Armistice Plus a Century

Trump Maladministration

I’ve run this photograph before, but you might not remember it. The fellow still in uniform is my grandpa, Corporal Robert John Thomas, just back from the Great War in the summer of 1919. On this day one hundred years ago he was literally in the trenches on the Western Front. That’s my dad, born in October 1918, on his lap, and Grandma Dora, of course. See also The Day the Guns Fell Silent and The War That Never Ended.

Trump continues to be slammed for skipping the observance at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery yesterday.  But he did it again today — the other world leaders walked up the Champs-Elysees together to a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. Trump and Putin skipped the walk and arrived separately for the ceremony.

Trump has been sullen and grumpy and difficult this whole trip, news reports say, with the exception of the time he spends with Putin. This photo was taken today:

French President Emmanuel Macron has been going out of his way to let Trump know he’s not putting up with his shit.

With U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting just a few feet away listening to the speech via translation earpieces, Macron denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment to disadvantage others.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron said in a 20-minute address delivered from under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

“By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values.”

See also Trump’s Bromance With Macron Fizzles Spectacularly.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 11, 2018 @3:24 pm

    Moral values?

    The Republicans?

    Bah!  HUMBUG!!!

    There's not even a wiff of moral values left in those circles!  Just a bullseye on the people who aren't rural, male, straight, and most importantly:  WHITE!!!

    They traded any moral values for post Voting and Civil Rights Acts political wins via their Southern Strategy in the parts of the country run by the formerly bigoted white Democrats.

    And they gleefully, but carefully, disguised their bigotry and lies by sloganeering, with bullshit labels from: 

    The Silent Majority, to

    The Moral Majority, to

    Compassionate Conservativism. 

    And now, the only label that fits the GOP, is: The Deplorable Minority.






  2. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 11, 2018 @3:25 pm

    Bye-bye, comment… 😢

  3. goatherd  •  Nov 11, 2018 @4:26 pm

    That is a wonderful family photo, thank you for sharing it.

    I've been in a pretty somber mood this Veterans' Day.  Several months back, my pathetic attempts at learning French led me to a youtube channel (Nota Bene) that is primarily about history, and most of that French history.   The videos recounting the battles and the occupation of French towns are compelling and heartrending.   Added to some other bits of family history, they conspire to bring Armistice Day back front and center in my mind, along side of Veterans' Day.

    When I think of a Trump vs Macron battle, I think of the coquerel that Napoleonic troops sported on their helmets and buttons.  If any one you have ever seen two roosters in a serious fight, you'll understand the power of that symbol.

    One of the heartrending bits:

    In the trenches, the poilus had a darkly comic nickname for the enemy machine guns.  It translates as the "lawnmower."

    My money's on Macron.

  4. Swami  •  Nov 12, 2018 @2:23 am

    Happy Veteran's Day to all you vets.

    I've been around long enough to remember meeting a few WWI vets. One particular memory that stands out as being a source of joy is remembering being a kid and going to my aunt and uncle's house back in the mid 50's. My uncle had a step father who lived with him, his step father was a WWI vet who lost a leg somewhere over there. As kids we only knew him as being called Bic. I didn't know what relationship he had to any members of the family, but I knew him as being a permanent fixture at all gathering. He was always sitting in the kitchen in the same chair with a bottle whiskey by his side.

    He was a well weathered individual with a very pleasant disposition, and he ended all his evening by having to be carried upstairs to bed by whoever could be found to handle the task.

    He was the first person I had ever met who had a strawberry nose. A nose that could rival that of J.P. Morgan. But what made him fun was his prosthetic leg. It was made of plastic or some composition that resembled plastic. It was a hollow leg that was approximately flesh in color with a series of 1 inch  holes cast into the sides of the leg. I assume it was to reduce the weight of the leg, but they could have been cast in for ventilation. Who knows?

     But what made him memorable was that he would allow us children to put money through the holes in his leg. Sometimes he would tell us that we could only put quarters in his leg. That was the equivalent to the cost of a pack of cigarettes back then so our parents were a little reluctant to give us that kind of money. It was such a thrill as a kid putting loose change in Bic's leg.

    I only came to find out Bic's relationship to the family by the online find a grave site. A link from my uncle's grave site at a National Cemetery lead me to to Bic's grave at the same National Cemetery.I found out he was called Bic because his last name was Bickford.

    I thank him for his service and his sacrifice for our country, and the fond childhood memories he gave to me.

  5. Bernie  •  Nov 12, 2018 @10:30 am

    The war to end all wars can now be officially judged a failure.  A hundred years later and no sign of positive results.  I find most of the under 25 crowd know almost nothing about it.  Thanks to goatherd, I learned that poilus is French for infantry soldier with the slant of what we would call a grunt or cannon fodder.  Macron, I see, had to give a lesson on the term nationalist.  

  6. uncledad  •  Nov 12, 2018 @12:37 pm

    Veteran's day? I guess it is good to observe people for their service but most of the time it sounds hollow to me, like thoughts and prayers? I've soured on the whole "support the troops" b#llshit ever since GW used it to push his phony war in Iraq. The right has learned a lesson from Vietnam, put the troops out front in fight for taxpayer support, use them for leverage. When people find out I'm a vet and say thank you I always say: your welcome but it's not necessary, I got a pay check every month, I didn't do it for free! Maha it is interesting that both your Grandad, Father and brother all served in wartime, my family is just the opposite, My grandad was in between WW1 and WWII my father served after the end of the Korean War in Alaska and me and my brother both served after Vietnam, none of us ever left the states, just lucky I guess?

  7. grannyeagle  •  Nov 12, 2018 @1:30 pm

    Uncledad:  I agree with you that people saying "Thank you for your service"  sounds empty.  Don't know how that got started.  To be clear, I feel anyone who has to actually go to war, face killing or being killed deserves to be treated well when they return home.  I am surprised that they don't all have PTSD.  I had a discussion with a sociologist at our local college and she said that humans are not naturally programmed to kill others, that they have to be "brainwashed" into believing that the enemy is not really "human".  Perhaps she is right but in any case I know humans are the only species on earth that go to  war.  Most species will kill in defense if necessary or in the case of predators in order to survive but not for the reasons humans do.  If we are supposed to be the highest order of life on this planet, I have  to suspect something is wrong.  My daughter has said that God made a mistake.  Maybe she's right.

    I have been lucky in that the men closest to  me have never had to go to war and fight.  I did have an uncle who served in WWII.  He was a tail gunner and someone told me that was one of the most dangerous positions.  He did survive, did not seem to have any signs of PTSD but then maybe he never had to actually kill someone directly.  I also had a talk with a native medicine man who had the opinion that if men went to war, it should be hand to hand combat as it is much harder to look a man in the eyes and then kill them.  Easy to drop a bomb or throw a grenade.  Well, I guess mankind has a lot of evolving to do.  Or maybe we will just blow up the planet and destroy everything.  What will God do then?

  8. Billikin  •  Nov 12, 2018 @1:56 pm

    Chimpanzees also make war. So do ants. FWIW.

  9. Swami  •  Nov 12, 2018 @2:42 pm

    uncledad…Thank you for your service!   laugh

    For some of us it's more than a meaningless statement. It's a heartfelt acknowledgement of a sacrifice to whatever degree that you've given to our country. It doesn't make us special or more worthy than any other American, but it implies a strong love and commitment to our country and the things that make it great.

    The only thing that would detract from that earned respect and honor would be to don a MAGA hat at a Trump rally. That's always been a mystery to me,, How can any veteran can support a cowardly draft dodging bag of shit who never understood the value of service or sacrifice. And to show a dedication to something bigger than themselves.

  10. uncledad  •  Nov 12, 2018 @2:51 pm

    Swami: " For some of us it's more than a meaningless statement"

    I don't think it is meaningless either, just misused in many instances, call me jaded but when I see the service of others exploited in NFL sideline uniforms, mattress sales, meaningless pronouncements by entitled politicians that never served or phony cable news bobble-heads it just sort of rubs me the wrong way. Nevertheless, Thank you for your Service!

  11. uncledad  •  Nov 12, 2018 @2:55 pm

    Apparently the rain has kept the president from two ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers, poor thing!

  12. Bill  •  Nov 12, 2018 @3:53 pm

    Hitler had grease, Stalin had a cap. It's quite sad that Trumps handlers didn't think through the bad hair day, wind nor rain nor gloom of wind…

  13. Swami  •  Nov 12, 2018 @4:24 pm

    That photo of Trump with a rain bonnet is not for real, is it? He should protect our national interests with the same fervor that he protects his coif.

    His thinning strands of hair in that picture are living examples of the immortal words of Emma Lazarus … Tempest tossed huddled masses yearning to breathe free. At least he could put the chin strap under his nose to be more in keeping with the ceremonial dress look of a Pennsylvania State Trooper.

  14. goatherd  •  Nov 12, 2018 @5:15 pm

    Thanks, Bernie sometimes I feel like a "frightful prat" just after I strike the "submit" button.  "Poilu" refers to the fact that in the trenches, men often had to go for months without shaving and other daily hygienic activities.  So, "poilu" simply means "hairy." That became an outward badge of honor, so the "Poilus" are the French soldiers who served in the trenches.

    One of the poignant videos (Chemin des Dames?) began with the statement that well over a million artillery shells (obus) were fired on the French positions.  The narrator bent down and picked up a metal fragment and observed, "to this day you can't look at the ground for more than a few seconds without finding a piece of shrapnel."

    That says it all.

  15. doug  •  Nov 12, 2018 @5:17 pm

    I think people overlook the intense danger Trump was under in the rain. As illustrated in a famous movie – the title escapes me – the villain in her last scene, proclaims, "I'm melting….." when she got doused with water. It could happen to Trump.

  16. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 12, 2018 @6:06 pm

    Lots of animals kill.

    But humans are the only ones that murder.

  17. Swami  •  Nov 12, 2018 @6:22 pm

    doug  …Isn't the movie, The wizard of Oz? Where the wicked witch of the west gets her reward.

  18. doug  •  Nov 12, 2018 @6:49 pm

    Ah, yes, Swami. I knew it would come to me. 🙂  Am I the only one who thinks the song from the same movie will make a big comeback in late 2020. The lyrics go, "Ding Dong The Witch is dead, the witch is dead, the witch is dead. Ding Dong the WICKED Witch is dead….." 

  19. Swami  •  Nov 12, 2018 @7:11 pm

    You better get used to it, Doug..  It's part of the aging process..Them ole synapses just don't fire like they used to. It is frustrating.

  20. Michael J Allen  •  Nov 13, 2018 @11:27 am

    If a new male lion kills a daddy lion and takes over the wife and family he will kill any kiddie lions in the house and get new ones made. I'm sure there are many other similar animal practices. Isn't that murder?

    Anyway, we are the only animals who are smart enough to create philosophies and systems of morality and be introspective etc., so we do not have to do everything that's encoded deep in our inherited ancient brain somewhere. 


  21. Ed  •  Nov 13, 2018 @12:07 pm

    Forcing strangers to pay you is immoral. All "governments" do it. There are no moral "governments". 

  22. maha  •  Nov 13, 2018 @1:31 pm

    Ed — you are welcome to go find yourself some place to live with no government and fend for yourself. Nobody is stopping you.

  23. Ann  •  Nov 13, 2018 @3:48 pm

    My grandpa fought in the trenches for 4 years. A horseman, he was a part of the artillery (guns were drawn by horses). With no food, they ate the horses and to his dying day, he refused to eat macaroni with tomato sauce. Otherwise, he did not discuss the war, as he said it was horrible.

  24. doug  •  Nov 13, 2018 @9:13 pm

    Yes, Ed. Somalia is a wonderful place if you want to take up piracy. There are no laws so if you don't bring your own militia, they will rob you of everything you have. But there's no government, so that makes up for a few defects. Send me a postcard.

  25. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 13, 2018 @9:55 pm


    No postal service there, so no postcards.

    Mail is a government function

  26. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 14, 2018 @8:45 am


    Don't hold your breath.

    No government.

    No postal service.

    No postcard.