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Arguments and Illness

Is what made me ill what afflicted you too?
Have you been where I’ve been, do you do what I do?
Is all illness a blight with but one common source
and the consequence meted to all in its course?
Does affliction with symptoms reflecting dis-ease
and the payment of pain and discomfort to tease

come upon us in ways quite the same unto all
with a sense that the sickness is blind in its fall?
Illness doth strike in dis-similar ways
tho the same by its label, it’s impact quite plays
different tunes in each person whose lives aren’t the same,
who’s choices are moves in life’s ongoing game.

Disagreement is sickness that’s blind in its prime
like disease, lack of harmony lives for a time
between souls in dispute who do struggle to win
what’s perceived as a victory though small as a pin.
We will learn by our feelings when we disagree
and find understanding to greater degree

in knowing our opposites, how we compare
when agreement is wanting or even quite rare.
If I know where you stand and the place is amiss
in my own set of values, your thoughts are not bliss.
They’re in contrast and emphasize clearly a split
in our thinking, reflecting that all does not fit

in a tidy container where values are set
in a limit of rightness or wrongness, but let
Mother Wisdom come forth in her powerful gown
of perception that differences don’t mean we drown
in a sea of our discord where winning is king
but where learning brings harmony, living and being.

© 2000 Arthur Ruger
 

Angry old white men … hey, where you guys going?

angry-white-men

Here come them dang bad-news polls again.

Trump’s Approval Rating Dips Again – His White Male Base Is Starting to Flee

Some key supporters have begun to migrate away from Trump, notably Republicans, independents and white men. Trump’s approval among Republicans dropped to just 74 percent, a 14-percentage-point tumble from last month, according to IBD/TIPP. His approval among independents fell 11 percentage points to 29 percent. Among white men, one of Trump’s strongest demographic bases, his approval rating fell from 58 percent to 49 percent.

But then what do you expect when Mr. President turns on his allies and un-protects the wrong things?

Trump Administration Removes Endangered Species Protection For Parrots

Trump Administration Removes Endangered Species Protection For Parrots

 

Or this angry old white man who got relieved of a certain duty:

Bannon Loses National Security Council Role in Trump Shakeup

 

If you build it they will come.

The Arizona-Mexico border fence near Naco

Reuters  i mage 2013

Has the dam really burst and is there immigrant flooding along the where the wall will be built?

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a Senate panel on Wednesday that apprehensions of undocumented immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border was below 17,000 in March, marking the least migration since at least 2000.

 

Masons and Mormon Temple Builders

kirtland-temple-13

Saw a blog article about the history of ownership of the LDS Kirtland Temple pictured above.

The picture reminded me of the Masonic Temple in Bannak, Mt which Lietta and I visited a couple of years ago.

bannak masonic
The Williamsburg Virginia Lodge

masonic williamsburgva

and the Warsaw, Ny Lodge  show essentially the same design.

Masonic Warsaw NY

Interestingly the “Cultural Hall” in Nauvoo which many think was a disguise for the actual Nauvoo Lodge and the Seventies Hall which looks like it could have been another disguised Lodge.

LDS culutral hall Nauvoo IllSeventies Hall Nauvoo
The current Nauvoo Temple which the Church obviously wanted to resemble the original.

Current Nauvoo_Templeoriginal nauvoo-temple

On the original the Moroni masonic image weather vane was atop the cupola. You can google that weathervane to see more images of it.

atop the nauvoo temple weathervane moroni and masonic image

Which brings me to the image below.

Who would be interested in buying the original Nauvoo Temple

Now who do you suppose the brethren back then thought might be interested in buying a building that looked like that?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 5, 2017 in Masonry, Mormon stuff, Religion

 

Tags: ,

The Candidate

ARboomerbuscard3

I am seriously running for Congress in the 5th District as an Independent Candidate.

A representative of the people must represent ALL the people in our district. There must be a wide range of experience that includes engagement and advocacy for more than one generation, more than one political, ideological or philosophical understanding of how the real world functions.

Click to go to the campaign website

Arthur Ruger for Congress

What can we do to challenge the powers that be within a two-party system that is actually not useful in its current form?

We start right where we live … right here at home.

In thinking about what I might do and how I might do it, I did some research into what shakes up a system on the local level. Obviously, perhaps the most powerful individual personal shake-up at the local level is that of an incumbent who is challenged for election and then who loses that election.

 
 

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Sounds legitimate to me … [proof otherwise requested] … Don’t say “yes” when asked, “Can you hear me?”

Image result for can you hear me scam cartoon

Learned this from an LA Times headline… but the Times won’t let me get past a requirement that I subscribe, etc. So below I’ve pasted the same text from a Reddit site:

It’s the most cunning robocall scam I’ve encountered — and the fact that I’ve fallen for it more than once tells you how successful it can be. The phone rings. You pick it up and say “hello.” There’s a brief silence and then a woman’s voice says, “Oh, hi there!” She offers an embarrassed laugh. “I’m sorry, I was having a little trouble with my headset!”

I’ve gotten this call a number of times in recent weeks, at home and at work, and each time I’ve been suckered by the lifelike opening to stay on the line longer than I normally would for a robocall or a telemarketing pitch. It’s only when I realize I’ve heard the exact same thing before that I realize I’m hearing a recording. This is a new and highly sophisticated racket known as the “can you hear me” scam, which involves tricking people into saying yes and using that affirmation to sign people up for stuff they didn’t order.

It’s also an indication of what can be expected in the future from scammers and telemarketers as automated “conversational agents,” or chatbots, play an increasingly large role in interacting with humans.

I’ve spoken with a number of experts in the field, and they all say natural-speech technology is advancing so quickly that it may be only a few years until we won’t be able to tell if we’re speaking with a machine.

“On every front in development of conversational agents, there’s a huge emphasis on making them more sociable,” said Marilyn Walker, a professor of computer science at UC Santa Cruz with decades of experience in natural language processing. “This stuff is all coming together now in a way that’s getting very close to artificial intelligence,” she said.

The “can you hear me” scam doesn’t seem to be using that level of technical achievement, but it displays a sneaky savviness about how to manipulate people.

Dan Weld, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, said the techniques employed in the calls demonstrate “careful human engineering with an understanding of the human dynamics of conversations and what will sound natural.”

In other words, you won’t know it’s a robocall until it’s too late. As the scam plays out, the recorded voice will raise the possibility of a vacation or cruise package, or maybe a product warranty. She’ll ask if you could answer a few questions. Or she’ll make it sound like her headset is still giving her trouble and say, “Can you hear me?”

Don’t say yes.

Police departments nationwide have warned recently that offering an affirmative response can be edited to make it seem you’ve given permission for a purchase or some other transaction. There haven’t been many reports of losses, but a Washington State man reportedly got bilked for about $100.

A recorded “yes” could also could be used to deny refunds to any consumer who complains.

“If someone calls and asks, ‘Can you hear me?’, do not answer yes,” advised the Better Business Bureau. “Just hang up. Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple yes answer.”

Walker, the UC Santa Cruz computer wiz, has been teaching computers how to speak since the 1980s, when she worked as a researcher for the Natural Language Project at Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto. She’s also done stints at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in Cambridge, Mass., and AT&T Labs in New Jersey.

Talking machines have been epitomized for years by the automated switchboards that drive most consumers c****. But Walker said we’re seeing the next iteration of speech technology in the likes of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa — devices that can respond to users’ requests and, to a limited extent, give the impression of conversation.

The next step, she said, will be computers that respond to voice commands to perform multiple tasks across multiple websites or platforms. For example, booking airline seats, a hotel and a rental car without a human having to look at a screen or touch a keyboard.

“The vision right now for conversational agents is moving seamlessly among various tasks,” Walker said.

She acknowledged that as the technology improves and becomes more commonplace, it almost certainly will be embraced by telemarketers and scammers to try to dupe people into thinking they’re speaking with a real person, thus making a questionable sales pitch all the more believable.

“That’s clearly not out of the realm of possibility,” Walker said.

She said machines become more human-sounding the more they can be taught to pepper conversations with the occasional “um” or “uh-huh,” or to laugh at the right moment. They’ll soon convey what sounds like emotion and will adjust their vocal pitch to match the context of the discussion.

“These things are all being pursued,” Walker said.

She’s leading a team of grad students that’s competing for the first Alexa Prize, an award offered by Amazon for the university that can come up with a “socialbot” capable of genuine chitchat.

Each of 12 sponsored teams has received $100,000 from Amazon to fund their work. The team with the best-performing bot will win $500,000. An extra $1 million will go to the team’s school if its socialbot “converses coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics and news events for 20 minutes.”

Obviously, any technical advances will be considered for future versions of Alexa.

I asked Art Pettigrue, an Amazon spokesman, if the ultimate goal of the contest is to produce a machine capable of speaking like HAL 9000 in “2001,” albeit without the homicidal tendencies.

He declined to go that far. But Pettigrue said that “we’re really at a tipping point for so many elements of the technology.

“We’re in a golden age of machine learning and AI,” he said. “We’re still a long way from being able to do things the way humans do things, but we’re solving unbelievably complex problems every day.”

Think the “can you hear me” scam sounds devious? Just you wait.

Note: To people who can read the whole article, did I miss anything?

 
 

These are our Republicans folks … there are no other “good ones” waiting in the wings to correct things.

Image result for of the people by the people for the people

Classical “republicanism” was all about the sovereignty of the people:  of the people, by the people and for the people.

I truly wish that our current Republican Party were truly in that category.

However, these ain’t those folks.

These are “Fox News Republicans,” dancing arm-in-arm and in lockstep to the music of Big Money. “Of the people, by the people and for the people” is the least thing on their minds.

These folks have taken the NFL’s “Lombardi Doctrine” to an obscene extremity in prostituting their pretend allegiance to our country at the feet of a corporate capitalist presidential shyster.

Led by Trump, the Fox News Republican Party has sold us out because for them winning has been the ONLY THING.

For years now we have seen, read and heard Republicans posturing as “patriots” who with ugly disingenuity proclaim that welfare corporate capitalism is really the ideal of American society. This has been a blatant attempt by Fox News Republicans to claim ownership of our cultural and philosophical high ground.

If you buy into the sales pitch that Fox News Republicans represent our purest American values you have purchased the snake oil. You have fallen for the so-called “art of the deal,” and in doing so you have probably assumed that such snake oil is the liniment for “making America great again.”

I agree with Shawn Vestal of Spokesman-Review

Vestal: McMorris Rodgers backs GOP health care plan stripping insurance from Eastern Washington’s poor

Recall, if you will, the words of Cathy McMorris Rodgers, uttered in a press conference in the Capitol on Jan. 10:

“Let me be clear. No one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage. We’re providing relief. We aren’t going to pull the rug out from anyone.”

This was a surprising, even shocking, statement from McMorris Rodgers, who is part of a team whose goal has always clearly been based on just that: yanking that rug, hard, to lower taxes for the wealthy.

But, because this is a difficult thing to come right out and say in decent company, McMorris Rodgers and her fellow House repealniks have danced and dodged, finessed and fudged, omitted and insinuated that what they’re doing will not be bad for the millions and millions of Americans who obtained health insurance under Obamacare.

Her statement on Jan. 10, though, was of a different order than the usual slip-sliding. It was a clearcut, seemingly humane, recognition of a sense of responsibility for the potential effects of what she and her fellows were trying to do.

Which is probably why it didn’t seem even remotely true. That was confirmed later the same day, when a spokeswoman for the congresswoman launched the moonshot of oily political weaseling: McMorris Rodgers, the spokeswoman said, had misspoken. She meant to say “people who are covered under Obamacare will not lose coverage the day the bill is repealed.”

Ah yes. The day of. After that, though …

Read the opening paragraph by Abby Zimet, staff writer at Common Dreams.

 Let ‘Em Die  gop-let-em-die

Rant time. The obscenities and idiocies of Thursday’s proposed budget are almost limitless.

Egregious examples: Slashing Meals on Wheels, which feeds a half million veterans and many (often-Trump voting) elderly residents while allowing them to stay at home, when one $3,000,000 golf trip to Mar-a-lago would cover 419,000 meals and, by year’s end at this rate, 20 million meals.

Cutting an annual National Endowment for the Arts budget that will only cover Melania’s security at Trump Tower for almost five months.

Cutting National Historic Sites funding that will give her a couple more months, or PBS, which is only worth three weeks.

Hiking the defense budget $54 billion for more war, which could fund conflict resolution work at the Institute of Peace for 1,543 years; their funding will instead be cut.

Slicing funding for low-income housing that could cause a new epidemic of homelessness. And, in one more vote for death and destruction, slashing climate change and other environmental programs as “a waste of your money.”

And please tell me how the public good would be served – what socially redeeming effect – would justify this:

Are we willing to concede that the Fox News Republican politics, culture and philosophy are more American than anyone else’s?

 

When a Kindergarten fiscal Konservative asks, “How ya gonna pay fer it?” , here’s your answer.

800 bases
When a Kindergarten fiscal Konservative asks, “How ya gonna pay fer it?” , here’s your answer.
(This page is huge)
On Republican rationale for “reforming” health care, education, and all the other pious patriotic talk about supposedly wanting our country to “live within a budget” …
Hell that’s what most of us have always had to do (well those of us who learned how to spend less than we take in). We’ve always done that.
So how come we don’t look at all our budget expenses and adjust spending according to legitimate Constitutional priorities , i.e. the “insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare” stuff?
How much – regardless of which party is in charge – are we spending on the following … and why?
Ask your Congresspersons that question. Ask them to tell you why we need to spend so much on this particular budget item at the expense of, say, universal health care, free college education, housing solutions for homelessness.
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Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (American Empire Project) Chalmers Johnson and it’s $10 on Kindle and less than $15 in paperback
 

We’ll get back to Happy Hour … but first a word from our sponsor: Big Theology Pharma.

eternal damnation syndrome
Are you suffering from EDS: Eternal Damnation Syndrome?
Folks, have you been saved?

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?

Accepting Jesus as your personal savior is an important moment in the life of God’s children. As the late Reverend Jerry Falwell told us, “if you are not a born again Christian you are a failure as a human being.”

If you fail as a human being you will miss out on the eternal reward that is part of God’s plan for you. Worse, you will be eternally unforgiven and left to the dungeons of Satan who shows no mercy.

Friends, until you come to understand God’s patriarchal order of things, you will remain festered with the EDS infections. As America’s premier televangelist Pat Robertson has declared solemnly,

“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”

EDS can also have fatal consequences if you and your loved ones remain ignorant of the rampant spiritual warfare going on all around us. As the famous Christian warrior, General Boykin declared,

“We as Americans, we as Christians, need to understand that that’s not the enemy that America’s up against. In fact, the enemy that we’re up against is called the principality of darkness, he’s called Satan. We are in fact in a spiritual battle, ladies and gentlemen, more than we are in a physical battle.”

Now please understand – and we say this with genuine self-righteous and condescending love as we hate the sin but love the sinner – Christ Jesus and the Holy Bible are the only one true path to a cure for EDS.

As that wonderful Christian politician, Tom Delay, told us,

Only Christianity offers a way to understand that physical and moral border. Only Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought, every aspect of creation. Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world — only Christianity.” —-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay [R-Tex].

If you are not yet a born again Christian, you have EDS which is a spiritual disease with fatal consequences.

But you can act now! Call the number on the screen or drive out Rapture Road to the Forever Saved Evangelical Megachurch, where we have the antidote to EDS and are selling it at a reasonable eternal price.

We will provide for you from our formula pulpit all you need to know to protect yourself and your family from the terrible consequences of untreated EDS.

We will dose you with scripture. We will throw the Good Book at you because we know that the Bible is perfect, free from error and that includes the wonderful revelations of true science and history of our young 6000-year-old planet.

We will assure you of the literal existence of Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve (yuck yuck, that’s a joke son). We will explain how they tripped over the simplest trap God could set and left us all divinely cursed for ever with EDS – unless you let us dose you with the antidote.

We will show you how God and Noah saved the dinosaurs even though all Noah had was his humble God-designed ark.

We will teach you of the Eternal Godhead who has revealed himself as ONE God existing in THREE persons and you will better understand who is behind the plan to punish you eternally from EDS if you do not repent.

We will tell you about the Lord Jesus Christ, or as we like to refer to Him in our scriptural tone of voice, “Christ Jesus,” who waits for you to appoint Him as your savior and start the healing flow of intravenous spiritual atonement that will eradicate that pernicious EDS from your Edenic-cursed body.

You don’t have to do anything to be cured of EDS except believe in faith after you’ve paid for our product by promising forever the first ten percent of all money that ever falls into  your hands.

Eternity doesn’t come cheap and we have advertising and logistical expenses to meet as we dispense with the cure to EDS.

Once you’re into the pay cycle, Jesus has done the rest and you will be able to strut confidently through the remaining steps of your life, knowing that your future is set, safe, secure and a done deal.

Brothers and Sisters, we will reveal to you the sanctity of marriage and explain how nobody ever got married before God gifted the Jews and later the Christians with the irrevocable  patent and ownership of all marriage contracts.

Curing yourself of EDS is vital in order that you not be a failure as a human being.
We believe in the One God but are worried about Satan & His Judgment. We also believe in the reality and personality of Satan and the eternal judgment of Satan and his angels (again Satan is not a God even though we treat him like one.)

So stand up, gird up your loins and take for yourself the helmet and shield of trust in someone else’s magic.

Act now and we will double your dose of the cure and include the complete set of Left Behind novels so that you will have a better picture of what happens to those who never cure EDS.

Call now … shysters are waiting to help you.

 

To the Washington Fifth District: What your congresswoman is up to …

House Speaker Paul Ryan And GOP House Leadership Address The Media After Weekly Conference Meeting

On our Fifth District’s Congressional Representative … and she is more representative of something else than she is the well being of her district.

As I read through her list of accomplishments, I was struck by the sum of those accomplishments – which amounted to nothing more than doing her job – what she was elected to do.

There was nothing outstanding in her list which was written to imply that she had accomplished the kind of spectacular success that a lesser politician might have failed to do. There was nothing in her resume that could not have been as easily accomplished and bragged about by a Democrat.

What is in her particular resume, however, (if you do your research) is that she suborned her priorities to the priorities of her party. In doing so McMorris Rodgers team-worked herself onto the starting party team. In that regard, she and her team did not spend as much time on their constituency concerns as they could have. They were busy wasting tax-payer time attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” to their constituent choirs) more than 50 times since its passage. The statute was enacted in 2010 which means that Republicans wasted money and ignored more pressing problems an average of ten times every year through 2016.

Check out what Cathy McMorris Rodgers is doing right now in addition to dodging constituent town hall meetings:

While we were distracted by Trump, Republicans advanced these 9 terrifying bills

1. H.R. 861: To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency

This bill — cosponsored by Republican members of Congress from fossil fuel-producing states — is just one sentence long, and says nothing about what would happen to the multiple environmental regulations the EPA has instituted since 1970, or its multibillion-dollar budget, or its thousands of staffers. H.R. 861 is currently awaiting action in the subcommittee on environment.

2. H.R. 610: Tax dollars for private schools

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced this bill in January, which would redistribute funding earmarked for public schools in the form of vouchers for parents to send children to private schools. Over the long term, this would eventually bankrupt public schools, and create a stratified education system in which cash-strapped public schools would be unable to meet the educational needs of low-income students. The bill is awaiting action in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

3. H.R. 899: To terminate the Department of Education

If this bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), becomes law, the U.S. Department of Education would terminate by the end of 2018. The bill’s brevity leaves many questions unanswered, like what would happen with Department of Education grants for public schools and universities, its budget, or its staff. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said she would personally be “fine” if the agency she heads were to be abolished.

4. H.J.R. 69: To repeal a rule protecting wildlife

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), whose constituents likely include hunters who kill wildlife for sport rather than for food, introduced this joint resolution voicing displeasure with a Department of Interior rule that prohibits “non-subsistence” hunting in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The resolution passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

5. H.R. 370: To repeal the Affordable Care Act

While President Obama was in office, House Republicans voted at least 60 times to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — despite its futility. However, the Trump administration has made the repeal of Obamacare a top priority, meaning the repeal bill from Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) is likely to pass.

The Truth About the GOP Healthcare Plan

6. H.R. 354: To defund Planned Parenthood

Despite the widely publicized debunking of the video alleging the women’s health nonprofit was selling human organs, Republicans are still refusing to stop destroying Planned Parenthood. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill that would prevent any federal grants from going to Planned Parenthood for a full year unless they swore to not perform abortions. As the chart below from Planned Parenthood shows, only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood resources go toward abortions, while the vast majority of funding is used to help low-income women get STD tests, contraceptive care, and breast cancer screenings:

7. H.R. 785: National Right-to-Work legislation

Conservative ideologue Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is aiming to cripple unions at the nationwide level with a bill that would systematically deprive labor unions of the funding they need to operate. Unions often provide one of the crucial pillars of support for Democratic candidates and causes, and conservatives aim to destroy them once and for all by going after their funding. It’s important to note that right-to-work is bad for all workers, not just union members — in 2015, the Economic Policy Institute learned that wages in right-to-work states are roughly 3.2 percent lower than in non-right-to-work states.

8. H.R. 83: Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act

Multiple cities and states around the country have openly stated that they won’t abide by President Trump’s plan to aggressively round up and deport undocumented immigrants. A bill by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pennsylvania) would strip all federal funding of any city that doesn’t obey Trump’s immigration policies for up to a year.

9. H.R. 147: To criminalize abortion

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) wants to aggressively prosecute pregnant women seeking abortions, along with abortion providers, by making abortion a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

To fight back against these bills, call 202-224-3121, ask for your member of Congress, and tell them to vote no.

 

These ain’t no Harlem Globetrotters … hell they ain’t even the Pomona Polecats!!

 
 
 
Trump and his all stars: Flynn, Bannon, Conway, DeVos … 
and now Sessions. Sitting in last place … awe come on!!!

My Congresswoman from the 5th Congressional District, Cathy McMorris Rogers, needs to be sent to the minors. She plays ball for a self-styled Washington all-star team that seems to have no understanding of the rules and philosophy of the civic game of governance.

These particular all-stars are a collection of self-labeled  konservatives who still struggle with stick shifts and complicated words containing more than five letters.

These guys are hoping we won’t have noticed just how “all-star” they are now 6 weeks into their watch. They seem to want the country to stagger forward handicapped by a flat tire at the highest level of our leadership vehicle.

We are getting no correct-direction signals from any of these leaders. They have no skill and are not up to the task of leading, let alone even managing difficulties. Despite the lop-sided political advantage of our most recent national election and the temerity and caution of the opposition party, these supposedly wise Republican leaders and strategists are demonstrating an incredible lack of skill at managing the affairs of state.

As James T. Kirk goaded Khan, “You [Republicans] just … keep … missing … the target.”

If there is such as thing as a “normal situation” in this country I could say that “normally” when one party emerges victorious in an election, those who voted for the other party can take comfort in the general high quality, integrity and bi-partisan value of governing wisdom of those who did win.

Not this time.

These guys make it look like this country elected the Washington Generals instead of the Harlem Globetrotters. They can’t dribble, can’t shoot and certainly can’t play team-oriented ball.

They’re constantly out of bounds, palming the ball, committing foolish and egregious personal fouls and falling further and further behind on the scoreboard.

They try to play on only one end of the court where the bleachers are full of fanatics who want to change the way the game is played, want to change who can play and want to change what the public address system is allowed to broadcast.

If you look down their bench, you don’t see anyone riding the pines capable of substituting for the fumblers on the floor.

You do see some of those benchwarmers nursing dreams of future stardom by focusing on the bleachers when they should be focusing on the game itself.

You see flashes in the pan for whom the team’s financial backers have big plans and lots of money but also a limited self-serving priority of filling more bleachers rather than championship rings.

Not the players …

Not the coaches …

Not the owners …

… none of them show skill, wisdom or even a concern that the team remain viable, competitive and effective.

We’re not witnessing the creation of any kind of winning tradition here in the spirit of the Cavaliers,  Cubs, or Patriots.

Oh no!!

We’re looking at having to endure years of the 1960’s Mets when Casey Stengel asked, “Can’t anyone here play this game?

 

This is not partisan politics. It is a parent’s legitimate and necessary patriotic duty to the country and to his family.

 

Bill Owens says he refused to meet Donald Trump who authorised the special forces raid, in which 25 civilians also died, days after his inauguration

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?” he said. “Why?

“For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen – everything was missiles and drones – because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?’’

My generation is one in which there are still many living veterans. Furthermore, from ours and succeeding generations primarily come the children who make up the current blood and guts of America’s military.

If our children – or their children – come to us when considering enlistment or a commission, asking our reaction or even our blessing for their willingness to sign the bottom line, are we ready to speak honestly with them?

Have the things we’ve taught them about citizenship and patriotism come back to gratify us?

… or haunt us?

What is it we try to instill in them regarding a civic and patriotic sense of duty?

What did we teach and model for them when they were young and we were younger? Boomers … from the Vietnam era – a generation of soldiers betrayed by a government we all wanted desperately to trust?
The letter from college arrives.

“Dear Dad …….

Dad, I’m signing on and I’d like your blessing and advice.

I’m not having too many doubts about signing on Dad. Not too many questions – but I want your support and endorsement. You’ve never talked much about your service and I need to know what’s in your mind before I leave.”

Very well then ….

Dear Daught … Dear Son

As you know, you do not come from a family of warriors.

Your Grandfather was drafted.

Your uncle and I joined up in the 1960’s because it was that or the draft. Our national leadership had failed us badly because of their misguided and exaggerated fear of communist enemies;

There were afraid of rivals who had never proven themselves capable of toppling continents nation-by-nation, domino-like; let alone conquering the world based on military or economic power.

As a result of those years, the extremely poor choices made by politicians we trusted and elected left us with a powerful legacy not previously seen so powerfully in this country … acceptance of dissent as a patriotic act.

To this day that concept has not been refuted. More so, this current government has tragically demonstrated again just why it is vital that citizens hold government accountable.

Viet Nam  and the manipulation of the truth to justify the invasion of Iraq legitimized a permanent change in civic thinking. That’s why at least a part of our society remains  willing to question motives and speak out against the administration … and with greater empowerment to resist the social stigma of being isolated and marginalized by pseudo-patriotic politics. Our perspective is much more legitimate than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. We as citizens are duty bound to take and hold the ethical and moral high ground in this country rather than trust pretend presidential geniuses and broadcast blowhards who never wore the uniform in war.

The party officials, cheerleading TV networks and pundit blowhards don’t have a monopoly on patriotism. Those are – every one of them – the least qualified to tell you or me what it means to be patriotic. They are the cut-and-run actors from my generation who have never served and have never justifiably spoken for the troops and veterans in today’s world.

You are going to join an all-volunteer military force that has the same commission given the military services during World War II. The big difference today is that the bulk of the troops back then were drafted. Your choice is voluntary – signing a contract offered by the Pentagon.

When you sign, remember that we who are not military members make up – along with you – the American population that expects you to honor that contract you endorse.

Citizens of this country expect total fealty from you which means loyalty to the United States, to the Constitution, and to the Flag.

Citizens of this country expect the same from our elected leadership. The leadership owes  us that same fealty, loyalty to the United States, to the Constitution and to the Flag.

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Citizens also expect of our soldiers the highest honesty, integrity and honorable behavior of which they are capable. Political behavior that is dishonest, lacks integrity and dishonors troops, citizens and country is a betrayal of all that America has traditionally stood for.

Citizens do not expect that our fully trained and capable military members are so brainwashed to fight and kill that they have transitioned to a place of shame. While desiring that our military children develop instinctive and effective military and combat skills, we do not expect our children to be turned into mindless killing machines devoid of conscience or the ability to make a moral choice.

Arguments insisting that combat training must teach instinctive hate, bigotry, racial profiling and cultural inferiority in order to create armies and soldiers capable of efficient killing and destruction of enemies are not legitimate reasons for why we fight. Nor do they hold out a possibly for what we hope the end result of a national military objective will look like.

Citizens want and expect that our troops are warriors of honor who instinctively act and react with exceptional valor;

…Warriors who reflect national ethics, a positive national morality, compassion and respect.

If those things are lacking in the leadership, a way to intervene before a corrupt leadership can poison the military is vital.

The nation cannot abide armies of failed or corrupted warriors.

If those values are lacking in the country, it is the citizens who have failed the military.

Military service is and should always be thought of as an honorable profession where men and women serve with honor;

… are treated with honor by a grateful nation.

If you are joining the military, I expect you to have a career of honor.

I fear for you but will keep those fears managed in my own heart.

It is your life, not mine, and I do not pretend to dictate your choices.

Nor is it a life that belongs specifically to a General, a Secretary of Defense, a President or a Political Party.

You are not to be a tool of helping a party focus national priorities in such a way as to win elections.

There is no military code of silence or submissive loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief that requires that you do not seriously consider the legality and morality of orders given you regardless of their source.

I of course hope that your own sense of civic and moral integrity is honed sufficiently strong as to allow you to perceive almost instantaneously whether or not an order is illegal.

But if you need time and have time, then I expect you to take that time and make up your own mind. Whatever decision you make – if informed by your own study, searching and wisdom – is all anyone can ask of you.

You have a right to expect to serve under the integrity and honor of the Commander in Chief of the military.

You have a right to expect and demand the Commander In Chief’s honesty, honor, skill, wisdom and understanding of all reasons when and why military citizens are to be placed in harm’s way.

I in turn have a right to expect that you pay attention – for me, for your family and for your country – to whether or not your Commander in Chief is being honest, honorable and legal.

The Commander-in-chief is hardly going to order me to do something illegal or immoral. If he gives an illegal or immoral order there’s a greater risk he will give it to you whom he might see as bound to obey blindly and without question.

So your father, your family and your country are at the mercy of your ability to discern and act on that discernment.

You are then left at the mercy of your father’s, your family’s and your country’s ability to discern the acts of our President, to hold him accountable and take action – if necessary – to make sure he is accountable.

You must trust me to be willing and supportive in making sure the leadership does not waste your vital blood, devotion and patriotism in pipe dreams, self-interested agendas and ideologies.

In closing, my adult child, I express my pride in you and your willingness to act on your desires only after you’ve given them serious thought and consideration.

I accept and endorse your decision as I trust it is your own.

You do your part and serve.

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I’ll do my part and cover your back.

Anyone inside or outside this government who wants to criticize, harm or otherwise betray you will have to deal directly with me.

I promise.

Love, Dad

 

Finally! A church on the right and righteous side of a political issue.

 

Episcopal diocese joins federal lawsuit against Trump travel ban

A church in Washington state is suing the federal government for preventing it from practicing its faith. The Episcopal diocese says the refugee ban stops them from welcoming strangers in need.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A church is suing the Trump administration, claiming it can’t perform one of its religious duties. That duty is resettling refugees, and the suit comes from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Washington state. Will James of member station KNKX reports.