Monday, May 29, 2017

Make a Buck - The Real Bottom Line of our "Diplomacy"

We fought in WWI and WWII to protect the United States. We did not choose our enemies. Today, we once again fly in the face of President Eisenhower's warning to the American people to keep a careful eye on the military-industrial complex. 

The $110 billion arms our armament factories can now sell to the Saudis created a Sunni Arab military alliance against Iran. This idiocy ignores two important facts. 
The Iranian people voted in last month’s election for the candidate seeking to liberalize their society and return to the nations of the world.

As we help to create a Sunni Arab military alliance aimed at Iran, we know that Saudi Arabia’s radical ideology of Wahhabism is the underpinning of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and ISIS. In schools run by ISIS, they even use official Saudi textbooks. We continue to push Iran as the ‘real’ terrorist threat to America.

This is all about the money. Soon, American bombs and rockets and machine guns will be murdering more men, women, and children in Yemen. IS and other terrorist groups will enjoy a propaganda gift from the United States. Propaganda may be an unfair characterization of the use IS will make of the plain facts. America is selling arms to the Saudis to generate millions of dollars for the wealthy American arms dealers.

  • At the very least, we should stay the hell out of these Muslim wars. 
  • At our moral best, we should negotiate peaceful solutions.
  • At our pragmatic best, we should be sharply questioning the Saudis about 9-11 and their continued support of the most radical group of Islamist terrorists.

President Trump has increased our entanglement in the affairs of Muslim nations, and the only beneficiaries are the terrorists and the wealthy American arms dealers.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Day - Include the Number of Memorials Removed Each Year in Every Celebration

Memorial Day

As we attempt to remove all memorials of the Confederacy, it seems that ceremonies surrounding Memorial Day, and perhaps Memorial Day itself, will be erased.
Will the removal of Confederate Memorials do anything to improve the test scores of Black students? Will this removal of monuments to heroes reduce the Black drug problem in any American city? Will we see fewer out of wedlock babies? Will Black fathers step up and take active roles in supporting and nurturing their children?

No. Politicians will score points or at least avoid protests and riots. Politicians will campaign on their great accomplishment of removing historical memorials as if it really helped Black people escape poverty, drug addiction and somehow improved the test scores of Black students.

Honoring the fallen military began as a ceremony that honored the 620,000 dead, both Confederate and Union. Historians believe the custom of honoring our fallen dead had begun by Confederate women before the Civil War ended. Instead of pretending that fallen Confederates were not American heroes, the Union General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance of both Confederate and Union forces.

The most familiar ceremony takes place at Armington National Cemetary, which is on the former plantation of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

During WWI and WWII, the Germans were puzzled by the number of Confederate Battle Flags flown by U.S. troops and the Japanese may have been similarly puzzled by the insignia of the Confederate Battle Flag on the USS Columbia.

 After the Battle of Okinawa, Marines raised a Confederate flag over Shuri Castle. It was visible for miles.
Should radical Blacks and liberals demand and that we cease honoring the Marines of the 1st Battalion who died on Okinawa because they not only raised this symbol of the Confederacy but let it fly for three days, will we cave to their demand?

We wonder how many of those that demand Confederate memorials be removed served in our military?

It is telling that the Union General that saw his men killed by Confederate soldiers chose to honor both Union and Confederate fallen as heroes. If any man had the right not to honor the 'enemy' is was this man. He instinctively knew what was right and just.
Once again, Americans choose to do something that does nothing to improve the nation or address the poverty, poor education, and the destruction of families within the Black community and pretend that something was accomplished.  Encouraging more radical nose-thumbing and further dividing our nation will win political votes as Black unemployment and crime among Blacks (Black victims and Black criminals) continues.

All races in our once great nation continue to thrive on bumper sticker size ‘solutions’ to complex problems that require complex solutions. Does anyone believe that Black victims or their families feel so much better after being murdered, stabbed, shot, robbed and raped because a Confederate statue was removed?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Information and Experienced and Expert Advisers

Not a Trump Fan, but . . .

As a person grows and is exposed to additional information, ideas and opinions one would expect changing views. This is certainly not hypocritical. In fact, a person that receives new facts and opinions that should change personal views, but simply digs in and refuses to consider opposing views is not someone we would respect.

As a citizen engaged in multi-million-dollar business deals and not engaged in the office of president of these United States, Mr. Trump, like most of us, formed and voiced opinions with limited information. I suspect that those that surrounded him simply voiced agreement and continued with their real concerns: business.

As the President of these United States engaged in the Office of the President, the focus was shifted and additional information and opinions were front and center. Information not available to the public from National Security Advisors, intelligence agencies, and being surrounded by people with experiences and knowledge beyond the world of business, it is natural that President Trump’s views and opinions would change. This does not mean that he abandons his core principles, but that he aligns his actions to achieve things in a manner that includes his principles and current ideas or views that result from exposure to new information and views.

For example, Citizen Trump, like many, felt that Mrs. Obama should have worn a head-scarf out of respect for the customs of Saudi Arabia during a presidential visit. President Trump may now see that his wife’s choice during such a visit is not a substantial issue since almost all foreign women who are dignitaries or the wife of a dignitary seldom chose to wear a head-scarf in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the Saudis said that they have no issue with this situation. The media will be the only people to make this an ‘issue’ and the people that hate ‘all things Trump’ will call him a hypocrite. How sad. Both the media and the even Trump haters should focus on the substance of the visit, but instead are frantically searching for anything that is inconsistent with citizen Trump’s previous statements.

The media is almost in a frenzy to point out that President Trump did not use the phrase “radical Islam” because he often pointed out that his predecessor should have used that term. I have no idea what opinions and facts may have changed President Trump’s mind about this phrase, but I can explain why I reject the term.

Suppose for a moment that a group kidnapped and held Black Americans as slaves and proclaimed that they did so because they are Christian Fundamentalists who follow the teachings of the Bible and they quote such passages as Ephesians 6:5 “Slaves, obey your human masters . . .” and even quoted Jesus as he admonished slaves to be cheerful in their obedience. Would we call this group Radical Christians or Radical Fundamentalists or would we recognize that they are not true Christians or true Christian Fundamentalists? Would we not recognize that these are simply horrible people that are using the Bible to justify their horrible actions?

Applying this same way of thinking to the idea that terrorists are misusing parts of the Koran and Islamic history to justify their horrible actions. In other words, calling these people Muslims is offensive to the one and a half billion Muslims around the world. Would it not be more effective to say that these people are not Muslims? If that message was delivered, it could make recruiting terrorists more difficult.

Like many people, I wish that leaders in places like Saudi Arabia and Muslim leaders around the world would strongly condemn terrorists as pretenders and not a part of the true Muslim Faith. However, like every other major issue, it is complicated and I may never get my wish. All that I can do is to change my own thoughts and attitudes, and even that process is difficult.

The awesome pressures and responsibilities of any U.S. President certainly involve a constant flow of new facts, information, and opinions that require adjustments to the understanding of changing and volatile situations. Citizens should neither blindly support or blindly condemn a president. Mature judgment requires a degree of ‘the benefit of the doubt’ and recognition that those who disagree with us may be right. We should not simply ‘dig in’ and defend our beliefs, but we should explore opposing opinions for truths and then either hold firm or modify our own strong opinions.

I hope this is what every president of America will do.

Friday, May 19, 2017

One and a Half Million Gallons of Water - for free!!!! (IF you operate a data-center - even in drought zones!)

What Drought?

The media continues to manipulate the public. Some stories are widely reported on a regular basis. Others are hardly reported at all. Why?

In 2014, we were told that the drought in the San Antonio area was the worst in 500-years. Of course, global warming was the culprit, and we saw water rationing in our neighborhoods. When and how we could water our lawns was regulated. Programs in San Antonio and elsewhere encouraged us to replace grass with native plants or rocks. Global warming theorists proclaimed that the drought was here to stay.

Since that time officials reluctantly acknowledged that we were no longer under drought conditions, but even global warming skeptics remain cautious. Let’s face it: San Antonio is prone to drought conditions. 
In 2016, San Antonio 
officials and the media welcomed a new Google data center and the jobs provided to the local economy. However, the tax-breaks given to Google were under-reported and only recently was it reported that Google has the right to pump up to half a million gallons per day at no charge. Now, Google is asking to triple that, to 1.5 million gallons of water per day. That's close to half of the groundwater that Mount Pleasant Waterworks pumps daily from the same underground aquifer to help supply drinking water to more than 80,000 residents of the area. 

Will the media feature this story on major news-feeds and top news websites? Will the story be repeated and updated in the same way that old stories about violence in Mexico are referenced in the news? Probably not.

Although news consumers might want this story told and re-told, the people in charge of manipulating the people by the way news is presented will not allow it to happen.
Imagine if someone started asking how much water, free and otherwise, is used by data centers throughout this nation! How much do data-centers pump in cities in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Santa Clara, San Jose, South Bay, Northern New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, New York City, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Atlanta? 

While there are many stories about Arizona’s water shortages, try to find even one story about the millions of gallons of water used by the top five data centers in Phoenix, Arizona.
If no city offered free water and every city charged large users at a higher rate, data centers would be even more conservative in the way they cool their computers. 

The Economist magazine ran a cover story titled “The World’s Most Valuable Resource” and featured a photo that showed a hell of a lot of water. But the focus of the story did not mention water. The story was about data-centers. 

Sorry, but water is a lot more critical to life than information.

We need and benefit from easy access to information, even if that information is often filtered and even though much of the information that does not fit the media’s image of the world is difficult to find. However, to suggest that information is more critical to our species survival than water is ridiculous.

What can we do?

Search for information about local data centers. Participate in town hall meetings and the entire process of bringing in new data centers. Ask direct questions of politicians. Insist on simple answers. “How much water per day will be (or is used) by the data-center.
Tell local media that there is going to be some controversial questions at meetings with politicians, etc.

Email everyone. Use every type of social media to spread awareness.

Fight every rate increase and demand that your neighborhood receives millions of gallons of free water – the same amount used by the local data-center.

What to expect?

Expect long answers that talk about the environmental concerns and improvements in the use of water by data-centers. A typical answer might be that data centers now use 50% less water and that they recycle everything, including water. That does not answer the question: “How much water do they use?”

Ask if any of that water is free? Ask why residents must pay and have seen increases in their water bills, while the data-center is given millions of gallons of that same water, per day. Ask if you live in a drought region and ask how the use of millions of gallons of water per day fits into the global warming issues.

What About all of those Jobs?

Supporters of data-centers locating in your area will tout ‘new jobs.' Ask direct questions about those new jobs.
How many of those ‘new’ jobs will be filled by people from out of state?
How many of those ‘new’ jobs will be filled by people from holders of H1B1 Visas? How many foreign workers does the company that owns the data center employ?
Be reasonable. If these figures are not available, simply ask if they will be made available tomorrow or within a few days. After all, people that own data centers should be able to quickly retrieve such information. Politicians, working in the government, should be able to retrieve such government information.

The truth is that there might not be as many ‘new jobs’ that we are led to believe. By the way, what will most of those jobs pay?

The decision to have data-centers in our communities should be made by the community. In many instances, the answer should be ‘yes.' In other instances, depending upon all of the facts in the ‘deal,' the answer should be ‘no’ and it is up to an informed community to decide. 
Remember that almost every media outlet in the United States is owned by seven very wealthy entities.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stop Treating Blacks as Violent People

“Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were preparing for protests on Thursday after a white officer was acquitted by a jury of killing an unarmed black man in a case that stirred tensions over racial bias in policing.” Reuters May 18, 2017

The police and city officials should announce that their preparations will not exceed the preparations across the nation when a police officer kills a white person and is acquitted or not even charged with a crime. Why should there be an assumption of violence, burning, looting and aggravated assaults when Blacks protest? Nobody assumes these things will occur when White’s protest. Unless people believe that Blacks are more likely to become violent (and that would be a bigoted, politically incorrect assumption) why should there be so much preparation? I hope that the police department and fire departments are not canceling leave.

If the police and city announce that there will not be ‘extra’ protection during the anticipated protest some business owners and members of the public may object. They should be told to ask the media if they believe that Blacks are likely to be more violent than White people during similar protests. This is important because so many more White people are killed by the police than Blacks. It almost seems as if the police hate White people, so why does everyone assume their protests will not result in burning, looting and violence? Special preparations sends the wrong message. Treat every race as if they behave the same way. Right?