Friday, December 30, 2011

This is a good time to be a political propagandist

After all, you can say about anything, even lie; and more often than not, apparently lazy reporters today will reverberate all this "as news".

If the 24/7 news cycle, or something else, has led "reporting" to this state, then this is not healthy for any society of people wanting to be informed.

Now I also suspect political propaganda has always worked, most recently under the Nazi regime in Germany. But the techniques are alive and well in most advertising today, and even the USA Friday night news dumps.

Now one can vote with their pocket books, which I have done over time. My subscriptions to Time and Newsweek, and all print newspapers, are long gone. Even my addiction to TV channel FoxNews is being abandoned by me do to the voiced ignorance of their newsreaders (cookie cutter blondes and pretty boys) and apparently their producers, mostly in New York City, too.

So as we common citizens go forward in life, how are we going to be influenced in our vote, assuming we can still vote?

I myself am most interested in the facts, and not the opinions of many "reporters" and pundits, who often have their own agenda. As my now deceased father used to say, I only believe 10% of what I read, and 50% of what I see. And all too often, it seems opinions are now published or broadcast as news. Now this is different in the last half century, and morally wrong, to me.

And all I want to do is make an informed vote, locally, state, and federally.

And I recognize that many fellow citizens are too busy working and raising a Family to be informed enough to their satisfaction. But I have the time, and inclination, to be informed, like not having or wanting to take out the time to filter out the propaganda.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scourges of humanity

Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.

Now many scourges are caused by mother nature, but we humans have done our bit, too. Much famine I read about is often human caused, for example.

And my perspective is influenced by having lived around the world, and most recently in rural east Tennessee.

For example, where I live now there are plenty of poor people, almost all white. Many choose to be poor, whether on purpose or not knowing better. Often they are from broken homes, which is another scourge of humanity. Drugs and alcohol are often involved. It's hard to generalize about so many humans. It is my opinion that this is just a sad fact of life for a relatively small percentage of our total population.

Here's one local example. A single mother (age 30) of two, overdoses on illegal drugs, and dies. Her two kids are forced to live with relatives.

Here's one more example. A single male, age 41, never really knew his father, refuses to work a steady job, and lives off of local government handouts, charity food banks, and his relatives and few friends. Some get insurance payments, too. He is obviously not starving, and tolerates that life style. So do many of his relatives.

So I didn't "fall off the turnip truck" yesterday, an old fashioned phrase.

It's been a remarkable trip through life for this fellow, born in 1948.

If one buys the polls (I do), then American culture is at a crossroads of sorts.

I think about this a lot. Mostly how to define what is going on, and what is important to me.

Several things keep popping up in my mind. Here they are:
1) Why is government involved in charity? Obviously, to me, that is a voter decision, and we have seemed to elect people that want to get government more involved in charity, and are willing to pay taxes for this involvement.
2) How about my group rights, vice my individual rights? Both are defined, to me, in our USA Constitution. In a nutshell, can one individual shut down a group for their own reason(s).
3) Schools should exist to teach the 3R's; and skills for life, like filling out tax forms, balancing home budgets, and making things. The rest of life's education of our children should occur at home, to include ethics.
4) One of government's jobs is to promote a man and a woman raising any children that result. I think of this as so fundamental. This old fashioned idea can be as simple as tax advantages to living together when raising kids. Just one dumb example for me. I remember getting in a fight around age 13, and the other kid got a broken arm out of the fight. Well the reactions from my mother and father were totally different, so having a mom and a dad around helped influence my upbringing.

So do we want to descend into an historical scourge of humanity where the rabble and riff raff run things into the ground? Of course not. But it does take leadership and action, and one sales pitch is to start where you are to impose standards, and maybe in twenty or thirty years our descendents will get the benefits. To me, I can't tell anyone what to think, but we sure can impose standards of behavior.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just the facts, ma'am

I recall this line from the old Dragnet TV series. It was delivered by Jack Webb, as I also recall.

Now we Americans are pulling out of Iraq, thank goodness. Now this is a hint as to my politics.

The facts, if you will, are pretty simple.

After we invaded and won the war in Iraq, the Department of Defense (DOD) took over winning the peace. DOD appointed a retired Army General, Jay Garner as I recall, to be in charge. Earlier Jay Garner had led the effort in Kurdistan (northern Iraq) after Desert Storm when we imposed a no fly zone. His stated objective was to leave Iraq within six months, and let them (the Iraqi's) sort it out.

Well, again as I recall, a big political battle went on in Washington, D.C. The State Department (led by another retired Army General, Colin Powell) ended up winning the political battle, and a well regarded bureaucrat, Paul Bremmer, took over winning the peace.

And now nine years later, many dead and wounded Americans later, and $840 billion dollars later, we are finally out.

One opinion, too.

Back in the late 1800's a bunch of Russian and European diplomats drew colonial boundaries, mostly in Africa and the Caucus areas. I wish they had made a Kurdistan, and a Baluchistan, and a sub-divided Sudan (which is pretty much was has happened). Now I suspect, in the case of Kurdistan, most local political leaders in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, will disagree. And many people are now dying for these decisions, and the decision makers are long dead. Go figure.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The value of ethics

I heard another hope for our new world USA culture today. It mentioned ethics.

Now this subject can be taught in schools, but to me it is best taught at home over time by a Mom and a Dad for it to be imbued into our psyche and culture. And it is being "imbued" by so many Moms and Dads throughout our world, so good on them!

Now one can even define their ethics, usually along the lines of right and wrong, the golden rule, or respect for others; and in the end, self respect. Each of ourselves are usually our own worst critic.

Another key point, to me, is that an ethical background makes one better able to make day to day decisions on the fly, as in quickly. It happens all the time.

So let us just reinforce those who imbue ethics in our descendents.

And let us reject those who have just been shortchanged in their ethical upbringing. Now to do so will probably takes decades, but one does have to start somewhere.

I buy the idea that if an idea takes decades to take place, it will probably take decades to change course. Along the way, people will have to die, usually of old age. After all, one can't teach ethics to old dogs, and these "old dogs" just need to die off.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mission First

The mission of government is to represent the people being governed. The people are the rulers, in the end.

Now there are variations of this idea in human history. Be it dictatorship, royalty, tribal chiefs, parliamentary, republican, all these ideas in the end need the people to support it, or at least put up with it. Sometimes it takes a war for others to impose their system. Sometimes it takes a revolt or revolution to accomplish the mission. And then, here in the new world USA, think local, state, and federal since there are many governments. Though many, the mission is singular.

Now in the new world USA it appears we have a new group at the federal level who want to change the mission. Now the mission cannot be changed since it is a human right that the people are the rulers. But the friction is nevertheless going on in the new world USA. Only time will tell how it sorts out.

Most hope it only takes a vote, vice fighting among ourselves.

And most only have so much "time in the barrel" before they are replaced by their children. In the meantime, since their children cannot vote and are generally not ready to fight, adults are pretty self-sacrificing in representing themselves, their Families, and their children.

Like the title suggests...mission first.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rights and privileges are different

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a right, to me.

Flush toilets and forced air heat is a privilege, to me, and I appreciate it. So is national defense. Some countries don't have a national defense.

I will fight for both rights and privileges, if that is what it takes. Hopefully the vote is the best way to fight for me.

Now many politicians and voters can claim privileges are rights, but that doesn't change things even in the new world USA. The two are different, and many of us recognize this, and will probably vote that way as a consideration.

Many fellow Americans work hard to make sure we have clean tap water, waste water treatments, and public electricity. Other fellow Americans work real hard to make sure we make it through the winter time like with ice free roads and reliable heating and cooking infrastructure that works. Even I like turning a light switch on during the dark times of the day, and expect it to come on instantly. These are examples of privileges, to me. This includes even times after a storm that damages our infrastructure.

I don't want to live like Abraham Lincoln, but I can if I need to.

And I am now perceiving many Americans think many of these privileges are automatic, and don't need to be supported, reinforced, nurtured, or whatever. I respectfully disagree. Many of those providing our privileges are much of the basic purpose of governments at all levels. And I thank them, and their Families. And I will support them and those that provide their services by my vote, my pocket book, and whatever else it takes.

I know the difference between rights and privileges, and appreciate it. And I also know the difference between idealism and practicality, and the need to balance it all for the benefit of us all.

I've seen and lived the difference, and sure like what we have in the new world USA.

Good on us!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hit 'em in the pocket book

Why humans suffering is often what it takes for change to happen seems to be, well, human. What a shame. Even I will have to suffer, too.

Now I personally figure I can guess what will probably happen, but the timing I usually screw up.

For sure, I believe a third USA national party will arise, and there will be a civil war in China.

Now just when, I don't have a reliable way to guess that I trust. I usually guess things will happen before they actually do. I am usually off by two or three years. But I consider myself an informed citizen, which probably works against my timing guesses.

Well Plan B suggests most USA people don't have time to worry about more than their near future. They are usually hard workers, and often busy raising a family. Only when they are threatened, in their mind, will change probably occur.

If this guess, theory if you will, is correct, than what a shame.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Americans still want change

It sure likes like the present financial federally caused problems are not going to be solved by our present elected federal Congress and President.

After all, we all do enjoy wonderful federal benefits right now, generally speaking.

So what is change at the federal level going to take?

My guess is a third party will arise, and work on paying our federal bills, simply. I myself prefer any new name than whatever the opposition uses to describe it right now, like the Tea Party.

In this change, there will be pain, including to me.

And only in America can our vote still count, vice something else like a revolt or revolution. After all, we as a Country were conceived in a revolution, but my guess is we have evolved in the new world USA to voting since then.

But for sure, change is coming because we Americans want it. And I sure hope we use the vote, and the outgoing types go along with the results.

Now what would you do? And I still have to deal with State and County issues, too, like my kid's education.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Great change is underway

And it will affect most of us. And it is mostly human caused, which is normal, unfortunately .

The obvious things are our USA and world-wide financial problems, which will probably get worse. For those with money to invest, good luck in the next two years or so.

The less obvious thing is what is going on in the real human world. There are lots of smart people who know what is going on in their part of the world, but few can connect the dots in the whole world, so to speak. Hence a guess is that things will get worse because of poor decision making, and it will affect me and my family.

This idea is most probably exacerbated by the poor elected leadership in the USA, and the people they have hired. In the end, they will bring their era to an end, again a great change time, too. The time between 2011 and 2020 should be really exciting. The dinosaurs (so to speak) will fight back, like to preserve their status quo and way of life.

And there are alternatives to the present courses of action now taking place by elected and appointed leaders throughout the world. I think Obama, and his hired minions, are a good example of a poor leadership during this time of great change.

Along the way, expect great political change in the USA. The 100 year+ era of two national political parties is coming to an end, and a third national party will arise. All this will probably happen in the 2016 time frame, but who really knows in 2011.

After all, most just want to survive, have a family, and promote their kids' futures, where ever they live. Being fed and warm is a big deal. And most still want to be citizens, vice being a serf.

What I fear today is the consequences and how it will affect you and me, like down range nuclear weather patterns seldom reported in today's media.

Nobody, with exceptions, is reporting how bad things are in China, for example. I don't count on our USA media doing a good job reporting all this, or many other things that will affect my life, and my family's lives.

And all this during a time of great change.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We are going to be all in it

It seems obvious to me. We are unilaterally disarming.

The old days' questions like where are the carriers, or the Marines, or the airborne forces, are going to be gone. They (and their gear) simply will not exist.

Is that what you want?

Many may, for their own logic. And many won't, for their own logic, too. But for sure, we are going to be all out of enough troops, too.

Now even fundamental things like can we defend our own country and way of life come up.

And if we are not a policeman in the world, then others (mostly regional leaders) may fill the vacuum, like start local wars that might drag in future USA leaders in the future.

Like the title suggests, we are going to be all out of projection military power if things continue on. Is that what you want?

It is kinda like pay me now, or pay me later.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's going to happen if Obama is not re-elected?

The quick answer is I don't know.

But I sure can guess, and so can you.

I use the connect the dots method, since the psycho babble method tends to be a waste of most people's time.

Now normally, the outgoing President is gracious and helpful to the new inbound President. And our Congress tends to be the same way.

But in these times, things seem to be different. Said another way, is our present federal President wanting to go another way, like even be a dictator, or king, or something similar?

Can executive orders be similar to a king's edict, for example? Does our election process to elect our Congress people still give us citizens a way to help decide our future and fate? Are we subjects, or citizens? Do we as Americans want to take the present situation as a way to change our Constitution? And last, do we want a new form of government led by a not so smart person attended to by minions (he hired) seeking their own influence and power in influencing our American future?

So all this turmoil in my mind is also influenced by the idea of embarrassment.

Are we citizens, including our military and law enforcement types, going to do some or both; like respond to his orders; or even do the dirty deeds necessary to remove him from office, like "dig him out" in the old vernacular.

Last, given the advantage of hindsight, we can say and think anything we want to about our own parents. But for sure, I am glad I did not have him and his wife as my parents.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Vigilance must be constant

During WWII 200 federal Congressman voted themselves an exception to the war rationing all of us had to participate in. Once discovered, this federal law was rescinded. Come one, come all, so to speak.

Now I hear my military retirement benefits may be retroactively changed to reflect the terrible economic situation in the USA today. I can even live with that these days, as long as I think the decision makers are applying these rules to themselves, too. Hence the vigilance.

Two more thoughts. My military retirement benefits were an incentive to stay in when I though seriously about getting out. I won't bore you with the details. Now I can imagine some years in the future when we can't retain enough Americans for the military to defend us. A line I borrow is that while we may recruit an American, we retain his family. Sounds like a future problem for future politicians to vote on in a conventional way of thinking. But how about a Plan B, like think ahead, consider our priorities, our ability to pay, and vote for people who will represent this?

Last, here is a Plan C that appealed to me, warts and all.

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 — before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven took one year or less to become the law of the land, all because of public pressure.

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives noPay when they're out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into The Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses its current health-care system and Participates in the same health-care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void

Effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract. Congress made these contracts for itself.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers Envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their Term(s), then go home and back to work.

Vigilance must be constant, and come one, come all.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

How much bathing is the right amount?

The quick answer, I think, is that most Americans think once a day is good. Now whether it is a shower or a bath, I will leave that question for other thoughts.

Now is that healthy; and the quick answer is that I don't know. After all I suspect most of our ancestors settled on less than once a day (mostly because they had to), and they did OK I think. We're here, after all.

For the record, my own personal record is 39 days without a bath, and then I had to sneak into a Palestinian work camp (occupied by Marines but off limits to me) to gain a warm shower. Yep, even I like warm water when I can get it. Also, there are ways to survive, in a healthy manner I think, without a daily bath. Baby wipes are one way. I suspect our ancestors had their ways, too.

So what is the standard, like best for our health? I don't know, but suspect it is less than a shower or bath a day. The thought of bathing in publicly provided clean water with chlorine (a poison at a reasonable level) in it bothers me. And I used to do some pool maintenance (using typical chlorine which also burns our eyes), too, so that is what provides me my question about our health.

Last, I suspect most who want to sleep together (including sex) would like a clean smelling spouse or partner. But is that also healthy, again the frequency of bathing is the basic question, like smelling clean? And again, I don't know the answer, but suspect it depends on where you live, and what you do.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

How do you find the news where you live?

The quick answer is I don't know, as even I get frustrated at my own level in east Tennessee, USA.

Now there's many things published in most media that, in my opinion, is just the person's personal opinion, published as news. This idea is new in the last three decades, I think. Heck, I can go to the local Hardees for breakfast to hear the same kind of opinions.

I even had a commie pinko liberal friend ask me the same question, by the way, like how does one find out what is really going on?

Now I have gone out of my way to even read foreign journals (daily), and even reading an intel weenie providing his interpretation of the foreign reporting. Right now, that is the best I can do. What a sad state of affairs, I think.

So good luck, if you want to know the news where you live these days.
It will never happen, but

It might happen these days.

Long standing assumptions about cultures, and trust and faith in them paying their bills, is now up for grabs in so many places.

So many of our political and financial leaders may not be right for the present situation. Now some are "right", too. And every culture and nation state has its own problems, too. For example, I would rather be in the new world USA than the old world China we think of.

Now our present political leaders are a voter decision in the USA, and we voters have contributed to the problem we face today. Yea, we can say many of our elected leaders are failing us, but in the end, we did put them in power. Hence the people's part of the present situation. Now for the poor investors, well, that is their problem as to picking their leaders.

And as to wondering, I am slowly coming to think the Democratic National Party has become a criminal conspiracy, in the traditional way of history thinking. And the present Republican National Party is not too far behind. But who is going to say this in a RICO type of way, or even spend the prosecutorial time given the sponsorship and rewards system presently in effect (at all levels, federal, state, and local). The key way of thinking to me, is that the Party is still more important than the Country to so many members of their Party. Why, I still don't know?

But now serious issues are a stake, like our lives and well being.

So quicker change in our status quo is due, and really is already underway. Just how it will happen in the next 10 or 20 years is up to us, we citizens. Nope, we are not subjects.

The good news is that the future world in the USA will be pretty good for our Families and our kids. But whatever "it will never happen" means where you live, you can make a difference. Go for it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Voting with our pocket book

No matter what anyone in our leadership class says about things today in the USA, all of us know about our pocket books. And we vote that way, as in what we buy, or don't buy. And many also vote with their feet, as in where they choose to live, work, and raise a family. Again, no one from our leadership class (who I used to deal with, and they are often fine people, too) can convince most otherwise. And along those lines, the recent Euro deal that causes many to take a 50% bath (like invest $100...get back $50) is widely reported in the USA as a good deal, though I suspect those taking a bath would not agree, as in voting with their pocket book.

One can imagine much friction and change coming to the western societies.

Thank goodness a place like the new world USA has the best of all worlds (like the West and the East combined), but even things have to sort out here, too. For example, I think many people in the new world USA want change (the federal vote for President in 2008 being an example), and that thirst and goal is still around. And by golly, the change will happen, be it pocket book, moving, or voting, and yes, maybe even a revolution.

It sure looks like it is going to take change to the old status quo to make that happen, like the two dominant national parties will decline as a third party arises. Yep, this is an exciting time, comparable to the 1776 revolution period, though our own version in this decade, like from 2010 to 2020. My thoughts are historical, that is while the times and technology certainly has changed, we humans have not changed that much.

So in conventional wisdom from our USA past, one might plot a political campaign like a military campaign. But lying does not win battles when things like our pocket books, and integrity, come into play.

So I have made up my mind that I will enter the political process, as much demand that makes on my time. And along the way, I just want to be happy for me and my Family.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The friction continues in the new world USA

Been there, done that, is an old time expression. This expression continues to work today.

The present day Tea Party, to me, is a movement, and not a "party". It is kinda like the Hippie movement decades ago. Yet today, its opponents continue to try define it, as if it is reported in the press, then it must be true. For me, being a child of the 60's, I think otherwise. What surprises me is that a lot of other fellow citizens think the same way, more than I ever thought so. Yep, the times they are a changin'.

There was a time in my youth, kinda like the present day folks who think differently than I do, that I bought their line. "Lee Harvey Oswald, where are we now that we need you" comes to mind. And even I thought about going out to Taos, New Mexico, getting naked, growing corn in the desert, and living in a cave. Instead I joined the Marines, which pretty much did the same thing, with a better quality of life, if you don't mind going in harm's way part of the time. Neither approach will get you rich, or even well off.

Yep, Marines are Americans, too.

So I now fear many people will die through the do-gooder intents and efforts and federal government practices today. It's the classical debate about do good intentions count, or does practically count?

What has gotten my attention is the effect on my remaining life. I am age 63, and don't want to die cold and miserable. I live in a rural part of America, and pretty much live (at least 1/3 or more) off the land. I would say 100%, but I do go to the local grocery store to get food, including dog food. Now some of it all sounds glorious, like the noble Indian idea, until you get to live this Hippie way. Yep, I don't want to be a Taos Hippie type. Presently, I wear long johns as I write, and time my farm maintenance work to the local weather.

So the present friction about the future of our new world USA has earned my attention, like time and effort. And, you know what, for the first time in my life, I am going to get politically involved. My military background has always taught me to not vote in federal elections so I could claim (sincerely) I will serve any Commander-in-Chief. Now, I am going to change, like vote.

So as part of the friction, am I a subject, or a citizen?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Just a report from an old person

For the record, I am a male, age 63, and presently live on the Cumberland Plateau in east Tennessee. I moved here from Atlanta to an old Family place. And my father introduced me to the idea of reporting what is happening to my body as I age. As a Rambling Wreck engineer from GaTech, I also use the engineering approach, which is sort of scientific, too. My favorite movies are mostly from my youth and younger years, like "The Searchers", "Jeremiah Johnson", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", and even later "The Sand Pebbles". I also like some more modern movies, mostly directed by Lasse Hallstrom, a Swede. The "Cider House Rules", "An Unfinished Life", and even "Dear John" come to mind.

For me, I would report in two ways, since both affect me. One is the physical side of things, and the other is the mental side of things.

First, the physical side of things. I have run a bunch of marathons, like 17, but that pales by my belief back then that until about age 55, it was my life style getting me down; after that age kicked in. Add to that idea is that the hormone testosterone production is probably declining over time in my body, and now I am not as strong at age 63 than I want to be. This hurts my feelings. That is my observation today. Plus my time to heal from simple injuries is not what it used to be. While I do heal, it generally takes longer.

Second is the mental type of things. My last time in Okinawa (about 25 years ago) during a HASH run, a gal from MIT, serving as a Marine aviation supply officer, asked me the old joke about did I know what a "nooner" was. Well, of course I did, but then she said something like "it was a cup of soup and a nap", and that appealed to me as much as it hurt my feelings, too. Later she asked me "if I lived in menopause manor", which also hurt my feelings. Of course, I did live there, and was happy to be there.

One more mental type of thing I have thought about a lot, and tried to analyze the best I can. The subject is motivation.

I can report, for me, that the repeating of normal human things, like parental type things, is getting tiresome. I think I am becoming more "tough love", which I define as brutal honesty. Now in this case, some may listen, and some may not, but mentally I can accept the results more I could decades ago.

So, and last, I always heard that old people like me always wish they could impart their experience to their younger people growing up. I think now, again mentally, that most younger people don't want to listen, and such is the nature of humanity and history.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Knowing the difference between politics and the politician

While I may agree with a lot of the "progressive" politics in America, I also think we have a crummy federal president of the USA.

I also think our present federal President is not too smart, nor is his wife. They are a case of affirmative action gone bad. The evidence is out there for anyone who wants to think independently. Now I also think both are hard working, and often well intended, but, again, both are not that swift. And now we Americans get to suffer the consequences of this poor leadership during this time of great turmoil, which is obvious to most.

Another obvious thing to me is that the two major National political parties have failed our Country. After 100 plus years, they have had their chance, and they have done a poor job. It bothers me to think the status quo is such that their Party may be more important than our Country in 2011. It's time for a change, one might suggest.

Now I have always wondered what it was like during the 1770's American revolution from England. I always assumed great turmoil, kinda like today. Even the conventional wisdom people will suggest not to mess with the status quo, like even an American third party might split the vote and get Obama re-elected. So be it.

Even he, Obama, will get old and die off. Such is the nature of change in this vast wonderful land called the USA.

So what is a new American Party going to be called? I don't know.

But for sure, I think, is that the focus will be on us, Americans, and not the Parties of the last 100 years. All this will take time, like until maybe 2020 or later.

Great change is underway, and what a wonderful time to live and observe it all, and maybe even influence it in the new world USA.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Great change is underway in the world

The end of the beginning is past. The beginning of the end, our new future, is well underway. Those humans who resist change in the status quo are on the way out. Some don't recognize it and will resist in all ways they know how. This is where we are at now in the USA, and in much of the West. Use your own eyes and judgment and experience in making up your own mind.

The best example I can imagine is our human birth rate. In the West rates are dropping, probably due to collective instincts about what is best for we humans. It doesn't take a dictator or royalty to dictate what we do about enjoying sex. In the East, things are different as to timing, but a reasonable forecast is that similar patterns will follow in the next two decades as quality of life improves.

Now even most have seen, or perceived change, which is normal, like our children having different values, to include music and clothes (kinda like a peer uniform). Sounds normal to me. But what is appalling to me is the amount of poor education which has failed so many of our kids, who I think are well intended and often hard working and self-sacrificing, and woefully poorly educated. This is part of the change period friction. And any education is not a way to help those cold and hungry at any age.

Even I have had to study and form opinions about all the anti-war and other such isolationist and pacifistic and idealistic efforts that went on before WWII. Half the college students protested, for example. Our Congress passed Neutrality Laws, and the President signed them. It was a big deal. And funny, but most of all this effort disappeared once America was attacked. So our ancestors, all collectively, had something worth defending, and went forward in their own way. Families moved in together, rationing was introduced and reinforced, and generally we all worked together.

So during this time of present great change, two thoughts come to mind. One, the obvious one, is how is the present group of humans going to do? The other thought is will we humans go forward on our earth, or will some other alternative predominate?

Now is a time for true leadership, not political leadership. Just who steps up to the plate, and when they do it, is still up for grabs.

Now here in the USA, often this means reinforcing some, and canning others. After all, it is our fate and our children's fate, if we present adults do step up to the plate, and influence our future.

Hopefully in the USA we will use the vote. Others may use revolt or use revolution.

And lord hope we don't descend into anarchy during this great change time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In war, one can take casualties

And probably will, since that is the nature of the game. Now I suspect most of them serving our Country in the military and supporters know it, and even I have a kid who will go in harm's way, so this is not some academic subject to me. It is real world.

And we have something in our new world USA worth defending, for our own reasons. There is a lot to be proud of, or even pleased with as to the quality of life we have for ourselves and our Families. It didn't happen by itself.

Yet so many seem to think otherwise, even take what other fellow Americans are doing in their way, and often disagree. In this is the beauty of our new world USA. We can decide our future paths, as a people. I say this during a time of turmoil and great change, but so be it. It was obviously coming, but now it is here and not fun to go through.

I suspect many people will die, some in horrible ways like starvation and freezing and terrible human caused diseases. So be it. We have set all this we have to go through it. What a shame.

The good news is that the other end will be healthy and good for the survivors, especially for those humans in the new world USA. Not too shabby for the survivors, I would suggest.

But also, probably within one or maybe two centuries, all this present day turmoil will be forgotten and influenced by the present day human problems then. Such is the nature of the human game and influence. Here we go again, I would say.

But also, in the new world USA today, is hope for a better path for our descendents.

So back to the title of this post. One can take casualties as sorry it is to report will probably happen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why not hunker down in the USA these days

Let integrity and honesty reign!

Yes, when people quit loaning us in the new world USA more money, and we have to live within our means, which are considerable, then times will get hard during the transition. In this is hope for our American future; also the worlds' future.

The obvious things, to me is knowledge about how to reign, and our USA self defense. There are a lot of poorly educated and politically naive people around these days. They might even think they are educated, but for sure they are hired. And I think most are well intendended, and hard working, in their mind.

For example, on the how to reign idea, if one does A, then B will probably happen, eventually. So it appears to me we are unilaterally disarming the USA, and now local regional despots will arise, kind of like we humans always do, and use their own local judgments about how they want to go forward. Think Iran, or China, as examples. The new world idea is do we want to do this these days? Do we humans still count, or is it just the human leaders who affect us, with their own goals, and pasts, and problems, by the way.

In the end, Families count.

More on the idea of if one does A, then B, will happen. Our recent (2011) in the USA Congress and Executive have enacted a new federal law about overt homosexuals wanting to join and serve in the military. I think the intent was pretty idealistic, like equality for all. But I also think the enlistment rates and retention rates will suffer in the end. After all, we may enlist Americans, but we retain families. This belief will start right now, but may take decades to become obvious. Just what do the regular people think when the vote with their feet, and now how do they express it in their way and their places they live. Bottom line question, do these presently elected federal congress people, and their hired minions, now represent us?

So back to the title.

For example, our own federal staffers (who serve our federal Congress) have built their own individual gyms in D.C. at our expense. One house cannot enter the other's gym.

So back to the title. It is time to hunker down where ever you live, mostly for your Families sake, and go from there.

Lord hope we Americans these day still use the vote, vice a revolution kind of thing. I even have a local commie pinko liberal type of younger than me friend who suspects a revolution is coming, though I argue with him vociferously.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The sum is greater than the whole of the parts

I suspect most have heard this expression in one form or another. And at age sixty-three, I still wonder about our academic fascination with dividing a problem into the parts for analysis. That method I must live with, but, again, I still wonder why most humans don't try to analyze the whole? That would help me where I live.

To make things sound too simple, the idea of operations analysis was created in WWII just for this reason. So this idea is not rocket science.

Now some do try analyze the is often called the vote, or whatever method exists for people to assert themselves wherever they live.

Another usual expression one hears is "that there is something wrong with this picture." That's another way to say the idea of seeing how it all sorts out. And most have heard the forest and the trees ideas.

The other amazing thing to me, is the obvious consequence to me is so often ignored by others. After all, I am old, and going cold and hungry and dying off might be OK to others, but not to me. Said another way, we all do think differently, and one way or the other, one ought to get a chance to voice our view. Of course, in the end, we will. The main question is how.

But if it comes down to physical violence, like revolt or civil war or whatever, then what a shame. Again, and as a reminder, I live in the new world USA.

So back to the title of this post, and the idea of looking at things as a whole.

In my view, I think our present Federal executive is a crummy President, and has hired many like him. In the same vein, I agree with many of the ideals, but the pace of change and the basic competent management I have serious issues with, like give someone else a chance in this wonderful new world USA to make us "happy".

Now I don't need some academic to tell me what to think about his or her values, though I am confident they are hard working and well intentioned, too.

But so am I.

Hence "there is something wrong with this picture", and I will assert myself the best I can in our new world USA.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Hang the guilty bastard

Now let's have a trial, and then hang the guilty son of a gun. Sounds American, to me.

But in the same vein, I hear and read that many other Americans think in more a judicial mentality than a military mentality. So be it, though it does drive me nuts. I suspect many Americans will have to die in this process...what a sad state of affairs.

Yep, it is already happening both in America, and throughout the world. Again, what a sad state of affairs! So many people alive today don't have to die, though they probably will.

Just ask the people in Syria, Libya, Dafur, or other such friction places.

Now any change is tough, but what grates me is the idea that dumb or even inexperienced people have influence that bring this about. That seems to be what is happening these days.

So if I am on to something, do we vote them out, which is my preference, and try to do something better. Plan B is to just hang the guilty bastards, which is probably counter-productive.

After all, I wish the best for my Family, and their future here in America.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Congratulations do make a difference in your child

I've made my peace. All of us are partly the way our genetics made us, some may say the way God made us; and also partly the way our influential people in our lives made us, mostly our mothers and fathers.

And this post focuses on why fathers, males if you will, matter in the upbringing of children.

And bringing up children, the future of the human race wherever you live is a big deal, bigger than things like individuals and their rights and problems.

And boys and girls are different, thank goodness. Can't live with 'em and can't live without 'em is an oft common expression I hear.

And the sum is greater than the whole of the parts, so to speak in more scientific terms. Hence, kids benefit by having a mother and father "expressing" their points of view and values as children grow. Said another way, most of us are not born knowing "it all". We do have to be taught.

In my case, getting chewed out in the 8th grade over some infraction (OK I was in a fight where the other boy got his arm broken) was different between how my Mom handled it and my Dad handled it. But I paid attention, and learned some values along the way.

One more story. In the 2nd grade I led a playground fight for reasons I truly have forgotten, but the female yard monitor (a teacher) chewed me out really bad and changed my personality, in the process. I think she forget it, but I did not forget it.

So back to my point, that moms and dads do make a difference in our lives. I call it their influence on our lives. Good on 'em, too. Most grandparents will often chuckle under their breath to see their kids have their time in the barrel since it is often not fun.

So here's a sales pitch. Why don't we common citizens have rules, practices, and laws, that promote this kind of thinking that promotes Moms and Dads raising their children, as best they can?

Now these days in the new world USA, I don't hear much about this idea. So be it. But in the same vein, having a Mom and Dad at home sure does make a difference in how we turn out.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

A cathartic episode for America

In this episode there is much friction throughout the land. What will the screen writers write about the next episode, and in a way they can. But also we new world USA types can also write the script for the episode, too. Even we have indirect influence, too. These days the main influence is often the ratings, and the amount the advertisers and those paying the advertisers make off of an episode. Maybe we even are able to influence the script for the next episode, too. After all, we voters, new world USA types if you will, can vote with our pocket books, too. So a good script usually gets a good financial gain.

And I guess the next episode is still being decided, written if you will. Now maybe even that idea is more for next year's episodes.

The key point for me is that we people still are in charge, one way or the other. And the idea of "we people" is still changing, and so are the probable episodes that will entertain us. But one thing is constant, I think, in script writing. In the end, the people are in charge, and I sure hope the future scripts reflect this idea.

Some things are timeless...

Times and technology has changed, but we people may not have changed as the friction between brothers and sisters that his nifty cartoon suggests.

Now I suspect we all are familiar with what happens when hormones kick in.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The coming Global Superstorm

This title borrows a title from a decade old book, but things are much worse than just a mother nature natural event. This time political people are involved, hence the idea of things can be worse than they are today, and may be in our near future.

The level of such coming change is analogous to what went on after World War II, which was pretty profound to those affected, which was pretty much the whole world.

Then, in simple terms, the West, and mostly the USA and Russia dominated the immediate future of the world, as any victor with responsibility and future intent would do. In my opinion, we (USA types) did "good", like succeeded in what our ancestors wanted to accomplish after the "big war". How well the Russians did is another discussion.

But then was then, and now was now, and we have a new set of "us" and our leaders. Now even today in our world, not all leaders are elected, and many leaders are still basically dictators, or tribal leaders, or some variation in between, to include economic leaders. When I hear of the idea of "failed states", I still wonder why we (and the present UN) are enforcing some practical method of defining the world our ancestors from the 1800's defined. The simple term is colonialism, as least to me. And I don't feel personally obligated to perpetuate what they did during their time. I have enough problems in my time.

So back to the title of this post.

If we had similar leaders to those of our recent past, then perhaps our present leaders could guide our future OK. Now if, call it bad luck, then if we have poor leaders who do a bad job, then times may get tempestuous, in Shakespearean terms.

So back to the title of this post, again. This time imagine some kind of mother nature event, like the Yellowstone caldera letting go. It's overdue. Even it's probable downwind patterns will affect where I live like I will have up to 6 inches of ash that will pretty well shut down a lot of life.

So am on my own, or can I count on future leaders to help the process along? Right now I don't know what to think. I just want to be warm and fed.

Given all this uncertainty, two thoughts come to mind. One is trust and faith, like in our leadership. Second is belief in their integrity and honesty about enhancing me and my Family.

So if all else fails, it is time for change, like the old time status quo will change. I suspect even science will come into play.

I am always astonished at the human tendency to want to join a "party", since I am not that way, though I realize I am in a minority on this idea. Even I would not be a part of a high school clique. But in the same vein, parties do have their value, mostly in getting things done.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our unique American culture

I still think we are a melting pot. That, and time, has made us unique. I have been around the world, like in living "over there", and I recognize this probably more than others who have not traveled as much. I also think our Constitution and way of government have also helped in the new world area we live in to make us different.

Two old time comments come to mind. One is "Americans always do the right thing, after exhausting all other possibilities". The other is that "democracy is not perfect, but compared to the alternatives, it is pretty good".

Now one can say all cultures are unique, and I would agree. But I would add that all cultures are not equal, that is some are more successful than others, and my experience has led me to this belief.

And by luck and circumstance, I think our American culture is one of the more successful cultures, especially compared to the alternatives. I choose to take advantage of it, mostly for my and my Family's benefit. That's American, too, in my opinion.

And "unique and American to boot" has some obvious examples to me. Now I think of myself as Scotch-Irish, but when in rural Scotland decades ago I and the Scottish farmers, though both were speaking "English", could not understand each other. Obviously, and in spite of our common ancestry, countless generations apart had brought this about. Yep, I was an American, not a Scottish person.

My historical guess is the fusion of all the cultures in this new world America has brought this unique American culture about. Just look at our standards of dress, music, favorite foods, moral standards, Family expectations, married names, etc, and make up your own mind. I even had a buddy from North Dakota who spoke Norwegian until he was five, and had never seen a Negro until he joined the Marines. Yet he always thought of himself as an American. I did, too.

For those so inclined, go back to "your" mother country; many will not recognize the culture they enter, depending on how many generations you may be removed from your Family's original immigrants into new world America. Like it or not, you are an American, and from new world America.

Now this idea of a unique American culture is not generic. Even decades ago American Spanish was different from Castilian Spanish (the mother country's language), but the people I hung around with (from both areas) could communicate, with effort. But it was also obvious, both groups were from different cultures.

And one more personal story. Not too long ago I was president of a land company that owned a 23,000 acre bobwhite quail plantation in SC, and was offered an opinion by a PhD (Princeton) from WV about the "swept yard" idea there, where many homes had bare dirt yards, which was an African good way to keep out reptiles and even help protect the kids. While I never did it (had a swept yard), I would have expected most of these local people to say (if I had asked) this is just the way they were brought up, as in this idea is now an American idea; cultural to me, though practical, to them.

Last, maybe I am becoming an old fuddy duddy, like in resisting change. To me, this is kind of funny, since as a Marine, I embrace change and all the opportunities it presents for those willing to exploit it. But even I don't like all the cultural change I see going on, but our unique American culture (and our Constitution) also gives even me a chance to assert myself, and I will, in my way.

This idea is unique in the world, and so new world American. I am confident in this report, too, as an American.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The power of ideas

Powerful ideas are different from political, economic, or religious beliefs, which are influential in their own right. One might decide to combine them if they choose, and for their good reason since both often do prompt actions. This authors intent is not to have some academic dissertation, but to remind all that always there are powerful ideas all around us.

The present third party movement in the USA is analogous to the hippie movement decades ago. It's a powerful idea.

The new world USA is more inclined to vote than revolt. Other cultures are more inclined to revolt than vote. Like boys and girls, we are all different, to include our powerful ideas.

Integrity and willingness to try and fail is still a powerful idea. The results of failure are often harsh, but also still a powerful idea.

Pursuit of happiness for self and Family is a powerful idea, and world-wide. Being warm and fed is both a simple and a powerful universal example of happiness for self and Family.

Bad ideas are powerful, too, but often do fade away for another day. Examples might be slavery and cannibalism.

When pushed into a corner, perceived or otherwise, physical fighting is often still a course of action. Even the USA had a revolt and a civil war long ago.

Humans cannot legislate peace, as much as many want to. USA culture tends towards isolationism and pacifism, a powerful idea.

Humans have long memories. Often cultures promulgate these memories. These memories are often powerful in the present world.

The new world USA, and its Constitution, are powerful ideas.

Throughout human history every type of ruling and governing has been tried. Many types still exist today. Some have proved to be better types than other types. In the end, the need and desire to be ruled is a powerful idea.

Recognizing our human foibles is a powerful idea. Such things as astrology, fascination with some numbers, witchcraft , and even pursuit of conspiracies provide such examples of recognizing our human foibles.

Powerful ideas cannot be eradicated. They may be suppressed for a while, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The happiness factor

This post is about how to think, mostly what is important to you, and your Family, to include your influence on your Family.

To me happiness is good health and self respect.

No where is money or political power in the equation.

I always remember a visit by my older brother years ago when we shared a meal at the local restaurant. He, a multi-millionaire, went out of his way to report another group at the restaurant he observed was obviously poor, but also happy. I have never forgotten his observation.

Now a perennial human happiness problem is trying to live forever, or even preserve eternal youth, which is normal, though a fantasy, too. Even our machines wear out, too. This "problem" seems to affect our females more than our males, but in the end all do grow old and die, like normal.

There's obviously many unhappy boys and girls, too, and today in the new world USA. I offer the reports of the divorce rates as an example. And my idea to think about divorce is that it often brings about introspection, mostly about what makes you happy. And I still wonder why the divorce rate was less many decades ago? After all, I suspect even our ancestors did have their frictions in their time, too.

And then there are the religious ideas, too. In this area, I am out of my league, but respect the impact of religion on the happiness factor. It's real.

Last, I recognize that many still associate happiness with their money and their political power. So be it.

And for those who have bad health (vice old age), I also understand that impact on happiness. Most humans don't have bad health, by the way. One can even think of bad health as advancing our deaths, which will happen anyway. Dying with dignity is a noble goal, at whatever age or circumstance.

And thankfully, dying of old age stuff doesn't always affect the happiness of our living and remaining relatives.

But, and to conclude, this post is still a how to think article with no sales pitches or conclusions. Now just what makes you happy, and how happy are you when you die, and live? Nothing can dictate what we think, though we may have to say certain things while we live wherever we live.

After all, life, and the pursuit of happiness, does go on.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The power of spices

I like 'em in cooking, but that is just my preference. Mostly I like the combinations that don't have much sodium stuff, but that is just my preference, again.

The alternative I actually bought earlier was to enjoy the basic flavors in organically grown food, even store bought food flavors. Those promoters have a point, too. But I don't enjoy it as much.

So I still added some spices to what I am cooking today.

And you know what, I look forward to the output.

Now, being an amateur historian, I even buy the line that many spices were imported by our western ancestors as a way to mask the pungent/rotten smell of food in our past. Now in the West so many have refrigeration provided by public electricity that suggests we humans still like the flavors from our spices in the food we cook. Others in the East/third world may still like the masking aroma where the food is more pungent/rotting. In the end, nobody will want to get sick, or have their Family get sick.

Well, I will go back to making a local goulash on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, with some chicken and other things, to include some locally bought spice combination, in my Japanese rice cooker made in China, to boot. Then I will get on my John Deere tractor with bush hog just to do some work that makes me happy, and hopefully some of honey bees, too. Later I might come back to the local NFL football game delivered over my satellite TV.

But in the end, I sure like the spices I am using.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A difficult subject to talk about

The subject is Negros in America.

I am also prejudiced by my Marine Corps experience. There are many Negro Marines the other side does not want on our side. I am proud of them, and they count, too, like all the other Marines. And even in my Marine Corps time, I had a buddy (from North Dakota) who had never even seen a Negro until he joined the Marines. Plus I have been a recruiter during the 1970's in Kentucky, and anyone who made the minimum requirements (mental, physical, and moral) was good enough for me. Talk about diversity.

Later I was an officer recruiter of sorts as the Marine Officer Instructor at Naval ROTC at Georgia Tech, and Atlanta University. Back then we had a double standard, like if you were Negro you did not have to have as high an SAT score to qualify to be a Marine Officer candidate. Well that resulted in many young men totally frustrated when they got mixed with peers who were just better qualified. Later one common standard got instituted, thank goodness.

I even got a phone call once from one of my best Atlanta University grads (Morris Brown), who got frustrated during his Basic School time when he got selected to go into the transportation specialty. He took it as racial prejudice. Well to make a long story short, I chewed his rear end because (and I was proud of him) he could not write at all (his wife did most of his writing), and I had forcefully told him to take a basic course in reading and writing while at Morris Brown. He ignored me. And after he got out of the USMC he got hired by Macys in Atlanta, but even they expect performance and writing skills, too. And I have not kept up, too.

So in my experience, and prejudice I guess, I too am influenced by my experience. Plus I consider myself an OK amateur historian. Where I live today on the Cumberland Plateau suggests much of this. Right or wrong, I am sincere.

So here's a sincere idea. Negros are pretty good Americans as born. Now other cultural and tribal influences are poor. And I think most people suspect some tribes are more successful than others. Plus even as former Senator David Moynihan (now dead) suggested in our USA our best efforts to provide welfare may have unintended consequences. Families are key, and any program that takes the males out of the Family equation is just a poor idea, to me. Hence much of the horrible racial attacks, often coordinated by flash mob technicality, may reflect such a terrible situation in these days.

And I live in a kind of poor Scotch-Irish area, and the way we live is better than some of the alternatives I read about. Hence government programs do make a difference, some good, and some bad, all for our future of course.

So in my mind, America is still more a melting pot than some kind of academic idea diversity area. And we Americans living today still have to go through the process, that is the evolution of our American culture. Now just how long that will take is up for grabs, but I suggest it may be longer than most guess, like decades, and maybe a century.

But born American Negros are pretty good and smart humans, to me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We still want change

I think our present Federal President hasn't delivered.

Here's a sub from Victor Davis Hanson:
At some point, Barack Obama and those around him grasped that utopian rhetoric and progressive intentions made discordant facts irrelevant. They appreciated that they could do pretty much what they wished and could outsource the rationalization to enthralled intellectuals, academics, and activists, without worry of much media scrutiny. That they thereby helped to destroy the reputations of the bamboozled media was of no concern.

So I think we Americans still want change.

And change does take time, it turns out.

It will be interesting how it sorts out as all levels, but like the 2008 election suggested at the Federal level, we Americans still want change.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Idealism versus practicality

This post is mostly about how much I like public electricity, and all the wonderful widgets it powers and benefits it brings to me. And in retrospect, public AC electricity has only been available in the last 100 years, though around this rural place on the Cumberland Plateau, the time has been less. Even this old time place is still wired (in places) for the old time DC method of providing private electricity.

So don't mess with my public AC electricity, period. And all my present electric machines are AC go DC means buying another set of machines.

Now gas energy for cars is another thing, but again, don't mess with my public electricity.

Obvious examples pop up to me, like frozen and refrigerated food at grocery stores, available gas from the public pumps, hot water including electric thermostats, interior lights after the sun goes down, security lights to protect me from the criminals and wild critters, and energy to heat and cook by. Even most natural gas systems use some electricity in various modes, as do our public clean water and waste water treatment systems. And never assume washing and drying machines are energy free. The list can go on and on. I don't see many clothes lines around these days, for example.

So, like most, I am concerned we may run out of the energy that makes my electricity while I am alive, and while I can influence the action. Said another way, will my public electricity run out for human caused reasons that, in theory, we can do something about. After all, I do like the benefits it provides me.

Now I will just touch on the global warming discussions/debates. There are two elements I seldom read about, as in reported. One, is it in fact occurring, and two, is our human influence part of the problem? Two more ideas come out of these questions. One is that this GaTech grad has been studying this for decades, and thus have my own opinion, heavily influenced by the many Danish studies. Two is that the historical dilemma of all scientists, including Galileo, is in seeking sponsors. Even President Eisenhower's famous writ often quoted about the military industrial complex had a scientific industrial complex second half, seldom reported, though valid to me. I would suggest read it and make up your own mind. After all scientists have to make a living, too, to include getting married and supporting their own families, and government money spends just as well as private sponsor money.

As a quick summary, I think our present fossil fueled world economy will eventually run out of fossil fuels. But I also think it will be in the far future, like in the latter centuries from now.

So hence, I choose to balance my idealism with my practicality, and to me that means let time sort it out; let's muddle through, as in to do anything other than what some politician wants to do in a much shorter time frame. Let me say it another way, there are still bigger influences going on than the human influence in 2011. And I still trust we humans, in general, to do the right thing, whatever that is in our interest, than what some politicians say to do.

Of course most politicians are savvy enough just to say what the people they rule say to do, but then some politicians (be they elected, or tribal, or dictatorial, etc.) are not as savvy in their time. And too often it comes down to idealism versus practicality, and the time frame for change.

In the meantime, I sure like my public electricity, like I will fight for it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Trust and faith in our Federal President

We have a crummy Federal President. There, I've said it again.

Now even I can distinguish between a political position or even a political theme, often called an ideology these days, and the politician. And we Americans can argue all we want about what is best for our Country, but I choose not to waste my time in this area. I leave that to others.

Also, the old military idea of deciphering capabilities, though hard, is much easier than trying to decipher intents, like reading the "others" minds. That gets into psycho babble stuff, and the nuclear program training stuff about certification that I have had in this area is enough for me. And it was pretty good, at least to me and my GaTech mind.

And the old time military idea when you want to fire somebody is just to say you've lost trust and faith in the person you are firing. There is plenty of review built into the system to account for this, too. For most USA people these days, it is the vote.

And my last lead in to this post has to do with a visit by a very liberal friend, age 25 and an announced southern Democrat. He wanted to watch on TV the President's speech to the collected Congress last week, and I declined, saying why should I listen to him lie. So I put on something else.

Now maybe I have become a recalcitrant (age 63), but I sense, as a political junkie, that the times have changed, and lying to rule a country is more accepted today by our society. Fine, but I don't accept it. That idea is just wrong. That method is fraught with problems that only voters can decide at that Federal level.

And even reading a lot of online stuff, an awful lot of Americans still believe our Federal President, like take him at his word. Count me among those that don't.

Now is he is lying outright, like being an immoral person. I don't think so.

Rather, and of more concern for my future, is that he is simply kinda dumb and doing what he thinks is right, and has the courage and ego to follow his convictions. Hence, I think rather than lying, it's worse than that. He actually believes what he is saying. And he is still being influenced a lot by his hired minions. Now that is a scary idea, too.

Hence I have lost trust and faith in our present Federal President.

Even I can live with that, after all we the people elected him, and maybe I am wrong, but in the same vein we have an immediate future to deal with.

So I, again, have lost trust and faith in our present Federal President in being an American President. That includes all who he has hired, be they Secretaries or Czars, or lessers. And they have the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, and what they do affects me and you. And they have over a year to do their thing before we voters either reinforce what they are doing, or elect them out.

So how will they react, or act, in the near future. I don't know, but worry. And only time will tell.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time and money seems to sort out most things

This is just my latest report from the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.

My latest charity failure is now back in county jail for 200 days for parole violation. He's a nice guy who will not work, and now 40 years of age, and losing sponsors from his past. Even his age and background will catch up, in my opinion. I suspect this idea will also apply to the women who have sponsored him recently, even with their insurance money payments. Bottom line, even they are dropping him, again, at age 40. I'd rather die of old age in my case, with dignity. In his case, the scourge of drug addiction is even affecting him.

Another "small" rockslide was discovered yesterday in Verble Hollow. I went out to take zoomed in pictures today (from above and about a mile away), but did a crummy job. I blamed it on the angle of the sun about the time of the pictures, 1030 local time. This small rockslide was about 50 M wide by about 150 M in length, but that is just a guess. So I added it to my GIS map, and will go back in the fall after things cool down and the leaves fall down. In the meantime, the creek is full of siltly water when it even flows on top of the ground. Often it just disappears into the local underground caves and sieves, depending on the rainfall.

My latest dog bitch just had her fourth litter under the Honda ATV shed. This litter may be 8, though the first three litters were 12, 13, and 12. I take care of them all, but realistically also have to even budget for the food now that they are getting weaned. I have a well intended niece in the city who tells me to fix her, but when I suggested she spend $400 of her money to do so, well, she has not responded.

It almost seems like a political metaphor. One who has good intentions often does not want to pay for them...rather someone else like me has to pay for their good intentions. Now there is a plan B, just shoot her (the dog) in the head and throw her over the 80 foot bluff to recycle.

Even an old time place on the Cumberland Plateau (1905) needs maintenance. Bummer. I choose to do it these days. It does cost me money. I even have a tractor in for maintenance I can't do.

Last, and as reported to me by email, boys and girls still want to "get it on". I just hope they practiced safe sex! The after action reports were interesting, too, speaking as a grandfatherly type these days.
We Americans are different from the rest of the World

And what does that mean for the next few years?

As a start I think mutts, the old fashioned term for run of the mill dogs, are generally genetically superior dogs. And in much the same way we Americans are a polyglot of cultures and peoples that make us genetically superior humans. I'm generalizing, of course.

And as part of this post's beginning, I also believe our present Federal President is not too smart, and poorly educated. Now not being smart is not necessarily bad, but being poorly educated on top of that can be a show stopper, especially if he can't grow into his job. I think of him as a case of affirmative action gone bad...and there are plenty of cases where it has gone right, too. And I use his years of words and not his educational pedigrees as my evidence to myself of a poor education.

What worries me, and I can be a worry wart, too, is that he is a lightweight and has hired a lot of lightweights to help him rule. Plus he gives pretenses of acting like royalty, including that method of ruling.

Now in today's America, he can't rule by himself. Hence, our two National parties have something to do with the mess we are in today, and potentially how we will react to possible future problems.

The obvious future possible problems include the terrible future economic situation (it is bad enough now), the possibility of future regional wars, and the possibility of a future mother nature wild card event.

Yet I am optimistic in a silly sort of way. Said another way, no one, including me, would wish any of these possible problems on us or the world. But if they occur, America is probably a good place to live and "be". Here's why I believe this.

America will change the way it governs itself over the next decade and at all levels: Federal, State, County, City, and School Boards. Most change involves new people (and maybe parties), but sometimes it means keeping the good people, too. And probably it will include the vote as in we the people can change our rule and rulers without the violence of a revolt or civil war.

And if during this change period, one or more of my worry type events also occur, then our American response will probably be better than anywhere else might respond. Of course, there will be much friction, too, but somehow we Americans will work together better than other humans might do.

Now I may end up cold and hungry, but I will survive, and my Family will survive, too. And in that case, it will be part of a bigger American effort.

Hopefully, we will have new "management" then, so as to help the effort along. Worse case, we Americans will still push a response along, though it might lack the unity of effort a good executive provides at all levels.

The key point is that we Americans are a different kind of human, and in that belief, hope springs eternal for our future in a world of adversity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can a country be "run down"?

There are obviously two points of view. One is yes, and one is no.

The reason I pose this question occurred during a local doctor's visit yesterday, and I was reading a novel while waiting that included what was going on in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia).

Now I have buddy I respect a lot; he even served in the 82nd Airborne, who says no one or party can run a country into the ground. He just laughs off my renditions about my worry, because I think it is very possible, and have said so to him.

In the novel, Mugabe, the popular revolutionary turned dictator eons ago, and his minions, have turned his wonderful country into a failing state. By that I mean many people who live there are now going cold and hungry, like starving. And all this has taken decades to did not happen overnight.

So into today's new world USA, can Obama and the Democratic Party run our country down?

I think not, but please hear my logic.

Basically, we USA types are going to "nip it in the bud". That includes Democrats who just don't go along with other fellow Democrats. Hopefully we can still vote, though if that is taken away, then we might even revolt if need be. Nobody wants to starve.

So my forecast is that things will sort out to our benefit, like good health and success and hope for our Family's futures.

I also suspect much friction will occur, which is kind of like normal. Change is always a tough process.

Now change is always going on, but it sure seems like the rate of change is increased these days. And not just in the new world USA, but the whole world. So who even knows what the future world will look like, but I suspect we humans will be happier in the end. That includes, in my opinion, the rise of a third party in the new world USA.

Right now it can be labeled a "Tea Party" by its opponents, even though it is a movement, kinda like the "hippies" movement decades ago. But like Bob Dylan's song suggested, the times they are a changin'. And this today's movement is based on an idea, not some individual.

And so to my 82nd Airborne friend, I still believe a country can be "run down", but here in the new world USA I suspect we will survive just fine for the normal human reasons. And along the way here in the new world USA, much change will occur, one way or the other. There will be much friction, though less than the Civil War time here in the USA when even Families got divided, politically/ideas speaking. I live in such an area, now over a century later, but still hear about it, to include in the present music and poetry.

So even yesterday my local country doc (who did two years in Mexico reading like Abraham Lincoln did), asked me how much I liked eating acorn flour. Well I answered I still prefer to go to the grocery store, but if need be, I will survive.

And he and his wife have a daughter working on her PhD in English at Ole Miss, by the way. But that is another story.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just wondering some more

Why is the federal government even involved in local schooling for our parents' decisions about their children's public education? I don't know.

This question is seldom even reported these days.

And I can accept the federal involvement in our federal highways, but again, question why is the federal government even involved in local schooling decisions.

A good guess is answered by the money the federal government provides to help the education effort. Said another way, if we "the people" go our own more local way, then I suspect taxes to pay for all this schooling for our kids will not go down, overall. Said another way, if federal monies decline, probably state and local taxes will go up. I would expect so, but also with that comes more control over kids' educations.

Keep in mind the massive federal income tax payments paid and returned to the states in the form of block grants. For those who think they can get something for nothing, also keep in mind the federal payroll taxes you pay (like social security and Medicare) go to the general fund, not to your future benefits. Said another way, you are paying, too, and are working for the same, every day you work.

Any decline in federal taxes and block grants to states will probably be replaced by more local tax increases, like state and county. Educating our kids is not free, but hopefully public education is still a thriftier way to educate our kids than private means. Obviously if public education ends up costing more than private education, then things will change rather quickly. We seem to be on that path.

One size does not fit all. Hence educating our kids should be a local decision, to include the funding. It is not that I don't trust fellow Americans in D.C. to decide about my kids' education where I live, but I trust my local Americans more where I live.

Now we have now decades of federal school funding (and rules to qualify) that skews the whole affair. Hence any change over the patterns and methods of the last few decades will take time, like even more decades. There predictably will be much turmoil, too.

And maybe I am wrong, like local people where I live like the way things are going. I can live with that, mostly because I have too, but also suggest that change is even happening here, too.

And it will be painful to we adults, too. Kinda like any change is.

I expect the education of our kids will benefit, too. Like they will be happier as adults (like good health and self respect), and say thank you mom and dad; as adults, of course. And educated people tend to make better decisions about their future in America than the less educated.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What a waste of American brain power

Been there...done that. I've lived and worked in Atlanta, Atlanta University, and Washington, D.C. All are full of hard working and dedicated individuals who would benefit by some real leadership and management skills, and a smart mission statement to provide unity of effort. Add in factors like poor education at all levels and little overseas experience and respect for other ways of living and thinking, and it seems we Americans have reached a crescendo of wasteful abuse of our best asset, our American brain power. And this abuse has been going on for a long time, like for at least half a century.

It is not limited to the present federal government in D.C. Rather that seems to be a culmination of past decades of advancing mismanagement, acceptance of failure, repeating past failures, and a simple ignorance of confusing monetary obligations with actual results. Blame our education system for our present day leaders if you will. And after all we Americans do have good intentions. And in fairness, we voters have had a lot to due with this present state, too. Even parents paying money get some recognition, too.

Four things gall me these days.

First is that the USA military has somehow let itself get hoodwinked into nation building in the middle east and the many tribal areas there. I got into the turf on this one too, when one of my GaTech students filled a State Department quota a few years ago (they could not fill it). He was a DOD fellow at the time (a Marine), and went to Afghanistan for a deployment from his chicken farm in Georgia. We could sure use his expertise up here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, but our "leaders" decided otherwise.

Second, I am galled by our infatuation with the Ivy League Schools. One person I know related that a Mechanical Engineering Degree from GaTech took a lot more work than getting an MBA from Harvard. Yet I believe our Federal government still has a preference for hiring Ivy League types. Now I also think the moms and dads of such Ivy League students are sharp, but I question how much of that "sharpness" gets passed on to their kids; and then why they even get a preference over some other American, like a Utah State grad? Like the title suggests, we have a lot of brain power in our wonderful country, and it ought to be rewarded. Even common sense says that is to our advantage.

Third, a lot of our smart young Americans also work to our advantage at levels below the Federal level, and should be rewarded as such. Now whether it is monetary rewards, or just voter rewards, well that is a local decision (like state, county, city, or school board). After all the mission is to benefit our future, and our Family's future in this wonderful Country. Hopefully, and somewhere along the way, even the light bulb will go on for our present local leaders recognizing and rewarding success.

Fourth, and finally, our "reporting" tends to be skewed towards and by our education system. That education of those Americans tends to focus on the various wonderful means to employ the media assets. Along the way things like "old fashioned reporting" seems to be denigrated, and even having "producers" decide what to "report" is different from even three decades ago. And all I want to do is think I know the news. Said another way, somebody else's idea of their opinion now printed on the front page as news vice on the editorial page is something I won't pay for, or even read on the internet. I would rather go to the local Hardee's in this case. Or Plan B is that I read open source news reports from other newspapers, not in the USA. Now that can be an eye opener.

So, bottom line, we have a lot of sharp Americans growing up, and I sure hope we older people help put them in the right place to benefit ourselves, and our Families. This sure sounds like a bottom up approach these days.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The value of schooling

I suspect all of us have been educated sometime earlier. It could have even been public or private schooling. Even some have had college training/education, and even some more later job oriented training.

The key point to me is that we are not born knowing a lot of stuff one later gets through education and training. Let me say it again, one is not born knowing a lot of stuff that must be later taught for a culture and even a business to be successful. And much is taught at home in a Family environment...things like self respect, respect for the law, honesty, and other such Family taught things. But then there are other things to be taught, like how to do tax statements, balance a check book, or even pick and cook food for a Family.

Now once we grow up most of us specialize, like be good at something. Especially if you want to make a living and have a Family. And that usually takes some more training...i.e., most are not born knowing how to do whatever it is we do, including raising a Family.

And this idea is not just for we humans. For instance our dogs are often trained to do special things that help us humans. Yep, they are not born naturally to be whatever their task is later. As I post this, I think of all the wonderful dogs who did their work after 911, or even perform now in combat. Good on 'em, and the humans who worked with them, and those who trained them.

So while I am throwing roses, I also recognize the value of training and education, and those who work hard in this effort, to include moms and dads. Good on you, too.

But for sure, educate and train your young people the best you can to give them an advantage. After all, they are not born knowing a lot of what you know, and most don't want them to learn the hard way, though that happens, too.

I call it graduating from the school of hard knocks.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Does it bother you that...

The USA seems to be having a lot of crises recently, like in the recent past.

The latest "crisis" I read and hear about is the US Mail, like the Postal Service may shut down for lack of funds, and other reasons.

But before that we have had other crises, too, like the also recent budget crisis.

What bothers me is two things. One is simply reacting to bad consequences is poor compared to acting to prevent bad consequences. Now something as simple as running a postal system meets that criteria, to me. And second is the seemingly preferred method to rule by crisis management. Now that is a poor method to rule by, again, to me.

And I don't fault the present rulers in charge. Rather some of these simple things like running a postal system take serious management over decades. Even the fellows who created our Constitution mandated a postal system, and I guess assumed there would be responsible people to enact and manage their mandate after they passed on.

To pile on, I still wonder why over the last century we in the USA have voted for politicians who seem to have as a main job requirement to create more things that they can spend on, rather than "fight" over priorities within budgets to make our country, and us, better off (like public electricity and running water, and maintenance thereof). And for that matter, our federal politicians haven't been able to even pass a budget in the recent past (they have passed continuing resolutions, which is no way to run a country).

And another "rub" for me, is that it bothers me that unelected Americans, like appointed and hired bureaucrats, can in effect (de facto) create new taxes (often called regulatory mandates that come with new expenses) without any vote from me. Examples include what the federal EPA is doing, as well as the federal National Labor Relations Board is doing.

And another "rub" is that it seems commonly accepted that both elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats can say what laws they will and won't bother to enforce, all without any objection from "we the people". It truly bothers me that people like that become the judge and jury, even though we have other legal means to make this happen for good reason. Now I also understand that in the last half century it has been popular for our legislatures to create new laws without any funding to enforce these laws, which is also an option not pursued, including by the voters.

I bothers me how easy it is for lazy Americans (who won't work) to filch off the poor. My obervations where I live on the Cumberland Plateau in east Tennessee is that this method involves manipulating the government and food bank methods designed to help our truly poor. Lot's of lazy local Americans do this kind of manipulation routinely, and breed more during their time.

And last, for me, it always bothered me, and it still does, that our federal taxes are so large that huge grants of federal money are passed back to the states in the form of block grants. This system was expanded back in the 1970's as I recall, and at the time seemed like a good way for state legislators to get money without taxing their citizens with state taxes. But now we are going to "pay the piper" so to speak. If federal funds are reduced, so may state taxes have to go up, or wonderful services reduced. And add in the friction of the federal patronage system and who gets limited block grants and who does not, and depending on who controls the federal purse strings, also anticipate much friction in these next five years, or so.

Now I think many others have their own "bothers", too. And there is never a good time to start or even join in any period of change. But for sure changes to the status quo of the last half century are coming, and now is as good a time as any to start. The finish can come later.

And that finish is other courses of action. The present path we are on is not the only path we can take. Now that is another post for me, but here is a hint. How about we all be responsible for ourselves and our Families, and then our society second. Here in the new world USA, we still have that opportunity, I think.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Thinking ahead

Using hindsight is easy. Forecasting the future where you live is a lot tougher if you want to be comfortable with your guess about your future.

Yet I too live in the real world, and so have to plan ahead, anticipate if you will.

And most of our futures are more locally based than nationally based.

As a retired Marine, I have been taught to focus more on capability, and less on intents. Practically, that means spending more of your mental time thinking about what can happen, vice the psychology of those in charge, commanding if you will.

Add in all the normal distractions, like poor reporting, and the difficulty is amplified.

And so in the USA, really the Western world, I worry about what our present leaders are capable of doing. And depending on where you live, these leaders may be elected, appointed, dictators, inherited, tribal, etc. And in the annals of human history, we seem to have more than our fair share of poor leaders these days which adds to the excitement factor.

Now the obvious thing to worry about is our economic health, mostly jobs to support our Families. But I also worry about some other human caused things like regional wars and nuclear weapons...think Chinese civil war, the Middle East, or even a war between India and Pakistan. Add in mother nature's wild card events, and I can become a real worry wart.

But what I most worry about is how our leaders will react, especially if I believe that we have so many poor leaders these days. Said another way, having a problem is one thing, but how you handle a problem is another thing.

Now in fairness, some leaders are doing a pretty good job, and need to be recognized and reinforced by whatever means.

So when planning ahead, think about this idea. It has taken we humans decades to get into this mess, and will probably take decades to finally correct it all, that is, to make things better for our Families.

Let me provide one example. Think ahead when your kids get married and want to start their own home, but figure out they have to work two or three months each year in the USA just to pay the interest on the national debt created by this generation, and thus cannot afford to buy a home with its payments. Well I know what I would do, like default on the debt. My point in this example is that we are setting up future problems decades out just by our leaders' actions today.

Let me provide one more example. A few months ago, the USA President ordered the military into the Libyan civil war. What was not reported was that the USA was pretty thread bare in the Med, and so these immediate forces came from the Iraq and Afghanistan theater of operations. That amounts to a drawn down in that theater. Now that might be OK to many, but did you know and even get a chance to acquiesce. Now I think the decision was popular, but a USA President and his minions acting like old fashioned royalty will have its consequences, too. And for us, we the people.

Especially if you enjoy the luxury of thinking ahead.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Are we ever different

A Chinese worker at a construction site falls off of the bamboo scaffolding to the ground, and lives, though injured. The time is post WWII and a real story. Well do gooder Americans take him to a hospital to help him. And the local hospital wants to know who among the Americans will pay for his treatment?

This example suggests we Americans and we Chinese just think differently, or even have different values. Said another way, one culture meets another, and maybe both are amazed.

Here's another story more recent. Air quality in industrial and urban China is very poor, and the adverse reports are being manipulated by the leadership class at many levels. You can read all about it, but the bottom line is that the interests of the leadership class is reigning over the ruled class these days, though obviously all will suffer in the end.

So what happens when a civil war in China erupts for their own reasons, or even if all these wonderful things built in China are no longer available to us. It might be even more simple, like the cost of transportation to bring these things to the USA is just too high. Who knows. Make up your own scenario.

So now I wonder if any kind of the aforementioned disruptions happen, just what are we humans going to do? After all we are different, even though we live on the same earth.

PS For example, I enjoy cooking with a simple "Japanese Rice Cooker" (1957 style), which Americans who cook with slow cookers or crock pots will make comparisons, all good. I use both, though for most of my cooking I prefer the Japanese Rice Cooker. Most are made in China these days. And I used to call my father cheap... now I call him thrifty.

PPS This clash of cultures can be a two way street.