Friday, December 22, 2017

Our Bicentennial Crisis by Pete Davis

Our Bicentennial Crisis

Pete Davis, Harvard Law Class of 2018, has written a compelling book on the current crisis in our legal education system. 

“Our Bicentennial Crisis” focuses on Harvard Law School, but in greater context is an examination of our culture and educational system.

Mr. Davis breaks down our legal education situation into historical, current, and future perspectives. His call to reform and refine the current system is a dissection of our legal culture. A culture which has grown to exclude citizens from the most basic of legal services due to the unbearable cost of litigation. His solutions are workable, but will probably not win too many converts among the legal crowd.

I highly recommend reading his book.

You can get it as a PDF download through this link:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Favorite BelgianN

You have one, don’t you? I mean, how hard is it to choose? OK, this is about misperception and how you don’t know who you think you know.

People in your life will mislead you or you can do it to yourself. The bad guys are all around us and some of them look like good people. Our social media doesn’t help as it perpetuates ignorance through jingoism.

You’ve got all those Hollywood stereotypes, like Colonel Klink or Sergeant Shultz on “Hogan’s Heroes” or maybe you like the film versions of famous Nazis. Hitler is so easy to caricature, that funny little Chaplin-like mustache and all the goose-stepping armies.

Unfortunately, in real life, Nazis can almost appear to be human. They have families, jobs, companies, and, as in my case, you might work for one.

No, I didn’t know that I was working for a Nazi. It took almost 30 years to find out. Still, it was an experience I’ll never forget, mainly due to the discipline demanded by my former employer. He didn’t take no shit, want to talk, or hang-out after work. Group therapy involved riding moto-cross.

I was a young, impressionable lad, living in a foreign country. Belgium is a lovely little place that most Americans now know for its beer. In the late 1960s it was known for NATO, the Common Market (later to evolve into the European Union), and great moto-cross riders.

After school was out, summer of my junior year, 1970, I went to work for one of the local BMW dealers. Which was beneficial in that I apprenticed at a usable trade, made a few dollars ($5 USD per week), and tried to learn French and Flemish, since English wasn’t spoken at the shop. When working in a foreign language you have to pay close attention, otherwise the boss is liable to do something that could injure you, inadvertently, of course. I found this out when the maestro scorched me with hot slag while cutting the rusted muffler off a BMW sedan with a welding torch. Ya, ve vil make you tough, heh?

Of course, I wanted to know how the maestro came to work on BMWs.

There was some small talk, very little, during our afternoon tea and biscuits (cookies to Americans). The other apprentice helped with the translation, when I couldn’t decipher the conversation. It turned out that he had been a Luftwaffe mechanic during World War II, working on Focke-Wulff  Fw 190 fighter aircraft powered by 41liter BMW radial engines. I didn’t question how that happened to him.

After all, Vietnam was on, American youth were being drafted into the military. Something I knew about first hand, as I was a military brat, attending a DOD high school, run by an Army colonel. I figured that when the German Wehrmacht invaded Belgium, he got drafted into service. I really don’t know how he came to join the Luftwaffe.

He was all business, even down to his relaxation. On the weekends, a huge, 500cc Rickman Metisse moto-cross bike was wheeled out and taken to a gravel pit behind NATO. Christian, the Belgian apprentice, had a Husqvarna 250 to ride. That left his retired, 1953 DKW 125 street bike, converted to run in the dirt. I bought it, a $50 dollar deal. There went my summer earnings, all in one shot.

We would take the bikes out to the pit and ride them on Sunday. A great experience for a kid like me. The maestro had been the Belgian moto-cross champion in the mid-50s, so he was no slouch on the bike. I learned a lot about riding from him. Tips and tricks that would later save my life more than once while riding on the street. Like when I had to go off-road into a ditch to avoid an asshole coming at me head-on, shaking his fist at me.

All things pass, the summer ended, back to school. I rode some more during the winter, but after I graduated my parents went back to the USA. The US Army hired me for a clerk in 1971, so I didn’t work at the BMW shop that year. The DKW went into storage, something about not being able to take it back to the USA with our personal goods.

Twenty-five years went by. My father went to Europe on a business trip. He stopped in at the old BMW shop. It was closed but the maestro was still there, living above the shop with his wife. He wanted to know when I was going to get my old DKW. He had saved it for me all of those years. The old man told me about it when he got back to the USA.

It was another couple of years before I returned to Europe. My life was good, I was working as a technical writer, making decent money. Before the writing job, I had worked for a BMW dealer in Ohio. They gave me a good deal on ordering a new BMW M3 in 1998. 45 years old and I had never owned a new car, so I special ordered this one.

I flew to Munich, picked up the BMW at the factory. Drove the hell out of it for two weeks, smoking the Autobahn to Vienna, then back to Germany and over to the Netherlands. Where my employer had the prospects of a new contract. I then cruised down to Brussels, the old high school, and the BMW garage.

The street had changed, shops were gone, exteriors upgraded, new row houses built. I found the garage, parked the car and went upstairs to the apartment. Knocked on the door.

A woman answered it. She was older, but not the wife. I asked her about the maestro with my fractured French. She immediately began ranting at me, screaming about “…that Nazi!” I was shocked, blown back by her tirade.

She was his daughter. I had never heard about her. It was obvious that she hated her father and didn’t want to discuss him. I asked about my motorcycle. She screamed some more about, “I have nothing to do with him. It’s not here, I don’t know anything, go away!”

I shook my head. All these years. I never had any idea that the man who taught me how to work on BMWs, ride motorcycles, and generally be disciplined in my work was a Nazi. I mean, he was a Belgian. I thought they all hated the Nazis.

You never know, someone you know could be one. I found out the hard way.

The only question I have is; was the daughter telling the truth? 

Time to look into some World War II records.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Your Favorite Nazi

In this day and age, we still rant and rave about the Nazis.

I've a lifetime of experience with this political situation.

Although I'm not now, nor have ever been a Nazi, I've been accused of being one on numerous occasions because of my birthplace. I was born in Germany to an American father and German mother. When I move to the USA as an infant I grew up in Tennessee for the first 10 years, then moved to Ohio.

It didn't matter which part of the country I lived in, there was always the Nazi comments.

The sad irony is that many Americans have supported those in power who have been influenced by the Nazi movement. Yet, they wouldn't recognize it due to their education (indoctrination).

Yes, even those with higher educations are not immune to being swayed by the lure of political power. It's a false idol for them, since they never really know true power, but live under the illusion that might makes right.

In the turmoil of our current social unrest we can only hope that people begin to realize that everything they are being told is agenda driven to suit the interests of the elites.

Ignore what they say, watch what they do.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Going Dutch, Trials of a Wage Slave, first video

I wrote "Going Dutch, Trials of a Wage Slave" after a lifetime of working in various industries.

It would be great to say that all employers are created equal and give their employees decent benefits, good working conditions, and pay them what they're worth.

Unfortunately, the employee, to many companies, is one of the most disposable of assets.

After all, there are plenty of people out on the street who will do the job for less.

If a company made an investment in training someone, why would they throw the employee's abilities and work experience out the door?

Too often it's a matter of short-term 'cost savings'. All done to boost the bottom line, impress investors and raise the stock price. Maybe the boss considers the employee a threat to their position.

In the end, the company usually has problems, but management is rarely to blame.

As long as the investors and upper management get to bail out with a profit, it doesn't matter that the employees lost their jobs and sometimes, their pensions.

First video/introduction

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hate in America, Army Style

First and foremost, I'm a military brat.

I know, first hand, how things are on military bases.
How the chain of command can become a tangle of errors.

All those acronyms that shorthand military life.
Something that civilians will never understand.

What has happened to Army Lt. Katie Ann Blanchard is beyond comprehension.

This hate has to stop.


Hate in America, Army Style

Write, email, call your congressman.

Ask Obama and Trump how this could have happened, as they both proclaimed support for our military.

Time for the Eclipse of America

Next week at this time, the Great American Eclipse of 2017 will be history. There will be millions of photos, videos, selfies, and commentary.

I've seen a total eclipse from the Netherlands back in 1999. Unfortunately, I didn't take off from work to see it. Totality was further south in Belgium, France and Luxembourg.

Standing in the parking lot with my co-workers it was a short but exciting event, in a geeky sort of way. Like they say, 'You had to be there'.

It also seemed to herald a death spiral to my working life.

The job I had was with an American company,doing contract work for another American company at their manufacturing plant. Everything connected with the job was a trial due to my former employer having never worked in Europe. Let's just say that conditions deteriorated rather than improved over time.

Was it due to the eclipse? Probably not, but down through history eclipses have been noted as portents of major changes. My life has changed dramatically since 1999.

I've spent the past 17 years trying to understand how and why America has been become the country we now have, one that appears to be lost, without principles.

A country where liars, cheats, thieves, and scoundrels flourish, and are admired for it.

All things rotten soon collapse.

I am think we are about to see that happen to America.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Fools

It's that day. The one where we honor those people who are misled by those willing to mislead.

It should be a year-long event, the way politicians are acting, worldwide.

More fun and games as I deal with a claim against an estate, trying to get what is owed me.

Life can only get more interesting from this point on.

Don't be nobody's fool today.

Ask for their papers.