Chapter 6: Ode to the Military Museum

Blogger’s Notes: In Chapter 5,  I opined that the current California National Guard leadership morphed two charitable organizations into a single, self-serving bureaucracy, generating an administrative smoke screen to elude accountability for their questionable management.

I argued that the purpose of this fusion was to fabricate a pseudo military patronage  “general officer-paid”  position  for a political crony–in effect the spoils system. In my mind, the entire affair summons images of the Mexican Monarchy of Ferdinand Maximillian.  

Unable to compete with his older brother Francis Joseph to rule Europe, Maximillian accepts Mexican aristocrats’ invitation to rule Mexico.  It was rumored that  Maximillian was the illegitimate son of Napoleon II, The Duke of Reichstadt, the only son of French Emperor Napoleon I.

I humorously equate the Fight at the Museum to this soap opera, in which Brig. Gen. (CA) James Gabrielli stars as Ferdinand Maximilian; Maj. Gen. David Baldwin plays his older brother Francis; and Gov. Jerry Brown is Maximillian’s Imperialistic Grandfather Napoleon Bonaparte I.  

Perhaps in some publically obscure armory, that the Dynasty designates as the California Military History Museum replacement in the future, these fictional characters will come alive as in the Movie, “Night at the Museum,” reenacting the events and lives of these real people. For now, I borrow Dennis Lambert’s & Brian Potter’s “One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack),” with my rendition of “One Phony General (Ode  to the Fight at the Museum) 

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Gov_Kiddie_Bde
(Left) Gov. Jerry Brown stars as Ferdinand Maximillian’s illegitimate Grandfather, who bestows a Youth Program and Community Task Force (YCPTF) monarchy upon his political Grandson, Maximillian I, played by Brig. Gen. (CA) James Gabrielli (Right). In the soapbox drama, “Fight at the Museum,” Maximillian is unable to compete with his political brother, Francis Joseph (portrayed by Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin) for the Empire of a Dynasty and is given the YCPTF monarchy instead. In his zeal to rule, Maximillian activates the Oakland Military Institute (OMI), pursues Grandpa’s Guidon, steals the California Military History Foundation’s artifacts under the National Guard Association of California (NGAC) Operation Cornerstone banner. (Illustrations by Stormidoodles).

One Phony General Retires Away

Listen Children to a story, about your veterans long ago, ‘Bout their Museum on a Cornerstone, and a Dynasty Empire Ego,

In the Museum was a treasure, Buried ‘Neath a Cornerstone, that the Dynasty swore, They’d have for their very own.

Go ahead and exploit a soldier, cheat a civilian. Say it’s a Governor’s Mandate, you can rationalize it in the end. There won’t be any Museum Functioning, due to Court Costs and delay. On the museum’s ugly closure, a rich phony general retires away.

So the Dynasty expanded its Empire, sending a message loud and clear,
Asking for the Cornerstone Treasure, Military Artifacts of which they’d steal.

Come an answer from the Veterans, with our brethren we will share, the mystery of our Museum, the treasures ‘Neath the Cornerstone there.

Baldwin_King
Francis Joseph (Played by Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin) executes a Governor’s mandate to suppress the charity of California’s veterans, stomping out the California Center for Military History (CCMH), and smashing their Cornerstone for the military artifacts beneath it. (Illustration by Stormidoodles).

Go ahead and exploit a soldier, cheat a civilian. Say it’s a Governor’s Mandate, you can rationalize it in the end. There won’t be any Museum Functioning, due to Court Costs and delay. On the museum’s ugly closure, a rich phony general retires away.

Now the Dynasty cried in anger, activate Oh-AM-Eye, Militarize Jerry’s preppy kiddies, cast all sacred Covenants aside.

Now the Dynasty’s stole the treasure, from the Museum, Covenants shred; desecrated the Cornerstone and looked beneath, “Soldiers Pray for Peace” was all it said.

Go ahead and exploit a soldier, Cheat a Civilian. Say it’s a Governor’s Mandate Rationalize it in the end. There won’t be any Museum Functioning, due to Court costs and delay. On the museum’s ugly closure, another rich phony general retires away.

Go ahead n’ steal taxpayers’ dollars, rip-off charitable civilians, Steal the public’s artifacts, Rationalize it in the end. There won’t be any museum operating, yet another Court delay, Come the Museum’s ugly closure, another phony rich general retires away

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Personal Note: Perhaps some will consider this satire cruel and harsh. It’s not, it’s sarcasm. The California State Military Department’s hostile takeover of the California Military History Foundation, however, has had harsh consequences for California’s Military Family:

  • A Gold Star Mom from San Luis Obispo was summarily dismissed. She chose to give all to the Museum and its Branches in honor of her son who sacrificed all for his country;
  • A SMR Colonel, who after being certified in the arduous US Army History Center’s “Historian Course,” was indignantly discharged and his plea for designation as a SMR retiree ignored. Perhaps a petty issue for some, but recognition of respect for a man who certified more than 100 Army History Historians, including the Gold Star Mom, without pay or compensation for 20 years; 
  • A half-dozen professionally trained civilian curators and historians, earning modest salaries in the $60,000 per year range paid from Museum Gift Shop  proceeds and public donations, were replaced by so-called “Service Members.” These State Active Duty (SAD) compensated state  employees have no professional curator and historian credentials, earning state tax-paid salaries ranging from $120,000 to $180,000 annually;
  • Adding insult to injury, these staff members were denied the opportunity to compete for these jobs, seeing a Nigerian-born Guardsmen with no military history training, or experience, hired as the Museum director. A man with an impressive personal story, but obviously a more appropriate fit for the Cal Guard State Partnership for Peace with Nigeria, rather than the Military History Museum;
  • The laid off Museum employees were cruelly blackballed by the State Military Department, which often ruined any chance of employment searches elsewhere;
  •  Several American Association of Retired People (AARP) volunteers with curator and librarian experience were terminated. For many, donating their skills and talents to the Museum was akin to “giving back to California’s veterans;
  • Hundreds of Californians, such as the Curtis Hall Family, had their property confiscated. The State Military Department attorneys were able to dupe California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office into believing these artifacts, letters, and personal memoirs were state property, not private donations contingent upon whether the museum remained opened. In the case of the Curtis Hall muskets, the antiques range in value from $20,000 to $80,000 apiece. I can see some of these muskets mounted and presented as a “Gold Watch,” so to speak, as Dynasty favorites retire; after the Attorney General outspends these citizens’ challenges in court, and the Fight at the Museum becomes a faded memory;
  • The victimization of the California Military History Foundation (a Private Foundation) when the Attorney General’s Office was seduced into believing the State Military Department was acting on behalf of “the people,” and then dispatching high-paid state attorneys to pursue the Foundation in Sacramento Superior Court as if it were the government;
  • Snatching Justice for the Foundation when the  Attorney General’s office failed to uphold the Court judgement in favor of the foundation, opting instead to support a “less than fair” out of court agreement; 
  • Hundreds of California veterans lost immediate and quick, access to veteran  outreach programs such as Operation Welcome Home and Yellow Ribbon that the museum’s (along with their sister National Guard Association of California’s -NGAC-organization’s) unpaid cadre of retired, experienced, volunteers managed with minimum cost to the taxpayer. Most of these retirees had military administrative skills they leveraged to help Veterans prepare and process paperwork at the Old Sacramento Museum and its branches. These Volunteers were dismissed and their programs absorbed into the depersonalized, oversized State Military Bureaucracy, where claims and benefits are often lost, improperly processed, or hang in limbo for months and years; and
  • California’s kindergarten through 12th grade students lost their connection to their military heritage. More than 40 California school districts organized field trips for more than 1,500 students annually through the museum and the Walter P. Story Library and Research Center. They were exposed videos of California’s World War II, Vietnam, Korea, and Global War on Terrorism vets. 

These are a sample of the Military families and communities alienated from the Museum’s hostile takeover. Many feel forgotten, deserted by the Governor, abandoned by the California Legislature, and crushed by the State Military Department.  With the Foundation’s disenfranchisement, they neither have a voice, nor the resources to challenge an insensitive, intransigent Dynasty.

It’s with some modicum of hope that these audiences will find some measure of consolation in this Chapter of “The Fight at the Museum.” Perhaps with the artists’ permission, these displaced souls can gather for an evening of Karaoke and camaraderie, celebrating their “good fight” with this rendition of “One Phony General Retires Away (Ode to the Fight at the Museum),” sung to  the tune of  “One Tin Soldier.”

I will conclude my series, “Fight at the Museum,” Chapter 7:  Epilogue of Events and Final Thoughts.

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