Category Archives: Author

Coming Up This Week


Because of several things that have come up in the news and in the theaters, I’ll be pushing back my remaining blogs on our Montreal-to-Boston cruise aboard the MS Maasdam.  In an attempt at timeliness, I’ll be presenting my take on the Chicago En Route (ARTCC) Center fiasco and why those pushing for both consolidation and privatization of ATC are yet again being proven as off their collective rockers.  Also this week I’ll put forth one of my famous double-reviews.

This time I’ll be comparing The Equalizer:

Robert McCall versus . . .

to The Equalizer:

. . . Robert McCall

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Filed under Author, Movies, R. Doug Wicker, Technology/New Stuff, Television

Memorial Day Missive — The All-Volunteer Concept is a Complete and Utter Failure


American Cemetery in Normandy, France

Once again National Barbeque and Outdoor Grill Day is upon us . . . or so it seems from the lack of solemnity that greets this supposedly somber day.

In the waning days of the Vietnam War this country ended military conscription — “The Draft” — and with the draft’s demise so, too, ended any concept of shared sacrifice on the home front during time of war.  In wars prior to and throughout most of Vietnam citizens were asked to send their fathers and sons to battle, and to support the war effort through rationing, volunteerism, and, yes, even taxes.  Upon their return our fathers and sons were propped up during their transition from the horrors of war to the mundaneness of a civilian, nine-to-five, off-on-weekends existence.  We paid for their college education, tended to their wounds both physical and mental, rehabilitated their disabilities, and returned them to society for the most part as fully functioning members.

June 6 will mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day

Back then the Veterans Administration was a thing of wondrous humanity that defined how we as a nation cared for our warriors in their time of need.  It defined us as a people, and it let those who fought our battles know that we would not abandon them once the gunfire ceased.

Not so today.  We have now as a society isolated ourselves from wars we send our fellow citizens to fight.  No longer do we send our own off to perhaps die.  Now we are content to get someone else’s child — usually from the lower income and educational strata of our society — to “volunteer” into perhaps their only shot at a better life.

Meanwhile, we allow our political leaders to sell us on avoiding any related wartime pain while at the same time allowing corporate profiteers to enrich themselves on the sacrifices of others.  There is no rationing.  No one is asked to curtail their standard of living.  Taxes are cut.  The costs of today’s wars are pushed forward to future generations.  Our leaders tell us that it’s our patriotic duty to take the family and, “. . . get down to Disney World,” rather than do the unpopular things necessary as a society that has made the collective decision to wage war.

If the Draft was Good Enough for Them then it is Good Enough for Us

Now that the post-9/11 wars are coming to a close — one of which was totally optional and complete folly; and the whole raison d’être for the other having ended over three years ago on May 2, 2011 — we are once again failing our warriors at the most basic, civilized level.  This is far from new.  We as a nation have failed in this area ever since conscription ended in this country over forty years ago.

And that won’t change until conscription returns.  Needless wars will continue to be fought and necessary wars will extend well beyond the stated mission goal is reached as long as political leaders and business executives profit without risk to their own progeny and the majority of voters are isolated from any shared sacrifice and pain.

So, to clarify the title of this Memorial Day message, let me state the following:

When I say that the all-volunteer military has been a complete and utter failure I don’t mean that our men and women in uniformed service have failed us.  Far from it.  I mean that we as a nation have failed them, and it’s well beyond time to make amends by returning the pain and sacrifice of war back to the home front.  When everyone’s child is at risk, only then will our returning warriors get the help they so desperately deserve.

German Bunker Overlooking Pointe de Hoc, Normandy

 

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Filed under Author, Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker

Special Preview Blog


Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Okay, I’m back.  Just in case you’re wondering why I’ve not been responding to “Likes” and other stuff, I’ve been away for since April 8 and just returned to El Paso only last night.  Where have I been this past month?  Three nights in Sydney, Australia, followed by a transpacific cruise to Seattle, Washington.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge

So, just in case you’re growing weary of China, here’s a preview of what to expect some time after that series concludes.  From Sydney we traveled to Noumea:

Noumea — New Caledonia

Noumea — New Caledonia

Lifou and its sparkling blue waters:

Lifou — New Caledonia

Lifou — New Caledonia

Port Vila on Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu:

Port Vila — Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Port Vila — Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Espiritu Santo with it’s crystal clear fresh water pools:

Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

The uninhabited Mystery Island of Vanuatu:

Mystery Island — Vanuatu

Mystery Island — Vanuatu

Viti Levu, Fiji, with its cascading waterfalls and intense sunsets:

Viti Levu Waterfall — Fiji

Viti Levu Waterfall — Fiji

Viti Levu Sunset — Fiji

Viti Levu Sunset — Fiji

The beaches of Dravuni, Fiji:

Dravuni — Fiji

Dravuni — Fiji

Pago Pago and the Westernmost U.S. National Park:

The Westernmost U.S. National Forest in American Somao

The Westernmost U.S. National Forest in American Somoa

Honolulu on the island of Oahu in Hawaii:

Honolulu at Night

Honolulu at Night

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific — Waimea Canyon on the Hawaiian island of Kauai:

Waimea Canyon — Kauai

Waimea Canyon — Kauai

The frontier-style streets of Lahaina on Maui:

Lahaina — Maui

Lahaina — Maui

And finally the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with images of Marymere Falls and a blizzard on Hurricane Ridge:

Marymere Falls — Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Marymere Falls — Olympic Peninsula, Washington

On the Way to Hurricane Ridge — Olympic Peninsula, Washington

On the Way to Hurricane Ridge — Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Yes, we really did end this trip in the midst of a raging blizzard.

Look for more images from this adventure in my next travel blog series sometime after the completion of China.

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Filed under Author, Photography, travel