Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The M Question...

I just read the most hilarious blog posting and it reminded me of something....

Back when I was a missionary, I ended up in South Africa. The Mission President was an interesting guy. For those who don't know, the Mission President is the guy who oversee's all the missionaries in a given geographical area. Anyway, rumor has it that the Mission President was a bit of a sex addict. As far as we know he had always been faithful and all of that, but his excessive libido had almost ended his marriage, and as the rumor went, he had to be medicated to keep it under control.

That might all be completely false, but it did make sense when viewed alongside other things... For instance, I had to have a wee chat with him shortly after I got there about some 'fun' I'd had as a teenager. I may share more of the details at anther time about exactly why we had to have a wee chat, but what shocked me was his interest in all the intimate details of the 'fun' I'd had. I'd remarked at the time that it seemed like he 'got off' on it, and then when I heard the rumor...

Anyway, his office had large windows and a glass door. It was sound proof, so you couldn't hear anything, but you could see what was going on inside. One of the favorite things was to watch the look on a greeny's face (That's a brand spanking new missionary for those who don't know) and see if you could guess the exact moment when the M question was asked...

I remember when I was brand new... Sitting there, very jet lagged and out of my element. He asked about my family and my girlfriend. How I felt about being there and all of that, and then out of the blue...

"Elder, when was the last time you masturbated?"


Anyway, I'm sure there were a group of missionaries waiting outside all looking for my reaction. That's about all I remember about the incident...

He'd ask the same question anytime you were in an interview with him, and depending on your answer, he'd follow up with the W question...

"Elder, when was your last wet dream."

You see in his mind, if you claimed not to have a problem with the M question, and by not having a problem, I mean, not spanking the monkey on a regular basis. He assumed that you would be having regular wet dreams. Fortunately I never answered both questions in the negative, but I had a companion who did, and he got a whole long chat about how you had to have either on or the other...

Anyway, with that all laid out there...

Here's a rather humorous and perhaps a little informative look at the M institution and it's place in Mormon society.

Being your own best friend.

Accidentally on Purpose - A review

Accidentally on Purpose is a new sitcom on CBS.

They've decided to air it on Monday nights and it's up with some truly awesome shows... How I met your Mother, Two and a Half Men and the Big Bang Theory. So understandably I had some pretty high hopes for this new one.

The promotional material looked good and it stars Jenna Elfman, who I thought did an outstanding job in her role as Dharma in Dharma and Greg.

If I were to summarize this show, I would have to say it's about Bad Choices.

Let's review what I've seen of it so far...

Jenna, whose character's name is Billie begins the show in Paris with her boss, James.

From what I've seen James is the quintessential jerk. Billie is dating James despite this (bad choice), and he's her boss (Another bad choice).

So they're in Paris, and Billie expects him to propose, but instead he kind of does a non-proposal thing which I think the writers may have thought would be funny, but it wasn't.

Next we find ourselves back in the US, and Billie is at a bar with her friend, Olivia and younger sister, Abbey.

Olivia, comes across as the typical nasty old slut, and to make matters worse she has a thick, thick Scottish accent. It turns out the actress that plays Olivia is indeed Scottish, but I'm wondering if she was only cast because of the accent - bad choice in that case, since an accent does not funny make. Billy Connolly is funny, and he has an accent, but the two don't always go together.

Abbey is kind of quiet and looks nothing like her older sister - HELLO?!?! Casting people. They could not be more different, and from what I've seen of Abbey, she plays more of a 3rd wheel than anything else.

So there they are in the bar and some young guy starts hitting on Billie who is likely 10-15 years older than him.

Yada, yada, yada... They end up having sex on the futon at his friends apartment, while his friends are all in the next room.

Let's look at this...

One night stand - not the best choice, but she's on a rebound type thing, so I guess we can give it to her.

She ends up getting pregnant though... Picked up by a guy in a bar, taken back to his scungy friends apartment to have sex on a futon... And you didn't think to use a condom?!?? HELLO?!?

To this point, the show had yet to produce a laugh from me. Not so much as a chuckle.

I'll skip over the rest really quickly....

So Billie pregnant, because she's an idiot.

Young sperm donor ends up living in his van.

Billie invites him to move in with her, since he is the father, but she wants it to be platonic... Couldn't keep her legs together at their first meeting, but now she's wants to do it right. Whatever....

Sperm donor brings friends over to the house, so Billie wants to kick him out, but then it turns out he painted the nursery, so she lets him stay, but still it's all platonic.

Meanwhile sperm donor keeps showing up at work, creating what I think were meant to be funny scenes between him, her and her boss, while her annoying Scottish friend blabs on about being a reporter and needing the facts because that's what reporters do and I'm a reporter. Oh and did I mention she was a reporter.

It's a lousily written show, with a shoddy plot and acting which could possibly be better, but even if you had Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks acting, it would still be an awful show.

I watched episode 2 last night to see if perhaps it was just the first episode that had problems, but there appears to be a pattern.

Final synopsis of bad choices...

CBS for even considering putting this on the air.
Jenna Elfman who allowed herself to be cast in this train wreck of a show.
and finally me, for starting to watch episode #2. I did however come to my senses and turn it off after 5 minutes though.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I have an idea...

This is an idea aimed solely at my readership who have an LDS background, but who have questions and concerns about the faith. I don't mean to exclude anyone, but if you read through the following, you'll understand...

This idea all started a year or so back, when I read about a personality test which was conducted by Bob McCue on those who had left the LDS (Mormon) faith.

I have collected data in the post-Mormon community online that indicates that certain Meyers-Briggs personality types are more likely to question their religious beliefs than others. Particularly, those who are introverted (as opposed to extroverted); intuitive (as opposed to sensing); and thinking (as opposed to feeling) are more likely to seriously question Mormonism. My data sample size and the manner in which it was collected, however, were such that these conclusions are tentative at best. I am in the process of preparing a larger and more reliable survey that will address the same issue.

In my experience in the past couple of years with people similar to myself, who feel a need to question, I would have to say I have found that to be true.

I've read a couple of blog posts lately as well, touching on the topic of sociality within Mormon communities. Mormon communities are just interesting. People tend to be categorized as member vs. non-member. If your neighbor is a non-member, you are wary of them, but will reach out to them as a way to attract them to the faith. If they're members however, you can socialize with them, but always need to be on guard that you're Sunday face is on. Heaven forbid people discover that you're not perfect.

I'll be the first to admit that the above is somewhat generalized, and there are various nuances to the culture surrounding that, but moving from a non-Mormon community to a very Mormon community in the last decade, that has been my observation.

For someone who questions the faith, or may not be as faithful in following it, you run into a couple of problems.

You don't really fit in with the 'Mormon Community' any more, and even if you do, things change. Mrs Koda and I have become 'projects' for various neighbors over the last couple of years, and it's been both annoying and down right insulting.

You don't really have any non-Mormon friends, since you have forgotten how to relate to them. This is of course more of a problem in neighborhoods with a high percentage of active Mormons.

You may not have the best social skill-set either since Mormonism tends not to promote very close relationships with other members.

Add to the fact too, that if you're like me, you're kind of an introvert, and getting out and meeting new people is really hard.

Some of us have supportive spouses, but many don't.

In many cases extended family either disown, or else rally around to stage interventions and similar crap which does more harm than good. Neither option is very pleasant.

In my case I'm lucky. I have a supportive wife, a number of awesome non-Mormons whom I work with, and joining a tri-club last year has helped tremendously as well. I feel like I belong somewhere and can associate with normal people. Mrs Koda however spends most of her life at home with the Koda clan, and views both myself and my tri-buddies with a large degree of suspicion (We're not exactly normal, so I guess it's deserved!!)

So I've been concerned about her, and about others who aren't so lucky, especially stay-at-home moms and others who don't have a large network of non-mormons to turn to...

So, here's my idea...

I was thinking about forming a group that could get together and form some good solid relationships. Get to know new people, and hopefully help each other through the rough times. I don't want it to turn into a Mormon bashing group, and in fact, I think the less we discuss Mormonism the better. Just a group of people with a similar cultural background, who would like the opportunity to meet each other and be themselves in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

Alright, here's the plan...

First, I'm not going to post anything online about any meetings. Many of us are a little paranoid about those in our neighborhoods, families and wards finding out that we're struggling with Mormonism. If you want in, leave a comment and I'll find a way to get hold of you so we can arrange something. If you'd rather not even leave a comment, just shoot me an email to Koda at UrbanKoda dot Com. I'll keep your privacy and anonymity in the highest regard, since I know how sensitive all of this can be.

Second, I'm South African, and we have a thing we do down there called a Bring & Braai (Pronounced bry). A braai is basically a BBQ. The idea is you bring meat for you and your family, and a side of some sort - Kind of like a potluck, except you cook the meat at the party - let's the men be men and the ladies have a chance to chat, unless of course the ladies would prefer to handle the cremation of the meat themselves.

I'm willing to host an event like this at my home in Northern Davis county (Utah), but since there may be a higher concentration of my readers in Salt Lake and Utah counties, we could try and do it at a park down there as well.

I've also got 5 kids, ranging in age from 9 down to 1. So this will be a very family friendly type event.

For my readers not in Utah, I'd encourage you to try and get something like this going in your area.

Anyway, so if you're interested... Let me know if you would like to be involved, and where you would be willing to meet, and we can take it from there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quit having gay babies!

Mr. TJ Shelby posted some awesome Prop 8 signs on his blog today...

My favorite is the "They're the ones that keep having gay babies" sign.

Check it out here.

And let me know your favorite!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You can thank me later...

This is targeted primarily at my male readership, although if there are any female readers who will benefit from this, you are most welcome as well.

This article is too good to try and do justice to with commentary, so let me just send you in the right direction...

Greatest article of all time.

I'll shall be sharing it with Mrs Koda when she returns from the store. Perhaps I won't have to train as hard on my bike for the IronMan next year as I had expected... providing of course that she cooperates!!


It's a funny thing... I remember when I was a kid, I had my fair share of run in's with bullies. I was a math geek and didn't play any sport, so I kind of had it coming.

But I was always told to just walk away. And I think a few times I may have been told, that walking away was the sign of a true man.

And then on one occasion, my mother accused me of 'using my girlfriend'. Which was funny because she'd tried everything she could to break us up, and my sullen mood was because things were getting rather rocky. I remember her saying though that if she found out that I was, that she would never forgive me. I think using a girlfriend would qualify as a form of bullying as well.

Looking at my own life, I'm not sure how I'd handle it if one of my kids ends up being bullied, but I do know that if they were ever the aggressor, we'd be having a serious chat, and likely more.

I think these feelings towards bully's are pretty universal. No-one likes them unless you're some dysfunctional turd.

Anyway, so with this all came to mind as I was reading an article posted on facebook by a friend. Despite very right leaning opinions, this person didn't dump me as a friend when I voiced support for Obama's speech to school kids, so I felt I'd return the favor and honestly consider her ideas too.

The article was in the Telegraph, a british newspaper, and you can read it in it's entirety here.

The paragraph that got me thinking about this was this one though...

The president scores highly at the UN for refusing to project American values and military might on the world stage, with rare exceptions like the war against the Taliban. His appeasement of Iran, his bullying of Israel, his surrender to Moscow, his call for a nuclear free world, his siding with Marxists in Honduras, his talk of a climate change deal, have all won him plaudits in the large number of UN member states where US foreign policy has traditionally been viewed with contempt.

Refusing to project American values and military might on the world stage... OK... I like the Constitution of the United States and I like the way of life it affords me. However, just because I like it doesn't mean everyone has too. It's like people who get involved in religion or pyramid schemes. They think it's great, but it gets really annoying when they project it on you, doesn't it.

So the president doesn't want to bully other countries in to following our beliefs. Amen to that!!

Bullying of Israel... Let me state up front, that the holocaust was horrific and should never have happened. That said though, using that as an excuse to mistreat people who you think are second class citizens is dead wrong, and pretty hypocritical. I'm not excusing either side in the middle east conflict, but the fact remains that Israel exists because of the money the US continually sends to prop them up. Has Obama proposed withdrawing that funding, and is that what we mean by 'Bullying' here, or has he decided that to attempt peace, perhaps we need to consider the rights of all parties involved.

his call for a nuclear free world... That Bastard!! How dare he try to end production and use of nuclear weapons. From those in Southern Utah who died of cancer due to nuclear fall out from testing, to the masses of civilians killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I think they all join me in shouting down this 'Bully' who has the audacity to try and rid the world of the horror of nuclear weapons.

I'm going to stop there, but I'm sure I could fill another couple of paragraphs just answering this one paragraph.

Please feel free to disagree, but in your answer be sure to address the following as well:

The huge profits made for certain US industries as a result of the US war in Iraq under George W. Bush and the lies he told to get us there.

The fact that the removal of Saddam Hussein is now considered to have been an humanitarian mission, but the Bush administration did nothing to stop the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe or Darfur.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Impregnable - incapable of being taken by assault.

Remember that! There's a joke in here on which that definition stands. I'll let you find it though, since the journey is half the fun!

Pricks, Policies and a Review

I'd like to start this post off by commenting on something which Heather Armstrong wrote on her blog. Ms. Armstrong is the genius behind dooce.com, which I'm not sure if I should like, because I think it's geared more towards ladies, but damnit, it's still funnier than piss!!

Actually on a complete side trip from my main topic, I was sharing something about dooce with a friend the other day, something which had absolutely nothing to do with religion at all, and he pipes up with... Oh, yeah, the anti-mormon lady! Funny how mormons seem to want to label everyone. You're either a member or a non-member, and if you were a member and become a non-member, then you must be an anti-mormon and as such enjoy the company of Beelzebub himself and be headed straight to hell. See you down there Heather!!

Anyway... So back to dooce. Being popular, you tend to attract your fair share of haters online. For some reason our culture despises success, and so if someone has it, we feel the need to pull them down. Anyway, so Heather gets a fair number of haters, most shielded by the anonymity of the internet and decided to do something about it.

She describes exactly why here.

And the result is here.

My point in bringing all this up, is to point out that one of the products advertised on the page - at least when I viewed it, was fiber... I'm not sure if that was intentional, but advertising fiber on a page devoted to those who are anal retentive and/or have their heads stuck up their collective asses... HI-FREAKING-LARIOUS!! Nice one Heather!

Moving on... Tuesday was an awesome day. I woke up on time, which isn't exactly great, since my alarm goes off at 4:30, but that aside I got up without hitting snooze! SCORE!!

Went to Walmart to grab a sandwich and realized the new Dan Brown book was out. DOUBLE SCORE!!

Got back to my car, right as the Linkin Park song from Transformers started on the radio. (Hopefully this video will stay active for at least a day or 2...)

Things didn't get too bad from there, until I went to a swim clinic in the afternoon and was reminded of why I hate the backstroke.

Since then it's been a steady downhill to where I ended up at 2am this morning.

Yesterday ended with an experience I can only describe as the emotional equivalent of being hit in the head with a crowbar. And then as I lay on the floor, slowly regaining consciousness I got kicked in the nuts.

I used to whine a lot, mostly a product of my upbringing, but I think I'm going to start on a new journey. No more whining, no more being a victim, no more taking responsibility for the fact that other people choose to be dicks.

Hopefully the paragraph won't be totally construed as whining, because today I start a new policy of not being a whiny little bitch.

In closing, I was going to provide a review of some chocolate I purchased this morning. I felt the need to review it because:

a - I hadn't yet read Heather's post on dooce and figured I would need more material.
b - It looked like it was on close-out, which I guess means it hasn't been selling, and I really liked it!

So even with reason a out of the picture, b still remains. Perhaps I shall just make this brief...

Hersheys All Natural Extra Dark - Pure Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate Flavored Pieces.

First, I appreciate them putting All Natural on the cover, and checking the ingredients it appears that it is. Doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you, but at least they help with the self delusion. Men's health has helped as well, with a few articles recently about how dark chocolate is better for you - it's 60% cacao!

Second, I think it would have been better with real pomegranate in it - although perhaps pomegranate flavored pieces do a better job of transferring that unique taste!!

Now for my review... DELICIOUS! I like chocolate and the darker the better. Once you get up past 70% though, it needs to be eaten really slow - at least in my opinion. 60% seems to be the perfect number to get that rich cacao taste, and yet retains enough sweetness that you can chow down!!

It's also only $1.50 for a 3.35oz bar at the Walmart in Syracuse right now too, and if you go at 5 in the morning, there's no line to check-out!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


One of the big negatives I've heard about living in a social democracy is the the motivation to achieve is been removed.

I've kind of noticed a similar thing about organized religion, specifically the more fundamentalist type religions. The lifestyle is rigid and at times hard, but they choose to live this way, in hope of an eternal reward. From the inside looking out, it's hard to imagine how anyone would want to live a moral life, without the tenets of the religion.

They're slightly different ideas, but I think they shared something common.

For me personally, I love my job, and I excel at it. I don't mean to brag, but when time comes for performance appraisals, I always achieve the highest results. Why? Because I love my job, I love to excel. Interestingly enough, I'm paid less than anyone else on my team (I'm kinda young and have only been there a few years). But it doesn't matter - I'm not working so that one day I can make a ton of money, I'm working for today, for the difference I can make today and the results naturally follow.

I was listening to a lecture on Evolution and Atheism last week, and the speaker commented on how studies tend to suggest that as intellect increases, it has an inverse effect of how religious a person is. He commented that amongst the top scientists, perhaps only 10% are religious. With no eternal perspective, the religiously minded person might ask why? Why push the bounds of what we know if you're just going to die and have nothing to look for.

So I got to thinking about this... It seems to me that religion and capitalism are all about the future.

One day I'll be rich and therefore I'll oppose taxation on the wealthy now, because one day it will be me.

One day I'll live in heaven and then I can enjoy being around family and friends that I love. I'll ignore them now, because God needs me to fulfill various responsibilities to achieve that.

One day I'll be rich, one day I'll be happy - I guess they do motivate in a way. But if we give those up, do we run the risk of losing motivation? I would suggest not.

Life isn't about money, and life isn't about being happy one day. I believe a former LDS prophet was the originator of this quote, and it was...

Life is to be enjoyed, not endured

Maybe as a culture we're seeking motivation in places it shouldn't be. Maybe the key to a truly happy life, and a successful culture is to seek for motivation in the here and now. Seek to live each life to it's fullest. Seek to enjoy your family and friends now. If wealth and eternal rewards in heaven await, they'll come regardless, but why not enjoy the journey.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I had some ideas to post today, but I think they could be taken the wrong way, and the last thing I would want to do is to provoke an argument on the anniversary of an horrendous and unspeakable act.

Too many people lost their lives on 9/11/2001. Too many people have lost their lives since as a result of those events.

I mourn the loss of my brothers and sisters all around the world.

While I am planning on sharing some thoughts in the weeks to come, I think today I shall point you towards a post by a fellow blogger.

I found his message particularly poignant.

Mind on Fire - Remembering Fear

Kinda Funny...

So I have a guy I used to do business with... He's of the right wing variety, and if I may add, many of that variety are decent people.

My beef with him started last year with his "Obama is a Muslim" emails. I'd correct him, and he's apologize, but a retraction was never sent to the rest of his email list.

Interestingly enough, at a time when Christians are crying about being attacked and discrimination against them because of their religion, many used the "He's a Muslim" approach to steer people away...

Then came the "He's not a natural born citizen" emails, which I too refuted. And same thing again, apology to me, but no retraction, and they'd come out again a week later.

The final straw for me, was the warnings about the indoctrination speech. I emailed him, and explained what had happened to my son, the whole shooting of the Obama bobble head story and respectfully requested that he no long send me emails. As I put it, he claimed to be fighting for freedom, and yet he had taken mine away.

He's seemed a little shocked. Guys like this always seem shocked when you call them on it.

He claims that he would have fought against the speeches to school children by Reagan and Bush Sr. had he know about them, but in his defense they didn't had follow up material.

He claims he wasn't upset by the speech, but by the followup material. Multiple people have told me that I've taken their opposition out of context, because it wasn't the speech, but the follow-up material, but the follow-up material needed the speech with it to make sense and so it wasn't in context... Me see heap big logical problem in the argument!

He claims to be in favor of social change, but the partial birth abortion thing destroys all of Mr. Obama's credibility. I didn't even bring up abortion, and if you consider it murder, I'm with you. I'm against the murder of innocent civilians, like when presidents and their administrations lie about a countries connections to terrorists and then invade those countries for personal gain. (Sorry am I allowed to bring up the Iraqi war in the argument, or is that still sacred ground?)

My big beef with the guy was that he claims moral superiority and to be in the fight for freedom, but he propagates lies and fear to achieve his objective. That was my issue, and he totally missed it.

On the positive side of things... Following my posting of the fact that I was in favor of Obama speaking to school kids, I lost 3 friends from facebook. I've been able to figure out one of them. He's a guy who was complaining about socialism back in December and how it was affecting his job - you may recall that was when Bush was still in Office. And yet it had to Obama's fault...

In the last day though, I've gained 3 more friends, so I've broken even, and I'm down three arrogant bigots! I score that a win!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Look what you've done!!

For all of you out there who opposed Prop 8 in California... I hope you're happy!!

Gay Marriage has started to effect regular marriages in a way which none of us thought it would...

Just look what it's done in Massachussetts...

You People! tsk, tsk, tsk!

How Gay can I Go....

Well folks, I ended a rather serious post on my other blog yesterday, with this line...

And with a staunch record of heterosexuality, may I add that he's one good looking guy!

I had been talking about Todd, the openly gay Mormon dude who won Survivor China a couple of years ago.

My good friend Emily however responded with this....

I can't miss out on the chance at teasing you a bit over your last sentence, so a final thought: a person's sexuality depends on their attractions, not necessarily their track record.

Well folks it appears that there may be a gay little man hiding inside of me after all!

Actually I still rather think Mrs. Koda, is a rather smoking hot specimen of womanhood, so this places me in a quandary, perhaps I'm one of those rare folks that swings both ways...

Those who have known me a long time, may realize the full impact of this finding, and for those who don't perhaps let me share a little...

Lets go back 12-15 years, and I was one of the most homophobic little SOB's you could meet.

I could share some stories, but they're long, drawn out affairs, and this is intended to be a more humorous posting.

So 12-15 years ago, I'm very anti-gay, could probably have been talked into going gay-bashing (They're not real people, you know...). And all of that.

Over time however, my opinion has changed. I've met some guys with same sex attraction, and they've turned out to be really nice guys. Normal guys like you and me (Unless you're a gal), they just happen to view other guys like I view woman.

Anyway, over the past few years, I've been know to comment occasionally, when discussing a rather studly man, that if I were to switch teams, I'd probably switch teams for Mr. [Insert name here].

I'm all about equal opportunity and all of that, and with that in mind, worried that my hot babe trifecta could be seen as sexist, I would like this opportunity to introduce, my hot dude trifecta. I'm not gay - at least I don't think I am - but if I were, these guys would be on my list...

Here they are in no particular order:

Neil Patrick Harris
Eric Bana
Daniel Craig

I'm still not 100% settled on Mr. Craig, but for now, he's in there.

Now you may ask yourself... Geez Koda, could you get any more gay?

Well, let me try!

NPH - the incredible Neil Patrick Harris is not a bad looking guy, but from what I read about him, he sounds like he'd be a fun guy to hang out with. Good conversation, walks on the beach....

OK, I think that's as far as I'll take the gay thing today!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Public Service Announcement

So last year during the elections, I published a post about what people say, and what it means.

Specifically, the "I don't think we truly know who Obama is." phrase, which really meant, "I don't want to vote for a black guy!"

Continuing with that service to my readers, tonights phrase is...

"The President was very devisive in his speech."

What they really mean to say is...

The President put forth a very rational and logical argument in support of his plan, but if I agree, that means I'm admitting that my irrational arguments based in fear and dishonesty are wrong, and I can't do that, so...

He was very devisive.


Worth a thousand words

First an update on the evil brainwashing Obama speech to the kids...

My kids had permission slips sent home that they were to return if we did not want them watching the Presidents speech.

Having read the speech, I was perfectly comfortable with my kids watching, so I didn't return the slip. Apparently the teacher assumed this meant I didn't want him to see it, and so he was sent to a different classroom, while the speech was on.

Oh - and it get's even better...

So we're hanging out last night, playing a video game, and I'm asking him about the speech, and he tells me the funniest story. One of his classmates dad bought an Obama bobble head doll, and over the weekend, he took his kids out and let them shoot it with a bb gun, and then to make it even funnier, he shot it with a shotgun, and blew the whole head off. Much hilarity for all involved, even my son.

I was not amused.

There is a positive ending though... I setup the video for my son to watch, and we watched it together. He did an hour of homework willingly last night, and then drew some pictures. An eel and a shark. He's got some talent. Told me he wants to be an artist, and so we discussed fine arts and graphic design. The chat about being a graphic designer went over really well, and the kid has been bouncing off the walls ever since.

I'm going to chalk the whole thing up to excellent parenting by yours truly, and a great speech by the president.

And on the subject of art...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Sometimes you just need to blow off some steam. Life gets too serious sometimes... Way too serious!

I participated in a relay race over the weekend. The T-shirt had the following on the back.

Snow to Sun
2 days
187 miles
8k feet descent
I am a running machine

It was a totally awesome and amazing experience.

And I had this song in my head most of the time...

Taking issue with the right things and laughing at myself

Got a couple of thoughts going through my mind right now, and they're all kind of related.

First of all... I got back last night from 5 days living away from the internet. Sometimes it's nice not to be connected. Apparently while I was gone though, the whole Obama speaking to the School Children thing erupted.

Before I get to that, let me touch on the other thing...

Health Care Reform. There are very compelling arguments in favor of health care reform, and then are some excellent comments which have been made on this blog and others about problems with the proposed plan.

With that in mind, I must ask myself... Why are we not debating those issues and figuring them out?

It strikes me as odd that those opposed to the reforms are focused instead on nonsensical issues, like Death Panels and Legalized abortion of 2 year olds.

Well, I guess not completely odd, since those yelling about these issues are trained dogs to their conservative masters - and in so saying those on the left who just want it passed now, without debate are just as bad.

Let's discuss it calmly and rationally and figure out what can be done to remedy the situation - of course that would require both sides to admit they are wrong in some areas, and the drug companies would also have wasted all that bribery money, so I doubt it will happen.

But back to Obama's speech to the school kids...

So I got an email from an ultra conservative acquaintance, advising me to keep my kids home from school today, so they won't be indoctrinated by Obama's unprecedented pro-socialist speech to children.

First of all, I have to wonder if he used the word 'unprecedented' when he protested the speeches given to school children by Bush Sr., and Regan...

I actually read the speech last night on whitehouse.gov, and would encourage you to do the same. I felt inspired to continue my own education, and I'm hoping it will do the same for my kids. I actually printed out the speech so that I can discuss it with my son tonight, since we had a similar conversation last week when he was protesting about doing his homework.

Among the more controversial things the President will be challenging kids to do, in the course of his speech, is to take personal responsibility for their education (I know, it's like right out of the "Communist Play Book".). He's encouraging them to think for themselves, over come peer pressure and set goals.

So in response, conservatives are keeping their kids home for the day. Teaching them that school doesn't matter, and that it's OK to prejudge a person based on what you think they will say. What a great opportunity they are missing to teach their kids to listen to new ideas, and then the opportunity to discuss it with their kids.

I would be offended too, if the president where to share a message of political indoctrination with kids, but seriously - Stay in School and Work Hard, is not political indoctrination!!!

I guess ultimately these conservative freaks want is to keep their children ignorant. That way, a whole new generation can blindly pass along email forwards about the president being a muslim (I'm still not sure why that would be a bad thing either, but after 8 years of Muslims are evil indoctrination from the Government, perhaps it means something to many Americans), and wanting to kill old people without thinking about it.

As a final note, there has been a bit of an outrage going on in a city next to mine about a video being shown to kids as part of the presidents speech.

Now, in line with the horrendously controversial stuff being fed to our kids by the President, this video encourages kids to make a difference. Overall I think the video is excellent. Although, I do take issue with one thing right at the end...

I pledge to serve our President

OK, now while the similar things were said during the early period during the war on terror about Bush, I think it was wrong to say then, and wrong to say now. The President is elected to serve the American people. He serves us, we do not serve him. I don't care if it's Barack Obama, George Washington, or George Bush, they should be respected, yes, but we do not serve them as we would serve a king!

I don't think that was what they meant in the video, but I think it still needs to be said.

Overall though, I think 99% of this video sends the right message.

And because I think that sometimes it's good to laugh at yourself...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Folks, I used to be an arrogant little turd, and perhaps in many ways I still am.

Fortunately, every so often a situation will arise, where I am forced into humility. I know that's not the preferred way - I should really choose to be humble, but like I said at the beginning, I'm still somewhat of an arrogant turd.

I feel I may be having a forced into humility moment.

I almost feel the need to bow to superior intellect...

Thanks to Project Mayhem for the find.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

G.I. Joe

I mentioned a week or so back that my view of soldiers had changed. When viewing lines of our brave men and women, all uniform and marching in time, where once I was filled with awe and patriotism, now I'm filled when a profound sense of sadness and loss.

I should qualify that statement, that while I am still feel a tremendous sense of obligation towards these men and women for being willing to pay the ultimate price, my sense of sadness is not for them, but more for the tremendous loss of life which war brings.

I am however also perhaps the most unqualified person to speak on such matter, never having faced an enemy with a gun myself. I was born in a time of war in what is now Zimbabwe, I remember undergoing bomb and terrorist attack drills while in Elementary School, but there my experience ends.

I should like to introduce you though to one of the most decorated and experienced soldiers in the history of the United States military.

Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye", was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.

During his 34 years of Marine Corps service, Butler was awarded numerous medals for heroism including the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (the highest Marine medal at its time for officers), and subsequently the Medal of Honor twice. Notably, he is one of only 19 people to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor, and one of only three to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.

I pulled that from wikipedia, and the remainder of the article cites experiences from his life, both personal and career specific.

Having seen that much conflict, and fighting for freedom as much as he had, the following statement may come as a surprize to some. Said he...

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

The following 5 postings are in fact chapters from his book - War is a Racket. It's a chilling account of the cost of war and it's effect on our culture, from a man who knows it best...


WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep's eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Polish Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other's throats. Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in "International Conciliation," the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

"And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace... War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it."

Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war – anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter's dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later.

Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.


The World War, rather our brief participation in it, has cost the United States some $52,000,000,000. Figure it out. That means $400 to every American man, woman, and child. And we haven't paid the debt yet. We are paying it, our children will pay it, and our children's children probably still will be paying the cost of that war.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it.

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed. Let's just take a few examples:

Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people – didn't one of them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn't much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let's look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950 per cent.

Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump – or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!

Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240,000,000. Not bad.

There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let's look at something else. A little copper, perhaps. That always does well in war times.

Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.

Let's group these five, with three smaller companies. The total yearly average profits of the pre-war period 1910-1914 were $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The average yearly profits for this group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.

A little increase in profits of approximately 200 per cent.

Does war pay? It paid them. But they aren't the only ones. There are still others. Let's take leather.

For the three-year period before the war the total profits of Central Leather Company were $3,500,000. That was approximately $1,167,000 a year. Well, in 1916 Central Leather returned a profit of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per cent. That's all. The General Chemical Company averaged a profit for the three years before the war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came the war, and the profits jumped to $12,000,000. a leap of 1,400 per cent.

International Nickel Company – and you can't have a war without nickel – showed an increase in profits from a mere average of $4,000,000 a year to $73,000,000 yearly. Not bad? An increase of more than 1,700 per cent.

American Sugar Refining Company averaged $2,000,000 a year for the three years before the war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was recorded.

Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress, reporting on corporate earnings and government revenues. Considering the profits of 122 meat packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340 coal producers during the war. Profits under 25 per cent were exceptional. For instance the coal companies made between 100 per cent and 7,856 per cent on their capital stock during the war. The Chicago packers doubled and tripled their earnings.

And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as secret as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never become public – even before a Senate investigatory body.

But here's how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled their way into war profits.

Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They made huge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers and armament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs of hobnailed service shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight pairs, and more, to a soldier. My regiment during the war had only one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought – and paid for. Profits recorded and pocketed.

There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn't any American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a profit in it – so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we probably have those yet.

Also somebody had a lot of mosquito netting. They sold your Uncle Sam 20,000,000 mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. I suppose the boys were expected to put it over them as they tried to sleep in muddy trenches – one hand scratching cooties on their backs and the other making passes at scurrying rats. Well, not one of these mosquito nets ever got to France!

Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no soldier would be without his mosquito net, so 40,000,000 additional yards of mosquito netting were sold to Uncle Sam.

There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days, even if there were no mosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war had lasted just a little longer, the enterprising mosquito netting manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a couple of consignments of mosquitoes to plant in France so that more mosquito netting would be in order.

Airplane and engine manufacturers felt they, too, should get their just profits out of this war. Why not? Everybody else was getting theirs. So $1,000,000,000 – count them if you live long enough – was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines that never left the ground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion dollars worth ordered, ever got into a battle in France. Just the same the manufacturers made their little profit of 30, 100, or perhaps 300 per cent.

Undershirts for soldiers cost 14¢ [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid 30¢ to 40¢ each for them – a nice little profit for the undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking manufacturer and the uniform manufacturers and the cap manufacturers and the steel helmet manufacturers – all got theirs.

Why, when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of equipment – knapsacks and the things that go to fill them – crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrapped because the regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them – and they will do it all over again the next time.

There were lots of brilliant ideas for profit making during the war.

One very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve dozen 48-inch wrenches. Oh, they were very nice wrenches. The only trouble was that there was only one nut ever made that was large enough for these wrenches. That is the one that holds the turbines at Niagara Falls. Well, after Uncle Sam had bought them and the manufacturer had pocketed the profit, the wrenches were put on freight cars and shunted all around the United States in an effort to find a use for them. When the Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow to the wrench manufacturer. He was just about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. Then he planned to sell these, too, to your Uncle Sam.

Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn't ride in automobiles, nor should they even ride on horseback. One has probably seen a picture of Andy Jackson riding in a buckboard. Well, some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle Sam for the use of colonels! Not one of them was used. But the buckboard manufacturer got his war profit.

The shipbuilders felt they should come in on some of it, too. They built a lot of ships that made a lot of profit. More than $3,000,000,000 worth. Some of the ships were all right. But $635,000,000 worth of them were made of wood and wouldn't float! The seams opened up – and they sank. We paid for them, though. And somebody pocketed the profits.

It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and researchers that the war cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.

The Senate (Nye) committee probe of the munitions industry and its wartime profits, despite its sensational disclosures, hardly has scratched the surface.

Even so, it has had some effect. The State Department has been studying "for some time" methods of keeping out of war. The War Department suddenly decides it has a wonderful plan to spring. The Administration names a committee – with the War and Navy Departments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall Street speculator – to limit profits in war time. To what extent isn't suggested. Hmmm. Possibly the profits of 300 and 600 and 1,600 per cent of those who turned blood into gold in the World War would be limited to some smaller figure.

Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of losses – that is, the losses of those who fight the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is nothing in the scheme to limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to limit his wounds to one or two or three. Or to limit the loss of life.

There is nothing in this scheme, apparently, that says not more than 12 per cent of a regiment shall be wounded in battle, or that not more than 7 per cent in a division shall be killed.

Of course, the committee cannot be bothered with such trifling matters.


Who provides the profits – these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us – the people – got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government bonds went to par – and above. Then the bankers collected their profits.

But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home.

Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face" ! This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more. So we scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan" speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.

In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the buildings and on the porches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don't even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and more are coming in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement – the young boys couldn't stand it.

That's a part of the bill. So much for the dead – they have paid their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded – they are paying now their share of the war profits. But the others paid, too – they paid with heartbreaks when they tore themselves away from their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam – on which a profit had been made. They paid another part in the training camps where they were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the trenches where they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain – with the moans and shrieks of the dying for a horrible lullaby.

But don't forget – the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents bill too.

Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize system, and soldiers and sailors fought for money. During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as $1,200 for an enlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave prize money. When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got their share – at least, they were supposed to. Then it was found that we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all the prize money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway. Then soldiers couldn't bargain for their labor, Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier couldn't.

Napoleon once said,

"All men are enamored of decorations...they positively hunger for them."

So by developing the Napoleonic system – the medal business – the government learned it could get soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil War there were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed out. It made enlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals were issued until the Spanish-American War.

In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army.

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side...it is His will that the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies...to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month.

All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill...and be killed.

But wait!

Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard or a laborer in a munitions factory safe at home made in a day) was promptly taken from him to support his dependents, so that they would not become a charge upon his community. Then we made him pay what amounted to accident insurance – something the employer pays for in an enlightened state – and that cost him $6 a month. He had less than $9 a month left.

Then, the most crowning insolence of all – he was virtually blackjacked into paying for his own ammunition, clothing, and food by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers got no money at all on pay days.

We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them back – when they came back from the war and couldn't find work – at $84 and $86. And the soldiers bought about $2,000,000,000 worth of these bonds!

Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family pays too. They pay it in the same heart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches and watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and tossed sleeplessly – his father, his mother, his wife, his sisters, his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.

When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they suffered too – as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed their dollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.

And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.


WELL, it's a racket, all right.

A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers –

yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!

Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

Why shouldn't they?

They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!

Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket – that and nothing else.

Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won't permit the taking of the profit out of war until the people – those who do the suffering and still pay the price – make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their bidding, and not that of the profiteers.

Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is the limited plebiscite to determine whether a war should be declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but merely of those who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There wouldn't be very much sense in having a 76-year-old president of a munitions factory or the flat-footed head of an international banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of a uniform manufacturing plant – all of whom see visions of tremendous profits in the event of war – voting on whether the nation should go to war or not. They never would be called upon to shoulder arms – to sleep in a trench and to be shot. Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.

There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those affected. Many of our states have restrictions on those permitted to vote. In most, it is necessary to be able to read and write before you may vote. In some, you must own property. It would be a simple matter each year for the men coming of military age to register in their communities as they did in the draft during the World War and be examined physically. Those who could pass and who would therefore be called upon to bear arms in the event of war would be eligible to vote in a limited plebiscite. They should be the ones to have the power to decide – and not a Congress few of whose members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are in physical condition to bear arms. Only those who must suffer should have the right to vote.

A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense only.

At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals of Washington (and there are always a lot of them) are very adroit lobbyists. And they are smart. They don't shout that "We need a lot of battleships to war on this nation or that nation." Oh no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only.

Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline on the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the united States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.

The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically limited, by law, to within 200 miles of our coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the Maine would never have gone to Havana Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would have been no war with Spain with its attendant loss of life. Two hundred miles is ample, in the opinion of experts, for defense purposes. Our nation cannot start an offensive war if its ships can't go further than 200 miles from the coastline. Planes might be permitted to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for purposes of reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territorial limits of our nation.

To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.

We must take the profit out of war.

We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.

We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.


I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I know the people do not want war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be pushed into another war.

Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied promise that he would "keep us out of war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.

In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.

Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?


An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President and his group:

"There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. We now owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers, American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars.

If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money...and Germany won't.


Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the press been invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to broadcast the proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all wars."

Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars.

Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?

The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.

The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more armament for itself and less for any potential foe.

There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of practicability. That is for all nations to get together and scrap every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every war plane. Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.

The next war, according to experts, will be fought not with battleships, not by artillery, not with rifles and not with machine guns. It will be fought with deadly chemicals and gases.

Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make their profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wear uniforms, for the manufacturer must make their war profits too.

But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists.

If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war – even the munitions makers.

So...I say,


Where's the line?

This is a follow-up from yesterday's post...

A rather humorous, although likely fictitious exchange between a lady and Winston Churchhill is reported thusly:

Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

I saw a comment yesterday on Facebook about those who call Bush and Obama, Hitler. It indicated that while US Presidents past and present have made some incredibly dumb decisions, until they murder 6,000,000 people, based on their perceived inferior genes, you can't make the comparison.

I agree with that wholeheartedly. I had this discussion with my Sunday School class on Sunday though. The thing with Hitler is that he didn't start out, wanting to rid the world of Jews and anyone he saw as inferior, or at least that's not what he told people, or they would have thrown him out on his rear for being a psychopath.

As a down on his luck painter, he started to frequent coffee bars, and realized that people were pretty worked up about the Jews. The more he spoke about them, the more people listened to him, and gradually it went from hate to the mass murder of millions of people. I suspect neither he nor any of those listening would have entertained thoughts of genocide when they started, but little by little they went down that road, until they had crossed the line.

But where is that magic line? When did he go from racist nut job at the corner cafe with political aspirations to maniacal leader intent on destroying anyone he didn't like?

It's like the old analogy of the frog in the hot water... If you heat the water slowly, at what point does the frog go from sitting in a warm bath, to being boiled?

When you're the frog sitting in the water it's hard to tell.

Finally, it was pointed out yesterday that my posts have only two themes... The LDS Church is bad and horrible, and Obama is perfect and can do no wrong. Which I think is a rather simplistic view of what I've been posting on, but I guess I can see why a person might think that.

First of all... Up until a couple of years ago, I lived in a magical world where the LDS Church I associated with was perfect. Leaders received revelation directly from God, we had the truth in it's entirelty, and one day we would live with God again.

And then I had a series of experiences, some of which I've shared, many of which I haven't which made me realize that a fairly significant portion of what I had been led to believe was true, was a complete fabrication. Much of the good remained, but there was a whole other side to the organization which was intentionally hidden from the membership. This blog became a place for me to vent about some of that. As of right now, in the last two years, I have yet to find out any new facts that make the organization look better than it was prior to those experiences. From exorbitant compensation for leaders to a history of racism, murder, rape and infidelity, all of which has been systematically and intentionally hidden and covered up, everything I've discovered has been negative.

If I have mis-represented any of that, I welcome feedback. If I'm right in what I have found, and you don't like it, perhaps a little more time reading the propaganda they publish, and less time reading this blog would make your life a little happier. I have never claimed to be pro-LDS, but I have claimed to try and represent the truth. After 30 years of brain-washing and lies though, I think I have some reason to be a little pissed off though.

And finally on my political standings... I voted for Barack Obama for president last year. I don't think he is perfect, but I think he was a vastly superior choice to John McCain, and his VP from Alaska. In some ways I feel a little bad for Ms. Palin, because I feel she's been used by the establishment to try and pander to a certain demographic, but at the same time... Come On Sarah!!!

The election was going to result in wasted tax-payer money either way. I saw the choice as... Do I want the government to waste the money blowing up fellow human beings in the middle east, or do I want them to spend it on welfare programs...

Not exactly a difficult choice from where I stood.

Mr Obama has screwed up a couple of things, many of which I've called him out on. I think he dropped the ball when it came to Gitmo and the Don't Ask Don't tell policy in the military. I think he's allowed the debate on health-care to be controlled by those who are in the pocket of the medical industry, the very thing he campaigned about being the problem in Washington. We need some kind of reform, but it's been politicized, possibly beyond the point where a workable solution can be sort.

At the same time though, he walked into a crappy situation.

It was his predecessor, who was either an idiot and didn't have the balls to stand up to a VP who was over stepping his bounds, or he knowingly started wars to profit the defense industry or promote a religious agenda against Islam. I can't say for sure which.

It was his predecessor who cut taxes, creating a temporary boom in the economy, but then escalated government spending over 25% to assist in causing a global recession.

It was 2 of his predecessors, Clinton who signed the law, and Bush, who vetoed a proposed removal of the bill, which allowed insurance companies to further crush a weakened global economy.

The guy got served a big old plate of dog crap as his innaugral meal, and while he's made some mistakes, I tend to think that overall, he's done a pretty decent job of trying to get things fixed. Unfortunately the political climate in the country is such that thinking someone has done something well, apparently means you hate his opposition and are deeply in love with him.

I believe libertarianism is the best solution to our problems, but it's not a philosophy which is going to get voted into place anytime soon, and due to the way in which our culture has evolved is not feasible at this point.

Capitalism in the United States is failing. It's failing because the system has been perverted and corrupted. When CEO's are making billions while their companies fail and are bailed out with tax-payer money, I think that's a clear sign that the system is broken, and it's time for something else.

I don't Socialism is the answer to all the problems, but I do think it's viable and it's not the great plan of Satan - which has been the point of my pro-socialism posts. It works reasonably well in other countries, and I think it could work reasonably well here. The vast majority of American's believe this as well, or at least that was they indicated by their vote last year. The US is a democratic country, even if you may not agree with the voice of the majority of the people.

I'm not naive as to think it will solve all our problems, and it, like capitalism is definitely subject to corruption. The Socialist dream is one of an egalitarian society. Yes, if you're in love with money, and want more than everyone else, it's a bad idea - but that's the problem with any political philosophy - The love of money!

As always, if I have misrepresented the truth or made baseless claims, please feel free to correct me!