YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN WITH COVID FACTS…

I’m over being criticized for posting factual information on coronavirus. I’ve really tried to make sure each story in which I provide a link is accurate. School, meeting, public event closures and changes are met with complaints that they are not necessary. Anecdotal evidence of covid cases or the impact of them are often criticized as disinformation from a liberal-leaning media. Most disturbing is the basic lack of respect indicated by people who steadfastly refuse to wear a mask…such a simple, cheap, and effective way to keep fine molecules from you…getting to the next person.Some brief explanations are in order:This is not a media cabal to help take over the nation. Covid is about to take over, and the health professionals we have hired to protect us, are doing their best. There might be blunders, and indications we hired the wrong people, but they are trying. Unfortunately, in this battle there are no participation rules. On the media- I am afraid most networks have liberal leaning management, producers, and editors. Some more than others. I believe the truth is somewhere between what the -commentators- on CNN say, and the -commenators- on Fox News have to say. Please notice I said commentators…show hosts who have an agenda and set out to prove it. We must look at those programs for what they are. So far as hard news is concerned, you have to learn the objective portions of a correspondent’s report. Take care to note facts, times, dates, and the comments of those interviewed. Too often, reporters will pick someone to interview …and raise the verity of their comments to the level of some expert on the topic being reported on. Yes, this takes work, but soon anyone can develop a sense of credibility when persons of standing in their field are interviewed, facts are correctly presented, and … a sense of when a news story just doesn’t ‘smell right’.I’ve tried to report on the covid virus without somehow twisting it into a political, anti Trump screed each time. And, according to some of you, I missed the mark. So, because I am very tired of having my objectivity called into question over basic facts on covid, and because some readers believe I am part of a weird cabal promoting something-or-other that has to do with a world-wide conspiracy, and because folks bull headedly insist I’m printing disinformation….You’re on your own. Do your own research. And I will give in. Since even the number of the sick can be disputed…I’ll only report the dead. I still think somebody needs to speak for them.

It’s Probably Worse Than We Think

Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending the FBI Citizens Academy. The classes expanded my knowledge of the agency, and some of the challenges our government faces in the effort to keep our secrets.. secret.
One class met at the Oak Ridge National Labs, in the building that houses one of the fastest computers in the world. Security was very tight. We were not permitted to drive onto the property- agents took us in shuttle vehicles. We were on a list of approved visitors, and had to show credentials to be able to enter the site. Obviously, no cameras or recorders, no usb sticks.. no nothing.
The computer was amazing. We met in a room with a screen the size of the side of my house… and it had striking detail. On the screen was an aerial photo of The Presidential Innaguration. And on that huge screen, you could easily see individual people…in a photo that ran the length of the Mall.
Later, there were speakers who briefed us on the scope of the FBI mission at Oak RIdge. The number of agents is classified. Many of the assignments are secret. But, in the light of the alleged Russian hacking of several American computer networks, I figured I would try to give you some idea of the extent our enemies work to compromise our military and industrial secrets. I’m going to be as general as I can, to protect anything that remains confidential in the ruse.
FIrst, China has long employed a factory like building in which scores of computer experts work night and day to exploit American soft spots in cyber security. But sometimes, it only takes human frailty to get inside.
We were shown transcripts of an email conversation between an operative in China ( or an effort by several assigned to the same case).
The target was a scientist in Oak Ridge, who worked on nuclear research and development.
The attacker was a “female”.
One day, the Oak Ridge expert received an e-mail… asking if it was the e-mail of the professor who published a paper titled ” [name not released]”. “Why yes’, came the answer … and the game was on.
Over a long period of time, the espionage continued, with messages of flattery and ingratiating statements. And conversation between the two apparently grew somewhat intimate.
Investigators believe the professor might have actually been talking to several people on the other end of the e-mail line. Possibly a supervisor or maybe a psychological operations officer advising them on how to lure their quarry.
Eventually, the nuclear professor’s sense of secrecy and mission completely collapsed, and he agreed to take a trip to China to meet his new soulmate.
That is when the FBI decided to intervene. Nobody could say what might have happened to the nuclear expert had he made the trip to China.
But his life collapsed in a shambles. He had a family here. ANd he lost his credentials and clearance to work at any national security job.
It was easy, and played on the most common currency in the world… the ego.
That’s a real story. I saw the transcript.
For a while, I worked as a subcontractor at Lockheed Corporation at Y-12. We were warned about using the computer, that there were tracking programs operating in real time, and investigators would often check the individual computers on a random basis, overnight. We were not told how the FBI was made wise to the effort to lure the expert to China.
That was several years ago. Technology changes every week, so I would imagine there are more sophisticated attacks mounted every day, plus the age-old Mata Hari lure.
My story is an account of what happened above ground. I would imagine the cyber attacks on the Internet and other avenues are legion. And if our government is telling us that it’s bad… it is probably worse.
As if 2020 didn’t have enough to worry us into the New Year.

A matter of courtesy and caution..

Please put me…on the bottom of your prayer list.
I have managed to dodge several doctor appointments by scheduling tele-visits, and organizing blood draws into one location.
But I can’t dodge Thursday morning’s appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.
I collapsed September 20th, and managed to cause a compound fracture of both lower left leg bones. I see the surgeon who screwed a rod to my knee and ankle. (I think this is my scheduled oil change and alignment appointment.)
The first month was easy- the rehab facility had me under quarantine, and I never left the room.
After that, it was home, and staying there. My three kids are extremely protectful. Kroger and Food City curbside has kept The Missus at a distance from crowds.
Before I fell, from March to
September 20th, I was careful. Now, with Tennessee ranking in the top three Covid numbers, I’m even more concerned and careful.
If you scroll through the Facebook
Pages, it won’t take long to find someone asking for prayer for a
loved one who is either fighting, or sadly succumbed to Covid. I’m
doing what I can to try and keep out of those two categories.
Here are some recommendations-
Be respectful of others. Wearing a mask has become a common courtesy to others.
Manage your exposure, mitigate your risks.
Wash your hands.
And, I know it’s the party season, but consider other ways to celebrate.
Sadly, the same goes for religious gatherings.
To some, those precautions might sound unreasonable, or even some kind of violation of civil rights. It’s really a matter of civil responsibility. It is not a political
act. This stuff doesn’t care who you are
I’m in a protected species. Older. Diabetic. Cancer survivor. Recent serious illness or injury.
I’m lucky to have family members who are healthy and helpful.
And I’m cautious….careful… and asking for your prayers, and your help.

a worrisome time

The other day, I posted on my Facebook page, an idea that it might be good if all of us set aside politics for five minutes, and prayed for our nation. It didn’t take long. The third comment down turned to politics, and the race was on. God was ushered to the back of the church, while a slew of comments argued Trump versus Biden. That worries me.

I remember some events in our history that unified our nation … for a minute or two. The most recent was the attacks on The Word Trade Center, and The Pentagon, and the crash of an airliner in Pennsylvania when hostages fought back.

The Kennedy Assassination was a time when the whole country stopped, watched, and mourned the death of our President. You get that? I said –our president. I have received many comments that indicate Joe Biden is not your president. After a slew of failed lawsuits, and certification of the vote by The Electoral College, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Joe Biden -is- your President-elect.

One person on my FB page posted a logo that proclaimed “Impeach Joe Biden”. He’s not even in office yet!

I’m afraid that our nation, our democratic republic is about to be strained beyond recovery. I have watched our nation as political upheaval has waxed and waned. We need times when the rhetoric calms, the fingers that have been pointed join the rest of that hand in work to make our nation strong, a handshake or two across the aisle to advance our nation, and a finger on the clasped or open hands of prayer.

It is indeed a worrisome time.

Over, and over, I see desperate requests for thoughts and prayers for loved ones who are very sick, possibly dying of COVID-19 Virus, yet I also see posts denying the seriousness of the pandemic. People defy recommendations to wear a mask… a simple act that prevents your germs from flying across the air to another person’s face. If nothing else…even if you don’t believe a mask helps, why is it such an imposition on your Constitutional rights to wear one as courtesy to the rest of the people around you? I simply do not understand the denial of the seriousness of the pandemic, when as many people are dying in one day, that died in the attack on The World Trade Center and Pentagon.

I have described my experience … five days on a ventilator, following surgery and acute respiratory failure. It was horrifying. I have dealt with PTSD around hospitals and clinics since that surgery in 2008. I’ve had a lot of life experience in scary things, but being on a ventilator is far ahead as the number one experience. Over the past twelve years, the trouble has diminished, but there are times when that experience floods back into my mind. It’s not something you want for yourself, or for anybody you care about. I wear a mask for me and for you. And, with the exception of a few trips to the store, and thirty-one days in a rehab center dealing with a broken leg, I have stayed inside this house. I like to go places, I like to drive my car, but I also like to live. As my dad once said “I’m not afraid to die, but if they’re making up a load today, I would just as soon not go.”

The famous founder of a huge restaurant chain once said the most important hamburger you buy, is the next one. You might transfer that thought to the most important crisis we face, is the next challenge to our democracy. Our enemies, and we do have enemies, are watching and taking note of how we deal with crisis. They .. not might… but will exploit any weak spots they can find in our physical structure, or the structure of our emotions of fear, distrust, treachery, and disruptions. And, as Americans, we are able to talk about our thoughts in an open forum, so be sure China and Russia have hidden armies studying what we say about ourselves.

I worry about the state of our news media. CNN and Fox seem to both have lost their way from the concept of fair coverage. I watch both, and I note headlines and so-called news shows that state false information or twisted stories to fit a particular narrative. Some so-called newscasters are unfair in their coverage, and in their “one-on-one” comments with the show hosts. We often look at entertainers for our daily news.

Corporate America has abandoned one of the most effective platforms for news- radio news. I’ll address this in another post… but for now, I’ll only write this short obituary for local radio news. Newspaper and television news departments have been gutted, as the business models push for more… for less. Some of the ideas for cutting costs would be laughable in another world. But in ours, it’s dangerous.

It might be a good time to turn our political activism to local politics. These elected people control the pavement on your streets, how money is spent for schools, how our community is policed, and how we present this place we love in the best light. Local politics have more day-to-day influence on us. And, in my view, those positions need more attention by our voters.

I believe in many respects, we are as divided as we were in the 1860’s… just over different issues. This summer and fall, we watched cities where neighborhoods were gripped with rioting led, in many instances, by anarchists. Would that we be as organized as some of these groups of street thugs.

If this post has seemed you to be more negative than I usually am, you read it right. This is a worrisome time in the history of The United States Of America. We are sick…physically and emotionally. We need to heal. And it starts with me… and you

Well, here goes.

I have finally decided to get back into the blogging world. Now that I am off the air, I have a little more time to hang around on the Internet.
And, there is another reason for opening up this opportunity to share my opinions. I see more and more reports of Facebook members being placed in “time out”. I had enough of that at Fair Garden Elementary to do me a lifetime. And, as in elementary school, I would never set out to get myself in time out..sometimes it just happened.