December 5, 2013
The Federal Government is still trying to manage the American economy in spite of the fact that there is nothing in the US Constitution that authorizes them to do so. But we all know that politicians want power and are taking power regardless of the lawfulness of their actions.
The economy is too complex and there are too many minds trying to make steering corrections for the Federal Government to do any good trying to manage the economy. Think about it, you make thousands, tens of thousands, of economic decisions each week. Most of those are passive decisions; i.e. you decide to not even consider buying cosmetics today, or even this week. And there are over 315 millions of you (and me). So, 215 million times about thirty thousand is one huge number. And even using modern supercomputers that is probably outside the ability of human beings to manage, even in gross. You have a better chance of managing your part of the economy than some stranger who has never met you and has no idea what you want or need. In his Foundation series Heinlein predicted a science of psychohistory which could predict the actions of the human population as a whole. I doubt that something like that could ever happen, and even if it could present technology and science is not presently capable of doing anything like that.
On top of that, there are too many politicians who think they know what they are doing and meddle with what the Federal Reserve is trying to do. Think of a blind driver steering a car and other blind people keep trying to make their own steering decisions and fight for the wheel. And, make no mistake, economists are just as blind as politicians on how to control the economy. It has been said that economists can describe what has happened and give a good reason for why it happened the way it did; but they are just as bad as anyone else at predicting what the consequences of any decision are.
In every country where central planning has been tried, it has failed. Some bureaucrat cannot decide what you are going to need six months in the future. Bureaucrats working for the government do not have any stake in the outcome of their decisions. A company worker can get fired if the decisions that that worker make hurt the company. A bureaucrat stays in office regardless of how bad their decisions are. The civil service rules protect those workers from any action against them unless the supervisor involved has a pile of paperwork that shows that the bureaucrat is so incompetent that there is no choice, beyond any doubt. And even then it is not a guarantee.
When you make a decision on buying something or not, you and the person doing the selling have a stake in the outcome. You want the item, the seller wants your money. The two of you have to decide where the point where each is satisfied is. A government bureaucrat has no stake in such a decision and can make a decision that takes no account of either party. And bureaucrats tend to consider outside groups to be more important than you or the seller would. As I said, the bureaucrat has no stake in the decision and thus can be swayed by some group that has no business influencing your transaction. After all, if they had been able to show you why you should consider their viewpoint, they wouldn’t need to use the bureaucrats to force you to do what they want you to do. It is easier to get a bureaucrat to force you than it is for them to try to convince you.
So, government does not have the tools, cannot have the tools, to manage the economy; government is too open to outside influence and can only force you to do something or not do something regardless of whether that action meets your needs or wants or not. Government has no Constitutional authority to even try to manage the economy.
December 2, 2013
Happy New Year!
For Episcopalians and other liturgical churches this is the start of the Church Year. The cycle of readings for the Daily Office and the Sunday readings changes over and we start the new cycle. So, again, Happy New Year.
I had the crud last week, two days of it. I hate the crud, it isn’t a cold or the flu so I really don’t know what it is but I always describe it as the crud and doctors and nurses seem to know what I mean. This was over last Wednesday and Thursday. Having the crud is a crappy way to spend Thanksgiving. Plus, I had to miss my Wednesday appointment with my physical therapist. And I don’t have that many sessions left with him. And, also, my arm is not getting better, indeed I think it is getting worse. My problem, at least one of them, is that I don’t move my shoulder except when I do my exercises and they hurt a lot, more than they used to. I hope I can get back on track and keep my shoulder from freezing up, I hate the idea of my shoulder freezing up.
I went out on Black Friday just to see what it is like, I’ve never tried to shop on Black Friday before. Granted, I didn’t ;try going out at “Oh Dark Thirty” and didn’t go out until later in the morning but it didn’t seem like much. I didn’t buy much, just a couple of calendars but the crowds weren’t that much greater, if at all, than normal. The phrase “Oh Dark Thirty” is military speak for real early in the morning; you know, before the day shift starts. “Oh Dark Thirty” can be any time from midnight to around five thirty or six AM, about the time the day shift people normally get up anyway. Usually that is when military exercises happen. Convenient for day shift, usually, but not the other shifts. Funny how that worked.
Last Tuesday I was usher for the funeral of a member of the congregation. Among other things, he was a drag queen and another member of te profession attended the funeral in full costume. I had the stupid, silly, and perhaps offensive idea of asking him the question: “When you are doing a performance and you have to use the rest room, which one do you use?” I didn’t ask him because while I can make bad jokes (and I love bad jokes) I can usually avoid being stupid.
This is going to be a busy week for me. For laundry I am probably going to have to do six loads of wash and either two or three loads in the dryer. This is going to be expensive since the washers in my apartment complex cost $1.50 and the dryers cost $1.00. So it looks like this is going to cost me $11 or $12. Which may not seem like much in the greater scheme of things but this is laundry. I intend to attend the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting this Tuesday. I started attending them earlier this year, obviously I could not attend while in the hospital and rehab for my arm. But I find them interesting. I would like to be more involved with the workings of the county government but I can’t just park myself in their offices and interfere. I have to take what I can get. So I attend the, usually, weekly meetings (this one is the last one for this year, calendar not church). And I have my weekly physical therapist appointment. Plus, I hope to get back to working on Magic in the Monastery again and get that finished. Then I can get back to the space series and perhaps get those finished as well.
I was usher at church this morning, and since I took the collection to the safe I forgot to get a copy of the bulletin for myself. I have tried to use the church website and take the prayers off of there, but the Windows 8.1 update does not allow me to open a pdf as a web tab, it opens the pdf as a full screen image. That being the case, I can’t read the pdf and then type the names into this post. So, if you wish to pray for those on the parish prayer list, please use last weeks since the changes would be minimal anyway. The one change that I can remember is please pray for George Mehl who recently died. He was a member of a reunion group I belong to. I read some months ago that Viet Name vets are passing away at about 75% of the rate of WW II vets, who are 20 or more years older than us. And it would be interesting to find out the death rate of WW II vets twenty years ago when they were about the age of us Viet Nam vets.
What I am writing: I got some done on Magic in the Monastery and I hope to get more done.
What I am reading: The Iliad. The translation I have is one from prior to WW II so the language is not as easy to read as it could be. I’ll do The Odyssey.
What I’m watching: I really haven’t been watching anything consistently, just whatever DVD I happen to decide to watch.
November 28, 2013
There was a report recently, within the last month, of a man who had his bowels searched eight times in a hospital merely because the police said he clenched his anus suspiciously. And the hospital is trying to collect from him for the procedures!
Police agencies with arms rivaling the US Army; searches where you can’t see the warrant until too late; government agencies seizing your money and property just because they want it – and you have to prove that it isn’t drug related; schools paranoid about aspirin; and more. These are the consequences of the War on Drugs. Progressives got various drugs outlawed at the end of the nineteenth century because they knew what was best for you, the same reason that alcohol got effectively outlawed. Both Prohibition and the War on Drugs were and are failures. Unless the intent was to increase the government’s hold on your life – in which case, they were a success. Well, Prohibition ended up a failure since it was repealed but it still caused an increase of government control over everyone’s lives. Remember, when government takes power from you, it never gives it back even if the taking was unlawful. Even if th unlawful action has to be rescinded, the government will find a way to retain that power.
Government run schools teach children to obey the government, even when it is wrong. In the Common Core schoolbooks there is one English book that, as an everyday lesson, instructs the children that they must always obey what the government tells them. I am paraphrasing here but I wonder how many other such commands still exist in that and other textbooks. And this is nothing new, I can remember such lessons when I was in elementary school all those many years ago. So we are being taught to mindlessly obey the government and when the government abuses us we just take it because we have been trained to obey and not question.
The Founding Fathers would be ashamed of us. And they would probably be leading another war on a tyrannical government.
Any time I read the US Constitution I cannot find anything that authorizes a war on drugs; nor can I find anything that allows the government to not show you the warrant authorizing their search until later. Drugs getting flushed down a toilet? So what? Liberty is more important than evidence and the convenience of the prosecution. The government has no right to just barge into your home or anywhere else just because of a war on drugs. There are costume shops that rent police uniforms, can you tell the difference between a costume and the real thing? How can you protect yourself from a home invasion by someone pretending to be the police? As it stands, you can’t. And this is all because of War on Drugs. If I was any good with chemistry and explosives I would rig my home with a large bomb and a dead-man switch. If the police charged into my home I’d activate the switch and demand to see the warrant. If they shot me, likely, the bomb goes off. However, I am no good with chemistry and explosives so this is just a daydream. I wonder what the governments would do if their invasion teams started getting blown up like that? Probably find some way to outlaw people owning switches or something similar.
The War on Drugs has corrupted and is continuing to corrupt government at all levels. There is no valid reason for the government to be involved in such a war.
November 25, 2013
What a day this has been. The week hasn’t been too bad but today was something else. I had hoped that I would be talking about my first Chapter meeting and how I started down the road to becoming a canon but no. I woke at 5 AM in hopes of getting to the shuttle on time after a good breakfast. Instead, I had to rush to make it to the shuttle and I had a small breakfast at McDonalds. Because I was rushing, I forgot to check my blood pressure this morning.
So, anyway, I got to the shuttle on time and got to Sky Harbor Airport at about 9:15 AM but got off at the wrong terminal so I had to take the airport shuttle back to the right terminal. Then I took a light rail to the transit terminal and got lost. Not that there was a lot of reason to get lost but I was looking for a shuttle to Tempe when I should have been looking for another light rail train which would take me to the proper transit terminal. So I took the right train once I learned my mistake and got off at the right stop and took the Tempe Orbit shuttle and made it to church. I was in time to take part in an ole Episcopalian custom: Arrive just in time for the Gospel reading. First time I have ever done that since I was a child and my parents were late because of car troubles in Indianapolis. It was cold and snowing and the Chevy wouldn’t start but the Studebaker did, once they were able to get it past the Chevy. That was in the late 1950s!
Anyway, there was a Baptism and the child made upset noises when the water was being administered (I couldn’t see, due to where I was sitting, how it was administered but I think it was poured over her) and I mentioned to the Rector something my first parish priest used to say, that he was glad that children made a fuss because that was a sign that the Devil knew what was coming and knew he couldn’t stop it.
Now, the last bit of trouble that happened. There was no Chapter Meeting because everyone, except the Prior, was at a Retreat in Tucson. I had been told about it and forgot. And I could have attended because while normally I am with friends all day Saturday, yesterday we didn’t meet because two of them were off camping. I could have attended and met the others.
Last Wednesday I attended my physical therapy at the VA. I’m not doing as well as I should and I know why. I am not doing my exercises as I should. All too often I skip a session or part of one. I know that this is why I’m not progressing as well as I should and I want to do so but I just forget. So my shoulder hurts all day and I have trouble doing various things. Try getting into a shirt without being able to use your dominate arm. All of which should inspire me to do my exercises but I still forget. Part of my excuse (and I know how little this is worth) is that I am in constant low-level pain and that is tiring. So, given the least excuse, I collapse into bed.
This coming Tuesday I will be an usher at the funeral of someone I don’t know and don’t think I ever met. But, as the old joke goes, if I don’t attend their funerals, they won’t attend mine. Not that I expect to die anytime soon, I’m only sixty-four years old and I expect another twenty or thirty years at least; unless this diabetes gets me.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Dhira Mahoney, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Pat Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & MaryKay Zeeb, Matt & Mandy Douglas, Judi Gibbons, Mary Gould, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Carol Matty, David Shaw, Chuck & Ellen Single, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amanda & Matt, Amy, Phil & Vince, Barry, Nick, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Judy, Karl, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rob, Sid, Thomas; for those who have died especially Alex A. Viola, Richard L. Vazquez. I also ask your prayers for those Christians being persecuted and murdered in Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere. And, also, if you would please, pray for me.
What I’m writing: Still working on my Arlun campaign. Not working on much else.
What I’m watching: I finished off Mythbusters at least the ones I own so far. I haven’t decided what next. I cancelled my Netflix subscription because the update to Windows 8.1 on this computer has made it impossible to watch anything on Netflix.
What I’m reading: HALSEY’S Typhoon by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. A very good look at the typhoon that slammed into Halsey’s Third Fleet and what happened then and afterwards. If military history interests you in the least bit, I recommend this book and I hate making recommendations.
November 21, 2013
As I mentioned before I don’t think that the police departments are connecting with the general population. Indeed, I don’t think that, given the present conditions, they CAN connect with the general population. The police departments are disconnected by technology and attitude. When you see a police officer in his / her patrol car look at what they are doing. It is quite likely that they are looking at something inside their vehicle and not the road. Most, if not all, police agencies have placed computers in the patrol vehicles in order that information from higher up gets to the patrol officer without getting garbled. So, the officer looks at the computer screen to see what is on display. What is on display might be information from the officer’s higher-ups, it might be data on a car that the officer asked about, it might be crime data or any of a large number of other things. What is dangerous, and often unlawful for the ordinary citizen, is routine for the police officer. Driving distracted. A patrol officer should have his / her eyes outside of the vehicle, watching traffic and the general area, around 99% of the time. I doubt that it even makes it to 50%.
But governments cannot afford to have the numbers of police officers needed to walk the streets. Salaries, and I include benefits here as well, are too high for governments to afford the numbers required to police effectively without putting smaller numbers in patrol cars. And, yes I know that some governments will have to put police officers in patrol cars or something similar due to the area each officer has to patrol on a daily basis. My point here is that while it would be better to have one officer routinely patrolling a small area, say one square mile or maybe two, the number of officers would bankrupt most governments because the money needed to pay those officers is prohibitive.
Why are police officer salaries so high? One word, TAXES.
If you pay $3 for a loaf of bread (and I know your prices will probably be different) approximately one-third of that cost is direct taxes to the Federal or State government plus some costs due to unnecessary regulations. Thus salaries for everyone have to be higher to pay for those costs, which increases some of those costs such as employer paid Social Security, Unemployment, etc. This will settle at an equilibrium but that equilibrium will be higher than before. Thus police salaries are high enough that governments cannot afford the numbers needed.
Police agencies have, over the years, grown an “Us vs. Them” attitude. You are not friends and neighbors, you are THEM and need to be watched. The attitude of the police seems to be: You did something wrong just be existing. Granted, I am arguing from an extremely small data set here, but part of that set is widespread reports of the complaints people make after dealing with the police.
So, what is the solution? Ideally we should be able to place police officers on walking beats but police agencies (along with everyone else) are too tied up with technology. And that technology is useful but just not always. Police officers need to somehow connect with the general population face-to-face not by Twitter or whatever. Police officers need to see the general population as real people not as enemies to distractions.
Unless the police and the general population can come together the situation will get worse. The general population will become little more than targets for the police.
November 18, 2013
Last week was a busy one for me. I attended a Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting, the monthly meeting of the Pima County Libertarian Party, the monthly meeting of the Election Integrity Commission and met with my friends for gaming on Saturday. Now with the time spent on the bus to attend these meetings these took up a huge amount of time. Not the gaming with my friends of course, I rode in a car there and back. A whole day was taken up with cleaning my apartment and it is pretty clean compared to what it was before. My friends and I filled the dumpster and there is still probably a dozen large trash bags waiting to go out. These are sitting in my living room so I see them several times every day. With my bad shoulder I had to wait for someone else to leave the lid open on the dumpster, so now I can start taking some of those bags out, one at a time and throwing them away. I do not look forward to that.
My friends came over last Thursday and worked all day for two of them and half the day for two others. I paid them because I knew how much of a job it was going to be and this was a nice way to help them in their present difficulties. Two of the four are in school, one is unemployed and having to fight for his unemployment, and the last one is recovering from mental illness. I seem to collect friends who are bat-shit crazy (if that phrase offends you, you have my sincere apologies), when I was the Commander of my VFW Post, my Adjutant was a former Marine Long-Range reconnaissance troop in Viet Nam and is certified crazy, he has the paperwork and is, in a strange way, proud of it. But he was a hard worker and he gave good advice, usually.
I live inside the city limits of Tucson but I am more interested in the government of Pima County. I have been attending the County Board of Supervisors meetings for some time now, except for the last two months. Last Tuesday was the first meeting I attended since the end of August. I have attended some City Council meetings, but not recently, and don’t think much of them. I guess my interest in county politics is why I joined the Election Integrity Commission, I got a nice little nick-knack to show I am on the Commission but that isn’t why I did join. I didn’t know that the County did that. The BOS meetings get interesting quite often. Usually some rezoning is the cause for the hubbub but Supervisor Miller can be counter to chime in on how bad the roads in the county are. And she is right. There was an editorial in the local newspaper where it was said that the county has the fifth worst roads in America. The editorial was to justify an increase in the State Gas Tax and as much as I do not approve of taxes and raising taxes, the County Administrator made sense in his editorial. I like the various Supervisors, I chat with them, not all just some each time, when the meeting is over or during a break and they seem to be “just folks” but they are politicians and projecting that image is natural for them.
The local bus service, Sun Tran, is having trouble with their new payment system and it really helped mess with my Friday. I put some money on my payment card through the internet and it didn’t load and the amount I tried to put on the card ($20) was charged to my account twice which resulted in an overdraft fee. But almost nothing went right last Friday, it was so bad that when a store clerk said “Have a nice day” late in the afternoon I told her that it the rest of the day was perfect it would still average out to be a crappy day. I have had to pay cash for my rides instead of using the payment card ever since Friday morning (which was the second bad thing to happen, the first being that I overslept, but I hadn’t gotten to sleep until about 4 AM in spite of going to bed around 9 PM previously; and I was intending to get up at 6 AM) and tomorrow I’ll have to spend cash again to get to where I can get the problem corrected. I’m thinking that, since I will be downtown already, I should just go to the headquarters of the Tucson Police Department and file a petty larceny charge. Last Friday I would have gone to the headquarters of Sun Tran with my battle-ax and started splitting people from crown to crotch. Not that I could actually do that with my shoulder, but I wanted to. Tomorrow I’ll probably have calmed down enough so that I’ll just demand that they pay me for the overcharge fee my bank charged.
If you wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Oma “Sam” Guard, Dhira Mahoney, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Pat Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & MaryKay Zeeb, Matt & Mandy Douglas, Mary Gould, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, David Shaw, Chuck & Ellen Single, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amanda & Matt, Phil & Vince, Barry, Nick, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Judy, Karl, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Rob, Sid, Thomas. Please also pray, if you will, for all who have died either in combat zones or elsewhere, and for all animal companions. Also, please pray for those in need in the Philippines that aid gets to them in time. Also please pray for those Christians being murdered and persecuted in Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere.
What I’m reading: GURPS books and Trekmaster by James B. Johnson.
What I’m watching: Victory at Sea and when I find it, whatever was in my queue at Blockbuster. Cleaning my apartment means that there is a lot of stuff that is not where I expect it to be.
What I’m writing: Still doing work on my Arlun campaign when I can.
November 14, 2013
I don’t have much respect for the Tucson Police Department because of my personal experiences with them. I believe that they do not respect my property, my life or my rights (in increasing order of importance) based upon my personal experiences with them since 1988. I don’t know much about other police departments except what gets reported. But police officers are human and humans tend to be pretty much the same. Yes, I know that there are variations but in basic emotional make-up humans are pretty much the same.
So, because police are human I believe that they want to know that their work is important and they like the idea of being able to use their authority on those who do not have that authority. Very few humans do not like the idea of being able to lord it over others. Robert Heinlein had his character Lazarus Long say (in Time enough for Love and in the collections of saying from that book Notebooks of Lazarus Long) that In a mature society civil servant equals civil master. And to a large extent this is probably true.
If anyone enters a police force in order to be a pacifist they are crazy. Police forces are the embodiment of government force. When you get stopped for a traffic violation the police officer does not politely ask you to do anything, he / she demands it of you. As I mentioned last week, it is almost as if you are the enemy. Decades ago the police walked a beat and knew the people on that beat. Now, I doubt that the various officers know anyone outside the police force. Do they attend neighborhood events? Do they join, and be active in, the PTA or other such organizations? From what little I have been able to gather, police officers do not participate in much that is not police department related.
So, I say that police officers love the law, or rather they love laws. Laws give them the ability to boos you around. Laws make them somehow special and important. And everyone loves to feel important, right? So politicians write enormous numbers of laws, which make them important (in their eyes at least) and the police officer gets to enforce them. And in doing so, the police officer gets the adrenalin high of bossing you around.
Decades ago, when the police walked a beat, they knew the people as people. Since they were dealing with people they saw most days the could establish a bond with them and become friends with them. The citizens were not the enemy. And because of these bonds, they could handle small problems before those problems grew into big ones. If some kid, for example, was acting up the officer knew the kid’s parents and could talk to them without having to write a report. Other problems could be dealt with in the same sort of manner.
Today, if that kid acts up the police, since they are dealing with the enemy or at least someone who they do not know as a person, are likely to respond with violence of their own. If someone is standing outside with a knife or gun visible the police cannot talk to the individual and reference shared experiences and calm the individual down or talk to the individual effectively because they know how that person thinks, what the problems that person faces are, and so forth. Instead they contain that individual with force and if any talking is done it is done by a “professional” who has to start from scratch when dealing with the individual. So, the individual gets shot more often than they should.
A quick summation of what I am trying to say is that police forces are increasingly becoming an occupying army. They don’t know who you are, and don’t care. They act on the human desire to feel important and use their position to, in essence, bully you.
November 11, 2013
Here I am again, and I thank those of you who are following me. I hope that I inspire you.
Sunday night and I just finished ripping several of the music CDs I own into my computer. This computer has Windows 8.1 and I do not like the way that it stores my music. On my old Windows 7 machine there were a few categories that made sense (such as Classical, World, Soul, Country, etc.) and the albums were stored in those. Now each album is stored more-or-less individually. And there are a few glitches such as I ripped Mahler’s 8th Symphony and because it was on two discs it got stored in two separate folders. So, if I want to play that from my computer I have to remember which is he first disc and play it then hunt up the second disc and play that. Oh well, I’ll keep going and try later to get it organized with some sense.
I wasn’t feeling too well last week so I actually fell behind on my exercises for my shoulder. I think I am worse off than this time last week. I saw the physical therapist at the VA last Tuesday and got some equipment to help my exercising – a pulley system so that I can raise my right arm and exercise the shoulder passively and a stretchy rubber “scarf” that I can use to create a sideways pull on my arm as I push it forward, and I have to resist that sideways pull again to exercise my shoulder. I see the therapist again this Wednesday. I hope that I can at least get back to where I was before. It is amazing how fast the shoulder deteriorates without exercise.
One thing I have noticed lately is that my typing is getting bad. Obviously I have corrected the mistakes before publishing these posts but I notice that far too often I am either hitting two keys at once or missing the right key completely. So far, in just over 300 words here in this post, I have made four typing mistakes. I would blame it on my age but I can’t be getting old, can I?
Tomorrow is Veterans’ Day here in the USA. A day to honor all veterans, past and present, alive and dead, for their service. As a member of the VFW I had (what I call) a patch shirt made. This shirt, long-sleeved and white, has the American flag, the Pow / MIA and my Life Membership patches sewn on. I wore it to church along with my VFW uniform cap and several people thanked me for my service. A far cry from when I returned from South-East Asia and was spat at and had people pull their children away from me. The kids coming home from Iraq / Afghanistan aren’t getting much of that but in many ways they are getting worse than those of us who served in SEA got. I don’t know of anyone who served as many combat tours as some of these kids have served. No wonder the PTSD rates are so high.
For those of you who wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop pof the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & MaryKay Zeeb, Matt & Mandy Douglas, Mary Gould, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, David Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amanda & Matt, Amy, Phil & Vince, Barry, Nick, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Judy, Karl, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Rob, Sid; for those who have died especially Ian Fisher, Forrest W. Robertson. I also ask that you pray for those Christians who are undergoing persecution and murder in Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere; especially those who were recently punished for attending Mass and drinking Communion Wine.
What I’m reading: GURPS books and Nero Wolfe again.
What I’m watching: Mythbusters still.
What I’m writing: I’ve done a little on my Arlun campaign but not much else and not much of that either due to my feeling sick.
November 7, 2013
Police SWAT teams have not been around for very long, just since 1964 and police departments have been around since ancient times – albeit not continuously. But the explosive growth of SWAT teams is the result of the “War on drugs” instituted by President Nixon. Now SWAT teams are used whenever possible.
Long ago the police walked around the neighborhood and knew most of the people in that neighborhood. They were ably to establish trust from long contact and interaction. As the area a single officer had to patrol grew the police went to cars. There is very little interaction with the people of the neighborhood when you whizz by at 30 MPH, even less if you are going faster. But since the “War on Drugs” the police are increasingly separate from the rest of the population and are foreign to them in many ways.
The toys of the police, evidenced in the SWAT team gear, also separates them from us. I can’t afford a tank or a bazooka or any of the other neat toys the SWAT team has. And in any confrontation with them I have no chance and very few options other than submit or die. And these playthings are increasingly used by the various police departments in order to justify having them and to justify the expensive training needed to operate them. One estimate that I found when searching the web says that SWAT teams are used between 100 and 150 times a day in the USA. As of two years ago, there were an estimated 1200 SWAT teams in the USA.
Founding and funding a SWAT team is expensive. Even if the team gets “surplus” military gear the training alone can be a huge part of any department’s budget. Add in maintenance on the special vehicles and the special weapons and SWAT teams get to be a burden on any police department. So, the people in charge, perhaps afraid that their toys will be taken away from them because of the costs involved, use SWAT teams whenever it seems likely that they might be needed. And when these teams get deployed, there is a different mindset concerning civilians. When you are driving your tank up to bash in someone’s door those people inside aren’t your neighbors, they’re the enemy. Maybe your kids play on the same school sports teams as the kids you are about to bask but once in your tank, they aren’t kids THEY ARE THE ENEMY!
And the enemy isn’t a citizen with rights an enemy is the enemy – someone you have to eliminate as a threat. Don’t worry about civil rights, the enemy might get away or perhaps flush that marijuana cigarette down the toilet. Smash! Eliminate! Destroy!
Are there times when a SWAT team is needed? Before answering that, consider how long e survived without them. SWAT teams are expensive toys and need to be used in order to justify the costs involved. And increasingly, according to reports, SWAT teams are being used for increasingly trivial matters. It may be, in the near future, that a SWAT team tank comes through your front door because you were late in returning that library book by a day or so. And while that is a joke now, I expect that it won’t be if things keep going the way they are.
November 4, 2013
Here I sit typing away with a sore shoulder. I have almost constant pain in my right shoulder as it heals from the surgery that put the rod into y arm so that the break can heal. Constant pain is tiring. Plus, since my appointment with the physical therapist last Thursday I now have a new set of exercises to do to return full range of motion to that shoulder. I have a pulley system that I hang over a door. As I pull down with my left hand my right hand gets pulled up. I am supposed to hold it there for 5-10 seconds and then let my arm down. Five repetitions with my elbow bent 90 degrees and five with the elbow straight. I am to do this twice a day, at least but twice a day is enough for now. Plus I have a rubber-band type thing that I hook into the door and then hook the other end on a broomstick. I stretch the band so that as I push the stick straight away from me the band tries to pull it off to the side. I have to keep it straight. Ten to twenty times with the band pulling to my right and the same to my left. And this is once a day. The physical therapist I spoke with said that it may take a year or more for me to get full range of motion back. Plus all the exercises I had started when I was in the rehab facility.
The day before I met with the therapist I met with the surgeon who did the operation. He is pleased with the amount of recovery I have made so far. I spoke with him about my pain levels and when I got pain and it may be that I will have to undergo another surgery to take the rod and screws out since I sometimes have pain after doing my exercises, not just “achy-stretchy” soreness but real, albeit low level, pain. I do not want to have another surgery given what problems I had before the last one. However, we shall see.
I see another physical therapist this coming Tuesday. The one I saw last Thursday is leaving (has left by now) the VA hospital and has gone to another hospital. So, I get transferred to another therapist who might have a completely different idea of what to do for my shoulder. As the old saying goes: Ain’t life fun?
I almost never wear the sling anymore which is a good thing. And when I remember I swing my right arm at least as much as my left while I am walking. It is too easy to just let it hang and if I do that it is only going to get worse.
You can tell when you are getting old, all you talk about is your ailments and health problems. Well, I do have health problems so I am getting old. However, I may get old but I refuse to grow up.
For those of you who read this post and wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Thomas Rice, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Matt Woodruff, Brian; for those in need especially Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & MaryKay Zeeb, Mary Gould, Francisca Jarvis, Tony Jones, David Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amanda & Matt, Amy, Phil & Vince, Barry, Nick, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Sid.
I also ask you to pray for all the Christians who are persecuted or martyred in Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere – including those who were recently whipped in Kenya for taking part in Communion.
What I’m writing: Working on Arlun still, and still maps.
What I’m reading: GURPS books and some Nero Wolfe.
What I’m watching: Still going through Mythbusters and the DVDs I get from Blockbuster.