stake (n.2) Look up stake at Dictionary.com“that which is placed at hazard,” 1530s, from stake (v.). Perhaps literally “that which is put up,” from notion of “post on which a gambling wager was placed,” though OED points out there is “no evidence of the existence of such a custom.” Weekley suggests “there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphor” in this usage. Hence, “an interest, something to gain or lose” (1784). Plural stakes, “sum of money to be won in a (horse) race,” first recorded 1690s (compare sweepstakes). To have a stake in is recorded from 1784.

Language is complicated matter. With so many words and variations in their meanings, we don’t communicate with each other well. When politics takes over, the ratio of noise to data increases. Then we war with words, battling over their meaning, and we risk entirely failing to communicate. Then instead of discussing issues we trade accusations, calling each other names.

Consider the controversy over quarantining people coming or returning from the nations in west Africa where the Ebola virus is epidemic. What is the meaning of the word “scientific”?  On one side with have people claiming the experts, bureaucrats from the Center for Disease Control, are on their side. Therefore, the “science” is on their side. On the other side we have people examining the science. These wish to make sense of the requirement quarantine military personnel, who are not supposed to be treating Ebola patients, whereas we need not take any serious precautions with medical personnel who have been treating Ebola patients.

Have doctors and nurses now become part of our new overlord class? Has the day come when it is appropriate to regard military personnel as the most untrustworthy scum of the earth? Or our some politicians just determined find any excuse to pit us against each other?

How easy is Ebola to catch? In spite of their precautions, why have doctors and nurses caught it? Perhaps that has to do with what the CDC means by airborne. Since Delegate Bob Marshall sent out an email on this subject today, why not let him explain?

Ebola Update

Dear Friends,

Because Ebola can be spread by water droplets (generated by a sneeze or cough), according to a flyer which was compiled by the CDC, I think it is particularly important that Congress immediately act to restrict travel of those who live in or have visited Ebola-affected areas until Ebola has been eliminated.

Since the President has refused to act, Congress must not be afraid to use its authority to protect the safety of the nurses and doctors, especially those in the ER’s, our dedicated first responders, other hospital patients who could be inadvertently exposed to Ebola, and everyone who may come in contact with someone infected with Ebola who may or may not recognize their symptoms at the time.

I want you to have information to keep you and your friends and relatives safe.  Common sense dictates that temporarily preventing potential Ebola carriers into the country until Ebola has been contained is the most effective means to achieve this goal.   We all greatly admire the doctors and other volunteers who have risked their lives to treat those suffering from this horrible disease, but it shows no less respect to insist that these public servants be prevented from contact with others during at least a 21-day quarantine period.

Until travel is restricted, we must depend on time consuming, expensive, less than reliable tracking of symptoms which may or may not be present in an Ebola carrier, exposed contacts, and their contacts.  Unless “we the people” demand action from our elected leaders, nothing will change.  Please call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121, ask to be collected with your two Senators and Congressman, or find your representatives and demand that they act to protect us!

Thank you for your help.


Delegate Bob Marshall

With respect to the Ebola virus, what is at stake? Since we do not know much about the disease, we can only guess what it might do. However, we do know some viruses have proven very resistant to our ability to suppress them. Hence the cold is common, and the flu arrives every winter. Could Ebola visit us so frequently and with even more severe consequences? When we have leaders so intent upon politicizing science, using words to club their opponents, who knows?

10 thoughts on “WHAT IS AT STAKE ON ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014? — PART 1

  1. Who, pray tell, regards our military personnel as “the most untrustworthy scum of the earth.” ?! I certainly have not met such people and, over the course of my adult life, it seems to me that our military has only grown in the respect and admiration the citizens bestow upon it (the low point was the unjust opprobrium visited on returning veterans from the Viet Nam conflict). This has been a very turbulent past 15 or 20 years. This claim that we look at the military so negatively seems quite fictional, Tom. Do you feel that way about the military? Do you know people who do? Almost all elements of government are held in lesser, rather than greater esteem than was the case prior to, say, 1992, just to pick a date a random out of the air. There are very good reasons Congress and the presidency, as well as state and local governments are regarded largely as seething masses of entropic incompetency. The exception is our military, which has acquitted itself spectacularly well over this period in very trying circumstances.

    On the related subject, I see that Mr. Marshall continues his role as someone who is not a doctor, but plays one in e-mail hand-wringing. I would be most grateful for a quarantine of almost any duration of these kinds of irrelevant nonsense mailings.


    1. scout – Go back and read the post. Does it have anything to about the Vietnam conflict, the performance of our troops, or the high regard the American public has for our troops? No? Then why the red herrings?

      If you can defend the Obama administration’s policies, why don’t you do so?


    2. Is that the only distraction you could pick up for this one, Scout, to treat a rhetorical question as an accusation? Pathetic.

      Incidentally, the Obama administration has been anti-military from its inception, from the “right wing terrorists” report issued early after he took office (which warns of Constitutional conservatives being a major threat) to various attempts to degrade military capability: reduction in forces, reduction in budget, interference with effective rules of engagement, discouragement of enlisting (except for illegal aliens), and continual references to the political beliefs of most soldiers as terroristic threats to the nation. He’s coupled this with an administrative ban on defining the enemy, and is substituting new, unbeatable enemies such as “climate change” and “poverty” and “unequal distribution of wealth.”

      The media have helped. Those that revile our armed forces are getting a lot more (and more approving) airtime under the last two administrations, and they happily trot out anti-military storyline such as the suicide rate business, not to mention the whole Abu Ghraib business.

      At least with Bergdahl, Obama found a soldier he could respect: An America-hating anti-military traitor. So Obama could do serious damage to our defensive capability under the pretense of “rescuing” a soldier, one whose traitorous actions had been determined in an investigation four years before. He could harm US troop morale at the the same time as boosting the capabilities of the enemy, and giving them new precedents and new goals surrounding this new demonstrated US weakness of negotiating with terrorists to ransom hostages. The jihadists will fail here, though, if they don’t realize that Obama does not care about the fate of most Americans.

      Obama is track record is to be deadly slow to make military-related decisions, waiting until forced to do so, and then he encumbers them with conditions that guarantee the failure of the missions. This has been true from his dalliance and pre-announcement of defeat on the original Afghanistan surge request to his foot-dragging aerial pinpricks of ISIS which they openly mock him for. He puts the “tarry” in military.

      But ignore all of this: Citizen Tom’s question was indeed rhetorical, and you knew that. Your faux outrage is a transparent sham.

      As Citizen Tom pointed out, your focus on distraction means you did not have to address and defend Obama’s policies. Perhaps your previous defenses here of Obama policies have been uncomfortable for you. I’d encourage you to rethink your positions and goals, rather than merely waste time attempting to damage the conversation.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


      1. Thanks for the comment.

        Why Obama is anti-military puzzles me a bit. However, it is nothing especially new with Democrats. Given an opportunity they will redirect military spending to social programs. It seems all that matters to them is the political benefits they can occur by buy more votes. They don’t seem to understand that if the weaken the country too much whoever conquers it is not going to put them in charge of it.


        1. It seems that Obama is anti-American military, and its allies by extension. He is not shy about helping jihadists, from Egypt (when the Muslim Brotherhood was in charge) to Syrian fighters who got their battle experience killing Americans in Iraq. But Israel is getting flak, and Egypt (now that the Muslim Brotherhood has been booted) gets a cold shoulder from Obama.

          The new jihadist Turkey gets help and approval from our own turkey.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


        2. As I said, why Obama is anti-military puzzles me a bit, and I cannot refute what you said. It actually does make sense. Nevertheless, Obama has not hidden what he has done, and his party has supported him, and that troubles me a great deal. Is the entire Democratic Party anti-American?

          This post describes how I make sense of what is going on.

          Note that the post focuses on how we define what is true. Do I think it foolish not to believe in God? Yes, but a professed disbelief in God does not necessarily make a man delusional. You, for example, call yourself a non-theist, but I don’t believe you think like one. Otherwise, you would call yourself a committed atheist and be more hostile or indifferent to the Bible. You apparently have enough humility to respect the beliefs of others.

          Exactly how you think, I don’t pretend to know, but I do believe you accept certain truths and consider a departure from those truths wrong. How do you distinguish between good and evil? In practice, you seem to accept Christian wisdom in these matters. What you seem to find difficult to accept is the Christian definition of God, but you at least understand it and respect it.

          The Democratic Party, unfortunately, has been taken over by people who neither understand nor have much much respect for our nation’s heritage. All these people seem interested in is getting what they want. Because they think they are winning, they consider themselves brilliant, but they are slowly destroying our nation and reducing it to rubble.

          Because the Democrats demand powers and authority they have no right to exercise, we have no choice except to oppose them. But their behavior is so illogical, I don’t pretend to completely understand their motives. Frankly, I wonder if they understand themselves.


          1. I don’t think that most Democrat officials are anti-American per se, though a few certainly are, including Keith X Muhammad Hakim (now known as Congressman Keith Ellison). I wrote about his plan to gut America several years ago. An aside: among the things I turned up in my research was the fact that Francis Scott Key had bibles printed in Arabic as he ministered to Muslims.

            Today’s Democrats are either naturally inclined to, or forced to, put party interests ahead of their patriotism and their faiths. The percentage of Christian Democrats is nearly as large as the percentage of Christian Republicans, but on average their religious and nationalist convictions evidently play less of a role in their careers. This is very obviously true of elected Democrats, but it is heading that way for establishment Republicans as well.

            The system is incentivized to encourage bad behavior; the outcome is not surprising. But it needs to be fixed.

            ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


          2. As for me … I expect that you had a well-developed notion of good and evil even before becoming religious. Is that not true? I do not imagine that a person says, “I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior” and then, for the first time, finally and instantly understands what good and evil are and can recognize them — and previously had no notion that murder was wrong.

            You know that I have read the Bible rather extensively, in multiple interpretations. I’ve also read a fair amount of other religious texts from the Qur’an to the Book of Mormon to the Bhagavad Gita (which came together about the same time as the Bible was compiled). All of these were interesting, if sometimes tedious and implausible, but none of them had a formative impact on my notions of good and evil. They were not necessary for that. (I actually did have these notions impacted by reading, including the notions of duty and loyalty contained in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers which I read when very young. Other works figured into this as well.)

            What you are describing as “Christian wisdom” strikes me as simply “wisdom” which generally can be flavored with Christianity without changing the basic concept.

            You wrote:

            “What you seem to find difficult to accept is the Christian definition of God, but you at least understand it and respect it.”

            I’d make a distinction here: I highly respect your right to believe what you wish, rather than the beliefs themselves. But I observe the fruits of the tree of Christianity, and find that in general these are much better neighbors and countrymen than most, and I am pleased to stand with them on most issues and call them my compatriots. My reasoning on these issues is often not the “traditional” Christian one, but if I call them “natural rights” and you call them “God-given rights” we can still work together to preserve and protect them.

            On the matter of abortion, for example: Your life, in a sense, began nearly four billion years ago. You are the trunk of a giant tree in which every single branch goes back that far. None of us can trace more than a few branches of our personal ancestry trees, but that ancestry, through every form of life back to the earliest replicating molecules, is there nonetheless. You can envision this as beginning with you, splitting to your parents, then their parents and so on, back through every ancestor from human to primate to mammalian to synapsic tetrapod to semi-amphibian to teleost fish to simpler and simpler forms, with millions of threads active. But as these forms get get simpler further back in time, the branches start coming back together, coalescing finally into a very small pool of original repeating molecules. Essentially, single lines on each end, but a huge set of threads woven through the tapestry of 3.8 billion years or so of life in between. To me, this is a wondrous and amazing thing to contemplate, but is self-evidently factual.

            So, for me, “life begins at conception” is not a true statement. But not too many weeks afterward, the developing human has a functioning brain and can perceive pain — and I oppose abortion at and after this point. This is the mirror image of life support being terminated when a patient is “brain dead.” So, I am anti-abortion, except for the earliest stages, and even those early stages I find distasteful. But I recognize (as Ted Cruz does) that from a governance standpoint, this is an issue for the people of the several states to decide, not the federal government. I’m with him on this. It is one of many areas of federal usurpation, with the prints of all three branches of government evident.

            It strikes me that the cavalier treatment of pregnancy by modern society is damaging to that society’s fabric. But this aspect, it seems to me, needs to be dealt with separately. It is important; we have a culture to protect as well as a Constitution, and both are very much threatened. The cultural damage has rotted a great portion of what made America unique. At some point, pandering to the lowest common denominator raises a new generation of an even lower set of tastes, and that has been proceeding for a century or more, accelerated by technology. Progressives, in general, consider this damage to be a good thing; they are desirous of shaking off a legacy of the nation created by the framers of the Constitution so that it can be molded to modern tastes.

            But much of “modern tastes” strikes me as appalling. I see the profane, vulgar, sex- and misery- and meanness-laden fare on television, and I shudder — and these are cartoons that my youngest grandchild watches and subconsciously adopts as a moral guide. I don’t like it much, and it has nothing to do with my lack of faith. I was disappointed to find that children’s cartoons are aired without the profanities being even bleeped out.

            You made a suggestion that it I were a real “committed atheist” I would be hostile to the Bible. That does not follow at all. How could I espouse religious freedom if I did not respect the rights of others to have their faiths? It is sadly trendy for many leftists these days to be hostile to Christians, and this notion is evident even among leftist Christians. Just as many Jews (certainly not all!) in the US are anti-Israel, their ideology is the higher priority.

            Ideology, or even simple pragmatism, can override faith. Jim Wallis, for example, is long-time spiritual advisor to President Obama, and he is also a committed communist. From his writings, his communism seems to be the alien puppet-master riding on his spinal cord controlling his actions, and that is, I suspect, why Obama selected him, as this would be comfortable given Obama’s own Marxist upbringing and activities in later academic settings.

            I have been blessed, if I may use the term, with an extraordinary life so far, which included three decades of relationship with an absolutely wonderful and unique woman who I was privileged to share life with. These were not rewards for being a “good Christian” — but in part, my good fortune came about because of my notions that people are deserving of respect and fair treatment.

            Decades ago, I jotted down two simple rules:
            1. Do the right thing.
            2. Constantly educate your understanding of what the right thing should be.

            Like you, I have lived by my code only very imperfectly. But I think that it is a serviceable code, and it has worked adequately well for me.

            This got way too long; I apologize.

            ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


        3. Too long? Not at all. I very much appreciate such thoughtful response.

          Unfortunately, I have not got the time to respond in any detail (will be working for candidates at the polls). I would just observe that when we believe in certain principles, that the universe is orderly, we have to wonder how that could be so.

          I suppose the difference I am trying to get at it is that we each believe there are principles we must respect as more important than our pride. I believe those principles come our Creator. Where you believe they come from, that is for you to say. Nevertheless, my guess is that our Lord sees something in your acknowledgement that those principles are real and must be respected. Yet that is for Him to know and us to ponder.


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