Category Archives: Peace

Transfer of Symbols of Power

Today marks another passing of the torch in the United States. The 45th president, for the 58th time, the inauguration of a President takes place. It’s a great day for fanfare and celebration, but not for some. To many people, they aren’t happy about this new President. They openly hope the man falls flat on his face. A desire that would be the furthest from their mind if only their person of choice was elected.


President Donald J. Trump Inauguration 2017

The concern each of us as citizens should have is how much we can do to be of benefit to each other, not how badly we can make things, because our person or party didn’t win. The future requires more cooperation, more finding solutions, and less ways to blame the other person or party.

vp_president_outgoingNo matter what your perspective has been on the Obama Presidency, it should be obvious that he left in a better standing than either George Bush or William Clinton. A high approval rating isn’t  a rubber stamp, but it suggests there was enough political influence to negotiate and make things happen. This isn’t where Donald Trump starts. His approval ratings are significantly lower, even though he’s just been installed.

The Republican party is in a strong position to get things done. It holds majorities in the Senate, House of Representatives, and now the Executive branch. None the less, the Democrats have an opportunity to take the high ground and find ways to work with the Republicans.

Here’s the biggest challenge to make the transfer of power meaningful and beneficial, can we as a people find ways to minimize our differences and work together? I look at a large number of prominent individuals, and there’s certainly a mix of feelings. For some of them, it almost reads like rebels looking for a cause to show how much they matter.

What really should matter, is the alarming way we’ve ignored the 800 pound gorilla. That’s the national debt. There’s been a lot of talk about it, but reversing it, will be painful, no one wants to give up some of that public largess in order to fix this monster.


We may not be bankrupt yet, but this reality is looming larger than ever. If this debt level isn’t reduced, all of the other priorities we think are important will seem pointless.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 124,248,000 people in the United States with full-time jobs in December. The total federal debt of $19,961,467,137,973 equals approximately $160,658 for each one of those workers.


President Trump takes office 2017

We’re going to see things change, and I expect there will be a lot of people upset if it affects their special interest, project or cause. I’ve read quite a number of things which distort the positions Trump has officially advocated.

Today’s inaugural speech identified his focus was less on institutional authority and more on the needs of the people. Of course promises from a podium mean very little. We will have to see if they become part of the executive push and legislative authorization.


Rights – Laws – Public Opinion


Letter of Amerigo Vespucci to Pier Soderini 1497

There’s not a moral imperative to challenge every public indiscretion or misconduct, however when threatened, we’re obligated to control our reactions based on the threat level.

Commitment to a cause isn’t the problem, it’s being committed to the right cause which creates progress and permits people to improve on their own volition. Would You Pass the “Red Shirt Warrior” Test?

Natural and legal rights are distinct types of rights. The two may intersect but aren’t synonymous.

Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system (i.e., rights that can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws).

Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws).

During the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of natural laws were used to challenge the divine right of kings. This concept became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, human rights law, and government, legal rights, first outlined in the Magna Charta, a form of early separation of heads of government from absolute power.

Up until this time period, Kings & Queens were seen as representative of God on earth, they deserved allegiance because of a divine blessing and above reproach moral character. Monarchs ruled through the social contract that gave them the power to declare anyone a traitor to the crown. Treason has been used against many people, putting to death anyone challenging the authority of the crown.

The concept of natural rights are used to challenge the legitimacy of usurping individual freedoms through governmental law. The distinction between natural law and natural rights are and have been argued throughout centuries of human declarations and legal precedent.

“All natural rights may be abridged or modified in their exercise by law.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1790.

“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action, according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” – Thomas Jefferson

Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body to dismiss.

The Declaration of Independence

Section 2: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

All of this was the basis of the reasons for government to exist and for people to accept the authority of the newly formed government. The United States wasn’t recognized internationally as an independent body when these declarations were made.

Fundamental changes to the interpretation of these rights through legal precedents contradict natural rights. Laws where written to justify tyrannical and egregious behavior, defy natural rights. The most obvious contradictions were slavery & civil rights, including women suffrage (voting & property rights).

If you take a moment and think what are the most fundamental rights any human has three basic ideas should immediately come to mind.

  1. the right to exist unharmed
  2. the right to think independently without restrictions
  3. the right to own property

When the governed are threatened by the full force of government, losing life, freedom of speaking their mind, and loss of property, they are precipitously on the knife-edge of rebellion, or at the minimum, disrespect toward the law and those hired to enforce those laws.

The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. Called the “Bill of Rights”, were designed to respect natural law, but as everyone should be aware legal and natural rights aren’t synonymous.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights have no role in “creating” rights. The Constitution itself is useful only insofar as it lays out the guidelines, structure, and organization of the government.

When people talk about rights, many have the confused belief that individuals or representatives or majorities can create rights by writing them down on a magical piece of paper.

Freedom of speech is absolute because you have the right to your own thoughts. Public opinion may not approve of those thoughts, but those are yours alone. The right to protect yourself from harm or be deprived of your property by anyone is absolute. Therefore owning firearms isn’t a right granted because of a Constitution or a court, it’s fundamental to yourself.

Because the founders of the United States understood human rights can be limited or curtailed by a corrupt government, they made their declarations public and swore their allegiance to the principles, even at peril of their own lives.

If you’re in doubt as to what each of these rights mean, rather than have someone else do your thinking for you, read their explanation in their personal writings.

“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that . . . it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” – Thomas Jefferson

“No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements).” – Thomas Jefferson

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. – Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

The power to resist oppression rests upon the right to possess arms:
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.
– Patrick Henry (Virginia ratifying convention – June 2 through June 26, 1788)

America is being cleverly divided, to be controlled through division and animosity.


University of Virgina ~ Collections of Thomas Jefferson
Quotes from the Framers and Their Contemporaries
United States Declaration of Independence – Wikipedia
John Locke: Natural Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property
Constitution of the United States – Bill of Rights
Rights Don’t Come From Governments
Federalist Papers


Why a Memorial Day?

You might think this long weekend is nice to have a day off from work, or enjoy getting together with friends or family. This Monday, May 30th, is a patriotic holiday intended to honor Americans who have served and protected our country, and made the ultimate sacrifice. It commemorates the sacrifice of thousands of people who gave their life for the continuation of this country and it’s freedom, and coming to the aid of other countries trying to do the same. 


Confederate attack on Fort Sumter began the Civil War

The Civil war, which began on April 12, 1861 and ended June 2, 1865, was our bloodiest conflict. Approximately 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War. Since then just over 644,000 American combatants have died in all other combined wars.


American combatant casulaties of war

The Americans who rest beneath these beautiful hills, and in sacred ground across our country and around the world, they are why our nation endures. Each simple stone marker, arranged in perfect military precision, signifies the cost of our blessings. It is a debt we can never fully repay, but it is a debt we will never stop trying to fully repay. By remaining a nation worthy of their sacrifice. – President Barack Obama

About 5,000 people will attend a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery this weekend. This national cemetery, sitting on 624 acres is located in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington DC.

About 30 people are buried at Arlington Cemetery every weekday.

If you haven’t served in the military, why should you care? About 99.5 percent of the population never serves in the military, for many it’s difficult to understand what it means to be willing to lay down your life for people who you will never meet. People serving in the military aren’t going in for some of the reasons expressed by politicians or people who make the 6 o’clock news.

MCB Twentynine PalmsWhat separates the military from the rest of the population? These are the people who know it’s necessary to work toward common goals, prepare and sometimes when called upon, defend what they believe in. They do the work instead of whining and hoping someone else will do what has to be done. Sure, people in the military complain, but those who do their job, make the sacrifices required, keep the United States ready to meet the constant threats throughout the world.

Some think we should not be the world’s policeman, but if that role isn’t performed, who will stand up to the despots, megalomaniacs, tyrants and terrorists of the world? Many smaller countries enjoy a good standard of living because they don’t have to pay for their security with the blood and treasure of their own people.

Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.
It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it. ~ Robert E. Lee – General Confederate States of America

There is no glory in war, only in Hollywood.

There are many great speeches. Impressive writers. Many beautiful people. Terrific entertainers. Marvelous designers. These attributes don’t buy your freedom. A man or woman serving as a soldier, airman, sailor, or marine, paid for that freedom. Thousands have paid the ultimate price for your liberty. Perhaps you can take a few moments of your time and be thankful for those who did what you wouldn’t, couldn’t or didn’t do. If you see an active duty military person today, you can thank them for what they do.

Struggling to help others. A Navy corpsman story.

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Vietnam War Statistics


  • 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (5 August 1965-7 May 1975)
  • 8,744,000 personnel were on active duty during the war (5 August 1964-28
    March 1973)
  • 3,403,100 (including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the SE Asia
    Theater (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand and sailors
    in adjacent South China Sea waters).
  • 2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam
    ( 1 January 1965 – 28 March 1973)
  • Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964
  • Of the 2.6 million, between 1 and 1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in
    combat, provided close combat support or were at least fairly regularly
    exposed to enemy attack.
  • 7,484 women served in Vietnam, of whom 6,250 or 83.5% were nurses.
  • Peak troop strength in Vietnam was 543,482, on 30 April 1969.


  • Hostile deaths: 47,359
  • Non-hostile deaths: 10,797
  • Total: 58,156 (including men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties).
  • Severely disabled: 75,000, 23,214 were classified 100% disabled. 5,283 lost
    limbs, 1,081 sustained multiple amputations. Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70% higher than in Korea. Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
  • MIA: 2,338
  • POW: 766, of whom 114 died in captivity.
  • Draftees vs. volunteers: 25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII)
    Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
  • Reservists KIA: 5,977
  • National Guard: 6,140 served; 101 died.

Ethnic background:

  • 88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6%
    (275,000) were black, 1.0% belonged to other races
  • 86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (including Hispanics)
    12.5% (7,241) were black.
    1.2% belonged to other races
  • 170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2%) of whom died there.
  • 86.8% of the men who were KIA were Caucasian
    12.1% (5,711) were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.
    14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were black
    34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.
  • Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam when the percentage
    of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the population.

Socioeconomic status:

  • 76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working
    class backgrounds
  • 75% had family incomes above the poverty level.
  • 23% had fathers with professional, managerial, or technical occupations.
  • 79% of the men who served in ‘Nam had a high school education or better.
  • 63% of Korean vets had completed high school upon separation from the service)

Age & Honorable Service:

  • The average age of the G.I. in ‘Nam was 19 (26 for WWII) 97% of Vietnam era vets were honorably discharged.

Pride in Service:

  • 91% of veterans of actual combat and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country. 66% of Vietnam veterans say they would serve again, if called upon. 87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem.
  • Helicopter crew deaths accounted for 10% of ALL Vietnam deaths. Helicopter losses during Lam Son 719 (a mere two months) accounted for 10% of all helicopter losses from 1961-1975.

Winning & Losing:

  • 82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of a lack of political will. Nearly 75% of the general public (in 1993) agreed with that.

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