We Forget the Lessons of Vietnam

I was going to do a political cartoon about our abandonment of the Kurds turning allies against us… But it’s already happened. The whole area aligning with Syria and RUSSIA. And hundreds of ISIS prisoners have already escaped from the facilities we left behind with forces about to be wiped out by Turkey.

The response from the White House? ‘The Kurds are probably releasing the ISIS fighters (who killed 11,000 Kurds) on purpose.’

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/turkey-syria-incursion-kurds-isis-detainees-escape-sdf-alliance-bashar-assad-russia-today-2019-10-14/

Conversations

Me (in response to a Facebook meme):

Atheism is fundamentally incompatible with science.

Atheist A: “I would like you to explain that. I would never say general creationism is fundamentally incompatible with science. As the existence of a God can not be proven or dis proven. I would say young earth creationism is incompatible with science. What is your reasoning?”

Me: Young earth creation is BAD science, because it is an attempt to validate a premise, rather than falsify an hypothesis. But it is not “incompatible” with science–in fact, it is worse science to say “you’re not allowed to ask those questions.”
As for atheism and science:
Science is based on repeatable observation. For the same circumstances to give rise to the same objectively-observable phenomenon repeatedly, the universe must behave in a rational manner.
If the universe does not have a rational organizing principle, then there is no reason–including previous observations of what appear to be rational behavior–to expect future rational behavior. In other words, without a rational organizing principle, the universe is by definition irrational. Further, as subsets of the universe, if it is irrational then so are we. It is not possible for irrational beings to undertake a rational study of an irrational system.
Thus, without a rational organizing principle, “science” is a meaningless term applied to an impossible event.
A “rational organizing principle of the universe”–minus the mythological baggage of any particular religion–is the definition of God. Therefore, no God, no science.
Atheism is fundamentally incompatible with science because it posits an irrational universe, which negates both the function and the method of scientific inquiry.

Atheist B:  http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/firstcause.htm

Me (rebutting various points in the article he linked): “The first axiom is very doubtful indeed. Quantum mechanics works with events in nature that are, or at least seem to be, completely random. I do not know how the author has managed to conflate “being random” with “being uncaused”, but he has. They are not the same, and this is a nonsense objection.”

B: “Hume showed that humans cannot perceive ’cause’ and ‘effect’, but construct these notions from past experiences.”

Me: Hume’s arguments about causation are questionable, and irrelevant regardless. This discussion is not based on perception of causation, but on deduction of causation.

B: “Even if we agree that everything we see has a cause (which for quantum reasons I won’t) how can we infer from that that everything has a cause? This is mere speculation, it is not knowledge we can ever have.”

This illustrates my original point quite clearly: the author goes directly to an irrational universe. If the law of cause-and-effect does not apply, then science is impossible. Moreover, it is not “mere speculation”–it is an axiom of science, a fundamental law of logic, and the most-validated repeatable observation possible.

B: “And just suppose that every thing has a cause, then the argument is still invalid, for the Universe is not a thing, it is the set of all things. And a set cannot be a member of itself, so a conclusion about things in the Universe is not necessarily valid for the Universe itself.”

While it is true in some mathematical practices that sets cannot contain themselves, this is because sets are defined as not containing sets. If the author wishes to make the rather absurd claim that universe is a set (which is actually just a metaphysical collection), then he must accept the consequence: there are NO sets, because all other sets would exist within the universe. Since all numbers are a set, that means that mathematics is invalidated, and once again we have an irrational universe.

B: “Then, I’m afraid, we have to say that God had a cause too, and that that cause had a cause too, ad infinitum.”

And this is where language is important. The argument is not that “everything has a cause”. It is “all things WHICH BEGIN are caused”. All physical objects have beginnings, and all physical objects have causes (note that there is more than one type of cause; cf. Aristotle). The universe began, therefore the universe is caused.
To then attempt to apply this argument to God would require that God began. Since this is contrary to the definition of God, it may be dismissed as nonsense.

Martial Arts in the U.S. Have Changed a Lot

I was heavily involved in martial arts in the 1990s. Having had no access at all to martial arts in high school, I had just finished a career as a wrestler through the 80’s. I started training in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taiji in college, before being introduced to wonderful style called Hwarang-Do by a college classmate. I spent several years at this school, training under the late Franklin “Butch” Fowlkes, an ex-Army Ranger who would later found the Five Elements Martial Arts System. In addition to being an instructor of Hwarang-do and the senior student of Michael Echanis, Butch held advanced ranks in taekwondo and hapkido (both learned while serving on the Korean DMZ) and wing chun; all of which he surreptitiously inserted into our lessons.

Sa Bahm Nim Fowlkes eventually cured me of my military-hating liberal ways, and I shipped off to be a late-blooming military policeman in the U.S. Marine Corps. In addition to high-expert ratings with rifle and pistol (and later MOS qualification as a Primary Marksmanship Instructor), I was trained in L.I.N.E (this was before MCMAP), Combat Hitting Skills, and pretty much everything Monadnock had to offer.

Once in the fleet, I spent three full years on Okinawa; training in Shorin-ryu karate, kobujutsu, and jujutsu under Grandmasters Shimabukuro Eizo and Kise Fusei. I was also briefly deployed to South Korea, allowing me to train in hapkido is some of the same places that Butch had. Upon returning, I briefly worked as “security contractor” until war broke out in 2002, at which time I returned to service in the National Guard. When my first deployment with the National Guard was over, I trained to the level of Instructor Candidate in the kali-silat system of MasGuru Greg Allend, before my instructor moved and I was once again in a wasteland with no training available. So, I got my NRA training credentials and worked on that for several years.

Now, as I finally approach retirement from the Guard, I find myself in area with several “martial arts” schools available. Except that they aren’t. Martial arts have been almost completely replaced in the U.S. by combat sports. My choices are, for the most part, to engage in sparring against athletic hopefuls half my age in systems with no weapons training at and which largely rely on rolling around on the ground for effectiveness; or to train with elementary school children in a sort of pajama’ed gymnastics routine which may or may not involve waving bits of plastic around in semblance of “weapons”. Even firearms training consists almost exclusively of medium-range rifle shooting at stationary targets from a bench.

The human race is not at the top of the food chain because we are the strongest or fastest animals on the planet. We are at the top of the food chain because we know how to make tools which largely negate the advantages of speed and strength from those who DON’T use them. Somewhere along the line, the citizens of the United States–who use tools for everything that they do–have allowed themselves to be convinced that using tools IN DEFENSE OF HUMAN LIFE is wrong.

This needs to be corrected.

Just a Little Reality-Check

Dear liberals: No matter what anyone claims, the Federal budget is 100% the responsibility of Congress. Period, full stop.

Dear Conservatives: RIFs only apply to planned furloughs, not emergency shut-downs. This is not a brilliant master plan.

GWB Buys Some Pizza;*OUTRAGE*

You know, George W. Bush was not a “great” President. He got ambushed by the repercussions of Bill Clinton’s policies, and while he was trying to do what needed to be done, he was continually set upon by some very powerful powerful folks. Nancy Pelosi, architect of the current crisis, being prime among them.

His biggest failing was never taking the offensive in the media; as a result we still have generations of Americans who think that Iraq and Afghanistan were a “waste of blood for oil” and that there were “no WMD”. He was so reviled by the globalist Democrats and their know-nothing constituents that parades were organized through major cities simply to hold signs of him with devil-horns.  All of the people who say that they have “never seen anything like Trump Derangement Syndrome” have apparently forgotten that TDS is just a play-on-words for the histrionics collectively known as “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

But he was never anything but a gentleman; to the troops he deployed, or the Democrats who ordered him to deploy them–and then called him a monster for doing it.

Today, he brought some pizzas to Secret Service officers on duty, and said that the Democrats and Republicans should be working together to resolve the shutdown. And all the know-nothings are screaming about what a monster he is for doing it. For buying pizza for people who protect his family, and saying that the elected officials should do their jobs.

*Update* For everyone screaming that George W. Bush should shut up, because he didn’t do anything about the border while he was in office:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Fence_Act_of_2006

Historical Update

I have been trying to post some historical data regarding previous Federal Shut-downs, but it is proving impossible to find the articles for which I am searching.  Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to record some data for future use.  Before I begin, I must note that I voted for Donald Trump neither in the Republican Primary (I supported Ted Cruz) nor in the General Election (I voted for the Constitution Party).  I note this because of the constant habit of Democrats to dismiss anyone who does not post constant negatives about Donald Trump as a “mindless supporter” (a classic case of projection, if ever there was one).  Thus noted, here are the facts to present:

  1. Democrats are calling this the “Trump shutdown”.  They made this same lie during the 2013 shutdown, and the articles cataloging the various meetings scheduled by Republicans to work on the budget, to which the Democrats refused to even show up, were the main resources I was searching for and can no longer find.  The current lie is supported by the fact that, last week, Donald Trump stated quite clearly that he would be proud to shut down the government if Congress did not honor their 2016 promise to fully fund the wall along the southern border of the United States.  However, it is important to note that no bill has been presented to the President.  It is Congressional Democrats who are refusing to honor their promises, and causing the Federal shutdown.  President Trump cannot be culpable for it until a budget bill is on his desk.
  2. The Federal Reserve has adjusted the interest rates on loans upward again.  The liberals in charge of this completely un-Constitutional body are doing everything they can to sabotage the economy.  We have been doing exceedingly well under President Trump’s policies, and the Fed is deliberately hurting Americans both individually (by making it more difficult to acquire credit) and as a nation (rates at this level almost always result in a recession, and make it much more difficult to produce the budgetary surplus needed to start paying off our 21-trillion-dollar debt.

For my money, since passing a Federal budget is really the only job that Congress has, I propose the following legislation: For any year that a budget is not passed in time to prevent the closing of Federal offices, or that the budget does not produce a net revenue, or that the Federal debt is not decreased (or surplus increased, should we ever reach that happy point again), Congress shall be taxed at 100% of their income for the year.  For every week that the Federal government remains shut down, fully or partially, they will be taxed an additional 10% of their current salary.

Conversations with Oath-Breakers, 16SEP18

Him: “Civilians shouldn’t have AR-15s!”

Me: Didn’t serve, or oath-breaker?

Him: “I was a tank commander!”

Me: All you had to say was “oath-breaker”.

Him: “I am an American.”

Me: Did you magically become a tank commander without swearing an oath to defend the Constitution? Or did your oath come with an expiration date? If the answer to neither of those is “no”, then you are an oath-breaker. The accident of your place of birth means nothing to me.

Conversations with Wannabe Despots 06JUNE18

From Twitter (paraphrased for brevity and clarity):

Them: “Public businesses have to be open for the whole public!”

Me: It was a private business.

Them: “Conservatives never consider that businesses are supported by police and fire departments. No business is an island.”

Me: If anyone had the choice to opt out, that would be a valid argument. We don’t.  Most conservatives are Republicans.  They took your slaves away once; they probably aren’t interested in letting you get a new batch.

Them: “I get really tired of hiring that.”

Me: I’ll make you a deal. You stop advocating for a system in which you have total authority to dictate what other people are allowed to do, say, and think; and I will stop calling you out for wanting Democrats to have slaves.  Again.

Thank You, Academy…

The morning news today said that the American Academy of Dramatic Arts would be taking extra steps today to ensure that they would not repeat the mistake of having awards announced incorrectly.  Are there any steps which they could take to get some good movies made?