Tagged: government

Not “No-Fly Zone?”

The question is not, “Should the US create a no-fly zone?” The question is, “What informs your belief that the US will create a no-fly zone?” Put another way, the question is, “For what reason(s) do you believe the US will create a no-fly zone?” Because we will create one, make no mistake. The only question is will you have seen it coming before the announcement.

For me, I’ve “gathered the data” for long enough and have committed to living under the belief—new to me—that World War III is here.

The result of this commitment is mostly mental preparation. I’m preparing my mind for the heavy sacrifice that I believe is obviously coming. The main effect of mentally preparing is so that it doesn’t feel like a shock, so that I don’t sound like the fools will, when it arrives. No more, “I can’t believe this is real,” not out of my mouth. It’s real. It’s here. Catch up. Be prepared.

No more, “gas is how much?” No more, “groceries are how much? And they don’t have what?” When you hear that, it’s not me talking.

My grandpa who recently passed was a seemingly happy man his whole life. A child during WWII. Probably a bit naïve at times. So what. I think about how he missed it. Just barely. Lucky guy all the way.

My dad, on the other hand, was not so lucky. He wanted to believe it wouldn’t happen in his lifetime. Now it’s the event that he watches until the end.

Today, for posterity’s sake, I feel like, “Of course. Of course World War III is here. Of course it is. We poor creatures utterly lack imagination and creativity, and the only thing we’ve been thinking for my entire life is: ‘World War Three’. So of course it arrived.”

I also feel like (just because I’m bitter about the lack of our creativity), “Fuck Greta.” I told y’all that a special needs child was leading you astray, was no leader, was no prophet. I told you! Even in creativity, we only saw problems. Enough. Time for the men to assert themselves. Tell the children to be quiet. Let them watch and learn. That’s a child’s place. The children are not the future. They never were. They never are. The men are the future. And here they come.

World War III has begun. America and the West will ultimately win. The sacrifices will be enormous. Enormous. 3,000 dead for 9/11? 3,000 more for Iraq? 3,500 more for Afghanistan? Ultimately insignificant. This is gonna be millions again.

My main question at this point is (and it’s a serious question which I believe has a serious answer—I just don’t happen to know it, so I ask in earnest), “What are we waiting for?”

As in, what are the reasons for keeping the US military collared? Follow-on: what events or what thinking will be the start of US military action against Russia?

I’m not hopeful to learn the answers ahead of real-time. I’ll see them when we all do, over the coming months and years and then in books decades later. But that’s what I want to know.

Why today? What makes me decide and announce my new resolution today? Poland. Just thinking about Poland’s symbolic offer of their fighter jets to us chokes me up. Everyone—literally every human being on the Earth—knows exactly who can and who must stop Putin.

USA! USA! USA!

Now we wait.

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All I’m Asking For

Some days I have this window of time to read. The 19-month-old settles into her nap, the wife is somewhere, doing something, and I can finally sit on my fainting couch and apply the full focus of my mind to the ink on the page. Some days. Today was one of those days.

The coffee was wonderful. The reading even better.

The climax of these days is a moment when I know time is almost up, when I feel the caffeine buzz is at its peak, and when the clock tells me if I start right now, then I can probably squeeze out a post before the pacifier hits the floor.

As usual, I started with the Bible. Today was some backwards reading of Ezekiel. Starting at the end and reading to the beginning of a section can be a tool to help bring the familiar pages to life. It worked. I came across a beautiful confession by Yahweh.

‘As I live!’ declares Lord Yahweh, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!’

Then I opened Hegel. The portion of his Philosophy of Right that I’m on is section 273, where he is detailing his view of the separation of powers. “The development of the state to constitutional monarchy is the achievement of the modern world…” he begins. Distasteful, I know. But then he brings forth an anecdote, as follows.

“It is true enough that in quite simple social conditions these differences of constitutional form [monarchy, aristocracy, democracy] have little or no meaning. For instance, in the course of his legislation Moses prescribed that, in the event of his people’s desiring a king, its institutions should remain unchanged except for the new requirement that the king should not ‘multiply horse to himself…nor wives…nor silver and gold.’”

That’s all I’m asking for.

Interact with the Bible. Don’t ignore the Bible—interact. I’m even fine if you debunk it. But to treat it as irrelevant is to reveal your most hidden motive—vanity.

You want to be remembered more than Moses? Good luck. But here’s the thing. I’ll only respect the attempt if you fight him head on. He fights you head on. Return the favor. It’s the least you could do.

How We Feelin’?

I like the conservative hawks who say we’re not fulfilling our mission as World Good Guy.

I do not like all the conflicting reports.

I feel embarrassed that I questioned Zelensky’s motives at the outset.

I hate it when otherwise honest people will bully their way through a conversation and say, “Whether or not it’s true, it’s helpful because it motivates” about things like the stupid Ghost of Kyiv or some Russian soldier body count.

Generally, we seem to be living in a time period where we have totally forgotten how to work with a liar. The way to do it is by his/their actions. Actions don’t lie.

I’m tired of hearing how “we” are trying to figure out what is in Putin’s mind.

I’m very tired of WWII comparisons. I’m not a child. I don’t need an analogy. And I’m pretty sure that there are tens, if not hundreds, of nuances to this invasion of Ukraine by Russia that make it fundamentally different than the invasion of Poland all those years ago.

I was worried about nuclear attack Sunday, but I’m not worried anymore. And that worries me.

I still believe, but haven’t taken the time to back it up with research, that Zelensky is nowhere close to George Washington. Or other great American generals. He has said some strong statements. But I’m not inspired to virtue by them. (And don’t tell me how rare GW is. That changes nothing about my point. My point is we’re only a few cities away from Zelensky’s speeches being pure propaganda.)

The thing I dislike most about LeBron James are the moments I can tell that he remembers he is on camera. His face changes. It’s uncomfortable to watch. I don’t recall Jordan ever letting on that he cared about the cameras. I think I’m talking about something related to focus. If you know what I’m referring to, then you know how I feel about the leaders of the West right now. They’re not behaving out of true belief. They’re believing that they’re participating in a “photo op”. Their vanity is on full display. “History will show we did the right thing,” their actions and speeches say. Give me a break. Walking out of a “zoom call” is not exactly a sit in. Or an assassination by mob.

I told a German friend who’d made some, imho, wild predictions about this week that I’d call him this Sunday if all his predictions were wrong. He said, “Feel free. I hope I am wrong.” I don’t think I will anymore.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a European watching this invasion.

I do know what it’s like to be an American watching this invasion. It feels like bombs and missiles really aren’t as powerful or lethal as movies would have us believe.

Enough about me. How about you? How we feelin’?

Step 2: Gather The Data

https://www.economist.com/international/2022/02/12/how-russia-has-revived-nato

For review. Note the legend on the bottom left.

In short, the “red line” (which when crossed by Russians will trigger unmentionable alterations to our lives) is actually blue on this map.

Step 3 is “List all possible solutions.” I mention it so you know. But I’m still at Step 2.

What Did I Expect?

The media coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is appalling. It is inhumane, inconsiderate, and inept.

Inhumane because it contains no truth. I’m not in Ukraine, so how could I possibly know I’m being lied to? Because I’m an American and tradition holds that Russian leaders are incapable of telling the truth. But more than that, because President Zelensky’s comments betray the same tone and tenor as community activists and Greta Thunberg. By his comments, he seems to revel in this oddly fortunate opportunity to become an influencer.

Inconsiderate because if some of the numbers are correct, then the gravity of the situation needs be elevated dramatically. The US troop deaths in nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan sits under 2,000. The media is asking us to believe (because some politician heard some other politician say so) that 3,500 Russians have died in three days. And don’t get me started on this Ukrainian fighter pilot. I had heard 6, and then later I heard 8 kills in one day. An “ace (five kills)-in-a-day”, the claim. The last verified ace-in-a-day was in WWII. Truth matters. But then, the media coverage wouldn’t understand that idea, because they don’t believe in evil.

Inept because at their core, the media do not believe in evil. To them, it’s a catchy word—one of many. Fun to write. But they truly are watching without any sense of evil. A bomb explodes, they wonder how their expression looked on camera. “How was I? Fearful? Hopefully not cowardly? A balance of compelling and showing the true danger I am in, that’s what I want. Can we shoot it again?” And more than this, they look to others for what just happened. “They’re telling me that sound was…” But make no mistake, the media does not believe in evil. So the coverage is inept. It’s lackadaisical. Boring. The media seems to believe it is competing with fashion news, with San Francisco school board elections regarding a pandemic that ended two weeks ago at the Super Bowl.

What did I expect? They don’t believe in evil.

I’m Confused

I went to bed a bit unnerved. I had in mind a post which I would title, “War—At Least That’s The Rumor.” This was because everything in the news about the “full scale invasion” was seemingly based on “I heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another…”

Then I woke up and checked the news and still was not liking the tone, tenor, and lack of first-hand accounts. So I changed my tune. My post was now going to be a comparison of headlines from WW1 and WW2 opening days. The point being to show the stark contrast between what’s happening today (I believe to be a veritable blip) compared to actual war.

But then I found video which purported to be, and evidently was, a plane zooming overhead and dropping ordinance that explodes in due course below.

As a pilot, and as a former Air Force pilot, I couldn’t help but wonder what that pilot was thinking. Was he a true believer, like I was for my country? Or was he praying to his maker, “Forgive me, for I have sinned,” as he launched the weapon, under gunpoint?

We know that the pilots of Iraqi Air Force were not exactly interested to fly the night of our invasion of Iraq. The popular legend is many, if not all, defected as quick as their jet could fly. And I heard one USAF F-15 pilot tell the story of his shoot-down, very anti-climatic, and also relate that other Iraqis were shot down over the airport before they could get their landing gear up.

For me, there will always be a distinction between someone pressing a button in a remote location to launch missiles, and a pilot actually dropping bombs, when ascertaining the seriousness of the war/conflict. The distinction being: the pilot is already mobile. He could elect to not drop the bombs and instead “defect”.

So I want to know what the pilots are thinking.

But mostly, I’m just feeling confused. I will never mean to cause fear—far from it. But at this moment, I think it’s safe to say that this confusion wasn’t present two days ago. And it only slightly built last night after my bravado-filled prediction that cooler heads would prevail proved terribly naïve. And I must admit that this feeling of confusion itself is probably a sign that things are worse, than better. Again, not to cause fear, just to tell the truth.

Mind made up.

I am gonna stick with my training. “Step 1- Recognize the Problem.”

Problem- “I am unable to get clarity on the implications of the attack of Ukraine by formal Russian forces. The lack of clarity is driven by ignorance of the situation. ‘What about the 14,000 lives lost previously in some local fighting? How is this different?’ for example.”

“Step 2- Gather All the Data.”

I need to time for this step. We in the peanut gallery all do.

While we wait, I’ll conclude by saying this: I need to stop worrying about “what it means if…” Right now decisiveness on the battlefield is needed. If Ukraine is vitally important to us, let’s go win. Starting, like, yesterday. If Ukraine is not vitally important, then shame on them for not joining NATO sooner. The world could stand to learn a lesson about “choosing sides”. USA all the way.

I’ve Completed My Investigation Into What The Heck Is Going On with Russia and Ukraine

I’ve completed my investigation into what the heck is going on with Russia and Ukraine.

But before we get to the results, I want to share what was fun about the investigation.

Two things.

First, I learned or re-learned that I like history more than advice.

The first major reading I did was of a series of three essays and the first essay was history, whereas the third was advice for stability etc. History of the region? Exciting and interesting. Compelling too. I never have known much about Russia. And I had totally forgot, if I ever knew, that Ukraine is on the west side. Reading the history brought back memories of when I looked on a map for Moscow after reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. He had made the big point that Napoleon turned around when he got to Moscow. Boy was I disappointed to see how near Europe Moscow really is. Napoleon really did peter out.

Anyhow, similar thing this time. Ukraine was in a totally different spot than I had pictured. Knowing the geography actually helps the headlines make sense.

Secondly, I randomly had extra time to read with A- the other night and was feeling like one hour of Swiss Family Robinson would be a bit much, so we switched to the Book of Knowledge Children’s Encyclopedia thirty minutes in, specifically to Volume 1’s first sections on World History. There, in an early paragraph, we came across this sentence, “While the whole of Russian history shows the effort of a landlocked people to reach the shores of the seas, which were for thousands of years the only really convenient highways of trade and communication.”

What fun! Reading really does invigorate the soul. “…the effort of a landlocked people to reach the shores of the seas…”

So, now, here’s the result of my investigation: Russia wants to get to the Black Sea in a bigger way. On the other side, the West believes the people of Ukraine should get to rule themselves by virtue of their being human beings.

Regarding Russia’s desire, that Ukraine was or was not previously a part of Russia or the USSR or whatnot is besides the point. Put differently, to be faithful to reality we must acknowledge that Russia wants something tangible, something that all parties can agree is or is not real. Either Russia has ports in the Black Sea or not. Either Russia’s boundaries extend to the Black Sea in Ukraine’s place or not.

Also, we need to say Russia isn’t crazy for the wanting-the-Black-Sea bit. But Russia is maintaining an un-Western, and specifically un-American, belief when it brings force to Ukraine instead of a soapbox or a stump.

Conversely, the West, specifically America, isn’t wrong for choosing to oppose Russia’s action, but if America cannot get Russia to engage us on our terms, then everyone is literally talking past each other. And if this is the case, it truly is a fight.

For all I care, the country Russia can have access to the ports it wants. But if this desire is not the result of representative votes of its people, then we’re really not talking about Russia, but about some one leader—Putin.

Next, I want to know, “Is there some reason for the West instigating the Ukraine-join-NATO stuff right now?” I don’t know. But it surely is a move that I’m convinced that everyone who is read-in would have known would result in being interpreted as provoking Russia/Putin.

The question, then, is what do we, the collective West, believe? Is conventional war truly a thing of the past? Or will there be conventional war once again?

I think conventional war is a thing of the past. So my money is on the West easing up whatever pressure it has recently placed on the idea of NATO and Ukraine marrying. And this then would result in Russia/Putin backing down.

Lastly, President Biden has a speech impediment. Never, never give that man a line which sounds powerful only if delivered well.

I mean, I ask you, dear reader, “Who in the LORD’s name does Putin?”

This Is Not COVID

“The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.”

The above image and caption is from the CDC site. https://www.cdc.gov/media/subtopic/images.htm

I could not emphasize enough that not one of you, nor I, can explain that caption.

If I break it down grammatically, like 8th grade sentence-diagramming, it says, “The particles contain cross-sections.”

What does that mean? Is there a problem when particles contain cross-sections?

Beyond this, “spherical extracellular viral”, and “through the viral genome”, and “seen as black dots” are also utterly unintelligible to me. To be clear, I’m saying that even after reading “seen as black dots,” it would be silly for me to say, “Oh, I see what you mean,” given that the entire image is black dots against a white backdrop.

COVID is black dots? Stop the press!! It’s all over my phone screen!

All this is on my mind partly because of that line I included in my recent “stupid” post about the stupidity of COVID illustrations, and partly because I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Closer To Truth” which is some sort of fun “X-Files”-feeling, state-of-physics-today (in layman’s terms) show. It generally accomplishes its purpose, but the other day one of the interviewees referred to an illustration to make his point about multiverses and the size of everything. This use of illustration to explain truth, then, triggered me again.

The simple fact is using illustrations to convey truth bothers me.

A little backstory: Before modern script writing, like alphabets and even syllabaries before them, man often used something like emoji’s to communicate across great distance, time or space. We might call them pictograms or hieroglyphs. And when it came to numbers, some cultures used certain animals to express differences between say hundreds, thousands, and whatever they thought (but couldn’t utter) was bigger than thousands. A cow might mean hundreds, a frog, thousands, and an infamous one to express the largest amount was a stick figure of a man apparently examining the grandness of the starry night with open arms. To our eyes and ears and minds, this fact—this use of pictograms by our ancestors—is intriguing at best, and downright embarrassing at worst. But here we are again, using artist’s renditions to explain “truth”.

So what should happen instead? Here’s an example. If you’re tempted to ask, “Is there a multiverse?” The person you’re asking should say, “That’s the wrong question.” (The physicists would admit that.) The right question is, “Will our children think the idea of a universe is a quaint, but obsolete understanding of things, in the category of earth-as-center?”

And my point here is not physics, but reasoning, dignity in fact, so I need to say that if my children are going to think in terms of multiverse, they’d be fools for doing so because of illustrations. This is no different than how I believe you’re foolish if any part of your atheism or belief in evolution comes from the illustrated sequence of a monkey gradually standing upright.

Same goes for COVID. Is there a new virus or illness or health issue on Earth? Whatever our opinion, we’d be foolish if we based it on an illustration.

Another example of getting at truth properly: I knew I could be a pilot because I saw planes fly.

And another (negatively): Not one writer of the Bible uses an illustration—whether clay, or ink, or tapestry—to persuade either their contemporary audience or us.

I must insist on decrying the use of illustration when it comes to truth because, interestingly enough, the experts keep using it. At its root, an illustration can only ever be truth in the sense that the illustration commissioner, upon reviewing the piece, says, “That’s exactly what’s in my mind.” That the illustration matches his imagination can be true, but that does not move the argument along. The further—and necessary—step of “…and what’s in my mind is truth,” is not contained in or advanced by the truth that the illustration matches the mind. The man behind the imagination still has work to do. The truth debate is between individuals. Talk to me. Use your words. I’ll listen.

Don’t be fooled, folks. If someone pulls out an illustration to answer your truth question, still or motion, assert your manhood or womanhood; give yourself dignity and ask them to use their words.

Lemme Tell Ya What’s Stupid

You want to know what’s stupid? Using visual aids or graphics to describe COVID-19.

You want to know what’s stupid? Boosted pro-vaxxers, who finally got it and now say, “This time everyone’s gonna get this s—-!”

You want to know what’s stupid? Self-policing mask usage/fit.

You want to know what’s stupid? Children declaring that they don’t want to get “COVID”.

You want to know what’s stupid? Adults feeling ashamed for getting COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Variants.

You want to know what’s stupider? Sub-variants.

You want to know what’s stupid? Saying “He/she/they died of COVID.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Fearing death.

You want to know what’s stupid? Fear.

You want to know what’s stupid? Pandemics.

You want to know what’s stupid? Buying and using a home test whose result you know isn’t going to be definitive in your eyes.

You want to know what’s stupid? Signs above sinks that read, “Wash your hands for 20 secs.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Using your eyes to read a test to discover if you feel sick in your body.

You want to know what’s stupid? Using short animated videos to explain/defend/justify the need to lockdown.

You want to know what’s stupid? Bubbles.

You want to know what’s stupid? Worrying.

You want to know what’s stupid? Telling a child to worry.

You want to know what’s stupid? Mankind testing animals for COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Restricting travel during a pandemic.

You want to know what’s stupid? Runs on toilet paper.

You want to know what’s stupid? Emails explaining COVID plans that may change.

You want to know what’s stupid? Feeling like you can (and should) do something to help during a pandemic—like explaining things in emails.

You want to know what’s stupid? Email pronouncements that describe the last two years without using the word “stupid”.

This hasn’t been interesting, strange, complicated, challenging, scary, wild, or any other of the many safe-for-work adjectives.

Lemme tell ya what’s stupid. The last two years—that’s what.

An Example of Tuesday’s Post

The Twin Cities have announced that January 19th begins a new rule for restaurants. On that day you gotta provide proof of vaccination or negative test from last 72 hrs in order to receive service.

It’s being decreed by Mayors, as it is only for the two cities (and mayors are kings of political units called “cities”…)

So now what? Who do the folks affected seek relief from? Another government official? Say, the governor? I doubt that would result in the desired relief.

The politicians are backed by doctors.

So to whom do we petition as we seek relief?

A judge?

Peter Drucker handily explains in his tome on management that the reason written, or even spoken, propaganda never actually works is that eventually people lose faith/ignore it. He suggests that there is just something inmate in us that recognizes the difference between experiences and false descriptions of experiences. “You’re happy! Believe me!”

I can tell you that even 6th grade boys know whether they really beat me in a game of basketball, or whether I threw it.

In any case, this new situation in the Twin Cities is just another example of the definitive reason we can’t stop talking about the pandemic. Who can be called upon to provide relief?