The intent of this blog is to promote human equality, human progress, human peace and justice, and optimism. To accomplish this, to encourage the discussion of ideas after identifying and discovering problems, and then creating positive solutions for "we the people," in order to provide for the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility" of America now and its "posterity" into the future. To encourage an emphasis on separation of religion and state for all, no matter if this is for those "of faith" in a Maker / Creator (Deists, God-loving people, Christians, various people of spirituality) and atheists or agnostics.

Posts tagged ‘Japan’

Tale of My Father’s Service in the Pacific During World War II

My father died in 2018 at age 92. He lived a good life.

During his last months, my father shared stories with me about his service for his country and putting his life on the line for our America. Recently, I saw a 1943 Newark Valley yearbook. My dad was a junior in high school. In his class photo, there was my dad, sitting next to his best friend in high school, Joe Bates. Not a surprise that my dad and Joe would be next to each other in that photo. But i had never seen that yearbook before.

My dad told me about how he and Joe Bates were both drafted into the U.S. Army after graduating high school in 1944. He told about how Joe was sent to Europe and my dad was sent to the Philippines.

While in the Philippines, my dad came down with a terrible sickness. I never bothered to ask him what the sickness was. I can only speculate, perhaps, that it was malaria. At any rate, my dad was confined to a hospital which I believe was located near Clark Air Base (about 40 miles from Manila).

While secluded in a hospital, his battalion boarded a naval ship to be transported to Japan. My dad recovered before the ship arrived in Japan. He was on his own to find his way to Japan. By means of two different U.S. Army Air Corps planes, he found his way to Japan. First to Okinawa. Second from Okinawa to Japan. He was supposed to hide on the planes. The pilots could have been disciplined for taking a passenger.

My dad tells about arriving in southern Japan before his fellow soldiers arrived. He arrived there for two reasons. (1) A typhoon in the Pacific delayed the ship getting to Japan. (2) The harbor for which the ship was to arrive still had mines and those mines had to be cleared.

My dad arrived at the headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, located at a Tokyo hotel. He was then transported to the southern area of Japan where his battalion was about to arrive. He was reunited with his battalion.

Part of my dad’s story was about being in the barracks with the other soldiers. They found Japanese helmets and other implements the soldiers wanted as souvenirs. They took them and put them with the bunks in the barracks. Word went around that there was to be an inspection. Most of the men simply threw the implements they had outside. My dad and several others did not remove implements, so they were caught with them. My dad had to serve in some sort of KP duty, as punishment.

My dad also told about being in a convoy heading to northern Japan and the city of Sapporo. My dad never told me about the following. According to William Manchester’s biography of Douglas MacArthur (American Caesar), MacArthur, as Supreme Commander over Japan, had sent troops to northern Japan. Was my dad’s battalion part of that mission? Further research is necessary.

The reason MacArthur sent troops to that area was due to the threat of the Soviet Union, across the waters from that area, invading Japan. As the Soviets did to divide Europe (and later helped in dividing Korea and Vietnam), there were expectations the Soviets might do the same in Japan. MacArthur was proactive in taking on the challenge, should it happen. It never happened, as we know. Perhaps that saved my dad’s life?

In 1972, fifty years ago, we welcomed a Japanese Rotary exchange student into our home. She was from Sapporo. It was interesting that year, because the Winter Olympics were in Sapporo. The young girl was sad that she was away from her hometown during those games. We were all able to watch the events on American television.

It was wonderful that my dad shared those events with me. I think about his activities each year on Veterans Day. Today being Veterans Day, I thought I would share these events. Now. If I could only find the tape recording I made of my father telling this story! Somewhere in my house that tapes still exists!

Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand, and Socialism

As portrayed in the fantasy world of a fictional character named John Galt (and others – “where is John Galt?”), public transportation is a communist and socialist plot to destroy the world.  Republicans like Paul Ryan take this “socialist plot” seriously.  Same with Sid Dinnerstein in Palm Beach County, as he derides any attempt to improve public transit systems. And Rick Scott who turned back money from the stimulus package to build a high-speed rail system.

I see this issue of public transit in a different light.  I see public transit as a healthy competitive force in the transportation and energy industries, competing against corporate monopolies.  There are some metropolitan areas which are able to break even and sometimes make a profit on public transit.

If it is run correctly, public, or mass, transit is as capitalist as Mom, apple pie and baseball are American ideals.

After World War II, a Republican general named Douglas MacArthur became Supreme Commander of Japan.  We TRAINED the Japanese and changed their culture from one of an ancient feudal landlord system to a modern-day economic giant.  The Japanese auto industry came here and ate our lunches.  But all the same, the Japanese HAVE invested in high-speed rail.  Detractors would look for the negative in those investments, but consider how well that society and culture has competed in the world markets?

Republicans who worship Ayn Rand would turn back the clocks to the days of the feudal landlords, rather than moving America forward.  Paul Ryan would do the same.  Yet it was a REPUBLICAN – Gen. Douglas MacArthur – who molded the Japanese nation into the competitive force it has become.  Due to his effective leadership in Japan, this has enabled that nation to think in long-term strategic investment strategies and have been very successful.  In contrast, powerful Americans stupidly embrace short-term investment more aggressively than ever before.  “Me first and I want it now” is the evil words in America today, contrary to what truly works.

Only President Obama has provided a long-term vision for America, through investments in industries which can help us become energy independent, including public transit systems, which use less energy.

Despite the fantasy world created by Ayn Rand, there are also side benefits to public transportation.  One of those is the ability to solve our drunk driving problems and reduce the punitive nature proposed by iron-fisted law and order jerks.  In nations where public transit is more prevalent, a person who drinks too much is not allowed to get behind the wheel of a car, but has an option to take public transportation instead.  Long-term, perhaps this can be a more efficient solution, too.  But of course, silly me – American wealthy ones refuse to think in terms of long-term efficiencies, don’t you know?

Paul Ryan may flip-flop and say what people want him to say.  But in the end, he does wish to invoke policies based on the greed of Ayn Rand, reducing programs like Medicare, Social Security, and public transportation, despite the case some of us can make that these systems CAN better stimulate a capitalist free market – competing with the big corporate monopolies.  That is the hidden agenda – the big corporate monopolies which act like a Soviet politburo, but pretend they are not by pointing false fingers at those who wish to invoke free market capitalism.

I would argue that the former Soviet Union was a form of crony capitalism.  But Paul Ryan and other Ayn Rand worshipers are so caught up in the Atlas Shrugged fantasy world that they miss this point.

President Obama has a better sense of what it takes to get this nation running again.  But he needs our cooperation, not a knife in the back by people who are suckered into the negativity of Fox Noise and other Media outlets – and refuse to consider there might just be a positive side which is not being fully presented.

Go ahead.  Attack what I say.  Stubbornly ignorant ones intent on holding on to what they believe will ALWAYS find something wrong with any solution which does not quite fit into their narrow line of vision.

“Seek wisdom, not certainty.” — Diana Butler Bass.

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