Official Secrets . . .

The United States of America has a serious problem.  It is functionally psychotic.

I’m talking about how a country can claim to adhere to the ideals of truth, honesty, and integrity, while at the same time empowering anyone to keep secrets from the citizens who vote for the people who are empowered to lead the country.

Logically, there is a very fundamental flaw in such a system.

Every time you authorize a secret to be protected, you must by definition authorize someone to protect that secret from discovery.  The people charged with protecting those secrets do not answer to governments, or any agency within a government.  That is the exact anathema to a democratic republic, which is what the United States Of America is supposed to be.

Here is a logic problem on a global scale.  How can you have a government that is elected by the free will of the citizens who are governed by that government, but empowered to keep secretes from those who elect those who make the decisions of that government?

You can’t.

Whomever you empower to protect a secret is automatically empowered with authority superior to that of any elected official.  They become the gatekeepers to the secret. Their authority is superior to those who were elected, and thus  they are superior to the elected government.

I stumbled upon this line of reasoning because my wife and I recently watched a series of shows on Netflix Streaming called “America’s Book of Secrets”.  The whole series was about the secrets that were being kept from the citizens of the United States by the government that was supposed to be protecting them.

As a caveat, I must admit that nothing in that series actually divulged any national secret.  However, that is part and parcel of the problem.

How can any person, in a society that presumes itself to b e run by the consent of the governed, be capable of making a competent decision about anything if they are not given full access to the facts pertaining to the future of that government?  Every protected secret is a breach of the function of that government.

I can’t speak for the other governments of the world, but if the United States of America still values honesty, integrity, and transparency, then the citizens of the USA need to take action to abolish the notion that ANYTHING can be an official secret.

Free Online Training . . .

I recently got an email that some of you may be interested in.  It was from an organization called Front Sight.  I am, nominally, on the Board of Directors.

This particular email was about the response of Front Sight to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and how we might continue to work for the long-term goal of Front Sight.  For those who do not know, Front Sight is an organization that is devoted to the very highest quality of training in the use of firearms, for anyone who might have a legitimate reason to use them – from private citizens to law enforcement, or even professional military.  The founder and CEO of Front Sight is one of the very few people in the whole world to be officially certified as a Combat Master on four different weapons.  When he earned that rating, he was only the second persom EVER to earn that.  His name is Dr. Ignatius Piazza.

Anyhow, the email was announcing the release of an online course for Concealed Carry Firearms that, when completed will be recognized by 29 different states in the USA.  The course is FREE, and I was encouraged to share the link with anyone who might be interested and qualified.  So, here it is:

https://www.frontsight.com/onlineccw/

40 Year Class Reunion . . .

Last month the class that I spent my entire childhood growing up with celebrated our 40th anniversary of our graduation from high school.  One of our classmates decided to try to host a reunion at his home, during the first week of July of this year.

I will not be attending.  Not because I don’t want to, but because of the Covid-19 risk.

I am currently 58 years old.  That, by itself puts me at a borderline risk. Add to that the factors of a compromised immune system from a bone tumor, and other complications due to health troubles, and it does not seem wise for me to attempt to attend this particular reunion.  I’d love to spend some time chatting with some of my high school classmates, but this is not the way to do it.

A Tale of 2 Ovens . . .

This tale begins nearly 10 years ago, because we’ve had a mild level of frustration with the door handles of our ovens from day 1. The ovens are a built-in over/under wall unit.

So, it wasn’t a great surprise when both door handles completely fell off this past weekend. We have a special savings account that we regularly set aside money in just for appliance repair or replacement.  Since we now believed it may be time to replace the ovens, we started checking prices, and were shocked to discover that even the least expensive ovens would cost nearly $2k.

It was time to consider a plan B.  A while back we had an appliance repairman replace a heating element in one oven, so we called him to ask if he thought the handles could be repaired.  He came over, looked at the problem, and said it would depend on being able to find the right replacement screws.  Ironically, the screws we’d always used had never been the right ones.

The next day he returned, and after an hour of labor our oven door handles were firmly attached.  And that bill of $2k to replace the ovens?  Well – the entire repair cost us $75.

MyHealthEVet.com . . . .

that is the address for the official interface online between veterans and those who provide health care to veterans, in the USA.

There is just one problem.  It doesn’t work, at least 50% of the time.

For example, I recently contacted my primary care doctor through the MyHealthEVet.com site, about a (potentially minor) health concern, and got a reply back asking about my access to online video conferencing technology.  I responded that I do not use any online service of that nature, and do not trust them to be secure, and the reply was ANOTHER REQUEST for my contact information via the preferred video conferencing services the VA wanted to use to conduct an interview.

I realize that the Covid-19 crisis has placed a huge strain on health care providers, worldwide, and is still continuing to do so.  However, for them to place the burden of compromise on MY shoulders to be able to continue to provide services that they are LEGALLY required to deliver is beyond the scope of acceptability.   Either you can deliver the services you should through the interface already provided, or you need to update the interface.  It is not MY problem, and I will not bend my comfort zone to accommodate your problems!