Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Living in the cuckoo's nest

First thing my dad does in the morning is turn on CNN. He's mostly deaf now so the TV is turned up pretty loud even with his hearing aids in and so I hear whatever they are blabbing about that morning.

The unreality that comes out of the TV some mornings just boggles my mind. As I awaken with the TV blaring I do a mental review of what year it is. This IS the year 2007, right? RIGHT? We ARE supposed to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction, between reality and fantasy, but you'd never know it by the "news" that is broadcast in America today.

The two "news" stories on CNN this morning (Jan. 31, 2007) that brings on this post is:

  • A young woman was raped, called the police, was arrested on a bench warrant for some petty crime in the past, and was not able to take the second dose of emergency contraception because someone at the jail wouldn't let her because of a personal religious belief.
  • A story about a recent beheading that happened in Iraq.

Being forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from rape in an age of modern medicine is mind-blowing.

The blabbing about beheadings is only to give the impression that the people in far, far, far away Iraq and the Middle East are barbarians.

And so, I do a mental check of what year we are living in. The Enlightenment was supposed to provide a way to live better as human beings without having to kill each other over religious and non-religious differences.

And in the "modern" age of electronics, instant communications, the internet, and YouTube, how in the hell can anyone be so ignorant as to believe that the very people who preserved the works of the Greek philosophers, developed algebra and banking, and taught the Europeans coming out of the Dark Ages how to bath and practice life-saving instead of blood-draining medicine are solely responsible for cutting peoples' heads off? I'm not saying it isn't part of their culture, but too much of what is passed to the America viewer sounds too much like military black ops for my comfort. I've read too much stuff about Vietnam and the goings on of the School of the Americas, not to mention Abu Ghraib and our ditching of the Geneva Convention against torture, to believe that it is the Arabs who are instigating and fomenting all the violence in Iraq.

In other words, CNN does as much bullshit propaganda as Fox News. Especially when Lou Dobbs can go on and on about how Hugo Chavez is a dictator but never once mention that Bush is too.

Update: While this has been sitting around as a draft I got sent a link to an article at Information Clearing House that pretty much confirms my feelings. What's worse, is this link in the comments section that proves the lie about any notion of the Middle East as anything close to barbaric.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Turning to the Dark Side

I know I once wrote about my observations of Bush Jr. and changes I saw him undergo during that first year of his residency at the White House. Where it is now I haven't a clue. It doesn't seem to have ever made it to the blogosphere but if anyone ever gets a whiff of it anywhere besides this post, please drop me a link.

What brings this up is an article, Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions, at

It contains many of my own observations about G.W. Bush. He still retained his basic humanity at the beginning of his first term. I forget which year it was when he gave a speech in the Senate at some formal gathering but it was on C-SPAN and I happened to catch a part of it. When he was finished he received a standing ovation. The look on his face was that he had finally "arrived" and been received as one of their own. Thinking back on it it reminds of the "coming out" of a debutante.

I honestly believe he started out basically good and retained a lot of his basic humanity but his early family life had done a major number on him. What remained of his humanity was turned to the Dark Side in the months after Sept. 11, 2001. And as the corrupt seek and get positions of power, they inevitably change the nature and character of everything they touch. [Note: it is not power that corrupts but rather that the corrupt seek power by any means necessary.]

Unfortunately, what we have now can only be described as a monster with no heart, no humanity, no conscience.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A true leader

I'd never seen the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring so I rented it. I watched it last night. Having my own copy of the extended version of The Two Towers, I am watching it tonight.

There are two scenes that are quite subtle and very important. One is when Theoden is restored to his right self and all the people, including Aragorn, kneel in deference to Theoden King.

The other scene is with Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Smeagol has a conversation with Gollum and tells Gollum to go away and never come back. In having accepted Frodo as his master and made peace with himself he brings back some coneys which Sam promptly cooks.

What makes these two scenes important is the ability to show deference and to accept differences. In the case of Aragorn, even he kneels when Theoden King is restored. There is no ego in this. He is not threatened in the least by acknowledging Theoden as the king of a people in the land of Rohan even though he, Aragorn, is the heir of Isildur, the king of Gondor to which Rohan owes allegiance. What I see in this is the respect heads of state should have for each other and that it is only through deference that honor is given and allegiance is made. Only those with no conscience, no respect, no humanity would dare expect fealty without first giving honor.

In the scene with Smeagol, Sam, Frodo, and the bunnies is a study in cultural differences and how Frodo acts as a bridge between the two worlds through the medium of pity for Gollum. Sam is as ethnocentric as Gollum in the matter eating preferences. Oddly, I could see an element of the differences between the English and the Japanese in regards to eating fish, whether cooked as fish and chips, or raw as for sushi or sashimi. The importance of pity or compassion as the mitigator of hatred cannot be emphasized enough. Our common humanity is not based on cultural preferences but on the ultimate fate of our lives. Pity stayed Bilbo's hand and in the end, it was Gollum that saved Frodo and all of Middle Earth from Sauron's evil dominion and destruction of all that is good and fair and best in life.