my experiences with TSA and airport security screening

Yesterday afternoon, we endured another inconvenient experience at the hands of these TSA people.  This time it was at the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.  Now, I was cool with my carry on bag being searched after it was X-rayed.  The TSA woman showed me the saved image of the scan.  Not surprisingly there was a solid color area a few inches on a side that they could not interpret or identify.  So, she opened my bag and looked through it until she found what I told her she would find.  A wrapped up rock (actually purchased legal petrified wood) that was dense enough to defeat the X-ray scan.  We were lucky that this was not confiscated.  My wife observed other passengers’ effects being taken from them at this security checkpoint.


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Obama – the enormity of his crimes – part three

Obama – the enormity of his crimes – part three

Barack Obama spent much of his early childhood in Indonesia (where he was known as Barry Soetoro).  This is a non-Western country, a former colony of the Dutch that is predominantly Muslim.  During much of his childhood, he was cared for, or raised, by others.  His father and mother did not stay together long and later his mother died.  All in all, he did not have what most people would consider a normal childhood.  Upon reaching early adulthood and attending college in the US, he gravitated towards and kept company with individuals that did not value nor respect American ideals (many of whom were leftist radical types or foreign students from nations that do not share American ideals).  Keep this in mind, as it shows that Obama does not identify with nor see the US and its culture in a favorable light.

As well, to give some context, we must point out that those who espouse a Leftist vision for society are chasing a mirage, an impossible dream, an illusion that cannot be realized. Power hungry opportunists use this Marxist (workers’ paradise, utopian) nonsense to seduce the masses and thereby gain power.  Oh, yes, not every Leftist political leader is a true believer.  Believing in the Leftist dream is the real opiate of the masses.  Historically, where the Left has taken over the government of a nation and instituted its policies the results have been an increase in human misery and a very significant decrease in human freedoms.  Leftists, Marxists, Communists (a more extreme form of socialism) have to do away with the old order of things before they can bring about the perfectly just human society.  Try as they may, they never have and never will achieve such a society.  In their tearing down the old order, millions (deemed “counter-revolutionaries”) have been killed and many (hundreds of) millions more have lost their freedoms.  (Why this matters:  when the Left gets its way – we all lose.)

In the five years of his presidency, Barack Obama has proven to be a divider of people.  He does not bring people together.  He does not attempt to unify the nation, rather he sets one group against another.  His words, his actions, the policies of his administration have served to exacerbate the existing racial tensions within the US, and have stoked the fires of class enmity (so-called class warfare).  As well, with the requirements of Obama Care, the young will likely begin to resent the elderly as the young are now legally required to participate and will be subsidizing the care of the elderly with their insurance premiums. With the aggressive push for blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants which most Americans oppose, Obama foments even more anger in Americans towards their federal government. When the other major party, not without its own serious flaws, tries to stop some of Obama’s more aggressive (and destructive) actions, he and his political allies engage in ever more shrill partisan attacks on that party and its elected representatives.  (Just listen to the speeches he gives as he tours the country campaigning for the latest schemes of his failed agenda.)  Calls for greater tolerance of Muslims in the US go hand in hand with greater official government animosity towards Christianity and Christians’ rights to free speech and expression.

Obama, as so many Leftist agitators before him have done, uses this divide and conquer strategy to divert the public’s attention from his continuing power grabs and continuing (and increasing) abuses of his presidential authority.  Obama contributes to an “us versus them” mindset on virtually every major issue of the day.  Fragmenting and then destroying the social fabric, the social contract that we have lived with in the US for decades is necessary in order to “fundamentally transform the nation”.  We have already (in part two of this essay) discussed Obama’s destruction of the US economy.  Obama is slowly yet steadily, inexorably bringing about the conditions (of despair, division and conflict) whereby he could seize complete power.

It is important to note that President Obama has, on several occasions, publicly lamented the Constitutional limits on his power as chief executive.  The Constitution is slowing him down a little in his mission to transform the nation.  This is cynical indeed given that he frequently circumvents those constraints through the use of his executive orders and what his “czars” in the federal bureaucracy are doing.  Also, his appointments to the federal judiciary have as their primary purpose to ensure that future lawsuits against, or constitutional challenges to federal government abuses are not successful.  This man, by his actions, has shown that he has contempt for the US Constitution.

As to the damage that Obama is doing to the country, this – we are sorry to say – is long term damage which will not easily be undone.  The enormous increase in the national or sovereign debt of the United States under Obama can never be repaid and US taxpayers will be paying the interest on it in perpetuity.  Obama Care will destroy the private delivery of health care and once we have a (poor quality) government controlled health care system, there will be no way to bring back the private health care system.  Obama Care takes your health care decisions and puts them in the hands of government bureaucrats.  Once another federal bureaucracy is established (such as with Obama Care), is it ever dismantled?!  Also, it is a curious thing about Americans that they are such slaves to precedents, and rarely can reverse course once they start down a path.  One can point to Prohibition (of alcohol beverages) being repealed several decades ago as an instance of Americans reversing course.  But, such reversals in domestic policy are rarer than you might think.  The opposition party, the Republicans, cannot be counted to undo the effects of Obama’s policies if they were to regain control of the Senate and capture the White House in a future election.  (Too many times, they have shown themselves to be dishonest and even cowards.  They want to be liked, and will not make the tough choices.)

The question in many Americans’ minds is did/does Obama do this damage out of his ineptitude (recall that he has never held a responsible position in the private sector of the economy), or purposely out of a hatred for the country (consider he has long associated with radical Leftists throughout his adult life)?  Why does Obama do what he does?  Why does Obama want to “fundamentally transform” the country?  Why does Obama hate American society and culture?

It is difficult to suggest reasons here.  One difficulty is that unlike other politicians who lie but know when they lie, Mr. Obama appears not to know he’s lying much of the time.  And, he does lie frequently.  For one who has been touted and hyped as being so bright, he is blinded by the Leftist ideological dogma that he has been immersed in and attached to all of his adult life.

We suggest here a few possible answers.

I have speculated in other venues that Barack Obama may suffer from a self-hatred that he projects on to the country.  But, I am not a trained psychiatrist or psychologist.

Obama may be motivated to vigorously pursue such destructive actions and policies out of (Leftist) ideological zeal.  Passionate desire for change, for societal transformation, that requires the abolishing of the old order of things may be a factor in this man’s thinking.

A base hunger for power may also be at work.  Obama has struck me as being rather immature in his emotional and psychological development.  (He undeniably has serious character flaws.)  He seems to be at the level of a child, a spoiled child, who feels the world should pander to his every whim.  A certain ego mania does appear to be indicated.

A combination of these factors, and other (at present unknown) motivations may be at work in the mind of President Obama.  We leave it to readers to form their own opinions here.

Conclusion and verdict

There are some things that are no longer in dispute to any honest and rational observer.

President Obama has seriously damaged the US economy these past 5  years.  In the past 75 years, emerging from previous recessions, the US economy has not taken so long to recover and create millions of good jobs.  The middle class today is smaller than when Obama took office in early 2009.  Millions of Americans have suffered economic impoverishment during this time.

Mr. Obama, with the help of his political allies in Congress, his ideological judicial appointees on the federal bench, and the emboldened government bureaucrats, has steadily encroached on and lessened our freedoms and rights.

For those who still are enamored of this man, we ask:  Has he done this for our own good?

Look at the ugly nature of his actions, and these actions’ terrible effects.  Mr. Obama has greatly increased human misery and despair in the US.  Behind his cynical smiles, lurks a twisted ego.

President Obama bemoans the constitutional constraints that prevent him from exercising complete and arbitrary power over our lives.  He may manufacture or exacerbate a domestic crisis and use such a crisis as a pretext for suspending the Constitution (an unconstitutional act) and seizing dictatorial powers for himself.

The temptation to seize absolute unrestrained power may prove too great for a man with such a flawed personal character.

Obama is an enemy of human freedom and true progress and social harmony.

We emphasize: Here is a man, who with his coterie of corrupt and arrogant political allies, has greatly increased human misery and despair.  What are we to conclude?  Are we to give him a free pass because of the dictates of identity politics and political correctness?  I say nay.

Consider one more time his wanton destruction of the economic well-being of millions through his policies.  This ends justifies the means mindset is wrong.  The end – a socialist or Marxist utopia – is not attainable.  The means used are wrong as they needlessly increase human misery and injustice.  Obama’s war to greatly reduce, if not eliminate over time the middle class is morally wrong.

This is hard-core reality. We cannot sugar-coat the reality merely because there are still individuals for whom the name Obama has religious overtones.

We can no longer make excuses for Obama.  You Obama fans cannot defend his destructive actions by any rational and objective means.

For these crimes against 300 million Americans currently living, and untold millions more yet unborn, the evidence (his deliberate, purposeful actions) compels me to conclude, I say again, compels me to conclude that Barack Obama is one of the most evil men to ever hold power in the Western world.

Now, dear readers, if you disagree with my conclusion, then what are we to consider Obama as?  If he is not evil, then he is a very dangerous psychotic, and unfit for office.

Obama – the enormity of his crimes – part two

Obama – the enormity of his crimes – part two

Before turning to Obama’s greatest crime, let us ask: what can we expect from President Obama in the future?

Amnesty for illegal immigrants currently within the US.  This is also euphemistically called “comprehensive immigration reform”.  The US economy cannot currently provide jobs for many millions of US citizens.  Amnesty for illegal immigrants will not help this situation, as (once illegal) newly legal residents will bring family members and relatives into the country which will put more pressure on the labor market.  Obama is already achieving this piece meal by his executive orders.  He exhorts Congress frequently to pass amnesty, and not delay.  (The official government figure of 11 million illegals appears to be absurdly low.)

Greater bureaucratic abuse of power.  Federal government departments, such as the EPA and the NLRB will be more aggressive in pursuing their agendas.  Expect more burdensome regulations that will make it even harder for businesses to grow and create jobs.  Obama has appointed like minded individuals to head these departments, and they desire radical change to our economy and nation.  Obama has appointed many so-called “czars” and hardly anyone knows just what they are doing.  But, these czars and the heads of the various executive branch departments are engaging in economic control and social engineering.  Can any individual or small business owner keep up with the onerous regulations that are issued by the federal government by the week, if not the day?

Possible seizure of financial assets of individuals.  This issue keeps coming up in congressional discussions.  If you have an IRA, a 401K or 403-b plan with your employer, or if you are self-employed and have a Keough plan and/or SEP IRA or similar retirement vehicle, you are at risk of losing all or part of it to federal government seizure in coming years.  This is no exaggeration.  The Leftists that control the Senate and President Obama do not respect property rights.  In return, you will be given an empty promise of a larger Social Security check each month.  But, as we all know, that system is on borrowed time now and cannot pay its current obligations for many more years.  (A person has a right to the fruits of his/her labors.  Property rights are a major component and basis of our personal freedoms.)

As well, expect continuing use of executive orders by Obama as he pursues his agenda (to fundamentally transform the nation) by going around Congress and the legislative process to achieve his goals.  This man has contempt for the constitutional limits on his power as chief executive (president).

Now, let us turn to Obama’s greatest crime – that of his purposeful, intentional destruction of the US economy.  The consequence of that is a poorer nation for the vast majority of its citizens.  Obama has made war on the middle class.  In true Leftist (really communist) fashion, he desires there to be no middle class.  Outside of a small ruling elite and a few large corporate allies, most of the 300 million of us will be economic serfs.  Consider his actions in the five years he has been in office.  These actions and policies are shrinking the middle class.

Some readers may object here and say that Obama inherited an economy that was in serious trouble and in very bad shape.  That is true.  And, we do not give Bush and Greenspan and others a free pass here.  However, Obama has been in office nearly 5 years now, and this is his economy.  The fact that the economy is stagnant as to job creation is his responsibility.

We recognize the shortcomings of our economic system.  We have said in prior essays that the free market is not perfect.  Excessive competition can lead to an “us versus them” mindset, and a lack of a sense of community, which can impair social cohesion in a diverse, pluralistic society.  Also troubling is the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands as corporate mergers create ever larger enterprises and present the threat of monopoly in various industries, and the loss of truly free markets.

That said, our free market capitalistic system is preferable to the main alternative put forward in the 20th century, namely state control of the economy (various socialist or communist schemes).  Tearing down our economic system to give us a command economy administered by government bureaucrats is not the answer to our economic challenges. (As well, because of people’s predilection for binary thinking, there does not seem to be a viable third option here.)

What we need in the US is to pursue policies that foster and encourage domestic economic growth.  Such economic growth provides economic opportunity both in the form of good jobs for job seekers and a healthy growing economy in which environment it is easier for the entrepreneur to start a successful small business.  Let us grow the middle class, not make war on it as Obama is doing.  Economic growth and opportunity allow people to lift themselves out of poverty and to achieve self-reliance with dignity through their own efforts.

We have now had the longest duration of high unemployment in the US since the 1930s (during FDR’s failed tenure as president.)  As many millions of individuals who want to work have given up looking from despair and are thus no longer counted, the true figure for our unemployment rate is much higher than the official figure of 7.3 or 7.4 per cent.

What does this mean to our economy?  The lost productivity of all those millions of individuals, many of whom have been out of work for 2 or more years, is lost forever.

This fact is lost on President Obama.  He has never held a responsible position in the private sector of the economy.  He, along with his friends and political allies, has contempt for the private sector.  Yet, wealth is not created in, nor by, the public or government sector of the economy.

Obama’s policies of greatly increased federal government spending, higher taxes and ever increasing regulations on businesses have all contributed to much lower economic growth than is normal for the US economy.  That is why unemployment has remained stubbornly high.  We saw this before in the 1930s with the same failed results.  (Oddly, Obama’s policies are not hurting the wealthy as much as one might think.  He regularly attacks “the rich” in his cynical orations.  Yet, these policies are squeezing millions out of the middle class and into poverty and despair.)

Obama, the most profligate deficit spender in US history in both absolute and relative terms, now in 2013 has actually managed to shrink his annual budget shortfall.  He has done this through the bizarre federal spending sequester with its minimal cuts in spending, and by tax increases the feckless Republican controlled House of Representatives agreed to late in 2012.  But, the sad fact remains that another several hundred billion dollars of federal debt has been incurred in the present year.  As well, increases in taxes reduce investment and consumer spending – both needed badly in an already weak economy.  We have already noted that Obama unleashing federal bureaucrats to issue regulations (that have the force of law) at their whim hurts businesses across the country.

To recap: the massive increase in the national debt of the US combined with the increasing and aggressive government erosion of our rights in these past 5 years; the non-recovery of the economy burdened as it is with Obama Care, onerous regulations, and continuing threats of higher taxes; and the other crimes of Obama listed in part one of this essay and the imminent crimes listed at the start of this part two – all these have done enormous long-term damage to the country, and will adversely impact generations of Americans yet unborn.

Part 3, of this three part essay, will address the man who is Obama and the false promises of the Left.  As we shall see, President Obama is a divider and not a unifier.  We will also see that the damage he is doing to the country will not likely be easily reversed – if it can be reversed at all!  We will offer some possible reasons for why he does what he does.  Lastly, we will issue our conclusion as to what we consider Mr. Obama to be.

Obama – the enormity of his crimes – part one

Obama – the enormity of his crimes – part one

As a matter of conscience, we must address this topic.

I have been carrying around this essay in my head for many weeks now.  It is time to face it and get it off my chest so to speak.

Barack Obama has been president of the US for nearly 5 years now.  Yes, George W. Bush’s presidency left us with serious problems, but Mr. Obama must be held accountable for his policies and actions of these past 5 years.

We had thought of writing this essay in the form of a mock trial with President Obama on trial for his crimes against the American people.  Upon further reflection, we decided against this trial format as it may have disturbed some readers who are still supportive of this man and his policies.  And, we should add that the significant long-tern damage Obama is doing to the US is also an indictment of the American people, who continue to support the 2 very corrupt political parties in election after election after election.

“Hope and change.”  High sounding words from the presidential campaign of 2008.

We will now provide a brief litany of some of this man’s crimes – that he ordered, cooperated with, or allowed to go on – that we will not be addressing, at least not at length.  If we were to expand the scope of this essay and deal with these at length, it would just become even more damning of President Barack Obama, and unduly tedious for you to read.

Scandals and errors we won’t be addressing:

Negligence as to the attack on Americans (4 killed) in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.

The “Fast and Furious” gun running scheme to Mexico by Obama’s Justice Department. At least one US Border Patrol agent has been killed with some of these guns, and unknown numbers of Mexican citizens have been harmed by these guns.

The IRS denying non-profit political advocacy organizations (various “Tea Party” and conservative groups) that oppose Obama’s policies tax exempt status several months prior to the 2012 election (effectively incapacitating these groups).  As well, these targeted groups were required to make extensive and burdensome disclosures not required of other political groups.  The White House has been implicated in directing, if not actually ordering, this IRS behavior.

Greatly expanded NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance of US citizens, and even of foreign government officials and foreign nationals in other countries far beyond any plausible justification or legitimate national security intelligence needs.

The militarization of the nation’s local law enforcement agencies.  Begun under President George W. Bush as early as 2002/2003, this militarization (funded with federal dollars) has increased significantly under President Obama and is far beyond any legitimate counter-terrorism capabilities.  Care to guess what these militarized local police departments can/might do in the future?

Obama has issued executive orders since December, 2012 (elementary school shooting in Connecticut), to curtail Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights to own guns.  He has done this independent of Congress.  Even with a sycophant Congress to agree, these executive orders are un-constitutional.

ObamaCare, which President Obama signed into law in early 2010, is turning out to be both a big money grab and a power grab by the government.  Ask the millions of Americans who are already paying higher premiums for their health insurance (with higher deductibles) and those who have recently lost their insurance if they think this is criminal. When the employer mandate, which has been postponed until late next year, kicks in, these numbers will skyrocket.  Though judged to be constitutional in late June, 2012, with its individual mandate the law clearly is in violation of the US Constitution (the de jure governing document of the nation).  Four ideological radicals (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) joined with Chief Justice John Roberts to judge the law constitutional.  Roberts, in his convoluted opinion in the case, basically rewrote the law (the job of the legislative branch of government, not the judicial branch) in order to assert the law was not in violation of the Constitution.  Some have asserted or claimed that Roberts was blackmailed, and/or not on his medication(s) during this time.  Personally, I think it is possible that he just wanted to make a name for himself in US judicial history.  Thus, he may be suffering from an acute egomania.  (He is now infamous, that is for sure.)

(We, in the US, are such slaves to judicial precedent that we already suffer under a de facto judicial tyranny.  These black-robed jurists (really just glorified barristers or lawyers), these activist judges are not infallible!  Yet, when they engage in social engineering, when they rubber stamp federal government power grabs, their decisions are unassailable.)

Mr. Obama backed and enabled the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to take power.  Let us not forget that Obama speaks of “transforming” the US, and he likes radical change.  In early 2011, he very quickly (after a few days of protests in Cairo) called for Mubarak to leave office paving the way for the radicals to gain power in the subsequent national election.  After the Muslim Brotherhood’s ouster in early July, 2013 (by the Egyptian military that clearly recognized how dangerous to Egyptian society these radicals are), Obama quickly began to call for attacking the government of Syria.  His aim was to weaken Assad and pave the way for the Muslim radical rebels to eventually seize power.  If radical change was interrupted, delayed, or thwarted in Egypt, Obama would pursue such change elsewhere.  Some of these rebel groups in Syria have committed the most abominable atrocities in the civil war there.  Yet, this man, Obama, finds common cause with anyone who desires radical change around the globe.  The ends justifies the means – classic Marxist-Leninism.  (We note in passing that after Mohamed Morsi’s ouster the radicals went on a killing spree of the Coptic Christians throughout Egypt.  Proving, yet again, how violent and dangerous they truly are.)

Increased use of lethal “drone” strikes overseas that are killing many civilians in various countries, the so-called “collateral” damage.  Approved regularly by Obama.

(Ironic, isn’t it, that they gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize?  They also gave Al Gore, a charlatan, the Peace Prize.  Neither Obama nor Gore has done anything substantive to promote peace anywhere in the world.  What is wrong with this committee that awards these prizes?!  It appears to be another case of political correctness trumping the truth.)

Mr. Obama has helped to exacerbate racial tensions and animosity within the US by some of his public remarks since being in office.  He ought not have commented on the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.  But, as we shall see more later, in part two of this essay, he uses a divide and conquer strategy to advance his agenda.  (We have already written (in June, 2012) of the fact that Mr. Obama has not done anything positive or substantive for black Americans in his time as President.)

And, no doubt there are other crimes and scandals that we not know about yet, and perhaps some we will never learn of.  The main stream news media acts to protect this man as many in the media share his vision for the US.

But all that we set aside, as we address the biggest crimes of this man and his political allies (that help enable him to act as he does), in part two of this essay.  We also touch on possible answers to the question: Why does Obama consciously, purposely do these harmful, destructive things?

the arduous and anguished search for truth in our contemporary world

the arduous and anguished search for truth in our contemporary world

Before proceeding on to today’s essay, we think a few words about the terrorist actions in Boston on Monday are needed and appropriate.

Independent of who is responsible for these vile actions (foreign or domestic terrorists (right-wing extremists or the Left – oh, yes, the Left has a history of violence)), this is just the latest example of there being so little justice in this hellish world.  Where is the justice (read: recompense, the healing, the making whole again) for the victims?  Those killed cannot be brought back to life.  Those severely maimed can at best look forward to the use of artificial limbs for the rest of their lives.  (Too many US military veterans of the Middle East wars are having to use such artificial limbs now.)

And what about the other side of the coin of justice?  Do the wicked who do such destructive and evil deeds get just and necessary punishment?!  As we believe that punishment needs to be proportionate to the crime, these victimizers, when tried for, and convicted of, capital murder, need to suffer the death penalty.  I am not referring to a life time in court with endless legal appeals, and then eventually dying of old age in a state prison.  An effective and swift execution of the sentence is needed.  At my age, I no longer have any patience with those who bleed for convicted capital murderers.  Such bleeding is misplaced and misdirected compassion.

Now to our essay that is unedited and unabridged.

the arduous and anguished search for truth in our contemporary world

“The police in New York City

they chased a boy right through the park.

In a case of mistaken identity

they put a bullet through his heart.”

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones in the song, Heartbreaker, from 1973.  Great guitar play in this song.

“Johnnie died one night.

He died in his bed.

Bottle of whiskey, sleepin’ tablets by his head.

Johnnie’s life passed him by like a warm summer day” . . . . .

From the song, Shooting Star, by the group Bad Company (late 1970s?).

A curio from our living room mantle.


old Chinese statue


What is a person to do?  Upon reaching early adulthood, one (or at least some of us do) comes to the distressing realization that much of what one was told while growing up was just a bunch of crap.  There are many villains here.  Here is a partial list.

The news people on the TV or radio, fools that many of them are, do not realize they are trafficking in so much misinformation and disinformation.  Although to be sure, there are some who do know and willingly peddle the hogwash to the masses.

The parents, well-meaning as they may be, are often victims of terrible ignorance themselves.

The teachers in the schools indoctrinating (brain washing) the young with politically correct (and largely Marxian) fairy tales are a major problem in the western world now.  As well, we indicated in our essay on suppressed or little known history (back in November) that students are not given a comprehensive treatment of history, especially 20th century history.  It is a very selective history they are taught.

The politicians who are perhaps incapable of telling the truth more than a small percentage of the time.

The doctors, many of whom arrogantly view themselves as being infallible, still promote various debunked myths that do much harm (more on that in a future essay).

The jurists, who also suffer from this “we know best” mental syndrome (or mental pathology), and further their social engineering aims by their unassailable edicts from the bench.

And, yes, the preachers, ministers, or what I simply call the church men.  Most of these church men have not had anything even remotely resembling a genuine spiritual experience, yet they will tell us how it is best to live.  In some churches, these church men attempt to dictate the smallest details of our lives, even in areas that have nothing to do with salvation or damnation, i.e. are of no true moral consequence.  (When the specific issue or action is of no true moral consequence, then we clearly see at work the desire for power and control over our lives.)  In too many cases, it is the blind leading the blind.

Asserting that any of these groups (or individuals) are all-knowing or incapable of error is offensively absurd nonsense.

Sadly, you cannot rely on all those you thought you could trust.

“Sorry son, much of what you were ever told was just so much bull crap.”

No one ever said those words to me, but perhaps someone should have cared enough to say them to me.

So, I say again, what is a person to do?  Or, what can a person do?

Here are my humble – and certainly not infallible – suggestions.

Learn from your experiences.  Reflect, carefully, on these experiences.  And, seek out positive experiences such as practicing random acts of kindness.  We are changed by our experiences in ways that we are not always conscious or aware of – so seek positive, constructive, life affirming and loving experiences.  Loving people are more fully alive.

Read the thoughts of a diverse set of writers and thinkers.  One undeniable constant in play is that life in this world has always been difficult.  Men and women have confronted some of the same challenges throughout the past few millenia.  And, they have asked questions of life, or of God, or of the gods.  Becoming familiar with their thoughts and thought processes can help us to broaden our own perspectives.  Remember that learning is an ongoing process, and not a destination.  It continues throughout your life.  (As well, be on guard against becoming too rigid and inflexible in your thinking.)

Also, it is helpful to avoid those things that tend to numb or anesthetize our minds such as excessive watching of television.  And obviously avoid harmful drugs and excessive drinking of alcohol.

Do not become discouraged.  The search for truths, often elusive truths, is not easy, is not for the weak of heart.  But, as I have found over the course of my adult life (now nearly 30 years out of graduate school), one does slowly find and/or recognize truth.  And, ever more subtly, one can find meaning in this hellish world if one perseveres and does not give in to despair.

Thank you for reading.  Share as you like.

the psychology of bullies

the psychology of bullies


blue leaf


More questions than answers here.  But, the questions are relevant as the hurtful actions of bullies are ongoing in today’s world.

Not being trained in psychology (does psychology have all the answers?), these thoughts are based on life experiences in the real world over not a few years.


What are the causes of bullying type behavior?  Why do some children and adults bully and badger others around them?  One may also ask: why do some individuals choose to remain in abusive relationships?  (Questions from the division of social and behavioral sciences.  Your general education requirements mandate that you take some courses in these areas.)

Behavior that is verbally and/or physically intimidating, abusive, and/or demeaning and destructive to others is not limited to young, unruly boys in the elementary school yard.  Girls engage in bullying.  And, bullying has gone high-tech and takes place among teens on Facebook and other social media.

In all honesty and candor, I engaged in some of this type behavior in the school yard when young.  But, I soon outgrew the tendency to badger or pick on others.  Lamentably, some children do not outgrow this behavior.

Does the child bully grow up to be the abusive spouse and parent?  And, thus set a terrible example to his/her children to follow?  Even some adults bully and badger at times so as to get their own way in all matters(Hint: Parents get involved if you see this destructive behavior in your young children.  Work to prevent such behavior from becoming a nasty, long-lasting habit or enduring behavior pattern.)

As well, we see such intimidating and threatening behavior on the level of nation states. The current example that comes readily to mind is the spoiled child, Kim, in North Korea. By his threats and posturing, he is attempting to intimidate and badger his neighbors.  (In the 1990s and again in the 2000s, that type behavior was rewarded by the US sending that rogue regime food and fuel.  Lesson:  When you reward the behavior of bullies, it only serves to reinforce that behavior pattern.)

Back to the original questions above.

Do they hate themselves (possibly even unconsciously) and not being able to face or acknowledge (and work on) that self-hate, they project that self-hate on to other(s)?  Or, do bullies suffer from feelings of inadequacy in school, and/or even rejection at home?  Is the negative behavior an attempt to get noticed, to get even disapproving attention as they feel they cannot do anything positive enough to obtain any notice?  Can some of their negative behavior be stemming from a need to defend themselves against the hurtful actions of other children (bullies or not) around them?  Are some children just born mean? Possible answers given in the form of additional questions.

Human relationships are two-way streets and involve give and take.  They are rarely ever 50-50 type situations.  However, if you are in a one-sided relationship (let’s call it a LOSE-WIN), you need to communicate this to the other(s) in the relationship and work to make the relationship more equitable and thus get it moving in the direction of WIN-WIN.  Just a thought.

The photo at top is of an unusual colored leaf found in our front yard in late February.

Thanks for reading.  Please pass this essay on to any parents and teachers you know that may not be recognizing this behavior in their children and students.  Perhaps we can help at least a few children to get over this destructive behavior for not only their benefit, but also for the good of the others around them.

China – a future democracy?

China – a future democracy?

Every fifth person on the planet is Chinese.  China is now the world’s second largest economy.  So, the question is not merely academic.

Dear blog subscribers, engaging pictorial essays are in the planning stage, but we have to wade through one or two more thematic essays to get to the fun ones that are coming.


new year pic


Our answer is no.  China is not likely to become a democracy in our lifetimes, or in our children’s lifetimes, or their children’s.

China never has been or had a functioning democracy.  But, what about Sun Yat-sen and Nationalist China in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s?  The history of those decades shows a very corrupt, inept government that did not govern the entire country in any meaningful sense of the term govern.  Chinese generals would routinely become regional warlords and use the armies under their command to enforce their will on the local provinces thereby enriching themselves.  Corrupt civil servants used their positions not to serve the society but to enrich themselves through graft.  Unified national governance was a myth.  This was true in the 1920s even before the invasion by Imperial Japan in the 1930s.  And, throughout the 1930s, a growing area of northern China was under communist control.

Looking further back in Chinese history, one sees civil wars and revolts, but nothing like a concerted and determined effort to establish a republic.  In the Tang dynasty (early 600s to early 900s A.D.), the emperor was chased from power on occasion, and replaced for a time before the dynasty reasserted itself.  But, this was over excessive taxation, or for land reforms for the peasants, or because of opportunistic generals who desired power for themselves.  There were centuries of turmoil prior to the Tang, as petty states fought with each other after the collapse of the Han Dynasty around 200 AD.  China has been ruled by two foreign dynasties: the Mongols (Yuan Dynasty, 1279 – 1368), and the Manchurians (Ching Dynasty, 1644 – 1912).

But, what about now?  The idea of democracy, or giving the governed a voice in how they are to be governed, is really foreign to the thinking of the mainland Chinese.  They have been beholden to a Confucian model for the past 25 centuries.  Confucianism is not a religion even though one finds a chapter on it in some books on comparative religion.  (It does not address God, man’s relation to God, the soul, etc.)  Confucianism is a social philosophy applied to ordering society (hopefully) harmoniously.  It uses familial language to describe the relationship of the ruler(s) to the ruled.  The emperor, “the son of heaven”, is like a father figure to the people, his subjects.  They need to be well-behaved children and not question authority, or its abuses.  The Chinese do not have a concept of individual worth and dignity like we have in the West.  The individual is nothing.  He/she attains any status or worth only as part of a group.  One observes the excessive value and emphasis placed on the extended, multi-generational family within Chinese immigrant communities in the West.

(Confucianism was introduced to me in two undergraduate courses, one on comparative religions, and the other on east Asian history.  This was so long ago now that it seems to be ancient history itself.  Jimmy Carter was president at the time.)

Another attitude to be aware of, readers, is the deep seated Chinese contempt for anything foreign to China.  At the time of Confucius, China was surrounded by “barbarian” peoples in the surrounding steppes and jungles of Asia.  The Chinese saw themselves as the only ones possessing culture and refinement.  This attitude of superiority applied not just to the arts and to technology that China possessed, but also to its political and social thinking.  This ethno-centric attitude of superiority still prevails in the minds of many Chinese.  The Chinese seem to not realize that in the past 2 and one half millenia the world has changed considerably.  Democracy is suspect, in no small part, precisely because it is a foreign invention.

(This attitude of superiority also helps to account for the fact that the Chinese are the least assimilated foreign immigrant group within the US.  You may say that is a subjective opinion, and is not factual.  But, think about it, and compare the Chinese with other immigrant groups.  And, it is fact that there are many mainland Chinese agents and operatives here in the US, and they do find assistance in Chinese Americans of dual loyalties.)

We see China, run as it is by the totalitarian mentality in Beijing, as a very big and real threat to world peace.  The news media in the US may complain about Vladimir Putin in Russia, but he is not a threat to world peace.  (Putin does get things done in Russia.  He is effective.  We cannot say the same for you know who in the US.)

When former President George W. Bush claimed that China was our “strategic partner”, I laughed out loud.  He had to say that given that the Chinese were buying the US Treasury bonds which financed his ill-conceived nation building exercise in Iraq.  (One wonders if Bush really believed that the Chinese are America’s strategic partner.  One also wonders if he could be so naive as to think that the US could successfully build modern, unified nation states out of backward, tribal societies possessed of virulent ancient hatreds.  Things that make you go hhhhhmmmm.)  China is not the US’s strategic partner.

The Chinese military has published various tracts within China detailing how it is not possible for China and the United States to be friends or allies.  One bellicose Chinese general threatened Los Angeles (the US’ 2nd largest population center) with nuclear destruction in the mid 1990s if the US defended Taiwan.  To the credit of the Clinton administration, China was informed, through diplomatic and intelligence channels, that if that happened it would be the end of communism in China.  The US, which at that time had a very potent nuclear arsenal, would respond by levelling all the major cities in China.  Does this tell us anything about the true attitude of the Chinese in Beijing?

North Korea’s continuing belligerence has Beijing’s blessing.  China tests US resolve by proxy using North Korea.  If the US will not act against North Korea when it threatens US allies, South Korea and Japan, where American blood was shed in prior wars, then it can be concluded that the US will not act to defend Taiwan in a military conflict.  We feel for the people of Taiwan.  All they have wanted is to be left alone to live in peace.

Will the Chinese military of today be any more humane towards the people of Taiwan than they were towards the people of Tibet 60 years ago?  (While the world’s attention was focused on the Korean war in the early 1950s, China brutally invaded and occupied Tibet.  Do not buy the lie that Tibet had been an integral part of China for centuries.  The historical fact is that the only time that Tibet and China were truly unified and Tibet was administratively integrated into China was under (foreign) Mongol rule (the Yuan Dynasty, 1279 – 1368).  Needless to say, that was brought about by conquest.  Tibet gained its independence from Mongol rule separately and earlier than China did.)

Remember, this is the infamous land of ongoing female infanticide and forced abortions.  (See our essay from last summer under the Human Rights category for more on that.)

In conclusion, we do not see China becoming a democracy.  We do see China continuing on its path to becoming a formidable, if not dominant, player on the geopolitical world stage.  Its aims are self-serving to the leadership in Beijing.  It is not a western thinking leadership.

Disclaimer and full disclosureMy wife, Lucy, was born in Hong Kong, at the time a British Crown colony.  Her family had escaped communism in southern China in the early 1950s by fleeing to Hong Kong as many Chinese tried to do.  The views expressed in the above essay are mine, and such views do not necessarily represent my wife’s thinking on the various issues discussed.

My father, a Korean war veteran, was a commissioned officer in the US Navy during the conflict.  At one point (1951), he was aboard ship, when the US Navy was shelling from offshore the Chinese communists who had entered the Korean peninsula to save the defeated North Koreans.  At that time, the US Navy was very powerful.  When its firepower was unleashed, it inflicted very heavy losses on the Chinese.

Thanks for reading!

Science: alas, your limitations distress you

Science: alas, your limitations distress you

Today, we go “combative”.  And, make no apologies.  Reader discretion is advised.

“There are times when life slaps (or punches) you in the face or dumps on you, and you have to turn on life and smack it upside the head.”  —- anonymous

Somewhere in Canada.

“Sure is cold outside.”

“Yes, but do not believe the weather people on TV when they say the mercury will drop below minus 40 degrees tonight.  Mercury freezes a little above minus 40 degrees C (which is also minus 40 degrees F).  So, below that you need some type of alcohol based thermometer.”

Now, to our essay . . . .

Let’s briefly discuss 2 troubling areas of current medical “research” and then look at the larger implications, the bigger picture.  (We were going to order this essay differently, but liberal mindset biases in some readers make it necessary to order the contents as we did. Of course, long time readers of this blog realize that we do not give one toilet flush for “political correctness”.  If the truth and common sense offend liberal sensitivities, so be it.)

The zealous pursuit of human embryonic stem cell research has been an abysmal failure.  The successes in stem cell research have come from adult stem cells.  (Readers, you will value the information you find on this if you do your own internet research.  The data, plenty of it, is out there.)  Yet, the medical community continues to promise us that embryonic stem cells will one day be a panacea, or cure-all, for all physical health issues. This is done to secure (win) funding and grants.  (In California, the taxpayers are on the hook for billions that the state legislature awarded to this research several years back.  I seem to recall hearing of similar initiatives in other states going forward, albeit on a smaller scale.  As well, this “research” is being conducted in Europe and some Asian nations.)

Two ethical violations can be seen here.  First, a lack of respect for human life.  Even these zealous researchers term the “material” they are working with as human embryonic stem cells (harvested from human embryos, often obtained from fertility clinics*).  Cannibalizing the stem cells from these human embryos, which then die, is not right.  The second ethical violation is the lack of honesty.  This research has been going on for more than 10 years now.  There have been no miracle cures from it.  Even the alleged improvements in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease are questionable as other factors (in their improvement) have not been adequately addressed.  Now, what you will not hear from these researchers is that the very pliability or adaptability of embryonic stem cells (much heralded and touted) is a two edged sword.  There have been cases of these stem cells becoming tumorous (read: cancerous) after being inserted into a patient’s body.  Seems these human embryonic stem cells are not so safe or risk free after all.

Ignoring moral concerns for the moment, human embryonic stem cell research fails the cost/benefit analysis every time when compared to other avenues of research.

With health care systems around the planet struggling with rising costs and increased demands for health care services, why are vast sums being allocated to this failure?!

We say these funds should be re-allocated and redirected to other avenues of medical research.  But, there is strong resistance on the part of researchers working with human embryonic stem cells to admit to themselves and to the rest of us that they have wasted (significant) resources on this failed endeavor.  (The medical establishment is very reluctant to own up to or admit this costly failure out of fears of losing additional funding and losing its prestige in the public’s eyes.)  In the military academies there is an old adage that is apropos here.  “Do not reinforce failure.”  This can be reworded into the common phrase: do not throw good money after bad.  Or, similarly, cut your losses!

* Young college age men: Stop donating (for a cash payment) your sperm cells to these fertility and research clinics by masturbating (ejaculating) into a specimen container.  You are an accessory to this immoral research.  Earn your spending money by getting a part time job!  As well, young women do not donate your eggs.  The extraction process is not without serious risks to your health.  Do not be a party to this “research”.

The second area of current medical research to consider is human cloning.  Before addressing that, we note that there is even talk of brain transplants, which as macabre as it sounds, may not be outside the realm of technical possibility within a century or two (or less).  We are aware of immoral and unethical experiments taking place over the past 20 years or more involving such things as genetic manipulation, and the bringing into existence of hybrid monstrosities where human genetic material is mixed with animal genetic material.  (Man, rejecting God and denying His existence and sovereignty, desires to play at being God.)

Just what is the point of human cloning?  Is it an attempt to bring another life into existence that could be used for possible future organ transplants without immune system rejection of the transplanted organ(s)?  Another human being would be brought into existence as a source of “spare parts”?  Are we attempting to find a source of immortality here (for the wealthy few who would be able to afford it)?  For these “doctors” and researchers, is it just for the thrill (ego boost) of being able to achieve this?  Food for thought.  (I sure do not get it, nor understand why this is being pursued.)

Now to the larger issue.  (Stick with me here – we’re stirring the pot and bringing it to a boil.)

Just the fact that the above “research” is pursued (at all) by the scientific and the medical establishments points to a very troubling situation.

Science has its limitations.  This is true.  Nevertheless, there are some who will disagree and assert that in due time (and with enough resources at its disposal) science can answer any query or solve any problem.  The human mind also has its limitations.  Man will never on this Earth be omniscient (all knowing).  Humbling thought, eh?  Let’s be wary of attempting to deify the human mind as an atheistic (and ego-centric) substitute for believing in God.

When research is conducted that leads to the loss of human life, even in its earliest stages of development, a lack of respect for human life and a lack of ethics is clearly evident.  Too many so-called “bio-ethicists” play the role of apologist for this immoral research.  They try to rationalize the moral wrong away by touting the illusive and illusory future benefits to come for the many.  (An ends justifies the means argument.  Or, might makes right?)

We think that the problem stems from too many individuals in the scientific and medical establishments denying God’s existence and the applicability of the God given moral codes. Science and medical researchers and surgeons need to be guided by at least the most basic or rudimentary morality.  Humans, being very flawed beings, need God’s moral laws to protect themselves from their self-destructive tendencies.  The moral laws do not restrict our freedom, rather these laws and principles call us to freedom.  Freedom from needless self-inflicted suffering and needless injustices that we humans cause each other.

Some may object here and say that doctors have a code of professional ethics and a Hippocratic Oath.  Indeed, they do.  However, recall that when it was expedient to do so, the Hippocratic Oath was officially changed in recent decades (to allow for the performing of abortions).  So, for doctors there appear to be no moral absolutes that are applicable in all times.

We can take this further here.  The agnosticism and atheism that is prevalent among medical and scientific researchers also leads these individuals to deny the existence of the human soul.  You deny the soul’s existence and you deny God’s existence, but you cannot deny the historical truth that man has acted terribly towards his fellow man throughout the ages (and, hence, needs to strive to live by a moral code!).  For the university based medical researchers, take a walk over to your university’s department of history, and do a little reading and/or converse with the history professors if you doubt this.  You will quickly realize that there is a serious need for a moral code to govern the affairs and actions of men.

Let’s respect individual human dignity.  We, as a society, as a human family, need to work on this big time!  As we all know, even the hardcore liberals amongst us, every one of us was at one time, not so very long ago, a human embryo.  (Ironically, it is science that demonstrates that human life begins at conception.)

In closing, let me just observe that you “doctors” can do ugly things to human bodies, but you cannot get at the soul with your instruments.  You cannot create, nor destroy, nor alter the individual’s soul.  Thankfully, God will never allow man to acquire the ability to do that.