On Benghazi, Clinton, and Trump

•16 July, 2016 • Leave a Comment

From the mixed bag that is Facebook…

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D1253087371369972%26set%3Da.188420787836641.48714.100000061640711%26type%3D3&width=500

(Block quotes are from the same person and in order of reply starting with the original comment on the post; “side” comments from other people are omitted. Spelling and grammar of the person are theirs, not mine.)

For all of the liberals, may you always have TP to wipe your tearful eyes, because nothing will be for free, and all of high society might not be making all of the money that they expected, because what they where promised by lobbiest will not get past….my deepest, sincere, GO TRUMP!!!

It never ceases to astound me how many people will vote against their own self interests.

I hope and pray that our society is not going to want to be part of history like Obama to vote in the first African American to vote in the the first woman who has already been denied her security clearances….this is one crazy mixed up world that we are living in….

I think you’re confusing a proposed bill with a passed and signed bill.

Either way….it is a total debauchery to our Constitution and to our country to even allow someone with this kind of luggage to even be able to run for our Presidency….. She is a disgrace to America and to the 4 lives she allowed to die without help in Benghazi…. Military prison is to good for her….Quitmo Bound as far as I am concerned…

Let me ask you this: how many Americans did Bush allow to die in a war under false pretense? Somewhere in excess of 4000, I believe. I met quite a few who became one of those 4000+, while I was in the Navy (August 2001-August 2006). Remember, there were no weapons of mass destruction. Nor was there a terrorist connection. Although with all our mis-targeted strikes, who knows, maybe we destroyed the evidence we were looking for.

As for who was responsible vs who was culpable for the failures in Benghazi, that’s quite a difference. Even assuming the manpower and funds were available to provide “adequate” security for the compound, just how much of a force would have been needed to delay or repel between 125 and 150 armed attackers? And how about the failures by local authorities (our own personnel) to respond appropriately? When a messenger of the watch on a ship fails to relay a message to the bridge/CIC, is the captain responsible for not acting on a message not received? Or is the messenger culpable for failing to perform their duties? The same principle applies, even if the names for the “actors” are different. She accepted responsibility for her part, not for the failures of individuals on the ground. No matter how many “good’ decisions are made by a leader, people under their command will die in the line of duty; no plan survives enemy contact, intact. The end objectives might still be met, but not according to plan.

It frankly terrifies me that people would vote for someone who will guarantee we have more of this happening. I have no doubts that Trump’s behavior would alienate us world-wide, and only encourage further attacks against us here and abroad. His campaign rhetoric only gives support to ISIS recruitment efforts (they say we hate them all, among other things); I can only imagine how much of a poster-child he would be for their “cause” on that point alone. How many more American lives would that cost? Not to mention, a clear lack of understanding on his part of our most basic Constitutional principles.

If you want to talk baggage, how about his numerous failed businesses, as well as his use of Chapter 11 bankruptcies as a business model? How else has he managed to stay rich, with all those failed businesses? It certainly wasn’t through running successful businesses. How about investigation into fraud stemming from his failed Trump University? He has all the diplomacy of a school yard bully; every time anyone says anything he doesn’t like or contradicts him, he spouts personal attacks against them. He lies so often I have to question his grasp of reality. Then there’s his long term memory issue. Or how about all the violence he personally incited at rallies? On camera? Or is that okay because those people didn’t like him? Even if I was a conservative/republican, I wouldn’t vote for him; I’d hold my nose, swallow my pride, and vote for Clinton (or Sanders, but it doesn’t look like he’s gonna make it to the ballot). The man is a self-serving egotist with no qualifications to be President; I’m more qualified to be President than he is, and I’m a dysfunctional/nonfunctional veteran with anger management issues, severe depression, and asperger’s who shouldn’t be let anywhere near the nuclear football. Let alone near world leaders at the negotiating table.

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Parody Propaganda

•19 June, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The following is edited material, in its entirety, from https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005202

Specific changes are intentionally unmarked, as it is the intention for the reader to not immediately spot the differences, unless intimately familiar with the original writing.


 

[Parody]

“Propaganda tries to force a doctrine on the whole people… Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea.” Adolf Hitler wrote these words in his book Mein Kampf (1926), in which he first advocated the use of propaganda to spread the ideals of National Socialism—among them racism, anti-Muslim, and anti-Bolshevism.

Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hitler established a Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry’s aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press.

There were several audiences for Nazi propaganda. Germans were reminded of the struggle against foreign enemies and Muslim subversion. During periods preceding legislation or executive measures against Muslims, propaganda campaigns created an atmosphere tolerant of violence against Muslims, particularly in 1935 (before the Nuremberg Race Laws of September) and in 1938 (prior to the barrage of anti-Islamic economic legislation following Kristallnacht). Propaganda also encouraged passivity and acceptance of the impending measures against Muslims, as these appeared to depict the Nazi government as stepping in and “restoring order.”

Real and perceived discrimination against ethnic Germans in east European nations which had gained territory at Germany’s expense following World War I, such as Czechoslovakia and Poland, was the subject of Nazi propaganda. This propaganda sought to elicit political loyalty and so-called race consciousness among the ethnic German populations. It also sought to mislead foreign governments—including the European Great Powers—that Nazi Germany was making understandable and fair demands for concessions and annexations.

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Nazi propaganda stressed to both civilians at home and to soldiers, police officers, and non-German auxiliaries serving in occupied territory themes linking Soviet Communism to European Muslimry, presenting Germany as the defender of “Western” culture against the “Judeo-Bolshevik threat, and painting an apocalyptic picture of what would happen if the Soviets won the war. This was particularly the case after the catastrophic German defeat at Stalingrad in February 1943. These themes may have been instrumental in inducing Nazi and non-Nazi Germans as well as local collaborators to fight on until the very end.

Films in particular played an important role in disseminating racial anti-Arabism, the superiority of German military power, and the intrinsic evil of the enemies as defined by Nazi ideology. Nazi films portrayed Muslims as “subhuman” creatures infiltrating Aryan society. For example, The Eternal Muslim (1940), directed by Fritz Hippler, portrayed Muslims as wandering cultural parasites, consumed by sex and money. Some films, such as The Triumph of the Will (1935) by Leni Riefenstahl, glorified Hitler and the National Socialist movement. Two other Riefenstahl works, Festival of the Nations and Festival of Beauty (1938), depicted the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and promoted national pride in the successes of the Nazi regime at the Olympics.

Newspapers in Germany, above all Der Stürmer (The Attacker), printed cartoons that used anti-Muslim caricatures to depict Muslims. After the Germans began World War II with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazi regime employed propaganda to impress upon German civilians and soldiers that the Muslims were not only subhuman, but also dangerous enemies of the German Reich. The regime aimed to elicit support, or at least acquiescence, for policies aimed at removing Muslims permanently from areas of German settlement

During the implementation of the so-called Final Solution, the mass murder of European Muslims, SS officials at killing centers compelled the victims of the Holocaust to maintain the deception necessary to deport the Muslims from Germany and occupied Europe as smoothly as possible. Concentration camp and killing center officials compelled prisoners, many of whom would soon die in the gas chambers, to send postcards home stating that they were being treated well and living in good conditions. Here, the camp authorities used propaganda to cover up atrocities and mass murder.

In June 1944, the German Security Police permitted an International Red Cross team to inspect the Theresienstadt camp-ghetto, located in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (today: Czech Republic). The SS and police had established Theresienstadt in November 1941 as an instrument of propaganda for domestic consumption in the German Reich. The camp-ghetto was used as an explanation for Germans who were puzzled by the deportation of German and Austrian Muslims who were elderly, disabled war veterans, or locally known artists and musicians “to the East” for “labor.” In preparation for the 1944 visit, the ghetto underwent a “beautification” program. In the wake of the inspection, SS officials in the Protectorate produced a film using ghetto residents as a demonstration of the benevolent treatment the Muslim “residents” of Theresienstadt supposedly enjoyed. When the film was completed, SS officials deported most of the “cast” to the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center.

The Nazi regime used propaganda effectively to mobilize the German population to support its wars of conquest until the very end of the regime. Nazi propaganda was likewise essential to motivating those who implemented the mass murder of the European Muslims and of other victims of the Nazi regime. It also served to secure the acquiescence of millions of others—as bystanders—to racially targeted persecution and mass murder.

[/Parody]


 

It is not any level of exaggeration to say that the growing trend of Islamophobia in today’s world presents a clear and present danger to our society. The contextual history of the Holocaust, including the social events in Germany that occurred prior to the start of the Holocaust, has inarguably defined those practices as dangerous and evil. It has been said in many ways, by many people; evil flourishes when good people stand by and do nothing.

Never Forget. Never Again.

Thoughts on Revamping Our System

•23 November, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So, supposedly we have the best democracy in the world. At least that’s what we keep telling ourselves as a “whole.” If that’s true, then why do we also have career politicians? At what point did the title become more important than the duties? I can’t honestly say I know at which point, though frankly I feel the “when” is irrelevant. What I do know, is the old adage “power corrupts.” Now, it may not always hold true in all cases, but frankly I believe that anyone who seeks power is at a very high risk of becoming corrupted by it.

We’ve seen several elected officials recalled in fairly short order. Why? It boils down to this simple fact: they utterly and completely failed to uphold their promises and claims. They initiated policies and actions that not only were “nowhere near” the topics they used to gain votes, but in some cases diametrically opposed to their campaign promises. Now, that makes me quite happy to see. The part about them being effectively yanked out of office, that is. However I still have quite the list of issues with the workings of our government at this time…

While I don’t pretend to have all the fine-point details worked out on this idea, I do have a general concept. I think the process of election needs to change. Not the election part, but how a person’s name can get printed on a ballot. Draft them from a truly random “lottery.” Screen them, put them through the wringer of psychological evaluation. If they “want” to be on the ballot, they’re automatically disqualified. If they don’t want to be on the ballot, great, let them hope they don’t get elected to office. Rinse&Repeat until an “acceptable” candidate turns up. Remove the names of those who did not pass screening from the lottery system. Other “dis-qualifiers” should include family/relatives who are, or have been, in any elected office. No political dynasties. Require that any campaign donations come from American citizens. If a company wants to donate, they may NOT be in any way shape or form an international organization. I don’t care if they’re one, or five hundred steps removed from a foreign company. If they are not a “purely American Owned&Operated” company, they may not participate in any portion of our selection process, including backing a candidate. Increase the term lengths, but just like the President’s office, put term limitations in place. No more career politicians please. Our country can’t take much more of them. According to the 2010 Census, there are 308.7 million people living in the United States. That should be more than enough to provide a suitable candidate for every elected position.

Having been the President of the United States does not excuse war crimes…

•17 November, 2011 • 1 Comment

But that’s just a thought. Though maybe it’s a thought that needs go regain some traction. As much as it may seem a “distractor” from other pressing current events, the bottom line is that when it mattered most, we as a country, did not hold our leaders accountable. We let a potential war criminal go unchallenged, simply because “we had other things to worry about” at the time. George W. Bush needs to be charged as a war criminal.

Our country’s own Declaration of Independence asserts that all people are equal: rich or poor, minority or majority, etc… Therefore, it does not matter “who” commits a crime, or even perhaps treason. What matters is that supposedly a criminal will be tried and either determined innocent or guilty. And even with our presumption of innocence until proven guilty, it still means that the judicial process should be pursued against him. No veils of secrecy, no “in the interests of national security” loopholes to block it. If we really are “the best damn country on Earth” as some like to claim, then we are obligated to expect and maintain the highest humanly possible standards in all areas. Especially those that we claim to be our “defining qualities” as a nation. George W. Bush allowed or sanctioned criminal behaviors and actions, during a time of war, by our own military and other “security” agencies. Such choices demand that he be tried in a court of law.

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding? (via Simply Marvellous)

•22 September, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By no means my own work, just something I came across on Freshly Pressed. But does it really matter about who or where? Maybe someday soon enough people can get behind this idea, and get it from one to two days a year. It’s probably just wishful thinking on my part, but I’d love to be proven wrong.

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding? So, here we are – 21st September 2010 – the international day of the peace, recognised annually by all member states of the UN (which incidentally includes Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran) for the last ten years. But who knew? Certainly if you followed me on any social media network you would know because I've been bombarding all my connections with the messages of, not-for-profit and founders of Peace Day, Peace One Day for the last few weeks but oth … Read More

via Simply Marvellous

Yes, I have my eGo, I don’t need yours

•17 September, 2010 • 2 Comments

So, it’s nearly a week now, since I started vaping instead of smoking. Did have to revert back to analogs for a day, while waiting on my first order of e-juice to show up. That wasn’t very fun. God cigarettes taste horrible now. I’ll stick to my eGo, thank you.

Anyway, as I’ve started discovering, the vaping/e-cig community (we prefer the term vaping instead of smoking, and Personal Vaporizer over electronic cigarette) can be a prickly bunch. One of my two orders didn’t arrive as planned, and I griped about it on the forums in the appropriate “review” area. Now in fairness, I apparently broke some unspoken bit of etiquette in doing so, by posting about the issue without waiting for possible resolution with the vendor in question. Of course, before anyone else had even posted a reply, I posted a copy of the email I received from the vendor about said issue.

To summarize so far, I griped, contacted vendor, and posted vendor’s response. The response was good in my opinion and I was content to leave it at that, figuring that anyone else who read it would’ve ACTUALLY read the initial post along with my follow-up on it and realize that I was no longer upset at said vendor. At that point, I was just upset at having paid nearly twice the cost of the items for overnight shipping that turned out to be 2nd day through no direct fault of the vendor. I was upset at the postal service about that.

But, since I always feel the need to “correct” or “clarify” my stance when people make assumptions about what I mean by something, this drew out into a bit of a minor furball. It would also seem that its bothered me a bit more than I just realize, since I’m here writing about it after it’s otherwise been over with. So, back on topic… Quite a few people (including my friend whom suggested I get on said forums and get myself a starter kit for vaping) seemed to think I was “in the wrong” in general, due to the specifics of the event.

At this point I should probably mention that the FDA is trying very hard to “crack down” on PVs in general. Something that none of us are happy about, since we feel like the FDA wants to give us two choices: go back to using tobacco, or use various Nicotine Replacement Therapy/products (most of which have an abysmal <15% success rate). Now, I get that the 4-7 chemicals contained in the liquid (e-juice) used for PVs (nicotine optional, since you can get non-nicotine juices) may be harmful to a person. But can you honestly say that 4-7 chemicals vs the god-knows-how-many (many of which are KNOWN carcinogens) in processed tobacco isn’t an improvement? Even if the FDA’s “ideal” would be for ALL smokers to quit smoking due to the health issues smoking can and will cause in the long run? All I can say is that in regards to overall health, I’ve been feeling MUCH better over the past week, than I have in the past month. And the only change in my surroundings/behavior has been to stop smoking cigarettes. It’s not rocket-science to figure out why I’m feeling better.

Okay, back on point yet again…

So, some of the people on the forum start piping up in the thread, defending said vendor. I have no problems with that, in fact it’s great to see happen. It helps me know that my problem was a hiccup in the grand scheme of things with that vendor, rather than “business as usual.” So, I mention that as long as I’m happy with the order once it arrives (it did, and I am), that I will still plan on purchasing supplies from that vendor. Now at this point you might think that the people “on the defense” would have a reaction along the lines of “Oh, okay. Cool deal.” But no… while it didn’t ACTUALLY escalate to this point, I could feel things approaching the “threshold” of people going “rabid guard-dog” on me over the whole thing (including previously mentioned friend).

And to think, it all started over a consumer exercising their right to say “Hey, I don’t think that’s good service, you should fix it,” when having a reasonable expectation of getting what was paid for (products, and shipping costs for the vendor to ship said products). Did I suddenly shift into a slightly different universe without knowing it? Did retailers suddenly become not accountable for the methods used to ship their goods? Or was this all just people’s stress levels hitting a brief critical-mass, since all of us vapers are at risk of having an order seized by the FDA/having a favorite supplier go under due to having their supply orders seized by the FDA?

So, I suppose if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole event: don’t say anything that’s not nice, unless I REALLY mean it, about a vendor in a “negative review” forum section. At least in the vaping community. Or about the USPS.

E Cigs

•10 September, 2010 • 1 Comment

Well, it’s been a while since I was last active on here. Though, I figure I’ll share some about my new “toy.”

I just received my electronic cigarette (e cig), a Joye eGo. Now, bear in mind that I have never owned one of these before. I was able to order the starter kit for about $60.00 (they range from about $50 to $75, depending on make/model and vendor), which is about what I spend per month on rolling tobacco and filter tubes. And to be clear, outside of replacement parts, the starter kit is a one-time expense.

So, the kit includes two batteries, a charger for said batteries,  two atomizers (the vapor-making device), two empty cartridges/mouth-pieces, and 5 pre-filled cartridges. The batteries come partially charged, which is nice. In fact, the kit pretty much is setup to let you start “smoking” right away. Now, at this point, I won’t get into the chemical makeup of the “juice” vs tobacco smoke. I’ve already heard several different takes on this, and I personally don’t think the claims that e cig juice is any worse for a person than actual smoking. If nothing else, based on what I’ve looked up so far, there are fewer known carcinogens in the vapor produced from an e cig, than are present in tobacco smoke. (I am not endorsing one over the other with that statement, just stating my observations)

So, back to the kit: After installing the first cartridge, I gave the unit its first try. It’s quite a different experience compared to smoking tobacco. Not bad, just different. I’ve also noticed I can get quite a head-rush off a drag from this thing. That’s something I haven’t experienced with cigarettes in quite some time. Of course, it could also be that the nicotine concentration in the vapor is higher than what I’m used to. So, there is definitely a need for some “trial&error” in using one of these devices.

As far as long-term costs go, compared to normal cigarettes, I can only speculate and project. Though I do speculate that in the long-run, using an e cig will be far cheaper to maintain, compared to tobacco. The atomizers have an expected 4 week life-span, and run about $7 to $10. The “juice” appears to run anywhere between $7 to $15 for a 10ml bottle of fluid. Fluid strengths seem to range from 6-8mg (low strength), 12-16mg (medium), and 20-24mg (strong). While I haven’t done any heavy investigation into it yet, a person can also get the compounds to make their own custom mixes at different strengths.

Overall, I think this has been a solid investment on my part. But to be clear, there are no “health benefits” to using an e cig. They just seem to be “less bad” than tobacco. So, while technically not a health benefit, I’m willing to say that “less bad” is still a good thing.