Friday, March 28, 2008

Hill and Bill try the Dutch approach of WWII

By Walter Haan,

I love History. I was just reading about Hill and Bill now floating the idea that Obama can't win in the fall without Hill as his VP candidate. A few weeks ago, the Hill and Bill mob floated a similar proposal, but that time with Obama as her VP candidate. Polls today show that Hillary is eight percent behind Obama in popularity polls. In other words, she's losing.

Reminds me of March 1942 when the Japanese brought the Dutch to their knees on the island of Java. The Dutch with their limited resources (compared to the USA and Britain) had arguably put up the best resistance to the Japanese of the three Allies in the early days of the Pacific War after Pearl Harbor. They sunk 56 Japanese ships in the first 56 days after Pearl Harbor and lost their entire fleet and air force forcefully fighting the Japanese. So in early March 1942 the Japanese and Dutch met at a meeting in Bandung where the Japanese thought the Dutch would surrender. But the Dutch Governor General and General of the Dutch Army had another proposal: How about we divide the island? They pushed this until the exasperated Japanese yelled they had had enough.

"You have lost. Surrender!" And the Dutch surrendered. Their ploy didn't work.

Hill and Bill are using the same ploy. Let's divide the ticket. I'll be on top. Then, you'll be on top. Anything to get on the ticket even though Hill is losing the battle.

Time for someone in the Democratic Party to meet with Hill and Bill Clinton and tell them they have lost.

"Surrender, for God's sake!"--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


By Walter Haan,

The number 4,000 is all around us.

You can get Minnesota caucus news and election results from Channel 4000, the Twin Cities politics news source. That is if you live in Minnesota.

Microsoft offers the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.

Acer offers the PCI ExpressT -powered Acer ezDock with a complete range of 24 ports and connectors and makes the Ferrari 4000 a superlative (their word) desktop replacement option.

The NVIDIA® GoForce® 4000 mobile graphics processing unit (GPU) delivers megapixel digital photo resolution, full motion video playback and capture, according to the manufacturer.

The Cisco Catalyst® 4000 Series of modular switches include the Cisco Catalyst 4003 and Catalyst 4006 chassis. According to the manufacturer, this is a key component of Cisco AVVID.

Alien Skin Software, LLC, developed Eye Candy 4000 and Xenofex. Filters are compatible with Photoshop, ImageReady, Paint Shop Pro, Photo-Paint, Fireworks, and Canvas.

According to BBC News in February, 4,000 more midwives are to be employed by the British government. It plans to recruit the 4,000 midwives in England to relieve pressure on maternity services.

The Four Thousand Footer Club was formed in 1957 to introduce hikers to some of the less well-known sections of the White Mountains of New Hampshire The club celebrated its 50 year anniversary in 2007.

Oh, and another unofficial club was formed this past Sunday, Easter Sunday, March 23rd: a total of 4,000 American lives have now been lost in the five years since the US attacked and occupied Iraq. The members of this club don’t get to see their parents, wives, brothers, sisters and children ever again. They don’t get the pleasures of playing ball with their children, teaching them how to fish or wrestling with them on the living room floor any more. And they won’t have the opportunity to hide Easter eggs for their children next Easter. Or the Easter after that.

But Jenna and Barbara Bush just go on with their privileged, inconsequential lives. Jenna has a children’s book coming out (good news for the orphans of the 4,000 killed in Iraq) and is getting married this year. The news services no longer report that Barbara is hanging around bars.--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The dishonest war at five

After five years, what will happen in Iraq now?

By Walter Haan,

History will tell us what is going to happen in Iraq after our first five years of disastrous war and occupation there. It will be the Philippines and Yugoslavia all over again.

It will be as during our war on Filipinos in the Philippines in 1899-1902. After we liberated the islands from Spain and the natives thought they were really liberated, we stayed for 40 years after defeating the Filipino “rebels” until the Japanese drove us out in 1942. We will beat the three groups of Iraqis into submission to form the type of administration most advantageous to us and our thirst for Iraqi oil. I had a grandfather who fought against the Filipinos at the start of the 20th century with our army of “liberation.” I’ve often wondered if I have Filipino relatives because of my grandfather’s time there. By the way, US troops used water torture on Filipinos. It’s documented.

One man kept Yugoslavia together for decades: Tito. Just as Saddam Hussein kept the lid on Iraq for decades until we decided to overthrow him for reasons that were lies. Once Tito was gone, Yugoslavia broke up into six (or is it seven) independent republics. That process involved us, the European Union and NATO in military action to keep the Croats, Serbs and Bosnians from killing each other.

Now in Iraq, after Saddam was hung for his crimes, Iraq is dividing into three main sections, one each for the Kurds, Shia and Sunnis. In Washington, those liars Bush and Cheney pound their chests about our “success” in Iraq and how the Surge has worked to lower violence. Bullshit. We just enabled the three groups to cleanse their neighborhoods of each other, confining their enemies in distinct areas resulting in less contact with one another. It won’t be long until the Federal Iraq of the three regions breaks up into three different nations, just like in Yugoslavia. After all, Iraq was just cobbled together by the British in 1920, nominally under a branch of the Hashemite family, but really controlled by the British. It will now uncobble. This will happen. It may take a while, but it will happen.

But until that happens, we’ll keep our forces in Iraq. That will raise our numbers of dead, now almost 4,000, to even higher numbers. More Iraqis will die too. But maybe we’ll get 40 years in Iraq, stripping it of natural resources (oil) until someone throws us out. Like the Japanese did in the Philippines.--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bookstore sales in the scheme of things

This report is just in today from Publishers Weekly, the weekly magazine of the book publishing industry:

"Despite some soft sales reports from the chains (meaning Barnes & Noble, Borders Books and Music), bookstore sales got off to a solid start in 2008, posting a 4.7% increase, to $2.28 billion, in January, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase was nearly the same as gains for the entire retail segment, which had a 4.8% increase in January."

Of course this report is really only about bookstore sales which represents only about 40% of the books sold. The Census Bureau has a hard time tracking the other 60% of the books sold in any given month. So many are sold now in supermarkets, hardware stores, Coscos, gift shops, museum book and gift shops, or by catalogs and of course, online.

I keep my finger up in the wind about book sales and I don't think March's sales will equal that January solid start, as they call it. We are in a recession and the only person who doesn't know it is President Bush. I have a friend who has predicted that in a year we will have riots in this country over gasoline, food and other basics. With corn taking more acreage for fuel and less wheat being grown and the middle classes in third world nations such as India and China now competing with us for that same corn, wheat, oil and gasoline available in the world, things don't look good for book sales in the next year.

And books are part of our educational system. Textbooks are getting old in schools. Years ago when I worked for Oxford Books in New York City, we received a huge supplementary text book order from the White Plains, New York school system. Turned out the city's high school burned down overnight. So we started joking about replacing some salesmen with pyromania squads.

But the truth of the matter in more ways than one is as Jonathan Kozol wrote in his The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society: "This is a society that most of us did not create but which our president and other leaders have been willing to sustain by virtue of malign neglect. Do we possess the character and courage to address a problem...."

There's more than one problem in our society and sales of books are way down on the priority list when you consider such things as the recession and that half the population of New Orleans has been driven away from their city, permanently.

Except that solid growth in the publishing industry would help fight both illiteracy and the recession. But I'm not optimistic. Today on the ABC Radio News it was reported that now that gold is selling for more than $1,000 an ounce, people are gathering together their gold jewelry to sell. They need to do it to help make ends meet.

It doesn't look good.--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

National Poetry Month Contest: Calling all elementary school teachers...

...and parents, Cub Scout leaders and Brownie Troop leaders
Though this
is a war
book blog,
I want to
call your
to an annual
contest I
run each
year for
Month in
in honor
of my late wife, Wanda Haan.It's the 2008
Children’s Poetry and Book Illustration Contest.
We've had entries from Puerto Rico to California
in the last two years and received great
feedback from parents and teachers about the

There's nothing to buy to enter, requires children
writing poetry and then illustrating their poems
using cut paper to create art as in Wanda's book,
The Macaroon Moon
. Which means the contest is easy
to run. All the children need is colored paper,
scissors, a glue stick and creativity to enter.
The cut paper art in the book was created by Donald
Christensen. Both Wanda and Donald had over 40 years
combined creating stories and art for Weekly Reader.

Here are the Rules and Regulations which were updated
on March 5, 2008. The contest is open to all children
residing in the USA and its territories in kindergarten,
first, second and third grades, ages 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Contest rules require each entrant to submit an original
poem and a cut paper illustration for that poem.

Up to ten prizes will be awarded by the book’s publisher,
Southfarm Press of Middletown,Connecticut. Winning entries
will be selected by Southfarm Press based on the literary
quality of the poems and creativity of the cut paper art
submitted to illustrate the poems:

First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $75
Third Prize: $50
Fourth through Tenth Prizes: $25

In addition, copies of the children’s poetry book The
Macaroon Moon
(ISBN:978-0-913337-51-6) will be provided to
every child in each winner’s main school classroom, such
as his or her's homeroom. Or to every member of a winner's
scout troop.

It is not necessary to buy anything to enter, but in
analyzing the entries from the 2006 and 2007 contests,
having a copy of The Macaroon Moon to refer to would
probably aid children in competing in the contest,
especially for the book illustration part of their entries.

The size of the completed art submitted should be in the
8 1/2" x 11" to 9" x 12" size range. Submitting larger art
will not make it more likely that a child will win.

The poem submitted by the student must be original and the
art created by that student should illustrate his or her poem.
The poem does not need to be long. Four lines would be fine.
A longer poem is not more likely to win. We will be looking
at the creative package, that is, each child's poem and art
together, to decide the winners.

The illustration should be cut paper art made with colored
paper and glue, suchas the art in The Macaroon Moon. Some
pencil shading is okay because the illustrator of The
Macaroon Moon
did that. No paints, charcoals, ink or anything
else are allowed to be used. If in doubt as to what is acceptable,
look at the samples of the art in the the book, The Macaroon Moon.
The artist used colored paper, glue, scissors, and a dark pencil
for light shading.

Each child is permitted to enter the contest only once each year
and that entry must include both his or her poem and his or her
cut paper art for that poem. Entries that do not include both the
poem and art will be disqualified.

All poetry and book illustration contest entries must be post-
marked no later than April 19, 2008 during National Poetry Month
and received by the publisher no later than April 26, 2008 to be
eligible for the 2008 National Poetry Month contest.

Winners will be announced April 30, 2008 on Poetry for Children
by Wanda Haan, followed by letters to the winners' parents or
guardians. Entries are welcomed anytime in the year. Online entries
are not allowed and all entries become the property of Southfarm
Press, Publisher and will not be returned.

Entries should be mailed to:
Macaroon Moon Poetry and Book Illustration Contest
Southfarm Press, Publisher
P.O. Box 1296
Middletown, CT 06457

All entries should include the name of the child entering, the name
of his or her parent or guardian, the child's grade and age, home
address, phone number and an email address if available. Upon
notification of winning a prize in the contest, the child's parent
or guardian grants Southfarm Press permission to publish his or her
child's name, poem and illustration on our children's poetry Web Site
and in news releases and other promotional material by the endorsement
and cashing of the child's monetary prize check.

Children related to author Wanda Haan, illustrator Donald Christensen,
owners and employees of Southfarm Press and Haan Graphic Publishing
Services, Ltd. are not eligible to enter the contest.

That's it. I hope to see a ton of entries this year so spread the word.
-- Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan, and
Poetry for Children by Wanda Haan

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Opposite example set by British soldiers in Norway

Soldiers should use their weapons on the enemy.

By Walter Haan

In my last blog posting I talked about Britain's Prince Harry setting a good example that American leaders' families could follow. Then this comes in: "Eight British soldiers have been ordered home from Arctic training exercises in Norway after they reportedly stripped naked and urinated on each other in a bar."

I thought soldiers were supposed to use their weapons on the enemy.

The eight British soldiers had reportedly been ordered home from Arctic training exercises in Norway after the incident. They were arrested by Norwegian police following what the authorities declared was inappropriate behavior. The eight soldiers were engineers from a commando regiment.

A Norwegian police spokesman in the town of Harstad, Norway, the nearest town to military bases, said they were accustomed to this kind of behavior by British soldiers.

Ouch.--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The example set by Prince Harry

By Walter Haan

This past week we learned that Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, has spent the last 10 weeks in Afghanistan serving with other British troops. The British establishment and media had an agreement not to blow Prince Harry's cover while he was there so no reports appeared in Britain or elsewhere about the prince's service for those 10 weeks. The idea was to protect him and the men he served with, as he would obviously be a high profile target. Then an Australian magazine followed by the Drudge Report exposed the Prince and where he was. I say was because he has since been pulled out of Afghanistan. Harry's secret service is a huge publicity coup for Buckingham Palace.

Back home in the United States, no one from the families that run this country and got us into Iraq and Afghanistan serve in those countries. The Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, could have made trips to our troops in those countries for morale purposes, for example, but they didn't do it. Actually the Bush girls have been under the radar for most of the Bush presidency. So no one from the President's, Vice President's, leaders of Congress families have done anything remotely like what Prince Harry did aside from Virginia Senator Jim Webb's son who did serve in Iraq.

There is such a gap in this country between the rulers and the ruled. President Bush and his government order men and women into war zones, sometimes based on actual lies as to why our troops are needed there. But our American rulers do not walk the walk, they just talk the talk. They send your family members to Iraq and Afghanistan but make damned sure none of their family members go. What a country.

That is what makes Prince Harry so remarkable. He wanted to go. He wanted to serve alongside the ordinary soldiers of Great Britain and share their hardships.

I will give Jenna Bush some credit though. She is getting married later this year and insisted on a smaller wedding at the Bush ranch in Texas, as opposed to the White House wedding her mother wanted for Jenna. I guess that Jenna decided it would be unseemly to have a glitzy White House wedding as 130,000 American troops were risking their lives overseas. Her mother was visibly disappointed about that.

But then most Americans are now visibly disappointed in both President and Mrs. Bush for their initiating and supporting a war based on lies that has resulted in almost 4,000 American deaths and, perhaps, a million Iraqi deaths. They are just so out of touch with the common American family and its problems. Bush said last week that he didn't see a recession coming. He may be the only person in the USA that doesn't see that.

On Friday I had my six month physical exam at the VA. On line at the pharmacy I was talking with the vets around me and heard what a hard time some of them were having. The vet in front of me talked about working at the post office as a freelancer. He can only work so many hours and the reason that there are so many like him at the post office is so the post office doesn't have to pay them benefits. He is a Vietnam veteran and talked also about age discrimination and the idea out there that all Vietnam vets are on drugs, thus preventing them from being hired. The vet behind me piped up that he had faced all of that and was ready to give it all up, including life, to get away from the pain of it all.

The leaders of this country would never get together with veterans or other common folk like that to really listen to what is bothering them. But across the pond the Brits know that Prince Harry understands from experience what British troops face in Afghanistan because he volunteered to be with them. There has got to be comfort in that.--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,