We, the Violent!
12-23-12

We are a violent culture!

We are a violent people, a violent species and we are also intelligent enough to recognize and accept that as truth. To not do so is  to hide from who we are and it is also a refusal to understand and admit the road to peace runs through that admission of what and who we are. Our entertainment , from our sports to our visuals to our music are all soaked in blood and gore and it has always been so. Violence is not liked, but it is accepted whether it’s a football game, a video game or a Friday night movie.

  • The rate of death from firearms in the United States is eight times higher than that in its economic counterparts in other parts of the world.
  • The overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 12 times higher than among children in 25 other industrialized countries combined.
  • The United States has the highest rate of youth homicides and suicides among the 26 wealthiest nations.

Canadians watch the same movies, play the same sports, listen to much of the same music and their violent death statistics are far below those of the united states. I challenge you to do a little research and figure out why that is.

To be clear, I am a supporter of your right to bear arms and I would die defending that right, as it reads.

As passed by the Congress:

  • A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Keep in mind, when this was wrote, we did not have a standing army. It says nothing about your right to own a gun to hunt, to protect, to kill or maim or even target shoot. I read it as the right to carry arms to form a militia if needed. And a well regulated one at that.

That said, I will not step into the legal interpretation of the second amendment. That’s not my intent.

My intent is to make you think. It’s easy to come up with slick slogans like, ‘you’ll have to pry this gun from my cold dead hands’ but I guarantee it’s a lot harder to listen to that slogan when your child has 6 bullet holes in them from some mentally unstable kid. Someone once said they don’t have a dog in this fight, and that’s unfortunate. Everyone has dog in this fight because it has become a National epidemic that we need concerned, intelligent people to start talking about. It’s not just about banning guns, it’s about our violent culture, and gun rights are part of the discussion as is mental health, the availability of weapons, the focus on violence in our media, specifically our entertainment media.

Sandy Hook will happen again because it is who we are. We can change that, we can even prevent it. We will not!

We will not because it is about the individual, it is about having what you want, it is about having power, it is about fear, it is about your neighbor having something that you do not.

This is who you are. For as much as you cry out ‘good will toward all men’ during this holiday season, you are more concerned with yourself, and you will violently defend your individualism, even to the point where you allow small innocent children to die.

Most Americans are fine with that!

 

 

A World Awash
11-24-12

I have stayed away from writing about religion for the most part. I’ve wrote about God, Spirituality, Faith and other such things, but organized religion, I’ve pretty much stayed away from. Why? Because it’s a losing battle to point out all the existing insanity’s of any given religion. Of course, the only religion I’m even remotely associated with is Christianity, and within that fold, I’m a baptized Methodist married to a non practicing Catholic. Outside of that, I’m related to a huge evangelical family on my fathers side (and I love them all dearly), I went to Sunday school as a child, and I’ve read good portions of the Bible over the years, but nothing recently (in the last decade, give or take). I’m not really a church going type either but I do go when the occasion calls for it.

I believe two things.

First, if everyone lived by the basic belief systems laid out in the Bible, specifically the new Testament,  the world would be a much better place.

Second, I believe in something more than myself, more than this existence. I often refer to this belief as God.

And I am open to being totally wrong about everything. How else does one grow?

My problem with organized religion is that it allows for the individual to warp their religion to justify their personal belief systems. A person or a group of people are able to take any aspect of any organized religion and mold it to their needs, to interpret gods words as they see fit to justify their agenda, and it’s always a personal agenda that has to do with fame and power.

I’ve always believed it should be the other way around, where a person, or a group of people mold their lives to the ideals and beliefs of any given religion. Crazy me in thinking that!

I do not want to set here and bash mainstream, organized religion. They have done a great deal of good in the world. They are also responsible for a great deal of harm. I’m just not convinced those scales are equally balanced. There are a lot of differing levels in any religion, ranging from the individual, to the community, to the regional, country and global aspects. Religion is multi-faced, serving and filling a host of needs, and in a sense, religion is a generic antibiotic being used to subdue the evils of humanity. For many, religion is what gives them hope.

Yet for all the prevalence of mainstream religion, we are a people, a world awash in evil and sin. How is this?

With a world population of over 7 billion people, some 85% of the population is associated with some form of mainstream, organized religion. Of that 85%, 32 percent is Christian and 24 percent is Islam. Clearly, one thing is for sure, organized religion hasn’t been working too well for the common man. Perhaps there are too many followers, not enough prophets.

Humans need some ‘thing’ to believe in, to have faith in. There’s an inherent need in each of us to believe in something bigger than ourselves, we need to believe there is a reason we are born, live lives of joy and suffering, only to die. There has to be a reason for it!

I believe that reason lies in each of us, and no where else.

 

 

 

The More Things...
11-18-2012

The more things that are said to change, the more I tend to shout out ‘bullshit’. The only thing that really changes is us, and only in the physical sense. We grow old, we grow fat, we lose our hair and end up being some foul caricature of our younger self. But as far as changing, Nawwww, you haven’t changed, haven’t grown emotionally or spiritually. Of course, that’s my opinion and I’m sure yours is a bit different.

I’ve been listening to the same old crap all my life. Israel and Palestine, New energy and an end to our dependence on oil, Corporate greed, inequalities, outrageous healthcare costs and a bunch of others. I mean really!? Are we ever going to do anything to accomplish anything or are we just that morally stupid where we really don’t care.

Because that’s what I think it is, we REALLY don’t care. That’s not to say there are not good hearted, well intentioned people working toward change. There are, but there’s not enough of ‘em. The rest of us hold them back, we don’t allow their goals to be reached, and yet while we can capably dive in and get our feet wet along with breaking our backs tossing sandbags when the floodwaters rise, nothing ever seems to change. Maybe it’s because we’re content with the dollar a month to our favorite charities. Content with a belief the worlds problems are being addressed by someone better prepared to deal with those burdens than you are.

Somethings sad, because we do have the potential to drastically reduce poverty, illness, mental health, murder, crime, war and disease but it seems the sins of man grow exponentially and I don’t get it. I can’t even begin to say I fathom why we are unable to eek out substantial change.

I have to believe it is a primordial thing in us. A primordial “This is mine, and don’t ya fucking touch it or I’m going to rip yer head off” thing! Or a  “I’ve worked really hard to get what I have, why would I give any of it away?” ideology, kind of what the Republicans believe, but so do a lot of Democrats. I say that because I kind of identify with both those statements. I understand that mindset, regardless of political leanings.

The problem is, is that there is no cultural or societal growth. We have the same intolerance’s we had a hundred years ago. Yes, we’ve made some small steps giving women the right to vote, did good with civil rights and now it’s legal to get stoned in two states but when you stop to think about it, think this, that someone else had to allow these personal responsibilities for other people, that says it in a nutshell.

Maybe I’m just growing more disillusioned with each ounce of belly fat I gain. And yes, I am disillusioned with each ounce!

 

 

 

 

The Reality and the Myth
11-10-2012

Everyone, including you, is entitled to their own opinion and in a sense, even your own set of facts. Right or wrong, this is how people create the reality they live in, create the environment, the world that defines who they are. It is what makes you and I happy or miserable! While we all live in the same world, we all view it a bit different, from our personal perspective, and that perspective is built on numerous foundations ranging from upbringing, to life experience, to culture and religious exposure and a whole lotta stuff in between.

The thing is, most of what we base our reality on is pure, unadulterated bullshit. We all know it, and we like it that way. We will never admit it, but it’s true. True of our religion, of our world view, and our politics. Your views are the same views as that of your parents and your grandparents and all those who came before them. While they might be some difference, a difference in attitudes or a more liberal or conservative approach, you hold all your views because you have been told that these are the right beliefs to have, and you hold on to them without question.

You are a Christian because you were born to Christian parents. You are not a Christian because you had a great spiritual awakening or because you committed years of studious and arduous research into the many and various religions available to humanity and then chose the one that you felt most comfortable with.

Your world view is defined not by experience, and probably not by even reading, but by what you have heard and perhaps seen on the television. Chances are, you couldn’t find Spain on the map if I asked you to find it.

Your political views, like everything else, have been given to you. Not earned through research, education or a semblance of intelligence. They are yours because that is what we offer in this Nation, it is what you have to choose from.

But sometimes, shit happens, that makes a person go, hmmmm...., That’s good shit, cool shit.

Despite the choices we have, the narrow rigidity of our lives, good things come about.

For instance, a Bi-racial  man is elected President. For instance, white middle class men are now a minority in what they view as ‘their’ country.

...and I’m guessing you don’t have a clue as to what I’m writing about, so let me explain. Don’t worry, it’s all good!!!

Despite all our differences, all of us owning our own personal perceptions, our own values and ethics we have somehow managed to hold true to our Constitution in that all men are created equal. Yes, we are not perfect, yes the road is long and winding and has been and always will be filled with obstructions, but understand that our fathers, our grandfathers  and all those before them, whether intended or not, have managed to uphold our Constitution even as their own power dwindled.

We have become what no man could have ever foresaw some two hundred years ago, a Nation that speaks to the world, saying simply, saying quietly, this is the future.

We are now a Nation of people! And how we got here will be a question for future historians and what I’d give to be a fly on their wall.

 

 

My Endorsment
11-4-12

I haven’t had a meaningful raise in years, my wife hasn’t had a raise in six years, and for the first time since we were young and foolish, we are struggling financially, and we are still both voting for President Obama.

Why?

Because it isn’t about me, my wife or our current financial struggles, it’s about our beliefs. This election is larger, meaningful than most. At the very core of this election is a determination of who we are as a nation. It is as simple as that. I do not want a return to the neo-con war mongering, fiscally irresponsibility and a bronco billy style diplomacy. I want those embarrassing eight years gone, far removed from even a remote possibility of returning.

If Romney wins I predict we will be involved in another war, probably Iran, with in the first two years of his Presidency. All one needs to do is look who populates his staff, a who’s who of Bush era neo cons.

I do believe that Romney is also a tea bagger, although one in a suit. His manicured hair and tailored jeans don’t impress or fool me, underneath he’s an uneducated tea bagger that will cater to the religious right and appoint disastrous Supreme Court Justices, and when it comes to the lilly ledbetter act, that will disappear in a heartbeat.

While the Senate will remain Democratic, Reid will cave  to Romney, he isn’t strong enough to stand against him all by his lonesome and he will be alone. That will happen! And the Democrats in the house will be a total non factor.

You’ll see deregulation, tax decreases for Corporations and the wealthy, increased Military spending and of course, they will screw around w/ healthcare and make it untenable, a gigantic mess, so they can say, ‘I told you so’. I won’t see a raise, you won’t see a raise, our benefits will be cut, education costs will rise and when people start bitching about in 2015, Romney and the republicans will resurrect Obama, and blame him.

With Romney, the move to a Corporacy is pretty much a done deal, people will always be considered secondary nuisances to profit. Reagan started the move, and Romney will close that circle. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with this or not, because your beliefs won’t stop it from happening. I’m not even sure Obama can stop it.

Yea, I get Obamas not perfect. I’m not either and chances are we’re not alone, so I just find it hard to believe why people would take a chance and vote for someone who tries really hard to look and sound, perfect and is anything but.

It’s about to get very interesting.

 

 

 

 

Over the Rainbow & Round the Corner
10-27-12

I love politics and I’ve followed them for years. I’ve been involved with the Independence Party, attended caucuses, debates, worked political campaigns and so on and so forth. I’ve met people who cared, about the Nation, about each other. Might not have liked or agreed with many but I’ve always respected their thoughts and I’d hope that respect was returned.

Probably not because I have a pretty big mouth and I’m a bit obnoxious in my politics! Than again, my dear wife thinks I’m just obnoxious, period!

The thing about politics these days that pisses me off is people! Yea, you’re one of ’em. Why? Because there’s no frigging reason to be an uneducated voter!!! NO FUCKING REASON!

And yet here we are, a nation of uneducated voters, having conversations about Gods intentions in regards to rape. Really, you understand why the deficit is trillions of dollars? Damn, I’m surprised to hear you’re well versed in terms like debt to GDP, automatic stabilizers, discretionary and mandatory spending. Riiiight, sorry E-man, I don’t buy it! I think you’re going to vote for the guy you THINK represents your values. Chances are, what you think is wrong, because your version of the facts are what you’ve been told are the facts, even despite your personal experience.

For instance, that little comment above about our deficit, if you’d bother to do some basic research, then you would know that its not going away anytime soon. Try standing in the middle of your local train tracks and stopping that train that’s a coming and you’ll get the idea. Now get up off the tracks, cuz that doesn’t mean the problem can’t be addressed, it certainly can.

But of course, you live somewhere over the rainbow and around the corner in never-never land because you refuse to understand what got us in the mess in the first place. And I suppose if you don’t understand something, you just don’t have to admit you’re wrong. Hmmm... consider Bush’s cost on all his new policies was like 5 point some trillion dollars that were mostly unpaid for. Our President to date, has spent 1.5 trillion for his new policies and that includes Healthcare reform.

Not to mention four years ago, the market tanked, we were losing thousands of jobs on a daily basis, companies were closing and people we knew were being foreclosed on, told to leave their homes. Remember that? And you think it’s worse today? Really!

Where’s your evidence for that?

Oh, I’m sorry, your candidate said so and you’re going to vote for him despite your personal experience.

...and that’s how it works.

 

 

 

 

Far in the Western Sky
6-25-12

Far in the western sky, the sun is setting on the American Dream, blanketing the land of the free and home of the brave in a darkness that is nothing less than evil.

Morally and ethically evil!

A darkness that gives no support to the notion of the individual when that individual is compared to the government or a corporation, they simply have more rights than you or I, or any living person. End of story, period! This is so because of only one reason, Greed. The need for profit. The need for power.

It is not true that we live in a capitalistic economy, it is not true that we live in a free market where there is a level playing field. We were at one time, and that is when America flourished, it is what made us great, perhaps even the greatest Nation to have ever been.

It is not true now!

  • According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),
  • our 15-year-olds rank 17th in the world in science and 25th in math.
  • We rank 12th among developed countries in college graduation (down from No. 1 for decades).
  • We come in 79th in elementary-school enrollment.
  • Our infrastructure is ranked 23rd in the world, well behind that of every other major advanced economy.
  • American health numbers are stunning for a rich country: based on studies by the OECD and the World Health Organization,
  • we're 27th in life expectancy, 18th in diabetes and first in obesity.
  • We have the most guns.
  • We have the most crime among rich countries. And, of course,
  • we have by far the largest amount of debt in the world.

Fareed Zakaria

And it only gets worse, regarding our health care,

  • the disturbing truth is that this country lags well behind other advanced nations in delivering timely and effective care.
  • New Your Times Editorial

Really, think about it. Isn’t there is a belief being propagated that we live in a free market, capitalistic democracy and that if you let corporations and businesses run the world, everything will be all right.

I believe just the opposite, I believe that corporations and business do run the world and that is why everything is not. That is why we have lost standing in the world.

And by the way, God forbid, we really are a nation that clings to our guns and religion.

 

 

 

 

Really, Rand?
5-13-12

    "There is a sickness out there that needs more than political leadership. It needs spiritual leadership... In that cause, I'll do the best that I can.... I tend not to wear my faith on my sleeve,"

    “He said that his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical, but I didn't think his views on marriage could be any gayer,"

Rand Paul
Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition eventl

Rand Paul is entirely correct in that there is a sickness in this Nation. Further, Mr. Paul is correct that the sickness needs spiritual leadership.

But not his his spiritual leadership or the leadership of his kind, his ilk, or anyone else of his spiritual or political faith. Rand Paul is the epitome of the sickness in this Nation and it’s a simple fact to defend. For Rand Paul and many new neo-republicans, religion and political affiliation are one in the same. Their claim is in their righteousness and that righteousness is derived straight from their god.

And yet in the same breath, they deny the right of gay marriage while demanding the right of marriage as law between a man and a woman. Understand, I’m not gay, I don’t understand the lifestyle, I don’t even tend to agree with it, but excuse me, if two men want to get married, it’s their business. Besides, this is a religious issue. We’ve had men liking men, women liking women and doing the dirty thing with each other since day one. We’ve had cultures, thriving cultures and bustling societies where the lifestyle was not only acceptable, but prevalent.

It’s no different than the Catholic churches relationship and views on women, and particularly women becoming priests. Turn them into monsters and the public will back your views.

Mr. Paul is indicative of an old human ill wrapped in nice white bandages. A politician who wants power, and will use words and actions, creating division through illusion to achieve that power and we will be worse off. Like others in his party, there is no accountability, little truth and a room full of mirrors with a lot of smoke.

He is no spiritual leader, he is no leader.

 

 

 

 

 

What the Hell?
4-22-12

There was a time when we dreamed of moon bases and the colonization of Mars, we believed in the human conquest of illness as well in the endurable spirit of our ability to face poverty, and beat it down. We, as Americans believed in ourselves, in our constitution, in each other. We did not always agree, but we still believed we were the greatest Nation, the greatest people this world had ever produced.

Not because we were better, not because we were blessed, but because we believed in something very simple.

That we were equals!

Equals not in the eyes of God, but more so, in the eyes and hearts of men, of women. Yes, you can lay claim that bigotry, racism, prejudice all exist and I won’t argue, but you’re missing the point. Good women and men spoke out even in the face of fear. We used t do that here in America, speak out. We did it during the Vietnam war.

We were a Nation focused on equality, on a singular notion to do good, to build a bright and responsible future for ourselves and our children. There was a time when prosperity was a meaningful word to almost every single American citizen, meaningful in the sense that they believed they had a shot, regardless of culture, regardless of race or religious persuasion, at attaining the American dream.

What happened, what the hell happened?

Consider, one in five children live with families that struggle to put food on the table. That’s over 16 million children.

We have a horrendous infant mortality rate. While there are many attributes to this, the fact is, the truth remains embarrassingly appalling for a wealthy, industrialized nation.

The income of the top 1% rose by 275%  from 1979 through 2007, and only 40% for the middle class in the same time frame. So much for meaningful prosperity for all!

Today, apparently a 17 year old black kid can’t walk the streets and be safe.

Our Presidential election, and political elections in general are now swayed by PAC and super PACs. Your vote, my vote, really is meaningless these days!

Corporations are considered living breathing people, and have more rights than living breathing people.

Health care in this nation sucks.

Our politicians suck!

Things are not getting better, they are getting worse, much worse!

It does not matter who wins the next election, nothing will change.

 

 

 

 

 

We Are What We Are
4-8-12

There is something very wrong in our country! No matter how you slice and dice whatever facts you're akin too, the one fact everyone agrees on is that there's a problem. The question is, why is everyone seeing a different set of facts depending upon their political, religious, gender, sexual and/or racial upbringing. Understand, as much as you would like to believe in free choice, free will, the truth is, you are simply nothing more than a product of your environment. So much so, that even your speech gives way to where you were born and raised. More so, you piss when you have too, eat when you're hungry, dress for acceptance, and probably even married a woman who's a lot like your own mother. If you haven't looked in the mirror lately, next time you do, pay attention to the physical similarities to your parents. Yep, you're going to end up with you dads gut and your moms frail bones.

In every meaning of the world we are a product of those who came before us.

There are those who know this, and use it to their advantage, and in fact have elevated it to a science. They know what words to say when they want to get you pissed off, what pictures to show when they need to move you emotionally, even what stories to sell as parables.

Most of us think we're smarter than that, we think we've caught on. The thing is, that's what they depend on, your ego.

The thing is, free will and choice exist but you can't see 'em because your blind. You're like a pearl at the bottom of some ocean that will never be found, to be admired, because you hidden under the weight of a billion gallons of water.

This is not to say that who you are now, is a bad, bad-ass, rogue of a soul without value or worth. That's not what I mean to imply. What I am implying is this, that to grow, to see the choices that are before you, comes from the ability to see the whole forest while standing in the middle of it.

To see, to sense life, in it's entirety, you must see beyond your upbringing, beyond your environment. To do so, does not demean your upbringing or your environment, instead, to see beyond your beliefs, can do nothing but enhance your personal beliefs.

For example, I was raised a Methodist. As a child, I had my share of Sunday school and then some. Some thirty years ago I married a Catholic in a Catholic ceremony. Today, I consider myself simply a Christian, and only so because it's the easiest way to explain my 'faith'. Neither the Methodist or Catholic Church met my needs, and the first need was very simple, 24/7 access. It has always bothered me that a Church would lock it's doors, for any reason. Beyond that, I have always been fairly insistent that God spend quite a bit of time with me, personally, and in such a way I don't have to share him, and I absolutely needed to find a way to believe that for every step in life I take, he's right there beside me. Now I get that God does that for you too, but I've come to the place where God is totally a spiritual concept for me. There is no brick, no mortar, no religious icons or symbols. In fact, there's not a lot in the way of worship. What there is, is a devout respect and understanding that's always in motion, and that makes it a living, growing faith. Just the way I like it.

I was able to get where I'm at with my personal religion because I was comfortable in seeing beyond the Religions I was brought up with, I was OK with the belief that I could come up with something better suited to my needs, on my own and yet the value of what I was taught in Sunday school, and the Catholic influence are the foundation of my relationship with my God.

A racist is not a racist because he was born a racist. I have to believe that racism is taught, just as religion is taught or political leanings are instilled. I believe what our parents give us are tools, and too often we take the easy way out, neglecting to use the tools to build our own beliefs, and instead we rely on what we are told as truth.

And our political system, our media, our mega corporations all play to our weaknesses, keeping us divided because if we were able to see the forest through the trees, our world would be much different.

 

Strange Times are Afoot
3-25-12

We live in strange times. Strange politics, strange personal and strange cultural times! I’ve got a strange feeling the outcome isn’t going to be one that we like very much. Just seems there’s a lot of mad, angry people these days. Could be that they are scared, but I don’t really buy into that.

Personally, I think there’s just a lot of unhappy people that want way too much, specifically, for others to follow while they lead, and there’s just way too much diversity in this nation for that. If it’s not a cultural thing, than it’s a race thing and if it’s not a race thing, than it’s religion, and even a sexual thing, possibly even a lifestyle thing, a status thing. You know, women against men, republicans against Democrats and independents against both, along with Americans vs immigrants, Christians against Muslims, Blacks against Whites against Latinos against Blacks, Gays versus the Church, and against ‘normal’ married couples, the rich against the poor, corporate America against all of us, even the young and the old are in on the fight.

And we all sit here high and mighty, hiding behind our sins, and condemn many in the Middle East with the belief that they do not value human life. With their suicide bombing women and children murdering dozens on a weekly basis, we claim they hold no conscionable value for their follow citizens.

That all might be true, but neither do we. We yell for the world to hear how righteous we are because we have value for all life but we don’t, we can’t understand, how stupid that sounds because we destroy more life than most. We destroy life with abortions, with guns, with wars, with drugs, with legalized drugs, with our healthcare system, with our shitty, crapie fast food, with the chemicals we pour into our air, lakes and soil.

For some reason, humans of any race, any culture, like to hide behind their religion. It defines who they are, and it makes the ills, the evils of humanity, all OK by claiming that humans are by nature, evil sinners. That worshipping a God redeems the individual and gives hope to humans that someday, all will worship and humanity will be saved.

Given the strange world we live in, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It’s like there’s a subtle perversion of hate in this nation but what we’re really doing is hating ourselves. I can’t say that I understand it or even that we are a self hating Nation these days. I would hope I’m wrong, but the evidence is pretty strong.

And it’s downright scary!

Than again, could be I’m the strange one. Who knows, go fishing, don’t worry about it, it’ll work itself out.

 

The Rite of Entitlement
3-18-12

Of course, we live in a Nation, and in an era, of entitlements! By definition, an entitlement is a government program that guarantees and provides benefits for a particular group. While that’s a fairly broad definition, we know you need to meet specific guidelines to get food stamps. Most people will say that Social Security is not an entitlement because we pay into it.

In common sense, no nonsense thinking, an entitlement is getting something for free. Hell, getting something cheap is okay, getting something free is great. That’s why people clip coupons and sample the freebies spread around the grocery aisles. Pretty basic stuff! If I don’t have to spend my money, my savings account grows.

The thing is, someone, somewhere is paying for it. By working hard, by paying their taxes in a responsible manner, someone somewhere is paying to help out that single mother on welfare. Since we live in a charitable Nation, most people don’t have a problem helping that mom get back on her feet. At least we don’t until we start struggling to put food on the table. When that happens, it’s a different story, we start looking around and pointing fingers.  Mostly at the wrong people.

Understand, we not only live in a Nation of entitlements, of people wanting things for free, we live in a culture of entitlements. I mean, our Churches set the example every Sunday morning. We entitle their existence by our very donations. Corporate america is no better.

In fact, corporate income taxes are frankly low when compared to other modern, industrial nations and their subsidiaries are very, very high. Now, I understand there are those who will yell, stomp their feet and point their finger at me, claiming I’m a liar and pushing a liberal agenda by claiming a low tax rate when it’s more like 35 percent, considered one of the highest rates in the world. My response is go do your homework. There’s plenty of arguments to go around.

Besides, you should be yelling about the subsidiaries.

I mean, wouldn’t you like an oil and gas deduction. That alone provided a 585 million dollar deduction for two companies that made over 85 billion.

So yes, we are a nation of welfare queens and conglomerate kings, and we accept it, because somewhere in the mix, we’re getting our free ride too. It might be the money put into our roads, our schools, or even all the donations made to red cross, but to single out a small portion of society and lay the blame on them, while easy to do, is kind of stupid. The blame lays with the type of society we’ve created, and that’s one of free expectations, and it’s to the point where it’s become a religion. After all, how many Christian based hospitals are on the government books?

Yep, it’s a rite, all right!

An Impending Divorce
3-10-12

I often wonder about the sensibilities of people. Sensibilities such as how they arrive at their beliefs, what factors play in to their decision making process. In the quick look I think those factors are pretty simple, people base their beliefs on what they’ve been taught and when looking at options, they choose the options that benefit them, make them comfortable. While there are those who manage to think outside the conformities, those are few and far between. When it comes to politics, there’s a lot of people who’ll like to tell you they are voting for the greater good, the welfare of our Nation, and there’s no doubt in my mind they believe that, but the problem is, it’s all tripe, nonsensical tripe. Chances are you’ve never thought about the direction and future of this Nation outside of your personal beliefs, ethics and morals. Oh, no doubt, you’ve used the old, ‘save the future for my grand kids’ argument, but save the future how?

Is it enough to say you want a Nation based on Christianity, where everyone has a job, a home, and we all can live in peace and security while being treated as equals?

Hold onto that thought, will you? I wish it were that easy! Take the time and ask yourself how a pretty simple desire  such as wanting a Nation based on Christian principals can be interpreted in numerous ways. Or even what is meant by peace and security?

Oh yea, you can drill down pretty deep!

The narrative I’m trying to push here is that there are no easy answers and there are no valid answers because a good portion of the American public, on both sides of the political aisle are not concerned with direction of this Nation, with the future of this Nation simple because they’ve never really thought about it? They’ve been told about it, and they’ve thought about what they have been told, agreed, and then moved on. That’s why a politician has a stump speech, repeating the same thing over and over again to drive the message home, and they never deviate from it.

There’s no conversation, no dialog and even the debates are framed to push agendas. Worse, our media has now taken sides, and while that in and of itself is not new, our media is no longer the watchdog of our Democracy. Media has fell into a sound bite,  24 hour cycle with little, in-depth or insightful reporting. There is some, but it’s hard to find. Media is now, about entertainment and that’s a direct result of the need for profit. Media no longer is about asking questions, about conversation.

When a man and a women stop talking, the marriage is essentially over, ruined and headed for divorce and there are not too many divorces in existence where people don’t walk away damaged.

We have stopped talking in this Nation, Republicans with Democrats, Liberals with Conservatives, Left with the Right. There is no National dialog other than stamping your feet and yelling loudly that the opposition is anti-American. The American people have bought into that stomping of the feet and accompanying name calling and thinking that is what we call dialog.

It is not! It is a man berating his wife, a wife running to her room slamming the door shut.

 

Politics As Usual?
3-March 2012

Politics is a nasty, beastly business. Nasty in that there is no quarter given, beastly in that it is a brutal and even abusing profession. The graveyard of the political dead, both personages and policies, dreams and good intent, is a large and  populated cemetery. There is, and always has been an acceptance of this bizzaro, entangled nether world where every word is some pale shade of gray. You and I understand politics, we get how it works. Most people end up voting for some candidate they really know nothing or little about. I don’t know if it has always been that way, but it has been now for a very long time. We vote for a man we like, looks nice, speaks like us, goes to the same church, has a nice looking wife, a couple of kids and probably a dog. They also gotta care! Care about me, about you, about our kids and about our country. Outside of those few qualifications, all they have to do is tell us they know what our problems are, and how they’re going to solve them. Doesn’t matter if those problems are real or imagined, once a politician starts spouting you and I have a problem, you and I have a problem and our friend can solve it.

Now square the above with the current republican Presidential field. Put aside the primary season and try to figure out what one of these fine men will appeal to you and I come November; Santorum, the righteous theocrat,  Romney the encapsulated capitalist or Paul, a great man with all the wrong friends. Perhaps Gingrich, an old man for even older seasons.

That these are the best we have to offer, that indeed, they had to swagger onstage and duel with the likes of batshit Bachman, crazy Cain and pissin’ Perry to reach the promised land of super Tuesday is telling. Telling us that these days, politics is anything but usual. In fact, politics these days are downright, outright scary and every Democrat, every liberal, should be afraid. So should every true Republican, every true Conservative, but unfortunately, parents are the last ones to figure out their kids ain’t perfect. When they do, it’s too late!

These men are neither Conservatives or Republicans. Santorum wraps his theology in our flag, damning those who believe different. Romney, the detached village idiot who happens to be filthy rich to the point he can afford to run for President, and run seriously. Paul, a man with consistent convictions who will never be acknowledged because his convictions are so far from today’s mainstream political beliefs, that they scare Republicans and Democrats alike. Then there is Gingrich, a smart, powerful, possessive man with fatal flaws, human flaws.

None of these men would have been Patriots, would have fought for you and I. They would have fought for themselves, for their beliefs, but not for yours, not mine. And if by some odd quirk of quantum physics, if any one of them had been around some 250 years ago and been elected our Nations first President, they would have established a Monarchy. Indeed, imagine a plethora of Romneyvilles, Gingrichallas, Santorumciscos and Paulopolis’s spread over the American map.

In a very real sense, Santorum, Gingrich and Romney betray the ideals of who we are as a Nation. Paul, at least I know where he stands and what to expect. These other three? They could care less about you and I, and care everything about winning. They feed on the insanity’s of the primary, saying anything to be divisive, to incite fear in their base, hoping to be swept into the National candidacy, and one of them will. Worse,  they are not the men of conviction they claim. Their backbones are malleable, refusing to call out the obscenities of Limbaughs slut comments, refusing to stand up and be clear, be counted for where they really stand. Indeed, they make subtle inferences to our Presidents race, religion and background and then blame the ‘liberal’ media for their spoken words.

I have lived with a Republican President, in fact with several of them. Not one of these men fit that mold. In fact, they have redefined that republican mold in an ugly, hideous and even hateful fashion. The poor are the enemy, the unemployed are weak, the sick are screwed, the construction worker, too many rights, middle class America makes too much money, we are Gods special nation, the rich will take care of everything, we are the police of the world, and of course, believe as I do or suffer my consequences.

These men are not of the patriotic cloth.

One of these men may very well be our next President.

 

The New Public Square
19 Feb 12

There seems to be an enormous outcry these days with Government intruding into our daily lives. If you actually stop to think about it, the outcry isn't all that new, it has always been a concern. Always will be, always should be. Truth is, as far as I see it, that concern is ingrained in our culture, it's who we are as a people. Really, even the most liberal among us are aware that Government needs to be monitored even though the conservative far right would have you believe us liberals would rather descend into a world of free sex, drugs, rock and roll, communes, atheism and not to be forgotten, socialism.

Hmmmm..., uh sorry, just thinking about that descent.

The thing is, while privacy has always been a concern, the concept as law is pretty new. If one thinks something that's a 120 years old is relatively new! Compared to some legal concepts, such as ownership of  property and contractual obligations, which have been around for several hundred years, the legal concept of privacy is new. What gives? Well, consider that while privacy has always been an issue, it's only been the last 40 or so years that technology has lent to some pretty diabolical possibilities to infringe upon your personal privacy. The Government isn't the only one who'd like to know what you're doing in that toilet stall, so does that nice neighbor down the street, along with a couple of well intentioned theocrats. While the neighbor guy is probably breaking the law, how about the government? Even if there's a terrorist hiding his bomb assembly plant in the depths of the sanitary dispenser, is it acceptable? How about the local police if there's a hot spot for kids to smoke a joint? How about a telescope pointed in your bedroom window from across the river (OK, that's old technology, right?)?

Yet the government intrudes on so many more levels in our lives. From taxes we must pay to the regulations of your local bank. The intrusions are, without argument far and wide, and most with purpose. Some too far intrusive, others not near enough. And of course, when you are out and around and in the public, there is no expectation of privacy. That aspect is a growing concern in that it seems to be following you home, into your living room, and it's not necessarily the Government that's peeping in your window.

Consider the moment you paid for your internet connection, you gave up the privacy of your home. Indeed, not only Google, but every website tracks data about you. Now, it's not that I find data tracking a huge invasion, it's the fact that when I'm setting in my bedroom typing away on my keyboard, I'm considered to be in a public square of sorts, and that I should behave appropriately. It's a fairly radical idea in regards to privacy, isn't it?

Than again, it's not much different than the Catholic church telling me that if I use a rubber in my own bedroom, I'm sinning. I guess when one thinks of it that way, there's not much of an expectation of privacy anywhere.

I might be stretching it a bit, but the point I'm stretching out for you to get, is that privacy is pretty much non existent. You might have an illusion of privacy just because you're laying in bed at night watching porn, but guess what, you're cable company knows and if they know, so does the Pope.

If you think Government intrusion in our lives is an abomination, you haven't thought too long and hard about the subject. Perhaps you should exercise some of those brain cells.

 

A Broader Perspective From Outside the Zone
11 Feb 12

There comes a time when you, as an individual, has to start thinking in a broader perspective. There are events in our lives that push us, demand of us, that we do so. We get married, we have children, we suffer joy as well tragedy, and so much more that will go unsaid here. It is easy to attribute that broader perspective as one of human growth, and if so, our personal growth is seeded by need. We need to be conscience and respective of our spouse, we need to insure the welfare of our children.

Yet, we find ourselves consumed by our needs, concerned with our belief systems, that we become ignorant and even intolerant of others. We find our broad perspective is limited to our region, at times our local neighborhood, and unfortunately too often the case, stagnated by nothing less than our households, our own daily experience.

Indeed, most of what you know, you have been told. Not taught, not educated, but told! In the realm of human experience, yours is limited.

There is not enough natural curiosity to experience life in ways that are meaningful outside of our personal lives. You understand hunger, even fear hunger, but you have never suffered a distended stomach or considered the vulture that’s alighted a mere dozen feet off to wait your demise, all due to hunger. Like looking up to our night sky, we can stare in amazement at the wonders of our universe, and realize we can’t imagine, much less understand, half of what we’re looking at, we turn our gaze back to the horizon and our daily life.

We consider our lives in much the same way. In that the underlying currents that swirl around in politics, in religion, in world affairs are often hidden, meanings hard to decipher, men and women hard to trust. And so we move on, entrusting that in our small world, everything is or should be, as you see it, as we desire to see it, as we need to see it.

Indeed, we find comfort in our needs in that those around us think, act, and even feel as we do. We take comfort in the truth that, for the most part, we are the product, and a good one, of our parents, and those before them. We carry lineage and tradition in our hearts, never stopping to think that everything we believe, we believe simply because we are taught, this is what we are supposed to believe. No different in any other country, any other religion, any other culture. If you were to be born a Muslim, your beliefs would be far different than they are today, no matter how fiercely you would argue, that is the cold, hard truth.

We look into the hearts and souls of those different from us, and quickly return our thoughts to our horizon. We do not dwell, we do not care to ponder much less imagine a life completely different than we live now. We are fine, we are content.

And we are ignorant!

With our needs met, confident in our righteous ways, we have no need to change, to grow. We become stagnant, incapable of a dawning awareness that not only the world is changing but in fact, has changed, and radically. It is who we are as human beings, we like our comfort zone.

...and your comfort zone is blinding you to personal growth and success.

10 Feb 12

I have been both burdened and negligent the last year. Weighted by events far beyond my control and irritated to the point where I just didn’t care anymore. That confessions about the best your going to get from this kid for being absent the last 9 months.

Yep... been busy dealing w/ shit. Of course, there were a few feeble attempts to get back  into writing, a blog over on Blogspot, a spin with Wordpress but neither of ‘em turned my crank, so here I am, back at my domain.

It is where I belong.

I’ve stripped a lot of the nonsense out. A lot of the widgets are gone, although a couple will be back. I’ll still do a shot w/ Rob every now and again, but mostly, I’m going to write. That’s kind of where I was about 5-6 years ago, but the site just got to big. Too damn time consuming and I was spending more time on the site than I was writing.

So here I am, my friends, still weighed down by all the ills of life, still not caring about a lot of the crap (that’s really nothing but crap), and ready to kick some ass, because what I’ve been through the last few years has taught me a fairly valuable lesson...that I’m usually right.

 

 

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Appropriate?
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