Friday, August 31, 2018

Money, Franco and Trump

April 26, 1937, a church bell in Guernica tolled an air-raid warning - a single German plane dropped a load of bombs, and flew away.

When it became apparent that Guernica had no anti-aircraft defense, the raid began with 23 bombers and several dozen other aircraft flying from nearby Nationalist fields, leaving some 200 dead and the town a charred ruin.

Guernice was Basque, and the Basques were a part of the Republic which treated the Basques with fairness, allowing them considerable freedom, and allowing the Catholic Church there to preach in Basque.

Later, when Franco and the Nationalists conquered Basque territory, under threat of death, no more Basque language sermons, and priests who disobeyed were summarily shot.

But the larger question concerning me right now, as I read and write, is this: from whence came the fuel for those planes?

As it turns out, from Texaco, and in spite of American neutrality laws, Texaco, and ultimately other American oil companies "sold" oil to Franco, along with Firestone tires and trucks from Detroit.

The head of Texaco, a creep and bully by the name of Torkild Rieber, was "banker" for Franco, extending essentially unlimited credit, and providing a huge lobbying effort to insure US neutrality (which Rieber and his gang routinely and easily subverted.

Of course, here in the States, the Roman Catholic Church sided with the Nationalists, in spite of the brutality of the Nationalists against the Basques.

The Republic wasn't without "sin," frequently killing priests and burning churches, as well as confiscating the property of the rich and redistributing the land, something feared above all else by the aristocracies of the world, including those of the United States.

The Church, and the rich, quickly realized that if they wanted to protect their landed and powerful privileges, they needed to side with Franco with his monarchial and clerical sympathies

And so the war raged on until Franco, a friend of Hitler and Mussolini, was victorious. His German and Italian planes and his American trucks fueled with Texas oil.

Once again, so very sad to note that great wealth in the United States was sympathetic to, if not outrightly supportive of, these dictators.

Today, many of our wealthy families, and the corporate owners of American business, support Trump. Given our history, and given the sickness and fear pervading the soul of the wealthy, along with their religious counterparts in the evangelical churches, it's not surprising, in the least. They gravitate toward those politicians who can front for them, and manipulate the government in their favor, protecting their interests against any and all forms of justice.

Rieber bankrolled Franco, and the rich here in the States continue to bankroll dictators around the world and the one currently in our White House.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tribute to Senator John McCain

When someone like John McCain takes leave of us, it gives us all a chance to consider what makes a human being worthy of our regard.

I suppose, in some sense, everyone deserves recognition for just making it through another day, and coming out on the other side most intact.

Some seem to take a darker route, like Whitey Bulger, or the like. I recall doing a funeral many years ago for a small-town, small-time, crook. Everyone said, in their own, "Glad the SOB is gone." And then chuckled looking me, "What are ya' gonna say Pastor?"

But McCain is of the highest order.

As many of my friends have said, "I didn't always agree with his politics," but never once questioned his integrity or his desire for the welfare of this nation.

He stood in the breech at some critical points; I will never forget the moment in a rally when a women claimed that Obama was a Muslim and so on. And McCain cut her off; he had no allowance for such idiocy, and spoke kindly and eloquently of his opponent's good character.

McCain knew how to cross the aisle ... the divide between red and blue was not that great for him. There were no ditches dug that couldn't be crossed; no walls so high they couldn't be climbed, or usually, a door found that the wall builders knowingly and wisely included.

His job is done, but not finished.

In the end, he declined further medical heroics and claimed his fate, as all of us must.

RIP John McCain ... your record speaks for itself ... you were a man tested by life, and you came out on the other side intact, with high commitment and clear, level-headed, patriotism.

You served your nation well!