Posts Tagged ‘world’

This won’t be the type of return that all of you, who have so enjoyed my political commentary, might expect. I am not here to save the day and speak out with more bombastic rhetoric and be the sole voice of reason in this mess. I am not going to continue with political commentary as it once existed on this blog: this time, it will be more theoretical and will not stick with the shallow dealings of the now, the now being the day’s events. It will be broader in scope, but it will come across here less frequently than before – my writing will consist of other subjects. Before, my commentary followed a formula of “find news story, give angry opinion on it, find news story…” ad nauseum. That’s over.

But, perhaps, I shall tell you, readers, how this exile came about. Following the week of Thanksgiving, I decided to stop reading the news for a week, and, as such, stop blogging.

The results of that week? I felt absolutely liberated and my mood felt fantastic. My mind wasn’t channeling any of its usual negative energy – energy, it turns out, it picked up from paying too much attention to the media. By unplugging myself from the Matrix, I felt substantially better, simply because my mind was focused on things other than the dealings of the corrupt. I was no longer filled with anger, and I was starting to be more positive in all parts of my life. I just felt, if I haven’t made it clearly enough already, better.

Of course, after a couple weeks, I had a desire to know what the hell was going on in the world, so I started to slowly plug myself back into the Matrix. But here’s the catch: I didn’t have any reaction to the news – I read it and that was that. Well, maybe that’s a lie: I did have a reaction, but it was subdued and what I expected based on my ideology. Now, in reading the news, I have a “default” reaction to the article based on my political opinion: liberty = good, tight restrictions = bad. It’s ironic, since I started this out as a bit of a lefty. Now I’m more in the vein of a libertarian. And I’m sure the latter is my “true” view – as it was only obtained by my own thought and investigation, not via the view espoused and endorsed by the Matrix. But I digress.

At this point, my confidence was rising, and I was reading the news without any repercussions to my mental health, and life was good.

And then the ice storm came. Yes, the one you’ve been hearing about in the news (link here). I live in the worst affected part of Massachusetts, and lost all power for 9 days, losing it for brief periods 3 times afterwards. The temperature in my house dropped to below 40 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit). I was cold, didn’t have school, and read just about all day. More importantly, I learned to value the modern conveniences we take for granted – light and heat, namely. And, I was forced to totally unplug myself from the Matrix (if you’re wondering why I keep making annoying Matrix references, you’ll see in my material later. Promise).

Yeah, I suffered quite a bit during that period, but it finalized the burning of the bridge between me and the rest of the crazed world. How about that. In the aftermath of the storm, I read more, worked out more, was better at everything I committed myself to doing, was fitter, happier, and more productive (anyone who catches that reference is awesome, by the way). I wasn’t negative, but I didn’t transform into the grating optimist I hate so much. I was the same person, yet was… better. Again: fitter, happier, and more productive. Life was good. And yet, I’m here, plugging myself back in. “Why?” you ask, “Why bother coming back here after becoming a happier individual because of your absence from this place?”

And now, men and women of the jury, we get to the heart of the matter. During this period of feeling good, I still felt like there was something missing, and, with increased availability of technology, I was slowly lapsing into my previous, boring life, complete with hours spent looking up trivial information (though, not quite news) on the internet (no, not pr0n you idiots!). Allow me to digress, though I will be getting to the middle of this all.

Before, I found that I was reading articles by anarchists, libertarians, authoritarians, Trotskyites, classic liberals (what I consider myself to be), socialists, Communists, and everything in-between and I managed to agree with all of them, because all they were doing was criticizing the system. I didn’t agree with, however, their remedy to the situation; I only agreed with their diagnosis of the problem. I managed to, for a brief period of time, share in their disdain of the system. Turns out I was well on the path to the Dark Side… Remember, Yoda said:

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

And I didn’t want to suffer. My posts were so filled with negative energy that it dragged me down, and, ultimately, made me an unsuccessful blogger, because I did nothing but offer negativity. To my credit, there’s nothing I could’ve really done to improve the situation, since I called for real change (and no, not the kind that Obama’s offering), and there’s no way that my kind of change would be implemented just by me blogging about injustice in the world.

On that same note, insanity is defined as (by me, at least) “doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. I kept posting about politics and it didn’t do anything for me or for my readers. I wasn’t offering them anything valuable; my posts were like a sledgehammer of negativity, which crushed all the value that might have been contained in my post. I wasn’t helping anyone do anything – I, again, was just hitting them over the head over and over with the message “THE SYSTEM SUCKS”. And, really, it did nothing. It made me feel worse.

During this whole exile, I came to the conclusion that although the System sucked (not to be confused with the Matrix), there was nothing I could do at all to change it. That’s a scary thought (says my past self), but, I woke up and smelled the sweet smell of coffee in the morning and realized, again, that I truly could not change anything (at least, with the means I was using before). And then, I did what I thought I couldn’t do before: I let go. I let go of all feelings of the System because I knew there was not going to be a single representative to be elected in this country that would be someone I would have no qualms about supporting. And, astonishingly, it was okay with me. I am still an impassioned arguer on the behalf of my political ideology, but only if the argument comes up during a conversation; I will not create a political argument for the sake of doing so. I was just so exhausted from arguing for it before that I chilled out and stopped bringing politics into the mix unless someone else did because it was destroying me from the inside out.

And, back to why I’m here: I need to write. I need to do something fulfilling, something to be proud of, something to keep me sane while I’m not reading or working out. I need to return to the blogosphere and just network with you guys again. Except, this time, I’ll enjoy it, instead of just focusing on getting my blaring, hopeless message out to the world. And you guys will benefit from that the most.

I’ll write commentary from time to time, but only to talk theory. No current events stuff, and I’ll certainly be writing more about what I’ve been reading as well as shifting the concentration things like self-improvement and personal philosophy, with (HOPEFULLY) fiction making regular appearances.

So, dear readers, I’m back and better than ever.

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The Economist has an excellent piece up about the disturbing trends in the economy:

This compulsory return to thrift will be deeply painful; consumer spending and housing are almost three-quarters of GDP. Of the 1.2 million, or 0.9%, decline in jobs since December, about 700,000 are directly related to consumers: retail trade, transportation manufacturing and home-building. The rise in unemployment, from 4.4% in 2006 to 6.5% in October, is nearing that of 2001-03 and is not over. On November 19th Federal Reserve policymakers disclosed they expect the recession to last until mid-2009. Their inflation worries have evaporated; indeed, consumer prices plunged a record 1% in October from September, and by 0.1% excluding fuel and food, the first such decline since 1982. The Fed’s vice-chairman, Donald Kohn, said outright deflation “is a risk out there but it’s still small”.

I think this article, in pointing out the trends in the American economy (such as decreased savings by baby boomers as well as the sharp rise in consumer saving in the wake of the sky falling), also reveals the bigger problem in the American psyche: we risk and spend too much when things are going well, and immediately shock the system by saving as soon as things start to go bad, which makes things get worse. It can be argued that the extra saving is a good thing (and I agree that it’s what we should be doing in the first place!), but, simply put, by not spending as much money in an ailing economy, the economy is obviously going to do worse. Of course, it’s likely that what people are spending now is truly what they can afford, rather than their fake plastic money that created the piles of debt that led to this catastrophe in the first place.

What I fear the most is that this country (and the rest of the world) will weather this recession by being savvy spenders and savers, and immediately return to our old ways of boundless spending and unwise use of credit cards, again buying goods we can’t afford with our plastic friends. That would be sure to land us in another recession in the future, as the debt would, again, crash our system.

But, if we could only maintain our unprecedented level of spending with low savings coupled with unlimited amounts of credit, if we were to remain savvy spenders, taking less risks and saving more, would that mean a permanent shrinkage of the economy (proportional, of course, to the amount of workers in the system; as time goes on, the economy will “grow”, due to job creation, but the net spending per person will go down)?

Maybe this period of economic success was nothing but a hallucination, and we are now getting off the hallucinogens and waking up to reality. And that reality may be a smaller economy.


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In light of the current economic troubles the world is going through right now, this seemed all too appropriate:

“Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” ~Thomas Jefferson

After confirming that the majority of those in administrative positions that I know personally are totally incompetent, and corrupt to boot, I’m wondering how people could ever get there — administrating with a total lack of skill in their work. How is it possible, that the people placed in charge are the worst? How is it that the corrupt overlords lean on the few that are competent, claiming their successes as their own?

How can this be fixed?

Earlier this year, I read Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, a massive tome of 1085 pages, and while it was at times boring with Pynchon’s digressive nature, it was very much worth all the time put into it: not only is it a rollickingly good read, but it has some extraordinary revelations about our time, should we look into the past.

Against the Day is a fictional account of the interconnected lives of Pynchon’s characters from the Chicago World Fair of 1893 to the end of the Great War. At this time, anarchism is shown to be widely prevalent in the United States, with anarchists committing acts of terrorism against the state. The anarchists bombed railroad tracks and other things controlled by the state. It’s easy, from here, to infer that the anarchists then are extremely similar to the radical Islamic terrorists that we’ve declared war on; both use bombs to try and change the capitalist establishment, and both have failed thus far.

Throughout the book, there is a creeping sense of an apocalyptic crisis casting its shadow on the world. With massive technological advances, people became uneasy about the advances and where technology was headed — both heralding the improvements and worrying about whether they would contribute to their downfall. They are also confused about the blurring line with what is fact and what is fiction, as evidenced by the lengthy discussions about Aether and the double-refractive qualities of Iceland Spar. Combine the two, and you have a recipe for paranoia, and, potentially, innovation. Again, the tension builds very slowly and heavily throughout the story, with a sense that the new technology would bring disaster and wipe out civilization as we know it.

We face a very similar situation right now, especially with tensions between the U.S. and Russia (which creates a cold-war esque situation), it seems like the same sense of impending doom has taken over me, at least, and a few others in the blogosphere who think that the Russo-Georgian conflict is the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of our time. And the parallels to World War I are there: it seems like, with what has been dubbed as World War III, the alliance system exists. This time around, people envision the alliances being for America, or against them (presumably Russia, Iran, China?). There are terrorists attempting to undermine the West, much like the anarchists did. But is the War on Terror just to become a footnote in the history books like anarchism? Maybe. Is our impending doom that of a third World War, in which mankind fights massive battles against itself, possibly with the use of a nuclear bomb? Maybe.

The good news is that the characters in Against the Day realize that, although the Great War claimed all too many lives, it didn’t entirely wipe out human civilization as they knew it in an apocalyptic fashion. Let’s hope, if this is indeed the beginning of World War III, that our civilization isn’t squelched by nuclear warfare.

From Randy Scheunmann to John McCain:

John,

Some people don’t exactly know what your foreign policy is. In fact, right now, your foreign policy is in as much doubt as Obama’s religion. In a week, if you adopt this policy, everyone will know that you’re a force to be reckoned with even though you’ve got stubby arms.

Emphasize these three points:

  • We’re America, so we can invade any country we please, as long as they’re not Christian. In fact, tell the people that we’re gonna invade anyone who disagrees with us at the UN or any other of those fake international conferences. Why don’t they let us (America) talk the entire time? Why should we let that bastard Putin or Chavez talk when we’re America and we’re the best? We know we’ve got the best ideas.
  • If your name is Iran or Russia, watch the hell out. Keep alluding to these invasions as “more wars” in  the future. Everyone will know what you’re talking about. Oh, and since you’ve already tried the Bomb-Iran song, why not open one of your town hall meetings with the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR”? It will be perfect after they conquered Georgia, raped the children, and turned Georgia into a godless, Communist state.
  • We’re at war right now. Shove this down everyone’s throats. We’re at war right now, and we’re always going to be at war with somebody, whether it’s the Islamofascist terrorists who are trying to bomb our troops in Iraq, or the Soviets that are trying to conquer the world again. Make it clear that we’re going to call on the brave men and women of America MULTIPLE times (as in 4-5 tours of duty) so we can win these wars. If they ask what the wars are about, just say that it’s for national security and that if we didn’t fight the wars, we’d have another 9/11 happen.
So, John, that sums it up. If you reiterate your three-pronged attack of invasion, invasion, and more invasion, people will get to know (and like!) your foreign policy.
Remember, we need to take Georgia back, or I’ll go bankrupt!
Randy

After 4 parts detailing how we got in this conflict and how we’re going to stay in it, no matter what happens, there is still some hope. Yes, we’re going to have to “combat” terrorism, but there are some steps you can take to ensure that, somewhere down the line, your voice is heard. Getting heard by the government is the best thing to do in this situation, but they don’t respond well to individuals.

What’s lost in all this shuffle is why the terrorists hate us so. Al Qaeda in Iraq wasn’t there when we invaded, so why are they there now, and why are other people blowing themselves up in an effort to kill Americans?

Because the people there are just like you and me and everybody else. When the terrorists hit the WTC, this nation wanted to avenge their lost friends and family who died that dya. The terrorists are no different. When we invaded Iraq, we invariably killed people’s loved ones who were in the Iraqi army or were just civilians. Like us, they needed to get revenge on the people who did it, and luckily for them, the Americans were occupying their country. So, for every terrorist (or civilian) we kill, his son or his uncle or his brother or his father or his friend take up the reigns and try to avenge their loved one that the “evil” Americans killed. They figure that if we hadn’t invaded, their friend or family member would be alive, just like our friends and family who were killed on 9/11 would be alive had it not been for the hijackers. And that’s very true.

The best thing you can do is spread awareness about our government’s lies about the War on Terror, meaning, of course, to spread the word about these posts using social bookmarking. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, etc. By the same token, get involved in your community and tell people about our situation; tell your local government about how the war on terror should be fought with law enforcement, not armies.

That’s the message I’m going for here: this is not a war that can be fought with our armed forces. It’s a war that should be fought with the folks in our law enforcement agencies. If you, above all, spread that message, everything should take care of itself. The more people you inform of our situation, the better chance there is of our government hearing our voices.

So, write to your congressman and tell him (or her) that our war on terror needs to be fought by the police, not the armed forces. Tell them that our war is just putting our brave men and women in harm’s way and putting the civilians in the countries we occupy in harm’s way as well. Tell them that our actions aren’t saving lives; they’re ruining them, whether they’re American lives or Iraqi lives or Afghani lives or Filipino lives. Our troops in other countries put not only their lives at risk, but those civilians who had no choice in the matter (of occupation by the U.S.) at risk too. For a nation so proud of its democracy, America doesn’t listen to the voices of the folks who live in countries that we’re fighting this “War on Terror” in. Stick up for them and be heard.

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We started with 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, and continued with our leaders taking away our freedom.

Before starting his War on Terror, George Bush said that the war on terror began with Al Qaeda but did not end with them, saying that the War was “global”. Unfortunately, there are far too many countries that are plagued by terrorism, and to deploy soldiers in every country would spread our forces thinner than they already are. The “War on Terror” should be renamed “War on Terrorist groups that have the ability to attack us” or “War on Al-Qaeda. But the name “War on Terror[ism]” is much too broad. If we’re really waging a global war on terror, why aren’t we fighting the FARC or the ELN in Colombia? Why aren’t we fighting the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka? Why aren’t we fighting the dozens of extremist groups in Pakistan and India?

Because they aren’t going to attack us. That’s why this “War on Terror” name is a sham. We’re just fighting for our own sake, and in my book, that’s okay, as long as we come out and say that. But for the U.S., the most arrogant nation in the world, to play the knight in shining armor and say that they’re going to vanquish evil from the land, while only protecting their own interests in unacceptable.

In the terrorist attacks since 9/11 that were not in the Middle East, at least 12,000 people were injured or killed. The major sites: Russia, Colombia, Pakistan, India, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Of those, U.S. troops only reside in the Philippines in extremely limited numbers as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Again I ask: why did we say that we were having a global war on terror when we’re not really doing so? I understand the focus is on the Middle East, but there is plenty of terrorism elsewhere. So, we’re in this war for a very long time (until the end of time, essentially), and that will prove very costly.

Why not just combat terrorism using law enforcement? If Rumsfeld had paid attention to the threat of Al Qaeda, we could have prevented the 9/11 attacks — we had identified the ringleader of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta more than a year before September 11. Said an article:

Weldon said that in September 2000, the unit recommended on three separate occasions that its information on the hijackers be given to the FBI “so they could bring that cell in and take out the terrorists.” However, Weldon said Pentagon lawyers rejected the recommendation, arguing that Atta and the others were in the country legally so information on them could not be shared with law enforcement.

So, if law enforcement had been allowed to do its job then, we could’ve prevented the tragedy. Law enforcement prevents terrorism or any other crime, not military action.

It’s time for our government to realize that you can’t “fight” terrorism like a real war, because they aren’t sponsored by any flag and they don’t have any land you can take over. We’re fighting an ideology, and that’s why this thing won’t end. Let’s recall the words of John F. Kennedy:

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.

The idea of radical Islamic terrorism in an effort to bring down the West won’t “die”, and since they are not explicitly sponsored by any state, we can not hope to end it or any other kind of terrorism. Take Nazism for instance. The Allies were able to defeat Nazi Germany because we were fighting the country, not necessarily Nazism itself. Even though we defeated the Nazis in World War II, there are still Nazis today. Why? Because ideas never die. The idea that the West is evil and must be destroyed, as in radical Islamofascism, will continue to be held by somebody who can then spread the idea, making more terrorism, unless we can somehow brainwash every human on the planet. And we all know that won’t happen.

Check back for Part 4 – Orwell’s 1984 and the War tomorrow!

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