As to the pedigree of this post I cannot be certain, but it sums up my feeling on the Syrian crisis and the worldwide response to it quite nicely. So I can be on record, we belong in Syria like fish belong on Segways, zipping across the surface of the Martian landscape. For those immune to sarcasm, that means absolutely not.
We have two wars on record we have not paid for, millions of lives lost, tens of millions of lives affected, billions of dollars spent, decades of disruption in the region, both theirs and ours and to what aim? What have we gained as a country from this debacle except a police state, totalitarian rule, an omni-surveillance society and the most disgusting agency in the security field groping the hell out of six year olds every time they want to fly and see Grandma. Screw wars in foreign countries…
Now back to our show, brought to you supposedly by the wise and funny actor-comedian, John Cleese. If he didn’t write it, he should have. If he did, hats off to you sir, it is brilliant.
From JOHN CLEESE
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.
Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”
The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ..
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be right, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.
John Cleese ,
British writer, actor and tall person
And as a final thought – Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.
Cain’s Legacy (or why mankind has a dubious future at best)
The source of this image is unknown to me. But the genius of the artist shouts out a truth that cannot be ignored.
“Power goes to those most willing to be and do the most heinous things to their fellow man. If you are without shame, without conscience, without moral compass, you can rise to the peak of ‘human’ achievement, such as it is, and take your place as a leader among men, a monster above those not willing to stare into the abyss that has already consumed you. This is Cain’s Legacy.”
Let me say that again for you in relationship to the modern world.
POWER, the ability to:
alter society at large, literally change the world through the exercise of their economic, political or social resources,
manipulate our environment and create catastrophic events beyond our ability to foresee the consequences of
make decisions which affect the nature of the world at large,
for good or ill, affect the lives of billions is now part of the human experience and relegated to an elite few. As few as 400 people control bulk of the world’s wealth
be unconcerned for the consequences of said exercises of power. To be above any legal, social or economic responsibility for the exercise of that power.
This elite few:
who instead of considering the conservation of nature for the greatest number
fail to realize that they are now responsible for the entire human species.
They fail to realize any decision or lack thereof can conceivably doom us all.
in their current role as masters of resources, wealth and social control, prefer to drain the Earth of its resources, harvest natural bounties and exploit the labors of those not fortunate enough to be born into wealth.
promote the meme of meritocracy knowing they do not personally subscribe to it. There is no merit that helps you rise to the top, only the ruthlessness necessary to say and do anything to anyone.
But this is not entirely their fault. (What?) Bear with me a moment.
There is no training for becoming powerful. (Not an excuse, just an observation)
There is no class for directing the flow of wealth at the scales it is done today. All of the kings of old, their wealth, power and influence pales in comparison to that being wielded by our new corporate kings and their economic fiefdoms. Science and human nature are still learning about how compassion, humanity, and empathy are affected by our environment, our upbringing, our training, our use or lack of use of drugs which alter our mental chemistry.
WE HAVE NO COURSEWORK ON HOW TO BE HUMAN. How to be good to each other, how to see each other as viable no matter our origins. We promote competition literally until death can be the only result.
WAR IS COMPETITION’S ULTIMATE STATE. When two groups cannot come to an agreement beneficial to both, if the groups are large enough, entrenched enough, then WAR is the result. We fight until we destroy the opposition, even if their perspective may bear more than a kernel of truth.
This is Cain’s Legacy. We kill our brothers rather than find commonality with them.
This innate blindness, this acculturated inhumanity to each other does not have to be our only path to the future.
What if we spent as much on peace and education as we did on war?
Could we not make the same profits? (I think so. And then some.)
Could we not improve our quality of life? (Most assuredly and for more than just an elite few.)
Could we not find cures for dementia, cancer, AIDS? (It would be nice; we haven’t cured anything since polio…)
Could we effectively address the recursive problem of employment where automation removes jobs faster than we can make new ones?
If we were better educated, could we stop depending on superstition to make decisions about our bodies, our lives and the disposition of the world’s resources?
Could we finally address the most important issue in our human history, our burgeoning population that continues to explode without a means of dealing with the need for resources to maintain those new numbers?
There are more and more problems every year but we continue to spend money on the same things that keep us in the exact same place we are now; ignorant, arrogant, petulant and recalcitrant.
The same way we learned to use power and influence to manipulate the world, we could instead harness empathy and realize for us to make the world better, it will require the best EVERY PERSON CAN BE, the best every person can find within themselves, to selflessly discover new solutions to old problems.
We will need to come to the conclusion at every life, no matter how humble has the same potential as the greatest king, sitting anywhere in the world. Because until we do that, everything we do only delays the inevitable extinction of mankind. You don’t believe me.
You think I engage in hyperbole? I think not. I present exhibit 1 below, your honor. Watch the video below from beginning to end and ask me again when it is done whether I exaggerate. Realize everything you see here is happening all over the world. NO PLACE IS EXEMPT.
VICE AND VIRTUES
Watching an episode of VICE this week reminded me just how out of order our world is and how many people die every day without an understanding of a world beyond the one they are confined and limited to seeing.
Murder is a tool, hopelessness and fear, merely lieutenants in a war for the souls of men in a battle to manipulate, exploit, and control resources, in pursuit of wealth in a fruitless attempt to forestall death and personal suffering.
IT IS MADNESS to forfeit the future for the present.
IT IS MADNESS to use your children as explosives in a war that no one can win.
IT IS MADNESS to plow the forest into the ground and call it progress.
IT IS MADNESS to trap and slaughter billions of animals in conditions which breed diseases that escape into our environment and kill us and call it agriculture.
IT IS MADNESS to use oil and coal and radioactive materials whose potential consequences will be responsible for the deaths of billions when we have other choices.
IT IS MADNESS to subsidize technologies like hydraulic fracturing which use the world’s most precious resource, fresh water, to subsidize further mega-corporate wealth.
IT IS MADNESS to indenture children in diploma mills and having them toil for low pay while executives pass by them homeless in the streets at the end of the day.
IT IS MADNESS to make a government that can be bought by lobbyists who in their zeal to deregulate their industry fail to note the lack of safeguards when they do.
IT IS MADNESS to say we can’t cut military spending when there are no wars, except when YOU make them…
IT IS MADNESS to deny healthcare to millions when the politicians denying them have the very best healthcare in the world, at no cost to them.
IT IS MADNESS to deny the benefits of natural drugs like marijuana, while allowing pharmaceutical companies the option to avoid being responsible if their drugs kill people.
IT IS MADNESS to spy on your populace, tell them you aren’t spying and then punish anyone who proves the lies you have told as the lies that they are.
IT IS MADNESS to teach your people to be proud of their ignorance, to misinform them under the guise of news and use religion as a means of retarding intelligent discourse about anything.
IT IS MADNESS to create false divisions between people under the guise of race, religion, creed and to make them appear to be significant enough to kill each other over.
IT IS MADNESS to wage war, economic, social, religious, cultural or political when people starve in your streets for want of leadership and vision.
IT IS MADNESS to base your society on a mantra like “Greed is Good.”
IT IS MADNESS to mortgage the future to live well in the present.
IT IS MADNESS to fear the future enough to kill the present.
IT IS MADNESS to believe fear can ever lead to love.
IT IS MADNESS to believe lies can ever lead to truth.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
“Movies are not about Blacks but what Whites think about Blacks.” — Ralph Ellison, author of the novel, Invisible Man.
I will admit that my negative “review” of the movie, “The Butler,” is a bit premature. I will even admit that I will probably never pay to see it because I refuse to financially support most movies produced by (white) Hollywood (although I will rent one FOR FREE from the public library whenever the mood hits me).
Nearly every movie I have seen, including the “black” movies produced by (white) Hollywood, PROMOTE white supremacy/Black inferiority EVEN when it appears that this is NOT happening.
Is it my imagination or does the ‘butler’ in this movie poster resemble President Obama?
In my experience the majority of Hollywood-Produced “Black” Films Usually Fall Into One of Five Categories:
1.the “good black” female triumphing over the “evil” black male: (The…
Let this picture soak in. A woman and her mother-in-law were crushed to death in the back seat by a texting, inebriated driver.
I hate wasting my time. So my first thousand words are that picture above.
Telling young people anything these days is often a waste of time. They are always sure they know better than every adult around them. They are always sure they can do everything better than you can and there is nothing you can teach them.
Don’t let this be one of those times.
If this should come across your screen and you are under the age of 30, heed the messages I have included here. I believe in offering people multiple ways of learning things, so you have my personal testimonial, a documentary created which describes the lives of victims of texting and driving, an infographic bearing out in a visual format why texting and driving don’t mix, some statistics after that and a video from the mouths of young people who were involved with or affected by texting and driving.
No. You don’t have to care. Yes, you won’t make those mistakes.
Everyone of the people interviewed in these videos said the same thing. Don’t talk about it. Be about it.
A Family Missive
I received a letter from a relative a few years ago about a family member who was killed in a car accident while texting and driving. She included the police report with the line “It is the officer’s opinion that cell phone usage contributed to this accident.” There was something about that sentence that has always struck me as distancing and even a bit cold. Then I did my research and realized why it seemed that way.
Officers see far more of this than they should and from their perspective, it is one of those things that is both traumatic and yet completely avoidable. I accept that we will all die one day. If you live long enough, you have time to get used to the idea. But if you live long enough, you also realize you don’t want to risk your life because you slip in the bathtub because you were too cheap to spring for a floor mat, or have your brakes go out because you couldn’t be bothered to have your vehicle serviced at the right time. You become inclined to try and live longer and part of that is better planning. You cannot plan for other people’s behavior, however.
My cousin was a good driver, smart, a college graduate, a capable person who like so many today thought he could avoid the consequences of texting and driving.
I was once told, “To be a good member of society, you have to give back more than you take.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Texting and driving is one of those problems created when technology and humanity intersected in a way that produced an unexpected consequence.
Driving requires focus, concentration, attention to detail and good reflexes. Texting requires focus, concentration and attention. Combine these two things and you realize there is a problem. How much focus, concentration and attention can you give to these two mentally challenging things at the same time? Not enough.
A car moving at 60 mph will cover 88 feet per second. The average time spent looking at a phone for texting is 4 seconds. For 352 feet or the length of the average football field, a driver may as well be wearing a blindfold. It only takes 88 feet or one second to change a person’s life forever — yours and theirs.
Share this video with everyone you know. Don’t text and drive. If you can’t do it for you, or for the person you might kill, then do it because THERE ARE OTHER SELFISH PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO YOU MIGHT WANT TO BE AWARE OF WHILE YOU DRIVE.
From One Second to the Next
Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog directs this film. It focuses on four accidents and the lives affected by this phenomenon. http://youtu.be/_BqFkRwdFZ0
DWI: Driving While Intexticated
Texting and Driving Statistics
Texting while driving is a growing trend, and a national epidemic, quickly becoming one of the country’s top killers. Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers don’t lie.
Texting While Driving Causes:
1. 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
2. 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
3. 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
4. Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents
Texting While Driving Is:
1. About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
2. The same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
3. The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers
Texting While Driving:
1. Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
2. Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
3. Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
4. Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
5. Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road.
Okay, that’s not fair. TV isn’t making everyone stupid but it IS making some of us, stupider by the second.
My writings on this site address some of these issues. Indeed the very name, A Matter of Scale talks about the fact our problems are no longer solvable by a single person, they have grown too large to address unless we are all involved. It is literally a matter of scale.
I probe into the questions of why we can do certain things like creating food on a massive scale, transforming it into any number of other forms and distributing it to people for what is an amazing economy of scale, while at the same time, we throw away food by the ton at our supermarkets and megastores while people all over the planet are suffering from starvation.
We don’t seem to see the contradiction.
We don’t seem to feel the suffering.
We have become disconnected from our humanity, our sense of feeling, our sense of responsibility.
Our sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves has eroded to just our family, the people we share a blood relationship to, or maybe our religious group who base our affinity on the invisible relationship we have to a divine being who may or may not exist. We devote our time, our energy, our efforts to THAT relationship while allowing our more reachable, touchable, necessary and mundane relationships to people outside of our blood to languish, to fail, to wither away, in some cases right before our very eyes; opportunities for love, laughter, and a life worth leading languishing on the vine.
I wanted to write something as touching as A. Person did, showing I understood his wrath at things like Game of Thrones, where people invest so much of their emotional capital into something that doesn’t exist. Where people are so upset about a thing that happened, not at all, anywhere, while real atrocities which would make the Red Wedding little more than an afternoon of fun for the whole family.
I am with him when people say to him that he is crazed for NOT participating in Game of Thrones, only the most pivotal television to have ever happened ever. Because like him, I say, it is not real.
Are you seeking treachery on the scale of Game of Thrones?
How about the financial institutions that gambled with the mortgages of millions of people and lost it all.
Then needing to be bailed out by the government, who is in actuality the voice and the money of the people.
Then to find out later, the banks would not only fail to be accountable to anyone regarding what happened, they would have a profit that made their previous earnings insignificant by comparison.
But the ultimate treachery was made manifest when banks, having been rescued by the government, the agency of the people, turned around and told the people who rescued them “‘Fuck Off’ you won’t be getting any help with your mortgage.”
Instead you will be put out of your home onto the street, and I, the banker, will still make money while you and your family rot, displaced and dispossessed, on the street, dodging the police for living in your car, struggling to keep your job and hold your family together and those same bankers will never know a day of drudgery or suffering ever again in their lives.
These same bankers will derail the economic policies of the nation by making sure what little regulation that might protect people from their predations in the future will NEVER happen.
This did not happen to a single family. This happened to MILLIONS of families. Amplify the anguish and suffering of the Red Wedding, score it like the Nielsen ratings and you would have had a show that would have had epic numbers. No show could compare with the anguish of the Red Financial Crisis of 2008. More people watched helplessly, more lives were affected negatively and more economic value was destroyed than any other financial event in the history of the world, including the Great Depression.
The Red Wedding was a mercy killing by comparison.
I wanted to let you know that as terrible as the Economic crisis of 2008 and its effects continue, there are still a multitude of things taking place out there we are still in denial about and television and its masters ensure we stay divided, broken, unfocused, and unable to marshal the will to make a difference.
Instead of a Clean Energy Age we are doubling down on the Remnant Fossil Fuel program, where we poison our environment draining the last of the fossil fuels from every last crevice in the ground to make as much money as possible while killing as many people now and in the future as possible.
We lose one Rhino and five lions a day. We also lose one Elephant an hour due to poaching. 15000 species which go into extinction every year while we increase the temperature of the Earth, poison and overfish the seas, and generally make a mad dash to convert the Commons into wealth for an elite few individuals.
I acknowledge my share of responsibility because while I am not wealthy, I do benefit tangentially from that wealth being generated by living in the US, a nation of vast and unequal wealth, though I enjoy none of it specifically.
Instead, I am going to let you watch this video which says what I would like to say to everyone. Instead of watching the fake Game of Thrones or Scandal or Law and Order SVU, you instead turn off your entertainment and watch more responsible news. See the events unfolding in your life, sure to affect you, your children and their children. Be the hero of your own story and fight for those unborn billions who WILL inherit a broken planet, displaced millions, and an economic system which will promote the very idea, if you aren’t already rich, you don’t matter. That if your ancestors did not find a way to exploit someone less capable, less rich, less intelligent, less educated, more ethical than they were, then they deserve the spot on the ladder Darwin made for them.
Know such thinking is a lie. Your value cannot and should not be determined by someone who is willing to burn you like a hunk of coal for their personal wealth.
You must value you and your potential contribution to the world. Your value isn’t solely determined by your physical beauty, your physical acumen in sports, or your intellectual capacity. It is determined by your humanity and your willingness to put yourself out for someone who has nothing to offer you but their thanks.
And in a perfect world, their thanks would be all that you would need to get on your way to the next person who needed your assistance.
Life is mean, brutish and short is the message of Game of Thrones. Our world replicates that quite nicely.
But the idea that it could be more is always there in all of our minds. That fairness is a possibility, helping your fellow man does NOT take food out of your mouth, being aware of where your food comes from does not make you less of a cool person. That saving animals, trees and our environment in general does not make you a tree-hugging liberal.
It makes you a decent person to think about what we do now affecting the future.
Stop listening to the lies. Trust the voice deep inside you buried under all of the failed aphorisms of television, of Darwin, of a dog-eat-dog world and know WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
But we have to stop listening to the lies being propagated to keep us poor, divided and uninformed. Kill your TV. Take your mind back. Change the world, one smile, one hand, one heart at a time. Game of Thrones can’t even compare to the feeling you get when you do.