The intent of this blog is to promote human equality, human progress, human peace and justice, and optimism. To accomplish this, to encourage the discussion of ideas after identifying and discovering problems, and then creating positive solutions for "we the people," in order to provide for the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility" of America now and its "posterity" into the future. To encourage an emphasis on separation of religion and state for all, no matter if this is for those "of faith" in a Maker / Creator (Deists, God-loving people, Christians, various people of spirituality) and atheists or agnostics.

Archive for November, 2022

Tale of My Father’s Service in the Pacific During World War II

My father died in 2018 at age 92. He lived a good life.

During his last months, my father shared stories with me about his service for his country and putting his life on the line for our America. Recently, I saw a 1943 Newark Valley yearbook. My dad was a junior in high school. In his class photo, there was my dad, sitting next to his best friend in high school, Joe Bates. Not a surprise that my dad and Joe would be next to each other in that photo. But i had never seen that yearbook before.

My dad told me about how he and Joe Bates were both drafted into the U.S. Army after graduating high school in 1944. He told about how Joe was sent to Europe and my dad was sent to the Philippines.

While in the Philippines, my dad came down with a terrible sickness. I never bothered to ask him what the sickness was. I can only speculate, perhaps, that it was malaria. At any rate, my dad was confined to a hospital which I believe was located near Clark Air Base (about 40 miles from Manila).

While secluded in a hospital, his battalion boarded a naval ship to be transported to Japan. My dad recovered before the ship arrived in Japan. He was on his own to find his way to Japan. By means of two different U.S. Army Air Corps planes, he found his way to Japan. First to Okinawa. Second from Okinawa to Japan. He was supposed to hide on the planes. The pilots could have been disciplined for taking a passenger.

My dad tells about arriving in southern Japan before his fellow soldiers arrived. He arrived there for two reasons. (1) A typhoon in the Pacific delayed the ship getting to Japan. (2) The harbor for which the ship was to arrive still had mines and those mines had to be cleared.

My dad arrived at the headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, located at a Tokyo hotel. He was then transported to the southern area of Japan where his battalion was about to arrive. He was reunited with his battalion.

Part of my dad’s story was about being in the barracks with the other soldiers. They found Japanese helmets and other implements the soldiers wanted as souvenirs. They took them and put them with the bunks in the barracks. Word went around that there was to be an inspection. Most of the men simply threw the implements they had outside. My dad and several others did not remove implements, so they were caught with them. My dad had to serve in some sort of KP duty, as punishment.

My dad also told about being in a convoy heading to northern Japan and the city of Sapporo. My dad never told me about the following. According to William Manchester’s biography of Douglas MacArthur (American Caesar), MacArthur, as Supreme Commander over Japan, had sent troops to northern Japan. Was my dad’s battalion part of that mission? Further research is necessary.

The reason MacArthur sent troops to that area was due to the threat of the Soviet Union, across the waters from that area, invading Japan. As the Soviets did to divide Europe (and later helped in dividing Korea and Vietnam), there were expectations the Soviets might do the same in Japan. MacArthur was proactive in taking on the challenge, should it happen. It never happened, as we know. Perhaps that saved my dad’s life?

In 1972, fifty years ago, we welcomed a Japanese Rotary exchange student into our home. She was from Sapporo. It was interesting that year, because the Winter Olympics were in Sapporo. The young girl was sad that she was away from her hometown during those games. We were all able to watch the events on American television.

It was wonderful that my dad shared those events with me. I think about his activities each year on Veterans Day. Today being Veterans Day, I thought I would share these events. Now. If I could only find the tape recording I made of my father telling this story! Somewhere in my house that tapes still exists!

Sadness Rates in the World (and America)

Inbox

Dear Editors:

I have read David Brooks columns for many years.  I have listened to David Brooks commentary Friday evenings on PBS.  Many times I see eye to eye with Brooks’s somewhat more conservative ideas.  Many times I don’t see eye to eye with Brooks.  That is what America is about.  Considering commentary (sometimes opinion, too), learning and gaining wisdom, and synthesizing into our own thoughts. 

There is no way we can always see eye to eye with a person 100% of the time.  Whether that person is our spouse or just a friend or acquaintance, we can never be in agreement 100% of the time.  That is the way things should be, but they are not, as fascist Republicans use scare tactics to mesmerize the minds with opioid treatment. 

With this being said (and extending my message with more words), I now must comment about the commentary, with facts, presented by Mr. Brooks on 2 Nov. 2022.  His facts are about a “grim tide of sadness” in the world.  He uses facts to demonstrate that the lower portion of society are in the lower sector of society who have seen an increase in sadness. At the same time, those in the upper classes (I shall call the oligarchy) have seen an increase in happiness.  In other words, at the expense of the lower classes of people, the upper classes are happier.  The lower classes are not as happy.  Facts presented as part of his opinion-editorial (op-ed), but I see it more as a commentary with facts, not an opinion.  (The media has caused the problems we have by calling these op-eds). 

Mr. Brooks discusses such facts from various Asian nations.  Communist China is one such nation.  The oligarchy in a presumed communist nation (which should NOT have an oligarchy) have experienced this ordeal and an increased wealth among those at the top has been revealed. 

This sounds like what has been happening in a presumed capitalist nation like the USA.  Reaganomics and supply-side economics, in my humble opinion (I can provide facts, too), are at fault for this happening in the USA.  A twisted idea of what capitalism truly is, as we think of capitalism as “supply-side economics,” while Adam Smith (18th Century contemporary to our Founding Fathers) defined capitalism as something to challenge the oligarchy of supposed divine-rights kings and feudal landlord nobles and barons with the idea of SUPPLY AND DEMAND.  Balance and not individualism at the top.  In this practice, only government can regulate the balance between supply and demand.  Reagan claimed “government” is a problem, due to such regulation.

Another side to what Mr. Brooks says harks back to my days of learning from a Christian pastor who embraced the ideas of Deist Thomas Jefferson, that ideas from the Hebrew scriptures regarding creationism do not have to be examples of rejection of evolution and survival of the fittest (Darwinism and atheism).  This pastor pointed out that the men who wrote those Hebrew scriptures were merely attempting to come to grips with what God was about in the universe.  That seven days in the lives of men could be millions of years in the eyes of God. We cannot be certain about God because human beings did not have the knowledge of God. 

Another aspect I learned from this Christian pastor had to do with Darwinism and atheism.  This pastor represented survival of the fittest as meaning our human species having dominion over animals, but that Jesus Christ came as the WORD OF GOD (John 1:1) to help dispel such ideas by centering on a love of one another, all human beings. 

This means that survival of the fittest is not between “chosen people,” as Israelis contend, or between white and black people, or between Latinx and others, or between straight or gay, or between men and women.  It is not a matter of surviving by having control of one human species over another.  Rather it is about all human beings having love for one another and working in community, not as selfish and greedy individuals who berate their fellow human beings. 

Examples.  White supremacists think they are better than black folk. I have heard this crap expressed against former President Obama. On the other hand, black folk who proclaim the election of Obama as being a “first.”  White supremacists who have invoked lynch mobs during the era of Jim Crow.  They only accept black folks unless they follow the marching orders of white folk (i.e., Thomas or Walker).  The males reject females when someone like my mother runs in a Republican primary for a political office and many males say, “they don’t want her to be town supervisor because she is a woman.”  The black man who thinks we need to get rid of abortions, for the sake of black folk and no consideration of the entire human race and particular situations where the mother might lose her life (the fetus is more important than the mother, so both must die?) or there is rape or incest involved.    In all of these examples, people have thick skulls and don’t allow the elevator to go all the way to the top.

Thus, we get supply-side economics and the development of only the “me, me, me” individualist greedy attitudes which Mr. Brooks addresses in his own way.  We are living with the lack of love for one another and no care or consideration for one another, due to individualist “survival of the fittest” attitudes.  We don’t think about providing opportunities for all people and many times it’s more about providing handouts instead, although that, too, is objectionable to white supremacists and others. 

America HAS been the shining light, compared to Communist China and other sections in the world.  For the sake of “survival of the fittest” of the Chinese people, CBS Sixty Minutes report this past Sunday pointed out that the Communist Chinese version of Tik Tok is very controlled so as to EDUCATE their own people.  But for the rest of the world, they put it out there in an “anything goes” fashion.  It helps the Chinese survive while helping to destroy the education and learning capacities of our Western civilization. The Chinese embrace what Western classical music can do for the brains of people, while our Western people, stupidly, reject it and demonstrate their stupidity and lack of a brain, in the process. 

The net result since the Reagan and the birth of supply-side economics, has been  several developments in America.  (1) we want opinions, not facts; (2) we have big fat pig newspaper publishers who reject good journalism, local investigative reporting, local information and commentary, and do everything by sensationalism; we then wonder why “nobody reads newspapers;” (3) Ronald Reagan, Jr., who identifies himself as being an atheist and one has to wonder whether he supports “survival of the fittest” as being between those in the human species, not between humans and animal species – anything goes, but stop two consenting adults from doing what they wish to do; (4) defense of greed, narcissism, love of money, and lack of caring for one another, due to “survival of the fittest;” (5) love of gladiator-type games and being mesmerized by blood and guts and guns splashed on television screens. 

In the 1950s, the character, Perry Mason said just the opposite of what publishers say about newspaper journalism and the facts.  Perry Mason:  “I don’t want opinions, I want the evidence.” 

In the 1980s, the character, J.B. Fletcher said, “I have a theory [not a conspiracy theory] but I need the evidence and facts.  All opposite of what is being said today throughout our society when invoking greed and narcissism and validating it with “survival of the fittest.”  Then the far left liberals wish to spend all our time protecting the animals with which humans have dominion.  That is fine to have such opposition when humans massacre animals for the sake of greed and selfishness.  But to protect us from losing our own food stocks, such actions by the far left push the envelope too far.  Example. 

Killing predators of deer and domestic livestock, we kill off the coyote.  Then the deer populate to such a point that they become a nuisance for drivers and for those who maintain gardens for the sake of human needs for consumption.  When, in actuality, When in actuality, the “survival” factor could be to have donkeys protect the livestock because they are able to stomp on any coyote which come close to the livestock.  Nature working together for the sake of “survival of the fittest” among animal species, but to consider that God does not intend “an eye for an eye” among the human species because Jesus Christ said something contrary to “an eye for an eye….”

Sad to hear the sadness rate increases for “lower class” humans.  This should be stopped. An attitude adjustment contrary to survival of the fittest among the human species needs to occur.  Balance can be accomplished by regulation of business so as to eliminate the creation of monopolies with the use of supply-side economics.   Mr. Brooks only presented the facts, but really did not identify solutions.  Thus, I refer to Mr. Brooks and his facts, but also present ideas for solutions, too.  

My writing is not a letter to the editor because it is too lengthy.  My writing is not an op-ed because it is a commentary with solutions. Really.  It is not too lengthy to be an op-ed or a commentary.  Thank you, Mr. Brooks, for the facts included in your commentary. 

It’s Not Just Inflation, Stupid

In 1992, James Carville said, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

Today, we are listening to a media which keeps pushing this statement, using it against Democrats and President Joe Biden.  Wrong, stupid media.

The cover story of a recent Economist magazine is as follows:  “It’s not just inflation.”  One cannot say, “it’s the economy.” 

Facts.

1992 Unemployment: 7/4%; GDP: 3.5%; Inflation: 2.8%; Event: NAFTA drafted

2021Unemployment: 3.9%; GDP:5.7%; Inflation: 7.0%Event: COVID-19 pandemic and recovery

1992 and President George H.W. Bush was in control.  It was an election year, but Bill Clinton did not take power until Jan. 1993.  Sadly, the Democrats joined with the Republicans in implementing NAFTA.  Unemployment was already bad in

1992.  NAFTA did not help the situation, but the fallout from NAFTA did not happen for years, as Bill Clinton reduced unemployment during his tenure as president.  In those years following 1992, GDP and inflation fluctuated, but unemployment was reduced.  By the time Bill Clinton turned the government over to George W. Bush, the Federal budget was a balanced one, due to the tax credits given to the MIDDLE CLASS, not so much the UPPER CLASS with its people who refuse to pay taxes (as today). 

During the period under Democrat Bill Clinton, for the first time in years and two Republican administrations, the interest rate came down to single-digit percentages.  I know.  I purchased a home in 1988, under Republicans.  Double-digit rates.  I purchased a home in 1996 under Clinton. Single-digit rates.  Facts from my personal experiences. 

I suggest the media and many others read The Economist.  In this way, they will stop yelling,, “inflation is the end-all description of all our problems and therefore, Biden and the Democrats are at fault.”  I suggest, by reading this Economist article, the media will stop being lainbrains in their coverage of the political situation in America.  They will begin to say, the economy is following a period of recovery as we attempt to overcome a pandemic.  That, compared to 1992, unemployment is down and the GDP is up.  Two basic parts of the economy (plus others), are decent, while inflation is the bad thing.  But then, how is the problem of inflation solved? One means of doing so is to raise interest rates, something the president of the USA has very little DIRECT control (indirect? yes). 

But by making the other two parts of this economy equation going more smoothly today and not pushing overseas business over American (as Republican Bush wished to do by throwing the American auto industry under the Japanese bus, plus NAFTA). n contrast, today, President Biden and the Democrats wish to encourage development of American business v. those in Asia, with his infrastructure bill (perhaps to help avert war with an Asian nation, too?). 

The media is failing to present these ideas and to shut up the signs with “Biden sucks,” and so forth.  What lainbrained stupidity and the fault of the media for allowing it.  Again.  The media should begin to read The Economist more frequently. 

It’s not just inflation, stupid.

Education & My Life

When I attempt to get my point across from my 40 years of experience in education, libraries, and training, why do I get nothing but glazed eyes and have to let people know about my accomplishments I achieved in Florida? Besides genealogical research seminars and my regular librarian / professorial duties, doing several presentations with colleagues at National Association of Developmental Educators (NADE), the Florida edition of NADE, Special Libraries Association Fla. & Caribbean Chapter (SLA, an international organization) conferences?  Or presentations at the Professional Teaching & Learning Center at my college (etc.)? Or writing for a PEER-REVIEWED INTERNATIONAL LEARNING JOURNAL?  Then, getting rejected by American educators in attempts to get peers in the USA to consider what I am writing about.  Canadian library association asking me to do a presentation when the Florida Library Association rejects me. 

In music, my accomplishments at singing and substitute choir directing.  Add to that my instrumental experience. 

I have to fight to get noticed by American educators and librarians?  But I get recognized by people around the world, from Australia to Canada?  But not Americans?  Are Americans thinking they are the best in the world?  Really? 

After reading that America, since Prop 13 in California and reduction of taxes for PUBLIC education, it now lags behind the rest of the world in education, I have to think about this.  Rejected by American education professionals.  Accepted by professionals on the international scene.  What the hell is this?  My own people rejecting me.  It makes me want to spit on America at times.  But I try not to do that.  What if I decided to be like the QAnon bastard who invaded the Pelosi home with the intent to “break kneecaps” and break kneecaps of Rick the Prick, Ron DeSantis, Jebbie Bush, or Donald Trump?  Would I not be stooping to a low level of scvummy human being? 

At the same time, privatization of prisons have led to the largest population of incarceration in the world – in AMERICA.  Then Republicans put an ad on television degrading the ideas to HELP human beings, but the law and order manure of, “let’s HANDCUFF” them.  Never realizing that we have reduced public education in America. Is it not possible the net result of this has been an increased population in our prisons where those with minor offenses have been educated by hardened criminals instead?  Privatized prisons which have as a goal to put as many people in prison in order to support a PROFIT motive. 

This sounds like Hitler who, because Jews and others, dissented against him, he gassed them in concentration camps.  We have not yet reached the level of “gassing,” but unless we vote these tyrant dictatorial fascists out of power, we might. 

What else? Hitler killed a Lutheran pastor by framing him for something he DID NOT DO, because the pastor spoke out in the name of Jesus Christ, against Hitler.  Disgusting to think that a grandson of Hitler-loving Prescott Bush was the one who began the pursuit of privatization of prisons and education, thus increasing Florida prison populations.  His name?  John Ellis Bush, also known as Jeb Bush.  Jebbie wanting privatized prisons and privatized education.  Rick the Prick and DeSantis to follow him, in spite of TERM LIMITS in Florida. 

We have bulging prison populations and with this Reagan fixation on lowering taxes because “government is the problem,” we have destroyed public education in America.  We are unable to recognize those of us who work to help advance the ideas of public education. 

In addition to what I describe happening in education, we have Rick the Prick who makes money from privatization of healthcare systems and elimination of public hospitals so as not to be as well prepared for a virus and its strains.  We have made money for CEOs of Wackenhut and other companies, at the expense of many Americans, primarily the black population. 

And people just look the other way or their eyes glaze over with a mindset of “it’s always been this way” when I talk about being certified with training teachers with 4MAT Conceptual Learning (Bernice McCarthy) and me being tested as whole brained after returning to music following many years devoted to a science – library science – and being analytical left brained.  People think I am crazy when I go against lousy mindsets to preserve what they believe.  It is awful. 

This past week, I did research about the history of public schools in my hometown of Newark Valley, NY.  I learned some new information.  For instance, that in the late 18th Century, the first schools were begun here in Newark Valley.  According to my research, the intent was (paraphrased) to create the best education for ALL of the residents.  This is contrary to the notions about education at that time in Britain, the nation we shed, with its Oxford, Cambridge, and others. I do not wish to return to such a form of education designed only for those with money (aristocracy). 

If I say I am Progressive Conservative, my desires are to overturn what has been done to help us move to the older ways of aristocratic Britain.  Teddy Roosevelt was a Progressive Conservative but called himself a Progressive Bull Moose.  He was a “trust buster” so as to bring us to a life defined by Adam Smith (friend of Ben Franklin) with supply AND demand side economics, not the supply side economics of an aristocracy which twisted the words of Adam Smith to their own narcissistic benefits.   I am a Progressive Conservative American who desires to use ideas from the past which work and are good for community and society, not JUST the aristocracy and the oligarchy.  Reagan’s ideas support the development of supply side economics and the return to the robber barons Teddy Roosevelt opposed. 

Perhaps people need to have an attitude adjustment, rather than look down upon matters which are proven to work for the progress of our children, but are not based on the framework which is the same as what people stuck in a rut of corporal punishment education in America have been doing in the past. Measures that are NOT corporal punishment based DO WORK.  Conceptual learning, information literacy (learning to learn) and other important matters are being shoved aside as people look at me with their eyes glazing over – as if to say, “you are insane in thinking about these things.”  I am also whole-brained, too, according to the last tests I had taken.  I was also told by a psychologist I should be joining a group like MENSA.  Can’t take these things about me?  Too bad. 

I have observed anti-corporal punishment accomplishments.  Handcuffs put people in jail to learn from hardened criminals.  Or else face the “gas chambers.”  Former students of my Grandpa Floyd B. Schoonmaker, here at Newark Valley (teacher and librarian, 1940s to late 1950s at NV) always talk about how tough he was with the corporal punishments he used at that time.  Perhaps the best description of my grandfather is a page devoted to him, written by students and published in the 1955 NV yearbook.  For in that yearbook, it describes the sense of humor Mr. Schoonmaker had.  People can be tough as nails without using corporal punishment. I have observed some of the with both black and white professional colleagues. We often noticed that beneath that “tough exterior” was a person with a “heart of gold.”  Sounds like my Grandpa Floyd Schoonmaker, who was performing his teaching duties as defined in the 1940s and 1950s by a man born in the late 1800s.  . 

‚Äč My life and public education.  As Rodney Dangerfield said, “I don’t get any respect.”  I did achieve success with my students.  Sometimes a sense of humor was utilized.  One student even returned one Friday evening while I was working at the Circulation desk in the library and told all the students about how, the personj lifted himself out of homelessness and succeeded (an Army veteran), had succeeded, due to Mr. Cornwell. 

But in the overall scheme of things, I wonder why I get little or no respect from professionals in education in the USA, but received peer approval in an international journal of learning?  I actually felt more respect when reading how America now lags behind the rest of the world in public education and has one of the largest prison populations in the world. Yet, I received approval and respect from those outside this nation, with its failing public education system.  At least I know ONE homeless person who never ended up in jail, but succeeded in life.  How many others were there? Making me feel better is Aretha Franklin’s song:  “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”  ‚ÄčOther words.  Dignity.  Walking in integrity. 

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