The Bathroom “Wars”

Dear Professor Haslam,

The now “international” (seeing that you are in Melbourne, Australia) kerfuffle over bathrooms and transgender people, and users of restrooms in general, has kept me fully amused.

I grew up in rural Maryland farm country on a small farm. In middle school (then known as ‘junior high’), we showered after gym class. We were naked. (Screams of disbelief.) In high school, athletes showered after the game. (Clothes were not permitted in the shower.)

In my Military service, during boot camp somewhere between 40 to 60 of us shit, showered, shaved and peed in open. The “urinal” was a long trough. The toilets were open for all to see. In order to shave quickly enough to avoid your DI fragging your ass, each boot shaved close in with privates nearly touching privates (and I am not talking about the generic term “Private, as a rank). Having served two Overseas tours, we had open showers and urinals. The toilets, thank God!, were privies.

No one in my generation who has shared such public display of “private parts” has been harmed, either psychologically or physically.

Several years ago I learned that showering in public schools after an athletic event became taboo nearly three decades ago. The kids simply went home all smelly. Really? What in God’s name has caused now two full generations to fear being naked among their own? We have devolved into a society and culture of unwarranted fears and obsessive squeamishness. If a gym buddy is gay, it is not likely he will come onto another “dude” in the shower or while drying off. Gay men likely have more respect for discretion and barriers than many straight men. When then president Bill Clinton in 1992 agreed to Don’t ask, don’t tell [DADT], I realized our country had devolved into a state of inexplicable fear of sex and gender; and into the age of the stupid. That action alone spoke volumes about America’s immaturity when it comes to sex. (Never mind the fact the U.S. uses “sex” both in the blatant and the sublime to promote nearly every product in the universe. Sexual innuendo in advertising is a specialty here in the States.)

As to the transgender folk, I “kinda” get it and I “kinda” don’t get it. At some level it must be hell on earth for a child or adult to realize their body parts do not match their intuitive sexuality (gender). I will embrace and understand their dilemma and urge them on to do what is best for them both physically and psychologically. The population of morons here in the States is by all measure a grotesque group of infantile vigilantes who are so unintelligent their only “tolerant” act is to picket Target Stores or assert their right to check one’s crotch before allowing the use of a restroom. Your “where taboo subjects cannot be escaped” renders how foolish our under-educated pockets of American society are. The other 99.99% of us simply want to go in, do our business, wash our hands and leave. I truly wish the moronic populace would wash THEIR hands of this entire matter and move in. And, please! Memo to those toilet thugs: Do not hang around in the restrooms thinking you might protect “us” from a transgender person. You are the pervert. They are not.

Best regards,

The REVEREND M. VINCENT TURNER

Footnote: Professor Haslam is an Instructor at the University of Melbourne, Australia

Recent posts to Salon.com

Below are two separate quotes I posted today on Salon.com. One refers to a two-part series by Noam Chomsky, a superior intellectual whom I have admired for years. Chomsky speaks to the decline and fall of the American Empire; a reality I saw coming a few decades ago. (Sadly.)

The second is in response to a commentary about Donald Trump. Trump has ignited the ire of many. The media, I believe, has over played Trump’s hand.

(1) As a fan and follower of Chomsky for some years, I am not one to “take the wind out of his sails” but I have been saying this very thing to friends and colleagues for this last decade. I pinpoint the genesis of our decline with Ronald Reagan, who sold out all but the straight while male “Christian” upper class. A good decade or so ago Robert Kuttner wrote his book, “Everything for sale.” Our nation was being sold out and has been. The moral and ethical boundaries which we the people are expected to embrace are off-limits to the mighty, wealthy and powerful. They like those constructs that keep the “good citizen” “in line”. So long as the majority of us toe the line, they the 1% and 1/10th of a percent get to fill their coffers with more money; more power. Our grandchildren will awaken to a rotting country that has fallen ever further into dumbing down, school systems intentionally driven into the ground (now in progress) and a national ineptitude that will turn us into a 2nd or 3rd world nation. “We the people” have been played. Our apathy and our lethargy have been a boon to our eventual slaughter (metaphorically speaking). In the current hit series on the CW Channel, “Green Arrow”, Stephen Amell who stars as “Green Arrow” would take out his city’s vermin after first raging out, “You have failed this city.” We can say to the three branches of our federal government and to American corporatocracy, “You have failed our nation.”

(2) Trump is the most dangerous (yes, dangerous), vile and pathos driven man in America’s recent history. That an estimated 30% of the electorate have embraced Trump tells us just how far down the proverbial sewer we have swirled. If Trump is elected (God forbid!), our nation will collapse into so many levels of chaos we will not be able to reconstruct or redeem ourselves. Folks may not like the alternative (Hillary or Bernie, who knows?), but that alternative is our best and safest option at this moment in our nation’s history.

A nation, breaking

“Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that for years, this has been the year that fact became unavoidable.” That quote states the obvious. Our political “system” such as it is has been fracturing for decades. The pilots steering this ship of state have taken us until troubled seas, knowing precisely what they were doing all the time. We have become a nation of serfs, bowing to the wishes of a Legislative Branch, Executive Branch and, now sadly, a Judicial Branch all ruled, run and controlled by big money. I have been convinced for years that BOTH parties would love to find a way to remove the entire electorate from the election process. In lieu of that, they have rigged the system so that we really don’t matter all that much anyway.

The MEDIA has not been helpful, having collapsed into the sewer of false and bombastic bravado — no matter their political tilt. “News” is not news. It is filtered propaganda fed to each us through the corporate funnels that determine what to report. Whether it’s Megyn Kelly on the one side or Chuck Todd on the other, neither one is truly interested in truth of fact. Ratings, the ultimate broadcast selfie assessment, dictate what they can or will say. Most of us “out here” do not tilt totally right or totally left (although Trump has found a LOT of right-leaning tilters!). Yet, to listen to the media there are two distinct camps each out to claw its way to victory filtering their lies as truth. Our empire is dying on the vine. That fact has troubled me for years. I love this country. As a young Airman many years ago, I would have died for Old Glory without a question. Today that proud Airman is filled with shame, disgust and dismay. We are rotting at our core and there is no slave to cease that rot.

Response to article on Salon.com regarding Trump followers, 20 MAR 2016

Quote from this Salon article: “Widespread poverty throughout the heartland and Southern United States is a lamentable social problem, but even in the best economic conditions, and under the friendliest government policies, the career options for high school dropouts will forever remain few and poor. Rather than accepting some “personal responsibility” – a favorite conservative concept – for their low standard of living and destructive lifestyle, the wrongly romanticized white working class is flocking to a candidate who allows them to blame other people for their problems. “End quote.

It has been widely accepted for a few decades that the United States has been “dumbed down” with intention. Being an athlete in one type of sport or another is broadly respected. However, it seems that the “dumb” athlete is more highly regarded than the smart, better educated athlete. Somewhere along the way becoming educated was seen as someone’s effort to look better to others. How sad! Teachers and public school systems have been undermined since the 1980s, robbing them of the authority they had when I attended public school in the 1950s. (Yeah, I know that I am an old fart.) Public schools have come under increasing criticism for “teaching the tests”. Yet, that is not the fault of the schools but those self-defined academic “leaders” who simply change things for the sake of change that has resulted in fewer students actually being well educated.
The less educated one is, the more defensive they are. Sarah Palin, to note one, has publicly pandered to the under-educated redneck gun-toting citizen. It is a known fact the less educated are those who buy into the “macho” bluster, bombast and bravado put on by Trump. As much as I want to blame Trump’s followers, I blame the system; a system that became corrupted and contaminated just a few decades back. When one feels “the world is against them” as noted in the quoted passage above, they clamor with great enthusiasm and excitement to the Trumps of our world. Intellect and intelligence are scorned. It is easier to be a less-educated sloth forty to a hundred pounds overweight drinking national brand brews while holding onto your Glock, Smith & Wesson, Remington or Colt.

We the people have allowed the creation of these new Frankensteins. Regrettably and sadly, I doubt we have enough time in our nation to alter this course where the lies put forth by networks such as FOX simply feed those Frankensteins, making them an ever-increasing challenge. Say what one will about Trump, he knows full well how he is playing them and they simply are too stupid to figure that out.

Mother Earth is in Crisis, February 2016

Planet Earth is creaking and groaning from the abuse we humans are subjecting her to. This fact is a sweeping indictment against the human race.
Even if one does not embrace the tenets of Scripture where God instructs human-kind to be the careful custodian of our planet and to replenish what we take from her, you cannot deny that we are abusing Earth into oblivion. If there is such a thing as “universal, collective sin”, this is it.
The human penchant to destroy and to lay waste to the land, animals, plants and the universe as a whole is catapulting Earth into its own death. The Planet may survive, but the destruction that will take place will be irreversible.
We are fools at our own hands. Population growth is out of control. Rather than urging reduced procreation, organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church encourage ever more reproduction. That is in and of itself a sin against Earth and Nature be-cause of the overriding destruction it will impale upon Earth. Earth does not need more people. Earth needs fewer; fewer at every quarter of our Planet.
Humans deceive ourselves if we believe we can get away with this destructive carnage. That carnage occurs at so many levels, it is a challenge to keep track.
The United States is, perhaps, the worst enemy of Earth. We have turned eating from a necessity into an industry. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and a host of other fast food and dine-in restaurants have turned eating into a national pastime. The waste generated from uneaten food that ends up in the disposer or the garbage dumpster is a direct violation of all things decent, dignified and responsible. Simply because we “can have it” does not give us license to abuse it.
In order to sate our gluttony, cattle, swine and fowl are kept in infection infested facilities that disgrace the very Face of God. No creature, large or small, should be or deserves to be corralled in such horrific, criminal conditions. One need only read The Talmud to embrace humankind’s required care of all animals.
Our deplorable disregard for the lives of animals slaughtered to sate our gluttonous appetites has resulted in cattle, swine and fowl being injected with antibiotics to counter the negative impacts of other antibiotics. Add to that the diseases these poor defenseless Creatures of God endure, and we the people have become the new Frankensteins.
Yet, sadly, our unbridled carnage against earth does not stop with livestock. Oh, no! We now treat vegetation and fruit with chemicals the future toxicity of which has not been determined. Companies such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical have introduced plant modification chemicals into the human, animal and insect life stream the results of which are already having toxic effects: the honeybees being one huge example. Monsanto’s GMOs are heralded as the “solution” to food production on Planet Earth that will lead to more abundance of food. Yet, our vegetable life is being manipulated with-out any idea whatever about the impact these chemicals are having on current life; worse, what impacts will be felt in future lives.
The imbalance we humans have brought to Mother Earth is beyond hideous and massively debilitating to our planet. The sweeping slaughter of dolphins by Asia, the reckless killing of wolves, fox and endangered species is in direct conflict with our duty to Earth and her creatures. Ritual killing of various species is beyond ungodly. Such acts are patently and unequivocally evil.
There is a wide difference between “thinning the herds” for the survival of the herd than killing for the sheer joy of killing. Mounting heads of deer, elk, boar, bear, lion and other species is not a statement about humankind’s prowess. It is the direct result of an inner evil among humans that defiles Earth and defies our custodial care for all things, big and small.
Add to this Earth crisis the coal-infused atmosphere of China; the raw feces flowing into the waterways of Brazil an d India; the ritual slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands and Japan; the increasing presence of all things plastic in our oceans and tributaries; landfills holding waste products that will not decompose for centuries; and, unrestrained population growth because governments will not undertake limited procreation programs and policies: We see how Mother Earth is being raped to death: rape in the most violent, vicious carnal way imaginable.
Worse is how the United States government endorses and underwrites programs of cruelty and decimation toward wildlife and livestock. The imbalance in Nature is a direct result of programs that ignore harmony; a disharmonious pattern between humankind and nature that creates chaos at its most destructive. Of course, some herd thinning is natural in order to maintain a balance. Yet, many of those herds’ natural predators have been all but exterminated (wolves, for instance). The more humankind tries to “manage” Mother Nature, the more we create mismanagement and large imbalances.
Compounding Earth’s crisis is how “economy” encourages the abuse of rain forests, oceans and tributaries; and, endangered species. Eliminating large swaths of trees and natural growth corrupts the biosphere. Toxic runoff and raw sewerage flowing into natural waterways introduces toxins that kill marine life as well as human life. Trophy hunting of elephant and rhinos for their ivory and tigers for their skin is barbaric, inhumane and tragic.
Whether selling timber from destroyed rain forests, ignoring toxic waste into waterways or killing species for profit, the larger criminal in all this is the corporate world. When “free enterprise” encourages rather than discourages the pillage and rape of earth, those of us who see ourselves as caretakers are forced against a wall. Money and power are used either to silence us or to manipulate us into complacency where we simply cannot act or react as we know we should. That reality is exacerbated by governments small and large, including the United States Congress.
The entities and agencies that should be protecting our natural environments are instead on the dole with big money; big banks; big corporations. “Profit” is realized through huge political contributions, money from special interest groups and policies that work against the greater common good.
When the likes of the Koch Brothers and Exxon/Mobil can manipulate an entire society and culture to support their draconian, unethical and destructive programs, the citizenry suffers. Whether it is poverty in Calcutta, coal smoke in China or killings by guns on the streets of Chicago, a toxic imbalance is supported by the selfish, egocentric Earth marauders who seek only self-gratification. They collectively treat Earth as theirs to destroy; to hell with the rest of us.
When the patriarchs from Rome to St. Petersburg put more energy into maters such as gay marriage and less into the serious imbalance created by excessive, abusive procreation, one sees how religious patriarchs live and thrive in a myopic monolithic bubble that is destructive in and of itself. It is easier to divert attention away from the real issues, thereby spawning ill-fated destruction worldwide.
If Earth’s caretakers and caregivers are to win the game, one that will test the very mettle of our individual and collective souls, then we must band together as an immovable force. There is strength in numbers and we must swell those numbers to such a formidable force that our opponents quake in their boots and shoes. Only when we show we mean business and are not simply talking the talk will the wider world stand up and take notice. The world is at its most critical crossroad in its history. Every organization and every human who truly cares must agree to form one, singular powerful voice. We must make push back a living hell for our opponents, because it is pain-fully clear they will oppose any and all consensus. A powerful coalition will surpass any results that might be attained by fractions thereof.
Some say, “Winning isn’t everything”. I say, “Winning is the only thing.” When it comes to Earth survival, we cannot afford to lose; to fail. We must marshal the forces of supreme strength and power to defeat and conquer the enemies of Mother Earth. Compromise may be out of the question, given the stakes at hand.

Militia Tyranny against Our Land

Dear Mr. Heim:

You have generously contributed nearly one and one-half pages of today’s Sunday Washington Post to the illegal taking of public land by the Bundy militia.

The Bundy militia has violated several rules of law without penalty, essentially holding the locals and the nation hostage. Had this illegal staging taken place by blacks, browns or Native Americans this would have been over weeks ago with a substantial body count among the marauders. The disparate application of law and the enforcement of that law stares us squarely in the face.

The Bundy militia is a band of marauding terrorists exercising their tyranny against the nation state. This matter could be dealt with swiftly by way of sending in Special Forces with a few Apache gunships. Instead of enforcing the law, these bandits are permitted to increase their encroachment all the while thumbing their noses at our country. In simpler times, they merely would have been hanged for all to see the results of their tyranny.

Response to Brian Edwards, Salon.com, 10 JAN 2016.

Edwards quote: “This militia of the marginal used the greatest creation of the American century to bring about its downfall—the Internet. Can we still harness the positive attitude of optimism, hope and ingenuity that represents the best of the previous era and restart a new relationship to the world based on respect, trust, and partnership?” End quote.

The less educated bully class have become the marshals of the new century. The disaffected have created a whole new class of disaffected: Those who truly care but have simply walked away because they see the system as rigged, dishonest, unscrupulous and even perilous to the average citizen. Trump’s disaffected are less educated, mostly white men who have never known self-actualization or self-realization; and, somehow that is the fault of all of society instead of their own fault.

For three decades I have watched as the American underbelly has risen to the top. It has been an ugly thing to watch, but with people like O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Ailes, Murdoch, Hannity and others of their cloth we have seen the zenith of intellect and basic intelligence collapse in a mire of human waste. The resident evil that has thrived at the core of this nation, suppressed for a very long time, finally witnessed its release from its prison of ignorance and deception through the vestiges of Trump, Cruz, Hukckabee and a host of others who dare to claim fealty to our nation and our Constitution all the while serving as a monstrous toxin on wider society. We have been standing at this abyss, teetering for some time. I believe our nation has seen her best of her best days, and we are about to tumble as few might believe. Trump & Co. will coax us to the edge and watch gleefully as we fall. I thank God I am now old enough to say that I have lived the very best years of our once great nation. I pray to Almighty God I am dead before her last gasp is heard.

A New Year’s Message to America’s Millennials

It is unlikely any of you know me. It is less likely any of you will ever meet me. But, what fol-lows has been on my mind for quite some time. Feel free to share my message as you see fit.
I am a kid from the fifties, coming of age in 1962 when I joined the United States Air Force. I grew up on a small farm in the rural countryside of Maryland. We were surrounded by larger farms, some as big as 1,000 acres. During my high school summers I worked a 700 acre farm, riding my bike three miles each way to work five days a week. On weekends I was expected to help around our own small place, including mowing two-plus acres of grass using a rotary push mower. (It built a strong upper body!)
I left home the summer of ’62, basically to get away from my old man. He and I did not get along well; he was a drunk and a tyrant – a fact it took years for me to admit. So, I joined the Air Force. Boot camp opened the door to my inner strength and self-confidence that was fully lacking when I first joined. I was cleared for highly classified Intel work that took me overseas.
Being out of country for three of my four years’ service was an awesome experience. At age 20 I was accepted into a rapid promotion program that took me to a remote site where I was promoted to Staff Sergeant before age 21. At age 21, I was assigned the position of Controller for my Intel Ops section.
I dreamed of becoming a Cadet at the USAF Academy but my eyesight resulted in failing the pilot’s vision test. Despite the fact I did not want to fly a plane because I was somewhat gifted in foreign language (German, Russian-lite and Latin), USAFA had no waivers at that time. As the Air Force courted me for another officer’s commissioning program, I simply could not (would not, actually) pursue any other avenue to becoming an officer.
At age 22 I left the Air Force. I returned home, put myself through the University of Maryland earning my BS in Business and Commerce. While attending Maryland I built a career in the private business sector where I continue today.
I became known as one “not to get in his way”; a man determined to succeed. By the Grace of Almighty God and a lot of work, I have seen success several times over. But, my success cannot be measured by material wealth because I do not have any real wealth. My success meter was set on doing the very best I could do in every new situation. Air Force taught me not only self-confidence. It opened my Warrior aspect. It taught me about discerning my mission, focusing on the success of that mission; and, learning how to strategize and to impact through tactical measures honed through strategy.
“What does this have to with me?” you may be asking. Simple. I have done nothing and accomplished nothing that any one of you cannot achieve on your own. All you have to do is awaken your own Warrior Within. Sometimes coming from a ‘hard scrabble’ childhood builds that stronger character.
As an aging Boomer, I look at what my generation has left you along with Gen X. I am not all that pleased with the results. In some respects, I believe my generation has left yours with a “mess”.
Many of you, even after receiving a college degree, have ended up returning home to live with your parents because our world today has created that reality. Most of the young men and women of my generation would never have considered returning home. But, my world of opportunity far surpassed yours today.
There was much greater opportunity to find and secure a job; even with no more than a high school diploma. Today, a college degree is given the same regard a high school diploma earned a couple decades ago. “Blue collar” work was more abundant. Farming out our industry to foreign countries removed many employment opportunities. Sending American industry to Japan, Korea, China and now even Vietnam robbed our homegrown working class of the job opportunities that only a generation earlier loomed large. Steel mills were closed, shutting down once thriving communities. The automobile industry has become a conglomeration consisting of multiple international players. China, still a self-described communist nation, owns trillions of U.S. long term debt. When I was a young man growing up, the very thought that our debt would be secured by a communist country would have been incomprehensible. Today, I see it as reprehensible, a clear indicator of how much of our soul we have sold to our enemy (China is not an ally) in order to sustain our lifestyle of excessive consumerism.
Technology has proved a very mixed blessing. The world moves far faster now (although some do not consider that a blessing). But, with all the new ways to communicate we have lost the most important way to communicate: talking face to face to one another. My generation in particular finds that vulgar and disgusting. And, it is!
Technology also has resulted in younger people (your generation) having poor spelling ability, poor writing ability and poor math ability. The attitude is, “If a machine can fix it for me, why should I “waste” time learning how to fix or correct it myself?”) It is up to the Millennials to turn this clock back a bit. “Humint” (human intelligence) evolves through the use of one’s brain; not the inner workings of technology.
While this message is not my mea culpa, it is my personal way of saying “I am sorry” for the erring ways of my generation. Logically, those of us who worked hard, became well educated and functioned as good citizens (as most of our parents raised us to be), are somehow tangentially responsible for the mess created by politicians and corporate/banking CEOs that has brought us to today even though we are not directly responsible for our nation’s plight today.
I am not looking at my / our country’s past through rose colored glasses. I grew up when blacks and whites lived in entirely separate communities, with black community often deplete of everything but the bare necessities of life. Jews were afraid to move into predominantly Christian neighborhoods. Roman Catholics were shunned by Protestants. And, homosexuals were forced into the deepest denizens of darkness imaginable for fear of being caught, ostracized and jailed. Thus, on the social side of the ledger there has been forward movement. While many will admit there is a distance yet to travel, we have enjoyed considerable progress on most “fronts”.
But, the negative side is influenced by what I touched upon earlier: sending jobs and industry overseas to other countries. A direct result of such activity is how the middle class in America and the working poor have seen their incomes flat line for the last three decades. The income disparity between the super wealthy and the average Joes and Janes has become a national disgrace. That disparity has been and continues to be fueled and energized by a U. S. Congress that fawns over big money, siphoning at the tit of collective corporatocracy. A Congress that was elected to represent “the people” represents only their specific moneyed interests; that does not include you or me.
By this time you may be asking, “So! What do you want us to do about all this?” Very good question.
Part of me wants to say, “Get back to the basics.” But, what is basic to me may not be basic to you simply because of our generational departures. So, let me take a stab at it with the following.
Question authority, but do not disrespect it. Challenge and fight to win, but not to destroy. The ancient Tao Warrior Sun Tzu wrote that the best way to win against one’s enemy is to use the enemy’s strategy against him; and, win by never having to go to battle. In other words, strategy and diplomacy can result in highly effective tactics and victories.
Do not rely entirely on the computer, iPad or iPhone. “Use your noodle”, also known as your brain (just in case you did not get that!). Talk to people. Use your voice. Vocalize rather than type. You have been seduced somehow into believing that your world revolves around the tech world. No, it does not. You have a heart, a soul and a brain. Use all three simultaneously. Turn off the iPhone and iPad. Shut down your computer. Go out with friends, assuring that each of you has left behind your tech apparatus. If you feel naked without your cell phone, then take it with but turn it off.
But, your biggest challenge collectively as a generation is to determine and then decide what you see wrong with our United States. How do you return more to the people? How much pain will be endured economically if companies such as Wal-Mart are taxed more heavily and driven to raise employee wages? How can your generation compel Congress – yes, compel – to assess heavy taxes on offshore corporations that relocated simply to avoid paying the taxes that are in fact owed and due “we the people”?
Yet, the greatest obstacle of all for you to overcome is: Does it really matter to you. Are you as a generation to become the lemmings of modern America? I cannot expect you to know the America I have known. I will say that I believe I have lived the very best years of our history.
The current lineup of political wannabes who spew out searing, vile hatred and what is most politely described as abundant oral excrement are the worst of the worst. We no longer have the best of the best; the smartest of the smartest. The amoral ethical thugs, so lacking in mature intellect and raw intelligence are driving this nation into the proverbial sewer. It is up to you to change the course of our future history. I will no longer be here. So, in reality what you opt to do will be meaningless to me as I will not be witness to your decisions. But, you will.

Our Terrorism Double-standard as posted on AlterNet, 15 November 2015

My Response

This is a terribly complex issue that demands comprehension and understanding at many levels. ISIS is motivated by hate and intolerance, exercised through acts of horrendous and inhumane brutality. Yet, Christians have so much blood on our hands that we should be careful how we assess the terror of other religious groups.

During the Crusades Western Christians slaughtered thousands of Muslims AND Orthodox Christians (calling the Orthodox the Apostates). We came to the shores of America and slaughtered entire tribes of Native Americans. White “Christians” hanged and burned alive black men; torched their homes and churches with most of those white marauders claiming to be Christian.
While this attack in Paris is horrific, it is all but ignored how France is blatantly xenophobic and isolates Muslims as “the other”. France claims “liberte” while being systemically intolerant. The persistent disrespect for Muhammad through comic caricatures simply stirred, and stirs, the rage and anger already felt by radical Muslims and that results in incendiary atrocities such as this latest attack in Paris.

The author of this article calls attention to how many Muslims are being slaughtered by ISIS, all the while the West turning a blind eye. Yet, the United States in particular looks past the fact how the U.S. shook hands with the devil decades ago when the Saudi oil fields offered so much promise to our insatiable thirst and gluttony for oil. Driven my oil-driven opportunists and car makers eager to sell more product, the U.S. fell into the pit with the den of evil. Saudi Arabia has beheaded more of its own people in one year than ISIS has in four. It also is worthy of note how the Saudis are pleased to let us (U.S.) fight the battles Saudi Arabia should be fighting instead. WHY is the U.S. fighting all those battles in the Middle East while the Middle East has 5 Million soldiers?

“We the people” are fed what our government controlled and corporate controlled media is permitted to tell us; and to look past matters of equal importance. The news media has been fully consumed about the Paris attack non-stop ad nauseam. Yesterday, one Republican member of Congress attempted to ramp up U.S. fears by saying “they are here, too”. Let’s terrorize our own people, gin up the anti-Muslim hate and sell more guns. One must wonder what intrinsic value such pols really serve to the betterment of our nation.

When the United States accepts the fact we are very much at the root of this problem, what with ISIS being the outgrowth of the Bush / Cheney war in Iraq after purging Baghdad of the Baathists, perhaps we will come to terms with this international nightmare with more cautious self-reflection. In many respects the GW Bush administration ignited this firestorm, a firestorm that the rest of world now finds itself anointed to extinguish.

A Day with the Air Force Thunderbirds

By Vincent Turner

Saturday, September 19th, 2015, Joint Base Andrews: The all-day air show at Andrews Air Force Base featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
I had not been to a Thunderbirds airshow for several years, the last one at Otis Air Force Base in New England. These events speak to my Warrior spirit. My Celtic blood flows hot with raw emotion, at times moved to tears of joy as I watch young men every bit half my age performing feats limited to just a few. These pilots are god kings in the eyes of many, their skills and knowledge a gift perhaps from a Higher Power.
The aerobatics put on display raise goose bumps and chills as the pilots jettison upward high into the heavens, at one point invisible to the naked eye. Then, with thunderous rocket speed they come once again into full view. Their airborne gymnastics keep the audience in total awe. Our spirits run high, never looking away for fear of missing yet another mighty moment.
The display put on by the F22 Raptor surpasses all imagination. By all measure, the Raptor is a machine from the future transfigured into real time. The maneuvers the pilot put the Raptor through excel the remarkable. The blast from the after burners telegraphed a noise so loud Heaven’s Angels surely heard them.
The vintage planes on display performed aerobatics, with World War II fighter planes added to the fare of joy filled entertainment. Added to the thrill of watching these aerial gymnastics was the music, well-programmed for each activity at hand. (I will say, however, the music and announcer’s volumes could have been toned down a bit.)
Equally important was the temperament of the audience. My own “crew” ranged in age from 3 to 71. (That seventy-one year old would be me!) Every ethnicity and nationality appeared in attendance. This is true Americana! Personal issues and biases are left outside the gate. Politics, about which we hear far too much, is abandoned. This event is for fun for every American and every guest or visitor. I am reminded of that same sense when I saw the Thunderbirds at Otis several years ago.
I am a United States Air Force veteran from an earlier era; a Staff Sergeant at age 21. I am a country boy. My dad would say, “You can take the boy out of the country. But you will never take all of the country out of the boy.” That analogy speaks to my lifelong love for the United States Air Force. Part of me is still “Air Force”. It will remain at the core of my being until death. True, not all former Airmen hold onto their service. Some of us do!
All five of our Military Branches were featured at this air show. “One for all, and all for one” comes to mind. My family has served since The American Revolutionary War in Army, Navy and Air Force. It’s in our blood.
There are many moments when I wish I had made the Air Force my career, high on my priority list when age 19. I wanted the Academy, but my eyesight prevented that. Another commissioning program was offered me, but when a man is young he wants what he wants and anything else is “second best”. Yesterday, standing on the tarmac, I felt the connection once again. I asked “God” from within, “Did I miss my real calling?” That question comes from a sense of still belonging; and, wondering. The answer will live on in the ether of Heaven.
These air shows are a wholesome, “all American” event. The talent and skill of the pilots and their support teams comprise the elite. Yet, unlike too many other quarters of American life, their elitism is not flaunted. Each of these Airmen and Officers is “one of us; one among us”. One can feel their thrill and their joy manifested through act and action. This is the America I celebrate. It is a day filled with feel-good moments. It represents that moment when we know we all belong.