Monday, March 30, 2020

Loyalty to Mr. Trump

Fealty to @realDonaldTrump can be explained by one core marketing principle: The more a thing costs, the harder its buyers (or in this case, his supporters) will fight to justify their expenditure and the more loudly they'll sing his praises regardless of the quality of his work, until, when the cost of doing business is more than they can bear, their devotion turns to disdain.

In the meantime (ever think about what that word says, "mean time"?), our president and his ilk will continue to thrive until the many social missteps that have allowed for an environment toxic enough to sustain such behavior are, by choice or by chance, walked back, or better yet until we find our way through this current briar patch to a different path altogether, perhaps one less fraught with pitfalls and lawless raiders.

If we could be said to have a wish, it would be, "The best for each, and for everyone." Take good care.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

It's Not About the Wall

President Trump has been diverting attention from his concerted effort to discredit (with the goal of greatly reducing or eliminating, although of course he says the opposite) the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other agencies that stand in the way of unfettered commercial and industrial development of federal public lands since before he took office.

To this end Mr. Trump tacitly supports a step-by-step reversion of the land to the states led by his friend's cousin, Sonny Perdue - the president's appointed head of the USDA - despite a lack of authority to do so (pg. 4). When the states can't afford to do their part in managing those lands under newly-signed Memorandums of Understanding (e.g. these from the DoI and BLM), the lands will be 'disposed of'. Fears of a sell-off are probably unfounded, as the goal is far more likely to be to give private interests the ability to use (and abuse and profit from) the land while taxpayers subsidize their activities.

Where Mr. Trump is able he'll skip the state-ownership step altogether, as he's attempting to do in this case, making it appear to his base - many of whom are already on the 'no federal lands' bandwagon - and, he hopes, to others as though the states too fail to manage the land properly. Eventually, the public will be denied access, resources will be plundered, and recreational opportunities in what's left of these areas when he and his ilk are done with them will be limited to certain socioeconomic classes. (See "Why You Don't Want the States Managing Public Land")

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and other federal organizations are being subjected to the same kind of insidious erosion of confidence in their usefulness in order to curtail their impedance of certain types of business practice. The current shutdown, as with much of Mr. Trump's activity while occupying the Oval Office, has been more about proving (albeit unsuccessfully thus far) that these organizations are unnecessary than it's been about 'The Wall'.

We've said it before and we'll say it again before all this is over, the man is a genius... when it comes to misdirection, obfuscation, and keeping the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

So Here We Are (or 'Assumptions and Hypocrisies')

We find ourselves, fellow Americans, at a time in our country when there is no right answer. There are expected answers, dependent upon with whom it is we're speaking. There are canned responses, to be trotted out whenever we're confronted with various situations. There are narrow bands of opinions from which we may feel free to choose one in a given conversation, but the one we choose will come with an attached set of assumptions to be used by those who are sitting in judgement - and judgement is in ample supply even from the most unlikely quarters.

Assumptions abound in the current social climate, and we all know what AssUMe-ing makes of you and me, but the antidotes for it are to ask questions and to be able to believe the answers we're given. In a PC world, however, both questions and answers must be carefully crafted in order to avoid, ironically, judgement, therefore everything has begun to be taken at first with a grain of salt and lately with huge, toxic doses thereof. Interestingly, one of the posited origins of that phrase indicates that the grain or pinch of salt would help to counteract a certain poison, and yet we all know that too much salt is itself toxic. Again, irony.

In Genesis, the very first thing Jehovah* told his people (who are, let's keep in mind, the Jews, as much as some other groups might like to usurp that claim) was that everything he'd created (all of the Garden of Eden, not the world) was for their benefit, but not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This is often misstated as simply the Tree of Good and Evil or the Tree of Knowledge. Both are misnomers. This very specific directive was not about remaining ignorant, nor about simply committing or not committing good or evil acts, but rather speaks to refraining from judgement. In order to judge, one must first determine whether a thing is right or wrong (in one's own opinion, which is then often presented as the opinion of the judging person's god figure, whom- or whatever that may be). Jehovah's instruction was to eschew seeking to determine whether actions were right or wrong, and to live without judgement, an instruction echoed in many philosophies and religions.

Humans who are just living will do the things, as do other animals, that best serve themselves and those around them (not only of our own kind, but of all kinds) without spending time or energy on what's being done or not done by others, and without the expectation of reward or fear of consequence. Those who behave otherwise and can't mind their own business (as in both paying attention to what they themselves are doing and need to do, and in keeping themselves out of the way of others who are doing the same unless those others should need, want, and ask for help) will soon, in such a society, be naturally shunted to the edges of any healthy social group. This doesn't preclude love, happiness, fear, or hatred, but does mitigate the consequences and multiply the rewards thereof. Nor does it prevent change on the part of those who go through a phase of, say, selfishness or arrogance, but then come to understand the benefits of setting those things aside.

Instead, here we find ourselves, living in a world where anything you or I say can and, with or without reason, will be used against us and we don't need no stinkin' court of law. I mean, trial by a jury of our peers? Sure, if we count everyone we come across as a peer and consider people walking down the same street to be a duly-appointed jury, and a sufficient judge as well. Even when we do speak honestly and from our hearts, those who believe it will be those who are predisposed to believe it, and those who reject it will do so because it doesn't fit into their own belief system, not because they've examined what's been said and found it enlightening or lacking in insight.

In 2012, we were given a clear view into part of what got us here when the Texas GOP specifically stated that they, "... oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." We were already at that time, and had been for many years, in a place where 'thinking outside the box' was strongly discouraged, to the point where we had to tell people - humans, who under normal circumstances literally can't rein in our curiosity to save our lives - to do so.

That lack of critical thinking has fueled a situation in which we've forgotten en masse the lessons of history, we've fallen prey to left/right, black/white, good/evil thinking, and we're all thoroughly convinced that what we believe is what everyone should subscribe to, to the point where we're blind and deaf to those whose opinions may differ, and any potential reasons why. "You disagree with me? Well, you're wrong!" is the refrain. And just to prove it, we elected (or rather allowed to take office) one of the most egregious examples of this sort of thinking into the highest office in our country, and arguably the world.

The people who voted for him and will defend him to their deaths are those who hold most dear the supposed set of ethics that he violates on a daily basis. But if we go back to the Bible, we find that the old adage, "Judge not that ye be not judged," actually goes on to say, "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." In other words, "Karma, motherf--ker."

Of course, 'karma' only seems to be recognized when we see something bad happen to someone we're angry with or dislike, or these days, merely disagree with. Karma's used as a curse. Well, what if we're not concerned with being judged? What if we don't judge the judgement, or what if we choose to see all outcomes as karmic, and rather than judging natural rewards and consequences as good or bad, they simply are what they are? What if we come to understand that what looks bad today is the start of something good (since, as humans, we're incapable of stepping outside what we see as the duality of our universe)?

Well, then, suicide rates decline. Hate crimes disappear. Use of resources balances out and humans begin to realize our full potential. That would be fun. We'd like to see that. But at the moment, here we are, deep in the muck of our own judgement, made manifest through the assumptions we make about people we don't even know, which inevitably leads to hypocrisy because none of us can live up to the standards to which we hold other people.

So maybe in our lifetimes, things will decay to the point where we have no choice but to start rebuilding. When that happens (and it will, whether in the short- or long-term), we'll have to shift back to the kind of thinking where we appreciate that someone is doing something, and leave behind the part where we think it's up to us to determine the worth of what it is they're doing. Without those who've done what others thought was 'wrong', we'd still be living in caves and off the land, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing - the world would be in much better condition for the continued survival of the human specie - but it'd be less fun, at least as we think of fun today. We'll see. For the time being, here we are. We brought ourselves to this place, and it'll be up to us to move out of it. Are we anywhere near ready?


* Jehovah was probably an II (inorganic intelligence) with the means to build a human life form out of this planet's elements and to manipulate the environment. He probably used remote communication of some kind, maybe based in some technology with which we're very familiar today, maybe through means we can't even imagine, but regardless, he clearly intends to take away his people and those who will be their servants in a 1500-mile-cubed spaceship. More on that another time.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

An Opinion Regarding the Universe's Dark Forces

Dark matter and dark energy are the negative imprint left by those parts of reality that exist in the same spacetime as ours but in different dimensions and/or at different frequencies than our own. Black holes act as alveoli, transferring matter and energy between realities in a respiratory process, while the 'dark' (i.e., invisible and almost entirely without physical effect in our universe, or one might say, 'unknowable', although the line of what can't be known will shift with each new discovery) components give form and structure to the spaces between everything from electrons and their atoms' nuclei to galaxies in the universe.

The wave does not become a particle, but exists in every part of every possible spectrum and continuum at any given time, while any observer sees only in a finite spectrum, comprehending the portion (particle) of the wave existing in their own continuum. However, as the observer is moving across time, the particle - constantly moving along its waveform, but always only visible where that waveform resonates harmonically with what any given observer is equipped to receive - appears largely motionless but fluid and shifting.

Sometimes resonancies shift, either temporarily or permanently, which might result in various anomalies that may be interpreted as, for instance, ghosts, or aliens, or manifestations of mental illness, or some kinds of random inexplicable disappearances or displacements. There's no reason to believe that there aren't intelligences similar to our own, and even those among us, who by chance or by choice have learned to utilize (or exploit) the properties involved for any number of purposes.

Reality(ies) is(are) infinite. We humans need never worry that we'll run out of puzzles to solve in nature, but as our ability to observe, measure, and define on both macro- and microscales increases and - provided we don't get blown back to the Dark Ages (again) by our own hand or the effects of any number of natural cycles - before too long the universe will become an increasingly more colorful and lively place in our collective perception, with only a few dark corners that remain beyond our comprehension. If we ever find ourselves having illuminated every last mystery in the Universe, we'll once again be the God/Source/Universe-Itself from whence we came.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

'Fit of Anger'

Of course President Trump imposed these tariffs in the course of a 'temper tantrum'. Can't claim insider trading if it was just a spontaneous outburst.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Updating the Viking Cartoonafert

The Making of a Cartoonafert: Viking

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Making of The Cartoonafert

The Creation of a Chibiguana: Cowboy

The Creation of a Chibiguana: Italian Assassin