doves, hawks and the passage of time…

I guess my biggest failure was not getting re-elected.
And I learned two things; one is that you ought not to ever let
American hostages be held for 444 days in a foreign country without extracting them.
I did the best I could, but I failed.

Jimmy Carter


(Prime Minister Chamberlain, upon his return to England on September 30, 1938,
holding the Munich agreement bearing his own and Adolf Hitler’s signatures.)

Are we the same world we were 82 years ago?

Obviously not.

Is that a bad thing?

Not at all.

Did we learn anything from Neville Chamberlain’s pipedream of brokering peace with Hitler?
When voices, such as Winston Churchill, were those proverbial lone voices in the desert,
calling out and proclaiming the actual truth.
The world chose to ignore such truthful warnings…and the results were disastrous.

Neville Chamberlain was what some would call a dove—a person who would rather
negotiate or bargain before ever considering conflict or war.

Churchill is what some would call a hawk.
They thought him to be a rable-rouser and one to beat the drums of war.

Yet perhaps most preferred wearing the rose-colored glasses of the doves.
We wanted to ignore trouble.
We wanted to think others thought like us.
We wanted to believe that the words of other people mirrored our own.

Yet in the end, we learned the hard way.

What of 1979?

Are we the same America we were 41 years ago?

No.

But is that a bad thing you ask?

In many ways, I think that perhaps it is.

In 1976 we celebrated our bicentennial.
American pride and patriotism were both at their highest since WWII.

We had come out from under the heaviness of the Civil Rights movement as well
as the angst produced by the Vietnam war.
The Summer of Love had come and gone and people seemed to
be regaining their senses.

I was soon headed off to college.

I was a news junkie even back then, so that hasn’t changed.
My dad and his older brother were both news junkies up to the day they each died.
My memories of my grandfather, their father, is of his constantly reading the newspaper–
even when the family was gathered for weekend retreats at the family farm in North Georgia.

Current events, world happenings, foreign policy…have always been in my blood.


(political cartoon from 1979)

The above political cartoon, which is rather crass, is one I actually had in a
scrape book saved from college.
It was a current event of the times.
I also have several news articles and political photos in that scrape book…
Images of Menachem Begin, President Carter and Anwar Sadat all locking arms following
the longed awaited peace accord, as well as articles regarding the later assassination
of President Sadat.

I had deeply admired Sadat—

I had known how he had cut his teeth as a young Muslim soldier,
having been on an opposing side of the Allies during WWII.
Later he was a chief military leader bent on fighting Israel.
As the ranking Egyptian general turned President, he called for
the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

None of that should be things that would ever endear such a world leader
to the likes of someone like me but it was because of
those very things that mixed with the actions of his later life that
would indeed leave a lasting impression upon me.

He began what appeared to be odd strides to reach out to Christians—
both Evangelical and Catholic.
He had a vision and seemed to know what he had to do to make it work.

When he had come to visit the US in late 1975, he personally asked Billy Graham to come
meet with him. Later he reached out to the Vatican, inviting Pope Paul VI to visit Egypt.
He seemed to understand the importance of having Christian support when considering
making peace with Israel.

And it was that vision and desire for peace that eventually got him killed.

Back then in those late years of the ’70s, even my art produced in my classes focused on
what was happening in the Middle East.
It seems that way back then, I knew the importance of the West’s relationship
with the Middle East.

Being a history major for more than half of my college life,
I was more than aware of the importance of the Middle East dating back to the time
of the Crusades and as a Christian…well we all know about that link.

Last week, I wrote a post where I recalled the Iran Embassy Hostage Crisis.
It cost Jimmy Carter his re-election.

Iran seems to remain a thorn in our side.

Recently we’ve been witness to a rising crescendo, in oh so many months, from Iran—
They have been personally responsible for a multitude of US military deaths.
They have been very vocal in the rankling of anti-US rhetoric—
And now we have the recent attack by Iran on an embassy that was actually sitting in a
neighboring nation.
We have a precarious and deeply troubling relationship with what was once
considered the land of Persia.

And so I found it most interesting that just the other day, our friend the Wee Flea,
made an interesting prediction on his blog regarding the US and Iran…

Quantum 75 – Predictions for 2020

In the past, David’s Quantum 75 predictions have been pretty much on the money…
I somehow fear this one will also come to fruition.

In the link that David provides to the BBC article regarding US / Iranian relations,
I found the following quote telling given that it was offered days before the bomb strike
killing the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani—

President Trump has threatened Iran after blaming it for Tuesday’s attack,
in which no US personnel were injured. Mr. Trump tweeted that Iran “will pay a very big price”
for any damage or loss of life. “This is not a warning, it is a threat,” he said.
But Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded by saying the US “can’t do a damn thing”.
Anti-American sentiment was widespread in Iraq, he added.

The President later offered the following tweet after the storming of our
Embassy in Iraq by Iranian interlopers:

Replying to @realDonaldTrump
….Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost,
or damage incurred, at any of our facilities.
They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.
Happy New Year!

It appears the President kept good on his word.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50966958

The previous President and his administration paid what was, in essence, a ransom–
millions of dollars paid in cash money–primarily under wraps and done quickly.
It was an ill attempt at brokering, or more accurately buying, what was thought
to be peace.

And so we saw, and have now lived with the aftermath, of how futile that all was.

Thus we now have a President who has repeated his warnings.

He first opted for the usual route.

He applied sanctions.
He reached out.
He stated what would be acceptable and what would not.

Then there was an Embassy attack.

It was noted that one of the individuals pictured in the crowd of attackers
had actually visited the White House as a guest of the previous president, Barak Obama.

Since there was very credible intelligence gleaned for future attacks,
President Trump acted…turning his words into actions.
No more payments, no more appeasement.

It was now known that America will no longer play games at the cost of American lives…
despite many now arguing to the contrary.
They have on the rose-colored glasses.

Be you a dove or be you a hawk, you have a president who makes good on his promises.
He puts American interests first and foremost and he also understands that appeasement
does not work.
But that doesn’t mean things will be any less precarious or any less perilous.
For there will always be nations who will hate our ideologies.
Nations who will hate who we are.
Nations who hate what it is that we stand for

And the sad thing, or rather make that the frightening thing, is
that there are now many within our own nation who now join the hatred.

As Abraham Lincoln reminds us, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

And so our prayers continue for the coming days, weeks, months and years.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors
you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 12:2-3

When a predator comes calling

“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”
― Jack London
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(red shouldered hawk / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Gather up the woman and children,
and katy bar the door. . .
there’s a new sheriff in town”

It was raining.
It was also the middle of the day.
Glancing out the window, I spot something a bit out of the ordinary.
There, in the middle of the yard, in the middle of the rain, stood a bird.
And not just any bird mind you.
I did a double take.
That’s no crow. . .
Hummm. . .

By all appearances it seemed that an apex predator was making himself at home in the middle of my back yard.
And as it is most common to spy hawks soaring over head, seeing one standing in the middle of one’s yard was a bit unsettling.
Was it hurt I pondered.
Had it seen a mouse and swooped in for the kill?

I usually see hawks overhead, on a clear blue sky kind of day, lazily circling, contently catching a thermal and often being harassed by crows and mockingbirds doing their best to send the predator flying away from unsuspecting nests and young.
Growing up in the middle of Atlanta, hawks were a common sight as they are birds which appear to adapt well to change and urban growth. What do you think keeps all those city pigeons in check? However seeing one strolling around the yard is not so common.

I grabbed the camera and began snapping away. Unfortunately I was taking pictures through the slats of the shutters as I was afraid to make any noise or noticeable movement, plus I was shooting through the rain—the resulting pictures are grainy at best.

I never did see anything that he was actually chasing nor did I note an injury. He ran around a bit, which actually had me laughing as he looked a bit silly darting about in the soggy grass in the pouring down rain.
I was thankful our cats were indoors as I have read that a hungry hawk is not deterred by small dogs or cats–hunger is hunger and a predator can’t be choosy.

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Eventually my feathery friend must have tired of trotting through the wet grass as he decided to fly up to a nearby small tree, confirming that he was most likely not injured.
And whereas I enjoy such encounters with the wilds of nature, I just hoped this bird was merely visiting and had not decided to take up residence. Remember, I’m wanting to get a few backyard chickens- – – as the coop is vacant, ready and waiting—No chicken dinner here, no siree.

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Ode to the birds of winter

In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, Long ago.
Christina G Rossetti

Ode to the birds.
They are lively busy creatures offering constant fascination and entertainment. A marvel of agility, their tiny, almost weightless, structures coupled with a most beautiful plumage, makes them a favorite of both the trained, as well as the casual, observer.

Man has spent most of his existence wishing that he too could be a free as the birds, soaring upward and heavenward.
It is even theorized that perhaps it is to the birds we should look when wishing to understand the mysteries of the dinosaurs.

The following images are of just a few the backyard residence and guests which call our yard either home or hotel. . .

Here are two different images of a northern flicker. Both the red bellied woodpecker and the northern flicker are native to this area. Both birds are very similar in appearance and make for interesting observation.

Flickers like digging for bugs and insects be it in the ground or on a tree. This particular flicker is burrowing down in the snowy ground looking for what may be lurking just under the snow. Both flickers and red bellied woodpeckers will readily feed from suspended bird feeders, preferring larger seeds, peanuts and dried fruit.
Up against a tree, the flicker acts very much like his kin the more common woodpecker, poking around for insects.

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Mystery in the snow. . .
Note the outline of spread wings and tail.
Might this be a snow angel of sorts?
Followed by, for some small rodent no doubt, a scene of something most wickedly fowl / foul.
Finally, we spy the perpetrator perched high within the cover of the trees—the stealthy red shouldered hawk.

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Here, gathered underneath the feeder, is a grouping of sparrows and what I thought to be a visiting Baltimore Oriole but was recently corrected (12/12/14) that the bird is actually an Eastern Towhee.

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As usual, the permeant resident of the yard, our mockingbird

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And of course the beautiful contrast of the brightly colored male red cardinal against the pristine snow. Note the myriad of bird tracks all through the snow surrounding the cardinal.

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