Endless War

by Roland Van Deusen

On September 16, CBS “SIXTY MINUTES” reported that 300,000 post-9/11 combat veterans now suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, where it’s said “your brain slowly dies.” This is the condition that has led former professional football players to commit suicide. The combat vets got theirs from exposure to explosions.

This is in addition to our almost 7000 killed in battle, the more than 50,000 wounded, and the one in five with PTSD, of the two and a half million who we’ve sent to war so far. And after seventeen years of constant war, our stated enemy the Taliban control as much of Afghanistan as they did when we first invaded, according to CNN.

Our grunts also fight on in Iraq, Syria, and new places like Niger, which we only learn about when we have casualties. Still the VA hospital system has 10,000 unfilled job vacancies, mostly doctors. Everyone reading this knows someone who knows a traumatized veteran. Twenty still commit suicide every day, ending their suffering, but passing the pain on to their families.

Not learning from Vietnam gave us today’s endless, winless wars. With no draft and only 1% of us in the military, these wars are now so slowly destroying our democratic values, that we hardly notice. Trump is just a symptom of this. Blue collar white Americans who once craved freedom now long for his authoritarianism. We’re like a frog in a pot of cold water with the heat only turned up a few degrees every hour. Will we hop out before we’re cooked?

https://www.veteransforpeace.org/

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PriceOfFreedom
Please Help Veterans!

To Veterans with Invisible Wounds

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More Quotes for Life

for the Brat, with love

strongerWinnie the Pooh

On love:

“How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet
“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” – Pooh

On the importance of the little things:

Sometimes, said Pooh, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

On being present:

“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

On the futility of worry:

“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.

On knowing by simply being:

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.

On individuality:

The things that make me different are the things that make me.

On the difference between knowledge and understanding:

“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”

On knowing that you don’t need anybody else to complete you:

I was walking along looking for somebody, and then suddenly I wasn’t anymore.

On self-sacrifice:

Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more…to give way to the happiness of the person you love.

On gratitude:

Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.

On comfort zones:

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

On not overthinking:

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits…

On unselfishness:

A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.

On the wealth in your life:

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

On clearing your mind of all thoughts:

Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.

On the value of dreams:

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.

On the benefits of not micromanaging everything:

One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.

On the beauty within the arts:

But it isn’t easy, said Pooh. Because poetry and hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.

On finding joy in everything:

Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.

See https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/3112/20-utterly-profound-winnie-pooh-quotes-make-smile/

More Quotes for Life

https://www.garyjohnsoninfo.info/musings/quotes.html

cool-Cookie-Monster-quote-eat

funny-dog-big-ears-table-living-room

funny-crocodile-baby-father-swamp

Driving as a metaphor for voting

There was a good man. He did many good deeds and was a friend to many. But, he did not drive (it’s a big city thing). He said, “If I feel like driving I will”. One day, with no forethought, or practice or preparation, he gets behind the wheel. He runs up on the curb, kills a family of 4.

If you don’t think somethings important, if you don’t think that some things require practice, knowledge and skill, if you take actions without considering others, the consequences can be tragic.

Voting is like driving. A lot of people can drive, some of them are dangerous.

There Are None So Blind
As Those Who Will Not See


scaredofstupid

Critical Thinking

Also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

Thinking is a matter of conviction as well as of processes. Certain critical attitudes are necessary.

1. Intellectual curiosity: Disposition to be alert and sensitive to problems, their causes, related evidences, possible explanations, to wonder why, or how, or what.

2. Intellectual honesty, acceptance of responsibility for process and result: Disposition to accept apparent truth in spite of all inducements to the contrary; to follow evidence and judgment wherever they may lead; to stand up for one’s reasoned conclusions together with willingness to change conclusions and beliefs if further inquiry so warrants; to engage in self-criticism; to improve one’s own methods.

3. Objectivity: Disposition to select objective data; not to rely on hunches, intuition, and subjective observation; to be free from bias or partisanship.

4. Intelligent skepticism or suspension of judgment: criticalness. Disposition to delay acceptance of conclusion until all available relevant data have been considered; to accept nothing at face value.

5. Open-mindedness: Disposition to consider without bias or prejudgment a wide variety of facts, descriptions, explanations, and interpretations.

6. Conviction of universal cause-and-effect relationships: Steadfastness in avoiding superstitions, nonscientific, mystic explanations.

7. Disposition to be systematic: To adhere strictly to the problem and to a consequence of ideas; to use outlines, graphs, summaries to insist on systematic search and check; to be intolerant of confusion and inconsistency.

8. Flexibility: disposition to give up a previous conclusion, no matter how attractive, if sufficient contrary evidence is disclosed, to change method.

9. Persistence: disposition to persist in the search for evidence and adequate explanation, never giving up.

10. Decisiveness: disposition to come to a conclusion; to avoid snap judgments; to avoid balancing and weighing data and conclusions out of all reason.

Plainly, critical thinking is not limited to reading between the lines, nor never believing everything you read. Moral conviction is regarded as having the disposition to set aside any biased (preferential) or partisan (loyalty) thinking based wholly or in part on superstitions, nonscientific or mystic explanations in favor of intellectual objectivity, open-mindedness, and universal convictions. Decisions drawn from faith, subjective viewpoint, or intuition are irrational and do not contribute to good thinking. Critical thinking skills are the modernists’ moral attitudes.

Critical Thinking Process and Skills

1. Analyzing
  • Separating or breaking a whole into parts to discover their nature, functional and relationships.
  • “I studied it piece by piece”
  • “I sorted things out”
2. Applying Standards
  • Judging according to established personal, professional, or social rules or criteria.
  • “I judged it according to…”
3. Discriminating
  • Recognizing differences and similarities among things or situations and distinguishing carefully as to category or rank.
  • “I rank ordered the various…”
  • “I grouped things together”
4. Information Seeking
  • Searching for evidence, facts, or knowledge by identifying relevant sources and gathering objective, subjective, historical, and current data from those sources
  • “I knew I needed to lookup/study…”
  • “I kept searching for data.”
  • Who would be  good person to consult?
5. Logical Reasoning
  • Drawing inferences or conclusions that are supported in or justified by evidence
  • “I deduced from the information that…”
  • “My rationale for the conclusion was…”
6. Predicting
  • Envisioning a plan and its consequences
  • “I envisioned the outcome would be…”
  • “I was prepared for…”
7. Transforming Knowledge
  • Changing or converting the condition, nature, form, or function of concepts among contexts
  • “I improved on the basics by…”
  • “I wondered if that would fit the situation of …”

8 - paxCg6N


See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_map

What is the structure of  an argument?
What are the premises?
Are any of them missing?
What is the conclusion?
Is it a deductive or inductive argument?
If deductive is it valid or invalid? If inductive is it strong or weak?

taken from John Kellogg on FB


Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic. – Tyron Edwards

belief

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

John McCain

Excerpts from The Restless Wave

Advice for Voters

Support  candidates who want to get things done:

“Yes, I’d rather have a few more problem solvers than purists in Washington. Their zeal may be commendable, but not, as it usually happens, terribly productive.”

“Paradoxically,” McCain writes, “voters who detest Washington, because all we do is argue and never get anything done frequently vote for candidates who are the most adamant in their assurances that they will never ever compromise with those bastards in the other party.”

“As always, more important than any political reforms is the discernment of voters. Here’s my unsolicited advice to the American voter: If a candidate for Congress pledges to ride his white horse to Washington and lay waste to all the scoundrels living off your taxes, to never work or socialize or compromise with any of them, and then somehow get them to bow to your will and the superiority of your ideas, don’t vote for that guy. It sounds exciting, but it’s an empty boast and a commitment to more gridlock.”

John McCain’s Farewell Statement

My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.

I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.
I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

Fellow Americans’ — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.

We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.

I feel it powerfully still.

Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.

The Decline of Civic Knowledge

A short clip

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter being frighteningly prescient about the decline of civic knowledge in America and the effect of that decline on the state of our democracy.

“if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about”

The full clip of the show that mentioned the clip.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/perils-of-eroded-civic-knowledge-forewarned-790540867791?cid=sm_fb_maddow


I need to post this, as a precaution to all of you who sit on the sidelines and let people pollute the public discourse with unsubstantiated nonsense, with outright lies, with hate, with misinformation.  In today’s world, some people are attacking the rights of others, are attacking the environment and the concepts of good government.  We have to fight these people.

Here is a little list that I found for 4 grade students  at :

http://www.sanchezclass.com/goodcitizen.htm

Here’s a list of 10 things you can do right
now to be a better citizen.

  1. Volunteer to be active in your community.

  2. Be honest and trustworthy.

  3. Follow rules and laws.

  4. Respect the rights of others.

  5. Be informed about the world around you.

  6. Respect the property of others.

  7. Be compassionate.

  8. Take responsibility for your actions.

  9. Be a good neighbor.

  10. Protect the environment.

4 is a little troubling.  Taken with 10, I hope you can see the problem.  To protect the environment, you have to confront those who are attacking it.  To fight against racism and sexism and xenophobia, you have to confront those people who practice it.

freespeech

A reason to be afraid of the Boston Police Department

Cops investigating cops.  It’s time for a real Citizens Review Board.

The initial story: video shows an off duty Boston Police Officer roughing up a civilian

Youtube video


The following appeared on BostonGlobe.com:
Evans defends officer in Back Bay pedestrian incident

The Boston Globe Date: Sep 21, 2016

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/09/20/bpd-release-results-investigation-officer-filmed-roughing-pedestrian/e4uSoK4VU5JJZsQYjjSBjP/story.html?s_campaign=8315

If you cannot read the above link, this comment by a person with the tag of Oceanlover617 summarizes the problem.


Imagine you are Mr. Gurin, an unassuming, 64-year-old law-abiding man who has just put in a hard day’s work. Like the rest of us, you are a kind and loving man who supports your family, are loyal to your friends, and love the city in which you live and pay taxes. Sure, you’ve gotten a speeding ticket or two, and there was that parking violation when the parking meter was broken, but those are pretty much the only smudges on your citizenship record. You’re fatigued and walking home and, whether it’s your fault or not, you’re nearly hit by a car in an intersection; “fight or flight” kicks in and, in a nanosecond, you lose your temper and tap on the car’s window with your umbrella. Suddenly, a furious, brawny man in a Red Sox jersey jumps out of his car (which, by the way, is NOT a cop car, so you have no way of knowing he’s a cop) and starts screaming at you. Realizing this man’s fury dwarfs yours after being cut off by his car and, realizing he’s approximately half your age, twice your size and screaming angrily, you run for your life, zigzagging your way through pedestrians on a busy Boston street. You trip and fall, injuring yourself. Instead of rendering aid, this man’s knee is in your back and you are being held down to the ground. “How dare you challenge my power by tapping on my window with an umbrella, don’t you know who I am?” Is this what the officer (or in the eyes of Chief Evans, presumably “soldier,” as you are later referred to as a “civilian”) was thinking? Infuriated and emboldened by the fact that he wears a badge to work, the man starts humiliating you by dragging you down the street by your shirt collar in a makeshift “perp walk” witnessed by dozens, hundreds of people (including one of your co-workers) on one of the busiest streets in Boston. As is proven on cell phone video, you remain calm and respectful the entire time, even when dozens of BPD officers converge on the scene as if you’ve just committed armed robbery. The officers take the cop’s side of the story, not yours, and the cop realizes the window of the personal car he drives as a “civilian” is smudged, not broken or even scratched. You consider this a major event but proceed with caution, filing a complaint against a public servant who behaved inappropriately. You discover this is not the first complaint filed against this officer. One day, the boss of the police department you have trusted to defend and protect you calls a press conference to discuss the “exhaustive investigation” that has occurred. The chief figuratively throws you under the bus (perhaps in the same intersection where the incident began), sullying your name and reputation in order to protect a man who obviously is prone to these types of incidents and outbursts. Remarkably, he produces video to counteract the video shot and posted by a “civilian” who witnessed the incident (perhaps because the “civilian’s” video was viewed more than a million times on social media). You can’t believe your eyes or ears as the leader of your police force almost totally exonerates the actions of a man who clearly is a hothead, not a hero. The chief impugns the integrity of the “civilian” who shot the cell phone video and implies you are somehow to blame for not acting as quickly and impulsively as the off-duty officer did in that intersection. Sadly, when it dawns on you that this “exhaustive search,” that included interviews with other “civilians” who witnessed the event, would never have been conducted if this cell phone video had never surfaced. In that moment, what emotions would you feel? Anger? Sadness? Disappointment? Mistrust? Yesterday afternoon, human empathy transported us into the mind of Mr. Gurin; amazingly, we were let down by the very people we have idolized, trusted and paid to protect us. The chief called a press conference because he could, and local media carried it live because that’s what they do, and an entire region watched as the chief implied this was all your fault. You were hardly the Marathon bomber, yet you were feted with a BPD press conference. Boy, the BPD must have been livid that you would have the nerve to consult an ACLU lawyer and yes, you know they must have felt an extra sense of urgency to defend their own given recent officer-involved incidents around the country.

You were not fooled, and neither were we. This press conference was a classic “CYA” stunt, and this morning, we have a little less respect for Chief Evans and a little more mistrust for the people who report to him. It is sad and disappointing, but it is true. In this case, in this city in which we take so much pride, a city that was a beacon to the world for strength in adversity, the tables have been turned. Boston Wrong.

Thank you Oceanlover617, for taking the time to put this incident into the proper perspective.  IMHO, the BPD does not care what the people of Boston think about them.

To all the officers who work really hard to keep us safe, I thank you.  But, the “Blue Wall” has to come down.  It is not you versus us.  We are all in this together.