So called "wise" people would tell me to choose my battles carefully. Of course I would check these wise people out over time. Much to my disappointment, none of them were smart enough or brave enough to fight any battles at all.
I also learned that real soldiers do not get to choose. Soldiers fight their battles where ordered to and when ordered to.
Officers get to decide when ripe and good battles are called for. In fact, we were tested just to see how good we were at starting a battle and winning it. The corps is not a place for wimps who always avoid trouble by picking only the easy battles.
It is much better to see and know the field of battle, then to execute a smart strategy. Sometimes the battlefield is one of ideas, of doing the right thing, or of righting wrongs that have been done.
With many battles, there is no roadmap, there are no rules, there are few weapons, and there is little guidance except for experience, knowledge and wit.
There is also no choosing battles when enemies attack. There is only defense, offense, or running away. Running away is only effective when the enemy cannot follow.
So this is my attempt to describe some fields of battle and some strategies for a nation going through menopause. Something must be done before we are all forced to live under the rule of entities who are neither elected nor answerable to the will of the people.
Academic bureaucracy gone mad has cost far too many students their high school degrees.
Most of us got our high school degrees after 4 years of serious work that was punctuated by our drama, trauma, foolishness, fear and fun.
How many American students are now being denied their high school diplomas, the ability to work, and the ability to move on in life because bureaucrats decided to make it all about "testing"?
Students need to be awarded their high school degrees based on a combination of their grades in essential core courses, specialized courses, special projects, student activities, and their contributions to the community.
Testing should be prohibited as the sole or final determinant for awarding a high school degree.
Instead, let tests, the SAT's and other college tests determine who moves upward in the educational system, not who moves out or is pushed out of the educational system.
And get the corporations out of designing school curriculums to serve themselves.
The damage was done by ending the vocational high school degree:
It is stupid to think that all students can be forced into learning computers, science, history, literature and advanced math.
Many "failing" students would show pure genius if they could study or learn skills where their needs and passions lead them. Without such options, far too many students are more inclined to drop out or slack off.
With such options, many students may be convinced to do a better job in their core courses.
It is a waste of our national assets to force the educational system to meet self serving, useless and transitory goals that are pushed by corporations, out of touch politicians, and academic elites. The students should come first and their needs are quite different.
Yes, American schools, like every other institution, have become beholden to the corporations, to politicians, and to their own elites at the expense of the final product: human beings who need to qualify for jobs once they graduate high school.
Where do those kids end up? In deep debt to for-profit 18 month schools. What a ripoff.
How many thousands of dollars are these kids borrowing just to learn medical reception? Auto mechanics? Basic secretarial and computer tech? Carpentry? What what?
There is no excuse for children to spend 12 years in one of the most expensive school systems in history, just to end up with neither a basic high school degree nor a marketable skill.
Young adults should have the option to be trained and certified for productive jobs, without incurring debt, and during the last 18 months of high school.
Keep ignoring the veterans benefits disgrace and two things will happen: the draft will be reinstated and the lefties will have to migrate to Canada. The chicken hawks will have a shortage of functional volunteers to fight their wars.
Don't worry. There will be more than enough desperate and undesireable people who will volunteer. Then we will continue with the same strategic and military success that we have been enjoying for the past 10 years.
Yes, that was sarcasm.
And the veterans will take the losses, over there and back at home.
The backlog in veterans claims processing has stayed at about 900,000. This means that nothing has been done to clear the backlog.
How did almost one million veterans claims came to be so corruptly handled, mishandled and poorly handled by the VA? The VA is a huge, stubborn and arrogant agency that operates quite well in some divisions.
It must be understood that veterans are trained to be happy with what they get. Don't try to survey our satisfaction.
The improvements in the medical care system have made us very happy, even if the system is not one of optimal greatness or luxury. We must live with those improvements for the next 50 years, as we had to live with the last major set of improvements, so the new features have to be good.
The claims division has been a train wreck that operates poorly and with impunity. Even the courts and Congress have demonstrated that they have no power to order a successful fix.
Why are self serving and opportunistic service organizations like AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans allowed to control so much of a government process? These organizations hug up with the VA, claim fake powers and abilities, and take in tons of donations.
But they have been doing little or nothing for their backlogged, denied, and mistreated veteran clients. Veterans should be able to remove their records from these organizations and to take their claims to county Veterans service officers who are not required to work with private groups.
Because of Rumsfeld's wet dreams and Bush era mismanagement, combat veterans return home to die from diseases and injuries that are new to medicine. Many have contracted mental illnesses, been denied support, and have committed suicide after being turned away by the VA.
Even more war veterans have ended up in prison or have killed someone before they got any help. Neither the VA, nor the media, nor the government made an effort to track these lost veterans.
The massive claims backlog happened because of unprecedented rates of PTSD and new types of battlefield injuries.
The new injuries often come from advanced explosives and weapons that we or the U.S.S.R. handed over to past allies. Those former allies are apparently our new enemies, so there we go.
Our mess is one of our own making, and it cannot be buried away.
America has a contract with our veterans. The contract was broken and the debt is headed toward the collection agency. The 9th circuit court of appeals has already determined that the Veterans Administration is incompetently run, but was manipulated into reversing itself because the right wing judges on the bench take their marching orders from the Republican party.
The veterans administration needs to clear the backlog and approve the claims within the next nine months, or the courts needs to step in and manage the agency.
Look for and sign petitions that will help to force the VA claims division to clean up its act. The VA claims division is an arrogant and stubborn fool, so a huge amount of public help is needed.
Child abuse and fake science that is harming children:
Using everything from extreme vegan diets to child torture and abuse, sadistic opportunists, racists, cultists, religious deviants, and and pseudo scientists are exposing children to irreparable harm.
Adult terrorism suspects get massive amounts of attention while children in juvenile prison, religious and secular cults, and so called "boot camps" are pointedly ignored.
This has to stop.
A light needs to shine on our juvenile institutions, and aggressive attention needs to be paid to our American disgraces.
Suck it up, America and care more for our own children than we do for people who will not be gratified until they kill us all.
The Supreme court wiped out a lot of the 4th amendment protection against improper search and seizure with its recent strip search ruling, yet few Americans are considering impeaching the Supreme Court justices who are pushing such unlawful, treasonous and extremist decisions.
Anyone can now be forced to strip naked and expose themselves, whether they are taken into custody for a criminal offense or not. One individual was stripped searched for not having an audible bell on his bicycle.
There is a guarantee that people of color, poor people or any of us without major political connections will suffer the worst abuses.
The plaintiff in the strip search case was arrested on a warrant that had been issued for a fine that he had already paid. He was shipped from jail to jail and stripped searched twice. He spent six days in jail before a furious judge ordered his release.
He and all of the rest of us lost this case.
The 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure must be restored.
Unwarranted and abusive "strip searches" must be outlawed at the state level.
Extremist supreme court judges and judges with chronic conflicts of interest must be impeached before they manage to take away the people's right to impeach them.
The war on women is declared and women are fighting back. There is no doubt that the recent anti family planning, anti contraceptive and anti abortion actions are virulently misogynistic.
No equal law was passed requiring men to undergo a urethral scope procedure to look at their own sperm before they have vasectomies. Men are not prevented from buying Viagra and condoms with government funds.
Of course, the more sick 'n stupid state level laws will be tied up in court until they reach a Supreme Court so corrupted that the fourth amendment has been stripped of its power.
In the end, the odds of getting rid of these malodorous legislative plots are not so good unless the miscreants are booted out of office.
Demand that the governments stay out of people's reproductive decisions, or remove the extremists from their elected positions at the local, state and national government levels.
Boycott the corporation-people who support the worst elected officials and candidates.
Impeach and vote out those who would declare and carry out a war on women. Send a message that power comes from the majority of voters, not just the right wing voters or women who like being chattel.
In summary, these fields of battle are open right now. Nothing is simple. Everything is complex. But ignoring the serious threats to our nation and to our world is a good way to stay blissful...
...for a while.
After that, regret does nothing for anyone, and most of us won't want to hear about it.
Take an issue. Make a move. Do a thing. And, as always...
Don't hog it all!!!!