Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Nuclear Problem with North Korea started well before Obama

The North Korea nuclear program is hardly something new and surely is not the result of Obama failing to deal with him.
Their nuclear program can be traced back to the Reagan Era, you know good old guns a blazing save the world Reagan.
From the 80s on their nuclear research exploded, pardon the pun.
In 1992 the North Koreans agreed to start working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) terms. However once the agency found the North Koreans were not in compliance and issued a report to the UN in 1993.
From that point on talks foundered.
In 2003 talks would resume with the United States, South Korea, Russia, China and Japan. North Korea wanted fuel aid and normalization with Japan and the US.
The talks were hindered over the United States Banco Delta Asia.
The first Nuclear test would occur in 2006.
By 2009 with a North Korea Satellite Launch the talks fell apart followed by another Nuclear Test to which the IAEA confirmed they were now a nuclear power.
In 2012 NK announced it would suspend Uranium Enrichment and not perform any more nuclear tests while talks with the US continued. The agreement also included long range ballistic Missile Tests.
The US tentatively agreed to humanitarian aid so long as NK stuck with the agreement.
The following year nuclear tests would sadly continue from that point on.
In 2017 it would launch ballistic Missile tests again giving the world knowledge that a ICBM could indeed possibly reach the United States.
Why does all this matter?
Well first off when people blame "Obama" they do not know even a little bit of what has been going on, it hardly is his fault on any level.
There is a thing called mutually assured destruction. The theory is that once two enemies have nuclear weapons there will not be War as both countries would be annihilated.
We now know that two leaders, one in particular seem to not realize this little fact.
In the event of a single Nuclear Detonation above ground (especially an H Bomb) we can all suffer health affects from the detonation with adverse reactions on the climate as well.
The Marshal Island where our Hbomb test occurred is still uninhabitable some 50 years later.
Nobody wins in a nuclear exchange, Nobody.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I must accept it, Americans do not seem to care for Freedom.

Call me an idealist, but I truly believe in the founding principals of this country. Freedom, means something to me.
The Founding fathers were not just Idealists themselves, they were very well read Elitist's who risked everything for the common man.
They asserted common people should have rights, and a voice in their government, a novel Idea at the time.
Today I see nothing attributed to their wisdom or genius, other than fake Memes and Flag waving, none of which have anything to do with real Patriotism, and merely invoke a false sense of Nationalism. That seems to be ok for most however.

The founding fathers disliked Political Parties, they saw it as divisiveness, yet here we are today, with only two real parties who have a say. What makes it worse? It was not long after the foundation of this country that political parties took root, with the petty arguing and power grabs by the parties, other voices were often drowned out, something which is polar opposite to our freedom, the ability to elect people who represent our Ideals, not those of a single party.

Yet it was so. In the Civil war there was a single party who seemed to stand for the peoples rights, everyone's right, while on the other side a party strictly opposed those rights. Last year the same thing happened again. One party stood for at least some of our rights, while the other quit literally campaigned not just against one right, but against nearly every single aspect of the Constitution, and I mean everything. The bad guys would win, and still do.

Rather than dwell on the "Bad or Good" party, let us just look at what the common man thinks is normal, which would have absolutely appalled the Founding Fathers.

The NSA, where the notion that the public in general has to be carefully monitored as they could be the potential enemy.
Mind you spying is nothing new, however the founding fathers strongly disliked being carefully monitored, so this right here is bad.
Some realize it even more, usually only when their opposing party is in power though. Once their preferred party is in control, they readily open their arms and accept being spied upon.

Search and Seizure: This has been around for a bit, yet again is against everything the founding fathers were for. WHat would they say if they knew that EACH and every person boarding an Airplane was searched, some very invasively? To further slap our freedoms in the face is the face is the ready relinquishing of personal items "Deemed unfit" to be carried aboard the plane.
It gets even worse, some cities have actively engaged in simply pulling over and randomly searching and arresting "Profiled" people, or those they deem unfit. Folks I am sorry, this right here is one of the very reasons we revolted.

Due Process: Your right to a trial is something that is almost an afterthought now days. Both parties seem intent on picking an area where you do not have the right to being found guilty in a court of law. A court system which goes all the way back to the Viking area and in my opinion, needs a revamping. Yet even the basics of our Trial system are not good enough quit often.

Freedom of Speech: Now here is an area that is getting pounded especially this year. Laws are now either on the books or in the process to allow Protestors to be ran over. This is not something coming from a third world country, this is something right here, right now In the "land of the free" think of that next time you are drinking from your coffee mug with an American flag on it.

Freedom of Religion: Yup, that is right, our founding fathers were actually largely agnostic. They had lived under a rule where people had to worship a certain way, so they included in their Bill of Rights an exclusion to this, a Novel Idea which allow people to worship as they deem fit. They also made sure that the Government could not force their religion upon you.

SO where do I go next? Well without writing a book, I sadly have to end this blog today.

The next time you share that meme about "Mouthy self righteous people not showing respect" keep in mind, those exact thoughts were stated of our founding fathers. They were treasonous, mouthy, fiery, in your face type of people, the type of people who wanted to make sure you, the poorly informed American, had a chance to be informed and live a normal prosperous happy life.

SO please, the next time you see someone burning a flag, or even holding up a sign of protest, just drive on by and smile, smile with the realization that you are living in a country where things like this are allowed. It is the nature of Authoritarian regimes to stomp on those people, and make sure their voice is not heard.

Where do you stand?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

That time I shared a Ships Cabin with the new Somali President.

I am not someone who is good with faces, but I remember this guy well.
I was crossing the Baltic Sea on my way to Finland some 21 years ago now. Wee had a ships cabin with four bunks in it, itt was nothing fancy, just your typical base Ferry Cabin.
In come walking this Black Guy in a suit. We all introduced ourselves and then we showed him the most Amazing thing in our cabin, the Window.
That's right folks, the window was absolutely amazing. Not because of the spectacular view, rather the lack of one. As we opened the curtains there was the indentation for a window, without an actual window. That is right folks, there were curtains over a window that did not actually exist!
It was then that our new Shipmate would exclaim "Simply Amazing!"
We chatted with him for a bit, and of course were blown away with a businessman from Somalia heading to Finland, it was our understanding that Somalia was war torn Hell.
The words he said in reply have stuck in my mind to this very day "Do not believe everything you hear on the Media"
That really is it, I could make up that I had some great financial talk with him, that he gave us incredible prediction of the future, but those would be fabrications, something I do not do.
However if I took anything from my brief meeting with the new President of a developing country, his words on the Media have stuck with me, and shaped me to this day.
So MR. Muhammad if that truly was you, give me a shout out. I wish you the absolute best in your new Presidency, with peace and prosperity in your future.

Signed, the American Traveler wearing the Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My Families Immigrant Story and why we need to let more immigrants in, not less.

In support of open Immigration in this country, I am going to give a brief history of my families, I encourage you to do the same.
Maybe if we can all talk about it, or it encourages others to look deeper into their own family history, we can come to the realization that Immigration is something that needs to be free flowing, not restricted venom within this country.

My family history goes back more than most I guess, and less than some. I know I had relatives who fought in the Civil War, for the North.
However the bulk of history starts under my Surname with the Arrival of my Great Grandfather from Sweden.
He came as most did back then, being the young strapping man looking for adventure and a better life for his family.
He would find work as a Cavalry Scout, which would bring him to Montana, there he would create a homestead, start our Ranch and save up money for his father to come over.
The ranch he founded would be riddled with adventure as he would battle often with not only with the notorious Black Feet, but also with the real problem, white Cattle Rustler Bundy types.
My great great grandfather would follow and find work in a mine, I have the sole possession he brought with him, a beautiful crystal butter dish.

Om my mothers side was something of a mixture. My great great Grandmother was a Child Bride in an arranged marriage to am an she had never met. The offer via letters was undoubtable a far, far better life than my family had in the war torn Yugoslavia. You see for centuries that country has been torn apart with petty fighting between the two prominent religions, Catholic and Orthodox.
She would come through Ellis island and marry a miner, have a couple children. Her first husband would be killed in the mine, as would her second. She would raise her 12 children on her own.

I do not know the astuteness of the rest of my moms family, but I do know they were very prominent businessmen within our hometown. Their building still stands with the name down the side, they were by all standings what the American dream was about, very successful. To prove that success, I have my Great Grandmothers phonograph. It was a cutting edge model at the time, the first year they had the horn not visible, it cost a staggering 300 dollars! That was a years wages in 1910, think about that for a minute.

Now mind you this is a brief history, but I wanted to share.

It is important to remember that the bulk of our history comes from people fleeing the wars in Europe, they came as refugees, or simply people to poor to ever have anything in their own country, America was their way up.
It is still that way today. As we fight or battle over the rights of the underprivileged migrants coming to America, and whether or not they are "Deserving" Remember it is an old fight.
Most European Ethnicities hated each other. They hated each other so badly cities were divided up according to ethnicity. It is also where lots of derogatory slang terms came from that we think nothing about today. "Welsh on a bet, Jew him down" etc.
So when someone tells you "Muslims cannot be trusted" tell that person they know not history as Catholics felt that way about protestants, Finish against Swede and everyone were against the Chinese and of course the Irish.
Nevertheless America was and is a country of Migrants, so those doors were always open.

What would end up happening of course from the melting pot would be great Ideas coming together for some amazing things. Tesla was a Immigrant who came to America with his crazy visions of electrical devices, as was Steve Jobs father, who was a Syrian Migrant.
Einstein was a refugee, Imagine our science had he been denied?
Boarder trade is so important, it expedited things you take for granted today such as the lightbulb. That is right, there was great competition abroad over who developed the light bulb, was it invented in America at the Edison research facility, the 3M of today? Or was it created in Britain? Patents are only way of tracing, which still create great arguments as to who was first. All we know for sure, is the great exchange of Ideas, or simply seeing another invention, others spur off it and we advance as a world because of this.

With open boarders, and open trade we will continue to expand and be great, once those two great faucets are closed, a country becomes stale.

you see Multiculturalism is what great Empires thrived on. It is why the legendary Silk Road was created, it is also how Rome and others before it were the greatest civilizations ever. That is my friends the essence of civilization, laws, order and understanding to each other.

I will put forth some links for your consideration. Yes I am putting up a couple of "Fictional Movies" however they are a fairly accurate representation of early America.

What is yoru family story? Please share.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Immigrants and Refugees actually go through to come to the US

I had been planning to ride a train from Vietnam to Malaysia, however two days before I was supposed to fly out, I chatted online with a cute little woman from the Philippines. I cannot fully explain why, but I changed my ticket to go back and Back Pack that country again instead. We were only supposed to meet for coffee, yet she ended up following me all about her countries islands, and eventually back to the US.

Since I have a first hand view of the "Immigration Process" I will help you out as likely you, as with most people have naught a clue, why would you?

She is what is called a "non Immigrant" meaning she came here on a Fiancé Visa, yea it is a bit confusing as she is still a Immigrant, but not, I wont get into that I have not fully figured it out myself, so here we go with the steps.

Soo you know, at anytime the Government could deny her process, a missed date, a misspelling anything they do not like could deny her.

The first step I had to file with the US government a petition to bring her here. In that petition there had to be Emails or letters of contact, and lots and lots of pictures together. There went a few hundred dollars. And the wait begins.
During this time you are not allowed to contact the US Immigration office, they cannot be bothered.

After the initial set of screening, she then signs up for a medical examination. That examination cannot happen at just any doctors office, it has to be an approved one by the US Government, fair enough. That one clinic was in Manila, so a plane ride away.

The Medical screening lasted three days. During that time she was examined, poked, and blood drawn. X rays were taken as well as Verbal interviews.
In her case she had scars on her lungs from TB, that would set us back another few months as she now needed Mouth Swabs to prove she was clear. Despite the Xrays showing she did not have it any longer. More blood was drawn and hundreds of more dollars spent.
Fair enough

Now back to her Island to wait, and wait, and wait. Then a interview with the US Embassy, which is back in Manila.
The interview is fairly quick and makes sure your love is legit and you are not just coming over to be a quick US citizen.

To ensure that your love is legit they issue you a 90 day get married or she has to go home Visa. That's right, you have 90 days to get married or your live, male or female goes home. Good job not rushing you into things.

Now before we get too far ahead of things, you have another interview in the airport by customs. That agent can refuse for any reason, so maybe your hair sucks that day, or maybe he/she had an argument with your spouse, you ate fucked at that point. Now you go back home, or are allowed. For this story it worked out.

Now that you are married you have to immediately file a change of status and apply for your green card. Another interview at the closest Immigration station so more driving, more money and another fee. Then more fees, and several years later you are finally a US citizen, uhgg.

Should you miss a step, which I can assure you is very easy, you are now one of those nasty Illegals the Right loves to throw about.
How easy is it? Well when the Government sends you letters, they are not even certified. We missed a letter which gave a date for our appointment at the Immigration office. Luckily the office was very accommodating and as you can Imagine, not very busy in Montana so we got right in and everything ended up being ok. Had we not started making calls, we never would have known.

Total so far in two years and still five years away from citizenship, just under 4000 Dollars.

In the case of a refugee they go through the same process to a point, but they have I believe it is a two year wait before they are allowed to come here. In that time frame emails are scoured, embassy visited (Unlike the Movies a US Embassy is not in every city on every corner with open outstretched hands) on and on.
I cannot Imagine what it must be like to not have any form of Transportation, and having to walk through minefields to get to an office of a interview to wait more months to hope you can bring your family to safety.

Now that the new Travel nonsense is in effect, and the worst of it thankfully overturned, lets talk about my wifes new process to go home for a visit.

Up until this point she simply had to show her Passport and off she went. Now she has to go to the Immigration office for another interview, then get approved for a Visa to leave the country, yea I know. Once she is in her Country she now has to fly over to Manila and have another interview before she can come home again. Hundreds more dollars thrown about for what? Was the process not good enough to begin with?
Maybe the sadistic right simply wants more hardship and more stress on anyone who is not "A white American" What nonsense.

There are other forms of Migrants. Many have to fly back home to have a interview at the US Embassy to come back to the US, think about that for a minute. Think long and hard about that. This nonsense has went on long before Trump, and has to end.

I encourage you to show your support for Migrants, and for what these families have to go through.

Immigrants bring lots of good to this country. Tesla was a Immigrant as and Einstein was a refugee. The list is quit huge, Apple would not have came to be had it not been for his Syrian Parents migrating to this country,.

Historically countries which had open boarders and a broad culture base expanded and were prosperous as new Ideas were exchanged.

Open your hearts and your minds, only good will come out of it, I promise.

Monday, January 16, 2017

From someone who did not like babies and infants, this is why I cannot wait to be with mine.

I admit it, I have always been something of a scrooge, especially where babies and infants were concerned. Mind you I always wanted to be a dad, I just wanted to skip the first three years and fast forward to when they did more than poop and scream.

Friends told me I was wrong, "Hey kids are great, you will change your tune when you have your own" Nonsense, I have swam with whale sharks, stood on the Parthenon and looked upon the city of Athens, how on earth could babies even compare? Man was I wrong.

My first came as something as an accident, you see doctors said I likely could never have children as I have the testosterone of a 70 year old. while the two are not necessarily connected, it is a pretty good indicator.
Then along came my first child and it was amazing. There I beheld a mini Me, my creation something I never thought I could or would have. IT only got better from there.

I discovered that diaper detail really was not that bad. Before you say anything know that I have worked in the sanitation industry for nearly two decades before my first came about, so working around "Poo" was nothing new to me. Wit hthat said changing a babies diaper previously had made me gag. However the sayers were right yet again "It is different when it is your own" Perhaps there is something with our senses that allows us to more easily deal with our own, or perhaps it is just the old farm boy doing what needed to be done, nevertheless I enjoy changing my childrens diapers.
A man once told me about changing his childrens diapers "it is a intimate experience all men should experience and enjoy" While I am sure something is lost in translation as English is not his first language, there is something to his statement, and I am not exactly sure what.

I also enjoy the crying, it makes me smile. I do not know why, but when I come home and my little ones are fussing it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, the wife thinks I am crazy.

Overall parenting has been a blast, watching each and every stage is the best, seeing those longing eyes wanting you to hold them never gets old. I now am the guy who carries a phone with hundreds of pictures, ready to share them at a moments notice with anyone who asks.

You get to come home and watch them progress, their first steps are amazing and first words beyond euphoria. The childrens songs despite your hatred of them, are a valuable learning tool for them, so embrace those corny songs as much as possible. Besides, watching your toddler dance is absolutely the best.

Is it better than traveling the world? I dono about that, but I do know it makes having traveled a chunk of the world far, far more meaningful. IT also means that I have more kick ass stories for them, more experiences to share, and the best audience ever for my stories, my own loving children.

So if you are considering, or even having problems as a Parent, just look at your children and remember, it is all for them. If they are crying, fussy or being hard, try different food, avoid spanking, use time outs or other displine instead, and overall just try to enjoy them. Odds are if something is wrong, there is a reason for it, so listen to their cries and concerns, they cannot care for themselves so you are their link to growing into something wonderful.

I hope this short but heart felt blog helps others enjoy parenting, after all, if it was not for babies, how would we continue as a species on earth?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Self Defense, getting started and tips for basic street sense.

As a Martial Artist I have always been asked where to begin, what style is best and a plethora of other questions.

I realize it can be intimidating, by watching movies to YouTube there is a menagerie of styles and "Opinions" of what actually works best. Along with those experts come the inevitable demonstration showing just how easy it is to disarm someone, or of course crush them like a bug. These experts continue down in my opinion what is a dangerous dream of what it is actually like to have a street confrontation, most never have had. I trained at many different Martial Arts clubs and I can think of maybe one person in all those clubs who had ever been in a street fight, so how on earth would they really know what would work and what would not? Answer, they only have a theory, but they do have the tools to increase their odds of survival, which is why you are reading this, and looking into Martial Arts yourself.

I will say right off you should always do your best to avoid confrontation. I have hundreds of street fights under my belt, with that experience comes the realization that all but a couple were necessary, confrontations are easy to avoid for the most part.

Avoid eye contact, walk with purpose and simply ignore the chants. Try never to put yourself in a bad situation, stay in a lighted area if dark and of course stick where there are other people.

In the event something happens, do not expect help, odds are unless there is a Police Officer in the area nobody is coming to rescue you. I was in a bar room brawl once with quit literally the entire bar, despite things not going well for me, not a single person I was with, and they were all very well trained martial artists, came to my rescue. I survived simply by making sure my temples were covered as well as my throat. Always protect your critical areas, always.

Get a bright flashlight. We live in a great time when cheap blinding flashlights are available, even in the daylight one of these blasts of light can temporarily "Disable" an adversary allowing you to escape.

Situational awareness; Most people frequent the same area and route over and over again. You should take the time to make mental notes for escape routes as well as possible places someone may lurk in the shadows. This goes along with driving as well, be aware of having your window rolled down at a stop light or sign.
Be especially alert while shopping, many people are robbed/accosted while simply putting bags into their car! Take a minute, look around, if you have kids lock them inside the car before you unload your goods into the trunk.

Carry your keys so they protrude from either side of your middle finger, you can then punch someone and it will hurt like hell.

Imagine; Your Imagination is your best friend, and your worst enemy, for the sake of this article we will use it as your best friend. It is good if you Imagine horrible things happening, now imagine how you will get out of those horrible things.
I am someone nobody should ever watch a horror movie with, the entire movie all I can say is "Why did they not do this,. or this etc." this Is a lifetime of training myself to not only think differently from other people, but to imagine a way out of the worst possible scenario.

Strikes; In the event of a self defense situation you are not looking to "Bang it out" with the bad guy, you are looking to hopefully finish them quickly or to buy yourself some time to escape. Aim for the eyes, be it gouging or poking do not play fair, and do not quit, the eyes are painful as hell to have poked or gouged. Chop or punch to the throat and do not stop punching or chopping you always want to overwhelm your opponent. Go for the groin, kick punch an even grab and yank those toodles, the last will stop anyone right in their tracks as if they are a cartoon character. Stomp on their feet do anything you can think of to make that escape. If need be bite, scratch pull hair, pull ears. Fight as if it is your last breath, if it comes to this situation, it possibly could be.

Get a firearm, a concealed carry permit and get proper instruction on using it. This instruction goes well beyond the basic CCW one day classes, spend the extra money on an actual self defense/combat pistol class. Do not let the weapon simply collect dust in the closet after shooting it once, make a conscious effort ot go to the range several times a year. The more often you use the weapon, the more confident you will be if you ever do have to use it. Muscle memory is paramount be it hand to hand or using a weapon.

This leaves us with what art to actually take. While if you are in good shape a MMA class is arguably the best, the reality is you have a life to live and do not have the time, or energy to devote to a high intensity class, further you may not be a pillar of fitness yourself, so be realistic about your choice. While some styles are clearly better than others, go with whatever is closest, convenient and comfortable for you. Go ahead and meet the instructors, most places offer a free class, take it.
Anything is better than nothing, you will at least learn how to throw a punch or a kick so that puts you a huge step up over the average street thug. Keep in mind police only take a few hours of grappling and they can handle the bulk of street thugs, if you take a class often you will be way above that.
Most arts will offer a self defense class, I encourage you to take that class, while not everything they teach will be good, most of what they will teach you will help you out, especially in scenario presentation. Further it gives you confidence, and confidence is something people can read in body language.

Just like with firearms, the more you train the more confident you are. I would also like to say that a female friend, whom by her own admission is not athletic at all, has enrolled in Karate over the past few years with her daughter. The one thing she has gotten out of her Karate from sparring is the realization that unlike the movies, she was not going to curl up in a ball and cry when she actually did get hit in the face. She is now ready to test for her brown belt!

My step sister has kidney problems, she went from being on the verge of Dialysis to competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While she no longer competes, she still trains and loves it, she is also someone whom previously would not have been known for any athletic ability at all. I am beyond proud of them both.

In the end, remember what is between your ears is your absolute best weapon you can possibly use, always always keep your head.