commissioned; or at Basic School after I was commissioned where I spent 6 months again in Quantico learning the necessary skills to become an effective Marine officer.
Basic School was not as difficult as PLC back in those days. The Marines used the 12 weeks of PLC during the hot Virginia summers to weed out those it did not think would become decent officers. We were called candidates and given enough rope to hang ourselves. In the latter six weeks I believe we started with over forty candidates in my platoon and a little over twenty completed the course.
The lieutenant in charge of training us for those weeks was named Joe Waters. He was mean. unsmiling and demanding. At the end we had a little farewell party. At the time a popular song was Waterloo by by John D. and Marijohn Wilkin. We wrote our own words to the tune and asked: “when will you meet your Waters Joe” indicating it was something to dread.
Other things have called on my attention lately setting me back a bit in my endeavors. One thing was when Rocky a guy I knew from a long time ago got in touch with me the other day. We ended up chatting for a good couple of hours.
He asked me if I heard of Kindle Vella. I told him I believe that I had – it was going to publish novellas or other short forms of fiction in a serial manner. It was like we were going backwards to the days of Old England when authors like Charles Dickens would publish a segment of their books in newspapers in serial fashion once a week. He said he had published on it. His book is called “Changing Faces.”
I was surprised not knowing he had any interest in writing. I was also surprised that his name was Rock Hill. We called him Rocky but I never knew his real first name just like other kids I only knew by the nicknames. Also, that he was related to the Hills who lived nearby. The children in that family were all high academic achievers. One Charles Hill went to one of the Ivy schools. Rocky said they were first cousins.
In the United States it is not uncommon to execute people who commit murder. There are 27 states as well as the federal government and the U.S. military. that authorize the death penalty, As expected Florida and Oklahoma are among those states.
In Oklahoma the majority of person’s executed murdered only one person. For instance in 2012 Gary Thomas Allen was executed for murdering his girlfriend in 1986 because she was planning to leave him. Didn’t Steven Flemmi murder his beautiful young girlfriend for the same reason?
In Florida over half of the executions relate to the murder of one person. Eric Scott Branch murdered and raped a Florida coed Susan Morris and he was executed. Eddie Wayne Davis used his fingers to rape the 11-year-old daughter of a woman he had briefly dated and then smothered her in 1994. He was executed in 2014. Didn’t Steve Flemmi start having sexual relations with his step-daughter when she was around that age which he carried on for years and after she complained to her mother he murdered her.
The two persons who had been speaking in Latin stopped and turned. They looked around to see where the voice was coming from. Walking up the center aisle was a person dressed all in white. As he got closer they recognized him. It was Pope Francis.
He spoke: “I was passing through your little town and saw this old church with folk entering. I decided to drop in to say a prayer. As I was doing this I watched as you came out with the chalice and walked to the altar. I was struck at first to see you turn your back to the people attending Mass. “Why did he do that?” I wondered. Then you began to to speak. I realized you were planning to conduct the Tridentine Mass. Don’t you realize you are forbidden to do that without your bishop’s permission which also must be approved by the Vatican. Do you have that?
Student loans, the bugaboo of the progressives is back again in the news. The other day I read an article telling how President Biden is mulling the idea of capping loan payments at 5% of income instead of the present 10%. It went through the ins and outs of the benefits of Biden’s plan and concluded it helped the well-off more than the poor. The article made me think of the larger issue, the loans themselves.
The idea of total loan forgiveness put out by some on the far left is a nonstarter. The great difficulty aside from the government incurring the cost of these loans is that those who have yet to take out loans will be under no obligation to pay them back. How can you say we are going to pay for the loans of those taken out prior to 2021 and not those now and into the future? If the government is to take on those payments you can bet everyone will take full advantage of this largesse.
On a trip to New York City by plane at LaGuardia Airport I grabbed a cab to take me to my hotel in Manhattan. I entered into a conversation with the taxi driver who was from Haiti. I forget most of the details now. His anwer concerning how he arrived in the United States had him telling of a perilous trip involving much danger. It brought him to Canada and then the United States.
I do recall saying to him that he must be a brave man having gone through that ordeal. He smiled. Then he said to me, “it is not people like me that are brave it is the people who have remained behind.” That pretty much said all I had to know about that country.
Haiti has been in and out of the American news since it drove out the French soldiers and declared itself independent in 1804. The Southern slave owners never let it leave the backs of their minds thinking that if it happened there it may happen here. We loaned it large sums in 1910 which it could never pay back. A group of American businessmen invested heavily there. In 1914 they began a campaign to convince the US government it was necessary to invade Haiti and seize its assets to protect their loans. That we did transferring Haiti’s gold to a Wall Street bank.
It was not until I reread Ralph Ranalli’s book Deadly Alliance that I recalled the following statement by the federal prosecutors. The statement was made in its appeal of Judge Mark Wolf’s 661 page decision handed down in 1989 concerning the FBI’s relationship with two of its informants, James “Whitey” Bulger and Steven Flemmi. During the hearing Flemmi took the stand. As I have documented in other areas he told one lie after another so that if one were honest with oneself there was no way to tell wherein the truth lied. But somehow judges seem to believe they are able to figure that out.
I know of only one case during my career when a judge being faced with such a situation did the right thing. I forget the exact issue but it was a civil case involving an alleged contract between John Doe and Mike Moe. Doe testified on direct about the conversations that led up to the contract; on cross-examination he backtracked when shown prior statements that differed from his present testimony, he hemmed and hawed over other things, and he was making a terrible presentation where to decide what was true would amount to guesswork, which is common whenever a criminal testifies.