Monday, September 26, 2016

Still Foolishly Waiting For the Old "Great" America?

People regret how America isn't the America of the 1950s. Are YOU the person of your younger years? No, and neither is America. Do you want to be? Disconnected from the world at large as it has moved on, even if you haven't? Therefore being completely dysfunctional, rather than just somewhat dysfunctional as any normal country is?

Obviously, this involves Donald Trump. Sadly.

Tonight is the first debate between candidates on both sides. America's and the world's hope for decency and progress, Hilary Clinton, and the InternNational Embarrassment that is... Donald Trump. It should make for interesting political viewing. Interesting Reality TV viewing. Interesting studies in the path politics is taking in the world. Because we're slow to follow other countries in some of this (like fights breaking out in congress...see Japan, Italy, etc.), but we're blazing the trail on other aspects of this complete nightmare.

Not American? Then Hope, and if you're into that kind of thing, Pray (not that it will do anything other than make you feel better for a little while, then let you down in the end), that this kind of thing doesn't befall your own country!

For the record, I don't believe any of those things in this article from the Washington Post on "Why Smart People Believe all the Crazy Things Trump Says", except the Bush Administration knowing about the WMDs in Iraq. That, as it indicates, shouldn't be on that list. Why? Because it's true/untrue in the best of presidential plausible deniability. From what I've gathered over the years from what those who have spoken out on it (and in some cases you have to read a book, remember those?), the Bush Administration pushed the intelligence community into finding what they wanted to hear. They had wanted to go to war in Iraq before Bush became president in 2000. And so on. All documented. All easily and reasonably pieced together. 

So no. The Bush administration WAS told there were WMDs in Iraq. But it's not that simple. It is in part how our government works, but in this case it was above and beyond and led initially to a reasonable conclusion which later turned out to be an unreasonable one.

But this here and now deals with things like Hilary's reputation, who she is, who the Clinton's are, who she would be as president. 

Right wing conspiracy about her as usual in these kinds of things, paints a picture of her as world class James Bond villain. It's a child's view of the world, such as Republicans and conservatives tend to paint it in "knowing" what they expect to believe, what they want to believe, what assuages their need for information where there is none. It's an amateur, arm chair quarterback view of the world. 

With just a little bit of knowledge in how to research, in digging into disparate information sources and discounting and supporting reality, in listening to and triangulating what those in the know, those involved in these things have said and shown to be true, the actuality is sometime, quite obvious.

It is the information and political form of seeking a black hole in space. A scientist finds what is there through what is available and what isn't. An amateur does not have full access to the same kinds of information and therefore there is a lot of chaff and fluff in that arena. To be sure there are professional style amateurs, but they are few and far between compared to the more lazy forms out there. 

And so we have a mass of people beleiving in conspiracies. And now they have a leader. First the Republican party since the 90s if not 80s, and now in Trump who will fight to win at all costs, at any price, even that of the veracity of America across the world, the ideal and substance of America itself, and the self respect and sanity of the American people, themselves.
Have you ever noticed how parenting, even just making it through life is a series of guesses and hopes that you got it right? Some seem to just slide through life making all the right decisions. Many seem that way but it's just their deftness at making people believe that is the case. Most of us make mistakes along the way and then it's about how quickly and accurately we react to make things work right. Sometimes it's a series of corrections we make to make our mistakes functional. Most of us find a way to make that appear effortless so our boss or coworkers or the public thinks we are brilliant when really, we are just making it through life. Those are the things conservatives yearn for. That illusion of our greatness rather than our effective humbleness. We present this bold and brash cowboy attitude to the world, but we're just doing the best we can. Bullies too, fearful of the world unless they are sociopaths, put forth a brave and brash face which behind that facade is a scared and ignorant child. The world has gotten so complex, no one really knows what the right answers are. Those who tell you they know, are liars and charlatans, or politicians. People we hired to make us feel safe and when we don't, we blame them, rather than ourselves. Once you realize... "We have met the enemy and he is us." You are only then approaching adulthood. Then you can look around and see how frightened and ignorant we are. Then you can realize those who profess greatness and wisdom, are just expert actors displaying to you what they know you want to see. You complain when you don't get what you want, and then when you do, you see how things don't work right and you complain. rather than tearing down, try to support and build up, to see the bigger picture, to see you count as much as everyone else and they as much as you. Once you see that, things will start to become more functional again. Until you see that, it will just be more of the same and you have to understand, we have built the world we wanted. Because what you do, is what you have done, have allowed to happen, have asked for. At some point ignorance is no excuse, not a justification and you have to take responsibility because being a part of a nation requires that. If you don't like it, leave. Because going up into the wilderness isn't disconnecting yourself from the nation, only leaving it, rejecting citizenship, does that. And you're not willing to do that. So get involved, learn reality and stop with your wishing for what never was or what you really don't want to go back to, when you merely think you want to because in your colluded memories, the past last sloughed off the bad and you're only remembering the good. Good us all around us. Make that your reality. And work to bring us all as citizens of one nation, as much more as we can, not just for you, but for Americans. Otherwise, you are not an American. You are an old Soviet comrade, bitching at real Americans who ARE trying while you call THEM comrade, push your form of belief onto them, those who have no idea what you're talking about. You need to grow up. That is why things seem so bad for you. Hurry up, because the rest of us are waiting on you.

NOTE: Now, post first debate between the two candidates, a lucid and accurate journalist in a Sydney Morning Herald speaks out. I give you, Jonathan Bradley: Donald Trump's debate performance shows he has no business being president.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Calling for New American Party Mascots

I wonder sometimes if our political party's mascots have any relevance whatsoever to today's world. They are established, traditional, and let's face it, weird.
"In a cartoon that appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1874, Nast drew a donkey clothed in lion's skin, scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” That's all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party."
“The Third Term Panic: An ass, having put on the Lion’s skin, roamed about in the forest, and amused himself by frightening all the foolish Animals he met with in his wanderings.” Thomas Nast for Harpers, 1874.
I think we can all agree, the Democrat and Republican mascots have outlived their usefulness. While they may have at one time been effective, when the parties switched their political paths in the late 1800s, the mascots should really have switched with them.
"So, sometime between the 1860s and 1936, the (Democratic) party of small government became the party of big government, and the (Republican) party of big government became rhetorically committed to curbing federal power." Natalie Wolchover - 9/24/2012

The party of Lincoln, is no longer Lincoln's party. He simply wouldn't recognize it now.
So when Republicans say that, call them out. They're lying, or possibly more reasonably they're simply ignorant. The true mainstay of their party platform, Ignorance.
I'm proposing here however that we just kill them off. The mascots. We could have a big Republican sponsored game hunt. They should love that idea. Right?
My replacement suggestions are a slide for Republicans and a ladder for Democrats. Democrats are always trying to raise us up above the muck and Republicans are always trying to slip us back down into it, unless you have the money to save yourself. Which let's be honest, most of us don't have.
Republicans want things to be easy, not grey but black and white, good vs evil, as children view the world. They view things as simple when usually they are complex. Even if it kills people. Then they point the finger at their opponents, typically Democrats, liberals, progressives... or science.

When they do try to think in complex terms they tend to go in useless directions, spinning up obfuscations, improperly weighted situations, getting nowhere but wasting vast amounts of energy in looking like they are doing something, when they are just spinning their wheels and wasting as well, huge sums of OUR tax dollars with no apparent end in sight or purpose.

Other than self aggrandizement or extending their typically silly if not utterly destructive agendas. Ideologies based in make believe. Make believe frequently based in religion. Religion typically of a Judeo\Christian form. More of the three main defective revealed harsh desert religions from the Middle East.

Democrats however seem always to be trying to progress up to better things. While also sometimes using a slide for a short time...WHEN it just might be useful and helpful, overall it's hard and usually harder for them to do so.

And yet they keep on climbing, keep on trying, though usually too quietly.

While Republicans if they ever even try a ladder, only seem to make it up a step or two and then start in on any distraction they can think of. They don't want to do much, just appear to be doing much. Like a morbidly obese person trying to be distracted from doing exercise. Or in the case of extremist conservatives, to distract from any real thinking or analysis, or from doing any actual work and this is imperative...that they could be held accountable for.

So I give you our new modern political mascots: The Republican Slide and Democratic Ladder!

Now you just have to ask yourself. Which side of the platform do you want to be on?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Personal Strength

Yesterday was 9/11. There were thoughts of pain, death, strength, power, terrorism, reflection on who we are as a nation, as a people. Life, is more complicated that most of us can handle. We tend to buffer it with emotions, drama, even lies. Some of us use conspiracies as a buffer. It takes strength, more than we have sometimes, to handle reality.

Life is far more complex than we can typically see. But that is on a larger scale basis. I tried to pull it down to the micro level, to the individual level. To the level of two people, of one person. About how we perceive strength, what it is, when it should be used, how it relates to our lives.

In order to evoke thought on this 9/11 and its fifteen year anniversary, just another attempt at pointing out a few of the dangers to America today, not in order of import (or contempt):

-Religious fundamentalism with a death slant to it.
-Conspiracy theorists who mostly don't know what they are talking about and have based theory on conjecture and agenda based partisan politics.
-Nation building as we have been attempting it.
-Attempting to spread democracy in tribal nations without a cohesive nation.
-Using military power where any other power would work better.
-Putin and Putin's view of Russia.
-Kim Jong Un, and his and his military handler's view of North Korea and its relation to the world.
-China's fear of North Korea and it's lack of acting.
-Donald Trump, his lies, immaturity, self important narcissism and ignorance.
-Hillary, IF she doesn't change up our direction and continues to use old paradigms in world and national politics.
-Political and extreme Conservatives and Evangelicals.
-Unclear understanding of reality in national and personal considerations.
-Old paradigm views on running America and its interactions with the world at large.
-Maintaining wars to allow otherwise unallowable issues to play out.
-Military, industrial, corporate complexes to rule over the needs of people.
-Poor education.
-Cyberterrorist by international gangs like ISIS and cyberwarfare attacks by nation states like Russia and China and maybe if not probably also, NK. But really, wouldn't it make more sense for Russia to lay blame on NK, while China would not for obvious reasons?
-Poor infrastructure.
-Ignorance. Ignorance supported as intellect and occult knowledge of what is unknowable.
-Giving a voice to those ignorants and old paradigm thinkers (including racists, misogynists and bigots) who should not have one on a national basis and have quite simply not kept up with the world in our psychological, sociological and technological advances.
-Forcing others to continually have to prove negatives on a national basis.

I'm pretty open minded. I accepted people voting for Mitt Romney, and even miniBush.

But supporting Donald Trump simply makes a travesty of our election process and you really need to face up to that if you support him.

Hillary, is no reason, no excuse to vote instead for Trump. It just exhibits your ignorance more grandly.

Voting for Trump puts one in a similar category with words like grandiose, delusional and self important.

IF you can't vote for Hillary, I do get that. Though you're probably wrong there too but that's another topic. I mean, you may be right in not voting for Hillary but from what I've seen, it's probably for the wrong reasons and the incorrect priorities.

However, if you can't vote for Hillary and you can somehow come to your senses, though if you vote republican I really don't have high hopes anyway, then simply do not vote.
Cast your vote as many do in casting for a third party.

Vote your conscience. If you can't vote Hillary, then do not vote.

Someone just made that clear this past week.

That some people simply should not vote. We shouldn't force people, pushing them into voting. If they don't know what they are doing or if they think they do and yet they don't; if they are smart enough to know not to vote, perhaps they know what they are doing, perhaps we should leave them alone.

For all the rest of us, vote sane, at the very least.

You know, the original intent of the Founding Fathers was NOT to allow everyone to vote anyway. Just those who could vote intelligently, with informed consideration, with a standing for and with the needs of the country and not simply for needs for themselves, but with a true and honest consideration for themselves and therefore...all of us.

I'd like to move beyond 9/11 today though. I want to move closer to home to each of us. From an international, from an national, to a personal level. From world or national strength, to interpersonal and personal strength and what that really is.

I realized something about strength today.

I was watching Woody Allen's film, Manhattan. There a scene, after he was with Mary after he had been with Tracy, after Mary had been with Yale, while he was married to Connie, after the divorce of Isaac (Allen) who was now with, as I said, Mary. Yale calls her, in the next room from Isaac.

Life can be in reality, hidden behind the scenes, out of our sight, complicated. It's one of the things Allen basis his films on, pokes fun at, brings up in various lights and tries to make us realize, life is not black and white. We tend to categorize things as good or bad but in reality, it is a very grey kind of thing. You see something bad, but in shifting focus sometimes, just a little, it becomes humorous, or understanding, even... noble.

Yes, some things are just bad, just pure evil. However much of what we label as such, simply isn't due to ignorance or a lack of understanding, if not simply of maturity.

It occurs to me, and I'm single now, but a while back I was married, married to someone I thought to be a very attractive woman. Attractive overall, not only in looks. Before I had met her, I was trying to get another job. After a divorce. And I found one. But the woman who interviewed me for the job, an attractive woman in her early 30s, from the beginning was extremely attracted to me.

I got the job. Eighteen months later I quit that job, at that point, with a new wife, the attractive woman I mentioned. I then contracted for some years (as a Senior Technical Writer). I ended up eventually at the company I've been now working at for twenty years.

During that first year or so, the women who had previously hired me elsewhere (the UW), was working then for a contract employment agency. We had both left the University of Washington where I had worked for seven and a half years, the final eighteen months for the department the woman had hired me for.

I was going through more than one contract agency and so wanted to give her my business as we had been friends and coworkers. Kind of like, we were family. When I had heard what she was doing, that she also had left the US, I looked her up. Then after talking with her, I signed up with her at her new agency.

See, I had accepted a job (where I still work for twenty-one years now at this point) because I had to, in the hope that I wouldn't work again for a large company. The new company was a thirty person company, but a subsidiary of a much larger company, which I had wanted to avoid after working for US West Technologies, a thirteen state company at that time in the 1990s.

The potential that I might find exactly what I wanted, was alluring. To exemplify my worry, I said I'd accept the job at the thirty person company as long as they guaranteed I would never work for the larger company, and because I had been out of work for five and a half months and we really needed the money. I had a family to support, a wife and two kids.

One day this woman called me to ask me to lunch. Nothing unusual there, I was used to agents taking me to lunch to woo me to a new job or consideration, and them picking up the tab. And she was female and attractive. I was married then and was not looking for anything outside of my marriage, but would you rather go to lunch with an ugly person who was interesting and funny, or an attractive woman who was? So I went, innocently.

We went to a nice restaurant near to my work at Von's ("Best martinis in town"). We had lunch. It was tasty, as usual. Then she hit me with it, taking me totally by surprise. Her husband was a real hot mess. He had gotten into drugs, he had robbed a store, gotten caught, ended up in prison for a couple of years or so.

She had her needs, she had her fantasy about me all these years and she had her proposal. We could have an affair while her husband was gone. I could have her. It would never affect my marriage, she wanted no more, just compassion, a friend with benefits, a friend. Someone to help her through those next two years. Would I consider, she wanted to know, that kind of a situation. I was still at that point in my marriage where I was completely satisfied at home.

Something that changed radically only a few years later as I entered into a nightmare of a marriage. One where only a decade or so later I realized there were serious surreptitious mental and emotional problems on my wife's side, potential for her having had affairs while she was away for weeks on her job. One beyond most people's imaginings. One that could easily make a MOW, a "Movie of the Week" type of heart wrenching type of a film.

What I realized today, while watching the film, Manhattan, was this... I should have turned her down as I did. But perhaps I should have had the strength to give her a good, deep kiss and then, let her go, forever. To release her from her fantasy about me, but give her that taste of what the imagination had been desiring so that from then on she'd have had a feel for the reality and thus, somewhat temper her imagination and desires. At very least, she'd have something based upon what could have been.

Considering after that day that I never saw nor heard from her again, I now feel some regret. Though at the time I would have felt betrayal to my wife whom I loved and lusted after very much, Lust appropriately place. I now feel if I were as strong an individual as I believed I always have been, then I should have said goodbye, given her that final gift, that present from one friend to another, on our parting forever, between two who could have been, and yet, never will be.

That is what I realized today when I paused the film, Manhattan, and thought about all this, realizing, I needed to write it all down and share it.

Still, I had to consider it all first.

What IF I had kissed her and after all, why DIDN'T I?

It's obvious, I suppose.

Was I THAT strong in denying her? Was I just immature? Would I have gone off with her, to have had an affair as she desired?

You know in hindsight, the affair would have been okay, possibly. Sometimes in doing what is wrong, you speed up the demise of something that will die, you save everyone pain, you save yourself grief, but you may also cause yourself the pain of knowing to thine own self not true.

My marriage in the end didn't work out. I have reason now to see how much I deserved al lot more compassion and affection than I got through much of that final marriage in my life to date. Perhaps I was the only strong one in denying another an affair with me. I was true to myself though, in not having that affair.

Had I not been married, had she not, I would most surely have had a relationship with that woman. No doubt in my mind. But I had a rule not to involve myself with those who were attached to others. Or when I was attached. I have higher standards than that. There are so many single people why would you ever get involved with someone with a potential for excessive drama?

Still, that's all not the point here.

The point is... reality. Just what IS, reality?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Allow The God Fearing to Rule the Day?

First off, Happy Labor Day! For more on that, see the link from my 2014 blog article on Labor Day.

Now, let's get to it!

Through the course of human endeavors,
before there was God there were Gods.
Before there were Gods there was Heaven.
Before there was Heaven there was the Sun.
Before there was the Sun there was darkness.
In that darkness there was no language.
There was no way to store and convey information
to any, to all.
But then there was language, then there was writing,
then there was, reading. But only to the few.
The few who had seen a book, who had a book, who learned to read.
This was magical. Words were magical.
It was unbelievable. It was powerful. It was Holy.
It was sacred. it was God like.
The Word became God.
Those who held the Word, became God like.
God has power. God IS power.
Those who serve God, have power.
To protect themselves from those they read to, the had to say they served.
Those who the servers served, they ruled over.
The servers became the served.
Their word becomes the Word.
Those who now serve Them, find themselves believing things.
Things not originally intended.
Things not currently intended.
Things that were never intended.
Those who believed, altered the Word of those who once served
and are now being served.
Then the nothing became the something.
And so the word was broken.

This is the problem in treating the modern day extremist God Fearing respectfully. Just as it is with the other extremists (and some even not so extreme) of the right wing politically conservative and Republican crowd. We should treat people respectfully to be sure, though not so much their beliefs, if respect for those beliefs are reasonably undeserved.

The trouble is in showing them respect, and therefore their beliefs, respect in discourse and debate tends also to lend a respectability overall. One they simply do not deserve. Religion has a lot of pretty (and not so pretty) words.

The trouble is, every religion breaks down because no philosophy answers all questions in every instance. A closed system such as any religion is, cannot answer all things in an ever changing universe. Which gives us a clue. ANY religion that seems to have ALL the answers, is a broken religion, a defective form of deity worship with a set of rules designed to subvert reality. Because there is no such thing as a philosophy that can answer all questions all the time.

It's like any form of government, not pure form is fully functional, only hybrids. It's why in part, Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

It's an uneven playing field right from the start. Which explains so much of the current situation in our dealing with true God Fearers. Both those politically in general as well as in Congress. If one treats them as derisively as they may well deserve, then it becomes the rational people who are seen as rude and illegitimate. Rather than simply taking an appropriate stand against utter silliness. Dangerous, silliness.

If on the other hand they are treated with respect, they receive a perceived legitimacy they have failed to prove deserving of. Other than a general respectful right to believe in any delusion they choose to come up with. Delusions that are typically supported by some ancient book of "wisdom" recorded over time, founded in antiquity and conjecture, based on imperfect observations, conflated histories and your basic magical thinking.

Such is our world today. It will change though. It has to.

Not because it's wanted, rather because in the end the Truth typically wins out. It is nature's course. It's the balance in history that sooner or later incorrect but accepted beliefs will be superseded from improperly recorded histories. Reality tends to win out in the end. Something that is becoming more and more prevalent as technology allows us anymore to record nearly everything, nearly anywhere.

The question as usual is, will these more accurate public appraisals of history happen within our lifetime?

As a friend once said to me in reply to this question:

"But who is the arbiter of silliness? To a devout evangelical, my atheism is just as silly."

I guess what I'm saying is that it's not so much what is on their side of the equation that is at issue. Some might even say that is a lost cause anyway. It is on our side, the side of those of us who might put up with it all, to ignore, to allow delusions to continue unabated. Out of good manners, ill conceived political correctness.

As a general rule we must all agree upon at very least a general baseline of belief. And in America it is and always has been through a government without religion. While now that seems to many load voices to be the outlier position. Something that grew out of fear that back in the origins of the post WWII cold war. A belief we allowed insidiously to creep into our national mindset, even into our pledge of allegiance, and onto our money.

It is not "In God We Trust" that we need to proclaim on a national basis, but "In Ourselves". To do what is right regardless of God, or whoever's God, or whatever religion, or religion at all.

Our option needs to be government devoid of deity, and a government's belief based in Science. Reality as best our minds can fathom to use in our decision making. Since we cannot choose one religion over all others in a country where all religions are welcome (anyway those who don't go out and kill people over religion or some antiquated medieval view of God), then we simply have to choose... no religion.

To find order in no religion requires science. It's not a big leap in logic. Science that we need to be protected from through our government and if you will, moderated by our mindsets of Liberté, égalité, fraternité ("liberty, equality, fraternity"). Moderated by an individual's own beliefs even in religion and through ethics and morals.

The Grammarist defines Morals as the principles on which one’s judgments of right and wrong are based. Ethics are principles of right conduct. So the two nouns are closely related and are often interchangeable.

The main difference is that morals are more abstract, subjective, and often personal or religion-based, while ethics are more practical, conceived as shared principles promoting fairness in social and business interactions.

We need more of the practical and less of the ethereal.

In order to govern people, we need beliefs founded in what is real and functional. If prayer worked every time, I'd say fine, we can use that. But it is not fine, it does not work every time, if it even works at all, ever. And I'd argue that it never works. It merely buffers our reality. It is simply coincidental on any real results from its use and is pretty dysfunctional in any kind of way in governing people.

Here's the really important thing... to all theists, all believers, all religious types. In order to have all religions for all people, none must govern.

It is on us all to stop this madness. To allow those who wish to continue to believe in the ethereal as real, is fine in their personal lives, just not in their public lives. Especially if it affects others. including those of the rest of us who use the rational and real in our own daily lives.

Allowing the God Fearing to Rule the day couldn't be a bigger mistake. Shying away form this fact is only going to make everything worse. We need to speak up, speak out, stand our ground, Politely but firmly state our case and if necessary, bulldoze our public ways right over top of them if not straight through them if need be.

For our protection. For their own protection. For all of our protection.