Random Thoughts for June, 2014
Robert A. Hall
I'm reading a lot of bashing of VA healthcare due to the AZ situation and others. I can only speak for myself, but the care I have received at the Madison, WI VA Hospital as I went through the lung transplant process has been superb. (Yes, I now have issues that are life threatening. no person's fault--the luck of the draw--and they are still in there pitching.) There has been no medical professional there, from the surgeons and other docs, the transplant NP and transplant coordinator, the PT guys, the other professionals, to the nurses and the health techs (CNAs) that I would not want to have care for me or a loved one in the future. Even the housekeeping crew went out of their way to be helpful during my three (so far) inpatient stays. So I can't join in the bashing. It has been very helpful to me at a stressful time to have the VA coordinating my care and billing out to Medicare and my Medigap insurance policy for the costs as appropriate. I could not have asked for more.
As you know, I established my home as a No-Whining Zone years ago to deal with my lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis. I don't think I've been feeling sorry for myself at all. At a recent visit to the Dane County Veterans Services office, God let me know he favors that stance. Bonnie let me off at the door, along with Oscar the O2 tank and the wheelchair in case it was a long walk. I waited in the lobby for her, with a group of about eight severely mentally and/or physically handicapped young adults--none of whom I'd change places with. Compared to so many people, I've had and still have a blessed life.
A while back, someone was whining on a support list that, "We all ask, 'Why me? Why did I get pulmonary fibrosis?'" I responded that I asked, "Why me God? Why did I get pulmonary fibrosis?" And this booming voice replied, "I don't know Hall--there's just something about you that pisses me off!" Old joke--which some folks didn't appreciate. I figure whenever it happens, I've got a long time to be dead. No use letting the inevitable make me miserable now.
Should have known I had a problem lung when I learned it was delivered by the firm of Burke and Hare.
I like this going around the net: "Our grandparents didn't vote for fascists, they shot them."
How long until someone is called a racist for saying they wish they could have kept their health insurance plan and/or doctor as Obama promised?
If we'd only had Michelle Obama in a photo op holding up a hashtag sign that said, "StopKillingJewsandInvadingCountries, Hitler would have surely complied and WWII would have been avoided.
Interesting how those people who thought that Shari'a Law was benign and just a cultural expression of faith, so not a threat if implemented here in America have gone quiet after Boko Haram kidnapped 300 Christian girls and, in accord with Shari'a Law and the teaching of the Holy Qur'an sold them into sex slavery.
George Kennan's "Long Telegram."
If Obama needs advice on containing Russia, he might consult this document on containing the Soviet Union.
Wishful thinking and nativity kill. Unfortunately, they have dominated US foreign policy under both Democrats and Republicans. Recently I read a story of a WWII OSS agent who studied Russian, admired the Soviet Union and joined a Russian-American Friendship Society. Sent to North China, occupied by the Soviets, immediately after the war to help US POWs, he advanced on his first group of Russian troops shouting "comrades" in Russian. They turned their guns on him and the leader demanded, "Give me your watch." He was very lucky that losing his illusions only cost him a watch. Many folks have to be shot before they get it.
Superior troops with good morale and excellent training can often redeem an incompetent leader's mistakes. Alas, incompetent commanders rarely get such troops, unless they just took over and inherited them from a good leader. The same is true in civilian life, especially in rule-bound bureaucratic organizations, such as government, which rarely develop leaders interested in the mission more than CYA and their "perks." Thus they rarely develop subordinates with commitment, initiative and good morale.
Sometimes my wife doesn't answer the phone, "Because I don't know who it is." Sometimes I don't answer because I do know who it is.
When a guy says a girl is "out of my league," he's probably playing in a fantasy league anyway.
I'm annoyed by folks who never answer email. And by folks who have to answer every email. And by folks who expect a response on every joke or cute video they email to their list. Sigh. The price of instant communication. They are likely often annoyed with me as well.
And don't get me started on folks who think that the whole world is waiting breathlessly for them to post what they had for lunch on Twitter or Facebook.
A great many folks are willing to take credit for good outcomes. I used to say that when I was a Senator, I took credit for the sun coming up, because I also got blamed for negative things beyond my control. You will find that if you generously share the credit with everyone involved, even a little beyond their contributions, it will pay large dividends. And you'll feel better, too.
The really hard thing to do it to take responsibility for your actions when the outcomes are negative. The child is much more likely to say, "Mom, the dish broke," than, "Mom, I broke the dish--I'm sorry." Having learned that avoidance behavior, it carries through life. Like everyone, I have to work on this and I try hard, because it is right, and showing such integrity produces a better reputation with other folks. So there is a long term payoff, as there so often is, for doing the right thing, however difficult. Politicians (of all stripes) especially have trouble admitting error. If a Republican or Democrat says, "I was wrong, this policy isn't working, we are going to scrap it," the other side and their media allies don't congratulate him or her for a sensible and courageous decision; they eviscerates the elected official for the error. So the politician often flips 180 degrees and acts like he/she was always there. Thus you have the farce of a CEO losing his job for having held the same position on Gay marriage years ago that Obama held at the same time, while Obama draws more support from gays because of the flip. There are many Republican examples as well.
Since requiring IDs to vote is racist because minorities are unable to get them, for whatever reason, then requiring them for anything is racist. Minorities should not be disadvantaged in buying guns, checking out library books, cashing checks, flying, getting licenses, entering buildings or events, purchasing cigarettes or drugs or government benefits or anything else because of race. I suggest that Republican lawmakers pass bills making it illegal to require photo IDs for any reason.
I think of Obama as the Composite President. He combines the naïveté of Wilson on foreign policy, the competence of Carter, and the ethics of Clinton and Nixon. At least he doesn't seem to have the sexual morals of JFK.
The only good argument for Common Core is that it helps teachers who know they are too stupid to know what to teach on their own, and are desperate for a how-to check list.
If you are not old enough to give informed consent to having sex, you're not old enough to consent to having an abortion.
Assault rifle bans aren't that bad. A few cosmetic changes to remove features that scare liberals and you are good to go, with basically the same weapon.
When you are sick, folks bring you presents. For example, our granddaughter's little dog, Caramel, found a squashed mouse in the driveway. The wife couldn't get it from him--he insisted on bringing it in the house and presenting it to me on the couch. It's the thought that counts.
If God didn't want me to be profane, he wouldn't have let them send me to Parris Island. "Dear Lord, I don't really want you to take the time to damn the oxygen hose I just tripped over, or punish my computer for the glitch. But if they were to melt in the future, I'd consider it just..."
People who say they don't need to go to church because, "God is everywhere," are seldom looking for him everywhere, and would be startled if he manifested himself there.
We should take Obama's word that Benghazi or the IRS are not scandals with the same degree of confidence that everyone gave Nixon's "I am not a crook" statement.
They say "Freedom is not Free." If you want to know who paid most of your share, stop by your local VA Hospital and look around. Volunteering would be even better.
I imagine an old guy with his 48-inch belly hanging over his 34-inch waist jeans, meeting a young guy with his jeans down to his thighs and his butt protruding in his boxers, each thinking how stupid the other one looks.
The most ignored sound in our house is the dryer buzzing at intervals that it's done. It can go on for hours.
If all you do is criticize, or all you do is praise, no one will give much weight to either criticism or praise from you.
Troops used to get tattoos reading, "Death Before Dishonor." In today's military, they should read, "Death Before Political-Incorrectness." PC will kill America's sons and daughters. But to be fair, soldiers have died throughout history to stroke the egos of politicians, whether it was for "empire," "honor," "national prestige," "pride," "avenging a national insult," or to allow today's so-called "leaders" to feel warm and fuzzy about being all PC, since they have no experience paying the butcher's bill with their or their children's blood. And no intention that their own kids will ever go in harm' way.
I like earrings on men. They tell you who is a slave to fads without having to talk to them.
If I go into the VA for rehab and catch the physical therapist talking to one of my old DIs on the phone for hints, I am outta there!
Welcome to the fight of the Century. In this corner, representing the Obama Administration's Decisive Action Team, wearing spangled Spandex, Michele Obama holding a #BringBackOurGirls hashtag sign. In the far corner, representing Boko Haram, wearing a filthy burnoose and a dynamite-spangled vest, Mohammad Akbar, holding an #AllahPermitsSexWithSlaveGirls hashtag sign--and a fully loaded AK-47. Let the battle begin.
America is being punished for Obama's mom being punished with a baby.
Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy is about the only thing the Democrats haven't blamed on Bush, the Koch brothers or global warming.
I'm very tolerant. I'm pretty much willing to extend tolerance to anyone who is willing to extend it to me and others. Otherwise....
Eric Holder says about racism: “The greatest threats are more subtle. They cut deeper. And their terrible impact endures long after the headlines have faded and obvious, ignorant expressions of hatred have been marginalized.” And what is a "subtle threat" of racial discrimination? Why, any opposition or disagreement with Obama's or Holder's policies or actions, of course! ~Bob
Lèse-majesté: The crime of committing an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign. Now called "racism."
I know a couple of people who, if they go to hell, will annoy Satan until he throws up his hands and puts in air conditioning.
Unions: Making the world safe for mediocrity.
I have a lot of Marine tee shirts, which I like to wear to the VA for rehab. But they are even more fun to wear to the Madison, WI Farmer's Market around the capital. It's sort of like a Progressive Petri Dish, with groups on every corner lobbying to "Save the Transgender Whales," "Give Voting Rights to Non-Citizens," or to "Ban Carbon Based Life Forms," because carbon is poison. My tees include: "Free Men Bear Arms," "Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock, Who Trains My Hands for War and My Fingers for Battle--Psalm 144/1," "Happiness is a Belt-Fed Weapon," "Freedom is Not Free--But the US Marines Will Pay Most of Your Share," "Some People Just Need Killing--That's Why We Have Marines," and "Peace Through Fire Superiority." The last is different from the usual, "Peace Through Superior Firepower," which means you have better and/or more guns. "Fire Superiority" means you are shooting so well, the enemy dares not put his head up to shoot back. The local progressives never have the nerve to say anything to me, but my wife loves to watch their faces after they read the shirt and try not to stroke out. Good, clean fun.
I watch TV with a book in my hands. If you ask me if I saw a particular ad that runs frequently, I'd probably remember the ad--but not what it was selling.
Never brag or celebrate until the results are all in. When I was getting out of the Marines to go to college, I had to take the SATs--four years after I graduated in the top 95% of my high school class. Since I rarely had more than a C, but often lower, neither I nor anyone else saw me as a scholar. A girl friend, who had respectable SAT scores of 525 in verbal and 650 in math--her major--was busting me, the dumb Marine who had to hope they gave me a couple of points for spelling my name correctly. Then my results came. I had a 735 in verbal (98th or 99th percentile) and a 589 in math (95th). This was back before the SAT folks lowered the scores because they were dropping, so my combined 1,324 out of 1,400 possible was better than the same score today (and qualified me for Mensa). Naturally, I served her a large, cold crow dinner. Another example: on election night in 1972, about 1:00 am, when I was trailing the incumbent by about 2,000 votes, several car-loads of his supporters drove past my house, yelling and honking their horns. At 6:30 am, the last town came in, putting me up for the first time--by nine votes--and I became the Senator in January. And then Fitchburg State College, which in 1968, before I took the SATs, had suggested with my grades I try the community college as being less demanding, was coming to me for help with their budget.
Thanks to Marine Electronics School in 1965, I've always done very well on multiple guess tests. Every week we had a 33-question computer-graded test. Top scorer got 100, regardless of his raw number. Bottom three flunked, regardless of their scores. If you flunked three times, they transferred you to the infantry and you got killed in Vietnam. Very completive school. I finished second to a reservist who was an electrical engineer in civilian life. (Actually, my buddy Ron and I volunteered to drop out to go to Vietnam after ground troops landed that year. They said thanks and ordered us back to class. We were 19...gung ho and dumb.)
Now that they have "Honor Flights" to take WWII vets to DC to see the memorial, I think they should have "Dishonor Flights," led by Bill Clinton, to take old hippy protesters to Canada to visit their war buddies.
If you walk around at work with a clipboard and a cup of coffee, people will think you are management and not expect you to do anything.
Suggested new Planned Parenthood slogan: "Abortion Macht Frei."
It's not true that liberals hate all assault weapons. They're fine if pointed at American troops. http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/19/jane-fonda-on-riding-that-north-vietnamese-anti-aircraft-gun-in-72-sorry-somebody-took-a-picture/
Al Gore's slogan must be, "Think Globally, act like you hope no one is watching what you personally do."
Nothing is as scary as seeing my granddaughter and her 13-year-old friends in party dresses, and hoping there are no boys like me in her class...
A lot of people on the right use "Libtard" to describe liberals. I don't. First, name calling doesn't move anyone to consider your views. Second, it demeans mentally handicapped citizens by conflating them with liberals.
Most people get the need for smoozing upward, towards the boss, teacher, commanding officer, etc. Many get the value of smoozing laterally with equals, building relationships that help everyone. Only a few get that smoozing downward is equally important. First, just because you are in a higher status or position, doesn't make you better than other people. And they can help you as much as you can help them. Sam Wall treated the greeters at Walmart as well as he treated corporate CEOs. When I was a senator, I treated the pages as equals. When the Senate President or Sergeant-at-Arms wasn't around, we were on a first name basis. And they tended to run errands for me first. Plus the information they passed to me was very valuable. Some senators treated them like inferiors servants. Bad mistake, born of arrogance and a sense of entitlement. My update is, "Whom the gods would destroy, they first give a sense of entitlement.
It' an unfortunate truth that lying too often works. Obama lied about Obamacare and got it passed. He lied about Benghazi and got reelected. There are many examples, from politicians of all sides. And not just politicians.
The tricky thing for a third world dictator is knowing when to hang on to enjoy the power and perks while building that Swiss bank account, and when it's time to scoot and enjoy the millions you've looted the country for.
Suggested epitaph for a golfer: "What's par for this hole?"
Listen, wannabees, it's "All present OR accounted for," not "All present and accounted for." The company might have three men on leave, two in the brig and four at sick bay, who are not present, but are accounted for. If they are missing and not accounted for, they are UA (AWOL in the old days).
Got an e-mail from a conservative site that claimed, "There is a huge, hushed-up conspiracy that may wipe out 281 Million Americans in the next 6 months. The media has been forbidden to report anything about it." Both sides do this to keep the base in a frenzy. Often they are expressed in terms of a question, like, "Is Harry Reid/the Koch Brothers about to be indicted?" the question format lets them say they weren't claiming it as a fact, but "just asking." This rubbish adds nothing to the debate or the public's understanding of issues. But we have jerks of all political stripes.
To be safe, stay out of businesses with "no guns allowed" signs. Easy targets for armed criminals, so you are more likely to be robbed and shot there.
Get the collection! My “Random Thoughts” from 2008 through July, 2013 are now collected in this book: The Old Jarhead's Journal: Random Thoughts on Life, Liberty, and Leadership by Robert A. Hall
The Old Jarhead’s Journal is a collection of Random Thoughts on politics and life and Conservative Political Essays, mostly published on the author’s blog, including the essay “I’m Tired” which went viral on the Internet in 2009, “The Hall Platform,” “This I Believe,” and “Why I’m a Republican.” While they will be of interest to conservative thinkers, they are collected here in book form as a service to readers who wish to give a copy to favorite liberals and watch their heads explode. All royalties are donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.
http://tiny.cc/g02s4 For a free PDF of Collapse, e-mail him at tartanmarine(at)gmail.com. Hall’s eleven books are listed here: http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/07/new-book-published.html