Curmudgeon at Work

Windmill Tilting

A little more than  a year ago I finished my 7th decade and embarked on the first year of my eighth. I seem to have come to a greater intimate friendship with more folks ahead of me than behind me. In fact, most folks behind me with whom I share something of an intimate relationship are family members. Most of those ahead of me are social friends connected with the neighborhood, my lodge (which has more younger members than older), the Order of the Eastern Star chapters and of course the local senior centers (In 3 of which we maintain membership.)

It’s the older ones who concern me; not because they are older and more frail, but because for the most part they remain enthused and animated about many of their life activities. I admit, I don’t know what goes on when they are not on a public “stage” and act without a public script in the privacy of their homes or marriages.

I guess that is what I do too. I have a public persona with which I inform most people of what I want them to believe me to be. However, only my dear Lietta knows what I’m really like in the intimate privacy of our home and marriage. I suppose that for the most part such things will remain private through our coming end times.

We’ve had a major transition in process going back to the time of my retirement now six years back. She used to ask me what I saw myself doing after retirement and insisted that I get used to the new mode by being off the clock and off the agenda for at least six months.

How did that work out? pitchforks-mob

Depends on how it is defined. Not having to go to work every day was wonderful and my most initial reaction was that each day felt like Saturday did when I was working.

Coping with the reality of fixed income and uncertainties of our future health was meaner.  This proved to be more provocative and stressful than I anticipated. Almost immediately I commenced awakening in the middle of the night and became conscious of the fact that I seemed to be counting money in my head in anticipation of meeting bills and making all the ends meet. It would be almost four years before I achieved an internal state that allowed me to get away from my thoughts … and that not necessarily completely.

Then of course the curse of awakening out of habit at 4:30 or 5:00 am – something I began doing years before retirement because for me the most creative and alive time of my mind was early in the morning. I would leave for work at 7:30 but by 8:30 my mind had essentially gone to the dull side as I labored in the public assistance office, from which I’d arrive home grateful to be with my wife but mentally exhausted.

That was in 2011.

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Aging has its impacts

By the end of 2012 we had moved out of our 120-year-old home in Pacific County which had proven to be too much for us to repair and maintain on fixed income.  We were renting in Spokane.  We eventually moved into a condominium that has proven to be totally more enjoyable than we’d anticipated and in a small urban setting that totally elevated our community life as compared to retirement in a fishing village of 200 souls in Pacific County.

There have been ups and downs, wonderful experiences in the city and traveling about – especially camping and yurting during the summer months. We’ve driven back and forth to the West side of the state for family activities and to relatives in Idaho and Montana and have encountered interesting alternative locations that remain tempting and inviting.

However … back to a 70-year old body, mind and spirit. My health is quite good for my age. My dear one persuaded me to enter into what is called a paleo diet by which I have lost a lot of pounds, lowered my blood pressure significantly and have subsequently felt more “lubricated” as in a well-oiled functioning machine even if it is 7 decades old.

So why do I often awaken in the mornings with a sense of dread that seems to originate in the context of whatever I was doing in my dreams. It’s as if I woke up and suddenly remember that someone near and dear to me had passed on or that I would be going in that day for a root canal. Some sense of unease without having something specific about which to worry.

Actually, beyond a vague sense of dread or uneasiness, I’m more aware of losing interest in all the things I used to be driven about and planned on doing when my career wasn’t competing for my time and attention.

What’s with that? Good Bad Ugly and Doofus

Is this what aging is about?

I still love to read and write, blog on line, but other activities like sports don’t do for me what they once did. I used to gorge myself on fantasy baseball and basketball and in some years maintained upwards of 20 separate teams at sites like Yahoo Fantasy and ESPN Fantasy Sport. I’m down to 8 teams which is not something facetious for me and that’s enought to hold my interest.

The most consistent interest that seems self-sustaining in my love of music and enjoyment of playing the piano. Lietta gifted me with a second instrument, something I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s a recorder, made of wood, plays mostly like a clarinet and is best played gently. No hard blowing as in saxophone or clarinet both of which I played well in high school. With some motivation from my siblings (Randy and Adrian Ruger) last April, I’ve upgraded my piano-playing and find myself serenading my sweetheart with a bunch of new songs as well as all the old pieces I’ve played for her for years.

I composed a piece for her as part of our wedding gifts to each other in 1996 and am of a mind to compose more. As for the recorder, I want to learn to play it the way Native American musicians such as Coyote Oldman play it. With available electronics I can play along with any piece I can find and am looking forward to it.

17 years ago while on vacation, I began writing poetry using what for me was a mystical device combining two separate phrases from my collections of thoughts and quotes. My poetry is mostly lyrical and I’m drifting more to writing poetry as competition to my not-running-down desire to write.

I’ve authored a historical novel and an assortment of blog articles and that part of me has not faded much. I still want to write on spiritual matters and opine about what’s going on in the world.

I’ve come to think of aging as an awareness and experience of my body and mind getting older and possessing the right to slow down, get rusty, start aching and creaking along. Arthritis is my daily companion but it is not now and does not seem to be on a path to debilitating pain, discomfort and ability.

I thought I’d lost my hearing in one ear but a visit to the VA medical center corrected that with a cleaning of a large wax deposit that had accumulated with my constant abusive use of Q-tips. I had concluded that as I got older, my hearing was disappearing.

Not so. Silly Section captain-picard-facepalm

Energy and stamina aren’t what they used to be my wife and I know I will never single-handedly move us from one location to another again.

So I still get up early, sometimes in a bad or sad mood, warm up as soon as my sweetheart awakens smiles and me and rings the bell I gave her as a signal to bring coffee, come back to bed, and read our electronic devices like smart phones and kindle.

I’ll get chores done during the day, cook a meal or two, and fall asleep in the afternoon in my recliner and again in the evening while watching a TV program before bedtime.

Growing Old Ain’t What I Thought It Would Be.

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Now I’m waiting for a gaggle of acquaintances to sober up

 

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When some among us seriously harm the rest of the world in our name.

Heckofajobrepubbies

To no one’s surprise, the response tends to be essentially “ho hum” and “yea so?” Yet we bloggers really are among the most civically active members of society and I wonder how it is that we got so sophisticatedly wise about political campaign strategy and remain so inept, ignorant and apathetic about genuine civic responsibility?

There are duties required by that  responsibility when things go wrong or when some among us seriously harm the rest of the world in our name.

There’s a notion that the most rapid path toward resolution of all America’s faults and mistakes –  not to mention restitution and repentance – lies merely in working to elect specific candidates. It is an empty and naive sentiment.

Civic responsibility is love of country and not about looking for or appreciating merely doing the least we must.

That’s like the Survivor nonsense. Some are voted out and some stay. The game will continue with a new slate of contestants next season.

It’s not unlike loving to shop for our favorite foods or things while having no idea about all the processes involved that brought our delectables to market.

We seem to consider the purchase itself a more significant and needful event than the actual creation – the bringing into being of that thing which we desire to possess.

Buyers may know how to cook, use or wear something they can easily obtain repeatedly and casually by mere purchase without any knowledge of the effort and circumstances that make such a purchase possible.

We may even consider ourselves knowledgeable afficionados about that which we glorify but in reality we have no idea.

We may even pooh pooh someone else’s concerns because  we can persuasively justify our investment of time, energy and emotional resources in our favorite things.

Such in fact is what I’m doing right now in grinding my ax about civics, national reputation, morality and conscience and not paying attention to getting a candidate elected or another defeated.

I admit it

So what’s your excuse?

How is it you can get excited or discouraged about the most recent polls, political stupidity, chicanery and  deception and how that might cost someone the election without making noise about REAL social global justice?

Will an election loss make for you a disaster that many seem to emotionally equate to your favorite teams’s having lost the Super Bowl?

Or perhaps your civic sense is a touch more intense than that. Perhaps losing the election will be result in a vague civic unease  that in actuality is mere intellectual awareness while we go about our post-election consumption?

How can we get so lost in the heat and competition of emotional politics but never arouse  a mature and wise emotion when we know we  ought to?

Are we genuinely moved to care about our future – a future that will be an undeniable consequence of failure to perceive past events honestly and accurately and failure to set them right?

Can Veterans of my generation still make a difference?

Hell, I don’t know.

I tell my own children and older grandchildren flat out that my generation has greatly and comprehensively screwed up their future; that they absolutely must take back their country in a way they themselves see fit.

How they do that is theirs to figure out. They should not believe that they can be told honestly and truthfully by any political party or church as to who they vote for without question.

They won’t take back their country by choosing more of the same thing that brought all this foolishiness to pass.

If we cannot and will not look at the future in that manner then those of us who don’t care; those of us who shrug it all off are THE citizens of an imperial nation that continues raping less able societies abroad.

We are the citizens who sustain the Imperial States of America and will make of the coming blowback events an ugly reality.

Authored by one’s self and none other

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A word spoken aloud, or an act performed a moment ago – or long ago – and heard or observed by someone else is not a thing that can be undone nor taken back.

A desire to retract, replace, or remove a word spoken aloud or an act observed involves personal integrity; or a continuation of one’s personal facade. In that regard one is found between the poles of cowardly courage or courageous cowardice.

Personal integrity is not the inherited dispensation of revered ancestors nor the flooded inundations of  cultural norm. It is authored by one’s self and none other.

One who understands that he knows nothing takes personal integrity to its normalcy. One who believes and supposes his own integrity to be subject to the common acceptance and approval of peers lives off someone else’s magic and will die mistaken.

Such is the formation of why morality – thinking that one must be right or wrong with a thing – is not a valid theory.

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?

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.

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.

Image result for commander in chief role

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.

Image result for veteran

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

Monkeying around with textbooks: I might make a good home-school teacher

godithinkiwilljustletthewholethingevolve

I see where the libruls are now contemplating home schooling cause the queen of multi-level soap and cream is now the Secretary of Education which makes her the darling of the creationism crowd.

I think I’ll run an ad regarding my ability to teach stuff to all the home-schoolees. I think I got the right stuff.

So I better check in on what them kids are supposed to learn when they’re sitting at the kitchen table being confused cause they couldn’t say a prayer in real school before taking a test but in their chapels-by-the-fridges they sure can.

If our textbooks have got to include warnings that such and such is only a theory, then by gum we need to apply the rule across the board. That means starting with the 3 R’s and includes the Bible.

Reading:

There should be something that says :

Warning youngster – the words you’re about to read are only the product of a theory and can only be proven by “faith”.

That means that you have to trust that what you read is telling you something useful. If you read a word you don’t understand, look it up in the dictionary. But remember that what a dictionary says is only a theory too and it might not be true.

evolution-is-a-theory

Writing:

Warning youngster – writing is the way you make your own reading show up in words. That of course means that what you want to say will only be a theory. Them who read what you write are not supposed to believe your words. Instead they have to prove to themselves about what you say by using “faith.”

Now faith is also only a theory that must be proven. So you see, everything you read and write and say and do and think and feel are only theories which you must prove by faith – again, which is only a theory.

Getting complicated for you?

Well that’s what your smart parents think is the best way for you to grow up and be as smart as they think they are. By the way, Working with books in this way ain’t the way they grew up to be as smart as they are.

Arithmatic:

(This is where it gets good.)

Any number is only a theory. If I have two apples in my hand, that means that I’m holding two theoretical things that might or might not be apples. An “apple” is a theory about a certain kind of “fruit” which – theoretically- is something that grew once before getting killed by harvesting or falling off a theoretical tree. The apple still tastes sweet – even if it is dead – and is good for you to eat.

But then eating only for pleasure might be sinful which again is only a theory.

Anyway, I have two theoretical apples in my two hands which are theoretical products of evolution which is … (you guessed it – a theory).

Now them apples may be the product of “intelligent design” – what some of your parents says ain’t a theory cause they read it in their not-a-theory Bible.

I don’t know why the Bible isn’t considered a theory but for many grown-ups it ain’t. But fair is fair and if yer folks learned that the Bible isn’t theory because they exercised their own faith, then by gum what was good enough for them’ll be good enough for you.

So New Rule:

The Bible contains theories that must be proven by faith.

Now back to Arithmatic:

I have two (which may or may not be an accurate count) apples (which may or may not be apples.) You ask me to give you one – theoretically. Now if I ain’t theoretically selfish and you look theoretically needy or deserving, I might theoretically decide to “share” (a theoretical virtue) and give you one half of how many apples I’m holding in my theoretical evolutionized hands.

What’s that you say?

How do you know a half is really a half? You just have to take it on faith you uppity little whippersnapper.

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See what I mean?

In order to make schooling consistent and the same way all across the board, were going have to post a sticker on the Bible that says

“Contains theories that can only be proven by faith.”

Well, it’s a start but I’d hate to be teaching a Sunday School class for kids or adults using these here criterias.

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And what hell there’d be to pay trying to teach kids about theoretical birds and bees whose lusty behavior has to be taken on faith.

It’s about the guy who starts the bar fight then hides in the men’s room whining … “It’s not my fault!! I didn’t do nothin!”

Dan Rather February 7 at 5:42am · Open Facebook Comment to Donald Trump:

No sir, Mr. President, with all due respect. The job of protecting this country from a terrorist attack falls on your shoulders.

In the past few days Mr. Trump has launched a very serious and very dangerous campaign of suggesting that if an attack occurs it will be the fault of federal judges who ruled that his Executive Order on immigration was Constitutionally problematic. And more recently he suggested it might be the fault of the press for not reporting on terrorist attacks – an assertion which any fair read of the evidence shows is a lie. As with the sweeping allegations of millions of fraudulent voters (where is the investigation of that dire threat to our democracy now?), the White House cannot supply facts to back up the President’s claim.

Mr. Trump is the Commander in Chief. The armed services and intelligence community report to him. Searching for scapegoats to blame even before an event occurs is to sow the seeds of destabilization to the very fabric of our republic. These are the tactics of a thin-skinned bully who may realize he is in far over his head. No doubt there are many in Mr. Trump’s base who are being whipped up into a misguided frenzy fueled by “fake news” and right-wing media. This is a common tactic of authoritarian rulers I have seen around the globe. It is stoking civic unrest and paving a path to crack downs and repression.

I do not think – or perhaps a desperate hope is father to the thought – that this tactic will work here. Mr. Trump built his brand on a bold, brash form of leadership and I think most Americans will see through the rhetoric of dodging responsibility. Furthermore we cherish an independent judiciary as a bedrock of our checks and balances. We can see that the press has covered terrorist attacks fully. And I do not see either judges or reporters backing down. Quite the contrary.

But Mr. Trump is signaling how he will react in a time of crisis. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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Trump calls the play, he drops back … oh no, another fumble.

My own liberal and progressive point of view: Put religion and patriotism in the same mixer and see what happens

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My own “liberal” point of view: Put religion and patriotism in the same mixer, turn on the switch and one invokes a responsibility to reconcile the tenets of the religion with the realities of civic involvement (not patriotic nationalism) in our national discourse.

I doubt that few of us would hesitate to drop our smart phones, leave our keyboards and find some sort of weapon to defend our homes, our streets, our towns and our country the moment real actual enemies put boots on our homeland. What we say to one another about whether or not we would kill to defend our families and country is obvious.

My thoughts on America’s role as part of a global community focus primarily a desire for justice to the victims, redress if possible, accountability and harsh punishment for those guilty.

My thoughts do not need to claim that God wants or approves of the sort of killing commenced by our pretend-Christian in the White House who garnered support for threatening mayhem against specific people with lies. From a religion point of view my thoughts do not obsess on a blind vengeance against specific individuals, countries and peoples to whom guilt has not been justifiably and irrevocably assigned.

Those thoughts then do not have a need to construct some sort of theological portrayal of God that justifies the resulting horror. From a religion point of view our current leadership is in place because many fellow Americans see God in that way and set aside civic respect to vote in a demagogue.

My thoughts do move to dismay at any Christian who publically attempts to justify killing innocents because political demagogues labeled military action as a key component of something else labeled a “war on terror”; the implication being that war is a dirty business in which innocent human beings will suffer and collateral damage is acceptable so long as that damage doesn’t come ashore here.

The same people who oppose abortion have not spoken out about the deaths of pregnant women in the Middle East due to bombs and military violence. Let’s face it, the war-caused death of a pregnant Muslim woman is in fact a military abortion of her unborn.

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Too many Christians in this country are looking the other way, in fact have their heads buried in the sand whenever protest is made about so much killing.

When is the God of the hypocritical and morally indignant American Christian going to be satisfied?

I assume then that “mainstream thought” is that the American Christian community has no moral accountability for participating and supporting the exportation of war in such a mindless manner as we are seeing.

I assume that when our citizen soldiers are deployed abroad I’ll find solace in the comforting confidence and arrogance that says going overseas and killing whoever political liars decide are our enemies is patriotically and religiously correct.

I can prepare for death and mayhem with the pretended assurance that the current mainstream-thinking Christian citizens will weep with me and that my instinctive desire for revenge against those who resisted and were killed by our might (which is ordained of god) – their race and their religion is a spiritual attribute given me of God.

Is that what you god-talkers ask of me?

Where is the wisdom? It seems we Washingtonians are in the middle of it Take that 45!!

How Washington state became the epicenter of resistance to Trump’s agenda

As President Trump weathered his first two weeks in office, a surprising number of roadblocks to his agenda cropped up from another Washington, more than 2,500 miles away.

Acting swiftly and with a united front, leaders from the Evergreen State have marshaled a powerful resistance to Trump’s administration — the combination of a left-leaning populace, outspoken Democratic lawmakers, legal efforts spearheaded by a resolute attorney general and support from several Seattle-area tech companies wary of Trump’s policies.

On Jan. 27, Trump signed orders not only to suspend admission of all refugees into the United States for 120 days but also to implement “new vetting measures” to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists.” Refugee entry from Syria, however, would be suspended indefinitely, and all travel by citizens of Syria and six other nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — would be suspended for 90 days. Trump also said he would give priority to Christian refugees over those of other religions, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The ban triggered massive protests at airports around the country, including at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. On the afternoon of Jan. 28, Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, and several other elected officials blasted the hastily implemented travel ban in a news conference held at the airport, before thousands descended upon it in protest.

When the going gets tough, the Republican Toughies hide

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Cowards of the county … real snowflakes …. genuine cut-and-runs … bait-and-switchers … like the one we got in Eastern Washington District 5 who is touted as the most powerful Republican woman in the House.

They got nothing.

They wanted to run things … they got their wish … no one to blame but themselves and can’t dodge that bullet.

GOP Leaders Hiding From Angry Constituents To Avoid Obamacare Questions

By the way, Tom Cotton is the “big tough guy who committed borderline treason by sending a letter to Iran telling them not to comply with the Iran nuclear agreement, directly undercutting the President of the United States, that guy, the military guy, big tough guy, you know, he is running away from his constituents.”

 

The Republican Party still wants to repeal Obamacare. The Republican Party still has no idea what they’re going to replace Obamacare with. They know that, but more importantly, the public knows that and that’s why over the last couple of weeks, people have been showing up to offices of Republican representatives demanding answers, saying tell us what you’re going to replace it with. They’re not even necessarily saying don’t replace it, don’t get rid of it. They’re just saying, “We need to know that a replacement will be in place the second you repeal this, and we want to know what it is. After all, we elected you. We put you in office. The least you could do is tell us what you’re working on.”, but the public knows the answer. They know that the Republicans have absolutely nothing in the pipeline that would indicate that they have a replacement ready to go for Obamacare.

…It’s not just Tom Cotton. Peter Roskam in Illinois, same thing. His office is no longer taking calls. They’re not accepting any calls from angry constituents wanting to know what the replacement’s going to be. They’re not taking calls from people who just want to know what you want to repeal it. Can you just answer that question and tell us why and not because Obama did it and not because you want a patient-centered healthcare plan? As Paul Ryan likes to say, fancy words that mean absolutely nothing. Patient-centered? Seriously, what does that mean, Republicans? Representative Barbara Comstock, same thing, hiding from her constituents, just like Tom Cotton and just like the entire Republican party right now.

They just want to talk to the senator.


“I’m no threat to the Senator  or his staff.

Unthinkable … worth watching … question your ethics

Watched this last night on Netflix. Ought to be required viewing … excellent portrayal of multiple points of view and perhaps the strongest contemporary ethics film I’ve seen. Shames the old concepts of the Fox Fake series, 24. Made the movie in 2010, kept out of theatres because Hollywood and producers afraid to show it. Finally this year you can live stram it.

45’s inability to handle this stuff is what leads to more fumbles.

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He’s lost in his narcissism. One of the best instruments of resistance in dealing with 45 has proven to be mockery, satire and parody. Consider at the popularity of Saturday Night Live versus the popularity of your president.
45’s inability to handle this stuff is what leads to more fumbles. Such is the principle reason for the mockery … mine included.