Cashflow Cures All

It has been awhile. If you do stop to read these you definitely don’t get a daily dose like the New York Times. I think I take in about as much as I can take. Eventually my frustration leads me here. I often write on Facebook or post articles with criticism of the act going on. After you see the same thing continually rotate through, you decide that you have to have a sounding board to scream. That I suppose is where this has come in handy. I know there isn’t hundreds of people who stop by and read, so its not as though I have some following that needs to be appeased.

There always seems to be some sort of news that gets stuck under my nails that I just can’t get out. If you have dug in the dirt at all, you know what I am talking about. Over the past couple of weeks, it has been the homeless situation in America. The part of it that has been truly frustrating is squatters. Someone who finds an abandoned place and moves in. This thought seems harmless enough. Someone wants a roof over their head, so they find an open window or a broken down door and makes themselves at home. Except that home may actually belong to someone. When it does, it is on the homeowners to work to evict someone living in a property that they have no legal claim to. Let’s say a home comes up for auction. The previous tenant passed away. Their family does not live in the state anymore. So, as part of the process, the home is auctioned off. The new owners have purchased a place and plan to fix it up and use it as rental property. Except when they show up to the house, they find someone living there. You call the police. Technically this person is residing in a home you own. You show the paperwork and the deed to the property. Now imagine the police telling you there is nothing they can do?

Since the person can claim they have a lease or any number of other issues, you are forced to hire legal counsel to get them to vacate. The process has to be moved through the court system which is already bogged down. You are paying the mortgage on a home that you can’t get into nor can you begin whatever renovations are necessary for it to bring you extra income. Its all up to you and your wallet to find a solution where the “tenant” has to be forced to leave. Meanwhile, they may leave you with a much larger “to do” list before they do vacate. They may rip up pipes, bust walls, rip cabinets off the wall. Again, what can the owner do? Nothing. This will be months at a minimum to do. There are stories of getting someone out only to have another person to come in afterward and the process has to start all over again.

It is something that I truly worry about in our society. The massive push this country is experiencing where the onus of everything falls to the middle class working person or family. Lower income families will receive federal assistance while higher end millionaires still have an excess of ways to write off expenses to ease their tax burden. The size of the populous that does not fit those two extremes are dwindling at an alarming rate. This will be the beginning of the end so to speak.

As though to run more salt in the wound of Americans who have done all they can to ensure their credit scores are at a place where they qualify for the lowest interest rate they can achieve. That being said, mortgage rates are pretty much double what they were just a year ago. For a medium priced home, this means hundreds more in interest each and every month. Imagine what that equals on a 30 year mortgage. Along with this comes a new caveat. Now, those who have high credit scores will pay a bit more a month. Even though their credit score is higher than another buyer, they will be charged what is pretty much a “penalty” for having better credit. And why will that occur? Well to offset the amount of high possibility of those “higher risk” loans failing. Yes, you are getting penalized for doing well for yourself.

Our government has become an institution of attempting to even the playing field. That does not sound like a bad idea until you realize the things being done to make the field level. The government is now Robin Hood with the caveat of stealing is done to the middle class and not the wealthy. The wealthy work to make the laws and rules to make the middle class pay for the options that make those in poverty closer to the level of what many would consider middle class. How is this done? For the most part, its taxes.

Our America is like the Sunday service at your local church. At the end of the service, the offering plate is passed around. The difference between the church and government is this. When the plate comes to you, someone besides you reaches in your pocket and puts what they want in the plate. You don’t get a say in how much they take nor how it is distributed.

People are tired. Very tired. They are tired of watching the lazy get rewarded for sitting home and the working man getting fleeced of his money and wasting their time. What many are seeing now is their effort isn’t worth the effort. More of the working twice as hard for half as much. So when I tell you that there is a tipping point in our society and we are very close to it, I have been watching this for many years. We are much closer than any of you ever realize.

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The Taxman Cometh for me

Its been awhile. It usually is. I am not sure I will even renew my web page when the time comes. I just don’t post enough to spend the money for a personal rant page. People used to journal but reading my handwriting is like trying to read a prescription from your local cursive writing physician.

April 15th is closely approaching. That time of year where you do your best to not be stuck with the bill. That bill being an amount due on income taxes. I have had issues with a divorce and a downturn. It caused me to cash out my retirement 401k. With that came penalties and of course more taxes. I consider myself middle class. As much as what a middle class is these days. I will say that at this point in my life I am pretty much done with the notion that the money that is taken from my wages is being used for anything of value to myself or my family.

Tax the rich man has been something I have heard for years. Always the “Robin Hood” mentality to fund programs that tab the lower class of Americans and their needs. The rich should pay more. They are not being taxed enough. Would it surprise you if you knew they were not being taxed at all? Not that the tax brackets for salary have been bent to a certain salary level. It has not. What has happened and what continues to happen is the amount of loopholes or write-offs that have been added through the years.

During the 2020 Presidential debates, Donald Trump was asked about his taxes. This was long before his returns were released. He tried to get their release denied and I believe with everything I have that this was a huge mistake. There would have been this initial anger at the amount donated to charity, deductions for business loss, and especially that amount owed. However, once you begin to break the entire thing down, something becomes abundantly clear. Wealthy people do not pay the percentage of taxes from their salary bracket. It isn’t even close to that amount. Wealthy people over time have been given the ability to deduct things that the middle class do not have the ability to do. Those deductions are not available to the lower class as well. If you boil it down to percentage, I would make a guess to say it goes wealthy, poor, middle class in the order of percentage of salary to amount paid in income taxes.

So who do we blame for this? Who is responsible for the deductions and write-offs? The answer is there are 2 types; the wealthy and the poor. The wealthy provide funding for the politicians. Politicians in turn make an effort to make their donors happy. It is beneficial to the politicians as well. They were either wealthy before they took office or they most certainly will become so while in or after office. The wealthy ask for tax breaks to be in place so they can deduct the amount from their “yearly income” to the point of making it seem as though they were paupers. Those who are poor don’t have the money to support their political party. What they do have are votes. Votes that are surely available to be “bought” for the right price. There is no money that changes hands. Not the drug deal on the street corner kind at least. There are goods, services, and payments made to people in the form of phones, low cost rent, welfare, and other government programs are designed to do one thing. It gives low income families enough money to afford certain things. Those things are not luxury items but they are items that would be rescinded if someone works to better their situation. Imagine going to training and finding yourself receiving a promotion at work. With that promotion comes a pay raise. The raise in pay throws that person into a higher tax level, or makes their availability to social programs invalid due to their income. What is the incentive to work hard enough to only lose money in the process?

So where does that leave the middle class? Too rich to receive assistance and too poor to have write-offs. We see the money we pay in taxes go to programs that have no effect on us. It turns out that we are told that we should help thy fellow man. Whether that person is American or not is not up to us. You see, the middle class isn’t asked about where the money goes. We get no say at all. Now, we have a country that has handed out so much money to its own and abroad that we have a debt that our children’s children will be on the hook for. When is enough enough? I have worked my entire adult life. I have paid into social security that whole time as well. When my true retirement age hits, it will be the same timeframe that what I have put in and promised to be repaid to me will be paid back at 72% of what it is supposed to be. Taxes should be down to 1 thing, a percentage of income. It should only be 1 form regardless of income or lack thereof.

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Can I Get an Audience with The Queen?

This week has certainly provided us with a front page view of life and death situations. It is exceptionally rare to watch a case of life and death unfold in such a way in front of millions of viewers with the outcome still not being known for days. The fact is that Damar Hamlin is still in intensive care as I write this. He is awake and able to speak to his family and friends. He remains not out of the woods yet.

Football is a dangerous sport. If that lesson has not been already taught to society, one would hope it is now. With the understanding of blunt force trauma and concussion protocol, it would be safer to say that we should be amazed that this sort of event has not unfolded before now. In fact, I would take it a step further. We should be amazed that we haven’t watched someone get killed on the field by now.

I have spoke on this subject before in other angles. What does it take for society to give the same emotion for the commoner that they do for The Queen? Its not meant to undermine the young man fighting for his life nor the outpouring of support given to him. It is to ask why we rally around the headlines and leave the page 11 problems for those who know the person on page 11? If a person selling beer in the stands at the game would have had a heart attack and required medical attention would the game have stopped? If one of the officials would have suffered a heart attack, then what?

It is just a game. We can agree on that. Asking someone to block that out of your head and continue doing what you are doing. In life, we ask that of others everyday. If a fellow officer is gunned down while in the middle of a shootout, no one comes in and calls timeout and resumes the shootout 2 days later. A military mission does not end when a man goes down. The fire doesn’t stop burning. The world does not stop spinning. One would hope that there is a message that we can find within that thought process.

Life is the most precious commodity we have. Our next breath, our next thought, our next move are never truly guaranteed. It is exponentially greater for those who are on the front line of life. They are tasked holding back a tide of terror and uncertainty. I think we owe it to those who do this daily to keep a closer eye on them. Watch and honor them in a way that makes one understand the fragility of life.

This week became one giant support group for a man you never met, never spoke to and most likely did not even know his name until Monday evening. We went out of our way to stand beside him and hope that his life would be spared. What a wonderful world this could be if we could do the very same thing for every person who doesn’t have national media coverage or an audience with The Queen?

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The Weight of Your Problems Against the Weight of Others.

I listened to a story told by a Facebook influencer yesterday. Her story was that of a broken childhood. One in which her mother chose to play the victim in all aspects of her life. Its assumable that if you live long enough, you will see someone like this. They will be the parent capable of weaving a web of guilt so strongly that it will catch anyone even near it. No matter the problem, the solution should always be to side with them. Their life was made horrible by some reason or some excuse. They never got their fair shake; and the reason for it was certainly something of which they themselves had no control over. As though caught in the swell of a sudden storm, just victims without cause.

The picture above was taken by a photographer Kevin Carter in 1993. While in Sudan, he was covering the famine there. This photo shows a girl alone while being watched by a vulture. The photo itself is absolutely heartbreaking. While the girl’s parents were helping to unload a cargo plane carrying food, she is left to fend for herself. The photo brought outrage against the photographer. Why would he not assist the child or scare the vulture off? The press had been warned to not have contact with the famine stricken for fear of spreading disease. The next year, this same photo won The Pulitzer Prize.The very same year, Mr. Carter drove to a park where he used to play as a child. Once there, he ran a hose from his exhaust back into his vehicle and died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Most people are not thrill seekers. We tend to see the world through someone else’s eyes while we watch from thousands of miles away. Its a choice we make to avert our eyes as though to dismiss tragedy and terror or watch as though it were happening next door in the alley behind the house. Society finds itself so impaled in its own stories to fail to see others or live through the eyes of someone else and never even feel the sound of their own heartbeat. It is an odd and envious amount of space between both that you wonder if there is a way to be in your own skin and still feel the pain of another.

Everyone can easily encase themselves within their own walls. They can also make those walls too slick to scale. As children, we see characters exist in their self made heaven while reality often puts us in our man-made hell. Personally, I have chosen over time to eliminate walls and do my best to simply exist in the time that I am. It is better to make peace with your past and welcome your future regardless of the insecurities it may hold.

Certain things will always stick with you. Some of them, you keep to yourself as though it is important to hold out a bit of yourself only to you for sanity sake. This photo has always been one of those things for me. I was in Europe during the conflict in Bosnia and the beginning of issues in Kosovo. It is like yesterday in my mind. You can still see the TV and you can still hear the ongoing mantra, “genocide in ……” There is this photo and an understanding of Somalia and African nations who continuously do nothing but attempt to completely wipe the Earth of their enemy.

Why is one war so much more important than another? Why is one life worth more? Why is someone worth more attention or more press? This little girl did not have a name. But she was the picture of what we as a society can allow to happen without ever thinking of another. We simply take only the time to think of our own situations and hang-ups. I don’t fault people for figuring out their lives either. Each one of us must work through things in our own way. It is imperative though that we look to others and understand that our bottom could be much further down than it is.

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Money Back Guarantee

I don’t consider myself Hemingway, nor am I trying to write daily for the New York Times. I am not getting paid to put my thoughts down so there are long……….breaks in between times I sit down to write. Part of that may be that as I age, I find myself just shaking my head at life rather than feeling I need a podium or pedestal to scream from. I mean how many times can one yell and see the lesson to fall upon deaf ears? You come to find that you are only wasting your breath and energy. I remember when I got stationed at the Pentagon in 1999. I had to carpool with my wife at the time, to her job when I would go in. She was used to me cursing, honking at cars, and screaming out the window at people who simply did whatever they wanted to do in traffic. She would sink in the seat at some of my outbursts. By the time I left in 2003, I didn’t honk, curse, or say a word. In fact she would lay on the horn for me or ask why I wasn’t flipping out. Thing was, I started to get that age thing. Who am I teaching? No matter the length of time I scream, attempt to belittle or shame someone on the road, the only person it affected was me. My blood pressure rose, my heart beat faster, and my stomach tied in knots. So, I created my own world of anxiety where I was the only resident. Hell, I paid taxes, was the mayor, and even ran against myself for President in my own little world. The world of one.

I went to college over the years I was in the military. Through multiple classes at varying places, I eventually was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree before I left the service. Afterward, I used what was left of my post 9/11 GI Bill to complete my master’s degree. During the time I was in college, I used a series of military benefits to take courses. Many of those courses were from a program called “top up”, where a portion of the class was paid for by the military while I was to pay for the rest of it out of pocket. I also had to take out a student loan for about 5k to finish my bachelor’s degree. What bothers me now is the idea that the government is going to forgive certain debts to certain people. If you qualify, 10k of your student loan debt will be eliminated. If you have children attending college or are attending yourself, you would know that 10k doesn’t pay off enough to even cover an associate’s degree. What it also does look at is the astronomical rise in education prices over the past 30 years to even attend college. There is nothing that I know of that will keep colleges from seeing this relief effort and deciding to raise tuition enough to cover for that 10k to be tacked on as well. What does this spell? A president is attempting to give you a 10k off your loan coupon. He hopes you will remember this come election time.

What our President has not explained is where that money will come from to pay off 10k of debt for those individuals. A given would be that it will come from taxpayer dollars. Some of those dollars would be from people who didn’t go to college, couldn’t afford to send their own kids to college, or both. So, how does that set with you? I didn’t want to saddle myself with debt that I feared I could not pay back, so I chose not to go to school. But, I will now have money I am taxed go towards those who dove head first into the pool without checking the depth of the water. The same could have been said for banks that “were too big to fail” or homeowners who refinanced their homes to buy big cars, boats, and lavish vacations. That is until the value of their home plummeted and they were not able to pay the difference between what they owed and the homes new value.

Somehow, responsibility for personal failure has become the governments problem. If things are going great, the government is told to stand aside and stop slowing things down. The minute that the “too good to be true” things are indeed too good to be true, everyone wants to point the finger at the government and tell them they should have been there to protect them from themselves. It is where I feel the fall of our country will come from. Don’t be around when I am able to run freely, but when I stumble, be there to ensure I don’t fall on the ground. Have a bed there, and a warm blanket. Could we have some iced tea and a good book to read as well? The more we adult, the more we attempt to become children. We want all the perks and toys without the job of keeping them squared away and clean. If they break, we should be able to just turn it in for a brand new one. It doesn’t matter that we broke it on purpose just to see how it was put together. It was someone else’s fault for having built it shabbily to begin with.

Colleges are state or private institutions. Their tuition is decided based on in state or out of state means. Private schools are ran with private money and therefore should be able to sustain themselves. State sponsored schools should protect the ability of students to receive an education without saddling them with an enormous amount of debt. But in doing so, the U.S. government decides certain loans to be made to people. The same people that if they attempted to buy a car for the same value of the college they are applying for would be denied. You are in essence giving money to someone with little to no work history with the stipulation that they will pay it back. This is without having any way of knowing if they possess the ability to do so. The bill comes due once college is done. Since there is a push to forgive debt, it would seem that we are going to school for the wrong profession, or we need that money we said we would pay to go to college to effectively survive in society.

There are plenty of trades that require no college degree. Many of them are more apprenticeship than anything. If the government wanted to be efficient, paid apprenticeships to allow a trade would be more beneficial than money on degrees that lead to dead end jobs. Its important to understand if you are interested in a profession that pays little to nothing with a degree, you should weigh the fact of that before you continue into that field. Its not the governments fault that the profession you chose pays so low. Its something the individual should consider rather than put blame somewhere it is not deserved.

As in many instances that have been decided lately, I believe its time for the federal government to step away from the decisions being made in education matters. This needs to be addressed at a state level. If its a state run school, you need to put up a good product at a competitive price. If you charge more, you may lose attendance and tuition. This may force you to close your doors. Coming from someone with a higher degree, I can tell you I have never learned more in a classroom than I have on the job. Experience in society is the greatest motivator and teacher of anything. Its also time for people to stop looking at degrees as hard as they do and look to the experience a person can bring to the classroom. I’d rather have a COO of a Fortune 500 company teach a course in finance than a tenured professor who has ran nothing in the last 30 years.

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Back to the Grind

It has never been an issue to have something pressing on my mind. In the 50 years I’ve been around, there are a million things moving around up there. While that sounds like some mad scientist creating their monster, be assured that the thoughts aren’t so mind boggling that the cure for some disease is going to be thought of. A better way to think of it is, you remember all the dumb stuff you could not think of at 6:30 yesterday evening. Unfortunately, you wake up to remember that at 4 in the morning. You give yourself grief for not thinking of it sooner, never write it down, and completely forget it again by the next morning. I remain convinced that 99% of life’s issues have been solved at some point, only to be forgotten somewhere along the line.

So we open to year 2 of a pandemic. I have always thought that a pandemic has no cure, it’s symptoms are horrific and we have to burn the bodies after they have succumbed to the disease. Boy was I ever wrong. Please throw this away when I get it since I am overweight and diabetic. It may be that I still could develop this disease and die from it. I also have to ask myself what happens if something comes along that has a 48% survivor rate and everyone decides they are going to stay locked up inside their homes and order out? Well, that is until someone realizes that the stuff we order out isn’t being made because those who farm it are no longer doing so.

I include myself when I say this. What we as a culture lack is the ability to live like those who have come before us. Gone are the days of Victory Gardens and rationing of items for efforts or war and depression. We are the land of milk and honey. No one will go without unless there is a life altering event. What would you call this? It isn’t killing us off by the millions but it may as well be. It is undoubtedly showing us who among us will be ready in the event the sum comes out tomorrow but there is not internet or satellite signal with it.

Looking at the world as though it is a game of Jenga has become something I am far more familiar with than seeing it for the advancements that are made. My mother and her sisters raised gardens and canned vegetables. My grandfather had a smokehouse where meat was cured to last long beyond the process we have today. I find myself as guilty as those I point to today. Guilty of not knowing the basics while understanding the finer points. I can fix machines and troubleshoot code, but if I had to grow my own food, I would starve in weeks. For all the changes we have created in society, we forgot the foundations for which it was raised upon.

I would ask this of everyone. Find ways in which you can find support in your skills and the dependence upon others. No one is asking you to build some fallout shelter in your backyard nor act as though Armageddon is upon us. Learning the skills of self sufficiency allows us to not be as dependent upon the fruits of labor that others provide. In many ways, we always know someone in our life that has these skills. Don’t let those die with them. Learn them, practice them, and if there is room to improve them, do that as well. No one has ever suffered by learning skills that bring a positive to yourself and society

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I Need Another Ride

If you have watched the news as of late you have seen beginnings of a fight that if pushed will go on until the end of the current administration. How do you impolitely ask all of Americans to comply with mandates?

If your first thought is a violation of Constitutional rights, you would be on the mark. Why a sitting President would make such a statement is beyond me. Let’s make a broad statement and take it from there. Everyone needs to get vaccinated. If they are not, then you can lose your job. Well, providing that you work for the government, or are contracted by the government, or work for a company with more than 100 employees.

So why hinge the rest of your presidency on something that is about as close to unconstitutional as saying that I’d like for 1/2 of you to stop breathing? What I tend to believe is, your Presidency will always be made to be the success of what happens during it. While blaming previous administrations for issues that you inherited used to work, it just does not fly the way it used to. This allows for a point of saying, we tried to push people to do it, but they decided to not take the vaccine. I don’t blame the government for who gets COVID. To many, that is rather ridiculous. People do what it is they wish to do to the extent they can push it. If we are honest, Americans are just like kids. Tell them they can’t do something and they immediately want to only do just that.

So after the absolute catastrophe that was Afghanistan and our withdrawal from there, this will most likely be the fight right up until we being the next Presidential push after mid-term elections in 2022. We will then have another round of insanity that we had from 2019-2020. Buckle up folks, the ride will only get bumpier from here.

If you wondered why I named the article that I need a new ride. Many people tell you that our country is going to hell in a handbasket. If I have to go, can’t a get a cab, buggy, or limo service? I will even take a rickshaw.

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Someone Call 911

Twenty years can go in the blink of an eye. We are 3 days from 20 years. 20 years of chaos, 20 years of anger, 20 years of melancholy, 20 years of tears, 20 years of terror, 20 years of a new way of living life. Americans have always likened ourselves to be ironclad. No one would dare attack America on its own soil. We had the Trade Center bombing in 1993. Timothy McVeigh had blown up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The latter of these 2 was an American with a grudge to carry out. If you have ever seen the Gadsden Flag and the phrase, “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, that is the idea of what most Americans felt up to 8 am Eastern time on 9/11/2001.

Hawaii was not a state until 1959. In 1941, it was still considered American soil. One December 7th, 1941, the Japanese Empire said the same thing to America. That attack brought us into a 2nd World War within 25 years. So what lessons did Pearl Harbor teach America? It would almost seem that it taught us that while our outlying areas could be at risk, true American soil was still sacred ground. No one would dare attack America within the confines of its borders.

So, nearly 60 years from the Pearl Harbor bombings, we learn that our soil is not Holy Ground. it is not consecrated by The Pope or some divine entity. What a lesson for us to learn. Nearly 3,000 people leave for work with no thought in their mind that it would be the last day spent on Earth.

At the end of 20 years of war, where are we at now? What have we accomplished? What have we made better than it was on 9/12/2001? Was the price of the War on Terror worth it? Lives? Money? A change in the way Americans are viewed throughout the world?

On the 11th of September, 1683, Islamic armies were turned away in Vienna. It would be the last time that an Islamic Army would truly pose a considerable threat to a Christian power. A day that offered such a large defeat that there has never been another such threat by an Islamic force since.

Does a Christian is better than a Muslim or a Muslim feels they are better than a Christian? Where do you stand in this matter? Why is it so important for Jesus or Allah to be the victor to those who so strongly feel that way? Whatever you may feel from a religious or pride of country, it is important to realize certain things.

Our country is seen by the world as a place where you can be who it is you choose to be. You can speak out against your own nation without fear of being persecuted or killed. Its a liberty that we take for granted quite often. We will always be hated by any religion who’s concept of women is that they are property and not humans. We will always be seen as the snake if we attempt to help others out when atrocities happen that we do not condone.

As we enter year 20, let us understand that many of those who are in office today were in office 20 years ago. The anger of 20 years seems to have been faded. We find ourselves doing something that we so often do. We let time fade our minds. We late history become footnotes in a book. Where is Pearl Harbor? Well that is in Chapter 12 on page 287. Slowly, we find that 9/11 is mentioned this weekend, where will it be for you? For your children, and as 20 more years goes by, their children?

It is a time to pray for our country, for those who were lost, those who have been lost defending the honor of the fallen, those who made it home but were never whole again, and for those who have felt the effects of one or all of them.

If you could go back in time to this day. If you could find a way to prevent what started all of this from happening, would you? I would be pretty sure that most would answer yes. While that is not a possibility, letting time take over the lessons we have been given is in many ways, the same thing. Let time heal our wounds, but not our resolve. Let it teach us vigilance and not fear.

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The More Things Change…………

I don’t know my audience, well what little one I have all that well. I don’t know where you have come from or where you may be going in life. I would like to let you in on a little bit of my life though.

Almost 20 years ago to this day, I went to work like any other day. I had a IT class I was in that week. Given the city I was stationed in, public transport made it much easier to get around in certain areas. So, I drove to work and hopped on the Metro subway to head to Bethesda, Maryland. My wife at the time worked as a travel agent for a DoD entity. She was in a new office that day. This was pretty much pre-cell phone times for most of us. I had the all impressive pager. Get a page, find a phone. We had been in class for a bit. I began to get pager notifications over and over. I had asked since she was in a new office to send me the number, but I didn’t ask for her to send it multiple times. I get up to leave and find a phone. When I finally call, I am met with the words, two planes just hit the World Trade Center. In my head, I am thinking, eh, 2 small Cessna I am sure. Some wayward Brooklyn-ite who lost his way to the Mets game. However, the next sentence changed that. The side of the Pentagon was just hit. The one by the helipad. As soon as I heard that, my mind switched gears. I called work immediately. No one answered the phones. I called 2 more times with no answer.

I was in the class with 2 co-workers. One of them happened to be deaf. He could read lips though which helped. I barely got out what had happened to my other co-worker before one of the managers opened the door and told everyone else the news. The instructor happened to be from New York City and knew people who worked at the Trade Center. I continued to make calls with no answer or a busy signal because most of the East coast was using the phone all at the same time. My co-worked drove me and the other hearing impaired person to get his car in Virginia. I used that car to get on Ft. Belvoir and to the apartment. Going to work the next morning was an event. I had finally heard from my boss at 5pm that evening. Until then, I had no idea if anyone I worked with were alive or dead. The next day, you return to a building still on fire. You have no idea how many people died, or if there are people still in the building who could be clinging to life.

Thus began the War on Terror. It did not take us long to begin bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. If you have followed history, you will know that opposing countries have attempted to invade this country for years. In the 1980’s it was the Soviet Union’s turn to invade. To help ensure that there would be no spread of Communism, the U.S. decides to arm the Taliban with our own weaponry. This is when things begin to go South. We give the country a chance to defend itself in such a way to eventually tell the Soviets that it simply wasn’t worth their time, energy, or effort. What it helped do it end the U.S.S.R. Well at least for a minute. If you think its not pretty much the same now with Vladimir Putin, you sort of need to have your head examined.

As of today, 31 August 2021, our time in Afghanistan has come to a close. What has the last 20 years brought us? ABC News provided these numbers. (1)


U.S. Service Members – 2,448

U.S. Contractors – 3,846

Afghan national military and police – 66,000

Other allied service members – 1,144

Afghan Civilians – 47,245

Taliban and other opposition – 51,191

Aid Workers – 444

Journalists – 72


Estimated Cost of Afghanistan and Iraq Wars – 2 Trillion

Estimated Interest Paid on the 2 Trillion – 925 Million

Estimated Interest by 2030 – 2 Trillion

Estimated Interest by 2050: 6.5 Trillion

Estimated cost of healthcare and benefits that will be paid to veterans from this time frame – 1.6 to 1.8 Trillion

So, with thousand of lives gone and trillions of dollars spent, what has our occupation of this country achieved for us in 20 years? As a soldier who served my country from 1990-2003, and has worked to support the war effort after I left active duty, I can say with full confidence that we left one group considerably better off than what they were when we arrived; the Taliban. While throwing them and Al Qaeda from power over the course of 20 years, the Taliban still managed to stick around. Enough so that a peace agreement was made with them during the last administration. One that would end our occupation and allow some sort of order. A government we have helped set up would be in power with a U.S. trained Afghan military there to defend their interests.

Raise your hand if you thought this would work? Weeks for the Taliban to take control turned to days. Why? Well, my thought would be, if you are a male who would be able to go back to having multiple wives and kids; be able to beat them for no reason; not have to compete with them for work; and basically treat them worse than a dog, what exactly are you fighting for if this is your form of religion and living?

We gave a nation hope. Hope that we can change the way in which they live. We gave women the rights they had never had as recognized human beings. They were allowed to go to school, learn to read. How amazing that would be for those who have never had those opportunities. If those things sound familiar, its because we have been there before. Korean and Vietnam should sound pretty familiar to everyone. Promises made and promises broken. Watching Afghan citizens literally cling to military flights and fall to their death should have shown you the quagmire that was being created by a poorly planned exit. Our President promised that he would get everyone out, only to have the last flight lift off a few hours before I write this. That was listed as the last flight out.

It is worth noting that we did not take our goods with us as well. in the ineffective pullout, we managed to leave helicopters, humvees, armoured vehicles, drones, rifles, and other weaponry. So what we have insured in this instance is just like when we came in 2001 and were being shot at with our own weapons provided to defeat the Soviets, if we go back, we will be shot at with our own upgraded weaponry.

What we have is 20 years of an attempt to “change the hearts and minds” of a group of people who have lived a particular way for over a thousand years. The withdraw was so poorly executed while the current administration wished to tell you how many thousands of people were rescued. If you want the numbers that matter? 13 soldiers lost their lives protecting a piss poor retreat. Along with hundreds of Afghans waiting to be evacuated. Maybe clinging to that plane wasn’t such a bad idea after all? Pick your poison; fall to your death or get blown to bits.

For any country that we would go to in the future, what could we ever tell them to make them think we will not screw them over when we leave? Helicopters well pulling people off the roof of the embassy in Saigon. We are pushing almost 50 years to do the same thing. The arrogance of those in charge goes to show us that we never learn lessons from our failures. We had 46 years to get this right. Set a date far enough out to be done and out with everything 2 months beforehand. Evacuate citizens in an orderly and timely fashion. With military authority and escort. But no, we give a date and wait until the last seconds to see it through. We leave behind enough weaponry to stock a revolution.

Our days as an occupier of countries needs to end. Our concept of attempting to make nice with citizens of other countries who harbor those who would do harm to us needs to cease as well. Not everyone wants democracy, and judging by the dropping of arms, not everyone deserves it either. It is time for our country to take a look at the isolationist policies that Woodrow Wilson was such a staunch believer in. I don’t think that we need to go away from the global world, but I do not feel as though we should be the police force for it anymore. We have no incentive to occupy foreign lands. Our purpose should be for one thing only; to protect the interests of Americans. It needs to be made clear that if those interests are threatened that we will use weaponry to retaliate against those whom we find hostile. This is regardless of the country they choose to be in. There no longer needs to be a diplomatic side of these situations. If your country harbors those who intend or have done us harm, we will be coming to annihilate them. We will not ask if its okay, we won’t tell you we are coming, we will simply eliminate the problem via scorched earth. Our Achilles heal has been we want to be liked and have that “we are here to help” mentality. It only has left us to look weak in the eyes of those who wish us harm. You have to fear the response more than you fear those around you. That is what we have to become as a country. It doesn’t make us well liked I am sure. I am also sure we aren’t well liked to begin with. So what is the difference.

  1. The cost of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars, Ellen Knickmeyer; Associated Press, 7/12/2021.
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Here We Go Again, Same Old Shit Again

I know it’s been awhile. I sit down at a keyboard every day. I am an IT Administrator by trait. Keyboard time is a daily thing. 30 years worth actually. Enough for carpal tunnel surgery for both hands. But enough about me, where is the world going to lately?

You know that new car smell that you get when you go car shopping? The feel of the grand opening of a new store? In the past few months, America reopened slowly a few months ago. You may have missed it. It is what you would have called a soft opening. It wasn’t like, next Tuesday we open up to full capacity. All you have to do is take your shots just like your vitamins and we will let you get back to the reality you knew of for decades.

We have made it to our 4th variant. Delta has made its way to front of the line for COVID. Suddenly our shots don’t matter, our lives don’t matter, and we begin to shut things back down. One day, I was okay to go places without a mask because I received my shots. Now, dependent on the event or place, I will have to return to wearing a mask. The CDC stated that we need to all be wearing masks again. All the while, being told months prior we could come out from behind the shroud.

I have to wonder at what point the government wants to affect the society it is charged with “protecting?” In the past 2 years rules and regulations have caused enormous unemployment. Since so many people became unemployed, we get legislation to almost double unemployment benefits for some states. So, when people began to try to bring people back, you made more by not working than by going back. So, the people still working get overworked for less than the people just sitting home. Laws are passed to keep renters from being evicted, but to my knowledge, nothing done for the owners of those units to pay for their loans.

Things going back to “normal” seems like a pipe dream now. There are too many questions to pose. Does the next variant get called Echo? Are we following the phenetic alphabet? Do we get more shots? Does the government begin the requirement of vaccination to work government positions? Do movie theaters fade off into the distance? More importantly, how much life do we give up to ensure others live while some will never take the shot, which is their choice, but it does create a question of how we proceed in this new environment. I don’t have answers for all of this. Seems like no one else does either.

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