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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

Yesterday I read that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia predicts that The Islamic State (ISIS) will bring terror attacks to the United Kingdom within a month, and to America within two months.  Having just digested that report, I liked none of what I read in today's lead story on Yahoo News:

Putin seeks 'statehood' talks on east Ukraine

It is time to pull Western heads-of-state's heads out of the sand.

It appears that America, weakened by an indecisive, appeaser-apologist (for whom, I confess, I naively voted in 2008) at the helm, has created a vacuum that is sucking up the evil from all over the world, and setting it energetically into motion.

Clearly, America is in a pre-World War pose. Isolationism and denial of reality dominate popular opinion. But the Russian Bear is on the march from the East, and the Islamist State vipers are a venomous vortex, gaining territory and wealth while spreading death and intolerance in the desert.

Unless a courageous leader stands up soon, I fear for our future. The West needs a forceful communicator who believes in the fundamental principles of Western morality. The survival of the developed world and the widespread relative prosperity contributed to billions by globalization and international trade are at stake.

In the next two weeks, I expect terror attacks in the West.  Over the next two years, I fear a major war. Europe, do you need another war? Did you not suffer enough in the Twentieth Century? Have you not learned the futility of waiting hopefully for evil to reform itself?

Political correctness is partly to blame. It has become unseemly to say, "Good and Evil are real." Human freedom to profit from honest effort, freedom to worship as one's conscience dictates, freedom to speak one's mind, freedom to take risks, and the freedom to fail, and to then try again, are good things.  They are the fundamentals upon which the Modern Western World is founded.  They are codified in the U.S. Constitution, one of the greatest documents of human history. Those who would kill people for worshiping differently than they, or for calling God by a different name than they do, are evil.  If not evil as human beings, their behavior is evil, under the influence of evil men who teach such practices as godly and mandatory. It is time to face up to the evil in the world, to see clearly what is afoot in our small world.

Not only The West, but all rational and caring human beings in the world are in this mess, together. We need a leader!

All that we have built in this small, beautiful world is at risk.

Who will take over as leader of the Free World?  Ms. Merkel?  Mr. Cameron? Mr. Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?
Image source:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

They Did Not Include San Juan!

There is a news item today from Allstate Insurance that ranks Boston's drivers as the worst among those of all large American cities.  When I saw the title of the article, I predicted that outcome.

My standing joke, coined at least 30 years ago, when I lived in Westborough, Massachusetts and commuted to Boston University daily, was that in Boston the right-of-way belonged to the car with the highest weight-to-worth ratio.  The guiding principles of safely driving in Boston were:
  1. Never make eye contact with the other driver (because if he knows you've seen him he'll hit the gas and go in front of you), and 
  2. When a red light changes to green, count to three before proceeding (because three Boston drivers will run the red light before the first guy stops). (This rule is especially important for us native Chicagoans, for there a green light invariably triggers a drag race to the next red one. In Boston, that would get you center-punched.)
When I went with a car to live in Cluj-Napoca, Romania in 2008, I was told that I had made a mistake.  "The drivers here are crazy!" people said. "And the traffic has become impossible!"  Having learned to drive in Chicago, and as a veteran of the Boston streets, I found the drivers in Cluj fairly docile and considerate. Driving there was a piece of cake compared to rush hours in either of those American cities. 

The one city where I found driving the most frightening was San Juan, Puerto Rico. My brother George lives down there, and takes offense whenever the Stateside press fails to recognize it as an American city.  I am sure that he will be upset by its exclusion from this article.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What would Gandhi do? MLK?

It is 05:00 on 28 August here in New Hampshire.  I am awake this early thanks to an early bed last night.  I had an injection in my right eye yesterday afternoon. Once I got myself home safely from Lebanon, staying awake was futile. Now, the eye is beginning to work a bit, and I see this opening paragraph in Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is intensifying its push to build an international campaign against Islamic State jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, including recruiting partners for potential joint military action, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday.
In the Ophthalmology Clinic's waiting room at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center yesterday, I sat with a man, 77, who had recently gone blind.  He identified himself to me as "a member of a group called the Twelve Tribes of Israel."  He and I spoke for only a few minutes.  He told me that he had been told that he would see far more clearly once he went blind, and that it was proving true. We also talked a bit about religion, and religiosity, and the pros and cons thereof.

This morning, I awoke with this question in my mind: What is the appropriate response to the newly renamed Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL and ISIS?

The challenge that these radicals pose to the civilized world is daunting. They see martyrdom in the name of Allah as their highest purpose.  They believe that all who do not see Allah as they see Him, nor worship according to their clerics' prescriptions, as infidels deserving only death. They are heavily armed, well financed, fanatical and merciless in their mission: to convert all mankind to Islam, by force and slaughter. Convert, or die.

How does a believer in Christ deal with such a group, and such an ethos? How might the legendary Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King have dealt with them?


I wish I had the vision to see how that powerful means of persuasion could be brought to bear in this case.

Turn the other cheek?

I have a number of friends who happen to be Muslims.  I am nervous for them, for they are tolerant, loving, caring human beings, and highly civilized.  If the I.S. continues to expand, they will face persecution for their "mainstream" Islamic faith.

Dear God, Thou of many names, please help your human children in this time of trial. Please give us the wisdom to know Thy Will, and the strength to do Thy Will. Amin. Amen. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Peasant Feast

Monday, 25 August, 2014

Jess, Cally, & Blogger at the farm

Jesse and Cally came over from the Pullman Farm in Shaftsbury, Vermont, which they farm these days. They brought our grandson Angus, 8 months old, and three from their first batch of farm-raised, 100% organically fed and free-raised chickens (două găini şi un cocoş), all plucked, cleaned, and neatly frozen in shrink-wrap bags. They also brought four jars of homegrown and Cally-canned pickled cucumbers (castraveţi muraţi). We had intended to go out to a birthday dinner, but instead, I defrosted a good-sized bird, and roasted it for dinner with stuffing made of bread, celery, onion and spices, served with stir-fried veggies, pasta and cranberry sauce. Alex McDougall and his friend Erin also came for dinner, bringing a birthday cake. How wonderful! (O zi minunat!)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Romanian Pilot and a Passenger Die in Upstate NY Crash of Cessna 182 Towing Banner

I learned this afternoon from my friend and former student Alina Meda Sime (from Oradea, Romania) that the man most responsible for her becoming a skydiver died in the Saratoga Springs, New York, area on 2 August. Here is the local news report from the day of the accident.

Fellow pilots may want to know more about the crash, so here is a link to the small airport's navigation information.

Alina wrote to me in Facebook:
"marius ciprian ivascu [was] his full name. I know all the details unfortunately. I struggled to get his family to US... got the visa in 1 day and in the evening  boarded them on a plane...then I stayed in touch with his wife, godfather, and best friend to set things for funeral and explain to his family in romanian..."
On 21 September, memorial services will be held simultaneously both in Romania and the U.S.

Though I did not know Marius, as a fellow pilot I feel a loss. I am especially sad for Alina's loss of her good friend and mentor.

I pray that Marius Ivascu, and his passenger Jon Stomski, may rest in peace.

Friday, August 22, 2014

On ISIS: Can More Mideast War Be Avoided?

My most recent prior post's title, "Democrat Presidents Start Wars", is in quotation marks for a reason: that is what my mother said to me in 1964.  Of course, she was not literally correct, and I am sure she knew that fact.  She was speaking as a mother about the risk to her draft-age sons, two of whom, soon thereafter, were to serve in (and survive, thank God) the war in Vietnam.

During the past 100 years, in no case of which I am aware, save the invasion of Iraq, did the U.S. actually start a war.  Carol's point was that the wars overseas had become our wars during years when we had Democrats in The White House. Here is a topic ripe for debate: is America more likely to be drawn into war when militarily strong (and thus threatening), or when less well-prepared to fight (and in a conciliatory posture)?  And what sorts of wars have been the results of those contrasting postures on the part of America?

Whether we needed to go into all our military engagements is, of course, debatable. The Vietnam War and The Second Gulf War (the invasion of Iraq) are the most controversial, though some still question the necessity of our participation in that horrific geopolitical blunder that became World War I.

I have no doubt that World War II had to be fought. The Korean War and the First Gulf War were responses to aggression unlawful under the United Nations Charter.  They were thus justifiable.

Today, barbaric ideologically radical Islamic terrorists are running amok in the world.  ISIS, the most virulent manifestation at present, have declared themselves a state.  Someone must stand up to them.  If President Obama should decide, no doubt with great personal regret and anguish, that today's war needs to be fought with American forces, and if he goes to Congress requesting a declaration of war against ISIS/ISIL, he will have my support in that decision.  But, I also hope that Obama would prosecute that war with a will to win it quickly, applying overwhelming might, thus minimizing the loss for our own and allied soldiers and for civilians.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Democrat Presidents Start Wars"

Back in 1964 I was a junior (third-year student) at Amherst College in Massachusetts.  There was a campaign for President that year between Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, and Barry Goldwater of Arizona, a Republican.  I remember being appalled to learn that my mother Carol Brueggeman McDougall (1914-1968) was supporting Goldwater.  "Why in the world would you do that," I asked.  "He is talking about nuking people back to the Stone Age," I said.*
Carol Brueggeman McDougall, 1914-1968
Carol (who preferred we call her "Carol," rather than "Mother") answered that she had four sons, three of whom had reached draft age (18), or soon would, "And Democrat Presidents start wars."

In her lifetime, it had been all too true.

President Woodrow Wilson had run for re-election in 1916 on the slogan, "He kept us out of war," but in 1917 committed huge American forces to the bloody battlefields of World War I.  Some 116,500 (Wikipedia) Americans had died "over there."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, waited for the attack on Pearl Harbor, in order to ensure national unity in taking us into war in 1941. There is evidence that thanks to our code-breakers, he and Secretary of War Stimson knew the attack was imminent, but did not warn Admiral Kimmel in Hawaii on the night of December 6th, preferring the resulting surprise attack on an unsuspecting Sunday morning Navy base to increase the national outrage. (Tolland, Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath) In World War II, America lost over 405,000, with over 670,000 more wounded.

President Harry S. Truman, a Democrat, took us into the Korean Conflict. We lost 36,500 killed.

After that set of observations, my mother's opinion was understandable.  But, to my satisfaction, the country repudiated Goldwater as an apparent war-monger, and re-elected Johnson.

But, it had been President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, who took us into Vietnam, and it was his successor Lyndon B. Johnson, also a Democrat, who used the discredited excuse of an attack on a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify the sending of a force of over 500,000 into the Vietnam War.  The names of those lost there number 58,209, most carved into a tragic black-marble monument on the Mall in Washington.

So, what?  Wasn't it the Bushes, Republicans, who have taken America into wars most recently?  Yes.

President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, took us into "The Gulf War," to free Kuwait from occupation by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. A total of 294 Americans died in that action (including the Navy fighter pilot son of my HBS friend and section-mate, Major Gerald (Nail 55) Dwyer. who had been a forward air controller (FAC) in Vietnam.  That Gulf War lasted only about ten days.

George W. Bush, also a Republican, took us into Afghanistan following the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the U.S. Mainland of September 11th, 2001.  We are still fighting there, and have lost a total of fewer than 3000 American lives there.

Then, on highly questionable evidence of Iraq having "weapons of mass destruction," "W." chose to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.  The war was over quickly, though to my mind, America grossly mishandled the aftermath. Had we the industries of post-WWII to call on, Bush could have sent in Westinghouse and GE and had the electricity on for the vast majority of Iraqis within six months.  Rebuilding would have gone swiftly, and the country might have seen the benefits of modernity. But as it was, the process dragged on for years, and ancient ethnic hostilities regained the population's mind.  Hence, the present nightmare of ISIS invasion, and ongoing Sunni-Shia-Kurdish strife.  Still, in all, over ten or more years, American deaths in Iraq total only about 4,500.

This chart from the Wikipedia link is a telling one:

Wars ranked by total number of U.S. military deaths

RankWarYearsDeathsDeaths per DayUS Population in First Year of WarDeaths per Population
1American Civil War1861–1865625,00042031,443,0001.988% (1860)
2World War II1941–1945405,399297133,402,0000.307% (1940)
3World War I1917–1918116,516279103,268,0000.110% (1920)
4Vietnam War1961–197558,20911179,323,175 (1960)0.030% (1970)
5Korean War1950–195336,51645151,325,0000.020% (1950)
6American Revolutionary War1775–178325,000112,500,0000.899% (1780)
7War of 18121812–181515,000158,000,0000.207% (1810)
8Mexican–American War1846–184813,2832921,406,0000.057% (1850)
9War on Terror2001–present6,7171.57294,043,0000.002% (2010)
10Philippine–American War1899–19024,1963.872,129,0010.006% (1900)

In sum, over the past 100 years, wars entered by the U.S.A. under Democrat Presidents have cost some 616,000 American lives, while those started under Republican Presidents have cost under 8,000 American lives.  Carol seems to have had a point.

So today, as I see American advisors going back into Iraq, and American air power in use there, with a Democrat President with poor job approval ratings especially in terms of his foreign policies, and with a midterm election approaching wherein the Democrats are in danger of losing their majority in the Senate, I have to wonder. Might the President be prone to escalating our role in the Middle East for domestic political purposes?

The longer I live, the more I come to respect the wisdom of my beautiful and loving mother. May God rest her soul.
*President Johnson, formerly the Vice President under John F. Kennedy, was a Texan who had held the Presidency since 22 November 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  Johnson won re-election in a landslide after his campaign ran ads such as this one:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NEW: Plymouth State University MBA in International Business

The Bahia Negra enters the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal

I am proud to be teaching in the fall the first course in a new masters' program at Plymouth State University.  The program is called MBA in International Business, and it is an outgrowth of work we have been doing for the past seventeen years.  Back about 1997 I developed for PSU an MBA elective course in IB, and resurrected a dormant undergraduate course in Global Marketing.  At that time, PSU was essentially a small provincial college with modest international connections.  Since then, quite intentionally and through the efforts of the whole campus, our University has become remarkably cosmopolitan.

Since 2009 we have taught a program in partnership with Babeș-Bolyai University (UBB) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, called the Joint MBA with Certificate in International Business.  In addition, through student recruiting, through faculty exchanges (Fulbright and others), and through online education, we have come to serve and to host students and faculty from around the world.

During Academic Year 2013-2014, just past, the College of Business Administration worked with our partners at UBB to craft an MBA with sufficiently specialized content to be launched as a new degree program in International Business.  The first course is my survey course, BU5770 Interntaional Business.  If one wishes to sample the subject, it is not necessary to commit to the whole program, as this first course has been a stand-alone MBA elective since its inception.  If you have an interest in international business, feel free to click on the link above, or to contact me at  I can send you a syllabus, and I would be thrilled to have some of my blog's readers in this course.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Here's a follow-up photo on my recent granddaughter post!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Are You Mourning for U.S. Yet?

Perhaps a few posts in most blogs deserve rereading.  Given the world's present situation, in Iraq, in Syria, in Ukraine, in Gaza, etc., I believe that this one from 2011 does:

And I ask, dear international readers, are you wishing that the U.S.A. were still actively exporting security for the world's democracies, as we have so generously and expensively been doing for 69 years?  Or do you feel better now that our administration's policy is, "to lead from behind"?

Answers, be they positive or negative, are encouraged.

[I have received a well-written comment from "A Nonymous" that strongly questions my assertion that the U.S. has spent its blood and treasure for 69 years in the interest of "exporting security" to the free world's democracies. I would love to publish it,* but will not until its author signs his or her name to it. I publish signed comments. If the program asks you to post anonymously, please sign your name in comment comment, itself.]
*5 Sep 2014 - For reasons explained in my reply thereto, I have made an exception, and published this one anonymous comment.  Further comments by unnamed authors will not be published in this blog.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Chat with My Granddaughter