"`Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly."
Justice; not social justice.
Of all excesses the most dangerous perhaps is the excess of good; it is at least that of which it is most difficult to correct oneself, for the culprit applauds himself, and no one dares to blame him.I've just finished reading Cicero And His Friends: A Study of Roman Society in the Time of Caesar by Marie Louis Antoine Gaston Bossier (1823-1908), French classical scholar, professor of Latin Oratory at College de France, and permanent secretary of the most prestigious assembly of scholar in that country, the Academie Francaise. His study of Cicero was originally published in the 1870s or 1880s (I found varying reference dates) and the version read by me is a 1897 English translation.
- Gaston Boissier in Cicero And His Friends, writing of Cato the Younger.
To the interest that the personality of Cicero gives to his letters, a still more vivid interest is added for us. We have seen, in what I have just written, how much our time resembles that of which these letters speak to us. It had no solid faith any more than our own, and its sad experiences of revolutions had disgusted it with everything while inuring it to everything. The men of that time knew, just as we do, that discontent with the present and that uncertainty of the morrow which do not allow us to enjoy tranquillity or repose. In them we see ourselves; the sorrows of the men of those times are partly are own, and we have suffered the same ills of which they complained. We, like them, live in one of those transitional periods, the most mournful of history, in which the traditions of the past have disappeared and the future is not yet clearly defined . . .For more on Cicero read The Dream of Scipio and Arpino.
Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage
Cast in this unlikely role
Well equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers
To keep oneself intact
Living in the limelight
The universal dream
For those who wish to seem
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme
Living in a fisheye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger
Is a long awaited friend
All the world’s indeed a stageEXTRA ADDED BONUS: I usually don't care for drums solos but this is so good.
And we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another’s audience
Outside the gilded cage
Iran does not need the bomb in the short-term now that it has what it wants; huge amounts of cash to fund its foreign objectives, a clear message sent to the Sunni states that it, not the U.S, is the big dog in the region, the leisure to determine whether and when it suits their needs to break out of the constraints of the deal (and even if they don't break out of the deal, Iran now has the right to have nuclear weapons when the deal expires in 15 years) and retaining the American hostages to get further goodies.
The reason this deal is acceptable to the President is because its primary purpose was never about Iran dismantling its nuclear program (though, if as part of the process the Iranians did so THC is sure the President would have been fine with that as it would have made his job easier). In order for there to be a U.S. - Iranian rapprochement and thus for Obama's hoped for chance of improvements in relations that would lead to cooperation and allow the U.S. to withdraw from the Middle East, Iran had to be managed into at least nominal compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Without that, the President would not have the maneuvering room to improve relations. That's why a managed trajectory that eventually allows Iran to become a nuclear power if it choose that route was just as good as dismantling a program because it provided enough of a fig leaf for the U.S. and Europe to say "it's a deal!".You can read my full analysis of the Iran Nuclear Deal here; I believe it stands up to the test of time and wrote it before we learned of the astonishing action of the Obama Administration in secretly shipping $1.7 billion in cash to Iran in January 2016, done in such as way as to avoid existing U.S. sanctions!
The nuclear deal will make substantial funds available to the Iranian regime. One of the themes of the President has been that because Iran's economy and infrastructure is in such bad shape that the influx of billions of dollars will have to be spent on internal improvements, not on increasing havoc in the Middle East or on armaments programs. THC believes this statement indicates the President's weakness in math. The ending of sanctions will make about $150 billion available to Iran apart from the billions more that will begin flowing in as it sells oil and strikes business deals.
It is estimated that Iran's total financial support to the Assad regime in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza is about $7 billion a year. Iran could double its financial support for these groups for the next five years and it would still have more than 75% of its financial windfall available for internal improvement and that does not even include the additional ongoing revenues from the end of sanctions related to oil.
I have people tell me that I am wasting my talent and that I should start performing again," Keigans said. "I re-read my journal recently and saw how many times I wrote, ‘I know God does not intend for me to spend my days in the back of a van.' I spent most of my days in the van while we were touring."
The band's record contract was up in October 2008, and she moved everything she owned back to Orangeburg to be closer to her father. She told the band she needed some time to figure things out, and what she figured out was that nursing school was the best choice for her.She still feels like she gets to perform - although perhaps on a smaller scale - when she works with pediatric patients.
"It is so amazing to work with children," Keigans said. "We will do what we can to cheer them up and put smiles on their faces. Sometimes that means performing or singing a song together."
[A]ccording to [the sub-Source], Candidate #1's [Trump's] team, which the FBI assesses includes at least Page, agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise U.S./NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine.The IG report goes on to state:
In further support of this allegation from Report 95, the FISA application described two news articles from July and August 2016 reporting that the Trump campaign had worked behind the scenes to change the Republican Party's platform on providing weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces and that candidate Trump appeared to have adopted a "milder" tone on Russia's annexation of Crimea.The application further claims that Carter Page was involved in changing the platform language in his role as an intermediary between Russia and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (Page has repeatedly denied ever even meeting Manafort and the FBI never found any evidence to the contrary - Carter voluntarily, and without legal representation, met on several occasions with the FBI in 2017).
We therefore support maintaining (and, if warranted, increasing) sanctions against Russia until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine's armed forces and greater coordination with NATO on defense planning. Simultaneously, we call for increased financial aid for Ukraine, as well as greater assistance in the economic and humanitarian spheres, including government reform and anti-corruption.A Trump national security aide, JD Gordon, recommended edits to the amendment and after consulting with New York HQ asked to have the language regarding lethal defensive weapons deleted (these were the same weapons the Obama Administration had steadfastly refused to provide to the Ukraine).
Also neglected are our strategic forces, especially the development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system has been delayed and underfunded. To curry favor with Russia, defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic have been neutralized and the number of planned interceptors in Alaska has been reduced. A New START agreement (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), so weak in verification and definitions that it is virtually impossible to prove a violation, has allow Russia to build up its nuclear arsenal while reducing ours. Meanwhile Moscow has repeatedly violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (a treaty agreeing to the elimination of land-based mid-range nuclear missiles) with impunity, covertly testing missiles banned under that agreement.And here is the 2016 Democratic Party Platform language:
In the international arena, a weak Administration has invited aggression. The results of the Administration's unilateral approach to disarmament are already clear: An emboldened China in the South China Sea, a resurgent Russia occupying parts of Ukraine and threatening neighbors from the Baltic to the Caucasus, and an aggressive Islamist terror network in the Middle East.
We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.
Russia is engaging in destabilizing actions along its borders, violating Ukraine's sovereignty and attempting to recreate spheres of influence that undermine America interests. It is also propping up the Assad regime in Syria, which is brutally attacking its own citizens. Donald Trump would overturn more than 50 years of American foreign policy by abandoning NATO partners - countries who help us fight terrorism every day - and embracing Russia President Vladimir Putin instead. We believe in strong alliances and will deter Russian aggression, build European resilience, and protect our NATO allies. We will make it clear to Putin that we are prepared to cooperate with him when it is in our interest - as we did on reducing nuclear stockpiles, ensuring Iran could not obtain a nuclear weapon, sanctioning North Korea, and resupplying our troops in Afghanistan - but we will not hesitate to stand up to Russian aggression. We will also continue to stand by the Russian people and push the government to respect the fundamental rights of its citizens.Note the contrasts here - while the Denman amendment language on explicitly providing "lethal defensive weapons" to Ukraine was dropped, her language committing the Republican Party to "maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions until Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored" has been added; the Democratic platform does not mention sanctions, nor commit the party to restoring Ukraine's sovereignty. Nor did the Democrats promise to provide "lethal defensive weapons". In fact, if you look at the language carefully the Democrat platform makes no concrete promises regarding Ukraine, unlike the Republicans.
The crystal ship is being filled
A thousand girls, a thousand thrills
A million ways to spend your time
When we get back, I'll drop a line
They cross over the border the hour before dawnAt about 315am on the morning of June 22, 1941, the German army launched Operation Barbarossa. The attack, including 14 Finnish and 13 Romanian divisions, involved 3.8 million soldiers, 3,400 tanks, 3,500 aircraft and 700,000 horses. Facing the onslaught were about 2.5 million frontline Soviet troops (the Red Army had about 4 million men under arms in total in the European part of the country).
Moving in lines through the dayThe Luftwaffe destroyed over 2,000 Soviet aircraft on the ground that first day, losing only 35 planes in its attacks. More than 3,900 Soviet planes were destroyed in the first three days, giving the Germans overwhelming air superiority.
Most of our planes were destroyed on the ground where they lay
Waiting for orders he held in the woodIn those first days and weeks many Soviet troops found themselves isolated behind the rapidly advancing Germans and without order amidst the command chaos. "The front" refers not to the front lines where the soldiers were, but to the organization of Russian army groups into "Fronts". In other words, they heard nothing from the High Command.
Word from the front never came
By evening the sound of the gunfire was miles away
Ah, softly we move through the shadows, slip away through the trees
Crossing their lines in the mists in the fields on our hands and our knees
And all that I ever, was able to see
The fire in the air glowing red, silhouetting the smoke on the breeze
All summer they drove us back through the UkraineIn this passage, the narrator uses the terms "us" and "we" in reference not to his personal location but rather to the overall plight of the Red Army.
Smolensk and Vyazma soon fell
By autumn we stood with our backs to the town of Orel
Closer and closer to Moscow they comeOn November 15, the Germans began their final push on Moscow. General Heinz Guderian (1888-1954), commander of the Second Panzer Army, is considered one of the finest tank generals of the war, performing brilliantly during the Poland invasion and then leading the armored spearheads in the 1940 French campaign. Guderian's task was to approach the Soviet capital from the southwest and encircle it. Though he made some advances, his overextended forces were halted short of the capital and left in vulnerable defensive positions. On December 26, 1941 he would be dismissed from command because of a dispute with his superiors (including Hitler) over how to respond tactically to the recently launched Soviet offensive. Recalled to duty by Hitler in 1943 after the disaster at Stalingrad, he was charged with rebuilding the army's panzer capabilities. On July 21, 1944, the day after the failed assassination attempt against Hitler, Guderian was appointed Army Chief of Staff. Though often arguing with Hitler about tactical decisions, he remained a faithful supporter of the Fuehrer until the end of the war.
Riding the wind like a bell
General Guderian stands at the crest of a hill
Winter brought with her the rainsIn this section, two weather periods are mixed together. From late October until mid-November came a period of cold rain, turning the primitive Soviet road network into a sea of mud. Then came freezing temperatures, making the roads stable and more passable. The final German push was launched in this window before the onset of brutal cold and snow made offensive operations much more difficult.
Oceans of mud filled the roads
Glueing the tracks of their tanks to the ground
While the sky filled with snow
And all that I ever was able to seeNow the red is silhouetting "the snow on the breeze" rather than "the smoke on the breeze" of the first verse, signaling the passage of time from the warmth, sun, and disaster of June to the bitter cold, snow, and hope of December.
The fire in the air glowing red silhouetting the snow on the breeze
In the footsteps of Napoleon the shadow figures stagger through the winterThe German offensive continued until December 5 under increasingly taxing conditions with heavy snow and temperatures plunging to well below zero. Counting on achieving complete victory by the end of fall, German soldiers had not been issued winter clothing, nor were tanks, assault guns, and motor vehicles designed and equipped to operate in these conditions. At these temperatures the recoil fluid, lubricating oil and firing pins on German artillery, anti-tank, and machine guns failed, tank turrets would not turn and trucks had to be kept constantly running, using precious fuel. And all these troubles amplified by the already overstressed German supply system virtually collapsing in the winter conditions.
It is icy cold . . . To start the engines, they must be warmed by lighting fires under the oil pan. The fuel is partially frozen, the motor oil is thick, and we lack antifreeze to prevent the cold water from freezing.On December 3, the commander of Fourth Panzer Group reported its offensive combat power "has run out" because of "physical and moral over-exertion, loss of a large number of commanders, inadequate winter equipment".
The remaining limited combat strength of the troops diminish further due to the continuous exposure to the cold. It is much too inconvenient to shelter the troops from the weather . . . In addition, the automatic weapons of the groups and platoons often fail to operate, because the breeches can no longer move.
Falling back before the gates of MoscowWhat kept the German high command pressing ahead for so long despite the casualties and exhaustion of men and equipment was the persistent belief the Russians had exhausted their reserves and were on the verge of collapse. It was a massive miscalculation and demonstrated the complete failure of German intelligence assessments. They underestimated the willingness of Stalin to move troops from the Soviet Far East as well as the capability of the brutal and ruthless Soviet system to mobilize an almost endless number of reserves (unlike Hitler, who resisted fully mobilizing the German economy and populace until 1944, Stalin immediately took such measures). Between June 22 and December 31, the Soviets lost 4 million men, the equivalent of its entire army on June 22 yet still had 4 million under arms at the end of the year. It is hard to believe any other society surviving with that magnitude of loss in such a short time.
Standing in the wings like an avenger
And far away behind their lines the partisans are stirring in the forestThough not a major factor in 1941, by the following year the partisan threat became a major problem for the extended supply lines of the German army. Partisan warfare in Russia was on a completely different, and larger, scale than in most of the rest of Europe, involving huge numbers, semi-organized and large scale assaults on German rear lines. Big chunks of the Soviet countryside behind enemy lines remained out of German control throughout the war and forcing many troops to be diverted to fighting partisans.
Coming unexpectedly upon their outposts, growing like a promise
You'll never know, you'll never know
Which way to turn, which way to look, you'll never see us
As we're stealing through the blackness of the night
You'll never know, you'll never hear us
And the evening sings in a voice of amber, the dawn is surely comingUsing "amber" in this context is very interesting. Amber is a fossilized tree resin, valued as a gemstone. From 1500 BC there was an Amber Road by which this material was moved in trade from the shores of the Baltic to the Mediterranean. The leading source of amber was near what used to be the city of Konigsberg in Prussia, now known as Kaliningrad and part of Russia since 1945.
The morning road leads to StalingradWe've moved ahead several months to the summer of 1942. Unlike 1941, when the German Army was powerful enough to attack the Soviets from across its entire front, the Nazis summer offensive would be more limited in scope. On June 28, the Germans attacked in the south, aiming for the oil fields of the Caucasus region and the heavy industrial town of Stalingrad. The Germans advanced quickly, nearly reaching the Caspian Sea, but became bogged down in Stalingrad, with an increasingly obsessed Hitler insistent upon its capture. The fighting lasted for almost six months ending in catastrophe for the Nazi regime with the destruction of the Sixth Army and the allied Hungarian and Romanian armies, along with heavy losses in other German units. Of 91,000 prisoners taken by the Russians only 5,000 ever returned to Germany, some not until a decade after the end of the war. The cost of victory was staggering for the Red Army - another 1.1 million dead, wounded or captured.
And the sky is softly humming
Two broken Tigers on fire in the nightThe lyrics here are very cleverly structured. The first line tells us of "two broken Tigers" followed by a reference to "the final approach" but we don't know where or when it is. The next line tells us it's been "almost four years that I've carried a gun", placing us in 1945, but still not giving us a location as Soviet armies are fighting from the Baltic to Hungary. Then it's revealed that the flaming Tigers are also "lighting the road to Berlin", creating a vivid and precise word picture.
Flicker their souls to the wind
We wait in the lines, for the final approach to begin
It's been almost four years, that I've carried a gun
At home it'll almost be spring
The flames of the Tigers are lighting the road to Berlin
Ah, quickly we move through the ruins that bow to the groundThe Berlin campaign lasted from April 16 through May 2. Though the assault contributed to the "ruins that bow to the ground" much of the city was already ruined by American and British bombing raids, some consisting of more than 1,000 bombers striking the city.
The old men and children they send out to face us, they can't slow us down
All all that I ever, was able to see
The eyes of the city are opening now, it's the end of a dream
I'm coming home, I'm coming homeThe lyric brims over with optimism. Against all odds, our narrator has survived and looks forward to being reunited with his family. In reality the odds were low that any soldier on the front line on June 22, 1941 would be alive and healthy enough to fight continuously and still be in the Berlin fighting.
Now you can taste in the wind, the war is over
And I listen to the clicking of the train wheels as we roll across the border
And now they ask me of the timeIn his account of the German-Soviet struggle, Absolute War, author Chris Bellamy writes, "the Red Army was the only one in the world where being taken prisoner counted as desertion and treason". Stalin believed any soldier who allowed himself to be captured was a traitor and potential counter-revolutionary, and that Russians exposed to Westerners for any length of time became a danger to the Soviet state. Bellamy adds:
That I was caught behind their lines and taken prisoner
"They only held me for a day, a lucky break", I say
They turn and listen closer
I'll never know, I'll never know
Why I was taken from the line and all the others
To board a special train and journey deep into the heart of Holy Russia
And it's cold and damp in this transit camp
And the air is still and sullen
And the pale sun of October whispers
The snow will soon be coming
The Soviet government and military command had absolutely no interest in what happened to Soviet people in German captivity. When prisoners of war who survived were released at the end of the war [3 of the 4 million POWs died due to the German policy of exposing them to the elements and leaving them to starve, though a small number also died serving as guinea pigs during the initial testing of the gas chambers used at Auschwitz], they were usually sent to the Gulag or shot, and the same fate even befell many who had fought and crawled their way out of German encirclements during the war.Our narrators falls into this last group. His years of valiant service and suffering are to no avail.
And I wonder when I'll be home again and the morning answers, "Never"I find these the saddest line in music and no matter how often I hear them they affect me as powerfully as the first time. They represent the betrayal of the hopes and dreams of people caught up in a horrible time, who thought they'd survived the worst, only to find themselves condemned to death, exile, continued fear and hopelessness.
And the evening sighs and the steely Russian skies go on forever
Mounds of human heads(Gulag prisoners)
Are wandering into the distance
I dwindle among them
Nobody sees me
Happy New Year. My wish for 2020 is that in the future I will turn out to have been right about all of the things that I was at one time certain about.— Bill James Online (@billjamesonline) January 1, 2020