I don't do GDPR.

I have deactivated my FB pages, personal and for here. Timeframe if/when I reactivate them is unknown.

As long as you aren't a spammer, your respectful comments will be posted. Fair warning, you want to go Godwin's Law on me, the Ban Hammer comes down.


Where you sit determines where you stand

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

This is a lesson on how to pick your battlegrounds by careful selection of your source materials. So I catch this on FB from one of my Left-leaning friends:

it isnt in the constitution

Let’s take this apart and show him where he’s so far off base that he’s not in the same ballpark.

To start, this is the preamble to the Constitution, which the second definition reads, “the introductory part of a statute, deed, or the like, stating the reasons and intent of what follows.” In other words, a mission statement. As an “introductory part,” it does not lay out the method, nor the part of the government tasked with achieving this goal.

When we look at the phrase in question, “…promote the general Welfare,…” we need to realize our Founding Fathers (FF) used very specific words to show their intent and meaning.

When we look up the definition of “promote” the first one makes it pretty clear: “to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further:”

I see this as “creating or expanding the conditions under which the program/company/person can improve in some measurable way.” The term “general” means to extend this to all affected equally, without favoring some of them.

But you see, the meme says, “…will pay for its citizen’s health insurance.”

To show why this is BS, we only have to look to the prior statement in the Preamble, “…provide for the common defense,…”

“Promote” and “provide” are obviously two different words. They also have two separate and distinct meanings. The seventh definition of provide is defined as, “to make arrangements for supplying means of support, money, etc.” I picked that one specifically because right after the above, it reads “(usually followed by for)” which we have in both phrases under examination.

So, Provide actually means “pay for or directly furnish,” Promote means “create conditions under which it is possible to flourish.”

Hm. I don’t see this as the best way to make your point.

Now, if the meme maker had gone into the Constitution itself, they might have found under Article 1, Section 7 Clause 1, we find “…and provide for the common defense and general welfare…”

“AHA!” you might say. That validates the meme! But wait, there’s more! The full quote for that is, “…and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;”

When our FF wrote about individual citizens, they used the term “the People.” If they had meant for Congress (after all, this is Article 1 we are talking about here) to provide for the People, I’m moderately sure they would have used that term in the Preamble.

I am also well aware of the Madison (not to “meet the infinite needs of the general welfare”) vs Hamilton (which to have Congress spend money on the People was okay) debate which culminated in the SCOTUS case United States v. Butler (1936) which pushed the interpretation of the phrase “general welfare” into the Hamilton camp.

Really, if you are confused about this, all you have to do is look at the very documents the FF used to explain the Constitution to the Citizens of the United States: The Federalist Papers. The last five paragraphs of Federalist 41 speaks eloquently on this part of the Constitution. Admitted, while it was published anonymously under “Publius” on January 19, 1788, it is assumed that Madison wrote it. That section is too long to quote here, follow the link.

In conclusion, this meme doesn’t have a leg to stand on. First of all, the OP picked the wrong part of the Constitution to build their argument upon, second the guy who wrote the Constitution thinks their argument is bullshit. It is not the intended purpose of the federal government (through the Constitution) to provide for individuals, rather promote the conditions under which they may flourish.

When the federal government spends money directly on its citizens, it’s called “Bread and Circuses.”

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Now taking applications

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I have come to the realization that I have more things to do than Carter has Little Liver Pills, to use a phrase from my Grandmother.

carters llp

I don't have anything witty, insightful, thought-provoking or anything like that this morning. I became deeply involved with solving a technically complex feature of a spreadsheet for another of my blogs last night instead of generating content here.

In consequence thereof, I am accepting applications for four unpaid staffers. Job requirements include intelligence, able to do light cleaning, plumbing, carpentry, miniature painting and yard work. The ability to discover information way beyond a simple Google search is essential. A high degree of precision in all duties is required. If your orderliness and precision can make someone with OCD weep with joy, you will be given serious consideration. In these positions you will be expected to work 170 hours a week, so bored you will not be.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Down the memory hole

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I find it ironic that many Liberals are equating the Trump Presidency with the Party out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you haven’t read the book or you don’t understand the reference, the memory hole is where documents about the past which do not agree with the position of the Party are put, to be destroyed and thus never existed. The Party says what was the past, and if you remember differently, then you are wrong. Winston insisted on being wrong and the Party “helped” him to think correctly.

I find it ironic because Liberals are intent on throwing many things that are an integral part of American history and culture down the memory hole, simply because “it offends them.” Case in point, all references to the Confederacy.

Living in Memphis, on a typical workday I drive past at least 3-5 Confederate monuments of one kind or another. I frequently pass by the graves of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife, which are on Union Avenue in Midtown Memphis.

I get upset every time I go past a Confederate monument. It offends me greatly. I am not upset that Forrest was a slave trader. I am not upset that he was an early member of the Ku Klux Klan. I am upset that our ancestors came to blows rather than working things out so up to 750,000 people didn’t have to die horribly at the hands of friends or family members.

Every time I see some symbol of the Confederacy, I think about the horrors experienced and perpetuated on both sides. About families divided over this issue. About the hate that perpetuates to this day.

I fully understand and appreciate what and why the Southern States did what they did, which was to stand up for what they believed in and if necessary, lay down their lives to preserve it. I think their basic concept was wrong, because one person should never own another person like they own their home or car. I respect their stand, and I have no qualms about liking or supporting someone from the present day being proud that their ancestors stood up for what they believed in. If they profess to me a stereotypical belief against minorities, then I don’t support that and I let them know.

The bottom line is, when we divest ourselves of all of these reminders, make like it never happened, shove them down the memory hole and make them disappear...

...It just means that we are setting ourselves up to have another Civil War. The fighting this time won’t be over slavery, it won’t be a whole section of the country trying to secede, but we will be divided in our States, our communities and our families.

THOSE WHO FORGET THE PAST ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

We are supposed to be the United States, with the basis of our country being E Pluribus Unum, which means Out of Many, One. Let’s start acting like it.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Sometimes you can do everything right

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I am very sad to say, sometimes you can do everything right and still end up losing.

On June 16th, the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile was acquitted of all charges. My prior comments on this subject are here and here.

First of all, I am all for holding officers accountable. If they screw up, they should be held to a high standard. Second, "acquitted" does not mean "not guilty." It means the prosecutor did not prove to the jury that the accused was guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of two people, however it is pretty clear to anyone with a modicum of common sense that he did it.

Philando Castile did everything he was supposed to. He did everything right as it was taught to him by law enforcement and the NRA. Identify that you are legally armed to a police officer on initial contact. Make no movements without being told. Follow all commands. What makes this a tragedy was a nervous officer feared for his life and shot. That does not make it good, right or justified. It just is. All it does is makes this a tragedy for all people involved and their families.

I have seen a lot of backlash against the NRA because they didn't "immediately respond" about Castile's death, like they did about the killing of five Dallas police officers by a sniper a day or two afterwards. The difference is that in the sniper shooting, there is very little ambiguity about the circumstances, and there was a lot of ambiguity about Castile's death. An investigation needed to be performed in the matter of Castile's death to determine circumstances and context.

Just to show you how quickly things can go south during a traffic stop, This video was an officer from the Opelika, AL police department shooting an airman involved in a minor traffic incident.

At 32 seconds, the airman opens the door to his vehicle. At 35 seconds, the officer sees something in the airman's hands and commands, "Lemme see your hands!" At 37 seconds, the officer commands "Lemme see your hands!" a second time and two shots are fired. At this point the airman goes down. Think about this, two seconds between the first command and shots fired. It is obvious that the airman has something in his hands. A later, second and third look shows it to obviously be a wallet. At first look though, you can't be 100% sure and that kind of "not sure" can easily mean "dead officer."

Here is a second video to prove how deadly two seconds can be to a police officer:

?t=5m50s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">
?t=5m50s

This was a shooting in West Memphis, AR by a "sovereign citizen" and his son. At the 5:58 mark, the son slightly opens his car door. At 6:00 the man starts resisting and the son comes out of the vehicle with a rifle, shooting both officers. Over the next minute before they drive off, they execute both officers, and the son fires a couple of "goodbye" shots into them as they leave. The officers were probably fatally wounded in the 2-5 seconds or so after the boy exits the vehicle. The rest of the time is probably "making sure" the officers were dead.

I bring this particular shooting up for two reasons. First, this happened "just over the bridge" from where I live in Memphis. Second, I lived for several years in Bartlett, TN, a suburb of Memphis, where Robert Paudert was the Chief of Police. I interacted with him a couple of times on some community projects. He appeared to me as a likeable, no-nonsense person. Robert became the Chief of Police for West Memphis, AR a couple of years later. His son, Brandon Paudert was one of those officers killed.

Armchair quarterbacking rarely does any good for incidents like this. Sure, you can pause and rewind the video and view it from 3 different angles to get all the nuances and things that were missed during the live action. We should study this kind of video to improve training to make sure it does not happen again unnecessarily (because despite our best efforts as flawed beings, it will happen again), not to microstudy, then parse millisecond-by-millisecond in order to assign blame.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Deflect and obfuscate

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Liberals are very similar to the old-time snake-oil salesmen. They talk fast and use words you don’t understand to get you to trust and believe them. Case in point,

.

In 2 minutes and 30 seconds, Reich fast talks his way through seven “economic lies.” What he gives you are actually non-substantive soundbite talking points that don’t inform you, they just give you words to parrot. Because they are soundbites given to you that you haven’t actually read or researched about them, you can’t back up the talking points when someone asks you a question that requires more information or thought than the initial talking point. This is why I think the Left resorts to yelling, name calling, personal destruction and their favorite card, violence or the threat of violence. They have to shut down anyone who challenges the talking point because there is nothing behind it. Most of their positions are indefensible in the face of actual scrutiny.

I would have loved it if he had spent an hour on each one, giving reasoned and verified data on what he says. Of course he won’t because once you actually see the data, it will be obvious to anybody with a modicum of reasoning that he’s selling you snake-oil (i.e. empty promises).

Case in point: #6, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

?t=2m">
?t=2m

Transcript: Wrong. It’s solid for 26 years (until 2037) and would be for the next century if we lifted the ceiling on income subject to Social Security Payroll taxes.

Now, if you did not know who Mr. Ponzi (the caricature he drew at triple speed) was, or what a Ponzi scheme is before you watched this clip, do you now know what a Ponzi scheme is or why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme? I didn’t think so.

If you already know what a Ponzi scheme is, did Mr. Reich explain anything about it at all, or did he just let us know that Social Security is solvent for a while (as I wrote this, that 2037 point has drifted down to 2033 according to Social Security themselves) and we can push the “solid date” to 2111 if the rich pay more taxes.

To explain and give context, a Ponzi scheme is named after Charles Ponzi who used this technique in 1920. The scheme entails taking money from investors on a continuous basis, paying the early investors with the money “invested” by later investors.

Let’s say Mr. Smith is convinced by Mr. Ponzi’s salesmanship about “guaranteed income” and in January Smith gives Ponzi $1,000 on Ponzi’s promise that the “guaranteed income” will net Mr. Smith a return of his investment of $250 by June. In May, Mr. Ponzi convinces Mr. Jones to invest similarity as Mr. Smith. Mr. Ponzi then takes $250 of the $1,000 Mr. Jones gave him and gives it to Mr. Smith. This convinces Mr. Smith to invest $10,000 with Mr. Ponzi, hoping to reap a benefit of $2,750 (he is still earning that “$250 profit” on the first $1,000) just in time for Christmas. Now Mr. Ponzi has to come up with four new investors, to pay out the $3,000 to his “investors” ($2,750 for Smith and $250 for Jones). Why four investors? Because Mr. Ponzi has expenses, you know...

Eventually, this all comes apart because Mr. Ponzi cannot continue to recruit the number of investors necessary to continue paying the “profits” out to earlier investors indefinitely. This is called a geometric progression. If Mr. Ponzi needed two new investors for every current investor, the progression would go something on the order of 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, 2,187, 6,561 and so on until he can’t recruit enough people or he figures his bank account is big enough and he flees the country.

When my parents started working as adults around 1935, they paid into Social Security and their SS taxes helped pay the benefits of Ida May Fuller (the first recipient). Back then, there were seven people paying SS taxes to a single recipient receiving benefits. Also, it was kind of a rare thing for people to make it very far past 65, so those that did receive benefits were on the rolls for only a couple of years.

When I joined the Navy, my SS taxes were part of the checks my parents received. My dad retired in 1979 after having paid into the system for 45 years, my mother for about 15 years, being a stay-at-home mom and occasionally working part-time after they got married. They collected SS benefits for 22 years until they passed in 2001. Today, there are only 2-3 wage earners paying to the system for every recipient.

In the 80’s Congress began “raiding the Social Security Lockbox.” What that actually means is the Social Security Administration began purchasing government bonds as an investment. Today, there are Billions of dollars’ worth of these bonds in the SS account, instead of actual liquid cash. These are the “IOUs” that everyone is screaming about.

Remember, it is these government bonds that allow the government to overspend, creating the annual deficit. For the large entities (Social Security, foreign governments, investors, etc.) that purchase large amounts (Millions and Billions worth) of government bonds , they purchase a bond for a fixed term. In order to keep the fiscal juggling act going, when that bond matures, many use that money to immediately buy a new bond. Depending on circumstances, the interest on the bond may go into the purchasers pocket or be used to buy more bonds.

Social Security has been buying bonds, as well as additional new bonds as the old ones mature. In 2033, Social security will have to start “cashing in” those bonds without purchasing new ones because there won’t be enough people paying taxes to support the payments to retirees. This is when they (and we) might find out that the Government can’t pay the full amount on those bonds, if at all. That’s when the juggling act falls apart. That’s when we have more people asking for a return on their investment than SS can take in from new “investors.”

And that is why Social Security IS a Ponzi scheme. Anyone who tells you differently is bullshitting you.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Flag Day

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Today is the anniversary of when the Second Continental Congress in 1777 adopted the flag that is the ancestor of the one that flies all over this country today.

This flag has been through lots of revisions over the years. It was a flag of fifteen stars and fifteen stripes that flew over Fort McHenry (representing the addition of Vermont and Kentucky) during the bombardment it endured during the War of 1812 that led to the phrase “Star-Spangled Banner” in the poem "Defense of Fort M'Henry" which became our national anthem.

This flag, to me, does not represent the government of this country, rather it represents the People, where the true power of our government comes from. Many people have served under this flag in one or another of its iterations in defense of the concepts of Freedom and Liberty.

Every day, men and women in our armed forces come home in coffins draped in this flag.

I WILL NOT IDLY STAND BY
AND SEE THIS SYMBOL DESECRATED.

Do not let me see you stepping on, burning, or disrespecting this flag in any way. I will stop and give you a beat down so severe that your grandchildren will feel it.

flag day

Thank you for your time and attention. Have a wonderful Flag Day!

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Everything is rationed part 4

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

This is part 4 of the three-part “Everything is Rationed” series.

The primary point of this part, sub-titled “ethical dimensions of a responsible business” is that I hate bean counters.

Who (or what) are “bean counters”? These are the people who make the decisions concerning the costs of the parts used in their product. Part A1 costs the company $1.00 to purchase. Part A2 is by another manufacturer, is almost as good as Part A1, however the company can buy it for 90 cents. The “Bean Counter” will almost always go with Part A2 on the sole basis its 10 cents cheaper.

Bean Counters also like to produce products with “planned obsolescence.” This means one or more parts in a product are designed to fail after a certain period of use, usually several months past the end of the warranty. When (not if) those parts fail, a newer model is now out at the same or less price, with more features. So you have the choice to either fix the broken equipment (at a cost close to or exceeding a new unit) or discard the broken unit in favor of a new unit. This is the downside to our consumerism economy.

Thinking about this, I was reminded of a collection of Sci-Fi short stories from the 40’s that I read as a teenager called Venus Equilateral (Wikipedia, Amazon). It was about a station that relayed messages between Earth, Mars and Venus when the Sun interfered with direct communications.

In the story QRM—Interplanetary, a pointy-haired boss came on the station to “cut expenses.” He ended up spacing a room full of genetically-modified sawgrass that was used to replenish the oxygen in the station’s air. He thought “equipment” replenished the air and he saw this room was “full of weeds.” The PHB thought the plants were wasting space. This “cost-cutting” almost suffocated everyone on the station.

To cut costs for the sole reason to “maximize profits” or “boost the quarterly report” is a bad reason in the long term. Because you are probably sacrificing future profits for short-term gains today.

Case in point: the 6-pack plastic ring used to keep aluminum cans together. They are easy to make and inexpensive (at less than a penny each). The bad news is, while the rings are photo-degradable (and thus not likely to end up strangling wildlife like they used to) and while they do break down into smaller bits, they do not fully disappear. There is a long-term negative environmental impact from them and all similar plastic products.

Then we have these:

A fully biodegradable product that is compostable and edible by wildlife. The problem? A current cost of 15 cents per unit.

If companies that sold their product in cans made enough demand for this kind of holder, the economy of scale would kick in and the price per unit would drop. If Anheuser-Busch and one or two other “big name” companies decided to use these, it would not be unreasonable to expect the cost per unit to drop under a nickel.

Would you pay a nickel more a six pack if that recyclable, compostable and edible can holder held your beverages together? I don’t think you’d even notice the price difference. If you knew the better environmental impact of that holder, you might even switch brands, who knows.

I also found this article, Christian-Based Firms Find Following Principles Pays from the 12/8/1989 Wall Street Journal. Sorry, you have to pay to see it. in the article, it talks about business who adhere to Christian principles and how their growth is significantly higher than those who do not engage in these principles. You don't have to be Christian to adhere to these principles, which entail actually serving the customer to help them grow their business, treating the customer fairly and most importantly treating the employees fairly. When Hobby Lobby made negative news due to their stance on abortive birth control, the MSM never mentioned that they pay their employees $14/hour to start. The MSM never clearly said that Hobby Lobby offered sixteen barrier methods of contraception and only opposed four abortive methods.

In case you didn't know it, In-N-Out Burger puts Bible verses on their shake cups, burger bags and other packaging. They are small, so you have to hunt for them.

James Freeman Clarke is quoted as saying, “A politician thinks of the next election - a statesman, of the next generation.”

I can reframe this slightly to say, “A bottom-line businessman sees only the next quarterly numbers – an ethical businessman sees the impact of his business in a hundred years.”

If we had enough “ethical businessmen” in our companies and corporations, we would have little or no need to governmental bureaucracy to micromanage them.

How about all of us start treating our planet as something that we should leave to our children better than how our parents gave it to us?

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

At, To and With

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

WARNING: Terms may be used in this article which may make some people uncomfortable. You have been warned.

I first voiced this concept several years ago. I have never seemed to put pen to paper to write this before though, which is kind of sad. The 2016 Presidential campaign and its aftermath has cemented in me the glaring obviousness of these three different kinds of communication we use.

When one person talks AT another person, it is either out of anger, frustration, stubbornness or blindly-held political beliefs. When you talk AT another person, you spurt what you want to say upon your target without regard for the results or consequences of your words. It is in essence a verbal masturbation, leading to a bukkake of words upon your intended target. It leaves the speaker/writer feeling better in the cathartic sense, however that’s the only person feeling good afterwards. While this can be considered “communication,” it is that only in the broadest sense. This method actually borders on a forced act.

When one person talks TO a single person or group of persons, this is usually out of anger. When someone makes you mad, don’t you want to “give them a good talking to”? This is a minimalist (at best) two-way conversation, consisting of lengthy passages of yelling by the angry person, punctuated by the occasional “Yes, Sir/Ma’am,” “No Sir, Ma’am,” “I’m sorry, Sir/Ma’am” from the recipient(s). Worse yet, it can lead to anger in the recipient and yelling back at the first person. This then becomes a “two-way ‘AT’ “ “conversation” where everyone is yelling but no one is listening.

When you deliver that “talking to,” you are venting your anger at what they did to you and making it clear about “what will happen the next time.” The term “Reading the Riot Act” comes from the British Riot Act of 1714, where the local constabulary would read the proclamation part of said Act aloud to the crowd and give them one hour to disperse before arresting them. By the way, back then, the penalty for rioting was death.

Notice the emotions I described for when someone talks AT or TO another. Anger, frustration, stubbornness or the foolish belief that “My way of doing things is the right way 100% of the time.” These are all negative emotions.

When you have two (or more) people exchanging ideas, beliefs and feelings, the type of emotion we speak from will be absorbed by the recipient and reflected back to the sender, magnified. Back and forth the negative emotions go in what is called a "positive feedback loop", growing from ripples to Tsunamis, destroying the relationship and preventing true communication.

What would happen if we spoke from positive emotions, rather than negative? The same thing, starting with ripples and ending in Tsunamis, in this case Tsunamis of good.

Because when we talk WITH other people, we give our thoughts, which are received, considered and returned respectfully. The other then gives their thoughts, which you in turn should receive, consider and return respectfully. Who knows, we might actually learn something we didn't know that we agree with.

To do this, to listen with the intent to understand and not the intent to reply, we might actually learn something new. We find common ground to share, not a verbal no-man’s-land where thoughts and ideas die horrible deaths.

This does not mean we have to end up agreeing. We can “agree to disagree” and continue to respect the other person while not agreeing with their position on that issue.

I have a friend and mentor whom I routinely get into discussions with on Facebook. He constantly posts a plethora of Liberal memes. On the few I respond to, I disagree, giving my position and with the facts and my reasoning behind my stand. We then respectfully discuss our differences. He has accused my positions of “being rather Liberal” multiple times, to which my response is some variation of “You’re more Conservative than you realize.” We continue to interact on common interests and challenge each other where we disagree.

Because disagreement on first glance often becomes “congruential differences” once we get into it. We agree on the overall principle, having our differences on the exact path or method used to achieve the principle.

Every conversation we have with other people can be like this. We are dependent on ourselves to listen, comprehend and give at least a passing consideration to the position, before politely handing it back with your thoughts attached, rather than throwing your position in their face. The conversation goes from WITH to AT every time we stop listening.

Take this to heart in your next discussion. Please.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Benghazi

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Every now and then a meme pops up featuring the images of several prominent Republicans with the line, “OH MY GHERD! REPUBLICANS ARE CONTINUING TO INVESTIGATE BENGHAZI WHILE THEY ARE CUTTING EMBASSY SECURITY 50%!”

For those of you who have never served in the military, you are probably not aware about particular military facts and military tenets and how they are relevant to this. I will be all to glad to explain them to you. Military Fact: The shell will always beat the armor. This means that an attacking force will always beat a defensive force. The only question is the time frame for the attacker to beat the defender.

A Battleship, meant to deliver (and receive) 16” shells can take a single hit to the armor by such a shell and survive. It may even take two hits to approximately the same spot and remain capable of fighting. The bad news is no armor of any size can withstand multiple hits in the same spot.

Before an attack, the attacking force will know approximately the strengths and capabilities of the defensive force. The attackers will then amass a force superior to the defensive force before they attack. The more superior the attacking force, the shorter time it will take to crush the defenses. This is why defensive forces like Embassy Marines and other security staff are given one basic order if they are attacked: Hold until relieved.

Which brings us to the Military Tenet of leave no man behind.

This passage from Robert Heinlien’s book Starship Troopers lays this tenet out succinctly:

"Mr. Rico!”
Now I was the victim. “Yes, sir.”
“Are a thousand unreleased prisoners sufficient reason to start or resume a war? Bear in mind that millions of innocent people may die, almost certainly will die, if war is started or resumed.”
I didn’t hesitate. “Yes, sir! More than enough reason.”
” ‘More than enough.’ Very well, is one prisoner, unreleased by the enemy, enough reason to start or resume a war?”
I hesitated. I knew the M. I. [Mobile Infantry] answer, but I didn’t think that was the one he wanted. He said sharply, “Come, come, Mister! We have an upper limit of one thousand; I invited you to consider a lower limit of one. But you can’t pay a promissory note which reads ‘somewhere between one and one thousand pounds’ and starting a war is much more serious than paying a trifle of money. Wouldn’t it be criminal to endanger a country, two countries in fact, to save one man? Especially as he may not deserve it? Or may die in the meantime? Thousands of people get killed every day in accidents ... so why hesitate over one man? Answer! Answer yes, or answer no, you’re holding up the class.”
He got my goat. I gave him the cap trooper’s answer. “Yes, sir!”
” ‘Yes’ what?”
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a thousand, or just one, sir. You fight.”
“Aha! The number of prisoners is irrelevant. Good. Now prove your answer.”
I was stuck. I knew it was the right answer. But I didn’t know why. He kept hounding me. “Speak up, Mr. Rico. This is an exact science. You have made a mathematical statement; you must give proof. Someone may claim that you have asserted, by analogy, that one potato is worth the same price, no more, no less, as one thousand potatoes. No?”
“No, sir!”
“Why not? Prove it.”
“Men are not potatoes.”
“Good, good, Mr. Rico!”

If you have ever wondered about the reasoning about why our military is so intelligent, aggressive, tenacious and victorious on the battlefield, it is because every man and woman who armors up knows without question that every other American soldier, Sailor and Marine have their backs and will not stop, not rest until they return home.

When you’re far from home and up to your chin in shit you need that reassurance. When you wonder if you will live to see the sunset, let alone the sunrise, these are the sweetest words you will ever hear:

“I am an American soldier. I’m here to rescue you. I’m here to take you home.”

I am not upset about the funding levels for Embassy defensive staff. Those decisions are made dependent on available budget and risk assessments by bean counters. I hate bean counters.

What got me upset about Benghazi is the civilian leadership told our fighting forces, “Stand down. Do not attempt rescue.” I don’t give a rat’s ass, when American soldiers are under fire, you send every unit you have as soon as it is armed and capable of moving. The Obama administration gave the line of, “Our forces would not have gotten there in time.” Until you actually get there, you won’t know if it will be “in time” or not. Those defending forces might hold out longer than anybody realizes.

A rapidly-dispatched American F-16 flying over the battle, armed or not, will give the enemy pause and give hope to those under attack. It lets both sides know, “We’re thinking about you.” Air-to-ground ordinance on that F-16 would add an exclamation point to that statement.

You don’t ever leave troops that you send into harms’ way without knowing how you’re going to get them home when it turns to shit.

This is the major issue with political control over tactical decisions. That prior statement is a 5,000 word major article by itself which I am not going to get into. Right now.

The military has contingency plans for just about everything. We even had a plan on what to do if Canada tries to invade the Continental US. It involved pulling all forces back to the southern border of Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota to give our forces time to regroup and counterattack.

The plans may not always be good, but we are always going to use maximum effort to bring our troops home. The civilian leadership might leave our troops hung out to dry, but the troops won’t. You can take that to the bank.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Everything is rationed part 3

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

This is was to be the last installment in the “Everything is Rationed” series.

A woman taking care of her children while the man is out gathering food for the family is the very foundation of everything we have today. That’s because what kind of society we end up with depends on what the mother instills into her offspring long before the father gets hold of the children to show them the world.

The ground floor of society built upon that foundation and upon which everything else stands is... the private business in a free-market economy. I can hear the snorts of derision and eye-rolling from here, but hear me out.

I know the United States is founded upon the myth of the “rugged individualist,” the guy (or gal, I’m not sexist) who can survive on their own out in the wild. This is a myth because one person can’t do it all. You might think of frontiersman like Daniel Boone and his ilk. Those guys actually had a pretty extensive logistical train behind them. The rifle and ammunition they carried, the saddle and shoes on the horse, the preserved food they carried and more. All these goods were produced by someone, not to mention the reason why those men were out there in the first place was to provide a service, namely to explore the land, determine its resources and how to move people farther West.

I’m talking the “Man vs. Nature” level where you have nothing but your mind and your hands. Think of the tasks a single person has to do every day to make sure they have a good chance of survival:

  • Gather/kill food
  • Build/maintain shelter
  • Develop tools/weapons for protection
  • Gather wood to build a fire
  • Build/maintain a fire with the gathered wood for warmth and cooking food

A single person does not have enough hours in a day to do all of these things at a level where they can survive for an extended period.. You spend a day building a shelter and you go hungry because you didn’t gather food to eat. Build weapons and spend a chilly night without heat.

This is why people started communities and societies. One or two people can hunt/gather for the entire village, one can build tools and weapons for everyone and so on. This was how bartering started. Trading whatever you have developed/gathered for what another has developed/gathered. Half a pig can get you a stone axe or a spear. A couple of chickens can get you some treated animal skins for clothing and so on.

The barter system is the first stage of a free-market economy. The shortcomings of a barter system is you can have more goods and services that you need, yet the people who offer what you need aren’t interested in what you have to offer. If the Tanner already has a bunch of chickens and all you have to offer him are more chickens, he won’t trade with you. You have to trade your chickens for bread from the baker, then trade half of the bread with the butcher to get some beef, then take those items to the Tanner to get your skins. A lot of your time gets wasted in trading for other things to get what you need. This is how money got invented, but that’s another article at a later time.

A business who combines ethical practices with reasonable profits is our goal. All businesses should and need to “charge for all the market can bear,” meaning that it is a balancing act between the available supply and the overall demand of the product or service.

Using the free market to determine the price of a good or service is not perfect, however it is the best system we have. If a business charges (or is forced to charge by government) a price that is below the costs incurred, then the business must close.

Example: net cost (all expenses, no profit) for a business to produce a widget is $100. The business sells it for $110 to make some profit. If the market won’t buy it at $110, but will at $90, the business either has to find a way to product it for a net cost of $80 or close. Same thing, if the government mandates that it be sold at $90, there is no reason for the business to stay open (unless it’s at the barrel of a gun).

In times of crisis/unrest/upheaval, prices will swing drastically in response until things are normalized.

Let’s say there are 50 gas stations in a town, when the town gets hit by a hurricane. 49 of those stations have their gasoline ruined by floodwaters. For whatever reason, that last station keeps their gasoline uncontaminated. This station owner now has a choice. He can either sell his product at the pre-hurricane price, not knowing when he will get a new supply (a day, a week, a month), running out in an hour and facing thousands of angry people demanding his product,

OR

He can charge an elevated price to discourage many customers, have more money for himself and employees to live off of until the supply resumes, and he can pay the elevated price for the next tanker truck to restock his tanks. Because if the refinery is nearby, they will also likely have damage, contaminated products and the refinery faces the same dilemmas the gas station owner does.

In the overall sense, the consumer is at the end of a long train of transactions that culminate in the product or service they purchase. There are hundreds of businesses mining the raw materials, producing components, assembling the final product and the transportation for all of the bits and pieces between companies and delivered to your door.

When I grew up near Warren, Ohio, I drove by the Lordstown plant all the time. This plant made the wiring harnesses for GM vehicles. Metal and plastic went in one end and completed wiring harnesses came out the other end. They made the wire, coated it with the insulation, made many of the clips and connectors and put it all together, under one roof. This kind of manufacturing does not happen anymore.

Today a constant stream of pre-made wire, clips, connectors, and all the other parts are made by sub-contractors, which ship their product to the new plant (Lordstown closed in the 80’s) who then does the work necessary to turn the components into wiring harnesses. Then those finished products are shipped off to the various assembly plants across the country and the world, to be one of the many components that make up an automobile.

I just realized that I need to expound on the “ethical dimensions of a responsible business” to tie this whole series up and that will take up a whole article in and of itself. Research for that one is ongoing and hopefully I will have it done in time.

Look back here next week for the fourth part of this three part series.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Not just for cake batter

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Consistency is not a term meant exclusively for things like cake batter. When I stand on a position I realize that there may be other facets to my position that I have not considered. If presented with them, I will incorporate the additional facets into my original position. Only if I am way wrong will I change or modify my original position.

In 2015, I wrote the post Identification, fully supporting Rachel Dolezal on her declaring herself Black. Actually, I asked that we drop all of the labels we use to pigeon-hole everybody, because that only separates us, not unites us.

I do not have the power nor authority to tell other people how they should identify themselves, in either gender or racial characteristics. If given the chance, I would not accept that kind of power. I have multiple acquaintances who are transgender. I like them and interact with them when I can because I think they are good and interesting people. If they ask me to use certain nouns or pronouns when addressing or describing them, I use them. It's no big deal to me.

Liberals, however love to eat one of their own who even gets a toe off the ideological reservation. Case in point, Rebecca Tuvel, who wrote a paper titled, In Defense of Transracialism. It was published by Hypatia, A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.

In this paper, Ms. Tuvel extended all of the Liberal talking points that Liberals use to advance transgenderism to transracialism, where a person can and should be able to freely declare their racial identity. It makes perfect sense to me as a Conservative. If you're going to open the door to allow people to freely declare their gender as either biological sex or something between, then the same has to apply to a persons views regarding their racial identity.

All I can say is Liberals, collectively and individually, went totally apoplectically ape-shit over this. Spastic, spit-spraying, grand mal seizure, off-the-rails incensed. Enough that Hypatia issued an apology on Facebook:

We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused. The sources of those harms are multiple, and include: descriptions of trans lives that perpetuate harmful assumptions and (not coincidentally) ignore important scholarship by trans philosophers; the practice of deadnaming, in which a trans person’s name is accompanied by a reference to the name they were assigned at birth; the use of methodologies which take up important social and political phenomena in dehistoricized and decontextualized ways, thus neglecting to address and take seriously the ways in which those phenomena marginalize and commit acts of violence upon actual persons; and an insufficient engagement with the field of critical race theory. Perhaps most fundamentally, to compare ethically the lived experience of trans people (from a distinctly external perspective) primarily to a single example of a white person claiming to have adopted a black identity creates an equivalency that fails to recognize the history of racial appropriation, while also associating trans people with racial appropriation.

Of course, this is only the latest bump in the ideological road that Liberals are intent on running all of us down this hill with no brakes. Which leads to this quote by Kathy Jackson I recently found:

A civilized society is one where it is safe to be small, safe to be weak, safe to hold contrary opinions, and safe to express those opinions to others.
Those who argue for physical assault in response to mere speech, are those who argue against civilization and in favor of barbarism.

I do not think it is strange that people on the right do not riot when a prominent Liberal comes to campus or wherever to speak on their Liberal ideology. I have come to expect riots and civil unrest when Conservative speakers arrive to speak freely in the same manner Liberals are afforded.

Ask yourself, are you for civilization, or barbarism?

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Memorial Day

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I wrote the following for a message board I visit some years ago. I have occasionally posted it here. I will start posting this every Memorial Day.

Fair warning: If you decide to step on, wipe your ass with, burn or otherwise desecrate the Flag of this country, do it out of my sight. If I see you doing so, I will visit a beat-down upon you so hard your descendants for three generations will feel it. Too many of my brothers and sisters-in-arms have come home under it for you to step on it.

There are two holidays on that which we celebrate those who have fought for our country. Veterans Day, which celebrates those who still live, and today, Memorial Day, to remember and honor those who never came home.

You need to visit a war memorial today. Be it a Veterans cemetery, or something put up by the local VFW or American Legion. Read the names there on the gravestones, or on the brass plaque there under the waving American Flag.

When visiting that cemetery, tread gently; heroes lie sleeping under that peaceful lawn.

From the Concord Green, to the streets of Baghdad and the caves of Afghanistan, men and women have willingly paid the ultimate price for their service.

Blood was spilled at places like Bunker Hill, Cold Harbor, Bastonge, Okinawa, Chosin Reservoir. Hill 535, Firebase Charlie, Da Nang. Fallujah, Bahgdad, Tora Bora and too many others to count. American blood was spilled, to protect the ideals that gave birth to a nation that the world had never seen before or since. Ideals like Freedom, Liberty and Self-determination. Magic words that mean a lot to every American.

As you walk amongst those fallen heroes, remember those who died at sea, for that is their grave.

All gave some, some gave all. Some are still giving. POW-MIA.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

Why you should do the right thing

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I have long said you should do the right thing for the right reasons. I just learned about this story, Guy Finds StarCraft Source Code And Returns It To Blizzard, Gets Free Trip To BlizzCon.

This guy bought a "box of Blizzard stuff" off eBay, and in the box was a CD labeled "StarCraft Gold Master Source Code." This is the uncompiled source code that makes up the game StarCraft. A lot of things could be done with this code.

In the end, he did the right thing and returned it to Blizzard. Blizzard then sent him a copy of their new game Overwatch and $250 in store credit.

Then the other shoe dropped.

Out of the blue one day, the guy gets a phone call from Blizzard, giving him a full ride (airfare, hotel and admission) to their annual convention, BlizzCon and drinks with the staff. Oh, yeah, another box shows up at his door with multiple Razer gaming accessories, plushies and a copy of Diablo III.

Think about this the next time you're confronted with an ethical dilemma.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)

The rationing of health care

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

A friend turned me on to this article, I had a health crisis in France. I’m here to tell you that ‘socialized medicine’ is terrific. Which is, amazingly enough in the Op-Ed section of the LA Times. It documents the ordeal of a “long-term official resident” of France, who had a defective aortic valve malfunction.

I like this guy’s sense of humor:

In the intensive care unit, I learned that I had been born with a defective aortic valve. Basically, I’d been walking around my entire life with a ticking time bomb in my chest. How could I not have known? In high school, I ran track and played football; every summer, my wife and I took long hikes in the Swiss Alps. But an experienced nurse was not surprised. “With your condition,” she said, “the first symptom is often sudden death.” OK, I replied, what’s the second symptom?

All well and good, I’m glad that Mr. Lamar managed to survive, spending 47 days in the hospital and rehab and was only out-of-pocket $1,455.

However, I deal in statistics, not anecdotes, which is what the above article describes. You can read my views on that in my earlier article, Anecdotal vs. Statistical.

Now let’s take a look at a socialized health care program that’s been rolling for almost 70 years. That way we can see the inevitable result of long-term use of socialized medicine. Rationing of NHS services ‘leaving patients in pain and distress’, says new report. Mind you, this is a UK paper reporting on a NHS (National Health Service) report. This report is detailing and scathing in its assessment of the quality of care for the Subjects of Britain.

The NHS was created in 1948 when the Labour Party (their Liberals) created it. The bad news is, shortly after that when Conservatives gained power, they kept and expanded it. It’s been rolling along ever since.

Another article broaches the idea about drafting “junior doctors” from India and Pakistan, as well as forcing all graduating doctors from medical school for five years to make up for the lack of practicing doctors.

Then you have staff performing procedures they are not trained to do and doing them without supervision. As in student Nurses being required to do Nurse level and higher (Physician’s Assistant/Doctor) procedures. Add in a medical death rate 45% higher than the US is and that’s just on the staff side.

There are also reports where patients wait hours (and sometimes die) on gurnies parked in hallways. Because all of the surgical resources are tied up doing the emergency work, elective (i.e. non-emergency quality of life) surgeries wait months. Like, 12-18 weeks on average.

Please, don’t take my word for it, here is the report itself.

Because there isn’t enough money being allocated by the government to adequately address the needs of everyone, many go without and the quality of care those that do manage to receive care is declining rapidly. Once you understand the situation the UK is in with their NHS, multiply that by 5 and then some, because the US has five times the population.

Please, tell me again how wonderful the NHS is and how much of a blessing it would be to the citizens of the US. With a straight face.

 
Write comment (0 Comments)