By Mr.Brutal, Special to Buffalo News

….. Sunday, January 21, 2018  ……


Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.” 

    General George S. Patton

One of the brilliant proposals Donald Trump touted during his election campaign that made him very popular with his Neo-Con followers has been his proposal to build a “Big, Beeeauuutivulll Wall” between the United States and Mexico.

At press time it is a major component and bargaining chip in the ongoing battle between Democrats & Republicans involved with passing a spending bill so the United States Government will not be shut down.

Well, even overlooking their massive cost to initially build and maintain, it is a well established fact that long border walls never work for very long periods time when viewed from a historical perspective.

However, when you sell the idea along with the emotion of fear outweighing need, it is often appealing to certain people in a superficial way, …… and in 2018, superficiality is still trending well. …..

Overlooking the irony that lots of illegal immigrants will end up building any structure that is designed to keep them out, …. and the fact that the actual net flow of immigrant traffic returning south to Central America has outnumbered the number coming north for the last three years, …. let’s take a brief look at history for some famous examples and to gain perspective:

1.)  Hadrian’s Wall & the Antoine Wall:

The Romans started building Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England in 122 AD to sort of mark a terminus point between their territory and the feuding, argumentative Scotti, Pict & other Celtic tribes to the north.  These groups made the Romans’ life hell during their occupation of what is today England & Wales on the island of Great Britain.

Unwilling to commit more troops to Britannia, the Romans decided to keep the primitive northerners from Scotland ( and their allies from Ireland ) at bay by building a massive wall along what is roughly the present day border between England & Scotland.

It took six years to complete, but soon after it was finished in 128 AD, it became obvious that it was a dismal and expensive failure.

Although it sort of acted as a barrier at first, in mere months it evolved into just a border demarcation point for trade.  It was supposed to stop the Celts in Scotland from raiding the cattle & grain stores vital to the Roman army in northern England.  It didn’t really succeed because it was always more about economic security & taxation than it was about establishing military superiority.

As time went on, the wall got even more expensive to maintain & still failed to prevent the Northern tribes from raiding in the South.  This was thanks to rampant bribery, shoddy record keeping masking massive fraud by the Romans themselves, as well as perpetual attacks by the Scots coming from the ocean, bypassing the wall.

There were 80 small milecastle forts in Hadrian’s Wall across the isthmus dividing what is roughly modern day Scotland & England.  Between them were 14 to 17 larger sized forts with full garrisons of soldiers.  A floating number of other fully manned garrisons wandered behind the lines.

Despite all that manpower, the wall was not that effective & got even more expensive to maintain, so in 142 AD, just 14 years after the completion of Hadrian’s Wall, the Emperor Antoine decided to build a much shorter wall 100 miles north that would come to be known as the Antoine Wall.  This barrier had even more forts & employed more men although it was roughly half the length of Hadrian’s Wall.  Also, despite being only 40 miles wide, it took twice as long to be completed, about 12 years.

Obviously, that made it even more expensive to build.  This wall was even harder to maintain, it was also attacked more frequently because the Scots resented it being built so deep into their territory.  It ended up being even less effective than Hadrian’s effort & lasted only decades before the Romans completely abandoned it.

Both walls were expensive, worked more as demarcation points than actual barriers during their brief lifespans and could be classified as dismal, extravagant failures in their totality.  In the end, they were breached, tunneled under, bribed through, sailed around, sabotaged and ultimately ignored.

2.)  The Great Wall of China.

The biggest, longest barrier ever built by mankind and the biggest failure ( Point of reference:  You cannot see this structure from space, contrary to popular belief ).  More or less erected from the 7th Century BC onward to keep out various barbarian tribes, the wall with all its tributaries was built over a time period of 1,000 years.  It ended up being over 13,000 miles long.  Many Chinese citizens involved in building it over hundreds of years were put into forced labour to erect & maintain it.  Their resentment helped fuel its ineffectiveness and eventual demise.  Through bribery, corruption, the building of secret tunnels & aiding in numerous other acts of sabotage, the builders and sentry’s themselves helped make the “Great Wall” more of a symbol than a barrier.

It also didn’t stop the Tartars or Mongols from taking what they wanted from China when they invaded.  It should have been seen by any future leaders who actually read history that physical barriers of extended length are doomed before they’re built.  The Great Wall is the ultimate tribute to the limitations of the long-term effectiveness of extensive man-made barricades.

To be fair, it did sort of partially work for brief periods of time after the Mongols with smaller tribes of belligerent neighbours, but in the end it proved General S. Patton’s quote that led off this article.

3.)  The Maginot Line.

After the Armageddon-like carnage of World War I, the French erected the heavily fortified, ridiculously expensive 450 mile long Maginot Line along the French border with Germany, Switzerland & Luxembourg.  They hoped it would prove impregnable with the inevitable upcoming second round war with Germany that the French anticipated as inevitable.

They screwed up of course by leaving a massive gap in their defenses in their border with Belgium through the thick Ardennes Forest. They thought it could not be effectively passed through by the Germans and anyway, the Belgians didn’t want a fixed, fortified border with the French, their main trading partner.

The Germans of course split the Allied forces and quickly defeated France by swiftly passing through the Ardennes in World War II, but they still attacked and tested the Maginot Line at some strategic points as well, mostly as a diversion.  Despite that not being the German’s main strategy for the defeat of France, they were still successful.

At several locations with coordinated air/artillery/armour attacks along the line the Germans broke through and they failed at others, but the battle for France was already lost.

This however proved, that despite the hundreds of artillery pieces, tunnels, walls and modern design features in the Maginot Line, ….. that the monstrosity could still be breached in head-on attacks regardless.

4.)  The Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 because the embarassment to Communist East Germany & The Soviet Union became too much to take as Germans overwhelmingly chose freedom over Communism after World War II.  Prior to 1961, thousands of East Germans bribed officials, tunneled, cut their way through barbed wire, and even pole vaulted their way over the razor wire that separated West Berlin from East Berlin and the surrounding territory of Eastern Germany that completely surrounded the rest of West Berlin.

Many of course died in the process, but many more defected successfully.

When the Wall was finished, it failed to completely stop defections and in and of its self became a symbol of the suppression of freedom.  Many martyrs were forged.  Thousands died going through, over & under it, but thousands of others were successful.  Eventually it came down in 1989, a massive symbol of Totalitarian failure as almost immediately, the Eastern Bloc dissolved and Germany reunited.

Walls are testaments to the broad concept of mental madness in a physical manifestation.  Repeating actions with the same inherent flaws, but still expecting a different result defies financial & cognitive logic.

The very well known definition of insanity.

   “A nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.” 

   Barack Obama

Of course there are other walls that could be referenced as relevant in this same vein, but in more esoteric senses:  Pink Floyd’s two record masterpiece, “The Wall” which explored the barriers through the great class divides in England when it came to history, customs, politics, religion, social justice and mostly education.

There is the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem.  Write your own essay, thesis or doctoral dissertation regarding how that physical, philosophical and religious manifestation has led to long term peace and security in the Middle East.

Of course there is also the figurative “Blue Wall” that police and law enforcement resurrect whenever they are under scrutiny.

In the case of President Trump and his Presidency, there is the metaphorical “White Wall.”   This is a defense mechanism that has been triggered almost every day in the form of denial, attack, distract and mislead during his “Crisis Mode” Presidency..

Maybe it truly will be different this time.  Rocket scientist Donald Trump vows that not only is it necessary, but that it will be beautiful and stop the drug trade ( Good Luck! ).  His “Mexican Wall” will also be modern, utilizing the latest, state of the art technology.  He claims that this wall will work because it will be diligently monitored using the most sophisticated means ever.  That is more or less the same thing everybody has said about every other major wall project ever built going back thousands of years.

We leave with another quote from that well-known “Liberal” General Patton.

“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.”

Patton was a real General who despite his many flaws of ego was forward thinking and innovative when it came to defeating an enemy.

Donald Trump is a backward thinking, petty man & even pettier fraud, only interested in trumpeting any straw dog to appeal to the ancient instincts of frustration, prejudice & bigotry to attain his own selfish goals and feed his massive ego.

Unfortunately, throughout history, this often works with an electorate or constituency as angry, depressed, confused & ill informed as we see in 2018.  Many of those worst case Trump petitions, especially in this Presidency, appeal to an angry political base that is mostly indifferent & numbed to the true facts.

Ingrained notions of scapegoating, jealousy & greed work on people too angry, lazy, uneducated or unconcerned to learn the hard facts simply because they have lost hope and have little left to lose.

Simple answers often appeal to people who don’t have the time to pursue breaking down complex questions.

Donald Trump could give a damn.  His goal is to better his already elevated position of privilege and feed his even bigger ego.

That trumps all else.

If he was alive, that infamous extreme left winger George S. Patton would be shaking his head at the ridiculousness of the current situation.

              ……… 3:05 pm Eastern Standard Time ……….

  Jacksonville @ NEW ENGLAND (-8.5 )  46

Recently a panel of respected gastrointestinal doctors released a statement warning people about the dangers of using coffee enemas to execute complete colon cleanses.  This latest internet fad can actually be dangerous to your health and explains the scope of power that Tom Brady, Gwyneth Paltrow and Khloe Kardashian have in our current culture by suggesting people purchase them from unscrupulous web sites they are involved with promoting like 21st Century Hank Kingsleys.

It also might explain some of the recent ridiculous delays at your local Dunkin’ Donuts Drive-Thru.

Does it mean anything?  Well, Tom Brady plays for New England, Dunkin’ Donuts is based in New England and somehow GQ Tom hurt his right hand this week and missed practice.  We’re not saying it was from removing a stubborn nozzle during a self-administered cleansing but…..

Despite our own ridiculous mental “Wall” that prevents us from logically handicapping the evil, cheating and despicable Patriots, we really see hope in all these signs that a new form of karma is at play this week and their evil reign of terror over the NFL may be coming to an end!

Brutal:  Jaguars +8.5

   Bob:  Pats -8.5

           ……….. 6:40 pm Eastern Standard Time …………….

Minnesota (-3) @ PHILADELPHIA  39 

Despite the fact the Eagles were always in the “Birds of Prey Showdown” game last week with the Falcons, one of their fans was not happy with the way things were going ( apparently the game was too boring ).

Philadelphia resident and confirmed super-fan Taylor Hendricks got extremely drunk and rowdy during the game and was asked to leave by security ( even though we aren’t living in the crazy days of Veteran’s Stadium and tickets are ridiculously expensive today in the gentrified Linc, …. you really have to be causing grief to be kicked out of a football game before half-time in the City of Brotherly Love ).

According to various police reports & witness accounts, Master Hendricks did not leave easily.  First he got into a scrap with stadium security, then a few other fans and finally a half dozen different policemen during his long escorted journey from his seat to the exterior of Lincoln Financial Field.

Once outside, he fought several uniformed cops and a couple of mounted police.  He hurled abuse at all the officers and even taunted their horses with various existential threats ( like what?  He was going to have them all taken to the glue factory? ), ….. He hit several police and punched two different horses, one several times before he was finally handcuffed and taken away for booking and instant incarceration.

They really threw the book at Mr. Hendricks.  He was charged with:

One count of “Public Intoxication” ( surprise ),

One count of “Possession of a Controlled Substance,” ( we are assuming it just might be PCP ),

Two counts of “Simple Assault,”

Five counts of “Aggressive Assault,”

Four counts of “Felony Assault against a Police Officer or Public Safety Officer.”

One count of “Defiant Trespassing,”

Two counts of “Illegally Taunting a Police Animal” ( our favourite charge that we’d like to hear the detailed, legal account read aloud in court with PETA representatives attending ),

Two counts of “Assaulting a Police Animal,”

and …….

One count of “Not Possessing a Valid Ticket.”

This last charge is a sham.  According to his friends, Taylor had bought a ticket.  This is an old ruse/excuse by the police to get troublemakers thrown out of an event like this.  Drunks constantly misplace or lose their ticket stubs during the course of a football game or extended scenes like these.  This is the one charge that is likely to be dropped but that will do absolutely nothing to help his legal position in defending himself against the other more serious infractions.

At press time, Mr. Hendricks remains in jail because he hasn’t made bail.  The odds of him attending this week’s Vikings-Eagles game are 500-1.

Regarding this week’s NFC Final, to paraphrase Greg Godovitz, “The Second Verse is the same as the First.”  Once again, we liked the game seven days ago between Atlanta and Philly, so we love the under in this game despite the total number being even slightly lower than last week’s game total.

But due to our strict contractual situation, we are paid to make a pick base on the spread, so again, just like last week we will take the Number #1 team in the Conference.  We will take the team playing at home.  We will take the team getting three points.  We will take the team with the underrated defense that shut down Matty Ice and the red hot Falcons last week, also at home.  We will take the team with Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator.

We will also take the team that used to have a courthouse in the basement of their old stadium to promptly prosecute the plethora of drunk and disorderly fans even worse than Taylor Hendricks who needed instantaneous legal processing.

Finally, we will side with the team who still has drunken fans crazy enough to act out seminal scenes from ‘Blazing Saddles’ by attacking 1,000 lb police equines.

Brutal:  EAGLES +3

  Bob:  Vikes -3

Bob Gaughan

Bob Gaughan has worked in Buffalo media for over 25 years. He spent 15 of those years as a staple on WGR radio as a talk show host and sports director. Currently, Bob works for UB Athletics on the radio broadcast of football and women’s basketball. Off the air, he has been an adjunct professor for over 20 years at Buffalo State College where he developed and has taught a class on how to be a talk show host.

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