Saturday, 22 November 2014


     Any God can forgive sin.  No God can forgive ingratitude.  This statement dates back thousands of years to India, but remains relevant.  One current example is the shameful treatment of Barack Obama after all he has accomplished despite groundless but fierce, determined, and prolonged opposition.
     It all started somewhere around 2008.  Now, I am not enamoured of the form of democracy that has evolved in the USA. Fund raising trumps governing, frequent elections deny continuity, and 2-party dominance limits independent voices.  But locally what did bother me was to walk or drive around our neighbourhood with beautiful lawns and gardens obscured with hundred of signs promoting candidates of the GOP, once the Grand Old Party but now the Guardian of Privilege.  Naively believing we were all friends, I thought a little variety would ease eyestrain so I planted on our corner lot two Obama-Biden signs.
     The next morning I awoke to find I was the recipient of the generous gifts of numerous rolls of toilet paper, but first I had to untangle them from the numerous trees that grace our lot.   I also had to find and replace the Obama-Biden signs that some earthquake activity had thrown some distance.  In fact I had to replace them five times.
     Then my education was enhanced by numerous and continuous e-mails depicting Obama to rank among the most evil of humans, accompanied by assertions that he was illegal having been born in Kenya, Indonesia, or, perhaps, hell.   Assertions by my good friend, Diana DeLuca, also a blogger, that she was a professor in Hawaii and knew Obama’s mother at the time of his birth were dismissed and accused to her face of being fabrications.   I was given compliments such as being a communist, being a senile old fool, and being ungrateful to the super wealthy because no poor man could ever offer me a job.  I tried to remember when a rich man had ever offered me a cabbage or a potato or taught my children ethics. I did thank those for the compliment of telling me I was full of CRAP.  It is so good to know that they know I am full of Concerned Respect for All People. 
     Back in 2008 with the start of the Obama presidency the belief that the powerful United States would stop its worldwide economic and political interference created such euphoria that a Nobel prize was awarded in anticipation.  One of the first goals was to raise the bottom-of-the-list standing in health care. Yes, the US did have some of the world’s best care but that was the monopoly of the politicians, military, and wealthy.
     The political opposition quickly adopted a “destroy Obama at all costs” battle plan agreeing to practically nothing he proposed. Commercial interest joined in.  Being familiar with UK and Canadian plans with single payers, I was aghast at the misinformation and outright lies published to criticize them as Obama desired to incorporate aspects of them.    My computer screen was infested with daily Obama condemnations.
     In spite of all this it is quite remarkable that Obama has accomplished as much as he has in areas such as the environment, climate change, the economy, and in military restraint as he tried to assess the failures of our excessive but inadequate military strength in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.  Nobody remembers Osama bin Laden so why mention him?  What Obama could have accomplished with a co-operative opposition is unknown but perhaps a review of his failures may provide a clue: He wanted to close Guantanamo but it remains  a blight as does the entire penal system.  Obama dislikes Netanyahu and the current Egyptian regime but still finances the aggression of both.  We still have a lethal debt that must be paid off soon.  His approach to tax the wealthy and restrain the military faces crippling GOP opposition who prefer to cut social programs for the less affluent.  This debt is so frightening we all must contribute to its demise and that includes sacrifices of each of us in our standard of living with no privileged exceptions.    
   On the road to the November elections $4 billion was wasted on mostly negative TV ads that greatly lowered one’s respect for voter intelligence and for what they call democracy.  For months my computer screen welcomed me each day with a minimum of four requests for money to support wasteful TV political advertisements. Incensed, I diverted my donations to organizations that were efficiently doing good around the world.  I sought refuge in science where great minds, with so many different viewpoints, can still co-operate worldwide in the search for knowledge.
     Yet I still lament that this country, so blessed by geography that we continue to abuse, and so full of excellent humans that rank among the world’s best, can be so ruled by Self-Interest.  It has always been an aggressor nation led by a few who are themselves led by Greed that creates hatred abroad and overshadows all the good that many of our philanthropists donate.
    Obama was such a breath of fresh air - and we let him down - or has he let us down by coddling up to fund-raising interests and forgetting many of his promises?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


     Brilliant though our species is, we still have a long way to go.  We have learned how to use finite natural resources to increase comfort, housing, nutrition, transportation, population, our knowledge of the universe we have evolved into, as well as Greed and Conflict.  We have paid insufficient heed to the chorus of voices over the years that have tried to describe current situations and alert us.  Just a very few:
     Some 5,100 years ago, Egyptians scribes wrote, “The Sun God is supreme but she and her officials must rule according to Ma’at, the natural moral law that combines order, justice, harmony, goodness, and truth.” 
      About 2,420 years ago in Athens Thucydides advised:   “Wars are fought because of the desire for power which greed and ambition inspire.  Every schoolboy should know that victory in long, hard-fought, wars brings only exhaustion and weakness that prompt other nations to attack.  The events that once took place will, by nature of human forgetfulness, take place again, and the scroll of history will unfold, forever stained by blood, if we do not learn that the best defence is all-conquering goodwill.  Living in peace with the world will bring us the prosperity that will make us all secure.”   He was not alone in his warnings, but to move on . . . 
     2,068 years ago, Cicero in Rome lamented:   “We are taxed in our bread and our wine, in our incomes and our investments, on our land and on our property not only for base creatures who do not deserve the name of men, but for foreign nations, complaisant nations who will bow to us and accept our largesse, and promise to assist us in maintaining peace - these mendicant nations who will destroy us when we show a moment of weakness or when our treasury is bare, and surely it is becoming bare.
      We are taxed to maintain legions on their soil, in the name of law and order and Pax Romana, a document that will fall into dust when it pleases our allies and our vassals.  We keep them in precarious balance only with our gold.
Is the blood of our nation worth these?  Were they bound to us with ties of love, they would not ask for our gold. They take our very flesh, and they hate and despise us.  And who shall say we are worthy of more?
When a government becomes powerful it is destructive, extravagant, and violent; it is an usurer which takes bread from innocent mouths and deprives honourable men of their substance to buy votes with which to perpetuate itself.”
     About 1,845 years ago in Rome, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus commented:   “Often think of the rapidity with which things pass by and disappear, both the things which are and the things which are produced.  For substance is like a river in a continual flow, and the activities of things are in constant change, and the causes work in infinite varieties; and there is hardly anything that stands still.  And consider this which is near to you, this boundless abyss of the past and of the future in which all things disappear.  How then is he not a fool who is puffed up with such things or plagued by them or makes himself miserable?  For they vex him only for a time, and a very short time.
     Think of the universal substance, of which you have a very small portion; and of universal time, of which a short and indivisible interval has been assigned to you; and that which is fixed by destiny, and how small a part of it you are.”
     About 1790 in the UK, Edmund Burke advised, “Liberty cannot exist among a corrupt people.  The use of force alone is but temporary.  It does not remove the need to subdue again; and a nation is not governed which is forever to be conquered.”  He also wrote: “To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to man.”
     After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, the Duke of Wellington cried: “Nothing, save a battle lost, can be so melancholy as a battle won.” 
     Moving on to the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: A democracy, with universal suffrage, lends itself to the tyranny of the majority.  The majority belongs to the most passionate and the least enlightened classes of society.  Also frequent elections rob governments of perseverance and order, and permit officials to exercise a tyranny worse than the most despotic governments.  Old France is dead in Europe, but alive in Canada.  Under British protection and financial support French Canadians are the happiest and most tax-free people on earth, but their birthrate will one day swamp the British.    
     There is no end to such utterances.  They are just a bunch or words to soothe the ears of the enlightened and are worthless unless we heed them.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

11 NOVEMBER 2014

   Yes, as usual, I attended the Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans Day ceremonies.  Yes, I again laid the wreath for our 971 Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.  I often get the job because, at 95, I am the oldest and the only one left with WWII combat experience in our Wing.  I had just passed my driver's license renewal but it was cold and snowing so our president, Darrell Levitt, drove me.  Darrell is a post-WWII veteran, both of the army and the Air Force.  He describes taking off in many aircraft but never landing in them, preferring to find his own way back to earth (he was paratrooper).
   Here in Colorado Springs we have a "Pikes Peak Veterans Council"  comprised of 35 veterans' associations including our Wing.  But, the largest group at each Memorial Day and Remembrance/Veterans Day is usually that of the Canadian Regular Force detachment stationed here at Peterson Air Force Base.
   For over 12 years Darrell has been selected as Master of Ceremonies.   There is also a 4-piece band provided by the Air Force Academy, a Canadian piper, a combined colour guard, and a firing squad.  A truly bi-national affair with, this time, LtGen Alain Parent, RCAF, being the guest speaker.
   These ceremonies used to be held in the spacious Memorial Park but due to the uncertainties of weather are now held in the Enlisted Association building with a seating capacity of only 600  for a city of 440,000, so we do not attract a sufficient representation.  The average turnout in about 500, mostly by families associated with the Military.   After the hour-long ceremony the Canadian Forces invite us out to the base for refreshments.
    My thoughts during these ceremonies?   The memories of the 125 close friends I lost never leave me but it is still important to devote at least an hour to public remembrance even if the main attendance is by those who experienced the insane and self-imposed horrors of war.  The quite-good speakers at these events tend to repeat the same themes:  Freedom is never free; We shall never forget them; Our debt is immense; We need to maintain strong defensive forces - and so on.  Seldom do I hear words about minimizing the root causes of war; about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that all veterans of combat have; about the fact that more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have committed suicide than the number killed in action; about the bloated militaries maintained by all expansive countries, especially this one; that nuclear arsenals still exist; that greed still has us supporting repulsive regimes.  I come away with the depressing inference that we are destroying our own species in the hopeless belief that, in spite of so many brilliant and caring minds worldwide we will remain a species bent on self destruction.  Too many of us are too comfortable today to worry about tomorrow or the rest of the world and those not so fortunate.
   For me, the most emotional part of the day was to return home to find an email from Joanie Kennedy in Calgary.  Last January she was exploring the internet and discovered my "Death by Sevens" article in this blog site (27 April 2009) that describes the fate of her great uncle, Bill Murphy, whose Halifax bomber crew took the fire from two flak ships meant for my crew as we flew between them at mast-top level following mining the shipping lanes off the Dutch coast.  They missed us by millimetres but caught Bill's crew just behind us.  In was in the dark of night, 09 January 1943, during very foul weather and persistent rain.  After a huge orange explosion, the cold and indifferent North Sea claimed Bill's crew, seven of our friends.  Bill's extended family of some thirty members never knew this.  They had been informed only that he had gone "Missing from operations".  Joanie was again thanking me for bringing closure, especially to her grandmother.  Joanie and I continue to correspond as well as Neil Hill in Toronto another member of the family.
   This blog site and other writings have resulted in connecting me with the families of a fair number of friends denied the good fortune of surviving combat.
   This helps with my PTSD:  the painful guilt I will always feel of killing innocent civilians they told us was the only way to get at the guilty, to bomb them out of homes in the dead of winter with the survivors having no heat, no water, no sewage, no food, and facing a future devoid of hope.  Our species should and can do better than this.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


     Sex is a tiny word to embrace such a vast, varied, vibrant, and vital subject.  Our written records start with those in the Erech (Uruk), Sumer (Iraq) temple of the Queen of Heaven just over 5,000 years ago, so we must also rely on artifacts and fossils.
  The purpose of sex is reproduction and, for some, pleasure is added as an enticement.  But, what a dreadful waste most species have evolved.  To avoid a dense forest of trees I have just picked up what must be a trillion crab apples, the result of all those beautiful blossoms we enjoyed this spring.  I do wonder what pleasure the trees get out of all this because I do know that human pleasures too often create much pain, suffering, persecution, and exploitation.
     Fossils tell us that it all started 380 million years ago when a male jawed fish, Microbrachius dicki, evolved a bony sperm transmitter on his side so all he had to do was to find a female who had evolved velcro-like plates on her opposite side to lock him into a receptacle.  This sexual embrace continued for some time among related species when, unexplained, the practice was dropped for 40 million years in favour of external fertilization.  We evolved from the aquatic species that re-discovered internal copulation.
     Artifacts tell us that, from at least 25,000 years ago, the majority of human societies from Australasia through the Middle East to Ireland worshiped female gods.  Some 12,000 years ago women developed agriculture and villages arose around shrines to goddesses.  Generally, it was a more peaceful time, but female dominance was common.  Men did the household chores and queens had harems of males where, in some cases when their impregnation responsibilities were completed, were killed for younger studs. 
     Goddess shrines persisted until 380 AD when Roman Emperor Theodosius closed them while killing 7,000 in Thessaloniki alone; 
Saint Patrick converted the Irish in the 400s AD; and Mohammed in the 600s ended the rule of the Arabian goddess, Al Lat.  But, the rot had begun in 1570 BC when warrior Indo-European groups with male gods invaded the Middle East.  These included the Hittites who so impressed Hitler that he changed his name and adopted the Hittite word "nasi" for Nazi.  They brought Yahweh, a male god of vengeance who tolerated no other deities.  Infiltrating Hebrew tribes they invented the Garden-of-Eden myth to relegate goddess Ashtoreth and her serpent of wisdom to Eve and her slimy snake who lost us the Garden of Eden.  The Old Testament was written about 1,000 BC, some 7 to 8 hundred years after Abraham and Moses.  Wives had to obey husbands.  From this Judaism, Christianity, and Islam evolved, all of which treated women as inferior beings, subject to the whims of men.  Peter and Paul taught female submission.  So did Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Popes. Wives had to love, honour, and obey husbands.  The Christian and Islamic clergy led the charge against female suffrage.
     Even Biology favoured  the male. The female is unfairly burdened, not only with getting less pleasure out of sex, but in carrying and nourishing the embryo for 9 months then raising it for what can be over 20 years.  Biology has also failed to give her equal physical strength, resulting too often in male exploitation. Yes, millions of men do provide tender, loving, care, but the number who do not questions the credibility of our given means of reproduction.
     The male of our species produces, for much of his life, endless trillions of sperm with almost all allowed only a brief life that is pointless for its designed purpose, yet with a capability of pleasing its host, mainly with anticipation, periodically with masturbation, and rarely with intercourse where from 15 to 150 million sperm charge out on a mission where only one can achieve its objective which is to fertilize the lone egg on duty at the time.  Does this not imply a tremendous design flaw plus an evoluntion goof?
     Far too many men are cursed with a craving not compatible with dignified living.  Women have been considered rightful spoils of war ever since the changed mindset when female gods were deposed.  Solomon had 700 women in his harem;  Romans kept captive gladiators happy by providing captive women; when faced with an army reluctant to invade Italy, Napoleon reminded them, "You want women"  The Italians have millions that are yours for the taking."  Millions of women were repeatedly raped in WWII.
     Even today, in countries free at home from armed conflict, rape is all too common.  Surprisingly, Sweden leads with 66.5 per 100,000 population, followed by Jamaica, Bolivia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Belgium, USA (26.6), Brazil, Norway, and Finland. There is a big drop to the next 8 that includes Canada at 1.4.  These are UN overall statistics.  Concentrating on university and military environments reveals higher rates.
     We men must be aware that we are in the midst of yet another mindset change.  With the growth of contraceptives women are emerging to again be the superior sex.  We must be careful to design, while we still can, societies, like the Celts and others did, to eliminate discrepancies and to embrace tender, loving care as the norm.  Loving tolerance for each other as equals is much more satisfying than conflict.