Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Iraq - The Blame

Let's talk a little about the Iraq war.

The primary mover to going back to Iraq and ousting Hussein was the threat of weapons of mass destruction; mostly nuclear and chemical warfare products.  But, that wasn't the only reason.

Other reasons were political murder and imprisonment,  graft and corruption at every level of authority,  indiscriminate rape of woman by Hussein's brothers and others in authority; spousal rape, mutilation and imprisonment of dissenters, women genitalia mutilation.  Those are some of the criminal types of things; lessor stuff like women not allowed to go to school, no free speech, maltreatment of children, and no self-rule for the people makes up the rest of the package.

I lived through the debate on if to go into Iraq the second time or not was being had.  I don't think anyone with half a brain thinks President Bush tricked our nation into going to war.  I saw the parade of pundits, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton and others support the claim of WMDs.  George Bush was not a liar.  Don't let Donald Trump fool you with his rancorous accusations; he is piggy-backing on Obama and Democrat rhetoric .   Bush was misled as we all were. That is unfortunate, yet because we truly sacrificed our nations resources and lives that Iraq could become the free state that it did.  They got to vote.  I remember well the pride the Iraqis displayed with their purple thumbs.  Women became more protected, street rapes dropped off as they could go out in safety.  Women could go to school, children were curtailed from being exploited.  Commerce picked up between cities in safety, infrastructure was repaired and expanded.  Oil fields were repaired and the Iraqis didn't even sell us the oil. 

Don't be misled; in hindsight, even though we as a nation would have been better off had we never gone into Iraq the Iraqi people would still be suffering under Saddam Hussein or someone like him.  That would have been even more wrong than invading them.  Bernie Sanders was right on the money when he said that to go in there would destabilize the region.  He was right for the wrong reasons. 

The United States since the Korean conflict has had track record of abandoning our allies.  We foster revolt by the people hinting that if they want to get rid of their corrupt government we would come to their aid and then don't.  We did that to Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Syria, Libya and so on.  We didn't do that to Iraq the second time until President Obama.   President Obama destabilized the region by abandoning a weak, fledgling new democracy of Iraq.  The fault for the current condition in the middle east falls squarely on President Obama's shoulders not President Bushes.  As much as I am tempted to blame that on the Democrats I don't think any Democrat wants what's going on in the middle east now.  They voted in Obama with the hopes he would do the right thing and he didn't.  It's not their fault. 

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the opposite sides of the same coin.  They both pander to a young, ill-educated electorate that has suffered and seen parents suffer in the last seven years of recovery with poor jobs, lack of jobs, no means to grasp opportunity.  Perhaps, one or the other is what this country needs to recover fully, but I doubt it.  We'll see. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


Years ago in the early 70's I was a Correctional Counselor for a couple years.   I was stationed at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Texas.  The Marines had been in charge of the correctional facility and a Navy Commander went in undercover to investigate complaints about them.  They messed him up pretty good and as a result the Navy sent all the Marines away and put sailors in charge.   If you've spent any time around active duty Marines you come to understand there is a huge difference in a world view between Marines and Sailors.   The Marines have important functions to fulfill in their military role and thus have to have under gone a certain type of conditioning to do that which for the most part makes them nearly incompatible with the rest of society.  Fortunately most of them normalize after they leave the service. 

Of all the services, the Navy is the toughest to survive in.  Sailors get stationed on huge hunks of metal with hundreds of miles of wire strung through it and big electrical generators then charge those wires.   Then stick that huge hunk of metal in water and float it around the world without getting shocked, swamped by a typhoon or set it on fire without the sight of land in any direction.  In abandon ship drills you are always given the bearing and distance to the nearest land.  We always joked, it is 2000 feet straight down.  Then with all the inherent dangers to life and limb we ride these ships for months and months on end.  I have 12 years on my sea counter.   Needless to say; it isn't the life for everyone which takes me back to the topic.  

Most of the people we had as guest in our correctional facility were misfits.   They generally just ran away to find some relief and then got caught and brought to us for processing out.   It took three months to discharge someone out on a convenience to the  government discharge.  We had two facilities the correctional center and the correctional barracks.  The center held new arrivals and more hard core men that posed flight risk and harm to others.  The barracks housed those proven to be without flight risk and would sit out the mustering out process. 

As the correctional counselor I interviewed all the new arrivals; assisted disbursing office with getting them some comfort funds, assessing their risk levels, medical needs and keeping them informed as to the process they were to undergo and the time frame to expect to be let go.  I kept statistics on the people for the two years.  I found that over 90% of the inmates were 5'10" or less; more than 85% hailed from a broken home growing up with just a mom or just a dad and a few fostered to adulthood.   Almost everyone smoked tobacco and most drank alcohol to excess if they could get it.  Then 99.7% of them had some varying degree of  issues with authority figures of which I was one.  

My relationship with the inmates was less stressful for them on several levels.  For one I was permitted to wear civilian clothes to work as to lessen the intimidation as an authority figure and garner greater trust.  I for one, really don't think it made any difference as I put my uniform back on for the second year and if anything I think the relationship with the inmates was stronger.  

With some exception the leadership of the Navy is ingrown.  The term ingrown has a negative meaning for good reason.  Young men without benefit of much life experience and not having much authority exercised over them other than mom and dad and Mr. Phillips in wood shop at school that had just enough leadership skills to teach them not to cut their finger off on the band saw.  So off the to boot camp where they are insulted, torn down and reassembled into the military mold.   Then those that stick it out long enough find themselves in charge; leaders without the skills to be so.  They learned to treat others the way they were treated and that usually wasn't very good.   We that stuck it out (I did 24 years) worked our way through those people and some of us took it on board to be different.  However, the misfits could not.  They, for the most part, were not bad people.   They had issues that just weren't compatible with the military.  Unlike civilian jobs you can't just resign.  You have to ride it out or get into enough trouble to get kicked out.   That's the route these men took. 

Here's my positive spin on this.  Those misfits that couldn't function in the Navy are among us.  The same type of people that would have been a misfit had they been in the Navy are with us too.   They still have authority issues, wear their hearts on their sleeves and hate to follow the rules and if not loners travel in companionship of those like-minded.  They add flavor to our otherwise complacent lives.  I call for a "Let's befriend a misfit" week.   I found that for the most part misfits are hard to get along with because of their attitudes and many times we don't feel they like us.  We struggle with having respect for them.   I can tell you that almost without exception that if we make an effort to actually "like" a misfit they will like us back.  It is almost impossible not to like someone that likes us.  Turn that around and we'll all get along together much better.  You would be amazed at the depth of good character a misfit can bring forth under the right conditions.   Give it a shot, you might just come away with a new best friend.  Wouldn't that be nice.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Notice Accepted

Consciousvanguard, sounds like you've had a rough week.  Having followed your blogs for some time now this is an uncharacteristic piece for you.  You are usually more thoughtful and positive in your thoughts than delving into a shallow emotionally laden article as this. 

Do you rub elbows with millionaires and billionaires on a regular basis?  I am certainly are not one of them but I personally know a handful.  They are decent hardworking and I would even say charitable and compassionate people.  Oh I'm sure there are a few in ivory towers that come from old money, but most of them I suspect are decent people as well.   New money rich people like the ones I know went to school, got educated, worked in the ranks with their peers, took risks, burned the midnight oil,  cultivated networks, demonstrated a sound business mind, aligned themselves with likeminded people and succeeded.  They don't take from the poor or the down trodden.  They work to grow their business, create more opportunity and give hope to everyone, especially the hopeless.  To vilify all these people with a single stroke of the evil brush is not very well thought out.  Sounds like a line out of Sander's stump speech. 

I'm not so sure that racist and fascists works in the same sentence the way you mean it.  Racist people do truly hate and I have to agree with you they do a fair job of passing that on to their children.  And of course, that is wrong.  We are only 50 years beyond the mid-sixties where equality became law.  You would have thought we be doing better with it all as we are.  The southern states has always suffered with the transition because of their history.  The northern states has always been more enlightened even from the signing of the declaration.    But even still, look at the stupid history we've had of hatred. Always black and Indian people, Irish people, Italian people, Chinese people, Japanese people have had their turn on the race wheel.  I lived through some of the worst race riots you never heard of in the mid-seventies.  I've had minorities that worked for me that blatantly told me they were going to do whatever they damn well pleased or they were going to yell racism.  And they did, causing quite a disruption in the workplace.  I didn't hate them for that and still don't.  I understand that as a minority they had experiences the likes of which I would probably never have.  I was just sad they carried such a chip on their shoulder about it.  I can tell you though even though these red-neck types may teach their children this crazy stuff their children can and many will reject it.  I did.

Fascism is a ruling ideology that differs from racists.  They are not interested in money as they are in power.  Dictators are great fascist.  The government owns everything, all production, all fields, all religion, every facet of your life.  This doesn't mean they are not racist, just that they might not be.  Fascism is a harsher version of communism in my mind.  Socialism like Sanders touts is a weak sister to fascism and communism.  People like Sanders and Trump feed on the frustrations of what you termed the down-trodden and hopeless to further their gains.  Trump for ego and Sanders for a misconstrued sense of equality.  These are not the kind of people we want leading us. 

You have covered pretty much every walk of life that can be accused of some wrong doing.   You accuse nearly all people of authority and those that have the responsibility of shaping young minds of some kind of wrong doing.   Someone in those positions can be abusive.  I don't understand putting them on notice.  We have laws and mechanisms for punishing wrong doing, civilly or legally.  We do that better than any other country in the world.  There are 300 million of us in the U.S.; tens of thousands police, and educators and with human nature what it is there will be abuses.  When they are caught they are punished, or should be.  I think the worst abusers are the college professors that push a jaundice slant on the students  to the far left; that vilify the CEO's and Stock Brokers.  Then some of those students leave school and learn the truth and become CEO's and Stock Brokers.  I put these professors in the worst light because they influence hundreds of minds everyday where a bad cop might hurt a couple at any given time.

I think the reason so many people feel the system as run amok and the fabric is being torn is because until the Obama administration directed the Department of Justice to lay sway to the rule of law in favor of the minorities, not on the basis of behaviors.  Justice has not been color blind the past seven years.  What is needed is for the blindfold to be put back on lady justice.  People have had their faith in the justice system eroded.  It isn't a matter of perception.  Bad people do bad things they should be punished.  When a bad person does a bad thing and Obama says that the punishment is unwarranted and lets them go it undermines our rule of law.  The hip game being played is by the leadership of our country right now not by the rich in ivory towers.  The system didn't get out of hand, it was wrested from us by our political system.

I'm sure I'm not one of the people you are putting on notice.  Yet, I don't intend on being collateral damage.  I am not sure as to what you think you are going to do with your band to end a game that has no end or perhaps we are not playing on the same board.  Like Rodney King said, can't we all just get along.  No harm, no foul.  There are millions more in the country like me that wish the best for everyone than like the ones you hate that mean harm to anyone that gets in their way. 

I'm hoping you have a better week this week. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Until the end...

As a species sharing the planet with the rest of the plants and animals we have been tasked with subduing and caring for the planet by God.

From the time there were only two of us humans on the planet to the 7 Billion of us today we have done a pretty good job.  Go to some of the photography collections on google+ and take a look.  There are two types of wonders in the world, those produced by nature and those produced by the ingenuity of man that are breathtaking. 

That isn't to say that there are not abuses because there are.  A person can drill down and put a place or event under focus and point out how horrible we are as a species in our stewardship of the world.  For the most part these are not much more than acme on the cheeks of a young teenager that with a bit of attention will go away and be forgotten.

At this point it would be easy to delve into some specifics covering corruption, business disregard for the environment, government overreach, lack of charity and right down killing each other but I won't.  Look at the news, you can see it all for yourself.  So what are the motivations for these terrible things, is there a relativity to it all?  After all, there a 7 Billion of us and room for at least that many more.

First let's look at motivation.  First thing to realize is we are flawed.  It is a purposeful flawing as part of the plan of salvation that we all agreed to in heaven before we were given a body that we would come to the earth and participate.  The body our spirit was breathed into at conception is a carnal object seeking sensation and good feelings.  Our spirit that once resided with God wants to be obedient to God's will but has to win domination over the body.  That isn't easy.  The failure of us to exercise our spirits will over that of the body generally results in sin, but not always. 

There are some things God wants our spirit to do. 

  1. Be ethical.  That is do the right thing.  Doesn't matter if that is with interaction with people or the planet.
  2. Have integrity.  So that our will doesn't have cracks or holes that lets in things that are contrary to Gods plan like envy, lust, hate, greed and so on. That means we are to be consistent in our actions as we do the ethical things.
  3. Have charity.  Charity starts at home.  It is a responsibility for each of us to take care of ourselves first, then our families, our community and then the rest of the world if we have excess. 
  4. Have courage.  That is to be strong in the face of adversity and do the right thing.  That could be physical courage where there is risk of harm to yourself to help another or the mental courage to admit in the face of ridicule or worst a mistake or wrong doing.

There are a lot more things but for the purpose of this blog I think the gist of it will be understood.

Now for those that are agnostic or atheist the same things apply only instead of recognizing that these are divine attributes you have to draw from your own strength of character to fulfill them.  There is nothing wrong with that except in order to determine what is ethical  and charitable a person as to go with tradition.  In many instances tradition which is the right way to view and behave in a particular setting, coincides with the dictates of the divine. 

Now for the relativity.  One of the things you hear politicians say as they decide a course of action that we all must follow is "We are doing this because this is what we are!", or are not as the case may be.  When it comes to the ethical thing we have an amazing faculty for rationalization where we can make ourselves think an unethical action is the right thing.  Where this really comes into play is the difference between "enlightened" developed countries like the United States and England for instance and developing countries like Mexico.  Big business gets a bum rap about their obscene profits or their callous behavior to the environment.  Even though the law permits a corporation to function as an entity onto its self it really isn't.  It is run by people.  Those people have a struggle with the four items I've listed above.  For most it is a short struggle and we don't hear much about them.  For others, it is a losing struggle and we hear a lot about them because the impact their decisions have on you and me can be substantial like tax money used in government bailouts.  When it comes to companies operating in the United States compared to those in China as an example the U.S. has set limits on actions as a protection for people and the environment.  These regulations are relatively stronger in the United States than in other countries.  That is why with little exception our water is safe to drink anywhere, or swim in.  The air is cleaner and healthier to breath even in the worst parts like the Los Angeles basin compared to Beijing.  All the good things about us and our country goes on and on. 

The actions of the people in the world fluctuates good too bad to good again.  There are those that want to impose their will on others in the name of some religion or another or just because they think they are stronger or smarter in which case they strive to beguile those they wish to control to their way of thinking.  No matter how you slice the world condition it starts and ends with ourselves.  The things we have control over, being ethical, having integrity and charity and the courage to admit our faults and stand up for the helpless is really what is important and makes the world better for everyone overall.  The United States is heads and shoulders ahead of the rest of the world in these things and probably stay that way till the end.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

God fearing man

Someone in a post was upset about the need to fear God and that organized Churches fed into that fear as a means of control.   That if he loved so why did we need to be in fear of him? 

It isn't uncommon for the reference to God Fearing Man to be misconstrued as a negative in our relationship with God.  This type of argument I've heard before.   In Biblical times and in modern day theology fearing God means to be in state of reverence or in awe.  We use the word fear in our everyday lives as a bases to avoid things, like riding a motorcycle for fear of an lethal accident or avoiding snakes for fear of being bitten.   This does not pertain to Scripture.  Easiest way I have found to understand Scripture with fear is to substitute the word awe or reverence in its place.  

This doesn't work 100% of the time but gives you an idea:  Example:

  • Old Testament
And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. 

It could read - And all men shall revere, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
  • Old Testament
The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. 

It could read -
The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the awe of his father Isaac. 

Most of the rest of the references in Scripture referring to fear is to fear not.  Understandably when people thought that they might be crossways with God did have a certain degree of fear.  After all he did drown the world at one point, threw Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and has blasted people with lighting from time to time.  But, the scriptures says not to fear for God does love us and provides us a means to return to him.

Churches are required by the Lord after the fashion of the church he organized on the earth with the 12 apostles.  To vilify churches is like saying guns kill people where really people kill people they just sometimes use guns.  Our relationship with God is a personal one thus the one purpose of many to gather together for worship is to shore one another up in the face of the adversities of the world today.   Just as there are good and bad people some hid behind their Bible  for nefarious purposes and others aren't hiding but extending their Bible in front of them to share.  It isn't us to judge but to have caution as to who we will align ourselves with.    Some people in some churches leach and some don't and are sincere.  It is up to us to choose wisely through prayer, study and discernment as to which is which.