September 29, 2014

16th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , at 12:31 am by gruundehn

The weather here in Tucson looks like it is breaking, away from summer heat and into fall coolness. Normally the first really cool evening and night happens around Halloween but the temperature starts dropping around the middle of September and it is happening. The summer rainy season has been good but we didn’t get enough to overcome the shortfall from the winter rainy season deficit. Living in a desert does tend to focus one on the rainfall.

I watched the 49er’s / Eagles game because I don’t like the 49er’s and wanted them to lose but they didn’t. Why don’t I like the 49er’s? I am a Bengals fan and the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl twice, only to lose to the 49er’s. The Eagles just had no offence in the game and their defense and special teams couldn’t do enough to overcome the good game the 49er’s played. Since the Bengals had a bye week, at least they didn’t lose. When I wear my Bengals cap or my Bengals shirt in public I get a lot of comments about how good the team is doing. After all the years of bad teams this is nice.

My arm is still not healing right, but when I met with the surgeon I argued that the bone massager be given more time. I do not want to have another surgery on my arm. If this other surgery does happen then the rod presently in my arm gets taken out and a tube gets put on my arm and a bone graft gets taken from my hip and used to try to get the bone to heal properly. I am going to try to avoid that if at all possible and if I can’t avoid it, then I will put it off as long as I can.

I haven’t been sleeping very well this last week. I bought some sleeping pills a few weeks ago and try to avoid using them but I have had to use them on occasion. I don’t like them because even after a night’s sleep I am drowsy for the rest of the day. I hope that I can get back to normal sleep sometime soon.

One bad thing about my erratic sleeping pattern is that I am having trouble keeping to a prayer schedule. Since my sleeping has been sporadic and full of shorter sleep periods, almost long naps, when I try to meditate I fall asleep and again I am not getting my prayer schedule done as I should. With some luck and a better sleep pattern this will end soon I hope.

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 the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Toni Sue Brooks, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Joyce Henderson, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Wendy, John & Lu Pipentacos, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Ken McClain, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Dorothy & Marilyn, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Sister Joan, Joel, Karl, Leah, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini, Emma; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Gerald Buckler, Eva Pipentacos, Sandra Chamberlain; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for Leah Still, the 4-year-old daughter of the Cincinnati Bengals player who is fighting cancer. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homeland, or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world, including those recently murdered here in America.

What I’m watching: I just bought the complete Animaniacs show and I’m watching the shows one at a time.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma mysteries and various religious books.

What I’m writing: I haven’t been able to get much writing done because of the erratic sleeping pattern I’m going through but I hope that I can get some serious writing done this week.

September 25, 2014

Privacy

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 1:17 am by gruundehn

Ages ago people had very little privacy. Indeed, civilization could be described as the advancement 0f the concept of privacy for individuals. Look at old homes, at least four hundred years old, and notice how little privacy there was especially for the lower classes. Servants slept wherever they could and only the upper classes had private bedrooms, after the invention of the chimney made fireplaces practical.

Now, with cameras everywhere and government claiming the right to search whatever and whenever they please, and corporations gathering data on the individuals for whatever reason they see fit to collect data for, even if it is no reason other than they can, privacy is returning to the old days. If the present trend continues soon you might as well just eliminate any barriers to snooping and live in public. Have the walls of your home made of glass, have your clothes transparent, have your sex life out in public, take your bath / shower on the street corner. All this in the name of security. But it doesn’t work, it does not make us more secure – it makes us more vulnerable. With so much of your life available to the government or corporations anyone can access it and use it against you.

Wanting privacy does not mean you are doing something unlawful or even shameful. You might be making a surprise gift, you might just want to be alone, or any of a group of legitimate reasons. There is no reason for your life to be an open book for voyeurs to peruse.

Cameras checking for red light runners are notorious for inaccuracy and there is now a welcome movement to remove them. Cameras watching over an area to deter crime do not do so and when used to try and determine who the perpetrator was, often cannot give a clear enough image at the proper angle to be of use. And if they are place where they might have the proper angle to show the perpetrator they are easily disabled and become useless because wires are cut of the camera itself is damaged to the point where it cannot be useful.

We need privacy and especially privacy from the government and corporations. It is your life, not theirs. Disabling cameras would be vandalism but advocating their removal is a civic duty, at least in my opinion. Are there cameras watching you in public? Of course there are, the movement to deny you your right to privacy has been going on too long for there not to be cameras in public watching you. Go to your local government body that controls those camera and demand their removal as they violate your rights. Does a company have cameras watching you the entire time you are on their property? Ask the corporate headquarters to show that those cameras justify their existence. How many crooks are caught using them?

It is your life and even in public where it could be said, and has been said, that you have no expectation of privacy, you have a right to not be spied on by a bunch of voyeurs. Don’t let a bunch of voyeuristic perverts dictate to you when you are allowed to have privacy.

September 22, 2014

15th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 1:41 am by gruundehn

I did not sleep well last night. I woke around midnight to go to the bathroom and couldn’t go back to sleep for several hours because it felt like I had a piece of popcorn stuck in my windpipe. I haven’t had popcorn for months so the feeling was not because of real popcorn. I coughed and drank water and everything else I could to make the feeling go away. Finally it did and I went back to sleep around 5 AM and then overslept badly. So instead of a solid night’s sleep I got a short nap of a couple hours and a longer nap of maybe four hours. Needless to say this threw off my schedule for today.

I am getting frustrated with the Pima County Board of Supervisors. It seems the only one I can respect is one of the four who represent other districts. I can, and do, like the five of them but I am losing respect for them as a whole and for four of the five as individuals. The latest incident involves the office budget of each supervisor. Four of the five make charitable donations either to outside agencies or to county departments but they do this without a vote of the Board as a whole. A vote had been made but to budget that money for office supplies, staff, etc. I believe that taxpayer money cannot be spent without a vote by the Board as a whole to spend that money for that purpose; not let each Supervisor pick their own charity and donate taxpayer money on the sly as it were. The original idea on the agenda was to cease the practice immediately and that died without a vote. Perhaps because the Supervisors get too much publicity (and perhaps campaign donations) from the practice. It is a pity that any challenger cannot also decide to allocate taxpayer money like this for publicity purposes. Anyway another Supervisor moved, and the motion passed, to allow the practice to continue but to collect the data and publish it once a year, at the end of the fiscal year. If it comes to it I will gladly use that information to press criminal charges once I discover which laws are being broken.

I am troubled by memory problems. I am forgetting things that I shouldn’t forget. I forget to take my medicines and my blood sugars suffer. I forget to strap the bone stimulator on my arm and perhaps I will end up having to have another surgery, and a worse one at that. And just last week I confused the cockpit layouts of the B-48 and B-58. I don’t want to be losing my memory, especially I don’t want to be losing it in a way that screws with my health – my diabetes or my healing arm. I’m going to have to do something about this memory problem; if I can remember to do it.

I watched the Bengals win their third game this season, now they are 3-0. They remind me of the heady days of Kenny Anderson. I hope this good streak continues.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, and Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katharine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Toni Sue Brooks, Catharine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Joyce Henderson, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Wendy, John & Liu Pipentacos, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Alice Bower, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Dorothy & Marilyn, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Sister Joan, Karl, Leah, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini, Emma; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Gerald Buckler, Eva Pipentacos, Stephen Byus, Michael J. Donahue, Charles C. Strong; for animal companions who have died. And I also ask your prayers for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homelands and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma Stories and some religious books as well.

What I’m watching: Other than news stories it is primarily football.

What I’m writing: Still working on Magic in the Monastery and not progressing very fast.

September 18, 2014

In Jail in Mexico

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 12:36 am by gruundehn

Marine Andrew Tahmooressi is in jail in Mexico on weapons charges and has been for months. He brought a few guns into Mexico in violation of their law. He claims that it was an accident and a photo of the crossing point supports his claim that he could not see the signs for the last turn-around which would have kept him out of Mexico if he had taken it.

For those who are too young to remember it, there was a song in the early to mid ’60s entitled “Send my Mail to the Tijuana Jail.” Because back then you had to prove that you were innocent your guilt was presumed and the Mexican Government imposed harsh sentences. You could receive long sentences for meaningless crimes, much like the War on Drugs in America today. My Father, when we were living in San Diego in the early ’60s was visiting Tijuana and fled to the border at high speed and in violation of most of the traffic code when he realized that a pair of Federales were coming for him. He had no idea what he was going to be charged with but he knew that as a “rich Americano” he was a prime target (my Father was an electrical engineer), so he fled. The Mexican judicial system is reformed, in theory, but the fact that Mr. Tahmooressi is still sitting in jail waiting for his trial leads me to believe otherwise.

Indeed, Mr. Tahmooressi has been in jail longer than many who were convicted to the crime of bringing guns into Mexico. What usually happens is the individual is convicted and for one reason or another either the sentence is for time served or the convict is allowed to leave for some reason and never returns to Mexico (as was probably expected at the time). The prosecutor and judge in this case are being “hard-ass” for some reason. Perhaps because Mr. Tahmooressi was caught in some lies during the investigation. Given what I know about the Mexican judicial system I’d lie too if I thought it would help get me away. Like Mr. Tahmooressi I have to take medication, he for PTSD and I for diabetes. Since the Mexican Government has refused to let him have his medications, I could expect a painful death from uncontrolled blood sugar, with blindness and neuropathy and a host of other issues coming first. Mr. Tahmooressi is lucky in that PTSD is not a progressive disease as I understand it.

The American government has done nothing for this Marine, nothing for a citizen. And yet look at the millions of dollars spent on criminal immigrant children and families this last year. Toys, food, clothing, shelter, legal advice, and so forth are showered upon these who have broken our laws (not that I agree with the specific laws in question) but will do nothing for a citizen who is in trouble and who aid would cost almost nothing in comparison.

I urge you to put pressure on our government to do something. If you live near a Mexican Embassy or Consulate I urge you to contact them and put some pressure to get Mr. Tahmooressi released and his case finished. I also urge you to buy nothing made in Mexico, nor visit there until this issue is resolved.

September 15, 2014

14th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 1:59 am by gruundehn

Sunday night and I’m feeling nice: I watched the Bengals-Falcons game (I recorded it and watched after I got home from church) and my Bengals won. The team is now 2-0. A lot of people do not like Andy Dalton because he hasn’t won a playoff game yet. I have been a fan since the start of the team and my favorite quarterback is Kenny Anderson and it took him a while to get the team to the heights so I’m not that worried about Andy Dalton. I’m just glad I can afford to subscribe to NFL Sunday Pass on Direct TV and watch the games. I’ll watch all the games this season which is something I’ve never been able to do before. I like it.

I got an email from the Guardians of the Community of Solitude CAM with a request for information about my spiritual journey to this point. Well, it was one of the three but I gather my information will get shared. So far everything is looking good and I am pleased. I just wish I had someone to help me with my spiritual journey, I am kind of sorry I never married. A spiritual director is a good idea but having someone with me to help me over a small hump in the middle of the week, or the middle of the night, would be nice. However, there are others who are not married I presume since the Discernment Questionnaire covered the idea. I’ll get through this and go along this path to the end.

The Election Integrity Commission met and some progress was made on some of the issues we are dealing with but it is slow since not everyone sees the issues the same and the Board of Supervisors seems to look for reasons to ignore us. I can understand why the one member quit in frustration.

Other than that, last week was pretty uninteresting. I watched some music videos on the internet and decided that the addition of pictures (or a mini-movie) does increase the enjoyment of the music. Now I just have to find music videos of the sort of music I enjoy: Gregorian Chant, symphonies, Scottish Bagpipes, classic Rock and folk music. I doubt that there are many videos for those genres, if any. I guess I’ll just have to learn to like Jazz and more modern Rock. Come to think of it, I don’t know if there are any jazz music videos. I have been wanting to study jazz a bit to see if I like it but didn’t think to look if there were any jazz music videos while I was searching last week.

However, that is a side issue – I need to get back to Magic in the Monastery and my upcoming D&D 3.5 campaign. It is just too easy to decide to look at just one more video. I need to focus more, I did it while I was on active duty and I can do it now.

A question about the B-58 was asked of me today and I had to really think about the answer, and I got it wrong at first. I had to look at pictures of the B-58 to be sure. My memory isn’t as good as it should  be and I worry a bit about that. However, I don’t see my VA doctor until the end of October and I have other issues to raise then. I might raise that one if I remember to write it down and take it with me. I don’t mind getting old but I do mind getting decrepit.

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 at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military, especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Wendy, John & Lu Pipentacos, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Dorothy & Marilyn, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini, Emma; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Eva Pipentacos, Brian K. Arsenault; for animal companions who have died. I also ask your prayers for the millions of people who are being persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma for the most part, those are some interesting stories. I am also reading various religious books.

What I’m watching: Not much, news and football and the occasional DVD and that is about it. I’ve been too busy watching music videos – those things are addicting.

What I’m writing: I did get some done on Magic in the Monastery.

September 11, 2014

What is a Christian Leader

Posted in Politics, Religion tagged , , , at 12:04 am by gruundehn

Reading the New Testament I notice the Jesus gives forth some very strict requirements for being a leader amongst his followers. To be a leader amongst his followers you cannot be a traditional leader, you must be a servant (slave). Since slaves had no power to give orders, especially to their masters, I take from this that a Christian Leader is not to give orders either. Persuade not dictate is the rule for Christian Leaders.

But far too often someone having the position of Leader in a Christian Church uses that position to dictate and command. Anytime a Christian Leader says to the congregation: “You must” then that person should no longer have any position in the Church but far too often, they retain that position and perhaps even enhance it. Instead of trying to influence people and guide them into doing what Jesus would expect of them, they take the easy way and dictate. You can see it when someone puts up a billboard with a command from Scripture or a Council of Bishops makes a pronouncement setting forth what must be done on any issue.

The problem is that rarely is Scripture unambiguous and when it is unambiguous, or nearly so, it is often contradicted by some other passage. And in the New Testament there is very little in the way of real moral guidelines on specific issues; just the three basic Commandments: Love God, Love your Neighbor, Love one Another as I (Jesus) have loved you.

So, what to do? What moral strictures should we place upon ourselves and others? Very few I think. The Ten Commandments are useful as a starting point but most of the code found in the Old Testament is out of the question, even as guides. Those strictures were put into place, I believe, in order to differentiate Hebrews from various other nearby cultures. The Council of Jerusalem was wise to eliminate that purity code and the other restrictions on personal behavior. And the Council of Jerusalem was composed of disciples who had known Jesus and understood his teachings better than probably anyone. We don’t need to force menstruating women outside of the camp (city) because they are unclean, we don’t need to avoid dealings with Gentiles (we are all Gentiles now it seems) and so forth. The Mosaic Code was set forth at a specific time in history and for a specific purpose and is no longer applicable to living a life with God.

But various Christian Leaders try to impose that Code, stating that it shows God’s desires if not God’s commands. These Christians use this outdated Code in order to establish themselves as rulers of a part of the population. Since they can find nothing in the New Testament to support their claim of authority they adapt the Old Testament to claim the4 authority of Moses or one of the other Patriarchs and rule. And that isn’t Christian.

In the Episcopal Church the local priest in charge of the parish is called a rector – a word derived from an old word for king. But the rector is not a king, although I have known some who thought they were, but an administrator for the most part. When they give a sermon they rarely take an absolute position but usually offer advice and persuasion. I have been in the more fundamentalist type of church wherein the preacher does act more like a king than servant. Were I to go to one today I believe that it would be the same, the same rules being laid down and the same dictates given to the congregation. And I would find that person just as much a Christian leader as some atheist.

September 8, 2014

13th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 12:23 am by gruundehn

Well I have taken a couple of steps along my path with the Community of Solitude. I have been reading the Rule and the Customary of the Order and now I am hunting a spiritual director. The Rector of Grace-St. Paul’s, Father Steve Keplinger, suggested a specific member of the congregation and I met him this morning and we discussed the matter. He attends one Sunday service and I attend the other so it was lucky that I was able to meet with him. Anyway, he suggested a few others and I had an idea for someone. I then spoke with Brother Chuck, our Franciscan 1st Order, and he suggested someone that the first person had also suggested. That was the nuns at the local Benedictine convent close to GSP. I’ll have to attend a few of their open services and see how I fit. I also described the Community of Solitude to0 a few of the congregation members, maybe I’ll print out the Rule and Customary and take a few copies to church next week, probably not though. I did refer people to the website though, so there is that.

At church today I announced that I was now a Postulant in the Community of Solitude but I got drowned out by a child who decided to scream at that moment. Such is life.

This week coming up the Election Integrity Commission will meet on Tuesday instead of Friday the 19th so I’ll lose a change to chew out the Board of Supervisors. Oh well, life goes on.

Other than that, I don’t have a lot going on this upcoming week so maybe I’ll get some writing done. I’ve gotten too lazy as regards my writing and need to get back on track. Magic in the Monastery is not going to write itself. And neither are any of the other stories I have in mind or have started.

I need to get my life back under control, my diabetes is out of control, my arm isn’t healing properly, I’m not getting my writing done, I’m not getting my studying done. I have about 40 books that are in my reading list and I am not making progress on that. I am focusing on the Sister Fidelma books but I have other subjects I should focus on and am not doing a very good job at that.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine that Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katharine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kit Bret Harte, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Margaret Neal; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Christians, Yazidis, and Jews who have been murdered, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims around the world.

What I’m reading: The Sister Fidelma books and some religious books.

What I’m watching: I watched the Bengals play the Ravens and enjoyed the win but otherwise I just watch the occasional news program.

What I’m writing: I didn’t get anything done last week. I need to get cracking.

September 4, 2014

War is an Ugly Thing

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:56 am by gruundehn

I spent twenty years on active duty and have close brushes with war. Like most military, active duty and retired, I hate war. But unlike some people who think that war can be abolished by “playing nice” I think I understand human nature enough to realize that there will always be those who are willing to use violence to get what they want. And pious talk and intense longings for non-violence will do nothing to stop them. Either we have to eliminate that part of human nature or accept it and sometimes use violence to stop violence.

It is good that war is so ugly otherwise we would grow too fond of it. These words are often attributed to Robert E. Lee and if he did not say them whoever did say them was a very wise person. We should never accept war as the first alternative but a last resort; usable only when all else has failed. To those who say that war has never accomplished anything the standard response is: Nazism. World War 2 eliminated Nazism as a major threat to the peace of the world. It exists today only as small groups without power and little chance of obtaining power since history still remembers what the Nazis were like in power. It is only in the Middle East where Islam, with its close ties to Nazism, has a chance of bringing Nazism back to power or something near it. This is not to say that Islam is the same as Nazism, just that Muslims allied themselves whenever they could with the Nazis because of several aspects in common such as genocide of Jews and an authoritarian mindset.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed moral and political values that say nothing is worth fighting for is much worse; for people who hold such values cannot be made free or kept free except by the exertions of those better than them. I forget which philosopher I am misquoting here but the idea is sound.

Many “moderate” Muslim leaders clearly state that Islam has nothing to do with Democracy because Mohammad led as an autocrat and did not allow anything close to democracy in his governance. And since Mohammad is the person that all Muslims try very hard to emulate, democracy, being rejected by him, is to be rejected today. And yes, some Muslims say that they are for democracy – if they are, then it is without theological foundation.

War may be on the horizon and coming closer. A war that will match, if not exceed, the scale and effort of WW II. Radical Islam is a serious threat to our existence as a democracy, as a republic, as a caring people. Look at the way the Qur’an and the hadiths depicts Mohammad and realize he is depicted as a liar, thief, murderer and pedophile. And this is the sort of person that faithful Muslims want to emulate. This is the sort of government that they want to establish over us. We cannot let this happen. And religious faithful are rarely, if ever, talked out of fanaticism. Talking, even with proof that they are wrong, merely hardens their position. Some few might be talked out of fanaticism but those numbers will be meaningless compared to the numbers that will be strengthened in their fanaticism.

We will need to fight sooner or later, and it is best to get it over with. A full-scale war with rationing, the draft, and all the other hardships we undertook during WW II. We need to awaken and mobilize and end this as soon as we can so we can enjoy peace again. Negotiations will not work when one side refuses to budge from their position. War is coming, let it be on our terms.

September 1, 2014

12th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 4:33 am by gruundehn

This is later than I usually do my Sunday evening posts. I’ve been reading some of the Sister Fidelma mysteries and lost track of time. I enjoy unusual detectives such as Sister Fidelma, Brother Cadfael, Nero Wolfe, Hercule Peroit, etc. I have some Sherlock Holmes but never read them anymore, I’ll probably get rid of them as I finally get around to reducing my personal library from over 4,000 books to a smaller selection that I will read and re-read. I don’t know how many books will be left when this is done, but there are a lot of books that will be gone and a lot of space opened up on my bookcases.

The high point of last week was my visit to the kidney doctor. A couple of years ago my kidney showed up badly on one test, if I remember right I was not filtering out and returning to my body a certain chemical, salt I think it was. But all subsequent tests have shown normal so it looks like that one test was just a glitch. How many more of these follow ups appointments I will have I don’t know but at least one in five months or so. But what made it the real high point (NOT!!!) was that I had to have some blood tests done and the technician had trouble getting blood from me. I have a phobia (that is what others call it, I think it is perfectly normal) about needles and it is getting more severe as time goes by. Anyway, a second technician had to come and draw the blood. It was over an hour before I recovered – normally I recover once the needle is in and the blood is being drawn.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors returns to their normal schedule – the first three Tuesdays each month – and I am going to have to speak out again on the election equipment they intend to buy. I’ll have to write out what I’m going to say tomorrow so I get my points across without wandering and wasting my three minutes.

I am now part of the Community of Solitude, and have started my (I hope) lifelong journey down that spiritual path. One nice thing about modern communications is that I can be at home and have a conversational relationship with another person hundreds if not thousands of miles away through the miracle of email or Skype. So I have my solitude and community at the same time. This should be interesting.

If you wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, and Steve and the other clergy at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katharine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Catherine Brown, Jane Click, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ray Hickey, Chris LaBour, Gwen McCaffery, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Philips, Doree Ramey, Barbra Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Emma Aird, William Brown, Steve Fahrendorff, Nicholas H., Marilyn Heath, Ray Hickey, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Nichole Wiggins, Cassie, Flo & Joe, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rebecca, Ruth, Sid; for animal companions in need especially Poochini; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Christopher W. Mulalley, Matthew I. Leggett; for animal companions who have died. I also ask yor prayers for a young Afghanistan veteran who needs surgery for a medical problem obtained in Afghanistan but who cannot have the surgery due to another medical problem also from his service in Afghanistan. I also ask your prayers for the millions of Jews, Christians and Yazidis murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma mysteries and various religious books. I try to get some D&D reading done but the other two categories are the vast majority of what I read.

What I’m watching: I’ve been watching a documentary series on WW I.

What I’m writing: I got a little done on Magic in the Monastery but if I don’t get more done I’ll forget what I want to do with it.

August 28, 2014

Vetgerans and Immegrants

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:36 am by gruundehn

I saw a political cartoon that made me want to weep because of the truth of it. Perhaps you’ve seen it. It showed a school bus labeled “Immigrant Children” speeding past an older man in a wheelchair labeled “American Veterans” with his hand out thumbing for a ride.

A word of disclosure here – I am a veteran – twenty years on active duty in the USAF.

I get my health care from the VA Medical Center here in Tucson – the Southern Arizona VA Medical Center – and I will state quite clearly that the treatment I get is first rate. I have not always gotten an appointment quickly but I have always been told why and I have not been put on some secret waiting list. When I get told that I will have to wait, I have been given an approximate date for my appointment and that is kept. But there are thousands if not millions of veterans who cannot get such good care. And the reason is political will. There are almost no members of Congress who are veterans and obviously President Obama is not a veteran. As a percentage of the population veterans are shrinking every day, the end of the draft back in 1973 ensures that. But America owes a lot to its veterans and has made a commitment to them. A commitment to care for them who have born the burden and their widows and orphans to use President Lincoln’s phrase. A commitment made 150 years ago, a commitment in place for over 63% of the life of this country. A commitment dishonored today.

I served in the Viet Nam War, albeit not in Viet Nam itself – if I had, then many of the problems I have now concerning my disability rating would be gone, or never have had existed. If I had set foot in Viet Nam proper, the VA would presume that my ailments are service connected relating to Agent Orange. However, serving in Thailand, I do not get such presumption and have to fight to prove that I was exposed to Agent Orange (proven in government records that have been hidden for decades) before I can get my disability rating changed. And the toxic cocktail of chemicals I was exposed to because of my service in an electronics shop and the flight line are meaningless to the VA in terms of my disability rating, but are not meaningless for my health problems. And I am but one of how many thousands in similar conditions?

And yet this Administration can find millions of dollars to house, school and otherwise care for thousands of children here in violation of our laws. Yes, those children need care but compare their treatment to the treatment given to those who have risked their lives for America. The Federal Government has a lot of useless programs and agencies, most without Constitutional authorization, that can be gotten rid of to free up money to care for veterans.

The immigration laws of America are out of date – first created by Progressives in order to restrict undesirables (what they considered undesirable), along racist lines. Those laws should be replaced with a simple law: If you want to emigrate to America you just need to pass a criminal background check and a health check and you can enter if you pay your own way. Once here, if you wish to stay permanently then you have to make a sincere effort to assimilate. That’s it. Look at all that can be saved in terms of money and effort on our part and all the deaths that will be prevented.

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