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hillary-clinton-shocked-600x400“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”  – from the statement released by FBI Director James Comey on July 5, 2016

I am amazed at the fact that Mr. Comey has chosen not to file any charges against Hillary Clinton.  I guess I am naive and don’t understand that corruption must be the rule, not the exception in Washington, D.C.  Maybe if I can find the answers to a few questions, that will help me understand.

Here are some questions about Hillary Clinton that I would love to have answered by supporters of Mrs. Clinton:

  1. Would Mrs. Clinton, today, pass a background check to allow her to have access to classified materials given that she has proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in her past handling of secret government communications?
  2. Would any U.S. Citizen, today, pass a background check to allow access to classified materials given that citizen had proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in his or her past handling of secret government communications?
  3. Is it possible that Mrs. Clinton has so little understanding of modern communications that she was totally unaware of the security risks that she was creating by having multiple communications systems outside of the government systems?
  4. Should a person who is so totally unaware of modern communications and who is unwilling to accept the recommendations of experts on how to handle such communications be allowed to hold high public office?
  5. Is it believable to you that Mr. Clinton’s meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix was a chance meeting and that they spoke only of golf, grand children and travel plans?
  6. Shortly after her meeting with Bill Clinton in Phoenix, Attorney General Lynch stated that she would accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and federal agents concerning whether to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton in the email investigation. Do you believe that Attorney General Lynch knew that the FBI would not recommend that charges be filed against Mrs. Clinton?  If so, do you believe that she knew that before the Phoenix meeting with Bill Clinton?
  7. Do you believe that Mrs. Clinton obstructed a federal investigation when she delayed for months in delivering emails to the FBI?  If not, why do you think she was so slow?  Why do you think she had her emails screened by attorneys working for her and withheld many of them saying they were personal?
  8. Do you understand how Mrs. Clinton turned a $1,000 account into $100,000 in the cattle futures market in less than a year?
  9. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton has the moral character to hold the position of trust and power that is the Presidency of the United States?
  10. Can you list Mrs. Clinton’s highly touted “qualifications” to be President?
  11. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton is beholden to more or fewer special interests than Mr. Trump?
  12. Have you read to the end any speech or article given/written by Mr. Trump or is your opinion of him formed exclusively from viewing videos and hearing/reading sound bites about him or his actions?

Each year, the Memorial Day Weekend is very important to our wine sales.  We have a big open house, garden, and vineyard and do wine tasting for about 100 people a day for each of the three days.  We sometimes lose the importance of Memorial Day.  To help us remember, below are a couple of things sent to me by a friend with whom I was honored to serve in the Air Force in the late 60s and early 70s.

A five minute tribute.

Memorial Day

I’m not an English Major.  I don’t spell well (but I get better the more that I read).  I don’t even write particularly well.  I’m not a linguist, definitely not a semanticist.

I do, however, observe, and listen better than some.

First a quick story, then on to the pet peeves.

In 1961 when our family moved to Hawaii, I found myself in a High School Hawaiiana course to learn something about the beautiful new state in which I now lived.  I learned a bit of Pidgen English (“Hey bruh, neva spock you long time.  Where you stay be?” which loosely translated means “Hey, man.  I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”).  I also learned some history of the Islands.  But, what stood out was local customs and colloquialisms.  I remember being told that anyone who was born and raised in the Islands invariably said “yousta to” instead of “used to.”  Fast forward to 2004 when we moved from California to Oregon.  We learned that “Spendy” meant expensive, that a “motorsickle” was a motorcycle, and a “rig” was your truck.

So what does all this have to do with Pet Peeves?  I don’t like what I observe to be “lazy English.”  Here’s a  list.  It is only a scratch of the surface of a much deeper and most distressing change in our language.  Please add yours.

  1.  “then” (time or order relationship) and “than” (referring to a comparison) are two different words with different meanings.  I find lazy people only use the word “then” regardless of the meaning.
  2. Similarly, “there (place),” “their (possessive of they),” and “they’re contraction of they are)” are three different words with three very different meanings/uses.I find lazy people only use “there.”
  3. “Irregardless” is the ultimate double negative used by lazy people to mean “regardless.”   It is not a word and it also seems strange that lazy people would add to a word rather than condense or shorten.
  4. “Exspecially”  which is related to “Expresso.”  Like “irregardless” neither is a word.  Now if you “especially” like strong coffee drinks, “espresso” may be for you.
  5. “Affect” is the verb while “Effect” is the noun.
  6. Lots of lazy folk say “I could care less” which means that you do care.  Try “I couldn’t care less” which actually means that you don’t care.
from sacredjourneyoftheheart.com

from sacredjourneyoftheheart.com

I first posted this 5 years ago but with a different video.

Please watch this video.  Then remember that the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have sacrificed have done what was asked of them by their country.  We should honor their service, not give them lip service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lG8GDYdKsc

Each year at Memorial Day we honor the lives and sacrifices of members of our Military Services who have passed on. On Veteran’s Day, we honor the lives and sacrifices of those who are still with us who have served in our armed forces.  I always wonder why we can get the emotion up to honor an overpaid athlete or entertainer and yet when we see a soldier, sailor, airman or marine in uniform, we often look the other way.

I have always appreciated the slogan depicted below.  This Veteran’s Day, why not make a point to say thank you to a veteran of the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, or Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy?

To me, two of the most significant words in the language are Responsibility and Respect.  Veteran’s Day is a good time  to show Respect for those who have taken Responsibility for Protecting our Freedoms and have sacrificed on our behalf.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices made by those who have helped preserve our freedoms and our way of life.  The video below is of a 91 year old Veteran of World War II remembering and being thankful for his friends, lost in the war.  We should all be so lucid at whatever age, let alone at 91 years of age.

Thank you Jerry and a hat tip to Jim who sent me this video.

Happy Memorial Day.

As a graduate of the Air Force Academy, the following is especially poignant to me.  I have great respect for the graduates from West Point, the Air Force Academy and Annapolis.  This graduate of West Point gives an excellent perspective regarding our veterans.

Thank a Veteran on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Each and every one deserves it.

Thank You

Thank You

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.  My Mom actually

showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out

of class.

She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my

admission letter.  She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for

me to go there.  She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to

get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an

infantry officer.

I was going to get that opportunity.  That same day two of my teachers

took me aside and essentially told me the following: “David, you’re a smart guy.

You don’t have to join the military.  You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a theme defending West Point and the military as I

did that day, explaining that United States Military Academy is an

elite institution, that separate from that, it is actually statistically much

harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that

serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least

consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that

attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a

dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have

no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation’s population served for four (4)

years.

During the Vietnam era, 4.3% of the nation’s population served in

twelve (12) years.

Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War

on Terror.

These are unbelievable statistics.  Over time, fewer and fewer people

have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting

worse.

Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10%

veterans with only one person having a child in the military.  Taxes

did not increase to pay for the war.  War bonds were not sold.  Gas was

not regulated.  In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice

nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out  of

the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their

families.  The volunteers.  The people who swore an oath to defend this

nation.  You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on.

You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme

conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten

your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand.

Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.  They don’t

understand suffering.  They don’t understand sacrifice.  They don’t

understand why we fight for them.  They don’t understand that bad

people exist.  They look at you like you’re a machine – like something

is wrong with you.  You are the misguided one – not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political

science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan

because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the macro issues they

gathered from books, because of your bias.

You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at

that.  Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and

your pay, while they ask you to do more.  But, the amazing thing about

you is that you all know this.  You know your country will never pay

back what you’ve given up.  You know that the populace at large will

never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.

Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than

normal for having worn the uniform.  But you do it anyway.

You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775

YOU SERVED.  Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many

to so few.” -Winston Churchill

Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and thanks to the

0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.

 

– This was first attributed to General David Petraeus, West Point Class of ’74.  According to the comment send by my Academy Roommate, the actual author was Nick Palmisciano, co owner of Ranger Up, a very interesting web page.

“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they could be.”  –  William Hazlit.

I’ll just come out and say it:  Political Correctness and self-victimization or victimhood have killed humor in America, maybe the world.  We have become too self centered, too power-hungry and too serious.

When I was newly out of the Air Force and was working as a sales engineer at a steel fabrication company, we saw sales people almost every day.  Some sold steel, other nuts and bolts.  There were welding equipment suppliers and gas suppliers.  Even our small 25 person company saw a salesman or two every day.  What did they have in common?  Most brought donuts or pizza or cookies and most had a joke to tell.

.

from Resist.com

from Resist.com

Today, the chances of getting a joke from a salesperson are zero.  Everyone is afraid of whom they might offend.  We are too sensitive, too easily offended – looking for ways to play the ‘victim card’.

I blame those who seek power through the use of the victim ploy.  Many call it the race card, but it is just as commonly the religion card or the lifestyle card.  We are all being played by those who want more:  More power, more money, more titles, just more of everything.  And to get it they use the victim ploy.  “You are hateful because you tell a Jewish joke or a Polish joke or a fat-boy joke.”  Really?  Does that mean I hate Jews or Poles or Fat people because I tell a joke about them?

Shecky Green and Henny Youngman were Jewish funny-men.  The majority of their jokes were Jewish jokes.  did that make them “Jew-haters” or did they do that because they had the capacity to make fun of themselves – a valuable tool to overcome many of life’s hurdles.

Examples:

“Why do Jewish men die before their wives?  They want to.”

“There is a big controversy on the Jewish view of when life begins.  In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from law school.”

Is this hate?  Of course not, nor is most humor that makes fun of any group.  It is making light of the serious things in life so they are more bearable.

So the next time someone calls you a ‘hater’ for telling a joke, tell them to lighten up.  Don’t let them play you like we have been played by politicians over the past few decades.  They just want power and this is their favorite tool.

William Hazlit again – “The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.”

My college roommate responded to the Dance Video with the best comment of the year:

“Thanks for the respite from current reality. I felt a strong emotional connection throughout to our beautiful human race and the good things we can do. The video shows us that dance and music are universal human needs that bring us joy and pleasure as individuals and as part of a group.

But how ironic that one of the video locations was Erbil, Iraq, where today hateful and violent Islamofacists are raping and killing the people, including perhaps those in this video, because they want to think and live differently and will not submit to Islam.

I hope our truly wonderful nation built by people from all corners of the eath “yearning to be free” will lead the LIBERAL (in the original sense of the word) nations of the world in opposing and expunging this hideous Islamofacist cancer that seeks to obliterate the natural human rights of all people. We must find the strength to protect our way of life using all the economic, political and military tools we have–without mercy or moderation. And we must stop telling these vile vermin, wherever they are in the world, that they don’t have to worry about being sent to Allah by US “boots on the ground.”

Thank you Mark!

There is enough sadness, enough fighting, enough bad news.  How about a brief break from all that with something truly beautiful?

.

– Beautifully created and crafted by Matt Harding and Melissa Nixon

This Monday we celebrate Memorial Day.  Each year we set aside one day to remember the men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country.  With its roots in the aftermath of the Civil War, the idea was to remember, or more correctly put, not to forget those who gave the greatest sacrifice that we might remain free.

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thanks to the Napa Valley  register-Jorgen Gulliksen

Thanks to the Napa Valley
Register-Jorgen Gulliksen

The secession of the Southern States from the Union was precipitated in large part by cultural differences between the North and South, principal among those being the issue of Slavery.  Over two years into the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the then 10 Confederate States.  Many believe he did this to free up more conscripts who could join the North in the war.  Over 600,000 people died in the Civil War changing the lives of most families on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.  The cultural impact of memorializing that many people led to a day to remember all who have died in service to our country.

Most historians believe that the key issue for which the South Seceded was States Rights as outlined in the Constitution.  The South believed that the issue of slavery was left by the Constitution to the States to decide.  In any event, the two long-lasting results of the Civil War were the continued union of all the states and the ending of slavery as it was then practiced.  Since the Civil War, our nation has remained free through the efforts and lives of hundreds of thousands who fought and died in two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan among others.

So Memorial Day’s roots lie in the hope that we should remember those who died to keep us free.  For descendants of slaves, this should be among the most important of holidays.  For everyone who enjoys the freedoms of life in the United States, this is a day to pause and reflect.

Whoever you are, whatever your background or ancestry, the chances are that in your heritage there is a person who gave his or her life that we might remain free.  I think the least we should do on Memorial Day is to say a small prayer for those who have gone before us.  And, we should redouble our efforts to return to a Federal system that grants most rights to the States and leaves us free to do as we wish as long as we don’t injure others.

Happy Memorial Day.

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