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High Earners – Religion and Politics

20201027 High Earner – The Daily Summation
20201027 High Earner – The Daily Summation Podcast

Can you imagine yourself as a wealthy person? Envision you own a large company, or set of them, that produce foodstuffs.

The items your companies create, are largely perishable. If you don’t use them, or sell them, what benefit is there in making them?

You can only eat so much, and even if you gave some of your output, to friends and colleagues, you would still have way more to deal with, than you could ever hope to consume.

What do you do? Do you like the idea of staying rich? If you do, my suggestion would be, sell things.

Can you come up with a better answer? I certainly can’t.

In fact, does it even make sense, to have your factories churning out food, you’re not intending to sell?

Again, do you want to continue to make huge amounts of money? If you answered, “Yes!” allow me to inform you, it would be flatly ridiculous to not find ways, to make a profit off the products your industries were working hard to create.

Without questions, this is the model, for most folks with substantial means.

The idea that a real estate mogul, would cause to be built, potentially thousands of personal residences, without the underpinning concept, that they would end up being sold to make a profit for that tycoon, seems more than a little ridiculous.

The point of this concept, is that for the most part, it’s a pretty strange idea, to assume someone who foots the bill for the coming into existence, of huge amounts of anything, has it in mind to hold onto it, allow it to rot in a warehouse, or just toss it out.

What that means is, where the person considered may have plenty of money, multiple homes, large numbers of cars, a jet, and a yacht, he or she likely hits some sort of saturation point along the way.

Further, if the person wants to keep the various things he or she has acquired, he or she must at least not lose enough of the wealth possessed, to make it impossible to maintain standards achieved.

Does that mean the individual in question doesn’t have obscene amounts of property of various kinds? Of course it doesn’t.

That said, in most cases, if you took all that person had, sold it, and gave away the proceeds, you’d be flatly amazed by a couple of realities.

The first is, for how few people, you’d be able to do any kind of meaningful good.

The second would be, how fleeting the effect of that supposed largess would be.

I don’t think most folks consider a third idea though. If a person made his or her money, producing cars, taking all he or she had, would make it impossible for him or her, to continue to do that.

You could just take the excess, skimmed off of the company, and leave the entity itself standing. If you did though, the amount you would procure for your purposes, would be even smaller.

Now again, imagine you’re the person, from whom the money and other resources were being extracted. Why on earth would you continue to work hard, when what you toiled so fervently for, is taken from you, and redistributed to those who didn’t spend the time and effort to amass it?

Truthfully, to some degree, you should be aware such people face this dilemma daily, in the present moment.

After all, how many times have you heard it said? “The rich need to pay their fair share!”

It’s almost invariably true, people saying such things, are proposing ways in which the wealthy can be separated from their wealth.

This is often done, through one of a couple of mechanisms.

The first is obvious. If we simply increase their tax burden, everything will be fixed! Of course, if spending is not reined in, those monies just go to do things like, service existing debt. Put simply, if you spend irresponsibly, the result will be, that you’ll constantly be trying, to dig yourself out of a hole. How successful is that likely to be?

The second is various kinds of government regulations and laws. One excellent example of this, is wage laws. The most common type of such edicts, is minimum wage laws.

They seem like a grand idea, until it dawns on you, that increasing the minimum amount everyone gets paid, cannot help but cause a corresponding increase in prices—but one of a few potential effects. Why? Because somebody (read here, “business owners”) must pay those increased wages.

Unlike what so many assume, many businesses operate with comparatively slim profit margins, and even if they don’t, it’s not necessarily the owners or CEOs, who pocket the profit.

If the company is publicly owned, a large part of the profits, are distributed to investors.

Some such people may be “Wall Street fat cats.” Most though, are people with IRAs and other types of retirement or similar investment vehicles.

“Wait! I have an IRA!” you might be saying.

How do you think it makes money? Such mechanisms, typically invest in successful businesses, and grow based on their performance. The better the companies in question do, the greater the return on investment. The obvious result, is increased yield for your retirement, or other investment account.

Don’t have a retirement account? Don’t worry, in the course of time, it’s very likely you’ll end up with at least one.

After all, even if Social Security does remain solvent—a highly questionable thing—do you really want to retire on what you’ll end up getting from it? If you think that’d be fine by you, I highly suggest, you talk to someone attempting to survive, on that level of income.

Is it true that people who qualify as high earners, often have more than they’ll ever need? Certainly. That said, most of them, are also producing or causing to be produced, those things off which the average person lives. Take what they have, and the question is, “Why should they continue to create things for others?” Let me know when you come up with a good answer.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good,

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Autism Related Daily Summation For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Podcasts Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy Videos

Piling On – Autism

20201026 Pilling On – Autism – The Daily Summation
Piling On – Autism – The Daily Summation Podcast

Click Bait! You know, those little areas on a web page that have some sort of salacious, or supposedly interesting pictures and text, intended to whisk you away to some site, that’ll give you the skinny on a given subject.

What’s happened to the former cast of The Brady Bunch?” or, “Can you name these actors from the seventies?” We’ve all seen them, and I imagine most folks, have found one or two, that’ve enticed them into visiting the site (knowing full well, they were a target for advertisers).

For me, one of the more recent ones I’ve wasted my time on, asked something like, “Did you know these celebrities were Autistic?

Being an outlier in the Autistic community, by virtue of the fact, that I act as the primary caregiver, to a Moderately Autistic son, I bit!

Had I spent more than a second or two thinking about what I was intending to do, I might not have frittered away those minutes.

Looking back, I’m kind of glad I entered the vacuum for a moment. After all, though the idea has been brewing for a while, doing so made me finally write a piece, I’ve been intending to pen, for some time.

If you’ve seen the same “article” in your travels, and even if you’ve followed through to the “content,” you may not have noticed something that was horribly obvious to someone who deals with Autism on a daily basis.

To begin with, probably more than half of the people listed, were never diagnosed. That wouldn’t be such a big thing, were it not for the fact that you can be sure, if they’d ever been checked out, they would’ve almost certainly been found to have very mild Autism at best.

The fact is, I was well aware, before my child was ever diagnosed, that he had some issue. He didn’t speak like other children, his learning of various things most parents and children take for granted, was well below what would’ve been expected, at pretty much every step along the way.

In short, it was never really a question he had some condition, that made him lag well behind his fellows, in various types of mental and social development.

Before you think in your head—and I may already be too late—“Autistic children are so smart,” allow me to make it plain that intelligence, doesn’t equal achievement.

The fact is, those Autistic folks with greater than mild Autism I’ve met are “wired differently,” than those around them. The result being, it often takes them much longer, to get where peers among whom they find themselves, manage to reach, if they ever entirely do that.

Among the remainder of the folks spoken of in the aforementioned click-fest, nobody was cited as having Autism more serious than mild Asperger’s—a term I should tell you, most people don’t even use at present, but we won’t worry about that.

I’ve made a point of saying, that I take my son to one of the local parks, on a pretty regular basis. We might not be able to do that as much, now that the weather’s getting colder, but I’ll still work to get him out with others, for social interaction.

As intensely as I dislike divulging my son’s condition to others (because I want him to be treated as much like those around him as possible), periodically, I find the need to do so, regardless my desires.

He’ll act in some way, that’ll make other parents and children, nervous, uneasy, disgusted, or angry. My best recourse at such a time, is to do my what I’m able, to help others to understand my son, “isn’t normal.”

The problem? In most people’s minds, the concept of Autism has been done to death. They’ve heard about it, they may even have a nephew or one of their own children, who’s Mildly Autistic.

What that tends to mean is, they think they know what the parent or caregiver for a child who’s not Mildly Autistic is dealing with, or going through, to say nothing of the Autistic person him or her self.

Occasionally, you meet someone who’s a little better able see the hallmarks. Once in a great while, you meet a person who really gets it.

For most folks though, they’re just sure, you’re negligent as a parent. They can’t conceive their children, ever acting like yours does. Keep in mind that, often what sets my child off, is bad behavior on the part of their child. You can imagine, that makes their profession of stand-out parenting, just a little harder to deal with.

Don’t get me wrong, a part of the reason I take my child out and about, is to learn to deal with such people. Put another way, he doesn’t do that well. I’m certainly not trying to argue he’s some sort of saint, or angel.

What I’ve come to realize is, there are a very small number of people in the American population, whose Autism is at a Moderate or Severe level. The result being, that most folks have an image of what it means to be Autistic, based on the lowest levels of the condition.

Because this is true, there tends to be from both other children, and parents, a sort of a piling on process that occurs where I’m concerned. I’m not saying it doesn’t bother me at all, but I can deal with it as a rule.

The thing that affects me a great deal more, is when they pile on where my boy is concerned.

He needs to learn to deal with that, that’s true. Further, he must figure out how to fit in, in a world that is assuredly not, his own—as I say, that’s a large part of the reason I take him out into the public.

Every day, he becomes just a little more able, to deal with what he encounters.

More and more, I come to recognize that most folks, rarely ever see, someone like him.

And the better I do as a parent, and he does, in learning how he’s expected to behave, the less likely people are, to understand his condition.

In the end, I would ask just one thing of those who react harshly, to people like my child. I know this is probably a waste of breath, because very few will see it. If you do though, please recognize, what you’re daily shown about Autism, doesn’t apply, to people like my child, much less to those who are more severe.

Thanks for reading and may your time be good.

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Conversation’s a Two-Way Street – Religion and Politics

20201024 Conversation’s a Two-Way Street – The Daily Summation
20201024 Conversation’s a Two-Way Street – The Daily Summation Podcast

It wasn’t too very long before I was born, that the transistor, began to become ubiquitous.

The result is, in my youth, there started to be more publicly available things like, transistor radios and walkie talkies.

Though I don’t much remember them as a child, I recently bought a set of the latter, in order to give my son, what experience I had gleaned over the course of time.

I learned again, the lessons from my childhood. If you keep the device keyed, the other person’s transmissions don’t get through to you.

In the course of time, you begin to anticipate the speech of the other party.

In some instances, you find out, that somebody nearby, has receipt and, possibly transmission equipment, using the same frequency, as do your units.

It’s then you find out about cross talk. That’s when the conversations of others, can at least partially be heard on your device.

In the course of time, I demonstrated another interesting possibility to my boy. I showed him feedback.

It’s easy to do on most walkie talkies, all that’s necessary, is to get one unit in close proximity to the other, and key the microphone on it.

In these simple devices, you learn many basic concepts of conversation.

To begin with, you find out that there’s a problem with the idea of just speaking, without waiting for you fellow in discussion, to finish what he or she is saying.

You also learn that the back and forth of verbal communication is exactly that, back and forth.

Then comes the lesson of politeness many seem to never have learned. When in a crowd, people talking, can be easily interrupted by others chiming in, while they’re trying conduct simple dialog.

In the former gear, that would be roughly equivalent to cross talk.

Another interesting lesson, is that of feedback, which funnily, is generally considered a positive thing in most situations.

In the radio world, it’s almost always an annoyance, capable of damaging your equipment.

It’s partly for the reason that various issues exist in spoken communication, that I’ve favored certain other forms. For some time, email has been a favorite.

These days, I’m prone to spend more than a little time, in the creation of pieces of prose, similar to the one you’re now reading.

As great a propensity as I have, towards not dealing with speech though, it’s still a quite necessary and important thing, with which one must labor.

That considered, I wanted to talk about a few issues surrounding such back and forth.

The first of these, is the tendency that I see occasionally, of folks “turning off” other speakers in their mind. It’s more obvious, than many seem to realize when they do so. I consider this an unfortunate turn of events, since it really precludes any further meaningful dialog.

Related to this, is dealing with folks, who have childlike viewpoints.

When you’re talking with children, that not only shouldn’t be a surprising thing, it ought to be a somewhat expected one.

On the other hand, when speaking with adults, my hope is, I won’t find them to be in similar places. Sadly, at times that’s not the case. Interchange with such folks, can be more than a little difficult, to say the least.

Another seemingly tough to overcome concern, is those who seem to believe, when you come to them with facts and logic, speaking as you normally would, that you’re guilty of some sort of abuse or other. It certainly makes one wonder if, in the minds of some, “losing arguments” is in some instances, roughly the same thing, as being abused.

Each of the listed concerns, are things with which I’ve had far too much experience for my liking.

I’m not by any means, a communications expert. That said, it seems to me there are a good many folks, who’re downright primitive, where such skills are concerned.

My consistent desire though, is to continue to improve my ability, such that I can overcome what appear to be, all but insurmountable obstacles, to the robust flow of information.

This is something I think to be one of the more important things, one might seek to achieve.

For most of the previously mentioned, it seems the best solution much of the time, is to walk away for a period, recognizing the potential to engage with others, at some point in the future.

I’m forever hopeful though, that I’ll come up with some means of breaking through, that aren’t so caustic or jarring, as to make people feel intimidated or bullied, by the mechanism used.

To date, for the most part, I’ve yet to find tools that make that possible on a regular basis. That’s not to say that at times, I’m not able to achieve desired ends, just that it’s nothing like consistent.

Now and then, I find that you can get a person to engage, by moving from statements, to questions. An important factor in such an approach, is to actually ask. In other words, the idea of leading people in any but the most basic ways, tends to be a bad one for the most part.

To some degree, since discussion tends to be on a specific topic or set of them, I don’t think it’s entirely possible, to not move banter, in certain directions, but when you ask instead of telling, you allow the person with whom you’re dealing, to respond either in agreement, or explain why they can’t hold with what you’re saying.

In all of this, it’s important to realize, verbal communication is a skill I can honestly say, I haven’t mastered to this point in my life. I hope the older and more experienced I become, I’ll come to be better at it, than I am at present.

If I had to give advice to others though, I would certainly say, they ought to remember, conversation’s a two-way street. You give, and you get, if you’re not interested in both, you’ll probably have discussions that are far less fruitful.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Talk is Cheap – Religion and Politics

20201021 Talk is Cheap – The Daily Summation
20201021 Talk is Cheap – The Daily Summation Podcast

More than thirty-five years. That’s roughly how long ago a kid, not much time out of high school, with no clear vision for his life, joined the United States Air Force.

I’m not going to lie to you. I had no intention to protect you, or America when I did what I did.

I truly just, had no better life plan at that point in my short jaunt on the planet.

As time went on in that pursuit, I began to understand what the military was ostensibly for. For a time, I not only supported the ideas and concepts behind those forces, but I came to view myself as a person working to protect freedom.

I grew older, and I like to think, smarter. In the course of time, I came to believe something for which I to this day, have zero proof. I came to accept that there was a God, that He was responsible for my being, and that in the form of the Son, He came to Earth, and died on the cross, for my sake.

Funnily, I credit the Book of Mormon for helping me to see that. I won’t get heavily into detail, but I saw some of what was written there, was truth. Other parts, I came to recognize, were not. If you ask me how I knew, I would have to tell you, even now, I have no real answer. I can just tell you, I came to believe it was the case.

I bring up the beliefs I came to hold, because it was on that basis, I concluded I needed to exit the Air Force.

I sat in a room, in a small building on Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea, where I was undergoing Leadership Training, and did my best to attend the folks responsible for instructing me.

The first man got up and said basically, “Your mission in the Air Force, is to break things and kill people. Thank you.” Then he sat down, waiting for the next instructor.

I concluded he wasn’t entirely correct, as a member of the Air Force, you’re tasked with one four possible missions:

  1. To break things and kill people
  2. To threaten to break things and kill people
  3. To support people breaking things and killing people
  4. To support people threatening to break things and kill people

I recognize these are seen as necessary, and important activities in state-craft. Nonetheless, knowing they were the things with which one may be tasked, I resolved to depart the body, burdened with such charges as quickly as I was able. I simply couldn’t reconcile them, to what I held to be the basis for my existence.

The result was, before too very much longer, I left the service, not in the nicest of ways, but not in a terrible one either.

I’m not going to say I made no comments as I went along in the process, but I will say, considering the title of this article, talk is indeed cheap.

The result is simple, I came to recognize what I believed, and chose a course that would help me to come closer, to those things I held true.

To this day, I have friends who made the same pledge I did, and at least stayed for a time. Some retired from the military.

I hold no grudge against any of them for having kept their word, and done what they felt was their duty—even if they too, counted themselves Christian.

The point of all of this though, is that each of us resolved to take a certain course. For some, the path changed over time, but in each case, we decided on our direction, and acted in accordance with what we chose.

Put simply, it’s easy to talk. Where the rubber meets the proverbial road though, is in action.

From the time I pledged myself to military service, until the day I left (not when I decided to do so, when I actually did do it), I acted in good faith, regarding my choices.

Even now, there are things I learned in my time in the Air Force, I’m obliged not to divulge.

This is one of the key realities of life, what you say, is fine and good, but it doesn’t matter one whit, if it doesn’t match your actions.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get truth from someone who doesn’t live it. I honestly believe even hypocritical people, can speak reality.

I’m not suggesting you ignore the words of others, because they don’t practice what they preach.

That said, the fact that they don’t behave in accordance with their words, should make you question whether the individual considered, is one you choose to support or count worthy of your time and effort.

This is a definite consideration in politics. There’re a lot of folks who—looking at their records will make plain—do not act in line with what they say.

What it’s important for you to realize is, no matter how good those people sound, the thing that’s really significant is what they do.

I might reverse this for you as well. Even if a person seems to spout garbage, if his or her actions are good, what he or she says, is of little consequence compared to them.

In case you’re wondering, there’s an underlying Biblical principle here. It can be found in Matthew 21:

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

My simple message to you? Talk is cheap. That works for those around you. It works for politicians, too. If you ignore this reality, I can pretty much promise you’ll find yourself wondering what went wrong at some point.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Don’t Think, Just Do – Religion and Politics

20201020 Don’t Think, Just Do – The Daily Summation
20201020 Don’t Think, Just Do – The Daily Summation Podcast

I needn’t tell you there’s a well known company in the United States, that’s had a slogan much like the title of this piece for some time.

In their case, I think it’s sort of reasonable for them to do so.

In know for some, you may consider that I’ve done this subject to death.

The sad reality though, is that people seem uninterested in really considering what I’m saying.

There’s zero doubt that all of us must act on various things going on in our lives.

The problem is, I’ve noticed a tendency as I’ve gotten older. The direction being, that of people doing without considering, what it is they’re causing in the performance of their actions.

More and more, I have to be excessively defensive as a driver, for example, knowing it’s very likely people will jump in front of me, and jam on their brakes in order to turn.

I know that may seem like a small thing, but when you note an uptick in the accidents you see on a daily basis—some of them moderately serious—you begin to put two and two together.

It’s just doesn’t take dazzling brilliance, to arrive at four.

Then when you hear about instances, where people are being attacked and potentially killed, often in things like gun violence, as a result of road rage, you see the situation is getting particularly ugly.

I know, there are people like me out there, who insist on things like, going the speed limit or below, when we’re out on our travels. I understand, you’re upset by the fact we’re doing so.

I get it, the cops aren’t generally going to ticket you for speeding. Then again, another cause of the copious accidents, may well be a result of people rushing around like madmen.

On top of this, is the fact that you don’t really get from place to place significantly faster, for being in breach of speed limit laws.

On a slightly different subject, which is related to the idea behind this piece, I was at a local park with my child, who, as I’ve said before, is Moderately Autistic. I take him out to various places, in order to work to improve his ability to deal with the world, on a social level.

He goes to school, and there, deals with other kids who’re mostly his age or very close thereto. He’s pretty strictly supervised, and spends most of his time, among other special needs students.

Like it or not, when a child spends his or her day in such circumstances, there starts to be a tendency towards the establishment of a certain amount of normalization. The children become somewhat entrenched in expectations, making it so conflict is often abated.

In one way, that’s a good thing. In another, it’s not so nice.

Learning to deal with conflict, is an important part of life.

It’s for this reason, I take my son to the places like that park. I want him to learn how to deal with a world that doesn’t look exactly how he wants it to. I desire for him, to come to understand the failure in the title of this work, “Don’t Think, Just Do!

You see, regardless the age or relative toughness, of the people with whom my son deals, he has a (bad) tendency towards lashing out when things don’t go as he’d like them to. He doesn’t think, emotion takes over, and he does.

He’s beginning to learn to curb such behaviors, but it’s a good deal of work, for both him, and for me as well.

The result is, though he’s never hurt anyone in more than a very mild way, both children and guardians, become quite alarmed, and upset by his behavior.

He doesn’t understand this, but his tendency to act without consideration, comes back on me, not so much on him.

This is often a result of the attitude that says, “Just go ahead, don’t worry about the fallout.” At times, it might affect the person acting. In many circumstance though, those affected, are in fact, others.

Bad enough that you jump out onto the roadway, going half as fast as flowing traffic. It’s that much worse, when a mother is trying to drive her children to school, and ends up being distracted by their actions, when you do so. Missing the fact that you’ve done as you have, now she—moving as she had been prior, to your doing so—piles into the back of your vehicle.

What happens if that individual, let’s say she’s a single mother, is killed in that accident? Her children survive, only to become wards of some (potentially less than caring) family member, or worse yet, of the state.

Now let’s add another wrinkle. What results when one or more of those children, is or are harmed by that accident, in a way they never totally get over?

Part of the reason it pays to use your brain before you act, is that you can come to recognize the possibility of things of that sort happening, and work to ensure how you behave, reduces their possibility.

I’m not trying to say it’s critical to analyze every situation in which you find yourself. I’m just saying failing to make a habit of taking the time to think things out, may have disastrous consequences.

The worst part? By the time many folks have already caused some catastrophic event to occur, it’s too late to realize that they could’ve prevented it entirely, by using their brain. That’s something some of them, never live down.

I get that people are in a rush much of the time these days. I understand that you have things to do and people to see.

You may think you can go through life, doing without thinking as a default response; and maybe just maybe, you’ll succeed in not meeting with terrible results, for yourself and others. Then again, maybe not. Are you willing to take that chance?

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Strongman – Religion and Politics

20201019 Strongman – The Daily Summation
20201019 Strongman – The Daily Summation Podcast

I can remember a time in my younger childhood, when it seemed like I was always ill, one way or another.

The truth is, those memories are somewhat my mind playing tricks on me. In reality, where I spent a small amount of time in my early years, battling one kind of ailment or other, I was never seriously ill, nor was I probably sicker than most children my age.

Thing is though, as I started to get older, it truly began to truly feel like I had actually been excessively plagued, by various bugs in those days.

The reason for that is fairly simple. As I got past those years, I was rarely ever sufficiently under the weather, to keep me from doing much of anything I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it.

In current times, I guess people could argue that I was, and am what lots of folks like to refer to, as a strongman.

You should know, I pretty much never look at myself in those terms.

I’ll tell you that, particularly as a younger man, it seemed like most everybody I knew, was a weakling.

It took me years to come to understand, the truth was the opposite of my impression. Rather than those around me being weak, it turns out I was apparently exceptionally strong.

More accurately, I spent very little time in illness, and I apparently had, and have, a pretty high pain tolerance.

What I’m saying here, is not at all intended to brag. Where I may have made choices that helped me to be who I am today, I’m pretty convinced those things I did, only marginally affected my life. The fact is, I just happen to be built differently from a lot of folks.

I don’t go around holding forth about my strength. Frankly, I don’t know I’ll even be this way tomorrow.

The thing is though, were I not as understated as I generally am, people would likely tend to look at me a little bit in wonder. Because tend to keep a low profile, most folks never even notice.

I recently heard somebody talking about a world leader, and referring to him in those terms. What I think more than a little probable is that, where he’s come to recognize he’s haler and hardier than those around him, he doesn’t look at himself in that way, either.

There are certainly those, known for acting in ways that would earn them the label, and some of them likely sell themselves as such. Others just go quietly about their business, making use of an unfair advantage, as it were, the which for whatever reason, they possess.

Were I asked, that’s what I would say was probably the case for the fellow in question.

It isn’t until someone points it out, others really even consider what that one says.

As for the person himself, as I say, the likelihood is, he doesn’t think about his robustness as a rule.

I can tell you with a surety, I don’t run around pondering my tendency towards being able to get up day after day, and take care of whatever business is on my plate, for the period in question.

I don’t worry that I’m going to get insufficient sleep tonight, knowing I’ll likely be able to power through. Yet and still, I make it my business to try to do things to ensure I’m well rested; and I work to take care of myself, as best I’m able.

Sometimes, circumstances don’t permit me to do what I’d like to. In those periods, I do what I’ve always done, I tough it out, knowing that tomorrow will be another day. That chances are, I’ll be able to make it through, and work myself into a better position in the near future.

As is true for about everyone else, I go through times when I think things are hopeless—though as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand, that most of them, are completely illusory.

I’ve had times when I just wanted to throw in the towel, that I admit freely.

Through all of that though—even when I’ve wanted to give up—I’ve continued to fight with what was in me; to work for better days.

In this, I’m certain I’m far from alone.

By that, I mean to say, those seen as strongmen, are about as likely to have the same sort of experiences, and frankly, the more successful they appear, the more such situations they’ve probably encountered.

I’ll say it again, there are those who bring their strongman out, and parade him about. Where I don’t really agree with that way of doing things, I can imagine there are many, who would would look at such acts in wonder. I can equally believe there’re others, who might be inclined to view that person as a sideshow act.

I’m not advocating a, “Look at me! See how strong I am!” perspective on life for such people.

For the most part though, the person I heard accused of acting as a strongman, just doesn’t seem to do that.

I make it my business, to not name names most of the time in what I write, but I want to break that rule today, as I sometimes do.

The person in question is the sitting president, Mr Donald Trump. He was accused of so acting, when he caught, and relatively quickly recovered, from COVID-19.

You’ll forgive me, but I’m going to take pains to note, he said nothing about his apparent imperviousness, until he was asked. Then when he did speak about it, he was quite understated in what he said.

For those looking on, they may notice he’s potentially still being mildly affected by his prior illness; though day-to-day, the effect seems to be waning, as one might expect.

You might know people who seem to be able to carry exceedingly heavy burdens, both literally and figuratively. It’s possible you’re aware of individuals, who seem never to be ill. Most are likely self-effacing, more so as they get older.

In one sense, such people are blessed. In another, they carry the greater burden, knowing they can continue to act, when others are laid low. I know some propagandize on the basis of their strength, but many just continue on their way.

My message in this piece? Just because a person can be said to be a strongman, don’t assume evil on their part.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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More on the Wane – Religion and Politics

20201018 More on the Wane

Every week or so, I feel the need to revisit a subject that’s reared its ugly head this year, for reasons that are significant, but not as important, or weighty as many folks would like to argue.

That subject is COVID-19.

I’ve spent a great deal more time talking on this matter, than I’ve had any desire to. The fact is, a comparatively small number of folks, have tried to turn it into the new Spanish Influenza, or even worse, the modern Black Plague.

I’m not saying there are no similarities between COVID-19, and the other formerly mentioned crises. In fact, except in the number of deaths as a result, COVID-19, and Spanish ‘Flu are not horribly dissimilar.

In both cases, the most important factor in the abatement of the disease, is the fact that it had, or will have, spread through the population, causing an unfortunate number of deaths.

After doing so, I believe the newer one will, as its predecessor did, peter out and all but vanish.

Sadly, because of the way folks have handled things in various parts of the U. S., I think it likely we’ll see at least one more mortality peak in the statistical data, before that happens.

The reason for this, is the tendency for a good many people, to overreact to what’s occurring.

In fact, it’s funny that even the World Health Organization—rightly abbreviated to W.H.O., since I tend to think they’re not a reliable entity—has decided again, that lock-downs are not called for. This after having said first that they weren’t, then that they were.

Yet and still, one of the candidates for the United States presidency argues that if the “scientists,” and I use the term very loosely, were to call for further lock-downs, he would support such an idea.

One of the saddest things about what we’ve seen to this point, is that the collateral effects from things like lock-downs, have been argued by a good many people, in a variety of positions, to be far more harmful, than the results of COVID-19itself.

Between people committing suicide, people being abused by those with whom they’re quartered and abuse not being detected due to a lack of interaction, other illnesses and health conditions being undiagnosed and untreated, people in need of social interaction not receiving it, and so many more side-effects of the supposed crisis, the toll on humanity has been immense.

All of this being true, as the number virtually plummets where Coronavirus deaths are concerned per the Centers for Disease Control.

Looking at the figures in Table 1 of the page labeled “Daily Updates of Totals by Week and State” tells the tale in a quite obvious way. The counts are dropping rapidly, as they have been doing for roughly the last two months.

Being fair, yet again, I would expect to see them rise anew—only to dive equally quickly—were the places still locked down and mandating mask wear, to cease their rather alarmist positions.

As usual, about now, I expect the claims of heartlessness on my part, to start. So again I’ll make the disclaimer. Nobody wants anyone else to die. That includes me, and you can be sure, I agree COVID-19 is no more reasonable a cause, than any other.

That said, people will leave the planet. It’s not about what I want, it’s about what’s real, and true.

Where I don’t hold out any hope for a vaccine, I do think there are things now being done, that can mitigate the more serious effects of the virus. For most folks, I don’t think they’re useful, since the result of contracting the condition is minimal.

For those who are especially at risk however, various restorative actions can be taken, as need is assessed.

In the long run though, this is to me, a definite case of prolonging the agony, and not much more.

I’ve said before, and maintain now, that I believe at least here in the United States, there are people with political motivations pushing an agenda, who’re a large part of the reason we’re where we currently find ourselves.

You can agree with that or not, in the long run though, it’s hard to argue, that the measures currently in place are anything like reasonable or prudent.

Looking into the numbers from the aforementioned CDC web page, even if we assume the last good number, was the one for the week ending on the 26th of September, 2020, we’ve still seen a drop in weekly deaths for the whole country, from 8,142 for the week ending on the 1st of August, 2020, to 3,333 on the later week.

The truth is, the drop in the next week, is probably relatively accurate (to 2,388).

You can argue such a number nationwide, makes it reasonable to maintain the current level of action. You’ll forgive me if I entirely disagree.

Among the things that make that idea less than acceptable, is the fact that the state in which I reside has yet to break 1,500 deaths for the entire time the CDC has been keeping statistics. That would be the week ending on the 1st of February, 2020.

Keep in mind that for thirty states, that number is below 3,000 for that same period.

Based on what I understand to be true, when broken down on a county-by-county basis, the number of counties having high numbers is exceptionally small, and is of course, comprised of the ones with high population density.

Then there’s the other point, that would be that since the beginning of August, the number of deaths that have occurred in the entire country, from COVID-19 is 45,030. Considering we’re halfway through October by this point, that’s pretty darned good (on average, just over 4,500 people per week in the country).

I hope it’s obvious what I’m trying to make clear by what I’m saying here. There’s little doubt that COVID-19 is going to continue to have an effect, as long as we proceed along our current trajectory. If we choose instead, to open things up and let it run its course, while protecting our high-risk population, given a couple of weeks to a month, we’d almost certainly be more or less out of the woods. On our current course, who knows how long things will drag out, and on that path, I believe we’ll reap an untold toll of loss, on a vast number of fronts. I doubt seriously I’m alone in that.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Foreign Interference – Religion and Politics

20201017 Foreign Interference – The Daily Summation
20201017 Foreign Interference – The Daily Summation Podcast

There’s little doubt of foreign interference in the U. S. political process.

To begin with, China has its hooks into the country for huge amounts of loans.

You can be sure, other countries are attempting to apply leverage, in a variety of ways.

Granted, no power outside America, has come in with military force, in order to attempt to overthrow the government, nor has anybody found a way to sufficiently corrupt our military, nor coerce our citizens, to get them to work to cause a coup in the country.

Frankly, if you were to try, I would laughingly wish you good luck. Why? Because our country has a variety of safeguards in place, to keep such things from happening. As well, the American satisfaction level is generally very high, making it a losing argument for most folks, to change how things work here.

For other nations, such protections don’t really tend to exist at all. In fact, many have no mechanism to really even allow, for free elections.

Here’s the thing, I cannot and will not, argue that any country, should be in the business of installing governments in any other sovereign state. I recognize it can be argued that the U. S. appears to do exactly that around the world, and I have to acknowledge, I don’t typically agree when we do so.

The fact is though, in most of the countries in question, contrary to what certain individuals would have others believe, the governmental entities we seek to destabilize or remove and replace, are tyrannical in nature.

Further, as a rule, if they were supported by the people who live in the places in question, the idea that it would be possible to cause those power structures to topple, would be far-flung.

Rather, what we find is, when America or any other supposedly advanced nation, meddles in the affairs of another country, they’re typically able to easily generate dissent against those in positions of power and authority.

There’ve been exceptions to this, one example being Cuba. In that case, it can be argued that the government of the island nation, was what kept the standing leadership in power. Nonetheless, at the very least, one can make the statement that the locals seemed uninterested in toppling that regime.

In that case, though this country tried to incite the people to a change of leadership, what happened? We failed.

Here’s my message for those talking about the “poor unfortunate entities” who’ve had their governments destabilized or removed by the plans and actions of outsiders. If your country had been led by people generally supported by the citizens of the state, it would at least have been hard to effect change.

The simple question can then be asked, “Was it?

In most cases, you don’t have to be the brightest bulb in the firmament, to answer that question.

You can certainly argue that there were deaths as a result of many such activities. Here’s the problem with that contention though. In most of the countries in question, there would’ve been deaths regardless the change of those in charge.

And where nobody wants to see anyone die, the idea that often, the deaths occurring after the country in question comes back to a stable state, not only fall below those happening under the former leadership, but the numbers tend to fall a great deal lower, than before the new government came into place.

That’s not the only thing that happens either. Often, the resultant change in authority, will be the cause of a serious reduction in a whole range of other issues having been suffered by the natives of that entity.

It will become possible to do things like, build hospitals, and schools. Housing will often be updated as a result of newfound largess on the part of the country. Any number of similar things, are bound to happen.

You can argue that the resultant power base, will be more friendly to the folks who helped them to gain their positions, but at that point I have a question for you, “Is that really a bad thing?”

The hope is, not only will that be the case, but they’ll also develop friendly relationships with others as well. The result not quite invariably, being a stronger country, and economy in the long haul.

While we’re at it, why don’t we discuss the strength of the America and its economy (which these days, is not what it ought to be, but nonetheless). Like it or not, regardless who you see, to be large and in charge in the U.S., we’re a wildly successful country when we let business do its thing, with a minimal amount of regulation, and comparatively small amounts of taxation.

I’m not arguing that the government can’t keep a watchful eye on enterprise, nor that their doing so on a limited basis, is necessarily harmful.

I get that for government to do a variety of reasonable and worthwhile tasks, it needs money to operate.

That said, pretty much every time the leadership of the country, gets heavily involved in trying to control business, or in exacting their pound of flesh, things begin to go poorly.

The why can be argued until we’re blue in the face. The question that I think would come out of that pursuit is, “Does it really matter?”

When business does well, people do well.

Yes, the folks who run the various corporations, do end up making a good deal of money.

That said, the workers too, end up making more as a result of an increased need for employees for the factories, stores, restaurants, offices, and for yet other pursuits.

Salaries at various workplaces become competitive, because the folks who own those businesses are seeking ever more skilled and productive workers.

This is a working model. I’ve yet to see any other, that’s as successful.

Just in case you want to argue that the United States “squashes” other countries, making them less viable, I have a single question, “How do we not get stomped underfoot by those other countries?”

You can try to argue that question however you please, but to me, the answer is simple. They cannot compete. If they could, their model for operation would be the one winning the day. It’s just not that complex.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Identity Includes Choice – Religion and Politics

20201016 Identity Includes Choice – The Daily Summation
Identity Includes Choice – The Daily Summation Podcast

When we’re babies, pretty much all of our first hours are spent being identified. We’re poked and prodded, our health or lack thereof is confirmed or denied. Our parents, and doctors, check out our eyes and ears, our fingers and toes, and pretty much any other attribute you can imagine, of the physical us.

As time moves along, other things about who we are, become obvious. We start to actually do things, which help those around us, to begin to understand who we seem to be, in less physical senses.

When my son was days old, for example, he would not open his eyes, when the room lights were on. For the time he was in the hospital at least, he appeared to be sensitive to flourescent lighting. That fact was a potential portent of things to come.

It turns out, like so many such things, that the issue with light aversion, was temporary.

The point is, as my son grew, as with all of us, he continued to develop. Being Moderately Autistic, his process of growth, has not been the same as that of many others his age.

What I’m saying though, is all of the mentioned things, are matters of identity for my child.

He, like the rest of society, has developed, and as he’s done so, things have changed.

It’s literally true, that even physical attributes, have morphed over the course of time.

I have an old picture of my son, as the wallpaper on my computer. In it, he has more or less coppery-blond hair.

You might have figured, that it was due to change color. If you had, you’d be correct. His locks are more or less dark brown these days. Where once he had loose curls, today his hair is relatively straight. Granted, a part of that is how short it is at present.

Even so, in outward senses, you would find my child to be largely different now, than in his toddler years.

Any parent of adult chidren is likely acutely aware, that most of them continued to grow and change, such that who they now are—how they identify, and can be identified by others—has changed, potentially in major ways.

That’s not just a physical thing, either.

As a child, I didn’t quite hate rye and pumpernickel breads. These days, they’re among my favorites. I shudder to admit, I would chew gum, coat it in sugar, freeze it, and pop it back into my mouth, as an additional treat.

Today, I have a hard time imagining chewing gum most of the time. As a child, it was often a desireable thing to come into possession of that substance.

There are so very many ways in which I’ve changed over the course of time, and I have expectations, the same will be true of my son—as was the case for my other children.

Some of the changes were assuredly superficial, others were much deeper.

What I’m getting at here is, what you hold even as a seemingly deep desire, may well change in the course of your life, such that you cannot even imagine having been your former self.

Further, there are things you likely hold highly wanted that, should you not wish to go to jail, you won’t act upon. For example, if it seems like it’d be fun, to go around killing folks for no cause, it’s my fervent hope you won’t do things based on that urge.

It’s at this point, we come to a significant realization. Identity includes choice.

The fact that you suffer depression, doesn’t mean you go around acting on that truth.

I’m not suggesting here, that you shouldn’t accept the existence of your depressed state, for example. I’m not saying you ought to stuff it down, or hide it away. I am suggesting some sort of treatment is likely called for.

I may not agree with you or others, as to what that treatment should look like, but I think it important to grapple and deal with, your condition.

To be sure, I in no wise belittle or degrade you, for that piece of your identity.

Still, how you choose to act, knowing you possess that condition, may make all the difference in the world.

As I’ve already indicated, you choices can be seen as part and parcel of your identity.

That’s not to say there aren’t things inherent to your who you are, that won’t change.

That said, to begin with, there’re things that can, and will do so. On top of that, your choices based on how you identify, and how others identify you, may not change who you are, but they certainly may change what that means.

There’s another idea we should discuss as well, that’s the idea of preference. You may decide you like chocolate ice cream, vanilla, some other type, or none at all. These are signs of preference. Your choice of ice cream may be just that, but the chances are, it’s based on an underying preference.

That preference is a part of your character as much as any other consideration. How important it proves to be, is another matter.

All of this said, the expression “sexual preference,” may seem like an incorrect way to term things, but let’s just take a moment to run that down.

Say you come to the conclusion you’re homosexual. That would make your preference to associate in love and sexual activity, with people of your same sex. Now it’s incumbent on you, to make choices, either for or against that preference.

The idea that sexual—or any other—activity is not the result of preference when not forced or coerced, or that the preference isn’t indicative of underlying in-built factors, is absurd. The concept that you choose to, or to not, act on those preferences, is equally so.

So for those who assume there’s no choice in identity, you can be assured, I disagree. Further, for those who decide some of those choices don’t work in contravention to one’s identity—and often to the definite benefit of the person with that identity—I very much suggest you consult a former drug or alcohol addict. I hope my points here are clear.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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More on Left and Right – Religion and Politics

20201015 More on Left and Right – The Daily Summation on YouTube

I’m quite sure I’ve written in past, on the contrast that is the political left, versus the right.

At the risk of being redundant, I’m going to take some time to condsider that concept again.

This time though, I’m going to view things from a slightly different angle.

What I want to say to begin with, is that there’s a major problem. That is, not nearly everyone is using the same definition for these terms.

I think most people, asked who among the political class, is on the left and right, could agree on certain individuals.

Examples of those on the right, might be Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and in many people’s minds Donald Trump.

Likewise, many would point to folks like Maxine Waters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden, as being on the political left.

Even in such categorizations though, there are more than subtle differences between one and another listed. As far to one side as Mr Schumer happens to be, it would be much easier to find similarities between him and, say Ted Cruz, than between Mr Cruz and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

That doesn’t mean Cruz, and Schumer aren’t miles apart in many important respects, just that left and right are at best, spectral designations.

If you think the distinction of who’s on the left, and what folks are on the right is hard when talking about known, elected members of the government, try looking at everyday people.

And one thing you pretty defintely can not do, is assume that because someone is known for left-leaning positions (or conversely, a tendency to be seen as being on the right), all attributes and postions of that person, fall on that side of the line.

The fact is, among black Americans, there’s a tendency in certain subgroups, to hold the social positions of someone on the right, and yet hold other views, that’re very much to the left of center.

For this reason, I have a tendency to refuse to accept, that many can be fit neatly into one camp or other.

The same can be said for the monikers liberal, and conservative.

Quite aside from the fact, that the words have different meanings in different places, the reality is, there are more than a few people out there, who hold some perspectives that would be counted liberal, and others, people would expect to see in convervatives.

So when it comes time to select leadership in elections at various levels, you can imagine there’s a certain amount of confusion.

Consider, for example, that part of the reason a given person voted, was to support the idea that, babies in the womb were just that, living humans (a very right-leaning, or conservative position). Now envision that same person, believed strongly, there should be certain social programs in place that no person on that same side of the aisle, would readily support.

At some point, that individual, is likely to have to prioritize. They’ll very likey have to ask, “Which thing means the most to me?

It’s hard enough to make such a decision when someone on the ballot, holds many positions you count important.

It’s the much more difficult to make that call, when you must choose between one major factor, or another.

Think things are sufficiently complex by this point? Don’t worry, it becomes even more so as you look at it.

Imagine you decide the lives of unborn babies, to be your priority. At this point, you realize there’re three candidates (all conservative Republicans), who you trust to take stances, in line with what you support.

You look at the three, and decided there’s one with whom you agree, on other things. The problem? That individual is likely not electable. He or she, will very likely fail to win sufficient support, to be the one running in the final race.

So now you must make another choice. Who do you choose? One assumes, the one who might actually successfully compete against the candidate from the Democrat party, but really, you may have issues even getting that person into the last contest.

That’s because those who would be prone to cast their ballots for the Republican on a given ticket, may well not be willing to do so, for the person you would choose as the one most likely to succeed. That’s regardless how viable you see them as being.

To put it mildly, things are potentially horribly complex.

It’s at this point, I make my pitch.

Regardless whether in this election or any other; doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about electing a president, or a dog catcher, know what you want—what’s important and what’s not—and vote on that basis.

My warning would be, that a good many people will not do this. What they’ll do instead, is look at specific things done or said, and mark their x based on them.

Though it’s not something you have to think very hard about, most folks won’t look to the long term. They won’t look at what’s happened under given people, or administrations. They won’t care whether more than sixty percent of the population are happier now, than they were four years ago.

It’ll be all about some salacious gossip, or badly worded statements. It’ll be surrounding whether someone can’t remember that they’re not running for the senate, but for the presidency.

Forgive me for saying so, but that’s not how things ought to be. Rather, one ought to look at the records of those running—again, at any level—where they exist, and should only fall back on things like campaign promises if there’s no history to examine.

The point of this little article is this. Even if you could nail down what left and right, or Republican and Democrat, look like politically, how many people fit neatly on one side or the other? Are you honestely going to base your decision, on whether someone has an R, or a D behind their name, or instead, will you try to determine what that person has accomplished, by comparison to his or her opponent?

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.