Archive for November, 2016

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Catholic Girls

November 29, 2016

School Uniform

Catholic Girls.

“Catholic girls are the best.”  At least that’s what all the high school boys on the city bus said each time we stopped at the Catholic Girls School.  Was it just their joyful enthusiasm or naiveté, a release from the restrictions of classroom dogma and discipline, as they boarded our bus for the ride home or was it something else that made them so appealing?  Did those wise-cracking braggarts really know something about human nature based on real-life experience or was it all just popular myth?

In 1961 I was young enough to believe it was real.  I imagined them rounding all the bases, preparing to slide into home thrilled that a young maiden of virtue was about to abandon her strict schooling and pledged morality, believing she would live an eternity in the fires of hell for a few moments of fulfilled desire, sacrificing all on the altar of acceptance disguised as love. Love is the defining inducement to submission. Yes, these immature Solomons of the schoolyard knew at least that much.  If you wanted to fuck a Catholic girl, you first had to tell her you loved her.  That made it OK.

Tell someone you love them and they’ll do just about anything for you—abandon their friends and family and run off to another life.  Anything. Ah, but first you have to fuck them, repeatedly and good. It’s funny that what we have learned as family, parents, sons and daughters, we are unable to apply to our societal well being.

Well, we got on the bus and we’ve been lied to.  We’re being fucked repeatedly and fucked good. We’ve abandoned our morality, our family and friends and we’re running off with the schoolyard bully, the narcissist braggart who told us he loved us.  Surely, we’ll burn in hell for this.

Imagine for a moment you’re a father whose daughter has decided to marry such a man, a liar, a person with a history of manipulation & control, a documented trail of mistakes and negative consequences.  What should you do?  Speak up?  Shut up? Play along? Take action?

The best advice you will get may be the “wait and see” approach. Oh, but not from your wife, oh no.  She knows the schoolyard bully for what he his.  She’s met him before in many forms.  She rode the bus and is enthusiastic  to confront this newest incarnation at every opportunity. And she does, much to everyone’s chagrin. Was she right or not?  Are we not free to make our own choices and mistakes?  But don’t you know that everyone pays for your mistakes?  So who has the right to decide, who to advise and who to dissent? Where is wisdom when you most need it?

Meanwhile life goes on.  The newlyweds buy property together, open bank accounts and credit cards together, create all manner of financial entanglements together, running their household in deficit, growing more and more dependent on each other, and ultimately bear children.  Your daughter allows herself to be managed for the good of the family.  Her husband worries about external forces driving them apart, unaware that his control is the cause for concern.  She must account for every minute of her time, who she sees, where she goes and what is said. He limits how often she sees you to a few hours at holidays and discourages her from inviting you to their home.  If she visits you alone, he interrogates her to find out what was said.  Having driven off her family and friends, he surrounds her with his own.  Living among them, vacationing with them, daily contact with them increases as he moves them closer and closer physically until they all live conveniently in the same neighborhood, far from you—more entanglements, more interdependencies.

Over time through angry confrontation your wife drives a wedge in the family causing untold grief for your daughter, making it virtually impossible to see her and her grandchildren except in the most limited and restricted ways.  You on the other hand have managed to have a positive relationship with your daughter simply because you kept your mouth shut.  You understood that it was her life to manage and you did what all good parents do, you let go, trusting that all the work you did over her first 18 years will pay off.  But the outcome for you was little different. As time wears on, you see life taking it’s toll on your daughter and you understand the personal sacrifices she has made to protect herself and the kids.  So she remains quiet about the things that matter most, the things she really cares about, avoids the big battles and lives in a family divided, unhappy and afraid of the future. There appears to be no good outcome to this scenario.

Now imagine you live in a country divided in the same way.

Here’s what I know: Eventually the need for freedom will rule.  Rights denied will be rights restored. But in the meantime there’s all hell to pay for that good “Catholic” girl.

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The Proper Forum.

November 28, 2016

you-looked

I was reprimanded recently on Linked In for posting my blogs to my home page because it was not the proper forum for my political views.  It was suggested to me that I should post on Facebook or Twitter as an alternative because Linked In is a business forum.  Well, yes he was probably right, but I’m reminded of the time-worn advertising of the sort you see on bus stops and billboards that says “See You Looked.”  If I’m getting read, then why would I stop?  My suggestion to him is “don’t take the time to read it if it bothers you.” Un-Link if you like.

I blog on WordPress and WordPress automatically posts to Facebook, Twitter and Linked In for me.  Of course, I can choose any or all of the sites, but why remove a link that is working?

I’m sure Linked In has it’s value for many, such as job recruiters and those seeking employment. There are many forums where professionals can discuss aspects of their professions.  However, regarding posts most are self promotional in nature, usually promoting some service I have no interest in or need for, and the others are all trying to sell me something I don’t want like a discounted Dell computer, or real estate or financial advice.

It might be rightly said that I am unhappy with the election, as he so stated, “he gets it,” but my unhappiness is much deeper than that, I am unhappy with the direction of our country.  You won’t see much political dissent on Linked-in, because it’s bad for business. A potential employer doesn’t want a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a leftist progressive or an employee that cannot follow corporate dogma and stay in line. Speaking your mind is a job killer.  Well, I don’t get jobs from Linked-in and I really don’t care whether I do or not.  I have other priorities.

I don’t suppose it occurred to the complainant that I may be introducing myself to like-minded people or that I am giving voice to those who must remain in the shadows for fear of reprisal. Who knows where any of this will lead, but unless I am mistaken, is that not the purpose of Linked-In, to link up with like-minded people? To each his own.

 

 

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Boondoggle, Boondoggle.

November 27, 2016

donald

I truly doubt that it’s settling in just yet.  In the short time since the deplorables elected the intolerables, not much has changed.  The empty promises of a “bait and switch” campaign legitimized by media like CNN with rhetoric such as “pivoting from an election to governing” have muddied over some undeniable and very predictable events.

Trump will never reveal his taxes.  No one seems to care. Trump will not create a legitimate blind trust. Here’s a nifty little loophole.  It’s not illegal.  Yes, but is it ethical? Trump will personally continue to do business with nations he will negotiate trade deals and treaties with. Who will benefit the most?  His children will get preferential positions and privileged information, managing the family business with insider knowledge on a global scale with no SEC oversight.

Trump is backing off from his most adamant campaign strategies, like “Lock her up,” building a wall that “Mexico will pay for” and repealing Obamacare. Most people knew better, but it was still not enough.

High up in Trump Tower, with security costing New York City Taxpayers a million dollars a day, Trump parades his team of intolerable candidates for cabinet appointments before the cameras and milks the conflict he stirs up, like the Reality TV master he knows himself to be.

Absent of any legitimate fresh ideas, a relationship with the truth, a compassionate heart, an understanding of the intricacies of global politics, and many other requirements for a great leader, Trump’s proposals to make “America great again” are hollow rallies stirring up an emotional base in the most ignorant among us, to rise up in support of values at extreme odds with the conservative principles engendered in our Constitution, values supposedly embraced by his parade of candidates, racists like Steve Bannon or Jeff Sessions, rabid false-prophets like Guliani and Flynn or hypocritical opportunists like Mitt Romney & Nikki Haley, maniacs and sell-outs all, not to be trusted with a key to the executive bathroom, much less our national security, the future of the environment, a middle-class standard of living and leadership of the free world.

It’s not surprising that he made his appeal to the very same audience he created in Reality TV, who believed that what they were watching was real, when in reality it was all stage-managed events.  Duped by their own desire to believe, they were easy marks to identify, parse and manipulate. Their concerns are as real as yours or mine, but their belief in a huckster has elected a transparent fraud to determine the outcome of their lives for the foreseeable future.

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The Cheerleaders

November 22, 2016

white-againThe Cheerleaders

Every action, every word, every expression made by a person in the public spotlight will have consequences, both predictable and unintended.  A leader of a nation, candidates for leadership and their surrogates must all reflect carefully on what they say before issuing statements influencing policy that may mutate to take on a life of its own.

Whether Trump actually supports such ideas, whether Bannon is a closet Nazi or whether their team relishes the support of fringe alt-right groups or not, it must be realized that the rhetoric of their campaign and the management of the transition cannot be pivoted into a unifying message of hope, absent of fear.  Rather it has given rise to other voices previously silent in the chains of political correctness, but now unashamedly public. It has changed the climate and like hateful things said in an argument, they cannot be retracted once spoken, especially in this age of electronic media where everything is recorded for posterity.  It is arrogant to think otherwise.

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The Glass Slipper

November 21, 2016

glass-slipperThe Glass Slipper.

In today’s political environment a great deal of slurs are being launched into public debate without thoughtful consideration, hair-triggered, knee-jerk reactions.  As any survey of the internet will quickly attest to, a lot of name-calling is going on and it was started at the top.  The meaning of words like “liar” is not in question, but before we start tossing out other names let’s be sure we all understand their meaning fully.

Here are three words that are currently being used in our political discourse that may be either confusing or misunderstood by some. You be the judge if they re being used improperly or not.

mi·sog·y·nist

məˈsäjənəst/

noun

noun: misogynist; plural noun: misogynists

      a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.

       synonyms: woman-hater; More antifeminist, (male) chauvinist, sexist,

       informal: male chauvinist pig

fas·cism

ˈfaSHˌizəm/

noun

noun: fascism; noun: Fascism; plural noun: Fascisms

an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

          synonyms:

authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, autocracy;

More Nazism, rightism;
nationalism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism;
jingoism, isolationism;
neofascism, neo-Nazism

(in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

Nazi

1:  a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler

2 often not capitalized
a :  one who espouses the beliefs and policies of the German Nazis :  fascist
b : one who is likened to a German Nazi :  a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person

“National Socialism represented much more than a political movement. The Nazi leaders who came to power in January 1933 desired more than to gain political authority, to revise the Versailles Treaty, and to regain and expand upon those lands lost after a humiliating defeat in World War I. They also wanted to change the cultural landscape: to return the country to traditional “German” and “Nordic” values, to excise or circumscribe Jewish, “foreign,” and “degenerate” influences, and to shape a racial community (Volksgemeinschaft) which aligned with Nazi ideals.

These ideals were at times contradictory: National Socialism was at once modern and anti-modern; it was dynamic and utopian, and yet often harkened back to an idyllic and romanticized German past. In certain elements, Nazi cultural principles were consistent: they stressed family, race, and Volk as the highest representations of German values. They rejected materialism, cosmopolitanism, and “bourgeois intellectualism,” instead promoting the “German” virtues of loyalty, struggle, self-sacrifice, and discipline. Nazi cultural values also placed great importance on Germans’ harmony with their native soil (Heimat) and with nature, and emphasized the elevation of the Volk and nation above its individual members.”
Read the complete article at…

https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007519

The Lessons of History

Does this sound familiar to you? Is not Nationalism always a plea to make a country “great again?” What methods are ethical and what goes too far?  we cannot even discuss it, if the terms we use mean different things to different people.  If we call someone a fascist or a Nazi, what does that really mean?  Is it an all or nothing proposition, or is it the entrée to the slippery mudslide of values lost in name calling? Or on the other hand is it the glass slipper, the transparent shoe that fits?

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Truth, Justice & The American Way

November 19, 2016

trashmouthTruth is an elusive quality, more concept than form. It cannot be held, only embraced.  It supports justice but cannot guarantee it. It is widely believed to be one of the cornerstones of the “American Way” as millions of baby-Boomers who happily watched the Superman TV show of the 1950’s were indoctrinated to believe, but truth is neither uniquely American nor the exclusive commodity of any nation.

Not everyone knows that Diogenes was a real person, instead of some Greek myth. For that matter, you may not even know who Diogenes was.  He roamed Athens at the time of Socrates and Plato in search of an honest man and the truth. Failing to find even one, he originated the philosophical concepts of both cynicism and stoicism. Today, as the relationship of truth, justice and the “American Way” shift in the Age of Trump, we are offered little comfort except perhaps the philosophical practices of Diogenes, neither of which is a solution but a faint panacea. Drugs offer a more certain release from misery and depression, as the record numbers of heroin overdoses attests to.  Yes, the American Way has shifted.

When we think of the American Way we rightly reflect on democracy. When we export democracy around the world, we are exporting the American Way.  The American Way is based on freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal rights and justice for all.  This is what we represent to the world, or so we think.  In the many foreign lands where hate rises against us, the spawning grounds for terrorism, the American Way means something quite other, yet we do not seem to understand.  In order to represent it fairly, we must always speak the truth and live the truth—walk the walk. Justice cannot exist without the truth. A just outcome can occur by accident but that is not justice at work.  Justice is less an outcome than a process. To misrepresent truth is to alter the American Way, to give it new meaning.  It short circuits freedom, equality and justice. Today, the American Way is under siege, its meaning shifted to a new reality defined by Trump to reflect the failed practices of the most egregious previous administrations but with a much darker tone, reframed as “Make America Great Again” and which will have nothing but sinister consequences for the American Way.

Lest we have any doubt about the direction the Trump administration will take in shifting the American Way, here’s the most recent quote from Steve Bannon, Chief White house administration strategist for Trump, the man who is his most influential advisor: “Darkness is good.  Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan, that’s power.”

Trump has become the new master of “reality.”  He redefined it as a Reality TV star and now spills its meaning over into the real world of politics with a ready-made and waiting audience. Nothing is true in Reality TV and as fact-checkers have demonstrated about 78% of what is spoken by Trump and his surrogates is easily proved to be false. Should this come as a surprise? In shifting the meaning of “reality” he has shifted the American Way, changing our ability to see the truth.  It’s an old magicians trick—direct your attention to a distraction and then fool you into believing that you just witnessed something quite impossible.  By now we should realize that nothing about this election has been impossible, just magic.

So we must begin by asking “what is truth?” before we can go looking for it.

Facts are to truth as falsehoods are to lies.  One is not necessarily the other, although it can be.  A falsehood is not a lie without  the element of intent. Facts can be spoken without speaking the truth.  A lie can be entirely factual and yet still be a deception.  All this is very confusing and makes it almost impossible to find the truth.  The best liars know that.

Zen is a spiritual concept that is little understood or practiced in our culture. Zen is not linear.  It is indirect.  It is synesthetic not anesthetic. It is not logical in the American way of perception and linear reasoning.  It is a way to understand without pursuing a conclusion based on a linear progression of thought.  It is open to the natural flow of life, becoming a part of all things in the spiritual sense, one with the universe. It does not yield proof, but understanding and I ask you, “which is more important?”  Zen is one way to know the truth, but there are many others. A lie detector is not one of them.

The greatest impediment to knowledge is a belief system.  Like knowledge, truth does not conform to the beliefs of any single group or organization or system. It is universal and exists on its own terms.

It is the mistake of conventional news outlets like CNN to assume that pursuing a policy of “fair and balanced’ coverage produces a more secure democracy.  Not necessarily.  It might in the world of the idealist but in the pragmatic world it gives a solid platform to the pestilent voices of ill will.  It displays and reinforces ideologies that are a sickness infecting the American Way. It normalizes the aberrant and abnormal, establishing falsehood as one of two acceptable equal outcomes. This has to change.

In past times, the voices of dissent took form in popular entertainment.  Authors like DIckens, Swift and Caroll sought to express their ideas through fiction and in that way reveal a truth. In more recent times Hunter Thompson, the master-liar journalist of the twentieth century, elevated lying to an art form by developing a unique style of fake news called Gonzo Journalism. Through the most extreme lies he made the truth easily understood.

However,  the idea of fake news may have sprung from a TV show called “That Was The Week That Was”  and developed into a regular staple of our culture through “Saturday Night Live.”  It clearly evolved from there into shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” and became for Colin Powell and a nation tired of “fair and balanced news” a real source of important information, often otherwise neglected coverage, and invariably through admitted comedic falsehoods, the undeniable truth.

The arts have always played an important role in revealing the truth, at times like Zen in an indirect way.  They are the safety valve of our culture.  In poetry and song, artists like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon and scores of others, in songs like “If 6 was 9” or “ I am the Walrus”  or “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” the lyrics of which follow, they have opened our minds to universal truths in the most mysterious ways.

“Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can’t jump it

Sometimes it gets so hard, you see

I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet

With all these promises you left for me

But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I waited for you when I was half sick

Yes, I waited for you when you hated me

Well, I waited for you inside of the frozen traffic

When you knew I had some other place to be

Now, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously

But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately

Well, six white horses that you did promise

Were fin’lly delivered down to the penitentiary

But to live outside the law, you must be honest

I know you always say that you agree

But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I don’t know how it happened

But the riverboat captain, he knows my fate

But ev’rybody else, even yourself

They’re just gonna have to wait

Well, I got the fever down in my pockets

The Persian drunkard, he follows me

Yes, I can take him to your house but I can’t unlock it

You see, you forgot to leave me with the key

Oh, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Now, I been in jail when all my mail showed

That a man can’t give his address out to bad company

And now I stand here lookin’ at your yellow railroad

In the ruins of your balcony

Wond’ring where you are tonight, sweet Marie”

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How To Lie In The Age Of Trump.

November 17, 2016

truth

How To Lie In The Age Of Trump

Lying is the misrepresentation of a falsehood as a fact, or a fact as a falsehood, committed through word or action, or lack of action, with the intent to affect an outcome. Facts and truths are very different.  There are a great many truths that can never be verified as fact.  There are mysteries and ideas that can never be verified, yet might possibly be true. Such ideas fall into the category of theories, religious beliefs and medical as well as historical opinion. In many such cases the truth can never be known and therefore merely speculated on and considered.  But let’s not call it fact.

General Rules & Methods:

We find ourselves in an age where falsehoods have become more influential than fact and we need to take a closer look at intent and the methodology of lying to differentiate the truth and make good judgements, especially as we are asked to do so as citizens of a democracy.

There are many principles that make for good lies.  Here are some leading to the practice of successful lying:

Create a need and fill it.  The need can be real, but if you create the need first, the lie will stick.

Lies work best if there is an audience ready to believe them.

Repeat it over and over until it becomes the truth. The more it is heard, the more it is believed. An old advertising principle is “tell them once, tell them again and tell them again.”  Advertising has never had a close relationship with the truth. Repetition is the key to lying success.

That said, mix in a dollop of truth to your lie.  It’s the best way to sell it, a recipe for success. Blending makes it harder to distinguish a lie from a truth.

Realize that a lie is not bait.  It’s a lure. Bait is something real, like a worm or a minnow, or a quid-pro quo.  A lure is something false, painted plastic and metal, faux bait. In political terms, it’s a false promise.

Know what button to push. Understand the weak spot of the audience. This is an innate instinct in human nature.  You’re not going to get laid by telling an ugly person that they are physically unattractive.  Rather tell them that they are beautiful or sexy.  Tell dumb people they are smart. Tell fat people it doesn’t matter. Tell yourself that smoking doesn’t harm others.  Tell the nation that global warming is desirable because it yields milder winters.

Use spin whenever possible. Tell your audience that it’s not what they think it is, but the very opposite of what they believe or think.  If it’s what they want to hear, they will believe it.

Perception is reality. You are creating a perception.  Forget about reality.  Speak to their perceptions.  Lying is emotional manipulation.  Apply it to the area required.

When all else fails, when reality is all too obvious for perception to be influential, bring up the insider track argument—“If only you could see him as I do.”  To thwart this approach, opponents have to deny your testimony, challenge you as a witness.  They cannot refute that which they have not experienced.  They will not call you a liar. That’s too confrontational.

Spread disinformation, conflicting stories create confusion. Anything can be mistaken for the truth in such an environment,

Try deflection to answer questions where the truth cannot be denied. —What about them?

If all else fails just change the subject. Lie by omission. Change the dialogue. Answer a different question. Raise a different issue.

Presenting alternatives creates uncertainty, fertile ground for lies.  What about this? What about that? Maybe it’s really this?  Could be that.  “Let’s give him time. Let’s wait and see. Anything can happen.”

Fabricate your lie with the element of plausible deniability.  It will save you when you are caught.

The Finer Points

Hold up a mirror. If people see themselves in the mirror, they will mistake their reflection for reality. Alice went through the looking glass and look what she found. It wasn’t reality.

Quote other sources to create approval, however fictitious they may be. If they don’t really exist you can’t be blamed.  It’s just what you heard. Cite others to create a consensus of belief.

Create an organization and give it a name, like say “The Foundation For Truth in Politics”, or “The Alliance for Democracy” then distribute your lie through the organization.  Who wouldn’t believe “The Foundation for Truth in Politics?”

Introduce a lie as being authorized by the populace… “Some are saying…” or “It’s been said…”

The outrageous and implausible lie is more believable than the probable. If you’re going to lie, lie big.  Who could be so bold?  Therefore it must be true.

Parse the language.  What does “is” mean?  Is oral sex, sex?  Or is just vaginal sex, sex?  Thank you Bill Clinton for all your contributions in this regard.

Flavor it with emotion.  Lies are sold emotionally not logically.

Polish it into a shiny lie.  No one responds to a dull lie. Make it appealing.

Also make it memorable.

Give it a name.  Names have meaning. You can rally around a name. Names work, like “Lying Ted” or “ Lying Hillary.”  Is Reality TV really “real” as the name implies? I hate to bust your bubble, but there is nothing real about reality TV.  It is all scripted and managed to create false conflict and conclusions. And what about religious movements?  Scientology, that’s a great name. It implies a belief in Science. However, it’s disciples believe the story of Xenu, the tyrant ruler of the Galactic Confederacy. That 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The Thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. What about Christian Fundamentalists? Another great name.  They hold fundamental many beliefs that are contrary to proven science. Yet they command a great presence and undue influence in our democracy.  Look at the lies of other cultures, Isis, The Taliban and other religious terrorist organizations who enlist teen-aged suicide bombers with the promise of 72 virgins in heaven and you can see that the world is largely manipulated by belief systems in the fantasies, myths and unverifiable concoctions of the leaders of political theologies. I’m not going into the beliefs of Mormons, Catholics, Christians and Jews.  However you identify, you know the dogma you must believe to enter heaven—like the arc with two of every species, the virgin birth,  etc. etc.

Create confusion—reverse, reverse, reverse.  Say one thing today and another tomorrow, and reverse again.  Deny what you said, then say it again and deny it again.  No one will know the real truth and you can trot out surrogates to tell us what they think you meant. Anyone is free to decide on what is the truth and half will gravitate towards the first statement and half will gravitate to the other and you will win many more believers than telling just the one lie.

Spreading The Lie: Get Somebody Else To Do Your Dirty Work

Use a forum with no checks and no rules..social media.  You can create a pile on.

Get many surrogates to say it for you.  Create a pyramid scheme of lies. One tells two.  Two tells four and so on and so on.  Pretty soon the lie goes viral and becomes reality.

Well that’s about it. Now you can start your own movement and maybe someday be President, too.