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Duty, Honor, Country



George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday. It was a long and well-lived life, that touched mine along the way. His motto: Duty, Honor, Country, led him to a life of service that many of those praising him today criticized when he was President. That’s the way of things in our post-Cold War nation. But for me, George Bush is “my President.” That doesn’t mean that I agreed with him on everything. It means that of the men elected in years that I participated, he’s pretty much the only one I really trusted.

It is the first day of Hanukkah. One of the big errors of society is the constant willingness to equate Hanukkah to Christmas. They are not the same, but the need for equivalence is symptomatic of the lack of understanding of what exactly Hanukah actually is. It is not a celebration mandated in the Torah. And yet it has become the focal point of the Jewish celebrations throughout the year. In some ways, it is THE only connection that most people have with Judaism. So what is Hanukkah and what does it really mean?

The Commanding Admiral of the US 5th Fleet was found dead of an apparent suicide over the weekend. As it stands, suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. I think that number is a bit misleading, but the fact is that 45,000 people a year commit suicide and another 1.125 Million attempt it. Clearly, something is wrong, but what?


A Single Life’s Worth

Recent celebrity suicides have shaken the news cycle and led to the standard discussions and pretend introspection that we all conduct after such an event. Yet, the CDC tells us that suicide rates are increasing by a factor that they struggle to explain. In other words, the more we talk about it, the more it happens. Why?

Could it be the same lowering of the threshold of acceptability? could it be the way we react to suicide which is less critique and more celebration? What is the message our next generations are getting?

And what exactly are we supposed to do to prevent it? Clearly the whole “Talk to somebody/seek help” campaign is failing…

Google has announced that they will no longer accept Political Advertising in the State of Washington. Supposedly this is because of the lawsuit filed by the Washington State Attorney General against Google (and Facebook) over “transparency” as to who is paying for the ads. More and more, this is going to become the norm. And while on the surface it seems that knowing who pays for an ad is a good thing, the real question is whether or not those organizations that pretty much live on the dollars generated by political advertising can survive.

A US Navy SEAL was killed last week. In Somalia. Again, I am not opposed to “The War on Terror.” I am opposed to the idea that we continue to commit ourselves and our treasure to an ongoing conflict with no strategic goal, no plan beyond body counts, and no national debate or Declaration of War by Congress. What is there in Somalia that was or remains worth a single US life?


In The Line of Duty

If you thought that all the drama and angst over the 2016 election with its divided country and confusing rhetoric was over, stand by. The real political nonsense is just getting started. Over the next four year we are going to see allegations and investigations that will make the Benghazi stuff look tame. And each and every time someone says “That ain’t right,” it will be met with the excuse that “You did it to Hillary and Obama.”

Can you imagine what the next 50 years is going to look like with this back and forth tit-for-tat nonsense? It’s like a Star Trek episode where the guy who is black on the left side keeps chasing the guy who is black on the right side through time and space. All the country really wants is to have government that isn’t sticking its nose into every corner of our lives and taking all of our money, but instead what we get is The Magnificent Bickersons and more and more consolidation of power and authority.

Yay us.

Among the issues that the Military is facing is the question of whether or not suicides are to be considered “in the line of duty” or not. This is one of those sure to divide people issues, mainly because of the varying religious beliefs about the act of suicide and the general social phobias we have about talking about it. Read the rest of this entry

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