A Soul Divided

Like Elvis, the United Sates has left the building. Citizens and politicians are heating up

US Navy 060417-N-8157C-162 The American flag flies prominently during the World Patriot Tour performance at Hickam Air Force Base By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

US Navy 060417-N-8157C-162 The American flag flies prominently during the World Patriot Tour performance at Hickam Air Force Base
By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Facebook, Twitter, and the airways with anger, acidity, and hatred of each other. The foil is refugees not even at its outer shores. The insanity is that these otherwise reasoned people, including President Obama, are attacking each other rather than face the reality of the world around them. Liberals, who last week were pleading for civility, are calling for the heads of conservatives and conservatives are screaming that leftist liberals are to blame. It is a madness attributed to the death throes of terminally ill dogs. Left untreated, dead and dying curs become a vultures’ feast and so will the culture that changed the world. As we sow the seeds of freedom, we must continuously pull the weeds of self-destruction.

The United States, a great experiment in freedom through rebirth, is considering its next renaissance. A country that chose to march to the beat of its unique drum with a history rife in human failings embedded in noble souls and reflected through its art. It is a country willing to evolve and improve. Renascence, a 1912 poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, in many ways, reflects the soul of the United States through the decades and centuries as it coped with wars, natural disasters, and the pain of those less fortunate.

“…I saw at sea a great fog bank

Between two ships that struck and sank;

A thousand screams the heavens smote;

And every scream tore through my throat

No hurt I did not feel, no death

That was not mine; mine each last breath

That, crying, met an answering cry

From the compassion that was I.

All suffering mine, and mine its rod;

Mine, pity like the pity of God.

Ah, awful weight! Infinity

Pressed down upon the finite Me!

My anguished spirit, like a bird,

Beating against my lips I heard;

Yet lay the weight so close about

There was no room for it without.

And so beneath the weight lay I

And suffered death, but could not die….”

Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

France is suffering as the United States suffered fourteen years ago. This may be a good time to stop and listen to the heartbeat of the world, read a poem, and listen to some music by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Beethoven, or Rachmaninoff. We do not need to fear. It is only the echoes of the Cold War we hear.

Introspective peace corralled into learning yields understanding and productive dialog. Productive dialog excludes blaming and hatred while uniting those at odds and sets the stage for solutions. Solutions are in desperately short supply and high demand. You can and may change the world. ad1_imageDefining terms such as ‘counterinsurgency’ and exploring the legacy of the Cold War on the geopolitical stage is the focus of the next several posts. These posts may add to the dialog by adding ideas that achieve a desired outcome or identifying those that deserve dropping into a ‘failed’ box along with their enabling structures and bureaucracies.

Maintaining a ground, a frame of reference, is vital for our conversation. What is the historical and philosophical evolution of the great experiment called the United States of America?


The Enemy of My Enemy Illusion

“American blood tastes sweeter, and we are coming for you” paraphrases a battle cry

In honor of the people who died in France on November, 13, 2015.

In honor of the people who died in France on November, 13, 2015.

that rang through the streets of Paris on Friday, November 13, 2015. As shots and explosions rang out at Parisian symbols of Western culture, the people cried, and brutality unfolded. Make no mistake, this is a religious war. President Obama may dance around the words all he chooses, but the dance does not change the facts. ISIS and its allies have declared the war to be holy and just, based on its interpretation of Islam. It matters not that the religion is Dharmic faiths, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Rastafarian, or even other Muslims. It matters only that Western Culture and Eastern Cultures exist. Dissenting with the ISIS interpreters of Islam lands even fellow Muslims on an uncomfortable enemies list alongside Western and Eastern Civilization. Denying the role of religion in this war is like sending firefighters to fight the smoke rather than attack the fire. The structure will burn, and the smoke will hang in the air unfettered.

America, The Great Satan

With the Cold War decisions to use the drug trade to help fund secret, off-the-radar CIA ‘low-intensity’ wars and to align with various political factions of Islam evolving america-great-satan-via irantheocratic states with Shariah Law, the United States left its moral high ground floating in the wake of its fear of Soviet Communist expansionism. The Cold War legacy of the U.S. government’s drug trading is evident in shattered families across the United States and in its streets and alleys lined drug hazed with lost souls. Making a case for the U.S.’s involvement in the growth of the second generation drug cartels we fight now would not be difficult. Why and how the U.S. lost its Constitutional soul to trading drugs leads back to the myriad proxy wars it fought at the height of the Cold War: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America. The argument is made that proxy wars have been fought throughout history and, it particular, they kept the Cold War from becoming too hot. Whether or not you agree with the rationale, other peoples and their children died by the millions in proxy wars, and it was the first time the U.S. paid for proxy wars by trading drugs thereby bypassing Congress. In May 2009, Shunya published Namit Arora essay, America, the Cold War, and the Taliban pointed out that: Continue reading

Happy Veterans’ Day

Today, November 11th, is Veterans’ Day in the U.S. It is the day, when, with great threspect, we honor and pay homage to the 7 percent of the population who donned a military uniform at some point in their lives and took care of business. Without the service and sacrifice of that seven percent, the other 93 percent of the population would likely be toast of some description or another. This day is celebrated throughout the country in many different ways. In President Obama’s 2012 Veterans’ Day remarks, he acknowledged that “…Today, a proud nation expresses our gratitude.  But we do so mindful that no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service.  For that, we must do more.  For that, we must commit –- this day and every day -– to serving you as well as you’ve served us….” I agree and wait for that process to begin. It saddens me that the U.S. President chooses to speak in China rather than at Arlington National Cemetery this morning.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

A temporary cease fire agreed to on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 dropped a veil of relief on the WWI battlefields of Europe and kick-started the process that is now Veteran’s Day. The peace accords weren’t signed until the next year, but the quiet of 11/11/1918 marked the end of the ‘War to end all wars’[1]. “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” These words were spoken by President Wilson on November 11, 1919 during the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

In 1938, Armistice Day became a nationally sanctioned U.S. holiday. “…An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I….”[2]

By the 1950s it became clear that war was not going away anytime soon. World War II had begun and ended and the Cold War was off and running in Korea. Tens of thousands of American soldiers had died and millions were wounded. In the 1950s Eisenhower, an old, seasoned warrior was in the Whitehouse. And, soldiers who had seen service in the Civil War and children from soldiers who fought in the War of 1812 were stark reminders that peace was a fleeting dream. Continue reading

“…To the Shores of Tripoli…”

Happy Birthday to all Marines. Thank you for the last 240 years of service. The two

"America's Pride" by Stephen Harris WTC USN(Ret) has been declared public domain.

“America’s Pride” by Stephen Harris WTC USN(Ret) has been declared public domain.

battalions of Continental Marines raised from the Continental Congress’s resolution on November 10, 1775 became a critical link between land and sea forces. There wasn’t much time for the now famous Marine Corps training. About six-months after the congressional resolution, the Marines were testing their amphibious wings with a March 1776 raid on the Bahamas under the command of Samuel Nicholas.

For 240 years, the United States has depended upon the Marines to be the pointed end of the nation’s military spear. These soldiers have gone places and achieved heights few have known. They’ve also paid a heavy price in lives and pain. The Marines are respected, loved, and feared. The reasons why can be found in the excellent decade-by-decade timeline on the Marine Corps’ web page. Marines adapt and innovate. Continue reading

Syria Trick or Treat

The gallery of Cold War Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton

The gallery of Cold War Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton

Poor, poor Josh Earnest. Imagine his scary world as a White House Press Secretary charged with elucidating the Administration’s foreign policy regarding Syria and the Middle East armed only with words from the Obama Abridged Collegiate Dictionary.   On October 30, 2015, Josh shared the President’s decision to send less than fifty special operation force members to Northern Syria to hold the hands of chosen rebel fighters. Just to be clear, the U.S. forces assigned to Syria will not be in combat, they will be accompanying and training Syrian forces as they go into combat. Operationally, these highly-trained nannies will be supervising uncertain children in the world’s biggest House of Horrors. Josh reassured his audience that the U.S. forces could at least defend themselves. Does no one in that big white house remember hearing about the Cold War?

Go ahead, put 50, 1,000, 100,000 pairs of boots on the ground anywhere you want, Mr. combat bootsPresident, just make certain they are not filled with U.S. soldiers until the mission objectives are clear. Do not send American men and women into war zones while you play with semantics and fuzzy logic. And exactly why is it that the United States of America is in the business of overthrowing other countries’ governments anyway? It didn’t work in Vietnam, Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, and other sovereign nations during the Cold War. Overthrowing other nation’s governments was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. More recently, it was wrong for Bush to have done it before you and it’s wrong for you to do it now. By the way, how are Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq working out for you?

What exactly is wrong with reviewing the Constitution and learning from the Cold War mistakes of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II? Each of their mistakes was paid in the blood of American soldiers and civilians. Let us not forget the blood shed by the civilians in the foreign nations the U.S. was helping. If you want war, go to Congress and get one declared. Overthrow the country of your choice openly and with the consent of the governed. Continue reading

Iran—A Blast From The Past

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) affectionately known in the U.S. as the

Iran nuclear deal: agreement in Vienna. From left to right: Foreign ministers Wang Yi (China), Laurent Fabius (France), Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Federica Mogherini (EU), Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran), Philip Hammond (UK), John Kerry (USA)

Iran nuclear deal: agreement in Vienna. From left to right: Foreign ministers Wang Yi (China), Laurent Fabius (France), Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Federica Mogherini (EU), Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran), Philip Hammond (UK), John Kerry (USA)

Iran Nuclear Deal was negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran’s executive leaders. A panel of Iranian lawmakers concluded the JCPOA was flawed but recommended approval. Zee News reported on October 4, 2015, that the Iranian panel found the Nuclear Deal posed a potential security threat and skirted Iranian lawmakers. During the Nuclear Deal negotiations, the executive branches of both Iran and the U.S. bypassed their respective legislative bodies. Skirting Iran’s lawgivers and circumventing the U.S. Congress yielded the same outcome; begrudging approval of the JCPOA by a bunch of grumpy elected politicians.

Through time media and political focus on Iran rises and ebbs depending upon the current administration’s Middle East game plan. Iran’s become a seasonal spectator sport; a gift the U.S. gave itself back in the 1950s. The new season opened with Benjamin Netanyahu’s impassioned speech to the U.S. Congress against the Deal and President Obama’s United Nations subsequent end run on Congress for approval of the JCPOA.

Today’s Iran is all that remains of Persia, an ancient and magnificent civilization. Persia, a



succession of empires, can trace its lineage back 5,200 years. From its pinnacle around 550 BCE, Persia fell to Alexander about 200 years later, then rose from ashes to once again assuming a global leadership position. By the time the Empire finally fell to the Rashidun Muslims in about 651 AD, it was an economically vibrant, culturally diverse nation that boasted connective highways, civilized infrastructure, taxes, and one primary religion—Zoroastrianism, which promoted the idea that its followers “be among those who renew the world…to make the world progress towards perfection”. Continue reading

U.S. Foreign Policy Games

Foreign policy is a strategy employed to deal with other nations. Rules of theForeign Policy is how we work together foreign policy game emanate from the collective imagination of the government. A listing of the rules so the governed could participate would be nice.   For example, Breitbart’s Pamela Geller reported the formation of a global police force to fight terrorism that would operate in the U.S. “… Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced at the United Nations that her office would be working in several American cities to form what she called the Strong Cities Network (SCN), a law enforcement initiative that would encompass the globe.” As Geller points out, this brilliant foreign policy decision bypasses Congress and could override the Constitution in favor of the United Nations. Not good.

October 3, 2015, President Obama expressed condolences over the loss of life in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Doctors Without Borders is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) bringing healthcare to the impoverished around the globe. Interspersed with praises for the NGO, the Commander in Chief demanded a full investigation before he would say more. Excellent decision.   The talking drums are alive with blow-back that the Taliban, consistent with past practice, used this hospital as cover for their running gun battles with coalition forces. War is filled with horrors. A war-horrors ranking system would place schools, hospitals, churches, synagogues, and mosques used as killing fields close to the top.

Continue reading

Arc of the Moral Universe or Wormhole?

For years I believed my fate was tethered to Theodore Parker’s arc of the

The Arc of the Moral Universe (Public Domain)

The Arc of the Moral Universe (Public Domain)

Moral universe bending toward justice. However, objective, empirical evidence indicates that I am condemned to wander in a wormhole with its ends fixed between the 1960s and 2010s. In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King concluded an address to the graduating class at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University stating “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” in quotation marks. President Obama and Time Magazine attributed the quote to Dr. King, but the provenance moves the date back to before the Civil War and a series of sermons given by Theodore Parker.

The 1960s. hoto by Albert R. Simpson, Department of Defense. Public domain

Photo by Albert R. Simpson, Department of Defense. Public domain

The 1960s

What a time it was. Baby boomers came of age. For the first time in history over 50 percent of Americans were under the age of 25 and looking for a cause to fight for (it’s what people under 25 do). Revolutions of many colors were in the air, anti-anything was good. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll took the country by storm. The Cold War was at its zenith. The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, and assassinations filled the headlines. Technology was ascending and science became the new religion. Space travel was no longer the domain of Buck Rogers or science fiction authors. Check out some of the U.S. headlines:

1960: Russia shot Gary Power’s American U-2 spy plane downed over the motherland * An irritated Khrushchev canceled the Paris summit conference * The Israelis invaded Argentina to capture Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi noted for the extermination of Jews (The Israelis executed Eichmann in 1962) * Mao’s Communist China and the Soviet Union split in conflict over Communist ideology * Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar, and Zaire (Belgian Congo) gained independence * Cuba confiscated $770 million of U.S. property * 900 U.S. military advisers were in South Vietnam * 1961: U.S. and Cuba severed diplomatic relationship * Robert Frost recited “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration * Moscow’s Yuri Gagarin became first man in orbit around Earth * Cuba routed the U.S./exiles Bay of Pigs invasion *The U.S.’s astronauts, Alan Shepard and Virgil Grissom, made it into space * Russia’s Titov went one better by orbiting the earth over seventeen times in the Vostok II * East Germans erected the Berlin Wall to keep the East Berliners home * The U.S. detonated a really nasty 50-megaton hydrogen bomb * 2,000 U.S. military advisers were in South Vietnam * 1962: Lt. Col. John Glenn, Jr. was the first American to orbit Earth * Algeria gained independence from France * The Soviets and Americans faced off during the Cuban missile crisis * James Meredith registered at University of Mississippi thanks to protection from federal marshals * Cuba released 1,113 prisoners from the Bay of Pigs invasion attempt * Burundi, Jamaica, Western Samoa, Uganda, and Trinidad and Tobago became independent * 11,000 U.S. military advisers were in South Vietnam * 1963: France and West Germany signed a treaty of cooperation ending four centuries of conflict * Dr. De Bakey implanted the first artificial heart in human; the patient lived four days * Pope John XXIII died and was succeeded by Cardinal Montini, Paul VI * U.S. Supreme Court ruled no locality may require recitation of Lord’s Prayer or Bible verses in public schools * The U.K.’s Profumo scandal broke out * Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the “I have a dream” speech to a Civil rights rally held by 200,000 blacks and whites in Washington, D.C. * Washington-to-Moscow “hot line” communications link opened to reduce the risk of accidental war * President Kennedy was assassinated by sniper in Dallas, TX and Lyndon B. Johnson became president * Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President Kennedy, was murdered by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner * Kenya achieved independence * Betty Friedan published “The Feminine Mystique” * 15,000 U.S. military advisers were in South Vietnam * 1964: U.S. Supreme Court ruled that congressional districts should be roughly equal in population * Ruby convicted of murder and sentenced to death for slaying Lee Harvey Oswald (the conviction was reversed Oct. 5, 1966; Ruby died Jan. 3, 1967) * Three civil rights workers—Schwerner, Goodman, and Cheney—murdered in Mississippi * Twenty-one arrests resulted in trial and conviction of seven by federal jury * Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment * Congress approved Gulf of Tonkin resolution (The Gulf of Tonkin turned out to be a false flag incident) * The Warren Report concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone * The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show * 23,310 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam * 1965: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and more than 2,600 other blacks arrested in Selma, Ala., during three-day demonstrations against voter-registration rules * Malcolm X, black-nationalist leader, shot to death at Harlem rally in New York City * U.S. Marines and Army Rangers landed in Dominican Republic * Medicare, senior citizens’ government medical assistance program, began * Blacks rioted for six days in Watts section of Los Angeles: 34 dead, over 1,000 injured, nearly 4,000 arrested, fire damage put at $175 million * A power failure in Ontario plant blacked out parts of eight states of northeast U.S. and two provinces of southeast Canada * Ralph Nader’s published “Unsafe at Any Speed” * 184,314 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam * 1966: Black teenagers rioted in Watts, Los Angeles; two men killed and at least 25 injured * The Supreme Court decided Miranda v* Arizona * 382,010 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam * 1967: Three Apollo astronauts—Col. Virgil Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cmdr. Roger Chaffee—killed in spacecraft fire during simulated launch * Biafra seceded from Nigeria * Israeli and Arab forces engaged in the Six-day War that ended with Israel occupying Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and east bank of Suez Canal * Red China announced the explosion of its first hydrogen bomb * Racial violence in Detroit; 7,000 National Guardsmen aided police after night of rioting * Similar outbreaks occur in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, Rochester, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., and New Britain, Conn. * Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first black U.S. Supreme Court justice * Dr. Christiaan Barnard and team of South African surgeons performed world’s first successful human heart transplant-patient died 18 days later* 485,600 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam * 1968: North Korea seized U.S. Navy ship Pueblo and held 83 on board as spies * Tet offensive started, turning point in Vietnam War * My Lai massacre * President Johnson announced he would not seek or accept presidential re-nomination * Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated in Memphis and James Earl Ray, indicted in his murder, captured in London (in 1969 Ray plead guilty and sentenced to 99 years) * Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and critically wounded in Los Angeles hotel after winning California primary-he died the next day * (Sirhan Sirhan convicted 1969) * Czechoslovakia invaded by Russians and Warsaw Pact forces crushed the liberal regime* 549,500 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam * 1969: Richard M. Nixon inaugurated 37th president of the U.S. * Stonewall riot in New York City marks beginning of gay rights movement * Apollo 11 astronauts—Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins—took man’s first walk on moon * Sen. Edward Kennedy plead guilty to leaving scene of fatal accident at Chappaquiddick, Mass. in which Mary Jo Kopechne drowned—got a two-month suspended sentence * Woodstock Festival * Sesame Street debuts * Internet (ARPA) goes online * 549,500 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam * Continue reading

Aces and Eights

"Dead man's hand" by Tage Olsin - Own work

“Dead man’s hand” by Tage Olsin – Own work

Aces and Eights are called the ‘Dead Man’s’ hand for the cards Wild Bill Hickok was rumored to hold as he was shot in the back. I smell a market branding guru since black Aces, Eights and Wild Bill did not appear in the same sentence until the 1920s. The term ‘Dead Man’s’ hand didn’t even show up in the vocabulary as a phrase until the late 1800’s according to folks who research such things. Between 1886 and 1903 the Dead Man held a Full House of jacks with a pair of tens, pairs of jacks and sevens or jacks and eights. It’s relevant to the citizen/taxpayer today and tied to the very beginning of the Cold War.

Life’s like a game of cards. You play the hand that’s dealt while learning the game of citizenship and making choices. In August 2013 the Cato Institute published Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes’ White Paper The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013. It’s an eye-opening paper and I heartily recommend that everyone read the entire 52-pages. Tanner and Hughes open the discussion:

In 1995, the Cato Institute published a groundbreaking study, The Work vs. Welfare Trade-Off, which estimated the value of the full package of welfare benefits available to a typical recipient in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that not only did the value of such benefits greatly exceed the poverty level but, because welfare benefits are tax-free, their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.

Since then, many welfare programs have undergone significant change, including the 1996 welfare reform legislation that ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Accordingly, this paper examines the current welfare system in the same manner as the 1995 paper. Welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job, and the balance between welfare and work may actually have grown worse in recent years.

The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour. If Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions, and narrowing the definition of work. Moreover, states should consider ways to shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.

Why does this analysis matter on a site where the focus is the Cold War and its legacy? Because as taxpayers we all contribute to the decision making process about where ‘our’ money is spent. Many veterans in the United States struggle just to live in dignity or even in a house. Many veterans need medical help and some die waiting for the assistance they need. Welfare and the military are not apples and oranges as the same taxpayers fund both. Both are deeply emotional issues. Welfare is ‘for the children’ and the military is for our protection. Continue reading

The Endless War of Taqiyya

Montana’s mountains, Wyoming’s Kortes Dam, and the North Shore of Lake

My hometown Whitefish, Montana

My hometown Whitefish, Montana

Superior provided the backdrops of a childhood that instilled a belief that I could be anything I wanted to be if I just worked hard enough and paid my dues. Running wild and free through these landscapes I believed the truisms of my parents, a pair of hardworking WWII vets.

I loved being the good guys, making a difference, and saving the planet. And except for the ‘saving the planet thing’ it all worked as they promised it would but not for the reasons I thought. My ability to succeed as an average Joe was rooted in me. Rather, the freedom to be me was embedded in the founding principles of United States and its culture. Once I made that earth-shaking discovery, I became a

Starving around global campfires was a learning experience.

Starving around global campfires was a learning experience.

roving troubadour starving around the campfires of several socio-political-economic regimes. Later I became an itinerant engineer supporting the military industrial complex. Now I write for the freedom of others to run wild and free, be the good guys, make a difference, save the planet, and be anything they want to be.

Before I could spell ‘Constitution’, the cultural teaching began. My upbringing was traditional Judeo-Christian, but it is not exclusive. Take a set of values—the Ten Commandments of Christians and Jews, the Five Precepts of Buddhists, the Core Values of Hindus, the Five Pillars of Islam, et cetera-and each of us are implored to use it to become an honorable, ethical person who grows spiritually through practicing our individual belief system. Within the myriad philosophical underpinnings of belief systems run common threads that evolve as we move throughahimsa-in-jainism-buddhism-and-hinduism-2-638 the centuries. Don’t lie, keeps your hands off other people’s stuff, and don’t murder are examples that spring to mind. No matter how imperfect we human beings are in the practice of our various beliefs and value systems, we are admonished to strive for improvement and build on our character. Behold the gulf between Muslim extremists and the Western World. Continue reading