Patriotic hypocrisy …?

A friend of mine stopped by for the weekend and he brought America’s #1 snack food – beer!

budweiser

By this was no ordinary beer, it was Anheuser-Busch’s popular brand “Budweiser”, in a commemorative can that was emblazoned with:

  • Land of the free
  • Home of the brave
  • Indivisible
  • E Pluribus Unum
  • From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters this land was made for you and me
  • Liberty & justice for all
  • Since 1776

I can only assume these are a patriotic themed can that did not sell out completely on the 4th of July. What a shame, because that’s some of the finest swamp-water-piss any true American could hope to buy!

Of course, if a “true” American wanted to be “patriotic”, they would not buy their beer (or any other products) from a foreign-owned company, right? Amirite?? Vote with your wallet and keep your dollars here by supporting locally owned companies by buying only products that are “Made in America”, right? But most folks don’t know that Anheuser-Busch became part of a Belgium beverage & brewing company back in 2008. But that’s OK, you, the consumer, can still show your patriotism by buying MORE of this swill and drinking it while celebrating the anniversary of our country. And don’t forget the fireworks! (made in China), because nothing is more patriotic than drunk people and explosives.

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Say what you mean to say

Some folks will say that using the word “but” to join 2 word phrases into one sentence is a poor choice of wording, because the word “but” negates the first word phrase. An example would be “I don’t mean to upset you, but……”. The second word phrase which completes the sentence is the actual important part. Almost every day I hear someone using this type of phrase connection and it strikes me much like a “back-handed compliment”.

“I’m sorry, but….”

“I don’t mean to offend you, but…”

Many times, the first word phrase is an apology (whether they intended for it to be, or not). Some people are so offended by words that they feel the need to apologize before they say something that another person might not agree with. Talking in this manner reduces the sincerity of an actual apology, should one be actually needed. It’s like the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” – something is said so many times that other people learn to ignore it, then when that person actually says something important, their words fall on deaf ears. Why not just come right out and say what it is you want to say?

“That (article of clothing) looks terrible.”

“The bad news is……”

 

This is a free country and everyone is guaranteed the right of free speech. So why not use it? Say what you mean to say and don’t back-pedal just because what you are saying doesn’t fit in with another person’s narrative.

 

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Knowledge should be free

How many people want to keep knowledge locked up in their minds? They sometimes go as far as patenting their knowledge as an effort to keep other people from knowing what they know.

But how does that improve the world or humanity? It doesn’t.

I used to work for an “automotive information provider”, a company that would gather repair information, convert it into their database format, add some electronic “bells & whistles”, then sell it to repair shops who needed the information to fix cars. It was a simple business idea and it made the original founder quite wealthy. One day I was talking with my supervisor (at the time) and I had mentioned that some of the OE companies provided their repair info for free and if the other OEs followed suit, we would be out of business. He replied “Good thing the others are greedy”.

There are many ways to find information, for free. Sometimes it’s as easy as a Google search, sometimes you need a “specialized database” (like WebMD or Wikipedia) and sometimes it takes a little digging. The beauty of the internet is that no matter what you are looking for, it’s probably out there just waiting to be found. Many mechanics are utilizing web searches, Youtube, and other free information sources rather than paying for information. Any trick to help repair a car, solve a problem, or find an answer, right?

And it’s not just auto mechanics, it’s everyone and rightfully it should be everyone! We are living in the Information Age, with more information available at our fingertips than ever before. Yet it still amazes me that so many people, even those with smart phones and lap top computers, still do not think about doing a simple search. Every day people ask me questions and my first reply is always “What does Google say?”.

When any commodity is readily available, the overall price of that commodity goes down. Businesses can’t compete if information is available for free; businesses need secrets because those are the only advantage they have over the competition. If a commodity or product is scarce, then the overall price goes up, and THAT’S good for every capitalist business.

So what is more important – making a profit or helping people find the things they require? Can we continue to sell our humanity one piece at a time or can we drop our egos and redesign the world in such a manner that everyone has free access to the things they need, not only to survive but also to thrive? Humans have 100+ years of capitalism as well as thousands of years of separatism to overcome. It may seem like a daunting task, but it’s the one true task we must accomplish if we have any chance of survival.

#ResourceBasedEconomy.

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Caught in the trap of capitalism

For some, capitalism is a good thing. It brings them enough money so they can live the kind of life they want, with a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and food in their belly. But for many others, capitalism is the method by which these same things are removed from their lives.

For the upper class or “wealthy”, money is spent on extras. There are no worries about the basic necessities in life because for them, these are a given. The fridge is full of food, the closet has more clothes than they can ever wear, and the only question is what car they should drive to ensure their place in society. Money is a ‘tool’ for them and they use it as a lever; an advantage to exploit. They make their money work for them rather than working for their money. For them, capitalism is a game and they will tweak all the rules in their favor. Families with “old money” make sure they have systems in place to protect their wealth. Trust funds are established, shell corporations are created and children are “paid employees” so the money can be quietly scurried away for future use. Banks in far away paradises, like The Cayman Islands, are a perfect place for corporations and individuals alike to store their funds away from the eyes of the IRS. Some claim that the rich are “job creators” but the exact opposite seems to be true; the rich have hoarded so much cash away that there is little left in circulation for the rest of the people to use.

For the middle & lower class, they are working just to get by, living paycheck-to-paycheck, with no money left to put away for a rainy day. The harder they work, the further behind they seem to be going and in many ways this is true – because capitalism is morphing the game around them. Some don’t want to play the game by the upper class’s rules, so they resort to crime. There is no hope of “getting ahead” and their future won’t be changed unless someone else changes it for them. But why would the upper class change a system that is tipped in their direction? They won’t.

I used to like drag racing and one of the most successful racers is John Force, who was once quoted as saying “If we don’t win, we don’t eat…. and my guys like to eat darn near every day now.” As innocent as this quote sounds, it is a true example of one aspect of capitalism – you have to keep “winning” just to eat.  It’s not enough to merely exist, you have to keep working harder and harder just to stay afloat, let alone get ahead. And if you don’t, the rest of the world will lap you and leave you behind in the dust.

The definition of “ponzi scheme” is “a fraudulent investment operation where the operator generates returns for older investors through revenue paid by new investors, rather than from legitimate business activities“. Isn’t this what capitalism really is? Capitalism only ‘works’ if the money keeps moving, it requires new ‘investors’ to bring new money into the game, thus keeping the game up and running. And the more money that gets scurried away in blind bank accounts, then the more new players are needed to boost up the older ones.  Sound familiar?

 

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The secrets that we keep locked away

The comedian Jim Jeffries has mentioned that Americans keep guns “for protection”, but if they are locked away in a safe, you can’t get to them quick enough to protect yourself. A very astute observation he has there; it’s a dirty little secret that the NRA will never put on a roadside billboard.

The other day I decided to sell my gun safe. I’m not a hunter and truthfully if someone broke into my house, I’d probably have trouble defending myself even with a gun in my hands. I had inherited the safe 20 years ago, along with quite a collection of guns, but through the years the collection has dwindled down because I’ve had to sell them to pay the bills. Now I have only 2 guns left – a shotgun that was part of the original collection and a 30-30 rifle that I purchased long before I had inherited the collection – so I really don’t need a large safe. And as luck would have it, I’m unemployed (again) and I need the money to pay the bills.

My ex-wife had argued once in (family) court that my gun collection was a hazard to our son. I reminded her of the safe and that our son does NOT know the combination, so that point shut her up and showed the court that I was a responsible gun owner. My son is 27 now and he lives on his own, so that is no longer a compelling reason to keep the safe.

While I was cleaning out the papers and other items that were sitting in the bottom of the gun safe, I found a pile of old letters & cards that I had saved. Most were from a gal I dated 20 years ago and a few were from another gal who is still a good friend of mine. Either way, they were NOT from my wife and if my wife had found them, I knew there would be hell to pay. So I shredded all of them, leaving only the memories of a younger me locked away in my mind.

I’ve written about suicide a few times before and though I’m not suicidal, I do wonder if the gun safe was the only real deterrent to an untimely demise at my own hands. Depression and other mental health issues do run in my family and who is to know what mindset the future will bring? Who knows what kind of “false logic” goes through the inner workings of the brain (for example –  Kurt Colbain) when faced with the business end of a weapon? Yes, I have actually thought about the mechanics of what actually happens when a bullet passes through the brain, how the brain short-circuits & shuts down, and whether or not there is an “afterlife”. My mind can dream in HD-3D quality, I can imagine the inner workings of an entire car engine turning in slow-motion or real time, but the one thing I can’t fathom is death. Humans have no first hand reference of what happens after death, but they also have no reference of what happens *before* birth. It’s a paradox, an incomprehensible situation, and it’s the reason why many people use death as leverage against other people.

Time would appear to be turning me into my parents. Mom was a legal secretary in Washington DC and dad was a “house husband”, mostly because he could not hold down a “real job”. I often wonder if my own mental struggles are because of my mother’s light-duty bi-polar-tendancies, or because my father was not a “go-getter”. Or maybe a touch of both. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve figured out exactly how fraudulent our entire world really is. Nothing saps the life right out of a human as finding out everything they have worked for in the past means absolutely nothing in the present and probably even less in the future.

But being unemployed does NOT mean I’m unemployable, unfortunately depression doesn’t know the difference. And neither does capitalism, which I do believe is the single biggest root cause of so many of today’s world problems. A quick look through the “help wanted” ads will reinforce that message – companies don’t want to pay for a skilled worker, though they do want those skills. They NEED those skills to stay in business, but capitalism requires a profit margin, so wages and benefits are the first place that a company cuts back. George Carlin once remarked (paraphrased here) that a business wants ‘someone just smart enough to keep the machines going, not smart enough to realize how badly they’re getting fucked every day‘. And we, the working class citizens, NEED to keep working to earn money, to pay for life’s necessities (as well as all the other ‘stuff’ that we trick ourselves into thinking we need). It’s a vicious cycle, going ’round and ’round, until you die.

 

wise-quotes-from-george-carlin-13

But it’s does NOT have to be this way. If you, the reader, has any intent to change the future, I suggest you research a “Resource Based Economy“. It’s not a secret if everyone knows about it.

 

 

 

 

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Oh for fuck’s sake….

Recently I posed a question to a local Facebook regarding fireworks. There had been a lot of people complaining about pets and the anxiety caused by fireworks, so I asked how many of them would be willing to sign a petition to change the local laws. I knew I’d get a lot of backlash, because afterall, it’s is Facebook, and the internet, and people. But that wasn’t going to deter me from asking….

1

And in the typical Facebook/internet fashion, the discussion started…. to quickly go down hill. Let’s take a critical look at a very small portion of the replies…

 

2

Yes, “fun” is what it’s all about. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, right? And I’m the bad guy for implying otherwise. Glad you’ve got me all figured out.

3

I love how some folks assume we know nothing and we have not already tried to remedy the situation with the animal directly. (/ sarcasm)

 

4

Whaddaya know, someone who isn’t closed minded!

 

5

I wonder if thee people have ever heard of “change”? People used to smoke in restaurants, people used to own slaves, and people used to worship thousands of imaginary gods. People can (and do) change; yet it seems obvious that some folks think evolution stopped with opposable thumbs. (Maybe it did for them)

 

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Noooo, couldn’t be that…..

 

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Uh, no; it’s my dog and my fence boards. And the reason she goes through (or under) the fence is fireworks. Let’s stay on point here people.

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Because people are afraid of change. And thinking. And thinking about change…..

 

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Again someone assuming we haven’t already tried the obvious. Why do people always jump to the wrong conclusion?

 

10

Here we go again, false assumptions, false accusations, and narrow minded people. The more I learn about people, the more I like my dogs.

 

11

If attempting to beat people up with illogical analogies is your only refutation, then by all means, go for it. A simple “Yes” or “No” response to the original question would have been sufficient, but alas, you felt the need to go full retard.

 

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Because no one likes a patriotic hypocrite.

 

13

Speaking of “patriotic hypocrites”, let’s review the federal law regarding “desecration of the flag“. Go ahead and read up, we’ll wait here…

 

14

Yes, it is quite sad to see how so many people jump all over someone else, simply because they asked a question. The movie “Idiocracy” was not supposed to be a documentary, yet it is quickly becoming just that.

 

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*One question* makes me whiny? Hell, I didn’t even nag about your piss-poor spelling. And I noticed you didn’t say anything after I replied to you. Maybe the cat got your tongue? Or maybe you retreated to your glass house….

 

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Ah yes, medication fixes everything, especially people-sized meds for animals. *sigh*

 

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This post actually restores a little bit of faith in my fellow human. Bravo, thank you indeed!

 

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You’re claiming “freedom” while posting a picture of an eagle (a wild animal and national symbol, nonetheless) being physically restrained. Oh the hypocrisy, it should burn you by now. And as far as God goes, I’m willing to bet he doesn’t give a flying fuck about you or your so-called “freed-dumb”.

 

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Now I’m a “liberal hippy”.  Pretty sure someone called me a “snowflake” and a “millennial” too, (though I can’t find those comments now). Note to myself –  I really should update my resume.

 

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If there is a “silver lining” to any of this, it’s got to be the last comment. Might I suggest a chemical castration just to make sure you don’t change your mind after you grow up? (assuming you ever do)

 

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The comments had devolved long past the point of being useful, so I turned them off. Final count was 39 “Yes” votes, 322 “No” votes, and several hundred people who apparently don’t know how to follow directions. Voting on a question is the way democracy is supposed to work and I’ll abide by the group’s decision. (And since the original post was controlled by Facebook, the group’s admin, and myself, it’s also a good example of how an Oligarchy works……  but that’s a discussion for another day.)

The absolute BEST comment (another one that I can’t seem to find now) was “I used to like to blow things up, then I grew up”. This one sentence explains so much.

I’ll leave you with just one last meme to close out this post…..

 

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Innocent until proven guilty

I’m 52 years old and even though I’ve been called for jury duty many times, I had never actually been on a jury…….  until now.

They always tell you that you can not talk to anyone about the case while it is on-going and I was good – I followed the rules and stayed quiet. This morning the jury turned in it’s verdict and we were released, so we now have the option of talking about the case.

In this case, a man who was a previously convicted felon, was charged with 2 counts – #1 possession of a gun and #2 possession of ammunition; both are things that a convicted felon is not allowed to have.

The district attorney called one police officer to testify. There were a total if 14 police officers involved when the search warrant was served and this one was the guy who wrote the official police report. Unfortunately, that report could not be entered as evidence, thus the jurors were left with many unanswered questions. The officer testified that many people were found in the house, including the person they were originally looking for. The defendant was NOT the primary cause for the search warrant and he was NOT at home at that time, so the police checked everyone’s ID, searched the entire house, were able to find some assorted ammunition in the defendant’s bedroom and the defendant’s mother (the legal owner of the house) admitted that there were guns in a safe in another bedroom. The mother told the officer that her son knew the combination to the safe and she also kept it written down in a notebook as well as written in her bible. Why none of the other officers involved in the search were NOT called to testify was yet another nagging question that the jury had. The police photos were terrible and everyone thought one simple cell phone would have gone a long way to properly documenting the house and it’s belongings.

A forensics expert was brought in to testify. She said that getting fingerprints off of ammo was very difficult and the only fingerprints found on any of the guns was one that did NOT belong to the defendant. She also said that she swabbed all of the guns and ammo for DNA samples (though actually testing those samples was a job for someone else to perform). No DNA findings were ever entered as evidence in this case.

The defendant’s attorney called the mother to testify. She recanted her previous statement (to the police) saying that her son did not have access to the safe. She also said that she was given the gun in question by another man (a friend of her son’s) that sometimes stayed at her house and she put it away for safe keeping; because she knew her son was not supposed to be in contact with any weapons. She said the back pack that was located in her son’s room was also owned by that other man, his nick-name appeared  the back pack. That man’s driver’s license was shown as evidence and she identified him by his nick-name, she did not know him by his full legal name. This same man was later seen waiting in the hallway, apparently to be called to testify; but he never was. Again the jury was left with more questions than answers.

The district attorney and the defending attorney gave their closing statements, both emphasizing the importance of circumstantial evidence. The judge gave some instructions and the jurors were sent to the jury room to deliberate.

At first I thought this was a slam-dunk and the defendant was not guilty on both charges. Most of the other jurors were split 50/50 on the charges, so a discussion was started which continued through the end of that day. We had asked for clarifications on the law that was in play as well as the wording of the judge’s instructions. At one point, we also asked for the court reporter to come into the jury room and read back the testimony from the officer. Most of the discussion was based around certain specific words and I (as well as a few others) pointed out that both charges came down to very minute technicalities. A second day of deliberations and the jury came to a consensus – guilty on the gun charge (because the mother said her son knew the combination to the safe), and not guilty on the ammo charge (because no one had testified that they had seen the defendant with the back pack).

The jury was returned to the court room and the verdicts were read. I watched the defendant and he seemed a little surprised when the first verdict was read. His expression did not change when the second verdict was read and neither attorney reacted to either verdict. Neither attorney wanted to have the jury polled, so the judge gave some final words and the jury was dismissed. After a jury is finished, they have the option of waiting in the hallway for both attorneys to come out, in case anyone wants to talk. 10 out of 12 jurors were waiting, a new personal record according to the district attorney. I personally think it shows how flimsy and poorly presented both sides of the case really were.

During this discussion we found that:

  • The defense attorney did not call the defendant’s friend because that guy was also a convicted felon, so if he claimed the back pack (with the ammo) or the gun was his, he’d be implicating himself for the same charges that we had just decided on. The 5th amendment is there for a reason and that’s why he was never called.
  • The district attorney could not call either of the 2 police officers that were directly connected to the room searches because they were both out on extended family leave. This situation was further complicated by the time limit for a speedy trial, which was 60 days. Come to find out, the day we started jury selection was day 60, so the attorneys had to roll the dice and hope for the best.
  • The defendant’s previous convictions included a domestic violence charge in the 1990s, which automatically included a 10 year ban of weapons, then years later he was found with a pistol in his coat pocket, thus violating the previous ban. This apparently is why he was a felon and at this point the mother had bought the gun safe to keep all of the “family gun collection” locked away from her son. Too bad she didn’t keep the combination also locked away.
  • The original probable cause that got the police department into the house was reports by the neighbors that many strangers were going in & out of the house, possibly making it a drug house. At no time were drugs ever mentioned in this case, but looking at the mug shots of the people that were found at the house, it’s a safe bet that drugs played a big part in many of their lives.

In the end, I know I was more satisfied after talking with the attorneys than I was beforehand. I also now understand why so many people dislike jury duty – it’s very frustrating, especially when you are only given partial information!

 

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