Un toast à l’humanité: A Toast To Brave Men! and Women!

toast-of-the-week-black-friday-1101326-TwoByOneUn toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the jurors and prosecutors who decided to execute a twenty one year old for crimes against humanity.  “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” but here on earth we can decide who can live and who can die. Who must be punished and who must be acquitted.  Death is the only justice for the evil and it only takes eleven good men and a prosecutor bent on political gain to decide who lives and who dies.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!   Here’s to all the righteous men who want to decide who can be married and who cannot be married.   Let’s not have a world where people who care for each other can choose who they can love.  Government and politicians know more about love and compassion and it is up to them to tell us what love is sanctioned by God and what love is evil.

JACK-23549-Chicago-Concert-Poster_rvsd-P-72dpi1-805x1024Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the brave men that want to send others to fight in the name of liberty and justice and the American way of life.  Let’s keep killing all those bastards who defame America or who don’t want Democracy.  The world will be better off with less of those evil people who don’t believe in Mom, God and the American way of life.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all those Americans who think voting and politics is a waste of time.  Kudo’s to those who are smart enough to realize that Monday night football and American Idol are much more important than who is elected Senator or President.  Let us never forget that all it takes are enough people who don’t care and we can all go back to the good old days.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all those Americans who are simply apathetic about what happens to other people.  Why give a damn if it does not affect your life or money?  Let’s only think about our own team and our own friends and our own family and the hell with all those other losers and deadbeats.   Let the downtrodden take care of themselves.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the religious people who are against other religions.  The world has too many religions as it is and we all know that our religion is the only right one.  Let’s persecute and denigrate other religions.  Let’s abhor those who are less sacred then we are. They have no right to contradict what we believe in or the God we know is ours alone.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the greedy people in the world who put profits before compassion.   Money is their God.  Money is their only God.  Greed is good.  Greed knows who the true and only true God is.  The rest are fools since they worship false Gods like kindness and love.  Jesus was misguided when he threw the moneylenders out of the temple.  We need to rectify his mistake.  God is Greed and Greed is God.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the men who put race before humanity.  Race is the only thing that counts.  You must be true to your race.  Blood is thicker than water.  People who are not true to their race are cowards.  My race is and always will be better than your race.  Your race is so inferior to my race that it needs to be persecuted and denigrated.  Kudo’s to the race baiters and race haters for theirs is the Kingdom of Hell.

Jimmy CarterUn toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the people that believe that welfare, social security, Medicare and Obama Care are socialist plots to undermine the government of the United States of America.  Surely they are the only ones with eyes who can see that poverty and need are traits of people who have no discipline or honor.  Good people do not rely on the government for handouts; they simply pull themselves up to heaven by their own boot straps.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!   Here’s to all the people who can go to bed tonight secure in their gated communities that they will not be robbed or raped by the dregs of humanity.  Once we can wall ourselves in from other humans, we can forget about crime and poverty and concentrate on the really important things in life like golf and pickle ball.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the people in the world who don’t inconvenience the rest of us with problems and issues that we don’t really care about.  The world will be a better place when they all die with a stake through their hearts and stop pestering the rest of us about poverty and education and health care and jobs.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to those people who think nothing will ever change and that in a dog eat dog world, you simply take care of yourself.  Nothing any of us can do will make a difference. Nothing any of us can do will ever change anything.  So why bother.  Let the dead take care of themselves and we can take care of ourselves.  Good guys finish last.

Un toast à vous tous de braves hommes. Un toast à vous tous les politiciens. Un toast à vous tous, hommes religieux. Un toast à vous tous, hommes patriotiques. Un toast à vous tous les hommes qui ne se soucient que de vous-mêmes. Un toast en enfer pour ceux d’entre vous qui me rencontrer là-bas.

Time for Questions: 

Do you really give a damn? If so, what do you give a damn about?

Life is just beginning.

What if it isn’t’?

Bigots, Liars and Right Wing Radio Talk Show Hosts

There is a perfidious odoriferous evil in this country that is labeled as Radio Talk Show Hosts.”  This panoply of would be patriots and dispensers of sage wisdom includes such infamous names as Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly and most infamous of all Rush Limbaugh.  Each of these commentators is supported by millions of naive and gullible people, who listen, believe and follow the guidance and supposed advice of these slick Goebbels like hucksters.  goebbelsHucksters who purport to share truth, knowledge and insight on the everyday happenings of politics and society.  Only in America, with our First Amendment rights would such liars and hypocrites be tolerated.  Ironically, these slanderers are 100 percent supportive of the Second Amendment but have mixed tolerance for the First Amendment.  They love the First Amendment when it protects their right to lie, exaggerate, falsify and spread vicious innuendos (Obama is not an American, Obama is not a Christian, Autism is a fraud, etc.), but they hate it when it supports the rights of others to speak out against injustice and deception.

Let me digress for a moment.  You might be thinking:  “John is labeling and using pejorative terminology to describe these people whom he obviously does not respect, how is this any different from what he is accusing them of doing?”  Good question.  Here is the simple answer.  I am not getting paid or making any money from what I am telling you.  Read this if you want to or not.  It’s not going to put any money in my pocket.  Rush Limbaugh’s annual salary is seventy million dollars.  These radio talk show hosts are making millions of dollars by sowing rancor, discord and disillusionment.  Furthermore I condemn their behavior and I hope to show the key principles that we should all follow when engaged in public discourse of any type.  Principles that I believe would return civility and respect to our government and airwaves.

If the ranting’s of these vicious individuals were strictly entertainment and was recognized as such, I would have no problem.  However, when lies are mistaken for truth, when innuendoes are mistaken for facts and when hyperbole substitutes for civility, we all have a problem.  Too many of these radio talk show hosts are listened to and trusted by millions of Americans.  They use the same tools of propaganda developed by the Nazis to spread “big lies” which are believed by their listeners.  What should a listener be asking and expecting of those who are highly paid to dispense such advice and information?  I think there are three principles which should be in the forefront of any audience’s mind when tuning into a radio talk show host or for that matter any so-called expert or talking head.   Failure to follow these principles results in misinformation, misdirection and all too often a general miscarriage of justice.

  1. Search for facts and truth
  2. Civility and respect for the opposition
  3. Win-win and the Golden Mean.

Before we begin to look at these three principles, just a few of the type of vitriolic and extremist comments made by these talk show hosts will serve to illustrate my points about degrading, hyperbolic and vicious speech.

“The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully.  I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican party as the anti-Obamacare party.” – Ann Coulter

“If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable? … We are born that way. We don’t choose it. So shouldn’t it be acceptable, excuse — this is according to the way the left thinks about things.” – Rush Limbaugh

“My main point remains true, It is an over diagnosed medical condition. In my readings, there is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism.” – Michael Savage

“The government is full of vampires, and they are trying to suck the lifeblood out of the economy.” – Glenn Beck

Sean Hannity claimed that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren “advocated compulsory abortion” and sterilization.  PolitiFact had previously rated a similar claim — made months earlier by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — “pants on fire” false. 

Barbara Espinoza took to her website and boldly admits that she called the president a “monkey,” and then defends the racist statement by noting that, “Unless there has been a takeover of America and free speech is no longer allowed and I can be put to death for making a remark, I refuse to take the fifth.”

Finally, a comment by Ed Schultz that pretty much sums up much of the rhetoric used by the right wing talk show pundits.

“There’s something very ugly and dangerous going on in this country,” Schultz said. “Right wing talk show hosts seem to be amping up racist and reckless rhetoric like never before … the level of racist and violent rhetoric on hard-right wing radio today is off the charts.”

A brief caveat before we look at the three principles I am advocating for public and civil discourse.  I have omitted any recognition of extreme, incendiary, racist or outrageous comments on the part of “left” wing talk show hosts, such as Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Thom Hartmann and others (See List of progressive talk radio hosts in the United States).  I readily admit my bias is liberal and progressive.  I also admit that I am frequently entertained by the comments of Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and other liberals.  I find them less violent, less inflammatory, less racist and less reactionary than any of the right wing commentators I have noted.  Nevertheless, the rules I am going to discuss apply to them as well.  Whether or not they are right wing or left wing commentators, these principles should apply.  I believe “We the People” should hold commentators to the same standards of dialogue and discourse regardless of political persuasion.  Whether or not you are right leaning or left leaning, let us all expect that people who are paid to elucidate and illuminate the rest of the country, will and must be conservative and cautionary with their rhetoric.

Search for facts and truth:

The first principle for honest discourse is a search for Truth based on facts.  True, facts can be elusive.  For instance, what is the height of Mt. Everest?  What is the population of New York City?  Who is the richest woman in the world?  What movie star is the most popular?  Facts change since the world is not a static entity.  Many things that were once facts are now in the dust bin of antiquity.  The search for truth is a process that relies on facts to confirm decisions that are then judged to be true or false.  For instance, a trial revolves around evidence that either supports a verdict of guilty or not guilty.  The elusiveness of truth is well illustrated by the famous Rashomon story wherein a robber, a bridegroom, a bride and an innocent bystander all give widely differing versions of an alleged rape and murder.  The famous lawyer Clarence Darrow once said that “there is nothing as unreliable as an eye witness.”  Dr. W. E. Deming, the noted quality expert often said that there is nothing in life that can be determined with 100 percent accuracy.  He noted that “it all depends on how you measure something and that all measurement relies on a process.”  One process will reveal one set of metrics or “facts” and another process will reveal another set of metrics and facts.

If facts are indeterminate and truth must be based on facts, is there any truth in the world?  The answer is that truth exists if we think of it as a “range of possibilities.”  For instance, was Jodi Arias guilty or innocent?  The probability is high that she is guilty but not a 100 percent certainty.  Jurors are warned that they must be certain of their verdict beyond a “Reasonable” doubt.  But what is reasonable to one person might be wild conjecture to another.  Can we depend on a written confession?   How many innocent people have been coerced into “false” confessions?  Can we depend on anyone telling the truth?  Confessions often depend on how much the person has to gain or lose by “telling the truth.”  Workers in many organizations quickly learn whether telling the truth is a valued asset or a major liability.

Thus, the search for truth must be an ongoing pursuit.   Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize winner in physics said that the highest obligation of a scientist is to prove they are wrong.  The search for truth in science is a series of successive approximations.  We learn more, we accumulate more facts, we find more reliable and valid data and our theories of reality become stronger or they are jettisoned in favor of new paradigms that better fit the facts.

Imagine then, if talk show hosts treated the “Truth” as a pursuit of knowledge and not as an absolute reality that belonged to one party or one individual.

Civility and respect for the opposition:

The second principle for civil discourse is Civility.  Unfortunately, every day brings new instances of incivility and a culture of narcissism and self-absorption.  In many cases, we see rampant greed and a total disregard for the welfare of others.   In the worst cases, we see school shootings, murders for money, road rage resulting in violent encounters and a hostile culture where few people feel safe at night on any major city street in the USA.  Do I attribute this to talk show hosts?  Did incivility come first and lead to the selection of such commentators as Michael Savage and Ann Coulter or did the latter talk show hosts contribute to the wide spread increase of disrespect and hostility in our culture?   My guess is it’s a two way street.  There are no doubt many other major factors. However, when you look at the number of people that are tuned into these talk show hosts, you cannot deny the impact that their vitriol and hate has had on those who look to them for advice and inspiration.

I spent over three years regularly listening to the so called “Patriot” radio station when I lived in Minnesota.  Daily diatribes by people like Mike Medved and Hugh Hewitt each trying to outdo Mike Savage in terms of gross invective and vile comments about the presidents, liberals, gays, democrats, college professors, college educated people, women, minorities, disabled and even elderly.  Day after day, hour after hour of endless demeaning, hateful and malicious comments made about anyone who they did not deem sufficiently patriotic by their narrow definition of patriotism.  Time and again I was reminded of Samuel Johnson’s comment that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Civility is defined as: “Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.”    Civility does not exist in talk radio.  Most of these talk show hosts are abject cowards.  They hide behind their microphones and distance from others to insult and demean those whom they want to attack.  They are bullies of the worst kind, since they will not even come out to face their opponents.   These bigots want to equate patriotism with military service and heroism with serving on the front lines, but look at the record for most of the top bigots.

  • Mike Savage, did not serve
  • Sean Hannity, did not serve
  • Rush Limbaugh, did not serve
  • Bill O’Reilly, did not serve
  • Michael Medved, did not serve
  • Glen Beck, did not serve

I won’t even mention Ann Coulter (Cornell University) or Laura Ingraham (Dartmouth) both of whom are Ivy League graduates and never served a day in their life except as high paid business or legal consultants.

The more cowardly these phony patriots are the more they fly the flags of patriotism, jingoism, chauvinism, racism, xenophobia and intolerance.  Ralph W. Sockman once noted that “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority.  The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”  These pitiful excuses for humanity neither demonstrate tolerance or courage.  Indeed, they demonstrate the exact opposite.  They are intolerant when they feel they are in the majority and then attack those who are weaker and more defenseless.  When in the minority, they are silent cowards who hide behind the First Amendment, the American Flag and hollow calls to their servile brand of patriotism.

Let the American people start judging politicians, TV hosts and Radio Talk show hosts by their civility and respect for their opponents.  Americans who value respect, politeness and civility need to tune out anyone, right or left who has no respect for others, unless of course, the others have demonstrated time and time again that they have no respect for those who disagree with them.

Win-Win and the Golden Mean

My third principle for civil discourse concerns the Golden Mean and the concept of win-win.  The Golden Mean was a principle first noted by the ancient Greeks to denote the idea that moderation was the guiding principle of a successful and happy State and human existence.

 In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.  For example, courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_mean_(philosophy)

The win-win concept first became popular with Steven Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.”  Other writers such as Alfie Cohn and Edward De Bono also wrote about the power of the concept and its unique position to make allies out of former enemies.  In a win-win scenario, would be antagonists move from an adversarial negotiation to a problem-solving mode in which the goal is to find an outcome or outcomes that are highly desirable to both parties.  Win-win theory stresses the importance of a joint decision that supersedes even compromise.  Unlike compromise, wherein everyone sacrifices to attain a mutual decision, in win-win, the parties seek to avoid decisions that are less than optimal for either party.  Compromise is always a fallback position but win-lose is not admissible in the set of desired outcomes.

Now imagine for a minute, a group of Republicans and Democrats, or a group of pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates or a group of conservatives and a group of liberals all sitting down to a win-win scenario.  Instead of bargaining, fighting, positioning, game playing and slimy tricks to get better position, the participants sit down in a spirit of cooperation and good will.  Each one knowing that the principle of the Golden Mean entails finding an optimum solution that lies somewhere between the two extremes or perhaps even in a different frame.  Now you can imagine what the Founding Fathers were able to do and why the documents that this country were built on are so magnificent.  As Abraham Lincoln said:

“The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good.  Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.”

Conclusion:

I am talking about “EVIL” people here.  The Nazis were evil.  Why, because they sowed hatred, intolerance, injustice, contempt, racism, genocide, murder and destruction.  They used the machinery of democracy to establish a reign of terror like the world had never seen before or since.  Many Americans have asked “Could it happen here.”  Goring said:

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

The Nazis laughed as they led Germany into destruction and as their propaganda machine convinced millions of innocent Germans that they were protecting Aryan supremacy and the German way of life.  Millions of Americans are being led down the a similar road of hatred and intolerance by these Nazis style commentators who call themselves Radio Talk Show hosts.  Hitler said: “I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.”  Himmler said: “The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love; only for their fear.”  Talk shows feed on the fear and cruelty that they not only exacerbate but they also create.

In my 67 years on this earth, I have been to Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Catholic, Unitarian, Baptist, Methodist and several non-denominational churches.  I have attended over 30 Jesuit Retreats at Demontreville Retreat Center in Minnesota.  I do not claim to be a great Christian.  I do not claim to turn the other cheek as often as I should.  I do not claim to help my fellow man as often as needed.  What I do claim is that in not one of these houses of worship, have I ever seen Jesus portrayed as a racist or a sower of hatred and intolerance.  In the famous parable of the adulterous woman, Jesus said: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  In Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan, he said “Who is the neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?”  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “And why beholds thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in thy own eye?”  Over and over again, Jesus preached love and forgiveness.  Where does Jesus say “Go and preach hate?”  “Go and preach intolerance.”  “Go and preach bigotry.”

Time for Questions:

Has fear blinded too many Americans to the symptoms of bigotry and intolerance and incivility that are symptomatic of many Talk Show Hosts?  Are you going to church on Sunday and applauding Rush Limbaugh on Monday?  Are you silent in the face of hypocrisy, racism, sexism and homophobia?  Do you take a stand on your principles whether you are Christian, Catholic, Muslim or Jewish?  Are you following principle of love and forgiveness or an “Eye for an Eye?”  What can we do to abolish the pervasive malice, hostility and meanness that are symptomatic of Radio Talk Shows today?

Life is just beginning.

 

Evolution in Reverse:  From Homo Sapiens to Trump Deplorables.

Dancing Racists-2I ponder at a quote by the author Stephen King in which he notes that Donald Trump will never get elected but “he has certainly exposed the ugly underbelly of conservatives in America today.”  I think about this comment because (by recent polls) Trump has a large percentage of voters in his camp who qualify for the “Deplorables” label than Clinton so recently used.  Ironic that the King of Insult and Slander now says “anyone who makes such comments about Americans is not fit to be president.”  The truth is that anyone who fits into this underbelly or “deplorables” category is not fit to be an American.  They share nothing in common with the values that our Founding Fathers had for this country.

This “underbelly” that King refers to and that Hillary calls “Deplorables” is a group of racist, xenophobic, sexist, ignorant bigots who belong to such fringe groups as the Tea Party, KKK, Aryan Brotherhood and Sons of the Confederacy.  Many who do not belong to these groups simply espouse racist and bigoted ideologies hiding in the sanctuary of their own homes. These are largely uninformed and uneducated people attracted to the glamour and promises that Trump seems to hold out.  Vote for Trump and you can be great again.  No more mortgages!  No more taxes!  No more government telling you what to do or not to do!  No more immigrants taking your job and standard of living away!  Be able to tell it like it is and don’t worry about political correctness!

The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts.  Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike.  And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.”White supremacist Groups See Trump Bump – 12-10-15

Racists+not+oc_0826f0_4310362Today, we now know (thanks to Trump) that we have at least ten million US citizens who think that Donald Trump could deliver on such promises as noted above.  This latter fact simply astounds the rest of us (180,000,000) registered voters who would sooner drown ourselves than see Donald Trump as president.  The majority of US voters know that Trump is a buffoon and a bigot playing on the heart strings and delusions of a minority of people who have no clue what the USA stands for or what our Founding Fathers envisioned for this country.

We_want_white_tenantsI am not worried about Trump.  King is right. He will never be elected.  I am worried about the disillusioned and hapless people who are supporting him.  These people are the real threat to America not Donald Trump.  Cast out by an economic system that rewards the most competitive, the Trump supporters are the least competitive and most hard hit by the recent economic recession.  Statistics tell us that Trump’s supporters make up a large segment of the population who are unemployed and unemployable.  I should say unemployable at a wage sufficient to support a family.  Just like in Germany during the recession, it was this same type of people who were most attracted to Hitler.  They were the unemployed, uneducated and people who felt life had been unfair to them.  When Hitler came to power, they became his willing disciples and minions.  The parallels between the hate and xenophobia espoused by both Hitler and Trump would be uncanny, if not for the fact that it is and always will be predictable.  The formula to create such hate and bigotry has been the same for four thousand years.

Here is the formula:  Lack of education + lack of economic opportunities + a notable minority population + one hate filled leader = Prejudice, Discrimination and Violence.  

neo nazisLeaders throughout history have used the above formula to incite their followers to acts of hatred which have taken such forms as the inquisition, pogroms, mass deportations, genocide and the Holocaust.  It has always been the same formula and it has always worked.  The hapless, ignorant and hopeless are lured by the sirens of revenge and retribution to take action against a targeted minority group who are portrayed as having stolen their hopes and dreams.  The solution is to eradicate the despicable group and thereby restore the future that was stolen from the hapless and ignorant.

Listen to the V for Vendetta “Revolution” speech:  Speech

Protest At Ground Zero

NEW YORK – JULY 4: Shirley Phelps-Roper holds up signs as she joins fellow members of the Westboro Baptist Church, from Topeka, Kansas, as they protest across the street from Ground Zero July 4, 2004 in New York City. The church members believe that because of homosexuals and America’s rebelious and immoral conducts, God has brought on acts of terrorism as a way of punishing society. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)

I often listen to right-wing religious fundamentalists and one of their favorite refrains is “The end is near.”  In their minds, the just will be rewarded with a life of happiness and prosperity.  The unjust (anyone who does not subscribe to their particular religious orientation) will be condemned and punished to a life of pain and hell fire.  Many of these fundamentalists deny the concept of evolution in favor of what they call “Intelligent Design.”  This is a creed that subscribes to a literal interpretation of the Bible in which an all-powerful God created the world in 7 days.  No primordial soup, no dinosaurs, no Homo sapiens predecessors.  Adam was created by God and Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs.

It is interesting that after about two hundred years of science proving the Theory of Evolution that we seem to have more people than ever before who endorse the idea of “Intelligent Design.”  Darwin’s theories suggest that more intelligent people would have a better chance of surviving, hence propagating even more intelligent people as the gene pool favors those with a higher I.Q.  However, when we look at Trump and his supporters, this concept does not seem to be working.  The number of people who support Trump is simply astounding.  Could we be de-evolving?  Could we be regressing mentally?  Will the dumb inherit the earth?

paineOne would have thought that most of the Neanderthals who succumb more easily to bigotry and hatred would be on the decline.  Instead, in the last few years throughout much of the world, it seems as though the fanatics, racists, and bigots are on the incline.  Witness the rise of ISIS and its supporters all over the world.  What is happening?  Was Darwin wrong?  Is the world witnessing a devolution instead of an evolution?  Donald Trump and his followers seem to be evidence that not all of the population has been evolving according to Darwin’s Laws.  A sizable portion of US citizens seem to be going from intelligent thinking rationale Homo sapiens to stupid unthinking racist bigoted Homo rednecks.  Where will this end and what will we do with these Neanderthals?

Listen to Charlie Chaplin’s “Great Dictator” speech:   Speech

hitler and trumpMost of the US is supportive of the idea of destroying foreign Muslim terrorists.  But what of domestic right-wing terrorists?    What about the home grown nutcases, terrorists, Nazis and extremists in the USA?  If we assume that the KKK, racists and sexists in the USA are of the same ilk and just as dangerous to liberty and freedom as Islamic terrorists, then when do we wage war on our domestic terrorists?  When will we enlist the Army, National Guard, police and other liberty protectors to jail and wipe out these home grown extremists?  Should we allow American Neo-Nazis the right of free speech and the right to vote, when we lost nearly a half a million citizens in a war to save the world from the Nazis and Japanese warlords only seventy years ago?

homophobesWhy are we tolerating groups wearing swastikas, Nazi armbands and Hitler slogans?  Groups parading around against immigrants.  Groups who make a mockery of the values that this country was built on.  This tolerance is a disgrace to the Founding Fathers.  It is a disgrace to the Union soldiers who fought for the freedom and equality of African Americans.  It is a disgrace and affront to the soldiers that lost their lives fighting the Fascists.  It is a disgrace to the people in this country who are first and second generation Americans.  Finally, it is a disgrace to all people who believe in the idea of “liberty and justice for all” which is a part of the Pledge of Allegiance to our country.

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace.  We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”  — Samuel Adams

As patriotic citizens, we need to stop applying double standards.  We need to treat domestic enemies as ruthlessly as we do foreign enemies.  We need to stop tolerating extremists in this country just as we despise extremists in other countries.  Goldwater was wrong.  Extremism is not a virtue.  Extremism of any sort is an evil insidious disease that if left untreated will spread and infect an entire nation.  We need to speak out against extremists, whether left, right, foreign or domestic.  There can be no room for extremists in a country based on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. There are many who forget that freedom for oneself is based on freedom for all.  Anyone who would take away freedom from others has no right to freedom for themselves.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” — Abraham Lincoln

I want to remind some of you of a recent history in the USA.  It was a time between about 1950 and 1990 when smokers had rights and non-smokers had no rights.  Smokers could light up wherever they wanted to from offices to parks to restaurants to hospital waiting rooms.  If you were a nonsmoker, smokers could blow smoke in your face, put the ashes out in your car and throw their butts wherever they wanted to.  Nonsmokers had no rights to challenge this behavior.  Smokers were simply executing their constitutional rights to pollute the air and help the rest of us develop pulmonary lung conditions.

Well, the times finally changed.  The large corporations that tried so hard to make smoking glamorous and dispute the idea that cigarettes were a major contributing cause of lung cancer, finally succumbed to a combination of lawsuits, anti-smoking campaigns and citizen awareness.  Non-smokers have rights to.  The right to clean air and the right not to have to be around people who indiscriminately smoke.  In what was a long battle against smokers, smokers finally became the “bad” guys and non-smokers are now the good guys.

What does this have to do with Neanderthals?  About a week ago, a disgruntled smoker was asked to put his cigarette out in a Waffle House restaurant.  He pulled out a 9-mm handgun and shot the waitress to death.  An aberration?  An anomaly?  A freak occurrence?  I think not.  Rather, we have an example of an individual who believed his right to do whatever he wanted to, whenever he wanted to “TRUMPS” the rights of the rest of us.  This is the same behavior that is exhibited by racists, sexists, bigots and right-wing fundamentalists.  They are all infected with the idea that their beliefs and ideology are so important that those of us who do not subscribe to their nut case philosophies have no rights.  In the worst of cases, such as the Waffle House, they believe that we have no right to live.  This must change.  How you might well ask can it change?  How do we erase bigotry and hatred?

Waffle House Customer Shoots and Kills Waitress over No-Smoking Policy

against racismThe only way it will change is for good people to speak out.  Speak out against racism.  Speak out against sexism.  Speak out against homophobia.  Speak out against intolerance.  Speak out against injustice and discrimination.  You don’t know what to say?  It’s simple.  WWJD?  A meme that I see on a lot of t-shirts provides one reply that all Christians should endorse.  If you are not a Christian, simply practice the Golden Rule or some other rule that shows respect and love for others who are not like you.  That’s what Jesus, Gandhi, King and many other great leaders would do.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

BTY:  I still like to smoke a pipe or a cigar once in a while.  I do not smoke where others will be subjected to the smoke or smell.  My father and sister were both heavy smokers and both died from lung cancer. My father was 60 when he died after two lung operations and my sister was 58 when she died.  I stopped smoking regularly when I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous lung condition about 9 years ago.  Hoping a very infrequent pipe or cigar will not kill me before I get run over crossing the street.

Time for Questions:

Why do you think so many people seem to hate others?  What causes intolerance and bigotry?  Do you have friends who are bigots, sexists, racists?  What do you do about their attitudes?  Do you challenge their ideas or do you simply ignore them?  When should we challenge bigots and extremists?

Life is just beginning.

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”  — James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877

“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite” — Joseph de Maistre

 

 

Irony, Paradox and Serendipity or why a Donkey knew best!

Once upon a time, back when animals could talk and people did not rule the world, there was a donkey named Isaiah.  Isaiah was the wisest animal in the land.  He knew everything about life and death.  All of the animals, even the owls came to Isaiah when they had a question they could not answer or when they had a key decision to make.  The most intelligent people in the world would also come to Isaiah when they had a problem they could not figure out.   Isaiah was not only  intelligent but he was kind as well.  Now that might seem like a paradox to some.  Can we be intelligent and also kind?  Were not managers at Enron the “smartest men in the room?”  Maybe, but Enron’s senior management would hardly seem to qualify as kind when you consider the damage they did to the lives of their employees.   In truth, it often seems that the greatest paradoxes of all time, involve the harm done by “highly intelligent people.”  The world is full of examples of smart people who do great harm because they care little for the feelings or welfare of others. Fortunately for the world, Isaiah was not this kind of creature.  He was the epitome of wisdom because he combined intelligence with feelings and empathy for others.

No matter what the problem, Isaiah would always consider the potential damage and impact on others of his decisions and choices.  Whenever he reasoned out a problem, the morals and ethics of the problem were just as important to Isaiah as the solutions.  A solution which caused damage to anyone was not seen as a good solution.   Many of the people and animals were skeptical that Isaiah could always find a win-win solution but somehow Isaiah always did.  Most people find that the key decisions they make result in ironic outcomes that they would not have been able to predict.  This was not the case with Isaiah’s solutions.  His outcomes were never ironic.  Isaiah seemed to have the ability (like Merlin) to foresee the future.  Within the unlimited possibilities of various time-lines that the future laid out, Isaiah could always find the optimal path.

Once when one of the animals asked Isaiah how he managed to construct such robust solutions, he attributed his ability to serendipity.  According to Isaiah, his ideas were often happy accidents which surprised him with their elegance and simplicity.  But how could serendipity be the answer when his batting average was 100 percent.  Thus, another paradox, how could serendipitous decision-making result in outcomes that are always beneficial?   Luck may favor the prepared mind but even luck has its limits.  Isaiah’s abilities seemed to be more of the miraculous nature than of a serendipitous nature.  If so, this is truly ironic, since Isaiah did not believe in ghosts, gods, angels or miracles.

However, as with all good things, they must eventually come to an end.  Isaiah grew old in years and tired in body if not sometimes in spirit.  He had less energy for solving the problems of the world and gradually the animals and humans stopped coming to him for solutions.  The various species retreated further and further from each other.  Humans started building houses and walls and fences to keep themselves in and animals out.  Ironically, the further they went from each other, the more they mistrusted each other. Fear led to mistrust, mistrust led to suspicion.  The once harmonious relationship that existed between animals and humans dissolved in a mist of animosity and betrayal.

Friends started killing and eating friends and inexorably neither side could trust the other side.  Excuses for killing others became the norm and a human declared a theory called “Survival of the Fittest.”  Within this theory, might became right, power made the rules and the “fittest” could dominate those deemed as less fit.  Whole species were seen as suitable for consumption or slavery by other species.  Everyone was a commodity.  Anyone with no commercial value went to the bottom of the economic pie.  Human Resources became the norm in business and English Majors, History Majors, Art Majors and Philosophy Majors were paid less than high school dropouts.  Those who were loyal to the economic engines of society were given status and high paying jobs.

Sadly, Isaiah saw all this, but could find no solutions to the problems or trends.  Eventually, though he lived for many hundreds of years, people just regarded him as that “dumb old donkey” who did not say much.  As time passed, most people and animals even forgot that Isaiah had a brain or could speak.  Isaiah did not feel the need to disabuse anyone of their conceptions and so he just kept to himself.  At the age of 5887 years Isaiah died.  His body was sent to a glue factory to be processed.  He left no legacy of writings, nor any erudite body of knowledge, nor any great poetry nor any glorious music to be remembered by.  Just another old donkey that croaked, so who cares!

Some, if they had known Isaiah might have chided him for not posting his ideas and thoughts on Facebook or YouTube.  At least that way, he might have achieved some measure of fame if not fortune.  Ironically, or paradoxically, or serendipitously, (choose one), it never occurred to Isaiah to become Internet or Google savvy or famous or rich.  History may someday rediscover his genius and perhaps he will yet be remembered in homage to his major contributions to world peace for thousands of years.  Stranger things than that have happened of late on the Internet.

By the way, it is generally believed or was at least “once upon a time” that Isaiah (and not Euripides or Aeschylus or Sophocles) was the Father of Irony, Paradox and Serendipity and that these concepts were widely used by him in his conversations and discussions with other humans and animals. Thus, while the words today bear an etymology that derives from Greek vocabulary, their usage in practice and ideology must be attributed to Isaiah the Donkey.

Time for Questions:

Can you give me an example of irony or serendipity or paradox in your life?  What do ideas matter anyway or do they?  What if everyone was a philosophy major?  What would happen if more people practiced kindness instead of hate?  What value do animals have?  Are they just commodities?  What if we were all vegetarians?  Would it make any difference to the world?

Life is just beginning. 

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