Monday, December 28, 2015

Beware the Meme, Especially the Conservative Ones

After seeing yet another ridiculous meme posted recently on Facebook by a conservative I felt a need to take a bit of a look at it in detail, to share it because of the stupidity it presents and to take another look at the current state of political disinformation in this country. 

Conservatives exhibit a great deal of incorrect information in their beliefs and arguments. Ignorance by the way, is not suppose to display as disinformation. That is something that usually indicates either stupidity or intent. To claim one didn't know when not caring enough to vet one's beliefs is simply no excuse. And finally conservatives are not apparently, any longer, actually conservative.


In this meme our so called American conservative has offered us a great example of this ridiculous kind of behavior. Although it exists to some degree everywhere and by both sides at one time or another, it is in this case disingenuous to the point of disinformation:


Yes, yet another sad and tired meme that has been going around, forwarded by those who are rather sad in their exhibited fears and desire for whatever it actually is that they want, all at the cost of reality, legality or morality. The meme twists reality around, ignores some very important things and just doesn't make a lot of sense. But then, that's a conservative for you.

Can't make reality work? Feel quite free to twist it into absurdity.

There are surely sane, intelligent and honest conservatives. There are idiot liberals like many of the conservatives we hear from and media tends to use these extremes to get people's attention and to make more money.

When you see the majority of conservative (Republican) candidates as the exemplifications of the conservative bottom line, and the liberal or progressive (Democratic) candidates as be rational and adult, it seems quite clear what the differences and adherences are. I'm no talking about those few conservatives who are rational human beings.

I'm talking here about a Republican base who are illiterate even when they can read and based belief on religion and fantasies. Making up what information they don't have when they hear news that they find offensive and that media like Fox News inflames conservatives on purpose. Then they don't go research it to disprove what they want to be true. Not that they want it to be true, but that they want it to be true in order to support their disgust in a masturbatory loop of fear and negative emotions.

I'm talking about the types who would post memes such as the one under discussion here.

So, let's jump right into the stereotyping, generalities and bigotry, line by line:

"If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed."

First off, conservatives are generally the ones who want to shove their beliefs down everyone's throat. To say it is liberals albeit true at times, is far outweighed by the onslaught of this type of thing from conservatives. This comment of "if you don't like it don't do it", was taken from liberals originally saying it to conservatives who complained about popular music and TV shows back in the 60s and 70s.

Liberals have not pushed for banning all guns, but limiting them from those who shouldn't have them and to have common sense legislation that isn't blanketed by the NRA and extremists who apparently would like to pass guns out at grade schools (see how stupid this kind of reactionary juvenile diatribe is?).

"If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone."

First of all show me a conservative vegetarian. Vegetarians haven't pushed to ban all meat typically but to ban inhumane harvesting of meats and meat byproducts and to bring to the attention of the public how non humans who are marketed as a food source, are so miserably treated and then slaughtered, cut and ground up and packaged for sale.

"If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal, wonders who is going to take care of him."

Plenty of conservatives use the same social services as liberals. What about when you cannot better your situation? Just die? Liberals are asking for all people to have a safety net available to them if needed. It goes back to what the role of government is or should be. Conservatives want small government and ultimate freedom, but want to govern how people act as it relates to their (Christian) religious beliefs (depending on what nutcase is their pastor, minister or priest).

Conservatives think if you can't fend for yourself you are not worthy enough to receive help (unless they are the ones who need it, ostensibly because if THEY ever need it then it must be dire and far beyond the norm, if not an "act of God"). Conservatives are fairly closed minded, wishing to help apparently no one other than themselves (unless of course again, it it they who find they need governmental help). They follow a mindset that requires everyone to fend for themselves, even those who are incapable, which for them borders on eugenics and right wing race superiority.

"If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down."

Again, "he" switches channel. See item one above.

Conservatives tend to watch only shows that support their beliefs and selectively remember only what supports their frequently faulty logic. They also tend to switch logic within a single frame of logic, thus supporting their beliefs regardless of reality or logic, frequently breaking forms of logic in a single argument and using unrelated news items to support whatever they wish to see supported.

Conservatives also tend not to go to another channel to watch what questions their beliefs. They lean heavily on herd mentality and love calling those who disagree with things like sheep and cattle when they are the ones who tend to act in such a way. They have an inability to see outside the scope of mono level thinking, or they go so far beyond that into conspiracies, it rapidly becomes inane.

"If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced."

Show me a conservative non-believer, first off. Many conservatives do not even go to church or have an in depth knowledge of their chosen or originally indoctrinated religion. They tend to give lip service to religion though it is dying off. It is interesting to note that they mention God and Jesus but not Allah, or Vishnu in a very ethnocentric orientation showing their ignorance and discare about others, which seems to be rampant in their life orientation. Liberals do not want no mention of God or Jesus, this is one of the primary sets of misinformation from conservatives. They want to be inclusive. Mentions of God or Jesus, is exactly to other religions that christian conservatives say is applied to them.

"If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his."

Two things right off. This implies someone with a need for health care can figure it out on their own and not everyone can, not even all conservatives. It implies everyone is the same and can find or access a job that supplies health care. It is a very shot sighted view of an entire nation of people. A liberal asks for others who cannot achieve a situation that includes health care for them be covered and as a part of a nation having a government, that government take care of all it's citizens, even those who cannot access what they need to live. Conservatives seem not to care about those  people at all.

"If a conservative reads this, he'll forward i so his friends can have a good laugh. A liberal will delete it because he's offended."

A conservative may very well forward this. And laugh at it. Even as others they are talking about are suffering. People who would read into this just how much it is a white, Christian, privileged view of the world. What is sad is even some non whites, non privileged think this also covers them. And it may to some degree but as is a conservative's view of the world they will not see that parts they should be offended about.

As one conservative I know says, he doesn't agree with much of the Republican party, but they won't take his guns. That shows the narrow mindset they are working with. Ruin a nation, keep your guns.

A liberal might just delete this meme and be offended, as should a conservative.

Better still a liberal might write a blog and tear it apart to show how offensive some conservatives can be in sharing an asinine meme such as this. Though I prefer the term progressive to liberal since it is a better description and counter to the term conservative. Who are basically not really conservative but regressive. Which fits them better than conservative (which sounds positive) and liberal (which sounds childish and overbearing).

Some of the comments that were posted below the meme on Facebook were the obvious like, "agreed", "Shared!", or "Yes!" But there were others, like:

"You could add Muslims RIGHT next to liberals can't tell thin apart."

I assume someone couldn't spell "them apart" and weren't referring to some imagined weight problem issues. But such is how conservatives are and tend to be. Overly generalized "truisms" and "factoids" that they pass around to one another over and over ad nauseum, perpetrating their ignorance, right wing nonsense and commonly racist and stereotypes of privilege.

But we all know that, don't we? 

So what about the format of what they say? Take the meme above as an example of how this is designed.

Over a hundred years ago the Soviets came up with the theory of disinformation. To take information, skew it to a purpose that is opposed to popular belief, or to support the darker sides of popular beliefs and twist the reality into unreality, leaping forms of logic within a single thought, sentence or phrase, to their own private subversive desires.

Delusional conservatives. There's a lot of them now. Which is to say, those crazies who love Donald Trump, I suppose. They simply love to play as if they are smart. Then instead of using that desire to actually become more than they are, they exhibit instead quite the opposite. Something we've seen time and time again.

They like to look down the road into that which is yet to be, to see what's there. And don't we all? But what do they always see? The most negative thing they can find. Our of what? Fear. Why are they so fearful? Rough childhoods? One can only wonder? They latch onto that bad thing coming down he road, shouting about how it's going to happen if we don't do something destructive and push for it across the board.

Hopefully it will even make some rich people richer in the end.

They would argue that if you see that negative thing down the road then you have to do something to stop it, to keep it from happening. Well, how can one argue with that?

The reality however as it turns out, in order to not work toward the future with a defective orientation and character, is that we need to expect the best and plan for the worst. But in all the fuzziness of what they do not understand, what they don't even know that they don't know, they get swept away and start hoping for the worst; all while saying they are not doing that. In those things they  cannot stand for or even know about, they project forward with what little information they have and expect then that they have easily perceived the future.

A perceived future that began on a shaky foundation to begin with.

And so we get people running for president like Trump, or frankly, any of the rest of the Republican flock of hopeful lackeys who are all drilling into that core of the conservative sadness. Finding respite and an energized field that props them up until eventually and always the deflation of reality finally absorbs all that ignorance and negativity.

What is most sad however is that whenever that happens after an election when they find themselves in office, then even more clueless than before... once they discover reality during their initial presidential briefings on what is actually going on in the world outside their tiny bubble of conservative  politics, right wingnut radio talk shows, and the dynamo of entertainment news media, they are stunned to find, they didn't know much of anything. And yet now, they need to fulfill their promises. Promises on things that now make no sense. That must suck.

Once achieving high office they can implement their solutions, the actions that will lead to even more negative things happening. Think of how George W. Bush was planning to take Saddam Hussein out before he won the presidency and then when he became president the first thing he did was to call a meeting to stat looking for a way to fulfill that desire. And so they did.

All in the hope that originally perceived fears (now enhanced by having listened to like voices that seeped and weeped to them on the winds of the bubble media and political polls generated to satiated their beliefs for money, all of which eventually will be neutralized, all of their self generated, right wing vox populi amplified negativity as the ensuing tsunami of reality hits resolving in a popping of their bubble.

In the quake of all that all of the rest of us have been sitting there all through the process, watching it all come to pass in horror and then for some reason, we are the ones to pay to clean up the aftermath of their atrocities which the perpetrators will then simply distance themselves from, turn a blind eye yet again to and say, "why do you always have to bring up the past?"

There is a condition Pilots have to be aware of where they are flying upside down and think, will fight to maintain the status quo, disbelieving even their physical flight instruments that say, they are indeed upside down.

This is the condition of our Republican party and their succoring conservative client base.

There is a thing called the aesthetic of the ugly. Where you come to think that ugliness is beautiful. That splits into to immediately.

Bear with me.

One side are those who see the ugliness and see the beauty in it. The other side are those who have been flipped upside down, believing that the ugliness is beautiful. That, is a very important and relevant point. The former understands where they stand. The latter thinks they are one place, where they once were and want to be, but believes they are still there. And obviously, they are not.

We have these people in control of the Republican party, less than half of our nation in people, but more than half of our nation in political power. Truthfully the other side has the political potential for power but are too lazy to take control of it. Whereas the other side are zealots and think they are trying to access air to breathe in every movement.

It's where we are today.

We are a strange and wonderful country. But not unlike many first world countries today. confused, lost perhaps, wanting, but not wanting what we need, wanting what we think we need. How we ever got here is quite beyond me sometimes in seeing those around us.

Conservatives who can't stand Obama hate the fact that he is intelligent, thinks up a plan, actually puts one into place and then keeps at it because it is working (and takes time) until it shows progress rather than acting like a knee jerk Republican who cries about doing something and then does something that only gets us deeper into that conservative created morass of dysfunction and more dissipation of action.

That is to say, he doesn't just punch, he looks where to and does it methodically and accurately as an American national leader should.

Americans displeased with his anti terror actions only want to see more destruction, more actions that create more jihadists and use more of the war industry's weaponry to raise their stock options (or being poor and ignorant, raise the stock of those rich people above them who do) and simply ACT as if useful action is being taken.

To Hell with function in action, they say. Let's see some boots on the ground... as long as there's no boots on the ground!

I've heard better thinking through of an issue from preschoolers than the republican party.

There is a large segment of our society who believes that the way to achieve a goal is to go big, go brash. Which is odd as these people seem to be on the right. Which is part of a contingent of American policy who likes to do things in the shadows, who likes to do things their lesser educated types, the backbone of their party, does not understand.

Which is how to use disinformation properly, to fool even their own. Which is to use money against everyone but those involved with the money, to make more money at any cost. To acquire power no matter who it harms.

They want to see a war to stop terrorism, something that doesn't do much of a damn thing when you need metaphorical can physical snipers, not a massive war machine. No not those behind their scenes, the Kochs, the Murdochs, and so on. They want the same things but they are smart enough to know it won't end things, only extend it. They want in order to raise their stock values, for more return on their capital gains. Something their base doesn't even know the definition of for the most part and will never have any of their own.

Those base people on the right say Wake Up to the liberal left when in reality it is they who are sleeping, and when they do ever wake, they drink more of the conservative juice, they breathe in more of the Right Wingnut gasses emanating from the anal orifices of those in power and fall back vastly and intensely asleep, only to wake when one day they look around and realize their ramshackle home is now a curbside and their children are enjoying the prestigious education hat living in the streets gives one.

Well, better street smarts some day than simply pulling the river over one's head and sleeping the slumber of the vagabond in a far and distant land, destitute and wealthy in their ignorance and their lack of material goods. But it's the emotional good they received from this abuse by their leaders they strive so hard for.

Should we let them continue? Should we warn them? Or let them seep into the soil as their bones slough off the flesh their forefathers and mothers fought so hard for them to lose?

It's hard to help those who are fighting to continue drowning under the weight of their own desired and perpetuated ignorance. Frustrating to fight to save someone who doesn't want it.

At some point, as in the President's recent need for so many executive actions, you simply need to go on and govern without them. As a pre school teacher does with students in the hope that some day they will age and mature into responsible world citizens.

Here's hoping....

We work, we think we see, are attracted toward and avoid, categorize in order to understand, use our excellent pattern recognition skills to simplify, sometimes simplifying too much, sometimes overusing our pattern skills and seeing what isn't there, but could be, and yet many times isn't, but still we act as if they are and we make poor decisions.

Then after a while we get too caught up in those specifics, we see the forest for the trees and we forget.

We forget all of it, merely for the bits of it.

If you are floating hundreds of miles above the earth in a spacesuit as Earth rotates there before us, you can see it then. The specifics are destroyed, we lose the concerns, the baggage and prejudices can only come to lead us to realize that there is only that there, down there below us, that planet, that Earth, that heaven.

Heaven?

Look around you, floating there in space.

Take off your space suit.

Does it feel like a balmy island beach moment?

When you are in the shadows freezing at minus 200 degrees, or when the sunlight with all the sun's deadly radiations, normally shielded from us by the Earth's protective atmosphere, it truly can be a hell out there, up there, floating above the Earth, above the billions of people, above all those specifics that continue to confuse us.

Until we see what is really there.

Until we return down to Earth and realize, so much of what we care about is just so much baggage and that we really can do so much more, and that there is so much more to do, that truly is what is important. and yet hadn't been, before we stood tall high up in the skies where we could finally see.

This is heaven.

And what have we done with it?

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas Reflection

Merry Christmas! May we mind our own business!

Walk with me a moment.

Yes, an atheist can celebrate Christmas. Something that started out as a pagan celebration blended with Christianity by the Catholic church, can be a pagan or secular holiday. It has become that more and more anyway. And no we don't have to remember what it's roots are to celebrate it.


Odd, I know. But true enough. We can easily use it as a positive reason to treat one another with respect and love without needing to bring a deity into it. A strange consideration for a theist of that particular denomination but hey, there it is.

And I think Jesus might just be more accepting of that than many want to believe. Moses? Probably not so much. But then, he was kind of an Old Testament sort of guy. Muhammad? Well, let's face it. He had some pretty weird ideas. I suppose Jesus had some odd ideas himself. He wasn't the Buddha surely, but then according to the Dalai Lama, Jesus was himself a Buddha.

And perhaps Mohammed, though I have my doubts on that. Then too Jesus did have that need to blend with Judaism thing and the old Testament in order to build change into the nonsense he grew up and into. Though he did incorporate elements of the Buddha Dharma that did his new Judaism (later, Christianity) and well, that was a very good thing.

That's really not what is important here, though. No, really. It's not.

First... allow me to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, a cheery whatever you wish you want to enjoy and celebrate this winter solstice time.

But what is all this really? Let's lay off for a moment with what history and tradition tell us and just think about what is.

You see, there is magic in life.

It isn't the magic of religion or Gods or what we wished (or feared) existed. It's the magic of Humanity, though we're mostly too humble to allow ourselves to accept that. As vain and greedy, terrified in the face of the universe and life as we are, we are still to humble to accept that we are it. That this is it, all of it.

Isn't that odd?

There is a movie that exemplifies what I'm trying to say here. A 2011 film with one of my favorite entertainers in it, Eddie Izzard. The film is Lost Christmas. It's not about religion but the magic that is Life. And if that doesn't work, here's some others who can explain Christmas a little better.

In life, we have who we have and the memories we have with them. We also have what we believe we will have and those memories that we will then have with them, whomever "they" will be. What we leave, after we no longer exist, really isn't what we will have ourselves at all. Though sometimes we act like it, but it is really what others will have after we are no longer there.

So all we really have is ourselves, our others and our memories. Then we're gone and the end.

It is hard to contemplate dying, or not existing. We don't relate to it as humans. And so we have invented ways in our ancient ignorance to deal with it. Okay.

So now let's take a step beyond that and talk about....

Religion and Guns.

No, really, bear with me a moment longer.

Believe it or not, there is something familiar there between those two things.

I'm going to tell you a secret. Something people need to share. Something people need to not keep quiet about. In fact if you need one thing in life to shout to the world, this would be it.

Those who want to spread the "word" will tell you otherwise, but that is from their inside out. Possibly your inside out, too. But that is dysfunctional. It is dangerous. It is against the need of the many, the need of all. Here it is.

Do not share your religion with everyone. Please. Keep it to yourself. Share it with others of a like mind. Offer to those who inquire of you about it. And let that be it. For the benefit of us all.

Although some of us do believe you should be ashamed to share your "faith" in these beliefs you hold, with anyone, you are welcome in my world to live your life as you see fit, to pursue happiness for the most part, as you see fit.

With only this exception.

For the good of all you should wear your faith under your coat, not on your sleeve for all to see. Just as you should wear your gun under your coat and out of sight, if you have a gun, and want to carry it around.

Faith extremists will tell you to preach the word to all and any! Spread the word to assure the continuation of your addiction!

But no.

As in religion they will say, propagate, raise your children up with your religion. Force religion down the throat of humanity until they have no choice but to be subjugated to whatever your choice of religion is and to hell with all others! Because they are indeed then, The Others.

But that is from within. Do you see?

From without, from within the whole of humanity, we are many and varied. We need therefore to coexist in order to be, together. That means you need to allow others to seek their faith, even when it seems foolish or anti to your religion. Because your religion (even if it's guns) may seem anti to theirs.

Maybe you're right. Maybe, they're right. Because, what if you're wrong? But then, your religion doesn't allow for that, does it? Would it? No, because that is the design of religion in the first place. Isn't it.

And that is fine, I suppose. Mostly. For now.

I would say that in today's world it has now reached a point where we need to kill those who push their beliefs on others so that those who do not, who live to allow others their lives and beliefs, can be the ones in the end to survive and prosper.

Because we do not need those who will push their beliefs on others.

For they are the troglodytes. The proto humans who need to die off so the evolved humans can survive to propagate and replace the proto humans.

Just as children one day finally need to leave their childhood selves behind so that they to can become adults.

We all need to grow. But we do not all need to make others into our image. Even if we believe that is the image of our God. We need... to all live together. Together in ways that will allow us all to live, and prosper and be happy.

And those who do not believe that?

They need to find their end. And if they cannot, then they need, they are asking us for, our help to aid them in their difficult journey.

Hard words, right? Life is hard.

We don't need to be making it any harder. Regardless what our beliefs are. We just need to get along.

So, a cheery winter's solstice to you and may you be happy and may you leave others alone, when they need it.

Sláinte!

I wish you all the best, the best of Life, Memories and the after...for your others.

One last thing....treat one another as if all you know was:

And you only have, one another.

Finally....

Monday, December 21, 2015

Guns, guns, guns...American Guns? Jihadi Guns?

Here's what I think about guns in America, gun ownership and gun control be it for American citizens, or domestic or foreign terrorists on American soil. It is actually all about control now, isn't it?

People saying they want no gun control are merely deluding themselves or lying. No one, doesn't want gun control. It's all about how much control that is in question and if what we have in place now, is enough.

Or enough in just the right ways.


Which we don't. Time to wake up kids. So much lately is really about how we perceive guns. And that, has got to change. But how do we do that?

With altering our perception of guns.


If you want to own a gun for hunting, then take a hunter's safety course. I used to help teach them myself when I was a young teen. I was myself in the military. As a teen I was in a local police sanctioned gun club, and on our high school's rifles team through high school. I used to reload, studied combat shooting. I know something about guns.

I've forgotten a lot about them actually as I'm no longer interested in needing to be proficient in them as a career. But I've been involved with them and the Martial Arts for as long as I can remember. I don't just mean hand to hand, open hand, or one on one fighting. Look up "martial" if you need to.

I have a degree in psychology in awareness and reasoning division, phenomenology, with an interest in systems and processes, and psyops. Also espionage and studied the old KGB tactics for years and how it affected MI6 and the CIA, as well as those associated histories. Also, how they affected general populations. So sociology and propaganda, politics and history.

I also know something about the issues surrounding guns.

Any informed talk about guns needs to consider the psychological, sociological, economic and such issues and yet, they seldom do. Myself, I've owned guns all my life since I was a teen and I've never had an "accident" such as we're seeing so much of now a days in children senselessly being harmed, family members being damaged or killed and just too many innocents "accidentally" being harmed, maimed or killed.



Now if you want another kind of gun than one just for hunting (for hunting think handgun, bolt action rifle or shotgun, with possible exceptions for special situations), you should be able to go to a gun range and just get to shoot whatever you want.

Rent it for an hour, shoot all you want, pay for the targets (oh hell let's throw the targets in for free in the gun's rental), but really you're paying for the shots. After all, those aren't cheap. We very well may need more of those types of firing ranges. I do wonder how many people might be happy to shoot but not own. Even if it's some, it's something.

If however you want to actually own your own gun and maintain it at home, then you should have to take an appropriate course to train you in its use, care and storage for what you want it for: target or home protection. You should have to take a course specific to that range of gun type, cartridge type, number of shots in the magazine or cylinder, and so on.

See? This is all building an import, a respect, an understanding of the danger and impact a weapon has on human beings and those around them. This isn't nothing It's important to understand, this is not a damn toy. It's a tool, a weapon, that is inherently designed to take life and so needs always to be treated as such. People are far too cavalier anymore with them. Too many shots on TV and in movies. Too many people dying in video games, films and media, for make believe and for real.

But when people die, they are dead and it affects a ripple effect of people around them and at times, a nation, or the world.

Should you want a gun for more intense purposes as in concealed carry, you should have to take a course specific to the type of carry that you are considering (under penalty of law if you are later found to have exceeded that license), and you should have to regularly update it... annually.

I might even say update it every five years which is ridiculous (although then you'd have to take a longer course). And of course you'd have to apply with your local Sheriff's department for a concealed carry permit and have them background check you and issue it or not, as might be appropriate.

That, is for a citizen.

If you want anything beyond that as in a professional license (private investigator, personal protection specialist, etc.), you are into another professional category entirely and that's for another blog.

The Government should pay for all of this if it's a right and yes, I see conservatives cringing. But hey, you can't have everything. This is adulthood, pal. Pay up or shut up. And if the citizen has the right, someone has to pay for it. As per the conservatives whining, as most citizens couldn't afford all this it would have to be covered by all citizens.

Because if things go wrong, after all, we ALL end up paying for it!

If the country overall wants to have guns, then we all have to be covering the cost of that. Again, you pay for the shots at the range. Again, those things are expensive. Again, it takes regular practice on all of this.

If you think you can just buy a gun for home or carry and you're good, well...any professional will point out what a child you are being. If not a mental defect. How ill informed you are is bordering on delusional.

The Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee us guns. But come one, let's face it....

LIFE WAS DIFFERENT BACK THEN! And again, that's another blog entirely.

Let's talk about emotions for a moment or two.

A couple of things frequently associated with gun incidents... like anger and hate.

Sure guns can be fun, people can and do even love them. But if you have positive emotions about guns and you are doing positive things, then we have nothing to talk about. Right?

However, if you have negative emotions and you do negative things with guns... well, that is when we do have a problem and that is what all the controversy in America is about right now. And exactly WHY we have to do SOME thing about all this.

We have seen mass shootings because of hate, because of paranoia, crimes committed due to mental health issues. Most people want to do something about it. Many, mostly on the right, don't and mostly because of the slippery slope argument, and because of other arguments where they rationalize doing nothing about, painting themselves into a corner just because of fear and emotions. Behind all of this however is power and money, greed and fear, pushed onto Americans by the NRA.

There are however some people offering sane and rational discussions of the gun issues in America including those things mentioned above.

We are now regularly seeing children killing siblings accidentally and shooting their parents (maybe accidentally, though one wonders with tongue in cheek about that at times). After all some parents kind of deserve to be shot. Karma, right? We see these killings and maimings in the media all the time anymore.

Look. I don't myself actually hate ANYone. It's just not in my nature. So. Can I still be an American Mr. Conservative Right Wing Nut Person? And yes, we have wingnuts on both sides of the spectrum, but honestly, the most dangerous and most often they are on the right, conservative end and of late have become ubiquitous.


My grandmother used to tell me when I was young, if ever I said I hated something, that:

"We don't hate anything. It's a very strong emotion. It takes up a lot of energy. We just don't have enough energy in our lives to live properly and still hate." What a great view on life, right? Yeah, she was pretty amazing. We should all be so lucky as to have a Grandmother like her.

I asked her once (we were Catholic) back then when I was young and still innocent:

"What about Satan? He's the greatest evil thing there is so, can't we hate him?"

I knew I had her that time. I was beaming inside with pride and integrity.

Then without skipping a beat, she said:

"No, not even Satan." She was the greatest person I knew.

So... I don't hate. I have experienced strong dislike, to be sure and some people definitely earn that. Lately and frequently for Republican and conservatives speaking out in the media, or running for public government office...there's plenty of foolish people out there to have a strong dislike for.

When I studied martial arts as a child I was taught that you never get mad in a fight. Strong emotions make you blind to something, they make you stupid. If you get mad you have already lost the fight, they would tell us. Always remain calm, methodical, and think. You are rational, you evaluate, you act appropriately to the situation as it unfolds.

If anything you do your best to enrage your opponent, to make them dumber, to make foolish moves. Because while they are mad, they cannot think as clearly as you are thinking, if you remain calm and sensible yourself, that is.

They also told us you should win the fight within the first five to nine seconds or you've already lost. Although you should continue to try to win, if that happens, obviously. What they were saying is that winning is in the before time, in seeing it coming, in diffusing it before and then in winning it as soon as it begins, if it even gets that far. Then you are the true victor. The Warrior of Peace. For Peace.

The greatest warrior is one that has won the battle before it begins, Sun Tzu tells us.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It's always best to have seen the situation coming and end it as it begins, if not sooner.

It's better to run away from a fight, than to be responsible for killing someone I was told in Karate. Be called a coward our Sensei told us, as long as we avoid killing someone. But if they do try to kill you, allow them to go to the next life before you. Once engaged in battle, win, even though in some ways you have already lost. But that is the difference between the short game and the long game.

Because that is what we were being taught, back then, to kill (for me, beginning in fifth grade). If you kill someone it is your responsibility in that they did not know you have that killing knowledge. They are at a disadvantage in their ignorance, they do not fully understand o have all the information they need to save their own life. Therefore if they die you did it, it was in your hands.

We were taught back then in 1965 to say to them before engaging in a fight, three times (however fast you had to say it) that: "I know Karate."

Then at least they were forewarned and it was then up to them to continue. What I discovered in practice however was that it didn't really work. It seemed to embolden them. It just was something which was better than nothing, better then giving them no warning or information whatsoever. They never believed it, they thought it was a ploy, or they didn't or couldn't understand it.

When I later found and studied Aikido they taught us when someone attacks you, they are not your enemy. We do not see things in that way in Aikido. They are merely your practice partner. You are in this together. You are both human beings. You remain calm.

You try to educate both yourself and them in hopefully being, in practicing being, compassionate beings. If they aren't then perhaps in their interaction with you at that time they may learn to be. At least a little.

In several fights I have had in my lifetime, because of how I acted during the fight, in having been victorious mostly at the end of the situation, the other person, even though they had started it all, learned something and actually remarked upon it.

One time I threw a guy down during a fight. He was a stranger bigger than me, who picked a fight with me for no reason I could figure. Half way going down I reached out and grabbed him, I kept him from striking his head on the concrete sidewalk. I had showed my superior fighting skills and my superior compassion in protecting him from himself (or from me) and he was quite aware of it. It would have been hard not to be.

As I helped him to stand again, he could have attacked me but he recognized that I could have killed him simply by not acting to save him. There was a look of stunned surprise on his face, and appreciation. He asked me: "Why did you do that?"

I said: "I didn't want this fight. You started it. If I hadn't stopped your fall, it would have killed you." That led to a discussion. We then parted, never to see one another again. But he left me with a different view on life. That was obvious. He walked away seeming somehow, changed.

Everything is a learning experience. Or you are doing things wrong. When you come up to someone in a situation such as that:

First you do your best to see their orientation.
Then you show them your orientation.
Then you release them and let them go on their way.

Needless to say depending up on their "orientation", the letting them... "go on their way" may mean into their next life. Which very well may actually just be letting them leave this life.

In Aikido, much of what happens is up to the other guy.

And so it is in life.

Guns, make this very hard to do. Due to the density of the energies involved, it speeds everything up. We need to be very aware of things much further ahead of time than in a non weapon confrontation. This has been the case ever since the first indirect weapon was put to use. The rock, the sling shot, the spear, and finally the arrow. Then came the gun, massively beyond the capabilities of the arrow.

Much of warring is misunderstanding, or a lack of compromise, or lack of reason or understanding to compromise. Lack of compassion, perhaps on both sides.

No compassion means damage done by all to all around the situation.

Getting back to guns we need education, orientation, massive more respect for them than we have seen of late. We need understanding and compassion for everyone around any gun, ever.

When you then delve into things like bombs well, you can see the progression there and the need.
It is massive.

So. Is there anything we can do about the gun situation today?

Yes. Of course there is. We just need to do it.

Finally, remember the paraphrased words of President Lincoln from his 1838 Lyceum address:



"Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

When you consider such people as are in the NRA and our conservative right wing with its potential presidential candidates like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and others in the current 2016 Republican candidate run, consider these further words of Pres. Lincoln:

"It is to deny what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion as others have done before them. The question then is, Can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such an one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down."

Perhaps only we can bring ourselves down. 

How about we just don't do that? Let's think, let's work together to evoke positive change in all the right ways. Against fear, against hate, and against our biggest foes of greed, political disinformation and ignorance. 

So I ask again... is there anything we can do about the gun situation today?

Yes. Of course there is. We just need to do it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Special Edition: No one calls Mohammed an ahole. Why not, his Jihadists are?

No one calls Mohammed an Asshole, or any other ancient religious leader for that matter.


But why not? Fear of offending him? Fear of offending others? Why? Because they will try to kill us, possibly? There is no need to fear non believers. There is no need to fear the death of Faith. Faith is not dying. Religions are.

The reason we are seeing radical Islam is because religion doesn't work.

Frustration in politics and religion for many Muslims have brought simpletons like the members of groups like Al Qaeda and ISIL to fruition, to membership and action. Sad, disaffected people who join, or as in San Bernardino, who randomly strike out on their own, do so because they find their lives unsatisfactory. Their religion doesn't do enough or anything, for them.

They lash out at non Muslims and Muslims alike. But they also kill other Muslims in their complete and utter discare of killing their own because they know very well, although they are too stupid to recognize it, too blinded by their dysfunctional ideology, that Islam, that Allah, that their silly man made religion, is false and quite useless for their purposes as radical murderers and previously as inactive Muslims.

So they act.

Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, you name the religion, it boils down to a silly group of people congregating to worship and ideology of disaffected people. When they begin to realize what a load of crap it all is, they act. But rather than act against their beliefs, which acknowledges they have been duped, that they have been stupid, they lash out from that point into the world.

We all suffer for religion still existing.

Long after it has served any purpose it may have once had we all  continue to suffer for it. It's high time religion finally just bury itself, pull he dirt over its own head, so that finally once and for all, Humanity can move on into a brave new world where we depend upon ourselves, to move off planet into the stars above, where religion has no reason to exist.

Whatever purpose religion once had there are now (actually always have been) other, better forms to take its place.

Regarding Islam, just where did it come from?

Christianity was an attempt by Emperor Constantine to control his flailing empire through the Nicene Council in creating the bible to get a handle on things that were out of control because of a splintered form of religion, Christianity. What about Islam?

Haven't you ever wondered why, thought it rather odd that the three major desert religions or the Middle East, all have similar holy places, so close upon one another? Coincidence? If so, what a very odd one. Try this on for size (video):

How the Vatican created Islam

Think that's all nonsense? I agree, it IS all nonsense.

Now can we move on? And if not, isn't it because of people stuck in their beliefs, infected by this insanity, as benign as it can at times be. Yet we'd be really so much better off without it.

Regardless, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of religions. And high time it is, indeed.

Here is a video of a debate between one of my favorite people, the late Christopher Hitchens vs Islam via Prof. Tariq Ramadan. Here is also to be fair, a video of Chris vs Christianity via William Lane Craig (another with Cardinal George Pell), and lastly a video of Chris vs Judaism via Rabbi David Wolpe.

Mr. Ramadan is very erudite but it's still a matter of fact that people have to pick and choose what they believe in, for what their religion states in it's religious books. Which itself, makes it dangerous and allows for things like the Christian Crusades, and Islamic Jihad.

Is it odd Hitchens doesn't really oppose Buddhism? I don't think so, although Buddhism does have foolish humans trying to turn it into a religion. Because that is what we do, by way of our defects in our make up.

Also another video with some of his comments on religion in general beginning with a joke about Buddhism. Finally a video with Chris Hitchens 2004: Genocide, Bamiyan, Buddha, Taliban, Al Queda, Rwanda

Chris takes a harder line on religion than I do. I'm not anti Islam, Christianity, or any religion in particular. I just think religion is overall a childish past time that has caused us a lot of grief and as we become more evolved, ever more problematic. Especially when there are other, better ways to live your life that are far more productive. Without religion, would we have landed on the moon in the year 1500?

I wish no harm against Muslims who are decent people. Or theists who are decent. But there seem to be so much religious scum floating on top of the social pool anymore that we have to act to stop it.

Just to make it painfully clear... I have nothing against Muhammad, Jesus, or any of those types of people. Just those types of people that slimy people worship. THOSE are the Muhammad's I find despicable. The Jesus who sucks. And so on.

We are actually experiencing the evolution of Faith as it evolves beyond the stupidity we've placed upon it for thousands of years. The banal foolishness of ancient old men, their housewives and scared children. That of religion, of useless rituals, of imagination counter to being fundamentally productive in any real or even if you prefer, spiritual way.

Some people certainly deserve for us to offend their religion, from how those people act. Islamic terrorists show us all, even other Muslims how their Allah, how Muhammad are mere people put into or manipulated to be in extraordinary circumstances, not deserving of the excessive respect they are afforded, little or none of the attention they get, or all the vain shoutings of "Allah be praised" by the foolish, the delusional and certainly the murderous.

Whenever you mention anything too much, you must know that it becomes diluted. That it begins to lose its meaning. All the shoutings we constantly hear of Allahu Akbar! Just how much meaning does that really have in it for those people beyond an affectation? Beyond mind washing?

You might say as Arthur C. Clarke did in Childhood's End:

"You deceived us." But no. I didn't and those few others who can also see clearly, haven't.
"You have deceived yourselves."

Look. I have nothing against any religion or religious people. Yes, ritual and religions are pretty silly and run through all young races. I have in fact, high respect for people who are monks, priests, nuns or similar types in any religion, including Islam.

If they are good leaders, and not recruiting murderers, not spewing pure crap to their followers, but are finding the truth, giving their people something in life to make their lives more than it is with what little they may have in their lives.

Mohammed couldn't read. Ignorant as he was, the so called unschooled Prophet, he surrounded himself at some point with people smarter than himself. Which I'll grant you, is not stupid, building a religion of hero worship upon something as silly as the Jewish religion and so even more so. At least Christianity was a call to more sanity at the time, but there too it went seriously wrong along the way beyond its initial inclusions of Buddhists elements.

Early Christians and Muslims didn't have enough education or historical insight to start their own religions. So they ripped off Judaism. But they were up against worse issues and what they did in creating a new religion probably made sense at the time.

There once again you have yet another man made God or Allah and religion. If these were such great religions how come their sacred tomes (Bible and Quran) have allowed for things such as the Crusades, and Jihads? If they are the literal Word of Allah, of God, well...we won't even go into the Christian Inquisitions, the Dark Ages, recent Jihads, and so on.

No one wants to speak out against religions because people get upset if you call into question what they believe, what they have believed since they were born, what their parents and ancestors have mistakenly believed...and unbelievably, even for thousands of years. At least Mormons, as silly a religion as that is, or Scientology, are young, and can be excused in some ways.

But no, no they cannot and they should know better.

And we shouldn't call into question their silliness? Really.

Let's talk about Abraham nearly killing his son because, "God told him to."

Uh, right.

We know now that it was a test, at least according to the old texts. God just wanted to see if Abraham was loyal and followed orders. But maybe later, God in a weak moment was just being kind. What IF what God wanted to hear from Abraham, a rational rebuke?

In using this situation as a metaphor for so many other religious situations through time, for Abraham to have just listened to what God requested of him (albeit as a voice in his head I might add, it doesn't sound crazy at all in reviewing it through more modern filters, right?), and then, sanely, for Abraham to have a pair of balls and simply to have said:

"God, judgement is yours. Therefore even if it is you requesting it of me, I cannot take it on myself to kill one of your creations, and my son."

Now that, would be a test! To deny God's orders to not do what he commanded? Utter Awesomeness. Now that sounds more like a God testing someone, doesn't it?


But no. Abraham pussied out. Just like Mohammed and his modern Jihadist followers.

The biggest pussies in the universe are Jihadists because they do not have the balls to refuse their own stupid mistaken beliefs. Or to realize they are stupid. Or that they are stupid, petty people.

They just like killing. Face it. After all, it's easy. It's satisfying and yet it's stupid. Just as Mohammed was an ancient anachronism having little or no meaning and less value today as does Christianity or Judaism.

Okay to be fair, Mohammed may have had good reason to say some of the physically based things he said way back when. Though the spiritual stuff certainly as it plays out over time, was just pretty silly and useless. Like flicking a Bic lighter a thousand years ago. You get ooos and awwws but really, what is it? Butane in a plastic container with a spark.

Not to mention, spending that much time devoted to a spiritual consideration, praying that many times a day when you could be doing something useful? It's a huge waste of time and energy for normal citizens and should be partitioned to special religious individuals.

Not to mention, having a callous on your forehead makes you look pretty damn silly. But then, it let's the rest of us know your somewhat scary orientation in life and the real world.


Spend that time actually DOING something, affecting change maybe, dildo.

Now I'm not saying that meditation isn't good, it is. Sure.

To mistake meditation for prayer is ignorant and an utter waste of time. Not to mention when you tie it to idiots like Daesh, or the fools and criminals in Boko Haram well, you've earned the biggest "Chump in the World" award. Or the Jihadist Favored Idiot of Mohammed Award. May your 72 virgins have syphilis when you get to your heaven and all be ancient old virgin crones only as you deserve. Grow up.

Look. #Daesh, #ISIS, #ISIL, #BokoHaram, you're all assholes. Deal with it. Get a real job. Work to affect change for your people through the systems that exist. Or make better systems, but don't tear down the world because you're unhappy.

I know. It's too had for your tiny minds to do that.

Killing is so much more fun, rewarding, satiating, empowering, and easy. Right? It's not hard after all to use an AK47 on a woman, a child, or an unarmed old man.

Try to start acting like adults and realize that no one wants or needs your silly fascist styled, ridiculous fundamentalist juvenile religious beliefs.

Humans have a reason for their inherent, built in pattern recognition skills and OCD style behaviors that make religion seems so satisfying. We need as adults to rise above those base, childish instincts.

Humans like masturbation, be it in stroking their genitals or in stroking their beliefs.

Religious ecstasy is very similar to sexual orgasm, just slower, less immediate most of the time. Face the facts. You're not good theists, you're religiously addicted Onanists.

Some people like to have such an intense orgasm they pass out (some even dying through auto-erotic asphyxiation). But you choose to blow yourselves up or die in religious fervor in "battle". Blowing up women and children in a city square or on a bus or a plane is not battle asshole, it's murdering innocents. You even murder your own Muslim people, moron and rationalize it is good. Like you're so important that you can be a judge.

How very romantic you are. What a child you are. The Bible says you must see through the eyes of a child. I bet the Quran says that too, cuz, you know... derivative.


Religion says you must ignore reality for your religion. Don't you get it? Don't you see what foolishness you have bought into? What has been perpetrated upon you for hundreds, thousands of years and your entire civilization has bought into it? Out of fear and feeling good?

No. Obviously. You cannot see how much of a fool you have been made by those you have followed. That is the bane of the theist. Allow me to help you.

Rule number one. Humans do not kill humans.

No, it's not worshiping God. That was just something some guy had told you God had told to him. Come on. Seriously? You really believe that?

Start "worshiping" your God, through taking care of his creations not destroying them. By the way worshiping a Prophet is after all idolatry, and in its crassest sense.

And again, stop being such an asshole.

Fear. Fundamentalists. Conservatives. We have them here.

The reason for conservatives being so out of control regarding their fears, just occurred to me.
If you hear a tiger in the grass and you react appropriately but find it's nothing, you're fine.
If you hear that noise and you think it's nothing, but it IS a hungry tiger, then you're dead.
Using that built in human dynamic inbred though hundreds of thousands of years, and not tempering it through appropriate personal experience, trial and error of your own, then you will come out just as how paranoid conservatives react to everything.
And so you see why we have the situation we have.
An entire stratum of society is paranoid because they haven't live appropriate lives.
We are all living in a very superficial and synthetic social construct.
Those who haven't challenged themselves in the right ways, or not at all, will find a terror behind every bush, building and door.
How can scary immigrants NOT be terrifying to these poor people?
They don't deserve our admonitions. They deserve our care and compassion.
And they as well deserve our not allowing them to be in control of the most powerful nation in the history of the entire human race and this planet.


Let me give you a parable.

Let's say there are three men. One prays, one meditates, both doing all the right stuff and yet (like you) are still lowlifes. They do all the right stuff and yet, they are still not good people. Religion doesn't necessarily stop any of that from happening, in fact research is showing it props bad behavior up. It's wishful thinking much of the time.

Leaders of ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda 
There are many loser religious types. Again, just look at Daesh, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda....

There is this third guy. Remember? I said three guys. He seemingly does all the wrong things. He doesn't believe in God, doesn't pray or meditate. Maybe he parties too much. Doesn't take good care of himself. He doesn't prey on the weak though either. Why? Because he thinks it's just wrong. In essence therefore he ends up doing all the right things, just because he doesn't want to hurt anyone.

He believes if you are just a good and ethical person people will recognize you are trustworthy. Because of that he acquires people around him who support him, who also are attracted to the Golden Rule, or Karma if you wish. Which roughly speaking is:

"Do onto others as you would have others do onto you."

The answer is here:

Be a good person.

It's not that hard. There is no reward in some fantasy "heaven". How capitalistic middle eastern desert religions are. Pay into this life for rewards in the next. Really.

Here on earth is your heaven, or your (our) hell. They are the heaven or hell you make of your life and others.

And you jihadists, you have made hell on earth all because of your silly make believe deities in the sky.


Grow up or die. Soon. Either way we, the people of the Earth do not need you or your ridiculous religious nonsense.

You are spawning right wing, fascist nationalism around the world and that is good for no one but some idiots who believe in a religion that they think teaches human beings to be death rather than life oriented.

Stop associating with those who hate human beings. Stop the self hatred. Stop worshiping a concept inn a god that also seems to hate us and disingenuously attempts to teach us that life is after death and not now when it actually exists.

What kind of person believes in mental tripe, in mind worm beliefs?

Surely no thinking rational person. Surely no "God" would ever think up such crap, only a human being could, or would. Only those who are lost or seeking to control their tribe. And then in as destructive a way as possible in attempting to control others' tribes too. And if they cannot, then they feel chartered to send their believers to kill them because they do not believe the same.

Can you really not hear how demented that is?

It's the old "you're different than me, I kill you!", mentality. How unevolved you are still. You make other Muslims look very bad.

Think, people! Try to think! Use your mind! What little mind you have left after religion has rotted most of it away.

I just saw an extremely moving Fareed Zakaria​ GPS show (12/13/2015) where they interviewed a woman who escaped from Iraq to Syria and then when the civil war started, to Turkey.

All her family had hoped for was to immigrate to the US. They thought they had it sussed at one point and then they were denied through a letter, snail mail. Yes, the US sucks sometimes. You can see how she feels this to her core and we were the ones who turned her down. Her and her family, after the horror she's been through, that ISIS and others have put her through. Over what? Religion? Allah, Muhammad, a piece of land?

The photographer and author who was responsible for her being on the show was also on the air and he nearly broke down in tears in explaining her story and that of others like her. He had interviewed twelve families previously who were accepted into America. A PhD and family, cream of the crop types. But this girl and her family, though they are people we'd be proud to have as citizens, were denied.

We worry (well some do), about our letting in a terrorist who will attack us. Are we really worried about letting in a killer. Or more so about being seen as fools, a seemingly far more pronounced idiocy in some people's minds?

We also have to consider the flip side of thinking that way. Let's shift my ranting at ourselves now, at my people.

What about those we turn down who DO become radicalized, who do end up hating us. BECAUSE in their hour (year, decade) of need, we DID turn them down. When they knew themselves that they were highly worthy of our acceptance and yet, we shat upon them and their family, their love of our ideals, upon their dreams and their needs?

Who then is responsible? More stupid humans.

I reject anyone's comeback in saying to me that they'd have become radicalized anyway since after all, that can be true. But just because it's possible doesn't mean it is how it is or always will be for everyone. It is just as true that we can be our own worst enemies. As we have been in many ways in spawning much of what is transpiring now in the world against us.

Some of those reasons Jihadists have used against us are real, accurate, even reasonable. Where we were at fault for the slights those people are feeling against us surely not all are true. And no we cannot in the twisted situation we've placed ourselves in, allow anyone to attack us either, regardless.

Therein part lay the conundrum. At some point someone has to stop the killing, the madness.

Surely it won't be Jihadists as that term defines madness. Stupidity supported by religion, false and fake gods.

We also have a responsibility not to do those things that reasonably give people reasons to attack us. Surely we should not sow those seeds, almost begging for people to attack us someday because of our own actions of greed and national desires and at all costs to others.

We must all stop the madness, on all sides. But your Islamic tribes have been doing this to one another for thousands of years. And yet there was a time long ago when you were at peace. But not the uncivilized among you. And that is what this is, you are who we are against. The uncivilized. The barbarians. Ask yourselves, how did you allow yourselves to devolve in such a way and who can stop it?

Only you. Only you....

These are the things I've seen in the news in recent years. Had another country done to us what we did to others, WE surely would have fought back. If we didn't have a military to use, we'd surely have done as we could with guerrilla warfare, with terrorist actions. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist, right? To fight back in anyway available?

Bullshit. One's murderer is yet another's murderer.

So be careful in hating.

Because as some like to say,

"There but for the grace of Allah, go I."

Or in this case, we.

So. Think.
Act, responsibly.
Do, the right thing. Stop killing.
Or at least, try to.....try something.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Benefits of Life - Memories of Ireland and Van Morrison....

Life is difficult enough for us all. We do not need to be adding to it. Or then perhaps, we do. We do need to pay attention, to experience, to see what is there. To see what can be there. That is what IS there for us to see, if only we can see it. Things that we may not perhaps notice, and should, could, if only we would, "see".

All the photos used in this blog today were shot by myself.

I have had an experience of that recently. It involved a recent trip, memories, and allowing myself to have "seen", then to have indulged, and finally to have appreciated.

There was a time when I may not have done all those things, to allow all those things, to feel those things. Being like that so diminishes the life we have to live though. When all we need to do is to allow ourselves to see what all is there, and not only what we choose to see that isn't all there truly can be, to see.

Relax, Breathe, Be....

Belfast graffiti
For years I've listened to Irish music both old and new, and thought about Ireland (my being part Irish and all).
Pavilion Pub Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
One day when I was in Belfast in Northern Ireland's UK region in September 2015, I was sitting in the Pavilion Pub on Ormeau Road. While I was drinking a pint the bartender and I got to talking. He told me that the week before the musician Van Morrison had been found by locals to be anonymously playing on a nearby street corner in a big hat.

I had missed him by just a week! Damn! Just like (but different) how I had just missed Marc Maron in Dublin the day after I had left there the week before on the train to Galway.

How cool that would have been to have been tooling around Belfast as I had been doing and just happened upon, to stumble into (and stumbling I was at times) upon the great Van Morrison, just playing there on a street corner.

You might feel like scoffing and say "sure, but you'd probably not have even noticed it was Van Morrison."

No, my friend. I think you'd be wrong there.

I pay attention to things like that. I notice quality. Sometimes in the of oddest places, the most unbelievable places. Even when I commuted to and from Seattle, a daily trip that used up four hours of my time each day in my car, on a bus, on a ferry and upon my feet, I would still stop at something wonderful and pay attention, toss some well deserved money, and share a smile.

I'd have noticed Van fucking Morrison my friends. I'd have noticed.

This goes back to many years ago. When I was quite miserable in my life. Someone, some friend told me that I needed to appreciate the small things in life. There is so much beauty and magic that surrounds us at all times, it is unbelieveable. Once you start to pay attention your day lightens.

There was something I once heard from horror F/X expert and actor Tom Savini about his reentry to the world after his experiences in Vietnam. During that war he was shooting photos of things for the Army. He shot everything, good and bad. One day after he was back home and the war was over for him he was driving along and saw a sunrise or a sunset, I don't quite remember. It was a year after he had returned home and he suddenly realized just how beautiful it was. It was then that his life turned around and he realized finally, that he was home once again.

We have to "see" the beautiful around us. It doesn't just walk up to us and say, "Hey, pay attention to me!" We have to notice it on our own warrant.

Our life lightens at those moments. A daily commute is a daily grind, or a continual experience of the amazing. It's up to us. At times when I was most miserable in my commute I would click a switch inside me and think about that. I would look around and never cease to find something fascinating, something beautiful, something wonderful or miraculous in some way.


In Dublin there is a poster in the Temple Bar district along the Icon Walk that says, "Van - Everyone agrees that you are THE MAN". But I didn't see that until I had returned to Dublin from Belfast. So I had to stop there, take a photo and remember my moment at the Pavilion Pub in Belfast.

Belfast graffiti
While I walked all over Belfast one day I purchased a new set of headphones at St. George's Market.

St. George's Market Belfast
My old pair had been disintegrating on my head.
Inside St. George's Market, Belfast
I walked all over town that day. Down alleys, around shopping districts, listening to music. I remember playing a Van Morrison album. So that now when I hear it I think of Belfast and Dublin.
Belfast alley
Just now I came downstairs after work in my home office to my TV room and I heard Moondance by Van Morrison playing. I was immediately taken back to Ireland and I had to smile. It was the first time since I got back that I felt that feeling. That feeling of hearing Van's music and not only feeling Ireland but being mentally and emotionally projected back into those lovely streets to feel the emotions I felt while walking alone there by myself, with something new to me at every turn.

White's Tavern bar
I found White's Tavern and walked up to the front door, entering and sitting at the bar. I had long waited to do that, long before I flew to Ireland. The oldest pub in Belfast.


I sat and had a Jamesons and a pint of Guinness in that ancient pub.


It reminded me of walking along the Lagan River and seeing the big fish sculpture for the first time at the Lagan Weir replacement footbridge.

Ten pence piece
My lucky ten pence piece I found middle of the street near Writer's Square.

steps at the Writers Square
It was one amazing thing after another.


My foot on that railing facing Writer's Square.


And behind me.
And closer.

I had an amazing time in Ireland and up north in the Belfast. I have to accept that Belfast is the UK I suppose. Since 1922. Regardless what Pádraic Pearse and friends did. And so it is. I find it sad that Ireland isn't whole, but then, it's all still a pretty wonderful place.

I just found it interesting to hear a song, after a usual day in my life back at home, and to be suddenly taken back so far away, so near in time, to such an amazing experience. To feel the feelings that made had me smile, had warmed me and given me such a complete sense of being.

River Liffy, Dublin, Ireland
Should that we all have the ability at some point in our lives to feel such feelings.

It can happen to any of us, anywhere, if we just let it. If you simply appreciate what it is we see around us all the time. We don't have to travel as far as Ireland, though I highly recommend it. If not Ireland, then somewhere you have always wanted to experience. Take the time, make the effort. The is more to life than simply what we do every day, day in and day out.

These things exist in our on home town, along our own daily paths, if we simply take the time to experience them.

Have a happy holiday season! Have a very Merry Christmas! This from an atheist. Have a happy whatever holiday you may be celebrating this time of year.

I wish you and yours well. I wish you all fond experiences and lovely memories. As long as you are doing things to add to the beauty of the our world and not the other.

Sláinte!