Archive for October, 2017

ALL Stand for the National Anthem

October 31, 2017

Should those of us who are watching sports events on television stand along with the people in the stadium and possibly join in the singing when someone performs our national anthem?

How many of us make a quick trip to the kitchen when the tv sports event announcer asks everyone to stand for the national anthem? How many of us have come to think of the performing of the “Star Spangled Banner” as just a part of the show for us to watch, but not to participate in?

I’m wondering if those of us who treat the playing of the national anthem as just part of the show are really much different from the NFL kneelers. The national anthem played before the start of a sports event isn’t just the national anthem of the people in the stadium. It’s our national anthem as well.

Many of us already participate in some television programs. Many of us cheer along with the people in the stands when a player on our team makes an outstanding offensive or defensive play. We may sing along when someone sings one of our favorite songs.

Although the national anthem is called “The Star Spangle Banner” it isn’t about the flag itself, but what the appearance of the flag flying over Ft. McHenry symbolized. When Francis Scott Key saw the flag that morning he knew the men in Ft. McHenry had refused to be intimidated by the British bombardment of the fort.

An audience may give an entertainer a standing ovation for an outstanding performance. Standing for the national anthem is the equivalent of a standing ovation for those who died defending Fr McHenry and in other battles including the recent deaths in Niger. Performing music is a greater tribute than clapping hands.

We should all join in giving a tribute to our fallen heroes when someone performs our national anthem.

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President Trump’s “Failure to Communicate”

October 24, 2017

President Donald Trump had a “failure to communicate” when he talked to Myeshia Johnson about the death of her husband Sgt. La David Johnson who was one of the Green Berets killed during a mission in Niger. Trump failed to consider the implications of the concept that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Veteran sitcom viewers are very familiar with the basic plot. The man says or does something that those of us of the male persuasion consider perfectly sensible and the wife or girl friend blows her top because the female brain sometimes interprets statements and actions differently than the male brain.

Men tend to take statements at face value. Women are more likely to read between the lines and look for hidden meanings partly because many men have a tendency to deceive women.

I would interpret the statement attributed to Trump “He knew what he signed up for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway”] as praise for Sgt. Johnson’s courage. Myeshia Johnson interpreted it differently possibly because women have trouble understanding the male warrior nature that likely has a genetic base.

Males in some species are genetically programmed to protect other members of the species, especially the females and “children”. In primitive societies most males have a strong drive to protect the others in their village or clan. As societies become larger it is less necessary for everyone to be a warrior. This situation allows those with a weaker genetic “protection” drive to avoid combat. Those who inherit a strong “protection” drive tend to become the societies’ protectors in the military, law enforcement and fire departments.

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.

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.