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The Damage that can be done by People without Knowledge of History

14 Jan

This is going to be dangerous territory.

There are some ideas that you cannot call out in the U.S. without people who hold them realizing they are being called out for holding those ideas.  

You can call it a “conversation” if you wish, but if you have talked with said individuals numerous times and have found it to be like hitting your head against a brick wall, then you doubtless are aware that this is not really a conversation.  

Sometimes you just have to say things plainly and . . .if people hold other views and feel their views are being attacked, well, that is actually true.

You see, not all ideas are equally valid, no matter what we say about free speech.  You have a right to say it.  But just saying words does not gain you validity, nor followers.  You have to know what you are saying and be able to back it up.

People who have not studied history have the same right to free speech as the rest of us.  But they also have the right to listen to others laugh at them when they say silly things, due to not knowing history.  

In the marketplace of ideas, laughter is a valuable thing.  We don’t need to suppress speech.  But we do have to research what we are saying if we hope to have our speech be respected.  

I have a friend in my age group who has been a valuable person to help me understand how some folks in younger generations look at the military in the U.S.  She has helped me with that because she holds many of the same views as our younger generation generally does.   

The military is regarded, nowadays, as an unaffordable luxury.  What are we protecting, after all?

As a student of history, I see that mindset as myopic.  Tragically so.  

But it may take another world war to turn that mindset around.  

My friend has often made statements about the military not having a right to an opinion about what she calls “other entitlement programs.”  Yes, she will say, “You have your entitlements like the commissary and Tricare, so you have to keep quiet about the entitlements of the rest of us.”  

Really?  So when you serve 27 years for it, as I did, it is still regarded as an “entitlement”?  

So when the government signs your paycheck because you work for the government, it is the same as when the government signs a welfare check?  Have we told the President and the Congress that their paychecks are “entitlements”?

I totally get it about not treating welfare recipients as pariahs.  But that does not mean they earn their checks in the same way the military does.  You don’t turn it around and elevate the self respect of welfare recipients by lumping them in with the military, for whom we have traditionally held the highest respect of all.  

In an era of limited resources, it would go far toward healing some of the U.S.’s divides if people would at least act appreciative of the military while asking them to take 50% of the budget cuts (note:  the military is not 50% of the budget, but we are regarded as having more discretionary dollars than Medicaid, Medicare, social security or welfare).  

I totally get it that most of our Senators and Congresspeople have no military service, for the first time in history.  So they can’t really appreciate us unless they are students of history.  Sometimes they try to give us lip service.  Sometimes they don’t bother.  

I totally understand that most people sleep through high school history classes and some even do that in college.  But . . . I entered the military with a very sparse knowledge of history and just started reading . . . It is amazing what history books, even good historical fiction, can do for you!  I always loved history.  Now I have a pretty broad background in it.  

There is no excuse for not understanding the Cold War or what the U.S. did to preserve freedom in World Wars I and II.  There is no reason for anyone to not tell a Viet Nam vet “thank you for your service” with full understanding of why that phrase matters to him.  

And, more recently, our next “greatest generation” that gave the strength of its youth in Iraq and Afghanistan needs to be praised and encouraged, not lumped in with welfare recipients as “entitlement folks.”

It is important.  Very important.  

Google Glass and the End of Racism

13 Jan

Very interesting article about Google Glass and its potential to level the playing field, especially in relation to race.

Hunter Baker

Brand dominates everything in our social and commercial lives.  I have a massive attachment to the Honda brand.  I have come to associate it with cars that offer durability, reliability, and fuel efficiency at a reasonable cost.  As a result, I bought my last three cars from the company.  My family has been similarly affected.  Between my parents, my sister and her husband, and my wife and me, we have purchased about 12 cars from Honda in the past quarter century.  It has become our go-to brand.  Why don’t we re-evaluate the whole thing every time there is a buying decision?  Because information, once we believe we can rely upon it, is like an investment that pays off for years to come.  Once you know something, you can worry about figuring out other matters. 

When we think about brand and automobiles, the association is pretty non-threatening.  Of course, we will…

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On the Legalization of Pot, Nationwide

20 Dec

On the Legalization of Pot, Nationwide

Ben Barber points out, from his long experience and from research, how pot can destroy motivation and make someone content, in their youth, to just sit home as a long term stoner.

Questions coming from that: 1) While we all would have the right to do this if pot were legalized, is it prudent to put yourself in a possibly vulnerable position of dependence on a substance that could remake your life as you know it? 2) If so, who supports you if you have no motivation to work? 3) If the answer to #2 is “your parents, forever” then who supports your children if, while you are not motivated to work, you are motivated to have sex and manage to make some babies in the process? 4) If you happen to be the product of a broken home yourself, with no option of living with your parents forever, will the government then be required to “parent” you with room and board (and health care and all the other things to which you believe you are entitled just because you are you) while you sit home as a long term stoner? 5) If we hit “critical mass” in which a large chunk of our population prefers stoning to working, how do we remain a productive society? How do we support everyone?

Yes, I am going down a slippery slope with my comments, but I believe in counting the cost before we embark on controversial paths (or any path, for that matter).

It is not for nought that the Bible said if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat.


Edward Snowden as the Canary in the Coal Mine . . .

19 Dec

Edward Snowden as the Canary in the Coal Mine . . .

Every few months I have to recalibrate with Eugene Robinson in order to realize that this liberal writer and I agree completely on the role of the National Security Agency and the fact that they have gone far beyond that role, funded by our taxpayer dollars to collect against our own citizenry, no less!!!

Edward Snowden had to be. Whether he is a traitor, I will leave to someone more nuanced than myself.

He did need to fill the role of whistleblower. And of canary in the coal mine.

He may never be able to come back to the States. I think he realized that possibility when he did what he did. He counted the cost and . . . did what he did anyway.

What if we had never found out that the NSA is collecting on virtually every electronic move made by every resident of this land, as well as many people overseas? And that it is storing the data for quick recall later if they ever suspect one of us of anything.

As Mr. Robinson says, this data is always available after the fact with a warrant.

But the NSA wants their collection to be effortless. And apparently warrantless.

I like Mr. Robinson’s statement that it is supposed to be inconvenient (to the government) to invade our privacy!!!

Rape Insurance??? What our Language Says . . .

16 Dec

Those in Michigan (and nationwide) who object to Michigan’s official policy, written into law last week, that abortions are not a covered service required to be provided by insurance companies, have taken on a new tactic to express their anger.

Coverage for abortions now requires a separate rider in Michigan, sometimes from a different insurance company or sometimes paid for by the individual if her employer has a moral conflict with covering her abortions.  

Opponents are calling these riders “rape insurance.”

Ah, yes, use hyperbole to bring up the extremely small percentage of abortions that are requested due to rape.  Then drag that language front and center!

They say the people who control the language also control the dialogue.  This is not a time for conservatives to passively sit back and let the language be hijacked this way.   

When I was younger, insurance companies often had separate riders for maternity insurance. We didn’t purchase one, even when trying for a brother or sister for Joey (he was born at the local naval hospital and cost us a sum total of $16).  We had intended to have our second child, and any subsequent children, born at home and to pay the midwife out of pocket.

Quaint concept that–paying out of pocket for the things we want.  We now think everything our heart desires must be covered by someone else’s funding, don’t we?   

Thus we have an outcry when those who desire an abortion can’t find a way to get them free (read:  at taxpayer expense or at the expense of the other people employed by their companies).  

I categorically object to the term “rape insurance.”  

It is a false categorization of riders which are making people pay for their own abortions.

Morally, I don’t intend to pay for them.  You have the right to have an abortion.  You also have the right to find a way to pay for it that does not involve me. 

Just sayin’

Can We Be a Poseur So Long that We Start Believing our Own Press?

12 Dec


So how about the deaf interpreter in South Africa who stood next to the president of the U.S., along with multiple other foreign leaders, and signed gibberish instead of the words to their speeches?

Can there be a better example of a poseur?  And apparently he has been at it so long, as a loyal member of the African National Congress, that he is unapologetic about the fact that his presentation had no meaning for the thousands of deaf people who watched it.

The guy’s an artist and his interpretation is masterful.  If it doesn’t contain real words–well, that is his audience’s issue, not his.  <serious sarcasm alert there> 

He also claims that he had a schizophrenic break while up there signing.  Don’t think about that too hard, folks.  He says his schizophrenic breaks have led to violence in the past; he was right there next to the president of the U.S.   Great!

It’s kind of like if we had let the Navy Yard shooter have clearance to go wherever he wanted around dignitaries after he had had violent episodes.  Oh, wait, we did that! 

Folks, it is not a safe world.  And no one has any business letting people who have documented violence in their past go near governmental dignitaries.  It’s not logical to give them targets so they can act out.  Ya know!

But back to the poseur issue:  it seems this guy really does believe he is a deaf interpreter.  I am willing to say he is not.  There is an easy way to find out.  Give him a test, right now, administered by a sign language expert.  If he fails it, have him pay back all of the money he has made faking sign language at events in South Africa these last few years.

The trouble with poseurs is that they are always found out to be the fakes they are, eventually.

Just because someone has faked his way through 100 events, he can’t use those events as a defense when he gets caught during event 101 (the guy is actually trying to do this.  There have been complaints about him in the past but the ANC would not pursue them.  So now he says his past is proof he is a good interpreter.  Except his company seems to his vanished this morning . . .).

A fake is a fake, no matter how many times he has done it.  You can spend a lifetime pretending to be something you are not and . . . you are still a fake.  

The shame is that the guy could have spent his lifetime actually learning sign language instead of sinking all of his energy into covering up the fact that he is a poseur.  





Closing the Military Commissaries!

24 Nov

I must admit that nothing in the last six months has gotten my blood boiling quite so much as the bland little news article this week saying that the powers that be have charged the military chiefs to come up with a plan for closing the military commissaries (grocery stores, with special prices and no sales tax).  This would be regarded as collateral damage from sequestration.

The article was quick to say that Congress would probably never pass such a plan. 

Really?  Then why is it on the table?  

Is it really necessary to break every promise ever made to those of us who gave the best years of our lives to our country’s military?

It should never need to come to Congress for a vote.  That would just be another opportunity for them to grandstand.

Congress didn’t give us this privilege–we earned it.  And, yes, not every American gets it.  Because not every American served.  

Don’t make us promises when we sign up, then later hold them hostage to a vote for your particular political party. Either we earned these privileges or we did not.  If we earned them, they are part of our agreed wage package, so continue to give us these privileges as pay for our time invested.

It really is that easy!  Really!

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