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Don’t Do Anything Rash! (The Adventure Continues…)

SO…

I go to see my primary doctor yesterday afternoon.  She confirms ‘yes’, I DO have a rash of undetermined origin, now permeating most of my body.  My edema in my right calf is of significant size, and has NOT diminished when horizontal.

She prescribes a synthetic corticosteroid to deal with the rash.  She is MORE concerned about the edema.

She sends me to a diagnostic center for an ultrasound of the leg.  (I must drive myself, as J. is still recovering from her shoulder surgery and cannot drive.)

It’s either this, or she admits me to the hospital.  She’s concerned I might have a blood clot(!)

So, it’s back from central Phoenix to Chandler (nearer to where I live) for the imaging.  It’s approaching 1700, but they are waiting for me. (My doc has pull!)

I wore sandals I don’t usually wear, so she could get a better look at my legs and feet (wrestling with socks and ‘Ed’ the really big shoe can be difficult when swollen.  The sandals are uncomfortable and make driving difficult.

And I cannot afford to Uber.

J. is with me for moral support and to listen to my cursing.

Finally, we find the place and I get the ultrasound.  NO CLOTS!  😛  They contact my doc, who prescribes a broad spectrum antibiotic and schedules me to return Friday @ 1300 for follow-up.  She does this all herself and makes certain she speaks with me about diet to accompany the antibiotic.  Initially, I missed her call (loud surroundings) and she called back and left a message.  Then she kept calling until she could speak with me personally.

I have a great physician!

The Good News is I picked up the meds.  The Bad News is neither is recommended for evening use.  So, another night of calamine lotion looms.

I think I received three hours of sleep.  J. has another physical therapy appointment this afternoon.  AND I TOOK MY FIRST PREDNISONE THIS MORNING!  😛

C’mon work!

Time will tell.  It’s been about two hours, and I feel slightly less itchy.  (Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?)

I will keep everyone advised.  (No Clots – Hooray!)  😛

DRAMA IN THE SKY: Russia Flies Long-Range Bombers Off The Coast Of Alaska! For Second Day In A Row (AP)

(snooze)

How is this news?  I thought news that which is new?

I first heard about the Russians and Chinese buzzing U.S. waters back in the mid-70’s, from a good friend who was a Marine stationed aboard the Glomar [name redacted] spy ship in the early 70’s!

Ended with the Cold War? (tsch!)

It was (and is) a standard tactic ‘testing the fences’ (think Jurassic Park velociraptors) from time immemorial.

They just want to check our reaction time and methods.

They play silly games, as do we…

I’m not worried.  Aren’t Trump and Putin bosom buds, now?

(I’m going back to watching my Fail Safe, Dr. Strangelove and War Games triple-header!)

 

Is THIS That To Which We’ve Come?

I truly hope not!

A dear friend (and regular reader of this humble blog) recently attended a talk presented by the President of the Arizona Republic (newspaper).

The president outlined her personal history, then presented what was countenanced as  ‘the toxic culture that is America today’.

Summarized by my friend, as follows:

She was part of the historic decision of the paper to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, the first Democrat ever endorsed for President in the paper’s 126 year history.  She was only part of that decision.  The board, heavily conservative, many of them Goldwater Republicans, considered their decision very carefully.  They discussed the options, giving no endorsement at all, endorsing a third-party candidate, or Clinton (which they eventually did).
For them, it was never a partisan  choice, they had endorsed John Kasich in the primaries. For them, it was on their consideration of fitness for office.  They knew it was weighty decision.  They knew it would cost them business.  They knew that it would be an unpopular choice for many in a Republican dominated state.  But an endorsement of Trump was never in the cards for them.  Something I didn’t know, but was interesting to learn.
What they were unprepared for, was the volcano of ugliness that followed.  Death threats came in by the hundreds.  Targeted personally toward individuals on the board.  Things like:  We know where you live.  We know where your children go to school.  We know the license plate on your car.  We know where you park.  We are going to do to you what was done to Don Bolles.  You will die.  We will kill your family.  Hundreds of these.  Every day.
Threats came by phone, by mail, in person, via email (of course).  People attempting to sell subscriptions were spat upon, had guns brandished in their faces.  It got so bad that the Republic ceased trying to make in-person subscription sales.
One extreme right-wing Catholic group spammed her email 5000 times a day.
Her response, in part:
I was horrified.  This is America?  This is what we do to people who disagree with us politically?  I’ve had my share of political arguments.  I’ve vented anger, but I never imagined anything like this.
Thankfully, nobody was actually killed, although there were several assaults.
All over an ENDORSEMENT.  A simple statement of opinion.
It is ongoing.  She said that she now “only” gets 2-3 death threats a day.  Although, every time Trump calls the press “enemies of the people” or complains about the press, there is another spike.
One man calls every day, just to say, “I hate you and think you should die.”
This is what we’ve come to.
Well, I’m not going to be a part of it any more.  I will state my opinions, exercise my freedom of speech, but I will never again engage in behavior that dehumanizes or could be perceived as threatening to people who disagree with me.
Civil discourse begins with me.  I hope it doesn’t end there.
I’m interested in this blog’s readership response, if any.  Of course, any non-civil discourse or threats will be dealt with as appropriate.
I’ve my own opinions on the matter, which I may present at a later date.
Anyone?

 

ASM826 and Borepatch Bring Bayou Renaissance Man’s Take On The Trump Wiretap

…and ALL of ours!  (It takes a village of bloggers?  Sorry.)  🙂

Wiretapping is so 1980

When you have the power of a fully operational Stasi Ministry of State Secrets NSA collection of every phone and email, you use it. The Obama Administration didn’t need to tap the phones in the Trump Tower. They just need access to the data collection that is being performed on all of us every day.

I was going to write this up, but Bayou Renaissance Man already hit the thing out of the park. 

“Hell yes, Donald Trump was “wiretapped.” So were you, by the way. And me. From open source information shared by defectors the intelligence community was too incompetent to keep from defecting, we know that every single electronic communication we send is collected in the NSA mainframes. Every single one. And the NSA has algorithms they can use to search it. You don’t go plant a bug in Trump Tower. You wiretap the opposition party’s nominee for president by running a search through the communications that the government “incidentally” collected. And if you find something juicy, then you call up your buddy at the Post and hand it over.”

Cutting To The Chase On This Rights Thing

One of the neatest things about getting to know folks through this Internet thing (and sometimes, if one is lucky, meeting them in meatspace!) is finding folks who are one’s intellectual superior – from whom one may learn.

I’m a pretty bright guy.  Despite the fact I squandered my education and made some poor life choices.  Things are as they are.  I do appreciate the higher-educated, more erudite folks I’ve been fortunate to befriend on the Internet.  Sometimes (as in the cases of Tam, Borepatch, Brigid, Peter and others) I learn something!

This is from the magnificent Kevin Baker (of The Smallest Minority) (with whom I have been lucky enough to meet and shoot!), in part:

So I’ve cut way back posting here, but I’m still occasionally answering stuff over at Quora.  Seems a waste to let this one vanish in their bit-buckets, so here’s a question-n-answer with an associated comment thread I did recently.

The question was:

Why are guns a right in the US, meanwhile education and healthcare are not?
The question is not about whether or not the government will prevent you from having an education/healthcare. My question is about why education and healthcare aren’t considered in the constitution.

I stumbled onto it fairly early, so there weren’t many answers, but most of them talked about how the Constitution conferred rights on citizens, etc. Here’s my answer:

Oy vey. After reading the current answers (there are eight not downvoted enough to be hidden) it becomes blindingly obvious that our free “education” system has failed pretty dramatically. As one student stated “I Was Never Taught That Knowledge.”

The fundamental question is “What is a ‘Right’?”

Several people here state that education is a right, or that healthcare is a right.

No, they’re not.

While I’m not an Objectivist, I think Ayn Rand was correct when she stated:

A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.

As others have stated, “guns” aren’t a right, the right to self-defense – protection of one’s own life – is. The right to keep and bear arms is its corollary, for if denied the tools of that defense, the right is essentially stripped.

Education? You have the right to study anything you wish. What you don’t have is the right to make someone teach you. Health care? Same thing. You have the right to take care of yourself, but not force others to care for you.

Because forcing others violates their rights.

So why is the right to arms listed in the Bill of Rights, but education and healthcare are not? Because the Constitution is a legal document that establishes the limits of power of a governing body. If the Constitution were a document that said only what government could not do, it would be infinitely long. Instead, the body of the Constitution itself lists the powers that the Federal government has, and the mechanism under which those powers are established, maintained and exercised. The Bill of Rights is a (limited) list of things that government is warned explicitly not to trifle with, and a warning that there are other such rights not so listed.

The Tenth Amendment, too, is a limit that basically says “Only powers defined here belong to the Federal Government. Everything else is a power reserved to the States or The People. Hands off.”

So of course that’s the first one that got folded, spindled, mutilated and incinerated.

So what do we gather from this? That EDUCATION and HEALTHCARE are not in the purview of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. It’s not the job of the Federal Government to provide these things, subsidize these things, or regulate these things except as they affect interstate commerce. (A clause that has been stretched to obscene lengths ever since Wickard v. Filburn.)

It doesn’t matter if they seem to be good ideas. Those powers were not given to the Federal Government by the Constitution. They’re (as you observed) not mentioned in that document. They’re among the “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.” And they’re not rights.

But they are most definitely powers.

You should really visit Kevin’s blog, and read the whole post (The Smallest Minority-link)

He doesn’t post often, but when he does, it’s GOLD!

 

 

Karma Is A BITCH!

OR, it’s not just the Crusades that ticked ’em off!

HISTORY, via Sean Linnane

Historical Perspective: The Conflicts In The Middle East

If karma is real, we are certainly experiencing it on an international scale in the Middle East . . . S.L.

The Middle East is a mess, but despite our recent involvement in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, the United States is not solely responsible for the current state of affairs. The challenges inherited by the Trump Administration are complex; any solutions are elusive at best. A review is necessary.

Apart from the oil-rich Gulf nations, three countries in the Middle East stand out politically and culturally. Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history. Damascus – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – has long been one of the Arab world’s centers for cultural and artistic innovation, especially in the field of classical Arab music.

Iraq was the center of the Arab caliphate during the “Golden Age of Islam”; the 9th and 10th centuries. Baghdad was the largest city in the world at the beginning of the 10th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, both Syria and Iraq were part of the Ottoman Empire.

Egypt is the most populous and most cosmopolitan Arab nation. Egypt’s interaction with the West goes back as far as ancient Greece, when Alexander the Great made one of his generals – Ptolemy – pharaoh, in 305 BCE. Cleopatra (51-30 BCE) was Ptolemy ‘s direct descendent. Like Syria and Iraq, Egypt was also a part of the Ottoman Empire. During World War I, Egypt became a British protectorate.

From 1958 to 1961 an entity existed, the United Arab Republic, a union between Egypt and Syria. Tripartite Unity Talks occurred between Egypt, Iraq and Syria in 1963, but these failed after ba’athist-nasserist clashes in Syria. Egypt continued to use the name UAR from 1961 to 1972. In 1972 Iraq proposed a restored union with Egypt and Syria, but this also failed to coalesce. These three nations, however, became Soviet client states and focused their energies against Israel, the American proxy.

To understand the vectors of the current conflict, we can look to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1919 as a historic point. At that time, Britain moved into Palestine, Trans-Jordan, and Iraq while France took the lands of Lebanon and Syria (the Levant).

Read the rest of it HERE

These days I’m writing for American Military News – AMN reports on global affairs, terrorism, American national security and military, politics and other happenings. Anything you’d like to see my perspective on, please contact me via the email link, and thank you for your support!

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Strombringer aka Sean Linnane is the pseudonym of a retired Special Forces career NCO (1st SFG, 3d SFG, 10th SFG). He served with honor on five continents; He continues to serve in other capacities.

He is also a student of history and politics.

The Return Of BUREAUCRATIZILLA!

I’ve posted about the bane of my existence – BUREAUCRATIZILLA9 times previously!  And, they’ve not picked up the hint!

Not coincidentally, in today’s quote:

“Millions are fascinated by the plan to transform the whole world into a bureau, to make everybody a bureaucrat, and to wipe out any private initiative. The paradise of the future is visualized as an all-embracing bureaucratic apparatus. . . . Streams of blood have been shed for the realization of this ideal.” – Ludwig von Mises

(Please, let me preface this to state my roommate and I are barely scraping by.  Me on my disability benefits, her on survivor’s benefits.  She can work some, when her infirmities allow.  NO, this is NOT a bleg!  –  Guffaw)

Last week, my roommate received a letter regarding her Survivor’s Benefits from The Social Security Administration.  In short, because she reached a certain age, and changed her supplemental insurance, they decided to deduct previously gov’t paid insurance premiums for two months (essentially cutting her modest benefit in HALF!) then begin repaying her the Survivor’s Benefit (at a lower rate!) the third month.  She only began receiving her Survivor’s Benefit last year, and could have been receiving it for the previous three years, but did not know it was available.

And this, just when she has been working less due to illness (she is a contract employee), and is preparing to have surgery next month!

It couldn’t have come at a worse time…

BUT, there was a mention on the Social Security letter of an appeal process.  As NO ONE was reachable by phone without an extension(!), we had to go into the Social Security satellite office, take a number, and wait about 20 minutes to get the required appeal form.  (After disarming, of course!)

Easy peasy, right?

WRONG.

The surprisingly helpful Social Security employee reviewed the letter, and advised us that the appeal needed to be made with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, not Social Security!!  It was Medicare who became aware of the insurance change, and notified AZDES, who contacted Social Security to send the letter(?!)

He provided us with the number to call.  And as it was late Friday afternoon, the call would have to be the NEXT BUSINESS DAY.  AFTER PRESIDENT’S DAY.

Next Tuesday!

BUREAUCRATIZILLA, MUCH?!

People ask me why I distrust government.  The above is a prime example.  First, they provide you with a benefit.  Then, after you become accustomed to it, they screw with it, and take part of it away.

“The government strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to take it all away.” – Barry Goldwater

More Wisdom From The Queen

…of SNARK! (Tamara, of course!)

Lessons from ECQC…(in part)

ECQC changed my life.

For instance, since ECQC I’ve finally started practicing something I’d long preached and began carrying a can of Fox Labs OC around with me. It’s become more important to me to have a solid middle ground option between “harsh language” and “bust a cap in someone’s ass”.

It’s made me think a lot more about deescalation, how persistence does not automatically equal threat, that presenting a weapon (or even revealing its presence) without the space or time to employ it correctly can cause a lot more problems than it solves. Letting a guy who’s within a dozen feet of you know you have a gun doesn’t necessarily deter him; it just lets him know you have a gun. It’s up to him whether that’s a deterrent or not.

Physical fitness has become more important to me, too. All tangled up under someone who’s beating your ass and about to pull your gun out and shoot you with it isn’t the time to find out you’re completely out of breath, too.

That gets me out the door every morning, and I’d about ready to look into adding some simple calisthenics to what’s already become a routine mile walk. Baby steps, but I’m already healthier now than I’ve been in years.

I’m OLD.  Well, older than Tam.  Disabled.  Infirmed.  Overweight.  Have chronic pain issues.

With regard to PT (physical training), well, it just doesn’t happen.  I am truly an armchair adventurer (with apologies to LTC Brown)

But reading of Tam’s adventures and commitment has my motor running. (if nothing else).  I know, based on my age and infirmities that I will not ever have the physique of a Navy Seal.

But I need to do something.

I just signed up for a Medicare Advantage Plan.  Part of the coverage is I can go to any gym and work out!  (under a program called Silver Sneakers).  It’s about time I do SOMETHING.

We’ll see whether or not I’m motivated to do so…

Necessary

Does President-elect DJT have the gravitas to do what is necessary?  Without compromising the Constitution?

AH! There’s the rub.

No extra-constitutional executive orders.  No bulls-in-china-shops (in spite of the fact he has no verbal filters!)

Of course, as with GWB, it won’t matter what he does or says to some people, just because he’s (in their view) the wrong person.

Bayou Renaissance Man has a take on the recent (and ongoing) unpleasantness (in part):

Black Lives Matter, the ND Pipeline and the anti-Trump protests: same old, same old

I’m astonished that no-one has yet pointed out, publicly and loudly, that the organized anti-Trump protests following his victory in last Tuesday’s election are as organized, and as manipulative, as most of the other protests we’ve seen all year long.  It’s the same professional agitators, going from issue to issue and from state to state, seizing on any popular idea and transforming it into a lever to undermine our nation, our democracy and our constitution.Consider:

  • The Black Lives Matter protests were very clearly organized.  Numerous police forces admitted or asserted that ‘outsiders‘ came into town to make trouble, then moved on to the next protest.  They were funded by the same source that bankrolled the Ferguson riots ‘protests’.
  • As soon as the North Dakota pipeline protests geared up a few months ago, what happened to the BLM protests?  Suddenly there was hardly a mention of them.  The reason was simple – the activists turning the pipeline protests into a violent anti-police, anti-The-Man free-for-all were often the same ones that had been behind the BLM nastiness.
  • Now that President-elect Trump is the focus, what’s happened to the pipeline protests?  All of a sudden we don’t hear Word One about them in the media . . . because those organizing them, and spearheading the violence there, are now organizing the protests and spearheading the violence in the anti-Trump protests.

I’d love to be able to examine arrest records, or attendance records, from police forces all over the country, to see how many names and how many faces cropped up at all of the above protests over the past year.  I’m willing to bet money there’ll be a lot of overlap.

One hopes Mr. Trump will find a way to cut the Gordian knot that ties all these anti-constitutional, anti-democratic, anti-American organizations and individuals together.  It’s long overdue . . . and entirely necessary, IMHO.

Peter

An interesting perspective.  Could it be that the same protesters move from protest to protest – almost as if it is their job?
(Remembering the OWS protesters and the similar folks who appear after mass shootings)
Finding a way to ‘cut the Gordian knot’ (as Peter puts it) + my .02…
CONSTITUTIONALLY!
And, of course, recognizing the other guy remains President for a while longer…

 

Things That Make One Go “Hmmm”.

(As posted on The Grey Enigma)

Some Pacific Islanders Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor – All That Is Interesting

Children from the village of Hanuabada play cricket in the streets on February 24, 2012 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Most everyone knows that the islands of the South Pacific are some of the most remote and unique places on Earth, but a new study reveals just how unique they really are.According to a report from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers have found traces of a previously unknown extinct hominid species in the DNA of the Melanesians, a group living in an area northeast of Australia that encompasses Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands.A computer analysis suggests that the unidentified ancestral hominid species found in Melanesian DNA is unlikely to be either Neanderthal or Denisovan, the two known predecessors of humankind to this point.

Source: Some Pacific Islanders Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor – All That Is Interesting

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An addendum to that whole ‘the science is settled’ thing.

We thought we knew about the origins of mankind.

Obviously not.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…