Have you heard that the world's gone crazy?

So whatcha doin’ tonight?
Have you heard that the world’s gone crazy?
Young Americans listen when I say there’s people puttin’ us down
I know they’re sayin’ that we’ve gone lazy
To tell you the truth we’ve all seen better days
Don’t need no fast buck lame duck profits for fun
Quick trick plans, take the money and run
We need long term, slow burn, getting it done
And some straight talking, hard working son of a gun.
Whatcha doin’ tonight, I got faith in our generation
Let’s stick together and futurize our attitudes
I ain’t lookin’ to fight, but I know with determination
We can challenge the schemers who cheat all the rules
Come on take pride, be wise, spottin’ the fools
No more big shots, crackpots bending the rules
A fair shot here for me and for you
Knowing that we can’t lose
Styx Rocking the Paradise

I think that these words ring as true today as they did in 1981 when the album was released. Except, now the people puttin’ us down are also blowing us up and have declared war, not on us, but on our way of life.

The enemy does not want to take some of our land, they want to see all of us dead. They want our way of life dead. They want to strangle Ronald McDonald in the street, and behead Jack (of Jack in the Box) in front of a video camera. They want to control what music we listen to, what we wear and how we worship.

Now, as a Buddhist, I am supposed to be against killing. And I am in most cases. However, I feel that defense of my family’s life, of my freedom and of the freedom of my country people is a worthy cause. I salute the men and women that are on the front lines , giving up their holiday time with their family’s to defend us, and to help another people realize the freedom that we all deserve.

As a people, we must approach the rest of the world with compassion, and a iron fist in a velvet glove. When we need to hit, it must be hard, precise and with out remorse. However, when the iron fist is not the answer, we have to start actually helping the rest of the world. We cannot continue our ways of funding extremists who happen to be fighting our enemy at the time. If there is a famine, we need to assist as the richest country in the world can. We need stop propping up governments and companies, and start dealing with the problems at home. We need to behave less like codependent parents and more like a good friend.


Zorba the Buddha

In my net reading for the last article I posted, I came across a site that I kind of liked. The person behind the site has several books out, and I plan on getting a few of them. I lifted some quotes from his site that impacted me the most, and decided to put them here for ya’ll with my commentary over the next few days.

“I have no wish to placate you with false, hollow and worthless words exhorting you to love mankind. The so-called religions have said these things to you for generations. I am here to urge you to love real men, to love your fellow beings – not mankind but the men who live and work around you. Humanity is just a word; mankind is just a label. You cannot find humanity or mankind anywhere. And so humanity is easy to love because the only thing you have to do is mouth a few platitudes.” – Osho

I have a book called Everyday Zen. One of the passages talks about tooth-brushing. If, when you were 4 or 5 and starting to brush your teeth, you dwelled on how you would have to do this every day for the rest of your life, you might not have ever started. However, I doubt that you did. Instead, you simply did it today. Habits are easy to form if you just do the action today.

Most major changes seem large, if you look at the entire thing. Sort of like painting an elephant. Over all, it is an overwhelming task. But, if you get close, and look at just the trunk, and decide to paint it, it would not take all that long. and the same with the legs, sides and back. Sooner then not, you are looking at a pink elephant.

The same thing with Love. Do not aspire to love all of humanity. just aspire to love the people that you meet through out the day. The Dali Lama spoke about thinking “I Love You” you every person that you meet through out the day. He said that puts you in the correct frame of mind, and that the person can tell through your body language and expression what you are thinking. This puts them at ease and makes true communication possible.


Everything is true!

‘I am not a logician. I am an existentialist. I believe in this meaningless, beautiful chaos of existence, and I am ready to go with it wherever it leads. I don’t have a goal, because existence has no goal. It simply is, flowering, blossoming, dancing – but don’t ask why. Just an overflow of energy, for no reason at all. I am with existence.” Osho

I also identify with Discordism, and this passage neatly intertwines Buddhism, Zen and Discord. No Mind – existing at the whim of the present merges neatly with Discordism

GP: Is Eris true?
M2: Everything is true.
GP: Even false things?
M2: Even false things are true.
GP: How can that be?
M2: I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.

Why are we so concerned with Why we are here? If we found out, would it really change that much? Why not just live each day the best we can, and die with peace? And, honestly, does the universe really make that much sense?

Every time we dig deeper with Physics, or String Theory, we find another layer of complexity. It’s like the universe is an Onion with layer after layer of tear inspiring complexity. Will we really ever get to the bottom of the rabbit hole? Do we want to?


It's getting Cold in here – why don't you put on some clothes!

The day after yesterday I saw a pretty good movie called The Day After Tomorrow. In it there is a lot of heroism and stuff , but what I really grokked was the science.

The basic story was that the climate shifts suddenly, and a lot of scientists say ‘I told you so!’

Now, I do not think that these things could happen over 3 days like in the movie , but there is mounting evidence that such things could happen over several years. You seem it all comes down to something called ‘the Atlantic Conveyor‘ which is a current that pumps warm water up north, and takes cold water down south.

There is historical evidence that the last ice age (between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago) was sudden in onset. Sudden, meaning with in a decade. Could you imagine the northern reaches of the United States and all of Canada being pushed under a sheet of ice in the next six years?

All of this is being caused by global warming , funnily enough. As the worldwide mean temperature rises, more ice melts off of the ice caps. This lowers the salt content of the Oceans, which causes the conveyors to stop functioning, which causes the temperatures to drop dramatically closer to the poles and raise closer to the equator.

This is such a serious thing, that the Pentagon has funded studies into it, fearing what such climatological shifts could do to world stability. As much of the food production changes from the locations that we are used to to new places (as the current breadbaskets will be under sheets of ice or deserts) the geopolitical landscape could radically change.

Wars fought over rapidly vanishing farmlands, massive migrations of people away from the desert that they used to call home, it all sounds like a science fiction story.

What can we do today to help? I have heard the climate called ‘a big ship’ in that, once it starts to move in a direction, it can be hard to change it’s course. However, everyone of us can help. Stop using wasteful vehicles , switch to cleaner hybrids or bio diesel driven cars and trucks. Lower that thermostat in your house , even if you use electricity, it might be coming from coal fired plants. Walk, or ride a bike instead of driving. Recycle. The mantra of the Greens. It’s not hard, it is just sad that the current marketplace makes it so expensive to do these things.

The one thing that we can do is stop eating hamburgers. You think I am kidding? Cows produce a lot of green house gases!


Spokane Catholic Diocese declares bankruptcy

Yes, you heard it right. Following the precedent set by 2 other Dioceses around the country, the Spokane Catholics have decided that they simply cannot afford to fight all of the allegations against them in court. So, they will chapter 11 and dodge the bullet.

There are 28 lawsuits right now against the Spokane Diocese, and about 130 claimants. Two priests who worked for the diocese over 30 years ago accounted for about half of those claims. All of these are sexual abuse claims.

The issue here is not that a priest made a mistake. After all, priests are just men who can make mistakes, and should be held responsible for those mistakes like every one else. The root issue is how the Church handed the issues.

‘…drawing attention to Skylstad’s relationship with Patrick G. O’Donnell Jr., one of Spokane’s most notorious priests. Forced from ministry in the 1980s, O’Donnell abused, by his own admission, at least 30 boys. That admission came out in a recent set of depositions taken as part of the lawsuits, and which were first reported by the Spokesman-Review and Seattle Times. O’Donnell’s testimony has provided critics like SNAP with more information, which, they believe, suggests that Skylstad failed to intervene when he had the chance more than 20 years ago.

from the Inlander

In every instance, there has been evidence of conspiracy, collusion and cover ups by the Church. If a private company, say a daycare, had these allegations raised, no one would raise a stink about lawsuits nor give them any special treatment. However, since this is Religion, here we go.

To dig down to the essence of the issue, Power corrupts. When ever a ‘universal truth’ is espoused, this gives the espouser’s a lot of moral leeway. After all, they are the ‘one true way’ and everyone else is wrong.

We can see evidence of this in the history of the Church. Look at how they treated indigenous peoples and religions. In Wales, it was a crime to teach Welsh. Over 5 million women were burned at the stake, with the blessing of the church, because they were suspected to be witches. The Church even published, or at least blessed (the reports differ on that), a book “The Malleus Maleficarum“, that detailed how to torture “witches” into confessing their heresy. Often the “witches” were just women that offended the local priest or headman. Also, how many people were tortured and killed by the Inquisition for any number of things , including not agreeing with the Inquisition on religious matters?

For example, did you know that a Council of bishops declared that Jesus was divine? (Council of Nicea, 325 AD – here and here. Many more resources are available on the net , use Google). All over the place, we have Men declaring Their truth is The Only Truth and killing those that oppose them.

What about the bible? Is is inspired by god or just a convenient fiction? I do not know, but this is fact , large parts of the bible that did not agree with the Church’s views were tossed right out. Here is a partial list of the books that they had. Many are still available, and the Anglican Church still uses many of them in their services. Here is a good discussion on forms of criticism of the bible, it’s tactics and the arguments used by Christians to defend it.

I will never stand in the way of someone who wants to believe a certain way – I simply hold that they should extend me the same right. I also firmly believe that people and organizations should be held responsible for their actions, under the law of the land. To believe that we are ‘above’ or ‘better’ then the law of the land is inviting disaster. In my most humble opinion, the most important law is – do no harm.


And darkness consumes us

I believe that Tolken meant for his books to be an allegory for life. Many of the darkest portions were written while he served in World War One. His books paint a picture that is very much black and white. We have the soul-wrenching evil of Sauron and the lily-white purity of the Elves and Gandalf.

Or do we? The real world is all shades of grey, and I believe that he showed us a world where under the surface; all was not as black and white as we would be lead to think. For example, the Elves created the problem (Sauron) and were up and leaving. Gandalf never revealed his true intentions, nor that he more then likely saw what was coming. If he had been up front with the ‘forces of good’ about what they were going to face, would any of them even left their hearths and homes and ventured out?

Right now, we face a foe just as determined as Sauron was in the books. Instead of marshaling armies, however, he strikes at our culture, our hearts and minds. Do not mistake his aims; his goal is to remake the world into his image. It would be easier to accept if he invaded countries, marched on cities and waged a conventional war, however he knows that he cannot openly fight us and win.

The Era of the conventional war is slipping away. No one in the world can stand up to the USA in a conventional slugging match, and the entire world sees this. Other tactics must be used if these people want to wage war on us and have a chance of winning. The tactics of Terror are the manual for the new war. In essence, our strength has caused the New War.

Unlikely warriors fight many of the battles outside of the public eye. It can be as simple as extending a truly non-judgmental helping hand to some one in need, or as complex as a Special Forces strike on a safe house to remove the threat of an attack. People are fighting and dying right now to keep you and me safe, and we will never know their names, never even know of the conflict that is happening as we tuck each other into bed at night.

Mistake me not; this war is going on right now, all over the world, in the shadows. If we are to win it, we must fight with resolve. When force is called for, we must strike hard and fast and never waver. When other options are available to us, we must use them.


Politics, Media and Personal Safety

The really great thing about living in the US is that we are allowed to have divergent opinions about the political scene. This can give rise to the worst and the best of humanity. I think that this election season has exemplified each of these traits.

The Barend vs. Kuhl campaign has really shown us the dark underside of political campaigning. It seems that Kuhl was divorced several years ago. This all is happening in New York and under New York law, the records of that are sealed for 100 years to prevent just what is happening.

Some one went to the Steuben County clerk’s office, and asked for the records, claiming to be working on a school project. They were then leaked to the press.

Now, to the crux of the issue in my mind, the press then decided that this was newsworthy, and started to do story after story about this private matter. Who is to blame? The media for one.

It seems that they have become untouchable in the past few years. They can say whatever they want, ignore facts that do not jive with their view of the world, and accentuate the parts of a story that further their agenda.

I do not watch the news anymore. The news is simply scare tactics. All that they want to do is show every bad thing that has happened to people in the past day.

You know, I am sorry, but I do not really care if a person was murdered by their ex-spouse in littlesburg, anystate. The amount of reporting about crime makes us think that we live in a society that is breaking down, that is totally unsafe.

This is totally not true.

According to the US DOJ there were about 24 million crimes last year.

Violent victimization and property crime rates in 2001 were the lowest recorded since the NCVS‘ inception in 1973. There were about 24 million crimes in 2001.

According to the US Census, we have about 294,500,000 people right now. You have a 1 in 10 chance of having ANY crime committed against you, and only 22% of those are violent crimes. So, in 2004 your chances of having a violent crime committed against you were only 1.8% – less then 1 in 50. In 2003 for every 1,000 persons age 12 or older, there occurred 1 rape or sexual assault, 1 assault with injury, and 2 robberies. In 2002 there were only about 6 murder victims per 100,000.

If we are to believe the media, we live in a period of time that is one of the most unsafe ever. What does that make the 70’s, when crime was much higher? We must have been living in a war zone!

News media lies. It’s that simple. Never believe them, as they have stopped being objective and started to report only what they want, to further their agenda. Check out alternate news sources (Google News and The BBC are two of my favorites) and check the facts.

Never trust the media.

Kill your television.