Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Texas Handmaids Tale

 Wednesday, November 17th, 2021


My Dear America:

I used to like watching Disaster Films and Television Dramas.

Not so much anymore.  

I came home today and my wife was watching "The Day After Tomorrow," an interesting and extremely well produced Movie which is a cautionary tale about what is likely to happen if the issue of Global Warming is not addressed by The United States and the rest of the world in the coming years.  The movie was made in 2004 and we are living these days in what were the coming years for 2004

Spoiler Alert:  The movie shows that we might be in for the Snowstorm from Hell.

I did sit down and watch the last hour of the movie before beginning to write this post.  

Although I did recognize the High Production Quality of this film I realized that when I saw this movie for the first time I thought that certainly this Frozen Horror Story could never happen on earth, Never Mind in the United States Of America.  

We would never stand for our President and our Government to allow things to get so completely out of hand that we might have our nation Frozen over in the face of Climate Change.  

We were certainly too smart and too aware for that awful disastrous prospect to occur in our lifetime or in any American Lifetime.  That's what I thought the first time I saw this movie.

One of my Favorite Television Series streaming on the Hulu Platform in somewhat recent years has been "The Handmaid's Tale." I watched a couple of Seasons of this Thoughtful but Frightening Series depicting what Women might expect living in a world where many of them are relegated merely to people who have very little control over their bodies and almost no control over whether or not they can choose to have Children or not to have Children.

Spoiler Alert:  No Abortions for these Unfortunate Young Ladies.

Although I am sure that I will at some point return to watching "The Handmaid's Tale" I can't do it right now.  This show is too close to reality at the moment.  This show is too close to Gilead, the Fictional Place where The Handmaid's Tale" takes place. 

Suffice it to say that as bad as Gilead is we have found a place in The United States of America which may be even worse than Gilead when it comes to that third rail of politics that affects women.  ABORTION.

That Place where the Real Life "Handmaid's Tale" exists is called TEXAS.

In the State of Texas where Previous Governors such as George W. Bush and Rick Perry have not always been the Sharpest tools in the shed, Present day Governor Greg Abbott has proved to be the Rightest but not the Brightest Governor that Texas has seen in some time.

Before he was Elected Governor First in 2014 he had been appointed by Governor Bush to the Texas Supreme Court And following that became Texas Attorney General prior to running for Governor on the Republican ticket.

Recently Governor Abbott seems to have been in a Governor's Race to the bottom of the Barrel competition with Governor Ron De Santis of Florida to prove that Governor Abbott is by far the most outrageously Right Wing Governor of the Twenty First Century.  

So far, Governor Abbott's track record seems to show that he is winning that stiff competition with Governor De Santis to see who can out do each other in destroying Democracy and appealing to Donald Trump and his supporters.

Both Governor's have fought hard against the reasonable prospects of mandating Face Masks and Vaccinations in their states to combat the spread of Covid 19.  

Abbott has quite a few other Right Wing accomplishments under his belt such as putting Millions of his Texas residents at risk of death and bankruptcy by promoting the Texas Power Grid that was responsible for many lives lost when Texas Froze over fairly recently and the power grid shut down.  When the power grid was reactivated those Texans who were still alive found themselves paying outrageous sums to ERCOT, the Texas Power Company to keep their electric power on.

Although Governor Abbott's Outrageous Right Wing accomplishments in Texas seem to be endless and heartless, the Texas Heartbeat Law and Abbott's Assault on primarily Democratic Voting Rights in the State seem to standout as incredibly awful legislation signed into law by Greg Abbott and his primarily Republican Legislature.

The Texas Heartbeat Law sets up a situation in which any individual in or out of the state can sue anyone who assists a woman in getting an abortion in Texas and make money doing it.  It is a law that is truly diabolical in avoiding the scrutiny of the Judiciary in setting abortion standards.

Abbott has been for years blatantly setting up the voting system in Texas so that Democrats can be easily purged from the voter rolls and otherwise be prevented from voting in their state and Consequently Republicans can be elected more easily.

It seems as though with Abbott's terrible record of accomplishments, or lack thereof, that he might easily be defeated by Democrats in the state.  

Time will tell on that score.  At the present time, however, like the "Lone Ranger" coming to the Rescue in Texas, Former Sitting Congressman, Senate Candidate and Presidential Candidate, Beto O'Rourke is riding in to attempt to rescue the State of Texas from further abuse by Governor Abbott by running for Governor himself.  

Hopefully Beto O'Rourke coming to the Rescue might turn this state around but it remains to be seen how much damage Abbott has been able to do in this state not only to women but to voter rolls.

Let's hope that "Lone Ranger" O'Rourke might have the goods to rid the state of Texas of the Tragic Stranglehold of Governor Greg Abbott.  

The Women and The Democrats in Texas will certainly be grateful to O"Rourke if he can eventually rid Texas of this Human Scourge.


Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher


Monday, October 25, 2021

A Fond Farewell To Colin Powell - One of The Last Of The Reasonably Moderate Republicans

 Monday October 25th, 2021


My Dear America:

At a time when Reasonably Moderate Republicans are in incredibly short supply it was sad to realize the loss to not only the Republican Party but to America when Colin Powell passed away on October 18th of this year from complications of Covid and Cancer.

I almost had the pleasure of meeting General Powell one time when I sat across from him in a church at a wedding that we both attended.  I was hoping to talk with him after the ceremony but apparently he left quickly following the wedding not wanting to distract from the happy couple who had just gotten married. The Groom was his Godson.

Almost every American who mattered had nothing but praise for the long and distinguished career of America's favorite Four Star General.  Ex President, Donald Trump, however, could not resist the opportunity to slam Colin Powell one more time in death as he had in life.  Of course, Colin Powell never had much use for Donald Trump either. In Bob Woodward and Costa's new book, "Peril" Woodward states that Colin Powell's assessment of Donald Trump was that he was "A Fucking Idiot."

It was widely assumed that one of the many factors that led to Barack Obama's Ascension to the Presidency was the very unusual and unexpected endorsement of Democratic Candidate Obama over his Republican Opponent, John McCain.  Certainly Powell's strong endorsement in the waning days of the 2008 Election of Obama over Powell's long time personal Friend, John McCain helped considerably in establishing Obama's Presidential victory.

Although it was common knowledge that Colin Powell was a long time member of the Republican Party He, also in the runup to the 2020 Election, once again supported a Democratic Candidate.  This time it was Joe Biden over Republican Candidate, Donald Trump.

Although Donald Trump liked to bill himself with the reputation of a "Country First" Candidate and President his version of "Country First" almost always translated as "Donald Trump First."

Colin Powell, on the other hand, was a man who lived his life as a "Country First" American.

Certainly Powell made mistakes in his long Military and Civilian Career but he genuinely seemed to try to live his life in his life in an honorable manner and as a result was highly respected by his peers, his supervisors and the American people.

Colin Powell was a Soldier who rose up through the ranks in his Military career over his 35 year career.  He began his Military Career in the ROTC at the City College of New York where he graduated in 1958 as a Second Lieutenant.  Powell had grown up in the Bronx in New York City where he showed in High School and in his part time work a propensity for working hard and exhibiting leadership qualities, as well as an ability to get along with a lot of different kinds of people.

Powell had some difficult assignments in his military career including getting injured in Vietnam and in being tasked with investigating the My Lai Massacre. Although Powell had not been in country during My Lai there were accusations of his whitewashing the army's responsibility in that terribly tragic incident.

Also during his Military career while serving during the Reagan and George W. Bush Administrations there were accusations of Powell being actively involved in the Iran Contra Affair.  

Powell was also involved in the Invasion of Panama in 1989 and in Desert Storm in 1990 and 91 in which Iraq was thrown out of it's neighboring country, Kuwait. In these two military operations the "Powell Doctrine" was in operation.  The "Powell Doctrine" limited American Military Action with regard to National Security Interests, Recommended only missions with overwhelming force available and only missions with widespread public support.  

During his long and distinguished career Colin Powell rose through the ranks from Second Lieutenant to Captain and ultimately to 4 star General.  He also served from 1987 to 1989 as National Security Advisor to President Reagan.  During the George H.W. Bush Administration he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was also the First African American Secretary of State between 2001 and 2005 during the George W. Bush Administration.  

During the George W. Bush Administration Powell's appearance at the U.N. claiming that weapons of mass destruction were confirmed in Iraq leading to the Iraq War was something that Powell regretted for the rest of his days.

In today's Republican Party it is difficult to find a genuine hero who is willing to stand up to their party or to Donald Trump for their principles.  Colin Powell, with all of his faults seems to have been that kind of Reasonable and Moderate Republican who has been a Hero to all Political Parties.

Unfortunately it is looking more and more as though Hero's and Reasonable People who value telling the truth like Colin Powell are no longer welcome in the Republican Party and that is a shame for all of us.

We will all miss You General Powell

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher

 

 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saturday Nightmare Live: Return Of The Creature From Mara Lago

Saturday October 16th, 2021


My Dear America:

Saturday, October 9th was a wonderful day.  It was a Family Day spent with all four of my Adult Children and 5 of my Seven Grandchildren.  Two of my Grandchildren were in College and couldn't make it for the day.  Since three members of my family have birthdays in October we were celebrating for all three of us.  I had celebrated my 79th Birthday on Friday, October 8th, the day before our Presently Day Long Celebration.  What could have been a rather depressing Birthday for me had already been saved by a couple of music playing sessions earlier in the week and on Friday.

Saturday, the ninth, was a glorious day.  Although it was cloudy it was still rather warm for a fall day in October.  The food was terrific.  The company was terrific. I was spending the day with my favorite people in my daughter's backyard and all was well.

Although I was not very happy to have to admit to myself that I was actually old enough to be 79 the day before our backyard get together, our party had put me in very good spirits.  

I had certainly been feeling as though I had a lot to be bummed out about.  One of my Best Friends, an outstanding guitar player who I had played with in bands for nearly Forty Years was moving from Pennsylvania to Denver, Colorado.  I was going to miss him a lot.  We played Great music together for all of those years.  We would still be able to play music together online using Jamkazam, a platform on which we had learned to play music together with our bass playing buddy during the Pandemic.  We had been playing really Great music together in person since getting vaccinated.  Jamkazam had been fun and would be again, I was sure, but nothing would ever be as good as actually playing  together in person.

I wasn't thinking about bummers on Saturday, however.  I was having a good time with my Wife and Kids, Grandkids and our significant others.  I was happy to be alive, having made it through Covid with the help of vaccines and masks.  I felt pretty lucky to have made it to 79 in relatively decent shape after suffering a Heart Attack just before Covid Hit.

After spending the day together with my family, my wife and I left for home late in the afternoon and when We got home I felt tired but continued to be in a good mood for awhile as I  surfed through the TV cable channels looking for something good to watch before the new Saturday Night Live came on at 11:30.  I had been surprised to see that SNL had been advertising that Kim Kardashian West was going to be the host.  Although I was no fan of the Kardashians, I was fascinated by the strange choice of Kim as SNL Host.

I was having a hard time coming up with a choice of what to watch earlier this Saturday evening however.  It didn't look like a good night for any movies that I hadn't seen before.  I was seeing nothing that caught my eye Until my remote suddenly stopped for a minute where I saw something that shocked me and fascinated me at the same time.

There he was, in living color in Des Moines, Iowa strutting back and forth across a stage in front of a mammoth crowd that was cheering loudly for the Ex President.  The Monster from Mara Lago had suddenly been unleashed in Des Moines and was now going to speak to this crowd.  

He loved it.  They loved it.  I didn't love it.  

I went back to channel surfing with the hope that I could find something more palatable to watch.  Damn, I couldn't find anything.  I tried not to but I found my remote drifting back to OAN as though it had a mind of its own.  I couldn't help it.  I was drawn to OAN like a fly to a spider.  What was the man who had become the unmentionable one to Late Night TV Hosts going to say to this crowd.

One of the first things he said was that the Democrats were going to give money to the Media.  Of course he presented the media as those Liars who were always being unfair to the crowd's "Favorite President".  I don't know what media he was talking about receiving money from the government unless it was possibly PBS or NPR.

Then he said something about "Hillary Conceded - I never conceded" and he went into his rap about "The Big Lie"  and how he really won the 2020 election and how the election was rigged.  

How the hell was it rigged.  He was the one in charge of the Election.  Not Joe Biden who was out of office at the time of the 2020 Election.  

Of course the crowd seemed well practiced in booing Democrats and Joe Biden at the appropriate times.

Then the Creature from Mara Lago started going into one of his many stories about People talking to him and of course they were all calling him "Sir." 

Shouts came from the crowd.

USA   

USA

He thanked the crowd for coming and bragged that he had been advised that the crowd at the Des Moines Fairgrounds had broken an all time record for people showing up to an event at the Fairgrounds.  

He addressed the crowd as "Hard Working American Patriots" and told them

"We know and Love You" 

And then he started in on denigrating President Biden.

"Joe Biden and the Radical Left have brought our Nation to the Brink of Ruin"

According to Trump, Biden and the left were responsible for unleashing "Violent Criminals and Bloodthirsty Gangs" on our streets.

Then he started talking about the Taliban taking over Afghanistan as if he had nothing to do with what had happened in that country.

Although I was interested in what he was saying because I really wanted to know what the Monster from Mara Lago was up to I had to leave OAN and go anywhere away from where the Monster was speaking.

I couldn't take any more of this Lying Bullshit.

Although I only watched him for a few minutes I am still haunted by what I saw in that brief period of time.  Clearly, Donald J. Trump is still a frighteningly scary force to be reckoned with by Democrats.  Although Joe Biden has done so much for Americans of all stripes since his election, clearly there is still a very large segment of the population that is still under the spell of the Monster from Mara Lago and believe his lies and Bullshit as though it is the Gospel Truth.

It is easy to underestimate Donald Trump but it is dangerous to do so.  Trump had these Iowa Citizens in the palm of his hand and he was feeding them nothing but lies and distortions and they were sucking it up with enthusiastic pleasure.  

And they are not alone.  

Although on January 6th Republican Legislative Leaders, including Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy  were honest and truthful about Donald Trump's Culpability for the Capitol Insurrection on that day, these days those leaders are singing a different tune.  Republicans in states all over the country are trying to do what Trump continues to accuse Democrats of doing in the last election.

"The Election was rigged" Trump continues to sing to his followers.

Well, the truth is that the election wasn't rigged in 2020 but it surely looks as if it will be rigged in 2024 if the Republicans continue to get their way in states all across this country.  Republicans are doing everything they can to rig the vote in their favor as they see that without vote rigging on their part their days will probably be numbered.

Oh, Yes, I did get a chance to see Saturday Night Live later in the evening and Kim Kardashian West did a pretty good job.  She and her mother and Sisters participated in some jokes that satirized themselves and the Miracle that has been Saturday Night Live for over Forty Years continued.


Sincerely Yours 

Jerry Gallagher    


   


 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Gearing Up For NAZIFEST

September 15th, 2021


My Dear America:

Does anyone besides me feel as though they are living in a Nightmare in which we never wake up.  I really thought that after Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election fairly and squarely that I would wake up from this Incredible Four Year Long Bad Dream and once again be peacefully living in the Actual United States Of America once again.

No Chance:

Although Donald Trump is no longer living on Pennsylvania Avenue in our Nations Capital his Ghostly Spirit  continues to haunt us every day of our life.  

Trump's Ghastly presence haunts the Supreme Court as the Justices he chose begin to issue midnight rulings that start to put Roe Versus Wade and Women's Right to Choose what happens to their bodies in serious Jeopardy.

In the Halls of Congress the Stink of Right Wing Jackasses that mistakenly call themselves Patriots does not seem to be able to be removed no matter how hard Democratic Leaders try to scrub it away.

In all of my 78 Years I have never seen anything as frightening as what has been happening in recent years and particularly in recent months and days in the United States of America.  

Although I still have trouble with looking to George W. Bush as my Political Guru I certainly agree with his assessment of the fact that the January 6th Mob that stormed the Capitol Building and the September 11th Terrorists truly are "Children of the Same Foul Spirit."  

Thank you George Bush for joining with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger in showing us that the Grand Old Republican Party is not dead after all.  It is only sleeping.

Every once in awhile there is still some good news.  Certainly last night's Recall Election result in California is something for Democrats to be proud of and encouraged by.  Trumpism took a shot across the bow in California.  But at the same time that Democratic California Governor, Gavin Newsom defeated his Republican Recall Challengers Numerous American Republican State Governors and Legislators are preparing to pass legislation that, Like Texas, will Take Away Voting Rights from Americans and Jeopardize a Woman's Right to Choose what happens with her body when she gets pregnant.

Let us take some time to savor the California Governor's Recall Success story and the positive coming together of Americans to remember 9/11 last weekend because this coming weekend is bound to be another story.

This coming Saturday, September 18th is going to be a gathering of Nazi and Ku Klux Klan Trump Lovers who are supposedly looking for "Justice For January 6th" So Called Political Prisoners.  

Personally I am looking for Justice for January Sixth, as well.  Those individuals who broke doors and windows, beat police officers, threatened to "Hank Mike Pence" and left feces on the floor of the Capitol deserve justice and I sincerely hope they get it.

Those of us who respect the Capitol and the Congress should not be bullied by Trump's Goon Squad.  I am pleased to see that the Capitol Police are doing what they can to prepare for whatever is coming this weekend.  They are putting up the large fence that was installed after January 6th.  As terrible as it is to have that fence up it seems to me that it might be a good idea to leave the fence up permanently.  We should not have to be putting up with these Nazis but alas we live in a free country where even the rights of the worst of us need to be protected.  

I hope the Police are prepared and that the National Guard are on alert on Saturday.  

It certainly will not be the same situation as January 6th, when Donald Trump sat in the White House enjoying himself watching his supporters on television break into the Capitol and refused to do anything about it.  

This time Joe Biden will be in the White House and He will not be watching the Capitol Scene with Glee.  He will be looking to put the Phony Patriots in their place and if need be in prison.     


Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher




 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Desert (Shit) Storm: Lessons Hopefully learned In Afghanistan

September 3rd, 2021


My Dear America:

Perhaps History should have taught us what 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan has now taught us.  Many Countries in the world have been conquered and permanently changed by those that conquered them.  

Not Afghanistan.

They have had a long history of Invasions by Outsiders but from Genghis Khan, Alexander The Great, Britain, Russia and now the United States, Afghanistan has a long history of kicking the asses of Invaders and preserving their country from what other countries of the world have viewed as "Progress."

Certainly seeing the Taliban take control of Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting with them is not something that anyone in their right mind could view as Progress.  The truth is that as hard as America tried to remake Afghanistan in our Democratic Image it was never going to work.  They did the unthinkable, just as the North Vietnamese did decades ago.  They kicked our asses out of their country.  

We can find many reasons to blame why we didn't in the end succeed in Afghanistan.  The main reason we didn't succeed was the same reason no outsiders have ever really succeeded in Afghanistan.  We were invaders who didn't belong there who were fighting against Afghan citizens who were defending their country.  We never really had a chance.  

That doesn't mean we never should have gone to Afghanistan.  Initially we had a fairly legitimate purpose to go to that country.  We were chasing Osama bin laden and Al Quida after 9/11 and when we found them they almost immediately left Afghanistan for Pakistan.  Those Terrorists who attacked our country on 9/11 were our enemies.  Not the Taliban.  

Certainly the Taliban were an organization which treated their citizens horribly and were terrorists themselves in a real sense but it was clear to some like former CIA Operative, Malcolm Nance, who spent time early on in the War in Afghanistan that we were never going to really successfully conquer this country.  

Afghanistan was and is a Tribal Society that Nance recognized early on was never really going to be a successful Democracy.   

In our defense we tried very hard to turn Afghanistan into a Democracy but like many other democracies that we have tried and failed to remake in our image we  only ended up with corrupt and failed Afghan governments which in many cases stole us blind.  

We did do some things right in Afghanistan.  We certainly improved the lives of Afghan girls and women while we were there.   That cannot be denied.  We led women in Afghanistan out of the dark ages and into the 21st Century where they could show their faces and could study and work which they could not do before. 

Unfortunately, as we leave their country we need to hope that the hopefully new and improved Taliban do not return women in their country to the Dark Ages.  As we have left the country we have certainly tried to take a large number of Afghan Girls and Women with us to the outside world.  I hope that in the end we are able to see those girls and women progress in their new lives and that the Taliban will follow through on their promise to be a New and improved Taliban that treats women differently in their country and recognizes that they cannot and should not put their women back into a position of slavery to men in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden was right in his decision to get American troops out of Afghanistan.  It was a decision that was way too long in coming.  Joe was the one Obama Administration official who opposed the military recommendation to send more troops to Afghanistan.  George Bush was also correct in his decision to pursue Al Quida in that country.  When bin laden and his crew ran into Pakistan American Troops should have been removed from Afghanistan and gone after bin laden in that country.  Instead, we left troops in Afghanistan and put American troops into Iraq falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein was aligned with bin laden.

Now, Clearly Saddam Hussein was a bad guy but there was never any credible evidence presented that showed any cooperation going on between Saddam and Osama.  They were, in fact, bitter enemies and bitter rivals.

Bob Woodward in his books indicated that although others in the George W. Bush Administration were often blamed for pushing Bush into sending American troops into Iraq, it was actually George W. who pushed the issue into invading Iraq and by doing so took America's eye off the ball in Afghanistan.  It seems to me that George W. was highly annoyed that Saddam Hussein survived the Gulf War after George H.W. Bush, George W.'s Father, wisely chose not to pursue Saddam after American troops drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.  Papa Bush clearly had the good sense to realize that invading and taking over Iraq would create the kind of shit show that it became once George Junior did what Daddy had wisely refused to do.  

What is clear at this point in time is that if Democracy in Afghanistan was not able to survive on its own after 20 years of American Monetary and Military Assistance, The time was right for Americans to recognize what Malcolm Nance recognized 20 years ago.  

We were clearly fighting a losing battle and if we continued fighting in Afghanistan we were only going to lose more American lives.  It was time to get out.

Clearly our exit from Afghanistan could have gone better but in every way it could have also gone worse.  We certainly gave little or no thought to what was going to happen to those Afghans who assisted us during the 20 years war.  Before we gave up the Bagram Air Base we should have gotten our interpreters and other allies out despite the red tape bullshit of the Special Immigrant Visa program.  Instead we trusted the Afghan Government that begged Biden not to ship out Afghan allies because of what that would look like to Afghan citizens and military members.  

So as the Afghan Military fell like dominoes all over the Country the Afghan President and other Government leaders ran like rats from the Taliban.  One couldn't blame them.  They certainly knew what their fate would be once the Taliban took over Kabul and the entire country of Afghanistan.

Certainly Joe Biden has much to answer for with regard to the American Exit from Afghanistan but I agree with Michael Moore who recognized that the somewhat organized exit of Americans and Afghan Citizens from the Kabul Airport was a "Miracle".  

Clearly it was in both America's interest and the Taliban's interest to get Americans out of Afghanistan in recent weeks.  It was not necessarily in the Taliban's interest to allow so many Afghan's to escape from Afghanistan.  Clearly there was communication and cooperation between the Taliban and the American Military.  Based on past history the Taliban could have chosen to make the American Endgame in Afghanistan a bloodbath at the Airport.  It was not the Taliban, but an ISIS Afghan offshoot named ISIS K, that killed 13 American Servicemen along with over a hundred other Afghans at the Airport.  

It was a shame that 13 Americans were killed at the Kabul Airport but it is certainly a miracle that we got so many Americans and Afghan Allies out of Afghanistan alive.

The details of what happened in those final days in Afghanistan will be debated for many years to come but in the future we will certainly not be sending troops to Afghanistan to die as long as Joe Biden is in the White House.  

Thank you, Joe Biden, for pulling off the band aid and recognizing what should have been done a long time ago in Afghanistan and having the courage to do it. 


Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher

 


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Legend Of The Headless Translator

 August 10th, 2021


My Dear America:

The Former Afghan Translator had spent 16 months working with the United States Army in Afghanistan as a Translator/Interpreter.  Although he had to maintain a good working record with the American Military to be able to keep his job for 16 months, his employment was abruptly terminated after he failed a polygraph test that was administered by a Contractor hired by the American Armed Forces.  The Translator had applied for a Special Immigrant Visa in order to receive assistance from the U.S. to successfully get out of Afghanistan with his family but due to the mysterious Polygraph test failure he was not eligible to be approved for the Special Immigrant Visa.

Like many other Afghan Translators with previously good records, The Afghan Translator was never told why or how he apparently failed the Polygraph test.  He was simply terminated from his Translator position with no explanation of why he was being let go from a job that he had been successfully performing for nearly two years.

According to a close friend of the Translator he was being accused of being a spy for the Americans by the Taliban and his life had been threatened by the Taliban.  He told his friend that not only was his own life threatened but also the lives of his family members, including his wife and 9 year old daughter, were in jeopardy.

On the afternoon of May 12th, 2021 the Former Afghan Translator was driving from his home in Kabul to nearby Khost Province to pick up his Sister so that she could join his family for a celebration of the end of the Muslim Holiday, Ramadan.  

On this particular day, however, he was in a good mood and looked forward to the holiday celebration with members of his family.  On his way to pick up his sister the Translator sped through a checkpoint that was apparently set up by the Taliban.  

Local Villagers who witnessed the incident stated that the translators vehicle was riddled with bullets before it stopped.  the witnesses stated that when the car stopped the Translator was dragged out of the car and beheaded.

Many former Translators and Interpreters for the United States Military in Afghanistan are realizing that if they don't get out of Afghanistan with their families they may face a similar fate as that received by the beheaded Translator.

On a day when Joe Biden and the Congress are receiving well deserved accolades for helping to put together a hopefully successful and sorely needed Infrastructure Program I hate to rain on that parade but as much as I admire Joe Biden and root for his continued success in so many areas the fate of the Afghan Translators is something that needs to be taken care of NOW.  

I certainly agree with Joe Biden's decision to get our troops out of Afghanistan.  We have spent too much money and wasted too many lives in that country but in getting out of Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021 why didn't someone somewhere in the Administration raise their hands and say: 

"Wait a Minute. What about the Interpreters and Translators who have worked with us for the 20 years we have been in Afghanistan.  What the hell are we going to do about them?"

Indeed, What are we going to do about them.  Nobody in the Administration seems to be caring much for the fate of those brave Translators who hitched their wagons to the American Cause and as we have literally blown out of Afghanistan like a hurricane we have left them to fend for themselves as the Taliban races to drive humanity out of the Afghan Government.

Clearly the whole question of what is wrong in Afghanistan is complex and difficult to understand and deal with.  

But the question of the Afghan Translators is not that complex or difficult.

We got these people into this mess.  We told them we needed their help and made promises.  They made their choice to help us and now we must make a choice to help them before their heads and the heads of their families are rolling around all over Afghanistan.  

I know that we have a lot of difficult problems going on in the United States besides Infrastructure.  Voting Rights.  Republican willingness to give up Democracy in many States in the Union, Covid 19.  It seems like our problems are endless.

I know that President Joe Biden has had a lot on his plate trying to clean up after what seems like an endless mess created by the Trump Administration.  Biden started on Day One and has been moving rapidly and boldly to do what needed to be done to actually Make America Great Again after Donald Trump had turned what had previously been Great into something ominously close to a Third World Dictator Driven "Shithole Country."

I certainly don't mean to denigrate what Joe Biden has done and continues to do.  I think that his efforts on the whole have been Superhuman. 

I simply think that in his race to get our troops safely out of Afghanistan to protect them that Biden and others along the line didn't give enough thought to  what was going to happen to those Afghans who worked with us once we left their country.

What had occurred at the disturbing end of the Vietnam War should have been an alarming lesson to learn from.  But apparently the disastrous end of that disastrous war didn't register in 2021 political memories.

It may be already too late to save them.  Clearly the Taliban is racing to once again take over the country that they used to brutally run.  The consequences of our leaving and the Taliban coming back to control Afghanistan are unknown.  But the consequences to those Translators who served us well and have been left behind can be figured out quite easily.  Things are not looking well for them unless the American Government can get their fate to the top of the priority list because that is where it belongs.

What is happening and what is going to happen to the Afghan Translators depends on whether or not the Biden Administration is willing to cut through the Red tape and the bullshit to save the lives of those who are left out in the cold in the deserts of Afghanistan.  

Although this issue has received limited attention from other Media figures, Rachel Maddow seems to have gone to great lengths to provide a bright light on this time sensitive subject.  She has pointed out that several Congressional Representatives who have served in the Armed Services in Afghanistan and worked with these Translators are speaking out in favor of saving the Translators and their families from the brutal swords of the Taliban.  In addition to having Representatives like Jason Crow on her program she even had the Leader of Guam on her program offering her country as a refuge for the Afghan Translators when and if we can get them out.  

While Rachel was on vacation from her program recently Allie Velshi, who filled in for her on her program had an interview with an Afghan Interpreter who worked with the U.S. Marines in his home country.  Zak pleaded in the interview for President Biden to save him and his family.  Zak (Not his real name, of course) not only worked for the Marines but also worked with a defense Contractor after working with the marines.  He has had no luck in contacting the Contractor since the E Mail of the contractor is no longer a working E Mail and his work with the Marines was only for 9 months, which is apparently not long enough to qualify for the Special Visa Program.  Also on the program with Ali Velshi was U.S. Marine Corps Major Thomas Schueman, who was Zak's Commanding Officer and verified that Zak not only was a good interpreter but that he went above and beyond his expected duty and risked his life to protect American Servicemen.

It seems to me as though Failed Polygraph Tests are a great issue of concern.  Certainly many Translators that had, according to their American Comrades and Commanding Officers, rather successful and distinguished careers as American Translators were fired due to these Polygraph Tests.  Certainly anyone can fail a Polygraph test.  There are many good reasons why they are not acceptable as evidence in judicial proceedings.  They are not reliable in this matter of Life or Death

Who administered these tests that ended the careers of successful and brave Translators?

What were the questions that they asked that the Translators didn't answer correctly?

Those and many other questions should be answered but we don't have time to answer those questions right now.   We need to get the translators out of Afghanistan to somewhere that they can live in Peace and safety and not fear for their lives.

Another reason that many Afghan Translators have been rejected for Special Visa Status is that they didn't work long enough for America to qualify for a Visa.  This is Bullshit.  If they worked for us for any length of time and did a good job they deserve to have their lives and the lives of their families saved from the Taliban Butchers.

One Afghan Translator who was rejected for the Special Visa Program because of  a Polygraph test was described by his American Commander as "A Valuable and Necessary Asset who braved enemy fire and undoubtedly saved the lives of Americans and Afghans alike"

This same person received a visa rejection letter from the U.S. Embassy stating that he was being rejected for a Visa due to "Lack of Faithful and Valuable Service."

Clearly something is radically wrong with this picture when so many "Faithful and Valuable" human lives are on the chopping block in Afghanistan.

Yes, Clearly we should Leave Afghanistan.   

But we should not leave Afghanistan without taking with us those who stood alongside us over the long haul of 20 years fighting for their Freedom.

We owe them a Great Deal but at the very least we owe them protection so that their lives and the lives of their families are not thrown away on the deserts of Afghanistan.


Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher

 

   


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Message For Simone Biles

August 3rd, 2021


Dear Simone:

You don't know me and I really don't know you but I have been a big fan on yours for quite awhile now.  You have a lot of fans like me who have seen you growing up in America looking kind of like many other kids in America but having a talent that catapulted you far above even the best of other gymnasts in the world. 

When it comes to gymnastics you have done it all and you have done it well and through it all it seems to me that you have radiated a sweetness and kindness and a respect for others that is not found in all athletes.  You truly have been to the "Mountaintop" of gymnastics competitions and have found yourself alone at the top of the gymnastics heap over and over and over again.  You have a gymnastics record at your young age (24) that will probably never be surpassed.  You have 30 combined Olympic and World Championship medals.

You, My Dear Simone, have nothing more to prove.

You had a rough start to your Olympic Competition this time out.  You could tell and others could tell that you were not at the top of your Gymnastic Game and you were faced with a choice of what to do about it.  You made the choice to partially sit this one out because you were well aware of the fact that if you did compete you could have seriously injured yourself permanently.

For the most part, your decision to back off and allow your American teammates to pursue their dreams in your place was accepted and encouraged by most Americans and indeed athletes and citizens from around the world.  Regardless of what others thought about your decision it was a decision that only you could have made and should have made.  It was a decision that really should not have promoted controversy.  Unfortunately, however, we live in a Nation and in a world where people who have no talent in gymnastics and generally no interest at all in gymnastics, feel as though they are entitled to have an opinion regarding what you have done in the 2021 Olympics.

Certainly there are people in your life who are entitled to have an opinion about what you do.  Your parents, your foster parents, your coaches, your boyfriend certainly might be entitled to express their opinions to you.  But in the end the only person who should really be entitled to decide whether or not you are in shape to safely participate in your Olympic Competitions is you.  

The only reason that I am writing this message to you is because, as I suppose should have been expected, some mainly right wing jackass commentators have taken it upon themselves to make negative and insulting judgements about you.  Words like Quitter, Loser and other epithets have been used to describe your situation unfairly.

I am writing this message to you in order to ask you to ignore these unfair criticisms.  You have done nothing wrong and, in fact, you have done everything right.  You saw that you were not in shape to compete initially and instead of leaving the competition you stayed and heartily encouraged your teammates, who certainly came through on their own merits.  You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  You have competed and won at the Olympics before.  You encouraged your teammates to victory and you avoided a disaster happening for yourself because you weren't ready.  When you were ready you did compete and you were successful.  You made the correct choices.

Perhaps this Olympic Experience is actually a blessing in disguise.  Your whole life has been gymnastics.  Maybe it is time for you to move on to other pursuits.  You are articulate and attractive.  Maybe Writing, Broadcasting, Podcasting might be something you might like to do and would be good at.  Certainly, like Michael Phelps and others a sports commentator position might be something you might enjoy.  Settling down and raising a family might also be healthy for you but only if you are ready. 

You are a young woman who has certainly lived an interesting and a fulfilling life so far.  But you really do have your whole life ahead of you to pursue other things.  Don't push things in gymnastics to a point where you might get hurt.  

You will always be a hero to children interested in sports, especially black children.  Young black kids, like yourself, don't have enough heroes to model themselves after.  You have shown yourself to be the kind of heroine that all kids could model themselves after.  Perhaps starting a foundation to work with young kids would be something you might like to do.

You have always been a winner and you will continue to be one if you continue to make the right decisions like the ones that you made this year at the Olympics.  Don't let the Nay Sayers get to you.  It is easy to be a Critic.  It is not so easy to get to a level in a sport like Gymnastics where you have been.

We in America and in the World are very Proud of You and what you have accomplished in your young life.  

You are a World Champion.  You Continue to be a Champion and even if others do outpace your accomplishments in the future You will still always be a Champion and an incredible Inspiration to other Young Athletes who may follow you to the Olympic Podiums of the Future.

Godspeed Simone in whatever you choose to do in your Future.


Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher