Following in the Footsteps of Humanity

 

#PROTESTART

 

@therealbanksy just tweeted this:


 
#banksyatartspointyendofthespear
#prayforbanksy
#prayforprotestart
#prayforhumanity

 

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Due to the current political climate, I’d like to draw your attention to…

usefule-idiots

…excerpts of two rather aged yet seemingly, and sadly so, germane posts of mine. They are quite lengthy so to read the full posts, click on the “more” links.

****

The first is a political poem I penned long ago:
 

RISE UP!

It’s the bottom of the ninth.

We’re down and in desperate need of a two-out rally.

So what are we waiting for? Should we go
for the win and swing for the fence?

Or should we just drop our bats,
grab our crotches,
and wait?

Just wait for someone else to come along and bat clean up?

Just wait for them to come along and clean up all of the shit
our silence has created?

Should we wait?
Just wait for the president and the congress and the
governors and every other sleazy politician to knock
the dirt out of their spikes and lead the rally?

Or should we, instead, wait for Wall Street and the
chambers of commerce and the boards of directors
and the unions and even the goddamn Junior Achievers
to… more

****

The second is a satirical attempt at humor by poking fun at the U.S. military and the American way.
 

IN DEFENSE OF THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE

It always struck me as completely ironic (and if I think about it too hard it verges on the sardonically so) how so many Americans join the military to defend the American “Way of Life,” and, as a reward for their patriotism and service, they are provided for by the American government and funded by the American tax payer with a “way of life” that is so completely different and diametrically opposed to the “Way of Life” they gave up to defend.

Once someone joins the military, their new “way of life” becomes part of one of the most successfully socialist ways of life that has ever existed on this irrational planet of ours…more

[NOTE: this article was written when I was thick into my GVHD issues and strung out on prednisone and dealing with steroid psychosis. While it rambles greatly, I think there still are some relevant points to be found somewhere within. Maybe?]

Kaepernick

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?  Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

 
#blacklivesmatter
#protestsmatter

 
 

Crossing One Thin Line After Another

History shows us there is a thin line between outrage and unrest, between unrest and riot, and between riot and revolution. And it seems lately that we are constantly crossing these lines, that we are constantly on the edge and on the verge of being pushed to the limit, that every day, somewhere in the world, individuals, families, communities, countries, and regions are fluctuating and transitioning from one point of frustration to the next, even more frustrating point.

From the economy, to the environment, to intractable politics, to intolerance, to technology, to terrorism, to any number of other issues, who knows what will trigger the next outrage, unrest, riot, or revolution.

While there will always be multiple known and unknowable factors behind any tumultuous event, historians and analysts have come to a consensus that it was increasingly rising food prices, and, more specifically, the high cost of bread that pushed a region over the line and triggered the Arab Awakening.

And there is evidence showing that throughout the ages it has been the rising costs of basic food staples that pushes even the most civil minded citizens into becoming violent revolutionaries for change.

As the most cursory of searches reveal, the cumulative effect of the world’s many crises, coupled with the continuance of extreme weather patterns and resultant droughts, flooding, and other climate change unknowns, 2015 may be a year of severely rising food costs.

If so, it may prove to be quite the year, indeed.

 

☠☠☠☠

Hercules Gone Mad

Hercules Gone Mad – Part One
Rebels for Love

Read an Excerpt

 
 

Toward the Happy End of Legislating Morality

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of Barack Obama.

I, for one, am happy.

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of the Congressional Incumbents.

I, for one, am sad.

And, you may be happy or sad over the historic legalization of gay marriage in Maryland and other states and the legalization of the limited recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

I, for one, am beyond happy; in fact, I am completely and blissfully ecstatic.

Now, since I am happily married and have been so for over two score, and since my lung disease prevents me from inhaling any kind of smoke and my high liver counts discourage me from introducing THC into my system by any other means, I do not foresee me benefiting physically in the least because of the legalization of gay marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana use.

But I do benefit from it.

All Americans benefit from it because it represents a new mind set in our country.

A new hope.

Millions of Americans voted in this election to begin the end of legislating morality.

Yes, there will be legal challenges and set backs to these recent advancements toward the protection of our basic human right to live a life as we choose to live it.

Yes, we still have many states to go and many votes to cast before all Americans’s have the right to be human as each sees fit.

But we have just made a significant advancement, an advancement which sets the momentum toward even further advancement, and which minimizes the chance for significant setback.

And I, for one, am very happy about that.

The Power of Money, the Money of Power

Chinese Currency
By: Paul. B

There is much ado in the news about China’s Wen Jiabao, the supposed People’s Premier, accumulating a massive fortune, for both himself and his extended family, while serving within the highest ranks of China’s government.

According to New York Times reporting:

Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion.

No one is surprised by this, right? I mean, when in history has there ever been an authoritarian, non-transparent government where its leaders — and often…well, usually…okay, you’re right, always…those close to the leaders — did not become fabulously wealthy as a result of their position within the government?

We all know the quote, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so it is not news that Jiabao, or any other Chinese government senior leader, and their families and friends, have profited because of their positions.

And you know what else isn’t news? The fact that China has blocked all internet access to the New York Times, as well as to other major news outlets, such as the BBC, that are reporting on the story.

Without a doubt, Western-style democracies are far from perfect; and, without a doubt, many politicians and government officials within these supposed transparent governments have amassed huge, unknowable, amounts of cash because of their positions. Still, at least we who live in countries governed by democracies, with our right to vote and with our freedom of speech, have a semblance of a notion that we can contain the corruption. Whether it’s true or not is debatable, but having a semblance of a notion is better than having none at all.

Insurance Insures Ensures My Frustration

Back in February of this year, I posted the following gripe to my personal facebook page (as opposed to my public facebook page):

I am fortunate to have a rather decent long-term disability policy with Mutual of Omaha, which I, thankfully, purchased through my former employer prior to the diagnosis of my cancer.

One of my frustrations (of several) with the policy is, though, that Mutual of Omaha required/forced me to apply for federal Social Security disability compensation at the onset of my claim. Once approved, Mutual of Omaha then began deducting the amount the federal government pays me from what they pay me.

That seems like such a scam to me; however, from what I have been able to find out, it appears to be a legitimate scam.

Legitimate does not always equate to being right.

Regardless, since the American federal tax payer is providing nearly 33% of my disability compensation, I suppose it is incumbent upon me to say thank you to them for their support.

Thank you, American federal tax payer.

I would like to add an update to that gripe:

Back in May of this year I found out that, because I had been collecting Social Security disability payments for two years (which I was forced to apply for—see above), I would now be forced to apply for Medicare health insurance. Well, technically, I wasn’t forced to apply for the government-sponsored program, however, if I had chosen not to, I would have been dis-enrolled from my primary insurance program, Tricare, which is administered by the US Family Health Plan.

So, of course I applied for Medicare.

The fun part is, not only do I have to pay an additional $100.00 a month (well, technically I am not paying out the funds; they are automatically deducted from my monthly Social Security Disability payments—six in one, glass half empty in the other) for the government program on top of the premiums I still have to pay for Tricare, I am not allowed to use the government benefits which I am forced to purchase.

Ah yes. I must always remember…pain is just a loving reminder that I’m still alive.

Consider Yourself Warned!

Okay, I’ll admit—maybe Medicare will come in handy some day as a backup for Tricare.

But still…it’s all a little too hokie and borderline scam for my taste…

Preparing for the End

As you may or may not be aware, the end of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy will be officially and finally declared on September 20, 2011.

I honestly am very happy, and more than a little apprehensive, that its end is coming.

Additionally, in the spirit of my shtick, I am also not as honestly very happy, and a little more than apprehensive, that I have until September 20, 2011, to complete and release my novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR.

Why do I have only until September 20, 2011, to complete and release my novel, I hear you ask.

Well, how else can I best exploit for my own bloated self-interests the pain, suffering, and humiliation of thousands of those who served their country during the course of the life of the humiliating DADT policy than by releasing on or about the date of DADT’s death so that I can best leverage the public’s increased interest in the issue a book with themes that attempt to illustrate the same pain, suffering, and humiliation that those who served their country during the course of the life of the humiliating DADT policy experienced, I answer.

Key word in all that bumbling nonsense in the last paragraph: “attempt.”

But fear and puke not, for those of you whose stomach I just curdled:

For I am known for setting and committing myself to firm and fixed deadlines and then easily and breezily rationalizing them away as their date flies by and the work remains woefully incomplete.

And I certainly do have much woeful work on the novel yet for me not to complete between now and September 20, 2011.

Until then, you can check out the first five chapters of THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR at the “free reads” page, if you feel so inclined and/or charitable to my cause.

Rise Up!

It’s the bottom of the ninth.

We’re down and in desperate need of a two-out rally.

So what are we waiting for? Should we go
for the win and swing for the fence?

Or should we just drop our bats,
grab our crotches,
and wait?

Just wait for someone else to come along and bat clean up?

Just wait for them to come along and clean up all of the shit
our silence has created?

Should we wait?

Just wait for the president and the congress and the
governors and every other sleazy politician to knock
the dirt out of their spikes and lead the rally?

Or should we, instead, wait for Wall Street and the
chambers of commerce and the boards of directors
and the unions and even the goddamn Junior Achievers
to stop sucking each other off and let them lead the rally?

No.

I’m tired from waiting,
and I’m sick from feeding on bullshit
and shallow metaphors.

It’s time for movement.

It’s time to say to hell with our condoning silence
and rise up.

Hey you!

Yeah, you in the corner with the pencil.

You, the unassuming bard whose verse speaks in whispers.
It’s time for you to rise up and write the words that need
to be written.

It’s time for you to sharpen your pencil and to tear
and thrash at the page till it bleeds and screams out
in desperate fury.

And when your words are read the readers are shocked
and angered and filled with such passion and rage
that nipples harden and balls retract in their sacks.

So rise up!

Check your zippers and march.

Listen for the rhythm ‘cause no one is leading
and no one is following.

There’s just us.

You Me Her Him We, Each confused and disoriented but
Each coming together and marching in one
Throbbing Mass of Poetic Fervor.

So rise up!

Rub the crap from your eyes and focus.

Breathe deeply then grab hold of today and straddle it.
Dig in deep with your knees and spur the bitch till it bucks.

But be ready ‘cause when it bucks it’s gonna buck good.
And when you fall and taste the dirt don’t spit it out.

Taste it!

Chew on it and swallow.

Because that’s why we are here:
to taste the flavor of today
and determine what ingredients are missing.

So, if your heart’s not pounding
and your hand’s aren’t shaking
and you’re still just sitting on your ass
waiting for someone else to do your work,
then close your notebook and break your pencil
because you are dead.

But if You feel the Passion
and if You feel the Rhythm,
then know that it is You who will do.

You who must do.

Yes, You.

But first You must Rise the fuck Up!

In Defense of the American Way of Life

I spent twenty years and four days as an enlisted swine sailor in the navy. That’s twenty years and four days of living on the government dole. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens after someone joins the United States military, they get to live on the dole.

To get on the dole, however, I did have to promise my government that I would give it my life for it to use of and/or dispose of as it required or so desired. But fortunately for me, a good chunk of my service was during the happy-go-lucky Clinton years so I never really had to worry much about that unwritten but very much binding “dying in defense of freedom” clause in my contract.

For most of that twenty years and four days I was just like every other American rat who had to get up every morning to compete against all the others in the race.

Except that I had to wear a goofy-looking racing uniform while doing so.

Seriously, ever see those horrific bell bottoms on the old dungaree uniforms that we sailors used to have to wear? And those cursed “Cracker Jack” sailor suits weren’t much better either, let me tell ya.

Sheesh…the fact that we were willing to die for our country was never so impressive to me as was the fact that so many of us were willing to wear those embarrassing uniforms while doing so.

But just like so many other unavoidable indignities one must suffer throughout one’s life, one learns to accept it, or at least try to numb oneself somehow from the sting of it, and move on.

It sure was hard for me to accept the indignity of those ridiculous uniforms though, that’s for sure.

You know what? I bet I can guess what some of you are thinking right now.

I bet some of you are thinking: “True Americans are fighting and dying in defense of our country right now and this bozo is making fun of the uniform they so proudly wear.”

Listen, if that’s what you are thinking, and I am pretty sure some of you are, and it hurts your feelings, I apologize.

It was not my intent to cause pain to your sensitivities.

However…

Aren’t those True Americans who are fighting and dying in defense of our country right now doing so so that I could do exactly just that?

Well, perhaps they are not fighting and dying specifically so that I can cause pain to your sensitivities, but I certainly believe they are doing so to provide me the protection and guarantee and freedom to say whatever it is I feel I need or want to say as I strive to live and abide by the American Way of Life, which, in my view, happens to encompass MY pursuit of Happiness.

I do sincerely believe that and I am sincerely very thankful for their sacrifice.

And I pray that there will always be those who will willingly and courageously volunteer to fight, and even perhaps, sadly, sacrifice their own life, just so I can continue on with my own selfish and never-ending-till-I-die pursuit of Happiness.

Writing and saying what’s on my mind makes me Happy, that’s why I pursue it the way I do.

But I suppose that what I write or say doesn’t always make you Happy.

Sometimes, like right now, maybe, I say things with a specific intent in mind, which is, regardless of what I say, for me to always end up sounding like I am funny and smart. But instead of me ending up sounding funny and/or smart, the actual impact of what I say usually ends up with me sounding like the misinformed dork that I really am.

And even worse than me just ending up harmlessly sounding like the misinformed dork that I really am, I suspect that far too often the impact of what I say ends up so far off the mark from my intent that I unintentionally end up sounding like some offensive and inappropriate jackass.

When that happens, what I say just might end up hurting someone.

I hope that what I have to say doesn’t unintentionally hurt too often.

But then again, sometimes that may just be my intention.

That is, in addition to always trying to make myself sound funny and smart, sometimes my intent also might be to intentionally sound like some offensive and inappropriate jackass.

That’s because sometimes it takes a real jackass with enough oomph in his hindquarters to kick hard enough to make a point truly stick.

And unfortunately, whenever we do get stuck with a point, it tends to hurt for a bit.

Just to be clear, though, I cannot ever imagine a scenario where my intent would be for me to end up sounding like the misinformed dork that I really am.

That happens far too often enough without it ever being my intention.

But, that’s not really my problem, is it?

I really have no way of determining how what I say ends up impacting you.

For that I assume no responsibility or blame.

I just write the crap.

How it ends up sounding in your head after your brain interprets it is all on you.

I hope the intent of my words always matches the impact they have on your brain.

But I cannot guarantee they will.

And when they don’t, and especially if it causes pain to your sensitivities and causes you to think what an offensive and inappropriate jackass I am, please remember one thing.

And I say this understanding that I may end up sounding both like an uninformed dork and some offensive and inappropriate jackass…

Please remember that this blog was created and is maintained by me primarily as a resource for MY Happiness, not necessarily yours.

And like “True Americans” will sometimes say in defense of their American Way of Life, I say in defense of my blog:

“If you don’t like it, you can leave it.”

But really, I hope you don’t leave if I become too offensive and inappropriate for you.

And I hope you don’t leave if you become too offensive and inappropriate for me.

I like having you here to talk to.

Having you here, regardless of where you are from, or what your “Way of Life” or “way of life” or “WAYS OF LIFE” might be, provides me with much of the Happiness I so fervently pursue.

Besides, if you think what I DO or WILL say is offensive and inappropriate, just imagine some of the things that go through this troubled mind of mine that I DON’T or WON’T say.

I shudder to think.

Thank god for the delete button that’s all I gotta say, because so many of those offensive and inappropriate bastards of thought that float around in my mind often get just this close (use your imagination here to visualize me holding my hand in front of your face and pinching my pointer finger and thumb together so tightly that my hand shakes from it as I illustrate exactly what I mean by “just this close”) to being shouted out loud at the top of my scarred and deteriorating lungs.

And by just this close to being shouted out loud at the top of my scarred and deteriorating lungs I mean that sometimes this irrational world that we are living in drives me so bonkers that I can barely refrain myself from publishing those offensive and inappropriate bastards of thought that are floating around in this troubled mind of mine here on my blog and then tweeting and bleating and blasting them out to the twitterverse and then linking and posting and liking them like a mad crazy fool to Facebook and then finding other ways—Ah hell yeah!…google+—to shove them into your self-righteously offended and offensive face but, just because those thoughts barely strayed over that very thin and swaying line in my mind which I consider to be the boundary for good taste, I refrain myself and say nothing about them at all.

You have absolutely no idea what you are missing out on.

But enough of all that patriotic nonsense.

Back to my “on the government dole” point.

It always struck me as completely ironic (and if I think about it too hard it verges on the sardonically so) how so many Americans join the military to defend the American “Way of Life,” and, as a reward for their patriotism and service, they are provided for by the American government and funded by the American tax payer with a “way of life” that is so completely different and diametrically opposed to the “Way of Life” they gave up to defend.

Once someone joins the military, their new “way of life” becomes part of one of the most successfully socialist ways of life that has ever existed on this irrational planet of ours.

Now, the way I see it, the American “Way of Life” encompasses much and means different things to different folks, but I think all Americans can agree that this “Way of Life” certainly encompasses that democratic republic mashup system of government that so many Americans do not understand yet so many righteously trumpet, as well as a pretty hardcore capitalistic economic system, that, again, so many Americans do not really understand, but most are certainly beholden to.

Nothing wrong with that at all.

I’m all for the American Way of Life.

Hope you are all for it too, especially if you consider yourself an American.

And if you consider yourself a “True American,” well…

Well…I prefer to not even consider what the “True Americans” are all for in this, or any, regard, to be honest with you.

Besides, they will certainly tell us what they are all for anyway without the least bit of consideration at all.

But sometimes, especially when I really think hard about it, it makes me SMH in amazement that those who will so willingly sacrifice their life in defense of the American “Way of Life” have to live their “way of life” in a such heavily, if not completely, subsidized, socialistic, anti-American “Way of Life” manner. (BTW, for all you dinosaurs out there, SMH = shake my head. You can figure out the BTW for yourself.)

These potential military heroes are provided for with a completely free and well-maintained “gated” community if they live on base. If they choose to or are required to live off base, then their housing costs are subsidized. Their medical costs are completely paid for if they are seen by an on-base medical facility and, again, these costs are heavily subsidized if they are seen by an off-base medical facility.

And similar to the way of life in most anti-American “Way of Life,” socialist societies, the “way of life” in the American military includes serious restrictions on its service members’ freedom of expression and speech, restrictions that Americans who have never served in the military could never understand or imagine as they Happily and freely enjoy their own unique, and, quite honestly, sometimes a little weird and occasionally even a little creepy, American Way of Life.

I have several more “Way of Life” versus “way of life” examples, but I think you get the point:

A socialist “way of life” for those who volunteer to defend the Democratic Republic and Hardcore Capitalistic American “Way of Life.”

Again, nothing wrong with that.

Just a little ironic, wouldn’t you agree?

Besides, I’m all for providing anyone who willingly and courageously volunteers to defend the American Way of Life, regardless of how one defines it, with a decent and honorable way of life, American, socialistic, or otherwise.

America better provide their courageous volunteers and potential heroes with at least that because it sure as hell pays them like crap.

Believe me, after spending twenty years and four days as an enlisted swine sailor, I know exactly how crappy American service members are paid.

*

As I think and I write about all of this BS, all of the this Way of Life BS and all of the that way of life BS, and all of the goofy-looking uniform BS, and all of my pretentious and pedantic intent versus impact BS, I am being completely overwhelmed and thoroughly embarrassed by the ridiculous politics and even more ridiculous politicians behind the budget crisis that seemingly has the potential to rip the American Way of Life, regardless of how one defines it, to shreds.

That, to me, is wholly indefensible.