204 views posted 07 Mar 2014, 20:45
Because we are approaching the US National holiday of St. Patrick's Day, which honors an Irish Catholic saint, I've been listening to some music along that general line, among which is an album by Celtic - "Braveheart". The album is purely instrumental, and very soothing, but the album title is, of course, remiscent of the film featuring Mel Gibson as a Scottish warrior and (arguably) a hero in Scots history.▼47 comments
I saw the film - once - I couldn't bear to watch it a second time, after what happened to William Wallace at the end of the film. I was appalled at the graphic depiction of him lying there while somebody (a druid priest? a vindictive Englishman?) cut his heart out while he was still breathing. I cried all the way out of the theatre. These days, I cry everytime I listen to the music from the film.
But I was totally amazed when I read the history of William Wallace, and what they did to him in real life at the end, and I also read the story of Robert the Bruce, because I thought perhaps the film had something to do with HIM, instead of Wallace.
As it turns out, what was done to William Wallace, who did NOT deserve what happened to him in the least!!!, was far worse than what was depicted in the film! He was hanged, but before he died, he was drawn and quartered, his manhood cut off and burned before his eyes before that happened - the most unbelievably cruel and horrid thing I ever read about in history.... altho I am sure other atrocities have been committed by men of low birth who lack souls.
But what is most tragic about William Wallace is that he was buried in an unmarked grave, and "forgotten" by history. The man was a hero of his people, and his tragedy makes me weep, and it makes me very sad. I am thankful that Mel Gibson took it on himself to tell Wallace's story in grand style on the American screen! Although there have been many who have claimed the film was full of historic errors, the truth is, he told the story of a Scots hero who was gravely mistreated, and left to lie unrecognized for his worth in an unmarked grave. He was, in fact, tried by King Edward 1st and died horribly by his order.
For one year William Wallace was the Guardian of his people before relinquishing his seat to Robert the Bruce, who then became King of the Scots, a role he held for 23 years before dying at age 54. I think it's interesting that it was NOT William Wallace's heart that was taken from his body - it was Robert the Bruce's heart - removed after his death and buried in a separate place from the rest of his body.
However, at this time of the year, when some of us in the USA are making light of St. Patrick, and parading around in foolish green hats and silly green outfits, I think it's worth a few minutes of our time to think about the Scottish Hero who gave his life for his country.
5 views posted 16 Jun 2013, 18:38
It's been months since I've posted anything in my blog. (Not since January, actually.) I've been feeling the "tug" to write something here for awhile now, but it's hard to get started on these things sometimes.▼10 comments
I've been absent from KAT for several weeks (months?) more-or-less - just stopping in to read personal mail, check on torrent uploads (grabbing one here and there)... and hoping to see a friend that I know here when I do. I've been a bit lucky bumping into friends when I've done that, but then I'm off again for days. I remember when I was a daily "groupie" here, got on here in the morning and stayed all day! Life changes and the river's flow marches on, carrying us away.. carrying me away.
But I'm still loyal to KAT, and still come here regularly, if not everyday.
I hope you are all doing well this summer. I'm a little blued out right now, so this is a super short message, but I wanted to let you know that I'm here, and that I haven't forgotten any of you, and that I still think you're a great group of friends! *BIG HUG*
4 views posted 19 Jan 2013, 20:55
This morning, after several days of feeling rather depressed about my lifestyle, I got a very nice comment from someone on my Wall - he was asking, basically, where I have been the last several days. And he offered to cheer me up, if cheering is what I need. He was concerned by my absence here at KAT of late.▼37 comments
I thought that his offer of friendship and support was very kind. It's always good to be told that you are missed when you pass through a "friendship zone" after being absent awhile. So I sent him a little message to thank him. Of course, that led to a discussion about what's bothering me.
I thought it was interesting that he should mention I might be experiencing a "test" right now - because I've been enduring some depression the last several days or so. I mentioned to him all the reasons why I don't have a life companion, and what I've accomplished in my life to make my solitary existence comfortable.
But what really came through to ME after justifying to HIM why I don't go out and socialize more in public places is that, basically, I'm too lazy to bother. I had some good excuses for not doing so, too! But it still boils down to the fact that I can't get up the motivation to make the effort!
No wonder I am lonely, alone, and uncomfortable with being that way. I don't really want to be alone ALL the time.
I have another flaw that I don't like to look at. I told my friend that I don't like people much - in most situations - because there's so much selfishness, disinterest, laziness in the world. I remember learning the lesson years ago that anytime you point your index finger at others, there's always 3 more pointing back at you.
It's not a comforting thought that perhaps I am lazy, selfish, disinterested - but to be honest with myself (since for certain I will have to be honest with The Maker sometime in the future) I have these qualities too. Where does this leave me - more uncomfortable for sure - but just as annoying to be around as any other person I might decide is too annoying to be around.
LOL - being honest with yourself is an uncomfortable experience sometimes!
1 view posted 10 Jan 2013, 20:48
I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately (mostly ebooks from here), and thinking about this notion of "love" that so many of us (well, maybe not the psychopaths or the narcissists) try so hard to define to our benefit and find for our happiness. When I was young, I had this notion - from very early in my life, really - that I didn't understand what "love" really is, but I had an intense desire to find out! I grew up in a family without the presence of my father. Instead, I had an annoying, rather domineering grandmother, and a mother who swung between being affectionate and warm to being a screaming bitch. (My mother was bi-polar... thus the absence of my father!)▼23 comments
I remember being told often by my mother, almost never by my grandmother, that she loved me. But her behavior was so bazarre, I became very skeptical of her intentions early on, so I really had NO idea what "love" was when I hit high school age. I looked it up in the dictionary. Nothing in the definitions described my mother's behavior toward me and my siblings.
My grandmother was a misandrist (a man-hater). All I ever heard from her was how beastly men are. I certainly didn't learn one iota of good common sense from her about how to relate to "men".
Because of these early, misguided influences in my life, I never came to understand until it was really too late what it means to love someone - really love someone, and be loved in return. That is, until I started getting into forum groups such as this one, and gaming virtual experiences such as in Everquest 2, World of Warcraft, and Star Wars. However, in these contexts, what I was experiencing was The Communion of Spirit - or as many people of various religious persuasions refer to it - "The Communion of Souls". The Communion of Souls is a religious reference to either the commonality of experience among people in Heaven, or in organized religious groups (churches).
However, I believe the Communion of Spirit is a type of communication that the large majority of people who interact with others on the Internet (and in virtual spaces of any type) participate in daily. I believe the Communion of Spirit is a phenomenon that lies at the bottom strata of human communications - close to what we each think in our most personal moments, close to what some of us think of as our "soul".
While people can lie their faces off in virtual environments (and the human race has centuries of experience with that - having turned it into a virtual "artform"), I believe the truth of who we are, what we feel most deeply, how we view the world and one another, and what we most desire, and despise, comes pouring out amidst all the foolish rhetoric we toss at one another in our Internet communications. Because of this, we sometimes become deeply invested, emotionally, with others of us - with causes we support, with political movements we either love, hate or fear, and most importantly with some "significant others" that we encounter along the way.
Love takes on a very different color and form, when viewed in terms of the Communion of Spirit. I think it can become more intense, and it certainly can become a genuine experience on the mental and emotional level. I think a great many of us are desperately hungry for that communal experience that we think of as "being loved" and "loving others in return". The basis of all this emotional investment, of course, is the desire to know, to experience, the kind of closeness with another that some of us have never known, or only rarely known. I believe the majority of us feel that somehow we missed it somewhere! We've had plenty of experience with lust, and emotional obsession, with a sense of obligation, and sometimes simple, frivolous "fun" - but Love? Feeling genuinely loved by someone, and loving them in return?
Uh-uh - I think many of us think we've missed that, somehow. We don't talk about it with each other (except in our forum discussions, perhaps - our Internet encounters) occasionally. We don't even articulate the sense of disappointment that we feel to ourselves, about this "thing" we may never have experienced, but that we want so much.
I have had this experience - once - but not in my real life! I had it in a one year romp through Norrath (Everquest 2) with someone I never met in real life. Because we were interacting on an "alternate path" through a virtual world. We shared the experience of struggles that a virtual world can offer - the "virtual threats" of encounters with evil and danger, our sense of mutual support and commitment was heightened every day we spent together that way. Feelings of commitment and caring can become very intense in encounters that threaten one - even if the threat is virtual - IF you can rise above your own disbelief in their apparent reality. I think that groups of friends who game together know this sense of shared commitment and the joy of the experience very well.
I don't think that most gamers think of this emotional experience as love, but I know that many of us form lasting relationships over the years with people that we game with as youths. I wonder if future relationships between men and women - the ones that lead to lifetime commitments in marriage (and, of course, between gay couples as well - because they certainly are a part of the gaming communities in the world) could be one of the best ways for people to meet, in virtual environments, where both the best (and the worst) expressions of who we really are deep inside can be expressed.
It is, after all, the suspension of our disbelief that makes possible any enjoyment we may get out of adventure films or adventure stories. But the mutual sense of commitment and caring that rises out of a shared experience of this type is no less real than it is in real life encounters. In fact, I think sometimes it's a more genuine, real life experience than a great many real life encounters!
We've lost a great deal of our sense of communal commitment and mutual care in the real world. We have to recover that somehow. This approach shows real promise, I think.
Love is a "many splendored thing".
2 views posted 10 Jan 2013, 03:15
This is certainly Off Topic for a file sharing website, but as we talk about everything, and anything, and sometimes nothing at all, well.... I just feel like talking about something here that is topmost in my mind lately.▼26 comments
I was reading the Wiki review of a really old chestnut book today - Dante's Divine Comedy, and I ran across their summary of Dante's views on "Love" - of course, he was deeply steeped in the religion of his time (the Catholic Church was squarely in the Driver's Seat in Italy in the 14th Century), but I thought the distinctions that he made between "real love" and "false love" were interesting. I won't get into that here right now, but it was intriguing to me, because I am presently going through a rather strange experience.
I'm experiencing some rather strong emotions about someone, and wishing that I were not so very much alone here in my little world. My social isolation is self-imposed, but that doesn't mean it's comfortable.
I wonder how many of us are engaged in long-distance relationships with people across the world, or at least miles away from us in space, these days. I'd be willing to say a LOT of us are now. There are even books on the market now about cyber-relationships. Have you ever been in one? I have. A couple times. But I didn't meet my "significant other" in a dating website, or a Facebook encounter, or even in a forum website like KAT.
I fell in "like"??? with someone in my game world before! Not once! Twice! Which is not to say there is someone in game at the moment I fancy. Rather, someone I wish were in game as my companion.
Over the course of my 8 years in Everquest 2, I've met a couple guys in real life - married one in game, and got in some unbelievable "differences of opinion" with a couple others.
The most romantic of those encounters was a year long run through the lands of Norrath fighting monsters together in groups and raids - he was the most astounding Troubadour and I was a healer. He was a writer in real life, and a fascinating person to talk with on the phone and in game. I still miss him!
So here I am - 8 years on, missing that connection... wishing I had a companion in game again as I did before.
I don't know how people manage to "cyber" in virtual reality on the Internet - but I know in Norrath you can have your own house, your own bedroom, your own bed. I suspect people CAN cyber in Norrath if they try. I haven't tried THAT - but I sure miss the companionship.
At the moment, the person I would most like to have as a companion isn't playing in my game. Instead he's 1/2 way across the world playing in HIS game. Instead, what I have is a gnome girl in MY game trying to cozy up with me (I always play female characters)... so I am totally non-plussed. What do you do with a gnome chick? LOL... I suspect that the face behind the screen on that gnome is actually a DUDE...
I've got particularly good radar where "she-male" players are concerned in the game. *laugh* But I think the Universe is trying to throw me a curve here because I've got a "hankering" going on that isn't being met.
Ain't life weird? LOL
1 view posted 29 Dec 2012, 02:52
I swear I am NOT all bound up in silly superstitions about the number 13. I even know it was a lucky number in some cultures (including the ancient Mayan, if I recall) - but somehow I am more worried about this coming year than I've been about any year in my life so far. Hmmmm... maybe that's because I was born in 1947, and I have not seen a year ending in 13 yet! This will be a first for me.▼38 comments
How about yourselves? Surely this is something new for all of us, yes? I have been watching all the news announcements about the U.S. Congress and the President's struggle to cope with our economic nightmare here. All I see is "no news" or "bad news".... it's all about diminishing social security funds and diminishing Medicare benefits - and higher taxes. UGH... I'm depressed!
Anyone else have some GOOD news yet? I suppose I'm just over anxious for answers that will not be forthcoming until after January 1st!
1 view posted 24 Dec 2012, 02:06
I've often heard that sometimes people become depressed on Christmas. In recent years, I can understand that - I've had to deal with it. As a matter of fact, today, as the weather has turned from snow to rain and back to snow, and my house (really, it's a small, ancient mobile home) has grown colder by the hour, I just feel a bit lonely here, by myself.▼20 comments
I started listening to some favorite old music - NOT Christmas songs - and I came across the rather strange, but beautiful in it's way, song "All the Children Sing" by Todd Rundgren.
Todd Rundgren is actually only a few months younger than myself! I looked up his life story in the wikipedia today. I've long had some kind of strange fascination with his music, maybe because so many of his songs have challenging, even a bit "weird" lyrics.
This song is one of them. I can only guess what he was trying to imply by these lyrics, but I believe it would be more fair to you all if I simply put up the lyrics, and you can find the song, if you're curious. It's on Todd Rundgren's album, "Hermit of Mink Hollow" an album that he came out with very early in his music career - 1978. Another of his rather popular songs is on that album also - entitled "Can We Still Be Friends" - and it's definitely a favorite of mine. Sad, but lovely.
However, for the lonely and sad this Christmas (and for all the rest of us as well)...
ALL THE CHILDREN SING - by Todd Rundgren
See Ms. Malone
She spends another quiet evening alone
Sits in her study and stares at the phone
And a bell in her head will ring
All the children sing
All the dancers start to sway in time
The orchestra begins to play
Somebody pours the wine
The sun and moon collide
Isn't gravity a funny thing
The universe explodes apart
All the children sing
Of Mr. Malloy
He's always seen himself as one of the boys
He thinks that men are tough and women are toys
But a bell in his head will ring
All the children sing
All the birds are chirping harmony
The scent of love is in the air
Sunset on the sea
The angel of the Lord
Just declared we aren't worth a thing
The galaxy is null and void
All the children sing
Crawled across a thousand miles of desert sand
Looking for an answer from a holy man
And this is what he told me with a wave of his hand
He said, "A bell in your head will ring"
Here's to the Chinaman, wise and old
Here's to the Eskimo, brave and cold
Here's to the Jew in the holy land
Here's to the Arab in his caravan
Here's to the African, strong and proud
Here's to the Redneck, good and loud
Here's one to you and there's one more thing
A bell in your head will ring
All the children sing
All the dancers start to sway in time
The orchestra begins to play
Somebody pours the wine
The sun and moon collide
Isn't gravity a funny thing
The universe explodes apart
All the children sing, yeah
All the children sing
All the children everybody sing
1 view posted 07 Nov 2012, 23:06
First, I want to thank Smittech for asking me to share my thoughts on President Obama's 2nd term in office. I was most honored by his request, and so I am offering these thoughts on his behalf.▼85 comments
Secondly, I cannot pretend to be a political pundit or a Professor of Political Science - I am a humble (okay, well maybe I'm not tremendously humble) citizen and just another member of our lovely KAT community. Therefore, I have done some thinking, and then some digging, and I found the wisdom of someone far better informed than I to share with you, with comments sandwiched in from me.
For those who would like to see a great little cartoon video created by the illustrator for "The Simpsons Family Guy" TV series, which is referred to in the discussion that follows this blog, here's a quick torrent download for it!
Obama Trickledown Theory Cartoon Video
Following is the most enlightening article I have read so far on Obama's first term in office, the challenges and the betrayals he endured, and a marvelous prediction for his next 4 years in office, by the illustrious New York Times best-selling author, Frank Schaefer, which was published yesterday.
Frank Schaeffer's Comments on President Obama's Presidential Challenges
Given my religious right background I'm one of the president's most unlikely fans. Maybe that's because I know the alternative-- from the inside. I fear the alternative to the president -- far right loons of the Tea Party/evangelical religious right ilk -- and have never felt I had the luxury of being an armchair lefty critic demoralizing Obama's supporters because he's the only person who stands between the village idiots and us.
Before he'd served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds -- including this white, straight, 60-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of Francis Schaeffer a famous evangelical leader described in my book Crazy For God) this most unlikely Obama supporter -- stuck with our president.
Why? Because he is succeeding against the tallest odds ever maliciously and stupidly stuck in the way of any American president by the most vicious and unpatriotic crew of malcontents, racists, snobs and fools to ever try and take a president down.
Obama's steady supporters will be proved right. His second term will be glorious. Then Obama's critics on the left and right will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged fools at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.
The Context of the Obama Presidency
Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition -- from both the right and left.
As Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker:
"Obama didn't remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street."
Here is what President Obama faced when he took office:
1. An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries
2. Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral
3. The worst economic crisis since the Depression
4. America's standing in the world at the lowest point in history
5. A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
6. A health care system in free fall
7. An educational system in free fall
8. A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing) and that today's Republicans have lied about as they serve their oil/coal company masters
9. An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left
10. A Republican Party bet on obstructing him even when it cost the country
11. A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration!!!
And those were only some of the problems sitting on the president's desk! (All emphasis is MINE)
"Help" from the right?
What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked Tea Party racist conspiracy theorists -- that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time President Obama took office -- do to "help" our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn't a real American, didn't have an American birth certificate, wasn't born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating "racist", was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (no kidding!) and wanted "death panels" to kill the elderly!
They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized "tea parties" to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) "commentators" from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh and billionaire agitators like the Koch brothers who literally tried to buy the government. YES THEY DID!
"Help" from the left?
The left's lack of faith became a self-fulfilling "prophecy" in lost voter enthusiasm -- snipe at the president and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn't have anything to do with it.
What did the left do to help our newly elected president? Within weeks some of them excoriated the president because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he'd inherited from the worst president in modern history. They pissed and moaned on MSNBC, Alternet, Huffington Post et al because the president didn't do everything he wanted to do soon enough. People like Paul Krugman second guessed everything President Obama did, until -- belatedly -- a few folks like Krugman backtracked after President Obama's list of huge accomplishments became hard to argue with.
Others on the cranky left (like Bob Woodward who said President Obama was "Arrogant, aloof, and unprepared" in his book The Price of Politics) stood up and bravely proclaimed that the president's economic policies had "failed" before the President even instituted them. Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minutes of the president taking office, they'd been "betrayed"!
Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night in 2008 turned into an angry "disappointed" leftist mob saying how discouraged they were that they'd not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House. Where was the "change"? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!
"Governing"?! What the hell does that word, uh, like mean?"
The president's critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn't imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren't as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn't consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!
President Obama's Accomplishments (inspite of all the betrayals, and the idiocy around him)
Meanwhile back in the reality-based community among other things President Obama had as listed by the Daily Kos:
1. 3,680,000 private sector jobs created since the end of the Bush Great Recession See original article for direct references!!
2. Expanded government's fight against fraud in Financial ref, Federal Contractor ref and Health Care areas ref
3. $2,000,000,000,000 in deficit reduction ref
4. He saved the economy from ruin (until the Tea Party took over Congress) with a stimulus that was as large as possible given the political realities ref
5. Saved the US Auto Industry ref, ref
6. Health Care Reform ref
7. Reduced military spending by $500,000,000,000 ref
8. Wall Street Reform ref ref ref
9. Leaned on the banks to recover almost all "bailout money" with interest ref ref
11. Killed Osama Bin Laden ref
12. Killed a whole generation of al Qaeda leaders ref
13. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women. ref, ref, ref !!!!!!!
14. [b] Expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. ref
15. Support's states' right on medical marijuana ref (Something some of you will love or hate)
16. Repealed "Don't ask don't tell" refref
17. Appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history. ref I'm sorry this ticks off those who hold secret prejudices against gays and want them to be treated as animals, not humans!
18. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. ref
19. Changed HUD rules to prohibit gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing ref
20. Publicly expressed support for the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. ref
21. Ended the war in Iraq ref
22. Toppled Gadhafi without an American casualty ref
23. Invested in college students: 1) by repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process. ref ref ref 2) by reforming student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate. ref and 3) by overseeing an expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low income students to go to college. ref
24. Fast-tracked regulations to dramatically increase fuel efficiency standards ref ref
25. Strengthened the bond between clean energy and commerce by overseeing establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. ref Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. ref
26. Pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. ref
27. Turned America toward native sources of renewal energy Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. ref (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)
Who actually has failed?
The Americans that can't see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth are the failures. It's right under our jaded noses!
Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this president to fail so that they could be proved correct in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned "news" into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.
The future looks good I certainly think it does!
After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts -- with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.
So when are President Obama's critics, people like Paul Krugman (from the left) and Mitt Romney (from the right), going to offer President Obama an apology?
Both have often loudly predicted that he made the economy "worse" and was putting America on the wrong economic path. Both are being proved wrong by the economic comeback we are in. I mention them not to pick on Krugman, who I respect, or even on Romney (who I regard as vapid and bought and paid for by corporate interests) but to make a point:
President Obama is going to have the last laugh on his critics, no matter what ideological spectrum they hail from.
President Obama is succeeding in spite of the fact that he's been up against a Republican Party willing to destroy the economy in order to destroy him.
As the New Yorker notes:
"Two well-known Washington political analysts, Thomas Mann, of the bipartisan Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, agree. In a forthcoming book about Washington dysfunction, 'It's Even Worse Than It Looks,' they write, 'One of our two major parties, the Republicans, has become an insurgent outlier--ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.'"
The president keeps proving himself smarter than his detractors
President Obama will win a second term 2012. (Thank God, he HAS!) And four years later all that will be remembered about his critics is that they were impatient, deluded and wrong.
Given what was on his plate when he took office and the fact that we're successfully struggling out of both recession and the aftermath of two wars -- and succeeding -- President Obama is one of the best of the American presidents already. His second term will consolidate that verdict and bodes true greatness and national recovery as his legacy.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the religious right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.
I'm not going to make specific predictions about what President Obama will accomplish in his next four years, but I believe he will keep his promises.
And that's more than the Republican Party or its lackeys have done for this country in 100 years!
2 views posted 03 Nov 2012, 19:09
I haven't really been on the KAT site since yesterday midday - and then only for a few minutes. The site is a mess, far as I can see. Sending PMs and then trying to delete them is impossible. No Rep info, so no way to see who might have done what to whom. Can't post msgs in the Profile Walls (or at least not the wall I tried) to thank someone for adding you to their Friends List. The whole thing is really out of whack still.▼52 comments
But anyway, that being said, I've been reading all the notes about whether men and women really differ, or they're basically the same, etc. - and felt like putting in a comment here.
First, I'd like to make note of the fact that we are all individuals, and as such, regardless of our gender, our abilities or talents differ along a range from virtually inept to highly talented.
Our mental ability to solve problems, or to generate creative alternatives, ideas, goals also differs along a continuum, and while there may be some finite range for these, I believe it would be difficult to find 2 people who are exactly alike on every dimension.
Men and women DO differ markedly from one another in their way of communicating with their own gender, and across genders. From my graduate studies in Gender Relations (my Graduate degree in Adult Education had a focus in Women's Studies, in part becuse my graduate adviser & mentor was an ardent femninist back in early 1990s, and I was myself one, having been totally stymied in my career growth as a secretary [a dead-end career category synonymous with Office Wife, Maid, and a few other terms I'll avoid here). My Master's Thesis was about the potential for true career progress and upward mobility for the Secretary, or the lack of it. My research was rather extensive, and my findings were that, in fact, there is NO real career potential for that path in business - because of the prejudice which exists regarding the mentality of women who pursue that role in life, along with the prevailing belief of the time (the 60s to 90s and beyond) that a man needs a woman to clean up after him and keep things tidy in the office, remember to buy his wife flowers on their anniversary, etc etc - and perhaps sit in his lap to take dictation... It goes on ad nauseum - and of course, as there is no leadership implied in the role, and no official authority of any kind, why pay the woman a decent wage (regardless of how hard she works or how much she knows about the business - which usually is quite a lot after a few years.)
But I digress...
I studied doctoral theses and tons of other research on the nature of communications, between men, and between women, and across the genders. I'm not planning on trotting out my Thesis, or all the bibliographical material here to prove it to you, but if YOU want to do the research, I can point you in the right directions. (I got my Masters at the University of Connecticut at Storrs in 1999.)
Men and women differ in the way they communicate in part because:
1) Men don't compete for the exclusive attention of one another, at least not as a general rule, unless they are trying to win favor to promote their own personal ends.
2) Women, however, rather than associating with one another as equals and comrades in arms, compete with one another - and that competition becomes more intense the minute a man walks in the room.
3) Women and men behave the way they do based on extremely early childhood experiences and lessons, which alter their fundamental pattern of associations at a subconscious level. They don't have to think about how to act, they simply act that way.
4) Men are taught from the earliest age that males are superior to females - "we are stronger, we grow bigger, we can be more intimidating" etc. They are raised to think that a girl's thoughts, attitudes and desires are not as important as their own, and so women's ideas, needs, and values can be discounted - and of course the reason for that is, "because girls are emotional - they're silly - they can't make serious choices and decisions.
5) Girls aren't stupid - they get the message too... and if they are really smart - they play to it. If they cannot get what they want and need by asking for it, or even demanding it - there ARE other ways to get the cooperation they need to accomplish their objectives. We all know what some of those are. But of course, girls resent this a great deal because right along with the facts of situation comes the unspoken notion that men have about why women use their "feminine wiles" to get what they want. It doesn't occur to them that the woman has little other recourse, and must operate inside the male paradigm.
6) Heterosexual males do not, however, have to resort to "wiles" to get what they want. They can often get what they want and need through their network of friends (the "good ole boy network") or by aggressive force. They don't have to "sell themselves like women do" - the unspoken paradigm again.
7) But a woman without a man, however - traditionally - was a woman without protection, without power, without the force to get what she needed on her own. She was often disdained by men because she wasn't "behaving" according to the paradigm requirements, and so she couldn't make a lot of progress without getting REALLY nasty - and that branded her as a "B*tch" - there was no winning in the struggle for recognition as an equal.....
BECAUSE WOMEN ARE NOT VIEWED AS BIOLOGICALLY EQUAL TO A MAN - BY MEN!
It doesn't matter whether that was factually true or not, that is the way men have been raised from infancy to perceive women since before Moses parted the Red Sea.
That belief system, while somewhat mollified in the Post Industrial societies of Europe and the USA, is still very much in evidence in most of the world today. We can be mad as hell about it, we girls, but it doesn't change the situation.
Men would prefer to be friends with men, than with women, because, ONE - they don't have to deal with the sexual politics, and/or be "manipulated" by women who they are sure will still use their feminine wiles to get what they want, and TWO - they don't have to deal with the competitiveness and frustration that are a deeply ingrained part of the feminine psyche. The common wisdom is that, if you get 2 women in a room together, they might be able to get along, but the minute you add a 3rd, the bitching starts (that is the male perspective). (And frankly, I've seen it happen even in this forum, and certainly in the workplace plenty!)
Because women have almost a biological imperative to grab onto a man and take ownership - if they can - because ... here we go again - a woman without a man lacks power and protection.
I know some of you are getting angrier by the minute. You can't believe a woman would talk like this, say something like this! You think I'm full of it! I'm very sorry to bring all this to the fore, but it is what it is - and you are free to do all the research I have had to do to come to this awareness anytime.
Women compete with each other for male attention - or they completely ignore men and secretly resent them totally. Or, in a few cases, they have found a way to achieve that rare level of independence and sense of self-worth that they simply don't need a man for anything and are fine with or without one. But unfortunately, the large majority of us do NOT fall into that category, and whether we admit it openly, or simply fume about it privately, the issues are still there.
And the male domination paradigm is still very much present in our world cultures. There are many countries in this world where a woman would not DARE try to take over a man's place at the head of a business, or of a household.
Be thankful if you do not live in one of those places. I am quite certain there are plenty of women here who live in such places now.
1 view posted 04 Oct 2012, 05:07
After reading Sines blog asking how much "the people" can take of all the economic crisis that we are now experiencing, I gave an answer in that blog. But it was long-winded (as usual, for me) and cramped in a small space.▼15 comments
I think the topic deserves a closer look, because I think we are, all of us here, participating in a phenomenon that has far reaching consequences we haven't thought about. And maybe we should be thinking about it.
Yes, our world is in economic crisis, and we can't see the end of it. We are afraid to think of the possible end of it.
But there is, I think, a much more profound change occurring than most of us grasp at yet.
Most of the world's major economies depend on diminishing resources, which increases the cost of those resources.
But the big problems we have in the world today are
1) environmental degradation
2) loss of employment opportunities in most countries
3) rising numbers of poor people not capable of supporting themselves
4) increases in disease rates
5) rising violence, wars, & threats of war... etc....
And they all stem from
1) over-population (we just breed TOO MUCH)
2) longer life spans (we don't die fast enough, which would make room for more of us
3) we are making a global transition from the pre-industrial monetary system to a post-industrial monetary system (based on debits & credits, not cash, not bank accounts
4) In most post-industrialized nations, the vast majority of people are disillusioned with the "credit card" solution to our economic woes
Many of us don't want credit cards anymore (or simply can't have them after our personal economic crises).
That makes a new crisis in the market place, because we are, in a massive wave unexpected and unplanned for (I am guessing) by "big business" moving back from the "consumer society" to the "community based barter & trade society that we had before all this "get it for free NOW and pay later (with your blood) lifestyle based on borrowed money began.
So you think this pirate lifestyle that we have here is simply a phenomenon of the Internet? Hardly.
IF that is what you think, you may be missing a profound truth at the heart of piracy and the world's resistance to it!
People know now that they cannot live on borrowed money! We cannot survive without a job, and without a home to live in. But to preserve these fundamental needs, we MUST forego many of the pleasures, the "things" we have otherwise bought on credit.
The newly rising industrial countries have seen the failure of the U.S. government and market economy to meet the needs of our people. Consumerism fails as positive social force to provide for the needs of our people, and to foster good, strong families, or to provide the needed community connections and support to sustain ALL our peoples, young and old, rich or poor. It is our greatest failure.
I believe Europeans see this and deplore our lack of cohesive community, our disregard for our aging parents, our neglect of the proper parenting that we should be providing our children and our alienated, disrespectful youth. Buying your kids things on the credit card to keep them happy instead of teaching them good, sound community values is a recipe for disaster in our communities.
So I don't think enlightened Europeans really want all that "credit card debt" either.
The whole of civilization rose upon the rise of the marketplace economic system and the invention of "money". But money is NOT the only means people can use to get things they want!
***pirate trade*** may be fundamental to the restructuring of all our societies ...everywhere.
There MUST be a place made in the world for the barter system! We all need it because we cannot live well if we don't have a way to get the "less-necessary goods" that we all strive for to make life worth while. Even the most vital things we need and use to survive sometimes can only be got by means other than shopping at WalMart or Macy's, if you don't have the job or the money to shop there! More and more of us all the time are in that bind!
Global economic revolution and social structure change is cataclysmic by nature.
Major structures must fall before new ones can rise. There is always pain, struggle, loss in such changes. And we are in the middle of it. NOT at the end. We are in a World-wide Dark Age (I don't know which one it is... 3rd one, 4th one, whatever).
The struggle will continue until the question is answered.
Will all the people be allowed to use barter systems to procure their needs as they are able and desire it?
Or will the major governments and market organizations squash their attempt at freedom - in their shortsighted greed and ignorance - and force us all to succumb to their foolish 20th Century credit based exchanges (which benefit the wealthy and starve the rest of us - the other 90% of us)!
I know that pirating as a means of "making a living" has been around since the dawn of civilization. It's been reckless, dangerous and not entirely profitable for those engaged in it.
But this new concept of "pirating" - coined by the market sector in the USA and adopted in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere, is throwing into the same basket people who are bartering personal goods among friends over the Internet, along with slave traders, robbers off the Barbary Coast, and every other kind of criminal element you could name.
Throwing all of us into the same basket, glossing over the whole business by claiming it's evil, wrong, selfish, immoral, illegal and dastardly, simply because some of it violates antiquated copyright laws! Mounting a huge battle to take back their ownership of the intellectual goods and artistic products of our people - for what? For their bottom line, their profit margins - and in the governments private agenda, their control of all the rest of us!
The public relations firms, and the marketing departments, and the federal agencies used their best minds and methods to make us all become docile consumers, buying what they sell, making a few of us rich, and the rest of us obsessed with acquiring things, thinking we could be happy by having more and more things!
But we have learned that having more things does not make you happy! Having more friends, more loving family helps to make you happy! Being useful in your community and supporting the needs of that community.. being a friend to others, a support in times of trial for others, working on supporting, maintaining and improving your community gives you happiness. Things do not give happiness. Things make messes.. huge messes. (Think about the rise of all these hoarders in the USA now. They are miserable, they are filthy, and all their things rott around them, useless to them, or anyone else!
Switching to a barter system ultimately will require giving up some things. You may have as many things. But you don't need that many things! Things don't make people happy. People make people happy.
Happy people are self-sustaining - they can think more clearly, and they don't need government control to manage their affairs and get on in the world. This is NOT what despotic governments want! (And I think, since power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolute (Lord Byron's quote)) they will not willingly allow people to be happy and independent - or use the barter system to do that.
At the heart of this argument is a growing fear - that people will find other, better ways to trade goods, than by relying on huge corporate machinery that only delivers those goods at a high price, while subjecting their workers to intolerable working conditions, refusing to provide for their health care and a healthy work environment, and tossing them out without a thought whenever their profits dip by 2%.
A recent BBC documentary on the life of the founder of Public Relations Marketing (the nephew of Sigmund Freud, the analyst) made it clear that major marketing organizations have been in league with the U.S. Government for decades, manipulating the information that Americans receive and controlling their buying habits, and thus their lifestyles.
We've acquired and insatiable "need" to buy new things.. have better things, want more things... at the expense of our families, our well being, our very culture.
If we uncouple from that kind of economic control and begin bartering among ourselves again, sharing what we have, looking after one another, donating what is needed to meet the requirements of our elderly, our poor, our children, all of us - where do the corporate profits go in that kind of economy, or social climate.
The kind of piracy we indulge in by sharing music and movies, applications and games, pictures and ideas, is a barter economy. It is a community building social network system. It is trans-national - global in scope.
I think the governments and the market moguls in the world are afraid of it! Very afraid! There is a freedom in this, and a positive sense of community in this, that rises above the control of corporate marketing departments and government law enforcement.