It has recently become clear, to me, that the majority of what you read or see, on any part of the Internet, is carelessly in error, or is just plain intentionally deceptive. Of course, that includes what you’re reading at this moment, because what I have to say is only my opinion — even though such “opinion,” in my case, is based on 87 years of observant life, begun in a morally strong, conventional family, that placed the children’s education (in more than just the best available public schools) ahead of all else; then broadened and strengthened that by unusually useful college educations, extended military service, very wide, world travels, developmental work in emerging fields in science and engineering (e.g., space and electronics), jobs with national and international governments, along with 35 years experience in journalism.
As a child, my parent’s home was unusually filled with the best available newspapers and magazines; they, for example were charter subscribers to LIFE, and shelves were filled with carefully saved copies of National Geographic. Each weekday evening, Dad brought home a well-read copy of a NYC newspaper (long out of business today), which we three children read with great interest. We heard radio reports of more immediate news developments as reported by giants of the broadcast news business, such as Lowell Thomas and Edward R. Murrow. As a family, we freely discussed news and opinion, clearly separating the two into distinct categories: pure news seldom presented anything later proved to be in significant (never intentional) error, and was routinely accepted as fact; opinion columns, and editorial comment were always subject to analysis and debate as to accuracy and balance, and were thus justifiably, and vigorously. debated.
The arrival of television (c. 1939) didn’t change that much, and demands of WW II anyway kept television from becoming part of most homes, for at least another decade. During all of that time, we had basic trust in what was printed in newspapers, or reported by the evening radio news broadcast. However, by the late ’70s, when television’s lively presentation had already essentially doomed radio news reporting, begun to force news magazines out of business, and seriously reduced newspaper readership, along came the personal computer, soon followed by the fast-spreading Internet, which immediately, and seemingly forever, changed the way we received what we once called news, but quickly became gossip, rumor, and unfounded opinion.
The Worldwide Web, spread, like Plague, across the Internet, and quickly became the source of choice, by most of us, for obtaining what we continued to refer to as “news.” Almost overnight (so it seems anyway) scores — perhaps hundreds — of news and opinion “publications,” produced on the kitchen table, by egotistical, ambitious individuals, with little experience in anything worthwhile, began to appear on that Internet. Fascinated followers were soon quoting from, outright copying and claiming as their own work, and rapidly reproducing and forwarding the often unreasonable visions and irrational opinions of those creating such electronic publications. Not only were the written “reports” all-too-often dangerously flawed (sometimes intentionally), but even the photography (still and/or video) accompanying the text was frequently unrelated to the story, and/or was significantly altered or otherwise fabricated to support the author’s opinion, however flawed that was on its own.
The creation of social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), whereon individuals, by pushing a button, can copy an undocumented and unsupported “news” event, then post it on their page of that social site, so that their electronic “friends” can see how worldly, wise, and “with it” they themselves are, was an unfortunate development. Not only written texts, but artwork and documentary photography were thereby “forwarded,” copied and pasted (without appropriately crediting the originator, who’s soon forgotten), so that, if a story was salacious enough, it’ll “go viral,” becoming gospel fact, because, “I read it on the Internet.”
When you happily “share,” or otherwise copy and re-publish stories that you think will improve your image with cyber friends, you all too often come off looking ignorant, silly, shallow. or simply stupid. How many versions of the “news” report about the man that, allegedly, woke up after a colonoscopy, wearing women’s pink panties, have there been, and did you forward at least one of those? Are any based on fact (the photos with them are all different and have no association with the event, if it even happened). And did you fall for the report, with photo of attractive female soldier, that one woman had killed at least a hundred of those evil ISIS crazies, ensuring that they will roast in Hell? To how many did you forward that unsupported story? How many similar, eye-catching reports on the Internet have you quickly considered as worth forwarding, and bringing to the attention of your Facebook ‘friends”? We seem, in our thoughtless adoration of “click here” technology, to have embraced the Internet as some sort of ethereal intelligence, which it clearly is not.
Yes, there are reliable news items available on the Internet; they are usually identifiable by indications that they came from such as AP, UPI, or Reuters; that said, the vast majority, from giant Huffington Post (remember the big bad wold that “huffed” and puffed), to miniscule Rita.Rosenfeld.Blog, are little other than fanciful opinion, masquerading as news. Don’t be taken in by them, and never propagate what they post, without an obvious disclaimer as to the undocumented, unreliable source. The thing to keep in mind is that: If I saw it on the Internet, chances are it’s neither factual, rational, nor worth repeating nor discussing.
As I pointed out, at the start of this discussion, what you’ve just read, was presented on that same Internet (although it’s also been, or soon will be, printed in newspapers).
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Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column, by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
According to recent news reports, a certified insane person (40) calmly shot her father in the back, killing him, after which she texted her mother, “Dad is dead.” Predictably, the woman’s mother (surely with enthusiastic help from sleazy lawyers) sued the gun shop, from where the killer apparently purchased two guns (the first having been discovered and confiscated?), using money from disability funds, paid by our feckless government, because of her insanity.
The subject killer was found “not guilty, by reason of (insanity).” Does the fault for the tragic death not therefore belong to society, for allowing insane persons to roam free, while providing them with the money needed to buy guns? Our so-called “mental health professionals,” believe that they’re doing the “right thing,” when they resist labeling mentally ill persons as “insane.” And then, our increasingly “rights oriented” public has succeeded in allowing such as a “right to privacy” to override matters of the public safety and welfare.
Yes, our increasingly “sensitive,” and foolishly liberal, society bears the blame for this sad tale of avoidable manslaughter. If the sick woman had been, early-on, properly labeled, and controlled; and had she not been aided and abetted by a mindless Socialistic society that sends money to persons so mentally defective that they have no way of using such funds appropriately, the killing might have been avoided. Yes, even had the woman not had money, had not purchased a gun, and had been closely monitored, she might have used a butcher knife to kill her father. But the fault is, again, not in that guns are available; it is in a society, including especially its government and opportunistic, amoral lawyers, which have become overly concerned with human “rights.”
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pundits, columnists, editorialists, talking heads on tv, government spokesmen, and Joe Sixpack all have opinions on the state of our economy; most of them are seriously in error, if not flat-our WRONG!.
Paul Krugman (typical, liberal, leftist, Democratic columnist for the New York Pravda) recently bragged that “…last year’s (budget) deficit was less than half-a-trillion dollars — or a more meaningful number, just 2.8 percent of the GDP — and it’s still falling.” Before you hurt your hands applauding the implied fiscal responsibility shown by the Democratic Administration, consider what the GDP really shows us, if anything.
Before we can begin to understand GDP (and GNP), we need to grasp a fundamental truth of economics: The production of things, from automobiles to wheat, satisfies domestic needs, and can be sold to foreign nations, so as to offset what we spend in buying goods from them: on the other hand, the provision of services, from accountants to zoologists, while sometimes facilitating the production of goods, never satisfies a nation’s basic need for goods, and thus, in general, is essentially unimportant to economic health. Adam Smith, the widely recognized “Father of Economics,” put it this way: “‘There is one sort of labour which adds to the value of the subject upon which it is bestowed: There is another which has no such effect. The former, as it produces a value, may be called productive; the latter, unproductive labour. Thus the labour of a manufacturer adds, generally, to the value of the materials which he works upon, that of his own maintenance, and of his master’s profit. The labour of a menial servant, on the contrary, adds to the value of nothing…. A man grows rich by employing a multitude of manufacturers: He grows poor, by maintaining a multitude of menial servants.”
When the GNP (Gross National Product) was conceived, Adam Smith advised against including the money associated with services in that calculation. Most early “experts” on economics agreed with Smith. Their argument was that, for example, when you make a steam ship, or anything else useful, needed, and salable, you use raw materials (e.g., steel), skill, experience, knowledge, and labor, to produce something worth more than the sum of its parts. If your ship used $100,000 worth of materials and $50,000 worth of labor, it might be worth $250,000 to a prospective buyer; the economy thus gains $100,000. That , Mr. Krugman, is the creation of wealth, which is something well worth measuring. The addition of $20,000 worth of services involved in the building of that ship (especially such as government bureaucracy involved in the issuance of licenses, permits, etc.) reduces the amount of wealth created by that amount, making the economy a bit poorer. When the cost of services equal or exceed potential gross profit, the manufacture of that product ceases, which is what has happened all across these fruited plains, during the past two-to-three decades.
When politicians managed to gut the meaningful GNP, creating the new indicator GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the meaningless services, which Smith and others saw as non-contributory to economic health, were fully, and deceptively, included.
Let s then, again, consider Krugman’s boast that last year’s budget deficit was just 2.8 percent of GDP. Were the GDP just the income from sale of goods and products, without the huge addition of increasingly bloated, non-productive services, that same deficit would likely be more nearly 28% than 2.8%
We should return to use of a GNP, which does not consider services of any type in its calculations. Only by excluding the cost of such services (especially big government) in evaluating of the health of our economy, can we really feel its pulse — and it’s SICK!
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Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
A woman with whom I am some sort of “friend” (i.e., we communicate over million of miles, up and down, to/from, communications satellites), has demonstrated a natural, and rare, eye for what can make a good photograph. Like too many of us today, she lazily uses only her convenient cell phone as a “camera,” although such are really little other than “toys,” for children of all ages In spite of the fun-filled cell phone’s convenience, and limited ability to record really “good” photographs, she manages to create some very promising “snapshots.” When I, in genuine interest of her promising photography, mentioned to her that many, readily available, digital imaging editing programs exist, which would help further improve her photography, her surprising, and disappointing, response was, “Those editing programs don’t work on my cell phone.” In other words. “If I can’t carry it in my pocket, I can’t be bothered with it.” Such seems to be the perspective distorting the view of an entire, mindless, lazy, pleasure-oriented generation, and others to follow. That bodes poorly for the future.
An entire generation ( and a half) are so “into” cell phones, I-Pads, and similar, “gee-whiz” gadgets that we’ve become less communicative, increasingly less literate, and more focused on quantity, convenience, and speed, rather than quality. Our attractively convenient, and potentially-promising, e-mails, have already seriously degraded our abilities to spell, or correctly use grammatical rules for our native language. We happily misspell words, use unrecognized abbreviations, and leave out all necessary punctuation, in our childish rush to embrace shiny new technology. The unavoidable result is a headlong rush to a serious breakdown in human communication, if not the creation of an essentially, nearly-illiterate generation.
Even Facebook, which had such promise, finds most of it’s abusers (sorry, “friends”), using cryptographic, hideously abbreviated, comments that make useful understanding by most persons impossible. One such user recently explained that “If you didn’t understand, then you didn’t need to know.” Is that where we’ve arrived through thoughtless use and abuse of the potential of rapidly advancing means of communicating?
Yes, cell phones, notebooks, and other electronic toys are fun to play with, but are we, in abusing their potential, headed in the wrong direction? Not only do they destroy our ability to write a complete, grammatically correct sentence, and thus to minimize misunderstanding of communications, but they suck us away from using far better means of accomplishing most anything, from banking, to editing photographs; and, while we are drugged by mindless, destructive play with our pocketable toys, we become increasingly anti-social — even rude. While at lunch a few days ago, I observed a couple (apparently 1 male and 1 female humans) at lunch at a nearby table. Both of them spent far more time playing with their cell phones than in engaging with each other — and that’s hardly a rare observation in these “enlightened” times. Human interface has become secondary to the electronic one. Can that be good?
Thanks to the siren song of gee-whiz technology, most of us are seduced to accepting , and abusing, all that is new, and which can be easily controlled by simply poking one’s mindless finger at a tiny glowing screen. In that ignorant process, we seem ready to accept degradation in everything from airline reservations, to baby sitter selection, to choice of a mate.
I know — I KNOW!! — I’m just an old foggie, whom doesn’t understand the difference between # an #, but I believe that I am better off for that — good luck to the rest of you — you’ll surely need it!
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Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Pertinent comment may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes, when crowds of emotionally excited youths take to the streets, or when large numbers simply mount publicity campaigns demanding change in whatever part of the status quo they are against, their motives are based on reality, and their demands reasonably justifiable: but much of the time, those groups are really out for little other than a fraternal experience, involving like-minded persons, which have no other satisfying purpose in life, and are simply seeking companionship and mutual support for a cause that is little better than that of the Knight Errant of La Mancha (whose fictional story, interestingly, is the most popular such throughout the entire World).
Such groups (e.g., those dedicated to Redistribution of Wealth, Saving the Bees, Elimination of fossil fuels, etc.) are formed around lofty sounding goals and objectives, which are difficult to argue against without coming off as “insensitive, uncaring, uninformed”, or simply “addled.” Trouble is, those oversimplified, seemingly lofty goals are most often inadequately thought out, and are seriously flawed. Look, for example at the on-going crusade to eliminate fossil-fuel-burning power plants through proliferation of panels that generate electricity by exposure to the sun’s rays.
The hard-core believer in solar power, as the answer to most of mankind’s problems with energy and pollution, seems to envision a day, in the not too distant future, when all of man’s need for electricity, or power in any other form, will be provided by a few flat panels on roof tops covering the globe. Unfortunately, such pie-in-the-sky dreaming has conveniently excluded reality. How, for example, are solar panels made, except with the expenditure of huge amounts or energy, provided, in large part, by combustion of fossil fuels? And, IF enough solar panels were finally made in the vast quantities needed to satisfy most needs for electricity, so that those terrible, smoke-belching power plants are shut down, from where would we obtain the power to make more panels, when the first batch stopped working — after, say, just one generation? Where also would we then obtain the power needed to process iron ore into sheet steel, which we the shape into cars, trucks, refrigerators, etc.? Perhaps, somehow, in that idyllic dream-world of the solar-power cult, there then is no longer any need for such? Then there’s the little problem involved in providing even just domestic electricity, when the “sun don’t shine.” which is usually when domestic demand for electricity peaks. Adequate storage cells (i.e., “batteries”) aren’t an answer, and for many overwhelming reasons (e.g., cost, size, environmental and fire hazards, and amount of power required to manufacture them). There are no other, even remotely possible, alternatives to batteries (e.g., capacitors or condensers). In that hazily envisioned world without nuclear or fossil fuel electric generating facilities, our homes, etc. would go dark and cold soon after sunset.
One propaganda poster, being circulated via convenient social networks, proudly proclaims the real possibility of solar power domination within 50 years. Even were that possible — which it is NOT — have any of the solar power disciples given any thought to how this nation would then be able to produce much of anything, which we must have here to survive, AND which we must sell to other nations in order to be able to afford buying from them what we need or want? The production of tractors, trains, aircraft, automobiles, ships, wheat, corn, pigs, cow, and chickens demands, and must have, access to continuing, massive amounts of power.
Electricity, generated by solar power is a nice tool, which provides comfort and convenience, on a strictly limited scale, to remote places, which otherwise would have to do without necessities, such as the boob tube. Nevertheless, rational, thoughtful analysis can result in no conclusion other than that most so-called “advanced nations” will, for the foreseeable future, have to continue to depend upon fossil fuels, hydro-electric plants, and wind farms to furnish most of their electricity. Emotional, well-meaning, but irrational, action groups, pumping themselves up with electronic encouragements (“You go girl! You’re right man! ), while grouping together to denigrate, ridicule, and dismiss knowledgeable, rational critics as ‘narrow-minded, old men, out of touch with reality and inevitable change,” would be better utilized to spend their energies behind other movements or protests, such as the enforcement of fiscal responsibility in government, before our mounting debts destroy us — which they are well on the way to accomplishing! That’s possible and exceptionally worthwhile: cheering for a world of solar power is a naive and fruitless occupation.
In spite of continuing, misdirected attempt to blame skin color for their problems — both real and imagined — “blacks” (an imprecise and misleading, but politically-acceptable categorization for Negroes) avoid addressing the real reason why they often suffer from perceived discrimination. Hard and irrefutable fact is: It is how an identifiable human group (race, ethnicity, religion, etc.) behaves, which determines how they are viewed and received by others; the color of their skin has, essentially, no relevant influence whatsoever. Put in a different way, and as the age-old maxim wisely advised: ” When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
It seems obvious that blacks (in the U.S.A., as well in other non-Negroid nations) do not, in general, try to gain acceptance by acting like the main population: indeed, they seem to be attempting to make themselves as different socially as may be possible. In just about every possible way (e.g., hair style, type of clothing and how it is worn, chosen names, religion, attitude, language, music choice, work ethic, criminal activity, holidays, families, marriage, locomotion, and education) their behavior “gets in the face” of other social groups, which, understandably react by shunning blacks, which serves not to inspire them to mend their ways, but to, contrarily, move them ever further in the wrong direction.
As an illustration of my contention, there’s a headline story in this morning’s Atlanta paper (Sep 8th) announcing that an owner of another basketball team is “out” because of what is perceived to be “racist email.” In fact, it appears that the incriminating, 2-year old, communication, was nothing other than an attempt, by the financially-concerned owner, to analyze slumping ticket sales, and suggest ways to improve the business’ bottom line. Let’s take a brief look at some of what the allegedly offensive email contained.
“My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base. … I want some white cheer leaders… and music … familiar to a 40 year old white guy…. I’ve also balked when every fan picked out of a crowd to shoot shots in some timeout contest is black……And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our (food and beverage) and merchandise sales are so low.”
Those seem, to me, to be legitimate concerns of a business man, whose primary focus is the bottom line. but our confused nation apparently views such comments as insensitive and unacceptable, so the offending individual must seek forgiveness by public apology, while being “ridden out of own on a rail.”
It seems to me that the real persecution, and prejudice, here, are of the team owner, whom is not permitted to, even by private correspondence, suggest that today’s blacks, when they become dominate in any venue, tend to drive away others, and thus reduce economic profits. But the politically (and financially) motivated NBA issued, in part, the following statement: “(The subject team owner) acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable, and in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association. He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words, and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family.”
What a bunch of hypocritical baloney! If there were any “hurtful words,” the “hurt” is essentially self-inflicted, by insistently anti-social behavior of the offended group. And so, on we go: dangerously ignoring the underlying cause for growing friction between blacks and others, even as it gets worse.
As I have stated, repeatedly, over years: “To be accepted by the majority, wherever and whenever that may be, one must act in as much as is reasonably possible, like that majority.” Sadly, tragically, blacks in these United States clearly seem to be working in an opposite direction.
So, we now suffer from another, racially charged incident, involving a “white” (Caucasian) law enforcement officer and an “African American” (Negroid) youth. Irresponsible, opportunistic, and/or emotionally-controlled, “African American” leaders (from our President down to the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) have, once again failed to take effective action to quell the unjustified rioting, looting, and other resultant, violent behavior — indeed, instead, seemingly enthusiastically fanning the flames of baseless discontent.
When blacks kill blacks, or rob, beat, maim or kill someone of other than the Negroid race, there are no such riots, pillaging, vandalism, or other subhuman behavior: one can only conclude that it is the element of a Caucasian killing a Negro, which fans the flames of righteous fury. So, this is all about race, and really has next to nothing to do with the much blamed, “lack of justice.”
The black rabble rousers excuse their lawless, irresponsible, racially-divisive, nationally-destructive behavior by falling back on the tired argument that they’re fed up with being treated badly by “The (white) Man.” The whole damned thing, in their distorted view, stems from slavery — an ancient crime against Negroes in the U.S. (which is still widely practiced in much of Negroid Africa, where it was begun by Negroes themselves, then aided and abetted by Moslem Arabs, before being exported to the New World). As the argument usually goes: “If the white man hadn’t made slaves of us, and shipped our ancestors from our homelands to America, none of this would be happenin’.” Well, I suggest that the enslavement, and relocation of their ancestors was, for most “African Americans, the best, and most fortunate part of their history; they should get down on their knees, and thank GOD (not the Allah they mistakenly seem to choose these days) for that history of slavery. because without it, they might be living in west-central Africa, from whence all of their ancestors came.
That part of Africa is, and always has been, a basket case of primitive religions, social repression, brutal tribal warfare, and, yes, continued slavery — of blacks by blacks. Were you and your family living there today, your life expectancy would be 45; your annual income (if you had one) a maximum of $1,300; there would essentially be no formal education for children; woman would be treated like cattle; there’d be no medical care, while tribal warfare, rape, and slaughter would be everyday events.
Liberia (one of those nations) is much in the news these days, because of the dreadful outbreak of that terrible Ebola disease. Liberia contains an important message for “African Americans.” It is a nation, artificially created by others, in the early 19th Century, as a democratic model, which would, hopefully succeed, and positively influence the other, rag-tag group of Negroid-populated and ruled nations, in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting in as early as 1820, it was populated by thousands of slaves, freed from bondage in the States. Our government encouraged other freed slaves to go there, to help to create an exemplary free state ruled by Negroes; many did. For a short time, while the minority (Americano-Liberians) ruled the new nation of the Republic Of Liberia, all seemed to be going relatively well. However, tribal, Negroid societies eventually overthrew the “Americanos,” and Liberia descended back into the poverty-stricken mess that still characterizes most of Negroid Africa.
Today, because of its predictable poverty and corrupt government, Liberia is in a state of lockdown, wherein the government throws up walls of barbed wire to confine it’s panicked citizens to controlled zones wherein Ebola kills thousands. Drinking water is carted in on wheelbarrows, and prices on everything, double overnight. That is where you might be living, if not in St. Louis County, where the government (i.e., working taxpayers) provides you with a place to live, food, and money with which to buy lottery tickets, wine, and narcotics; so that you have lots of free time, in which to burglarize, or otherwise destroy businesses in your own neighborhoods. What is the matter with you? Are you somehow primordially moved to be self-destructive? Get a grip on yourselves, and on reality, or please move out of the U.S., which you seem to hate for providing you with opportunities far above the best available back “home” — in black Africa.
As I said: You’re damned fortunate to be here, rather than back where your ancestors may have come from — so thank those lucky stars, and, for, at least, Allah’s sake. stop destroying the goose that lays your golden egg. Recognize your unusual good fortune, and behave in a manner that shows your appreciation – rather than an apparent desire to be in Liberia, where many, understandably, wish you would go.
I derive no pleasure from here stating, once again, “I told you so!” Way back in 1980, one of my first published columns warned that the U.S. Postal Service had turned off on the expressway to financial ruin; I’ve written several sequels to that piece, in the 40 years since; this one may be my last such.
That first opinion piece pointed out that the USPS was carelessly, and destructively, raising wages and retirement benefits, far beyond what economic sense could support or permit. They were, simply put, paying their employees much more than their economic worth; when customers left them for the newly emerging e-mail services, their reaction was simply to charge more for their inefficient and over-priced services.
In my first column on the subject, I also told the story of my father-in-law, a barber in Denver, Colorado. He was losing customers, because they didn’t like his radical, off-the-wall, political opinions, which he, unwisely, spouted while cutting their hair. His, USPS-style reaction to that loss of income, was to raise his prices’ which drove away more customers; so he raised prices again; following which he — well you get the idea. He, of course, went out of business, blaming everyone but himself. That is the path chosen by the inept USPS management.
The USPS has just reported that its second quarter earnings, for 2014, are, in spite of recent rate increases, some $30 Billion below what they need to break even. The only hope for survival of the historic USPS, lies in recognition and acceptance of the fact that they screwed-up big time, when they spinelessly caved to union demands for “more for doing less.” To live again, the dieing USPS must decimate its cancerous union, severely cut pay and benefits, and demand increases in efficiency and productivity.
That ain’t gonna happen — RIP USPS.
Many animals are born with most of the knowledge they need to survive and reproduce their kind. Snakes, for example, are usually on their own as soon as they break out of their shell; their parents are non-existent, and offer no advice nor training. The more advanced the species, the more time they spend educating their offspring, prior to sending them off to fend for themselves: apes, elephants and many others stay with their young for years, passing on their accrued wisdom, so as to maximize chances that the new generation will live and continue the species.
It wasn’t so long ago that mankind spent the most time of all creatures in educating its young. Mothers and fathers worked closely with their children until they reached their late teens, and essentially never stopped offering wise, experienced, advice and counsel for the rest of their lives. It was widely understood, and appreciated, that wisdom came from experience, and thus increased continually with age. That caring, nurturing, educational process was recognized and exemplified through books, movies, radio and television programming. Happy, healthy families were those in which “Father Knows Best.”
In just the relatively short span of a couple of generations, we’ve become a society in which fathers are routinely portrayed as the least competent members of every, typically disfunctional, family; the opinions and advice of parents, teachers, and other “old foggies,” are derided and ignored, because somehow, in this most-enlightened age, infinite wisdom, infallibility, and invulnerability are invested in children, somewhere in their tipsy teen years. Teens not only no longer look to elders for sage counsel and advice: they now indeed are insulted and incensed when an adult offers constructive criticism or suggestion. As today’s youth (13-26) sees it: if you can’t praise them, no matter what they do or don’t do, then mind your own damned business!
One place to see evidence of what I have alleged is on the social networking sites that have spread, like a plague, over the, otherwise potentially useful, Internet. There, like-minded, inexperienced, uneducated, pleasure-focused, narcissistic, hedonistic children preen immature egos, complimenting each other on anything and everything they do, however vacuous, destructive, meaningless, or dangerous such may be. I recently, for example, saw a post on Facebook, in which a distant young relative of mine complained about her father’s disapproval of her having published revealing self-photos. Her “friends” comforted her with comments such as, “You don’t have to pay no mind to what he says: he’s just an old man”; and, “We like ur selfys, so keep them comin babe — shake that booty!”
A mother recently told me how, when she criticized/corrected her daughter’s semi-literate grammar and spelling, as used on the Internet, the child reacted with, “Why do you have to be hateful all the time? My real friends know what I’m saying, so get used to it; live your own life, and leave mine alone.”
Yes, we have stood idly by as the vital function of the traditional family has been all but destroyed. By failing to respect elders, and draw from their experience and wisdom, we have become less well educated, less moral, law abiding, responsible, and self-sufficient. As a direct result, our nation, composed increasingly of irresponsible, careless, feckless youngsters (of all ages) slides rapidly toward ignominy. It seems possible that such a mindless, rudderless population might choose Alfred E Newman (photo) as their next “we can do it” president.
Started 18 years back (1996), the Lockheed-Martin F-35 “Lightning II” system research, development, testing, and engineering was begun with the objective of having the world’s most advanced military aircraft in operation by 2010. Now, after development costs have doubled (to more than $400 billion), it is becoming clear that the costliest weapons acquisition program in history has resulted in a government project that is “too big to fail,” yet will, if continued result in production of an aircraft inferior to many similar, in the hands of potential enemies.
The specifications established for the F-35 are so technologically advanced (think Google Glasses that control a supersonic, stealth aircraft, with futuristic armaments, which can land and take off from a football stadium) that they are, apparently, impossible to meet. A computer simulation, completed by the prestigious RAND Corp., showed that, in combat with Chinese aircraft, our F-35s would be shot out of the sky, and we would have lost the battle.
How could that happen? The basic answer is that our governments almost never develop and produce anything efficiently, economically, or effectively; there is, however, in the case of military equipment, the added destructive element of misdirected personnel assignment policies and practices. With rare exception (e.g., Admiral Hyman Rickover, “Father of the Nuclear Powered Navy.”), the military’s incestuous promotion systems routinely result in incompetent, uncaring, ill-trained, overly personally-ambitious, boot-licking, officers being temporarily placed in charge of high-visibility acquisition programs, such as the F-35. The thinking behind that inexcusably destructive practice is: If we (the generals and admirals in power) want the likeable and compliant, Major Jack Politician promoted fast and far (to eventually join our select fraternity of unqualified managers and leaders), we must set him up in a series of “high exposure” jobs, where he will be seen and heard by high-ranking military officers, and powerful politicians. Posting such politically astute, “up and coming” officers to jobs associated with major weapons acquisition programs, permits them to routinely make formal presentations to groups composed of influential members of Congress, along with a bunch of star-rank officers more concerned with how the briefer looks as a potential member of their exclusive club, than in how he’s managed the multi-billion-dollar program, for which he is, tragically, now responsible.
Almost certainly, the F-35 program is the monumental blunder it has become, because. in large part, the officers charged with its management were inexcusably inept. As long as the military continues its destructive policy and practice of creating generals and admirals based on personalities, and like-minded compliance with unwritten rules of conduct for their exclusive fraternity of egotistical, politically-aware, ambitious, and usually incompetent officers, there’s no hope for avoiding still more, disastrous, F-35 incidents.