Monthly Archives: June 2011
Now I will admit up front what I’m suggesting is not a law but rather another constitutional amendment, as I am going to suggest, quite contrary to my usual stance, that affects a very specific area of state’s rights. I don’t care. And quite frankly if this was introduced I don’t think 48 of the states would complain my actually giving them more power and control than they have now. The two states that will complain are Iowa and Rhode Island.
According to Dave Barry in his grand political masterpiece “Dave Barry Hits below the Beltway” the Constitution states the following:
The President shall be elected every four years according to the following procedure:
(a) In the dead of winter, all interested candidates and their entourages, as well as members of the national press corps on expense accounts, shall go to Iowa and New Hampshire, unless somebody discovers two states that are even more wretched places to spend the dead of winter.
(c)[…]The instant that the votes are counted, the candidates, entourages, and press corps members shall vacate these two states faster than Senator Ted Kennedy vacates a submerged Oldsmobile.
Now I’m not entirely sure that Barry, a candidate for President for the last two decades, is entirely accurate in his direct quote from the Constitution, but from actually watching the news, you would have every reason to believe that this is somehow enshrined in the Constitution.
And why is this? Why is a state that that loves corn as much as New Zealand loves sheep and a frozen waste land in New England (and not the happy kind of waste land where I can shore fragments against my ruins) the states that get to choose who gets to be President? Why only these two? Now I’ll admit I don’t have as much against New Hampshire, but Iowa is a problem. This is a state where every candidate up until this election has had to swear a blood oath and offer their first born as ransoms in their support of ethanol subsidies to win. (It tells you how bad the debt really is when candidates feel they can tell Iowa where to stick their corn). Which is why I think this system must change. No two states should hold this much power over the electorate.
Thus we need a change.
We need a Constitutional Amendment stating that there will be 10 primaries held from January to May in a presidential election year. Each primary will consist of 5 states. The order of the states will be chosen the November before (because the election cycles last far too damn long these days) by picking the states randomly (computer, bingo balls, pulling them out of a hat, don’t really care how so long as its random). This will mean that no state will perpetually have the power to force its pet projects down the throat of the rest of the country (as Iowa has done for the last few decades). Also the randomness of this will prevent candidates from tailoring that week of primaries to a single state or area (as currently with Super Tuesday)…they’ll actually have to come up with policies that are more national in outlook (what a concept they’re only the President of the WHOLE country) and not just for the needs of that area in that week.
Will this change a lot? No. But a basic concept of federalism is that no state should be arbitrarily over any other—this is why every state only gets two senators. And I don’t necessarily think that this will radically change the outcome. But ask yourself do you always agree with people in Iowa and think they should ALWYAS have first say in who gets to be president?
Movies are getting pretty bad. Between the low class comedies, the overly melodramatic dramas about people I couldn’t care less about, zombies, and vampires so wimpy the weakest nerd in the world could kick their ass, the last decade of movies has been a few really great movies in a vast sea of crap. One of the few advantages over the last decade is that the comic book movies, which now seem to be about the only genre that is now consistently entertaining (not always good, but usually entertaining), have been getting deeper and deeper. Yeah the X-men movies were more philosophical from the beginning, but you have to admit that they do seem to be getting deeper on a whole (Dark Knight was a comment on ethics and the war on terror, Thor was laced with Branagh’s trademark obsession with Shakespeare, Iron Man 2 had shades of Atlas Shrugged, and The Incredibles was like an Ayn Rand cartoon).
Which leads us to the last couple of weeks which have given us two new films X-men: First Class and Green Lantern. On the whole X-men is the better of the two (but it also is aided by the fact that after Last Stand and Wolverine our expectations for an X-men movie was that it didn’t !@#$ing suck) however I think it is Green Lantern which has a more interesting and meaningful theme. (I just couldn’t bring myself to believe either film deserved a blog of its own)
I know that seems kind of a dumb assertion to make. But bear with me.
Yes I will immediately concede that First Class was a superior movie on all plot/character/stylistic fronts. Green Lantern seems to be missing much of its second act which kills all character development and relationships between our hero and his friend/the audience (I can hope that the missing 2nd act will show up in a director’s cut, but I fear it was never filmed and probably never written). Not that X-Men doesn’t have plot problems. From the previous films I had the impression that Charles and Erik knew each other for more than a few short months, but apparently they got to know each other really fast. Also, how did Charles go from mild rake to St. Xavier in two minutes of film? Also I do not see how someone as intelligent as Erik/Magneto, who has enough self-control and introspection to control his powers as fully as he does, but be completely unable to put his own beliefs to any kind of logical test whatsoever. Not to say that the intelligent don’t hold contradictory or wrong beliefs in real life…but it does seem a bit odd. Also a problem with both movies was their action sequences…am I the only person getting bored by these extended, special effects laden, action sequences? (Although watching Erik kill the S.S. officers in the first part of the film did warm my heart.)
(And I realize that the character of Magneto has been Jewish since the first comic, and it was not an Anti-Semitic choice in making him Jewish, it was a stylistic choice of irony that if there was one person who should understand why it was evil it should be Magneto, thus showing how human the mutants are in their personal flaws. But it’s probably just that I’ve seen too many Anti-Semitic themed news articles in the last week that scream at Israel for defending themselves when attacked, but I find it odd that the villain is a villain because he defended himself when thousands of missiles were fired at him. Somebody lobs that much fire power at me, I will be understandably pissed, especially when I just saved them. And then there is of course Charles’ defense of the sailors who launched those missiles, which boiled down to “They were following orders.” And in that case the fictitious U.S. and Soviet Navies were on a moral equivalent with the S.S. who tried to use that excuse. So while the vengeance would not have been a moral good, it would have been self-defense. Could not the writers have come up with a situation where Erik was not as justified in being pissed to no end? Yes, trying to kill the people who just killed him doesn’t make him a saint—it just makes him human, not necessarily a villain. Honestly, couldn’t they have made him a villain for a better reason than personal vengeance against Nazi’s and self-defense? It’s probably that I’ve been watching other things in the news, but I am detecting just a trace of Anti-Semitism in those choices…but I’ll admit I could easily be seeing what was not intended in this case).
But back to why I think the Green Lantern is the more meaningful picture. Art has only a few purposes. Three of these purposes (and the ones you’re most likely to run across) are to entertain, to provide social and political commentary, and raise philosophical questions of the universe, ethics, and human nature. Good (or at least tolerable art) usually deals with at least two of these, which both of these movies do. Great art usually deals with all three (neither of these movies hits all three). Both movies set out to entertain and did that to varying degrees of success. But X-men attempted only social commentary (its lack of character depth prevented the third) and a very limited social commentary at that, while Green Lantern looked more toward the philosophical. And it is this difference where I find Green Lantern to be superior.
The social commentary of X-Men has always been one about bigotry. In the 60’s when the X-Men were created it was an allegory for racism. Now that racism (except for Anti-Semitism) has been driven to the fringe of society, it is now an allegory for how society treats homosexuals. And there in is the reason X-Men is weaker—in a generation, maybe a generation and a half, society will likely have grown up and this allegory will not exactly be relevant. Further, this is more a message that is preaching to the choir—no one stupid enough to see homosexuality as a sin is going to change their minds because they saw a movie about mutants. So unless we actually do start having mutants this is a message with an expiration date on it (hopefully sooner rather than later)…and that’s the problem when art ventures into social commentary, to be truly great it either has to be an issue that is not specific to a certain place and time (1984 will always be relevant to humanity) or it needs to be so shocking that it doesn’t just preach to the choir but rather persuades the other side (things are so bad in Ireland we have no other option than eating the children). So while I think it is a correct argument, and a well made film I have a hard time seeing it venturing into greatness or even a movie I ever need to watch again. (But if you want a different opinion or here)
However, Green Lantern for all of its many stylistic flaws reached a much deeper part of my soul. I don’t think I’ll be giving anything away when I say the main villain of the film is a creature called Parallax who is am embodiment of fear itself. It feeds off of fear, it creates fear, it is fear. This is contrasted with our hero Hal Jordan, the Earth Green Lantern, who more or less is an embodiment of the will. Yeah, I know, not all that subtle, but it certainly has a far deeper point to make if you ignore the lack of grace. Now some smaller minds have critiqued the movie associated with the Nazi misinterpretation of Nietzsche concept of the will to power….but anyone who actually knows philosophy would not see anything of Nietzsche in this the concept of will shown in the Green Lantern. This will is more akin to you sitting between the cartoon devil and angel sitting on opposite shoulders, akin to the Freudian superego balancing the ego and id—the will in this case is the part of you that chooses. That chooses to move forward. That chooses to be good. That chooses to acknowledge that you are afraid but that you WILL move past it.
“You’re afraid to even admit you’re afraid. I know — I’ve spent my entire life doing it. You know, we have a saying on Earth — we say: “I’m only human.” We say it because we’re vulnerable, we say it because we know we’re afraid. It doesn’t mean we’re weak. Help me save my planet! Don’t give in to fear — fight it! Fight it with me!”
I realize that probably much of what I like about this sentiment probably comes more from years of source material (although still not enough to make me want to read a comic book, but I’m a bit of a snob that way) but it makes Green Lantern a superior piece of fiction. The idea that life is very much a battle between our will power and our fear (or in New Age parlance the battle of the soul and the ego) and we have to choose to move past our fear or not. Evil and fear are placed as one in the same, which is an accurate assessment of the real world. The movies shows in multiple forms how fear is seductive because it is so easy and so superficially powerful and thus becomes quite tempting for all of us to give into (exemplified in the line “those who worship evil’s might”—it seems to be powerful, because it’s easy, but will always lose). However the film also correctly ties intelligence and imagination to the idea of will (and I would go a step further and say good will) in opposition to fear as fear is an emotion that will destroy all of these things that make us human. For all these reasons (and a few more, but they do have a variation on theme nature to what I’ve already said and there is no need to bore you with information when you really need to roll these ideas around in your head and apply some self-reflection to get anything out of it) Green Lantern, at least philosophically, is a better movie.
Again X-Men is a more entertaining and well done movie, but Green Lantern has a more transcendent theme and I will probably end up buying Green Lantern and not First Class because the Lantern gives me more to think about.
Oh and then there’s this… New York Times resident conservative Thomas Friedman (the New York Times standard of a conservative is that are you to the right of Marx) also has an almost equally stupid suggestion to solve the economy as what are idiot Treasury Secretary wants.
Raise taxes on gas and require improved standards (which might be okay if coupled with opening up off shore drilling and Anwar…but otherwise is just suicidal and begging for massive inflation in the short term)
Shrink the presence in Afghanistan (which again may be the best call…but we should get out of Yemen and Libya first)
Pass the Simpson-Bowles act…which I could deal with. While it has hikes in taxes it also has lots and lots of fun and rational spending cuts.
And a “short-term stimulus.” Really Tom? Another stimulus package? Because it failed to do anything the first two times and other than radically increase our debt, continue the cancer that is corporate welfare and continue to let bad companies be a drain on the economy. Yes, because the first two times didn’t work, it’s sure to work this time. And what do they call it when you do something over and over again and each time expect a different result? This more than anything is what makes Friedman’s plan idiotic.
How about this:
Pass a combination Simpson-Bowles and the Ryan plan.
Raise gas taxes but open up drilling. Follow the link if you want justification.
Bomb the Taliban out of existence and then just leave Afghanistan…it’s probably the only chance they have because we’re just making it worse. Get out of Libya and Yemen too.
And of course, get rid of Obamacare and that prescription drug benefit that idiot Bush passed.
Now that would actually make fiscal sense…
Tim Geithner, who apparently knows less about economics than Paul Krugman, has a bright idea on how to solve our budget woes. Raise Taxes. That’s it. Because it would be “irresponsible” to cut spending.
Let me think of my own personal budget like Geithner thinks of the federal budget. Let’s say I was a moron and got so far into debt even if I didn’t have monthly expenses (no rent, no food, no electricity or phone bill) it would still take over a year to repay my debt if I spent every single dime I made during that year on my debt (because you will remember that our national debt is almost a trillion more than our 14 trillion GDP). Now if I was dumb enough to get in that position (I’m not, I freak out if my debt gets near 20% of my yearly income) what would be the intelligent thing to do? Now you might think the intelligent thing to do would be to cut your expenses at least enough that you are paying enough of your bills to cut into the principle of your debt. You might even be foolish enough to think that if I were in that position I should cut up all my credit cards and make sure I don’t take on any more debt. However, you are clearly not as wise as Tim Geithner who would recommend that I not only NOT cut my expenses but that I spend more money and go further into debt. Truly Tim is wise beyond the knowledge of us mere mortals. And how will I deal with the fact that I am even further in debt? Well, according to Tim I just need to make more money! Because apparently it grows on trees. But there’s a problem, I can’t get more money. Why? BECAUSE TIM GEITHNER WANTS TO RAISE MY !*&%ING TAXES!!!! You know if the economy is slowing down, of course raising taxes and giving less money to people is of course the greatest idea ever. And pumping more money into government projects and government jobs which have been proven time and time and time again to be nothing but a drain on the economy is of course not going to destroy it further.
To anyone who is not lobotomized the answer is clear and obvious. Massive cuts to all of these bullshit programs. To anyone who isn’t so self-centered and hedonistic as to have even a mild concern for others they would say start with the programs that they are taking money from because while a cut to what they use may hurt a little, the entire U.S. economy going into a full on depression is certainly going to hurt everyone even more.
But a truth this obvious is clearly beyond Tim Geithner and his boss, whom, as it is clear from their understanding of economics, if you added their IQ’s together you would still end up with a single digit.
You want to talk taxes after we start cutting, that’s a discussion any reasonable person would be willing to discuss…but our rampant and psychotic spending has to be dealt with first.
In reference to one of my recent posts on my spiritual beliefs a friend asked me what I believed about reincarnation.
Now this wasn’t an easy question because first there are, in my opinion, a lot of misconceptions about reincarnation and second it’s a lot more complicated than people think.
Let me deal with the misconceptions first. I have no belief and have seen no evidence that people are reborn as animals or that whatever spirit is in an animal is reborn as a human. Life is about learning, and I don’t see how you can learn anything in even higher animals (okay maybe dolphins) let alone lower ones. I have read lots of transcriptions of past life regressions, I have seen “past” lives that occurred in the future, even a few on other planets, but I have never seen anyone remember their life as a dog, snail or cow. As far as I can tell souls are never reincarnated into animals.
Next, a lot of people seem to have this conception that the minute everyone dies they are immediately reincarnated. Not how it works. Unless you’re the Dalia Lama you’re usually not getting put right back into a waiting embryo the moment after you die. The afterlife is actually quite complicated. ( I have included a flowchart as it would have taken me 2 pages to explain, if you have questions please forward them to me. However, one of the more interesting points you may notice is that there is no Hell, but there is a purgatory.)
Now let’s say you make it through the many levels of the afterlife and want to be reborn, as it is the most effective way to learn and progress spiritually. But it’s an involved process. You have lots of choices to make. Where to be born. When (since linear time is an illusion you can actually be born prior to your last life) to be born. What lessons are you going to learn? What obstacles are you going to face in life? Will you intentionally have a personality trait that is not common to your soul (usually you will pick a situation that will provide genes and environment suited to your personality, and it makes the whole question of nature vs. nurture infinitely more complex…but sometimes you don’t and you pick some trait that is not natural to your core being). And then the trick of finding parents who meet all of your requirements. (One of the advantages to this belief is that when your teenager screams “I never asked to be born!” you can respond, “actually you did, and you were the one who picked me”.)
You choose all the major events in your life. Including most of the crappy ones. You only have yourself to blame. Primarily because those terrible incidents are often a chance to see how you react and learn from them. (However, this shouldn’t be taken as a chance to blame the victim though. A lot of times people, those with more enlightened souls, will lead a life with greater challenges and suffering often to teach other people compassion and empathy and it’s up to you to learn from it. If you ever look at someone’s suffering and say ‘well, they asked for it’ this is clearly one of those times that was designed to teach you compassion…and good lord did you fail).
Now while you don’t bring in memories from past lives on a conscious level, you do carry all that baggage with you. Small and large personality traits are often formed through lifetimes of experience as much as from this life. Fears that develop early in life are a key example—many phobias may have more to do with how you died last time than what has happened this time. Other traits, deep seated traits are also carried over from past lives. If you spent a dozen lives as a woman and are spending this life as a man then giving up many of the feminine energies that your soul has been drenched in for the last dozen lives (and I mean that in the Taoist sense of masculine and feminine energies, that neither is superior and not exactly equivalent to gender, but are highly correlated) then the odds of you being a homosexual in this life is probably pretty high. Other tendencies are not as variable as gender and sexuality—for instance some people just don’t learn and fight the good fight in every lifetime, which if not done in the latter half of the 20th Century or onward will likely get you killed in unpleasant ways; which in turn would lead to a martyr complex in this lifetime. The goal of reincarnation is to push past our personality traits and bad habits that we’ve acquired over the years and become something more enlightened (in my fictional example, learning to fight the good fight without the holier-than-thou attitude that comes with it).
Finally we come to the issue of karma—which is something grossly misunderstood. Karma is not a law set in place by God. He doesn’t punish. Why? Because to him, this world is just our bad dream. If you killed someone in a dream would you need to go to jail and/or seek forgiveness? No. So God doesn’t need to forgive us for what we’ve done in this dream, because from his perspective it never happened. And he certainly doesn’t see a need to punish you. So where does karma, and the punishments it brings (not to mention the benefits), come from? Us. We see ourselves as less than worthy, as guilty, as wrong, as sinners…and so we put ourselves in positions to be punished for our failings. Now you may try to object and point out psychopath, mass murderers, the Obamas, and the people who green light half of the shit we see in the theaters as sick cruel monsters who are devoid of conscience and morals. They may be in this life (and half the time dealing with a brain that is defective—in which case it’s like driving a car with a brake line that was cut, you’re not exactly responsible if you hit some one) but their soul (and their ego) do know right from wrong…and their ego will punish them for it in their next lifetime. In this case the trick is to realize that you are not your worst inclinations (which come from your ego) and that this is all not real, thus you don’t need to seek forgiveness. But in the meantime seeking forgiveness, and more importantly forgiving yourself, in a non-masochistic way would be called for.
That’s reincarnation 101…any questions?
So, we had possibly the world’s most boring debate this week. You know, usually, I am a firm believer in Regan’s 11th Commandment (“Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of your fellow Republican”) but the mutual appreciation society that we saw on CNN was rather boring…further the 11th Commandment doesn’t apply to shiftless socialists like Romney who are Republicans in name only (RINOs). Whatever this CNN debate was…it wasn’t an argument, which it should have been…
Michele Bachmann…One commentator called her the thinking person’s Sarah Palin. This is still an insult to Bachmann. She did better than anyone else on that stage and she is still my 2nd choice if Giuliani doesn’t get it. However, her statement that she wanted us out of Libya because they didn’t attack us does give me pause…we should want out of Libya because there is no pro-democracy force to support and we have no goal in mind as far as anyone can tell (oh, and we’re already over extended)…her answer makes me worry that she might adopt the “not our problem mentality” that so often gets the U.S. in trouble. But still she understands the economy is the most important thing, and she understands how to solve the problem correctly. Oh, and to date she is the only candidate I know of who says she will go through and review all of Obama’s executive orders (most of which are unconstitutional anyway) and revoke the ones that need to be.
Herman Cain–to call Cain’s statement about not wanting to put a Muslim in his administration is just stupid. Exactly who did they have in mind? I don’t know of any American Muslims in Politics who are Republican, certainly I know of none that are qualified for a cabinet level position…so who exactly are we worried about not getting a job they earned…or is it that the Democrats think you should put in minorities just for the sake of having minorities. Actually that sounds about as cynical and racist as I expect from most Dems. However, it did not strike me as if he has enough knowledge and background experience to be able to move from the board room to the Oval Office. I would still vote for him if he made it to the nomination, but he is still not filling me with an abundance of confidence.
Newt Gingrinch–Newt did fairly well. Too bad for him he already sunk his chances.
Gary Johnson. Who? Yeah I’m there too.
Ron Paul–Ron is fun as ever. Completely and totally wrong on all things foreign policy, but I love having him in the legislature.Just never in the executive.EVER!
Tim Pawlenty— “Obmneycare” was perhaps one of the most genius things I have heard to date in this campaign and it illustrates the clear perspective that Romney does not belong in this party or this race. It shows clearly that Romney would just be another 4 years of the stupid economic policies of Bush and Obama. But when Pawlenty had the chance to distinguish himself, to show he had a backbone, to show that he was a leader…he backed away from it.
Mitt Romney–and what a shock, Mitt continues to be the same old moderate that we knew and hated 4 years ago.
Rick Santorum—the smarmy ass continued to be a smarmy ass and continued to believe that social issues were somehow relevant in the face of trillion dollar deficits, growth killing taxation, and job killing regulation. I’d compare voting for Santorum to shooting oneself in the foot if it wasn’t more like putting the gun in your mouth and blowing out the back of your head.
John Huntsman–Obama’s Ambassador to China…the guy Obama picked to go kiss China’s ass and beg for more money…He may have been a good Governor but working with Obama suggests a major lack of character. And the fact that he increased spending in Utah during his tenure also not a good sign. And he believes in Global Warming…could he and Romney please just go establish the RINO party and leave the conservatives alone.
Sarah Palin–the media continues to stalk this worthless non-entity without a conscience. Like Romney she will back any plan, no matter how against the principles of conservatism as long as she get more money or press time. This trip, while it’s fun to watch the media squirm, shows how completely egocentric and self-deluded she is. And you know what?… I’ve already lived under an egocentric idiot for three years…I don’t need another term of that.
Rudy Giuliani–News is that he is meeting with Chris Christie and Rick Perry. Hopefully it is to get their endorsements. I envision Giuliani at the podium, flanked by Perry and Christie (two real fiscal conservatives), announcing his intent to run and eviscerate Romney and Obama (but I repeat myself).
The last book I recommended was Wizard’s First Rule which is a wonderful book in its own right but what makes the Sword of Truth Series great is the collections of philosophical themes which are explicitly stated as Wizard’s Rules. Stone of Tears, while still one of the better books in the series as it follows the growth of main character Richard Rahl into becoming a wizard. It has certain aspects of a bildungroman, a story of growing up, and certainly all the trappings of good high-fantasy (battles against ultimate evil, sword fights, a talking dragon, you know the deal)…but as “People are Stupid” made Wizard’s First Rule more than just a fantasy book, Stone of Tears is more than just a fantasy novel because of Wizard’s Second Rule:
“The greatest harm can result from the best intentions. Kindness and good intentions can be an insidious path to destruction. Sometimes doing what seems right is wrong, and can cause harm. The only counter to it is knowledge, wisdom, forethought, and understanding the First Rule. Even then, that is not always enough.”
Or if you have any understanding of politics or economics, this is called the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Why is this important?
Well, just look at the people who don’t heed this basic rule…that is the Democratic Party. They do lots of things, because they want to make the world a better place…but they never seem to ask will this make the world a better place, is there any reason to believe this will work, are there any facts to prove that this will work? No, they just feel and want to do something. To hell with reality. They have good intentions.
Welfare. Let’s help the underprivileged. To hell if there is a reason why most people who have low incomes actually have low incomes. To hell if they choose to have children out of wedlock early in life, not get an education, or cultivate an air of laziness. No let’s just throw money at them. Yes let’s subsidize bad behavior and give it out indiscriminately. Whereas church and private charity would hold people to standards and encourage them pull themselves out, welfare encourages the worst behaviors in society and has destroyed the lower classes of this nation and wrecked the possibility for having a country made entirely of a middle class. But we wanted to help; shouldn’t that excuse the evils welfare has brought on our society? No. Because they were completely foreseeable. And they’re even less forgivable now when the liberals’ answer is more handouts that won’t work.
Tax Policy. Yeah, so we spent ourselves into debt. So let’s tax the rich to solve our problems. We want it to solve our problems. To hell with the fact that it will make it worse. Let’s just jack up the top rate to 70%. To hell with consequences! We want it to solve our problem, whether it actually will is irrelevant.
Just about any law making whatsoever…same problem. They create more problems. This is why the Tao Te Ching 57 states
[…]The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.[…]
2500 years ago they knew more than modern liberals. The more you want to try and change things the more you screw things up because there are always unintended consequences. Now those consequences may be forgivable if they could not be foreseen, but how many of our current problems were not so much 20/20 hindsight but rather clearly visible if we had just looked with foresight. Almost all of them.
And this doesn’t just apply to governments. Anyone who got a subprime loan. You violated the second rule. You wanted something and didn’t consider the consequences. How many of us go through all of our lives like this? Too many. We all need to adopt a habit of weighting consequences before we act—you know, try not to be completely stupid—and maybe also try to get those around us to also use some foresight.
If you want more examples of how acting before you think can cause major problems I would read Stone of Tears once you finished Wizard’s First Rule.
So Democrat Laura Richardson objects to looking at the radicalization of Islam hearing because any look based on “race or religion” is discriminatory. Is that it? Do we have a problem with radical Islam because we dislike other religions only because they’re different and we’re bigots? I’m sure she’s right. It’s not like almost every major terrorist attack against the US and its allies (with the exception of Oklahoma City) for the last three decades hasn’t has been committed by only one group of radical religious lunatics. No, not all it’s because we’re bigots.
Richardson is right. We should also look at Neo-Nazi’s because Nazi’s have never had anything to do with radical Islam (you know if you ignore all the diplomatic relations Nazi Germany had with radical Islamic groups because they were united in their hatred of Britain and the Jews). I’m sure that you find all those connections are gone now and that a deep seated hatred of the Jews is no longer uniting these two organizations.
Richardson is right we should look at other problems in the prison system. Like gangs…as most gangs have some connection to the Mexican cartels…and it’s not like the Cartels are pushing heroin and other drugs grown by terrorists to fund their war against the west. It must be that we’re just bigots and only want to go after radical Muslims.
And while not in this committee’s scope of interest, maybe we should look at the religions that are the victims of hate crimes in this country. Remind me again which religion has the most hate crimes perpetrated against it in this country…oh, that’s right, that would the Jews. I’m sure radical Muslims have nothing to do with that.
Sarcasm aside, this woman is delusional if she doesn’t think radical Islam is a problem not just for America but for the world at large. My only complaint against King’s statement is that he didn’t lay into this idiotic excuse for a member of Congress more.
And for a variation on this theme…
Someone emailed me a classic attack on my defense of the possibility of God. It was long and rambling, and sometimes mildly incoherent, but when you boiled it down it came down to the classic Problem of Evil.
The philosophical problem of evil attack on the existence of God goes as follows.
If God exists then he is:
B) Omniscient (All-Knowing)
C) Omnipresent (Everywhere)
D) Omnipotent (All-powerful)
And yet there is evil. And if all of the above is true of God then it is true there shouldn’t be evil. So at least one of those things about God isn’t true. And if one of those things isn’t true about God then he isn’t God.
This has been an historic argument against God, and it’s kind of fun reading 2,000 years of Christian apologists try to find a way around this argument. The best they came up with was God intends to bring something good out of the bad, akin to smelting metals in a crucible. But this creates a rather cruel idea of God.
However New Age belief has a much easier answer out of this problem. Since this whole existence is in the mind of the Son of God, similar to Hindu belief of how all of reality is in the mind of the dreaming Brahma, just because this world has problems isn’t relevant to God. Yes, he’s all powerful, knowing and good. Doesn’t matter to him. This is a dream, it’s not real. Yes he may be trying to help us wake up, but really from the perspective of an infinite being, a dream lasting trillions of years is still nothing…or in the word of the book, A Course in Miracles, “for such a tiny interval of time that not one note in Heaven’s song was missed.” (Chapter 26, Section V, 5:4). God doesn’t have to solve the problem of evil because evil is an illusion, a flaw within a very bad dream of his Son, a dream that will be forgotten even before we wake. What’s to solve when nothing ever happened? Think of it this way; do you need to make up or be punished for crimes you commit in a dream? No. And the evil in this dream is equally an illusion.
So while the problem of evil was an excellent and classic attempt to try and disprove God…it just doesn’t work with New Agers.
Could the media please learn the tried and true method we all learned in childhood: “If you ignore her she’ll go away”…and apply that to Palin.
So once again I got asked what does a New Ager believe, and rather than just directing them to my blog (the idea crossed my mind but I thought it sounded either a bit rude or not rude enough…this person was rather closed minded, I won’t mention from what religion, and kind of needed to be put down a peg or two) I came up with the following:
I have a Christian conception of the trinity in which we exist in a Hindu Metaphysics conception of the mind of God, but the only way to escape it is through a Buddhist path toward Enlightenment that must be traveled with Taoist desires, Aristotelian deliberation, Nietzschian will and the unshakable of faith of Judaism in the face of momentarily negative events.
I was quite proud of the description as it described fairly well my divergent beliefs and philosophies…but even as I said it I realized it was an ungodly complex and dense collection of disparate belief systems (which admittedly was kind of the point). Why can’t I have an easier religion to explain…well nobody ever said truth was easy to explain. I think it’s easy to understand but explaining it can be a bitch.
New Agers, or at least my brand of New Agers, believe like Christians that there is God the Father and God the Son, the same being, but different parts, equal in divinity and power, divergent only in that one created the other (but what is time in eternity?) and the bond which is shared between these two parts of the same infinite being could be considered the Holy Spirit (I’ll get back to this part). The second part of this trinity, like the Hindu god Brahma has fallen asleep and within its mind there exists the dream of our universe (however, unlike the Hindus I believe this is a onetime event and we are not going to repeat it after we wake up). This dream (nightmare?) occurs because the Son had a really bad idea that it is now working out through this thought experiment we call existence. Each of us is a part of the Son (our soul) and thus a part of God and a part of this terrible idea (our ego, that part of us that thinks we aren’t part of God, that part that lives on fear, that part is quite frankly insane). The only way to get out of this dream is, as the Buddha taught, to shed our egos and reach enlightenment…and we all need to reach Enlightenment for this dream to fully end. And like Buddhism and Hinduism we are stuck in a cycle of reincarnation until we reach Enlightenment. Now while the Eightfold Path of Buddhism is a good path to Enlightenment, it doesn’t cover everything, so to live in this world (and not just withdraw as Buddhism often seems to argue for) you must have the simple desire of Taoism that points out that desires should be kept as simple as possible and then you will have everything (“Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.”), desire only what is necessary for happiness and you don’t have to worry about much. And with the introduction of happiness comes my favorite philosopher Aristotle who requires you to stop and think about everything you do, why you do it, and how best to do it until thinking (which contrary to what many foolish people think is not an automatic function that comes with being human) becomes a habit. But thinking is not enough, you have to put your thoughts into action, to will the universe to be what you want, and so the drive of Nietzsche is required to move forward (please understand that most of the terrible things you’ve heard about Nietzsche’s philosophy are not correct, and you should realize that it actually is quite an uplifting and non-racist, non-authoritarian belief). And to bolster this is what should be incredible faith demonstrated by Judaism that one day everything will work out no matter how terrible things may seem at the moment.
That would be one way to describe New Age Metaphysics and Ethics…certainly not the only way…but one way. The idea that no one belief system holds all the answers, but that all the answers are out there if you want to look for them.
I should not take vacations….
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
This week we’re going back to that list of things you want.
Now for the solar plexus chakra, everything is about action so this week we are going to focus on doing something to get what you want to bring you happiness.
In point of fact you will need to do two things this week that will bring you closer to that goal.
Don’t give me or yourself excuses. Go out and accomplish something.
Move out of your parents house. Sing up for a course you need. Find the name and contact information of the real estate agent you are going to use to buy your dream house. Write the first chapter to your book.
Don’t tell yourself why you shouldn’t, just go out there and get what you need done done.