Happy New Year

I do wish you a happy new year, but I don’t see much evidence on the horizon that the situation that we face here in the United States is going to be much better next year than it is now or than it has been for the past several years. We just saw a shift in “power” in Congress, but the “powers” that operate our government are still way out of “balance”. The value of our currency continues to diminish in national and world markets. Racial and ethnic and religious prejudices trouble our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. There doesn’t seem to be any reasonable way to reduce the level of violence and general disregard for what is lawful and “right” in our society. And the political, economic, cultural, religious, and personal attitudes that we hold are more divisive than they have ever been. We apparently have the “right” to pursue “happiness”, but there doesn’t seem to be any agreement on how to achieve it or really how to define it. And many of the citizens in other nations of the world are facing similar stressful, violent, and divisive situations where they live and seek to be safe and “happy”.

I would be much happier here in the United States if we could just once again all agree on what it means to be a good “American”. Some of my pessimism would be dissipated if we could demonstrate more consistently in our public and personal lives that we understand the values of what is “true” and what is “legal”. And I know that my hope for a happy new year would be increased if the merchants in our land would just reduce their constant efforts to get me to purchase “happiness” by buying more of their “stuff” and the government would stop trying to convince me that I’m going to be safer and more comfortable if I just give them more authority over my public and private life.

Are you really expecting a “happy new year” during the next twelve months? If so, what and who is going to provide it for you? What are you willing to do to provide those who are close to you and somewhat dependent upon you with a “happy new year”? Let’s talk about this.

Justice

Justice is provided to any group of people in a nation and its states and communities when duly elected officials of the people pass and enforce laws that are written to protect their lives and property from abuse or confiscation by others. Laws are written by legislators, enforced by police officials, and individuals in incidents of unlawful activity are judged by elected officials and juries from the people in accord with the evidence that defines the incident and the law or laws that are written to be applied to the individuals involved in the incident under consideration by the appropriate judicial court.

There is no doubt that most communities of people in any state or nation include individuals who harbor prejudicial opinions of other individuals, who seek to gain resources for themselves in ways that are not lawfully permitted, and who are prone to express their feelings of anger and frustration against others who they believe have abused them in acts of personal physical violence or verbal abuse. So most individuals live in communities where there is always the possibility of unlawful or disrespectful or unfair activity or speech being expressed against them.

When an individual becomes involved in a situation that he or she feels is unlawful or disrespectful or unfair or abusive, he or she has some opportunity to decide how he or she is going to respond to the person who is abusing him or her. If his or her response is in keeping with the law, the incident can be resolved in a peaceful way. If his or her response is also unlawful or disrespectful, it only complicates the situation and makes a peaceful solution of the abusive problem more unlikely.

Police officers in any community have a special responsibility to enforce the laws that apply to the residents of that community and to personally protect them from physical harm and to protect their property from being confiscated or destroyed by others. In some circumstances they will have to make quick decisions regarding how they are going to legally enforce the laws and bring the situation of abuse or personal loss under control so that its issues can be legally resolved. In some incidents the nature of the present activity of individuals at the site of the disorder or crime may require the application of force by the police officer in order for him or her to bring the situation under control.

Victims of criminal activity may protest against unjust decisions in courts by appealing the judge’s decisions. But criminal activity by victims is no way to protest any injustice. And riots are only expressions of a crowd of people who are out of control and prone to illegal activities of their own. Riots have little chance of implement justice in any situation.

The incident in Ferguson MO on August 9, 2014 in which a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown, a black young man, who, although he was unarmed at the time, his actions and attitude presented a serious physical threat to officer Wilson who was unable to get Mr. Brown to surrender to him by lying prone down on the street. This incident and the subsequent judgment of a Grand Jury that reviewed all of the evidence regarding the incident before ruling that the officer Wilson had not acted in any criminal way in his behavior in the situation has created a wide spread discussion and debate regarding the relationship that often exists between police officers and the residents of the communities in which they serve. Some members of that community and those in other communities feel that police officers are often unfair and overly harsh in the ways that they apprehend and handle individuals who have committed a crime or are possible suspects in a crime, even though police officers have well established laws governing their actions in the completion of their law enforcement responsibilities.

Lawlessness at any level of society that is not enforced for any reason weakens the foundation for justice in every community and state and nation where it is accepted. If individuals anywhere have to apply their own resources for control and safety and protection from personal injury and the loss of personal property through their own efforts, everyone in such places are in danger of being a victim of violence or abusing or disrespectful or thieving activity from others.

There is no simple way to establish justice anywhere. But its foundation has to be respect for the laws by everyone who wants to live in a safe place where every individual can be treated with respect. What do you think forms the foundation for justice in any community or state or nation? What are the most effective strategies that victims of injustices have for correcting the injustices that they have suffered? Let’s talk about this.

Mobile friendly

I just recently went through the challenging process of redesigning my website to make it more mobile friendly and responsive to viewers who use small hand-held devices for their communication processes. I had to redesign the banner element for my site and revise some of the basic codes in my css file and 53 PHP files that coordinate the display of my various pages with the resources that I have written. Of course this was a difficult process for a technical novice like me, but I had some help, and I was able to get it done. I think that the new design is more fluid than it was, yet it is still attractive and simple and easy to navigate. I invite you to check it out at http://www.christianityetc.org.

I’m an old retired writer who is still trying to make good use of my desktop computer with all of its various programs and their tools and a cell phone that I just know how to use as a phone. I have some messages that I’m trying to share with interested viewers, but I don’t claim that they are basically popular. I think that they are important, and I try to make them interesting and easy to read as I write them, but I’m not sure that I have a network of social friends who will promote them for me. So I’m wondering how you viewers and internet surfers use your mobile devices in your communication processes. What communication devices do you use for your serious search for helpful data on the internet? Are some of your devices just used as photo albums or electronic post-it-notes? What makes an article or a note on any “public” communication platform particularly helpful? What does that quality have to do with the technology of the device? Let’s talk about this.

Safe

Everyone wants to feel safe and to be safe no matter where he or she lives. They especially want to be safe in their home. They particularly want their spouse and children and other family members to also be and to feel safe where they are. This desire extends to places of work and schools and places of doing personal business and places where them and their children may congregate to play. They would certainly like to be safe and to feel safe where they worship and gather to study their religious books and to pray with their friends. They would like to feel safe while driving on public roads and highways or traveling in various modes of public transportation, including airplanes and cruise ships. They would like to know that the food that they buy at the local market is safe to eat and that the medicine that they get is relatively safe to use. Even individuals who are engaged in dangerous occupations, like those involving military service or police work or fighting fires or rescue operations would like to feel that their training, equipment, and present team members gives them assurance of a reasonable level of safety.

One of the basic responsibilities of any system and level of government anywhere is to provide for the safety of its citizens. They do this through various sets of laws and systems of personnel to manage their enforcement and the establishment of high standards for the purity and safety of all products that are consumed or used by their citizens. And family units that are managed and cared for by mature and responsible adults are and always have been the initial haven of safety for every individual.

But much has been happening recently everywhere throughout the world to make anywhere less than a safe place to be. Groups of people and grown individuals and helpless children are regularly being subjected to violent, illegal, and abusive treatment and risks by other individuals and even their government officials. And one of the most dangerous places to be in the whole world is probably to be in the womb of a woman in the United States. And even natural disasters seem to be on the increase. Commercial media and the various social platforms for the personal sharing of news and activities and experiences make it very obvious that we all are living in a very dangerous world.

Where do you feel safe? What enables you to feel safe where you are and engaged in what you are doing? What more assurances of safety would you like your governments officials to be providing for you and your loved ones? It is good to feel safe and to be safe! Let’s talk about this.

Passion

Being passionate about something is good, and no one appreciates a “cold” lover, not even God. But what are you passionate about?

The Olympic athletes were apparently passionate about their sports, because it obviously took them years of rigorous daily practice to enable them to reach a level of proficiency that would at least allow them to compete in a few minutes of intense competition for a metal that would give them world wide recognition for their achievement. A few of them won such metals, but most of them didn’t. And some of the losers were close to the winning levels of achievement, only missing the “award” levels by a few points or even a millimeter of a second on the timing clock.

Whether we realize it or not, all of us our in intense competitive battles for the achievement and preservation of many “awards” or blessings that are available to us in this life. Some of these are economic benefits that we now are beginning to realize are not automatically achievable by routine hard work. Others are political that no longer seem to be as secure as they once were in the world’s drastically changing political environments. Some may be very personal that are now being threatened by the drastic changes that are taking place in the structure of the family and family relationships in cultures around the world. Some of these battles may just be physical due to the challenges of growing older and becoming less and less vibrant in our physical abilities and energy. And some of these battles probably involve “moral” benefits that are achievable through disciplines of what is “right” while avoiding those that are “wrong”, but the distinguishing marks that separate these qualities are no longer as clear as they once were.

Which of these “battles” or contests are you passionate about? What are you passionately seeking to achieve in your present situation in life? Are you really passionate about personal political freedom from governmental controls and illegal oppression? What would you like to do to preserve the stability of families in your situation? What moral principles are really worth struggling to preserve?

Let’s talk about this. What is the focus of your passion in life? How intense is your effort in the “contests” or “battles”?

Antiques

What are antiques?

Antiques are basically considered to be old items that were created to be used, which are things that are still around after years or centuries of time have passed. Although they may no longer be needed for any useful function, they are still considered to be valuable because they are scarce, that is due to the fact that there are few of them left in any workable or useful condition that could be considered as being “good”. It is this utilitarian function that marks something as an “antique” rather than a piece of “classical” art or valuable painting. And their value may be increased by the presence of any special artistic features in their appearance and any high level of personal quality workmanship in their construction. Such art and workmanship may not be displayed in similar items from current or recent times. Commonly antique stuff is seen in some pieces of old furniture, like cabinets or desks or tables or clocks or lamps or bowls, or this quality of antiquity may be seen in an old well made intricate toy or garment or bed spread.

What antiques do you have?

Do you have some old items of furniture or kitchen utensils that you may have inherited from your grandparents that you no longer use but they are still around, maybe stored in some dark place? You may not even know of its value on the “antique” market, but nevertheless you have kept it, probably for some “sentimental” reason. What are they? Maybe you like to shop for “antiques” in flea markets or look for unusual and interesting items in local garage sales, maybe hoping to strike it rich with a fine that may be “valuable”. Do you do this?

What things of value to you have in your life?

Considering a bigger perspective than just what old items of utilitarian “antique” value that you may have in your life, I invite you to give some consideration to what things in your life have real value because they were especially created, are particularly beautiful, and have proven to be long lasting and very endurable. What such “antiques” or treasures do you have in your life? Let’s talk about this.

Scams

Caught by a scam artist

I’m ashamed to admit that I got caught by a scam artist to whom I gave access to my computer. He claimed to be from Microsoft, and he informed me that my computer had been infected by some viruses that were not removed by my installed security program and that he could remove them for me. I gave him remote access to my computer, and he immediately upgraded my OS and installed a new cleaner program. He seemed to do some work on my computer and gave me a phone number to call if I had any questions. He also gave me the name and phone number for a technical service that could help me fix additional problems, if necessary. He took me to a check form for me to fill out in order to pay for his service. I had never used such a form to pay for any online services or programs before, but I filled it out. Since I accidentally entered the wrong account number for my bank, the transaction was not completed. This prevented him from wiping out our bank account, but I think that he had highjacked my computer. I was able to get my banker to change my bank account and get my local technician to remove all the programs and files that he had downloaded on my computer, so it was once again under my exclusive control and safe to operate. I was very lucky.

Recommendations to avoid scams

Don’t ever give complete personal identification information, particularly bank numbers, to anyone on online whom you don’t know or completely trust. If your computer seems to be encountering problems, run your installed security program to scan for possible causes of any problems and to have it remove the viruses or malware that may be causing them. If that doesn’t improve the operation of your computer, contact a local technician for his or her services. The operation of some features on your computer may just be hampered by unexpected corruptions in specific lines of code in the file where that feature is situated. If that is your situation, the members of 5 Star Support may be able to give you some helpful instructions for eliminating any problems. You can see their website and join their forum here: 5 Star Support. As you follow their instructions, you will remain in control of your computer and hopefully will be able to fix any simple problem. Technicians with your security program may also be helpful if the normal operation of their installed program doesn’t solve your problem. Keep your security program and operating system up to date and use passwords to protect access to important files programs and personal data on your computer.

Conclusion regarding scams

Attacks by scam artists on computers is a very common and serious problem. They are constantly changing their tactics and weapons and improving their skills in their thieving endeavors. Don’t expect a “stranger” to fix your computer from another computer when you don’t know who he or she is or where they are operating from. If you had some encounters with such scam artists, please feel free to add your suggestions for dealing with them to this post. Let’s talk about this. Your insights into this problem could be very helpful.