Why We Stand for the National Anthem

October 15, 2017

Although the “National Anthem” is called “The Star Spangled Banner”, we are not standing to honor and respect the flag itself. We are standing with those who have fought to keep that banner flying.

Today we tend to think of flags as primarily decorative items. In 1814 the flag was an essential communications device on the battlefield.

The flag flying above a fort demonstrated which army controlled it. When an army captured a fort it took down the enemy’s flag and raised its own flag. If the occupants of a fort lowered their flag, “struck their colors”, it meant that they were surrendering.

When Francis Scott Key saw that the flag was still flying over Ft. McHenry he knew the men in the fort had refused to be intimidated by the British artillery barrage. His poem celebrated the courage of the men in the fort rather than the flag itself.

The use of the flag to demonstrate a resolve to stand up to America’s enemies has continued into this century. This spirit was demonstrated in World War II when the Marines who took Iwo Jima quickly raised the flag to let those at sea know they were established on the island. New York city firefighters showed they were not defeated when they erected a flag at Ground Zero shortly after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Those who disrespect the military by attacking the national anthem demonstrate a lack of gratitude for what the military has done to reduce racism. 360,000 U.S. army soldiers, including 40,000 black, died in the Civil War which ended slavery. After WWII President Harry Truman integrated the military to show that black men and white men could live together and work together. President Dwight Eisenhower used paratroopers in Little Rock to insure compliance with a federal court order to desegregate the schools.

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Edward R. Murrow Would Be Ashamed of the People at CBS.

October 13, 2017

Edward R. Murrow used his position as a journalist to expose the anti-communist witch hunt in the 50’s.

I remember seeing some of the television coverage of the Army-McCarthy hearings. I was too young to fully understand what was going on, but I recognized that Murrow thought something was wrong.

If he were alive today, I’m sure he would recognize that the current anti-Russian crusade makes less sense than Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist crusade in the 50’s.

There was a Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union in the 50’s. There is no good reason for the United States and Russia to be enemies today.

The question Joe McCarthy asked in the 50’s was: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?” The question today is: “have you ever talked to a Russian?”

Supporters of the Russian meddling witch hunt claim that Russian hackers were spying on the Democratic Party’s emails. The fact is that the Russian government has arrested four of those hackers [ including the deputy head of the FSB security agency’s Centre for Information Security, Col. Sergei Mikhailov and his deputy Maj. Dmitry Dokuchayev]. and charged them with working for the CIA.

Thus any inquisition on this issue should begin with Obama administration officials and seek answers to the following questions: “What did President Obama know? When did he know it? and What did he do about it?”

The witch hunters also charge the Russians with “planting fake news”. The traditional term is “propaganda” and governments have been doing it for generations. Great Britain started doing it to us during WWI. After the 9/11 attack the British convinced our government that Iraq’s WMD program was more extensive than it was.

Prior to the 2004 election, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam [DRV] released a story that insured that Gov. Bob Kerrey would not run against Sen John Kerry [whom the DRV was supporting] for the Democratic presidential nomination. The DRV had previously provided “fake news” to try to influence voters in the 1968 and 1972 elections.

It’s increasingly obvious that it’s the British, rather than the Russians, who are meddling in American politics. The British are once again using “fake intelligence” to influence American politics.

After the 9/11 attack the British used fake intelligence about WMD in Iraq to get President George W. Bush to help them invade Iraq. The British treated rumors about WMD as if they were proven facts.

Now they are using fake intelligence to undermine President Donald Trump. Patrick Cockburn in the “London Independent” says the charges about Trump’s alleged association with the Russians are based on information that is at least as unreliable as the claims about Iraq’s WMD.

The British Are Meddling! The British Are Meddling!

October 11, 2017

It’s increasingly obvious that it’s the British, rather than the Russians, who are meddling in American politics. The British are once again using “fake intelligence” to influence American politics.

After the 9/11 attack the British used fake intelligence about WMD in Iraq to get President George W. Bush to help them invade Iraq. The British treated rumors about WMD as if they were proven facts.

Now they are using fake intelligence to undermine President Donald Trump. Patrick Cockburn in the “London Independent” says the charges about Trump’s alleged association with the Russians are based on information that is at least as unreliable as the claims about Iraq’s WMD.

The British may be trying to oust Trump because they know they cannot manipulate him the way they manipulated George W. Bush and Barack Obama. They used fake intelligence to get Bush’s help in invading Iraq. I don’t know how they tricked Obama into helping them invade Libya. This century is only about 18 years old and the British have already gotten us into two stupid wars. We need to keep the British from using their boy Robby Mueller to force Trump out of office.

Replacing Obamacare

October 10, 2017

President Trump promised to replace Obamacare, but so far has only suggested modifying it. He should replace the Obama approach to health care.

Medical costs cause the price of health insurance to be too high for some to afford. Obamacare attempted to deal with high insurance rates by forcing healthy people to buy health insurance.

A better approach would recognize that it isn’t practical for profit-making insurance programs to pay for expensive to treat chronic disorders such as those associated with alcohol or tobacco use. Special programs could be set up to cover such disorders.

Taxes on alcohol and tobacco should be used to fund programs for alcohol and tobacco related medical disorders. For example, a per gallon tax on alcohol products would go into a fund for treatment of alcohol related disorders. A doctor would certify that a person has an alcohol related disorder and health care providers would send health care bills for the patient to the alcohol fund in the same way bills are sent to insurance companies for payment. To simplify payment procedures all medical problems of a patient with an alcohol related medical problem would be paid by the fund because alcohol can reduce the body’s ability to handle problems. The fund would also cover medical costs of those who suffer injuries because of the actions of someone under the influence of alcohol even if the injury involved a preexisting condition. A police report that one of the drivers in a traffic accident was under the influence of alcohol would trigger payment from the alcohol fund even if the courts wouldn’t consider the drinking driver to be at fault.

Under the current insurance system people who never use tobacco or alcohol help pay for the medical treatment of those who have tobacco or alcohol related medical problems. Under my proposal only those who use alcohol and tobacco products would pay to treat medical problems related to alcohol and tobacco use.

Another type of health care fund would involve specific disorders, such as heart trouble or specific cancers that may be caused by various factors other than tobacco or alcohol. Government would use general taxes to finance treatment and conduct research. Other funds might come from non-profit organizations. Government might encourage non-profit funds by offering to match what they raise.

Each fund would operate in part as a research project. Paying for all treatments from a single fund would allow researchers to monitor and compare the success rate of various different treatments. Insurance companies are reluctant to fund experimental treatments because they can’t expect to benefit from them, but the federal government could benefit from knowing what doesn’t work as well as knowing what does work.

Obama Official Admits Meddling in Russia

October 5, 2017

Tom Malinowski, who served as Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor from 2014 to 2017, has admitted in a Washington Post article that the United States “meddled” in Russian elections by financing political groups.

Malinowski says: “until the U.S. Agency for International Development was expelled from Russia in 2012 [it helped] fund some of the country’s leading nongovernmental organizations. These included the human rights group Memorial, the Committee Against Torture and, most important, given the drama to come, a group called Golos, Russia’s main nongovernment organization for election fraud monitoring.”

Malinowski demonstrates his imperialistic attitude with the claim: “This effort was non-partisan and it aimed to strengthen democracy for everyone in Russia, not to steer the outcome.” What gives Malinowski and the United States the authority to claim they know what is best for Russian democracy? The term “non-partisan” is a nonsense word because issue positions and election procedures may not have the same impact on all parties. Any claims about corruption in the Russian government are inherently partisan because the claims place the governing party in a negative light.

Malinowski may be too ignorant to understand the potential implications of such spending, but former KGB officer President Vladimir Putin probably knows why the Soviet Union financed comparable groups in the United States during the 1950’s. Americans called such organizations designed to support the communist view of the world “communist front groups”. When a nation finances alternate political groups in another nation, it is meddling in that nation’s politics if any of those connected with those organizations participates in politics regardless of whether the participation involves issues or personalities. I wonder what Democrats would say if Russia financed a group in the United States whose purpose was monitoring election fraud.

Malinowski is out of touch with reality. He suffers from the delusion that American foreign policy has some idealistic purpose. As a Vietnam vet I know that isn’t true.. Many American foreign policy actions are just a response to events. Actions that have a purpose usually are designed to serve corporate interests.

The best example of this situation is the Obama administration’s efforts to push the crooked Enron corporation’s global warming fraud. The claim that carbon dioxide causes global warming is based on a primitive early 19th Century belief that was disproved in 1909. Malinowski talks about corruption in Russia. I wonder what he would say if Russia had made a major effort to discredit Hillary Clinton by exposing the global warming fraud prior to last year’s election.

Is It Colin Kaepenick’s Revenge?

September 29, 2017

I didn’t realize how bad the NFL’s concussion problem was until many of its players developed kneeling sickness during the singing of the national anthem. . The kneelers claim they are protesting racism, but kneeling is usually done as a form of submission, not a form of protest. In the NFL, a player who fields a kickoff in the end zone will kneel to show he doesn’t plan to run with the ball. Late in the game the quarterback on the team that is leading will “take a knee” to run out the clock. Kneeling is what a slave may do to show obedience to an owner.

The national anthem, “Star Spangled Banner”, recalls the bravery of the men in one of our nation’s most important battles. In the War of 1812 the men of Ft. McHenry held off the British navy in spite of a fierce naval bombardment. At dawn the flag was still waving. By protesting during the national anthem, the kneelers show contempt for those Americans who died in that battle including an escaped slave who had enlisted as a private in the U.S. army using the name William Williams. The kneelers also show contempt for 360,000 U.S. army soldiers who died fighting in the Civil War which ended slavery. 40,000 of those soldiers were black.

The kneelers alienate many of those fans who have friends and relatives serving in distant combat zones. Many fans have served in combat in the current conflict or lost friends or relatives in the 9/11 attack.

The kneelers have created a rift between players and fans that is costing the league revenue. I wonder if that was Colin Kaepenick’s goal when he persuaded current players to become involved in this silly protest. Did he encourage the protests to get even with NFL teams for not signing him as a free agent?

If NFL players really want to do something about racism they should donate money to civil rights organizations, including political action committees that support civil rights oriented candidates Kneeling on the sidelines and whining like children in a store who want toys is unlikely to accomplish anything.

Those Who Benefit from Economic Injustice Shouldn’t Complain

September 25, 2017

Those athletes who complain about the existence of injustice ignore the fact that they are part of the class whose members may benefit from whatever injustices are perceived to exist. What is considered an injustice varies from one person to another.

The use of local taxes to subsidize sports facilities can be considered an injustice. Some of the athletes using the facilities pay more in income taxes than some of the local taxpayers make in a year. The money teams save by not having to pay to construct facilities is available for player salaries.

If professional athletes are really concerned about injustice they should do something directly instead of whining about it like children For example, they might use part of their income to create jobs in high unemployment areas.

Criticism of President Donald Trump’s comments is unjustified. As the elected leader of the American he can speak for those who agree with him. Normally we can expect that some will agree with him and some will disagree.

 

Donald Trump Should Tell Gestapo-like Mueller: “You’re fired!”

September 24, 2017

Is Robert S. Mueller III Mr. Mueller the special counsel or Herr Mueller the head of the American Gestapo? His treatment of Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul J. Manafort implies he should be called “Herr Mueller”.

Mueller conducted a search of Manafort’s residence by breaking into the residence while Manafort and his wife were in bed. Such a tactic might have been accepted in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union It should not be accepted in 21st Century America.

The secret police in police states use this tactic to terrorize their victims into confessing they are “witches”. Police in the United States might need to use this tactic with violent criminals.

There can be no justification for using it in political controversies particularly when there is no evidence of a crime.

Four of the Russian computer hackers [including a colonel and a major] who supposedly interfered in the election were on the C.I.A.’s payroll. Thus, if anything illegal happened it was President Barack Obama and his C.I.A. who were involved rather than persons associated with Donald Trump. Barack Obama was paying them. Not Donald Trump. They reported to the C.I.A. Not Donald Trump

Did Pres. Obama and CIA Help Donald Trump Win?

September 8, 2017

News stories about purported Russian hacking in the presidential election continue to omit a very important fact. The Russian government has arrested four of the hackers, including Col.Sergei Mikhailov, and charged them with working for the CIA.

Thus if Russians did any election hacking it was with the knowledge and consent of the CIA and President Barack Obama. The knowledge received would have allowed the Obama administration to prevent any action that could have affected the outcome of the election. If the president knew terrorists threatened to attack, he would assign federal agents to protect those who might be attacked. Wouldn’t a president who thought foreign government hackers threatened an organization assign government computer experts to protect against the attack?

If the hackers tried to help Donald Trump win, it was because someone in the Obama administration wanted Trump to win. It seems unlikely the CIA would have tried to help Trump win without Obama’s approval. Incidentally with an FSB colonel on the CIA’s payroll it would have been easy to have Russians meet with Trump’s associates where the meetings would be noticed. [The FSB is the successor to the KGB.]

Why would Barack Obama want Donald Trump to win the election? Perhaps Obama thought if Trump won, it might be possible to convince Congress to change the Constitution to allow Obama to seek a third term in 2020, particularly if Congress thought Trump was involved with the Russians. That strategy wouldn’t have been possible if Hillary Clinton had won.

I doubt the claim that Russian hackers did anything that affected the outcome of the election. even if they tried to do so. However, if they did then any federal investigation should ask what did the CIA and President Barack Obama know, when did they know it and what did they do with the knowledge? If CIA officials didn’t tell Obama about the Russians, why didn’t they?

Wanton Destruction of Historic Art

September 4, 2017

The world was appalled when fanatical members of the Taliban blew up ancient Buddhist statues carved into a mountain in Afghanistan. They destroyed the priceless artifacts as part of an effort to eliminate items they didn’t considered politically correct. More recently ISIS members have been doing the same thing in Iraq. They have even been destroying historical artifacts other Muslims consider acceptable.

Unfortunately, this vandalism oriented mental condition has begun infecting people in the South. The southern vandals have begun destroying Civil War related art such as statues remembering the men who led the Southern states into the disaster known as the Civil War and in the process caused the end of slavery.

As the great grandson of a Yankee soldier I’ve never really understood why southern whites would want to honor such men. I presume they did not put up the statues because they knew the statues would be pigeon roosts.

It would have made more sense if the former slaves had erected the statues to thank the men who provoked northerners into ending slavery. In 1860 there was little prospect for ending slavery. Most northerners opposed slavery in their states because they hated the people held as slaves. The decision by southern states to leave the union and fight a lengthy war so angered northerners that they decided to get even with southerners by freeing southern slaves and granting the freed slaves rights that were denied in some northern states. Blacks couldn’t even live in Illinois. The descendants of slaves shouldn’t be destroying Civil War monuments. They should be protecting the monuments to those who inadvertently brought a end to slavery. Southerners should include signs with the monuments thanking the men who caused the north to end slavery.

The Muslim extremists who have been destroying historic art have been doing so to cover up the fact people in the region once had different religious beliefs. Are the people who are leading the effort to destroy historic art in the south trying to cover up the fact that southern slavery once caused a major war? The presence of Civil War monuments can lead to questions about what caused the war. Without the monuments, whites can avoid dealing with questions about the southern past.