Is there a problem with selecting leaders in their 80’s?
Being a senior citizen myself, I would say – if you have somebody younger to pick, all things being equal – go for a little younger. Having said that, I think that in a fair election, Pres. Trump would win again if he runs a smart campaign.
The skull of Edward Mordrake, the man born with a second face on the back of his head, c. 1890
Although it could not speak full words, the second face was able to laugh, cry, and make strange noises without Edward’s control. He reportedly begged doctors to have his “Demon Face” removed, claiming that it whispered to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. He committed suicide at the age of 23. Today he would be a US Senator from Pennsylvania and would just wear a hoodie.
* Do you worship the World Economic Forum? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is warning the World Economic Forum that its globalist policies, which seek to undermine the sovereignty of nations and their states, are not welcome in the Sunshine State.
* When diesel runs out, so does food.
* The Cube – Ice Cube has confirmed that he turned down a $9 million paycheck to work on a movie because he didn’t want to get the COVID vaccine – from Breitbart News https://ift.tt/eusr7SY
* Mask up, slaves. A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services says that policymakers should “encourage or mandate policies and protocols regarding masking and social distancing in public spaces.” How woke are you really?
* Some of us are so old that we can remember going a whole day without taking a picture of anything.
* Pedo Joe’s Income: Life is good – 10% for the big guy!
Is there a fish in this picture?
Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, and the king of Scythia at the fall of Nineveh, 612 BCE by Angus McBride
The Scythians made their first major appearance in the fertile crescent during the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. It is during this time that the nomadic horse archers engage the region’s strongest power up to that date, the Neo Assyrian Empire under Esarhaddon. Presumably, after the Scythians engaged and defeated the Assyrians in a skirmish, Esarhaddon agreed to marry his daughter to the Scythian Chieftain Partatua (whose name meant “with far-reaching strength.”) Bartatua was the successor of the previous Scythian king, Išpakaia, and might have been his son. After Išpakaia had attacked the Neo-Assyrian Empire and died in battle against the Assyrian king Esarhaddon around 676 BCE, Bartatua succeeded him. After this event, the Scythians continued to engage in continuous raids throughout the Near East, from Palestine to Egypt. Eventually, the Scythians took part in the biblical event that was the end of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, contributing to the sack of Nineveh.
Both in terms of culture and military, the Scythians would have been a shock to the major powers of the time, the Babylonians and Assyrians. Being a series of tribal confederations rather than a concrete nation with cities, any form of retaliation against the Scythians would be nearly impossible (as Cyrus the Great would later find out). The Scythians, being nomads, would attack swiftly with their infamous horse archers, using well-crafted composite bows. The Scythians would then finish the job with heavy cavalry covered in metal scales, which would no doubt be a shock to the Semitic peoples of the Middle East, used to encountering heavy infantry, archers and chariots of Assyria and Egypt.
The presence of women within Scythian society would have been even more of a shock to the states of the Middle East. The Scythians, and particularly their relatives, Sarmatians were famous for their fierce warrior women. In Scythian armies, women were expected to fight alongside their men on horseback. This gave rise to the mythological “Amazons” who indeed had a basis in historical reality. Archaeology confirms this, as many Scythian women are buried with weapons.
The Scythians also took part in the greater economic and cultural exchange of the Middle East. Besides trading their prestigious bows, Scythian art appears to be found in Middle Eastern cities such as Urartu, and Middle Eastern bowls and jewelry appeared in Scythian graves as well. It is even theorized that after seeing Middle Eastern art, the Scythians blended it with their own art style, resulting in the Scythian “animal style” of art, for which the Scythians are famous. The Middle Eastern art adopted by the Scythians would then be spread all over the Middle East and Europe as well. Imagery depicting animals and the hunting of various beasts is thought to have been a product of this cultural exchange, adding to the brilliant craftsmanship of the Scythians.
A New Book
MikeW is getting ready to publish his memoirs. I will work as his editor and will enlist Jules as well, but it’s not my story, it’s my buddy, Mike’s. The first of some of the stories that will be in the memoir were published here a year ago. Time flies. There will be notices here when the complete work is published.
MikeW and I go back a long way. We have many of the same friends, some in the sand. Some are still alive. I think that his memoir is important to all of them (too).
A CAPER IN SAIGON
© MGW 2021 – All Rights Reserved
Saigon, whilst the capital of a nation facing a full-scale Communist insurgency in the countryside, was relatively peaceful. Notwithstanding there have been a number of bombings and shootings. In contrast to some other Asian cities, although there was a lot of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, it was much quieter, with its shaded, tree-lined streets, avenues, and boulevards, footpath cafes (although these would later disappear, as the insurgency progressed), and tiled roofed villas. Although there were signs that this was a city at war, they were not, at this time, obtrusive. Having said this, Saigon and Cholon were home to members of at least two Viet Cong sapper battalions. They were not all together though, but spread out, in squads of six or seven, in safe houses across the two cities, mostly in the slum areas.
Our team’s mission, on this occasion, was to neutralize a squad of seven sappers who resided in a safe house, amongst the slums, on the banks of the Thi Nghe Canal, not far from the Bong Bridge. Why neutralize, rather than arrest, you might ask? For a number of reasons, firstly, the sappers were the Viet Cong elite, they were, in most instances, highly trained and motivated, and many of them were trained to resist interrogation. Secondly, there were seven of them, so any attempt at an arrest would, in all probability, involve a major gunfight. Thirdly, we had no way of knowing how many more Viet Cong might be in the immediate vicinity. I don’t recall now, from which battalion they came, most likely it was from either the 9th Sapper Battalion or the C-10 Sapper Battalion. Surveillance had established that the three houses, on both sides of the sapper’s safe house, were vacant. Whether these houses’ previous occupants had vacated their residences voluntarily or had been forced out by the sappers, I do not know. Knowing that these sapper squads usually kept large quantities of explosives in their safe houses, we decided that we would blow the place up with them in it.
The houses along the Thi Nghe Canal, in the vicinity of the Bong Bridge, could only be described as slums, and even that is being polite. These areas had always been there, along the banks of the various canals, but were starting to build up in other areas of the city as the insurgency progressed. These particular houses were built on wooden stilts, out over the water, with a balcony on the side of the house facing the canal, and the other side of the house opening onto a narrow, muddy, lane which, eventually, gave access to more established roadways. On the opposite side of the narrow, muddy, lane, to the target premises, was a thick, solid, concrete, and stone wall, part of the surrounds of what was, reportedly, an old French factory built in the late 1800s. Given the date of its alleged construction, and the solidity of its building, it was, possibly, built originally as a fortification of some kind.
The wooden walls of the houses were a faded grey color, the boards heavily weathered, with the occasional piece of rusted corrugated iron sheeting replacing missing boards. The window spaces had no glass, being covered by weather-beaten flaps of canvas. The roofs were thatched with dusty palm fronds. Even in the condition, they were in, the occupants of these houses were better off than the even poorer people, who lived in ramshackle shanties made from cardboard and flattened oil or beer cans, or who lived in the large, concrete, drainage pipes, stacked up along some of the streets in the city, in preparation for an upgrade to the sewer system.
As with all the canals in, and around, Saigon the Thi Nghe Canal was tidal. The water, which was filthy and putrid smelling, rose and fell; at the high water, mark being high enough to be just under the floorboards of the houses and, at other times, low enough that vast expanses of black, foul smelling, viscous mud were exposed. This mud was thick and of an indeterminate depth. There were frequently dead dogs, cats, and other wildlife, in evidence, including the occasional human body, including both adults and children. Strangely, despite living in such close proximity to water, very few of the people could swim. Given the putrid nature of the water, swimming in it would probably have been a health hazard anyway.
For the operation, we had acquired three small sampans, each about twelve feet in length. Two of the sampans, laden with Semtex plastique explosives, we intended to lodge under the target house, before detonating them. Where the Semtex came from, as it was manufactured in Czechoslovakia, then in the Soviet Bloc, I do not know. What I do know is that the unit had quite a supply of it. The third sampan we intended to use as our getaway craft. During the afternoon, preceding the night in question, we prepositioned the three sampans alongside a derelict wharf, about five hundred meters up from the Bong Bridge. It was to this wharf that we brought, using a two-and-one-half-ton truck, what the Americans called a deuce and a half, the blocks of Semtex plastique which we intended to use.
As well as our six team members we had six of the Nung security detail from headquarters, including their commander, Mister Quang, with us. Mister Quang, who was born in China, was also a Nung, one of that hereditary tribe of Chinese mercenaries famed, in those days, throughout Asia for their military prowess. A graduate of the Whampoa Military Academy, in what was then the City of Canton, he had fought in the Nationalist Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Army, before the Communist takeover in 1949, when he crossed into the then French Indochina. He had then fought for the French, prior to their withdrawal, and now fought for the Americans and the Republic of South Vietnam.
After the explosives had been off-loaded from the truck two of the Nungs departed with it, to secure our intended rendezvous point, located on the canal bank, about a kilometer downstream from the Bong Bridge. They would be joined there, by Mister Quang and the other Nungs, with our other two vehicles, after we left the wharf on our mission.
Suong was in charge of the explosives. She, along with her working partner Minh, appeared to have an affinity for them. In fact, having watched her working with them, during our training program, I would say she was brilliant. She carefully supervised the rest of us packing the blocks of orange brick-colored explosives into the sampans. The way she had it organized was that, after we had the sampans in place, under the house, she could chain the two vessels’ explosive charges together and, using pencil detonators, with a fifteen-minute delay, give us time to get well clear. As these sappers were considered what is now called a high-value target, she intended to double up on the number of detonators she used, to ensure the explosives exploded properly.
About fifteen minutes before the beginning of the curfew, which started at midnight, and by which time all Americans, both military and civilian, and all Vietnamese civilians, were required to be off the streets, we received a final update from our surveillance team. All seven sappers were in residence, plus four Vietnamese females who, they said, appeared to be Viet Cong rather than local hookers, judging by their mannerisms and dowdy manner of dress. The canal water level was also rising, which was what we had planned for, although the rise was not as fast as we had expected. We advised surveillance the mission was on and they advised that they were pulling out. As we pushed our sampans away from the wharf Mister Quang and the remaining Nungs departed for the rendezvous point.
Keeping close together, in the deep shadows, we half drifted-half paddled our vessels towards the Bong Bridge. We tried to keep the paddling to a minimum, as the paddles stirred up the water, and the putrid, rotten, smell, became almost unbreathable. As it was, the night air was very hot, very humid, and it was almost like breathing water vapor. Nga and I were in the lead, in the getaway sampan, followed by the explosive-laden sampan containing Suong and Khan, which was followed by the explosive-laden sampan containing Minh and Dung. Khan and Dung were our team’s watercraft experts. Both of Hakka descent, they had grown up on the junks, sampans, and other small watercraft, along the Cholon waterfront and on what the French had called the Chinese Arroyo. What they did not know about boats, and their handling of them was not worth knowing. How the Directing Staff, at our training course had teamed us all up, prior to our Vung Tau mission, I do not know. That all six of us had a capacity with English and French, to a greater or lesser degree, might have had something to do with it. We had Suong and Minh, who were our explosives specialists, Khan and Dung, who were our watercraft specialists, and Nga and I who, for want of a better expression, you could probably say we were the “snatch” and “despatch” specialists. We were all though when it came down to it, and when the need arose, shooters. All in all, as a team, we worked very well together.
We very carefully approached the Bong Bridge, still keeping to the deep shadows and letting the boats drift with the water flow. On occasion, there were checkpoints established on either end of the bridge, at nightfall, but, on this particular night, there were none. Usually, the checkpoints were manned by White Mice (Vietnamese Police), who were very trigger-happy and shot at anything that moved, including shadows, and, sometimes, by low-level Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) units some of whom, like the White Mice, were very trigger happy and shot at anything and everything, and some of whom shot at nothing, and slept the night away. Very occasionally, a highly competent ARVN unit was brought in, established the checkpoints, and very thoroughly checked everything and everybody. If it was an Airborne or Ranger unit, nothing got past them, and, if you were up to no good on the night or nights, they were there you, if you had a modicum of common sense, gave them a wide berth.
Having successfully negotiated our way along the canal, and under the Bong Bridge, we arrived at the target house. All was in darkness and the night was quiet, save for the usual nocturnal sounds of a city asleep. Nga and I secured our sampan to one of the stilts and covered the premises with our suppressed weapons, mine a Sterling submachine gun, and hers, a Swedish K. The other team members had Swedish Ks too, but I did not like them as the magazine protruded from the bottom whereas, on the Sterling, it protruded from the side. Although all submachine guns are not easy to fire from the prone position, the downward placement of the Swedish K’s magazine made this extremely difficult. Although both weapons fired from the open bolt position, leaving them open to ingesting debris, in my opinion, and experience the Sterling was better designed to cope with this problem. Others, I know, including a very very good American friend of mine, a former United States Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander, would choose to disagree. (editorial comment: yes, that’s true)
Khan and Dung expertly slid their respective sampans between the stilts, and under the house with barely a sound, other than the slapping and murmuring of the water, and secured them to stilts by lengths of rope. Nga and I eased our sampan under the house, allowing Khan and Dung to board. After they did so, we held the sampan there whilst Suong and Minh completed their work. Whilst this was happening the water level in the canal was slowly rising. Very shortly thereafter, Suong and Minh also boarded our getaway sampan. Suong indicated we had some fifteen minutes, or thereabouts, to get ourselves clear. Very slowly Nga and I brought our sampan out from under the house and, still keeping close to the canal bank, and in the deep shadows, made our way down the canal toward the rendezvous point.
As we approached the rendezvous point we heard, behind us, the sound of an explosion, almost immediately followed by a very much larger explosion that lit up the night sky with an orange glow. When we turned to look back we could see flames leaping into the air. Signaling, with a red-lensed torch, towards the rendezvous point we received the correct answering signal from Mister Quang. Throwing caution to the winds we paddled hard, towards the steps leading up from the canal, to where a footpath ran along the canal bank. There we were met by Mister Quang and the Nungs, together with our vehicles. We then drove, with headlights blazing, through the deserted Saigon streets to our headquarters on the Saigon-Bien Hoa Highway. A number of White Mice patrols, in their Jeeps, were passed on the way but they, wisely, chose to ignore us. The Nungs were based at the headquarters and our team, because of the lateness of the hour, and the morning operational debriefing stayed there for the remainder of the night also.
The old adage says that, if you lay down with dogs, you get fleas. I guess the moral here if there is one, is that if you lay down with Viet Cong sappers, you get blown up with them.