Fatherhood

A few months ago the US President was photographed crawling on the floor of the Oval Office, playing with a baby. This was seen as inappropriate by many as the Head of State isn’t supposed to be seen on his knees, especially inside the White house.

Obama and baby
[Pete Souza / White House]
Let me remind you of a short story from Ancient Greece. It involves a great king of the 4th c.BC

Agesilaus, the feared and respected leader of mighty Sparta, was famous for being very loving and affectionate with his kids. When his children were very young he used to play with them, doing ‘stupid’ things, rolling on the floor and generally behaving in a non-serious, non-‘kingly’ fashion; even in public.

fath
A father helping his kid on a swing

One day, while playing with his children out on his front yard, he was pretending to be a horse that his kids would ride. One of his friends saw him. He was shocked to see a Spartan king on his knees!

Agesilaus told his friend: “Please don’t judge me before you become a father too.”

 

Spartan officer
Spartan king [art-girona]

General Patton: Decision-making and Leadership

‘A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later’

I consider him to be one of the top 5 field commanders in the history of the United States Army and definitely their most successful combat General.Patton3

You would always see him where fighting was fiercest, carrying his trademark ivory-handled revolver on his hips (yep, that was his side-arm).

This unorthodox but determined soldier was exactly what the Allies needed right after D-Day.

Patton’s armor and infantry rushed through German lines cutting through enemy territory winning amazing victories and capturing one town after the other -spreading panic and confusion to Wermacht soldiers.

‘Always do everything you ask of those you command’

Patton1
Patton honoring the commander of 101st Airborne Division (www.generalpatton.org)

While at a conference with his officers he declared: ‘Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don’t agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out where my flanks are, I’ll be cutting the bastard’s throat.’

He attacked, attacked and then attacked again! His armored divisions roared through six different countries! France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria; his Shermans were rolling… Patton trained one of the most famous military units of the US Army, the 2nd Armored Division, nicknamed “Hell on Wheels”. On March the 2nd, 1945 a message from General Dwight Eisenhower instructed Patton to bypass the German city of Trier because it would take four divisions to capture it. Patton’s answer was: ‘Have taken Trier with two divisions. What do you want me to do? Give it back?’ Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, added: ‘The American generals showed themselves to be very advanced in the tactical handling of their forces, although we had to wait until the Patton Army in France to see the most astonishing achievements in mobile warfare.’

Ok, we all know that people have strengths and weaknesses. But there are times in our lives that our strengths must prevail. Patton is famous for:

  • His refusal to accept defeat as an option.
  • His determination to maintain the initiative.
  • His determination to be in total control.
  • His determination to win!

‘Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory’

Patton2

Crazy? -Three reasons why D.Trump will be the next US President

 

  1. He’s portrayed as the underdog
  2. Hillary Clinton should be rollin’. She’s struggling
  3. His boisterous public speaking

My personal opinion about Donald Trump doesn’t matter. But I do find quite amusing that many american citizens miss the days when Sara Palin was the scariest republican candidate ever. However impropable this seems right now, if someone examines the political situation in the US, it seems clear that all factors lead to the conclusion that D.Trump will win not only all preliminary elections but the Presidential ones too.

  • Constant attacks by the media most of the times have the opposite effect. Remember the case of G.Bush Jr . Ask yourselves: have you tried using arguments against Trump’s fiery speeches or did you just call him ‘racist’ and forgot about it? If you’re following the latter, congratulations: you’re following the same pattern that re-elected G. Bush.
  • Let’s face it: Hillary Clinton as a politician is not exactly a ‘super-star’. Above all, everybody’s talking all the time not why we should vote for Hillary… Instead we only hear why we shouldn’t (we mustn’t actually!) vote for Trump.Campaigning for a ‘negative vote’ is another huge mistake.
  • His radical – emotional speech never fails to make an impression.  Some media accuse him of being a demagogue, but it’s Hillary Clinton that uses a ‘well-refined’ language. D.Trump speaks out loud even for controversial matters. H.Clinton softens up everything.

The deciding factor in the 2016 US elections will be the so-called ‘silent majority’.

Donald Trump’s disdain for political correctness is one of his characteristics that will eventually win the vote of the silent majority

hillary

Propaganda

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” –Winston Churchill

A comprehension on a satisfactory level of the functions and mechanisms of propaganda makes you a better citizen.

WW2 poster
WW2 poster

I always believed that propaganda should be taught in high-schools. If I was to defy this term I’d simply say that it’s to disseminate a message to people through specific mediums, for a specific aim. Many believe that there’s no negative sign before this noun. It’s the use of it that can be characterized as positive or negative. Propaganda evolved into a real ‘science’ during the 20th century. The word itself takes us back to the 17th century and the origin of the term, when Pope Gregory XV founded a department charged with the spread of “the Faith”, the famous Congregatio de Propaganda Fide.

In the 20th century two names easily stand out: the great Vladimir Lenin and his most successful “disciple”, Dr. Joseph Goebbels. Most techniques and methods still used today were created or perfected by those two masterminds of propaganda.

Lenin in his office
Lenin in his office
Goebbels in his office
Goebbels in his office

Epictetus

 

Epictetus (50-120AD)
Epictetus (50-120AD)

“Difficulties are things that show people who they really are!”
A slave born in Hierapolis that was to become a saint-like figure for the Greeks and the Romans. Poor, homeless he struggled with super-human energy and dedication to ease the pain of the sufferings of humanity through his teachings. One of his gratest fans was Marcus Aurelius himself!

Centuries later, the US Navy Admiral James Stockdale was able to retain his sanity during capture in a Viet Cong POW camp by relying on the philosophy of Epictetus…

Britain vs. Japan

paper britain japan

Check out how Britain declared war on Japan. It’s the official text as dictated by W.Churchill himself. So classy! As Winston later stated:

“Some people did not like this ceremonial style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.”

I repeat, this is the original text and nothing was added or altered…

Sir,

On the evening of December 7th His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom learned that Japanese forces without previous warning either in the form of a declaration of war or of an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war had attempted a landing on the coast of Malaya and bombed Singapore and Hong Kong.

Poster issued by the Ministry of Information during WWII
Poster issued by the Ministry of Information during WWII

In view of these wanton acts of unprovoked aggression committed in flagrant violation of International Law and particularly of Article I of the Third Hague Convention relative to the opening of hostilities, to which both Japan and the United Kingdom are parties, His Majesty’s Ambassador at Tokyo has been instructed to inform the Imperial Japanese Government in the name of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom that a state of war exists between our two countries.

I have the honour to be, with high consideration,

Sir,

Your obedient servant,

Winston S. Churchill

boss

From Solon to Jefferson