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Military Intelligence Still AWOL

By: glossolalique Monday August 5, 2013 8:30 am

General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, laid out the case for nonintervention in Slaughterhouse Syria: We should invest our money in training for the rebels, because that would only cost five hundred million dollars per month, while direct military intervention might run as high as one billion per month. The suspiciously round sums make the math is so simple, it’s insulting. Direct intervention would have immediate results. The butchery would be reduced dramatically, and the war would be brought to a conclusion relatively swiftly with the departure of Bashar Al-Assad.

Rebel training, on the other hand, would take many months, while rebel forces on the ground would be savaged in the meantime, more civilians would die and more terrorist interests would take sides in the conflict. The question that needs to be asked is, “Would it likely take more than twice as long to win this war if we train, rather than intercede?” The answer is yes, of course, and the economic argument fails on the same ash heap as the cautionary one. The “economic argument” stands naked as a rationale for doing nothing, as we watch the very train wreck unfold that we were told would happen if we intervened. Unfazed, the “hands-off” crowd continues the ineffectual handwringing that let this mess get this bad in the first place. It may actually already be too late to do the right thing: remove Al-Assad. As a despised minority dictator, he has no choice but to continue to rule with oppression so brutal, it would make the Shah of Iran look like Mother Theresa.

 

You Are Trayvon Martin

By: glossolalique Sunday July 14, 2013 7:00 am

You’re headed home from the store on a dark, rainy night. Wearing a hoodie, your attention is forward, not to right nor left. In order to become aware of someone following you, your pursuer must issue a challenge or initiate a confrontation. Have you ever felt someone was following you at night? Did you experience a rush of fear? You’re in a classic fight-or-flight situation, and you choose to stand your ground. You’re frightened, but you’re also angry. “Why are you following me, bitch? Get off my ass!” Your pursuer does not relent and the situation escalates to shoves, then punches. George Z. turns out to be not much of a fighter, and soon you have him on the ground, immobilized and bleeding. He realizes he’s made a mistake and screams, pleading with you to stop. Then, you make your fatal mistake. You begin to feel sorry for him; after all, you’ve won, you’ve eliminated the threat, and you want to continue home and watch TV. You let George Zimmerman get up, and he draws his gun. George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin while he feared for his life. He murdered Trayvon after the danger was past, to avenge his humiliation and his injuries. Race need not even be an issue, though it probably was.

I can’t believe a jury of women failed to understand the fear of being followed by a nighttime stalker. There is no empathy here for the victim who briefly defeated his attacker. Trayvon Martin did not live to enjoy his victory. The message to the world is clear: “If you are thinking of going for a walk in America, you better have a gun.”

You Tell Me:

By: glossolalique Saturday July 13, 2013 3:24 pm

If someone is being stalked, who is the perpetrator, and who the victim? If the stalker is the victim, then George Z. is innocent, and the precedent set at his trial makes one thing clear: if someone is after you, RUN! Don’t stand your ground, because your pursuer might have a gun, and dead men (you) make bad witnesses in the trials of their murderers.

If the person being stalked is the victim, and she confronts her pursuer, she is standing her ground. If she happens to clean her tormentor’s clock, well that’s too bad for him, he shouldn’t stalk people if he can’t take care of himself – unless he has a gun and manages to eliminate the primary witness against him… uh, isn’t that evidence tampering? In addition to murder, of course. Either way, bad precedent. “I’m sorry someone had to die, but I was sooooo scared” is all you need to say and you can pretty much shoot anyone you want. That Trayvon Martin might have been scared, being shadowed by a large guy in the dead of night, well that doesn’t count because the Stand Your Ground law only applies if you’re packin’ heat. And if he had packed heat, he’d already be on Death Row. “Black Assailant Murders Neighborhood Watch Volunteer,” the headlines would proclaim. American Justice is the best in the world.

CPI Unchained: A Cruel Hoax

By: glossolalique Friday April 12, 2013 12:00 pm

It’s a hoax because it gives the impression that Competent People are on top of the problem and dealing with it. It’s cruel because it is just one more step away from sane, humanistic policy into a morass of corporatism. “Consumer Price Index” – sounds like it’s all about us, doesn’t it? But no; consumers are not involved in compiling this statistic. It’s not about what we are paying, or more importantly, what we perceive we are paying, but about what we are being charged. As the quality of our milk, our eggs, corn, vegetables, MELONS! (How do they even get the bacteria in there??) goes to hell, policy makers are looking at price stickers! CPI is a delusional concept to begin with, and adding “chained” (notice how smoothly the link-in-link metaphor conveys a sense of the inevitable) to this wretched acronym is just another bad fix in a long chain of lousy policy links in a sausage-factory economy; “Eeeewwww!” who wants to see how it’s made?

The reality we consumers face has more to do with Perceived Quality of Life (PQL) than with CPI. We know when our fruit has no taste, our eggs sicken us, we don’t feel well, don’t enjoy life, don’t get out as much as we used to, and yes, those things are all related. It’s more efficient, it’s cheaper to produce crap, to live in cities, to let roads leading to outdoor recreation deteriorate – what does it matter? It’s a free country! The consumer will adjust. Well, I’m not feeling very well-adjusted these days. I’m all adjusted out – exhausted. And policy makers know this, some representing corporatism, some humanism (supposedly) – and fight about false, inadequate fixes like “Minimum Wage Adjustments”. Politics and Ideology. Landowners get wealthy because cities have sprung up near their holdings, and when we try to save some wetlands, that’s a “taking” that must be compensated, but when the price of bread goes up, we have to wait decades before We The People are compensated, miserly, inadequately, and get called “moochers” into the bargain by rich pundits who tell folksy jokes about their grandmas, “…Democrats? Uh, Democrats…. rent, dear.”

Basic, Self-serving, Enlightened Human Decency  (BSEHD) is dead. Henry Ford reaped rich rewards by paying his workers enough to buy his cars, Johnson Wax increased productivity by building well-lit, spacious, pleasant work spaces and (heresy!) giving workers lunch breaks. OK – not dead; we do have Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, George Soros and others to help us stand against the well-financed ideological juggernaut, but when I hear this “chained CPI” crap coming from “the most Socialist administration in history”, it sure feels like we’re losing.

PQL (Perceived Quality of Life) is not new, it’s the common man’s metric, it’s real and down-to-earth. When the American Middle Class, the largest economic engine in the world by far, felt our PQL eroding, we responded with American optimism. “We have our investments, and the value of our homes has been up,up,up, so let’s plow that value back into our PQL,” we said. “Hey, we can participate in the Ownership Society. Our true American Dream has finally come!” Because we believed the financiers, the dream peddlers, the Rick Santellis who sold us this bill of goods as long as they could profit from our “freeloading” ways; when their house of cards collapsed and they looked into the abyss, the solution was easy. “Let’s just bulldoze the Middle Class into the hole. They caused all this by living beyond their means.” And the Tea Party was born. But we know better. We look to our bottom line – PQL. “Don’t give me your lying statistics,” we need to say to Barack the Betrayer. “Keep your ‘Chained Unemployment’, your ‘Chained CPI’, your ‘Chained COLA’ and all your other false fixes and speak to me. To me. Let me tell you about PQL.”

In other news, it seems “5″ gum is out with a new flavor – “Oblivion”. And Tom Cruise has landed the role of leading man in the TV commercial.

Balance of Powers

By: glossolalique Saturday March 2, 2013 8:26 am

Human beings are given protection under the Constitution because we are weak, and the State is strong. If freedom is the heart, balance of powers is the bone of our Constitution. We cannot, as individuals, simultaneously attend a board meeting in Ireland, run a dragline in Ontario, build a pipeline in Alaska, run a string of animal testing labs and appear before a Congressional committee to explain our actions. Corporations can do all these things, and more, simultaneously. They control individuals by the thousands and exert powerful influence on the State. Corporations do not need, and should not have, Constitutional protection designed to redress the balance of powers. Period.

The Second Amendment is also an instance of the balance of powers principle. It was meant to give people the power to confront an armed, tyrannical State and overthrow it, as the Founding Fathers themselves did. The argument is made by some that the right to bear “arms”  really means “armament equal in firepower to that possessed by the State” – balance of powers. I agree with this view. Since felons are not allowed to own guns, I believe parity of powers would best be achieved by the total disarmament of any government that has ever committed felonious acts, such as causing harm or wrongful death of its citizens.

In other news, Warren Buffet, my candidate for Sanest Man in The World, has called out the dishonesty of the right-wing business block by stating the obvious, “Risk and uncertainty have always been with us.” So quit whining and sniveling, Chamber of Commerce! If you can’t stand the heat, that is, come up with a solid enough business plan to withstand a 2% change in headwind, get the hell out of the kitchen and let some Americans show you how things are done! Our farmers and manufacturers have weathered 30% changes through American history while building a strong nation, shame on you.

Finally, or should I say, “At Last!”, “Pessimists Live Longer, Study Shows.” Take that, Pollyannas! Hey, I heard it on NPR.

Definitions

By: glossolalique Tuesday February 26, 2013 9:42 am

“Schadenfreudian Slip” – Inadvertent irony entering into statements of condolence or sympathy meant to be sincere, but corrupted by an unconscious wish to see another come to harm, and the pleasure occasioned thereby.

An imperfect, but famous example of this occurred during the battle for the nomination to the candidacy for the presidency between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton, under pressure to withdraw from the race she seemed clearly to be losing, said, “Robert Kennedy didn’t get assassinated until June,” clearly implying an unconscious wish for some harm to befall Mr. Obama. The example is imperfect because her pleasure is anticipatory, rather than after the fact, as would be the case in a classic Schadenfreudian Slip.

Change Your Mind, Your Mass Will Follow

By: glossolalique Monday February 25, 2013 12:17 pm

Enjoy your godlessness! Practice new-found freedoms, find out for yourself just how meaningless life really is, learn to love the absence of obligation to think deep thoughts, not that you ever did, though adding God to the stew did seem to add some dimension, some heft to the flat, banal, daily grind… it didn’t of course, but it felt like it, because we believed  it. Now that belief is gone, enjoy the almost unbearable freedom of being without strings, without meaning, without illusions! It is the mind’s appetite for meaning, after all, that makes us such suckers for illusion. And if you just sit and savor the emptiness, the absence of meaning for a while, you may find it intensely meaningful. Yup, we’re living in a parabox. And I am really starting to like it. I for one enjoy tripping through my days, disappointments, annoyances, chores, flights of fancy, total immersion, sudden epiphany, quiet mindfulness – what was I thinking? NO IDEA. none. Life is just packed with sensation, every throbbing moment.

I think Buddhists get too hung up on impermanence. Nothing’s real, they say, if it isn’t eternal. Tough crowd! That’s their standard?  Permanence? That roller coaster ride may not last forever, thank God! (it’s English, I’m gonna use it), but when you’re cleaning the puke out of your ears (don’t ask), you may be hard to persuade that it wasn’t real. And sometimes, impermanence can be a comfort. “This, too, shall pass” is an acknowledgement of how real your pain is, not how nonexistent. Nobody exclaims, “This can’t be happening!” unless it very much is, happening. So, nothing’s real, but as long as it’s happening, it doesn’t matter. With deep shit like that, who needs God?

There are of course pragmatic aspects to reality, like linguistics, if you put the “is” back in there. Language is us, it’s the default mapping app of our operating system. Bake a cake, build a house, we can verbally map it so virtually anyone else can go there. But the map has to match the territory, and unfortunately, the brain does not distinguish between ideas and objects, that’s what banana peels are for, or as Lord Buckley used to say, “who do you think was driving while you were away?” Too obscure? Language is dangerous – it gives delusions wings, and an afterburner. For example, “Dave will never be happy with Ginger, he’s Gemini, she’s Libra” is a map without a territory. Take “I made a resolution to lose weight.” Weight relates to territory, but what is a resolution? God only knows, but she’s not talking until after we die? Send me flowers while I’m livin’ is my attitude. Seriously, the territory we need to map is the body/mind operating system, and it’s rapidly becoming “terra cognita” thanks to neurology and related disciplines. Where was I? Oh, yeah, resolution; so, where are the levers to this system? Weight is not a lever, it’s a consequence of uncontrolled impulses. We know almost nothing about impulse control, “lever”, “impulse”, “control”, “resolution” are metaphors that have meaning to us, but the mind is smarter than we in some ways; it seems to “know” that “meaning” is just another label for “illusion”. To simply “resolve” something is not enough; in order to be successful, resolutions must be deconstructed into commands the operating system can recognize, smells, touch, hunger and habit. That’s where we need to put the “is” – where it presently isn’t. We need a stack of new metaphors on which to build roads into the undiscovered country of our true selves. Godless and free of illusion (I know, I know!!! reality is a fluid construct, neither wave nor particle, work with me willya?), we can map out a territory of evolutionary truth and neurologic fact, tempered with the humility of inadequacy and the empathy and love of a fundamental humanism that is the best working response to the yawning chasm that opens beneath us whenever awareness floods in to fill the void we call sleep, the constant companion of consciousness, nameless terror. Nothingness, the Old Same Place, I read somewhere. My hope is that we can manage ourselves, minister to ourselves better, starting today. The best thing LRH (L. Ron Hubbard) ever said was, “If it’s not true for you, it’s not true.” Consider this hypothetical exchange,

“Hey, Frank, what’s been goin’ on?”                                                                                                             “You mean, other than the usual crap?”                                                                                                         “Yeah, sure, skip the preamble.”                                                                                                                     “Well, I think I may have succeeded in leaving a marker on the parasympathetic side of my appetite loop.”                                                                                                                                                       “No way! That could be the answer to your weight problem, right? How did you access that? Meditation?”                                                                                                                                                         “No, and mind you, this is all highly tenuous and metaphoric, but there’s been a real change. What I did was, I left a posthypnotic suggestion to go into a lucid state when dreaming about food, and I saw – no, I felt – my appetite and put like a tab on it so it would snag my attention and give me a chance to make a decision rather than just reacting. Ever since I did that, whenever I think of having a snack, I imagine the thing, like a donut or whatever, but now the satisfaction comes from making a decision about it, not from indulging the impulse. Does that make sense?”                                                                                                                                                  ”Sure as shit does! I’ll try that pathway and see if I can get it to work for me.”

And that, friends, is Tactical Linguistics. Baby steps, but perseverance furthers, as the I Ching advises us ad nauseam. So far, my successes have been largely accidental, but significant. I no longer suffer from sleep apnea, simply because I posed the question, “If I can lie in bed and breathe normally, why do I choke when I sleep?” Then, in lucid dreams, I would say to myself, “Hey dumbass, you’re not gargling here, so open up your throat and breathe right!” And after a few times, it took! And if I can do it…..

Definitions

By: glossolalique Saturday February 23, 2013 9:30 pm

Parabox, n: a container lacking an interior.* to put things into it is to miss it entirely. In other words, if you’re in a parabox, try as you might, you can’t get in.

 

 

 

 

*if we accept “container” metaphorically, the mind.