Saith Me… Propaganda

Propaganda works on those willing to listen either from fear or from prior conviction. It can plant seeds of doubt, however seeds of doubt turn into trees of knowledge for any willing to explore rather than be led.

Fear meme

Classwork has me pondering…

A fellow student recently mentioned the conventional nature of war in the conflict between Israel and Lebanon.  This caused me to think about Israel and Iran.

Unlike Israel and Lebanon who share a common border and therefore can wage a conventional war rather easily, Israel and Iran are separated by a large land mass making direct conflict more difficult. On a smaller scale, they seem to be waging a “cold war” of rhetoric and defense build-up, but unlike in the Cold War, they have limited ability to “export” hot, conventional war.

This is where, I think, the US finds itself in a bad situation. Entangling alliances and diplomacy are threatening to pull us in to a regional battle that would leave us the big losers. While Iran does not seem like the ‘nicest’ of world players (especially with the crazy dude spouting craziness all the time), Israel is more dangerous because they seem to be looking for justification for a preemptive strike. When we made the preemptive argument for Iraq, we gave credibility to others who want to make the same argument.  Worse, no amount of justification can overshadow the chaos left behind, or the reality that even with our best intentions, we cannot “build” a foundation others won’t tear down once we are completely pulled out.  To keep the peace and preserve what we have tried to do, we have to be a modern version of an imperial power, i.e. we make the ‘sovereign’ nation dependent on our economic, political, and military strength. Or – the big elephant in the room – we pull out, cut our losses, and deal with the repercussions for the next few decades. If we take the second option, Israel will have further justification for preemptive strike, knowing they will not need to clean up any mess they make, because we set the precedent. I shudder to think what Pakistan would then do.

Then what, would we all take sides? Would it be like a game of Risk? Would we be lucky to end up in a new Cold War, or would we see a WWI chain reaction?

Just something to ponder…

 

News article found after posting – check it out.  http://hamptonroads.com/2012/10/exdefense-chief-says-hit-iran-would-be-disastrous

Saith Me… Understanding Your Opponent

Understanding your opponent is vital, misunderstanding your opponent is detrimental to success. Information inaccurately sourced or evaluated can lead to great struggle and strife; can lead to confusion and defeat. Avoid quick assessment or popular belief, dig deeper and be prepared to admire your opponent even as you prepare to defeat them.

 

A Gun Owner on the Subject of Guns

It is said all the time here in the US that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  In light of the latest horrible episode depicting the horror wrought by one human on another, the saying should be changed.

“Guns may not kill people, but people carrying guns kill people.”
More people carrying guns will only lead to more dead, not less.  

People legally carrying guns into schools, parks, and theaters will not deter the senseless, horrific killings of innocents.  By all means, if you chose to own guns, do so, but do so at home, or on the gun range. Do so after receiving training. Do so with the knowledge that only nutcases talk about killing others.  Spouting off that you are prepared to kill another, even in self-defense, does not make you sound brave. It makes you sound foolish.

Many men and women train to protect the nation and its citizens with deadly force if needed, but I doubt they brag about the actual idea of killing another human being.  It is one thing to own a gun in honor of your Freedom to do so, it is completely different to own a gun with the intent to kill someone.  If you doubt this, ask a cop or a soldier.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost their lives or their loved ones this week.  My heart aches for your sorrow.

To Be Informed or To Be Educated

The citizens of the United States are distracted by political campaign information. They are embroiled in heated debate over healthcare. They argue about getting rid of the immigrants who long to support our economic and social system when they should be concentrating focus on the dangerous criminals who are the real threat. Therefore, they are missing the warning signs of other problems on the horizon.  One such international problem can be found just across the southern border as Mexicans go to their polls.

It is doubtful the President or the experienced members of congress are distracted from the international problems. Looking outside of the US, one sees that the US is not the only nation struggling with a poor economy, immigration issues, international crime and terrorism. What kind of a future does the US face, if a majority the ‘experienced’ leaders in DC are replaced by a whole new crew of 1st timers? Especially if the only agenda they bring with them is on the US economy, and on the US healthcare, and on the US borders.

The origins of US immigration policies are found in the early 1900’s during the time when isolationism was still being valued as good US policy. Isolationist policies, however, did not prove effective in the early 1900’s, they simply made the US late-comers for two wars for which joining was unavoidable.  In 1942 the internment policy of rounding up anyone “suspicious” was beyond contemptible, but it was policy.  Fear and a tremendous feeling of suffering dictated US domestic and foreign policies in the first half of the 20th century.

However at the same time the US was closing its borders, there was a social push to help its poor and downtrodden citizens.  Labor laws, workers unions, Social Security and legislation similar to the National School Lunch Act, all played a role in post war successes.  Due to economic policies during WWII, employer based health insurance became widely offered as well.   It was determined that prosperity was much easier to achieve if the nation was healthy rather than unhealthy. There was a need for the government to act, and the power of big government began to replace the power of big business.

Now a hundred years later, immigration and health care issues are at the center of US politics again.  Citizens are beginning to fear “others” and focusing on national issues while avoiding international issues.

Progress has been made but fear, misinformation, and “money” backed political theater will not keep the progress moving forward.  Talk of the “good ol’ days” is just talk.  If you are blessed to know survivors of those days, ask them about epidemics, outhouses, food shortages and social inequality.  It is a human trait to reminisce of the ol’ days. Selective memory is common, some prefer focusing on the good and some on the bad.  The citizens of the United States need to evaluate the good and the bad, the effective and the ineffective.

It is sad that with easy access to so much information, so many are misinformed.  A random comment posted concerning an editorial on the Supreme Court Healthcare ruling claimed, “We are becoming like the USSR.”  Many would like to blame this misinformed opinion on a failing educational system, but that would be unfair.  That would be like saying Fox News, or CNN, or MSNBC are to blame for all the ignorance in society. To quote a common saying, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, on that same reasoning, “cable news doesn’t make ignorance, people choose ignorance”.

Ignorance is conquered when an individual seeks information, evaluates the information by comparing it to other information, and then forms an opinion. This is how an individual becomes educated.  This how parents should be teaching their children. This is what voters should be doing before casting a vote.  This is what politicians should encourage.

While some journalists still prescribe to providing information rather than opinion, it is not up to them to educate us.  It is up to the individual to become educated and not simply informed.

Women Attacking Women: The Covert War on Women

A call to war, a battle cry, a rally of the forces!  Unless you have avoided the news media entirely over the past few weeks, you must have heard the phrase, “War on Women.”  Is there a war?  Most definitely, but as with most wars, those who call for war instead of diplomacy are as much to blame for the eventual collateral damage as those who drop the first proverbial bomb and ignite the fire.

As with every war, there are quieter, more dangerous forces working just under the radar.  These covert warriors often go undetected and therefore unstopped.  Even when their warfare is known to the public, they are often discounted as being of little consequence or threat.

As someone who grew up in a very paternalistic society, I recall being repeatedly instructed, “While men may look like they control the world, it is the women who you need to look out for; they have the real power.”

I left my conservative, male dominated society and studied at an all-female college.  At school, the lessons of my youth were reconfirmed.  Women had voices, they had strength, and they had power.  They could be viciously truthful, unbending in their beliefs and forceful in their causes.  Women, who would shelter you from a storm or come to your aid, could also tear you to shreds if they felt you were unjust, or worse, lacking a cause.  Vocal women are not rare at an all-female college, but direct attack will most often be parried with more direct attack.  When verbally attacked by men or women, women will defend themselves, not always to their credit, but often with results.  “She was like an angry mother bear,” is a metaphor which applies not just to women with their biological children, but also with their ideological children.

As with any war, covert operations exist in the War on Women.  It would not be covert, however, if the secret warrior didn’t blend in with the crowd.  Choosing a man to covertly attack women would be foolish. Just as foolish, would be to utilize the same attack tactics.  Direct, open attack would only strengthen a woman’s determination, not weaken it.  Women, regardless of what some might infer, are not stupid or weak.  By “some”, I do not mean “men”.  Sadly women have a terrible tendency of treating other women, who hold differing beliefs and lifestyles from their own, as being stupid or weak.

The news this week has provided two examples of this type of war on women.   The first tactic has left the covert battlefield behind and like the covert military actions of the Cold War, is now under public scrutiny.  Oddly, the revelation of a longstanding covert war between two groups of women in New York has come to light because President Obama chose to speak at Barnard College’s commencement rather than at Columbia University’s.  Barnard is the all-female sister school of the co-ed Columbia University.  While Columbia men have made some appalling statements in regards to the women of Barnard, the women of Columbia have been just as applauding in their commentary.  Hostilities between these neighbors are not new, the rhetoric and attacks did not begin recently. The only recent development is that these attacks have come to the attention of a larger public.

The second attack on women is much more subtle. It is acting on the perceived idea that women are shallow and easily manipulated.  It is the idea that a woman who stays at home with her children is somehow less intelligent, less informed and less interested in social causes than a career woman.  Now, I have been a career woman, a super-mom, and a mom whose children are her career. Never, during any of my stages of life, has my interest in social and political welfare been as keen as it has been since I became a stay-at-home mom.  Every day, the time invested in my children reminds me of how important it is for me to work for their future.  I do not believe I am a rare woman today, and contrary to myth, I think women of the past were not so different either.

I acknowledge that women come in all kinds of packages, with different education levels and with different beliefs. With such diversity, it is easy for women to get frustrated with other women. While women can be harsh when frustrated, on some level they recognize that they are on the same team; a team where the players acknowledge their dislike for each other or for each other’s ideas, but where they often come to each other’s defense when under attack.

When politicians act upon the perception that women only care about how much it costs to fill up their SUVs gas tank, they are being repugnant.  When women defend this action, promote this perception and infer that somehow homemakers are just not concerned with social issues, it is more than repugnant. Today, it was two Republican women on ABC’s This Week’s – Roundtable, who made this type of subtle attack on women.  You will have to watch the video link, rather than read the article to hear it. I commend ABC for editing out the reference to women voting rather than general public voting on this topic.  While today it was Republican women attacking, it reminded me of an interview* that I watched also on ABC, many years ago, when a prominent woman shocked the host with an attack on moms who left the workforce when they had children, and accused the women of being in some way a detriment to their children’s growth.  Sadly the Covert War on Women is bi-partisan.

The phrase, “Look out, woman on a quest,” does not only refer to women looking for the perfect guy, sexy shoes or a great pre-school.  Women of all walks of life organize quests, lead quests and journey on quests.  The main difference between women on quests and men is that they declare less often to the world what their social quests are.  This makes them excellent operatives in a covert war.  When these operatives are respectful, women feel enlightened and informed, but when these operatives attack with subtle demeaning stereotypes, self-esteem dwindles.  Regardless if one believes they are justified in their quest or cause; women should not be waging war on each other.

Oh, and men shouldn’t attack us either, because it isn’t nice, and if we actually do hold the real power, it benefits them to be nice to us…..

* I included a “Mommy War” debate, but am still looking for the episode where the prominent woman made the appalling accusation that educated women choosing to stay home with their children, were in fact harming them, especially harming the female children.  I had only been a stay-at-home mom for about a year and was infuriated by the statement.  Sadly, while I remember the interview clearly, I cannot as of yet find a link.  I will update this article if I eventually find it.