“So what can I, personally, do about this mess?”

That’s a question I’m being asked more and more, as the dismally partisan, sectarian and one-sided impeachment proceedings play out in Congress;  as crisis after crisis (our all-too-porous borders, homelessness, the economy, etc.) grabs the headlines;  as people feel more and more powerless to actually change the rot that they see all around them in our society.  “What can I, personally, do to change it?” I think there are several things one can do:  but they all have to begin with accepting the situation as it is, and ourselves as we are.  It’s no good saying, “Things should be this way”

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Terrorist chickens coming home to roost?

A few weeks ago, I noted that ISIS terrorists imprisoned in the Kurdish areas of Syria were caught between a rock and a hard place. Syrian security forces are also helping to round up or kill any ISIL prisoners who had recently escaped from Kurdish prisons. Everyone involved here, especially the Syrians, Iranians and Iraqis, have a compelling reason to prevent ISIL members or family members from getting free. The Kurds had asked, without much success, for more help, especially financial, to deal with all the ISIL personnel they had captured. Moslem and non-Moslem nations were not eager to take back their

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Pain can do that to you . . .

I was saddened to read that a Belgian athlete has chosen euthanasia as the only way she could see to end her pain. Belgian paralympian Marieke Vervoort, who won gold and silver medals in wheelchair racing at the 2012 London Paralympics and silver at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, died by euthanasia Tuesday, officials said. Vervoort, 40, suffered from incurable, degenerative spinal pain. She said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro three years ago that she only got about 10 minutes of sleep some nights and described the pain that caused others to pass out from just watching her. She said sports

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Fake news – shooting sports edition

“Don’t believe everything on the Internet” is an overworked statement, but remains as true as ever.  It was proven again by a 2017 forum post, which is making the rounds in the shooting community at present (example). This guy and his co workers were discussing whether a steel toe boot would withstand a round from a .45, so what do do you think would be the best way to test this theory? YUP, you guessed it. Good thing he wasn’t testing his hard hat. There’s more at the link, including pictures of the perforated foot. The only thing is, it’s not

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“Journalists are prostitutes”

That’s the title of a very enlightening essay at Lew Rockwell.  It describes the life and experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, who explains just how journalists are “bought” and paid off by the powers that be.  It’s long, but very interesting.  Here’s an excerpt. Now to the subject of lying media. When I was sent to the Iran-Iraq war for the first time, the first time was from 1980 to July 1986, I was sent to this war to report for FAZ. The Iraqis were then ‘the good guys’. I was bit afraid. I didn’t have any experience as a war

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The past was another country, indeed

One of the most famous quotations from L. P. Hartley’s novel “The Go-Between” is this: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. I’ve been forcibly reminded of that while reading “A Builder of the West:  The life of General William Jackson Palmer” by John S. Fisher, published in 1939. General Palmer (brief biography here) was a Civil War officer, later awarded the Medal of Honor for his battlefield courage.  He was the founder and first President of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which has already featured in one of my Ames Archives novels, “Rocky Mountain Retribution“. 

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If at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie again

The brouhaha over a (very tenuously) alleged “assault” by Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, reported by the New York Times over the weekend, is utterly ridiculous and nonsensical.  It also exposes that newspaper (yet again) as a hollow shell of its former self, a propaganda organ rather than a serious journalistic endeavor.  Consider: The alleged “victim” of the “assault” has no recollection of it ever occurring, and refuses to discuss it.  As another reporter noted, “Omitting this fact from the New York Times story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory.”  The newspaper later updated its story to reflect this, but by then

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Restoring marriage

The problems inherent in marriage are discussed in an article at National Review.  The excerpt below highlights many of the issues they discuss, and I’ve highlighted one paragraph in bold, underlined text for further discussion. Who or what is to blame for this unraveling of marriage and the complete breakdown of trust in Rob’s world, and in the world of so many white, working-class people like him? Economic instability is most immediately evident … Less visible but more dramatic is the role of social alienation. At least two generations have now come of age in the aftermath of the divorce revolution, and

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Letting the camel’s nose into the [moral] tent

There’s an old Arab proverb that warns, “Never let the camel get its nose under the tent, because the rest of the body will follow“.  It’s a variation on the Western proverb that “if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile“.  I daresay the concept is common among almost all cultures.  In politics, they call it “moving the Overton window“;  starting with discussion within a socially accepted range, then moving the discussion to gradually include more and more extreme elements, getting people accustomed to the new concepts.  In due course, society will accept as common or normative things that

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It depends how you look at life

I was somewhat taken aback by a British survey claiming that four out of ten people were unhappy about life choices they’d made. According to a survey of 2,000 British adults commissioned by UK charity consortium Remember A Charity, four out of ten people regret how they have lived their lives so far. Spending too much time at work and not traveling enough were among respondents’ biggest regrets. Other common regrets among those surveyed included neglecting their health and not spending enough time with their family. Many wished they had been a better parent to their children. All of that regret seems

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