Monday, August 25, 2014

Week of 08/25/2014

The World Dominionism Script
You know, I miss the old villains.
The guys wearing the uniforms, leading the armies ready to march on out there and take over the world.  The megalomaniacs with the glassy-eyed stare when they talk about how they are destined to rule the world and everything on it.  The kind of villains that we used to see in those James Bond movies or those cheesy 1980’s cartoons that were basically glorified toy commercials.
You know, the villains we used to have in World War II.  Easily identifiable.  Honest and up-front about their ambitions and their goals and in the ruthlessness they have to make those things happen.
Unfortunately for us, the vast majority of people that dream of world domination aren’t that blatant.  They don’t want to be seen as villains, even if – for all intents and purposes – they really are.  Maybe their egos prevent them from being honest about themselves.  Maybe they know that such dreams usually means putting a target on their backs.  Maybe they know that if they are honest about their dominionism that it will preclude them from having any kind of real power over others.
That’s why most dominionists are smooth and opaque in their true ambitions.  No, they supposedly don’t want to “rule” the world; just “guide” it.  Just “lead” it.  Just “save” it.  Just “protect” it from the dangers and the evils that men do.  Oh, and “they” supposedly don’t want this task.  They’re just representing a “larger entity”.  A god or a country or an institution.  It’s not “about them”, is it?  No, it is never “about them”.  Never!
Right, and if you believe their denials, then I have a bridge, some Florida swampland, and some subprime mortgages to sell you!
The best way to spot the dominionist is in their words.  It’s how they sell their quests for global domination.
The latest comes from a certain conservative columnist whining about the state of the world and how it’s all President Obama’s fault that bad things are going on.  Of course this is the same columnist that previously said that he doesn’t like the person in the White House and that he doesn’t think this person is even legally qualified to be President… even though he doesn’t come out and admit being a Birther.  (Cons and neo-cons are like that… they claim to be brave, except when it comes to their own honesty.)
Anyway, the script goes something like this: everything around the world going on today, from ISIL in Syria and Iraq, to the Hamas missile attacks against Israel, to Russia’s piecemeal re-conquest of the Ukraine, to… well pretty much to any other kind of disorder or discord in the world, all of it is supposedly Obama’s fault.  The script accuses Obama of “abandoning” the world stage and letting the world go to hell in a handbasket.  You know, because he supposedly is “apologizing to the world” (which he never did) and is supposedly kowtowing to Muslims (which is another fabricated claim).  We supposedly “lost respect” and are not “taken seriously”.  The script then says that a supposedly “qualified leader” would keep America as the so-called “global leader” and take charge so that all of these problems would either be resolved or else never happen in the first place.
And this is where I have to call out the cons and neo-cons on their scripted B.S., because that it what this script is… it is raw, unmitigated, hypocritical B.S.!
First of all, since when did the conservatives and neo-conservatives ever give a single whit what the world thought about America?  When?  Go ahead, cons and neo-cons, put up or shut up!  When did you guys ever care what the world thought of you?
They certainly didn’t give a single care what anyone thought about them when they were in charge!  They were loud, boisterous, unapologetic a-holes, and they took great pride in being that.  “Bad guys bomb us?  Bomb ‘em back!  Bomb the world!  Shock and awe!  Cart them off to Gitmo and waterboard them!”  Any of that ring a bell?
Hey, we were showing the world just how worse we could be when pissed off!  We were looking for countries to bomb and invade.  We were grabbing people everywhere and waterboarding them for any kind of supposed “actionable intelligence”.  And if a nation complained, we’d scream “Nine-Eleven” in their faces and then go find someone else to waterboard.
No, “respect” was not on the itinerary of the cons and neo-cons when their lord and savior – George W. – was in the White House, and especially not when they had control of all three branches of government!  So why is it a “concern” for them now?
Remember the last time they tried to show “leadership”?  That was when Dubya told the world that “God” wanted him to solve the issue of Israel and the Palestinians.  Yeah, how did that turn out, cons and neo-cons?  How’s that divinely-inspired peace-y thingy working for you?
Let’s get brutally honest here… when conservatives and neo-conservatives complain and whine about a supposed “lack of respect” on the global stage, what they’re really looking for is not “respect” or even “leadership”, but dominance.  They want global dominionism.
Not for “their” sake, of course.  It’s supposedly for “America”.
If they were serious about “respect” from the world, they would be doing things to earn it.  If they wanted to show “leadership”, then they would actually act like leaders.  And not just when they are in charge, but even when they’re not in power.
But cons and neo-cons don’t know how to do these things!  They only care about “respect” and “global image” when they’re not in charge.  And they certainly do not know how to show true leadership!
The truth of the matter is that the whole “world stage” bit is just a political prop that the cons and neo-cons use when they’re not in power and they want to tear down the people that are in power.  If they truly cared about what the rest of the world thought about America, then they wouldn’t be acting like boisterous schoolyard bullies when in charge.  They would be actually doing the things that would earn that respect and to show leadership.  These wouldn’t be “sometimes” things to be pulled out only when convenient and then discarded when they already have what they wanted.
It’s high time that the conservatives and neo-conservatives just stop what they are doing right this very minute and take a step back to see what they are doing to themselves and to the rest of the nation.  They need to clean up their sorry act before even considering trying to help anyone else.  The longer that they keep playing these petty political games, the more they show that they are not only unworthy of any kind of political power, but that they are behaving more and more like the very evil that we used to cross whole oceans to fight.  And at least those guys were honest about themselves and their ambitions!
I really miss those old villains.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week of 08/18/2014

The Juntas Next Door
In the movie “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”, the command crew of the Starship Enterprise are coerced into travelling to a strange planet by a self-professed religious leader who claimed to have been led there “by God”.  Not long after they arrive, they are met with the supposed divine being who demands that the Enterprise take him off the planet and past the “Great Barrier” so he can “share his wisdom” across the cosmos.
Although everyone there is eager to help, it’s Captain Kirk - the lone skeptic of the crowd - that asks a simple question that deflates the whole idea.
A simple question that exposes the being for what it really is.
I have been forced to ask a similar question when it comes to recent events here in the supposedly “Land of the Free”.
“What does a suburban police department need with a tank?”
I have been disturbed and disgusted by the sight of police in Ferguson, Missouri, responding to protests with full-on jackbooted military equipment, complete with armored personnel vehicles. 
This comes just weeks after an infant was critically burned by police here in the Atlanta area when a flash-bang grenade was thrown into his crib.  The police were executing a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night and claimed that they had no idea that a baby was in the room when they tossed in the explosive device.  The police here seem to have a perverse fetish for this kind of action, though, given the number of tragedies that have come out of them using and abusing the “no-knock warrants”. 
The police in Doraville, Georgia, were recently hard-pressed to explain a video of their training exercises featuring them in full military equipment and riding around in an armored transport vehicle straight from the Department of Defense.
In western Keene, New Hampshire, where the greatest threat to the peace of the local community is a rampaging moose, the mayor proudly boasted the purchase of Bearcat armored personnel vehicle by saying “We’re going to have our own tank!” This is the state that still has “Live Free or Die” on its license plates!
Bear in mind that this is not something that just manifested itself overnight.  This is something that has been building up and brewing for years now.  Local police officers, drunk on power and offers of free weapons from the Pentagon, have been getting millions in surplus military equipment; the same kind of equipment used by our military to overthrow third-world dictators like Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega.
We can’t even blame this jackboot fetish on 9/11!  This federal program of militarizing our local police actually began in the 1990’s, fresh from the “glories” of the Gulf War.  But it is the fear-mongering drive to fascism after 9/11 that transformed the Pentagon into a reckless war supplier that would make a Batman supervillain caw in delight.
Now, folks, my father was both a police officer and a state trooper.  I worked with police departments both as part of the Police Explorer program and later in private security.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice by one of the best colleges in the country.  And yet I cannot help but to be disgusted by the actions of the various police departments over the years.  While it is the GOP and their conservative and neo-conservative brethren that have been nudging this country down the path of Mussolini-style fascism, it’s the gang-style mindset of the police departments that have been giving that drive a full military-style escort, complete with equipment paid for by very taxpayers they are pointing their weapons at.
Let’s get brutally honest here… this is America we’re talking about!  This is not Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, the Gaza Strip, Libya, Somalia, or the Ukraine.  We’re supposed to be the country to goes after third-world junta leaders, not arming the wannabe-junta leaders in our own neighborhoods!  We’re supposed to be better than this!  We’re supposed to be cracking down on gangs and organized crime bosses, not becoming them with badges.  We’re supposed to represent individual freedom, not serve as the how-to book for repression.
I know that there is an effort in Congress to walk us back from this rabid militarization.  But given the political party of the people backing that effort, I know that this will be for naught.  Like I said, the GOP and their conservative and neo-conservative supporters have been nudging us down the path to fascism for years now, and they certainly will not allow the Democrats or even the libertarians to spoil their plans for one-party domination.
I want to believe that the bulk of police officers in America are decent, honorable people.  For a significant part of my growing years, my late father was one of those people.  Yes, he made enemies doing his job, and in a few instances I had to pay the price of that.  But none of it would ever justify betraying the very things that he was supposed to protect.  I want to believe that many men and women who put on a badge every day are like that.
But to see images in Ferguson of police acting more like the Egyptian Army, and essentially violating the Posse Comitatus Act; of hearing reports of police throwing explosive devices into baby cribs in the middle of the night and shooting elderly ladies; of hearing about people being arrested in their own back yards for video-taping the police doing their jobs, and even I have to wonder just what sort of a country we have become to have this go on while we waste billions in taxpayer monies overthrowing the junta leaders around the world.
What does a suburban community in the supposed “Land of the Free” need with a tank, indeed!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week of 08/11/2014

Some Selected Thoughts
Every so often I don’t have a solid “theme” to build a whole article on, but rather some random thoughts.  I sometimes think of it as “punting” since I have stuff that needs to be said, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on them.
So here we go…
Naked Nothing – There have been a rash of TV shows on the cable channels that feature some form of nudity to them.
First there was “Naked and Afraid” on the Discovery Channel.  Basically it’s “Survivor” with just a man, a woman, and no clothes.  No Jeff Probst, no corny challenges, no orchestrated drama, just pure survival.  Then they did “Naked and Afraid: Uncensored”, which is basically the same material with a few curse words un-bleeped.
Then there’s a show on VH1 called “Dating Naked”, which has people dating completely naked.  And there’s “Buying Naked” on The Learning Channel, where a Tampa realtor shows off homes in a nudist colony and tries to get naked and non-naked people together for social events.
And do you know what I’ve found with these new “naked” shows?
They’re all boring and completely unattractive.
Not to mention they aren’t really “naked” to begin with.  The parts that would qualify as being “naked” are all blurred out with mosaic bubbles, except for the butts.
It’s even worse with “Naked and Afraid: Uncensored” because, despite the inference in the title, it’s still “censored”.  All they’re doing is un-bleeping a few curse words.  That’s called false advertising, guys.  I’m surprised that nobody besides yours truly has said anything about that!
Oh, and TV producers?  If you’re going to do shows that feature nudity in them, at least feature some people that we wouldn’t mind seeing naked!  Is that really too much to ask?  At least with Playboy’s “Girls Next Door” series, you had women that people wanted to see, even if the good parts were blurred out.  Or, at least until the series would come out on DVD minus the mosaic bubbles.
Nixon – So it was forty years ago this past week that President Nixon went on TV and announced he was resigning.
I actually remember watching this on TV as it happened.  I didn’t know why he was doing it.  I didn’t know what “Watergate” or “Deep Throat” were all about (hey, I was seven at the time).  I just knew that someone important was resigning and it sucked.
Years later I would find out the real reason for Nixon’s resignation, and realized that Nixon got off way too easily for the level of political abuse that was going on in his name.  Worse yet, all of the safeguards that were put in place because of the abuses of Watergate have systematically been removed by both dominant political parties.  The only thing the career politicians have learned since those days is how to game the system even further and then hypocritically cry “foul” when it’s the “other party” that is doing it.
Hot Car Kids – There’s been a push recently to “save” children from being left in cars during the hot summer months.  This all focuses around the death of a child here in the Atlanta area who was left in the car while his father went to work.  The case itself has been nit-picked to death and I’m not going to get into it myself.
Sufficient to say, I am sick of hearing about it.  This is not a “new” trend.  This is not some “epidemic”.  This is something that has been going on for as long as there have been kids, cars, summer days, and undeserving parents.
And, you know, it really doesn’t help that those parents are putting their kids in car seats in the back of the cars, with their backs facing forward.  Did it ever occur to those “experts” that maybe if the parents actually saw the kids in their rear view mirrors, or saw the little tykes right next to them in the front seat, that they would remember to not leave them in an overpriced gas-chugging solar oven in the middle of the day?  A kid facing forward is a hell of a lot better “reminder” than a stuffed animal or a smart phone “app”.
Quick Thought On Healthy Eating – So I’m doing some bill-paying work and I noticed that the vending machine had new drinks to them.  My usual sugary drinks were there, but the vendor also put in some more “healthy” juice drinks as well.  Well I thought that was pretty good of them for doing that… until I noticed that the “healthy” choices were smaller and more expensive than the super-sugary “unhealthy” ones.
You know, this is just my observation here, but if a twelve-ounce can of soda costs seventy-five cents, and a fifteen-ounce bottle of juice costs more than twice that, then I really don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth.
You want us to eat healthily?  Then it is really up to you to make it worth our while.
Our government is supplementing sugar and corn, and then they put that stuff into everything we eat and drink.  And then we have the medical community scolding us for not eating and drinking healthily and demand that we forgo the cheaper products simply because they “said so”.  You guys are failing us all and you don’t even know it.
And that brings us to the third subject…
Scripted Ignorance – Leave it to the conservatives and neo-conservatives to come up with some really dumb reasons to advance bad agendas.
You know, at least when liberals go off on tangents, they get all mushy and intellectual.  They talk about some flower garden they used to remember when they were children, or some advice from their grandparents before their long lives would come to an end.  They would go on and on about the corny things their children would say, and how it would somehow relate to their own lives.
Cons and neo-cons, on the other hand, use their own ignorance as reasons to forward talking point agendas.  Like when they condemn climate change when the summers get hotter or wetter, and then turn around and pompously say “Oh, so much for global warming” when it snows.
The latest feat of ignorance involves a local columnist who has made it clear in the past that he doesn’t like the current White House resident and refuses to acknowledge that said person is in fact a native-born American as required under the Constitution.  Par for the course, I suppose.  Anyway, in his most recent column, he pledged his undying support for Israel in their continued effort to defend themselves against the group known as Hamas.  As a way to justify this blind and unwavering support for Israel, the author declared that the Israelis deserved their country, while the Palestinians support terrorist groups that refuse to recognize Israel and pledge its extermination.
As a way to drive home his statement, he said that he can never remember seeing Palestine on map when he was in school.
I’ve actually heard that part of the script before… the claim that there was never a country called “Palestine” before, therefore the Palestinians supposedly have no “right” to one.  That’s how I know that it’s part of the Orwellian conservative/neo-conservative script.
Now I could bring up the British accords of the 1920’s that led to a formalized creation of the nation of Palestine, as well as find references in documents that pointed to an area that was called “Palestine”.  I could use facts to dismantle the script.
But in this instance, I would rather use their own irrational logic.  Because cons and neo-cons really don’t respond well to facts when facts prove them wrong.
Let’s focus on the asinine idea of “I don’t remember it, therefore it did not happen.”  Since when did existence depend on whether or not an elitist group of self-serving people “remember” something?  For the longest time, England did not recognize the United States.  Did that mean the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution did not exist?  Did that mean that the string of American Presidents were not “legitimate” simply because the pompous British Empire – the dominant “empire” of the time – did not choose to recognize the sovereignty of the United States?
You know, I don’t ever remember seeing a map showing where all of the various Native American “nations” were when I was in school.  Does that mean that they never existed?  Does that mean all of those reservations that the various Native American “nations” were dumped into simply came into being out of nothing?
I never saw a formal map showing where the Prussian Empire was when I was in school either.  Does that mean it never existed?  I didn’t see where the Bosnians and the Serbs had their boundaries.  Does that mean that their bloody conflict was all made-up?
Let’s get brutally honest here… America has no moral authority whatsoever when it comes to deciding who “should” have a country.  We ceded any pompous claim of that back in the 19th century when we decided to vacate the various tribes that were already living on the land so we could make way for our towns and mines and railroads.  And we did so under the most asinine of reasons… because God supposedly “mandated” it through Manifest Destiny.
In that regard, we have a lot with Israel and how they came about.
But to have pompous, self-serving, self-righteous conservatives and neo-conservatives sit here in their cushy positions of media “importance” and decide who “should” and “should not” have their own country in another part of the world really takes hubris to a whole new and disgusting depth.  Never mind base that decision on whether or not they “remember” seeing it on a map in their own personal childhood.
I have no problem with supporting Israel in their right to exist as a nation.  I also have no problem finding a way for Palestinians to have their own nation, as long as that does not come at the cost of anti-Semitic genocide.
The cons and neo-cons that think that America should pledge extreme support of the former over any idea of the latter not only forget our own hypocritical history, but they continue to drag America into an endless cycle of hate and war which only serves to benefit themselves and their own overinflated narcissistic egos.