Jun 26, 2010

I am dictating this in Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  Although I'm a pretty good typist, with a better than average speed, it is really great to be able to type with my tongue, so to speak.

One thing I have learned about this program is that the more you use it, the better it works.  I use it at work (legal work), and use it for personal notes. For example, if I want to take notes out of a book, instead of highlighting (my old method), and writing notes, I'll just open a page, create a file called "Notes on Whatever" and begin by saying: "Number 1 period." The program types "1." and I begin reading from the book, or I will summarize a note. Now and then I have to stop and train the program how to say a particular word. But, the good thing is that I won't have to do that again for that word. It is possible to add new words to the internal dictionary.

All in all, whether one is a writer of novels, writing western fiction, mysteries, sci-fi, an entire book, or even a legal brief, Dragon Naturally Speaking is a great tool.

Jun 21, 2010

Wars, Appeasement, Evil Men and the Future of America


Wars bring out the best and the worst in people. History can teach us a lot about human nature, and how to deal with certain kinds of people. The sad thing is, it seems politicians never learned their history, nor the history of other nations. Clearly, they forgot the lessons on appeasement. If they ever knew it, they forgot it. They forgot the lessons, the sometimes hard lessons, learned by our forefathers.

Most of the English, especially the younger generations, are not very aware of the early efforts of appeasement by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to keep Hitler “happy.” On May 9, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of England and the doctrine of appeasement was tossed out the proverbial window. England went almost immediately to a war footing, and not a moment too soon. Had England acted earlier and with firmness, there is every reason to believe Hitler would not have been able to continue his unrestrained aggression. But, appeasement was the word of the day, and it became a “brass ring” to grasp, regardless of the risk.

America knows about appeasement. It fought a war in the fifties that it tried to forget almost from the beginning. Indeed, one can say America deliberately tried to keep from remembering, or even acknowledging that war. It wasn’t called a war. It was called “The Korean Conflict” Some 40,000 Americans lost their lives and more were severely wounded. It’s only since the advent of the comedy series MASH that Americans are even now aware of that war. The politicians, particularly President Harry Truman, were desperate to escape that war, feeling it was leading to a larger conflict, namely a war with Russia and China. Harry Truman appeased the appetites of the Chinese and the North Korean despots, and negotiated a peace that was, in reality, merely a temporary halt to war.


General Douglas MacArthur was fired and peace became the sole objective. It was a peace at any cost. Today, the result of our makeshift, appeasement policy of peace-at-any-cost has given us unending conflict between North and South Korea, strapped millions of Koreans into a bed of nightmares akin to living on Elm Street, and placed generations of those pathetic souls under the despotic dictatorship of a string of megalomaniacs. The current (as of 2010) leadership, Kim Jong-il, has redefined the art of brinkmanship. No act is too reckless for this man. He has recklessly fired missiles designed to provoke, openly marketed arms, seeks to arm himself with nuclear weapons, made hideous threats of destruction against America and South Korea, and even brazenly and recklessly sank a South Korean naval vessel.

Appeasement is enablement to dictators and despots

We’ve seen what megalomaniacs can bring us. They bring war, but more, they bring horrific living conditions to those whom they rule. We’re witnessing the rise of men who will risk everything to rule everyone. We’re seeing men rising in power who will risk everyone’s peace and everyone’s lives, if only they can snatch the ring of power.

Will we stand by and let them do it?

We let Hitler go, and he almost made it. But for the aggressive stand taken by England under the leadership of Churchill, and the subsequent involvement of American in the war, we’d all be goose-stepping, living in fear, brutalized in a myriad of ways, and walking zombie-like through life in total subjection to a system that strips away one’s humanity. We’d all have a different version of the same kind of life the North Koreans now endure. Appeasement almost cost us the freedom we now enjoy.

Ah, but there would be more. There would be no Jews left in the world if appeasement worked. We’d all be blond and blue eyed. All blacks would be servants. All other races and nations would be servile to the Nazi version of humanity. There would be no Islam, and Christianity would be a byword, a curious piece of history. Mysticism and the Occult would be the new religion. A consolation we’d never appreciate is the fact that there would be no Korean megalomaniacs. Kim Jong-il would be goose-stepping along with the rest of us, instead of being in a grandstand watching his troops do a Korean version of the goose-step.

We’d have suffered this fate, had we not been willing to fight...and die. That would have been our fate, if we’d not rose up and declared our willingness to not only fight, but die, if need be, to live free.

Appeasement is a narcotic that brings a stupor

We’re losing that willingness to fight. Few in America are willing to die for their freedom. They’re willing to negotiate, barter, and appease their enemies. Anything but fight.

There comes a time when we must stand against naked aggression and evil men, and declare that we will fight, to the death if need be, but we will not cower, and we will not back away.

The truly sad thing is that America has forgotten how to win a war. We want to deliver a knockout punch and then, we the enemy merely staggers, when we get him on the ropes, instead of doing what we set out to do, we fail to pummel him into submission. We give him terms. We don’t press our advantage. We don’t speak any longer about “unconditional surrender.”

Appeasement allows terrorists to exist and thrive

How unfortunate that we’ve allowed social, political and foreign interests to govern our policies about survival and forgot the lessons of appeasement.

We did that in WWII. We did that in Korea. We did it in Vietnam. We did it in Iraq I & II. We did it in Afghanistan. We’ve done it in Iran, and we’re insisting Israel do the same thing (ignoring the fact that if they practiced appeasement, they’d all be dead).

We just don’t get it.

One day, we’re going to wake and realize that those men who call us evil, who wish us dead, who call us the Great Satan, and who hate us, will relentlessly exterminate us without pity or compassion. Why, oh why, will we not take them at their word? Why is it that we refuse to believe what they say, when they declare they are going to destroy us?

Appeasement is alive and well.

Hopefully, we will be, too, a few decades from now.

I’m not real sure about that, though.