Round Up the Posse to Fight Terrorism

Most Americans believe that the military is required to fight terrorism, but the military is trained and designed to fight armies representing foreign governments.  The terrorists are civilians who typically have no alignment with a government.

We have learned some hard lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan.  America has drained its resources and has lost many good soldiers in these two countries with little to show for it.

So, what is the best way to fight terrorism?  Perhaps, it is as simple as letting our cells fight the terrorist cells.  There currently is a strong movement toward a world economy, so it makes sense to form international counter-terrorism cells to fight the terrorist cells.  It will be a more economical and practical approach to solving this problem.  Other countries, who realize that terrorism is detrimental to the world economy, will be more receptive to this smaller-scale approach than to providing military forces to fight another country’s armies.

So, let’s round up the Posse to fight terrorism.  The Posse that I am talking about gathering together and forming up is the Posse Comitatus Act, which was passed as a response to the federal military occupation of the former Confederate states during the ten years of Reconstruction after the Civil War.  The southern states bartered for this law in the Election of 1876.  The Democrats consented to Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, a Republican, winning the disputed election in return for passage of this law.

The Posse Comitatus Act originally prohibited any president or Congress from directing, by military order or federal legislation, the imposition of federal troops in any state.  But an exception was made to the act in 1958, permitting President Dwight Eisenhower to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, during the school desegregation crisis.   This exception allows the president to call up military forces when state authorities are either unable or unwilling to suppress violence that is in opposition to the constitutional rights of the people.

The original Posse Comitatus Act also referred essentially to the Army, but the Air Force was added in 1956.  The Navy and Marine Corps have been included by Department of Defense regulations.  This law today is often relied upon to prevent the military services from interfering in domestic law enforcement.  The Coast Guard is not subject to this law.

Terrorists, whether foreign or domestic, are individuals who violate criminal laws and are subject to punishment under our criminal laws.  If the Posse Comitatus Act has any strength, it must be to prevent military from interfering with domestic law enforcement.  The CIA and president are perfectly capable of working with foreign governments to fight terrorism outside our country.  And the FBI and Homeland Security teaming with criminal experts can fight terrorism inside America.

The Posse exception, allowing the president to declare that states are unable or unwilling to suppress terrorism, should not be utilized except in emergencies.  This exception also should not be utilized when the federal civil agencies like the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security are capable of taking action against the terrorists.

Even if the civilian counter-terrorist cells  are only half the size of a similar military force, we need to round up this Posse to the next highest number and treat it as being equal to the military in size.  Sometimes bigger is not better.  Small teams with flexibility might actually have a better chance against the terrorists.  The president should not go around the Posse Act just because the military has more manpower than our civilian criminal forces.  Rounding up the Posse also gives us the most bang for our buck.

As military units return from Iraq, they may start training for domestic operations.  The Army service component of Northern Command is training some of its units to serve in large-scale emergencies and disasters.  It is being called the Consequence Management Response Force, and also appears to be training to deal with domestic unrest and crowd control.  That sounds like it could be a violation of Posse Comitatus.

I served in all four military services over four decades and support the military in everything that they do that is military.  But the military should not be involved in civilian matters any more than civilians should involve themselves with military matters.

In effect, we should be able to round up and use the Posse when we need it to fight terrorism in the United States.  And with our federal and state criminal machinery in place, we should not need military involvement.

When is Incompetence Fraud?

The Air Force announced in April of 2012 that it had spent seven years and one billion dollars on a logistics management system that didn’t work.  This system was part of a defense-wide program to modernize management of logistics, finances, and other business operations.  So, is this just the tip of the iceberg?

Probably so.  There are six other defense enterprise systems that are years behind schedule and are already $8 billion over budget.  You lose a billion here, you lose a billion there.  Now, you’re talking real money.

What’s going on?  How could acquisition and program leaders in the Air Force miss the warning signals over seven years?  The Air Force continued to pay Computer Sciences Corp. year after year even though there were numerous delays and 2,000 design flaws.  The system once touted as revolutionizing the management of parts and equipment is basically worthless today.

Is this fraud?  It’s certainly waste and abuse, but is it fraud?  Well, it certainly deserves investigators attention and looking into the contract.  The prime contractor, Computer Sciences, wrote some of the system’s requirements as to how it should operate.  Why was the prime contractor writing its own requirements?  That sounds like a conflict of interest on its face.  It is possible that the contract was awarded before these requirements were developed, but it still smells.

And is it fraud when government leaders and contractors are so incompetent that they consume a billion dollars in taxpayer’s money for nothing in return?  It seems that these individuals should be held accountable for their gross negligence just the same as if they intentionally committed fraud.  In other words, if you do or fail to do that which a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same or similar circumstances, you should be liable for fraud if these actions or failures to act show a complete disregard for the consequences.

It is high time for the Department of Justice and Inspector General’s to take criminal action against incompetent acquisition leaders and contractors.  There must be consequences or these large amounts of money will continue to plunge into the federal black hole where taxpayer’s money gets us nothing in return.

The question in the case of the Computer Sciences Corp. contract is why it took so long for Air Force leaders in both acquisition and program offices to determine that there was a problem.  As long as leadership is never held accountable, then there will never be any improvement.  Fraud, waste, and abuse will continue gobbling up taxpayer’s dollars.  But we aren’t talking millions.  We are talking billions.

Where Do You Go on the Information Highway?

We all have favorite sites that we go to on the information highway. Some of us play video games, others enjoy chat rooms, some go to porno sites, and others buy items on line. There are many sites to visit on the IT highway, but how do you know which locations are best for you? Do the video games desensitize your feelings about killing others? Do you say things in the chat rooms that you regret later? Are the visits to the porn sites offering only temporary gratification?

There are many negative sites on the information highway because they don’t go anywhere substantive. You can go online and find a friend to date, but you have no idea what you are getting into. One girl I know dated an on-line friend, who became a stalker and scared her into getting a restraining order. You probably have seen the television commercial where a lady found a French model on line to date, thinking that if it’s on line, it has to be true. When she met the gentleman, he used a really bad French accent to say “Bonjour.” Obviously, he was anything but a model.

The internet highway has many dangers. There are hackers, slackers, hijackers, and wackers (serial killers). You have to be very careful about accessing e-mails that have sites attached to them. The sites could carry viruses and worms, and, in some cases, the e-mails can do the same. The owners of these sites are becoming very sophisticated with their traps. They find your friends on Facebook and then pretend like they are your friends sending an e-mail to you. They send out e-mails disguised as Yahoo or Express Mail or some other legitimate activity wanting you to respond. Cookies are dropped into your system from legitimate businesses. The government can access and watch most of what you do on line. Identify theft is rampant.

So, where do you go on the information highway? In today’s society and in today’s environment, there is only one place to go that is safe. All the other locations are negative and dangerous. You have nowhere else to go, but this one positive location. Unfortunately, very few people reach this site. They are distracted by all the negative sites. It requires a tremendous leap of faith that most don’t have. Only a small percentage of our society will ever reach this destination. And even those who have a chance to arrive at this site will spend their entire lives working to get there. But even these people will not get to this site until after they die. Where it it? It is the Garden of Eden.  You can find it only on the highway to Heaven.

How to Think Differently

It is easy to follow the crowd.  Very little thought goes into following the person in front of you.  But the herd does not always cut the best path.  So, how does one think differently?

Well, some people do the opposite of what is commonly expected.  But this is not thinking differently as much as it is acting differently.  There is not a lot of thought that goes into doing the opposite of what everybody else is doing.  There is a certain degree of conformity among nonconformists.

So, again, how do we think differently?  Well, we must use our imagination.  This is a tool in your thought process that is rarely used.  Turning your imagination loose is something you should do every day.  It should be like taking the dog out for a walk once or twice a day.  The daily grind of our jobs and family numb us to a point where we do not use our power of creative thought.  We crawl through each day eagerly awaiting the final crawl into a warm bed.

One day on the calendar looks like any other.  The only distinction might be found between weekdays and the weekend.  But taking care of chores and completing “To Do” lists blend most of these differences, so that any day looks like another.  Our lives are like in the movie, “Groundhog Day,” where every day seems like it is basically the same with small distinctions that really make little difference.

Creative thinking is the only way to think differently than you have in the past.  Let me give you an example.  In 1929, Edwin Hubble announced that almost all galaxies appeared to be moving away from us.  In fact, he found that the universe was expanding with most of the galaxies moving away from each other.  One of the exceptions is the galaxy Andromeda which is moving toward the Milky Way, but most galaxies are accelerating as they separate from each other.  This phenomenon was observed as a “red shift” of a galaxy’s spectrum. This “red shift” appeared to be larger for galaxies that were further away from the Milky Way.

Now, let’s let our imagination turn Hubble’s observation into a completely different result.  We naturally think that the galaxies in the universe are expanding based on the “red shift,” but if we use our imagination, we can think differently.  The same set of facts can occur if the galaxies are decreasing in size.  If all galaxies, along with their cores of super-massive black holes, remained proportional to each other, following their original imprint, they would appear to be moving away from each other if they were shrinking.  Hubble would observe the “red shift” if galaxies were becoming smaller.  In fact, this may make more sense since the galaxies further out are increasing in speed as if they were getting closer to the force that may draw all galaxies into a Big Crunch.

Dark energy, an unknown and unseen 75% of the universe, known only through a mathematical calculation, may be responsible for this shrinking force, drawing us into a Big Crunch.  Of course, we don’t know, but the only way to visualize that which cannot be seen is through your imagination.  For example, what if dark energy were hidden within the micro-world or world of quantum mechanics?  That might explain why Einstein and other scientists could not come up with a theory of everything.  We know nothing about this dark energy except that it exists.  So, let’s use our imagination and see if we can uncover anything other than a name called dark energy.

Continuing on with the last imaginative observation, we could also say that since hydrogen is about 75% of normal matter by mass and dark energy makes up about 75% of the universe, and helium is about 23% of matter by mass and dark matter is about 23% of the universe, this must be more than a coincidence.  At this point, we might state that this is strong evidence that the elements of the universe and dark matter and dark energy were created at the same time since they have the same composition imprint.  Assuming that portion of dark matter existing after the event horizon and all of dark energy are within the quantum world, this simultaneous creation could be the first nexus with the theory of everything.

Pushing our imagination further, wouldn’t it be interesting if the macro-world, including all the elements, was a mirror-image of the micro-world, including dark energy and dark matter?  We know that the rules of physics in quantum mechanics and gravity are completely different, but if these worlds are proportionately the same, then are there other similarities?  For example, do the two worlds connect and exchange properties at that connecting point?

Stephen Hawking believes that dark matter does this very thing.  Let’s call it the front and back of a dark hole.  Matter from the macro-world enters the dark hole and disappears into the event horizon, but shoots out the back end returning to our visible world.  Does the micro-world and the macro-world exchange properties so that instead of a Big Bang and a Big Crunch, do we have just a simple Big Rebound?  It would be interesting to see if the proportions within both worlds remain the same over time.  We know that stars convert hydrogen into helium, but we also know that new stars are born from hydrogen clouds.  Does the percentage of hydrogen change?  Has the proportion of dark energy ever changed?  The answers might provide us more clues about the mystery of the theory of everything.

The above thoughts, as far as I know, have never been reported by anybody before.  And this makes sense because people would think that these were the ravings of a mad man.  But the truth is that nobody else has admitted that their imaginations have run this far.  If they had, other scientists would have ostracized them.  However, in order to think differently, you cannot worry about what other people are saying about you.  You must let your mind plow virgin fields and then plant your thoughts so they can grow without concern of what other farmers are doing or thinking.

The imagination is a horrible thing to waste.

America, Disposable Society in Land of Entitlements

I met a young man, who just started working in a furniture store.  He was amazed at how many Americans purchased new furniture to replace perfectly good old furniture.  They either sold the furniture, which in some cases was only two years old, or they declared it as a charitable contribution.  He also told me that he was on welfare for a year, but he took a job that paid less than his entitlements because he didn’t feel good about himself and he was getting bored.  This young man is the exception.  Most Americans are more than happy to take the money and make no legitimate effort to get a job, certainly not one that paid less.

So with one story, I have pretty well summarized what is wrong with America today.  We have become a disposable society in this land of entitlements.  Many years ago, Americans made their possessions last and if there were problems, they fixed them.  Today, if something goes bad, you just replace it.  And don’t worry about the costs because you are entitled to anything you want.

Unfortunately, this same philosophy carries through to marriages, jobs, and, in some cases, lives.  In other words, if you don’t like your life, you kill yourself.  But you don’t do it quietly at home.  You plan it out and kill as many others as you can before killing yourself, at least making a big name for yourself on your last day on earth.  If you don’t like other people’s lives, you kill them.  That’s how it’s done in all the blood-soaked video games that are branded in kids’ minds.  Killing is as common as breathing.  Just look at our recent history of mass murders in schools and movie theaters.

And our new culture tells us that we don’t have to work for anything anymore.  It will be given to you.  Expectations are out of control.  Everybody wants to be paid a large salary for doing nothing.  Everybody in America is entitled to a big house and car and new furniture.  The old belief that you had to work for these things is out the window.  Even religion has fallen into this pattern, so that you simply believe in Jesus and you are entitled to heaven.  You don’t have to do anything other than believe.  We’re entitled to anything and everything.  And the worst part of this philosophy is that if people don’t receive these entitlements, they become angry and may kill those who get in their way and block them.

We want to take action because we feel helpless.  So, we pass new gun laws.  So, we tighten security in schools.  But these are reactionary steps that will have little effect on what is happening in America.  So, what is happening in America?

America is changing.  It’s moving from an ethical, hard-working culture to an immoral, disposable society that believes it is entitled to anything and everything.  Is there any way to stop this?  Yes, but it has to be a proactive change at the source, not a reactionary modification downstream.

It all starts at your home.  Parents have to put aside their careers long enough to instill moral values in their children.  Children have not been encouraged to develop a strong work ethic or even common, basic ethics.  And parents have to lead by example.  Children are lost in today’s environment without any good role models, including their parents.  Yes, you can blame it on the poor education system in America, but first look in the mirror at home and see if you have failed your children.

So, let’s all look at the man in the mirror and start by changing his ways.

The After-Death Experience

Let’s start with what we know.  We know that we all are going to die.  We know that we are thinking right now and will be thinking until we die.  We know that we are aware of our surroundings through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

What don’t we know?  Well, nobody knows exactly what happens after death.  There have been some near-death experiences when people have reported experiences similar to what might be expected with the body secreting endorphins to protect itself.  We don’t know if anybody has actually crossed the threshold of death and then has returned to report what was on the other side.  Some people have been pronounced dead and then have come back to life, but we don’t know for certain that they were actually dead or if they just appeared to be dead.

So, basically we don’t know about the after-death experience.  Do we stop thinking?  There appear to be only two options.  We either stop thinking or we continue thinking.  If we stop thinking, then we will not be aware of anything.  At that point, we will be dead-dead.  But that’s not a problem.  If we die and stop thinking, then it is over with nothing more for us to worry about.

The nihilists, pessimists, and atheists would be correct.  And that would be alright too since we wouldn’t be thinking anymore.  There would be nothing beyond death, and there would be no after-death experience because we would not be conscious.  There would be no more thoughts and no more input.  The problem occurs only if you are still thinking after you die.

That’s when the nihilists, pessimists, atheists, agnostics, and even many Christians with a weak faith system would be in serious trouble.  For if you are still thinking, what will you hang onto?  “Yourself,” is not a good answer.  Your weekend faith in God is not even a good answer.  After death, you will need a powerful belief in something higher than yourself.

The eastern philosophers, like Confucius and Buddha, were excellent teachers to follow for human behavior during life, but the eastern world did not focus as much on the afterlife.  That is why I believe in one God.  It doesn’t matter why you believe in God.  You just must believe in God with a power that cannot be turned off.  You can be a Jew, Muslim, Christian, or whatever religious faith.  It only matters that you believe in God with all your heart and soul because you will need a powerful belief to carry you through the darkness of chaos that probably exists in the afterlife.

Why do I believe that there will be an afterlife?  The transition from life to death without our continuing to think would be going from something to nothing.  Now, that does not make sense in our universe.  Our laws of physics do not allow this transition to nothing.  The physical laws in our universe do not permit destruction of something so that it no longer exists.  The First Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy state that matter and energy can neither be created nor be destroyed in our universe.  They can be changed or altered to different forms or states, but they cannot disappear.

Your awareness of your surroundings does exist, although scientists do not know with any degree of certainty where it exists.  We suspect that the brain houses your consciousness, but we have not been able to identify the exact location.  So, we know that when we die, our brains do not evaporate into thin air.  They decompose or become something else, but they do not go from something to nothing.  And our awareness should not go from something to nothing either.

So, even if our thoughts go from matter to energy, we should still be aware of our after-death surroundings.  Thinking should not be destroyed at death because of the First Law of Thermodynamics.  Whatever is thinking may be outside your brain or body, but it should still exist in some form of matter or energy.

Now, if we are still thinking after death, will we have our five senses still working?  Not necessarily.  Those senses which were directed to our awareness center were tissues and nerves that would decompose, being unable to provide input to our thinking anymore.  In other words, the eyes will no longer function because they have become something else, thus you may not have sight.

This could result in sensory deprivation.  You may still be thinking, but you may have no sensory receptors.  However, your imagination is a very powerful tool.  It could very easily create visions and sounds and smells.  But it also could create nightmares and horrible scenarios.  The Devil could not be any harder on you than yourself.

We have no idea what happens after death, and it may vary from individual to individual.  But I do believe that you have to have something to hang onto.  I suspect that the after-death experience is something less than calm.

The reason why I say this is because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium, the state of maximum entropy.  In effect, things in our universe usually go from the stable to the unstable and sometimes very quickly.

We are very fortunate to be living in the “Goldilocks zone” in the universe, where everything is “just right” so that life can exist; however, we know that it is only a matter of time before our sun runs out of fuel, a meteorite or comet causes a mass extinction, or a rogue black hole gobbles up our solar system.  The universe is filled with chaos, awaiting us.

More than likely, the after-death experience will be a chaotic experience where you need to believe in something or you will be left in the darkness and gloom of the unknown.  That’s where religion comes into play.

I believe in God.  It’s pretty simple, actually.  My faith in God has to be extremely powerful in order to be my life preserver in a sea of trouble which will be tossing me all around.  If my belief is not super-powerful, it will disappear very quickly during the after-death experience.

If I am still thinking after I die, I will expect to meet God.  We will unite to fight the chaos that surrounds us.  It is only with the gargantuan belief in God that you can make it through the unknown adventures that await you in the after-death experience.

Be prepared for the worst, yet pray for the best.

Consumers Will Consume Anything

American consumers will buy just about anything. For example, we buy the McRib without even asking what is in it. Would you believe it has a mixture of tripe, heart, and scalded stomach, which is then mixed with salt and water to extract proteins from the muscle-meats?

The proteins bind all the pork trimmings together so that it can be re-molded into any specific shape — in this case, a fake slab of ribs. The 500 calorie sandwich has 70 ingredients, including azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent often used in the production of foamed plastics. All this sounds appetizing to me. How about you?

A popular ad on television shows an attractive young lady who believes everything on the internet. In fact, she has a date with a French model that she met on the internet. He comes up to her and says, “Bonjour,” in a really bad French accent.

Another popular ad shows restaurants slicing their meat at manufacturing locations instead of at the store. The idea is to make the public believe that slicing meat at the restaurant makes it fresher. I wonder if that restaurant sliced unrefrigerated two-week-old meat at the store if it would be fresher? Like I said, American consumers bite into anything anymore.

We have lost our ability to think for ourselves.  Of course, politicians have known this for years.

Is America a Republic or a Democracy?

Colonists in America came from different backgrounds.  Some escaped their past, looking for a brighter future.  Some brought their religions with them that were not accepted back in England.  But even though these pioneers were woven from different fabrics, they wanted freedom… not necessarily freedom from England since many were loyal to the king, but freedom from old restrictions.  They wanted a new lease on life, and America offered that freedom.  But did that desire for freedom forge the colonies into a republic or a democracy?

The adventurers settled in different regions of America called colonies, now delineated as states.  They all had different rules.  Some were very strict like Roger Smith’s colony in Rhode Island.  Others were a little more flexible, but survival was possible only with the individuals joining together to share their abilities for raising crops, hunting wild animals, and gathering wild berries and nuts.  Individuals banned together under unwritten contracts for survival.

If everyone acted on their selfish desires, then the contract would be broken and survival of all would be in jeopardy.  Even though there were exceptions, most of the citizens eagerly followed the rules because there was little margin for error.  A drought or flood could wipe out your crops for that year, leaving you to rely on the hunter-gatherer specialists.  Individualism pales when death darkens your door.  If there is no grocery store or McDonald’s restaurant, you will be more interested in forming coalitions and in accepting the terms of the social contracts.

Social contracts are agreements among individuals to abide by certain rules, limiting their freedoms to benefit society as a whole.  Were these social contracts in America for a republic or a democracy?  Thomas Hobbes argued that the contract should require the ruler to protect the natural rights of the people and, in return, the people would agree to accept the authority of that ruler.  But Hobbs placed the ruler above the law.  Sounds bloody British, doesn’t it?

John Locke believed that nobody, including the ruler, should be above the law.  He believed that individuals should have certain rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and ownership of property, and that the government had the obligation to protect these rights.  Locke’s views on individual freedoms are important in avoiding pressures to conform, so that we may fully develop ourselves.  However, we are willing to give up some of our less important freedoms for the good of a balanced society.  But as Thomas Paine suggested, certain freedoms remain inviolate, no matter what, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Paine was a champion for democracy, much of which was adopted by our Founding Fathers.  But was America a republic or democracy?

The American social contract for a republic is perhaps best explained by J.S. Mill, although he lived after the American Revolution.  Mill was concerned that individuals and minority groups might suffer by being made to conform to the majority under a social contract.  He countered by stating that a majority should only interfere with a minority only when it is doing something harmful to the majority.

As an example, free speech should be permitted even if the speaker makes no sense.  It is more important to prevent the government from deciding what may or may not be said.  However if the speech is designed to incite violence or solicit a crime, then it should not be allowed.  The incited action does not have to literally harm a majority of the people, but if it significantly impacts society’s mores or rules as a whole, then it should not be allowed.  It is, in effect, a balancing test.  Does the harm caused by a speech outweigh the right of an individual to express one’s views?  If a religious fanatic wants to stand on a street corner and let passers-by know that the world is coming to an end, this potential harm does not outweigh the individual’s right to speak.  But if the fanatic is enlisting you to kill the doctor across the street performing abortions, then that has crossed the line.

America became a “melting pot” attracting many immigrants who longed for a new start, a new life, and a new dream.  America accepted these immigrants who created new minorities.  The majority of Americans may not have liked it because there was more competition for jobs, but the majority accepted it because that was part of the social contract.  That’s not to say that there weren’t growing pains.  The majority threw its weight around and did not make it easy on the immigrants, but they eventually melted into our society and became a part of the majority.

James Madison in the Federalist Paper No. 10 wrote that government is unstable and that “measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”  Madison was interested in avoiding a “pure democracy” since he believed the majority would run over the minority interests.  However, he was convinced that a “republic” could work because representatives would be more interested in the good of the public and would not betray the interest of citizens, whether representing a minority or a majority.

Our government is a republic, rather than a democracy, although we refer to it as a “democracy” more than a “republic.”  A pure democracy would follow more along the lines of Thomas Paine, who believed that the social contract allowed the majority to pursue its happiness as long as it didn’t harm the minority in the process.  This sounds a little like the hippie’s mantra in the early 1970’s:  “you can do anything you want as long as you don’t hurt somebody else.”  The problem is that it is idealistic to apply this individualistic practice to the majority, and it opens the door for the majority to harm itself.

Madison argued that pure democracy was dangerous because the majority would have too much power.  In effect, the majority would have complete and absolute power to judge when it was harming somebody else.  The majority would be in charge of deciding when the minority was being harmed, and Madison feared this degree of control by the masses.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And the majority also could harm itself with impunity.  Now, even though that sounds like something we would never have to worry about, it’s actually a ticking time bomb for democracy.  In other words, democracy is susceptible to suicide.  Democracy could easily be taken over by a corrupt totalitarian government pretending to serve the interests of the public.  Madison was very concerned about self-serving factions gaining control who were not interested in the public good or the rights of citizens.  That’s why he preferred a republic over a democracy.

A republic is more like what J.S. Mill proposed when he said that a majority should not interfere with the minority unless it is doing something harmful to the majority.  This is a more practical approach to dealing with human nature.  This plays on the self-serving interest of the majority to protect itself, but still limiting its power, rather than giving it carte-blanche power.  Madison believed that representatives in a republic would ensure that both majority and minority interests would be protected.

Americans today have lost the distinction between a republic and a democracy, and consider America as a pure democracy.  You rarely hear America called a republic anymore because school children rarely recite the “Pledge Allegiance to the Flag,” which pledges “to the Republic for which it stands.”

So, is America acting like a pure democracy?  It is.  Even though we still have representatives who elect the president, these are not voters with “enlightened views and virtuous sentiments” that “render them superior to local prejudices and to schemes of injustice” that Madison dreamed about.  These representatives have become pawns in a pure democracy which permits the majority to run over the minorities.

White anglo-saxon protestants (WASPS) were the old majority who ran the country for their benefit.  Today, old minorities have become the new majority.  But the only thing that has changed is that there is a new sheriff in town.  But it is the same town – a town called Democracy.  The new majority can now run over the old majority.  Both old and new majorities have long forgotten Mill and Madison who wanted to protect both majority and minority interests.

And the Pledge has been forgotten by many, as well.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

American society has become a “Jerry Springer show” with an emphasis on stirring up conflict rather than bringing people together and forming coalitions.  The Election of 2012 was a significant example of how the old majority, which had no ability to form coalitions, lost out to the new majority.  It is interesting to note that the new majority’s interest in coalition building has been flagging after the election.

It’s almost as if the newly elected American politicians are focusing on a worldwide power base.  The problem is that a new worldwide economy will have only one point of failure.  That’s extremely dangerous and suicidal.  Once the worldwide economy fractures and breaks apart, and it will only be a matter of time, then the hidden agenda of the totalitarian leaders will be evident.  By then it will be too late for anybody to stop it.

So, I guess the answer to the question is that we are a doomed democracy unless Americans form a republic coalition, bringing us together in one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Moderates in the World Need to Unite

A “moderate” is described in Webster’s Dictionary as “within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme.”  It can also be defined as “of average quality or quantity; mediocre.”[1]

Moderation could be “average,” which has bad connotations, but this is not the definition that I am referencing.  It is the moderate who avoids excessive or extreme positions that is the role model for all.  A business or political leader is aggressive, assertive, and sometimes even zealous.  These are good qualities in many societies, especially in a capitalistic system.  However, moderation, which is opposed to extreme or radical views or measures, should be the goal of all societies in order to promote external peace and order.  But, other benefits of moderation include internal peace and a longer life.

Hopefully, the moderates still represent the majority of people in the world today.  At least, moderates seem to be in control for now.  “Moderation in all that you do,” should be your marching order for the rest of your life.  The problem with excessive behavior by individuals, groups, or civilizations is that it leads to other excessive behavior.  For every action, there is an equal, but opposite, reaction.  This means that for every excessive action, there will be an equal, but opposite, excessive reaction.  It may not occur immediately, but, eventually, it will happen.  And this creates a process of polarization, which erodes the moderation within a society.  Follow the golden rule of Jesus and the golden mean or Aristotle.

The majority of people in the world are moderate until provoked or polarized into an excessive position.  It really is not the nature of Homo sapiens to be excessive since it would have gotten prehistoric man into a great deal of trouble with the more aggressive animals.  The gene pool included moderation in forming Homo sapiens, a species that emphasized personal well being, the family, and staying out of harm’s way.  Since Homo sapiens do not have a hard shell or sharp teeth or claws, they had to survive by using their brain.  They did that by playing the odds and taking a more moderate, conservative approach to life.  Man did not have the protections necessary in order to be a great risk taker.  This is probably one reason why Homo sapiens survived, and Neanderthal man did not.  A tiger, lion, or wolf pack could take man down if he strayed too far from his comfort zone.

Polarization is a process that pulls and tugs at the middle, tearing it into two opposite poles like a magnet.  As an example, we see America very divided today similar to the way it was divided in the 1860′s.  Americans are not happy with Democrats or Republicans right now.  A Republican disappoints the voters, then Americans will predictably rush to a Democrat who promises change, leading the country into an endless circle of excessive responses.

The moderate voters, whether Republican or Democrat, rarely have a candidate who represents them.  Why is that?  One reason is because typically only extremists run for President.  Only somebody with a huge ego or with extreme ambition would be willing to take on the job.  Another reason is that a moderate in politics cannot be successful since the special interest groups and minorities are extremists who do not support a moderate candidate.

Our society has become polarized by the two major political parties.  The moderates disappear quickly with this scenario.  The Democrats represent the left or liberal extreme who champion the poor and minorities, while the Republicans represent the right or conservative extreme who are representatives for business and military.  But who represents the middle-class, moderate American?

Polarization can also occur between different religions.  Catholics and Protestants have had their days of fighting, especially in Ireland.  The Jews have been persecuted for years, but today they are known for their ability to retaliate, so their enemies are more discriminating in their attacks.  Extremism in religion comes from the Old Testament.  When Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists attack Israeli soldiers, the Israelis punish them with like kind action, an eye for eye.  Religions have not been free of extremist approaches:  witch trials, Crusades, religious persecutions, and terrorist bombings.

Even the religions have internal polarization.  The Shiite and Sunni Muslims fight constantly over small differences in their religion.  So, let’s examine some good examples when things turned out for the better.  The religious problems in Ireland were resolved, for the most part, after the boundary between Northern and Southern Ireland was erased.  The same happened in Europe and the United States.  The moderates regained control in those regions also because it was good business.  Excessive behavior is expensive and very destructive.

Extremism generally involves two opposite sides, but the real opposite is moderation.  Both left and right wing extremists consider moderates fair game to woo to their side.  If the moderate refuses to budge, then both extremists consider the moderate the enemy.  For example, in Iraq if a moderate family tries to avoid Sunni and Shiite pressures to be on one side or the other, the family is in jeopardy of being killed by either Sunni or Shiite.  The middle ground soon is gone.

There were many times in our history when moderation went out the window:  the French Revolution and the Civil War are just two examples.  During these times, moderation vanished as everybody was drawn to one side or the other.  You would have found it very difficult to sit on the fence during these periods.

Extremism can be seen even in family lives.  It can be as simple as a child sticking his tongue out at Uncle Bob, and then Dad responding with inappropriate punishment to the child and perhaps Uncle Bob, as well.  I am not saying that you should never punish your children.  This is another extreme.  But I am saying that you should take a moderate approach to your punishment, making it fair and consistent.  A hand raised in anger does not meet out appropriate punishment.

The recent killing of innocent school children in Connecticut probably will be analyzed for years and never will be completely understood.  However, there are some important lessons from this nightmare.  When a society starts its descent into a chaotic environment, members of that society will take extreme actions, some of which will make no sense.  As America loses its focus on religion and moral structure, we will see more of these extreme reactions.  As America’s youth spends more of its time using social media, rather than socializing face-to-face, you will see our society becoming less stable and less human.

The excesses in our lives take their toll on us physically and mentally.  Stress comes from aggressive behavior either practiced by you, by others against you, or both.  It is important to stay balanced throughout life, not straying too far to either extreme side.  Stress cannot only change our personality, but it also can impact our health.  The tempering of our emotions can prevent health problems over the course of our lives.

So what has happened?  We have great confidence in ourselves.  We can destroy our competitors, enemies, other animals, or whatever is in our way.  We are kings and queens of the world.  We love to look in the mirror, and we like what we see.

We also have become overpopulated in our world.  This overpopulation created friction among our species.  If you don’t believe that, just compare how people act in the city of New York with Dry Ridge, Kentucky.  But even Dry Ridge is starting to experience growth and some friction.

Decisive moderation is the best approach to avoid excesses.  Decisive moderation means that you are not excessive about anything except being moderate.  An example would be if somebody came up to you and said, “Let’s go skydiving.”  Since this seems to be an excessive activity, you might say, “I don’t want to.”  But your friend says, “Oh, come on.  It’ll be fun.”  And you respond, “No, I don’t think so; it sounds a bit dangerous.”  But your friend doesn’t give up.  “Come on.  How do you know it’s dangerous if you’ve never tried it.”  You answer, “I don’t have to jump out of a plane to know it’s dangerous.”

A decisive moderate is a person who refuses to take these risks no matter how much pressure is applied by another person.  This moderate never took illegal drugs and never went over twenty miles over the speed limit.  Decisive moderation is a good thing.  There are times when I wished the world were filled with decisive moderates.  This moderate will never give in to the emotional arguments that are designed to pull you to one excessive side or the other.

Initially, you may have to emphasize “decisive moderation” and fight fire with fire in order to get terrorism under control.  For example, the extremist terrorist cells may have to be countered with moderate Muslim counter-terrorist cells.  In America, we could form anti-terrorist cells, as well, consisting of federal and state law enforcement officials with an Assistant U.S. Attorney on call for these cells when they need legal assistance and guidance.  These cells would have full autonomy delegated to them, no different than the terrorist cells.[2]

But, we should always keep the big picture, moderation, in mind.  Once the moderates have eliminated the terrorist cells, we should disband the anti-terrorist cells.  To continue with these excessive responses would be excessive in quantity and would be inconsistent with the goal of moderation.  We should leave this future work to the moderate Muslims.

Further, the global economy is a perfect background for coalition building to defeat the terrorists.  Countries who want to reap the benefits from being a part of the global economy will join forces to prevent terrorism, which is harmful to this economy.

One of the greatest mysteries in life is transformation. There are many transformations… we are all familiar with our own from childhood into adulthood and from life to death.  But we should start with one less familiar to us… from azurite to malachite or from blue to green.

I am an amateur geologist… if you don’t believe me, look at all my books in the bookcase.  I have “Roadside Geology” books for most of the states or sections of the United States.  I have books on physical and structural geology.  I have field guides to rocks and minerals.  And I spent a lot of time examining the rocks and minerals in the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The mineral pyrite also called “fool’s gold” is easily mistaken for native gold.[3]  Since gold is a very valuable mineral, it draws men from all over the world who will gamble their very existence on finding the mother lode.  In order to find it, moderates must use a built-in moral compass.  Extremists are easily satisfied with pyrite, which is easy to find without using any compass at all.

Extremists in the world can be transformed into taking a more moderate approach to life through negotiation.  Agreements and accords are reached through negotiation.  Negotiation can lead to compromises and concessions that reach a middle ground somewhere between two extreme positions.  Negotiation offers a means to reach compromises between extreme groups.

If we assume that the majority of Muslims are moderates, which is probably true, then we might encourage our political leaders to take the opportunity to work with them to form a peace pact to manage the Middle East, the ‘Stans, and Africa.  This opportunity might disappear if a civil war kicks off or if a war erupts between Israel and Arab countries.  Now is the best time to make this effort.

However, there is absolutely no guarantee that it will be successful, but there also is no guarantee that it will fail.  As long as there is any chance at all, it is worth the effort.  It would be similar to what President Carter did with Egypt and Israel in the 1970’s.  He brought the moderate leaders together.

Carl Von Clausewitz, a war strategist from Prussia, described war as a political instrument to achieve the political objective of a state.[4]  President George H.W. Bush announced that the political objective in Desert Storm was to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and he allowed the military to do its job, which it did with great efficiency.  Many Americans criticized President Bush for not going into Baghdad at that time, but it would have been a violation of international law since it was outside the scope of our announced political objective.  This is a great example of how presidents should handle wars and act as the Commander in Chief.

The international laws are important not only for the Commander in Chief but all within our government, military and civilian, to follow for several reasons:  (1) with globalization tugging at America’s crown as the surviving superpower, America needs to be a part of the globalization process, working closer with the international community, including closely following international laws; (2) the basis for international law is found in principles of warfare taken from the Old Testament and espoused by religious leaders, so that violations of these old laws go against the grain of civilized society; (3) one of the practical reasons for following this law is that it makes it easier and less costly during rehabilitation and reconstruction of the invaded country;  (4) over the years, experts have learned that failures to follow the law do not offer any benefits to the violators, rather instead, they only usher in detriments; and (5) the contemporary world does not like America with its wealth, power, and its arrogant hegemony, so it is important that America play by the moderate rules of international law, avoiding extreme positions that fuel enemy extremists.

America has an open window of opportunity to provide global stability by following international law and leading the moderates in the world with a calm-assertive approach to fighting the terrorists.  This does not mean a passive approach.  The terrorists will just run over a passive opponent.  But it does mean avoiding extreme approaches that do not have good results anyway.

For example, our federal government has targeted terrorists for assassination.  This does not have any appearance of following the laws of humanity, a core international law, since it is a murder for hire.  Even if politicians argue that they have the right to kill terrorists as a right to self defense, it sends the wrong message to the world.

And what will this accomplish?  Typically, if you kill one terrorist or terrorist leader, ten more will pop up in their place.  It is not reasonable or intelligent to take this action, even if attorneys find the action legally sufficient.  I would always provide legal advice, letting my client know that even though an action that they were considering might be legal, it was also stupid.

Arbitrary and extreme practices of the United States will isolate it from the rest of the world and could impact our economy, especially if we are using our resources by ourselves to put out fires within the world.  A much better approach is to form coalitions and get consensus and support from other countries.  America cannot afford to be a cowboy in today’s world.  The stakes are much higher with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of fanatical groups that will not hesitate to use them, ignoring international laws.  We must abide by the international laws so that we can attract all the moderates in the world to join us in our war against the terrorists, for it is truly their war too.

Forming coalitions is a lost art in America.  President George H.W. Bush did a great job of bringing countries together to remove Iraq from Kuwait.  He even had two Arab countries joining with the 41 other countries to remove Hussein.  Coalition building is what is necessary in today’s excessive environment.  For example, the Election of 2012 showed how a candidate, who is on the ropes, can work with different ethnic groups to get out the votes in order to win an election.  The Republicans did not understand this simple approach to winning.  And forming coalitions is critical in everything we do today.

The reason why it is critical for America to throw in with the moderates of the world is that they are the best weapons against the extremism of terrorism.  It is through the moderate Muslims that we have the best chance to create stability in the Middle East and to neutralize the fanatics.  Right now, the moderates are in the majority, but if we continue our course, we will alienate and polarize them, so they will join the fundamentalist side of the Islamic faith.  The moderate Muslims currently have the opportunity to educate, infiltrate, and annihilate the extremists within their own religion.

What would happen if the young terrorists realized that there were no virgins waiting for them after they died?  What would happen if the terrorists realized that their families would get no money for their martyrdom?  What if terrorists realized that the Koran and Mohammad did not support their activities?  What if moderate Muslims infiltrated the terrorist cells and neutralized them?  Could moderate cells eliminate extreme cells?

The dual powers in the Cold War did not pull the trigger because each knew the consequences and took a reasonable approach of détente.  But America cannot count on a reasonable approach from the terrorists, and you cannot negotiate with them, so where does that leave you?  President George H. Bush, who did not form coalitions like his father, decided to arbitrarily smash and kill.  This was not the right direction for our country.  His invasion of Afghanistan was a reasonable initial approach when he had the backing of the world community.  It was similar to a policeman’s “hot pursuit” into a different jurisdiction.  But his next invasion overstepped the bounds of reason.  And it upset the balance of power in the Middle East, leaving Iran with the ability to obtain nuclear capability and to support terrorism.

Since you cannot negotiate with terrorists, you negotiate with the moderates in the Middle East and Muslims throughout the world to promote peace and stability.  That is something that will unify the majority.  In order to reach the bargaining table, we have to come with clean hands.  In other words, we have to be moderate in all that we do.  Talk is cheap.  We need to find moderate leaders with moderate national security policies, following up with action that is a mirror-image of these policies.  There is a hunger within many of the Middle East countries, including Israel, to stop the bleeding and the pain.  It is time to take advantage of this and form coalitions with moderates within the world.

The terrorists are much more afraid of moderates unifying than all the invasions and assassinations that Bush could orchestrate within twenty years.  This is why they killed Sadat.  The terrorists assassinate moderate leaders before they ever worry about extremist leaders, because they fully appreciate the damage that moderates could do to their cause.  Extremist leaders, in more cases than not, actually help their cause, since extremists begat extremists.  In other words, opposite positions will polarize moderates and pull them into an extreme position.

The new world will not see dual super powers again.  The next nuclear proliferation problem will be between fanatical groups and regionalized conflicts throughout the world using weapons of mass destruction.  That is why the moderates in America and the world better come together while they can.  That opportunity will disappear after the first nuclear weapon is detonated… which will probably be either in the United States or Israel.

Today, nineteen fanatics can have a major impact on America.  There is no practical way to protect ourselves from such an enemy, but we have a history of operating in a reactive mode, throwing our money at the last mode of attack, rather than being proactive and outthinking the enemy.

It is important to know your enemy.  Our politicians have not done their homework.  We must first understand the motives and passions of our enemies and attack that foundation rather than individuals who appear on our radar scope.  The War against Terrorism is not a regular land war where we have our soldiers lined up in a battle against their soldiers and where you do gain advantages by killing the enemy.  We must strike, instead, at the heart of the terrorist movement, their fundamental base.  And we must strike them from within.  Again, moderate Muslims can do this if you gain their trust and enlist their support.


[1] George Webster, Webster’s Dictionary (NY:

[2] Supra, Chapter 4, How can we Wage a War against Terrorism?

[3] Charles W. Chesterman, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals

      (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), p. 375.

[4] Carl Von Clausewitz, On War,1968, p. 75.

To Believe or Not to Believe?

To believe or not to believe: that is the question.  William Shakespeare worded the question a little differently, but it leads to the same wonderment of what comes after death.

  • To be, or not to be: that is the question:
  • Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
  • The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
  • Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
  • And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
  • No more; and by a sleep to say we end
  • The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
  • That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
  • Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
  • To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
  • For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
  • When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
  • Must give us pause: there’s the respect
  • That makes calamity of so long life;
  • For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
  • The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
  • The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
  • The insolence of office and the spurns
  • That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
  • When he himself might his quietus make
  • With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
  • To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
  • But that the dread of something after death,
  • The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
  • No traveller returns, puzzles the will
  • And makes us rather bear those ills we have
  • Than fly to others that we know not of?
  • Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
  • And thus the native hue of resolution
  • Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
  • And enterprises of great pith and moment
  • With this regard their currents turn awry,
  • And lose the name of action.Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, Soliloquy.

We make many choices during our lives, but the most important may be whether we choose to believe in God or not.  It all depends on what happens after we die.  If we die and everything stops at that point, including our thinking, then it does not matter.  But if we are still conscious after we die, then your choice to believe or not to believe matters significantly.

You are free to not believe in God.  I would be presumptuous to tell you that you cannot choose to not believe in God.  That is your right to make that choice.  And unlike many believers in God, I will not attempt to convert you on the street or at work or at play.  I, quite frankly, respect your independent right of choice too much to attempt to change your mind.

But I will write about potential consequences from making this choice, focusing on my reasoning and letting you focus on your reasoning.  I chose to believe in God, and that was the start of a long path, leading to a powerful belief that I could take into the afterlife.  On the other hand, if I chose to not believe in God, then I reasoned that there would be severe consequences if I were still aware after death.

Interestingly enough, there was only one logical choice for me.  Believing in God was my only true choice, because if I am not thinking after I die, neither choice would have mattered.  If I chose to not believe in God, it would have been a meaningless choice if I were not aware after death.  The only choice that offered me anything positive was to believe in God.

Now, I do not mean to be exclusive.  There are many other religious and philosophical beliefs that may have the power to lead you out of the darkness of death.  To me, God appeared to be the best option, but I don’t discourage others from selecting their favorite belief.  Again, we are free to make these choices.

But there are consequences if you select a belief that is not powerful enough to pluck you from the inky black whirlpool of chaos that may be waiting on the other side.  I truly don’t know what is on the other side, but I decided to be prepared for the worst.  If I am still thinking after death and I believe in nothing, I will have nothing to hold onto.  That’s why I have a powerful belief in God.

Where do I get my powerful belief in God?  I start with being aware that I am not complete.  I think, therefore I exist.  But my existence is incomplete and lonely.  I reach out for that which created me.  I reach for my Father.  I must unite with my creator to be complete again.  During life, I exist without essence.  At death, I believe my consciousness merges back into my essence from which I came.

My fundamental choice during my lifetime is to work toward unification of myself with my creator to complete my nature or essence.  Life is absurd without a creator.  If we travel the path of life without purpose or reason, then life is absurd.

I feel like I am on an unknown path without a map.  Sometimes the path is difficult to find like a deer trail.  It has its peaks and valleys.  It goes through briars and thickets.  And I can never see the ending of the path, so it could lead to a cliff for all I know.  Yet, I stay true to the path and avoid distractions of berries beckoning me off the side of the road.  Sometimes the path has a fork in the road, and I have to choose a direction.  All I have is my moral compass to guide me, and I make the best decision that I can, sometimes with little guidance or information.

However, it would be quite absurd if the road went to nowhere.  It is possible that the road will circle back to the beginning to form a perpetual path, but that did not seem likely to me because when I started on the path, there was nothing behind me connecting to it.

I don’t know about you, but I am at one with myself through God.  As I walk the path, I get closer to God.  Even though I believe in God, I am just starting on the path.  My faith grows as I become closer to God.  Lack of God is a lack of identity in my life.  My fundamental choice to believe in God and work toward my unification with God leads to my fundamental project, which is to develop my belief so that it becomes such a powerful force that it can overcome anything that may happen after death.  Because nobody knows exactly what happens at death, I have to be ready for anything uniting with God through the power of my belief.