My fellow Americans…


Many great addresses have begun with those words but few more memorable than those spoken on August 11, 1984…My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

The 40th President of the United States

100 years ago today, Mrs Reagan had a baby boy she named Ronald Wilson…who became an actor most remembered for playing with a monkey…and a President who brought an Empire to its knees…The 80s were an interesting time…little leadership had been shown anywhere in the 70s and, really, it looked like the whole planet was going down the gurgler…Iran had toppled, the Russians looked like they were heading in that direction via Afghanistan, the Domino Theory looked like it was alive and well in Southern Africa and the Soviet Bear kept leering at Western Europe…post-Vietnam America, who we most looked to for leadership and support appeared weak and disorganised, apparently bent on returning to the isolationist days of the 30s…

War was a real and present threat…the IRA was in full howl and in 1981 terrorists seized the Iranian Embassy in London; Maggie Thatcher had to sort out Argentina in 1982; in 1983, America faced terrorist in Beirut and destabilisation in Grenada, and Russia thought it was OK to shoot-down civilian airliners; in 1985, it was still OK to use your air force (Navy in this case) to force down another nation’s airliner because you wanted to have a word with a terrorist on board; we all wondered if that nutjob Ghaddafi was going to spin out and take us all with him – and in January 1986, we thought he might have done it when Challenger exploded. It’s odd but my clearest memory of that morning is not of televised debris trails over Florida but of peeling potatoes…I was on Infantry Corps Training at the time and maybe we were in the kitchen at Balmoral Camp – or maybe that was a few months later when the US Navy gave the Libyans so lessons in dissimilar air combat…

But all through those years, there was this calm force that never seemed to get angry or upset but who stayed his course…who stared the Russians down and set the scene for Saddam’s first serious trouncing, who led his nation out of the morass of the 70s (The 70s Show only shows the good stuff) and laid the path for the next two decades…I have no idea who Reagan’s domestic policies were like of how he fared as a leader internally – the he was re-elected in 1984 is probably a clue – but as a world leader, he excelled…

He gets results

I missed the media release but ‘He gets results’ was the title of the email sent to me to let me know…and indeed he does…Martyn Dunne is  straight shooter and straight talker who expects the same from those around which, I believe, some may find a tad disconcerting…I first met him when he was a colonel and I was a lowly juniuor officer running projects to develop and introduce new clothing and personal equipment for soldiers in the mid-90s – projects in which he took a personal interest. I always found him very direct and confident in his views but also willing to listen to and discuss (with some vigour!) contrary points of view but not once did I ever know of him abusing any advantage in rank…I was pleased to see him promoted to Brigadier as our senior representative in Peter Cosgrove’s INTERFET headquarters and only 18 months later, attain Major-General as the commander-designate for the new joint headquarters. Here, not only did he have to get a new headquarters up and running while commanding operations from domestic activities through East Timor and Bougaineville to Bosnia and Afghanistan, but also had to merge into a team, three previously-separate environmental commands that had a long history of not working and playing together particularly well…

Three years later, with that task a success, at a point where other generals might be eying up the golf course, he became Comptroller and Chief Executive of the Customs Service, again successfully leading and reinventing that service, for the last six years. And now, when the bach and golf course might be beckoning again, he has accepted another challenge in the diplomatic realm as High Commissioner to Australia…look out, Aussies, there’s a new marshal coming to town…

Something fishy

A couple of littlies

I got this long but interesting article from Dean @ Travels With Shiloh‘s Facebook page a week or so ago (it’s been sitting open in browser ever since as I don’t have a good system of ‘post-it-ing’ interesting links I come across). There are some comments at the end of the article but they are only worth ignoring. The reason this article struck a chord with me is that it is a great article of the sort of things that we never really think to much about until it’s all too late and, in this case, the fish are all gone…

Harking back to one of my frequent soapboxes, that of countering irregular activity, the stripping of non-renewable (well, not quickly) fishing grounds is happening now. As a destabilising activity (I like destabilising better than irregular), the rape of East African fisheries is a direct catalyst for the Somalia pirate problem that is keeping a number of navies off the streets at the moment. In our neck of the woods, we are constantly aware of various nations attempting to curry short-term favour with Pacific Island nations in return for fishing rights, or sometimes, maybe just a blind eye from time to time. Even domestically, it is illegal to list trout on a commercial menu here because it is pretty obvious that this would lead to a gutting of our trouteries in about six months…it’s fine to catch a trout the old-fashioned way and take it to a restuarant to be prepared and most of them, especially in this region, will do a bang-up job of it.

A few years back, we had a doer-upper bach in Purakanui – beautiful spot but really too far away for us to use or even do any work on some rather sadly we let it go…at low tide, most of the inlet would empty out and you could dig up cockles on the sand bar exposed…the legal limit is something like 40 per person but some weekends we could see greedy and unscrupulous restaurateurs come out from Dunedin and plough up the whole bar for cockles – they would bring out babies so as to beef up the limit they could take away i.e. 40 x the number of people in each group regardless of age…the legislation is too weak to cover this abuse…and it’s not hard to see that this one will end in tears as well…

Purakanui - you can stay overnight (via Bookabach) in the red and white cottage in the upper right - highly recommended!

Wry humour

These have also been sitting on my browser for the last few days…

Julian Assange claims success in free release of information…oh…uh-oh…it’s not meant to work like this…not when it’s about me...just goes to show how trivial ever aspect of this issue is…

and how to fail Bombmaking 101…probably way more to this story than Wired knows but these days it almost counts as a War on terror feel-good story…some of the coments are quite revealing too…

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One thought on “My fellow Americans…

  1. Pingback: Masterchef Update « The World According to Me…

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