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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Today is that day again, at least for me, Christmas Day in America.

It has honestly not been the best Christmas, the most traditional Christmas, or the most bountiful of Christmas’.  But it is one that I have realized a lot about the holiday as a whole.  Things that I am still struggling to bring into full realization with one another.

It’s a struggle to battle with the greed, and the true meaning of this most noble of holidays.  I did not quite get everything I wanted, but that is OK, because there was a greater gift that came with some of the things I did get, but did not expect.

A gift of camaraderie.  A gift that the ties that I have made, the ties that bind, over the last few years, are so precious and important, and truly magical.  That my friends are my friends, and what they have done for me this year, is to help me through a lot  of what is going on, by being there.  Which is good, it’s really helped me realize that this time of year is about pure magic, the magic of humanity itself.

I also have come to the realization, that Christmas is more about redemption, about giving, about taking a break from all your worries, and forging yourself forward to the new Year.  That with New Years Day coming up all this has to do is with Redemption, starting over, transitioning from one to the next.  And hopefully moving on to a bigger and better life in the new year.

Which is what Christmas represented at the start, that at the beginning it represented a new start for humanity, in the darkest of times.  At least that is what I have gathered from what I have read in scripture, (and any Christian reading this is more than welcome to correct me) that this represented a new and fresh start.

That God had sent us his son to redeem humanity, and give us a second start on life, and to save us from our sins.

No matter what you believe personally, this is what Christmas represents, at least to me.  And it is the though of this day that counts, the idea of it.

So I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a fantastic New Year, no matter who or what you are, and what you believe.

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Last year, in Honors English, we watched the movie Lagan (Sp?).  And, as a result months later, and during the movie, I realized something.  Something about governments and tyrants and racism, and how there are differences between people.

Now the movie is about a region in India is suffering from a drought, and the local British rulers collect a tax based on an agriculture product that the Indian village is producing.  As a result of this drought, they may not have enough of this ‘Lagan’ in order to successfully pay the tax, so the British ruler of the piece (the antagonist) makes a deal with a local Indian, that if the locals beat the British in a game of cricket, they do not have to pay the tax for three years.  If the Indians lose, then they have to pay triple the tax, and this agreement is on the entire region.  So an increidbly cliched scenario if you ask me.   Well they play their game of Cricket, all the while dancing, and singing, and loving their way to victory.

I realized something about power that day, about what it can do, and how that aspect of it can be used to gain ever-increasing power over societies and people in general.

There is another old saying, I seem to be full of them lately, that you can divide and conquer.  This has everything to do with power, and the gaining of it as far as nation states and societies are concerned.

Dividing and Conquering, by placing everyone in their own individual groups.

Now in this movie there was a strong sense of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ or at least the mentality of that.  That there were British, and there were local Indians, masters and slaves, privileged and those struggling to get by.

This can only be done, in general, for those who take power over others.  By setting up differences; that I am special, you are not, you are my slave.  And that breads racism and sexism and tyranny all around, because we get it in our heads that you are different, unclean, and you resent what we are in the middle of doing.

Only power has the power to divide people up like this.  It has been shown, if everyone could treat each other like equals then there just might not be a lot of this going on at the societal levels.  Maybe at the individual level as well.

Because if we just let one another be there would be no need for this, we could all just go on our merry way without realizing any of the crucial difference.  But when you draw attention to it, and then use it to control people, either that I am different for I am better, or you are different because you are bad, that breads all of these feelings.  Hate, anger, violence, mistrust.

When this is coupled with people who are using this situation to their advantage, it can be used to separate and divide people even more, and to further widen that divide.

By pointing out those differences, constantly, then telling you that the ‘majority’ is against you, be it race or by class, and then saying that I am the only one that can help you.  I can get you what you are owed.

Thus they highlight those difference, and flesh them out into the open, dividing society only into a lot of diverse groups, when our differences should not matter in the least.  And then they use it for ‘vote for me’ and things of that nature, in order to convince the people that they are trying to represent that ‘I am one of you, I can get you what you need’.  Thus, society is drawn into a bunch of groups, no matter who they are, looking for their cut from other groups that they deem to be in charge, that they deem to have power.

This is probably one of the biggest, and most obvious, lessons throughout history and philosophy.  It is much easier to destroy then it is to create something.

Other then being a great bit of philosophy, it also helps to explain two facets of the modern political debate.  The issue between Socialism, and wage disparities between certain classes of people within nations, and then from nation to nation.

What does one have to do with the other?

Simply the means in which a nation and its society distributes its wealth, and how active a roll that the government plays in the economy.

But in the end this all has to do with it is easier to bring someone else down to someone else’s level, then it is to bring them up to your level.  Whether you are a nation-state, an individual or a certain ethnic class within a country.

Which is in essence the whole thrust behind the socialism and redistribution of wealth.  The government cannot create the wealth, it does not, by its nature provide goods or services.  Only that providing of goods and services and only that process of rigid competition, inventing new products, ideas, and better ways of doing things, only that can produce wealth.  The exchange of these products.

Which a redistribution of wealth is not creation, it is destruction of wealth.  When one group says that another group deserves to take more money, and does so by force, that is simply transferring that wealth from one party to the other.  Money that the first party can no longer use.  Which reduces the amount of money that party has to use, and the incentive he or she has to make any more money then he already has if it is just going to be destroyed for him.

And thus society suffers.

And taken to its logical extreme this means that it is a lot easier to tear down a society, (and start from scratch) then to create a new one.  So much so that most societies are created in some form of violent upheaval or another.  As are transitions from one thought type to the next.

Or to not necessarily create a new one, but to actually reform it to where it is something bigger and better than what has come before.  This is the whole crux of the debate.

In the long run, not only does this explain the philosophy behind redistributing the wealth, but it explains almost everything.  It’s all about collapsing the system.  Whether it is health care, or monetary policy, to the debt and spending.

It is not about genuine reform, which is just a slight tweak of the system here or there, but a complete over haul with the purpose of being something different, or perhaps even creating something new entirely.

I will do my best to expand on this topic in the new year.

There is a huge difference between how, and for what causes, people used to fight for in the past in this country, and how we do so now.

In essence in the past people were fighting for their rights as human beings, as guaranteed under the US Constitution.  With no dependence or trust to any group except for those that were willing to help in their own interest and in their own rights.  Now we have people basically going out for their ‘cut’ what they feel they are due by a society that has treated them poorly.  Not their rights, and that everyone must conform to them because they feel that they have a legitimate grievance.

Which is their right to do so, they have the freedom of speech, the press, and to assemble.  But, I can wonder at the difference that it is causing in the national debate right now.

Through every other time in our history we have had movements based on fighting within the law, within due process, and with peace and humility to try to get the rights…that they already had, under the US Constitution.  All of the big debates.  Tragically the Civil War was the exception to the rule.

Sometimes they had to use the power of the law to help them, and sometimes the ‘law’ and the power of the Federal and other Governments were against them.  And yet they fought.  For the rights that were afforded them as humans, and as American Citizens.

Martin Luther King, and the Civil Rights movement through the 50s, and 60s, are an important example of this.  Fighting for their right to not be discriminated against by government institutions, to be afforded the same right to a seat on the bus, to get the choice of whatever they wanted to do.  They were fighting mainly for their right to choose, what to do and where to go.

To not be discriminated against by any perspective organization.

Or in the case of labour they were fighting for their right to make the wages that they thought that they should make.  To work, or not work, if they so chose until conditions had improved for them.  And often it was the Government who stood in the way of such change as that.

But now in a good part of society, and by a lot of different groups of minorities are now being fighting for the things that they are owed.  That they feel that they have been owed since the beginning.  Through things like affirmative action, reparations, redistributing the wealth, giving someone else something so that we may make up for all of our sins.

Or they are fighting for their own rights, but with no regard to the rights that they may be taking away from others.

It’s an interesting difference, one that I am not sure of the full implications of.  I blog, you decide 😛

A long time ago during senior year I was having a conversation between me and two other people in my high school,   right before the election.  And we were…well talking about the election.

The subject came up on which kind of President that you would have wanted to have, someone who was an ‘elitist’ like John Adams, who basically knew what they were doing, or a rabble rousing country rouser like Andrew Jackson.

Now I do disagree with some of the assertions made, but that is not really the point.  Oh and by the way, Barrack was being compared to John Adams in this specific metaphor.

But I do want to make two points about this.

First off, I do not really think John Adams was an elitist, just a flawed man in many ways.  Second of all, I do not personally care, you can be a country bumpkin, you can be an idiot, you can be from Harvard or Yale, as long as you live out your oath that you took to support and defend the constitution of the United States of America.

That is it, that is all I want, as long as one understands the concept of living and let living, I could care less whether you are an elitist or not…though part of the definition of being an elitist is a busy body that likes to stick their noses…where they do not and should not belong.

Second off, I think she has it backwards.  Andrew Jackson is President Obama, and John Adams was the old guard and rigid McCain…in this analogy.

Now, often people who are not really for the people, use the people to try to gain their power.  To tell them that they are being screwed by a group of politicians that are currently in office, and that they the people should rise up, demand their rights, and give the power to someone with better guards.  Not to say that this is inherently bad, it’s actually healthy, but it has been what…lesser politicians…have done to get elected in the past.

Using the people as a wagon to get into office, and rallying the ‘populist masses’.

Also around that time the politics of the situation were a mess.  The franchise had not yet been extended yet to all the adults of the nation, just land owners, so he had them on his side.

The last election had some questionable results. When John Quincy Adams was accused of ‘buying’ the election by offering one of his opponents a sweet heart deal so that he could be the winner.

He was a much hated President in certain areas that let Jackson draw a difference between himself, and the ‘politics of the past’ especially in regards to the franchise.

And when Jackson got into office he: Bullied the Supreme Court, expanded the powers of the Federal Government, fought actively with John Calhoun on issues of States Rights at a time when our country was rapidly heading for civil war.

Doesen’t this all sound just a little familiar?

This also brings up one great and important lesson in history to me.  Great men do not make great Presidents, in fact it takes only a very special kind of man to successfully be a President.  So much so that when I look back I can only think of two, maybe three Presidents that truly fit that bill.  Most of them were just adequate, doing their jobs, or much worse.

People like John Adams, who was a founding father, and rabble-rouser, and one of the people who fought hardest for independence from Great Britain.  But yet passed many laws in his administration that did not sit well with being so early in the Republic’s life.

Andrew Jackson, the hero of the battle of New Orleans.

Theodore Roosevelt, who led the charge up the San Juan hill, and whose philosophies were mostly right, just not when applied to government.

And then you have someone like Abraham Lincoln who lived his life, and then failed many times, before he became one of the most beloved Presidents in our nations history, for saving the Union.

I do not care what you are, you can be smart, or stupid, as long as you leave me with me and mine.  It takes extraordinarily special, but yet regular people to realize this.

I think that a scene from the movie Gettysburg deals with all the issues that I wish to discuss with this blog, and I feel that it makes a point:

Now these…officers…were making a point.  About their rights as states.  In the general terms I cannot help but agree with that point.  This was a tragic time for the federal government, and the states should have had the right to have more local control over their lives, and dare I say it, property.

But this whole issue represented a giant hypocrisy on the part of these men.  That it was their ‘right’ to keep men slaved, so that they could live free, and do what ever they pleased, and so they could fight for those freedoms while, for the most part, denying it to others.

Which is again comes up in another, more current debate.  I am talking about the debate between pro-life, and pro-choice.

I really ‘hate’ to bring Ronald Regan into this, but he probably summarizes this debate better than I ever could:

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Because despite all the hoopla, despite the greater crux on ‘what a woman can do with her body’ is one simple decision.  We, by taking that choice, are denying the choice of the most basic and important of all concepts.  We are denying them the choice to life, without that, none of us would be here to have this debate.  And no one takes opinion polls or asks the young one, do you want to live? Does your voice matter to you?

We take the ultimate choice in this matter, literally life and death.  To deny life to something that…has not had the choice in the matter, and cannot have the choice in the matter.  We are denying potential life from forming, and with that potential life could become whatever they want, to do whatever they want, to have the chance to climb out of poverty and live a good life.

But we deny it to them.  When we as a people are supposed to hold as the most inalienable rights of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

I am all for choice, but playing around with potential, or real human life, is too much of a price for me.  And it is hypocritical, because in the extreme this life is completely and totally innocent, it has done nothing, and is not guilty of a single thing, maybe the only time in a human’s life when it is not.

To live, and to make these choices, that is the only reason worth living, and that is why human life is sacred and special.  And that is why it must be protected, at all costs.

And also, I do want too….’briefly’ go into the Harry Reid comments about the GOP and slavery, and the civil rights.

Where he blamed us for slowing down the process, and obstructing it and denying the people their rights (or at least that was the implication.)

Now forgive me for being radical…but it should be slow.

With slowness comes relative ‘perfection’ or at least you are going to get it more right, and we the people will have a better chance to digest and assimilate what you are trying to force down our throats.

This is a lesson in history, no matter what you are doing, you need to take time to consider it.  To go and pause and not rush in a blind inconsiderate panic.

And that is the lesson in history, all of history.

It took four years to fight the civil war.

Six to fight the Revolution.

Then another 18 to consider and to form an appropriate government for the people of the United States.

It took seven to fight world war two…and four to fight world war one.

Now…there could be taking too much time…but usually if you are genuinely trying to get it right, then it will only work out.

Time usually make things right.

And clearly the founders thought so, because they invented three branches of government, constantly checking, and balancing, and conflicting with each other to make the process slow.  To make sure they got it right.  And to ensure that the government would never conspire against the people.

Mr. Reid, you take all the time you want, because if you continue with this kind of irresponsibility, then we are coming for your job, and we will be giving it to someone more deserving then you are.

As many of you probably know right now a group of terrorists are being tried in NY for crimes relating to the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City, and Washington DC.

Now, to the best of my knowledge  they confessed, they were proud to do it, they have fully admitted that they are guilty of all charges, in previous military tribunals.  So…what is the point of this?

George W. Bush said once:

“Any government that supports, protects or harbours terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.”

Now…I hate to go in this direction, believe me I do, I was hesitant to actually write this blog.  But…what else are we doing? We are giving equal rights guaranteed under our US Constitution to non US citizens AND to people whose only goal is to wipe us off the face of the map.  And they are unrepentant in what they have done to us in the past.

Not to mention the  money and resources in terms of lives and material that will be spent on this, the security, the danger that will be forced on the city of New York as this trail is going on…that should not even be happening in the first place.  A trial that is so unneccessary because they have already been convicted, or should have based on their own admissions, and they were already in a prison, far away from mainland United States, were the harm they could have done is minimal.

While if the administration wanted to do this in the future, I understand…I will disagree with you, but I understand.  If you, as the administration, wants to change the direction of the country, break with the politics of the past.  Then do it for the future, do not drag out these people who should either be in jail or be meeting their God right now.  That is almost unbelievably insane.

And if you want to go through the whole process it is also irresponsible when your AG says that this case should be a slam dunk, if it is such a slam dunk, then why are they more or less ‘free.’   The fact is justice should have been handed out to the terrorists a long time ago.

Then you have the US Navy SEALS that are being tried for ‘roughing up a terrorist’ the same terrorist that had already butchered Blackwater agents, and hung them up from a bridge.  Now he says that he was roughed up, but that is far from certain.  We are basically taking the word of a terrorist, over that of our United States special forces.  For giving a split lip to a guy, who probably deserved it.  These are terrorists we are talking about.   This is a war, we need to fight that war.

And the SEALs in question were going to be tried, and dealt with behind the scenes, in the shadows, where no one would no about it except for them, they requested the court-martial, and here we are.

Just for doing their job.

The truth must be known, if they really did rough him up, then we should know that, just in the interests of who did what and what happened.

But it is pretty amazing to me, we are trusting the word of a terrorist over that of US soldiers…the world…and then at almost the same time giving aid and comfort, and a trial, to men who should probably be saying hi to Allah right now.

Over the past few weeks I have been debating people, on the issue of health care.  In preparation for the blog that I just did about health care, debating and finding out ideas and just going out there to gauge my arguments.  That blog was a compilation of most of them, I discarded some of them, and I added others.

But in the course of this debate something came up, in one of them in particular.  I was called a fascist.   I was debating a bunch of British people who have lived under a ‘similar’ system for a while now, and I was called a fascist.

And it did not phase me, not really.

OK, it did, I was greatly saddened by it…that someone who knew me, and who I considered a friend could call me that, just for being afraid about government encroachment…which is fascism.

But that is a debate for another day.

What this did was it caused me to come to the realization of just how much I have grown in the last couple of years.  During the election cycle had someone called me that I would have gone mental, and in fact I have in the past gone mental, posting whole pages of words condemning the person and attributing some irrational generalizations to the person.

I do not mean to toot my own horn here, but it was just interesting to me, and noteworthy to see how far I had come.  That I was able to put aside my feelings of hurt and just continue with the debate even though someone called me a nasty name.

And, to add-on to that.  The feeling of hurt was more that the message that I was trying to convey was disgraced, and not me.  I was sad for the message, and not that it was an insult against me.  That the message was the one was being targeted, and not it was getting through, that what I believed was a message for freedom, increased rights, and greater democracy, was instead called something complete opposite of what it should have been.  That it was misrepresented.

That is what was going on in that debate.