Inhumane Humanity

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Much ado about the Panama Papers lately.

Much ado about it if you're Vladimir Putin, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, Petro Poroshenko, Lionel Messi and Ian Cameron, etc.

See anything conspicuous missing?

I did.  The first time I read the breaking news - not one US official, or citizen named anywhere.  "Curious;" I thought.  I even began to suspect a cover-up, but I was dead wrong and this is why:

I had forgotten that, for the very rich and the corporations in the US, it is perfectly legal to rob our nation of taxes.  Completely legal, and very common for them to take advantage of GOP supported trade agreements which provide these tax havens.

This particular arrangement with Panama is relatively new - five years ago, a majority of our puke-inducing, rage-generating elected officials passed the Trade Promotion Act with Panama (TPA), making it perfectly legal for our US corporations and our very wealthy to hide money in that country.

The law was effective in 2012.

Five years ago, a few of our politicians were vociferously opposed to the act, but unfortunately, the majority, mostly the GOP (what a surprise) were in favor.

In the Panama FTA House vote, 234 Republicans and 66 Democrats voted for, and six Republicans and 123 Democrats voted against the measure; in the Senate’s 77-22 vote, the “no” votes all came from Democrats, plus independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).  CNS News, October 13, 2011

In their now routine obfuscation modes, some news outlets outright claim she supported TPA and some will, of course, opine in the opposite direction.  However; it's very difficult to imagine a trade agreement becoming law without the US Secretary of State having a major roll in its framing and passage.  And strong evidence supports this.  The following is Hillary Clinton's comment on the passage of TPA:

The Free Trade Agreements passed by Congress tonight will make it easier for American companies to sell their products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will create jobs here at home. The Obama Administration is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world and these agreements are an example of that commitment. 
The stakes are not just economic. South Korea, Colombia and Panama are three important partners in strategically vital regions. With the passage of these agreements, America has delivered for our friends and allies. I want to thank Presidents Lee, Santos and Martinelli for their patience and willingness to partner with the Obama Administration as these agreements moved through Congress. 
But our work is not yet done. We will not be content until these agreements are fully implemented so that American exporters can reap the benefits as soon as possible."  DipNote US Department of State Official Blog

In typical two-faced politician history, Clinton made many comments opposing this agreement, then pulled the old 180 out of her bag of tricks, making the above statement.  However; in true fashion, Bernie Sanders held true to his values.


Certainly, there is no such animal as a perfect politician and I'm sure, somewhere, there is an apparent conflict in Bernie Sanders' voting record, but when I look at a politician's record, I look for a big trend, not a few blips here and there, and the variations in trends are substantial between Clinton and Sanders.  Especially; after Ms. Clinton assumed her roll as Secretary of State.

I can understand why a person's perspective may change a bit when assuming a new roll; it's often necessary to do so in order to perform the responsibilities of that new roll.


However; performing responsibilities and selling the nation out are not one in the same!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Problem With "RIGHTS"

The siege at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is coming to an end.  We knew it would, just as all such actions end, sooner or later.

And; despite the claims of the Bundy Bunch that they were coming to protest in peace, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 55, was shot and killed, leaving behind 11 children and who knows how many grand children, brothers, sisters, wife, etc......

Despite their claims of peaceful protest, they came with an arsenal of firearms and, purportedly, explosives.

Despite their claims of peaceful negotiations, they threatened two communities with violence; repeatedly threatened and goaded law enforcement officers into violent confrontation and harassed citizens of the surrounding communities; people who neither invited, nor wanted the "peaceful" group in their towns or business.

In an era of utter obsession with firearms and personal rights in the United States, peace is not at the top of the list of objectives with groups such as those who illegally seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  In fact, peace is not even a remote possibility, for firearms do not represent peace, rather they literally exude violence.  The very existence of firearms is for violent action, or reaction.

The L.A. Times reports, and we've all read and/or heard the comments from Bundy and others of the group insist that; "the occupiers’ principle concerns—upholding the Constitution, protecting the rights of individuals and crushing socialism."

However; the same uninvited, "law-abiding and peaceful" group, according to multiple sources including the L.A. Times noted:
"The charges filed Wednesday detail activists' behavior in the media and the behavior reported to the FBI by federal employees who said they endured threats from the protesters in town before the occupation. 
One employee with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, a prime target of the protesters, said Ritzheimer, an anti-Muslim activist who led an armed protest at a mosque last May, and another man accosted her in a grocery store for wearing a BLM shirt.
“When she turned around, the second individual shouted ‘you're BLM, you're BLM,’ at her,” FBI Special Agent Katherine Armstrong wrote in the affidavit. 
“That person further stated to [the BLM employee] that they know what car she drives and would follow her home. He also stated he was going to burn [her] house down.
Then activists began targeting her, she said. A vehicle matching one she saw Ritzheimer and the other man driving began to appear parked in front of her home and in front of her workplace, she said. 
A week later, a white truck with a Confederate flag sticker in the rear window tailgated her and flashed its lights, the affidavit says."
When groups of people use intimidation, fear and force to declare their rights over the rights of all others, such as the Bundy Bunch; how are we to discern between them and the likes of the Taliban, ISIS, or any other terrorist group?  As far as I'm concerned, there is very little to differentiate them.

It's beyond me what connection the BLM and Socialism have, but what is abundantly clear is that peace was of no concern for the Bundy Bunch.  In fact; I dare say they were hoping for a violent outcome.  That was as evident in Oregon as it was in Bunkerville, Nevada.

There's a problem with so many people declaring their "rights" in such vociferous, confrontational and violent manners.  "Rights" are not what one group forces upon others.  Rather; rights are what all respect and allow others to observe without impeding upon one another.

Without creating an endless "Hammurabi's Code" defining everything for everyone, I believe the Founders of this nation expected the future citizens of this nation to respect one another's rights without having to precisely define them.

And therein lies the quandary.  We, in the United States, Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc.. have become so obsessed with "our" rights, we can neither see, nor respect the rights of others.

How do we insist upon the nation being "Christian" without trampling the rights of those of the Muslim Faith, or of no faith?  How can we insist upon marriage as being between male and female only without discounting the rights of those of the LBGT Community among us?

How can we be a nation of peace when the first thing we think of using for "peaceful protest" are firearms?

Many, including The Bundy Bunch are infamous for this lack of respect for the rights of all.  One cannot consider public land open for their own financial gain, for public land is precisely what it implies - it is land owned by the government (the government you and I elect) to protect, for public access and enjoyment, against those who would use (and abuse) for their personal financial gain.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is over and what did it accomplish?  Just as with the Bundy Ranch standoff, absolutely nothing, for Cliven Bundy still owes you and I a very hefty bill for grazing on our public land.

Nothing gained, except this time, it cost a man his life who seemed to want to die in some self-fancied martyrdom during a "peaceful protest." A protest to ensure his personal rights over the rights of the entire nation to maintain public land.

And that, my friend, is the problem with rights.


Monday, January 11, 2016

The Patsy Amendment

False Absolutes

Arguments frequently ignore reality, are always devoid of empathy, and never productive.
Once humans reach the extreme emotional stage created by a potential threat to their self interest and their accepted dogma, they will rarely, if ever, see anything beyond the creed they have committed themselves to.  There are simply too many emotions at stake when they endow upon themselves the “absolute truths” of their world.
Pride, self-confidence, embarrassment, etc.; ignoring all logic that may show them the alternative truths, the end result of their emotional position is, well it is nothing.
Nothing is accomplished; they are right and everyone else is wrong.  Period!
In a world of seven billion humans; hell, in a nation of there-hundred million, absolute is only possible in proven science, yet we in the United States are severely divided by many false absolutes and no false absolute could be more divisive than the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Masters of Manipulation

Hidden in these false absolutes is a man almost all of us have heard of; a man most would never associate with the US Constitution, and certainly not the second amendment.  Yet; he permeates our world like the air we breath.  He is often called the Father of Propaganda, even the Father of Marketing.
Hermann Goering was not A master of creating false absolutes, he is THE master of this psychological “art.”  He was the master of the Nazi propaganda machine, one of, if not the most successful marketing efforts EVER; a man whose techniques are used probably more than the psychology of Freud, the science of astronomy, or the teachings of Jesus and Mohammed combined.  A marketing scheme that ended with more than six million innocent people executed and approximately one-hundred and fifty million people across the globe dead is is work.
The planet is filled with students of Goering many of which work for Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Colt, Remington, Ruger, Newscorp. Viacom, Time Warner, the Democratic and Republican political parties, The National Rifle Association, etc……..

Neoliberalism

There is nothing new about the concept of “neoliberalism,” but the term is relatively new in the US, with good reason.
The idea of neoliberalism is, very succinctly – the rich get richer and the poor poorer.  It is an economic concept in which few control the wealth of the entire world.
Until the 1980’s, our economy was booming, becoming more and more inclusive.  In other words, working class America was gaining in our efforts to reduce the wealth gap in the US.
Collective bargaining and our unions were instrumental in improving the lives of millions of Americans.  Our economy was amazingly strong and stable.  Social programs were increasing and lifting those in poverty out of the trenches and into homes.  Communities were thriving and people were united in their effort to live a decent, comfortable life; people were happy and united.
Keep that in mind – “people were happy and united.”
In 1981, an economic policy called “trickle down economics” was introduced by a very wealthy television actor who was most certainly a member of the wealthy elite of this nation and the perfect tool for the wealthiest of the wealthy in this world.
When Ronald Reagan took up residence in the White House, we watched  our unions dissolve. We saw the wealth gap not only return, but grow quicker than ever before.
Everyone is complaining incessantly today about executive orders issued by or our current president and frankly, I agree.  Executive action is not an authority that should be misused.  However, as you can see, it’s not even remotely unique to Obama (Obama – 227 to date, Reagan 381)
Far more devastating to our welfare, Reagan even took it upon himself to terminate employment of an entire industry, just for exercising their rights to collective bargaining.  And, if you think about it, you can see the reasoning behind his action – he had the entire airline industry seeking his help.
What, is more important to collective bargaining than leverage?
Reagan’s action against the air traffic controllers in the US marked the beginning of the end for income equality and the beginning of Neoliberalism in the US.

Second Amendment, The Patsy Amendment

What does any of the previous have to do with the Second Amendment you ask?
I can think of nothing more divisive in this nation than the ever-present argument over firearms.  Nothing in my entire 64 years of life has created such dissension among an entire, supposedly, “free and developed population.”  Nothing.
Our arguments are utterly filled with false absolutes; for who can possibly know for certain what the Founding Fathers were saying with the verbiage of the Second Amendment?
We have Constitutional scholars nationwide who can’t  agree on the matter, yet we have millions of ordinary citizens across the nation arguing that they know for certain what it means.
I don’t know for certain and I am willing to bet you don’t.
The verbiage of the Second Amendment is not as clear as many seem to think and we are certainly not in the situation the nations founders were when they wrote the words.  Nothing is even remotely similar between then and now.
While we argue amongst ourselves and the division between you and me grows daily, we are creating a chasm that makes the Grand Canyon seem like a slight crack in the sidewalk.
We are arguing over false absolutes; over a scenario that doesn’t even exist.  Why?
The world is being controlled my friend, by subscribers to neoliberalism.  You know it as well as I do – one percent of the world’s population owns ninety-nine percent of the world’s wealth.
An absolute that, unfortunately, you can’t take to the bank.  Why?
Because you and I allowed this to happen.  While we were arguing over semantics; over non-existent boogymen and conspiracies; over theological and political differences, the one percent took our decreasing wealth gap and turned it against us.
The Master Manipulators used our nation’s psyche against us, creating propaganda that insists “we must arm ourselves.”
The Hermann Goering students and teachers who are working for the gun manufacturers lobby – the NRA have reached into our minds and pockets to increase that wealth gap even more, while the firearms industry is growing beyond their wildest dreams.  And frankly, out of control.
“People were happy and united,” but no longer.  The patsy amendment is being used to destroy us; we are no longer even remotely united.  We argue over false absolutes while we become poorer and poorer.  We have become so divided, we no longer trust one another to even walk and talk together, unless we’re carrying our Colts, our Rugers and Remingtons hidden in our belts and in our socks.
Violence feeds on corporate controlled disimagination machines that celebrate it as a sport while upping the pleasure quotient for the public. Americans do not merely engage in violence, they are also entertained by it. This kind of toxic irrationality and lure of violence is mimicked in America’s aggressive foreign policy, in the sanctioning of state torture, and in the gruesome killings of civilians by drones.
Rather than bring violence into a political debate that would limit its production, various states increase its possibilities by taking a plunge into insanity with the passing of laws that allow “guns at places from bars to houses of worship.”[7] Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, based on the notion that one should shoot first and ask questions later is a morbid reflection of America’s national psychosis regarding the adulation of gun culture and the paranoiac fears that fuel it. This fascination with guns and violence has produced a pathology that reaches the highest levels of government and serves to further anti-democratic and authoritarian forces…..
There is a not so hidden structure of politics at work in this type of sanctioned irrationality. Advocating for gun rights provides a convenient discourse for ignoring a “harsh neoliberal corporate-state order that routinely generates pervasive material suffering, social dislocation, and psychological despair—worsening conditions that ensure violence in its many expressions.
I don’t need to tell you what comes next.  You might wish to consider the divided nations such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc…. for future reference.


For more on this matter, listen to the audio “The Human Coasts of Neoliberalism”

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hello Pluto

Pluto By Moonlight.  Image Credit; NASA/JHUAPL/SwRi


HOME!  ALL BUT INVISIBLE ACROSS THE VASTNESS OF SPACE.  

AND ALL BUT INACCESSIBLE.


The spacecraft door opens and instantly, in a cacophony of emotions, your thoughts are a jumbled, uncontrolled maelstrom as you stand on the surface of a planet three billion miles from home; so far from home, in fact, the sun is a thousand times dimmer than where you started your journey.
No warming rays and only the dimmest of light; shadows barely perceptible in the strained, soft glow of reflected light.
You’re fortunate to have a partner with whom to share the mind-numbing view.  Yet; the sheer loneliness is paralyzing as you try to imagine the distance to home, to fellow human contact.
This inhospitable world is so utterly frigid, even your thoughts are frozen, leaving you speechless at sights no human has ever before seen, not even with our best telescope, Hubble.  Inhospitable, alien, and perilous, yet the breath-taking beauty is exhilarating beyond anything you’ve encountered.
“Absolute!”  A term used in rare circumstances.
But, this place is so remote, even where you now stand will likely never again see human footprints.  “Contact” with the human race is nothing more than invisible radio waves; a thin, frail thread three billion miles long linking you to any other human beings.  Any communications you have with home are tenuous, at best, for you are so remote it takes four and one-half hours for radio transmissions, traveling at almost the speed of light, to reach you from Earth.   Self-sufficiency now harbors a special inference; if you encounter a problem, any problem, the nine-hour response time will surely mean your death, long before you receive the instructions with which to prevent it.
Yes; absolute isolation!
You’re uncontrollably contemplative, engulfed by an overwhelming sense of wonderment.  Is this how humanity’s early explorers felt?
Almost ten years to reach your destination; ten, very long years, and we haven’t even made a noticeable scratch on the surface of exploring our own galaxy, much less the known universe.
Wonderment is instantly transformed to insignificance at the realization that your step onto this surface, even with all the work and accomplishments of humanity to this point; these efforts don’t even register with the scale of the known universe.
Innumerable hazards.  Severe isolation.  Dubious survivability.
Indeed!  And a fabulous journey despite them all.

For more about the New Horizons and our incredible journey into space:

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Law Enforcement In Crisis

Police in Crisis
Let me be perfectly clear about one thing; I am not now, nor have I ever been associated with the Communist Party.  Oh wait; that’s the wrong disclaimer.

Let me be perfectly clear about one thing; I am not now, nor have I ever been a law enforcement officer.

But, I am, and I have always been a member of a community.

Community Police Officers:

It's difficult to follow the recent media articles about law enforcement without making a judgement call; very difficult.  In fact; most of us will do so quite automatically, and unlikely as it sounds, that’s exactly what we need to do.

However, the judgement calls required to fix the problem are not the one-liners on blogs and news articles such as “the cops are pigs,” “the blacks are animals,” or “the kid deserved to be beaten.”  We need sound judgement, not sound bites.  This is not about individual police officers, or an opportunity to espouse your racially-motivated hate.  It is, however, about organizational change and management.

Are we truly witnessing, en masse, rogue police officers behaving as thugs?

Absolutely not!  Certainly, in some very remote cases, there are problematic officers; either some who have forgotten their training, or some who have made it through the rigorous process designed to weed out the undesirables, but that doesn’t address the rapid rise in negative interactions community members have with their police departments.

Are our communities becoming more dangerous?

Again, no!  In the last fifteen years, violent crime has steadily decreased.

So what is happening?  Why are we finding ourselves at odds with those who have the overwhelming responsibility to “serve and protect?”

Enter; the need for critical thinking and problem resolution:

The judgement call we need to make now is far more intense and involved than the often juvenile responses we see on the Net.  We desperately need to look deeply at the changing and increasingly violent atmosphere in which our law enforcement officers and communities find themselves.

And, by “atmosphere,” I’m not referring to the violence on the streets, that violence has always been present, and is in fact dissipating.  Rather; it’s the atmosphere brought upon our community law enforcement departments by paranoia-driven fear.

As I said, I am not a police officer, but I did stay at the Holiday Inn last night.  Oh, and, I did spend thirty years in increasing management levels, from a supervisory role to a corporate/administrative role in health care.

Health care, as is law enforcement, is a crisis management world; few people see a law enforcement officer, or a health care professional, unless they’re already embroiled in crisis.  And, those they seek help from are instantly pulled into the same tense, chaotic, and dynamic maelstrom; each and every time.

For law enforcement individuals, a day at the office without extreme tension is rare.  The scenarios in which they do their thing are almost always unique and frequently on the verge of exploding into an out-of-control fireball.  A highly combustible mixture of chaos, stress and the unknown is the world they enter, instantaneously at the call of duty, and is already on the verge of ruination for many.

It is a world in which peace officers need every advantage they can garner in order to alleviate danger to others and to themselves.  So they are often at the mercy of community leaders for the tools and policies designed to give them the necessary edge.

Just as is health care, guiding effective and sound police department strategy is nowhere near simple, but that strategy can be simply developed.  And, developing an errant strategy is just as simple as developing one with quality outcomes, therefore, it's very easy to direct a department from meritorious valor to dishonor.

Militarization policies:

The militarization of our police departments shows a distinct direction our men and women in blue are heading; not of their own volition, but at the behest of our community leaders, leaders who have swallowed the hooks dropped to them, loaded with the bait for fools - “defend your communities from terror, doing so comes CHEAP.”

The direction set upon our police departments by our community leaders should, at the very least, take the vast majority of the blame for the situation with which we find ourselves straddled; a direction screaming for reversal.

From “to serve and protect” to “oppose and defeat” is a very easy step to make in their world, and the attempt to turn our police departments into an extension of Homeland Security, or perhaps even worse, a civilian military to protect us from the evil terrorists has us one foot into that step already.

That direction, coupled with the intensity of their jobs, is about to combine to make a disaster simply waiting for the radio call, giving the approval to transition; from red and blue lights, to Humvees and fifty-caliber machine-guns.

Our men and women in blue did not pursue this direction, they did not seek assignment to the anti-terrorism task force, but they are there and they need to be reassigned, before we find it close to impossible to do so.

Rather than succumbing to finger-pointing and the blame game, it is incumbent upon our community leaders to redirect our police departments; to manage them in a way in which our communities can, once again, enjoy the security of community policing, not anti-terrorism.  And those two worlds are distinctly different from one another.

The politics guiding our departments are at the most basic level, community politics.  And, local/community politics provides with us a very potent voice in community direction.  We have a far stronger voice in local affairs than we do in state and national.

With that voice, we can insist that our law enforcement departments be a part of the communities they serve, rather than the divisive force driven by ill-advised policy and paranoia which has completely engulfed our national policy-making.

But, we must now!  Get involved and tell your community leaders to return our police officers.  Homeland Security has all the staff they need.

Friday, May 01, 2015

THE SOLDIER POLICE OFFICER

Like everyone else, I watch in horror as our law enforcement agencies and officers become embroiled in the seemingly widespread and very divisive racial violence.

As we watch, we must always keep in mind that not all law enforcement agencies behave in an unprofessional, community-crippling manner.

However!  I believe there is indeed an “undercurrent” within the nation’s law enforcement culture which is gradually undermining their objectives and even their perceptions; which should be focused upon community service and protection.
There may be some readers here too young to remember a seemingly benign, even necessary event; the appearance of special police department units – SWAT.

In 1971, a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, John Nelson, presented an idea to a then young law enforcement inspector, also with the Los Angeles Police Department, Darrel Gates, with an idea designed to address security issues for police department personnel and citizens during periods of social unrest.

A special unit –  Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT)  was born.

I remember the event well; I thought then, as I do now, that it was a good and very necessary idea, whose timely birth in an era of highly-charged, often politically-motivated, always violent criminal activity, was very beneficial to address a specific need.

Relying upon military tactics, equipment, and even requiring military background for those members of the LAPD’s new SWAT teams, the command structure, persona, appearance, and behavior, which had not previously been used to such a degree in police departments, became the strategy of these new teams.

Redirected towards a form of urban warfare, these new and highly effective teams began to take hold, in Hollywood and among other police departments.

However!  As with all organizational changes, be they beneficial, or destructive, a change is analogous to dropping and apple core on very fertile soil – the seeds contained within will, almost always, sprout a new apple tree; whether or not we want the apple tree.

And the United States has become a massive apple orchard, full of, not only SWAT teams, but military tactics, equipment and appearance; which brings me to my concern:

The militarization of our police departments.

As we knew it would, our apple core has not only grown a tree, but an orchard.  And it has done more.  we failed to take some dynamics into consideration when we dropped it and it has changed the very appearance of the apples.

In the short span of forty-four years, police departments across the nation have changed their tactics, appearance, equipment and quite possibly, their overall philosophy and attitude towards the communities they are charged with serving and protecting.

In a perfect storm of mission creep and group dynamics, the once rare appearance of police officers clad in camouflage BDUs, riding on added rails of and within armored vehicles loaded with assault weapons, explosives, flash-bang grenades and launchers are all commonplace now, including surplus Humvees and heavy weaponry in the streets of our communities
Ferguson PD

Dakota PD
Nebraska State Troopers
Tampa PD
Solano Sheriff Department

Don’t get me wrong; I am very much in favor of large police departments having some good equipment – for very specific details requiring a measure of safety and aggression necessary for very dangerous scenarios.

However!  What began as an excellent idea for very specific scenarios has evolved, as we should have expected, given the psychology/behavior of all groups.

Of course, racism is the underlying issue, but there are two other very obvious aspects to the scenarios we’re seeing unfold on our tubes and our PCs now.

WE ARE GROUP ORIENTED ANIMALS

We all succumb to group behavior; it’s both innate and inevitable.  From “fighting for your team” in high school, to “standing up” for your political party as adults, we follow a very basic, even primal need to gather in groups for survival, and we become an integral component of that group, protecting it against all intruders, or threats; even, at times, at the expense of our lives.

Let’s apply that primal nature to our new police departments and we have a group – a brotherhood of blue, so to speak, and the nature of that group will be, as with all groups, to ensure survival; of the group and the individuals alike.

WE’VE ADOPTED A MILITARY LIFESTYLE

We have all experienced the discomfort of transitioning from one job to another.  It’s not a particularly enjoyable transition for many, but that discomfort is in fact a positive force in learning our new jobs and surroundings, for we must abandon the old to adopt the new.

Yet, alongside the surplus equipment, military personnel too make ideal candidates for law enforcement, having many of the prerequisites for the job:
Physical abilities/conditioning
Firearms training
Leadership experience
Combat experience
Respect for discipline and authority
Experience working with/in culturally/ethnically diverse groups

And they move to new surroundings with their old, familiar comfort levels.  As our departments hire military personnel transitioning to civilian jobs, then adopt surplus military equipment, tactics and strategies, uniforms and firearms, our solider police officers will certainly transition well and bring with them that same strong sense of belonging and comfort they learned so well in their previous jobs.

And I wonder too; have we inadvertently transitioned another very strong aspect of our finely-tuned military – to effectively search out and destroy the enemy?

Are our communities now at risk of being the “others,” the “enemy?”

Have we created a scenario in which our law enforcement officers find themselves with an “us vs them” perception of their job in which those “soldiers” view all those people “outside their group” – you and me, as the outsider; even the enemy they are trained to seek out?

The vast majority of our police officers are awesome, competent, and loyal public servants; quality human beings, for whom I have very deep respect, and who understand their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities with distinction, wand absent the despicable racism we see in those who are making the news today.

However, can we honestly expect anything less than those same groups adopting the very mentality that makes a soldier a good solider, trained for nothing less than to seek out and destroy the enemy?

Especially when we make their new environment identical to their old environment by gathering hoards of surplus military equipment and adopting military tactics, command structure, etc.?


More than simply focusing on individual police officers, there are many questions that need answers and concerns in system-wide standards, both in racial profiling and overall strategy; now that we’ve tossed the apple core on the ground.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In the End; Are We Merely Worm Food?


Many indicators seem to be directing us towards a seemingly inevitable course - the end of humanity. 

Be it anthropomorphic or just the natural course of the planet’s life and death, few can ignore the strong possibility that we’re on a collision course with destiny, perhaps the same as that of T-Rex, the Neanderthals and the Mayans.

If the predictions and indicators are accurate, think about what this means; more than the end of you and me; much, much more.  All that we’ve accomplished collectively; all that we’ve learned, discovered and made; would this just disappear as though we never existed, leaving the Voyager twins as the only testament to our existence?

Say, be it through our careless mismanagement of the planet, or through a completely unpreventable natural course of nature, it is in fact inevitable.

In the end; are we merely worm food?

I tend to agree with Jason Silva in that artificial intelligence may indeed be the next step in the evolution of humanity. 

After all, what are we but humanity’s gains, stored in neurons; electrical pulses containing our thoughts, accomplishments, perceptions - everything that is us.  Perhaps, one of the greatest technological advancements of the 20th Century, the Internet is representational of the “next step.”

And, just maybe, the artificial intelligence many seem to fear is indeed the new “us.”  

So; what do you think?