Category Archives: Perspectives

History, belief systems and more

Searching for balance

Searching for balance

After every election there is always a plea for unity after all the ugliness of the campaign. However, one wonders about the sincerity of this admonition.

Having been around for almost three generations of Presidential administrations my view is that the losing party almost immediately encourages their constituents to start bashing the leader of the winner’s. While this seems to have been the case ever since I was old enough to pay attention, my experience is that it has escalated with almost every election. Republicans delighted in bashing Clinton, Democrats had their way with Bush, Republicans did their best to crucify Obama and the bloodletting is already starting with Trump.

I do wonder how this process relates to true patriotism. How does it serve our country? After any election (except in a true landslide) there will be a very large minority (45 – 50 %) that are disappointed. Does it serve the country to not accept the outcome? Are we better served by working with the winner with the objective of reaching compromises? One wonders why Republicans tend to view Democrats as less than intelligent and Democrats the reverse.

Personally I agree with George Washington regarding his view that the two party system will not (and does not) facilitate the best qualities in our country. Regardless, I see evidence in both parties where there is room for agreement and compromise, especially when it comes to some of the major issues. The issues I refer to were not addressed during the recent campaign.

Our biggest issue should be the budget and the related items of the national debt and the enormous level of unfunded liabilities. We have intentionally mortgaged the future to the detriment of our grandchildren and their prodigy. We reside in a false economy. Despite efforts to maintain unrealistically low interest rates the economy stagnates. One wonders what the impact of rising rates will have on our future.

Two significant items that relate to the budget imbalance are the out of control costs relative to healthcare and advanced education. I think that electorate of both parties could agree that these areas are worth working together for solutions. Why should costs in these areas be rapidly inflating while the remainder of the economy is stagnant or deflating? There actually are solutions to these important issues, but we will only find them by “finding balance” through mutual respect for differing views. Let’s strive to become true patriots.

High speed cop car chases, are they worth it?

Chapter 45

High speed cop car chases, are they worth it?

With the evolution of communication technology I wonder the value of high speed police pursuits. It seems that by using police band radio and cell phones most of these chases could be avoided and still result in apprehension. My primary concern is with the unnecessary deaths that have resulted from this activity.

The following is taken from and August 2015 article in USA today:

During the 24 year period from 1979 to 2013 there were almost 12,000 fatalities resulting from high speed chases by police vehicles. Of these 6,301 were the deaths of those being pursued (in at least one case for running a red light and in another for failure to turn on head lights), 5,066 were of innocent bystanders or other non-violators in vehicles and 139 were police officers.

Another consideration is the need for high powered police cruisers. We might need to consider lower powered and more fuel efficient vehicles and replace the high speed chase with efficient communications among law enforcement? It is interesting to note that most European countries utilize small economy units as police vehicles. Despite what we see in Hollywood’s chase scenes most of these vehicles are not chase capable.

America , the world’s cop

Chapter 44

America , the world’s cop                                                                                            

I strongly favor our ability to provide a national defense but, there are at least three points that concern me regarding this issue: 1. Our intrusion into any other countries’ civil affairs. One wonders how we would feel if another country decided that they needed to invade our borders because they deemed that we were not treating a segment of our citizens fairly or in an inhumane manner. 2. Putting our boys and girls in harm’s way, resulting in the deaths of many. In addition to the death toll we need to recognize the high cost of rehabilitation of those who have been wounded both physically and psychologically. 3. The cost to the tax payer and the impact it has on the budget deficit.

Our intrusion into other countries: The valid argument here is that people are being killed for what we determine are good reasons. It is unfortunate that there are still evil rulers that see fear and murder as a valid weapon to secure and retain power. We all hope for a world where this is not the case. How and where do we draw the line on intrusion into another country’s affairs? Will our intrusion insure that the next ruler will be an improvement? Will our intrusion prevent it from happening again in another (or the same) country?

Killing and maiming our boys and girls:  In Iraq there have been 4,419 deaths, and in Afghanistan – 3,347. The wounded represent more than 5 times these numbers. According to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013 was 350.                                                                                                                                                          Using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that from 2001 to 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide, with suicide representing approximately 2/3rds of the total deaths by gun and extremely few in defense of home and property.

The cost to the tax payer:

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans and expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest. The war in Afghanistan has cost the United States nearly $1.2 trillion — or $1.172 trillion, to be exact — since its inception in 2001 through July 31, 2012, according to the U.S. Defense Department.