Some people will try to tell you there's no real difference between Repubs/Dems....and that's a big fat load.
Watch the health care debate mess, they're practically pulling hair.
And then look at how ignorant some of the individuals involved are.
People that stupid can't pull of a staged conspiracy.
That's real disagreement.
The ones who say there's no difference are typically your Libertarians, who say the Reps/Dems are both stealing your money, and curtailing your liberty, but from different directions.
Well, that's some cute rhetoric, but I invite these folks to spend some time in an African village outrunning warlords out to hack a limb off, then get back to me about this whole "losing our liberty!!", shit.
As for "stealing your money",...well, I point back to, it's all imaginary, you get in your paycheck what you get.
"Tax cuts", aren't gonna do a goddamned thing, they'll just take it out of you some other way.
This "money out of my pocket!!", delusion is more entitled (yes, entitled, you heard me) western white boy shit.
So yeah, this whole "so and so is a Nazi out to shit in my dinner!! Arrggh!", because someone gave a dopey speech, or signed a bad bill, these are the fears and gripes of a soft people, and only a free people can get so soft.
But, that's no bad thing.
That's what freedom is for.
The alternative is outrunning warlords.
Fuck that shit.
Our ancestors didn't want to live that way anymore.
Fuck that "Red Dawn", macho romanticizing of toil and violence horseshit.
And speaking of that, have you ever seen how goddamned fat John Milius is?
Well, there ya go.
So, in the end, all the bitching by the right about the left, all the bitching by the left about the right, it's really a symptom of well...liberty working.
I mean, hey, you think I'd get away with all my writings on religion in Saudi Arabia?
....still....despite all of that, politicians ARE still awful....
But, they always have been, and we still muddle through as a people somehow, because here we are.
So, my advice, just don't sweat 'em.
And take the advice your parents and/or grandparents told ya, don't discuss religion, or politics at the dinner table.
Else it just ends up as well, the cartoon at the start of this damned ramble.
And if someone tries to foist their politics on ya at the dinner table, remember this old chestnut.
So, ideology shoveled away like he dung it is, all that's left that really matters are issues, and all that matters as far as that goes, is policy.
And just know this.
You'll never get exactly what you want, and probably not even close to what you want.
Especially if the other party from yours is in power.
And probably not even if your party has the power.
So, don't invest your hopes in politics, and politicians.
That's yet another path to mental illness.
And, also know this.
Despite no one getting exactly what they want....again, somehow, we've muddled through pretty well as a people.
If some magical political thinker could poof all that horror away, and along with it, take the Tabasco soaked broken glass out of my head, don't you think I'd dive at that relief like Rush Limbaugh to a bottle of Oxy?
So, why aren't I ramming Marx into my hungry gullet with tear soaked muffled grunts of pleasure?
Hmm? Ask yourself that.
Clearly, I'm a bit skeptical.
I think history has given me reason to be.
Anyway, IMHO, the ultimate reason it's been a flop in the world,...people just don't want it.
You can call 'em stupid, you can call 'em indoctrinated, you can blame it on sabotage by nasty corporate and CIA fucks, and their puppet dictators, you can point a lot of fingers in a lot of places, but, ultimately, whomever's, or whatever's to blame, in the big pulled-all-the-way-back taking-it-all-in picture, it still all boils down to humanity ain't ready for it.
Which brings me back to the fuggin' replicators.
So, yeah, I'm a scoffer at modern day stabs at such a system, and like with Randism, I see no place for myself in that little utopia.
I see myself as roadkill in everyone's utopia, frankly.
Shit, I see myself as roadkill in this fuggin' world.
Course, as diseased as this society is, it's someone's fuckin utopia, innit?
So, yeah, there's my chunk on Communism.
I consider myself a dreamer, but even I can't pull this one off....
Maybe it's me, maybe I'm the grouch....
Who the fuck knows?
All I know is the thing that calls itself Communism that I've seen with my eyeballs ain't so hot.
I'll lump it in with cold fusion until I see a successful experiment.
I have no illusions about this, and I therefore have no fantasy projections onto these fucking people they shuffle around for us to vote for.
But, like with religion, you can't snap people out of this little myth, either through calm reasoning, or yelling at them, so....we're stuck.
The ways out of the lie stage, is for people to drop the fantasy, and then you might get some more damned honesty, OR for people to drop the fantasy by getting off their asses, and running for office.
Don't look for it to happen, democracy is a spectator sport for most people.
So, while that remains the case, lies and liars it must be.
Well...that gets me to the next phase.
People demand their politicians lie to them, and then they have the nerve to get sick of the lies.
Eventually, they have no other way to vent this pent up frustration after awhile, but getting dangerous.
Sometimes, this causes a revolution.
Then the cycle repeats.
So, maybe there is no fourth thing to escape it, maybe we're doomed to a loop.
....religion didn't arrogantly assume it had such a special place in our culture, that claiming it for oneself, sincerely or not, gave one a special pass to use the levers of the media to spew the most morally disgusting smegma there is (1, 2), and then totally get away with it, as if they had merely asserted something as non-controversial as "kittens are cute!".
...if it didn't feature among it's tenets bigotry to gays, suppression of women, bad ideas like "chosen people", "holy lands", and all the other ways it's used over the centuries of making people second class, therefore creating conflict.
Then rational people wouldn't be in the cultural position of having to have these "hey, you stupid atheists! What about THIS?!", type of arguments.
And then those arguments wouldn't be so damned repetitive, I wouldn't have felt compelled to devote so many damned rants, a critical thinking section, and a Dicky-pedia to save having to write the same shit another thousand times.
If it weren't a racket, if it didn't do all that awful lousy crap, I'd have way less of a problem with it, really.
Course, I'm a scoffer for that too, because I find the supernatural to be a nonsense concept.
Like I said ages ago in another rant, you can believe whatever you want, it's when you try to persuade another human being that criticism and debate comes into play.
And any religion worth the respect it demands, ought to be able to withstand that.
I don't see many religions doing that.
But then...I also get on "spirituality", that requires the same obedience, donations, buying junky paraphernalia, etc, etc, as religion.
Then it becomes a racket all over again.
And when things become a fucking racket, all the shit I outlined above happens all over again.
If religion could calm down to a spirituality, and that spirituality didn't have the eye on the prize of being another racket, if they could make a religion/spirituality that pulled that off, that was actually good for people, you really wouldn't hear me bitch at all.
But look at the world we're in.
The world we're in, is the one where it's a very easy case to make that religion was the worst tragedy to befall mankind.
It's a topic that bums me right the fuck out.
S'why I wanted to write this clearing-house rant to link to to save time.
Yhep, that's right, that Ben Stein, the Clear Eyes guy.
Bad enough he was the star of that repulsive little creationist diatribe "Expelled", or that he's a crappy economist who didn't see the collapse coming, but still gets invited on cable news for his pearls of wisdom, now he's shat forth a new rant on CBS.
If you guessed it was him getting on the "natural disasters and crime are because we kicked Jesus out of schools", bandwagon, well, you hit the bulls-eye.
All right, I'm having trouble with this particular logic train....
Nobody rational or moral digs child molestation, nobody digs that the Catholic church is riddled with scandal when it comes to child molestation, and nobody likes the conspiracy of silence, coverup, and moving offenders around surrounding the whole sex abuse mess.
But the pope gets a hands off, even with people outraged by this.
Not just from the religionists, which one would expect, but even some faith-iests get their dander up too.
I ranted my rant on the teabaggers, a couple actually, and how the militia nuts and fascoids inevitably have blended into their midst.
Batshit yahoos always do.
During the Bush years, The Left had Ward Churchill.
But, thankfully, most people knew he was batshit.
People are generally good like that.
He coined the term "little Eichman's", that got beaten to death in a South Park episode, case you needed a memory jog.
And the bullshit swings back and forth ideologically.
And I try, I try really hard to keep my anger both in check, and aimed at the right people. Ahem...
I really get frustrated, I admit, but...I have to keep reminding myself, yes, nasty people exploit these events, exploit people's fears and prejudices, but, a lot of these people, misguided as they are, mean well.
They've just been sold a bill of goods.
And they keep fucking falling for it, and I try not to get angry at them for falling for it.
Now, I'm no expert on health care, I've stayed out of this whole mess as best I could, I know from personal experience the current system is a mess, but I have my skepticism about other systems, but....it just speaks volumes to me that the side of the status quo is employing such bullshit, dishonest, cynical, shit-stirring, astro-turf, fear-mongering tactics.
It's all very frustrating to see my country be susceptible to crap like this.
It's hard not be angry, it's hard not hate people rather than their behaviors, and it's hard not to lose hope.
But, a small core of genuine mean-minded sociopaths excepted, most of these people are victims themselves.
Not of what they think they are, but victims nonetheless.
And that applies to a lot of things.
Lotta bullshit, and not everyone is expert at navigating it all.
Gotta try to forgive people for that.
I struggle with that, I admit.
Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.
Keep that in mind when I'm railing away, and tilting at windmills, folks.
It'll save a lot of indignation. Read More......
But, when you really look at despair, pretty much all forms of it are some variation on "we're doomed!", and that statement right there says that you think you know how it all will end.
Well, the good news, is no one knows how it all will end.
Only psychics claim that with certainty, and they're totally full of shit.
As Yogi Berra said "it ain't over til it's over".
And just look at all the doom-saying we made it out the other end of.
And when we did, the doom turned out to be an illusion.
All the "duck and cover", shit from The Cold War is a prime example.
And speaking of The Cold War, it was a gloomy conventional wisdom back in the 80's that the Berlin Wall was going to be up for decades to come.
Well, look now, we're celebrating the 20th anniversary of its fall.
Hell yeah, we've got plenty of elbow room for it.
Not just in the big picture, but each and every one of us.
When hope is hard to come by, just think of all the other things that seemed hopeless.
Shit, pretty much every big decision anyone had to make when you think about it.
Okay, some people are doomed, some people's lots are hopeless.
Lotta awful shit going on.
Lotta awful shit has gone on.
I'm not claiming that a sunny outlook alone is going to save a death camp internee.
But, by the same token, despair sure isn't gonna help, all despair adds to misery is despair itself.
Despair didn't bring that wall down.
And it is down, isn't it?
It's a tricky thing, but it should be erred on the side of whenever possible.
And short of the moment of your murderer sliding the knife in, I'm at a loss to come up with too many practical moments where it's not possible.
Shit, look at all those little kids with terminal cancer that manage to come at life all chirpy.
I think it's a good thing, I think it should be subscribed to.
I think we have plenty of evidence for it.
Perhaps someone will do better.
But it seems to me, that someone would have to be motivated, and despair is exactly the sort of thing that would curtail motivation.
Not many people all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed over the whole pro-despair argument.
No one stable anyway.
I haven't seen one.
But....how much bullshit do people I contact in daily life really give me?
People walking about mind their own business, and people in service jobs tend to be cheery and helpful no matter how rednecky the shop.
So...the only really insufferable criminal redneck pricks I encountered....were on night crews. Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart.
And ironically, I did night crew to avoid people, to avoid the sort of sociopathy I ended up putting up with anyway.
So...okay, no more night crews.
So, who else gives me shit? WF, mostly.
Okay, stop going there.
I'm a hermit cuz of assholes, and the assholes in my life are all on a message board that I go to while I'm indoors avoiding people.
Okay, so what's left?
Whelp...yuppies, I bitched about them a bit (here, here, n' here).
What is a yuppie anyway?
People with money who don't share my tastes?
Get over it, Mikey.
What's the worst a yuppie does? Get snotty about me being white trash once in a blue moon?
It's because they're an asshole as an individual, not because of their bank account.
And how often does that shit even happen?
Can't even remember the last time.
Shit, lotta my online friends are of that "yuppie class", whatever that even is, so...meh.
Another mental illusion.
Like all teenagers being in a gang.
A guy clears a bunch of logs from a downed tree out of his back yard.
When he's done, between exhausted breaths, he says "well, there, at least I got that accomplished".
Another guy at a desk, stamps a pile of papers on his desk, shoves some of them into envelopes, and once the stack has moved to one side of his desk to the other, he says the exact same thing "there, got that accomplished".
Life is full of its little accomplishments.
And we all have them.
Yet something about American society causes some to raise the bar so only things like, say, Trump's phallic buildings count as "accomplishment".
And the raising and lowering of the bar seems to be not only relative, but situational.
It's the kind of cognitive dissonance you only get in a competitive culture.
And it seems to be only a sub-culture.
And it seems to be only a man thing.
But absent what this contradicting dissonant sub-culture thinks, what IS accomplishment, actually?
Is there a consistent definition that can frame, say, the Corporate Warrior as the Übermensch, and the guy in the trailer home as a lower form of life, possibly even fit for passionless extermination like stepping on a bug?
I've thought of this a lot, because it's a word I've seen abused a lot.
A lot of words get abused though.
"Patriotic", "heroism", "miracle", maybe humanity's most annoying problems don't stem from actual attitudes, but from vocabulary.
Maybe the self-help gurus are right, and it really is all a matter of communication.
Here's one little narrative in our popular culture that breaks down rather quickly due to the concepts not being communicated properly.
Raising a family is considered an accomplishment.
Being a deadbeat dad, who's essentially a sperm donor, isn't.
Being an actual sperm donor at a clinic isn't.
BUT, going to a high-end clinic, as a single mom, to get high-end sperm based on a detailed questionnaire for desirable traits, from a pool of accomplished men, is seen as some sort of positive stride.
If it is, why isn't the donor's donation?
And if it is, why not the random shlub off the street?
Maybe he's got brilliant sperm, and doesn't even know it.
What transforms it from a negative to a positive?
The act of "measurement", with the questionnaire?
The sperm-daddy still isn't there for his biological children either way.
Maybe it's the "accomplishments", of the sperm daddy.
But then we get into the whole situational cultural mess with that.
How about reality television families?
You got your "Jon & Kate Plus 8", and all the soap opera surrounding those fools.
Then you got your Duggers from "18 and counting".
The Gosselins, no one thinks they're heroes.
The Duggers,...well, not heroes, but they don't have a fucked up marriage, and their little family unit sticks together.
...despite that they're a more than a bit on the creepy-culty side.
So, you have to be there for your kids, no drama, no being a donor and running off, but you can be a donor if you're "accomplished", and can do well on a questionnaire.
Okay, what if you're a good dad, but a shitty husband?
Jon Gosselin fits that mold.
But so too does Donald Trump.
The latter gets more leeway because he's rich.
Being rich trumps "pardon the pun", everything.
...unless you have brown skin, a funny sounding language, and kill people, then you're a damned Arab oil baron.
Well, the killing people thing doesn't seem to be such a big deal, cuz Cheny, and his sidekick Bush did that for 8 years, and a lot of Red-Staters thought that was just jim-dandy.
So, being rich and WHITE trumps everything.
So, be white, rich, christian, (or feign piety in this particular faith), squeeze out some babies that look like you, don't have family drama on a public stage, and don't screw up your kids so they end up on a stripper pole.
...unless you're the Hiltons, and you spawn Paris onto the planet, then money once again trumps everything.
So just be stinking rich.
Do what it takes to get stinking rich.
Even if it's criminal.
Outrun the fuzz long enough, get rich enough, and you can buy your way out of what your crimes were.
Banking, and the arms industry seem pretty bulletproof.
So, be successful in business, especially businesses that kill people, and you can have a messed up family, messed up kids, hypocritical morals, do whatever you want.
Fuck family values, those are for the middle class.
But if you're middles class, then you've got to keep your nose clean, your checkbook balanced, and a Bible at the ready.
And your reward for this is urinating on the lower middle class, and working poor.
And if you're lower middle class, or working poor, and raise a family, and the kids turn out all right, none of them end up on the needle, or the pipe, or the stripper pole, no one gets to call it an accomplishment but you, because the upper-middle, and upper classes are too busy urinating on you to care.
And wonder why people get desperate to chase fame and wealth with lame stunts like the Balloon Boy family...
Course, Balloon Boy's family is messed up, and the dad's a fucking idiot.
But, he's not rich.
So, be an idiot, but a rich idiot, and if you're chasing wealth to be a rich idiot, succeed.
....and that's America's little bit of accumulated wisdom on the accomplishment of raising families.
So what about business accomplishment?
Well, again, the rule seems to be succeed.
Lie, cheat, steal, kill, just get away with it.
And if you don't get away with it, get away with it with lots of money.
Well, it's a cynical morality, but an internally consistent one.
But, it's not the one this culture sells.
America wants to be "shrewd", but idealistic at the same time.
And that's where all the dissonance, and contradictory language seeps in.
And then wonder why all the mis-communication occurs.
Me, I'd rather keep it simple.
You get something done, it's an accomplishment.
I accomplished this blog, I accomplished my stories, I accomplished some yard work, and some fixit work.
Anything above that is an accomplishment of varying big-itude.
It's been working so far, me and my friends can congratulate each other, and there's never any cynical or competitive undercurrent.
Rest of America, feel free to adopt this perspective.
Maybe you'll find it handy.
We'll see how the culture unfolds over the next 10 years or so.