Nothing gained

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The fall of Afghanistan was inevitable. The long war there was never really tolerated by the American people and winning over the “Graveyard of Empires” was nearly a lost cause before it started. The intention was to get rid of the bad guys and build a new democracy – necessary to start and noble to finish, but a lost cause in the end.

Afghanistan is a 3rd world country and never will be anything more than that. It has little to no industry. It has little to no agriculture. Wait, let me amend that – little to no useful agriculture. It has little to no history of democracy. There really isn’t any political will inside the country to be anything other than a 3rd world country. The people just want to be left alone, they rely on a religious ideology that is stuck in the Stone Age and impedes on modern progress at every turn.

All political power and will is based on local warlords. Thus, those who gain power and increase it do it mostly through violence, coercion, and bribery. The “elected” president (Karzai) , propped up by the US for so long, was essentially a local warlord who ran the country through bribes and special favors. He sought to increase his own wealth all while giving the illusion that he was working for democracy.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. The cries from the Afghan people about the corruption started the moment he was elected. But, coming from a patriarchal society based on family units/clans, big and small, is no way to begin a democracy.

Unfortunately, as the Taliban continues to take over a country that has been trained and armed by Western allies (but mostly the US) they are essentially now gaining control over modern weapons. Obviously, this is a great upgrade from using Soviet era arms leftover from the Soviet Union retreating from their lost cause in the ’80s. You can train a people and arm a people, but if they have no will to fight or defend their own country from religious zealots.

As a result, the West will return to a higher level of threat than it has known since 9/11. The world isn’t a safer place.

I feel sorry for the Afghan people who truly dreamed there might be change. Who truly dreamed the US would keep it’s promise. I feel sorry for the women who deserve some freedom, rights, and dignity. I feel sorry for the many, many soldiers (from countries all over the world, but especially American service men and women) who fought and were wounded, physically and mentally, or died while trying to help the country out of their 3rd world status. The ultimate sacrifice was made by many but is seems it was a sacrifice for nothing at this point.

The current American administration, Biden, is to blame for this. Abandoning the people, the promises, and the possibilities has so many echoes of Vietnam it is hard to deny. The images and stories coming from Afghanistan are striking with how similar they are. Once again, the ideal of democracy is abandoned by the American government and the American people that wouldn’t support the effort.

It’s just heartbreaking.

The repercussions will echo for many years to come.

History has repeated itself.

Cliché, but true.

Fear and control

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Here we go again…

Totally predictable.

Fear and control were waning, so they need another variant to blast over the airwaves. Still too many people haven’t subjugated themselves to the shot and no amount of fearmongering will control them, so let’s go back to masking…first we’ll recommend it but eventually we are going to have to force them again.

Good grief, this is all so stupid.

The thin veneer they are operating under is so transparent. Now you have states telling people they have no choice to get the shot or submit to continual testing? Police state much?

Frogs in a slow boiling pot. You’ll are frogs.

Not sheep.

Life will never be back to “normal” if you keep letting them take it from you.

Hypocritical complaints

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I am know I am guilty of it. I am not exempt from it. I’ll admit it. I’ve got some hypocritical complaints about family members. It’s just really rich when someone will point them out to me, but not recognize that they themselves are doing exactly the same thing.

As you can imagine, blended families are a challenge. Actually, challenge may be the wrong word. It’s actually a special kind of hell, really. It’s a love and hate relationship x100. It’s unbearable and maybe survivable. It’s an age old story, but typically you don’t treat your non-biological children the same as you do your biological ones. It’s terrible.

Anyway, the youngest (my bio kid) just moved in after her graduation from high school. The relationship between her and step-mom is strained (at best). Of course, you can imagine all the reasons why…many of the same reasons why my relationship with my non-bios is strained. She can see the obvious differences between how she gets treated and how they get treated.

So, someone last night had the gall to complain about a “missed laundry day” and what we should tell her if she wants to do laundry outside of her designated day. Mind you, two of the three locally living non-bios do laundry at our house on a fairly regular basis even though they don’t actually reside in the house. The suggestion was that she should be told to go to a laundry mat to do her laundry…you can imagine that I pointed out that she does actually live here and that if she chose to do laundry at a time no one else was using the machines and did it in a timely manner so that it didn’t interfere with anyone else, I didn’t see a problem if there was a legitimate reason for missing her designated day.

I caught hell for that.

Heaven forbid that I mention anything about the non-bios and their status of being adults and lived outside the home for more than two years.

Never mind the fact that someone is secretly paying the leftover bills of another non-bio and his family who just moved out of state.

So, hypocritical complaints? Yeah. We have them. I bite my tongue on most of them until I can’t do it any longer.

It’s just laundry. It’s not a bad financial choice that will leave her asking for help years down the road, on a continual basis.

Give it a rest and me a break…

The fine print

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Don’t you just hate it when businesses offer something to their customers, only to find out “the fine print” would exclude you from receiving the offer?

Over the last couple of days I have been considering an upgrade on my cell device, an iPhone 8 Plus. I have done my research and I am ready to make the leap and upgrade to an iPhone 12 Pro. I have been watching the sales, the promotions, and looking at a different carrier so see if that would make a difference in the offer. I am currently with AT&T, and honestly I haven’t had any issues with them other than the cost, which seems steep in comparison to some of the others at the moment.

Anyway, I finally decided to pull the trigger after talking to one of the people at the phone kiosk in Costco. They told me that I could get the iPhone 12 Pro, 256GB, for only about $15/month with a trade-in of my current phone. That basically worked out to about an $800 trade-in value for my 8+. WOW! That’s a pretty good trade, which I have never done in the past because it just wasn’t worth that much and I could get more from selling it myself. Trigger pulled…I started the process.

So, I spend about an hour with the guy and we were most of the way done with the process and then I got, “Oh, wait, I didn’t see in the fine print of the ad that you have to upgrade your phone plan. Are you wanting to do that today too?”

WTF.

Is it “bait & switch”? I don’t really know, but it sure feels like it.

Why the hell do these phone companies give deals to new customers but really don’t care much about retaining their current customers? That is what really rubs me the wrong way. They do very little to incentivize you staying with them. There is no loyalty program – I’ve been their cellular customer for probably close to 20 years. No discounts or special upgrade deals for those who have been with the company for a long period of time.

Ultimately, I am going to end up doing what I have always done. Upgrade and then sell my current device privately.

It could have been so easy, except for that fine print. That fine print always makes easy not easy. It gets you every time.

Hey there

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Hey there! How’s about you have a great weekend…and for those of you in the US, have a great 4th of July!

I have posted far less than normal last month, but things have slowed down now and it looks like there will some time over the summer to work on projects and get caught up on stuff.

With a long weekend coming up, I wanted to wish you all a happy and safe one.

I don’t really care. It just sounds nice. Let’s go with that.

See ya next week!

Don’t be

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There’s a holiday on Monday, in the US at least. It’s Memorial Day, for those who have somehow lost track of time or are just that uninformed.

So, don’t be…don’t be that jackwagon that has a hard time remembering what the day is for.

Don’t be that person who mistakes Memorial Day for Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is set aside to honor the people who have DIED in the service of our country – specifically the military. It isn’t a day to honor people who have served in the military – that’s Veteran’s Day.

Oh, and while you consume beer, bbq, lounge at the beach or lake, or just generally do whatever the heck you want…how about you take a second and remember that the freedoms you are enjoying is because someone sacrificed their life for you (either recently or all the way back to the founding of our country).

I know it is hard to fathom that someone gave their all, everything they had, for you but it’s the truth.

I know it is hard to fathom considering the government and people who have no business telling you what you can and can’t do in your life right now because of some pandemic, but it’s the truth.

Don’t be a the person who forgets what was given and what is going to be given up if you don’t push back against changes being forced upon us today.

Don’t be the person who lets the sacrifices of those who have gone before us be for nothing because we let the fear of a virus consume us.

Just don’t be.

How about “No”?

There is at least one in everyone’s life. There is at least one in everyone’s working sphere. There is always one. They are exhausting, annoying, and their success in getting to “Yes” is a rarity.

That person who won’t take “No” for an answer.

Good grief, I wanna shove an ice pick into my ear as deep as it will go and then wiggle it around like I am trying to make round cookie balls.

I jut got off the phone with a client who, no matter how many times I explained the limitations of the software and no matter how many times I explained the exact same info in a different way, she still wouldn’t accept that she couldn’t bend the software to her will.

She even suggested that maybe the people who made the software could program what she wanted into the software.

OK, that might have been a viable (and costly) answer in the past, but the software developers are focused on the new version of the software and aren’t taking requests for the current software even if the client pays for it.

Instead of adapting to the way it works and educating the people who use it (or are expected to use it), she just wants it to work the way she wants it to work.

OK, lady, we’ll get on it just for you.

No, not really. Stop asking already.

I am the fourth person you have talked to about this. We have pushed the software as far and as close to what you want, but there is a limit and our answers are all the same.

NO

We can’t do any more for you.

NO

NO

Got it?

Anyone else have a person that just take “NO” for an answer?

Coercion, not freedom

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Hold up!

I think we have started moving the “free to choose” idea into the Soviet establishment of Communism. Lenin and Stalin used to like giving people the feeling like they had the ability to choose…only to find themselves in front of a firing squad or shipped off to a gulag in eastern Siberia. “Sure, you have a choice…my way or the highway…”

Here’s another historical example for you – the Nazis used to ask for “papers” at checkpoints to prove you were or weren’t a Jew. In modern terms, you are now going to have “checkpoints” to determine your eligibility to enter based on your vaccination papers. “Your papers, please…vaccinated to the right, unvaccinated to the left…”

If this whole topic doesn’t scare you as an American citizen, then I am not sure what it will take to wake you up. If this is acceptable now, then where does the line get drawn? Moreover, what other lines will be drawn and socially acceptable as time goes on?

The news about allowing for “vaccinated only” sections is sanctioned discrimination, it is also coercion, which is not the same as “freedom.” Essentially you are telling people that if they want to participate in activities they did before the pandemic that they are going to have to be forced to get the vaccine.

Let’s think about this from this point of view?

  • Have we ever asked if someone has gotten the flu shot before allowing them to enter any facility or venue?
  • Have we ever asked for vaccination proof for measles, mumps, rubella? Diphtheria? Polio?
  • Have we ever verified that someone doesn’t have hepatitis before they are employed or attend a sporting event?
  • Have we essentially banned people with HIV/AIDS from participating in regular societal activities?

No?

Then why would this be any more acceptable? *HINT: It’s not.”

Medical decisions should be between you and your physician, or others you specifically designate. It shouldn’t be subject to “passports,” or proof, to participate fully in society. Anything that allows for someone other than those you designate to decide whether you participate in regular society would be medical discrimination.

Anything other than totally opened and accessible to all citizens, regardless of vaccination status, is just another brick in the road towards a social system that resembles precisely what America was designed not to become.

Stimulating mail theft

The first two rounds of stimulus money was direct deposited into my account because it was based off the 2019 tax return, a return that we got a refund from so the IRS had our bank account info. Unfortunately, the 2020 tax return didn’t see a return, but a payment. As such, the stimulus money was coming a different way…by mail.

OK, it’ll take longer to get (not that it was needed or desired – because, you know, taxes will be where the difference is made up from yet another hand out). I didn’t really think much of the way it would arrive until it arrived.

Mail theft is a VERY real problem.

I don’t know of a specific instance where my mail has been stolen, but I do have a mailbox out on the road and it is something I think about often. Therefore, the mail gets retrieved from the box as quickly as possible on most days.

So, imagine my surprise when the stimulus payment didn’t come in a relatively non-descript envelope, but one that essentially announces what is inside. No guessing needed. I know exactly what is inside just by looking at the envelope! Sometimes the government really is that stupid!

The little flyer inside the envelope (see below the envelope) makes it pretty clear what is inside the envelope, which is good – INSIDE the envelope.

Yes, I have heard the stories of people throwing away their stimulus payments, or their access to the stimulus payments. What I haven’t heard are the stories of people getting them stolen. I am pretty sure it has happened, so why don’t we hear about them?

Anyway, maybe I am just ranting about nothing. Maybe I am on to something. I don’t really know. I was just surprised by how obvious it was to the contents of the envelope.

Under pressure

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The trip to the doc yesterday confirmed my suspicion on the ears. I have an ear infection. Doc said it was fairly easy to take care (of course) but then the pharmacy didn’t have the drops for my ears and I have had to wait an additional 24 hours for relief on that.

But, what I was not expecting was that some other news isn’t what I wanted to hear.

As it turns out, if I am not careful I may blow a gasket, so to speak.

The nurse came in yesterday and we went through the usual check in stuff and then she proceeded to check my blood pressure.

Background: I run high and always have.

She seemed alarmed. She asked, “Are you feeling alright? Your BP is unusually high, even for what we have in the records.”

I assured her that I run high and it wasn’t all that unusual. She said, “Well, this high and we start to worry about a stroke.”

Hmmmmm. I guess that is high.

She said, “We’ll have the doc check it again when she comes in. Often people are a little high when they visit the office so maybe you’re just elevated at the moment..”

She leaves. Doc comes in a few minutes later. Ask about the ear. Checks the ear. Confirms infection and sends off a prescription for drop to treat. Then she sits down and says, “Let’s talk about that BP.”

She takes it again and she says the top number is down but the bottom number is still really high. Too high for them to feel real comfortable with. So, she recommended a follow up in two weeks with my primary. In the meantime, I am supposed to check my resting BP at least once a day for the next two weeks so I have some data to talk with the doc about at that time.

It seems the pressure inside is building and I just might pop a top. Blow a gasket. Explode.

Do people just randomly explode from high blood pressure? That would be cool. Maybe. I supposed it could be rather messy.

Anyway, here’s to keeping the pressure down and the top on.

Cheers!