Steve's Views Rotating Header Image

November 19th, 2022:

Where does happiness hide?

Watching history, primarily late 1800’s and the first half of 1900’s, during which time Europeans had a lot of turmoil, including two world wars, it becomes obvious that political unrest led to devastation to millions of people and numerous countries.

Knowing what the conditions were that lead to all this death, destruction and misery could be of interest to hopefully prevent them from occurring again.

A few background factors; poor leadership that is not for the people will cause problems with counter survival conditions. When people suffer they will eventually revolt in some fashion starting with making fun of those doing well and eventually evolve into violent revolt.

When people have the idea that “leadership” is all about themselves and against the people it sets the scene for revolt. What kind of person will be supporting this? 

When lies are spread that paints that picture it will attract those who feel they don’t have anything to lose.

Who then would gain from spreading such lies?

If you look at how some thieves promote the idea that nobody actually owns anything. They win if their crimes are actually not a crime. Similarly I’ve watched gang members express that they are only taking what was their birth right but what never received. Righting a wrong. Those kinds of illusions are there to lessen their crimes.

This usually comes from people with extreme views and usually narrow ideas based on partial actual understanding of life and the situation at hand who simply want to push their own agenda and will happily burn, maim and kill anything perceived to be in their way.

See Lenin, Stalin and Hitler to name some well known figures, who in turn killed for their idea of a “pure” society but in reality were simply causing more death and destruction than what had preceded them.

Now we see Putin executing the invasion of Ukraine as the solution to some situation where the death toll looks like it has exceeded 100,000 just on the Russian side.

As a quick reflection on the policies of warring countries; look at countries such as Japan, South Korea, Germany and how they are doing. Now look at countries after Russia’s involvement. The difference is the value of human life that each country places. Russia happily sends the masses, especially the poor masses, to fight their wars and cares more about saving equipment than soldiers.

Whereas the US places real value on people and sees equipment as expendable.

In the case of the Russian Federation it is a collection of some 20+ republics with their own language, legislature, constitution and with some level of autonomy. It is to some degree similar to the states in the US.

The US has a constitution that protects its people and limits government intrusion into our lives.

The Russian Federation also has a constitution but has had a dictator at the helm for 100’s of years and their constitution reflects this.

Unless you have done your homework you may not realize how it is that Russia, supposedly the 2nd most powerful military in the world, did not simply take over Ukraine in a matter of days, and are now losing the war they started.

Something about free will and being in charge of your own destiny or rather the removal of those (slavery) and suppressing freedoms will not be part of a winning formula.

When a condition exists where most anything of value is only available to the few, the masses will not cooperate in an optimum way. When food is not readily available, work does not exist or allow for a proper income, when you see the people who are supposed to be leaders live well and grow fat, when people disappear who express their unhappiness – this is when a country stops functioning.

The whole purpose of a true group is to have a higher survival potential as a team than as individuals. When individuals of different skills, abilities and interests join towards a common goal the impossible becomes achievable. They put aside differences as they recognize the value of the team.

They may promote solutions supporting individual interests but they don’t force their own over the good of the group. For people who have not lived under life and death suppression it’s not easy to fully understand what it does to a people. Not unlike, though on a smaller level, the beaten wife who does not leave her terrorizing husband. 

One may not understand why in the world she stays but if you listen to her she is saying nobody else would have her. Her husband beat it into her that nobody would want her because she’s so useless. Many have a hard time understanding this, never mind a whole country that is living under suppression.

In Russia you have a federation where pretty much all of the power lies in Moscow and total control lies with Putin who can overrule any decision set by the (rest of the) government.

This type of rule has pretty much been the case going back to the first the Grand Duke and later Tsar (king) in the mid 1500’s until present.

Lenin’s solution was to overthrow the government with force (1922) and he used Stalin to rob the bank to finance the operation. After he died in 1924 by the 1930’s Stalin had taken power and continued ruling with even more violence. More people died under his rule than from Hitler’s and on top of it they were his fellow countrymen. (But in the west Hitler is more known as Russia is to a large degree a mystery by design.)

These centuries of rule in Russia have built a nation of people where many are barely scraping by. Living with minimal education and options. Where speaking up is a sure way of not being seen again. Neighbors would falsely report you as an enemy of the state because you had something he or she wanted and with you gone… 

If you were to live under the threat of death or at least prison hanging over you and your family and friends then you will not volunteer doing something that supports that condition. You will end up ignoring something that is failing rather than speaking up or fixing it yourself.

As most others who are starving with an uncertain future, if you see an opportunity to put aside something that can help your family you are more than likely going to cheat and steal. (In Russia it is something literally everyone is well aware of and probably did.)

Russia is vast, it covers 11 time zones and has some 145 million citizens.

Imagine that 99% of them not only feel oppressed but have their civil liberties severely limited. You don’t end up with a scenario of people wanting to support their government.

Where people from Putin down to the maintenance guy of Russian military vehicles and equipment does whatever they can for personal gain. And if you are, for example, a general then you control vast amounts of money and people.

Surely nobody would mind if you put a lot of the military budget into your pocket and built yourself the castle you surely deserve after having worked your way up to that position by any means, including marrying your daughters off to the right families.

Communication is the key to any military success but when your comm gear is barely working and when it is sending communication in the clear because it costs too much to encrypt it, you are giving away all the operational directives to the enemy as soon as you transmit.

And if you are the maintenance guy surely nobody would notice if you sold off the gas supply, and instead of buying oil to maintain the tanks and save yourself from slaving away maintaining them you simply shared the profit with your superior (with each trying to get the upper hand of the other, all the way up to Putin).

Where you as a soldier are poorly trained, have few hopes of a future, with broken equipment and end up being sent off for a military drill (supposedly in Russia) but in reality to war in Ukraine for some, to you, unknown reason.

The military manual on how to conduct war is still the same as it was during WWII and relies on simply sending floods of victims (sorry soldiers) towards the enemy in hope to slow the enemy down and, I guess, drive them into apathy. Which it really does not.

Russia had some 20,000 tanks before the war. As a comparison the US has something like 6,500+ tanks. Remember the maintenance guys above? They did not bother caring for all that steel in the form of tanks that needed ongoing maintenance to not rust away. That added with severe losses in Ukraine and lack of western spare parts they are down to maybe having some estimated 160 operational tanks today.

Electronics have always been inferior in Russia. Partly because of money not being spent where it was needed and partly due to an American spy who, when arriving in the Soviet Union, convinced the leadership to build him a city where he would teach electronics and lead Russian electronics development.

He got his city which must have been great for him. However the combination of Russian slave workers (sorry, willing citizens) and his know-how, Russia’s electronics has always been inferior. (One could say that he made up for his treason to the US by forever crippling electronics in Russia.)

The answer to the Russian military’s losses comes down to key failure in communication, not maintained equipment and lack of purpose and morale. To make things worse supplies are constantly cut off and food is more scarce than ammunition.

The new conscripts that are being sent to Ukraine are forced to fight Putin’s war to “rescue” Ukraine from the nonexistent Nazi threat. They only receive a few days worth of training.

Each US soldier receives approx $1M in training. The Russian have plastic helmets and rusty weapons and eat what they can scrunch up. They are often seen stealing washing machines and the like from Ukraine homes.

Behind the Russian front line is another line. That line is there to shoot anyone retreating from the front line. Who in turn have another line behind them.

The conscripts are often seen drinking into a stupor and getting into fights on the way to the front. This is a normal “solution” in Russia, drink to get away from the conditions they are in. Much like American soldiers in Vietnam getting high even though the Vietcong could attack at any moment and they would be too out of it to defend themselves.

Ukraine’s soldiers are rotated away from the front on a regular basis. Each earns $1,000/month and an extra $3,000 if at the front. The Russian soldier is promised good pay but unlike the Ukraine counterpart does not actually receive any money.

The Ukrainian soldier is considered valuable and is not sent into battle unless they can win. (Though being patriotic surely makes many take more chances, for example the rapid advance tactic that has been deployed which have been very successful due to the enemy’s poor disposition.)

Meanwhile Putin has removed himself from everyone else, he as every dictator knows there’s a bullet with his name on it. To reach him you have to check into a special hotel where you are in isolation for two weeks and only then you can enter the building Putin is in.

You will find yourself at the end of a 20′ table with him at the other end. He can’t afford to trust many people.

OK, enough about Putin. The whole point here was to share how it looks like living in a Russian dictatorship. Which is not unique, look at the American journalist, born in United Arab Emirates, who had been outspoken against the royal family in the UAE, who entered the UAE embassy only to be tortured to death and smuggled out in pieces.

The US constitution allows for anyone to speak out against our government. It is the protected speech we value so highly here.

The inner workings of things such as the government is commonly not well understood. There are so many details of it that we generally hold other things more interesting and rely on the government to do their thing, and for others to let us know about important things.

That which is hidden can hurt you, is a truth that is demonstrated on a daily basis. To the degree you are ignorant about the actual workings of things to that degree you can be hurt.

Imagine growing up on some distant farm and only knowing about things on the farm. No knowledge about any government or rules other than the practical life lessons learned on the farm.

Now imagine you walk (ride) into a city after a long trip, and you are immediately locked up and your horse taken for dropping manure. Let’s say it is illegal in some politically important square.

You inquire who the idiot is that made that law and that he is the one that should be locked up! Imagine that being the Red Square in Moscow and in front of the police you suggest Putin should be locked up. [I made up the horse manure law just to make the point.]

In the US you are not particularly concerned about criticizing the President, but in a dictatorship you and your family could see the gallows. When China executes a person a bill is sent to the family for the bullet.

Be very very careful about what you wish for. As we have seen, the US political experiment of democracy is only as strong as the supporters of it.

As a teenager I was able to travel Europe including visiting one of the camps generally known as Auschwitz. I stood in the gas chamber room, saw the scratches on the tile of people trying to get out, I looked into the dual ovens outside the room where they burned the remains.

I saw the collection of glasses, hair, and personal belongings that had been collected by the Nazis behind large glass partitions. I saw the walls lined with pictures of smiling prisoners that intended to present a different reality of the quality of life in the camp.

If you were looking for hell where the devil resided that would certainly do. Unfortunately Nazis, Russians and dictators are not the only ones who come up with such solutions as killing, maiming, suppressing others as a so called solution.

Mankind seems to have learned that when everything else fails force is the answer. An individual at that point does not have their entire mental capacity available to him/her. They have reached some level of overwhelm and feel so backed up against the wall they can’t properly evaluate solutions that are actually long term pro-survival solutions.

Most people have experienced the feeling of futility of some situation we were in. The world around us continuously creates the impression that what wins the day is force. We feel forced into some corner and are not able to take an exterior view and make an evaluation of all the facts and likely outcomes of actions we are contemplating. Instead we lash out!

So reaching out with force is understandable. However rarely is it the ideal win/win solution. For one we tend to not understand the details of what troubles us, may that be understanding the law, other people, or what drives and motivates them. Often not even ourselves.

One of the most valuable things in life is compassion. How much compassion do you have when you are in the mindset of being the judge, jury and executioner?

How easy and fast do you jump into that mindset?

The speed is partly determined by how freely you can look at all sides and all the facts. If you are fast and in an emotional state, it might be because you are not actually able to make proper evaluations. Evaluations which might come back and haunt you, even if you don’t see how they relate. All because of hasty decisions to be the judge, jury and executioner.

It has been said that man cannot serve justice fairly.

It has also been said that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. Give the benefit of doubt and apply compassion.

I have been in the situation of staring down the blade of a big knife held by a large cop killer in a tight place with just the two of us. He walked away unharmed, as did I. 🙂

I knew something he did not and I was able to handle the situation without any force by simply using my knowledge of ethics and justice. Turned out he was on the run and was seeking shelter. Instead he found compassion and hope, and found that even he had some value and raised the idea that he had the possibility of being valuable again.

I never saw, or read about him again but I’m certain that he never forgot me and what he took with him from our talk.

Criminal reform is possible, but it is based on each person gaining their self respect back. Not by pushing their failures. Sure, they have to make amends, but will they bother when they are constantly reminded of how bad they are? You serve your time and that’s how you pay your debt, except in most places you are not allowed to vote again, and forever have that record. A sure sign or society does not know how to “recover” a criminal.

What have we learned here?

There are those who will saw off the branch they are sitting on, with complete ignorance that they too are on the branch. Maybe they are so far gone they are “going down” and intend to take everyone with them.

Sometimes when your actions lead to so much suffering, or violations of your integrity, that in your ignorance you decide you need to stop yourself even if that means causing so much damage that you get others to help take you down.

For many who make mistakes they feel they have reached a point where they cannot “afford” to be wrong once more so they publicly hold on to how right they are, in spite of being aware they are wrong as it would be too much of a blow to be seen as wrong again. They will take being right to their grave.

When you have pursued some direction for so long that it would be a blow to you to acknowledge that it was the wrong direction. You can often tell if you are there as you are not having as much luck as you once had. You have more things go wrong and you are simply not happy. Life has more unhappiness than happiness.

This is not the moment to dig in deeper but to stop and look around and approach life from a different angle or direction. At some point in the past you made one or more decisions which led to where you are. It might be at a time of great duress. Maybe confusion and uncertainty, but you were not “at the top of the world” when you made that decision.

Look around at who and what you have in your life. What is influencing you the most on a subject you are honestly not well versed in. This lack of full insight is a good area to find things that affect your life in some unexpected way.

A good friend of mine said that insecurity exists in the absence of knowledge. Without proper knowledge it’s a crap shot as to if you will make the better choice. Confusion does not lead to certainty and prosperity.

Backing away from an area means you lack understanding. Blindly following others advice is a good way of making bad decisions.

In areas where it is hard to identify facts your only options are to educate yourself as much as possible and to find wide and varied views from different sides to see what is being said. Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle but rarely at any extreme side.

In public relations it is a well known point that if you repeat something often enough people will believe it. In some areas millions of dollars are being spent to push some version of reality as the actual reality towards some end that may or may not be in the public’s interest but more likely only benefits an individual or small group.

A trained eye can spot these but for most it is simply accepted and used as the truth from there on. We have seen enough lies and misleading statements that we know there are unjust things going on, we simply don’t know how deep it is.

The answer is simple, ask yourself if it is bringing happiness to your life? Happiness is overcoming problems. Solutions solve things whereas lies “sticks” and does not resolve things.

Voting is by some seen as a waste of time as they are only one. By supporting non voting you are simply getting the kind of government you deserve. You are telling the government you don’t care – go ahead and do whatever you want. By voting we send the message that we are looking, maybe we even get our candidate to win.

It looks like most don’t know how the government works and are happily accepting them as the why for any and all wrong in the world without any thought because Everything is their responsibility. Maybe forgetting their own responsibility by not only educating themselves and doing their civil duty by voting.

In the end ask yourself are you actually honestly happy? Maybe a closer evaluation of where you are at and how you got here is in order.

Steve Szmidt