Fixing the river in place

There is an old Taoist saying that the human mind seeks always to fix the river in place.  In our personal lives, it means we often try to keep our lives from changing, but, as the Taoist river allusion indicates, that is impossible, because the river of life is constantly moving and changing. We are born, we age, and then we die, this is the natural movement of the river of our lives that none of us can circumvent.

If we try to keep things the same in our lives despite the changes that occur, then we are living out this old Taoist saying, and sooner, or later, we place ourselves so completely out of step with life that we take on the appearance of the fool. You’ve all seen elderly people trying to pretend that they’re not old. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and despite their attempts to be “hip,” or whatever the word is now, they simply appear the fool to those that they’re trying to impress. It truly is sad.

American politics are caught now in a struggle caused by an attempt to fix the river in place. Due to the manipulations of the Russians, manipulations accepted by the Republican party, because it gave them an unexpected victory, the Republican agenda, an agenda warped by hyper-conservatism, is attempting to keep America from moving forward, with all the dangers, and chaos, created by the attempt. If your personal life cannot be fixed in place, then it follows that public life cannot be fixed in place either, so this Republican agenda is the root cause of the chaos in American politics today, because it is antithetical to the real movement of life, both public, and private.

Not that Democrats don’t share part of the blame, because they often attempt to push the river ahead, through too liberal an approach, which, of course, is as impossible as fixing the river in place. Neither hyper-conservatism, nor hyper-liberalism is the answer to America’s, or the world’s, problems. However, the Democratic view of life as moving forward is a fundamentally correct one, so I give them a bit more credit than I do any conservative, because conservatism is the incarnation of the mind attempting to fix the river in place.

What is the political philosophy that most conforms to the movement of life, if both far right and far left are inadequate?

The only political viewpoint that conforms to life is moderate progressive. Life moves continuously, just as the river does; things change, what once worked no longer works in the face of changing conditions. Moderate progressive follows this ever changing pattern of life by allowing our laws to change with life as required, rather than trying to return us to a past that exists only in the murky pond of our memory, or trying to create a future which is even more of an illusion than our past, because it exists only within the limitations of human imagination.

I know that many liberals will take offense to my attack on human imagination, insisting that it is our imagination that allowed progress in the first place, but imagination is limited by the limitations of the human mind, and that is, indeed, tragically limited. I know we humans don’t like to think so, but, to quote a character created by Clint Eastwood, “a man’s got to know his limitations.” Too long the human race has blundered through life, insisting that everything we do is good, when the evidence is mounting to the contrary.

This brings me to my strongest reason to oppose conservatism. We are on the threshold of making radical changes to this planet’s environmental systems, and if we do, future generations will suffer for it. We cannot afford to go back, cannot afford to return to what we think were our glory days, because to do so condemns our own grandchildren to a life we cannot imagine. We have no right to do that.

Today is the day that moderately progressive people need to take the reigns of government away from those who would either push us firmly into our past, or try to create a future based on humanity’s wildest hopes and dreams. Neither will work, and their bickering back and forth is the essence of stagnation. They cannot help us, nor can they help our grandchildren, so it is up to us. Vote, and when you vote, vote for those who look forward, but critically question whether what we are about to do will bring us good, or misfortune, because these are the people we need holding the reigns of government, and the future of life on Earth. Search for intelligence in your candidates, find it, not twitter storms, and vote for that.

 

 

You just need common sense

You don’t need scientists to understand what’s happening. You just need common sense. You just need to see Earth in your mind, before we came, before we lit the first man made fire, in order to understand how we’re doing it, and what we have to change in order to stop doing it. Millions will die if we don’t stop doing it, but you don’t seem to care, so I have some questions.

Are you really so selfish and narcissistic that you don’t care what happens to them?

If you are, please die as quickly as you can, in order to save lives.

Do you really believe that a God will reward you with an eternal heaven for killing them without a qualm?

There is no such God. This is up to us. Do something. Shout. Demand. Vote. Be heard.

You are Satan. You are God. This is up to us. Turn the coin face up and get on with it.

Stop burning shit, so rich men can stay rich. They need to find another job. You need to shout: “You’re fired!”

Stop hiding. Stop trying to dream it away. Stop avoiding the work. Do this now, because it will become…

… too late

… for them.

They are your kids, damn you! Your grand-kids! And you don’t have the balls to fight for them?

We are the “White Feather” generation.

You make me sick.

Author’s note:

My wife informed me after reading this that I had unintentionally used the words White Feather Generation in an outdated use without being aware of the White Feather Foundation formed by Julian Lennon in honor of his father. I truly apologize to Mr. Lennon for my unawareness of his foundation, or its work. We can all be ignorant of things, and I can be as ignorant as anyone else, as anyone who knows me will happily tell you. Having visited his website, I encourage everyone to become involved with his work, in any way they can. If, like me, you are poor, you can use the power of your words to spread awareness of his message, work, and his site, as I am now. You can find his wonderful Foundation here:

https://whitefeatherfoundation.com/

Please, follow the link, and in any way you can, support the Foundation’s work.

Cartoon America

I finally figured it out, what’s really wrong with America, what’s really keeping America from being great again, but you’re not going to want to hear it: we have met the enemy, as a great man once misquoted, and they is us. We, the people, or in this case, the toons, have come to believe in a caricature of ourselves, something that never really existed, an exaggerated image of ourselves as great, and everyone else as inferior. In short, we have come to believe in our own mythology, and sadly, that’s the way most Americans behave today, wandering tough guys, ready to kick ass and take names, calling everyone else cucks, up until the time someone bigger and badder comes along: for example, when a white supremacist gets punched in the head for being an asshole, and then suddenly becomes the victim, his right to free speech having been violated, with no thought entering into his mind that others might react to that speech.

Everything in America is exaggerated today. An example can be found in such a basic thing as our driving on our highways. No one in America, it seems, can be compelled to do the speed limit. Traffic on the highways is forty-five percent travelling way too fast, forty-five percent travelling way too slow, and ten percent trying to dodge around the resultant chaos. And, in fact, it’s the American definition of freedom itself that causes the chaos in American society, and turns us into that caricature that I mentioned previously.

The average American’s definition of freedom is: “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want,” but that isn’t really the definition of freedom, it’s the definition of chaos itself when you have over 300 million people all trying to practice that ideal at once. American freedom has no limitations of duty to others, and that itself is the caricature; such an ideal never existed, indeed, could never exist, except in the imagination of Americans.

Our cartoon president (should I spell that precedent?) is the poster child for those in American society responsible for placing him in the White House, with the help of foreign actors, of course, and an archaic electoral process designed to placate slave states (See? We’ve always been a cartoon). He honestly believes that he is above the law because he was elected president. Presidents, according to the Donald, can do whatever they want, because they’re the Commander in Chief, and leader of the free world, and the boss can do whatever he wants. It’s roughly the same illogic as when Americans believe that speeding is okay, because everyone else is doing it. Yet, just as Americans, he believes the law applies to everyone else, as when someone tries to sue him, or investigate his sleazy activities.

Sadly, President Toon does represent a substantial portion of Americans, those who believe in the comic book version of American history, and those who firmly believe in an America that never was, the America that rode the high plains of the world alone, six gun dangling from its hip, warning all other countries with its steely eyes not to mess with the U.S. Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of us surrounded by toons, and wondering how we can change the Toonited States of America back into the United States of America. Hopefully, somehow, through our democratic process, we will find a way.

The only death I want to see in America

The only death I want to see in America is the death of radicalism. Extremism is born of stupidity, a narrow minded inability to see anyone’s point of view but my own, and the argument between the two extremes is giving the Russian government exactly what it wants, and was trying to achieve in its meddling in the last election: the death of democratic discourse in the United States. Extremism plays into the hands of Vladimir Putin, his band of murderous thugs, and the allies they have placed in the highest offices of government in the United States. His plan to destroy democracy in the United States is working, because we are turning away from the fundamental thing that makes democracies work: intelligent discourse. The less we are willing to talk to each other, and compromise, because compromise is the essence of true democracy, the easier we become to manipulate, and that is what Vladimir Putin, a sociopath on the world stage, wants.

It is up to us, the moderate, reasoning people of the United States, the people who place education and intelligence above radicalized belief, to turn the American conversation away from the mindless name calling and hatred that characterizes American speech today.

We, as a nation, have to stop accepting and excusing violence in any form, physical, or verbal.  Whether it’s electing a Congressman after he assaults a reporter, because people understood his anger, or attacks on members of Congress, because they represent things that we hate, or feel will harm us, we, the people, must no longer condone, or even try to understand these actions. Our condemnation must be swift, and unified, because if we don’t we are sliding down the slippery slope toward fascism that Vlad the Manipulator has placed before us, and is happy to grease through his allies every day.

We need to stop this slide toward fascism that hard rhetoric and violent actions brings. Democracy, no matter what its limitations, or flaws, is the best form of government for the people. Fascism only works if you happen to be on the government’s good side, and the government’s good side changes on the whim of one, or the few, depending upon what blend of Fascism you happen to have operating in your country. Fascism can be appealing, because it’s the easiest form of government: you don’t need to think about anything, just follow: but if you think that’s appealing, I invite you to read my piece on Ernst Rohm, which you’ll find as an earlier post in this blog.

My father’s generation fought against tyranny and fascism. They sacrificed and shed blood to end its rule over the world stage. I find it appalling that we, as a nation, now seem to have forgotten that sacrifice, and that heritage. If you truly want to make America great again, you don’t do it through twitter, demagoguery, or admiring fascist killers and strong men, you do it through reinforcing the only bastions that defend democracy: intelligent discourse, transparency, and the rule of democratic law, none of which admits of hatred, bias, or an us, or them, mentality.

A Shorter History of Burning Shit

It occurred to me, re-reading one of my original posts, “A Short History of Burning Shit,” that it was too long, and would run right past the attention span of the modern human, at least in America, so I decided to do a new version, one that would not take too much time away from selfie time.

I think it’s important, once again, to point out that you don’t need climate scientists to come to some understanding of how human activity causes climate change, especially now that our under-educated and incompetent president has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, using the same sort of logic that was used when I was a kid to tell us that “duck and cover” was going to save our butts from a nuclear attack: just pretend, and it’s going to be alright. Well, it’s not going to be alright, and here’s the short version of why it’s not, even if, like Donald Trump, we just pretend.

Humans are the only species on Earth, plant, or animal, that creates fire. We have been doing this for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years, probably almost a million years. We used rubbing sticks together, then flint and stone, to achieve this, but once we did, Earth’s relationship to fire changed.

Natural fires, those caused by lightening strikes (the most common), volcanism, and meteor strikes, burn for a time, but then go out when they run out of fuel, hit a natural barrier (like a river, or an ocean), or when the rain comes. Once these fires are gone, fire does not occur in those areas for many years afterward, because the natural fuel for fire is gone in that particular area. So, natural fires tend to be random, short term events.

Human fires, especially those used to power modern technology, tend to burn continuously, and the growth of our use of fire has been exponential with each technological advance. For example: the internal combustion engine, and the generation of electricity, are two types of man made fire that burn continuously around the world. It’s the continuous burning nature of man made fires that drives global climate change, and just pretending that it isn’t, or falling back on some cave man mentality, that atmosphere so big, isn’t going to help you.

The results will be catastrophic, no matter what scientists hired by oil companies tell you about the effects of carbon, and how much better your tan will be when the Earth warms to its highest temperatures in millions of years. Eighty percent of all humans live within a short distance of water, and the mass migrations of humans alone will cause chaos around the globe, even here in the United States. Perhaps you should ask yourself why Donald Trump, who believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax, wants sea walls strengthened around his seaside resort golf courses.

No one is asking us to return to the eighteenth century and hook up our oxen to carts to go the the market. Arguments that world civilization will collapse if we stop burning shit and turn to renewable sources of energy for some of our needs are ludicrous. It is hard to believe that adaptable humans will have an impossible time turning their mechanical skills working in coal mines, or on oil rigs, into marketable skills working in the highly mechanical world of renewable energy companies. In fact, they will have an immediate advantage over the rest of us in getting these new, highly skilled, and good paying jobs.

The only thing holding us back from making this change is that world governments, especially the present governments of Russia and the United States, are caught in the stranglehold of political contributions, and demands, by fossil fuel company investors, and fossil fuel company owners, one of whom is Vladimir Putin. The most marketable resource Vladimir Putin has is oil, but it’s easier to manipulate if you pretend you’re in favor of the climate accord, and then use your puppet to destroy it. The Godfather always distances himself from the crime.

This makes it our responsibility: yours, and mine. We must speak out, and elect officials who will take this seriously, and remove those who believe snowballs disprove climate change, at least in those countries where there remains a vestige of democracy, as we have here in the United States.

Life on Earth is an intricately connected web of life. Inaction will lead to the collapse of that web, and, once it collapses, even our technology won’t be able to overcome its effects, killing even the human spiders at the center of the web, who are presently sucking the life out of everything around them, perpetuating a zero sum game that they believe they will survive, at the expense of the rest of us, and all other life on this planet.

My White Supremacy

Let me preface this by telling you that I’m Caucasian, white, so when it comes to the subject of White Supremacy, or White Nationalism, or whatever you call it today, or will call it tomorrow, I am, naturally, an authority, because I meet the basic qualification: my skin is white. In fact, I don’t tan, so I almost guarantee that I’m more white than you, unless you’re an Albino. Again, this makes me more of an authority than you, especially when you factor in my education, which, unlike many of you, went well beyond the tenth grade, so tremble in fear of my absolute supremacy when it comes to being a white, pretend intellectual.

Now that I’ve established my ultimate supremacy over all other white people, due to my pasty whiteness and commanding intellect, let me fill you in on a few things that I have observed from the lofty tower of my ultimate white supremacy.

First:

Most white people I’ve met are just as dumb as anyone else, irregardless of their color. I base this observation on the evidence of their own words and behavior. I worked for many years in retail management jobs, and I can assure you, with absolute certainly that white people, no matter what their economic status, rich, or poor, are just as lazy, dumb, and entitled, as they claim others are.

Mr. White Entitled Businessman in the $3000 suit, if you’re standing in front of me, trying to chump me, the guy with way too much to do, into doing your shopping for you, because you’re too busy on the phone, you’re just as much of a lazy, dumb ass as you claim the inferior colored person on welfare is, because your welfare comes from tax breaks, rather than an E.B.T. card, but you’re getting the money from the same source of funds: me, the working poor.

Second:

White people are especially stupid, because they’ve bought the same con game since before the Civil War. And that con game is? White Supremacy itself. Want to keep the poor whites of the Anti-bellum south happy? Just convince them that they were superior just by being white, and giving them whites only shitters, even though they were as poor as slaves. Personally, I loved this article on the subject:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/opinion/article136803208.html

Please, follow the link, and read with an open mind, if you can find where you hid the key you’ve locked it down with. Go ahead, take some time to read it, I’ll be here when you get back.

Back already? My, you’re either a speed reader, or, like most entitled people, you stopped reading after the first few sentences, because what you were reading didn’t tally with your preconceived notions. That’s okay, there’s more.

Third:

The White Supremacist contention that all of today’s advanced culture is due to the accomplishments of white folks, is just as much a bunch of bullshit as anything else they claim. One reason: the gunpowder they used to exert their dominance throughout the world was an idea, and formula, swiped from the Chinese. Another reason: they completely ignore, or minimize the accomplishments of anyone non-white, and conveniently forget that they purposely kept those they felt were inferior in positions of inferiority by limiting the rights and education of the peoples they conquered with their stolen gunpowder.

Which brings me to the real ground of white supremacy; the ability of white society to organize crime on a societal level. Remember, in 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he may have been looking for a passage to the far east, but when he crashed into Mesoamerica, he happily reported the place was ready for plunder, conversion to Christianity, and that Mesoamerican women were fun to rape, so he could stock the brothels he constructed for his soldiers with kidnapped Mesoamerican women. Jesus loves me, this I know.

Indeed, if you follow the course of white culture throughout history, no matter what good we’ve brought into the world through our technology, such as advances in medicine, or industrialization, we have done so on a road paved in the blood of others. In fact, Western Culture throughout history has more resembled Mafia families fighting for territory than anything else, and oft times reminds me of the sequence in the Godfather movie where Michael Ricci renounces Satan even as his plan to wipe out the other Mob families is carried out by his henchman.

White Supremacy? I think not, and fortunately, for the world and all its people, the claims of white supremacists to superiority are no more valid than mine. So, it’s sad that a pile of garbage as big as white supremacy has gained national attention through the election of a narcissistic idiot who panders to the base instincts of an under-educated populace who themselves buy the same load of bullshit that they have been since the Civil War.

The Lesson of Ernst Rohm

Most, of course, will not recognize this name, even many of those who purport themselves to be Neo-Nazis. Once the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, and reputed to be one of the only people in the Third Reich who could call Adolf Hitler by his pet name in public, he is the poster child for why no one should revel in totalitarianism, no matter how appealing its simplistic, “I just follow the leader,” philosophy is.

The reason? Totalitarianism only works for you if you are amongst those that the regime values, or holds as an ally, or the strong man leader trusts. The moment his trust in you fails, usually because of the machinations of other people, or groups, within the party, jealous of your influence, or power, you wind up like Ernst Röhm, sitting in a jail cell waiting for someone to shoot you, because you refused their offer of suicide.

Or, if you’re a member of a group that the regime suddenly finds unacceptable, you find yourself being herded onto trains, to be “relocated” to a place where undesirables are kept, most likely a concentration camp, or slave labor camp.

Appeal to law, if this happens? There is none. Rule of law? There is none. The law is made by the select few, and applies only to the select few. And the select few changes on a whim, based on lies and conspiracy theory, as in the case of Ernst Röhm.

Please do not misapprehend what I’m saying. Ernst Röhm was a street thug and a killer. He was not someone I feel sorry for, I am simply using him as the best example of why you should avoid totalitarianism.

I find I have to bring this up, because today’s American political process is being subverted by people who espouse despotism, and admire despots and admitted killers, telling us that these are people to be admired for their strength. They are not. They are killers, thugs, and mass murderers, just like everyone surrounding Adolf Hitler. They are no more worthy of admiration than any other killer the human race has ever produced.

I find it idiotic that I have to bring up this lesson from history, since my father’s generation fought against this nonsense, but one of the people fawning over despots and admitted killers presently occupies the White House, and spews his trash into the airwaves every day on twitter. It is a shame, a criminal shame, that the United States has to endure a president who espouses everything we oppose, all in the name of making America great again, as if he would have any clue what that actually entailed.

Haven’t written for a while…

… because I’ve been dealing with the recent death of my sister. The circumstances of her death left me filled with anger about the manner of her death (no foul play, just the idiotic state of American health care, if you can even call it that), so I’ve been waiting to write until I processed that rage, lest it channel itself in ways that I would not want. Hopefully, I’ve learned the lesson of my father, who never spoke at all when he was angry, because he knew that words were like bullets, and once you fire them out there, the damage is done, and it is absolutely idiotic to apologize to someone you just shot. Better not to draw the gun of your tongue at all, lest you shoot someone with your words and wind up hung by them as a result.

Congress! An Independent Counsel Now!

The last time in American history that a sitting president fired the man in charge of an investigation into the president’s dealings, the president resigned before he was impeached, because the stupid bastard was guilty, and wouldn’t face the music. You, as OUR representatives, need to demand an independent investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, and remove him from office if the facts (not alternative facts, or whatever Fox News believes) demand it. Act now, because the American people are tired of feeling like we have a bad Hitler impersonator occupying the White House. We had little faith in your representation before, earn it back.

Republicans! This is your shit house mess! Fix it! Or you will feel the wrath of the voters. You did this Grand Old Party, it’s time to justify that name, if you have the political testicles, which I doubt. Fix this! Now!

What a backward country

Far from being the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, my home, is one of the most parochial. The great wealth America produces is not shared amongst its citizens, as its richest two percent plunder the rest in the name of “unfettered capitalism,” which is the new religion of the United States, masked, as it is, by the new Christian gospel of prosperity, something I’m certain never entered Christ’s mind, as evidenced by his own words.

The only evidence I need of my country’s  insular attitude is the fight over the repeal of Obamacare. No matter how many times you tell people from Red states that the United States is the only western democracy without nationalized health care for its citizens, they don’t seem to care, calling any attempt to provide healthcare for all Americans socialism, which is apparently a worse sin to them than leaving people to suffer and die, again, something I think Christ would take exception to, from the evidence of his words.

And yet, you cannot dissuade people in the Red states from their misconception that democracy collapses if capitalism is restrained, or directed in some areas, as it was when I was growing up. Does anyone in the United States, especially the Red states, remember the term “regulated monopoly?” I think not, but the country didn’t seem to be falling into communism when we used that term, and I see no evidence of a widespread fall of Europe into socialism, or communism, because they have nationalized healthcare for their citizens.

Once again, the Republican party has managed to dupe a large proportion of the under-educated American populace into believing that by draping themselves in a caricature of American history, waving a bible in one hand, and the doctrine of unfettered capitalism in the other, that they are somehow not the Carpetbaggers that they truly are, plundering the poor in the name of the rich. And we had a term for that in America when I was growing up.

“Hey, Rube!”

But contrary to the belief in the Red states today, that was not a badge to be proud of, it was a term intended to mock those to whom education, and informed decision making, was unimportant.