Hello, my name is…
1 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Democrats established a firm control of Texas politics after Reconstruction ended, and their local paramilitary white supremacy organizations continued to suppress the vote of the former slaves. But when the freedmen pushed a Republican to the federal House of Representatives in the 1890s, despite everything they did, the Democrats were done playing nice. They were the rightful rulers of Texas, not the Northern Carpetbaggers, not the so-called Southern Scalawags, and definitely not those Negroes who needed to be shown their place again. If assassinations and terror tactics did not do the job, then they would just have to change the laws so it would be illegal to vote. They added poll tax requirements, instituted White Primaries, and added literacy tests all while making certain that the segregated schools would not teach the skills needed to pass them. They banned Negroes from jury duty and law enforcement, which also banned them from carrying weapons of any kind, and turned them, once again, into second-class citizens not fit to show their faces in polite society.
2 - Medron Pryde - Happy Birthday to Me - Yeah…I just passed my birthday again. At over forty, that puts me solid into the middling of my years, unless my plan to live forever works out. Then I’m just starting on this merry go round. ;)
I got a bunch of birthday wishes, the first one coming from Hallmark. Fitting I suppose. Then a bunch of random e-mail from companies whose newsletter mailing lists I'm on. Thank God I didn’t get one from Bloomberg. Then some people I actually know. Thank you. All of you. :)
I got in a fun game of BattleTech, where both me and a friend who will remain nameless for his own protection found out just how powerful electronic warfare can be. C3 for those who know it. For the rest of you, think of it as really good equipment for shooting stuff far away as if it is really close. It was a good game. It was a fun game. And spending time playing is always a good way to spend a birthday weekend. We also ate Indian, so it was a good time all around.
On a not-so-good point, one of my favorite authors released a new list of fans that made it into his work, and it appears my part has been edited out. He wrote me in after a call for names with the standard qualifications that nothing is guaranteed and that editing phase can take anybody out. And from what he said, this particular editing phase was particularly complicated with many scenes cut and added. Given matters are as they are, I expected I would be edited out, but it still disappoints me to see it happen. And finding out about it on my birthday weekend was a real bummer.
Outside that, on a personal update, I’m still writing my stories and about to publish a new one. Two are pretty much ready for it, but I’ve got real life matters to look at first. Taxes. Woohoo. And the not-so-fun job of seeking an eviction for homebuyers who decided they were going to stop paying me money for the house. So I go to court in a week. I’ve successfully gone over forty years without spending time in a courtroom, now a pair of squatters has me seeking it out. On the plus side, if I can get them out, and find someone else to buy the place and really give me actual money for it, I get to rebuild the retirement savings I lost to Obamacare. Which is pretty much a really good reason to go through with all of this lawyer and court stuff.
So Happy Birthday to Me. :)
3 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - With Negroes banned from carrying weapons to defend themselves and successfully denied the right to vote, what power base Republicans had in Texas and the other Southern States effectively evaporated. The literacy tests and poll taxes also weeded out many of the poorer White families, but that was no matter. Those the Democrats wanted to vote were granted grandfather status. The rest were just Poor White Trash who could not be trusted to vote the way they were told, so losing their votes was a feature, not a bug. Texas voter turnout dropped from nearly 90% to just over 20%, allowing the Democrats to generate a solid lock on political power. Similar disenfranchisement tactics in other Southern States built a nearly insurmountable Democrat majority that would dominate national politics for a century.
4 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Though the Democrats dominated national Congressional politics in the later years of the 19th Century, they only managed to elect New York’s Glover Cleveland to the Presidency. Republican Presidents like Benjamin Harrison continued to push the restoration of Negro rights, but Democrat Congressmen successfully blocked those attempts. Then in 1912 Theodore Roosevelt split his Progressive Republicans away from William Howard Taft’s Republicans and opened the doors for Progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Wilson won with 42% of the vote, making him the first Southern Democrat President after the Civil War. Texas and the Southern States voted in a solid block for him, bringing along the Midwest, and many other States to generate a crushing Electoral win. Wilson then proceeded to press an agenda to fundamentally transform the United States of America along Progressive ideals.
5 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency was a time of great change in the United States of America. His Democrats passed the 16th Amendment that overruled the Supreme Court ban on Federal Income Taxes, and he quickly initiated the first income taxes in 1913 as well as oversaw major tariff reform. He also pressed for the creation of the Federal Reserve and introduced national segregation into the federal workplaces, the military, and other elements of public life. The 17th Amendment made the Senate seats popularly elected, and the 18th Amendment introduced Alcoholic Prohibition. He also brought America into World War I and spearheaded the creation of the League of Nations. And he screened the first movie in the White House, The Birth of a Nation, which denigrated the Negroes and inspired the recreation of the Ku Klux Klan it portrayed as heroes of the Southern People. It truly was a time of fundamental change in America.
6 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Texas economy was fundamentally changed in 1901 when they found oil. It could be used to make fuel for the growing numbers of personal vehicles spreading throughout America, but so could crops. All major vehicles of the time could burn alcohol made by farmers, or oil-based gasoline bought at a town general store. Gas stations were coming into being in the big cities, but they had zero market penetration into the vast rural areas of the nation. Prohibition made it illegal to make alcohol, even for purposes of fuel, and drove the Texas oil industry to unheard of levels of profit and market dominance in the years that followed. And once Prohibition was finally repealed, the oil industry had generated a lock on the market, through a widespread network of gas stations, and “black gold” had become the fuel of the future that would make the United States of America the pre-eminent world power of the time.
7 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Texas spent the first three decades of the Twentieth Century expanding their economy in an onrushing boom that seemingly nothing could stop. Eastern cotton plantations generated a strong cash crop, northern ranchers fed beef to the nation, western oil wells produced the fuel that moved people and supplies throughout America, and southern ports imported and exported goods from and to all over the world. The great cities were some of America’s most cosmopolitan population centers on rich rivers and harbors, and a man could ride a hundred miles without seeing a single person in the vast expanses of the western and northern plains. Texas was an economic titan that many thought would never fall.
8 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The stock market collapse on Black Friday of 1929 nearly destroyed the Texas economy, and the Dust Bowl that followed ruined what farms survived. City workers lost their jobs, farmers lost their farms, Mexican citizens were sent home with one-way tickets. Thousands of Texans went to California in search of a better life, and Texas struggled to find a way to rebuild the good times it had lost for a decade. But federal programs limited how much they could produce, ostensibly to keep them from producing more than there was a demand for, and the economic fortunes of Texas stumbled on with little relief.
9 - Medron Pryde - Take it Easy - As I write this, the Corona Virus has killed just over 100 Americans, and we have cases in both the Western and Eastern seaboards. Though most are in the west, which makes a certain amount of sense when you consider it started in China.
It would seem that President Trump’s decision to close all travel from China was a good one. Despite the many calls of his Racism for doing so at the time, and others saying he never even did it now that it seems it was a good idea, it appears to have worked. Most of our cases have come from cruise ships coming in off the Pacific, though the much-feared “Community Spread” is starting to catch on in various areas. But we are much better off than countries like Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea.
The travel ban greatly slowed the virus’ propagation into America, which gave our health organizations time to study it, figure out what tests could work, and begin coming up with treatment regimes for it. I’m not sure we will ever be able to calculate how many lives that saved, both here in America and around the world. Remember that people from all over the world come here. We seem to have stopped ourselves from being a major propagator of the virus to other countries with that travel ban.
That may change if the virus continues to spread, but so far I think we can be cautiously optimistic that we will avoid the utter devastation that has occurred in China and the other countries worst hit by this. As I noted in a previous post, we will almost certainly suffer some supply issues. Delayed kickstarters, various critical goods will run short, and have already in some areas if the news reports are to be believed. This will almost certainly get worse, but I am cautiously optimistic that we can avoid a broad recession or depression here in America.
That will change if the Corona virus hits general distribution in major American population centers. Or if the speculative “second vector” of science fiction bugs hits us with a far more deadly second string of the virus. But the current virus appears to be little more dangerous than the normal flu bug, killing mainly those with reduced immune systems, whether via age or other health problem. Normally healthy people appear to get it, get over it, and go back to normal life. And there is evidence that many people get it, get over it, and never even realized they had it.
Unless it gets far more deadly, or becomes far more widespread, I predict only minor to moderate economic damage. And while any death is a tragedy, this looks like it may end up being on the rather low scale when compared to other worldwide pandemics. The trick of course is how quickly China gets up and running again. I think this has shown us all how much we depend on Chinese factories. The old story about how when China sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold has a sudden visible relevance now. I hope we all learn from this and incentivize the return of production of certain vital strategic interest materials back to America. If not a far broader program in all areas.
Assuming this isn’t the precursor of a real life, world ending, zombie apocalypse. That could neatly mess up all our plans, you know.
10 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - World War II fundamentally changed Texas both in her economic and her cultural sectors. The federal government needed factories, hospitals, schools, and military bases, and Texas had plenty of young men looking for better opportunities. Nearly a million of them volunteered to go fight, and hundreds of thousands of farmers found much better jobs in the vacated industries. Women, Mexicans, and Negroes went to work in important positions in unprecedented numbers to fuel the sudden requirement of maximum production of all war supplies. Hundreds of thousands of Americans came to Texas for military training, and nearly a hundred thousand German prisoners were sent to Texas to work the fields for years. Texas saw people and ideas from all over the world, and that shattered the political and cultural dominance the Democrats had crafted in the last century.
11 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Texas veterans returned home after World War II to find a State revolutionized by the wartime economy. Factories and training centers had become more important than farms and ranches, and the oil industry had branched out into high quality plastic and rubber production for the war effort. Then the drought hit and massive numbers of rural Texans moved to the cities in search of more jobs. They found them in the schools and factories that needed a constant influx of new workers to fuel their rapid expansion. And a steady stream of Mexicans crossed the border to find jobs when demand outstripped the supply of local workers. It was a time of economic expansion as wartime industries transitioned to producing the home goods and family vehicles that would revolutionize American life.
12 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Many in Post-War Texas tried to march back the many reforms necessity had pushed on them, especially for women and minorities. The fighting men (largely White Men) had come home, and it was time for them to take over again and restore balance. But women and minorities had prospered under the War Economy, and they were not ready to go back to their good little corners and disappear again. They protested, and when their protests were broken up, the average American saw it on their new television sets via the fledgling networks that dominated the time period. Americans were horrified and demanded change, and an alliance of Republicans and Northern Democrats finally succeeded in pushing through a new round of Civil Rights legislation and federal action that outlawed Jim Crow, Segregation and all of its bastard children, and introduced nationwide rights and protections aimed at women as well. They also built the federal civil protection infrastructure to make certain that these laws would be enforced. This destroyed the Democrats’ ability to crush any opposition by simple fiat and Texans began openly converting to the Republican Party again.
13 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - As the end of the Twentieth Century came to a close, Texas had transitioned from a dominantly White Democrat governing culture to a strongly multi-ethnic Republican State, though there continued to be many fracture lines in their changing demographics. High industries produced everything from cars to plastics while Texas ports fed and clothed the nation. Texas oil fueled the nation, while it was quickly expanding its position into the renewable energy markets. Farms and ranches still held sway in much of the State economy, and Texas universities were a dominant force in the American educational system. The Lone Star State was one of the most influential, highly populated, and wealthy States in the Union as America entered the new Millennium, and they had every plan to maintain that position as one of their most popular governors in history won election to the Presidency of the United States of America.
14 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - It is impossible to overestimate how much September 11, 2001 affected Texas. Texas soldiers had always marched to war and came back having seen the world outside their State. And when one of their own, now President of the United States, said that the whole world was going to hear from America after terrorists brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the Texans cheered and went out to fight again. They came home after seeing the world, meeting new and interesting people as the old saying goes, and then killing them. They came home from fighting against the Islamic Jihad to a nation bitterly divided by partisan politics, and some might say they became disillusioned. Others say they simply began to recognize the world around them. Renewed calls to simply secede from America, as proponents claimed they had the right to under their original annexation, made national news, though generated little actual action. But as the years and decades passed by, Texas made quiet preparations to make certain that they would remain standing should Bad Things happen in the other States.
15 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Second Great Depression. Some people call it the Second Civil War. Others put emphasis on the Drug Wars. Or the Cybernetic Wars. The Republic of Texas fought them all. Texas was ready. Mostly. Some cities fell into chaos, and the points of failure were heartbreaking. But Texas survived the opening stages of the federal government finally collapsing under decades of overspending and wild partisan governmental swings. Texas boasted one of the most well-rounded mixes of production and service economies in America, and was one of the few States that still maintained its own State Guard military forces separate from the national units. When the federal government lost control of its own functions, Texas was simply better prepared to continue operating than most other States. And the majority of military bases and units in Texas either officially joined the Texas State Guard or effectively chose to operate with it when federal leadership evaporated. This gave Texas an impressive amount of military power under their control when the Mexican Drug Cartels thought they could profit from the chaos running rampant through America by making inroads into Texas.
16 - Medron - Humans - While the Left and Lefter Coasts of the country were going nuts over this Wuhan Virus thing, the Midwest has been quietly going on about our lives without mostly noticing it.
For me, it was court week. Yes, for the first time in my four decades of life, I have finally gone into a courtroom. My journey to this point in my life began just over a year ago when the people buying my vacation house Up North, to pay for the extra expenses Obamacare incurred on me, decided that sending me money was an optional expense on their part. An option they chose not to exercise.
The last year has included me getting them off the deed, sending them multiple eviction letters, speaking with the local town clerks and police, and generally keeping abreast of the situation as each legal step took time to resolve. This week, after they failed to abide by their own promises multiple times, and ignored every eviction notice, was the time for the final eviction hearing before a judge to get an official, government decreed, eviction notice. For which I had to be there.
So, for the first time in my life, I walked into a courtroom this week. Wearing a navy blue suit, because that’s what you do when you go to court. With short cut hair, because I was going to court. With a neatly trimmed beard, because I was going to court. Wearing a nice blue and red tie, because I was going to court. The bailiff took one look at me walking up in the courthouse, smiled, and said “you look like you are going to court.”
I will note that I was the only one in the waiting area wearing a suit. I will further note that when my lawyer arrived, that made TWO people wearing suits. And according to my rather biased family, I looked better than my lawyer. I will YET FURTHER note that the individual who chose not to exercise his option to follow the contract and pay me showed up in a camouflage vest, hunting pants and boots, a baseball (I kid you not) cap like some long-haired hippie from a Charlie Daniels song, and smelling of vodka. Because he was going to court.
The court case did not last five minutes. I did not exchange a single word with the judge. She talked to the defendant. She talked to my lawyer. And then she made a ruling on the eviction date. And it was done as quickly as that. The extent of my interaction with her was standing up after her decision, looking at her to get her attention, and giving her a half bow in thanks. And then I left as she had dismissed us.
I had to drive four hours, one way, to go to court. I dressed up. My manager had to cover my overnight shift at work, because we are short staffed. And then I had to drive another four hours back home the next day. We had to rent a hotel room for the night. We had to board a dog for the night. I have had to spend over 2,000 dollars so far, taking back my property, with at least another 1,000 to go, and go to all this work, because this individual decided he didn’t want to pay 200 dollars a month in payments.
But the house will soon be back in my possession. And then it will be time to find another buyer, because I still have Obamacare bills that need to be paid. And I really can’t afford to have a vacation house anymore. So that’s my week.
The rest of all you crazies have been listening to the media and panicking over this Wuhan Virus thing, buying up TP for your bungholes like you are about to start a marathon session of Taco Bell and Chipotle reruns. I have been dealing with life and going to court. Shaking lawyer’s hands. Seeing new and interesting people. Probably the same yahoos that are buying all the TP in preparation for a respiratory illness.
Times like this are when I really don’t understand humans.
17 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Everybody knows the story of Dixie, the virtual cheerleader from Texas Tech who woke up and realized she liked her students. Even if they had a tendency to create indecent pictures of her that no Proper Southern Lady could abide. Despite those questionable tendencies, she chose to protect them from the very bad Drug Lords who wanted to hurt them. We have seen the shows and movies about her. We know the paramilitary gear she acquired or built to fight them. And we know that she truly made a difference in the Drug Wars, and helped us all win the Cybernetic Wars. But the history that most people do not know, beyond what is in her stories, is how much she worked with the Texas State Guard and the other military units aligned with it. Yes, she and her little misfit gang of students and teachers killed many Drug Lords and lesser enforcers, but it was the Texas State Guard that rolled in and secured Mexican towns and cities when the gloves came off. It was the Texas State Guard that enforced peace and order in lands long riven by internecine gang warfare. And it was the Texas State Guard that helped usher the Mexican States into the Union as time went on.
18 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Texas State Guard went to great lengths to secure the Texas borders during the Second Great Depression. They also worked with neighboring reserve and national guard agencies to further encourage order where it could be maintained. All while working to not officially mobilize on American soil. It was a delicate balance, and many of them went to work under the official command of local law offices. The Texas Rangers as an example assembled more of their men and women on the old Mexican border to answer rising drug cartel attacks, and the Texas State Guard effectively became their heaviest hammer when drug cartel nails needed extreme reactions. So when Texas finally moved to deal with the Drug Lord problem once and for all, they gave the job to the Texas Rangers. Who called their good friends in the Texas State Guard, who called their good friends in the neighboring States, who all went to work with a coordination that stunned the Drug Lords on the other side of the Mexican border. It was this action that historians credit with creating the reborn Republic of Texas we all know in the present day.
19 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Many Texas cities fell into mismanagement, chaos, and collapse during the Second Great Depression. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was the most spectacular of those failures, but there were others. Local political policies left them as vulnerable as the federal government to the Second Great Depression and the other crises of the time. But the local sheriffs and police chiefs kept most of the counties and cities operating, and the Texas Rangers brought the local peace officers together in a cohesive whole while maintaining faith with the elected Texas State government. The bureaucracy fell on hard times as sacred cows were slaughtered with abandon, but Texas and her neighbors survived the chaos as leaner and meaner entities better capable of dealing with hard times. Of which the Second Great Depression, the Drug Wars, and the Cybernetic Wars offered aplenty.
20 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - It is an interesting historical point that the term Drug Lords was not common when the Second Great Depression began. They were drug cartels and gangs, and while some of them were certainly rich and powerful enough to rule small nations, it was not what they were called. Drug Lord was a fictitious title created for the Dixie the Drug Lord Slayer show. It was silly and ridiculous entertainment, with only a passing resemblance to historical accuracy, especially in the first season. But Dixie was alive, and the kernel of her story that was real struck home with a people caught in the midst of a world-ending financial collapse. She laughed and joked as she killed stereotypical, black hat-wearing, mustache twirling, liberally-tattooed drug gang lords who pushed old people into streets as object lessons and kicked little dogs for the thrill of it. It was a gleeful-dark parody of real life, with some rather painful depictions of certain marginalized groups by modern standards, but the clarity of the good versus evil fight resonated with everything the watchers of the day wanted to see. Especially the Texans who knew her real story. They welcomed and supported the show with nearly religious fervor and Drug Lord became part of the common parlance, where it has remained ever since.
21 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The three neighboring cities of El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces had long been home to major issues due to the borders dividing them. They had seen a bizarre range of local governments in the last century, from those purchased or terrorized by the drug cartels to do whatever they wanted, to those elected on law and order campaigns and promising to deal with the Drug Lords once and for all. They never managed to succeed. The Second Great Depression and the Drug Wars forced those cities to make a stand, and it was not an easy one. They had powerful police departments and full support from the Texas Rangers, even if they technically had not jurisdiction, but the Drug Lords had many insiders and a total willingness to kill people who stood against them. It would be too strong to say that they fell into civil war. They did not fall, for instance. But gang and drug cartel warfare became far more common in all three cities, and peace officers throughout the region went to war with them.
22 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Borderplex, as the region around El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces was known, had a long history of fighting the drug cartels and various gangs. Some of their history was good. Some was bad. The Second Great Depression deprived them of the federal support they had long enjoyed, and the Drug Wars quickly escalated into high gear as the cartels thought they saw a chance to improve their position. Running gunfights passed through much of the Borderplex for months, placing the cities under conditions of virtual siege. Police, Sheriffs, and Texas Rangers fought the gangs and cartels every day, and citizen militias defended neighborhoods from rooftops and walls. They built or printed makeshift guns and mixed explosives in their backyards and garages, all in the fight to bring law and order back to their ravaged neighborhoods. It was a dangerous time to live in the Borderplex, and the cost in lives was heartbreaking, but they stood on their own in the end. They drove the drug cartels out, and they tamed the worst of the gang problem. They survived and thrived and help provide an example of how the Mexican States could move into a new future with their American neighbors.
23 - Medron - Quarantine - It is amazing how much the world can change in two weeks. Two weeks ago I forecasted a minor economic bump and some late kickstarters if the Wuhan Virus continued as it was. Slightly more deadly or around the same as the flue. Easily transmittable, but focused mainly on the elderly or immune-compromised. That trend has continued, though I did hold out the possibility of a second expression or some other change in the Wuhan Virus’s trends in general. I was mainly thinking of a major uptick in the illness beyond the current trends of the time.
I did not factor for the actions of the government in my forecast. I should have. That is totally on me.
We have seen some very sensible recommendations from the federal government. A declaration of emergency. Travel bans from infected nations. A two-page, very clear recommendation on how you should travel (or not) depending on your current situation. Suggestions that we not congregate in large groups, a number that started at 100 and has since dropped to 50 and then 10. Reminders to wash our hands and disinfect commonly used areas. These are all very sensible suggestions in my opinion. And following them will greatly reduce the spread of the Wuhan Virus.
Then certain State governments jumped in and demanded the shutting down of entire segments of our economy. Restaurants down to take out or delivery only. Bars closed. Note that these aren’t entirely bad suggestions, mind you. Limit social contact is a very good thing in a case like this. And any public space can pass the virus, so I do understand this. But in some States, all “non-essential” industries are closed for the duration. With each State deciding what is essential of course. Truck stops that truckers use to fuel up and feed themselves while delivering food and medicine aren’t essential. Right? So close them down. Maybe we should be ban all voluntary medical procedures? Great. Who decides what should be allowed or not. The government? Or the professionals who know what they are doing?
And that doesn’t even count those who have decided to use this emergency to try to infringe on certain Constitutionally-recognized rights. The right to protest and peaceably assemble. Just mind your personal space, please. I don’t want anybody sneezing on me. The right to have firearms. What? You think a virus is a good reason to take away people’s guns? Increasing the government’s authority to detain people without letting them see a lawyer or know what charges are being aimed at them? These are some pretty big asks here, and I’m looking real doubtful towards a lot of you government types right now.
This has all caused a rather…impressive kick to our collective posteriors when it comes to our economy. Who knew that shutting down entire sectors of our economy would negatively impact the economy? But have no fear. The federal government is here to help us in our hour of need. Right? Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating all weekend to get something done, to give a boost to the economy and help all the people who are being taken out of work by this whole thing. A major infusion of tax dollars to give us all a cushion so we can pay our bills. Oh, but wait. After finally coming to a compromise bill that will pass, the Head of the House of Representatives flies across the country to trump the compromise and say no to all of it.
So now we are back to our previous situation. Entire segments of the economy are shut down. Millions of Americans are under quarantine and unable to work. The economy is in what I would probably describe as something close to freefall for the foreseeable near future. And to think. Even a week ago, things still felt pretty normal to me. Just a little panic around the edges. Right.
Sometimes I just don’t understand humans.
24 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Bliss was one of three major United States Army Forts in Texas when the Second Great Depression began. It spread out from its headquarters in El Paso into New Mexico to the White Sands Missile Range where the first nuclear bomb was tested, which linked it with Holloman Air Force Base. It was a massive complex of interconnected military reservations just north of the Mexico border that housed an entire combined arms armored division, multiple fighter wings, a joint task force devoted to fighting drug cartels and terrorists, military research and development programs, and training cadres from all over America and the world. It trained and worked with foreign militaries from as near as Mexico to as far as India, and was a vital cog in the machine that ran and oversaw the Mexican-American border. And when the federal governments on both sides of that border collapsed, everyone looked to it for support in troubled times.
25 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Bliss had an important part to play in stabilizing the old Mexican-American border in the decades before the Second Great Depression. A joint task force based there fought the drug cartels and terrorists seeking to the cross the border, and so those very same groups worked to infiltrate the base with their own operatives. When both the American and Mexican federal governments collapsed under the weight of their own economic debt, money stopped flowing to it, and official orders were to shelter in place and keep the fort operating with duct tape if necessary. Civilian directives to deal or not deal with the growing crisis countermanded each other on a daily basis, and the fort commander was more of an administrator than a popular leader of men. And to add fuel to the fire, the gangs and drug cartels were committing crimes with weapons reported lost or destroyed during range testing or other incidents. It was not a good time for Fort Bliss.
26 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Bliss, Holloman Air Force Base, and the other military reservations around White Sands housed some of the smartest and brightest of minds in the world, gathered from all over America. They were ambitious and capable, intelligent and relentless in the pursuit of their duty. They fought the enemies of America, researched new methods of doing so, and trained America’s allies in the furtherance of that goal. Those strengths made them one of the premiere American military bases in the Continental United States. And when the American federal government collapsed under the weight of its own debt, those strengths became weaknesses. The only thing the intelligent and ambitious soldiers who performed their jobs so well asked was that the government give them enough money to support their families. The federal government failed to do that.
27 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The reasons for the final collapse of the American federal government were many. China’s formal announcement that they would collect the foreign debt America owed them. America renouncing the debt in its entirety, after adjusting the cost of dealing with various Chinese pandemics against those loans. The swift fall of the American dollar. The refusal of others to loan more money to the federal government. The wildly erratic orders from the civilian government as the economic crisis spread out of their control. The temporary Impeachment of the President. The dismissal of entire military chains of command in political witch hunts. Packing the Supreme Court. The violations of civil liberties. Entire textbooks have been painstakingly written detailing the Constitutional violations performed by the federal government in those days. The old federal government fell for a reason. But in the end, it might have been able to survive all of those violations in some reflection or manner if it had not failed to perform one final act. It had taken upon itself the responsibility to guarantee to the States and the people of America a certain level of funding and security. And in the end, it failed to give them both that money and that security.
28 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - One historical note of relevance is that the American federal government never truly dissolved. There was always someone claiming the Presidency, though historians do not typically recognize the non-elected Presidents of the time. There was a Congress, though its majority was selected via proven widespread voter fraud and there was widespread protests against the Impeachments of the final elected Presidents. And there was a Supreme Court, though the Post-Impeachment Presidents packed it with friendly judges to secure friendly rulings. The important point is that there was always a federal government claiming legitimacy in Washington D.C. But both a majority of Americans and the American States considered it illegitimate, and when it lost the power of the purse that federal spending had once guaranteed, it fell into irrelevancy. The bureaucracies and federal law enforcement agencies came apart without funding and the willingness of local jurisdictions to work with them. And when the non-elected Presidents attempted to mobilize a military whose funding they had already looted to fund their social goals, they found little remained of the once vast American military machine that would still answer their call.
29 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The vaunted American military, famous for following the chain of command no matter what, did not survive the federal leadership crisis that accompanied the Second Great Depression intact. Many American military units dispersed and their soldiers drove off to their various homes with as many supplies or weapons as they could carry. Some units continued to follow federal orders, including many infamous “Black Helicopter” teams that have long been a hallmark of the more interesting conspiracy stories. And much of what they did in those days added to the chaos all around the nation and beyond. But when States like Texas made patriotic calls to those members of the American military who held to the true ideals of America, many military units answered. As did many individual soldiers who felt those States were the best chance for the future. Every State was unique of course, and many had wildly different ideas of what America’s strengths and ideals were. These States took wildly divergent paths. Some prospered. Others did not.
30 - Medron - Social Distancing - Social Distancing is a phrase most of us never heard of before this recent unpleasantness. Though as an introvert, I have always practiced it. Few things annoy me more than people who feel the need to walk into my personal space without first being invited. Or those who try to walk right past “employee only” signs and into business back rooms. The fact that social distancing during the current unpleasantness has made that unthinkable is greatly pleasing to me in a great many ways.
If more people followed such a rational idea of maintaining appropriate personal space we would not have to even worry about the current unpleasantness. Especially if they took the equally rational precautions of washing their hands or not coughing on other people. Unfortunately, not everybody does, and so we have our current unpleasantness. One that can only be mitigated by changing the entire paradigm of what most people consider to be normal society. It is my profound hope that Social Distancing as we now understand it becomes the new normal.
The various jokes on the internet about this being the day I was made for are not far off. Though they are dark jokes, trying to hide the ugliness of the current unpleasantness. People are dying. A great tragedy for everyone. And many more people are losing their livelihoods. A further tragedy for all.
Orders in some States to shut down businesses have brought many industries built over literal centuries to a complete stop. The economic engine that built the world we know right now, the cars we drive, and the internet we talk to everybody on right now, has come to a screeching, screaming halt. We’re crawling right now, and I don’t know what it is going to take to restart all of this.
And to make it worse, States like New York that demand we accept their people traveling to our areas do not realize they are acting exactly like China when it demanded that nations not blockade their travel when they were the source of all of this. We delayed the Wuhan Virus’ arrival in America by blocking direct travel from China, but all those nations who caved to Chinese pressure have suffered. Look to Italy as an example of that. And now New York is the center of all this in America, because people came from China to other countries, and then passed it on to us through there.
Social Distancing must be maintained, both on an individual, and a societal scale, if we are make it through this current unpleasantness with the least amount of pain. And the more we let bullies drive us into ignoring it because they don’t feel the need to observe it, the more people will die. We don’t need to shut down our businesses and our economy to bring this Wuhan Virus to an end. We need to observe our personal and our cultural space.
Keep others at a distance. Especially those who are sick. Or who are vulnerable. Not because we don’t like you, but because we DO like you. Because we want you to be safe. Because we want you to live. The key here is not to keep Social Distance because you are afraid of what other people will do to you. Keep it because you wish what is best for them. Because you would not presume to invade their personal space. Their security. Their life.
Good fences make good neighbors. Personal space makes everybody happy.
Accept this new term called Social Distancing and recognize the very old idea that it represents. Protection. Security. Space. Relaxation. For everyone. If we do, the world will be a more enjoyable place when all of this is over.
31 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces Borderplex was a major center of industry, higher learning, research and development, military training, healthcare, and tourism with over three million citizens when the Second Great Depression began. Many corporations had offices on the American side and manufacturing plants on the Mexican side due to labor costs, but they were effectively one large economy with an international border running through it. Much like Texas in the days of the Spanish Empire and early America, they had far more in common with each other than with those distant capitals. They were neither Mexican nor American, but an amalgamation of the two forged by business and cultural ties. And even the best efforts of various politicians who wanted to divide them had never managed to change that. So when the American federal government fell, and the Mexican government quickly followed, the Borderplex leaders looked to each other for help before anybody else.