Education: The Military's First and Best Line of Defense

The idea now prevalent among some defense officials that formal classroom-based education is either expendable or unnecessary flies in the face of millennia of historical precedent. Brilliant strategists and military leaders not only tend to have had excellent education, but most acknowledge the value and influence of their mentors. The roll call of the intellectual warriors is sometimes the best argument in support of training armies to think: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert E. Lee, Erwin Rommel, George Patton, Chester Nimitz.

In stark contrast we can cite familiar military leaders whose educations were, we say, lackluster: the Duke of Wellington (he beat Napoleon – barely – after a slugging 7-year campaign), Ulysses Grant, George Custer, Adolph Hitler, Hermann Goering, Josef Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Manuel Noriega. For these men, military victories were often a matter of luck over tactics, overwhelming force over innovative planning, and soldiers more fearful than their masters than of the enemy.

I am a moderate, neither "red" nor "blue," with leanings in both camps. I firmly resist a draft, but support (and was once part of) ROTC. When I read that Columbia University had voted overwhelmingly to ban the Officer Officer Training Corps from returning to the campus, I felt that the concept of academic freedom itself had been violated. It is not the university's place to impute value judgments or decision on moral issues. Instead, universities were intended to be places where minds could visit among a broad range of viewpoints, hopefully to pick and choose the best parts from among them. By banning a campus ROTC contingent, Columbia has denied students that choice, and as an academic I am ashamed for them.

ROTC has much to offer university students, including (sometimes especially) those not enrolled as officer candidates. As a thirty-something graduate student working on my master's degree, I enrolled and participated in two ROTC history classes being taught by a multi-decorated Marine colonel, himself a holder of a master's degree in history. The things I learned about military implications of the battles we studied, the social effects of each decision, and the pains taken by most leaders to secure better materiel and intelligence for their troops far exceeded anything taught in the history department's coverage of the same incidents. It was from that extraordinarily patriotic US Marine career officer that I learned, for example, that during the War of 1812 the US invaded Canada and, when it discovered it could not succeed, burned the national Parliament buildings. It was for that last action that British soldiers later pressed on to Washington and set fire to the US Capitol and White House.

Does any of that make a difference? Indeed, I think it is crucial to national survival that soldiers and the public know the big picture behind events that becoming rallying later later. After 9/11, a precious few people asked the loaded question, "what have we done to incur this attack?" The overwhelming response was to stifle such questions – the US were the good guys, and those religious fanatics were angry because they were jealous of our luxury and wealth – and simply treat the attackers as nameless, inhuman enemies. There was no question allowed as to what the real problem might be, only that the US must attack them and annihilate aggression. But what competent physician, I ask, treats only a symptom but ignores the cause of the disease? According to numerous studies mandated by the UN and other agencies, the most important change that would most work towards eliminating poverty and war would be the universal access of women to an education.

We may "Remember the Alamo," but how many recall that Texas was either part of the US then, nor was it trying to become a state. It was seeking independence as a nation so it could maintain slavery, which Mexico had outlawed. When we "Remember the Maine," do we also recall that the ship was probably sunk by an engineering problem, and not from Spanish sabotage? That the war was pushed by US hawks and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hurst, knowing that a war would greatly boost newspaper sales? We must learn from history, because we are already doomed to repeating it. The 9/11 attack was carried out out predominately by Saudi Arabs, but the US response was to attack Iraq. Despite a preponderance of evidence that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the American public still preferred the fabrications about anthrax attacks, WMDs, and terrorist training camps.

So what of military plans to merely enlarge the distance learning programs to replace classroom instruction? As a career teacher, I risk sounding like a ludite when I disparage distance learning. In my experience, there can be no substitute for a human-to-human interaction, where ideas can be immediately sorted, argued, and revised. Seeing the emotional expression of classmates when one discusses controversies ranging from "just wars" to the use of nuclear weapons to the pros and cons of a given policy simply can not be part of an electronic lesson. There is simply no substitution, for example, to having a combat veteran point out "I was there" in a class when another student has presented the sanitized version of a controversial event. That level of emotion will not come through a cable modem. We are already becoming extremely dependent upon the impersonal Internet, so how much more non-human contact can possibly be good for our psychological, especially empathic, development.

Historically, one of the first tragedies of war – after truth and diversity of opinion – is basic humanity. In wars, our soldiers do not kill Germans, French, British, Indians, Japanese, or Vietnamese people. Almost from the beginning, they instead fight krauts, frogs, limeys, savages, nips, or gooks. How much more difficult is it for a poorly educated soldier to understand the enemy when the enemy has been made subhuman? How, perfectly, can the war be won and, more important, peace maintained if we can not understand (but not necessarily agree with) the enemy?
It is unfortunate that the senior military officers so often bring the brunt of public hostility for actions made by civil authorities. The present administration is among the most academically impoverished in US history, while the senior officers are among the most highly educated. While it is true that some soldiers actually enjoy combat, the vast majority would welcome, nay embrace, a career of unbroken peace. The intelligent career soldier trains to protect that which he or she most values, knowing that wars are inevitable. Most pray that they need never fight, but stand ready to put their lives on the line should the rest of us need protection. Rather than reduce, compromise, or restrict education to these defenders, I would argue instead that they all receive free access to our universities and colleges. The academic world needs to get behind a unified message: education is not a privilege; It is the first and best line of defense.

Satellite Internet Bandwidth Providers

Satellite internet connections are great in those regions were there is no access to DSL or cable internet bandwidth. This type of service connection works by the data being sent via satellite. A satellite equipment dish is arranged pointing toward the south. This dish transmits signals to satellites which are in a position about the earth usually stationary and internet access from the Internet provider is provided through this type of connection. Satellite internet bandwidth is available worldwide including ships at sea or mobile vehicles.

Advantages and Disadvantages

This type of bandwidth service makes access to the internet in those areas where other forms of bandwidth are not available. It also eliminates the need to use dial-up – in fact this bandwidth is faster than dial-up. An advantage with this type of bandwidth is that downloading and uploading is much faster. Installation is also fairly rapid.

Since the signal from the computer must travel so many miles in order to reach a satellite and return to the computer this causes a delay or latency between the request for data and receiving that data. The average lag time for satellite internet is often found to be between 500 to 900 milliseconds. This is not acceptable for any applications where real-time access is necessary for instance internet gaming, video conferencing, video chats as well as any VolP telephone calls. Another disadvantage is the weather does affect this satellite feed. Rain does not actually block the signal but it can cause a form of interference that is known as "rain fade" and this can slow the download as well as upload speeds causing a very irregular internet connection.

Initially as Well as Monthly Cost

Satellite internet access is more expensive that other types of broadband access in fact it is 2 to 3 times more expensive than DSL internet access. Not only is the monthly fee more expensive but the initial cost of setup is very expensive since it involves satellite dish and satellite modem. Initial setup may range from between $ 600 to $ 2000.

Major Providers

HughsNet is the number one satellite internet provider with a basic monthly fee of $ 49.99. HughsNet offers uploading and downloading speeds that are fairly fast and have great technical support. But the internet speeds fall off sharply during the evening peak hours and also there is a daily limit on uploading and downloading or bandwidth usage.

The number 2 satellite internet provider is WildBlue with a monthly basic package of $ 69.95. They offer much higher download and upload limits but in exchange for this, the download speed suffers. But if you have a concern with downloading and heavy internet use, this provider would probably be the best for you.

Provider number 3 is the internet provider MyBlueDish which monthly fee is also $ 69.95. They currently work with provider WildBlue in order to provide faster internet and allow for a lot of download bandwidth monthly. But, they are much slower than the other providers. MyBlueDish also has 24/7 tech support that is excellent.

Basically, satellite internet bandwidth usage is great for those living in remote area or who are based on ship or who are constantly mobile or any situation where there is no other option for broadband. Internet access by satellite is extremely better than the next viable option, which is, dial-up and is the only other method of accessing the internet in remote areas.

How To Start Investing For Financial Independence, Part 1

Today, I am going to start a multi-part series about how to go from being a beginning investor to being "financially independent" in a steady and predictable way. At our website, we get tons of e-mails about how do I start, how do I start with little $ 's, etc., etc., etc. If you are asking this question, congratulations because you are ahead of most. All of us have been there at some point.

I must warn you …. What I am about to share here for free is what "gurus" across the nation charge thousands of dollars for in weekend seminars. The "secrets" disclosed are going to seem pretty simple because quite frankly, there are no secrets. The methods used here have been done for centuries and there is no real reason to complicate them. Let's apply these principles to see how fast someone might become financially independent without betting the farm.

Realize that everyone has wildly different starting points and different financial goals. For this series of articles, we assume that an individual has access to at least $ 15,000 liquid capital (or home equity) to start, is at least breaking even with their current income income expenses, and has decent credit to obtain financing. Note there yet? …. See the footnote below.

To start, what you need is to make your money grow while keeping your current income stream, and current expense level in place. I can not say this more plainly ….. To change your current financial path, you have to us your money and your time to grow additional income streams that increase wealth. There is many ways to do this but we are going to use investing in real estate as an example.

Now for beginners, here is the really bad news …… As an investor, you reap rewards by placing your money in HARMS WAY. You do everything in your power to minimize your risk but bottom line is that real investors make money by taking CONTROLLED risks. As investors get better, they learn how to make fantastic investment returns doing things that all their friends and relatives thing is crazy ….. However, they know exactly what risks are small in comparison to the potential Rewards.

One reason people really like real estate investing is leaseage; Ie, you can purchase an expensive property using 0-20% of your own money while financing the rest. So if you put 10% down for example, and then the property goes up by 20%, you have made a 200% return (ignoring expenses, taxes, etc. for simplicity). Of course this works in reverse … If the property drops by 20%, you have lost not only your original investment but have to come up with another 10% as well ….. Ouch!

For someone beginning, here is what I would suggest:
1) Look for an opportunity that will return at least 150% in 2 yrs or less;

2) Be mentally and financially prepared if the investment does not work out;

3) Have VERY good reasons why you do not think you will lose money …… You may not make as much as expected but you would rather not lose money at this stage.

4) Be patient. This single result should not either make or break you but it is crucial to a longer term plan.

In our Mastermind Group, we are bringing out a land project (see related article Land Investing that appears to meet these criteria (each investor has to decide for themselves.) So let's say the purchase price is $ 150,000, with 10% down and another $ 3,500 In closing costs. With good credit, then the financing obtained would make the land payments for 2 years while waiting for growth.

Now let's say after you did your analysis, looked at what had happened in the past, looked at why you thought more and more people would want this property, etc., you decide that you think this property will average 20% / Yr escalation over The next 2 years. MORE IMPORTANTLY, you decide that barring a major meltdown in the market, you think there is little chance that you can not at least break even after 2 years.

So if you end up being right about the growth, then you might net a tidy $ 43,000 (before taxes) or so after everything is considered. After long term capital gains at 15% let's say, then you just picked up about $ 36,000 of the "market's money". That is money that if you take a loss on the next investment will not be nearly as painful as if you lost your original money. When you combine this with your original investment amount, you now have around $ 55,000 of operating capital for step 2.

Realistically, you can not predict how much you will make from the investment. When I invest, I try to establish in my mind what is reasonable. Frequently, I have been surprised to the positive and made much more than expected. Sometimes I have made less. The key being put to yourself in a low risk situation where you have a strong reason to believe the market will go in your favor.

To accomplish this first step, let's look at what you really had to do:

1) Had to be willing to put $$ in harm's way;

2) Had to educate yourself enough to evaluate the risk and the opportunity;

3) Had to find the opportunity or be in a position to have the opportunity presented to them;

4) Had to act.

I would like to comment on the education side. As a former professor, I have seen very smart people spend 1,000's of hours and 10,000's of thousands of dollars educating themselves to "earn a living"; This is a great move in many cases. On the other side, I have seen very smart people who want investing to be a major source of income but will not spend any time or any money educating themselves.

To me, this is a recipe for disaster. By the time we finish this series, you will see that with a few simple steps, implemented over time, many people can easily produce more money than their regular job. Tomorrowmore, many people will put 100's of thousands of dollars at risk but know almost nothing about what they are doing. If you chose the path of making your investment dollars grow steadily with time, I hope this does not end up describing you.

** Footnote: If you are not yet at that level, here is what I suggest. First, read Michael Masterson's book called "Automatic Wealth". This is an excellent book on how to quickly change your financial position while staying employed. Next, I would read Van Tharp's new book called "Safe Paths To Financial Freedom". Van uses a very different thought process from many and so adds a great deal of rounding. Like anything else, you will not agree with everything written in these books but they provide some great thought processes. When you have some capital and are cash flow positive, they come back and revisit this article.

Travel Oahu – Experience Hawaii Like A Local

Every year millions of visitors from Japan, mainland USA and beyond land at
Honolulu International Airport ready to begin their vacation in paradise. Soon after
Landing, most visitors hop in a cab or bus sent from the hotel and begin the journey
Past downtown Honolulu and on to their reservation at a Waikiki hotel.

The allure of Waikiki is immediate. The packed streets, sounds of the beach, and
Exotic histories call to the traveler who soon hits the streets. Venturing out in
Waikiki can be quite exciting. The streets are filled with foreign languages, throngs
Of tourists are dressed in their beach best, and the beginning of surf history can be
Seen at the end of the street. Waikiki can be so exciting that many visitors never
Escape its imaginary borders. Approximately 6 million of these visitors miss the very
Sites that locals find so endearing, remaining within the two square miles of Waikiki.

For those travelers interested in seeing Oahu through its residents' eyes, please
Read on.

Magic Island Beach Park – This popular park is located just west of
Waikiki, across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The park includes
Two beaches, a three mile jogging path, tennis courts, and more. A walk around the
Park will expose the center of Hawaiian culture – the family. Large extended families
Gather around hibachis, spending the day together with a good food and plenty of
Sun. The beaches are significantly less crowded, so for a great day, grab a barbecue
And head down to the beach at Magic Island!

The Contemporary Museum Honolulu – This small museum is located
High on a ridge at Makiki Heights Drive. The drive up the ridge offers amazing vistas
That would otherwise be missed by most Oahu visitors. The relatively small museum
Offers changing exhibitions in its five galleries. After traversing the galleries, visitors
Can wander out onto the sculpture gardens. This is where the true glory of the
Museum is revealed. The 3.5 acres of sculpture and meditative gardens are open to
The public and offer some of the most amazing views of Honolulu.

Leong's Cafe – Many visitors look to a lu'au for more than entertainment;
They are after some great Hawaiian food. However, if you're interested in real local
Style Hawaiian food, you can not beat Leong's Cafe located at 2343 North King Street.
As a favorite for plate lunches, kalua pig, lu'au stew, lomi lomi, and more, locales
Have been visiting this cafe for over 50 years!

Champion Malasadas – The local treat called Malasadas are so popular
That Fat Tuesday has been re-christened Malasada Day throughout the Hawaiian
Islands. One of the best and most famous bakeries is Champion Malasadas located
At 1926 South Beretania Street. These light portuguese hole-less donuts come with
And without filling and are absolutely worth the effort in getting them!

Honolulu Chinatown – A walk through the streets of Chinatown in like a
Walk into another time and place. Whatever you are looking for dim sum, fresh
Produce, handmade leis, or the new hip lounge, you are sure to find it in Chinatown.
The streets and shops are exotic, offering items not found in a typical american
Grocery. Guided walking tours are available for this historic district, but often the
Best way is to simply meander through the streets, stopping whenever your interest
Has been piqued.

If you are interested in seeing Oahu through a local's eyes, be sure to spend some
Time outside of Waikiki. Stop by some or all of the spots listed above and see some
Of what truly makes Hawaii special.