Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Letter To A Longtime Friend

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 20, 2021

Following are excerpts of a letter to a long-time friend who has historically voted for Republicans… almost exclusively, at all levels – local, state, and federal.

I have not.

As I recall, the last Republican for whom I voted was Reagan in his first campaign. Yet, I have not voted for Democrats whom I either do not like, nor think they would do a good job. And, I would vote for a Republican… if I could find one worth voting for.

I cannot.

And the party nowadays is in wholesale disarray, which further complicates matters. One faction wants to tear it all down, while another radicalized faction has actually attempted to burn it all down by attempting to overthrow its Constitutionally-ordered processes… and to add insult to injury, it was at the behest of the sitting President. And neither faction wants to repair anything, much less economic infrastructure.

“Privatize it all!” is their battle cry.

Yet, he is like me in this regard: He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of ANY political party. He is also like me insofar as he cares for the future of our nation, which, more specifically, means We the People — the Common Man.

“Blind Men Appraising an Elephant,” c.1800-1850, by Ohara Donshu (d.1857), Japanese Edo Period, Brooklyn Museum

But, to casual observers, they would not know that how we are similar, and would rather, note our seeming dissimilarities, when in fact, the opposite is true. We are more similar, than not — at least we are, on an essentially basic, fundamentally root level.

As I have long stated, we — he, I, and many others who, superficially seem to disagree — are like the proverbial blind men describing an elephant, which is an ancient moralistic tale about human nature with origins in the Indian subcontinent which is known as far back as circa 500 BCE.

“Our individual views of the universe may be different from one another’s because we each encounter only one small part of what is there. The ancient Hindu parable of the six blind men and the elephant — wherein each man describes only the part of the elephant he is touching, forming an incomplete representation of the whole — is an illustration of such individual differences. The elephant, a metaphor for the universe, is perceived by one man as a snake (because he feels the trunk), by another as a tree (because he feels the leg), and so on. However, individual differences in perception are not usually as large as the differences between the six blind men’s percepts of the elephant. The differences are not so large because perception is a complex phenomenon resulting from multiple small effects, such as many different genes and accumulated experiences, acting mostly separately.”

— “Individual Differences In Perception,” entry by Ariella Popple, PsyD, PhD, in “Encyclopedia of Perception,” E. Bruce Goldstein, ed., 2010, SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, California


Hey Bud-E! How you are?

Still taking a licking, and keeping on ticking?

How’re your eyes? Still in your head?

Your eyes we can fix. My hearing, we can’t.

I’m going deaf.

No kidding.

My hearing loss is now much more significant than previously. And, I contend that it was because of the loud *!*BOOMS! *!*BANGS*!* & *!*EXPLOSIONS*!* to which I was exposed while in the Army. Training, of course. And so far, I’ve been denied a Service-Connected Disability rating. But, to be certain, I’ve not hammered the piss out of ‘em — the VA, that is — to get such a rating, and more importantly TO GET HEARING AIDS WHICH I DESPERATELY NEED!

You see, T, my good friend, this – my example – is but ONE of MILLIONS MORE exactly like me. Good and decent pubic education, college degreed, honorable service to our nation, and despite it all, not having healthcare insurance, nor the ability to shell out $10,000, or more, for hearing aids. And if my glasses break, I’m similarly up shit creek. And forget about my teeth. I’ve not seen a dentist in I-don’t-know-when. My next-door-neighbor D, who is 1 year younger than I, and a widower, had all his teeth pulled recently so that he could get fitted for dentures. ALL of that he had to shell out of pocket. ALL OF IT. And he delivers flowers for a living. A very modest paying job – not even $15/hr.

I’m fully certain that you KNOW that I am unapologetically FOR THE PEOPLE. And, I think you know me well enough to know that, by NO MEANS, am I “anti-business,” and rather, am anti-BIG BUSINESS — a scenario in which profiteering comes first, and people are an afterthought. THAT is a “cardinal sin,” because it demonstrates conclusively that, LITERALLY, we (our nation, our people, by and through our elected officials) DO NOT CARE FOR OUR OWN. And, I know the Scriptures well enough to know (and, I would hope that you do, also) that such a tact is 100% diametrically opposed to Biblical/Judeo-Christian principles. And indeed, it is against the principles of EVERY religion.

“If anyone fails to provide for his own, and especially for those of his own family, he has denied the faith [by disregarding its precepts] and is worse than an unbeliever [who fulfills his obligation in these matters].”
1 Timothy 5:8 AMP

For TOO LONG we have disregarded the sage, prophetic advice of POTUS Dwight David Eisenhower, a 2-term Republican, who, before campaigning for President, during WWII was Supreme Allied Commander – our nation’s last 5-star general.

And concurrently with that, we have continued to reduce income tax rates upon the wealthiest Americans, and their corporations, while simultaneously reducing and compressing the number of income tax brackets, thereby placing an increasingly undue responsibility and burden upon the impoverished and working families. Again, that burden has shifted AWAY from upon the wealthy, to be foisted upon the poor. Such an action is fundamentally UNJUST.

In his Farewell Address to the nation, delivered January 17, 1961, as POTUS, that speech, now known as the “Military Industrial Complex” speech, he warned about what we are now experiencing in our nation, and in part said:

“A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

“Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

USAF General John E. Hyten, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in virtual conference conducted by Brookings Institute, Monday, September 13, 2021

I share that, because, that I am aware of, there has only been ONE senior military official – an Air Force general – who has publicly stated that our military budget is FAR TOO LARGE, and MUST be pared down.

Air Force General John E. Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday, September 13, 2021 spoke in a virtual conference held by the Brookings Institute, and said in part that, “Do you think any taxpayer in this country would believe that for $700 billion a year, we can’t have a great defense? We should be able to, and it’s crazy that [anyone thinks] we can’t.”

Citing two inefficiencies — 1.) Weapons systems, old or new, that do not address current and emerging threats must be set aside, and; 2.) The need for Congressional Politicians to enact budgets in a timely manner every fiscal year, instead of passing continuing resolutions which do not permit new programs to start, nor allow existing programs to expand their work. — he said that, if those two problems are not remedied, then more money will be needed just to overcome the increased levels of inefficiency created by those two, relatively minor problems.

Corollary to that, he obliquely mentioned two other subsets of problems which are the responsibility of Congressional Politicians: 1.) The tendency to a.) Pass legislation that prohibits the Pentagon from retiring aging and unneeded assets like aircraft and ships or, similarly; b.) Requiring the military to buy weapons that top-level military leaders did not request, and; 2.) Congress’ habitual failure to pass spending bills by the October 1 start of each Fiscal Year. Such failure forces Congress to pass “continuing resolutions” to permit Department of Defense spending at the same level for the same programs, regardless whether they’re needed, or not.

General Hyten emphasized the efficiency level that could be obtained by merely enacting those two, relative minor changes, by saying, “If we could just get that stability, and if we could make sure we focus our investments on what’s required for the threat, only then we can actually do it with $700 billion a year. But if we continue the same way we are, we have to have bigger budgets.”

There are numerous justifications for what he publicly said, most of which OUGHT TO BE common sense. But, as we both know, common sense seems to be in short supply these days.

For FAR TOO LONG, and to our OWN DETRIMENT, we have “sown the wind” and are now, “reaping the whirlwind.” We the People, by and through our elected officials, have NEGLECTED OURSELVES, our FAMILIES, the veritable “members of our own household” and been on a slow, gradual decline in the character, and quality, of relationships. It’s reflected in increased violent crime rates – murder, assault, etc., by civilian and uniformed personnel, alike.

Similarly reflective of that is a SIGNIFICANT DECLINE in the birth rate, which is at its lowest since 1979. And NO, it’s NOT because of “abortion.” Women are simply CHOOSING to FOREGO pregnancy and childbirth because of the socioeconomic conditions of our nation. I mean, seriously… who would WANT to raise a child in such an environment as we have nationally, not to mention globally? Seriously. WHO?

We have NEGLECTED small & family-owned businesses – like yours – and have instead, pandered to multi-national corporations whose allegiance is to the “almighty” dollar, and NOT to We the People.

We have NEGLECTED education AT ALL LEVELS, but particularly and especially at K-12, TO OUR OWN DETRIMENT.

We have NEGLECTED provisions of health, healthcare, and healthcare delivery TO OUR OWN DETRIMENT. That is reflected NOT ONLY in the %age of people who are uninsured/underinsured, but is ALSO REFLECTED in our nation’s medication development policy, our nation’s food safety & security policy, our health & welfare of the adulterating substances allowed to be included in our food – most of which are ILLEGAL in the European Union, as well as used in agricultural production.

We bitch, gripe, moan, groan, and complain about children and young adults who are functionally “illiterate” on matters of national policy, and sadly, on fundamental matters of history and current events. We complain loud and long about the youth resident in the “inner city” but HAVE FAILED THEM – AND THEIR FAMILIES – MISERABLY.

We have FAILED DETROIT RESIDENTS by failing to provide LEAD-FREE pipes for water distribution, thereby HARMING THE RESIDENTS -AND- THE CHILDREN, BY GIVING THEM BRAIN DAMAGE.

In the Tennessee Valley, Congress has failed We the People during the George W. Bush administration by “outsourcing” sock production to Honduras, and other Central American nations, via CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Act) – for the benefit of BIG BUSINESS – and have actively participated in the destruction of our own economy.

Huntsville’s economy is dangerously upon the precipice of having “all its eggs in one basket” by focusing almost exclusively upon contractors with/for the “military industrial complex,” and have practically, and functionally IGNORED ALL OTHER TYPES OF BUSINESSES.

Yes, there’s Toyota. Yes, there’s Remington… wait — Remington LIED to city & state officials, and then, DISSOLVED themselves, and then filed for BANKRUPTCY, leaving the City of Huntsville “holding the bag,” exactly like some said they would. After all, that’s what hedge fund managers do with their toys. Right? A leopard can’t change its spots, nor a zebra its stripes.

Yes, there’s HudsonAlpha… but most in Alabama DO NOT have the level of EDUCATION required to work there.

Yes, there’s Polaris ATV, and that’s a good thing, as is Toyota, and HudsonAlpha. But MORE IS NEEDED TO DIVERSIFY the local economy. MUCH, MUCH… SO MUCH MORE.

You see, T, almost ALL of America’s myriad problems can ALL be traced back to NEGLECT and GREED.

It’s time that we STOPPED REWARDING GREED, and started INVESTING IN OURSELVES.

And that is why I SUPPORT 100% the budget being promoted by the Democrats in Congress.

Remember, government spending ALWAYS winds back up in the hands of We the People… unless it’s by a giant, multinational corporation. And THAT is what we must FIGHT AGAINST — giant multi-national corporations whose self-seeking, self-serving interests are Wall$treet driven for the benefit of corporate mega-shareholders, and their wealthy overlords — NOT for We the People.

Again, for FAR TOO LONG, we have NEGLECTED SPENDING UPON OUR OWN NEEDS, and have instead, pandered to giant multinational corporations whose principle purpose is to feed off the “military industrial complex” like hogs at a trough. And they have THRIVED!

Imagine what our nation COULD HAVE BEEN like if we’d INVESTED even HALF the amount of money which we threw down the rat-hole called “Afghanistan” and EVERYTHING associated with Middle Eastern conflict. EVERYTHING.

Some critics complain that childcare is not important, and therefore, should not be included in the budget. I demur, precisely because a 2-income household IS NOT ENOUGH to provide support for the family. And the “breadwinner” has to have 2 jobs, as does the partner have to hold 2 jobs… just to make ends meet.

Case in point to illustrate: A good, and longtime friend GB – she’s hired you to do some work for her at her house – has been living with her daughter & son-in-law for the past couple years. And, not too long ago, GB was diagnosed with dementia. GB’s daughter LA & her spouse G both work full time jobs. And LA is now being FORCED to spend well over $300/week to have a sitter stay with GB while she & G are at work. I guess that’s the Republican ideal… having someone work to pay someone else to work. (sarcasm) But frankly, THAT CONDITION SHOULD NOT EXIST. There is NO REASON why a family should be FORCED to have 4 incomes for 2 income earners to merely scrape by.

The PROFITEERING done by BIG BUSINESS is IMMORAL and OUGHT TO BE ILLEGAL. But sadly, it is not. WE HAVE THE POWER AND THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THAT, AND SHOULD.

There is another Scripture verse which comes to mind about that very matter, and it is this (and not just one, either!):

“You must not defraud your neighbor or rob him. You must not withhold until morning the wages due a hired hand.”
– Leviticus 19:13

“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”
– Deuteronomy 25:4 NKJV

“Do not oppress a hired hand who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.”
– Deuteronomy 24:14

“You are to pay his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and depends on them. Otherwise he may cry out to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.”
– Deuteronomy 24:15

“For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned?”
– 1 Corinthians 9:9

“For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.””
– 1 Timothy 5:18

“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.”
– Romans 4:4

“…for the worker deserves his wages.“
Luke 10:7b (the words of Jesus of Nazareth) NIV

“…those who work deserve to be fed.”
Matthew 10:10 (the words of Jesus of Nazareth) NLT

American industry, and BIG BUSINESS have been RAPING the American worker for FAR TOO LONG!

Again, as a nation, we have sown the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind.

We the People have the POWER TO CHANGE THINGS to BENEFIT US, OVER AND ABOVE MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS… and SHOULD!

BIG BUSINESS has their denizen hoards of attorneys, whereas We the People have no one, but our elected Representatives, and Senators.

And when they sell out, we’re screwed.

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