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

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……..


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”