Flip flops on the sand

September 6, 2013

Ok, we have a novice commander-in-chief, saying that Syria crossed his red line. Then he says no it wasn’t his, it was the world’s red line. We have a senile senator playing a poker game on his phone while he is supposed to be in serious discussions about going to war. The haughty Secretary of State is making nonsensical statements about “boots on the ground.” (Oh God do I hate that metaphorical euphemism )  Mr. Secretary, there are young americans in harm’s way in those boots!

Then we have the whack job senator from California saying that yes many americans are against this war, but they don’t know what” I “do.  Well senator stop smoking that dope or whatever it is  and reflect for a moment on how good our intelligence was in Iraq. Senator Finestein, you are not the smartest person on the planet.

Meanwhile trying to justify some sort of military action, we have pentagon generals who have no idea what the mission will be. A formula for disaster!
In the last 50 years I have seen this country go to war more times than any person should have to endure. In every circumstance it involved young Americans getting killed and wounded. I remain convinced that preemptive wars or punitive attacks do little to protect our country, but rather these gambits are done solely for domestic political gain.

We have done such a good job in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and others, that yes, getting involved with Syria is the  right thing to do.

Hell, we can’t even manage our own domestic problems!

If we are so bent on being the world’s policeman, how come we don’t attack other more powerful dictatorships and rogue nations who kill off their own citizens? China, North Korea, Iran. Pakistan come to mind. Killing  people whether by chemical gas, firing squad, hanging or atomic bomb as America did to 250,000 innocent civilians in 1945 is still killing.

Stay out of middle east internecine wars!

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Confrontation

July 18, 2013

This recent court case in Sanford, Florida reminds me of a somewhat similar incident that happened to me about 35 years ago. It was New Years Eve, and I was heading down a narrow alley having just stopped at the grocery store. Another car started down the alley going the wrong way.
This guy got out of his car and appeared very agitated. He told me to move my car back. Getting out of my car, I advised him he was going the wrong way and he should go back.
I don’t remember any more conversation as the guy sucker punched me across my head.

The force of the blow made me slip on the gravel and I went down, dislocating my shoulder in the process.
As I struggled to put my shoulder back in, I saw my tormentor run away to his vehicle and take off.
To this day I think, if I had my weapon with me, would I have shot that man?

For the first 25 years or so since that incident, my answer would have been a definite yes, as I was so angry at being sucker punched. Now I think maybe, but maybe not. It is difficult to say.
What is not difficult is seeing the fixation on this court case by the media and the harmful effects it has caused.
It is stories like these and politicians reactions that have caused this country to become the most hateful and divisive place I have seen since the sixties.

Gone are the days of a kinder, gentler nation.

…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

Declaration of Independence July, 4, 1776

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Some people wonder why I distrust government.

Two recent events although  insignificantly small in themselves, perfectly illustrate the problem of government.
First, the lying.

Why did the State Department feel it necessary to deny that the Secretary of State was on his yacht during the uprising and coup (yes,  coup) in Egypt? It is the same yacht that his rich wife bought him and he registered in Rhode Island. ( By the way, I think she makes a great bottle of catsup. I prefer the organic blend.)

Heck if my wife bought me a yacht and I did not get seasick, I would be sailing on the holiday weekend for sure.

But, why did they lie and then have to come back and recant the lie when it proved false? Such a little thing. One has to wonder about all the big things they lie about. I believe when they talk they lie.
The second little item, abuse of power, appropriately comes out of Washington DC, where Metro Transportation ripped out flowers planted by a citizen near the Dupont Circle station. When a neighborhood outcry developed, Metro made up all sorts of bizarre, bogus reasons for their bureaucratic destruction. Now where there was beauty and art provided by a private citizen, there is brown mud, care of the government.
Two small points, but two large indicators that government and especially politicians are less concerned for the welfare and happiness of the people but very much concerned with continuing to remain in power and maintaining the trappings of power.
Make no mistake, much, much bigger lies and abuses exist. The IRS, the NSA, the State Department, the Executive branch, Congress and  their minions have shown us that. The waste and lies needed to protect the monster run wide and deep.

By the way shame on you elitists in power for imposing your arbitrary politically, punitive acts such as mandatory furloughs, and cancelled Independence Day events for our military personnel and families, in the name of “sequester” cutbacks. Meanwhile, you continue to live your elitist lifestyle and enjoy without shame or embarrassment the cushy benefits of a bloated government.

.
And now comes the biggest whopper of them all.

A miasma of colossal medical waste; the Government’s healthcare program. Putting the Government and insurance companies, instead of doctors in charge of the medical care.

Question: If it is so wonderful a plan as advertised, why is the Government continuing to sell it? Why are special incentives and near bribery required? Why is it being delayed for some of the people?  And WHY  is Congress working so hard to exempt itself from this law which it passed but did not read? Any of these activities should make one think about what is really going on here. But I guess Abe Lincoln was correct, you can fool some of the people all of the time.

Just wait until this bitter pill is force-fed upon all of the people.
I think I am going to spit up.

Ancient Rome had its Frumetarii. The Ming dynasty of China had their Jinyiwei . Nazi Germany had the infamous Gestapo and of course, the gold standard of secret police, the Soviet Union had its Stalinites and the KGB.

Throughout recorded history, powerful, republics and dictatorships have had their own versions of enforcing secret police to do the dirty, often bloody work for the elite.  There have been hundreds of these secret organizations in place for thousands of years.
Now comes Amerika with its own global reach and hundreds of thousands of its own enforcers in dozens of Federal agencies and departments.
This is nothing new, it started in earnest during the 1950s with the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations under the stern eye of J. Edgar Hoover and his personally molded FBI.
Of course there were the more publicized ones like Nixon’s Watergate plumbers and the White House enemies lists.
So now we come to the latest 21 century version involving three cabinet positions, State, Justice and Treasury.
The lies and false testimony of what really happened in Benghazi continue. The former Secretary of State continues to get her hair styled and gives speeches in preparation for her assumed accension to higher political elitism.  Meanwhile four American diplomats remain dead and no one has any answer as to why. America has become an intellectual gulag.

Well, now, adding to this swill, the Justice department illegally wiretaps phones and emails of a free press. One by the way which is very friendly and forgiving to the Administration.  If this circus was not so tragic it might be funny. When asked about the improprieties in his department, the head of the Justice Department, smugly abdicated responsibility and said he did not know what was going on in his own organization.
Which begs the question, ” Sir if you do not know what is going on in your department, why are you cashing your paychecks?

And lately, it has been discovered that the (politically neutral?) Internal Revenue Service has turned its very effective thumb screws on citizens who happen to disagree with the administrations policies. No one seems to know at the IRS, who gave the order to treat political adversaries of the administration with extreme prejudice, as the staff was “just following orders.” It seems unlikely that other than a slap on the wrist of some low-level career bean counter, something will be done, in spite of a hot Washington summer of congressional hearings.

Then we have the spy drones and the GPS locaters keeping track of hardworking, tax paying Americans while the borders remain unsecure and five chemists from known terrorist breeding ground countries are detained for trespassing in a restricted water reservoir zone near Boston after midnight… and then released!

It is little wonder why politicians are so despised. They are self-absorbed, elitists willing to do anything to stay in power and protect their privilege.

It is easy to understand that over half of all American citizens distrust their own government. Nevertheless, many uninformed Americans believe this country is immune to  the decay and destruction than has befallen mighty republics in the past.

America, I weep for you.

News Nadir

April 21, 2013

Last week, like millions of Americans, I followed with rabid interest the Boston Marathon Bombing story.

From the first news reports of the sickening, cowardly act to the climactic  capture of the remaining at large, fugitive murderer, I was glued to both my computer screen and TV  hoping to hear any news. What I got, especially early on was a lot of rumor, nonsense and out right falsehoods by the media news people. It seemed everyone was either blindly racing to be the first to crack the story, or intent on pushing their own special agenda.
As superbly as the law enforcement people performed, the media wallowed in the mud and murk of misinformation.

First, the bombers were captured, then they were not. Then they were “dark-skinned.”  But no, then they became white again. Home grown terrorists or imported zealots? Sensationalism had replaced common sense and accuracy of reporting. Titillating the public became paramount. Being the “smartest , fastest reporter in the room” was all that seemed to matter. Is there no pride of the craft anymore?
Sadly, the laughable ignorance of these journalists was not  restricted to the professional network types.  The social media (God, I hate that term!) had their days of disgrace and embarrassment too. So much so the ambassador from the Czech Republic had to write a letter to the American people explaining that the murderers of the Boston Marathon were from Chechnya, a split off Islamic Federation of Russia, not from the Czech Republic, a central European Republic and a staunch ally of the United States.

My God, do they even teach geography in school any more?

While one can appreciate the pressures applied in modern news accumulation situations, considering all the electronic advantages today’s media have,  the networks fell far short of their responsibilities. Clearly, as sublime as  the police and FBI were in their performance, the media did not cover itself in glory last week.

Oh where have you gone Edward R. Murrow?

Perhaps, the current crop of journalists should take note of your professionalism and humility when you advised,

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”

I always thought that I had it together. Well basically together.

I figured that although I was not the brightest kid in the room, I did go to college, even took a few courses in graduate school. I received a professional CPA designation and was respected in my field.
I served in the military, and started and ran successful businesses.
This professional background plus raising a bunch of wild kids surely would enable one to handle anything that comes along.
Well, I was wrong.
I now know why seniors in this country begin to lose their cognitive facilities around the age of 65.
Since the first of the year, I have been receiving daily, unsolicited, confusing letters, pamphlets, books and CDs from scores of insurance companies and the Federal government. All of which deal with one subject; Medicare.
Now since everyone has heard of Medicare, as it has been around for nearly 50 years, one might ask, “What’s the problem, read the stuff and decide what you need to do.”
Well, that is not that easy. First, the brochures might as well have been written in Chinese… by Chinese lawyers. (They were probably printed in China.)

Second,  Medicare has all these complicated, moving parts.

They are deceptively named A, B, C, D and so on. You also have Medicare Advantage and dozens of supplemental programs offered by some very eager insurance companies.
The only trouble is that the programs are cleverly not  standardized, so a comparative analysis is like predicting the weather on Mars–with an Old Farmers Almanac.
To make matters just a little bit more interesting, the pamphlets never tell you exactly how much the coverage will cost and what is covered. For that you must contact an “Agent.” This, you don’t want to do unless you are on a 12 step program…. or dying or something.
These companies, and their agents  use terms such as, “not all vision care maybe covered”, or “certain drugs may not be covered. Consult plan L or K in your group folder, if applicable or check our latest website newsletter”…What?

Then,  you have to “guess” what the Government will do with Medicare subsidies in the future as it tries to rein in its runaway budget!

While trying to understand the whole thing a bit better, I recently asked Dr. Zorro about it. Surely a learned medicine man like Dr. Z. would have the answer. But even he had questions  and was unsure of the programs. He shook his head and gave me the same look of pity, puzzlement and concern he displayed that day he asked how I got poison ivy over 70 percent of my body.

If Dr. Z is puzzled about this,  how could a knucklehead like me figure it out?

By this time, the insurance companies  have become unhappy with how long I am taking to decide. They are beginning to put time pressure on me to  choose a plan. They seem to be saying ( in a nice way) what an idiot I will be if I miss out on this deal.

While I just know the insurance companies are caring organizations, only interested in my welfare and not in it for the money, selecting a plan that is “right for me” is a little like playing Blind Man’s Bluff with a touch of Russian Roulette thrown in.
So, here I am, in my golden years, wanting to play golf, sit on my front porch in my rocking chair, sipping lemonade and regaling my grandkids with funny stories of the olden days, but all I can think about is will I choose the right plan, or will I commit a hideous blunder and  become the laughing-stock of the senior center.

Oh, what to do…what to do.

Pasta Fa Fool

April 1, 2013

Every April 1, we have spaghetti for dinner.

I happen to like spaghetti so I enjoy the meal. But we do it on April 1, to remind us of the famous “spaghetti grows on trees” report by the BBC in 1957.
When, over 8 million viewers of the staid and respected BBC watched as the 3 minute report talked about a record “Swiss” spaghetti crop. This report,  which showed a buxom Swiss Miss pulling strands of spaghetti from the trees, explained the large harvest was due to the mild weather and the virtual elimination of the spaghetti “weevil.”
The BBC was swamped with calls from viewers wanting to know more about how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.

The BBC’s advice was to, “place a strand of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best”.

Apparently the UK’s climate was not suited for the production of spaghetti trees.
For years, we in this country, laughed at the stupidity of the gullible Britons. How could they believe something so outrageous as spaghetti growing on trees?

We Americans are too smart to fall for anything like that.
Not so fast smarty pants Americans. We have fallen into foolishness more times than I would like to count.
You probably don’t remember  actor Orson Welles’  War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938. Millions were fooled by that thinking the country was being invaded by aliens.

But those two examples were harmless April Fool and Halloween pranks.

Now we have a whole new paradigm of pranks playing us for fools. These new wave tricks however are not for fun but invented by the Government and Media Cabal for their own personal and political power and gain.
Remember how the government swore the existence of a Social Security “Lockbox” where all the social security monies were kept away from the greed and avarice of politicians? How many people fell for that whopper?
Or how about that we had to go to war with Iraq because of all the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussian had at his disposal.

That sick , sad trick cost us dearly.

Any statistics**  that the Government puts out about the economy or employment are usually suspect, even more so, if they are celebrated by the media.
The “Fiscal Cliff” we were all going to fall off is a prime example of this foolishness we Americans fall for. Just because it is on TV or the internet does not make it real.

And now comes the terror of the Sequester.

So tonight, eat some spaghetti, made of durum and semolina wheat and crafted in Italy and don’t be fooled by anyone.

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** There is a great little book entitled, “How to lie with Statstics, written by Darrel Huff in 1954. It cost about $6 and it is worth the read.