Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday November 29, 2007... Peace in our time

It's funny how most presidents start on some type of foreign peacemaking mission toward the end of their presidency. I guess they want to leave behind some image that they really weren't so bad.

Nixon traveled to China and made overtures of peace.
Jimmy Carter had the Camp David Accords with Egypt and Israel back in 1978.
Reagan pretty much tore down the wall and Russia (that was his way of bringing peace)
George senior whupped Iraq then pushed for the Madrid conference between all the arab states and Israel back in 1991.
Clinton pushed the Oslo agreement in 1993, then the Israeli/Syrian talks in 1995, then the Camp David talks in 2000 and the Saudi Pease Plan in 2002.
George junior pretty much ignored peace until now, 40 years after the 1967 war, finally pushing for peace in the middle east.

It always comes as an afterthought in most presidencies that we still don't have peace in the middle east after all these years. And the sad thing is that we still don't understand the people from that portion of the world any better today than we did 50 years ago. We still try to force our philosophies and attitudes on to people who are completely different in their attitudes and perspective. They have traditions established over 1,400 years ago that they still hold dear and we are not going to change that. We need to study them and learn to understand them and then try to work with them toward a mutually satifying solution.

Since George will never admit to a mistake, we won't get any lasting peace from this attempt. Maybe with the next president there will be some hope.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday November 21, 2007....Thanks!

I think maybe I'm one of those lucky ones.

While considering the many things I have to be thankful for, I realized how fortunate I have been my whole life. First I was born here in the USA with the freedom to make my choices in life, to go where I wanted to go and be what I wanted to be. Secondly, I was blessed with a wonderful family – parents who cared and shared, sisters and brother who support and love, children who respect and love. I've been surrounded by their love and protection my whole life. Thirdly, I became a young man when there was no conflict to participate in. My father was fortunate this way as well as my grandfather – we were too young for the previous war and too old for the upcoming war – a fluke of nature and timing. Fourth, my friends have all been good people and have not taken me off the path of life into crime or destitution – we were lucky to avoid those types of events. Last, I was lucky enough to have the health and intelligence to be able to do just about anything I wanted to attempt throughout my whole life. There have been few restrictions that have been set upon me during my life.

I don't know why I have been so lucky, but I really appreciate the fact. Each and every day of my life is a new day to explore and enjoy and learn.

It's definitely a day of thanksgiving for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday November 14, 2007...What's and extra 3.5 Trillion dollars, more or less?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to total $1.6 trillion - roughly double the amount the White House has requested thus far, according to a new report by Democrats on Congress' Joint Economic Committee.

The report, released Tuesday, attempted to put a price tag on the two conflicts, including "hidden" costs such as interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars, lost investment, the expense of long-term health care for injured veterans and the cost of oil market disruptions.

The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said. The Bush administration has requested $804 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, the report stated.
For the Iraq war only, total economic costs were estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. That would cost a family of four $16,500, the report said.
Future economic costs would be even greater. The report estimated that both wars would cost $3.5 trillion between 2003 and 2017. Under that scenario, it would cost a family of four $46,400, the report said.

And who ends up getting this 3.5 TRILLION dollars? Think about it. The main recipients are the defense contractors and suppliers who have a very powerful lobby. Corporations that supply the bullets and the planes and the hum-vees and the tanks and the food and the uniforms and all the rest of the supplies do quite well, thank you. Their main worry is about their bottom line – they are not concerned that this money could have been better spent on our own citizens health or education or housing or even paying down the national debt. They just want to have the government keep on paying them for more and more product. If a few soldiers die, that's what they get paid for. That is the callous attitude that they all assume. Since World War I, they have become a greater and greater drain on our economy. What do we gain with all this firepower? How has it helped us? How will it help us in the future?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wednesday November 7, 2007...Stages of Life

Stages of Life

It seems we all pass through the same stages of life. Even within the various stages of life, we pass through similar sub-stages. It can't be helped, it varies in time with each person but it does happen.

We pass through the learning stage from childhood to young adult. It is the preparatory time when we learn where our skills lay and choose how we will apply them.

After reaching the apex of our learning stage and being the “top dog” in that part of life, we progress to the novice stage. This is where we are first applying the skills and knowledge we have picked up in our learning stage. We are at the bottom of the heap just learning how the system works.

After the novice stage, we are accepted into the competent or journeyman stage of life. This is where you have picked up enough learning and picked up enough training to be able to perform competently and are recognized as such. You have become capable in your chosen profession.

After the competent stage, we enter the experienced and knowledgeable stage. You are recognized as experienced and valued for your knowledge. Your advice is requested from competents and novices around you and you are able to give wise advice. This is the stage you worked toward all these years.

The next stage is the retired stage. Many people have a hard time giving up the experienced stage to assume this restful but calming stage. You have left the main part of the workforce and now have the time to pursue hobbies and interests that may not be financially rewarding but are interesting to you. Your advice is no longer sought out and you tend to drift towards others at your same stage in life. In some countries people at this stage are still revered for their knowledge and past experiences, but not so much in the United States. There is much wisdom set aside here.

The last stage is the elderly stage. This can be a very difficult stage. Your body and sometimes your mind are becoming weaker and less controllable. You notice that your generation is fading away and that the world has changed, not always for the better. There are less and less compatriots to interact with and your world seems to shrink. Your family and friends become much more valuable to you and you come to accept the inevitability of life and death. Memories are very important.

I have reached the retired stage. I helped my parents through their elderly stage and helped my children through their learning stage and into their novice stage. I accept my past life as it happened with its successes and its failures and carry hope ahead in the years to come. I have already created a lifetime of memories and a lifetime of love, so I am ready for whatever comes next.

Life is good sometimes. Look for the joy.