Category Archives: Culture

Why Think For Yourself?

I graduated high school in 1971. Like many of my peers, and as I’ve listened to other people around that age, we don’t necessarily have a life plan when we’re that young. It’s not unusual for many to think recklessly, or think they have a long time to live. Hopefully, most had enough time and experience, sensible ideas took over their thoughts.

Not knowing what I wanted to do long term, I saw a need to make a commitment and start out with a set of steps that could enhance my future. I wasn’t terribly patriotic, however I saw the divide which had been brewing for some time. That divide was primarily over the Vietnam war, but it also included civil rights, and a host of other grievances people had. I saw many of my contemporaries believe their government had wronged them and some would protest, while others refused to stand at high school football games when the flag was presented and a pledge of allegiance might be recited.

Standard boot camp picture in dress blues

MCRD San Diego 1971

I was already forming an opinion about the world around me, and knew I had limits to my sphere of influence. I knew I could make choices about my own life, which reflected how I thought. I knew actions were far more important than rhetoric, and in the summer, I enlisted in the Marine Corps.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I entered without support from my mother. She thought I would be killed in Vietnam. Her brother, my uncle had a son that became a Marine about 10 years before me, and my uncle said I wouldn’t make it. With those ringing endorsements, coupled with a high school friend who said he was going in with me and backed out, I had my concerns. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my own abilities.

Me - recruit side profile

As a new scared recruit

What followed were 13 weeks of learning more about myself, than I knew before going in. I found out I could do a lot more physically and mentally than previously imagined. I owe some of that to a Staff Sergeant and lead Drill Instructor. He kicked, punched and choked me into becoming a Marine. I know that sounds terribly harsh to those who never had the experience, but there’s more to it than just that description. Physical challenges, and the choice knowing you can drop out if you can’t “hack it”, were actually motivational.

Over the next four years, I was awarded honors by being first in my class. I gained promotions and given greater responsibility. I look back and recall how fortunate I was from this experience.

comm-elec-school-marines-b

Training was ongoing throughout my time. The Marine in the lower right didn’t have much longer in the Corps at that weight.

That winter of 1972, I returned home to Minnesota. I ran smack into that divide of opinions over the military, with or without the uniform on. I even had a car full of young men pour out to attack me while waiting in my car at a traffic light.

Caravan of Fools – John Prine
Love and devotion
LP-record-imageDeep as any ocean
Don’t play by anybody’s rules
With your carousel of horses
And your own foreseen forces
You’re running with the caravan of fools

baseball_dirty_1This blind anger by people who didn’t know me personally, oozed its way around me and others who were in the military. A real eye opener was when I volunteered for color guard duty and was 1 of 3 Marines in a brief pre-game flag presentation. We marched 3 abreast around the inside perimeter of Anaheim stadium. The center Marine, a sergeant carried the colors, I and one other Marine flanked him, carrying ceremonial M-14 rifles on our shoulders.

While passing the “fans”, threw things they had in their hands. We were paid very little salary each month. All I could think of, when some of the food or drink cups hit my uniform, I have to pay to clean this after these bums are finished. It made me more angry than humiliated.

There was a little comeuppance that day. The final score:
Milwaukee Brewers 4 California Angels 2

anti-military-protestors-pentagon-67

These foolish people were simply following the prevailing mood, and what they saw others do, in the news. It caused them to become pawns in a routine game of public manipulation through peers and the Television news.

This mindless hatred lasted for several years after I was separated from active duty. People swore at me, assigned behavior and activities to me which I never performed. Perhaps, as the saying goes, time wounds all heels, and I moved forward from one opportunity to the next. The mood of the country changed, primarily led by TV news and the attitudes from peers.

An all volunteer military went a long way towards this change in attitude. People started to recognize there were a lot of young people performing duties and responsibilities which many of them either couldn’t or wouldn’t do.  Some of our national leaders were former protestors. Even their opinion changed when it suited them.

Every American ought to find a way to serve, somehow. It doesn’t have to be in the military. I like the idea that everybody ought to give back something.” – John Kerry

He said that, among the lessons from Vietnam, was that “Americans must always treat returning veterans with dignity and respect regardless of whether a war was popular or unpopular.”

mike_marines_cap_aThat anti-military attitude has changed about 180°.  If I’m wearing a baseball style cap with the Marine Corps logo on it, or people see my license plates with veteran status, I usually hear something quite positive. I don’t live in California, perhaps the prevailing mood there is different.

There’s another populist idea promulgated on Americans that those who have been disadvantaged in some manner of our society, need a wealthy spokesperson to aid their cause. I’m not impressed.

Marines_color_guard_sacrifice_meme

-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-

Why so Much Conformity in the News Media?

There’s not much choice when it comes to your daily news diet. Most International and national news is aggregated through Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.
Cutbacks at rival United Press International in 1993 left the AP as the United States’ primary news service, although UPI still produces and distributes stories and photos daily. Other less often used English-language news services, such as the BBC, Reuters and the English-language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.
[CLICK ON THE LINKS TO FIND OUT MORE]

Associated Press is a Not-for-profit Cooperative.[1] Steven R. Swartz is the Chairman. Gary Pruitt is the President and CEO. He was the CEO, president, and chairman of the board of the McClatchy Company. The AP has counted the vote in U.S. elections since 1848, including national, state and local races down to the legislative level in all 50 states, along with key ballot measures. AP collects and verifies returns in every county, parish, city and town across the U.S., and declares winners in over 5,000 contests.
Corporate Headquarters
200 Liberty Street
New York City, New York

Steven R. Swartz became president and chief executive officer of Hearst, one of the nation’s largest diversified media, information and services companies, on June 1, 2013.

Hearst’s major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; global ratings agency Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; 31 television stations such as WCVB in Boston and KCRA in Sacramento, Calif.; newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union, more than 300 magazines around the world including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR and Car & Driver; digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital and video companies such as Verizon Hearst Media Partners, Complex, BuzzFeed and VICE.

In 1994, London-based Associated Press Television (APTV) was founded to provide agency news material to television broadcasters. In 1998, AP purchased Worldwide Television News (WTN) from the ABC News division of The Walt Disney Company, Nine Network Australia and ITN London.

In April 2013, AP stated that it had dropped the term “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook. AP follows ABC, NBC, and CNN in not using the term. Jose Antonio Vargas commended The Associated Press for its decision.

Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Christopher Newton, an AP reporter since 1994, was fired by AP in September 2002 after he was accused of fabricating sources since 2000, including at least 40 people and organizations. Prior to his firing, Newton had been focused on writing about federal law-enforcement while based at the Justice Department. Some of the nonexistent agencies quoted in his stories included “Education Alliance”, the “Institute for Crime and Punishment in Chicago”, “Voice for the Disabled”, and “People for Civil Rights”.

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people every day.  Michael Friedenberg has been President of Reuters News and Media Operations at Thomson Reuters Corporation since December 3, 2018. Previously, he served as global CEO of IDG Communications, a media, data and services firm, leading the company across 147 countries.
Corporate Headquarters
333 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2R2 Canada

A Few Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies

In May, 2012 Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Company announced the purchase of 63 newspapers, including 23 dailies, from the debt-ridden Media General Company. The transaction was a course reversal for Buffett, who earlier had said he wouldn’t buy newspapers, and created a major new player in the industry. It also left Media General-whose history with newspapers dates back to the mid-1800’s-with only one remaining daily, the Tampa Tribune, which many predict it will still try to sell.

Prominent journalists like ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that receive funding from George Soros. This despite the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethical code stating: ”avoid all conflicts real or perceived.”

6 Corporations own almost all of the TV and Cable Outlets. There used to be almost 90.
{ This is an update to the graphic linked in this post. }
Verizon owns AOL & Huffington Post
Comcast purchased NBC from GE.

illusion_of_choice
Have you ever committed a “HATcrime?” It’s the new crime of wearing a hat that “triggers” deranged people.

-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-

[1] One primary difference between a cooperative corporation and a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation is how money flows back into the organization. A tax-exempt nonprofit organization cannot distribute profits to members or investors, while a cooperative corporation generally distributes profits based on members’ participation.

Interesting Times Indeed.

—  “May you live in interesting times.Wheres_Waldo_Dog_a

An English expression, which supposedly is a translation of a traditional “Chinese curse”.

Although it sounds more like a blessing, the expression is normally used ironically. The implied understanding is that “uninteresting times” of peace and tranquillity are more life-fulfilling than interesting ones. From a historical perspective, “interesting times”, suggest disorder and conflict.

No known source has been attributed to the expression, and there’s only a similar phrase according to sources better informed than myself.  The similar phrase does catch the concept.

—  “Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.

—  “World history is not the ground of happiness. The periods of happiness are empty pages in her.”  —  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

How Society Uses Politics to Decide What’s Racist

The reaction to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s past use of blackface shows how racism gets defined by politics, not morality. Is that a good thing?

 By THEODORE R. JOHNSON |

Northam’s decades-old racist behavior does not inherently suggest he lacks the moral acuity to govern now. If he is to be taken at his word—that he is not racist, ardently supports civil rights and is genuinely horrified by his past attitudes and actions—then his growth and maturation could be seen as evidence of his fitness for office.

This distinction, however, is immaterial because his moral failing in the past is a political liability today. And, especially on matters of racism, politics—and the defining of what is and is not a liability—polices the boundaries of what we’re willing to accept as a society.

Confused_person_2We live at a time that seems more interested in finding social approval than a basis for moral judgement. There’s a philosophy of relativism, without moral absolutes. Right and wrong are an opinion based on current trend and social acceptance.

Somehow, what people have done 30+ years ago is relevant but the current taking of innocent life isn’t. Note, recent decisions by some local governments on abortion at full term.  What people won’t do to puppies or kittens, they appear to have no hesitation in killing babies.

Stealing from people you don’t like is OK, as long as it’s not you or someone you know. Recommendations by some for taxes up to 80 or 90% on the wealthy.

Men lie about rape, women never do. (Unwritten rules probably inscribed in stone).

Men who claim strong religious faith find new ways to lie to the public.

Rules and laws are subject to adherence on the basis of how you personally feel? See sanctuary cities in defiance of federal law. Pay no attention to the parts of the U.S. which at one time went to war over how they felt about sovereignty and slavery.

So, what’s right or wrong? It looks to be all relative.
What do you think?

How do you start your day? They say breakfast is an important meal that shouldn’t be skipped. What about your brain? What do you ingest the first few hours of your day?

Starting Your Day on the Internet Is Damaging Your Brain

You can either start you day with junk food for the brain (the internet, distracting apps, etc) or you can start the day with healthy food for the brain (reading, meditation, journaling, exercising, etc). When you start the day with junk food for the brain, you put yourself at a self imposed handicap that inhibits your ability to get into flow and prevents you from doing deep work. When you start the day with health food for your brain, the exact opposite happens.
 By Srinivas Rao September 18, 2017

[- – – -]

Why is This so Difficult?

Here we are again. . .
Politicians are speaking to their most loyal and influential adherents of their respective parties. Meanwhile nothing of value gets done. Some see this as a good thing, I see it as dysfunctional adults behaving more like children rather than leaders.

constitution-page-portionTo ignore our broken immigration process and to say, just let them in, is to ignore the reality of what is happening to the lives of all involved. For those who say, just let them all in, can we do that? Are the consequences for those involved (not those of us sitting in our over stuffed chairs), mostly positive?

Can we at least admit to ourselves, setting our political and personality hatreds aside for a moment, there are things going on which may require ignoring media pundits and think for ourselves.

I can’t tell you, nor should I, that what is right for others, maybe the perspective needed. I need not tell you that there’s more to what’s going on over the southern border arguments than the personalities of the strange and delirious Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi.

What I can suggest is, how do you conduct your personal lives with respect to people you don’t know? Do you leave your home with doors unlocked? Do you invite a neighbor in for coffee and then find they want to stay in your home? They like your bathroom toilets are not clogged and the kitchen dishes are clean and put away, so why not stay in your place? 49_ford_at_stoplight_c Since your personal generosity has been extended, and they’re asking to sleep in your main bedroom, why not toss them your car keys? They really don’t mind you continuing to make those hefty car payments, but can you do something about changing those radio station selections?

I don’t know about how you conduct your lives, but I’m kinda selfish. Oh I don’t mind helping out a neighbor. I’ve mostly been generous with my money and time. I do have my limits. I lock my doors, hold on to my car keys from strangers, and I don’t have unlimited resources where I can let anyone take over my house while I foot the bill(s). No, I won’t let someone else take over my house payment and car note just because they like mine better than theirs.

I’m even a bit peeved when someone insists I don’t share whatever someone else wants because I have a specific dislike for their accent, language, religion, or skin color. Somehow, laying on guilt or definition changes to words, doesn’t make me want to use as much of my time and material resources just to make you or someone else happy. I’ve tried that before and all I ended up with were a bunch of bills, ugly names, and an unending cycle of guilt tripping because I was never working or budgeting enough to satisfy the demands of the other party.

Your choices may be different.

BTW, can I come over and eat your food, and maybe take your car for a spin? I’m sorry your car ended up in a ditch, you know you should have been spending more on maintaining a proper vehicle.
uncontrolled_immigration
That’s maybe too obtuse for some to understand, but that’s my immigration speech for today. Come back tomorrow after you watch more of your favorite news and commentary to tell me how xenophobic and uncaring I am.