Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump, Clinton, and Human Rights

From an article posted at NPR during the October 2016 trial of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers: "'Especially if Hillary Clinton is elected, all of our rights will be taken away,' [John] Lamb said." Mr. Lamb was referring largely to land use rights, but the conversation is really about rights in general.

Clinton, had she been elected, would only have cared about land use or any other rights to the degree that caring would further her political future, and would've done exactly, and no more than, what she had to to get elected to a second term, meaning a lot of foot-dragging on the issue until it went away or until she was forced into the appearance of making some choice. That choice probably would've had no real effect on anything of import, as politicians by and large avoid doing things, especially in their first terms as president, that might cost them votes.

Trump, on the other hand, most likely sees visions of a Trump-branded western United States, formerly public lands covered with new high-end resorts, hotels, and office buildings, with a smattering of casinos thrown in to bring hope to those among the poor and disenfranchised who don't understand that the (white) house always wins, and where nothing else can be built, oil rigs and fracking and mining operations. Of course none of that can happen until he gets rid of the pesky ranchers who voted him into office and their bloody smelly cows. (Oh, and the cattle, too.)

We at MOA have always said that a government is a reflection of the society it leads. We can't blame Clinton for her complete lack of substance when we as a society punish anyone who takes a stand that differs from our own, and we can't blame Trump for his perniciously willful ignorance when we ourselves are entirely unwilling to learn what drives those with whom we disagree - or much of anything that's outside our comfort zone. 'Land use' or any other 'rights' are dependent upon our ability to cooperate and work together for mutually beneficial outcomes. We all lost those the minute we decided it was the government's job to tell us who gets what privileges rather than treating all humans as of equal basic worth and allowing our own actions or lack thereof to dictate how society would treat us.

When we're a better society - when we as individuals learn to respect ourselves and others - our governments will improve and questions of 'rights' will resolve themselves. (Self-respect should not be confused with arrogance, condescension, or specious sanctimony.) Until then, the bed we've made will be covered with gold-infused 1200-thread-count sheets for those who can afford them, and the rest of us will keep our heads down and do as we're told until we've lived out our useful lives, lucky if we have a bed at all, then go quietly - or screaming - like Lambs to the slaughter.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

FOX News

Given the nature of the programming on FOX - having consisted since the network's inception of shows that no other network would've touched at the time - it seems very likely that their news broadcasts were intended to be taken as farcical. Who says comedy doesn't carry a social impact?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Women's (or Anyone Else's) Empowerment

'Empowerment' connotes that that power must be given from some outside source, so we've got to ask ourselves some questions in order to make that happen. To wit:
  • To whom was our power given?
    • Power is inherent to the entity from which it arises and cannot be taken without consent. By that token missing power must have been and continue to be given. Without knowing to whom there'll be no getting it back.
  • When?
    • Was there a contract? What are the terms?
  • Why?
    • Power might be given in order to facilitate the efforts of another in creating or building something, or to absolve its holder of responsibility for its use, or because the generator thereof has been left vulnerable, or left itself vulnerable in the case of any entity we'd call sentient and accountable, to theft (where it's assumed that power is a limited commodity to be hoarded rather than freely distributed and consumed wherever necessary).
  • Where?
    • If power is being stolen or a system isn't sound, there'll be a leak. Find the leak, patch it, and watch the power meter rise. Or just replace the system altogether.
  • Most importantly and puzzlingly, how?
    • It's one thing to drain tangible electricity or some measurable signal off the grid; that requires nothing more than simple physical manipulation. But a human's own inherent power? Let's explore:
In an infinite multiverse nothing is impossible, but the proposition of taking power not given is pretty close to it. Will can be broken. Desire can be molded. Beliefs can be changed. But the power of the individual lies solely in who that person is. That person fills a role no one else can fill, and that role is whatever they make it. Each of us has all the power in our own universe. Frustration arises not when we can't do what we want, but when we can't make the rest of our universe do what we think it should. We forget that the 'rest of the universe' exists solely as a framework for what we are; it holds everything we can't be if we intend to have this unique human experience. We hold no power over anything outside ourselves, save that which has been given or stolen, but infinite power to reshape ourselves within this framework, which responds in kind by reshaping itself around us and our new contract. So for those who feel disempowered (and who doesn't from time to time), our best bet is to examine our systems and what's plugged into them, adjust any drains to which we've agreed to suitable levels, eliminate any drains that serve no purpose, and give ourselves some time to recharge. Beating ourselves or anyone else up will only waste more energy.
Isn't it interesting how power and the desire for more are the source of so many social ills? Power is infinite, so why do we fight over it? Because force is limited. The two are not interchangeable, and what's seen as power is very often really force in disguise. We don't want the power to run our own lives as we see fit. We want the 'power' to force others into the molds we purport to think are best for them, which upon close examination are usually really what we think it's best for us for them to be. But we'll only have that when we're ready to take responsibility for what they then become. Every action, every word, every choice they make at our behest is then on us. The only two ways to take that responsibility are by force or if it's given. In the former case, power always outlasts and ultimately absorbs force and turns it to its own purpose, given time, patience, and understanding on the part of the one wielding the power, while in the latter, power is willingly given and received, muted or boosted according to the purposes at hand, and both consequences and rewards for its use are shared as appropriate by all involved. As we at MOA have said before, power is inherent in particular to the feminine energy, and is most stable when produced individually but shared universally. Force is a masculine trait, used to direct and amplify power. Is it perhaps that power is more subtle than force and therefore less apparent, although - if we'll only use it - just as essential? Is it possible that the desire for empowerment is all about appearances? Either without the other is of limited usefulness, while the two together can change the world.

So where does it all go wrong? What makes us give our power up in the first place? When it's an intentional choice - "You take my power and the responsibility that goes with it" - do we really want it back? If that answer is yes, then have we figured out what we intend to do with it, keeping in mind that the only changes any entity can be guaranteed to effect are within oneself, with external effects being often random and unpredictable? If also yes, what are we waiting for? It would seem, with the current movement being stalled at, "We want empowerment," that we're asking for someone else to offer it. Who? And if we know who has it have we at any point asked for it in a way that we'd respond to favorably if anyone else were to ask us for something in the same tone and with the same attitude? If we know who has our power, and if we've asked politely for it back and it hasn't been given, then yes it's time to take it back unless we pledged to a contract otherwise. At that point, it's on us to find the power source within ourselves, tap into it, nurture it and do any necessary maintenance if it's become weak or drained, be ready to take responsibility for the consequences of (and enjoy the rewards for) our actions, and go use it.


For those who can't be arsed to go read our post on the masculine and feminine, let us be clear in saying that although power is an inherently feminine trait and force an inherently masculine one, this is not a delineation between men and women, as each of us carries both positive (masculine) and negative (feminine) energy to varying degrees and, again, the sum of the two is greater than its parts. Where power is nurturing and gestational, force is originating and motivational. Each needs the other in order to meet its full potential, and empowerment comes in finding and embracing both within ourselves.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Catnip Madness

We at MOA would like to warn well-meaning cat companions that catnip may get their cat(s) high. Behaviors that, in the ~50% of cats susceptible to the evils of nepetalactone, may be brought on by this dangerous drug include but are not limited to:
  • Dangerous, even irrational jumping, biting, or scratching.
  • Chasing of non-existent prey.
  • Laughter (on your part).
  • Sleepiness.
Please protect your cats (kittens under six months of age should not be affected, but neither should they be exposed) from the dangers of this psychoactive substance, and avoid the 'nip.

"Just say no to 'nip."

Thursday, February 04, 2016


The feminine is called upon to submit because in submission is the ultimate power; the power of the universe is unleashed only when it is allowed.

The masculine has its own power - equal and opposite - in harnessing the energy released in that moment of surrender and channeling it into infinite possible outcomes.

At the heart of the reaction between the two is a moment in which each is perfectly balanced with the other - submission and control - and in that moment these energies know one another intimately, the male and female, the positive and negative respectively, creation and destruction, matter and energy, and on and on ad infinitum across every duality in (or outside of) existence.

And a universe is born, and everything in it consists of some combination of the two, generally to fluctuating degrees. Matter is reduced to elements by energy and rebuilt again using different forms of energy into any number of things until the energy of that initial reaction is exhausted and all the matter is just a speck again.

Maybe it will do it all over again someday, although never in exactly the same way of course, or maybe that was it, that speck will be absorbed into the multiverse, become part of another universe, never in all eternity to be specifically manifest as its own being again. It matters not; it's had its experience. It was what it was, will be what it will be, and (sorry, Ken!) it is what it is.

The parts of you that are masculine are the creators of your universe, while those areas in which your feminine traits reside are its power sources. The art of seeking balance is also known as 'life', and that balance only truly exists in rarified moments. We can however learn to hold on to those moments and carry those feelings with us - at least for a time - thus as we go along shifting our attitudes in directions we find desirable.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Oh, the Irony...

"Ammon Bundy Asks Oregon Occupiers to Go Home, Lawyer Says"

It's not the article I find ironic, just the headline. Seems like it read, "Oregon Asks Ammon Bundy's Occupiers to Go Home" just a few days ago.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The FBI's Response in Oregon

We here at MOA always say we don't want a revolution, but rather an evolution. Revolutions, usually violent, take us by nature back to where we started, while evolution moves us forward. Revolutionaries become dictators and despots, so sure are they that their way is the only right one, while evolutionaries show us more of our full or a different potential (albeit both positive and negative), with no more or less desire to push their own agenda than the average non-evolutionary type.

This action in Oregon is a good example of why we say that, and it's the revolutionary nature of the thing that's likely driving the FBI's (apparent but not actual lack of) response. This occupation isn't a spur-of-the-moment protest-turned-riot, a sudden uprising requiring a swift, indubitable, resolute response to bring the violence to a close and get on with productive dialog (if such is to be the case). Instead, this is the fourth premeditated, organized action of its kind by this group since the 2014 Cliven Bundy, Sr. ranch debacle, and its perpetrators aren't merely angry or swept up in a social maelstrom. They're acting in a calculated manner - without, apparently, the ability to see or understand the harm they're causing to those around them - to incite an uprising against the government.


/snark/ An aside, Ammon has gone from saying that native claims to the refuge's area were 'interesting', to plundering their sacred ground, to saying that, in fact, his group is concerned about the way Paiute artifacts are being stored.

We might be tempted to remind him that the original inhabitants of the land were really the animals whose homes he's now destroying and that cattle are not a native specie, just to see what the next version of his story would be. /end snark/


But in seriousness and more to the point, it's very likely that Mr. Bundy assumes he'll hold a position of authority in whatever brave new world it is he seeks to usher in, unless he truly believes in communism, as does apparently his security officer, Mr. Payne. Or perhaps he intends to bring about anarchy, which is a beautiful concept in principle but only works with populations of people who are willing to be to the greatest degree possible at any given time both self-responsible and self-respecting. If we are both of those things, we'll also take responsibility for others where that's appropriate (which is rarely when a majority of people are taking care of their own business), and we'll respect others - not to be confused with necessarily agreeing with them.

It's this last that's missing in the Oregon occupation. What Mr. Bundy and his crew are demonstrating is arrogance, which bears only the thinnest veneer of resemblance to either healthy pride in oneself or real self-respect. A person who's proud of oneself and who respects oneself has no need to bully or intimidate others, to try to force anyone to bow to their will. A self-respecting person in Mr. Bundy's current situation would surrender himself to proper authorities (not those of his choosing, but those duly tasked by the community at large to deal with his particular crimes), listen to counsel, take his lumps, learn a thing or two, and go home and get himself together so he could be a better man.
It should be said: By the same token, a self-respecting person who finds him- or herself swept up in the energy and excitement of a riot and about to commit or in the midst of committing an act of theft or violence will also stop and take whichever of the same steps outlined above as are appropriate in their given situation.
At the base of it, a self-respecting person who finds him- or herself lashing out at or hurting others on any level will stop, take stock, and make course corrections where possible. If each of us takes it upon ourselves to do that in our own lives anarchy will work, as this design leaves room for inevitable human mistakes without supporting or perpetuating unstable long-term patterns. Until such time as we all do that, government - or one can call it 'leadership' if that term is more acceptable - is necessary for successful social groups.


We believe that Mr. Bundy believes he's respecting himself, his God, his family, and his country in his actions. However, while he does have support from some, many others, ourselves included, feel that he's behaving very disrespectfully. His choice is to hear just enough of what his naysayers have to offer to figure out how best to next twist his story, but not to hear their resounding call to vacate the county and stop interfering in other peoples' business. (Anyone making that call, by the way, can count on not being invited to the big land giveaway after the coup, or probably any parties at the ranch. And we'll probably be kicked out of America.)

More tellingly, he's picky about whose support he accepts of the little he's getting. This is not a guy who's interested in differing opinions, nor likely to take good advice if he gets it, which makes him less than desirable as a leader should he succeed in starting and winning a revolution.

Beyond that, he's a zealot, which brings us back to the FBI's choice to wait these people out. It's not a matter of taking them or the threat they present less-than-seriously at all, but quite the opposite. Storming in guns blazing would indicate that the FBI doesn't believe these guys would shoot back, as would cutting the utilities or refusing the occupiers peaceful entry and exit. Those responses would indicate an ignorance of the difference between angry people and would-be martyrs, and of what some humans are capable of when torn between an earnest belief and what they see as an imperfect reality. The Fed has every reason to believe, most likely correctly, that any perceived aggression on its part will immediately escalate out of control.

On the other hand, given time, even if Mr. Bundy can't justify stepping down off the soapbox of his principles for a moment, many of his supporters will start to consider some of what's being said and the consequences of the actions they're taking and will go home and/or give themselves up. The more people come out intact and alive the better (whether here or in Ferguson or Baltimore or Iraq or wherever else people are holding up as examples of why every incident needs to end in bloodshed if any incident does). Given time, even Mr. Bundy may come to realize that he's doing more harm to his cause than good.


The system isn't perfect, but we have yet to hear Mr. Bundy offer concrete plans for a better one. And just how much of the government does he intend to overthrow? Will it be only the DoI (under the auspices of which the BLM and Fish & Wildlife operate) and USDA (which runs the Forest Service; we wonder if he's aware of that), or is he going to save us from the DOT, the IRS, the SBA, and the SSA as well, just for starters? If he liberates us from all these organizations, does he have plans in place for maintaining food quality and the interstate system, for supporting and overseeing small businesses, and for funding and administering social security programs? Or will he just eliminate all of that, conveniently dumping a million-and-a-half dollars worth of debts held by his family and plunging the American and potentially the world economy into some degree of chaos? Most importantly, will he listen to cogent, reasonable advisers and make studied decisions, or just impose his will on 'the People', as he's currently doing?

It's doubtful that we'll ever know how Mr. Bundy would handle the responsibility of running the nation. (It's as accurate to say that we hope we'll never know.) Of more immediate concern is that this event end with the least possible negative impact all around, and maybe some positive effects. There are changes that need to be made, on all sides - in Mr. Bundy's case as in so many, the power in a cult leader's speech is the truth they sprinkle throughout their rhetoric - but this is not an effective or productive way to make those changes or see them made, and in fact these means bring one to question whether productive change is even in fact Mr. Bundy's real intended end.


This piece has been edited to reflect that the DoI rather than the USDA operates USFW..

Friday, January 08, 2016

We'd Like to Say...

... that the armed men occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are pawns of the current administration, their actions designed to ensure a Democratic victory in November, but there's no room for humor in our current social climate so we won't. (Oh wait, we just did!)

All joking aside, there are right and wrong things happening on all sides of the issues at the center of the current occupation situation in Oregon, because there are humans on all sides of those issues.

With regards to this case, many people who live in the rural West have at least one story (some have many) of a rancher - themselves or a friend or acquaintance - who held out when the government tried to buy them out for some reason and were subjected to sometimes years of harassment and abuses of power, some even jailed as terrorists, meaning they could be held indefinitely or at least until their ranches could be seized through foreclosure if nothing else. One can only judge the veracity of a story based on the perceived knowledge and honesty of its teller, but some of these stories are well-fleshed-out and come from sources that seem honest, level-headed, and somewhat objective.

At the same time, federal officials are doing the jobs they've been hired on behalf of the American people to do, and most or all can tell stories of inappropriate behavior from those they serve, ranging from misconduct through threats to violence. Many federal employees who spend time in the field in the course of their duties are now encouraged to go out in plain clothes for fear that the sight of their uniforms alone will incite violence from miners, ranchers, loggers, and recreational users, some of each of whom are incredibly abusive to the land they use.

One begins to see how these interactions start to take on animosity on both sides, and that improvements can always be made in the process.

In this case in particular, there are some pieces of information that seem often to be falling by the wayside, with resultant arguments as to who's right and who's wrong or even what the issues are being made on faulty premises. We'll list here a series of facts regarding some of the common misconceptions we've been seeing bandied about in articles and comments sections regarding this drama in our neighboring state:
  1. The buildings being occupied - by Mr. Ammon Bundy's account all seventeen he says exist on the refuge - were closed for the holidays but do in fact actively office about a dozen workers over the winter who are currently unable to work. Those buildings are the infrastructure for an active wildlife preserve during the months it's open for business (see MNWR link above). The employees will most likely be compensated for time lost, but in the meantime they're not getting paid and bills are still coming due. Schools and some other federal offices are also being closed as a precautionary measure.
  2. This is now the fourth occupation of its kind in the almost two years since the Bundy Ranch showdown. Cliven, Sr. and Carol Bundy have yet to pay their grazing fees, no arrests have been made despite numerous broken laws, many of which should result in felony convictions for the people involved, but also no human blood has been shed in any of these five actions.
  3. Mr. Ammon Bundy received a $530,000 Small Business Administration loan in 2010. Mr. Cliven Bundy, Sr. is charged $1.35 per cow/calf pair per acre to graze his cattle on federal land, as opposed to about a $12-15pp/pa going rate on private property, but owes over four times as much in fees and fines (over $1 million) as all other ranchers combined, according to the BLM (courtesy E&E News), and continues to graze his herds on federal land. A 2012 attempt by the BLM to round up some of the 900 head of cattle he grazes on land designated for 150 was met and rebuffed with threats of violence as well.
  4. Few if any of the men involved in the current 'mission from God', as Mr. Ammon Bundy calls it, are from Oregon, and the men they're ostensibly there to help denounce their actions. The focus of their protest has shifted from 'justice for the Hammonds' to 'returning the land to We the People'. 'The People', referring to US citizens, largely feel the land is already being stewarded for our use, and in this particular case arrangements between local native tribes, landowners, and the government to share and use the land appropriately are working well to serve all involved, and are addressed as needed between various parties when things got jammed up one way or another. Not everyone's always happy, but things are worked out between the government, the natives, and most landowners in the area in largely civil and productive ways.
  5. The Hammonds were not given a second jail sentence, nor does double jeopardy apply as they've not been tried twice for the same crimes. They were given a sentence that didn't meet the mandatory minimum for the crimes of which they were convicted - which were not all the crimes with which they were initially charged thanks to a plea deal - and, very likely due to the nature of those crimes (setting fire to federal lands and endangering firefighters) coupled with the terribly bad wildfire seasons of the last couple of years, the 9th Circuit Court decided they must finish serving out the full MM sentences. The Hammonds agreed to do so and reported as directed at the appointed time.
We, Peace and Dude, Sr., have no solutions to offer as to how best to end this impasse. If the ranchers manage to coerce a show of force, or if one is brought without coercion, either of which is possible, there will be bloodshed. Blocking the occupiers off and cutting off their resources leaves the buildings vulnerable to weather damage and gives the occupiers an excuse to cry, "Cruel and inhumane punishment!" If they leave quietly without consequence there'll be anger, rage, maybe even dangerous fury amongst those who feel these men should be jailed (or worse, but those who are calling for heads on pikes are strongly overreacting) and an even greater sense of invincibility among their group. Short of Dude, Jr.'s solution, their leaving quietly is the best option but it's hard to imagine there won't be an adverse reaction, perhaps even a severe one, if that course of action is taken with all of this coming on the heels of a year of so much violence.

Dude, Jr., though, is ingenius. He says, "Scare them out." We thought about a couple of options for that - his initial idea was to just drive a tank up to the door and leave it there without firing, but then we thought that might be the catalyst that starts things down a bad road, so we thought about things like causing indeterminate noises in the building via some kind of aural projector and/or equipping coyotes with collars that transmit noises that sound like much larger, more dangerous animals, then dropping them off nightly as close as possible to the compound while avoiding detection.

That line of thinking led to the thing that sounds quickest and most effective, which would be to set up a large neodymium (or stronger, if the Feds have one) magnet near enough the refuge to have its effect and let 'er rip... the guns right outta their waistbands. The magnet operator would necessarily be at a distance, so no human targets to shoot at even if one of the ranchers is strong enough to control their gun under those circumstances. If the magnet would create a risk of bullets popping off spontaneously this wouldn't work, but if that were not the case and it did work it would be bloodless and effective in neutralizing the threat, allowing the occupiers to be rounded up and arrested as they rightly should be, no matter how sympathetic one might be to their purported cause.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement works less well when it consists solely of telling someone how great they are and how wonderfully they're doing than when it's based in asking at appropriate times things like, "Are you okay?" and, "Do you need anything?"

The former approach allows no space or response for the inevitable times when a person isn't being great or doing wonderfully and introduces the potential for catastrophic breakdown when someone who's used to constant and unwavering praise is finally faced with reality. The latter, however, is a very simple version of the Socratic method that invites the person being reinforced to either acknowledge that they are indeed okay and/or don't need anything - thus cementing those ideas in their heads as their usual state of being - while at the same time offering an opening to say without shame when it's the case, "No, I'm not okay," and/or, "I could use some sugar/help/me-time/what-have-you," a skill that's advantageous to all of us when used appropriately and which many are sorely lacking (although as many are very good at weeping, wailing, and gnashing their teeth when they have no real grievances, but that's an issue to be addressed under 'negative reinforcement').

Asking rather than telling gives that person a chance to establish a habit and pattern of evaluating their own well-being and addressing their needs as they currently stand, reinforcing the positive mindset that they're capable of taking care of themselves even when that means getting some assistance, and that asking for something isn't a failure - unless it's done in an entitled manner - but a sometime necessity and perfectly acceptable under the right circumstances.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

To a Friend

I've wanted to say to you in case it hasn't yet occurred to you, gullibility is often a trait of one who is themselves honest and forthcoming and assumes the same of others. Understanding that helped me a lot in adjusting my expectations and picking my battles: We have to consider our audience. It's a frustrating fact of human nature that no matter how clear and simple a point, it won't be understood by everyone. Some don't, some can't, many won't get it, and as right as we are in our universe, they're every bit as right in theirs, just not from our perspective if we disagree very vehemently.

This is not actually in relation to your recent posts - it's something I've wanted to say often since we last saw you and talked about being gullible - but at the same time, I read those posts and feel intense frustration coming from you and I think, in light of my own choices over the course of my life, "Oh, no, don't scream yourself hoarse, don't muddy the field with your own hate for their choices, don't don't don't," and then I think it's none of my business. And it isn't, but... we consider you a friend. We hold you dear in our hearts, more than I think you know, and we see in you clear possibility for all kinds of adventures in life that will allow you to impact those around you in positive ways. Falling victim to the same closed-minded mentality as those you're railing against won't serve you or anyone. When you put your mind to what works without regard to its political, religious, or any other affiliations, and set aside the stuff you can't fix until a real solution presents itself, you'll shine.

Love from all of us to you and aaaaall of your'n' :) ,
Peace (& the Dudes; although they didn't take part in writing this, I know they agree with it)